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« Spend to save | Main | DECC's agenda »
Tuesday
Mar262013

The CCC abandons science

Brian Hoskins and Steve Smith, advisers to the Committee on Climate Change, have written (yet another) riposte to David Rose's article in the Mail on Sunday. This is crazy, crazy stuff:

A chart of observed global temperatures against climate model outputs is the main evidence provided in the article. It claims that the chart “blows apart the scientific basis” for reducing emissions. This is simply incorrect, and reveals a misunderstanding of what the chart shows – a pattern of observed temperature over the last sixty years within the range of model outputs (see detailed notes below).

As Rose correctly notes in the version of the graph published at the Mail, it is only the final few years of the graph that are predictions, but Hoskins and Smith are actually asking us to draw comfort from a hindcast!

With accurate models we would expect about 3 years of observed temperature in the past 60 to be below the 90% range and 3 years above it. The observed temperature behaviour is consistent with model outputs, even during the last 15 years of negligible temperature increase, when temperatures have remained within the 90% range.

It's a similar story when Hoskins and Smith move onto climate sensitivity, with much attention devoted to climate models and to studies based on long-term temperature records, which even the IPCC says are extraordinarily uncertain.

Then there is this:

Other work (PDF) indicates that aerosol pollutants which cool the climate may be offsetting greenhouse gas warming less than previously thought. Since this slightly reduces the amount of underlying warming that can be attributed to greenhouse gases, it too suggests the most extreme future projections are less likely, while still keeping most of them in play.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it the aerosols that were supposed to have prevented warming taking off at the predicted rates in the past? And now their influence is slight?

And what about all the empirical and semi-empirical studies that suggest that ECS is around 1.5degC? Forster and Gregory? Aldrin et al? Ring et al? There's only this:

But while it is true that recent studies based on temperature observations question the very highest model projections of warming, even if confirmed, these would not justify a wholesale downward revision of the range as argued in the article.

It's hard to take seriously someone who prefers models to empirical observation - as I've pointed out before, this is the basis of the scientific method. It's harder still to not to contain one's ridicule at someone who argues that the output of models should be taken into account when they do not include the latest figures for a key forcing, when they have proven entirely incapable of predicting anything, and the output of which is on the verge of falsification in an extraordinarily short space of time. But when that someone - Hoskins - has gone on record as saying that the models are "lousy" but still insists that they have a part to play in assessing climate sensitivity, you really have to wonder whether this is a scientific argument at all.

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Reader Comments (83)

"It's hard to take seriously someone who prefers models to empirical observation"

But we are now living in the Hubrisocene. Any difference between observations and theory is due to problems with the observations. The missing heat is clearly hiding in the one place we can't look. Most of the universe is invisible. Butter is bad for me, or good for me, I forget - but whatever they said last week is definitely true.

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

"It's hard to take seriously someone who prefers models to empirical observation..."

Confusing models with reality has been a hallmark of Climate Science™ for years. Its practioners talk about "experiments" using models and models producing "evidence".

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I thought the objective of a 'Climate Science Model' was to secure funding for a 'Climate Science Model Mk2'

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Was Brian Hoskins ever a real scientist?
he he he he of course not

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

"The scientific basis for significant long-term climate risks remains robust, despite the points raised by the Mail."
The word "robust" is used twice in the article by Brian Hoskins and Steve Smith, in the heading and in the statement quoted above. The Oxford Concise English dictionary defines "robust" (of a statement): bold, firm, unyielding. The words "correct" or "appropriate" are not included in the definition.
Robust might well be the correct word for the CCC's view of inadequate evidence and of climate science.
At least they did not use the word "skilfull" when describing the models (sarc).

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorley Sutter

Bish

I thought we weren't allowed to use the C word and this looks like a tale of 5 C's

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

given that rule one of climate 'science ' is that if reality and models differ in value its reality which is error , you can see where these people are coming from , And even better by using a shatter gun approach they can claim its within range of 'a' model becasue by using lots of models .

Approaches which are unacceptable has a standard anywhere else , are within climate 'science' the norm.

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

'"It's hard to take seriously someone who prefers models to empirical observation..."

Confusing models with reality has been a hallmark of Climate Science™ for years. Its practioners talk about "experiments" using models and models producing "evidence".'

Mar 26, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Martin A

Well said and well said. Not confusing models with reality is the first thing that young engineers have to be taught, it is the most difficult thing to teach young engineers, and their performance must be monitored for years if they are not to slip back into the confusion. Hoskins and Smith seem to have not one idea about the dangers of confusing models and reality. Also, as the Bishop points out, they do not recognize the different weights that are assigned to forecast and hindcast.

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Simplistic I know, but no less simplisitic than CCC's fulminations

What do you think the odds of this are that for the past 15-17 years, "natural factors" have managed to cancel out, with exquisite precision, the increase in global temperature purported to result from increased CO2 in the atmosphere?

A not unreasonable assumption is to say that the probability that for any one year that the chances of "natural factors" exactly matching the radiative effects of increased CO2 is 50%, then the binomial outcome culmulative probability = (0.5)^15 = 0.00003, or 1 chance in 33,333

If we are really generous and say the probability is 70% then (0.70)^15 = 0.0047, or 1 in 212.

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I note that the banner title on the CCC web page claims 'A balanced response to the risks of dangerous climate change' and 'Independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament'.

Unfortunately, based upon their latest post, I'm not sure their understanding of the words 'balanced', 'independent' and 'evidence-based' aligns with anything I'm familiar with.

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

The original video is now behind a paywall at the Economist, I think, but here is a transcript of Sir Brian Hoskins with his "pretty lousy" comment:

https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/home/20100318_ec

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Don, I think Occam's razor applies.

Bish, I am unhappy that you are willing to use the concept of "forcing". It doesn't exist and is unmeasurable - it is out of place in a discussion about physics. Why discuss the matter in the terms used by scientific illiterates?

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnOfEnfield

"It's hard to take seriously someone who prefers models to empirical observation "

But isn't this most of climate 'science' ... I think Trenberth coined it when he said

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on
REDACTED shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our
observing system is inadequate."

http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=198

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I wonder if Brian Hoskins and Steve Smith could be persuaded to write a short account of the scientific method? Then we could all see where they get their ideas from.

In fact, why doesn't Your Grace invite them to write 500-1,000 words on the scientific method for publication in this blog?

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I wonder if Brian Hoskins and Steve Smith could be persuaded to write a short account of the scientific method? Then we could all see where they get their ideas from.

In fact, why doesn't Your Grace invite them to write 500-1,000 words on the scientific method for publication in this blog?

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Roy

Nice idea Roy and I would dearly love to see it. - But I doubt they even know what the concept of the true scientific method is - they would not recognise it or understand it if it stood up in front of them and bit them in the naggers.

Mar 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

Chinless wonder - Sir Hoskins FRS (what a joke).

I agree with JohnOfEnfield. "Forcing" has no place in science.

Mar 26, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Is it not possible for one or more suitably qualified contributors to BH to produce and submit to the CCC a detailed critique of the Hoskins/Smith "advice"?

Mar 26, 2013 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTC

Some high priests of climate alarm have become like a kind of speaking clock interface to GCMs, for the enlightenment of those outside the silicon temples.

Imagine trying to have a discussion with a Hoskins or one of the Met Office interfacers - every now and then they would perk up and declare, "by 2035, month 3 the temperature will be up by 1.2632K". Followed a little later, while others have been tearing their hair out, "by 2035, month 4, the temperature will be up by 1.2670K". Every now and then, to keep our interest, they would interject words from the currently approved catchphrases natural variation, aerosol offsets, we can never be absolutely certain of anything but, pause in temperature rise, uncertainties remain and so on - arranged in sentences as if by one of those Chomsky-Bot things that contrive subjects, verbs, and objects out of the available stew.

Mar 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Also, in the context of the Rose article, I came across this incredible paragraph by one Richard Allan of the University of Reading

An illustration of the effect of variability on global warming appears in another blog by Ed Hawkins. Climate model simulations do produce decades of flat surface temperature in response to anthropogenic global warming. This is down to natural variability (sometimes the build-up of heat is buried further down in the ocean). The graph used in the Mail article averages over lots of models. While some models have higher rates of warming, others display little warming in each decade, because of natural variability; averaging smooths this variability out. This is primarily what gives the spread in surface temperature changes over the last few decades.

As a scientist, I find such arguments to be extremely dishonest. Such an argument cannot have been made accidentally.

When there are multiple iterations of a process, as long as one believes the variations follow roughly a normal distribution, the mean is a summary measure that represents the whole range. There *may* be many things happening in individual runs, but the mean capture the most commonly occurring event at every point. That is it its value.

If the multiple model runs give rise to a 25-75% range that takes off in a certain direction, it is immaterial what the individuals runs are, for the whole point of the exercise of calculating the 25-75% envelope is to even out the individual variation and extract the common signal.

That common signal is the grey band in Ed Hawkins' graph. It is clearly seen taking off in a direction observed temperatures never went in. You *do not*, then, turn around and defend your position by saying "well, there are individual models that are going flat too". The whole point of considering multiple model run ranges, remember, was to suppress the noise inherent in any single given model.

Mar 26, 2013 at 10:33 PM | Registered Commentershub

Martin A,

'Confusing models with reality has been a hallmark of Climate Science™ for years. Its practioners talk about "experiments" using models and models producing "evidence".'

So that's what they mean by a "quasi reality".

It's virtual world they've constructed as with a computer game, Tomb Raider etc.

Mar 26, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I should like to thank those above who have issues with the term "forcing".

In my egocentricity thought it was just me, Ever since stumbling over the term in the climate debate many moons ago it has put my teeth on edge whenever I encounter it. If nothing else it has out-lived whatever usefulness it may have once had.

I should like to see the f-word consigned to the cess pit of terminology along with the d-word, although I now wear that latter badge with honour.

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr K.A. Rodgers

They might have abandoned science but they've more than compensated by shovelling in galactic quantities of conceit - the blog post is awesome - do they have a drugs testing policy?

There might be some truth in a rumour I'm now starting that they have contracted to accept all left over BBC red noses and are seeking quotations for supply of several hundred giant ginger afro wigs, size 40 RED Doc Martin Boots and other clown paraphernalia.

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

It is true that the words 'forcing' and 'feedback' have been used in climate science to hide meaning rather than to reveal it. Some climate scientists are not sure which is which. Apparently, a "forcing" is the contribution that increased CO2 concentrations make in behalf of global warming (or whatever). All GHGs supposedly have forcings. A "feedback" is an effect of a GHG that contributes to cooling, as increased cloud cover caused by a forcing can act as a feedback that lowers the net temperature rise caused by the forcing. Clear as a bell, right. I take it that climate scientists talk about forcings and feedbacks because their science is so immature that they have few facts to talk about. For example, everyone pays lip service to the effects of increased cloud cover but no one has any facts.

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Crikey, and I thought I was the only one who cringed at the word "forcing". I have no issues though with feedback(s).

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Is there any experimental, e.g. calorimetric, proof that 'back radiation' exists?

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Is there any experimental, e.g. calorimetric, proof that 'back radiation' exists?

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:45 PM | AlecM

You dont need a calorimeter, you can detect it for yourself.

Buy an infrared thermometer for a tenner off Amazon.

Take it outside on a clear frosty night.

Point it at the sky.

The infrared it detects to measure a temperature is the back radiation.

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Climate alarmists seem to have recently rediscovered the formerly samizdat phrase "natural variability". Odd, since they've been using it to smear sceptics since at least 1988, when the phrase "control knob" took over.

Mar 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered Commentercui bono

radiative forcing [‚rād·ē‚ād·iv ′fȯrs·iŋ]
(meteorology)
The relative effectiveness of greenhouse gases to restrict long-wave radiation from escaping back into space. For a particular greenhouse gas, radiative forcing is measured as the change in average net radiation (in watts per square meter) at the top of the troposphere, and depends on the wavelength at which the gas absorbs the radiation, the strength of absorption per molecule, and the concentration of the gas.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Mar 27, 2013 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

"...one of those Chomsky-Bot things that contrive subjects, verbs, and objects out of the available stew."

The time of the Climesky-Bot stew has arrived. May some noble programmer cook it up. He/she need not lack for ingredients.

Robust "in the pipeline" adjustment homogenization "not inconsistent with" teleconnected possibly probably "in all likelihood" "may be" "ho ho" travesty "hidden heat" precautionary "doesn't matter" "novel statistical method" "peer reviewed" ...

Mar 27, 2013 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

I've been looking at the Crutem3 data, and for Iceland - which is represented by 8 weather stations - I've found four problems.

1. data shifted in time. (Holar Hornafirdi)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7360644@N07/8591331595/in/photostream

2. A block of data altered. (Akureyri), warming the 1960's like this:-
Difference (Crutem3 - IMO)
1958, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.1,
1959, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.1, 0.2, 0.2,
1960, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2,
1961, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2,
1962, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.1, 0.2,
1963, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 0.2,
1964, 0.1, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2,
1965, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2,
1966, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.1, 0.2,
1967, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2,

3. A block of data altered, (Teigarhorn) warming winters and cooling summers:

Difference (CRUtem - IMO)
1937, 0.3, 0.3, 0.3, -0.1, -0.2, -0.6, -0.6, -0.4, 0.0, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2,
1938, 0.3, 0.2, 0.3, -0.1, -0.3, -0.4, -0.6, -0.4, 0.0, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2,
1939, 0.3, 0.2, 0.3, -0.1, -0.2, -0.5, -0.7, -0.4, 0.0, 0.3, 0.3, 0.2,
1940, 0.3, 0.3, 0.3, -0.1, -0.3, -0.5, -0.6, -0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2,
1941, 0.3, 0.3, 0.3, -0.1, -0.3, -0.5, -0.6, -0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.3,
1942, 0.3, 0.4, 0.3, -0.1, -0.3, -0.5, -0.6, -0.4, 0.1, 0.1, 0.3, 0.2,
1943, 0.3, 0.3, 0.3, -0.1, -0.3, -0.5, -0.6, -0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.2,
(that carries on to 1964).

4. Using a cold station to cool the past. (Grimsey)
Here are all the stations...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7360644@N07/8593023081/in/photostream
and here's the effect of Grimsey...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7360644@N07/8593023099/in/photostream

[I'm just an ordinary member of the public.]

Mar 27, 2013 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

sleepalot - Paul Homewood did some good Iceland temp work when he discovered problems with the GHCN uodate. As I recall the Iceland meteo people agreed with him that the adjustments were unwarranted (they had already QA/QC'd the data) and it was taken up with GISS. I haven't seen anything saying it was resolved but perhaps it was:

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/tag/iceland/

(Apologies if you already knew of Paul's work.)

Mar 27, 2013 at 1:03 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

The graph in this piece is straightforward http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213244084429540.html It compares the central predictions in each of the four IPCC Summary for Policy Makers reports to the subsequent temperature record. No fancy statistics, no hindcasting, just what we were told to expect vs. what actually happened. Not good for IPCC.

Mar 27, 2013 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterNoblesse Oblige

@ Notbanned yet,
Yes, I saw that - thanks. I've dropped him a line in the hope he could make more of it, but I haven't had any response as yet.

In the meantime, I've found a block alteration in Reykjavic (this time cooling the 1960's) - so that's 5/8.

Mar 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

This is may be a good topic for David Rose to write follow up. The British public deserves to know about the anti-science views expressed by some in the Committee on Climate Change.

Mar 27, 2013 at 3:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

What is missed is the grey shaded area of the CMIP3 graphic is a combination of many contradictory models that have been combined into one blob.

Here's a CMIP3 graphic that shows how poorly the individual models predicted the temperature.

http://www.realclimate.org/images/model11a1.jpg

Mar 27, 2013 at 3:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Templer

Entropic man @12.04:

Prercisely, it is defined by a jumble of words, invented by climate "scientists" to hide meaning and make it sound like it has some scientific value - nothing scientific about it at all.

Mar 27, 2013 at 6:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Forcing" makes me cringe too. Whenever I read or hear the word it makes me think of Gavin bloody Schmidt. And that's not a pretty thought.

Mar 27, 2013 at 6:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh.

"Even during the last 15 years of negligible temperature increase, observations have remained within the predicted range."

In 2005 you said there would be 25 million Climate refugees, no such thing as Snow and Palm Trees growing in Trafalgar square.

So Zed and Entropic what you predicting in the next 15 years.Don't think we will be getting rid of our Winter Woolies just yet much as i would like to.

Mar 27, 2013 at 6:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

"It's hard to take seriously someone who prefers models to empirical observation - as I've pointed out before, this is the basis of the scientific method."

They have no choice other than base their "belief" and " support" on the UNFCCC.
They live in the Unfcccocene where it's getting warmer? And the rest of the world live in the Holocene that turned colder 5000 years ago?

Even the comming ice age will be "proof" of the CAGW?

Mar 27, 2013 at 6:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJon

Zed and follow-up comments removed.

Mar 27, 2013 at 7:23 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Zed, Entropic ever been to The Valley to watch Charlton play football.
Im a Lewisham South London boy. Im happily still bothering Boris about Lewisham A and E

Check out the date on this article

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/sea-levels-rising-too-fast-for-thames-barrier-799303.html

Now check out The Thames Barrier on Wikipedia .The Closure rates at the bottom are still average about 5 times per year.There are a few spikes .That was new over cautious management getting windy when it got a bit choppy in the North Sea and concern about their Response Times. The closures stay about average and Central London still hasn't flooded There was extra closures for the Marchioness Disaster investigation and the Queens Jubilee Boat Pageant and added Maintenance.

So if the sea level has risen due to Climate Change and the melted icecaps as you say .Why hasn't The Thames Barrier been Raised Permanently.

Mar 27, 2013 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Sir Brian Hoskins was yet another academic who signed up to the infamous Slingo petition that stated -

"We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method......"

Laughable... ..if it wasn't so tragic...

Mar 27, 2013 at 7:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

"you really have to wonder whether this is a scientific argument at all"
How many times does it have to be repeated? This is not, never was a scientific argument. 'The Science' is just a prop for a desired political outcome. Why do you suppose that, in this country for example, there's no funding for anyone whose research might argue 'CAGW: total balls?" whereas there's a ton of it for research on even the most trivial 'impact' of global warming? And if anyone thinks that by destroying the science they destroy the policy, well, dream on.

Mar 27, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

The ref. for Marion's extract:

10 December 2009

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2009/science-community-statement

Mar 27, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

TC
Is it not possible for one or more suitably qualified contributors to BH to produce and submit to the CCC a detailed critique of the Hoskins/Smith "advice"?
________________________________________________________________________________

Presumably the answer is no. Would it not be a good idea to put a refutation of Hoskins/Smith on the record (copied to David Rose)? Surely there are contributors to BH who have suitable credentials to put forward a well-founded critique.

Mar 27, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterTC

RE: Noblesse Oblige and the graph in the WSJ.

One of the quotes that goes with the graph is "From the graph it appears that the projections exaggerate, substantially, the response of the earth's temperature to CO2 which increased by about 11% from 1989 through 2011"

So even that is being extremely generous to the effects of CO2. The assumption, and this is true when a climate sensitivity calculation is made using temp increase and CO2 increase data for any period, is that ALL the warming in the chosen period is caused by CO2, If some (or of course, it could be all) of that warming is natural then the effective sensitivity of the climate to CO2 forcing would be much smaller than calculated, or even zero. And this does not deny any nominal physics about CO2: the specific response of temperature to CO2 is not the same as the response of the entire climate system, for example if water vapour feedback is negative. It is the entire climate system temperature response that is supposedly being measured, not the supposed CO2 forcing response alone.

It should be entirely obvious that as the last 16 years has no statistically significant change in temperature and yet CO2 was rising, then a calculation of CO2 sensitivity would yield a figure of zero for climate sensitivity to CO2. The objection is then to invoke "natural causes" to negate the rise that would be expected for CO2. If the natural causes exist (as I am certain they do) then they can also be present and cause warming during the period 1989-ish to 1998-ish. After all, the world warmed significantly due to natural causes from around 1910 to 1940. If that same level of warming from natural causes was contributing to the period of 1989 - 1998 ("AGW" warming) then the climate sensitivity to CO2 would be so small that it would be irrelevent.

The problem for the AGW-CO2 argument is that, because of the hiatus in warming for the last 16 years, with no demonstrable cause, but which contradicts all the evidence of the models (remember it was stated that GCM models could not simulate such a long period of no warming) then the AGW-CO2 hypothesis is currently indistinguishable from the null hypothesis that the warming is entirely due to natural causes. In other words, the whole theory has no supporting evidence because natural causes alone, even if not understood, have sufficient variation and power to explain the entire temperature record of the last 150 years.

Mar 27, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

It is interesting, but not confidence building, to read Australia's CSIRO disclaimer at the bottom of their ever-so-scary publications:

" Disclaimer
The impact assessments summarised here are based on results from computer models that involve simplifications of real physical processes that are not fully understood. Accordingly, no responsibility will be accepted by CSIRO for the accuracy of the assessments inferred from this brochure or for any person’s interpretations, deductions, conclusions or actions in reliance on this information."

Mar 27, 2013 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMiles

Shub, I thought you were being unfair on Richard Allan when I read your comment above. I had thought (as apparently does Richard Allen) that individual model runs were all possible valid outcomes, that then get averaged to produce the most likely path thru this valid outcome space.

Then I saw the graph posted by Justin Templer: http://www.realclimate.org/images/model11a1.jpg

It's quite obvious that individual runs are rubbish - the swings are absurd - so perhaps Richard Allen needs to see this too.

Mar 27, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

@Entropic man: 'Buy an infrared thermometer for a tenner off Amazon. Take it outside on a clear frosty night. Point it at the sky. The infrared it detects to measure a temperature is the back radiation.'

An optical pyrometer measures average kinetic energy of the emitter in its view angle. The S-B equation predicts the potential energy flux it would emit to a sink at absolute zero. If the source has the same temperature and emissivity as the sink, there can be no energy flux at any wavelength because opposing monochromatic EM vectors annihilate.

For air at the same temperature as the Earth’s surface, the main GHGs emit thermal IR at black body amplitude detected at the surface optical discontinuity. This mutually annihilates IR emitted by the surface in those same wavelengths: no energy transfer.

In the ‘atmospheric window’ the surface emits to space, an effective emissivity of ~0.9. The radiation-only effective emissivity over all IR wavelengths is ~0.4, 1/3rd absorbed by water vapour side bands and trace gases, the rest to space. Convection and evapo-transpiration means net Earth surface operational emissivity ~0.16. (63 W/m^2/364 W/m^2).

Thus there can be no radiated energy from the air to the surface unless there is a temperature inversion in which case in humid regions you get mostly condensation as the reverse heat transfer outside the AW; dew, ground frost. The water still emits to space via the AW so you establish a dynamic equilibrium, the surface cooling at a rate determined by internal conduction. in deserts, the surface goes well below air temperature.

‘Back radiation’ is a mistake of 19th Century physics carried on by Meteorologists now Climate Alchemists. 100s of man years have been wasted creating the ‘Energy Budget’ assuming pyrgeometers measure a real energy flux when it’s a potential energy flux.

Mar 27, 2013 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

steveta, 9:08 AM

I wish I could find my links to this, but I do recall from the distant past that model runs are monitored and 'crazy' ones are terminated upon detection. If so, the plot to which you link is presumably of runs that were allowed to continue. I wonder what the censored ones would have looked like if they had been allowed to let rip? For the model owners and operators they would, I guess, have looked like a waste of time and a threat to further funding.

Anyone got some ground-truth on what I can only present, just now, as a speculation about something far away?

Mar 27, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

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