## We don’t even agree on the basics

I haven’t written anything for a while, mainly because I’ve been busy, but partly because I haven’t really had anything to say. I think I’m finding it harder and harder to put the effort in because I don’t quite see the point. The more I get involved in this discussion, the more I get the sense that the disagreements are so fundamental that it’s pretty hard to bridge the divide.

As an example, I came across an article by Megan McArdle who argues that global warming alarmists are doing it wrong. The basic argument is that we’ve learned – from economic modelling – that it’s very difficult to make predictions for a very complex system. Therefore we shouldn’t really trust climate models.

I’ve already written about this before; these kind of comparisons between economic models and climate models are, in my view, fundamentally flawed. As the abstract of this paper points out

Structural constancy, both across time and across variable conditions, is a necessary precondition for accurate forecasting. Physical systems exhibit structural constancy, but economic and social systems generally do not.

The basic point is that systems like our climate obey the fundamental laws of physics. This means two things. One is that you can eliminate any model the results of which violate any of these laws. The other is that this will always be true. Our climate won’t suddenly decide to change its mind and obey a completely different set of laws. Therefore you can essentially use the same models to study current climate change, past climate change, and future climate change. This does not mean that climate models are perfect, don’t have any problems, and that we should simply trust them. It does mean, however, that simplistic comparisons between climate models and economic models are almost certainly wrong.

Megan McArdle then plays the Lukewarmers gambit, saying:

This lesson from economics is essentially what the “lukewarmists” bring to discussions about climate change. They concede that all else equal, more carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm. But, they say that warming is likely to be mild unless you use a model which assumes large positive feedback effects.

This is wrong on many levels. Firstly climate models don’t assume large positive feedbacks; the level of positive feedbacks is an emergent property of the models. It’s one of the things these models are trying to determine. Secondly, climate models are not the only reason why we think that feedbacks could be positive and large. Palaeoclimate estimates of climate sensitivity are also in line with estimates from climate models.

Finally, even the energy-balance models preferred by Lukewarmers do not rule out high climate sensitivity, and this seems to be the main problem; anyone who says “warming is likely to be mild” is essentially dismissing evidence that suggests otherwise. The discussion that we should be having is what we should do if climate sensitivity is high enough that our continued emission of CO2 could lead to substantial changes in temperature, the hydrological cycle, and extreme events. If one group has already decided that this is unlikely, and that we shouldn’t base policy on this possibility, what else is there to discuss?

So, this is why I think that the disagreements are so fundamental that any kind of meaningful discussion is almost impossible. If one group dismisses what the other regards as crucial, how can you go on from there? What’s ironic, though, is to see the same people who dismiss evidence that seems inconvenient, then complaining about others not being willing to have meaningful discussions. On that note, I shall simply end with this tweet from David Roberts:

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### 399 Responses to We don’t even agree on the basics

1. John Hartz says:

Michael Mann did not take kindly to McArdle’s article either. His scathing tweet about it prompted her to write a follow-up article…

A Sad Fact From Today’s Bag of Hate Mail by Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View, June 2, 2016

PS – Mann’s tweet is embedded in Mc Ardle’s follow-up article.

2. JH,
I saw Mike Mann’s tweets. I hadn’t seen the follow-up article.

3. What an odd follow-up article by Megan McArdle.

4. SF says:

1) set yourself up as a neutral, just asking questions, honest seeker of truth
2) write load of nonsense
3) get criticised
4) use 3) in support of self righteous belief in 1)
5) job done, celebratory drinks all round

5. Indeed, McArdle’s articles seem to be illustrating exactly that.

6. pbjamm says:

The comments section of the follow up article contains toxic levels of irony considering the subject of the original article.

7. This pithy comment at realclimate.org from, sadly, nearly 8 years ago (and, no less, apparently from an economist!) has always stuck with me :

Economics is a social science, and as such, you can fairly precisely say why it is different from the physical sciences. First, there are no conservation laws in economics. Second, there are no true experiments, at least in macroeconomics. Third, there are no unchanging underlying relationships between economic quantities. Economic relationships evolve in (largely) unpredictable ways.

Given that — no conservation laws, no experiments, and a constantly moving target — the real wonder is that economists can sometimes say something useful… “

8. Steven Mosher says:

except the economic models are the things that give some some inkling that the cost of mitigation will be less than the cost of adaptation.

yes yes, there appear to be categorical differences between the two types of models, but in the end we just care about how well they work.

9. Steven,
Agreed, I wasn’t arguing against the use of economic models. I was simply pointing out that simplistic comparisons between economic modelling and climate modelling are probably flawed and illustrate a lack of understanding of how these different systems are modelled.

10. Tom Curtis says:

First, in the follow up article, McArdle describes her original article, titled “Global-Warming Alarmists, You’re Doing It Wrong” as a column asking that question “Can we talk about climate change like civilized adults?”. The lack of self reflection is astonishing.

Second, her original article argues, in effect that climate scientists are unreasonably confident in their climate models, whereas luke warmers are reasonable in being less certain, and using more primitive models. Leaving aside the issue that physics isn’t economics (discussed several times above), this is a complete misrepresentation of the facts. The key feature of the luke warmer position is that their estimates lie within the IPCC uncertainty estimates, but purport to far more certainty than does the IPCC.

Take as a typical example, the in fact atypical because most rigorous, Nic Lewis. His most recent estimate gives a 5-95% confidence interval of the ECS from 1.05-4.05 C. In contrast, the IPCC gives a 5-90% confidence interval of 1-6 C. In other words, it is the luke warmers who are far more confident in their results than the supposed “alarmists” that McArdle criticizes, and that on a far lower range of evidence.

To make it worse, McArdle, claims to be a person who isn’t “… sure enough to make a prediction, but are very sure we wouldn’t like to find out, too late, that the answer is “oops, catastrophic.” Yet she is sure the climate scientists are doing it wrong with their wider error margins.

In the end, and at best, McArdle comes of as a misinformed tone troll. She was impressed by the rationality of a Luke Warmer exposition, but assumes that there are no reasonable expositions of the mainstream position to match it (such as Richard Alley’s Earth: The operator’s manual; or the IPCC reports, come to that); and apparently equally sure there are no Luke Warmer’s being abusive or irrational in their presentation to match the excesses of some of the presenters of mainstream science. But if we take her comments on the science at all seriously, she is not only misinformed but contradictory and provides a completely false representation of the case.

As a final note, as a supposedly serious journalist, her failure to find and read some of the serious presentations of the main stream position represents a major failure of professional standards. On a par with reporting on the US Presidential election based only on Trump campaign media handouts. It is not as if finding one of the more serious presentations is that hard.

11. Magma says:

My own feeling, after eight or nine years of increasingly close attention, is that the gap between AGW deniers, contrarians and ‘skeptics’ and climate scientists (plus those in other fields who follow CS closely) is for the most part unbridgeable. I’ve witnessed almost no change in attitude in individual contrarians over this time, including some whose comments and writings go back 15 years or more. Every new piece of scientific evidence is either ignored, taken out of context and misrepresented, or taken as a sign of weakness if it changes a previous interpretation or selective reasoning if it doesn’t.

The question is, how much does it matter? Their numbers are fewer and fewer as age takes its toll and as some quietly give it up as a lost (and socially embarrassing) cause. If CS bloggers and writers focus their efforts on communicating new results to an interested and knowledgeable community, that is a worthy objective. Another is if they (or others) aim for the still surprisingly large number of only moderately interested members of the public with little knowledge of the topic beyond the headlines… though they probably won’t be reached through climate blogs.

A third goal, and a tiring one, is the Whak-A-Mole game of trying to smack down denier talking points where they are raised, particularly in the general media (but this is now falling off, for the most part). As many of us already know, it takes an order of magnitude more work to refute BS than it does to create it. And many contrarians are so hopelessly lost that they don’t even know they are lost. Yes, they may feel a sense of unease that people are mocking them, but for the most part will react defensively or angrily rather than introspectively.

A variant of the preceding is to hold contrarian scientists and economists to a high professional standard (which few of them, frankly, meet). There aren’t many of them, most are retired or nearly so, and their names are known well enough that I don’t need to list them. The object here would be to refute unsupported claims of “little warming”, “modest consequences”, “no unusual change in [sea level, ice loss, ocean pH, heat waves, etc.]” that are given with a superficial veneer of authority.

A final goal is to create space in the political sphere and for policy-making by displacing harmful nonsense cynically used to delay action. If it hadn’t been for the shortsighted and dangerous co-option of conservative political parties in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand this wouldn’t even be an issue. We would have started on the slow and difficult path to replacing our global energy infrastructure with a sustainable one a quarter-century ago, and climate deniers would get the same level of attention as Creationists do.

12. Megan McArdle?!? She’s not even competent to discuss her own field of economics, much less any other. She’s been made fun of on economics blogs for years for absolutely ridiculous articles. Here’s just one I remember from 2010 courtesy of Brad DeLong: Did Megan McArdle Really Graduate from a Business School?

She writes:

“On Comparing Tax Cuts to Social Security: the only reason the [CBPP’s two] numbers [valuing the size of the upper-income tax cuts and the Social Security deficit] looked even remotely the same size was that they were using a present value…”

Did this person really graduate from a business school?

Either she needs her tuition back because they did not teach her what present value is for, or the business school needs to revoke her degree to get its reputation back because its graduates do not know what present value is for, or both.

When you want to compare two streams of cash flows to see which is more valuable–to sum up how much you should be willing to pay for it in one number–you compute present values.

That is what they are there for.

That is what they do.

That is the only reason they were developed.

That is the only reason that they exist.

Why oh why can’t we have a better press corps?

I believe Krugman also has a few articles skewering her. I can’t be bothered to look them up. I just know when I see the name Megan McArdle that it’s a safe bet to assume it’s going to be full of errors and/or faulty logic.

13. izen says:

@-“The basic argument is that we’ve learned – from economic modelling – that it’s very difficult to make predictions for a very complex system. Therefore we shouldn’t really trust climate models.”

Ignoring the differences between economic and climate models, the key failure of economic models is their inability to predict the timing and magnitude of market disruption. They consistently model the economy as less sensitive to shock and recession than the reality.

If we apply the lessons of economic modelling to climate science then the difficulties of modelling a very complex system result in a significant underestimation of the magnitude of risk.

14. Ken Fabian says:

The whole climate debate can seem like an exercise in frustration but to withdraw from it seems to be likely to lead to worse outcomes. Arguing by means acceptable to those who reject the mainstream expert advice – a category “lukewarmers” belong to IMO – seems like a serious mistake, one those obstructionists will not fail to take advantage of.

No one kind of argument will work and for some no kind will work, but there must be many for whom some arguments can work. The divisiveness appears to have been deliberately created. The perception that it is an issue by and for environmentalists – rather than a central one of prosperity and security appears to have been deliberately fostered in order to put it outside of mainstream concerns and marginalise it. Aided, some may argue by political environmentalists taking up the issues and seeking to make it theirs and, inevitably, incorporating their other concerns into their preferred policy positions – which become, in turn, points for the opponents of action to criticise. Weakness of support as well as hostility from mainstream and central politics, that offers little in the way of serious alternatives (should “green politics” stop going on and on about it) leaves a very skewed political landscape; does anyone really think that political environmentalism would produce policy that protects and serves industries and economies ahead of the natural world and would be acceptable to it’s CEO’s and investors?

Accepting the science on climate means accepting responsibility and that imposes a burden of change with costs – it ought to surprise few people that corporate commerce and industry would be willing to deny the validity of the underlying science in order to avoid that burden of responsibilty (and it’s costs) or that the parties and politicians that advocate for the interests of commerce and industry would seek to find “alternative” expert advice that lets them dodge their own responsibility to look beyond the short sighted desires of their funders and supporters.

I’m not sure these kinds of blogs are the answer – but perhaps they can be a forum where more effective answers may emerge; their absence would be a big loss.

15. FarmerDave says:

I was made aware of McArdle’s original article via Michael Mann’s tweet, and was sufficiently moved by the shallowness of the article and of the comments after it to weigh in on the debate. In a way, I am more upset by the ignorance of physics that is on display in the article and comments than I am by the climate change denial. The other hot button issue for me is the over-influence that economics and economists have in public policy debates that relate to the real world. While my contribution to the debate was neither elegant nor circumspect, I think it’s important that the people who inhabit a forum like Bloomberg are occasionally reminded that the laws of physics exist and govern the universe.

16. If one does not persist in pointing out the very real and present consequences evident worldwide, and their not-so-gentle acceleration (El Nino-La Nina notwithstanding), it cedes ground to the neverending argument, whose main purpose is to delay and distract. It is so obviously tactical rather than fact-based.

However, the bad news does continue:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-congress-aims-to-cut-climate-science/
“U.S. Congress Aims to Cut Climate Science: Proposed cuts to NOAA and NASA target climate change research in particular”

This deadly constellation of dishonesty is dangerously disingenuous.

Pardon me … kachoo!

17. Ken Fabian, thank you. “Accepting responsibility … burden of change with costs” is just right. Hearts connected to brains seem to be in short supply. Tantrums and magic thinking are easier and people seem to feel that’s doing something.

18. Charles Nagy says:

I may be overly simplistic here, bit it seems to me that as we are 40% on the way to doubling CO2 concentrations, and have 1.3 to 1.5 Deg C warming as a result, that with 100% increase, we would have 2.8 to 3% minimum. Bang in the middle of IPCC projections. We have already passed the lower lukewarmer projections. (I know we haven’t reached equilibrium yet).

19. Charles,
In terms of the change in forcing, we’re more like 60% of the way to doubling atmospheric CO2 (the response is logarithmic). Also, there is the difference between the transient and equilibrium response. Considering that some of our warming is internal variability, we should probably regard us as having warmed by about 1K, which would give a transient response of about 1.6K. Given that the TCR-to-ECS ratio is probably about 0.7, that would give an equilibrium response of 2.3K. Again, all ballpark figures, no uncertainties, etc, but in line with mainstream projections.

20. Dikran Marsupial says:

Looks like a case of Dunning-Kruger; knowledge of economic modelling doesn’t necessarily transfer automatically to modelling climate. This doesn’t mean that economists can’t make useful contributions to climate modelling, it is just that they need to do their homework first and learn what is involved and how it is done (as ATTP has done). ATTP – worth remembering that your blog is useful to those of us who want to learn more about the physics of climate by understanding the mistakes of others. You may not be able to stem the tide of “skeptics”, the world has an apparently abundant supply of the opinionated contrarian, but that doesn’t mean you are not doing something useful.

“Can we talk about climate change like civilized adults?”

Of course we can, but most on blogs choose not to. I would venture that publicly criticising a branch of science without taking the time to understand it properly is not particularly adult.

21. Tim Roberts says:

There are some Journo’s who are genuinely looking for the truth (sometimes under great hardship) and others who are genuinely trying to make a name for themselves (usually with verbal tripe). I have great respect for the former and non for the latter.

22. danialcblog says:

Megan McArdle is wrong but in the right publication. Bloomberg is a rational company. She’s an outlier.

23. As Susan Anderson points out, the warming is happening. It is not theory but observation that there are thousands of observed and published indicators of a warming world, most of which receive little receive scant attention in the media compared to the global average surface temperature (important though it is).

In her article she repeats something I believe is a key confusion in here piece:

“This lesson from economics is essentially what the “lukewarmists” bring to discussions about climate change. They concede that all else equal, more carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm. But, they say that warming is likely to be mild unless you use a model which assumes large positive feedback effects.”

Matt Ridley is also often railing against the fact that the feedback from increased humidity turns a warming of 1C into closer to 3C. This has nothing to do with complexity in the models as it is derived from basic physics (the IR spectra of CO2 and H20; the Clausius–Clapeyron relation; some basics of radiative transfer; ertc.).

But even if she were to accept these two points (the world is warming and the central feedbacks are not a ‘complexity’ issue), she might still respond with something like: “oh, but we do rely on complex models to make predictions of the future and things are to chaotic for this to be reliable.”

Well, we have learned from many great minds like Ilya Prigogine that complex behaviour of simple systems (e.g. the orbit of Pluto) can be, as some level of order, ‘chaotic’, whereas other system that are complex (e.g. the swirling atmosphere of Jupiter) can display ’emergent’ ordered behaviour. Complexity is not in itself a reason for the inability to find order, at some level.

But at its most basis, adding energy to the climate system tends to warm things up, in the same way that print too much money tends to lead to inflation.

You don’t need to be an expert in complexity theory to understand why we are a warming world.

24. Richard,

You don’t need to be an expert in complexity theory to understand why we are a warming world.

Agreed, more CO2 means reduced outgoing energy, means warming. Warmer atmosphere means more water vapour. Warmer surface means more evaporation and hence changes to the hydrological cycle. More energy means that you might expect very energetic events to be more energetic. Even though it’s complex and chaotic, the basics are pretty straighforward and if these things didn’t happen it would be very surprising.

25. verytallguy says:

Short version:

Journalist: “Lukwarmer rhetoric is compelling”

Scientists: “Err… the laws of physics are entirely impervious to rhetoric”

Journo: “scientists are so mean, no wonder everyone hates them”

26. vtg,
I think you missed the one where they justify their position by naming some scientist who they claim is mainstream. In the case of McArdle it’s Pat Michaels. For David Rose it’s Judith Curry. Etc.

27. Ten years ago many mainstream articles would have flatly denied man-made climate change. Today the equivalent articles accept the reality of man-made climate change but are trying to play down it’s impact. This is a predictable timeline, as public opinion swings towards a realisation that we really need to seriously address the global emissions problem. We need to keep the pressure on, countering denial, fake-sketicism and luke-warmerism wherever it rears its head.

Articles of the calibre ATTP writes are a vital part of this pressure. It might seem repetitive and it will certainly be frustrating, but please keep them coming. In helping those of us who don’t have the background knowledge hone our arguments, they’re greatly valued.

28. snarkrates says:

I think that Ms. McArcdle merely misspells her name. Perhaps she should change the name to McAddled. I had already filled in my denalist bingo card after the first 2 paragraphs. I am not familiar with Ms. McAddled’s body of work. Based on what I read yesterday, I won’t be going out of my way to become familiar. And frankly, I think Bloomberg has egg on its face for publishing something so egregiously wrong and ill considered even on its editorial page.

29. stevefitzpatrick says:

People’s behaviors and economic decisions do not violate physical laws; in theory, behavior is entirely predictable, and behavioral researchers sometimes talk about the “myth of free will”… a myth because ‘free will’ is claimed to be an illusion, since everything is ultimately physics and chemistry. The failure of economic models to make accurate predictions is at least in part due to the complexity of predicting human behavior. At a more fundamental level, the problems with economic modeling are even more complicated than modeling climate, but similar in nature.

30. steve,

People’s behaviors and economic decisions do not violate physical laws

Of course.

in theory, behavior is entirely predictable, and behavioral researchers sometimes talk about the “myth of free will”… a myth because ‘free will’ is claimed to be an illusion, since everything is ultimately physics and chemistry.

Indeed, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near developing a model that would make reasonable predictions of people’s behaviour.

The failure of economic models to make accurate predictions is at least in part due to the complexity of predicting human behavior.

Absolutely.

At a more fundamental level, the problems with economic modeling are even more complicated than modeling climate, but similar in nature.

This is essentially the point. I think that good economic modelling (or modelling any kind of societal process) is extremely difficult; much more so than trying to model a physical system. That’s why I don’t think that the argument that because we don’t have confidence in economic models implies that we shouldn’t have confidence in any kind of complex model.

31. stevefitzpatrick says:

[Mod: redacted]
The real question in evaluating a model (any model) is how accurate are it’s predictions? McArdle points out that economic models, when evaluated based on predictions, don’t do very well.

32. Steve,

McArdle points out that economic models, when evaluated based on predictions, don’t do very well.

Indeed, but what has this got to do with the point that then using this to suggest that climate models also won’t do well is a flawed comparison?

33. Dikran Marsupial says:

stevefitzpatrick “McArdle points out that economic models, when evaluated based on predictions, don’t do very well.”

Climate models however, when evaluated as found to be as accurate as they can reasonably expected to be, given that decadal scale projections are dominated by unforced internal climate variability, and the thing that matters for centennial scale projection is the forced response of the climate system. This is not to say that the models are perfect, of course they aren’t, but if you are going to discuss whether they are accurate or not, you do need to take time to understand what they can reasonably be expected to do, and whether the test that you can actually perform (without a time machine) tells you anything about the model’s ability to make policy relevant centennial scale projections.

34. stevefitzpatrick says:

I think the models are all above the observed warming for the last decade if you look at their averages. More critically, variation between multiple runs of individual models (with slightly different starting conditions) suggest that the last decade of observations falls outside the statistically plausible range of model predictions. That alone is evidence that specific models are not capable of accurate predictions. I do understand that the Earth is only ‘one instance’ of all potential paths due to decadal (and potentially multi-decadal) variability. We can still reasonably expect the statistical range of an acurate model to include the ovserved Earth. A few runs of a couple of models in the ensemble do encompass the observations. Those insividual models very well may be accurate, but we can’t know for sure.

35. steve,

I think the models are all above the observed warming for the last decade if you look at their averages.

I don’t think this is true.

More critically, variation between multiple runs of individual models (with slightly different starting conditions) suggest that the last decade of observations falls outside the statistically plausible range of model predictions.

Again, I don’t think this is correct.

In your comment above, have you taken into account that the models are not all in phase with the observed variability and that the actual change in forcings may not have matched what was assumed?

Also, as Dikran has pointed out, the models were not designed to make accurate decadal predictions. They’re intended to understand long-term warming due to increading anthropogenic forcings. Claiming that they can’t make accurate predictions based on something they were not expected to be able to do is a poor way to determine their validity.

36. Dikran Marsupial says:

“I think the models are all above the observed warming for the last decade if you look at their averages.”

As I said, on a decadal scale the behaviour of the climate system is dominated by unforced internal variability, e.g. ENSO. Foster and Rahmsdorf (sp) showed that accounting for ENSO and volcanic forcing, the observations are consistent with the models.

“More critically, variation between multiple runs of individual models (with slightly different starting conditions) suggest that the last decade of observations falls outside the statistically plausible range of model predictions.”

I don’t think that is true if one accounts for the uncertainty in the forcings used in the scenarios for the projections. Also looking only at one model at a time is ignoring the fact that the structural uncertainties are not zero (which are better reflected in the spread of the ensemble) and the fact that we don’t know the “true” parameterisations for a particular model either (c.f. perturbed physics simulations). If we want a fair comparison, we can’t reasonably treat these sources of variability as being precisely zero.

In addition, it would be jumping to conclusions to suggest that this means the models are running too warm, it could also be that the models underestimate the plausible range of internal climate variability. I suspect it is actually a bit of both.

“That alone is evidence that specific models are not capable of accurate predictions.”

No, it doesn’t as it doesn’t include all the know sources of uncertainty, and as I said before, decadal-scale projections are not dominated by the same things as centennial scale projections. Centennial-scale projections are actually easier than decal-scale -projections, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.

“I do understand that the Earth is only ‘one instance’ of all potential paths due to decadal (and potentially multi-decadal) variability. We can still reasonably expect the statistical range of an acurate model to include the ovserved Earth.”

Taking into account all of the uncertainties, yes it would, and indeed if you take all of these uncertainties into account, then the observations do actually lie within the spread of the models.

“A few runs of a couple of models in the ensemble do encompass the observations. Those insividual models very well may be accurate, but we can’t know for sure.”

It is more than a few if you take all of the uncertainties into account

from RealClimate

37. JCH says:

The models are for ~2100. They are in essence timing natural variation to be zeroed out by ~2100, so individual model adventures outside the plume, even by the one model that will be the most accurate for 2100, are possible. Talking about the most accurate models in 2016 makes little sense.

38. Models are accurate. However, as I understand it, they contain variables that are understood, but averaged over long time periods and which thus cannot be relied on in the short term. Examples of this are volcanic eruptions and up-wellings of ocean heat.

Another completely unpredictable variable is human behaviour, manifest in events such as economic downturns and booms or the global economic crash.

Consequently we can’t expect climate models to provide a useful indication in the short term; only for periods greater than 30 years, and, even then, they must be represented in a number of varying scenarios which will depend on human behaviour.

I, whose knowledge of physics and climate science is basic, understand this at least on a superficial level. What I don’t get is how some people with influential journalist positions, and who claim to understand so much, do not. As Dikran said upstream, Dunning-Kruger provides the logical explanation. That, and wanting their interpretation to be true, which I guess is a form of self-delusion or denial.

39. Chubbs says:

Instead of rhetoric, would be nice to see the energy balance and modeling estimates reconciled. My gut feel is that accounting for factors described in recent journal articles is more than enough to explain the differences. These factors include: lower actual forcing than projected by CMIP5, apples and oranges modeled and observed surface temperature metrics, and aerosol forcing efficacy that is higher than GHG. Each of these is factors is on the order of 10% so 1.33 using energy balance method can easily become 1.8.

40. Each of these is factors is on the order of 10% so 1.33 using energy balance method can easily become 1.8.

This is my general view too. Also, don’t forget Gavin Cawley’s paper which used a slightly different method and recovered a best estimate for the TCR of 1.66K.

41. Joshua says:

Tom Curtis’ point above is, IMO, important:

==> “The key feature of the luke warmer position is that their estimates lie within the IPCC uncertainty estimates, but purport to far more certainty than does the IPCC.”

It’s interesting that even as McArdle criticizes climate scientists for being dismissive of the uncertainties of modeling, it seems that she’s actually also rejecting “lukewarmerism” for the same reason but can’t bring herself to that realization: She thinks that lukewarmers are overly dismissive of uncertainties. Yet somehow she can’t bring herself to hold “lukewarmers” to the same standard as that which she applies to climate scientists. I can’t help but wonder if her double-standard derives from her political (libertarian) affinity with “lukewarmers.”

I’ll also note, that in my observation at least, there’s another aspect of the irony in McArdle’s argument: “Lukewarmers” as a group are very dismissive of the uncertainties of economic modeling, as they generally conclude that mitigation is massively more costly than beneficial (even when they can’t quantify the relative external costs and benefits of different energy pathways.). So she criticizes climate scientists for not learning from the uncertainties of economic modeling yet won’t criticize “lukewarmers” for {selectively) relying on economic modeling despite their uncertainties.

All that said, however, I’m not sure if the unsophisticated approach in her arguments about the science, and her double-standard with regard to “lukewarmerism,” negates her point in questioning whether “alarmists” doing it wrong. I mean yes, there’s yet another irony in that she apparently doesn’t realize that calling people “alarmists” is exactly the kind of denigrating and tribalistic branding that she contends is counterproductive, and yes, she cynically exploits the holocaust by utilizing the self-victimization “lukewarmer” gambit that the term “climate change denier” is equivalent to “holocaust denier,” but underneath all of that I do think that it is legitimate to question whether aggressive tribalism is an effective way to advocate for climate change mitigation.

McArdle says:

==> “People can certainly disagree with [Warren Meyer’s] conclusions, and I would be very interested to see climate bloggers engage with Meyer’s series in like manner: refraining from calling names or questioning motives, and instead calmly laying out the reasons that they think warming is likely to be catastrophic.”

Of course, it isn’t like there aren’t examples of essentially what McArdle is asking for (calm, non-tribalistic counterarguments to Meyer’s), and yes, the whole “likely to be catastrophic” smacks of strawmanning,” but it would be interesting to see McArdle’s response should someone send such a response to her.

42. I do think that it is legitimate to question whether aggressive tribalism is an effective way to advocate for climate change mitigation.

Indeed, it’s a perfectly valid question. One problem I have is that I regularly see people claiming that they’re lukewarmers who get called deniers, but can’t find where they’ve been called a denier. Similarly, I see people confusing valid criticisim with “attack”. So, I guess I have two points:

1. It’s not always clear that the tribalism is quite as strong as some suggest.

2. These tribes – if they exist – are not fixed by any characteristic other than your views about climate science. It’s quite possible to move from one to the other without anyone realising that you’ve done do.

43. BBD says:

ATTP

Charles,
In terms of the change in forcing, we’re more like 60% of the way to doubling atmospheric CO2 (the response is logarithmic). Also, there is the difference between the transient and equilibrium response. Considering that some of our warming is internal variability, we should probably regard us as having warmed by about 1K, which would give a transient response of about 1.6K. Given that the TCR-to-ECS ratio is probably about 0.7, that would give an equilibrium response of 2.3K. Again, all ballpark figures, no uncertainties, etc, but in line with mainstream projections.

Does that 60% forcing change incorporate an estimated negative forcing from anthropogenic aerosols? I’m trying to understand why the (albeit simple) estimate comes out with a rather low ECS.

44. BBD,
Yes, the 60% includes the negative forcing due to anthropogenic aerosols. I think the low number is simply a consequence of these energy balance type models that can’t incorporate variations due to the spatial pattern of the warming and non-linearities such as polar amplification.

45. Joshua says:

Anders –

==> “1. It’s not always clear that the tribalism is quite as strong as some suggest.”

Most of the discussions are, IMO, primarily about tribal affiliation. One hallmark of tribal affiliation is self-victimization. Nothing quite solidifies group identification like a shared oppressor.

==> “2. These tribes – if they exist – are not fixed by any characteristic other than your views about climate science. It’s quite possible to move from one to the other without anyone realising that you’ve done do.

Even that, understates the complexity, IMO.

IMO, any discussion involving the use of “lukewarmer” suffers from a lack of definition. What does the term even mean?

Consider this koan:

If someone says that they’re a “lukewarmer” but makes arguments that effectively dismiss any meaningful warming as the result of aCO2 emissions – as arguing that there’s been a “pause in global warming” despite continued aCO2 emissions necessarily does – are they really a “lukewarmer” as distinct from a “skeptic” (or, a “denier?”).

I would say “no.” And yet, the majority of self-identified “lukewarmers” (as far as I’ve seen) accept the argument that there has been a “pause in global warming” even as they argue that they don’t question whether aCO2 emissions warm the climate.

The very term “lukewarmer,” IMO, is a gambit, not an attempt to engage.

AFAIC, anyone who uses the term “alarmist,” and/or wrongly conflates that minority of “realists” who are certain of “catastrophe” with the scientific mainstream position that there is a bounded risk/probability of catastrophic impact, as most “lukewarmers” do (and as Meyer does, btw), isn’t prepared to seriously engage in a meaningful discussion. In the end, they are just banging a tribal drum.

46. The models are for ~2100. They are in essence timing natural variation to be zeroed out by ~2100

I have pointed this out before – natural variation doesn’t zero out.
Natural variability at the century scale is larger than the biennial scale.

47. Natural variability at the century scale is larger than the biennial scale.

We’ve discussed this before. Not in terms of power, it is not (IIRC).

48. Dikran Marsupial says:

TE there is still natural variability at the centennial scale, the point is that even if the natural variability is (to a first approximation) constant, the response to the forcing grows over time, so over longer and longer timescales the forced response becomes increasingly dominant. That is what centennial scale projection is (perhaps counter-intuitively) easier than decadal scale projection. That is why the models are largely intended for centennial scale projection.

49. BBD says:

ATTP

BBD,
Yes, the 60% includes the negative forcing due to anthropogenic aerosols. I think the low number is simply a consequence of these energy balance type models that can’t incorporate variations due to the spatial pattern of the warming and non-linearities such as polar amplification.

Right, thank you. EBMs again. Marvel et al. and all that.

50. One of the interesting tidbits in the supporting information were the charts by Christy, from which I ask the question: Does global warming make the climate less hot?

In the US, extremely high temperatures seem to have declined or at least indicate no trend with global warming to date:

Increased humidity could reduce the temperature range which would account for this.

51. I think I had it the wrong way around here. I think there may be more power on long timescales, but that does not mean that the long timescales perturbations have larger amplitudes.

52. TE,
I’m not convinced of the veracity of your source, but

In the US

53. markbofill says:

Anders,
I get it, that it seems pointless to try to reason with people sometimes. Believe it or not, I have that same problem myself with people who are ostensibly on my ‘side’.
But I disagree with you that it’s pointless, and I question that you really believe that anyway. You engage more than I do with people who disagree with you. Somehow you don’t give up blogging. This is a good thing. People come slowly to overcome the obstacles, but at the end of the day we’ll all care if CS is high.
What’s your position on nuclear power?
thanks.

54. BBD says:

Coumou et al. (2013) Global increase in record-breaking monthly temperatures:

The last decade has produced record-breaking heat waves in many parts of the world. At the same time, it was globally the warmest since sufficient measurements started in the 19th century. Here we show that, worldwide, the number of local record-breaking monthly temperature extremes is now on average five times larger than expected in a climate with no long-term warming. This implies that on average there is an 80 % chance that a new monthly heat record is due to climatic change. Large regional differences exist in the number of observed records. Summertime records, which are associated with prolonged heat waves, increased by more than a factor of ten in some continental regions including parts of Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Amazonia. Overall, these high record numbers are quantitatively consistent with those expected for the observed climatic warming trend with added stationary white noise. In addition, we find that the observed records cluster both in space and in time. Strong El Niño years see additional records superimposed on the expected long-term rise. Under a medium global warming scenario, by the 2040s we predict the number of monthly heat records globally to be more than 12 times as high as in a climate with no long-term warming.

Seneviratne et al. (2014) No pause in the increase of hot temperature extremes:

Observational data show a continued increase of hot extremes over land during the so-called global warming hiatus. This tendency is greater for the most extreme events and thus more relevant for impacts than changes in global mean temperature.

55. Mark,
It depends what you mean by pointless. I think it’s pointless if the goal is to reach some kind of agreement. On the other hand, it can be interesting and maybe observers will gain something.

What’s your position on nuclear power?

I don’t have a strong position. However, I think it will certainly play a big role in some places. I don’t see how it can be the only solution everywhere.

56. BBD,
Thanks. I also found this which seems to suggest it isn’t quite as simple as TE suggests.

57. MarkR says:

I look at the short-term versus longer-term model outout as a signal-to-noise thing. Looking from 1970 to today we have ~0.8 C, under RCP6.0 the models give another 3-4 C by 2100.

There’s no evidence of century scale natural variability anywhere near that. Even if it’s bigger over a century than the last 46 years or so, then it’ll still be much smaller than the forced response, so the models will have a lower error in percent.

This seems very clear to me and is a common way I’ve seen it presented in scientific papers, but it doesn’t hold much water among those who want to criticise anything that might suggest we can reliably use physics to predict anything about future climate.

58. markbofill says:

Anders,

Mark,
It depends what you mean by pointless. I think it’s pointless if the goal is to reach some kind of agreement. On the other hand, it can be interesting and maybe observers will gain something.

Thank you. I still think agreement is possible. It beats the heck out of fighting.
Ironically, it’s more due to the efforts of people like yourself who blog and reach out across the boundaries than people like me. Eventually we’ll get there.
Regards.

59. Mark,
I saw your comment. I don’t have some kind of grand plan or some kind of goal. I’m just someone who blogs and tries to enjoy discussing this. Every now and again I try discussing it on other blogs. On some blogs I later regret doing so as it normally ends up being remarkably unpleasant. Then I end up forgetting this and sometimes try again. The outcome is rarely different. However, there isn’t really anything to get. I don’t claim to know what I’m doing, or that what I do always (or ever) makes sense.

60. markbofill says:

Thank you again.

On some blogs I later regret doing so as it normally ends up being remarkably unpleasant.

And I believe I have personally contributed to this, and I apologize for it.
It’s damn hard to put down the weapons, even when we believe it’s the right thing to do.

I don’t claim to know what I’m doing, or that what I do always (or ever) makes sense.

Me neither. I guess we’re all trying to figure it out.
Thank you.

61. “monthly temperatures:” – yes, global warming does make climate warmer.
But does global warming make climate less hot?

I’m not saying it’s so or that I know, but it would be consistent with an increase in humidity – the latent heat capacity of a more humid air mass increases, requiring less sensible heat to resolve spatial imbalances.

The data is from US stations around since 1920 – yes the US is not the globe.

Unfortunately, the number of stations a century old or more are overwhelmingly from the US.

62. TE,
And what does an increase in humidty do to maximum wet bulb temperatures?

63. BBD says:

Thanks for the Huyber link, ATTP.

If the CC/ClimateBall stuff is getting wearisome, why not do some more astronomy blogging? The surprising latest from HST might be a fun topic… 🙂

64. TE:

““monthly temperatures:” – yes, global warming does make climate warmer.
But does global warming make climate less hot?

Don’t confuse ‘climate in specific places’ and ‘global climate’. Global climate can get warmer, while climate in some places might not warm at all, or even become cooler.

We know the Arctic has risen by several °C since records began, so concurrently other areas must have warmed by much less to give us the global average rise of 1°C degree.

65. Global climate can get warmer, while climate in some places might not warm at all, or even become cooler.

Yes. However, US temperatures have also been increasing in the mean in concert with global temperatures. It’s not a matter of the US cooling.

66. And what does an increase in humidty do to maximum wet bulb temperatures?
Depends on what the temperatures and humidity.

67. bobcobbblog says:

I know a few of you on here, such as Physics, are scientists with a lot of insight into climate change. I’d like to know what you think about this article and related tweets by Zoe Schlanger that basically posit a permafrost doomsday: https://twitter.com/zoeschlanger/status/738391989989875714
She bases this conclusion on an interview of Katey Walter Anthony, where her actual words don’t say that at all. And numerous studies by Schuur, Natali, McGuire, Holmes, etc, do not support a sudden release at all: https://twitter.com/postgreen/status/738724594450894848.
The latter link is just one study by McGuire, but I can link to the others by the above authors if anyone is interested.
The reason I bring this up is that articles that draw such conclusions are at the other end of the extreme from McCardle. Schlanger is drawing a conclusion that is not supported by the latest studies on the permafrost regions.

68. Willard says:

Dear AT,

You’re a swell guy, and I’ll just leave it here:

I really hope you don’t mind.

You rock,

W

69. BBD says:

TE

Um.

70. Steven Mosher says:

TE

‘he data is from US stations around since 1920 – yes the US is not the globe.”

more importantly GHCN Monthly, which you plot, is not the full data

71. Steven Mosher says:

“I’ll also note, that in my observation at least, there’s another aspect of the irony in McArdle’s argument: “Lukewarmers” as a group are very dismissive of the uncertainties of economic modeling, as they generally conclude that mitigation is massively more costly than beneficial (even when they can’t quantify the relative external costs and benefits of different energy pathways.). So she criticizes climate scientists for not learning from the uncertainties of economic modeling yet won’t criticize “lukewarmers” for {selectively) relying on economic modeling despite their uncertainties.”

its really funny. when some of my libertarian friends go bonkers using forecasts of the debt, or forecast that predict demise for Social Security.. they dont like to be reminded that models are involved..

the thing that strikes me as odd is that very few people ( including lukewarmers) want to embrace the the full range of uncertainties.. uncertainties in ECS or uncertanities in the costs of mitigation..

I suppose if the subject matter wasnt the climate and the economy reasonable people would
look at the uncertainties and be more open to dialog within those bounds..

That tent is really big if you ask me.. but you’d never guess that by looking at the dialog

72. BBD says:

Yes, Steven, it’s all so monstrous.

73. Joshua says:

Steven –

==> “I suppose if the subject matter wasnt the climate and the economy reasonable people would
look at the uncertainties and be more open to dialog within those bounds..”

Uncertainty is a tough nut generally; people don’t tolerate uncertainty very well. But the problem is that much worse when identity defense and aggression are stimulated. That’s why there’s a similar dynamic with the uncertainty of economic modeling w/r/t debt or entitlement programs, because like climate change, those issues have become identity markers. What’s interesting is to watch people twist themselves into self-contradicting positions on the uncertainties related to debt or entitlements, just as they do with climate change.

==> “That tent is really big if you ask me.. but you’d never guess that by looking at the dialog”

That’s a really interesting point. It would make for an interesting analysis.

It seems to me that there are some areas where the dialogue is polarized and thus far from representative of the true range of uncertainties and so I wonder if you could pick those issues that are most polarized and find that there is an association with greater uncertainty. I would guess that when the issue is polarized as the uncertainties widen, they have a proportionately greater impact of shutting people down and closing minds towards dialogue.

74. Oale says:

“We can’t agree on the price of anything, so how could we agree on CO2?” [TL:DR]

75. Bobcobbblog,
I can’t seem to read the article but – as you say – I don’t think there is much evidence to support some kind of imminent catastrophe.

76. SteveF says:

This is a bit of a strange conversation. The multiple runs of single models in the IPCC ensemble are supposed to show the plausible range of climate variation for those individual models. When reality (measured temperatures, rainfall, etc) falls outside an individual model’s plausible range of variation (as estimated from the variation between multiple runs of the model itself) that means either the assumed forcing is in error, the model is in error, or both. While we may not be able at this time to say with certainty which of these is the case, doubt about the accuracy of many (most?) GCMs is certainly technically justified. There are essentially three independent lines of evidence for Earth’s sensitivity to forcing: empirical estimates, GCM’s, and glacial/interglacial estimates; these cover pretty much the entire IPCC ‘likely range’ of 1.5C to 4.5C per doubling of CO2. Which of these you find most convincing is a matter of personal (and scientific) judgement. The ‘lukewarmers’ McArdle talks about tend to give more credit to empirical estimates, as do I.

77. Steve,

This is a bit of a strange conversation.

Hmmm?

The multiple runs of single models in the IPCC ensemble are supposed to show the plausible range of climate variation for those individual models.

In a sense, yes, but – as I understand it – we don’t have the computational resources to run the same model enough times to really make strong statements about rejecting certain models, or rejecting certain climate sensitivities. I think there are attempts to do more perturbed physics ensembles which may make this possible, but I’m not sure at what stage these are yet.

While we may not be able at this time to say with certainty which of these is the case, doubt about the accuracy of many (most?) GCMs is certainly technically justified.

Of course doubt is justified. Maybe you should consider that many more people have doubts than you may realise. There is a difference between doubting climate models and regarding them as having been falsified, or as being wrong.

There are essentially three independent lines of evidence for Earth’s sensitivity to forcing: empirical estimates, GCM’s, and glacial/interglacial estimates; these cover pretty much the entire IPCC ‘likely range’ of 1.5C to 4.5C per doubling of CO2. Which of these you find most convincing is a matter of personal (and scientific) judgement.

I don’t agree with what you say at the end. Unless you can actually provide a scientifically justifiable reason for why you find one more convincing than the other, you’re essentially just guessing. All the different methods have strengths and weaknesses.

The ‘lukewarmers’ McArdle talks about tend to give more credit to empirical estimates, as do I.

This doesn’t change that you’ve essentially chosen to dismiss some evidence. You’re, of course, welcome to do so, but maybe you should own that this is what you have chosen to do.

78. Chubbs says:

The paleo estimates are empirical.

79. Steve,
Maybe I can ask you a question. Do you accept that without some kind of negative emission technology (i.e., the ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it somewhere) that climate change is probably irreversible (or, that this is what the scientific evidence suggests)?

80. The paleo estimates are empirical.

Indeed, and the observationally-based ones actually require models.

81. snarkrates says:

Steve F.,
The so-called empirical estimates tend to focus on relatively short timescales in most cases, and as such, I think they come up with estimates that correspond more to transient sensitivity. In any case, if you re-do the lack-of-thought experiment that Meyer advocates and the seems to be the subject of McAddled’s infatuation (and yes, I do mean this in the sense of foolishness) with 1 degree of warming rather than 0.7 degrees of warming, you get something nearer 2 degrees per doubling rather than 1.4 degrees per doubling.

I would also note that it is precisely during periods when surface temperature shows little warming that you get people performing such over-simplified lack-of-thought experiments, precisely because they yield low estimates of climate sensitivity. This is classic motivated reasoning.

McAddled can’t even be bothered to do the math herself with more reasonable numbers–she’s not only deluded, but lazy.

82. SteveF wrote “When reality (measured temperatures, rainfall, etc) falls outside an individual model’s plausible range of variation (as estimated from the variation between multiple runs of the model itself) that means either the assumed forcing is in error, the model is in error, or both. ”

We know a-priori there is error in both (all models are wrong – but some are useful), and we can’t make predictions of future forcing with perfect accuracy as it depends on random factors (e.g. volcanos) and our own actions. You are still ignoring the point that the fact we have multiple models is because there are structural uncertainities, and that the models used in the CMIP ensemble are “best guess” models as far as the parameterisations. This means that the spread of the model runs, even for a single model don’t represent all of the uncertainties involved. Note also that the models can be wrong by having too small a spread rather than because the modelled forced response is wrong (probably a bit of both).

If you want an example of something that falls outside the model plausible range of variation, try arctic sea ice. Does this mean the models are not useful for centennial scale projections? No, of course not.

83. Phil says:

Indeed, and the observationally-based ones actually require models.

I think Gavin’s comment here is worth emphasizing:

[A quick note on terminology: All constraints have to be based on observations of some sort (historical trends, specific processes, paleoclimate etc.) and all constraints involve models of varying degrees of complexity to connect the observation to the sensitivity metric. People who only describe constraints based on the historical changes as ‘observational’ while every thing else is supposedly ‘model-based’ are just playing rhetorical games.]

So its possible that lukewarmers have fallen for the ” rhetorical games”.

84. BBD says:

I just love the way lukewarm rhetoric manages to be so concerned with the monstrous uncertainties and yet so *certain* that sensitivity is low. In another context, this might actually be funny.

85. Willard says:

Reality makes lukewarmers do it, and if you don’t restrict sensitivity enough, BBD, that’s because you’re closed minded.

86. stevefitzpatrick says:

“There is a difference between doubting climate models and regarding them as having been falsified, or as being wrong.”
.
Seems to me that “being falsified” always has an associated uncertainty. Rather than saying ‘falsified’ I think ‘95% certain the model does not capture reality’ is a better way to state it. That being said, you can estimate the variability of a model over replicate runs with only a few runs, and plenty of models in the CMIP ensemble have multiple runs.

With regard to ‘structual uncertainty’ (mostly parameter choices): well sure, but parameter choices, if inaccurate, still lead to inaccurate projections. I don’t think that saying ‘the model is accurate, it’s the parameter choices we are not sure of’ is meaninless; the parameter choices are as much part of the model as any other part.

WRT length of time for empirical estimates: they are usually based on the instrumental record, so more than 125 years. I don’t think that is ‘short’.

WRT the permanance of warming: the time required for chemical reaction with rocks is very long, so some residual warming from CO2 would be inevitable, unless active steps to reduce that warming were taken (atmospheric scrubbing, biochar sequestration, etc). But the more important question is how much warming there will be before atmospheric concentrations begin to fall due to a combination of less fossil fuel use and continued uptake by the oceans and land plants, since that will determine the extent of sea level rise and other impacts.

87. BBD says:

Willard

Of course I am. I am ignoring the best evidence that sensitivity is low.

The very best.

88. Steve,

Rather than saying ‘falsified’ I think ‘95% certain the model does not capture reality’ is a better way to state it.

You appear to be claiming that climate models can be rejected at the 95% level. Maybe you can actually demonstrate this as I do not think it is true. As I understand it, if you update the forcings and consider those models that are in phase with the observed internal variability, then the discrepancy is reduced. If you are indeed making as strong a claim as you appear to be making, maybe you should put some effort into actually showing that it is indeed the case. Just to be clear, I’m NOT claiming climate models are correct (which would be a bizarre thing to actually claim) simply that we’re not yet in a position to significantly reduce the range that they suggest is possible.

But the more important question is how much warming there will be before atmospheric concentrations begin to fall due to a combination of less fossil fuel use and continued uptake by the oceans and land plants, since that will determine the extent of sea level rise and other impacts.

Yes, this is indeed an important question, which is why I was asking if you thought (absent some kind of technological fix) climate change would be essentially irreversible (on relevant timescales). You appear to be dismissing both climate models and palaeoclimatological esimates for climate sensitivity. What if you’re wrong?

89. bobcobbblog says:

Physics,
Quick question for you. You didn’t happen to read the post I had on the Schlanger article by chance?

90. Anders,

I think I’m finding it harder and harder to put the effort in because I don’t quite see the point. The more I get involved in this discussion, the more I get the sense that the disagreements are so fundamental that it’s pretty hard to bridge the divide.

If it isn’t obvious, I have long held the same frustration — and indeed I took a hiatus last year because the feeling of going nowhere at full speed had taken its toll. That said, I consider your voice in this arena particularly valuable because your knowledge, formal training, ability and willingness to make difficult things easier for a layperson such as myself to understand. You’ve never failed to answer my questions, well.

In short, I personally would not wish to see you burn out because you don’t see the point. Even if you never convince a climate contrarian to see the legion of their various errors, I don’t think it’s ever a waste of time to help others more aligned to your position but less capable of dealing with the raw science (like me) see their own errors and/or better understand what it is they’ve got correct.

I have difficulty imagining that I’m the only one of your readers who feels this way. Do as you will of course, but whatever you do I should like you to know how much your efforts have been and are appreciated.

Best regards.

91. snarkrates says:

Steve Fitzpatrick: “But the more important question is how much warming there will be before atmospheric concentrations begin to fall due to a combination of less fossil fuel use and continued uptake by the oceans and land plants, since that will determine the extent of sea level rise and other impacts. ”

OK, this statement strikes me as utterly bizarre. Why would you assume that carbon levels are going to fall any time soon? There is certainly no evidence that the proportion of CO2 going into the atmosphere is falling to date. And the equilibrium between CO2 in the oceans and CO2 in the atmosphere shifts toward the atmosphere as the temperature warms.

Moreover, we know that there are positive feedbacks with temperature in the carbon cycle–and that some of those are associated with sequestered carbon in permafrost, clathrates, etc.

Is it any wonder that Eli refers to you lot as “luckwarmers”.

92. John Hartz says:

This news fits in quite nicely with the ongoing dicussion…

Research led by a Brown University physicist reveals a way to include small-scale dynamics into computer simulations of large-scale phenomena, which could make for better climate models and astrophysical simulations.

Technique could help climate models sweat the small stuff, Brown University News Release, June 3, 2016

93. PS: same appreciation and regards go to the other literati who frequent this place.

94. bobcobbblog,

You didn’t happen to read the post I had on the Schlanger article by chance?

Do you mean the comment you left here? If so, yes, I thought I’d responded. Not a particularly insightful response, I will admit, though.

95. Brandon,
Thanks, appreciated.

96. Anders, you are welcome.

97. John Hartz says:

Here’s the text of the Brown University news release that I cited above. It’s very instructive.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A team of physicists and mathematicians has come up with a statistical technique that puts the fine details back into computer simulations of large-scale phenomena like air circulation in the atmosphere and currents in the ocean.

Computer models are generally good at capturing the big picture, but they are often forced to ignore things that happen at small scales. For example, models of a planet’s atmosphere capture the large-scale dynamics of jets and airflows, but they don’t include small-scale dynamics created by things like clouds and localized turbulence, despite the fact that those dynamics can often influence the larger scales.

“There are simply too many numbers for the computer to simulate it at a reasonable speed,” said Brad Marston, a Brown University physicist. “It might take years to simulate a day of the atmosphere, which wouldn’t be good.”

The traditional approach to dealing with the problem is to simply lop the small scales off of the simulation. A few ad hoc ways of putting some of that information back in exist, but they tend not to be mathematically rigorous.

“These schemes have always suffered from the criticism that they lack predictive power,” Marston said. “You have to make a lot of decisions that you really shouldn’t have to make but you’re forced to make.”

In a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Marston and his colleagues show a method of averaging out those small-scale dynamics in a way that is computationally tractable, which allows those dynamics to be simulated and their effects to be captured in a rigorous way.

“We’re retaining the degrees of freedom at the small scale, but treating them in a different way,” Marston said. “We don’t have to simulate all the little swirls, so to speak. We treat them by using their averages and the sizes of their fluctuations. It allows us to capture the contributions of these small-scale dynamics that would normally not be included.”

In their paper, the researchers used the technique to model air jets forming on a round surface. They showed that the method produces results similar to brute-force numerical simulations of the same jets.

There have been prior attempts to treat small-scale disturbances statistically, Marston said, but those haven’t fared very well. Prior attempts have treated disturbances as being homogeneous and assumed they were not traveling in any one particular direction.

“But that almost never happens in nature,” Marston said. “Turbulence almost always has some directionality to it. That directionality is what makes these kinds of approximations work. It makes these approximations tenable.”

The researchers hope that the method might make for more accurate simulations of a wide variety of natural phenomena, from how the churning interiors of planets create magnetic fields to how air flows across the surfaces of cars or airplanes.

The method could be particularly useful in modeling Earth’s changing climate because the technique can more rigorously capture the influence of cloud formation.

“Cloud formation is seen as the largest source of uncertainty in climate models right now,” Marston said. “There are famous examples where different climate models that have different ways of dealing with the clouds give you qualitatively different results. In a warming world, one model might produce more clouds and another might produce fewer.”

By averaging those cloud dynamics and then simulating them in the models, it might be possible to reduce some of that uncertainty, Marston said.

The team has already started working to incorporate the method in climate simulations, as well as simulations of ocean currents and problems in astrophysics dealing with the behavior of plasmas.

“There are a whole bunch of problems out there where we feel this could be helpful,” Marston said.

98. John Hartz says:

ATTP: Your blog post articles serve a very useful educational purpose and the ensuing discussion is usually enlightening. Having said that, I recommend that you limit yourself to one post per week in order to keep a proper balance in your life.

99. Now to completely wreck the feeling of goodwill I’m having at the moment (as is my wont), the message I’m getting from Steve F. is similar to the tripe we’ve been reading on the Popper thread: teh modulz defy falsification, therefore they are scientifically invalid and therefore useless for purposes of policy planning. This is bullcrap of the highest order. We do not need to know climate sensitivity to CO2 and other anthropogenic GHGs to know that *if* net emissions of them go to zero that natural variability will be all that’s left.

That CS *may* be “low” (whatever that really means) does not necessarily entail that there isn’t a problem. That there is uncertainty in forward-looking projections does not mean that we cannot confidently claim to know the solution. The best way to maximize certainty in this system is to bring the forcing agents we even now directly control to a state of virtual no change.

I do not mean to imply that will be easy to accomplish.

There’s a difference between rational and rationalization. I assert that a reasonable person would understand this.

100. bobcobbblog says:

Physics,
Sorry, I just read your response. I see it now. Anyway, it just seems to me that headlines saying “permafrost supercharging warming” are counterintuitive. It frustrates me that someone like Schlanger who writes for Newsweek does a half-ass job on such an important topic while Chris Mooney actually does a remarkable job researching and writing on it. What I found particularly telling is that not a single climate scientist retreated or liked her story whole several, such as Ben Bond-Lamberty, did so for Mooney. Sone one spouting off doomerism headlines like that without evidence annoys me. Reporting like that isn’t helpful. Anyway, that’s my rant lol

101. Charles Nagy says:

With regard to Luke Warmers insistance that climat sensitivty is likely to be low, if the uncertainty probability distribution is a Bell curve, wouldn’t the probability of CS being high be exactly the same as the probability that CS is low?

102. bobcobbblog,
I agree with your recent comment. If people are going to write about the potentially more catastrophic outcomes, then they should do a proper job of researching it.

Sone one spouting off doomerism headlines like that without evidence annoys me.

Me too.

103. Charles,

wouldn’t the probability of CS being high be exactly the same as the probability that CS is low?

Depends on how you define high and low, but if you consider the Lewis & Curry analysis, then the 17-83% range for ECS is something like 1.2 – 2.5C and the 5-95% range is around 1-4C. Therefore here is about a 10% change of ECS being between 2.5C and 4C.

104. bobcobbblog: I assume you refer to this paragraph from the Newsweek article by Zo Schalnger:

Without a lot more data, there’s no way to know for sure how much methane is escaping from lakes like these globally. But according to the latest estimates, published last year in Biogeosciences, thawing beneath lakes in yedoma permafrost—the oldest, most carbon-rich type of permafrost found in Alaska and Siberia—could, by 2100, increase the amount of methane accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere by as much as 2.6 billion metric tons. By 2300, that could spike to 10 billion metric tons. Before 2000, yedoma permafrost hadn’t thawed enough to begin forming these methane lakes. Now there’s no looking back. “It’s like the food for microbes has been locked away in the freezer for 30,000 years,” Walter Anthony says, “and now the freezer door is open.” The degree of warming that implies is catastrophic. “The methane causes climate warming, which causes more permafrost to thaw, which causes more gas to be produced, which causes more warming, so you get a positive feedback loop.”

The cited paper is Observation-based modelling of permafrost carbon fluxes with
accounting for deep carbon deposits and thermokarst activity
in which they say:

“The additional warming through the release from newly thawed permafrost carbon proved only slightly dependent on the pathway of anthropogenic emission and amounts to about 0.03–0.14 ◦C (68 % ranges) by end of the century. The warming increased further in the 22nd and 23rd century and was most pronounced under the RCP6.0 scenario, adding 0.16 to 0.39 ◦C (68 % range) to simulated global mean surface air temperatures in the year 2300.

And if we go back to previous work by Katey Walter Anthony on the subject we find, Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions Ivar S. A. Isaksen, Michael Gauss, Gunnar Myhre, Katey M. Walter Anthony,Carolyn Ruppel; Global Biogeochemical Cycles, DOI: 10.1029/2010GB003845

Here we apply a “state of the art” atmospheric chemistry transport model to show that large emissions of CH4 would likely have an unexpectedly large impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and on radiative forcing (RF). The indirect contribution to RF of additional methane emission is particularly important. It is shown that if global methane emissions were to increase by factors of 2.5 and 5.2 above current emissions, the indirect contributions to RF would be about 250% and 400%, respectively, of the RF that can be attributed to directly emitted methane alone.

Now, if we combine these papers into a cogent overview, what part of Schlanger’s article do you actually disagree with?

105. SteveF wrote “With regard to ‘structual uncertainty’ (mostly parameter choices): well sure, but parameter choices, if inaccurate, still lead to inaccurate projections”

You are missing the point, there is a way to deal with the structural uncertainties (and parameter uncertainty), which is to include them into the ensemble. When you do (rather than ignore them), the observations are consistent with the observations, as the analysis from RealClimate demonstrates. I know some don’t like this, and prefer to ignore the uncertainties so that they can claim the models don’t work, but I’m afraid it is true nevertheless.

106. I presume you meant “models are consistent with the observations” 🙂

107. stevefitzpatrick says:

“OK, this statement strikes me as utterly bizarre. Why would you assume that carbon levels are going to fall any time soon?”
.
Not certain what you mean by “soon”. I would expect a peak in atmospheric CO2 to come some time after 2050; maybe nearer to 2060 if nuclear power grows rapidly and electric cars begin to dominate car sales, but closer to 2080 or 2090 if the fraction of nuclear remains comparable to today. Of course, breakthroughs in battery technologly could have an impact by making distributed solar more cost competitive, but breakthroughs are hard to predict.

108. Steve,
You do realise that for atmospheric CO2 to peak, the current evidence suggests that net anthropogenic emissions would need to get to zero (or pretty close to zero)?

109. Steve,
To follow on from that, if you think atmospheric CO2 will peak by around 2050, then you’re assuming we’ll follow something similar to an RCP2.6 emission pathway, which implie we will emit no more than about abother 500 GtC. We’re currently emitting about 10GtC per year. Given that we’re currently not doing very much to reduce our emissions, how is it that within 50 years we’ll have got them to zero? This seems to be required if you are to be correct that we’ll peak atmospheric CO2 by 2050, or so.

110. Ron Graf says:

Anders:

So, this is why I think that the disagreements are so fundamental that any kind of meaningful discussion is almost impossible. If one group dismisses what the other regards as crucial, how can you go on from there? What’s ironic, though, is to see the same people who dismiss evidence that seems inconvenient, then complaining about others not being willing to have meaningful discussions.

First, all sides must agree that climate science is extremely complex, chaotic and all effects are faint and vulnerable to confounding signals. This is exactly the same case in medical science. History is chock full of false paradigms in medical science. The cause invariably is the building of “consensus” too fast and the underestimation of the need for strict protocols, double blinds, control arms, adversarial government regulators and robust private competitors.

I believe the “consensus” (IPCC) got too far out in front of the science which has caused a backlash of whistle-blowing, which led to retrenchment, name calling, bogus propaganda, civil suits and threats of RICO litigation(in the US), and a downward spiraling productive scientific debate. The closest we get to professional scientific debate in public in the US is adversarial congressional testimony and questioning.

The solution to find progress is obvious: reform the field with the establishment of new protocols that can create a true consensus.

111. Ron,

First, all sides must agree that climate science is extremely complex, chaotic and all effects are faint and vulnerable to confounding signals.

Must?

112. bobcobbblog says:

oneillsinwisconsin,
I never said I disagreed with the long-term projections that Walter Anthony has put forth. I have conversed with her via email before and I have no reason to doubt her work. What I have a problem with is the headline Schlanger put forth and the associated tweets she made, as you can see in the link I provided. The essence of her argument is that permafrost thaw is happening now at a huge rate and is contributing large emissions to the atmosphere. She’s basically saying there’s nothing that can be done about and that we’re screwed due to permafrost emissions. I also get the impression that she thinks the carbon will come out abruptly.
She’s basing this all on one interview with Anthony, and I can assure you she did not make the leaps that Schlanger would. You would be better served looking at this excellent piece on the most recent permafrost study, covered by the USGS, by Chris Mooney, who has done a remarkable job covering cryosphere research for the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/06/03/alaskas-huge-climate-mystery-and-its-global-consequences/
This study is by far the most recent authoritative work on permafrost thaw, covering pretty much all the notable expert scientists in the field: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/034014/meta;jsessionid=C1606651934ADB1313EC5C59059A6B84.c5.iopscience.cld.iop.org
The conclusion of that study is pretty clear that permafrost emissions will be steady over centuries, and a lot of it can be avoided following the RCP 4.5 path, which is very doable in my mind.
The following study gives an excellent overview of the science to date as well: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/040201#erlaa1b03s4
It’s pretty clear to me that the preponderance of the scientific evidence on permafrost basically excludes any abrupt release of carbon and that following reasonable emissions reductions can avoid a lot of permafrost thaw, which is something I’m sure Anthony would agree with. Now if Schlanger had actually done her homework in reading these studies and interviewing more scientists such as Schuur and Natali (all of which Mooney has done), then her headline would have been quite different. But then, I guess integrity means less to her than sensationalistic headlines that have no basis in fact.

113. Ron Graf says:

“Must?” Certain individuals, who shall remain anonymous, I think hurt the integrity of the debate by implying that it’s “just physics.” The economic models are a relevant example because just like climate feedbacks, emotional reactions to economic status amplifies, positive feedback type complexity.

114. Ron,
Ahhh, it’s someone else’s (my?) fault. You still haven’t explained why we must accept what you said.

115. ATTP – it’s pretty obvious steveF has confused emissions with atmospheric concentration. He believes emissions will peak between 2050 and 2060. It’s also quite obvious he’s not familiar with the e-folding times of CO2 and the ridiculous number of years it takes to remove CO2 completely from the atmosphere.

As David Archer wrote:A better shorthand for public discussion might be that CO2 sticks around for hundreds of years, plus 25% that sticks around forever.

116. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> History is chock full of false paradigms in medical science. <==

What would you say is the ratio of false to true among current medical science paradigms?

117. Oneill,
That’s possible. Maybe Steve can clarify if he does indeed mean emissions rather than concentrations. David Archer’s quote is very good. I don’t think many appreciate that 20-30% of what we’ve emitted will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

118. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Certain individuals, who shall remain anonymous, I think hurt the integrity of the debate by implying that it’s “just physics.” <==

Allow me to be the first to thanks you for your concerns about the integrity of the debate. Also, I want to extend my thanks to you for doing your valiant best to preserve the integrity of the debate by calling out others who are hurting it, and for taking proactive action to enhance the integrity of the debate with your comment…

But I am having some trouble understanding why you think someone expressing an opinion (say, about the importance of physics for understanding climate science), even if it were wrong, would be damaging the “integrity of the debate.” How does that work?

119. Ron Graf says:

“Must?”

The reason that calling something simple, stupid is a mistake when that something is complex and difficult to decode should be obvious. It is calling those who don’t agree with your simple conclusion stupid (or ill-intentioned).

Joshua even has sarcastic skepticism of my concern for being pro-active. This is also at the heart of the conflict, IMO. The consensus is skeptical that anything but agreement is obstructionism. If we first agree that there could be well intentioned dispute that could go a long way to finding the seeds for building a true consensus.

120. Ron Graf writes: “… there could be well intentioned dispute …”

In theory this is true. GWPF, NIPCC, Heartland …. Steyn, Exxon papers, Watts, Goddard …. ummm…. In theory it could be true; in practice it rarely seems to be well-intentioned on the part of pseudoskeptics.

121. Joshua says:

==> The consensus is skeptical that anything but agreement is obstructionism. <==

Not sure exactly how you might define "the consensus" there, but I think that argument doesn't reflect a proactive effort to present an argument that has integrity. It certainly doesn't seem well-intentioned to plant seeds for a true consensus. How could that king of tribalistic argument work towards such a goal?

Consider McArdle's point:

Unfortunately, when you rally your own side with these sorts of tactics, you also rally the other tribe, and if they’re as numerous as you are, this can lead to defeat as easily as victory. It would be a lot better for everyone — including the planet — if we left off the tribalism and the excommunications and went back to actually talking about the science: messy, imprecise and always open for well-grounded debate.

122. Ron Graf says:

Joshua, Great pull out quote from McArdle. I did not read her article but have come the same realization. If we want to make human progress we must stop fighting each other. Mind probing and projection or evil intent only breeds mistrust, which then reciprocates.

Joshua: “Not sure exactly how you might define “the consensus” there…”

I use consensus as the polite term for the CAGW side. The fact that they are perceived to be the self-proclaimed consensus is actually an impediment to building true consensus which requires some measure of trust. The was to start that process is with a strict verification-based protocol. Once scientist start to trust the integrity of the opposing viewpoint’s work then debate progresses because of mutually accepted foundations.

123. stevefitzpatrick says:

“You do realise that for atmospheric CO2 to peak, the current evidence suggests that net anthropogenic emissions would need to get to zero (or pretty close to zero)?”

I don’t realize that because I don’t believe it is correct. There is and will continue to be substantial ocean uptake of CO2 due to thermohaline circulation. Downwelling cold surface water at high latitudes absorbs much more CO2 from the air than upwelling water at low latitudes releases as it warms, because the upwelling water is relatively low in dissolved CO2 compared to the downwelling water. You can see this in a mapping of CO2 uptake over the ocean surfaces; the uptake is dominated by regions of deep cold convection. Net ocean uptake will continue for a long time, on the order of 1,000 years with some decline in rate, similar to the thermohaline turnover time (IIRC the average upwelling rate at mid to low latitudes is ~4 vertical meters per year, and the oceans average ~4 Km deep). There will continue to be additional plant uptake as well (net global greening, more rapid tree growth) for a extended period, on the order of the lifetime of a tree seems to me a reasonable guess. So you don’t have to reach zero emission (nor even close) to pass a peak in CO2, you just have to have net uptake be greater than emissions. That won’t be near zero.

“if you think atmospheric CO2 will peak by around 2050, then you’re assuming we’ll follow something similar to an RCP2.6 emission pathway, which implie we will emit no more than about abother 500 GtC.”

I think there will be a peak in CO2 concentration some time after 2050, not by 2050. When that peak is reached will depend on several factors, especially the adoption of low/no emissions electric power generation, including solar and nuclear, and the rate of change of autos to electric power. Solar power and electric cars would both be more attractive with some big improvements in batteries.

124. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> I use consensus as the polite term for the CAGW side.<==

I suggest that you re-evaluate your engagement from the perspective of one who wants to stop fighting. Using terms like "the CAGW side" seem to me to be entirely at odds with your intent. In and of itself, the term stimulates mistrust.

So perhaps "the consensus" side is better, but given that you seem to think that they are essentially synonymous but that the substitute term has a more polite connotation, it suffers from the same flaw in being tribalistic.

"The consensus" side is a blanket term and as such, it so broad as to be meaningless. Does it include only people who are convinced that "catastrophic" changes to the climate as the result of aCO2 emissions are inevitable? Does it include only people who think that continued aCO2 emissions pose a risk of harmful climate change? Does it include both?

If it includes both, then your characterization that "the consensus" side “is skeptical that anything but agreement is obstructionism. “, by definition, precludes any progress of the sort you want. It is nothing other than a statement of tribal affiliation. (And of course, interestingly, according to McArdle’s article, by including people who think that continued aC02 emissions pose a risk obstensibly includes those who self-identify as “lukewarmers. So, amusingly, you are saying that “lukewarmers” “[are] skeptical that anything but agreement is obstructionism. ” – which now that I think about it, may not be that far off base).

==> The fact that they are perceived to be the self-proclaimed consensus is actually an impediment to building true consensus which requires some measure of trust. Once scientist start to trust the integrity of the opposing viewpoint’s work then debate progresses because of mutually accepted foundations.<==

I think that you have the causality wrong. Once scientists (or others) start to trust those with opposing viewpoints, then they can start to trust the scientific output of those "others." Without the initial trust, all people will do is confirm their distrust. As long as people are committed to opposing ideological affinities, trust will not follow.

125. stevefitzpatrick says:

“it’s pretty obvious steveF has confused emissions with atmospheric concentration. He believes emissions will peak between 2050 and 2060. It’s also quite obvious he’s not familiar with the e-folding times of CO2 and the ridiculous number of years it takes to remove CO2 completely from the atmosphere.”
.
You may think those things are obvious, but you are mistaken. I have not confused emissions and atmospheric concentration, and I am quite familiar with e-folding times. I am also aware that absent human intervention chemical removal of CO2 from the atmosphere/ocean system (mostly via weathering of rocks) takes many thousands of years.

126. Ron Graf says:

Joshua, regarding group labels, you are being ridiculously sensitive. It comes across as a chip on the shoulder. But you may be correct that even unusual sensitivity is in order. I noticed there are banned topics on sites that promote the high sensitivity of the planet to CO2 as compared to lukewarmer or skeptic sites where only foul language, hugely verbose, and in the case of one site, off topic comments are frowned upon.

Once scientists (or others) start to trust those with opposing viewpoints, then they can start to trust the scientific output of those “others.”

That is exactly right. Until some measure of trust is established no progresses is sustained. Divisiveness leads to mistrust; mistrust leads to division. Sides are then taken based upon peripheral factors of identity, tribalism, mostly liberal vs. conservative. As I think is well known most of the conservatives favor research into alternative energy and even subsidies if they can be done free of cronyism (i.e. in free and robust marketplace). Liberals favor all spending but more-so government laboratory and university research than do conservatives. Conservatives feel that a healthy financial future is key to having resources to solve environmental problems. Liberals think that we need to solve environmental problems to have a healthy financial future thus place a priority on empowering government to over control. The arguments are amazingly close. It’s mostly just mistrust and poor leadership that is hampering us all.

127. Steve,

I don’t realize that because I don’t believe it is correct. There is and will continue to be substantial ocean uptake of CO2 due to thermohaline circulation.

Let me be clearer; the scientific evidence suggests that getting atmospheric CO2 concentrations to peak will require getting net emissions pretty close to zero. So – unless I’m mistaken – you want to dismiss estimate for climate sensitivity that suggest it could be high (climate models and palaeo) and appear now to be dismissing the evidence that getting atmospheric CO2 concentrations to peak will require getting emissions close to zero. Do you have any convincing evidence to support your chosen position, because it appears to be at odds with a large amount of scientific evidence.

I think there will be a peak in CO2 concentration some time after 2050, not by 2050.

I know, but you were suggesting it could be around 2050 – 2060, which would require us following something close to an RCP2.6 pathway and emitting no more than about 500 GtC.

128. Steve,

You may think those things are obvious, but you are mistaken. I have not confused emissions and atmospheric concentration,

Well, then maybe you can explain further how you think we can maybe peak concentrations by 2050-2060. Based on the figures below, this only really seems possible if we follow something close to an RCP2.6 pathway which would require emitting no more than about 500 GtC. We’re currerntly emitting about 10GtC per year and are doing little to reduce our emissions. So, somehow you think it is possible that we could someone get emissions to zero within about the next 50 years?

129. Ron,
You seem to be missing my point. You appeared to suggest that people had to agree on something about our climate. You didn’t say we had to agree to disagree, you specifically claimed that we had to actually agree.

130. Szilard says:

“So, this is why I think that the disagreements are so fundamental that any kind of meaningful discussion is almost impossible.”

This is important if the goal is to form some kind of consensus position between the protagonists. But why should it be the goal? I think the more interesting goal is to present the differences and the arguments on each side as clearly as possible for We the Lurkers – the large but obscure group whose opinions I think count much more from a policy point of view than those of any of the active protagonists.

In an (Anglo Saxon) court room trial, nobody expects a consensus over vital issues between the sides – consensus-forming is up to the jury. Similar comments mutatis mutandis for political elections, and for academic debates, from my experience.

On-line, from my experience, lurkers far out number active posters for a site of any importance. They are the ones you want to influence, if you’re interested in being influential. Of course it can be really difficult to to get a sense of how you’re doing with that, and anything meaningful only happens over time, usually.

131. snarkrates says:

The participation of Steve F. and Ron G. make it clear that there are two types of commenters on this site–there are those who base their statements on the science and facts and there are those who feel free to “just say shit.”

Ron, have you read Spencer Weart’s excellent monograph “The Discovery of Global Warming”? I presume not, as this makes it quite clear that the consensus is based on over a century of research–and as far as global warming, there really is no doubt among the informed.

Steve, have you not noticed that melting ice is slowing down the thermohaline conveyor? So much for your magic negative feedback.

132. Canman says:

ATTP:

Firstly climate models don’t assume large positive feedbacks; the level of positive feedbacks is an emergent property of the models. It’s one of the things these models are trying to determine.

If things like cloud formation aren’t well understood, how can anyone tell that the right levels of feedbacks are emerging from the models. I find it hard to believe that the models aren’t being subtly tweaked so that more positive feedbacks emerge.

133. Canman,
That still does not mean that the large positive feedbacks are an assumption.

134. Canman,
Oh, why would people be intentionally tweaking them to get large positive feedbacks?

135. Canman says:

Tweaking doesn’t have to be intentional. That’s why medical studies have double blind placebo tests. I’ve seen a lot of graphs with observations near the low range of model runs.

136. Joshua says:

Happened again…

Ron –

==> Joshua, regarding group labels, you are being ridiculously sensitive.

Just to be clear, I don’t care about this at a personal level if you label me any particular way.

==> It comes across as a chip on the shoulder.

Again, I don’t care at a personal level if you label me in any particular way. I don’t even know if you were labeling me and I don’t identify with your labels anyway (not the least because you have no idea, actually, what my opinions are about climate change).

==> But you may be correct that even unusual sensitivity is in order.

I’m not talking about anything that might be considered “unusual sensitivity.” It’s quite commonplace for people to take offense at overly general and derisive labels. Consider, for example, the ubiquitous political correctness we read about the term “denier.” Read McArdle’s article, it’s all about that political correctness, and the pervasiveness of that political correctness. She uses the dynamic of what you call “unusual sensitivity” to frame the entire discussion about cliamate change.

==> I noticed there are banned topics on sites that promote the high sensitivity of the planet to CO2 as compared to lukewarmer or skeptic sites where only foul language, hugely verbose, and in the case of one site, off topic comments are frowned upon.

Yes, yes, but RealClimate moderation, blah, blah, blah.

==> As I think is well known most of the conservatives favor research into alternative energy and even subsidies if they can be done free of cronyism (i.e. in free and robust marketplace).

Once again, you make assertions that seem to me to be contradictory to reality. I asked you for evidence in support an earlier assertion, I note that you didn’t provide any – but again I ask you for evidence. What evidence do you use to formulate your evaluation of what is “well known” about “most of the conservatives?”

==> Conservatives feel that a healthy financial future is key to having resources to solve environmental problems.

As distinguished from liberals? Can you point me to some evidence that liberals as a group don’t think that a healthy financial future is key to having resources solve environmental problems? I suspect that your overly-simplistic generalizations are, once again, quiet problematic.

==> Liberals think that we need to solve environmental problems to have a healthy financial future..

So would that mean (that what I consider to be a cartoonish and inaccurately generalized and simplistic vision of the world) that conservatives world think that we can have a healthy financial future if we don’t solve environmental problems?

==> thus place a priority on empowering government to over control.

You mean as opposed to conservative, who prefer government control over sexual habits, reproductive rights, tracking down and deporting 11 million immigrants, disallowing Muslims from entering the country, preventing anyone who has traveled from Ebola affected countries from entering the country, and whether someone can wish you “Happy Hollidays,” etc.?

==> arguments are amazingly close.

I would say similar, not close.

==> It’s mostly just [,,,] poor leadership that is hampering us all.

I can’t go along with that kind of victim mentality. I don’t believe in coddling people. It isn’t that we are victims of our leaders, because our leaders are a product of the underlying tribal mechanisms. I would prefer that people step forward and accept responsibility for the influence of their own tribalism.

Fell free to do so, yourself. Along those lines, again, I would suggest that you stop blaming website moderation or climate scientists or “leaders” and reconsider how you might be more effective at reaching your goals of enhancing the integrity of the debate. Better and more accurate use of language, and less simplistic generalizing about other people, would, IMO, be a good place to start.

137. Canman,
You seem to have changed your view. You said they were tweaked so that larger positive feedbacks emerge. Do you now take that back?

138. Canman says:

Saying that the tweaking might be subtly unintentional is not changing my view that the models are tweaked. Observations have clearly come in below projections and you guys clearly don’t like to admit it.

139. Canman,
What don’t we like to admit?

If tweaking is producing higher positive feedbacks then why hasn’t someone gone and used the same models to produce lower positive feedbacks?

140. Ron Graf says:

Anders:

Ron,
You seem to be missing my point. You appeared to suggest that people had to agree on something about our climate. You didn’t say we had to agree to disagree, you specifically claimed that we had to actually agree.

I don’t think everyone has to agree, but the issue can’t be split down political party lines and hope to see progress. A good example in the US is Obamacare where it got passed in 2010 by bribing enough liberal hold outs to pass it without a single vote from the conservative party. Predictably the law has continually been challenged in the courts and although it has managed to survive legal challenge it may not survive functionally even if liberals hold onto the presidency.

Actions affecting the fundamentals of the economy need a political consensus. In global warming there will be no political consensus without a scientific consensus. Calling the scores of prominent climate scientists deniers if they disagree with likelihood that GW will be in the top ten problems at the end of the century is not wise. If the problem is truly that serious than it would be moral (and smarter) not to name-call or promote false information to be fed to the public (for their own good).

The way Reagan built consensus with Gorbachev was to agree that there had to be at least some nuclear missiles both sides could both do without, ergo the START Treaty. Baby-steps. Willing to agree that climate dynamics is not just 2+2=4 is I think a worthy sacrifice.

141. Canman says:

ATTP:

If tweaking is producing higher positive feedbacks then why hasn’t someone gone and used the same models to produce lower positive feedbacks?

That’s because your side has all the fancy supercomputers that require their own coal plants for power:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/16/wyoming-experiences-that-giant-sucking-sound-as-new-coal-fired-climate-supercomputer-is-turned-on/

142. Ron Graf says:

Joshua:

Feel free to do so, yourself. Along those lines, again, I would suggest that you stop blaming website moderation or climate scientists or “leaders” and reconsider how you might be more effective at reaching your goals of enhancing the integrity of the debate.

The points I am trying to get across are all to do with building trust. Censorship of effective arguments and ad hom are counter-productive. My comment about leadership was not aimed only at leaders of state but leadership in general, at all levels, all the way down to parenting.

Better and more accurate use of language, and less simplistic generalizing about other people, would, IMO, be a good place to start.

Many times problems need to be simplified in order to be solved. Simplification requires generalization. I am not trying to blame others, but simply to clarify the problem. My blanket statements about conservatives are simply my perceptions. I feel confident that most agree that humanity will need to find alternatives to fossil fuel and that this will be a priority. Whether that priority trumps freedoms in the marketplace is a legitimate political debate.

There are many points of agreement that can be found if people are trusting enough. Trust begins with some level of agreement. One must step back and patiently find those points. One good start is to agree that both sides are well-intentioned.

143. Canman,

That’s because your side has all the fancy supercomputers that require their own coal plants for power:

Come on, that just sounds like an excuse. If someone could convincingly show that feedbacks are probably small, they’d be lauded. Maybe bear in mind that when Mauritsen & Stevens tried to test the Iris effect the biggest effect they could get was a 20-30% reduction in climate sensitivity.

144. Ron,

Willing to agree that climate dynamics is not just 2+2=4 is I think a worthy sacrifice.

I think most do agree on this. What does agreeing about this imply?

145. BBD says:

Ron G

Whether that priority trumps freedoms in the marketplace is a legitimate political debate.

Allowing the untrammeled pursuit of profit to cause untold ecological and humanitarian harm isn’t really a legitimate political argument. It’s lunacy.

146. Ron,

Willing to agree that climate dynamics is not just 2+2=4 is I think a worthy sacrifice.

I can trust that there are many sites (some of which you frequent) where – if I comment – I’ll almost certainly be insulted. How does that type of trust help?

147. Magma says:

One good start is to agree that both sides are well-intentioned. — Ron Graf

I don’t. Contrarians may think they are well-intentioned, but at this stage their motivations are largely or entirely irrelevant.

148. Willard says:

When I see RonG raising concerns like this:

DeWitt, in Ms. Halpern’s highly refined opinion you are a surely a propertied white male, civil rights oppressing, chauvinist, climate denier, just like DJ Trump.

my first thoughts don’t go to his well-meaning intentions, but to the shirt he’s about to rip off his body.

149. stevefitzpatrick says:

“You appear to be claiming that climate models can be rejected at the 95% level. Maybe you can actually demonstrate this as I do not think it is true. ”

I will try in the next few weeks to show in a post at Lucia’s that at least some models can be rejected with fairly high confidence.

150. Steve,
Ahhh, I thought you meant all/most models?

151. BBD says:

Oh it’s hard work being a lukewarmer.

152. Marco says:

Of course, Steve Fitzpatrick will include the actual forcings in that analysis, not the projected one’s. Right, Steve?

Of course, too, *all* models can ultimately be rejected, as I am sure they get some part of regional climate evolution wrong somewhere (increase where decrease is observed and vice versa). It will thus depend on what one makes the deciding factor for a GCM to be “wrong”.

153. stevefitzpatrick says:

“Ahhh, I thought you meant all/most models?”

Certainly not all, since a few runs of a few models are close to measured reality. Most models? Not sure; some modeling groups may not have produced enough replicates to get a good estimate of the model variability, in which case you can’t make any statement about the model’s validity. We’ll see.

154. Steve,
Any idea of, for example, the climate sensitivities of those you think you can now reject and of those that, in some runs, do come close to reality?

155. guthrie says:

Ron Graf appears to have fallen through a time warp from the 1980’s, and have completely missed the intervening decades, where scientists have attempted to communicate the dangers in many ways, and a well funded misinformation campaign has rubbished their concerns. Not to mention the websites where anti-science and insults are their only weapons against actual science.

156. steveF writes: “I don’t realize that because I don’t believe it is correct. There is and will continue to be substantial ocean uptake of CO2 due to thermohaline circulation. “

IOWs, Eli’s proverbial ‘luckwarmer.’ Has anyone ever claimed ocean uptake is going to cease? Have you looked at the actual amounts this entails? Numerically it’s essentially equal in size to the emissions due to fires.

How many IFs does this luckwarmer analysis entail? Population growth, land use, global GDP, primary energy consumption, fires, CCS, steel production forecasts, cement production forecasts, climate sensitivity, ocean acidification, and on and on and on.

For instance, RCP 2.6 shows a 20% drop in oil consumption from 2020 to 2030. Is that your projection? We’re starting from a higher level, so to arrive at the same answer should one assume you see it happening even faster! And what level of carbon tax is going to be required to meet this scenario, in which countries must it be passed, and when do you foresee these taxes becoming law? Or is there some magical economic force that simply erases them?

157. Ron Graf says:

Anders:

“Willing to agree that climate dynamics is not just 2+2=4 is I think a worthy sacrifice.”

I think most do agree on this. What does agreeing about this imply?

Acknowledging the complexity of the analysis of climate is to show a measure of respect for the legitimacy of adversarial opinion as opposed to broadcasting the message that “it’s just physics.” [Shirt ripping. -W]

158. “Has anyone ever claimed ocean uptake is going to cease?”

Well, when people claim that CO2 emission must “approach zero” in order to pass the peak atmospheric concentration, that is pretty much the same thing as saying uptake (mostly oceans and land plants) has to fall to near zero. Look at the graph up thread for emission scenario 4.5. The projected atmospheric concentration stays essentially flat from about 2060, even though that scenario never drops below ~15 gigatons per year of CO2 emissions. So, uptake in that projection continues near ~15 gigatons per year through 2100, not near zero. Any emissions lower than 15 gigatons per year would presumably cause a gradual fall in atmospheric concentration.

“Population growth, land use, global GDP, primary energy consumption, fires, CCS, steel production forecasts, cement production forecasts, climate sensitivity, ocean acidification, and on and on and on.”
Not sure what you are trying to convey. There is no verb, so I really can’t understand the phrase.

159. snarkrates says:

Ron Graf, you seem to think that because a subject is complex that it is beyond understanding and therefore all opinions are equally valid. The facts are rather that the facts, self-consistency and parsimony all favor the position of those you characterize as alarmist rather than those of the pseudoskeptics.

160. “It will thus depend on what one makes the deciding factor for a GCM to be “wrong”.

As the great George Box noted, even though wrong, some models are useful. I think the deciding factor ought to be if a model produces projections that are accurate enough to be useful. In the case of climate models, what is useful will depend on who is asking the question (regional rainfall patterns will probably matter more to farmers than to chemistry professors). I suspect for most people, accurate projections of warming are pretty important. BTW, many years ago I took a course where the text book was ‘Statistics for Experimenters: Design, Innovation, and Discovery’, by Box, Hunter, and Hunter. The book was beautifully written, clear, and insightful. I still have it, and I highly recommend it.

161. steveF – Perhaps you missed the sentence immediately preceding the list, the one that says “How many IFs does this luckwarmer analysis entail? ”

For emissions to decrease, then all, most or many of the estimates for “Population growth, land use, global GDP, primary energy consumption, fires, CCS, steel production forecasts, cement production forecasts, climate sensitivity, ocean acidification, and on and on and on.” must be in error – significantly so. Do you not understand the implications of your own position?

I think you’ve also forgotten that RCP 4.5 relies on CCS;
“The emergence of large-scale carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) allows continued use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and cement manufacture, among other uses, though total use is lower than in the reference scenario. Bioenergy with CCS is used to produce electricity, providing an energy source that is carbon-negative with respect to the atmosphere. “

So your statement, “So, uptake in that projection continues near ~15 gigatons per year through 2100, not near zero.” is not true. You’ve misread the RCP. The difference is mostly accounted for by CCS – not increased ocean or land uptake.

162. > Do you not understand the implications of your own position?

If there are implications, state them. No need to ask rhetorical questions.

Besides, the position is rather more interesting that SteveF’s (or anyone else’s) understanding of it.

Play the ball, please.

163. Steve,

So, uptake in that projection continues near ~15 gigatons per year through 2100, not near zero. Any emissions lower than 15 gigatons per year would presumably cause a gradual fall in atmospheric concentration.

Why don’t we consider both RCP4.5 and RCP2.6. RCP4.5 drops to maybe 15GtCO2 and concentrations flatline or, maybe, continue rising slowly. RCP2.6 goes negative, and concentrations drop. So, to get concentrations to peak would seem to require a reduction in emissions of something between 66% and 100%. Now look at the earlier figure. RCP4.5 has cumulative emissions of about 1300GtC. RCP2.6 has cumulative emissions of about 1000GtC. We’ve emitted about 550GtC. So, we would need to emit no more than 800 GtC, probably less. Given that we’re currently emitting around 10GtC per year, and doing little to reduce them, how do we avoid emitting no more than about 800GtC, which seems to be what you’re suggesting?

164. Dikran Marsupial says:

stevefitzpatrick wrote “I think the deciding factor ought to be if a model produces projections that are accurate enough to be useful.”

Are there any indications that the models will not produce useful projections on a centennial scale? No, not at the present time AFAICS.

165. Ron,

Acknowledging the complexity of the analysis of climate is to show a measure of respect for the legitimacy of adversarial opinion as opposed to broadcasting the message that “it’s just physics.”

I’m still not clear what you’re really suggesting. Of course our climate is very complex. I don’t think that many people dispute this. So, how does explicitly acknowledging this help?

166. “we don’t even agree on the basics”

Indeed. I disagree, for instance, that climate models are just physics. There is some physics and a lot of approximate physics. There is also lots of chemistry and biology. The idea that the parameterizations that go into climate models are, or should be, immutable is just nonsense.

167. Richard,

The idea that the parameterizations that go into climate models are, or should be, immutable is just nonsense.

Good thing noone said this then.

Any chance that you’ve found some time to check your spreadsheet?

168. Dikran Marsupial says:

Richard Tol wrote “Indeed. I disagree, for instance, that climate models are just physics. There is some physics and a lot of approximate physics. There is also lots of chemistry and biology. ”

Ridiculous pedantry. All physical models are only approximations, more or less by definition (c.f. GEP Box). Chemistry and biology are also “just physics”, but viewed at a higher level of abstraction (unless you are going to argue that chemistry and biology are not ultimately governed by fundamental physical laws).

“The idea that the parameterizations that go into climate models are, or should be, immutable is just nonsense.”

Straw man.

169. oneillsinwisconsin,

So your statement, “So, uptake in that projection continues near ~15 gigatons per year through 2100, not near zero.” is not true. You’ve misread the RCP. The difference is mostly accounted for by CCS – not increased ocean or land uptake.

Actually, it looks to be true. The RCP4.5 paper is Thompson et al. (2011), which says:

Prior to reaching the target, 4.5 W m−2, cost minimization requires that the greenhouse gas emissions price rise at the interest rate, adjusted by the rate of ocean uptake (Edmonds et al. 2008; Clarke et al. 2007; Hotelling 1931; Peck and Wan 1996).

[…]

The emergence of large-scale carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) (Fig. 5) allows continued use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and cement manufacture, among other uses, though total use is lower than in the reference scenario. Bioenergy with CCS is used to produce electricity, providing an energy source that is carbon-negative with respect to the atmosphere. The amount of bioenergy deployed is limited by the availability of dedicated crop and crop residue feedstocks from the land system.

[…]

Total anthropogenic CO2 emissions for the RCP4.5 peak around 42 Gt CO2 per year (Fig. 3) around 2040 and decline to 2080 before leveling off around 15 Gt CO2 per year for the remainder of the century.

The first of the references given above, Edmonds et al. (2008), says:

The scenarios in this paper were conducted using the version of MiniCAM that participated in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s (CCSP) scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations (Clarke, et al. 2007a). Extensive documentation of the assumptions for the models can be found in that document as well as in Clarke et al. (2007b). The reference and stabilization scenarios in this paper vary in one important way from the MiniCAM CCSP scenarios. In those scenarios, the terrestrial carbon cycle interacts with the agriculture and land-use behavior. In this paper, net uptake by terrestrial ecosystems is prescribed. This change was made to simplify the computational environment and to focus on the role of energy and industrial CO2 emissions.

[…]

The price of carbon over time follows a Hotelling-Peck-Wan (HPW) price path4. The HPW path is a global, present-discounted-cost-minimizing price path. It has two parts. Along the first part of the path, the price of carbon rises at the rate of interest, plus the in-year average rate of removal of carbon from the atmosphere by ocean and terrestrial carbon sinks.5

5 Note that an average rate of ocean and terrestrial uptake over time was used in these scenarios. In reality, the ocean-atmosphere-terrestrial biosphere system is dynamic, so the rate of uptake varies over time and between scenarios

[…]

The physical uptake of terrestrial and ocean carbon reservoirs govern allowable emissions. Global emissions are thereafter controlled so that the concentration of CO2 is held constant at the limit. The price of carbon is set so that allowable emissions are exactly equal to carbon uptake by terrestrial and ocean reservoirs.

Clarke et al. (2007b) (or is it a?) can be had from here.

170. “So your statement, “So, uptake in that projection continues near ~15 gigatons per year through 2100, not near zero.” is not true. You’ve misread the RCP. The difference is mostly accounted for by CCS – not increased ocean or land uptake.”
.
No, you are misreading that scenario. Look at the emissions graphic of that scenario up thread. The y- axis is labeled “net emissions” (after taking into account CCS). The scenario shows a substantial drop in emissions… in spite of continued use of fossil fuels for electricity generation, mostly due to assumed CCS. The uptake by oceans and plants will continue at a level of ~15 gigatones, nowhere near zero. BTW, I think substituting nuclear for fossil fuels is a far smarter and cheaper way to accomplish the same thing as CCS.

171. Steve,

The uptake by oceans and plants will continue at a level of ~15 gigatones, nowhere near zero.

I do not think this is true indefinitely. In fact this – incorrectly labelled – figure suggests that maintaing a forcing of 4.5W/m^2 would require continued emission reductions beyond 2100.

Okay, but ignoring that, RCP4.5 certainly suggests that if we can get emissions to around 15GtCO2 (a reduction of 60-70% relative to today) then we could get concentrations to rise slowly – or flatline – towards the end of this century. However, even this requires emitting no more (by 2100) than a further ~800GtC. Given that we’re currently emitting about 10GtC per year, and appear to be doing little to reduce emissions, it would be interesting if you could explain how you think we’re going to achieve this.

172. Dikran Marsupial says:

“The uptake by oceans and plants will continue at a level of ~15 gigatones, nowhere near zero.”

I don’t think this is really true. As the immediate uptake by the oceans is largely governed by the difference between the atmospheric CO2 concentration and the concentration in the surface ocean, I think it is rather unlikely that the uptake will continue at a similar rate for very long. The reason we have seen a more or less constant airborne fraction is that we are driving an approximately first order system with an approximately exponential forcing. If we stop vigorously forcing the system, it will stop vigorously opposing the rise (and eventually the higher order behaviour of the system will become more apparent).

173. Sorry, Wotts, for misreading. You seem to take issue with McArdle comparing economic models to climate ones on the ground that the former are mutable and the latter immutable. I’m glad we agree that climate models are parameterized, and that these parameterizations need not be stable over time.

That of course make climate models much more like economic models.

174. Richard,

I’m glad we agree that climate models are parameterized, and that these parameterizations need not be stable over time.

They are not parametrized; there are certain processes that can require parametrizations. Also, it depends what you mean by “change over time”. We certainly don’t expect the physics of convection to be different now to what it was in the past, or other physical processes. On the other hand, there may be certain properties of the climate state that do mean that some parameters would be different now to what they were in the past, or what they might be in the future.

That of course make climate models much more like economic models.

That doesn’t follow. I can understand, though, why you might want economic models to be more like climate models 😉

175. Joshua says:

Anders –

Could you replace my previous comment with this one? Apparently, when I use equal signs and the lesser than sign it causes text to be removed from the comment…

Ron –

==> The points I am trying to get across are all to do with building trust. Censorship of effective arguments and ad hom are counter-productive. ==>

There are many things that are counteproductive. For example, self-victimizing that exploits the real problem with limits of free speech by complaining about censorship is counterproductive. Creating false, self-confirming distinctions about behavioral differentiations are counterproducive. Cynical self-victimizing that exploits the holocaust and historical events like Lysenkoism and McCarthyism are counterproductive.

==> My comment about leadership was not aimed only at leaders of state but leadership in general, at all levels, all the way down to parenting. ==>

I’m afraid that you’ve lost me here. I don’t get how some general observation about parenting relates to the topic at hand. Yes, problematic parenting is problematic. Always have been. Always will be. Overall, the general practices of parenting are, IMO, far superior to fairly recently when children were seen as small adults, who should be seen and not heard.

==> Many times problems need to be simplified in order to be solved. ==>

No doubt. Perhaps you remember a few threads back where I repeatedly asked you to provide a simplified answer to Steven’s question about the basic math of your determination of the magnitude of UHI (which you never answered)?

==> Simplification requires generalization. ==>

I’m not suggesting that simplification or generalization are never useful or important. What I am saying is that in this case, your simplified generalizations are not useful, and in fact are counterproductive. In your simplification, you are overlooking important distinctions. In your generalization, you are ignoring important similarities (that run across your generalizations.

==> I am not trying to blame others, but simply to clarify the problem. ==>

I am suggesting that you are mis-characterizing the problem, largely because of inaccurate and unhelpful simplifications and generalizations. Simplifications and generalizations which, I suspect, are not coincidentally differentiated by whether or not you personally identify with the respective groups that you’ve distinguished. Please notice, I made reference to some specific aspects of the inaccuracies that I’m speaking of, but you responded to none of them. There were, also, quite a few other specific points I made about problems with your arguments, and you responded to none of them, either.

==> My blanket statements about conservatives are simply my perceptions. ==>

Yes, I was aware of that. That is why I asked you for evidence, beyond simply anecdotal, so that we could discuss the extent to which self-confirming biases were affecting those perceptions.

==> I feel confident that most agree that humanity will need to find alternatives to fossil fuel and that this will be a priority. ==>

I don’t doubt your confidence. But I would like to know what evidence creates that confidence.

==> Whether that priority trumps freedoms in the marketplace is a legitimate political debate. ==>

That is another of those simplifications that I think is not particularly useful. IMO, the useful political debate necessarily needs to be one that investigates a more complex argument than the cartoonish framing that this is simply a matter of whether or not the priority for alternative energy pathways “trumps freedoms in the marketplace.” Not only is that a false binary, IMO, it is also a false dilemma of choice.

==> There are many points of agreement that can be found if people are trusting enough. ==>

I agree.

==> Trust begins with some level of agreement. ==>

I don’t agree. Agreement must be built. It isn’t a starting point. And it is possible to “agree to disagree” – in the sense of reaching consensus about policy outcomes based on shared interests and distinguishing positions from interests. Trust is also built. It is also not a starting point. There are deliberative processes that can be engaged to build trust and agreement. I agree that such processes are not currently being engaged. What we see, instead, IMO, is a zero sum gain methodology being employed – one which is not compatible with building trust and agreement (to the extent that agreement is necessary or can be achieved).

==> One must step back and patiently find those points. One good start is to agree that both sides are well-intentioned. ==>

I agree.

176. Dikran Marsupial says:

Richard wrote “I’m glad we agree that climate models are parameterized, and that these parameterizations need not be stable over time. I’m glad we agree that climate models are parameterized, and that these parameterizations need not be stable over time.”

Richard extrapolates quite a lot from ATTPs “Good thing noone said this then.”!

Note that just because the parameterisations may change, doesn’t mean that the physics being parameterised is mutable.

“That of course make climate models much more like economic models.”

No, because the physical processes being parameterised are (more or less) fixed, whereas the worlds economic system clearly is not.

I wonder if Richard has read the most recent post?

177. “As the immediate uptake by the oceans is largely governed by the difference between the atmospheric CO2 concentration and the concentration in the surface ocean, I think it is rather unlikely that the uptake will continue at a similar rate for very long.”
.
It is not so simple as that. If you look at the geographical distribution of net ocean uptake (see for example figure #5 here: http://www.pnas.org/content/94/16/8292.full.pdf), it is clear that the uptake is not at all uniform across the ocean, but is dominated by a few areas of deep convection.
.
As to how long that will continue: there is no simple answer. It will depend in part on if the overturning rate changes significantly or not.

178. Steve,
Nothing is ever simple. However, I think Dikran’s point is generally correct. We’d expect the uptake to depend on both the atmospheric concentration and the concentration in the upper ocean. Therefore sustaining an uptake rate of 15GtCO2 if atmospheric CO2 remains fixed seems unlikely since the upper ocean will tend towards equilibrium with the atmosphere.

179. Dikran Marsupial says:

stevefitzpatrick note the use of the word “largely”, pointing out that it is not uniform doesn’t change the fact that the total uptake is principally determined by the (average) difference in concentrations. It is total uptake that matters.

180. bobcobbblog,
Essentially, yes. The current position is that about 20-30% of what we’ve emitted will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years (or, more correctly, the enhancement in atmospheric CO2 relative to pre-industry will be equivalent to 20-30% of what we’ve emitted). If we were to halt all emissions, atmospheric concentrations would decay exponantially towards this new level, with an e-folding time of 100-200 years (i.e., the enhance would drop by 1/e every 100 – 200 years). So, the higher the concentration when we stop emitting, the faster it will initially drop. However, if we fix the atmospheric concentration at this high level, then we wouldn’t expect this uptake to remain high as the upper ocean comes into equilibrium with the atmosphere.

181. ” I think Dikran’s point is generally correct.”

Did you look at figure 5 in Takahashi et al? For regions of the ocean where there is a well defined mixed layer (typically 50 to 100 meters deep) equilibration with the air is fairly fast for that mixed layer, and so yes, will “saturate” pretty quickly if atmospheric concentration were held constant. But Takahashi’s global map shows those regions do not absorb much CO2 (the tropical Pacific actually emits quite a lot of CO2 due to warming of up welling water). The well mixed layer layer represents a small volume fraction of the total ocean volume (a few percent at most). The long term capacity for absorption will be dominated by the dominant volume, which is below 100 meters.
From the IPCC TAR:”The oceanic regions absorbing the largest quantities of anthropogenic CO2 according to models are those where older waters come in contact with the atmosphere, such as high latitudes and upwelling regions of the equator. In contrast, modelled sub-tropical regions rapidly saturate at atmospheric CO2 level and do not absorb large quantities of anthropogenic CO2 (Sarmiento et al., 1992; Orr et al., 2001).”
I’m not sure what to make of the comment on equatorial up welling… since this water clearly releases CO2 as it warms (it is much higher in dissolved CO2 than ocean water at ~26-28C in contact with the atmosphere). The rest of the statement seems perfectly OK. Areas of deep convection do most of the absorption.

182. Steve,
I’ve no idea how that suggests that the oceans will be able to maintain a rapid uptake rate.

183. Dikran Marsupial says:

” The well mixed layer layer represents a small volume fraction of the total ocean volume (a few percent at most). The long term capacity for absorption will be dominated by the dominant volume, which is below 100 meters.”

The well mixed layer does indeed represent a small fraction of the total volume, but the ocean is stratified and the mixed layer essentially insulates the deep ocean from the atmosphere, so there is no direct exchange between them, except where there are deep ocean upwellings (and presumably the opposite where there are downwellings). I rather doubt that Takahashi’s figure 5 is showing upwellings; the North Atlantic for example seems unlikely to be upwelling across much of its volume, in which case the sink is caused by the uptake into the mixed layer.

I am not a carbon cycle researcher, but my guess would be that the Gulf stream takes warm water from the tropics North and East, where it cools and hence its CO2 solubility increases, and then transports some of that to the deep ocean as it sinks as part of the thermo-haline circulation. However that is just my intuition. Note there seems to be something similar in the North Pacific.

184. @wotts
I do not want economic models to be more like climate models. I quite like the approach to modelling taken in economics.

The whole point about parameterization is, of course, that it is approximate physics, rather than physics, and that any approximation is local.

185. Dikran Marsupial says:

BTW ” The long term capacity for absorption will be dominated by the dominant volume, which is below 100 meters.”

yes, note “long term” – however we are not talking about what will happen in the long term (hundreds to thousands of years in this case), but the short-medium term where uptake is governed by uptake into the mixed layer.

186. Dikran Marsupial says:

Richard wrote “The whole point about parameterization is, of course, that it is approximate physics, rather than physics, and that any approximation is local.”

So what? The gas laws are “approximate physics”, being the statistical consequences of the physics of the individual molecules, but at the appropriate level of abstraction they give the same answers as simulating the underlying physics You are just playing games Richard.

It is also not true that approximations are necessarily local.

187. Richard,

The whole point about parameterization is, of course, that it is approximate physics, rather than physics

In a sense, everything is approximate physics. We’re trying to use physics to understand a physical system. Sometimes you can try to solve things self-consistently (navier-stokes equations) but even they’re approximate in that they can’t capture everything at all scales (both spatial and temporal) and sometimes you need to include parametrizations so as to represent sub-grid physics.

I do not want economic models to be more like climate models. I quite like the approach to modelling taken in economics.

You seem to be now saying that ecomomic models aren’t like climate models.

188. The gas laws are “approximate physics”, being the statistical consequences of the physics of the individual molecules

Yes, good point. I should have noticed that myself.

189. @wotts
Exactly. Some climate models approximate the tropics really well, and other models do well in the climate of the 1970s. Unfortunately, although we have a good idea about the in-sample forecast error, the out-of-sample forecast error is unknown as we do not know whether or how the quality of the parameterizations changes over time.

In that sense, climate models are like economic models.

In another sense, the models are as dissimilar as can be. Economic models are designed for insight. Physicists often refer to this as “conceptual models” — which I understand is somewhat of a derogative term among climate scientists. Economists would refer to climate models as “operational”, which is similarly considered to be an insult.

190. Dikran Marsupial says:

Richard wrote “Unfortunately, although we have a good idea about the in-sample forecast error, the out-of-sample forecast error is unknown as we do not know whether or how the quality of the parameterizations changes over time.”

This isn’t actually true. For instance we have the CMIP3 model archive for which we now have increasingly large amounts of “out-of-sample” data.

” Economic models are designed for insight. Physicists often refer to this as “conceptual models” — which I understand is somewhat of a derogative term among climate scientists.”

I don’t think this is true, climatologists do use models to gain insight (here, for example).

Can Richard provide an example of a climate scientist using the term “conceptual model” in a clearly derogative manner?

191. Eli Rabett says:

Richard Tol: The whole point about parameterization is, of course, that it is approximate physics, rather than physics, and that any approximation is local.

Actually not. The second law of thermodynamics is an excellent example. It simply does not work at the microscopic (local) level where it falls victim to Loschmidt’s paradox. Parameterization works much better where you can smooth out the details over a large region of whatever. The transition from quantum to classical behavior is a great example of this

192. Tol,

Not being an academic in either field I can only guess that perhaps physicists don’t properly appreciate the challenges of attempting to model human herd behaviour.

It’s certainly not helpful when journalists unwittingly imply that physical systems can make different decisions based on the same set of inputs.

193. Yay, we have a decade of forecast errors for a centennial problem …

194. Dikran Marsupial says:

Richard does this mean that you would agree that the error of a decadal projection does not give a useful guide as to its ability to make centennial scale projections?

Reminder #1 “Can you provide an example of a climate scientist using the term “conceptual model” in a clearly derogative manner?”

195. I think it means we need to wait a century before deciding whether or not there’s a problem that needs to be addressed over the next century.

196. Willard says:

> [A]ny approximation is local.

Small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, take note.

Speaking of which:

Parameterization

There are certain physical processes that act at a scale much smaller than the characteristic grid interval (e.g. clouds and turbulence). And if the complete physics of these processes, for example, clouds, were to be computed explicitly at each time step and at every grid-point, the huge amount of data produced would swamp the computer. These processes cannot be eliminated, so simplifying equations are developed to represent the gross effect of the many small-scale processes within a grid cell as accurately as possible. This approach is called parameterization. There is a lot of research going on to devise better and more efficient ways for incorporating these small scale processes into climate models.

http://www.wmo.int/pages/themes/climate/climate_models.php

197. “I’ve no idea how that suggests that the oceans will be able to maintain a rapid uptake rate.”

Hummm. You and dikran both said that the rate of absorption would fall precipitously if the rate of atmospheric increase were to fall or if the atmospheric concentration were nearly constant; in other words, that the total uptake is dominated by a relatively rapid uptake by the surface layer (which as the marsupial noted) is fairly well isolated, at least on decadal time scales, from deeper water (below ~100 meters) except where there is deep convection. What I am trying to point out is that if you look at the measurements of dissolved CO2, the total uptake appears to be dominated by regions of deep convection, not by by the (relatively) stratified surface layer. It is clear that whatever ocean absorption takes place in the surface layer would be expected to fall if the concentration of atmospheric CO2 were rising less quickly (or nearly constant). However, the portion which is due to deep convection is not likely to fall quickly if the atmospheric concentration were constant, or nearly constant. So a substantial portion of the ocean uptake would continue for a long time. BTW, I don’t think this is controversial.

marsupial: I am pretty sure a substantial portion (a majority) of both the gulf stream flow and the Kuroshio current do not participate in the thermohaline overturning, but instead return south along the western coasts of North America and Europe. The regions of deep convection are outside of the flow path of the North Atlantic gyre. The Gulf stream near Florida is about 30 million cubic meters per second, but entrained water from the North Atlantic gyre increases the total flow near Newfoundland to about 150 million cubic meters per second. Much of the northward transported heat is likely from the warm Florida part of the stream.

Of course, the ocean currently contributes only about half the total CO2 uptake (the rest is land plants). Any projection of atmospheric response to a change in emissions needs to include both.

198. Dikran Marsupial says:

steve wrote ” You and dikran both said that the rate of absorption would fall precipitously if the rate of atmospheric increase were to fall or if the atmospheric concentration were nearly constant”

No, I didn’t (and I don’t think ATTP said that either), that is hyperbole on your part.

199. Dikran Marsupial says:

stevefitzpatrick wrote “What I am trying to point out is that if you look at the measurements of dissolved CO2, the total uptake appears to be dominated by regions of deep convection”

almost the entire North Atlantic is dominated by deep convection?

I wrote “where it cools and hence its CO2 solubility increases, and then transports some of that to the deep ocean as it sinks as part of the thermo-haline circulation.”

steve wrote ” I am pretty sure a substantial portion (a majority) of both the gulf stream flow and the Kuroshio current do not participate in the thermohaline overturning, but instead return south along the western coasts of North America and Europe. ”

You don’t appear to be reading what is written very well. Most notably you seem to have completely ignored the point about the majority of the North Atlantic being unlikely to be a region where the deep ocean upwells to the surface, and yet you spend a paragraph on this minutiae, which was already accommodated in what I actually wrote.

So, is it your position that the bulk of the North Altantic (from about 40 north) is a region where there is a lot of upwelling of water from the deep ocean. A yes or no would be appreciated, followed by an explanation if necessary.

200. Steve,

You and dikran both said that the rate of absorption would fall precipitously

Ummm, no. You suggested that to get atmospheric concentrations to peak would (in the case of RCP4.5) only require getting emissions to something close to 15GtCO2 rather than close to 0. My suggestion is that this is not the case and that even getting emissions to 15GtCO2 would still produce a rise in atmospheric concentration and that getting emissions to peak would require a continued reduction in emissions.

201. Richard,

we have a decade of forecast errors for a centennial problem …

Yes, this is kind of the point. Claiming, for example, that models have failed/been falsified on the basis of a decade is probably jumping the gun.

202. stevefitzpatrick says:

No, there is not likely much net “upwelling”, only fairly deep convective mixing. Measurements have consistently shown quite deep penetration of both excess CO2 and tracer compounds (eg CFC’s) in that region of the Atlantic, extending well down the thermocline, which extends up to ~1.5 Km deep in the temperate North Atlantic north of about 40 degrees), while the deepest penetration (and highest dissolved CO2 concentrations) are found at much higher latitudes where bottom water is formed. The highest uptake rates in the Takahashi diagram do correspond with the regions with the deepest convective flow.

203. stevefitzpatrick says:

“My suggestion is that this is not the case and that even getting emissions to 15Gt CO2 would still produce a rise in atmospheric concentration and that getting emissions to peak would require a continued reduction in emissions.”

I think you mean “getting atmospheric concentrations to peak”, not emissions.

In any case, I was was was only arguing that the level of emissions needed to see a peak in atmospheric concentrations is not ‘close to zero’, which is where this started, when you said:

“You do realise that for atmospheric CO2 to peak, the current evidence suggests that net anthropogenic emissions would need to get to zero (or pretty close to zero)?”

I dispute that is true, and I think the evidence is pretty clear: some level of emissions below 15 Gton per year emitted CO2, but well above zero, would cause the atmospheric concentration to start falling. Yes, if you want to ensure the atmospheric level continues to fall in the long term, then emissions would have to continue to fall at some (uncertain) rate, but seeing a peak in atmospheric concentration does not require approaching zero emissions. I had pretty much this same argument with Micheal Tobis years ago; it’s déjà vu all over again.

204. Steve,

I think you mean “getting atmospheric concentrations to peak”, not emissions.

Indeed.

I think the evidence is pretty clear: some level of emissions below 15 Gton per year emitted CO2, but well above zero

Then why not provide it? So far we have getting to 15GtCO2 does not lead to a peak in concentration. We also seem to agree that getting concentrations to continue falling would require continued reductions in emissions, which is essentially what I’ve been suggesting.

I had pretty much this same argument with Micheal Tobis years ago; it’s déjà vu all over again.

Indeed, there is a great deal of recursion in this debate. Personally, if you’ve argued with MT and still think you’re right, then I doubt there’s much point in me trying.

205. Steve,
On the off-chance that you aren’t trying to engage in a form of sophisty, I accept that one could construct a possible emission pathway in which the concentration would peak while emissions are still arguably not close to zero and in which one could reduce emissions at a rate that mean that concentrations did fall, but slowly. However, it is my understanding that if we want concentrations to stop rising, we would need to get emissions pretty close to zero. See, this, for example.

206. “On the off-chance that you aren’t trying to engage in a form of sophisty”

I never engage in sophistry.

“I accept that one could construct a possible emission pathway in which the concentration would peak while emissions are still arguably not close to zero and in which one could reduce emissions at a rate that mean that concentrations did fall, but slowly.”

On this we agree.

207. I never engage in sophistry.

I suspect most think this of themselves.

You still haven’t really attempted to quantify your claim here. Getting atmospheric concentrations (edit: corrected) to peak is likely to require a substantial reduction in emissions (probably more than 66% relative to today). How do you imagine we could do so by (as you seemed to suggested) 2060 given that we appear not to be doing very much to reduce emissions at the moment?

208. Willard says:

Trying to find where MT and SteveF may have discussed this, I stumbled upon the only post mentioning SteveF at P3, which leads to this argument:

It is really pretty simple: anybody who believes that CO2 driven warming presents a serious threat to humanity ought not be regularly jetting off (with enormous CO2 emissions!) to exotic destinations like Tahiti for climate science conferences.

https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/yes-we-can-communicate/#comment-12409

This tu quoque may very well be fallacious, in which case there would indeed be at least an instance where SteveF indulged into some kind of sophistry.

209. How do you imagine we could do so by (as you seemed to suggested) 2060 given that we appear not to be doing very much to reduce emissions at the moment?

US emissions have fallen 12% in just 10 years while not doing very much. Most of the developed world is similar.

210. Steven Mosher says:

“I will try in the next few weeks to show in a post at Lucia’s that at least some models can be rejected with fairly high confidence.”

This is a fun one. note the isolated areas where a single grid cell cools over a 100 year period while magically the area just adjacent does not. same thing for speckled warming areas.

remember this is a 100 year trend map

http://static.berkeleyearth.org/graphics/figure43.pdf

211. bobcobbblog says:

[Peddling. -W]

212. Joshua says:

An interesting juxtaposition:

==> When someone lacks their own competence to understand something, they automatically adopt the POV of their social group.[…] Adoption of the POV that is compliant with that of your peers is everywhere, in every human group, and in every human activity. ==>

and

==> Of course physics has nothing to do with what climate scientists do/act; I suggested nothing like that. I thought the general issue here was effective communication. That is what I was addressing. Advocates for a position must be credible to be effective. ==>
So, people generally adopt a position in association with their social group…but…the behavior of climate scientists is what “causes” people to disagree with them. Apparently, those people who disagree with climate scientists about climate science aren’t formulating their opinions in association with their group, but because of how climate scientists behave (and, notably, irrespective of the physics).

————————-

It occurs to me that it could be that people who align with a particular social group evaluate climate scientists’ behavior, just like they evaluate climate scientists’ science, on the basis of their own social groups… In other words, maybe it isn’t climate scientists’ behaviors that drive others’ opinions of their work, but social orientation that drives others’ opinions about their work and their behaviors.

But I’ve been told that I’m not capable or valid reasoning….so I guess I have to just dismiss that possibility. I should probably just go with the opinions of those who are more capable of reasoning than I – even when the opinions they express aren’t logically coherent.

213. Joshua says:

Sorry, I forgot to add this quote to help lay out the interesting juxtaposition (my bold).

==> Tom can speak for himself, of course, but IMO if those things are even partially true, then they are exactly the kinds of behaviors which cause people to not trust the accuracy of the message. ==>

I note the similarity with Ron’s reasoning in this thread.

214. Steven Mosher says:

“I never engage in sophistry.”

If you talk about the way you talk, you are engaging in sophistry.

Willard will be along to explain.

215. Indeed, there is a great deal of recursion in this debate.

Indeed, indeed.

The idea that we could dump copious amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and be relatively confident that the huge ocean sink would buffer it held some sway back, oh, before Revelle and Keeling set up shop on Mauna Loa.

At emissions levels about half of 15 GtCO2, atmospheric concentrations were rising fast back in the 1950’s. And from ice cores we now know they concentrations were earlier inexorably rising in response to emission levels a fraction of even that.

But now, in 2016, Steve F is here to explain that they wouldn’t go up if we could just get back to 15 GtCO2 because oceans.

Got it. Riiiiiiight.

Recursion, indeed.

216. bobcobbblog says:

Physics,
Sorry about that one (got a little off-focus there). Anyway, you posted that article from Transformation about conflict within groups of scientists. I found it an interesting read, but I was curious as to your thoughts on that 6C part? I have some doubts about that, considering that they only sampled a small size.

217. By the way, just to throw a spanner into some “magic oceans!” paradigms of the carbon cycle… What would happen if we were able to to suddenly, somehow remove a big of the extant stock of atmospheric carbon?: Compensatory CO2 outgassing from the oceans.

Hansen (2013). (many other cites possible)

Under equilibrium conditions a negative CO2 pulse, i.e., artificial extraction and storage of some CO2 amount, decays at about the same rate as a positive pulse (Fig. 4A). Thus if it is decided in the future that CO2 must be extracted from the air and removed from the carbon cycle (e.g., by storing it underground or in carbonate bricks), the impact on atmospheric CO2 amount will diminish in time. This occurs because carbon is exchanged among the surface carbon reservoirs as they move toward an equilibrium distribution, and thus, e.g., CO2 out-gassing by the ocean can offset some of the artificial drawdown. The CO2 extraction required to reach a given target atmospheric CO2 level therefore depends on the prior emission history and target timeframe, but the amount that must be extracted substantially exceeds the net reduction of the atmospheric CO2 level that will be achieved.

218. Willard says:

Dear bob,

Please make sure to take the same handle here as in all your other ClimateBall ™ contributions elsewhere. Also note that Just Asking Questions can become boring, more so if it’s to play the “but CAGW” card.

Thank you for your concerns.

219. @wotts
“Claiming, for example, that models have failed/been falsified on the basis of a decade is probably jumping the gun.”

Er. Don’t Type I and Type II errors have a different standard of proof?

220. bobcobbblog says:

Willard, what are you talking about?

221. Richard,

Er. Don’t Type I and Type II errors have a different standard of proof?

I don’t think proof has anything to do with this.

222. Dikran Marsupial says:

stevefitzpatrick thank you for answering the question, I was looking into this last evening and it is an interesting subject. “Measurements have consistently shown quite deep penetration of both excess CO2 and tracer compounds (eg CFC’s) in that region of the Atlantic, extending well down the thermocline, which extends up to ~1.5 Km deep in the temperate North Atlantic north of about 40 degrees),”

I suspect then that the uptake of CO2 is likely to fall following a cessation of emissions at the same sort of rate as the most basic estimates of the adjustment time (i.e. decades). This is not staying constant.

steve wrote “I never engage in sophistry.”

However you misrepresent what others have written “precipitously” and do not acknowledge or apologise for having done so when it is pointed out. That is something that would be expected from sophists, so it shouldn’t be too surprising, if others now have that impression of you. Sadly this sort of thing is all too common on climate blogs, where nobody can admit to being wrong (note my intuition about the North Atlantic was not correct).

223. Dikran Marsupial says:

Richard Tol “Er. Don’t Type I and Type II errors have a different standard of proof?”

Ignoring the fact that you can’t prove, I would say it depends on the costs associated with Type I and Type II errors, and also whether you were arguing for or against the hypothesis. For example those claiming that there is warming based on a measured trend (not that climatologists do that, they also have physics on their side), then the onus is on them to demonstrate H0 (no underlying trend) can be rejected. If on the other hand a skeptic wants to claim the physics is wrong purely on the basis of an observed trend, then they need to show that H1 is unsupportable (not that they ever do that). It is called “self-skepticism” and is an important part of science.

Reminder #1 Richard does this [“Yay, we have a decade of forecast errors for a centennial problem”] mean that you would agree that the error of a decadal projection does not give a useful guide as to its ability to make centennial scale projections?”

Reminder #2 Can you provide an example of a climate scientist using the term “conceptual model” in a clearly derogative manner?

224. TE,

US emissions have fallen 12% in just 10 years while not doing very much. Most of the developed world is similar.

I don’t think this really illustrates that we can reduce emissions by ~70% by the mid-2050s.

225. BBD says:

How many times now has TE peddled the (false and misleading) claim that US emissions / developed world emissions are a meaningful index of future global emissions growth?

Since we all of us know that this reflects only an export of emissions to China and latterly the faltering state of the global economy, perhaps TE could move on to some other tactic now?

226. BBD,
Indeed, but I do find this whole apparent strategy quite interesting. The steps appear to go something like this.

1. Climate sensitivity will probably be low.

2. Even if it isn’t, we’ll reduce emissions fairly soon anyway.

3. The oceans will maintain a high uptake rate when we do reduce emissions, so we don’t really need to reduce them all that much.

4. rinse and repeat.

Etc.

This is probably all already included in Willard’s Contrarian matrix.

227. BBD says:

I hope Joshua won’t mind me borrowing his phrase, but it’s all just more of the same ol’ same ol’.

1/ Contrary to the majority of scientific evidence

2/ Contrary to all indications

3/ So how did we get to 400ppm in the first place? (excellent point by Rust, above)

4/ Rinse and repeat

Contrarianism is such hard work. There’s just so much evidence to blank out, all the time.

228. Willard says:

> [W]hat are you talking about?

Hope this helps.

229. bobcobbblog says:

[Thank you for your lukewarm concerns, Bob. Neven sends his regards -W]

230. Joshua says:

BBD –

Actually, I’ve never said “more” of the same ol’ same ol’. I like the additions of “more.” Or perhaps even, same ol’ same ol’ same ol’.

231. Okay, what’s going one here? The point about the US is that a 12% reduction since 2005 is not really evidence that globally we can easily reduce emissions by ~70% by the mid-2050s. Of course, all emission reductions help and maybe we can indeed do so. My issue is with the idea that it’s kind of happening already (when it’s clear that global emissions are not reducing) and that somehow we’ll manage it without really trying to do so. The developing world is going to want more energy and the developed world would like to maintain current standards. Managing to do both while also reducing emissions is – as far as I can tell – not going to be easy.

232. BBD says:

[Snip. -W]

Chinese emissions are substantially driven by exports. The developed world uses China as its workshop. US, EU Japanese etc emissions have fallen manufacturing has been relocated to China.

Yes, the US has seen some emissions reduction from fracking but far more from the economic slump. No, these won’t last. No, I’m not using the *facts* to ‘crap on’ US emissions evolution. But anyone pretending that exported emissions isn’t *the* major player is misrepresenting the facts.

The US is reponsible for by far the largest share of China’s export-generated emissions:

Recent suggestions that China’s emissions are falling may be inaccurate.

233. BBD says:

Atmospheric sampling of CO2 is far more reliable than nationally-reported (or estimated) emissions data, which flatly counters the rhetoric:

234. BBD says:

The US is reponsible for by far the largest share of China’s export-generated emissions:

235. BBD says:

ATTP

My issue is with the idea that it’s kind of happening already (when it’s clear that global emissions are not reducing) and that somehow we’ll manage it without really trying to do so.

Mine too, because it is nothing more than ideologically motivated cant.

236. Joshua says:

–snip–

HUMES: They call it bunker fuel. And it’s basically the stuff that’s left over after you’ve refined everything of value out of petroleum. And these ships – these big container ships don’t burn it by the gallon. They burn it by the ton. You know, and they can go through 200 tons of this stuff in a day sailing. And the emissions from it are horrific. It’s the consistency of asphalt. You could actually walk on this fuel when it’s in the tank. But they heat it up so that it becomes a fluid. And then they can burn it. And there’s 6,000 total in the worldwide fleet.

If you take 160 of them, the emissions from just those vessels, of the type of emissions that cause smog and particulate pollution, those 160 mega ships will be the equivalent of the emissions of all the cars in the world. And that’s just a tiny fraction of the worldwide fleet. Together, the cargo fleet generates about 2 to 3 percent of world carbon emissions, which would – if that fleet were a country, it would put them in the top 10 emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. In fact, it would put it ahead of Germany – the fourth-largest economy in the world.

So they are prodigious polluters. And the oddest thing about this is that it’s all off the books when we look at countries and businesses’ carbon footprints because for it to count in the global assessment of carbon pollution, it has to belong to a country. But when these ships are at sea and beyond national boundaries, their emissions aren’t part of that accounting. So this tremendous impact doesn’t even figure in our calculations about, for instance, the carbon footprint of a product or a country or a business.

–snip–

237. BBD says:

Joshua

Yes, everyone forgets about bunker – and how much of it gets used exporting Chinese manufactured goods back to the places that once used to make them themselves. A very good point.

* * *

Thanks for letting me borrow your leitmotif and even modify it slightly 🙂

238. Windchaser says:

Okay, what’s going one here? The point about the US is that a 12% reduction since 2005 is not really evidence that globally we can easily reduce emissions by ~70% by the mid-2050s.

Even if just focusing on the US…well, here are the numbers:

A 12% reduction in 10 years is -1.27% per year.
A further reduction in emissions to 30% of emissions (from 88%) by 2050 is -3.12% per year. That rate is 2.5x as high.

Conclusion: no, not really comparable. It’s pretty damn clear that you’d need something special to happen in order to kick the emission reduction rate up that high. Cold fusion, perhaps, or a carbon tax.

239. Steven Mosher says:

“The US is reponsible for by far the largest share of China’s export-generated emissions”

Yes. For example when we decided to switch our manufacturing from the us to China
The math and risks were clear. Regulation ,the promise of more regulation, taxes and the promise of higher taxes , wages and the promise of higher wages made the decision simple. Build in china then 21 days on a boat.

Unintended consequences. We shipped our emmisions to china. Now folks need to be a bit smarter. I doubt they will be.

240. Joshua says:

==> The math and risks were clear. Regulation ,the promise of more regulation, taxes and the promise of higher taxes , wages and the promise of higher wages made the decision simple. Build in china then 21 days on a boat.

You are missing some terms in your calculus. For example, you fail to account for financial engineering, whereby short term rewards are differentially pursued because they bring financial benefits to the financial engineers. The pattern of profitability growing even as wages don’t is another factor. The ability of the “elite” to leverage financial sector growth, leading to a massive shift of resources towards that sector is another factor.

241. Ron Graf says:

Ron: ” One must step back and patiently find those points. One good start is to agree that both sides are well-intentioned.”

Joshua: “I agree.”

I am hoping that you meant you agreed that both sides are generally equally well-intentioned and not if both sides well-intentioned. In any case, I applaud us all for taking the time and concern to educate ourselves on the subject. After all, it’s a lot of work without pay or thanks. I think the motivations can only be good. Wouldn’t the purely self-interested likely finding a lighter activity? It is true that we get caught up in proving our staked positions but I hope we can all stay positive in our assumptions about the other. I think it often seem our opponent is “engaged in sophistry.” More likely just over-reaching or repeated something created by the tribe. But that is why it is good to talk to people outside of the echo chamber. Insulation of ideas from scrutiny is unhealthy and happens all the time inside boardrooms, offices of heads of state, university campuses and even some blog sites.

Steven Mosher, probably of the most evenly distributed opinion of anyone on climate, (not a high hurdle,) commented a few weeks ago at Lucia’s that he wanted to see more constructive and respectful exchanges. I think everyone can buy into that. Hey, Willard you’re doing a better and better job on the moderation. Keep it up, and sorry for my “shirt ripping.”

242. Ron Graf says:

Joshua:

The pattern of profitability growing even as wages don’t is another factor. The ability of the “elite” to leverage financial sector growth, leading to a massive shift of resources towards that sector is another factor.

Do you believe in the possibility that there is a completely different POV of the same economic facts and dynamic that you provided, one that provides moral justification? If you are open to that possibility I am open to taking a crack at revealing it.

Best Regards,
R

243. “You are missing some terms in your calculus. For example, you fail to account for financial engineering, whereby short term rewards are differentially pursued because they bring financial benefits to the financial engineers.”

1. Err NO, the short term rewards were foremost in our calculations.
2. Any long term rewards would get a discount.

This is not that hard. In fact we told folks that this is exactly what would happen.
Only those who denied the laws of economics missed it.
You told us that developing countries should get a pass on doing their part reducing c02
That told us they would not have to pay for their emissions. From our standpoint
that was a good thing. You told us that we may face tougher regulations, hiigher taxes,
higher wages for for the guys working the lines. So we did the rational thing to maximize
the short term returns. we shipped jobs to China, and then Vietnam, and then Indian if
we have to. We explained that this is what we would do. Then we did it. But deniers didnt listen. Maybe they had economic models that predicted that business would just absorb
the costs. Rule #1. Never absorb costs. Pass costs on to the next guy. If you cant
pass the costs on, then move your capital out of making things and put it somewhere else..

244. Ron Graf says:

Steven, I agree that private enterprise simply attempts to maximize profits and moving off shore is a long-term type investment in some markets and short-term necessity in others. The question: is globalization is good or bad for humanity in the long-term? Can we know? Should we try to know?

245. Steven Mosher says:

“The question: is globalization is good or bad for humanity in the long-term? Can we know? Should we try to know?”

How would I know. I was just asked to solve a problem, given a short time to do it and certain constraints. You solve the problem within those constraints. The solution was move off shore.
It wasn’t a hard problem.

246. Ron Graf,

The question: is globalization is good or bad for humanity in the long-term? Can we know? Should we try to know?

1) Depends on whom one asks. [1]
2) Maybe.
3) Definitely.

———————

[1] My opinons: Freshwater economists would likely say good. The saltwater schools would probably be split. The Austrian schools would be all for it. A stereotypical Green would say bad. Anyone who lost their collectively bargained high-paying manufacturing job over the past three decades would also say bad. You already answered what profit-motivated corporations would say.

The 77,868 billion dollar question is what would we do about it knowing the answer? Following the money, I think that mostly publicly-financed national elections would be a good start.

247. Willard says:

I don’t know about any 77,868 billion dollar question, but I know about a 14 million one:

Or is it a 60K question?

248. BBD says:

Steven

This is not that hard. In fact we told folks that this is exactly what would happen.
Only those who denied the laws of economics missed it.
You told us that developing countries should get a pass on doing their part reducing c02
That told us they would not have to pay for their emissions. From our standpoint
that was a good thing.

‘We’? ‘Our’?

As for your attempt to pretend that globalisation was an unintended consequence of emissions policy not yet even framed – let’s be polite and say that it is simply not true. But it does reveal just how determined you are to attack and discredit anything to do with emissions policy, so your comment was useful in the usual way.

249. Willard,

I was thinking nobody could be stupid enough to actually do this, but I would be wrong.

250. BBD,

On the plus side, the Chinese have figured out that powering their economy with coal really isn’t to their maximum benefit. At the rate our Congrisscritters are going, I might be more inclined to wager on the mercantilist-minded Politburo beating the US free market to zeroish emissions and then shipping their solutions to us … on bio-bunker-powered container ships of course.

251. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> I am hoping that you meant you agreed that both sides are generally equally well-intentioned and not if both sides well-intentioned. ==>

My impression is that people on “both sides” indent to advance admirable goals. That doesn’t mean, IMO, that both sides are well intentioned towards each other.

==> In any case, I applaud us all for taking the time and concern to educate ourselves on the subject.

I don’t know that I see people taking the time educating themselves so much spending time pursuing self-confirmation. Of course, there’s some mixture going on and people are getting learning as they pursue self-confirmation.

==> After all, it’s a lot of work without pay or thanks. I think the motivations can only be good. ==>

I dunno. Think of addicts. Do they do what they do because their motivations are good?

==> Wouldn’t the purely self-interested likely finding a lighter activity? ==>

I see little reason to think that people engaged in these exchanges are any more or any less “self–interested” than anyone else, on average.

==> It is true that we get caught up in proving our staked positions but I hope we can all stay positive in our assumptions about the other. ==>

I have rarely come across people in these discussions who have positive assumptions about those across the aisle. In fact, I think it is rather remarkable how often the baseline assumptions are almost entirely negative. Very frequently, the existence of that baseline assumption precludes any meaningful exchange (or probably, education)…which is why the question of “motivation” becomes so interesting. What is the “motivation” if meaningful exchange is precluded? I put motivation in quotes because I think that ultimately, people have admirable underlying motivations. But the more proximal drivers seem to me to be reflected in the identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors that predominately characterize exchanges from across the aisle.

==> I think it often seem our opponent is “engaged in sophistry.” More likely just over-reaching or repeated something created by the tribe. ==>

But why the tendency towards over-reach? Why the reflexive tribalism? If you’re discussing “motivations” then you have to ask why those behaviors manifest.

I will add, that repeated failure to answer direct questions and to address counterarguments manifests as a lost opportunity to disabuse interlocutors of their presumptions about sophistry.

==> But that is why it is good to talk to people outside of the echo chamber. Insulation of ideas from scrutiny is unhealthy and happens all the time inside boardrooms, offices of heads of state, university campuses and even some blog sites. ==>

Failing to answer questions, and failing to address counterarguments looks to be sub-optimal w/r/t counteracting the echo chamber effect. Talking to people outside the echo chamber is not sufficient in and of itself, as the same insulating habits can perpetuate in that circumstance.

252. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Do you believe in the possibility that there is a completely different POV of the same economic facts and dynamic that you provided, one that provides moral justification? If you are open to that possibility I am open to taking a crack at revealing it. ==>

I think that there are all kinds of moral justifications for all kinds of actions – and I’m not terribly inclined to pass judgement on other people’s moral justifications.

But I wasn’t making a moral assessment. I think it is simply a relatively objective fact that there has been a trend towards greater profitability alongside a concurrent trend towards flat wages, which has effectively concentrated wealth. I don’t see that trend as happenstance, but the result of deliberate engineering by elites in the financial sector. Business schools taught methods to achieve such results, and executives and the large-scale investors cultivated those methods.

My point was that those phenomena were a large part of the picture – where the was a large-scale shift from the manufacturing to the financial sector in the U.S., alongside the transfer of manufacturing activity from this country to China. I saw none of that reflected in Stevens “simple” “math” – which I think is a rather gaping hole.

253. Joshua says:

Anders – please delete my 1:42. I forgot that the less than sign plus equals signs result in formatting problems.

——————

Steven –

==> 1. Err NO, the short term rewards were foremost in our calculations.
2. Any long term rewards would get a discount. ==>

I’m not sure how your response follows from my comment. It seemed to me that you were describing a causal equation whereby taxes and regulation explained the transfer in manufacturing activity from the U.S. to China. I am saying that I think that there were other, important drivers.

==> If you cant
pass the costs on, then move your capital out of making things and put it somewhere else.. ==>

To some extent, that was largely my point. The paradigm was shifted away from a long-term business model where costs were compensated for over longer time periods and profits were distributed more widely throughout the community. A new model developed where profits could be realized with considerably less cost, and highly concentrated. The reasons for that paradigm shift weren’t only the presence of taxes and regulation, but also, to put it simply, the development of a new financial technology.

254. Ron Graf says:

Joshua: A new model developed where profits could be realized with considerably less cost, and highly concentrated.

There is no fundamentally new business model. Profitability is the bases of for-profit business. What changes are business landscapes. Globalization occurred from an alteration in multiple parameters including, open market ideology driven by national competition for trade and anti-protectionism, lowering of costs for global communication and transportation, and most of all, opening of a conduit to cheap labor, both skilled and unskilled.

IF there are villains then who is innocent? Did you continue to shop for underwear looking for the union label? Did anyone stop shopping at Walmart or Home Depot knowing their direct China supply chain? Are those individuals faulted for making decisions for the benefit of their families any more guilty than the executives forced to make competitive decisions for their companies? The world is complex. Seeing villains is too simple.

255. Ron Graf says:

[Snip.] I will attempt a summary of the week-long attempt to satisfactorily “answering the question.”

Anders’ post pointed to a new study making the claim that 1C effective climate sensitivity EfCS was plausible. Anders made the claim that it was not plausible based on a set of assumptions. I believe I demonstrated that those assumptions were in dispute in the science. I found out a week into the discussion that my facts had been pointed out to Anders even before his post by bloggers in the Bishop Hill post he was decided to write about.

Anders assumption that all warming is known factually to be AGW is incorrect. Not only did I demonstrate evidence of centennial and millennial variability, I pointed out a consensus study had provided strong empirical evidence that the sea surface temperature SST was at a 2000-year low (at the least) in and around 1700 after falling approximately 0.7C in about 500 years. The investigators published conclusion was that it was due to an unusually high frequency of major volcanic eruptions. Whereas the depression of the SST over hundreds of year, from negative radiative imbalance, would logically cause ocean heat content OHC to lower as well, likely to a 10K-year low. The Little Ice Age is thought to have been the coldest multi-century interval in 10K-years. I added to the author’s hypothesis the likelihood that a combination of events contributed to the cold including low solar activity and waning Milankovitch cycle. Whereas that last effect is still upon us, the other two being temporary would logically portent a rebound in global means surface temperature. Therefore a portion (at least) of the current positive radiative imbalance can be seen as a compensation for the negative imbalance from 1250-1800BCE.

On a separate and unrelated point I noted that although urban heat island effect UHIE is said by managers of the global land station historical indexes to not be a factor in biasing the index’s warming trend. However, I dispute this by demonstrating that UHI is a known and measurably significant effect in cities, where historically weather stations happened to be located. The argument by the consensus experts is that they have run statistical tests demonstrating that the warming trend of rural stations is approximately the same as the trend for urban ones. My rebuttal is that rather than proving a known effect does not exist the conclusion should be that the effect is a gradual one that affects all areas of the globe subject to land use changes. Hansen, according to Parker(2010), recognized this warming influence as AGW since it is anthropogenic. The fact that this influence is recognized in itself contradicts the statistical argument. Even if I agree with Hansen that this warming effect is anthropogenic I disagree that it is “climate change.” First, it is localized to very small areas relative to the globe, (as anoilman and others pointed out for a different reason.) And second, the warming effect is only at the land surface on still clear days and not the entire atmosphere on all days.

[Snip.]

My further point on UHI is that apparently there is methods available to study and quantify it directly to correct the land record for its bias, but this has yet to be done. I believe that if the land record was found to be biased by a significant amount, say 0.3C out of 1.3C over the 165years, this would place the ocean temperature index as suspect (more than it is) since the physics should expect land to be more responsive to AGW forcing than ocean, being only about 1/3 the surface heat capacity.

256. Joshua says:

==> There is no fundamentally new business model. Profitability is the bases of for-profit business.

I disagree. That a goal of profit is shared does not mean that the business models can’t be different. There are many types of business models, all of which focus on generating profit, at least to some extent. The shared attribute of a profit incentive doesn’t mean that the business models are the same.

As just one example, the model of taking on debt with the goal of increasing share prices, so as to increase the short-term income of financial managers, often at the expense of long-term sustainability derived from providing a differentiated product at a good price, is a relatively recent business develpment.

257. Joshua says:

[Snip.]

==> Globalization occurred from an alteration in multiple parameters including, open market ideology driven by national competition for trade and anti-protectionism, lowering of costs for global communication and transportation, and most of all, opening of a conduit to cheap labor, both skilled and unskilled. ==>

The new changes that came with globalization are not the only changes that have taken place. Globalization is not mutually exclusive with other market developments.

==> IF there are villains then who is innocent? […] Seeing villains is too simple. ==>

Is this directed at me? You asked a related question and I answered that I didn’t identify villains and innocents, yet you continue with this line of discussion regardless as if I didn’t provide you that answer?

Why did you do that? Is your goal to have a conversation?
.

258. Joshua says:

Ron –

Can you answer Steven’s point about the basic math related to your conclusions about the effect of UHI, in a relatively simple and straightforward manner? I have asked you to do so multiple times.

259. Willard says:

Here would be a new business model:

260. Ron Graf says:

Joshua: Why did you do that? Is your goal to have a conversation?

Sorry. I thought you saying that the growing income divide was somebodies fault or bad or something. Perhaps you can clarify. I would say the relevant metric is maximizing liberty and justice for all. If some choose to be government dependent or end up that way due to lack of incentives and opportunities perhaps regulation should be modified to adjust those parameters. I think the war on poverty by handing out checks is a counter-productive idea for humanity and the planet.

If I’m not mistaken Willard’s cartoon is poking Uber. In fact I would say the cause of the income gap is too high a barrier of entry for individuals. For one to leave the big business labor pool and become an entrepreneur is more difficult today then ever before. Uber and Ebay are the cracks in the regulatory armor protecting corporate interests. This is mostly unwitting by law makers and bureaucrats, but not so innocent by lobbyists. Smaller government could thus very well mean reversal of the income divide.

[Playing the ref.]

261. anoilman says:

I’m still waiting to see Ron begin to answer Steven’s question.

262. Ron,
Yes, I’d like to see you answer Steven’s question. Also, I covered the various possible ways in which ECS could be ~1K here and here and here.

263. Willard says:

[Joshua] Joshua: Why did you do that? Is your goal to have a conversation?

[RonG] I think the war on poverty by handing out checks is a counter-productive idea for humanity and the planet. […] Smaller government could thus very well mean reversal of the income divide.

Res ipsa loquitur.

264. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Sorry. I thought you saying that the growing income divide was somebodies fault or bad or something. ==>

Let’s recap a bit:

—————–

You said:

==> Do you believe in the possibility that there is a completely different POV of the same economic facts and dynamic that you provided, one that provides moral justification? If you are open to that possibility I am open to taking a crack at revealing it. ==>

To which I answered:

==> I think that there are all kinds of moral justifications for all kinds of actions – and I’m not terribly inclined to pass judgement on other people’s moral justifications.

But I wasn’t making a moral assessment. ==>

To which you responded:

==> IF there are villains then who is innocent? ==>

To which I responded:

==> Is this directed at me? You asked a related question and I answered that I didn’t identify villains and innocents, yet you continue with this line of discussion regardless as if I didn’t provide you that answer? ==>

In response to which, you apologized and then went on to elaborate about what you consider to be the moral justification for an enlarged areas of discussion: your views on income inequality and welfare.

———————

I see that as a problematic pattern of exchange. First, you’re inaccurately simplifying my beliefs (for the purpose of, it seems to me, to justify and proselytize your own moral taxonomy relative to your mistaken impressions about mine). Second, it looks like you’re not actually taking the opportunity for engaging in a discussion, or accounting for the inaccuracy in your understanding of my beliefs even when they are pointed out to you, but essentially leverage whatever it might be that I say in order to put forth your own ideological framework (which is why I said “proselytize”) which includes inaccurate assumptions about my beliefs.

And all of that comes at the expense of direct responses to the many, many points that I’ve raised, and the counterarguments that I’ve put forth to points that you’ve raised.

This isn’t a pattern that I particularly want to continue. I don’t get much out of such pattern of exchange. I keep allowing room for the pattern to change, but it seems to me that you repeatedly fail to do your part to change the pattern. It feels like a recursive loop with the following stages: (1) you write an opinion. (2) I respond to that opinion on point and with specific counter-opinions. (3) You don’t respond to my counter-opinions and either respond to a simplified and inaccurate misconception of my opinions or, off point, effectively ignore what I said completely to repeat your opinion or move onto explicating some other aspect of your opinion.

———————

Keep in mind that very few of the opinions that you’re offering aren’t in any way something new to me. They aren’t particularly unique, and in fact, relative to what I’ve already seen, they aren’t particularly sophisticated or elaborated (largely do the forum, no doubt).

So I’m not learning anything here, and in fact, I keep getting frustrated in my attempts to learn through interrogating the intersection of our differing views, because you repeatedly fail to take advantage of that opportunity to explore that intersection.

———————–

Now you made this request:

==> Perhaps you can clarify ==>

I’m not sure how I could clarify. I said that I’m not inclined towards moral justifications one way or the other. Not sure how to clarify that. It’s rather binary. It seems you might be asking me to clarify moral justifications that I said I’m trying not to make. Or perhaps you’re asking me to explain my views about income inequality, or you might be asking me to explain why I’m not inclined towards moral justifications – both of which I could clarify…but I have a few requests that I would make as a prerequisite.

(1) we work on establishing clear terms and definitions
(2) we try to avoid inaccurate assumptions and simplifications
(3) understanding that (2) will happen inevitably, we agree to address the potential for inaccuracies in our understanding
(4) we address counteraguments directly. Perhaps not all of them, but enough to make it clear that the predominating pattern includes addressing counter-arguments, as opposed to a pattern where counter-arguments typically are not addressed.

—————————

Now perhaps what I’m outlining is too tedious to follow, or what I’m suggesting as a way forward is too tedious to be of interest, but consider that as you assign responsibility for why communication between “consensus” scientists and members of the public who are “skeptics,” that the breakdowns in communication that I outline above are rather typical of the problems that occur in communication between people who have conflicting views.

I’m offering a framework for avoiding such a breakdown. Since you intend to have meaningful exchange from different points of view, you might consider whether utilizing such a framework might advance that goal.

——————-

Also keep in mind that in reading your technical exchange with others here, I can only parse the technical arguments – with the hope of discerning patterns that might help me to assess the quality of the technical arguments being presented (with an understanding of the limitations of such a reverse-engineering process). Now it looked to me like the pattern I outlined above was also evident in the technical exchanges you were having with others. But it’s rather difficult for me to parse the technical exchanges well-enough to be able to recognize such patterns accurately. And I always need to be aware of the influence of my own biases… whereby I’d be likely to attribute the causality behind problematic patterns of miscommunication in such a way as to confirm my own biases.

But I do have to wonder whether our exchange is evidence that enables me to better parse the technical exchanges you had with others. It seems to me that the same problematic patterns surfaced in our exchange. Of course, the problems in our exchange are no doubt, in part, my own doing as well. But I do think that there are some generic features of beneficial exchange between people with conflicting views, which I have been trying to get you to accommodate. To summarize, or perhaps restate:

(1) Don’t simplify unless there is a real need for simplification. When you simplify, check for accuracy.
(2) Respond, directly, to clarification of mistaken assumptions.
(3) Respond, directly, to counter-arguments
(4) Introduce new areas of focus in a deliberate fashion. Make sure to reach mutual understanding of the previous issue being discussed before advancing another issue – with an understanding that a failure to draw some closure around the previous issue of discussion can make a discussion feel rather pointless.

265. Joshua says:

Sorry, hoisted on my own double-negative…

Keep in mind that very few of the opinions that you’re offering aren’t are in any way something new to me.

266. Ron Graf says:

Anders’ ecs-1k/#comment-79672″

So, the two possibilities that I can see is that

1. The initial planetary energy imbalance was 1.9W/m^2, almost 3 times bigger than it is now.

2. We’ve actually only warmed by 0.53K, almost half what almost all estimates suggest.

3. I’ve made a silly mistake.

I wouldn’t rule out 3, but – if not – 1 and 2 seem highly unlikely.

Possibility 4. Forcing is not static. There is centennial and millennial natural variability.

Once volcanic aerosols cleared and solar activity turned to normal and any other temporary variability turned to a more statistically normal value which left resulted in an extremely high radiative imbalance. This would explain the warming in the early 20th century in the absence of much CO2 forcing.

Possibility 5. A combination of 1 and 2.

BTW, your post was May 13th. Your concession of alternative explanations made above was May 21st after a week of debate, just to keep in context.

267. Ron,

Possibility 4. Forcing is not static. There is centennial and millennial natural variability.

No, that’s all included in my comments. Forcings are – by definition – external.

Possibility 5. A combination of 1 and 2.

A massive “if”. All sorts of things are possible. What’s important is whether or not they’re probable. The more unlikely things you need to invoke in order to make your argument seem possible, the less likely it becomes. Remember that even the IPCC says that it’s extremely likely below 1K. It doesn’t say “impossible”.

BTW, your post was May 13th. Your concession of alternative explanations made above was May 21st after a week of debate, just to keep in context.

May later comment wasn’t really a concession of alternatives. It was showing how unlikely those alternatives are. In order for the ECS to be ~1K, you need various rather unlikely things to be true. My later comment is not somehow meant to replace my post. It was intended to re-inforce it.

268. Joshua says:

==> Remember that even the IPCC says that it’s extremely likely below 1K. It doesn’t say “impossible”.

Extremely unlikely?

269. Joshua,
Indeed, “extremely unlikely”. This is a key point. If Ron is simply trying to illustrate that it could be 1K, then not even the IPCC disagrees. What’s relevant, though (in my opinion) is how likely it is that it is ~1K. The answer, in my view and the view of the IPCC, is that it is extremely unlikely. You need to construct ever more unlikely scenarios in order to show that it could be this low.

270. Willard says:

> Possibility 4.

That one’s already taken, RonG:

I guess there is another possibility.

Estimates for the change in external forcing are very wrong. For ECS to be ~ 1K, for us to have warmed by 1K, and for us to still have a planetary energy imbalance of 0.7W/m^2 would imply

4. The change in external forcing is actually around 3.9W/m^2, almost twice the current best estimate.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/ecs-1k/#comment-79673

***

Since you follow times and lines, RonG, there’s an earlier comment by AT that starts thus:

It would still be interesting to see if Ron can recognise that an ECS ~ 1K means non-Planck feedbacks are 0, or even slightly negative.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/ecs-1k/#comment-79669

This comment was made on May 21, 2016 at 5:37 pm. A bit earlier (May 21, 2016 at 5:15 pm), AT also said to you:

Furthermore, you still have the problem of explaining how if non-Planck feedbacks are 0 the response to natural warming can produce a positive energy imbalance.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/ecs-1k/#comment-79664

Looking for “Planck” on the thread, I fail to see where you acknowledged this. Perhaps this explains why AT reiterates two days later (May 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm):

Here is the key point. If ECS is ~ 1K, then non-Planck feedbacks are essentially zero.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/ecs-1k/#comment-79902

***

This should be enough to show that you might not be in a position to play concession games, even “just to keep in context.”

271. Ron Graf says:

Joshua:

(1) Don’t simplify unless there is a real need for simplification. When you simplify, check for accuracy.
(2) Respond, directly, to clarification of mistaken assumptions.
(3) Respond, directly, to counter-arguments
(4) Introduce new areas of focus in a deliberate fashion. Make sure to reach mutual understanding of the previous issue being discussed before advancing another issue – with an understanding that a failure to draw some closure around the previous issue of discussion can make a discussion feel rather pointless.

On point #1 agree wholeheartedly. Simplifying with embedded invalid assumptions is what is commonly known as oversimplification. The more complex the subject the easier it is to do. It’s a hallmark of climate science and why I agree with the cliche – all analogies fail in climate science.

Point #2 Agreed – keep the exchange focused into parsing the disputed assumption.

Point #3 Acknowledging the other’s argument goes a long way to prevent talking past one another.

Point #4 Agreed – keep focused until resolution and avoid deflection by changing the subject.

[Shirt ripping. -W]

272. Ron Graf says:

Willard, regarding non-plank feedbacks, there is no physics that says they can’t be zero. In fact, this is exactly the claim of Lindzen and Choi (2009, 2011). The reason I did not respond to Anders’ question is that it was practically rhetorical since 1K ECS implies zero non-planck feedback be definition unless HITRAN lab is wrong and CO2 does not cause 1K ECS directly be plank effect.

On Steven Mosher’s question put to me, to remind, it was essentially how can I use UHI, a land record influence, to claim globalhistorical record bias. I answered it two-fold. First, part of the confirmation used to dismiss UHI bias from the land record, as Steven pointed out, was to show the land record is consistent with the expected physical response seen in the sea surface record. My point was then if the land record is proven to be biased then, using Steven’s “consensus” logic, then the sea record must also be biased. And, since the sea record is much less well sampled and accurate than the land record (before Argo 2005) the 155-yr older part of the sea record has little authority.

In addition to the above there is supporting empirical evidence of land record bias by the divergence of the land record from the satellite record, which since the beginning of 1979 is showing only 60% of the warming trend seen in the global land/sea record.

273. Ron,

Willard, regarding non-plank feedbacks, there is no physics that says they can’t be zero.

I’m not sure this is strictly true, but this is not the point. If non-Planck feedbacks are zero, then any warming should reduce the planetary energy imbalance. That is the point. Any internally-driven warming should radiate away in a year or so, and any warming beyond the equilibrium response should reduce the planetary energy imbalance. The observations are inconsistent with this (well, unless you invoke all sorts of unlikely things to argue against the observations too).

274. Willard says:

> In fact, this is exactly the claim of Lindzen and Choi (2009, 2011).

Indeed, and AT’s post had a whole paragraph on this, since it provided the lukewarm backbone to the new paper:

Fortunately, Andrew Dessler has already provided a rebuttal to an earlier version of the paper. Essentially, the new paper is based very heavily on Lindzen & Choi (2011) which has been heavily criticised. Lindzen & Choi (2011) used sea surface temperatures and satellite measurements of the TOA flux to try and determine the feedback response. They essentially concluded that the non-Planck feedbacks were 0, or negative. However they only considered the tropics (20S – 20N) and then assumed that the non-Planck feedbacks everywhere else where 0.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/ecs-1k

While your “but Lindzen too!” is duly noted, it falls short from acknowledging the implications of that assumption.

***

> [T]here is no physics that says they can’t be zero.

Neither does physics say anything about the impossibility of zombies.

275. snarkrates says:

Ron Graf,

[Snip.]

Do you really think it is likely that UHI and other errors make a difference of half a frickin’ degree not just in land temperatures but global temperatures?

[Snip.]

276. gator says:

@RonG. Re your post at June 9, 2016 at 1:42 am.
Heat is energy. It needs a home with heat capacity. If the oceans had cooled off during the 17th century then that heat is gone. It doesn’t “bounce back” like some magic rubber band. Internal variability is just saying “I dunno, it could happen…”

Time scales matter. You mention the Milankovitch cycle. Not only are we in a cooling phase, but those cycles occur on 10K’s of years, not hundreds. You need to find a plausible mechanism that operates quickly (100 yrs) and yet somehow also negates the known physics of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses.

Finally, UHI has been studied for a long time. Jeebus, even if you don’t want to read the journals, just look at Wikipedia. You can see a reference to a Prof. L. Myrup publishing a numerical analysis of UHI in 1969! UHI corrections (as well as a slew of other corrections) are in all the global temp curves. But also interestingly, many people have shown that the temperature trends are so great that only using “perfect” sites, a la Watts, makes very little difference in the final numbers. This was the big news a few years back when Watts was trying to promote the idea that global warming was simply air conditioners and bbqs next to weather stations.

277. Willard says:
278. Marco says:

“In addition to the above there is supporting empirical evidence of land record bias by the divergence of the land record from the satellite record, which since the beginning of 1979 is showing only 60% of the warming trend seen in the global land/sea record.”

They are pretty close, with certainly not a slope that is only 60% of the land record. RSS recently released a correction that increases its trend. And yes, UAH has gone the other way. It is noteworthy that you consider the supposed divergence evidence of land record bias, rather than a potential problem with the satellite record.

279. Ron Graf says:

ATTP:

… If non-Planck feedbacks are zero, then any warming should reduce the planetary energy imbalance. That is the point. Any internally-driven warming should radiate away in a year or so, and any warming beyond the equilibrium response should reduce the planetary energy imbalance. The observations are inconsistent with this (well, unless you invoke all sorts of unlikely things to argue against the observations too).

I don’t understand your argument. What about the observations imply the degree of non-plank feedback? Are we talking model “realizations” or real observations? If there is a method we can do this then we can extrapolate EfCS from these observations. If you are talking about the Lewis and Otto type EBM methods I believe they assume all warming is AGW, zero natural.

Gator:

Time scales matter. You mention the Milankovitch cycle. Not only are we in a cooling phase, but those cycles occur on 10K’s of years, not hundreds. You need to find a plausible mechanism that operates quickly (100 yrs) and yet somehow also negates the known physics of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses.

I addressed this. The authors of the consensus OCEAN2K study, part of the PAGES2K network, found that a temporary increase in large volcanic eruptions had the cumulative effect of driving down OHC and thus SST. There is also the Maunder Minimum solar issue, also temporary. There is also perhaps yet unknown low frequency ocean oscillations (I think likely since climate follow a red noise pattern generally, which means patterns repeat on all scales like fractals).

Heat is energy. It needs a home with heat capacity. If the oceans had cooled off during the 17th century then that heat is gone. It doesn’t “bounce back” like some magic rubber band. Internal variability is just saying “I dunno, it could happen…”

Climate follows a red noise pattern (Gaussian, cyclical) not a white noise pattern like you describe above. Remove the historic spurt of eruptions and solar inactivity and one is left with an ocean that is cooler and equilibrium, which creates a sharp imbalance when incoming radiation resumes at a higher (normal) level. Climate change messaging is much about what is normal. As you are aware, the normal state of NYC is being under a mile of ice if we are talking the last 2 million years.

280. Willard says:

> I addressed this.

Searching for “Milan” on this page, I find this mention:

I added to the author’s hypothesis the likelihood that a combination of events contributed to the cold including low solar activity and waning Milankovitch cycle.

Searching for “Milan” in that other thread, I only find two occurences, the second by O’Neill, the first by JohnM:

Of course, volcanoes are spiky random noise overlaid on Milankovtich cooling, plus the CO2 drop into 1600AD, as per Ruddiman.

Ruddiman’s figure:

***

> Climate follows a red noise pattern […]

ClimateBall ™ exchanges too. There’s even persistence. Nevertheless, it might be less suboptimal if we could stick to AT’s point for now:

If non-Planck feedbacks are zero, then any warming should reduce the planetary energy imbalance.

Reaching a common ground over this matters more than getting side-tracked by other lines in the Contrarian Matrix.

281. Ron,

Are we talking model “realizations” or real observations?

We’re talking about real observations. The result in the Bates paper is heavily based on the Lindzen & Choi work in which they regressed changes in surface temperature against change in TOA flux and concluded that the response was similar to the Planck response only. In other words, the non-Planck feedbacks were 0. This is why the Bates result is that the ECS is about 1K. Therefore, if you want to argue for an ECS close to 1K you’re essentially arguing that the non-Planck feedbacks are essentially 0. If so, this should apply to all forms of warming. Any internally-driven warming should therefore reduce the planetary energy imbalance, which appears inconsistent with the observations that we’ve warmed by about 1K and seen an increase in the planetary energy imbalance.

I should add that the results in the Lindzen & Choi papers have been heavily criticised and there are many papers that have attempted to determine the feedback response and conclude that the non-Planck feedbacks are not 0. In fact, most studies that have tried to assess this conclude that the overall feedback response is about 1.2W/m^2/K which would imply an ECS of 3.7/1.2 = 3.1K.

282. Ron Graf says:

ATTP:

Any internally-driven warming should therefore reduce the planetary energy imbalance, which appears inconsistent with the observations that we’ve warmed by about 1K and seen an increase in the planetary energy imbalance.

First of all, as you are aware, the energy balance for a given incoming energy has only to do with the TOA temperature. Thus changes in cloud formation, ocean overturning, lapse rate and precipitation (latent heat) all can change surface temperature relative to TOA. Secondly, I don’t understand how you are arguing if warming is internally forced when my argument is that (external) volcanic aerosols and solar variation are modern values relative to the extended lowering of the equilibrium ocean temperature through the last millennium, and thus contributing much of the imbalance. Thirdly, part of my argument was that warming may not have been 1C at all but 0.6C as implied by satellite trend or something in between.

283. Ron,
I’m not convinced you understand this very well. If you think the ECS is ~ 1K then that implies that non-Planck feedbacks (clouds, lapse rate, water vapour) average to about 0.

Thirdly, part of my argument was that warming may not have been 1C at all but 0.6C as implied by satellite trend or something in between.

Yes, which is why people would quite like you to answer Steven’s question, because your argument for this appear to ignore that for this to be true the land would have to not have warmed which goes against observations and the basic physics that suggests the land should warm faster than the oceans. However, even if it were 0.6K we would still not expect an increase in the planetary energy balance.

284. Ron Graf says:

ATTP, [Snip]

My first point was precisely that (clouds, lapse rate, water vapour) could net to zero, either in direct feedback to warming, indirectly or by random noise overpowering determinant potentials.

Re Steven Mosher’s question, I answered again fresh today here above.

…”for this to be true the land would have to not have warmed which goes against observations and the basic physics that suggests the land should warm faster than the oceans…”

My point in the above linked comment (you must have missed it) was that if it turned out that UHI was real and did not get properly adjusted for, and the two satellite indexes and radiosonde balloons are more representative of trend, then the ocean index would necessarily come under suspicion by the reverse of your stated logic. Oceans have the physical expectation of being less responsive than land.

” However, even if it were 0.6K we would still not expect an increase in the planetary energy balance.”

I’m hoping you can be more precise. I’ll give you my scenario.
1)1850 is 30 years after coming off a 10k-year OHC low at 1820
2) When the 1815 Tambora volcano erupts and produces the “year without a summer” it hardly makes a wiggle in the temp proxies at that point since the OHC is already so low. Temperature rises out of the Little Ice Age despite the waning M-cycle and increased albedo from advancing glaciation during LIA. This is before the burning of fossil fuel and thus is purely due to increase in solar activity and pause in major volcanic activity into 1850 (weather recording initiated).
3) The solar activity in 1850 is increasing and just 200 years off a multi-thousand-year low.
4) The GMST after 1850, also aided by the start of coal and kerosene burning but is kept in check by the albedo from the advanced polar ice and glaciers.
5) The 1883 Krakatoa eruption temporarily reverts the TOA imbalance to negative but again makes little impact on GMST since the OHC is already depressed.
6) 1890-1950 fossil fuel combustion Keeling Curve is slowly but geometrically rising to 300ppm but the major forcing behind the temp increase is not AGW, but a relative normalcy in volcanic and solar activity as the Arctic glaciation recedes.
7) 1950-1980 relative temperature stability as the AMO and PDO (ocean oscillation modes) cancels the weak but increasing AGW.
8)1980-1998 Satellite record is initiated as stronger AGW is now reinforced by positive cycle of AMO/PDO culminating with 1997-98 super El Nino.
9) 1998-2016 AGW at its strongest, solar fully active, volcanic average/light, albedo at weakest in several thousand years but AMO/PDO mostly cancel producing the pause followed by the 2015 super El Nino.

.

285. Willard says:

> My point in the above linked comment (you must have missed it) […]

I doubt AT missed it, RonG, since he responded to that comment here in a way to underline the basic tension between:

(a) assuming that warming may not have been 1C at all and
(b) claiming an UHI warming bias.

On the one hand, there’s very little warming. On the other, there’s too much warming. Warming seems to be playing a strange pea and thimble game in that story.

His latest sentence from that comment:

The observations are inconsistent with this (well, unless you invoke all sorts of unlikely things to argue against the observations too).

may even have anticipated your most recent comment.

286. Ron,

My first point was precisely that (clouds, lapse rate, water vapour) could net to zero, either in direct feedback to warming, indirectly or by random noise overpowering determinant potentials.

Yes, and – if so – any warming beyond equilibrium should reduce the planetary energy imbalance. Why have we observed an increase instead.

I think your response to Steven’s point is essentially making mine. In order to get your idea to work, you need to invoke something unlikely. I guess what you suggest is possible. UHI has not been properly removed and since we expect the land to warm faster than the sea surface, the sea surface measurements must be wrong too. However, people have studied UHI for many, many years and it there are indeed corrections for it.

If all you’re going to do is argue that it’s possible for ECS to be 1K (which not even the IPCC disagrees with) then this discussion is rather pointless. I can’t prove to you that it can’t be 1K, but there is very little evidence to support a value this low and plenty to argue that a value this low is highly implausible.

287. Ron Graf says:

Willard:

I doubt AT missed it, RonG, since he responded to that comment here in a way to underline the basic tension between:

(a) assuming that warming may not have been 1C at all and
(b) claiming an UHI warming bias.

On the one hand, there’s very little warming. On the other, there’s too much warming. Warming seems to be playing a strange pea and thimble game in that story.

This is an example of how bias makes your point perfectly logical to you but make no sense at all to me. Claiming that humanities footprint on the ground changed the temperature on the ground in proportion to local development has absolutely no connection with GHG caused warming. One could equally as easily cancel the other’s effect as reinforce. As I stated before, Hansen, according to Parker(2010) considered LULCC part of anthropogenic warming and thus not needed to be adjusted for. That same Dr. Hansen tripled the adjustment for UHI over what Easterling did. The setting up of the CRN stations by NOAA was not because the issue was “settled science.” It’s development is very slow and mostly as an alarm to urban development caused health stress, not for skewing the alarm on AGW.

Here is a quote from a 2016 thesis on land use:

“Land use and land cover change (LULCC) is an important factor responsible for observed
global environmental changes (Foley 2005, Pongtraz 2010, Ellis 2011). Although the
terms – land use and land cover – are often exchangeable, they suggest different
implications in climate change studies. Land use refers to utilization of land resource by
human for various socio-economic purposes, while land cover indicates the type of
physical material at Earth’s surface. Land cover type plays a critical role in land-atmosphere
interaction and anthropogenic land use patterns have direct impact on land
cover type. In addition to increasing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases
and therefore influencing global climate, LULCC also affects the regional or local
climate by altering the water and energy budget at Earth’s surface via changing albedo
and Bowen ratio. Therefore, both land use and land cover can be strongly linked with
local and regional climate (Lambin 2003, Kalnay and Cai 2004, Mahmood 2010, Mei and
Wang, 2010).
Although there is a strong link between climate and LULCC, the dynamics of land use
change is not explicitly represented in regional and global climate models, partly due to
the difficulties in formulating the human decision-making processes influencing
anthropogenic land use (Pielke 2011, Rounsevell 2014). Instead, anthropogenic land use
is usually included as an external driver in climate models, which does not incorporate
the potential adaptive measures…”

Anders, it seems that all of your comments end with the point “well we know ECS is 3 anyway”. If I’m not mistaken that came from models that did not predict well against the land/SST record, and would be invalidated (beyond dispute) if the satellites and radiosonde record is correct.

288. Ron,

Anders, it seems that all of your comments end with the point “well we know ECS is 3 anyway”.

No, they don’t. If you can’t even be bothered trying to represent what I’m saying properly, then this discussion is pointless.

289. Dikran Marsupial says:

It seems a bit of a leap from words to the effect of “an ECS of 1 is possible but very unlikely” to “we know ECS is 3”!

290. Joshua says:

Ron –

It seemed that we came to some agreement on some communicative practices.

On point #1 agree wholeheartedly. Simplifying with embedded invalid assumptions is what is commonly known as oversimplification. The more complex the subject the easier it is to do. It’s a hallmark of climate science and why I agree with the cliche – all analogies fail in climate science.

Point #2 Agreed – keep the exchange focused into parsing the disputed assumption.

Point #3 Acknowledging the other’s argument goes a long way to prevent talking past one another.

Point #4 Agreed – keep focused until resolution and avoid deflection by changing the subject.

On another point…let me see if I understand correctly. Steven wrote:

The OCEAN ALONE with ZERO UHI has warmed around .9C
the OCEAN is 70% of the total.

The land has warmed about 1.5C

Even IF 30% of that were UHI… you’d STILL have 1C of warming

Now, Assume that ALL OF THE 1.5C land warming is UHI.

Calculate the global average..

done?

.63C

So your position REQUIRES YOU to demonstrate that ALL of the land warming is UHI
and Further you have to explain why the land doesnt warm as much as the SST

So you have two choices.

A) Admit that you OVERESTIMATED the effect UHI can have on the global reocord
B) forget you lost that fight and go attack the ocean record

You made the claim. .6C
you own that claim and defend
or
amend

Your answer to Steven’s question about the basic math of your view, is that his calculations make an incorrect assumption in estimating trends in ocean temps. In other words, You would propose choice C), which is that the “OCEAN ALONE with ZERO UHI” has NOTwarmed around .9C – which is in disagreement with Steven’s starting assumption?

Is that right?

If so, then there is no need for you to supply your simplified answer to my question.

291. Joshua says:

Actually, Ron –

I like my own phrasing a bit better (not surprising, I guess). I’ll add some bold, also:

(1) Don’t simplify unless there is a real need for simplification. When you simplify, check for accuracy.
(2) Respond, directly, to clarification of mistaken assumptions.
(3) Respond, directly, to counter-arguments
(4) Introduce new areas of focus in a deliberate fashion. Make sure to reach mutual understanding of the previous issue being discussed before advancing another issue – with an understanding that a failure to draw some closure around the previous issue of discussion can make a discussion feel rather pointless.

292. Joshua,
I really have no idea what you’re putting into your comments to – so regularly – land in moderation.

293. Willard says:

Try this, Joshua:

https://akismet.com/contact/

and select the option, “I think Akismet is catching my comments by mistake”

294. Willard says:

> This is an example of how bias makes your point perfectly logical to you but make no sense at all to me.

Perhaps there’s another explanation of your Chewbacca defense, RonG: your bias makes your point perfectly logical to you, while arguing from possibility is as easy as it is cheap. Lots of theories.

***

> Claiming that humanities footprint on the ground changed the temperature on the ground in proportion to local development has absolutely no connection with GHG caused warming. One could equally as easily cancel the other’s effect as reinforce.

This is an example of what AT was saying earlier, RonG: for your story to hold, just about everything should conspire to be wrong, except the UHI effect and the satellite records.

Everything is possible. Even the impossible could be – we could be wrong about the fact that what we think impossible is in fact is. We have evidence that we can’t go back in time, yet we could be wrong. Arguing from possibility is as easy as it is cheap.

295. Ron Graf says:

Willard [paraphrased]: “everything is possible…arguments of what is possible is cheap and pointless. ”

Clearly there are many well-educated scientists seriously considering the possibility of 1K ECS or ATTP would not have posted on it. The question then becomes how crazy can you be and still be a scientist. Now we are talking about the power of bias and where it comes from, investment into one’s own created hypothesis, investment into the outcome of investigation for religious confirmation, political confirmation, career and financial gain. I won’t change the subject to bias but one way to counter bias is to engage in open communication with those who challenge your assumptions.

Joshua: When you simplify, check for accuracy.
Trying — honest.

ATTP: “If you can’t even be bothered trying to represent what I’m saying properly, then this discussion is pointless.”

Perhaps my characterization was a bit too short to be polite; sorry. But I don’t think it was unfair. It’s just a delicate balance to know the necessary bulk of detail required to be respectfully clear.

Here are some examples of what I say appears to be confirmation bias: The observations [consensus climate science] are inconsistent with this…
…because your argument for this appear to ignore that for this to be true the land would have to not have warmed which goes against observations…
The consensus adjusted land record is used to confirm consensus adjusted sea and then sea is used to confirm that land is not being affected by UHI, all based on model assumptions confirmed by … well we’re waiting (just 20 more years or so) for validation. But its just physics, so the satellite records must be wrong.

If all you’re going to do is argue that it’s possible for ECS to be 1K (which not even the IPCC disagrees with) then this discussion is rather pointless. I can’t prove to you that it can’t be 1K, but there is very little evidence to support a value this low and plenty to argue that a value this low is highly implausible.

This sounded a lot to me like “well we know ECS is 3 anyway”.

And, I just spent a week challenging you assumption the “there is very little evidence to support a value this low.” I heard lots of challenges to my argument, likely the best ones that could be conceived of, all appearing to be incorrect or unpersuasive, at least to me. I am still waiting to hear the “plenty to argue that a value this low [1k] is highly implausible. What physics prevents the non-Plank feedbacks from nearly canceling each other? What gives us confidence that all the warming is AGW considering you don’t dispute there is considerable centennial and millennial variability? Oneills had the candor to put a best guess number on the range as being 1.5C. There is an paper that just came out by Western Pacific hydroclimate linked to global climate variability over the past two millennia that has evidence supporting multi-centennial ENSO type oscillation that support LIA and MWP.

Finally, UHIE is a hot topic in environmental circles but swept mostly under the rug in climate science. There will be little reward in prestige or grants for those finding bias in the world proclaimed, IPCC certified, land and sea records. One can find the small studies, like Kim(2002) and Hamdi(2011) that show the significance of the UHI effect, but one has to look.

[Playing the ref.]

296. verytallguy says:

Clearly there are many well-educated scientists seriously considering the possibility of 1K ECS

“Many?”. I think not.

“Vanishingly few” would be a better description.

But hey, you can easily prove me wrong by naming the”many”.

References to their work demonstrating this ECS would, naturally, also be appreciated.

Over to you.

297. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Perhaps my characterization was a bit too short to be polite; sorry. But I don’t think it was unfair.

I don’t think that politeness, or fairness, are relevant. You have introduced unnecessarily subjective criteria for evaluation.

It is simply a matter of clarifying assumptions embedded in generalizations, and acknowledging clarification of mistaken assumptions.

It has been clarified that the assumptions in your simplification were mistaken. No justification is necessary, and IMO, offering them only detracts from the objective of acknowledging your error.

Rather than offering justifications, perhaps you could elaborate on in what way your simplification was in error. From where I sit, instead of taking an opportunity to move forward, you took an opportunity to minimize your error. That is, IMO, exactly the wrong path to take. No error, in and of itself, needs to be significant. It is just an error. We all make them. What is significant is our approach to the exchange. We should accept an opportunity to correct such an error with relish, at it offers an opportunity to strengthen the “integrity of the debate.”

298. Willard says:

> Clearly there are many well-educated scientists seriously considering the possibility of 1K ECS or ATTP would not have posted on it. The question then becomes how crazy can you be and still be a scientist.

Your appeal to authority is duly noted, RonG.

I have no idea how the question should necessarily be one that would justify more shirt ripping.

A natural question after wondering if some hypothesis H is possible is also to wonder if H is plausible. Another question would be about the implications of H on what we already know.

AT’s point has been to say that 1K ECS (a) looks implausible considering what we know and (b) requires that we revise some of our understanding of how the world warms, and most of our observations. In other words, the specific hypothesis you’re following through conspires to make you reject just about everything but satellite data. The alternative I offered you earlier was meant to underline the fact that your deference toward satellites data (“suppose they are true”) did not cohere with your rejection of land-based data (“but UHI”).

As you can see, this has nothing to do with AT believing ECS is 3C or not.

***

> I won’t change the subject to bias […]

You just did, RonG, with your “the question then becomes” and with the rest of what is supposed to be a response to my comment. This may have been your last comment on that. It even conflicts with the concern you’ve tried to peddle at least twice – it plays the man.

299. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Joshua, I remember making my answer to Steven early on after the quoted comment. I don’t know if it’s still there. Regardless I have made the same answer that you recognized, option 3, several times over two weeks. This has not stopped the chanting from the crowd to “answer the question.”

All I know is that I have been looking for the answer to Steven’s question (indeed, asking you to provide one) and hadn’t seen it until today. If people smarter than I didn’t see it, then I feel that it wasn’t so bad that I didn’t see it either.

==> One more communication bullet point I strongly believe in is to acknowledge understanding of the opposing argument even if you disagree. It goes a long way in not making the other side repeat themselves.

I agree, completely, that in order to have quality exchange with those with opposing views, it is necessary to be able to state your interlocutor’s positions in ways that they agree are accurate.

However, another guide for me is related to the notion of “writer responsible writing.” It is a concept that is useful for working with people from other countries on academic writing and reading. Basically, the point is that in English, the writer is responsible for clarifying meaning in a text, whereas in some other cultures, notably Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, the reader is responsible for deciphering meaning. In English, the goal of the writer is to be explicit, whereas in other cultural frames (say French) it is insulting if the writer is too explicit, as it sort of implies the message that the reader is an idiot.

300. Dikran Marsupial says:

Ron wrote “If all you’re going to do is argue that it’s possible for ECS to be 1K (which not even the IPCC disagrees with) then this discussion is rather pointless. I can’t prove to you that it can’t be 1K, but there is very little evidence to support a value this low and plenty to argue that a value this low is highly implausible.

This sounded a lot to me like “well we know ECS is 3 anyway”.”

In that case there is something severely wrong with your perception. You misrepresented ATTP, and it is a shame you cant just admit it (and preferably apologize). There is some irony in this being in a paragraph following one that started “Here are some examples of what I say appears to be confirmation bias”

301. Ron Graf says:

VTG: “But hey, you can easily prove me wrong by naming the”many”.
References to their work demonstrating this ECS would, naturally, also be appreciated.
Over to you.”

Besides Lindzen and Choi (2009, 2011,) who’s range dips well below 1K, here is a graphic supplied by Nic Lewis last year at CA.

As you can see the area below 1.2K is comparable to the area above 3K except in the “official” CMIP5 for which is the starting point for media to then exaggerate from. I am sure you are already aware of all of this.

Here is another recent ATTP post that ends with the reader is led down a logical path with the assumption that all warming is certainly AGW. A static natural climate (pre-industrial) is far from likely. Does anyone dare to agree besides Oneillsinwisconson?
https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/the-tcr-to-ecs-ratio/

302. anoilman says:

Ron Graf says:
June 10, 2016 at 6:18 pm
“Finally, UHIE is a hot topic in environmental circles but swept mostly under the rug in climate science. There will be little reward in prestige or grants for those finding bias in the world proclaimed, IPCC certified, land and sea records. One can find the small studies, like Kim(2002) and Hamdi(2011) that show the significance of the UHI effect, but one has to look.”

No. It has not in any way been swept away. Do you have evidence? A picture of a broom perhaps? Every temperature set out there has looked at it. Everyone who generates that data looked at it. Everyone. That is a far far far cry from ‘swept under the rug.” Far.

Small studies are insignificant, and you know it. It represents no discernible error in a global scale. [Chill. -W]

Claiming something is somehow big when everyone who measures it demonstrates that it is not.

Here’s what Pielke, Christy, and of course Watts have to say on the matter;
“Homogeneity adjustments tend to reduce trend differences, but statistically significant differences remain for all but average temperature trends.”
https://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/r-367.pdf

So the average temperature shows no differences from rural to urban, at least according to.. well… everyone.

303. Willard says:

> the area below 1.2K

I thought it was all about the black lines, RonG:

The violins span 5–95% ranges; their widths indicate how PDF values vary with ECS. Black lines show medians, red lines span 17–83% ‘likely’ ranges.

https://climateaudit.org/2015/04/13/pitfalls-in-climate-sensitivity-estimation-part-2/

Besides, here’s another interesting figure from Nic’s talk:

If we exclude Aldrin (because, uniform), we get: Lewis, Otto, Otto, Skeie, Lewis, Lewis, Lewis, and Lewis. The last two were unpublished at the time, and in all the median is nearer to 2 than to 1.

Oh, and Otto includes Lewis too.

304. pbjamm says:

@Ron Graf : You are concentrating on the lowest possible value for all of those ECS estimates. Of the 11 listed only 4 (eyeballing here) have any range as low as 1C. If I cherry pick the upper end of the estimates I could with equal assurance argue that the ECS is between 2.5 – 5.1C . So lets settle on 3.8 as the middle of that range. Using the outliers would, after all, be unfair.

305. verytallguy says:

Ron,

I think you’ve made my point excellently. As Willard makes clear.

306. Ron Graf says:

anoilman: “So the average temperature shows no differences from rural to urban, at least according to.. well… everyone.”

Nobody is claiming the city and rural average temp is the same; it’s very different. The consensus finding is the anomaly trend is the same. This has been used (wrongly IMO) to conclude the UHI is not significant. The alternative explanation that makes more sense to me is that UHI is significant and so also is LULCC, which UHI a just an advanced case of — the ever-growing with technological development of land anywhere near people/stations. BTW, not part of climate models pathways.

pbjamm: @Ron Graf : You are concentrating on the lowest possible value for all of those ECS estimates. Of the 11 listed only 4 (eyeballing here) have any range as low as 1C. If I cherry pick the upper end of the estimates I could with equal assurance argue that the ECS is between 2.5 – 5.1C . So lets settle on 3.8 as the middle of that range. Using the outliers would, after all, be unfair.

@pbjamm: as VTG would say, you are making my points well.
1) The news concentrates on the very unlikely 2% possibility of catastrophe while virtually ignoring the higher likelihood there not be harm.
2) Where there is news and importance there is also money. This may be the reason that although > 3.1 ECS is just as unlikely as the < 1.1 one is the "best estimate" of the IPCC and the other will never be considered by "consensus" investigators.
3) The "middle" is 1.8C, not 3.8. The chart is of integrals of probability, the black lines are the center 50% likelihoods. Skeptics would love the IPCC to narrow the range. But cutting off the scary tail would not sell papers and keep the funds coming.
4) The point of the 1C ECS? post was not is it the most likely. I have admitted my most likely EfCS guess is 1.8C. But 1.0C is part of the considered range as ATTP now casually throws out.
5) ECS is much less relevant that TCR, the actual warming we are likely to experience before technology brings emissions below the ocean uptake rate, (peak CO2). TCR is a 70-year metric and is between 60-80% of EfCS, depending upon the average rate of ocean overturning, or effective specific heat.
6) The most likely future will be a wash between benefits of expanded temperate zones, milder extremes, mostly less cold winters, continued record crop yields and greening deserts, against harm of 3mm/yr sea level rise vs. 1mm/yr up to now, (that’s 0.3 vs. 0.1 meter/century). With 90years of focus technology should find a way to increase albedo controllably, or better yet, selectively, as a climate knobs. Or, as physicists Freeman Dyson says, “we just need to figure out how to seed snowfall in the Antarctic.”

307. RonG wrote “As you can see the area below 1.2K is comparable to the area above 3K except in the “official” CMIP5 for which is the starting point for media to then exaggerate from”

1.2K > 1K

Your graph pretty much makes ATTPs point, there is little evidence that CS is 1K, it is just about within the range of some of those estimates, but it isn’t likely according to any of them. It would also make paleoclimate data hard to explain. You appear to be cherry picking.

308. Willard says:

> But 1.0C is part of the considered range as ATTP now casually throws out.

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “casually throws out,” RonG, but AT said it was not plausible. He even gave you some ways it could be possible, ways that require we revise lots of things we take for granted. AT’s claim seems to agree with Nic’s figure, the only citation you could find – 1C is outside the 17–83% ‘likely’ ranges.

Does it mean that Nic is “casually throwing out” 1C?

309. Ron,
I don’t know how to have this discussion anymore. Your own figure shows that 1K is at the bottom of the range. Hence, it is unlikely. Plus, as others have pointed out, there is evidence that those estimates you’ve shown are biased low. You’re also claiming that I’m throwing it out when I’ve said many, many times that it is possible (even the IPCC doesn’t rule it out) just extremely unlikely. So, you’re making an argument that your own evidence doesn’t even support, you’re misrepresenting what I’m saying, and you still don’t appear to have even understood the points I’ve made.

This is also not true,

As you can see the area below 1.2K is comparable to the area above 3K except in the “official” CMIP5

There are estimates (paleo, for example) that suggest the ECS is around 3K.

310. BBD says:

There are estimates (paleo, for example) that suggest the ECS is around 3K.

Of course, estimates derived from actual climate history are not the ‘best’ evidence. They are too high 🙂

311. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Anders, it seems that all of your comments end with the point “well we know ECS is 3 anyway”.

Did you acknowledge the erroneous aspect of this simplification? If not, how do you ensure the integrity of the debate?

312. Ron Graf says:

@Joshua, I already admitted it was an impolite simplification but not an inaccurate one, that ATTP simplifies his arguments often with general appeals to authority or consensus, without specifics. For example, I would be interested in how he and others here feel that paleo empirical evidence implies high ECS.

ATTP: “You’re also claiming that I’m throwing it out when I’ve said many, many times that it is possible (even the IPCC doesn’t rule it out) just extremely unlikely.”

I’m sorry for not being clear, when I said you know casually “throw it out” I meant “throw it out there,” (verbalize that point casually now) that even the IPCC doesn’t rule it out. You did throw it out, (nowhere to be found,) in your original post. Instead you said, “It’s fairly straightforward to illustrate why this result doesn’t make sense.” Your saying now the result is plausible but unlikely, which is my position all along. I think it was Joshua who asked me specifically what my best estimate of ECS was a day or two after your post and I told him 1.8C.

VTG, cherry picking is permissible when the claim is the test is to see if there are cherries still on the tree.

BBD: Of course, estimates derived from actual climate history are not the ‘best’ evidence. They are too high:-)

I don’t know if your sarcasm makes sense. The EfCS number that the post is about is from observational evidence, not general circulation models GCMs, like the consensus’s. You make my point. By the way, I believe the Otto, Lewis-type energy balance methods assume that all warming is AGW and that the HADCRUT4 is correct, which is why their best estimates come in around 2C EfCS, just like ATTP’s calculation in the post. Since I presented evidence questioning the 100% AGW assumption and the 100% accurate HADCRUT4, as opposed to satellite trend, even if I am even partly correct then 1C is not cherry picking but center court.

I am interested in the incontrovertible paleo evidence.

.

313. snarkrates says:

Ron Graf,

[Snip.]

The criticism of your position is that you are concentrating on the low end of one of many possible methods of estimating climate sensitivity–and that method is known to produce the lowest and most wildly fluctuating estimates of ECS for reasons that are well understood. Given your double cherry pick, those must be some mighty tasty cherries! I would suggest reading the Knutti’s and Hegerl’s excellent review article in Nature from 2008. It does an excellent job of summarizing the methods, the ranges they produce and some of the challenges of each.

[Snip.]

314. BBD says:

I don’t know if your sarcasm makes sense.

We’ll have to ask Chewie.

The EfCS number that the post is about is from observational evidence

No, it isn’t. That’s a rhetorical gambit which has been nailed before:

[A quick note on terminology: All constraints have to be based on observations of some sort (historical trends, specific processes, paleoclimate etc.) and all constraints involve models of varying degrees of complexity to connect the observation to the sensitivity metric. People who only describe constraints based on the historical changes as ‘observational’ while every thing else is supposedly ‘model-based’ are just playing rhetorical games.]

I am interested in the incontrovertible paleo evidence.

Don’t like the word ‘incontrovertible’. How about ‘strong’ – see Rohling et al. (2012).

It’s difficult – arguably impossible – to square palaeoclimate behaviour with an ECS below 2C and ~3C provides the best fit. The fact is, the totality of the evidence supports a value of ~3C and makes values below 2C unlikely.

315. Sorry, Ron, but I’m interested in reasonable discussions with people who try to understand what others are saying and avoid misrepresenting them. This isn’t one.

316. BBD says:

Snarkrates is right, Ron. You should read through Knutti & Hegerl (2008).

317. Dikran Marsupial says:

Ron wrote “VTG, cherry picking is permissible when the claim is the test is to see if there are cherries still on the tree”

However arguing that ECS is 1K is not seeing if there are cherries on the tree, arguing that 1K is within the uncertainty of the estimate is seeing if the cherry is on the tree (and we would agree with you that it is – ATTP has done so explicitly).

318. Willard says:

> I already admitted it was an impolite simplification but not an inaccurate one,

Then I suppose you can quote AT where everyone can read that he’s ending at least one comment with “well we know ECS is 3 anyway,” RonG.

So in your next comment, I expect a quote.

***

> However arguing that ECS is 1K […]

So far, RonG only argues that 1K is possible. That’s not much, but that’s still something. Let’s mind our modalities, please.

319. Dikran Marsupial says:

Willard, I stand corrected, what I should have written is that arguing ECS is likely to be 1K… or words to that effect. I don’t think anyone is saying that it is completely implausible, just very unlikely.

320. Joshua says:

Ron –

At the risk of seeming to pile on…

==> @Joshua, I already admitted it was an impolite simplification but not an inaccurate one, that ATTP simplifies his arguments often with general appeals to authority or consensus, without specifics. For example, I would be interested in how he and others here feel that paleo empirical evidence implies high ECS.

So this goes back to something I’ve addressed before: The importance of addressing counterarguments. I already commented on your characterization of “impolite but accurate,” and you didn’t acknowledge my counterarguments, but merely repeated your characterization.

I would suggest that such an approach isn’t likely to advance your intent or enhance the integrity of the debate. That being said…I’ll repeat in hopes that you’ll address the counterargument this time. (I will warn you that often, not addressing my counterarguments results in longer, verbose re-explanations…until such time as I just give up).

As for your contention of “accurate,” I disagree. I read Anders consistently referring to the likely range being in the area of 2-4, or 1.5-4.5, with 3 as a reasonable “ballpark” given the likely range. That, IMO, suggests something quite different than “we all know that it is 3.” But I will concede that for the reader, there is some inherent ambiguity w/r/t intent. After all, isn ‘t there always?

So given that their is inherent ambiguity, then it is pointless to continue discussing what Anders’ said as if it is anything more than a gateway for understanding his intended meaning. Such a discussion as to whether our respective interpretations are the “accurate” interpretation are pointless, and confuse the boundary between opinion and fact. So it then it comes down to whether to, and how, one goes about confirming the accuracy of ;a simplification of what someone is saying.

Your simplification in this case has been corrected, at least to some extent: Anders has made it clear that your interpretation of what he is saying is not consistent with his in tended meaning. Given that there is always some ambiguity between what someone says and their intended meaning, you have a couple of choices in that case.

One is to determine that your interlocutor is engaging in bad faith. In other words, they are deliberately saying something other than what they mean or for some reason saying something and then denying their intent in doing so (and so, for example, displaying an unwillingness to account for an error).

Another is to determine that you have interpreted their intended meaning inaccurately – either because of your error in interpretation or because of a lack of clarity in what they said – in which case acknowledgement of the clarification is in order.

I suppose that a third option is also possible: That you understand their intended meaning better than they understand their intended meaning. Now there are some smart people who believe strongly that they have the ability to interpret someone’s meaning better than they (the writer), themselves do. For example, I have encountered such a belief coming from Brandon S., Lucia, and Steven Mosher. I am dubious that their ability matches their self-perception of their ability. But regardless, this third option essentially just feeds back into option #1 – which is that you don’t envision an good faith exchange taking place.

IMO, a good faith exchange requires that the discussants accept a basic premise that not only is their interlocutor trying their best to express their views and to account for counterarguments, it also requires an acceptance that one’s interlocutor is the ultimate interpreter of their own intent (not that they can’t be given feedback about potential blind spots or biases, of course).

All in all, what I see here is that your approach to this discussion undermines your goal of good faith exchange and enhancing the integrity of the debate. My opinion, which of course should be taken for exactly what is is worth, is that you have established a pattern of looking outside yourself for attributing breakdown in good faith exchange, when in fact you would probably be better off if you improved your consistency in implementing the sort of guidelines for good faith exchange that you and I discussed.

I would be interested in reading a response to my counterarguments. Keep in mind…

==> Point #4 Agreed – keep focused until resolution and avoid deflection by changing the subject.

321. pbjamm says:

@Ron Graf:
“@pbjamm: as VTG would say, you are making my points well.
3) The “middle” is 1.8C, not 3.8. The chart is of integrals of probability, the black lines are the center 50% likelihoods”

Then I did not make your point at all, or you missed mine. These are you cherry picked studies that were supposed to show significant evidence that ECS was 1K. They did not. Less than 50% of them even had 1K as an unlikely outlier. I took the high end equally unlikely outliers and averaged them to a high 3.8 but I could have easily claimed it was in the 4-5 range using unlikely scenarios in your own graph. If instead of your chosen studies we took all studies and looked at their likely range you would not get anything near 1K but something much closer to ATTPs 3K.

Your claim of 1K relies on very very unlikely set of circumstances to be even remotely correct.

322. Willard says:

> Less than 50% of them even had 1K as an unlikely outlier.

If the red bars represent the 17–83% ‘likely’ range, as Nic himself put it, I only see one study within it. The latest Nic did, yet to be published at the time he fabricated this comparison.

***

> [W]hen I said you know [sic.] casually “throw it out” I meant “throw it out there,” (verbalize that point casually now) that even the IPCC doesn’t rule it out. You did throw it out, (nowhere to be found,) in your original post. Instead you said, “It’s fairly straightforward to illustrate why this result doesn’t make sense.” [You’re] saying now the result is plausible but unlikely, which is my position all along.

So RonG meant throw it out as a verbalization, e.g. to “throw it out there.” Now he means to “throw away,” which is what we heard first. It might even mean “to rule it out.” To back this stronger interpretation, he quotes AT saying that 1K “doesn’t make sense.” Since even the IPCC mentions 1K as a possibility, we need to reconcile AT’s position and the IPCC’s. Reading the post suffices to do so:

[I]t is still hard to justify an EfCS close to 1K. Essentially, we’ve already warmed by almost 1K, have yet to double atmospheric CO2, and still have a planetary energy imbalance that is probably greater than 0.5 Wm-2. How, then, can the EfCS be 1K? I’ve emailed the author to ask him this question. I’ve yet to get a response.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/ecs-1k/

AT’s “doesn’t make sense” seems to mean “hard to justify.”

***

Furthermore, if AT considers 1K hard to justify, then it should follow that RonG’s “[you’re] saying now the result is plausible but unlikely” looks a bit farfetched. How can a phenomenon, an event or a fact be both plausible and hard to justify? Unlikeliness seems to imply less plausibility than a lack thereof. If that’s the case, then what the IPPC considers possible can also be considered unlikely, or even implausible.

AT’s and the IPCC’s positions are thereby reconciled.

If we could manage our modalities properly, that’d be great.

323. Ron Graf says:

AT’s and the IPCC’s positions are thereby reconciled.

You are correct; everything rests on degree of likelihood that is being claimed. This is why Nic’s graphic is the best way to convey the opinion or claim. My personal view at the moment is that one of the green tear drop graphics, the Lewis 2014-15 studies are where I would put my money. I realize most others here would place their money on the CMIP. If you had done so 20 years ago you would be in the down now. If the satellite and balloon record turns out to be more accurate a trend than the surface records then those invested in the CMIP stock will be distressed indeed.

Circling back to where I started on this thread, the debate needs to start by recognizing the power of emotional investment and polarization around the topic. Many here can’t help but attack my sincerity, my analysis or my sanity, and of course, anyone else with a similar POV. I know I am no exception at being bewildered by this. I appreciate Willard’s moderation. It is keeping the peace almost to the point of getting a satisfactory resolution. I can’t know completely my inner self but I do know that I profess no religious attachment to any particular ideas. I strongly seek the truth. And, my experience has led me to beware of the tendency for any authorities to abuse their trust when nobody is watching. That is my concern. And, I fine complexity fascinating.

Joshua, you and I are almost exactly agreed on the mode to bridge the communication gap. It just can’t be underestimated how hard it is to implement.

I will search old posts for high ECS implications from Paleo. I’m sure it’s there.

-Cheers
Ronj

324. Marco says:

“If the satellite and balloon record turns out to be more accurate a trend ”

Which satellite record and which balloon record? The most recent RSS record (TTT v4) is essentially the same as GISTEMP and HADCRUT (trend 0.176/decade for RSS, 0.170 for HADCRUT4, 0.172 for GISTEMP).

325. verytallguy says:

Ron,

I think you seriously underplay the weight of evidence for ECS being c. 3K/doubling.

Here’s my hierarchy, although the IPCC summary is much better, obviously:

1) Basic physics: constant RH gives ECS of c. 3 from radiative heat transfer.  Read Isaac Held if you want to understand why constant RH is a good starting point.

2) Paleoclimate gives ECS of c 3-4 from LGM, plus glacial transitions are hard to envisage with low sensitivity

3) GCMs show that circulation does not counteract the basic physics, GCMS typically giving ECS c. 3

4) Observations show OHC currently rising at about the rate we would expect,  likewise temperatures.

5) Historical heat uptake studies (the lewis/curry) work and others is not yet fully reconciled with other methodologies. It makes the high end ECSs look unlikely.

6) Work on the basic physics eg cloud observations does not suggest any significant evidence of,  or mechanism for, the negative feedbacks necessary for low sensitivity.  For me this is the nub.   You don’t just need data to convince,  you need a plausible physical causation.

Now,  there is  huge diversity of studies that have been done, and typically in this field there is large uncertainty associated with each individual study.   That leaves plenty of room to cherry pick work across all of 1-6 to conclude that ECS is low.  However it involves essentially ignoring all the evidence you don’t like.

326. verytallguy says:

I will search old posts for high ECS implications from Paleo. I’m sure it’s there.

I suggest reading the link supplied upthread to Rohling (h/t BBD)

327. RonG wrote ” I realize most others here would place their money on the CMIP. ”

Given your “simplification” (i.e. misrepresentation) of ATTP’s very clear statement, I suggest you ought to avoid thinking that you know other peoples opinions. While I consider the models to be probably the best approach (as they include more of the physics than other approaches), I would place my money (if I bet on things) on the subjective expert opinion range given by the IPCC, which incorporates information for the simple models, the GCMs and paleoclimate (i.e. I wouldn’t cherry pick).

“Circling back to where I started on this thread, the debate needs to start by recognizing the power of emotional investment and polarization around the topic. ”

The sort that leads to you interpret an ECS of 1K being possible but unlikely to mean we know ECS is 3K?

If you think ECS is low, then you need to explain the magnitude of the change in global temperature that happens between glaciations, which IIUC follow relatively minor changes in forcing. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t discount low ECS, and neither does the IPCC, but there are good reasons to suggest it isn’t very low, and also the impacts of climate change are not linear in ECS, so ruling out high ECS would be a much more welcome finding than evidence that ECS might be low.

328. Here’s a thoughtful article by Michael Tobis on Medium: “Who Decides What Is True”. This would be more on topic at “Science Communication”; it addresses some of the persistent carping. Link:
View story at Medium.com

329. Yes, that is a nice article by MT. I’ve been thinking of writing something about that, but haven’t had a chance.

330. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Joshua, you and I are almost exactly agreed on the mode to bridge the communication gap

Then why haven’t you walked back your repeated “impolite but accurate” justification?

331. BBD says:

RonG

I will search old posts for high ECS implications from Paleo. I’m sure it’s there.

-Cheers

Just read Rohling et al. that I linked for you above (and Knutti & Hegerl while you are at it). Mind you, given your impressive determination not to take an objective view of this topic, I don’t suppose it will make any difference.

332. Willard says:

I’m not sure who would place how much money on what where, RonG. I mostly know that when I roll a D6 die, I expect to roll 3,5 on average. I wouldn’t go around contrarian (say backgammon) outlets preaching the virtue of betting under 3.

JamesA has been taking bets for a while. I can find his most recent ones if you’re really interested in putting your money where your mouth is. The few who lukewarmingly did so far lost a bit.

This is only for sport, of course. Our actual problem goes a bit beyond that. It’s not only money. It’s not only our own money. It’s more than a bet. Here’s how the Auditor puts it:

From greater power may come less lukewarm betting.

333. Ron Graf says:

Marco: The most recent RSS record (TTT v4) is essentially the same as GISTEMP and HADCRUT (trend 0.176/decade for RSS, 0.170 for HADCRUT4, 0.172 for GISTEMP).

I know that Wood for Trees interactive is not always maintained up to date but here is what the UAH, RSS GISTEMP indexes are showing now: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/mean:20/offset:0.3/plot/uah/mean:20/offset:0.35/plot/gistemp/from:1979/mean:20

I know that UAH lowered its trends with ver 6 last year. What happened with RSS that you are referring to?

VTG:

Ron,
I think you seriously underplay the weight of evidence for ECS being c. 3K/doubling.
[I am not “playing” climateballl. I actually believe my interpretation of the evidence and am always looking for new evidence to weigh.]
Here’s my hierarchy, although the IPCC summary is much better, obviously: {Snip. -W}
1) Basic physics: constant RH gives ECS of c. 3 from radiative heat transfer. Read Isaac Held if you want to understand why constant RH is a good starting point. [Water vapor amplification is controversial and I believe the models predicted a tropical hot spot by this that failed to materialize.]
2) Paleoclimate gives ECS of c 3-4 from LGM, plus glacial transitions are hard to envisage with low sensitivity. [Albedo increase from ice cap growth is a completely different end to the climate mechanisms from longwave radiatiive cooling. On geologic timescales I can easily envision asteroid impacts large enough to produce 100 times the Krakatoa-type aerosol plume. This or a super volcano would drive a negative imbalance of unimaginable proportion, blanketing the northern hemisphere summerproof snow white. Each following year the aerosol would clear according to a natural log but the OHC would be falling and thus preserve the state even after 90% of the aerosol cleared. In the Pleistocene this glacial state would remain until rescued by a favorable M-cycle obliquity that was reinforced wither by the other two M-cycles, or more commonly, a large enough glacial accumulation who’s melting volume excited the AMOC circulation pattern to terminating in the Norwegian Sea (where today) from off Labrador (ice age).

Consensus science jumped on the CO2 – glaciation correlation immediately declaring it as causation in the late 1970s- 1990s ice core studies. If this held true I would have to shift my ECS in favor of the IPCC’s range, which BTW, did not shift after it was revealed with high resolution ice cores that in fact CO2 lagged glaciation, as we know now, from oceans regulation of equilibrium CO2 based on GMST. The fact that CO2 has no guilty hand in paleo evidence seems to imply low sensitivity to GHG, not high. Ocean current aiding the polar gradient seems to be the strongest forcing.

When comparing Pleistocene record for ECS we must also keep in mind that current observation points to evidence that CO2 is more potent in raising cold temperature than raising warm temps warmer. Thus, if ECS were variable it most certainly was stronger in the ice age, and even there it had no evidence of impact.

{But CAGW. -W}]

3) GCMs show that circulation does not counteract the basic physics, GCMS typically giving ECS c. 3 [We know it must be 3, I know., models don’t lie]
4) Observations show OHC currently rising at about the rate we would expect, likewise temperatures. [This is the heart of debate — what we are actually observing and how to interpret without confirmation bias.]
5) Historical heat uptake studies (the lewis/curry) work and others is not yet fully reconciled with other methodologies. It makes the high end ECSs look unlikely. [See last point comment.]
6) Work on the basic physics eg cloud observations does not suggest any significant evidence of, or mechanism for, the negative feedbacks necessary for low sensitivity. For me this is the nub. You don’t just need data to convince, you need a plausible physical causation.
Now, there is huge diversity of studies that have been done, and typically in this field there is large uncertainty associated with each individual study. That leaves plenty of room to cherry pick work across all of 1-6 to conclude that ECS is low. However it involves essentially ignoring all the evidence you don’t like. [I wholeheartedly agree, and my solution is rival-integrated, strictly protocoled studies that are designed to be accepted by all regardless of results.]

334. Ron,

The fact that CO2 has no guilty hand in paleo evidence seems to imply low sensitivity to GHG, not high. Ocean current aiding the polar gradient seems to be the strongest forcing.

No.

335. verytallguy says:

Ron,

1. You’re making ATS point; in order to sustain your ECS=1 argument you have to maintain multiple unlikely possibilities.

2. You have misunderstood how paleoclimate is used to generate ECS estimates.

336. Ron Graf says:

You’re making ATS point; in order to sustain your ECS=1 argument you have to maintain multiple unlikely possibilities.

2. You have misunderstood how paleoclimate is used to generate ECS estimates.

VTG, I think you recognized that AT made no point, he just denied, which is why you felt the comment could not stand on its own. But, to stay on the positive, I am sure ATTP has other things to do, which is the more likely explanation that simply him not having one. You, listed your multiple arguments and I rebutted them. I am hoping that you can rebut my rebuttals with more than “You’re making ATS point,” which is “No.”

What is the paleo evidence? Can it be explained in terms a scientist or engineer can understand?

337. Ron,

VTG, I think you recognized that AT made no point

I think VTG is referring to what I’ve been saying over and over and over again. An ECS of ~ 1K is not ruled out. Even the IPCC does not regard it as impossible, simply extremely unlikely. Even the evidence you provided (which was only a subset of all the evidence) suggests that an ECS of 1K is in the tail of the distribution. In order to argue that an ECS of ~1K is somehow likely, you need to invoke a whole series of things that are, themselves, unlikely.

What is the paleo evidence? Can it be explained in terms a scientist or engineer can understand?

Yes, of course it can.

338. verytallguy says:

Ron,

What is the paleo evidence?

both myself and other commentators have suggested references to you already.

339. > VTG, I think you recognized that AT made no point […]

I don’t think AT’s point that “in order to sustain your ECS=1 argument you have to maintain multiple unlikely possibilities” is contained in his latest “No,” RonG.

Responses like that undermine your claim that you don’t play ClimateBall ™.

That you “actually believe” your interpretation of the evidence and are “always looking for new evidence to weigh” should not prevent you from playing ClimateBall ™, BTW. Also note that appealing to your own motivations is also a way to play the man, not the ball.

340. BBD says:

Ron

What is the paleo evidence? Can it be explained in terms a scientist or engineer can understand?

Try Hansen & Sato (2012). It’s illuminating.

341. BBD says:

The fact that CO2 has no guilty hand in paleo evidence seems to imply low sensitivity to GHG, not high.

Ah, no. See H&S12.

342. Eli Rabett says:

And, of course, Turtles All the Way Down Pielke replies to MT in his usual way

343. Steven Mosher says:

As predicted Ron could not supply the math he used to get to .6c
and as predicted he had to resort to attacking the SST record.

Now the problem is this. the satellites he loves match the SST record.
and further there is no UHI at sea
and further the raw data of SST shows MORE warming.

Imagine if I made the argument that yes the SST was possibly corrupt and that the truth was there was more warming. Its possible. The clue is Ron has no evidence to base his speculation
on. zero. zilch. We cant rule out unicorns.

ECS might be 1C. and monkeys might fly out of my butt.
ECS might be 6 or 8 or 10!

such a fun debating game.

We can say that given all the evidence, paleo, observational, modelling, that there is at least
a 50% chance that ECS is less than or equal to ~3.

A smart skeptic would just live with that and say the shape of the PDF below 3C is highly speculative,

[Chill. -W]

344. Joshua says:

==> We cant rule out unicorns.

Except unicorns cause cooling, not warming.

345. Ron Graf says:

[Playing the ref. -W]

Steven: ECS might be 1C. and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

[Food fight. -W]

Back to monkeys, there was also a lot of debate to what unlikely, implausible, etc.. meant after a big brawl about my possible mischaracterization of ATTP’s degree of dismissal of 1K ECS in his post about the Bates paper.

[… -W]

We came down to placing betting odds as the best descriptor. So what are the Las Vegas odds on monkeys flying out of Steven Mosher’s entrails vs. ~1K EfCs? Perhaps Steven M and MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen should start wagering against each other.

Steven, I know you are not a fan of the CMIP. Is that because the models have monkeys too? What exactly is you best (no pun) guess range of EfCS? Inquiring minds want to know.

346. Speaking of bets involving Dr. Richard Lindzen, RonG, you might like this kicker:

Richard Lindzen will indeed accept a bet – but only if offered odds of 50:1 in his favour! He actually started out quoting 100:1 – but came down to 50:1 in what he described as a “special favor” to me. If the temperatures went down, I was to hand over $10,000, but in the event of a rise, I’d get a whopping$200. That’s worth around \$8 per year on my pension. Whoop-de-doo.

http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/betting.html

More bets over there:

http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2005/06/betting-summary.html

which has been cited in a previous comment. In that comment, I also underlined some limitations of betting. So I’m not sure where you got your “We came down to placing betting odds as the best descriptor.”

347. > [U]nicorns cause cooling, not warming.

Except Chuck Tingle’s.

348. Ron Graf says:

Joshua,

[Playing the man. -W]

[Weighting Al Gore. -W]

I am continuing my reading on SOD on the “Ghosts of Climate Past” series and see many of you guys there. So far I have not read anything that is different from my own working theory on the glacial cycle. Ocean currents seem like the biggest driver. Too much glaciation likely produces unstable glaciers by melting their bottoms like ice melts under the pressure of a skating blade. I have not read yet if they consider the plank effect of increasing the efficiency of the polar heat gradient, as I pointed out the VTG and ATTP about a year ago. It was a small forcing of about 0.4 W/M2 but over a long period, 24-7, that’s actually a lot. The fact that the NH and SH seem to act in oscillating, see-saw fashion out of the LGM, seemingly oblivious to CO2, seems to put stronger emphasis on currents over GHG.

349. Marco says:

“I know that UAH lowered its trends with ver 6 last year. What happened with RSS that you are referring to?”

RSS made an update – even published a paper on it.
http://www.remss.com/measurements/upper-air-temperature#Version Notes
UAH…well….it is now apparently at the 5th beta version of version 6. A paper has been promised, but if they keep on changing the analysis, that will take some time.

You can use the Skeptical Science trend calculator for the RSS v4.0 TTT:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

350. Roger Jones says:

RG,

the release of CO2 from the Southern Ocean before the main ocean reorganisation and temperature increases has been known for a few years. There have been two pulses and the first started before large scale warming. The release is highly likely to be mechanistic, not a temperature feedback causing ocean warming and gradual release, therefore the mode is similar to human-induced climate change. This pulse certainly accelerated warming and meant the southern ocean warmed out of phase with the north.

One of the latest mechanisms explored is the retreat of sea ice: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/3/514

Examination of the storage response suggests it is highly nonlinear
https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/2016/03/reduced-oxygen-in-ice-age-antarctic-ocean-gives-clue-to-missing-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide/

You seem to be arguing that the triggers contain the forcing response (via inference to the inverse), but that is incorrect, the feedbacks reflect most of it and CO2 is heavily involved.

351. Ron,
Ocean currents are not a forcing. They can indeed play a role in the melting of ice and, hence, changes to albedo, but the albedo change is the forcing, not the ocean current itself. If you then consider both the change in albedo and the change in CO2, you find that this is consistent with an ECS of $3 \pm 1^o$C (see the Hansen and Sato paper that BBD mentioned earlier).

352. Willard says:

> Inquiring minds want to know.

Just Asking Questions to Moshpit may not be for the best considering the number of times you evaded his main one, RonG.

353. Dikran Marsupial says:

RonG wrote “Water vapor amplification is controversial”

Really?

354. Joshua says:

Ron –

I asked you to explain where you disagreed with the material in those two links because you said the following:

==> If this held true I would have to shift my ECS in favor of the IPCC’s range, which BTW, did not shift after it was revealed with high resolution ice cores that in fact CO2 lagged glaciation, as we know now, from oceans regulation of equilibrium CO2 based on GMST. The fact that CO2 has no guilty hand in paleo evidence seems to imply low sensitivity to GHG, not high.

Now from my perspective of someone with very limited ability to understand the technical arguments, here’s what I see: It looks to me like you’d have explain what was wrong in the posts I linked in order to provide logical support for the argument you present above. It seems to me that you were saying that the paleo evidence of CO2 changes lagging temperature changes shows that in the past, CO2 changes didn’t force temperature changes on a global scale. In other words, discovery of the lag time would necessitate a “shift” on the part of the IPCC (for it to remain logically valid).

But as near as I can tell, the articles I linked made it clear why no such shift would be needed, and you haven’t actually addressed the arguments made in the articles I linked. Explaining that you have an alternate theory about the mechanisms of glaciation doesn’t really seem on point to me. Saying that another mechanistic explanation for glaciation might be possible doesn’t speak to your logic related to the lag time, a logic which seems to me to be incompatible with the logic about lag time as presented in those articles

So when you say this:

==> So far I have not read anything that is different from my own working theory on the glacial cycle.

Are you agreeing that the lag time in changes in temperatures and CO2, respectively, does not build a logic for concluding that CO2 does not drive temperature changes? If so, then why should the IPCC have “shifted?”

If you don’t agree, then for the second time I’ll ask you to explain where you disagree with the arguments that were presented.

And while I’m asking you to answer questions for the 2nd time, if you agree with me about guidelines for constructive engagement, I’ll ask again to for you to acknowledge the problem with your “impolite but accurate” justification for your simplification of Anders’ argument.

Now you may have had reasons for interpreting Anders’ opinion to be that we all know that 3 is correct (although I interpreted what he said differently). But he has explained that you are wrong in your assumption about his view (which is more along the lines of 1 is highly improbable, but possible – which is logically incompatible with believing that we all know that 3 is correct).

So, in line with the belief that we’re here to exchange views in good faith:

—-

(1) Don’t simplify unless there is a real need for simplification. When you simplify, check for accuracy.
(2) Respond, directly, to clarification of mistaken assumptions.

I know that you have a lot of people to respond to…but FYI, I’m going to start numbering the times I’ve repeated a question without getting a direct answer, once it gets above 2.

355. BBD says:

For my part, I am counting the number of (full pdf) studies I’ve linked for RG and waiting for the slightest indication that he has actually read even a single one.

356. Ron Graf says:

If the premise of this post was to question the point of trying to inform the public with reason and fair debate my answer would be, if you are not trying to gain their trust, then no. Public consensus in unnecessary if the authority need not fear audit or accountability. If the object is to persuade, then successful suasion of someone like me, an impartial truth searcher, would be a gem since I have the trust many skeptics. [Shirt ripping. -W]

[But CAGW. -W]

Joshua, Willard, AATP, I am not sure if you are saying that I should have special rules applied to me, that I have to answer items to your satisfaction as a condition of debate. [More playing the ref. -W]

BBD, I need time to read and parse scientific articles. First, they are not written for public consumption. Second, [… -W]. Even the experts have to read them several times to fully understand if code or assumptions are being left out.

If RSS made a major change in their trend I am sure this was big news and I missed it. Marco, do you know if the correction Mears did to raise RSS trend also theoretically applies to UAH?

Joshua, if I am reconstructing the paleo CO2 debate properly it can be summarized as follows:
1) 1896 Arrhenius believes CO2’s radiative properties could have driven the ice ages and may potentially be used a tool to warm the planet to expand the habitability zone by burning fossil fuel.
2) 1970s one environmental science faction is concerned that pollution will hasten the soon scheduled end of the current interglacial while another faction is growing that AGW will cause sea level rise.
3) Late 1970s the AGW faction wins as warming begins to be recorded and ice cores show a correlation of temperature with CO2.
4) Late 1990s the high resolution ice cores demonstrate that CO2 lagged temperature changes and glaciation. By this time the AGW establishment and IPCC were well established and looking at tree ring proxies of a static GMST prior to the industrial revolution followed by steep temp increase.
5) [But Al Gore. -W]
6) 2010 Gavin Schmidt writes a Real Climate blog saying the move was correct after all since CO2 must have at least been a positive feedback for glaciation since we know its a GHG.
7) 2010 Science of Doom and others take up the debate on paleo to accentuate the positve feedback aspect of GHG.
8) I have to read Hansen and Sato but I can imagine they are elaborating on the evidence of not only positive feedback but of GHG taking charge, leading from behind as it were.

I realize that there must be errors in my above impression of events but I would ask that only substantive and relevant ones be criticized.

357. Joshua, Willard, AATP, I am not sure if you are saying that I should have special rules applied to me, that I have to answer items to your satisfaction as a condition of debate.

No, and I don’t know why you think that anyone is suggesting special rules for anyone.

358. If the premise of this post was to question the point of trying to inform the public with reason and fair debate my answer would be, if you are not trying to gain their trust, then no.

No, the premise was basically that it’s hard to have any kind of reasonable discussion if people can’t even agree on the basics. I think the discussion between yourself and myself has demonstrated that quite nicely.

359. 1970s one environmental science faction is concerned that pollution will hasten the soon scheduled end of the current interglacial while another faction is growing that AGW will cause sea level rise.

No, if you consider the scientific literature at that time global warming dominated over global cooling (and I’ve checked this myself). The global cooling, as I understand it, was actually based on projections of increased aerosol emission that would dominate over the impact of increased CO2. It’s now clear that CO2 emissions have grown much faster and also that aerosols precipitate pretty quickly so it is difficult for an aerosol forcing to continue growing. This article has some of the history.

360. BBD says:

[Snip. -W]

Thanks for another peek behind the curtain, RG. Always nice to know where people are coming from. Especially if there are the shadows of black helicopters crisscrossing the landscape.

I feel confident that most agree that humanity will need to find alternatives to fossil fuel and that this will be a priority. Whether that priority trumps freedoms in the marketplace is a legitimate political debate.

361. Joshua says:

Ron –

==> Joshua, Willard, AATP, I am not sure if you are saying that I should have special rules applied to me, that I have to answer items to your satisfaction as a condition of debate ==>

Neither.

In a discussion between you and me, I would expect you to try to abide by the guidelines (they aren’t “rules”) that you have agreed upon, just as I would try to abide by them. I would expect to question whether you are being successful, just as I’d expect you to question whether I am being successful. That open exchange is, IMO, absolutely key to debating with integrity.

W/r/t other people, we might each intervene in discussions between others in order to ask them about whether they are abiding by the guidelines, but it certainly isn’t some kind of a requirement. Whether or not either of us abides by the guidelines in discussions with others is, essentially, immaterial to our own discussion, except if we’re discussing the degree to which the other is, in fact, abiding my the guidelines. Where or not you abide by the guidelines with Anders doesn’t affect whether you abide by the guidelines with me – but it is germane to the more general question of whether or not you are going to likely be able to reach your objectives of good faith discussion with others.

==> I realize that there must be errors in my above impression of events but I would ask that only substantive and relevant ones be criticized. ==>

Hmmm. OK. So this will be number 3.

Would you explain where you disagree with this:

https://scienceofdoom.com/2010/01/15/co2-lags-temperature-in-the-ice-core-record-doesnt-that-prove-the-ipcc-wrong/

Or this?:

http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/shakun-co2lag/

Please read my 11:27 again. As I read it, your argument in your 3:58 implies, logically, that you must disagree with the arguments presented in the two links I offered. Telling me your theories about the causal mechanism of glaciation doesn’t really speak to my question. I get that you must think that there’s a circularity to the logic of aCO2 both lagging temperature change and driving temperature change, but as I see it, the arguments presented are entirely logical. For you to support your argument that the IPCC must “shift” to account for the evidence of a lag, IMO, you must explain why the logic of the mechanism as described in those links is not logical, or even implausible.

I will ask you to note your request:

==> I would ask that only substantive and relevant ones be criticized. ==>

This is, essentially, what I’ve asked you to do a number of times. Why haven’t you done so?

—————————-

Also, for the third time:

I’ll ask again to for you to acknowledge the problem with your “impolite but accurate” justification for your simplification of Anders’ argument.

Now you may have had reasons for interpreting Anders’ opinion to be that we all know that 3 is correct (although I interpreted what he said differently). But he has explained that you are wrong in your assumption about his view (which is more along the lines of 1 is highly improbable, but possible – which is logically incompatible with believing that we all know that 3 is correct).

So, in line with the belief that we’re here to exchange views in good faith:

(1) Don’t simplify unless there is a real need for simplification. When you simplify, check for accuracy.
(2) Respond, directly, to clarification of mistaken assumptions.

362. Willard says:

> If the object is to persuade, then successful suasion of someone like me, an impartial truth searcher, would be a gem since I have the trust many skeptics.

While I can understand why the Drumpf does the same kind of thing than what I emphasized in your comment, RonG, please rest assured that your peddling indicates otherwise. Persuasion seems unlikely. Even convincing looks implausible, since you simply rope-a-dope from one talking point to the next.

However, if you could provide names of contrarians of whom you have the trust, that’d be great.

363. Eli Rabett says:

As Jack Zhou proves (read RC) it is futile to try and convince RonG of anything, so why bother? Much more amusing to mole whack him.

364. Willard says:

> Much more amusing to mole whack him.

What happens at Eli’s should stay at Eli’s.

Oh, and here’s a quote from Jack Zhou’s post:

The experiment, conducted in March 2014, used a nationally representative sample of 478 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, who were randomly sorted into one of the eight treatment groups or the control group, where respondents were asked in a single sentence to consider climate change as a political issue. Afterwards, all respondents were asked a series of questions to assess their support for or opposition to governmental action against climate change, their likelihood of taking personal action on the issue, and how sure they felt about their climate change opinions.

What I found was that every single treatment condition failed to convince respondents. In fact, treating Republicans with persuasive information made them more resistant to climate action regardless of the content or sourcing of that information. Overall, simply being exposed to pro-climate action communication appeared to polarize Republicans even further; they became more opposed to governmental action and less likely to take personal action compared to the control group. They also became more certain of their negative opinions on the issue, displaying significantly lower attitudinal ambivalence compared to the control group. What’s more, all of these treatment effects doubled to tripled in size for respondents who reported high personal interest in politics, all statistically significant outcomes. These highly politically interested individuals make up roughly one-third of Republicans in the sample and in the United States.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/06/boomerangs-versus-javelins-the-impact-of-polarization-on-climate-change-communication

365. Joshua says:

==> so why bother?

There’s someone wrong on the internet.

366. Ron Graf says:

ATTP:

No, the premise was basically that it’s hard to have any kind of reasonable discussion if people can’t even agree on the basics. I think the discussion between yourself and myself has demonstrated that quite nicely.

If one is aware that they cannot agree on the “basics” with another in a discussion, one must logically redefine what they consider the “basics.” Clearly, polarization of debate is when the basics get further and further apart, the extrapolation of which can lead to very dark places. I happened to see this as a greater danger to humanity than any technological problem like finding alternative energies and energy storage. I reiterate: the true “basics” come down to trust and integrity. If you suspect someone does not feel you deserve you money, property or life, why would you believe they thought you deserved the truth?

Many here seem to think [Etc. -W]

367. Ron Graf says:

Since the industrial revolution, we have been pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and it is warming the temperature of the planet, starting at the poles. It is changing the face of the earth as we know it forever. We are facing what the scientists are calling The Sixth Extinction, an event characterized by the loss of between 17,000 and 100,000 species each year. The last great extinction of this size occurred 65 million years ago. Last month was the hottest April on record in the world, by the largest margin ever, continuing a record-breaking trend. Ocean fish, salt-water fish, will become extinct by the year 2050. Also around 2050 come the climate launch dates for major capitals around the world. That’s the date when the record high temperature for that place becomes the average temperature for that place. That year will be 2047 in Philadelphia. We are facing the poisoning of the oceans and the despoiling of the land. Precious ecosystems of the biosphere are in turmoil. And as I said to one economist friend of mine, the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the biosphere. If the biosphere fails, the economy fails.

We need only look at the weather that has battered our nation all spring – the massive and unprecedented tornadoes over the heartland, the floods, as in Miami, where I am retiring, the droughts, as in Berkeley, California, where my son lives, the endless rain, and the fires. Over 650 million acres of Canadian boreal forests have burned just this month, with comparable burns in the northwest, in Russia and Alaska in the last couple of years. These forests were sinks for carbon dioxide, absorbing some of the greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere. Now they are burning and turning into even greater sources of these gases. The permafrost in the arctic is melting, releasing methane, the most toxic of all greenhouse gases. The fires and smoke contribute to the melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and the Antarctic southern ice sheet — warming the oceans and making them more acidic — also making them rise. It is all interconnected. All of us are downstream from somewhere. The greatest myth that afflicts our society is the myth of separation. There is no separation.

Climate scientists now predict that the seas will rise three to six feet by the end of the century. That would pretty much wipe out the east coast. By July 4, 2076, the 300th anniversary of the United States, even Independence Hall will be under water — not submerged entirely, but challenging for a parade. And the bad news is that all this weather, all this dying of the oceans, is the effect of the greenhouse gases spewed into the air 30 years ago, before our graduates were born. There is a 30-year time gap between the emissions and their effects. What will be the effects of the emissions we are spilling out now, 30 years from now? We are fast reaching numerous tipping points. What are we going to do with all the people who live on the coasts of America? What about all the people who live on all the coasts all over the world?

— Swarthmore College http://www.swarthmore.edu/commencement-2016/cindy-halpern-baccalaureate

The author of the speech is Berkeley professor Josh Halpern. You may know his bunny.

368. Marco says:

“Marco, do you know if the correction Mears did to raise RSS trend also theoretically applies to UAH?”

I don’t know whether it does, only that Spencer immediately handwaved the correction away. I am then always reminded of the previous times people pointed out issues with the data analysis, and where it took UAH sometimes many years to actually correct the problem.

The fact remains, however, that any claims of the satellite record showing a much lower (40%) trend than the surface record are simply not true.

369. The author of the speech is Berkeley professor Josh Halpern.

Cindy Halpern.

370. verytallguy says:

Cindy Halpern

Ron, it’s worth reflecting on what this tells you about how you read texts.

371. Dikran Marsupial says:

RonG wrote “If one is aware that they cannot agree on the “basics” with another in a discussion, one must logically redefine what they consider the “basics.”

Not really; most creationists do not accept the theory of evolution by natural selection. Does that mean that the basics of the theory of evolution by natural selection are not what the evolutionary biologists say they are? Being wrong does not change the basic facts that are well understood by those who have studied them.

” Clearly, polarization of debate is when the basics get further and further apart, the extrapolation of which can lead to very dark places. ”

If people are polarised by being given correct factual information about science, then we are in a very dark place already, because it means that we are not rational (i.e. out political desires are more important to us than reality).

372. Joshua says:

Reading at Lucia’s, Ron has determined that Josh Halpern, the son of Cindy Halpern, wrote the climate-related portion of Cindy Halpern’s speech.

——————-

Ron –

==> If one is aware that they cannot agree on the “basics” with another in a discussion, one must logically redefine what they consider the “basics.” Clearly, polarization of debate is when the basics get further and further apart, the extrapolation of which can lead to very dark places. I happened to see this as a greater danger to humanity than any technological problem like finding alternative energies and energy storage. I reiterate: the true “basics” come down to trust and integrity. If you suspect someone does not feel you deserve you money, property or life, why would you believe they thought you deserved the truth?” ==>

I disagree a bit in that part of what you wrote there I consider to be some drama-queening about polarization, but I agree strongly with the rest of it.

That said…I’ve been trying to work with you for a while to get to some agreement on the basics related to two questions. I’ve repeated them each at least three times.

Why don’t you give it a shot? If you’d like, I could repeat the questions again to help clarify.

==> Many here seem to think persuading those who have educated themselves on climate is pointless once the education sought came from a critical standpoint. ==>

Can we add a couple of guidelines to the agree-upon list?

A) Avoid generalizing about groups of people who may well have very different goals, attributes, beliefs, etc. In this case, I think that your generalization serves no benefit to increasing the integrity of the debate. If you could make a case why it does, I’d be open to hearing it.

B). Avoid statements like “it seems like…” followed by a negative characterization. Pretty much guaranteed to set back any movement towards good faith engagement. Again, if you could offer some explanation for why your use of “it seems like” there was beneficial towards achieving your goal of good faith exchange, please present your view.

These are basic principles related to conflict resolution, active listening, etc.

373. Joshua,

Reading at Lucia’s, Ron has determined that Josh Halpern, the son of Cindy Halpern, wrote the climate-related portion of Cindy Halpern’s speech.

Ahh, just found that. He’s wrong, though, about who that Josh Halpern is.

374. Joshua says:

Ron –

BTW, even though I didn’t actually repeat the questions, I’m going to count that as the 4th repetition for each.

375. Joshua says:

==> He’s wrong, though, about who that Josh Halpern is.

It’s all just identity politics anyway. Not something that particularly advances the cause of enhancing the “integrity of the debate,” IMO.

376. Joshua says:

In moderation —

it seems, somehow, that the pattern of landing in moderation might be related to this particular thread?

377. Joshua,
I just mean that Cindy Halpern’s son Josh is not Eli.

378. Joshua,
“Halpern” is a moderation term.

379. Dikran Marsupial says:

This fixation on the identities of those posting under a pseudonym (unless they are skeptics) seems to be a feature of climate “skepticism”. ;o)

380. Dikran Marsupial says:

… or more realistically a bug.

381. Dikran,
On the other hand, there are some who insist on continuing to use a pseudonym that the other person stopped using a couple of years ago.

382. Joshua says:

==> This fixation on the identities of those posting under a pseudonym (unless they are skeptics) seems to be a feature of climate “skepticism”. ;o)er all.

I think it’s more a feature of juvenile behavior, where annoying people is a proximal goal.

383. Willard says:

> [I]t’s worth reflecting on what this tells you about how you read texts.

It’s also a very fine ClimateBall ™ example.

The truth is out there, RonG, and your time is up.

Thank you for all the concerns you raised, and all the others you tried to peddle.

384. Ron Graf says:

[No more peddling, RonG. -W]

385. Dikran Marsupial says:

[Snip. -W]

The evidence for the basics in climate science has been set out in great detail over the last couple of centuries, it is not dependent on the source.

Scientific truth doesn’t depend on political (or other) position.

386. Joshua says:

Ron –

I wonder what you’d think about adding another guideline:

7) Don’t discuss Al Gore’s waistline.

In other words, don’t introduce identity politics in to an analytical discussion. For example, discussing whether or not Eil wrote a particular speech seems entirely irrelevant to the issues we were discussing in this thread.

387. Dikran Marsupial says:

If Eli is a prof at Berkeley, all I can say is that he has very high standards! ;o)

[Piling on. -W]

388. Willard says:

> I wonder what you’d think about adding another guideline: […]

Please, no more wondering about what RonG thinks. There’s no reason to expect that he won’t use this kind of meta to peddle in more ClimateBall ™. Since he’s been asked not to peddle furthermore, this exercise will have to wait.

389. Ron Graf says:

VTG, I just checked and must say I made a mistake here.

My sincere apology, Eli.

I notice, however, [More peddling. -W]

390. verytallguy says:

Ron, kudos for the acknowledgment, these things happen.

What can you learn from it?

391. Willard says:

> What can you learn from it?

Socratizing a peddler might be suboptimal, VeryTall.

It oftentimes leads to more peddling.

392. verytallguy says:

It oftentimes leads to more peddling.

Ah, but I’m sure that as “The Moderatormeister” you will ensure avoidance of such an eventuality. *

Plus I’ll soon enough crack and spoon feed Ron a list of lessons he can pass to his Morton’s daemon for disposal.

*[is sycophancy to the ref allowed in climateball? ]

[Answer: Everything is allowed in ClimateBall ™, including playing the ref. Playing the ref is still counterindicated at AT’s. -W]

393. Eli Rabett says:

Should we keep RonG around for amusement value? Perhaps.

Perhaps not

394. anoilman says:

I’m not amused. I can’t find anything he’s talking about in the manual;
https://haynes.co.uk/catalog/general-interest-manuals/space/planet-earth-manual

395. Joshua says:

[Thank you for your concerns. -W]

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