## AGU position statement

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has a position statement on human-induced climate change of which Judith Curry was harshly critical. Roger Pielke Sr has pubished a dissenting view. If it is indeed so appalling, I thought I might work through it to find out what is wrong with it.

I’ll start at the beginning and work through it paragraph by paragraph.

Human activities are changing Earth’s climate. At the global level, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat‐trapping greenhouse gases have increased sharply since the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuel burning dominates this increase. Human‐caused increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed global average surface warming of roughly 0.8°C (1.5°F) over the past 140 years. Because natural processes cannot quickly remove some of these gases (notably carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, our past, present, and future emissions will influence the climate system for millennia.

Nothing really wrong with this. Atmospheric CO2 has indeed increased sharply since the industrial revolution, we are responsible for this increase, and most of the observed increase in global surface temperature is probably anthropogenic. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations will likely remain enhanced – relative to pre-industrial levels – for thousands of years.

Extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming. These observations show large‐scale increases in air and sea temperatures, sea level, and atmospheric water vapor; they document decreases in the extent of mountain glaciers, snow cover, permafrost, and Arctic sea ice. These changes are broadly consistent with long‐ understood physics and predictions of how the climate system is expected to respond to human‐caused increases in greenhouse gases. The changes are inconsistent with explanations of climate change that rely on known natural influences.

Again, no real problems here. There are multiple, independent observations of changes that are consistent with what we would expect, and that are inconsistent with a pre-dominantly natural influence.

Climate models predict that global temperatures will continue to rise, with the amount of warming primarily determined by the level of emissions. Higher emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to larger warming, and greater risks to society and ecosystems. Some additional warming is unavoidable due to past emissions.

This all seems fine. We certainly expect global temperatures to – on average – continue rising and for the warming to depend largely on how much we emit. It’s also likely that the risks to society and ecosystems will increase with increasing warming. The only possible issue is the final sentence, which is not strictly true. If we were to halt all emissions now, we would expect warming – on average – to stabilise. That, however, is not going to happen, so it seems additional warming is essentially guaranteed.

Climate change is not expected to be uniform over space or time. Deforestation, urbanization, and particulate pollution can have complex geographical, seasonal, and longer‐term effects on temperature, precipitation, and cloud properties. In addition, human‐induced climate change may alter atmospheric circulation, dislocating historical patterns of natural variability and storminess.

One of the criticisms of the position statement seems to be that is hasn’t paid enough attention to regional effects. However, this seems like a perfectly reasonable comment about how we don’t expect the effects to be uniform in space and time.

In the current climate, weather experienced at a given location or region varies from year to year; in a changing climate, both the nature of that variability and the basic patterns of weather experienced can change, sometimes in counterintuitive ways ‐‐ some areas may experience cooling, for instance. This raises no challenge to the reality of human‐induced climate change.

Indeed. There are complexities that mean that the simple picture that is often painted isn’t going to be exactly right at all times and at all locations. That doesn’t mean that some event that appears to be at odds with what is simplistically expected due to anthropogenically-driven climate change provides a major challenge to our understanding of AGW. Of course, there will be many occasions where we’ll want to understand what has happened, but that doesn’t immmediately imply that we expect our basic understanding to be over-turned.

Impacts harmful to society, including increased extremes of heat, precipitation, and coastal high water are currently being experienced, and are projected to increase. Other projected outcomes involve threats to public health, water availability, agricultural productivity (particularly in low‐latitude developing countries), and coastal infrastructure, though some benefits may be seen at some times and places. Biodiversity loss is expected to accelerate due to both climate change and acidification of the oceans, which is a direct result of increasing carbon dioxide levels.

This is somewhat outside my area of expertise. However, if we do continue to emit CO2 we’d expect warming to continue, the water cycle to change, and ocean acidification to continue. That this could lead to biodiversity loss, threats to public health, and have impacts with repect to agriculture, seems quite reasonable. As it says, however, there may be some benefits, but that doesn’t really negate that there will potentially be some severe negative impacts.

While important scientific uncertainties remain as to which particular impacts will be experienced where, no uncertainties are known that could make the impacts of climate change inconsequential. Furthermore, surprise outcomes, such as the unexpectedly rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, may entail even more dramatic changes than anticipated.
Actions that could diminish the threats posed by climate change to society and ecosystems include substantial emissions cuts to reduce the magnitude of climate change, as well as preparing for changes that are now unavoidable.

All seems pretty solid. There could be outcomes that are surprising and dramatic. If we want to reduce the risk of severe negative outcomes we will need to reduce emissions, utimately aiming to get them to zero, or close to zero. We will, however, also have to prepare for – and adapt to – changes that are probably now unavoidable.

The community of scientists has responsibilities to improve overall understanding of climate change and its impacts. Improvements will come from pursuing the research needed to understand climate change, working with stakeholders to identify relevant information, and conveying understanding clearly and accurately, both to decision makers and to the general public.

Yup, seems perfectly reasonable.

So, I’m not really seeing a problem with this. It seems predominantly evidence-based and certainly doesn’t seem to take a position that is somehow inconsistent with the available evidence. Maybe the one criticism could be the title:Human‐Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action. This is a bit definitive and maybe one could argue that it should have been more along the lines of If we want to reduce the risks associated with …..”. However, I think it is now so widely accepted that it requires action that this seems a bit like a nit-pick. If others disagree, or can find something wrong with the position statement, let me know in the comments.

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### 159 Responses to AGU position statement

1. dana1981 says:

Yes this seems like a very good statement. I don’t see any specific complaints from Curry, except that she doesn’t like the ‘advocacy’ in the title, or that being an AGU member implies that the position statement speaks for her.

If she’s really so worried about this, she’s free to leave the AGU. But position statements from scientific organizations are useful as indicators of the organization’s consensus position on a given issue. Having attended many fall AGU conferences, I don’t think there’s any question that the vast majority of AGU members agree with this position statement. There will of course be some exceptions (perhaps about 3%!), but consensus isn’t the same as unanimity.

Curry and Pielke are outliers among their peers, so they’re necessarily going to disagree with any position statement that reflects the expert consensus.

2. Dana,
I agree. The criticisms either seem very wooly, or “I disagree and I want the position statement to say what I want it to say”.

3. John Mashey says:

If they really want it to change, they could mount a petition, like Happer, Singer et al did in 2009 to change the APS position statement. That got ~228 of ~47,000 members, i.e., less than 0.5% …
but was extremely useful in that it self-identified many people who proved their opinions were less than worthless.

4. There’s also a consultation period. Presumably the results of that are availble. Would be interesting to know what they were.

5. verytallguy says:

Curry collected a hilarious set of objections of APS members to their position statement, including, amongst many similar (and I kid you not):

The APS has been fooled by climate astrology and bribed to abandon the Second Law of Thermodynamics in favor of environmental alchemy.

If someone could persuade her to do likewise for AGU members who agree with her, that would be entertaining.

https://judithcurry.com/2015/04/20/aps-members-comment-on-climate-change-statement/

6. vtg,
Of course; I’d forgotten about that.

7. Catalin C says:

I have a problem with your claim that “If we were to halt all emissions now, we would expect warming – on average – to stabilise.” That would certainly happen, but there are so many lines of evidence that we are very far away from equilibrium (and when we halt all emissions we would also stop with aerosols) that it is absolutely guaranteed that we still have a significant amount of warming in the pipeline even without taking int account the extra CO2 from melting permafrost or possibly some of the methane that the existing warming will certainly start to set free.

8. Catalin,
I am talking about the virtually impossible scenario of halting all emissions. In that scenario the expectation is that CO2 concentrations will drop in such a way as to essentially cancel future warming. See the second figure here. There’s also a related Realclimate post.

9. MartinM says:

Maybe the one criticism could be the title:Human‐Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action. This is a bit definitive and maybe one could argue that it should have been more along the lines of If we want to reduce the risks associated with …..”.

If that’s a problem, then surely this one is even worse:

The Scientific Theories of Biological Evolution and History of the Earth Should be
Central Elements of Science Education

There are probably even AGU members who disagree!

10. Martin,
Good point. I should probably also have realised that these are position statements which would seem to imply that they should take a position.

11. Magma says:

“IMO, AGU’s statement is one of the worst I’ve seen from a professional society on this topic” — Judith Curry

I doubt the AGU will lose any sleep over this. By the way, is the revised APS Climate Change Statement still mired in limbo after the aborted attempt to weaken it (undertaken by a small minority that had infiltrated the review process in 2014)?

12. Adopted in Nov 2015. Seems the same as the one Judith complained about in April 2015.

13. johnvonderlin says:

ATTP,
In your analysis of the first paragraph of the position paper you say “Nothing wrong here.” Perhaps not, but the statement says “are responsible” and in your analysis you say “probably,” in regards to a quantification of the anthropogenic component of recent warming. It seems to me there is a disconnect in your analysis. “Probably” and “are responsible” do not describe the same level of certainty. So if you do believe it is “probably,” why didn’t you find fault with the level of certainty the statement described?
I haven’t read Dr. Curry’s post on this matter, but being familiar with her “Uncertainty Monster” beliefs, I’m guessing the statement’s failure to include the “probably” qualifier, given the present level of research, is at least part of her alleged “harsh criticism.”

14. john,
Actually, I said nothing really wrong here.

So if you do believe it is “probably,” why didn’t you find fault with the level of certainty the statement described?

Mainly because my probably is only weakly so. I’m not aware of a viable alternative.

I’m guessing the statement’s failure to include the “probably” qualifier, given the present level of research, is at least part of her alleged “harsh criticism.”

Yes, I suspect it is but I think at some a scientist has to present an alternative, not simply complain that others are being too certain.

15. verytallguy “The APS has been fooled by climate astrology and bribed to abandon the Second Law of Thermodynamics in favor of environmental alchemy.”

The Sky Dragons were born because of a mistake in a simplistic analogy of the Greenhouse Effect and the Earth Energy Budget which does violate the second law if taken seriously. Basically, if you get an energy flux sign wrong, you have reversed energy flow which is a violation of the second law. Bjorn Stevens, Steven Schwartz and Stephens et al. 2012 all pointed out an ~20 Wm-2 error in the Trenberth and others Earth Energy Budget series that indicated a clear to “Surface radiant energy” window of 40 Wm-2 when the window is actually ~20 Wm-2 from the surface used to determine “imbalance”. Because of confusion over what the actual surface should be and the dynamics of the system, the uncertainty according to Stephens et al. 2012 is ~ +/- 17 Wm-2 or about 2 times the estimated impact per doubling of CO2.

“Owning” that mistake and clarifying exact what surface is being considered, (see Cowtan et al 2015) would go a long way to resolving a few “idiosyncrasies” of the overly simplistic analogies and the thermodynamics world which is a tad anal about energy flow and frames of reference 🙂

16. The Sky Dragons were born because of a mistake in a simplistic analogy of the Greenhouse Effect and the Earth Energy Budget which does violate the second law if taken seriously.

Sorry, you don’t get to blame others for thinking something completely implausible is possible.

17. Capt,
You do realise that the key number in AGW is the TOA imbalance, not the surface fluxes. They’re clearly important, but at a fundamental level AGW is about planetary energy imbalances, not surface energy imbalances.

18. attp, Of course I know that, but the early Earth Energy Budgets implied the same uncertainty at the surface and included a large to your average thermodynamics kinda guy error 🙂 Stubbornly refusing to admit the error and issue a correction doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

19. Stubbornly refusing to admit the error and issue a correction doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

As if that would make any difference, but thank you for your concerns.

20. attp, “Sorry, you don’t get to blame others for thinking something completely implausible is possible.”

If you use constant volume or constant pressure you will end up at about the same result and neither ideal gas law derivative will accurately describe the system when they don’t use a relevant surface frame of reference. The “real” surface is the top of the atmospheric boundary layer which is roughly 1500 meters above the true physical surface, if you are trying to use a radiant energy dominate model. So I don’t think you have the luxury of claiming something is implausible if you don’t at least attempt to understand the issue 🙂

21. Putting a smiley face at the end doesn’t somehow make the Sky Dragon position more plausible.

22. Roger Jones says:

ATTP,

I can see Catalin’s objection with respect to your explanation. The AGU sentence is clumsily written, but refers to atmospheric warming, whereas you are talking about global warming (perhaps you should have made this clear 🙂 when you said it wasn’t strictly true). I think you should make comment – I certainly intend to, to make some of these statements clearer.

It’s clear that the critics are very confused about all of this.

23. Roger,
I was talking about atmospheric warming too. My understanding is that if we were to completely halt all emissions, surface temperatures would – on average – stabilise. There isn’t much committed warming in that scenario. There are some complications in that the SH may continue warming to equilibrium, while the NH may cool slightly, but I think the expectation is that global temperature woulds not change much. There is a paper that presents this quite clearly, but I can’t seem to find it at the moment. If I do, I will post it.

24. attp, “Putting a smiley face at the end doesn’t somehow make the Sky Dragon position more plausible.”

or the believer position, remember both simplistic analogies are wrong. If you dig up some of Manabe’s older work he thought the magnitude of the GHE could be upwards of 90 Wm-2 depending on how you approached the problem i.e. frame of reference. CO2 does indeed cool the upper portion of the atmosphere and the specific heat capacity of the dry atmosphere is limited by gravity. It is pretty much useless trivia because the problem is a bit more complex. 🙂

25. Capt,
Sorry, but if you’re suggesting some kind of equivalence between the Sky Dragon position and the mainstream position (which is what I assume you mean by believer) then you can go and waste someone else’s time.

26. Sorry, but if you’re suggesting some kind of equivalence between the Sky Dragon position and the mainstream position (which is what I assume you mean by believer) then you can go and waste someone else’s time.

🙂

27. Roger,
It’s this paper. It suggests that if emissions go to zero, then surface warming does not really increase, but the thermal expansion of the oceans continues.

28. Roger Jones says:

Yes and no – it depends on how much heat is stored in the oceans and how it will be released (was only thinking a couple of decades anyway). I was asked by Pacific Islanders in the late 1990s to estimate what was in the system if emissions dropped back to natural levels. They wanted to know (for sea level rise) what they could take as a minimum into climate negotiations of stuff they had to face (They used it very successfully). I used MAGICC, the simple upwelling energy balance model to estimate this, and surface temperature rose for a few decades before falling (depending on sensitivity). Sea level rise, of course, went for longer, unreliable because the simulation of the ice sheets was rudimentary at best (and underestimated). To my knowledge Solomon et al. never really assessed such a scenario – I’ve read the paper a number of times and think it’s political. It runs an unrealistic scenario (just like the one I ran above) to prove a point about long-term change, but isn’t really engaged with risk in a physically plausible sense.

To recent analyses that we have trouble getting into the literature because of heretical notions (see the GWPF is funny thread), the recent low emissions scenario simulations actually see some steps down to slightly cooler conditions in the 21st century. This, we interpret as the juxtaposition of various phases of decadal variability and how they combine with the external drivers of change. This may be good news but we need to understand the system better than we do now to take advantage of it.

The real situation is that industrial and political inertia make such scenarios of abrupt emission reductions impractical – however, I do think that decoupling can be much faster than most people assume.

I think you’re right about the TOA situation – if greenhouse gases produce extra heat, they produce extra heat and global warming occurs. But where is it and what is it doing? The delay between the production of energy in the atmosphere and its expression in surface temperature has an inbuilt delay in it. The surface temperature issue cannot be solved until the process(es) that govern this is understood.

29. verytallguy says:

Cap,

your comments here (and your amusing blog which I unwisely clicked through to) have certain similarities to the oddest comments on Judith’s collection of views from APS rejectionists. They also have similar entertainment and scientific value.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll continue to believe you know better than an entire field of human knowledge regardless, so please carry on.

30. Pete Best says:

Personally I would state that if everyone here is actually truly concerned (post Paris agreement to voluntary reduce emissions or at some future point suck it from the atmosphere) then regardless of what these scientific denialists continue to state abouit their silly positions on our changing climate then I would be more concerned about a replublican president (whoever it is ) as they all deny climate change and wont do much if anything about it thus delaying action further until now only 1.5C is impossible but 2C becomes ever more unlikely.

31. MartinM says:

Basically, if you get an energy flux sign wrong, you have reversed energy flow which is a violation of the second law. Bjorn Stevens, Steven Schwartz and Stephens et al. 2012 all pointed out an ~20 Wm-2 error in the Trenberth and others Earth Energy Budget series that indicated a clear to “Surface radiant energy” window of 40 Wm-2 when the window is actually ~20 Wm-2 from the surface used to determine “imbalance”. Because of confusion over what the actual surface should be and the dynamics of the system, the uncertainty according to Stephens et al. 2012 is ~ +/- 17 Wm-2 or about 2 times the estimated impact per doubling of CO2.

Well. Those are certainly all words. In a different order, they might even mean something coherent! By all means, continue stringing them together at random – you might even come up with something before the heat death of the Universe.

32. vtg, “Anyway, I’m sure you’ll continue to believe you know better than an entire field of human knowledge regardless, so please carry on.”

The entire field of human knowledge is a bit broader than my reach. However, there is a very specific error in the Trenberth et al. Earth Energy Budget that happens to be up my alley along with a issue or two with temperature dependence of radiant properties of CO2.

Now there is this odd position taken by many in the “entire field of human knowledge” that once you find an error you can dismiss all that follows. 🙂

33. martinM, “Well. Those are certainly all words. In a different order, they might even mean something coherent!”

It could require a bit of work on your part to understand. Start here http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/fileadmin/staff/stevensbjorn/Documents/StevensSchwartz2012.pdf

If that doesn’t help try this. http://scienceofdoom.com/2013/02/02/kiehl-trenberth-and-the-atmospheric-window/

I believe all three of those sources are part of “entire field of human know;ledge” 🙂

34. MartinM and vtg, From a thermodynamics perspective you should as clearly as possible determine your heat sinks, for Earth, primary sinks are the poles and of course space. Since there is considerable advection towards the poles with a huge variation in the rates of advection the simple thermodynamics problem evolves into a very interesting fluid dynamics problem. So if you have a situation where the efficiency of your sinks increase that tends to offset a portion of the heat retention you might expect.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL066749/full

35. BBD says:

IIRC (and I do, Cap) you were never able to explain Cenozoic hyperthermals like the PETM. All your conjecture, misunderstanding and general crazy failed to address the basic *fact* that GHGs have been shown to be efficacious climate forcings by actual climate events in the past.

36. BBD, “IIRC (and I do, Cap) you were never able to explain Cenozoic hyperthermals like the PETM.”

IRC you have never been able to explain women. The general hemispheric seesaw and Antarctic circumpolar current impacts would be relatively new on a planetary time scale. Substitutioning irrelevant PETM issues though is about par for you though 🙂

37. Capt,
Could you please make some kind of constructive comment? Your most recent comments could quite generously be described as trolling.

38. verytallguy says:

Cap, I’m not interested in your perambulatory incoherences, sorry. Life is too short. Others may be more generous. Please carry on.

39. BBD says:

Substitutioning irrelevant PETM issues though is about par for you though

‘Irrelevant’? I don’t think so. Anyone questioning the efficacy of GHGs as climate forcings needs to address the existence of events like the PETM, Cap. Which is why you won’t.

40. attp, “Could you please make some kind of constructive comment? Your most recent comments could quite generously be described as trolling.”

My apologies, I hope you aren’t including the BDD response, but I provided links for MartinM since he seems to be confused by my basic thermodynamics jargon. Oddly, vtg doesn’t seem to understand what is has criticized either. A large part of the proposed efficiency of a doubling of CO2 is related to spectral broadening which is effectively reducing the “atmospheric window” aperture. http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/03/12/understanding-atmospheric-radiation-and-the-%E2%80%9Cgreenhouse%E2%80%9D-effect-%E2%80%93-part-nine/

In order to get “ideal” efficiency, aka worse case warming, you would need maximum pressure or collision broadening with respect to the surface of concern. The physical surface only has roughly 20 Wm-2 of potential impact while the top of the atmospheric boundary layer has close to 40 Wm-2 of potential impact. However, as temperature decreases collionsional energy decreases, you don’t have a maximum nor uniform impact. i.e. increased CO2 in the Antarctic has negligible impact.

Not really that complicated.

41. Capt,
Are you essentially denying the enhanced greenhouse effect?

Not really that complicated.

My feeling is that what you’re saying isn’t so much “not complicated” but simply “wrong”.

42. MartinM says:

It could require a bit of work on your part to understand.

Nah. It would require substantial work on your part to actually make a point, though.

Incidentally, the reference you’re looking for is Costa and Shine 2012, which is what your sources rely on. Start there, and it’s possible you might realise that Trenberth et al.’s simplified calculation of window emissions has precisely no relevance to the idiotic manglings of thermodynamics that the ‘slayers’ like to throw around. Probably not, though.

43. attp, “My feeling is that what you’re saying isn’t so much “not complicated” but simply “wrong”.”

Well that explains everything 🙂 So I imagine the error in the trenberth et al atmospheric window estimation is what you think is wrong or perhaps you disagree with Graeme Stephen, Peter Webster, Bjorn Stevens and Steven Schwartz among others who are finding that worst cases based on ideal simplistic models would be over estimated? it is hard to tell since there isn’t much meat in your comments 🙂

44. Capt,
You didn’t answer my first question. It wasn’t rhetorical.

45. btw, the difference between surface and ABL is pretty interesting with respect to cloud radiative forcing. Clouds are a bit hard to model and mid-level liquid layer topped stratifom clouds seem to be the biggest challenge. GCM assume clouds do not have liquid water on the top which can change that type of cloud from positive to negative feedbacks.

University of Reading? is that a valid cite?

46. Capt,
Okay, you really are just trolling now. Could you stop?

47. captdallas – if the physics is so inept, then why is it skeptics have never produced an actual GCM with the correct physics? I realize this is not an overnight operation, but they’ve had years, open source code to work with, and obviously they’re so smart – given they know the correct answers – that a working GCM shouldn’t really pose much of a problem.

The world has been waiting …. and waiting … and waiting …..

48. BBD says:

Well, he’s denying the efficacy of GHGs as climate forcings, which is more-or-less equivalent to denying the GHE.

And he will not deal with events like the PETM, which means he’s essentially being dishonest.

49. MartinM, “Trenberth et al.’s simplified calculation of window emissions has precisely no relevance to the idiotic manglings of thermodynamics that the ‘slayers’ like to throw around.”

At the risk of being called a troll again, that simplification was the basis of nearly all the manglings(sic). There really isn’t any simplified analogy that doesn’t lead to some mangling. For example our host will revert to the “33 C anomaly” which is a mangled simplification based on an ideal surface at 15 C degrees. There is an uncertainty range in that simplification of about +/- 1 C, perhaps more, depending on distribution of albedo. Another simplification is the linear response to forcing which is fine provided the range of change remains small and glacial to interglacial doesn’t appear to meet the small prerequisite.

None of this “falsifies” anything but tends to indicate that estimates should be closer to 0.8 C to 1.6 C or “lukewarmer” range which I believe is still included in the denier group.

50. oneinwisconsin, “captdallas – if the physics is so inept, then why is it skeptics have never produced an actual GCM with the correct physics?”

Fluid dynamics is a part of physics and is difficult to say the least, but as far as simplified physic models Callendar, Manabe and even Barrett at University of Reading have produced estimates in the very low end of the accepted range so they could be called “skeptics” along with Lewis and Curry whose estimates generally agree with them.

51. BBD says:

… and which are all incompatible with palaeoclimate behaviour.

52. attp, your very first question?

“Could you please make some kind of constructive comment?”

or was it “Are you essentially denying the enhanced greenhouse effect?”
No, I am challenging the degree of enhancement. No feedback sensitivity is in the 0.8 to 1.2 C range instead of the originally estimated 1.5 C range, the enhancement was assumed to be 3 times no feedback and is more like 2 times, if that, which would produce an ideal (worst case) range of roughly 1.6 to 2.4 C degrees. That is denier range right?

53. BBD says:

No feedback sensitivity is ~1.2C.

Wrong as usual.

Also wrong to reference Schmithausen et al. as if it mattered wrt *global* effects of CO2 forcing as Antarctica is thermally isolated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and decreased GHG in central Antarctica will not have any significant global climatic effect.

54. BBD says:

Edit:

No feedback sensitivity is ~1.2C *not* 1.5C

55. BBD says:

No, I am challenging the degree of enhancement.

So – explain the PETM. Doesn’t fit with lukewarmer underestimates of ECS. Nor does anything else, including LGM / Holocene. So, lukewarmer stuff is wrong. QED.

56. BDD, “… and which are all incompatible with palaeoclimate behaviour.”

The closure of Panama and the opening of the Antarctic circumpolar current completely changed the fluid dynamics of the oceans which I have linked quite a few times to you BDD. Toggwieler et al. have placed the ACC alone at producing a “global” cooling of 3 C degrees. What climate science needs are seriously improved ocean models and cloud parameterization if they are to be of any real use. Over the next 1000 years are so I doubt we will have much continental drift to factor into climate models.

57. For example our host will revert to the “33 C anomaly” which is a mangled simplification based on an ideal surface at 15 C degrees.

No, it’s from the surface flux. If you look at Stephens et al. (2012) the surface flux is 398.5 W/m^2. This gives

$F = \sigma T^4 \Rightarrow T = \left( \dfrac{F}{\sigma} \right)^{1/4} = 289.5 K,$

A little more than 33K above 255K, but we have warmed by almost 1K.

58. That is denier range right?

Your words, not mine, and no.

59. Tom Curtis says:

captdallas, here is Trenberth’s diagram:

Trenberth’s diagram contains not one surface, but two – specifically, the land/ocean to atmosphere interphase, and the TOA. It describes energy flows from a very low entropy source (the Sun), to a relatively low entropy surface (the Earth’s surface), a moderately high entropy domain (the atmosphere) and finally to a very high entropy domain (space). In every case, net flows shown in the diagram are from lower to higher entropy. Ergo, there is no violation of the 2nd law of dynamics. For both surfaces, energy crossing the surface in one direction is approximately balanced by energy crossing in the other direction. The imbalance, found at both surfaces is 0.9 W/m^2 downwards, which was the best estimate of surface heat accumulation (mostly in the oceans). Consequently the first law of thermodynamics is not violated.

The ‘atmospheric window’ in the diagram is not energy passing through the small range of frequencies with almost no absorption (ie, what is referred to as the atmospheric window by astronomers). Rather it is the total IR energy passing from the Earth’s surface directly to space regardless of frequency. Naturally, that is more than the total in the limited range of frequencies in the astronomer’s ‘atmospheric window’. While the value has been reduced by Stephen’s et al, there was no contradiction of the laws of thermodynamics involved in the value given by Trenberth.

The uncertainty in the surface energy imbalance is the uncertainty as determined from the fluxs only. It is, however, very well constrained by measurements of Ocean Heat Content. We know that the OHC is increasing, and therefore know that the energy budget is out of balance in a way only accountable for by the greenhouse effect.

In short, the Sky Dragons are damned fools, and are entirely responsible for their own misunderstandings. Trying to blame their stupidity on Trenberth is a bit rich.

60. BBD says:

Just explain the PETM, Cap.

Or admit that lukewarmerism doesn’t work.

61. Thanks Tom. Below is the Stephen’s et al. (2012) graph. Seems like some of the absolute numbers are not the same, but the overall energy balance seems the same (about a 1W/m^2 difference).

62. BDD, “Nor does anything else, including LGM / Holocene. So, lukewarmer stuff is wrong. QED.”

I thought you had stepped up your game. The vast majority of the feedback from glacial maximum to minimum is land based ice and snow melt with the ~ 150 meters of sea level rise. That means “sensitivity” is highly non linear, highest at glacial maximum and lowest at glacial minimum as sensitivity is defined. The major factor in the change into and out of glacial conditions is solar orbital forcing, primarily precessional change. CO2 generally lags temperature change in paleo because of the huge impacts on land and ocean carbon sinks. Since Warmer or lukewarmer position is based solely on limited definition of sensitivity or “how much the surface will warm with additional CO2” it is pretty much useless in paleo isn’t?

63. Ahh, you clearly don’t understand how climate sensitivity is determined using paleo data. Changes in ice albedo are typically included as a forcing, not a feedback. If you treat them as a feedback, you get the Earth System Sensitivity, which is in the 5C – 6C range.

64. BBD says:

Two years on (or is it three) and Cap has learned nothing.

65. BBD says:

Since Warmer or lukewarmer position is based solely on limited definition of sensitivity or “how much the surface will warm with additional CO2” it is pretty much useless in paleo isn’t?

Explain the PETM – a GHG forced hyperthermal.

Or admit that lukewarmerism doesn’t work.

Why do I have to keep asking?

66. attp, “If you treat them as a feedback, you get the Earth System Sensitivity, which is in the 5C – 6C range.”

Oddly, James Annan believes 4C should be excluded based on his paleo sensitivity modeling and Gavin at one time mentioned the CO2 portion was less than half of overall during a glacial-interglacial transition. I believe that brings things right back to the 1.6 to 2.4 maximum range.

67. Oddly, James Annan believes 4C should be excluded based on his paleo sensitivity

No, he thinks the ECS cannot be bigger than 4C, not the ESS.

68. Tom and attp, when you compare the two there is 20 Wm-2 “all sky” difference which impact the balance between the surface and the atmospheric layer so Trenberth over estimates the DWLR portion of the balance by not including 20 Wm-2 plus a bit for latent and sensible differences. Using a pure net energy flow which is a more normal treatment there isn’t a violation but adding the unaccounted for 20Wm-2 to DWLR there is a violation.

This is a problem with “closing” the energy budget when you have an error based on an assumption.

69. Capt,
What are you talking about? Trenberth under-estimates both the DWLR and the latent and sensible heat fluxes when compared to Stephens. Read Tom’s comment again, slowly this time, while thinking. Get it right or stop posting nonsense.

70. BBD says:

What about the PETM Cap? Why, in all the many, many times that I have countered your lukewarm gobbledygook with a simple question have you never once answered it?

71. Catpdallas – I asked why skeptics have never produced a GCM. Your answer? Fluid dynamics is hard? Is that really the best you can do?

Please point me to the skeptic group that attempted to build a GCM and ran into this insurmountable FD problem. I must have missed it.

72. Tom Curtis says:

Captdallas, Stephen’s indicates a total of 17 W/m^2 greater energy flow from surface to atmosphere than does Trenberth. As that exceeds the 12.6 W/m^2 greater back radiation he indicates, the smaller atmospheric window has no bearing on back radiation. Instead, the reduced atmospheric window is compensated for by increased radiation from the atmosphere to space (219 vs 199 W/m^2), as it must be to preserve energy balance. That the 20 W/m^2 difference in atmospheric window amounts is “unaccounted for” is a fiction.

73. attp, Trenberth et al. underestimates DWLR by about 12 Wm-2 and over estimates the window by 20 Wm-2 relative to Stephens et al. so he should have shown at least 8 Wm-2 uncertainty at the surface. Every layer has to be in balance and the way they treat DWLR it has to be perfectly explainable to avoid confusion.

Ideally, all energy absorbed in the atmosphere would be felt at the “surface” as a DWLR equivalent which would include latent, sensible, radiant and incoming solar absorbed by the atmosphere. If you go through the balance carefully you will discover the missing 20Wm-2 required as mentioned by Stephens et al. and Stevens and Schwartz.

The Sky Dragons may be damn fools, but they noticed the error as well then ran off in their various tangents. Remember that the uncertainty Trenberth et al. used at the time was almost unbelievable 0.18 +/- 0.15 Wm-2 based on a Hansen model that even Hansen questioned. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room. When you have almost unbelievable uncertainty and a fairly glaring error you tend to attract attention.

74. “Maybe the one criticism could be the title:Human‐Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action. ”

ya. that would be the problem.

The problem is simple: It’s totally unqualified.

Look. we need to go full force on nuclear. Forget the regulations, we just need urgent action.
The AGU said so!!

wait Look. we need to shut down all coal plants Today. We just need urgent action.
The AGU said so!!

wait Look. we need to tax all C02 emissions at 1000 per ton Today. We just need urgent action.
The AGU said so!!

wait Look. climate scientists need to stop flying in airplanes. Today. We just need urgent action.
The AGU said so!!

wait Look. We need to refocus every climate scientist onto the problems of adaptation and alternative energy sources and shut down all “pure research” into the climate. The science is settled. We need to move on to actionable science Today. We just need urgent action.
The AGU said so!!

The appeal to urgent action is a cipher. It endorses whatever.

if you question any appeal to urgent action, the charge of course could be that you are being “anti science”, because the AGU said so.

Now, most appeals to the AGU’s authority will be more subtle.

The problem is the science doesnt say you need urgent action. It describes probable outcomes.
Every time people try to define urgent action ( we need to do something by 2010 or the planet
is doomed) it ends up undermining the cause. False deadlines don’t engender confidence.
For the most part, the AGU would do better by removing adjectives from it’s statements, until the science of adjectives is more certain.

We see this type of appeal to urgent action used by many folks: we need to build a wall and all that.

This is not to say, that “no action”, or “delayed action” is supported by the science. The science
says this: IF, we reach level X, then consequences Z may occur.

Then again, this is a lot of fuss over a couple words in a title that probably dont matter

“Human‐Induced Climate Change Requires Wise Action. ”

there fixed it for you. Kinda hard to argue that the science supports un wise action.

Since it is only a title and doesnt really matter, I’d say the one above is superior. It punts the ball
to Policy makers and charges them with a duty to be wise. That after all, is their job.

75. Tom “That the 20 W/m^2 difference in atmospheric window amounts is “unaccounted for” is a fiction.”

I guess that is why Stephens et al. felt compelled to publish their version. “Specifically, the longwave radiation received at the surface is estimated to be significantly larger, by between 10 and 17 Wm−2, than earlier model-based estimates”

76. verytallguy says:

ATTP

Get it right or stop posting nonsense.

77. oneinwisconsin, “I asked why skeptics have never produced a GCM. Your answer? Fluid dynamics is hard? Is that really the best you can do?”

Hard means a large budget with lots of expensive talent and since the funding is a bit restrictive you get lower budget models. Schwartz used a fairly simple three compartment model and ended up agreeing with Calendar. Lewis and Curry used a fairly simple energy balance model based on IPCC basics and ended up basi9cally agreeing with Calendar. You don’t need a full blown all the bells and whistles coupled OAGCM to model sensitivity. However, Barrett is involved with a full blown model and with adjustments to cloud parameterization ends up with a sensitivity that basically agrees with Calendar who happens to agree with Manabe’s original full blown GFDL model.

So to start from scratch to “produce” a “GCM” to whatever your criterion might be ain’t gonna happen.

78. Steven,
But the only reason why that would really be a problem would be if urgent action were not required. I don’t think many regard that as a likely option.

Capt,
There are only two layers in that diagram. Trenberth and Stephens have different estimates for the different surface fluxes, but their energy balance is the same. If you can’t get this, that’s fine, but please stop repeating it, and if you continue to implicitly defend sky dragon nonsense, I’ll assume you are one and just ban you for being a fool.

79. I guess that is why Stephens et al. felt compelled to publish their version. “Specifically, the longwave radiation received at the surface is estimated to be significantly larger, by between 10 and 17 Wm−2, than earlier model-based estimates”

Science progresses. Some of us try to learn when our understanding changes. Some do not.

80. attp, “No, he thinks the ECS cannot be bigger than 4C, not the ESS.” Right, ESS could be about 6 C which is a bit lower than older estimates of 10 C and more. At 6 C and the estimate that CO2 forcing might be 50% or less, you could eke out a 3 C ECS but that doesn’t change the fact that sensitivity is non linear. It is interesting how you try to make a sharp distinction between ECS and ESS when both may require time frames that are unrealistic and share feedbacks that one might not be able to separate given things like D-O and potential ocean pseudo-oscillations of a few thousand years. Assuming those away might be problematic.

81. guthrie says:

Oh look, someone posts nonsense with no links to any evidence to back anything up!

82. attp, “Science progresses. Some of us try to learn when our understanding changes. Some do not.”

Right that is why everyone only cites the most current papers? Speaking of progressing, James Annan and Jules Hargreaves once did a Baysian sensitivity estimate using the current trend in published estimates. I believe that would still be trending downward.

83. Capt,

At 6 C and the estimate that CO2 forcing might be 50% or less, you could eke out a 3 C ECS but that doesn’t change the fact that sensitivity is non linear.

Yes, we do think it might be non-linear, but it’s not how you described it.

It is interesting how you try to make a sharp distinction between ECS and ESS

Yes, because they’re different.

84. ATTP. You cited Solomon (2008) PNAS in answer to Roger. I am not entirely clear how much of longer term feedbacks are included in current models, or in estimates of ECS. The following paper makes the distinction between ECS and ESS as you do. Would it be fair to say that ECS is useful in the IPCC timeframe of circa 100 years but for 1000s of years out, ESS is more useful?

“Traditionally, only fast feedbacks have been considered (with the other feedbacks either ignored or treated as forcing), which has led to estimates of the climate sensitivity for doubled CO2 concentrations of about 3°C. The 2×CO2 Earth system sensitivity is higher than this, being ∼4–6°C if the ice sheet/vegetation albedo feedback is included in addition to the fast feedbacks, and higher still if climate–GHG feedbacks are also included. The inclusion of climate–GHG feedbacks due to changes in the natural carbon sinks has the advantage of more directly linking anthropogenic GHG emissions with the ensuing global temperature increase, thus providing a truer indication of the climate sensitivity to human perturbations.”
From “Climate sensitivity in the Anthropocene”, M. Previdi et al, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Volume 139, Issue 674, July 2013 Part A

85. Richard,
The slower feedbacks are probably not included, so that is a potential issue.

I largely agree with Roger’s comment. The point, maybe, is that we shouldn’t be assuming that continued warming is some guaranteed. It’s many a political/societal issue. There’s also the point made in the paper I discuss here: the peak warming from each pulse of emission occurs quite quickly (within a decade or so) so we shouldn’t assume that emission reductions don’t have impacts on short-timescales.

86. attp, “there are only two layers.” Actually there are three, surface, atmosphere and TOA. Since the lower atmosphere produces the DWLR, the balance between surface and lower atmosphere are really the hot topic. Unfortunately, there should be an upper atmosphere layer but things would get too complex for a simple budget cartoon. Stratospheric advection of ozone and water vapor tends to have a large impact on the budget at the poles, ~50 C by some estimates which should be in the ballpark of 8 Wm-2 globally. Now that is some fun dynamics?

87. Capt,
Okay, there is some absorption and reflection in the atmosphere, but that doesn’t change that your supposed 20W/m^2 “error” is irrelevant – or largely irrelevant.

88. izen says:

@-captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.3

You are clearly a well practised veteran at presenting a contrarian view of mainstream climate science, and I do not doubt your ability to defend the thermodynamic arguments you put forward.

But as a seasoned participant in these sort of discussion I am sure you are aware that providing a case against CO2 being the main (100%~) culprit for warming involves not just demolishing the last half-century of radiative physics, but providing an alternative explanation for the observed atmospheric and ocean warming, sea level rise and ice melt.
Not to mention the paleoclimate observations as BBD keeps pointing out.

Does your inerrant version of atmospheric thermodynamics provide a testable process to account for the exceptional climate shift currently observed, or does it explain LESS than the current physical understanding of the climate?

89. Judith Curry?

She’s the one that thinks cloud droplet and ice crystal nucleation kinetics are described by Bose-Einstein statistics, according to her book “Thermodynamics, Kinetics, and Microphysics of Clouds”

Have to take these academic clowns like Curry head on and point out their absurd ideas:
http://www.amazon.com/Thermodynamics-Kinetics-Microphysics-Clouds-Khvorostyanov/product-reviews/1107016037/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=recent

90. Willard says:

> The problem is simple: It’s totally unqualified.

One does not simply qualify titles, in a contrarian-proof way at least.

Which means that the problem is both simple and unsolvable.

Perfect for never ending audits.

91. BBD says:

Still waiting for Cap to explain how we got a GHG-forced hypterthermal like the PETM. It occurred during an already hot climate state with little or no cryosphere, so no ice albedo rabbit holes afford a means of escape for desperate contrarians. It occurred during a high CO2 climate and probably did not represent much more than a doubling – if that. So this big boy drove a truck through the prattle about low sensitivity then reversed over the wreckage just for fun. Negative feedbacks clearly didn’t slow it down one bit. Confected blather about GCMs clearly had no effect. Endless wittering about (and misrepresentation of) the nuts and bolts of radiative physics didn’t stop it. In fact absolutely everything in the deep contrarian bullshit well could be flung at the PETM and it would still have happened just the way it did.

So, Cap. How does the lukewarmer rubbish square with the PETM?

How about an answer this time? My patience is thinning with each evasion, Cap.

92. izen, “Not to mention the paleoclimate observations as BBD keeps pointing out.”

BBD’s PETM is a bit of a joke really since the ocean dynamics are so different that there is no “explanation” that he will accept. Toggweiler was or is with the GFDL and models oceans with a number of papers on the impact of the Drake Passage opening and what impact that had on climate. I also mentioned the closure at Panama which had a huge impact on on the ocean warm pools. These two events had a major impact on ocean and atmospheric dynamics that did not exist during the PETM. Since there was a much greater almost perminent El Nino condition during the PETM, the only real explanation is ocean dynamics, but he refuses to consider than. So it is kind of like asking you if you have quit beating your wife yet over and over.

This paper by Brierley and Fedorov is a pretty good one on the impact of the contracting warm pools that likely lead to the shift to the glacial/interglacial climate sequencing if you are interested.

Toggweiler has a lot of interesting work. http://sam.ucsd.edu/sio219/toggweiler_bjornsson.pdf

Without the Drake Passage opening you wouldn’t have the thermohaline circulation we know today.

thank you for the contrarian compliment but I am afraid I am becoming boringly mainstream 🙂

93. verytallguy says:

WHUT,

you’ve been hawking your obsession with a small part of an obscure textbook, a part apparently not even written by Curry herself, round every blog going forever.

Isn’t it time to give it a rest?

94. Capt,

BBD’s PETM is a bit of a joke

No, it’s not.

vtg,

Isn’t it time to give it a rest?

I second this.

95. BBD says:

BBD’s PETM is a bit of a joke really since the ocean dynamics are so different that there is no “explanation” that he will accept.

Rubbish!

Toggweiler was or is with the GFDL and models oceans with a number of papers on the impact of the Drake Passage opening and what impact that had on climate.

~34Ma. TWENTY ONE MILLION YEARS AFTER THE PETM. You clown.

I also mentioned the closure at Panama which had a huge impact on on the ocean warm pools. These two events had a major impact on ocean and atmospheric dynamics that did not exist during the PETM.

Utterly irrelevant.

Since there was a much greater almost perminent El Nino condition during the PETM,

Reference?

the only real explanation is ocean dynamics, but he refuses to consider than. So it is kind of like asking you if you have quit beating your wife yet over and over.

So, explain the massive carbon isotope excursion which marked the PETM – which in fact led to its discovery in the first place. This unmistakable signature of a major perturbation of the carbon cycle was caused by… ocean dynamics.

Rubbish. Just a complete and utter joke. Go back to JC’s, Cap.

96. BBD says:

ATTP

We crossed, but yes – please close the catflap.

97. KR says:

Back to the opening post (sorry, capt., I’m not going to bother with your nonsensical claims sidetracking the thread), Curry seems to have issues with _any_ statement excluding an Uncertainty Monster large enough to make climate change a non-issue, and Dr. Pielke Sr. is peeved that purely regional influences and impacts (the core of his research and publication record) aren’t the core emphasis. Oh, and (based on past discussions with him) he wants metrics detailed enough that he can find some that when taken out of context or aren’t statistically significant can be argued to support his positions.

Oh well, as you noted above there will always be dissenters who are unhappy with the consensus…

98. johnvonderlin says:

ATTP,
Sorry about inadvertently leaving the “really” wrong out of your statement. However, neither of its meanings change the thrust of my point. An analogy might be the AGU statement says a woman is pregnant. You say, “They aren’t really wrong.” This is based on your belief that because she’s got a big belly and has five kids in tow that they are “weakly” probably right. If you can only come to a conclusion of their statement being weakly probable, how can you state that there is nothing really wrong with their statement? It seems to me they are either factually really wrong (not pregnant) or really wrong for expressing a level of certainty (she’s pregnant) that the evidence does not warrant. My statistics and familial-based opinion is that a majority of fat women with five children in tow are not pregnant at any given point.
In the last part of your reply to me you wrote “at some a scientist,” leaving out a word. I don’t consider the word critical as I believe expressing skepticism about any belief; scientific, religious or political never requires a viable alternative to be presented. That is especially true in my opinion when the evidence is so sketchy and often contradictory in regards to the finer details of such a chaotic and complex system as our climate. I think Prudence and Patience, not an inflated assertion of certainty are the best paths to trod. The AGU seems to have lost their way in this case.

99. Willard says:

> However, neither of its meanings change the thrust of my point.

It actually does, because AT’s

Mainly because my probably is only weakly so. I’m not aware of a viable alternative.

dispels JohnV’s wedge between a non-statistical statement and its rewording using a translation table.

***

> I think Prudence and Patience […]

For the ancients, Prudence was enough.

100. jon,

If you can only come to a conclusion of their statement being weakly probable, how can you state that there is nothing really wrong with their statement?

That isn’t what I meant. I meant the possibility of it only being probable was weak; i.e., there isn’t really a viable alternative.

101. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

johnvonderlin says:
March 2, 2016 at 8:45 pm

….I believe expressing skepticism about any belief; scientific, religious or political never requires a viable alternative to be presented.

Expressing skepticism is not the same as having your skepticism taken seriously.

Seriously, arguments from incredulity are a dime per gross, and they’re fact-less, and boring.

That is especially true in my opinion when the evidence is so sketchy and often contradictory in regards to the finer details of such a chaotic and complex system as our climate.

See?

BTW – Sometimes prudence precludes patience.

102. VTG,
I don’t think its time to give any of this a rest. Honestly, I haven’t a clue why you want to stand up for people like Curry and Lindzen who have been obsessing for years over their own misguided ventures. Remember that Lindzen obsessed over his toy theory of the QBO in stratospheric winds for over 50 years and he still couldn’t get it right. So yes I get worked up over these scientists such as Lindzen, Curry, Salby and others that write these ornate textbooks on atmospheric physics that are filled with drivel.

103. BDD, “34Ma. TWENTY ONE MILLION YEARS AFTER THE PETM. You clown.”

Sorry, perhaps my references are wrong. What I have is that the Drake passage opened roughly 15 to 49 mya and the isthmus of Panama closed roughly 3 to 18 mya and the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum was roughly 55 mya so you have greatly reduced ocean circulation up to roughly 15 to 49 mya when the Drake Passage opened starting the reduction in global ocean temperatures then around 3 to 18 mya there was the contraction of the tropical warm pools caused by the isthmus closure most likely. It is like a sequence of events doncha know. If you look at the Brierley link their work tends to agree more with the ~3 mya isthmus closure, but what is a few million years among paleo buddies.

As for the “cause” for the PETM weirdness, have have no clue but the oceans reversing circulation for 40,000 years might indicate the degree of weirdness. Now if you want to explain how CO2 reverses the flow of ocean currents I am all ears.

104. attp, “Capt,

BBD’s PETM is a bit of a joke

No, it’s not.”

I guess it is a bit of an inside joke.

105. Suppose its easier to go after small fry such as Cappy Dallas than to go after academics that appear before senate committees (Curry) or make appearances every campaign season (Lindzen).

Ask Cappy and he will tell you that he is a tarpon and bonefish fishing guide in Florida who happens to have a trade school diploma specializing in HVAC. That’s why he knows the lingo. He does what he does because he is a redneck that enjoys getting yankees worked up over stuff. That’s what rednecks do.

106. whut, “That’s what rednecks do” True 🙂 but it was an agricultural school not a trade school.

107. BBD says:

That the PETM was a GHG-forced hyperthermal is not open to argument, Cap. You are invited to go away and verify this for yourself. I am not going to argue about it with you further.

108. izen says:

@-captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.3
“Now if you want to explain how CO2 reverses the flow of ocean currents I am all ears.”

Thats easy, higher CO2 -> warmer global/polar temps -> shift in the Hadley cells -> altered ocean currents from wind changes and reduced energy driving the meridional transport.

If the difficulties of fluid dynamics precludes an effective model of the Earth’s climate, how about a simpler case. Do you apply the same thermodynamic argument to refute the GCMs of Mars, or have they got the thermo right in that case ?

http://spacescience.arc.nasa.gov/mars-climate-modeling-group/history.html

109. BBD, “That the PETM was a GHG-forced hyperthermal is not open to argument, Cap. ”

Rats! So that is settled too. So that few gigatons of carbon must have come from a combination of methane caltrates, CO2 comets, volcanic mega activity and ocean outgassing but luckily land animal were hunkered down in Laramide and Alpine Orogeny at the time which enclosed the tiny North Atlantic sea. It is amazing how confidence increases with uncertainty.

110. BBD says:

I said go and check for yourself. Instead, you carry on tr0lling. Not very impressive, Cap.

111. guthrie says:

112. Willard says:

Everyone,

113. izen says:

@-Willard

Chilling may be difficult when every means of measurement of the climate has exceeded and hit record levels in the past few months.
Land surface and sea surface temperatures, sea level, ocean heat content, storm intensity/numbers/dates and now even UAH LT temperatures have reported a new record high…

As for statements by scientific bodies endorsing climate science, it is a sign of the politicization of the subject, not measure of the robustness of the science. No (or few) other fields of research seem to need similar official pronouncements from the scientific establishment.

114. John Mashey says:

izen:
“As for statements by scientific bodies endorsing climate science, it is a sign of the politicization of the subject, not measure of the robustness of the science. No (or few) other fields of research seem to need similar official pronouncements from the scientific establishment.”

Actually, most such societies generate position statements on all sorts of things.
Just to pick the 5 I’m in:
https://sciencepolicy.agu.org/agu-position-statements-and-letters/
https://www.aps.org/policy/statements/index.cfm
https://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/positions/
http://www.acm.org/public-policy/public-policy-statements

115. KR says:

izen – I would have to disagree with your last paragraph, claiming that position statements by scientific bodies are really a sign of politicization.

As some examples, here is a position statement by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on trampoline safety, and here is one by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada on green laser pointers.

Both are statements by professional bodies regarding issues within their expertise with public ramifications – neither is terribly politicized, and position statements don’t require that to exist. The publicized arguments over climate change position statements are certainly politicized, however, as those opposed to mitigation and/or adaptation continue to fight against the public awareness of expert consensus.

116. snarkrates says:

izen,
In the current climate, even reality is considered “political”. I’m not exaggerating. Karl Rove contended that his fellow right wingnuts manufactured reality, and for the first several months it was on line, Conservipedia–which is just what it sounds–had an entry on “reality” that claimed reality had a liberal bias.

So, is a medical association acting politically when they urge the public to vaccinate their children? Are biologists being political when they say “Intelligent Design” has no place in the biology classroom?

117. Willard says:

> So, is a medical association acting politically when they urge the public to vaccinate their children? Are biologists being political when they say “Intelligent Design” has no place in the biology classroom?

Yes, and yes:

A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) is usually a nonprofit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_association

Being political may not imply being politicized, however, perhaps for the same reasons that a statement by a professional association can be both political and robust.

Politics is an important part of our social reality.

118. Joshua says:

izen –

==> As for statements by scientific bodies endorsing climate science, it is a sign of the politicization of the subject, not measure of the robustness of the science. No (or few) other fields of research seem to need similar official pronouncements from the scientific establishment.

I’m not sure what your point is.

It seemed that you were saying that the very fact of scientific bodies issuing statements on climate change wouldn’t occur if the issue weren’t politicized (which, of course, it is), but it seems that there is evidence to the contrary (there are statements issued in less politicized fields).

Or you could be saying that the fact of scientific bodies issuing statements isn’t in any way a reflection of the robustness of the science, but that seems somewhat illogical (areas where there is less robust science would seem to me to be less likely to have as large a shared prevalence in expert opinion, and hence would be less likely to see such statements issued).

I’m not sure by what measure you determine that a field of research “needs” or doesn’t “need” something (how does a field need something?) Surely, it is people who need things, or even the people in a field, not a field in and of itself.

So perhaps you could elaborate on your point?

119. snarkrates says:

I agree that the biologists opposing teaching of ID might be political–they are seeking to affect policy. The medical association could be viewed as engaging in public service, particularly if there is no public policy or legislation they are promoting.

120. izen says:

Trampoline safety and green laser pointers are advocating behavior, not expounding the underlying science behind the actions that should be taken or avoided.

Government mandated vaccination and teaching Creationism in public funded schools are the other examples of science exposition to advocate a political, or social, policy. However they are rather parochial issues, with only minor spill-over outside the USA.

Most of the Mashey links are to standard professional body statements relating to standards of practise rather than scientific theory and research.

A few decades ago there were statements about the science behind AIDS from many medical organisations. The science is unchanged but the need for that seems to have faded.

When professional bodies make statements about the evidence base, rather than advocating a policy based on an evidence base it is a reactive symbolic act in response to a politicized attack on that scientific evidence.
It is a defensive posture, not a neutral exposition of the current level of knowledge.

@-“Politics is an important part of our social reality.”

What are the other part(s) ?

121. Vinny Burgoo says:

Would a medical association be acting politically if it issued a policy statement urging its members to embrace sustainability and spread the word about climate change?

Not if you believe ‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature’ by Cook et al, 2013, which classified just such a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics as research into climatological methods (Category 2, Table 1).

I am a researcher into climatological methodology
You are a committee of paediatricians
He is a politician

(Oddly, a technical report published in support of the AAP policy statement at the same time and written by the same paediatrician was given a separate rating by Cook13. Even more oddly, although this non-specialist, non-peer-reviewed summary of climate science was given the same research classification as the policy statement, it was given a different endorsement classification. Both abstracts used almost identical language in support of the notion that global warming is real and man is causing most of it but the policy statement was said to be an ‘Explicit endorsement with quantification’ – which it was – and the second an ‘Explicit endorsement without quantification’. It’s a funny old world, that SkS.)

122. BBD says:

Oh massive bloody yawn.

123. snarkrates says:

Vinny seems to
1)have a problem with educational outreach of a professional society to its members about issues that affect them
2)not understand how the classification was done for Cook-13

124. Vinny Burgoo says:

BBD, I imagine that your ad yawninem is directed at the mere mention of Cook13 rather than the implication that it was a total shambles. If so, I have some sympathy with your yawning, but I’ve got a bad cold and am not up to picking holes in anything more demanding than Cook13.

Snarkrates. 1: No, not at all. 2: I assume you mean that different people rated different abstracts. If so, that explains the different enforsement ratings (if one of the raters was a total idiot) but it doesn’t explain why both abstracts were classified as research rather than as non-peer-reviewed ‘Opinon’ or whatever.

(There are far greater problems with the ratings system than paediatricians being granted climatologist staus. This one seemed relevant to this comments thread – plus I chanced upon it only a few hours ago. Bored with trying to work out a justification for Level 6’s ‘minimized’ shtick, I scrolled to near the bottom of the spreadsheet and clicked on a random paper: the paediatricians’ policy statement.)

125. Vinny,
I think both BBD and snarkrates have pretty much hit the nail on the head.

126. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

If the Vinny Burgoo’s of this world would spend half as much time looking into the details of the scientific publications cited in the IPCC reports as they do attempting to wrestle with the endorsement classifications of Cook13, well, it would likely make no difference whatsoever.

127. John Mashey says:

Some real history, not all widely known:
1) ~2009, various societies had straightforward climate policies reflecting mainstream science. These things get reviewed and updated every few years if needed.

2) In 2009, Will Happer, Fred Singer and friends ran a petition effort to turn APS statement into mush. It failed miserably, less than .5%, demographicslly dominated by old men, especially from nuclear/aerospace and very much the APS members within the Happer/Singer social network. They got a lot if help from a Monckton fan, Larry Gould, physics prof at U of Hartford, who’d run the APS New England Section newsletter as a climate denial platform.
Later, as the APS GPC was formed, they tried very hard to pack the membership and lesdership, but failed, except for getting Curry as Member at Large for one term.

This kind of thing really doesn’t work at AGU: too many people know climate science, compared to a much smaller fraction at APS. Likewuise, AAAS

2) About the same time (late 2009)the Geological Society of America (GSA, I’m not a member of that one) , had a draft on review of its updated ststement, which had been a bit weak. Bill Ruddiman had assembled a blue-chip panel (~10 people, 1000+ peer-reviewed papers, many relevant) and they did a good job.
Fred Singer and a few others tried to derail that.

3) I wrote up the APS2009 report, which sent Happer into rage.
I sent it to people in various other societies, some of whom reported stirrings of similar efforts. Ie, generate a lot of noise and publicity from a tiny subset of people.
For example, i was told by someone at American Chemical Society of having had Heartland buy a booth at one of their big meetings.
All in all, people in at least 4 societies expressed gratitude for the warning, because such anti-science efforts are not that common, but this was a pattern.

4) So, the real history is that science societies were just following their normal processes, and a small group of people tried to mug them, unsuccessfully, although nit after some hassle.

128. Willard says:

Please, no more “but C13” again, peddling Vinny.

129. pbjamm says:

Vinny:
“ad yawninem” – Funny, I will give you that one.
Instead of nit-picking Cook13 why does the doubter community perform its own survey of the scientific literature? I know it is out of character for them to put in real work but it would be a fine opportunity to show everyone else how science works.

130. Willard says:

> Trampoline safety and green laser pointers are advocating behavior, not expounding the underlying science […]

A statement ain’t an expounding.

When we’ll have think tanks and other political entities minimizing concerns about the facts surrounding trampolines and green laser pointers, we’ll see more statements pertaining to them, which we could of course dismiss as “reactive symbolic acts.”

131. Vinny Burgoo says:

ATTP, how has snarkrates hit the nail on the head? He was wrong on both counts. Not expecting a meaningful answer. Just sayin’.

Willard: OK. But am I allowed to peddle Cook13’s good points (if I ever find any)?

132. Vinny,
Okay, maybe he was wrong about a) (I don’t know what you think outreach from professional society) but b) seems about right.

But am I allowed to peddle Cook13’s good points (if I ever find any)?

I think you misunderstand Willard’s underlying point. Arguing about C13 is tedious.

133. Willard says:

> I know it is out of character for them […]

You go first, pbjamm.

Now, let’s focus back on AGU’s position statement, please.

134. John Mashey says:

I forgot one tidbit:shortly after my APS report was published, I got email from Fred Singer asking for a meeting. 🙂

135. Willard says:

I don’t think Vinny misunderstood anything, AT. He was simply playing the ref.

136. John,
Interesting, did you meet?

Willard,
Okay, yes, probably.

137. John Mashey says:

An oddity of people who reject the consensus, especially w.r.t. AGU is that they often aren’t AGU members and don’t attend the big AGU meetings, and even if they do, they seem to be stay pretty quiet most of the time, no matter how brave they are in the blogosphere.

AGU has 15,000 posters, 3,000/day, of which many are climate-relevant. One need only select the right sections, walk up and down, look at posters, and if any doubt, k their authors.
I’ve seen at least 1000 posters each year, and each of the last two years had one(1) posters by one or more rejectors of the consensus, although the posters themselves didn’t necessarily do that.,

138. John Mashey says:

ATTP:
I didn’t reply to his email. Maybe I should have, bu it didn’t seem likely to be fruitful ….
1) I had 2 of Fred’s books.
2) I’d heard the stories of Fred threatening lawsuits against AAAS and Oreskes for comments in a review she did of Chris Mooney’s book ~2005.
3) Starting in late 2007, I’d begun collecting the spreadsheet of
people X (activities, organizations)
that fed into APS2009 report, and then Crescendo to Climategate Cacophony.
and it was already clear that Fred was the indefatigable battery bunny of climate denialism.

139. Vinny Burgoo says:

ATTP, ah well. I am confident that I know a great deal more about the Cook13 ratings system than do you [etc. – W]

140. Vinny,
Thanks, I will add that to the list of occassions when someone has claimed to know a great deal more about something than I do. The last was a claim about knowing infinitely more about CFD than I do.

141. John Mashey says:

ATTP: One of the signers of the letter from “300 scientists” (sic) who want to help Lamar Smith waste US tax money harassing NOAA … is a long-retired dentist, who I’m told has told good climate scientists he knows more than all of them.

Trust me: severe Dunning-Kruger afflictees, to mental KILLFILE … saves a lot of time.
I still pine for the good old USENET days when KILLFILEs worked.

142. anoilman says:

My local chapter of professional engineers and geologists goes back and forth about global warming. Denial arguments are abound which is sad on so many levels. Stuff like “A traveler in 1840 noticed it was warm in winter…” I just can’t stand reading stuff like that, and I feel a great deal of loathing for people use that kind of logic for scientific matters.

The spin and back and forth among this non-expert crowd is pretty intense;
http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2013/02/more-heartland-less-sense.html

Of course the endorsement of ‘non-consensus’ by oil industry non-experts is good enough for deniers.

John Mashey: Did you speak to Fred Singer?

143. Magma says:

Since the topic has been raised…

144. Magma says:

WordPress is smarter with links than I would have guessed.

145. John Mashey says:

anoilman: nope, never replied to Singer.

146. dikranmarsupial says:

Vinny wrote “ATTP, ah well. I am confident that I know a great deal more about the Cook13 ratings system than do you” in science the most important form of skepticism is self skepticism.

147. Before someone studies a subject the Dunning-Kruger effect probably applies. But what happens after? Who is the final judge of knowledge and insight?

It is likely true that Richard Lindzen knows more about QBO than I do, but I believe I determined what forces the QBO.

In a review paper from 1988, this is how Lindzen explained how his QBO revelation came about (LH=Lindzen-Holden paper).. He really does sound like any ordinary guy on the Internet with access to the data.

The difference is that we have more than 40 years of additional data and and much more powerful tools than Lindzen had circa 1970. So in retrospect, with all the additional insight we have gained since then, can we say that the Dunning-Kruger effect applied to Lindzen back then? Was he overconfident that he understood what was gong on and did he declare victory too soon?

148. Chris says:

Paul, it’s an interesting question (whether one can apply the DK diagnostic to a scientist who should be well qualified to interpret observations in his broad research area). I would say Dr Lindzen is not a DK example. He’s rather a (v. rare) example of a scientist that has made a political decision concerning the implications of his research area and is therefore forced towards particular interpretations.This is really only possible for a theoretical scientist (e.g. physicist) such as Lindzen.

Lindzen is in the rather glorious position of being eminent and thus able to make eminent pronouncements. He doesn’t deal in evidence.Three years after the puffery you excerpted, Lindzen was asserting in 1991 that the upper troposphere would dry in a greenhouse warming world, providing a negative climate feedback (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v349/n6309/pdf/349467b0.pdf). He’s a theoretical physicist and therefore doesn’t need to provide evidence for his assertions 🙂 .

That this isn’t DK is perhaps indicated by the Lindzen and Choi (1999) paper in which cherrypicked start and end points for tropical sea surface temperatures were selected to obtain estimates of radiative feedback consistent with low climate sensitivity. Publishing a scientific paper with contrived analyses supporting pre-chosen interpretations is somewhat out of the league of DK behaviour I would say, and speaks of something more like extreme bias or (being charitable) bloody-minded insistence in being contrary.

149. Chris says:

ummm.. Lindzen and Choi (2009) that should be…

150. …and Then There’s Physics says:
March 2, 2016 at 11:45 am
Putting a smiley face at the end doesn’t somehow make the Sky Dragon position more plausible.

151. In that piece I excerpted from Lindzen (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JAS-D-15-0099.1) he also cites another possible Dunning-Kruger victim by the name of Murry Salby.

So both Lindzen and Salby were considered experts in atmospheric sciences, yet neither were able to find the rather obvious connection of QBO to lunisolar tidal forcing. Recently, Salby in particular has gone way off the deep end by claiming that none of the excess atmospheric CO2 is caused by burning fossil fuels, but rather is outgassing from the ocean.

My point is that we cannot grant scientists credibility just because they have a title. Watch both Lindzen and Salby in action speaking on video and you will see how pompous and condescending they appear. Everything they have done in terms of their research is likely suspect as they possibly have claimed more than is true. Science will automatically clean house over time.

152. John MAshey says:

Salby had many more problems, many of which will get public when I can finish off the report, having looked at almost every one of his papers from ~1990 onward, and his most recent book.
See my review on Amazon … which stirred an amazing 246-comment sequence in which Gavin Cawley did noble work trying to educate folks desperate for Salby to be correct.

I am not exactly sure what this has to do with position statements by AGU or anyone else 🙂

153. I am not exactly sure what this has to do with position statements by AGU or anyone else 🙂

I’m not sure either, but it’s clear that much of the online climate debate is recursive 🙂

154. dikranmarsupial says:

FWIW I would be only too happy if Salby were correct, but sadly he isn’t.

155. JM said:
“I am not exactly sure what this has to do with position statements by AGU or anyone else”

Well, the “anyone else” happens to be me, and so this is my ongoing position statement. People like Salby and Curry write long textbooks on atmospheric physics that I can only roll my eyes at considering their views on elementary earth sciences topics.

156. dm said : “FWIW I would be only too happy if Salby were correct, but sadly he isn’t.”

Moreover, Salby’s inability to get the forcing mechanism of QBO right is only “sad” insofar as he and Lindzen have stalled progress in atmospheric physics for the past 40 years. In particular, it’s likely that if Lindzen wasn’t in the picture others would have figured out the forcing of QBO by now. In academic science circles, it is common that an arrogant pompous loudmouth can shout others down (excepting the blogosphere where everyone is a blowhard : ). Plenty examples of that outside of climate science, and I have had some personal experiences. Until someone takes a stand against that person they will continue.

You and John Mashey are to be applauded for going after Salby.

157. John Mashey says:

ATTP: “much of the online climate debate is recursive”
“recursive” is a slur against a valued word in computer science.
1) Recursive versions of algorithms sometimes allow concise, elegant expressions of them.

2) Of course, they need proper support from computer hardware, runtime function call mechanisms and storage layouts. Many currently-used languages of course do so, and even Fortran officially did so with Fortran90.

3) But the algorithms are designed to *terminate* with clear answers, for example, having computed some number, completely explored some graph, or perhaps have done a search with some limit on depth of recursion, i.e., like in game search trees.

Many online debates are more like:
while(1) {
repeat some argument seen many times before
}

In refreshing my memory about an early computer system, I ran across a fine saying that may apply to AGW, generated by IBM folks saying that a major change was already in the compilers and manuals, too late to change, and customers objected vociferously (and won):

“It may be too late already, but it’s not as much too late now as it will be later.”

158. Willard says:

“recursive” is a slur against a valued word in computer science

And “recursive” is oftentimes used in computer science as a way to snob iteration.

***

Many online debates are more like:
while(1) {
repeat some argument seen many times before
}

Now, that’s a slur against any structural analysis whatsoever.

159. dikranmarsupial says:

I’d say it was more like

for (int i = 0; i < 10; i–) {
state_argument();
}

It is intended to reach a conclusion (in reasonable time), but doesn't because even if syntactically correct the approach to the discussion is semantically flawed. ;o)