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« Sleeping policemen | Main | Schneider in the archives »
Tuesday
Apr272010

Key climate model assumption wrong?

There's an interesting article over at El Reg, which discusses a new paper in Nature Geosciences on the subject of the reaction of soil bacteria to increases in temperature. The theory is that as temperatures rise, all the microbes in the soil will emit even more carbon dioxide than they do already, exacerbating warming still further.

That's the theory. Unfortunately, an ecologist from California has now rather thrown a spanner in the works by doing some good old-fashioned experiments. Steve Allison has discovered that although small increases in warmth do increase carbon dioxide emissions, as temperatures rise further, the effect tails off quickly and emissions plunge. 

Interesting stuff.

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Reader Comments (18)

Experiments???

Sine when did these have anything to do with climate science? The half-dozen trees that we needed to measure were done years ago. And now we have super-fast computers that have taken away any necessity to do 'experiments'.

After all, where would we have been in the Volcanic Ash Crisis if people had wasted their time doing experiments to find out how much of the ash there was, and where it might be dangerous to fly? That might have delayed the closure of European airspace for days...and then what would have happened? People would have been flying planes all over the place as if nothing significant had occurred! There was absolutely no point in doing experiments since our computer models are perfect and from them we knew exactly what Nature should have been doing.

Big Oil funded 'Deniers and Sceptics' try to say that Reality doesn't always match the models and therefore that the models aren't complete!. This is of course heresy and they should be executed on the spot. And in the next round of the inter-governmental talks we will be passing very stiff regulations with extremely severe penalties for any recalcitrant bit of the real world that wilfully fails to comply with our models. Penalties will be deliberately harsh to deter any backsliding. Nature must be taught how to behave correctly.

So, please, no more talk of such outdated and retrograde concepts as 'experiment'. We left these behind years ago in climate science, and see absolutely no reason to return to the primitive thinking of the Medieval Experimental Period (1500-1998).

We have moved on...we have seen the light. we know that we are right. Banish this evil word from the scientific vocabulary now!

Apr 27, 2010 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterStriling English

Why are they bothering with empirical scientific experiments when everyone knows that climate science requires only solipsism, post-normal science, and the precautionary principle.

Apr 27, 2010 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarry

Given that the earth has been both warmer and cooler in the past, the idea that it's prone to runaway unstable amplified feedbacks seems unlikely. Why did it not go out of control last time? Or the time before? Or the time before that?

"Climate science" is suffering from now-ism - a philosophy that there is something special about now, today, and we are right now at a discontinuity in everything.

Apr 27, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Oops - looks like someone forgot to explain grant writing etiquette to the new researcher.

Apr 27, 2010 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

It really is schoolboy science that most growth phenomenon in nature can be modelled as an S-
curve described by f(x)= K(1/1+e^(-t)) + C for some constants K and C.

Apr 27, 2010 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRT

Jack Hughes,
The "now-ism" idea which I suggest might be a mass-perception more than a philosophy is a really good observation. Is our "now" any different than "now" in 1780? Maybe "now-ism" is a condition of life, although we are certainly being sold on the immediacy of disaster if we fail to act "now."

Here on the west side of the pond, "real soon now" seems more comfortable.

Apr 27, 2010 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

I'm sure the author will be taken to one side and have it explained to him the importance of the scientific consensus. The models are never wrong you know.

Apr 27, 2010 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Delingpole's article in the UK Telegraph is priceless. He shows an alien abductee who now says that since he has been wearing an aluminum Bowler, the aliens don't bother him anymore! Of course they don't, he took the proper precautions!

The precautionary argumentum ad absurdum at work.

Apr 27, 2010 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterbubbagyro

Egads! Not another inverted U temperature response curve. Oh the humanity...

Apr 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterEarle Williams

Are the assumptions of the models actually published?

Can we look at them?

Come to think of it, I know about most of the temperature indices: CRU/GISS/UAH. Is there an equivalent list of climate models?

Apr 27, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterslowjoe

What is this "experiment" thing of which you speak ?

Is it a newer from of computer modeling that will produce hockey sticks on demand, remove ice from the Arctic, increase our government funding and all expense paid trips to Bali for "a conference" and produce sad pictures of cuddly looking Polar bears?

If not, of what use is an "experiment" to our cause.

Speak not of this 'experiment" heresy.

Apr 28, 2010 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlfredo Nattaguchi

ridiculous. Newsweek now has a special limited edition of the Danish Co + Life "100 places to Remember Before They Disappear" pics which were adapted for Copenhagen last year. SBS TV Australia ran these a couple of months ago and got some flak for including the Himalayan melt claim which had by then been discredited. newsweek still has it at #78.
of course, the Himalayan error is but one of many errors in the package but hey, who cares?

Newsweek: Fareed Zakaria: Our Endangered Planet
Order "100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear" a limited edition special issue
http://www.newsweek.com/id/236064

3 Oct 2009: 100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear
Captured by world class photographers including Federico Veronesi, Nicolas Reynard and Flip Nicklin, the campaign intends to mobilise support in the lead up to the COP15 – UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on 30 November, 2009.
Production company Co + Life has instilled movement to the still images from the exhibition..
http://www.thebusinessoffilmdaily.com/mipcom/D4_S8.html

5 Oct 2009: Hollywood Reporter: Zodiak reaches for the stars at MIPCOM
Distributor Nordisk Film TV World is also shaking things up with the group announcing sales of "100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear" to Discovery USA, SBS Australia, TV3 Thailand, N24 Germany, ORF Austria, TV4 Switzerland, TV4 Sweden and Future TV in the Middle East. ..
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/world/news/e3i6e0d957446c196ca2b596439ed7ef962

Apr 28, 2010 at 12:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Hmm, never heard this discussed before: "The flow of carbon in and out of the Earth's soils is thought to be one of the biggest factors in the amount of greenhouse effect experienced by the planet..."

Can anyone comment if this is widely accepted?

Apr 28, 2010 at 2:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMinB

Vulcan freed carbon.
Stone walls mantle the prison,
A crusty dungeon.
=============

Apr 28, 2010 at 3:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The sigmoid response curve, yes, but is one very small patch of California really representative of the entire Earth? (Californicators would no doubt say "yes"). However, I strongly suspect that up in the taiga and tundra, those huge areas that wrap the world in higher latitudes, soil bacteria are essentially in hibernation nearly all the time and so are well clear of the area of decreasing response.
Time will tell.

Apr 28, 2010 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterDisputin

"Experiments???

Sine when did these have anything to do with climate science?"

Yes experiments are constantly performed on stuff like this. You just don't hear about them. I could list experiments that probably haven't been reported on any blog site. They aren't "interesting" enough to mention unless they can be used to claim the science is all wrong you see.

Apr 28, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterbobd

I reckon it's because experiments equate with risk. Thanks to the HSE we have become risk-averse. Kids are leaving chemistry in droves because they don't see exciting experiments anymore. When I studied with the Open University back in the 80's science courses got huge home experiment kits - now they get a CD-Rom.

As one the earliest posters made clear ironically, the culture has moved solidly to models. I'm afraid the future for science is in the East where libtard policies haven't taken hold.

Apr 30, 2010 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrian Williams

If it gets too hot CO2 drops off, if it gets too cool CO2 drops off. Does anyone else believe that perhaps the problem might not be Global Warming or Global Cooling but Global Stagnation? Personally, I'm much more interested in anaerobic microbes, they seem to have changed things on this little spot of dust in the middle of nowhere so much more than their aerobic kin during the last 500 million years..

Apr 30, 2010 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterPascvaks

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