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Water vapour research validates climate models

For those who wish to deny the climate science outright, you have just lost another straw man. For those who wish to engage with the science, acknowledging its limitations, this latest research is for you.

The sceptics love to bash on about how water vapour is the real greenhouse culprit, how climate scientists ignore it and waste their time on CO2. This is a typical straw man for the sceptics who won’t engage with the real science. The facts are that the climate scientists have always been aware of the importance of water vapour in global energy retention and have sought to model how our rapid increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases effect it. Well, a new paper has been published that answers many of these questions.

An article at scienceblog describes the findings:

With new observations, the scientists confirmed experimentally what existing climate models had anticipated theoretically. The research team used novel data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite to measure precisely the humidity throughout the lowest 10 miles of the atmosphere. That information was combined with global observations of shifts in temperature, allowing researchers to build a comprehensive picture of the interplay between water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other atmosphere-warming gases. The NASA-funded research was published recently in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters.

“Everyone agrees that if you add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, then warming will result,” Dessler said. “So the real question is, how much warming?”

The answer can be found by estimating the magnitude of water vapor feedback. Increasing water vapor leads to warmer temperatures, which causes more water vapor to be absorbed into the air. Warming and water absorption increase in a spiraling cycle.

Because the new precise observations agree with existing assessments of water vapor’s impact, researchers are more confident than ever in model predictions that Earth’s leading greenhouse gas will contribute to a temperature rise of a few degrees by the end of the century.

“This study confirms that what was predicted by the models is really happening in the atmosphere,” said Eric Fetzer, an atmospheric scientist who works with AIRS data at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Water vapor is the big player in the atmosphere as far as climate is concerned.”

No one ever asserted that the climate models used by the IPCC were anything more than crude approximations of a complex system. But they are amongst the best that human science can muster. Increasing support for the validity of key aspects of the models means that the next generation of model will be even more robust. This means the risks associated with rapid, human induced climate change can be better assessed and our responses refined. Those still demanding irrefutable proof of man’s fingerprint on climactic change will be waiting a long, long time. I for one will continue to monitor and take the advice of the best that modern science has to offer. Bjchip – did you say that you worked on the AIRS project? Perhaps you have a deeper insight.

74 thoughts on “Water vapour research validates climate models

  1. Increasing water vapor leads to warmer temperatures, which causes more water vapor to be absorbed into the air. Warming and water absorption increase in a spiraling cycle.

    hang on, doesn’t increasing water vapour at some point just lead to rain, clearing all the water vapour out of the air?
    and doesn’t water vapour reflect sunlight back into space, leading to global dimming & cooling?

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  2. andrew – no. go read the article. It explains that the water vapour retains heat and gives the measured amounts from the research, which in turn correlate quite well with the original IPCC model assumptions. Water vapour is a much more effective blanket than CO2 is. Hence on a clear winter’s night, it’s the temperature falls more rapidly than on a cloudy winter’s night.

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  3. Andrew: the “water content” of the atmosphere varies enormously from time to time and place to place (moist tropical air as against dry desert air, for instance), but the average amount of water vapour is closely linked to the average temperature (the relationship is defined by the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, but approximates to constant relative humidity, which summarises to your quote from frog). As the amount of heat in the global climate system increases, the atmosphere will carry more water vapour in total (though there will still be huge regional and local variations), and because water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas, it will add to the warming: a positive feedback. More water vapour also means more “fuel” for weather systems (as water vapour condenses to water droplets, it gives off heat, and vice versa), and so we expect heavier rain and stronger storms as a consequence of more water in the atmosphere.

    Because the surface of the planet is 70% water, the atmosphere and ocean are tightly linked together: experiments with climate models suggest that if you were to take all the water out of the atmosphere, within a week to ten days it would be replaced by evaporation from the oceans.

    Clouds are complicated. Some have a warming effect (a cloudy night is seldom a frosty night, for example), but others do reflect sunlight away (increasing albedo). Overall, however, more cloud is thought to mean more warming (over and above the radiation trapping effect of the water vapour itself).

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  4. frog – sorry i haven’t read the article yet – still catching up on today’s frogblogs.
    but the idea of clear nights being colder than cloudy nights is absolutely consistent with what i said.
    at night it is the earth radiating heat out to space, & vapour would block that, hence less vapour means less blockage & a colder night.
    during the day, the radiation mainly moves in the opposite direction, space (via the sun) radiating heat in to earth, & again, vapour would block that, so more vapour means cooler average surface eh?

    average water vapour linked to average temperature i can understand too bucolic old sir henry but cause & effect round the other way – as it gets hotter more vapour goes up there, not necessarily evidence of greenhouse effect

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  5. andrew – And I wasn’t entirely clear myself. The higher the cloud, the more it has a reflective effect. (albedo). The lower the cloud, the more it has a blanket effect, warming. However, that’s just reflection of heat, and the water itself has the ability to retain heat, which is what this AIRS experiment was measuring, and has been found to be consistent with what they have been using as a proxy in the climate models. As BOSH has said, clouds are tricky business. I was going to do a post on this for tomorrow, but have this link today:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    There are some interesting debates about clouds in models deep in the comments. The post itself is an excellent primer on climate modelling, which is why I’ll do a post on it for tomorrow. Happy reading!

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  6. average water vapour linked to average temperature i can understand too bucolic old sir henry but cause & effect round the other way – as it gets hotter more vapour goes up there, not necessarily evidence of greenhouse effect

    Not sure what you’re driving at… More CO2/methane etc in the atmosphere provides warming, that warming then boosts the water vapour content of the atmosphere, and so the warming is increased. It’s a positive feedback triggered by the increase in GHGs. This new study confirms that feedback, and its size. Its important confirmation of the underlying physics of climate models, and so increases our confidence in their projections.

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  7. The article referred to just confirms what AGW sceptics have always said. The greenhouse effect is overwhelmingly a function of water vapour. Everything else is marginal.

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  8. Wat dabney, your comment only serves to demonstrate just how shallow an understanding of the science that a typical denialist has.

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  9. wat: Everything else is marginal.

    I would say that anything that effects water vapour is pivotal, not marginal!

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  10. frog:

    1) PLEASE stop using the phrase “straw man”. I am so sick of hearing greenies use it to dismiss any argument they don’t like.

    2) Lets just assume that the climate is definitely heading for disaster. Either ice age, or tropical warming/melting ice caps. It really doesn’t matter. Either one means difficulties for mankind.

    Whichever one the outcome is, the general populace are going to ignore the Green Party and look to high-power solutions like nuclear and/or thermal power to provide electricity, desalination, warmth etc etc.

    The only benefit the Green Party can offer is to change the minds of one person at a time, towards a sustainable lifestyle. Only problem is…there are 6 billion minds to change.

    The only way forward is this:

    1) Forget about the global warming debate. It is a waste of time. The rest of the world DEFINITELY IS going to look to nuclear/thermal etc to solve the problems.

    2) Encourage green technologies, and make them cheap.

    3) Stop trying to force people to change their opinions. (It just makes them anti)

    4) Encourage green technologies, and make them cheap. (did I say it already????)

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  11. Andrew W,

    Let me just repeat back to you the closing quotation: “Water vapor is the big player in the atmosphere as far as climate is concerned.”

    If you disagree with the guy, take it up with him, not with me.

    frog,

    I’m not clear what you think is new in this study. You are arguing against yourself. In fact, your obvious satisfaction with this report suggests to me that you don’t understand the argument.
    Water vapour is indeed the “big player” as far as greenhouse gases go. Everything else is marginal.

    The problem with alarmists going on about rising CO2 levels is that they never put it in context (or perhaps they don’t know the greater context), which is that CO2 is little more than a trace element in the overall greenhouse effect. This study rams home my point.

    Sure, there will be feedbacks. That’s inevitable. There are an infinate number of feedback mechanisms; some positive and some negative. But we know that the negative feedbacks predominate, i.e. the climate self-regulates through things like variations in cloud cover. We know this because temperatures have been higher in the past (just recently the Medieval Warm Period, for example) and clearly there was no runaway effect.

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  12. Wat, as aggressive displays of ignorance go, yours are magnificent.

    CO2 is little more than a trace element in the overall greenhouse effect. This study rams home my point.

    No, this study confirms the size and importance of the water vapour feedback to greenhouse gas forcing. That’s explicit in the paper. So why would you make stuff up?

    I can guess…

    (PS: negative feedbacks cannot possibly dominate the climate system, or we’d be stuck in a permanent ice age.)

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  13. Wat – your biggest mistake is in thinking that the water vapour contribution is small – only degrees. It isn’t. It’s the only thing keeping the earth from freezing. I don’t have the exact figure but its tens of degrees if not 100 degrees. The CO2 contribution is a fraction of this but that doesn’t make it negligible.

    Trevor.

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  14. BOCC,

    Let me put it this way, if the report had convincingly shown that the influence of water vapour was much less than previously thought – i.e. that the influence of other agents such as naturally occurring and now anthropogenic CO2 was higher than previously believed, then you would have something to crow about.

    Yet this report says nothing of the sort. Instead it has confirmed water vapour as the overwhelming greenhouse gas. But still you try to spin it like it’s some revelation that makes your case! Do you really not understand the argument?

    - “(PS: negative feedbacks cannot possibly dominate the climate system, or we’d be stuck in a permanent ice age.)”

    Er, apart from the energy we continually receive the from Sun, of course. Remember that?

    But the point is that it is evidently a self-regulating negative feedback predominating during warming periods and not the runaway “tipping point” stuff you people insist is the only possible outcome . If it were not the case, we would not be here now discussing it.(And by the way, it’s only you who is suggesting that such negative feedbacks must dominate at all times and across all temperature ranges. Nobody else thinks that.)

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  15. Trevor29,

    I understand quite well enough that the powerful natural greenhouse effect is what makes this planet habitable. It’s the skeptics who have been trying to hammer home this point for years.

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  16. Greengeek Says:The only way forward is this:

    1) Forget about the global warming debate. It is a waste of time. The rest of the world DEFINITELY IS going to look to nuclear/thermal etc to solve the problems.

    2) Encourage green technologies, and make them cheap.

    3) Stop trying to force people to change their opinions. (It just makes them anti)

    I don’t think anyone one is trying to force a change in opinions. Yes, arguments (pursuasive or otherwise) are offered in support of the need for a radical – more green – change in our overall approach to life. That is the way ideas are expounded. However, no-one HAS to listen let alone change one’s way of life simply because an AGW theory is propounded.
    Your suggestion that the best (and only?) stance the Greens can do is ‘encourage green technologies’ seems to be based on the assumption that human actions have a purely financial basis. That is, we will ultimately only do what we feel is financial advantageous for us. (Or have I inadvertently created an ‘Aunt Sally’ out of your position? :) )
    I am hoping that the human spirit has a much deeper and more complex foundation that includes, for starters, not only efficiency but empathy with our fellow humans and the environment as a whole . Of course hope and actuality don’t have to concur. But I am sure that humans are highly complex organisms. Whether the environmentalists or the technocrats win out is not clear as yet. Although, I personally believe that the environmentalists are very much on the back foot.

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  17. If you understand the amplifying positive feedback from the water vapour you also SHOULD have an understanding that the water vapour reaches its equilibrium easily, within weeks of even large global changes. If that is the case it CANNOT force climate… it can only respond to other forcings, altering the final resulting temperature. Think of it as leverage. Push a little bit over here, watch it move a lot over there.

    Sorry Frog, I worked on AVIRIS… I knew people working on AIRS and AVIRIS was used to calibrate the AIRS instrument once it was in orbit, but I didn’t work on AIRS. For background, AVIRIS is an airborne instrument that does hyperspectral imaging from one of several airborne platforms. It gets a very good measurement of the lowest part of the atmosphere (up to 20 KM and the ground. It uses 223 separate colors, most of them in the infrared. AVIRIS is calibrated with ground truth teams and with a rather large black-body device, cooled with liquid nitrogen and is basically the standard for hyperspectral imagery and research. I did the new signal chain for it. Basically the ground truth team goes to a region where AVIRIS does an set of lines underflying the satellite. The theoretically expected result from the satellite is checked against the actual results obtained and the corrections are determined.

    Who said science was complicated?

    :-)

    One other thing. The guys with the “piled higher and deeper” diplomas back at the lab, the engineers, the janitors, the guards and the bean-counters are uniformly scared sh!tless with what they see. If anything the alarm expressed so far is a miniscule reflection of their actual feeling. That was what it was like when I left. The letters since have not changed much. The research news is almost entirely bad.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  18. bucolic old sir henry says:

    Not sure what you’re driving at… More CO2/methane etc in the atmosphere provides warming, that warming then boosts the water vapour content of the atmosphere,

    and now comes the bit which remains to be proved:

    and so the warming is increased. It’s a positive feedback

    i gave a reason why it might actually be a negative feedback, & frog has agreed that it can be, & described some circumstances where it might be negative (high cloud) & positive (low vapour).
    another reason it could be negative is if the extra vapour leads to increased precipitation in freezing areas.

    PS: negative feedbacks cannot possibly dominate the climate system, or we’d be stuck in a permanent ice age.

    not quite what that guy said, he said negative feedbacks predominate relative to positive feedbacks, not that they over-compensate for causes nor even that they fully compensate.

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  19. If the water vapour in the column is in the form of clouds.. yes… but we are talking about the long term global effect of water vapour which is predominantly a feedback. Clouds at night are a blanket. Clouds during the day are a reflector. Half the planet is dark. Always. On balance the terms cancel no matter how much cloud there is… unless it stays in place a long time for some reason. Not the usual case.

    Overall the water vapour is a POSITIVE feedback.

    +++++++++++++++

    Wat

    If there were no greenhouse the earth would be roughly 33° colder,

    A snowball.

    That is with the sun doing exactly what it does. Implying anything else is simply wrong. If the solar output somehow increased sufficiently to raise the equilibrium black-body equivalent temperature of the planet by the same amount the planet would resemble a cinder. Your statement

    - “(PS: negative feedbacks cannot possibly dominate the climate system, or we’d be stuck in a permanent ice age.)”

    Er, apart from the energy we continually receive the from Sun, of course. Remember that?

    …is simply wrong.

    What follows it is so astonishingly wrong that it can hardly be parsed…

    But the point is that it is evidently a self-regulating negative feedback predominating during warming periods and not the runaway “tipping point” stuff you people insist is the only possible outcome .

    Normal Ice Age glaciations end with an increase in solar input, some warming and some feedback of CO2 and water vapour which causes more warming and more release. It stops because there IS an equilibrium temperature for the solar input, Oceanic CO2 released and Water vapour and biological and other system’s consumption of CO2.

    Runaway feedbacks or “tipping points” have to do with methane clathrates in the deep sea, alterations to the albedo of the poles, devastation of biological carbon sinks like the Amazon should the rains stop… etc. Any change in the climate balance entails a substantial risk that it will create much more change than the initial instability would seem to provide.

    These tipping points are not predictable and there has not been much risk of encountering one in the past interglacials because there wasn’t any additional forcing available to drive the equilibrium high enough to hit one.

    We’ve provided a lot of additional forcing.

    The climate equilibrium temperature for this level of CO2 and solar input is some 2° higher than present. That assumes NO triggers are tripped. We could trip one tomorrow and add 2° to the 2 we know we’ve got coming.

    At 4° we’ll probably lose both the WAIS and the GIS as well as 2 billion humans… minimum.

    That’s the risk.

    BJ

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  20. I am confused as to how Wat can continue to argue that greenhouse warming from CO2 is negligible. He has failed to grasp the fact the the influence of CO2 is in addition to the very large influence of water vapour. We need the greenhouse warming provided by water vapour (otherwise we would freeze to death), but we don’t need the extra warming provided by the CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere, even though this extra warming is small compared to that provided by water vapour. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

    A medical analogy Wat might understand involves pain killers. If you have a bad headache, paracetamol can work wonders. However, you have to be really careful, the threshold between what is safe and what is fatal is very easy to exceed. The same sort of thing applies in the atmosphere; the water vapour cures the “headache” we would experience from a freezing world, yet it is also very easy to exceed the safe threshold and give ourselves a warming overdose.

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  21. Longer post is in moderation

    Samiuela, Wat is missing that the water vapor is an amplifier. The CO2 is the guitar, the Sun is provides the power and the water vapor makes the sound louder. No input from the guitar… no sound. Analogy is imperfect but important to understand that the water vapor is a positive feedback.

    It makes the CO2 signal louder. Wat isn’t following that part of the argument at all. I don’t think he wants to understand anything.

    BJ

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  22. Wat is actually doing exactly what he is accusing the climate scientists of doing – creating an imperfect model to get the results he wants. Just ignore a few small terms that all would lead to a temperature increase to get the result that AGW is a myth. What he hasn’t done which the climate scientists do do is to test his model against recent weather history to see if it is plausible.

    These computer models represent our best understanding of what is happening to our global temperatures. They are developed by teams using the best information to hand. They are checked against what we know the temperatures to have been to expose serious errors, and they are improving. And they are painting a grim picture.

    What I don’t know is Wat’s motivation. I’m hoping it is just a misunderstanding. I fear that he may be paid for spreading misinformation, in order to safeguard the interests of companies whose activities and profits would be detrimentally affected by measures to curb AGW. Perhaps he doesn’t want his lifestyle curbed by such measures and doesn’t care about future generations. Perhaps he genuinely believes AGW is promoted by a conspiracy although I can’t figure out what such a conspiracy could gain, although it is easy to see what AGW denier$ can hope to gain.

    The effect of CO2 can be likened to a house in a cold climate with well insulated walls and ceilings (the water vapour) and a fixed amount of heating (the sun). Adding a bit of double glazing or a curtain or both can reduce the heat loss and increase the temperature significantly. Different greenhouse gases have different effects, akin to applying double glazing to different windows. Some effects are cumulative such as applying double glazing and a curtain to the same window – each has more effect individually than together. Add more of a particular greenhouse gas reduces the heat loss through certain windows but not others.

    (The different windows in the above analogy represent different infra-red frequencies in the heat being radiated out from the earth into space.)

    Trevor.

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  23. You might be interested in the response from Dr Roy Spencer one of the world’s experts on the effects of water vapour and clouds. His answer to my question re the paper referred to above reads:

    “Well, the authors know just enough to be dangerous…water vapor is not
    the ONLY major player…clouds are the OTHER major player. I used to
    think that water vapor would be the place that negative feedback would be
    found, but our latest data…from the same satellite as this study was
    from, but a different instrument…also found positive water vapor
    feedback from the same five year period.

    BUT…the solar reflection by clouds was such a strong negative feedback
    during the same period that it completely overwhelmed the positive vapor
    feedback….to give a net, strongly negative feedback. Their instrument
    (AIRS) can not be very easily used to accurately evaluate that effect.

    So, that study, and the article about the study you sent, were only half
    the story…a “half-truth”. The sad thing is that the original authors
    probably don’t even realize that.

    Oh…and they probably overestimated the water vapor feedback anyway.
    There is both forcing and feedback occurring from water vapor variations,
    and they ignored the forcing, which will then lead to positive bias in the
    diagnosed feedbacks. It took me a long time to figure that out, and so
    far one reviewer and one journal editor have kept me from informing others
    about it.

    Gee…imagine how difficult it would be if our science was politicized?

    -Roy

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  24. Dr Roy Spencer is one scientist ; why should i trust him more than the group of scientist that make this study or international scientific organizations / associations that warn me about Global Climate Change.

    Tell what makes you believe Dr Roy Spencer more than the others.

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  25. Dr Spencer is alone in his doubts. One can regard his analysis as the lone voice of truth in an ocean of misunderstanding, or one can consider the likelihood that he has made an error himself. He HAS made some whoppers in the past.

    However, overall he is pretty much alone in his concerns. I won’t discuss them… just point out the more digestible summaries of clouds and their effect on albedo, and water-vapor as a feedback.

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/11/221311/27

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/cloudy-outlook-for-albedo/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/

    If Spencer were to be correct in what you just quoted, the problem becomes to explain the current situation, in which we have clouds and we have a large positive feedback from the water vapor overall to give us the current greenhouse signature.

    Who’s right? Can’t be completely certain, but be clear about what he is saying… that the instrument alone can’t measure albedo changes, negative feedbacks and so the cloud information is not there. THAT is how it is “half the story”. Not that it is wrong. That there is not enough information to convince him that it is right. He THINKS cloud albedo is able to overwhelm the hemisphere absorption through the atmosphere.

    That isn’t proved. Most scientists disagree. I say that sometimes it’s night.

    BJ

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  26. Press-puree
    This area of science is unusual within the general debate in that it is only since the Aqua satellites (suitably named) started sending down data – from about two years ago – that the scientific community has had much to go on regarding the differing impacts of water vapour and clouds. So there is no team of scientists out there.
    The IPCC had nothing to say about this because it has had no data.
    One might have said why should I take any notice of the one scientist who first observed the background radiation from the BIg Bang just after the first radio telescope began to provide data.
    This is a new field. The debates to date have been lively but well mannered.
    We should be pleased that someone of Roy’s standing is willing to respond directly to this conversation rather than us having to dig through other web pages etc. And he is not alone in his doubts. I know of at least three international scientists of high repute who agree with him. I understand one of the lead authors for the IPCC is being persuaded also.
    I can reasonably assume there are many more.

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  27. As a comparative layman I tend towards Spencer because if clouds provide negative feedback it goes some way to explain why the climate is so stable.
    Positive feedback loops make for unstable systems.

    If there as many tipping points as so many of Al Gore’s disciples claim then the earth’s climate would be bouncing round like a yo-yo. Fortunately for us it is remarkably stable.

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  28. lolz

    BJ – this argument is to geekgirls what a bitch-slap-fight in a bar is to the average Courtney Place punter … lovin’ the science slap-downs.

    High-five! :-)

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  29. bucolic old sir henry:
    1. “go & read…” is not a persuasive argument.
    try answering any of my points. for example start with the last one: that you misinterpreted the comment about feedbacks predominating.
    2. “At the moment, you’re both arguing without knowing what you’re arguing about.” i gather that’s your way of saying you’re not up to debating us?. anyway i’m not arguing. i’m putting forth questions which i feel need to be answered if your case is to be made.

    bjchip:

    Clouds at night are a blanket. Clouds during the day are a reflector. Half the planet is dark. Always. On balance the terms cancel no matter how much cloud there is… unless it stays in place a long time for some reason. Not the usual case.

    Overall the water vapour is a POSITIVE feedback.

    at first you describe how positive & negative feedbacks from clouds cancel each other out, then you conclude that the overall feedback is positive. it doesn’t follow from the first part of your post. you see the reason people aren’t following the part of the argument that water vapour is a positive feedback, is that when you come to that part of the argument you slip from reasoning to mere assertion.

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  30. If there as many tipping points as so many of Al Gore’s disciples claim then the earth’s climate would be bouncing round like a yo-yo. Fortunately for us it is remarkably stable.

    Pardon? There’s the small matter of the ice age sequence we’re living in, with the climate oscillating between cold and warm (5C difference in global average from ice age to interglacial). All it takes to trigger an interglacial warming is a cyclical change in the earth’s orbit that delivers extra warmth to the NH mid latitudes, plus some CO2 feedback.

    That should not give us any confidence that the system is “stable”. If the climate system is capable of such rapid and large positive feedbacks, then the fact that we’ve given it a huge kick by adding nearly 40% more CO2 should worry the hell out of us.

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  31. Owen

    There are quite a lot of people looking at the Aqua data.

    The problem is that the historical conditions of similar CO2 levels lead (in the paleo-climate records) to conclusively warmer planets. No Ice at the poles.

    In short, what Owen is claiming is that there is a negative feedback that corrects climate excursions. He MIGHT be right… and the hail-mary pass on 4th and long MIGHT connect to get a winning score. That’s not how you bet.

    It is ESPECIALLY not how you bet when the stakes are the only habitable piece of real-estate in the Solar System.

    The climate is always naturally changing. The climate is too stable. The time frames of these two statements would appear to be different. The transition from glacial period to inter-glacial, would NOT leave me with great confidence of climate stability … this is often a source of skeptical discontent… but now its stability is explained by negative feedback? The contradictions multiply faster than a digital signal processor.

    There is no indication that he actually IS right… he has an opinion and he has to do his own research, and will, to try to define the cloudy issues.

    I have other things to do than argue with someone who wants to bet my house as well as his own, on the opinion of one guy. Do I get a say in this?

    The last time CO2 was this high was 3 million years ago. There wasn’t a polar ice-cap and the ocean was about 5 meters higher. It took thousands of years for it to reach that CO2 level and more to wipe off the GIS (if that is what happened). We just put in that same amount of CO2 in 50 years,

    The climate will ring for centuries. The results are unknowable.

    BJ

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  32. I did not say stable – remarkably stable was the word.

    The climate has been remarkably stable during the long summer of he Heliocene and of course the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have changed much more in the past than at present and when it did it was in response to warming – not the cause of the warming.

    My gut feeling is that if clouds and water vapour consistently provided positive feedback then the climate would be bouncing around like a yo yo.
    And while we have had warm periods (minoan, roman and medieaval and now) we have also had cool periods in between. But something dampened the swings that otherwise could have been triggered by a decent forest fire.

    You may object to drawing on gut feeling but my intuition similarly favours the cycling big bang universe over the single big bang universe and I cannot explain that favouritsm by anything other than gut feeling or intuitive belief.

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  33. Problem is that you can’t explain the temperature without overall positive feedback. from the Water Vapor. The temperature and solar input are observed data.

    BJ

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  34. True. The clouds are the interesting bit because they are reflective.
    And their role changes with altitude and by time of day.

    THis is not uncommon with the real world. When you cut down pine trees and turn it into pasture the grass (especially in dry summer) has much higher albedo than the pine forest. So it has a cooling effect.
    How much and to what effect?
    Who knows?

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  35. Owen… its Holocene. It hasn’t been all that stable.

    Once more… it took 800 years to establish new CO2 levels, It took 5000 years to establish the new temperature. We’ve been over THAT ground on every blessed thread and not one person coming here from the right-wing-blogosphere has EVER gotten it right.

    Your gut vs my gut? I have this image of my early teens when belly bouncing was a short-lived fad…. my 9 year old daughter would get a kick out of that :-) …. no… I won’t object to you appealing to your gut, but mine disagrees with you about the feedbacks and it must be given equal weight – my daughter would be REALLY impressed if yours weighed more :-)

    There ARE negative feedbacks… and it may be that there are regimes in which the clouds are indeed negative and dominant… but there is a limit on how much CO2 can come out of the ocean, there are several patterns of bio-fixation of the carbon. There are mechanisms by which excessive cloudiness will resolve into clear days. Don’t confuse the little overall swings with what’s happening now. The problem is that the temperature is what it is… and the water vapor explains it.

    If Spencer can show that added water vapor in warmer air creates MORE clouds, he might have something. Warm air doesn’t make clouds though, just holds more water. Clouds (and rain) happen when the warmed air becomes colder.

    respectfully

    BJ

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  36. Bucolic Old Sir Henry wrote: ‘Frankly, Owen, your “gut feeling” doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when stacked up against an entire scientific discipline.’

    Gut feeling is an incredibly poor guide when it comes to anything different than human time/space/speed scales, and is a dangerous guide. My gut feelings tell me that quantum mechanics and relativity make no sense (despite having studied both), that evolution hasn’t possibly had enough time to evolve us, and that every time I’m in a 747 taking off, it can’t possibly leave the ground even though it did so all the other times. In all these cases the science (or experience) pretty clearly has my gut in the wrong. Much better to look at the evidence.

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  37. Owen…

    I re-read myself and I was not clear. The argument against the water vapor having an overall positive feedback effect is made in several of the preceding links I’ve offered, but here I am discussing your feeling that it would cause instability. It would if it were the only ball in play and it lasted long enough.

    The difficulty is the time constants associated with the gas. For CO2 the forcing lasts for half a century for CH4 it lasts about a decade… for H2O vapor it lasts about 1-3 weeks. Double the water vapor in the atmosphere or reduce it to zero and it will be right back where it is now in a week.

    http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/01/water-vapour-is-not-dominant.html

    With H2O vapor as a feedback the forcing has to come from the CO2, or the Sun and in general the CO2 has come from the ocean and the ocean changes temperature (and releases/absorbs CO2) REAL slowly. The Sun doesn’t do a lot of “step functions” either. Certainly none have been observed.

    The logic you’re using isn’t all that bad. Hopefully I’ve explained some of this well enough for you to see that there is missing information.

    BJ

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  38. “Positive feedback loops make for unstable systems.”

    Owen,

    That’s not how the maths works on forced systems. Amplifiers provide positive feedback, but only up until a certain level is reached. That’s why you can get a huge sound out of a violin but you have no risk of the sound-box exploding.

    Andrew,
    You’re arguing that (1) most greenhouse effect is due to water vapour, and that (2) increasing water vapour won’t increase the greenhouse effect. While we can imagine bizarre ways that both of those things could be true, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that the earth would be in that state. So I think the onus of proof is on you if you want to argue that.

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  39. Again, you people are arguing why something must be so (according to your beloved theory) when we know for a fact that it isn’t.

    The Medieval Warm Period, to name just one earlier warming event, did not show runaway positive feedback. It did not reach a tipping point past which increased water vapour created more warming which in turn resulted in more water vapour &c.

    It simply did not happen.

    We can toss about theories all day about how such as condition might be plausible; but we don’t have to waste our time because the Earth has already been there, done that, and it did not happen

    So the evidence is that negative feedback becomes dominant at warmer temperatures. Conceivably this is due to changes in cloud cover which increase the Earth’s albedo and so lessen the amount of sunlight being turned into heat.

    It’s like you’re all arguing that it’s impossible for a bumble bee to fly because you have this great theory – which of course you’ve modelled on a supercomputer – that says it’s impossible.

    Do you think for one moment that computer climate models implement these feedbacks properly, or at all? They don’t. They are garbage in, garbage out. They are not “science.” They have no predictive skill (again, this has been proven). The evidence – the gathering of facts – says you’re completely wrong. The last few years of cooling say you’re completely wrong.

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  40. Wat, you are way out of your depth.

    There is no “evidence” that negative feedbacks dominate at warmer temperatures.

    And your interpretation of what climate models are and do is risible.

    Did you read the reference I suggested?

    No. I thought not.

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  41. BOCC,

    -”There is no “evidence” that negative feedbacks dominate at warmer temperatures.”

    Apart from the fact that they clearly did during previous warming events, you mean?

    Who knows. Maybe you’re right. Maybe the laws of physics have changed since then.

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  42. I don’t know why you’re wasting your time debating this issue.

    If you can prove AGW is real, you collect 500K

    ultimateglobalwarmingchallenge.com/

    If you can’t, you’re just blowing hot air, dudes….

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  43. Apart from the fact that they clearly did during previous warming events, you mean?

    Unfortunately, Wat, you do not need to invoke negative feedbacks to explain why previous interglacials ended. Take away the Milankovitch forcing (which is cyclical), add in considerable biosphere response to warming (more forests further north), and you get a slow decline into an ice age.

    Those circumstances do not apply now.

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  44. Wat

    You cannot prove that the Medieval Warm Period was in fact warmer than it is now any more than Mann can prove it was cooler. The lack of first hand proof of the second means that there is no proof of the first.

    In other words, you are AGAIN making up sh!t that no climate science predicts and then making up sh!t to claim that you know what happened back when your idol MacIntyre has been telling you that there is no fncking way anyone knows. Your arguments are now so twisted and confused that you are refuting yourself.

    All I have to do is point it out at this point.

    I’d be embarrassed.

    BJ

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  45. BOCC,

    I’m not referring to interglacials.

    As I said, the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today and yet there was no runaway feedback taking the temperature higher and higher. On the contrary, it cooled.

    Sooner or later the accumulation of evidence – in particular the ongoing cooling – will be enough to wake up even the most devout believers.

    Here’s a couple of recent headlines you people might not have seen, stuck away in your incestuous green ghetto:-

    “Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage. Increase twice the size of Germany: “colder weather” to blame.”

    http://www.dailytech.com/Arctic+Sees+Massive+Gain+in+Ice+Coverage/article12851.htm

    “Sea Ice Growing at Fastest Pace on Record. Rapid Rebound Brings Ice Back to Levels from the 1980s.”

    http://www.dailytech.com/Sea+Ice+Growing+at+Fastest+Pace+on+Record/article13385.htm

    It’s strange, don’t you think, that a blog which purports to take a serious interest in the subject never posts any of the evidence against the theory?

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  46. >>“Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage. Increase twice the size of Germany: “colder weather” to blame.”

    Wow! That’s good news for the Polar Bears but bad for those parties thinking they could soon have easy access to lots more oil.

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  47. As I said, the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today

    It wasn’t.

    Sea ice: as of today the Arctic sea ice is about 750,000km2 below the ’79-2000 average. And “colder weather” is not to blame – in fact, as the ice freezes, the latent heat given off contributes to the strong warming seen in Siberia and Canada.

    And your “sources” for information are very revealing…

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  48. Maybe we will have to get the geophysicists to investigate ways of attracting more warmth from the sun to stop the impending Ice age?

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  49. bjchip,

    - “You cannot prove that the Medieval Warm Period was in fact warmer than it is now any more than Mann can prove it was cooler. The lack of first hand proof of the second means that there is no proof of the first.”

    Incorrect. There are a large number of different types of proxies from a wide range of independent studies which together strongly demonstrate that the MWP was at least as warm, and was actually probably warmer, than today:

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/description.php

    - “In other words, you are AGAIN making up sh!t that no climate science predicts and then making up sh!t to claim that you know what happened back when your idol MacIntyre has been telling you that there is no fncking way anyone knows. Your arguments are now so twisted and confused that you are refuting yourself.”

    I assume you are talking about Steve McIntyre’s demonstration that the Hockeystick – that unquestioned icon of the Warming movement – was simply the result of Mann’s statistical incompetence and cherry-picking? He also, of course, discussed serious problems with using tree rings as simple proxies for climate but has never claimed, as you maintain, that “there is no fncking way anyone knows.”

    And for all this he was vilified. Certainly you still seem very angry about it, even though he was proved entirely correct.

    The MWP collection of evidence, on the other hand, consists of a variety of proxies types which can be used to confirm each other, and there is no complex home-made statistical manipulation completely wrecking the data.

    So the best evidence – which amounts to very strong evidence – is that the MWP was probably warmer than today. What more can you ask?

    - “I’d be embarrassed.”

    I think you should be.

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  50. BOCC,

    - “Sea ice: as of today the Arctic sea ice is about 750,000km2 below the ‘79-2000 average. ”

    That’s not the point, is it?

    The point is the recent rapid and vast re-expansion, which flies in the face of your alarmism.

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  51. IceBaby

    1. Science is not about “proof”. Any appeal to this bit of popular nonsense is deeply misguided. I suggest review of the scientific method. Consider what place this bet, or “proof” might actually have.

    2. The terms of reference on that bet are such that the guy who offers it decides what is proof and what is not. I could safely offer a billion dollars on the same terms, to someone “proving” that all warming is due to changes in solar output. There is no risk of ever having to pay out.

    3. People must take advantage of your naivete fairly often from the looks of this.

    BJ

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  52. Wat

    Those proxies are not better than the others, there is no indication of uncertainty in any in my random selection off the site. You are arguing a certainty that IS NOT IN EVIDENCE. The evidence is that it MIGHT or MIGHT NOT have been a half degree warmer… or cooler. The “best evidence” isn’t defined by your assertion of it,

    I am not troubled by this. It remains as irrelevant as it was the last time we went round this particular bush, as what happened in the MWP is not related to what is happening now. The problem I have with you is that this is not the first time and you keep right on about “the hockey stick” as though it mattered.

    This is the umpteenth time we’ve done this and you haven’t improved your manner, your content or your delivery.

    Several of the arguments you put forth previously in this thread were so abysmally misguided that I could barely bring myself to answer.

    You waste my time.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/


    “During the 2008 melt season, Arctic sea ice declined by 10.58 million square kilometers (4.08 million square miles). This was slightly more than the previous record for loss over an entire melt season, set in 2007, which was 10.51 million square kilometers (4.06 million square miles).

    Arctic sea ice and climate are behaving in ways not seen before in the satellite record—both in the rate and extent of ice loss during the spring and summer, and in the record ice growth rates and increased Arctic air heating during the fall and winter.”

    New Ice… it isn’t very robust. The 11 year cycle is swinging back up, but it didn’t really get very cold..

    The problem I have is that I accept that there COULD be alternative explanations, but have a method of choosing the one I am working with. If you’re familiar with the scientific method, you know that you accept the hypothesis that does the best job of explaining the data,,, when you get a BETTER hypothesis you use that one.

    You are lacking any sort of alternative hypothesis that is not trivially falsifiable or wildly coincidental. This makes it hard to take any of your denouncements of the scientific community seriously..

    http://tqe.quaker.org/2007/TQE158-EN-GlobalWarming.html

    BJ

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  53. The point is the recent rapid and vast re-expansion, which flies in the face of your alarmism.

    Ah, I see. The arrival of winter means that global warming is over.

    Wat, your aggression exceeds your understanding.

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  54. “It’s strange, don’t you think, that a blog which purports to take a serious interest in the subject never posts any of the evidence against the theory?”

    wat, remind us what evidence you have you posted *for* the theory. If you haven’t, why do you think that is?

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  55. Just so we know what weight to give the arguments of at least one of the participants here is a summary of Spencer’s CV:

    “Roy W. Spencer Ph.D. is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has served as senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.”

    Note he is US team leader on the key measurement system on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He is qualified to hold his opinion.

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  56. Bucolic Old Sir Henry,

    I think climate scientists, meteorologists and other atmospheric scientists need to talk to biologists. They have been arguing with the likes of Dabney et al. for many decades, and might have some useful tips on dealing with them.

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  57. samiuela,
    Yes, this is what Freeman Dyson has been saying since the debate first began.
    When I first read Lovelock’s theory of Gaia my gut feeling immediately was “this guy is on the button” because this theory that life shaped the environment to its own ends made so much sense. And as chaos theory developed with its sub theory of the Attractors we can see that the earth does slip from one stable state to another but does so infrequently, because negative feedback loops operate most of the time.
    Consequently, when I heard Roy give his first paper on the Aqua data in New York earlier this year, and he worked through the IPCC presumption of positive feedback and then showed how the Aqua data indicated negative feedback my reponse tended to be positive because of the Gaia theory.
    It was assisted by the fact that at Bali a few months before I had heard Chris Monckton present the paper he had written with Dave Evans which showed that the temperature satellites were not detecting the hot spots which should be there if the positive feedback model was correct. Observations trump models.
    and this is why, by the time I had to study quantum mechanics and relativity at University I did not have to draw on gut feeling. There were so many observations which confirmed both theories with remarkable precision.
    My gut feeling of course is not worth a hill of beans when it comes to whether observations finally refute a hypothesis or not. I was just recognising that our human response to any new paradigm, or a new set of data refuting one theory and supporting another, will draw on our experience and emotions and gut feelings. I had been slowly persuaded that string theory may be right (although it seemed so complicated) but now that Dyson says it is not worth a hill of beans I am prepared to let my gut feeling reinforce my early skepticism.
    This is how life works. Ask any detective.

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  58. Your “appeal to authority” argument is noted Owen and recognized as such.

    The fact that the authority who puts this particular spin on the data is Roy W. Spencer Ph.D. and he is the only one of any weight to do so somewhat diminishes the returns you get here, though it was good of you to ask him his opinion. Read it more carefully though.


    I used to think that water vapor would be the place that negative feedback would be found, but our latest data…from the same satellite as this study was from, but a different instrument…also found positive water vapor
    feedback from the same five year period.

    He confirms that the water vapor is providing a positive feedback. Just like I and the scientists in this piece claim.

    BUT…the solar reflection by clouds was such a strong negative feedback during the same period that it completely overwhelmed the positive vapor feedback….to give a net, strongly negative feedback.

    There is no measurement of cloud albedo available. What makes him say this? I have to presume he has a source of albedo measurements, possibly MODIS but overall measurement of the planets albedo is NOT done at present and IIRC the science project to do it was canceled by President Bush 5 years ago.

    Without good knowledge of the albedo and the relationship of cloud cover to water vapor in the air as the planet’s temperature rises I’d have to conclude that Dr Spencer is pushing the envelope with his claims about clouds. I note however that he CONFIRMS the results of this study.

    Ask him about evolution too. While you’re at it.

    Dr. Spencer likes to be contrarian. Nothing wrong with that, but it means that taking his word for things is a little more chancy than with most scientists.

    Freeman Dyson is not a climate expert, and while I revere the man I don’t regard him as quite the right person to ask about this question.

    Monckton has been QUITE thoroughly trashed in his “science”. He isn’t credible at all.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  59. I never suggested Dyson was the man to ask about this particular question but that he was one of the first to say we should be paying less attention to the inorganic chemistry and more attention to the biological systems and their exchanges.
    He was the first to propose using trees for carbon sequestration but at the same time pointed out the value was in “the roots – not shoots” which most people have studiously ignored.
    I passed on this early work to Simon Upton while he was first taking up his Kyoto negotiations.

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  60. Here is Chris’s response to the same question I asked Roy:

    “Dear Owen – Roy has already given you an excellent answer, based on his own ingenious and compelling research into negative as well as positive feedbacks. In the shadow of his brilliance, I should like to add that, from the garbled description of the paper’s contents given on the Green Party website, the authors may have made the near-universal logical error of assuming that the fact of warming tells us its cause. The climate has been warming for 300 years. Therefore, in accordance with the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, the space occupied by the atmosphere is capable of carrying near-exponentially more water vapor. The water vapor is of course a greenhouse gas and, consequently, any increase in its concentration will tend prima facie to cause additional warming via a temperature feedback. But there is little or nothing to say that that feedback was induced by a temperature rise caused by anthropogenic CO2 enrichment. The website’s waffling about a “spiralling” increase in temperature is nonsense. As Roy has rightly pointed out, the additional water vapor – particularly in the tropics, where it matters most – tends to coalesce into clouds that increase the albedo in the tropics, providing a handsome negative feedback and – according to a recent communication to me from Willis Eschenbach – also providing part of the explanation for the continuing and fatally-embarrassing absence of the tropical mid/upper-troposphere “hot spot” that all of the models predict but none of the real-world observations find.
    The fundamental defect of logic in the IPCC’s analysis is that the one quantity we need to establish – namely the quantum of temperature increase in response to any given increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere – is an input to the computer models, not an output from them. The models are told to assume a high climate sensitivity, and a high climate sensitivity is what they find (Akasofu, 2008). Given the substantial decline in global mean surface temperatures that has occurred over the past seven years, it can no longer be legitimately claimed that the rate of warming (0.5-0.6 K / century) that began at the end of the Maunder Minimum 70 years ago has been accelerating in recent decades. There is now no longer any discernible anthropogenic signature in the temperature record. So all we are seeing is a continuation of a previous and long-established warming rate as the Sun’s activity has recovered over the centuries since the Maunder Minimum. It’s worth remembering that the 70 years that ended the 20th century represented a formidable solar Grand Maximum, during which the Sun was more active, and for longer, than during almost any similar previous period in the past 11,400 years (Solanki et al., 2005). Allowing for a delay in atmospheric temperature response caused by the oceans, present temperature trends are entirely consistent with the long-run warming rate that occurred in the 300 years between the end of the 70-year Maunder Minimum in 1715 and the end of the 70-year solar Grand Maximum in 1998. Precisely because temperatures have been recovering so rapidly and for so long, it is not in the least surprising that new temperature records have been set in recent years: that is exactly what one would expect. If the solar physicists are right, though, the continuing comparative inactivity of the Sun, with very few sunspots at present, will lead to something of a cooling (indeed, it may already be doing so), in which event, of course, the Clausius-Clapeyron relation will be thrown into reverse and near-exponentially less water vapor will be carried in the atmosphere, causing a negative feedback (which will, however, be offset by the positive feedback caused by the diminution in the Earth’s albedo, particularly in the tropics).

    In short, there is nothing in the Green Party’s post that gives rise to any concern. – Christopher

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  61. Oh good… more garbled pseudo-science from the master.

    Owen… if you think Monckton has the slightest idea of what the planetary Albedo is, or if HE thinks he does makes not a shred of difference to the fact that the only data we have is local and temporally discontinuous.

    Given the substantial decline in global mean surface temperatures that has occurred over the past seven years

    Remarkable claim…

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.B.lrg.gif

    … but the reality check on it bounces.

    He likes big words, has big money and doesn’t like being wrong, but he IS wrong.

    Moreover and primarily the problem is that , Clausius-Clapeyron or Spencer notwithstanding, there is no DIRECT way to determine whether there will be more clouds, where and when there will be clouds or the effect on the albedo of the planet of any difference in clouds – based on the measured water vapor in the air at some different global temperature. Particularly difficult is understanding this when the latitudinal temperature bands display the disparity they do.

    If Monckton is believed and is wrong, human civilization will end and possibly all life on the planet with it. If I am believed and I am wrong, we’ve given up a few years of the opportunity to burn all the dead dinosaurs we can find and our kids can do it if they so choose.

    How do you place your bets given those stakes Owen? You are not IMHO a fool, or I would not spend any time on this.

    Monckton is however, an intelligent and arrogant fool.

    He has a few things correct. We do have somewhat more Solar input in the latter part of the century.

    http://hires.gsfc.nasa.gov/si/cfa_march02.pdf

    His claim that this is more than in any period in the last 11400 years is unprovable… and he is wise to say “almost” because there is again no way in hell that he knows any better than anyone else.

    His problem with CO2 is that no OTHER construction of a model allows the model to predict given the known solar inputs (they ARE put in) to the models.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  62. All that this to and froing on this subject proves is that there is indeed no concensus on climate and AGW

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  63. James
    You will never see complete concensus on climate change/AGW. There are too many individuals and companies (and countries) with vested interests in having AGW discredited so that they can continue their businesses and lifestyles as is for as long as possible before restrictions are imposed to curb AGW. These individuals and companies will sponsor anyone who raises contrary views whether or not there is any basis for those views, and if they can’t find such people, then no doubt some will make them instead.
    What we are seeing is almost complete concensus among scientists without a vested interest – and what they are saying is very scary.

    Trevor.

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  64. James

    There is no to-ing and fro-ing on this topic among scientists.

    There have been some VERY bad arguments made on this thread, by people who want you to come away with that idea… but the science is not anywhere near as doubtful as Wat and Owen and Monckton might wish you to believe. The problem is that they can continue to spew bad arguments forever. There are FAR more bad arguments available than there is good science.

    If I refute each of them in turn – as I have – it appears to YOU as a ping-pong match and they win because you doubt.

    The fact that almost everything they’ve said has been shown to be wrong is immaterial. They’ve managed to put their spin on the ball.

    It would be nice if we had a time machine and could determine the actually future results of each possible policy. If we did I believe that the children of the country would tear Rodney Hide et.al. a completely new waste orifice…. the current one is clearly clogged and backing up… which would explain a lot come to think of it.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  65. Do you honestly believe all those government scientists receiving billions of dollars in government grants have no vested interests?

    Or that Al Gore has no vested interests?
    Or that all these potential carbon traders have no vested interests?

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  66. “Do you honestly believe all those government scientists receiving billions of dollars in government grants have no vested interests?

    Most, not all. Most scientists are interested in science, wherever it leads.

    You haven’t explained why governments would be pushing the AGW line if it wasn’t true. Why would they invest money to distort these results – which is what you are implying?

    “Or that Al Gore has no vested interests?”

    He probably does now have vested interests. That doesn’t mean that what he says is wrong.

    “Or that all these potential carbon traders have no vested interests”

    They obviously do have vested interests. However it is a pretty low pay-off proposition to try to invent a problem then come up with a “cure” and try to make money from that “cure”.

    Trevor.

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  67. “Or that Al Gore has no vested interests?”

    “He probably does now have vested interests. That doesn’t mean that what he says is wrong.”

    So how come this argument is a one way street?

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  68. Owen

    This is a new sort of attack from you, but one that is quite old for us.

    Since I worked with a LOT of those government scientists I can tell you for absolute certain that none of them have any interest in altering the results to match the brief that some pointy haired guy provides.

    Some of them are right-wing. Some religious. Some are even evangelicals.

    None of them have any desire to sit on the science. They all work too hard to establish reputations for doing GOOD science, to mess with the science to get some false result or the same false results. You couldn’t organize them to do it if you wanted. Yet they are all getting pretty much the same results. This argues that there is something real there that they are all measuring.

    What Al Gore has to do with this except for calling popular attention to it, is nothing at all. I know he’s the bogeyman, and evil incarnate for folks who have profits to hide and an extreme view of the world, but HE didn’t do any of the science. He just reported it in a way that was difficult to ignore…

    respectfully
    BJ

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  69. Soichiro Honda had a vested interest in appearing before the Congressional Committee considering automobile emissions standards. He went against the collective wisdom of the auto industry that there wasn’t a problem…but if there was a problem there wasn’t a solution…but if there was a solution it would take too much time and money to implement it. Honda needed to perpetuate the myth that cars caused urban smog because his company had just patented it’s CVCC technology as the “cure” for this mythical problem.

    I’m sure you are aware that the auto industry never actually referred to the auto smog problem as a myth but their objections to doing anything about it did exagerate the costs by an order of magnitude. In fact GM’s objections evaporated and it became one of the strongest proponets of making the standards more stringent – but only after it patented a 3-way catalytic converter that could actually achieve the tougher standards.

    While I consider the AGW and peak oil theories to be the result of robust analysis the same cannot be said for many of the solutions put forward, particularly in the area of urban transport.

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