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« A Miller's tale - Josh 139 | Main | Corruption in the academy »
Friday
Jan132012

Annan loses climate bet to sceptic

David Whitehouse has a fascinating article up at GWPF about a bet he made with James Annan in 2007, an idea prompted by a radio show called More or Less.

It was for £100 that, using the HadCrut3 data set, there would be no new record set by 2011. It was made between climatologist James Annan and myself. His work involves analysing climatic data and validating climate models. He accepted enthusiastically as he has a perchant of taking on 'sceptics.' The presenter said that if the global temperature didn’t go up in the next few years, “there would be some explaining to do.”

Later today, January 13th, “More or Less” returns to the bet, which I am pleased to say I won, though I note that this bet, or its conclusion, is not yet mentioned on Annan’s Wikipedia entry despite his other climate bet being discussed.

BH favourite Mark Lynas is mentioned too.

What's not to like?

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Reader Comments (127)

Just heard the More or Less discussion. Here's a quick note of my impression.

Annan accepted that he had lost the bet. But only because of the dataset chosen: based on other datasets he said he would have won. In any case, he added, whatever occurred in the last ten years, the warming "trend" was clearly upwards. Whitehouse was unimpressed - pointing out that simply drawing a straight line from the 80s to today was statistically misleading and, in any case, it had to be accepted that temperatures have been essentially flat for the last ten years. He noted that, although 30 years would be needed for a definitive view, the 10 year record was important and interesting - and contrary to what many "experts" had expected. Asked if they would accept a "double or quits" bet based on the next four years, Annan said yes, he was confident there would be a year warmer than 1998 in that period (and accepting that, if there were not, the anticipated warming trend would be much reduced) - Whitehouse said that essentially he would accept but backed away a little by pointing out (correctly I suggest) that one rogue year was a possibility but would hardly be significant if otherwise temperatures remained flat over the entire period. It was agreed that the precise terms of the bet would be established by email. Whitehouse had the last word (the BBC must be slipping) commenting that, although he was not a sceptic about the warming effect of CO2, what really mattered was what was actually happening in the real world - and that meant measurement not theory.

Jan 13, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

I wonder which way Richard Betts?

Jan 13, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Richard doesn't need to bet. He's an odds on winner, with the taxpayers funding the Met Office, their salaries and their big bonuses for predicting the weather (and climate) with remarkable accuracy ;<)

Jan 13, 2012 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

BBD,

"Real-world physics include radiative forcing from CO2. Increase CO2 and you increase RF. That is why I will bet on new records being set in the next decade."

If I put the kettle on for a cup of tea, it will warm up my cottage. Fact.

Jan 13, 2012 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Ribin Guenier: I heard that interview as well. What amazes me is the claim that the warming trend is clearly upwards when it is not, e.g.:
N. Atlantic OHC: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/figure-101.png

30N-75N is better and indicates much lower volumes of water warmed in the Arctic basin by regional warming from the natural 50-70 year Arctic oscillation, probably associated with phytoplankton blooms nucleated by iron from old ice, the same process that apparently leads to the end of ice ages.

So, what appears to have led to the '90s warming is a combination of warming ENSO including the heat from the highest solar grand maximum in 11000 years, warming Arctic and a still active sun, all now reversing.

The poor warmists have apparently based their bets on imaginary 'back radiation' involving imaginary 100% thermalisation of IR absorbed by GHGs hidden by artificially doubling real cloud optical depth plus a variable, still imaginary 'cloud albedo effect' cooling, then exaggerated by claiming 33 K present GHG warming when it's likely to be ~9K!

The reality is that we're going to cool fast after 2014. So where has the GHG warming gone? Did it never exist? After all, you explain ice age warming with no CO2-GW, also much present warming by natural effects.

Quelle horreur; there may be none and it might be slightly negative due to self absorption near CO2 IR band saturation near the earth's surface! Is that OK Koch Bros? Can you wire the money to my account?

Jan 13, 2012 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

"PS It is possible that Miskolczi's 1.87 optical depth is therefore a much more profound parameter, in effect a direct measure of the water cycle control system which, by producing clouds from warmer areas with water which have higher humidity, automatically limits the greenhouse warming of the tropics of a water planet, distributing the energy laterally to the cold parts!"
Jan 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM | mydogsgotnonose

That is my intuitive feel at what appears to be the Earths controlling mechanism, not being a particularly strong Mathsy type. I still don't quite understand why radiation dominates the discussion so much in these temperature discussions. I do understand it is the only way energy enters and leaves the Earths' system but the actual movement of energy within the atmosphere and ocean is dominated by convection and latent heat on the water cycle as well as physically moving large amounts of solar heated water towards the poles via the ocean.

Jan 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Shub

Why don't you express your erudite opinions on the James Annan bet?

See: Jan 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM and Jan 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM.

Jan 13, 2012 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Jack Cowper

Yes, I think it was Mojib Latif who was most publicly associated with this view. What with the aerosols, the questions over the rate of heat diffusion into the deep ocean and the possible influence of major ocean circulation then perhaps there will be another decade of flat GAT. I'm 'betting' on a rise over the next decade, but we'll have to wait and see.

Jan 13, 2012 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"I still don't quite understand why radiation dominates the discussion so much in these temperature discussions."
Quite so. Rob, anyone who has had a greenhouse understands that whereas it might be warmed by the sun, it is cooled by ventilation convection etc. Some German scientist showed this in the first decade of the 20th century by constructing greenhouses made respectively from glass and rocksalt. There was no significant difference between the extent to which they were warmed by the sun.
The 4 W per square metre, supposedly contributed by CO2 warming is completely dwarfed by the 80 W per square metre due to cloud albedo and we have no idea what feedbacks, whether positive or negative, will follow.

Jan 13, 2012 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGordon Walker

"And solar shortwave radiation incident on the Earth's surface is what, exactly?"

Sunlight?

Jan 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Matthu : 'Ian E - Delingpole recently had this to say:

"One of my resolutions this year is to write as little as possible about global warming. Not only will it make my wife much happier but it will also free me up to talk about more important things such as monetary collapse, hyperinflation and the imminent end of Western civilisation. Oh and also there's hardly much need for my input on climate change any more. That's because, basically, my side has won."

(That's not to say he won't find it hard to break his new year resolution ...)'

Far from me to say 'I Told You So'!

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100129892/global-warming-red-faced-climatologist-issues-grovelling-apology/

Jan 13, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

James Delingpole has just spoken:
"This "Even though I was wrong I'm still right" syndrome afflicts a lot of people in the climate alarmist community. But then, you can hardly blame them for their wilful self-delusion and glib complacency for they seem to operate in a bubble in which there are no punishments for failure."
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100129892/global-warming-red-faced-climatologist-issues-grovelling-apology/
Love it! :-)

Jan 13, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

graphicconception

Sunlight aka radiative forcing :-)

Think of it like this: the sun shines on a brick wall. The wall heats up and at dusk, when you hold your hand close to it, you can feel the radiating heat. That's solar shortwave (visible) radiation being converted into outgoing longwave radiation (invisible). But it's all just energy. The sun warms the wall and the wall warms your hand by the same mechanism just operating on different wavelengths. Because energy inside the climate system causes it to warm up, climatology uses the term radiative 'forcing'. But it's all just energy.

Jan 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I've just listened via the Podcast (I suscribe ;-) ) and Robin Guenier (above) has a very good summary. Although the piece was clearly edited to fit into the time slot available it was remarkably even-handed given this is the BBC. I hope they do go for the longer bet.

Note to BBC if they read this blog - I'm sure they do ;) - pieces which cover both sides are what those of us in the "I don't know" camp (i.e. the majority of licence payers) want to hear and watch, not endless, one-sided WWF funded "propaganda".

More please.

Jan 13, 2012 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterLicence Payer

@Jack Cowper

>"my works computer does not allow me to view Real Climate."

I guess you're not a NASA employee (NASA allow their employees to write Real Climate from their work computers....)

Jan 13, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

ZT - LOL!

Jan 13, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

mydogsgotnonose:

I suggest that, when he said that the warming trend was clearly upwards, Annan meant simply that a straight line drawn from the temperature in (say) 1980 to the temperature today has an upward inclination. Therefore, as he went on to say, even if temperatures remain flat (or even decline somewhat) over the next few years, the trend, although reduced, would still be upward. Whitehouse dismissed this as statistically misleading.

Jan 13, 2012 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Robin Guenier

Therefore, as he went on to say, even if temperatures remain flat (or even decline somewhat) over the next few years, the trend, although reduced, would still be upward. Whitehouse dismissed this as statistically misleading.

This illustrates your point.

Jan 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

...still waiting for Annan to ackowledge it on his web-site...on the radio interview he was clearly nettled about having bet on the wrong pseudo-temperature index....

Jan 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I see that Jonathon Jones has amended the James Annan wiki page for this... waiting for the inevitable Connelley dishonest re-edit

Jan 13, 2012 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

BBD,

aka 'radiative forcing'.

I'm not a physicist much less an expert on radiative physics, and I (along with many lay people) have been following along here and on other sites (CA, WUWT, and SoD come to mind) because we're interested and to learn, but I think this response just crystallized something for me. If everything that has an effect on something else is called a forcing, then the term itself is meaningless.

Solar shortwave radiation has been incident on the Earth's surface for literally billions of years. The term, 'radiative forcing' has been around how long? I guess when my son plays baseball and gets a hit, I need to start correcting people and tell them no, it was 'mechanical forcing.' I can imagine what the feedback would be,,,

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

A tiny bit of the energy from the sun that your child accessed by eating food which used it to grow was released in heat when the bat hit the ball.

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD,

A tiny bit of the energy from the sun that your child accessed by eating food which used it to grow was released in heat when the bat hit the ball.

:-) Thanks for the response. I need to think about that one.

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

A tiny bit of the energy from the sun that your child accessed by eating food which used it to grow was released in heat when the bat hit the ball.

Whither entropy? ;-)

Jan 14, 2012 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

Solar RF adds heat to the climate system,

CO2 merely scatters some IR around, already inside the system ...

The idea of additive 'forcings' is indeed strange ..

Even more peculiar is the idea of amplification of such (non energetic) 'forcings' (ie the much needed positive feedbacks) by allegedly adding on even more passive 'forcing' och similar kind.

Jan 14, 2012 at 3:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

BBD:

Yes, your link nicely illustrates Annan's straight line. But, as Whitehouse says here,

My approach was to listen to the data. The approach taken by James Annan was flawed because he didn’t. He imposed a straight line on the data due to theoretical considerations. I always wonder about the wisdom of the approach that uses straight lines in climatic data. Why should such a complex system follow a straight line? Indeed, the rise of HadCrut3 is not a straight line, but the past ten years is, and that in my view is very curious, and highly significant.

Jan 14, 2012 at 6:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Robin Guenier: The N. Atlantic OHC data integrates the heat so you can look at the trend over shorter periods than the air: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/figure-101.png

This is the main cause of the worldwide OHC rise from the late 1980s and is now showing a significant negative trend [it's better from 30N but noisier].

There is a good physical reason for this fall in OHC and it's a regional increase of cloud albedo. When the Arctic was unfreezing, observers saw the clouds went from white to grey. I have worked out why and it's not included in the physics in the climate models. Also the satellites can't tell the difference between some cloud just by albedo and LWP. Add to this the wilful false optical depth data in the models and they are a mess.

So, we are about to enter 30 years + of cooling. There may be some CO2-AGW but because the CO2 absorption bands are full near the Earth's surface, the phenomenon of self absorption may reduce absorptivity/emissivity of the atmosphere facing the Earth's surface, in turn reducing IR impedance [emissivity/absorptivity facing upwards will increase slightly], so net CO2 climate sensitivity may now be slightly negative.

Jan 14, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

BBD

"Think of it like this: the sun shines on a brick wall. The wall heats up and at dusk, when you hold your hand close to it, you can feel the radiating heat."

OK, so now add CO2 which reflects a part of the full spectrum of incoming *sunshine* and the wall will heat up less. Add more CO2.....

Just musing:-/

Jan 14, 2012 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

9:18 PM BBD

You will find that your hand only feels the IR from the wall if the surface of the bricks is at a higher temperature than your hand. You won't feel any warming effect if the wall is cooler than your hand, regardless of the fact that the wall is still emitting IR. You are much more likely to feel the effect of the air being warmer than elsewhere due to convection.

If, as you say, "climatology uses the term radiative 'forcing'. But it's all just energy", then you have proved my original point. "Climate scientists" have invented the term "radiative forcing" to confuse the issue and to hide their lack of understanding of thermodynamics, which is the physics of energy conversion.

Jan 14, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Philip Bratby: here is a practical application of 'back radiation'; http://i56.tinypic.com/acdczn.jpg

Jan 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

SSAT

OK, so now add CO2 which reflects a part of the full spectrum of incoming *sunshine* and the wall will heat up less. Add more CO2.....

Just musing:-/

CO2 is transparent to shortwave (sunshine). It absorbs and re-radiates infra-red. The vast majority of the energy arriving at the surface is SW.

Jan 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

woodentop

Whither entropy? ;-)

Everywhere ;-)

Jan 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Do not feed the Troll.

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

BBD

"The vast majority of the energy arriving at the surface is SW."

Not quite my point. The solar spectral irradience at top of atmosphere includes IR. CO2 absorbs some of that at its absorption bands then redirects ~50% of that to space. Hence my musing is correct when applied to your brick wall.

Jan 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I was always under the impression that about 50% (slightly under) of the total solar radiation which reached the surface was infra-red.
This being the heat component of sunshine as opposed to the light component.
Don't tell me my Encyclopaedia Britannica has got it wrong all these years.

Jan 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike J

Your recollection is correct - see the link in my post at 12:51 PM. You can compare the areas under the curve by eye. (However, CO2 absorbs and emits in specific frequency bands.)

Jan 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

mydogsetc
Thanks for that. I believe there is a company called International Premium Cooking Corporation marketing them. You can get them mail order in this country from its subsidiary, Cooking Resources Unlimited near Norwich where a lot of the ground-breaking research was done (unfortunately the research details were lost in an office move). I'm going to wait till the house-sized version is available so that I can throw away my boiler. I'll want the model with the redundant control system and the emergency stop button to prevent cooking the occupants.

Jan 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

ssat
Thankyou for that. It seems to be just about at my level!
So how do we get from that to "the vast majority of the energy arriving at the surface is SW."? And if CO2 (albeit in a limited band) absorbs and re-radiates LW it must have the effect of reducing the LW radiation that reaches the surface.
I don't recall having seen any calculations that estimate what the surface temperature would be in the absence of CO2.
And while it appears that the presence of increased CO2 causes more outgoing IR to be reflected would it not also cause more incoming IR to be reflected?

Jan 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike J

I have the same questions and my feeble mind can only come up with this;

Daytime;

Consider a photon leaving the sun in the IR absorption band of CO2. As it enters the atmosphere it has a chance of interception by CO2 and a further chance, ~50%, of being reflected to space rather than passed to the surface. Over time ~50% will be reflected and therefore the presence of CO2 in an atmosphere cools the planet at this stage.

Those that get through to the surface heat it. The temperature rise causes emission of IR some of which is in the absorption band of CO2. As some of the CO2 is busy dealing with the incoming version of this then the outgoing has a lower chance of being reflected back and passes straight out. Therefore the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere cools the planet at this second stage.

Night;

Consider photons leaving the surface in the IR absorption band of CO2. The daytime effects have reduced the planet's temperature over what may have existed without CO2 and the rate of emission is reduced but the chance of reflection back to the surface by the CO2 has not changed. The presence of CO2 in the atmosphere has reduced the cooling rate over that of an atmosphere with none. However, it has not changed the rate of cooling. The only thing that has changed is that the night-time temperature is lower due to the day-time effects of CO2.

The presence of CO2 in the atmosphere cools the planet.

Now consider an increase in CO2 and start back at the beginning.

Jan 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Mike J

Sorry, my feeble mind again. Correction to night-time paragraph;

Consider photons leaving the surface in the IR absorption band of CO2. The daytime effects have reduced the planet's temperature over what may have existed without CO2 and it will radiate less to stay in equilibrium. With CO2, the chance of reflection back to the surface by the CO2 has not changed. The only thing that has changed is that the night-time temperature is lower due to the day-time effects of CO2.

Jan 14, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Look, if you really do care about the science, you can take yourselves over to Science of Doom, read long, think hard, and get the facts straight for yourselves.

This involves hard work. And a real willingness to challenge your own preconceptions and belief systems.

I know, because that's a small part of what I did last year.

Jan 14, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

ssat
So combining your feeble mind with my feeble mind ...
I'm even more at a loss to see how CO2 can have any major influence on planetary temperature since it seems to have a cooling influence on the sun's action on the planetary surface in inhibiting some at least of the incoming IR and at best a marginal warming influence within its own limited absorption band on IR transmitted from the surface.
It would also appear within the limits above which it would be a damage to human health that the actual concentration is irrelevant since there will be an increase in its cooling effect that will counterbalance the increase in its warming effect.
So what have I misunderstood?

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

MJ

Just about everything.

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

A further question: How do I tell the difference between the incoming LW radiation from the sun and the "back radiation" which is the result of absorption and re-radiation by CO2 (and presumably any other gas capable of absorbing IR)?
If you equate "back radiation" with downwards long-wave radiation then you're ignoring incoming IR. That can't be right, surely.

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike J

"So what have I misunderstood?"

I'm in the same boat.

BBD

I have been to SoD but find that any ideas outside the current *accepted* line are not required. The blog rules in fact state that they will be simply deleted. However, my search for a narrative that explains the phenomenon of GHG goes on - as it does for many others.

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

ssat
We are surely wrong because BBD says so, though as usual he fails to explain why, simply pointing us to one of his favourite warmist sites.
SoD apparently takes "back radiation" as the same thing as downward longwave radiation according to my reading of the first of his articles on the subject. But since about 50% of the radiation that reaches the surface is LW and since it is (by our definition of the words) coming down then he already has me confused.
It looks as if he is suggesting that the only LW radiation that comes "down" is that which was first radiated "up" and hit a CO2 molecule on the way. Obviously I have misunderstood because BBD says so but there's no point in going to SoD for clarification if that's what I've misunderstood. :-)

Jan 14, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike J

From the above, I have come to this conclusion;

Diurnal cycle;
Equilibrium is reached over the diurnal cycle from lower temperature day/night maximums in the presence of CO2. It follows that the average of those maximums must be lower. Further, a small increase in CO2 concentration would lower that average by the day/night mechanisms described. It can therefore be seen that increasing GAT (global average temperature) does not correlate with increasing CO2 concentrations.

So I now have my framework narrative which I will sleep on (curry night tonight). It may read as gobbledegook in the morning - often does:-/ If there was an accessible narrative that explains the CO2 causes warming idea succinctly then I may have been saved much headscratching - I, like you, find sites like SoD only serve to raise curiosity.

Ian

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Mike Jackson

We are surely wrong because BBD says so, though as usual he fails to explain why, simply pointing us to one of his favourite warmist sites.

Why should I explain everything to you? I take the time to point to good sources of detailed information which are far too lengthy and detailed for me to reproduce here. And this is not the place anyway.

IMO you are lazy. Don't blame me for your own reluctance to do the necessary reading.

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

This is shorter. Might help.

http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/climate/lectures/radiation/

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

ssat

You will notice that BBD loves to send you to sites run by anonymous warmist bloggers (SoD, Deep Climate) as if they are the only source of true science, instead of just more talking shops.

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

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