No, Hansen wasn’t wrong!

It’s 30 years since James Hansen testified before the US Congress about climate change. In the same year, he published a paper that produced some forecasts. I wasn’t going to write about this as there are a number of articles discussing what Hansen presented and highlighting how it’s stood up remarkably well. There’s Eric Holthaus in Grist, Gavin Schmidt at Realclimate, Zeke Hausfather at Carbon Brief, and Tamino at Open Mind.
Patrick Michaels and Ryan Maue have also written an article looking at how Hansen’s global warming predictions have stood up. They conclude that they haven’t stood up very well. Drawing this conclusions, however, requires making some rather odd claims. For example

Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16.

Well, if you leave out some data you can draw all sorts of conclusions. However, why was the 2015/2016 El Niño warmer than the 1997/1998 El Niño? Why are La Niñ’a’s today warmer than El Niño’s of the past? It’s because there’s an underlying warming trend and, as the figure on the right shows, there is little indication that the rate of warming has slowed.

In Hansen’s paper, he selected 3 different emissions scenarios, one in which emissions continued to increase (A), one in which the rate stayed similar to what it was in the 1980s (B), and one in which they basically stop in 2000 (C). The Michaels and Maue article implies that temperatures have followed the latter scenario, while emissions have continued to rise. However, not only is this claim about temperatures wrong, what’s more relevant is the change in forcing, what turns out to have been between scenario B (constant rate of emission) and C (emissions stop in 2000). The resulting temperature change turns out to, therefore, be quite similar to what has been observed (see here).

The article finishes with

On the 30th anniversary of Mr. Hansen’s galvanizing testimony, it’s time to acknowledge that the rapid warming he predicted isn’t happening. Climate researchers and policy makers should adopt the more modest forecasts that are consistent with observed temperatures.

That would be a lukewarm policy, consistent with a lukewarming planet.

Firstly, it is not true that forecasts are not consistent with observations (see here). Secondly, what is lukewarm policy? Seems to me that if you accept that climate sensitivity lies somewhere within the standard likely range, think we should limit warming to something reasonable (say, below 4K), and think we should do so without shocking the global economy, then it’s not clear to me that there is much difference to the basics of what you would want policy to achieve. We would need to aim to get emissions to ~zero by the second half of this century. We could quibble about the details, but the basic goal would seem to not depend strongly on where you think climate sensitivity actually lies.

Both Michaels and Maue are associated with the Cato Institute, which seems to essentially be the US version of the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, so I probably shouldn’t be surprised that they can write such a nonsensical article.

Update:

Credit: Zeke Hausfather

I wanted to add this figure that was produced by Zeke Hausfather, as it really illustrates the key point. The warming per unit change in forcing predicted by Hansen et al. (1988) is very close to what we’ve actually experienced.

Links:
James Hansen’s legacy: Scientists reflect on climate change in 1988, 2018, and 2048 (Eric Holthaus in Grist).
30 years after Hansen’s testimony (Gavin Schmidt at Realclimate).
Analysis: How well have climate models projected global warming (Zeke Hausfather at Carbon Brief).
Global warming: Told you so (Tamino).
Update check on Hansen’s 1988 projections (Nick Stokes at Moyhu).

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214 Responses to No, Hansen wasn’t wrong!

  1. As usual, I’m going to add a comment to highlight something that I didn’t get into the post. The model used by Hansen had an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of 4.2K, which is on the high side of the likely range. Given that the projected warming (for a siimilar forcing pathway) is comparable to what has been observed, this is anything but lukewarm. It may have predicted slightly more warming than has been observed, but this is not necessarily surprising given that the model had a climate sensitivity that is somewhat higher than we might expect it to be.

  2. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: More articles for the Links section of your OP…

    Ex-Nasa scientist: 30 years on, world is failing ‘miserably’ to address climate change by Oliver Milman, Environment, Guardian, June 19. 2018

    Judgment on Hansen’s ’88 climate testimony: ‘He was right’ by Peter Sinclair, Yale Climate Connections, June 20, 2018

    30 years ago global warming became front-page news – and both Republicans and Democrats took it seriously by Robert Brulle, The Conversation US, June 19, 2018

  3. JH,
    Thanks, I think your comment does a good job of providing the links.

  4. t0kodave says:

    “Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16” As I posted over at Tamino’s: You just can’t make this sh*tup. Hopefully the WSJ will also publish the rebuttal from people that actually know WTF they’re talking about.

  5. JCH says:

    I think we should discount La Niña events. Two in row after the 16-16 El Niño, and the 30-year trend keeps getting higher.

  6. Magma says:

    In the past, Ryan Maue has angrily complained about being lumped together with climate change deniers. After reading this WSJ opinion piece filled with misleading or false information, as well as the odd too-clever-by-half insults (“Mr. Hansen lit the bonfire of the greenhouse vanities”) it’s clear that this is the company he chooses to keep.

  7. Nick Stokes has a new post Hansen’s 1988 predictions – 30 year anniversary.

    Magma,
    Maybe he doth protest too much?

  8. mrooijer says:

    Tamino also had a nice blog about this yesterday.

  9. mrooijer,
    Yes, it’s in the post.

  10. Bob Loblaw says:

    “…discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16”

    That is a specific case of the “discounting all the evidence that doesn’t fit our narrative” argument. Of course, they also “discount the effect the 1998 El Nino had on temperatures”. Don’t like what you see? Apply a discount!

    Discounting the money they want, my local car dealer is giving away cars for free!

  11. John Hartz says:

    The concluding paragraphs of Elizabeth Kolbert’s article about the 30th anniversary of Hansen’s testimony are particularly noteworthy…

    Instead of using this anniversary to lament the failures of climate scientists, I’d like to propose that we use it to celebrate—well, “celebrate” probably isn’t quite the right word, but maybe recognize—their successes. Three decades ago, led by Hansen, they made a series of predictions; for the most part these have proved to be spectacularly accurate. That we, the general public, have failed to act on these predictions says a lot more about us than it does about them.

    I happened to interview Hansen last year, for a video project. I asked him if he had a message for young people. “The simple thing is, I’m sorry we’re leaving such a fucking mess,” he said. Could the message be any clearer than that?

    Listening to James Hansen on Climate Change, Thirty Years Ago and Now by Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker Magazine, June 20, 2018

  12. Joshua says:

    Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16.

    Discounting everything he says and does, Trump is an extremely intelligent and even-handed politician who advocates for socialistic policies.

  13. Chris says:

    It’s in a Rupert Murdoch publication…..which says it all really.

  14. angech says:

    “When it comes to hysteria, the left don’t monopolize emotion. While they’ve been predicting climate-related doom for decades, so have the right been predicting fiscal collapse. Market signals call for both sides to relax.

    Indeed, while the left continue to promote a flooding of the world’s coastal cities absent action to combat the theory that is global warming, people, businesses and voluminous investment continue to migrate toward those same coastal cities. Whatever the truth about global warming, market signals suggest that even if real, it’s very manageable. ”
    Tammy at Real Clear Politics.
    Relevance sea level rise.

  15. BBD says:

    My patience with climate bullshitters* is running out. They’ve been politely tolerated for far too long. PM and RM are rightwing political activists and bullshit artists of the first rank. This is a matter of fact, and nobody should be afraid to say so, plain and clear.

    *In the Frankfurtian sense.

  16. angech,
    That people don’t seem to be behaving as if sea level rise is something that will impact coastal regions does not somehow mean that it won’t.

  17. BBD says:

    angech

    Those who refuse to learn from palaeoclimate will be forced to relive it. During the Eemian interglacial, GAT was 1 – 2C higher than the Holocene and MSL was >6m above present levels.

  18. Steven Mosher says:

    angech.

    look at nicks work.

    then give your considered judgement on hansens model.

    what do you see.

  19. Dave_Geologist says:

    Perhaps angech sourced his information from a graph like this one. It probably won’t display inline as it’s a png, but do click through for a laugh. Possibly the most inappropriate choice of regression function, ever. Or maybe it’s just hand-drawn.

    From

    https://gordcollins.com/real-estate/us-housing-market-looking-strong-2016-to-2020/

  20. Jeffh says:

    Angech’s latest mini-rant is the kind of bile expected from this horde of anti-science sputtering buffoons.

    His quote appears to suggest that the only threat posed by AGW is sea level rise and attendant coastal flooding. Nothing about collapsing ecosystems, fraying food webs, lost ecosystem services with immense social and economic costs. Angech and the army of ignoranti appear to think that humans are exempt from the laws of nature. Moreover, effects of heat waves, droughts and floods on agricultural productivity – both directly and indirectly through a loss of biodiversity – are also ignored. What about loss of glaciers and implications for the freshwater supply for literally billions of people?

    None of this is ‘manageable’ Angech. You belong with the crowd in the denier bogs.

  21. izen says:

    @-HH
    “…while the left continue to promote a flooding of the world’s coastal cities absent action to combat the theory that is global warming, people, businesses and voluminous investment continue to migrate toward those same coastal cities. ”

    But the people, businesses and voluminous investment are clearly learning from the left. Along with the best scientific advice and the reality of events showing its usual liberal bias.

    Consider Miami.
    In the 1920s before the coastal area was drained it was a small town on a limestone outcrop rising above the coastal swamps and sandbars.
    Once the coastal land and keys were drained and stabilised, that became the prime real-estate and the old town was relegated to the ‘coloured and Hispanic immigrants’. A segregation and ghettoisation enforced by Jim Crow laws.

    But now the business and investment is shifting towards those old areas because they are 15 feet higher than the beachfront. The black and Cuban communities are worried their communities are being priced out by the rise in property values because they are on higher ground.
    White gentrification (?!) is now being driven by considerations of sea level rise. It may still prefer prime beachfront property, but the voluminous investment is based on that being 10-15 feet higher, and a half mile inland of where it is now.

    https://www.bisnow.com/south-florida/news/economy/climate-gentrification-migration-high-ground-83081

  22. As you note, one can look at this many ways.
    However,
    since Hansen’s testimony, the trend of observations is closest to the trend of scenario C:

    That means that doing nothing has had the same effect that Hansen testified that doing everything ( completely ceasing emissions ) would have had.

    As you point out, Hansen was wrong about the emissions scenario, if nothing else.
    But Hansen’s model also indicated a Hot Spot which has not occurred.
    The implications of this are that feedbacks ( both negative and positive ) are low.
    That’s because the Hot Spot encompasses the two largest feedback processes according to Soden and Held ( lapse rate and water vapor ).

    As for 2015 through 2017,
    “However, why was the 2015/2016 El Niño warmer than the 1997/1998 El Niño?”
    we agree that there has been, and all else being equal, would expect global warming.
    However, there is evidence that something more than El Niño accounts for warming of this period.
    Here is a comparison of planetary albedo from CERES and as is in NASA GISS models:

    First, there is probably inaccuracy and imprecision in the CERES estimate, but it’s also probably the best estimate we’ve ever had. Second, the comparison indicates a broad disagreement in absolute terms of planetary albedo ( ~29% compared with modeled ~31% ), a difference roughly twice the effect of doubling CO2. That doesn’t mean no global warming, but does mean all the other processes in the model are necessarily inaccurate in absolute terms. Third, there is a fairly large ( in comparison with the model ) trend of decreasing earth albedo with 2015,2016,2017 being the three years of lowest albedo in the brief record. Over the last three years, Earth absorbed more sunshine than usual.

  23. izen says:

    The last was in reply to angtech, (not HH!)
    Here is a wider overview of how climate change is altering the investment valuation of property.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-climate-change-home-sales/

  24. TE,

    The implications of this are that feedbacks ( both negative and positive ) are low.
    That’s because the Hot Spot encompasses the two largest feedback processes according to Soden and Held ( lapse rate and water vapor ).

    Firstly, it’s not clear that there isn’t a hot spot. Secondly, what you claim would be the consequences of this is not correct. If anything, the absence of a hot spot would imply a lower lapse rate feedback than expected and a slightly higher net water vapour + lapse rate feedback (not lower as you imply).

  25. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Market signals call for both sides to relax.

    Indeed, while the left continue to promote a flooding of the world’s coastal cities absent action to combat the theory that is global warming, people, businesses and voluminous investment continue to migrate toward those same coastal cities.

    Psst..
    Wanna buy some shares in The Bank of Rapa Nui??
    Double your Moai in only one week!

  26. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech wrote “When it comes to hysteria, the left don’t monopolize emotion.”

    what has that to do with whether Hansen’s model projections were accurate? Nothing, just more rhetorical bullshit to avoid acknowledging that the projections were pretty good. Specific tactics: portraying rational analysis as emotional reaction; making a scientific discussion politically polarized.

    “Whatever the truth about global warming, market signals suggest that even if real, it’s very manageable. ”

    In the USA, Europe or Australia you might have a point (to some degree), if you are Bangladesh or some other relatively poor country in a region where sea levels will have agreater impact, I suspect not so much. More bullshit from angech.

    ATTP wrote “That people don’t seem to be behaving as if sea level rise is something that will impact coastal regions does not somehow mean that it won’t.”

    Indeed, it is called “being in denial”. Nobody likes bad news, some people can take it in and deal with it, others panic and lose it, others pretend it doesn’t exist, others opt for stoical acceptance of the limitless stupidity of the human race.

    So angech, would you say Hansen’s model projections were reasonably good?

  27. izen says:

    @-TE
    “Second, the comparison indicates a broad disagreement in absolute terms of planetary albedo ( ~29% compared with modeled ~31% ), a difference roughly twice the effect of doubling CO2. …Over the last three years, Earth absorbed more sunshine than usual.”

    This is not reassuring.
    If the trend in albedo can be such a major factor in future temperature rise, then even if we significantly reduce CO2 emissions we will still blow past 2C as the albedo trend provides a positive feedback which you suggest is much larger than models indicate.
    That would boost climate sensitivity well past 2.5C

    If the trend in albedo really did have this profound effect on the observed and projected warming we clearly need to determine what is causing this albedo trend. (?-)
    At least if CO2 is the main control knob we have a hand that can turn it. If it is an albedo trend over which we have no influence then adaption to a MUCH warmer climate would seem unavoidable.

  28. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

    TE,

    What is the source of your graph as it doesn’t match the figure shown in Hansen’s paper? For starters Scenario B never gets above Scenario A.

  29. dikranmarsupial says:

    Looks to me like the time-series have been re-baselined so that the trend lines meet at the origin, which is a bit naughty if you want to judge whether Hansen’s projections were wrong.

  30. I think we’ve discussed this before and that was pointed out to TE at the time.

  31. John Hartz says:

    Speaking of emotions…

    Think of a situation where you had bulletproof facts, reason, and logic on your side, and believed there was absolutely no way the other person could say no to your perfectly constructed argument and proposal. To do so would be impossible, you figured, because there was no other logical solution or answer.

    And then the other person dug in his heels and refused to budge. He wasn’t swayed by your logic. Were you flabbergasted?

    This is similar to what many negotiators do when they sit down at the table to hammer out a deal. They come armed with facts, and they attempt to use logic to sway the other party. They figure that by piling on the data and using reason to explain their side of the situation, they can construct a solution that is simply irrefutable—and get the other party to say yes.

    They’re doomed to fail, however, because decision-making isn’t logical, it’s emotional, according to the latest findings in neuroscience.

    Decisions are emotional, not logical: the neuroscience behind decision making by Jim Camp, The Big Think, 2017

  32. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

    dm,

    Looks to be the case.

  33. “the albedo trend provides a positive feedback”
    There’s no evidence that the albedo trend is part of a feedback.
    There’s confirmation bias danger here.
    On one hand, imagining feedback without understanding why clouds ( the dominant term in planetary albedo ) may have change indicates bias.
    On the other hand, perhaps implicit in my observations, is a suggestion of reversion to the mean. Statistically that may be an expectation, but again, without physically understanding, it could be that albedo was anomalously high early in the series and will stay near recent levels indefinitely.

  34. dikranmarsupial says:

    “I don’t think you would want to judge the models on the basis of individual year’s anomaly ( since obviously the models can’t predict ENSO events, or even the extent of the inter-annual variability, they fail at this ).”

    No, which is why I would use a thirty year baseline. Proper baselining doesn’t make the conclusion depend on an individual years anomaly, and if you don’t know that, you ought not to be designing your own model-observation comparisons!

  35. “Firstly, it’s not clear that there isn’t a hot spot.”

    Well, it doesn’t appear in the RAOB, RSS, or UAH analyses since the satellite era began:

    “Secondly, what you claim would be the consequences of this is not correct. If anything, the absence of a hot spot would imply a lower lapse rate feedback than expected and a slightly higher net water vapour + lapse rate feedback (not lower as you imply).”

    Yes, as I indicated, the absolute value of both the lapse rate feedback and the water vapor feedback are reduced. The modeled water vapor feedback is in part because of the hot spot. The hot spot is modeled to incur both increased temperature and humidity. The vertical profile of increased humidity aloft with respect to the the lower levels reduces outgoing longwave radiance. A relative lack of increase of humidity aloft reduces, though perhaps doesn’t completely negate, the absolute water vapor feedback.

    “What is the source of your graph as it doesn’t match the figure shown in Hansen’s paper? For starters Scenario B never gets above Scenario A.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/data/scen_ABC_temp.data

    “Looks to me like the time-series have been re-baselined so that the trend lines meet at the origin, which is a bit naughty if you want to judge whether Hansen’s projections were wrong.”

    I don’t think you would want to judge the models on the basis of individual year’s anomaly ( since obviously the models can’t predict ENSO events, or even the extent of the inter-annual variability, they fail at this ). Instead, we judge the trends. The observed trends are closest to the trends modeled by scenario C.

  36. “Decisions are emotional, not logical”

    Which maybe isn’t so bad as long as one continues to listen.

    Hume, some 200 years ago:
    “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

    Reasons, particularly those based on repeatable observations, may be invoked by us because of our passions. But over time, hopefully those recurrent observations, brought to us by those with differing passions, will help us gravitate toward less cluttered truth.

  37. izen says:

    @-“Decisions are emotional, not logical”

    This requires you buy into the highly contrived, and frankly unconvincing, re-definitions of ‘Decision’ and ‘Emotion’ to match the Procrustian conceptual framework of causation used in this form of socio-psychology.

    And Hume’s ‘Passions’ do not map onto what might be meant by emotional in this context.
    Neither is Reason quite a synonym for logical.

    Contingency and logistical constraints are the main factors in decision making, closely followed by drives to conform to your social context, or tribal customs.
    Whether you call that an emotional drive, or a logical choice seems to be irrelevant, it is utile.

  38. BBD says:

    TE

    If cloud albedo feedback is negative, then why didn’t it prevent deglaciations in the past?

  39. paulski0 says:

    TE,

    That means that doing nothing has had the same effect that Hansen testified that doing everything ( completely ceasing emissions ) would have had.

    Scenario C did not assume ceasing emissions. It assumed stabilised concentrations, and only at 2000 after concentrations kept rising similarly to Scenario B up to then (other than CFCs).

    It’s also not true that we’ve done nothing to produce a lower warming rate than Hansen’s Scenario A and B.

    The Montreal Protocol halted growth in CFCs.

    The Global Warming Potential metric introduced by the IPCC in 1990 is now used routinely to rate industrial gases, providing an incentive to chemical companies to avoid high GWP gases for large scale purposes, which has helped to curb further large forcings of the type considered by Scenario A.

    Strong controls on carbon monoxide and so2 emissions, plus gas flaring, have helped to slow growth in methane concentrations.

  40. izen says:

    @-TE
    “There’s no evidence that the albedo trend is part of a feedback.”

    An albedo reduction includes its own positive feedback loop. The warming reduces spring snow cover.
    What evidence would you consider adequate to at least suspect that an albedo trend was part of a positive feedback loop initiated by any other cause of warming ?

    @-“On one hand, imagining feedback without understanding why clouds ( the dominant term in planetary albedo ) may have change indicates bias.”

    On the other hand, current observational, Paleo, and Volcanic evidence indicates that cloud albedo is not a dominant term in planetary changes to albedo. Inventing the possibility that it MAY change causing warming may indicate bias.

    @-“…perhaps implicit in my observations, is a suggestion of reversion to the mean. Statistically that may be an expectation, …”

    There’s confirmation bias danger here.

    @-“but again, without physically understanding, it could be that albedo was anomalously high early in the series and will stay near recent levels indefinitely.”

    Without physically understanding what changes albedo it is indeed possible to construct (by hand-waving magic?) a pattern of albedo change, anomalously high to stable, that is contradicted by everything we do know about the physics of changes in snow and ice albedo. Our knowledge of clouds may be incomplete, but it is enough to put strict constraints on how much it does impact the global system from historical and observational data.
    Unicorns….

  41. Steven Mosher says:

    One way to look at hansen is to take the projected forcings (A, B, C) take the predictions from
    them, A1, B1, C1. Regress to establish an emulation of the underlying model (M`) and then
    evaluate that model for the actual forcings, and compare that to Observations. If you dont have the original code to re run.

    re running the original code with the acutal forcings would be the best way to judge the skill of the model. Standard practice.

    Of course if you kept all your code under version control that would be a snap. dang.

    One unforeseen benefit of publishing your code. shrugs… na, let a dozen or so really smart people waste their time reconstructing stuff. Good use of their gray matter. The other side benefit of not publishing your code and data is that people can misrepresent what you did and thats a huge bonus. opps, not

    hindsight of course. if you never learn from the past you always have hindsight! way more accurate than foresight, ask the Rev.

  42. Nick Stokes says:

    TE,
    “As you point out, Hansen was wrong about the emissions scenario, if nothing else.”
    Hansen was not wrong about the emissions scenario. Scenarios are not predictions – you can’t be wrong about them. It turned out between B and C.

    “That means that doing nothing has had the same effect “
    No. In fact, CO₂ followed scenario B, which is actually very close to scenario A to 2018. The reason why the total scenario fell behind was the lag in CH₄ and CFCs. We don’t quite know why CH₄ fell behind. CFCs obviously because of the success of the Montreal protocol, which came later.

  43. Dave_Geologist says:

    If cloud albedo feedback is negative, then why didn’t it prevent deglaciations in the past

    TE failed to notice that Lindzen’s Iris Hypothesis was falsified by observations within a few years of being proposed, i.e. more than a decade ago. It survives as a minor tweak to cloud parameterisations, but is very much a second order effect. Of course that’s why it can’t stop glaciations 😉 .

    I guess TE isn’t very observant 😦 .

  44. Steven Mosher says:

    “TE,
    “As you point out, Hansen was wrong about the emissions scenario, if nothing else.”
    Hansen was not wrong about the emissions scenario. Scenarios are not predictions – you can’t be wrong about them. It turned out between B and C.”

    Hansen picked three scenarios, technically they have zero probability of happening exactly as described. If you are good at scenario development your scenarios will bracket “reality” If you have a lot of compute resource or a small scenario space you can generate scenarios that will be operationally indistinguishable from reality.

    The thing that amazes me is that so many “skeptic” types, especially those with enginering backgrounds, know exactly the kind of parametric study hansen was doing. and yet they pretend not to understand it. Even business types should get it, as all manner of business planning is done using scenario analysis.

  45. Steven,

    Hansen picked three scenarios, technically they have zero probability of happening exactly as described.

    Indeed. I vaguely remember Matt Ridley once arguing that the IPCC suggests we could follow a low emission pathway because they include one in their analyses. Well, yes, but only if we actually do something to reduce our emissions; it’s not going to happen by chance.

  46. Dave_Geologist says:

    perhaps implicit in my observations, is a suggestion of reversion to the mean

    Well TE, given that your “observations” consist largely of unicorns and sky-dragons, I don’t think we can draw any suggestions from them, let alone conclusions. And given your inability to interpret the few actual observations you present, I’d be wary of drawing conclusions from anything you post.

  47. Dave_Geologist says:

    re running the original code with the acutal forcings would be the best way to judge the skill of the model. … na, let a dozen or so really smart people waste their time reconstructing stuff.

    You still don’t get that consilience thing, do you Steven? Didn’t you learn anything from BEST (about the scientific method, not version control)?

  48. Steven Mosher says:

    “You still don’t get that consilience thing, do you Steven? Didn’t you learn anything from BEST (about the scientific method, not version control)?”

    Err yes I get the consilience, but this isnt it. And people trying to reconstruct what hansen did isnt consilience, You dont get consilience.
    Consilience would be a different modeler, or a different approach like time series analysis showing a similar result. Consilence works from independent unrelated sources.

    So for example. Documentary evidence that the LIA was cool, and Proxies of temperature like
    tree rings. independent and unrelated.

    Stick to rocks

  49. Dave_Geologist says:

    Steven, what part about multiple datasets, not just the one Hansen used, multiple methods (e.g. Cowtan & Way), different forms of comparison (e.g. Hansen’s ECS vs. the current consensus value), phenological changes, melting ice, SLR etc. is not consilience?

    And BTW I was responding to a post where you were arguing (as so often) for replication, not consilience. The section of your post that I quoted should have made that clear. You were, I presume, talking about replication or Auditing, not consilience.

    Of course we know Hansen was right through consilience. “Right” in the meaningful sense of identifying the drivers and their consequences, and even managing to bracket the forcing record in his projections. He may well have been “wrong” in the meaningless sense that he had a few dodgy data points or duff lines of code, and if you corrected for them you’d get a result which differed in the third decimal place but made no difference in the real world. Other than for rhetorical point-scoring. You might be excited by that; most of just don’t care. I think we’ve got the priorities right; YMMV.

  50. Steven Mosher says:

    Lets make a simple problem for dave.

    Your task is to model revenue for a company. They have two products A and B.

    You create two scenarios: Under scenario 1, the demand for A and B rise 5 percent
    under scenario 2, they rise 15%. You also assume rising prices of 4%.

    The model is pretty easy. You try not to complicate things so its just two
    revenue lines summed together. At the end of the year you want to check your model.

    You compare your actual Revenue R, with the two projections R1 and R2. Actual R falls
    in between them. Looks pretty good, but you’d like to know why it doesnt look better.

    Someone suggests running the model over with the actual demand and actual prices.
    Dave says, no way ! you never want to do that. you want someone to do a different model
    or use different data. You want consilience not improvement. You remind him that no one
    who matters doubts the fundamentals of revenue models.

    You ignore dave, so does everyone else. You run the model over with the actual demand and actual prices. you generate a new revenue estimate R`. R` is also different from R, but not by much. You investigate further, and you discover that at some price levels your demand plateaus.
    elasticity! who knew? You add this to your model and iterate. You get closer to the truth.

    Meanwhile dave is off trying to convince others that the exercise you go through to improve the model is less important than someone else working from scratch trying to replicate your innacurate results. He argues that it is standard practice to ditch your old models once they are used and start everything from scratch. 10 guys trying to replicate the old stuff is way more important than improving the old stuff. start fresh!

    dave is sent to the mail room. work goes on.

  51. Steven and Dave,
    I suspect you’re talking at cross-purposes here.

  52. Dave_Geologist says:

    Steven’s last was TL;DR so I can’t tell. I’d say apples and oranges but I guess that’s the same thing. To rephrase my previous: “Hansen was right” ≠ “Hansen correctly forecast the forcings to n decimal places and successfully projected the temperature with error y“.

    “Hansen was right” = Hansen correctly forecast that if we kept on emitting CO2 and other GHGs at our current rate, we’d warm at about 0.2°C per decade. Per Asimov, Hansen was Eratosthenes-right. His detractors were flat-earther-wrong. And still are.

  53. BBD says:

    I guess TE isn’t very observant 😦 .

    Boy I’m tired of this crap about clouds. So obviously, demonstrably wrong but it never goes away.

    All these smart-arses who consider themselves ‘expert’ contrarians are nothing of the kind.

  54. BBD says:

    As for Steven’s latest sally, what he’s doing is peddling the ‘climate scientists hide stuff and are a bit crap’ meme:

    re running the original code with the acutal forcings would be the best way to judge the skill of the model. Standard practice.

    Of course if you kept all your code under version control that would be a snap. dang.

    One unforeseen benefit of publishing your code. shrugs… na, let a dozen or so really smart people waste their time reconstructing stuff. Good use of their gray matter. The other side benefit of not publishing your code and data is that people can misrepresent what you did and thats a huge bonus. opps, not

    There is a constant undercurrent of this sort in his stuff. It’s tedious.

  55. John Hartz says:

    A nicely written and concise explanation of why Hansen’s Scenario B forecasts turned out to be on the high side…

    One of Dr. Hansen’s scenarios, Scenario B, has turned out to be a reasonably close match for fossil-fuel emissions as they actually occurred. Yet we now know Scenario B predicted too much global warming, by something like 30 percent.

    Two reasons for that stand out. One is that Dr. Hansen had assumed a continued increase in certain refrigerant gases that warm the climate. Those gases were ultimately brought under control by a global treaty, the Montreal Protocol — proof that scientific warnings, if taken seriously, can be acted upon at a worldwide scale.

    The bigger problem was that the computers he was using in the 1980s could not operate fast enough to give a realistic picture of the upper atmosphere; as a result, his model was most likely overestimating the Earth’s sensitivity to emissions. In the years since, computer modeling of the climate, though hardly perfect, has improved.

    So while his temperature forecast was not flawless, in a larger sense, Dr. Hansen’s 1988 warning has turned out to be entirely on target. As emissions have soared, the planet has warmed relentlessly, just as he said it would; 1988 is not even in the top 20 warmest years now. Every year of this century has been hotter.

    The ocean is rising, as Dr. Hansen predicted, and the pace seems to be accelerating. The great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are dumping ever-rising volumes of water into the sea. Coastal flooding is increasing rapidly in the United States. The Arctic Ocean ice cap has shrunk drastically.

    A Prophet of Doom Was Right About the Climate, Opinion by Justin Gillis, Sunday Review, New York Times, June 23, 2018

  56. dikranmarsupial says:

    AIUI The source code for the GISS Model has been freely available for some time. How often have climate skeptics re-run the model to see if they can reproduce e.g. the CMIP3 runs? I suspect the answer is approximately never, but I’d be glad to hear otherwise.

  57. izen says:

    @-SM
    Your calls for a reproduction of Hansen, the exact re-running of the original code with original data and then with new data, has been attempted. You were involved in that back in 2007 I think. I understand the problems that arose were the changes in the FORTRAN compilers and hardware it runs on over the years, and the ‘good enough at the time’ structure of the data files.

    What was the end result of those efforts to ‘Audit’ the Hansen code ?

    Replication, the same methodology, but with different code and data might be easier than trying to duplicate paper-tape data input devices. Especially as a few years before the 1988 annoucment the methodology, including the formulae employed, had been set out in detail in previous papers.
    Here’s one;-

    https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1983/1983_Hansen_ha05900x.pdf

    Current GCMs and modelling is several orders of magnitude greater in complexity, time and spatial resolution.
    Which prediction for 30 years hence is likely to be as, or more accurate than Hansen in 1988 ?

  58. Dave_Geologist says:

    The only point in FOIing and re-running old code and data is to uncover fraud or gross error. That the effort persists, despite numerous failed attempts to find anything (including some which employed criminal activity in the form of server hacks), and the singular failure of any Audit to reveal anything material or to change the science, betrays a mind-set. “We have to keep trying, we just haven’t caught them yet.” “These guys are just jumped-up geographers, we’re physicists and mathematicians, we can do it better.” Grasping at straws, e.g claiming victory because you found a dozen wrongly coded data points in tens of thousands, which changes the result by a barely detectable amount and doesn’t change the conclusions, shows the vacuity of the approach. Especially when it’s accompanied by a gross unaudited error like proposing a relationship for fossil skeletons that gives ludicrous results for extant animals, or generating synthetic data with completely different noise characteristics to the real data and drawing conclusions about the real data.

    And it’s not even a good way to uncover scientific fraud. Real scientific frauds were not perpetrated by faking numbers in card decks or by lying about the output. They were done by faking the experimental results and lying in the lab books about the input. If NASA were faking the numbers, Auditing the card decks wouldn’t detect it. You’d have to go back to the instrumental records and re-do it yourself. Oh, hang on a minute, isn’t that what BEST did? Remind me of the outcome, someone 😉 .

  59. “If cloud albedo feedback is negative, then why didn’t it prevent deglaciations in the past?”
    As I said, I don’t believe there’s evidence to support any feedback wrt to cloud albedo.

    “Scenario C did not assume ceasing emissions. It assumed stabilised concentrations, and only at 2000 after concentrations kept rising similarly to Scenario B up to then (other than CFCs). It’s also not true that we’ve done nothing to produce a lower warming rate than Hansen’s Scenario A and B.”

    Yes, I’ve pointed this out before, the decline in CFCs led to the deceleration of forcing rates which peaked the year after the testimony:

    “Hansen was not wrong about the emissions scenario. Scenarios are not predictions – you can’t be wrong about them. It turned out between B and C.”
    Hansen told Congress scenario B was most likely and couldn’t rule out scenario A.
    Would the alarm prevail had he instead been correct in predicting forcing between B and C,
    and resulting warming that was closest to scenario C?

    “Well, yes, but only if we actually do something to reduce our emissions; it’s not going to happen by chance.”
    Most of the developed world nations do now have continually falling rates of emission.
    The economic benefit to those nations with still increasing rates of emission is probably a net benefit, both to the environment because population decrease is so closely correlated with economic development, but also hugely of benefit to the human development and well being of citizens of those nations.

    “Boy I’m tired of this crap about clouds. So obviously, demonstrably wrong but it never goes away.”
    As I wrote, I don’t think there’s evidence to support cloud feedback.
    There is evidence in the CERES albedo series above, that cliouds did change significantly for 2015-2017 ( albedo at record lows ). There’s not much evidence this had anything to do with AGW, but there is evidence that it happened.

  60. BBD says:

    Most of the developed world nations do now have continually falling rates of emission.

    But…

  61. izen says:

    @-TE
    “There is evidence in the CERES albedo series above, that cliouds did change significantly for 2015-2017 ( albedo at record lows ). There’s not much evidence this had anything to do with AGW, but there is evidence that it happened.”

    Isn’t the reduction in cloud albedo/cover during 2015-2017, and back in 1997-1998 a result of the tropospheric ‘hot spot’ created by the strong El Nino as evidenced by the satellite LTT record ?

  62. BBD says:

    This is a strong argument for emissions reductions. It’s also an illustration that the model physics are pretty good:

  63. Dave_Geologist says:

    Hansen told Congress scenario B was most likely and couldn’t rule out scenario A.

    Hilarious Eddie. Hansen (correctly) said he couldn’t rule out his worst scenario – mainly because it assumed continued growth in CFC emissions. Because the Montreal Protocol was just being finalised and we didn’t know how it would work out yet. Or even if everyone would sign up. Certainly not at the time the calculations were being run. If it makes you feel any better, call scenario A “with CFCs, assuming Montreal doesn’t stick”.

    And are you seriously claiming that a bunch of Republican congresscritters who hated every word they were hearing really went into a panic because a scientist “couldn’t rule something out”? Really? Do you realise how foolish that makes you look? Regardless of your views on AGW, have you no pride?

  64. BBD says:

    As I wrote, I don’t think there’s evidence to support cloud feedback.
    There is evidence in the CERES albedo series above, that cliouds did change significantly for 2015-2017 ( albedo at record lows ). There’s not much evidence this had anything to do with AGW, but there is evidence that it happened.

    Oh so it’s magic then. Right.

  65. izen says:

    @-TE
    “Would the alarm prevail had he instead been correct in predicting forcing between B and C,
    and resulting warming that was closest to scenario C?”

    Have you considered that the reason the forcing was closer to C than B was because he raised the Alarm (amongst others) and some mitigating responses were made. Along with GHG/aerosol uncertainties.
    Although emission did not drop to zero in 2000 as scenario C projected.
    And temperatures since 2000 have not followed C, we seem to be heading back towards B.

    That to some extent Hansen was closer to reality with scenario C, both in forcing and temperature, at least in the early part of the record would seem to strengthen the degree of ‘skill’ or useful predictive ability of his modelling approach.
    Given this enhanced validation of early modelling have you any good reason to doubt the likely increased reliability of the AR5 projections of temperature change with a range of forcing over the next 70yrs?

    “Relative to the average from year 1850 to 1900, global surface temperature change by the end of the 21st century is projected to likely exceed 1.5°C for RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5 (high confidence). Warming is likely to exceed 2°C for RCP6.0 and RCP8.5 (high confidence), more likely than not to exceed 2°C for RCP4.5 (high confidence), but unlikely to exceed 2°C for RCP2.6 (medium confidence). Warming is unlikely to exceed 4°C for RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 (high confidence) and is about as likely as not to exceed 4°C for RCP8.5 (medium confidence). “

  66. deniers only seem to like El Niño events that appear on the left hand side of a graph – bless

  67. In the ABC argument world, they also like to believe that El Nino events act as ratchets to increase global temperatures in a step-wise fashion. Of course, this argument has a fatal flaw.

  68. izen says:

    @-PP
    “they also like to believe that El Nino events act as ratchets to increase global temperatures in a step-wise fashion. Of course, this argument has a fatal flaw.”

    It was fun to point out there is a ~3000 year record of El Nino events were it always cooled back down to a stable global temperature.
    The recent ENSO rachet is very different, if it continued the oceans would boil in about 3000 years. An explanation for the sudden change would be good?

    If only we knew of some physical mechanism (over which we had control) that was slowing the rate of cooling after El Nino events, and maintained the new increased global temperature…!

  69. BBD says:

    There’s always magic.

  70. angech says:

    Nick Stokes says: June 24, 2018 at 7:47 am
    TE,“As you point out, Hansen was wrong about the emissions scenario, if nothing else.”
    Hansen was not wrong about the emissions scenario. Scenarios are not predictions – you can’t be wrong about them. It turned out between B and C.”

    Semantics.
    Future scenarios, with different CO2 inputs, are in fact making predictions or guesses about the future. Beats my why when people are unhappy about a comment they should explain their concern rather than shifting goalposts.
    The question here is not which scenario it fell between but how that scenario actually fitted.
    “It turned out between B and C” is quite vague. Did the CO2 emissions fall between Band C?
    or did the observed temperature rise fall between B and C?
    Or both.
    My understanding is we kept on polluting like scenario A but the response was more like C.
    “However, not only is this claim about temperatures wrong, what’s more relevant is the change in forcing, what turns out to have been between scenario B (constant rate of emission) and C (emissions stop in 2000). The resulting temperature change turns out to, therefore, be quite similar to what has been observed (see here).”
    It seems strange to see people arguing on the one hand we have [must have] reduced emissions to meet the graph and then to argue that no we cannot and have not reduced emissions in any meaningful way.

  71. angech,
    No, we haven’t reduced emissions. We’ve emitted somewhat less than we could have and aerosols are providing a negative forcing (which reduces the net change in forcing compared to what it could have been).

  72. verytallguy says:

    “My understanding is we kept on polluting like scenario A but the response was more like C.”

    This is not “understanding”, it’s confirmation bias. And it is, with crushing inevitability, entirely wrong. See Nick Stokes post: “while CO2 followed scenario B, others were much lower. CH4 and CFCs were below scenario C, so overall a result between B and C is to be expected. ”

    Or see the update from Zeke H at the end of ATTPs post.

    Or indeed any of the commentary linked.

  73. Marco says:

    “My understanding is we kept on polluting like scenario A but the response was more like C.”

    I think the question Angech should ask himself is “why was this my understanding?”

    Was it:
    a) because this is what he was told by sources he trusted
    b) because this is how he understands it.

    In case a) Angech should reconsider whether the sources he uses are really trustworthy (“they aren’t”, would be the appropriate answer).

    In case b) Angech should reconsider whether he really knows enough to even open his mouth. As a famous saying goes “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it”.

  74. Magma says:

    That poster’s complaint about others “shifting goalposts” is a fine example of projection.

  75. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech wrote “Semantics. Future scenarios, with different CO2 inputs, are in fact making predictions or guesses about the future. Beats my why when people are unhappy about a comment they should explain their concern rather than shifting goalposts.”

    No, the distinction between projections and predictions is of central importance in understanding the use of climate models. Suggesting that it is shifting goalpost is an insult and an ignorant one at that. Your unending bullshit (and the above paragraph is bullshit) has pretty much meant I am going to have to stop commenting here because it is no longer an enjoyable place to discuss science.

  76. JCH says:

    Maybe Wall Street did it:

    “Sell La Niña; buy El Niño.”

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration is ordering scientists to detrend the government temperature series to give oscillations a shot at a tie.

  77. angech says:

    DM
    You stay here. Please. I will try very hard not to comment for 2 months here then see if you change your mind. Let’s both barrack for the Socceroos instead.
    Have a good stress free 2 months.
    I can still read the blog only ( really do enjoy it) and if able to return then I will try to be more decorous.

  78. paulski0 says:

    angech,

    Future scenarios, with different CO2 inputs, are in fact making predictions or guesses about the future.

    Broadly true. Hansen et al. “guessed” that reality would fall somewhere between Scenario A and C:

    ‘Scenario A… must eventually be on the high side of reality in view of finite resource constraints and environmental concerns.’

    ‘Scenario C is a more drastic curtailment of emissions than has generally been imagined.’

    So we can evaluate that Hansen et al.’s prediction about the future of GHGs was correct – reality did fall within these posts. Overall we took measures to ensure CFCs and some other gases didn’t run out of control (largely due to non-climate related environmental issues) but we didn’t do much to curtail CO2. The absurd way to evaluate Hansen et al.’s projections is to pretend that they only proposed one scenario and declare it wrong where it diverges from observed GHG concentrations.

  79. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Mosher:

    One unforeseen benefit of publishing your code. shrugs… na, let a dozen or so really smart people waste their time reconstructing stuff. Good use of their gray matter. The other side benefit of not publishing your code and data is that people can misrepresent what you did and thats a huge bonus. opps, not
    hindsight of course. if you never learn from the past you always have hindsight! way more accurate than foresight, ask the Rev.

    Thanks for the nod, Steven.
    Between the two of us, we’ll get this whole climate science mess up to ISO 9001.
    Eventually.

    Actually, I’m still waiting for Isaac Newton’s code and data.
    That “Principia” thing seems to have been a pretty big hit, but we just can’t be too sure that there isn’t a mistake in there somewhere.
    Maybe if we could hack the old guy’s e-mails, we could at least reconstruct the possibly nefarious dealings he had with that Ed Halley fellow.
    There’s probably a good reason that Bob Hooke was apt to use ciphers and guard his ideas from prying Isaacs.
    And – In hindsight, G-W Leibniz may have wasted a lot of his valuable time with that ‘calculus’ stuff – Newton was probably hiding the rise over the run.

    Stupid scientists – For want of a few more quality assurance audits by really smart people with very serious concerns, they coulda been contenders.

  80. John Hartz says:

    In his Guardian post of today., Dana Nuccitelli assesses Hansen’s forecasts and skewers the critical Op-ed by Patrick Michaels and Ryan Maure published in the WSJ.

    30 years ago, James Hansen testified to Congress about the dangers of human-caused climate change. In his testimony, Hansen showed the results of his 1988 study using a climate model to project future global warming under three possible scenarios, ranging from ‘business as usual’ heavy pollution in his Scenario A to ‘draconian emissions cuts’ in Scenario C, with a moderate Scenario B in between.

    Changes in the human effects that influence Earth’s global energy imbalance (a.k.a. ‘anthropogenic radiative forcings’) have in reality been closest to Hansen’s Scenario B, but about 20–30% weaker thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol in phasing out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Hansen’s climate model projected that under Scenario B, global surface air temperatures would warm about 0.84°C between 1988 and 2017. But with a global energy imbalance 20–30% lower, it would have predicted a global surface warming closer to 0.6–0.7°C by this year.

    The actual 1988–2017 temperature increase was about 0.6°C. Hansen’s 1988 global climate model was almost spot-on.

    30 years later, deniers are still lying about Hansen’s amazing global warming prediction by Dana Nuccitelli, Climate Consensus – the 97%, Environment, Guardian, June 25, 2018

  81. Harry Twinotter says:

    80 comments? Blimey!
    “Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16.”

    Just that quote alone shows it is Amateur Hour for those people. There is no need to discount 18 months of data because it is irrelevant to the long term Global Mean Temperature anyway.

  82. John Carpenter says:

    “Between the two of us, we’ll get this whole climate science mess up to ISO 9001.
    Eventually.” – Rev

    It could’nt hurt. But it really needs to go a bit further than that. ISO 9000 is just a quality management system. It just puts the basics in place, I.e. that there is a calibration system or a root cause corrective system or a system to show traceability of a process. However, ISO doesn’t really dig into whether a process is working as specified. If you want that, then a system like Nadcap is needed. Here is an example of a third part auditing system created by the aerospace industry to ensure special processes and outsourced services are being performed to specification. To do that, the auditor spends more time on the shop floor actually watching how the process is performed, determining if the supplier is processing to best practices which the whole aerospace industry establishes through the creation of a consensus built checklists. It’s quite unique to industry and is very successful helping control complex multi variable outsourced processes such as welding, heat treating, chem processing, non destructive testing, etc…., all used in the manufacturing of complex and safety critical machines used to ferry people all over the world. You can’t supply to the aerospace community without it. It’s a way better version of peer review.

    What the Rev gets caught up in is a common reaction folks not familiar with the process tend to express. Almost always you get some old timer who expresses the opinion that ‘we have been doing this for years and haven’t had any issues, this is just going to cause a lot of extra work… I see no benefit and I really don’t need anyone telling me how to do my job after all I’ve been doing this for 30+ years, I know what I’m doing.’ What the old timer is’nt getting is despite doing the job for 30+ years, he may be doing some things wrong or not to best practices. The old timer also wears rose colored glasses. There are always issues, things go wrong in complex processes all the time. Taking offense to having someone review your process and finding issues that may need correcting is really unproductive and frankly immature.

    Here is the takeaway, the usefulness of auditing your process is not about finding “Gotcha’s”… rather it’s about having a system in place that allows you to make corrections to process errors in a way that facilitates continuous improvement. As much as auditing can be used to ensure reproducibility and traceability of a process… it is also a system that provides a framework to improve upon what you do. To help you make a better product and correct flaws in the process. It works for making airplanes, why not for making climate models?

  83. tlsmith says:

    Great post ATTP. I also found Zeke Hausfather’s graphs and blog really fascinating. I have been feeling frustrated that I hadn’t seen this kind of comparison between observations and what the models predict given our actual emissions. Good to see

  84. BBD says:

    Taking offense to having someone review your process and finding issues that may need correcting is really unproductive and frankly immature.

    That’s not really what’s going on here though, is it? Rather, there’s a constant shrilling of dogwhistles back to the olde tropes of Piltdown Mann and Lindzen’s claim that only the less able pursued careers in climate science. A whole back-catalogue of ad hominem rhetoric intended to discredit the people rather than the results – because the results stand up to scrutiny and the political enemies of science have no scientific arguments of their own.

  85. izen says:

    @-John Carpenter
    “Here is the takeaway, the usefulness of auditing your process is not about finding “Gotcha’s”… rather it’s about having a system in place that allows you to make corrections to process errors in a way that facilitates continuous improvement. ”

    Perhaps you are not hopelessly naive and it is different in the aerospace industry. But I think most people who work in areas where auditing has been introduced have discovered that it has little role in improving outcomes.

    Its main purpose is to erect a series of mutually unreachable criteria that then allow management to claim that they have the ‘right’ procedures in place, so any problem with the outcomes is the fault of the person doing the task, and NOT a systemic problem with the process.

    It is primarily a blame-shifting device to absolve management/governence of responsibility.

  86. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    John Carpenter:

    … all used in the manufacturing of complex and safety critical machines used to ferry people all over the world. You can’t supply to the aerospace community without it. It’s a way better version of peer review.
    What the Rev gets caught up in is a common reaction folks not familiar with the process tend to express.

    Yeah – but what John gets caught up in is a conflation of supply-chain management and process engineering with scientific inquiry.
    In fact, equating peer-review of the results of innovative research with an accreditation program in aerospace-industry logistics may indicate a lack of familiarity on John’s part.


    Taking offense to having someone review your process and finding issues that may need correcting is really unproductive and frankly immature.

    There are always “issues that may need correcting”.
    Shall we play another Entirely Productive and Very Mature round-robin of Russell Review??
    Shall we McIntyre, McKitrick, and Muller da Mann until the Keeling curve hits 500?

    No offense taken.
    Actually, those who react to important scientific results by tone-trolling the methodology even 30 years after the fact, are paying a backhanded compliment to the original work.

  87. izen says:

    @-angech
    “I will try very hard not to comment for 2 months here then see if you change your mind. ”

    While I understand DM’s setiment. I think you concede too readily to one person’s POV.

    You provide amusement as well as irritation.
    And in any oyster, an irritant is nessecary to generate pearls of wisdom.
    (grin)

  88. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Food for thought and perhaps fodder for a new OP…

    Occam’s razor is about assumptions, not simplicity, The Logic of Science, June 26, 2018

  89. John Hartz says:

    John Carpenter: As a practical matter, who are the people qualified to “audit” GCMs?

  90. “ATTP: Food for thought and perhaps fodder for a new OP…

    Occam’s razor is about assumptions, not simplicity, The Logic of Science, “

    Thanks. The Law of Parsimony (i.e. Occam’s razor) means that all the simple explanations work in unison. He hinted at it in the linked piece – “Every time that you get in your car, you’re implicitly assuming that all of its necessary parts work.”

    Maximum Parsimony and Maximum Entropy may be related in some way. Consider this from a recent article “Using the Maximum Entropy Principle to Combine Simulations and Solution Experiments”, arXiv:1801.05247v2

    “Finally, we notice that there are cases where results might be easier to interpret if only a small number of different conformations were contributing to the experimental average. In order to obtain small sets of conformations that represent the ensemble and provide a clearer picture about the different states, several maximum parsimony approaches have been developed. Naturally, the selection of a suitable set of structures is done on an existing ensemble and not on-the-fly during a simulation.

  91. John Carpenter says:

    BBD – There are always detractors whether it’s facing up to changing the way we produce and use energy to improving the quality of how we perform research and evaluate the results. So yeah, there is a lot of baggage to the climate issue that comes along for the ride. I see folks across the climate issue spectrum working hard to discredit their opponents… not productive. As you say, disagreement should be based on interpretation of results, not the person delivering the message.

    Izen – Maybe it is different in aerospace or industry in general. Nobody likes to get poked and prodded by an auditor, good auditors dig deep and find the issues that are there no one wants to deal with and it can get uncomfortable. Early in my experience with Nadcap I was annoyed and upset with the process, it felt like we were being singled out and told to change how we did business or else we would lose our aerospace customers. It was a threat. In the end it had nothing to do with threats or blame shifting and everything to do with elevating the level of performance to a higher standard. You can’t let your pride get in the way of that otherwise you will be left behind looking for reasons to blame someone for your own failure. Our business has benefited tremendously by adopting the system and auditing is just a tool to evaluate you do what you say you do.

    Rev – For scientific inquiry, peer review is the closest thing to a quality control check for research results proposed to be published (the product as it were). So comparing peer review with a rigorous accreditation system used to provide guidelines to improve accuracy, consistency and reproducability of products seems reasonable. The argument that implementing a quality system into scientific inquiry would stifle creativity has been raised to me before. I disagree. I bring this up not because you made such an argument, you didn’t. I bring it up because it returns the discussion back to my original point. Manufactured products continue to improve and get better over time because of creativity…. creativity driven by the need to improve performance which is brought to the attention of the manufacturer by 1) their customers 2) failures that occur and 3) auditing of processes used to make the product i.e. finding the flaws before they “escape”.

    A climate model is a tool that in essence manufactures a product which is a projection or a scenario. The product of the model in turn is used to INFORM… whether its the principle researcher or another researcher or a policymaker or even someone who is just curious. Keeping a clean house goes along way to refuting the bomb throwers out there looking to derail the product for whatever reason. adopting a more rigorous quality control system to control the process helps keep a clean house. ISO and/or Nadcap type systems could be adopted in scientific inquiry, it’s not exclusive to industry. The two things that I see preventing it are 1) the old guard who doesn’t want to change or believe a change will be for the better… “we never had to do that before and we are ok” trope (which is a fallacy) 2) It takes hard work to put the process in place.

  92. BBD says:

    I see folks across the climate issue spectrum working hard to discredit their opponents… not productive. As you say, disagreement should be based on interpretation of results, not the person delivering the message.

    Then you will join the rest of us in the condemnation of those who peddle the ‘unsound science’ ad hominem. I appreciate that this means ceasing to insinuate that there is a systematic problem with climate models as a whole, but consistency is important.

  93. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    The argument that implementing a quality system into scientific inquiry would stifle creativity has been raised to me before. I disagree.

    I think you are mistaking standardization for science, John.

    Since the “products” of scientific inquiry have typically never been published before, much less standardized through the “creation of a consensus built checklists”, and since the “customers” are other research scientists, how do you propose that an external authority should get to define and effectively police “quality”?

    Look, Dr Hansen, what you’ve done here is very creative, however, our quality system finds that it goes against our industry standards and product guidelines…
    Warming already detected?
    Limits to GHG emissions required to avoid rapid climate change?
    Act now?
    Your “climate change product”, although quite fascinating, doesn’t make the cut.
    Got anything that we can use to satisfy our clients, but with less commotion?
    Maybe something with a “lukewarm” option.
    We’d like to promote your work, but we’re risk-averse, and we have to prepare for the bomb-throwers.

  94. izen says:

    @-John Carpenter
    “Keeping a clean house goes along way to refuting the bomb throwers out there looking to derail the product for whatever reason. adopting a more rigorous quality control system to control the process helps keep a clean house. ”

    One tactic of the bomb throwers is to suggest there is something ‘dirty’ about the product, doubt being theirs.

    Events show No, Hansen wasn’t wrong! however (un)clean his house.

    Given that past sucess, are you prepared to consider that the current modelling of the climate for a range of future forcings are just as likely to be accurate ?
    (even if they fail to conform to your sub-Deeming management audit nonsense.)

  95. John Hartz says:

    John Carpenter: You write:

    The two things that I see preventing it are 1) the old guard who doesn’t want to change or believe a change will be for the better… “we never had to do that before and we are ok” trope (which is a fallacy) 2) It takes hard work to put the process in place.

    Are you aware that the teams of specialists that are in charge of the care and feeding of GCMs are continuously engaged in the refinement and updating of their respective models?

  96. John Carpenter says:

    BBD- I’m not insinuating there is a problem with climate models as a whole. Having said that and as the saying goes, “All models are wrong but some are useful”. You can’t ad hominem attack a climate model.

    Rev- I am not mistaking standardization with science. John Hartz questioned above who is qualified to audit GCM’s and your comment also asks who will “effectively police quality”. Both are great questions. The simple answer is the modeling community itself, as is done in the aerospace community. The subject matter experts gather and parse out the common elements used in GCM’s and then standardize those parts of the process. It’s not like GCM’s were just invented last year and are so new we are still in exploratory territory. GCM’s have been used for decades. There is commonality between GCM’s. CMIP is a good example of an organization of modelers that have the subject matter experts to do this. There are common elements to all climate models that could be standardized.

    When a new process is developed, over time you gain knowledge enough to understand its limits and write a specification around the limitations of that process. Specifications define what it is that you expect the model or process to do? What information are you trying to learn from it? What kind of output do you want? These are questions researchers are asking themselves already. By asking these questions and then testing the models, you can determine how close to specification, observation or how close to expectation the model performs… this is what researchers do now. Nobody just makes models ad hoc and run them to see what you happen to get, there is intention to learn and inform. There are specific reasons to run different scenarios. A quality system per se is then useful to identify where the model fails to meet specification and provides a structure to improve. I am not so naive to think researchers don’t do this already, they do. There is always an effort to improve performance. But using a common system to facilitate this process would be greatly beneficial to the whole community.

    Izen – how do you refute doubt? By getting your house in order. By having traceability. One of the big benefits to having such a system in place is it definitively shows you work within a set of agreed upon guidelines… i.e. it removes doubt. As an example… If a piece of aerospace hardware fails in the field, there will be an investigation to determine what caused the failure. When the investigators knock on your door to see if you performed your tasks correctly, having a clean house that is in order ELIMINATES you from the investigation because you can definitively show through traceability you performed according to specification. If your house is not in order and you can’t definitively show it, you can’t eliminate yourself from inquiry… even if in reality you did nothing wrong and did everything right! If you can’t show your work, you sow an element of doubt into the investigation and you now become a part of it. That is a tough spot to be in.

    When working in such a polarized environment as climate science where research results are used to inform policy, there should be an extra emphasis within the community to work to common standards to eliminate doubt in the methods used to obtain the results, to be able to refute the bomb throwers. Seems like common sense to me.

  97. John Hartz says:

    John Carpenter: You wrote:

    When working in such a polarized environment as climate science where research results are used to inform policy, there should be an extra emphasis within the community to work to common standards to eliminate doubt in the methods used to obtain the results, to be able to refute the bomb throwers. Seems like common sense to me.

    Why do you infer that the teams of experts responsible for the care and feeding of GCMs do not posses “common sense”?

    Why do you assume that they aren’t working with common standards that are shared among the various teams?

  98. KiwiGriff says:

    Like this?
    https://www.sparc-climate.org/activities/previous-activities/grips-gcm-reality-intercomparison-project/

    GRIPS – GCM-Reality Intercomparison Project

    The GCM-Reality Intercomparison Project for SPARC (GRIPS) was an initiative in which a comprehensive study of our ability to model the troposphere-stratosphere system with comprehensive general circulation models (GCMs) has been undertaken. This means first our capability of reproducing the current climate and its variability, particularly the links between the troposphere and the middle atmosphere. It also extends to studies of the influence of stratospheric trace gases on climate and an assessment of our ability to predict the impacts of their change. Such effects can only be examined with comprehensive GCMs, which include representations of all physical processes thought to be relevant to the atmospheric circulation.

    Many simpler models can be applied to process studies, such as the propagation of planetary waves from the troposphere into the middle atmosphere and their effects on the stratospheric circulation, or the transport of ozone due to these waves and the ensuing chemical effects. While such models are useful for our understanding of individual processes and their likely importance for climate, they were not the focus of GRIPS. This SPARC initiative was concerned with the climate system: the interactions between these individual processes and their relative importance. Two of the most essential questions to answer were:

    How well do comprehensive GCMs simulate the current climate of the troposphere and middle atmosphere?
    Do these models predictions of the climatic effects of stratospheric change agree with each other?

    These two questions essentially defined the short- to long-term objectives of GRIPS.

  99. Richard S J Tol says:

    Irrespective of Hansen getting the forecast right or wrong, his policy strategy has failed: Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

    The most striking thing about his recent series of interviews is that he blames everyone but himself for that, even though he has been near the heart of policy making for three decades.

    Equally strange is that there are still so many who look up to Hansen, as if 30 years of failing to get your advice implemented is something to emulate.

  100. izen says:

    @-John Carpenter
    “how do you refute doubt? By getting your house in order. By having traceability. One of the big benefits to having such a system in place is it definitively shows you work within a set of agreed upon guidelines… i.e. it removes doubt. ”

    No, Hansen wasn’t wrong!

    A rather more effective way to remove doubt is to model how the climate would evolve 30 years ago, and be (largely) right for the right reasons. And wrong for reasons that increase the credibility of the method. Responding with doubt after that demonstration of skilfulness is unreasonable.

    Given the established skill of modelling as seen in the Hansen work, and that of many others at the time and since, you still have not explained whether you accept that current projections of the next 30 years are likely to be just as accurate.
    Even without your preference for ‘traceability and common standards’. Criteria that are entierly inappropriate for research science.
    It is like demanding a film music composer must be judged on how closely they plagerised previous work.

    @-Tol
    “Equally strange is that there are still so many who look up to Hansen, as if 30 years of failing to get your advice implemented is something to emulate.”

    Many look up to Hansen because he was not wrong, his advice was sound.
    His culpability for the political obstruction that emerged in response is minimal.

  101. verytallguy says:

    Tol on Mandela, still in jail when Hansen made his testimony:

    Irrespective of Mandela getting the morals right or wrong, his policy strategy has failed: apartheid remains in force.

    Equally strange is that there are still so many who look up to Mandela, as if 30 years of failing to get your advice implemented is something to emulate.

  102. Marco says:

    “His culpability for the political obstruction that emerged in response is minimal.”

    Blaming the messenger for you not listening to the bad news. Yup, that’s the way to go.

  103. Just in case some are new here, let’s just remind people that Richard Tol spent a number of years as an academic advisor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organisation that has actively opposed effective climate policy. Let’s also remind people to be aware of the Tol’s law of blogs.

  104. Dave_Geologist says:

    John, there are lots of climate models out there in the public domain, and lots of data sets. Walk the walk rather than talking the talk. Pick one. Familiarise yourself with it. Audit it. Find the flaws. Report them. Contribute signal, not noise.

    Who knows, maybe you’ll find climate models are a lot more robust than you appear to think they are. Maybe the scientists car about that sort of thing. Maybe their managers do. Maybe your concerns are misplaced. Maybe the aerospace industry could learn something (who audited the Dreamliner batteries?).

  105. Dave_Geologist says:

    You can’t ad hominem attack a climate model.

    Don’t be silly John. Of course you can. You’ve spent the latter half of this thread doing precisely that.

  106. Dave_Geologist says:

    The subject matter experts gather and parse out the common elements used in GCM’s and then standardize those parts of the process.

    Have you any evidence they they’re not doing that already John? Based on what I see on the blogs of actual climate scientists, rather than interested bystanders, ISTM that they’re all over that already. And have been for decades. There’s a reason Hansen has been proved right, and the deniers and lukewarmers proved wrong time after time after time.

    I am not so naive to think researchers don’t do this already, they do.

    And yet you still have concerns. Interesting, as JC would say.

    you sow an element of doubt

    Ah, the irony. The meter just went off scale.

    When working in such a polarized environment as climate science

    False premise there John. Climate science is not at all polarised. 97% consensus and all that. Yes there are a few cranks who disagree, just as there are some who cling to cold fusion, but all science is like that. The politics is highly polarised but that’s a different matter. No amount of aerospace-style auditing will change that, because the deniers and lukewarmers are acting on belief not evidence. If they had evidence on their side, there wouldn’t be a consensus. Adding a bit more evidence that they’re wrong to the Everest-sized mountain that’s been demonstrating for decades that they’re wrong won’t change closed minds.

  107. Dave_Geologist says:

    Brilliant Richard.

    (Former?) associate of a global-warming-denying, action-opposing propaganda house says it’s all Hansen’s fault for pointing out the dangers ahead. Presumably he should have kept quiet, and then The Noble Lord would have come upon a Road To Damascus moment and supported climate action?

    Victim-blaming, much?

  108. BBD says:

    “You can’t ad hominem attack a climate model.”

    Don’t be silly John. Of course you can. You’ve spent the latter half of this thread doing precisely that.

    Beat me to it, DG. It’s like a mental blind spot. Or maybe not.

  109. Dave said:
    “Victim-blaming, much?”

    Hansen’s advice may not have been heeded, yet Tol overlooks that the inevitable decline in the availability of non-renewable fossil fuels has taken its toll. Isn’t Tol in England, where coal is long gone and the North Sea oil is in steep decline? In the 30 to 40 years since Hansen and Charney did their analyses, this is the UK North Sea output

    It essentially went through a rise and fall in that span of time

  110. BBD says:

    Richard

    Pretending that Hansen’s efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of CO2 emissions with policy-makers has failed is, frankly, silly. There’s a long way to go, but Hansen played a signal role in getting the world to open its collective eyes and start to pay attention.

    It’s just a shame that industry front groups and their sponsored rightwing politicians have managed to inhibit progress to the extent that they have.

  111. JCH says:

    They just want to help the climate scientists and the climate models win. Maybe because they’re feelin’ guilty all their histrionic nastiness may result in major sections of continents ending up uninhabitable.

  112. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    The most striking thing about his recent series of interviews is that he blames everyone but himself for that, even though he has been near the heart of policy making for three decades.

    Equally strange is that there are still so many who look up to Hansen, as if 30 years of failing to get your advice implemented is something to emulate.

    That the best you’ve got, Rich?

    Gaslighting just ain’t what it used to be.

  113. daveburton says:

    Ken, your description of Hansen’s paper is inconsistent with what it actually says. You say:

    In Hansen’s paper, he selected 3 different emissions scenarios, one in which emissions continued to increase (A), one in which the rate stayed similar to what it was in the 1980s (B), and one in which they basically stop in 2000 (C).

    That is incorrect. You should have quoted the paper.

    He had no scenarios in which emissions “basically stop in 2000.” In scenarios A & B emissions continued to increase (faster in scenario A than B), and in scenario C emissions stabilized in year 2000, but never decreased, let alone “basically stopped.”

    This is how Hansen actually described the three emissions scenarios:

    Scenario A assumes that growth rates of trace gas emissions typical of the 1970s and 1980s will continue indefinitely; the assumed annual growth averages about 1.5% of current emissions, so the net greenhouse forcing increases exponentially. Scenario B has decreasing trace gas growth rates, such that the annual increase of the greenhouse climate forcing remains approximately constant at the present level. Scenario C drastically reduces trace gas growth between 1990 and 2000 such that the greenhouse climate forcing ceases to increase after 2000.

    His first sentence includes an astonishing blunder: the claim that an annual 1.5% (i.e., exponential) increase in GHGs causes an exponential “net greenhouse forcing.” Even in 1988 it was common knowledge that CO2 (the most important of the GHGs they discussed) has a logarithmically diminishing effect on temperature. So an exponential increase in CO2 level causes a less-than-exponential increase in forcing (asymptotically approaching linear). Yet, amazingly, neither Hansen, nor any of his seven illustrious co-authors, nor the peer-reviewers, nor the editors of the Journal of Geophysical Research, recognized that claim was false.

    CO2 emissions actually increased substantially faster than their Scenario A, and for their Scenario A they predicted a “warming of 0.5°C per decade.”

    Now, I would agree that +0.5°C/decade would be something to worry about. Fortunately, it was nonsense.

    Under their Scenario A, emissions would have increased by 1.5% per year, totaling 47% in 26 years. In fact, CO2 emissions increased even faster than in Scenario A. CO2 emissions increased by an average of about 2.0% per year, totaling 66% in 26 years. Yet temperatures increased only about one-fourth as much as their Scenario A prediction (or at most one-third, depending on whose numbers you use).

    In fact, it wasn’t just their temperature projections which were wrong. Despite soaring emissions, even CO2 levels nevertheless rose more slowly than their Scenario A prediction, because of the strong negative feedbacks which curbed CO2 level increases, a factor which Hansen et al did not anticipate.

    In other words, Hansen et al 1988 was wildly wrong about almost everything.

  114. Dave,

    He had no scenarios in which emissions “basically stop in 2000.”

    Technically, you’re correct, but his scenario C was one in which the forcing remained roughly constant from 2000 onwards.

    Even in 1988 it was common knowledge that CO2 (the most important of the GHGs they discussed) has a logarithmically diminishing effect on temperature.

    I’m pretty sure that Hansen was well aware of this. If you look at Appendix B, the logarithmic effect on the forcing is included.

    In other words, Hansen et al 1988 was wildly wrong about almost everything.

    Umm, no he wasn’t.

  115. Dave,
    Just to extend the response a bit more. The key thing is not the individual emssions, but the net change in anthropogenic forcing. That turns out to have been between scenario B and C.

  116. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    I think it’s great that in daveburton’s comment

    In other words, Hansen et al 1988 was wildly wrong about almost everything.

    was immediately preceded by

    …CO2 levels nevertheless rose more slowly than their Scenario A prediction, because of the strong negative feedbacks which curbed CO2 level increases, a factor which Hansen et al did not anticipate.

    Excellent work, Dave.

  117. “Excellent work, Dave.”

    Yup, script-kiddies like surfer DaveBurton are good at that kind of stuff.

    BTW, guess who was also right, and preceded Hansen by 10 years?

    That would be Charney, who came up with an ECS of 3C per doubling of CO2 in 1979. If you look at airborne emissions of CO2 and the average land temperature anomaly, then we are exactly on track with that “scenario free” prediction of Charney.

  118. John Carpenter says:

    John Hartz,

    “Why do you infer that the teams of experts responsible for the care and feeding of GCMs do not posses “common sense”?”

    It was not my intention to infer the climate modeling community has no common sense. Interpreting it in that fashion strikes me as a bit provocative. Stating ‘it seems like common sense to do X in the face of Y’ is not the same as stating X has no common sense.

    “Why do you assume that they aren’t working with common standards that are shared among the various teams?”

    I don’t assume that. Here is what the Rev said

    “Thanks for the nod, Steven.
    Between the two of us, we’ll get this whole climate science mess up to ISO 9001.
    Eventually.”

    I replied that it couldn’t hurt to have such a system and gave an example of an even better community based system used by the aerospace industry. I see parallels between the two communities. If the climate modeling community has a functioning common set of standards shared among various teams, that’s great. Please share, I would love to learn more about it.

  119. daveburton says:

    ATTP wrote, “The key thing is not the individual emssions, but the net change in anthropogenic forcing.”

    That’s correct, Ken, but Hansen et al didn’t say that. They didn’t say “net change in anthropogenic forcing,” they said “emissions.”

    Their three “scenarios” were emissions scenarios. They were described in terms of “emissions.”

    It is true that they appear not to have understood the difference, but that’s just another of their many blunders.

    The purpose of the paper (and the associated congressional testimony), was to agitate for curbing GHG emissions, and creating the IPCC. It did that very successfully.

    Getting the science right — not so much.

    You say, “Hansen was well aware of this” (referring to the fact that CO2 level has a logarithmically diminishing effect on temperature), but the paper doesn’t say that. If they’d written that in the paper it would have weakened the case for curbing CO2 emissions and creating the IPCC.

    What the paper actually says is, “the assumed annual growth averages about 1.5% of current emissions, so the net greenhouse forcing increases exponentially.”

    We all know that’s wrong.

    I can’t read their minds, so I can’t tell whether they knew it was wrong when they wrote it, or made an honest error.

    Dishonesty is much worse than ignorance, so the charitable assumption is that they blundered. That’s what I choose to assume. The alternative is that “Hansen was well aware of this.” Let’s hope not.

    Likewise, if the paper had correctly projected that only about half (and AR5 estimates slightly less than half) of CO2 emissions would stay in the atmosphere, with the rest being removed by negative feedbacks, that would have even more drastically weakened the case for curbing emissions and creating the IPCC.

    Again, we can only speculate about why the authors didn’t mention how negative feedbacks would reduce the increase in CO2 levels. The charitable assumption is that they didn’t anticipate it. That’s what I choose to assume: that they were merely ignorant, rather than dishonest.

    That’s not only the charitable assumption, it’s also the optimistic assumption. In theory, at least, ignorance can be cured. Dishonesty usually can’t (short of a walk down the Damascus Road).

  120. izen says:

    @-daveburton
    “. Yet, amazingly, neither Hansen, nor any of his seven illustrious co-authors, nor the peer-reviewers, nor the editors of the Journal of Geophysical Research, recognized that claim was false.”

    Probably because it is not false. Read more carefully, Hansen says scenario A –
    “so the net greenhouse forcing increases exponentially“
    Not CO2 forcing, the NET forcing, so including water vapour as a positive feedback and CFCs that have a linear effect at the levels then projected.

    The temperature followed a path consistent with the relationship Hansen had described between net greenhouse forcing and global warming.
    Subsequent improvements in computing power have just confirmed that modelling gives a good explanation of why we are seeing unprecedented warming, sea level rise and ocean acidification. There are no other scientific explanations of the observed changes over the last 30years, certainly none viewed as credible by the scientifically informed community.

    You must be aware that the egregious distortion of Hansen you attempt has NO traction in the scientific field, I wonder what audience you do think finds such nonsense acceptable, and why.

  121. Richard S J Tol says:

    @BBD
    Hansen and his copycats have undoubtedly been successful in raising the public and political profile of climate change, but greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. As I said, the most remarkable thing about the series of retrospectives is that no one stopped and wondered whether his policy strategy has been ineffective or even counterproductive.

    I have an open mind on this. I’m just surprised that the question is ignored.

    I do think, by the way, that Al Gore and Michael Mann have been mostly counterproductive as key players in the polarisation of the climate debate.

  122. Dave_Geologist says:

    “I’m just surprised that the question is ignored.” Read Merchants of Doubt, Richard. Apply Occam’s Razor. Or indeed Bayes’ Theorem (the tobacco, CFC, etc. priors). Who had most influence. An obscure academic telling inconvenient truths, or a rich and well-organised lobby campaign telling politicians what they wanted to hear?

    Or look outside the USA. Yes the rest of the world is acting too slowly, but only in the USA (and from time to time, in Canada and Australia), has a major governing party denied settled science for decades. Ask yourself why the British and German conservatives aren’t like the Republicans. Does Hansen sound more strident to American ears, and that’s why they lost their rationality? Or do they have other reasons for denying reality?

    Blaming the messenger for shouting too loudly is so Grimm’s-Fairy-Tales.

  123. BBD says:

    ichard

    Hansen and his copycats have undoubtedly been successful in raising the public and political profile of climate change, but greenhouse gas emissions are still rising.

    But it does not follow that Hansen can be blamed for this. Hansen sought to alert the world to the danger and succeeded. Nor is there any suggestion that Hansen’s warning was in the slightest ‘counterproductive’. That behaviour can be laid at the door of vested interest and its sponsored rightwing politicians.

    I do think, by the way, that Al Gore and Michael Mann have been mostly counterproductive as key players in the polarisation of the climate debate.

    The old ‘personalise and demonise’ rhetoric invariably employed when there’s no scientific counter-argument to the consensus. Ad hominem instead of substance.

  124. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Al Gore and Michael Mann have been mostly counterproductive as key players in the polarisation of the climate debate.

    The GWPF membership, on the other hand, has been entirely, seriously, and studiously, fair and balanced. Polarization of the so-called climate debate is something they would never condone.

    When I want to blame player counterproductivity on someone, I always reach for Al Gore and da Mann too.

  125. Everett F Sargent says:

    DB sez …
    “Under their Scenario A, emissions would have increased by 1.5% per year, totaling 47% in 26 years.”

    1.015^26 ~47% increase in 26 years

    Wrong answer! :/

    Did you even read the paper? Because it said quite clearly …
    “Specifically, in scenario A CO2 increases as observed by Keeling for the interval 1958-1981 [Keeling et al., 1982] and subsequently with 1.5% yr-1 growth of the annual increment.”
    … and …
    “However, observations show that CO2 is increasing gradually: its abundance was 315 parts per million by volume (ppmv) in 1958 when Keeling initiated accurate measurements and is now about 345 ppmv, with current mean annual increments of about 1.5 ppmv [Keeling et al., 1982]”

    You do understand compounding of the CO2 time series itself versus compounding of the RATE of the annual CO2 “increment” (e. g. the rate of growth of the rate of growth, where annual rate of growth is in units of ppmv/yr)?

    I’m getting …

    1958,315 (Hansen’s 1958 starting number)
    2017, 407.36 (correct annual rate compounding calculation), 406.53 (Annual observational ESRL MLO CO2 for 2017)
    ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_gr_mlo.txt
    ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_annmean_mlo.txt

    Time to go home knucklehead.

  126. izen says:

    @-daveburton
    “The purpose of the paper (and the associated congressional testimony), was to agitate for curbing GHG emissions, and creating the IPCC. It did that very successfully.”

    Wrong twice.
    As Tol has been pointing out it did NOT succeed in agitating successfully for curbing emissions.

    The U.N. had scientific conferences on the problem of GHGs warming the climate back in 1985. It was the US Reagan government who pushed for the IPCC as a means of REDUCING the influence of scientists like Hansen, and others in the Environmental Defence Fund, expecting an international committee of scientists to much less certain and active than the US environmental scientists.
    And easier to control the output by giving veto power to political advisors over the wording of the SPM.

    Your arguments might carry more weight if they had some vague match with reality, instead of usually claiming the opposite of what actually happened.

  127. daveburton says:

    Everett, Keeling didn’t measure CO2 emissions. He measured CO2 levels (“abundance”).

    The fact that Hansen and his co-authors treated changes in level as synonymous with emissions is one of the many blunders in that hopeless paper.

    They could have done it right. Solid data on fossil fuel production and use (and therefore CO2 emissions) was available, they just didn’t bother to use it:

    You’re citing CO2 levels. Here’re the CO2 emission data:
    http://cdiac.ess-dive.lbl.gov/ftp/ndp030/global.1751_2014.ems

  128. daveburton says:

    izen wrote, “As Tol has been pointing out it did NOT succeed in agitating successfully for curbing emissions.”

    Conceded. But they certainly succeeded in diverting enormous resources to the quest.

    Just here in the United States we now have about 50 million acres devoted to raising Roundup-ready monoculture corn, to make ethanol, to mix into motor fuel, to reduce fossil fuel use, to “fight climate change.” That’s more than the combined land area of the nine smallest States in the USA, and it has a very significant environmental impact.

    izen continued, “It was the US Reagan government who pushed for the IPCC…”

    Are you suggesting that Hansen and his co-authors did not support creation of the IPCC? Do you have any evidence of that?

  129. Everett F Sargent says:

    DB sez …
    “Their three “scenarios” were emissions scenarios. They were described in terms of “emissions.””

    Still unable to understand what Hansen actually did! So if you omit words like “Keeling” and “ppmv” and “annual increment” for CO2 you are unable to understand what Hansen actually meant (e. g. as in atmospheric CO2 concentrations NOT annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions). :/

    aCO2 (ppmv) is an integral of the airborne fraction of CUMULATIVE annual anthropogernic CO2 emissions. So that if the airborn fraction is ~constant year-over-year, then a doubling of the annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions (per year or the annual rate of anthropogenic CO2 emissions per year) should produce an ~doubling of the RATE of aCO2 per annum.

    Here’s your dunce cap, now go sit in the corner.

  130. Great comment daveburton!

    At least Hansen noticed in 2013 that the airborne fraction is decreasing, in spite of the CO2 emissions ‘shot up’.
    http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/011006/meta

    But he suggests that
    “the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal, since 2000 is a basic cause of the large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks”!!!

  131. BBD says:

    Let’s hear a bit more from Hansen:

    However, increased CO2 uptake does not necessarily mean that the biosphere is healthier or that the increased carbon uptake will continue indefinitely (Matson et al 2002, Galloway et al 2002, Heimann and Reichstein 2008, Gruber and Galloway 2008). Nor does it change the basic facts about the potential magnitude of the fossil fuel carbon source (figure 6) and the long lifetime of the CO2 in the surface carbon reservoirs (atmosphere, ocean, soil, biosphere) once the fossil fuels are burned (Archer 2005). Fertilization of the biosphere affects the distribution of the fossil fuel carbon among these reservoirs, at least on the short run, but it does not alter the fact that the fossil carbon will remain in these reservoirs for millennia.

  132. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Just here in the United States we now have about 50 million acres devoted to raising Roundup-ready monoculture corn, to make ethanol, to mix into motor fuel, to reduce fossil fuel use, to “fight climate change.” That’s more than the combined land area of the nine smallest States in the USA, and it has a very significant environmental impact.

    “…to fight climate change”? To make money, more like.

    Let’s all blame climate scientists for the successes of the US industrial-agriculture lobby!

  133. izen says:

    @-daveburton
    “Just here in the United States we now have about 50 million acres devoted to raising Roundup-ready monoculture corn, to make ethanol, to mix into motor fuel, to reduce fossil fuel use, to “fight climate change.””

    That may be the claim from government, rather naive to believe them.
    The actual reasons are that it is required to increase the octane rating of US oil which does not refine into a light enough fuel to avoid pre-ignition. And additives like lead and MBTE had to be banned.
    But the main reason for this idiocy is as a subsidy to US corn farmers who could not operate without these handouts from government in the form of a mandated demand.

    @-“Are you suggesting that Hansen and his co-authors did not support the IPCC

    No, I am not suggesting that. I suspect they were naive enough to be grateful for the apparent government engagement.
    Here is Micheal Oppenheimer a activist scientist of the time,

    http://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2007/11/01/ipcc_beginnings/
    Assistant Undersecretary of State Bill Nitze wrote to me a few years later saying that our group’s activities played a significant role. Among other motivations, the US government saw the creation of the IPCC as a way to prevent the activism stimulated by my colleagues and me from controlling the policy agenda.

  134. Everett F Sargent says:

    DB sez …
    “Keeling didn’t measure CO2 emissions.” No shit!

    “He measured CO2 levels (“abundance”).” No, he measured aCO2 (ppmv).

    “They could have done it right.” Hansen did do it right, he used the actual observational data taken directly from the atmosphere at MLO (and SPO validates those observational measurements). His compounding method is almost exactly spot on, as I’ve shown above for aCO2 (2017, 407.36 ppmv (correct annual rate compounding calculation), 406.53 ppmv (Annual observational ESRL MLO CO2 for 2017)).

    The best observational data is the atmospheric GHG’s, foremost being the aCO2 atmospheric concentrations. Emissions data clearly not so much (we thought you deniers didn’t trust China/India emissions data, or so I’ve been told).

    You are as stupid as Tamino has always shown you to be. You are stuck in semantics hell. I don’t really care what words Hansen used. I do understand the mathematics though, something you clearly do not understand.

  135. John Hartz says:

    John Carpenter: You wrote:

    If the climate modeling community has a functioning common set of standards shared among various teams, that’s great. Please share, I would love to learn more about it.

    See KiwiGriff’s post of June 27, 2018 at 3:12 am for an example of how it’s done in the scientific community.

  136. John Hartz says:

    John Carpenter: If you have not already done so, I recommend that you peruse the document General Circulation Models of Climate. It is a section of Spencer Weart’s online tome, The Discovery of Global Warming.

  137. John Hartz says:

    The url for Weart’s General Circulation Models of Climate is:

    https://history.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm#M_115_

  138. Dave,

    That’s correct, Ken, but Hansen et al didn’t say that. They didn’t say “net change in anthropogenic forcing,” they said “emissions.”

    Their three “scenarios” were emissions scenarios. They were described in terms of “emissions.”

    Figure 1 is entirely about the resulting forcings. The key point is that given that the change in forcing we actually experienced is somewhere between scenario B and scenario C, the predicted change in temperature is remarkably close to what we actually experienced.

  139. edimbukvarevic,

    At least Hansen noticed in 2013 that the airborne fraction is decreasing, in spite of the CO2 emissions ‘shot up’.

    The figure in that paper does not include emissions from land use change, which made up a bigger fraction of total emissions earlier in the period than later. If you correct for this, the airborne fraction has barely change (in fact, I think there are some indications that it might have increased slightly, but this is probably not statistically significant.

  140. ATTP,
    “The figure in that paper does not include emissions from land use change, which made up a bigger fraction of total emissions earlier in the period than later. If you correct for this, the airborne fraction has barely change (in fact, I think there are some indications that it might have increased slightly, but this is probably not statistically significant.”

    Incorrect.

  141. edimbukevic,
    How does that even remotely refute what I said? The airborne fraction figure in the paper to which you linked does not include land use changes.

  142. Okay, found the paper I was trying to find. Figure 1 shows a small increase in airborne fraction.

  143. ATTP,
    You said that land use CO2 emissions made up a bigger fraction of total emissions earlier in the period than later. That’s incorrect. They made up a smaller fraction earlier in the period. Including land use emissions doesn’t change the fact the airborne fraction decreased.

  144. edimbukvarevic,
    Do you want to think about this again? Maybe consider the word fraction.

    Maybe also consider the paper I linked to in the preceding comment. There are certainly some analyses that suggest that the airborne fraction has indeed increased. I wouldn’t claim that it has, but I don’t think one can claim that it’s decreased either.

  145. Everett F Sargent says:

    edimbukvarevic sez …
    Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?
    http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/Is%20the%20airborne%20fraction%20of%20anthropogenic.pdf

    There are other more recent references, as ATTP said, you have to show significance and there is very much uncertainty in LUC.

    I’ll update with more recent references, but look at who has cited Hansen13 (nary a CO2 airborne fraction paper to be found, GS has 42 citations).

    Other than saying incorrect, please provide citations to support your own POV, otherwise you are engaging in a non sequitur (you have Hansen13 with no LUC, that would qualify as a non sequitur as it does not include any uncertainty estimates or significance thereof).

    Only well respected peer reviewed publication citations please. TIA

  146. Willard says:

    Fellow ClimateBall players,

    I’m enjoying my hiatus. So here’s the usual reminder: play the ball, no facemask tackle, and don’t play the ref.

    If you could also agree to disagree, that’d be great.

    Enjoy your summer,

    W

  147. Everett F Sargent says:

    Impacts of land cover and climate data selection on understanding
    terrestrial carbon dynamics and the CO2 airborne fraction
    http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/escidoc:1835709/component/escidoc:1835708/BPR032.pdf

    Increase in observed net carbon dioxide uptake by
    land and oceans during the past 50 years
    http://www.cfc.umt.edu/research/gcel/files/Ballantyne_IncreasedCO2Uptake_Nature_2012.pdf
    “A commonly used diagnostic for detecting changes in the relative C
    sink efficiency is the airborne fraction, AF. Our analysis reveals that
    trends in AF are highly sensitive to whether land-use emissions are
    included in the global C budget. When only fossil fuel emissions are
    included, there is a significant decreasing trend in AF, indicating an
    increase in uptake efficiency. In contrast, when both land-use and
    fossil fuel emissions are included, the sign of the rate of change of
    AF switches and the uncertainty range is larger, including both positive
    and negative trends (Table 1). There has been considerable debate as to
    whether AF has changed over time and what changes in AF indicate12,13,21,22.
    Our results show that when land-use emissions are
    included, there is no detectable change in AF over the last 50 yr. Our
    findings are corroborated by a recent independent analysis showing no
    significant change in AF since 185012. Moreover, it has been demonstrated
    that large changes in uptake efficiency are required to alter AF
    significantly13. Thus, changes in AF over time are highly sensitive to
    land-use emissions and are difficult to interpret, whereas the significant
    trend in SN provides unequivocal evidence that net global CO2
    uptake continues to increase.

  148. ATTP,
    We’re talking about the trend since 2000. Hansen is bringing it up, I’m commenting on it. Including land use emissions (like in the paper you linked), the airborne fraction still decreased since 2000 and likely since 1980 (eyeballing). The CO2 sink rate increased.

  149. edimbukvarvic,
    1. The figure in Hansen’s paper does not include land use change, which made up a bigger fraction of emissions earlier than it does now.

    2. The paper I linked to suggests that the airborne fraction might have increased since 1960.

    3. Claiming some kind of short-term trend in noisy data almost certainly ignores the uncertainty in that trend.

    4. Other papers (such as some highlighted by Everett) suggest no change.

    5. Can we move on now?

  150. In fact. Everett second link provides some number.

    Airborne fraction trend from 1959 to 2010, fossil fuels only: -0.0016, range from -0.0029 to -0.0002.
    Airborne fraction including land use from 1959 to 2010: 0.0012 with a range from -0.0008 to 0.0032.

  151. Everett F Sargent says:

    The declining uptake rate of atmospheric CO2 by land and ocean
    sinks (2014)
    https://www.biogeosciences.net/11/3453/2014/bg-11-3453-2014.pdf
    Figure 1. Upper panel: (red) monthly airborne fraction AF(m,s)
    with 15-month running-mean smoothing, (green) AF(m,s, n) with
    removal of noise correlated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation
    (ENSO), (blue) annual AF(a), and (black) best-estimate trend line
    from AF(m,s, n) with the combined method.

  152. ATTP,
    You’re right about the fraction of emissions, that was my error. It doesn’t change anything about my point though.

  153. Everett F Sargent says:

    The cumulative carbon budget and its implications (2016)
    https://academic.oup.com/oxrep/article-pdf/32/2/323/7298782/grw009.pdf
    “The convex shape of Figure 1(a) is important because some idealized simple carboncycle–climate
    models used in IAMs (e.g. Nordhaus and Sztorc, 2013), the evaluation
    of climate metrics (e.g. Boucher and Reddy, 2008; Myhre et al., 2013), or in calculating
    the social cost of carbon (e.g. Marten, 2011) use a representation of the carboncycle
    that gives a linear or even slightly concave relationship between atmospheric CO2
    concentrations and cumulative CO2 emissions, with airborne fraction either constant
    or slightly decreasing as emissions accumulate over time. For example, the model and
    parameters used in Myhre et al. (2013) over-predicts CO2 concentrations to date if run
    under historical emissions, and under-predicts the increase for possible future emissions
    trajectories, relative to a model that allows for changing airborne fraction with cumulative
    emissions. A changing airborne fraction can be incorporated in a model by including
    a temperature-dependent carbon source (Tol, 2009) or a scaling on the rate of CO2
    uptake (Hope, 2013) and is an essential feature to correctly represent the dependence of
    irreversible CO2-induced temperature change on cumulative emissions.”

  154. Everett F Sargent says:

    You do know why the figure you posted did what it did in 2017?

    You should really just plot the ESRL aCO2 rate time series, I’ve provided the link above, which starts in 1959. :/

    [Snip. Play nice. -W]

  155. Everett,
    “You do know why the figure you posted did what it did in 2017?”
    No, what do you mean? Preliminary numbers for 2017?
    Regarding the CO2 growth rate in that figure, it really doesn’t look like this:

    Hmm..

  156. daveburton says:

    [Playing the ref. -W]

  157. Everett F Sargent says:

    Someone sez … Hmm..
    Towards real-time verification of CO2 emissions
    https://jacksonlab.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/peters_et_al_verification_nature_cc_2017.pdf
    Nothing about airborne fraction to be found there.
    Here’s a proper link to that figure …
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-017-0013-9

    It is still based on ESRL aCO2 data regardless, 1st reference …
    Dlugokencky, E. & Tans, P. Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (NOAA, Earth System Research Laboratory, accessed 7 September 2017).

    So what exactly was your point again? Short trend lines from trolls. :/

  158. Everett F Sargent says:

    Caption from Peters, et. al. (2017) for Figure 1 …

    “Fig. 1 | Trends in CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Even though CO2 emissions from fossil fuel and industry, and total emissions including land-use change, have been relatively flat from 2014 to 2016, atmospheric concentrations saw a record increase in 2015 and 2016 (bars) due to El Niño conditions. We expect CO2 emissions to grow in 2017 (red dots), but we expect the growth in atmospheric concentrations (red bar) to be lower in 2017 compared to 2015 and 2016, in the absence of an El Niño event.”

    Hint: The caption said it already.

  159. Willard says:

    > Can we move on now?

    I suggest we do.

  160. Everett F Sargent says:

    Peters, et. al. (2017) “Atmospheric increase” data for Figure 1 …
    ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_gr_gl.txt
    (global annual rate time series, not MLO annual rate time series, my bad)

  161. Joshua says:

    Posting this here since the Peterson thread was so far back:

    The cultural pressure to endorse or reject public intellectuals wholesale is problematic, because it can perpetuate groupthink, and diminishes scope for intellectual growth, societal maturation and political imagination. On encountering public figures who appear to be both right and wrong, sometimes simultaneously, perhaps dangerously, there is scope to be more creative and less reactive in our response. In the illustrative case of Jordan Peterson, commentators often orient their analysis within a conceptually moribund political spectrum; eg Peterson is ‘Alt Right’ attacking ‘The Radical Left’. Social media echo chambers lead some to read that Peterson’s ‘fanboys’ are ‘misogynist trolls’ while others hear that his critics are ‘virtue signaling snowflakes’. And the tendency of print and broadcast media to seek a defining angle tends to diminish rather than distill complexity; for instance Peterson’s fame is related to a perceived crisis in masculinity, but that is not the whole story. The coinage ‘Petersonitis’ is introduced here as a serious joke to describe the intellectual and emotional discomfort that arises when we seek a fuller understanding of complex characters in a divisive political culture. In an echo of Peterson’s book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, twelve relatively dispassionate perspectives on his contribution are offered as an antidote to the language of allergy and infatuation that has surrounded his rise to fame. Peterson is described here as symptomatic, multiphrenic, theatrical, solipsistic, sacralising, hypervigilant, monocular, ideological, Manichean, Piagetian, masculine and prismatic. First person language is used to reflect the author’s experience of Petersonitis, after being drawn to Peterson’s online video lectures, debating with him in a public forum and gradually clarifying the nature of my disappointment in his outlook and approach. It is hoped that the paper will help readers recognise, recover from, and ultimately transcend Petersonitis, and to appreciate the wider application of the idea.

    Please move to more directly related thread if the off-topicyness annoys.

    https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=3199819

  162. Marco says:

    “Just here in the United States we now have about 50 million acres devoted to raising Roundup-ready monoculture corn, to make ethanol, to mix into motor fuel, to reduce fossil fuel use, to “fight climate change.””

    I’ll need a citation for this, in particular the first part. To the best of my knowledge current corn acerage in the US is about 90 million, of which less than 50% is for ethanol – and that’s not taking into account that about half of that “corn for ethanol” is also used for other purposes.

    Moreover, to the best of my knowledge not all of that corn is Round-up Ready, as there are various competitors on the market. There are about 33 different GMO corns, of which less than half are glyphosate-resistant. And finally, what exactly would be the problem if it indeed is primarily glyphosate-resistant?

    The by far most problematic issue in terms of environmental impact is the use of monocultures, independent of it being a GMO or not.

  163. Richard S J Tol says:

    @Jebediah
    Arguably, the GWPF failed to change the course of UK climate policy. It initially succeeded in opening the debate, but then did not lift the discussion, and sank into irrelevance.

    @BBD
    Hansen uses the exaggerate and moralize tactics that are common to environmentalists, but have proven to be ineffective for the climate problem (yet lucrative for his grants, book sales and speaking fees). He also has inspired a generation of younger people to follow the same tactics.

  164. izen says:

    @-Tol Re-GWPF
    “It initially succeeded in opening the debate, but then did not lift the discussion, and sank into irrelevance.”

    It initially succeeded in CASTING DOUBT, but then did not lift the discussion, and sank into SCIENCE DENIAL.

    @-“. Hansen uses the exaggerate and moralize tactics that are common to environmentalists,”

    The exaggeration and moralising may be in the eye of the beholder rather than being intrinsic to the information Hansen communicates.

    @-“ ineffective for the climate problem (yet lucrative for his grants, book sales and speaking fees).”

    That Hansen has been ineffective may have less to do with his ‘tactics’, rather more to do with the political/business response, such as punting it to the UN to dilute and control the policy agenda.
    Do you think that Hansen adopted his approach for reasons of greed, or is it lucrative because it not wrong?
    Did you adopt your tactics because of they are lucrative, or because you believe them to be right.

    @-”He also has inspired a generation of younger people to follow the same tactics.”

    I suspect younger people are able to formulate their own tactics without having to follow anyone.
    That they may come to the same conclusion as Hansen indicate a common line of reasoning, not slavish devotion to his precedent.

    Upthread daveburton suggested that Hansen and others agitated to establish the IPCC. when I pointed out that the Reagan administration pushed for that he asked whether Hansen et al were AGAINST the IPCC.

    The answer is that the activist scientists like those in the Environmental defence fund were in favour of a UN body because like CFCs they saw it as a global problem that required addressing at the global level.

    But the US administration was in favour of a UN body because they saw it as way to reduce the influence of scientific activists on the domestic policy agenda.

    As to which side made the right assessment of the effects of making it a UN issue, …. YMMV.

  165. Richard S J Tol says:

    @izen
    If a teacher fails to teach, we typically blame the teacher rather than the pupils.
    If a doctor fails to heal, we typically blame the doctor rather than the patient.
    if a communicator fails to convince, why is this the fault of the unconvinced? If a communication strategy has failed for 30 years, is it not a good idea to reconsider?

  166. paulski0 says:

    Richard Tol,

    If a doctor fails to heal, we typically blame the doctor rather than the patient.

    The correct analogy is… If a doctor diagnoses a problem and prescribes a course of treatment but the patient instead is persuaded to refuse that and go with “alternative” healing approaches… who is to blame? Is it the doctor? The patient? Or those promoting and profiting from the “alternative” approaches?

  167. BBD says:

    izen; paulski0

    Beat me to it, chaps.

  168. Richard S J Tol says:

    @paul
    Well, no. If a qualified doctor fails to convince a patient that the charlatan is a quack, then the doctor is at fault — particularly if the doctor does so with multiple patients over decades.

  169. Richard,

    Well, no. If a qualified doctor fails to convince a patient that the charlatan is a quack, then the doctor is at fault

    Nonsense.

    particularly if the doctor does so with multiple patients over decades.

    If something like this does indeed happen multiple times over decades, then it would suggest something more serious than the doctor simply not being very convincing.

  170. izen says:

    @-Tol
    “If a doctor fails to heal, we typically blame the doctor rather than the patient.”

    No.
    The Obesity epidemic in many developed Nations is not typically blamed on the doctor. The excessive consumption of refined hydrocarbons is not typically considered the fault of the medical profession.
    It is more commonly attributed to the greed of the consumer.
    But might be more accurately ascribed to the greed of the producers who are keen to promote consumption and downplay, doubt, and deny the impact of their product. Check out the role of the Sugar industry in shaping the science/ policy agenda.

    Try harder to choose analogies if you want them to support your position, rather than refute it.

  171. paulski0 says:

    Richard Tol,

    Well, no. If a qualified doctor fails to convince a patient that the charlatan is a quack, then the doctor is at fault — particularly if the doctor does so with multiple patients over decades.

    So for you, if the patient dies due to following the quack the only person entirely to blame for that death is the doctor? The quack has no responsibility? The patient bears no personal responsibility?

  172. Dave_Geologist says:

    So Richard, Hansen didn’t get everything he wanted. But he got UN action: the IPCC. Maybe he’d have preferred something like the Montreal Protocol. But climate change is much more multi-factorial than CFCs so perhaps required a different approach. He got Kyoto and Paris. Not as much as he’d have liked, but a lot more then The Noble Lord wanted. He got scientific consensus, publicly, to the point where deniers are seen as flat-earthers and shunned even by the lukewarmers as so silly they’re counter-productive. He presumably contributed to the GWPF sinking into irrelevance.

    The FF lobby and anti-UN, anti-tax, anti-action politicians got delay, but not victory. FF got partial victory in the form of delay and a few decades more profit. Probably at the cost of their future shareholders, when more drastic cuts will likely be mandated. The pols have lost. Because they’re ideological purists, there’s no such thing as a partial victory. Internationally enforced taxes, levies or quotas in a few decades time are just as much anathema as the same thing tomorrow. Indeed, by delaying action to the point where it will likely be enforced, when it could have been negotiated, they’ve made coercion more likely.

    Even with Trump, what have they got? An Executive Order which comes into force just as the next president is elected, and lawsuit-magnet Pruitt. What have Trump, Murdoch, the Kochs etc. got? A toxic legacy for their children and grandchildren, who’ll bear the name when the shit really hits the fan. The first two at least care about their legacy. Otherwise, why the nepotism? Unlike with CFCs and tobacco, the culprits’ names have been front and centre and won’t be forgotten.

  173. JCH says:

    Basically, gasoline with no oxygenator in it pollutes a lot. Think the LA smog that was so bad it turned Ronald Reagan green. Ethanol is an oxygenator. MTBE was used before ethanol. It was driven out of the market, in part, by these hysterical attacks by right-wing AM talk radio. It takes a lot of corn to keep those gasoline pumps pumping, and that cannot change unless people accept smog at Chinese levels. The biggest resistor to getting rid of ethanol would be big oil.

  174. Forcing was closest to, though somewhat less than Scenario B.
    Temperature trends were closest to, though somewhat greater than Scenario C.

    Both forcing and response are less than was expected in 1988 expected.

    Good news, right?

  175. TE,
    Depends what you mean. The ECS of Hansen’s model was 4.2K, so that it warmed slighly more than observed (given the change in forcing) doesn’t suddenly imply that future warming (based on current projections) is likely to be lower than expected.

  176. Richard S J Tol says:

    @wotts
    Agreed. Not only was our doctor not very good to begin with, she did not learn, and nobody intervened.

    @others
    Agreed. We are all responsible for keeping ourselves healthy, for seeking advice on how to do so, and for seeking competent help when it fails.

    Hansen has been singing the same song for 30 years, and taught many to sing along. Emissions are rising. Perhaps it is time for a new tune?

  177. paulski0 says:

    Richard,

    So sing a new tune. Who’s clamping your vocal chords?

  178. John Hartz says:

    James Hansen will go down in history as a pioneering and prominent climate scientist which is why he has been a favorite target climate science denier drones.

  179. Dave_Geologist says:

    Emissions are rising

    Not in every country. And of course they can’t turn on a dime. They’ll rise at a slower rate before plateauing and declining. I suppose that will be the new paws. “Greenies lost, emissions are still rising”. Even when the rise has slowed and is still slowing.

  180. John Hartz says:

    This just in…

    A new international study has warned that many current climate models could be underestimating the long-term consequences of global warming.

    Fifty-nine researchers from 17 countries, working with the University of Bern (Switzerland), Oregon State University (United States) and the University of New South Wales (Australia), combed through data going back 3.5 million years and analyzed several warm periods in the past.

    During these periods, the latitudes near the poles heated up more than the tropics. This would have caused the thawing of permafrost, which would have released additional carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, which would have driven global warming even more.

    Making a comparison with today, the scientists concluded that even if humanity succeeds in limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as aimed at in the Paris Agreement, climate zones and ecosystems will shift, rapid polar warming may release additional greenhouse gases from permafrost, and sea-levels will rise by several metres over several thousand years.

    These observations show that many current climate models designed to project changes within this century may underestimate longer-term changes. [My bold.]

    The researchers had carried out their study at a workshop in Bern in April. The resulting study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

    Many current climate models could be wrong about global warming: Study,Down to Earth, June 27, 2018

  181. Everett F Sargent says:

    JH,

    Well that link is better than WTFUWT?, but not by much (WTFUWT? usually does not even provide a link to the PR, just copy/paste of the PR).

    “The resulting study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.”

    It usually helps if the PR provides a direct link to said paper or even just the DOI. :/

    As some of us are capable of reading and interested in what the paper actually said, firsthand without being biased by PR/Blog interpretations.

  182. BBD says:

    Richard

    Hansen has been singing the same song for 30 years, and taught many to sing along. Emissions are rising. Perhaps it is time for a new tune?

    Such as?

  183. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Perhaps it is time for a sing-along with Willie Nelson.

    If that ditty doesn’t stop the emissions from rising, we can always go back to blaming Al Gore and da Mann.

  184. John Hartz says:

    Everett F Sargent : Alas, we live in an imperfect world. 🙂

  185. John Hartz says:

    Everett F Sargent: Ask and ye shall receive.

    Fischer, H., Meissner, K.J., Mix, A.C., et al.: Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond. Nature Geoscience, 25 June 2018. https://doi.org/ 10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0

  186. Everett F Sargent says:

    Such as?

  187. Ken Fabian says:

    “If a teacher fails to teach, we typically blame the teacher rather than the pupils.
    If a doctor fails to heal, we typically blame the doctor rather than the patient.
    if a communicator fails to convince, why is this the fault of the unconvinced?”

    It is the fault of those who, irrespective of what the experts say, refuse to accept it as valid. Wasn’t there an apocryphal story about the most persuasive man of ancient times? When he was taken into custody he asks for the opportunity to persuade them to release him; they refused to listen to anything he told them.

    When people holding positions of trust and responsibility reject the expert advice being communicated – after commissioning experts to give that expert advice and having called for delay on any lasting decisions until it is delivered– it’s called irresponsibility. When they do so in order to perpetuate enduring responsibility avoidance for their donors, supporters and friends in commerce and industry, it’s called corruption. When they do so knowingly it is called criminal negligence.

    The climate problem isn’t unintelligible or uncommunicable to people with modest levels of education – I have a reasonable layperson level understanding and unlike people in positions of power and influence (who should be educated and intelligent enough to understand it, as long as they don’t refuse to listen) I can’t call up top level scientists to explain and answer any questions I might have. Or, if I don’t like what they say, accuse them, without evidence, of fraud, misconduct, misguided ideology and grand conspiracy – and demand different experts who will say what I want to hear.

    Which is what makes the few credentialed experts willing to misrepresent the current state of knowledge and the work of their peers so valued – by providing that shred of credibility to a “but the experts disagree” justification they are an essential element of a longer term climate liability avoidance contingency plan.

  188. Everett F Sargent says:

    JH,

    Thanks. The paper looks very good. I’ve put it in my high ECS/ESS folder as I’m currently interested in high ECS/ESS papers (spurred on from the Risk=Likelihood*Impacts thread). 🙂

  189. Bob Loblaw says:

    It’s amazing to watch Richard Tol in his usually trolling. In this case, he’s blaming Hansen – who has a long, distinguished career doing excellent science – for failing to change the world. Richard questions whether Hansen is worth emulating.

    By contrast, it would seem that Richard might think that a long, less-than-distinguished career spent publishing gremlin-filled papers, and participating in the GWPF’s lengthy distortions of climate science, with a goal of spreading uncertainty and doubt to prevent meaningful action on climate change is worthy of emulation?

    Of course, in his own words, Richard’s failure to “educate” us here is totally his own failing. It’s nice to know that he knows his limitations.

  190. Richard S J Tol says:

    @bob
    I was instrumental in putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, Ireland and the USA. Note that Pruitt has proposed to reduce that price, but not to zero, and continues to rely on the advice we gave to the Obama administration.

    @bbd
    Greenhouse gas emissions should be taxed. (Hansen has campaigned for that.) The most effective climate policies in the past have been political disintegration (former Soviet Union), economic mismanagement (EU, Japan), liberalization of energy markets (killing coal), and fracking.

    Focusing on the latter two, it strikes me that emissions will fall in the future because of progress in solar power and batteries, because the ownership economy makes way for a rental economy, and because of advances in animal feed and rice cultivation.

    None of these things will happen because of an appeal to climate fear or the wellbeing of grandchildren.

    (Hansen recognizes that technology will solve the climate problem, but is strangely enamored by nuclear.)

    ((Trump’s trade war will also reduce emissions.))

  191. Richard,

    I was instrumental in putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

    Can you explain what you mean here? I’m aware that the UK has a fuel duty, but I wasn’t aware that we’d really put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

  192. Richard S J Tol says:

    @wotts
    The UK has a fuel duty, a carbon tax, and a permit price. Nothing to do with me. The UK also has a methane-from-landfill duty, for which I do take partial credit.

  193. BBD says:

    So you support Hansen’s advocacy for a carbon tax yet spend astonishing amounts of time attacking the scientific consensus etc. Bizarre.

    But whatever. The things you list above will nibble away at the emissions problem but not drive the >80% cut over the next few decades necessary to avoid serious climate impacts. So you aren’t setting out a strong climate policy framework at all as far as I can see.

    Also, economic mismanagement and political disintegration aren’t really policies, they’re more in the way of ‘shit that happens’. So we can push those to the side of the table as well, leaving not much. Although speaking of shit that happens, there’s your interesting omission of the financial crash in ’08 which was, of course, caused by an insufficiently regulated banking industry. That put a modest but visible kink in the Keeling curve, so I’m surprised you didn’t include it.

    Unfortunately, nibbling around the edges of the problem and leaving it up to the markets and various other wishful thinking not-policies aren’t going to deliver fast and deep enough decarbonisation.

    Have you got any more concrete suggestions?

  194. Magma says:

    Without comment

    “I was instrumental in putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, Ireland and the USA”
    2 h 42 m later…
    “The UK also has a methane-from-landfill duty, for which I do take partial credit”

  195. Dave_Geologist says:

    Re: Fischer, H., Meissner, K.J., Mix, A.C., et al.: Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond. Nature Geoscience, 25 June 2018.

    https://doi.org/ 10.1038/s41561-018-0146-0

    About what I’d expect. PAGES2K was still higher then the AR5 numbers, after removing the ones which included ESS, although there was substantial overlap. And the ESS influenced ones are about 50% higher than AR5 ECS, rising to double if you don’t throw away the outliers.

    And we know some of the feedbacks that contribute to ESS are not in the current GCMs, so it’s a no-brainer that they underestimate centennial to millennial changes. And no major tipping point at 2°C is also no surprise. Climate catastrophe at that level is just a denier straw man. Of course man-made catastrophe may be another matter. Given how well we’re coping with current refugee crises, I’m not optimistic that these 1.5-2°C outcomes will be handled with equanimity at the decadal-to-centennial scale.

    tipping points reached in regions where moisture availability will go below critical ecophysiology levels for trees … forest expansion into tundra … forest die-back in areas where increased drought will instead favour open woodlands or steppe … cool-temperate and warm-temperate (or subtropical) forests may collapse in response to climate warming of 1–2 °C, if moisture thresholds are reached … flammable, drought-adapted vegetation will rapidly replace late-successional evergreen vegetation in Mediterranean areas … large-tree mortality occurring where peripheral areas of rainforest will turn into self-stabilizing, fire-dominated savanna … a warmer climate may cross the threshold to open, fire-maintained savanna and grassland ecosystems … increased flammability, reduced tree reestablishment, and rapid runaway change toward treeless landscapes

    Oh, and SLR rates in the past were as high as 6 mm/yr and perhaps 16 mm/yr, once some decent-sized ice sheets gave up the ghost. The planet won’t look that different, and once new forests have had a few centuries to grow, some of the forest loss will be recovered. But an ecotone shift that looks small on a planetary sale will require some countries to switch to an entirely different system of agriculture in a generation or two. How many refugees will that create?

  196. Richard S J Tol says:

    @bbd
    As argued before, high profile but shoddy research like Cook’s serves to increase polarisation and gridlock. I’d rather reduce emissions. Furthermore, academics need to stand up for academic quality.

  197. Richard,
    Yes, people are well aware that you’ve made that argument before. Many are not sure why you think you’re really in a position to make such an argument.

  198. John Hartz says:

    Upstream, Richard S J Tol opines:

    Greenhouse gas emissions should be taxed. (Hansen has campaigned for that.) The most effective climate policies in the past have been political disintegration (former Soviet Union), economic mismanagement (EU, Japan), liberalization of energy markets (killing coal), and fracking[My bold.]

    It appears the jury is still out about whether the replacement of coal by natural gas obtained by fracking in the US has a positive or negative impact on emissions.

    The amount of methane leaking from the nation’s oil and gas fields may be 60 percent higher than the official estimates of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study in the journal Science.

    The study*, led by a group of scientists from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), presents some of the most compelling evidence to date that switching to gas from dirtier fuels like coal might not be as effective a climate strategy as its proponents suggest unless the gas industry improves how it controls leaks.

    “It starts to have a material effect on just how clean a fuel natural gas really is,” said Ramon Alvarez of EDF, one of the authors of the study.

    Oil and Gas Fields Leak Far More Methane than EPA Reports, Study Finds by Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News, June 20, 2018

    *Assessment of methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas supply chain, Alvarez et al, Science 21 Jun 2018; eaar7204, DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7204

  199. The Very Reverend Jebeiah Hypotenuse says:


    I’d rather reduce emissions. Furthermore, academics need to stand up for academic quality.

    Good ideas. Both of ’em.

    I, for one, would very much like Dr Tol to set an example of standing up for academic quality, and immediately reduce all his emissions to zero.

    If Richard Tol wants to be seen as occupying the moral high-ground, and wishes to make a pretense of getting rid of polarization and gridlock, then he could probably do much better waving his virtue-signals in front of stupid people, instead of ATTP’s readers.

    I hear Judith Curry has a blog.

  200. BBD says:

    Richard, the rest of my comment… ?

  201. Marco says:

    Not the right thread, I know, but still an interesting paper to highlight:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04922-1
    “Surface ocean pH variations since 1689 CE and recent ocean acidification in the tropical South Pacific”

  202. John Hartz says:

    Upstream, Richard S J Tol opines:

    ((Trump’s trade war will also reduce emissions.))

    For how long and by what amount?

  203. John Hartz says:

    Speaking of Trump’s trade wars…

    Donald Trump’s punitive tariffs and the reaction could undermine global cooperation and slow the transition to a sustainable world, says Erik Solheim.

    Trade war would harm the environment, warns UN green chief by Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home News, June 28, 2018

  204. Richard S J Tol says:

    @john
    If I knew that, I’d be busy shorting the right companies and currencies.

  205. Francis says:

    Isn’t there the Tol Rule here? Something along the lines of “Every comment thread in which Richard Tol participates will devolve to talking about Richard Tol.”

    I count this thread as evidence in support of the Tol Rule.

  206. Bob Loblaw says:

    Even more amazing. When I said “…a long, less-than-distinguished career spent publishing gremlin-filled papers, and participating in the GWPF’s lengthy distortions of climate science, with a goal of spreading uncertainty and doubt to prevent meaningful action on climate change…”, Richard responded with a claim about what he’s accomplished. I didn’t say I was talking about Richard, but it seems that he immediately saw something of himself in that sentence. Things that make you go “hmmmm”.

  207. Richard S J Tol says:

    @bob
    Your plan was so cunning it would make Baldrick proud.

  208. John Hartz says:

    Another Tomino post on the subject of the OP…

    Weak Sauce from Climate Deniers, Open Mind June 30, 2018

  209. Al says:

    [Thank you for your concerns. – W]

  210. Al,
    Not quite sure what you’re getting at. Not entirely sure that I really want to know.

  211. To Turbulent Eddie:

    Re: “But Hansen’s model also indicated a Hot Spot which has not occurred.”

    You’ve been repeatedly cited evidence showing that the hot spot exists, in both radiosonde-based analyses (such as RAOB) and satellite-based MSU analyses. For instance:

    https://judithcurry.com/2018/07/22/the-perils-of-near-tabloid-science/#comment-877599
    https://judithcurry.com/2018/07/22/the-perils-of-near-tabloid-science/#comment-877182
    https://judithcurry.com/2018/07/22/the-perils-of-near-tabloid-science/#comment-877429

    In response, you simply brushed off the evidence (from the peer-reviewed papers I cited to you), by claiming that citing peer-reviewed evidence is just “motivated parrotry”:

    https://judithcurry.com/2018/07/22/the-perils-of-near-tabloid-science/#comment-877614

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