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Climate time lag

Posted on 8 July 2009 by John Cook

The previous post on CO2/Temperature correlation sparked some interesting comments on climate time lag. Unfortunately, the discussion went pear shaped with some ideological anti-intellectualism and things got a little bitchy after that. Nevertheless, climate time lag is an important subject that deserves more attention. Several metaphors were invoked in an effort to explain the phenomenon including stove hot plates and warming baths. However, I find the best way to understand climate time lag is a direct look at the science.

Our climate receives its energy from the sun. The amount of energy the planet absorbs from the sun is calculated from this equation:

Incoming Energy Flux= πR2S(1-A)

R is the radius of the earth, S (the solar constant) is the energy flux from the sun and A is the Earth's albedo - around 30% of sunlight is reflected back to space. The earth also radiates energy into space. The amount of energy emitted is a function of its temperature:

Outgoing Energy Flux = 4πR2εσT4

σ is Boltzmann's constant, T is the absolute temperature in degrees Kelvin and ε is the average emissivity of the earth. Emissivity is a measure of how efficiently the earth radiates energy, between 0 and 1. A blackbody has an emissivity of 1. Greenhouse gases lower the earth's emissivity. When the climate is in equilibrium, energy in equals the energy out.

S(1-A) = 4εσT4

What happens if the sun warms (solar constant S increases) then maintains a sustained peak? This is what occured in the early 20th century when solar levels rose then plateaued at a hotter state in the 1950's. The radiative forcing from the warming sun is not particularly large - between 0.17 W/m2 (Wang 2005) to 0.23 W/m2 (Krivova 2007) since the Maunder Minimum. Nevertheless, let's assume for the sake of argument that there is some amplifying effect (perhaps the cosmic ray effect on clouds) so that the warming sun has a substantial effect on global temperature.

When the sun warms, initially more solar energy is coming in than is radiating back out. The earth accumulates heat and it's temperature rises. As the earth warms, the amount of energy radiating back out to space increases. Eventually, the energy out matches the incoming solar energy and the planet is in equilibrium again. The time lag is how long it takes climate to return to equilibrium.

How long does the climate take to return to equilibrium? The lag is a function of climate sensitivity. The more sensitive climate is, the longer the lag. Hansen 2005 estimates the climate lag time is between 25 to 50 years.

How would climate have responded to the solar levels maxing out in the 50's? For the next few decades after the 50's, the radiative imbalance would've gradually decreased until the climate reached radiative equilibrium around the late 80's (give or take a decade). So how has our planet's radiative imbalance evolved over the latter 20th century?


Figure 1: net radiation flux at the top of the atmosphere (Hansen 2005).

Hansen 2005 finds that the net radiative imbalance has steadily increased over the 20th century. There is no indication that the climate is heading towards equilibrium - quite the contrary. This is confirmed by satellite measurements of energy flux at the top of the atmosphere:


Figure 2: Global ocean heat storage (blue) against global net flux anomalies (Wong 2005).

The climate is not heading towards equilibrium. Rather, the radiative imbalance is increasing with the climate steadily receiving more energy than it is radiating back out into space. And this is where the true significance of climate time lag lies. Even if the radiative imbalance were to level off at its current rate of around 0.85W/m2, it would take several decades for the climate to return to radiative equilibrium. Based on this climate lag, Hansen 2005 calculates there is still 0.6°C warming still "in the pipeline".

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Comments 201 to 250 out of 288:

  1. Tamino invents a linear trend and then demolishes
    his own argument.

    The time series temperature change in Lean et al is simply:

    delta T = T(t) - T(t-1)

    There is no actual linear trend except in Tamino's imagination. The point about peer review and blogs is critical.
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  2. And global developement is something I take very seriously - my actual statement was that any increase in energy costs in the third world has a price to be paid in human lives. This is far from the hyperbole your are engaged in.

    Bjorn Lomberg provides other consequences of wasted global resources - the opportunities forgone for a healthier and richer population.

    One of the consequences (formulated in 1977) given in the groupthink post was a failure of groupthinkers to effectively weigh up costs and benefits.

    Oh I the clathate quote from Warwick Hughes - silly boy
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  3. re 186:
    Have you ever noticed that so many 'corrections' (eg to recent ocean T on this website) to data are made in favour of c02 forcing? (I could count on this site alone the 'corrections' to data made in favour of c02 forcing, and it vastly outnumbers 'corrections' to data made against c02 forcing). Apparently, ~26 'corrections' have been made to T surface data in the 20th century (I read this somewhere), with nearly all in favour of enhancing warming. Doesn't this worry you?

    On another, but related point, just how did Hansen et al 2005 arrive at their calculation of 'radiative imbalance', and from this, their inferred, climate 'disequilibrium'? Answer: C02/greenhouse gas modelling, using strong c02 forcings. Did they model solar forcings? Did they test the 'imbalance' with an enhanced solar forcing 1750-1950s, such as reduction in low level clouds? Did the run any solar heat time lag at all? No. Have the oceans responded as they predicted they would, since the early 2000s? No (regardless of data 'corrections').

    This consistent and special favouring towards c02/greenhouse gas models and data 'corrections', and the failure of their 'predictions', does not do much to convince skeptics like myself of scientific objectivity.
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  4. "to convince skeptics like myself". Whatever else you might be Mr Donta, you are not a sceptic, otherwise you would apply that scepticism to the denialist manifesto. All you do, as in #205, is go right back to repeating, endlessly, the same rubbish. And who could have imagined that Yobbo would be a fan of Lomborg, or that he would ignore the whole of Tamino's analysis that shows that the Carter paper is nonsense?
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  5. OK Robbo, you have obviously not understood the first thing about Tamino's analysis. Whatever.

    Who cares who the clathrate quote is from? This is again ultra basic stuff, there isn't even any need for an attribution. If you're trying to prove that you can look up stuff, congratulations, you did.
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  6. So - let me get this right - the peer reviewed science is inadequate because it is critisised in simplistic terms in a hastily compiled blog.

    Tamino shows convincingly the correlation between SOI and temp. He then adds a constant to the differential temperature data points and finds the same correlation? Duh.

    This is a statisitical version of the Three Card Monte. And I don't understand the math? Whatev!
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  7. #209 #210 - these two denialists make more sense than all the other denialists on this thread. I think, though, that "power caching" is another term for thingys climate lag, and therefore just as silly. But "one of nine people and people using キャッシング, per person " is a far better explanation for global warming than the "CRF-climate link".
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  8. "Whatever else you might be Mr Donta, you are not a sceptic, otherwise you would apply that scepticism to the denialist manifesto"

    As usual, you have got it backwards. If the sun has caused climate changes before, then it is up to the 'global warming by greenhouse gas' theorists to provide VERY good evidence that it is not predominantly the sun now, not the other way round.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. To claim that small changes in the sun causes climate changes is not extraordinary, to claim that small changes in trace gases causes climate changes, is extraordinary (as quoted by Bill Bryson).

    It is a not a 'denialist manifesto' to claim the sun is causing climate changes. Also, people who are skeptical of the c02 position dont 'deny' climate change, for one thing, they simply say that the sun is likely to be the driving factor. This is not 'denialism'. It is what science is all about, very carefully examining alternative theories and interpretations of data, and continuing to review new theories and interpretations as they arise.

    You won't win the hearts and minds of the community, academia, and governments by labelling skeptics 'denialists'-they will see through this denigration easily, and it will ultimately backfire against you.

    As for applying skepticism to the sun as the driving factor,I am a little skeptical that the suns magnetic field has anything to do with earth T. I am a little skeptical that T can rise in such fits and starts with a more active sun. I am a little skeptical that the solar heat lag effect can act in such a 'start' after an apparent 'delay' from 1940-1978. I am very skeptical of our position in the spiral arm of the galaxy and hundred million year variations in cosmic rays, having anything to do with earth T. I am skeptical that cosmic rays make more low level clouds, or that the sun really affects their flux (but am rather less skeptical about slight solar variations causing measureable cloud cover changes-as in Dutch 17th century paintings). I am very skeptical that the recent paper by Carter and co. isnt just 'reaching' when claiming El Nino and Enso is doing anything meaningful to T trends in the last few decades.

    However, I am NOT very skeptical that ~0.1-0.2% increase in solar activity/output can drive earths T up about 1 degree C. This is entirely plausible.

    But I am also skeptical of 1/10,000 part per volume c02 change (~100ppm) in the atmosphere having any meaningful effect on earth's T. I am skeptical that the 'rate' of C02 change has anything to do with it. I am very skeptical of corals having any meaningful negative effects from increasing c02 in oceans. I am skeptical that the earth system is so bad at regulating its T when there are such minute changes in trace gases in the atmosphere. I am skeptical that surface (and other types) of T has been measured accurately in the last few decades.

    I am skeptical that the sun, so far away and not prone to any human influence, is given a fair hearing. (This has happened before-middle ages). I am skeptical that the public service and politicians can be fair with the science and the data, and that the 'summary for policymakers' in the IPCC has much to do with the data.

    I am also skeptical of human nature's general ability to be objective: I am skeptical of academics, socialists, banks and bank financial modellers, c02 modellers, industry-funded research, government-funded research, economic rationalism, greens, NGOs, movie stars, religious dogma, bureaucrats, one-sided academic funding, the IPCC, the right, the left; and I am skeptical of science and scientist's practicing science free of significant cultural bias and prejudice.

    Humans are very bad at being balanced, and easily fooled. This includes all types of social groups, including scientists and academics, although the nature of their field (published data analyses) somewhat mitigates against their individual and group prejudices.

    All social groups tend towards extremism in the absence of effective counter-measures and regulation. The most difficult group to regulate is the government and its arm-the public service, as these exist largely outside communal regulatory forces; they require strong democratic processes to provide a countermeasure.

    Academics can also be very hard to regulate as they exist partly outside of market forces and are also partly linked to government; they also require government-based funding, although the 'verifible data process' (eg science), as well as broader community-derived values, somewhat mitigates against academic biases.

    Captalism is regulated by market forces, community values (not many people know this one), and government, but it is certainly not perfect since the market doesnt interact with all the structures within capitalism, and government can also have its finger in the pie (and vice versa).

    'Communism' is a public service benefit philosophy, it is the ultimate triumph of the public service and academia together controlling all available power and resources for their own group benefit; it can't be effectively regulated by market forces, democratic forces, or community-derived values.
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  9. Yes Robbo and that obviously demonstrates that the mathematical treatment of the data effectively removes any TREND, by reducing it to a constant. Therefore it is of no use at all as to what the TREND could be related to. So using the study to argue that ENSO/SOI/whatever is responsible for the trend is a complete fallacy.
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  10. You mean beside the fact that the UAH tropospheric data doesn’t show any trend since 1979?

    The important issue is the covariance of the data. The analysis uses data points in which any ‘trend’ is already fully expressed – included in the ups and downs of global surface temperature. The finding that the SOI explains 80% of the lagged global temperature variance strongly suggests that there is little room for other factors. The study doesn’t remove anything from the data at all and the SOI is of course a leading indicator of developing ENSO states.

    Does ENSO have a trend? Absolutely not. There was a stepwise change in 1976/1977, from a cooler (SST) period of intense and frequent La Niña from the mid 1940’s, to warmer (SST) conditions with more frequent and intense El Niño to 1998. This effect is real. It can be seen clearly in the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) of Claus Wolter that Tamino mentions. Indeed many people over the years have attributed the ‘Pacific Climate Shift’ of 1976/1977 to AGW. Perhaps the most telling indication of a natural origin is the recent switch to a cooler mode. Could the multidecadal modulation of ENSO affect the global surface temperature over decades? I think this study answers that question in a fairly confident yes.

    Tamino adds a fake linear trend – which cannot by itself change the covariance – and which then becomes the argument. This is why I refer to it as a statistical Three Card Monte. Keep your eye on the red Queen - the actual data and the covariance in the peer reviewed science and not some sleight of hand manipulation by a blogerati.
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  11. I am beginning to wonder what could, as Swanson puts it, make us fundamentally question our understanding of climate science?
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  12. "Tamino adds a fake linear trend – which cannot by itself change the covariance – and which then becomes the argument." This is the kind of misunderstanding, or willful misleading, which has been seen throughout this thread. Tamino in fact adds a very strong trend, to show that no matter how strong a trend is present, the analysis in this paper removes it. That is, whatever the trend, it disappears, mathematically. To then turn around and say that this demonstrates there is no trend shows a misunderstanding, or willful misleading, by the authors concerned, who would feel right at home here.

    #212 Thingy I'm happy for you in your ideology. That kind of blind faith must be a great comfort. But do you really think that faced with climate change, caused, in effect by the unfettered operation of markets, you can solve the resulting problems by market forces? And do you really believe that the best that human beings are capable of, in society, culture, economy and environment, is to be managed by the leaders of giant corporations? Is that your vision for humanity?
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  13. Regarding the odd "ENSO explains most everything" claims, aside from relying on hazardous UAH data, or the embarrassing methodology in the recent paper (exposed by Tamino), one can also observe the trends during specific la Nina years (year after episode begins).

    Examine temperature anomalies from 1974,1975,1976, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2008. Note from these data points we get about 0.5-0.6 C of warming over this period during exclusive la Nina years. Repeat the analysis for el Nino years and we see a similar strong warming trend. Of course, one needs to account for their strength as well. 1998 was obviously a whopper el Nino year.

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/annual.land_and_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf
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  14. No - just that there is no useful purpose to be served by adding 'a very strong (linear) trend' and then reexamining the covariance. I repeat what the paper shows is that 80% of temperature variance is explained by the SOI.

    The trend is a trick. We have peer reviewed science on the one hand and the simple minded blogosphere on the other.

    Is the alternative that we get managed by the equivalent of the Chinese Communist Party instead? Or is this a vageur and more utopian fantasy? The latter would match your mathematics.
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  15. "The trend is a trick"? perhaps you could define "variance" and "trend" for us in denialworld Yob. Why on earth do you think that people didn't know that El Nino La Nina changes explain much of the variance? What does this have to do with the overall clear trend in rising temperatures?
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  16. re:216
    "That kind of blind faith must be a great comfort."

    It is NOT blind faith to conclude that climate change is being driven largely by the sun. I'll keep saying this as long as you keep making false accusations. Why don't you get a job as a prosecutor for some totalitarian communist country? Your tendancy to make false accusations to support an ingrained bureaucratic ideology would go down well.

    "And do you really believe that the best that human beings are capable of, in society, culture, economy and environment, is to be managed by the leaders of giant corporations? Is that your vision for humanity?"

    If you had read or understood anything I said, you would see that I didn't say that.

    I am going to go out on a limb here, but since you always stoop first to make personal remarks and false accusations I reckon this is ok this time, but let me take a guess what your line of work is. My first choice would be public service for a long period, since you can't tell what is going on in the real world anymore, can't analyse data, and have married yourself to self-serving academic-public service ideology, with a stream of false accusations against anyone who holds different views. You can't be a journalist, because journalists actually investigate, you just parrot out ideas that serve the interests of an administrative class. You can't be a politician, because politicians wouldn't lower themselves to public debate. You could be a scientist or academic, but since you can't examine data in any meaningful way, it is probably in a field where that isn't really required, such as in the arts. (But then again, I know that some academics are so bad at analysing data that is doesn't make much difference). My guess is a background in humanities, a long public service career, with some scientific training somewhere, in a field where data analysis is weak. (If this is inappropriate ad hominim stuff, you shouldn't resort to it either).

    Getting back to the topic of climate time lag...since the oceans have been warming for soem time, including eg 1955-1998, c02 released from a warmer ocean should continue to rise for several hundred years (there is always a long lag between rising T and rising c02 from oceans), irrespective of human c02 activities. But since this lag rise in c02 hasn't affected T in previous interglacials, (T rise in interglacials is driven by the sun, followed by c02 hundreds of years later which doesnt do anything)) it shouldnt affect T much in the next few hundred years either.
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  17. Expansion on #217:

    la Nina years since the mid-70's:

    1974: -0.10
    1975: -0.03
    1976: -0.11
    1985: 0.06
    1989: 0.21
    1996: 0.26
    1999: 0.40
    2000: 0.37
    2008: 0.49

    Mostly isolating the ENSO influence by looking at just la Nina years, we still seen a strong positive linear trend during this period.

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/annual.land_and_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat
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  18. The peer reviewed paper uses standard correlation techniques for estimating co-variance. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with statistical correlation. I refuse to comment further on Tamino's cynical manipulation of the woefully gullible.

    It is a blog - and it would seem not to be in keeping with the aims of this site to uncritically prefer convenient blogs over peer reviewed science because it suits your pre-conceived notions.

    And I suggest that NYJ considers the implications of decadal climate states before weighing in with simplistic analysis.

    Again, I wonder, with Swanson, what could fundamentally challenge 'the global warmist' understanding of climate science. Certainly not science. Any science that doesn't agree is dismissed without reading as dodgy, embarassing, and numbers of other pjorative terms. Eminent scientists and other persons are insulted by pimply adolescents in the name of a cause.

    Even people such as Bjorn Lomberg, Roger Pielke Jr and eminent climate scientist Mike Hulme, none of whom are notable skeptics - are demonised for not following the policy line.

    "To hide behind the dubious precision of scientific numbers, and not actually expose one’s own ideologies or beliefs or values and judgements is undermining both politics and science", says Mike Hulme.

    I am not denying basic atmospheric physics. I simply believe with Swanson that:

    ‘the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/2002 challenges our understanding of the climate system, specifically the physical reasoning and causal links between longer time-scale modes of internal climate variability and the impact of such modes upon global temperature.’

    After 20 years of reading on decadal rainfall, oceanographic and lately, global atmospheric changes, I would put it much more strongly. The Pacific dominates these climate states - and global temperatures. We have only a couple of cycles on the climate record – not nearly enough information to be definitive about this phenomenon. Swanson and Tsonis, McLean et al and many others in hydrology and physical oceanography reveal tendencies.

    But the real proof is in the pudding. Continued atmospheric temperature decline, a huge fisheries boost particularly in the eastern Pacific, a decline in ocean heat content, increasingly frequent and intense La Niña (and at the same time – less frequent and intense El Niño), much more rainfall in Australia.

    In the current cool mode of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – the current pre El Niño state will not evolve into more than neutral or weak El Niño condition in the Southern Hemisphere spring. Record temperatures will not return any time soon.
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  19. "Bjorn Lomberg, Roger Pielke Jr and eminent climate scientist Mike Hulme, none of whom are notable skeptics". ???????
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  20. Bjorn Lomberg is an economist who repeatedly says that he doesn't question the climate science. Roger Pielke Jr is a political scientist who again doesn't question the science. Profesor Mike Hulme is currently a visiting fellow at the Tyndal Centre - specialises in climate research and advises the IPCC.

    Your point is ????????????????????????????????????
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  21. Ah Yobbo, great to see that you are a denialist with a sense of humour! Sadly very rare. Don't ever change.
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  22. Yobbo's funny is of the best kind, David: inadvertent.

    Yobbo: "We have peer reviewed science on the one hand and the simple minded blogosphere on the other."

    That's precious. By all means let's apply that to CA, the carbonic snow dudes at WUWT and all the other junk out there.

    If blogs are so bad why did you refer to blogs earlier on this thread, including that of Pelke jr who is a political scientist, hence a lot less qualified on any real scientific subject than Tamino is on statistical analysis?

    Your total incomprehension of what Tamino does suggest that the simple minded part of the blogosphere might not be the one you suggest.

    The "trick" shows that, even with a massive trend over SOI induced variations, Carter's results would be exactly the same. With a cooling trend or no trend, no difference. Which part of that do you not understand? Or do you just fail to see the implication?
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  23. Well David - it's this way - the only blog I think I referred to (and no I can't be bothered checking) was realclimate - and that was just being provocative. I’ll make sure I get another good spanking. Really they are as appalling as anyone else. (Save Gaia says - ...Montreal Protocol?) I think it must be the human condition.

    I don't recall referring to Pielke Jn before - although it might have been in relation to the Swanson paper.

    Certainly the junk is far from one sided. I can give a good example at Niche Modelling and Jennifer Maroshy with that appallingly silly Miscolcsi theory.

    Oh my god - you mean somebodies got something wrong on the internet?

    Tamino is irrelevant. And he doesn’t understand the decadal variations I have been rabbiting on endlessly about. So he doesn’t understand what McLean et al are saying and it is simply a kneejerk reaction full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. To quantify the trend from decadal climate shifts is not something that people have been able to work out – but to claim that because the method can say nothing directly about trend the variance result can be neglected. That is the confidence trick. But let’s wait until Tamino publishes.

    The 80% explanation of variance in the tropics 7 months after the SOI is a good little result. 80% is astonishingly high if confirmed. I don’t know you’re doing – but I’m going back to see what the SOI was in December last year.

    Although as Mike Hulme says, to “hide behind the dubious precision of scientific numbers, and not actually expose one’s own ideologies or beliefs or values and judgements is undermining both politics and science".

    Keep up the good work Mr. Donta. There is a political battle to be won.

    I think this discussion must be finished

    Cheers
    Robbo
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  24. Yobbo has a memory as selective as his readings. His very first post on this thread has a link to Spencer's blog, then he linked to a variety of them: Shaviv's blog, PielkeJr., Spencer again. In fact, he might possibly be the one with the most blog references in the all thread. Don't recall eh? I'd say.

    Tamino has published numerous papers on statistical methods and time series analysis. He knows more about the subject than any of the authors of the paper linked by Yobbo.

    And yes, Donta, by all means keep coming up with stuff like the diurnal temperature "heat lag". It's almost as fun as Yobbo's carbonic snow falling in "minute amounts" in a very very cold place. Keep up the good work, indeed.
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  25. Ah Phillipe - an ad hominen attack and an appeal to dubious authority. I expect nothing less.

    I refer to dozens of websites. Inevitably these are links to published papers (for the convenience of others) and good sources of up to date data. The latter is something the internet was made for. These is never any reliance on dubious sources.

    I have copied over my references to the people named below.

    And here is a quote from Pielke Jn from the page linked to. Read the full entry below.

    ‘As I've argued many times, uncertainty is a far batter reason for justifying action than overhyped claims to certainty, or worse, claims that any possible behavior of the climate system is somehow "consistent with" expectations. Policy makers and the public can handle uncertainty, it’s the nonsense they have trouble with.’

    It is not something that I rely on – but something that I agree with. Particularly the nonsense bit.

    Yours with absolutely no respect
    Robbo

    The Spencer and Braswell link was a reference to a Journal of Climate paper.

    “See Spencer and Braswell - http://www.drroyspencer.com/Spencer-and-Braswell-08.pdf for the implications for TOA radiative balance for varying cloud cover. Changing cloud cover falsifies the Hanson paper referred to above. “

    This is the link to Shaviv.

    “I have provided references. There is a link to a 42 page summary from CERN’s Jasper Kirkby. It appeared in Surveys in Geophysics 28, 335-375 (Nov 2007) – but is available on the CERN server. There are several references linked to on ScienceBits:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/CosmicRaysClimate

    Check out Figure 3 on the site – but of course never relying on a single source.”

    Dr Roy Spencer again

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/ - UAH temperature – it also appears on a NASA site.

    Roger Pielke?

    “http://www.uwm.edu/~kswanson/publications/2008GL037022_all.pdf

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/warminginterrupted-much-ado-about-natural-variability/

    Read carefully because Swanson supplies all necessary pre-digested rationalisations for global warmists. Although it is not new or startling science it is capitulation to the bleeding obvious.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/07/two-decades-of-no-warming-consistent.html

    Roger Pielke Jn – definitely in connection to the Swanson paper.

    13 July 2009

    Two Decades of No Warming, Consistent With . . .
    Over at Real Climate they are busy giving climate skeptics reason to cheer:

    ‘We hypothesize that the established pre-1998 trend is the true forced warming signal, and that the climate system effectively overshot this signal in response to the 1997/98 El Niño. This overshoot is in the process of radiatively dissipating, and the climate will return to its earlier defined, greenhouse gas-forced warming signal. If this hypothesis is correct, the era of consistent record-breaking global mean temperatures will not resume until roughly 2020.'

    Imagine, twenty-two or more years (1998 to ~2020) of no new global temperature record. What would that do to the debate?

    Real Climate does say something very smart in the piece (emphasis added):

    Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here. However, this apparent impulsive behavior explicitly highlights the fact that humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and that there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond.’

    As I've argued many times, uncertainty is a far batter reason for justifying action than overhyped claims to certainty, or worse, claims that any possible behavior of the climate system is somehow "consistent with" expectations. Policy makers and the public can handle uncertainty, it’s the nonsense they have trouble with.
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  26. "uncertainty is a far batter reason for justifying action ". I think there is a typo there and you meant to say "uncertainty is a far battier reason for justifying action".

    I never cease to be amazed by this stuff. Black is white, up is down, today is yesterday. Mr Yob is arguing here, in case you were uncertain about what on earth he was saying, that politicians are not going to act because the climate is certainly changing as a result of CO2, rapidly and for the worse. Oh my goodness no. They will only act because the babble of denialists, deliberately pretending that there is debate and alternative answers where none exist, have created uncertainty about the future. So amid all this uncertainty, politicians will swing into action, convincing the public, also battered by the endless stream of nonsense from denialists, that firm action is needed on greenhouse gas emissions.

    Yeah, that works for me. I think I'll start pretending to believe in cosmic rays and clouds and CO2 release from oceans, and sun spots, and wobbling planets, and global warming on Mars, and argue so convincingly that politicians will swing into action. How could I have thought that presenting reality would do that?
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  27. I didn't say it was a good reason to act but it is better
    than what you have now.

    'Imagine, twenty-two or more years (1998 to ~2020) of no new global temperature record. What would that do to the debate?'

    Well, it has been charmless but pointless.
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  28. And it was actually realclimate that stimulated the uncertainty note. It is probably less embarassing than a backflip with triple pike.

    'Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here. However, this apparent impulsive behavior explicitly highlights the fact that humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and that there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond.’
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  29. I know this is futile, but you haven't understood anything about the RC paper you so happily quote (and I bet that's a first, why don't you quote from any of the other material there?). Again, you did read "it’s important to note that we are not talking about global cooling, just a pause in warming" didn't you? In summary the HYPOTHESIS the paper puts forward is that 1998, instead of just being a particular high outlier in the random variation around the ever-increasing mean temperature, represents a sudden upward jump. Why you would think that a sudden upward jump (if they are right) is better for your attempts to prevent any action to stop the planet cooking is better than a steady increase is beyond me, clearly.
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  30. They are talking about past climate cycles. 20 to 30 year cycles of warming and cooling. Between these 'climate shifts' the most recent warming rate due to all other causes was 0.1 degree C/decade. On this basis they hypothesise that the current warming hiatus may persist until perhaps 2020. You may doubt any of this but should at least not misrepresent the paper.
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  31. You need to review your logic Yobbo.

    Theoretical (purely) example of ad hominem attack: Robbo the Yobbo eats little puppies for breakfast (without cooking them), therefore he has no clue on atmospheric science. That would be a real ad hom and a logical fallacy, regardless of the veracity of the puppy premise.

    Now, the following is quite different: Robbo the Yobbo says that atmospheric CO2 could possibly sublimate out of the atmosphere and fall as snow. When pointed to the ludicrousness of the idea he says that he meant very very small amounts in some place very very cold. Therefore Robbo's opinion on atmospheric science is of very limited interest. That is not an ad hom, neither it is a logical fallacy.

    Tamino is an authority in time series analysis, whether or not you can recognize it. Neither of the authors of the paper discussed has a significant record of publication in statistical methods or time series analysis. Saying that Tamino has more expertise than any of them on that subject does not constitute an ad hom nor an appeal to authority.

    Roy Spencer has made ridiculous arguments that contradict everything known about the carbon cycle. He and Christy have let people use faulty UAH data for political purposes while they knew the data were faulty. Eventually their mess had to be corrected by someone else. Yet you are yourself using Spencer in an appeal to authority, going as far as listing his credentials.

    Accusing others of one own's faults is a common strategy among the intellectually dishonest.

    At least you acknowledge your ideological drive. Which brings us to this question: why would your ideology make you better able to objectively look at the science and form a better understanding of it than anyone else's? Why should you not be as biased as those you accuse?
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  32. These guys are a lot more fun than you.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/13/results-lab-experiment-regarding-co2-snow-in-antarctica-at-113%C2%B0f-80-5%C2%B0c-not-possible/

    But I think this is probably the definitive site on global whining.

    http://kidsagainstagw.com/2009/02/04/global-whining/

    "Human beings seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to deceive themselves, and to deceive themselves into taking their own lies for truth … the result … is that (we have) been tricked and (have) tricked ourselves out of our minds, that is to say, out of our own personal world of experience …" (J.D. Laing).
    0 0
  33. What do you think the Swanson paper means?

    Nothing makes any sense because the discussion keeps going of into wild tangents to avoid the reality of episodic climate shifts in particular.

    And I really just started with a comment on changing Earth albedo. But no matter how reasonable I try to be - the same things keep coming back in new twists.

    I did not accuse David of bias but of not being authentic in the Laingian sense. The same may apply to you.
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  34. Furthermore - you the confusing the logical non-sequitor
    and an ad hominen argument.

    Ad hominem argument is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or attacking the person who proposed the argument (personal attack) in an attempt to discredit the argument. It is also used when an opponent is unable to find fault with an argument, yet for various reasons, the opponent disagrees with it.

    Many of your statements would fit this description.
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  35. I'm sorry - I just had a thought that you are perhaps very young. What is the old expression - a young socialist is an idealist but an old one is an idiot?

    David asked what someones vision of the world was. Mine is one in which there is not a billion people going hungry. Already we have millions more hungry because food is being turned into fuel. The problem of unanticipated consequences. It makes me very sad and angry. What is the solution? The only one that I can see is continued economic growth. I am not rich. This is not a personal agenda.

    As I have said, let's make a transition to new energy systems. Inevitable this century anyway.

    'Non sequitur (Latin for "it does not follow"), in formal logic, is an argument where its conclusion does not follow from its premises.[1] In a non sequitur, the conclusion can be either true or false, but the argument is a fallacy because the conclusion does not follow from the premise. All formal fallacies are special cases of non sequitur. The term has special applicability in law, having a formal legal definition. Many types of known non sequitur argument forms have been classified into many different types of logical fallacies.'
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  36. Back to climate time lag.

    I have a question.

    There is a lag of 400-1000 years between rising T and rising c02 in the Vostok ice core, after previous ice ages (?which possibly follows slowly rising ocean heat releasing c02?). If the earth's climate is so sensitive to c02, why does the curve of T in Vostok ice cores exhibit no change once the c02 actually kicks in- surely, there should be a strong kick in T correlating with the 400-1000 year lag in rising c02, once it kicks in??

    Tim Flannery in 'The Weathermakers' states that T rose 5C at the end of the last ice age from a 100ppm rise in c02, (tellingly, he makes no mention of the sun, which actually causes the end of the ice ages, but no matter-it doesnt fit his pre-conceived book title), but if this is true, the 400-1000 year lags in c02 should drive T up 400-1000 years later as well?

    Also, how come in the geological past, when c02 was eg 10x higher at ~30000ppm or more (eg Ordovician), over several time periods, that earth T was actually cooler in some of these periods than at present? If the IPCC climate sensitivity with regard to c02 forcing is right, this is impossible. At ~3000ppm Co2, T should be about 10C+ higher, if one backdates IPCC models, sensitivities and forecasts.

    Geological history, methinks, just like it did with creationists, will drive strong c02-forcing theorists extinct and toothless.

    (I like this topic of climate time lag because it makes some academics squark about like mina birds when my cat wanders past their self-imposed territory. (Mind you, the cat is alien as well.))
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  37. Tamino is an authority in time series analysis, whether or not you can recognize it.

    Tamino - not the hero of the Magic Flute - is an anonomous blogger.

    Is Grant Foster "Tamino"? I don't know but that's one idea on the net. Do you know or are you just making it up as you go?

    http://www.aavso.org/news/foster.shtml

    Since working for the AAVSO, Grant has spent much of his time pursuing his musical career. Playing Irish music festivals and local venues whenever he has the chance, Grant plays guitar and sings Irish ballads.

    To earn his "real" money, however, Grant works on text categorization for Island Data Corporation based in San Diego where he teaches computers how to classify natural language text.
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  38. Re #238

    I don't think any academics (academics?) are "squarking" thingadonta, since your points refer to rather well understood scientific phenomena. Arguments based on ignorance aren't very interesting or useful (see previous discussion on the CRF hypothesis where a fuller understanding of scientific knowledge on this hypothesis highlights the shortcomings of arguments based on the cheeky presumption of ignorance in the reader!).

    ONE: Ice age cycles. Temperature rises in the Vostock core do precede rises in atmospheric CO2 during glacial to interglacial transitions. However these transitions are extremely slow (the last glacial to Holocene transition lasted around 5000 years, during which global temperatures rose around 0.1 oC per century on average and atmospheric CO2 levels rose 2 ppm per century; they're rising more than 100 times faster now). While temp rises in Vostock cores precede slow CO2 responses, the CO2 responses actually precede temperature rises in Greenland cores, which illustrates the overall (glacially!) slow processes. Overall the atmospheric CO2 rise contributed 1.5 – 2 oC to the ~ 5 oC of the full insolation-drived transition.

    This is very apparent from modelling of the insolation changes due to Earth orbital cycles (largely the obliquity/precessional components [*]). Since the bulk of the response of raised CO2 levels occurs relatively quickly (say 100 years) on the timescale of the ice age transition, we expect a very, very slow temperature rise contribution from the very, very slow CO2 rise that results from the very, very slow insolation changes. So all of the contributions tend to be rather "mixed together", and we don't expect to see obvious apparent jumps or whatever (not sure what you're expecting to see) from very low-resolution ice cores (a truly vast scientific literature on this – e.g. [**]).

    [*] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles


    TWO: Phanerozoic temperature variations: You're ignoring a fundamental element of paleogeophysics, namely the fact that the solar constant has risen progressively from the time of its formation, such that the solar output at the time of the Ordovician was 4-5% lower than the present day solar output.

    This has some well understood and critical consequences. The most relevant one for this discussion is that the greenhouse gas thresholds for cold/glacial vs warm/hot periods in the past were very different from now. Fundamentally, greenhouse gas levels had to be much higher during the Ordovician than now to maintain cool/warm earth temperature. So it's rather straightforward to calculate that whereas present day strong solar output means that major ice sheets are unlikely to be supportable in the long term with CO2 levels above around 500 ppm, cold periods were inevitable during the Ordovician once atmospheric CO2 levels dropped below around 3000 ppm (there is a large scientific literature on this with CO2-ice thresholds in the range 2240-3920 ppm [***]).

    There is a certain "Ghia" –ish element to this. Atmospheric greenhouse gas levels generally stay at a value that supports a coolish-warmish Earth, since if temperatures rise high, weathering processes that draw CO2 out of the atmosphere become quite effieicent. On the other hand weathering is suppressed in cooler climbes and atmospheric CO2 levels are maintained.

    So it's often phenomena external to basic geophysics that greatly perturb greenhouse gas levels and result in major earth temperature variation. These include the evolution of photosynthesising oxygen-producing organisms in the Archaean that resulted in oxidation of methane (the major greenhouse gas during the early ages of the Earth), the unique events around the time of the Carboniferous (major evolutionary phenomena in plants including "invention" of lignin that suppressed oxidative return of plant carbon to the atmosphere and gave us much of the fossil fuel that we are so enjoying burning today), the very well characterised tectonic events that resulted in periodic massive release of greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere with subsequent warming, ocean anoxia and extinctions, and so on.


    [**] Timmermann A et al (2009) The Roles of CO2 and Orbital Forcing in Driving Southern Hemispheric Temperature Variations during the Last 21 000 Yr, J. Climate 22, 1626-1640.

    Wolff EW et al (2009) Glacial terminations as southern warmings without northern control, Nature Geoscience 2, 206-209


    [***] Herrmann, A.D., Patzkowsky, M.E., Pollard, D., 2003. Obliquity forcing with 8–12 times preindustrial levels of atmospheric pCO2 during the Late Ordovician glaciation. Geology 31, 485–488.

    Herrmann, A.D., Patzkowsky, M.E., Pollard, D., 2004. The impact of paleogeography, pCO2, poleward ocean heat transport and sea level change on global cooling during the Late Ordovician. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 206, 59–74.

    Royer DL (2006) CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 5665–5675

    etc.
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  39. Yobbo, your reading comprehension is a problem. Read again my theoretical example of an ad-hom and see how well it fits your own definition. If you can't, there is nothing anyone can do for you.

    The paper you linked, however, is a great example of non-sequitur. The mathematical treatment applied to the data effectively removes any trend, therefore this conclusion statement perfectly corresponds to your definition of a non-sequitur:
    "this study has shown that natural climate forcing associated with ENSO is a major contributor to variability and perhaps recent trends in global temperature, ..."

    Regardless how timid and parenthetical the perhaps makes it, there is nothing in the paper to support it, it does not follow.

    It is interesting to note that some of the authors have already recanted on this particular point, both at WUWT and RC. By the same move, they are also disowning the Carter press release, which is an even bigger non-sequitur.

    My opinion is that you have demonstrated a depth of knowledge and comprehension of science that are insufficient to afford yourself the kind of sweeping judgements of which you are so generous. In addition, your ideological bias affects your perception beyond what is tolerable for objective critical thinking.

    The uncritical excitement with which you embraced the McLean/Freitas/Carter paper is a case in point. How closely did you examine that paper? Did you examine it at all? What kind of emotions were going through you when you were reading the authors' statements? Are these emotions conducive to true critical thinking? On top of that, you pasted the Carter press release, without checking if it represented the contents, which it does not.

    I find it very unsurprising that you would think I am a "socialist", whatever you mean by that word. I am not, and you have nothing to support that assertion since I have kept my ideology to myself so far. There is another non-sequitur: because I disagree with you in the state of the science in general, I must be a socialist. In your world, that is also an ad-hom, since being a socialist is on par with eating raw puppies for breakfast.

    I have lived on 3 continents and an island. I have lived in places where there are very rich people, and some third world countries as well. I do not subscribe to any ideology pre-formulated in books or other theoretical constructs that attempt to define how people ought to live. All of them fail in the real world, including capitalism. Every socio-economic system based on a theory must make concessions to its basic premises if it is to endure. This is made obvious by the fact that the ones that have endured are full of compromise, even contradictions. It is made even more obvious by the other fact that, when allowed to run wildly toward a theory defined "ideal", all of them eventually fail, no matter what the ideology's name is.

    I am not young, I have witnessed a number of systems of governance, with various levels of corruption or other non theoretical influences, in a variety of cultures. I find your thinking and your ideology rudimentary, uninteresting and divorced from reality.

    Perhaps that's why you don't find me so fun. I deeply regret that because, on your end, you have some seriously hilarious moments. I wish I could reciprocate, really.
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  40. No answer for your silly and deceptive Tamino claim?

    No discussion of science. More ad hominen argument.

    No I thought you were 14 from the imaturity of the you expression.
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  41. “The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.”

    The Swanson and other papers I have referred here show the dominance of intersnnual and decadal sea surface temperature changes on temperature variance – particularly that associated with the PDO and decadal modulation of ENSO.

    The best Phillipe can do is a series of insults and deceptive claims about the authority of an anonymous bogger - “Tamino is an authority on time series analysis”. Did he the nature of an ad hominem argument? It is simply as argument against the person rather than on the subject of the argument. Even if it is true that I am an idiot – it is still ad hominem argument.

    Interdecadal variability and climate change in the eastern tropical Pacific: A review
    Alberto M. Mestas-Nun˜ez, Arthur J. Miller

    The Significance of the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift in the Climatology of Alaska
    Brian Hartmann and Gerd Wendler

    Here is another one. There is a need to step back and take in the whole picture rather than raise one irrelevant point after another. Carbonic snow, Tamino is an expert wheteher you understand it or not, no trends, diurnal variation – yes it has been said – tedious variations on a theme with no rhyme or reason other than to attempt to discredit the opposition and avoid the real point. Dishonest and intended to mislead.

    Here is another paper.

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/papers/auad/Global_Warm_ENSO.pdf

    As I say, the proof is in the reality of global temperature. My favourite quote from Swanson is that ‘the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/02 challenges our understanding of the climate system, specifically the physical reasoning and causal links between longer time-scale modes of internal climate variability and the impact of such modes upon global temperature.’
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  42. “The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.”

    The Swanson and other papers I have referred here show the dominance of decadal sea surface temperature changes – particularly that associated with the PDO and decadal modulation of ENSO.

    These are a particularly goog introduction.

    Interdecadal variability and climate change in the eastern tropical Pacific: A review
    Alberto M. Mestas-Nun˜ez, Arthur J. Miller

    The Significance of the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift in the Climatology of Alaska
    Brian Hartmann and Gerd Wendler


    The best Phillipe can do is a series of insults and deceptive claims about the authority of an anonymous bogger - “Tamino is an authority on time series analysis”. Did he understand the nature of an ad hominem argument? It is simply as argument against the person rather than on the subject of the argument. Even if it is true that I am an idiot – it is still ad hominem argument.

    There is a need to step back and take in the whole picture rather than raise one irrelevant point after another. Carbonic snow, Tamino is an expert if you understand it or not, no trends, diurnal variation – yes it has been said – tedious variations on a theme with no rhyme or reason other than to attempt to discredit the opposition and avoid the real point.

    Here is another paper.

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/papers/auad/Global_Warm_ENSO.pdf

    As I say, the proof is in the reality of global temperature. My favourite quote from Swanson is that ‘the nature of these past shifts in climate state suggests the possibility of near constant temperature lasting a decade or more into the future must at least be entertained. The apparent lack of a proximate cause behind the halt in warming post 2001/02 challenges our understanding of the climate system, specifically the physical reasoning and causal links between longer time-scale modes of internal climate variability and the impact of such modes upon global temperature.’
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  43. Back to time lag?

    ENSO has such a dominant influence on global mean temperature that it is difficult to imagine that the decadal mode of variation has no impact on decadal surface temperature. It is trivial to compare the most recent shifts in global temperature in the mid 1040’s, the mid 1970’s and post 1998 to the phases of the PDO. It leads naturally to the suspicion that the current hiatus in warming may not be as short lived as many people hope.

    We are far from understanding the basis of the PDO or of predicting ENSO with more than average accuracy past three months. Next to nothing is known about the fine detail of ENSO radiaive tansfers.

    Swanson and Tsonis are physicists who think in terms of ‘choatic dynamical systems’ – and this covers a multitude of factors of radiative balances and ocean dynamics that are evidently barely understood. So it may be premature to calculate a‘heat lag’ if the most significant variant is so little understood.

    Verdon and Franks (2006) used ‘proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’

    Verdon, D. and Franks, S. (2006), Long-term behaviour of ENSO: Interactions with the PDO over the past 400 years inferred from paleoclimate records, Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2005GL025052.
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  44. "Why don't you get a job as a prosecutor for some totalitarian communist country? Your tendancy to make false accusations to support an ingrained bureaucratic ideology would go down well."

    Good example of projecting.
    0 0
  45. The ad-hom was yours, directed against Tamino. There is no discussion of the science possible with you. All you do is make barrage of arguments with a compilation of papers that you think support them. You cited Weart and Ramsthorf about D-O and Bond events suggesting that their work on natural variability was being suppressed by the climate science community. Anyone familiar with these authors knows that's nonsense.

    I am not going to go back to every single argument and every single paper you cited to analyze whether it is relevant and the papers actually supports your argument and to determine if that paper led to anything interesting about the big picture. Perhaps that's all you have to do but I don't have that kind of time. If I have to choose between doing something interesting and arguing with you, the choice is made in advance.
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  46. More science...from IPCC contributors...hope you find it amusing Phillipe

    'Global warming due to increasing absorbed solar radiation

    Kevin E. Trenberth

    National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

    John T. Fasullo

    National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

    Global climate models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) are examined for the top‐of‐atmosphere radiation changes as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases build up from 1950 to 2100. There is an increase in net radiation absorbed, but not in ways commonly assumed. While there is a large increase in the greenhouse effect from increasing greenhouse gases and water vapor (as a feedback), this is offset to a large degree by a decreasing greenhouse effect from reducing cloud cover and increasing radiative emissions from higher temperatures. Instead the main warming from an energy budget standpoint comes from increases in absorbed solar radiation that stem directly from the decreasing cloud amounts. These findings underscore the need to ascertain the credibility of the model changes, especially insofar as changes in clouds are concerned.'
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  47. re 240 Thanks Chris: at least somebody posts intelligently.

    I read a few of the papers on c02 and glacial cycles and I'm still not convincd that they arent 'reaching', and trying to insert c02 effects that arent there.

    Certainly Flannnery does, whenever and wherever possible. In his entire book the weathermakers, he only mentions the sun 3 times, and only in denigration/passing. What lack of respect to that which has sustained him all his years.

    If c02 contributes 2 of 5 C to glaical warming, then the earth in glacial cycles only drops ~3C from earth-solar relationships. This should be easily modelled, although other forcings (such as cloud cover changes and importantly, ice albedo) would make it, as usual, non-definitive.

    Ice albedo would be very large towards the end of glacial ice ages with max ice extent, which should give a sharp rise in T once this thinning ice finally dissipates over northern zones-which may partly explain the rapid rise in T compared to slow lowering of T in glacial cycles?

    As for the phanerozoic, I dont think that the increase in solar output alone is enough to explain the very low sensitivity to c02 in geological times. One cant just say 'it didnt apply then', but 'it strongly applies now' without seeming to be inconsistent and selective.

    You mention 'Gaia', but I am of the opinion that Gaia likes things with more c02, which is why we are burning more c02 (!), -to return to several thousand ppm C02 would do planet earth good, I feel, and also I am very skeptical that a few hundred more ppm c02 in the atmosphere is anyway toxic to 'Gaia' and life on earth generally. I just dont think the earth is that sensitive to trace c02 atmospheric changes, with the geological past high co2 and associated high biodiversity as evidence.
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  48. re 248

    Tamino - not the hero of the Magic Flute - but an anonymous blogger you claim as an authority on statistics and who has many peer reviewed studies to his name - according to your misleadsing claims? Please.

    Your confusing me with someone else - I don't know who Weart and Ramsthorf are.

    You are also confusing me with someone else - someone who cares.
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  49. There is a 'cute' little carbon cycle diagram.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle

    Ice ages seem to be the result of factors which trigger ice sheet growth. In the pre-Quaternary - these influences included continental drift and tectonic uplift. Some of these studies that Chris is referencing suggest that the ice extent was sufficient to prevent warming even with high concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    In the Quaternary - it appears that orbital eccentricities have been sufficient to trigger ice sheet growth, a strong albedo feedback, and rapid cooling. Hence the 100,000 year cycles.

    ‘Carbon is released into the atmosphere in several ways:

    • Through the respiration performed by plants and animals. This is an exothermic reaction and it involves the breaking down of glucose (or other organic molecules) into carbon dioxide and water.
    • Through the decay of animal and plant matter. Fungi and bacteria break down the carbon compounds in dead animals and plants and convert the carbon to carbon dioxide if oxygen is present, or methane if not.
    • Through combustion of organic material which oxidizes the carbon it contains, producing carbon dioxide (and other things, like water vapour). Burning fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum products, and natural gas releases carbon that has been stored in the geosphere for millions of years. Burning agrofuels also releases carbon dioxide.
    • Production of cement. Carbon dioxide is released when limestone (calcium carbonate) is heated to produce lime (calcium oxide), a component of cement.
    • At the surface of the oceans where the water becomes warmer, dissolved carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere.
    • Volcanic eruptions and metamorphism release gases into the atmosphere. Volcanic gases are primarily water vapour, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. The carbon dioxide released is roughly equal to the amount removed by silicate weathering; so the two processes, which are the chemical reverse of each other, sum to roughly zero, and do not affect the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide on time scales of less than about 100,000 years.’

    The longer term changes in CO2 are the result of biological processes and these are mediated by temperature. The higher the temperature, within reason, the higher the biological activity – so that rising CO2 after ice ages is a symptom of rising temperatures rather than an initial cause. This doesn’t say anything about CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
    CO2 should reinforce warming from orbital changes and the resulting reduction in ice albedo – but anyone who claims to know what the relative effects are has rocks in their head.
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  50. Regarding radiative imbalances on this post, from Richard Lindzen:

    "It means that increases in surface temperature are accompanied by reductions in the net outgoing radiation – thus enhancing the greenhouse warming. All climate models show such changes when forced by observed surface temperatures. Satellite observations of the earth’s radiation budget allow us to determine whether such a reduction does, in fact, accompany increases in surface temperature in nature. As it turns out, the satellite data from the ERBE instrument (Barkstrom, 1984, Wong et al, 2006) shows that the feedback in nature is strongly negative -- strongly reducing the direct effect of CO2 (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) in profound contrast to the model behavior. This analysis makes clear that even when all models agree, they can all be wrong, and that this is the situation for the all important question of climate sensitivity".

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/07/resisting-climate-hysteria
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