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« Courtillot | Main | Global warming grubbiness »
Thursday
Mar312011

Nelson on the Spectator debate

There has been some fallout from Tuesday's debate it seems, with Spectator editor Fraser Nelson summarising Simon Singh's contribution as "don’t think – trust the experts".

Full article here.

Singh has tweeted that he will respond tomorrow.

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Reader Comments (42)

Fraser Nelson's "Golden Matchstick" analogy is a good one. It is possible to accept the warming theory and still be very sceptical of the proposed solutions.

Mar 31, 2011 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

Simon Singh's experts tell him to invest in solar

How could he possibly go wrong?

Apart from trusting the wrong expert of course.

Simon Singh knows he is right, because people tell him so.

How could he possibly go wrong?

Mar 31, 2011 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I do hope Fraser reads this posting because the Speccie's comments function is as reliable as an old Fiat. I tried to post there and it just freaks out - maybe not optimised for certain browsers. They should get it fixed.

Anyway, Fraser, if you're reading this a) get your webmaster to fix the freaking functionality and b) you should not have taken so much of a shone to Simon Singh. All he's doing is posting up the rhetrorical devices of the warmistas. And don't even believe David Williamson, because he has fallen into the rhetorical trap - NONE of what Simon has put up should be accepted:

1. Do you agree that increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases lead to an increase in the global temperature? Answer: NO, because the whole GHG theory is predicated on assumptions of positive climate feedbacks. That hypothesis is unproven.

2. Do you agree CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased from 280ppmv to 380ppmv (35%) during period of industrialisation? NO. On balance, it is likely to be of that order. But the excessive reliance on one source of measurement - Mauna Loa - is troublesome. CO2 has risen, but are these figures exact? That is questionable.

3. Do you agree that the Earth’s climate has warmed by 0.6 degrees in the last 50 years? NO. Issues of reliability of the temperature record, together with the scarcity and uneven distribution of datum points, means we cannot be certain how much 'the Earth's climate has warmed'. The latter is a totally unscientific phrase anyway, and it is heat (energy) rather than temperature that is the real issue. It is almost certain that global average climatic temperatures have risen over the past 50 years, but the issue is obscured by such things as UHI effect raising average RECORDED temperatures, shifts in measurement methods etc.

4. Do you agree human contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is major factor in the warming over the last century? NO. For many reasons. But the answer to Q1 alone means this hypothesis is unproven. There is a great deal of evidence pointing away from this assertion (Dendro divergence and 'Hide the Decline', divergence from modeled outcomes, wide-scale and real-world observation of zero warming (Antarctica, New Zealand, etc)

5. Do you agree best scientific predictions estimate further rise of 1.1 to 6 C over 100 yrs based on good (not perfect) models? NO. The predictions exist but they are not based on the best science and the models are not 'good'. Their design and construction has been shown to border on the amateur, their predictions are wildly divergent and they increasingly do not square with observations.

Apr 1, 2011 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

If one feels oneself unable to judge the evidence, how could one decide who is, or is not, an expert?

Apr 1, 2011 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

Five times Simon asks: "Do you agree...?"

He seems very keen for people to agree with him.

Well here's the thing, Simon, if a million people agree that 2+2=5, it's still wrong. Sorry Simon!

Apr 1, 2011 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterR2

I, too, like the "golden matchsticks" analogy. But I would go further. Mr Singh is playing a rather cheap rhetorical game of stipulating facts that do not exist to my knowledge. He is basically saying "these are the facts, do you agree with them?" I ask, where the feck do you get those facts because I know of no scientific sound basis for these claims. So, Mr Singh, kindly answer the real questions. These are:

1) Just what is your evidence that "increases in CO2 to an increase in the global temperature?" I exclude "and other greenhouse gases" because water vapor is one such gas and the argument is about CO2.

2) Just what is your evidence that "CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased from 280ppmv to 380ppmv (35%) during period of industrialisation?"

3) Just what is your evidence that "Earth’s climate has warmed by 0.6 degrees in the last 50 years"?

4) Just what is your evidence that "human contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is major factor in the warming over the last century?"

5) Just what is your evidence that "best scientific predictions estimate further rise of 1.1 to 6 C over 100 yrs based on good (not perfect) models"?

Once he has answered those questions we can look at his evidence and see if it is factual or not. And as for "trust the experts", I like many others on this blog am an expert with advance degrees in science. Cheap rhetorical tricks like he is trying to pull just don't fly.

Apr 1, 2011 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Bad news on a different front. I had a time out about 30 minutes ago. So the Don Pablo Challenge did not totally fix the problem.

Apr 1, 2011 at 1:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

1. Do you agree that increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases lead to an increase in the global temperature?

Yes, by a small amount

2. Do you agree CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased from 280ppmv to 380ppmv (35%) during period of industrialisation?

Yes, but correlation does not equal causation. CO2 levels have varied significantly prior to industrialisation, and CO2 levels typically rise following cold intervals like the LIA. This is a variation on the Nurse faux pas that natural CO2 variations dwarf man made.

3. Do you agree that the Earth’s climate has warmed by 0.6 degrees in the last 50 years?

Yes, but is that as a consequence of emergence from the LIA, the unusual period of high solar activity during the modern solar maximum, or because of industrialisation? Some percentage of the 0.6C rise over the last 150 years is probably due to rising CO2 levels, and some percentage of that is due to man. Other anthropogenic factors like land use changes, aerosol emissions or reductions and other GHG emissions also play a part.

4. Do you agree human contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is major factor in the warming over the last century?

No. CO2 emissions have been rising but there has been no statistically significant warming for the last decade or more.

5. Do you agree best scientific predictions estimate further rise of 1.1 to 6 C over 100 yrs based on good (not perfect) models?

I agree that those are the supposedly best predictions, but they cover a very wide range of possible outcomes, and the probability of 4-6C warming is slim based on current rates of warming wrt CO2 levels. We're not hittng the 0.2C/decade warming predicted for the lower end of modelled outcomes. If we can't hit 0.2C/decade, we won't hit the 4-6C predictions.

Apr 1, 2011 at 1:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

I guess Atomic Hairdryer that I am a bit more skeptical about the "data". Particularly the increase in CO2 levels going up more than a few parts per million. And with that all the rest of the house of cards falls apart.

Just where do they get this "280ppmv" number?

Apr 1, 2011 at 5:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I don't "tweet". I never have. And I never will.

Apr 1, 2011 at 7:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

One would be more inclined to trust the experts in this field Simon venerates if they had not shown themselves to be untrustworthy.
One would be more inclined to trust the experts in this science if their predictions in the science ever turned out correct with any more regularity than could be achieved by chance.
The only experts in climate science I am inclined to trust are the ones who highlight the huge uncertainties involved and who admit that we know very little.
I am not inclined to trust the experts in astrology or homeopathy either. Trust has to be earned.

Apr 1, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

I have other questions.
(1) Do you agree that until recently, the temperature during the 1930's was higher than the present time?
(2) Do you understand why the data for the 1930's has been very steadily reduced in the published records, little by little every year so as not to raise any concerns?
(3) Do you agree that with this in mind, there is no sound basis for claiming that there is any indication that humans are raising the temperature to any noticable extent?
(4) are you aware that the temperature in the lower atmosphere as measured by satellite, is virtually the same as it was in 1980?
(5) Do you now understand what the AGW cult is all about?
(6) Surely it's not the climate? - raising taxes - destroying industrialisation or what is your best guess?

Apr 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

"Singh has tweeted that he will respond tomorrow."

Excellent - April 1 is an appropriate date for Singh's response.

Apr 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

It seems Singh is still stuck at the 'skepticalscience' first standard level.

He thinks sceptics who are not taken in by the CAGW thing all deny that CO2 levels are 'rising' etc. In other words, he wants his twitt followers to think so.

It is the same trick as Nurse pulled on Delingpole. If your answer is 'yes' to all my questions, then what room is there for your scepticism.

Think about it. Why else, would Singh set the stage by stacking up these questions, so early in the morning, and not as a part of a back-and-forth discussion, Mr Nelson?

'Please answer yes/no to my questions, Mr Nelson,...', 'what is your basic position, Mr Nelson?'

Is that how science is discussed, Dr Simon?

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Simon Singh's questions are very similar to the catechism that Steve Connor of the Independent made Freeman Dyson recite. The Bishop had a post on that with a good thread of discussion. Unaccountably, Singh left out "6. "Dost thou renounce Satan? and all his works?".

The funny thing is, most reasoned sceptics can agree (though with increasing caveats from 1. to 5.) with these propositions. Indeed, people like Lomborg and indeed, apparently, Nelson himself, agree pretty much without caveats to all of them, though disagree on the implicit conclusions to be drawn from them. That's why this catechism is just a rhetorical device.

I'm on the agree-with-caveats side of things. 1. is not very meaningful on its own, is repeated in the next ones; 2. is pretty well established, though some measurements indicate higher values than 280 ppm in historical times - but they are probably (not absolutely certainly) wrong. More pertinently, the carbon cycle is complicated enough that we can't be completely sure that CO2 will continue rising steeply under a "business as usual" scenario; 3. again, probably true. But the implication that this is worrisome on its own, and lends strong credence to 4. and 5. is much more debatable. 4. - what is "major" - 10% - 90%? And how do we know? How sure are we? 5. - where do I start? I'll parsimoniously simply state that I'd agree with Singh that the models are not perfect...

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterj

AusieDan @8:58am

(4) are you aware that the temperature in the lower atmosphere as measured by satellite, is virtually the same as it was in 1980?

No, because it isn't.

RSS and UAH full record here.

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Atomic

You say

Yes, but is that as a consequence of emergence from the LIA, the unusual period of high solar activity during the modern solar maximum, or because of industrialisation? Some percentage of the 0.6C rise over the last 150 years is probably due to rising CO2 levels, and some percentage of that is due to man. Other anthropogenic factors like land use changes, aerosol emissions or reductions and other GHG emissions also play a part.

All true, but you don't mention the effect of black carbon, especially on polar amplification. Which of course shows up very strongly as an anomaly, which of course makes GISTEMP run hot.

Ironically, Hansen has published on this very subject (PNAS 4 Nov, 2003):

Plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ∼2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature. This indirect soot forcing may have contributed to global warming of the past century, including the trend toward early springs in the Northern Hemisphere, thinning Arctic sea ice, and melting land ice and permafrost. [...] We suggest that soot contributes to near worldwide melting of ice that is usually attributed solely to global warming. Measurements in the Alps reveal BC concentrations as large as 100 ppbw (34, 35), enough to reduce the visible albedo by ∼10% and double absorption of sunlight (21).

[Emphasis added.]

http://www.pnas.org/content/101/2/423.long

I have suspected for a long time that the effects of black carbon are being (inadvertently) misattibuted to CO2, and that this is being used to prop up the >3C climate sensitivity estimate.

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I have no idea if this comment will reach the Speccie site but I reiterate it here.

The credibility graph is fundamentally misleading, perhaps intentionally, because what Singh appears to have done is populated it according to his religious beliefs. Thus, he includes the IPCC as an example of a body that is credible and supports the groupthink. But he does not properly account for bodies that are credible and oppose it, nor those that are disreputable and support it. To obtain a properly populated graph, you'd need to include both.

Examples of credible people who disagree with the consensus would be Bob Carter, Richard Lindzen, the 700 names mentoned in the Senate minority report, the signatories to the Manhattan declaration, and so on.

Examples of disreputable people who agree with the consensus would include the Mafia, Enron, Greenpeace, Osama bin Laden, VAT fraudsters, cybercriminals and Tony Blair.

When you then re-examine the set of people in agreement with the CAGW consensus, what you then find is that it's an unholy array of groupthinkers, public sector leeches, moral bankrupts, organised criminals, habitual propagandist liars, cryptofascists and international terrorists.

The fact that all the really disgusting factions are on the alarmist side of the debate ought to give Singh pause for thought. As his argument really does come down to no more than one from authority, he needs to taly carefully who else lines up with his authority and ask himself if he's comfortable with that sort of intellectual company.

Look at like this. Some public policy is proposed. It is supported by Nelson Mandela and Barack Osama. Must be good, right? But wait. Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein all line up in favour too. What does that tell you? That Pol Pot is sometimes right? Or that Nelson Mandela is sometimes wrong?

It is really odd that one of Leftism's boasts is to have abolished deference, yet in areas where it's politically convenient, they feel entitled to insist that it be revived.

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Re BBD

All true, but you don't mention the effect of black carbon, especially on polar amplification. Which of course shows up very strongly as an anomaly, which of course makes GISTEMP run hot.

I'd lumped that in under aerosols, and also wonder whether those have had both positive and negative effects. Here is an image of London in 1952:

http://www.londonpics4u.com/london-historical-information/pea-souper

Taken during the great smog. Air quality is a little better now thanks to cleaner air legislation and moves away from domestic coal burning, but presumably that had an effect on UHI if not global warming. I'm less convinced it's the cause of GISS's warm Arctic though and suspect that's more due to their lack of measuremnts. Black carbon would increase ice melt, but it's an anthropogenic effect seperate to warming assumed to be caused by rising CO2.

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Singh's reply to Nelson's "don't think - just trust the experts", is a link to an article which argues... the same thing: "Its alright if you don't think - just trust the experts".

And that too, based on examples from Realclimate.org

It is clear that Simon Singh has never pulled himself up from the Realclimate/SkepticalScience level of argument. Would we waste this kind of time on a Realclimate-commenting true believer, who was not a celebrity?

The Realclimate post, in turn argues that, flying airplanes and oncologists, are proof of why 'trust' in expertise is justified.

Airplanes can be trusted because they are a product of applied science - engineering - and not 'science', because they are a product of real-time, real-world, hundreds of thousands of flight-hour and air-tunnel testing (of aircraft construction, based on understanding of empirical science) ever since human flight began, rather than the consensus of 'experts'.

Same thing with the oncologists - their stuff is the product of applied science, i.e., clinical practice, much different from 'science', with real-world testing, which has advanced in the modern age because of patients who willingly submit themselves to direct experimentation in trials, rather than any 'belief' in expertise. The basis for that 'belief' lies in physical evidence collected painstakingly.

One hope Simon Singh has lifted his head out from behind the reams of skepticalscience printouts and read a recent article in Nature. The exact same thing as with climate science - rushing product to market too early - is described in an instance of oncology research. It turns out oncologists - the expert scientists whom we are supposed to 'trust' - had failed to calculate such basic epidemiological statistics as sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value in the right manner. The story is beyond any capacity for human embarrassment.

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Simon Singh is a bully. He may not actually threaten potential oponents with physical violence, but he is, nonetheless, a bully.
He manipulates those he is bullying into engaging with him by the use of a series of questions which are very carefully worded to give him the advantage. I thought Nelson was very sensible not replying. Engaging with bullies on their terms is singularly unprofitable, about on the same level of reward as arguing with idiots.

Apr 1, 2011 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Aeroplanes? Would Realclimate trust the aircraft made by Prof. Langley, a scientist, or the one made by a couple of unqualified bike-makers from Dayton?

Apr 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

"It is really odd that one of Leftism's boasts is to have abolished deference, yet in areas where it's politically convenient, they feel entitled to insist that it be revived.

Apr 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Justice4Rinka"

Am I correct in assuming that argument from authority is (perhaps inadvertently ) giving philosophical approval to the "divine right of kings"?

Leftism might gag on that!

Apr 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

My faith in Mr Singhs kind of experts stopped at 2.00pm yesterday when I finished my copy of HSI !

Apr 1, 2011 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commentermat

Atomic

What GISS does is interpolate too much ;-) Land surface temperatures are interpolated over sea surface area. The best examination in detail I've found is here:

http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/05/giss-deletes-arctic-and-southern-ocean.html

This methodology artificially increases the area affected by what may very well be black carbon forcing both from deposition (albedo change) and atmospheric radiative effects. Hence my earlier remarks.

Black carbon aerosols heat the atmosphere and raise both surface and sea surface temperatures. BC is a major player. It looks as though it outweighs the cooling effect of stratospheric sulphate aerosols, eg:

Warming trends in Asia amplified by brown cloud solar absorption (Ramanathan et al. 2007)

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7153/full/nature06019.html

Atmospheric brown clouds are mostly the result of biomass burning and fossil fuel consumption. They consist of a mixture of light-absorbing and light-scattering aerosols and therefore contribute to atmospheric solar heating and surface cooling. The sum of the two climate forcing terms—the net aerosol forcing effect—is thought to be negative and may have masked as much as half of the global warming attributed to the recent rapid rise in greenhouse gases. There is, however, at least a fourfold uncertainty in the aerosol forcing effect. Atmospheric solar heating is a significant source of the uncertainty, because current estimates are largely derived from model studies. Here we use three lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles that were vertically stacked between 0.5 and 3 km over the polluted Indian Ocean. These unmanned aerial vehicles deployed miniaturized instruments measuring aerosol concentrations, soot amount and solar fluxes. During 18 flight missions the three unmanned aerial vehicles were flown with a horizontal separation of tens of metres or less and a temporal separation of less than ten seconds, which made it possible to measure the atmospheric solar heating rates directly. We found that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced lower atmospheric solar heating by about 50 per cent. Our general circulation model simulations, which take into account the recently observed widespread occurrence of vertically extended atmospheric brown clouds over the Indian Ocean and Asia, suggest that atmospheric brown clouds contribute as much as the recent increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases to regional lower atmospheric warming trends. We propose that the combined warming trend of 0.25 K per decade may be sufficient to account for the observed retreat of the Himalayan glaciers
[Emphasis added.]

Apr 1, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Atomic Hairdryer or anyone else.

I repeat my question about the 35% increase in CO2 since the industrial era began. I have seen several reliable sources for the present day 380 ppmv number, but no source for the 280 ppmv. Indeed, from what I have seen it appears to be a backwards extrapolaion of the the Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured at Mauna Loa Observatory. --- Which is total BS as there is a very large local source of CO2 emitting all the time.

So I repeat my question just where do they get this 280 ppmv number?

Apr 1, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Isn't it a bit strange how Simon Singh is always busy, rushing off here and there, and cannot really put down two paragraphs about climate change,

but yet

keeps 'tweeting' all the time?

Apr 1, 2011 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

The medium is the message ;-)

Apr 1, 2011 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Shub

When you only have 140 characters, you don't have to say much.

Josh

How about a new bird for your Avis Alarmist bird book The Singh Sing tweeting?

Apr 1, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Don Pablo de la Sierra (Apr 1, 2011 at 2:31 PM) asked about the provenance of the frequently-quoted pre-industrial value of the CO2 concentration as ~280 ppmv. The usual source is Law Dome, cf. http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/lawdome.html or in a summary graph at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/lawdome.smooth20.gif .

Apr 1, 2011 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Don Pablo,

There were quite a lot of direct experimental measurements carried out in the 19th century. These have been reviewed more recently, mostly in the 80s. One of these is by Tom Wigley (a climategate emails figure), "Wigley, T. M. L.: 1983, 'The Pre-Industrial Carbon Dioxide Level', Climatic Change volume 5, 315-320". There are however other of these more recent reviews by other people, and my impression from looking at a few is that there's not too much evidence of people discarding results they do not like. The difficulty is that there were quite a few contradictory results in the 19th century, e.g. some reports of elevated values (well above 280 ppmv, and close to modern values), but usually there was another measurement the same year elsewhere with a lower number. The 1980s papers give, in my view, plausible reasons why the elevated values might be wrong. Remember, indoors, the number can easily rise to 5000 ppmv due to human breathing (especially in meeting rooms - hot air!), and in cities, there is also a noticeable effect of traffic etc. So local anthropogenic contamination can be a problem (hence the measurements from Mauna Loa have acquired their importance, because it is a site which is not locally perturbed). My feeling is that a value of 280 or so in the 19th century is pretty well supported by all those studies.

The law dome values mentioned by Harold W just now go much further back, but are less direct. Key is, there were measurements in the late 19th century, and the reliable ones do seem to indicate 280 or so. I don't think it is sensible to conclude that this is wrong (but it is just about possible).

Apr 1, 2011 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterj

HaroldW and j

I want to thank you for the references. I read those on line. Thanks.

The Law Dome samples were The CO2 records presented here are derived from three ice cores obtained at Law Dome, East Antarctica from 1987 to 1993.

I read over the paper and I am not convinced that those samples contain the same CO2 concentrations as the air. They are making the assumption that the ice is impermeable to the CO2 which an migrate over time from the ice. What we could be seeing is just the upward migration of CO2 up through the ice and accumulating higher up in the more recent ice. Unfortunately I have not been able to get a copy of Etheridge et al. (1996) so I was not able to review his "sealing depth" measurements, but I do have concerns about how they can be so sure of the absolute lack of "molecular diffusion" in the samples. Remember, we are talking many many years.

And I do not consider the Mauna Loa to measure anything but lava flows. I would like to see similar measurements taken well away from any cities, industrial activity and volcanos.

Also -- are there any present day CO2 measurements on record other than Mauna Loa? I noticed that the numbers I have been using actually come from there.

Apr 1, 2011 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Don Pablo,

A 'tweet' is 140 words. Let's say someone sends out ten tweets. That is, the output is greater than 1000 words.

A thousand-word blog post can introduce and develop, not insubstantially, a reasonable climate science topic, or any rhetorical point one wishes to make in the climate change debate. Of course, it would require you to sit down and think and string together those thousand words, and pull in the relevant links.

Whereas you can do ten 'tweets' or even two dozen ones - involving the same number of words, with rather mindless blathering, requiring minimal mental effort.

(Which is sort of why, I figured, 'tweeting' becomes the medium of choice, for celebrities - you can 'talk' a lot without saying anything).

Apr 1, 2011 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Don Pablo --
Recent p[CO2] measurements (as well as the MLO values) can be browsed at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/co2timeseries.php

Apparently NOAA combine various CO2 measurements around the globe to show a CO2 map and its evolution over time; see http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/weather_movie.html

Apr 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

From Fraser Nelson's article I note that David Aaronovitch and Simon Mayo both tweeted their support of the consensus during, or the morning after, the debate.

I can't help thinking that Aaronovitch loudly supports CAGW as a means of getting back into favour with the commentariat after the heresy of supporting the Iraq war. See also Nick Cohen. Seems that climate scepticism was a step too far...

Simon Mayo is a disappointment but not a surprise, given that he is a long-standing BBC employee. Seems that Andrew Neil is the beeb's lone sceptic, or at least lukewarmer. The jury is still out on Michael Buerk and Paxo - we can but hope.

Apr 2, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterDougieJ

Has Singh twitted yet?

Apr 2, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"I will post blog response to @frasernels this PM, as soon as I get a decent connection."

Simon Singh has posted this just a while back. Sorry, twitted this, a while back.

Apr 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Singh has posted his response (in a blog). It has ~1000 words in it.

The post itself is meandering and rambling, in bits,...but the only substantive portion of his argument boils down to this:

Fraser Nelson asked: How much is man's contribution to global warming? 20%? 80%? Maybe Singh can find us a paper.

Simon Singh answers: Please look at this FAQ from the IPCC 2007 report and this web page from SkepticalScience.

That's it. That's his argument. So, in response to a request for a paper, i.e., a reference from the primary literature, Singh produces a report, and an Australian pamphleteer website.

The FAQ from the IPCC report says (as quoted by Simon Singh): "It is very unlikely that the 20th-century warming can be explained by natural causes."

What he misses to note are the next two sentences and the matter underneath it, on which the IPCC bases this opinion: "The late 20th century has been unusually warm. Palaeoclimatic reconstructions show that the second half of the 20th century was likely the warmest 50-year period in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 1300 years."

In other words, Singh's citadel rests on the hockey stick papers which allow the IPCC to formulate the statement above.

Apr 3, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

A 'tweet' is 140 words. Let's say someone sends out ten tweets. That is, the output is greater than 1000 words.

I believe it is 140 characters -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter -- and my neighbor say so. Since I don't tweet, that is what I am going by.

HaroldW

Once again thank you for your references, but do you trust NOAA????

Apr 3, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

HaroldW

I do want to thank you for the pointer to the NOAA movies and composite CO2 concentration maps. I spent a happy hour or so examining them. I noticed that CO2 levels are highest on the East Coast of the US, which makes sense, but I am at a loss as to why my brother and sister were snowbound in the NY city area all winter if CO2 is such a potent greenhouse gas.

At least I can see that 388 ppmv for a pCO2 is reasonable for present day levels. As for the changes over the last 10 years, I can agree that they probably did go up given the fuel consumption of China and India.

Also of interest is the seasonal changes in pCO2 -- there is clearly a CO2 scrubbing mechanism at work which is much more efficient than generally acknowledged by the alarmists. This is a point everyone seems to miss, although I am no where as well informed as you, Shub and many others. Perhaps you have a pointer to some information on this scrubbing mechanism? I would appreciate it.

I do find this blog an interesting place to visit, thanks to you all.

Apr 3, 2011 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Don Pablo,
The seasonality of CO2 partial pressure is well known, and is I believe due to issues like sea-surface temperature and the uptake by growing biomass. And as we also discussed somewhere else (after the Paul Nurse TV programme), the flows to and from the oceans and biomass are very large - much larger than the anthropogenic release. So only a small imbalance in the biomass and ocean in- and out-fluxes is enough to create the seasonality. The carbon cycle is complex!

Apr 4, 2011 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterj

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