## Lukewarmers resurgent

I’ve noticed a slight resurgence in those claiming to be lukewarmers and trying to argue that this is some kind of reasonable middle ground. I’ve written about lukewarmers before, but the basic issue with the lukewarmer argument is that they take something that is possible (low climate sensitivity) and argue that it is almost certain. The problem, quite obviously, is that arguing that something is likely, when it’s not, is not consistent with the available scientific evidence.

I think, however, that focusing on something like climate sensitivity somewhat misses a key point (intentionally possibly). The chance that climate sensitivity could be so low that we can continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere, without any chance of the resulting changes leading to potentially damaging impacts, is almost certainly very small. Even if climate sensitivity is on the low side of the range, we can still pump enough CO2 into the atmosphere for the changes to be large and for the resulting impacts to be severe.

What I’m suggesting is that even lukewarmers (assuming that they would like to avoid changes that could have damaging impacts) should be willing to consider how we should be aiming to reduce our emissions. We can debate how best to go about reducing emissions, and how fast we should be aiming to do so, but the idea that we don’t need to do so is – I would argue – not even consistent with a reasonable lukewarmer position. Well, unless – as some suspect – lukewarmers are really just selecting their scientific position to suit their policy preferences.

I don’t know if I’ve expressed this as clearly as I might have, but what I’m really trying to suggest is that from a global warming perspective, the key factor (at least, the one over which we have some control) is our emissions. Is there a realistic scenario under which we can continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere without producing impacts that are severely damaging? I would argue that the answer is no, even if you think that climate sensivity might be on the low side of the range.

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### 661 Responses to Lukewarmers resurgent

1. -1=e^iπ says:

I agree, we should follow an emission pathway that maximizes social welfare according to the world’s best Integrated Assessment models, such as DICE. Interestingly, such pathways go over the beloved 2 C target (which was first suggested by the creator of DICE, Nordhaus, over 40 years ago). Thus, one could argue that the 2 C target is not in humanity’s best interest.

2. FWIW, my view is that climate science tells us we need to act urgently to reduce emissions. Anyone who says otherwise is a “climate science denier.”

3. climate science tells us we need to act urgently to reduce emissions.

Indeed, that’s what I’m suggesting. I don’t think there is a realistic scenario under which the best pathway is one in which we don’t start trying to reduce emissions now.

4. -1=e^iπ says:

“climate science tells us we need to act urgently to reduce emissions”

The scientific method doesn’t tell you what to do. Please don’t disrespect the scientific method by misrepresenting it.

Also, the idea that you can determine the target temperature (ex. 2C target as Real Climate recently tried to argue for on their blog) while using ZERO economic information is insane. You need more than climactic information to make good decisions.

5. The scientific method doesn’t tell you what to do. Please don’t disrespect the scientific method by misrepresenting it.

True, but it can tell us something of the potential impacts and we can make judgements as to whether or not we should act to avoid these impacts.

6. Relying on IAMs for benefit-cost analysis is no way to determine the desirable rate or extent of emissions reductions. It is impossible to predict technology trends and costs decades hence, so the very idea of optimality is suspect in this context. There are many good references on this topic, but here are a few key ones:

Koomey, Jonathan. 2013. “Moving Beyond Benefit-Cost Analysis of Climate Change.” Environmental Research Letters. vol. 8, no. 041005. December 2. [http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/4/041005/]

Ackerman, Frank , Stephen J. DeCanio, Richard B. Howarth, and Kristen Sheeran. 2009. “Limitations of Integrated Assessment Models of Climate Change.” Climatic Change. vol. 95, no. 3-4. August. pp. 297-315. [http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-009-9570-x]

DeCanio, Stephen J. 2003. Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan. [http://amzn.to/1wvkvDu]

Rosen, Richard A., and Edeltraud Guenther. 2015. “The economics of mitigating climate change: What can we know?” Technological Forecasting and Social Change. vol. 91, no. 0. 2//. pp. 93-106. [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162514000468]

7. Jonathan,
Thanks. I think -1 is of the view that the only way to make a decision is to use the optimal cost benefit pathway, so it’s useful to see some arguments that suggest otherwise.

8. Magma says:

For the most part lukewarmers are just a slightly smarter breed of AGW denier.

It’s a low bar.

9. Willard says:

> Please don’t disrespect the scientific method by misrepresenting it.

Please tell us more about the scientific method, -1. If you could tell how economics counts as a science, that’d be great.

10. Magma,
Indeed, there are certainly indications that many have simply shifted their scientific view to be minimally consistent with the scientific evidence, while not shifting their policy position at all.

11. -1=e^iπ says:

@ Koomey –
“It is impossible to predict technology trends and costs decades hence, so the very idea of optimality is suspect in this context.”

You don’t need to predict perfectly. You just need an empirically justified probability distribution. Then you maximize expected social welfare.

The papers you referenced appear to demonstrate that if there is enough demand for a certain conclusion, there will be supply for it, sometimes in the form of published papers. 🙂

12. -1,
Care to highlight any of your published papers? Would be preferable to insulting those who actually have a relevant publication record.

13. -1=e^iπ says:

@ ATTP – ” I think -1 is of the view that the only way to make a decision is to use the optimal cost benefit pathway, so it’s useful to see some arguments that suggest otherwise.”

I’m a utilitarian, what do you expect? The great liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill had the right idea of how to approach these problems.

Maybe you guys would have a better chance of convincing me if you explained why I should abandon utilitarianism in favour of something else?

14. -1,

Maybe you guys would have a better chance of convincing me if you explained why I should abandon utilitarianism in favour of something else?

I genuinely have absolutely no interest in convincing you of anything.

15. Willard says:

> Maybe you guys would have a better chance of convincing me if you explained why I should abandon utilitarianism in favour of something else?

Utilitarianism ain’t exactly an epistemological position, dear -1, and I already did.

16. Joshua says:

Anders –

=={ I think -1 is of the view that the only way to make a decision is to use the optimal cost benefit pathway, }==

Here’s the thing. “Lukewarmerism” isn’t really a thing. Motivated reasoning is a thing, and what people refer to as “lukewarmerism” just just motivated reasoning applied in a particular context. As -1 demonstrates in some of his arguments about economics, cost benefit analysis can demonstrate the exact same style of reasoning as can advocacy for the civil rights of teh gayz.

In climate change it takes the form of…”anything is possible but I’ll bet the house on only a narrowed probability because it matches my ideological predisposition.

In economics it takes the form of “the uncertainty of sensitivity and impact per unit of increase in temperatures is large, but mitigating emissions is “costly” (which I know even though I can’t calculate the ratio of positive to negative externalities).

In the civil rights of teh gayz its “giving money to people who deprive teh gayz of civil rights is bad, and so the Paris Accord is bad, even if the Paris Accord is directly targeted as providing alternative energy pathways to the current energy pathways that enrich governments that oppress teh gayz.”

IMO, there is no such thing as lukewarmerism. There are good arguments and bad arguments.

17. Joshua says:

By way of explanation, in the earlier thread I asked -1 multiple times to explain why, given his concerns about the channeling of money to governments that oppress teh gayz, he would favor pulling out of the PA given that those same countries are enriched on a much larger scale from the sale of (via market demand for) fossil fuels than they are by the PA, which targets the promotion of alternative fuels.

He repeated his advocacy for pulling out of the PA in order to protect teh gayz despite the obvious logical incoherence of his argument. IMO, that is very much an analog to “lukewarmerism” in a different context.

18. So, -1, when you compute the ideal policy response which price do you assign to your own life? What is your price for an American 6 month old baby? What is your price for a young adult American, Muslim and Congolese? What is your price for a kid with asthma?

It is nice to get some guidance from IAM, I feel we should still make the decision ourselves.

19. T-rev says:

>The scientific method doesn’t tell you what to do. Please don’t disrespect the scientific method by misrepresenting it.

I don’t l agree with that at all. No one has ever died of smoking either, it’s always cancer, so continue smoking would be a similar allegory. Unless you go reductio ad absurdum, climate science IS telling us to reduce because the presumption is, like with smoking, you want a reasonable quality of life, we want a reasonably habitable biosphere. There are any number of papers saying we won’t get that if we continue.

Sure, the science doesn’t say how we should but it does tell us where the majority of emisions are and climate scientist Peter Kalmus speaks to that here

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/how-far-can-we-get-without-flying-20160211

20. rda33 says:

According to – 1 “You don’t need to predict perfectly. You just need an empirically justified probability distribution.”

Aaaaaaand… now we can count on – 1 to never again complain that climate models are imperfect. Right? No?

21. russellseitz says:

“Here’s the thing. “Lukewarmerism” isn’t really a thing. Motivated reasoning is a thing, and what people refer to as “lukewarmerism” just just motivated reasoning applied in a particular context.”

Joshua seems to be laboring under the impression that models are things.
Some economists think it unwise to bet on the intercomparison of metaphysical entities , while others evince a deep and abiding belief in an entity they call the precautionary principle, which seems to grow ever more embedded in social perception

The problem is that ,since a lot of the parameters models need in order to operate remain indefinite, you end up with output matrices instead of numbers. Some regard this failure of convergence as cause neither for celebration or declarations of consensus. Existential threat inflation may be a valid advertising gambit, but it does nothing to lower the objective uncertainty range.

We can hope for a better deliverence than string theory, but progress in modeling something complex as climate geophysics will continue to depend on more than just getting the sign right on the parameters.

22. aporiac1960 says:

The people who interest me are those who believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (because ‘science’) and demand urgent action while at the same time campaign to shut down nuclear power plants on safety grounds.

And so we have the situation in Germany, for example, where massive investments in renewables in recent years have barely dented CO2 emission levels. The Energiewende (Energy Transition) bill passed in 2010, since which time emissions have fallen from 942 to 902 MMT CO2eq (change = -4.2% = -0.7% p.a.). In contrast, between 1990 and 2010 German emissions fell on average by double that annual rate. Interestingly, in the same post-Energiewende period (2010-2015), USA emissions fell from 6,925 to 6,587 MMT CO2eq (change = -4.9%).

23. aporiac1960 says:

Sources for the above numbers: –

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/german-carbon-emissions-rise-2016-despite-coal-use-drop

Another interesting and relevant comparison between Germany and the USA. Domestic electricity prices (2016): –

Germany: $0.348/kWh USA:$0.126/kWh

(1 Euro = 1.12) 24. -1=e^iπ says: @ Joshua – As much as I don’t want to see aid, oil money, arms, etc. going to countries like Saudi Arabia, it would be going off topic and Willard/ATTP would prefer I not bring it up. Also, I have no problem using a probability distribution, of climate sensitivity for example, with infinite range (such as lognormal climate sensitivity distribution). So your claims about me arguing for a restricted range are untrue. @ Victor – “which price do you assign to your own life?” All people assign a finite value to their own lives otherwise observed human behaviour would not make sense. For example, take the fact that most humans will eat an occasional potato chip could not be explained with an infinite value of life because the potato chip increases one’s chance of dying from heart disease even if the effect is ridiculously small (say 1 in 10^1000). Because, while the individual gains finite value of pleasure from consuming that delicious potato chip, it would be exceeded by the tiny finite value of increasing one’s chance of dying from heart disease times the value of their lives (which would be infinity), so the individual would not eat that potato chip. You would not be able to explain why people smoke, get drunk, sky dive, use marijuana, have sex with people they don’t know very well (increased STD chances), or fly airplanes (not only is there a chance of terrorism, but you greatly increase your exposure to radiation on an airplane and thus increase your chance of getting cancer). @ T-rev “you want a reasonable quality of life” If this is about trying to have the best quality of life then you would want to take into account other things as well, such as the impact of mitigation policies on the price of energy. That’s why the IAM approach is better than say, completely ignore all economic information when making decisions. 25. Alberto Zaragoza Comendador says: ‘should be willing to consider how we should be aiming to reduce our emissions’ ‘Reducing our emissions’ is too simplistic. As pretty much everyone on Earth considers economic growth a good thing, and the more the better, the question isn’t about reducing absolute emissions but about reducing the emissions intensity of GDP. If GDP grows a lot, there is no question absolute emissions will grow as well – but why would that be a bad thing? ‘We can debate how best to go about reducing emissions’ Given the abysmal performance of almost every CO2-reduction thing any country has tried, surely this debate will include ‘do nothing’ as an option. thebreakthrough.org/issues/Climate-Policy/does-climate-policy-matter Germany has spent hundreds of billions on Energiewende. Effect on emissions: zero at best. Would it be better to have done nothing? Duh, yes. 26. Willard says: > The people who interest me They should be those who, perhaps like you, endorse some lukewarm position regarding AGW. Thank you for your concerns. 27. Willard says: > Given the abysmal performance of almost every CO2-reduction thing any country has tried Not so fast, Alberto: I believe this is checkmate. 28. Willard says: Of course, I forgot: Compare and contrast with what we just read. 29. I am entirely willing to accept an “empirically derived probability distribution” for ECS or anything else. Setting aside, for the moment, the definitional problems with constructing such a distribution for anything but a point temperature anomaly, it has probability mass essentially from +1C out to +6C, with less mass at the high tail. It notably and sharply drops in probability mass distribution below +1C, and spreads a good deal out towards that +6C and beyond, diminishing roughly between a linear drop and an exponential as you do, in other words, some polynomial drop. Presumably the shape changes as the estimate of ECS is taken at successively higher temperatures. My point is quite basic, something which surely economists and econometricians should appreciate. The decision should be made on the expected loss. Accordingly, the expected loss should be the integral over temperatures of the probability mass of ECS against the loss at that temperature. If the loss model is one where the loss simply climbs with temperature, perhaps as a polynomial function of it, I can see from where the reported results of the IAMs come. On the other hand, if there is a threshold beyond which, in short order, economic production collapses completely, whether because of a structural failure, or because of loss of some critical technology, like transportation, or civil dissolution, the loss at a temperature should be a threshold-type model and go to effectively infinity at that point. I would argue if such a threshold effect is possible, then the entire idea of the IAM approach is bupkis. That’s because if there’s any probability mass at or beyond an infinite loss point, it’s obvious what the response needs to be: That part of the state space needs to be avoided at all costs. In such a situation, point estimates like means are nonsense, because they are not even defined. 30. David B. Benson says: The actual climate sensitivity is certainly not low. The last time carbon dioxide levels were as high as today, 400 ppm, was during the mid-Pliocene. At that time time the global temperature was 2–3 °C warmer than “now”, which I take to mean around 1950. So it just takes some time to come to equilibrium. Just ask the lukewarmer to read the Wikipedia page on Pliocene climate. 31. Hans Erren says: David, the only casualties of PETM temperature spike were the bottom dwelling cold loving creatures in the arctic. For the rest, biodiversity skyrocketed. I also calculated he worst case temperature effect on GDP growth for the RCP8.5 scenario, even in Africa there is stil an 8 fold economic GROWTH relative to 2005. So even in the worst case scenario, economies get wealthier. But hey, that is the alarmist prerequisitite for a warming world: growing economies. So where is the beef? 32. -1=e^iπ says: “I would argue if such a threshold effect is possible, then the entire idea of the IAM approach is bupkis.” If there is such a threshold effect, then you can try to estimate its effect, determine it’s probability distribution, and add that effect into IAMs. So IAMs in principle can deal with such effects, but perhaps they for the most part don’t include this because there is no good evidence for such a ‘tipping point leading to the end of the world’ that just happens to be above 2 C. But if people want to demonstrate otherwise, I wish them luck and hope that they get their results published in a peer reviewed paper so that their results can be incorporated. 33. David B. Benson says: Hans Erren — I don’t believe you about PETM. Some form of reference is required. Besides, that was so long ago as to be irrelevant. I don’t believe you about the effects of a warming world. Study some agronomy and ecology. Those who do so are concerned. 34. izen says: CBA can calculate a known cost of reducing fossil fuel consumption from BAU. The cost/benefit of rising sea level is incalculable. IAMs do not include it. Human nature prefers avoiding the known cost even at the risk of incurring an unknown greater cost. Hence Lukewarmism. 35. Clive Best says: We can’t measure Climate Sensitivity but we can measure CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It is a mistake to set goals based on temperature rise rather than on CO2 levels. Instead of the Paris agreement limiting temperature rise to 2C, it should have limited CO2 levels to say 500ppm. That way there is a defined goal rather than a hypothetical goal which cannot be measured. Climate sensitivity (ECS) is not a fundamental constant anyway, since it must vary with time and with temperature. The other problem with planning for a worst case scenario is that it forces drastic action before more effective solutions emerge. Solar energy and wind energy still only provide ~1% of the world’s energy consumption, despite 10 years of massive investment. Optimistically renewable+energy efficiency scenarios might see this rise to 10% by 2050, but it won’t solve the problem. We need another solution. This could be Thorium reactors, Small scale nuclear or even Fusion. The analogy is the Internet. NASA spent 100s of millions of dollars designing EOSDIS around client server architecture. They even bought all the hardware before the software was ready. The Web was exploding at the same time and made their design obsolete almost overnight. So forget arguments about climate sensitivity. In my opinion the ‘Lukewarm’ label should really be applied to those who are asking for a rethink on Energy policy. The world needs a ‘Manhattan’ project to develop new nuclear energy sources. Otherwise we will simply waste huge resources on a mirage of Utopia. Read David MacKay’s book – “Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air” and do the sums. Maximum Wind energy density = 2W/m2 36. Clive, It is a mistake to set goals based on temperature rise rather than on CO2 levels. Instead of the Paris agreement limiting temperature rise to 2C, it should have limited CO2 levels to say 500ppm. I don’t think there is really much of a difference. A temperature target and a CO2 level target will both be associated with carbon budgets (i.e., how much more we can emit). In my opinion the ‘Lukewarm’ label should really be applied to those who are asking for a rethink on Energy policy. Well, yes, but many others think that the Lukewarm label really applies to people who are choosing the evidence to suit their policy preferences. 37. -1, But if people want to demonstrate otherwise, I wish them luck and hope that they get their results published in a peer reviewed paper so that their results can be incorporated. Do you see the irony of you suggesting this? 38. dikranmarsupial says: ” it should have limited CO2 levels to say 500ppm. ” But why should we want to do that? Because increased CO2 levels cause climate change, for instance an increased global mean surface temperature, which we want to limit. What relates the two quanties? ECS. As ATTP suggests the two things are essentially the same. the advantage of a temperature threshold is that it is easier for the general public to relate to than a concentration of a trace gas. 39. Clive Best says: @ATTP There is a difference because 2C may be reached at 500ppm or only at 1000ppm. We just don’t know. All we can say is that it is most likely to be reached 100 years after we stabilise CO2 levels at ~500ppm @dikranmarsupial Of course but we don’t know what ECS is ! AR5 says ECS is between 1.5C and 4.5C with likely value 2.5C. That maps 2C to a huge range of different CO2 levels. 40. -1=e^iπ says: [Playing the ref. – Willard] “Do you see the irony of you suggesting this?” no. 41. Clive, There is a difference because 2C may be reached at 500ppm or only at 1000ppm. 1000ppm? The point I’m making is whether it’s a temperature target, or a CO2 level target, they will both require some kind of carbon budget. I don’t really see the difference. 42. -1, Let’s not play the ref. no. I’m not surprised. 43. Joshua says: =={ The other problem with planning for a worst case scenario is that it forces drastic action. }== Ah yes. “Drastic.” Can inaction be drastic? 44. The other problem with planning for a worst case scenario is that it forces drastic action. Similarly, the problem with doing nothing/too little is that it could also force drastic action. 45. -1, I understand that in your moral system only money (IAMs) determines what we should do and that in that world view the value of a human life is not infinite. For an optimal response in your moral system we would need to know more than just humans being valued less than infinity, we would need a number. Thus my question remains: what value to you attach to your life, to the life of an American, to the life of a Muslim. While we are at it, what value to you attach to cultures and history disappearing into the sea (The Netherlands). What value to do attach to communities being ripped apart. What value do you ascribe to species going extinct. If you want to base your decision on the economically optimal path given by an economic model, we need those numbers. If you do not know the numbers by heart, how would you go about computing them? 46. Joshua says: =={ Is there a standard definition of “lukewarmer”… }== I would offer, “someone who narrows uncertainties so as to support conclusions that align with his/her ideological orientation.” Luckwarmer is actually a MUCH more descriptive term, in most cases. As such, I found that Times article to a significant improvement on the standard luckwarmer approach: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/opinion/sunday/neither-hot-nor-cold-on-climate.html?smid=tw-share&referer=https://t.co/fcPcZIqyfi I would be interested in reading critiqued. 47. Alberto, If GDP grows a lot, there is no question absolute emissions will grow as well – but why would that be a bad thing? Because the atmospheric concentrations (and hence climate change) will continue to increase as long as we are emitting CO2 into the atmospheric, and the impact of climate change probably depends on total emissions. 48. Joshua, I would be interested in reading critiqued. Here’s a quick one. The article says More specifically, lukewarmers look at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s official projections and see a strong likelihood that rising temperatures will drag on G.D.P. without leading to catastrophe. As I understand it, this is because GDP growth is typically baked into the models. So, by definition, rising temperatures will drag on GDP without leading to economic catastrophe. For example, if GDP grows at 3% per year, then it will double global GDP in about 20 years. So, under this assumption, global GDP will be something 8 times greater in 2100 than it is now. However, this is an assumption of the model and there is little chance that such a model would conclude that climate change could do so much damage that we are not richer by 2100, than we are now. However, what if climate change actually starts to influence GDP growth itself? If I remember correctly, there have been some attempts to run models where GDP growth is not baked in but is allowed to be influenced by the impacts of climate change. The effect is, IIRC, much greater than if you assume GDP growth is fixed and climate change simply produce damages. To be fair, I’m not an economist, so may not have explained that as well as I should have. 49. Joshua says: VV – ={ Thus my question remains: what value to you attach to your life, to the life of an American, to the life of a Muslim. }== FWIW, keep in mind that -1 made an argument that logically aligned with a view that cancer-stricken children, who happen to be born in countries with governments that oppress teh gayz, don’t deserve health care. https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/trump-and-paris/#comment-96963 50. dikranmarsupial says: @clive “Of course but we don’t know what ECS is” This is my point. The CO2 target we need to set depends on ECS, so your proposal is no better that the existing 2C target. If you don’t know ECS then the CO2 target is arbitrary. “AR5 says ECS is between 1.5C and 4.5C with likely value 2.5C. That maps 2C to a huge range of different CO2 levels.” It works the other way around as well. If ECS ranges between 1.5C and 4.5C then a 500ppm target maps to a huge range of temperatures (a three degree difference is a huge range) and it is the climate change that matters, not the CO2 level itself. So again your proposed target is no better. Also the plausibility of values in the AR5 range is not flat. 51. Let’s bear in mind that typically a carbon budget is based on giving us some probability of staying below some temperature (normally 66% chance). So, it takes the ECS (or probably TCRE) range into account. 52. -1=e^iπ says: “in that world view the value of a human life is not infinite.” Of course the value of human life is finite. The value of everything is finite. We living in a dying universe. “For an optimal response in your moral system we would need to know more than just humans being valued less than infinity, we would need a number.” That’s not in practice true. DICE avoids dealing with the statistical value of life because of the approximations it makes; it treats population as exogenous to the model and mostly looks at changes in consumption due to changes in policy. DICE has a constant relative risk aversion utility function with coefficient of 1.45. So the statistical value of life in DICE is actually infinity, but due to other approximations, this doesn’t cause issues. Approximations have to be made in order to be able to realistically try to determine the path that maximizes expected social welfare. The utility function in DICE, FUND and other IAMs are somewhat unrealistic if they are CRRA utility functions. Maybe the utility functions should be changed to more realistic utility functions? Or perhaps focus should be on improving other flaws in IAMs first. “what value to you attach to your life, to the life of an American, to the life of a Muslim.” Whatever value I attach to my life or the lives of others, I think it would be unreasonable to expect society to adopt my preferences. Instead, it makes sense to advocate that the social welfare function satisfies egalitarianism otherwise I don’t see how you can get sufficient support for such a social welfare function from all the voters. “What value do you ascribe to species going extinct.” Depends when it goes extinct and how much humans value the species. If mosquitos went extinct, I think that would be wonderful. 53. Willard says: > All people assign a finite value to their own lives otherwise observed human behaviour would not make sense. For example, take the fact that most humans will eat an occasional potato chip could not be explained with an infinite value of life I don’t always eat a bag of chips, but when I do it’s not because I assign a value to my life. Sometimes I don’t even assign a value to the act of buying the damn bag of chips. Heck, sometimes I don’t even want to eat it and still do. Arguing for a false alternative may not be the best way to reinforce a hyperrational conception of human behavior. 54. -1=e^iπ says: @ Joshua – that’s a misrepresentation. I said that people that go around killing gay people don’t deserve health care. Not children with cancer that don’t kill gay people. 55. -1, that’s a misrepresentation. No, you objected to countries that do such things getting any kind of support. The consequences of such could quite easily be exactly as Joshua suggested. 56. -1=e^iπ says: @ Willard – you implicitly assign finite value to your own life through your actions. 57. -1=e^iπ says: @ ATTP – That’s true, but that’s not the same thing as saying that ‘children with cancer don’t deserve health care’, which was Joshua’s claim. Rather, I think aid should be used as leverage to incentivise other countries to stop killing gay people and apostates. 58. Willard says: > “someone who narrows uncertainties so as to support conclusions that align with his/her ideological orientation.” The lowballing is missing. The correlation with libertarian claptraps too. There’s also the fact that the concept evolved – Matt King Coal’s usage of the term is not the same as its founding fathers’ at the Auditor’s and Lucia’s. It’s mostly a PR stunt anyway. Some random notes: https://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/lukewarm 59. -1, so you advocate making policy based on a model that values humans only as much as regretting they do not consume any more after they die? That could then explain why we disagree about climate change and health care for poor children with cancer. 60. -1, Rather, I think aid should be used as leverage to incentivise other countries to stop killing gay people and apostates. That isn’t what you said, though. You seem to be changing your position. However, I found the earlier discussion sufficiently objectionable, that I have no great interest in repeating it. Nor do I have any great sense that you particularly actually care about the issues that you highlight. As far as I can see, it is simply a way for you to score some kind of point. 61. I was going to drop this, but I’ll make one more comment. The problem with this Rather, I think aid should be used as leverage to incentivise other countries to stop killing gay people and apostates. is that it suggests that we could/should use something like sick children as a bargaining chip. For example, we would only provide some kind of aid for sick children to a developing country, if that developing country changed some kind of policy that was objectionable. This, itself, seems rather objectionable. 62. -1=e^iπ says: “so you advocate making policy based on a model that values humans only as much as regretting they do not consume any more after they die?” I don’t understand what you are trying to ask. People can’t consume anything if they are dead. Unless we are talking about consumption in the magic afterlife. A CRRA utility function that only has consumption as its input is obviously a flawed approximation. However, a flawed utility function is still better than no utility function (which you seem to advocate). 63. Willard says: > As far as I can see, it is simply a way for you to score some kind of point. There was no real point involved, AT. Twas just a way to smear anyone who’d endorse the Paris agreement. The debate between -1 and Victor might be dissolved with this idea. A simple way to assign an infinite value using finite numbers is to pick one beyond the realms of all the other ones used in the evaluation function. For instance, some Chess engines use “128” to evaluate an absolutely winning position. It’s more than the sum of all the pieces. It’s good enough. Even Mill doesn’t support the idea that maximizing utility is a matter of calculating an evaluation function: Utilitarian calculation is time-consuming and often unreliable or subject to bias and distortion. For such reasons, we may better approximate the utilitarian standard if we don’t always try to approximate it. Mill says that to suppose that one must always consciously employ the utilitarian principle in making decisions … is to mistake the very meaning of a standard of morals and confound the rule of action with the motive of it. It is the business of ethics to tell us what are our duties, or by what test we may know them; but no system of ethics requires that the sole motive of all we do shall be a feeling of duty; on the contrary, ninety-nine hundredths of all our actions are done from other motives, and rightly so done if the rule of duty does not condemn them. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mill-moral-political/#UtiStaCon Consequentialism has evolved quite a bit since then. 64. -1=e^iπ says: “I have no great interest in repeating it.” I’m not the one bringing it up in this thread… others are. “This, itself, seems rather objectionable.” The world we live in is imperfect and often involves decisions where someone is screwed either way. The best we can do is to try to make the decisions that result in the most net good. “that you particularly actually care about the issues that you highlight.” I am very supportive of LGBTQIAP+ rights. Unlike Obama and Merkel, I have always supported gay marriage. I’m also very pro-abortion; not only should abortions be legal, but it should be legal to buy and sell abortion fetuses so that the free market can more efficiently allocate this useful economic resource. If we combine legalization of selling abortion fetuses with legalization of cloning and legalization of modifying human genes, then I think it would create a wonderful market where women or transmen could get pregnant on purpose with the genes of a modified clone of another person, and then get an abortion and sell the fetus to the person with the genes that were cloned so that the abortion fetus can be harvested for organs and used to replace missing organs. 65. -1=e^iπ says: @ Willard – Mill didn’t live in a time with computers, large amounts of statistical data and advanced statistical techniques. What seemed like a distant fantasy in Mill’s time is a practical reality today. 66. Clive Best says: @dikranmarsupial says “This is my point. The CO2 target we need to set depends on ECS, so your proposal is no better that the existing 2C target. If you don’t know ECS then the CO2 target is arbitrary.” …. This is pure circular logic. So you are proposing to simply guess the CO2 level, because the 2C target is a holly cow. It won’t happen because there is no thermostat knob! 67. -1, The world we live in is imperfect and often involves decisions where someone is screwed either way. The best we can do is to try to make the decisions that result in the most net good. Indeed, but you seem to think that you get to decide this. Plus, this doesn’t change that many would regard using sick children as bargaining chips as rather objectionable. As Willard already said, my impression from the earlier discussion was that it was just a way to smear anyone who’d endorse the Paris agreement. 68. Clive, So you are proposing to simply guess the CO2 level, because the 2C target is a holly cow. It won’t happen because there is no thermostat knob! No, I think the point is simply that if you decide the target should be a temperature, then you need to determine some kind of carbong budget. On the other hand, if you decide that the target should be an atmospheric concentration, than you still need some kind of carbon budget. Futhermore, you would still need to have some reason for choosing a concentration target, which would probably involve some estimate of how much warming/climate change would result from that atmospheric concentration. It’s all related. You just seem to be suggestion something that isn’t fundamentally different from a temperature target. 69. Clive Best says: ATTP, Yes but in the first case the carbon budget can only be estimated based on mean model projections, whereas in the second case it can be calculated exactly. 70. -1=e^iπ says: @ ATTP – “Plus, this doesn’t change that many would regard using sick children as bargaining chips as rather objectionable. ” The way I see it, in the long run countries that are freer are richer and have more economic resources to help sick children. So if countries stop killing gay people and apostates, in the long run there will be more economic resources to help sick children. 71. Joshua says: -1 =={ @ Joshua – that’s a misrepresentation. I said that people that go around killing gay people don’t deserve health care. Not children with cancer that don’t kill gay people. }== I was careful with what I wrote. I said that the logical extension of your argument is that cancer-stricken children born in countries where their governments oppress gay people do not deserve access to healthcare. I also linked to my comment where I said that I assumed that you did not actually hold the opinion that cancer-srticken children in Nigeria don’t deserve access to healthcare – and where I asked you, repeatedly, to address the logic of your argument. I also offered, multiple times, for you to engage in that discussion, and I continue to do so now… I recommend the other thread. 72. Joshua says: -1 Anders wrote… =={ As Willard already said, my impression from the earlier discussion was that it was just a way to smear anyone who’d endorse the Paris agreement. }== That was my impression as well – which is why I challenged you to address the logic of your argument. 73. Clive, Yes but in the first case the carbon budget can only be estimated based on mean model projections, whereas in the second case it can be calculated exactly. This is not true, but it can probably be estimated with more accuracy than the temperature target. However, you would still need some reason to choose a particular atmospheric concentration, which would probably require estimating the resulting temperature change. How would you, for example, justify a 500ppm target? 74. -1, The way I see it, in the long run countries that are freer are richer and have more economic resources to help sick children. So if countries stop killing gay people and apostates, in the long run there will be more economic resources to help sick children. Probably true, but I’m now no longer sure if you think we should help such countries, or not. 75. Joshua says: -1 I missed your 4:56 earlier.. =={ As much as I don’t want to see aid, oil money, arms, etc. going to countries like Saudi Arabia, it would be going off topic and Willard/ATTP would prefer I not bring it up. }== I would welcome you to address my comments on the previous thread, where the discussion would likely not be considered off-topic. =={ Also, I have no problem using a probability distribution, of climate sensitivity for example, with infinite range (such as lognormal climate sensitivity distribution). So your claims about me arguing for a restricted range are untrue. }== I could be wrong, but it was my impression that you have argued about the ACO2 mitigation being “costly.” If so, and if you don’t have a comprehensive calculation of the ratio of positive/negative externalities associated with the use of fossil fuels (relative to the use of alternatives), then, IMO, you are not using an “infinite” probability distribution of the implications of climate sensitivity. In fact, you are making choices about where to truncate that distribution, and not making an evidence-based decision in doing so. 76. Joshua says: -1 =={ The way I see it, in the long run countries that are freer are richer and have more economic resources to help sick children. So if countries stop killing gay people and apostates, in the long run there will be more economic resources to help sick children. }== I think that is a point on which we all agree. And so it might be useful to examine in what ways the arguments we present might not be logically consistent with that view. A place to start, I would suggest, might not be to imply that support for the PA implies a lack of concern for the rights of gay people. A place to continue would be that if you want to argue that supporting the PA materially harms gay people, you present an evidence-based argument in support. Such an argument would, necessarily, require that you weigh the impact of giving Nigeria climate-related funding against supporting the use of fossil fuels, against the impact of strongly supporting the use of alternative energy pathways. 77. -1=e^iπ says: “I would welcome you to address my comments on the previous thread, where the discussion would likely not be considered off-topic.” Willard & ATTP wanted me to stop posting in that thread on that topic and started removing posts, so I must respect their wishes. “not using an “infinite” probability distribution of the implications of climate sensitivity” If I recall correctly, Nordaus used a lognormal distribution of climate sensitivity in DICE 2016, and a lognormal distribution has an infinite range. 78. -1, Willard & ATTP wanted me to stop posting in that thread on that topic and started removing posts, so I must respect their wishes. If you would like to address Joshua’s comments, feel free to go ahead. What I was wanting to avoid was us going in circles about how supporting the Paris Agreement implies endorsing objectionable practices in the developing world. 79. Willard says: > you implicitly assign finite value to your own life through your actions Self-sealing oneself into implicit ratiocinations doesn’t look like a sound approach. *** > Mill didn’t live in a time with computers, large amounts of statistical data He still lived at a time where it was possible not to conflate ethics and actuarial matters. Utilitarism as sold by -1 is a Leibnizean pipe dream. When I’ll see an app that would allow me to see that buying a bag of chips is the optimal way to maximize my utility, I might take it more srsly. (Since the amount of things I could consume instead of that bag of chips is in principle infinite and in practice very large, it might imply we solve non-polynomial problems first.) As far as I’m concerned, calculus can’t replace social skills. 80. Willard says: > I’m not the one bringing it up in this thread Just as peddlers aren’t the ones who open the door. Yet that’s still their foot that blocks the door from being shut. If peddlers owned their peddling, that’d be great. 81. -1=e^iπ says: “As far as I’m concerned, calculus can’t replace social skills.” Maybe not calculus alone, but machine learning algorithms might be able to do so. 🙂 “When I’ll see an app that would allow me to see that buying a bag of chips will maximize my utility” For the issue of climate change, in practice we don’t need to have a utility function so specific. We could approximate everyone’s utility functions to be the same (to satisfy egalitarianism and to be able to estimate the utility function empirically), and treat the utility function as a function of only a few parameters (such as consumption). 82. Maybe not calculus alone, but machine learning algorithms might be able to do so. This seems apt. https://xkcd.com/1838/ 83. Willard says: > For the issue of climate change, in practice we don’t need to have a utility function so specific. For now, I only want to know if I should buy a bag of chips instead of something else, now or at a later point. Here or somewhere else. Etc. This is a modest request. I know I shouldn’t ask for an app that would optimize my flavor selection. THAT would be asking too much. 84. Willard says: > machine learning algorithms might be able to do so. Would you then mind waiting for one to take your place in this thread, dear -1? 85. verytallguy says: “killing the gays, selling the foetuses, beheading the apostates.” Minus guy, this is seriously weird. if you can’t write without invoking this kind of stuff, you probably would be much better off reading people who can for a bit before posting any more. Most bizarre. 86. @-1, “If there is such a threshold effect, then you can try to estimate its effect, determine it’s probability distribution, and add that effect into IAMs. So IAMs in principle can deal with such effects, but perhaps they for the most part don’t include this because there is no good evidence for such a ‘tipping point leading to the end of the world’ that just happens to be above 2 C.” I hope you understood, I did not mean a biological end of the world let alone a physical one. I meant an end of the world of the socioeconomic system and, in particular, the economic. And there is no evidence at at that such economic systems are stable through such transitions. Indeed, the history of civilizations indicates they fall apart pretty regularly. If the economic system goes to pieces, that was the singularity in loss to which I was referring. 87. izen says: [No more Ps and Gs adjunctions, please. -Willard] @-“The way I see it, in the long run countries that are freer are richer and have more economic resources to help sick children. So if countries stop killing gay people and apostates, in the long run there will be more economic resources to help sick children.” You see it with the causality reversed. It is the increased economic resources, help for sick children and freer education for people that leads, in the long run to societies to stop killing apostates and gays. 88. @Clive Best, “The world needs a ‘Manhattan’ project to develop new nuclear energy sources.” And I would say the nuclear industry itself has shown that it is incapable of knowing how to grow itself. Even correcting for increased regulations, the industry has, in the words of businesspeople, a negative learning curve, that is, instead of units getting cheaper to build over time, they get more expensive. Now, while this may principally be a U.S. phenomenon, I believe it extends to some degree elsewhere. This completely ignores, too, the burdens of nuclear waste, or the small fact that the nuclear industry does not bare the financial burden of offsetting its own risks with insurance, for there are no insurers willing to do that. Rather, they receive the subsidy of having the full faith and credit of the United States insuring them. It’s unfortunate because, you’re right, in principle, and setting aside the CO2 emissions from the concrete and construction costs, as well as upstream emissions from producing fuels, nuclear power should be a win. Also, basing any decision on the model of what happened to the Internet is highly disingenuous. There was no evidence that it would turn out as successfully as it did, ahead of time. In fact, the smart money was bet against it, because the smart money — including, it sounds, NASA, was grounded in the assumptions of existing technology. One could say your and MacKay’s analysis is grounded on the assumptions of existing technology as well, including the negative views of wind. I think wind is neat, and convenient in many places where substantial generation is close to consumption. The long haul network thing is a problem, as well as is the preference of people for vastly more expensive offshore turbines. But, then, that’s not where I think the win will be. I think, and I’ve looked at and calculated a lot about this, there’s huge potential in decentralization and solar-based energies instead, and, like the people (Bill Gates) who underestimated the Web and Internet in 1995, failing to see that is both a failure of imagination and also of the punctuated equilibrium way that technology advances. 89. @ -1, regarding the IAM approach, again, There’s a dissonance implicit in the plan of progress you recommend. The COP forward plan, even with aggressively increasing INDCs is assuming (per Anderson and Peters article of late) a negative emissions technology, which is a fantasy. Indeed, The idea of new technology springing forth and solving that problem in case the IAM and other assessments are bad underestimated of loss is pretty silly if you take any kind of serious look at the numbers. An optimistic, although not “breakthrough” cost is US300 per tonne CO2 to extra and sequester some place. If beginning at 1000 ppm and including the CO2 in oceans and soils, and assuming a magical technology which drops the cost to US$.03 per tonne CO2, there still needs to be expended many multiples of a Gross World Product over a couple of centuries to get this done. And it won’t do anything (and can’t!) for heat retained in oceans. This is why, I think, IAM approaches are implicitly business-as-usual, all’s fine, things will be steady-as-we-go, and we-can-handle-anything matters. Yeah, I agree, if we plan for an extreme case, that means there are fewer resources for the non-extreme. That’s partly because getting read to deal with the extreme is going to take some time, including doing everything that would be needed to mitigate to zero emissions in the first place. The idea of continuing to emit while spending outrageous amounts to capture and sequester is about as silly an idea as I can imagine. 90. izen says: @-hypergeometric “The idea of continuing to emit while spending outrageous amounts to capture and sequester is about as silly an idea as I can imagine.” Liposuction.! 91. JCH says: One thing we know about regimes and cultures that practice despicable cruelty against their own citizens is that isolation and sanctions work great… if you want to perpetuate the regimes and cultures… for just about freakin’ ever. 92. jchilds says: I have long considered myself to be a believer in anthropogenic climate change. But the label of “lukewarmist” – which I would most likely associate myself with – is something that I don’t like to use because of the perception. It’s like using the term “atheist” – it just sets up a series of expectations from people that operate as a barrier to open communication. But if forced to, I’d call myself “lukewarmist” The main reason for my belief is that I have not been compelled by the evidence that there: (1) has been catastrophic impact; or (2) will be catastrophic impact. I am not convinced there will be NO impact, but I think that the impacts will be a mixture of negatives and positives – perhaps with more of what I would consider negative – but within the ability of adaptation. My issue is that I don’t necessarily wish to avoid “changes that could have damaging impacts.” It’s “will the damaging impact be equalled or exceeded by the benefit?” I haven’t personally been convinced that the longterm impacts will be catastrophic or outside the human ability to adapt. I’ve also done what most don’t do: provide some evidence that would lead me to think it’s more dire than I do now. I wrote this 18 months ago, and it has had thousands of views. https://conflictresolutionpro.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/betting-on-future-climate-negotiation-of-benchmarks-will-show-each-sides-rationality/ And no takers from either side. Not a single one. I was not surprised and I gleaned from it that all sides of the climate debate are inherently reasonable but cannot show it. I think that a wager like this would be both sides calling each other’s bluffs. I also may be totally out of line, but I haven’t had any feedback from the science side. If such waypoints are not practical, it hasn’t been expressed. The issue of climate is complex and it defies easy management because it is dominated by the extremes. I cannot see a hardcore denier legitimately gambling that nothing will happen. Nor can I see the most hardcore alarmist putting reputation on the line. (I’d note that the scientific community has a huge advantage with this wager – they would be the ones with the knowledge of science and sophisticated climate models to assist them). You told me something about a week ago that I thought was beautiful and brief: to be careful of using extreme cases to deligitimize all of one’s critics. It’s missing so much in this. There are people like you out there who are few and far between: trying to bridge gaps. I think, however, that the political climate is such that it operates as a razor’s edge. One side thinks I’m a denier. The other side thinks I’m an alarmist. I’m both. I see both sides. (Disclosure: I’m a former hardcore denier who decided to learn the basic science. And dang, I learned I had no business hardcore denying.) I want to see more of the lukewarmist – the ones who accept the science but legitimately and respectfully question the implications of climate and question the implications of action (chemotherapy has harmful implications, too, and might not work). Weighing policies means weighing all implications. The “alarmist” is a single issue voter. The “denier” is a single issue voter. The “lukewamist” by nature takes a broader view. 93. -1=e^iπ says: @verytallguy – I don’t know why you are lumping those 3 together. I support legalizing the market of abortion fetuses but oppose killing gay people and apostates. @izen – “It is the increased economic resource” Really? Then how do you explain Saudi Arabia? It has a higher GDP per capita than Canada. 94. I write blog posts not to have to repeat arguments over and over again. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Fraud: http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2013/01/catastrophic-anthropogenic-climate.html 95. Willard says: > The “alarmist” is a single issue voter. The “denier” is a single issue voter. The “lukewamist” by nature takes a broader view. If the lukewarm gambit can be characterized by a ClimateBall move, it’s this – pushing oneself as the middle ground between “alarmists” and “deniers.” Like cockoos push the eggs of the invaded bird outside the nest, luckwarmers push the main non-alarmist, non-denier position outside the Overton Window. Here’s where one can find the position elided by the lukewarm gambit: http://www.ipcc.ch/ It may be hard to miss. 96. jchilds, The main reason for my belief is that I have not been compelled by the evidence that there: (1) has been catastrophic impact; or (2) will be catastrophic impact. Not quite sure why you said (1), but (2) – in my view – is kind of a key point. “Catastrophic” is clearly a judgement (although there maye well be some impacts that we’d all agree – were they to occur – would be best described as catastrophic) but the impacts will depend on how much change there is going to be, and the change essentially depends on how much we emit. We have the potential to emit enough to produce a large change (and, hence, significant impacts) even if climate sensitivity is reasonably low. Similarly, if climate sensitivity is not low, the change could be large, and the impacts severe, even if we don’t emit as much as we possibly can. Hence, the outcome depends on how much we ultimately emit. Many of those labelled “alarmists” are not suggesting that severe negative impacts are inevitable; they’re suggesting that we should be doing something to limit how much we emit in total, so as to reduce the chance of these severe impacts (catastrophic, if you like) actually materialising. You don’t need to believe that it will be catastrophic to want us to start doing something to avoid finding out if it could be. The “alarmist” is a single issue voter. The “denier” is a single issue voter. The “lukewamist” by nature takes a broader view. This – in my view – is the wrong balance. There are few people (in my view) who are truly alarmist (i.e., who suggest catastrophe is unavoidable). The mainstream position is simply that there are risks associated with continuing to pump CO2 into the atmosphere and who suggest that we should aim to do something to reduce our emissions so that we avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This is not alarmist, and yet I get the impression that that is how you would label such people. As far as your wager goes, I think it misses a key point. The point of wagers like that proposed by Mark Boslough are to suggest something that, if it were to occur, would be completely at odds with standard AGW theory (it would bring it into question). You seem to be proposing wagers based on outcomes that might strengthen AGW, but would tell us little if they didn’t materialise. 97. -1, I don’t know why you are lumping those 3 together. I think he was more commenting on the topics that you have introduced into the thread, rather than suggesting that these were somehow related. 98. -1=e^iπ says: “the topics that you have introduced into the thread” But I didn’t bring the killing of gays or apostates into this thread, others did. I was merely responding. Also for abortion, that was because you keep claiming that I don’t care about LGBT rights. Do you not think it’s possible to be both socially liberal and disagree with the Paris agreement at the same time? 99. -1, But I didn’t bring the killing of gays or apostates into this thread, others did. I was merely responding. Wow, how to miss the point. Okay, the topics that you have introduced into this thread and other recent threads. Also for abortion, that was because you keep claiming that I don’t care about LGBT rights. I’ve never claimed you don’t care. I have said that I don’t believe that you really care. I think – as Willard suggested – you introduced this as a way to smear others. I might be wrong. 100. -1=e^iπ says: [Playing the ref is boring, Minus.-Willard] 101. Vinny Burgoo says: Perhaps some people might pause to consider that some other people might not always appreciate that yet other people saying that 2+2=4 is always the best way to proceed is not always the best way to proceed. I’m OK with that. Except when I agree with myself. But that’s quite rare. So let’s just ban it. Or not. That was pretty much my point. 102. Joshua says: -1 =={ But I didn’t bring the killing of gays or apostates into this thread, others did. I was merely responding. }== What do you anticipate happening when you start to compare notes to see who is more concerned about teh gayz? Have you ever such discussion frameworks end well? 103. izen says: @- -1 ” Then how do you explain Saudi Arabia? It has a higher GDP per capita than Canada.” Gini index. That GDP is NOT directed towards female literacy and autonomy or open education. The basic components of a society with freedom and liberty. It is spent on the few not the many. 104. Susan Anderson says: Returning to an earlier part of this discussion, if you sort the responses to the Douthat (a NYTimes Republican Opinion columnist like Brooks and Stephens, who is not well informed about climate science and doesn’t usually write about it) by Readers’ Picks, the responses are useful. From the first two (which are followed by more excellent arguments): as a scientist in the area connected to climate dynamics I have to say that sounding lukewarm is not a moderate position. The evidence, that stubborn word, is increasingly worrisome. Republicans should treat the margin of error for climate change the way they treat the margin of error for terrorism. They did not need overwhelming evidence of impending doom to use overwhelming precautions. So, too, should it be with protecting our planet. That is protecting life itself. And which is better anyway, Ross, to exaggerate steps to be environmentally responsible, or to underestimate them and then suffer the consequences? “Catholic” Ross Douthat supports our Republican Congress in regarding the Pope’s Laudato Si as transgressive and to be dismissed. It would be easy to confuse their primary idea of deity with material gain, even kleptocracy. As for helping the world’s less fortunate, both locally and internationally they are the first sufferers from the toxic waste, both directly and atmospheric, of the extraction industry. The casuistry involved in excusing one’s own materialism with benefits to others is obvious. This is not about the future: it is happening now. 105. BBD says: “Catholic” Ross Douthat supports our Republican Congress in regarding the Pope’s Laudato Si as transgressive and to be dismissed. Pope denial. Nothing is sacred, it seems, except self-interest. 106. Ragnaar says: ATTP: Yes I do consider myself a lukewarmer. When we talk about severe impacts, it leaves the science sphere and enters policy or politics. With uncertain climate sensitivity we have similar situations. Will SLR materially accelerate? I don’t know. We can wait and see or do a few things. Ideally to me, those vulnerable to it should do these things. It’s a local/global different point of view. In one case we go after the problem with wind turbines and in the other let’s call it seawalls as a stand in for all effective options, for a specific area. If the problem is greater, more adaptation can come later. If drought could be the problem, we look at land use changes in the impacted areas, different crops and rotations. Certain people in the United States will get bad breaks because of climate change. Adapting allows more information to be obtained over time and local targeted actions to be taken. I think sensitivity is low and to pick a number 1.5 C for ECS. An argument for that is the thermal mass of the oceans. If I am wrong, more adaptation will be needed. It’s fair to ask, what are lukewarmes for? I am for soil carbon restoration into lands in the United States. Land that would benefit the most and cost to least to do that. There are a number of spin off benefits when doing that. It might even find public support. 107. as a scientist in the area connected to climate dynamics I have to say that sounding lukewarm is not a moderate position. Exactly. Politically it may be relevant that the numbers/expectations are closer to reality. Scientifically all that counts is the evidence and soundness of the arguments. For example, just hand waving that the ocean has a thermal inertia, which is already taken into account by scientists is rubbish. One will have to provide evidence why a larger inertia is reasonable, how that fits to the observations and why that affects the Equilibrium and not the transient climate sensitivity. 108. Ragnaar says: Willard: “Like cockatoos push the eggs of the invaded bird outside the nest, lukewarmers push the main non-alarmist, non-denier position outside the Overton Window.” We marginalize everybody. Lukewarmers are the third party of climate change. 109. -1=e^iπ says: “Pope denial. Nothing is sacred” If the pope truly cared about climate change, he would tell people that using a piece of latex on your penis is perfectly okay. The pope could make this ruling and it would result in lower birth rates (specifically in subsaharen africa) which would greatly reduce the problem of CO2 emissions in the future. 110. Joshua says: =={ If the pope truly cared about climate change, he would tell people that using a piece of latex on your penis is perfectly okay. }== Interesting. So apparently you are in a position to judge. Obviously, the it is clear that the pope doesn’t truly care about climate change, and you can tell this because as someone steeped in the practice of science, you can judge what other people truly do and don’t care about. =={ “as a scientist in the area connected to climate dynamics I have to say that sounding lukewarm is not a moderate position. ” }== This is a really good point. Lukewarmism, (if it were a thing, which I don’t think it is), is promoted as a moderate position. But in fact it is a position which is far at one end of a range of probabilities. People are certainly entitled to stake out their tent at the far end of that range, but they shouldn’t be presenting themselves as camping out in the middle. 111. BBD says: If the pope truly cared about climate change, he would tell people that using a piece of latex on your penis is perfectly okay. No apologism for the Catholic position on contraception from me. However, it is possible for the Pope to be both constrained by theological dogma on this issue *and* be concerned by the implications of climate change. 112. Ragnaar says: Joshua: “…but mitigating emissions is “costly”” Yes it is. I think in the United States, we are at 3% of total energy production from wind and solar. This is after years of spending money. The transportation and home heating sectors are going to be difficult to carve into with wind and solar. Mobile batteries are not as good as fixed ones. Rural and Northern areas are going to be tough for electric vehicles. Heating with electricity is a lot more expensive than with natural gas. Haphazard list of things solar and wind don’t like to pay for, but may do so in some cases: Rotating inertia New power lines Batteries to compensate for being non-dispatchable Property taxes Sales tax on equipment purchases Wind turbines are unlikely to improve much. They may be able to expand their range to be able to use lower wind speeds but we’d assume while saving some fossil fuel, there isn’t a low of energy there. I’d say the most we could hope for is a 50% increase in operating efficiency while holding costs constant. Wind turbines are low density, the same as air is. It is costly if other countries don’t go along. Our 3% contribution to reduced CO2, which assumes no spin off CO2 from idling backup and no CO2 production during solar and wind’s life cycle, improves things by 3%/our 15% of the total, or making things 0.45% better. We have Germany and Denmark as an example of expensive: 113. BBD says: Ragnaar I think sensitivity is low and to pick a number 1.5 C for ECS. Given that ECS is the equilibrium response to a doubling of CO2 (280ppm to 560ppm) and equilibrium may take centuries to achieve, 1.5C ECS looks unlikely now. The transient, that is, immediate response to a 120ppm increase from 280ppm to 400ppm is already approaching 1C. 114. Willard says: When offering to bet under mainstream estimates, luckwarmers are being irrational. It’s as simple as that. The lukewarm playbook makes more sense when used to raise concerns about the established viewpoint. Hence why we can see them use each and every single line of argument of the Contrarian Matrix, except the few first one on the first page, which are reserved to Sky dragons. Rope-a-doping from one level to the next is pretty common too, e.g. (1) I believe in AGW, but. The “but” is crucial. (2) We know very little about the A, and our knowledge of that A is very shaky. That’s essentially where Mr. T (Judy’s favorite meme) enters the picture. (3) Besides, we just don’t know enough about the future ahead of us to do much. Which is, on the face of it, a truism, except perhaps for Dr. Who. (4) And the little we should do must do no harm. The Lomborg collective usually appear at this level. (5) In any case, future is bright. Breakthrough Boyz and other techno-pop-crats prepare for the grand finale. (6) Because, CLIMATEGATE. It’s pretty rare that a lukewarm discussion doesn’t end without the sound of black helicopters. *** That’s just an outline, but any ClimateBall player should get the idea. The Matrix is a work in progress. Comments welcome. As you can see, sensitivity matters are only a distraction. 115. verytallguy says: on your penis Glad you brought the male member into the conversation, minus guy. The marketed foetuses, beheaded apostates and dead gays were beginning to feel lonely. Have you been drinking? I’m not claiming are engaged in inebriate loudmouthed blathering, you understand. I’m just asking a question. https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/trump-and-paris/#comment-97158 116. BBD says: Ragnaar Given that the scientific evidence (physical climatology; ecology) suggests that BAU emissions is likely to be dangerous, then policy makers are obliged to consider mitigation. Wind and solar are obvious tools for aggressive decarbonisation. While I agree that there are huge challenges on the road to very large scale W&S and I agree that there isn’t enough discussion about the technical and financial implications of what needs to be done, I don’t see an alternative. 117. BBD says: It’s pretty rare that a lukewarm discussion doesn’t end without the sound of black helicopters. Yes indeedy. Suspicious minds are, I think, the root of the problem. Sod the deficit model, I blame Elvis. 118. Ragnaar says: BBD: I am an ocean thermal mass proponent: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1950/trend/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1950 The current TCR is high for my guess. The atmosphere isn’t that good at hanging onto the joules. The oceans will continue to grab more back as land temperatures rise. The oceans are working to retard the rise in the GMST and work harder the more it rises because of the atomosphere/SST differential. It’s 4 kilometers of water over 2/3s of the planet. I can think of cases where the TCS is higher than the ECS as the atmosphere is so agile when compared to the oceans. If we had to pick how to measure things, would be pick the most agile? The sensor for my thermostat for heating and cooling is in the middle of my house, away from windows and sunlight. When do we plant tomatoes? We don’t look at the air temperature, we look at the ground temperature. 119. izen says: @-Ragnaar ” I think in the United States, we are at 3% of total energy production from wind and solar. This is after years of spending money. ” Sad. Losers. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/07/uk-sets-new-renewable-energy-record-wind-solar-surge/ “The record 19.3GW output of renewable energy was enough to meet more than 50pc of midday power demand which reached 35.4GW.” 120. No apologism for the Catholic position on contraception from me. However, it is possible for the Pope to be both constrained by theological dogma on this issue *and* be concerned by the implications of climate change. Libtards not cheering for nuclear energy is proof that they do not really believe climate change is a problem. It proofs that this is a hoax to install a communist world government. 121. izen says: @-Ragnaar ” The oceans will continue to grab more back as land temperatures rise. The oceans are working to retard the rise in the GMST and work harder the more it rises because of the atomosphere/SST differential.” So larger and faster rises in sea level than predicted by mainstream science. Note that warmer surface water also melts the ice-sheets from underneath more rapidly. Larsen C ? 122. Ragnaar, not even your plot shows that electricity in Germany is expensive due to renewable energy. Look at the base rate without taxes it is completely in the European average. The electricity price for industrial customers is even below EU average. How taxes are distributed over the population is politics. We had conservatives governments the last decade. They like corporations more than poor citizens. Here in Germany I pay about 1€ a day for 100% renewable energy. It is pretty amazing that people are trying to make a problem out of this. 123. BBD says: ” The oceans will continue to grab more back as land temperatures rise. But according to observation, this isn’t happening. Global OHC is increasing and GAT is rising. So, observed warming of nearly 1C in response to 120ppm CO2 suggests that 1.5C ECS is improbable. And then there’s thermal expansion, as izen reminds. 124. Ragnaar says: Willard: Is this in your matrix? I go see what the IPCC says. I then look at the uncertainties and throw those out there. For instance Greenland is losing ice sheet mass on land. It’s really not contributing that much to SLR which is real and will accelerate to 2.2 inches per decade more or less in a decade or two or three so they say. Let’s say Zwally is an outlier. The IPCC predicts Antarctica will gain ice sheet mass on land during the 21st century. Now Zwally looks right. To sum it up, to use the authority, the consensus of what the IPCC says to support the lukewarmer position as I see it. This is not an original idea of mine. 125. Ragnaar says: Victor Venema: Do you heat with electricity? Do you have your own solar? 126. Ragnaar says: izen: Yes. There will be steric SLR. However, we are losing Arctic sea ice. That’s a steric SLR loss partly offsetting the gain. That ocean is cooling itself to the atmosphere more than it does with more sea ice. It’s also a greater carbon sink that with more ice. 127. JCH says: It just amazes me… 128. Willard says: > I go see what the IPCC says. I then look at the uncertainties and throw those out there. The Matrix is about what you say, Ragnaar, not what you go see or what you then look. More precisely, it’s about the arguments you’d use to undermine the established viewpoint. Even more precisely, it’s about the function the arguments serve in the public sphere. *** > Let’s say Zwally is an outlier. The IPCC predicts Antarctica will gain ice sheet mass on land during the 21st century. Now Zwally looks right. This is exactly how to proceed to improve the lukewarm playbook. You pick the lowest bound of justified disingenuousness can buy, then you promote it. What if I told you that Zwally was right? What if I told you that NicL was right? What if I told you that clouds were negative? Such counterfactual thinking is perfect for online exchanges – every ClimateBall player I know like to chase down squirrels. I mean, look at you, trying to peddle in Antarctica stuff in a thread about the lukewarm playbook, and everyone else who does. I don’t blame you for that. Most of the times we can find lots of interesting stuff to look and talk about. Sometimes of course it can be boring. Like when religulous stuff gets peddled in a comment thread. It’s so obnoxious that the Auditor simply banned any discussion of God, evo, and politics. We all know why. (No more religulous stuff, please.) But that’s not how scientific matters get established. In fact, the process stops to look like any metaanalysis I know as soon as one starts picking one study over another. Take the lukewarm totem – a CS under 3C. Justify that cherrypicking any way you like (“but observational,” “but medians,” whatever), it’s very hard not to see the target not sharply shooted. The whole idea of selling a number and not a range defies common sense. Being for or against is oftentimes of little importance. It hinders our appreciation of results that researchers work hard to get. It leads to partisanship and status competition. It should be taken with a grain of salt. Hence, ClimateBall. 129. izen says: @-Ragnaar ” To sum it up, to use the authority, the consensus of what the IPCC says to support the lukewarmer position as I see it. This is not an original idea of mine.” It is also possible to take the authoritative consensus of the IPCC as support for an ‘alarmist, catastrophist’ position. That the IPCC is constructed to enable this ambiguity is a feature not a flaw. Achieved by long discussion and compromise. @- “However, we are losing Arctic sea ice. That’s a steric SLR loss partly offsetting the gain.” Archimedes principle means it will not offset anything. Arctic sea ice is a seasonal variation. Its range is indicative of change, but sea levels do not alter every season because of that transition. @-“It’s also a greater carbon sink that with more ice.” The ice also contains methane. Can you show the increased carbon sink offsets the increased methane release ? The bulk ice [CH4] ranged from 1.8 to 12.1 nmol L−1, which corresponds to a partial pressure ranging from 3 to 28 ppmv. This is markedly higher than the average atmospheric methane content of 1.9 ppmv 130. Ragnaar says: BRD: OHC is increasing and the GMST is increasing. Because of CO2. I read this last month. “We propose that there is negligible in situ atmospheric warming and that almost all of the added heat trapped by anthropogenic greenhouse gases is absorbed by and stored in the ocean.” “The atmosphere as a whole has little intrinsic heat memory and does not warm independently of the surface.” – Jones & Ricketts So CO2 warms the oceans. As we know, 90% of the retained joules are in the oceans. A somewhat medium term development as CO2 levels went up. I don’t know why that’s going to stop? As it warms the oceans it’s in the SST rise. Do I have this right? It’s in the ocean and in the GMST. 131. No, I do not heat with electricity. That is still rather inefficient. First one should get electricity near 100% renewable and convert mobility to electricity. Only at the end of the energy transition, around 2050, when renewable electricity is a lot cheaper and there is a need for bringing supply and demand together would one go to electrical heating (using heat pumps and storage of heat in the ground). Now we still have all those legacy fossil fuel plants to bring supply and demand together, it would be inefficient to decommission them already. 132. John Hartz says: Reliable sources tell me that most Lukewarmers reside within a gated community in Deniersville. While they’re willing to work wtih the other residents during the day, they do not wish to live next door to them. 133. izen says: One of the benefits of playing climateball is finding out stuff you never knew before. I had assumed that ice was much less of a CO2 sink than the cold ocean below… We report first direct measurements of the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) within Antarctic pack sea ice brines and related CO2 fluxes across the air-ice interface…. We upscale these observations to the whole Antarctic sea ice cover using the NEMO-LIM3 large-scale sea ice-ocean and provide first estimates of spring and summer CO2 uptake from the atmosphere by Antarctic sea ice. Over the springsummer period, the Antarctic sea ice cover is a net sink of atmospheric CO2 of 0.029 Pg C, about 58% of the estimated annual uptake from the Southern Ocean. Sea ice then contributes significantly to the sink of CO2 of the Southern Ocean. 134. Ragnaar says: izen: Arctic sea ice insulates. Remove that and more joules move into the atmosphere during more or less, Fall and Winter. Loss of joules leads to loss of steric SLR in that area. Use of AR5 can reign in wilder claims and new studies. It’s the consensus. 135. izen says: @-Ragnaar “Arctic sea ice insulates. Remove that and more joules move into the atmosphere during more or less, Fall and Winter. Loss of joules leads to loss of steric SLR in that area.” ?! At which point ice forms and there is no further effect on sea level. AS in past years. I await with interest the correlation of seasonal sea level variations with this Arctic cooling before ice formation in past years and your estimate of the extra, brief, seasonal relief from SLR it will provide. —– LukeWarmer, is not a moderate, centre ground, position. The science of global warming is a bit like pregnancy. If you are Scott Pruit you keep wanting another test long after the bump has appeared and is measurably growing. If you accept the science behind AGW… Then either you under-estimate the negative impacts, or you over-estimate the damage the likely range of climate change will have. The lukewarmer is at one extreme, the alarmist at the other. If there are very few who think AGW is even less damaging than you do (except for the dragonslayers) then you are in an extreme position. Like climate sensitivity there is a lot more room on the bad end of the probability distribution than the better. Assuming you are the realist because there are lukewarmers below and alarmists above in balance is unwise. The implications of JC’s Italian flag are are that there are an infinite unknown unknown ways it could get much worse. 136. Nathan Tetlaw says: Mosher had an enlightening definition of ‘Luke Warmer’ over at Lucia’s (whatever happened to falsifying the IPCC Projections btw?) From memory it included the very scientific notions of being ‘Libertarian’ for some reason… Strange. Anyway, is strange he hasn’t shown up; he’s normally summoned by the term… 137. JCH says: Sea ice reflects sunlight, which prevents some SW radiation from penetrating into the water. So it prevents ocean warming and some steric SLR. Melt it. All energy leaves the oceans through skin layer… no other way out. With more sunlight entering the icecap-free oceanwater, the skin layer could get get hotter. The hotter the skin layer gets, the less energy out. So maybe removing the sea ice may not allow the amount of energy out that you think. 138. Ragnaar says: Willard: I want to use the established viewpoint of the IPCC to say things are Okay in Antarctica and don’t so much agree with all the other studies paraded out in response to Zwally, and can we say as a compromise, we don’t know? What is actually happening down there isn’t the point. It’s using a consensus projection to say, don’t worry so much about Antarctica. 139. Willard says: > It’s using a consensus projection to say, don’t worry so much about Antarctica. https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/do-not-panic/ 140. Joshua says: Ragnaar – =={ Joshua: “…but mitigating emissions is “costly”” }== In my view, you can’t determine whether mitigation is “costly” unless you know what the true price of fossil fuels, and that means that the externalities are internalized. “Costly” is an inherently relative term, and a subjective term. We’re all subjective, obviously. I think that people should own their subjectivity. 141. Joshua says: It’s funny ’cause I realized that I’ve been suckered. I don’t think I’ve ever said so explicitly, but I’ve kind of been thinking of luckwarmers as being the moderates. Deep down I knew that was wrong, and that always bugged me, but I never really reconciled that feeling because there is a certain simple logic in saying that luckwarmers sit in the middle between “deniers” and “alarmists.” Except they don’t, actually. Of course, all of these terms are actually bullshit…they don’t mean anything really except as an expression of an ideological affinity… but we need to be able to talk so that we can fight, so we go with these terms as if they actually do mean something…and on the one end we have “deniers” and on the other end we have people who think that the IPCC most likely range is much too low. Those are the extremes. Then we have those who think that the “most likely” outcome is actually within the IPCC “most likely” overall range, but sits at the high end of that range. Those would be the “alarmists” if you must. On the other side we have the “luckwarmers,” who think that the “most likely” outcome is within the IPCC “most likely” range…but sits a the low end of that range. And then we have the actual moderates..who think that the “most likely” range is exactly the IPCC’s “most likely” range. I feel so much better now. 142. Ragnaar says: izen: Sea ice insulates the oceans. Thin ice, less so. Less evaporation mean less joules into the atmosphere. The loss with sea ice back in Fall and Winter is still there as it’s not perfect insulation and the temperature differential is so great. The the extent there is sea ice loss, the transmission to the atmosphere increases. I suppose this is what Karl found. We could say he found the joules that first went into the ocean as SW. He found some of those too. The arctic without sea ice, is the wrong place to store joules in ocean water. That’s why we are there, it emits so much more compared to before and we can measure it. It’s a sensitive area that does matter to the climate system. 143. Steven Mosher says: “FWIW, my view is that climate science tells us we need to act urgently to reduce emissions. Anyone who says otherwise is a “climate science denier.” small edit “FWIW, my view is that climate science tells us we need to act urgently to reduce emissions. Anyone who acts otherwise is a “climate science denier.” What urgent action did you take today? None? ok, you’re a denier. The problem is that science says nothing about urgency. The best science we have ( which isnt good enough) will only give you indications That: 1. If Radiative Forcing continues to look like X, over period Y 2. AND IF, nothing else changes, 3. Then these conditions ( temperture p, acidification z, etc ) become more likely. 4. If you want to avoid these conditions, you can choose MANY PATHS to reduce radiative forcing, reducing emissions is one path. Urgency, what you feel in face of uncertain risk, is your emotion. Pyschology might have something to say about this. personally I think it would be wise to 1. Stop building Coal burning power today. We have almost accomplished this in the US. China and India and others need to stop as well. 2. Get going on Black Carbon ASAP. 3. Push for more Nuclear 4. Stop the insanity of subsidzing development in low lying areas, insurance reform. 5. Stop the insanity of bunker fuel for shipping 6. Duplicate the British Columbia carbon tax and see how it scales/works in other places. 7. Educate poor women ( reduces the birth rate) And I think that ECS is probably below 3C per doubling. What class of creature does your cladistics place me in? Put another way. I think economic alarmists and climate change alarmists are the problem. 144. Ragnaar says: Joshua: Yes. “And then we have the actual moderates..who think that the “most likely” range is exactly the IPCC’s “most likely” range.” The next step is form your alliance. If I look to the population of the United States, I’ll form one with the skeptics. It serves my politics and my trust in our oceans, a low level theory of the climate system. If portrayed as moving away from the science (1.5 ECS) I found some people who vote. Let’s call the moderates a middle alliance. Do you want the alarmists? The worse it is, the more we need to act. The higher the SCC. The more wind and solar makes sense. The economics become so much better. And the bet increases. If ECS is 4.5 C the value of everything we are going to buy is 3 times more valuable than if it’s 1.5 C in a general way. So the bet is 4.5 C and if it’s 1.5 C we only get 1/3 of the results we said we’d get. Maybe we shouldn’t go there. 145. Ragnaar says: Let’s say I got a low ECS of 1.5 C. Then I can argue all your wind turbines and solar don’t make sense. And let’s say the ECS is 3.0. Since we didn’t try to solve the global problem through mitigation, we can solve our local problems by adaptations because we still have our money. The difference between a global problem and we’ll take care of ourselves. 146. I would suggest you do not even know how ECS is defined and, so, can’t fathom the notion that the value of ECS could very well be state dependent so, for instance, at present temperatures it might be proportional to the log of CO 2 concentration but a few degrees higher it might be proportional to concentration itself. It’s actually quite a complucated ratio. 147. I’m astonished that you are just like most people and have not looked into or apparently even read the UN pipulation dynamics papers for the last 5+ years and still make this claim. Facts are the overpopulation meme was always exaggerated, thanks to bad statistical practice in certain agencies at the UN. Countries control their population on their own. Africa has some problems, but these are predominently cultural and gace nothing to do with the Pope or Catholic teachings. When you seek references, use thevauthor term ‘Rafferty” in your sesrch. 148. Being from Massachusetts I DENY that heating with explosive CH4 is cheaper than heating with electric air source heat pumps. We now have 3 winters of experience wuth them. See https://667-per-cm.net/2017/02/05/net-energy-consumption-at-westwood-studios-after-solar-generation-with-zero-carbon-house-and-now-chevy-volt/ 149. David B. Benson says: Many commenters either failed to read my earlier comment about the mid-Pliocene and what it implies about the future, or failed to understand that this data provides measurements for a notion I will call AECS, Actual Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity. This must be quite similar to the Earth System Climate Sensitivity of Hansen et al, known to be larger than the Charney ECS so often discussed, usually, I add, with little understanding of how limited the concept is. From the Wikipedia page on Pliocene climate one sees that during the mid-Pliocene with carbon dioxide levels of about 400 ppm, similar to today’s, the global temperature was 2–3 °C warmer than now. Those values are from proxies, actual measurements. From a GCM run with 400 ppm of carbon dioxide at equilibrium the global temperature was 3 °C warmer than now. So there is a narrow range established for the value of AECS. These data are relevant to today by inspection of the paleogeography of the mid-Pliocene; nothing of importance to global climate has appreciably changed in the intervening 3.25 million years. Finally, see how difficult it would be to keep the same carbon dioxide level of 400 ppm for the thousand or more years to reach near equilibrium. It would mean “immediately” cutting fossil fuel consumption in half. Then as the ability of land and sea to take up carbon dioxide saturates, eliminating the rest of fossil fuel use. If that is possible then in such a future world it will be much hotter, a global increase of 3 °C is big, but also the sea stands would be about 25 meters higher than now; this value from mid-Pliocene proxy data. 150. Willard says: > Let’s say I got a low ECS of 1.5 C. Then I can argue all your wind turbines and solar don’t make sense. Not really. First, you’d need to show under which conditions the climate is so insensitive. Assumptions, caveats, uncertainties. Mr. T cuts both ways. Second, you’d need to compare and contrast these with other studies. Code, data, methodological choices and all that jazz. Buzz words like “observational” doesn’t cut it. Third, you must acknowledge that renewables make sense independently of any consideration about sensitivity matters. So all the previous work is mostly irrelevant for what you wish to argue. Hence why luckwarmers usually dogwhistle that argument. 151. izen says: @-SM “What urgent action did you take today? None? ok, you’re a denier.” In this context ‘urgent action’ may simply be to hold industry and their political facilitators accountable for their actions. As with CFCs, Tobacco, and sugar, imploring individuals to change their consumption is not how the problem is solved. With CFCs it required an globally mandated outright ban on the producers. Tobacco has been taxed, more than enough to cover its externalities, and then some more to ‘influence’ consumption. Sugar… Individual ‘urgent action’ has some direct benefit if it is a reduction in consumption of sugar or tobacco. But is directly deleterious in the case of CFCs and fossil fuels. @”4. If you want to avoid these conditions, you can choose MANY PATHS to reduce radiative forcing, reducing emissions is one path.” Unless reducing emissions is one path followed, any other paths would have to negate the additional CO2 forcing while reducing the radiative forcing already acquired. They would have to be a lot cheaper and safer than reducing FF emissions for that to make sense. Free air Carbon Capture and Space mirrors or stratospheric sulphate injections are the usual geo-engineering solutions advanced to reduce forcing alongside emission reductions. Did you have any other methods in mind among the ‘MANY PATHS’ possible? (In the interests of full disclosure I smoke and drive a 4.3L V8.:) 152. Ragnaar, Yes I do consider myself a lukewarmer. When we talk about severe impacts, it leaves the science sphere and enters policy or politics. Unless you mean that scientists should never ever judge the severity of an impact, I don’t see why. I think that there are some impacts that we would regard as obviously severe, so I can’t see a problem with science trying to understand the likelihood of such an outcome. I think sensitivity is low and to pick a number 1.5 C for ECS. An argument for that is the thermal mass of the oceans. This doesn’t follow. The ECS is not really dependent on the thermal mass of the ocean. This influences how quickly we warm and, hence, the TCR-to-ECS ratio. However, if you arguing that the oceans are significantly delaying our warming, then given how much we’ve already warmed, you’re essentially arguing for a large ECS, rather than a small one. 153. Jeff Harvey says: I read some of the comments here with some alacrity. Some commenters – Hans Erren for example – cannot tell a mole cricket from a giraffe, yet boldly proclaim that past temperature proxies are an accurate measure for biodiversity. He is totally wrong, as usual, because major caveats are ritually ignored. First, the main criterion is not what conditions are but how long they took to get there. Humans are altering – simplifying really – ecosystems across the biosphere faster than in at least 50 million years, and therein lies the rub. Moreover, the planet probably achieved higher species and genetic diversity recently in the Holocene than at any other time in the planet’s history under relatively low atmospheric C02 concentrations. Humans are of course mounting a massive assault on complex adaptive systems that have generated the sixth great extinction, with volumes of empirical evidence to support it. And climate change alone, occurring at rates much faster than in hundreds of thousands or even millions of years might just represent the final nail in the coffin. There are other commenters here, like -1, who vacuously write that mosquitoes are expendable simply because we humans don’t like them. Forget the fact that they are staple food for a vast array of predatory invertebrates and vertebrates, nature to deniers like -1 is simply broken down into some weird, twisted anthropocentric measure. It’s as if humanity is exempt from the laws of nature; forget regulating and supporting ecosystem services, the so-called luke warmers on here view nature as nothing more than a commodity to serve the consumptive needs of Homo sapiens, and especially those with massive per capita ecological footprints. In truth, these people are not luke warmers but deniers in drag. They exhibit symptoms of the Dunning-Kruger effect writ large and yet possess little or no understanding of ecology, or of the utter dependence of our species on conditions emerging from nature over variable spatial and temporal scales. They also dismiss the agreed positions of 97% of the scientific community and every major National Academy and organisation on Earth. I speak as Professor and senior scientist with almost 200 publications on the Web of Science and approaching 6000 citations. Yet I defer to the opinions of the vast majority of my peers, and not some armchair ‘experts’. 154. izen says: @-Ragnaar “Let’s say I got a low ECS of 1.5 C. Then I can argue all your wind turbines and solar don’t make sense. And let’s say the ECS is 3.0.” Let’s say ECS is an arbitrarily reified metric developed primarily to describe the emergent property of computer models that ‘convert’ the extra acquired Joules into a change in surface temperature. The ECS makes no difference to the amount of energy acquired. The rise in CO2 constrains this to a well specified magnitude. Of Hiroshimas/sec. If ECS is 1.5 then that energy has moved into the climate system without much increasing global average surface temperature. It would be unwise to assume any other effect the energy may have is benign. Stuffing extra Joules into the oceans to avoid some surface warming is not risk-free. One way in which ECS could be at the low end is if polar regions warm disproportionately. By warming the coldest regions in the local ‘winter’ much more of those Hiroshimas/sec can be radiated to space. Melting the winter ice and having a much longer period when polar seas can transfer energy to the atmosphere by evaporation would lower global ECS, but at cost of much higher local warming. With all that permafrost and sea-floor methane waiting… 155. dikranmarsupial says: -1 wrote “Also for abortion, that was because you keep claiming that I don’t care about LGBT rights. ” -1 wrote “If the pope truly cared about climate change, he would…” It seems a tad hypocritical to object to someone questioning what you genuinely care about and then go and make uncharitable inferences about what others care about. As I said on the other thread difficult problems tend not have simple solutions, and this applies both to climate change and reproductive ethics. If there really were simple solutions that suited everybody, we would have found them already. The real problems are not to do with the science, but about peoples values and judgements about outcomes. I rather like the current pope. I think he does care about climate change, but mostly because he cares about people. 156. danialcblog says: @Willard asks Please tell us more about the scientific method, -1. If you could tell how economics counts as a science, that’d be great. Willard it became a science following the rise of the Supply Siders, yet uncertainty remains about whether it should be subsumed under Urology or Hydrology. 157. Everett F Sargent says: Ragnaar, Zwally will show up in AR6 WG1 in the same way that Hansen’s 5m SLR showed up AR5 WG1, as one “throw away” outlier. EAIS is gaining mass but WAIS is losing mass at a much greater rate. The Arctic Ocean is rising at about 2.1mm/yr. AR5 WG1 stopped reporting new climate science in 2013, There are about 30 newer papers circa 2015-2017 that you should do a Google Scholar on and obtain copies, it only takes an hour or so. 158. Steven Mosher says: “Mosher had an enlightening definition of ‘Luke Warmer’ over at Lucia’s (whatever happened to falsifying the IPCC Projections btw?) From memory it included the very scientific notions of being ‘Libertarian’ for some reason… Strange.” The definition never had anything to do with being libertarian. Short History. Stage 1. A poll at CLimate audit. Lukewarmer was Defined as a position that SOME of the warming in the 20th century was natural, some human. I think the dividing line was 30% human since 1850 or 1900.. Stage 2: How much warming will we see; .2C per decade as predicted by models.. or .17C As the data seemed tto show. Stage 3: ECS has a greater probability of being less than 3C than more than 3C Then of course Tom Fuller wanted me to write a policy book with him. Folks at Keith Kloor demanded I take policy positions. For me policy is only loosely tied to the science. You cant ignore the science any more than you ignore value differences and any more than you can deny the pragmatics of actually getting shit done. Meehh. Most of all I wanted to make a space where economic alarmists and climate change alarmists were not welcome. Folks portray this as being in the Middle. Its not really in the middle, Its rather ABOVE the other two positions. Think of it as being superior. hehe. The spatial metaphor of lukewarmer being between skeptic and warmist is just a confusion of tiny minds. We are not between these two camps, we are above them. Any way, the term got corrrupted by some media clowns who have taken it to mean “certainty” that ECS is low and there is nothing to worry about. 159. Steven, Stage 3: ECS has a greater probability of being less than 3C than more than 3C If you take this to be slightly greater probability of being less than 3C, than greater than 3C (as opposed to almost certainly less then 3C) then this is roughly the mainstream/IPCC position. FWIW, your description of lukewarmer is not consistent – IMO – with the views of many who self-describe as lukewarmers. If anything (I think I may have said this before) it sounds more like the mainstream position (there are risks, we should do something) than anything else. 160. Steven, Ahh, sorry, I see you’ve largely acknowledged what I said at the end of my last comment Any way, the term got corrrupted by some media clowns who have taken it to mean “certainty” that ECS is low and there is nothing to worry about. 161. dikranmarsupial says: “Stage 2: How much warming will we see; .2C per decade as predicted by models.. or .17C” why should a distinction that fine make a substantial difference to the course of (in)action we should take? “Stage 3: ECS has a greater probability of being less than 3C than more than 3C” The IPCC are not far from being “lukewarmers” from that defintion AFAICS. An ECS of 3C doesn’t sound particularly “lukewarm” to me. “Most of all I wanted to make a space where economic alarmists and climate change alarmists were not welcome.” How do you define “alarmist”? Rather better IMHO to consider all arguments on their scientific merits. 162. dikranmarsupial says: FWIW I suspect ECS is likely to be between 2 and 3C, but I don’t regard myself as a “lukewarmer” because I don’t ignore the possibility that ECS may turn out to be above 3C and that the impacts of that are likely to be sufficient to warrant action to mitigate against their unlikely occurrence. The impression I get of lukewarmerism is not a certainty that ECS is low (rather than middling e.g. 2-3.5C) but a certainty that it isn’t high. 163. Clive Best says: @David B. Benson Yes but the earth had been cooling for the previous 2 million years as well. CO2 levels were probably higher because the earth was warmer and not the other way round. The earth has cooled over the last 5 million years mainly because of plate tectonics – the closing of the Panama Isthmus – Antarctica moving further over the South Pole, further mountain uplifting etc. CO2 was likely more of a climate feedback than a driver of climate change. So in that sense I don’t think you can measure climate sensitivity by ascribing a 3C higher temperature than today just to a 400 ppm value of CO2. 164. Clive, CO2 levels were probably higher because the earth was warmer and not the other way round. Huh? Without CO2 in the atmosphere, the Earth would probably be a snowball. It’s probably correct that the drawdown of CO2 has lead to a long-term cooling, but that does not mean that you can’t use past CO2 levels and global temperatures to say something about climate sensitivity today. Also, the Pliocene was only a few million years ago, so I don’t think the arrangement of the continents was all that different to today. 165. This presentation seems relevant. 166. dikranmarsupial says: I wrote “This is my point. The CO2 target we need to set depends on ECS, so your proposal is no better that the existing 2C target. If you don’t know ECS then the CO2 target is arbitrary.” ….” Clive Best responded “This is pure circular logic.” No, the thing that matters is impacts, the impacts depend on climate change (e.g. temperature) and climate change largely depends on carbon emissions (via ECS). There is no circularity there. The point is that (i) a temperature target is more directly related to the impacts and (ii) a concentration target and a temperature target are related via ECS, so if you don’t know ECS then a concentration target is arbitrary. ATTP anticipated my next question, which was “why 500pmm, why not 1000ppm?” “So you are proposing to simply guess the CO2 level, because the 2C target is a holly cow. It won’t happen because there is no thermostat knob!” It is a pity that climate can’t be discussed without this sort of rhetorical caracterisation of positions. The 2C target isn’t a holy cow (presumably “holly cow” is a bovine Christmas tradition of some kind), and I have no problem with people arguing for a different target. This is the usual uncharitable characterisation of your opponent as being driven by ideology rather than rational science, and doe you no favours. There are multiple thermostat knobs. CO2 is one of the more sensitive ones, and is the one we have our hand on. It seems pretty sensible to me that if the room is likely to get uncomfortably warm, we shouldn’t be turning it up any further, even if there are other influences not under our direct control. 167. dikranmarsupial says: “So you are proposing to simply guess the CO2 level, because the 2C target is a holly cow” “simply guess” is also an uncharitable characterisation of “estimating under uncertainty”. We don’t know precisely what ECS is, but it is not the case that we know nothing, so we can work out the carbon budget most likely to result in achieving a 2C rise, given the uncertainties, including the uncertainty in ECS. 168. So, despite no energy is added anywhere, no work being done on the system, adding dry ice to the atmosphere will increase the energy inside the system? By absorbing the constant, limited heat flow in more molecules than before? I guess that means that in the greenhouse theory the energy inside a system increase from energy creation when the amount of heat available to each molecule get smaller. This is in contrast to thermodynamics. In greenhouse theory, to increase temperature you need to add heat absorbers, not heat. I think I will stick to the known and proven theory, that temperature increase from increasing heat, not increasing heat absorbers. 169. lifeis, Probably wasting my time, but it appears that you have a somewhat flawed (which is probably a bit of an understatement) understanding of the basic greenhouse effect. You could try reading this explanation. 170. Steven Mosher says: Dikran. I’ve always held that action is required. That’s never been in doubt in my mind. Even at 1.5 ecs action is required. The issues are… pragmatic and value based. 171. -1=e^iπ says: [Mod: You don’t seem to be getting this “please don’t play the ref” suggestion. Moderation happens. It’s not negotiable and we don’t have to explain it. If you have a real issue, you can use the contact form. Alternatively, you could simply accept that it happens and move on.] 172. dikranmarsupial says: SM, I was referring to the tests for lukewarmerism, rather than you specifically, the irony of the tests not being related to the calls for (in)action that is interesting. The science shouldn’t be about pragmatics or values, only the policy. The discussion would probably be more productive if we (i.e. everybody in general) didn’t used the science as a smokescreen for the pragrmatcs and values. 173. I’m leaning towards two different forms of Lukewarmerism: 1. Those who think we should do something, but don’t want to be associated with those they regard as alarmist. 2. Those who don’t think we should do anything, but don’t want to be seen as having scientific views that are completely ridiculous. My impression is that the first type are much rarer than the second, but that’s based on a limited sample, so may be wrong. 174. John Hartz says: ATTP: Perhaps Lukewarmers can best be described as chameleons or shape-shifters? 175. John, That may be appropriate for some, but not – I don’t think – all. 176. Bob Loblaw says: ATTP says “lifeis, Probably wasting my time, but it appears that you have a somewhat flawed (which is probably a bit of an understatement) understanding of the basic greenhouse effect.” LifeIsThermal has been thread-bombing greenhouse effect stuff over at Eli’s too. Eli seems to be deleting most of it fairly quickly. None of it is worth reading or trying to respond to. 177. John Hartz says: ATTP: All Lukewarners, regardless of stripe or other classification, cherry-pick from the overwhelming, and ever growing, body of scientific evidence of manmade climate change, 178. Bob, Thanks, I hadn’t noticed that. JH, It does seem as though most who self-identify as lukewarmers would more reasonably be regarded as luckwarmers (as Eli says); people who essentially argue that because everything could be fine, we should simply assume that it will be fine. However, I don’t have any major issues with Steven Mosher’s general description (climate sensivity could be 3C, but is probably a bit lower; we should do something – hope I’ve got that about right), I just don’t think it applies to many who regard themselves as lukewarmers. 179. John Hartz says: ATTP: I’ll expand at what I’m trying to get at later. Right now, I need to focus on finalizing the SkS Weekly Digest and posting it. As they say, “No rest for the weary.” 🙂 180. Canman says: Lukewarmism is resurgent because the more people listen to the alarmists, the more they realize what a politicized, cult like fringe they are and they don’t want to be associated with them. climate is something that takes place over centuries and millenia. In the long run, it may be a problem — maybe even an existential problem. Say what you want about Jim Hansen’s warning us about turning into Venus, he does have a coherent scenario, but there is still nothing urgent about it! “Urgent climate action” is an oxymoron! 181. Chubbs says: Climate change can appear benign because of the slow increase in GHG forcing and the time lag as oceans and other portions of the climate system slowly catch up with the atmosphere. Reflecting this lag and the lag in bringing carbon emissions under control, Hanson et. al. 2008 argued for a long-term 350 ppm CO2 target, and for minimizing the time spent above 350 ppm. Currently the global energy imbalance is roughly 0.8 W/m2 or 0.22 of a CO2 doubling. So we are just starting to approach a 350 ppm climate, but not at the controlled and slowing pace, that Hanson recommended. 182. Canman, Thanks for the illustration. Chubbs, Currently the global energy imbalance is roughly 0.8 W/m2 or 0.22 of a CO2 doubling. These aren’t really directly comparable because even if we doubled CO2 it’s unlikely that the global energy imbalance would match the change in forcing because of the response of the system (feedbacks). 183. Chubbs says: The 0.22 x CO2 doubling just gives an order of magnitude sense of how far away we are from equilibrium – decades of CO2 emissions. 184. Chubbs, The 0.22 x CO2 doubling just gives an order of magnitude sense of how far away we are from equilibrium – decades of CO2 emissions. I see, yes. If we were to fix atmospheric CO2 at ~400ppm, then we would indeed continue to warm for decades (probably about 0.5C in the pipeline). 185. Canman says: [Peddling. – Willard] 186. John Hartz says: Canman: I suspect that the residents of the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana would take issue with the poppycock you are spreading. Isle de Jean Charles in the bayous of Louisiana is sinking into the Gulf of Mexico due to climate change, causing its residents to relocate. This is just one symptom of climate change and emphasizes the urgent necessity to fight it. An Entire Town in the US Is Sinking Because of Climate Change by Karia Lant, Futurism, June 10, 2017 187. John Hartz says: Chubbs: Please spell Dr James Hansen’s name correctly. 188. Canman says: John Hartz, Civilization advanced because of the use of fossil fuels and it cost us a sinking city. It was a bargain!!! 189. John Hartz says: Canman: What’s happening to the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana is only a portend of what’s to come due to manmade climnate change. “Mother Nature always bats last!” 190. Canman, Just to be clear, it is entirely possible to think that we should do something to reduce our emissions while also accepting that fossil fuels have played a very positive role in allowing our civilisations to advance. 191. Jeff Harvey says: I am not afraid to say I am a ‘climate alarmist’. Why should I be? If we don’t try to stabilise global surface temperatures asap then the future for our species is bleak. Clive Hamilton spelled it out precisely in “Requiem for a Species”. Planetary ecological systems will not be able to adaptively respond to projected temperature rises under a business as usual scenario. It’s as simple as that. Right wing economists like Peter Huber may believe that humans ‘can survive just fine on a planet covering crypt of concrete and computers’ (he wrote this in his book ‘Hard Green’) but few if any scientists do. I most certainly know that it is nonsense. 192. Chubbs says: Oops on spelling. Hopefully someone can correct. There hasn’t been much science or economics recently in support of the lukewarmer position. The flurry of papers using the energy-balance method has died down and several recent papers have identified limitations in the EBM. The hiatus has ended and been explained enough to discount as a significant scientific issue. With the recent warming, climate models are in better agreement with observations. Meanwhile climate impacts on earth systems continue to be fleshed out. On the economic front, the cost of mitigation continues to drop: natural gas has become more competitive with coal, renewables and alternatives to the internal combustion engine are becoming much more competitive. So it is not clear why the lukewarmer position should be resurgant, unless some are taking the first step to a more realistic position. 193. Willard says: > I am not afraid to say I am a ‘climate alarmist’. Why should I be? Because “alarmism” doesn’t just refer to the state of being alarmed: Alarmism is excessive or exaggerated alarm about a real or imagined threat, such as the increases in deaths from an infectious disease. In the news media, alarmism can be a form of yellow journalism where reports sensationalise a story to exaggerate small risks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alarmism Alarmism thus is opposed to one of the stages of denial: Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true. […] Denial also could mean denying the happening of an event or the reliability of information, which can lead to a feeling of aloofness and to the ignoring of possibly beneficial information. The subject may use: simple denial: deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether minimisation: admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization) projection: admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility by blaming somebody or something else. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial In the Contrarian Matrix, level 0 echoes simple denial, and level 5 projection. So the lukewarm playbook is mostly minimisation. *** I’ll try to find back my source where I found out that the biomass of mosquitoes is insignificant. 194. Vinny Burgoo says: The article about Isle de Jean Charles linked by SkS’s John Hartz doesn’t even mention the main reasons for the island’s shrinkage: subsidence, reduced sedimentation and the disapperance of sediment-trapping marsh plants (reduced nutrients, increased salinity). As so often in SkS-land, everything is down to climate change. Snore. 195. Willard says: Great. Another squirrel throwing match. They always happen after peddling is being done. Fancy that. 196. Clive Best says: @ATTP Huh? Without CO2 in the atmosphere, the Earth would probably be a snowball. It’s probably correct that the drawdown of CO2 has lead to a long-term cooling, but that does not mean that you can’t use past CO2 levels and global temperatures to say something about climate sensitivity today. Also, the Pliocene was only a few million years ago, so I don’t think the arrangement of the continents was all that different to today. What came first the egg or the hen? Yes CO2 is a greenhouse gas but we know that during Ice Ages levels falls below 200ppm. CO2 does not cause ice ages, which are forced by Orbital changes. However, CO2 may accentuate them. Likewise CO2 did not cause the cooling of the Earth over the last 5 million years, but its decrease may have accentuated it. The Geological weathering thermostat seems to set long term CO2 levels for any epoch. What we don’t understand is exactly what sets the thermostat temperature. The position of the continents and ocean circulation must be a strong effect. The closing of the Panama Isthmus cut off the Atlantic from the Pacific about 3 million years ago and this is a possible cause. What is occurring today is completely different. Humans are artificially increasing CO2. This has only happened once before at PETM 56 Million years ago when the world was much warmer and natural CO2 levels were near 1000ppm. The pulse of CO2 then was more than if we were to burn all known fossil fuel reserves. DT was ~5C. This is the only example where we could try to measure ‘anthropogenic’ climate sensitivity. 197. John Hartz says: The Futurism article about Isle de Jean Charles that I cited above draws heavily from the following indepth article… A TALE OF TWO TOWNS: The US is relocating an entire town because of climate change. And this is just the beginning. by Neha Thirani Bagri, Quartz, June 5, 2017 The lead paragraphs of Bagri’s article identify the “two towns” she has focused on… The water has been inching closer to Rita Falgout’s house, lapping at the edges of her front yard. Her home is one of 29 in Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow island in the bayous of southeastern Louisiana that is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. The island, home to members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and the United Houma Nation tribes, is reached by a lone road that passes through the marshland with water on either side. Since 1955, the island has lost 98% of its land. “Now there’s just a little strip of land left,” Falgout, 81, tells Quartz. “That’s all we have. There’s water all around us.” She’s one of just 100 people who lives in Isle de Jean Charles. Few outside know or care what’s going on there. “I’m anxious to go,” she says. On the other side of the US, a small village of approximately 350 people on the Ninglick river on the western edge of Alaska faces similar troubles ahead. In Newtok, rising seas and melting permafrost caused by climate change have meant the Ninglick is gradually eroding the land. “They see the river bearing down on them. They all accept it, they all know they have to leave,” said Joel Neimeyer, the co-chair of the Denali Commission, a federal agency tasked with coordinating government assistance for coastal resilience in Alaska. “The river is coming at 70 feet a year. You can just take out a tape measure and measure it.” 198. JCH says: My dining room is almost as nice as this preindustrial/pre-civilization dining room. Is yours? 199. Vinny Burgoo says: There’s nowt more more squirrelly than obfuscatory metacommentary, Willard. 200. Vinny Burgoo says: John Hartz, your new link also doesn’t mention the main reasons for the shrinkage. (Is Newtok the one whose residents have been worried about erosion since the settlement was founded in the wrong place in about 1910 and who first mooted a move in 1915 then again in the ’40s then the ’60s then the ’80s etc. and whose carbon footprint is two or three times the average Brit’s?) 201. Vinny Burgoo says: What’s a dining room? 202. John Hartz says: A key take-away paragraph from Bagri’s Quartz article cited above… As climate change impacts larger swathes of US coastal towns, the idea of climate-induced migration is no longer an abstract concept that is only impacting far-away islands in the Pacific. A March 2016 study (pdf) suggests that a 6-foot (1.8-meter) rise in sea levels by 2100, fuelled by a collapse of the polar ice caps, could lead to 13.1 million Americans along the coasts losing their homes to the rising tide. Even a more modest rise of 3 feet would leave 4 million homeless. 203. Willard says: Commentaries are always meta, dear Vinny. Next time, I’ll replace your “but SkS” with “but SkS”. Citation needed for your “main reason”. Studies connecting smoking and cancer don’t mention that the main reason why people have lung cancer is because they have lungs. Must be a conspiracy by cancer associations. 204. Clive, Yes CO2 is a greenhouse gas but we know that during Ice Ages levels falls below 200ppm. CO2 does not cause ice ages, which are forced by Orbital changes. However, CO2 may accentuate them. Likewise CO2 did not cause the cooling of the Earth over the last 5 million years, but its decrease may have accentuated it. Again, huh? If we know there was a period in the past when the continents were in a similar configuration to today and the atmospheric CO2 was ~ 400 ppm, then we can use information from that period to infer what might happen now if atmospheric CO2 concentrations remain at ~ 400ppm. It doesn’t really matter what caused atmospheric CO2 to be ~ 400ppm. What is occurring today is completely different. The cause of the change in atmospheric CO2 might be different, but the effect is not likely to be very different. 205. @Ragnaar, “That ocean is cooling itself to the atmosphere more than it does with more sea ice. It’s also a greater carbon sink that with more ice.” Wait. What? Please explain. I do not know what you are trying to say. Ice formation releases heat. Ice melting absorbs heat. Are you saying that ocean cools more to atmosphere because there’s no ice atop of it? Might I seem some calculations please? Here and now? Ocean with ice is less of a Carbon sink than with more ice? Again, although, this time, a reference? There is apparently more plankton productivity in Arctic, because of ocean warming, but the overall ocean sink for all components is about 2.6 GtC per annum, compared with 3 GtC per annum for land (less 1 GtC per annum for land use change). Human emissions are 9.3 GtC per annum, and the annual atmospheric Carbon growth is 4.5 Gt. See figure (from Global Carbon Budget): 206. The figure apparently did not show. It can be found here. 207. No, here. Sorry for the mess and confusion. I thought the img tag in the original would work. 208. Clive Best says: No @ATTP you are making a false conclusion which goes to the heart of the problem. You are assuming that there is a direct causal one way relationship between CO and temperature. Something like if CO2 = 400ppm then T = 290C You reject that 3 million years ago the natural value of T was instead 290C so then CO2=400ppm. However this must have been the case since unless you can find natural source for increasing CO2, the geological thermostat would have pumped out any excess CO2 within a thousand years. It is obvious that the GAIA (geology + life) set temperature of earth varies with time. Life itself starts to falter if CO2 levels fall significantly below 200ppm at which point the deep ocean sink starts to fail, restoring temperatures conducive to life. 209. Clive, Can I maybe ask that you refrain from telling me what I assume and reject? If I want people to know what I assume and reject, then I’ll tell them. All I’m suggesting is that all else being equal, a 400ppm world in the past should have a similar equilibrium climate state to a 400ppm world today. I don’t think this is all that controverisial a point. Of course, if the solar forcing is different, or the arrangement of the continents is different, then the states may differ. If, however, the solar forcing is similar, and the distribution of the continents is similar, then we can use a 400ppm world in the past, to infer what such a world would be like today. 210. guthrie says: Wait, what was Clive arguing originally? So far he’s just stating the obvious. 211. Guthrie, I’m not really sure anymore myself. 212. BBD says: Clive B From Lundt et al. (2012): On the causes of mid-Pliocene warmth and polar amplification (emphasis mine): The temperature changes due to the CO2 (dTCO2), orography (dTorog), vegetation (dTveg) and ice sheet (dTice) boundary condition changes, as calculated from equations 13, as well as the total change, ∆T, are illustrated in Figure 4. As a global average, of the total mid-Pliocene 3.3◦C temperature change, 1.6◦C (48%) is from the CO2 (dTCO2), 0.7◦C (21%) is from the orography (dTorog), 0.7◦C (21%) is from the vegetation (dTveg), and 0.3◦C (10%) is from the ice sheets (dTice). dTCO2 (Figure 4b) represents the temperature change due to CO2 alone. It shares much in common with similar (CO2 doubling as opposed to 280-400 ppmv here) results presented in the most recent report of the IPCC (Solomon et al., 2007). For example, there is polar amplification due to snow and sea ice feedbacks, and greater temperature change on land compared to ocean due to reduced latent cooling and lower heat capacity. The North Atlantic shows reduced temperature increase due to ocean mixing and reduced northward heat transport in the Atlantic due to an increase in the intensity of the hydrological cycle. The increase of 1.6◦C implies a climate sensitivity due to a doubling of CO2 of ∼3.2◦C, which is close to the middle of the IPCC range (Solomon et al., 2007). 213. Clive Best says: @ATTP @BBD @Guthrie CO2 is not the only show in town. The Northern Hemisphere is more problematic. From sediment cores and other data, we know that until about 5 million years ago, North and South America were not connected. A huge gap—the Central American Seaway—allowed tropical water to flow between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A growing body of evidence suggests that the formation of the Isthmus of Panama partitioned the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and fundamentally changed global ocean circulation. The closing of the Central American Seaway initially may have warmed Earth’s climate, but then set the stage for glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere at 2.7 million years ago. Read more here: http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/how-the-isthmus-of-panama-put-ice-in-the-arctic 214. Clive, CO2 is not the only show in town. I didn’t say it was the only show in town. Strawman much? 215. Clive, Just to be clear, your article about the impact of the Isthmus of Panama is an article in a magazine, rather than something peer-reviewed? 216. As a practicing statistician, I have an extreme distrust in the results of the Jones and Ricketts paper, using, as it does, some of the worse kinds of statistical reasoning you’ll find in climate science (or in medicine, for that matter), a series of misapplied hypothesis tests, where the results of the tests are wrongly interpreted to concluding that either the null or the alternative are true, and without consideration for multiple testing. (Note in particular the ad hoc techniques for segmenting time series in Section 2.3.1 of J&R, and the claim that a statistical hypothesis test provides evidence for something being true, in Section 2.2. The reasoning and methodology is tortured, grounding itself in the fringe philosophy of science notions of Mayo and Spanos, a book, not a refereed journal article, which has been reviewed critically (e.g., La Caze, 2010, but also Jones 2011, in Analysis Reviews, 71(2), April 2011, 406–408, doi:10.1093/analys/anr027. Of note is the comment by La Caze that: “An exchange on Bayesian philosophy of science or Bayesian statistics would have been a welcome addition and would have benefited the dual goals of the volume. Bayesian philosophy of science and Bayesian statistics are a constant foil to Mayo’s work, but neither approach is given much of a voice. An exchange on Bayesian philosophy of science is made all the more relevant by the strength of Mayo’s challenge to a Bayesian account of theory appraisal. A virtue of the error-statistical account is its ability to capture the kind of detailed arguments that scientists make about data and the methods they employ to arrive at reliable inferences. Mayo clearly thinks that Bayesians are unable to supplement their view with any sort of prospective account of such methods. This seems contrary to practice where scientists make similar methodological arguments whether they utilise frequentist or Bayesian approaches to statistical inference. Indeed, Bayesian approaches to study design and statistical inference play a significant (and increasing) role in many sciences, often alongside frequentist approaches (clinical drug development provides a prominent example). It would have been interesting to see what, if any, common ground could be reached on these approaches to the philosophy of science (even if very little common ground seems possible in terms of their competing approach to statistical inference).” Until that is answered, a supposed scientific paper which is based upon Mayo and Spanos is on very weak foundations indeed. But J&R don’t need to be disbelieved because of Mayo & Spanos. Section 2.3 of J&R appeals to the Maronna–Yohai bivariate test (MYBT, Maronna and Yohai, 1978) which Ricketts previously addressed in a conference paper, which he credits Jones (his present co-author) for adapting (Jones 2010). No matter. So Jones uses MYBT in order to analyze behavior of non-linear shifts in rainfall and temperature data (quoting his paper, “Analysis of linear and non-linear … behaviour is undertaken, the former using least squares linear analysis and the latter using the bivariate analysis,” the latter being Maronna & Yohai 1978). Well, while the MYBT is fine as it goes (it is, unfortunately, another likelihood ratio-based significance test, based upon asymptotic behavior of a statistic), it is inapplicable to Jone 2010, or Rickets 2015 or, for that matter, J&R. In short MYBT offers a means of checking for a shift in the intercept of an otherwise affine trend contaminated by Gaussian noise. Most grievously, it assumes the succession of observations are statistically independent, a condition which almost no time series exhibits, and that the variance of the corrupting noise is constant. Moreover, due to certain technical reasons, the significance levels (for the significance test) can only be calculated by simulated on idealized populations. J&R express surprise that “… [T]he MYBT is rarely included in reviews of change point analysis techniques (Rodionov, 2005; Reeves et al., 2007) despite being on par or better than other techniques (Vivès and Jones, 2005). For example, it performed similarly to the STARS test in Jones et al. (2013) but has the advantage of not needing tuning and being able to accommodate a reference data set, providing a degree of ﬂexibility that few other tests have. That made it our testing model of choice, especially because all six tests used here compare step changes in time series to a null reference, and Test 4 assesses step changes between correlated variables.” That Vivès and Jones paper is an unrefereed CSIRO technical report which introduces MYBT by saying “Maronna and Yohai (1978) developed the bivariate test to detect a single systematic change in mean in an independent time series, based on a second correlated series which is assumed to be unchanged. It not only indicates whether or not a change has occurred, but also gives the maximum likelihood estimates and the time and magnitude of change.” (Emphasis added by me.) The report goes on and says “The test should ideally be applied to a serially independent sequence $\{x_{i},y_{i}\}$ of $n$ two dimensional random vectors, each of them distributed normally. It is also assumed that the sequence is stationary, with the exception of a possible shift in the mean in $\{ y_{i} \}$.” Compare the Abstract to MYBT for all this: “Let $(x_{i}, y_{i}), i = 1, ..., n$, be a sequence of observations such that $y_{i} = b_{i} + c x_{i} + u_{i}$ where $b_{i}$ and $c$ are unknown parameters, and $\{u_{i}\}$ and $\{x_{i}\}$ are independent sequences of independent, identically distributed random variables. The likelihood ration test is derived for the hypothesis that $b_{i} = b$ …, against the alternative that $b_{i} = b$ [for] $i \le i_{0}$ and $b_{i} = b + d$ [for] $i > i_{0}$ for some $b$, $i_{0}$, and $d \neq 0$, assuming that the $u_{i}$‘s are normal.” J&R don’t show anything. Why don’t I write a refutation? It’s not my field. Not my job to clean up the mess in Earth System Dynamics. 217. As you’d note from my link, we do use air source heat pumps and they are vastly cheaper than the oil they replaced, and much cheaper than the counterfactual explosive methane. We do get all our energy from solar and from wind. 218. @lifeisthermal, There is constant “work being done” or, heating, if you will. This is incoming solar radiation from space, in the form of light and other incoming. Your First Law of Thermodynamics insists this energy needs to be balanced, lest the Earth (or anything else in space insulated from the rest by a vacuum) would turn into molten rock. So, it radiates out, per the Wien Law at a place high in atmosphere. That altitude can be characterized in many ways, but I like saying it’s the height at which an infrared photon has a 50% chance of escaping into space. The other 50% is remaining in atmosphere. Add more “trace gas” CO2, which offers 300 intercept attempts for the photon within one wavelength, and the height at which there’s that 50% chance of escape rises. In other words the “thermal height of atmosphere” increases. Take the more-or-less monotonic inverse relationship from that by definition same temperature height back to surface, and you’ll find the surface is warmer. Bingo. 219. BBD says: Clive B CO2 is not the only show in town. What ATTP said. Look at the Lundt (2012) quote: [T]emperature changes due to the CO2 (dTCO2), orography (dTorog), vegetation (dTveg) and ice sheet (dTice) boundary condition changes CO2 is not the only show in town. But even so: The increase of 1.6◦C implies a climate sensitivity due to a doubling of CO2 of ∼3.2◦C, which is close to the middle of the IPCC range (Solomon et al., 2007). I’ve said it before: palaeoclimate offers no comfort for lukewarmers. Quite the opposite, in fact. 220. @Clive Best: “… the geological thermostat would have pumped out any excess CO2 within a thousand years.” Reference, please, or, better still, calculate here. My understandings, from literature and elsewhere, is that it is is lot slower than that. Please include the scrubbing time for CO2 as carbonic acid in oceans. 221. John Hartz says: Clive Best and others would benefit geatly if they were to read and digest the information presented on the THE NOAA ANNUAL GREENHOUSE GAS INDEX (AGGI) webpage. It’s been updated through the Spring of this year. The Introduction states: The AGGI is a measure of the climate-warming influence of long-lived trace gases and how that influence has changed since the onset of the industrial revolution. The index was designed to enhance the connection between scientists and society by providing a normalized standard that can be easily understood and followed. The warming influence of long-lived greenhouse gases is well understood by scientists and has been reported by NOAA through a range of national and international assessments. Nevertheless, the language of scientists often eludes policy makers, educators, and the general public. This index is designed to help bridge that gap. The AGGI provides a way for this warming influence to be presented as a simple index. 222. I have a funny feeling that Clive is arguing that geological processes can act to draw down (or release) CO2 so as to cool, or warm, the climate. Well, yes, but this tends to take a long time (thousands of years) and doesn’t change that, all else being equal, a 400ppm world in the past can be used to inform what we might expect for a 400ppm world today. 223. hypergeometric, I tried to fix the equation that wouldn’t parse, but couldn’t work out what was wrong. 224. Thanks ATTP! Sorry for the bother! For the readership, here’s an image of the Abstract instead. 225. Managed to fix it (missed that there was a ] instead of a }). 226. JCH says: interactive discussion on Jones and Ricketts A “stadium wave” warmed the Arctic: 227. Susan Anderson says: fwiw, seems we’re getting pretty close to 410 ppm these days. 228. And Stephen Chu says, after converting all the GHGs that decompose into CO2 to CO2, it’s 490 ppm. 229. Nathan Tetlaw says: Mosher “The definition never had anything to do with being libertarian.” I can’t recall the exact words, but then again the definition has wandered over time. I tried googling it last night, but can’t get to Lucia’s site… Weird. 230. Susan Anderson says: That “stadium wave” graphic appears to be bogus. The usual cutoff well before 2010, for starters, but even without that, nonsense. This is an old favorite which might help: http://gergs.net/2013/07/more-northern-sea-ice/ See for yourself: https://sites.google.com/view/pettitclimategraphs 231. JCH says: It is not bogus as those are fairly normal renditions of the PDO and the AMO. It’s from a recent paper that addresses a somewhat unanswered question – why the Arctic warmed so rapidly in the years prior to WW2? 232. Ragnaar says: ATTP: I think people in United States are concerned with economic impacts. Take a severe impact of landfalling big hurricanes. It’s going to be summed up as having economic impacts. Then we need to argue over, is it a local or federal problem in deciding who pays? That involves policy. You say delaying our warming. I say slowing. I don’t think the oceans are going to give us back everything we put into them. The oceans are plus so many joules since 1990. I am saying they’ll never reach the lower amount in them in 1990, at anytime before 2090. I expect continued joules accumulation by the oceans. At equilibrium, I think the oceans will stop warming. Say to their depth they are 2 C warmer. So on average, that driver is up 2 C. at equilibrium. And if the land is at plus 4 C they’ll warm some more as they drag in more joules from the land. It’s the 0.1% of the atmosphere telling the 99.9% oceans, I am the equilibrium. Part of my theory come from accepting how much the oceans absorb. The more than 90% in that plot. I see no reason for that to stop with an increasing GMST/SST differential. I believe that CO2 does warm the oceans, and it I think that is significant and material. I don’t think that’s temporary. Are the lower 3 kilometers of the average ocean depth, just left over stuff? Or does it do something. 233. Willard says: I did some work on the genealogy of the lukewarm church, Nathan. My notes are elsewhere. If you’re interested, I’ll add it to my TODO list of posts. You might like this blast from the past, courtesy of Jonathan Adler: As I’ve noted before, even if a doubling of carbon-dioxide-equivalent will produce warming at the low end of conventional projections, it is still a serious concern (even from a libertarian perspective). But it’s also important to get the science right, and not base policy on exaggerated fears or implausible scenarios. And more importantly, given the enormous difficulty of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in the near-to-medium term, it would be good news if the rate and magnitude of future warming will be less than some fear. http://volokh.com/2013/02/06/is-the-climate-less-sensitive-than-we-thought/ This evidences three steps: 1. Accept AGW. 2. Say “but CAGW” almost in passing. 3. Think wishfully. 234. Sure. Short attention spans. But the American public is being financially bled to death to the tune of$30 billion per year, and increasing. It’ll get worse as private insurance premiums in flood prone areas increase. To the degree companies won’t burden those at risk with the full cost, the rest of us will get these.

And, as far as the financial system goes, it would not take much to trigger a “climate recession”. For instance, a completely unexpected jump in sea levels, especially on the East Coast, resulting in an overnight increase of a foot. Or, for instance, some year, where, in New England, it gets to be 110 degrees F, but in February.

235. Ragnaar says:

izen:

Thank you for your comments. I was thinking this, the IPCC provides a summary for policymakers. They mention the ECS. I think it’s an important number for policy. Let’s say we are mapping out wind turbine deployment in the United States. Yes, planning it to extent our budget allows us to pay for them. I want to know how much it’s going to help with climate change.

“One way in which ECS could be at the low end is if polar regions warm disproportionately. By warming the coldest regions in the local ‘winter’ much more of those Hiroshimas/sec can be radiated to space. Melting the winter ice and having a much longer period when polar seas can transfer energy to the atmosphere by evaporation would lower global ECS, but at cost of much higher local warming. With all that permafrost and sea-floor methane waiting…”

I agree with your above, though I don’t have bunch of sources. I think the sea ice is key, and the lack of it does cool the Arctic Ocean. In Winter it’s dry up there. Like Winter in Minnesota, there is no humidity. It’s too cold. Low amounts of GHGs, little sun. I just love this, the ocean cools and the GMST rises, but it’s probably transit joules on the way to the TOA.

236. Willard says:

Speaking of insurance:

CFAN’s prediction for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season:

ACE: 134 (average value 103 since 1982)
# of U.S. landfalling hurricanes: 3 (average value 1.7 since 1900)

https://judithcurry.com/2017/06/08/cfans-forecast-for-the-2017-atlantic-hurricane-season/

It may be harder to feel lukewarm when billions are on the line.

Yet Don Don suggested:

I would have gone with “1 or more landfalls”, instead of (3).

It’d be interesting to know of reinsurers who’d bet like Don Don suggests and lower their premiums accordingly.

237. Ragnaar says:

Everett F Sargent:

“Projections of Antarctic SMB changes over the 21st century thus indicate a negative contribution to sea level because of the projected widespread increase in snowfall associated with warming air temperatures (Krinner et al., 2007; Uotila et al., 2007; Bracegirdle et al., 2008). Several studies (Krinner et al., 2007; Uotila et al., 2007; Bengtsson et al., 2011) have shown that the precipitation increase is directly linked to atmospheric warming via the increased moisture holding capacity of warmer air, and is therefore larger for scenarios of greater warming. The relationship is exponential, resulting in an increase of SMB as a function of Antarctic SAT change evaluated in various recent studies with high-resolution (~60 km) models as 3.7% °C–1 (Bengtsson et al., 2011), 4.8% °C–1 (Ligtenberg et al., 2013) and ~7% °C–1 (Krinner et al., 2007). These agree well with the sensitivity of 5.1 ± 1.5% °C–1 (one standard deviation) of CMIP3 AOGCMs (Gregory and Huybrechts, 2006).” – AR5

While the IPCC also said it lost SMB in AR5.

238. JCH says:

Ragnaar…

So what are these feedbacks, and how do they interact? The most basic stem from turning the Arctic Ocean from white to blue, which changes the region’s albedo — the amount of solar radiation reflected off a surface. Sea ice, in summer, reflects roughly 50 percent of incoming radiation back into space. Its replacement with open water — which reflects roughly 10 percent of incoming solar radiation — is causing a high albedo-driven warming across the Arctic.

When covered almost entirely by ice in summer — which the Arctic was for tens of thousands of years — water temperatures there didn’t generally rise above freezing. Now, as the open Arctic Ocean absorbs huge amounts of solar radiation in summer, water temperatures are climbing by several degrees Fahrenheit, with some areas showing increases of 7 degrees F above the long-term average.

239. Ragnaar says:

hypergeometric
I am ignoring the energy flows during melting and freezing.
“The sea ice cover separates the two, preventing heat in the ocean from warming the overlying atmosphere. This insulating effect is another way that sea ice helps to keep the Arctic cold.”
With sufficient exchanges with lower latitude ocean water, it has an oceans cooling impact. More cooling during warmer times with warmer atmospheric temperatures in the Arctic. This insulating effect can be seen on a lake in Minnesota that has ice on it for 5 months of the years, yet stays warm enough to carry fish through to the next year. The colder it is, the thicker the insulation becomes. I had a prof that might have called it an elegant solution. Our lakes have a Summer and a Winter regime. One preserves warmth and the other acquires it until about August.

“In a new study from MIT, Dutkiewicz found that with decreased sea ice, the Arctic Ocean is becoming more of a carbon sink. The team of scientists modeled changes in Arctic sea ice, temperatures, currents, and flow of carbon from 1996 to 2007…”
I wonder how the sea life is doing with this? Sardines love up-welling carbon. Here we have one tiny negative feedback. Arctic too warm? Steal some CO2 from the atmosphere locally. Arctic too cold? Leave the CO2 in the atmosphere.

240. Ragnaar says:

hypergeometric:

“As a practicing statistician, I have an extreme distrust in the results of the Jones and Ricketts paper…”

I have no chance at understanding what you wrote. Roger Jones has written quite a few papers. It was the ideas and not the methods for me.

“Most heat (long-wave radiation) is trapped near the ground or ocean surface and much of that is radiated downwards (Trenberth, 2011). The atmosphere as a whole has little intrinsic heat memory and does not warm independently of the surface.”

The CO2 traps the joules, and they try to pass them somewhere, and the oceans say thank you very much. The ocean then give them back, and wind blows onto land warming it while the land warm air blows over the ocean, cooling that air and warming the ocean again. It’s like we are an auditor? Where is the money. Certainly not the oceans. What do you mean, I see all these exchanges with the oceans and you say, no I didn’t. That wasn’t me. That net flows are out so I shouldn’t even look there.

The idea that in a warmer world, the ocean are driving things. Because who can deal in joules and who has the joules. Liquid water stores joules better than the atmosphere. With all this additional new energy, what the oceans do? Yawn. Your on your own up there. You got your line by line radiative transfer models, never mind me. I am good, I don’t want any of those joules.

241. There needn’t be speculation with regard to Arctic (bio)productivity. It’s interesting that the question has been studied in depth since 1970. See:
* “Dynamics of Carbon Dioxide and Productivity in an Arctic Biosphere” (That’s in 1970. Note they found a positive correlation between declining CO2 concentration and plant growth.)
* “Climate of the Arctic marine environment“, 2008
* “Sensitivity of the carbon cycle in the Arctic to climate change“, 2009 (Essentially it says that the present day climate disruption has enhanced variability in the sink of CO2 in the Arctic, so that net CO2 sink is within a Highest Probability Density Interval which embraces zero and has wide support
* “Recent oceanic changes in the Arctic in the context of long-term observations”, 2013
* “
Trajectory of the Arctic as an integrated system“, 2013

In short, it’s the message of Science since Galileo: You can speculate all you want, but there’s nothing quite like going out there and measuring, and when you find something you don’t understand, go out and measure some more.

242. Joshua says:

Nathan –

=={ I tried googling it last night, but can’t get to Lucia’s site… Weird. }==

A while back I suddenly couldn’t view her site with Chrome, but could with Firefox. Give it a shot.

243. @Ragnaar,

The quote from J&R, that “The atmosphere as a whole has little intrinsic heat memory and does not warm independently of the surface” is what moved me to post that tome. That statement is as far from the actual behavior of the oceans as one can get, as I understand them.

The fundamental observation is that water’s capacity for retaining heat is amazingly huge. As such, heat prefers to go there, and it wants to remain there. There is an aphorism recited in introductory physical oceanography that the top 1000 meters or less has as much or more heat capacity as the rest of the climate system. Water also loses this slower, per unit time. This is called thermal inertia. These are why the J&R statement above, if not outright wrong, is highly misleading to an otherwise uneducated public.

244. Willard says:

Here you go:

I kind alike Boris’ approach
0 to 1C: :ignorati
1C to 3C :luke warmista
3C to 6C :warmista
6C + : alarmista

Note that the “warmista” group usually disappears with the “between deniers and alarmists” self-identification.

Also note that ambiguity: believing IPCC’s central estimate at the time can lead you to identify either as a luke or a warmista.

The whole idea of betting over or under the IPCC’s central estimate makes little sense.

***

Here could be another defining characteristic:

Here is the problem you face with lukewarmers. we accept the science. we dont accept some of the behavior of a small number of scientists. We think the science can and does survive this behavior, so we have NO PROBLEM saying the behavior was not best practices.

https://thepolicylass.org/2011/01/03/luke-i-am-your-father/

Hence level two of the Contrarian Matrix: no best practice. Criticism of behavior also hints at the last level.

***

An excerpt from commentary that Nathan, without the rhetorical questions, which are against Lucia’s editorial policies:

You listed your rationale and all it boils down to is that you accept the IPCC position. You really have no issue over and above that your climate sensitivity lies within the IPCC bounds. Remember how Lucia used to title those posts ‘Falsifying the IPCC…’… Oh yeah, them wasthe days.

There’s a “Mark” who also simply identifies with those he finds more “reasonable,” Cool kids hang up with Luke. He’s not too warm.

cee’s comment was met with crickets.

245. -1=e^iπ says:

@ BBD – Lundt et al 2012, from what I can tell, doesn’t take N2O and CH4 into account. Given that CO2 changes only makes up 3/4 of radiative forcing changes, this means that the 3.2 C should really be 2.4 C.

246. Ragnaar says:

JCH:

Yes. There is less albedo. The ocean does a good job of absorbing it. Then transmitting it with less sea ice at a probably less humid time, Fall. I am suggesting there is is good transmission of the seasonal gain as well as water coming in from the South. The seasonal warming contributes to less sea ice. It’s albedo versus insulation. To gain albedo you have to lose insulation.

We are supposed to see something here:

In the past there was more wandering. The annual cycle seems to establish itself in 2008. This may not be the best plot. There may be problems with the earlier date, poor coverage, think of things. But what I see is cycling. Whatever it is that cools the oceans during warmer times is cycling. It says to me threshold. A strong retreat and a strong recovery. The retreat and advance are bounded. It may still be drifting lower. It will continue to cycle and I am suggesting the oceans there are cooling more than before as part of they system’s response.

247. Ragnaar says:

Change this:
“To gain albedo you have to lose insulation.”
To this:
To gain SW joules, you have to lose insulation.”

248. Ragnaar says:

To go further down the rabbit hole, assuming with have good date in the above sea ice plot, the sea ice organized itself with an annual cycle in 2008, like a flock migrating of birds. The ice was in paradise, wandering around without a care, until it got too warm. Now it has to organize and be part of a flock. Emergent behavior anyone? This CO2 stuff is cool.

249. Ragnaar says:

Hypergeometric:

The atmosphere. Here’s your job. Hold onto stuff, but just for awhile. We need an orderly release of joules to the TOA where they will most likely never come back.
Then we screw that up with CO2. So they hold them longer while warming and the alternate TOA takes them, the oceans. 90% oceans plot, that’s a lot. To a lesser extent we screw up the oceans. They aren’t warming so fast compared to their total mass. The joule doesn’t care. If it’s more blocked than before to the TOA, more of them will go into the oceans. The point of the atmosphere is the orderly transmission of joules. When they can’t get back into the oceans they’ll drift over land and try to find something cooler. When we see the back side of an El Nino spike, we see the atmosphere getting rid of joules.

250. Roger Jones says:

Ragnaar,
my take is that atmosphere cannot and does not warm independently of the ocean surface and that climate is a series of steady-state regimes that are successively warmer/cooler depending on the amount of work needed to distribute energy. Think about that. The ocean is not quite as benign as you seem to think – it’s the governor.
The point of the atmosphere is the disorderly transmission of joules – there, fixed it for you.
And the heat from the land is blown over the ocean and there is absorbed to the limits imposed by SST – not the other way around. The ocean warms the land.

251. Ragnaar,

I don’t think the oceans are going to give us back everything we put into them.

Yes, of course they won’t.

At equilibrium, I think the oceans will stop warming.

By definition, essentially.

And if the land is at plus 4 C they’ll warm some more as they drag in more joules from the land.

No, this isn’t really how things work. I’m not even quite sure what you mean by this. The planetary energy imbalance is largely set by the temperature of the surface, the albedo, and the composition of the atmosphere (greenhouse effect). If we’re out of equilibrium, then the system will be gaing, or losing energy. If we’re in equilibrium, it will not. The ocean is a large heat sink, so can influence how quickly we tend back towards equilibrium, but doesn’t directly influence what that equilibrium temperature actually is.

252. Clive Best says:

@hypergeometric @BBD

You’re right. The time constant for the weathering thermostat is around 100,000 years as evidenced by the time estimated to remove the PETM slug of CO2.

@John Hartz
Yes I know the physics rather well thanks.

In summary: I would position myself somewhere between Lukewarmer and Warmist.
Alarmists are wrong in my opinion since they infer disaster unless we bring all CO2 emissions to zero within 30 years. This is also dangerous because it won’t happen unless it is imposed by force.

253. Clive,

Alarmists are wrong in my opinion since they infer disaster unless we bring all CO2 emissions to zero within 30 years.

Do you have an example of someone who claims disaster unless we bring emissions to zero within 30 years? There may be some, but my impression is that it’s more people who think we should aim to limit warming to 2C and point out that doing so would require bringing emissions to zero within a few decades.

254. Nathan Tetlaw says:

Willard

“I did some work on the genealogy of the lukewarm church, Nathan. My notes are elsewhere. If you’re interested, I’ll add it to my TODO list of posts.”

Yeah sounds great.
Had many discussions with Mosher over the years about the Lukewarmer concept, and it strikes me more as a marketing campaign.

255. Nathan,

Had many discussions with Mosher over the years about the Lukewarmer concept, and it strikes me more as a marketing campaign.

Indeed, I think this is consistent with Lukewarmer being a label people give themselves, rather than it – typically – being a label applied by others to describe some group.

256. Clive Best says:

@ATTP
Yes OK – If we want to stay within 2C emissions must fall to zero by 2050. It depends whether you believe 3C – 4C is a disaster. I believe the world could adapt even to 4C but probably best not to risk any higher. The UK climate would actually improve, although the east coast would need strong flood protection.

Glen Peters:

http://www.cicero.uio.no/no/posts/klima/should-climate-policy-aim-to-avoid-2c-or-to-exceed-2c

http://www.cicero.uio.no/no/posts/klima/should-climate-policy-aim-to-avoid-2c-or-to-exceed-2c

257. David B. Benson says:

Clive Best — Ever since the end of the Cenozoic Climatic Optimum the climate has been cooling as the sources of carbon dioxide, vulcanism, have not kept up with the sinks, principally weathering. The result is straightforward atmospheric radiative physics until the Pleistocene when glacial cycling commenced. But the issue is the pulse of carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels, bringing the carbon dioxide level back to that of the mid-Pliocene, about 3.2 million years ago.

The position of the continents and the heights of mountain ranges has but little changed in the intervening years. So the mid-Pliocene shows what the future will eventually bring, provided only that carbon dioxide concentrations don’t rise too much beyond 400 ppm. The only question is whether or not the Panama seaway was open at the selected time and if open, how much effect that had on global temperature.

One model study states 0.3 °C added to 3 °C. Another, found above, suggests 0.7 °C. Both are compatible with the proxy value of 2–3 °C.

Finally, the dating for the closure of the Panama seaway is quite uncertain. It might have been mostly shut by my favorite date of 3.25 million years ago. Whatever, the point that this is what the future will bring remains.

258. David B. Benson says:

Clive Best —- I suggest you read “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas. The summary on a Guardian site suffices.

259. Clive,

It depends whether you believe 3C – 4C is a disaster.

Not necessarily. It could simply be that someone thinks 3C – 4C could be a disaster and would rather not find out.

I believe the world could adapt even to 4C but probably best not to risk any higher.

If we get there, we’ll have to. As I understand it, the current INDCs give us about a 50% chance of staying below 3.5C, so there a reasonable chance we’re going to find out. In my view it’s not really about whether or not we can adapt to the changes, it’s about what sort of impacts these changes will have. There are many things we could adapt to. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to avoid having to do so.

The UK climate would actually improve, although the east coast would need strong flood protection.

I have no idea if this is true or not (I’m not convinced anyone knows if it will improve, or not). The UK is also not the world.

260. dikranmarsupial says:

“I believe the world could adapt even to 4C “

I fully agree. But at what cost? How long could the Greenland ice sheet withstand 4C (wikipedia suggests a matter of centuries) before melting resulting in a 7m rise in sea level, which would be beyond the point where the “east coast would need strong flood protection.” strategy would be feasible (I checked, my house would still be above sea level, but I might have difficulty driving to work ;o).

I suspect the population of Bangladesh would argue that the benefits we gain from fossil fuel use in the west doesn’t really compensate them for large parts their (densely populated) country being underwater.

“It depends whether you believe 3C – 4C is a disaster. “

well quite, and disaster for whom?

261. Clive Best says:

@David Bensen
Thanks for the explanation. If I understand you correctly you are implying that CO2 is the only determinate of global temperatures. Past warmer climates were due to more vulcanism increasing the natural CO2 levels. So the climate has entered a critical stage in the Pliocene whereby Milankovitch cycles alone were able to trigger glaciations, whereas before then higher CO2 levels avoided this.

Thanks also for identifying a true climate alarmist – Mark Lynas :

A three-degree rise would spell the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, disappearance of Greenland’s ice sheet, and the creation of deserts across the Midwestern United States and southern Africa. A six-degree increase would eliminate most life on Earth, including much of humanity.

Don’t forget that most of North America and Northern Europe were under 3km of Ice just 20,000 years ago. Somehow humans and other life managed to adapt and survive. Quite possibly we have inadvertently delayed the next glacial cycle because obliquity is reducing following the Holocene optimum.

262. David B. Benson says:

dikran — Think more like 25 meters of sea level rise as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet joins Greenland in melting. The paleodata suggests that.

263. dikranmarsupial says:

“Don’t forget that most of North America and Northern Europe were under 3km of Ice just 20,000 years ago. Somehow humans and other life managed to adapt and survive”

But at what cost?

I would hope we have better intentions for future generations than mere survival of some.

264. dikranmarsupial says:

David, my house would still be above sea level, but I’d definitely need a boat ;o)

265. Clive,

Don’t forget that most of North America and Northern Europe were under 3km of Ice just 20,000 years ago. Somehow humans and other life managed to adapt and survive.

So, 20000 years ago, the ~7 billion people on the planet, a significant fraction of whom had moved into cities and urban regions, and who relied on a complex infrastructure that provided food, shelter, entertainment, etc, managed to adapt easily to the arrival of 3km ice sheets across most of North America and Northern Europe……oh, hold on??????

266. Clive Best says:

Don’t worry. Even at 3mm/year it will take 8000 years to reach 25m ! So that would be in 300 generations time.

267. David B. Benson says:

Clive Best — Kindly spell my name correctly.

No, glacial cycling did not start until after the Pliocene. It only started in the subsequent epoch, the Pleistocene, after carbon dioxide levels had fallen far enough. We have blasted out of that.

Mark Lynas spent a year in the Oxford University libraries researching his book. It is one of the two texts for David Archer’s introductory climatology course at the University of Chicago.

268. Don’t worry. Even at 3mm/year it will take 8000 years to reach 25m ! So that would be in 300 generations time.

You seem to be assuming that it won’t accelerate, which is rather odd. In fact, sea level is something that some researchers regard as having been an IPCC communication failure because the way they present it makes it seem that the worst case scenario is a smaller sea level rise than it could actually be.

269. David B. Benson says:

Clive Best — It will melt very much faster than that. The question is how much you want to discount the future.

270. Clive Best says:

So, 20000 years ago, the ~7 billion people on the planet, a significant fraction of whom had moved into cities and urban regions, and who relied on a complex infrastructure that provided food, shelter, entertainment, etc, managed to adapt easily to the arrival of 3km ice sheets across most of North America and Northern Europe……oh, hold on??????

No but that is exactly what 9 billion people will have to do when another ice age begins.

In 5000 years time people may even be grateful we kept CO2 levels at around 400ppm !

271. Clive,

No but that is exactly what 9 billion people will have to do when another ice age begins.

According to this paper, we’ve already delayed the next ice age by about 50000 years. That would appear to be a good deal longer than your “Don’t worry. Even at 3mm/year it will take 8000 years to reach 25m ! So that would be in 300 generations time.”

In 5000 years time people may even be grateful we kept CO2 levels at around 400ppm !

Well, an issue is that if we continue as we are, it’s not going to be at around ~400ppm, it will be considerably higher. Also, we might benefit from not using up all the available fossil fuels now, just in case there is some need to maintain CO2 levels at 350 – 400ppm.

272. Clive Best says:

@ATTP,
I more or less agree this time.

However surely it is a good thing if we can delay the next ice age altogether?
Of course I meant Pleistocene not Pliocene !

😉

273. dikranmarsupial says:

“Don’t worry. Even at 3mm/year it will take 8000 years to reach 25m ! So that would be in 300 generations time.”

“It depends whether you believe 3C – 4C is a disaster. ”

So it doesn’t count as a disaster if it is far enough in the future?

274. Clive,

However surely it is a good thing if we can delay the next ice age altogether?

I doubt this is actually possible; in the sense that there will almost certainly be another ice age at some point in the future. I find it slightly odd that you seem comfortable being rather alarmed about an ice age that we’ve almost certainly delayed by thousands of years, while completely blase about possibly changing the climate by a magnitude that is higher, and a rate that is faster, than at any time in human history.

275. dikranmarsupial says:

“However surely it is a good thing if we can delay the next ice age altogether?”

not if it means a 25m sea level rise. Cost-benefit analysis needs to consider both the costs and the benefits, however the real problem is agreeing on things like discounting (which depend on values, rather than mere economics).

276. verytallguy says:

Don’t forget that most of North America and Northern Europe were under 3km of Ice just 20,000 years ago. Somehow humans and other life managed to adapt and survive.

This is a classic of the genre: “Life has survived disasters before, therefore there’s no problem”*

Worried about nuclear apocalypse? Worry no more: “Many hundreds of nuclear weapons were detonated in the last century. Somehow humans and other life managed to adapt and survive”

Asteroid strike? No problem. “The KT impact event resulted in a flowering of biodiversity. Life not only survived, it prospered!”

That these historic events are wholly irrelevant to the question as to whether it’s sensible to reduce CO2 emissions now is not merely immaterial, it seems to be a desirable feature.

*Willard can doubtless show where this fits in to the matrix.

277. David B. Benson says:

Assuming that technically advanced civilization continues into the distant future, there are several means to avoid the descent into a stade, the geological term for an “ice age”.

Maybe we can concentrate on the current problem, an excess of so-called greenhouse gasses.

278. Marco says:

“I believe the world could adapt even to 4C but probably best not to risk any higher. The UK climate would actually improve, although the east coast would need strong flood protection.”

Clive, what is your benchmark to claim that the UK climate would “improve” with a 4 degree global rise in temperature?

279. Willard says:

> where this fits in to the matrix.

https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/future-is-bright/

It should go right before the HAT made of tin foil.

I’d need a source who seriously holds that position, though.

Not sure I found anything yet.

280. Clive Best says:

Clive, what is your benchmark to claim that the UK climate would “improve” with a 4 degree global rise in temperature?

You also need to propose how to bring global CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 while simultaneously feeding and supporting 7 billion people. There is no realistic plan as how to do this. Even the Germans can’t get it right. Emissions are not falling despite Energiewende.

281. dikranmarsupial says:

In other words, it’s not a problem and even if it were we can’t solve it?

Personally I really would not want the U.K. to have the same climate as Madeira. Hot weather is fine if you want to lie on a beach and do nothing, but personally I don’t find it conducive to making progress with the things I want to do (such as play cricket). A few degrees cooler in the summer would be preferable for me.

282. Roger Jones says:

Ice age is off the table. CO2 too high to have internal variability trigger cooling. The feedbacks just aren’t there.

283. Roger Jones says:

Clive thinks the world can adapt to 4C. The majority of IPCC Working Group II Lead Authors do not and they are very familiar with the work done to date.

284. David B. Benson says:

Global net carbon dioxide emissions.

There are plans for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A land based method is explained in “Irrigated Afforestation of the Sahara desert and the Australian outback …” by Len Orstein et al, the full paper freely available. This is not inexpensive.

There is also a sea based method for some of the excess, based on vigorously promoting the growing of kelp. I know much less about this.

285. Clive,

What everyone else has already said, but – also – have you considered that turning the UK into Madeira in a matter of decades might have negative consequences?

286. Willard says:

Look. Humans once survived WWII. We surely can have a similar conflict each Olympics year.

287. verytallguy says:

Willard

I’d need a source who seriously holds that position, though.

Not sure I found anything yet.

here you go

for approximately 60% of the past 540 Ma, global average temperature was more than 5 C warmer than now. I understand paleo evidence shows life thrived when warmer and struggled when colder than now. I would interpret this to demonstrate that 5 C warming is not dangerous and not catastrophic.

https://judithcurry.com/2017/01/17/rethinking-the-social-cost-of-carbon/#comment-835003

288. Susan Anderson says:

JCH: Apologies for speaking beyond my expertise, or perhaps better, speaking from my lack of expertise. You can probably figure out what I was getting at, which may have been beside your point, if you look at the links I provided.

OTOH, perhaps it might be worthwhile the mention that humans have been altering the climate for much longer than the period beginning with the explosions of the industrial revolution. The model of exploitation and expansion has left toxic wastelands all over the planet. The original sin is well illustrated in Genesis (the earth’s purpose: human dominion and exploitation), though you don’t need religion to follow the human assumption that the planet is put there for us to use and use up. It seems to me the assumption precedes the justification.

I think assumptions preceding justifications is a vital and difficult part of the argument now raging. Magic/wishful thinking comes into it too. If I want to sneer, I can put it this way: “let’s all get rich and we’ll solve the problem them.” Some genius will figure out something no genius to date has done, how to diminish vast masses of material with an expanding population and expanding appetites on a finite planet.

Perhaps I’d best leave it at that. Reasonable knowledgeable people think reason and knowledge need only be communicated properly to stop the nonsense. It’s not happening.

OT alert: some of you might enjoy this humor, The Book of Jeremy Corbyn

Perhaps not entirely OT, as the peppering of “The what?” throughout highlights different people’s assumptions.

289. I guessed that was Peter Lang. However, I think his view is more that life thrived millions of years go when it was much warmer than it is now, therefore we will thrive as it gets warmer. That’s not quite the same as arguing that we’ve survived past catastrophes, therefore there is no reason to do anything to avoid a future one.

290. Here, for example:

Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out because the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived throughout most of that period.

291. John Hartz says:

Some burning questions;

Is Clive Best using this thread to test how potential extreme denier memes might play out in the blogosphere and elsewhere?

In other words, are we effectively functioning as his focus group?

Or, is he just toying with us to amuse himself?

292. SIDEBAR: The widely quoted ECS is a global average. There are separate ECS estimates for land and ocean. See this figure, from Schmittner, et al, 2015. (How does one embed figures and images here?) Note most of us don’t live on the oceans. Accordingly, the ECS given we live on land is somewhat different than the figure being tossed around here, for it’s more than +3C.

293. If you have URL for a figure, it should appear if you simply place the URL on a line by itself.

294. Susan Anderson says:

John Hartz, I often thought on DotEarth I was being used to practice on in just that way. It is particularly obvious when one’s words are repeated with the simple twist of reversing meaning. It is sometimes best not to respond in a way that can be used that way, or not to respond at all.

295. JCH says:

If you have a Facebook page, you can test the image addresses to see if the image will appear in a comment. (you do not have to actually post it.) His address works on my FB page.

Remove the # signs and paste it by itself… nothing else is required:

296. I think it needs to be an actual url for the image, not the image viewer.

297. JCH says:

Which is why I’ve taken to using uploaded screenshots:

298. Willard says:

I need a real citation, Very Tall. Not a comment on a blog.

299. Marco says:

No thanks! Way too hot for me. And I can see several others agreeing with me. I have an Italian colleague from the south, and the one thing he incessantly complains about after his ‘obligatory’ holidays with the family is the hot weather. Just too hot. Impossible to do anything. He loves the weather here up north, including the cold in winter. If he could change anything, it is the long dark days during winter, not the temperature nor the snow.

In other words, when you claim the climate will be improved, you mean “for me and some others that happen to enjoy that kind of climate”.

300. “Past warmer climates were due to more vulcanism increasing the natural CO2 levels.”
I can’t speak to other warm climes, since I do not know their paleohistory with any detail whatsoever, but the end-Permian extinction needed not only LIP vulcanism, but vulcanism that both burned through large coal beds, and had enough updraft to loft the emissions high in atmosphere.

Most vulcanism, except the extreme, pales in its emissions with what people are doing. Even Yellowstone’s last belch, at 75 ka, only produced West Thumb.

301. This discussion is somewhat maddening. That’s because it is contingent upon climate physics continuing as a local expansion about the present climate state, with no structural changes in their relationships, and ignoring the possibility of bifurcation. The point is, we don’t know what a large excursion from historical human climate would look like and +3C is certainly large. We have a reasonable comfort in knowing if we kept it within the band of human historical, things would remain okay.

There are clearly two parts to this. One is a discussion of what an excursion to +2C, +3C would do to climate behavior. The other, simply set aside because no one has any idea of what to do with it at least, is $\dot{T}$ and the impulse to the system that represents. Sure, except for idealized scenarios, we don’t have a complete dynamics for climate.

There is some excellent discussion, but not often referenced, mostly associated with names of people like Ghil, Allen, Marshall, and Shuckburgh, as well as many, many others (*):
* Climate dynamics and fluid mechanics: Natural variability and related uncertainties, 2010
* The Mathematics of Climate Change and of its Impacts, 2017
* A Mathematical Theory of Climate Sensitivity: A Tale of Deterministic & Stochastic Dynamical Systems, 2016

The historical progression of insight is depicted on slide 44 of Ghil’s 2016 presentation, from Lorenz (1963) to Hasselmann (1976) to the present day. Note that the Ghil 2017 frontspiece is a recap of Ghil 2016 below it, except that at slide 24 Ghil, et al proceed with “Business cycles and the impact of major natural hazards”. I am no economics expert, but I have done a lot with the SSA-MTM tool they use there for time series analysis and can report its utility. (See below.) Contrary to the claims of Nothing-To-See-Here–Move-Along-Home (a.k.a, “-1”), beginning with slides 33ff look at catastrophes and economies.

Around slide 58 there’s an abstract from a 1991 paper which I have read several times. The analysis reported there shows that to insist upon incontrovertible empirical evidence of anthropogenic warming implies waiting two decades (from 1991) for the signal to pile up, because only then will there be ample signal to distinguish from natural variability. The trouble is, by the time such evidence is in hand, there could already be huge changes in commitment to climate disruption. So, the net was that the decision of whether we should proceed or not ought not wait until such evidence is in hand: That’s my take, not what Ghil and Vautard wrote.

The figure below shows the result of an experiment I did with the Keeling Curve and the SSA-MTM technique of Kondrashov and Ghil. Segments of the Keeling Curve were deleted, those printed in green. SSA was used to reconstruct by estimation the missing pieces, and the reconstruction is depicted in red.

(*) I deeply apologize for omissions. These are just the people whose papers I have read.

302. “You also need to propose how to bring global CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 while simultaneously feeding and supporting 7 billion people. There is no realistic plan as how to do this. Even the Germans can’t get it right. Emissions are not falling despite Energiewende.”

Well, surely, one way is getting fossil fuel consumption — or at least expansion — out of the way as quickly as possible. There is, for instance, the World Bank report that fossil fuel production is one of the most heavily subsidized industries in existence, and, in fact, profits less subsidies gives a quantity which is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

303. Willard says:

Very Tall,

Searching for Clive’s claptrap in full led me to this beautiful document:

There’s this claim, by William Vaughan:

Adapting to changes in the climate caused by natural effects will be far more productive.

Jym Ganahl, a meteorologist, says something that makes explicit what’s behind Clive’s “300 generations”:

[T]he warming is slow and we can adapt to it.

There are 14 occurences of “adapt.” Have fun looking for them. Here’s what could be the winner:

Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables.

The lyricism of that statement is getting the better of me.

304. John Hartz says:

This discussion is more than maddening because it fails to acknowledge the fact that homo sapiens are both part of, and reside in, the biosphere. As we all know, the biosphere is a very complex place and is being impacted, and will continue to be impacted, by manmade climate change. The ability of homo sapiens to survive and thrive in the bisophere of the future will be determined by complex interactions of all components of the biosphere. Using either the temperature of the lower troposphere or the level of the oceans as the sole metric to predict the fate of the human race is patently absurd.

305. Susan Anderson says:

Here’s another reason climate change is already a problem, particularly for the less fortunate: Why Terrorists Love Climate Change (Even If They Don’t Know It)

Climate change seems like a very abstract concept to many, especially on the right, yet it’s anything but. It’s beginning to poison our seafood and leads to more extreme weather by providing hurricanes and tornadoes with more energy when they form. And while deniers following cargo cult science muse that having extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that plants will grow bigger and in more places, the reality is that more droughts will change where the most productive agricultural areas can be supported and severely impact yields. And if that happens in a failing, politically unstable country, the end result could be, believe it or not, more terrorism.

Not only is this a very real possibility but it may have already happened and the end result was the rise of ISIS. From 2006 to 2009, Syria experienced its worst droughts in 900 years, sending food prices soaring, decimating farms, and forcing as many as 1.5 million rural residents into cities. The resulting tensions exploded into a civil war and opened the door for an offshoot of Al-Qaeda to live out its wildest fantasies of raping and pillaging its way across the Middle East. It’s estimated that the kind of drought that helped catalyze these events in motion was now two to three times more likely in the region thanks to increased global temperatures.

Re posting images, aTTP is right. If it is a straightforward jpg it will post as an image if you put it on a line by itself.

306. Susan Anderson says:

More specific to the Madeira argument from the same source: “if you don’t care about climate change because you really like warm weather and live where you wish winters were warmer, don’t care much for seafood, and see no point in worrying about food costs because your nation has plenty of room to cope with agricultural changes, perhaps you should take a minute and consider if you’re also fine with more refugee crises and more terrorists, and if saving a few dollars now is worth stunting green jobs for your economy, and giving the next ISIS recruiting opportunities around the world’s warmer climate zones.”

307. Jeff Harvey says:

Clive Best days,”I believe the world can adapt to a 4C rise”.

Explain ‘world’. Define it. And explain your interpretation of the time scale that you think is involved. I need specifics.

The reason is simple: if the surface of the planet warms by 4C in the coming century, it’s game, set and match for mankind. No ands, ifs or buts. Complex adaptive systems will implode, the current extinction event will rival that of the Permian-Triassic boundary. The biosphere has already been greatly simplified by man, and warming of 4C on top of that would be the final massive nail in the metaphorical coffin.

Of course, some species would survive: bacteria, viruses, some fungi, perhaps many insects and other arthropods, but vertebrate life would be obliterated. Most importantly, the effects on ecosystem services would be catastrophic, with pollinators, seed dispersers and water purifiers very hard hit; other services would collapse piecemeal as communities and ecosystems collapsed like dominoes. And given humanity’s utter dependence on these services, of which there are few if any technological substitutes, our fate would be sealed.

Hardly a qualified environmental scientist or ecologist would disagree with me. And as I am one of them, I should know. To be honest, if someone stood up at a major scientific conference on global change and made such an outrageous assertion (implying that humans could survive a 4C rise in the coming century), they would be laughed out of the venue. Seriously.

308. I mostly concur, especially with respect to the impact on ecological systems. Wave after wave of ecological services would be withdrawn, and, then, to survive, humankind would find they would need to replace these. It would not go well. This would be horrendously expensive, on top of the physical environment becoming more and more challenging. I certainly cannot see an economic system surviving this stress, and, in likelihood, law and order would break down and, so, civilization. And with that, technology, and continuity of learning.

I am less sure whether or not this would mean human extinction, and, apart from possibly the oceans, I remain optimistic there would be major creatures in the biosphere. Trouble is, as things got bad, humankind could do a lot to make things worse, ranging from rogue or ill-calibrated solar radiation management, to nuclear war. Even then, while it could be bad for humankind, the biosphere would continue.

I agree, +4C is not a place we want to approach. But, then, taking a very long, philosophical view, given what humankind has to answer for today, in terms of our impact on natural systems, a reduction of civilization to the rudimentary hunter-gatherer state seems just. But I do not recommend it.

309. John Hartz says:

Jeff Harvey: Are there papers and/or reports synthesizing the known and likely impacts of climate change on the biosphere?

310. Ragnaar says:

ATTP:

Jones & Ricketts. The atmosphere is driven. Roughly 2/3s from SSTs and 1/3 from land absorption and emissions. Land will change its quantity input to the atmosphere (albedo changes) slowly while SSTs can change much faster. If it was not being driven by the surface, the atmosphere would cool quickly. The atmosphere is a conduit between the surface and the TOA. In a home in Winter in Minnesota, the air in a house is simply a conduit between between the furnace and the outdoors. Jones & Ricketts talks of step changes. If one were looking for step changes caused by land use changes, that would be difficult. Oceans changes would be something else.

Land has a very boring existence, emitting most of what it gains each day. It is a pretty steady supplier of joules but is impacted by seasons in most places. So what can change is the SSTs. So while I said land is the 1/3 driver, that output is much more constant. Having more attributes of a conduit than the oceans do. One could suggest the oceans too are a conduit. They are. But with an ability to be a conduit with a long lag time. To hold onto the 90% of warming. And also the ability to speed up and exceed inputs.

So for a lower TCS I am going to need vertical ocean circulation, and migration of joules deeper into the oceans.

311. Bob Loblaw says:

Clive Best says “You also need to propose how to bring global CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 while simultaneously feeding and supporting 7 billion people. There is no realistic plan as how to do this.”

I am not aware of any realistic plan for how we are going to let climate change in the ways predicted over the next 30+ years (in a business-as-usual CO2 emissions scenario) while simultaneously feeding and supporting 7 billion people, either. In fact, this scenario looks a lot more problematic that the one you seem to be worried about.

312. Sorry, NASA E.O. disagrees with J&R, then, assuming properly interpreted:

“Clouds, aerosols, water vapor, and ozone directly absorb 23 percent of incoming solar energy. Evaporation and convection transfer 25 and 5 percent of incoming solar energy from the surface to the atmosphere. These three processes transfer the equivalent of 53 percent of the incoming solar energy to the atmosphere. If total inflow of energy must match the outgoing thermal infrared observed at the top of the atmosphere, where does the remaining fraction (about 5-6 percent) come from? The remaining energy comes from the Earth’s surface. …

Just as the major atmospheric gases (oxygen and nitrogen) are transparent to incoming sunlight, they are also transparent to outgoing thermal infrared. However, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and other trace gases are opaque to many wavelengths of thermal infrared energy. Remember that the surface radiates the net equivalent of 17 percent of incoming solar energy as thermal infrared. However, the amount that directly escapes to space is only about 12 percent of incoming solar energy. The remaining fraction—a net 5-6 percent of incoming solar energy—is transferred to the atmosphere when greenhouse gas molecules absorb thermal infrared energy radiated by the surface.

When greenhouse gas molecules absorb thermal infrared energy, their temperature rises. Like coals from a fire that are warm but not glowing, greenhouse gases then radiate an increased amount of thermal infrared energy in all directions. Heat radiated upward continues to encounter greenhouse gas molecules; those molecules absorb the heat, their temperature rises, and the amount of heat they radiate increases. At an altitude of roughly 5-6 kilometers, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the overlying atmosphere is so small that heat can radiate freely to space.
Because greenhouse gas molecules radiate heat in all directions, some of it spreads downward and ultimately comes back into contact with the Earth’s surface, where it is absorbed. The temperature of the surface becomes warmer than it would be if it were heated only by direct solar heating. This supplemental heating of the Earth’s surface by the atmosphere is the natural greenhouse effect.”

313. Ragnaar says:

This is more coherent than anything I’ve said:
US CLIVAR Variations
You can scroll with left and right arrows. Pages 1 and 2 seem similar to the Jones and Ricketts contention. It is mentioned that the oceans balance things. One way of reading that is the oceans will not match the change in the GMST, but continue to absorb for about a thousand years. The alternate TOA. So the equilbrium will be reached without the oceans halting joules accumulation.
Something about T to the 4th power and Stefan-Boltzmann. How does that work in my upside down world of oceans?

314. Are you trying to pull me/our chain? There’s no Wien Law in that article, and it concerns a speculative involvement of the deep oceans in Carbon storage. Presumably they also entertain temperature, although, water has to sink for some reason. It is believed deep oceans are warming slowly. And recall while oceans take up 90+% of excess heat, they only take up like 30%-40% of excess CO2. Moreover, the amazing thermal capacity of water suggests that there’s no need to invoke the deep ocean as a heat reservoir: Upper ocean is quite sufficient to hold a lot.

I’ve never seen any convincing argument that the oceans are somehow limited or being limtied — perhaps by rate of heat transport across surface — in their ability to take up heat. There is empirical evidence that their rate of takeup of CO2 is diminishing, simply because they can only deal with so much CO2 per unit time, even if eventually, given a break, they’ll catch up. This includes photosynthetic effects from plankton, alhough the mechanism why CO2 takeup is slowing is not well understood, as far as I know.

315. John Hartz challenged Jeff Harvey earlier to produce papers and links regarding effects of high CO2 concentration + impacts of climate system on biosphere. I’m no biologist, but I am a statistician with a keen interest in quantitative and statistical ecology, and I learn a lot from that field. (For my work at Akamai, by the way.)

I’ve found Revelle and Munk from 1977 to be entirely adequate to the discussion. There is also a nice paper by Hunter from 2007.

316. John Hartz says:

hypergeometric: Correction. I politely asked Jeff Harvey a question. I did not “challenge him”.

317. @John Hartz,
Apologies. Hope the references help.

If I overreacted, it’s because People don’t realize that some of the strongest signals of the reality of climate disruption is what is seen in the biosphere, from changes in ranges of fish and birds, to plants and fungi, and dislocations and harm because certain birds have, for centuries and perhaps longer, been able to rely upon fish being in a place from which their young can be fed, and those fish are no longer there. And there are creatures like the poor Pika. But, no, people want to see temperatures, and they want to see reductions in GDP or reductions in jobs.

I’m not assigning these motives or desires to you, but, frankly, I’m disgusted with this anthropocentricism. I probably have been most of my life. Sorry, again.

318. Ragnaar says:

“The atmosphere does not have very much heat capacity but is very important as the most volatile component of the climate system in moving heat and energy around, with wind speeds in the jet stream often exceeding 50 m s−1.” – Trenberth

I think a number of climate scientists agree with him. So we need to keep giving it joules and it all works out.

He has also mentioned step changes like Jones & Ricketts. Of course we know Tisdale. He of the horizontal lines during a warming climate. Mercy, mercy.

While “Clouds, aerosols, water vapor, and ozone directly absorb 23 percent of incoming solar energy…” the clouds and water vapor probably re-emit that before too long.

That the atmosphere doesn’t store joules very well is not a problem. Pre-industrial, it cooled the surface by letting IR reach the TOA. I don’t think it’s necessary for insulation to have a high heat capacity. It needs to slow heat down. Insulation reacts to a source. It has more joules in it with more source production. If you increase the amount of insulation, the parts near the source should be warmer. With the insulation in a Northern home, the part at the bottom is almost the temperature in the home and the part on the top, is almost at the air temperature of the unobstructed airspace above. Without the surface sources the atmosphere would be much colder, but yes intercepting some SW.

Sinking warm water would be nice. I think IR goes in all direction in water. If we warm the top 10 meters, some of that should emit downwards. The other choice is for the below 10 meters water to not change as a reaction no matter what goes on above it.

The paper is a bit provocative. I think Ghil was referenced. I haven’t seen critiques of it yet, though spent a few minutes looking for them. This was good: “A diagnostic model may identify a trend without necessarily indicating a gradual process.” A trend can be an artificial construct.

319. The best way to get long wave energy to TOS is to keep more CO2 out of atmosphere.
The oceans do not mix well, and are heavily stratified, both by temperature, and also by salinity. This is the first principle of physical oceanography.

320. I do not question that there can be step changes in phenomena. What I question is, firstly, that these are anything more than a particular representation or style of indicating change, and, secondly, that the techniques which J&R offer are useful. The representation offered by Friedman is entirely equivalent and has a far better grounding in statistical reality. See JH Friedman. Multivariate adaptive regression splines. The Annals of Statistics, 19(1):1–67, 1991.

321. Joshua says:

Anders –

Following the model of the leaders in my country, I just wanted to thank you for the blessing, the honor, and the privilege of being able to read your comments and to post comments on your blog.

322. Joshua,
Is this where I’m meant to nod and smile knowingly?

323. Did you see this?

In all the pointed responses to Lukewarmerism, here and elsewhere, one occasionally sees it acknowledged that “catastrophic” is a judgment. One seldom, by comparison, sees ‘catastrophic AGW’ defined explicitly with reference to people who experience the, let’s say more dramatic consequences of AGW personally.

I would like every soi-disant Lukewarmer to stand in front of the families of the tens of thousands of people annually whose lives are cut short by it, and announce to them that AGW neither is nor will be catastrophic.

And no: it doesn’t matter whether 40,000 thousand deaths, or only one, can be attributed with confidence to AGW. The epigram “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” is often attributed to Joe Stalin at his most fearsome. For Lukewarmers, though, even a single death isn’t necessarily a tragedy.

325. John Hartz says:

hypergeometric: Thanks for the apology and the references. If you look upstream, you will see that I was the first commenter to flag the biosphere. Whether or not Jeff Harvey’s post was in response to my post is unkown.

326. John Hartz says:

Speaking of the biosphere and hot off the press is…

Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

The net result is that these former carbon sinks, which have taken greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, are now net carbon sources, instead accelerating the planet’s warming.

The findings are described this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in a paper by MIT Professor Charles Harvey, research scientist Alexander Cobb, and seven others at MIT and other institutions.

“There is a tremendous amount of peatland in Southeast Asia, but almost all of it has been deforested,” says Harvey, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and has been doing research on that region for several years. Once deforested and drained, the peatland dries out, and the organic (carbon-containing) soil oxidizes and returns to the atmosphere. Sometimes the exposed peat can actually catch fire and burn for extended periods, causing massive clouds of air pollution.

Peatlands, already dwindling, could face further losses by David Chandler, MIT News, June 12, 2017

327. John Hartz says:

In conjuction with my prior post, does anyone happen to know whether or not the loss of peatlands is accounted for as a driver in GCMs?

PS – The url for the MIT article cited in my prior post is:

328. John,
As I understand it, that is not included in GCMs – at least, not explicitly. Technically, GCMs have concentration/forcing pathways as input. You can then associate these concentration/forcing pathways with emission pathways. I think that one could then incorporate emissions from peatlands into the emission pathway.

329. John Hartz says:

Mal Adapted: Well said. From where I sit, Lukewarmers are nothing more than selective climate science deniers.

330. It’s interesting, too, that menu choices other than beef can have sizeable CO 2 repercussions, not for peat but mangroves. See http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fee.1482/abstract

331. verytallguy says:

John,

I think you’re describing an earth systems model, which in principle should include that kind of feedback

https://www.climateurope.eu/earth-system-modeling-a-definition/

332. John Hartz says:

VTG: Thanks for the link. Very informative indeed.

Me, previously:

it doesn’t matter whether 40,000 thousand deaths, or only one, is attributable with confidence to AGW.

Hmm, it probably does matter that the DARA report actually attributed not ‘40,000 thousand’ but “only” 40,000 deaths annually to AGW.

I’m glad I’ve got me around to keep me humble 8^}.

334. Since the discussion is about people espousing views unsubstantiated by evidence, there’s a less comfortable category which I have dubbed liberal climate deniers, for lack of a better term. They are actually people who have faith in the triumph of hope over evidence (paraphrasing statistician Howard Wainer). They are entirely at one with climate disruption, they understand the severity and human origins, they tend to be relatively wealthy and liberal, and they seek semi-magical fixes for the problem, whether from Allan Savory, or, more recently, Paul Hawken with his Drawdown (reviewed in Science by Faye Duchin). I can’t yet comment on Hawken, as I’m still reading it (but promise a review by 1st October 2017). There are two aspects to the psychology hear.

First, I think people are genuinely overcome by the seemingly impossible task of climate mitigation, and, so, they want some kind of answer. Unfortunately, as a recent article in Nature Climate Change suggests such views “… may crowd out public support for government action by creating the perception of sufficient progress.”

Second, it’s possible that people who recognize the serious mess we are in for what it is, yet will clutch at anything to avoid changing their personal lifestyles, whether it is continuing to buy and build bigger houses or homes, or flying here and there without at least offsets, as Professor Kevin Anderson has loudly criticized.

What’s remarkable to me is how selective these people are, failing to embrace the plan of Mark Jacobson of Stanford or heeding the warnings of Susan Solomon and colleagues and David Archer and coauthors.

I think denial comes in layers. Maybe it’s just the five stages of climate grief?

[Mod: I assume you had another blockquote error in your previous comment, so fixed it – I think.]

Thanks, that is what I meant, and let’s hope I didn’t screw up this one.

One hopes to gain humility without humiliating oneself. One gives thanks for indulgent blog moderators 8^}.

it’s possible that people who recognize the serious mess we are in for what it is, yet will clutch at anything to avoid changing their personal lifestyles

Heh. Others of us just advocate for Carbon Fee and Dividend without changing our personal lifestyles to the extent compatible with our personal survival.

[Fixed. – Willard]

337. Sorry, “CF&D”?

338. Ron Graf says:

ATTP: If we know there was a period in the past when the continents were in a similar configuration to today and the atmospheric CO2 was ~ 400 ppm, then we can use information from that period to infer what might happen now if atmospheric CO2 concentrations remain at ~ 400ppm.

Anders, there is one variable you are neglecting: topography. The Pliocene saw the broken Pangea continents coming back to collide. The Quaternary Ice Age may have been brought on by a combination of factors, including uplift that caused more white-tops in the increasing elevations, leading to higher albedo. Of course, I agree that rock weathering could have raised the PH of the oceans, to help draw down CO2 along with the cold shifted (increased) solubility. Lower sea levels during glaciations surely are a positive feedback to the white-top elevation-albedo effect. I don’t know if Hansen and Sato figure that in.

339. BBD says:

Ron G

Dealt with – see follow-on comment re: Lundt et al. (2012).

Perhaps move on now.

340. Ron,
I don’t think I’m really ignoring anything; I’m pointing out that – all else being equal – a 400ppm world in the past, should have a similar climate to today; or, maybe more correctly, we can use past climates to try and understand our current climate and how it will respond to changes.

Of course, there could be differences (Sun, distribution of land mass, …) that may mean it won’t be the same, but many studies account for this. I’m also slightly confused by both your and Clive’s arguments, because they seem to then go on to discuss drawing down CO2. Okay, but that CO2 would have been drawn down doesn’t suddenly mean that we can’t use a past era when atmospheric CO2 was 400ppm to say something about what it would be like today.

341. Ron Graf says:

Ander: I’m also slightly confused by both your and Clive’s arguments, because they seem to then go on to discuss drawing down CO2. Okay, but that CO2 would have been drawn down doesn’t suddenly mean that we can’t use a past era when atmospheric CO2 was 400ppm to say something about what it would be like today.

I didn’t find Clive’s comments confusing. He pointed out that all else was not equal, as did I. If one respects science then one must respect the error bars of the variables that we know have effects. We did not even mention having respect for yet unrecognized variables.

[Snip. But CAGW. – Willard]

342. Ron Graf says:

Anders posts: Is there a realistic scenario under which we can continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere without producing impacts that are severely damaging?

Yes. Given that the symptoms of CO2 caused warming are on the order 0.1C – 0.2C per decade there is plenty of time for engineering and mitigation. Global warming is but one of many risks to humanity over the next 100 years. The best way to pilot humanity is to be economically and culturally strong generally. I have a half dozen geoengineering ideas for climate and SLR, so I worry little what there will be available in 50 years. OTOH, I have very few ideas for the other dangers that must be prepared for, including: economic collapse, totalitarianism, terrorism, famine, pandemic, uncontrolled artificial intelligence, EMP attack or coronal mass ejection (the natural equivalent,) nuclear exchange or the natural equivalents: asteroid strike, super volcano. (The newest studies on the PETM point to an asteroid strike as its cause.)

Global catastrophic initiation of glacial cycle is a real threat. Carl Sagan was the first to sound that alarm by coining the term “nuclear winter” as an enhanced destructive result from a moderate nuclear exchange. The “Day after Tomorrow” highlights the same threat should there be a cessation of the AMOC. So, having a little CO2 cushion, whatever degree of warming it provides, may be a savior just as its fertilization effects may have been to stave off 50-years ago predicted global famine by this point.

343. russellseitz says:

John Hartz

Biofuel demand is a driver in tropical peatland dessication. It justifies transmigration of settlers from densely populated areas of SE Asia & Indonesia to humid tropical forests with palm oil plantation potential

344. russellseitz says:

hypergeometric says:
June 13, 2017 at 3:59 am
The best way to get long wave energy to TOS is to keep more CO2 out of atmosphere.
The oceans do not mix well, and are heavily stratified, both by temperature, and also by salinity. This is the first principle of physical oceanography.

I beg to differ- as far as radiative forcing goes the first principle is that the hydrosphere is as dark as asphalt and covers most of the planet ,making its low albedo when the sun is high a primary determinant of global thermal equilibrium.

Ron Graf: “If one respects science then one must respect the error bars of the variables that we know have effects.”

If one respects the personal sovereignty of the individuals who experience the worst impacts of AGW directly, one must allow them to define ‘catastrophic’ from their own points of view.

346. Exhibit I: Wild, et al, “The energy balance over land and oceans …”, Climate Dynamics, June 2015, 44(11), 3393–3429, from the Abstract, “The energy budgets over land and oceans are still afflicted with considerable uncertainties, despite their key importance for terrestrial and maritime climates. We evaluate these budgets as represented in 43 CMIP5 climate models with direct observations from both surface and space and identify substantial biases, particularly in the surface fluxes of downward solar and thermal radiation … Over land, where most direct observations are available to constrain the surface fluxes, we obtain 184 and 306 W/m^2 for solar and thermal downward radiation, respectively. Over oceans, with weaker observational constraints, corresponding estimates are around 185 and 356 W/m^2. Considering additionally surface albedo and emissivity, we infer a surface absorbed solar and net thermal radiation of 136 and −66 W/m^2 over land, and 170 and −53 W/m^2 over oceans, respectively. The surface net radiation is thus estimated at 70 W/m^2 over land and 117 W/m^2 over oceans, which may impose additional constraints on the poorly known sensible/latent heat flux magnitudes, estimated here near 32/38 W/m^2 over land, and 16/100 W/m^2 over oceans. Estimated uncertainties are on the order of 10 and 5 W/m^2 for most surface and TOA fluxes, respectively. ”

Exhibit II: Per my comment above, quoting again, and noting that it must be a more proportionate balance than the suggestion, otherwise the numbers wouldn’t be what they are: “Clouds, aerosols, water vapor, and ozone directly absorb 23 percent of incoming solar energy. Evaporation and convection transfer 25 and 5 percent of incoming solar energy from the surface to the atmosphere. These three processes transfer the equivalent of 53 percent of the incoming solar energy to the atmosphere.” The original reference, again, is NASA E.O.

Exhibit III: From Professor Krueger’s Boundary Layer Meteorology, 2015:

347. Sorry. That post was in response to russellseitz above. I thought the commenting system would get it right, but it did not.

348. John Hartz says:

russellseitz: Where is palm oil being used as a biofuel?

349. JCH says:

Hypergeometric, look at atmosphere:

A significant component of the ocean accumulation is 2000 to 4000 meters, and 4000 and below. I can’t figure out what Ragnaar is getting at, but it seems to be that he believes joules migrating down into those layer alleviate surface warming. To me, joules going into the ocean depths probably have little to no effect on surface warming. They’re most likely in there for 100s to 1000s of years. Some will come up with upwelling, and upwelled water will become progressively warmer.

350. @JCH, I wholeheartedly agree deep ocean warming, while present and, in the long term, important, is so slow that it is irrelevant for the near term. There is also the circulation time constant in deep water, which is on the order of thousands of years. So, for instance, if there was an increment uptick in warming, it couldn’t get communicated using that channel except on the order of that time constant. This is the same issue as, for instance, isostatic rebound from post-Wisconsin glaciation or any other isostatic rebound event, including unloading of the Greenland ice sheet. It’s a factor, but it cannot be fast. (Gravitational adjustments due to loss of mass, on the other hand, are immediate.) I agree that what matters, essentially is 2000 meter and shallower. That’s plenty. There’s plenty of heat capacity in them thar waters!

351. John Hartz says:

New research findings on the role of the oceans…

The world’s oceans are like brakes slowing down the full effects of greenhouse gas warming of the atmosphere. Over the last ten years, one-fourth of human-emissions of carbon dioxide as well as 90 percent of additional warming due to the greenhouse effect have been absorbed by the oceans. Acting like a massive sponge, the oceans pull from the atmosphere heat, carbon dioxide and other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons, oxygen and nitrogen and store them in their depths for decades to centuries and millennia.

A new study is one the first to estimate how much and how quickly the ocean absorbs atmospheric gases and contrast it with the efficiency of heat absorption. Using two computer models that simulate the ocean, scientists found that gases are more easily absorbed over time than heat energy. In addition, they found that in scenarios where the ocean current slows down due to the addition of heat, the ocean absorbs less of both atmospheric gases and heat, though its ability to absorb heat is more greatly reduced. The study was published last week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

“As the ocean slows down, it will keep uptaking gases like carbon dioxide more efficiently, much more than it will keep uptaking heat,” said Anastasia Romanou, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Columbia University in New York City and lead author of the new study. “It will have a different behavior for chemistry than it has for temperature.”

NASA-MIT Study Evaluates Efficiency of Oceans as Heat Sink, Atmospheric Gases Sponge by Ellen Gray, NASA’s Goddard Instittue for Space Studies, June 9, 2017

352. JCH says:

Distinct global warming rates tied to multiple ocean surface temperature changes

These graphs are pretty close to the Jone’s graph:

353. JCH says:

“Most of the excess heat from climate change will go into the ocean eventually, we think,” Romanou said. “Most of the excess chemical pollutants and greenhouse gases will be buried in the ocean. But the truth is that the ocean recirculates that extra load and, at some point, will release some of it back to the atmosphere, where it will keep raising temperatures, even if future carbon dioxide emissions were to be much lower than they are now.” …

I can just hear President Trump claim MIT says the oceans will eat all the manmade global warming.

354. Ron,

Given that the symptoms of CO2 caused warming are on the order 0.1C – 0.2C per decade there is plenty of time for engineering and mitigation.

Firstly, this is not necessarily how fast we will warm in future. We have the potential to emit as much in the next 50 years as we’ve emitted in the last 150 years. So, we could warm much faster in the future than we have in the past. Also, many tipping points are thought to have the potential to kick in at 3-4C, so if we want to give ourselves a good chance to avoid these, then we need to limit how much we emit. This is going to require getting emissions to zero, which will take time. Hence, it is still my view that there are few scenarios where it would be sensible to continue pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Of course, you can take a chance that everything will be fine, but that’s what the term luckwarmer is intended to illustrate.

Global catastrophic initiation of glacial cycle is a real threat.

It’s probably been delayed by about 50000 years. How much more should we delay it? We should carry on pumping CO2 into the atmosphere (which may negatively impact our ourselves and our immediate descendants) in order to help those who will be born in 50000 years? My understanding is also that the Day After Tomorrow was not particularly realistic.

355. Ron,

I didn’t find Clive’s comments confusing. He pointed out that all else was not equal, as did I.

And BBD pointed out that this had already been taken into account. Why is this confusing?

356. I’ve got slightly confused about the whole Pliocene issue. The original claim was simply that the last time CO2 was 400ppm, it was 2-3C warmer than “now”. Below is the table from Lunt (2011). What this seems to show is 2-3C warmer than pre-industrial, even if you account for orography, so maybe 1-2C warmer than “now”.

357. David B. Benson says:

Ron Graf — Studies of the climate during the mid-Pliocene do take changes in orography into account. The principal difference between the mid-Pliocene and now is the closure of the Panama seaway. Depending upon the study, the difference is 0.7 °C or perhaps only 0.3 °C warmer. In either case, the agreement with the proxies, actual evidence, of 2–3 °C warmer than now, is good.

So repeating the same conditions, almost, will at equilibrium give the same results, almost. By Emmy Noether’s theorems this is just the Conservation of Energy.

This of course assumes that we keep the carbon dioxide concentration at 400 ppm indefinitely. As I indicated in an earlier comment that would be quite demanding to accomplish. So likely the carbon dioxide concentration will go higher and thus so will the global temperature.

358. BBD says:

ATTP

so maybe 1-2C warmer than “now”.

That’s perhaps a bit low compared to more recent estimates. The general view now seems to be that MPWP temps were ~2.7 – 4C above pre-industrial, eg. Haywood et al. (2016):

During warm intervals of the Pliocene, atmospheric CO2 concentration is estimated to have ranged between 350 and 450 p.p.m.v. (refs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). This is in contrast to the known pre-industrial concentration of 280 p.p.m.v. On the basis of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, Pliocene surface temperatures over land and oceans were elevated with respect to the pre-industrial9,10. Climate model estimates indicate that the global annual mean surface temperature was 2.7–4.0 °C higher11. A combination of modelling studies and geological data has shown, for example, that during the mPWP the hydrological cycle was enhanced11, ice sheets were smaller12,13, sea level was higher14,15, forest cover was expanded and arid deserts contracted16.

359. David B. Benson says:

aTTP — Reference 1 of the Wikipedia page on Pliocene climate clearly states that the global temperature of the mid-Pliocene was at least 2–3 °C warmer than the late twentieth century.

See the paper for the limitations of the study. I’m not going to quibble over 1°C. I don’t think we know enough to be so precise.

360. BBD,
Thanks, so the top end of more than 2C?

David,
I agree. In fact, I’m slightly confused about what the whole issue is. It seems pretty clear that if we were to lock CO2 at 400ppm, we would continue to warm and sea levels would continue to rise. The Pliocene (a period when CO2 was about 400ppm) then seems a perfectly reasonable period to use to try and understand the change that we might experience (which may, of course, take a long time overall). We should, however, try to account for differences between that period and now, as people have done.

361. BBD says:

Thanks, so the top end of more than 2C?

So it seems. If I were a ‘sceptic’, I’d leave palaeoclimate alone.

362. David B. Benson says:

aTTP — I think you, BBD and I are in general agreement. The original issue was using the mid-Pliocene as a close analogy to what the future will bring, to counter so-called lukewarmers. This has taken some number of comments to counter objections by those who don’t know paleogeography and paleoclimate data very well.

363. BBD says:

David

aTTP — I think you, BBD and I are in general agreement.

Oh yes, sure. I was just responding to ATTP’s 6:54am. Sorry for any confusion.

* * *

The Wiki link to its ref [1] Robinson et al. (2008) is dead – a full pdf is here.

364. Clive Best says:

It is unlikely that the climate is commutative.

If a=b then b≠a so you can’t simply infer 290=400 so therefore 400=290

Photosynthesis keeps the levels of CO2 and O2 stable with Plate tectonics. Most of the CO2 absorbed by plants is soon liberated to the atmosphere when they die or are eaten by animals, while only a tiny amount of carbon is buried in sediments. Even by including this recycling effect we still find CO2 depletion of the atmosphere takes a mere 13,000 years while phosphorous depletion takes only 29,000 years.

The incredible story is that these trapped sediments are not lost from the environment for ever because plate tectonics recycles material over very long timescales today. Subduction, mountain building and sea level change continuously re-exposes the raw materials for life through weathering. Plate tectonics is essential to re-cycle the raw materials for life on earth !

CO2 re-enters the atmosphere from the mantle through out-gassing of Volcanoes and also through deep ocean vents near mid ocean ridges. CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by weathering due to the abundance of water on the earth. Such weathering does not happen for example on Venus. The ‘natural’ carbon cycle essentially controls the temperature on earth because weathering by liquid water is a temperature dependent phenomenon.

The total content of Oxygen in the atmosphere is equal to the total buried carbon in the sediments.

365. David B. Benson says:

Clive Best — Your second paragraph is complete illogic.

The rest of your post only demonstrates that you have yet to learn the rudiments of geology.

366. Clive,
I really have no idea what you’re getting at. Maybe you could explain your point more clearly? My impression is that you’re savaging a massive strawperson, but I’m not entirely sure.

367. Actually this is probably about right

The ‘natural’ carbon cycle essentially controls the temperature on earth because weathering by liquid water is a temperature dependent phenomenon.

However, if (as we’re currently doing) you push the system away from its equilibrium point, it can take > 100000 years to recover. Noone is suggesting that we won’t eventually return to atmospheric concentrations of 280ppm (or thereabouts). The point is that it will take a very long time to get there and there could be substantial changes between about now, and the time at which the system has recovered.

368. dikranmarsupial says:

The chemical breakdown of rocks by rainfall being a notoriously fast feedback! ;o)

369. Chubbs says:

The main factor making climate non-commutative are ice sheets. As ice sheets decay there is a tipping point where climate jumps to a warmer but less locally sensitive state. See the link below:

370. -1=e^iπ says:

@ ATTP – “What this seems to show is 2-3C warmer than pre-industrial, even if you account for orography, so maybe 1-2C warmer than “now”.”

You forget to include albedo changes due to ice & vegetation, which are affected by orography. Furthermore, Lundt et al. doesn’t take CH4 or N2O changes into account, which results in them overestimating climate sensitivity.

371. -1,
Not sure why you think I forgot those things?

Furthermore, Lundt et al. doesn’t take CH4 or N2O changes into account, which results in them overestimating climate sensitivity.

It might help if you were a little bit less certain.

372. Willard says:

> My understanding is also that the Day After Tomorrow was not particularly realistic.

Last time RonG came peddling stuff here, he had problems disentangling possibility, plausibility and probability. My guess is that his “real” means not impossible or not implausible.

373. David B. Benson says:

-1=, as posted above, we have proxy data for the Pliocene. So-called climate sensitivity is a derivative concept. Better to work with the actual data.

374. Clive Best says:

@ David B. Benson
Funnily enough that paragraph is based on the book ‘Oxygen’ by Professor Donald Cranfield. So why do you think there is 21% O2 in the atmosphere yet only 0.04% CO2 ?

Hint: Life has something to do with it

375. Clive,
Still not getting what point you are trying to make, or the relevance of what you’re trying to say.

376. David B. Benson says:

Clive Best — Then I will be sure to avoid a book containing such illogic.

Just so you know, I am an amateur geologist of over 50 years standing. I can discuss some aspects of geology with the professionals and hold my own.

While certainly complicated, let us do try to stick to reality. Thank you.

377. Willard says:

Why stick to reality when Clive could pull a Tol and speak in riddles?

Speaking of which, I don’t think non-commutativity implies we forego of the law of identity, Clive.

378. John Hartz says:

Here’s some grim news about how a 0.5C increase in global average temperature is likely to impact Australia…

Why 2℃ of global warming is much worse for Australia than 1.5℃ by Andrew King, Ben Henley & David Karoly, The Converstation AU, May 15, 2017

PS – I suspect that Australia has fewer “lukewarmers” per capita than does the US or Canada.

379. Clive Best says:

There are currently 3.16×10^15 kg of CO2 in the atmosphere which is equal to 72×10^15 moles. Current rate of photosynthesis ‘consume’ ~8×10^15 moles/year of CO2 giving a residence time of 9 years!

The 13,000 year residence time including decay/respiration may be out by a factor 10 but not much more. Inorganic carbon is also removed in sediments and buffered a bicarbonate in the Oceans. However if plate tectonics slows down life suffers, and if it stopped altogether life would also stop.

@ATTP The point is that CO2 levels in the past are also a function of Vulcanism, Biota, and non-CO2 forcing acting on climate. So 2 million years ago we have more vulcanism, slightly different topography and a likely connection between Atlantic and Pacific. So maybe only half of the warming was due to CO2 and half due to topography and ocean circulation. You still end up with a range of possible sensitivities.

380. Clive,

Current rate of photosynthesis ‘consume’ ~8×10^15 moles/year of CO2 giving a residence time of 9 years!

Yes, so what? This is the time an individual molecule will stay in the atmosphere, not the timescale over which a pulse of added CO2 will decay.

The point is that CO2 levels in the past are also a function of Vulcanism, Biota, and non-CO2 forcing acting on climate.

Well, it’s certainly not anthropogenic. So, indeed, the atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the past were due to various natural processes. This, however, does not somehow change the radiative properties of CO2.

So 2 million years ago we have more vulcanism, slightly different topography and a likely connection between Atlantic and Pacific. So maybe only half of the warming was due to CO2 and half due to topography and ocean circulation. You still end up with a range of possible sensitivities.

Yes, of course there’s a range. Have never said there wasn’t and, in fact, continually say that there is. People have, as pointed in these comments, done the analysis for these past eras. They’ve taken into account the various influences. Equilibrium climate sensitivity still appears to be consistent with the range presented by the IPCC, for example. So, again, what is your point, or are you simply savaging a massive strawperson (which may well be completely unintentional).

381. Clive Best says:

Here is the full LR04 stack for the last 5 million years. If you can show a one to one relationship between CO2 and temperature that follows this curve then I will believe you.
Selecting one point to derive ECS is not convincing.

382. Clive,

If you can show a one to one relationship between CO2 and temperature that follows this curve then I will believe you.

1. I really don’t know what it is you think I am trying to convince you of.

2. Noone is claiming a one-to-one relationship between CO2 and temperature (how many times does this have to be said).

3. I don’t care if you believe me, or not; especially as what I suspect you think I’m saying is not what I’m actually saying.

4. If possible, could you stop savaging this massive strawperson. I understand, though, that maybe you don’t realise that you’re doing it.

Again, why don’t you try explaining the point you’re trying to make.

383. Willard says:

> why don’t you try explaining the point you’re trying to make.

I’d settle with *stating* that point.

Otherwise the rope-a-dope will never end.

384. @Ron Graf,

“I have a half dozen geoengineering ideas for climate and SLR, so I worry little what there will be available in 50 years.”

Costing significantly less than US$0.03 per tonne CO2 to capture and sequester, with no sidestream and loss? 385. @David B Benson, “This of course assumes that we keep the carbon dioxide concentration at 400 ppm indefinitely. As I indicated in an earlier comment that would be quite demanding to accomplish. So likely the carbon dioxide concentration will go higher and thus so will the global temperature.” Especially given that we are effectively at 490 ppm now. 386. David B. Benson says: Clive Best — That is a useful graphic. Thank you. From before 3 million years ago there is little variation. We have added so much carbon dioxide that we are now in that climate regime. While there are still second order effects, basically the climate depends only upon the carbon dioxide concentration. So about 3 °C more at equilibrium. Well, if we don’t do anything, maybe 4 °C more… Check what Mark Lynas suggests. 387. BBD says: [A rope-a-dope of “what about” questions functions in a way to escape what you’re asking, BBD. – Willard] 388. van Nes, et al, 2015, Nature Climate Change, “Causal feedbacks in climate change 389. I’d settle with *stating* that point. Yes, simply stating it would be fine. I’ve lost track of what’s going on here. 390. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says: Clive Best is just setting up his pieces for some kind of “homeostasis gambit’… http://clivebest.com/blog/?page_id=2949 It seems likely that there are stabilising effects on climate which lead a water covered planet like Earth to self-regulate temperatures – further information here. and There have been liquid oceans on earth for at least 3 billion years. The climate is remarkably stable since during that time the sun has brightened by 30%. Whatever we do to CO2 levels the climate overall will remain stable for another billion years, and life will continue. and Oceans have a natural thermostat that keeps surface temperatures below ~ 30C. Latent heat from evaporation cools the surface shifting enormous amounts of heat up into the troposphere where it escapes to space via violent thunderstorms and convection cells. This thermostat will continue for the indefinite future despite any enhanced CO2 greenhouse effect. You guys don’t get this – because you are all “Climate Fundamentalists”. http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=7905#comment-12471 Whatever. 391. Whatever we do to CO2 levels the climate overall will remain stable for another billion years, and life will continue. Yes, this is probably roughly true, as long as you smooth it on about 100kyr timescales. You guys don’t get this – because you are all “Climate Fundamentalists”. Ahh, that would explain it. If only someone had told me this before. 392. Willard says: > If only someone had told me this before. Minus tried, or at least he tried to insinuate something like this. In other news: That’s just a bit after the “why would you think that alarmist has an editorial slant” gem. 393. John Hartz says: Perhaps Clive Best is auditioning for a spot on Trump’s science team? On the other hand, judging from the contents of this article, Trump doesn’t need any scientiific advise. After all, he’s omniscient. Trump calls mayor of shrinking Chesapeake island and tells him not to worry about it by Travis M Andrews, Morning Mix, Washington Post, June 14, 2017 394. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says: That’s just a bit after the “why would you think that alarmist has an editorial slant” gem… Next you will be telling me that “Climate Fundamentalist” is a non-neutral descriptor. Language is a martial art. After all, he’s omniscient. And, omnipotent. Especially when it comes to the rising tide of red tape that is eroding the shores of freedom! 395. Joshua says: ==> If you think term has editorial slant <== As if it isn't obvious that when the term is used, it is intentionally used with “editorial slant” Even for the climate wars, that is magnificent disingenuousness. A work of art and a thing of beauty. What is really telling us that he things that anyone wouldnt see right through his plausible deniability. Just testiment to the lack of good faith that typifies the climate wars. 396. “Whatever we do to CO2 levels the climate overall will remain stable for another billion years, and life will continue.” “Yes, this is probably roughly true, as long as you smooth it on about 100kyr timescales.” Hmmm…. what means “stable”? Temperature variability? Variability of dynamic fluctuation? If stable means less variable, then increasing CO2 means increasing global mean temperature which models, anyway, indicate more stable climate. We do have a pretty good recurrent example of what happens when half the globe warms, by a lot, and it does correlate with when people like to take vacations and be outdoors. 397. verytallguy says: life will continue. The earth will not be sterilized therefore all is well. Could this be the lukewarmer manifesto? 398. russellseitz says: Joshua , if the Climate Wars have anything to teach, it is that semantic agression corrodes the good faith of those who deploy Orwellian Newspeak on either side. 399. -1=e^iπ says: @ ATTP – “Not sure why you think I forgot those things?” The 0.7 C number you were referring to did not include albedo changes, and the study you referred to did not take CH4 or N2O into account. 400. dikranmarsupial says: Stephen McIntyre (via twitter) asks “why do you object to term “alarmist” for ppl who believe situation is “alarming”? If you think term has editorial slant, suggest other term” “mainstream”? 401. Willard says: An alternative to labeling: http://ipcc.ch/ 402. -1, Based on this I’m not convinced I should be ignoring ice and veg. 403. TE, Hmmm…. what means “stable”? I wasn’t really expecting anyone to take me all that seriously. I was simply agreeing that if you smooth over a long enough timescale, it could well look stable. That doesn’t change that there could be large variations on shorter timescales. We’re more interested in what is going to happen on ~century timescales, than on 100kyr timescales. Clive, on the other hand seems to think we should be continue delaying the next ice beyond the 50000 years we’ve probably already delayed it, and that we shouldn’t be too concerned about anthropogenic emissions because they’ll be drawn down by geological processes on a 100kyr timescale. 404. John Hartz says: More new and relevant research findings for everyone to digest… New research by Simon Fraser University professor Karen Kohfeld and University of Tasmania professor Zanna Chase, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, examines how the ocean pulled carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into the deep sea during the last ice age 125,000 to 18,000 years ago. Ever since scientists first discovered that carbon dioxide levels were low during ice ages, they have been proposing theories to understand why. Kohfeld and Chase’s research uses the fossil record to put together the first global database of ocean temperatures over the last 125,000 years. Their research compiled ocean temperature records with other studies to show how carbon dioxide took different paths into the deep sea during different periods of the ice age. “This study shows for the first time how temperatures changed across the whole ocean as the earth entered the last ice age,” says Karen Kohfeld, Associate Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. “This new understanding of ocean temperature changes hints at some important thresholds in the climate system. It’s clear that some parts of the system- such as sea-ice around Antarctica- responded rapidly when the ocean cooled. Other parts, like deep ocean circulation, changed very slowly and needed a nudge of extra cooling to push the system into a new state, a whole 30,000 years after the sea ice changed.” Team takes temperature to determine cause of Ice Age, Phys.org, June 3, 2017 405. dikranmarsupial says: forgot to answer this bit: Stephen McIntyre (via twitter) asks “why do you object to term “alarmist” for ppl who believe situation is “alarming”? Because it has connotations of exaggeration or of the alarm being unwarranted, which is an important distinction when we are discussing what action to take in response to the alarm, so it would be better if we left the word with it’s existing usage which preserves that distinction. 406. Dikran, Yes, that discussion was all rather odd. It appeared as though Steve was asking “what can I call people like you” and I’m not sure why he was really expecting any kind of answer. Call people whatever you like; if it isn’t a reasonable descriptor, that reflects more on the person doing the labelling, than the person being labelled – IMO, at least. 407. Mal Adapted says: Let’s see now. Let us define an AGW-denier as someone, regardless of motivation, who rejects the lopsided consensus of working climate scientists for any of these three propositions: 1. After ten millennia of relative stability, global climate began warming about 150 years ago, is now as warm if not warmer than it’s been in at least those 10,000 years, and the warming is not slowing. 2. The principal cause of the warming is the human-mediated large scale transfer of fossil carbon to the climatically active pool, followed in importance by human-mediated changes in land cover. 3. The higher the temperature rises, the more severe the effects on civilization and the biosphere will be by quantitative metrics. In that framework, it’s not really accurate to label a “lukewarmer” an outright AGW-denier unless the same label is applied to “CAGW alarmists”. Here’s why: Let us further define a CAGW alarmist as someone who asserts that the consensus of working climate scientists is too optimistic in some way; for example that both the lower and upper “consensus” confidence bounds for ECS are too low; or that the costs of AGW, including incommensurable dis-utilities like biodiversity loss, will be more “catastrophic” than the consensus range. A lukewarmer, by contrast, is someone who asserts that the scientific consensus for AGW is too pessimistic, often arguing specifically that the lower confidence limit for ECS is too high; or that the cost of collective intervention in the energy market to reduce fossil carbon emissions will exceed the benefits. Because neither CAGW alarmists nor lukewarmers are well-supported by science, both rely on fallacious reasoning and cultural cognition when arguing in public. IOW, alarmists and lukewarmers alike are science-deniers: in either direction, their pseudo-skepticism toward the AGW consensus arises from the Dunning-Kruger effect, i.e. the failure to recognize the disparity in competence between themselves and their preferred sources on one side, and the aggregate expertise of thousands of “hands-on” (oh come on, it’s a figure of speech) climate scientists on the other. Alert commenters may observe that the upper bound of CAGW alarmism merges with conspiracist ideation about chemtrails and HAARP, while the lower bound of lukewarmism merges with public statements by the current POTUS. 408. Regarding definition of “AGW alarmist”, note that, as was suggested way back in the Proterozoic eon of this thread, the designation ALSO depends upon an estimate of loss to be incurred, which, quite frankly has little objectivity to it. I understand it’s unavoidable to assess all this in the context of behavior of human systems, whether financial collapse or, as Hansen had to do in his projection in the 1980s (which was either very good or very lucky), an estimate of aggregate human emissions. 409. dikranmarsupial says: ” Call people whatever you like; if it isn’t a reasonable descriptor, that reflects more on the person doing the labelling, than the person being labelled – IMO, at least.” agree – “skeptics” seems not to cause offence. 410. John Hartz says: ATTP: This thread has now garnered more than 410 comments. How many does your record holder have? 411. JH, The record is – IIRC – more than 1000. 412. John Hartz says: ATTP: I suspect that this thread will not be record setter. 413. No, I suspect not. Absolutely fine with me. 414. Francis says: If I had any sense what Clive Best was actually trying to say, I could certainly help this thread go long. 😉 415. JCH says: If I had any sense what Clive Best was actually trying to say… Apparently aTTP is a climate fumblementalist. 416. Willard says: Is Clive triggered? Sad snowflake. Silly greenline tests may be a hallmark of luckwarm belligerents. 417. @JCH, “Apparently aTTP is a climate fumblementalist.” I’m not sure of the context or what, exactly, this is supposed to mean, but even if it is intended as a joke, it is undeserved and unkind, in my opinion. ATTP has done an awful lot of good for enriching the discussion between the (what can only properly be called) scientifically illiterate public and policymakers, and the proper level of Science. One of ATTP’s best, in my opinion, is the relatively recent “Why a reasonable stable climate”. Setting that aside, there’s been trench warfare in the past few years, not about any coherent issue, but against anyone who is willing to call the WUWT crowd out. ATTP has been there, and should be applauded by that. Their moderation actions are actually quite mild compared to some other blogs, Eli’s, for instance, or that of the famous Pharyngula, and certainly mine. (I am positively brutal, and I do not apologize for it. People are warned. 418. David B. Benson says: Based on the LR04 stack before the late Pliocene there was no appreciable glacial cycling. So taking that as the meaning of stable climate, we are now re-entering a time of stable climate. In a millennium or so, the time it takes to equilibriate. 419. hypergeometric, I’m not sure of the context or what, exactly, this is supposed to mean, but even if it is intended as a joke, it is undeserved and unkind, in my opinion. Thanks. For context, Clive has been copying the comments on this thread onto his blog and has decided that I’m (maybe we, actually) really a climate fundamentalists. I’m not entirely sure what this means, but I think it has to do with not immediately agreeing with him. 420. BBD says: If we warm enough and polar amplification comes to resemble that of the MPWP, then perhaps ‘equable’ rather than ‘stable’ would be more correct? 421. Francis, If I had any sense what Clive Best was actually trying to say, I could certainly help this thread go long. Indeed, I’m not really sure what Clive was trying to say. I also get the impression that I’ve made some kind of argument (which is apparently wrong) but I’m not sure what that argument is either. It’s a rather odd situation in which I don’t know what argument the other person is trying to make, nor the argument that I’ve apparently made. 422. dikranmarsupial says: ATTP did try to help Clive make his point by asking “How would you, for example, justify a 500ppm target?”* Asking questions is a good way of actively helping someone make their point because it is focusing the discussion the point where the misunderstanding/disagreement seems to lie. If Clive had a good answer to the question, it would have gone a long way to making his point. * Clive was arguing that a concentration based target was better than a temperature based one and ATTP argued that there is no real difference – with which I agree. 423. A point I would make about the concentration target, that I didn’t make, is that it is – I think – extremely difficult. Our current understanding suggests that a temperature target would require getting net emissions to zero (unless you overshoot the target and have to employ negative emissions). A concentration target would, I think, require a sudden drop in emissions, and then a controlled decline in emissions that tend towards zero, but doesn’t get there. However, I don’t really see the difference between a temperature target and a concentration target; they’ve got to be justified in some way and they would require some kind of carbon budget, or emission trajectory (you could roughly approximate a temperature target as a concentration target, and vice versa). 424. Marco says: in my view the problem with a concentration target is that you can ‘justify’ to overshoot, as long as you get back to the target before the set date. 425. dikranmarsupial says: I suspect a temperature target is more easily understood by the general public as we constantly experience temperature (at least as weather if not climate) so it means something to us in a way that the concentration of a trace gas doesn’t. 426. Marco, in my view the problem with a concentration target is that you can ‘justify’ to overshoot, as long as you get back to the target before the set date. Indeed, whereas overshooting a temperature target would then require negative emissions (assuming you don’t give up and change the target). 427. David B. Benson says: In my view, we have already seriously overshot and so a massive program of negative emissions is immediately required. But then, it seems I am a “climate fundamentalist”. 428. David, I get the impression that we all are, but I’m no longer sure. 429. Roger Jones says: The problem with a concentration target is that you get ECS ‘baked in’, so you accept a concentration and give away the risk associated with ECS. Which is extremely difficult because it’s nigh on impossible to narrow down ECS – and if you hedge that uncertainty against the various policy scenarios ranging between little action and strong action, in probabilistic terms, these uncertainties compensate for each other. I shouldn’t need to explain this but if it isn’t evident, let me know. A temperature target tied to specific impacts that has aspects of harm and dangerous climate change factored in is far preferable because the focus is on value. People’s values should be on trial, not the science. The science is a given – so what values are important? The hedging problem with upstream and downstream uncertainty is also the main reason why cost benefit analysis (CBA) cannot optimise a utilitarian solution as was argued upthread. There are other objections to the latter – one is that if loss at the tails is infinity, a mathematical solution cannot be found. Tol and Yohe wrote about this in 2003 in Climatic Change. This is one of the definitions (implicit) of dangerous climate change. You can hedge against a proportional loss of the Great Barrier Reef (or any other value that people judge too important to lose) but if you lose the whole lot, CBA is moot. And climate change is dangerous. The justification for lukewarmers is established through linear thinking. This is where you create a dichotomy between denial and catastrophe and use rhetoric to suggests there is some kind of balance in the middle. It’s crap. Whereas if you take on systemic thinking, you have to admit all the possibilities and try to build them into a decision-making framework, where you trade off the problem uncertainties with the solution uncertainties. This is wicked problem territory. In this world, there is no point being a lukewarmer because what the lukewarmer is saying “is I reject a great proportion of the system uncertainty in order to sustain my world view”. If the lukewarmer is 40+, they are discounting everyone younger than they are because they refuse to countenance those younger peoples’ future in their calculations. The big selfish, I reckon, but there’s a lot of that about. The best way through this is to ask local communities “How much change can you take within a given time frame?” and to look at ecosystems and ask “How much change can they take within a given time frame?” and look and economies and ask “How much change can they deliver with justice and equity within a given time frame?” The answer then does not focus on whether the science is right, but “What form of governance do we require to deal with this?” This is not beyond the purview of any well-considered world view, no matter the political ideology behind it. 430. Willard says: Here’s a project that would be perfect for Clive: https://350.org When does he join? 431. Roger, The problem with a concentration target is that you get ECS ‘baked in’, so you accept a concentration and give away the risk associated with ECS. Indeed, if we reach and maintain a concentration target, then warming will continue for a long time afterwards. 432. -1=e^iπ says: @ Roger – “one is that if loss at the tails is infinity, a mathematical solution cannot be found.” Through people’s actions (eating potato chips, sky diving, driving above the speed limit, etc.) we can infer that people associate only finite value to their lives. Thus the utility function used in a utilitarian social welfare function should be bounded below if it’s supposed to reflect the preferences of the people. As a result, you do not have -infinity social welfare anywhere in your social welfare function. 433. @Roger, and everyone, Something I’ve mused about in connection with a Carbon Price is how best to reflect uncertainty to a market. A problem I see in market-based incentives is that markets want fixed prices so people can make decisions, and, in fact, the price of something subject to uncertain damages really ought to be a band about an expectation, not the expectation. I know that in markets with great turnover, risks themselves are priced, so one could imagine some kind of offset from a nominal expectation, but in the case of something like a Carbon price or the value of an ecological service, there’s isn’t any turnover which to consult. I’ve noticed that some retail organizations in my industry conduct in situ experiments with prices, in order to appeal to fractions of markets and buyers … There was an article in Bloomberg Businessweek where they reported the price of an item was$4.49 one hour and $8.49 a couple of hours later, and then came back. (I cannot testify these are the exact prices quoted in the article, but they are about in the range.) The same article reported that some vending machines adjust the price of a cold soda depending upon the outdoor temperature. I do not know how it would/could be implemented, but it seems to me that in connection with climate risks, this kind of fuzz about an expectation would be the direct way of expressing uncertainty. This would not stop commerce, because people could create derivatives that could be used to hedge against changes so contracts could be signed. Nevertheless, it would make tangible uncertainties regarding impacts, and estimates of impacts in a way that simply declaring a “Social Cost of Carbon is$110” cannot and in a way which is more honest than that kind of blanket statement.

434. -1 that assumes that people’s actions accurately reflect their rational values. I don’t think that is remotely the case (c.f. “Thinking, fast and slow”).

435. @dikranmarsupial, Not only isn’t it the case, but even in the cleanest of marketplaces, the trading floors of exchanges, people make money off of people who are not being perfectly rational. To the degree they continue to make a living …

436. Utility theories cannot be considered descriptive anymore, because behavioral economics. At best we could argue that they could be normative:

This article discusses expected utility theory as a normative theory—that is, a theory of how people should make decisions. In classical economics, expected utility theory is often used as a descriptive theory—that is, a theory of how people do make decisions—or as a predictive theory—that is, a theory that, while it may not accurately model the psychological mechanisms of decision-making, correctly predicts people’s choices. Expected utility theory makes faulty predictions about people’s decisions in many real-life choice situations (see Kahneman & Tversky 1982); however, this does not settle whether people should make decisions on the basis of expected utility considerations.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationality-normative-utility/

It’s far from clear that we can assign probabilities to most of our actions like buying a bag of chips. It’s even less clear that we can assign probabilities to our scientific choices, which is one of Mayo’s strongest arguments against Bayesianism. It’s even less clear that it even makes sense for collective actions like tackling AGW. Perhaps it does. I’d have to check.

(Nice review article, BTW, Hyper.)

What’s quite clear is that expected utility theories may appeal to luckwarmers because one of the assumptions of classical economics is methodological individualism:

Neoclassical theory retains its roots firmly within liberal individualist social science. The method is still unbendingly of the analytic-synthetic type: the socio-economic phenomenon under scrutiny is to be analysed by focusing on the individuals whose actions brought it about; understanding fully their workings at the individual level; and, finally, synthesising the knowledge derived at the individual level in order to understand the complex social phenomenon at hand. In short, neoclassical theory follows the watchmaker’s method who, faced with a strange watch, studies its function by focusing on understanding, initially, the function of each of its cogs and wheels. To the neoclassical economist, the latter are the individual agents who are to be studied, like the watchmaker cogs and wheels, independently of the social whole their actions help bring about.

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue38/ArnspergerVaroufakis38.htm

No wonder then that luckwarmism correlates well with libertarian claptraps.

> It wasn’t that.

Thank you for knowing the reasons why I moderated your comments, Clive.

“What about questions” are often boring because it doesn’t:

– make explicit what you wish to claim;

– establish its relevance to the discussion;

– [justify why you burden your interlocutor with a string of tasks];

– counter anything said so far.

In other words, dear Clive, rope-a-doping from “what about X” and “what about Y” and “what about Z” impose[s] on otters commitments you don’t yourself make.

Worse side-effects of “what about” peddling include reversing the burden of proof, moving the goalposts, and burning down a strawman.

And that’s besides being barely irrelevant to the main topic of the thread, which was about luckwarming, which you don’t even endorse completely.

***

As far as I am concerned, your accusation that your argument has been deleted has little merit, for the simple reason that you haven’t made any. Arguments are claims

http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=7905#comment-12487

438. -1=e^iπ says:

“-1 that assumes that people’s actions accurately reflect their rational values.”

No. People are often not rational, do not know their own preferences, or have inconsistent preferences.

However, decisions have to be made. And to make the best decision, you need a way to rank outcomes to determine the best feasible outcome. Expected social welfare maximization gives us a way to rank outcomes to determine the optimal path forward. And to have a social welfare function, you need a utility function.

Now you could just unilaterally decide on a utility function based on your own preferences and try to impose it on everyone else; but I suspect that approach won’t garner much support from the public since they would have to support something that goes against their own preferences. Alternatively, you could look at human behaviour and use a utility function that reflects the observed preferences of the human population; far more likely to get support from the people if you do that.

439. -1=e^iπ says:

@willard – yes expected utility theory isn’t perfect.

Do you have an alternative that can be used in practice to rank decisions regarding the issue of climate change? Yes there are alternatives to EUT such as prospect theory, but good luck putting them in practice.

Really, give me an approach that is better than expected social welfare maximization for determining the optimal emission pathway.

440. dikranmarsupial says:

-1 “However, decisions have to be made.”

yes, indeed, but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on an analysis on a measure that you know to be biased (no guarantee that the bias is constant or monotonic and preserves ranking). A more sensible approach would be to view it as some sort of lower bound estimate. The “all models are wrong, but some are useful” applies here, Bayesian decision theory gives you the optimal decision, but only according to the way you have set up the problem, and if that is biased or uncertain, then the results of the analysis are likely to be biased and uncertain. I suspect/hope applying some human common sense is applied, rather than unquestioningly opt for “mathematical rigour”.

441. dikranmarsupial says:

-1 “Do you have an alternative that can be used in practice to rank decisions regarding the issue of climate change? “

The knowledge of committees of experts being used to moderate/interpret the results of the cost-benefit analysis. Objective approaches don’t always give the best results, especially if they don’t incorporate everything you know that is relevant (e.g. people not being rational).

442. -1=e^iπ says:

” but that doesn’t mean you have to rely on an analysis on a measure that you know to be biased”

You should go with the best method and information you have available, even if they are imperfect.

443. You should go with the best method and information you have available, even if they are imperfect.

By this logic, we wouldn’t need politicians, or even democracy. We could make every decision on the basis of some kind of cost benefit analysis. Clearly, we don’t do this.

444. Willard says:

> Do you have an alternative that can be used in practice to rank decisions regarding the issue of climate change?

Utility theory is the alternative to what we already have, at least insofar as we are trying to decide that there is a problem and that trying to do something about it makes more sense than pouting while shouting libertarian claptraps. So it’s not like we don’t have any alternative to utility theory. In fact, do we have utility as an alternative? Here are two reasons why I doubt it.

First, applying any expected utility theory to the AGW problem seems to presume actionable decisions by specific individuals, like buying solar panels instead of investing in geothermal energy. But applying this framework to a collective setting hits a wall quite fast, simply because our mutual preferences are incompatible.

Second, there are many actions for which the evaluation emerges over time, say after feedback from your environment. Your decision D can’t depend upon an evaluation E, since E comes afterwards. Take specifying a ballpark for the social cost of carbon. The utility (defining utiles is still problematic, but let’s assume we got’ em) you evaluate only needs to be good enough to get you started. It will adjust or be adjusted as the markets react to it. So your utility function emerges from the very process it’s supposed to rationalize, and the decision to go for a carbon tax doesn’t really depend upon utility theory.

So as I see it, asking more than that from expected utility theory leads to begging questions we don’t even need to solve. We already do many things regarding AGW anyway. The more we need to do won’t need to depend upon any calculation of utility. Hence why utility theory reminds me of how managers conceived software development before the agile movement or how AI theorists envisioned intelligence before distributed agents. In both cases individualism led us astray.

445. @dikranmarsupial, @williard,

I won’t hop into the discussion about how to manage utilities, costs, risks, and all that, except to say that I think, with proper prices assigned to goods and services, including risks, the economy can do as well as anyone. I see the role there of government being sure that prices do reflect these things, and in prosecuting cheaters.

However, since Bayesian approaches and Bayesian decision theory were mentioned a couple of times since I last posted, I thought I’d clarify a couple of things.

First, the subjectivist-Mayo view of Bayesian inference is quite out of date. While I imagine someone might want to posit a conjugate prior for a particularly simple problem, most problems don’t succumb to such an approach. That held back adoption of Bayesian methods for a good while. Today, computational methods are available which get around these hurdles.

Second, few serious Bayesian calculations are done with a single prior but use, rather, a hierarchy of priors. So, for example, suppose there’s a positive real parameter in a model expressed as a Likelihood and the analyst decides to put a Gamma prior on that parameter. The old Mayo-era way was to decide on a range and a rough shape from expert knowledge. Today, the expertise is used to describe hyperpriors, one for the shape of the Gamma, and the other for the rate. If expertise wants a Gamma with a unique mode, the hyperprior of the scale ought to be 2 or greater. If there’s confidence that the range of the Gamma is small, the hyperprior on the rate will confine its value to less than 2. If it’s not, it can be broader. There is also an algebraic relationship between mean and variance of the Gamma connected with its scale and rate, and hyperpriors might be set on these values instead, and the scale and rate derived from them. Ultimately appropriate values for these hyperparameters depend upon what values are most consistent with datasets, not opinion.

Third, unless there’s only a small amount of data or priors are truly confining, generally, data speaks louder than any prior. This is why the so-called uninformed priors which were popular at one time (not now) worked at all. So, if an opinion, however expert, is at odd with what a suitably formed dataset and its Likelihood say, it will be discounted by the inference to obtain the posterior.

Fourth, expertise is principally applied to the engineering of the Likelihood function. If there’s uncertainty about it, with modern computational methods, it’s possible to introduce pseudoparameters and use continuation methods to allow the Likelihood to range among different forms, and put a hyperprior on the pseudoparameters, for instance, a Beta density. There are likelihood-free techniques available, but, unless one has a lot of computing power and exerts care, these aren’t generally recommended unless one has no other choice. (But see and this too.)

Fifth, deep looks at what’s going on with Bayesian in comparison with sophisticated Frequentist approaches to actual problems often finds little practical difference between them, apart from interpretation. The Bayesian has their hierarchical model and hyperpriors, and uses an optimizing search, such as MCMC or its efficient realizations (Hamilton, Gibbs, or variational, even Spall’s SPSA) to explore the posterior surface. The critics make fun of their ladder of hyperpriors. The sophisticated Frequentist goes after the model more directly, but resorts, typically to some non-linear optimizer to realize it. Because their problem is either noisy or non-smooth, they introduce regularizers, and the function of these is often numerically indistinguishable from those of priors and hyperpriors. The critics make fun of the dozens of switches and parameters which need to be set on the non-linear optimizer, often by trial and error, without a basis in data. Moreover, the relationship between settings of these values and the problem being solved often lacks transparency: Their are justified because the output “looks reasonable” although today the true Frequentist artist would take yet another step closer to operational Bayesianism by using cross-valiation.

Sixth, increasingly, non-parametric Bayesian methods are finding use on actual problems and datasets. These are an outgrowth of an area of work which used to be called objective Bayes, with the idea being that one can construct a sufficiently rich framework for priors and likelihoods that structural changes from problem to problem need not be made, and settings are either obtained by cross-validation, or some specially tuned Markov chain search. There are close relationships between these techniques and some in Data Science and Machine Learning, and the students of the field often publish in journals devoted to these subjects as well. See for more.

446. John Hartz says:

Are we living in a period of “lukewarming” or are we experiencing something worse?

Another month is in the global temperature record books. While May just missed setting a record, the data is another reminder that climate change is making the world hotter and pushing it into a new state.

This May was the second-warmest May on record, according to NASA data released on Thursday. The planet was 1.6°F (0.88°C) warmer than normal last month, trailing 2016 by just a 10th of a degree.

Widespread hot spots stretched from pole to pole, showing no corner of the globe is untouched by the impact of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Temperatures soared up to 13.8°F (7.1°C) above normal in parts of Antarctica while a wide swath of heat cooked northern Africa and western Europe.

May Continues a Ridiculous Warm Streak for the Planet by Brian Kahn, Climate Central, June 15, 2017

447. Marco says:

“We could make every decision on the basis of some kind of cost benefit analysis.”

In many ways we do, ATTP. But how we value things in terms of costs and benefits can differ enormously. For example, an economic policy that results in everyone getting 10% more could by some be considered much worse than an economic policy that gives everyone *on average* 15% more…with the top half getting 30% more, and the bottom half nothing extra. Others will see it exactly the opposite.

448. But how we value things in terms of costs and benefits can differ enormously.

Indeed, that’s a big issue. Some are promoting the idea that the optimal pathway is one that leads to about 3.5C of warming. Others are very unhappy about almost certainly losing the Great Barrier Reef.

449. dikranmarsupial says:

-1 “You should go with the best method and information you have available, even if they are imperfect.”

but not unquestioningly and not without analysing how the biases affect the conclusions, for instance treating the Bayesian CBA based on observed values as a lower bound.

I agree with most of what hypergeometric says (where I don’t agree it is generally because I’m not confident I know enough to have an opinion), but especially “Fourth, expertise is principally applied to the engineering of the Likelihood function.” There is so much more to statistics than least-squares, but this is often difficult to communicate to working scientists.

450. dikranmarsupial says:

BTW I recently updates an old non-parametric Bayes with heirarchical priors for predicting Arctic September mean sea ice extent for the SIPN sea ice outlook ecercise. By learning the hyperparameters from the data (via maximising the marginal likelihood, which isn’t really fully Bayesian), the model goes from being constant, to linear and then non-linear as more data is added.

(hopefully the animated GIF will be animated, but maybe not)

451. David B. Benson says:

I stop in here for a breath of fresh air.

452. @dikranmarsupial,

Interesting. Do you have the code available in Github or some place? Which NP Bayes did you use?

Your approach is empirical Bayes which has some following, explained with seriousness by Professor Brad Efron. Some people have found it gives thinner uncertainties than a full Bayesian approach. That could be true, or it could be that their sea level data represents a mix of two or more processes, and whereas the full Bayes is going after the mix overall, the empirical is going after the dominant one. After all, in the case cited, Piecuch, et al are only using an AR(1) for SLR data. On the other hand, it could be that empirical Bayes is overfitting. This could be repaired with cross-validation. To their credit, at least they recognized the value of contrasting with an empirical Bayesian approach, which is a good deal more than some do. For another approach, see Hay, et al which is similar to something I did (unpublished, unrefereed):

Nevertheless, using hierarchical Bayesian approaches for finding latent components, as you apparently did, and source separation can be fun. Here’s a movie capturing the progress of an MCMC (Markov Chain Monte Carlo, here via Gibbs) finding the contributing constituents to a week long pattern of hits against a group of Web sites, and the chain’s jostling around the posterior mode once it finds it:

[video src="http://pubclimate.ch.mm.st/mcmcMovie005_from_start.mp4" /]

(That’s an MP4)

And here’s a SWF. The movies loop:

http://pubclimate.ch.mm.st/mcmcMovie005_from_start.swf

The green dots are the data.

The code which generated this is available at:

http://pubclimate.ch.mm.st/GaussMix_from_start_sketch.R

and is written in R for the most part, and JAGS (whichever version was available in 2014 … Can’t say the code it upwards compatible.) And it uses the small snippet following:
http://pubclimate.ch.mm.st/plotPost.R

I can’t make the data public, because it belongs to a customer. However, there’s enough code there to get the idea.

453. izen says:

@-“(hopefully the animated GIF will be animated, but maybe not)”

Yes it is animated with a play button.
But is embedded so difficult to steal !? (grin)

And it is the best graphic description of how the potential future can change as our knowledge of the historical contingency that will determine that future grows, it is excellent. Any hints of how to generate such plots on other climate data would be gratefully received.

Yes I know there is the caveat that it is not related to a physical reality, only a mathematical distribution. However that distribution is a fair version of the potential future of most physical systems that are unperturbed by major external events. (asteroid strike?). It may not be accurate or epistemologicaly justified. But it is still a strong visual communication of how our risk analysis of the future should be best guided by the accumulation of past knowledge.

454. russellseitz says:

Hypergometric’s :
Your own cite quote confirms what I wrote about the oceans soaking up more solar heat than the continents :

” Considering additionally surface albedo and emissivity, we infer a surface absorbed solar and net thermal radiation of 136 and −66 W/m^2 over land, and 170 and −53 W/m^2 over oceans, respectively. The surface net radiation is thus estimated at 70 W/m^2 over land and 117 W/m^2 over oceans, which may impose additional constraints on the poorly known sensible/latent heat flux magnitudes, estimated here near 32/38 W/m^2 over land, and 16/100 W/m^2 over oceans. Estimated uncertainties are on the order of 10 and 5 W/m^2 for most surface and TOA fluxes, respectively. ”

John Hartz:

Just as American corn finds its way into automotive fuel, and rapeseed oil runs a lot of European tractor diesels, palm oil ends up in the mix in the tanks of generators and marine engines all the way from the Straits of Macassar to East Timor, wherever and whever it can be bought for less raw from the growers than the price of imported diesel.

455. @russellseitz,

I never doubted oceans take up more heat than land. I doubted the mechanism proposed, which was albedo. Exhibit I was background. The difference between the two on the thermal end is only 13 W/m^2. The 100 W/m^2 latent heat flux over oceans is interesting.

@jch Regarding this, there is no need to expect deep ocean heating, although it’s likely to occur. Deep ocean, as I said, doesn’t mix well.

456. Ragnaar says:

Roger Jones:

“The justification for lukewarmers is established through linear thinking. This is where you create a dichotomy between denial and catastrophe and use rhetoric to suggests there is some kind of balance in the middle.”

We might say the same thing about Democrats, Republicans and moderates.

Once in a great while, I worry about asteroids colliding with Earth. I’d be in favor of throwing some money at amateur astronomers that provide us with discoveries of unknown asteroids. Also at the continued development of a heavy lift vehicle to give some expansion of our reach outward which could increase our collision intervention options. I favor a moderate amount of Federal spending.

“…I reject a great proportion of the system uncertainty in order to sustain my world view…”

There is system uncertainty. In light of that, some lukewarmers advocate action. Lomberg wants a climate change navy squirting water. I want 10 boats built and some cool experiments done in the ENSO region and off the coast of California. I favor carbon soil restoration. Pumped hydro storage to deal with the non-dispatchable problem. A 5 cent increase in the Federal gasoline tax. Long term zoning changes for coastal cities, though I think that’s a regional problem best addressed at the local level.

I grant that some have taken the lukewarmer label in order to try and win the debate.

457. Jeff Harvey says:

“I grant that some have taken the lukewarmer label in order to try and win the debate.”

What debate are you referring to? The AGW debate is over. Science has won out and the evidence overwhelmingly proves that humans are the major driver. The discussion – because debate is the wrong word entirely for settled science – should now be focusing on solutions to mitigate the potentially serious consequences of abusiness-as-usual approach. The only ones seriously thinking that there is a debate over the causes of GW and in downplaying its consequences are those either on the academic fringe or who lack any relevant qualifications.

458. Ragnaar says:

There is the policy debate. Science has not won out on policy.
On an annual basis, wind and solar made up 7% of total U.S. electric generation in 2016.
Electric power is about 41% of total energy production.
When we multiply the above two numbers we get about 3% of total U.S. energy production.

459. Jeff,

The AGW debate is over. Science has won out and the evidence overwhelmingly proves that humans are the major driver.

Ideed, that was essentially the point of my post. There isn’t a reasonable position that doesn’t – IMO – involve trying to find to solutions.

Ragnaar,
Not sure what your point is. That some of the solutions may be difficult to implement doesn’t mean that this isn’t the discussion we should be having.

460. @Ragnaar,

There is no need for Science “to win” the policy debate.

Almost irrespective of what governments choose to do, solar power technology is going to win on cost and availability, even if it is intermittent. No energy alternative is going to be able to compete with solar when it costs less than US$.015 per kWh. At those prices it won’t matter if it is intermittent. At < US$0.015/kWh there'll be all kinds of technology rushing in to support it. Indeed, wind, in many places, can be seen as a complement to solar. It clearly hasn’t the availability that solar does, whether by amount, or locale. Indeed, it’s a peculiar form of solar energy. Fossil fuels will be crushed.

I was once-upon-a-time in favor of government transitioning of jobs in fossil fuels to cleaner ones, and subsidizing companies to ease the transition, but given the way that utilities and fossil fuel companies have behaved, I have adopted a strict Schumpeterian “let them die” attitude. I laugh at the bankruptcy of every utility and every fossil fuel company. They deserve it.

Now, of course, it would be better this happened sooner than allowing the markets to work it out, and there’s an open question whether or not additional government incentives will help or hinder the transition. But, given the formal or actual subsidies fossil fuels presently have, e.g., not needing to pay for land for pipelines but being able to take them by eminent domain, I say there’s no subsidy for solar I do not like.

Hey, there’ll be a rust belt of rotting pipelines and abandoned explosive methane generators dotting the landscape: A testimony to our collective foolishness despite urges to the contrary by both Edison and Tesla.

461. Brian Dodge says:

People don’t engage in statistically risky behavior like eating potato chips, driving drunk, or owning guns because they place a finite value on their life, but because they deny that these risky behaviors apply to them. After all, God places an infinite value on their life, so He wouldn’t let Bad Things happen to Good People – just Unchosen Ones; Mexicans, Muslims, Africans, Arabs. Chinese Hoaxers, Papists, Wasps, Econazis, Liberals, Republicans, alt-right, etc.The list of “others” varies depending on who’s making the list, and the pejorative terms to describe them gets vile quickly.

462. Brian Dodge says:

“”Will SLR materially accelerate? I don’t know. ”

Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE; I. Velicogna; GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L19503, 2009; doi:10.1029/2009GL040222
“The best fitting estimate for the acceleration in ice sheet mass loss for the observed period is 30 ± 11 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 26 ± 14 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica. This corresponds to 0.09 ± 0.03 mm/yr2 of sea level rise from Greenland and 0.08 ± 0.04 mm/yr2 from Antarctica.”
“To verify that the improvement obtained with the quadratic model is significant we used an F-test [e.g., Berry and Feldman, 1985]. The F-test show that the improvement obtained with the quadratic fit is statistical significant at a very high confidence level.”
“We showed that a detailed analysis of the GRACE time series over the time period 2002–2009 unambiguously reveals an increase in mass loss from both ice sheets. The combined contribution of Greenland and Antarctica to global sea level rise is accelerating at a rate of 56 ± 17 Gt/yr2 during April 2002–February 2009, which corresponds to an equivalent acceleration in sea level rise of 0.17 ± 0.05 mm/yr2 during this time. This large acceleration explains a large share of the different GRACE estimates of ice sheet mass loss published in recent years. It also illustrates that the two ice sheets play an important role in the total contribution to sea level at present, and that contribution is continuously and rapidly growing.”

The opinions and arguments of persons who have remained at best woefully uninformed and perhaps willfully ignorant for the last 7 years while pretending to know what they are talking about are easily dismissed.

463. Ragnaar says:

ATTP:

“It acknowledges that any plausible path toward climate mitigation will involve a lot of nuclear energy, carbon capture and natural gas, pushing back against the delusional claims of the mainstream environmental movement that deep reductions in emissions can be accomplished with present-day wind, solar and energy-efficiency technologies alone.”

I am pro all three things: Nuclear, carbon soil restoration and natural gas. There is a bit of right leaning with that. Then we have wind and solar, and I would not have used the word ‘delusional’, and then we ask how much can we do with that? Besides the grid, we have to also move into transportation using wind and solar as well as all the home heating now done with natural gas, fuel oil and propane. I don’t imagine you’ll ever see me protesting nuclear, fracking or pipelines. But I do expect younger people to, including my son who is studying physics so is pro-nuclear but as with Sanders, generally against fracking and pipelines.

So policy sets up similar to politics. The left generally does try to lead us somewhere. They are progressive. It’s hard to lead us to where wind and solar is half of electrical generation. The right doesn’t want to be led too far away from what is reliable and cheap. The authors seem to be proposing a more centrist approach. Now can the left start throwing people out? Anti: fracking, nuclear, hydro, pipelines and power lines. Can the left help the rest of us and the planet with those? How can you lead without the above resources? The right should be able do without a number of stupid issues. It hasn’t warmed. The data is corrupt. CO2 can’t warm oceans. I don’t think the right or the middle needs them.

I think there’s been a few comments about what’s wrong with lukewarmers. Who better to try to lead the right?

464. Ragnaar says:

Brian Dodge:

I week or two ago I looked at what AR5 said about expected SLR with a time frame of around 50 years. I concluded under the two middle emission scenarios, 2.2 inches per decade is the planning number. That’s up from about 1 inch per decade. Is that material? Probably. The materiality is related to where one’s buildings are.

I think what’s a bit more important than Greenland and Antarctica is the steric SLR. We are reminded that the IPCC predicts SMB gains for Antarctica during the 21st century.

Is this for me?
“The opinions and arguments of persons who have remained at best woefully uninformed and perhaps willfully ignorant for the last 7 years while pretending to know what they are talking about are easily dismissed.”

465. izen says:

@-Ragnaar
“I week or two ago I looked at what AR5 said about expected SLR with a time frame of around 50 years.I concluded under the two middle emission scenarios, 2.2 inches per decade is the planning number.”

AR5 suggests between 1.24inch/decade and 4.1inch/decade. With the caveat that ice dynamics are not fully understood and have not been included. Estimates from Paleoclimate evidence that indicate double the upper rate have been excluded. Since AR5 it has become clear that most of the Antarctic ice shelves will go from the current temperature rise.

@-” -/- Is this for me?
“The opinions and arguments of persons who have remained at best woefully uninformed…”

If you are relying on the AR5 for up to date information on sea level rise given the advances and observations of ice dynamics and the rapid temperature rise since AR5; the cap fits.

466. @Ragnaar,

I don’t think you were referring to me specifically, but please do not characterize those who see solar dominations as “Left.” Yes, I am a solar revolutionary in the spirit of the late Hermann Scheer but we are champions of an unprecedented energy technology which invalidates the assumptions upon which the 20th century Stalinist cooperative called a public utility was founded upon. Those demand networks to sustain them, whether these are long transmission lines or lone pipelines coming from dirty mines and wells, or dirty nuclear plants.

These are all hallmarks of centralization and central planning. When control of energy is centralized, so is political power. The key point is that the individual has the right, independent of government and of their neighbors, to do anything with their personal property to provide power, as long as it isn’t egregiously dangerous. I say “egregious” because the standard is that the public utility and energy facility clearly puts some people at high risk (people living near coal tailings, say?) and that sets a low bar.

In fact, the idea of an individual, and then a village, and then a town organizing to provide their own energy needs is about as conservative a position, even as libertarian a position as one can possibly imagine. The case in Massachusetts is exemplary. There was an independently wealthy lady in Plymouth who owned many acres. She wanted to erect 3 wind turbines, entirely on her property. Some people in the town, not immediate neighbors, who did not care, and people from far away fought her proposal in court. She ended up winning, but there should be no restriction whatsoever on her being able to do what she did. Ditto solar panels on home roofs or ground-mounted.

The utility can try to do anything they like with the public utilities commission, but actions which, as in Florida, where not being connected to the grid is a violation of a public health statute or penalties imposed upon people who have solar installations but not others are nothing more than a central government doing the bidding of companies who don’t otherwise know how to compete in the marketplace,and are using their influence with government to extend their temporary existence.

467. JCH says:

Hansen on Ragnaar!

Bold mine…

A key Southern Ocean feedback is meltwater stratification effect, which reduces ventilation of ocean heat to the atmo- sphere and space. Our “pure freshwater” experiments show that the low-density lid causes deep-ocean warming, espe- cially at depths of ice shelf grounding lines that provide most of the restraining force limiting ice sheet discharge (Fig. 14 of Jenkins and Doake, 1991). West Antarctica and Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica have potential to cause rapid sea level rise, because much of their ice sits on retrograde beds (beds sloping inland), a situation that can lead to unstable grounding line retreat and ice sheet disintegration (Mercer, 1978).
Another feedback occurs via the effect of surface and atmospheric cooling on precipitation and evaporation over the Southern Ocean. CMIP5 climate simulations, which do
not include increasing freshwater injection in the Southern Ocean, find snowfall increases on Antarctica in the 21st cen- tury, thus providing a negative term to sea level change. Frieler et al. (2015) note that 35 climate models are consis- tent in showing that warming climate yields increasing snow accumulation in accord with paleo-data for warmer climates, but the paleo-data refer to slowly changing climate in quasi- equilibrium with ocean boundary conditions.
In our experi- ments with growing freshwater injection, the increasing sea ice cover and cooling of the Southern Ocean surface and at- mosphere cause the increased precipitation to occur over the Southern Ocean, rather than over Antarctica. This feedback not only reduces any increase in snowfall over Antarctica but also provides a large freshening term to the surface of the Southern Ocean, thus magnifying the direct freshening effect from increasing ice sheet melt.

468. Ragnaar says:

izen:

Table 13.5 of AR5 is what I used to figure, correction, 2.3 inches per decade ending in 2100. I used the two middle scenarios. To put rough IPCC error bars on the 2.3 inches per decade we’d have about 1.5 to 3.1 inches per decade with 66% certainty. So go to 3 inches per decade. About a 5 out of 6 shot it will be less.

“If you are relying on the AR5 for up to date information…”
We are doing our own assessments.
Here is a suggestion for discussing policy with our target audience. Let’s everyone use AR5. Let’s move together everyone. We have a planet to save.

469. Roger Jones says:

Hypergeometric,

If I get time, I’ll take it apart on 2risk, but most of what you say is spectacularly wrong. Here are some quick responses which I’m sure you’ll dismiss out of hand.

There is nothing wrong with the proposition for severe testing originally proposed by Mayo and further developed by Mayo and Spanos. The whole Bayesian thing you refer to is a complete red herring. Yes, Mayo has an antipathy to Bayesianism but severe testing could work with objective Bayesian methods applied to probative testing as much as it does frequentist approaches. Mayo and Gelman often discuss this and I don’t think they are that far apart. All the Mayo and Spanos work has been refereed. And if was fringe philosophy and/or statistics why would David Cox, David Chalmers, Alan Musgrave, Worall etc etc be involved as discussants and participants?

The MYBT is used for detection of steps, nothing more. It works. It has been used widely for homogenizing climate data. It’s use there has never been challenged. As soon as it gets used for testing climate-driven step changes all of a sudden it’s controversial. The independence problem affects all such tests including least squares trend analysis. I haven’t seen you rail against that recently.

We adopted a bunch of strategies to ensure false positives were minimised. Shuffling the data either side of a step gives exactly the same results unless there is a trend, when it will collapse. We know the historical analyses are spot on and line up with climate events diagnosed independently.
We do not use statistical hypothesis tests to determine whether something is true. We use tests set up on probative criteria. All the p value testing we do in the paper is error testing.

The CSIRO technical report was refereed.

The MYBT was originally devised and has been used as a test with a related reference and a random reference. We use it in both senses depending on what we are testing.

Apparently this is the statement that got you going “The atmosphere as a whole has little intrinsic heat memory and does not warm independently of the surface”

That isn’t a statistical statement. The temperature at the ocean surface does largely control the temperature of the atmosphere. And the ocean does let heat go – it’s a heat engine, storing heat in the western Pacific and periodically releasing it – that’s the largest such mechanism but probably not the only one. Climate is a series of steady state regimes punctuated by regime changes. It may be that the capacity of the ocean to behave in this way becomes disrupted if we pump too many ghgs into the atmosphere – we haven’t yet checked the high end runs to see what they are doing later this century. Clearly, the system switches from letting a few big pops go to bubbling like a cauldron. The function of the heat engine is to regulate the amount of work that is needed to get heat to the poles and the toa as efficiently as possible. If the climate is warming, it need to do more work, so a regime change will emplace warmer water thereby warming sea surface temperatures and the atmosphere.

If the ocean needs to cool, it will do a cold switch, probably during a La Nina, where cool water is emplaced at the surface and the warm pool will contract. It does so because the climate system can do all it needs to with less work.

470. Roger Jones says:

Oh, and about “Why don’t I write a refutation? It’s not my field. Not my job to clean up the mess in Earth System Dynamics”
Why not? Bring it on

471. JCH says:

RN Jones – it is a sort of case in point. Linear is everywhere… both sides, but nonlinear is associated with skepticism, so it gets a particularly negative reaction – a history of which is in your articles.

The only way the oceans can give up large amounts of energy is a persistent negative energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. I think the last time that happened was around 1943 to around 1952, when the PDO dropped through the floor… during the 98-02 La Nina… and some, but not all, volcanic eruptions.

472. @Roger Jones,

“Oh, and about “Why don’t I write a refutation? It’s not my field. Not my job to clean up the mess in Earth System Dynamics”
Why not? Bring it on”

… Because I have no interest whatsoever in philosophy of Science, and such an exercise wpuld entail devoting effort and time i want to spend on other more productive things.

Sure, step changes (“hinge functions”) can be used as a representational basis like many other things can, e.g. B-splines, but that does not make them any more real, simply convenient. Indeed, wonder whether or not their presence is testable in a predictive physical experiment.

As for the rest it is inevitable that staking out a strong position on methodology in public will attract public disagreement, and will “be refuted” through some argument or process. That’s not the kind of “refutation” that matters to me. For example I do not like the methodology. That some people in Machine Learning use, but clearly get good results in many settings — without entirely understanding why, by the way — and their techniques can be applied to many problems those I know can’t.

Whoever argues for the Mayo distinction is chasing, to me, an unimportant phantom, but you probably already know I think that.

473. Ragnaar says:

JCH:
I reviewed Curry’s take on Hansen et al. Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms
It should be Hansen on AR5.

474. On <a href="“The joy and martyrdom of trying to be a Bayesian”“The joy and martyrdom of trying to be a Bayesian”.

475. Related to that — and they may have linked it in someplace above — but Dikran has a nice survey of canonical hypothesis testing applied to climate, which I once highlighted, and we may have been both thinking about this horrible application of significance testing. I treated that here, rather gently I think.

476. Roger Jones says:

Ok hg, reading the last links, you have no idea what we have done because you have no interest in the philosophy of science so haven’t made the effort to understand what that means. Which writ larger means how science is carried out, or could be made more rigorous. Fine. It’s possible we might agree of the weakness of NHST, but I’m not sure.

And where you link *here* rather gently, that whole discussion is about trends. But what if the system does not produce gradual change, i.e., no physically manifest trend, but nevertheless forms a complex trend over long time periods because the direction of change is boundary-limited?

I’m interested in how the physical world behaves with this work. Climate science hasn’t cracked it because of an over-reliance on statistics (an irony, because apart from the philosophy, the J&R2017 ESD paper is mostly statistics, though it finishes on what that means for theory).

It desperately needs a unified theory, something that M. Ghil writes about a lot, and which I think is within reach, if people stopped relying on simple trend analysis for diagnosing what is a complex system.

477. dikranmarsupial says:

I wasn’t going to post until I had finished reading hypergeometric’s (very interesting) links, but one thing I would say is that statistics (especially regression) can only show you that Y can be explained by X (i.e. Y is consistent with X), but not that Y is explained by X, for that you need physics. This is a distinction that is not made clearly enough when statistics are used to model data, particularly when there is a correlation, but it is not clear there is a physical mechanism that can plausibly explain the effect size. This is in some ways akin to the misinterpretation of frequentist NHSTs.

478. dikranmarsupial says:

A point I should have mentioned is “is consistent with” is the very lowest level of agreement/support for a hypothesis. As a statistician (of sorts, machine learning is essentially a branch of computational statistics – when done right), I am much more convinced by physics than statistics.

479. @Roger Jones,

I used to be interested in philosophy of Science, Kuhn, and all that, although people should read Kuhn in Black-Body Theory and less his Revolutions, IMO. I recently re-read Black-Body ’cause it’s an interesting history.

However, I attended a seminar some time ago, and, I apologize, I don’t recall the speaker, probably an astrophysicist or astrostatistician, who stated “Modern Statistics has largely supplanted a need for a philosophy of Science.” And I got interested. (It may have been Feigelson or Babu.)

I know Ghil’s work and have used it. In fact, I believe I linked in a little thing I did using his SSA-MTM stuff some place above. But I find his views on methodology — and to some degree those of Myles Allen — less satisfying than those of George Sugihara and colleagues, especially exemplified (but not covered) by Perretti, Munch, and Sugihara from 2013 (“Model-free forecasting outperforms the correct mechanistic model for simulated and experimental data”, PNAS). This may be because I spend a lot more time these days thinking along with the authors in quantitative biology papers than in Physics, or it could be because I am necessarily and unavoidably influenced by many colleagues and their methods in Machine Learning, many of who simply laugh at epistemological concerns. After one, one or more of their authors have suggested that modern machine methods might obsolesce Statistics itself. So I need to pay attention.

Best of luck. But, sorry, I still think your interpretations are a matter of style rather than evidence of successive shocks.

480. @Dikran,

I, of course, disagree, and refer you to Sugihara, May, Ye, van Nes, et al work on causality, complex systems, and even climate.

481. hypergeometric,
Which bit of what Dikran said do you disagree with? It certainly seems reasonable to me; if you want to explain how something could cause something else, you need to use more than just statistics.

482. dikranmarsupial says:

Rats, more things to read! ;o)

I know it is possible to define causality (e.g. Grainger) in a way that it can be inferred by statistics, but that (at least for me) is not the causality that is usually considered in science, for which no amount of observations will ever really demonstrate and you need to supplement it with theory (in this case physics). I took part in a machine learning challenge on causal feature selection a couple of years ago, which convinced me that it was a very worthwhile line of research, even though it didn’t greatly improve on non-causal (or no) feature selection in the end (IIRC). I’m interested in the philosophy of science and have read a bit, but I would claim I necessarily have a great understanding of it, but am always willing to listen.

Speaking of which, I was not particularly impressed by Roger’s ad-hominem. While hypergeometric may not be interested in the philosophy of science, he appears to be very well versed in the philosophy of statistics/probability, which I suspect gives him a good basis for the current discussion. I noticed the paper under discussion, but so far have only skimmed it, so I am not going to venture a strong opinion on it at the current time.

483. Roger Jones says:

hg,
Jim Ricketts who I am working with has a bit of a history in machine learning and we have had some discussions about that. My view is that epistemological approaches are absolutely critical to all of this work, especially in complex systems. Machine learning can work within a bounded problem but not across knowledge domains, hence the epistemological boundary riding has to be done first. It’s good for bounded problems with lots of data looking for a good home.

Back to Mayo, she fits into the ‘new experimentalism’ side of PoS. I think she is somewhere in the intersection between Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Laudan, on the testing side of things. I am also working on the narrative side, where Kuhn’s sociology is useful, tempered by Laudan and building in the idea of scientific styles from Crombie, using ideas from both Hacking and Kwa. I know this is a lot of name-dropping, but if people are familiar with their work it would suggest that this is trying to combine scientific rigour with the practice of science done by a group of people with all the sociological baggage they carry.

484. Roger Jones says:

dikran,
I was riffing off this
“Because I have no interest whatsoever in philosophy of Science, and such an exercise wpuld entail devoting effort and time i want to spend on other more productive things.”
I didn’t believe so totally at the time and so it proved.

485. dikranmarsupial says:

Roger, I’m not the best judge of tone, but perhaps that was a straight answer to the question. Either way an ad-hom is not generally a positive sign in a scientific discussion. If you meant it as a joke, best to put a suitable emoticon at the end for those like me that don’t judge tone that well, so we can enjoy the joke as well.

486. Roger Jones says:

And more so (just to point something out), if hg has said upthread he thinks our work is a mess that needs to be sorted out, then further down suggests he has no interest in the philosophy of science (which frankly I don’t believe anyone who has an interest in science could possibly say) when that is a critical part of our approach, I don’t think I have ad-hommed at all.

487. Roger Jones says:

And I did appreciate hg’s response at 1:41, though I think we have to agree to disagree.

488. dikranmarsupial says:

“Machine learning can work within a bounded problem but not across knowledge domains, hence the epistemological boundary riding has to be done first.”

LOL. Machine learning is essentially computational statistics, it isn’t any more limited to bounded problems than any other branch of statistics. I remember an eminent machine learning researcher once saying the best place to find a new machine learning algorithm is in a old statistics journal. ;o)

I have an idea for a new version of this sketch

Cleese “I look down on him, because I am a statistician.”
Barker “I look up to him, because he is a statistician, but I look down on him, because he is a data-miner. I am a machine learner”
Corbett: “I know my place. …”

All good fun and games, as long as you don’t actually believe it! ;o)

489. dikranmarsupial says:

“I don’t think I have ad-hommed at all.”

It would be an ad-hom even if it were true, and not a valid argument against there being “mess that needs to be sorted out”.

490. Willard says:

Somewhat related, an old dialog between an old bunny and an old gadfly:

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-priors-bayesians-and-frequentists.html

In particular, you might like Michael Jordan’s presentation.

No, not that Michael Jordan.

491. dikranmarsupial says:

should have watched the video until the end, sadly cuts away to something else half way through, but hopefully you get the idea…

492. @ATTP,

“hypergeometric,
Which bit of what Dikran said do you disagree with? It certainly seems reasonable to me; if you want to explain how something could cause something else, you need to use more than just statistics.”

This demanded some thinking.

Well, to me, “understanding” something means having a model in your head which can be consulted in order to answer hypothetical questions about something “out there”, even if the model is hosted on meatware. This is typically a rich qualitative model, with quantitative features and rules. Experiments and data — and good ol’ book-learnin’ — are examined to establish the degree to which this internal model is consistent with either the physical world, or with the utterances and narratives of experts regarding said physical world, and, among those utterances, I’d rate equations to be most useful, in terms of descriptive power per unit read. Inconsistencies mean that either something has gone wrong with the measurement or experiment on the outside, or, more likely, something about the internal model needs changing. It’s not one way. It’s a conversation, all conducted by a suitably trained and disciplined individual, but a conversation nonetheless.

While in principle someone competent in a field should in principle be able to carry out calculations and inferences using such models on their own, there comes a point where the features and the model escape intellectual control and, so, tools are needed to keep it straight. These may be calculations or equations or derivations on paper (or whatever the model equivalent is, e.g., sympy or Mathematica), or they can be simulations or calculations. These clearly can be wrong and need to be corrected, but, to me, that’s just an extension of the same conversation. Exporting the interior model has the added advantage of helping to keep oneself honest with yourself which, in the practice of anything (per RF) is one of the hardest things to do. A correctly operating model on a computer won’t lie to you, however much you wish it would.

At some point, with enough stuff in the exported model, I’d say the model is “out there” more than it is internal, and it is essential that the model be interpretable, even if it is big enough so no one has complete mastery of how it operates. Several people may be needed to make sense of it, and, so, operating to keep it consistent with evidence and experiment and designing new experiments to test it and improve it all become a major social activity. Predictive checks and exhibiting predictive skill (e.g., Brier scores) are some of the most powerful ways of doing this, but these are not always available or useful. They, for instance, depend upon having a good means of assessing the quality of a prediction. AIC and its kin are great, but can overused, as Simon Wood points out in the new edition of his book on GAMs. Also, cross-valiation is not really available in its usual way for dependent series, although there are ways of modifying it to use, say, time segments which can work. Obviously those choices of segments need to be made with some care and without bias.

This also depends upon the field. I think some of the harshest critics of hindcasting are people in the investing field, where, while it is used to convince customers to part with their money, has also been used to propose and justify ridiculous investment ideas.

Where I leave the ML field is that some feel that, eventually, as long as there is a way of doing predictive checks which are sound, it is no longer important that the externalized model remain interpretable except at its most general levels. “It’s all in the box.” This is particularly true of systems built out of recurrent neural networks and the like. What seems to happen in practice is that to understand the why of such a system, people do experiments with it as if they were examining a physical system.

Beginning of Snarky Remark.
Of course that sounds to me like they then have two problems rather than one, but ….
End of Snarky Remark.

Still, people using RNNs have been able to achieve a lot of engineering successes which apparently cannot be done in any other way. Their approach also can be cheaper because they train these systems, they don’t program them. So, as I said, I don’t like them, but I, for one, need to pay attention to them.

As far as things like Granger causality go, the Sugihara, et al paper addresses that specifically:

However, as Granger (18) realized early on, this approach may be problematic in deterministic settings, especially in dynamic systems with weak to moderate coupling. For example, GC gives ambiguous results for the system in Fig. 1 (see GC calculations S1). This is because separability is not satisfied in such systems, which, unlike the tradition in economics and single-species fisheries management, need to be considered as a whole. That is to say, in deterministic dynamic systems (even noisy ones), if X is a cause for Y, information about X will be redundantly present in Y itself and cannot formally be removed from U — a consequence of Takens’ theorem (19, 20). To see this directly, we note simply that Eq. 1 can be rewritten as a model for Y(t + 1) in terms of Y(t) and Y(t – 1) (see box S1 for a worked example). Therefore, information about X(t) that is relevant to predicting Y is redundant in this system and cannot be removed simply by eliminating X as an explicit variable. When Granger’s definition is violated, GC calculations are no longer valid, leaving the question of detecting causation in such systems unanswered.

I grappled with Sugihara, et al‘s work, and experimented with it. (There is, for instance, an R package, ccm.) I respected his team and lab because of their work in Ecology and on climate. I finally decided for myself that what the problem was was the notion of causality itself, which, if one ponders a set of coupled differential equations, is really hard to identify. (Consider predator-prey for the case where predators have been hunted to near extinction, and the prey population collapses because of no foraging opportunities. What’s the “cause” of the lack of forage? Suppose, for some independent reason the number of predators quadruple? The prey collapses, forage increases, and predators collapse. What’s the “cause” of the collapse in predators? The increase in number of predators?) Then I found Norton, in his Causation as Folk Science. And that settledd it up for me.

I need to say if I were really interested in philosophy of Science, I’d read and understand Pearl’s “Causation in Statistics”. I started, but got bored when he talked about counterfactuals, even if Google as used them to some good. Never picked it up again.

Hope that explains.

493. @Roger Jones,

… further down suggests he has no interest in the philosophy of science (which frankly I don’t believe anyone who has an interest in science could possibly say) …

LOL! Shall Roger Jones start being called SIMPLICIO, now?

494. hypergeometric,
Thanks, I’ll have to think about your response. Maybe we mean slightly different things by understand.

aTTP:

Maybe we mean slightly different things by understand.

Heh. Sounds like this much of the science isn’t settled yet ;^).

496. Heh. Sounds like this much of the science isn’t settled yet ;^).

More seriously, I was thinking about this a bit more. By “understand” I would mean that even if you could do a statistical analysis that showed that changes in CO2 causes changes in temperature, you still wouldn’t know why. You’d have to develop/understand radiative physics to understand why changes in CO2 causes changes in temperature.

497. @ATTP,

It’s quite possible we do mean different things by “understand”. Note my graduate work was at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab under Bert Horn, Pat Winston, and the late Marvin Minsky. See Minsky’s Matter, Mind, and Models.

498. Three observations:
* Yes, you probably would need to know some Physics to be able to know what to measure. I grant you that.
* However, if you could afford to measure everything, nothing else but GHGs would be powerful enough to explain warming.
* Given the data in hand, you don’t need Physics to explain causation of warming from GHGs (Sugihara, van Nes, et al, 2015, a paper apparently not well known)

The term $U \text{xmap} V$ “quantifies the causal eﬀect of $V$ on $U$ by predicting $V_{t}$ from $n$ lagged time-series fragments of $U_{t}$ .

Note they also make reference to the Vostok ice core, and concludes something quite different than that of Mearns globally, although its not clear there is a direct conflict because of, well, the limitation to the Arctic.

499. hypergeometric,

Given the data in hand, you don’t need Physics to explain causation of warming from GHGs (Sugihara, van Nes, et al, 2015, a paper apparently not well known)

I’ve just provided a link to this paper (van Nes et al., and seems to have the figure you’ve included) in my most recent post.

However, if you could afford to measure everything, nothing else but GHGs would be powerful enough to explain warming.

Okay, I think I see what you’re saying. I think I was going one step further which was to ask why GHGs produce warming which – I think – statistic alone could not answer.

500. @ATTP,

I think I was going one step further which was to ask why GHGs produce warming which – I think – statistic alone could not answer.

You are entirely correct in my opinion. That would take … Chemistry.

501. BTW, BozogMagham and Ross (2013) gave a talk “reviewing Sugihara, et al‘s CCM” which is pretty good.

502. David B. Benson says:

At least 4 explanations for glacial cycling during the late Pliocene and the Pleistocene. Nobody speculates much on why it didn’t start earlier.

503. dikranmarsupial says:

“Where I leave the ML field is that some feel that, eventually, as long as there is a way of doing predictive checks which are sound, it is no longer important that the externalized model remain interpretable except at its most general levels.”

While ML people do use non-interpretable models, they are not compelled to, and there are those who work on interpretable models (e.g. research on causal feature selection). It is a bit like the fact that you can write obfuscated code in C but you are not forced to do so if you don’t want to. Best to have both sets of tools in the toolbox, IMHO, and use the right tools for the job at hand. I agree about the NN bit though, interesting to see their revival once more as deep learning (and seeing many of the same ideas from the 80s and 90s come round again – with a few useful additions).

Cleese: I have got asymptotic theory, but I don’t have predictive performance, so sometimes I look up to him [crouches]

;oP

504. dikranmarsupial says:

ATTP: “More seriously, I was thinking about this a bit more. By “understand” I would mean that even if you could do a statistical analysis that showed that changes in CO2 causes changes in temperature, you still wouldn’t know why. “

I agree, the “why” is an element of what allows you to assert a causal relationship (IMO). You can define causality in terms of predictive power (especially if you can predict the effects of your interventions in the system – which is why experiments are useful), but you still need the theory part.

505. I’m quoting from (philosopher) Andreas Geisler here, who responded to an announcement of my blog announcement of this thread, has his own blog, but reported difficulty posting here:

Andreas Geisler:
Coming at this from the philosophical side, I can tell you straight up that you were right and ATTP was wrong: A person can never ever have anything better than statistical (or indeed inductive) arguments for positing causation.

Causation itself is not a thing, it’s a model we posit, to explain why certain things happen in certain orders and not in others. <- i.e. trying to claim that we need other evidence than co-occurrence for claiming causation is a misunderstanding.

In total, causation amounts to correlation, with the caveat that we must have first concluded that we have accounted for any plausible confounders. An added bonus is if we can convince ourselves we know how the causation occurs (but this, if taken in total detail, is very likely circular, relying simply on other causal conclusions = hence it cannot be a requirement for positing causality).

506. dikranmarsupial says:

“A person can never ever have anything better than statistical (or indeed inductive) arguments for positing causation.”

I don’t think that is true, if it were Occam’s razor would not be useful (as properties of the model would be irrelevant). It is the combination of statistical evidence and the strength of the theory (including consilience with other problems where the theory is relevant) that allows us to go from association (correlation) to causation.

ISTR the reason the reason the Copernican view of the solar system was accepted was more to do with its conceptual elegance rather than its agreement with the observations?

507. hypergeometric,
Interesting, thanks. So, a philosopher says I’m wrong? Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure how querying something ends up being wrong, and I didn’t quite say what it appears that it’s been claimed I said (why do people have trouble reading all the words that other people use?). What I said was

if you want to explain how something could cause something else, you need to use more than just statistics.

which I still stand by. I now get – I think – what you’re suggesting; but I was more arguing that even if you can show causation, it doesn’t tell you why one thing is causing another. At the end of the day, you typically do need to collect data, have some kind of hypothesis, and do some kind of analysis, so I wasn’t arguing against the value of statistics; I was partly trying to understand what you were suggesting, and partly suggesting that statistics alone can’t tell you why something might cause something else. I don’t think this is all that controversial a point.

508. but reported difficulty posting here:

Have checked my spam and trash folders. No comments there, so not sure why there was trouble posting here.

509. @ATTP, Dikran,

I’m not taking a side, simply quoting what Andreas Geisler wrote from the Outboard World.

Regarding Dikran’s take on Occam, that’s incorporated on the Frequentist or Information Theoretic side in measures like the Akaike Information Criterion (“AIC” and its similar BIC, etc), and implicitly in derivations of Bayesian posteriors. (Gelman has shown this in some article, but I don’t have it handy at the moment.) These penalize additional complexity. It’s possible to think of violations of Occam as overfitting.

But, as I noted in the above, I agree for any particular point, y’need other things than a model at hand. Where we might disagree is that I see “scientific expertise” is being a collection of, oh, I don’t know, maybe a few hundred models in the expert’s head, and, when a Chemistry radiative model is needed, zippppppppp………, out it comes. Moving among such schemata was a big part of Artificial Intelligence theory, back in the day. Don’t know where it is now. (Minsky, Schank, Colby, et al.)

510. hypergeometric,

I’m not taking a side, simply quoting what Andreas Geisler wrote from the Outboard World.

Indeed, although I have to think about whether or not I agree with what he said. For example, could statistics alone tells us why the planets orbit the Sun – or, technically, why the bodies in the Solar System orbit the common centre of mass? I’m struggling to think of how you could determine what causes the bodies to orbit the common centre of mass without using Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation (in other words, are there observations that one could make to collect data that could be used in a statistical test that would determine causation without knowing about gravity?).

Of course, it’s possible that we’ve ended up in a situation where this is more about terminology (or our understanding of different terms), than any disagreement about what we would actually do.

511. JCH says:

I read this all the time: correlation is not causation.

512. “Correlation is not causation.”

Yeah, but as Andreas. Neatly pointed out, you can’t observe causation. You can only observe correlation, and, I would add, it’s easy to get fooled when you think you do.

513. dikranmarsupial says:

“Of course, it’s possible that we’ve ended up in a situation where this is more about terminology (or our understanding of different terms), than any disagreement about what we would actually do.”

yes, it seems that way to me. As Hume says “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

514. JCH says:

So on statistics alone, is the correlation of CO2 and warming essentially past the caveat… correlation is not causation?

515. Willard says:

> Aperson can never ever have anything better than statistical (or indeed inductive) arguments for positing causation.

Having access to a world of phenomena and non-statistical knowledge helps a bit. That would be the case even if we reject causation. Either statistical testing is sufficient, or it is not.

Appealing to the authority of a philosopher to substantiate the claim that philosophy of science is useless has some elegance.

516. izen says:

@-“Causation itself is not a thing, it’s a model we posit, to explain why certain things happen in certain orders and not in others. ”

Geissler gets this right. I am not so sure about the subsequent conclusions.

Causation is a narrative construct, a story of linear contingency.
Statistics is only ever a methodology that can be a part of that narrative.
They are different categories of knowledge.

A statistical analysis that claims to demonstrate causation is only ever a description masquerading as an explanation.

517. +JCH See post above and associated link. That’s a causal argument.

518. Bob Loblaw says:

How is a mathematical model that fits data well and is called “physics” different from a mathematical model that fits data well and is called “statistics”? No matter how well Newton’s Law of Gravity and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity describe planetary motions, I wasn’t aware that anyone really knew what causes “gravity”.

519. @Bob Loblaw,

Well, now that gravitons have been discovered, they do.

520. Willard says:

> Three observations: * Yes, you probably would need to know some Physics to be able to know what to measure. I grant you that. * However, if you could afford to measure everything, nothing else but GHGs would be powerful enough to explain warming. * Given the data in hand, you don’t need Physics to explain causation of warming from GHGs (Sugihara, van Nes, et al, 2015, a paper apparently not well known)

None of these are observations, as indicated by “probably would,” “if you could afford,” and “you don’t need.”

The last inference refers to an article whose abstract may help me make a distinction between causality and causation:

The statistical association between temperature and greenhouse gases over glacial cycles is well documented, but causality behind this correlation remains difficult to extract directly from the data. A time lag of CO2 behind Antarctic temperature—originally thought to hint at a driving role for temperature —is absent at the last deglaciation, but recently confirmed at the last ice age inception and the end of the earlier termination II (ref. 7). We show that such variable time lags are typical for complex nonlinear systems such as the climate, prohibiting straightforward use of correlation lags to infer causation. However, an insight from dynamical systems theory now allows us to circumvent the classical challenges of unravelling causation from multivariate time series. We build on this insight to demonstrate directly from ice-core data that, over glacial–interglacial timescales, climate dynamics are largely driven by internal Earth system mechanisms, including a marked positive feedback effect from temperature variability on greenhouse-gas concentrations.

Causation refers to a law-like regularity that we infer from “unravelling” our observations. That “unravelling” extracts the causality behind our correlations. Causality is thus the law-like regularity we can infer from our empirico-formal apparatus. In other words, running statistical tests helps establish a causality that hopefully models what’s happening in the world.

I’m not sure the distinction I make between “causality” and “causation” is robust. But I’m quite sure there’s a difference between running a statistical test to establish Granger causality and positing forces that moves the Sun, man, and everything in between.

As long as scientists conflate their fingers and the Moon, I’m afraid philosophers are here to stay.

And yes, Minsky was wrong about “understanding.”

521. @Willard,

So is “law-like regularity” a Chomsky grammar? a logical proposition? a logical truth statement? Please be precise. This isn’t a courtroom.

522. Willard says:

I doubt planets are moved by Chomsky grammars, Hyper.

Try this.

You know, I too had my instrumentalist period. But like Rand, most grow out of it.

Even if you’d argue that the universe is a Turing machine, you’d still have to distinguish your model from what it’s meant to specify.

523. izen says:

There is one example of statistics determined cause, although it is somewhat paradoxical.
Bell’s inequality is entirely a statistical feature that determines the nature of quantum superimposition of states.

Causation is a difficult and ambiguous concept, unless you constrain its referents severely. We seem to have abandoned Aristole’s four causes. Material, Formal, efficient and final, restricting science to a combination of efficient and final cause in the pursuit of utile explanations.

524. JCH says:

Hypergeometric tells me to read: Causal feedbacks in climate change

I’ve been working through the papers that cite your reference, which is interesting to me as I’m a nonlinear climate adherent… but right on cue, Frank announces on the other active thread that correlation is not causation.

525. JCH says:

Bold mine:

Abstract:

We use a newly developed technique that is based on the information flow concept to investigate the causal structure between the global radiative forcing and the annual global mean surface temperature anomalies (GMTA) since 1850. Our study unambiguously shows one-way causality between the total Greenhouse Gases and GMTA. Specifically, it is confirmed that the former, especially CO2, are the main causal drivers of the recent warming. A significant but smaller information flow comes from aerosol direct and indirect forcing, and on short time periods, volcanic forcings. In contrast the causality contribution from natural forcings (solar irradiance and volcanic forcing) to the long term trend is not significant. The spatial explicit analysis reveals that the anthropogenic forcing fingerprint is significantly regionally varying in both hemispheres. On paleoclimate time scales, however, the cause-effect direction is reversed: temperature changes cause subsequent CO2/CH4 changes.

Lol… This is just too funny.

526. John Hartz says:

Anthroprogenic Global Lukewarming (AGL) is real and is happening now!

For example…

Nearly one-third of the global population suffers deadly levels of heat for at least 20 days during the year, new research suggests. And by the end of the century, thanks to climate change, this number could climb above 70 percent.

Certain parts of the world, the researchers note, will be harder hit than others. Tropical regions, where temperatures are already high for much of the year, will see many more days of deadly heat than other parts of the world. Under a business-as-usual climate scenario, they may face these conditions almost year-round by 2100.

The new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, underscores the growing threat that rising temperatures pose to public health. The research focuses specifically on heat and humidity conditions known to increase the risk of human mortality — generally speaking, that’s when temperatures climb above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (the average human body temperature), but can also include cooler conditions with higher levels of humidity.

A third of the world’s people already face deadly heat waves. It could be nearly three-quarters by 2100. by Chelsea Harvey, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, June 19, 2017

Bottom-line: The physics and chemistry of the Earth’s climate system do not give a Tinker’s Damn about the descriptors that homo sapiens endlessly argue about.

527. -1=e^iπ says:
528. -1,

Not sure how you think you’ve achieved that, but I don’t really have any interest in finding out.

529. David B. Benson says:

JCH — Thank you for the link to the Stipes et al. paper. I take this as a valuable study.

530. Here’s some other perspective

I expect some climate change deniers will leap on this result and suggest we shouldn’t worry about extreme heat since the cold is a bigger killer. But this argument doesn’t hold.

On the other hand, it seems very likely that a warmer world will reduce the number of deaths due to cold. I’ve sensed some resistance to this prediction among some researchers, perhaps because they are reluctant to admit any potential benefit of climate change because of the ammunition it gives to the deniers.

Of course, the reduction in winter deaths could be wiped out by an increase in heat-related deaths. In every country studied in the Lancet paper, there was an increased risk of death during hot weather. Plus we should also consider the predicted increases in vector, food and water borne diseases, and the potentially catastrophic increase in global conflicts.

Premature deaths from both the heat and the cold are big problems that deserve our attention.

531. JCH says:

I grew up in the Dakotas… the winter death stuff just as stupid as it gets. The two states with the highest life expectancy are Hawaii and Minnesota (which is followed closely by several other states on the Canadian border like North Dakota.)

Why are Minnesota and Hawaii alike? I asked my upright bass player, who grew up in Manchuria, and he knew the answer.

532. @Willard,

“I doubt planets are moved by Chomsky grammars, Hyper.” Well, perhaps not precisely Chomsky, but possibly Wolfram. And, basically, our purpose is something, but it’s not to take care of your personal mental hygiene.

My point is that the analogy between acceptable models in Science and legal apparatus is horribly wrong, so wrong I take it to be personally offensive. (I don’t really understand my visceral reaction.) I’m no attorney, but, on the other hand, I have studied some Torah and some Talmud, and, in fact, a bit about ancient Greek and Babylonian law. And I gotta say, Galileo dispatched all that pretty well in his Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences (which I hinted about, suggesting @Roger Jones was playing a role of a natural philosopher), and you are trying to reinstate a version of Aristotle and Aquinas. Yuck.

Ultimately, law is about putting together a plausible framework to support a decision such that, basically, the howling mob doesn’t lynch the accused or the judge. And, despite our pride in our justice system and the British one, there is a lot of evidence it doesn’t work very well, not in any objective way.

533. John Hartz says:

Whether we label it AGW or AGL, there’s tough sledding ahead for homo sapiens…

“[Climate change] is interacting with two previously existing crises,” Christian Parenti, author of “Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence,” told me in an interview. “On the one hand, the legacy of neoliberal economic restructuring has weakened states in the global south so they don’t have the capacity to pave the roads, educate the population, to help farmers who are in distress. On the other hand, much of the global south is littered with cheap weapons and veterans of previous conflicts who know how to use those cheap weapons. In this comes the extreme weather of climate change. [In] states that have been systematically reduced to the point where they can’t respond even if they wanted to, how do people adapt to climate change? How do they adapt to the drought and floods? Very often, you pick up surplus weaponry. You go after your neighbor’s cattle. Or you blame it on your neighbor’s ideology or ethnicity. Underneath a lot of these ethnic and religious conflicts we see there is a climate element.”

“The great danger in climate change is that at a certain point [you will see] the collapse of natural ecosystems, the dying of tropical forests, which are currently carbon sinks—they pull CO2 out of the atmosphere,” Parenti said. “But if they die and all that wood burns or rots, they can become net emitters of greenhouse gases. There are the huge deposits of methane, frozen methane in the Arctic. These are already beginning to come out.”

“The fear is that at a certain point we cross the line and there’s a tipping point,” he said. “The primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions will become the breakdown of these natural systems, and then it really is out of our control.”

We Can’t Fight Climate Change if We Keep Lying to Ourselves by Chris Hedges, Truthdig, June 18, 2017

534. Willard says:

> you are trying to reinstate a version of Aristotle and Aquinas. Yuck.

Strawman much, Hyper? I’m no Aristotle, and you ain’t Galileo. Your new guru’s “three worlds” modulz is not far from the essentialism you abhor.

535. @JCH Is the Liang work which Stips, et al use transfer entropy stuff? Or something else?

536. @Willard,

I read plenty. I problem solve more. Your “law-like regularity” cannot hope to solve a Brachistochrone Problem, so I’m pretty comfortable where I am, Thank You Very Much.

537. Willard says:

> Bell’s inequality is entirely a statistical feature that determines the nature of quantum superimposition of states.

Indeed, the EPR paradox stretches causation beyond the limits of justified disingenuousness.

Good luck trying to convince the world that God is in fact Mr. T.

538. -1=e^iπ says:

@ John Hartz
1. Rainfall / Soil Moisture increases in many dry regions due to climate change. In particular, the Sahal region, Yemen & Somalia.

2. If you look at LGM vegetation reconstructions, it is clear that global warming increases rainforests, not decreases it. This is due to a combination of higher temperatures, increased rainfall & the CO2 fertilization effect.

3. There is no temperature ‘tipping point’ that causes runaway global warming. That’s not the mainstream scientific position, and the magnitude of the feedbacks aren’t even close to causing runaway global warming. Runaway global warming is an alarmist myth.

ECS, according to the IPCC is 1.5 C to 4.5 C. LGM-Holocene warming was 4.0 +/- 0.8 C according to Annan and Hargreaves 2013 (best estimate as far as I’m aware). If you look at past changes in CO2, CH4 and N2O and compare it with temperature changes…

Then you have feedbacks of roughly 25 ppm CO2 / C, 100 ppb CH4 / C and 20 ppb N2O / C.
Even if you take the high range of ECS, this is nowhere close to cause runaway global warming.

539. -1=e^iπ says:

@ ATTP – “perhaps because they are reluctant to admit any potential benefit of climate change”

Sounds like a lot of people in this thread…

540. Willard says:

> Your “law-like regularity” cannot hope to solve

Concepts mostly solve conceptual problems, Hyper.

So what follows is more irrelevant handwaving.

Here’s something a bit more relevant:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/laws-of-nature

In “law-like regularity” the hardest bit is “regularity”.

541. @John Hartz,

Yes, with all the dithering about mitigation solutions, even if one goes the BP and Exxon-Mobil way (see today’s Wall Street Journal), I’m reasonably confident Nature is going to offer an Opinion on the matter in the next few years, one loud enough people will sit up and take notice.

542. @Willard,

I disagree. “Regularity” isn’t hard at all. It just means the magnitude of the second derivative of some measure is bounded by a constant.

543. the winter death stuff just as stupid as it gets

Fortunately, some people actually look at the data. And yes, significantly more people die during winter and significantly fewer die during summer.

That may not be relevant to global warming, ( or your geographical reference ) but it is observed.

544. -1,

Even if you take the high range of ECS, this is nowhere close to cause runaway global warming.

Who said anything about runaway (apart from you, that is)?

Sounds like a lot of people in this thread…

You left out an important part of that sentence. Let me finish it for you because of the ammunition it gives to the deniers. And, since you may well misinterpret this, the concern is almost certainly that what they present will be misrepresented.

545. John Hartz says:

@ -1=e^iπ: Please document the sources of the graphics that you have posted above.

546. @-1,

On “runaway”. Yes, the evidence is that we are some distance away from a “runaway”. However, after equilibrium, we are not far away from +4C either. If all reserves are burnt, we are probably at +5C or +6C.

On the other hand, the continuing statement of ECS being 1.5 to 4.5, even if it quotes IPCC:
* Relies upon some implicit acceptance of loss function for being wrong, since these come from a distribution. There is mass at +6.
* Continues to misrepresent the difference between global ECS, ocean ECS, and land ECS. Land is much higher.
* Continues to pretend the definition of ECS or, even TCS, if you want, is something which is state invariant. In fact, being a ratio of derivatives, it’s pretty slippery. (Yeah, I know, there are empirical definitions, but these simply paper over the physical complexities.)

Accordingly, managing the problem by looking at ECS is not something that’s terribly sound. In fact, managing the problem by looking at any central estimator is not terribly sound. It’s a quality control problem: Do you want to risk a chance of all going to hell with a probability of 0.001?

547. hypergeometric,
Another problem with the ECS is that it’s how much we will eventually warm (due to fast feedbacks) after doubling atmospheric CO2. How much we will warm in reality depends on how much we emit, which could be enough to more than double atmospheric CO2, and will depend on carbon cycle feedbacks (which may become more and more important, the more we emit, and the more we warm).

548. John Hartz says:

549. John Hartz says:

ATTP: My prior post is the url to a WHO poster. How do I make the poster appear in a comment?

[Mod: you just had some stray characters at the end of the URL.]

550. John Hartz says:

@-1=e^iπ: The “big picture” (pserspective if you will)….

As Anthroporogenic Global Lukewarming/Warming continues unabatted, the number of deaths caused by extreme heat events will rise.

551. JCH says:

Fortunately, some people actually look at the data. And yes, significantly more people die during winter and significantly fewer die during summer. …

Like I said, as stupid as it gets.

552. JCH says:

Every years a tiny number of people along the USA’s frigid Northern border die of the cold. They’re usually drunk.

553. izen says:

People die of cold because of poverty, or at least statistically that is the strongest correlate. Food, shelter and heat prevent it.
People die in heatwaves from lack of cooling. It is a much more difficult danger to avoid by expending resources.

554. JCH says:

JH – don’t be silly, as the climate warms the winter death rate will fall and lifespans will miraculously extend. Just look at the data.

555. -1=e^iπ says:

@ ATTP – “Who said anything about runaway”

Implied by John Hartz and the comments of once you pass the ‘tipping point’ things get ‘out of our control’.

556. -1=e^iπ says:

@ John Hartz – “Please document the sources of the graphics that you have posted above.”

Click on the images, they link to the source.

557. Like you said….

558. Hartz, none of that is subject to emprical verification and are quite questionable.

Meanwhile, 2 billion people on earth are obese or overweight. Human beings are a much greater threat to their own health than climate change.

559. John Hartz says:

Anthroprogenic Global Lukewarming (AGL) is real and is happening now!

New research findings about the West Antartictic ice sheet casue consternation…

Antarctica is experiencing weird weather, and the changes have some scientists worried about the future.

There’s an area on the west side of the icy continent called the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and last January, scientists found a 300,000-square-mile portion of its perimeter was melting. That’s an area roughly two times the size of California, covered in slush.

According to recent research published in Nature Communications, the melt was caused by an unusually strong El Niño event around January 2016.

“A melt of this magnitude is relatively rare in Antarctica,” said Julien Nicolas, one of the paper’s authors at the Ohio State University Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. “There have been about three or four events of this size in the last 40 years.”

A huge part of Antarctica is melting and scientists say that’s bad news by AJ Willingham, CNN, June 20, 2017

560. JCH says:

Izen – in humans, I think one driver is a subset of heart patients who have severe circulatory disorders that make them susceptible to wide downward swings in temperature that require a change in clothing, bedding, etc. It does not have to be very cold. Hawaii has the longest lifespan, and possibly the least variable climate of the 50 states… I’ve never look at the data, but they have poverty.

561. Vinny Burgoo says:

Hot and cold

1. John Hartz: ‘Anthroprogenic Global Lukewarming (AGL) is real and is happening now!’ [+ link to WashPo]

3: ATTP: ‘Not sure how you think you’ve achieved that [perspective about cold versus hot deaths], but I don’t really have any interest in finding out.’

4: ATTP, five or ten minutes later: ‘Here’s some other perspective.’ [+ a long quote from a blog by an epidemiologist who, via some tribal signalling and a magnificently irrelevant warning about a ‘potentially catastrophic increase in global conflicts’, ends with a nearly exact endorsement of 1=e^ip’s #2: ‘Premature deaths from both the heat and the cold are big problems that deserve our attention.’]

5: John Hartz: ‘@-1=e^ip: The “big picture” (pserspective if you will)… . As Anthroporogenic Global Lukewarming/Warming continues unabatted, the number of deaths caused by extreme heat events will rise.’

Are we all losing our minds?

562. John Hartz says:

Are we all losing our minds?

In a lukewarming world, it’s entirely possible that we are. 🙂

563. Ragnaar says:

JCH:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_Jam
“Introduced in 1937 by Hormel Foods, more Spam is consumed per person in Hawaii than in any other state in the United States. Almost seven million cans of Spam are eaten every year in Hawaii.”

564. JCH says:

That’s funny. Minnesota is exporting its fountain of youth to Hawaii.

565. @Willard,

Actually, I completely missed this:

> you are trying to reinstate a version of Aristotle and Aquinas. Yuck.

Strawman much, Hyper? I’m no Aristotle, and you ain’t Galileo. Your new guru’s “three worlds” ?>modulz is not far from the essentialism you abhor.

Actually, that should be Salviati, not “Galileo”.

I hereby dub thee Sagredo.

566. JCH says:

Spam has sodium nitrate in it. In Westerns from the old days of TV they used to treat heart pain with nitroglycerine… I think Doc Stone on Gunsmoke used it. But going way back they used sodium nitrate to treat heart disease. Now Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic claims it could cause heart disease.

567. Willard says:

> “Regularity” isn’t hard at all.

Another equivocation. Just great.

***

> It just means the magnitude of the second derivative of some measure is bounded by a constant.

Again confusing the finger and the Moon.

***

> Actually, that should be Salviati

Salvati’s not the one who dispatched all that pretty well.

Not even a good try.

Stick to vulgar display of formal power, Hyper.

568. @Willard,

Stick to vulgar display of formal power, Hyper.

I certainly will. There is a lot to be joyful about today, from the organized opposition to federal silliness, to temperatures directly costing companies who are contributing to them, to oil looking like it is about to enter a world it will never come out of alive, to an updated and optimisitic forecast for energy, to BP and Exxon and others calling for a Carbon Price in a full page ad in the WSJ, with XOM getting spanked at their recent annual meeting in a successful stockholder proposal.

I’ll accept and embrace your characterization, filing it with the “tree hugging ecoweenie” moniker a climate denier once gave me. It’s appropriate. A good friend wrote a limerick when recently giving me an environmental award:

To keep Earth cool is his mission,
A hot-tempered cool statistician,
Became chair of our group
(or was it a coup?)
He’s a master of acts of sedition!

Thanks!

569. Willard says:

> I’ll accept and embrace your characterization

Then I’m sure you’ll appreciate that regularity can also be taken to be a property of one type of grammars in the Chomsky hierarchy, or a property of some semi-groups. (Or else – there are plenty of formal properties that are being referred to by the word “regularity.”) Both understandings may have little to do with derivatives.

And of course you should appreciate that “regularity,” in the sense of “law-like regularity,” rather refers to the universal generalisation of observed phenomena.

570. @Willard,

Uhhhhhhhhhhh, I mean of me, not at all of your concern about regularity.

If the bound on the magnitude of the second derivative of a measure-of-your-choice won’t work for you, I’m completely uninterested in your concepts and discussion of it because, to me, it’s just fluff.

571. Willard says:

> If the bound on the magnitude of the second derivative of a measure-of-your-choice won’t work for you

You tell me how the bound on the magnitude of the second derivative of “all men are mortals” works for you, Hyper.

572. @Willard,

That’s your job, YOU claimed regularity was the hard part, not the other. If you can’t be precise enough in your concepts to quantify them, or reduce them to formal rules, as I said, my opinion is that it’s just fluff.

And we have nothing more to discuss.

573. -1,

Implied by John Hartz and the comments of once you pass the ‘tipping point’ things get ‘out of our control’.

I don’t think “out of control” implied runaway.

574. Willard says:

> YOU claimed regularity was the hard part,

Not “hard” as in “difficult,” “hard” as in “non-negotiable.” The Stanford entry should be enough to see why “law-like” is not “hard” in that first sense, but in the second. Even a completely chaotic world require some kind of regularity to be described, explained, and understood.

Being a Realist-with-a-big-R, I don’t think it’s that hard to come up with law-like regularities – they somehow impose themselves on us.

***

> If you can’t be precise enough

575. John Hartz says:

TE: You state…

Meanwhile, 2 billion people on earth are obese or overweight. Human beings are a much greater threat to their own health than climate change.

Death caused by excessive heat is merely one of a myriad of ways that Anthroprogenic Global Lukewarming (AGL) is and will impact the health of homo sapiens. Futhermore, as food and potable water becomes less abundant due to AGL, people will loose weight — you can bet your Sweet Bippy on that.

576. JCH says:

A few years ago over at CargoCult Etc. the cold-death lunacy came up and I speculated that the phenomena becomes more prevalent as one gets closer to the equator, and that just maybe, who knows, that global warming might actually increase cold-wave deaths. My basis was lower life expectancy in states on the gulf coast… where it’s warmer.

Oh boy, was that ever popular. They proved me wrong by invoking Singapore… lol.

Bold mine:

Abstract

Cold weather was estimated to account for more than half of weather-related deaths in the U.S. during 2006-2010. Studies have shown that cold-related excessive mortality is especially relevant with decreasing latitude or in regions with mild winter. However, only limited studies have been conducted in the southern U.S. The purpose of our study is to examine impacts of cold weather on mortality in 12 major Texas Metropolitan Areas (MSAs) for the 22-year period, 1990-2011. Our study used a two-stage approach to examine the cold-mortality association. We first applied distributed lag non-linear models (DLNM) to 12 major MSAs to estimate cold effects for each area. A random effects meta-analysis was then used to estimate pooled effects. Age-stratified and cause-specific mortalities were modeled separately for each MSA. Most of the MSAs were associated with an increased risk in mortality ranging from 0.1% to 5.0% with a 1 °C decrease in temperature below the cold thresholds. Higher increased mortality risks were generally observed in MSAs with higher average daily mean temperatures and lower latitudes. Pooled effect estimate was 1.58% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) [0.81, 2.37]) increase in all-cause mortality risk with a 1 °C decrease in temperature. Cold wave effects in Texas were also examined, and several MSAs along the Texas Gulf Coast showed statistically significant cold wave-mortality associations. Effects of cold on all-cause mortality were highest among people over 75 years old (1.86%, 95% CI [1.09, 2.63]). Pooled estimates for cause-specific mortality were strongest in myocardial infarction (4.30%, 95% CI [1.18, 7.51]), followed by respiratory diseases (3.17%, 95% CI [0.26, 6.17]) and ischemic heart diseases (2.54%, 95% CI [1.08, 4.02]). In conclusion, cold weather generally increases mortality risk significantly in Texas, and the cold effects vary with MSAs, age groups, and cause-specific deaths.

577. dikranmarsupial says:

One last comment about correlation versus causation:

AFAICS statistics can show you an association (correlation, dependency etc.) but it can’t demonstrate that the “cause” can explain the magnitude of the “effect”. For instance statistics can show you that there is an association between atmospheric CO2 levels and global mean surface temperatures, but it can’t demonstrate that there exists a physical mechanism that is sufficient to explain the change in temperatures we see, given the observed changes in atmospheric CO2. However, we could in principle construct a physical model that used the measured radiative properties of greenhouse gasses, the physics of the lapse rate etc. to work out the expected rise in GMSTs for a given rise in atmospheric CO2, without using the observed GMST data. This for me is why corellation is not sufficient to assert causation (at least not without equivocation, for instance calling it “Grainger causality”). The reason that “theory” (in this case radiative physics) adds something to the statistical correlation is because it corroborates it via consilience with other observations (for instance observed absorption spectra of GHGs etc.).

However as David Hume suggests we can’t observe causation, but we still need to make practical progress; while we need to consider the philosophical limits of knowledge (we can have no certain knowledge of causal relationships anyway), we shouldn’t be shackled by them to the extent we do nothing (it would be daft to give up after “je pense, donc je suis”). As Hume wrote “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.” (perhaps viewing consilience with other facts via physical theory as “evidence”).

https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/correlation.png

The “title” tag for the image in the HTML source is “Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’.”, which seems a reasonable summary to me! ;o)

578. izen says:

@-JCH
” “Regularity” isn’t hard at all. It just means the magnitude of the second derivative of some measure is bounded by a constant.”

While there may be some comfort in the internal consistency of a concept of causation that constrains it to the nature of the second derivative, it may jettison a baby along with the fluff.

One of the most profound discoveries made about the universe derives from statistics. Measured probabilities are at the root of tests made on causation that showed reality does not conform to classical concepts of determinism.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/china-s-quantum-satellite-achieves-spooky-action-record-distance

579. izen says:

woops, last post should
@- hypergeometric
sorry

580. @dikran,

On not being able to establish magnitude … Bayesian logistic regression?

581. That is using the direct observations.

582. John Hartz says:

Climate Change and Devastating Heat Waves – an Earth101 short

Published on Jun 21, 2017
In this short Stefan Rahmstorf talks about the devastating heat waves that will characterise the climate of 2100 if the global mean temperature becomes 4°C warmer than preindustrial temperatures.

Temperature anomalies that are associated with highly unusual heat extremes today (namely, 3-sigma events occurring only once in several hundreds of years in a stationary climate) will have become the norm over most (greater than 50 percent) continental areas by the end of the 21st century. Five-sigma events, which are now essentially absent, will become common, especially in the tropics and in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) mid-latitudes during summertime.

Outside the tropics, the NH subtropics and mid-latitudes are expected to experience much more intense heat extremes during the boreal summer. In the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, the Tibetan plateau, and the contiguous United States, almost all (80 percent to 100 percent) summer months will be warmer than 3-sigma and approximately half (about 50 percent) will be warmer than 5-sigma. This implies that temperatures of the warmest July within the period 2080–2100 in the Mediterranean region, for example, are expected to approach 35°C, which is about 9°C warmer than the warmest July estimated for the present day.

This short is based on a report that PIK (the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) did for the World Bank.

583. JCH says:

New on OHC, them jewels, and that flattish period, and… it’s open access.

<blockquoteConsensuses and discrepancies of basin-scale ocean heat content changes in different ocean analyses

Abstract

Inconsistent global/basin ocean heat content (OHC) changes were found in different ocean subsurface temperature analyses, especially in recent studies related to the slowdown in global surface temperature rise. This finding challenges the reliability of the ocean subsurface temperature analyses and motivates a more comprehensive inter-comparison between the analyses. Here we compare the OHC changes in three ocean analyses (Ishii, EN4 and IAP) to investigate the uncertainty in OHC in four major ocean basins from decadal to multi-decadal scales. First, all products show an increase of OHC since 1970 in each ocean basin revealing a robust warming, although the warming rates are not identical. …

584. [But echo chamber. – Willard]

“When Greenpeace says we shouldn’t capture and bury CO2 because it encourages the use of coal, I say it’s not that we are encouraging it. Desperate people who want energy are going to use the coal they have and there’s no way in hell that we are going to stop them.” Wally Broecker

What we need is a synthesis. There are obvious, chaotic risks – biological, hydrological and climatic – from changing the composition of the atmosphere. But there are equally obvious risks in many of the supply side solutions proposed. The best synthesis I know of is Wally Broecker’s wild beast at which we are poking sticks.

The idea that greening or warming is an unmitigated good is nonsense – and hoping for things to turn out for the best is magical thinking.

There are practical alternatives that add to economic growth and increase human dignity. We can restore ecosystems and farmlands – taking 360 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We can transition to 21st century energy sources within decades.

Rattan Lal says “that bringing carbon back into soils has to be done not only to offset fossil fuels, but also to feed our growing global population. “We cannot feed people if soil is degraded,” he says.

“Supply-side approaches, centered on CO2 sources, amount to reshuffling the Titanic deck chairs if we overlook demand-side solutions: where that carbon can and should go,” says Thomas J. Goreau, a biogeochemist and expert on carbon and nitrogen cycles who now serves as president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. Goreau says we need to seek opportunities to increase soil carbon in all ecosystems — from tropical forests to pasture to wetlands — by replanting degraded areas, increased mulching of biomass instead of burning, large-scale use of biochar, improved pasture management, effective erosion control, and restoration of mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grasses.” http://e360.yale.edu/features/soil_as_carbon_storehouse_new_weapon_in_climate_fight

The purpose of climate science is to distill a base on which policy responses can be built. This will not emerge with any clarity from copious red and blue team – or their interweb proxies –
quibbling about climate minutiae. It can only come from a simple, pragmatic assessment of complexity and scientific uncertainty – feeding into development scenarios that enhance human dignity and foster economic growth.

585. JCH says:

Data: 0 to 2000 meters

2014-3 – 20.874861
2014-6 – 19.914608
2014-9 – 18.526079
2014-12 – 21.123238

2015-3 – 23.416958
2015-6 – 22.368597
2015-9 – 21.546423
2015-12 – 22.271896

2016-3 – 22.763397
2016-6 – 19.730759
2016-9 – 19.145727
2016-12 – 21.557800

2017-3 – 23.624294 (Trump effect – hugest number!)

2017-3,23.624294http://i.imgur.com/0Ytjdef.png

586. JCH says:

587. @Robert I. Ellison,

“When Greenpeace says we shouldn’t capture and bury CO2 because it encourages the use of coal, I say it’s not that we are encouraging it. Desperate people who want energy are going to use the coal they have and there’s no way in hell that we are going to stop them.” Wally Broecker

What we need is a synthesis. There are obvious, chaotic risks – biological, hydrological and climatic – from changing the composition of the atmosphere. But there are equally obvious risks in many of the supply side solutions proposed. The best synthesis I know of is Wally Broecker’s wild beast at which we are poking sticks.

The idea that greening or warming is an unmitigated good is nonsense – and hoping for things to turn out for the best is magical thinking.

There are practical alternatives that add to economic growth and increase human dignity. We can restore ecosystems and farmlands – taking 360 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We can transition to 21st century energy sources within decades.

Kudos!

I very much agree that some of my environmental colleagues, particularly so-called “progressives”, are getting to be as much a problem as climate deniers used to be.

588. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hyotenuse says:

…as much a problem as climate deniers used to be.

Used to be …?
Used to be?

Hilarious.

589. Willard says:

Not too hot, not too cold. Goldilocks. The lukewarm gambit strikes again:

Source: BartV’s

590. JCH says:

Seriously, if Wally Broecker read all the nonsense that guy has crapped around the internet Wally would take his big stick and bonk him over the head.

All the warming is natural, but we have to build 100 million machines to scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere… or by some other means. LMAO.

2008 – desperate people will burn all the coal. 2017- coal use dropping like a rock.

591. Chris says:

“But I think the claim is that 20th century warming was mostly natural – but that chaotic Earth systems are apt to surprise if pressed.”

who’s “claim” is that Robert?

Certainly not the Swanson et al. paper you falsely quoted from. If you add back the bits of the Swanson, Tsugihara and Tsonis (2009) quotes that you carefully left out you can see that they certainly don’t consider (let alone “claim”) that “20th century warming was mostly natural…”

so where you quoted:

Finally, a fraction of the post-1970s warming also appears to be attributable to natural variability…

Swanson et al. actually said:

“Finally, a fraction of the post-1970s warming also appears to be attributable to natural variability. The monotonic increase of the cleaned global temperature throughout the 20th century suggests increasing greenhouse gas forcing more-or-less consistently dominating sulfate aerosol forcing, although our technique cannot exclude other mechanisms not contained in the current generation of model forcing (22).”

and the discussion of “vigorous climate variability” refers to the variability in temperature progression resulting from internal climate variability that modulates the monotonic greenhouse forced temperature rise (see their Figure 3 on page 1622 of the Swanson et al paper that you falsely precis-ed).

Swanson et al conclude that a monotonic greenhouse forced temperature rise dominates 20th century climate and that this becomes most apparent when a modeled natural temperature variability is calculated and subtracted from the observed temperature anomaly progression

592. There are more than a 1000 HELE coal plants underway or planned across Asia.
But I think the claim is that 20th century warming was mostly natural – but that chaotic Earth systems are apt to surprise if pressed.
“Interdecadal 20th century temperature deviations, such as the accelerated observed 1910–1940 warming that has been attributed to an unverifiable increase in solar irradiance (4, 7, 19, 20), appear to instead be due to natural variability. The same is true for the observed mid-40s to mid-70s cooling, previously attributed to enhanced sulfate aerosol activity (4, 6, 7, 12). Finally, a fraction of the post-1970s warming also appears to be attributable to natural variability…
Finally, the presence of vigorous climate variability presents significant challenges to near-term climate prediction (25, 26), leaving open the possibility of steady or even declining global mean surface temperatures over the next several decades that could present a significant empirical obstacle to the implementation of policies directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (27). However, global warming could likewise suddenly and without any ostensive cause accelerate due to internal variability. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, the climate system appears wild, and may continue to hold many surprises if pressed.” http://www.pnas.org/content/106/38/16120.full
I obviously agree – and am not likely to change my mind based on JCH’s wood for dummies graphs.
Nor can I tell what point is being made by the ocean heat content graph. But then he does have a certain laconic style. And an odd habit of claiming that people I quote want to bonk me over the head.
Climate monitoring this century achieved new levels of precision – and it puts into doubt key assumptions of the theory of global warming. Most of the discourse on global warming is about who said what about the temperature at 2 metres from the ground – the surface temperature record – and whether the planet is warming or not. It is the wrong place to look for an answer to that question. For a comlete Earth energy budget – data on ocean heat, solar radiance and energy radiated at the top of the atmosphere is required. The most precise and comprehensive Earth energy monitoring system ever assembled shows that most warming – and cooling – this century was natural.
https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/02/18/21st-century-climate-data-gives-new-insight/

[Snip. Playing the ref. – Willard]

There are of course echo chambers – in which participants rehearse refutations and strategise – before emerging again to count coup on the enemy in the faux climate war.

593. Robert,

Nor can I tell what point is being made by the ocean heat content graph.

Really? I think he is simply pointing out that it is increasing, a fundamental indicator of global warming.

Climate monitoring this century achieved new levels of precision – and it puts into doubt key assumptions of the theory of global warming.

Umm, no, it clearly strengthens it.

The most precise and comprehensive Earth energy monitoring system ever assembled shows that most warming – and cooling – this century was natural.

Umm, no it doesn’t. It’s possible that you’re simply very confused, but my site isn’t really a place where people get to promote their incorrect interpretations of our current understanding of this topic.

594. Chris says:

OK now the Robert Ellisson post I responded to has appeared below my post – did I really anticipate and reply to Robert’s post before he even posted it?

To clarify, my post timestamped 8:09 pm is in response to Robert Ellison’s post timestamped 8:26 pm

595. @The Very Reverend Jebediah Hyotenuse:

Used to be …?
Used to be?

Hilarious.

Well, you are correct, Reverend, that I overstated. Nevertheless, even though we have a Denier-in-Chief and “loyalty” to him means professing that people have nuthin’ — or little — to do with it, flat out deniers are almost comedic in their continuing insistence, what with XOM and the like agreeing with the Science. That’s why we have luckwarmers, the But the world will still need fossil fuels for decades crowd (e.g., also XOM), and the wind and solar will never work without subsidies crowd. They are gravitating to more defensible positions. Sure, I guess WUWT is still around, but …

596. JCH says:

That I know of, not one single scientist he selectively quotes would agree with much of anything he says.

Over the last year and a half there have been a bunch of scientific papers written that have replicated, in one way or another, my wood for trees graphs. I suggested OHC would not go down much during the 14-16 El Nino. Biggest number – first quarter of 2017. Your boy Tsonis said flat was the future. Not.

597. Chris,

OK now the Robert Ellisson post I responded to has appeared below my post – did I really anticipate and reply to Robert’s post before he even posted it?

No, it did appear and then disappear and the his timestep was later than yours (for reasons I don’t understand).

598. The Tsonis, Swanson, and Sugihara paper remained mostly on the rails because Sugihara was a co-author. When Tsonis and Swanson write on their own, they they just do bad science. Tsonis and Swanson also tend to contradict the paper co-authored with Sugihara which reads, in part:

Removing this internal signature from the observed global mean temperature record should clean up the individual and unique realization of nature, isolating the forced climate signal. Fig. 3 shows that the resulting cleaned signal presents a nearly monotonic warming of the global mean surface temperature throughout the 20th century, and closely resembles a quadratic fit to the actual 20th century global mean temperature. Interdecadal 20th century temperature deviations, such as the accelerated observed 1910–1940 warming that has been attributed to an unverifiable increase in solar irradiance (4, 7, 19, 20), appear to instead be due to natural variability. The same is true for the observed mid-40s to mid-70s cooling, previously attributed to enhanced sulfate aerosol activity (4, 6, 7, 12). Finally, a fraction of the post-1970s warming also appears to be attributable to natural variability. The monotonic increase of the cleaned global temperature throughout the 20th century suggests increasing greenhouse gas forcing more-or-less consistently dominating sulfate aerosol forcing, although our technique cannot exclude other mechanisms not contained in the current generation of model forcing (22) … Second, theoretical arguments suggest that a more variable climate is a more sensitive climate to imposed forcings (13). Viewed in this light, the lack of modeled compared to observed interdecadal variability (Fig. 2B) may indicate that current models underestimate climate sensitivity.

599. Willard says:

> I think he is simply pointing out that it is increasing, a fundamental indicator of global warming.

That’s when Chief goes for “but chaos” and handwaves to Ghil.

Let’s brace ourselves, more kudos are coming.

600. John Hartz says:

Robert I. Ellison You assert:

There are more than a 1000 HELE coal plants underway or planned across Asia.

What is he source of this statement?

601. Quoting Micheal Ghil on sensitivity is a favourite game of mine. Here’s his 1-D climate model.

Figure 1: Solutions of an energy-balance model (EBM), showing the global-mean temperature (T) vs. the fractional change of insolation (μ) at the top of the atmosphere. (Source: Ghil, 2013)

The model has two stable states with two points of abrupt climate change – the latter at the transitions from the blue lines to the red from above and below. The two axes are normalized solar energy inputs μ (insolation) to the climate system and a global mean temperature. The current day energy input is μ = 1 with a global mean temperature of 287.7 degrees Kelvin. This is a relatively balmy 58.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

The 1-D climate model uses physically based equations to determine changes in the climate system as a result of changes in solar intensity, ice reflectance and greenhouse gases. With a small decrease in radiation from the Sun – or an increase in ice cover – the system becomes unstable with runaway ice feedbacks. Runaway ice feedbacks drive the transitions between glacial and interglacial states seen repeatedly over the past 2.58 million years. These are warm interludes – such as the present time – of relatively short duration and longer duration cold states. The transition between climate states is characterised by a series of step changes between the limits.

It is just a 1-D model that suggests that sensitivity is dynamic. Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift. Climate in this theory of abrupt change is an emergent property of the shift in global energies as the system settles down into a new climate state. The traditional definition of climate sensitivity as a temperature response to changes in CO2 makes sense only in periods between climate shifts – as climate changes at shifts are internally generated. Climate evolution is discontinuous at the scale of decades and longer.

But chaos…

And it is a matter of opinion I suppose – the papers on 20th century climate shifts are fabulous science.

602. Chris says:

“There are of course echo chambers – in which participants rehearse refutations and strategise – before emerging again to count coup on the enemy in the faux climate war.”

Not here ‘though I think Robert. You said something that was demonstrably incorrect (you made a false precis of Swason et al PNAS 2009 by selective quotation), some people noticed and pointed it out. A refutation…..but not rehearsed.

It’s may of interest to you in relation to “echo chambers”, selective quotation and dubious sources of “information” that your source, Ole Humlum, predicted in 2011 from an inspection of solar cycle data that:

Our forecast indicates an annual average temperature drop of 0.9 oC in the Northern Hemisphere during solar cycle 24. For the measuring stations south of 75N, the temperature decline is of the order 1.0–1.8 oC and may already have already started. For Svalbard a temperature decline of 3.5 oC is forecasted in solar cycle 24 for the yearly average temperature.” [Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 80 (2012) 267–284]

We’re almost through solar cycle 24 now. How would you say that prediction went??

603. Chris says:

In fact Robert, rather in contrast to Ole Humlum’s prediction of:
For Svalbard a temperature decline of 3.5 oC is forecasted in solar cycle 24 for the yearly average temperature”

Svalbard’s average temperature is around 4 oC warmer (in 2017) than at the time of Humlum’s prediction. [ https://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/stdata_show.cgi?id=634010080000&dt=1&ds=5 ]

604. “There are more than a 1000 HELE coal plants underway or planned across Asia.

What is he source of this statement?”

http://www.aseanenergy.org/resources/reports/aseans-energy-equation/

605. izen says:

@- Robert I. Ellison
““There are more than a 1000 HELE coal plants underway or planned across Asia.”

It does reveal that this report is a joint report by the World Coal Association and and the NGO – ASEAN Centre for Energy.
It’s claim of 1000 coal plants may be hyperbole, or include a lot of ‘planned’ coal development that is rapidly being cancelled.

Other sources that monitor coal plant development in the region number the total plants built in the hundreds, and China, that did have a big coal plant program, has stopped all planned plants and is shelving some that are under construction.

http://endcoal.org/tracker/

606. The link to a report released last month seems to be broken – try again later.

ACE is an ASEAN intergovernmental organisation.

“Established on 1 January 1999, the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) is an independent intergovernmental organisation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) structure that represents the 10 ASEAN Member States’ (AMS) interests in the energy sector. The Centre accelerates the integration of energy strategies within ASEAN by providing relevant information and expertise to ensure the necessary energy policies and programmes are in harmony with the economic growth and the environmental sustainability of the region. It is guided by a Governing Council composed of Senior Officials on Energy from each AMS and a representative from the ASEAN Secretariat as an ex-officio member. Hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, ACE’s office is located in Jakarta.” http://www.aseanenergy.org/about-ace/introduction/

Here’s the graphic again – it does not seem hugely out of odds with your carbon tracker site. China abandonment of coal seems over stated. India is going at it full tilt. Africa is an emerging market – using Chinese money and technology.

As Wally Broecker said in the quote I provided above – desperate people will burn coal. And they are getting better at it.

607. “Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/2

Models miss the speed, size and extent of modern climate shifts – so doing any better with paleoshifts is a big ask.

I apparently selectively quote everything I read. What puzzles me is that they are free to unselectively quote anything they freakin’ well like. What they invariably quote – if I don’t do it myself – is the bit about a more sensitive climate in a chaotic system. Usually bolded as if this is a revelation that I have tellingly glossed over. Well no. They just don’t understand that it is not the sensitivity they are accustomed to babbling on about.

608. Robert,

Models miss the speed, size and extent of modern climate shifts – so doing any better with paleoshifts is a big ask.

What are you actually suggesting? That we will see a large climate shift in the near future? If so, what justification do you have for making such a suggestion?

609. JCH says:

Surprises – La Niña events that keep knocking off the last record warmest La Niña in the instrument record. The cool phases of ocean cycles that fail to actually cause the GMST to go down. Tilts of the earth that no longer work like they used to. Dips in solar that fail to cool.