This comment of mine in reply to Judith Curry’s “Pierrehumbert on infrared radiation and planetary temperatures” might or might not survive the night at Climate Etc: 😎
Well, if you are wondering whether any progress in understanding of an issue like this can be made on the blogosphere you can’t leave this thread as purely technical can you?
raypierre is the perfect example of what has gone wrong between mainstream climate scientists and the rest of the world, starting from the “blogosphere”. One can be the smartest kid this side of the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies, but if in one’s mindset questions are considered as instances of lèse majesté and examples for the general public are routinely simplified in the extreme, so as to make them pointless, well, one will only be able to contribute to the hot air: because the natural reaction of most listeners will be to consider whatever one says (even the good stuff) as just a lot of vaporous grandstanding.
From this point of view, SoD‘s work should be more than highly commended.
(no £33M supercomputer was harmed in the making of this blog)
- All atmospheric, oceanic, glacial, geological and public-health phenomena with any kind of negative impact will be linked to (anthropogenic) global warming with no shortage of experts confirming how we’d known that all along, and of computer models showing how obvious those consequences have always been
- No atmospheric, oceanic, glacial, geological and public-health phenomena lacking any kind of negative impact will be linked to (anthropogenic) global warming
- Romm will continue his fishing expeditions, hoping this or that weather-related mass killing can be taken advantage of, in order to promote the concept of anthropogenic global warming
- Hansen will get (willingly) arrested once or twice, ready to proclaim 2011 as the warmest year ever, mostly due to extremes of heat in faraway places devoid of people and weather stations
- McKibben will get even thinner, and just as ineffectual, while identifying new enemies forever closer to himself
- RealClimate will keep its absurdist censorship policy, and in post after post the Team will “demonstrate” their intellectual superiority
- Skeptical Science will keep building climate salad surgeries to no end, sprinkling statements of various robustness with seemingly limitless references to the Literature, to be used by the lazy and most scientifically-ignorant among its readership (i.e. the journalists)
- The Climate Change Rapid Response Team will say nothing of relevance that hasn’t been already said
- The nastiest criticisms by rabid AGWers will be thrown in the direction of Curry
- Revkin will keep reaffirming his absolute confidence in mainstream AGW science despite the evidence to the contrary presented in Revkin’s blog
- Pielke Jr will be distracted by other things, thereby avoiding Revkin’s problem
- The IPCC will make sure nothing really is changed in its procedures or results
- McIntyre will be made privy to secret information showing how deeply unpopular in the mainstream climate community is anything remotely linked to McIntyre
- Goddard (S.) will publish his 25,000th blog post
- Goddard (NASA’s) will discover that recent thermometer readings must be adjusted upwards, and past ones downwards, for purely scientific reasons of course
- Watts will be criticized (for being Watts and) for providing web space to people with strange theories
- ScienceOfDoom will busy himself with explaining the first law of thermodynamics (again!) thereby missing all the fun
- Connolley will not notice the rest of the planet
- Tamino will pop up once around here and other places, posting an inane, canned comment that could be written in reply to any other blog post written by anybody on any topic
- Some people with a very nasty mindset will suggest that the glowing comments to Tamino’s posts might as well have been written by people sharing the same identical DNA with Tamino
- The recipient of the 2010 Edward Davis Wood, Jr.’s Climate “Blogging Turkey” Award will sink to new lows
- The art of obfuscating FOI and non-FOI answers will be perfected by the CRU and the BBC
- Popular media will be filled by photographic reports about a changing climate, with no picture showing anything remotely connected to climate change in a proper scientific way
- Popular media will be filled by countless breakthroughs in climate science showing how worse it is than we thought
- Scientifically speaking, there will not be any breakthrough in climate science
- A very large number of well-known and otherwise knowledgeable scientists will make complete asses of themselves by appearing on TV and in print with idiotic regurgitations of mainstream AGW theory, mostly inconsistent with the very statements made by the IPCC
- If the weather will keep cold, a major European scientific institution will break ranks with mainstream AGW theory before the summer
- Popular interest will wane as most people will be titillated about the 2012 “end of the world” instead
- The EU will find new ways to use climate change to transfer money to the rich, and to China
- China will happily go along the EU cash-transfer schemes
- The US Congress and President will strike a united front in protecting climate-change-related pork (money not meat)
And finally for the real world…
- It will rain, otherwise it will be sunny, foggy, cloudy or overcast. It will snow in places, with sandstorms in other places (or the same ones). It will be cold, then hot, then cold again, or viceversa more or less overall. Some droughts, some floods, and places experiencing drizzle. Unprecedented weather will be experienced for the 200,000th year running, with lack of morals among humans indicated as main culprit for the 200,000th time as well
- Many people will die of poverty in weather-related events around the world, with the keys being “poverty” and “weather” but all action concentrated on “climate change”
- Children will keep dying of soot, while the world concerns itself with CO2 emissions only
- Elderly people will keep dying of fuel poverty, while the world concerns itself to increase fuel prices in order to reduce CO2 emissions
The guys at RealClimate have absolutely zero debating skills. That much has been known for a long time and has just been confirmed once again with a relatively weak blog containing incredible statements such as
Do the above issues suggest “politicized science”, deliberate deceptions or a tendency towards alarmism on the part of IPCC? We do not think there is any factual basis for such allegations
(stand-up comedy shouldn’t be far)
(yes, that blog is weak because it pivots on a mere handful of arguments, all of them at risk of being shown fallacious. The first one that goes, will carry the rest of the blog down with itself)
Those minimalistic skills are now spreading elsewhere, with the most simplistic of logical reasoning apparently beyond the grasp of “raypierre”, aka Raymond T Pierrehumbert. Next to Andy Revkin’s “Does an Old Climate Critique Still Hold up?” I had originally posted the following comment of Feb 10, 9:09EST (also available in my “Lacis, The IPCC, Simple Physics And Post-normal “Science”“)
34. Maurizio Morabito – February 10th, 2010 – 9:09 am
[…] (c) I’d suggest people drop the “Greenhouse effect is simply physics” argument. Simple physics shows that warm air moves upwards, and a room’s floor is generally colder than its ceiling. However, mountaintops are generally colder than sea-level locations. Why? Because the free atmosphere is a complex system where you can’t just apply simple physics (for a different example: think of anti-oxydants’ wonders in Petri dishes and the failure to translate that into effective anti-aging treatments in the real world) […]
I do think that the Petri dish analogy made my point extremely clear. Alas, not to all…
80. raypierre – February 10th, 2010- 9:20 pm
34. Maurizio Morabito —
No, Maurizio, we should not drop the argument that “the Greenhouse Effect” is simply physics. It IS simply physics. What needs to happen instead is that you and people like you either (a) take the time to learn a little physics yourself, or (b) lacking time, at least defer to people who do know the physics. “a” is by far the preferable option.
For example, mountaintops are colder than the lower altitudes because of the simple physical principle that gases cool when they expand rapidly enough. Convection moves the air upwards fast enough that the air cools. This kind of thermodynamics is taught in most good high school physics classes, and its atmospheric relevance has been understood since shortly after Horace de Saussure’s landmark studies of mountain meteorology in the early 1800’s.
The fact that your comment was recommended by 6 readers so far speaks volumes about the scientific ignorance of many of the readers who support your position.
Why oh why would the Louis Block Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago feel it necessary to demean himself with the last paragraph above, totally undeserving any reply, I will never understand. Obviously though, a career in Geophysical and Atmospheric Sciences may prevent people like raypierre from taking the time to learn a little cellular physiology.
Somebody did try to re-iterate my point:
88. Harry Eagar – February 11th, 2010 – 7:45 am
raypierre, a big time, scientifically qualified alarmist, sez: ‘For example, mountaintops are colder than the lower altitudes because of the simple physical principle that gases cool when they expand rapidly enough.’
I live on a mountain, 10,000 feet high. I’m at 1,500 feet. True, it’s colder at the top, but it’s warmer at 7,000 than at 1,500 feet (most of the time).
Climate and weather are possibly more complex that people like Raypierre would like hoi polloi to know.
No way…help for Prof Pierrehumbert was at hand next day:
109. Ivan Carter – February 12th, 2010 – 7:40 am
[responding to Harry Eagar] Raypierre says that mountaintops are cooler than at the bottom based upon known (and incontrovertible) principle of physics, and this commenter calls him out because ‘mountaintops are colder than the bottom’ because sometimes in between (thru short term warmth rising, I think, some of the time), the air is warmer than at the bottom.
Pierre didn’t give a full analysis of mountain climate, nor was doing so relevant. He simply gave an example of one specific point, correctly stated and which the commenter himself backed up, that was then manipulated into yet another irrelevant but apparently appealing attack upon RayPierre and scientists!
It is what is done on here, often more subtly, however, over and over and over again […]
By the way, Ivan: to state the truism that climate and weather are more complex than the individual effects at play, does not mean “to attack the scientists” any more than to point to the Ediacaran fossils didn’t mean “to attack the scientists”…just those scientists that prevented our understanding of Precambrian fauna for 80 years…
And now for my latest reply. I have no hope raypierre, Ivan Carter or anybody thinking they’re characters in a Fort Apache remake will understand any of it. You see, even if they have lacked the time so far, surely they have never even thought of deferring to anybody that knows anything about movies, or Precambrian fauna…
115. Maurizio Morabito – February 14th, 2010 – 3:07 pm
raypierre (86) and Ivan Carter (109): my original point was that you cannot simply take one effect observed in the lab (for example, the greenhouse effect) and state that it will work as-is in the real world. In the real world, other effects will “sum up” to it, and the end result will be whatever it will be.
The existence of a GH effect is the _starting_ point in the investigation of what happens to climate due to GHG emissions, so it _cannot_ be used to _terminate_ discussions about global warming.
Hence my request to drop it as an argument, just like the existence of gravity doesn’t mean that flying is impossible.
Non-casual readers already know I do not like to dwell into topics covered in great depth elsewhere. I will make a very short exception to that “policy”, simply because the McIntyre/Briffa story is too big.
Too big, that is, not to warrant some huge dose of skepticism before getting carried away with it.
We have a saying in Italian, “if they’re roses, they’ll bloom”. AKA “time will tell”.
As much as I admire McIntyre’s relentless quest to go always back to the original data, I am sure I am not the first one that has seen apparently-straight forward things turn around all of a sudden. There’s no reason to celebrate… if the Briffa reconstruction will implode, it will implode anyway.
Gavin is his usual self, the worst enemy of AGW that is, with a blog post choked by its own sarcasm. Through the deep, rather undignified fog, one can get a glimpse of what appears to be a potentially strong riposte to Steve McIntyre (but with Schmidt’s emotions running so raw, I am afraid McIntyre will always have the upper hand).
Briffa is very calm and measured, therefore making his decision not to share the data sooner even more puzzling
Right now, it looks like there will be a “war of words” with claims and counterclaims. On that, I have no interest whatsoever. And too many people already are “jumping in” in ways that can only dent their credibility.
I might come back to the story after the battle. For now, this is my comment at RC:
Kudos to Briffa for having decided to “review the details of [McIntyre’s] work”.
Is it too much to state that most of what has happened, would not have happened had the data been made available upon (first) request?
On that topic, I believe that NASA changed its policy regarding space probes a decade ago or more, in order to avoid (crackpot) accusations of being in the business of airbrushing aliens out of the photos. That is why mission websites like MER’s _prominently_ show the just-received “raw images”, especially in the first days of the mission (please correct me if I am wrong).
Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to apply the same rules to all just-published papers, i.e. presenting the “raw data” to the visitor, rather than simply leaving it “available for anyone who cares to look”? Especially in a field such as climate change, where any accusation/finding is bound to elicit plenty of reaction.
Sometimes I ask myself if the RealClimate guys understand the implications of everything they publish on their site.
For example some time ago Gavin Schmidt more or less told the whole world that to him observations were of little interest apart than as a way to improve climate models (thereby denying the very possibility that climate models could be demonstrated false, under any circumstance).
Now it’s the turn of a guest blog by Kyle Swanson, encouraged and published by Raymond T. “Raypierre” Pierrehumbert. The stated intent of the blog is to show that Swanson and Tsonis’ recent paper about “Has the climate recently shifted?” has “very little” to do with Global Warming, of the anthropogenic variety obviously. But its actual practical consequences are more interesting.
(1) Andy Revkin through Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog notes that Swanson and Tsonis take off the steam yet again from anybody and everybody that tries to “portray global warming as an unfolding catastrophe here and now“.
That is, with RealClimate in tow, and after Swanson and Tsonis, we can yell out loud and clear that the scientific consensus says that all AGW-related troubles that we could be concerned about, they belong to the future.
Repeat with me: AGW as a matter of grave concern for the whole of humanity, is not happening. That is, there is no scientific justification at all to discuss AGW as an issue for the present instead of properly, as a risk management question involving some decades in the future.
(2) All this discussions about the recent “pause in warming” (in Swanson’s words…as if it had any meaning given the above) are ammunitions that will be used to argue against AGW once the warming resumes (eventually, it will…). If 10 years can’t say much in a direction, they cannot say much in the other direction either.
(3) In other words, all scientific discussions in climatology should confine themselves to the climate of the end of the 1970’s. Anything that has happened after that, it’s by definition too early to talk about.
(3) Raypierre tries at length to justify Tsonis’s words published in an interview. Among those:
“if we don’t understand what is natural, I don’t think we can say much about what the humans are doing. So our interest is to understand — first the natural variability of climate — and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural“
I am afraid all “comments were taken out of context” (Raypierre’s defense) are excuses simply demolished by Swanson’s writing that:
“humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and […] there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond“
Repeat with me: We have little clue about the Earth’s climate will respond to anything, be it natural or man-made. The final result might be a cooling, a warming, or no much change at all.
And so about AGW, we should be spending time reflecting about the opportunity of reducing that “poking”, not on idiotic multidecadal projections of various degrees of warming.
Let me finish by noticing two details. First of all, in Swanson’s words presumably approved by Raypierre/RC, Global Warming (AGW) is now “the century-scale response to greenhouse gas emissions“. And I thought it was multidecadal? Not any longer: even 50 years of global cooling will be compatible with AGW.
But to conclude on a high note: the anti-skeptic RC filters of old don’t appear to have been heavily used this time. Who knows, it might even be a way to show that the RC folks are thinking of getting rid of their aburd fear for debating.
But don’t hold your breath about that…especially when they will realize what the stuff they publish actually means.
Twenty-third century historians debating who would be so anti-scientific as to associate an episode of extreme weather to climate, and especially to global warming, will have to look no further than two recent blogs on the recent Australian disaster:
- “Is there a link between Adelaide’s heatwave and global warming?” by Barry Brook on BraveNewClimate
- “Bushfires and extreme heat in south-east Australia” by David Karoly on RealClimate
A few things need to be firmly kept in mind:
- as I keep reminding everybody, the debate on Attribution is still open, it is part of a big conference in less than a month, and if anything big would be ready to be presented we would have likely heard about it already
- much of the aforementioned attribution may unfortunately be based just on the GCMs ability to replicate observations, implicitly relying on the modelers’ own mysterious art rather than on actual physics. Doesn’t anybody realize that any pattern can be replicated with any precision given enough degrees of freedom, with or without equations that have anything to do with reality?
- uncertainties working against any present thought of global cooling could honestly be used the other way around
With that in the background, let’s have a look at Brook’s work first. And it is not a pleasant one:
So, in Adelaide we have two freakishly rare extreme events happening with a 10 month period. How likely is that? Well, if the events are totally independent, we’d expect the joint likelihood of two such heatwaves (of 0.25% probability per year [the 2009 event] and 0.033% per year [2008 event], respectively), occurring within the same 12 month period, to happen about once every 1,200,000 years. Is that unlikely enough for you? But if there is ‘autocorrelation’ (dependencies between the two events due to a linked cause — such as climate change), this calculated probability is not valid.
If that isn’t a true example of why statistics have such a bad reputation (“lies, damned lies, and…”), then I do not know what is. And if that doesn’t show that Brook cannot properly talk about climate, as he doesn’t look like having even the faintest clue of what makes some days warmer than others, then I do not know what does.
And what does make some days warmer than others? Weather. By definition.
The 2009 Australian summer around Adelaide and Melbourne has seen some particularly hot days because of a peculiar weather pattern, with winds bringing hot, dry desert air towards the inhabited coast (there might have been also an intervening Foehn (warming) effect, but let’s keep that aside for the moment).
The underlying weather pattern has been described by the National Climate Centre at the Australian Government’s Bureau of Metereology:
The presence of a slow-moving high pressure system in the Tasman Sea, combined with an intense tropical low off the northwest coast of Western Australia and an active monsoon trough, provided the ideal conditions for hot tropical air to be directed over the southern parts of the continent
NASA’s Land Surface Temperature Anomaly picture reinforces this point: one can clearly see how warm air has been pushed towards Victoria, just as cool air towards Queensland. And an intervening band in the middle has then experienced whatever temperatures it usually experiences.
It’s just the same air movement. If you push “oceanic air” over Queensland, the existing “Queensland air” will move towards Victoria, and so on and so forth closing the high-pressure system circle somewhere to the East of Australia. You can get a similar result with a low-pressure system somewhere to the West too. If the two combine, so much more evident the Queensland cooling and Victoria warming. Does one need to be a veteran metereologist to understand such an easy point?
Even the briefest introduction to metereology and climatology should make very clear to everybody how incredibly naïve and totally anti-scientific is the belief that “global warming” means hotter days in this or that part of the planet. In fact, the question Brook should have asked is: do that “slow-moving high-pressure system” and “intense tropical low” in those particular places, and that “monsoon trough”, have anything to do with (anthropogenic) climate change?
But of course Brook just about cannot get anywhere in that direction
Who knows, one day he may wake up to a 2007 paper, three years later that is, by Chase et al. published in the Geophysical Research Letters, asking “Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context?” and responding
Regression analyses do not provide strong support for the idea that regional heat or cold waves are significantly increasing or decreasing with time during the period considered here (1979–2003)
I am all for free speech, and Brook and the likes can keep on blaming perversity for the worst kind of climate change denial but there must be a point where they have to recognize how silly it is to appeal to science without understanding a iota of it.
Karoly’s contribution is of a different quality, with no absolute-weather-beginner mistaken mention of reality-divorced probabilities (Karoly even talks, briefly, about weather patterns…).
His point appears to be a rather old one though. Why would heatwaves be attributable to anthropogenic global warming? Because Karoly himself, with Braganza, managed some time ago to simulate observations using climate models that include “increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases and aerosols” (see his 2004 paper referred to in the blog).
Actually, to be more precise, what happened is that Karoly and Braganza were unable to simulate observations using “natural climate variations alone“. Perish the thought that the problem might have been an inappropriate definition of those “natural climate variations”…
In any case, given the apparent strength of Karoly’s convictions dating from 2004, one might start wondering why the Chair for the “Detection and Attribution: State of Play in 2009” (Parallel Session 9) in Copenhagen would be Ann Henderson-Sellers of all people. Who she? The one claiming in the session’s very description that
the detection and attribution story was incomplete [at the time of the IPCC AR4 in 2007] due to ‘Key Uncertainties’ listed by IPCC
and listing in a September 2008 article, among the seven “Serious inadequacies in climate change prediction that are of real concern”
- The rush to emphasize regional climate does not have a scientifically sound basis […]
- Until and unless major oscillations in the Earth System (El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) etc.) can be predicted to the extent that they are predictable, regional climate is not a well defined problem. […]
Notice how Henderson-Sellers goes on to say that “WGII is easily the weakest of the three reports. The reasons seem to be two-fold: (i) poor downscaling and (ii) the lack of a coherent methodology for impact study“.
I am sorry for Prof. Karoly but either Prof. Henderson-Sellers is very wrong on more than one point (and then what would she be doing as Chair of one session in Copenhagen?); or Karoly’s own 2004 work, and his present stance are just an example of what Henderson-Sellers describes as the rushed, scientifically unsound regional climate emphasis around a non-well-defined problem, plagued by poor downscaling and dealing with a climatic impact without a well-recognized methodology.
Does Karoly understand this problem? I think he does. Cue his large caveat about his large claim
Although formal attribution studies quantifying the influence of climate change on the increased likelihood of extreme fire danger in south-east Australia have not yet been undertaken, it is very likely that there has been such an influence
Karoly’s own language gymnastics is remarkable, with just about the right mix of “clear” and “likely” to pass most logic tests, in case things don’t turn up as expected. He’s not the first athlete to enter such a competition though.
Finally, it certainly doesn’t look too good when Karoly provides three papers linking “observed and expected increases in forest fire activity […] to climate change” but no mention of the lack of any comprehensive analysis (think of the absence of trends in fires around the Mediterranean region for example).
It is rather sad to see what started as the science of climate turning pretty much into a parody, with reports and explanations forever running after the latest disaster. Very simply, this cannot be right.