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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)

MJ and others

I don't recall having seen any calculations that estimate what the surface temperature would be in the absence of CO2.

Lots of articles - the actual paper is the last link and you don't have to read it to get a sense of what is going on:

Andy Lacis on CO2 as ‘control knob’:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/lacis-at-nasa-on-role-of-co2-in-warming/

Part 2:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/part-2-a-scientists-defense-of-greenhouse-warming/

Lacis et al (2010) science brief:

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/lacis_01/

Lacis news:

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20101014/

Lacis rebuts Spencer at Curry’s:

http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/09/atmospheric-co2-the-greenhouse-thermostat/

Lacis et al. (2010) full paper:

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Lacis_etal.pdf

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

And there's another BBD site for wannabee climate scientists who haven't done physics.

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

BBD
Yes. Far too long and (as ssat points out) far too one sided.
This is not a question of not doing the reading; this is finding what looks at first blush like an error.
If 50% (round figures) of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface is LW and CO2 absorbs and re-radiates LW in certain bands then it is having a cooling effect with regard to incoming solar. (If you don't agree then why not?) Let's call this radiation LW1.
A part of the outgoing LW is absorbed and re-radiated by CO2 (and other gases capable of such behaviour). The re-radiated LW that reaches the surface is what is (or sometimes is not, depending on your source) "back radiation". Let's call this LW2
SoD does not appear to differentiate between LW1 and LW2. It may be that I've misread what he says but his reference to 'downward longwave radiation' sems to refer only to LW2 and so, as far as I can tell, do his references. Almost as if LW1 were irrelevant.
So where am I going wrong?
Not an unreasonable question, I wouldn't have thought.

Jan 14, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

ssat, Mike Jackson --
You seem to be concerned with the effect on (additional) CO2 on incoming solar radiation. This seems to track back to 1:47: "I was always under the impression that about 50% (slightly under) of the total solar radiation which reached the surface was infra-red."

While this statement is true (using the definition of IR as consisting of wavelengths between 0.7 um and 3000 um), the amount of solar radiation which is in the absorption bands of CO2 is quite small, perhaps 1%. I'm using this figure. When looking at the solar spectrum linked above (12:51 PM), remember that the displayed intensity scale is logarithmic; with a linear scale, the peak is much sharper.

By contrast, the spectrum of terrestrial thermal emissions peaks around 10 um, and the CO2 absorption band at 13-17 um (source) covers perhaps 20% of that spectrum.

The effect of CO2 on the (high-temperature) solar radiation is considerably less important than those on the (low-temperature) terrestrial thermal radiation.

Jan 14, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Mike J

You will often find LW1 considered as irrelevant. It might be but as you note, it and its reflection to space should at least be acknowledged.

BBD

Thanks, will read your link tomorrow.

Jan 14, 2012 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

ssat, Mike Jackson --
I composed a more detailed comment but it's held up in moderation at the moment. [Perhaps too many links?] But do a little math, figuring what percentage of the sun's spectrum lies in the CO2 absorption bands. (Assume a black body at 5800K.) Then do the same with the terrestrial thermal spectrum. (Assume a black body at 285K.) Google for the absorption spectrum.

Jan 14, 2012 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Jan 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM | BBD writes:

Philip Bratby

Real world physics does not include things like "radiative forcing".

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

No genuine physics depends on terms. Every genuine physicist knows that they Laws of Physics that they use implicitly define the terms found in them. In physics, as in all of the hard sciences, the Laws define the terms that they contain but the contrary is false. The terms of physics cannot be used to "define" the Laws in which they occur.

The fact that climate science continues to use terms such as 'forcing' and 'feedback' simply advertises to the world of hard sciences that climate science is not yet a science. When climate scientists can produce the well confirmed physical hypotheses that specify the phenomena of forcing and feedback then they will have become a genuine science. Don't expect it to happen in the foreseeable future. Don't expect a climate scientist to be willing to address this matter.

Jan 14, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

BBD,

"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."

As I noted yesterday (and thanks for your baseball response), I find SoD very informative, if challenging, and don't pretend to understand everything they discuss. However, I think I find myself on the skeptic side in the sense that I just don't think (and I think the temp./weather/climate data are beginning to show) that CO2 has as big of an effect as claimed. It is has an effect on the whole system, but I think a very small effect, not a large one.

It seems (to me anyway) that the argument is that CO2 is the primary driver of "global warming" and everyone would see it if it weren't for those pesky and unpredictable volcanic eruptions, oceanic and atmospheric oscillations, solar cycles, clouds, etc.

My thought is if there are so many things that have so much larger of an effect that they bury the CO2 signal then, well....

I get tired when my kids tell me they "will do it tomorrow." I really have no patience with "it's only temporary but will be reaaallly bad in 10...no wait, 20....no, 30 years.

Jan 15, 2012 at 2:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Jan 14, 2012 at 5:47 PM | BBD writes:

"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."

You should explain everything because:

1) We are here for argument. Each argument should be self contained; otherwise, it is not an argument. Do not presume to assign homework. If someone wants a homework assignment then they can ask for it. If you believe that a comment is beneath your engaged reply then do not reply to it.

2) The cheapest trick of trolls is to deflect a question by asking someone to read something elsewhere.

3) The clearest evidence of a troll is someone who posts a thousands little insults and says nothing.

Jan 15, 2012 at 4:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

"More or Less" is one of the best things on BBC Radio 4. They delve into current quoted government statistics or popular urban myths and try to get to the truth. You can download it as a podcast in iTunes or from uknova.com

Jan 15, 2012 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris B

Philip Bratby

The person behind Deep Climate has been outed so to speak by Pop Tech - the guys behind the 900 peer reviewed papers against AGW - http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

http://www.populartechnology.net/2011/05/who-is-deep-climate.html

I have visited Deep Climate a few times but the abuse aimed at people who disagree with them turned me away. Tallbloke has been on the wrong end of this recently. I also found there so called de-bunking of McIntyre lacking any substance and totally failing to address the basic ethics such as Hide The Decline.

Jan 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

I would like to ask BBD a simple question: why is the 350 ppm concentration of CO2 considered "a doomsday value" . If you plot out that concentration on an A4 piece of paper, it is about a square of 6mm side: a 250ppm is about 5mm side. How can CO2 molecules be so omnipresent and omnipotent in such concentrations so that "we are all doomed". Secondly our accurate measurement of temperature globally is limited to the last couple of hundred years thanks largely to the Royal Navy. In my field I am used to data being gained on populations of tens of thousands being used as inferences on millions, then post-hoc data on millions being used to invalidate the original data. CAGW ideologists are using tiny samples compared to millions of years of data and are afraid to reject their original assumptions. Because their models tell them so. Two questions sorry and I apologise if this is considered "troll-baiting"

David

Jan 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chorley

Theo Goodwin

Far too many people here have not done enough homework to have a meaningful argument. To critique climate science, you must first understand it.

Jan 15, 2012 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

TG

I reject this:

2) The cheapest trick of trolls is to deflect a question by asking someone to read something elsewhere.

3) The clearest evidence of a troll is someone who posts a thousands little insults and says nothing.

Go back and look at the Shaviv and Cosmos and consensus threads as examples.

A clear sign that someone is losing an argument is when they start trying to shut the other party down by calling them a troll.

Jan 15, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

David Chorley
I've never understood the magic of 350 either, or the magic of 560.
I was given another way to look at the actual level of CO2 in the atmosphere which I understood — being a simple rugby man.
Imagine a bar chart the length of a rugby pitch. Starting from your own goal line, the first 78 yards (roughly) is the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere. Keep adding in all the others leaving CO2 to the last. You will be within 1.4 inches of the opposition line before you reach the CO2 starting point.
This is about 0.4 inches more than 200 years ago. I struggle to understand how this could be a major threat to the future of the planet.
BBD will probably go through his usual catalague of insults but I remain unconvinced (and largely unmoved, I have to say).

Jan 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike J

As in homoeopathy, concentrations are not as important as what is claimed for them - feedbacks - this is where the wheels are currently falling off as demonstrated by Shaviv on another thread. Reducing the (theoretical) lower feedback boundary of the IPCC would allow observations over the last ~30 years to be encompassed but by doing so, it takes the C out of CAGW.

Jan 15, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Mike Jackson

No, if you want to believe the ancient and multiply-debunked 'trace gas' argument, go ahead. If you are interested in the science, you can read this.

>>SSAT

The last decade has been interesting. La Nina dominant, the unusual solar cycle 24, the higher-than-expected stratospheric aerosol loading... and rather than cooling, GAT has only trended flat.

You could think about it like this: GAT has risen 0.8C. Forcing from CO2 is currently estimated at 1.77W/m2 while aerosols account for -1.6W/m2 (Hansen et al. 2011). If you incorporate these figures into the estimate for overall anthropogenic forcing (eg IPCC AR4 WG1) net forcing from CO2 falls from 1.6W/m2 to 1.5W/m2.

Forcing from a doubling of CO2 is calculated at 3.7W/m2, so we are about 40% of the way there. The widely-accepted estimate for transient climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is ~2C. The warming to date is exactly consistent with this: 0.8C is 40% of 2C.

Jan 15, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

@BBD Jan 15, 2012 at 8:59 PM

“Forcing from a doubling of CO2 is calculated at 3.7W/m2, so we are about 40% of the way there. The widely-accepted estimate for transient climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is ~2C. The warming to date is exactly consistent with this: 0.8C is 40% of 2C.”

First of all, for your argument to hold, it has to assume CO2 to be responsible for the whole of the 0.8c rise over the last 100yrs. That’s a mighty big assumption. Second, I do not believe we are anywhere near accurate yet in measurement of either the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere or it’s effect upon it. Assumptions have been made on very limited measurement and, whilst those assumptions may turn out to be essentially correct, it’s far too early to say. For the sake of argument though, let’s assume that you are indeed correct about all the above, that CO2 really has driven the whole of the temperature rise of the last 100yrs and that Hansen is absolutely spot on with his aerosol estimates. Even then there might be a problem. If we have already had 40% of CO2 doubling for that 0.8c, because of it’s logarithmic effect, we won’t get 1.2c for the remaining 60%. We’ll get somewhere near 0.5c. Making 1.3c in total. ;)

Jan 16, 2012 at 3:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterLC

PS. Sorry, there was something else bothering me about your comment and I couldn’t quite get my head around it at first, but having just re-read your comment:

“You could think about it like this: GAT has risen 0.8C. Forcing from CO2 is currently estimated at 1.77W/m2 while aerosols account for -1.6W/m2 (Hansen et al. 2011). If you incorporate these figures into the estimate for overall anthropogenic forcing (eg IPCC AR4 WG1) net forcing from CO2 falls from 1.6W/m2 to 1.5W/m2.
Forcing from a doubling of CO2 is calculated at 3.7W/m2, so we are about 40% of the way there. The widely-accepted estimate for transient climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is ~2C. The warming to date is exactly consistent with this: 0.8C is 40% of 2C.”

I’m struggling with this. If current net CO2 forcing is 1.5W/m2 and a doubling results in 3.7W/m2, how are we 40% along the way? The only way that would work out as 40% is if the net forcing of CO2 before any anthropogenic contribution was 0.0W/m2 ???

Jan 16, 2012 at 4:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterLC

Sorry, my mistake. Ignore my last comment. My excuse is it's been a long night at work and I'm tired and I'm sticking to it :)

Jan 16, 2012 at 6:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterLC

ssat
I never believed there was a 'C' in CAGW and nothing I have read has convinced me that there is. There might be something buried in Science of Doom which I visit occasionally — usually at 2 in the morning when I can't sleep. I can certainly recommend it for that; I usually lose the will to live about three parts down the first page — but the whole site is so turgid that I have to keep looking back to the top of the page to see which subject we're supposedly being told about.
BBD must have a lot more time on his hands than I have — and I'm retired!
The ability of CO2 to absorb and re-radiate LW is hardly in doubt but it seems to me that the CAGW case is based on semantics. There is much talk of a "doubling" of CO2 — less talk of an increase in atmospheric concentration from 1:3500 to 1:1750 and since there appears to have been no adverse results from the increase in concentration from 1:3500 to 1:2500 over the last 200 years (and assuming that the data for CO2 concentration is correct) where is the evidence that a further marginal concentration will have any of the dire effects predicted?
And that's before we start on the question of how firm is the evidence (weaker by the week, it would seem) that the CO2 increase will result in the temperature increase claimed for it and that said temperature increase will be other than beneficial.
And I still haven't got round to asking whether the energy re-radiated by CO2 is capable of doing any useful work given that it is energy that has already been radiated from the surface to the cooler atmosphere and then re-radiated from that cooler atmosphere to ...where exactly?
It seems to me that all CO2 can do is slow down (and that very marginally) the transfer of energy back to space.

Jan 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

MJ

BBD must have a lot more time on his hands than I have — and I'm retired!

No, I have plenty to do. But then again, I'm not lazy.

Jan 16, 2012 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

But then again, I'm not lazy.
No, just obsessed. Get a life.

Jan 17, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike and BBD

Weren't you both in a sit com called 'Never the Twain'...?

Just asking ;-)

Jan 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Gixxer

If there's anything funny here, I missed it.

Jan 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Gixxer
I wish!
But Honor Blackman just had to remain a fantasy for me!
:-)

Jan 17, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Annan also made a bet with Joe Romm that the Arctic would not become ice-free.

Jan 18, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

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