“Hothouse” Earth?

This is actually the 1000th post on this blog. I haven’t written them all, but have written many more than I had ever expected to write. I thought I might use this as an opportunity to write something about the recent paper on [t]rajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene that has been getting a lot of media coverage.

Credit: Steffen et al. (2018)

The basic point of the paper is that, as we warm, there are various possible processes that could be triggered and that some of these might start at around 2oC. Examples of these processes are shown in the figure on the right, which also shows at what temperatures these processes might be triggered. The key point is that these processes would be expected to amplify the warming and that, if we do cross these thresholds, could lead us into some kind of “hothouse” state in which parts of the planet become essentially uninhabitable.

As I understand it, what is suggested in the paper is regarded as plausible. However, one should bear in mind that the paper is really a review of this topic and doesn’t really present any new, or original, research. Also, I don’t that think that there is much certainty about the temperatures at which we might expect these processes to be triggered; they’re mostly ballpark figures. Furthermore, the timescales associated with some of these processes are probably long; centuries to millenia. I don’t think we should necessarily ignore some of these potentially slow processes, but we should probably be clear about these timescales.

However, there was one aspect of the paper that I didn’t particularly like. There was a suggestion that we might cross some threshold beyond which the state to which we’d eventually settle would largely depend on the processes that had been triggered, rather than on how much we’ve perturbed the system through our emissions. However, I think there is reasonable evidence to indicate that we’d expect the system to respond roughly linearly to our emissions. Of course, the actual response will depend on whether we’re considering fast processes that occur on short timescales (decades), or slower processes that occur on much longer timescales (centuries to millenia), but we’d expect how much we warm to broadly depend on how much we emit.

There may be some processes that, once triggered, will carry on regardless of our emissions. However, I still think that our emissions are likely to dominate the perturbation to the system and will, therefore, mostly determine how much we warm. If we emit more, we’ll warm more. If we emit less, we’ll warm less. So, yes, I think it is quite likely that some of these processes could indeed amplify our warming, but we can still influence how much we warm overall, by limiting how much we emit. I realise that the paper isn’t really suggesting otherwise, but the framing does seem to imply that there might be thresholds beyond which there would be little that we could do. I think we can essentially always do something.

My goal was to keep this post short and let others give their views in the comments. As usual, I’ve failed. I wanted to end with something motivated by a tweet from Kate Marvel, and which has essentially also been highlighted by Richard Alley in the past. Science always has uncertainties. We can estimate the relationship between our emissions and how much we will warm, but we can’t be absolutely certain of this relationship. We might warm a little less than we expect, and the consequences would be slightly less severe. We might warm a little more than we expect, and the consequences would be slightly more severe. However, as this “hothouse” paper highlights, there are various processes, about which we’re quite uncertain, that could amplify our warming and make it much worse than we expect. As far as I’m aware, we don’t know of any that could largely cancel our warming and make things much better than we expect. The uncertainty is mostly on the bad side.

I’m sure others have thoughts about this paper, so feel free to present them in the comments.

Links:
Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene (Steffen et al. 2018).
Twitter threads by Bob Kopp, Doug McNeall, Chris Colose, and Richard Betts.

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174 Responses to “Hothouse” Earth?

  1. TTauriStellarBody says:

    It is important that the “tail risks” are explained and part of the conversation. While the most likely scenarios should dominate our thinking and planning the outliers have to be there.
    But there are those who will seek to exploit this to push the “IPCC too conservative” type narrative.

  2. Arthur Smith says:

    Well I would guess like any physical system, the response is linear at first, but at some point you hit nonlinearities and then all sorts of things can happen. So the question is whether our perturbation is large enough to get into a significant nonlinearity like that. Given that one of the big issues (I think) is change in the carbon cycle itself, the link between our emissions and atmospheric CO2 may be lost. We have already emitted about double the increment currently in the atmosphere anyway; if carbon sinks are reduced and new sources appear that ratio could change significantly no matter what we do.

  3. Jon Kirwan says:

    I see all the earmarks of Gilmore’s “Catastrophe Theory for Scientists and Engineers” book in this report. (Note that the title of this book may seem somewhat suggestive. But it’s a book on an important mathematical tool.) Gilmore also wrote other books I’ve enjoyed, such as “Lie Groups and Algebras.” (Dr. Saul-Paul Sirag introduced me to this book as one of many he asked me to read while studying M-Theory with him at his home in Oregon.)

    This is the first time I’ve been able to recognize/perceive this mathematical treatment being applied in the context of climate science. And I personally think it is long-since about time!

    I’m almost curious enough to write some of the authors and ask. But it’s just a matter of personal curiosity, so I may not bother them. But if curious what I mean, check out a copy of Gilmore’s book and I think my thoughts here will be clear enough by the end of the first chapter.

  4. Excellent piece, as ever. A question I hope you might be able to answer for me: if we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, how much longer after that would global temperatures keep on rising?

  5. Thank you. Another 0.6 degrees!

    No wonder I’m depressed.

  6. izen says:

    @-ATTP
    “There may be some processes that, once triggered, will carry on regardless of our emissions. However, I still think that our emissions are likely to dominate the perturbation to the system and will, therefore, mostly determine how much we warm. If we emit more, we’ll warm more. If we emit less, we’ll warm less.”

    I hope you are right and the system is roughly linear with a simple thermodynamic response.
    It still means we have around 50% more warming at whatever temperature we eventually drop emissions to <10% of current levels as mentioned above.
    And that will persist for centuries to millennia.

    But I admit to a suspicion that people like Curry, Lindzen, Spencer, have a point.
    That the system may not be neatly linear in its response. That the complexity, (in)stability, and chaotic aspects of the climate system make such reductionism dubious. They tend to posit a homeostatic system that will subsume any thermodynamic change below the level of inherent variability.

    Paleo-climate evidence does not support that. I understand the 'Hothouse' paper derives some of its conclusions of possible tipping points from Paleo-climate evidence and modelling. The obvious example is the loss of polar ice at the North pole, and possibly most of the S polar icecap. That may be a processes that, once triggered, will carry on regardless of our emissions. The question may not be if, but when.
    The idea that there quai-stable states of the climate to which it will migrate with a relatively small initial forcing also gains some support from paleo studies.

    Paleo also indicates that transitions are rapid, at least on geological timescales. But that they can also be preceded by periods when variations where large and more frequent than we have experienced in the last ~8000 years. The saw-tooth pattern of the glacial cycles has a rapid rise time, and a noisy down ramp.

    There are other effects beyond the level of temperature rise that could also override the linear relationship between emissions and impacts. The paper on increased short, high volume rainfall events mentioned in a previous thread could be an example. (perhaps a link ?) Effects from that might be extremely local, involving flooding and increased erosion. But the timescale over which such local impacts might act could also make them persistently damaging in ways that are not captured by a linear climate sensitivity metric.

    Unlike RPjr, Christy, and otters I find it difficult to imagine how any of these non-linearities that could reduce or mitigate these impact at longer timescales or smaller spatial ranges. I am not aware of any that have been suggested beyond the Iris effect.
    If anyone can suggest how the same processes of non-linear response at any timescale or distance could offset the potential impacts of a linear response, or just negate the hypothesised tipping points in the hothouse paper, I would find it a helpful antidote to pessimism.

  7. angech says:

    “The basic point of the paper is that, as we warm, there are various possible processes that could be triggered and that some of these might start at around 2oC.”
    OK.
    Comments.
    It suggests from one naive standpoint that there have been no (NO) processes triggered under a 2C threshold yet.
    Obviously this must be wrong and I am ready to listen to those who will list, and explain, the processes currently under way and at what putative temperature rise they started.
    Obviously something has already started at 0.01C, 0.1C or 1C that I missed to be responsible for the rash of unprecedented weather eleventh’s afflicting the globe that everyone has been alluding to.
    Myself, I am agreed with the authors that a genuine increase needs to occur and sustain for such processes to be operational and explainable. A different species as Dawkins would say. The subtle changes between 0 and 2C should be almost indistinguishable from normal extremes of normal weather until the new process is initiated.

    The authors did not comment on whether processes might be triggered under 2C though obviously this is possible, or on the same or other processes developing above 2C, though this is of cause expected to be very likely

  8. angech says:

    The basic point of the paper is that, as we warm, there are various possible processes that could be triggered and that some of these might start at around 2oC.” G
    OK.
    Comments.
    It suggests from one naive standpoint that there have been no (NO) processes triggered under a 2C threshold yet.
    Obviously this must be wrong and I am ready to listen to those who will list, and explain, the processes currently under way and at what putative temperature rise they started.
    Obviously something has already started at 0.01C, 0.1C or 1C that I missed to be responsible for the rash of unprecedented weather eleventh’s afflicting the globe that everyone has been alluding to.
    Myself, I am agreed with the authors that a genuine increase needs to occur and sustain for such processes to be operational and explainable. A different species as Dawkins would say. The subtle changes between 0 and 2C should be almost indistinguishable from normal extremes of normal weather until the new process is initiated.

    The authors did not comment on whether processes might be triggered under 2C though obviously this is possible, or on the same or other processes developing above 2C, though this is of cause expected to be very likely

  9. Michael Hauber says:

    At first I thought this was a genuine paper and was shocked at how strong on politics, and light on science the article was. By your description of the article as a ‘review’ with little/no original research I thought I was looking at what was supposed to be a more rigorous literature review type article.
    But on rechecking and clicking on the pdf for the linked ‘paper’ it seems the article is labelled ‘perspective’.

    Some tipping points are discussed. But no effort is discernible at actually quantifying how strong these tipping points are, or to separate out genuine tipping points – feedbacks strong enough to initiate a runaway effect (none identified as far as I can tell, although my personal belief is Greenland Ice sheet may be in this category), instances of +ve feedback (eg Arctic Ice), and abrupt changes from one state to another which might have nasty consequences, but don’t really do much significant to intensify climate change – eg Great Barrier Reef or Indian Monsoon.

    And if the tipping points do exist, are they strong enough to push us from 2 degree warming to 4 degrees? For instance I think Greeland Ice sheet collapse is genuine tipping point, but will that give 0.1 degree or 1 degree of warming once it collapses?

  10. Chris B says:

    “They found that the likely driving mechanism of this anoxic, or deoxygenation, event was nutrient run-off, itself driven by high CO2 emissions and warmer temperatures; and that when CO2 emissions reduced, along with nutrient levels, global oceans recovered for a period.”

    This recovery was the result of declining CO2 emissions from volcanic sources/fossil fuels, and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere by weathering and the burial of organic matter/ plastics

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-oxygen-loss-huge-issue-oceans.html#jCp

    Yes some slight editing there….but the Anthropocene is obviously different. Our broken eco-systems are not going to help as much this time.
    Hmmm it actually says it in the study.
    ” However, here we suggest that biogeophysical feedback processes within the Earth System coupled with direct human degradation of the biosphere may play a more important role than normally assumed, limiting the range of potential future trajectories and potentially eliminating the possibility of the intermediate trajectories. We argue that there is a significant risk that these internal dynamics, especially strong nonlinearities in feedback processes, could become an important or perhaps, even dominant factor in steering the trajectory that the Earth System actually follows over coming centuries.”

    ….sounds about right. I think ATTP is bein’ overly optimistic about what is a critical tipping point and what might not be (considering we won’t really be able to say definitively til it has fairly and squarely run us over)
    ” Of course, the actual response will depend on whether we’re considering fast processes that occur on short timescales (decades), or slower processes that occur on much longer timescales (centuries to millenia) ”

    You sound quite fine…

    Who is going to stop this speeding truck ?

    Some people don’t get to jump out of the Plymouth Valiant early….

  11. Chris B says:

    PS. Duel is a shit movie and I hated it when I had to watch it at school for….
    ….baby boomer reasons (?).

  12. Chris B says:

  13. brigittenerlich says:

    Jon Kirwan, please let me know if you find out. I, as a lay person, have always thought that climate scientists worked with catastrophe and/or chaos theory concepts, and always go round telling people that climate change doesn’t mean the earth is gradually getting hotter but that the climate is becoming chaotic and unpredictable…. is that right?

  14. Arthur,
    Yes, you’re right that there could be non-linearities that could produce all sorts of outcomes. However, the roughly linear relationship between emissions and warming already includes that the sinks become saturated if we continue to emit (I think).

    Nick,
    Actually, if we stop emitting now then temperatures would roughly stabilise. If we keep going, and warm by another degree or more, then there is a chance that some of these processes could be triggered and that warming would continue even if we halted all emissions. I don’t think we’re there yet. [Edit: The Conversation article to which citizen links is actually wrong. We have about 0.6C of committed warming if we stabilise concentrations, but that requires continued emissions. If we halted all emissions, then temperatures would probably roughly stabilise.]

  15. izen and Chris,
    You’re right that there are potentially processes that, if triggered, could have substantial impact. What I was getting, though, was that I think that the dominant perturbation will still probably be from our emissions. These other processes could amplify this more than we expect, but is there any processes that could be so large that once it’s triggered there’s virtually nothing we can do to impact where we end. I think not, but I might be wrong.

  16. angech,
    The point is that there are certain systems that are stable at current temperatures, but that might become unstable if we warm too much. That we haven’t really seen evidence of the latter yet, doesn’t mean that these processes won’t be triggered if we continue to warm.

  17. verytallguy says:

    I was very surprised to see Arctic winter sea ice on the diagram.

    Surely that’s a strong negative feedback rather than a positive feedback?

    Open water at 0 C radiates more heat than ice below 0 C, and there’s no impact of albedo ‘cos there’s no sunlight in winter.

    Or have I missed something?

  18. vtg,
    That’s a good point. I’m not sure what to make of that.

  19. Marco says:

    “The point is that there are certain systems that are stable at current temperatures, but that might become unstable if we warm too much. That we haven’t really seen evidence of the latter yet, doesn’t mean that these processes won’t be triggered if we continue to warm.”

    Allow me to come with a simplified analogy:

    We’re near the top of a mountain. We’re kicking a ball up the mountain. It will come back when we don’t kick too hard. Every day we move a meter further upward the mountain, but we keep on kicking the ball with about the same force. There’s going to be a day where the ball is going down on the other side – gone – no way to stop it. We may find some time before this happens that it takes the ball a bit longer to come back to us: the slope of the mountain is decreasing as we are getting near the top. We can only hope we notice this in time to either stop walking up the mountain, or to stop kicking the ball so hard.

    I’d say that in several areas we are already seeing such evidence of the ball taking longer to return to us. We just do not really know where exactly the top of the mountain is.

  20. Marco says:

    “I was very surprised to see Arctic winter sea ice on the diagram.

    Surely that’s a strong negative feedback rather than a positive feedback?”

    Open sea vs sea ice => radiation effects, would make sense it is negative.

    However, as I understand it, cloud feedback in the arctic is positive during most of the year (only during summer it is negative), so perhaps it is the cloud feedback that ultimately makes reducing sea ice in winter a (result of?) positive feedback?
    See https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2013RG000431

  21. verytallguy says:

    Marco,

    Your ref seems to show at least as many reasons why feedback would be negative as positive. Even for clouds in some cases.

    Following the references from the paper yields this as the only justification I can see for their claim (which isn’t even mentioned in the paper, only in the figure):

    Thinning of the winter sea-ice increases the efficiency of formation of open water in summer, and abrupt retreat occurs when ocean heat transport to the Arctic increases rapidly (19). Only two IPCC models (12) exhibit a complete loss of annual sea-ice cover under extreme forcing (20). One shows a nonlinear transition to a new stable state in <10 years when polar temperature rises above −5°C (13°C above present), whereas the other shows a more linear transition. We conclude that a critical threshold for summer Arctic sea-ice loss may exist, whereas a further threshold for year-round ice loss is more uncertain and less accessible this century. Given that the IPCC models significantly underestimate the observed rate of Arctic sea-ice decline (17), a summer ice-loss threshold, if not already passed, may be very close and a transition could occur well within this century.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/6/1786?ijkey=6eb134ceeaa62166f477bf571c2e3f4d3212eb4d&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    From which I conclude the figure claiming a potential tipping point for winter sea ice at 5C anomaly is bollox. Willing to be convinced otherwise.

  22. libertador says:

    In an action perspective, l would interpret the piece as a double call.
    On the one hand emission has to be mitigated, no surprises there. We have to reach zero. The uncertainty of such tipping points, might make it more pressing.
    On the other hand it might be necessary to research geo-engineering, to prepare for a potential hot-house, if warming continues after halting emissions. Problem here might be, that these measures are not surely effective and safe.

  23. paulski0 says:

    verytallguy,

    I’m not sure why you necessarily conclude bollox from that? Is it because it’s behaviour only seen in a small subset of models (and therefore arguably unlikely)? Or are you reacting to the ’13ºC above present’. If the latter, note that refers to polar temperature, with the Arctic expected to warm about 3 times greater than the global average. Under RCP8.5 the CMIP5 mean annual average North of 80ºN is pretty much at -5ºC by 2100.

  24. Dave_Geologist says:

    “No wonder I’m depressed.”
    No need to be. Well, sorta. The Conversation title is misleading. The Science paper refers to what would happen if we stabilised CO2e at the current level. Something akin to RCP2.6, but a bit faster-acting. Not if we stopped emitting GHGs today. If we stopped dead, the environment would draw down CO2 and the level in the atmosphere would decrease rather than remain static. In most simulations, temperatures more-or-less stay as they are, at least on the decadal or centennial scale. Natural CO2 drawdown roughly cancels out the continued warming to equilibrium. Of course instant cold turkey is impossible in the real world.

    On a longer, Earth System timescale there would be more warming as slow feedbacks kicked in. My bet would be another 50%, based on the difference between ECS and ESS climate sensitivity estimates. I do worry, going back to the Hothouse topic, that there are a couple of ESS outliers well above 6°C. I understand the argument against using the interglacials. There was a huge continental ice-sheet to melt, so albedo change could continue for much longer than it can with our relatively puny ice-sheets. We’d run out of ice before we got to a comparable end-point. The PETM, however, is the closest we’ve got to our rate of warming (but probably still ten times slower). Some of the explanations for that do indeed involve self-reinforcing tipping points like hydrate destabilisation or tundra thawing. There is an argument that we should not use the PETM, but rather the smaller, later ETMs, because there had been millions of years of tundra build-up before the PETM. Once that was gone, it was gone, and there wasn’t time to rebuild the inventory before subsequent events. And that on present-day Earth, there has been too much disturbance by glacials and interglacials to get a comparable build-up. But as Clint would say, that feels to me uncomfortably like “Do you feel lucky, punk” territory.

  25. verytallguy says:

    Paulskio

    Well, I did say I was willing to be proved wrong…

    Following the refs a step further we find Winton 2006: “Does the Arctic sea ice have a tipping point?”

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2006GL028017

    There we can note:

    ” Seventy nine runs of four standard experiments (1%/year CO2 increase to doubling, 1%/year CO2 increase to quadrupling, SRES A1B and SRES A2) were examined. Of these, only two, had years with February polar region temperatures at freezing temperature and annual surface albedos below 0.15.”

    of these 2/79 models which showed summer ice free, both were quadrupling experiments and:

    “The March sea ice is lost abruptly in the MPI model in the CO2 stabilized period. The March decline is more gradual in the NCAR model.”

    ie only 1/79 shows evidence of a tipping point.

    He concludes:

    “model results are equivocal on the mechanism and magnitude of enhanced climate change associated with the removal of Arctic sea ice”

    Regarding RCP8.5, that has CO2e at 1370ppm at 2100, so a bit more than a quadrupling.

    So perhaps it’s fair to say there is at best weak evidence of a potential tipping point for winter sea ice?

    Further, the paper states

    “The relationship between Arctic and global temperatures (Figure 4, bottom) is quite linear in both models indicating that the nonlinear changes in the Arctic ocean do not have significant impacts on the broader region temperatures. Although the elimination of Arctic sea ice would doubtless have enormous consequences for the local environment, these models do not show it to be particularly important for the larger scale climate changes.”

    ie that even if this happens in the Arctic, it is NOT part of a wider feedback cascade as postulated.

    Which allows me to return to my “bollox”, I think?

  26. izen says:

    @-vtg
    “From which I conclude the figure claiming a potential tipping point for winter sea ice at 5C anomaly is bollox.”

    Possibly. It probably requires an extended period at the 5C(global) mark indicated on the diagram.

    It is only possible after a period of raised temperature that persists for long enough for ocean heat content to rise sufficiently to melt the ice from below.
    Then it is a tipping point and the ice can vanish rapidly because of the sharp transition around the melting point. Increased evaporation and convective cloud cover may offset the negative feedback and alter the timing of such conditions.
    I am not sure that there is much difference in the IR emissivity of ice and water at around 0C to make the difference between water and ice as a negative feedback, or enhanced area of winter cooling significant.

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0466.1#

    Long before that, and even if there is always seasonal arctic ice, most of the Greenland ice cap melts out. See the Eemian.

  27. paulski0 says:

    verytallguy,

    I don’t think they do consider loss of Winter sea ice as a feedback. They list their feedbacks in Table S2 of the supplementary information and Summer sea ice is there, but not Winter. I think the elements on the map are just meant to be profound changes which may be subject to critical threshold abrupt shifts to new states (in the case of sea ice, the state being “absent”). Loss of coral reefs and shifts in Indian Summer Monsoon wouldn’t obviously produce positive feedbacks either.

  28. verytallguy says:

    Paulskio,

    hmmm… the whole point of the paper is “self – reinforcing feedbacks”: first sentence in the abstract

    “We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced.”

    And fig 3 is

    “Global map of potential tipping cascades”.

    Surely the definition of a tipping point is one where there is a self-reinforcing feedback; if reducing temperature (or CO2) reverts to the original condition, then it’s not a tipping point, by definition.

    A tipping point isn’t just a rapid change, at least not to my understanding – it’s one where there is hysteresis in the response?

  29. JCH says:

    In preparation for all of this taking 100’s to 1000’s of years, NOAA has apparently decided to release the 2nd quarter OHC update in up to, say, a decade late.

  30. billbedford says:

    ATTP….
    The point is that there are certain systems that are stable at current temperatures, but that might become unstable if we warm too much.

    OTOH there are chaotic systems that can look stable over decadal time spans

  31. Greg Robie says:

    A “Count Dracula” milestone. Like the annual anniversary posts, some psyches find meaning in numbers; in longevity … but I digress. 😉

    To the degree “hothouse earth” is socially, a synonym for going Venus-like as a planet, journalists and editors, as English majors, need a trip to the woodshed. But why do they get it wrong … again?

    2°C.

    That temperature, which is a political, not scientific, number, has, due to an economic ‘necessity’ of getting political funding for research, been given scientific credibility in the general public’s [mindless] ‘mind’: the gestalt of it’s trusted iterations of motivated reasoning.

    Nathaniel Rich gives John Sununu a paragraph in the Epilogue of the “Losing Earth” issue of The New York Times Magazine to infer our condition: trusted motivated reasoning will only be consciously changed by a society when that civilization collapses. Rich notes that Bush took on Sununu because of his political instincts. John’s inability to own the shadow side of those instincts’ role in the “losing Earth” story suggests how blinding trusted motivated reasoning is. And maybe that is all there is to our story: all human civilizations have collapsed.

    Over the portion of these 1000 posts I have been a subscriber for, and sometime participant, I have worked to argue/communicate that the psychology and sociology of motivated reasoning needs to be integrated into things. I feel I have failed to make my point in a way that counts: changed behavior.

    Physics defines knowledge as action. This is an insight I credit to my time on this blog. 1000 posts a picture makes. Doesn’t that picture cloud this truth?

    Just as I have learned that physics precludes earth becoming Venus-like, I also remember that 1°C is the scientific number that 2°C now masquerades as. Earth climatic record has not demonstrated that there is any meaningful stability in the climate system between ~1°C and 4°C. Any blame for the social ignorance of this condition (& misleading headlines) lies fully with the scientific component of society. The trust that exists concerning 2°C is a guardrail has happened – & been rationalized – on our watch.

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  32. billbedford,
    Not really sure what your point is. Do you have one?

  33. izen: “Increased evaporation and convective cloud cover
    may offset the negative feedback and alter the timing of such conditions.”

    Don’t know about tipping points, (well, beyond a gut feeling we’ve already crossed a few) but I read stuff like that, and I think Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine and yet more jet stream disruption’, with its ensuing intensification of weather chaos. If the right one don’t get ‘cha, then the left one will.

    Such as our lucky driver in Duel, who once he caught his breath at the end, looked around to take in his new dilemma (That was one incredible movie, most impact with minimal action and almost no dialogue – decades ago I accidentally flipped it on near the beginning not knowing a thing about it and it totally mesmerized me, wanted to turn it off because nothing was happening but couldn’t do it, had to watch it play out. – and I’m no big movie fan.)

  34. Greg Robie: “Any blame for the social ignorance of this condition (& misleading headlines) lies fully with the scientific component of society. ”
    Seriously?
    Why do you leave out the part where literally hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to confuse and lie about the actual scientific fundamentals of climate science and to deliberately mislead a public?
    https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/p/hall-of-shame.html

  35. Dave_Geologist says:

    I don’t see a requirement for hysteresis in a tipping point vtg. It’s just a tipping point. In Marco’s kicking-a-ball-up-a-mountain example, you could run ahead of the ball, kick it back up to where it tipped, and it would tip back at exactly the same place.

    Lost ice may have hysteresis, depending on what it does to albedo. The Great Barrier Reef will, in the sense that if it dies, it has to be repopulated from larvae before it grows back. In the case of sinking atolls, they may be too deep for the larvae to establish themselves by the time we cool back down. Reef loss may reinforce reef loss by making for fewer larvae to colonise the dead adults, or by stressing the animals so they breed less successfully. Most are random sperm and egg emitters which rely on all spawning at once, so if you fall below a concentration threshold, fertilisation success may be reduced.

  36. Chris B says:

    ATTP No that is not quite what i was saying although I was meaning several things. We have got to the point where we have maximized almost all the risks.
    1. the turn around time to decarbonize the economy is now almost gone. Gone to the extent that it can’t be done relatively painlessly if it is possible at all to stay below dangerous warming levels
    2.the ecosystem services provided by functioning ecosystems are more than greatly diminished….these may turn out to be a tipping point in themselves or multiple localized tipping points leading to the cascade effect.
    3.Some proposed solutions may actually exacerbate or continue the problem or not prove to be a mitigation at all. Waste to Energy for example. The plastic itself might be better as a sequestration of carbon than burning it and trying to suck carbon out of the atmosphere later.
    Even reafforestation and afforestation and the accounting for that may not prove to be reliable mitigation.
    Beccs will not be a contributory solution without ecosystem services. I tend to think it a dumb idea and probably not economical in most imagined forms. Even though it is already factored in.
    A sudden rush to nuclear power options in places and situations where it is not the most appropriate or well thought out choice.
    There is too much risk from of affects creative accounting and project failures
    4. Unpredicted geological events from glacial rebound..
    5.The human factors of forced migration, crop failures, natural disasters, political instability, effects on health, etc making the possibility of planned land management and other solutions more risky and unreliable.
    The risk that the option of dealing with these human factors in a humanistic way won’t be chosen by the privileged and the powerful. Maybe this in itself could prove to be an unexpected tipping point.

    This article is probably saying to some extent what I want to say also. Obviously I am not advocating doing nothing. I have 2 kids 10 & 14….
    Only radicalism can prevent an irreversible “Hothouse Earth”
    We still have time to prevent catastrophic climate change – but a limited social democratic project is inadequate.
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/08/only-radicalism-can-prevent-irreversible-hothouse-earth

    Sorry if it is a bit of a ramble I’ve already typed too much today and I’m a bit tired but don’t want to leave answering too long…

    Living in Australia does not inspire confidence that we as a species can get all this together and done right, in time. Our state government is spruiking a ‘gamechanger’ of a 6 billion barrel oil development in the Great Australian Bight
    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/bight-oil-drilling-could-be-game-changer
    While planning to tear up our inadequate environmental protection laws to do it.

  37. “OTOH there are chaotic systems that can look stable over decadal time spans”

    Better way to put this is that there are metastable systems that can remain stable over long periods of time. That occurs with the ocean, in that the annual cycle promotes a biennial period doubling which is the precursor to further bifurcation into a chaotic mode. Yet the biennial mode can persist for an arbitrary amount of time if it doesn’t get enough energy to move beyond that mode.

  38. Dave_Geologist says:

    I would distinguish between

    1) a tipping point, which may or may not have hysteresis and may or not have runaway feedback (self-reinforcing or feedback factor greater than one),

    2) a hysteresis loop which may have stable states all the way up and all the way down the loop, and may come back to the start or each successive loop may have a permanent offset,

    3) a bifurcation, like the figure below, where part of the parameter space is unstable and you jump from one solid black line to the other. In theory instantaneously, in practice things like specific heat mean it takes time to cross the gap. While you’re crossing, you have runaway feedback, but once you’ve crossed, it’s no longer runaway.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-3121.2002.00408.x

    I think it’s also useful to distinguish between a full runaway to something like Venus, and a resource-limited runaway with an end-point when the resource is exhausted. For example, permafrost or methane hydrates could have a feedback factor greater than one and run away, but only until you run out of permafrost or hydrates. Ditto albedo when you run of of snow and ice, or when you’ve snowballed the entire earth. I believe people have calculated that we can’t become a Venus because we’d need to boil the oceans first and there isn’t enough fossil fuel to do that, even if we turn all of it into CO2. Of course we can do a helluva lot of damage before boiling the oceans.

    BTW the geological record tells us that some Gaia-like negative feedback won’t save us. It hasn’t applied in the past, what makes today special? Why did it not stop the glacial/interglacial flips? Why did it not stop the early Triassic, when Earth got so hot that the Tropics were uninhabitable by fish and reptiles.

  39. Dave_Geologist says:

    Oops, wrong link for picture. Previous one is to the whole paper.

    😦 .

  40. Thanks for the post. Yes, interesting article.

    I disagree, though, with the linearity thing. Sure, locally-in-time so. But not long range. Just look at the Pierrehumbert big ECS forcing review.

    Bifurcation hunting in climate has long been a hobby of some dynamicists. But they are hard to find. Alas, there’s no reason to think changes can’t happen rapidly (<10 years).

  41. Chris B says:

    …and don’t get the wrong idea. I am not despairing. I am trying to prepare my children to be capable of happiness no matter what…..but at the same time make them aware and angry enough to really push for some changes in the world. If it is not too late.
    “Fly, my pretties, fly!”

  42. HyperG said:

    Bifurcation hunting in climate has long been a hobby of some dynamicists. But they are hard to find.

    Indeed. One of my recent pet peeves is the discussion over Lyapunov exponents and that these can indicate whether a behavior is chaotic. Well … to characterize an exponent at all, one needs a mathematical model to test for divergence in trajectories. Fact is that you can’t get the exponent from the empirical data alone — note that there are no alternate trajectories in the data! (and there is no method to do a controlled experiment in climate science)

    So, unless one has a model that replicates the behavior somewhat accurately, there is no way to figure out the exponent. That’s a definition of a trick box and helps explain why bifurcation hunting is so difficult.

  43. Mitch says:

    Right now there is huge discharged battery in the climate system–the temperature/heat content of the deep ocean. In the Miocene, the deep ocean was about 4-6 deg C, so transient cooling at the poles was offset by heat loss out of the deep ocean reservoir. We are in the cool condition for the deep ocean now, with temperatures 1-2 deg C at the sea floor. This means that huge amounts of heat can be put into the system before the oceans will stop providing negative feedback.

    In addition, there is plenty of carbonate in abyssal surface sediments to titrate out greenhouse gases and keep CO2 uptake by the oceans to continue. Both of these factors increase the stability of the climate system and help to reduce the likelihood of large jumps. Note that it doesn’t eliminate them.

  44. Chris B.,
    I don’t think we’re really is disagreement. I was mainly just suggesting that it’s never too late, although I should probably have added that the best time to start would have been 30 years ago, and the second best time would be now.

  45. Citizenschallenge, my bad … & good question. My bad because I was thinking about “fully” in the sense of honor, i.e., isn’t integrity lost, of at least seriously compromised, when funding/employment trumps physics regarding (here I am thinking, as an example) the – at best – understating of the inclusion of negative emission technologies in the ‘science’ supporting 2°C paths?

    A good question because it suggests an experience scapegoating as justification for inaction – if I understand the “Seriously?” correctly. Systemically, isn’t scapegoating a red flag regarding motivated reasoning being engaged in relative to CapitalismFail?
    If so, and in matters of honor, scapegoating is, at best, childish; a failure to mature.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/OpenToInfo/status/1026926017003315201

    Now, generally, and concerning the feedbacks that have been discussed here concerning the Arctic, there is one the toothless Inuit hunters observe that I have not seen any discussion of concerning the models: the shift in the Arctic tropopause. Above the Arctic Circle where the sun sets for the year is moving. It yet rises where it always has, but inferred from their knowledge is that the warming atmosphere and greater humidity is facilitating longer and more days in the Arctic. A big deal, probably not (in any given year), but it is a compounding error if it isn’t understood and included in the modeling … & from little oversights big ones grow.

    Anyone here know how big this possible oversight could be. The age of the hunters and how they talked about the change suggested it had unfolded during their lifetimes (&, FWIW, they had figured out that this was because the tilt of the earth’s axis was shifting!).

  46. Jon Kirwan says:

    Jon Kirwan, please let me know if you find out. I, as a lay person, have always thought that climate scientists worked with catastrophe and/or chaos theory concepts, and always go round telling people that climate change doesn’t mean the earth is gradually getting hotter but that the climate is becoming chaotic and unpredictable…. is that right?

    To me, chaos and catastrophe mathematics are largely different fields. Catastrophe theory is a branch of topology that examines shapes existing in state spaces and adds dynamics to study how these shapes are affected by, and affect, their control surfaces. My meager exposure to chaos theory says it looks for bifurcations where a qualitative change takes place and the system behaves differently. But the few times I’ve looked at chaos theory mathematics and/or turbulent flows (used to model atmospheres, I think), it was “no so familiar” territory. So, for now at least, I don’t want to conflate these two things together.

    Catastrophe theory uses continuous functions to model abrupt changes. Imagine a physical system state governed by a potential V(x;c), described by a point x (an element of the field R^n) which minimizes that potential. Changing external conditions change the values of the control parameters c; changing c, in turn, changes the shape of the potential V(x;c). As the shape of the potential changes, the original global minimum in which the system state sits may become a metastable local minimum (because some faraway minimum assumes a lower value), or it may even disappear. Such a system state may also ‘jump’ from one local minimum to another. Time derivatives can be added to more elementary, static catastrophe theory to handle dynamics. (You find phrases like Morse saddles, cusp manifolds, inaccessible regions, control surfaces, and metastable local minima here.)

    Chaos theory (aka ‘nonlinear dynamics’) as I understand it is used to describe things such as turbulence, for example, which may look random but actually isn’t.

    While I’ve worked with, and been given the opportunity to occasionally review the work of climate scientists, I’m simply a commercial and scientific instrumentation engineer who happens to have been lucky enough to work with some superb physicists from time to time. My area of specialization is non-contact temperature measurement (pyrometry and phosphor thermometry), thermionic and field emission devices related to lithography and electron microscopy and gallium ion beam milling machines, and near- and far- field diffraction (fresnel and fraunhofer) and fourier optics. (Some of my temperature-related work product spans from heating up and studying individual axons in brain research at OHSU to monitoring the temperature of large power transformers to monitoring the skin temperature of US Space Shuttle [used both pyrometry and phosphor thermometry in a combined sensor, using platinum sputtering on a sapphire rod along with phosphors, that supported a measurement range from -240 C to +1850 C.])

    But I cannot speak in any kind of comprehensive way about whether or not climate scientists, somewhere in the world and over some time, have applied catastrophe theory, or otherwise perhaps chaos theory, to climate science.

    All I can say is that in my modest experiences since I first got involved in anything related to climate science (Dobson ozone spectrophotometers circa 1986), I haven’t ever encountered a climate paper or climate work product which I felt used the mathematics of dynamic (time derivatives) catastrophe theory to analyze climate systems. I simply haven’t seen it happen. Not once. But I’ve pushed the idea upon a few climate scientists, when the occasion offered itself. Mostly, the result was that I was rebuffed by them. (Very few positive “yes, and…” responses.)

    So I don’t think they have. At least, not until perhaps very recently. This is the first time anything I’ve read looks as though it is possibly being used. And I still don’t know, for sure. Just looks like it, to me.

    I think it wasn’t time, before. Too much work was still ahead, at a much more prosaic level, and those things needed to be addressed first and well. But when I had a chance, I did suggest the idea of at least becoming familiar with the mathematics, so that when the timing was right there may be a few more able to consider the idea.

    I admit a sense of emotion, feeling as though I may recognize some signs of catastrophe topology here. Whether or not it was actually used, I have no real idea. And whether it is appropriate to use, I also can’t say. I think so. But that’s just me. Besides, it’s also been almost two decades since. Things advance where I’ve not kept up. So I’d need to engage a discussion. And I’m not willing to disturb these authors, especially right now when this was all over the news, over some curiosity I have. It can wait.

  47. izen says:

    @-Greg Robie, aka, TheCoolBot 😉
    ” Anyone here know how big this possible oversight could be. The age of the hunters and how they talked about the change suggested it had unfolded during their lifetimes (&, FWIW, they had figured out that this was because the tilt of the earth’s axis was shifting!).”

    I would take a guess they have spotted the way the way the drift in perihelion and precession interact. It means the sidereal year is ~20mins longer than the seasonal year. Recorded inGreek texts in 100BC, but there may be older observations in Indian records. It is part of the Milankovitch cycle.

    Others here may have a better insight. But a change in the height of the tropopause may affect sun-set and rise times equally if it is an optical refraction effect. And be easily observable elsewhere. IIRC there are tidal effects on the thickness of the atmosphere, but they don’t AFAIK shift the sun-set/rise times.

  48. Michael 2 says:

    “in which parts of the planet become essentially uninhabitable.”

    As that is already the case, I assume you mean that parts presently habitable (perhaps barely), would become uninhabitable. So long as parts currently unihabitable *become* habitable to match it isn’t quite the extinction event suggested; merely a gigantic migration event with the usual trauma and drama associated with such things.

  49. Thx izen, and for anyone else who can weigh in, the reason I assume it is seasonal parrellax, i.e., the sun rises for the summer in the same place it has, is because the polar night is cold enough to condense all the water vapor the atmosphere is gaining now during the polar day (and, thereby, seasonally elevating the tropopause; allowing the Inuit to see the sun below the former horizon when it sets for the polar night. Concerning this observation, initially the most notable changes are expected at the poles. This is one that will be insignificance below the 66th parallel where days are, well, daily! 😉

  50. izen says:

    @-Greg Robie, aka, TheCoolBot 😉

    I am guessing here, but telling where the sun sets or rises for a nomadic people in a relatively featureless landscape is going to be based on the best directional data (other than the sun) they are familiar with. When 3 months of the year are night you are likely to be quite adept at star identification. So the star positions are going to be a key directional indicator.
    The sun is going to move against that ‘fixed’ background of stars by about 1 degree in ~60 years or 1 day later for the equinoxes and solstices. It is how the sun travels through the astrological signs, remember all that ‘Dawning of the age of Aquarius’ a few years back?

  51. Jeffh says:

    Most scientists are extremely reticent to say its too late, and even when I present some quite heavy lectures to audiences of colleagues I am often confronted with the question of, ‘where’ s the hope’? afterwards. To me, hope is almost pathological because it masks our ability to confront reality and to face the truth of the dire predicament. Hope must be based on empirical evidence and right now I don’t see a lot of that. It appears to be used as some kind of psychological tool to assure us that we can still turn the corner. Indeed, the mutant, destructive form of capitlalism (neoliberalism), that is pretty well incompatible with nature and sustainability, is as entrenched as ever, and large swathes of the population, having been ignored or abandoned by so-called liberals (who have thrown their weight behind the corporate and national security states) are embracing far right populism. Clive Hamilton said in ‘Requiem for a Species’, written several years ago, that in his opinion it is too late to avoid some of the serious consequences of AGW because we had done nothing to deal with it. Well, here we are, some years down the road and still virtually nothing has been done, meaning that we are committing ourselves to even more serious consequences.

    Nafeez Ahmed recently wrote that the extreme summer afflicting much of the northern hemisphere is an early sign that our civilization is headed for collapse. Chris Hedges said in 2013 that, in his opinion, based on political developments around the world and especially in the United States, as well as with the prognosis of climate change, the future ‘looked pretty bleak’. This was before the four warmest years on record and before the election of Donald Trump. Right now, sadly, I concur with him. Humans and nature are on a major collision course.

  52. Dave_Geologist says:

    This means that huge amounts of heat can be put into the system before the oceans will stop providing negative feedback.

    Or, of course, winds or currents could bring a bunch of warm water back from depth. Or the mixing efficiency may be poor below storm wave base and a chunk of middle waters gets bypassed by the thermohaline circulation and doesn’t participate. Or I could speculate further, but I rather think those clever scientists with their models know more than I do.

    In addition, there is plenty of carbonate in abyssal surface sediments to titrate out greenhouse gases and keep CO2 uptake by the oceans to continue.

    Now that is something I do know about. Your first is correct. But on a 10,000 to 100,000 year timescale. A bit late for homo sap. And of course your second is therefore wrong.

  53. Dave_Geologist says:

    hyperg, I lived through the decades before bifurcation snowball-earth models. At least for the ones with cap-carbonates, the explanations were contrived or required special pleading. Basically, unicorns. Or all the palaeomagnetic data had to be wrong. But mysteriously right for earlier and later epochs. You have to go from a snowball (or even a near-snowball with all the continents frozen but the tropical oceans seasonally or annually ice-free) to a hothouse with very high CO2 content., overnight in geological terms. To accumulate the CO2 in ten years, you’d need eruptions a thousand times bigger than the known LIPs. Apart from being energetically implausible, geologists would have tripped over the lavas. Note that while one of the snowballs may have been triggered by aerosols from a normal LIP, that’s an entirely different matter and requires a bifurcation. Once the aerosols had rained out, you’d go into a hothouse. You need something special to ensure that when the aerosols have rained out, and CO2 is still high, you remain in a snowball. Occam’s razor says it’s the albedo wot dunnit.

    Some things could happen in ten years. Killing the GBR, certainly. GHG evolution from a large patch of tundra. But probably not all at once, That would require all of Siberia and northern Canada to warm above the threshold at exactly the same time. Total hydrate collapse, certainly not. The high-warming places like the Arctic are warming patchily so the process will be patchy. They’re at different depths and the phase boundary is pressure as well as temperature dependent. A lot of the hydrates are on low-to-mid-latitude continental shelves where local conditions are very patchy and warming is much less than in the Arctic. Some are on slopes and will probably go all at once in a Storrega-Slide-type event. That might have to wait for a nearby earthquake. You can’t melt all the ice in 10 years. Or slide it into the sea in ten years.

  54. Dave_Geologist says:

    Greg, did you actually meet that Inuit or did you read about it somewhere? Even if you did, anecdotes are not data. And someone who thinks the earth’s axis has shifted (other than by tiny, tiny amounts like after the big Japan earthquake) is seriously underqualified to pontificate about the tropopause. If you read it the same place you read the preceding nonsense, it’s 99.9% certain you’re wrong.

    How do I know that? Because the sources you trust are deceiving you. You need to find some better sources. As things stand, you’re being played for a sucker. By people who earn more in a week than a researcher earns in a year. Sad.

    Betcha $1000 your “concerns” are either illusory, or already known and accounted for.

  55. Greg Robie says:

    Again izen, Thx for the guess … and again (& differently), my bad. A mountain is involved in the observations (which I failed to share). The sun now sets on the other side of the mountain from where it previous set.

    Having the opportunity to get this interchange with you about this observation is appreciated. The special case aspect of the Arctic tropopause elevation shifts, relative to global modeling, and the (correct) assertion it happens everywhere [else], got me to revisit my assumption about this new phenomenon’s impact on Arctic warming. Whatever the width of the expansion of the band of the Artic’s surface that is newly sun kissed is, it is additional and growing, and it gradually has greater width as the Arctic day unfolds. Even on an annual basis this may be significant. Previously, I’d only thought of its impact being at the end of the a Arctic day. Sleeping on this conversation, and visualizing the migration of that day, I realize this is big enough to possibly help explain the models’ failure regarding the loss of summer ice. Our mid-latitude anthropogenic methane pollution migrates north in the winter to increase its atmospheric concentration there. This extra blanket thrown over the pole slows the heat loss in winter and likely plays into the dynamics concerning multi-year ice loss. In the summer, the increasing release of methane (& carbon dioxide) from the Arctic itself, in conjunction with this slightly bigger – and growing – area experiencing direct solar incidence, seems to me to possibly explain what is being observed that trusted models predictions can’t demonstrate. What are the flaws in my speculation?

    Regardless, and BTW, nomadic hunters, a nomadic people do not make! 😉 The reason these guys were missing the teeth they were is because the villages they habitat (when they are not out on the trackless [disappearing] ice hunting/[increasingly dying]) can be, and are, delivered our healthyNOT! high sugar western diet. DebtSlaves’NConsumers-R-US … (for CapitalismFail to ‘work’) must everyone be!

    And again, generally: in January I share here that I’d approached my local library to create, host, and update a database that would hold this community’s carbon emission information to easily make available to the public any trend in those emission levels. Sharing this idea here, I thought might inspire similar efforts relative to employing/former employing academic institutions. Returning to citizenschallenge’s “Seriously?”, integrity, and honor, was anyone so inspired? Also, the English majors now getting the reporting wrong on this paper got educated in another department of a common institution … or a responsibility dodged?

    Anyway, I can report that seven months of politely differing, the request just got rebooted with the Director departing for a new job and leaving the request unaddressed. Abrupt climate change denial comes in many forms. Rich, in ” Losing Earth” (and Walt Smith’s Pogo), have it right: we have met the enemy and he is us.

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  56. Dave_Geologist says:

    brigittenerlich
    As I understand it. Weather is chaotic, climate is not. Or rather, weather is chaotic about one or more stable attractors. Climate can be described as the position of the attractor, plus a statistical description of the ensemble of chaotic weather states around the attractor. When we perturb climate linearly, we’re moving the position of the attractor. Like lengthening the lower arm of a double pendulum. That may also change the variance, skewness, etc. of the distribution of weather states around the attractor (e.g fewer or shorter but heavier rainstorms; land warming more than oceans; night warming more than day).

    A bifurcation would be a jump to a new attractor, for example snowball or hothouse earth. For me as a geologist, a hothouse would be something like the early Triassic, when the earth was about 10°C warmer and the equatorial and tropical zones were uninhabitable by fish or reptiles. A radically different world. Mammals hadn’t evolved yet, but if they had they’d have been restricted to the polar Warm Temperate zones. On a modern hothouse Earth, the human population would have to crowd into territory which currently supports around 10%. Some would extend “hothouse” to the somewhat cooler late Cretaceous, or even any ice-free Earth. I think ice-free is a perfectly adequate term for ice-absent-but-not-hothouse. Some call that a warm greenhouse. OTOH if the Hoffman graph I posted above is correct, the bifurcation is between ice-at-the-poles and ice-free, so from a chaos viewpoint that is the important transition.

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Gorter/publication/285864481/figure/fig17/AS:396345828495377@1471507618003/Early-Triassic-palaeogeographic-map-showing-interpreted-climatic-regimes-from-Scotese.ppm

    You can have hysteresis without a bifurcation. You see it all the time in geomechanical sample testing. In climate, you could warm at the current rate, then warm more slowly once the ice and snow are gone and the albedo stops changing. As you cool, you might get quite quickly into albedo-changing territory (because a thin layer of snow is enough to reflect sunlight), then cool more slowly as you’re adding ice thickness more than ice extent.

  57. Dave_Geologist says:

    The doi for the Science paper is 10.1126/science.1224126 (Science has an annoying habit of kicking you back to the home page if you’re not logged in, at least on my browser).

  58. Dave_Geologist says:

    My go-to book for deterministic chaos is Manfred Schroeder’s Fractals, Chaos, Power Laws. I have the 1990 edition, but I see there is a 2009 update. It’s got the maths but is very well written and I’m sure a layperson can skip the equations and still learn from it.

    It’s up there with David Moore’s The Basic Practice of Statistics. Very well written and it or something like it is essential reading for anyone who thinks they can just type some numbers into Excel, install an Add-In and become Tamino. It explains the concepts from the ground up, pointing out pitfalls for the unwary along the way. And as a textbook it has lots of editions, cheap second-hand copies and worked examples plus exercises for the reader.

  59. Dave_Geologist says:

    On the fools-rush-in theme, Moore doesn’t get to least-squares regression until page 111, significance tests until page 349, and inference for regression until page 589. Think about that the next time you see someone jumping straight from Excel cross-plot to inference.

  60. Dave_Geologist, does the response to izen I just posted clarify most of the things I’ve communicated poorly? Regarding the sourse, it was a YouTube distributed interview. My memory about it has me recalling it might have been an Indigenous Peoples type production.

    Yes, the hunters had the cause for what they were observing wrong. My use of parenthetical phrase brackets and that “FWIW” were intended to make this point to this audience that would know how incorrect there conclusion was.

    Miscommunication is [MUCH!] easier than communication. =)

    What I’ve pondered without reaching any conclusion, is why these guys who can/could traverse a trackless/featureless landscape safely concluded this. What role does an annual day patterning of the human psyche play in problem solving about a shifting sunset that a daily day does differently? What is ‘common sense’ but isn’t because of such differences? Does the western education they may have been exposed to directly or indirectly, include our knowledge about movement of the magnetic pole and this is conflated with the physical one due to the abstractness of both from their perspective and experience … i.e., where they hunt/used to hunt, is neither trackless nor featureless?

  61. Dave_Geologist says:

    merely a gigantic migration event with the usual trauma and drama associated with such things.
    But with Walls. And detention islands. And migrants armed with tanks and warplanes. Some with nuclear weapons. Sounds like fun 😦 .

  62. Dave_Geologist says:

    I apologise for the harshness of my response at 9.26 Greg. Grouchy in the early morning again. I’d assumed that the “funding/employment trumps physics” bit was the usual denier trope that scientists are only in it for the grant money (that amounts to less than a CEO’s weekly wage!), and that you can only get grants by claiming that the sky is falling.

    Nevertheless, I’m not convinced that scientists are hiding the extent to which NET are needed for, e.g., RCP2.6. Newspaper reports might, and the partially neutered Summary for Policymakers, but I think you’ll find it’s clear in the relevant chapters. Remember the SPM has to be vetted by politicians, and pass a consensus in which there are always one or more deniers backpedalling.

    And I’m afraid that I’d trust Capitalism Fail as much as I would the Heritage Institute. Partly because if you’re committed to a cause, motivated reasoning becomes a huge risk. And partly because even if the analysis is correct, we have no choice but to work with capitalism. A few individuals or communes ain’t gonna make enough of a difference. And crashing people’s lifestyles is a sure-fire way to trigger a monster backlash. Better to regulate capitalism, and mitigate, block or punish its failures.

    Alternatives like Year Zero, The Great Leap Forward, Lysenko or the Gulags don’t look attractive. Nor does Somalia, nor the past kleptocracies in the Philippines or Nicaragua.

  63. Dave_Geologist says:

    Clearer Greg, thanks. Is precession of the equinoxes enough to explain it? 1° in a lifetime might be enough if the Sun was just on the cusp of peeking round an obstacle. I presume they’d have noticed if an obstacle disappeared, e.g. a glacier melting. In a sense that would be the Earth’s axis moving. Depends on what you take as the reference frame.

    For identical reasons, the apparent position of the Sun relative to the backdrop of the stars at some seasonally fixed time slowly regresses a full 360° through all twelve traditional constellations of the zodiac, at the rate of about 50.3 seconds of arc per year, or 1 degree every 71.6 years.

    Ah, I see izen beat me to it 😦 .

  64. Dave said:

    “As I understand it. Weather is chaotic, climate is not. Or rather, weather is chaotic about one or more stable attractors. Climate can be described as the position of the attractor, plus a statistical description of the ensemble of chaotic weather states around the attractor. When we perturb climate linearly, we’re moving the position of the attractor. Like lengthening the lower arm of a double pendulum.”

    You are close. It’s not so much a double pendulum, but a metastable inverted pendulum. We have to remember that there is still a strong annual/seasonal signal in the climate and that would not show up in a double pendulum! Yet, an inverted pendulum would still show the original forcing plus any responses, such as the well-known period doubling that can occur in a fluid response.

  65. izen says:

    @-Greg Robie, aka, TheCoolBot 😉

    This will be the video you recall;-

    However the comment that the sunset is now past the mountain may explain the claimed difference in ‘day’ length.

    High within the arctic circle the sun-rise and set happens at the equinoxes and takes over a day. That means during the time taken from the top edge appearing to the bottom edge clearing the horizon, and opposite in the fall equinox, the sun rotates around the horizon beyond the first point it touches or clears.
    Any change in the apparent height of the horizon, a dip or hill, will alter the time of appearance/disappearance. The solar disc has an angular diameter of ~ half a degree, so any mountain on the horizon with a similar angular size would significantly alter the visibility of the sun.
    Because precession changes the time/direction of the equinoxes by 1 degree in 60 years, or a solar diameter in 30 years, it is entierly possible that before the sun set behind the mountain, but now it sets just beyond it, giving an extra hour or two of sun before it drops below the (lower) horizon.

    Changes in the atmospheric composition you suggest sufficient to alter the refraction of the atmosphere, would be easly detected by satellite observations, not least all the spy stuff taking pictures of Russia and N Korea, never mind the many sensors that measure methane and water vapour levels.

    However this whole axial shift – changing sunset thing appears from the video and associated links to now be detectable in Illinois and Texas by the Flat Earth enthusiasts who believe it.

  66. Chubbs says:

    Per Table 1, the processes described in the paper could add 0.47C of warming by 2100 in a “2C” world. A more pressing issue than the end-state, is how to stay below 2C this century with these processes starting to kick in.

  67. Regarding the Inuit video, the Chandler wobble is a measure of the slight precession in tilt of the North Pole having a period of ~433 days and a beat with the annual period of about 6.4 years. This is really slight and unless the Inuit are very perceptive can only be picked up by instruments (that’s how high-school graduate Chandler discovered it, as he invented an instrument that could pick out slight variations in the latitude of stars over time).

    The change in the wind that they are observing is likely due to polar vortices which are related to the QBO, which undergoes “quasiperiodic” shifts in wind direction. Often the direction of a polar vortex is aligned with the QBO direction.

    It’s probably not a coincidence that both the Chandler wobble and QBO period are precisely aligned with the nodal variations of the moon’s orbit. It’s overlooked that that the moon exerts a cyclic angular torque on the not-perfectly-spherical earth at a period of 433 days. And the lunar forcing also generates atmospheric tides with the same period as the QBO period. Two abstracts from the 2017 AGU referred to this observation.

    Ascribing behaviors to deterministic chaos is typically a last resort when one runs out of all other options.

  68. Dave_Geologist says:

    I didn’t mean it as an exact analogy Paul, just an example. The nice thing about the second link is that you can continuously vary the space visited by mass-2, by lengthening rod-2. IOW moving the position of the attractor and the variance around it, as opposed to jumping to a new attractor. In case it’s not obvious to anyone visiting the site, you don’t just have to passively watch the movie. You can pause it and drag either ball to a new position, then start it. I set it up as an inverted double pendulum (but with no cycle forcing) and it did three cycles with mass-1 above the fixed pivot before gravity won. If you run it long enough with the right parameters it will occasionally kick both masses above the pivot. So far, for me, only for one cycle before one or both masses falls below. Or you can grab a mass and “throw” it. Depending on how hard you throw, both masses may go above the pivot. Or not. So you can also explore, as you say, a metastable starting point vs. a stable starting point, or small perturbations being linear but large ones non-linear, etc. Or even change the solver if you’re not persuaded it’s real deterministic chaos and is just a rounding problem.

    But of course, as you’re no doubt aware, if you want an inverted double pendulum, there’s an app for that. You can make it like the previous one by turning the drive amplitude down to zero, or the frequency up to well above the natural oscillations of the system. Cue hours of endless fun 🙂 .

    Climate, of course, can do both. In the context of the post, the current roughly linear changes will only remain linear until they stop being linear. And we won’t know it’s happened until after it’s happened. And short of NET, won’t be able to put the genie back in the bottle for millennia.

  69. Dave_Geologist says:

    Ascribing behaviors to deterministic chaos is typically a last resort when one runs out of all other options.

    Except of course when the maths tells you it’s chaotic 😉 . Does anyone argue with Lorenz? Hence my reference to “weather”. Of course that’s not to say you can’t grow a tornado that would not otherwise have grown by clearing a field and leaving stubble. Or that a big enough forest fire won’t influence the weather. That would be the same fallacy as saying that people die naturally so there’s no such crime as murder. I wouldn’t suggest that for a moment. And of course it can be hard to say what’s deterministic chaos, what’s stochastic variation with non-linear but non-chaotic results, and what’s cyclic forcing with a stochastic or chaotic overlay.

    An example of that would be the tidal earthquake triggering we discussed a few months ago. I would see that as cyclic with a stochastic overlay, but no need for chaos. The fault surface is highly complex, with highly variable geometry, and the fault-rock may exhibit strain-softening or strain-hardening, but at the pre-earthquake strain level most stuff is linear-elastic. It’s just too difficult to say exactly what the critical stress for failure will be, although you can say something statistically about an ensemble of faults. Even if we had the computing power, we lack sufficient knowledge of the input parameters for each fault. So while it might be predisposed to fail at a particular point in the cycle, it might fail before it gets to the peak because it almost-but-not-quite made it last time, or after the peak because there’s time-dependent strain-softening, and it’s impossible to say in advance which peak or near-peak it will fail on.

    I wasn’t claiming everything was chaotic and nor, AFAICS, was the Inuit anecdote ascribed to chaos. briggite’s question was conceptual, and the unforced double pendulum has the advantage of not being contaminated with a cyclic forcing. Obviously, in the real world with real cycles, that forcing may be a feature not a bug. But I at least find it helps to start simple and build complexity. That’s the reductionist in me 🙂 .

  70. JCH says:

    Or, of course, winds or currents could bring a bunch of warm water back from depth. Or the mixing efficiency may be poor below storm wave base and a chunk of middle waters gets bypassed by the thermohaline circulation and doesn’t participate. Or I could speculate further, but I rather think those clever scientists with their models know more than I do.

    There is no warm water in the deep ocean. That water is at best slightly less cold.

    Trenberth said the missing heat either went into the oceans – and stayed there, or was reflected back to space before it was absorbed. No final tally yet, but it appears to me a majority of it was reflected back to space.

  71. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Michael 2:

    So long as parts currently unihabitable *become* habitable to match it isn’t quite the extinction event suggested; merely a gigantic migration event with the usual trauma and drama associated with such things.

    It’s even worse than Dave_Geologist says above (“But with Walls. And detention islands. And migrants armed with tanks and warplanes. Some with nuclear weapons.”)

    The “we can all move pole-ward in response to global warming” meme gets tossed around by folks who likely have never been out of the temperate and tropic zones of the Earth.

    Take a look at Baffin Island or Novaya Zemlya sometime.
    You may note the almost complete absence of topsoil.
    That, and the months of darkness, will make the polar agricultural revolution something of a challenge.

    Speaking of Novaya Zemlya, (and observations of sunrise and sunset)…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novaya_Zemlya_effect

  72. Dave_Geologist says:

    Warmer JCH. When something at 4°C is raised to 5°C, heat has gone into it. Even though it’s still cold.

    The heat went into the oceans. It’s been measured. Deal with it.

  73. Dave said:

    “I wasn’t claiming everything was chaotic and nor, AFAICS, was the Inuit anecdote ascribed to chaos. briggite’s question was conceptual, and the unforced double pendulum has the advantage of not being contaminated with a cyclic forcing. “

    What do you mean by “contaminated with a cyclic forcing”? There was a recent push by scientists at NASA JPL to educate analysts not to remove cyclic patterns such as the annual and lunar tidal forcings. This is potentially obscuring the true mechanisms behind many climate behaviors, as the time-series are being prematurely filtered.

  74. Dave_Geologist says:

    Paul, I meant that to demonstrate how unforced deterministic chaos can generate periodic or quasi-periodic cycles (IIRC the logistic parabola can even generate strictly periodic cycles), it’s helpful to choose a system with no periodic forcings. Otherwise the student will say “of course it’s periodic, you’re forcing it periodically”. I thought I’d made it clear that the real world does not correspond to that pure concept. Just as it does not correspond to a noise-free concept, or to a concept where we know every parameter to an arbitrary degree of accuracy, or to a concept where there is no such thing as deterministic chaos (Lorenz). The real world is messy. As brigitte appeared to be coming from the position of a neophyte, I thought it would be useful to break things down into simplified components.

  75. Dave said:

    “I thought I’d made it clear that the real world does not correspond to that pure concept. “

    Yes, you did infer that in the next sentence, sorry to not read carefully enough where you said “Obviously, in the real world with real cycles, that forcing may be a feature not a bug. “

    My view is that Lorenz has been of no practical utility. Every complex not-well-understood climate behavior I have looked into has a more parsimonious explanation as a forcing than due to deterministic chaos. Yes, forcing is a feature, not a bug.

  76. JCH says:

    Dave – find me a study that demonstrates the missing heat discussed by Kevin Trenberth has been found in the oceans. That OHC is going up is not proof Trenberth’s missing heat is in the oceans.

  77. Dave_Geologist says:

    Paul, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_map.

    Note how periodic then multi-periodic behaviour arises spontaneously between convergence with damped oscillation, and full chaos. Note how sharp the wavenumber peaks are in that interval. I’m pretty sure they’d pass a statistical test for periodicity. Note the period-doubling parameter space before the transition to chaos. I’m not saying that everything is chaos, or that everything is periodically forced, but that if all you have is the observation of periodicity, either phenomenon can be the driver.

    We can debate which is the more parsimonious: spontaneous periodicity arising with no need of a driver, but admittedly over a limited parameter space, or a periodic driver which may be very weak or may require just the right harmonic or beat frequency. If you allow yourself to search through very many periods and period combinations, and it only works for just the right one, that’s not very parsimonious. OTOH if the periodic interval occupies a tiny proportion of the physically realisable parameter space, that’s not very parsimonious either.

    And then there’s physics 🙂 . If you have physical mechanism such as tides stressing the earth’s crust, that’s a plus point for periodicity. For phenomena which are stress-dependent. Not for the colour of the rocks, though. Tides influencing your mood through a horoscope fails for lack of a physical mechanism. The case for Milankovitch forcing has been strengthened since its early days by the demonstration of feedbacks which amplify the weak forcing. A weak forcing, absent a positive feedback mechanism, is for me where Milankovitch cycles were in the 1930s. Where the maths which you know describes processes in the physical system generates chaos, you have an a priori reason to expect chaos to play a role. If you’ve just thrown your hands up and said “it’s damn complicated, it must be chaotic”, you don’t.

    If you have a plausible mechanism to maintain the system in a critical periodic state, then even a narrow range of parameter space can be parsimonious. I can imagine that some orbital solutions are like that, e.g. Lagrange points. The particles that are non-periodic or chaotic depart the vicinity over time. Prime-number breeding cicadas are parsimonious for deterministic chaos because there is an evolutionary mechanism to select for them. Ones which have no periodicity emerge at random times of year and most don’t find mates. Ones which emerge at chaotic multi-year intervals will also struggle to find mates. Ones which emerge at multiples of two or three years will often emerge at the same time as other species and risk infertile hybrid matings. Their offspring will also face more competition for food. Ones which emerge at prime-number-of-years intervals will (a) stay in sync and (b) rarely meet competition. And they’ll meet a different competitor each time, so won’t get locked into a them-or-us death-struggle. No need for design or direction. natural selection will weed out the unsuccessful breeders.

  78. Dave,
    That’s fine. What is overlooked is the fact that the solution to the GCM primitive equations can also lead to an explosion of peaks in the power spectrum. These are due to wave-breaking harmonics, as described in this forum post I did a few days ago:
    https://forum.azimuthproject.org/discussion/comment/20488/#Comment_20488

    I am not really interested in toy Lorenz problems such as the Logistics map when I can analyze the more physically realistic hydrodynamics formulations.

  79. izen says:

    @-JCH
    “That OHC is going up is not proof Trenberth’s missing heat is in the oceans. ”

    Well proof is for…

    But it is possible to falsify the hypothesis that Trenberth’s missing heat is in the oceans if the amount of energy and the measured increased OHC are significantly different in Joules.

    Or within a ~10% variance of magnitude which might at least support the idea…

  80. Dave_Geologist says:

    JCH, the OHC is going up. Because the oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat, the tiny increment of extra heat required to explain the faux pause is below the statistical limits for detection. The high bar of 95% confidence, which the faux pause doesn’t get even remotely close to when the correct null hypothesis is used. It’s just as it was with surface warming, when the signal hadn’t yet emerged from natural variability. The Earth’s surface didn’t magically warm overnight from 0 to 0.2°C. That would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics. Failing to yet meet a 95% threshold doesn’t mean warming wasn’t real and wasn’t happening. Because there’s statistics, and then, to coin a phrase, there’s physics.

    Some may have been reflected back into space: some papers have proposed or claimed to detect cloud changes. But given we now have our feet firmly on the next tread of the SkS escalator, I’m confident it’s mostly OHC. The ocean taketh, and the ocean giveth back. To get the burst of heating we had after the faux pause just from cloud reflectivity (I presume you’re thinking clouds, not unicorns), you’d need to violate the laws of thermodynamics. Or make all the negative-feedback clouds vanish, not just the extra ones. Or both. We’d have noticed the change in the sky. Reflected solar radiation represents a permanent deficit in the Earth’s heat accrual. A decade’s worth would represent a lot of heat. We’re now comfortably back on the long-term warming trend, given known forcings, so there is no heat deficit (not that we ever did have a statistically significant departure from the trend). That the faux pause is within the range of previous natural variability also supports internal planetary mechanisms (heat redistribution) as the explanation, rather than exogenous factors. What we’ve seen is just more of the same, based on centuries-long records. No need for special pleading to explain the previous tread on the escalator.

    So given that (a) we know the oceans are warming and collecting most of the heat, (b) they have known thermohaline and other mechanisms for burying and returning accrued heat, (c) we never had a significantly significant departure from either the total heat content trend or even the surface temperature trend, Occam’s razor says it went into the ocean and came back. I bet Trenberth agrees. He just won’t go public until he has 95% confidence.

  81. Dave_Geologist says:

    Or within a ~10% variance of magnitude which might at least support the idea…

    How do you know 10% is the right number JCH? As opposed to, say, 1% or 50%? There’s physics, and then there’s statistics. I like to think of this blog’s title as a guide for what to rely on when you haven’t read Moore as far as page 622 (589 is just the chapter title), or have read that far and concluded “too soon to tell” 🙂 .

  82. izen says:

    @-Dave_G
    “How do you know 10% is the right number JCH? ”

    He may not.
    That was my rather clumsy attempt to set a definite limit to the doubt and uncertainty in any comparison of the amount of Trenberth heat that is ‘lost’ and the amount of heat the oceans have absorbed as indicated by buoys and thermal expansion.

  83. JCH says:

    Deep ARGO is not in yet. Some say OHC there is up; others think down. It’s a travesty we don’t know! There is this recent publication by Tim Andrews: Accounting for changing temperature patterns increases historical estimates of climate sensitivity

    …For example, the pattern effect increases the long‐term Otto et al. (2013) EffCS median and 5‐95% confidence interval from 1.9K (0.9‐5.0K) to 3.2K (1.5‐8.1K).

    The surface of the eastern Pacific cooled from around 1983 until around 2013-2014; the PDO went hard negative during the “pause”. ATTP’s article on Zhou

  84. Since the recent article mentioned that no fundamental discoveries have been made in climate science since 1979, this tweet is intriguing:

    Nature paper submitted! Median time interval between me reloading the submission website for a status update? Currently about three minutes ;-)Fingers crossed though, as I think we have made a major discovery in atmosphere/climate science.But for now, my lips are sealed…— Paul Williams (@DrPaulDWilliams) August 10, 2018

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  85. izen says:

    @-Dave_G
    “The surface of the eastern Pacific cooled from around 1983 until around 2013-2014;”

    That’s Bob Tisdale’s spin I think.
    There are certainly LOTS of graphs showing little or no warming with a large year to year variability in a specific Eastern Pacific region, by him claiming to show this.
    Other regions offset this sufficiently to ensure the total SST in the Pacific shows a steady rise.

    IIRC there was a patch in the N. Atlantic, just S.W. of Greenland for which the same claim could be made.

    Ocean surface temperatures may not be homogeneous globally, but the heat content is reflected in a homogeneous rise due to thermal expansion.

    One problem with rejecting the hypothesis that the oceans did not absorb the ‘missing heat’ and speculating that it was reflected back without adding to the Joules added to the climate system is that it would imply a greater temperature rise for less ‘heat’ (in Joules presumably) added.
    Or a higher climate sensitivity.

  86. Dave_Geologist says:

    My mixup between JCH and izen. Sorry.

    TL;DR version of my previous comment. Energy balance. Heat reflected into space, and heat retained on Earth but redistributed between components, make two contrasting, testable predictions for what happens after a “pause”.

    In the first case, heat is permanently lost to space (or rather, not gained by Earth). You have a y-axis flat during the period of high albedo. After it has ended you go back to the same slope, but with an x-axis offset equal to the duration of the “pause”. y = mx + c has the same m, but each line segment after each albedo-driven “pause” has a different c.

    If the heat is gained by the Earth, but just not exhibited at the surface due to internal redistribution, you get a step up when the heat appears at surface. The SkS escalator. The rising trend after the “pause ” is an extension of the previous trend. Not just the same m, but the same c. That’s what the data shows. So the heat wasn’t reflected into space, it was retained by the Earth. Unless it was sucked up by leprechauns or unicorns, the only place for it to go is the oceans. You don’t need Argo to confirm that. It’s just basic physics.

    The jury was still out on the post-pause temperature trend when a lot of the exotic-explanation papers were written. It’s returned a verdict with 2015-2018 surface temperatures. The heat to feed the jump in surface warming certainly didn’t come from space. Earth’s average albedo is about 0.3-0.35. Even if you reduced it to zero, you could only catch up one or two years’ worth of lost heat per year. And we’d have noticed if all the clouds. snow and ice disappeared and the land and oceans turned black.

    .

  87. JCH says:

    First, the person who speculated the missing heat may have been reflected back to space was Kevin Trenberth.

    I don’t read Bob Tisdale. To find useful graphs on Google images it’s basically mandatory to include -Tisdale.

    Zhou:

    …We find that cloud anomalies associated with these patterns significantly modify the Earth’s energy budget. Specifically, the decadal cloud feedback between the 1980s and 2000s is substantially more negative than the long-term cloud feedback. This is a result of cooling in tropical regions where air descends, relative to warming in tropical ascent regions, which strengthens low-level atmospheric stability. Under these conditions, low-level cloud cover and its reflection of solar radiation increase, despite an increase in global mean surface temperature. These results suggest that SST pattern-induced low cloud anomalies could have contributed to the period of reduced warming between 1998 and 2013, and offer a physical explanation of why climate sensitivities estimated from recently observed trends are probably biased low.

  88. Dave_Geologist says:

    BTW re “no fundamental discoveries have been made in climate science since 1979”. That’s a feature not a bug. It’s settled science. One in the eye for those who claim it’s an immature science whose results can’t be relied on.

    Although it depends on what you mean by “new”. No new astronomy since the Big Bang. Dark Energy and the rest is just book-keeping. No new high-energy physics since quarks. the Higgs was not new science, it was predicted and just needed better engineering to confirm it. No new biology since Darwin. Everything since was just filling in the details. No new genetics since Crick & Watson. HGP etc. was just better engineering to fill in the details. No new planetary astronomy since Pluto was discovered (or rather Neptune, now Pluto’s been demoted). Exoplanets? No. Finding none would have been interesting, Finding lots? Mehhh. No new geology since Wegener. Plate Tectonics? Just detail and tidying-up.

  89. Polar twilight: three distinct categories that unfold over a two month time frame twice a year. Does what izen noted about the full day required for the disk of the sun to clear the horizon, in conjunction with the tropopause height being variable (but defined as constrained by the mean value of temperature, pressure, and humidity), suggests the Inuit observations are encompassing of this dynamic, and therefore general in terms of the sunset’s location, and thereby, relative to the observation: the perceived sunset’s shift, constitute a metric for gauging change in the polar atmosphere for which no other data exists; an opportunity to improve models regarding Arctic ice loss? While this observed shift in the sunset’s location may or may not end up being significant in itself (the a
    V-Rev’s contribution regarding the Novaya Zemlya effect suggests the perceived shift directly effect a band of Arctic surface that may be in the range of 400 km), the duration of the twilight and the area it encompasses dwarfs this. Furthermore, atmospheric refraction apparently has a distinct effect in the mid-infrared frequencies (though my basic knowledge of physics doesn’t include how this could be possible). Or, this Inuit observation is not only not about the axis tilt, it is not the sunset’s shift that is significant. It is what it infers about the polar twilight, aerosols, and atmospheric methane that is important.

    I’m taking this new (for me) information in.

    Twilight, in all its iterations, impacts polar solar incidence (albeit indirectly) in ways for which twilight is not significant in the mid and equatorial latitudes. As Dave_G said, tropopause issues are likely modeled. However, whatever is included in the models is based on averages … and conservative ones. From my perspective, the ‘huge’ historic error the modeling generated concerning Arctic ice loss, means any insight into a significant oversight concerning the warming dynamics of our expansive and dynamic polar twilight zone is worth serious consideration. The default dismissive responses here concerning the Inuit hunters’ observations is a flag for me regarding observer bias and motivated reasoning. For example, I missed what that extra hour of hunting in the twilight zone likely represented. Isn’t the seal’s behavioral changes that I suggested trumped by this extended twilight being likely due to increased aerosol pollution in a rising tropopause?

    The more I consider the dynamics inferred by the Inuit observations, the less easy seeing it in the satellite data becomes for me. Dave_G ‘a assertion, and my concurrence, that such was easy suggests to me how challenged those living with daily days are in matters that involve annual days.

    The other observation by the hunters concerning the stars would also benefit from further clarification. If this references stars near or on the horizon, and given the purpose of this knowledge (navigation out on the Arctic ice cap), a rising tropopause would effect a shift in such navigating stars’ declination since it is greatest at the horizon due to atmospheric refraction.

    ATTP, as this blog passes milestones on what you often discuss as an indeterminate journey, have toothless Inuit hunters inadvertently pointed out a star to affect some guidance relative to this continuing work? Does this “Perspective” paper concerning the known constellation of ‘outlier’ threats to trusted modeling hold a map the Inuit knowledge can help make further sense of concerning the huge error regarding Arctic ice loss?

  90. Dave said:

    “BTW re “no fundamental discoveries have been made in climate science since 1979”

    Caldeira asked for examples from his Twitter followers. No one could provide anything striking IMO.
    Even Gavin Schmidt’s response was weak:

    -Greenland ice cores showing abrupt change (1990)
    -Antarctic ice cores w/CO2 CH4 records
    -GRACE
    -Everything polar ozone hole related

    None of these are fundamental breakthroughs in climate physics, which is what Caldeira asked for. They are perhaps breakthroughs based on empirical observations.

  91. Dave_Geologist says:

    Greg, I doubt if a moving tropopause would have much impact on atmospheric refraction. There is no sharp temperature or pressure change there, just a change in trends with height. Probably a water vapour change which will make some difference. But from what I can see online, it’s mostly about the ray being curved as it moves through a smoothly increasing R.I. Not about refraction at interfaces. Apparent displacement of the Sun from one side of a mountain to another is the integrated effect of all that. Even if you did have a break in R.I. at the tropopause, you wouldn’t be able to uniquely solve for the magnitude and height of the break-point. It’s just one step in a long chain where you only see the final link. If you have a climate model you will naturally have P, T, pCO2, R.H. for every cell, so it should be trivial to calculate the refraction at a particular time snapshot. If it didn’t match ground-truth, that would tell you something is wrong but, not what.

    The GISS grid is in 2 x 2.5 degree cells, so a patch of snow blocked or not by a mountain would not even be a big as one cell. Indeed the mountain itself would only be represented as the average height of the cell. I would think the reason models underestimate ice melting is not because they get the illuminated area wrong. After all, most melting takes place in mid to late summer, not at sunrise or sunset. It’s because they don’t incorporate all the physical processes, particularly ice dynamics (internal flow and basal friction), and circulating meltwater in crevasses etc. Even if your model is set up to do the calculation, the rugosity of the top and base of the ice sheet can’t be well represented in that size of grid cell.

  92. Dave_G, I appreciate the (quick?) read of my comment, and the time invested in this reply. What you critique is precisely what I hoped to communicate. I’ll accept the “my bad” – again. You are right, it is not the direct solar incidence that is relevant relative to the hunters observations. It is the indirect solar incidence – which also isn’t quite what I mean.

    As a former sprayed-in-place urethane foam contractor, besides contributing greatly to the ozone hole creation, I’ve expertise in matters relation to insulation. What I see in the observations about the sunsets’, stars’, and twilight shifts is anacdotal ‘data’ that might help improve the current modeling. I feel checking out this possibility is quite important.

    A Hail Mary pass of geoengineering is all but assured now. If there is an unknown dynamic that feeds into the past ‘huge’ errors regarding Arctice ice loss, and the present [yet wildly optimistic?!?] ones, how badly will the geoengineering incorporating such errors mess up?

    What I intended to say is that what the Inuit are talking about observing on the ground requires putting scientific heads in the metaphorical clouds to make sense of their observations.

    If mid-infrared wavelengths are refracted more strongly, the aerosol pollution is absorbing this and heating differently than where twilight is a twice daily phenomon of a bit more than two hours. The increased atmospheric methane will do its thing to hold that heat gained in the Arctic twilight zone over timespans measured in months in the Arctic. Methane, as insulation, is increasing the most in the Arctic where it can do the most damage to the cryosphere.

    I am speculating that the indirect solar incidence may also add up to something significant that the current modeling and resolution has not factored in yet.

    As I think about the Inuit hunters’ observations, don’t they provide data that potentiall brackets the Anthropocene’s impact in the Arctic? And this is not only about what is related to atmospheric refraction, but the warming dynamics is a sector of the planet’s atmosphere for which lots of averaging of way too little data is the current as-good-as-it-gets?

  93. Dave_Geologist says:

    Understand Greg. I’m more optimistic but I may be wrong. I hope I am, geoengineering is more like taking a random coloured pill an hoping it will do good not harm than a Hail Mary pass.

    I agree that we’re in the Anthropocene. I’d put the start date at 1950, looking at it as a deep-time geologist. Mark Maslin likes 1965. I think he’s more of climatologist than a geologist and is thinking about processes we see on the face of the Earth. Reinforced by being based in a Geography department. I think abut what will be preserved in millions of years time. That’s the remit of the official working group. Land erosion and redeposition is messy. Most onshore stuff will be lost and/or jumbled up, so 1900 is mixed with 2100. Isotopic signatures in deep-sea sediments are what we use for comparable events, like the PETM, the end of he Cryogenian glaciations or the various anoxic events. In a million years time we won’t be able to tell 1965 from 1950, so I’d stick with 1950, which is already radiocarbon Year Zero and the palaeoclimatology Before Present reference year.

  94. angech says:

    Izen
    “One problem with rejecting the hypothesis that the oceans did not absorb the ‘missing heat’ and speculating that it was reflected back without adding to the Joules added to the climate system is that it would imply a greater temperature rise for less ‘heat’ (in Joules presumably) added.
    Or a higher climate sensitivity.”
    Increasing the spread of ECS options, besides making the science less certain, is not the only problem.

  95. angech says:

    JCH. “Zhou:…We find that cloud anomalies associated with these patterns significantly modify the Earth’s energy budget. Specifically, the decadal cloud feedback between the 1980s and 2000s is substantially more negative than the long-term cloud feedback. This is a result of cooling in tropical regions where air descends, relative to warming in tropical ascent regions, which strengthens low-level atmospheric stability. Under these conditions, low-level cloud cover and its reflection of solar radiation increase, despite an increase in global mean surface temperature. These results suggest that SST pattern-induced low cloud anomalies could have contributed to the period of reduced warming between 1998 and 2013, and offer a physical explanation of why climate sensitivities estimated from recently observed trends are probably biased low.”
    So, not in the oceans, DG.
    And, yes it could be cloud cover despite gut feelings.

  96. Greg Robie says:

    This graph of the length of time it takes to perceive sunrise and sunset at different latitudes confirms, for me, that the Inuit hunters’ observations are important ‘data’ relative to a seasonal rise and fall of the mean value of temperature, pressure, and humidity: http://individual.utoronto.ca/kalendis/twilight/sun-rise-set-durations.pdf. A warming Arctic is impacting all these factors and extending the length of time it takes for the senset to be effected. The basic difference is independent of the shift izen pointed out, but would need to be quantified to turn anicadotal ‘data’ into data.

    If it isn’t obvious, I’m continuing , like sheep, to graze in one place. I’m appreciative of the interchange here that has revealed new shoots to much on! 😉

    In a potāto/potáto dynamic, Dave_G, optimism involving thinking that doesn’t critique the trusted feelings about CapitalismFail is (with a very high probability!) motivated reasoning, i.e., it is likely wrong. However, such is also, in matters involving homeostasis, a trusted as-good-as-it-gets. And I like the pill analogy better than the Hail Mary pass, for whatever the concoction of pills we end up taking, won’t we be addicted to them (until a functional collapse of our trusted collapsed economic system)?

    …And for any reader whose brain just delivered that possible technological fix as countering this assertion, isn’t that what motivated reasoning feels like?!? 😉

    Congratulations, again, ATTP, on this milestone passed in hosting this fun geeky ride in the funhouse of CapitalismFail with its collapse in the Anthropocene as part this geological epoch’s sixth planetary extinction event. To paraphrase – and augment – Guy McPherson, only honor remains.

  97. Dave_Geologist says:

    “could have contributed” angech. Up to 2013. But if it had all been reflected back into space, why 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018? That heat had been stored somewhere on Earth. Not out past Alpha Centauri. I’m not relying on gut feelings but on something far, far stronger. Conservation of energy.

  98. Dave_Geologist says:

    Indeed Greg. A good extension of my pill analogy. If we go for some sort of albedo-changing geoengineering, as opposed to carbon sequestration, we’ll be hooked on it, for all intents and purposes, forever. With horrendous withdrawal symptoms if we miss a dose. And probably adverse side effects in return for delaying warming. Crop failures, perhaps, due to blocked sunlight.

  99. JCH said:

    “I don’t read Bob Tisdale. To find useful graphs on Google images it’s basically mandatory to include -Tisdale.”

    Unfortunate that pseudoscience has polluted the search space for years. A step in a positive direction is that recently Google has apparently devalued links to such sites as WUWT.

  100. JCH says:

    Webb – last night I was looking for some global maps that show cooling in the Eastern Pacific and apparently Google has dealt with Tisdale as search results appear to have far fewer Tisdale graphs.

    Dave – the intensified trade winds stopped. Right about the time Curry and Lewis stared using the observational record to set policy.

  101. Dave_Geologist says:

    “the intensified trade winds stopped”. Indeed. And let heat that had been mixed below the surface come back out of the oceans. Not heat reflected into space.

    Well whaddya know. Nat Geo had an article about it. In 2014 (I subscribe, but had a reading backlog). And I downloaded the paper. In May 2016. Old news, angech.

  102. JCH says:

    That would mean equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely less than 2 ℃.

  103. Dave_Geologist says:

    Err, no JCH. How do you work that out? It’s just internal redistribution of heat within the Earth. Part of what makes attempting to determine ECS from short term energy balance calculations a fool’s errand. At least when the proxy for the Earth’s accumulated heat is surface temperature. A very noisy record which only represents about 7% of the heat. Noise is amplified 15 times. Dumb choice.

    IIRC ECS is a metric developed by climate modellers to assess and compare the output of GCMs. On medium timescales. So even the use of the word “equilibrium” is inappropriate. It’s great for lukewarmer rhetoric. But as useful in the real world as a square peg in a round hole. The only meaningful S’s are TCS and ESS.

    And did you miss the bit where LC18 is trivially easy to reductio to an obvious absurdium? Just do the calculation by latitudinal zones with appropriate area-weighting, rather than a global average, and you get a different answer. Silly games by silly people with an axe to grind. ‘Twas always thus. Even 1000 posts ago.

  104. JCH says:

    I have no use for Lewis and Curry, but go to Google Scholar and find anybody who has laid a glove on it. Last time I checked, there is nothing.The IPCC in part lowered the uncertainty range because of the work of the scientists who have used that method.

    The majority of the studies that indicate sensitivity could be higher than Curry and Lewis do, and others who use that method, is the work that also indicates there was a decrease in SW during the period, roughly, 1998 to 2013.

    Accounting for changing temperature patterns increases historical estimates of climate sensitivity

    Abstract

    Eight Atmospheric General Circulation Models (AGCMs) are forced with observed historical (1871‐2010) monthly sea‐surface‐temperature (SST) and sea‐ice variations using the AMIP II dataset. The AGCMs therefore have a similar temperature pattern and trend to that of observed historical climate change. The AGCMs simulate a spread in climate feedback similar to that seen in coupled simulations of the response to CO2 quadrupling. However the feedbacks are robustly more stabilizing and the effective climate sensitivity (EffCS) smaller. This is due to a ‘pattern effect’ whereby the pattern of observed historical SST change gives rise to more negative cloud and LW clear‐sky feedbacks. Assuming the patterns of long‐term temperature change simulated by models, and the radiative response to them, are credible, this implies that existing constraints on EffCS from historical energy budget variations give values that are too low and overly constrained, particularly at the upper end. For example, the pattern effect increases the long‐term Otto et al. (2013) EffCS median and 5‐95% confidence interval from 1.9K (0.9‐5.0K) to 3.2K (1.5‐8.1K).

  105. angech says:

    Dave_Geologist
    “attempting to determine ECS from short term energy balance calculations a fool’s errand. At least when the proxy for the Earth’s accumulated heat is surface temperature. A very noisy record which only represents about 7% of the heat. Noise is amplified 15 times.”
    Occasionally a gem in the scattershot, and what a gem.
    Thank you so very much.
    Now how many hundred posts on ECS could one apply that to.
    You deserve a high five.

  106. angech says:

    JCH,
    A different league but I thank you all the same. (Sorry).
    Totally different viewpoints but at least you have and put evidence up and damn where it falls.

  107. Dave_Geologist says:

    JCH, science is a funny old game. Only stuff which is close-enough-to-accurate gets rebutted. It’s why it was so hard to publish that paper drawing all the lukewarmers’ rookie errors together in one place. Stuff which is obviously wrong, unimportant, or not scientifically influential, gets criticised on blogs. It doesn’t get rebutted in the peer-reviewed literature, just deservedly ignored. Of course that doesn’t stop it being all over the politics-and-media dog-and-pony show. But journal editors consider themselves above that sort of stuff. And it only gets retracted if it’s fraudulent or broke ethics rules. Otherwise it’s left out there to the authors’ eternal embarrassment. ECS estimates anchor the IPCC’s lower end. It’s verging on criminal to take the lower end as your benchmark for the future. Either give equal weight to the the upper end, and start banging the drum about Paris being inadequate, or pick somewhere in the middle.

    Not sure why you quoted Andrews et al. unless you’re agreeing with me. It’s analogous to the latitudinal split, perhaps offering an explanation of why it is evident. Both papers imply that LC18 is a rubbish way to predict the Earth’s future climate sensitivity. The first says it’s even a rubbish way to measure past climate sensitivity. BTW did you notice the E in Andrews et al. stands for effective, not equilibrium? Interesting.

  108. Dave_Geologist says:

    Now how many hundred posts on ECS could one apply that to.

    All of the ones that do it just from surface temperature observations and some short-term forcing estimate, e.g. annual.

    None of the ones that use GCMs.

    None of the ones that use palaeoclimate.

    IOW all of the ones that lukewarmers love, and none of the ones that lukewarmers hate.

    I’ll high-five you back angech, if you’re prepared to dump that first category and keep the other two. You do realise it will move the lower bound up from 1.5°C and the midpoint up above 3°C? PALAEOSENS, with ESS-influenced estimates removed, “implies a warming of 2.2–4.8 K per doubling of atmospheric CO2, which agrees with IPCC estimates”. Notice that “agrees with” is stated in the statistical sense that the uncertainty ranges overlap. But the values are higher and the lower bound moves up to 2.2°C. About 50% higher than the IPCC’s current 1.5°C. I expect them to move that up in the next review, now that the popular “observational” approaches have been revealed as naked emperors. Although there will be a rearguard battle by the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia et al. to keep 1.5°C in the SPM.

  109. angech says:

    DG thanks for reply.
    There have been a number of warmist approaches to ECS with short term data all somehow using a noisy bit that shows high ECS compared to Lukewarmers using data showing low ECS.
    I doubt your comment is well received. in either circle.
    Models?
    No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with suppositions of a high ECS, you will get your high ECS. Since no current models address the prospect of a low ECS they all run to the high side.
    We can debate the validity of the physics til the cows come home but the absence of effective cloud models [see JCH above] and dubious in some eyes positive feedbacks means that the argument cannot be settled. Bring back the observations and wait for the long time scale.
    Paleo?
    No. As I have said the proxies are susceptible to noise as well at the level needed to pick up ECS. We had problems with Southern Hemisphere reconstructions where otherwise good proxies were discarded due to Noise and non consistency problems.
    It is very wrong to throw out data post deciding to use it.

  110. angech,

    No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with suppositions of a high ECS, you will get your high ECS. Since no current models address the prospect of a low ECS they all run to the high side.

    You keep saying things like this, but it’s not true. Climate models are constrained by physics, so you can’t get anything you like out (without violating some fundamental conservations law). Climate sensitivity is an emergent property these models. It’s not that current models don’t address the prospect if a low ECS, it’s that low ECS values don’t emerge from these models.

  111. Dave_Geologist says:

    angech, you obviously don’t understand GCMs. ECS is an output, not an input.

    I suspect your understanding of SH proxies is equally limited.

    Conservation of energy still applies. The “missing heat” was not reflected back into space, it was never missing. Yes there are interesting cloud variations and sometimes more or less heat gets reflected back. But as I said, even if all the clouds vanished and Earth’s surface turned black, the Sun still couldn’t warm us fast enough to explain the last four years. Most of the missing heat was hiding within the system, and now it’s come out of hiding to say hello. We didn’t know that in 2013. Now we do. Science Moves On. See my favourite reference.

    No high-five I’m afraid.

  112. JCH says:

    BTW did you notice the E in Andrews et al. stands for effective, not equilibrium? Interesting.

    Not really.

    So far, I’m an acolyte of Bob Tisdale; I’m a luke warmer; I can’t read. interesting.

    The missing heat was either reflected back to outer space or it went into the oceans. – Trenberth’s initial explanation. To which I’ll add, or a combination of those two.

    As it unfolded Trenberth was accused of not understanding the 2nd law. Essentially because he said that the missing heat could come back to haunt us.

    From which a bunch of uninformed and genuinely nasty people assumed he meant it was going to come back out of the deep oceans. Among those who said that was not really possible was Gavin Schmidt.

    Look at OHC changes by layer during an ENSO cycle. Or not.

    Andrews and Zhou, the whole crew, appear to be discussing rapid resume shifts in the eastern Pacific of clouds that form and reflect SW and then disappear/change in a way the SW that was being reflected in the prior regime to reach the surface in the new regime. And they are saying the SW reflective regime existed from 1980 to 2013. At that point it appears to have flipped coincident with a rapid shit to a positive phase of the PDO, which is possibly one and the same thing.

    It makes better sense. SW off in the eastern and equatorial Pacific, subdued warming (negative phase of the PDO;) SW on in the eastern Pacific, rapid warming (positive phase of the PDO.)

    Climate models miss SW off. The observational record does not.

  113. Dave_Geologist says:

    Climate models miss SW off.

    Are you sure about that? And that you’ve not just been suckered by a bait-and-switch, like the one which deliberately conflates the entire IR spectrum with the mid and far IR which matters for GHG warming?

    I’m a first-law man. A bunch of heat just showed up at surface. It didn’t come from nowhere. Certainly not from distant space, where any reflected heat would be now.

    I’m an acolyte of Bob Tisdale

    This Bob Tisdale? The crackpot? Ah, that explains a lot.

  114. Joshua says:

    angech –

    Given that Anders says the following,…

    You keep saying things like this, but it’s not true. Climate models are constrained by physics, so you can’t get anything you like out (without violating some fundamental conservations law). Climate sensitivity is an emergent property these models. It’s not that current models don’t address the prospect if a low ECS, it’s that low ECS values don’t emerge from these models.

    it seems that what you wrote rests upon a foundation that is fundamentally flawed, logically. I’m wondering if you could either show some accountability for the basic logical flaw in your argument, or explain why Anders was wrong in what he wrote?

    Is there some ought alternative to reconcile what you wrote with what Anders said?

  115. Greg Robie says:

    Regarding izen’s sleuthing, and the video he found, which I discovered I’d also watched back in 2014, I spent some of yesterday watching longer productions concerning Inuit knowledge that relates to the abruptly changing/collapsing Arctic climatic ecology relative to its traditional human utility. The segments that constitute the content of the Flat Earthers’ video are viewable between 42:00 & 46:00 in this 2010 documentary: https://youtu.be/QU_mNWNgQEI. Since I didn’t recall the background chanting, which also doesn’t sound Inuit to me, the background track of the Flat Earthers’ production probably isn’t. However, since much of what I watched yesterday in the multiple productions YouTube found for me seemed familiar, I must have spent the afternoon reviewing what I also watched – and have only vague memories of – in 2014.

    Reviewing the comments in this thread that relate to the possible overlooked forcing of a rising polar troposphere over the course of the polar day in the climate models concerning both direct solar incidence AND dynamics encompassed in the almost four months of polar twilight each year, I discovered that izen asserts something Dave_G didn’t say when Dave_G introduced the precession dynamic to this conversation. If I’m reading things more clearly the second time around, izen, you introduced the 1° in 60 years effect, which relates to observations relative to the stars being used as a point of reference, which, given my adding the information about the mountain, became irrelevant to seeking alternative explanations for the elders’ observations. Since I incorporated that 1° in 60 years informationin my comments, and in a telephone game dynamic, that irrelevant information got muddled in a subsequent comments.

    If I’ve sorted this out correctly, have we demonstrated another way motivated reasoning easily, and dismissively, hinders scientific inquiry? Precession seems way too small a change to explain the observed shift and the implied timeframe. The perception of the sun’s movement against a ‘fixed’ background of stars does not apply.

    What I also unearthed on the same professor’s webpage that the graph I shared about latitude and sunrise/sunset durations was linked to, is this assertion: “By contrast, atmospheric refraction is not considered to play a role in the duration of twilight.”* For me this suggests that any tendency to not see what the Inuit have seen as a consequence of a rising tropopause, is likely due to motivated reasoning, and an educated observer bias, which applies only outside the planet’s polar regions. In the polar zones both atmospheric refraction and the duration of twilight could represent significant unmodeled forcings.

    What might be the flaws in this analysis?

    Regardless, why did this documentary include the hunter’s incorrect attribution concerning the “why” of their observations? Applying what I know about cultural anthropology, in the Inuit culture, it appears elder’s are given a deference that is now mostly discounted in the culture of CapitalismFail. Ours is what Edward Hall called a low context culture, while their’s constitutes a high context one.* But such is likely only part of the story. And cross-cultural communication is, at best, challenging … and time consuming. However, if whom the Moody Blues’ song “How Is It” labels scientist-priests lay claim to cultural eldership within CapitalismFail, weaknesses inherent in our low context culture’s dynamics will facilitate elders being irrelevant. I find this both ironic and interesting relative to the scientific reticence in this thread to explore toothless elders’ observations.

    Does jeffh’s critique in this thread of what I discipline myself to call CapitalismFail merit a re-read? It is this blue-collar elder’s observation that in 1000 posts this elephant has remained [mostly] hidden in this space. What might need to change on the road to future milestones for this dynamic to shift?

    * to avoid automatic moderation I did not include more links.

  116. Dave_Geologist says:

    Greg, the light still reaches the Earth, doesn’t it? So total solar irradiance is the same regardless of refraction or which side of the mountain it’s on. It just moves around. It might make it fall on snow here and bare rock there, or vice versa, but overall it should average out. At most there will be a tiny, tiny cousin of the Milankovitch effect.

    The height of the Arctic tropopause has been measured. Seasonal variation, and year-to-year variation in the same season, looks bigger than any trend. Admittedly from a short time series. It does seem to be quite well studied. By planes, radar satellites and radiosondes. A Scholar search for “Arctic tropopause” returns 427 hits, 53 since 2014. Eight already this year. There’s even detail like spatial features resolved on finer scales than a GISS grid cell. If I can find it, I’m pretty sure climate modellers can, and include it as necessary.
    .

  117. angech says:

    “The ECS that emerges is the ECS that the physics assumptions put into it. If I use physics that premises an ECS of 4.2 what must, constrained, emerge from that model, 4.2.”
    It could of course be the correct answer!
    Tautology fits what I meant to say even if it is not the right word grammatically.

  118. izen says:

    @-JCH
    I apologies for linking you to Tisdale. Your Gogle is obviously better trained than mine, which still offers lots of Bob when I search SSTs.

    The complex interplay of wind and ocean current and temperature that results in emergent variations like ENSO are energy book-keeping. The relative rates at which the oceans absorb and release energy, most often by small shifts in the location and amount of phase change, have a big impact on surface air temperature.

    Or at least on the timing of when and at what rate the surface will receive the ‘benefit’ of the relatively constant rate of accumulating extra energy.

    Trying to decipher, or predict how this plays out from a limited number of surface regions when the process is 3-dimensional and has multiple timescales is probably of limited value. Thermal expansion of the oceans probably gives the best indication of the rate and magnitude of accumulating energy.
    The rest is local booking.

  119. izen says:

    @-Gregg

    Before you pursue the mirage of some extended insight into a significant aspect of the climate system based on the anecdotal evidence of toothless elders there are a few factors you might want to consider.

    Toothless elders can have their own motivated reasons for conveying information, claiming knowledge, or asserting wisdom.
    The ‘Four Yorkshire-men “when I were a lad” sketch would fit here.

    Toothless elders are most useful in static societies where present conditions are very little different from those in the past that informed the life lessons learned by the toothless elders. When conditions, physical, political, and economic are undergoing rapid change their insight becomes less relevant. Except p[perhaps for the amount of change that has happened.

    It would be useful (or imperative!) to have photo evidence with time-stamps to delineate the times these observations have occurred. Including some evidence of whether the observation point has remained in the same position in relation to the mountain, and the size and elevation of the horizon around the mountain.

    I would provisionally accept that the precession of the equinox is not a factor, although I would have to sit down and work out the geometry to be certain of that conclusion. 1 deg is more than twice the solar diameter.

    However optical effects from refraction at the horizon can have a larger variable effect, especially in the polar region, so any shift in apparent timing or position of sun, moon, and stars is most likely attributable to that.

    However it seems unlikely that a widespread alteration at the tropopause would show up as this sort of phenomena. Optical refraction that alters the apparent altitude of distant objects is an effect caused predominately by the low dense atmosphere near the horizon that the light rays pass through. 10km up in the troposphere with the pressure at 200mb the density, and any variation within it, is insufficient to refract light to any appreciable degree.

    The mirages that are reported from polar regions are caused by cold, very dense air above ice with a temperature inversion of the usual lapse rate, creating a warmer layer above. This happens in a relatively shallow layer a few km at most above the surface where the relative densities are high enough to refract significantly.
    There is research that indicates these conditions are local and dependent on the extent of ice cover.

    Local loss of summer sea ice extent may alter the potential and frequency of local refraction events.
    The corrections that have to be made to satellite observations near the poles because of these possible effects, which would have detected any significant change should be a corrective to your vision of a big new insight. Giving more credence to toothless elders than the observational work looks like premeditated reasoning favouring some Rousseauian, wisdom of the noble savage, nonsense.

  120. Izen said:

    “The complex interplay of wind and ocean current and temperature that results in emergent variations like ENSO are energy book-keeping.”

    That’s conjecture that wind is a cause for ENSO. In fact ENSO causes significant atmospheric pressure differentials (see the SOI dipole) and a pressure differential is what drives the wind. So when a particular phase of ENSO is forming, the correlation with wind may not be causative but simply coinciding.

    Atmospheric pressure and tidal measurements are also correlated, see my comments here: http://contextearth.com/2018/08/12/an-obvious-clue-from-tidal-data/

    Yet, no one says that tides results from an emergent behavior of the complex interplay of pressure and temperature. There is something else referred to as a common mode cause working here 🙂

  121. izen says:

    @-Paul-WHUT
    “That’s conjecture that wind is a cause for ENSO.”

    It is also wrong (probably as a category error).
    ENSO is the descriptor we give to a pattern of behaviour we can identify in the Pacific Ocean that modulates the absorption/release of the accumulating energy.

    I suspected you might weigh in on the deep underlying drivers of the ENSO, and of course I do not think tides are caused or result from ENSO.

    Causation in a simple sense becomes misleading in this context.
    The ENSO state is the emergent result of multiple elements including ocean currents and wind. Wind is the result of pressure differences driven by temperature differences in the SST. But it also shapes those pressure/temperature gradients as a purely (inte-)reactive element. It has inherent spatial form, but It lacks persistence, or a memory.
    Ocean currents are the result of temperature/salinity differences that do ’cause’ the varied absorption, transport, and release of accumulated energy. As gravity driven processes it would be unsurprising if tidal forces did not have some shaping role.

    Causation lies deep within the underlying physics of fluids (with variable density) flowing within a force field. But the eventual outcome, and the end-state we are interested in, is the result of multiple factors that shape the emergent patterned behaviour we call ENSO.
    Including wind and tides.
    Tides may be more useful as a predictive shaping element because they have an independent timescale.

    Am I correct in thinking that the height, and effective lapse rate of the surface to tropopause is modulated by tidal forces? That there are tidal ‘bulges’ in the atmosphere that are similar (but relatively unaffected by local geography), to the oceanic tides.

  122. izen asked:

    “Am I correct in thinking that the height, and effective lapse rate of the surface to tropopause is modulated by tidal forces? That there are tidal ‘bulges’ in the atmosphere that are similar (but relatively unaffected by local geography), to the oceanic tides.”

    Atmospheric tides guide the direction of the winds at various elevations along the equator. At the lower reaches of the stratosphere, it’s clear (but overlooked) that the nodal lunar tidal force interacting with the semi-annual cycle shifts the direction of the QBO winds on a regular cycle. At the upper reaches of the stratosphere, the QBO cycle switches over to a clear semi-annual oscillation (SAO) cycle. The reason it changes is that the upper reaches of the stratosphere are less dense and therefore less susceptible to gravitational tides and more sensitive to thermal tides.

    The troposphere is where the inverted barometric effect takes place. Are those atmospheric tidal bulges that are providing more pressure (lowering sea level) or less pressure (raising sea level) or is it some other mechanism? I think the time is ripe for a unification of these mechanisms, and this will extend to the atmospheres of other planets:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017AGUFM.P43E2937T

  123. “Even Hercules is done in a fight of two against one.” 😉

    And I don’t think this aspect of this post’s comment thread is about the same thing anymore. I’ve an earlier comment I emailed that got stuck somewhere (moderator, help please), but I’m not sure that it may clarify much at this point. Miscommunication is so much easier than communication.

    Maybe in the morning I’ll have something to say I’m not seeing how to say now. Regardless, I am grateful for the pushback that has opened my imagination to considering the import of shifts in Arctic twilight in conjunction changes in the Arctic Zone’s troposphere. As always, I’d enjoy company and help further sorting things out.

  124. angech says:

    Joshua my reply missing. Probably my keyboard skills.

  125. With a few missed/needed edits, here is the ‘lost’/stuck comment from yesterday:

    Please humor this attempted humor-as-metaphor, Dave_G: I hear in the reply a counter position expressed concerning the import of the Inuit observations, which, to the degree I am a sheep grazing a small patch of pasture to bare ground, climate models’ more cattle-like condition and browsing on the whole pasture (e.g., grid resolution constraints) are noting and eating what’s relevant in this particular patch of ground I’m not wandering from – as sheep are wont to do (or if I’m a goat, staked out in). Is that a fair metaphorical summary?

    If so, this is precisely the observer bias/motivated reasoning I’m suggesting merits attention. The elders have shared three distinct observations concerning changes in the Arctic relating to a timeframe of significant longevity: a shift concerning where the sun sets; a shift in twilight’s illumination; a shift in the location of the stars used for navigation at night when returning from a hunt. The elders’ incorrectly attribute these observations to a single cause. Science can assert this because truth, not eldership trumps. The shift in the sunset can be attributed to atmospheric refraction (previous thoughts are not withstand further scrutiny too well). The shift in twilight illumination can be attributed to a rising tropopause and aerosol pollution (the ease with which this can be otherwise determined is challenged by a lack of Arctic specific data (and thinking to look for such a change in the data that does exist). The shift in the navigating stars’ locations near the horizon, which increased humidity would cause relative to atmospheric refraction. Is that a fair summary concerning their observations and physics?

    I did initially frame this matter of the Inuit observation using the term like parallax and the phrase “rising tropopause”. Any misdirection my choices engendered is my bad. As I said before, this welcome pushback has helped me come to understand that there is a twilight thing going on that I’d not considered before now. In concert, these Inuit observations and atmospheric physics point to a significant omission that I was trying to attribute to atmospheric refraction alone.

    If an hours’ research, constituting a simple term search and numbers, followed by a restating of an initial understanding is significantly different from the motivated reasoning that has the elders’ agreeing and incorrectly attributing observed shifts to the earth shifting on its axis, (or than behavior that affects the trope of climate denial disinformation strategies) I need help getting such. FWIW, the stuff I listen to yesterday included experiencing unpredictability concerning traditional knowledge being able to forecast weather, and that there was greater turbulence in what was being experienced. Assuming that turbulence is due to pressure gradients, and those would impact measurements of the tropopause, again, the elders have observations that encompass a more significant timeframe and trump these limited efforts relative to existing data.

    Doesn’t eldership of any strip, potentially have a shadow side … and a following?

    I am concerned that what I am speculating about concerning an omission can’t really be there. Some scientist-priest somewhere has got to have this covered … but then there is the loss of the latent heat of ice in the Arctic crysophere that isn’t getting modeled such that predictions are matching observations (& for reasons that include a lack of data that the Inuit anecdotal data may begin to provide … even if there exits feelings about their data that blink it away).

    I’ll acknowledge points gained for making cattle-type points with this reply. But is such an as-good-as-can-be-done relative to known unknowns in the Arctic. I feel this is a germane question since, as Paul Beckwith first observed/coined – and this addresses the first question, what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. I feel it’s wisdom to grasp at any chance that might facilitate an evolving from whatever Animal Farm animal(s) that may most readily be experience and channeled via a trusted homeostasis within our Anthropocene generating CapitalismFail. 😉 To keep repeating a neoliberal version of Orwell’s tale would make me feel like a [dimwitted donkey]. From what I listened to yesterday concerning the Inuit’s experience of being ignored by Southerners, I’m sure the elders could agree with a truism better grasped south of the Arctic: a horse can be led to water but cannot be forced to drink.

    izen, the concern and advice is duly noted. Does it say more about our culture and motivated reading then it does about theirs? There is one particular assertion that may be based on significant observer bias: “When conditions, physical, political, and economic are undergoing rapid change their insight becomes less relevant.”

    The Inuit language has no word for war. Or such was told me by a high school teacher. By way of explanation it was the harshness of the environment they subsist in that made such a concept irrelevant. While we, influenced as we are by Western cultures conceive of politics and economics as distinct things, from what I listened to again yesterday, the Inuit conflate into what we call religion. Or, comparing the delusions driving their world view with those driving ours could, perhaps, enlighten one, or the other or both.

    Regardless, my ‘war’ with my culture’s functional ‘religion’ of CapitalismFail leads me to have curiosity about what other cultures see, particularly when such is physical observation of an abrupt change and a lack of data hampers our cultures’ way of knowing. If the shift in the sunset could be quantified through a bit of dialogue and additional observation, and the shift turned out to be 3°, and the timeframe is 60 years, what could be deduced from this to critique and improve (for starters) the modeling of Arctic ice loss? In the Rich’s “Losing Earth” article it is noted different initial estimations regarding Arctic ice is what led to the wide spread in perceived risk those first models predicted.

  126. Dave_Geologist says:

    I was unfamiliar with Tisdale because I avoid the crankier end of the crankosphere and steer clear of watssuppia et al. like the plague. But I thought I’d have a look at his site just in case he was misrepresented in the link I gave above.

    I see he wrote an open letter to Trump which is full of near-Moncktonian conspiracy theories. So he’s actually worse than I thought. Not just a science crackpot, and one who’s rude to more knowledgeable people who point out his errors, but a full-on conspiracy nut.

    It’s good to know what not to read. Leaves more time for places like ATTP’s. Congratulations on the thousand BTW.

  127. JCH says:

    The relation between natural variations in ocean heat uptake and global mean surface temperature anomalies in CMIP5

    Abstract

    It is still unclear whether a hiatus period arises due to a vertical redistribution of ocean heat content (OHC) without changing ocean heat uptake (OHU), or whether the increasing radiative forcing is associated with an increase in OHU when global mean surface temperature (GMST) rise stalls. By isolating natural variability from forced trends and performing a more precise lead-lag analysis, we show that in climate models TOA radiation and OHU do anti-correlate with natural variations in GMST, when GMST leads or when they coincide, but the correlation changes sign when OHU leads. Surface latent and sensible heat fluxes always force GMST-variations, whilst net surface longwave and solar radiation fluxes have a damping effect, implying that natural GMST-variations are caused by oceanic heat redistribution. In the models an important trigger for a hiatus period on decadal timescales is increased reflection of solar radiation, by increased sea-ice cover over deep-water formation areas. On inter-annual timescales, reflection of solar radiation in the tropics by increased cloud cover associated with La Niña is most important and the subsequent reduction in latent heat release becomes the dominant cause for a hiatus.

  128. Dave_Geologist says:

    What do you conclude from this paper JCH? It concerns variations about the long-term trend JCH, not the long-term trend itself or its change from flat to rising. That seems to be Tisdale’s fundamental error, Thinking that variations about the trend, due to ENSO or whatever, can add energy to the system. They can’t. The reflectivity aspects discussed are swings and roundabouts which sometimes add and sometimes subtract, but over multidecadal scales average out to zero.

    This implies that a stall in temperature increase can arise when the increase in radiative forcing is compensated by a twice as weak increase in OHU or TOA radiation imbalance:
    0 = λ eq Δ T = Δ Q − ε Δ N
    Such an increase in OHU or N for the recent hiatus has not been detected in the observations, but it should be noted that the implied increase of order 0.1 W m −2 is too small to detect, given the uncertainty in the measurements.

    So we can’t demonstrate statistically that it went into the oceans. But nor can we demonstrate that it didn’t. Just as we couldn’t demonstrate statistically until the 1980’s that anthropogenic warming had exceeded natural variability. But we knew it was happening Because Physics.

    It has been argued that biases in mean convective activity in the eastern Pacific [in CMIP5 models] lead to incorrect changes in low level clouds and as a result, in TOA radiation
    and surface fluxes. Associated with this bias the ENSO signal is too weak in 0–700 m OHC. It can be anticipated that without these biases, variations in OHC and OHU with ENSO would become larger, leading to stronger variations in ocean heat uptake efficiency, which indeed appear stronger in observations than in CMIP5 models. Because the variations in OHC associated with ENSO in CMIP5 appear qualitatively correct, but quantitatively too weak the qualitative relation between OHU and GMST discussed here is likely much less affected by these biases than its magnitude, and would appear even more pronounced if these biases were remedied.

    IOW the models are not adequately representing the amount of heat pumped into and out of the oceans during ENSO events, especially 0-700m. In the real world, there will be an even stronger relationship between ocean heat uptake and global mean surface temperature. The “hiatus” is driven by variations in ocean heat uptake efficiency. So it’s still “the ocean wot dunnit”, but maybe I was wrong in saying it had burped back stored heat. Rather, this seems to be suggesting that during the “hiatus”, the ocean was sucking a lot of heat out the atmosphere. But that rather than returning some of that heat now, the ocean is in a state where it’s less effective at sucking heat out of the atmosphere. Although it may still be returning some, but by radiative processes rather than by putting warmer water at the surface (I’ll need to to read it a few times to get that clear). So the atmosphere is warming more because it’s dampener has got weaker. Which would be a good explanation for why we’ve stayed hot after El Nino finished. Unlike “the warming stopped because a counteracting amount of solar radiation was reflected into space for a decade”, that mechanism allows for a GMST catch-up from 2015 that doesn’t violate the first LOTD. The atmosphere is such a tiny part of the total heat content, it can swing around a lot without changing the total heat content appreciably.

    If you think the paper is saying that all the GMST warming and hiatuses are caused by ENSO, you’re wrong. ENSO causes GMST warming and cooling. The cooling phases are now expressed as hiatuses because they approximately match in magnitude the background rate of anthropogenic warming.

  129. Joshua says:

    To the powers that be….

    If Angech’s comment is locked up in comment prison, could you set it free?

  130. angech says:

    Joshua says: re
    “You keep saying things like this, but it’s not true. Climate models are constrained by physics, so you can’t get anything you like out (without violating some fundamental conservations law). Climate sensitivity is an emergent property these models. It’s not that current models don’t address the prospect if a low ECS, it’s that low ECS values don’t emerge from these models.”

    “it seems that what you wrote rests upon a foundation that is fundamentally flawed, logically. I’m wondering if you could either show some accountability for the basic logical flaw in your argument, or explain why Anders was wrong in what he wrote? Is there some ought alternative to reconcile what you wrote with what Anders said?”

    I agreed with Anders that Climate models are constrained by physics but disagreed on the physics assumptions that are put in.
    Not on CO2 causing a known amount of warming but on the other factors of positive feedback which are needed, as we all know, to get anywhere near an ECS of 3.0 [or greater].
    You can only get out what you put in.
    ECS is not an emergent property in my view in that what physics constraints you put in determines what comes out. The ECS is built into the model.
    Hence “low ECS values don’t emerge from these models”.
    Happy to discuss the issue further if warranted.

  131. Dave_Geologist says:

    Did it disappear instantly angech, without having a “waiting for WordPress” interlude? I suspect that means something in it has triggered a WordPress spam filter that doesn’t let it get as far as moderation

  132. Joshua says:

    Angech –

    I agreed with Anders that Climate models are constrained by physics but disagreed on the physics assumptions that are put in…

    Thanks for the response. Let me clarify. I was hoping you’d focus on the part below that I will put into bold text:

    No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with suppositions of a high ECS, you will get your high ECS. Since no current models address the prospect of a low ECS they all run to the high side.

    Please note those were your words, which referenced “suppositions of high ECSs.”

    If I’m not mistaken, that is the aspect of your earlier comment that Anders’ comment was referencing. Addressing other issues in your response does nothing to establish accountability for your logic.

    You spoke of errors flowing from “suppositions of a high ECS.” Perhaps you meant something other than what you actually said?

    ECS is not an emergent property in my view in that what physics constraints you put in determines what comes out.

    Maybe this comment of yours would be key here; in other words, where in the constraints from physics do you see such suppositions?

    Which physical constraints would you recommend changing, presumably because you think they are determined arbitrarily, or maybe more specifically, determined based on an “suppositions of ECSs” higher than what you have scientifically determined to be more appropriate?

    I am interested to know if Anders’ response was incorrect, or if you have some other explanation for your earlier statement (the one I put into bold). Seeing as how I don’t know you personally, I can’t tell if you might be blowing smoke or ducking the question. Maybe if you try again, you could write a response that would help me to gain a clearer perspective?

  133. Joshua says:

    DG –

    I suspect that means something in it has triggered a WordPress spam filter that doesn’t let it get as far as moderation\

    Given that it appeared after my request to open the jail doors, I suspect it landed into moderation for some reason?

  134. Dave_Geologist says:

    I’ve had ones that disappear directly despite appearing innocuous, not appear only to me with the “awaiting moderation” header. Some were very long so I suspect there is a word limit and now save in a text editor. The one with the original DM headline generator linked, along with two others, disappeared that way. I cut the link and it went through, then tried just the link and it disappeared. So it must be on a blacklist for some reason. Hopefully not because it’s an attack vector, but because it constantly renews machine generated text so looks like a spambot to the algorithms. And in my lurker days I saw complaints of missing comments where ATTP and Willard said “didn’t see it”. So I infer that there is something upstream of them. Which probably changes so the bad actors can’t get the measure of its defences. At least it would if I wrote it 😉 .

  135. Joshua says:

    I’ve had some immediately disappear, also. At some blogs, there seems to be two stages of moderation – one where your comment just completely vaporizes and one where you get a moderation cue that your comment is awaiting the mideratoe’s decision m. My sense is that the two stages are related to stages of offense, the higher stage come a out for software “hardwired” default triggers such as outright racial slurs or more than three links in a comment, and some for moderator-determined offenses (such as “tr*ll” at this blog). I could be wrong, of course, but it seems that the reappearance of angech’s comment after my request suggests that it was sitting in moderation as opposed to immiately banished to the ethernet.

  136. izen says:

    @-angtech
    “ECS is not an emergent property in my view in that what physics constraints you put in determines what comes out. ”

    As Joshua identified, this seems to be the root of your error.

    The clue is in the name, constraints, they are not optional or subject to suppositions. They are constraints imposed by the physics of thermodynamics and fluid flow. Most of those constraints derive from other areas of research that have established the behaviour of the physical system. As with the radiative properties of CO2 originally determined for missile sensor research. The rise in water vapour with temperature is also an unavoidable constraint, the Clausius–Clapeyron relation is observable in surface and satellite measurements.

    A brief and shallow acquaintance with GCMs and the principles behind them can give the impression that they are complex and ‘tune-able’ enough to be manipulated to give any pre-supposed result. But the modellers who actually do the research are clear in telling us this is not possible. Either you accept the best information from the most well informed, or you construct a conspiracy in which they are all ignorant or malicious in making this claim.

  137. angech says:

    There is moderation and there is always user error hence the comment about my keyboard skills.
    All blogs need to keep to standards and sometimes I transgress with remarks included that are either a little personal or a little uncomfortable to the current view. I am happy with moderation always in the former and never in the latter. So if moderated I am satisfied that the scientific bit only gets out. Thanks everyone.

  138. angech says:

    Joshua and izen, re @-angtech “ECS is not an emergent property in my view in that what physics constraints you put in determines what comes out. ”As Joshua identified, this seems to be the root of your error.”

    One of the two concerns to address. I had this discussion at Lucia’s two years ago with no success. The word emergent is used by many including those promoting the ECS from models view as being an unknown that emerges from the model results. That is it could not be predicted beforehand and yet would fall somewhere in the predicted range.
    -The wording is one issue that I am immediately defeated on. Of course anything that comes out of running a computer program can be said to emerge from it. However this is not what the word emergent is meant to mean in this situation. Emergent to me and hopefully most others here means newly born, a new concept, something not necessarily dictated by the proceeding events.
    My comment that it is not a newly born concept but a preconceived construct in this situation.

    “Climate models are constrained by physics, so you can’t get anything you like out (without violating some fundamental conservations law). Climate sensitivity is an emergent property these models. It’s not that current models don’t address the prospect if a low ECS, it’s that low ECS values don’t emerge from these models.”

    ATTP is right.
    Apart from the word like.
    You can only get out what you put in.
    Hence if you like what you put in it makes sense you will like what comes out.
    Hence the problem.
    High ECS.

  139. angech says:

    “No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with suppositions of a high ECS, you will get your high ECS. Since no current models address the prospect of a low ECS they all run to the high side.
    Please note those were your words, which referenced “suppositions of high ECSs.” If I’m not mistaken, that is the aspect of your earlier comment that Anders’ comment was referencing.
    You spoke of errors flowing from “suppositions of a high ECS.” Perhaps you meant something other than what you actually said? where in the constraints from physics do you see such suppositions? ”

    This is easier to address. I seem to be tying myself in knots above.
    There are a number of assumptions that go into the making of climate models that the true professionals here, VV, AD, JeffH to name but a few are aware of. Science of Doom probably has some good articles on it.
    A simple assumption example would be cloud cover which most people reference as being not well dealt with. Have to go to Italian class. Will research a better group of such for us to discuss in next 24 hours.

  140. angech says:

    Identifying Key Sources of Uncertainty in Climate Change Projections 2000
    “As stated by Schneider (1997), IA models can only produce ‘answers’ that are
    as good as their underlying assumptions and structural fidelity to a very complex
    multi-component system.”
    Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis
    8.6.3.2 Clouds
    By reflecting solar radiation back to space (the albedo effect of clouds) and by trapping infrared radiation emitted by the surface and the lower troposphere (the greenhouse effect of clouds), clouds exert two competing effects on the Earth’s radiation budget. These two effects are usually referred to as the SW and LW components of the cloud radiative forcing (CRF). The balance between these two components depends on many factors, including macrophysical and microphysical cloud properties. In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF is negative). In response to global warming, the cooling effect of clouds on climate might be enhanced or weakened, thereby producing a radiative feedback to climate warming (Randall et al., 2006; NRC, 2003; Zhang, 2004; Stephens, 2005; Bony et al., 2006).
    In many climate models, details in the representation of clouds can substantially affect the model estimates of cloud feedback and climate sensitivity (e.g., Senior and Mitchell, 1993; Le Treut et al., 1994; Yao and Del Genio, 2002; Zhang, 2004; Stainforth et al., 2005; Yokohata et al., 2005). Moreover, the spread of climate sensitivity estimates among current models arises primarily from inter-model differences in cloud feedbacks (Colman, 2003a; Soden and Held, 2006; Webb et al., 2006; Section 8.6.2, Figure 8.14). Therefore, cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates.

  141. angech says:

    This is the money quote.
    IPCC 2007
    “These studies highlight some common biases in the simulation of clouds by current models (e.g., Zhang et al., 2005). This includes the over-prediction of optically thick clouds and the under-prediction of optically thin low and middle-top clouds. However, uncertainties remain in the observational determination of the relative amounts of the different cloud types (Chang and Li, 2005). For mid-latitudes, these biases have been interpreted as the consequence of the coarse resolution of climate GCMs and their resulting inability to simulate the right strength of ageostrophic circulations (Bauer and Del Genio, 2006) and the right amount of sub-grid scale variability (Gordon et al., 2005). Although the errors in the simulation of the different cloud types may eventually compensate and lead to a prediction of the mean CRF in agreement with observations (see Section 8.3), they cast doubts on the reliability of the model cloud feedbacks. For instance, given the nonlinear dependence of cloud albedo on cloud optical depth, the overestimate of the cloud optical thickness implies that a change in cloud optical depth, even of the right sign and magnitude, would produce a too small radiative signature. Similarly, the under-prediction of low- and mid-level clouds presumably affects the magnitude of the radiative response to climate warming in the widespread regions of subsidence. Modelling assumptions controlling the cloud water phase (liquid, ice or mixed) are known to be critical for the prediction of climate sensitivity.”
    There is more. I truncate only to get a readable comment in. As I recall, possibly from Soden somewhere different models arbitrarily choose a range for absorbtion in thes clouds which can be double another model. I hope most people would agree a doubling or halving gives critically different results and quite a different but predictable emergent ECS.
    This is where the input that later forms the ECS occurs.
    Worse it implies that 2 wrong assumptions may be being made that somehow compensate each other in that they then produce the right ECS.

  142. angech,
    Just because some thing isn’t well dealt with, doesn’t mean that any answer is possible. Yes, cloud feedbacks are probably the biggest uncertainty, but they are still constrained, and there is more and more evidence that they’re probably positive.

  143. Dave_Geologist says:

    angech, if you put in known physics you get the CMIP/IPCC ECS range. If you ignore known physics you can get some other number. Me, I’m for not ignoring known physics. It works fine for airplanes, computers and keyboards.

  144. Dave_Geologist says:

    Clouds: there’s been twenty years of research and observation since 1997. Converging on positive and negative feedbacks more-or-less cancelling out over the long term. Leaning now, AFAICS, towards a small positive feedback. Science Moves On. Usually building on, not overturning, what went before. Because it was well-founded but incomplete, not ill-founded. The Relativity of Wrong is ever-present.

  145. Victor Petri says:

    Given the cyclicity of Earth’s temperature, wild variation of prehistoric CO2 levels and much higher temperatures in the past than today, I very much wonder if it is sensible to consider positive (enforcing) feedback loops to be that much more likely than negative (counteracting) ones.

  146. Dave_Geologist says:

    No it’s not Victor. When you allow for secular changes like the weak early Sun, the palaeo data does indeed show that CO2 has been the main control knob, first, last and always. And of course you’re making the same error lukewarmers do with the MWP or LIA. The bigger you imagine those temperature deviations to be, the higher is the required ECS. If the MWP was as warm as today, the IPCC is drastically underestimating future warming. If negative feedbacks dominated we couldn’t have had the swings in and out of Snowball Earth, glacial and non-glacial periods, the Quaternary glacials and interglacials, the early Triassic hothouse, and many more besides.

    And BTW, Milankovitch aside, there is no cyclicity. Those other events I mentioned were not cyclical.

    It takes a special level of effort to get so many things wrong in three and a half lines.

  147. Joshua says:

    angech –

    You say the following:

    My comment that it is not a newly born concept but a preconceived construct in this situation.

    It isn’t entirely clear to me what would represent “it” in this situations, but I presume it would be :”ECS.”

    The problem, then, goes back to the question of whether ECS is “preconceived,” presumably as an input, such that the outcomes of a model would produce a particular (range of) result. It doesn’t seem to me, from an admittedly highly inexpert viewpoint, that this is the case with climate models.

    But perhaps what you mean, instead of that “suppositions” of ECS, are suppositions about physics, or more specifically, the physics of clouds. So then, like the meaning of “ECS” (which, as near as I can tell you use to mean suppositions about the physics of clouds), we need to talk about the meaning of “supposition.” IMO, suppositions can have a wide variety of meanings, from hunch, or guess, to theory or hypothesis based on carefully quantified and qualified evidence. In that sense, yes, I would guess that climate scientists have :”suppositions” about the physics of clouds, based on quantified and qualified and scientifically calibrated evidence, combined with quantifications of uncertainty, which then “constrain” the range of output from climate models.

    But if by “suppositions” about ECS, you actually mean wild guesses or mere hunches about the physics of clouds, I think that you should provide evidence for such an interpretation. It seems to me that the best way to do that would be to provide evidence that scientifically undermines the theorized physics of clouds as represented by the inputs in climate models. Merely citing uncertainty about the physics of clouds wouldn’t seem to me to suffice – as my understanding is that uncertainty about the physics of clouds is incorporated into the inputs put into climate modeling.

    Indeed, your 3:58 comment includes reference to that acknowledgement of uncertainty that is integrated into the “consensus” view of the physics of clouds.

    Anders, in a follow-on comment, references this question of uncertainty.

    In many climate models, details in the representation of clouds can substantially affect the model estimates of cloud feedback and climate sensitivity

    Yes, that statements confirms that there are ‘suppositions” in the sense of scientific hypotheses. The question is whether by that you mean there are “suppositions” about ECS, by which you actually mean “suppositions” about the physics of clouds, that are mere hunches or wild guesses.

    Moreover, the spread of climate sensitivity estimates among current models arises primarily from inter-model differences in cloud feedbacks

    Indeed. that statement confirms my viewpoint: the range of climate outputs are a function of the range of scientifically based “suppositions” about the physics of clouds. They are not a function of “suppositions of a high ECS,” nor are they the function of unfounded suppositions about the physics of clouds – but instead are a function of a range of suppositions about the physics of clouds that are proportional to quantified and qualified determinations of uncertainty.

    I hope most people would agree a doubling or halving gives critically different results and quite a different but predictable emergent ECS.

    I doubt people would disagree with that statement.

    This is where the input that later forms the ECS occurs.

    So, then, I’m guessing you wouldn’t object to modifying your earlier statement, from “suppositions of a high ECS” to:

    “…scientifically based suppositions about the physics of clouds, based on the existing evidence, and reflective of a scientifically quantified range of uncertainty, that produce an ECS output range, which likewise reflects a quantified range of uncertainty, but which may, at some point in the future be found to be in error, although we have no relatively more certain evidence at this point that it will eventually be found to be in error?”

  148. Joshua says:

    DG –

    It takes a special level of effort to get so many things wrong in three and a half lines.

    In all fairness, when I’m looking at his comment on my phone, it is six and a half lines… almost halving his errors to lines of text ratio. 😀

  149. Victor,

    I very much wonder if it is sensible to consider positive (enforcing) feedback loops to be that much more likely than negative (counteracting) ones.

    Timescales are important. Over a long enough timescale (100 thousand years, or so) the natural carbon cycle will draw down any enhancement in atmospheric CO2 (caused by us) and temperatures will almost certainly return to pre-industrial levels. Will probably also eventually head back into a glacial. On much shorter timescales (decades/centuries/millenia) other factors are likely to amplify anthropogenically-driven warming.

  150. Jon Kirwan says:

    I haven’t taken the time to update my thoughts on the topic of clouds in more than a decade. But here is what I wrote to a friend back in 2006 that may be of some added help in this discussion (or not — no promises, of course.) So, keep in mind that perhaps a dozen years of improving research has taken place, since what I write below (which, itself, is merely my own meager summary of a few things I’d come across and by no means represents a comprehensive view — not even close — at the time.) With those serious limitations in mind, here’s what I’d written in 2006 during an exchange of thoughts on clouds:

    Clouds affect the climate by regulating the flow of radiation at the top of the atmosphere, by precipitation, by helping accomplish rapid and sometimes deep redistributions of atmospheric mass, and through other mechanisms of which I’m frankly unaware.

    A lot of progress has been made in understanding the differences between different model estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity and it turns out that cloud feedbacks are indeed shown as a primary source of these inter-model differences; tropical low clouds being apparently the largest contributor. New evidence strongly supports a combined water vapor/lapse rate feedback of around the strength found in GCMs, though. And that is the good news regarding clouds — there is some confirmation. It turns out that for mid- to high- latitudes, it’s the magnitude of the cryospheric feedbacks that remain more uncertain today, I think (an uncertainty itself exaggerated by polar cloud uncertainty); leading to a range of possible climate responses.

    I think most current models use subgrid scale parameterizations to parameterize cloud formation and these parameterizations can have a large impact on climate sensitivity (check out Ogura et al., 2005, for example.) So it’s true enough that realistic parameterizations of cloud processes are probably essential to produce good climate simulations and reliable projections of future climate change.

    But these cloud parameterizations aren’t just curve fits. Neither are they collections of mere “adjustable parameters.” They use physically based theories targeted to describe the statistics of the cloud field. By this, I mean things like fractional cloudiness or area-averaged precipitation rate, but without actually describing the individual cloud elements themselves.

    Field experiments have been conducted for both testing and developing better cloud parameterization schemes. This research isn’t just sporadic, either. Systematic research is being conducted by the Global Energy and Water Experiment (through their Cloud Systems Study — GCSS.) This was set up to test parameterizations by comparing results with both observation and the results of a cloud-resolving model. And this research has impacted modern models. One such example is the boundary-layer cloud parameterization of Lock et al., circa 2000 and 2001, tested by GCSS.

    Experiments have recently replaced conventional parameterizations with detailed high-resolution models; capable of representing individual large clouds. These ’embedded’ models include many more small-scale process interactions. It’s been called “cloud-resolving convection parameterization” or just “superparameterization,” but it’s hoped that these studies and others like them will accelerate the improvement of cloud parameterizations.

    This hasn’t stopped attempts at modeling clouds, more directly. By this, I mean efforts to create large-domain and even global cloud-resolving models. MRI/JMA has run a model with 5 km gridding over a volume of some 4000km x 3000km x 22km; centered over Japan (Yoshizaki et al., 2005.) The model uses a time-slice method and makes detailed projections of the evolution of small scale features. Also, Sato et al., 2005, reported some encouraging results from another global cloud-resolving model.

  151. angech says:

    Joshua Yes ECS.
    “whether ECS is “preconceived,” presumably as an input, such that the outcomes of a model would produce a particular (range of) result. It doesn’t seem to me that this is the case with climate models.”

    One would have to question, seriously, how one could have or rely on an ECS generated by a computer program [model] if it did not indeed have the input needed to generate it in the first place. ECS can only ever come out as it is programmed in. When you roll die you will come up with answers in a range limited by the numbers [values] associated with the die.
    Now it is hard to rig die, but possible, and usually only done by people who are by nature not inclined to ever be scientists. So the data and the input should be as right as possible.
    . “climate scientists have :”suppositions” about the physics of clouds, based on quantified and qualified and scientifically calibrated evidence, combined with quantifications of uncertainty, which then “constrain” the range of output from climate models.by “suppositions” about ECS, you mean wild guesses or mere hunches about the physics of clouds, I think that you should provide evidence for such an interpretation.”
    Science starts from suppositions. It ends with facts. In between is a process of narrowing down. The wilder the better at the start, they soon get knocked down. But Climate science is an emergent science, early days, and there are a lot of suppositions in the models with large range of uncertainty and in some cases no doubt still wild guesses within the known physical restraints.
    “I think that you should provide evidence for such an interpretation.” Yes ” Anders, in a follow-on comment, references this question of uncertainty.” In many climate models, details in the representation of clouds can substantially affect the model estimates of cloud feedback and climate sensitivity.
    Jon Kirwan makes some comments close to what I refer to including “cloud feedbacks are indeed shown as a primary source of these inter-model differences; tropical low clouds being apparently the largest contributor.”‘ and parameterization while coming to your conclusion.
    Basically at the moment you may have the “right answer” from the wrong input. Not a good way to do science.

  152. izen says:

    Clouds seems to be the favourite ‘Get out of certainty free’ card when faced with an uncomfortable ECS, statistically dubious pauses, or even human CO2 emissions as the primary driving force behind climate change.

    Clouds can alter albedo sufficiently to modulate the climate to the extent attributed to CO2, or even to negate the effects of other climate drivers.

    Svensmark et al even proposed an independent outside cosmic force to drive climate change via clouds, by having cloud formation rely on external factors.

    But most attempts to invoke clouds to doubt the skill of models or ‘Naturally’ mitigate the magnitude and impact of AGW at least acknowledge they are feedbacks. The assertion usually they they negative, blocking SW during the day by increasing and/or releasing IR by decreasing…

    The obvious problem with raising such possibilities is that for every scenario in which clouds reduce ECS or have a negative feedback, there are at least an equal number in which they are a positive feedback. Uncertainty works both ways, and the way to make things worse tend to outnumber the ways to make things better.
    Perhaps that is the message behind Victor’s ambiguous comment about positive versus negative feedbacks.

    Research indicates that cloud formation is not modulated by any external factor. Nucleation happens when the physical conditions of temperature and humidity make it possible. So t is generally agreed that clouds can only be a feedback. And one that responds at short timescales, and consequentially has no persistent influence.
    This means that a cloud feedback (beneficial or damaging) can only happen when the change in the state of the climate is sufficient to evoke that feedback response, weather positive or negative.

    Cloud feedback could not reduce reduce temperature change from other forcings to zero because then there would be no change of state to trigger the feedback.
    Even if somehow clouds reduced climate sensitivity to near zero, acting to almost perfectly negate the impact of another forcing (not seen in paleo!) they would do so by such a significant alteration on current patterns of cloud cover and rainfall at various distance and time scales that it seems Panglossian to assume this would avoid or mitigate the negative impacts of other climate forcings.

  153. angech,
    You’re just doubling down now. ECS is an emergent property of models. A specific output is not tuned for when it comes to climate sensitivity. That some of the processes are uncertain, doesn’t suddenly mean that any answer is possible. Also, we have other estimates for ECS (paleo, energy balance) all of which are largely consistent. The possibility that the ECS will fall outside the range we expect it to be in is small.

  154. dikranmarsupial says:

    angech wrote “ECS can only ever come out as it is programmed in. ”

    This is just grade A bullshit. If I were a Magrathean and built a replica Earth (as indeed they did), it would have the same ECS as the real Earth because it is an emergent property of the physics governing climate (and the position of the planet in the solar system and the distribution of land masses etc.), not because the Magratheans “programmed it in”. It doesn’t make any difference whether you simulate that physics on a computer (supposing you could do so with infinite spatial and temporal resolution) or whether you simulated them using a replica Earth.

    It is the constant stream of this kind of bullshit (and angech is not the only one) that means I am giving up on commenting on blogs, probably permanently. As a scientist, I feel a pressure to respond to this sort of incorrect assertion about science, but at the same time I know it is a complete waste of my time because angech (an others like him) will continue to spread the same bullshit elsewhere or here in a later thread, or move on to some other topic of bullshit. Thus I can’t enjoy just having a reasonable discussion here on a topic I find interesting without being bothered by bullshitters every time (and I mean every time). It appears I should probably stop reading blogs as well. Well done angech.

  155. dikranmarsupial says:

    I should add, it is very easy to show that ECS is not programmed in to climate models. If this were possible, then climate skeptics would just take the code for an existing GCM and twiddle with the parameters etc. until they got a GCM that explains past climate with a low ECS. The trouble is that can’t be done without using parameter values that are either inconsistent with physics or with experiment. Of course this is something that has been pointed out repeatedly over the years. Still waiting.

  156. angech says:

    angech wrote “ECS can only ever come out as it is programmed in. ”This is just grade A bullshit.”
    One could look at 1000 papers like this. They show that ECS outcome, high or low, is very dependent on what initial parameters are put in.
    Re examining the Relationship between Climate Sensitivity and the Southern
    Hemisphere Radiation Budget in CMIP Models JOHN T. FASULLO
    National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado 8 January 2015
    models with the highest values of ECS strongly reduce low-level marine clouds in most regions of the subtropics as CO2 increases, whereas models with the lowest values of ECS actually increase low-level marine clouds in some subtropical regions
    The trade-off between a better representation of present-day Southern Ocean or subtropical shortwave CRE in these subsets of models points to choices made in the model development process, rather than robust physical processes. [1]
    Consequently, we find no clear physical reason to expect a linkage between subtropical cloud biases and the correlations between ECS and present-day biases over the Southern Ocean.
    Instead, the linkage between subtropical and mid-latitude cloud properties is likely an artifact of choices made in model parameterization and tuning [2]
    Identifying large model biases in fields physically linked to climate feedbacks remains a promising path for improving models and for potentially narrowing their spread in ECS.[3]
    when the correlation between ECS and a present-day climate property arises from a systematic model bias rather than from a real physical process, its utility becomes
    questionable [4]

  157. angech says:

    …and Then There’s Physics says:
    angech, You’re just doubling down now. ECS is an emergent property of models.
    From RealClimate “Each of these numbers is an ’emergent’ property of the climate system – i.e. something that is affected by many different processes and interactions, and isn’t simply derived just based on knowledge of a small-scale process”

    “The wording is one issue that I am immediately defeated on. Of course anything that comes out of running a computer program can be said to emerge from it. ” I had this discussion at Lucia’s two years ago with no success. The word emergent is used by many including those promoting the ECS from models view as being an unknown that emerges from the model results. That is it could not be predicted beforehand and yet would fall somewhere in the predicted range.”

    I feel helpless at this, caught in a paradox. Either we can discuss ideas and be allowed to be wrong but have it explained [I don’t mind being castigated for not understanding] or we can choose to dismiss contradictory views out of hand. Science depends on being explainable. To just say something is emergent means we cannot explain it. In which case what is the point of developing a computer model in the first place if the answer was unprovable?

    The wording is one issue that I am immediately defeated on.

  158. izen says:

    @-dikran
    “Thus I can’t enjoy just having a reasonable discussion here on a topic I find interesting without being bothered by bullshitters every time (and I mean every time).”

    If enjoyment requires the exclusion of BS then I suspect there are carefully controlled blogs where the science is kept pure in an echo-chamber of reasonableness.
    Any discussion of the social implications of the science, or the policy it might suggest would have to be excluded as well as any input from the general public, the hoi-polli, the lumpen proletariat.

    We live in a world where CO2 emissions raise global temperatures. But also one where BS and rhetoric are the common currency of public discourse. Check out the comment threads in the popular press on science (Express, Fox, Telegraph) for a taste of the zeitgeist.

    Deep knowledge of climate science, or any other field of science that has social and economic impacts, confers membership of a small minority. That the minority that understand, are then conflicted by the desire to share their knowledge with the realisation that such efforts are largely futile, is not a problem that is either new or exclusive to climate science.

  159. dikranmarsupial says:

    “If enjoyment requires the exclusion of BS then I suspect there are carefully controlled blogs where the science is kept pure in an echo-chamber of reasonableness.”

    I don’t appreciate that uncharitable misrepresentation. Science is full of disagreements, so it would hardly be an echo chamber. The point is that mostly scientists manage to disagree without resorting to bullshit, even when the disagreement is adversarial or hostile. Bullshit has no place in a scientific discussion, and arguably has no positive role in a political/sociological discussion.

  160. Joshua says:

    Angech –

    I have come to start looking at this kinds of debates within a general framework I find useful: Basically, the framework is that two people can have viewpoints that are mutually exclusive, where both are right.

    In this case, we could say that ECS is the function specific inputs chosen by coders, and as such, those coders determine the final value by making choices among specific inputs. Or, we could say that the coders are putting in values that represent our best understanding of physics, and that ECS emerges as an output. Essentially, those views are incompatible, and yet I think both are true.

    Yesterday, I harvested a nice basket of plums from a tree that produced fruit for the first time this year. I’m looking forward to making a lot of plum cake. The quality of the plum cake(s) will be a function of the quality of the individual ingredients. I will assess the quality of the ingredients individually, and choose what to put into the cake on an individual basis per ingredient, but also giving thought to how those ingredients will combine with a rough idea about the final product. The cake would probably come out pretty weird if I didn’t have some vision in mind about the final product – as I wouldn’t have any guiding principles as to how much of each ingredient to use, relative to the others. Perhaps that is an analogous situation – I’m not really sure.

    All that said, as near as I can tell, you are being unresponsive and we’re going around in circles at this point. I made some specific points, which IMO you glossed over or failed to address completely. Most clearly, I asked you a question at the end which you didn’t even answer. I’ll try once more, and then I’ll give up. We’ve been in this kind of pattern before – and on those previous occasions it has seemed to me that you have continued to avoid accountability and that repeated attempts to get you to be accountable haven’t worked.

    Science starts from suppositions. It ends with facts. In between is a process of narrowing down. The wilder the better at the start, they soon get knocked down. But Climate science is an emergent science, early days, and there are a lot of suppositions in the models with large range of uncertainty and in some cases no doubt still wild guesses within the known physical restraints.

    This is basically non-responsive. In my comments, I spoke about the existence of suppositions and made my point notwithstanding those suppositions and uncertainty. To simply repeat that suppositions and uncertainty exist, therefore, strikes me as unresponsive.

    In many climate models, details in the representation of clouds can substantially affect the model estimates of cloud feedback and climate sensitivity.

    I also, quite explicitly, included the impact of “suppositions” on the output of models, within my comment. Again, for you to repeat this point strikes me as (perhaps pointedly?) unresponsive.

    Basically at the moment you may have the “right answer” from the wrong input. Not a good way to do science.

    There is no science that doesn’t have, when we consider the best of all possible worlds, or the best of all possible science, “right answers” from the “wrong input.” It may not be a “good way to do science,” but it is also the best way to do science. Once again, we have these conflicting truths that are simultaneously true.

    Maybe instead of making a contribution that just leads to a circular repeating of points already made, you could simply answer the question I left off with last time, where I substituted a “corrected” version of what you wrote earlier. What I was hoping that you’d do is either agree that the “correction” is better than your earlier version, or provide some specific critique that would explain why you don’t think the “correction” is better.

    Your version:
    No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with suppositions of a high ECS, you will get your high ECS. Since no current models address the prospect of a low ECS they all run to the high side.

    My correction:

    No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with scientifically based suppositions about the physics of clouds, based on the existing evidence, and reflective of a scientifically quantified range of uncertainty, they will produce an ECS output range, which likewise reflects a quantified range of uncertainty, but which may, at some point in the future be found to be in error, although we have no relatively more certain evidence at this point that it will eventually be found to be in error Since no current models are run with suppositions about the physics of clouts that aren’t reflective of scientifically quantified range of uncertainty, they will not produce an ECS output range which does not likewise reflect the quantified range of uncertainty, and thus current models run lower than any number of other possible outputs that might result from models run with with suppositions that lie outside the quantified ranges of uncertainty,”

  161. angech says:

    Joshua.
    Sorry about the circles.
    Very well put.
    “two people can have viewpoints that are mutually exclusive, where both are right”
    Godel?
    “In this case, we could say that ECS is the function specific inputs chosen by coders, and as such, those coders determine the final value by making choices among specific inputs. Or, we could say that the coders are putting in values that represent our best understanding of physics, and that ECS emerges as an output. Essentially, those views are incompatible, and yet I think both are true.”
    You can say both those things.
    Some people do.
    “You can get anything you like out of a model. If you set it up with scientifically based suppositions about the physics of clouds, based on the existing evidence, and reflective of a scientifically quantified range of uncertainty, they will produce an ECS output range, which likewise reflects a quantified range of uncertainty. This will at some point in the future be modified with scientific improvements.”
    is fine.
    Note ECS may well be 3 or 4 and better provable and models in the future will, in their arcane way, be the best way of determining it. They must be in the ball park probably inside the bases.
    Just they are striking out on the nature pitches.
    “You can get anything you like out of a model depending on what you put into it” would be the best interpretation of what I was saying, which I think should be evident yet English is such difficult beast.
    “You can only get out of a model what you put into it” is what people here are hearing me say.
    Both statements are the same yet mutually contradictory.
    Perhaps Willard could explain how this is allowed to happen.
    Or ATTP could do a post.

  162. Dave_Geologist says:

    I can explain it angech

    “You can get anything you like out of a model depending on what you put into it, but only if you’re prepared to cheat“.

    “You can only get out of a model what you put into it, in the case of CMIP5, accurate, verifiable data and well understood physics

    1.5°C ECS is so
    last year.

    What’s striking out on the nature pitches? If you’re claiming models don’t match reality, you haven’t been paying attention during the “hiatus”, you must have slept through the last four years, and it looks like you’ll have to sleep through the next four years too.

  163. angech says:

    Nature Communications is an open access journal. To publish in Nature Communications, authors are required to pay an article processing charge (APC).
    The article you refer to unfortunately agrees with my comments on computer input, is banal and self evident and self serving, once you read past the headline.
    Further your other reference to the Dessler paper is at complete odds with your earlier comments shooting down such short term observational attempts at estimating ECS.

  164. angech,
    The Dessler and Foster paper uses variability to estimate ECS, not simply short-term observations.

  165. Dave_Geologist says:

    If you re-read my previous comment angech, you’ll see I pointed out that at least Dessler acknowledged the difficulties with observational ECS estimates. Unlike LC18 who doubled down when they were pointed out. And as a result, Dessler took a more sophisticated approach. Which gives a result consilient with PALAEOSENS, as opposed to one that was reminiscent of faster-than-light-neutrinos.

    And if you’re trying to imply that NC is a predatory journal: Don’t. It’s beneath you. Or ought to be.

    NC is a quality journal, with a parent’s reputation to maintain. Unlike some journals I could mention. Favoured by some authors I could mention.

  166. Joshua says:

    angech +

    Despite the apologies, you still haven’t answered the question? Why? Why do you bother to respond without answering a question that had been repeatedly asked?

    “You can only get out of a model what you put into it” is what people here are hearing me say.

    I think you’re putting words in people’s ears.

    What people are “hearing” you say is:

    “No, you can get anything you like out of a model and if you set it up with suppositions of a high ECS,…

    At some point in these discussions, I can get to the point where the question arises whether a lack of accountability is volition or merely reflexive. I am fast approaching that point.

  167. So, perceived as a sheep nibbling nubs, I’ve spent some additional time trying to identify some parameters for reframing what has been observed by the some to be me munching stubble … and may merit a fresh look.

    An astronomy application (Starry Night Pro) suggests the Inuits’ observed shift in the Arctic sunset represents a relative shift in latitude of about 2° 47′ in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle. A visit to Pangnirtung via Google Maps, and some YouTube touring of the hamlet delivered pictures of geological features that a shift in the polar day’s sunset from one side to the other is significant. IBID this shift on the navigational stars shift on the horizon (possibly in early winter when Polar Bears are on the menu).

    But the potentially most significant shift yet relates relates to twilight. The conventions used in the astronomy program suggest – correctly – twilight at the Arctic Circle lasts at least twice as long as in the planet’s mid-latitudes. Observing twilight via the “World Clock” app, which doesn’t address the latitudinal differences in twilight too accurately, but gives an quick overview, I conclude that however twilight is addressed in climate modeling, any bias toward mid-latitude data and understanding introduces an omission of significance. To the degree the mid-range infrared spectrum is more strongly refracted into the particulate pollution of the Arctic’s Polar Zone, doesn’t such constitutes a compounding omission that is likely currently in play, but not modeled for the Arctic; that may, in time, become a similarly significant factor in the Antarctic Polar Zone?

    Since I last attempted to presented this information for constructive critique, I’ve recalled a study published back in the late ’00s when data revealed an unexpected warming in the Arctic reaching as much as 1000 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. At the time, I recall this being attributed to albeto loss. What role might a seasonally thickening Arctic troposphere and its effect on atmospheric refraction play?

    Or, “woof, woof” i.e., beware of a wolf in sheep clothing! 😉

  168. Steven Mosher says:

    ATTP.

    I’m lost a bit. How does variability relate to ecs? That’s what I don’t get. It seems to me that ecs is related to the long term energy balance, and that short term variability is merely of function of surface re arrangement .

    Lost.

  169. Steven,
    I was wrong, I think. I wrote about their paper here. The key thing they were doing was using temperatures 500-hPa, rather than on the surface. The 500-hPa temperatures are, supposedly, less impacted by internal variability than the surface temperatures.

  170. Dave_Geologist says:

    Ah I was wrong too about Dessler. Shows how quickly memory fades 😦 . “A more sophisticated approach” is the wrong wording. My ECS line which angech was referring back to was that they are measuring apples not oranges, and that LC18’s lead author kept insisting that they really, really, really were oranges. Not only oranges, but the best oranges ever! Dessler is at least measuring oranges. But from a distance, indirectly based on the apparent size through a telescope, and using an assumed density to get the weight.

  171. JCH says:

    There are two Dessler sensitivity papers in 2018: one with Forster and one with Bjorn Stevens.

    OHC updated through 2nd 1/4:

  172. angech says:

    Rob Dekker makes the third highest minimum arctic sea ice prediction of around 5.00 million sq for this September 2018 out of 39 analyses. Looks like he will be on the money.

  173. Dave_Geologist says:

    Too desperate to even be worth replaying to, I’m afraid.

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