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Saturday, November 30, 2013

For the record...

Sou | 10:34 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

Seen under the incomprehensible gobbledegook by Tim Ball at WUWT (archived here):

For the record, I don’t agree with Dr. Ball’s opinions on CO2, not being a greenhouse gas, the science is quite clear on that issue long before global warming being an issue. The only valid question is climate sensitivity – Anthony

Maybe the owner of that pseudo-science blog, Anthony Watts, has been reading HotWhopper! 

Okay, just a couple of snippets from Tim Ball that Anthony hasn't objected to:
...The supposed prestige of that Society was used to persuade other national Science Societies that human caused global warming was a serious and proven fact....

...Climate science is the work of specialists working on one small part of climatology. It’s a classic example of not seeing the forest for the trees, amplified when computer modellers are involved. They are specialists trying to be generalists but omit major segments, and often don’t know interrelationships, interactions and feedbacks in the general picture....
...The claim that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) didn’t exist is a classic example of a piece that didn’t fit... (Sou: Scientists don't claim that the Medieval Warm Period didn't exist.  It did, as discussed by Michael Mann.  It wasn't a world-wide warming though.)

Denier Weirdness: Anthony Watts, Tim Ball and Nigel Lawson on The Very Secret Society

Sou | 10:07 PM Go to the first of 21 comments. Add a comment

Update - see below for correction and update with a 1976 quote from Freeman Dyson.

You know that Anthony Watts has descended into fruit cake land when you read junk like this at WUWT (archived here).

A secret meeting occurred between Lord Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and members of the British Royal Society. Why the secrecy? It is likely because this collective of specialists is scrambling to recover reputations after being misled.
Yep, a secret meeting between the very royal very secret scientific society and the very unroyal even more secretive Global Warming Policy Foundation.

What a lot of nutters there are at WUWT.  Do they really and truly think that after all the publicity the GWPF gave to the very Laughable Lord Lawson's engineering of a meeting with the Royal Society that it was somehow "secret"?  Sheesh!

You want to know why they called it "secret"?  It was because the members of the Royal Society refused to allow Nigel Lawson to turn the meeting into a media circus.  The GWPF milked it for much more than it was worth, as science deniers are prone to do.  You know they are on a losing streak when they have to resort to getting conspiracy theorising greenhouse effect denier, Tim Ball and utter nutter Anthony Watts to help them do their dirty work (part of an incomprehensible mish mash of conspiracy theorising gobbledegook by Tim Ball archived here).

Here's an excerpt of what Nigel Lawson wrote on the GWPF website, which is kinda sad or weird or maybe funny if you're into black humour (full version archived here):
The charge that my critical views about climate change policy are based on inadequate exposure to reputable scientists was always absurd, not least given that the academic advisory council of the GWPF has on it, among others, the world’s most highly regarded physicist, Professor Freeman Dyson of Princeton, arguably the world’s most eminent climate scientist, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT (who flew over for the meeting), and three Fellows of the Royal Society.
So Nurse’s team were able to tell me little I did not already know. But what did emerge was that, if anyone needed educating, it was them. Despite the fact that they were headed by Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, the Director of the Grantham Institute, which has pronounced views on climate policy, and a member of the Climate Change Committee, which is concerned with the implementation of the Climate Change Act, they were very reluctant to engage on the crucial issue of climate change policy at all. What was clear, however, was that they had no understanding of, or interest in, the massive human and economic costs involved in the policies they so glibly endorse.

Wow - they are getting advice from a 90 year old physicist - who has never done any research on climate (see update below), and an ageing contrarian climate scientist who hasn't published a paper in years.

The Brits are a funny mob sometimes.  Why the Royal Society would bother with idiots like Nigel Lawson is anyone's guess. I suppose they have their reasons.


Tonylearns in the comments alerted me to the fact that Freeman Dyson did do a bit of writing about climate back in the days when science deniers are under the mistaken impression that scientists thought the world was heading for cooling.  Here is a quote from one of Freeman Dyson's papers in which he urges "insurance" in case global warming gets too bad:
It is highly unlikely that the particular emergency program here proposed will ever be implemented. My discussion of it is enormously oversimplified. The purpose of this paper is to begin a process of mental preparation which may enable us to have realistic plans ready if ever the danger of catastrophe from CO2 accumulation becomes acute. To have plans ready is a form of life insurance, valuable even if the threatened catastrophe never happens. And there are many other useful purposes which a global reserve stock of organic materials might serve, quite apart from its use as a buffer against atmospheric CO2.

Picking cherries at WUWT: How a few miles in the South East Pacific became the whole world

Sou | 9:27 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

Every so often the signs that deniers are slightly unhinged are too big to ignore.

Anthony Watts decides, eleven months after it was published, to write about a paper on research cruises in the south east Pacific off the coast of South America. (Archived here.)

No.  I'm giving the wrong impression.  Anthony doesn't write anything about the paper at all.  Anthony has written a 725 word article around a single sentence in a research paper, which itself runs to 26 pages not including the appendices.  Anthony uses that single sentence as an excuse to:

  • stoke his audience's disdain of climate models
  • argue that Wondering Willis Eschenbach is right because Willis has written lots of articles about clouds (none of them relevant to the paper, incidentally, except in the general sense that when it's cloudy the sunlight doesn't all get to the surface - duh!)
  • give a plug to Roy Spencer's blunder book about climate
  • meet his quota of blog articles for the day at WUWT.

The paper, by Simon P. de Szoeke et al, published last year in the Journal of Climate, was documenting data from observations on "9 transects from 7 research cruises to the southeastern tropical Pacific Ocean along 20°S, 75°-85°W in October-November 2001-2008".

Notice that we're talking about a small part of the ocean off the west coast of South America only.  But this is what Anthony Watts turns it into:
This paper by de Szoeke et al. published in the Journal of Climate finds that climate models grossly underestimate cooling of the Earth’s surface due to clouds by approximately 50%

According to the authors, “Coupled model intercomparison project (CMIP3) simulations of the climate of the 20th century show 40±20 W m−2 too little net cloud radiative cooling at the surface. Simulated clouds have correct radiative forcing when present, but models have ~50% too few clouds.“
Let that 40 watts/ square meter sink in a moment.
The 40 watts/ square meter underestimate of cooling from clouds is more than 10 times the alleged warming from a doubling of CO2 concentrations, which is said to be 3.7 watts/square meter according to the IPCC (AR4 Section 2.3.1)
So the cloud error in models is an order of magnitude greater than the forcing effect of Co2 claimed by the IPCC. That’s no small potatoes. The de Szoeke et al. paper also speaks to what Willis Eschenbach has been saying about clouds in the tropics.

You'd think the heavens had fallen in.  At the very least you'd think that the paper was about the entire world.  But it's not.  It's about a small section of the ocean and only during October and November.  Here's a map:

Here you can see the area surveyed on the world scale:

Needless to say, most WUWT readers wouldn't care what the paper was about.  Anything that gives them half an excuse to burst into one voice one singing the denier meme "all the models are wrong", is enough to sate their appetite for a short while.

The researchers documented a range of weather and climate variables.  It's a highly technical paper and difficult for the layperson to wade through.  Difficult for this layperson anyway.

The introduction gives a clue why the research was done.  I think what the authors are saying is that it's difficult for models to accurately simulate sea surface temperatures in the south east Pacific Ocean.  At least that's how the intro to the  paper begins.  So the scientists set out to take detailed observations to figure out what is happening in that part of the ocean.  Over a period of seven years in the months of October and November, they sent out a research vessel to take readings and report back.

What Anthony Watts has done is give his readers the impression that climate models are not properly representing clouds world-wide.  Instead the paper is restricted to observations from a small section of the south east Pacific.

The underestimate in cloud amount in CMIP3 isn't the whole story by a long shot.  The paper goes into a lot of detail including discussion of aerosols, long wave and short wave forcing, precipitation, diurnal variation and other aspects.

I think the WUWT article is a wonderful example of cherry picking a single sentence out of a long, technical and detailed paper purely to stoke a feeding frenzy of deniers at WUWT.

From the WUWT comments

The comments bring out everyone from the run of the mill fake sceptics to the utter nutters, just as Anthony Watts intended.  Here is a small sample (archived here).

markstoval says:
November 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm
It has been obvious from the get-go that anthropogenic CO2 was not an important factor (if one at all) in explaining the changing climate on planet earth. It is nice to see that a few hardy men and women are still willing to practice science in spite of all the money and accolades flowing to those practicing mindless myth-making.
Very good article today. Thanks Anthony.

john robertson says:
November 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm
well they are consistent, pretty much everything the Team(TM IPCC) does biases the models high. No highly alarming preprogrammed results results in no more funding.
Science was never more than a cloak for their naked ambition.

ferdberple says how he thinks climate models are programmed (excerpt):
November 29, 2013 at 10:22 pm
they are programmed to predict what the model builders believe the future looks like. and when the models get the prediction wrong, the model builders change the model until the model gives the correct answer.
and how does the model builder know when the model has given the correct answer? when the model delivers the prediction the model builder believes to be correct for the future.

De Szoeke, Simon P., Sandra Yuter, David Mechem, Chris W. Fairall, Casey D. Burleyson, and Paquita Zuidema. "Observations of Stratocumulus Clouds and Their Effect on the Eastern Pacific Surface Heat Budget along 20° S." Journal of Climate 25, no. 24 (2012): 8542-8567. doi:

Friday, November 29, 2013

May I call Poe in Greenland? More denier weirdness at WUWT

Sou | 10:27 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts has posted an article (archived here) about the new discovery of two lakes under the ice sheet in north west Greenland.  The paper is by a team led by Steven J. Palmer of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge.  It's published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) and is available on-line (open access).

The lakes are about 500 m above sea level, right up in the north west corner.  The radar transect shows that Lake 1 (L1) is >1.1 km long and Lake 2 (L2) is > 2.4 km long. The lakes are located in a 980 km2 drainage basin and positioned 16.0 km and 11.5 km from the nearest ice divide, respectively.  The location and other details of the two lakes are shown below. (As always, click the image for a larger view):

Figure 1: Flight-line map and derived bed elevation from NW Greenland. (a) Regional context of the study area shown on a Landsat image acquired on 1 August 2002, showing radar flightlines (red lines), the ice divide (dashed black line) and the settlement of Qaanaaq (white circle). (b) Subglacial bed elevations (colour) derived from airborne ice thickness measurements along flightlines. Black lines delineate contours of basal hydraulic potential, thick black lines show the inferred extent of observed subglacial lakes, and dashed black lines show possible previous larger extent.
SourcePalmer13 GRL

It must feel great to be part of the team that made a new discovery like this one. They've obviously been looking for some time.  I came across another paper in which researchers were predicting where the most likely locations were for lakes in Greenland based on models, but it didn't look as if they had these ones on their radar (so to speak).

Figure 2 in the Palmer paper shows the radar evidence for the lakes.

Figure 2. Radar evidence for subglacial lakes. Radargrams showing data acquired along flightlines labelled in Figure 1, showing subglacial lakes (L1 and L2) on profile A-A’ (GOG2/F04T01a), with bed reflection strength shown below. Areas of sub-horizontal and brightly reflecting bed on profiles B-B’ (20120510_01_035) and C-C’ (20120510_01_074) are indicated by white bars below the radargrams. These areas could indicate the presence of saturated sediment at the bed, and therefore may indicate previous subglacial lake extent.
SourcePalmer13 GRL

As it says in the description above and elsewhere in the paper, the reflectance of the bed suggested to the researchers that the lake may have been larger in the past.  From their paper, they surmise the lakes might previously have been three times larger.

Contrast Greenland lakes with Antarctic subglacial lakes

Unlike the lakes in Antarctica, which as far as I can gather are fully contained under the ice, these Greenland lakes may be being fed by water from the outside, through cracks in the ice and they could be being fed by a nearby surface lake.  Here is an animation of a subglacial lake system in Antarctica for comparison:

As described on YouTube, the animation of subglacial Antarctic lakes shows the "dynamics of subglacial water exchange and what it looks like from space. Starting from an artist's concept of the Antarctic surface we move down to a cross section of the ice sheet with lakes hidden deep beneath. As pressure is exerted on one lake, the water in it is forced to an adjacent lake. This water movement results in elevation changes at the surface over both lakes, detectable by NASA satellites. The camera then moves to a 'top-down' view of a system of these hidden lakes and streams before dissolving into observed satellite data."

And from NASA, which was the source of the animation:
Water moving between subglacial lakes can explain elevation changes in ice stream surfaces. This animation shows modeled behavior of subglacial lakes. Depending on the pressure of overlying ice, water can pool in unusual places. Unlike a water body with no ice overhead, a subglacial lake might form on the top of a hill if it is surrounded by ice that exerts tremendous pressure. 

Another thing is that the ice is 750 m and 809 m thick over the newly discovered Greenland lakes.  Not as thick as the ice over the lakes in Antarctica.  So they are colder.  Apparently ice sheets are coldest near the top and get warmer as you go deeper, being warmed by earth beneath.

You can read more about the discovery in the paper itself or from the press release from Cambridge.

From the WUWT comments

There were a few comments that made me wonder if more people are sending up WUWT.  I'd have said most of them would have had to have been from fake deniers, except for the fact that I recognise the names from other articles.  They range from "scientists don't know nuffin" to individual commenters claiming to know all there is to know about everything - and various in-betweens. (Archived here.)

Latitude didn't read the bit about the lakes lying below about 800 m of ice... (oh, I just noticed Latitude was talking about feet not metres.  How quaint :) So maybe he did read it) ...and says he doesn't believe the scientists when they write that "the newly discovered lakes are most likely fed by melting surface water draining through cracks in the ice", because:
November 27, 2013 at 6:09 pmGreenland is a bowl…and I serious doubt if a “crack” is over 2 thousand 600 feet deep

Michael P thinks there is nothing that can be learnt from any scientific investigation of the lakes because they've been there too long.  He says:
November 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm
“Subglacial lakes are likely to influence the flow of the ice sheet, impacting global sea level change. The discovery of the lakes in Greenland will also help researchers to understand how the ice will respond to changing environmental conditions.”
Discovering the lakes now does not mean they have not been there for centuries or millenia. If the lakes have been there for a long time then they have been influencing the flow of the ice sheet for a long time and will have no added impact to sea levels. The conjecture is stupefying

norah4you hasn't a clue about where the newly discovered lakes are located, and points to a map of the western and southern settlements and says "scientists don't know nuffin":
November 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm
Discovered? Known by historians interested in old maps. Also written about in at least two sources from 12th-14th century. What scientist discovering the lakes don’t seem to know is that the ice above periodically was open, according to one of the sources, before 1341 and that the freezing of thick ice above came very quickly. Same freezing as made ‘Garden under Sandet’ in a few years going from a wealthy farm with lots of animals (stables in building show that) to an under thick ice long forgotten civilisation. Please read: Garden under Sandet,
Here's a map showing the settlements in southern Greenland, which Norah4you pointed to, and the newly discovered lakes.

SourcesNorth Greenland Ice Core Project (2004) and Archaeology In Europe and Palmer13

Steve Reddish didn't bother to read the paper or he would have found the answer to his first question.  At least he read the press release Anthony posted.  He says:
November 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm
“The two lakes are each roughly 8-10 km2, and at one point may have been up to three times larger than their current size.”
How was it determined that the lakes were previously larger? The “may have” seems to mean that they are guessing.
“The discovery of the lakes in Greenland will also help researchers to understand how the ice will respond to changing environmental conditions.”
Apparently their guess is that global warming is reducing the size of the lakes. Thus these lakes are affecting the flow rate of the ice sheet less and less.

DHF thinks the scientists just made it up:
November 27, 2013 at 11:58 pm
Looks like another hilarious chapter in the climate fiction chronicle.

johnmarshall says all the scientists in Greenland can pack up and go home, because he, johnmarshall, knows everything there is to know about Greenland:
November 28, 2013 at 2:24 am
greenland ice sheet sits in a deep depression in the crust caused by to weight of the ice thus limitig any outward movement. These lakes have been there for thousands of years and have caused no movement to date.

IIRC, Bruce Cobb has been tagged as a scientific illiterati before and shows no sign of changing.  It's hard to tell whether he's arguing that scientists should not look for answers to scientific questions or whether he's arguing that they should, but they should all be of independent means and not only work for no pay, but should finance their own expeditions out of their own pockets. He says:
November 28, 2013 at 4:39 am
“Because the way in which water moves beneath ice sheets strongly affects ice flow speeds, improved understanding of these lakes will allow us to predict more accurately how the ice sheet will respond to anticipated future warming.”
And there it is; the requisite money-grubbing anti-science quote. They don’t have a clue what effect if any, these recently-discovered lakes might have, but the hope appears to be that they’ve discovered some sort of positive feedback, or Trenberth’s infamous “arctic death spiral”.

Dave in Canmore could have read a bit more before writing, but at least his brain seems to be working unlike most of the others at WUWT:
November 28, 2013 at 8:30 am
“The ice in Greenland is also thinner than that in Antarctica, resulting in colder temperatures at the base of the ice sheet. ”
I find this surprising. Antarctica ice thickness is generally >2km thick while Greenland ice thickness is generally >1km. Is there really a difference in insulation between 1km of ice and 2 ?
What’s Up With That?

Jimbo says that these scientists shouldn't be asking and answering questions.  And then proceeds to ask a lot of questions - duh!:
November 28, 2013 at 8:33 am
Why don’t these Calamastrologists just say we discovered a couple of sub-glacial lakes and leave it at that. How do we know these lakes weren’t there in 1900, 1925, 1940 1,000 years ago, 2,000 years ago? Oh, we do know because they say it might have been larger in the past!!! What does this tell me about the future of the ice sheet? What do they know? Is this just a discovery followed by a whole pile of guesswork?

gymnosperm thinks that experts in the cryosphere are not "serious scientists" and know nothing about ice and says:
November 28, 2013 at 9:04 am
” The thicker Antarctic ice can act like an insulating blanket, preventing the freezing of water trapped underneath the surface.”
Really? All that ice in Greenland isn’t enough “insulation”? These sorts of ad hoc preconceptions have no place in serious science.

Billy Liar must be joking when he says:
November 28, 2013 at 9:41 am
Do they have any evidence that the lakes weren’t there before they just discovered them?
Cambridge was once a great university (pre-AGW).

Palmer, Steven J., Julian A. Dowdeswell, Poul Christoffersen, Duncan A. Young, Donald D. Blankenship, Jamin S. Greenbaum, Toby Benham, Jonathan Bamber, and Martin J. Siegert. "Greenland subglacial lakes detected by radar." Geophysical Research Letters (2013). DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058383

Energy accumulation - plus testing Tisdale pseudo-science null hypothesis at WUWT

Sou | 3:07 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

Update - see below where I may have been was wrong :)

First let's lay out the null hypothesis - that Bob Tisdale does not practice pseudo-science.

Pseudo-scientists like Bob Tisdale go out of their way to reject science.  They don't simply make up stuff out of thin air, they misrepresent actual science as well.  We may not be able to prove this in all situations but let's test out the null hypothesis.  That Bob Tisdale does not practice pseudo-science.  (The alternative hypothesis is that Bob Tisdale does practice pseudo-science.)

Tests for Null Hypothesis

On Quackwatch, Rory Coker has laid out a list of attributes to watch out for to determine if something is pseudo-science.  I've picked out ten of the items to test the null hypothesis:
  1. Pseudoscience displays an indifference to facts.
  2. Pseudoscience "research" is invariably sloppy.
  3. Pseudoscience begins with a hypothesis—usually one which is appealing emotionally, and spectacularly implausible—and then looks only for items which appear to support it.
  4. Pseudoscience is indifferent to criteria of valid evidence. 
  5. Pseudoscience always avoids putting its claims to a meaningful test. 
  6. Pseudoscientists invent their own vocabulary in which many terms lack precise or unambiguous definitions, and some have no definition at all.
  7. Pseudoscience attempts to persuade with rhetoric, propaganda, and misrepresentation rather than valid evidence (which presumably does not exist).
  8. Pseudoscience appeals to false authority, to emotion, sentiment, or distrust of established fact. 
  9. Pseudoscience makes extraordinary claims and advances fantastic theories that contradict what is known about nature. 
  10. And finally, the pseudo-scientist generally earns some or all of his living by selling questionable products (such as books, courses, and dietary supplements) and/or pseudoscientific services (such as horoscopes, character readings, spirit messages, and predictions).

The Test - A Video by Bob Tisdale

Take yesterday, for example.  Bob Tisdale made a video and posted it an a WUWT article (archived here and if you have a burning desire to see the video, it's here on YouTube). It was a video protesting a new widget from Skeptical Science.  But mainly it was a video in which Bob misrepresented a scientific paper.

For a good take on Anthony Watts' reaction to the widget, read Collin Maessen's article at his realsceptic blog.  Anthony once again shows his double standards!

Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale typically goes to great lengths in his efforts to reject science.  And I mean lengths.  Long lengths.  Very long lengths.  However this time around, instead of just making his usual very long very lengthy statement along the lines of "all the science is wrong and I'll prove it by writing long tedious posts full of copies and pastes from the pseudoscience in all my other long tedious posts", Bob decided to misrepresent a scientific paper in a six minute video.

Earth is building up energy

What Bob Tisdale did was refer to this paper by Stephens et al that was published last year in Nature Geoscience.  Bob put up Figure 1 from Stephens12 (see below) and said:
The sum of the downward shortwave and longwave radiation at the surface is 533.6 watts per square meter. That means the radiative imbalance is only one tenth of one per cent of the sum of the sunlight and infrared radiation at the surface.  

He's wrong.  It's about one tenth of the sum of only the incoming short wave and the long wave radiation that is directed downward at the surface.  Maybe I'm picking nits, but Bob said "at the surface".  Not downward radiation at the surface.  He omits the short wave and long wave radiation leaving the surface as well as the sensible and latent heat fluxes.

Null Hypothesis: Fail using test 1 (indifference to facts), test 2 (sloppiness) and, as you'll see below as well, test 7 (misrepresentation).

Bob continues:
Now that's not too scary  is it. One-tenth of 1 per cent of the sunlight and infrared radiation. Or to make it sound even less scary the sum of the downward shortwave and longwave radiation reaching the surface every day is about 890 times the hypothetical radiative imbalance.

Note how Bob is appealing to emotion?  The emotion in this case is fear.  He is urging  his readers to believe that accumulating 0.6 watts m-2 is "not too scary".  His use of the word "hypothetical" is designed to introduce doubt about the science.  This is, as we'll see later, is a misrepresentation and comes under test 7 above.

Null Hypothesis: Fail using test 8 (appeal to emotion) and test 7 (misrepresentation).

Here is the diagram that Bob uses in his video.  It's Figure 1 from Stephens12.

Source: Figure 1 Stephens12

Let's looks at Bob's numbers just for the hell of it.  He added 188 to 345.6 and got 533.6 watts m-2 reaching the surface.  He said this was about 890 times larger than the 0.6 watts m-2 being accumulated. It's actually 889.33 but we won't quibble.  Bob also said it was 1/10 of 1%.  It's actually 0.112% but again let's not quibble.

One of Bob's biggest mistakes is to compare the radiative imbalance with the sum of the downward short wave and long wave radiation, without deducting the upward radiation.  That's double-counting.  If he had wanted to make any meaningful comparison he could have compared the additional energy being accumulated with the energy coming in (or with the energy going out).  And he'd do that at the top of the atmosphere.  For one thing it's at the top of the atmosphere that we see the energy imbalance of the entire Earth system and can measure it more precisely using instrumentation on satellites.

If Bob had done that, he would have compared the 0.6 watts m-2 with the 240 watts m-2 being the net incoming solar radiation.  For radiative equilibrium, earth needs to balance the net incoming radiation (240 watts m-2) with the net outgoing radiation.  But the outgoing radiation falls short by 0.6 watts m-2.

240 is 400 times larger than 0.6, a lot less than the 890 times bigger that Bob Tisdale was claiming. (See update - I should be using 340, which is 534 times larger than 0.6.)

Null Hypothesis: Fail using test 1 (indifference to facts), test 2 (sloppiness) and test 7 (misrepresentation).

Accumulating weight over a lifetime

Let's do an analogy.  Think back (or forward) to when you were twenty years of age and we'll project forward 70 years.  (The time scale is comparable to many climate science projections.  If you were twenty years old today, you'd be 90 years old in 2083, which is far enough ahead for many of the climate science projections to emerge, assuming we don't cut emissions sufficiently.)

Let's say you weigh a healthy enough 60 kg (132 lb) at twenty years of age.

Now let's say that each day you are consuming just a little bit more energy than you are using.  You are putting on a miniscule amount of weight each day.  Not much weight, mind you.  You don't notice it on a day to day or week to week basis.

Assumptions: To balance your weight, let's assume you need to eat the dietary equivalent of 10,000 kJ a day.  Let's also assume that if you consumed an additional 2,500 kJ, you'd gain weight at the rate of 1 kg a week. And let's also assume that this holds throughout your lifetime until you reach 90 years of age, no matter what your weight.  (This is a simplification and only used to illustrate a point.)

Instead of consuming 10,000 kJ, you eat that much each day plus an extra 1/400 of 10,000 kJ or an addition 25 kJ a day.  That's like taking an extra bite of a small snack each day.  Or having an extra tablespoon of cereal for breakfast.

Now that's not too scary is it.

After 70 years at the age of 90, instead of weighing 60 kg (132 lb) you would weigh 96.5 kg (213 lb).  You'd have added more than 60% to your original weight.  There's probably enough weight gain along the way to prevent you from reaching 90 years of age.

Remember - in this analogy there is no way that you can stop this.  You can't say "oh I'll burn it off easily".  Or "oh, I'll just eat a little less tomorrow".  You're stuck with the input because there is no way to stop the equivalent of the sun from shining.  It's out of your control.  You're stuck with the weight gain because the equivalent of that CO2 in the air isn't getting any less - in fact we're adding more all the time.

So that 60% weight gain is the minimum.  And all that from an equivalent, in food intake terms, of adding 0.6 watts m-2 on earth.


It's been suggested I should have used 340 instead of 240 watts m-2 and Sisi is probably right.  Though I'd love to argue, I was just having a dig at Bob.  More importantly, I've read that a sign of a pseudo skeptic is that they never admit a mistake, so I'd better at least admit the high possibility/probability of one :)

Using 340 watts m-2 the weight gain is 26 kg or 43%.

Another bit of Tisdale Trickery

Bob decides to trick his readers some more.  He writes:
Let's return to the illustration from the paper by Stevens and others and we'll zoom in on the bottom line. Note the uncertainty is a +/-17 watts per square meter.  We've been told the carbon dioxide from man-made emissions has been accumulating for decades and centuries and it has created an energy imbalance of six-tenths of one watt per square meter. But the uncertainty is +/-17 watts per square meter.

No, Bob.  You're trying to trick us.  That's only the uncertainty at the surface and has to be read in conjunction with the uncertainties relating to all the components at the surface - the various short and long wave fluxes.  The uncertainty relating to how much the net radiative imbalance for the system as a whole is shown at the top of Figure 1 above.  It is only +/-0.4 watts m-2.

Allowing for uncertainty, the radiative imbalance is between 0.2 and 1 watt m-2.  And given the danger if it is at the upper end of the range, that's the one to watch.  (If you repeated the weight gain analogy for the equivalent of 1 watt m-2, you'd have doubled your weight by the time you reached 90 years of age.)

Null Hypothesis: Fail using test 1 (indifference to facts), test 2 (sloppiness) and test 7 (misrepresentation).

And what's that about "accumulating for decades and centuries"?  Energy has been accumulating in any quantity for around a century at most, not multiples of centuries.  Look at the ocean heat content chart for example. The heat started ramping up in earnest in the 1970s.

Data Source: NODC NOAA

Or look at ocean heat, sea level, surface temperature and melting ice.  The surface temperature chart is the longest and it shows the earth warming since around the turn of the twentieth century.

Data sources: NODC NOAA, NASA GISS, PIOMAS, U Colorado

Bob had the cheek to say:
In other words the radiative imbalance might exist or it might not.
Oh yeah?  Just look at the charts above and tell us how, by every measurable parameter, surface temperature, ocean heat content, sea ice and sea level - the earth is warming and yet Bob says a radiative imbalance might not exist?  What other possible explanation could he offer to explain the sudden rapid accumulation of energy?  Hobgoblins?

Bob's hypothesis is that there might or might not be a radiative imbalance.

Null Hypothesis: Fail using test 1 (indifference to facts), test 3 (implausible hypothesis), test 4 (indifferent to criteria of valid evidence), test 5 (no meaningful test), test 7 (misrepresentation).

Bob redefines "hypothesis"

To prove he does pseudo-science not real science, Bob finishes with this gem:
Keep in mind that human-induced global warming is only a hypothesis. Hypothesis is a fancy word for a premise, a supposition, an assumption.
A hypothesis could at a pinch be described as a premise or a supposition.  Under no stretch of the imagination could it be equated with an assumption.

And human-induced global warming isn't a hypothesis nor is it a theory.  It's a plain, unadulterated fact.  We are heating up the earth.

The greenhouse effect can be described as a scientific theory.  A scientific theory is as close to a "fact" as you'll get in science.  It's an explanation of how the universe works.  Climate science is grounded in numerous scientific theories.

Null Hypothesis: Fail using a variation of test 6 (inventing vocabulary - redefining terminology)

Rejecting the Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis that that Bob Tisdale does not practice pseudo-science is rejected.

The null hypothesis has failed numerous times.  And there is more.  At the end of the video Bob puts up an image of his pseudo-science books that he's got for sale.  In these books he advances fantastic theories (the earth is warmed by the oceans, not greenhouse gases), thereby failing the test 9 as well as the final test 10 above:
The pseudo-scientist generally earns some or all of his living by selling questionable products (such as books, courses, and dietary supplements) and/or pseudoscientific services (such as horoscopes, character readings, spirit messages, and predictions)

Null hypothesis fail: In total, the null hypothesis has failed 10 of the 10 tests (or 9½ out of ten if you want to be picky about test 6).

The evidence suggests that Bob Tisdale does indeed practice pseudo-science.

From the WUWT comments

Here are some of the comments to Bob's article (archived here). Most WUWT visitors are fake sceptics of one sort or another.  As such they love pseudo-science, which is why they flock to WUWT.

Anthony Watts pops in to give his imprimatur to pseudo-science and thank him for maintaining WUWT's low reputation and says:
November 27, 2013 at 8:33 am
Thanks Bob, nicely done.

Rhoda R is one of many willing fake sceptics to buy Bob Tisdale's pseudo-science and says:
November 27, 2013 at 11:46 am
EXCELLENT video Mr. Tisdale. I love the real kicker at the end – where the uncertainty is something like 30 times higher that the ‘imbalance’.

James Strom commits the logical fallacy of personal incredulity when he says:
November 27, 2013 at 7:24 am
Like many others, I suppose, I doubt that we can measure the actual energy flows with the degree of accuracy implied by the 0.6 figure. However, if we take the warming over a long period, such as the 20th century, assume that it’s all due to an energy imbalance, and convert it to watts/m^2, how close is the result to SkS’s bombs-per-second figure? 
Snotrocket doesn't like the video and says:
November 27, 2013 at 7:25 am
I’m sorry Anthony. I’ve read much about this ridiculous metric and really want realists to succeed in defeating the lies beneath it’s scary cloak. However, I gave up on the video because the voice-over was so amateur and of such a depressing tone [sigh].
For a start, it seemed to me that the narrator had not rehearsed the script too well, stumbling at critical moments and so changing the emphasis (say) of what he was trying to get across. It would have helped if you’d had auditions for the voice-over. Remember, it needs to be slicker than Gore (which, I guess, sounds like a measure of some kind of slimy viscosity: sorry.)

Bob Tisdale talks about lack of understanding but in the process shows that it's he who doesn't understand simple science.  He doesn't understand the difference between the energy balance for the earth system as a whole and the energy flux at earth's surface when he shouts (excerpt):
November 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Sisi says: “Do you realise that the radiative imbalance of the earth system has nothing to do with an energy imbalance at the surface?
Really? Are your sure, Sisi? What is plainly obvious (and easy for me and everyone else reading this thread to realize) is that you haven’t bothered to try to read the paper I presented as reference. The second sentence in the abstract reads (my caps): “As a result, the GLOBAL BALANCE OF ENERGY FLUXES within the atmosphere or AT THE EARTH’S SURFACE cannot be derived directly from measured fluxes, and is therefore uncertain.”
That was immediately before the sentence that quoted for you earlier.
Seems to me that (1) you don’t understand the topic at hand or (2) you’re making up stuff as you’re going along or (3) both of the above.

rogerknights gives a backhanded compliment and says:
November 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm
I like Bob’s easy-going, thorough style of presentation. It’s lack of slickness is a benefit.

Sensorman says he wants some real science, not pseudo-science (I don't think he knows what he is asking. MinutePhysics would demolish Bob Tisdale's disinformation):
November 28, 2013 at 5:32 am
would love to see this video redone by MinutePhysics!

Stephens, G. L., Li, J., Wild, M., Clayson, C. A., Loeb, N., Kato, S., ... & Andrews, T. (2012). An update on Earth's energy balance in light of the latest global observations. Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/ngeo1580

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Partial to Carbon Dioxide - Why Willis Eschenbach Wonders at WUWT

Sou | 2:34 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

Update - I've updated the archive here, just so anyone interested can read the comment from the batty duke (rgbatduke).  See below.

Update 2 - Willis has added a new chart and now has another question - Click here to jump to it.

Wondering Willis Eschenbach is wondering again.  This time he's wondering about carbon dioxide in the sea surface and the air (archived here, latest archive here).  He used data analysed by the following team, that was collected way back in the 1950s and 60s:

Lee S. Waterman, Pieter P. Tans and Todd Aten from NOAA, Boulder, Colorado; Charles D. Keeling from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California and Thomas A. Boden from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

A gigantic geochemical experiment...

The paper that Willis linked to provides an interesting piece of scientific history.  It has a quote on the front page:
"...Man, in his burning of fossil fuels and denudation of the land's surface, may be performing a gigantic geochemical experiment in which the CO2 cycle is being influenced. It is thought we may be increasing the C02 input into the atmosphere by 70% in 40 years, although it is not certain how much of this may be absorbed by the oceans. A substantial increase in C02 content in the air would trap more of the earth's radiated heat and cause a warming of temperature.
Data collected during the IGY will be needed for comparison with measurements made 15 to 25 years from now to determine whether the C02 content is changing ..."
Lill and Revelle
IGY Bulletin
October 1958

Early ocean CO2 research

What the researchers did was analyse data collected in three oceanographic expeditions between October 1957 and August 1963.  The data related to carbon dioxide in the air and the surface water. (IGY was a major international collaborative scientific effort between July 1957 and December 1958. From Wikipedia - "It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West had been seriously interrupted".)

It didn't take me long to find what was probably Willis' source. The research is described by Scripps CO2 Program as:
During the late 1950's and early 1960's, Charles D. Keeling supervised the measurement of pCO2 in surface ocean waters and in the atmosphere just above on a number of seagoing expeditions mounted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These expeditions ("cruises"), comprising long transects in the major oceans, were chosen to map the global features of surface ocean pCO2. Data from most of these cruises are presented here for the first time in detail (in the form of hourly averages). The data had been processed soon after the cruises and presented in several research articles as averages, over geographical areas, of the difference in CO2 concentration between ocean and atmosphere (see References). This site contains data from the DOWNWIND cruise in 1957, the MONSOON cruise in 1961, and the long LUSIAD cruise in 1962 and 1963.

The wrong end of the stick

Willis took the difference between the air and sea surface CO2 data, which he mistakenly thought was parts per million by volume of CO2, and plotted it against sea surface temperature.  (He obviously didn't read the above paragraph or the paper very closely.)

Source: WUWT
Willis wrote:
To describe the situation in another way, when the water is cool, it contains less CO2 than the overlying air … but when the water is warm, it has more CO2 than the overlying air.
Say what? I gotta confess, I have little in the way of explanations or comprehension of the reason for that pattern … all suggestions welcome.

In fact, as Nick Stokes pointed out in the comments, the data Willis used wasn't the amount or parts per million by volume of CO2, it was the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2).  So Willis' positives meant CO2 was going from the sea to the air (which is expected as water warms up) and his negatives going from air to sea, not the other way around - which was what Willis mistakenly thought. No wonder Willis was wondering why his chart was counter-intuitive.

There is more that is wrong with Willis' chart, but because his main error was so fundamental, he probably wouldn't have plotted the data that way if he had understood what the data was. So I won't go into that.

About ocean CO2

Ocean CO2 data have since been collected over the years by individual scientists or research teams.  Now there are attempts to coordinate efforts globally, as described on the Global Observing Systems Information Centre (GOSIC) website.

CO2 dissolves fairly readily in water.  Once in the water it reacts chemically and there's only a small bit that remains as CO2.  As described at GOSIC:
The CO2 and associated chemical forms are collectively known as dissolved inorganic carbon or DIC. This chemical partitioning of DIC affects the air–sea transfer of CO2 as only the unreacted CO2 fraction in the sea water affects the CO2 flux, which is determined from measurements of atmospheric and surface sea water partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and wind speed.
The surface ocean partial pressure of CO2, pCO2, is a critical parameter of the oceanic inorganic carbon system
  1. because it determines the magnitude and direction of the exchange of CO2 between the ocean and atmosphere, and
  2. because it is a good indicator for changes in the upper ocean carbon cycle.
In addition, it is an oceanic parameter that can be routinely measured with high accuracy and precision. 

The oceans are absorbing about 30% of the CO2 we are adding to the air (and the biosphere is absorbing about 25% of the extra CO2).  The amount of uptake is affected by ocean modes such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and ENSO. For example, in El Nino years, the oceans absorb a about 30% more than the long term annual average (which according to this 2010 paper by Valsala and Maksyutov is estimated at around 1.5 petagrams of carbon a year).

Here's a map from CDIAC showing the mean annual net air-sea CO2 flux as measured in 2000.  Click for larger view.

Source: CDIAC Ocean CO2
It varies a fair bit, with the green parts having zero net exchange, the blue and purple bits are the ocean areas absorbing CO2 and the red bits emitting CO2.  (The year 2000 was part of an extended La Nina period.  That year saw Australia's second wettest year on record at the time, exceeded only by 1974, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.)

Here's some more information from CDIAC about the differences in the CO2 absorption in different parts of the oceans.

Major source of CO2: The equatorial Pacific (14°N-14°S) is the major source for atmospheric CO2, emitting about +0.48 Pg-C/yr.

Major sink of CO2: The temperate oceans between 14° and 50° in the both hemispheres are the major sink zones with an uptake flux of -0.70 Pg-C/yr for the northern and –1.05 Pg-C/yr for the southern zone. 

Most intense CO2 sink: The high latitude North Atlantic, including the Nordic Seas and portion of the Arctic Sea, is the most intense CO2 sink area on the basis of per unit area, with a mean of –2.5 tons-C / month / km2 (1 Ton = 106 grams). This is due to the combination of the low pCO2 in seawater and high gas exchange rates. 

Lowest CO2 flux: In the ice-free zone of the Southern Ocean (50°S-62°S), the mean annual flux is small (-0.06 Pg-C/yr) because of a cancellation of the summer uptake CO2 flux with the winter release of CO2 caused by deepwater upwelling. 

Net global flux: The annual mean for the contemporary net CO2 uptake flux over the global oceans is estimated to be -1.4 ± 0.7 Pg-C/yr. Taking the pre-industrial steady state ocean source of 0.4 ± 0.2 Pg-C/yr into account, the total ocean uptake flux including the anthropogenic CO2 is estimated to be –2.0 ± 0.7 Pg-C/yr in 2000.

So - now I know a whole lot more about the absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans.  I've always maintained that I learn a whole heap about climate science by researching the wrongs from pseudo-scientists :)

From the WUWT comments

There were some thoughtful comments (I'd say more than usual) among the usual swag of thoughtless comments in response to Wondering Willis Eschenbach's article.  Here is a smattering (archived here, latest archive here):

ronald foolishly takes the word of Wondering Willis over that of the scientists.  He's full of conspiracy ideation and says:
November 27, 2013 at 2:55 am
Can it be a agw survey? Cold water absorbes CO2 and warm water let it go by out gassing. It looks to me that someone wants to let look to work the other way to help agw.

Macha has it all back to front when he says:
November 27, 2013 at 3:23 am
Relative difference is not the same as absolute. Warmer water can absorb and hold more CO2, than cold. The rate of change I more a question of kinetics.

martin brumby is a paid up member of the Scientific Illiterati and says:
November 27, 2013 at 3:25 am
The vast majority of their dots are for sea surface temperatures greater than 20ºC.
Perhaps the cruises in oceans where this was the case were more popular with the psyentists than those trawling around oceans with temperatures below 10ºC?
Or maybe the latter group just kept warm and cosy below decks?

Nick Stokes comment prompted me to look into this.  He says (excerpt):
November 27, 2013 at 4:02 am
Willis, I don’t think the water measurement reflects concentration of CO2, and I’m sure it isn’t ppmv of water. It’s described in your link as pCO2, which would be the partial pressure of CO2 in equilibrium with the seawater.
In that case, there’s no particular expectation about variation with temperature. With no flux, it would be zero at any temperature. What it does reflect is which way CO2 is moving.

Richard Graves also has it back to front when he says:
November 27, 2013 at 4:42 am
I like to make soda water. Thinking very cold water would make bubblier soda that’s what I tried. Results not good! Then I tried water from tap around 20C. Result nice bubbly sodas. Seems the warmer water absorbs more CO2 more easily. Its been bothering me why?

François is impressed by the scientific research done 55 years ago and says:
November 27, 2013 at 4:11 am
Five years of measurements, fifty years ago, with the instruments available then. I am impressed.

Dodgy Geezer is a conspiracy theorist too and, after quoting Willis, says it's all a political plot:
November 27, 2013 at 4:39 am
…The first surprise was that I was under the impression that there was some kind of close relationship between the atmospheric CO2, and the CO2 in the surface seawater. …
Alas, Willis, you have been infected by IPCC reasoning. The idea that there are only a few big variables and they interact with each other in a simple manner is what you say when you are a political advisor hoping to persuade a politician.
“Yes, Mr Prime Minister – if you enact this law you WILL get more votes…”
In reality we have two domains here, the sea and the air. Each has a set of pressures and balances which determine the local CO2 concentration. At the point where they touch – the sea surface, they probably interact with one another. But how important that interaction is compared with their own internal driving variables… who knows?


I've updated the archive (and again here) because there is a very long comment by the batty duke (rgbatduke AKA Robert G Brown.  Don't worry, I'm not outing him.  He hasn't hidden his identity at WUWT).  I have to wonder how he got and managed to hold onto a job at Duke University.  He doesn't seem to be aware that the data is from samples collected 50 years or so ago.  He says he would have brought on-boat computers and automated robots! In 1957!  And he wants the data compared to CO2 at Mauna Loa - which didn't start measuring CO2 until 1959. And despite the fact that quite a number of people mentioned it, the batty duke is also oblivious to the fact that Willis made a mistake and the data was pCO2 not ppmv CO2.

There's worse still.  From his ivory tower at Duke, the batty one writes:
...but I’d bet my sweet bippy that it also reflects the selection bias of researchers to prefer ocean cruises in the warm, sunny tropics with lots of interesting places to stop and things to see relative to cruising around the Cape of Good Hope or Tierra del Fuego or knocking around Iceland or the Bering Straits — presuming one can get in through the ice and so on. 

What a nong.  If he'd checked the paper he'd have seen from the map of the routes that voyages went from around 70S to 35N and virtually all around the globe from east to west.  They did sail around the Cape of Good Hope and while they didn't go around Tierra del Fuego, they went pretty far south in South America and right down near the Antarctic.  (How many American scientific expeditions travelled around the Bering Strait during the cold war?)

Not only that, the batty duke has no appreciation of how real live scientists do field work - and the way that so many of them risk all sorts of dangers and put up with all sorts of hardships, so idiots like the batty duke can figure out whether to bring a brolly to work or will need to put in more firebreaks or add a water tank to his comfy home in North Carolina.

Update 2

Willis has added more to his post including another chart and has another question (archived here).  This time he asks:
My main question in all of this is, how does the CO2 content of the seawater get to be up to 100 ppmv above the CO2 content of the overlying air? It seems to me that the driver must be biology … but I was born yesterday.
I came across an older paper that examined ocean CO2 in more detail, including looking at seasonal and diurnal fluctuations.  The paper stated:
These results support that the diurnal change in pCO2 measured in the present study are associated with the photosynthetic activity by photoplanktons in seawater.

From what little I've read so far (and it's a huge subject area of which I haven't scraped but a fraction of the surface) the seasonal variation is driven by temperature but this varies by location.  There are other factors that play an important role including upwelling / downwelling water (vertical mixing) and wind. There is also spatial variation that is driven by biological factors (which themselves vary with the season) and which combine with the effect of sea surface temperature.

Willis has simply plotted pCO2 vs sea surface temperature.  He hasn't plotted by space (lat/long) or season.  In his plot where the sea surface temperature is above 25 degrees and more particularly so when it gets closer to 30 degrees, pCO2 (ocean surface) is generally above the average atmospheric CO2 pressure.  But I don't think that tells much.

What I don't understand is why Willis goes and plots all this stuff with no apparent particular aim in mind without doing any reading.  You'd think being chided by Roy Spencer would have taught him a lesson.

L.S. Waterman, P.P. Tans, T. Aten, C.D. Keeling, and T.A. Boden, Quasi-simultaneous CO2 Measurements in the Atmosphere and Surface Ocean Waters from Scripps Institution of Oceanography DOWNWIND, MONSOON, and LUSIAD Expeditions, 1957-1963, draft report, 38 pages, 1996.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sea level for dummies - a video by MinutePhysics

Sou | 9:48 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

Update - I've added a longer sea level video below - from a Melbournite Melburnian :) - Jerry Mitrovica now at Harvard University . (h/t metzomagic)

This makes a change.  In recent months Anthony Watts has posted several articles claiming that over coming decades, seas cannot possibly rise any faster than they did last century.  This is despite the fact that Earth will continue to get hotter as we keep using our precious air as a garbage dump for waste greenhouse gases.  He thinks that ice doesn't melt as it heats.  He's a bit of a plonker is Anthony Watts.

Today Anthony has done something special.  He's posted a video explaining sea level.  Not rising sea level.  Just about sea level itself. (Archived here.)

Anthony got the video via Gavin Schmidt of NASA and, who retweeted it from Joe Hanson who saw it in a tweet from Henry Reich @minutephysics.  Isn't Twitter wonderful :)

I'll resist the temptation to make any snide remarks about cartoons being the best format for WUWT readers and just post the video.  (Oops - did I write that out loud?) It is very good.

Next time you come across someone who wonders how seas can be rising at different paces at different times in different places, this explains it rather nicely and more besides.


Courtesy of metzomagic in the comments - thanks! It's a longer video on sea level.  Jerry Mitrovica debunks some common denier myths.

From the WUWT comments

Eric ah may not have any conception of just how vast the ocean is compared to the size of a supertanker and says:
November 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm
I read somewhere (Daily Telegraph I think) last week that at any one time there are 100,000 ships at sea. With increasing trade and increasing sizes of ships I wonder what effect their displacement of water has had on sea levels. Any mathematicians out there willing to do a “back of the envelope” calculation?

Pippen Kool responds and says:
November 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm
Eric ah “With increasing trade and increasing sizes of ships I wonder what effect their displacement of water has had on sea levels.”
2.15 billion cubic meters divided by the surface area of the oceans equals about 6 microns (0.006 mm).
But the article goes on: you don’t have to worry about that six-micron sea level drop. The oceans are currently rising at about 3.3 millimeters per year due to global warming (through both glacial melting and thermal expansion of seawater).

stuart L might not know about satellite measures and thinks three dipsticks might be enough to monitor changes in sea level.  He says:
November 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm
Hmm We want to know if the sea level is rising and how much, so why measure it all over different places, if we took just three measurements in places that were not affected by gravity, isostatic rebound etc, like one in the Atlantic, one in the Pacific and one in the Indian ocean. wouldn’t that be more representative of true sea level rise.

Peter Miller doesn't know anything about how sea level change is worked out either. Or how by taking readings via satellite sweeps and making various comparisons and corrections with various checks and balances, the change can be measured with great precision.  And he's wrong with his 0.01 mm.  At the University of Colorado, the uncertainty in annual global mean sea level trend is +/- 0.4 mm.  The precision is to one decimal place not two.  (The trend is currently stated as being 3.2 mm +/- 0.4 mm / year.  He says:
November 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm
And to top everything, we rely on sea level measurements, using the speed of light, from satellites in decaying ellipsoid orbits.
Then there are also these factors to consider: wave heights, currents, tides, winds, isostatic rebound, tectonic movements and seasonal changes in ocean temperature.
And we believe we can measure changes in sea levels to an accuracy of 0.01mm!?!

Various other people comment about what is not covered by the video, sometimes with reasonable observations and sometimes with less reasonable (archived here).  No-one seems to be finding much fault with it though, which makes a nice change for WUWT.

Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale writes a fan letter to George Clooney and Lewis Black

Sou | 5:08 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

Today Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale is being "very serious" Bob Tisdale.  He has written an open letter at WUWT to Lewis Black and George Clooney.

Yes, that's right.  Bob was so gratified with the response that he got from his "Open Letter to the Honorable John Kerry U.S. Secretary of State"  - archived here, that he's trying his trick again.  (We're still awaiting for Bob to publish the reply he got from John Kerry, but I'm sure Secretary of State Kerry would have been most appreciative of all he learnt from Bob.  Bob is undoubtedly too humble to share his gushing praise.)

I know who George Clooney is but I hadn't come across Lewis Black before.  Thanks to Bob, I've discovered he's an American comedian.  Bob wants to teach them both about climate pseudo-science.  He reckons they've learnt enough about real science and he want to persuade them to join him and other members of the Scientific Illiterati.

Bob didn't begin too well.  He wrote (archived here):
At the Britannia Awards, in a response to what must’ve been a question about the recent typhoon that stuck the Philippines, George, you said in part:
If you have 99 percent of doctors who tell you ‘you are sick’ and 1 percent that says ‘you’re fine,’ you probably want to hang out with, check it up with the 99. You know what I mean?
Let me ask: Would you see a podiatrist or a proctologist for a sore throat?
Hilarious, isn't he - that crafty old Bob.

I have a feeling that if they got that far, Lewis and George would have at that point consigned the letter to the bin saying something like - "another crank letter".

Bob Tisdale gets stuck into Lewis Black for "appealing to authority".  I guess Bob doesn't like authority.  Guess which authority Lewis Black appealed to?  Was it Anthony Watts? No.  Was it Bob Tisdale? No.  It was scientists!  Lewis said:
Interviewer: Well, now what's your thoughts on...I know you must have some thoughts on climate change.
Lewis Black: Well, it's real. Well, what's amazing is that people just kind of say it's not real. Well, you know, when most of the scientists of the world and, the Pentagon but really, the scientists say. Most scientists tell you it's real. So guess then - you know what it is, then it's real.
There's a group of people who think scientists are really like ...they treat them as if it's a coven of witches. "Oh, oh, they made this thing up".  
They didn't make it up.
You're watching like a chunk of know, a polar ice cap, a chunk - it's called defrosting. "Have you never looked in the fridge, Jackass?"....
It's like being on the Titanic.  
So yeah there's climate change." 

Yes, it sounds better when Lewis Black says it than when I write it :)

I doubt either George or Lewis would bother with the rest of Bob's letter.  However, given readers of HW are gluttons for punishment of the science denying kind, I'll comment on a couple more bits. Bob wrote:
The climate science community, under the direction of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), has only been tasked with determining whether manmade factors, primarily carbon dioxide, could be responsible for the recent bout of global warming, and what the future might bring if the real world responds to projected increases in manmade greenhouse gases in ways that are similar to climate models. They were not asked to determine if naturally caused, sunlight-fueled processes could have caused the global warming over the past 30 years, or to determine the contribution of those natural factors in the future—thus all of the scrambling by climate scientists who are now trying to explain the hiatus in global warming. 

Now Bob has never read an IPCC report from the look of it.  If he ever does he'll blush with embarrassment no doubt, recalling those lines he tapped on his keyboard (being the honest upright citizen that he thinks he is).  Even if Bob didn't bother with the words in the report, like the section on page TS-21 about natural forcings, that starts with this sentence:
Solar and volcanic forcings are the two dominant natural contributors to global climate change during the industrial era.
...and just looked at the pretty pictures, he'd have to see figures like the one below showing radiative forcing from natural sources of volcanoes, the sun and greenhouse gases.  (Greenhouse gases are "natural".  They behave as they always have.  What's different now is that we've added humungous amounts of them to the air so there is more to act naturally!):

Source:  IPCC AR5 WG1 - Box TS.5, Figure 1 (page TS-103)

It's no wonder that, because he avoids science and despite being "very serious" and perennially puzzled, Bob thinks the world warms by oceans that warm by magic.  Bob is utterly convinced of this.  He writes emphatically:
I agree that global surface temperatures have warmed, but satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature data and ocean heat content data both indicate the oceans warmed via naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, ocean atmosphere processes—not via manmade greenhouse gases. 
I mean, look at the chart above.  Just take another look.  You can click on it to see it more clearly.  The middle squiggly line is the change in incoming solar irradiance.  That's the "sunlight" that's Bob thinks is fueling the oceans.  Now tell me - how on earth did the sunlight suddenly start getting so much more potent in recent years?  Why is it still getting hotter even though the sun isn't sending any more energy?

Of course - slaps forehead - there is one item below that solar irradiance that's shooting up.  It's greenhouse gases!

Bob goes on and on about how the scientists don't have a clue about science and he, Bob Tisdale, writer of tedious cut and paste posts at WUWT, has all the answers.  Unfortunately Bob has to rely on those ignorant scientists to supply him with data so he can torture it into charts of derivatives of derivatives subtracted from derivates to pretend that the oceans are heating up by magic.  If only Bob could sail the seas and take its temperature.  He might find that all the scientists are wrong again and there is really no such thing as an ENSO :(.

About half way through his long rambling article, Bob writes this:
George, your response to Typhoon Haiyan prompted this memo. 
And proceeds to lecture George on the number of cyclones that made landfall in the north west Pacific.

Now here is what George Clooney was reported to have said in the article to which Bob Tisdale linked:
 The Academy Award winner added that while there is no way to know if global warming was responsible for the typhoon, denying the existence of climate change is "ridiculous."
Yep, that's right.  George could have been a climate scientist with his cautious wording.  Bob has built a strawman in typical denier fashion.

Bob's article is long and boring and tedious and full of links to his blog and his books and all his other WUWT articles and jumps from one of his pet "theories" to another though it's all really the same magic ocean heating "theory" and he rambles on in a long and boring and tedious fashion (did I say his article was very long...and boring...and tedious?).

In the comments, Bob links to another article about ENSO, complaining that his comment wasn't taken seriously or something.  Now that article is very good.  It's short and to the point and has pretty pictures.  It's written by Bill Chameides, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Bill Chameides is a real scientist, unlike Bob Tisdale.  And unlike Bob Tisdale, Bill Chameides is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, a recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s MacElwane Award, and is included in ISIHighlyCited, a compendium of “the most highly influential scientists and scholars worldwide,” comprising less than one-half of one percent of all publishing researchers.

Bob Tisdale could learn a thing or two from Bill Chameides - if he chose to.  Not least of which would be how to write clearly and concisely.

Bob might not be the best pseudo-scientist in the world, but he isn't heartless.  It's just that he has invested so much time and effort in creating his delusions that I cannot imagine him ever letting go of them.  He's very proud of his following, though I'd be very surprised if anyone had a clue of what he goes on about.  He finishes his letter to George and Lewis with this glimpse into the goodness of his heart:
In closing, I want to thank you again for your efforts in disaster relief and other charities. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more proactive organizations that help developing nations create infrastructures, warning systems, evacuation plans, temporary storm shelters, etc., so that people around the globe are capable of moving out of harm’s way. Cleaning up the Earth a little bit is not going to stop tropical cyclones or the death toll associated with them. Moving people away from the coasts during cyclones definitely helps, though. 

Despite his front in lecturing George Clooney and Lewis Black, Bob comes across as, well, maybe genuine, not sycophantic or obsequious like Wondering Willis.

From the WUWT comments

I overdid it last time, so I'll just post a couple of comments.  Oh, okay - three comments (as archived here).

GAT says we've reached the pinnacle:
November 26, 2013 at 7:18 am
Calling this downturn in temps a hiatus or pause lends credibility to the Alarmist GW cause. Can we all start referring to this as a “top” in the cycle or an inflection point?

Jaye Bass doesn't know anything about science and says, guilelessly:
November 26, 2013 at 8:28 am
So the IPCC is assuming the truth of the thing they are trying to prove?

I do enjoy reading comments from Pippen Kool who, this time, says:
November 26, 2013 at 8:33 am
Bob Tisdale: “Would you see a podiatrist or a proctologist for a sore throat?
Depends on if they can make their point in less that 3000 words and 10 figures…

Science deniers at WUWT getting in hot water with Frölicher - but sorted

Sou | 1:47 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

There is a new paper in Nature Climate Change by Thomas Lukas Frölicher et al, which suggests that even if we stopped emitting any carbon dioxide at all, temperatures may still rise over time.  From Nature World News:

Immediate effects of the sudden carbon shutoff would be a cooling effect. But as time progresses, the model predicted gradual warming starting about 100 years after the hypothetical shutoff. Within 400 years of the shutoff, the model predicts global temperatures to rise 0.37 degrees Celsius (0.66 Fahrenheit). The rise seems small, but the researcher note that since pre-industrial times, global temperature has only risen by 0.85 C (1.5 F).

What the researchers investigations suggested was that over time, the oceans would absorb less heat, particularly oceans near the polar regions.  So even though there would be a reduction in radiative forcing after carbon emissions stop, the world could still continue to heat up.  The abstract of the paper explains it:
The reason is that the warming effect of decreasing ocean heat uptake together with feedback effects arising in response to the geographic structure of ocean heat uptake overcompensates the cooling effect of decreasing atmospheric CO2 on multi-century timescales.

Their study also states that estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) that are based on regression of the imbalance of Earth's energy against surface temperature are biased.  I presume they mean biased low. (This supports what some scientists have been suggesting based on paleoclimatology findings, and what many of us have been concerned about.)

The bottom line is that we could be sealing a fate of two degrees with just another 750 gigatonne of carbon.  25% less than most carbon budget calculations.

Anthony Watts just copied and pasted the press release and made no comment except for his headline, which read: The ‘worse than we thought’ model. On any other website that headline would be read as reflecting the content of the paper. At WUWT it was a signal to moan that "all the models are wrong". (Archived here.)

From the WUWT comments

Talking of getting in hot water (weren't we?), the comments at WUWT can be grouped into four categories.  You might quibble a bit with how I've allocated them.  There is overlap and some comments would fit into more than one category.  (All mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation are made by the authors of the comments.) The categories I settled on are:
  1. Unadulterated science denial and pseudoscience AKA The Stupid it Burns
  2. Fervent missionaries of the Scientific Illiterati
  3. Personal incredulity - all the models are wrong
  4. Why try if we're going to boil anyway
  5. Conspiracy ideation - the scientists are only in it for the money and variations

Because I got a bit carried away and collected so many comments this time around, I've put in a break to save page space and bandwidth of readers.  If you are on the home page and want to numb your brain, click here to see the comments as I've sorted them into the categories listed above (archived here).