IPCC vs Reality

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tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

Simon -

The peer-review system is not broken. Furthermore, there are publications where the editor is anti-AGW.
1. Is it a good thing?
Happy to leave this. It is a different question, and one where the answers are less clear.
2. What is the magnitude
Absolutely. This is the killer issue.
3. Is the feedback from WV/clouds overall positive or negative?
This is putting cart before horse. We need to know: What (quantitatively) is the magnitude of the overall feedback?. I agree clouds/WV are the major component.
4. Is man mainly responsible for the increase in CO2 concentration?

This is too simplistic a question. It is accepted that oceans contain CO2 and therefore warming => more CO2 with lag of a few hundred years. I would have thought there will be estimates of this. The exact time constant, and therefore the effect of this NOW on CO2 levels is probably uncertain, but upper & lower bounds can be put on it. Let's find the papers (or non-peer published but detailed calculations). This is unfortunately an are where it is easy to miss issues and have plausible calculations which are completely wrong.

In fact we can do an approx calculation by looking at graph of CO2 vs temperature historically assunming that CO2 changes are mostly the result of absorption/outgassing from oceans. (There will be other effects too, but this gives us some idea). I am sure the AGW people have looked at this.

The ocean outgassing effect, if significant, is of course a positive feedback (not treated as such because of long time constant).

You make a number of asumptions. E.g. anthropogenic CO2/GHG output is falling. Are you sure? Where are the calculations? I know better than to trust non-quantitative arguments on issues like this.

http://www.columbia.edu/~vjd1/carbon.htm

Not authoritative, but indicates that the long-term equilibrium feedbacks may be complex and diffcult to quantify. I will try find better estimates.

Best wishes, Tom

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

We need to know: What (quantitatively) is the magnitude of the overall feedback?. I agree clouds/WV are the major component.


At this stage of the game I think an agreement on sign would be an excellent place to start. After that magnitude would be a very good idea. But let us start with simple things first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI7sfX6iC4Q

Topics covered:
Water vapor amplification - models vs data.
Polar regions and polar bears
Glacier melt
Sea Ice
Sea Level
Dangerous Weather
Energy Is Life


Links to the rest of the videos:

http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/200 ... short.html

Or you can noodle around YouTube.
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vankirkc
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Post by vankirkc »

MSimon wrote: In science such is the way of getting closer to the truth. Phlogiston died hard. It was still wrong.

When data and theory do not match (CO2 is THE major climate driver in the 21st Century) it is time for a new theory (CO2 is a minor driver of climate in the 20th century - as it was in the 20th, the 19th, the 18th, the 17th, etc.).
I obviously don't know whether AGW is real or not. I don't even have an opinion. What I do know is that a large body of people with credentials are telling me that it is real, and that we don't have a lot of time to do something about it. The question in my mind is this...is inaction today in the name of certainty worth the risk that ten or twenty years down the road we could be looking at a very long and very substantial humanitarian crisis?

Borrowing from Pascal, it seems like the risks associated with cutting back today are far outstripped by the risks that these specialists are purporting. As such it seems like the pragmatic approach would be to cut back now and push the science hard until it's fully understood and agreed upon. Then if there's no merit to the arguments you can freely ramp up emissions again, but in the meantime you will have funded research into alternative energy sources and fostered the cleanup of industrial pollutants globally. I don't see either of these things as particularly harmful.

That's the way I see it, anyway.

IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

tomclarke wrote: This is too simplistic a question. It is accepted that oceans contain CO2 and therefore warming => more CO2 with lag of a few hundred years. I would have thought there will be estimates of this. The exact time constant, and therefore the effect of this NOW on CO2 levels is probably uncertain, but upper & lower bounds can be put on it. Let's find the papers (or non-peer published but detailed calculations). This is unfortunately an are where it is easy to miss issues and have plausible calculations which are completely wrong.

In fact we can do an approx calculation by looking at graph of CO2 vs temperature historically assunming that CO2 changes are mostly the result of absorption/outgassing from oceans. (There will be other effects too, but this gives us some idea). I am sure the AGW people have looked at this.
Why should they assume that when they'd rather blame mankind?

If the lag time is indeed 100-200 years as has long been the consensus, then present day CO2 is due to warming during the 19th century. Early 20th century CO2 increases are due to 18th century warming. Looking at the climate record, it becomes clear that current CO2 increases are due to our previous exit from the Little Ice Age. This is one reason why the alarmists are so desperate to try to "prove" that the Little Ice Age never happened, or at best was limited to northern Europe. Fortunately my cousins work on new zealand speleotherms has helped prove, along with speleos from asia, that the LIA was a global phenomenon.

If the LIA never happened, then current warming is "mans fault" because CO2 increases are "mans fault" and 20th century warming was not the result of an exit from the LIA.

The ocean outgassing effect, if significant, is of course a positive feedback (not treated as such because of long time constant).

You make a number of asumptions. E.g. anthropogenic CO2/GHG output is falling. Are you sure? Where are the calculations? I know better than to trust non-quantitative arguments on issues like this.

http://www.columbia.edu/~vjd1/carbon.htm

Not authoritative, but indicates that the long-term equilibrium feedbacks may be complex and diffcult to quantify. I will try find better estimates.

Best wishes, Tom
Tom, look at oil and coal production rates for the past few years. Given there is very little excess inventory, firstly we see that production has dropped by 5% since summer of last year to January of this year. Then add in another percent or two for the increases in inventory since that time due to overproduction. Coming up to the present day, fossil fuel consumption is down somewhere between 7-9 percent currently over a year ago.

This DOE data for the US reflects some of this:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/flash/ ... eclicked=1&

Yet CO2 measured in the atmo doesnt seem to reflect that. Why?

Image

Now, the amusing and frustrating thing is, Tom, that if you fed the temperature data above into Michael Mann's Hockey Stick software, what it will do is take every *change* in anomaly, either up or down, and make it a positive number. It then charts the peaks in this manipulated data. So, what Mann's software actually does, rather than plot climate warming, it plots climate variation. The more short term climate varies from hot to cold, cold to hot, doesnt matter, what he wants is bigger swings to plot as warming. It doesnt matter if the actual trend is downward as in this chart here. If it was fed into Mann's software, it wouldnt show a downward trend, it would show an upward trend due to the increasing variation.
Last edited by IntLibber on Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

I obviously don't know whether AGW is real or not. I don't even have an opinion. What I do know is that a large body of people with credentials are telling me that it is real, and that we don't have a lot of time to do something about it. The question in my mind is this...is inaction today in the name of certainty worth the risk that ten or twenty years down the road we could be looking at a very long and very substantial humanitarian crisis?


Why no. Absolutely something must be done. At once. No time to lose.

Except - if we are headed for cooling we should be doing the opposite of what we do for warming.

So suppose we do the wrong thing? Then what? In other words - suppose the boffins are wrong. I remember when the consensus was - margarine good and butter bad. Now it is the opposite. Suppose the AGW folks are equally wrong?

China has reached parity with USA CO2 production and it is expected to double its output in the next 20 years. If the USA is to do something significant it will need to drop its CO2 production to zero in the next 20 years. There will be people in the street with pitch forks, tar, and feathers well before that. Because China has no intention of going backwards.

China is amenable to per capita CO2 caps.

Did I mention India? Or Africa?
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IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

vankirkc wrote:
I obviously don't know whether AGW is real or not. I don't even have an opinion. What I do know is that a large body of people with credentials are telling me that it is real, and that we don't have a lot of time to do something about it. The question in my mind is this...is inaction today in the name of certainty worth the risk that ten or twenty years down the road we could be looking at a very long and very substantial humanitarian crisis?
Firstly, there are as many or more people with credentials who are saying its not, and that any warming that is happening is part of a multidecadal pattern of climate variation based on natural causes, on top of a centuries long pattern of variation between cold (Little Ice Age) and warm (Medeival Warming Period) eras.

Secondly, lets say it WERE a mans fault. Its a proven fact that it is cheaper to deal with problems later when technology is more advanced than to waste a lot of money trying to fix something with less advanced technology.

Look for instance at the human genome project. It was planned to take a decade. 8 years in and they had accomplished only 1%. Someone came in during year 9 with more advanced technology and did the whole thing for a fraction of the cost.

Another example is Space Ship 1. SS1 was done 40 years after X-15, cost $30 million dollars, accomplished 90% of the goals of the X-15 project, yet cost 1% of the budget (in inflation adjusted dollars).

Thirdly, look in my last post. Since 2002 the globe has been cooling while CO2 has gone up. It isn't our fault. Start looking at the agendas of the people telling you it is. Start asking where their money comes from, who profits from their propaganda.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

We know people get killed crossing streets. What we need to do to prevent that is to build high walls along every street topped with razor wire. At the corners of every street we need to build pedestrian overpasses with elevator access for the handicapped.

Because you know otherwise it is certain people will get killed crossing streets. You can't be too safe.
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ravingdave
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http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2151

Post by ravingdave »

Thought i'd throw this in just for kicks and grins. Freeman Dyson's opinions concerning AGW.


Freeman Dyson says:
What’s wrong with the models. I mean, I haven’t examined them in detail, (but) I know roughly what’s in them. And the basic problem is that in the case of climate, very small structures, like clouds, dominate. And you cannot model them in any realistic way. They are far too small and too diverse.

So they say, ‘We represent cloudiness by a parameter,’ but I call it a fudge factor. So then you have a formula, which tells you if you have so much cloudiness and so much humidity, and so much temperature, and so much pressure, what will be the result... But if you are using it for a different climate, when you have twice as much carbon dioxide, there is no guarantee that that’s right. There is no way to test it.

....


Freeman Dyson also says:
It is also true that the whole livelihood of all these people depends on people being scared. Really, just psychologically, it would be very difficult for them to come out and say, “Don’t worry, there isn’t a problem.” It’s sort of natural, since their whole life depends on it being a problem.




http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2151


David

tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

Well,

Re CO2 decrease. I agree, oil+coal production down + low (or constant) inverntory => Anthropogenic CO2 emissions down, assuming that non-fossil sources can be ignored, which is probably true.

So we have 5% decrease in CO2 emmissions. But CO2 emmissions represent gradient of CO2 concentration graph, so this decrease, over a few years,will barely be noticeable. Of course since the overall trend is exponential over more than one or two years there would be an increasing difference.

If thepoint is that atmospheric CO2 increase has not reduced by 5% you might want to look at this data taken from Mauna Loa. You can see that 5% reduction in gradient is barely noticeable and within the noise - though of course over a longer period it would become obvious:
http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-dioxide-levels.htm

MSimon
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Re: http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2151

Post by MSimon »

ravingdave wrote:Thought i'd throw this in just for kicks and grins. Freeman Dyson's opinions concerning AGW.


Freeman Dyson says:
What’s wrong with the models. I mean, I haven’t examined them in detail, (but) I know roughly what’s in them. And the basic problem is that in the case of climate, very small structures, like clouds, dominate. And you cannot model them in any realistic way. They are far too small and too diverse.

So they say, ‘We represent cloudiness by a parameter,’ but I call it a fudge factor. So then you have a formula, which tells you if you have so much cloudiness and so much humidity, and so much temperature, and so much pressure, what will be the result... But if you are using it for a different climate, when you have twice as much carbon dioxide, there is no guarantee that that’s right. There is no way to test it.
http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2151

David
And he didn't even mention cosmic rays. Or UV radiation. BTW he neglected to mention that the parameters used might not even be correct. How do you take the numbers given or calculated and determine the amount of rain in a grid square some 100 miles on a side? What is it? 39.173% of the area covered by low lying rain clouds? 13.372% of the area covered by high clouds. With a 26.233% overlap? And of course all this weather smeared over the whole square. Seems kinda non-physical to me.

And what is the parameter for mountains? What is the parameter for sea shore? Is there a tree parameter? A forest parameter? A grassland parameter? etc. etc. etc. How will the intersection of the ocean and the water affect winds? Don't tell me. Let me guess. I know. I know! There is a parameter for it.

The gulf stream is a few miles wide. How do you properly represent it in a grid square with dimensions running 10X or more the gulf stream's narrow dimension? Say. I wonder what the gulf stream parameter is?
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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Tom,

Did you buy your carbon offsets? Me? I think I'll burn some paper. Or perhaps I need to crank up the barbie. To make a statement. Give the CO2 back to the trees. They deserve it. They died for us. Too late for the dead ones. But how about their children? Think of their children.
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tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

My initial position, along with vankirkc, is that when nearly all the experts in the field tell me AGW is real and quantify it I believe this, or at least take it seriously.

Debating on this thread with many who have the opposite initial prejudice is interesting. Observing the meta-data:

(1) Logically, climate modellers may have a lot vested in AGW being an important issue, and hence emotional prejudice. BUT the main GCMs vary in predictions from 2.5 to 4 C per CO2 doubling, with a few outliers. So not all modellers have the same emotional investment5. Indeed some of them are clearly believing the average figure is significantly too high. Also, AGW is an important issue about which we need to know more, whether climate sensitivity is 1C (don't worry, do nothing) or 4C (prepare for mass starvation and migrations). So why assume all modellers are alarmists? the evidence does not back it up.

(2) The variety and lack of rigour in the arguments against AGW is dissapointing. After all, if the issue is as clear cut as some think, the most rigourous arguments could be deployed, and flakey arguments avoided. I think one of the difficulties is that if there are problems in the GCM consensus they don't come from obvious fallacies (which would be detected and incorporated into revised models) but from potential underestimation of errors. This is a much more difficult message to sell to the masses than the host of "AGW is obviously wrong because..." arguments.

(3) On this forum where Simon has challenged me on specifics (e.g. why are the altimeter data so accurate) I have dug a bit deeper, found the relevant papers (lots of them) which together answer all the questions. This is not a simple process but then experimental science now is not simple, with many ways of increasing precision, and complex error calculations. If there are errors in this data they get pointed out and corrected. There have been errors in data, of various kinds. (Not all "pro-AGW"). They do get pointed out, debated, and corrected.

(4) When Simon has challenged me with a general skepticism about GCMs it is much more difficult to answer without being a GCM expert. There are a whole raft of hypotheses and interlinked validations that make up GCM science. Without examining them all you can't know which to trust. In reality, different scientists examine different assumptions in detail, and anyone wanting to construct a GCM does an extensive LS to see what is the current state of art. If you don't trust the scientists in the field to do this impartially (see 1 above) you are up a creek without a paddle. I don't trust individual scientists to be impartial, but I reckon there is enough diversity for different hypotheses to be explored and errors identified. The fact that the "consensus" has a very broad range for climate sensitivity indicates that it is not a fix-up.

It is also worth noting that you do not need climate models at all to detemine climate sensitivity. You can do so directly from the temperature record data.

(5) It is true a general distrust of science leads to problems. You cannot adopt a "precautionary principle" because you don't know what are the real dangers - since you don't trust the best method we have of judging them. So you just let the dice roll and see what happens. This is a bleakly pessimistic view. We have the knowledge now to do better, if we can use it.

(6) Notwithstanding (5), it is true that estimating risks is difficult, by definition they are uncertain and you are damned either way. The risk will either eventualise or not and your precautions (or lack of precautions) will in retrospect seem stupid. Worse, people are naturally just plain bad at evaluating risks - we do not do Bayesian calculations except for a limited range of (multiply experiencable) events. It is not surprising that evolution has not equipped us to cope with events that have never yet happenned!

Best wishes, Tom

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Logically, climate modellers may have a lot vested in AGW being an important issue, and hence emotional prejudice. BUT the main GCMs vary in predictions from 2.5 to 4 C per CO2 doubling, with a few outliers. So not all modellers have the same emotional investment5. Indeed some of them are clearly believing the average figure is significantly too high. Also, AGW is an important issue about which we need to know more, whether climate sensitivity is 1C (don't worry, do nothing) or 4C (prepare for mass starvation and migrations). So why assume all modellers are alarmists? the evidence does not back it up.
Because when about half of them are alarmists it biases the sample.

The guy (model) who got 1.5 C doubling sensitivity is probably closest to the mark. And probably high. I believe the number is less than 1 deg. C.

And the IPCC - TaDa - is predicting 3 to 4.5 deg C. Some one needs to crank up the warm machine or they are not going to meet their 5 year plan for temperature production. And once you lose ground it becomes very hard to make it up.

If they don't start meeting the plan it could be unfortunate. I hear Siberia is very nice in the summer. Not so nice in the winter. A year around vacation may be in order.
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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

We do use Bayesian statistics. We ask a lot of people who should know - what is the answer? The most nearly correct answer will of course be what ever the consensus says it is.

Then we ask a lot of people who know less to vote on it.

But none of that matters. It only takes one. In science.

The models do not do clouds well. Admitted all around. Clouds are critical according to every one.

The adiabatic lapse rate in the models does not match the data in the tropics. What could that mean? It could mean the models are junk (not a bad assumption). Or it could mean that for some reason we have entered a cooling phase. And if that is true: uh, oh.
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Post by TallDave »

MSimon wrote:
1. Is it a good thing?
2. What is the magnitude
3. Is the feedback from WV/clouds overall positive or negative?
4. Is man mainly responsible for the increase in CO2 concentration?
...
Measurements show that the overall feedback is negative leading to a warming of .4 to .6 deg C from a CO2 doubling.
Yes, the assumption of a large positive water vapor feedback is the biggest problem with AGW.

But the biggest economic/politicial question is #1, and as the forecasting scientists have pointed out no one has rigorously evaluated the net consequences of GW, driven by A or otherwise.

It's interesting too that #1 is generally taken to be bad as an article of faith. This seems to proceed from the environmentalist-driven assumption that anything Man does to disturb Nature must be bad. But I will bet you this -- any rigorous study of climate consequences not specifically dealing with AGW would find warmer temperatures were generally better than colder temperatures , both for Man and Nature. This is practically a truism, historically speaking.

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