William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Don’t Say “Hiatus.”

1711years

Don’t say “pause”, either. Update: Nor (see this post) “natural variability”.

What a mistake it is to use these words! There is no possible meaning of them which is sensible in the context of the (operationally defined) global temperature series.

Look, sisters and brothers, if we (as in climate scientists) knew what the temperature was going to be, we would have been able to skillfully forecast it. We were not able to skillfully forecast it, so we did not know what the temperature was going to be.

To speak of a “hiatus” or “pause” logically implies we knew the “hiatus” or “pause” was going to be there, that it was expected, that we knew in advance its causes. We did not know. If we did know, we would have predicted it. Which we didn’t.

To say there is a “hiatus” is to say that, eventually, we know not when, the temperature will continue its inexorable rise. What evidence is there for this belief?

It cannot be in the models we currently possess, because these models did not foresee what actually happened. The incontrovertible evidence is that these models are wrong. That they should not, in their current state, be trusted. That whatever they say is subject to extreme reasonable rational doubt. That decisions should not be made based upon their predictions (except the decision to produce better models).

To say there is a “pause” is to say that the models were right after all, even though Reality differed from the models. To say there is a “hiatus” is to say Theory is better than Reality. This is to commit the Deadly Sin of Reification.

There is no hiatus, there is no pause. At least, we can’t say so now—or maybe we will never be able to say so. We might someday look back and see that we now were living in a hiatus. Then again, we might look back and say, “I miss when it was warmer.”

There is no hiatus. There is only what the temperature actually did. Way back when, it wiggled to a fro, it went up a little more than down, but for these eighteen or so years, it stayed about the same. Why it did these things is an entirely separate different matter than saying what it did.

To say there was a “pause” is to say we know why the temperature did what it did. But again, if we knew, we would have known the “pause” was coming, which we didn’t.

Anybody who says “hiatus” or “pause” non-ironically or non-derisively is reifying theory, promoting it above reality. This is nuts, scientifically speaking.

“But look here, Briggs. Isn’t it true that man is injecting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and doesn’t carbon dioxide absorb radiation?”

Yes, it’s true.

“Is that all you’re going to say?”

That’s all you asked.

“Don’t play cutesy, fella. You’re just as aware of the implied question as I am. Adding carbon dioxide warms the planet, yes or no?”

I don’t know. And neither do you, and neither does anybody else. If you instead say we do know, then you have to explain why this knowledge led to such awful models.

It is true that man injects carbon dioxide, all right, and even other gases. And he also changes the land, say, by growing crops. But every species influences the climate to some extent. This is trivially true.

Now if we held everything constant—via some crude approximations—and only considered the increase of CO2, then temperatures should rise. Since they didn’t uniformly do so, it’s clear that this “hold everything constant” ploy is an awful rendering of reality.

Since our predictions failed, it must be that some thing or things we didn’t and don’t well consider should be considered. Maybe the extra CO2 is causing a boom in plant or plankton growth or whatever, species which then interact with variable X and then X interacts with Y, which modifies Z, and which, after a few more Latin letters, pushes the temperature to lower levels.

Hey. You can’t rule this out. The opposite is true: you must accept it, or accept some other alternative to the status quo, if you value truth.

God help the environmentalists if it turns out CO2 is actually a net benefit!

Meanwhile, don’t say “hiatus” or “pause.”

199 Comments

  1. I started using the word “Pause” back in 2007 because I knew that the climate scientist who write the wikipedia articles would never accept the actual situation which is “stopped” or “halted” because these implied it would not continue.

    It only took around 7 years to get them to agree that it had “paused”.

  2. Agreed, Mike. I have written on the reality that the temperature does not have to go back up—it could go down—and shown graphs from the past where it did. All to no avail. The true believers will not accept that the temperature could stop rising. It’s always “when it starts up again”. One really cannot argue with this, since it’s not science but rather faith.

    (I like your winged hamster, Mike.)

  3. There’s something logically wrong with the “pause” aka “hiatus.” Supposedly it is the change in the “global warming,” defined as the change in the position of a point on a straight line that is fit to a a global temperature time series by least squares regression analysis. Each selection of an interval from which to select the time series data results in a different line. A result is for the “global warming” from a specified point in time to have many values violating non-contradiction. For the “global warming” to have a unique value, satisfying non-contradiction, is a requirement that has penetrated the craniums of few climatologists thus far.

  4. “What evidence is there for this belief?”

    This question shows lack of awareness of the new dispensation:

    Theory = Evidence

  5. Is it a “winged hamster” or a “winged guinea pig”?

    Anything else I have to say about whether to use “hiatus” and “pause” would be pedantic.

    It’s more about with whom I use the term or when I would use the term.

    “Holding everything constant”, I can’t agree more with Briggs.

  6. I should add…

    It looks like the “escalator” has dropped us off at the “plaza” level…

    Are we gonna hand out there? – are we gonna go to the “mezzanine” level?

    Or are we gonna just go back to the “street” level and try another shop

  7. My understanding is that the inherent chaos of weather means that climate is something that happens over 20 years. Looking at the output from UAH from 1979 to the current day it is far harder to claim that there is a pause – straight line fits have a pretty good match – and tiny p numbers over the entire period.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_September_2014_v5.png

    My understanding is also that when climate models are run the initial conditions are varied within uncertainty limits and the outputs averaged. The averaged output therefore will not replicate actual conditions – which would be the output of an individual climate model which by happenstance has the initial conditions which cause the model to perform accurately.

    When the individual runs have been examined it has been found that there are runs which fit current conditions – when these runs have been examined it has been found that the critical issue is the temperatures of part of the Pacific Ocean – especially those areas affected by El Nino/La Nina – if the initial conditions accurately replicated these the models show a good fit.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/07/climate-models-that-accidentally-got-el-nino-right-also-show-warming-slowdown/

    Other models have been forced to have the same conditions as those existing in the parts of the Pacific affected by ElNino/La Nina, and these models have again a good fit to reality.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/08/recent-slowdown-in-atmospheric-warming-thanks-to-la-nina/

    Currently the climate models are unable to deal with the chaotic variability of the weather at time frames less than about 2 decades unless by fluke the initial settings replicate current conditions – the modelers cannot reliably choose initial conditions to replicate results, but in multiple runs they can discover runs which are accurate and examine their initial conditions.

    Natural variability is still able to swamp the anthropogenic CO2 forcing.

    In 50 years time this will not be the case – unless the science is missing something really huge, for which there is very little evidence.

    When CO2 forcings are as large as they will be 50 years time (assuming economic development continues at its projected carbon intensity) natural variability will not mask the signal and temperature will be significantly higher than today – 2 to 3 degrees.

    I do not think any climate models show temperature in 2050 being the same as they are today if Carbon usage continues.

    That is why it is called a hiatus.

    Currently CO2 emissions can temporarily be swamped out by natural variability, but as they grow and have an ever increasing influence temperatures will rise. Not in a year to year timeframe, but in a 20 year to 20 year timeframe – ie what the UAH data at the top of this post is showing.

  8. Sheri (I like your winged hamster, Mike.)

    Thanks! I might try to say that it was supposed to be a flying Haggis (but it wasn’t)

    But the problem with a flying haggis is that the native Haggis is now so very rare that I’ve only ever come across one picture

    🙂

  9. Mike: 🙂

  10. Att of “alarmists”:
    The 1960’s “alarmists” were predicting a coming dramatic “Ice Age”. In fact, Earth was in a temperature negative oscillation belonging to known 60-year cycle.
    The 1980’s “alarmists”, parading during the same cycle positive temperature oscillation, claimed “Global Warming…”! But these new persons were motivated by political ideology, that one condemning Industry (that they failed to destroy during their previous “socialo-communist-trodkyst-terrorist” time..), thence offically pinpointing CO² as the “killer”. By the way, shall they succeed to kill Industry, ie for everybody to return to 18th Century economy, they did’nt even thaught to consequences: Making 90% of population to starve and die, no cars, no airplanes, no telecommunications, no Internet, no consumer goods, mechanical energy sources being (by degressive order of importance ) horses, men and a bit of wind / water mills.
    The planet does not care extravagant predictions based upon 0.004% of CO² in atmosphere (equivalent [in terms of long wave heat trapping] to extreme dry air at -38°C…) whilst atmosphere always contains at least 100 more time H²O molecules…
    Future is very simple, climate temperature is dropping as negative oscillation started and also the Sun unexpected calm could only make the matter worse.
    It is time for “alarmists” to invent another Scam, otherwise the entire planet will explode soon in a burst of laugh….!

  11. Natural variability is still able to swamp the anthropogenic CO2 forcing. In 50 years time this will not be the case – unless the science is missing something really huge, for which there is very little evidence.

    And what evidence is there that natural variability can be overridden by the rather small anthropogenic CO2 input — especially in 50 years? What evidence is there that CO2 has much of an effect at all? Would it be fair to say the evidence for this also very little?

  12. Chinahand says:
    Natural variability is still able to swamp the anthropogenic CO2 forcing.
    In 50 years time this will not be the case – unless the science is missing something really HUGE, for which there is very little evidence.

    What about a HUGE amount of little things (let’s call them “Natural variations”

  13. Chinahand, I’ll echo DAV’s comment on “What evidence is there that natural variability can be overridded by the rather small anthropogenic CO2 input”?
    In order to prevent violent rages, my keepers at this institution have installed an adult control on warmist websites I can visit, so I can’t look at any of your listed references, but I’d be most grateful if you could summarize what they say.
    Thank you.

  14. Well, use of the word “pause” really depends on the unstated premise. If, as Briggs does, you’re claiming model predictions are involved, then yeah, there’s no “pause” for the reasons he elaborates. But, if your premise merely is that based on the graph of calculated global mean temperatures since 1980, then there’s been a pause. Nothing here about forecasts. So as he advises, just look at the curve.

  15. The essay needs Dr. Feynman’s 60-ish second explanation of science at the end — models vs. experiment/reality:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viaDa43WiLc
    ….or (fuzzier image quality)….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY

    That, and a transcript of what he said (any takers out there to transcribe the remarks?)…
    …as Feynman holds near-academic-deity status with so many, including so many in the alarmist camp, this will resonate as he is one authority they can’t/won’t simply dismiss as being in the employ of “oil companies” or who/whatever.

    Repetition, at every opportunity, will help “unbrainwash” the global warming alarmism cultists.

  16. It’s easy to identify flaws in another’s work…how about make a prediction & see how it goes? Here’s one (not truly an original prediction) for no global warming & some cooling that’s been holding up for about 27 years & still going strong[er]:

    PREDICTIONS:

    1) Solar activity will continue to be low for several years/decades;
    2) “Global warming” will cease despite increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations;
    3) some “global cooling” [to a limited degree, not an “ice age”) has commenced with [perhaps slightly prior to] Solar Cycle 24 (current cycle) and will continue in harmony with the diminished Solar Activity.

    RATIONALE:

    1. Planetary alignments are diminishing, reducing the aggregate gravitational effect on the Sun, which will diminish Solar activity. Reference: Decreased solar activity starting about with Solar Cycle 24 (the current cycle) was predicted in 1987 via gravitational interactions between the planets & sun; with the planets aligned such that they imposed maximum pull on the sun, effectively causing increased solar activity (causing the sun to move around a larger barycenter in a way analogous to cycling a cup of coffee to induce a whirlpool in the coffee cup) (this planetary alignment, by the way, is rare and is the reason our exo-solar system probes [e.g. Voyager] could use gravitational “slingshot” effects to go so far away – absent this rare alignment, those missions would never have been undertaken; see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_Grand_Tour and/or http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/profile.cfm?Target=Jupiter&MCode=Voyager_1 ). As the planets move into relatively random positions around the sun, such effects are for some decades going to be minimimal. See: “Prolonged Minima and the 179-Yr Cycle of the Solar Inertial Motion,” by Fairbridge & Shirley, 1987: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1987SoPh..110..191F

    2. Fairbridge’s & Shirley’s prediction about planetary movement & solar activity has been recently (2013) corroborated thru 2013 by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL): http://academic.evergreen.edu/z/zita/articles/09WSM/Shirley_SPD09.pdf

    3. Solar/Earth/Warming-or-Cooling effects occur (hypothesis with anecdotal and some experimental support); the mechanism via which these occur is only poorly understood with speculative factors & interactions overwhelming. However, that there is some interaction appears undeniable, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63AbaX1dE7I . The CLOUD experiment(s) at CERN are providing some explanations (published data available on-line), though not quite what was expected; such experiments are effectively in fetal stages relative to explaining the Solar/Earth system – but some Solar/Cosmic Ray/Cloud interactions sufficient to affect global climate appear to be occurring.

    4. Dr. Kirkby, lead “champion” for the CLOUD experiment(s) and key research member of the team was subjected to dramatic opposition from many quarters from many in the scientific community – essentially those whose CO2-based theories of global warming would be refuted if mechanisms explaining the apparent Cosmic Ray/Solar/Cloud interactions were proven. Real scientists don’t oppose research designed to uncover factual principles & mechanisms of nature – but politicians do and politicians commonly have no qualms about squelching truth to keep their pet projects. Which suggests the CLOUD research team is truly onto something, maybe not exactly what they thought but something that will be found out that explains the hypothesized broader observed Sun/Cosmic Ray/Cloud/Global-Warming-or-Cooling patterns.

    SO FAR (since the 1987 prediction), things have proceeded & are proceeding as expected.
    SO FAR Dr. R. Feynman’s application of the scientific method (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viaDa43WiLc — does the prediction match experiment/reality?) does not refute the predictions (i.e. the predictions and underlying reasons are not, yet, disproven).

    Stay tuned. We’ll know for sure [or with much higher confidence] in the next decade or so….

  17. But Gary, what’s so magical about 1980? Why not 1856? 1492? 1066? A million BC?

    And what other unstated assumptions are you making about the “evidence” which is some cluster muck of “proxy” readings from who knows who or where, jabbered and jostled and extruded into elaborate renderings by industrial data mixers run by political hatchetmen.

    Look outside. Is your climate different? Be real, man. It’s exactly the same as it has always been in your memory. It would be nice if got warmer, maybe a few degrees on average, but don’t count on it.

  18. PS to Chinahand,

    When any of your “scientific” predictions come true, which they haven’t so far, please let me know. Try to predict tomorrow, or next week, first. Hit one of the near targets before you shoot at the ones 50 years away. Otherwise I must discount your marksmanship.

  19. I think this is about the best example of the correlation between CO2, Volcanic eruptions and temperature change available.

    http://static.berkeleyearth.org/img/decadal-with-forcing-small.png

    Sure there are lots of small variations, but these don’t have a secular trend and the idea that by some fluke all the small variations randomly (opps naughty word, sorry Prof Briggs) summed to create a false correlation between CO2, Volcanic eruptions and temperature change seems a real leap, in my view.

    The current forcings for CO2 are about 1.5 W/m2.

    By 2050 if we don’t decarbonize they’re projected to be around 3.5-4.0 W/m2.

    There simply isn’t any known natural phenomenon to mitigate 4.0W of extra heat energy being added to every square meter of the earth.

    Some people claim CO2 won’t produce that forcing, but it can be measured in a lab and is based on very secure physics.

    Ice ages start and end on forcing changes far smaller than 4 Watts per m2. Being indifferent to such issues is, in my mind, rather short sighted, but there we go, lets go and nit pick about climate models and miss the big picture.

    The evidence is overwhelming CO2 affects the earth’s temperature, and by 2050 the increase in the CO2 forcing due to man made emissions will be unprecedented in millions of years. Ignoring that and insisting all is normal doesn’t make any sense to me, but there we go.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

    I use a 20:20 calculation. What is the 20 year average temperature now, what was the 20 year average 20 years ago.

    Try it yourself: http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc_lt_5.6.txt

    Temperatures are increasing.

  20. RATIONALE #5: NASA’s Global Warming [alarmist] site used to include a summary of the uncertainties in the modeling; the top three included ‘the Sun’ and ‘Clouds.’ Since the CERN Cloud experiment’s findings those fundamental uncertainties, and the rest, were dropped. In its place is that scientists have a consensus: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/ .
    That’s the sort of behavioral tactics one who is wrong (e.g. scam artists for various products that don’t really work — like energy drinks deriving their source of “energy” solely from the caffeine content) use to deflect attention (rather than admitting that, maybe, they’re wrong).

    NOTE: “NASA” speaketh not with one voice on the subject of Global Warming. MSFC notes a number of uncertainties & unknowns regarding solar activity and includes mention of an apparent solar activity (inactivity, actually) and cooling climate connection: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml .

  21. What if instead of “hiatus” or “pause”, we call it a flattening of temperatures? That describes what happened and does not in anyway predict what will happen.

  22. Opps UAH data set is too short to do the 20:20 – try this one instead!

    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut4/data/current/time_series/HadCRUT.4.3.0.0.monthly_ns_avg.txt

  23. “Currently the climate models are unable to deal with the chaotic variability of the weather at time frames less than about 2 decades”

    This is stated as fact, when it is in fact a theory. We shall see if it is true. Now this would be much more impressive had you made this statement in 1998. As for now it looks more like opportunistic hindsight.

    If the pause lasted 25 years would you be worried about model efficacy then? If there is one thing I find consistent with the model apologists is they will never tell you at what point they would believe the models are seriously flawed. Feel free to not answer this question coherently, you will have plenty of company.

    They have rerun the models with the observed forcings and…drum roll….the models still did not recreate the pause. Of all the single runs in the model sets, something less than 2% of models show any time period with a pause of 20 years. Now it could just be “bad luck” that this model and observation discrepancy happened IMMEDIATELY after the models went into forecast mode, or it could be…ahem…something else.

    And for the record, it was the modelers who drew their own 95% forecast envelope, and when the observations are very close to dropping out of this envelope, then it would be appropriate to question their forecast skill based on their own parameters.

  24. The thing I find to be the most bizarre in some of the pause explanations (it was natural forces that dun it…) is when they update the models or inject different forcings or whatever…they change the observations trend up instead of changing the model trend down. I cannot find any scientific justification for this behavior.

  25. Tom Scharf, my understanding is that models which accurately align the El Nino/La Nina cylce accurately predict the hiatus, as do models where the cylce is forced.

    What do you think of the papers reported here?
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/07/climate-models-that-accidentally-got-el-nino-right-also-show-warming-slowdown/

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/08/recent-slowdown-in-atmospheric-warming-thanks-to-la-nina/

  26. Chinahand: What do I think of models that “accidentally got el nino right”? I think most models would then be useless unless they accidentally got el nino right.

    We have no way to predict el nino (this year’s “super el nino” seems to have fizzled at the moment). That means the very best a model can do is hindcast. It tells us nothing about what will happen because we don’t when an El Nino/La Nina event will occur.

  27. “The incontrovertible evidence is that these models are wrong. ”
    Of course they are wrong. The actual measured persistence of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 5 years but the IPCC insists it persists for a century.
    Dr. Segalstad has challenged the IPCC on this matter. http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N31/EDIT.php

  28. Sheri, the ENSO cycle averages out over its cycle – over a long enough time scale it doesn’t cause a secular trend. It is heat moving around, not an addition of heat into the atmosphere.

    Adding CO2 increases the amount of energy in the atmosphere as previously infra-red radiation passed through the atmosphere and away, now it is caught by the CO2 and re-emitted – 50% of it back down into the atmosphere. Hence the greenhouse warming.

  29. Chinahand, it is my understanding that the GCMs are designed with positive feedback for CO2 and that is why they output increasing temp with increasing CO2. When the modelers themselves admit they don’t well replicate water vapor and clouds and when their models are designed to follow CO2 it is no wonder their models are wildly inaccurate besides all the other reasons that modelling an incredibly complicated chaotic system is problematic and likely futile.

    See this post by Robert Brown, PhD in Physics at Duke
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/06/real-science-debates-are-not-rare/

  30. Ray,

    The 5 year residence time isn’t the issue as when one CO2 molecule leaves the atmosphere to become a part of, say, a tree on average one tree falls down and rots releasing its CO2; or as one molecule enters the ocean another leaves.

    Residence time is not the same as adjustment time.

    The difference is explained in the Lifetime entry here:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/518.htm

    It is only when the CO2 molecule is secreted in the deep ocean that it effectively stops moving around the residence time cycle being recycled between ocean, atmosphere and organic life.

    The ocean cycle takes in the order of 100s of years.

  31. @ Uncle Mike,
    Pick any year you like for your premise, look at the data, make a statement (temps rising, temps falling, temps pausing) about what you see. The truth of the conclusion depends on the premise. No model in the premise, no prediction in the conclusion. Don’t assume more than you read.

  32. Chinahand: If ENSO is not important to modeling, then why did the models that correctly included it show the leveling off of temperatures? You provided a link that said this. I don’t understand why you put the link in if ENSO is irrelevent. It’s obviously not irrelevent to the models.

    I know ENSO does not add heat, it moves it around. However, if the additional heating from CO2, however large or small that may be, can be moved around and the rise in temperatures flattened, then there is a serious problem with models. If the modelers cannot account for where that heat is going, then their models are not useful and they obviously do not understand climate well enough to make predictions. I would note that the planet has had energy “imbalances” in the past and we had nothing to do with them, and the “imbalances” corrected themselves. It is very possible that we really don’t know anything about how the planet regulates it’s temperature. Quite likely, actually. If you treat the planet like a glass greenhouse, there is a problem. But there is no glass and nothing prevents heat from escaping and/or rearranging itself on the planet. We are not a closed system, which would be necessary if CO2 was to have the effect you are predicting.

  33. Chinahand,

    What.would.convince.you.that.the.models.where.seriously.flawed? Anything.At.All?

    My response to El Nino and La Nina is that the fact that climate models cannot predict these cycles is a bug, not a feature. Modelers can feel free to accurately predict these major climate drivers. In fact I suggest it would help. If they could reliably predict these cycles, it would help provide more confidence in their projections. Until then, this is not a get out of jail free card. If the oceans are major climate drivers then I suggest proper modeling of the oceans should be a high priority.

    There many articles on Ars that explain the pause in many different ways. What do you think of this Ars article yesterday. This is yet another explanation for the pause.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/10/the-oceans-got-hotter-than-we-thought-but-the-heat-stayed-shallow/

    Paradoxically it directly contradicts the previous lead theory, that it was the deep ocean that caused the pause. There seems to be a lot of confusion here. This is fine as this is how science works out unknowns, but in the meantime best not to pretend climate science has all the answers, when it clearly does not.

    Of course the pause has “an explanation”, its just that the models neither predicted it, nor can explain it yet.

  34. ““Don’t play cutesy, fella. You’re just as aware of the implied question as I am. Adding carbon dioxide warms the planet, yes or no?”

    I don’t know. And neither do you, and neither does anybody else.”

    Actually, we do know that an increase in CO2 does not cause warming of the planet. We have seen at least two significant periods in the last 100 years in which an increase in CO2 did not result in warming. That is an observational fact; a reality which cannot be ignored.

    Now, one might counter by saying, “Well, but all things being equal the planet would have warmed.” And such an individual might hunt high and low for the culprit — volcanic ash, aerosols, heat hiding in the oceans and so on. But all that is really saying is that CO2 would cause warming . . . if nothing else prevented it. But of course something else prevented it.

    So the claim that additional CO2 will cause the atmosphere to warm amounts to nothing more than the claim that “CO2 will cause the atmosphere to warm, unless for some reason it doesn’t.”

    Does this mean CO2 is not a greenhouse gas? No. Does this mean that CO2 doesn’t absorb radiation? No. But what we can say for certain — on force of actual observations — is that an increase in CO2 does not cause global temperatures to rise.

  35. I don’t like ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ or elaborate rationalisations like Chinahand’s. What’s wrong with just accepting the data: no slope significant from zero in 18 years for temperature while CO2 continued to increase. Seems to be yet another indication that the ‘control knob’ model for CO2 and temperature has no explanatory value. Doesn’t say anything about what will happen in the future. If people need a shortcut why not ‘plateau’? Admittedly the graph looks a bit jagged, but the scale is tenths of a degree of anomaly. Plot it in Kelvin and it looks like a plateau.

  36. Here is a climate model that WORKS. It is based on recent scientific research and very recent experiments confirming the mechanism. http://Paullitely.com
    The results ARE being confirmed by the weather today.

  37. Sheri,

    I know ENSO does not add heat, it moves it around.

    Agreed. So, over periods of time longer than a few years, its temperature effect will net to zero — which is what Chinahand was actually arguing.

    We are not a closed system, which would be necessary if CO2 was to have the effect you are predicting.

    It would be really bad news if the pause was caused by massive atmospheric losses.

  38. DaveW,

    What’s wrong with just accepting the data: no slope significant from zero in 18 years for temperature while CO2 continued to increase.

    It really helps to look at more than 20 years, and to look at things other than just CO2: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1C2T0pQeiaSOXFxZ0ZnczFjc2c

    The surface temperature record has a clear ~60-year cycle which correlates neatly with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The shorter term wiggles match up with El Nino/La Nina, for which I’m using the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) to represent. (The W/m^2 are my own calculations and are strictly back-of-napkin estimates.) Three linear regressions over annual global data from 1880 are nothing close to a definitive answer, but looking at them I do say that:

    1) I don’t see anything particularly unusual about the last 18 years in terms of deviation from long-term trends and

    2) I won’t be surprised if the pause continues another decade.

  39. To Chinahand

    Currently the climate models are unable to deal with the chaotic variability of the weather at time frames less than about 2 decades unless by fluke the initial settings replicate current conditions – the modelers cannot reliably choose initial conditions to replicate results, but in multiple runs they can discover runs which are accurate and examine their initial conditions.

    Well originally it was 10 years. Then some 10 years ago it became 15. A few years ago there was a paper pretending that it was 17.
    And now for somebody it is about 2 decades 🙂

    So if you want to be taken seriously and not for just a random guy inventing things as he goes, present a rational argument why 20 years.
    Why not 10 and why not 32.5 ?
    I won’t hold my breath and will teach you already something : nobody has any clue at which time scale the “chaotic variability” is supposed to disappear leaving a nice smooth deterministic world where predictions hold with 99,99% accuracy. Not even whether such a transition exists.

    And while I am at it I will teach you one thing more .
    In spatio-temporal chaos which is what we deal here with, there are many emerging and interacting spatial patterns.
    ENSO, PDO and more generally all oceanic patterns (oscillations) are defining semi stationnary features of the system’s dynamics.
    Now the interesting thing is that these spatial patterns oscillate with extremely different temporal pseudo frequencies – f.ex ENSO is fast and PDO is slow.
    Obviously ENSO will impact the dynamics at scales around a decade so if you look at 2 or 3 decades you will see mainly ENSO.
    Others will impact half a century and you will see them only if you look at at least a century of data.
    But it doesn’t stop there. Others still impact centuries and beyond and those you simply cannot see in decades to a century data and you have actually no clue about their existence and their behaviour.

    So the reality is far beyond naive, linear and trivial ideas of the 19th century.
    In German there is a fitting expression : “Wie sich der kleine Moritz die Wirklichkeit vorstellt.”

    In any case my question stands and I repeat it :
    Does a transition from spatio-temporal chaos, that we know to govern the climate, to deterministic predictability exist at all ?
    And if an argument for yes is presented, why at 20 years and not at any other random number ?

    Of course if you have not a clue, just say “I have no clue” .

  40. I think I must disagree to some extent here.

    By all historical records and by all human experience we must highly suspect that the global average temperature (whatever that is) will go up or will go down someday. I suspect down, but it could go up. I don’t know if it will go up or will go down but I am highly certain that it will not remain flat forever.

    Change is coming my friends. A good Taoist would never doubt that change is coming! 🙂

  41. Tom Scharf said:

    “What.would.convince.you.that.the.models.where.seriously.flawed? Anything.At.All?”

    Tom, as with Brandon Gates I look at the graphs he has posted up and also the global temperature figures from UAH and I see a steady upward track with definite kinks, plateaus etc caused by things like ENSO, PDO, volcanoes etc.

    It is my opinion that the graph Prof Briggs has put up is disingenuous because it starts at the 1998 El Nino and ignores the years prior to that peak. When looking for a secular trend you do not start your trend line calculation at a peak.

    When I look at only a slightly longer time period the trend is far more apparent and when you add in the increased heat content of the world, and especially its oceans I see strong evidence that the world is accumulating heat.

    From a purely thermodynamic perspective I cannot attribute this heat to cycles which over the long term do not have a secular trend, and do not add heat energy to a system rather only move it round.

    Attributing the heat gain to CO2 is backed by lots of pretty fundamental science and when you look at the trends from Berkeley Earth I find it really odd that people seem to claim the correlation with CO2 is spurious and “really” from multiple natural cylces all combining together to look like CO2 is significant.

    Here’s the graph again – http://static.berkeleyearth.org/img/decadal-with-forcing-small.png

    The simple physics of CO2 and its ability to absorb and re-emit energy is entirely consistent with this picture.

    There are very clear fluctuations, and CO2 and volcanoes don’t explain everything, but when you look at how much CO2 the world is going to emit in the next 50 years if it continues to develop and use the same CO2 intensive energy mix it now does, it is totally dominant.

    CO2 secular trend will be far greater over all than the natural cycles.

    My opinion is that this is a consistent, evidence based response, and I’m not that shocked that the period after the largest El Nino for a long time has a plateau – but within that plateau 9 of the top 10 hottest years in the instrument record are after 1998, and 1998 is in 3rd place behind 2005 and 2010.

    I expect 1998 to be exceeded more times than not in the next 5 years – if it isn’t, AND there aren’t any major eruptions to explain why, I’ll go back to the science and see if it can explain why, but the current state of the art is in my view consistent and doesn’t deserve the huge opprobrium it receives.

  42. “The simple physics of CO2 and its ability to absorb and re-emit energy is entirely consistent with this picture.”

    “For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” ― H.L. Mencken

    “Simple Physics” is not going to work here. In the lower atmosphere when the CO2 molecule absorbs radiation it will bump into another atom (most likely nitrogen or oxygen) before it has time to re-radiate that energy. It is convection in the lower atmosphere that is the overwhelmingly dominate thing going on to move energy/heat around. The whole of what the atmosphere does is not “simple”.

    Notice that CO2 in the atmosphere has skyrocketed over the last 20 years or so and yet the temperatures have remained flat. The net effect of CO2 is zero or so close to it we can’t measure it.

  43. Chinahand,

    It is my opinion that the graph Prof Briggs has put up is disingenuous because it starts at the 1998 El Nino and ignores the years prior to that peak.

    The graph doesn’t start in 1998. It starts in 2014 and ends in 1997. An update can be found here Where it is said: “The hiatus period of 18 years 1 month, or 217 months, is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend.It’s the longest line that shows a zero .”

    You didn’t answer Tom Scharf’s questions — just talked around them: “What.would.convince.you.that.the.models.where.seriously.flawed? Anything.At.All?”

    I’ll second the questions if that’s what you need.

  44. Actually, it doesn’t say: It’s the longest line that shows a zero that was a placeholder which should have been substituted by the pasted quote but the quote was inserted instead and I didn’t notice.

  45. David: I think “plateau” is a flat spot on the terrain, or whatever, that then goes down or possibly up. I think of plateau’s on the prairie as a flat area above the rest of the prairie. Maybe that’s just me.

    Brandon: I know what Chinahand was arguing–I do not know why he’s arguing this when he posted the links to the articles that imply ENSO is required to explain the flattening of temperatures.
    Not sure massive losses through the atmosphere would be really bad news. Maybe that’s how the planet maintains temperature. Who knows?

    Chinahand: Show me where an upward trend in temperature continued indefinitely in the past on earth, as you portray today’s graphs of temperature to represent. You can’t. There never was a trend that was maintained indefinitely or we would not be sitting here typing. The earth would lifeless, either frozen or fried.
    NO upward or downward trend in temperature was ever permanent, meaning you have no evidence whatsoever that the current upward trend MUST remain upward. You WANT it to, but want is not reality. Physical reality says all trends can change at any point. Volcanic eruptions, hit by an asteroid, who knows? It never has been an upward or downward trend forever, yet somehow this must be. No, no, no.

  46. Dav – I’m repeating myself:

    “I expect 1998 to be exceeded more times than not in the next 5 years – if it isn’t, AND there aren’t any major eruptions to explain why, I’ll go back to the science and see if it can explain why, but the current state of the art is in my view consistent and doesn’t deserve the huge opprobrium it receives.”

    If global average yearly temps don’t exceed 1998 in 3 of the next 5 years I’ll begin to feel there is a significant issue being missed.

    Or maybe a more data driven way.

    Here is the excel data used to create the Berkeley Earth fit between CO2, volcanic eruptions and global temperature.

    http://static.berkeleyearth.org/xls/forcing-comparison.xlsx

    Its a linear fit to the volcanic forcing and a log fit to CO2.

    If you calculate the residues (temp – predicted temp) you get a nice ossilation which in recent years has been between -0.2 degrees and around about 0.3 degrees.

    In 2011 (the last year Berkeley provides data) it was at about -0.15 – ie entirely consistent with the overall trend.

    I think it would be nice to keep updating the data and if the value predicted by these two measures significantly over-estimates temps – say by 0.5 degrees, I’ll then agree there is an significant issue.

    Sheri: The models average out ENSO etc by combining multiple runs. Reality doesn’t do this. ENSO can cause temperatures to be about 0.4 degrees above or below trend. In 1998 El Nino meant they were above trend, in recent years La Ninas have meant we are below trend. If you look at the period between 1998 and now it will be dominated by this 0.8 degree swing, which is far bigger than the secular trend of Global warming. But that doesn’t mean the trend isn’t there.

    Berkely Earth graph again!

    http://static.berkeleyearth.org/img/decadal-with-forcing-small.png

  47. Brandon,

    “So, over periods of time longer than a few years, its temperature effect will net to zero”

    This is simply a rationalization for the inability to model the climate with sufficient accuracy. Do you think they do not wish to model ENSO? Haven’t tried? The fact is they just currently cannot do it yet, it’s too difficult.

    ENSO balances out over time so it can simply be dismissed? This is clearly incorrect. A major unanswered question at this time is how much of a role natural variability played not just in the pause, but also in the temperature run up in the 80’s in 90’s.

    If natural forces are large enough to suppress warming now, it follows that these same natural forces can work in the opposite direction and may have very well “juiced” the warming in the late 20th century. This has implications for the magnitude of future warming and the sensitivity question. Knowing these answers (effectively the phase and magnitude of these forces that balance out over long time periods) is vital to knowing how powerful AGW actually is TODAY given our limited observations.

    The other question at play here is that if ENSO is “too hard” to model, what gives us confidence that these other long term projections aren’t too hard as well? The rationalization that the long term answers are going to be valid and short term should be ignored amounts to hand waving.

    Do you truly believe you would have stated in 2000 that a 30 year pause would not surprise you? It obviously would surprise the people who drew the confidence envelopes of the projections.

  48. Tom, we can look at these effects by looking at the residues calculated from the Berkeley predictions – they have rarely more than 0.5 degrees out.

    If you know CO2 levels (actually their log) and volcanic eruptions you can predict global temperature to that accuracy. I find the fit very compelling – the relationship has been good for well over a century.

    Do you really dismiss it?

  49. Chinahand,

    As Sheri said. there are no times where the temperatures trend forever. For perspective, here’s the Greenland
    GISP2 plot. Note where we are in relation.

    Here’s the same with a CO2 comparison or so at Paul Litely’s site.

    If global average yearly temps don’t exceed 1998 in 3 of the next 5 years I’ll begin to feel there is a significant issue being missed.

    Why the next 5 years? Why isn’t the last 18 years sufficient?

    The Berkey graph is a curve fit and so are the GCM’s. The forcings are derived from a correlation. Is it any surprise that when using them in reverse, you get back the original inputs?. It’s circular reasoning to say this is evidence for CO2 as a cause. You have to assume it is to get the forcings.

    If the models need ENSO to come out right then it would seem knowing and predicting ENSO events is far more important than fretting over CO2 concentration.

  50. Tom, we can look at these effects by looking at the residues calculated from the Berkeley predictions

    Those aren’t predictions. They are plots of a curve fit.

  51. Chinahand,

    Thanks for answering the question. We all would want to see 30 to 50 years of comparisons to get a good handle on how the models are performing, until then we get to speculate on insufficient data.

    But you continue to argue against a caricature of what you believe people are saying. The argument is not that “the plateau proves global warming is a hoax”. I also expect warming to continue eventually. The argument is that:

    1. The inability to predict the timing or duration of the plateau brings the model’s efficacy into question. The uncertainty of model outputs is definitely not getting any smaller lately.

    2. The duration of the plateau has implications on the magnitude of future warming. The longer the plateau lasts, the more likely it is that future warming will be lower than originally expected, and it also makes the “long tail” prospect of low probability / higher warming values (4.5C and so forth) much, much, less likely.

    Politically speaking the reason that models are so contentious is that if the models are shown to be unreliable, then the entire policy house of cards is threatened with collapse, and both sides know it. This is a proxy battle over policy.

    What one has to contemplate is how much credibility damage does one do to the cause if it continues to claim models and projections are perfectly fine and don’t even need to be reexamined?

    This exercise Briggs and skeptics are performing here is simply a form of self entertainment. Let’s draw in the advocates and watch the gyrations they go through to avoid saying “the models are running hot”. Good fun. Advocates are being invited to keep digging that hole, and please do it on record.

    The models are running hot, and the possibility exists that the temperatures may bounce back up (regression to the model mean) and this will tell us a lot of what to expect in the future. It will also tell us a lot of if they don’t bounce back up to the mean. Anyone who claims they know this answer is being disingenuous in my opinion. The only way to resolve this will be to sit and wait and observe.

    A valid debate is what do we do in the meantime?

  52. Obviously there are error bounds on all this.

    I am very much following the standard science that the Transcient Climate Response is between between 1 and 2.5 degrees, and equilibrium climate sensitivity is between 1.5 and 4.5.

    Given the amount of Carbon we could emit between now and 2050 my view is that if these figures are at there lower bounds we have a problem, if they are mid band we have a serious problem and if it is higher bound it could be pretty catastrophic.

    My view is that it is very unlikely the responses are higher bound. But I am not convinced the current evidence points to them being lower bound and feel the earth is still likely to go through 1.5C of warming even if they are – delays in technology change if warming is slow will cancel out these benefits.

    Very little in the science makes me think the error bounds I’ve put up are significantly out, nor the import of burning all the earth’s fossil fuels.

    One final point – the Berkeley figures aren’t based on CO2 forcings – it is just the ppm level.

    I ask again – do people really think this fit is spurious and really due to other co-varying factors? My opinion is it isn’t and that pretty basic science explains why CO2 is a causal factor and hence I am concerned and interested in the science and policy ideas to deal with these issues.

  53. One final point – the Berkeley figures aren’t based on CO2 forcings – it is just the ppm level.

    They didn’t call it that because it apparently is a reserved word but alpha, beta and gamma are on the spreadsheet labeled “Temperature Fit” are “forcings” in the same sense.

    do people really think this fit is spurious and really due to other co-varying factors?

    Spurious? No. It was a good fit and not just a happenstance. But then, So What? Fits not used for prediction tell us little to nothing.

    Given the amount of Carbon we could emit between now and 2050 my view is …

    Did you by any chance notice in the GISP2 to CO2 graphs that while CO2 rose for the last 5000 years, the temperature rose and fell many times with each major peak smaller than the previous? CO2 concentration was higher in the Little Ice Age than it was in the Minoan Warm Period. Yet you want to believe CO2 causes all the warming? Why?

  54. Who said CO2 causes all warming? I’ve already said natural variations can cause in the order of 0.5 degrees of change either way – look at the scale on GISP2 graph. I’m perfectly happy with that.

    But when you start going back 10s of thousands of years you start getting Milanchovich cycles etc which we know are not significant forcings now. We can measure insolation in the arctic and the precession of the equinoxes!

    The issue is there is no sign in the residuals from the Berkeley data that CO2 and volcanoes are failing to explain what they have in the past, with natural variation overlaying this.

    We know forcings from the sun and Milanchovich etc which in the past have changed the climate aren’t significantly affecting the climate at the moment – so this is all consistent with CO2 increases being responsible for the majority of the warming since the industrial revolution.

    I honestly find Sheri’s questions about indefinite trends slightly strange – the climate responds to the log of CO2 and we can measure this effect right up to the atmosphere of Venus – thankfully we don’t have anywhere near enough carbon to try out that little exercise, but the evidence to me says as CO2 levels increase over this century temperatures will respond with a response proportional to the log of that increase.

    That is entirely consistent with the data and the scientific knowledge we have and the current pause doesn’t change those thoughts.

    If the residuals became historically unprecedented I’d change my view, but they aren’t – and I think that is a factual conclusion. If and when any lag between what a log of CO2 and volcanic eruptions became greater than about 0.5 degrees I’d say that was good evidence of a problem in the science, but the current “pause” simply isn’t there YET.

    The figures Brandon Gates linked to make a very similar argument

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1C2T0pQeiaSOXFxZ0ZnczFjc2c

  55. Chinahand,

    What we have is scrambled eggs. The models try to unscramble them with a very short period of detailed historical global observations, especially in the southern hemisphere.

    Things such as aerosols have been used to fit outputs to historic observations, and the observations for this are quite sketchy. So they are estimated. They are used to explain the non-AGW rise from 1910 to 1940. Is this valid? Who knows?

    What caused the step after 1940? PDO? Do we really have enough information from 70 year old weather observations to ever know?

    I have no idea how much fuzziness there is from insufficient observations and how much modeler bias exists out of political necessity. One independent way to measure this uncertainty is model prediction skill. This matters.

    Given what we don’t know, I would have expected the models to show a far wider dispersion in hindcasts. The models look over-fitted here.

    Many/most of these scientists are honest and hardworking, but what they actually say gets continuously distorted by advocates and the media (Miami doomed!).

    IPCC AR5 WG1 is fairly decent. WG2/WG3 not so much, and the SPM is a political document. AR5 reeled in a lot of the rampant alarmism to their credit. It had the curious side effect of advocate’s rarely quoting it anymore.

    Given the witch-hunts that occur for anyone who challenges the orthodoxy (see latest dust up over Koonin’s WSJ article for example), there exists real political pressure to conform. This corrupts trust.

  56. Chinahand,

    A better view I think is not model mean, but a spaghetti plot of the model runs. Of course we all have our favorite visualizations….miraculously they support our viewpoint…

    http://sppiblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/curry21.png

  57. Tom, I don’t have nearly your concern about 1910 -1940:

    Going back to the Berkeley data the fit is just as good in the 40s as it is today.

    http://static.berkeleyearth.org/img/decadal-with-forcing-small.png

    We’ve a century of pretty good data and just 2 factors: the log of the CO2ppm and the effects of volcanoes explain this to within 0.5 of a degree and usually 0.2-0.3 – its less than 0.2 degrees cold at the moment.

    When we are talking about doubling CO2 and more it will be far far more significant than these natural variations.

    There is no evidence that the climate has suddenly started doing anything different. Look at what was happening in the 1940s and again today on the Berkeley residuals.

  58. Briggs

    October 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

    All,

    This is a reminder to write an article on the canard which is “natural variability”.

    The models claimed to be able to understand and predict “natural variability”. They did not. Therefore the models are wrong. As in wrong. As in not right. As in broken.

    To say the models are right because “natural variability” is to commit the silly fallacy.

  59. Tom Scharf,

    Do you think they do not wish to model ENSO? Haven’t tried? The fact is they just currently cannot do it yet, it’s too difficult.

    Did you even read the arstechnica article Chinahand posted? Coupled climate models that include both the atmosphere and the oceans accurately reproduce the behavior of the major ocean cycles, including the ENSO. But, since the onset of changes in the ocean is chaotic, the models generally don’t get the timing right—the model may show an El Niño starting three years earlier than it does in reality.

    You and others here are conflating modeling the behavior and predicting exactly when it will occur.

    ENSO balances out over time so it can simply be dismissed?

    I did not say that, did I. Knowing what ENSO is going to do in the next year or two is useful. It’s being actively worked on with a high degree of interest for near term prediction. 50 years out, not so much.

    There’s much talk in the modeling community about initializing models to current conditions, which is controversial.

    If natural forces are large enough to suppress warming now, it follows that these same natural forces can work in the opposite direction and may have very well “juiced” the warming in the late 20th century.

    I just love how you segue from “major unanswered question” to “well if this then it follows that …” in the blink of an eye. There are no mystical natural forces at work here, and it is pretty clear to me that there is a 60 year cycle in the temperature record linked to oscillating SSTs. It does stand to reason is that such an oscillation did play a part in the 80-90s runup and that the current pause is part of that natural cycle working in the other direction.

    Knowing these answers (effectively the phase and magnitude of these forces that balance out over long time periods) is vital to knowing how powerful AGW actually is TODAY given our limited observations.

    You’re preaching to the choir.

    The other question at play here is that if ENSO is “too hard” to model, what gives us confidence that these other long term projections aren’t too hard as well?

    The long term trends won’t be thrown off by ENSO, as has already been explained several times … it NETS TO ZERO over decadal lengths of time. Not nailing down the “true” climate sensitivity is the big one. If you think I don’t see that they don’t have it yet, you are dreaming.

    Do you truly believe you would have stated in 2000 that a 30 year pause would not surprise you?

    I was looking at the same long term temperature graphs back in 2000 saying, “so what was going on here between 1940 and 1970?”

    It obviously would surprise the people who drew the confidence envelopes of the projections.

    Which we’re still inside of for AR5. I don’t think that will hold, RCP 4.5 looks way hot to me. The chart I posted last night has sensitivity at about 2.8 C/2xCO2 which is probably low since that really really simple regression model did not take aerosols and a bunch of other stuff into consideration. But those aerosols are another major bugaboo.

  60. Sheri,

    Not sure massive losses through the atmosphere would be really bad news.

    Between you and me, I like breathing.

    Maybe that’s how the planet maintains temperature. Who knows?

    We’d have noticed.

  61. Who said CO2 causes all warming? I’ve already said natural variations can cause in the order of 0.5 degrees of change either way – look at the scale on GISP2 graph.

    You pretty much did by assuming it could override natural variation.

    BTW: the GISP2 chart shows the temperature change from the Minoan to now is 1.25 degrees lower than those of the Minoan but with CO2 concentration nearly twice as high as of yesterday. Natural variation appears to be for decreasing temperatures to another ice age. If CO2 is a factor, it’s apparently not an important one. Why fret?

  62. Prof Briggs, man-made emissions are basically taken to be CO2 emissions over those in 1800 or whatever date was chosen. Its arbitary taking about 285 from the CO2ppm and attributing this to humans.

    I presume there are similar ways of treating aerosols etc.

    You can nit pick, but to the first order it seems a reasonable assumption.

  63. Briggs

    October 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Chinahand,

    Did the models, which claimed to take full account of the atmosphere, land, and ocean, make skillful predictions or did they not?

    They did not.

    Therefore—and there is no escaping this—they were based on faulty assumptions.

    End of story.

  64. Something can be skillful at one time frame and not skillful at another.

    We’ll just have to wait and see, but the prediction is that by mid century if we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current economic intensity temperatures will go up in the order of 0.7 of a degree.

    My feeling is that the graph Brandon Gates put up will have “reasonable skill” when looking at what happens in 2050.

  65. Briggs

    October 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Chinahand,

    Or things can never have skill.

    But exactly so. We will have to wait and see. As in wait. And see.

    But it’s interesting your implied belief that things will get worse is based on a theory which has been shown faulty.

  66. Chinahand,
    “Residence time is not the same as adjustment time.”
    I am aware of the IPCC claim that if an impulse of CO2 is injected into the atmosphere, the CO2 will not decrease (adjust) to the pre impulse value for a century. The IPCC assertion is contrary to Fick’s law and can easily be disproved by a simple experiment. Buy a Sodastream machine at Kmart. Fill the bottle with water and put it in the machine. Give the water a shot
    (an impulse) of CO2. The CO2 will be absorbed by the water in a matter of seconds. It does not take the water a century to adjust the CO2. If the IPCC was correct it would be impossible to make carbonated beverages.

  67. I find that an interesting statement Prof Briggs.

    I do not think it is faulty to say that it is likely that the earth has a Transient Climate Response between 1 and 2.5 degrees, and equilibrium climate sensitivity between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees.

    I feel I’ve bounded my ignorance in a way consistent with the evidence and when you look at the conclusions of those bounds it shows the earth is likely to experience an increase in heat content unprecedented in the civilized era.

    If you are indifferent to that … well fine, you think you know better. I don’t and think it is something we should be concerned about and attempt to change our behaviour to mitigate the effects; especially when such mitigation encourages energy saving and efficiency.

  68. So… AGW believers seem to be asserting here that the models are ‘false, but accurate’?

    Hmmmm.

  69. Ray, I am sorry but what you are saying is simply not relevant and the idea you can prove the IPCC wrong with a soda stream shows a real contempt for the scientists who work in this area. Do you really think they are so ignorant?

    CO2 can exchange with the oceans and the air and be absorbed in a sodastream and bubble back into the atmosphere.

    It will move from one system to another with an average residence time of about 5 years in either the oceans, organic matter or the air until it gets absorbed into the deep ocean and effectively isolated until it is subducted and released volcanically.

    When you talk of Fick’s Law you are misunderstanding. You put a slug of CO2 into the atmosphere. As this is being absorbed into the oceans – just like a sodastream – the oceans will be releasing a similar magnitude of CO2 elsewhere. This CO2 might get absorbed into trees, but at the same time a different area is rotting and releasing a similar amount back into the atmosphere again.

    The average time moving around this cycle is about 5 years and CO2 is continually being absorbed and re-released – it is only very slowly that CO2 is settling into the deep ocean and no longer recycled. It is this issue you are conflating with Fick’s Law and soda streams but it is quite different.

  70. Mike in KC

    One can preach to the choir but they will still come back with the same old tune.

  71. Mike in KC,
    models are ‘false, but accurate’
    Should have added: They are saying that you can fix them to give the right answers which proves they are accurate.

  72. Chinahand: Show me a graph that levels off when predicting future temperatures. The GISS one certainly did not. Tell me when we reach the log and what the anomaly will be at that point. Really, I have never seen a graph that shows anything but that hockey stick, going up and up and up.
    How is it we know what CO2 is doing all over the planet? We don’t measure it everywhere, even though it has seasonal concentrations and other variations. Yes, the CO2 might go to the deep ocean where it remains until it is released, but nothing says that release has to be fast. It could be very, very slow. We have no idea. It’s just a guess, one that goes in the direction of your belief, quite conveniently.

    Brandon: I thought you were referring to heat lost through the atmosphere, not the atmosphere itself.
    How would we have noticed, referring to heat leaving and not the atmosphere disappearing? It’s a big atmosphere and small losses of heat all over it would add up. Seems possible, since the planet already emits radiation back into space. There is an assumption here that science knows the precise values of all variables in the energy budget. I don’t think science is actually that advanced–much of it is just estimates.

  73. Chinahand,
    “When you talk of Fick’s Law you are misunderstanding. ”
    How? Fick’s law describes the diffusion of a gas into a liquid. In this case the diffusion is complicated by the fact that a chemical reaction takes place between the CO2 and ocean water and the water provides a distributed sink into which the CO2 vanishes. CO2 becomes carbonic acid.
    There is a temperature dependent equilibrium condition between the CO2 in the water and the CO2 in the air. If the CO2 in the air is increased by an impulse above the equilibrium condition, it decreases exponentially back to the equilibrium condition due to absorption by the water. Fick’s law is a differential equation and the solution is an exponential.

    I did not claim CO2 could not interchange between the ocean and air.

    BTW, If I disagree with you is that showing real contempt? I did lots of work for the advanced technology department at Harris Corp. That department was all PhDs and I had disagreements with people there at times but I didn’t hold them in contempt.

  74. A naive view of how to build and test a global warming model (which is on display in this thread as well as in the various IPCC’s assessment reports) is that the model is built to compute global temperatures of the future and that these “predicted” temperatures are compared to observed global temperatures in testing the model. A penalty for adopting this view is to build models that convey no information to a policy maker about the outcomes from his/her policy decisions thus being useless for making policy. A model that conveys information to a policy maker assigns values to the probabilities of the outcomes of events and is tested by comparison of predicted to observed relative frequencies.

  75. Sheri,

    How would we have noticed, referring to heat leaving and not the atmosphere disappearing?

    The earth is billions of years old. If atmospheric loss were a significant mechanism of shedding heat, it would have long since disappeared.

    There is an assumption here that science knows the precise values of all variables in the energy budget. I don’t think science is actually that advanced–much of it is just estimates.

    I agree. Raw data from satellites (CERES) imply an energy imbalance of ~6 W/m^2 at TOA which is, well, obviously just flat out wrong. I for one don’t assume that the energy budget figures are gospel. Neither do the folks who put them together, ergo Trenberth’s (in)famous lament, “it’s a travesty”.

    You said a few things to Chinahand I’d like to cut in on.

    Show me a graph that levels off when predicting future temperatures.

    Mine! But it’s bollocks based only on three linear regressions and carrying forward past patterns in ENSO and AMOC. I ginned up a comparison to the CMIP5 RCP 4.5 model ensemble: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1C2T0pQeiaSUGZfaTVTTUxIaXc

    Chinahand was correct, sort of — by 2050 I nearly catch up to the models, but only for the scenario which calls for stablizing CO2 forcing at 4.5 W/m^2 by 2100. I’m calling for 3.8122 W/m^2 by 2100. I think CMIP5 ensemble runs hot.

    How is it we know what CO2 is doing all over the planet?

    What reason is there to expect that it wouldn’t be well-mixed? It’s a gas at normal atmospheric temperatures so it doesn’t precipitate out like water vapor. It’s sampled at various altitudes with weather balloons. Where we do measure it on a regular basis from the ground, the curves are in good agreement at various latitudes, right down to the intra-annual seasonal wiggles: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1C2T0pQeiaSV2lZQ2VwQ3hGRG8

    Data from: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-keel.html

  76. Brandon,

    An example of a “mystical natural force” would be the recently discovered and embraced deep ocean heat content. Whether this is valid or not remains to be seen, but it was in essence mathamagically conjured up out of nowhere since the models don’t even attempt to model this behavior. Clouds is a mystical natural force that is not well understood and could be pivotal to climate sensitivity. The CERN / cosmic radiation experiment is another example of a possible mystical natural force.

    Perhaps the earth is flying through immense clouds of space debris that fall to the earth as aerosols, but I think this one has been ruled out (though I’m not sure exactly how). Maybe the earth’s inner core and mantle interact in a fluctuating long term oscillation. Maybe the gravitational effects that distort the shape of the planet and heat it up are larger than expected as happen in some of Jupiter’s moons. Maybe those last few examples are not very likely….

    As Donald Rumsfeld might say, I think there is a good chance there are a few more unknown unknowns out there to be discovered. How significant these may be is anyone’s guess. They probably have carbon sensitivity within +-2x. My median would probably be shifted a bit further left than your median though.

  77. Brandon: “If atmospheric loss were a significant mechanism of shedding heat, it would have long since disappeared.” You’re still not understanding my point. It’s not the atmosphere that sheds, it’s the heat escaping through it.

    Okay, your graph looks promising. Less than 1.5 degree increase by 2100. Tolerable and it does level off. I’m intrigued. Of course, if it’s “bollocks based only on three linear regressions and carrying forward past patterns in ENSO and AMOC” I probably shouldn’t invest too much time on it.
    I will say your graph actually seems more likely than the hockey stick graphs, irregardless of how you managed to produce it. 🙂

  78. Chinahand, I’m quite concerned that you’re brandishing the sword of “Science” without perhaps really understanding what that weapon is all about. In a previous comment I asked you to give a physics interpretation (from first principles) of “CO2 forcing” ; you did not, so I can only conclude this is a construct used by warmists to give a scientific veneer to their calculations.

    You gave a simple (but correct) interpretation of the CO2 warming effect; I’ll enlarge on your interpretation: CO2 has a low-frequency bending vibration in the Infra-red which absorbs heat and re-emits; whence the so-called greenhouse effect. But so does another tri-atomic molecule which has a much greater concentration in the atmosphere, H2O. Warmists say this isn’t important because of “feedback” but I have yet to see a CONVINCING theoretical calculation or experimental demonstration that such feedback is important. And the fact that the earth cools less on a cloudy night than a clear one is common sense evidence that absortion and re-emission of thermal radiation by water vapor can not be ignored.

    You mention Fick’s Law. Which one, Fick’s First Law (steady-state diffusion) or Fick’s Second Law (second-order partial differential equation)? Both are special cases of the fluctuation-dissipation theorem (see http://bio.ph.tum.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Vorlesungsmaterial/Biophysik_Bausch_WS11_12/FTD_Kubo_review.pdf )
    and, in the general case, one can go on to higher order differential equations and should include not only concentration gradients but thermal and pressure gradients. Indeed it may well be that chaotic effects may be important in the real world, as is the case for other simple equations of motion (e.g. viscous flow).

    So please do not do a “She blinded me with Science Routine” in future comments.

    In any case, as Briggs points out, the success of any non-deep, phenomenological model (i.e. one which does not proceed from first principles) is whether its predictions are validated or refuted, and the latter is the case for the models produced by warmists.

  79. Tom,

    Heat transport by ocean currents is not what I’d call mystical. Poorly understood? Well ok, too poor to forecast a year or two in advance, just like any other highly variable weather phenomenon.

    Here is one ocean model used by GCMs: https://hycom.org/hycom/overview GISS Model-E uses it, probably others. The roots of such models go back a ways, I found one article from 1989, with references to papers as early as the 70s: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/PubServices/1989pdfs/Bryan_and_Holland.pdf Heck, there’s one paper in the citations for 1969 (a self-cite). Another one is the Russell ocean model used by NOAA/GFDL’s models and GISS. It’s mentioned in this 2000 papers which summarizes the then state of the art ocean models: http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/smg0003.pdf It too cites Bryan (1969), who is a co-author. So, not only are current GCMs using deep- and surface-ocean models, they’ve been at it for quite some time.

    Not everything is models. Two new papers were published this week based on ARGO data in Nature Climate Change, one by Paul Durack at LLNL and the other by Josh Willis at JPL. Durack et al. say SH upper oceans have warmed at a higher rate than previously thought over the past 35 years, while Willis’ team says there’s been little global change below 2,000 m. Sci Am has a writeup: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mystery-of-ocean-heat-deepens-as-climate-changes/ The article notes that Willis’ study has “set off a furious debate among scientists and oceanographers studying climate change,” with Kevin Trenberth calling it “deeply flawed,” citing poor sampling. The JPL team is unruffled, with Willis essentially saying, “Sorry Kevin, we looked and it isn’t below 2,000 meters … tweak your models.” Apparently the newest ARGO floats will routinely go below 2,000 meters so there is sure to be someone checking the results. I suggest investing in popcorn futures.

    Clouds is a mystical natural force that is not well understood and could be pivotal to climate sensitivity.

    Again not mystical, just damn tough to model. Right now they’re essentially parameterized and twiddled until the output passes the smell test. Nobody is happy about it as far as I can tell. The rest of your examples are really reaching for the non-obvious. Rummy is right, but there are plenty of known unknowns inside the atmosphere to keep us busy … not much need to chase cosmic rays. Which hasn’t been ignored BTW, at least one paper took a look a serious look at it and said, “not very likely”. FWIW.

  80. Sheri,

    You’re still not understanding my point. It’s not the atmosphere that sheds, it’s the heat escaping through it.

    Yeah you’re right, I wasn’t understanding. I think you’re talking about the “atmospheric window” component of the energy budget being “wider”. Its canonical value is 40 W/m^2. Well CERES is off by 6 W/m^2 down and Trenberth (2009) has other observations off by 5 W/m^2 up, so a first approximation justified by observational discrepancies is 40 +/- 5.5 W/m^2. We’d probably notice: the rule of thumb conversion factor is 0.75 ºC/(W/m^2) so call it +/- 4.125 ºC … or just over a third of the swing from glacial to interglacial either way. It’s really difficult to imagine the calculations would be off that badly … distressing that the observations are.

    Of course, if it’s “bollocks based only on three linear regressions and carrying forward past patterns in ENSO and AMOC” I probably shouldn’t invest too much time on it.

    I will die of shock in ten years if I’m in the ballpark. One thing that really intrigues me is that the latest energy imbalance calcs set it at ~0.45 +/- .10 W/m^2, down from -0.9 in Trenberth’s first iteration of the now infamous diagram. I’m coming up with AMOC/ENSO being able to combine for 0.4 either direction which is pleasingly close to that difference. However, my pee-values are ridiculously wee so I’m obviously wrong. 🙂

    I will say your graph actually seems more likely than the hockey stick graphs, irregardless of how you managed to produce it.

    I carried it forward to 2300, which is as far as the published CMIP5 data goes. At that scale it’s very hockey stickish.

  81. Bob,

    Warmists say [water vapor] isn’t important because of “feedback” but I have yet to see a CONVINCING theoretical calculation or experimental demonstration that such feedback is important.

    Bass-ackward, perhaps a mistake? It IS important because it IS a feedback. How much is a great debate since mo’ water in the air makes one suppose formation of more albedo-increasing clouds, resulting in a net-negative feedback. If you’re looking for a page or two of math as a convincing theoretical calculation, you will not find one — it isn’t possible to do it. Absorptivity/emissivity are pressure and temperature sensitive, and both those things obviously vary not only with horizontal location but vertical as well. You need a computer program loaded with a database of spectral lines for each species under specific conditions, and calculate iteratively by horizontal grid and vertical layer.

    And the fact that the earth cools less on a cloudy night than a clear one is common sense evidence that absortion and re-emission of thermal radiation by water vapor can not be ignored.

    It is so very much not being ignored … who is telling you that it is? Can I have some of what they’re smoking?! Most of the “don’t worry about H2O” talk I’m aware of comes from the fact that things would need to get really darn cold to start a CO2 snowstorm, so any given molecule of the stuff tends to hang out for longer periods of time than water vapor. Magically cool the globe off one degree tomorrow, and it will rain, snow and hail water like nobody’s business. That should also be an obvious backyard common sense item.

  82. Bob Kurland,

    And the fact that the earth cools less on a cloudy night than a clear one is common sense evidence that absortion and re-emission of thermal radiation by water vapor can not be ignored.

    Not to mention that cloud cover itself would change insolation and convection. Then there’s surface water to consider:

    1) Arctic sea ice tends to hold the surface temperature near 0C when melting
    2) the heat mixing in tropical oceans contributes to evaporative cooling

    The IPCC’s one dimensional 1967 (ΔTs = λRF) leaves much out.

  83. Brandon, the fact that water is eliminated by condensation makes no never mind since the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere remains roughly constant. And CO2 is also eliminated by plant respiration. When I mean to say by “isn’t important” for the warmists is that they ignore that water vapor must be (given the lack of mathematical or experimental evidence otherwise) the major determinant of re-emitted IR radiation in the atmosphere, and you don’t get a tail (CO2) to wag that dog by “feedback”.

  84. To all: what really bothers/irritates/upsets/angers me about the proponents of AGW is that they don’t follow good scientific practice. When one can isolate variables, you can use basic theory and even when conventional equations fail (as can happen even for that simplest of all physics examples, a pendulum), one can use chaos theory or non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to treat and compare with experiment if the variables are sufficiently few. When one has to consider effects of many variables, then phenomenological models are in order, but the success of these is judged only by their ability to predict results, and in this respect the proponents of AGW fail miserably, as Briggs has pointed out in many posts.

    And another point, non-scientific: why is the effect of a two or three degree rise in temperature supposed to be so terrible? Wouldn’t it be nice to see Greenland green, Canada arable up to the Northwest territories?

  85. Brandon: There went my impressed out the window with your graph. Should have stopped where you were. (Not just because you ended up “hockey stickish” but because you were actually unscientific enough to carry a faulty model out 300 years.)

    Bob: I can tell you what a person from SkS told me, along with other global warming advocates, as to why this is bad:
    Even a small rise in global temperature will cause extreme warming in many places and drying (which is now being called into question, since we have 300+ months of record breaking high temperatures but deluges of rain are falling over large areas. Hate it when a model fails again, don’t we?). No one will be able to live at the equator. Ocean rising due to land ice melt will flood half the country (actually, only about 10%, but unfortunately, humans love living on the coast so there will be lots of “refugees”, another very, very evil term that is totally inaccurate). Most of our food comes from grains, and they won’t grow in hot temperatures (and there are no substitutes, I guess….) so starvation will occur. We can’t make enough air conditioners, etc,etc, etc. This view completely ignores what cooling a few degrees would cause and insists humans cannot live outside of the range calculated by the climate change scientists. Any past history that disagrees with it is ignored or called “local” so as to avoid the problem of adapting to warmer temperatures. It all sounds very, very horrible when you are told about it which is why kids are terrified now due to the cruelty of scientists using them as pawns in this game of global warming scare tactics. Somehow living in third world conditions (careful, they say that won’t happen either. It seems that “balance” needed for life does not apply to the GDP or other such things—these can be cut “just a little” and that’s okay) is so much better in the long run. I don’t ascribe to these ideas, but I have been told them and read them until I have them memorized. The view of the world if we don’t stop with the CO2 is that of a scorched hellhole with miserable humans scattered about. Since it’s “science”, it must be true, right?
    (Apologies to Brandon, but I have lots of examples of this from blogs, etc. I am reporting what is really out there if you just read what global warming advocates write. Some of the scientists say the same thing—remember Hansen. It may or may not be true, but it’s the current tactic used in trying to force people into agreeing with global warming.)

  86. Brandon,

    I only mean “mystical” as in mystical to the implementation of the current generation of climate models which I think was the conversation at that point. This forcing was unknown to the science of those models and dismissed as a significant factor by modelers. That was my understanding anyway, maybe I’m wrong here. At best it was a guess anyway as observational data was basically unavailable except for maybe a decade. At any rate, if the deep ocean dun it, the models didn’t predict it or apparently model it correctly going forward. This would be hardly surprising given the dearth of information available.

    You only really need to examining the competing and conflicting theories for the pause (as you mentioned) to know the modeling community isn’t exactly singing from the same hymn book yet. If the ocean holds 93% (or whatever it is) of the heat and its not being modeled accurately “enough”, what are we to make of this?

    How likely are any of these to cause material errors in projections? Who can really say? It’s really only an opinion. If I trusted climate science I would just take their word for it, but I’m not even really sure what they are saying exactly here. It seems like a dose of defensiveness (projections do not have decadal predictive skill) with contradicting “it’s good enough for policy change now”. Color me confused.

  87. Incorporation of the idea of “forcings” into the foundation of climatology was a disastrous misstep for it inserted non-observable equilibrium temperatures into this foundation treated as observables. This move ensured that climate models would convey no information to policy makers about the outcomes of the events of the future while seeming to them to convey this information. The climate seemed controllable but was not.

  88. Bob,

    … the fact that water is eliminated by condensation makes no never mind since the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere remains roughly constant.

    We’re having two different conversations here, not unusual for this topic. Ok, fine, I’ll have your conversation. The net instantaneous LW radiative forcing in the atmosphere is ~150 W/m^2. Of that, water vapor accounts for ~50% or 75 W/m^2. Although its atmospheric concentration does remain roughly constant on a daily basis globally, it varies widely by local conditions as a function of weather and is often listed as a range in literature. Clouds are one such local condition, averaged across the total sky they account for ~25%, or 38 W/m^2.

    The rule of thumb for quick ‘n dirty estimates is RF(CO2) = 5.35 * ln(CO2 ppmv). To date the 2014 average CO2 concentration is 398.28 ppm, giving 32.03 W/m^2, close enough to 30 W/m^2 to call it 20% of the total instantaneous atmospheric RF. The balance of 5% is attributed to other GHGs: N2O, CH4, O3 and CFCs.

    You are correct according to the literature; water as vapor and clouds accounts for ~75% of the day to day instantaneous LW atmospheric RF.

    None of this is news to me and certainly is is not news to any working climatologist — all of this was being studied as early as the ’60s [1]. I’m pulling my figures from Schmidt (2010), penultimate column of Table 1 on the third page of the document: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Schmidt_etal_1.pdf

    And CO2 is also eliminated by plant respiration.

    To the tune of 120 Gt C per annum, whereas human activity produces 6.4 Gt C a year. Is that the gotcha you were looking for? This is a little dated (2008), but good enough: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n7/fig_tab/ngeo230_F1.html

    Plant respiration puts 119.6 Gt C back into the atmosphere every year, so the net sequestration is a whopping 0.4 Gt C, an order of magnitude less than what we emit. The total preindustrial (1750 for this diagram) up/down figures are 192.0 each way, netting to zero. Post industrial anthro effects (the red flux arrows) tack on an additional annual up/down flux of 24.8/28.0 , netting to 3.2 Gt C/yr up, or 50% of human emissions — a widely cited figure oft abused in some circles.

    Annoyingly the IPCC left out the ever-popular volcano emissions from this diagram. For the record, they weigh in at a rounding-error value of 0.1 Gt C/yr. Whoop-de-do.

    When I mean to say by “isn’t important” for the warmists is that they ignore that water vapor must be (given the lack of mathematical or experimental evidence otherwise) the major determinant of re-emitted IR radiation in the atmosphere, and you don’t get a tail (CO2) to wag that dog by “feedback”.

    That is an endlessly curious sort of argument. Why is it that you’re so confident about the mathematical and experimental evidence supporting your view that water vapor must be the major (instantaneous) determinant of LW RF? Good grief man, the same people who did the research to support your confidence on that datum are the very same folks who also calculated CO2’s contribution to the mix.

    To wrap up this discussion on the instantaneous LW RF of water vapor relative to CO2, according to current literature (which allegedly ignores it) you’re spot on: water vapor has twice the instantaneous forcing of CO2.

    You’ll notice I’ve been emphasizing “instantaneous” a bit in my posts of late, especially this one. Why? Well, because over time, these atmospheric concentrations have not remained static, INCLUDING water vapor. Much research on the change in humidity of the atmosphere has been done, but rather than cite yet another paper or 10 in support, think back to first-year chem lectures on vapor pressure and recall that it is a function of temperature, positively correlated.

    As we ironically keep reminding each other in these discussions, the atmosphere is not so simple, therefore lab-bench experiments can’t be naively ported into the wild with reliably predictable results. However, in this case the models have been borne out by subsequent observation. Lo and behold, for every one degree C increase in global SAT, there is a water vapor increase in the atmosphere amounting to ~2 W/m^2. That is the very definition of a positive feedback. The way I resolve the great “is water vapor a forcing or feedback” debate is to declare that it is both.

    Water’s residence time in the atmosphere IS important to the forcing/feedback discussion because it’s responsive to both directions of a temperature change. Cool things off by means other than reducing CO2 (large quantities of volcanic sulfate aerosols work pretty darn good), and some water will all but instantly precipitate out in response, thereby reducing its forcing. [2] Now ponder the significance of these two GHGs’ radically different phase diagrams and review my statements about a dry ice blizzard being unlikely any time soon.

    When one has to consider effects of many variables, then phenomenological models are in order, but the success of these is judged only by their ability to predict results, and in this respect the proponents of AGW fail miserably, as Briggs has pointed out in many posts.

    Well I’m glad you brought up good scientific practice in the same paragraph. Even in a situation calling for a complex phenomenological model, isolating variables is something which still should be attempted, yes? The model complexity doesn’t necessarily preclude doing so, no? It seems to me that the good scientific practice you’re touting would include an attempt to isolate and specify the variables the models missed. Day after day that does not happen in this forum, which goes a long way toward explaining why Briggs’ endlessly repetitive and not-unique mantra about failed predictions goes so roundly unheard on my side of the fence.

    When you and others double-down on that by parroting ridiculously easy to falsify statements about what climatologists aren’t paying attention to, it only makes the refrain about busted models even more threadbare. But hey, he’s promised to do a write up on the internal variability “canard”, so hope springs eternal.

    ———————————————-

    [1] Buried in the references of Schmidt (2010) are the following gems:

    Manabe, S., and R. F. Strickler (1964), Thermal equilibrium in the atmosphere with a convective adjustment, J. Atmos. Sci. ,21, 361–385.
    Manabe, S., and R. T. Wetherald (1967), Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity, J. Atmos. Sci., 24, 241–259.

    Aw shucks, it looks like nobody was ignoring either convection or water vapor in the way back when. And they didn’t stop after Al Gore graduated from high school.

    [2] Just be sure to look out for the acid rain if your method of climate engineering is to set off the equivalent of 1 Krakatau per year.

  89. Bob, errata: … water vapor has twice the instantaneous forcing of CO2.

    Over twice. Counting clouds, water constitutes 3.75x CO2’s instantaneous LW RF.

  90. Sheri,

    There went my impressed out the window with your graph … you were actually unscientific enough to carry a faulty model out 300 years.

    Say it isn’t so! What’s three hundred years to a copy/paste button? At least I didn’t publish the entire curve!! Seriously, that model is not much good for anything other than me being able to wrap my mind around the scale of the numbers involved and do some show-and-tell about what to look for when real research is published.

    Me being me, I am working on converting Kelvins to joules, which is the more appropriate unit. Yes I know it’s been done, but this is my self-assigned homework and I don’t like cheating.

  91. brandon, when you say “converting Kelvins to joules”, do you mean degrees Kelvin? If so, then the dimensions are incommensurate–one is temperature and the other energy. Or, are you simply going to multiply by the universal gas constant R, to express temperature as energy?

  92. Tom,

    This forcing was unknown to the science of those models and dismissed as a significant factor by modelers. That was my understanding anyway, maybe I’m wrong here.

    It’s a popular misunderstanding which may have some basis in fact. The old-school energy balance models did not take ocean dynamics into consideration. The really crude ones only computed global averages, not a grid in sight. Today there are scads of models, some of which only do atmosphere, or can be set to run in atmosphere-only mode, and that may be where some of these “the models ignore the oceans” zombie rumors come from. If true, what’s going missed there is that such models are coupled to either an ocean model, or observational data for any serious work other than bench testing.

    At best it was a guess anyway as observational data was basically unavailable except for maybe a decade.

    Sure, ARGO has given us about a decade of good data. For something like the first two or three years of deployment there were issues sufficient to cause those data to be scrapped. There are decades of other regular observations from other types of instruments, but not very good coverage, biased in the NH, hardly ever below the first several hundred meters, etc. So yeah, a lot of what I’d call guessing of the educated sort with really wide error margins.

    At any rate, if the deep ocean dun it, the models didn’t predict it or apparently model it correctly going forward. This would be hardly surprising given the dearth of information available.

    My take is lack of data resulting in poor modeling, compounded by the chaotic nature of the ocean/atmospheric circulation. It’s also my understanding that some models simply punt on the issue and model internal variability stochastically, while others attempt to get the simulation good enough so that those patterns become an emergent property seen in the output. In either case, for AR5 no attempt was made to line up the wiggles over known observations. Decadal forecast is a newish idea, and it doesn’t sit well in some places. I can’t tell how much of that has scientific merit, and how much of it is, “we’re not glorified weather forecasters here, you know.” My bet is that AR6 will have observationally initialized decadal forecasts out of at least political expedient.

    If the ocean holds 93% (or whatever it is) of the heat and its not being modeled accurately “enough”, what are we to make of this?

    That we need moar data post haste. Need to write a lot of code and crunch numbers. Not being on the same page is fine with me … more than fine actually. Competing approaches converging on the same answer inspire confidence. Divergence between competing approaches leads to questions and debate.

    How likely are any of these to cause material errors in projections?

    I recently read a quote by someone eminent in the field, it might actually have been in a published paper. I’ll look. The gist was, “we often can’t predict beforehand how our parameter and tuning adjustments will play out, the only thing to do is run it and see what happens.” I can see how people think of that as a horrifying thing for an expert to say.

    It seems like a dose of defensiveness (projections do not have decadal predictive skill) with contradicting “it’s good enough for policy change now”. Color me confused.

    I believe the defensiveness is real and it’s clear to me that the IPCC and the climate consensus community bears responsibility for having worked themselves into a corner with a big heaping load of help from Mother Nature. That said, I do have some grinding teeth for the contrarian argument that “the models suck now, and you’re telling me not to worry about 50 years from now?” On the face of it, that’s a perfectly logical argument. What it ignores is that we are more reasonably confident about CO2’s role in rising temperatures from a combination of models and what observations we have. Hindsight isn’t really ever 20/20, but c’mon.

  93. Brandon, this talk about “forcing” leaves me scientifically cold. As an untutored physicist, let me ask what is your definition of “forcing”? How is it measured or is it just calculated? Please give a reference that isn’t gobbledy-gook with models but goes back to basic thermodynamics, heat conduction and molecular dynamics, that this simple mind can understand. I operate on the pedagogic principle put forth by Einstein (or was it Feynman) –if you can’t explain it to the barkeep across from you in simple language, you don’t understand it.

    Also, let me say given the much greater concentration of H2O in the atmosphere than CO2, that’s all this simple mind of mine needs to know for positing that water vapor that is the critical component in reradiation of IR.

    By the way, I have an innate prejudice against the the notion that “models”, phenomenological “theories”, can be used to predict climate. Trying to set a successful phenomenological theory with more than one or two variables is pretty much a hopeless task, particularly if the relevant transport equations are not steady-state but time-dependent and non-linear. The only set of phenomenological equations I know of that involve more than one variable and are useful are the Onsager reciprocal relations, and even these are linear, steady-state and applied to only two-variable systems–e.g. thermo-electric phenomena.
    So, given that, the test, as Briggs and others continue to point out is NOT whether the models fit past data–that’s irrelevant, one can concoct any set of fairy stories to fit past data (with the exception of Einstein’s explanation of the advance of the perhelion of Mercury). Advocates of AGW ignore this crucial point of what science is all about. You test a theory (or model in the case of AGW) by its success in predicting future behavior, and I repeat–in this respect models for AGW are sadly deficient.

  94. Brandon: Okay, you’re forgiven. Those copy/paste buttons are just so enticing! 🙂

  95. Bob,

    … when you say “converting Kelvins to joules”, do you mean degrees Kelvin?

    That was me being sloppy. I’m really after calculating change in atmospheric heat content by ΔT in degrees Kelvin.

    If so, then the dimensions are incommensurate–one is temperature and the other energy.

    That’s actually my main purpose since ocean heat content anomalies are expressed in 10^infinity J and atmospheric surface temps in ºC. I already have the heat capacity for the total atmosphere — 5.95 x 10^21 J/K — and the total ocean — 5.30 x 10^24 J/K. Obviously a three orders of magnitude difference between air temps to ocean temps isn’t going to show the correct relationship when the question is how much energy change the total system experienced. And since I’m mostly interested transfers occuring near the surface boundary, I can’t use those heat contents as is, so I’ve got some more reading to do.

    Like I said to Sheri, this has already all been done but I’m treating it like homework. Hints and advice are always welcome.

  96. Bob Kurland:

    As you properly sense, the notion of a “forcing” is scientific nonsense.

  97. Bob,

    … if you can’t explain it to the barkeep across from you in simple language, you don’t understand it

    Wikiquote says Rutherford, so we’re both wrong. I thought it was Feynman, but his quote looks to be a rewording: “If you can’t explain something to a first year student, then you haven’t really understood it.” Or sub “six year-old”, also attributed to him.

    As an untutored physicist, let me ask what is your definition of “forcing”? Please give a reference that isn’t gobbledy-gook with models but goes back to basic thermodynamics, heat conduction and molecular dynamics, that this simple mind can understand.

    This is an online text I’ve often referred to, a bit dated (1999) but considered a reliable source for basics:

    http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/djj/book/bookchap7.html#pgfId=105861

    7.4.1 Definition of radiative forcing

    The radiative forcing caused by a change Dm in the atmospheric mass of a greenhouse gas X is defined as the resulting flux imbalance in the radiative budget for the Earth system.

    With radiative flux being power per unit area — Watts per square meter. By this definition, the shorthand “forcing” is probably commonly misused, including by me. You’ll constantly see things like, “radiative forcing of CO2 is 1.68 W/m^2” which is doubly-wrong. Firstly, that’s the change in energy flux due to CO2 since 1880. And secondly, the actual current value of 32.03 W/m^2 is the downward flux of CO2 calculated from TOA, not the flux imbalance (forcing) of ~0.5 W/m^2 caused by the lag in temperature response.

    How is it measured or is it just calculated?

    It’s models all the way down I’m afraid. That’s not entirely true, there are observational gut checks. In theory, satellites should be able to measure incoming vs. outgoing to calculate the imbalance directly, but it isn’t that simple in practice. Clouds and other things suspended in the atmosphere scatter light. The frequency differential between TOA and the surface is so close together that the sensors can’t reliably resolve it. Ground based instruments have similar issues looking the opposite direction. So they back into it by looking at number of different observations including ground based temperature observations, sea surface and below surface temperature changes, etc. Nature Climate has two articles out this week with energy balance implications based on the latest crunching of ARGO data, but they’re paywalled. Trenberth and Kiehl (2009) is still widely cited, and it’s free: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2634.1

    Also, let me say given the much greater concentration of H2O in the atmosphere than CO2, that’s all this simple mind of mine needs to know for positing that water vapor that is the critical component in reradiation of IR.

    You’re not the only one, but as a even a simple physicist I’m surprised you’d ignore 20% of the calculated greenhouse effect. I get it when liberal arts majors make that mistake, but not engineers and physical scientists … even “untutored” ones. You’re nearly up there with the time my 6th grade homeroom teacher told us that water isn’t as good at putting out fires as a dry chemical extinguisher since water is made from oxygen and hydrogen … which “burn well”.

    So, given that, the test, as Briggs and others continue to point out is NOT whether the models fit past data–that’s irrelevant, one can concoct any set of fairy stories to fit past data …

    If overturning theory were that easy, I’d have 100 peer-reviewed articles in print instead of zero, not a pee value in sight, and probably be well on my way to winning a Nobel. You’ve made an argument that can be applied to any science since the word itself was conceived and which can be arbitrarily applied to any observational results that you do not like. If you’re going to lecture an entire field of researchers about what they’re doing wrong, and do it credibly, you’re gonna need a better line than, “yabbut, science has been wrong before.”

    You test a theory (or model in the case of AGW) by its success in predicting future behavior, and I repeat–in this respect models for AGW are sadly deficient.

    Ocean heat capacity: 1,000 times greater than the atmosphere. Tell me which place the models are most likely in error. Back to basics thermodynamics. You can do it.

  98. Sheri, my spreadsheet program will do a maximum of 16 million rows. Do I dare …. ?

  99. Brandon:

    In climatology the term “forcing” has the significance that a change in a forcing increases the global surface temperature at equilibrium by a proportionate amount. I say this contention is scientific nonesense. Do you disagree?

  100. Terry,

    You mean this one: ∆T = λ∆F ? It’s a vastly oversimplified textbook relationship, but if we’re down to debunking that kind of equation, why not let’s call F = Gm1m2/r^2 scientific nonsense because it doesn’t work very well for non-trivial orbital calculations?

  101. IPCC AR4 WGI Section 2.2,

    Radiative forcing can be related through a linear relationship to the global mean equilibrium temperature change at the surface (ΔTs): ΔTs = λRF, where λ is the climate sensitivity parameter (e.g., Ramaswamy et al., 2001).

  102. And …. ?

  103. You are saying the IPCC wants us to use a vastly oversimplified relationship? So then the answer to Terry’s question of it being nonsense would be yes?

    FYI: F = Gm1m2/r^2 is NOT a vastly oversimplified relationship.

    What is your definition of vastly oversimplified? How far off is it? Is lambda a constant in your non-oversimplified version? If not what would it be a function of?

  104. Brandon:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. There’s an important difference between

    F = Gm1m2/r^2

    and

    ∆T = λ∆F

    F is an observable. ∆T (the change in the temperature at equilibrium) is not.

  105. Brandon: I would! 🙂

  106. Brandon, thank you for your detailed reply. To my mind “forcing”, and the various proportionality constants (lambda’s) are artificial constructs and not subject to experimental verification, unlike parameters in other phenomenological theories (e.g. coefficient of viscosity in non-turbulent liquid flow, coefficient of heat conductivity in steady-state thermal conductivity, etc.).
    That’s why I don’t think they constitute science or even engineering.
    Also, I don’t think you grasp the point Briggs, I and others are trying to make about experimental verification of basic and phenomenological theories. The Standard Model for particle theory was verified by finding particles predicted by the theory (including the Higgs boson); variations on that theory were refuted because predicted particles weren’t found (see my post “God, Symmetry and Beauty I. The Standard Model and the Higgs Boson”..
    http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/2013/04/god-symmetry-and-beauty-i-standard.html)
    All of this debate about AGW would be a tempest in a teapot were it not that left-wing politicians are using AGW arguments as a basis to destroy this country (acting either through ignorance or willful evil). Coal miners in West Virginia and Ohio are losing their jobs; the search for practical energy sources (natural gas and shale oil) is being stifled by giving public funds to fly-by-night outfits–wind and solar–that not only fail, but harm the environment. And by this government support the natural development of renewable energy sources, development which would be supported by private enterprise, is stifled.
    So that’s why I argue against the pseudo-science that ignorant pols try to justify as “settled”; I just wish I could argue better and more eloquently.

  107. I was going to get around to this slowly but since the cat is out of the bag , so to speak:

    ∆T = F( CO2 concentration) is a statistical relationship regardless of how F is constructed. An attempt to make it more sciencey by introducing non-feedback radiative forcing (RF) was (and is) mere hand waving. But, as you admitted, this is an imaginary quantity difficult (if not impossible) to measure.

    The changes in T at the surface depend on many things that are currently being averaged away. Cloud cover for one, which changes direct insolation and convection patterns while also varying the density of the water in the atmosphere. You claim clouds are represented in the models but do the models really try to produce clouds during a simulation run or are they averaged away? The built-in assumption from the 1967 paper that the surface has zero heat capacity is not readily fixed — particularly when water is present. How do the models deal with Arctic and Antarctic sea ice? Do they account for addition of ice by calving? I think the answer to all of these is NO and the pretense is they can be averaged away because they aren’t important. There are cyclical patterns about which we have poor understanding. These include ENSO, AMO and the PDO among others.

    The net result is the output of the models depends solely on CO2 concentration which is then related to temperature through mythical quantities. And a corollary to this is the only way to verify the theory is to test it against observation and so far it hasn’t done well at all. Sure, you can change things to reproduce one of the temperature record to date but that proves nothing (in my school that was called “fudging”) and it (quite conveniently I suppose) pushes the test period into the future.

  108. Sheri – a plateau is “a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress”. In geology it refers to a comparatively flat terrain, e.g. most of West Virginia is part of the Appalachian Plateau. Typically, or at least in my experience, when a graph that has been rising levels off, it is said to have plateaued. Usually it means that whatever had been driving the rise has ceased to have an effect. Only in climate science is a pause assumed.

    Brandon Gates – I have no idea what you are talking about. You can look at whatever length of time you want. I was referring to the last 18 years and suggesting that a neutral and commonly used term is preferable to one that implies an assumption about the future. I would not be surprised if the plateau continued for another decade or three or if instead temperatures rose or fell. Nothing I’ve read has convinced me that anyone else has a climate crystal ball either.

  109. Terry,

    F is an observable.

    But not ∆F? No matter, let’s current values. If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium?

    ∆T (the change in the temperature at equilibrium) is not.

    Yes, you’ve written that before. Shall we talk about why that might be true? I’ll go first: the planet is never at equilibrium.

  110. DAV,

    You are saying the IPCC wants us to use a vastly oversimplified relationship?

    No, that’s what you’re saying. Try reading the rest of the section. You might also wish to take a look at the referenced Ramaswamy et al., 2001, Radiative Forcing of Climate Change, which I believe refers to this document from TAR: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-06.pdf Particularly topical to this discussion is “6.2.2 Strengths and Limitations of the Forcing Concept” on pg. 355 (pg 7 of the document).

    What is your definition of vastly oversimplified?

    In this context, something useful for teaching first principles to someone who knows basic algebra but not calculus. Like equations of motion not taking air resistance, magnus and coriolis effects into account when roughly approximating projectile trajectories.

    How far off is it?

    I’ve seen values of lambda between 0.7 and 0.8. The online text I referenced for Bob used 0.77. I normally use 0.75. The answer you want here is “we don’t know.”

    Is lambda a constant in your non-oversimplified version?

    No.

    If not what would it be a function of?

    ∆Ts / ∆F

    I’m kidding, sort of. You’re looking for a simple answer to something I’ve already told you isn’t a simple question. AR4 Section 2.2:

    This chapter also uses the term ‘surface forcing’ to refer to the instantaneous perturbation of the surface radiative balance by a forcing agent. Surface forcing has quite different properties than RF and should not be used to compare forcing agents (see Section 2.8.1).

    Following the link to 2.8.1: It should be noted that a perturbation to the surface energy budget involves sensible and latent heat fluxes besides solar and longwave irradiance; therefore, it can quantitatively be very different from the RF, which is calculated at the tropopause, and thus is not representative of the energy balance perturbation to the surface-troposphere (climate) system.

    Here’s another freebie for you, the final sentence of 2.8: Note that this assessment is entirely based on climate model simulations.

    So the short answer to your question is that lamba is a function of model calculations, which are integrations of forcings and feedbacks over both space and time. The dirty “secret” being openly discussed in these chapters and in the reference I cited is that there are known non-linearities in the ∆Ts response to ∆F, as well as some assumed linear responses to ∆Fs which may not be. I’ve got a dumptruck full of “we don’t know so we plugged it” that you and your teaspoon-full of it wouldn’t be noticed in.

    You claim clouds are represented in the models but do the models really try to produce clouds during a simulation run or are they averaged away?

    They’re produced by algorithm as a “sub grid scale” feature. Averaging clouds across a 225 sq. nautical mile grid would be doubleplus ungood.

    How do the models deal with Arctic and Antarctic sea ice? Do they account for addition of ice by calving?

    Start with: “Embedding a 1D calving ice model into a large-scale 3D ice dynamical model for Greenland.” http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013EGUGA..15.4406R

    There are cyclical patterns about which we have poor understanding. These include ENSO, AMO and the PDO among others.

    Color me shocked, you actually do read what I write.

  111. Bob,

    To my mind “forcing”, and the various proportionality constants (lambda’s) are artificial constructs and not subject to experimental verification, unlike parameters in other phenomenological theories …

    So you, Oldberg and DAV keep asserting without really explaining why. The unexplained assertion du jour is: it’s not an observable. To my mind, that’s “special pleading.”

    All of this debate about AGW would be a tempest in a teapot were it not that left-wing politicians are using AGW arguments as a basis to destroy this country …

    I don’t truck with the politics of fear no matter who is using it.

    This liberal doesn’t want to ruin the country one whit, and my disapproval of anyone who would want to is as dim as yours. If you’re going to put me into that bucket, you can just sod right off because it’s completely unwarranted. I’d prefer if you went back to the text and tell me where you think it went astray. Even better if you could also tell me something you think it gets correct. Fantastic if you could say, “this is what I’d do here instead.” In my world, that’s what constitutes a skeptical scientific debate or inquiry.

    I just wish I could argue better and more eloquently.

    I believe you can argue just fine … I’ve seen you do it. The fact that I’ve not changed my opinion in the face of your arguments has zero to do with your ability to argue — it’s possible that I’m just as stubborn and invincibly ignorant as you think I am. I think it’s probable that I know more specifics about the problems of experimental verification in this domain than you do. Certainly more than you apparently think I do.

    I know for a fact you know more general math and physics than I do. Drop the liberals are evil freedom-wreckers schtick and try me.

  112. I’ll go first: the planet is never at equilibrium.

    By your own words then ΔTs = λRF, regardless of actual form, must be unobservable starting with RF which is defined at an equilibrium. Unobservable means it can’t be verified. To compute lambda, you would need to know ΔTs arising from ONLY CO2. It, too, is unobservable and thus unverifiable.

    3D ice dynamical model for Greenland

    Your link doesn’t work.
    It’s irrelevant anyway,. A dynamical mode for Greenland is not a GCM.
    To be useful, the GCM would also have to follow and account for surface temperatures during both melting and freezing. I mentioned calving as only as an additional ice source.

    They’re produced by algorithm as a “sub grid scale” feature. Averaging clouds across a 225 sq. nautical mile grid would be doubleplus ungood.

    That’s the point. The dynamics assume an averaged cloud cover. The presumption is that an average is representative. Unverifiable. The same for other aerosols.

    Color me shocked, you actually do read what I write.

    I’m not shocked at all that you completely missed the point yet again. In fact, you didn’t address any of the main point. Maybe you simply can’t and this floundering is the best you can do? Sad if so.

  113. DAV,

    Unobservable means it can’t be verified.

    I appreciate your desire to do everything by the textbook, and I’m really sorry that the earth won’t fit on your lab bench so that we can let it reach equilibrium before trying to measure what it’s doing. Same question for you as for Terry: If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium?

    To compute lambda, you would need to know ΔTs arising from ONLY CO2.

    It’s even worse than that. To compute lambda I would need to know ΔTs arising from all ΔF. AND everything would have to be linear.

    A dynamical mode for Greenland is not a GCM.

    You don’t say.

    To be useful, the GCM would also have to follow and account for surface temperatures during both melting and freezing.

    Obviously.

    The dynamics assume an averaged cloud cover.

    That was the method sometime prior to ’97. Get current.

    In fact, you didn’t address any of the main point.

    I thought I answered your main points directly and completely. If you don’t think so, just ask again.

  114. DaveW,

    You can look at whatever length of time you want.

    Don’t I know it. The relevant question is the defensibility of choosing one over another. If two hundred years of data are available, I don’t think it’s defensible to “arbitrarily” choose the past 20 years. Especially not since 1940-1970 contains some major clues as to what’s been going on the past two decades and a hint about what the next ten years might hold in store.

    I was referring to the last 18 years and suggesting that a neutral and commonly used term is preferable to one that implies an assumption about the future.

    True if all you’re doing is looking at one graph and drawing trendlines with a ruler having no underlying explanatory mechanism to justify it … like the graph at the top of this post does.

    Nothing I’ve read has convinced me that anyone else has a climate crystal ball either.

    Until you’ve read everything, that’s not a very convincing argument. Better if you tell me some exact thing you’ve read that isn’t convincing.

  115. DaveW: I stand corrected. The temperature has plateaued. What comes after the plateau is unknown at this point.

    Brandon: Hard to drop the “liberals are evil freedom-wreckers” when the evidence runs in that direction. Of course, the conservatives are aiding and abetting them, so right now we’re in a mess. All sides pretty much look the same. We could drop the politics, maybe, but if you really want to skip all of that, there are science blogs out there that cover just the science.

    Clouds: http://kiwi.atmos.colostate.edu/pubs/Weare-etal-1995.pdf The illustration was used in my online class. I don’t know if there’s an updated version or not (I am guessing you are implying there is.). You are telling DAV to “get current” and MIT online classes are using the 1995 model. Maybe you need to tell MIT to get current?

    On your comment to Dave W: “Until you’ve read everything, that’s not a very convincing argument” You surely are not implying you have read everything.
    Many people who work in climate science do not agree with the CAGW position. Most agree CO2 has some effect. Of course, they have not read everything either…..
    (Maybe you should check back on your own comments: “The fact that I’ve not changed my opinion in the face of your arguments has zero to do with your ability to argue — it’s possible that I’m just as stubborn and invincibly ignorant as you think I am.” Even if someone had “read everything, you still might not listen.)

  116. Brandon, here’s why I think “Forcing” is an artificial construct. Let’s take an examples from phenomenological physics:
    Viscous flow: the coefficient of viscosity, eta, is defined as a proportionality constant relating drag force to flow velocity. You can take a given substance, measure the drag force and the flow velocity and find eta. You can then take another sample of the same substance use the derived value of eta to figure out the drag force for a given flow velocity.
    Refraction: you can determine the coefficient of refraction, eta, by measuring the angle of incidence and the angle of refraction for a given substance. You can then take another sample of the same substance and with a different angle of incidence calculate the angle of refraction.
    So, for real phenomenological physics, you measure and predict. I don’t see either of those activities connected with “Forcing”.
    And as far as making villains of liberals, you should note that my vilification was directed to left politicians, not the poor benighted souls who voted for them.
    If I were to dislike liberal or radical voters, there would be no children at our Thanksgiving table.

  117. It’s clear the treatment of clouds and their effects needs much work. Unlike Brandon, I see no reason to quote large tracts of documents here but I think this sentence in the conclusion of AR4 WGI section 8.6.3.2 Clouds says it all.

    Despite some advances in the understanding of the physical processes that control the cloud response to climate change and in the evaluation of some components of cloud feedbacks in current models, it is not yet possible to assess which of the model estimates of cloud feedback is the most reliable.

    IOW: the treatments of clouds in models is mostly guess-work which is consistent with my main point in http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=14313#comment-130593.

    The models are guesses piled on guesses. Brandon. completely missing the point, wants to nit-pick the mechanisms surrounding the guesses and totally ignore the fact they are merely guesses dressed up in sciencey clothing. The only way to evaluate something like this is to see how well it predicts. So far, the models have a poor record outside of areas where their predictions are not just the result of curve fitting.

  118. Sheri,

    Yes, there have been advances since 1985. This 1997 paper talks about the poor results obtained when a 4×5 degree grid was averaged for clouds once per pass: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1997/1997_Stubenrauch_etal_1.pdf

    I don’t know whether that was the first model to introduce the subgrid cloud method. My understanding from reading elsewhere is that state of the art models used for research and publication these days, and that there now several different methods of doing it. Why MIT would be still using 1985 tech in teaching materials might be for the same reasons that first year physics students start off learning Newton, not Einstein — milk before meat.

    No, I’ve not read everything, but I’ve read something which is convincing. No climate crystal balls exist, obviously. If there’s anything I’m invincibly ignorant of it’s magic. I’m sure there are witches out there who would tell me I haven’t done enough reading.

    You me and Bob can agree that politicians are in danger of wrecking the country. I’m tempted to reify and make that the political “process”.

  119. Bob,

    You can then take another sample of the same substance use the derived value of eta to figure out the drag force for a given flow velocity … You can then take another sample of the same substance and with a different angle of incidence calculate the angle of refraction.

    You can take a sample of ocean water, call it a bucket full, and do the same thing. Another team halfway around the world could do the same thing, and would likely get the same results. Conclusion: sea water viscocity and refractivity doesn’t vary much from locale to locale. Proof? No, inference. The more samples, the better the inference. This is a problem of scale. We do measure and predict, and the predictions are wrong. They were wrong from 1980-2000, and they were wrong from 2001-present. The one constant of models is that they are wrong, but we also calculate how wrong the GCMs are because we compare their predictions to observation.

    I don’t see either of those activities connected with “Forcing”.

    You wouldn’t be having this discussion with me if the activities of predict then measure weren’t happening. It’s discussed in literature: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2634.1

    This is not an isolated paper, scan the references and find that they’re full of other papers doing a bunch of observation. Note all the dirty laundry in the cited paper about observational uncertainty. Plenty of homogenization to make hay of. Deride all that if you’d like … one of us in this conversation understands that the entire planet will not fit in the sample tray of a laboratory test apparatus. We don’t have the luxury of running the actual planet under isolated and controlled conditions. The best we can do is build models from first principles of physics derived from experiments done on controlled samples and approximate their large scale behavior. The online text I provided walks through the most simplistic beginnings of how that is done.

    With this text, I’ve given you the first step toward demonstrating that the concept of forcing is rooted in long-established thermodynamic principles, and you still will not discuss it directly. I suggest that the reason you don’t “see either of those activities” of predict and measure is that you apparently don’t look at it when someone shoves it under your nose. You know the math and physics in that text more than I ever will. I’m handing you the potential to tie me in knots with it, and you don’t take it. Are you afraid of what’s in the reference that you yourself asked me to produce? Did you think I wouldn’t be able to provide you one? Is reality starting to look different from your perceptions of it?

    If the concept of forcing is such bunk that it deserves to be put in scare quotes, what does that say about your obviously false belief that cloud cover in the evening reduces the rate of radiative heat loss from the surface of your back yard?

    If I were to dislike liberal or radical voters, there would be no children at our Thanksgiving table.

    I recall that story. I also know that liking family and friends is easier than perfect strangers. For darn sure I dislike liberals and conservatives I don’t know and don’t agree with than arguing across a table face to face with someone I’m close to and care about personally. Maybe you don’t work that way, but I have trouble believing it. Apologies if my hard-wired heuristics judged you incorrectly.

  120. Brandon: That’s a couple of years newer, so maybe they have improved. I will further research. It’s a 1995 model I referenced, not 1985. The class was not supposed to be an introductory class and it did have much newer materials in some places. The professors did not seem to be teaching to toddlers (milk) and several participants complained about all the calculus and how hard the class was (meat). Much of the online complains were about the complexity of the course.
    I did notice that material seem to be chosen rather haphazardly when it came to up-to-date materials. The AR5 had been out for a long time, yet references were still from AR4, etc. It didn’t seem very professional to me. I don’t know–maybe you only get “professional” if you actually attend the class in person, but that would seem to be a lousy way to advertise your university–using substandard material in online courses.

    If you have not read everything, why do you ask others if they have? Also, you must realize that many people disagree because they have read nothing that is convincing. They may have read the same material you have but interpreted it differently. Your tolerance for overlooking errors and lack of predictions seems to be quite high. Others, myself included, demand a much higher level of prediction. So even with the same material, we arrive at different conclusions. There are no climate crystal balls, but even if there were, the level of confidence in the reading of the predictions and their outcome will vary. Psychics can very frequently completely miss on very serious predictions and still be believed. It’s the same for climate science–predictions of no snow, we’re past the tipping point, etc abound coming from the mouths of climate scientists. All of them wrong. Yet some still believe.

    Yes, you and I and Bob do appear to agree on the problems with politics.

  121. DAV,

    I see no reason to quote large tracts of documents …

    Because quotemining is so much easier and more fun than “nit-picking”. Who needs detail and nuance when we can simplify the problem down to an out-of-context slogan and chant mantras?

    I’ve got to say, I just love how you’ve furiously backpedaled away from I think the answer to all of these is NO and the pretense is they can be averaged away because they aren’t important. and replaced it with the treatments of clouds in models is mostly guess-work.

    I told you previously I’ve got a dumptruck full of “we don’t know so we plugged it”. If we knew how everything worked exactly, there wouldn’t be a need for science, would there? Here’s another basic principle you have evidently forgotten: some guesses are better than others, and good science is the process of coming up with incrementally better guesses.

    I repeat my earlier question: If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium?

    Surely that can’t be too hard of a question for you to answer for someone so expert in the practice of proper science as yourself?

  122. Brandon: “Here’s another basic principle you have evidently forgotten: some guesses are better than others, and good science is the process of coming up with incrementally better guesses.”
    That explains a lot of your insistance on believing in the “science” of AGW. Guesses are not science. Hypotheses are and they need to be clearly stated with parameters clearly outlined. Theories are, and again, they need to be clearly stated and parameters outlined. Without testing and retesting, guesses are worthless. Some are better than others, but without testing and retesting, you have no way of knowing which guesses are better.
    You’re wondering off into neverland here. Slow down and breathe. It might help.

  123. Brandon, thank you for the reference but I’m sorry, I’m not impressed. The article cites lots of “measurements” but gives no clue as to how, where, when,etc they were made…and what they were, so I’m still in the dark about that. Moreover, my scientific hackles rose when I read the following:
    ” At the TOA, the imbalance in the raw ERBE estimates was adjusted to zero by making small changes to the albedo on the grounds that greatest uncertainties remained in the ASR (Trenberth 1997). In addition, adjustments were made to allow for the changes observed when one of the three ERBE satellites failed”
    ADJUSTMENTS???!!!!
    And,
    “They (Fasullo and Ternbeth) CONSTRAIN (emphasis added) the TOA budget..”
    I stopped reading after that.

    I think you don’t understand how the science in this works when you say
    “what does that say about your obviously false belief that cloud cover in the evening reduces the rate of radiative heat loss from the surface of your back yard?”
    Cloud cover doesn’t reduce the rate of radiative heat loss from the surface of my back yard. What happens is the H2O molecules in the cloud absorb IR and reradiate it back, thus warming up the air below them… That indeed is true…
    There are lots of web references to this… see for example,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EWS23/clouds

    Finally there is one overall most important point, to which you haven’t responded as far as I can see . Any theory–basic or phenomenological–is judged by whether it can predict, not by whether it can be used to fit previously observed data. There are exceptions to this, particularly in astronomy–the example of the advance of perihelion in Mercury comes to mind, but using the equations of general relativity to explain that was not an exercise in “adjusting” or “constraining” parameters in a phenomenological theory. What do you say about the fact that the various phenomenological models produced by the proponents of AGW have not been successful in predicting temperature/weather/climate?

  124. Because quotemining is so much easier
    I’ve got to say, I just love how you’ve furiously backpedaled away from I think the answer to all of these is NO and the pretense is they can be averaged away because they aren’t important

    Which only goes to show how little you have understood of what I have said. And yet you want to come across as being knowledgeable on the subject when you continually demonstrate lack of comprehension by statements like these — not to mention your persistent inability to summarize documents as illustrated by your posting of lengthy quotes and frequent diversions to side points.

    Of course you find it so much easier to quote instead of opening yourself to criticisms of your summaries. Don’t blame you. They must be real doozies if all the other misunderstandings you aren’t afraid to reveal are any clue. And who knows? Maybe someone will be fooled into thinking you actually have a handle on any of this.

    I repeat my earlier question: If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium?

    It’s totally irrelevant. It’s not possible to convert this to anything meaningful such as changes in temperature on the surface. The poor model results compared to observations are evidence of this. This has been explained to you but. as you have pointed out, you’re not listening. Keep repeating it and then you won’t actually have to say anything. If you are really trying to make a point then get on with it. But I think you don’t have one and are just after yet another diversion.

    Speaking of side issues: the Brandon approach is to put forth a Jello mold and wait for someone to tromp on it then talk only about the spattered pieces superficially resembling the original mold. It conveniently avoids having to admit the original was smashed to pieces. So, is it clever avoidance or just an inability to remember your own posts? The former is rather trollish and, to be charitable, I doubt you are attempting to be trollish.

  125. Sheri,

    My bad for getting the year wrong. 1995, clearly. I must’ve been momentarily crosseyed.

    The professors did not seem to be teaching to toddlers (milk) and several participants complained about all the calculus and how hard the class was (meat).

    That’s the problem with using metaphors … they mean different things to different people. In this case I was using the metaphor in a relative sense. A PhD candidate in cloud modeling had better be learning about bleeding edge models. A first year undergrad probably should not be since they’re still at the level of calculating projectile trajectories ignoring air resistance — something that requires calculus. Sounds like the course you took required calc. That doesn’t mean it would be a good idea to teach how to build a state of the art model. Your classmates’ complaints that the course was already too hard because of the calc is indicative.

    Simplified is not necessarily substandard. And old can be “classic”. One can also strain at gnats.

    The AR5 had been out for a long time, yet references were still from AR4, etc.

    I answer your broad critique with a broad rebuttal: no non-trivial scientific field reinvents itself every decade. Knowledge is built upon incrementally, and in science the emphasis should be on updating the areas known or suspected to have the biggest uncertainties. I know of no other reasonable way to allocate scarce resources. Do you?

    If you have not read everything, why do you ask others if they have?

    It’s rhetorical. I have the same problem with atheists who say, “I’ve seen no evidence any God(s) exist.”

    Also, you must realize that many people disagree because they have read nothing that is convincing.

    Yes of course, which is why I followed up my rhetorical nudge with something along the lines of “it helps to specify something you’ve read that you didn’t find convincing.” That way the discussion can be about possible differences in interpretation and/or potential misunderstandings. Very often, I learn something I didn’t know in the process.

    Your tolerance for overlooking errors and lack of predictions seems to be quite high.

    We’ve both got our respective prejudices on that subject.

    Others, myself included, demand a much higher level of prediction.

    No kidding. Funny though how both sides can be reticent to actually define their exact standards, isn’t it. My tolerance for error is bounded by the wiggles I see which look to be caused by 5-60 year quasi-periodic SST anomalies: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1C2T0pQeiaSTVQyNWhvejNSSG8

    The CMIP5 RCP 4.5 model runs are currently just outside my error envelope shown by the dotted black lines: approx. +/- .25 degrees based on my own estimates of internal variability. Currently running hot. What they’re doing about it has my full and undivided skeptical attention.

  126. DAV,

    It’s totally irrelevant.

    Running away in a cloud of bluster again I see.

  127. Was it bluster or just waiting for you do get around to your point? I didn’t think you had a point with your question. Now I’m more sure of it.

  128. Brandon: Actually, my classmates were whiney people. The course clearly indicated that calculus was required. Complaining when that turned out to be true is just whiney. Maybe they did dumb the class down, but if so, I am also not happy with that idea. People who took the class to actually learn the basis of climate change were shortchanged in that case. I searched for classes that claimed to cover the science at college level.
    I think that if the AR5 was out and did address ideas in a newer way, that should have been used. The course also had the charming habit of using Wikipedia as a source. To be honest, it scares me if this is considered “good science”.
    As for building on what is known–if it’s actually known, okay. Meaning the studies were replicated at least three times and no one has found any flaws. Then move on. If there was no replication of the studies or further verification, then we have a problem.
    “We both have our respective prejudices on that subject”. When did uncertainty levels become a prejudice? Science is supposed to have very high standards, especially when making huge claims about an entire planet.
    I have defined my standards for you. You seemed to feel that my standard was too high a mark and rejected it.
    “currently just outside my error envelope”. Just outside? Again, your idea of just outside is very different from mine. I will give credit for an error envelope under one degree. Much better than many I have seen. I’m glad it has your full attention. There is a serious problem in all of this.

  129. Bob,

    … thank you for the reference but I’m sorry, I’m not impressed.

    Specifics? Saying “no” is the easiest thing in the world to do.

    The article cites lots of “measurements” but gives no clue as to how, where, when,etc they were made…and what they were, so I’m still in the dark about that.

    Check the cited references. Isn’t this a common practice in literature? Why the special pleading with climatology papers?

    Moreover, my scientific hackles rose when I read the following:
    ”At the TOA, the imbalance in the raw ERBE estimates was adjusted to zero by making small changes to the albedo on the grounds that greatest uncertainties remained in the ASR (Trenberth 1997). In addition, adjustments were made to allow for the changes observed when one of the three ERBE satellites failed”
    ADJUSTMENTS???!!!!

    Um yeah, that’s what one does when one of three instruments goes wonky. And curse Kevin for telling you what he adjusted and why instead of sweeping it under the rug. Shocking dishonest charlatans! Where’s my pitchfork?

    “They (Fasullo and Ternbeth) CONSTRAIN (emphasis added) the TOA budget..”
    I stopped reading after that.

    Isn’t one problem with curve-fitting the fact that doing so in absence of known physical constraints the entire reason why simple regressions of trends is a Bad Idea? Keep in mind here that the CERES satellite data in the raw implied a ~6 W/m^2 TOA imbalance in the down direction. If CO2 were really doing that, we wouldn’t be having this argument — you wouldn’t be able to miss the signal in the chart if you were looking at it from Jupiter.

    You might want to keep reading.

    What happens is the H2O molecules in the cloud absorb IR and reradiate it back, thus warming up the air below them…

    That’s the popular GHG narrative in a nutshell, and it’s wrong too. In this case you’re lucky in that nighttime temperature inversions often do start off with warmer cloud layers and a cooler surface, so net heat transfer from cloud to ground is possible. But neither the cloud or ground are heat sources, only the sun beyond the horizon matters for that role in this discussion. At night (barring a suddenly appearing warm front), both clouds and ground are cooling off, nothing is “heating up”. The proper way to discuss the physical principles here is to say that the doward IR from the water molecules in the cloud layer net the upward IR from the ground reduces the rate of radiative heat loss from the ground.

    We’re ignoring convection … suffice to say that absent an external heat source, convection isn’t going to add net energy to anything either.

    In clear sky conditions with a non-inversion scenario, the principle holds true as well. A desert tends to cool off more at night than humid regions (latitude and altitude being equal for sake of attempting to isolate variables) because higher moisture content means more H2O molecules to absorb upward IR from the surface and radiate ~50% of it back down again, thus reducing the rate of cooling. Everything is getting cooler in all three scenarios here — no incoming sunlight! — just some places are cooling of more slowly than others.

    On average the upper atmosphere is cooler than the lower. “CO2 is not a heat source” is the battle cry of the skydragon cadre who like to pretend that “backradiation” violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. They do this because they confuse transfer of heat with transfer of energy. To hear them tell it, they would be just as warm prancing around in a blizzard wearing only their birthday suit as they would be bundled up in boots and a parka because “everyone knows” a cooler object can’t heat up a warmer one. Or to paraphrase the punchline of one of my father’s favorite jokes, “How does a Thermos bottle know when to keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold?”

    There are lots of web references to this… see for example,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EWS23/clouds

    I can do better than a Wikipedia talk page:

    The ground routinely starts to cool after the sun sets because it emits more radiation than it gains from the atmosphere. In other words, the temperature of the ground starts to lower because it runs a radiation deficit (more losses than gains). In turn, a thin layer of air next to the ground starts to cool by conduction as a transfer of heat energy takes place from the initially warmer air to the cooler ground. This downward transfer of heat energy serves only to slightly slow down the cooling rate of the ground, which continues to lose more radiation than it receives. How much the ground and air cool at nighttime depends, in part, on the stirring effects of the wind on temperature. To isolate these effects, we assume, for sake of argument, that temperature advection is neutral so that there aren’t any competing processes at work. You will, however, as an apprentice weather forecaster, have to take all processes into account whenever you predict temperatures.

    Primary literature says the same thing. I’ll try to find pre-Al Gore reference for you if you insist.

    Any theory–basic or phenomenological–is judged by whether it can predict, not by whether it can be used to fit previously observed data. There are exceptions to this, particularly in astronomy–the example of the advance of perihelion in Mercury comes to mind, but using the equations of general relativity to explain that was not an exercise in “adjusting” or “constraining” parameters in a phenomenological theory.

    I have another astronomy example: black holes. They were predicted before they were observed. And they’ve not actually been observed since — other than Hawking radiation — nothing gets out of them. We’ve figured out where some of them are by looking at how they affect things around them. And have you seen the debates in cosmology over what the heck was going on in the inflationary epoch? Talk about conjuring constants out of the vacuum to fit observations! The horror!!

    What do you say about the fact that the various phenomenological models produced by the proponents of AGW have not been successful in predicting temperature/weather/climate?

    Exactly what I’ve been saying all along: the models are wrong. Followed by: here’s where I think they’re off. Then asking: what do as-yet unpredictable deep-ocean upwellings of cooler water have to do with radiative forcing in the atmosphere?

    When you’ve got a ginormous and complex system the expectation is that errors are going to be all over the place. This all-or-nothing “if one part of the model is wrong, the whole theory is sunk” argument is crap. How often over the years has the “skeptic” community been lecturing everyone else that there are multiple drivers for temperature? Making an argument for CO2 being the thing that’s off in the models requires at least some attempt to rule out what other factors could be causing the error. I don’t see that level of rigor in the bulk of skeptic arguments on this blog. Compound that with numerous factual errors about what literature actually says — which persist even after I’ve corrected it with citations — and perhaps you’ll begin to understand the deafness I have in one ear.

    Now I’ve told everyone here in various posts on this thread exactly where I think the errors are, backed it up with (overly simple, but in striking distance of literature) calculations and references to the data and still I get asked what I think about the failure of the predictions? WTH? Read my latest post to Sheri.

    I’ve also explained that ∆Ts is something that will never happen because the planet never is at equilibrium. You guys are falling all over yourselves with this new-found toy of an argument that something which cannot be observed cannot be validated. Well, doesn’t that also mean it can’t be falsified either? Now would be the time to pick which way you want to have it and stick to it.

    As for ∆Ts = λ∆F taken as a whole, I repeat my repeatedly unanswered question: If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium? It’s not a difficult question, why such resistance in answering it?

  130. Sheri,

    The course also had the charming habit of using Wikipedia as a source.

    Maybe MIT profs. were contributors? You’re putting me on the hook to defend something I have no hope of being able to investigate short of taking the same class. How about we stick to published papers, which are more common ground for one, and far more relevant?

    When did uncertainty levels become a prejudice?

    Tolerance for error was the topic. Mine is a prejudice borne out of anecdotal observation: climate contrarians have an unrealistically high standard of error. All models are wrong, the question is how wrong can they be and still be useful? It’s that last bit of the famous aphorism which the skeptic camp leaves out. Cherry picks abound. Yes, even on my side of the fence … talk about Antarctic sea ice growth and watch the unprepared warmists scatter into the CO2.

    I have defined my standards for you.

    I guess I missed that, apologies.

    You seemed to feel that my standard was too high a mark and rejected it.

    As much as I don’t like to do so, I do have the habit of assuming guilt by association. Briggs’ stated standard accuracy (from a ways back) is down to the year. Lately it’s “better than a naive model of no change” which is awfully convenient because there’s been no change for two decades. In surface temps. The cherry orchard is busy in these parts.

    “currently just outside my error envelope”. Just outside?

    Yes, CMIP5 is 0.045 ºC higher than my max envelope for 2014. 0.020 ºC outside for 2013. Inside the envelope by -0.017 ºC for 2012. The envelope is +/- 0.2 ºC (not 0.25 as I erroneously reported last post).

    The real value of that envelope to me is that it shows the range of the wiggles in the actuals from my regression-calculated CO2-only hindcast — which is technically cheating since the region of interest is inside my training data, but I’m too tired to redo it at the moment. Regardless, the past 20 years is completely precedented in terms of deviations from any two or three decade mean — look at 1940-1980.

    I will give credit for an error envelope under one degree.

    Um, well we’re solidly inside that margin.

    There is a serious problem in all of this.

    I have a big list, a lot of which you’d agree with. Then again, a lot of it you wouldn’t. Or should I say, don’t.

    If that sounds weary and cranky to you, you’d be right. Pizza, wings and movie time. I’ll see you anon.

  131. Brandon: Wasn’t asking you to defend MIT professors, just observing that it is extremely unprofessional to use Wiki as a source. Not to mention lazy. They can defend themselves if they want to. (I don’t care if they were contributors. Suddenly Wiki sources are okay after bashing skeptics, still so on SkS, for not using peer-reviewed literature????? Very, very, very hypocritical.)

    No, Brandon, we do not have “unrealistically high” expectations. We expect climate science to meet the standards of any hard science like physics or chemistry. It is not unrealistically high when the government is trying to push us into economic and social disaster using that data. And you CANNOT separate the two. It is what it is. If the government is going to use the figures, and they are, then accuracy must be high. This is what will lose the entire battle for climate change advocates–people see how sloppy climate science is and start rejecting all of science. It’s already happening. Plus, science then has to try and “defend” itself by silencing critics because of the huge number of errors that arise. As far as I can see, climate science has an appallingly low requirement for accuracy, somewhere at or below social sciences. If science lacks accuracy, it has nothing. That’s what made science different from witch doctors and rain dances. Yet to keep the narrative going, the argument is to expect less and less. Not a good direction for science to be going.

    See my comment above for how wrong models can be and still be useful. I think they are doing harm to climate science, which as a skeptic I might applaud if it wasn’t taking the rest of science down with it. I really cannot see any use for today’s models except for people to cling to the belief that humans somehow “control” climate. Personally, I’d drop them immediately in the hopes that I could redeem myself for my poor scientific behaviour. Yes, I apply this standard to ALL science, including social. Accuracy and predictability are the only things that makes science different from wild guesses, religion or pseudoscience. I demand that science maintain its standards everywhere.

    You asked about accuracy. When I did data entry, the standard there can be astronomically high. For inputting data for power bills, 99% is acceptable. Maybe even 95%. For data on medical treatment and fields like aeronautics, it’s much higher. An accuracy rate of 99.999% still results in many, many errors when you input millions of characters. I consider climate science more important than a power bill. Accuracy must be very high.

  132. Brandon your explanation of why it is warmer (other conditions being equal) on a cloudy night than on a clear night is so involved, I’m not clear (being simple-minded) about what you’re trying to say. If you mean that heat (radiation in the IR) is absorbed by H2O in the clouds and reradiated back (isotropically, with approximately 1/2 radiated back to ground level), then I understand you and take this as a correct explanation (one you’d give to the barkeep). If you mean something else, then I don’t understand you and don’t think you’re correct.
    By the way, instead of using a paper with a heat transfer equation, I often (not always) use Wikipedia as a reference source for those who profess difficulty with mathematical demonstration.

  133. Speaking of clouds, WUWT has a timely link to this video on clouds and climate change.

  134. Sheri,

    Climate science worse than social science? Ouch, that hurts.

    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” ~Kevin E. Trenberth

    Are those the words of a man who is getting the data that he needs? The words of a researcher who does not care about the policy implications of his work? The accuracy of a prediction can never exceed the uncertainties in the underlying observations. In practice, the accuracy of a prediction is worse than the observational uncertainties because there is always at least one thing that hasn’t been measured at all. Is it slop that we don’t have thermometers covering every cubic kilometer of atmosphere and ocean? Even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to predict the weather “accurately” a year in advance, much less 50, because of chaotic systems’ sensitivity to initial conditions.

    99.999% accuracy implies being within a thousandth of a degree for every square meter of surface every single day for the next 50 years. Is that what you really meant? I don’t actually think so, but I really can’t tell with your vague and broad sweeping references to “the standards of any hard science like physics or chemistry”. One standard you’re glossing over here in your lecture about accuracy is that of explicitly identifying and quantifying areas of uncertainty and error. Another one is identifying possible unknown factors which might be influencing the observations, and having been left unaccounted for, throw off conclusions and the predictions based upon them. Yet another is to say, “in theory, there is some x here we haven’t been able to measure so we’re using this guess until we’re able to measure it directly.”

    That’s not slop, it’s rigor. And that kind of rigorous identification of limitations is the standard research practice across all fields, because in the real world that I live in we do not know everything we’d like to. Which is why science exists in the first place.

    By the way, what happened to “I will give credit for an error envelope under one degree”? That’s a long way from 99.999% accuracy.

  135. Brandon: You know what they say–truth hurts! 🙂

    No, I’m not glossing over any of those items. I am saying that we can’t make accurate predictions or implement policies until we have more than “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” I am well aware of all of the uncertainty and find it to be shouting out “Too soon to be implementing policies on”. If we cannot get more accuracy than the current miss-mash of guesses and unexplained outcomes, mixed in with outright denial of what the data says, there’s no reason to listen to the climate science people. They’re still at the four elements stage of earth, water, fire and air. It’s a bit soon to jump to building particle accelerators based on “we will get there”. When we get there, then we build. How close must we get–in reality I’d probably settle for at least three models that produce results within 3 sigma or so at least 10 to 20 years in the future (meaning we must wait to act until the data is in.) Until that day, it’s still an unproven hypothesis beyond “CO2 has some effect on temperature on earth”.

    I am giving you credit as advancing toward the goal. I haven’t boughten your theory yet and I’m not lobbying for policy changes. I’m still driving my 3/4 ton truck. However, I do believe you are beginning to show signs of understanding what kind of accuracy is needed and you should get credit for that.

  136. Bob,

    If you mean that heat (radiation in the IR) is absorbed by H2O in the clouds and reradiated back (isotropically, with approximately 1/2 radiated back to ground level), then I understand you and take this as a correct explanation (one you’d give to the barkeep).

    The isotropic distribution of radiation for any small slice of atmosphere is the key here.

    I’m a stickler for differentiating between heat transfer and energy transfer. A cooler body can transfer energy to a warmer one, but a cooler body can never transfer heat to a warmer one. I think the principle holds true in a nighttime inversion scenario, but I’m not totally convinced that I’m correct in all circumstances. On balance, water vapor’s radiative role in the atmosphere is to reduce the net rate of energy loss from the (generally warmer) surface because of “back radiation”. Anything else violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    By the way, instead of using a paper with a heat transfer equation, I often (not always) use Wikipedia as a reference source for those who profess difficulty with mathematical demonstration.

    Fair enough, but I’d prefer the math if you’re willing to point me toward it. That’s how I learn.

  137. Yo, Brandon. Here’s another variable to throw into the pot…just read a headline on Lucianne.com that effects of CO2 resorption by plants has been underestimated by 16% (or some such). Here’s a link to a news article (trustworthy?) from the Express:
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/522307/Climate-Change-Doubts-Study-Shows-Overestimate-Forecast-Weather
    The point is not whether this particular study or headline is valid, but that there are so many variables that a useful model, i.e. one that predicts, will never be forthcoming. In short, I would have it that AGW is a dead parrot (see the Monty Python sketch on Youtube).

  138. Brandon:

    How can there be “known non-linearities in the ∆Ts response to ∆F” if we can’t observe ∆T?

  139. Brandon:

    Caution. In climatology, “predict” is a polysemic term requiring disambiguation before use in making an argument that incorporates it. One way in which disambiguation may be accomplished to make a distinction between a “prediction” and a “projection.” A function mapping the time to the global surface air temperature that is the product of a GCM is a “projection” not a “prediction.” Projections are non-falsifiable thus being unscientific.

  140. Brandon:

    A person can and often does assign to ∆Ts. A legitimate scientist may not.

  141. Terry,

    Ice sheet area, which affects surface albedo, does not respond in a linear fashion to changes in temperature or absorption of radiative energy. You can’t even fit a polynomial to it since any given ice sheet varies in thickness across its area. Underlying topography has effects unique to each sheet, and to any given part of the same sheet.

    There are other things which look linear that may not be. Clouds would top my list.

    Now I’ve answered your question. Again I repeat my earlier one to you: If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium?

  142. Brandon:
    You ask: “If downwelling flux is greater than upwelling flux, is T above or below equilibrium?” In answering I’ll assume that by “T” you mean the temperature by “equilibrium” you mean the “equilibrium temperature,” by “downwelling flux” you mean “magnitude of the downwelling flux” and by “upwelling flux” you mean “magnitude of the upwelling flux.” My answer is that the temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes.

  143. Bob, thanks for the link. What matters to my biases is the journal which published the research, not the rag that reported it. HuffPo gets it wrong just as often as the Express. Anyway, PNAS is a reputable journal, and on that basis alone I’m disinclined to quibble about the findings. Here’s the link to the abstract: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/10/10/1418075111

    In C3 plants, CO2 concentrations drop considerably along mesophyll diffusion pathways from substomatal cavities to chloroplasts where CO2 assimilation occurs. Global carbon cycle models have not explicitly represented this internal drawdown and therefore overestimate CO2 available for carboxylation and underestimate photosynthetic responsiveness to atmospheric CO2. An explicit consideration of mesophyll diffusion increases the modeled cumulative CO2 fertilization effect (CFE) for global gross primary production (GPP) from 915 to 1,057 PgC for the period of 1901–2010. This increase represents a 16% correction, which is large enough to explain the persistent overestimation of growth rates of historical atmospheric CO2 by Earth system models. Without this correction, the CFE for global GPP is underestimated by 0.05 PgC/y/ppm. This finding implies that the contemporary terrestrial biosphere is more CO2 limited than previously thought.

    Oh dear, this study is correcting models with models. Into your wastebin, immediately!

    Otherwise, this is good news. I’ll be interested to see how well it holds up.

    The point is not whether this particular study or headline is valid, but that there are so many variables that a useful model, i.e. one that predicts, will never be forthcoming.

    People said the similar things in the 60s when more NASA rockets exploded on the pad than made it airborne. In fact, there are still people who claim the entire moon landing thing was a hoax. And a lot of people who, with a straight face, maintain to this very day that the earth really is flat. Perhaps my faith is misplaced. “It’s too hard so it’s not worth attempting” not being part of my vocabulary also plays a part here.

    What I’m sitting here wondering is why you think the uncertainties will break your way? You’re absolutely confident that water vapor plays a role, but reject CO2 on the simplistic basis that there’s less of it in the atmosphere. Funny how you’re confident one moment, and preaching uncertainty the next.

    Of course lots of AGW contrarians say the same thing about the consensus crowd. If there is anything I’m truly confident of, it’s that everyone else’s crap smells worse than one’s own.

  144. Terry,

    My answer is that the temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes.

    You know this how? What does determine temperature then?

  145. Sheri,

    Re: truth hurting. A guy I know and respect wrote this recently:

    Don’t be a confused douche …
    … if you’re hoping next year is really hot you’ve just lost the argument.

    Why? Duhhhh, because it looks like you’re hoping for tragedy to strike just so you can prove your point. This is not about stroking your ego, it’s about trying to make economically stimulating changes in the near term. Changes that also happen to conserve natural resources and mitigate long term risks.

    Which risks we know very little about. All we know with any certainty is that increasing GHGs will cause the earth’s equilibrium temperature to rise, but …

    Rising surface temperatures are not the real problem …
    … retained solar energy is.

    Fixating on average surface temperatures for so long has completely buggered up the political case for climate stabilization efforts. Not that they weren’t [bleeped] on arrival to begin with.

    Any moron looking at a temperature anomaly time series graph 20 years ago would have, should have, taken some pause when they noted some past pauses.

    Some sadly unheard truths in that screed if you ask me. To your comments now:

    However, I do believe you are beginning to show signs of understanding what kind of accuracy is needed and you should get credit for that.

    Thanks. There’s some nuance I think you might not be seeing. I always want more accuracy and precision. I don’t think it’s scientifically necessary to predict every year to within 10% or better, maybe not even advisable. There is pushback from within the modeling community on decadal forecasts using model runs initialized to currently observed conditions. That pushback is made in terms of a scientific argument which I sort of think I understand. You and I could wrangle endlessly about whether that’s valid, or just being lazy … but that horse is looking dead past the point of beating.

    This does not mean that I wouldn’t like to see your level of accuracy happen. I think it’s first and foremost a political expedient to be able to do so. A 10 year dead-nuts on forecast would salve my own desire for correctness, accuracy and precision … as well as removal of uncomfortable uncertainty. We’re on the same page as far as driving to do a better job of hitting the target. It’s what I want, and every climate researcher I’ve read wants. As the old song goes:

    Never been to the islands
    But I know I want to go
    I would be there
    If wishing would make that so

    It’s my view, in my vision of reality, that the islands are a long way off in terms of present capabilities. Sad, but true, and truth hurts. I think we know enough to make some decisions right now. I don’t want those policies to break the bank. You dig?

  146. Terry,

    A function mapping the time to the global surface air temperature that is the product of a GCM is a “projection” not a “prediction.” Projections are non-falsifiable thus being unscientific.

    The last time I responded to you on this topic at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=13721#comment-130124 , I provisionally accepted your definitions. For your argument to stick, you need to demonstrate that global SATs do not constitute a valid statistical population, and that those temperatures are indeed calculated as a function of time. If you have done so somewhere, I have not seen it or understood you to have done it.

  147. Brandon Gates ( 13 october at 10:14 PM):

    Though global surface temperatures are elements of a time series they are not elements of a statistical population. The latter are events. The former are outcomes of events.

    Mistakenly confusing the elements of a time series with the elements of a statistical population is frequent among both amateur and professional climatologists. This is the foremost mistake by which they have made of climatology the muddle that it is. To confuse coin flips with “heads” or “tails” in a coin flip is to make a mistake of the same kind.

  148. The important point to take from what Terry is saying about ∆Ts = λ∆F is that ∆Ts (CO2) can’t be separated from ∆Ts (anything else) regardless of wherher the form of lambda is linear or not. Without the separation, ∆Ts (CO2) is thus unobservable; so you can’t determine a response to CO2 alone. Sure, you can guess, but you can’t observe it to determine how good your guesses are.

    Even if you attempt to use an aggregate RF and observed T’s , you have to assume there are no other causes in addition to guessing at surface characteristics (e.g., ice volume) among other things (e.g., cloud cover). You are left with a statistical model where lambda is a effectively determined by correlation. You CAN get a value for lambda using a model because your can hold some things constant however this tells us only about the model and nothing about the real world.

    ∆Ts(total observed) = λRF + βF(other things) might be a better description but RF is still estimated (guessed at) as would be F(x) so the net result would be more guessing.

  149. Brandon Gates”

    What determines the global surface temperature is not a question that will have an answer any time soon. In the interim, we’ll have to settle for information about the global surface temperatures of the future. Unfortunately, information is not something that is provided by the current crop of climate models.

  150. ∆Ts = λ∆F is a relation from ∆F to ∆Ts that is implied by the existence of this formula in the foundation of global warming climatology to be a functional relation. The contention that there is a relation from ∆F to ∆Ts is true. The contention that this relation is a functional relation is unproved and unproveable in view of the non-observabilty of ∆Ts. To imply this relation is a functional relation is to fabricate information, a cousin of the justly deplored practice of “cooking the data.” By installing ∆Ts = λ∆F in the foundation of their field of study climatologists have ensured that climatological data are routinely cooked.

  151. Terry,

    Though global surface temperatures are elements of a time series they are not elements of a statistical population. The latter are events. The former are outcomes of events.

    Atmosphere is composed of objects with certain attributes. That constitutes a population by any reasonable definition. I propose that an event is a measurable change in some characteristic of a statistical population. I think there is no fundamental statistical error in meteorology or climatology as you describe here.

    What determines the global surface temperature is not a question that will have an answer any time soon.

    Yet you’re absolutely sure that “… temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes.” Strange.

  152. Terry,

    Indeed. It assumes whatever caused ∆F also causes ∆Ts (or vice versa) . There is at least some basis behind this. You are right though that the assumption there can or must be a single mapping from ∆F to ∆Ts is also unproven.

    Not so sure about the “cooking” part. On the surface, it doesn’t seem a bad hypothesis however so far it hasn’t been shown to apply to real world temperatures beyond happenstance.

  153. Yet you’re absolutely sure that “… temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes.”

    But then, it hasn’t been demonstrated that it is so insisting that the conjecture is definitely true is what is strange.

  154. Brandon:

    Events having a specified outcome have a definite relative frequency. For example, in a sequence of coin flips the outcome of “heads” has a definite relative frequency. How are the relative frequencies of your “events” defined?

  155. DAV,

    The important point to take from what Terry is saying about ∆Ts = λ∆F is that ∆Ts (CO2) can’t be separated from ∆Ts (anything else) regardless of whether the form of lambda is linear or not.

    That the model predictions are as bad as they are is sufficient testament to me that such a separation is difficult. I reserve impossible for things like time travel or moving faster than the speed of light. At this point in time, next to impossible for climate is predicting internal variability, albedo changes, ice mass loss, cloud formation and feedback, precipitation and frequency, intensity and/or duration of extreme weather events such as drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, cold snaps, heat waves, etc.

    Not to mention the “science” of economics, and the attendant predictions about how much all those potential disasters will cost.

    What I know is that gases in the atmosphere have absorption spectra which have been characterized in laboratory controlled conditions under varying temperature and pressure profiles. Those data have been compiled into freely available databases for use in atmospheric research. The climatology modelers’ gold standard choice seems to be this one:

    http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hitran/docs.html

    Aside from their use in line-by-line atmospheric model codes, these known spectra can be used to directly observe changes in atmospheric gas concentrations, including spatial distribution, over time — both from ground-based instruments and from space. Subject to uncertainties, the optical depth of the atmosphere can be directly observed, not just on an average basis but on a gridded basis as well. And because we know the spectral lines of the GHG species from laboratory testing, those measurements of optical depth can be attributed to a particular gasses. Did I mention with a degree of uncertainty? Yes, I did.

    Calculating radiative forcing with a line-by-line code is the very antithesis of curve fitting. It was such models that predicted the observed cooling of the stratosphere as CO2 levels increased. Those same models explain why the top of Venus’ CO2-laden atmosphere is so much cooler than Earth’s … even though Venus is closer to the Sun than we are.

    You may call that guesswork if you wish. To me it looks like inference, which is the backbone of pretty much all science since the beginning.

    In light of the models’ failings, I don’t believe it is prudent to wreck the economy by attempting a radical transition to very expensive sources of energy. Even if they were dead on I wouldn’t think so. The economic shock of doing so would kill many people, and make life miserable for many more. I’m all about sensible balance when it comes to change. An aggressive rollout of nuclear and geothermal power makes both economic and environmental sense. I think most American conservatives could get on board with that. My fellows on the left will take convincing, and I want to smack them for being stupid and bullheaded about it probably as much as you do, even if for other reasons.

  156. Terry,

    How are the relative frequencies of your “events” defined?

    They can be whatever I wish them to be, just as any statistical population can be arbitrarily defined according to the wiles of J. Random Researcher. So long as I use the same definitions in my predictions as I use for the validating observations, there is no conflict with proper statistical procedure as I understand it. If you’d like to know how the IPCC defines them, I believe this is the list they’re using:

    http://etccdi.pacificclimate.org/list_27_indices.shtml

    The CMIP5 model output for those indices may be obtained here:

    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_cmip5_annual.cgi?id=someone@somewhere

  157. That the model predictions are as bad as they are is sufficient testament to me that such a separation is difficult. I reserve impossible for things like time travel …

    In Y = A + B + C, it is impossible to determine A, B or C if all you have is Y. In climate modeling there are even D’s and E’s known to be omitted let alone accounting for currently unimagined F’s.

    What I know is that gases in the atmosphere have absorption spectra which have been characterized in laboratory controlled conditions under varying temperature and pressure profiles. , etc.

    None of which can fix the separation problem. Imagine this: The total of three bank balances is $307, 532. Alice’s bank balance is part of the total and Alice makes $120K/year. Brant makes $96K/yr while Carl makes $136K/yr. What was Sally’s contribution to the total of balance?

    This doesn’t mean separating them won’t be possible in the future. A good start would be to make models which are far better than the current ones which will lend some credence to the claim that the mechanisms of the climate are understood.

    Calculating radiative forcing with a line-by-line code is the very antithesis of curve fitting.

    No. It’s still a curve fit. Doing it with a computer doesn’t change anything.

    To me it looks like inference, which is the backbone of pretty much all science since the beginning.

    Except in the “hard” sciences an effort is made to verify those inferences with observation. Climate science is not in a position to verify its suppositions at this time. At the moment, it’s much closer to augury than science.

    So, yeah, waiting for better results while doing nothing is the best approach.

  158. DAV,

    But then, it hasn’t been demonstrated that it is so insisting that the conjecture is definitely true is what is strange.

    I’ve already stipulated that ∆Ts = λ∆F is vastly oversimplified (and problematic) since the earth never reaches equilibrium AND that lambda is likely not constant due to known and as yet unknown non-linearities. My question to Terry is different:

    My answer is that the temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes.

    You know this how? What does determine temperature then?

    If he knows what does NOT determine temperature, it stands to reason that he knows what does. Nothing I or anyone else has said about their guess gets him off the hook for supporting his own assertions. Watching the both of you evade the obvious is a rare treat however. By all means, keep it up.

  159. In the above thought problem, it might help to know Alice’s nickname is Sally.

  160. I’ve already stipulated that ∆Ts = λ∆F is vastly oversimplified (and problematic)

    Which has nothing to do with what I said. Terry”s position is the default position and he doesn’t need to justify it. Anyone claiming he is wrong or even likely wrong is basing that claim solely on faith as the conjecture that radiative fluxes can predict surface temps is an unproven one.

  161. At least you’ve got a creative way of telling us you’re stumped.

  162. Whatever that means.

  163. I tell you what, let’s let Terry speak for Terry. If his default position is “I don’t know” then that’s an acceptable answer. In the meantime, I’ll expect him to back up his own assertions per the usual rules of good faith debate.

  164. DAV,

    Whatever that means.

    Disregard, I missed a post. Apologies.

  165. If his default position

    Don’t have to wait. It is THE default position. The logical oppsosite of temperature is determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes is that they are not. Until shown otherwise, it is the correct description.

  166. DAV,

    What was [Alice’s]Sally’s contribution to the total of balance?

    Can’t be determined from the information given since the bank balance is lower than the sum of their annual incomes and I obviously don’t know their spending rate.

    Except in the “hard” sciences an effort is made to verify those inferences with observation.

    Including this one. However since you’ve already declared by fiat that it can’t be done we’ll forever remain at an impasse on this point.

    The logical oppsosite of temperature is determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes is that they are not. Until shown otherwise, it is the correct description.

    Very very basic thermodynamics disagrees with you. If upward and downward flux at TOA are not in balance, what’s inside the atmosphere will change temperature. The planet has enough thermal inertia to change the flux balance at TOA all on its own, but not being a source of heat in the sense of the sun, any sustained flux imbalance must come from external forcings. [1]

    We can quibble all we want about whether ∆Ts is reasonably predictable from λ∆F or some other relationship, but the fact of the matter is that if incoming is greater than outgoing, T will tend to move up, not down. Basic basic, most basic, physics says it must be so. The thing you’re arguing here, which I’m not, is by how much will it change. I’m only asking about the direction, not the magnitude.

    ——————————————

    [1] An annoying terminology since “external” can mean things inside the atmosphere, like water vapor, volcanic aerosols, etc. But that’s how it’s used.

  167. DAV,

    No. It’s still a curve fit. Doing it with a computer doesn’t change anything.

    And validating against observations ISN’T? Crikey. Did you read the post where I told one and all that one of the favorite tuning knobs on models is albedo? They don’t tune to temperature when they’re doing that, btw, but to radiative flux at TOA. Probably the most appallingly damning bit I read in that paper was that some GCMs leak energy. You heard me correctly, they don’t conserve energy. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. I told you I’ve got a dump truck full of [***] that your garden spade has no hope of keeping up with. Maybe your tired, worn out aphorisms about correlation != causation impresses others who also don’t have a clue about the real uncertainties at play here, but they bounce off me like a wet noodle off concrete.

    Edited

  168. Can’t be determined from the information given since the bank balance is lower than the sum of their annual incomes and I obviously don’t know their spending rate.

    Not necessary to state the obvious, Now substitute various fluxes for the pay rates and total temperature change for the total balance. Same problem.

    However since you’ve already declared by fiat that it can’t be done we’ll forever remain at an impasse on this point.

    (*sigh*) By fiat? Not at all. It was by logic. And you apparently missed: This doesn’t mean separating them won’t be possible in the future. or you are making up the “forever” part for fun.

    Very very basic thermodynamics disagrees with you. If upward and downward flux at TOA are not in balance, what’s inside the atmosphere will change temperature

    Again (*sigh*). The conjecture that this can account for surface temperatures hasn’t been demonstrated nor does it address the separation problem in any way. Claiming anything else is unjustified.

    We can quibble all we want about whether ∆Ts is reasonably predictable from λ∆F

    No need to quibble. Observations show this is not the case.

  169. DAV,

    Now substitute various fluxes for the pay rates and total temperature change for the total balance. Same problem.

    Once the dollars hit the bank account, they’re identical. Gasses in the atmosphere are not. We can directly observe optical depth of the atmosphere by spectral line signature, and from that derive the relative contributions of each species to total optical depth. The issue here is observational uncertainty due to sensor technology and calibration, scattering due to clouds and aerosols, ground scatter, etc. What you’re saying is impossible is already being done.

    And you apparently missed: This doesn’t mean separating them won’t be possible in the future. or you are making up the “forever” part for fun.

    Apparently you missed me telling you that it’s already being done.

    Again (*sigh*). The conjecture that this can account for surface temperatures hasn’t been demonstrated nor does it address the separation problem in any way. Claiming anything else is unjustified.

    I defy you to describe a thermodynamic system that will cool off indefinitely while continually absorbing more energy than it disperses. Do it, and you win a Nobel, I guarantee it.

    Whether we can predict what the earth will do to your standards of accuracy based on the currently guessed-at TOA energy imbalance is a DIFFERENT DISCUSSION. Your skepticism on that discussion is noted, appreciated, and I think fully warranted. No argument here. That’s not what my question for Terry was designed to address.

  170. Once the dollars hit the bank account, they’re identical.

    And so are contributions of all contributors to temperature change. +X from source A is indistinguishable from the +Y from source B. Just like with dollars, all Kelvins look the same (well, maybe not Kelvin Kleins). Got me a bridge you might want to buy.

    The issue here is observational uncertainty due to sensor technology and calibration, scattering due to clouds and aerosols, ground scatter, etc

    Really? I think someone claimed in the comments above to get a better surface prediction by including heat transfer from the ocean. So, add Daniel to the bank balance total but pretend you don’t know his income and keep in mind that Ellen may be secretly contributing as well.

    What you’re saying is impossible is already being done.

    And I say that’s total BS.

    I defy you to describe a thermodynamic system …

    Really, Brandon? You can’t see the issues here and why any thermodynamic model is little better than a pixie-dust model? The short answer: neither one works. The long answer: no one can demonstrate either works. You are operating on faith alone yet you claimed elsewhere to be agnostic. I guess it depends on which religion is being considered.

  171. DAV,

    And so are contributions of all contributors to temperature change.

    The only way for energy to get in and out of the system is through the atmosphere. Any flux going through the atmosphere can be seen from space. Coverage and instrument fidelity are the only limitations to keeping track of what goes in vs. what comes back out.

    I think someone claimed in the comments above to get a better surface prediction by including heat transfer from the ocean.

    I know I talked about it. What goes in is pretty simple, water is virtually opaque to IR and we know how deep various lengths of the visible spectrum and near UV go from direct observation. What comes out goes through the atmosphere, and in so doing picks up the absorption signature of the gasses in the atmosphere just like anywhere else. Observational uncertainties still abound, which is why we measure OHC directly with ARGO and other instruments.

    I guess it depends on which religion is being considered.

    Careful where you swing that axe, she’s double-edged.

  172. Think about it, Brandon. You are claiming you can look at say a rock or even a landmass; observe it a temperature (t); then tell how it got that way? You can tell, merely from how much energy it radiates, the source of its energy? If so, I don’t believe you. Show me what method you would use. Without being able to identify the source, how can you possibly measure the X% caused by, say, CO2 concentration change? I submit you can’t.

    The only way for energy to get in and out of the system is through the atmosphere. Any flux going through the atmosphere can be seen from space.

    So what? How do you distinguish and separate the sources of the energy which you now see radiating from the surface into space? Or even the radiation from the air two meters above the ground into space.

    [re: Ocean Heat] What goes in is pretty simple, water is virtually opaque to IR and we know how deep various lengths of the visible spectrum and near UV go from direct observation.

    It’s energy which was previously stored. No one knows for how long it was stored let alone the mechanisms responsible for getting it there. When it comes out, it raises the air temperature and has far reaching effects. Yet another confounding factor in determining the percentage of temperature contributed by some particular source.

    You can’t separate them — at least not with what we have to date. And that implies you can’t determine the effect of added CO2 (etc.) to surface temperature observations. The best that can be done is to correlate temperature observations with the sum of amounts present of all contributors. But Wait! How do we even know what all of the contributors are?

  173. Brandon: The case for “buggered up” fixes for climate change is that we as humans don’t control the climate. You have yet to produce any real, convincing evidence that we do. The case was buggered up by bad science, not intelligent human beings who can tell when they’re being bullied into socialism and communism in the name of non-existenent science. Too bad the faithful followers can’t figure that out, too, isn’t it?

    Sorry. All I see is really lousy models that can’t forecast and politics grabbing said shoddy science and running with it and bullying and battering and pounding and ruining whatever innovation and comfort humans have. You can trust with 1100% certainty that those who propose these “solutions” will never actually live under the same rules. Which in and of itself is reason to back away and say NO, NO, NO.

    Right now, I’m not content to take a blurry photo of Bigfoot and declare with 95% or 98% certainty that the creature exists. You seem to be. I can’t really convince you otherwise because you believe based on a blurry picture that you have faith in. Unlike most, you at least keep searching for a clearer picture, but in the meantime, you want the creature to be declared real, named, and described in science books. That’s just not the standard of science, it’s the standard of myths and legends and wishes and hoping. You want us to start preparing for Bigfoot to arrive and integrate into society because we have a blurry picture.

    I know you don’t have the same political aspirations for climate change that many do, but you CANNOT separate the two at this point. Wanting to claim climate change is real and we control the climate is saying we have to drop to pre-industrial living and if millions die or bad things happen, so be it. Your science heros caused this—they did not stand up and stop it when it began. So don’t complain to me about this—complain to the scientists who did NOTHING. They are at fault. I’m not listening anymore. You go confront the CAUSE of the mess. Skeptics are the ones who tried to stop it.

  174. DAV:

    More importantly, that there is a single mapping is untestable. This makes it a perfect vehicle for charlatans brandishing their “scientific” credentials and crying out that the world will come to an end unless the people of the world do as they are told.

  175. Brandon:

    Contrary to what might be thought, the values of those “indices” are not events. Prior to AR5 IPCC assessment reports make no reference to the events underlying the climate models. When a model is based upon events, its claims may be falsified or validated through comparison of the predicted to the observed relative frequencies of the outcomes of statistically independent observed events. When there are no events, these claims can neither be falsified nor validated. However they can be evaluated. “Evaluated” is an existing term to which IPCC management assigned a new meaning when Vincent Gray pointed out to the management that IPCC assessment reports were lying when they claimed the IPCC models were validated ( see his article “Spinning the Climate”). To people who don’t know very much about research methods e.g. politicians, journalists and members of the general public, it sounds as though a model has been validated when it has been evaluated but this appearance is false and misleading.

  176. Brandon:

    What is your argument for the proposition that” “If he knows what does NOT determine temperature, it stands to reason that he knows what does”?

  177. Brandon:

    The claim that “if incoming is greater than outgoing, T will tend to move up, not down. Basic basic, most basic, physics says it must be so” is an example of an equivocation. Though there are systems in which T will instantaneously move up there are also systems in which T will instantaneously move down. In reaching its conclusion your argument relies upon its ambiguity of reference to the system you have in mind. Use of the equivocation fallacy is a logically illegitimate way of convincing a person that a conclusion is true when this contention cannot be proved.

  178. Brandon:

    Energy can and does get into the Earth through conversion of mass to energy e.g. through nuclear fusion, nuclear fission and radioactive decay. Also, energy is known to flow toward Earth’s crust from below. Thus that “The only way for energy to get in and out of the system is through the atmosphere.” is a false proposition.

  179. DAV,

    You are claiming you can look at say a rock or even a landmass; observe it a temperature (t); then tell how it got that way?

    The most likely explanation is that the sun heated them up.

    How do you distinguish and separate the sources of the energy which you now see radiating from the surface into space?

    If you point a sensor at an object, chances are that the IR energy registered in the sensor is coming from that object.

    Yet another confounding factor in determining the percentage of temperature contributed by some particular source.

    SST temperature observations tell us where heat is or is not coming from to affect atmospheric temperatures. The main problem is in prediction since what goes on below the surface is the main driver of when and where retained energy is manifested at the surface, or conversely, drawn down from the surface and retained at depth. I’ve written about those issues at length on this thread.

    Sheri,

    You have yet to produce any real, convincing evidence that we [control the climate].

    I’ve produced evidence that we affect climate, and plenty more that we don’t control it. There’s a difference. The evidence that I’ve produced is convincing to me. That it doesn’t convince you is something only you control. The balance of your post is repetition of points we’ve covered previously, except for …

    You go confront the CAUSE of the mess. Skeptics are the ones who tried to stop it.

    I do speak out against the politics and advocacy I don’t agree with. You’re not the only skeptic between the two of us. Cheers.

    Terry,

    Contrary to what might be thought, the values of those “indices” are not events.

    Assertion without explanation. Show me an example from that list and explain to me why it does not constitute an event according to your definition of that word.

    Prior to AR5 IPCC assessment reports make no reference to the events underlying the climate models.

    According to your definition of “event”, which is beginning to look nebulous to the point of being useless.

    What is your argument for the proposition that” “If he knows what does NOT determine temperature, it stands to reason that he knows what does”?

    Confidently stating that x1 does not cause y implies to me there is some other x2 … xn known to be causal. I made an assumption. But we’ve jumped ahead. You’ve as yet failed to answer how you know that “… temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes.”

    Though there are systems in which T will instantaneously move up there are also systems in which T will instantaneously move down.

    Instantaneous by comparison to the planet yes. Anything with mass has thermal inertia. But let’s not split nanoseconds, eh?

    In reaching its conclusion your argument relies upon its ambiguity of reference to the system you have in mind. Use of the equivocation fallacy is a logically illegitimate way of convincing a person that a conclusion is true when this contention cannot be proved.

    Read the entire statement again:

    Very very basic thermodynamics disagrees with you. If upward and downward flux at TOA are not in balance, what’s inside the atmosphere will change temperature. The planet has enough thermal inertia to change the flux balance at TOA all on its own, but not being a source of heat in the sense of the sun, any sustained flux imbalance must come from external forcings.

    Oh dear, it looks as if I have referenced a specific system! Enough dancing around now, how is it that you know: “temperature is not determined by the magnitudes of the downwelling and upwelling fluxes”?

  180. Terry,

    Energy can and does get into the Earth through conversion of mass to energy e.g. through nuclear fusion, nuclear fission and radioactive decay.

    Yes of course. Explain ice ages to me. Thanks.

  181. I dunno, Brandon. I’m talking about separating the contributions of different sources to the energy of an object and you blather on about what those sources might be as if that really matters in context? Surely, you can’t be that oblivious. Well maybe you are — you do miss the gist of a lot. I don’t understand why you get so easily side-tracked which seems to be the main reason for it. Or maybe not — see the hint below.

    Try rereading what I have been saying and see if you can figure out what the main point was. Or not. I don’t really care.

    Hint: the post was a response to your claim that sources to the current energy of an object can be determined by merely looking at the radiation from the object with a proper sensor. In fact, you claim this separation has been done. Obviously, you can’t support your statement and only you would think an inane response was a good defense, If you had any credibility before then you are seriously damaging it with silliness like your last post.

  182. Brandon:

    My definition of “event” is identical to the definition of the term in the literature of mathematical statistics. Rather than being “nebulous to the point of being useless” “event” is defined in this literature with mathematical precision.

    I gather from your remarks that you are unable to produce an argument for the proposition that “If he knows what does NOT determine temperature, it stands to reason that he knows what does” though having asserted this proposition.

    Your argument regarding the upwelling and downwelling fluxes conflates Earth and its atmosphere with your model of Earth and its atmosphere thus reifying an abstraction and committing the fallacy called “misplaced concreteness.” It is in your model that the magnitudes of the two fluxes determine Earth’s temperature. The argument that on Earth and in its atmosphere two fluxes determine the temperature is refuted by the facts that Earth has many different temperatures and Earth’s atmosphere has many different fluxes.

  183. Brandon:

    That energy gets to Earth by routes other than through the atmosphere refutes your claim to the contrary. Ice ages are irrelevant.

  184. DAV,

    You framed the recent discussion in terms of “sources of energy”, which I interpreted as “sources of radiative energy”. Well, there are essentially three: radiation from the sun, the atmosphere and the surface. I think my recent responses are consistent with how your statements are framed.

    What I was previously talking about was the net difference between incoming and outgoing energy at TOA. Since energy leaving the planet must go through the atmosphere to do it, the spectral signatures of the molecules in the atmosphere are one key method determining the relative contribution to the atmosphere’s observed optical depth. Knowing that ratio, subject to observational uncertainty, is one way of determining which species are contributing to the “greenhouse effect”. Or in terms of your bank account analogy, what the spending rates of the individual wage-earners are.

    Your point is that we cannot directly contribute to knowing how a certain rock reached a given temperature. We don’t know how a particular cubic meter of deep ocean water arrived at its particular energy content, nor for how long it’s been in that particular state. You are absolutely correct, we cannot, nor will we ever in any foreseeable future, be able to do that level of an accounting. We can monitor change, and guess at the dynamics of what’s driving them. Particularly WRT the ocean, ice, clouds, aerosols, etc., the models are miserable failures by any standard.

    That I disagree with you is not for lack of understanding your arguments. I disagree with them mainly because I believe they are ill-informed, but also because where large uncertainties exist I consider that things might also be worse than the worst projection, and I prefer to err on the side of caution. It’s a different mindset. There’s no way either of us will change that fundamental difference between us regardless of how accurately or inaccurately informed either of us are.

  185. Your point is that we cannot directly contribute to knowing how a certain rock reached a given temperature.

    Pretty close, Brandon. It goes all the way back to measuring/determining dT(CO2) using Total T so that the effect/influence/sensitivity of changing the concentration can be determined. It can’t be done — at least not currently.

    What I was previously talking about was the net difference between incoming and outgoing energy at TOA Since energy leaving the planet must go through the atmosphere to do it, the spectral signatures of the molecules in the atmosphere are one key method determining the relative contribution to the atmosphere’s observed optical depth.

    Which tells you nothing about the sizes of various contributions to energy at the surface. Looking at spectra only tells you the energy of some things in the atmosphere but not how they got that way and at no time tells you how the surface temperature got to be what it is.

    Remember the bank balance analogy above? You claimed it is possible to get dT(CO2) from a spectra observed from TOA. You have to ALREADY know how to translate the observation of CO2 spectra to the total surface to figure out what effect CO2 has on the surface temperature. Completely circular.

    Getting the influence on the surface temperature a change in concentration of something say, CO2, has at least 3 variables and only one known (if that), You seem to be saying you can get to dT(CO2) by (step 1) knowing the effect of dCO2 (using only the amount of energy flow from the current CO2 level) then arrive at dT(CO2) using an assumed influence then (step 2) turning around and computing the effect of d(CO2) using the dT(CO2) you just calculated. How do you expect to get anything but what you assumed originally?

    The surface temperature depends on the total distribution of energy within the system ( NB: it is also expressed as kinetic energy and not just radiative flux). Even if you can get the total energy — which you can’t — there is no observation from the TOA which will currently give you that distribution.

    And why is this important? Because the effect of human input is being claimed to have a measurable effect when even the effect of doubling CO2, regardless of source, can only be guessed at with no means of verifying the guess.

    That I disagree with you is not for lack of understanding your arguments.

    You might want to start showing you actually do understand them. Your response at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=14313#comment-130866 did nothing to persuade me you even remotely did.

  186. Terry,

    Do me a favor and produce a working definition of event for me to work with. That’s all I need.

    I’ve already said that I assumed from your confidence that you knew of an alternate explanation to determination of temperature. I realize that the middle option “I don’t know” is something I excluded. Is that your answer?

    … reifying an abstraction and committing the fallacy called “misplaced concreteness.” …

    I don’t think it matters what thermodynamic system I propose here. An object absorbing more energy than it disperses, or vice versa, is not at thermal equilibrium. Go argue with basis physics texts about reification.

    It is in your model that the magnitudes of the two fluxes determine Earth’s temperature.

    It’s not my model having been created before I was born. It’s oversimplified and does not hold true in real world application to climate as amply demonstrated by observation. Please get off the soapbox and stop lecturing me about something I’ve already already stipulated several times now.

    The argument that on Earth and in its atmosphere two fluxes determine the temperature is refuted by the facts that Earth has many different temperatures and Earth’s atmosphere has many different fluxes.

    Careful now, you’re starting to talk about statistical populations you’ve not defined and risking an equivocation. On that note, let me rephrase the question. If net incoming flux is greater than net outgoing flux, is the total energy in the earth system increasing or decreasing?

    I want to review your following previous statement because I glossed over something:

    Though there are systems in which T will instantaneously move up there are also systems in which T will instantaneously move down.

    I locked in on the word “instantaneous” when I should have been paying attention to directionality temperature movement. I confess you have me at a loss, for I cannot conceive of an applicable thermodynamic system that will instantaneously cool off when perturbed by a pulse of incoming energy. A gas-filled balloon struck by a BB, yes. The planet? No.

  187. I cannot conceive of an applicable thermodynamic system that will instantaneously cool off when perturbed by a pulse of incoming energy. A gas-filled balloon struck by a BB, yes. The planet? No.

    The planet does this continuously. At its simplest, the dark side is cooling off even though there is incoming energy on the sunlit side. Another example is a hot object (relative to its environment) being heated on one end. The non-heated side will cool off while the other end gets warmer. How do you think heat pumps work? Heat comes in one side and exits on the other. The pump itself may (or may not) heat up. Spacecraft use cold plates to radiate heat generated by internal electronics (and maybe also heat pumps to get it to the cold plate).

  188. Brandon:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.

    Rather than providing you with “my” definition of “event” I’ll continue to concur with the definition in the literature of mathematical statistics. This will provide you with a basis for attacking my contentions regarding events and climatology if it is possible to do so.

    You’ve ducked the issue of whether or not you have reified an abstraction. The reason is obvious.

    The term “instantaneous” comes into play because a variable such as a temperature can have but a single value at a time. This value is the “instantaneous” value. You err and mislead in characterizing the issue as whether or not an applicable thermodynamic system will “instantaneously cool off when perturbed by a pulse of incoming energy.” Generally a thermodynamic system does not have a temperature but rather has a set of temperatures. In the period following receipt by this system of a pulse of incoming energy some of these temperatures may go down while others go up. Thus, the system may instantaneously cool and heat.

  189. DAV,

    It goes all the way back to measuring/determining dT(CO2) using Total T so that the effect/influence/sensitivity of changing the concentration can be determined. It can’t be done — at least not currently.

    I have the same objection here as last time. It is being done. The sticking point as I see it is that the determinations are so close to the observational uncertainties [1] over such a geologically short period of time that you consider them useless. If that’s your actual argument, I’M FINE WITH IT because then it’s a matter of opinion, not fact.

    Looking at spectra only tells you the energy of some things in the atmosphere but not how they got that way and at no time tells you how the surface temperature got to be what it is.

    For how warm or cool a particular rock is, no. On the scale of an entire landmass, it’s a much better hint. I know you’re not big on averaging, which really puts you at odds with this entire topic since climate is defined as average weather, both spatially and temporally. On a planetary scale, the problem reduces to energy in vs. energy out. That’s currently measurable, but not simply nor without large uncertainties.

    You claimed it is possible to get dT(CO2) from a spectra observed from TOA. You have to ALREADY know how to translate the observation of CO2 spectra to the total surface to figure out what effect CO2 has on the surface temperature. Completely circular.

    In a system with co-causalities, such circularities are unavoidable. You’re jumping ahead to the tangled middle where the feedbacks have feedbacks. Forget about ∆Ts for now, I’ve already stipulated that it’s a non-observable which can only ever be inferred, and that a strictly linear relationship will not get it.

    If you agree that total energy in the system must go up if incoming flux > outgoing flux (and the converse), we can continue. My entire argument rests on that concept, and if that’s in contention everything else is just hacking at weeds.

    —————————-

    [1] To wit: I just read an abstract which said something along the lines of, “We calculate TOA energy imbalance as 0.50 +/- 0.43 W/m^2.” When the margin of error is 86% of the calculated value, it’s time to report a problem.

  190. Terry,

    Rather than providing you with “my” definition of “event” I’ll continue to concur with the definition in the literature of mathematical statistics.

    I asked you for “a” definition. It’s very simple, consult one of your texts and I’ll use that definition. One less argument. Easy.

    You’ve ducked the issue of whether or not you have reified an abstraction. The reason is obvious.

    The Master of Assertion without Substance speaks!

    Not my cup ‘o tea, dude. By my ROE, you don’t get to demand answers when simple ones from you are not forthcoming. Come back when you’ve got A definition of event and I’ll be happy to review my alleged reification.

  191. In a system with co-causalities, such circularities are unavoidable.

    Still interested in that bridge?

  192. DAV,

    In practice the criterion for equilibrium is circular. Operationally, a system is in an equilibrium state if its properties are consistently described by thermodynamic theory! ~Herbert Callen

    A more relevant quote:

    Systems tend to subside to very simple states, independent of their specific history … in all systems there is a tendency to evolve toward states in which the properties are determined by intrinsic factors and not by previously applied external influences. Such simple terminal states are, by definition, time independent. They are called equilibrium states.

    http://www.polyphys.mat.ethz.ch/education/beyond_equilibrium_1/callen_article.pdf

  193. Is that a yes?

  194. Brandon:

    I’ll pass on providing you with a definition of “event” in favor of leaving the chore of looking it up to you. If you do this you’ll find that the values of indices are not examples of events.

    “Master of Assertion without Substance speaks” is an example of an ad hominem argument. As everyone knows that an ad hominem argument is illogical when a debater resorts to using one it is a reliable sign that he or she is out of ammunition.

    We’ve debated a number of issues of importance to understanding the current status of global warming climatology. In the course of this debate I’ve refuted a number of your contentions thus exposing errors in the foundation of this discipline that invalidate the discipline’s major conclusions. Thank you furthering the cause of converting global warming climatology from a pseudoscientific to a scientific discipline by taking the opposite side in this debate.

  195. Brandon,

    Figured out your mistakes yet?

    Hint (equilibrium): Look up the many meanings of “equilibrium”. Callen’s statement is a tautology. “In equilibrium” more often than not means “thermodynamic equilibrium”. It is effectively a pun and much like saying X is mathematical if it can be described in terms of mathematics.

    The more telling quote in your link is: Finding the relevant state variables is the big challenge of a proper thermodynamic formulation of a particular system.

    Hint (circular): the basic definition of “circular,” when not applied to a geometric shape, means “returns to a given point” much like a circle does. I was talking about “circular reasoning” which involves conclusions and you jumped from that to “circular definition” (using a poor example no less) which does not involve a conclusion. Two different things.

    The current claim of being able to separate human influence on climate from other causes (say with sensitivity to CO2 concentration changes) involves circular reasoning even when no feedback is assumed.

    This is wandering too far OT and frankly I have no inclination to continue.

  196. Terry,

    I’ll pass on providing you with a definition of “event” in favor of …

    … defending an assertion without demonstrated substance. Here is the link to the list of indices again:

    http://etccdi.pacificclimate.org/list_27_indices.shtml

    Here is the first item of the list:

    FD, Number of frost days: Annual count of days when TN (daily minimum temperature) < 0oC. Let TNij be daily minimum temperature on day i in year j. Count the number of days where: TNij < 0oC.

    It’s your assertion that such criteria do fit the generally accepted definition of an event. Your assertion, your burden of proof. Fail to provide it, and further reinforce the appellation “Master of Assertion without Substance”. Not a polite thing to say to be sure, but one that is directed at your behavior in the specific context of this discussion.

    In the course of this debate I’ve refuted a number of your contentions thus exposing errors in the foundation of this discipline that invalidate the discipline’s major conclusions.

    You say that you’ve refuted a number of my contentions. More hand-waving assertions. And by the way, any errors I have made — and there are likely several — are mine and mine alone. They do not expose the errors in the foundation of climatology, they only expose my errors. Congratulations on “refuting” global warming theory by using an ad hominem argument.

  197. DAV,

    This is wandering too far OT and frankly I have no inclination to continue.

    Too bad. I thought the conversation was just getting interesting because it was challenging my assumptions and beliefs thereby forcing me to think and read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2016 William M. Briggs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑