William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Why Progressives Believe Global Warming

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Everybody believes propositions based on arguments of some kind. All progressives (so far as I know) believe in global-warming-of-doom, defined as if-we-don’t-do-something-the-world-boils. What argument are they using?

Probably more than one, but also probably a variant of the same one. Whatever it is, or they are, is something we need to discover if we’re to have any chance convincing our lost brothers of their error.

Error? How do we know? Easy. The Reality Argument goes like this:

  • P1: The climate has changed;
  • P2: GWD is caused by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (and other gases) exacerbated by a positive heat feedback;
  • P3: Models based on assuming the GWD hypothesis were built and have for decades consistently made lousy predictions,
  • P4: Models which make consistently lousy predictions imply the theories underlying them are false.
  • ———————————————————————-
  • C: GWD is almost certainly false.

Premise 1 is true based on observation. But it doesn’t say how observed changes happen. It might be that Martians (buried deep under the Martian soil so as to avoid detection) are aiming heat rays at our atmosphere. Premise 1 conjoined with Premise 2 is the scientific theory of GWD.

Premise 3 is true based on sufficient multiple observations. A tacit Premise (given P1–P3) is that the scientists building these models have not made sequentially catastrophic blunders such that P2 really is true but that the models have failed to capture this properly because of, say, programming error or deceit. Premise 4 is a (logical) necessary truth.

The Conclusion is thus true. That is, it is true that GWD is almost certainly false. We have not proven beyond all doubt GWD is false. Nobody can prove that. Even if models over-predict for the next two centuries it will always be the case that next year the globe begins to melt. We are also left wondering how the climate has changed. May be Martians after all.

The Reality Argument can also be called the Old-time Science Argument. In days of yore, Premise 4 was a guiding light of science. Used to be part of the famed Scientific Method. That Premise 4 no longer retains its former glory gives us our first big clue about the argument progressives are using.

One possibility for the Progressive Argument is this:

  • P1: The climate has changed;
  • P2: GWD is caused by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (and other gases) exacerbated by a positive heat feedback;
  • ———————————————————————-
  • C: GWD is true.

Premises 1 and 2 are identical, but the conclusion does not follow unless the argument is circular. Which is to say, P2 and C are identical. Perhaps some progressives believe this. But it’s too pat. It would mean that merely hearing P2 is enough to convince. And it doesn’t explain why hearing about the Martians doesn’t convince. Perhaps this is better:

  • P1;
  • P2;
  • P5: A scientist told me P1 & P2 is true and scientists know of what they speak.
  • ———————————————————————-
  • C: GWD is true.

This works: Premise 5 saves the argument from circularity. But it’s thin, because why? Because, for instance, I and other scientists often tell progressives Premises 1 & 2 (the conjunction) is likely false. Even scientists of the IPCC—those buried deep in the AR pages, far away from reporters’ eyes—don’t swear Premises 1 & 2 is true. In short, this argument doesn’t account for those progressives who have heard scientists like me and who are aware of the Reality Argument.

Progressives obviously reject the Reality Argument. Here we must bifurcate. To the political progressive, something like this argument must then hold:

  • P1;
  • P2;
  • P6: If I claim GWD is true, I might gain power;
  • P7: The Reality Argument is problematic for my claim;
  • P8: I’ll use my power to squelch the RA.
  • ———————————————————————-
  • C: GWD is true.

The conclusion does not follow: GWD is not true. But it does not matter to the political progressive whether it is true or false. Consider Senator Boxer who has attacked Reality-Argument scientists who (in Boxer’s words) “confuse the public.” But what about the non-political progressive? Something like this:

  • P1;
  • P2;
  • P9: Some scientists, or at least the press and my politicians, say GWD is true;
  • P10: It would good for my ideology if GWD were true;
  • P11: Reality-Arguments scientists are either ignorant or in the pay of Big Oil, which means the Reality Argument is in some way false, even though it seems true;
  • ———————————————————————-
  • C: GWD is true.

Premise 9 is true, based on observation, and Premise 10 is also true for obvious reasons. You’ll be surprised to learn that Premise 11 is partly true: some skeptics err and others (not me, unfortunately) have been offered and have accepted money from Big Oil. But the conclusion does not yet follow.

The argument is still missing a tacit Premise (P12) which is the genetic fallacy, which here (in brief) says that any who disagrees with what is good for progressivism must be lying. And part of progressivism says man is naturally environmentally evil. These are false, but they are believed. And since they are believed, the conclusion follows: global-warming-of doom is true.

I’d especially like to hear from our progressive pals out there to see how close this is. For instance, one loyal reader often says the Reality Argument is “pro pollution”, which in its raw form is the Circular Argument.

Anyway, you can see how difficult (impossible?) our job of restoring reality is.

136 Comments

  1. You’re being a Vulcan trying to reason with Klingons. Not everything is about science. Or logic. So your first premise probably is wrong (“Everybody believes propositions based on arguments of some kind.”). Some people, my observations suggest, believe propositions and then pick supporting arguments when they need them. They believe because they feel, not think. Their order of operation is backwards from ours. So restoring reality only will come when the misdirecting feelings are replaced with feelings that point in the right direction.

  2. Briggs

    April 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Gary,

    But that’s still an argument. Of course, you’re right that people don’t put it in this schematic manner, but it’s an argument just the same. Why do they “feel” GWD is true?

  3. Considering progressives will outright lie when they know their ideas would not pass the voters if they did not lie, I’m kind of wondering if there is any possibility of reaching a true progressive. Perhaps our time would be better spent conversing with those whose minds are not unreachable. Add to that progressives rarely actually explain anything, but rather spout platitudes and verbatim ideology from the progressive hand book and it’s going to be tough. Note how often a progressive refuses to answer even a simple question–because there are NO questions in progressivism. It is black and white and never is questioned. Never, ever ever.

  4. I think that you are ascribing the belief in global warming to a thought process that did not take place. My thinking is that they got the memo with the talking points (No. 2: “Koch brothers are bad”) from Al Gore or the DNC, and then off to the races!

    The left is incredibly well organized in “getting out the message” to prime their base as one can determine from scrolling the comments of any news story that touches on global warming, or the lack thereof. However, the same-old, same-old reactions are sounding tinnier and hollower than they have in the recent past.

  5. This column gave the progressives a more consistent series of premises than I did. I assumed their logic went like this:

    1. Cigarette smoking is bad.
    2. Cigarette companies lied about the bad effects of tobacco.
    3. Therefore skeptics are lying about the harmful effects of gloal warming.

  6. Gary: I like your analogy!

    Katie: Yes, the left is very organized. I get emails from Organize for Action, which named the greatest global warming denier in congress after having people vote on who it was (never use actual reasoning). They send out emails a dozen times a week, telling you what to think and say.

    Alan: It often does.

  7. Briggs, technically, yes, it’s an “argument” (using JMJ scare quotes just ’cause it’s fun), but I’m trying to address what I think is your point — convincing the other side of the incorrectness of CAGW.

  8. Why do they “feel” GWD is true?

    FUD – fear, uncertainty, doubt. Emotions. It’s how IBM sold millions of mainframes. It’s how politicians and newspapers stay in business. It’s hard-wired in our brains (Kahneman’s System 1) as an evolutionary advantage when there might be a tiger in the bush, but a disadvantage when technology and information are abundant and in desperate need of System 2’s tempering rational thought. Causative arguments for feelings exist, but aren’t always recognized or admitted. Therefore, logical refutations have no standing with the one who feels rather than thinks. Sad, but true.

  9. Two quotes from John Ray of the website “Dissecting Leftism” might help:

    “Until you accept that the aim of Leftists is to hurt, not help, none of their actions makes sense. Leftism, Liberalism, Progressivism are all words for the politics of hate. They hate the world about them. And with motivations like that behind them, principles pass them by like a fart in a breeze.”

    and “Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it.”

  10. Speaking as a progressive, let me explain why we concern ourselves with this.

    First, we are actually concerned that the climate may be changing because of the volume of pollution entering the environment. There is a wide body of evidence this is happening, that carbon pollution is the cause, and that we’re the ones doing it.

    Second, even if we’re not, even if it isn’t happening, we do not see a downside to finding better – cleaner, more efficient, less geopolitically volatile – resources for energy.

    Third, most all progressives understand the need for fossil fuels, regardless of what else is out there. But we don’t care for the political power the of the fossil fuels sector, or how they wield it. Taking them down a few notches would be better for all humanity.

    JMJ

  11. Briggs

    April 27, 2015 at 11:47 am

    JMJ,

    Thanks. Let me digest this. I’ll get back later.

  12. I am concerned about volcanos. We must stop the volcanos CO2 release before it kills us. We’re doomed otherwise.
    http://www.livescience.com/40451-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html

  13. JMJ: You believe in global warming to get even with oil companies. Fascinating…….

  14. Oh, not that JMJ will believe me, but oil companies make billions off alternate energy, etc. They are lapping up the subsidies and getting richer and richer. The idea of getting even with oil companies via climate change is really ridiculous. They are big winners in this. They love it! Subsidies have paid for them building new power plants using natural gas basically for free after massive tax breaks and outright subsidies. Oil companies say “Keep it coming, Keep it coming. We love the subsidies and the useless turbines and panels—we win any way you play this.”

  15. Sheri: You are exactly right. The influence of oil companies on our congress guarantees they end up winning no matter what happens. When forced into providing “green” energy they merely pass the cost on to consumers–which affects the poor disproportionately. Whenever the price of a commodity increases the burden falls hardest on the poor.

  16. JMJ: Finally a post that makes sense!

  17. “Second, even if we’re not, even if it isn’t happening, we do not see a downside to finding better – cleaner, more efficient, less geopolitically volatile – resources for energy.”

    That may be what you personally want, but if it was what progressives as a whole wanted, the focus would be on nuclear power and funding energy research, not controlling CO2 emissions.

    The only CO2 free energy technology out there with any hope of providing more than 1/10th of global energy demand anytime in the next 100 years is nuclear fission.

  18. Sheri and Yawrate,
    You might call it a Pollutocracy.

  19. MattS
    APRIL 27, 2015 AT 3:16 PM
    the focus would be on nuclear power

    JMJ has covered that by by saying ” less geopolitically volatile ”

    An powerful/ dense source of energy such as nuclear is political. It will make its owner prosperous and his neighbors jealous.
    Progressives want to avoid conflict by avoiding progress.

  20. Let’s talk about the sun. That great, big, enormous sun emits loads and loads of heat. To a progressive, the sun can’t contribute to global warming, but the sun is a ready source of “alternative energy” that is going to power cars and homes. How can the sun, that clearly isn’t powerful enough to warm the planet, be the salvation of the green movement?

  21. “How can the sun, that clearly isn’t powerful enough to warm the planet, be the salvation of the green movement?”

    It isn’t that the energy output of the Sun isn’t powerful enough to warm the planet. The problem with a solar cause for global is that the variation in it’s energy output over time is too small to be a major driver of climate change.

  22. Briggs,

    Anyway, you can see how difficult (impossible?) our job of restoring reality is.

    Hmm, it’s not clear to me what you think reality is. Is it:

    a) We don’t know.
    b) GWD is assuredly false.
    c) Some other option.

    I won’t claim progressivism, but will claim liberal. Why that should matter is beyond me — it should suffice that I believe that AGW is real because:

    1) It is described by a plausible physical theory. Beer-Lambert law will get you in the neighborhood.
    2) Since first elucidated in 1896 by Arrhenius, temperatures have risen consistent with what we would have expected according to his basic formulation.
    3) Other known and measured internal and external forcings are not sufficient in and of themselves to explain the majority of temperature rise, especially since about 1950.
    4) We have direct observation from space and ground-based instruments showing absorption and re-emission of longwave radiation in the expected spectral bands predicted by both laboratory observation and line by line radiative transfer codes (yes, those would be models).

    (3) is ripe for attack as it is logically possible that some Force X as yet undetected is wot diddit. (4) wants more time evolution studies to be more convincing.

  23. Brandon: You return–with the same arguments as before even. You’re at least consistent! A plausible theory is not a proven theory, but you know that. More could be discussed, but what I think this post is looking for is how to reach beyond the ideological blindness of the progressives, something you do not seem to suffer from.

  24. Sheri,

    Brandon: You return–with the same arguments as before even.

    I’m on 24-hour time out from my usual haunt today, thought I’d drop in and say hi. Consider it a happy accident!

    You’re at least consistent!

    You’d send me away in a box if I weren’t, yes? Of course I’m consistent, I’m right. 🙂

    A plausible theory is not a proven theory, but you know that.

    Small semantic niggle: I’d say a plausible hypothesis does not a theory make without substantiation. The hypothesis is sufficiently borne out by observation that I consider it theory. That does not mean it cannot be wrong … I consider proof the realm of logic and math. Hypotheses and theories are falsified, a wickedly abused term in my view, but that’s a long discussion as you well know.

    More could be discussed, but what I think this post is looking for is how to reach beyond the ideological blindness of the progressives, something you do not seem to suffer from.

    I don’t know whether thank you for the compliment or take umbrage. You have a particular talent for making me grin and grimace simultaneously. I am having a bit of the giggles, however, so it’s all good. Cheers.

  25. Known fact: I cannot spell “blockquote” properly today. That’s the 5th time at least.

  26. The reason why “progressives” and everyone who hasn’t read up on the topic themselves (or have the ability or confidence to do so) believe in global warming as a serious problem is because all the major scientific bodies have endorsed the IPCC report, and the executive summary for policy makers of the IPCC (the only document anyone ever reads) says so. On top of that the media run various hysterical stories on the topic because bad news sells.

    The public don’t understand that the IPCC is a politicized body, and only in part a scientific body. Nor do they understand that the rubber stamp process is performed by the administrations of the various scientific groups, and aren’t independent assessments. The very few independent scientific assessments of the IPCC that I have read have been highly critical of the IPCC process. Surveys of climate scientist opinions also very mixed. These are never discussed in the media or by politicians. People’s beliefs are authority based, not logic based.

  27. I suppose I didn’t comment on the other part of the question. The reason why socialists specifically endorse, believe, aggressively defend, global warming as a serious problem is because they are puritans but also lost souls, looking for moral causes to make up for a religiosity they need but cannot conventionally accept. In this respect they are the other side of the coin of a certain flavour of religious conservative. They are what they hate the most. Perhaps this is due to some element of self hate.

  28. Brandon, sigh…you keep saying the same thing, but science goes by empirical validation or rejection of the hypothesis. Phlogiston was a plausible theory for heat, but was disproved by Count Rumford’s cannon-boring experiments. The ether was a plausible construct as a medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves, but was invalidated by the Michelson-Morley experiment. AGW is a plausible theory for climate change (if you discount H2O) but is invalidated by the fact that predicted temperature changes don’t occur (and don’t cite the fudged, massaged data by government agencies that contradict atmospheric temperature measurements).
    Although it’s anecdotal, there were times this winter when I said to my wife, where is global warming when we need it!

  29. Bob, there was just too much frigoric this winter and not enough caloric. 🙂

  30. Bob Kurland,

    Brandon, sigh…you keep saying the same thing, but science goes by empirical validation or rejection of the hypothesis.

    As I wrote to Sheri:

    1) If I change my story I’ll get hammered for changing my story.
    2) Just because I consider something to be a sound theory because it conforms to empirical evidence does not mean it cannot logically be false.

    Phlogiston was a plausible theory for heat, but was disproved by Count Rumford’s cannon-boring experiments.

    And the luminiferous aether was still on the books when Arrhenius published his second paper on the so-called greenhouse effect in 1906.

    The ether was a plausible construct as a medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves, but was invalidated by the Michelson-Morley experiment.

    Great minds think alike. Sometimes.

    AGW is a plausible theory for climate change (if you discount H2O) but is invalidated by the fact that predicted temperature changes don’t occur (and don’t cite the fudged, massaged data by government agencies that contradict atmospheric temperature measurements).

    1) How convenient for me that the only data I can use to support my position only go back to 1979.
    2) Considering the oceans as well as land temperatures, the net global adjustments warm the past: http://variable-variability.blogspot.ch/2015/02/homogenization-adjustments-reduce-global-warming.html
    3) Even using the “raw” data only, temperatures have gone up, in accordance with Arrhenius (1896).
    4) Those raw data show two prior periods of ~40 year declines in temperature, the latter one especially interesting because it comes after some effects of CO2 would theoretically already be in operation.
    5) Because of (4), 18+ years of flatter than average surface temperature trends since 1999 don’t impress me … looks like the purely “natural” part of the system doing its deterministic chaos thing.

    I have evidence backed by physical theory not strictly limited to climate to support my beliefs. You’ve got allegations of data tampering, appeals to past theories which have been falsified, a strawman based on The Hiatus, and mutterings about failed model predictions.

    Especially in an article about fallacious thinking, this does not compute. Rather than go by the numbers, let me ask you this: You propose a worldwide — yes, worldwide and long-extant — cabal of temperature data tamperers who don’t have the wherewithal to

    1) also corrupt the satellite microwave sounding data and
    2) fudge the model output to match the falsified observational data with greater fidelity.

    How on this green Earth does that make any reasonably rational sense? We’re well past any empirical evidence here. This is pure logic.

    Although it’s anecdotal, there were times this winter when I said to my wife, where is global warming when we need it!

    Yes, I say the same as well. Except where I live, “cold” is anything below 40 F ….

  31. Scotian, well played. 🙂

  32. Brandon The CO2 AGW theory was falsified in the 1990 when the up troposphere did not warm up as predicted. All the rest you have to say is pure BS, As Feynman put it a the AGW guess failed the test, as since if failed it time for a new guess. A failed guess is a failed guess no matter how elegant it is or how smart you are, time for a new guess. Review this link you might learn something http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2014/04/richard-feynman-on-the-scientific-method-in-1-minute.html, then again not after all that what Briggs was pointing out.

  33. The planet has warmed sporadically for 300 years or so. Arrhenius predicted warming 200 years after it started to happen. The fact that the planet continued to warm doesn’t constitute a novel prediction. The best you can say is that the warming trend is “consistent with” global warming theory. But this information is not relevant the actual question anyway: is the warming going to a serious problem? Also, “consistent with” claims are weak claims, certainly not scientific.

    For example, the disappearance of the garden gnomes in my front yard are “consistent with” my alien abduction theory.

  34. “You propose a worldwide — yes, worldwide and long-extant — cabal of temperature data tamperers who don’t have the wherewithal to”

    It is interesting to comment on the above sort of argument because you see it a lot, not just in climatology but all kinds of different research fields. The argument sort of works like this: “X must be true because authority Y says it is. All their experts agree.” And the second part is “For X not to be true, Y must be engaged in a [global?] conspiracy.”

    You tend to see this line of argument used to support government favoured economic metrics, for example. I.e., what is the real rate of unemployment? Or preferred politically favourable economic policies. The government of the day, or the president, selects a group of experts who support what he wants to do. These researchers are funded and nominated to positions of importance in government authorities. This is business as usual.

    Since this sort of thing happens constantly and repeatedly, I always find it curious that the conspiracy argument is tested. It’s a very childish kind of argument. The government consist of competing self interested and biased groups. What is strange to me is the claim that competing self interested groups will consistently produce objective outcomes, when the opposite is more likely. It’s always a pleasant surprise when government does fund objective and evidence based policies. But it’s not a surprise, and sadly to be expected, when they don’t.

  35. Mark Luhman,

    Brandon The CO2 AGW theory was falsified in the 1990 when the up troposphere did not warm up as predicted.

    In the 1990 what. Did you mean the 1998/99 El Nino event?

    All the rest you have to say is pure BS,

    Original and informative.

    As Feynman put it a the AGW guess failed the test, as since if failed it time for a new guess.

    Well here’s the money quote, which is famous (and infamously abused):

    “In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works.

    If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”

    Nothing about AGW. You have built a straw man and stuffed it into Feynman’s mouth. I know of no source which claims, or has ever claimed, that the tropospheric hot-spot is THE fingerprint of CO2-driven AGW. If you have one, I’d surely love to see it.

    Surface warming and stratospheric cooling, yes: both of which have happened. Tropical tropospheric amplification, no — that is a hypothetical due to any warming from any forcing, natural or no. It’s a lapse-rate feedback mechanism, and it has been very tricky to nail down due to observational uncertainty.

    None of that challenges the radiative forcing component due to optical thickness of the atmosphere. Again I invoke Beer-Lambert law, which is about as far from BS as one can get in physical sciences.

  36. Will Nitschke,

    The planet has warmed sporadically for 300 years or so. Arrhenius predicted warming 200 years after it started to happen.

    Ah, ye olde magical LIA rebound theory. Sheesh. How many times has Dr. Briggs held forth on the topic of noting that a change has happened says nothing in and of itself about why?

    The fact that the planet continued to warm doesn’t constitute a novel prediction.

    I’ve noticed you have a lovely habit of leaving out salient portions of others’ complete arguments.

    The best you can say is that the warming trend is “consistent with” global warming theory. But this information is not relevant the actual question anyway: is the warming going to a serious problem?

    Add “moving the goal posts” to the list.

    Also, “consistent with” claims are weak claims, certainly not scientific.

    Thphtphpht. Well, I picked up that construction hanging around medical research labs in my younger years. “Consistent with”, semi-opposite of “ruled out”. It’s how doctors and researchers I know keep an appropriate sense of uncertainty about what they’re thinking and saying as they make their way toward firmer conclusions.

    For example, the disappearance of the garden gnomes in my front yard are “consistent with” my alien abduction theory.

    True statement. However, here in the rational world, we have this thingy called “plausible physical mechanism”. Or just plain old “plausibility”. AGW is based on first principle of physics, not your imaginary friends from Andromeda galaxy, or LIA rebound pixies.

    “You propose a worldwide — yes, worldwide and long-extant — cabal of temperature data tamperers who don’t have the wherewithal to”

    It is interesting to comment on the above sort of argument because you see it a lot, not just in climatology but all kinds of different research fields. The argument sort of works like this: “X must be true because authority Y says it is. All their experts agree.” And the second part is “For X not to be true, Y must be engaged in a [global?] conspiracy.”

    Something else one notices in a lifetime of dealing with folks who ignore physical evidence backed by sound theory in deference to some ideological hangup is their habit of, well, reading plain language and completely mangling what it says. Out of context quoting on the way to building a straw man is one common technique. You have this drearily common form down to a tee.

    The problem with rebutting Bob’s argument about conspiracy — and make no mistake, that’s my understanding of what the man believes — is that I cannot prove a negative. Here I am NOT saying that AGW must be true because Bob’s conspiracy argument is absurd, I’m saying that Bob’s charge against AGW theory is absurd and doesn’t constitute a falsification.

    It’s a very nuanced difference, and I’m never surprised when unsophisticated and/or dishonest thinkers muck something like that up.

    Since this sort of thing happens constantly and repeatedly, I always find it curious that the conspiracy argument is tested. It’s a very childish kind of argument.

    I always find it amusing that conspiracy/corruption thumpers tend to think of themselves as the only adults in the room.

    In all your musings about gummint-corrupted science, you’ve perhaps forgotten that major scientific journals are for-profit private enterprises, many of which have prestigious reputations to protect and therefore tend to not publish crap on a lark. Nature Chemistry for example has a manuscript rejection rate of over 90%. Same for the Lancet. Both publish much publicly-funded research. Not a fool-proof filter, any more than peer-review itself is — but when (if) we achieve perfection, the practice of science may very well be moot. One supposes that will be a happy circumstance for all of us. Until then, warts and all, we’re all we’ve got so far as I can tell with my own limited perception.

  37. Brandon,

    As soon as I read this –

    “Ah, ye olde magical LIA rebound theory. ”

    Well, if hundreds of research papers that report on the existence of the little ice age and rebound is just a “theory” to you, I guess in the same way that certain religious conservatives view evolutionary theory as “just a theory”, I’m dealing with a crank or an activist or probably both. Certainly you’re about spin, not rational discussion. So that’s where I’ve stopped reading your comment. But if you want to have a grown up discussion with grown-ups, I’m happy to have that conversation. But if your opening sentence is going to be nonsense, that won’t happen.

  38. Certainly you’re about spin, not rational discussion.

    Didn’t take long to notice.

    Like his response to Mark’s As Feynman put it a the AGW guess failed the test, as since if failed it time for a new guess.

    Runs off on a Feynman tangent and says nothing about the observed failed guess. Not to mention his complete evasion of Bob’s point with his world-wide cabal babble that only LOOKS different than his response to Mark.

    He is spreading applesauce and thinks he’s being so clever no one will notice. One can only wonder about the reason for his “24-hour time out from my usual haunt today”. The only reason I haven’t added him to the Appell filter is that it’s too much bother. I will eventually though when his blathering becomes too voluminous as it has in the past.

  39. Hmmm … was it the “app…l” word that kicked that into limbo?

  40. Probably posted a bit late, but anyway.

    P1: The climate has changed;
    P2: Changing the Earth’s forcings can drive climate change
    P3: Human activity could if it remains as carbon intensive as it currently is triple the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in the next 100 years.
    P3: Models based on our understanding of climate and climate forcings have a mixed record of accuracy and are unable to narrow issues such as the climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 to much less than approximately between 2 and 6 degrees.
    P4: In an environment of uncertainty caution is wise, especially when the consequences could be large.
    P5: Using resources efficiently and saving energy via insulation, technological innovation etc is sensible.
    C: Keep doing science on the earth’s climate and forcings. Examine the technology & policy options available to use resources more efficiently.

  41. “In an environment of uncertainty caution is wise, especially when the consequences could be large.”

    This is the fallacious argumentum ad metum (argument from fear).

    We don’t know X, therefore we must act on X. But you can’t act rationally if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. If we don’t know X why fear X? Why not fear something else? Just because it’s a popular fad to worry about X? But we could just as well fear A, B, C… Z. Why not act on those fears as well? Countless things are potentially dangerous. Countless things are not well understood. And actions have costs. Part of the fallacy is to pretend those costs aren’t real. If you act on X out of fear, you will have at least wasted resources – resources that could have been expended dealing with problems that are understood – or made things much worse (law of unintended consequences).

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day people became smart enough to recognise that you can’t do a cost benefit analysis if you can’t measure the cost and don’t know the benefit. Or to put it another way, one stopped trying to give feelings a rational veneer.

  42. Yes DAV

    An apple-ala-dav keeps your comment away.

    I’ve used it intentionally to put my comment in moderation to prevent blurting something out too soon

  43. Will: Good response to the worldwide temperature tamperers argument. Your comment about unemployment was interesting in that unemployment is measured exactly as it has been for over 30 years. I worked in my state’s unemployment office and we counted only those who were actively seeking work just as they do now. What changed was the numbers of people who gave up looking. That number went way up, making the still correct unemployment number look like it was hiding something. No statistics were changed, no conspiracy, yet virtually every news and commentary blames the statistics. It’s not a conspiracy–sometimes it’s blaming the wrong part of a problem . Instead of looking at the Labor Participation Rate and addressing the long-term unemployed, the media and others jumped on the “lying statistic” solution. Totally wrong, but it played well.
    Also, great response on the idea of somehow quantifying fear and acting without any real data. You’re making some excellent points.

    Brandon: You might want to update your beliefs about prestigious journals. First, being for profit, they are going to back the popular theories most likely. Second, the number of fabricated articles and retracted ones are definitely on the rise (check out Retraction Watch or Google this—I don’t have time to link you to all the articles). Quality control is apparently on life support, if even present at all. There is no fool-proof filter, of course. That’s why we are trying to educate people that authorities have agendas, behave badly at times and how to recognize the times authorities are lying or manipulating or are just flat out wrong and don’t care. Education is the only solution to this problem. Sadly, authorities will keep telling people they are too stupid to understand and fight this tooth and nail to maintain their little kingdoms. (Yes, I understand someone having paid $100,000 for a PhD is not about to admit that others may know just as much without actually having the PhD—it’s a depressing thought.) Human beings are soooo difficult at times—but you know that!

  44. Will Nitschke,

    Well, if hundreds of research papers that report on the existence of the little ice age and rebound is just a “theory” to you, I guess in the same way that certain religious conservatives view evolutionary theory as “just a theory”, I’m dealing with a crank or an activist or probably both.

    Magical LIA rebound theory. The key word is “magical”. As in “it just happened and we (don’t care to) know why”.

    Hint: try the Sun.

  45. DAV,

    Like his response to Mark’s As Feynman put it a the AGW guess failed the test, as since if failed it time for a new guess. Runs off on a Feynman tangent and says nothing about the observed failed guess.

    1) Who introduced the Feynman “tangent”, me or Mark?
    2) How does a process driven by deep convection processes relate in any way shape or form to radiative forcing?
    3) Did you not read the bit about observational uncertainty in the troposphere?

    Not to mention his complete evasion of Bob’s point with his world-wide cabal babble that only LOOKS different than his response to Mark.

    1) Which specific point did I evade?
    2) Is it your opinion that Bob does not believe in a world-wide conspiracy to falsify temperature records?

  46. DAV, PS:

    One can only wonder about the reason for his “24-hour time out from my usual haunt today”.

    Something about tone. I have no idea either, the offending post was snipped.

    Is there anything else you’re “just” wondering about, or did you actually have something substantive to say?

  47. Sheri,

    You might want to update your beliefs about prestigious journals. First, being for profit, they are going to back the popular theories most likely.

    Perfect. A gummint-owned journal would back theories conforming to its agenda, the private for-profit ones “most likely” give the paying public what they want. Your position is impregnable, and unresolvable in my view: all the education in the world won’t help a system so rigged.

    Second, the number of fabricated articles and retracted ones are definitely on the rise (check out Retraction Watch or Google this—I don’t have time to link you to all the articles). Quality control is apparently on life support, if even present at all.

    If retractions are up, it would seem that the quality control process is working. By the way, is that absolute number of retractions, or percentage of total articles published? Prestige journals only, or the vanity ones as well?

  48. Brandon, I apologize for not replying to your comment of last evening. The hour was late, and I didn’t want to stir up my juices before sleeping.
    First, I don’t go to links with articles that attempt to show that warmist predictions are correct. There have been so much proven manipulation of data (as shown in my posts) that even if something is in print, it can’t be trusted. There is indeed a “cabal” of workers–I won’t call them scientists–fudging, massaging, cherrypicking, etc. to make a point for publication and to ensure further grants.
    Now, here are several points to which you might respond if I’m to give your future remarks serious consideration.
    1) History gives good evidence that climate variations are influenced by much more than the abundance of man-made CO2. Witness the Medieval Warm Period (and others before that). Why do these climate changes in the past, with changes greater than predicted by warmists not show that other factors are more important?
    2) H2O has a low-frequency bending vibration active in the IR. The abundance of H2O in the atmosphere is much greater than that of CO2. Why isn’t H2O the major cause of re-radiation warming?
    (And I won’t accept arguments about feedback–the arguments that feedback is positive are at best (for warmists) indecisive and more likely that it is negative–see papers by Singer and Lindzen). And as a naive bit of evidence–why is a winter night warmer when it’s cloudy than when the sky is clear?
    3) Even if there were (notice the use of the subjunctive) a temperature correlation between CO2 abundance and temperature, what is to prove that the CO2 re-radiation is the cause? Correlation is not causation. There are many papers showing solar effects (including secondary effects from cosmic radiation) are more significant than re-radiation. And in fact there is work on ice core measurements showing an anti-causal relation between CO2 abundance and temperature: the CO2 abundance lags the temperature.

    So please give me Your Own thoughts on those items (not those warmist apologists)

    PS–what did your comment on Arrhenius (sp?) have to do with the Michelson-Morley experiment? Or was it too late at night and I didn’t understand what you were saying?

  49. Brandon: I didn’t create the system and it probably is completely broken. I differ from you apparently in my belief that humans might actually be able to be educated to look at the data and science, not the authority.

    How does retraction numbers up indicate the quality control process is working? I thought quality control was to prevent bad articles from making it in in the first place. You know, like cereal companies make sure there are no cockroach parts in the box before they seal it and sell it. After the fact is not such good quality.

    Don’t know if it’s the percentage or absolute, etc. I don’t have time to pursue this–If you really want to know, look it up. If not, I’m not wasting my time looking it up for you.

    I’m shocked your tone was a problem. 🙂

  50. Bob,

    Brandon, I apologize for not replying to your comment of last evening.

    No worries.

    First, I don’t go to links with articles that attempt to show that warmist predictions are correct.

    1) Then you’ll only get a one-sided biased view.
    2) The article I pointed demonstrates that net adjustments to global temperature records are net cooling, not warming. It does not argue anything about “warmist” predictions being true or false.

    There have been so much proven manipulation of data (as shown in my posts) that even if something is in print, it can’t be trusted.

    There is no doubt that temperature records are adjusted. And I repeat: The changes are extensively documented in primary literature, on the data providers’ websites, the source codes which do the adjustments are available for any and all to download, review, compile and execute.

    There is indeed a “cabal” of workers–I won’t call them scientists–fudging, massaging, cherrypicking, etc. to make a point for publication and to ensure further grants.

    Thank-you for affirming that my understanding of your views is correct, there has been some question about that from other posters in this thread.

    I comment: into an evidence-based discussion about a physical phenomenon, you impute motive.

    Now, here are several points to which you might respond if I’m to give your future remarks serious consideration.

    I asked you a direct question in my previous post which you’ve not directly addressed:

    You propose a worldwide — yes, worldwide and long-extant — cabal of temperature data tamperers who don’t have the wherewithal to

    1) also corrupt the satellite microwave sounding data and
    2) fudge the model output to match the falsified observational data with greater fidelity.

    How on this green Earth does that make any reasonably rational sense?

    It makes little sense to me to discuss your further questions until we can agree whether the observational data they appeal to are reliable or not.

    PS–what did your comment on Arrhenius (sp?) have to do with the Michelson-Morley experiment?

    Arrhenius (1896) invokes the luminiferous aether as a plausible physical mechanism for ice-age cycles. He mentions it in passing, as the product of a contemporary’s research. My very minor, tenuously connected, point there was that sometimes correct conclusions may be obtained on the basis of faulty assumptions.

    The larger point I’m making is that all assumptions are faulty — we are not omniscient. Extending your “mistakes have been made in the past” argument to its logically extreme conclusion demands rejection of all so-called knowledge based on inference. Yet you pick and choose with little rhyme or reason immediately apparent to me. I consider that a no no.

    Generally I consider “science has fouled up in the past” arguments highly unsatisfactory when used in the context of rejecting a particular theory or hypothesis. I take it as a given that my beliefs not only could be wrong, but ARE wrong in one form or another. Reminding me that my betters have muffed it, past and present, is highly unnecessary. Nor desired. I want a better explanation for the phenomenon in question, not an academic lecture about the foibles of human nature.

  51. Bob, PS:

    And I repeat: The changes are extensively documented in primary literature, on the data providers’ websites, the source codes which do the adjustments are available for any and all to download, review, compile and execute.

    I add: the before and after data sets are available at their most granular level for anyone to freely compare as they wish.

    Just in case the significance of these facts is not clear: I am arguing that this reality is inconsistent with the proposition of a conspiracy to falsify data.

  52. Brandon, I will maintain that up to 2009 there was clear evidence to support my belief that there was a conspiracy amongst leading climate workers to fudge, manipulate and hide original data. See my post
    “Scientific Integrity: Lessons from Climategate”
    http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/2015/01/scientific-integrity-lessons-from.html
    and references contained therein. If you can refute any evidence produced in that post or the references I’d be most interested to see it (and I don’t mean the apologetics of the warmists).
    Now if you maintain that after 2009, there was a great wave of ethics that infused these workers, a mass conversion so-to-speak, I’ll agree to that it is possible, but unlikely. To use a phrase from the Watergate investigations, “Follow the money”. The worth of academic and institutional professionals is, nowadays, based to a very large extent on 1) the amount of grant support they get and 2) the number of publications. Given that editorial boards of many prestigious publications are now biased in favor of AGW and that governmental granting agencies are extremely unlikely to support proposals which would refute or contradict the orthodox AGW thesis (particularly after negative reviews from so-called experts) the prudent course for a professional is to not rock-the-boat and go with the (presumed) consensus (a consensus among administrative persons).
    You mention data is open. How do you know? do you publish or ask to see original data? That clearly was not the case prior to 2009.
    You mention that data manipulation tends to lower temperatures rather than raise them. That is in contradiction to the work I’ve seen reported (don’t have the link now) on Paraguayan weather stations and I’m not sure how anyone could state that with certainty.
    Now that I’ve replied to you, will you address more important scientific questions: the historical evidence that climate change is not dominated by man-made CO2 and the a priori reasonableness that H2O contributes more to re-radiation than man-made CO2?

  53. Brandon, I didn’t see your reply in the series of comments about “LIA”…”try the Sun”
    YES!!! You’ve got it! (If you meant what I think is meant by that.)

  54. Sheri,

    “What changed was the numbers of people who gave up looking. That number went way up, making the still correct unemployment number look like it was hiding something. No statistics were changed, no conspiracy, yet virtually every news and commentary blames the statistics. ”

    Agreed. Perhaps the way the underlying data changed suggested the methodology should have been revised. But it would not be in the interests of politicians (the bosses of those employed) to ever consider that. The question is when is an accusation of fraud or bias reasonable? If a methodology needs changing and it doesn’t change, are you engaging in ‘data tampering’ by not addressing the issue? Some people think so.

    Global data temperature is similar. Many accuse the (very small) groups of individuals who work in this field of data tampering. But I doubt they see it that way. People generally don’t understand that the underlying data is very messy. It was originally meant for weather forecasting, not temperature trend calculation. So what most have done is not simply report the measured temperatures at the time but build a ‘model of temperature’. If two weather stations report a high temperature trend but two near by don’t, how does one adjust the temperature readings to reduce error? Well if your model presumes the planet is warming steadily, the warmer data is assumed more accurate than the cooler data. So is that reasonable? Is it confirmation bias? People start to cry foul when the underlying data shows a cooling trend and the output from the model shows a warming trend. If your data is that messy, that you had to flip the trend, how do you know that your adjustments made the data better and not worse? You don’t. It’s a reasonable concern.

  55. Bob Kurland,

    YES!!! You’ve got it! (If you meant what I think is meant by that.)

    I don’t know why that should be such a surprise. Clearly CO2 isn’t the only factor in play here, and since we don’t see it rising until AFTER the LIA, something else must have done it. First obvious factor is TSI, and very much indeed from the Maunder minimum circa 1650 until the late 19th century, proxy reconstructions of solar output show an increase over the same interval.

    But wait. Correlation is not causation. So we’re both wrong. la la la 🙂

  56. Bob Kurland,

    Brandon, I will maintain that up to 2009 there was clear evidence to support my belief that there was a conspiracy amongst leading climate workers to fudge, manipulate and hide original data.

    Yes, I know. You won’t budge from it and I won’t buy into it.

    See my post “Scientific Integrity: Lessons from Climategate”
    http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/2015/01/scientific-integrity-lessons-from.html
    and references contained therein. If you can refute any evidence produced in that post or the references I’d be most interested to see it (and I don’t mean the apologetics of the warmists).

    Let’s be clear what you are contending: a widespread conspiracy to falsify data toward a motivated conclusion. For that you provide circumstantial anecdotal evidence and then EXTEND that to the general case. I’m telling you that:

    1) Even if (notice the subjunctive) your evidence supports serious malfeasance, falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is a fallacious argument, and
    2) it doesn’t make rational sense.

    It doesn’t make sense because such a widespread powerful conspiracy would NOT be expected to:

    1) show the before and after results of their malfeasance
    2) document the hows and whys of how they effected their changes
    3) freely provide access to both the before and after data AND the source codes for the adjustment algorithms to the public for review.

    As well, such a powerful conspiracy would be expected to match model output with the falsified temperature records.

    To use a phrase from the Watergate investigations, “Follow the money”.

    Potentially a zero-sum argument. Which organizations in the world would we most expect to oppose mitigating fossil fuel use by way of reducing CO2 emissions, hmmm? Follow money? Fine. Follow ALL the money.

    Or we can talk about the science. Appeal to logic, reason, and whatever evidence we can mutually agree isn’t tainted by your thinly-evidenced and nebulously defined conspiracy.

    You mention data is open. How do you know? do you publish or ask to see original data?

    You’ve raised the questions, time for you to cough up evidence that they’re hiding the original data. I’ve got some additional questions for you, of the rhetorical “use your head” sort: Does the word “parsimony” have any meaning to you? Why on Earth would conspirators show two data sets, one before and one after? What embezzler has there ever been that advertises the fact that he’s keeping two sets of books?

    That clearly was not the case prior to 2009.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about; the first time I downloaded surface station data from NCDC, raw and adjusted, was back in 1999.

    You mention that data manipulation tends to lower temperatures rather than raise them. That is in contradiction to the work I’ve seen reported (don’t have the link now) on Paraguayan weather stations and I’m not sure how anyone could state that with certainty.

    Of COURSE it’s a contradiction in what you have seen. You clearly state that you DO NOT READ material from people who are trying to prove the “warmist” conspiracy is correct. And good grief, I’m talking about global land + ocean data here, you’re down in the weeds talking about Paraguay, more sloppy fallacious falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus from you again.

    Guess what: I didn’t believe it at first either. I thought net global adjustments were positive. That is indeed undeniably the case for LAND-based surface data. For OCEANS, the adjustments WARM the past, not cool it. In SUM, land surface + ocean surface results in a net NEGATIVE adjustment to long-term trend. AKA, cooling.

    You’ll never know: you refuse to go and look because it’s on a “warmist” site and you don’t read that kind of stuff.

    Now that I’ve replied to you, will you address more important scientific questions: the historical evidence that climate change is not dominated by man-made CO2 and the a priori reasonableness that H2O contributes more to re-radiation than man-made CO2?

    You’ve replied, but nothing has been resolved; we’re still stuck on your conspiracy theories which to me make little sense and are wholly unconvincing. Nevertheless, while I was awaiting your response, I prepared answers to your previous questions. FWIW, they follow the break.

    ——————

    1) History gives good evidence that climate variations are influenced by much more than the abundance of man-made CO2. Witness the Medieval Warm Period (and others before that). Why do these climate changes in the past, with changes greater than predicted by warmists not show that other factors are more important?

    Answering that question requires quantifying both the magnitude of temperature changes AND the natural forcings which effected those changes. That’s impossible for us to do unless we mutually agree upon which reconstructed temperature time series and forcing estimates are to be considered reliable enough to use for the discussion. As you have raised the question, I consider it your obligation to make the first submissions.

    2) H2O has a low-frequency bending vibration active in the IR. The abundance of H2O in the atmosphere is much greater than that of CO2. Why isn’t H2O the major cause of re-radiation warming?

    You and I have discussed this previously. Literature states unambiguously and quantifiably that the bulk of the instantaneous “greenhouse effect” is due to water vapour: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Schmidt_etal_1.pdf

    From Table 1, All sky attribution (including overlaps) column (%):

    50 water vapour
    19 CO2
    25 clouds
    7 all others
    —-
    101 total (>100 due to rounding error)

    And as a naive bit of evidence–why is a winter night warmer when it’s cloudy than when the sky is clear?

    We’ve discussed that before as well. IIRC, you disagreed with my radiative explanation, now you may agree. Interesting. Anyway, my answer now, as then, is: a cloudy sky produces more downwelling IR than a clear sky. See again Schmidt (2001) Table 1 which also makes an attribution estimate for clear sky condtitions.

    3) Even if there were (notice the use of the subjunctive) a temperature correlation between CO2 abundance and temperature, what is to prove that the CO2 re-radiation is the cause?

    I always notice the subjunctive. What I particularly notice is how you have selectively used it:

    1) Where you have used it implicitly declares, by fiat, that no such temperature/CO2 correlation exists.
    2) You then raise the question, “what is to prove the CO2 re-radiation is the cause”?

    Essentially there is no further answer I can give which will satisfy you. It gets worse:

    Correlation is not causation. There are many papers showing solar effects (including secondary effects from cosmic radiation) are more significant than re-radiation. And in fact there is work on ice core measurements showing an anti-causal relation between CO2 abundance and temperature: the CO2 abundance lags the temperature.

    Which papers? How do they show those things? Specifically; how can they show that those effects are MORE significant than re-radiation IF (notice the use of the subjunctive) the effects of CO2 re-radiation are NOT known as you imply above?

    And you’d better take care that no correlations whatsoever were used in those papers’ findings since, as we all know, correlation is not causation.

    And in fact there is work on ice core measurements showing an anti-causal relation between CO2 abundance and temperature: the CO2 abundance lags the temperature.

    Yes I know — we’ve also discussed that here, many times. Questions for you:

    1) Why do you trust ice core data? Are J.R. Petit and R.B. Alley NOT part of the international same cabal of “warmists” who are tampering data? Why or why not?
    2) Did you not learn about the concept of co-causality somewhere along the way in your training to be a working physicist? I mean seriously, where would the concept of equilibrium in the thermodynamic or chemical sense be without it?

    Go back to my original comment on this thread. Do you deny the Beer-Lambert principle as a real physical phenomenon?

  57. Of course I believe in the Beer-Lambert Law, but so what? I can’t make any sense of your arguments, or your replies. The principles of scientific integrity have been violated by the principal proponents of AGW and you do not deny that, nor do you show any evidence that this still isn’t being done. As a scientist, a physicist who has reviewed and been reviewed, and I wonder whether you have any notion of how science should be carried out. But that is speculation and I think at this point I don’t have anything to contribute to your views on this and you certainly don’t have anything to contribute to mine.

  58. “Magical LIA rebound theory. The key word is “magical”. As in “it just happened and we (don’t care to) know why”. Hint: try the Sun.”

    I’d like to comment on this type of argument, because of all the bogus arguments tossed around, it’s one of the most clearly stupid. It owes its popularity mainly because some of the leading climate modelers promote this style of argument, so it tends to get repeated robot fashion on internet forums.

    Because this logical fallacy is relatively new I’m not sure it has a name. If it does, please let me know what it’s currently being called. It’s actually a strange reversal of the more common argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    The form of this argument is as follows: we know everything there is to know about everything. If we don’t know something, because we know everything, our best (or any reasonable) guess must be true.

    Example:

    Leeches and blood letting were the correct medical practices in the middle ages because we did not have better treatments.

    CO2 explains recent temperature variations because we can’t think of a better explanation.

    Or in other words, theory X is true because it is better to have any theory to explain Y than have no theory.

    Another side to this issue is the claim that either alternate explanations don’t exist, or something requires a sophisticated explanation when no explanation may actually be required. One person might argue that CO2 has caused recent temperature rise and another might argue it’s caused by the sun, when in fact neither explanation is very satisfactory.

    But it’s always important to put things into their proper perspective. Our planet’s surface is a giant ball of gases and liquids. Energy is entering and leaving the system and we observe small and larger oscillations in temperature which are perfectly natural and perfectly expected. Month to month the global temperature will vary by 0.1C or more. People tend to use arguments from personal incredulity to deny these observations. The planet cannot oscillate ‘by itself’ by 0.5C over cycles of 1000 years because… because… it just can’t! Not a very good argument. It’s a bit like arguing that Jupiter’s Red Spot doesn’t exist (the observations must be wrong) because… because… well storms don’t last 300 years! Because they just don’t!

    As I mentioned, this is typically the dumbest of all the dumb arguments you see used in this discussion, and both ‘sides’ of the debate tend to make similar mistakes.

  59. Brandon, by the way, I’ll add one more comment and proceed to more profitable endeavours. I know I’m getting older and the distance between the neurons is increasing, but I don’t understand how your comments about 1) the Medieval Warm Period (or other similar historical warm periods) invalidate the proposition that factors other than CO2 (man-made or natural) are the most important in determining climate and 2) that H2O, being much more abundant in the atmosphere than CO2, contributes much more to re-radiation warming. If you explain for the benefit of other viewers, it’d be a good thing. But I’m out of here.

  60. Will: I agree most definitely with your comments on temperature records. The same is true with paleo data. It was never intended to be used for climate change calculations to the 1/100th of a degree. The data is a mess and to be honest, I don’t know that we can adjust it back to useful. We need accurate data over a long period, not cobbled together bits and pieces. Yes, it would mean we would have to wait to find out if warming is really happening, but that seems better than using really poor data.

    Your explanation of the unnamed fallacy seems quite accurate. I run into that argument a lot—basically that any theory is better than no theory. Or phrased differently, “you have to give me a better theory before you reject mine” even if my theory is clearly wrong and not working. A new theory is not required in order to discard a bad one.

  61. Bob Kurland,

    Of course I believe in the Beer-Lambert Law, but so what?

    What do you mean, so what? At the surface, within tens of meters radiation transmission in the 15 micron band falls to zero. About 1 in 1 million photons absorbed are re-emitted immediately, and that being a quantum effect, generally not in the exact same direction of travel. So scattering, yes? The balance of the time that absorbed packet of energy is transferred kinetically to a neighboring molecule, which the vast majority of the time is not a good emitter in the 15 micron region.

    I can’t make any sense of your arguments, or your replies.

    Can’t or won’t?

    The principles of scientific integrity have been violated by the principal proponents of AGW and you do not deny that, nor do you show any evidence that this still isn’t being done.

    I’m going with won’t.

    1) How can I show you evidence of a non-conspiracy, Bob? I cannot prove a negative.
    2) Humans are fallible. Law of large number favors the argument that some people will do wrong.
    3) It is fallacious to extend one group’s alleged malfeasance to an entire field of study.
    4) It is not my job to “disprove” your allegations.
    5) I am not at all obligated to believe them when they don’t make sense to me.

    By (5), you are under no obligation to believe my defense of my own beliefs. It would be nice that when you challenge me to support my assertions scientifically that you’d stick with the scientific arguments. But you do not do that. Instead you hold me to a much higher standard of scientific proof than you hold yourself by meeting evidence-based reasoning with speculative and fallaciously sweeping accusations of malfeasance. Which I think is tediously tiresome bullcrap and aggravatingly duplicitous.

    I don’t understand how your comments about 1) the Medieval Warm Period (or other similar historical warm periods) invalidate the proposition that factors other than CO2 (man-made or natural) are the most important in determining climate and 2) that H2O, being much more abundant in the atmosphere than CO2, contributes much more to re-radiation warming.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve explained that here. Conflating the instantaneous effects of radiative forcing with the secular trend of long term changes in radiative forcings is not a valid description of the AGW argument. It is a strawman.

  62. Will Nitschke,

    The form of this argument is as follows: we know everything there is to know about everything. If we don’t know something, because we know everything, our best (or any reasonable) guess must be true.

    No that’s not my argument. There is a named fallacy for what you have just done: strawman.

    Would you care to try again?

  63. Brandon,

    That’s exactly your argument. The way an intellectual discussion works is one side presents an argument. The other side may accept it, qualify it, or attempt a rebuttal. The rebuttal requires the other side to demonstrate why the rebuttal is flawed. It’s not sufficient to yell out “straw man”, “you’re wrong”, “try again” or any other variation of “is not big nose!”. You need to defend your position intellectually.

    What you’re doing is fine for pets and small children. If you want to talk rationally with grown ups, you’re going to have to play by the grown ups rules. The grown ups made up those rules so that discussions like this could be based on sound rational principles. However, in your case the situation is even tougher because nearly everyone bothering to read most of what you’re writing (I’m not one of them) thinks you’re a nitwit. Therefore you have to work hard to demonstrate why you’re not a nitwit. I realise that may not seem fair, but that’s the way it works. If you want to have an interesting conversation you have to engage like a grown up.

  64. Will Nitschke,

    That’s exactly your argument.

    No, my exact argument is: Magical LIA rebound theory. The key word is “magical”. As in “it just happened and we (don’t care to) know why”. Hint: try the Sun.

    The way an intellectual discussion works is one side presents an argument. The other side may accept it, qualify it, or attempt a rebuttal. The rebuttal requires the other side to demonstrate why the rebuttal is flawed. It’s not sufficient to yell out “straw man”, “you’re wrong”, “try again” or any other variation of “is not big nose!”. You need to defend your position intellectually.

    Mhmmm. Any time you’re ready to propose a plausible physical mechanism explaining

    1) why temperatures rose from the bottom of the LIA to, oh 1950, and
    2) why temperatures have continued going since then

    you just go ahead and let me know. Until then, all you’ve shown me are pixies.

    What you’re doing is fine for pets and small children.

    I think that people who are serious and have scientific arguments to support their position … use them. Cheers.

  65. Brandon,

    I’ve already responded to everything you’re objecting to. So what are you objecting to specifically? The conversation has already moved past the point you seem to be stuck at. If you don’t understand a point, or disagree, you must ask a question or explain why you detect a flaw in what I’ve already explained. You’ve restated your question but I’m not going to spam the comments section by restating the reply. Note, I’m not especially interested in you as a person and it’s not my job to convince believers not to believe something. I just found your style of argument interesting as it’s a very common sort of fallacy we see all the time. I was making a general point. If you want to modify your position now, that’s not relevant to the original point I made. It’s not “Brandon” I’m interested in, but the general style of argument that “Brandons” routinely make, that I found interesting.

  66. Brandon the person that spews BS is not me. Here is where you beloved AGW went down the tubes in the late 1990. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/228630146_Warming_maximum_in_the_tropical_upper_troposphere_deduced_from_thermal_winds.

    If a guess does not prove out you need a new guess. AGW guess has not proven out in twenty years, all you typing is not going to change that. A consensus does not change that, at best CO2 warm per doubling from .5 to about 1.5 C, that is what it is shaking out to be, the evidence points that way, it the evidence show it to continue trending that way AGW is a none issue. Yet you cling to the guess, I would call you a moron but that would insult morons.

  67. It’s also important that Brandon realise that if someone makes a wry or sarcastic remark, there is no need to quote it, do a meta-analysis of it, or provide detailed commentary. It’s sufficient to roll one’s eyes or grin, and then address the substance of the argument. Being able to remain focused is an important demonstration that you’re a grown up. Otherwise people quickly grow bored and ignore you.

  68. Why do progressives believe in global warming?

    It what gets them out of bed in the morning, saving the planet.

  69. No, my exact argument … Any time you’re ready to propose a plausible physical mechanism

    LOL! Will was right. You just effectively said: Well, what would be a BETTER explanation? IOW: YOUR explanation must be right because YOU can’t think of a better one. It’s your entire argument. As Mark said: there’s no point in insulting morons.

  70. Brandon, your remarks about the Beer-Lambert Law puzzled me (and still do), so I’ll try to explain about the physics of that law. (I’m not trying to show you up but just indulging my pedagogical instincts and teach some physics). The Beer-Lambert Law is a phenomenological law of physics, which is to say it’s empirically derived on a macroscopic view, without any molecular model. (For distinctions between phenomenological and theoretical or model laws, see Nancy Cartwright’s book, “How the Laws of Physics Lie”).
    It says that Absorbance A = – log (I/Isub o) = k CL where k is an empirical constant for a homogeneous medium transversed by a parallel beam of radiation of given wavelength, C is the concentration of the species absorbing the radiation in the medium and L is the length transversed. There are lots of conditions for the law to apply (see the Wikipedia article for a full list). The law is applied to solar radiation passing through the atmosphere by putting in a multitude of constants for each absorbing species.
    Now, the point is that this law has to do with the fraction of radiation that makes it through an absorbing medium, i.e. transmission of radiation, not re-radiation. If you want to try to derive the Beer-Lambert Law from a molecular model including absorption and re-radiation then that is possible, but it is secondary, not primary in considering the molecular processes involved in re-radiation of absorption by a bending vibration mode in the IR.

  71. Brandon: You really don’t read and/or comprehend Will at all, do you? He spent a great deal of time explaining why “we have to have a theory or we can’t discard this current one, even if it’s totally wrong” is not scientific, and then you dive right in and make the same argument. It’s kind of sad, really. DAV noticed your lack of comprehension also. Try letting go of the argument and see if it frees up some of your mind to new possibilities. You might be surprised.

  72. DAV,

    LOL! Will was right. You just effectively said: Well, what would be a BETTER explanation? IOW:

    Yes, In Other Word: yours, not mine. Strawman. Try reading what I write, not what you want me to write.

  73. blockquote fail again, (sigh)

  74. Will Nitschke,

    Being able to remain focused is an important demonstration that you’re a grown up. Otherwise people quickly grow bored and ignore you.

    Notice how the the substance of your remarks is about me, not the topic of this post. Consider taking your own advice.

  75. Sheri,

    You really don’t read and/or comprehend Will at all, do you?

    I believe that I understand him perfectly. He rejects “my” CO2 argument by invoking recovery from the LIA. Upon being challenged to provide a plausible physical mechanism for that observed (well, reconstructed actually) temperature change he lapses into name calling. I even spotted him one plausible physical mechanism already: the Sun.

  76. Bob Kurland,

    I have no objection to your explanation of Beer-Lambert, it conforms to my understanding. I don’t know how to explain this any better to you than I already have, but I’ll try a slightly different way. At sea level, the atmosphere is 100% opaque to radiation at 15 microns for paths on the order of a few tens of meters. Absorbed photons are far more likely to be transferred kinetically to a neighboring non-GHG molecule than they are to be immediately re-emitted. If (notice the subjunctive) what I say is true, do you not see that this would tend to be an energy retention mechanism?

  77. Will Nitschke,

    I’ve already responded to everything you’re objecting to. So what are you objecting to specifically?

    Are you blind? Read the post you were responding to:

    Any time you’re ready to propose a plausible physical mechanism explaining

    1) why temperatures rose from the bottom of the LIA to, oh 1950, and
    2) why temperatures have continued going since then

    you just go ahead and let me know. Until then, all you’ve shown me are pixies.

    The conversation has already moved past the point you seem to be stuck at.

    lol. Well sure, I understand that you apparently don’t have an answer to the above call for explanation and would very much like to move on to … whatever … else you do have answers for. Which of late has been rather focused on your opinion of my mental/emotional age. I doubt you’ll see the irony in that, but I’m sure enjoying it.

    If you don’t understand a point, or disagree, you must ask a question or explain why you detect a flaw in what I’ve already explained.

    Is the problem that I didn’t use a question mark in the above section with the numbered points?

  78. Brandon: No, Will wrote why demanding a different theory before giving up a theory that fails is a fallacious way to argue and then you did just that.

    “Mhmmm. Any time you’re ready to propose a plausible physical mechanism explaining
    1) why temperatures rose from the bottom of the LIA to, oh 1950, and?2) why temperatures have continued going since then
    you just go ahead and let me know. Until then, all you’ve shown me are pixies.”

    So either you just ignored what you did not want to address or you really did not get why this is an invalid argument. Either way, it looks as if you are just repeating the mantra and not addressing objections to it. Concentrating on the LIA looks like avoidance of the issue at hand.

  79. Bob Kurland,

    I missed this my first pass through your comment:

    Now, the point is that this law has to do with the fraction of radiation that makes it through an absorbing medium, i.e. transmission of radiation, not re-radiation.

    Sure. After that law of conservation of energy takes over — the absorbed energy doesn’t disappear. My understanding, which is quite high level and one might even say amateurish, is that re-radiation is covered by field equations derived from Plank’s radiation distribution function.

  80. Sheri,

    No, Will wrote why demanding a different theory before giving up a theory that fails is a fallacious way to argue and then you did just that.

    Time for a reboot.

    I believe that AGW is real because:

    1) It is described by a plausible physical theory. Beer-Lambert law will get you in the neighborhood.
    2) Since first elucidated in 1896 by Arrhenius, temperatures have risen consistent with what we would have expected according to his basic formulation.
    3) Other known and measured internal and external forcings are not sufficient in and of themselves to explain the majority of temperature rise, especially since about 1950.
    4) We have direct observation from space and ground-based instruments showing absorption and re-emission of longwave radiation in the expected spectral bands predicted by both laboratory observation and line by line radiative transfer codes (yes, those would be models).

    (3) is ripe for attack as it is logically possible that some Force X as yet undetected is wot diddit. (4) wants more time evolution studies to be more convincing.

    What part of that has been falsified?

  81. What part of that has been falsified?

    At a minimum: (2) temperatures have risen consistent with what we would have expected

    Since 1998 CO2 has risen almost linearly while temperatures have not, In fact, temperatures hardly at all.

    (3) Other known and measured internal and external forcings are not sufficient in and of themselves to explain the majority of temperature rise

    IOW: the same old Can’t Think of Anything Better argument.
    argumentum ad ignorantiam. You still don’t get it.

    (3) is ripe for attack as it is logically possible that some Force X as yet undetected is wot diddit.

    But you don’t believe it because you Can’t Think of Anything Better.

  82. Brandon: We are at the point where you are not actually discussing anymore. You’ve read this blog and I would hope some other skeptical blogs and you know the reasons why that statement is made. Answering won’t do anything but waste my time and yours. People have explained why here also. If it wasn’t sufficient, then you are not ready to actually consider that global warming may be a false theory. Maybe you will one day, but for now, we are wasting our time trying to explain.

  83. DAV,

    Since 1998 CO2 has risen almost linearly while temperatures have not, In fact, temperatures hardly at all.

    I was quite specific about the interval used to justify my personal belief: 1896-present. 1998-present is a subset of that interval you have introduced, leaving 1896-1998 unexplained.

    IOW: the same old Can’t Think of Anything Better argument.
    argumentum ad ignorantiam. You still don’t get it.

    Yes, IOW: In Other Words — yours. Not mine. Strawman again. Nowhere have I said that my explanation MUST be true. I have gone out of my way to point out places where it could logically be falsified.

    What I AM saying is that I believe the CO2 model of AGW because it is the best extant explanation I am aware of. The true implication of my words is: I can and will be convinced otherwise if someone offers a plausible physical explanation, backed by empirical observation, which better explains observed temperature rise from 1896-present than external radiative forcing due to CO2 +/- a combination of other literature-described factors.

    On that note: Have you offered an alternative explanation? No you have not. What then is your belief? Upon what evidence and/or reasoning do you base it?

    But you don’t believe it because you Can’t Think of Anything Better.

    The Standard Model of physics has known shortcomings. Do you reject it in full on the basis that physicists have not been able to think of anything better?

  84. Sheri,

    We are at the point where you are not actually discussing anymore.

    Way I see it is this: Briggs solicited opinions about why people believe in AGW, and I have offered mine. It’s my opinion that this ceased to be a discussion as soon as you and others began attempting to redefine my own position for me. Maybe one day you will understand that my asking for alternative evidence and logical arguments explaining observed temperature trends is me being what I consider a properly rational skeptical truth-seeker.

    Heck, you might even some day get it that speculating about what goes on inside my own brain, or that of “progressives”, is the least convincing scientific argument of all.

  85. So you ignore the static temperatures since 1998 so you can claim consistency? OK. Not very bright though.

    In Other Words — yours. Not mine. Strawman.

    How dumb. IOW means a paraphrasing. Obviously, they aren’t YOUR words, you silly goose, it’s what your words mean. What I AM saying is that I believe the CO2 model of AGW because it is the best extant explanation I am aware of. is in NO WAY different than a Can’t Think of Anything Better argument. You STILL are unaware of the fallacy in that line of thinking.

    However you are correct in that In Other Words — yours. Not mine. is a Straw Man argument. Very good. I’m surprised you know this but yet you used it anyway. More muddled thinking.

    Sheri is right. You’re not ready for Prime Time and we are wasting out time with you.

  86. DAV,

    So you ignore the static temperatures since 1998 so you can claim consistency?

    No. 1998-present is included in the interval 1896-present. So is 1940-1980

    OK. Not very bright though.

    That is evidently what happens when you do my thinking for me.

  87. Well someone has to do your thinking for you. You insist on demonstrating you aren’t the one doing it. That you keep missing the rather blunt point in re argumentum ad ignorantiam it doesn’t come as a surprise you can’t discern the finer ones.

    I’d think you’d tire of digging that hole you’re in. You might consider a career change unless your presence here is a busman’s holiday. If not, there might be money in it for you. OTOH it’s a boring job but you are after all quite boring.

    So, by all means, keep boring.

  88. Brandon: In science, it’s called questioning, not redefining the position. You keep asking for alternatives but you will not let go of a broken theory until you get an alternative one. We cannot get you to understand why the AGW theory is broken, so you cling to the theory. We’re at an impasse here.

    As for what goes on in progressive or conservative brains, you’re right, that’s not science. It’s psychology. Would you be happy if I wrote a piece aboutwhy conservatives don’t believe and you could critic it (it’s harder from that viewpoint since the reasons are quite varied, but it probably could be done)? We’re looking at the why of beliefs here, not the science. I thought that was made pretty clear. Also, by now you have to know that people will question and question why you believe when you post a comment. I post and fully expect people to question if they want. I consider it part of learning.

  89. Brandon here are online references that indicate the importance of solar output:
    http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/1997/11.06/BrighteningSuni.html
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/06/soon-and-briggs-global-warming-fanatics-take-note-sunspots-do-impact-climate/
    here’s an article on CO2 lagging ice core temperatures:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11659-climate-myths-ice-cores-show-co2-increases-lag-behind-temperature-rises-disproving-the-link-to-global-warming.html
    These are articles, not “peer-reviewed” (whatever that means nowadays) but I haven’t saved the original papers, and this is best I can do on a quick search.

  90. DAV,

    Well someone has to do your thinking for you.

    LOL! Well, I’m glad we got your attitude on thought control out in the open finally. I can’t wait to hear your justification for it.

    That you keep missing the rather blunt point in re argumentum ad ignorantiam it doesn’t come as a surprise you can’t discern the finer ones.

    Pardon me, but how many times have I asked for an alternative explanation for the temperature trend from 1896-present and gotten nothing but [crickets] by way of response? I’ve honestly lost count.

    Also, you’re not answering direct questions posed to you:

    The Standard Model of physics has known shortcomings. Do you reject it in full on the basis that physicists have not been able to think of anything better?

    One wonders why you’ve avoided addressing that one directly.

  91. Sheri,

    Brandon: In science, it’s called questioning, not redefining the position.

    I’m sorry, who exactly is redefining the position here? How has “the position” been redefined? Your first words to me on this thread were: You return–with the same arguments as before even. You’re at least consistent!

    To which I replied: You’d send me away in a box if I weren’t, yes? Of course I’m consistent, I’m right. 🙂

    Second sentence was a light-hearted snark of course, but I was dead serious about the first one. You’d nail me to the wall for changing my story. You’ve got the hammer and nails out now for sure. The grand rhetorical question here is: who defines THE AGW position?

    Note again that Briggs asked: I’d especially like to hear from our progressive pals out there to see how close this is.

    You keep asking for alternatives but you will not let go of a broken theory until you get an alternative one. We cannot get you to understand why the AGW theory is broken, so you cling to the theory. We’re at an impasse here.

    We’re at an impasse here alright, pretty much the same one we always end up at: neither of us accept each others’ definitions of AGW theory. Why SHOULD we?

    We’re looking at the why of beliefs here, not the science. I thought that was made pretty clear.

    Welllllllll …. ?!

    If you want to know the WHY of my beliefs, first it is incumbent upon you to understand WHAT my beliefs are. That SHOULD mean I am free to define them for myself and NOT be compelled to accept your definitions of what I believe. So no, it’s not clear what you’re actually working at here; I’m getting quite mixed messages.

    DAV’s comment was a perfect example of this: Well someone has to do your thinking for you. Would you stand for me wading in here and saying something like that to you guys?

    Also, by now you have to know that people will question and question why you believe when you post a comment.

    Not only do I know that, I expect it. Heck, I want that. What prompted you to raise this as an issue?

  92. Bob,

    The IPCC “admits” that solar variability influences climate.

    Lead/lag does not convince me as “proof” of anything except that the people who invoke it don’t see, or won’t admit to, the potential false dichotomy. Nowhere is it written that one independent parameter cannot be influenced in return by a downstream dependent parameter.

  93. Brandon: I am not defining what you believe. I am going by what you have said–and as noted, you are very consistent. It is important that we have a definition of what the theory is and that it be agreed upon. Perhaps that’s where we should have started. It would make things easier, except for the sad fact that there really is no single definition of AGW or CAGW. Makes it hard to discuss science. In science discussions, you do have to have a clear definition of the theory or it’s not going to work. That’s why the science is so shaky—you have a definition, I have one, Bob has one, Michael Mann has one. How can we possibly figure out if the theory is correct if no one can agree on what the theory is?

    Actually, I have no problem with you telling me someone has to do my thinking for me. I am quite used to that when it comes to global warming. Both sides are very good at making snide remarks, etc. I just go with it. Feel free to say whatever you think to me. Others do.

    What prompted me to raise the issue of your objecting to being questioned is the entire comment chain here. You seem angry that people question you or ask for explanations. It’s hard to tell on the internet, so maybe you’re being misread.

  94. I don’t know how many people here remember back that far, but right up until the early 1980’s socialist/Marxist/progressives still had their own economic theories. (Now, long since abandoned.) I would still get lectured, rather aggressively, by people who believed in socialist/Marxist/progressives economic principles. These weren’t cloistered academics. This would be from someone you would bump into at the pub or some social gathering. I wouldn’t say there were many still around in the ’70-80’s but they were awfully noisy. I didn’t know what to make of them. What they were saying was so obviously stupid there was little point entering a discussion. You just had to roll your eyes. Obviously these people came out of a sub culture with many long standing traditions. Fifty years of historical evidence against them didn’t seem to matter, although these individuals were clearly the last stragglers. I never found these individuals professing their views loudly in pubs or at social gatherings any more after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That appeared to be the last nail in the coffin. I suspect though, such individuals still believe what they believe, they just keep to themselves because they’ve been told to shut up one too many times.

  95. Brandon, here are some more physics comments for you to think about.
    1) Where is the source for “the atmosphere is practically opaque to radiation at 15 microns”? The Beer-Lambert Law states that absorbance A = -k log[I/I sub0] = k c L , so if your statement were to be true then we would have to be living on Venus. I.e. c, concentration of absorbing species would have to be very high for your statement to be true.
    2) Here’s a physics pill for you and readers to swallow:
    Consider that the earth is a black body radiating heat at 300K (a reasonable approximation). Use the Planck Radiation law to estimate the fraction of radiated energy in the wavelength region 14-16 microns (the CO2 bending vibration frequency bandwidth) , which would be given by (amount in the frequency range / total radiated amount) which equals, in terms of a formula
    (u/pi)^(4) x (delta wavelength/ wavelength) x[ 1/(e^u -1)]
    where u = h x frequency /(kT), i.e. the ratio of vibrational quantum to thermal energy …u comes out (if my back of the envelope calculation is ok, to be about 3.2 ; delta wavelength/ length = 2/15
    so the fraction comes out about 0.0057 ….not a terribly significant amount and another argument against AGW.

  96. Brandon,

    (* yAWn *)

    I have said: “That you keep missing the rather blunt point in re argumentum ad ignorantiam“. To which your first sentence in your response was: Pardon me, but how many times have I asked for an alternative explanation for the temperature trend from 1896-present and gotten nothing but [crickets] by way of response. So you’re still stuck on the Can’t Think of Anything Else fallacy.

    I apologize. What you are doing is NOT argumentum ad ignorantiam. That assumes you possess a faculty that is clearly absent. It is argumentum ab idiotam. Once again, I resist the urge to lump you with morons as I recognize they are smarter than you.

    As for hearing crickets. Well at least you’ve got some life in there between the ears. You have been told repeatedly why there is no need to respond with alternate explanations but ….. (* yAWn *)

    Whatever explanation you “think” (I use the term loosely) you have has failed. We don’t need to supplant your failed “explanation”. It’s not much different than the cops clearing a murder suspect. You apparently would insist on keeping that suspect if they can’t find another. Stupid, Idiotic, Moronic. Maybe more but pointless. Nothing phases that vast emptiness between your ears.

    I’m glad we got your attitude on thought control out in the open

    Thinking FOR you is NOT controlling your thoughts. You head is empty. How can I control what isn’t there?

  97. Sheri,

    Brandon: I am not defining what you believe. I am going by what you have said–and as noted, you are very consistent.

    I consider that last a compliment, especially coming from you, thank you. The former: ok, I apologize for not interpreting you correctly.

    It is important that we have a definition of what the theory is and that it be agreed upon. Perhaps that’s where we should have started.

    Ok, yes I agree. I thought I made my definition perfectly clear in my very first post.

    It would make things easier, except for the sad fact that there really is no single definition of AGW or CAGW.

    One that I wish would bite the dust is the “control knob” meme. Summary execution is too good for it. Something long slow and painful. Double that for “the science is settled”. But those aren’t definitions, they’re slogans.

    That’s why the science is so shaky—you have a definition, I have one, Bob has one, Michael Mann has one. How can we possibly figure out if the theory is correct if no one can agree on what the theory is?

    Case by case basis, paper by paper, IPCC AR by AR. Synthesize your own theory. I consider that your right as a soverign human being.

    Actually, I have no problem with you telling me someone has to do my thinking for me. I am quite used to that when it comes to global warming.

    Being used to it doesn’t make it right. By my definition of right, of course … 🙂

    Feel free to say whatever you think to me. Others do.

    As an adversary I generally consider you more of a friendly who knows how to take a good punch when I’m really of the mind to throw one. I’ve long appreciated that aspect of you. Mostly, I try to throw punches at arguments, not people. Sometimes that veneer gets a bit transparent though, eh?

    What prompted me to raise the issue of your objecting to being questioned is the entire comment chain here. You seem angry that people question you or ask for explanations.

    I think I have been clear about the reasons for my objections all along. If you’ve got a particular example you’d like to discuss, please feel free to point it out specifically.

  98. DAV,

    (* yAWn *)

    Past your bedtime is it.

    Thinking FOR you is NOT controlling your thoughts. You head is empty. How can I control what isn’t there?

    I’m the idiot here, was hoping you’d figure that out for me. ‘Specially since that backward moving tricycle you’re furiously pedaling works so dang well.

  99. Oooooh. The burn. argumentum ab idiotam at its finest. Keep up the good work.

  100. A defining trait of a true believer is that there is a hard core of premises that are unquestionable. This is when rational inquiry transforms into ideology. You can have a conversation with the believer as long as the conversation is framed within the system of belief. If you question a premise, the believer may genuinely not be able to understand the question. Or the believer will demand an answer that is compatible with his assumptions. What is a simple question to you or me, and obvious to everyone else, is literally incomprehensible to the believer.

  101. Bob Kurland,

    Brandon, here are some more physics comments for you to think about.

    1) Where is the source for “the atmosphere is practically opaque to radiation at 15 microns”?

    IIRC, Arrhenius (1896) mentions it: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/1/18/Arrhenius.pdf

    Let’s see, plenty of variations of this plot floating around: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/gw-petty-6-6.jpg

    There are better versions which tell us more about what’s going on there, but hosted on sites you don’t like to visit. That’s a clear-sky shot taken probably from orbit but perhaps high-altitude aircraft. Ground temperature of ~295 K or 22 C. In the 15 micron band, the effective temperature shows as 215 K or -58 C. Going by a standard atmosphere lapse rate, that corresponds to an average emission height somewhere between 10-20 km.

    The Beer-Lambert Law states that absorbance A = -k log[I/I sub0] = k c L , so if your statement were to be true then we would have to be living on Venus.

    f

    Venus? No, I don’t think so. We’re only talking about the 15 ?m band here. Look at the plot I provided above. Plenty upwelling LWR is transmitted pretty much straight through in clear sky conditions in the so-called “window” regions between 8-9 ?m and the biggie, 10-13 ?m.

    “Opaque at 15 ?m” does not mean photons in that band never get out, clearly they do as you can tell from the above plot, but more at altitude, (much) less so direct from the surface.

    I.e. c, concentration of absorbing species would have to be very high for your statement to be true.

    Let’s see what you come back with once you’ve considered more of the entire spectrum.

    2) Here’s a physics pill for you and readers to swallow:
    Consider that the earth is a black body radiating heat at 300K (a reasonable approximation). Use the Planck Radiation law to estimate the fraction of radiated energy in the wavelength region 14-16 microns (the CO2 bending vibration frequency bandwidth) , which would be given by (amount in the frequency range / total radiated amount) which equals, in terms of a formula
    (u/pi)^(4) x (delta wavelength/ wavelength) x[ 1/(e^u -1)]
    where u = h x frequency /(kT), i.e. the ratio of vibrational quantum to thermal energy …u comes out (if my back of the envelope calculation is ok, to be about 3.2 ; delta wavelength/ length = 2/15
    so the fraction comes out about 0.0057 ….not a terribly significant amount and another argument against AGW.

    I’m looking again at the plot I provided above and integrating with my eyeballs. Looks bigger than 0.0057 ratio-wise to me. I’ve already pointed you to primary literature, which comes up with 20% at the surface for all sky conditions due to CO2 all by its lonesome. Did you check your maths against that reference? Here it is again, Schmidt et al. (2010): http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Schmidt_etal_1.pdf

    I also recall going through the S/B calculations with you at some point. IIRC, you turned up your nose at them … something about the reference I provided you didn’t like, but you never told me what. I can haul that one out again and go through it with you if you’d like.

  102. (sigh) muffed the blockquotes … again

  103. Will Nitschke,

    If you question a premise, the believer may genuinely not be able to understand the question.

    Any old time you would like to start explaining why the planet increased in temperature from ~1650-1950 and kept going from there would be a good one. You already know, in broad strokes, my answer for the interval 1896-present.

  104. Brandon: I can synthesize my own theory, but we still have to clearly define our theories, which I am guessing would not match, and address each separately. We’re still not addressing whatever it is that global warming advocates call their theory, but rather our own theories. We need a clear statement of what the global warming theory is before we can actually address the errors or lack thereof. I have not found such a clear answer, other than the reference to CO2 gas and Arrhenius. That alone is not sufficient.

    I have a thick skin and don’t mind an occasional punch. I will admit that I earned this from engaging in global warming sparring matches. It’s a difficult arena. It is a good way to learn emotional control and how to formulate a valid argument, how to deal with hostile individuals, etc. I learn both about global warming and about how people think and work from this. I’ve actually learned to enjoy it, even when names are being called. It’s a challenge.

    I don’t have a specific example in mind and unfortunately I don’t have the time to go back and find one.

    (Those block quotes are really kicking your behind! 🙂 )

  105. DAV,

    Oooooh. The burn. argumentum ab idiotam at its finest.

    Yup, I MUST be an idiot because for the life of me I don’t understand how that response answers the following questions I’ve posed to you:

    Re: tropical tropospheric hot spot:
    1) How does a process driven by deep convection processes relate in any way shape or form to radiative forcing?
    2) Did you not read the bit about observational uncertainty in the troposphere?

    On appeals to ignorance:
    1) The Standard Model of physics has known shortcomings. Do you reject it in full on the basis that physicists have not been able to think of anything better?

    Speaking of, there’s this:

    (3) is ripe for attack as it is logically possible that some Force X as yet undetected is wot diddit.

    But you don’t believe it because you Can’t Think of Anything Better.

    So. What’s Force X? Or have you still not thought of anything better than blathering in Latin?

  106. Sheri,

    I can synthesize my own theory, but we still have to clearly define our theories, which I am guessing would not match, and address each separately.

    For me it’s pretty easy. Boiled down to its essence, Arrhenius (1896) says:

    If the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.

    Today, that relationship is expressed by these two simple functions:

    ?F = ? ln(C/C?)
    ?T? = ? ?F

    Where:

    ?F is radiative forcing change in W/m^2
    ? is a constant also with units of W/m^2
    C/C? is the ratio of some new CO2 concentration to any arbitrary baseline CO2 concentration by volume
    T? is surface temperature change in K
    ? is the climate sensitivity parameter in K/(W/m^2)

    Outside of folk who completely reject the notion of radiative forcing due to CO2, the main argument is about the value of the coefficients, the canonical figures for back of napkin scratchwork are:

    ? = 5.35 W/m^2
    ? = 0.8 K/(W/m^2)

    For a doubling of CO2, we have 5.35 * ln(2) * 0.8 = 2.97 K … which “everyone” rounds up to 3.0 K and calls it good. That’s it.

    How LONG the system takes to get to that new equilibrium temperature is estimated to be on the order of a few thousand years give or take a few hundred due mainly to thermal inertia of the oceans. There are zillions of other questions about feedbacks, which are tucked away inside lambda there, but seriously, this is my understanding of The Theory of AGW in a nutshell. Bare-bones as I can make it, seriously, that’s really all there is for my end of it.

    I’ve actually learned to enjoy it, even when names are being called. It’s a challenge.

    We see pretty much eye to eye on this. The emotional control part especially.

    I don’t have a specific example in mind and unfortunately I don’t have the time to go back and find one.

    No worries. I think the actual science is far more interesting. Let’s go with that.

    (Those block quotes are really kicking your behind! 🙂 )

    Past few days I swear. I think I got it right this post … triple-checking … and …. good …. (prays) …

  107. … yay, there may be a God of blockquotes. Greek symbols, not so much. (sigh)

  108. APRIL 29, 2015 AT 10:06 PM

    Yup, I MUST be an idiot because for the life of me I don’t understand how that response answers the following questions I’ve posed to you:

    Yep, you MUST be and dishonest as well. because that was a response to APRIL 29, 2015 AT 8:01 PM

    What a childish thing to do.

  109. swordfishtrombone

    April 30, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Brandon Grates: Arrhenius (1896) says:

    Arrhenius (1906) revised his estimate of climate sensitivity down to only 1.6K, which is much closer to observed warming. He also thought the increase would be beneficial, as it indeed appears to be.

  110. DAV,

    I suppose that makes you the adultish one then. Fitting. I’m thinking that I may not want to grow up. I still don’t see how your … reply … answers any of the questions you keep dodging. Only someone with a truly vacuous position would play the “honesty” technicality you trotted out as a smokescreen. Not very convincing to me. I suspect like all irrational beliefs, such nonsensical garbage is more about convincing oneself. But then, I’d be one to know. Right? Riiiiiiight.

  111. swordfishtrombone,

    Arrhenius (1906) revised his estimate of climate sensitivity down to only 1.6K, which is much closer to observed warming.

    That’s the figure without water vapor feedback. ~4 K down from 6 K was the revision. Reason cited was errors found in some of the observational data used in the 1896 paper. Even though AR5 didn’t make it official, 3 K is still widely considered the most likely value for ECS in literature, so 1906 was about a degree hot than modern thinking.

    1.6 K is a plausible value for transient climate response, consistent with observation though perhaps a bit high? I’d have to look. TCR vs. ECS is very much a modern distinction.

    He also thought the increase would be beneficial, as it indeed appears to be.

    He also thought it would take thousands of years to reach these levels. As well, his main intent in the first paper was to attempt to establish CO2 as the primary causal mechanism of the ice age cycles, something which is now considered very much incorrect.

    I’m hard-pressed to argue that the LIA would have been a better climate for us than today. My main thing is that we know what the past and present look like, and indeed have adapted already to those conditions. We also know that rapid changes in the geological past have been catastrophic. There’s that word, but there’s no way I can sugar-coat mass extinction events. Point is, I think the argument for stability is a good one because the uncertainties are so high as to present an unacceptable risk in and of themselves. Wrecking the present economy is not an option either, nor do I think required and certainly not inevitable.

  112. Brandon, two points: with respect to opacity at the 15 micron band.
    The only reference I could find was for 1950 work by the US Navy which stated that absorbance was 100% (they don’t mean “A” ) –i.e. no transmittance– at 15 microns for a distance of 300 m (about a 1/3 mile). That is not “opaque” in my book. Now you have not considered that H2O is even more opaque than CO2–have you heard about London fog?
    The second point: my calculation is correct. It underestimates the proportion in the following two ways: first, it doesn’t take into account pressure broadening which would increase the bandwidth by roughly a factor of two; second, it overestimates the temperature (300K) and as one goes up in the atmosphere temperature will go down so the wavelength maximum will be shifted to long wave-length…. there’s a T^4 in the denominator of the calculation so that will be a significant effect, but I doubt that it will increase to the figure of 20% that you mention.
    Moreover, you keep assuming that “feedback” is important. That is nowhere verified either by theory or experiment, so until it is, the neglect of H2O renders all speculation about CO2 effects bedtime stories for the bureaucrats.

  113. Bob Kurland,

    with respect to opacity at the 15 micron band.
    The only reference I could find was for 1950 work by the US Navy which stated that absorbance was 100% (they don’t mean “A” ) –i.e. no transmittance– at 15 microns for a distance of 300 m (about a 1/3 mile).

    I got my info from a secondary source which I cannot now locate, which is annoying. I’ve looked for primary sources before without much luck. If you still have the citation handy, I’d appreciate having it myself.

    300 m works for me for purposes of this discussion.

    That is not “opaque” in my book.

    Ok. How do you define optically opaque?

    Now you have not considered that H2O is even more opaque than CO2–have you heard about London fog?

    I believe London fog is similar to San Francisco fog, with which I’m quite familiar. I have considered it, it’s implicit in this reference: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Schmidt_etal_1.pdf

    From Table 1, All sky attribution (including overlaps) column (%):

    50 water vapour
    19 CO2
    25 clouds
    7 all others
    ——
    101 total (>100 due to rounding error)

    The second point: my calculation is correct. It underestimates the proportion in the following two ways: first, it doesn’t take into account pressure broadening which would increase the bandwidth by roughly a factor of two; second, it overestimates the temperature (300K) and as one goes up in the atmosphere temperature will go down so the wavelength maximum will be shifted to long wave-length…. there’s a T^4 in the denominator of the calculation so that will be a significant effect, but I doubt that it will increase to the figure of 20% that you mention.

    Your understanding of what pressure broadening does conforms with my own. Also, as pressure decreases so does absorption cross section, so obviously our 300 m figure from above is going to increase with altitude. That’s one big reason that radiation in this band eventually gets out, but not the only one.

    Now. I made a mistake responding to this point last night by not more carefully reviewing your actual calculation and understanding it for what it is. I think I do now; however, I do not understand the relevance of quantum/thermal energy ratio within a given spectral band when the topic of discussion is optical thickness of any given vertical layer of atmosphere. Please explain to me why you think that ratio matters here.

    An aside: don’t you think a more complete argument wants you to provide a similar quantum/thermal energy ratio calculation for water vapour in its major absorption bands?

    Moreover, you keep assuming that “feedback” is important.

    I don’t feel the need to invoke them for this portion of the argument, and would prefer not to at this point, especially since you’ve already told me that you didn’t wish to discuss them from the get go.

    That is nowhere verified either by theory or experiment, so until it is, the neglect of H2O renders all speculation about CO2 effects bedtime stories for the bureaucrats.

    There is no “neglect” of water vapour, Bob. For crying out loud, here it is AGAIN:

    All sky attribution (including overlaps) column (%):

    50 water
    19 CO2
    25 clouds
    7 all others
    ——
    101 total (>100 due to rounding error)

  114. Bob, PS:

    I wrote: Ok. How do you define optically opaque?

    I think I may see the problem: A = 2 – log10 %T

    I take that relationship as a given, apparently you do not. Hence my confusion.

  115. Brandon, the Planck black-body calculation has nothing to do with species –it gives the distribution by frequency or (equivalently) wavelength of a body at temperature T in thermodynamic equilibrium with its environment. And on thinking about it, taking the temperature as that close to that on earth is probably a good approximation given the Boltzmann atmospheric distribution law:
    r(h) = r(0) * exp[ – ( delta M) gh)/(RT) ] where r(h) is ratio of abundance at height h, r(0) is the ratio at 0 height, delta M is the difference in molecular mass (44-29 for CO2 and atmosphere) g is the acceleration due to gravity, h is the height (say, 1 km), R is the gas constant (8.317 is mks units) and T is temperature (300 K, say)
    back of the envelope gives r(h)/r(0) approximately e^-60 or 10^-26. I.e. at heights above about 1 km, the concentration of CO2 should be very rare, so we don’t need to worry about upper atmosphere stuff.

  116. Got the answer why the Boltzmann law of atmospheres isn’t observed–according to one government publication, “turbulence up to about 100 km” mixes the gases. So above 100 km, the law of atmospheres should hold.

  117. Bob,

    If you really want to dig into some math, try this paper: http://yly-mac.gps.caltech.edu/Radiate/Neptune/correlated-k/Lacis_oinas_correlated_k91pdf.pdf

    Being the simpler, more visual sort, like to look at plots: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/gw-petty-6-6.jpg

    Just eyeballing it, easily 10% of the area defined by the blackbody curve is notched out by the absorption band in the 15 micron band. That’s a hefty chunk of the outgoing LWR, which at TOA is ~240 W/m^2. The theoretical value at 400 ppmv is 5.35 * ln(400) = 32 W/m^2, so my eyeball method is low according to literature because I’m only considering one part of the spectrum.

  118. swordfishtrombone

    May 1, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Brandon Gates:

    [Arrhenius 1906: 1.6K] “That’s the figure without water vapor feedback. ~4 K down from 6 K was the revision.”

    According to Wikipedia it’s 1.6K, revised down from 5-6K and 2.1K including water feedback so I’m not sure where your’re getting your numbers from. It’s possible that Wikipedia’s wrong on this but it sems unlikely given how aggressively it’s usually policed by alarmist zealots. AFAIK, the 1.6K figure is still too high and more likely to be 1.1K. The ‘water vapour feedback’ contribution is likely to be close to zero or even negative according to basic physical principles, i.e., that most physical systems are stable and dominated by negative feedback. The IPCC’s range of 1.5K to 4.5K is ridiculous. In what other area of science has our knowlege get more imprecise after spending millions on research? They tried narrowing the range in AR4 by raising the low end (quelle suprise!) but had to backtrack in AR5 due to reality not conforming to modelled predictions.

  119. Brandon, thank you for the links. The first doesn’t have anything to do with Planck’s Law (did a “find” ) and nothing came up; the second image does not correspond to Planck’s Law and I don’t know where it comes from or how it’s derived. The terrestial black-body radiation at 300K should have a max at 10 microns, and your curve doesn’t show that. Moreover, I don’t think your eyeballing as 10% is accurate. If you think better graphically see the following links:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/01/the-sun-and-max-planck-agree/
    and
    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/07/25/the-sun-and-max-planck-agree-part-two/

  120. Brandon Gates

    May 1, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    swordfishtrombone,

    According to Wikipedia it’s 1.6K, revised down from 5-6K and 2.1K including water feedback so I’m not sure where your’re getting your numbers from.

    From the 1906 paper itself: http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/Arrhenius%201906,%20final.pdf

    Here’s the statement the Wikipedia is citing: … I calculate that a reduction in the amount of CO2 by half, or a gain to twice the amount, would cause a temperature change of –1.5 degrees C, or + 1.6 degrees C, respectively.

    Very next sentence he says: In these calculations, I completely neglected the presence of water vapour emitted into the atmosphere.

    A bit of discourse and math follows and he ends up with: If one uses this correction [for water vapour], one finds that with a change in the quantity of CO2 in the ratio of 1:2, the
    temperature of the Earth’s surface would be altered by 2.1 degrees.

    That’s where many people stop, including the Wikipedia authors. However, very next paragraphs:

    The extra thermal insulation effect by the increase of water vapour must be added to this. The water vapour in the atmosphere does not only keep back the Earth’s radiation, but also absorbs a large part of the solar radiation. This last circumstance works in opposite directions, but not nearly as vigorously as the former. For this related correction, I have used the data of Ångström and Schukewitsch.12 The calculations show that a doubling of the quantity of water vapour in the atmosphere would correspond to raising the temperature by an average of 4.2 degrees C.

    For this disclosure, one could calculate that the corresponding secondary temperature change, on a 50% fluctuation of CO2 in the air, is approximately 1.8 degrees C, such that the total temperature change induced by a decrease in CO2 in the air by 50% is 3.9 degrees (rounded to 4 degrees C).

    A reduction by half can be thought of as a doubling, so there it is. Why the revisions? Looks to be bad data, at least in part:

    My first calculation of this figure gave a slightly higher value–approximately 5 degrees C. In this older calculation, the influence of CO2 was too large, for that the influence of water vapour was valued too low, as Ekholm already commented. This situation was caused in general from Langley’s data, where the quantity of CO2 increases with the quantity of water vapour, so that a slight shift in favour of one results in experimental errors. However, the resulting errors compensate each other for the most part.

    It’s possible that Wikipedia’s wrong on this but it sems unlikely given how aggressively it’s usually policed by alarmist zealots.

    Go read the talk page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Svante_Arrhenius

    William M. Connolley and Hans Erren have a lively debate about some stuff in the first section, later down Hans and someone called Brian A Schmidt have this exchange:

    Reference needed for 1906 alleged decrease estimate for CO2

    There’s no cite for this: “In 1906 Arrhenius adjusted the value downwards to 1.6 °C (including water vapour feedback: 2.1 °C).” I don’t see it in the references either. Did it happen? Brian A Schmidt (talk) 17:38, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

    His 1908 book “Worlds in the Making” continues to use 4C, so I’m going to delete this sentence. See [1] at 53. Brian A Schmidt (talk) 03:41, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

    The 1906 reference is restored, it is in the reference list, anyway the the 1.2 degree value agrees with the unanimously accepted value for temperature rise for a waterfree co2 doubling. The original swedish version of Worlds in the making was also written in 1906. Hans Erren (talk) 00:24, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
    It is in the biography list: Svante Arrhenius, 1906, Die vermutliche Ursache der Klimaschwankungen, Meddelanden från K. Vetenskapsakademiens Nobelinstitut, Vol 1 No 2, pages 1–10 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hans Erren (talk • contribs) 00:26, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

    My view is that there was an edit war and Hans has gotten the last word. I gather part of the reason is that the language is confusing in the English translation from German, and that the original paper may have been written in Swedish. But I’m not sure of Hans’ exact argument — it doesn’t make sense to me what he’s saying and I remain unconvinced that he’s correct. In the grand scheme of things I don’t consider it terribly important … much science has been done since 1906 to draw from.

    AFAIK, the 1.6K figure is still too high and more likely to be 1.1K.

    On what basis? AFAIK, we don’t know; all these figures are estimates. Knutti and Hegerl (2008) offers a quite readable breakdown of the various ways in which they’ve been obtained: http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    The ‘water vapour feedback’ contribution is likely to be close to zero or even negative according to basic physical principles, i.e., that most physical systems are stable and dominated by negative feedback.

    Clausius-Claypereon tends to suggest that you’re wrong about water vapour feedback. The main uncertainty has been clouds. Ice age cycles, which is what prompted Arrhenius’ research to begin with, are a good argument against a strongly negative cloud feedback. As for being dominated by negative feedback, sure; if you want to think of it in those terms, radiative power varying as a function of the 4th power of temperature keeps every object in the universe from undergoing thermal “runaway”.

    The IPCC’s range of 1.5K to 4.5K is ridiculous. In what other area of science has our knowledge get more imprecise after spending millions on research?

    Billions. Ones that aren’t dealing with a massive and complex system such as an entire planet.

    They tried narrowing the range in AR4 by raising the low end (quelle suprise!) but had to backtrack in AR5 due to reality not conforming to modelled predictions.

    CMIP3 ran a tenth of a degree hotter than CMIP5 through The Pause. The IPCC also note that the CMIP5 ensemble is still biased hot by about 10%. I don’t consider this a “backtrack” in the sense that they’re trying to sell snake oil and it isn’t working out for them. Try asking a geologist to predict the next magnitude 6+ earthquake years, months, days or even hours in advance — the billions of dollars spent on plate tectonics research have failed to achieve that, and scores of people every year are killed because of it. Ridiculous, no?

  121. Brandon, with respect to your statement “The water vapour in the atmosphere does not only keep back the Earth’s radiation, but also absorbs a large part of the solar radiation. ”
    if you look at the second link, you’ll see that it is nonsense, as shown by the diagram comparing solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere and terrestial radiation from earth. The vast majority of solar radiation is below the IR region.

  122. Brandon, and what about “Clausius-Clapeyron suggests you’re wrong about water feedback”? The Clausius-Clapeyron equation says that
    ln[ p(T2)/p(T1) = – delta H(vap)[ (1/T2 – 1/T1], i.e. that the vapor pressure of water in equilibrium with liquid gets lower as the temperature gets lower, or as most folks know, a relative humidity of 80% at 30 C, makes one damper than a relative humidity of 80% at 18 C. If you’re trying to say that there’s less absorption by H2O because it condenses, that’s nonsense. Clouds do a good job of absorbing IR at the H2O bending frequency, and pressure broadening increases the absorbance.
    I don’t think the physics is with your argument.

  123. or, if you’re trying to say heating by reradiation from CO2 makes more H2O vapor and less liquid H2O, that’s not a quantitatively supported argument–you have to show that the reradiation is absorbed by H2O and not dissipated to other sources.

  124. Brandon Gates

    May 1, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Bob Kurland,

    Brandon, thank you for the links.

    You’re welcome. I see your other responses, I only have time to respond to your fist post from today.

    The first doesn’t have anything to do with Planck’s Law (did a “find” ) and nothing came up;

    The first link is Lacis and Onias (1991). There is plenty of reference to Planck’s law throughout. “Find” would have missed most of the mentions since the entire document wasn’t scanned for text, only the first page.

    … the second image does not correspond to Planck’s Law and I don’t know where it comes from or how it’s derived.

    The data are from a NIMBUS4 satellite over the Tropical Pacific. The WUWT post containing it is here, along with several other similar images: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/

    That particular figure, plus most of the others, are from Grant W. Petty’s 2006 book, “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation”: http://www.sundogpublishing.com/shop/a-first-course-in-atmospheric-radiation-2nd-ed/

    The first three chapters are available as a preview in .pdf format. As well, all of the figures in the book are available in a tar.gz file as .pdf … see the links down toward the bottom of the page.

    The terrestial black-body radiation at 300K should have a max at 10 microns, and your curve doesn’t show that.

    Mmm, I get 17 microns at 300K as shown.

    Moreover, I don’t think your eyeballing as 10% is accurate. If you think better graphically see the following links:

    lol … well yes, I read SoD’s stuff a lot. I didn’t think you’d like him as a reference. My eyeballs are pretty good, I get 9.66% when I actually throw the data into a spreadsheet and calculate it:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8uR50mjSJ2E/VUQ4mCn9x-I/AAAAAAAAAdY/IIUsevfnRzw/s1600/GW%2BPetty%2BIRIS%2BTropical%2BWestern%2BPacific.png

  125. Brandon, I don’t know how to copy the image from “the Sun and Max Planck” but here’s the URL…
    http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/planck-283-263.png
    the max is at 10 microns for 10 C and a little bit greater for -10 C
    I’ll look at the links you gave, but the picture is not that of the Planck Body radiation, but measured radiation at upper atmosphere.
    Did you put the Planck formula into a spread sheet or data from the image you gave?

  126. this is an edit for the last comment …. as you see from the shift from 10C to -10C in the image I showed, the max moves to longer wavelengths as temperature decreases (as the Planck formula and the observation that ashes get redder as they cool).
    I’ll have to read the links you gave for Petty’s work but the image does not correspond to black-body radiation if the dotted lines represent theoretical curves for temperature… the max is at 10 microns–in the image that you cite it’s at 17 and that’s wrong, so it’s a calculation for something other than black-body radiation, or there’s something wrong with Petty’s work.

  127. Wien’s Law for the max in black-body radiation is lambda sub max =
    b/ T where b = 2.9 (rounded) x 10 ^-3 m K .
    At 290 K this gives lambda sub max = 10 microns.
    for a max of 17 microns, you have a temperature of 170 K (-100 C) so clearly the figure represents an upper atmosphere measurement if it is supposed to represent blackbody radiation. If you look at measured temperature profiles vs height, that’s in the mesosphere or about 55 miles up… see
    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter1/vert_temp_all.html
    and that is not relevant to my original proposition, considering black-body radiation at the earth’s surface.

  128. Brandon Gates

    May 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Bob Kurland,

    Did you put the Planck formula into a spread sheet or data from the image you gave?

    The Planck curves in my spreadsheet are calculated using this formula [1] … http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/d/c/1/dc1f6f75813200b9ae0211f2dff5bbc9.png … which takes wavenumber as an input. The same Wikipedia article (Planck’s Law) gives this formula … http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/1/2/3/1237c0cc75fa2364fbeb2b6e3d61f932.png … which takes wavelength instead. Interestingly, as written that does give a 300K peak around 10 microns whereas the wavenumber-based formula puts the peak at 17 microns.

    Much head-scratching ensued until I noted that the wavenumber is raised to the third power in the former equation, wavelength is raised to the fifth power in the latter. Raising wavelength to the third, instead of fifth, power in the latter formula brings them into agreement. The Wikpedia on Wein’s law derives it using the Planck distribution function, there also raising wavelength to the fifth power. Other places ’round the Web do the same thing. This is very, very curious.

    I’ll have to read the links you gave for Petty’s work but the image does not correspond to black-body radiation if the dotted lines represent theoretical curves for temperature… the max is at 10 microns–in the image that you cite it’s at 17 and that’s wrong, so it’s a calculation for something other than black-body radiation, or there’s something wrong with Petty’s work.

    You are quick to declare apparent discrepancies “wrong”. Petty’s gives are taken from real-world observation of an actual physical body with a surface temperature of ~300 K. VERY clearly the spectral peak is nowhere near 10 microns. I’ll go with observation here and from that conclude the theoretical formulation which best explains observation is to take the third, not fifth power of wavenumber/wavelength, giving us a theoretical peak at 17 microns, not 10. I wish I had a better answer as to why the different formulations, but I don’t.

    At 290 K this gives lambda sub max = 10 microns. for a max of 17 microns, you have a temperature of 170 K (-100 C) so clearly the figure represents an upper atmosphere measurement if it is supposed to represent blackbody radiation.

    As this shot is taken from space by a weather sat in clear sky conditions, we’re seeing a mix.

    If you look at measured temperature profiles vs height, that’s in the mesosphere or about 55 miles up… see [link redacted to avoid spam filter] and that is not relevant to my original proposition, considering black-body radiation at the earth’s surface.

    I don’t know what else to tell you, Bob. Using the third, not fifth, power of wavenumber gives me a Planck curve consistent with observation matching a body with a surface temperature of 298 K, but radiating in the 15 micron band at about 215 K, which is ~10-20 km according to that plot of a standard atmosphere, so from the tropopause + 10 km. That says to me that the atmosphere is virtually opaque to radiation in CO2’s rotational band to at least 10 km from the surface. Thinking along the z-axis only, that suggests that roughly 50% of absorbed radiation below that height is backscattering downward, which cannot but reduce the net rate of radiation losses from lower layers, including, ultimately, the surface.

    ——————

    [1] Watch those unit conversions. Since wavenumber is in inverse centimeters, I multiply by 100 to get inverse meters. Because radiance is given in mW/m^2 sr cm^-1, I multiply the final output by 10^5.

  129. P3: Models based on assuming the GWD hypothesis were built and have for decades consistently made lousy predictions,…

    Show me those lousy “predictions,” (more appropriately, “projections” since they are computed for various scenarios) made by mathematical climate models and then prove they are lousy, if you can! No, I am not talking about those predictions based on a rudimentary statistical model with “time” as the only predictor.

  130. Brandon Gates

    May 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Bob Kurland,

    Brandon, with respect to your statement “The water vapour in the atmosphere does not only keep back the Earth’s radiation, but also absorbs a large part of the solar radiation. ” if you look at the second link, you’ll see that it is nonsense, as shown by the diagram comparing solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere and terrestial radiation from earth. The vast majority of solar radiation is below the IR region.

    Look at the first SoD link you provided in that post. It shows observed absorption solar spectra from both inside and outside the atmosphere in this plot: http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/solar-radiation-incropera-2007.png

    Wikipedia has a prettier version here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Solar_spectrum_en.svg/2000px-Solar_spectrum_en.svg.png

    Both show clear H2O absorption bands, so there’s no “nonsense” here. The interesting question is whether Arrhenius was talking about incoming solar radiation or outgoing. If there were no water vapour in the atmosphere, the surface itself would absorb that radiation — save for any portion of it which is reflected away due to albedo, which is a good portion since average albedo of the planet (including clouds) is 0.3. Various energy budget cartoons put the percentage reflected by clouds + atmosphere at 23%, with the surface reflecting about 7%, that adds up to 30% as expected. The same cartoons show the atmosphere absorbing 23% of incoming solar energy, nothing for outgoing.

    So, you pose an interesting question, but your conclusion of nonsense on the basis of the known spectral characteristics of both solar energy and water vapour does not follow. I don’t have an answer to the questions I myself have raised here … consider it food for thought.

    Brandon, and what about “Clausius-Clapeyron suggests you’re wrong about water feedback”? The Clausius-Clapeyron equation says that ln[ p(T2)/p(T1) = – delta H(vap)[ (1/T2 – 1/T1], i.e. that the vapor pressure of water in equilibrium with liquid gets lower as the temperature gets lower, or as most folks know, a relative humidity of 80% at 30 C, makes one damper than a relative humidity of 80% at 18 C. If you’re trying to say that there’s less absorption by H2O because it condenses, that’s nonsense.

    I’m not trying to say there is less absorption by H2O because it condenses. I am saying that as temperature rises, the C-C relationship suggests an increase in specific, NOT relative, humidity. Increasing the mixing ratio of a radiative gas will tend to increase radiative effects. I’m not attempting to diminish H2O’s radiative role here, but augment it. Our friend swordfishtrombone is the one arguing for a negative feedback due to water vapour, which, if (notice the subjunctive) real would be far more likely due to increased cloud coverage reflecting away more incoming solar flux than would be offset by the increased downward LW flux from the clouds + water vapour.

    It’s been terribly tricksy to nail that down. IIRC, the latest in AR5 puts cloud feebacks anywhere beteween weakly negative and slightly positive. Paleoclimate studies — think full ice age cycles over the past 800 k years — suggest that strongly negative wv/cloud feedback is not a tenable proposition.

    Clouds do a good job of absorbing IR at the H2O bending frequency, and pressure broadening increases the absorbance.

    But of course. And I believe that since H2O has a dipole moment, pressure broadening has a greater effect in the bending modes than would be naively expected for linear molecules such as O3 or CO2.

    I don’t think the physics is with your argument.

    Likely because you misunderstood my argument.

    I think I’m all caught up on your responses, but feel free to point out anything I haven’t addressed.

  131. Brandon Gates

    May 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Bob Kurland,

    or, if you’re trying to say heating by reradiation from CO2 makes more H2O vapor and less liquid H2O, that’s not a quantitatively supported argument–you have to show that the reradiation is absorbed by H2O and not dissipated to other sources.

    I guess I’m not caught up … I missed that comment in my previous response. I don’t get what you’re driving at here, first you say: If you’re trying to say that there’s less absorption by H2O because it condenses, that’s nonsense. Which I was not saying. Now you’re telling me I don’t have a quantitatively supported argument because … CO2 something something something.

    Assume a surface temperature rise for whatever reason. Does specific humidity go up due to increased evaporation from the oceans, which the warmer atmosphere will be better able to retain according to the C-C relationship, or does it go down? What effect will that have on water vapour’s radiative influence in the atmosphere?

    In short, where else would emitted LW from the surface and/or lower layers of the atmosphere go BUT into all the component radiative species? I wouldn’t think photons are all that choosy, save for wavelength-specific values of emissivity/absorptivity.

  132. Brandon, cooling effect by H2O means absorption of INCOMING solar radiation….that’s the only way you parse it. As you can see from the figure I cited there is essentially zero overlap between the curve for incoming solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere and the IR region, which is shown by the curve for outgoing blackbody terrestial radiation. Thus the fraction of INCOMING solar radiation absorbed by H2O vibrations is negligible and there is no cooling effect due to H2O.

    (clouds). If there is less liquid H2O due to heating by absorbed radiation from CO2, then there will be more H2O gas than liquid and absorption of incoming radiation by H2O will be less. If there is no liquid H2O then since the IR bands of H2O and CO2 overlap very little there will be no effect. Simple minded physics for simple minded people such as myself.
    specific humidity is a term used by engineers, not physicists. I have no idea what you’re saying when you used the term. If you talk about the concentration of H2O, i.e. vapor pressure of water, then I can understand

  133. Brandon, I meant to give a separate comment on the “feedback” issue, but neglected to delete the latter part of the previous comment.
    The term “specific humidity” is defined as relative amount of H2O vapor (and I assume that means gaseous H2O) to total . As a physicist I prefer to think in terms of concentration of H2O gas molecules.
    To reprise your argument (as I understand it) an increased temperature over the oceans will increase the amount of gaseous H2O in the atmosphere above it (no need to try to snow people with “Clausius-Clapeyron” equation) , which is reasonable–as you heat liquid water more steam comes off. This increased amount of H2O gas will increase absorption and re-radiation in the IR, hence a feedback effect. A simple-minded explanation that seems reasonable except it ignore a number of complicating factors: turbulence (which destroys, I find, Boltzmann’s law of atmospheres), precipitation (cloud formation), etc. For a more detailed account of the objections see this piece by Roy Spencer:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/09/five-reasons-why-water-vapor-feedback-might-not-be-positive/

  134. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about this subject at this time.

  135. Brandon Gates

    May 2, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Bob Kurland,

    Brandon, cooling effect by H2O means absorption of INCOMING solar radiation….that’s the only way you parse it.

    I’m not arguing for H2O cooling by this mechanism. To me, abosorbtion means “retention of heat”, so we need to be careful what we’re talking about. I naively argue that more wv in the atmosphere means a warmer atmosphere. Whether that translates to a warmer surface in all cases is not clear to me, especially since latent heat transfers away from the surface by way of evaporation, thence convection, ARE a known surface cooling effect. IOW, Arrhenius could very well be wrong. I can’t solve the required maths in my head, and no closed-form analytical solution exists — only numerical methods by way of radiative transfer codes and convection models so far as I’m aware — therefore I’m going to punt and consider it an open question in my mind.

    As you can see from the figure I cited there is essentially zero overlap between the curve for incoming solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere and the IR region, which is shown by the curve for outgoing blackbody terrestial radiation. Thus the fraction of INCOMING solar radiation absorbed by H2O vibrations is negligible and there is no cooling effect due to H2O.

    The figure you cited is theoretical. The one I cited is observational. The wv spectral absorption regions are clearly visible. The apparent reversal of respective stereotypical attitudes on theory vs. observation here is a tad ironic … and a bit frustrating to boot.

    (clouds). If there is less liquid H2O due to heating by absorbed radiation from CO2, then there will be more H2O gas than liquid and absorption of incoming radiation by H2O will be less. If there is no liquid H2O then since the IR bands of H2O and CO2 overlap very little there will be no effect. Simple minded physics for simple minded people such as myself.

    Simple minds like mine think of clouds as having a far greater albedo at short wavelengths relative to dry OR humid atmosphere, so they’re going to bounce more DSW back out to space from whence it came. It would be FANTASTIC if cloud feedback turns out to be strongly negative by this mechanism.

    If you talk about the concentration of H2O, i.e. vapor pressure of water, then I can understand

    I would think so, which is why I invoked the term “mixing ratio”. What matters is density of absorbers per unit volume … or more to the point, absorption cross-section. For the life of me, I don’t understand why you brought up relative humidity. Of the three common ways to think about humidity — specific, absolute and relative — the latter is about the worst way possible to express humidity in the context of radiative transfer.

    To reprise your argument (as I understand it) an increased temperature over the oceans will increase the amount of gaseous H2O in the atmosphere above it (no need to try to snow people with “Clausius-Clapeyron” equation) , which is reasonable–as you heat liquid water more steam comes off.

    I’m not trying to “snow” anyone here Bob, and it gets rather tedious to be frequently accused of doing so: especially since what you just argued WAS and IS my main point.

    This increased amount of H2O gas will increase absorption and re-radiation in the IR, hence a feedback effect.

    See, we’re in exact agreement.

    A simple-minded explanation that seems reasonable except it ignore a number of complicating factors: turbulence (which destroys, I find, Boltzmann’s law of atmospheres), precipitation (cloud formation), etc. For a more detailed account of the objections see this piece by Roy Spencer:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/09/five-reasons-why-water-vapor-feedback-might-not-be-positive/

    Here are the 5 points in order, with my responses:

    1) Evaporation versus Precipitation

    Spencer’s main points are that evaporation constantly increases atmospheric wv content while precipitation constantly decreases it. This is academic. The relevant question is whether a warmer surface and atmosphere will result in an increase, decrease or no change in atmospheric wv content. The working assumption is INCREASE, because relative humidity has proven quite stable by way of observation even as surface and lower troposphere temps have increased. Ponder what that implies by way of absolute number of wv molecules in the air.

    Yes, AOGCMs are all over the place on this point. Few models do clouds and precip exactly the same way even though many share some of the same code. It’s parameters all the way down.

    2) Negative Water vapor Feedback Can Occur Even with a Water Vapor Increase

    An interesting argument, he self-cites Spencer & Braswell (1997), a paper which I know by reputation but have not read. No time like the present — added to my queue.

    3) Cause Versus Effect

    Correlation != causation, yes Roy, we know. That’s why we appeal to theory. And theory tells us that wv concentration isn’t going to want to increase before some other mechanism like increased solar output, or increased insolation at high northern latitudes via orbital parameters, but rather as a response to such events. How such an increase plays out in reality IS a good question, the answer likely comes down to cloud formation. If (notice the subjunctive) wv feedback is negative, it is likely weakly so, and all but certainly due to what clouds end up doing by my reading of literature.

    4) Evidence from Radiosondes

    lol, he cites Miskolczi (2010), a paper he himself ripped to shreds. The more salient point is that Ferenc’s selection of radiosonde data isn’t terribly representative. However, in sum, this is an observational uncertainty argument. There’s no getting around that issue, and digging into it would get me even further off point — this was supposed to be a discussion about CO2’s radiative role, not water vapour feedback. Remember? You didn’t want to talk about feedbacks. Now you do. Why?

    5) The Missing “Hot Spot”

    Kind of a stretch according to my understanding of the issue. This is a double-whammy observational uncertainty argument combined with “teh modulz arr wronggg” gambit. The predicted tropical tropospheric hotspot is not due to radiative processes, but invoked by modeled deep convection processes from the surface which has already warmed. If solar output were cranked 10%, “teh modulz” would STILL spit out a “hot spot” even if CO2 were left static.

    By this hypothesis, convection is supposed to increase, leading to a negative lapse rate feedback in the tropics. That means that upper troposphere temps would increase faster than at the surface which has implications for cloud formation. As I understand it, a major uncertainty is whether cloud formation will be enhanced by the larger amount of wv evaporated from the surface, or inhibited by the fact that convection will have to move moist air parcels to higher altitudes before condensation and precipitation occur. By a quirk of physics and/or simply the present configuration of the system, those two things might roughly offset, meaning little net feedback.

    And that’s pretty much all I have to say about this subject at this time.

    Hmm. Well I made this argument in a recent post: Paleoclimate studies — think full ice age cycles over the past 800 k years — suggest that strongly negative wv/cloud feedback is not a tenable proposition.

    Which I think is key. Perhaps you could speak to that if (notice the subjunctive) there is a next round.

  136. swordfishtrombone

    May 9, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Your reply to my simple little comment is ridiculously long and over-involved, I certainly don’t have the time to plough through it all and I’m amazed that you have the time to write it. I’ll just reply to a couple of points.

    1. I downloaded the Arrenhuis 1906 paper and studied it. You’re quite correct that it asserts a final climate sensitivity figure of around 4K. (Wikipedia-revisionist extraordinaire William Connelly seems to have missed that.) However, the paper is an attempt to argue that CO2 alone is sufficient to account for past ice ages, which is now known to be completely incorrect. Of the 4K figure, 2.4K is water vapour feedback (the actual mechanism for which isn’t explained) which is, I have to say again, highly unlikely to be correct due to basic first-order effects and observation of the actual temperature increase now that we’ve had half a doubling of CO2 since pre-industial times. A small effect (CO2) can’t dominate a large effect (H2O).

    2. In response to my observation that the range of possible climate sensitivity as related by the IPCC is no narrower now than thirty years ago you claim that “Billions of areas of science” are the same. Perhaps you could name a few, because I can’t think of any examples, let alone billions. Even if your statement were true, which it isn’t, it wouldn’t make climate scientists’ lack of progress on this any less of a total failure.

    Incidentally, the IPCC statement on this issue mentions the range “1.5 C to 4.5 C” and the range “under 1.0 C” but doesn’t even mention at all the most likely 1.0 C to 1.5 C range – doh.

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