At the climate website No Tricks Zone, there is a picture of various estimates of CO2 climate sensitivity estimates. These are the guesses of how much the temperature would increase if atmospheric carbon dioxide would double from its pre-industrial levels.
This sensitivity is measured as a “transient climate response” (TCS), noting the near-terms effects, or by “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS), which are the long-term effects, assuming that CO2 stops increasing. The higher either of these numbers is, the more we have to worry about.
Each estimate is taken from a peer-reviewed scientific paper. The first comes in 2001 from the authors Andronova and Schlesinger, with the estimate of 3oC. The highest estimate (in this graph) is 6oC in 2002 from Gregory.
Not All Jokes are Funny
Then something funny happens.
Frame puts the estimate at about 2.8oC by 2005. Skeje guessed 2.8oC in 2014. Not pictured is a paper I co-wrote in 2015, which put the estimate of ECS at 1.0oC. (This paper led to a witch hunt and hysterical accusations of “climate denial”.)
Finally, Reinhart brings it down to about 0.2oC in 2017.
From this picture we can infer at least three things. First, the debate about global warming was not over in 2000, nor in 2001, nor is it over now. The sensitivity estimates would not have changed if the debate were over. Second, the good news is that we clearly have less to worry about than we thought. This is something to celebrate, right? Right?
The third inference is that we have seen this same graph before. Not once, but many times!
You Can’t Read My Mind
It looks exactly like the graph of extrasensory perception ESP effect size through time. (I wrote a book on the subject, available free at the bottom of this page.)
J.B. Rhine in the 1930s showed the backsides of playing cards to some folks and asked them to use their ESP to “read” the frontsides. Rhine claimed great success, as did Charles Honorton and Sharon Harper in the mid-1970s using the so-called ganzfeld. The 1970s were a time of high excitement in ESP research, with extraordinary claims coming from every direction.
But then came the 1980s and 1990s, a time when […]
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Addenda US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds. If global warming can’t explain it, it’s a “freak”, yet global warming was supposed to be a theory of how the atmosphere worked.
Also, ignore those lines and shaded gray envelopes on the plot. These are examples of the Deadly Sin of Reificaiton. They substitute what did not happen (a model) for what did (the dots).