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Peter Sinclair interview with Michael Mann

Posted on 10 March 2012 by Rob Honeycutt

Peter Sinclair of the YouTube series Climate Denial Crock of the Week, has started a new series in conjunction with the Yale Climate Forum titled This is Not Cool.  This first episode is an interview with Dr. Michael Mann where they discuss his new book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, as well as Rep Joe Barton's sponsorship of the controversial Wegman report.  Duly noted in this video is a point in Congressional hearings where it becomes painfully obvious that Wegman is not a climate scientist and does not understand the most basic climate science, as he notes that CO2 is heavier than air and should, as a result, reside close to the planet surface.

We're all looking forward to more great episodes of This is Not Cool.

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Comments 1 to 20:


  1. Duly noted in this video is a point in Congressional hearings where it becomes painfully obvious that Wegman is not a climate scientist and does not understand the most basic climate science, as he notes that CO2 is heavier than air and should, as a result, reside close to the planet surface.
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  2. Yeah, we live on a layer cake planet!
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  3. Those of you who have read Dr. Mann's book might want to consider putting up your own review at amazon.com (in order to counter the "bad" reviews put up by those who clearly haven't read the book).

    If you don't have time to do that, consider leaving comments setting the record straight, or just vote up/down the reviews based on their quality and whether or not the reviewers appear to have read Dr. Mann's book.

    Dr. Mann really appreciates gestures of support like that.

    Linky here for convenience

    I did my part and posted a review entitled, "Attack of the C-Students".
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  4. Actually, I don't find the CO2 point obvious. In response to a 'skeptic' who was claiming that CO2 formed a layer at the bottom of the atmosphere (yes, really!), I set out to demonstrate how CO2 should be mixed through the atmosphere using the equation for the entropy of mixing.

    The problem is that you get the wrong answer. If entropic mixing were the only thing going on, then the relative concentration of CO2 would decrease with altitude with a scale height of 5-10km. But it doesn't. Measurements show that it is pretty even throughout the troposphere.

    So there are other mixing effects going on. Clearly in the troposphere convection is going to be the big player. But I can't quantify the mechanism from first principles. I suspect that doing so is horribly complex.

    However, the fact that CO2 is well mixed should certainly be well known to anyone with any knowledge of the field.
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  5. It's probably worth mentioning that Amazon indicates of the 96 reviews posted so far, 61 are 5-star reviews.
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  6. Caveat to the above: The number of total & 5-star reviews is as of the time of the posting of the above comment.
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  7. Kevin C:

    The fact that we haven't all asphyxiated is pretty good evidence that CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere, and even the science-ignorant such as myself can figure that one out. :)
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  8. Michael Mann seems to becoming more feisty and combative by the day. It is as if his shackles have been ripped off.

    Here's hoping we see and hear more from him.
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  9. One would think that if you were invited to conduct an inquiry at the invitation of a Congressman that you'd at least attempt to bring someone - at least one person - with some understanding of climate systems. Maybe that's just me.

    I remember back in the day when C Everett Koop was asked by President Reagan to do a study on the health effects on women who had had abortions. The expectation being that, if there were post-procedural impacts there might be reason to ban abortions. Koop, who was appointed by Reagan, stated that the results of the data did not support the position. There's a pretty good wiki account of this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Everett_Koop
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  10. Isn't it so the normal evaporation of water drives the convection? Airborne H2O hits the the CO2 near the ground and drives it to tropopause levels. I mean there really has been some (temporary), observed pools of CO2(g) (and other gases) on some vulcanic locations where the mixing of the atmosphere (by wind) has been suspended (temporarily). I do not know how CO2 mixes in the stratosphere or does it get mixed there as mixed up as in troposphere since there's so much less water vapor up there.

    Other planets have less airborne ice crystals in their atmophere so their weathers are more predictable, no?
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  11. jyyh @10, with regard to the stratosphere, Bischof et al 1985 write:

    "Although many measurements of the abundance of CO2 in the troposphere have been made, knowledge of its stratospheric abundances and variability is sparse. Here we report mid-latitude vertical profiles of CO2, up to 35 km, measured in 1979, 1982 and 1984 by analysing cryogenically collected balloon samples supplemented by air samples taken aboard aircraft. CO2 mixing ratios are not constant with altitude but rather decrease by ~7 p.p.m.v. (parts per 106 by volume) from the tropopause to the mid-stratosphere. The growth rate of the atmospheric CO2 abundance caused by anthropogenic emission, which varies between 1.0 and 1.5 p.p.m.v. yr–1 at ground level1, is also observed at all stratospheric heights up to 35 km. The shape of the profiles suggests that excess CO2 above 20 km enters the stratosphere through tropical upwelling rather than mid-latitude diffusion. The time lag of this height region with respect to the tropospheric CO2 level is ~5 yr."


    These results have been confirmed by Daube et al, 2002:


    Original caption:
    "Fig. 7. (a) CO2 and (b) N2O from the ER-2 (light crosses) and OMS (dark filled circles) intercomparison flights of 23 Jan 2001. ER-2 data are shown only for the descent into Kiruna, Sweden, since that occurred at the same time the balloon was ascending from Esrange. The profiles were separated by 1.25°–3.75° lat and 1°–3° lon, with the largest separation at the highest altitudes"


    You may also want to see Carlotti et al, 2007 for a more detailed picture.

    The pools of "CO2 on the ground" have come from the overturning of volcanic lakes, which brings the bottom water with a very high concentration of CO2 to the surface and releases it to the atmosphere in a cool form. Direct volcanic emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere are unlikely to form volcanic pools IMO because the gas will be warm, and hence rise.
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  12. Thanks much Tom Curtis, this got me searching for the vertical profiles for CO2 in the troposphere as well, it turns out they change pretty much with seasons, as should be expected for the biosphere uptake/release:

    Some of the middle/upper tropospheric level variation is probably due clouds (CO2 gets dissolved in cloud droplets).
    The level of stratospheric high concentration might be the one level where CO2 can freeze?
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  13. jyyh - "The level of stratospheric high concentration might be the one level where CO2 can freeze?"

    An interesting question - one that got asked at WUWT, with respect to Martian atmosphere, but was (correctly, I might add) answered. No.


    [Source]

    The lower the pressure, the lower the solidification point, and there is no location in the Earth climate with temperature/pressure where CO2 might freeze naturally.
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  14. One important note regarding my last post - the pressure shown is the partial pressure of CO2, and since we're at ~392 ppm, we are simply not on the chart for anything but gaseous CO2 on Earth.
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  15. Book review complementing the video is online at http://climatemediaforum.yale.edu
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  16. What amazes me is that for the most part, the climate deniers tend to be professed Christians, often fundamentalists. In my reading of the "good book" I note that god gave man dominion over the beasts of the field and the fish in the sea (or was it the birds in the air). He didn't actually say take it and look after it but I think we can assume that it is what he meant. So why are they hell bent on doing everything possible to trash all this beauty and wonder. Perhaps religious fundamentalism is simply a state of mind, possibly genetically determined, that results in the inability to see evidence outside a notion that has become fixed in your mind.
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  17. William @16

    Some of them may be over-religious types, but I'm pretty sure, having argued with lots on Youtube etc, that libertarians, hardline right and left types and just sheer bloody minded contrarians make up the largest proportion of deniers/sceptics.
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  18. Unfortunately, that interview was about 2 mins shorter than it needed to be to get an important point across about the Wegman Report. It's not the plagiarism in the WR that does the most damage to the layperson's viewpoint of the usefulness of paleoclimatology, but rather the fundamentally flawed statistics, as detailed here:

    Replication and due diligence, Wegman style

    Wegman accepted McIntyre's flawed and cherry-picked PCA analysis without doing the slightest bit of due diligence on it. In short, the WR was a colossal stitch-up of MBH98 using way over-persistent red noise to generate the random time series, then cherry-picking the top 100 most hockey stick-like PCs from the 10,000+ simulation runs.

    This Wegman/McIntyre stitch-up is described in Mann's book (which I just finished reading this morning), but alas, did not make it into that interview.
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  19. There's a radio program on the CBC site (Canadian Broadcasting
    Corporation) called "Demon Coal" but it quickly shifts to criticizing AGW and trots out the premier Canuck contrarians, including Ross McKittrick - and an extensive interview with Judith Curry.

    I must say, she's moving ever more towards denialism.

    Part 2 will available Mar 19
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  20. I'm trying to keep this in the right topic bin, which appears to be here since this post is the most recent referring to Wegman.

    In the current (May-June 2013) issue of American Scientist, Andrew Gelman documents serial plagiarism by Wegman.  Gelman on Wegman  Wegman's behavior with Mann is part of a chronic problem of academic misconduct (apparently).

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