What He Said

John Atkinson, via Tom Nelson, mirrors many of my thoughts on climate models:

The scientists who interest me in this field are those who can draw on the experience of a lot of people who have come before them. And uniformly in these areas I find scepticism. People who write mathematical models of complex systems for a living tend to find the climate models very unconvincing. Geologists find the arguments very unconvincing. Engineers find the arguments unconvincing. And astrophysicists find the arguments unconvincing….

The climate models seem to be largely driven by over-fitting to a small sample set and positive feedback. The small sample set – at most 30 years of accurate data – might be enough to try and predict one or two years, but 50 year predictions? Ignoring the biggest effect on global warming – water vapour – is surely going to cause problems.

Positive feedback in engineering invariably results in unstable systems – so we have to ask why do most if not all of the climate models rely on it to get doomsday predictions? For the Earth to have survived as long as it has with a stable climate, through major events like ice-ages or volcanic eruptions, there is little doubt that a degree of negative climate feedback is essential.

  • RW

    Anecdotal claims that certain categories of people are unconvinced by models are in themselves highly unconvincing. But if you are convinced by it, here is some more purely anecdotal evidence: I am an astrophysicist, and pretty much all the astrophysicists I know are quite convinced by the large body of work which shows that human activity is causing the current rapid global warming.

    The author says that ignoring water vapour is surely going to cause problems. Well yes. That’s why climate models include water vapour. Or perhaps you can name one which doesn’t?

    As I’ve said before here, I think people are being misled by, or trying to mislead others with, the work feedback. ‘Amplifier’ would be a better word. The temperature effect of CO2 is amplified by other factors which are triggered by the initial temperature change but that doesn’t make the system inherently unstable. It’s obvious from history that feedbacks, or amplifiers, exist in the climate system and you can’t possibly explain the huge rise in temperature at the end of an ice age without them.

  • RW

    And it seems that our understandings of the word ‘stable’ are radically different. For the Earth to have survived as long as it has with a stable climate, through major events like ice-ages is a very weird thing to say seeing as ice ages are a textbook example of the kind of shift in temperature regime that you’re saying cannot happen. It’s a bit like saying the stock market has remained stable through major events like the Depression.

  • Adirian

    RW, first, feedback is the correct term. “Amplification” implies a unidirectional process – A->B->C. It’s not unidirectional – A->B->C->B. CO2 isn’t “amplified” by albedo – albedo is a feedback process. The results from one iteration are fed into the next, that’s what a feedback process is. An amplification process would be a single iteration, and in a single iteration, albedo has not effect. You can’t substitute in words because the one everyone is using means what it means, and you don’t like that meaning.

    Second, I’m an engineer. Specifically, a computer engineer. I have a piece of paper which certifies that I know what I’m talking about when I talk about computers. And, speaking as a computer engineer – their models are crap. You’d be hard pressed to find a computer engineer who has looked into them who doesn’t think they’re crap. They’re barely better than the infamous TAPPS model – which is infamous among computer engineers not for its results, but because of the horrible quality of modeling that went into it. Computer scientists are required to study the TAPPS model as a demonstration of what NOT to do when modeling, as part of computer ethics courses, not merely because of the unethical way assumptions were generated, but because of the extremely unethical way the results were presented. Speaking also as an individual with a strong basis in statistical mathematics, a curve-fitted graph has no predictive power, and that is fundamentally how they have developed the models.

    Third, water vapour is indeed present in many of the models. The problem, of course, is outlined by the IPCC itself – which admitted in at least one of its reports that it isn’t even known whether it is a positive or negative feedback process. IT ISN’T UNDERSTOOD, and as such, it would be BETTER OFF ignored. And when you don’t understand the most immediate and powerful feedback process in a system, you don’t understand the system.

    Fourth, you’re attacking a straw man with the stability thing again. You do enjoy attacking imaginary opponents, don’t you? The fundamental point being made there is that temperature stays within a (relatively) narrow set of limitations, in spite of much more significant shifts than that of one of the lessermost of the greenhouse gases. We haven’t flown into Venus temperatures, nor have we dipped to Mars – temperature is dominated by negative feedbacks which maintain it within relatively narrow confines. Moreover, historically, major events like volcanic eruptions do not shift it from its cyclic patterns – they make relatively small shifts in temperatures for small local minima or maxima, but it returns to its basic cyclic norm shortly thereafter.

  • RW

    Adirian – you misunderstand much of the basic terminology and facts. Do some research. You think that the existence of positive feedbacks means that Earth’s temperature should vary from Venus-like to Mars-like. You think that climate models are merely extrapolating curves. You think that water vapour may be a negative feedback. You think that carbon dioxide is one of the lessermost [sic] greenhouse gases. You think that a climate in which runaway climate change happens repeatedly cannot experience runaway climate change. On all of those things you are badly wrong.

  • jep

    As a software engineer, I can tell you that computer models are no better than the assumptions that go into them. All computer climate models are “fudged” — they contain magic numbers used just to make the model appear to work.

    Computer models are used extensively in various types of engineering, such as in aerospace. Those models work because the models are extensively tested against the real world and tweaked when the results don’t match the physical world.

    One of the first problems of climate modeling is to determine the relevant factors. We simply don’t understand the climate well enough to do that. The next problem is weighing the factors appropriately. Climate is dynamic, not fixed, so the calculations need to be modified constantly.

    The computer models that predict continued warming this century can only produce that result. The number one assumption is CO2 and other greenhouse gases are forcing climate change. The number two assumption is these emissions will continue to increase. Neither of those assumptions is proven and their is a great deal of evidence that the first assumption is not true.

    Climate models do not produce scientific facts. Nor can the results be considered predictions.

  • RW

    jep: I don’t think your understanding of how models work is correct. They do not assume that CO2 causes warming; that is proven by physics. There is no evidence that says that CO2 is not a strong absorber in the infrared. It is physically impossible to put more CO2 into the atmosphere and, all else being equal, not get a warming effect. Models do not tell us this, basic physics does. What models calculate is how much the temperature will change, given the increase of CO2 from anthropogenic activities.

    Nor do models assume that emissions will continue to increase. Plenty of models have been calculated which assume declining emissions of greenhouse gases. For example, the rather well known paper by Hansen et al in 1988 calculated temperatures for three emissions scenarios. Scenario C was the case of emission being curtailed after 2000.

    To claim that we can’t model the climate because we don’t understand the climate does not make sense. Modelling is a tool by which to understand the climate system. We certainly do understand the climate well enough to model it, and discrepancies between models and reality can give us vital information about where our understanding can be improved.

    I am an astronomer and I use computer models to simulate large, complex astrophysical objects. Just like climate scientists, I divide the objects up into large chunks rather than simulating them atom by atom. Just like climate scientists, I make certain simplifying assumptions. Just like climate scientists, I rarely generate a model which exactly reproduces all aspects of the objects I’m looking at. Just like climate scientists, I find that some differences occur time and time again. But luckily I’m not in a field where intense lobbying and disinformation has sown doubt in the minds of large numbers of people, and I don’t have random people shouting at me to throw the models away because they are worthless. I know that the models have limitations, but I know that constructing physically realistic models is a crucial tool in understanding the objects I look at, and that without them my understanding would be poorer.

  • Raven

    RW says:
    “I am an astronomer and I use computer models to simulate large, complex astrophysical objects. Just like climate scientists, I divide the objects up into large chunks rather than simulating them atom by atom. Just like climate scientists, I make certain simplifying assumptions. Just like climate scientists, I rarely generate a model which exactly reproduces all aspects of the objects I’m looking at.”

    You are not using your models as an excuse to increase poverty and human suffering in the world. If your model is wrong the worst consequence is you waste time writing academic papers that no one but other academics read. If climate scientists want policy makers to make decisions based on thier science then they should learn to live up to the standards that engineering and medicine have been forced to live up for a century or more. That means rigorous dervivation of the physics involved – not wild a** guesses (the CO2 sensitivity of 1.5 – 4.5 degC/doubling is nothing but a guess). That also means no ignoring problems with the datasets used because fixing the data would undermine your pet theory.

    In medicine, double blind studies are an absolute must in order to eliminate the natural random effects (a.k.a the placebo effect). Even then medical therapies cannot be used unless the benefits outweigh the costs and the onus is on the advocates of the theories to prove that to the satisfaction regulators. It is not up to regulators to prove the reverse.

    Most importantly, engineers and medical partitioners are financially liable if they make mistakes. If climate scientists want to be taken seriously they should accept government regulation that allows them to be sued if their ‘predictions’ turn out to be wrong and people are hurt by policy changes made based on their predictions.

    Frankly, an engineer who authorized a bridge to be built based on data like the GISS temperature dataset would be likely lose his/her license even if the bridge did not fall down because of the incompetence demonstrated by ignoring potential problems.

  • Adirian

    RW – CO2 IS one of the lessermost of the natural greenhouse gases. Water vapour is the strongest. CO2 is of interest because of the delta of CO2, not for its raw contribution, which is quite small.

    And I said nothing of the sort about feedback. You, again, go off on straw men, because you cannot argue with what people actually said. I was talking about STABILITY. The edges of our temperature boundaries are governed by negative, not positive, feedbacks – temperature doesn’t swing wildly back and forth, it finds stable positions, which, by definition, are surrounded by negative feedback effects. That we haven’t swung into either Venus-like or Mars-like temperatures is indicative that negative feedbacks are stronger across the spectrum of temperatures we experience than positive.

    And yes, climate models are “merely extrapolating curves.” Actually, they aren’t – to merely extrapolate the curve would be honest modeling. They curve-fit models which do not fit the curve using arbitrary dynamics.

    And runaway climate change HASN’T happened – it eventually gets halted by stronger negative feedback patterns in one of several stable equilibriums. A “runaway” shift would look more like a nuclear explosion than a shift to a different equilibrium point.

    (Oh, and CO2 isn’t a strong absorber in the infrared. It is both weak and eclipsed considerably by the absorption spectrum of water vapour, which means much of its absorption pattern is already saturated. Methane, to quote a chemical not quite at random, is a much more potent greenhouse gas. The interest in CO2 is entirely the quantity produced, not the quality of the gas.)

  • RW

    Adirian – you’re an idiot.

    Raven – to claim that climate sensitivity is just guessed is just ridiculous. Have you read any papers about this? I suggest starting with this, and then reading . I assure you, if only you would look and read the literature, you’ll find plenty of ‘rigorous dervivation [sic]’.

    Your political anger is obvious but I think you need to be directing it towards politicians. Don’t shoot the messenger. Scientists do not make policy. If crazy damn fool governments decided to trust scientists rather than random angry bloggers, then vote for a different political party next time.

  • Raven

    RW says:
    “Raven – to claim that climate sensitivity is just guessed is just ridiculous.”

    I doubt that you have read the literature and actually accessed the rigor of said derivations. The literature contains nothing but an endless trail of references to earlier literature which are presumed to be correct. Some papers try to estimate the senstivity by looking at empirical data but these estimates all depend on the assumption that CO2 is the major driver of climate change.

    If you want to find out how flimsy the theoretical basis is for those numbers I suggest you start here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2528#more-2528

    The policy makers are making decisions because the AGW advocates at the UN claim that the science of AGW is “certain” and their is no disagreement among scientists. Scientists who dare to disagree are labelled as holocuast deniers and shills of oil companies by *other* scientists. So don’t waste your time trying to defer the blame. AGW would be a non-issue if AGW scientists were held accountable for the consequences of their claims. I really wonder how many AGW scientists would support that view if being wrong meant that they would be financially liable and prohibited from working in the field.

  • RW

    I’ve given you links to starting points for research in one of the most prestigious journals in all of science (one much more prominently than expected) and you’ve quoted a mineral executive’s blog. Why do you prefer the latter to the former?

    I’m sure pretty much any scientist would find new work rather quickly if you threatened them with financial penalties if they were wrong. I don’t think that tells us very much.

  • Raven

    > “Why do you prefer the latter to the former?”

    Why do you think an “appeal to authority” constitutes and argument?
    I judge information based on the quality of the analysis – not the credentials of the author. McIntrye lays it out pretty clearly and that post included contributions from “respected” climate scientists.

    > “I’m sure pretty much any scientist would find new work rather quickly if you threatened them with financial penalties if they were wrong. I don’t think that tells us very much.”

    Yet those are the penalities that civil engineers and doctors must live with if they want to do their jobs. You must be crazy to put your trust in a group of scientists that you think would cut and run if they were forced to be accountable for their science.

  • RW

    Why do you think it doesn’t matter what your source is? If you find a web page that says ‘climate change is all a big lie!!!’, you can believe it if you want but it won’t persuade any scientist.

    If I was going to be fined if my theories about astrophysical objects were proven wrong, I’d get out of astronomy pretty bloody quickly. Do you really think science would progress if you said you’d fine anyone who’s theory was later proven wrong? You sound like more of a Stalinist than Stalin.

  • Raven

    As usual you miss the entire point.

    I never said any source was acceptable – I said I judge a source by the quality of its analysis. I have seen lots of junk put forth by people who are supposed to be ‘climate scientists’ and I have seen lots of thoughtful commentary from people who aren’t. But that does not mean that every source is equal – it just means that credentials are not a meaningful way to judge the worth of a source.

    No one will likely lose their livelyhood or be forced into poverty because of your theories about astrophysical objects. So you don’t need to worry – nor do any scientists that confine themselves to theoretical research. However, any scientist that seeks to have their theories used as the basis for public policy should be willing to subject themselves to the same standards that engineers and doctors have to live up to.

    You must remember that most engineers and doctors would rather not have the threat of legal liability but they don’t have a choice because their science has real consequences for real people. The same is now true of climate science which means it should live up to the same standards.

  • rw

    Yes, and you miss my point, which is that I don’t give the views of Steve McIntyre much credence. His analysis is shoddy.

    No-one will lose their livelihood or be forced into poverty because of anyone’s theories about climate change either, so you don’t need to worry about that.

  • dreamin

    Actually, as I have learned from this blog, there is a simple way to set an upper bound on the sensitivity of the climate to CO2: Approximate the global temperature and CO2 concentration for 1870; then do the same thing for today. Fit both points to a logarhythmic curve. Voila: very modest sensitivity, at best.

    Alarmists dodge this simple calculation by positing a 30 to 40 year lag in temperatures, apparently the result of heat being conveniently hidden away in the deep ocean, not unlike the Loch Ness Monster.

  • RW

    I’ll give you another way of estimating climate sensitivity: at the end of the last ice age, CO2 rose from 180 to 280 ppm, roughly, and the temperature rose by 7°C, more or less. So, the climate sensitivity derived from that would be about 11°C for a doubling of CO2. Voila: extreme sensitivity.

    I hope you realise that your simplistic calculation is as unrealistic as mine. Far from being an upper bound (why did you think that?) yours is a lower bound precisely because of thermal inertia – pointing out the simple physics of water’s large heat capacity is not ‘dodging’ anything. Mine is an upper bound because it assumes all of the end of the ice age was down to CO2, which isn’t true.

  • TCO

    As you have been told several times, you are not really understanding the dynamic that you label as “positive feedback”.

    Why don’t you stop arguing a side for a second…and actually think about things. Or did Skilling (a hack and NOT BRIGHT) not teach you that, while you were mking storyboards to justify day one hyotheses?

  • TCO

    raven: McIntyre does not do good analysis. He has read a lot of the literature. And he has played with a lot of the data. Kudos for that. But he does not properly write down his points so that they can be examined. Forget peer review. McIntyre doesn’t even write DISCUSSION PAPERS. He writes meandering, “usufruct”-filled blog posts, that don’t make clear falsifiable hypotheses. And when he is pushed to detail (as Gerd Burger has done), he obfuscates. He’s a hack. It’s a shame. But he is.

  • Raven

    If he does not do good analysis then why was he invited to give a seminar at Georgia Tech by Julian-Emile Guay and Judith Curry? Surely they would not have wasted their time with some random hack with a blog? Why did James Annan take the time to try to answer his relevent question regarding the provenance of the CO2 sensitivity estimates?

    I realize that the Hockey Team would like to dismiss McIntrye as a hack, however, his analysis certainly much better than anything produced by the likes of Mann.

    You comment about ‘falsifiable hypotheses’ has me rolling on the floor laughing. Since when has any supporter of AGW produced a falsifiable hypotheses?

    Pielke Jr. put it best when he said:

    “And we have learned from Real Climate that all possible temperature trends of 8 years in length are consistent with climate models, so too are just about any possible observed temperature trends in the tropics, so too is a broad range of behavior of mid-latitude storms, as is the behavior of tropical sea surface temperatures, so too is a wide range of behaviors of the tropical climate, including ENSO events, and the list goes on.”

  • TCO

    Getting invited to a school’s seminar is not that big of a coronation, Raven. And note on that seminar, did not seriously prepare, did not exert effort and care for his audience:
    *wrote the talk the night before the seminar (or a couple nights)
    *went over the time length for presentation (thus not allowing sufficient time for questions)
    *disregarded (or discussed disregarding) JEG’s excellent comments on scope for his talk: McI was told the audience was non-mathematical, but wanted to give comments on “recent things I’ve done in linear algebra!”. Shit man…that’s not listening.
    *booked his flight at the last minute

    McI doesn’t have real science papers (since the GRL 2005 paper) and doesn’t have even DISCUSSION PAPERs. He doesn’t disaggregate issues. Heck McKinsey man, ki-yote, ought to get on his ass for that. McI is a mess. He doesn’t do full factorials. He doesn’t do regressions. He confounds (deliberately…as it’s been pointed out to him) “dramatic headline” flaws in Mann’s work (acentric transform) with non-flaws (correlation transform). That’s the mark of a hack. Of a blogger. Of a lawyer. Of an arguer. Of a penny stock game player. And not of a learner, of a prober, of a discoverer.

  • TCO

    Raven:

    With your “rolling on the floor” are you accepting that “your side” uses dishonest tactics because “the other side does it”. Or are you disputing the benefits of having falsifiable hypotheses, in and of itself.

    If you are really interested in any problem, business OR science, part of learning about it is to clearly label it, to label your assumptions and hypotheses…and then to test them. If you resist even such clarity in labeling what araguments you’re making, you’re not going to help learn about a problem. You’re just blathering arguments. Usuallyt to your own side. You’re incapable and unwilling to learn.

  • Raven

    I realize the GT seminar was not an endorsement of McIntyre’s views. At the same time the invitation refutes your argument that he is nothing but a blogger with nothing useful to say.

    McIntyre is not trying to advance his personal theories – he seems to have found a niche demonstrating the need for more accountability in science. Especially in science domains that are being used to frame public policy. The entire Hockey Stick fiasco demonstrates how the peer review process is driven more by egos and turf wars instead of science so I am not surprised to find that Steve would rather avoid the political games required to get past peer review and present his views in a public blog.

    That said, I find Steve’s blog useful because he lays out the issues and creates a forum to discuss different points of view – including those that support the CO2 hypothesis. You won’t find any place else on the net where informed people discuss the issues freely.

    As far as ‘falsifiable hypotheses’ go – I fully agree that they are an essential part of science. However, you are being incredibly hypocritical when you try to criticize steve mc for the lack of a ‘falsifiable hypotheses’ when the bulk of the climate science has become a totally unfalsifiable religion. It has got to the point were anything other than perfect unchanging weather is deemed to be ’caused by global warming’.

    If find this ironic because I (and I suspect most skeptics) would be more than willing to consider any number of prudent policies based on the precautionary principle, however, I cannot bring myself to trust scientists who talk and act like religious fanatics. Last week a prominent science in Canada claimed that anyone opposing his radical views on climate change should be jailed for ‘crimes against humanity’. It is completely disgusting.

  • TCU

    Steve McIntyre is worth a million RWs and TCOs. Why? Before I answer that question, you might want to think about why he is invited to AGU to speak, and invited to universities in Europe and across North America? Is it because he hides behind initials like RW, TCO, and TCU? No, he puts it out there under his own name and he stands behind his work–unlike the initial brigade of anonymouses.

    When McIntyre digs into a topic, eventually the obfuscators–whether Mann, Hansen, or Eli Rabbett the great pretender, will have to bow down and admit they were wrong. Even if they hide behind proxies and excuses when doing so.

    McIntyre gets results, and he is just beginning to get started. This is a second career for McIntyre–an unpaid second career. To expect him to have the same mainstream academic publication output as someone with a multi-million dollar budget and several grad students, is simple-minded. But he does get results, and will only get more with time.

  • dreamin

    “I’ll give you another way of estimating climate sensitivity: at the end of the last ice age, CO2 rose from 180 to 280 ppm, roughly, and the temperature rose by 7°C, more or less. So, the climate sensitivity derived from that would be about 11°C for a doubling of CO2. Voila: extreme sensitivity.”

    Merely an upper bound. And not a very useful one at that.

    “I hope you realise that your simplistic calculation is as unrealistic as mine. Far from being an upper bound (why did you think that?) yours is a lower bound precisely because of thermal inertia – pointing out the simple physics of water’s large heat capacity is not ‘dodging’ anything.”

    Then show me a way to measure this hidden heat.

  • RW

    dreamin – yes, very very perceptive. It’s an upper bound. I told you that.

    It’s clear that you don’t think understand the concept of heat capacity and thermal lag. You know about insulation? The inside of your house probably doesn’t heat up or cool down nearly as quickly as the air outside. When it’s hot outside, doubtless your house warms up inside, but if you were to carefully measure the temperatures inside and out, you’d find that the warming inside lagged behind the warming outside. Now does that make sense to you?

    TCU – I think you overestimate the power of the McIntyre. I do not see any targets of his attacks ‘bowing down and admitting they are wrong’. I do not see his ‘work’ gaining any credence among scientists. All he does is provide denialists with some sort of hero figure because they think that with all those equations and technical sounding terms he must really be onto something.

    Raven – if the ratio of ¹²C to ¹³C in atmospheric CO2 was stable and not becoming more similar to the fossil fuel value, that would falsify the hypothesis that human activity is rapidly increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. If the tropics were warming faster than the poles, and not vice versa; if summer temperatures were warming faster than winter temperatures, and not vice versa; if daytime temperatures were warming faster than night-time, and not vice versa; these things would falsify the hypothesis that the extra CO2 is causing rapid warming. My hypothesis is that no amount of evidence that human activity is causing rapid climate change will ever change your mind. Your head is evidently well and truly in the sand on this issue.

  • TCO

    If McIntyre is so great, why hasn’t he published anything in 2.5 years. Oh…right, the man is keeping him down. So why doesn’t he have clear discussion papers? Because he doesn’t bother. He doesn’t bother to clearly differentiate issues. His posts are ususfruct-filled monstrosities, with some content, some snide remarks, some repitition, some allusions that he uses but won’t stand behind, some meandering to unrelated issues. They’re messes.

    Get MECE, motherfucks.

  • Raven

    RW says:
    “if the ratio of ¹²C to ¹³C in atmospheric CO2 was stable and not becoming more similar to the fossil fuel value, that would falsify the hypothesis that human activity is rapidly increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. If the tropics were warming faster than the poles, and not vice versa; if summer temperatures were warming faster than winter temperatures, and not vice versa; if daytime temperatures were warming faster than night-time, and not vice versa”

    You say that now because that is what happened. But if any of those things happened you can bet that the AGW crowd would have updated the models and claim they predicted this all along. This is not idle speculation because this is exactly what has happened with other data that did not fit the model. For example, the hansen 1988 model clearly shows that most of antartica would warm faster than the north pole. Instead antartica cooled and the north pole warmed faster and now RC is claiming that is what was “predicted” all along.

    Similarily, the slowly warming tropospheric temperatures have provided evidence that AGW is wrong but the alarmists instead claimed that the temperature data is wrong because it has a cooling bias. Which sounds reasonable, except this cooling bias only exists if one assumes that assumptions built into the models are correct! It is an absurd example of circular logic than would be a joke if it wasn’t for the seriousness of the issue.

    The next to zero increase in temps since 1998 should have also falsified a hypothesis that predicts warming of at least 0.15 degC/decade. However, the alarmists insist that something must be hiding the heating such as the oceans or aerosols.

    When El nino caused a sustained drop in temperatures we have head alarmists claim that it is only temporary and warming will come back even faster in the near future.

    I suspect there are other examples but you should see my point. The AGW hypothesis is not falsifiable because the alarmists keep moving the goal posts.

    In terms of changing my mind – all the temperatures need to do is rise >2 degC/century which is the low end of the IPCC CO2 sensitivity measurements. I think that is a reasonable goal post that I won’t move. What about you? are you willing to set a reasonable goalpost that would change your mind (i.e. convince you that CO2 induced warming is nothing to worry about)?

  • dreamin

    “dreamin – yes, very very perceptive. It’s an upper bound. I told you that.”

    But only after you obfuscated things by stating “I’ll give you another way of estimating climate sensitivity: . . . Voila: extreme sensitivity” If it’s an upper bound, “extreme sensitivity” does NOT follow from your calculation.

    “Now does that make sense to you?”

    Sure, and I have 3 extremely simple questions for you, one of which is multiple choice:

    (1) Approximately how long did it take for the Mount Pinatubo eruption to have the bulk of its effect on global temperature anomaly.

    (a) 10 years or more;

    (b) less than 10 years.

    (2) How would I measure the amount of this hidden heat in the ocean?

    (3) How long in years is the lag before atmospheric CO2 has the bulk of its effect on global temperature anomaly?

  • RW

    No, Hansen 1988 clearly shows that the north pole will warm faster than the south pole. What makes you think it says something else?

    I can see by your reference to 1998 that you either don’t know how to treat the data properly, or are just happy to cherrypick it to match your beliefs. By taking a five year running mean, which any sensible person will do to avoid being confused by annual variation due to weather, and outliers like huge El Niño events, you’ll see that rapid warming is ongoing.

    Are you going to wait a century, then, before allowing yourself to be convinced that rapid warming is happening? The temperatures are rising at the rate required for you to believe, so why don’t you believe?

  • RW

    dreamin – when I said Mine is an upper bound, how exactly was that obfuscating?

    Again, with your talk of ‘hidden heat’, you appear not to understand what heat capacity is. Please, go and read some literature. It’s not really worth my while trying to explain this to you if you have such basic misconceptions. Your question 2 is really meaningless.

  • dreamin

    “dreamin – when I said Mine is an upper bound, how exactly was that obfuscating?”

    Because you also stated “extreme sensitivity.” Duh. Here’s an analogy: My net worth is less than 10 billion dollars. Does that make me “extremely rich”?

    “Again, with your talk of ‘hidden heat’, you appear not to understand what heat capacity is. “

    Lol. You are dodging the question. Look, you claim that the full effects of CO2 are not being felt in surface temperatures because of the “heat capacity” of the ocean. If this were a scientific claim, there would be a way to measure this effect.

    And you would also be able to estimate the number of years in this lag you posit.

    And isn’t it funny how the effects of Pinatubo were felt within a few years (according to Realclimate) and yet CO2 is special. It’s effects aren’t felt for . . . well . . . a long time . . . or something like that.

    Bottom line: I suggest you go read some literature and educate yourself a little bit.

  • RW

    Ha, I love the way you talk about “heat capacity” as if you don’t believe it exists. And I love the way you entirely misinterpreted the point of my simple calculation, and the way the word ‘extreme’ somehow made you miss the bit where I said I’d shown you an upper limit, and the way you felt all clever when you then said ‘ah, but it’s only an upper limit!!’.

    Isn’t it funny how, when the sun goes down at night, the effect is felt almost immediately? Why was Pinatubo so special that it took a whole year for the full cooling to be felt? But isn’t it also funny that when the summer solstice is passed, it takes a couple of months for the temperature to start dropping? So what’s going on there then?

    You don’t have the basic science knowledge to be able to understand climate change issues. You really don’t. Sorry.

  • dreamin

    It’s funny how you can ask 2 or 3 simple but challenging questions to a “warmer,” and immediately the ad hominem attacks start.

    Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

  • Keith

    RW, you state, “I’ll give you another way of estimating climate sensitivity: at the end of the last ice age, CO2 rose from 180 to 280 ppm, roughly, and the temperature rose by 7°C …” I think you’re confusing cause and effect. As stated here: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/283/5408/1712, CO2 concentrations have lagged temperature by several hundred years for the last three interglacial transitions. By the way, linking someone to a one page puff piece — with coffins no less (ooh, scary) — is hardly convincing. Then you try to state that the poles are warming faster than the tropics. You mean the far southern hemisphere (-70 to -60 latitude) which clearly shows a cooling trend over the past 29 years? http://www.remss.com/pub/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_1.txt

    Oh, and TCO, do you kiss your mother with that mouth? Can you supply anything more substantive than ad hominem attacks?

  • Yes Keith, confusion seems to be the order of the day for most devotees of the global warming religion. They simply do not have the basic science knowledge to be able to understand anything above 2nd grade level math. Sorry, they just don’t.

    Why would they resort to profane language in attacking anyone who dares to question them? They also have a very small vocabulary.

  • TCO

    You want some math? You want some profanity? I’ll stick a Bessel function up your ass. A sideways one. Fucking commie punk.