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Some of you may have heard of a pack of paid shills called The Heartland Institute.

These are the people whom Walmart paid to publish articles supporting Walmart's treatment of workers, and whom Philip Morris paid to bring into question any link between second hand smoking and health risks.

They are also being paid by Exxon Mobile, so it is not a surprise that one of their number, Roy Spencer, has just published a paper:

Spencer, R.W.; Braswell, W.D. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613 (link to full PDF)

which he is heralding in press releases as disproving Global Climate Change.

Those of you who remember polynomial graphs from school will know that the more variables you're allowed to change in an equation, the easier it is to make your equation fit closely to a set of data points.  In fact, if you have the same number of variables as datapoints, you can always get an exact fit.  This is why legitimate scientists, if they use regression analysis upon a bunch of data to come up with a curve that fits it, then carry out a confirmatory analysis using different data, to double check that the fit wasn't just coincidence.

Spencer, apparently, is fond of skipping this step.  He specialises in taking the inputs he wants to be the cause of temperature records (for instance: cloud cover), then using lots and lots of free variables to combine these inputs to produce a a result that is something similar to what's been observed.

To quote one reviewer:

”Well, give me more than 30 parameters, and I can fit a trans-dimensional lizard-goat and make rainbow monkeys shoot out its rear end.”

For those who enjoy reading incredulous scientists writing in full spate, I heartily recommend reading any of the following destructions of Roy's work:

by on Jul. 29, 2011 at 11:23 AM
Replies (31-40):
Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:18 PM
Thanks ... :)


Quoting Clairwil:


Quoting Donna6503:

Didn't NASA just last week published a report that put some doubt in regards to global climate change.



On mobile so I maybe wrong.

No, NASA didn't.  You're thinking of the report I mentioned in the original post which is NOT by NASA (but which does reference data from NASA, among other sources).


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:23 PM
Quoting Jane161:

The variations in sensativity in models in the IPCC is from 1.2C to 6.5C.  This is what I mean by error bars.  When you look at data with the error bars intact so that you can make an adequate analysis of the information, rather than the spoon fed stuff that shows up in the popular press, the results are quit different.

Yep.

They are pretty confident of the based forcing.  The uncertainty comes in with the multiplier interactions.  How much will melting ice change the planet's albedo?  How will a warmer climate affect cloud cover?  That sort of thing.

But, even if things turn out to be the most optimistic scenario, rather than the average or the worst case (which we've no reason to think is less likely), that's still not good - there's no guarantee that we'll stop putting CO2 in and that it will stop at 'just' doubling.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:26 PM
Quoting Jane161:

Yes, the trend they present is close, however, you need to look at the last updates from GISS verses DMI.  DMI uses thermomiters to extrapolate the data, GISS uses a model.  IN the near past GISS has had an extreme uptrend which is not born out by DMI observations.  This points out that GISS is in error.  Even tho GISS uses an anomoly, one must respect the basis of the anomoly and the data input to achieve said anomoly.

GISS  has become the global outlier on increases in temp because of the way they handle the Arctic Data.  I do think it will be corrected in the near future as it is so glaringly obvious that it is in error. 

Would you say the discrepancy is so great that it would invalidate the idea of anthropogenic causes being primarily behind the current rate of gobal climate change, if GISS did turn out to be wrong on the artic data.

Or is this really just quibbling?

Jane161
by Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Clairwil:

Thank you for posting Judith Curry.  She is a treasure trove of information on her site.  I very much enjoy her writings as she does not hold back and tries to determine the causes with an open mind and is very qualified to do so.

As far as sulfates.  Earth Brightness, which NASA has also published about shows that the atmosphere is the cleanest it has been for 40 years.  Sulfate levels are higher regionally, but not globally. This is the important metric here.  The climate response to sulfates is one of cooling, but the overall load of sulfates in the atmosphere has been going down while the temp as well has been flat.

I had a very nice conversation with one of the analysists there, National Snow and Ice Data Center,  a few weeks ago.  I had questioned the metrics of Kaufman's paper because of the data I had aquired from their site.  He confirmed that the atmosphere has really become clean as a whole and that sulfate levels have been declining worldwide for well over 3 decades, this from satillite data as well as earlier sensor flights.

As far as ocean heat content, yes, dynamic currents play a huge role in OHC.  The thing to be careful here in your thinking tho is ocean heat content.  There are regional heat buildups, just as there are regional heat losses.  Overall, ocean heat content has not shown any rise.  And always remember, the surface of the ocean is not an absorber per se of co2 photon radiation.  The effect is lost from evaporation as fast as it is absorbed.

As far as S&P.  I think they are on to something here.  The ERBE has been showing this for some time.  AS to their methodology, as Judith has indicated, I would like to see more.

We have not been warming as the models have indicated.  The bottom line is, we need to know why.  And when we find the answer, we need to incorporate that so that the predictive value of GCM's (Global Circulation Models) is somewhat reliable.  IPCC WG1....don't remember the section....maybe 8?  was very open in admitting that the current GCM's do not handle water vapor/clouds well and because of this, they are not suitable for long term predictions.  I do hope that comes in time.

Jane161
by Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Clairwil:

The raw physics shows that the increase in co2 should cause an approx .24 to .26 increase in global temps.  I am talking the current approx 400ppmv level.

The rest of the warming is from natural effects.  We just left a grand minimum as far as solar.  This is reflected in the flat trend in global temps and OHC.

The main dispute in the science is the sensativity.  This is demonstrated in the wide range that the IPCC has expressed.  1.2 to 6.5 is a lot of range and shows the uncertainty.

It is somewhat apparant that with a clearer atmosphere that radiation has an easier exit, which has been measured with a higher degree of accuracy since approx 2000.

This is why you have leading scientists in the field coming to different conclusions as to why we are not warming.  This demonstrates that no one really has a handle on the "why".

I am glad that S&B have started to examine the why.  The answer can't be found until the question is clearly stated, which it now has been by Dr. Hansen and Prof Trenbeth.  I look forward to more research, and hopefully a verifiable answer.  Right now, this is the elephant in the room.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:42 PM
Quoting Clairwil:
Quoting Jane161:

Kaufman also wrote a paper asserting that the slowdown in warming is from China burning more coal.  However, the measurements of sulfates in the atmosphere has declined since 2003, which should have resulted in a warming bias instead of the cooling trend since 1998 that is being observed.

*laughs and dives back into the data*

This discussion is fun!

Part of the explanation seem to be in:

D. Shindell and G. Faluvegi [2010] "The net climate impact of coal-fired power plant emissions" Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 3247-3260 doi:10.5194/acp-10-3247-2010 (link to full paper)

Apparently there are fairly complex chemical reactions between the sulphates and other stuff in the atmosphere which results in an inertial effect - a transition delay between reducing the concentration and reducing the negative radiative forcing effect.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:49 PM
Quoting Jane161:

I had a very nice conversation with one of the analysists there, National Snow and Ice Data Center,  a few weeks ago.  I had questioned the metrics of Kaufman's paper because of the data I had aquired from their site.  He confirmed that the atmosphere has really become clean as a whole and that sulfate levels have been declining worldwide for well over 3 decades, this from satillite data as well as earlier sensor flights.

Cool!  If you don't mind my asking (and just out of curiosity, not because you in any way need to prove credentials) what is it you do?

I agree with what you said about locality.  Indeed, because of atmospheric circulation patterns, if the industrial sulphur is a significant factor then you'd expect to see it have a greater effect in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere.   Any idea how the average temperature anomaly differs between the two hemispheres, and how that has varied with time?

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 4:56 PM
Quoting Jane161:

The answer can't be found until the question is clearly stated, which it now has been by Dr. Hansen and Prof Trenbeth.  I look forward to more research, and hopefully a verifiable answer.  Right now, this is the elephant in the room.

It is an elephant that may turn out to mug us, hitting on the back of the head with a lead sap.

If the sulphur theory turns out to be a significant factor, we may see a 'double warming' effect.

From the NASA blog, quoting GISS:

We find that while the near-term effect of air quality pollutants is to mask warming by CO2, leading to a net overall near-term cooling effect, this does not imply that warming will not eventually take place. Worldwide application of pollution control technology in use in Western developed countries and Japan along with continued CO2 emissions would lead to strong positive forcing in the long term irrespective of whether the pollution controls are applied immediately or several decades from now. Continued emissions at current (year 2000) pollutant and CO2 levels may have little near-term effect on climate, but the climate ‘debt’ from CO2 forcing will continue to mount. Once pollution controls are put into place as society demands cleaner air it will rapidly come due, leading to a “double warming” effect as simultaneous reductions in sulfate and increases in CO2 combine to accelerate global warming. The only way to avoid this would be not to impose pollution controls and to perpetually increase sulfur-dioxide emissions, which would lead to a staggering cost in human health and is clearly unsustainable.


I don't think there's a lot of support here for the sort of deniers who're hoping this type of uncertainty means they can totally ignore the issue and keep driving massive SUVs.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 5:06 PM
Quoting Jane161:

We have not been warming as the models have indicated.  The bottom line is, we need to know why.  And when we find the answer, we need to incorporate that so that the predictive value of GCM's (Global Circulation Models) is somewhat reliable.  IPCC WG1....don't remember the section....maybe 8?  was very open in admitting that the current GCM's do not handle water vapor/clouds well and because of this, they are not suitable for long term predictions.  I do hope that comes in time.

Yes, the models would benefit from improvement in a number of areas.  Not least in the resolution at which they are run.

But I have a slightly different take on things.  I mentioned that there are a number of forcing factors.  And, as you mentioned, there are a number of masking effects and interactions between factors, some of which act as dampers, some of which act as multipliers - the sensitivity.

I look at things in terms of information theory - signal + noise.

The signal is the factors whose physics we do know about.  If we can see a long term factor build up that we're sure of the effect of, but that effect is being masked because the net effect (the only thing directly measurable_ also includes other shorter term factors, then if we can look back in the past and reassure ourselves that those short term factors are cyclic or limited in magnitude or duration, then they are noise.  They are things we can more or less ignore when making long term predictions.

If you take a 200 year baseline, and look at CO2 concentrations, then shorter term ocean current and solar variations should fall away, leaving you with the base effect.    (ok, vast over simplification, but perhaps you understand what I'm trying but failing to say)

Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Jul. 30, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Who has two thumbs and loves Clairwil because she puts data and sources where her mouth is? And then proceeds to explain most of the things Momniscient believes in even better than Momniscient can explain them to herself in her own brain?

*thumb points to Momniscient

THIS gal. That's who.

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