Archive for April, 2009

Temperatures have not been falling for over a decade, as claimed by some

Monday, April 6th, 2009

A NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) compilation of land and oceanic instrumental records of near-surface air temperature do not indicate a cooling trend in recent years, as recently claimed by Bob Wagner in public presentations

Bear in mind that the red line indicates a multi-year average that smooths out year to year noise. The noise is the “weather” of the climate system. Climate trends should only be deduced from decadal averages or longer, not picking out individual years. Climate and weather represent different time scales. Shown here, the instrumental temperature data are aggregated in other ways, e.g. northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere. See, no cooling.

Independent analyses of the same instrumental temperature data (but with an independent/different cooling correction for growth of cities around some of the stations) have been made by the UK Climate Research Unit at School of Environmental Sciences University of East Anglia, Norwich. See an example below…

Here’s more information about the CRU analyses.

So, you think there’s ocean cooling?

Human-induced climate deniers have blown hard about a now obsolete study (Lyman et al, 2006) that identified a (now understood to be spurious) recent cooling trend in ocean heat content data. According to Gavin Schmidt –

“The ‘cooling’ was actually due to combination of a faulty pressure reading on a subset of the [oceanic] floats and a switch between differently-biased observing systems. The pressure error meant that the temperatures were being associated with a point higher in the ocean column than they should have been, and this (given that the ocean cools with depth) introduced a spurious cooling trend when compared to earlier data. This error may be fixable in some cases, but for the time being the suspect data has simply been removed from the analysis. The new results don’t show any cooling at all.”

Isn’t transparency nice! Sorry Bob. You’ve had it wrong. If you’d have stayed current with the science (the discrepancy was identified already nearly 2 years ago! 18 April 2007), you would not now have to retract your misleading statements.

CO2 trend not confounded by volcano, see results from other CO2 measurement sites

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Since deniers don’t trust scientists to be careful, which they are on Mauna Loa, let’s just  throw out the Mauna Loa data for the sake of argument…  “There are dozens of other sampling stations scattered all over the globe, including one in the Antarctic, far from cities, SUVs, cement plants, and active volcanoes. It also shows the same rise [PDF], though the southern hemisphere tends to lag a few years behind the northern hemisphere, where the majority of the CO2 is produced. Here are eight others — same results.

Sorry, its all of us Joes, not the volcanoes.” – Grist

on the importance of water vapor and CO2

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Robert Wagner (OD optometry) correctly recognizes that water vapor (what Robert Essenhigh refers to as “water gas”) is a key Greenhouse gas. Quoting the IPCC Fourth Assessment report: “Water vapor is the most important gaseous source of infrared opacity in the atmosphere, accounting for about 60% of the natural greenhouse effect for clear skies (Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997), and provides the largest positive feedback in model projections of climate change (Held and Soden, 2000).”

If Wagner read the published peer reviewed science that IPCC summarizes, he’d know that direct observations from balloon soundings show  that The average atmospheric water vapor content has increased since at least the 1980s over land and ocean as well as in the upper troposphere. The increase is broadly consistent with the extra water vapor that warmer air can hold. See IPCC 2007 Chapter 3 Section 3.4.

Meanwhile, CO2 concentrations are also increasing. Elevated CO2 concentrations have an associated net warming affect on climate. Of all the “well mixed” greenhouse gasses, CO2 has by far the largest warming effect. See figure SPM.2 in the IPCC 2007 Summary For Policy Makers.

Climate change deniers seek holes in the science instead of seeking the truth. The science by definition aims for truth.  There is no conspiracy. Climate change deniers waste the time of climate scientists and block progress. We should instead be united to protect future generations from our trashing of the environment. United we stand, divided: the rest of the world sells us technologies America should sell them.

Don’t confuse weather and climate

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Human-induced climate change deniers confuse weather and climate.  It’s actually simple…. Climate is the long term average state. Weather is ther short term state.

Climate models predict the average state. Weather models attempt to predict the instantaneous state. Chaos theory has it that instantaneous phenomena cannot be predicted far out. Yet, it does not take a sophisticated model to predict that if humans increase the concentration of an infrared heat-trapping gas, the climate will warm. It’s that simple. The chemistry of CO2, CH4, H2O are sufficiently well established. Climate models have reproduced observed warming. Climate models wiith human chemical transformations of our atmosphere left out have no warming. See below…

Climate and weather are very different things

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Policy makers and the public need recognize the difference between weather and climate, the latter is the average state.

Objection: Scientists can’t even predict the weather next week, so why should we believe what some climate model tells us about 100 years from now?

Answer: Climate and weather are very different things, and the level of predictability is comparably different.

Climate is defined as weather averaged over a period of time — generally around 30 years. This averaging smooths out the random and unpredictable behaviour of weather. Think of it as the difference between trying to predict the height of the fifth wave from now versus predicting the height of tomorrow’s high tide. The former is a challenge — to which your salty, wet sneakers will bear witness — but the latter is routine and reliable.

This is not to say it’s easy to predict climate changes. But seizing on meteorologists’ failures to cast doubt on a climate model’s 100-year projection is an argument of ignorance.

By The Way

Be aware that a cold winter does not mean Global Warming has been canceled. The climate may cool for a decade due to internal resonance of the climate, including factors such as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning circulation. After making that point, that article goes on to:

‘No distraction’

The projection does not come as a surprise to climate scientists, though it may to a public that has perhaps become used to the idea that the rapid temperature rises seen through the 1990s are a permanent phenomenon.

“We’ve always known that the climate varies naturally from year to year and decade to decade,” said Richard Wood from the UK’s Hadley Centre, who reviewed the new research for Nature.

“We expect man-made global warming to be superimposed on those natural variations; and this kind of research is important to make sure we don’t get distracted from the longer term changes that will happen in the climate (as a result of greenhouse gas emissions).”

Note that the warming trend exists whether or not the ocean forcing is included:

If you consider yourself a skeptic worth your salt, actually read the scientific publications, don’t just search for and select aspects to remove from context to attempt your debunking.

Yours sincerely,

Jason Box, Climatologist

Solar output increases account for part of (not all) the observed climate warming

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

If the skeptics read the scientific literature, they would know that climate scientists do not ignore solar output changes in attributing past, present, and future climate forcing agents. I was shocked when The Other Paper published part of Jym Ganal’s rant that solar output changes were solely responsible for the observed climate warming; an embarrasingly (for him) simplistic claim that ignores the reality that solar output changes are one of a long list of forcing factors included in climate simulations, the latter aimed at partitioning the relative importance of various climate forcings.

As put forth in the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, that “Changes in the atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases and aerosols, in solar radiation and in land surface properties alter the energy balance of the climate system.”. There is no silver bullet, as Ganahl simplistically suggests. According to a growing body of science summarized by the IPCC each 5 or so years since 1991, science’s best estimate for the role of changing solar output in climate change is that increasing solar output accounts for between 3% and 19% of the observed change in the energy balance of the climate system. Average temperature at the surface reflects the changing heat energy contained in the climate system. If Ganahl were a scientist worth his 40-year-old “Seal of Approval”, he would review all relevant and credible sources of information instead of putting forth only one of a myriad of factors that influence climate as a sole cause of warming. Yes, temperatures on Mars have increased because of increasing solar output. Again, that share on earth accounts for less than one fifth of the observed warming.

It’s unfortunate, but, the reality is that unless civilization stabilizes its non-sustainable impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, ecosystems, and resource bases, we collectively will face economic and environmental disruptions that will make us look back on the recent market meltdown as not nearly so bad.

Do your homework Ganahl. All, please see: the IPCC summary for policy makers figure SPM.2
Yours Realistically,

Jason E. Box, contributing author to The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report