An informed analysis of IPCC errors

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by chogan2, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Realclimate (you know, that website whose authors are all acknowledged and degreed experts on climate and related issues, as opposed to the blogs by amateurs that are typically cited here) presented a detailed summary of the errors in the IPCC report. It's a nice, well-documented read.

    RealClimate: IPCC errors: facts and spin

    My vote for the key paragraph:

    "To those familiar with the science and the IPCC’s work, the current media discussion is in large part simply absurd and surreal. Journalists who have never even peeked into the IPCC report are now outraged that one wrong number appears on page 493 of Volume 2. We’ve met TV teams coming to film a report on the IPCC reports’ errors, who were astonished when they held one of the heavy volumes in hand, having never even seen it. They told us frankly that they had no way to make their own judgment; they could only report what they were being told about it. And there are well-organized lobby forces with proper PR skills that make sure these journalists are being told the “right†story. That explains why some media stories about what is supposedly said in the IPCC reports can easily be falsified simply by opening the report and reading. ..."
     
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  2. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    I would hardly go to realclimate.org for facts. Definitely a spin machine.
     
  3. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    Between 1998 and 2005 Exxon spent $16 million?
    $2 million per year?
    While the government has spent $2 Billion per year to study climate change.
    If you wanted to prove that the moon was made of swiss cheese, $2 billion per year would entice a lot of evidence to that effect.
    Not to mention the money Goldman Sachs and the Nuke industry are spending to lobby C&T.
     
  4. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    No power and influence there.
     
  5. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    For those interested in the Amazon forest studies and potential future paths, these are the papers that Nepstad mentions in his "Wood's Hole response":

    Nepstad, D. C., et al. (1999), Large-scale impoverishment of Amazonian forests by logging and fire, Nature, 398, 505-508.
    Nepstad, D., P. Lefebvre, U. Lopes da Silva, J. Tomasella, P. Schlesinger, L. Solorzano, P. Moutinho, D. Ray, and J. Guerreira Benito (2004), Amazon drought and its implications for forest flammability and tree growth: a basin-wide analysis, Global Change Biology, 10, 704-717.
    Nepstad, D., I. Tohver, I., D. Ray, P. Moutinho, G. Cardinot. 2007. Mortality of large trees and lianas following experimental drought in an Amazon forest. Ecology88(9): 2259-2269
    Nepstad, D., C. Reis de Carvalho, E. Davidson, P. Jipp, P. Lefebvre, G. Hees Negreiros, E. Silva, T. Stone, S. Trumbore, S. Vieira. 1994 The role of deep roots in the hydrologic and carbon cycles of Amazonian forests and pastures. Nature: 372: 666-669

    and here are some other citations that I consider relevant:

    Adams HD, et al. 2009. Temperature sensitivity of drought-induced tree mortality portends increased regional die-off under global-change-type drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(17): 7063–7066 doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901438106
    Aragão LEOC, et al. (2007) Spatial patterns and fire response of recent Amazonian droughts. Geophys Res Lett 34:L07701.
    Asner GP, Hughes RF, Varga TA, Knapp DE, Kennedy-Bowdoin T. 2009. Environmental and biotic controls over aboveground biomass throughout a tropical rain forest. Ecosystems 12: 261–278 doi: 10.1007/s10021-008-9221-5
    Betts RA, et al. (2004) The role of ecosystem-atmosphere interactions in simulated Amazonian precipitation decrease and forest dieback under global climate warming. Theor Appl Climatol 78:157–175.
    Betts RA, Malhi Y, Roberts JT (2008) The future of the Amazon: New perspectives from climate, ecosystem and social sciences. Philos Trans R Soc London Ser B 363:1729–1735.
    Cox PM, et al. (2004) Amazonian forest dieback under climate-carbon cycle projections for the 21st century. Theor Appl Climatol 78:137–156.
    Cox PM, et al. (2008) Increasing risk of Amazonian drought due to decreasing aerosol pollution. Nature 453:212–215.
    Fisher RA, et al. (2007) The response of an E. Amazonian rain forest to drought stress: Results and modelling analyses from a throughfall exclusion experiment. Global Change Biol 13:2361–2378.
    Hasler N, Avissar R (2007) What controls evapotranspiration in the Amazon basin? J Hydrometeor 8:380–395.
    Huntingford C, et al. (2008) Towards quantifying uncertainty in predictions of Amazon ‘‘dieback.’’ Philos Trans R Soc London Ser B 363:1857–1864.
    Lenton TM, et al. (2008) Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:1786–1793.
    Lewis SL, Lloyd J, Sitch S, Mitchard ETA, Laurance WF. 2009. Changing ecology of tropical forests: evidence and drivers. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 40: 529–549 doi: 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.39.110707.173345
    Li WH, Fu R, Juarez RIN, Fernandes K (2008) Observed change of the standardized precipitation index, its potential cause and implications to future climate change in the Amazon region. Philos Trans R Soc London Ser B 363:1767–1772.
    Lloyd J, Farquhar GD (2008) Effects of rising temperatures and [CO2] on the physiology of tropical forest trees. Philos Trans R Soc London Ser B 363:1811–1817.
    Malhi Y, et al. (2008) Climate change, deforestation, and the fate of the Amazon. Science 319:169–172.
    Malhi Y, et al. 2009. Comprehensive assessment of carbon productivity, allocation and storage in three Amazonian forests. Global Change Biology 15: 1255–1274. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01780.x
    Malhi Y, et al. in press. Exploring the likelihood and mechanism of a climate-change-induced dieback of the Amazon rainforest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804619106
    Nepstad DC, Stickler CM,Soares B, Merry F (2008) Interactions among Amazon land use, forests and climate: Prospects for a near-term forest tipping point. Philos Trans R Soc London Ser B 363:1737–1746.
    Oyama MD, Nobre CA (2003) A new climate-vegetation equilibrium state for tropical South America. Geophys Res Lett 30:2199.
    Phillips OL, Lewis SL, Baker TR, Chao KJ, Higuchi N (2008) The changing Amazon forest. Philos Trans R Soc London Ser B 363:1819–1827.
    Ramos da Silva R, Werth D, Avissar R (2008) Regional impacts of future land-cover changes on the Amazon Basin wet-season climate. J Climate 21:1153–1170.
    Salazar LF, Nobre CA, Oyama MD (2007) Climate change consequences on the biome distribution in tropical South America. Geophys Res Lett 34:L09708.
    I dump all these here not to show off, but rather to demonstrate that there is a lot of work going on about the future of the Amazon. As usual, if any of these titles gets your eye and access is a problem, let me know. I can't explain why little of this was in IPCC AR4 (while a WWF citation was) because I was not involved.
    To a degree it was Betts and Cox who stirred this pot in 2004, but before them there were water isotope studies in the Amazon demonstrating that a lot of rain in the west came from evapotranspiration in the east. One of the very interesting 'stories' in earth system science, says I.
    And as always, the notion that we should be 'pointing fingers' at PriusChat (etc.) and not trying to understand the science already done and planning to do even better science strikes me as odd.
     
  6. ufourya

    ufourya We the People

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    RealClimate? REALLY?

    They are the propaganda wing of the IPCC. Have you not read any of the CRU E-mails?

    Here is an informed listing of the recent developments coming to light that discredit the IPCC and AGW alarmism:

    ClimateGate – This scandal began the latest round of revelations when thousands of leaked documents from Britain's East Anglia Climate Research Unit showed systematic suppression and discrediting of climate skeptics' views and discarding of temperature data, suggesting a bias for making the case for warming. Why do such a thing if, as global warming defenders contend, the "science is settled?"
    FOIGate – The British government has since determined someone at East Anglia committed a crime by refusing to release global warming documents sought in 95 Freedom of Information Act requests. The CRU is one of three international agencies compiling global temperature data. If their stuff's so solid, why the secrecy?
    ChinaGate – An investigation by the U.K.'s left-leaning Guardian newspaper found evidence that Chinese weather station measurements not only were seriously flawed, but couldn't be located. "Where exactly are 42 weather monitoring stations in remote parts of rural China?" the paper asked. The paper's investigation also couldn't find corroboration of what Chinese scientists turned over to American scientists, leaving unanswered, "how much of the warming seen in recent decades is due to the local effects of spreading cities, rather than global warming?" The Guardian contends that researchers covered up the missing data for years.
    HimalayaGate – An Indian climate official admitted in January that, as lead author of the IPCC's Asian report, he intentionally exaggerated when claiming Himalayan glaciers would melt away by 2035 in order to prod governments into action. This fraudulent claim was not based on scientific research or peer-reviewed. Instead it was originally advanced by a researcher, since hired by a global warming research organization, who later admitted it was "speculation" lifted from a popular magazine. This political, not scientific, motivation at least got some researcher funded.
    PachauriGate – Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman who accepted with Al Gore the Nobel Prize for scaring people witless, at first defended the Himalaya melting scenario. Critics, he said, practiced "voodoo science." After the melting-scam perpetrator 'fessed up, Pachauri admitted to making a mistake. But, he insisted, we still should trust him.
    PachauriGate II – Pachauri also claimed he didn't know before the 192-nation climate summit meeting in Copenhagen in December that the bogus Himalayan glacier claim was sheer speculation. But the London Times reported that a prominent science journalist said he had pointed out those errors in several e-mails and discussions to Pachauri, who "decided to overlook it." Stonewalling? Cover up? Pachauri says he was "preoccupied." Well, no sense spoiling the Copenhagen party, where countries like Pachauri's India hoped to wrench billions from countries like the United States to combat global warming's melting glaciers. Now there are calls for Pachauri's resignation.
    SternGate – One excuse for imposing worldwide climate crackdown has been the U.K.'s 2006 Stern Report, an economic doomsday prediction commissioned by the government. Now the U.K. Telegraph reports that quietly after publication "some of these predictions had been watered down because the scientific evidence on which they were based could not be verified." Among original claims now deleted were that northwest Australia has had stronger typhoons in recent decades, and that southern Australia lost rainfall because of rising ocean temperatures. Exaggerated claims get headlines. Later, news reporters disclose the truth. Why is that?
    SternGate II – A researcher now claims the Stern Report misquoted his work to suggest a firm link between global warming and more-frequent and severe floods and hurricanes. Robert Muir-Wood said his original research showed no such link. He accused Stern of "going far beyond what was an acceptable extrapolation of the evidence." We're shocked.
    AmazonGate – The London Times exposed another shocker: the IPCC claim that global warming will wipe out rain forests was fraudulent, yet advanced as "peer-reveiwed" science. The Times said the assertion actually "was based on an unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise," "authored by two green activists" and lifted from a report from the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental pressure group. The "research" was based on a popular science magazine report that didn't bother to assess rainfall. Instead, it looked at the impact of logging and burning. The original report suggested "up to 40 percent" of Brazilian rain forest was extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall, but the IPCC expanded that to cover the entire Amazon, the Times reported.
    PeerReviewGate – The U.K. Sunday Telegraph has documented at least 16 nonpeer-reviewed reports (so far) from the advocacy group World Wildlife Fund that were used in the IPCC's climate change bible, which calls for capping manmade greenhouse gases.
    RussiaGate – Even when global warming alarmists base claims on scientific measurements, they've often had their finger on the scale. Russian think tank investigators evaluated thousands of documents and e-mails leaked from the East Anglia research center and concluded readings from the coldest regions of their nation had been omitted, driving average temperatures up about half a degree.
    Russia-Gate II – Speaking of Russia, a presentation last October to the Geological Society of America showed how tree-ring data from Russia indicated cooling after 1961, but was deceptively truncated and only artfully discussed in IPCC publications. Well, at least the tree-ring data made it into the IPCC report, albeit disguised and misrepresented.
    U.S.Gate – If Brits can't be trusted, are Yanks more reliable? The U.S. National Climate Data Center has been manipulating weather data too, say computer expert E. Michael Smith and meteorologist Joesph D'Aleo. Forty years ago there were 6,000 surface-temperature measuring stations, but only 1,500 by 1990, which coincides with what global warming alarmists say was a record temperature increase. Most of the deleted stations were in colder regions, just as in the Russian case, resulting in misleading higher average temperatures.
    IceGate – Hardly a continent has escaped global warming skewing. The IPCC based its findings of reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and in Africa on a feature story of climbers' anecdotes in a popular mountaineering magazine, and a dissertation by a Switzerland university student, quoting mountain guides. Peer-reviewed? Hype? Worse?
    ResearchGate – The global warming camp is reeling so much lately it must have seemed like a major victory when a Penn State University inquiry into climate scientist Michael Mann found no misconduct regarding three accusations of climate research impropriety. But the university did find "further investigation is warranted" to determine whether Mann engaged in actions that "seriously deviated from accepted practices for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities." Being investigated for only one fraud is a global warming victory these days.
    ReefGate – Let's not forget the alleged link between climate change and coral reef degradation. The IPCC cited not peer-reviewed literature, but advocacy articles by Greenpeace, the publicity-hungry advocacy group, as its sole source for this claim.
    AfricaGate – The IPCC claim that rising temperatures could cut in half agricultural yields in African countries turns out to have come from a 2003 paper published by a Canadian environmental think tank – not a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
    DutchGate – The IPCC also claimed rising sea levels endanger the 55 percent of the Netherlands it says is below sea level. The portion of the Netherlands below sea level actually is 20 percent. The Dutch environment minister said she will no longer tolerate climate researchers' errors.
    AlaskaGate – Geologists for Space Studies in Geophysics and Oceanography and their U.S. and Canadian colleagues say previous studies largely overestimated by 40 percent Alaskan glacier loss for 40 years. These flawed data are fed into those computers to predict future warming.
    Print Article: From the Register's Opinion Page: What to say to a global warming advocate
     
  7. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    First, realclimate is the premier source of accessible factual information on climate issues. The writers actually are climate scientists.

    Perhaps you could point to a variety of items posted there that you consider propaganda? Because what I see tends to be fairly factual.

    Second, I read realclimate in large part because people like you are so fast and free with the "facts", Everything you post is spin. I need a source that actually pays attention to detail.

    Let me take the example of the Netherlands figure. What you didn't bother to mention is that the figure on land below sea level came from the Netherlands government itself:

    Here's what you said:

    "DutchGate – The IPCC also claimed rising sea levels endanger the 55 percent of the Netherlands it says is below sea level. The portion of the Netherlands below sea level actually is 20 percent. The Dutch environment minister said she will no longer tolerate climate researchers' errors."

    Here's what's posted on realclimate:

    "Sea level in the Netherlands: The WG2 report states that “The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level”. This sentence was provided by a Dutch government agency – the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which has now published a correction stating that the sentence should have read “55 per cent of the Netherlands is at risk of flooding; 26 per cent of the country is below sea level, and 29 per cent is susceptible to river flooding”. It surely will go down as one of the more ironic episodes in its history when the Dutch parliament last Monday derided the IPCC, in a heated debate, for printing information provided by … the Dutch government. In addition, the IPCC notes that there are several definitions of the area below sea level. The Dutch Ministry of Transport uses the figure 60% (below high water level during storms), while others use 30% (below mean sea level). Needless to say, the actual number mentioned in the report has no bearing on any IPCC conclusions and has nothing to do with climate science, and it is questionable whether it should even be counted as an IPCC error."

    So if I relied on spinners like you, I never would have realized that the Dutch government minister was damning the IPCC for relying on figures that were provided by the Dutch government.

    And of course, heaven forbid that a guy like you would actually bother to look up and cite what that Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency actually provided to the IPCC. But finding it is as easy as clicking the link provided in the realclimate cite above. I'm going to add a bit of boldface to get the key elements out:

    "In the 2007 IPCC report by the Working group 2 (Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) a mistake has entered the text that was supplied by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, regarding the risks of flooding for the Netherlands. In the chapter on Europe, on page 547, it says that 55 per cent of the Netherlands is below sea level (‘The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level’). This should have read that 55 per cent of the Netherlands is at risk of flooding; 26 per cent of the country is below sea level, and 29 per cent is susceptible to river flooding. Examples of the latter are the near floodings, in the mid-1990s, of areas along the rivers Meuse and Waal – areas that are well above sea level.The Netherlands is sensitive to climate change. Sea level rise as well as peak river discharges require precautionary measures. The incorrect wording in the IPCC report does not affect this conclusion.
    Research continuously improves the insights with respect to possible flooding scenarios in specific areas (e.g. the project ‘Mapping safety in the Netherlands’ (Veiligheid Nederland in Kaart), www.projectvnk.nl). On this subject, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency very recently published a study on flood-risk zones within the Netherlands’ (Overstromingsrisicozonering in Nederland).
    Additional information: map of flood-prone areas ...."

    I'd say that's typical of the items on your list, as regards the IPCC. All you offer is molehills that spinners like yourself are trying to build into mountains.

    So, yes, I read Realclimate, because they actually present the facts. If the alternative were only to read what people like you post, I would be seriously mislead most of the time. Which, I believe, is essentially the point of your posts.
     
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  8. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    Realclimate presents the facts? I suppose Al Gore presents the facts too. HAve you had your head buried in the sand the last three months?

    The AGW movement is dead, again if it was not for the investment of Goldman Sachs, GE and some other heavyweights the funeral would have already been over.
     
  9. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Well, what I intend to say here is "put up or shut up", but that's a bit too rude. Produce your evidence, please -- is that nice enough?

    Post a link to an article on Realclimate that you claim is propaganda or materially incorrect, indicate what you believe is wrong, and we can discuss.

    There are hundreds of articles posted there. If you can find one, great, we can bat it around. Better yet, given the volume of articles on the site, if you can find a couple dozen, that would more strongly make your point that the site as a whole consists of nothing but spin. If you can't find even one, that pretty much tells the story.
     
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  10. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    RealClimate: Hurricanes and Global Warming – Is There a Connection?

    Here is one. Of course at the beginning of the article they provide a disclaimer about hurricanes and AGW. Then the rest of the article gives all of the reasons there is a connection, incuding how the coming major rise of Atlantic SST.
    Here is last paragraph. How valid does that look today.

    Scenarios for future global warming show tropical SST rising by a few degrees, not just tenths of a degree (see e.g. results from the Hadley Centre model and the implications for hurricanes shown in Fig. 1 above). That is the important message from science. What we need to discuss is not what caused Katrina, but the likelyhood that global warming will make hurricanes even worse in future
     
  11. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Fair enough, let me see how that five-year-old article one shapes up as spin, propaganda, and error.

    "Could New Orleans be the first major U.S. city ravaged by human-caused climate change?
    The correct answer–the one we have indeed provided in previous posts (Storms & Global Warming II, Some recent updates and Storms and Climate Change) –is that there is no way to prove that Katrina either was, or was not, affected by global warming. For a single event, regardless of how extreme, such attribution is fundamentally impossible."

    Gee, that doesn't sound very spin-ful. In fact, it seems pretty level-headed.

    OK, continuing:

    They then go on to discuss the two main factors influencing hurricane formation: Sea surface temperature (SSTs) (warm water provides the power to the hurricane, which is well known), and shear winds (that cut off the tops of the storms, and prevent formation of hurricanes).

    So far so good:

    Then they provide the evidence, both pro and con, regarding greater frequency of tropical storms versus greater intensity of tropical storms at warmer global temperatures, based on recent and paleo data.

    They then present the evidence on recent trends in hurricane intensity, and ask this question:

    "The key question then becomes this: Why has SST increased in the tropics? Is this increase due to global warming (which is almost certainly in large part due to human impacts on climate)? Or is this increase part of a natural cycle?"

    Their conclusion, based on analysis of work from NOAA (suggestion purely natural cycles at work) and their analysis (based on general circulation models of global warming) is that:

    "Thus, we can conclude that both a natural cycle (the AMO) and anthropogenic forcing could have made roughly equally large contributions to the warming of the tropical Atlantic over the past decades, with an exact attribution impossible so far."

    Wow, there's a strong statement.

    I'm sorry, but, this article seems pretty level-headed so far. I don't see anything like propaganda yet.

    Continuing, they go back to Katrina, with this conclusion:

    "At present, however, the available scientific evidence suggests that it would be premature to assert that the recent anomalous behavior can be attributed entirely to a natural cycle."

    OK, again, that seems pretty reasonable. Jury's out one way or the other.

    Now we get to your paragraph:

    " Scenarios for future global warming show tropical SST rising by a few degrees, not just tenths of a degree (see e.g. results from the Hadley Centre model and the implications for hurricanes shown in Fig. 1 above). That is the important message from science. What we need to discuss is not what caused Katrina, but the likelyhood that global warming will make hurricanes even worse in future."

    That link above doesn't work, but the earlier links say this:

    "Turning to future climate projections, current climate models suggest that tropical Atlantic SSTs will warm dramatically during the 21st century, ..."

    So, what, exactly, is your problem with this article?

    Do you think they expected to see sea surface temperatures rise a few degrees in five years? No, if they are talking multiple degree temperature rises, they are talking about century timescales.

    Or do you think that five years of tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature trends is adequate for projecting the long-term trend in sea surface temperatures?

    Either way, I don't get it.

    I think you are implying that the most recent five years of temperature data prove that tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures will not rise this century. If so, theres no factual basis for your conclusion.

    Basically, after all the invective, this just leaves me confused. That was a carefully-worded, fact-based analysis of the issue. They specifically said that there was no way to link Katrina to global warming. They said the jury is out on what contribution natural and man-made forces have at present.

    But they did make the point that, over the next century, the best available models project a multi-degree increase in tropical sea surface temperature. That, they argue, could have a major impact on hurricane intensity, based on the well-established relationship between the warmth of the water and the intensity of hurricanes.

    The only thing I see you taking issue with is the temperature projection. But five years of data isn't enough to say anything about trends, as explained in several places on realclimate, but simply illustrated here with 7-year trends:

    [​IMG]



    So, basically, I don't get it. Your rhetoric regarding realclimate was fairly strong. But as near as I can tell, this was a fairly even-handed analysis of the hurricane frequency-and-intensity issue as it stood in 2005. Near as I can tell, your only objection is to the paragraph at the end. You see to think that the last five years of temperature data invalidates the projection of a several-degree rise in tropical sea surface temperatures over the next century. I don't think that's reasonable. More positively, it's unreasonable to say that the 100-year projection they cited (from Hadley) is wrong, based on the past five year's experience. If that's the extent of your objection, perhaps you and your friends would consider toning down the hateful rhetoric toward realclimate.
     
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  12. ufourya

    ufourya We the People

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    First, Chogan, I posted an opinion piece and included a link to it. It presented a number of things that are problematic with the idea of AGW and the people who promote the theory.

    Did I fact-check each item? No, I did not. So, realclimate may have found a charge that is erroneous. Until I check into it further, I will stipulate that.

    Now, as to realclimate:

    Here is a 'real climate' scientist who finds plenty wrong with realclimate - Dr Roger Pielke Sr.
    Real Climate’s Misinformation Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr.
    Just an ezample:
    {the realclimate}the author of the weblog makes the statement that the following climate metrics “are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago” ;
    1. “rising sea levels”
    NOT TRUE; e.g. see the University of Colorado at Boulder Sea Level Change analysis.
    Sea level has actually flattened since 2006.
    2. “the increase of heat stored in the ocean”
    NOT TRUE; see
    Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions.
    Their has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.
    3. “shrinking Arctic sea ice”
    NOT TRUE; see the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly from the University of Illinois Cyrosphere Today website. Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.
    These climate metrics might again start following the predictions of the models. However, until and unless they do, the authors of the Copenhagen Congress Synthesis Report and the author of the Real Climate weblog are erroneously communicating the reality of the how the climate system is actually behaving.
    Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.

    A statistician who also points out the errors and AGW advocacy, rather than scientific quest, at realclimate - Steve McIntyrre
    realclimate and Disinformation on UHI Climate Audit


    Both sites have enough posts (even BEFORE the CRU E-mails pretty well established the realclimate blog as an agenda driven site) to lend serious question to the notion that one could visit there and get a fair view of the state of climate science. just put realclimate in their search boxes and you'll have days of entertainment.

    If you'd like to visit other sites that seriously discuss the science, I'd be happy to link you up.

    People like me are always willing to help people like you .
     
  13. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    I guess you could not possibly just point to an article, on Realclimate, with a link to that article, so that I can read it.

    Nope, you've got to pull friggin' laundry lists off multiple websites and make me chase all that crap down. Typical.

    OK, I'll do the first one on your list, sea level, to see who's got their facts straight and who doesn't. But that's as much time as I'm putting into this.

    OK, here we go: I need to go to realclimate, see what they actually said, find the document they actually referenced and see what they actually said; go to Pielke's website, find what he referenced and compare them all.

    Here's the graph that Pielke references on sea level:

    [​IMG]


    As of now, looks like sea level is above the trend line. Having no notion of who drew that trend or why, I can't say much. But to the extent that you want to interpret the sag in the line as a slowdown, it appears to be over. Though, of course, as with all things having to do with climate, the issue is not the short-term change, it's what is happening over long spans of time.

    That said, what did Realclimate say? Here's the exact quote:

    "So what does it say? Our regular readers will hardly be surprised by the key findings from physical climate science, most of which we have already discussed here. Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice. “The updated estimates of the future global mean sea level rise are about double the IPCC projections from 2007″, says the new report. And it points out that any warming caused will be virtually irreversible for at least a thousand years – because of the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere."

    They said two things. One, actual sea level increases are higher than was expected a few years ago. And two, projected increases are now much higher than the IPCC showed in 2007.

    OK, Pielke referenced the actual time series, so he's *not* talking about the "double the IPPC projections from 2007". I assume that these guys would know if the new projections that they present were, in fact, higher than the IPCC's projections.

    So, this boils down to looking at the original source to see what they meant by "a few years ago".

    Did they, as climate scientists, mean 2006? Were they talking about the change in actual sea level since 2006?

    No, of course not. The document being referenced is this:

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/files/synthesis-report-web.pdf

    Searching for sea level rise, I find this:

    "Since 2007, reports comparing the IPCC projections of 1990 with observations show that some climate indicators are changing near the upper end of the range indicated by the projections or, as in the case of sea level rise (Figure 1), at even greater rates than indicated by IPCC projections."

    That's followed by a graph that shows that the actual sea level rise is indeed substantially above the highest level the IPCC projected in its original report (Page 8 of that report).

    Now, I can't read the minds of the writers on Realclimate, but looking at the other series, I think the use of the phrase "a few years ago" occurs because the basis for comparison varies across the series.

    So, the bottom line is this:

    Pielke misread the paragraph, and apparently didn't bother to check the original source material.

    To recap:


    With regard to sea level, the paragraph says two things:

    Sea level is rising faster now than it was expected to in the past. The original source document compares the actual increase to the original IPCC 1990 projections to show that.

    The most recent projections of sea level increase are much faster than the 2007 IPCC report showed.

    Pielke appears to have confused the two, and "proved" that sea level increase hasn't accelerated since 2007. Which is an OK thing to do, but has nothing to do what what was actually said in that Realclimate article. Putting aside that his point no longer appears valid (sea level is, at the moment, above the trend shown on his referenced graph), it was just not very smart on his part to think that these guys were talking about a couple of years of data.

    Now, I think this reflects the fact that Pielke's training is in meteorology, not climate. Nobody in climatology makes a big deal out of two year's "trend". Climatology is about long spans of time.

    So, it was fundamentally not very bright on Pielke's part to think that the realclimate quote (or the underlying source material) was talking about the last couple of years of data. They are climatologists -- they were comparing current data to past projections, and noting that the most recent projections of the future are much higher than the IPCC report suggested.

    If there is a takeaway there, it's that if you accept the newer projections as better, then the IPCC has consistently understated the expected rate of climate change. if true, and if generalizable, that's a lesson worth pondering, I think.

    Bottom line: Pielke misread the paragraph. Even with that, his empirical point no longer appears valid. He thought they said: the trend has accelerated since 2007. When in fact they said: the observed trend is higher than we expected it to be in the past (which in the source material means the original 1990 IPCC projections -- which makes sense, because climatologists think about long time spans), AND, our best long-term projections ticked upward after 2007. A couple of years of sea level data is not relevant to either point. Both points are about climate -- about long-term change.
     
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  14. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Please quit sending me to the literature folks - there are other things I'm supposed to be doing :]

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading this:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/MonteVeritaPaper_ss_rev3.pdf

    and perhaps you will as well. An earth energy balance requires measurement of outgoing radiation, heat flow to melting perched and floating ice, heat content of the upper ocean, and apportioning sea level rise to thermal expansion and isostatic changes. In each case we are talking about small changes in large things, and the sensors required and their measurement density are not yet quite up to the task.

    (editorial injection -if we decide tomorrow to stop spending 'so much money' on earth system science, they never will be)

    We will get all that sorted out eventually. In the meantime I am more or less content to let the practioners in those fields keep at it. That a variety of interpretations are published in these fields (along with with the field of estimating future hurricane numbers and intensities) convinces me (at least) that those fields are not plagued with academic censorship.

    On hurricanes, a paleo-record showing promise is coastal sediment coring, because landfalling storms have clear sediment signals, carbon-14 dating, etc. A recent paper on Atlantic hurricanes' long history shows that the most recent century was equalled only in Medieval. I've been posting too many cites here, so I'll let you guess the authors etc. hint - recently cleared of wrongdoing by PSU.

    This is an interesting bit because one of the interpretations of what makes hurricanes in one tropical ocean basin strong is that that basin is hotter than the others. And of course, one of the current interpretations of MWP is that it may have been somewhat restricted in its gepgraphic extent. May be totally off the wall, but you read it at PC first. If it turns out bogus, my fault.

    Those matters will also be sorted out eventually I presume. In the meantime, I'd like to suggest that debating whose slightly different interpretations are better may not be the most productive use of time resources etc. As atmospheric concentrations of infra red absorbing gasesare increasing, and as the fossil fuel burn appears quite unlikely to diminsh over the next few decades, it seems more productive to examine all the ways by which CO2 can be remved from the atmosphere. Trees, soils and mineral weathering do it on land. Let's figure out how to optimize that, without large negative impacts on something else. At sea, I'll have to leave the coccolithophores to the oceanographers because I don't know enough to participate.

    Or, don't. Let CO2 increase to triple what it was throughout human history on earth prior to the industrial revolution. Maybe the resulting climate won't be all that bad. That is the only hope left, if The Collective We are not willing to get serious and act.

    Arguing about whose data set, interpretation or model is just a bit better is just not cutting it for me. It's schoolyard stuff and I'm bored. Let's trap some carbon. Today would be a good time to start.
     
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  15. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Amen.

    At least one other contributor here has said the same thing as is the gist of your cited paper: mean temperature is not the same as heat content.

    To summarize the obvious: We know how GHGs trap heat, we pretty much have that well-quantified. At present, we can shilly-shally about the outcomes, because we haven't driven the system very hard yet.

    But in the long run, there is little plausible doubt: If we keep burning at the current rate, its-a-friggin-no-brainer as to what's going to happen to surface temperatures. We're going to drive the system real hard, it's going to respond.

    The only question back is: Is the focus on how to absorb C02 premature? Could we plausibly reduce C02 emissions? It just seems fundamentally more efficient, at present, to reduce emissions than to try to absorb C02 from the atmosphere.

    But, as an economist, I can completely understand the viewpoint that the atmosphere is a commons, and we are likely to trash the commons. That's pretty much the history of civilization. Heaven knows that's the odd-on most likely outcome.

    So the main question for responsible people to ask is, how can we repair the commons -- since history suggests that we are almost certainly going to trash it.

    Hate to be Mr. Negative, but I don't think it can be done. The magnitude is just too large. I think that mandated reductions in emissions is the only plausible path at present. But I could be persuaded otherwise.
     
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  16. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    I just can't imagine substantial reductions in fossil fuel burn. It's too much like money. Past commitments have been made, but not quite met, and future commits are not of the scale one might wish.

    Energy conservation is probably the lowest hanging fruit. Not news, but how much and how fast?

    Renewables - how much and how fast? There is a lot of belly aching about the cost effectiveness, especially on a much larger scale than the current few %

    Assign a cost to CO2 emissions could promote REDD at a much larger scale than the $100s millions committed (maybe) at Copenhagen. This is a great way to pull down (and not emit) CO2 but if you want to hear belly aching, just describe something that sounds remotely like cap and trade.

    We can pull down a lot of CO2 biologically for $20 or less per ton of carbon. But, in the absence of assigning a cost to carbon, who's gonna pay it? That's a tough one because my only answer is people wise enough to realize that going above the range of human species existence of CO2 ppm is kind of...risky. Presumptuous? Goofy? Can't quite find the right word.

    Net atmospheric C increase is now about 5 petagrams per year. Terrestrial biological trapping of one petagram of carbon will cost $20 billion. Maybe, when we get better at it, $1 billion. Hard to say until somebody actually tries it at a large scale.

    So, who's got billions to spare? If we premptively cross 'rich nations' and 'fossil fuel companies' off the list, who does that leave?
     
  17. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Normally I agree with what you say, but I'll tentatively disagree with those costs.

    But, I would like to be convinced otherwise.

    Two calculations:

    First, in the US we emit about 2 billion tons of carbon per year, or so. Here's C02, so divide by 3 to get roughly 2 billion tons C.

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions"]List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    At $20/ton C, it would therefore cost $40 billion to absorb it all. That's really not much as a fraction of US GDP or federal budget. Heck, that's about as much as we spend annually now in direct subsidies to energy production.


    Total US energy spending is about $1.2 trillion or so. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pdf/pages/sec1_13.pdf


    That implies that a fuels tax of about 3% ($40B/$1.2T) would be adequate to pay for re-absorbing all US carbon emissions
    . If so, we are arguing about nothing, at least in terms of the economics -- we could easily pay that. Gasoline taxes average about 15% of retail gas prices (which, by the way, does not even cover the cost of building and maintaining the roads.) If we imposed it per ton C, low-value fuels like coal would take a much harder hit, proportionately. But the point remains that it's a small fraction of total spending.

    (Either that or I slipped some zeros in my calculation above. But a quick check is: what does a ton of gasoline cost? About $800 (2000 lbs, at 6.5 lbs per gallon, and $2.50 per gallon.) So, $20 capture cost/$800 purchase price = 2.5%, so yeah, that's in the same ballpark as a 3% tax on fuels).

    Hmm.

    Second, the only biological I have studied at all is planting trees. An acre of southern pine absorbs about a ton of carbon per year over its lifetime (that's from the US EPA). The annual cost of growing a forest would exceed $20/year/acre, though not hugely so, depending on land costs and interest rates. If I had to guess an average, I'd put it well under $100/year. (Pew Trust says $30 to $90, here: http://www.pewclimate.org/docUploads/Sequest_Final.pdf

    So the cost of forest-based sequestration is in the ballpark of your $20/ton.

    Hmm again.

    The problem is the required scale. The the US only has 2.2 billion acres land area total -- so there's no room for 2 billion acres of net new forest. (I'd argue there isn't room for 10% of that, when you look in detail. East of the Mississippi, almost any land turns to forest if you leave it alone, so the only un-forested land we have around here is land that's currently being used for something. By contrast, in the West, much of the land will not naturally support what we in the East think of as forest. A lot of "national forest" land out West is what we Easterners would call scrub or thicket.)

    Basically, in round numbers, to capture US total carbon emissions via new forest, we'd have to devote essentially all the photosynthesis in America to carbon capture. This suggests that scale is an issue if not the issue.

    But you clearly know what you're talking about.

    Can you point me in the right direction -- a roughly $20/ton process that might be scaled up to be comparable in size to US carbon emissions?

    Better yet, would you consider starting a thread on this, and we'll see who else has something to say? Maybe your choice for the most promising biological or other carbon capture technology.

    Basically, I can't recall now why I have such a dim view of carbon capture, other than scale. This is certainly the most cheering thought I've had on global warming in some time. I'd like to know more, and whatever you'd care to do to steer me quickly in the right direction would be appreciated.

    If we can't get reductions in the burn rate, and its both cheap and feasible to capture C02 at the scale at which we emit it, then the obvious solution is to make fossil fuel users pay a reasonable disposal fee for their emissions, and using that to clean up after them. So, do whatever you want, just pay for your damage -- that's pretty much the American way in a nutshell.

    EDIT:

    OK, so the first thing I found on realclimate on air capture was agnostic about costs:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/air-capture/

    But that was chemical-industrial processing, not biological capture.

    They reference the IPCC. Obviously I need to go read that first, get a little smarter about this, first, here:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports_carbon_dioxide.htm

    Nope, that's all about clean-coal type carbon capture and storage, not biological.

    And on the lighter side, here's do-it-yourself biochar/wood gas kits for sale:

    http://www.gekgasifier.com/?gclid=CPqflI3W-Z8CFUVn5Qodr28ZVw

    Yes, I need some references, please.
     
  18. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    "Energy conservation is probably the lowest hanging fruit. Not news, but how much and how fast?"

    In the Solar business we have always suggested that every dollar spent on conservation saves ~$10 in Pv costs. (that number has come down a bit of late as Pv prices have fallen, but the axiom is true).

    Talk about low hanging fruit. Simply pricing fuel higher to reflect it's environmental cost (carbon tax) does result in changes in personal behavior. At some point, if it becomes too expensive to drive a single occupant ~15 mpg pick up or SUV on the daily commute, people move toward cars like Prius', or better yet car pooling and transit.

    Simple energy savings in the home, from light bulbs to insulation, to more efficient appliances come at a (comparatively) small cost, but with significant energy savings.

    Nearly everytime you turn around you can see ways to save energy. What is needed is the incentive to do so, and the best incentive is higher prices going forward. (Which we are going to get anyway due to peak oil and world wide demand!) Why it is so hardily resisted on global warming grounds when it has such other large benefits defies logic. (Aside from the mentality that "the free market" should rule, maybe true if we had ever had a free market!)
     
  19. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    The most important factor is that the AGW movement had everyones attention to make its case and did so effectively for awhile through an Inconvenient Truth and the constant "scare stories" in the MSM. ( I admit I was a believer for awhile)
    The AGW movement was running out of steam because so many fo the forecasts beng made, mile winters, scorching summers, hurricanes with greater frequency and severity just were not coming true. As Copenhagen approached someone from the inside's(I know it will probably never be proven) conscious got the better of him/her and decided to release the years of emails between scientists at the HAdley Center(CRU). The emails show sloppy science, science that in some cases does not back up the theory, but to me most importantly a pattern of intimidation and squelching of opposing viewpoints.
    This ended any chance of any new accord at Copenhagen and ended any chance of cap-and-trade in the US. Maybe it will trun out that Al gore and Co were right all along, but if they were right why did they have to cheat?
    If Goldman Sachs and GE and some othe major companies did not have so much investment and potential profit riding on cap-and-trade legislation the funeral would have already been held.
     
  20. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Needless to say, I disagree with pretty much all that you said.

    To me, it looks far more like you misunderstand what to expect. If you expect global warming to slap you in the face, all the time, every year, right now, you're never going to see it. If that's your mental model of global warming, then, yeah, it ain'tt happening -- according to you.

    But that's because your mental model is wrong.

    Take the scorching summers thing. The best picture of what's happening in the US (about 2% of the earth's surface) is this, from a study by NOAA and others:

    [​IMG]


    I mean, that's it. That's the data, deal with it. Uniformly scorching summers, uniformly mild winters? No. Higher likelihood of highs, lower likelihood of lows, yes. If somebody actually told you that, somehow, the weather would stop fluctuating right now, as a consequence of global warming, then they misled you. My earlier point was, if that happened, it wasn't the climate scientists who did it. And in particular, you didn't read that on realclimate.

    Hurricanes? Here's the data, again, deal with it. The best science says that warmer water increases the odds of intense storms. Does that mean that we're only going to see seasons like 2005 from now on? Nah. Pretty sure the scientists didn't say that, and I'm again pretty sure you didn't pick up that notion from realclimate. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's no firm scientific prediction of more frequent hurricanes, due to the "wind shear" effect that I mentioned in my earlier post. Maybe somebody said it, but I don't think there's any particularly strong backing for it.

    [​IMG]

    In terms of category 5 hurricanes, yes, 2005 was a huge outlier. Five that year, no more than two in any other recorded year.

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Category_5_Atlantic_hurricanes"]List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]


    That's noteworthy, but that neither makes nor breaks the case that warmer water leads to increased likelihood of intense storms. And certainly, I don't think anybody expected that to keep up on a year-by-year basis.

    So, fine. Maybe you've been misled by somebody, but it's not the scientists who post on realclimate. And I don't think it's reasonable to dismiss the actual science based on a misunderstanding of it.

    Basically, the crap's not really going to hit the fan until well after I'm dead (I'm 51). Then why the urgency? One, excess C02 stays in the atmosphere a long time, and, right now, there's no proven way to get it back out in large volumes (though I'm interested to see what gets posted next here.) Two, there's a long lag time -- if we held atmospheric C02 to current levels, we'd still get about another 1 degree C warming over the next three or four decades or so. Three, if the models are anywhere near right, if we continue burning fuels at the current rate, we're going to lose most US cropland to desert, eventually. Four, if we manage to melt the arctic rapidly, then all bets are off. The offgassing from there could generate enough positive feedback between GHGs and warming that the whole climate will just take off on its own for a couple of centuries. If that happens, we lose essentially all our arable land. And that would suck.

    I'm not a nut, I'm a fairly sober guy. I'm in favor of cap-and-trade because I think it's literally cheaper than just continuing to burn fuels at the current rate. I think the net discounted value of the damage from doing nothing exceeds the cost of cap and trade. The fact that I have to pay for it, now, instead of letting some other generation pay for it, I don't see that as a compelling reason for inaction. And, because the phase-in of cap-and-trade is so slow, if we find some feasible way to remove carbon from the atmosphere, then, great, we'll do that. I look at doing something now as a form of relatively cheap insurance.
     
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