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« Tyndale's pragmatism | Main | The headline and the detail »
Tuesday
Apr142015

The Salby lecture

Murry Salby's recent lecture in London can now be seen on YouTube.

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Reader Comments (179)

Excellent. Truly hope he gets hired by some sane organisation soo, how about the GWPF?

Apr 14, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

The science is completely irrelevant to the global warming debate because 97% of organ grinders tell their monkeys to support the fraud .

Apr 14, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

That's why someone is paying the GWPF to discuss the science. It distracts from the reality which is a multi trillion dollar carbon credit gift to big business.

If global warming was real, we wouldn't be seeing a runaway increase in the use of fossil fuels. We would be discussing if it was a good idea for Western banks to what amounts a brand new global economy and a vast new consumer class in the far east powered by coal ! We never hear environmental groups bleat about that.

Apr 14, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

[Snip - venting. Need to make a case, not just apply rude epithets]

Apr 14, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterLouise

Maybe people can help me out here. There is one thing about which there is virtual certainty, and that is that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic. The lines of evidence that support this are substantial and nothing that Salby presents contradicts this and, in fact, his early slides essentially confirm it (which he somehow fails to recognise). So, what can I call people (as a group that is) who seriously consider that the rise might not be anthropogenic? Similarly how could I describe a site that promotes these ideas without comment? I'm not trying to do this so as to unfairly label people, but sometimes you just need a term to use in a discussion. There seems to be some objection to the term that many use, and "skeptic" and "lukewarmer" are clearly out of the question, so what is a suitable alternative that is a fair description, but isn't pejorative?

Apr 14, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Ken Rice,

How about "People who may disagree with me" but because you are an adult perhaps you are able to agree to disagree without being abusive.

Apr 14, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

@ATTP: I am particularly skeptical towards many of Salby's claims and interpretations but at the same time I wonder what exactly are "[t]he lines of evidence that support" that "rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic" since as far as I know the evidence comes particularly from decent correlation between human emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and from measurements of C14 and both are open to interpretations. Are there any more?

Apr 14, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha

Attp,
Sorry, you are wrong.
You need a precise, quantitative method to separate natural effects of climate from other effects, notably anthropogenic.
No such method exists in the current lexicon.

Why does such simplicity need restatement?
Geoff

Apr 14, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

" So, what can I call people (as a group that is) who seriously consider that the rise might not be anthropogenic? "

Unsung heroes of science that valiantly perform the donkey work of researching unpopular and seldom trod avenues of research that will enlarge and enrich the overall body of knowledge regardless of whether their theories bear fruit?

Apr 14, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Griffiths

Kasuha,
To be honest, I've spent too much of my time doing this, to really do so again. You could read this Discussion thread. Gavin Cawley's comments are worth reading. He also has a nice paper that explains this.

However, consider the following:

At the beginning of his presentation, Salby says

CO2 growth rate = Human emissions + natural sources - natural sinks.

Now look at the figure at 7:34. The net emission (left hand axis) is around 2ppm/yr. Human emissions (right hand axis) always exceed the net emission in any year (i.e., if all our emissions remained in the atmosphere, the concentration would grow almost twice as fast as it is).

Now go back to the equation above and rearrange

CO2 growth rate - Human emissions = natural sources - natural sinks.

The LHS has to be negative, so the RHS has to be negative. Therefore, if natural sinks exceeds natural sources, how can nature be the source? (H/T Gavin Cawley)

Apr 14, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

ATTP

In terms of climate as opposed to talking about weeks, months or even years of events; the earth responds to temperature not CO2.
Raising temperature cause the Oceans to warm (over time) and eventually to release more CO2
If you increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by a substantial amount over a long period then the earth responds; vegetation adapts to the increased CO2 and the carbon sink gets larger. Studies of fossil records of leaves and plants show that when CO2 levels were higher then plants adapted to take more and more CO2 out of the atmosphere; leaves, trees and plants were lush and large. However much CO2 you add to the atmosphere; it will all be removed over time as the biosphere adapts.

Apr 14, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterDung

aTTP

" The lines of evidence that support this are substantial.."

But never elaborated on.

Apr 14, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

ATTP

I too find it interesting that many climate skeptics are also skeptical about the CO2 rise. Humans are burning 80 million barrels of oil a day and we think that will not have any effect? And that doesn't include coal. There are three strong indications that the CO2 rise is anthropogenic. Carbon isotope ratios, decline in O2 concentration and the rate of increase in CO2 over time matches the rate of increase in oil consumption.

Apr 14, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

Redbone

You seem to have missed out on a fairly basic fact; correlation does not equal causation. In addition the atmospheric levels of CO2 are not going to cause catastrophic warming so wot's not to like?

Apr 14, 2015 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Now some, not Eli to be sure, are quite impressed with Salby and his take that the rise in CO2 comes from the oceans. Assume this to be true, then one would expect that the increase in CO2 in the southern hemisphere, which is mostly ocean, would lead that in the northern hemisphere, which is mostly land,, but in fact, the opposite is true and the lag matches the interhemispheric mixing time.

Conclusion: Some have it very wrong. Not Eli.

Apr 14, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Others, again, not Eli to be sure, assume that the rise in CO2 comes from the oceans and not from combustion of fossil fuels. Burning of fossil fuel consumes oxygen, and hey, what do you know, the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere is falling. Of course, since oxygen makes up 20% of the atmosphere and the increase in CO2 concentration has only been tens of ppm in the last couple of decades, the decline in oxygen concentrations would also be small in absolute numbers, but as Ralph Keeling has shown the decline is consistent with the rise in CO2 concentrations coming from burning fossil fuels.

Conclusion: Others have it very wrong. Not Eli

Apr 14, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Eli

Would you care to detail exactly where anyone claimed that burning fossil fuel does not release CO2 into the atmosphere

Apr 14, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Still more, not Eli to be sure, believe that the increase in CO2 concentrations from whatever source will be a boon to the growth of plants and especially carrots (and the bunnies that munch on them). In this model CO2 acts as an intermediate stage between wherever (oceans, combustion) etc and the increase of the ratio of O2/N2. Thus a consequence of the CO2rnicopian model is that the ration of O2/N2 will increase. It is decreasing in proportion to the amount of fossil fuel being burnt. While the decrease is small (ppm in the ratio of O2/N2, 20%/80%,) it is measureable and has been measured over a couple of decades by Ralph Keeling

Conclusion: Still moer have it very wrong. Eli is sad about this.

Apr 14, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

The 13C isotope arguments are weakened by large uncertainties (small difference between very large numbers) and the fact that the isotope discrimination in biology is itself not independent of temperature and carbon dioxide.

Apr 14, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Eli

A certain Japanese satellite (I will not bore you with the name since I am sure Eli knows everything) showed that in fact CO2 is not well mixed, rather the heaviest concentrations were found to be over sparsly populated areas and the lightest concentrations were over the industrial countries.

Apr 14, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Oh dear :)

Eli does not respond to external stimulus, what a shame. Methinks it is time to stop feeding the troll hehe

Apr 14, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thread against current catachism, acolytes materialise very early on to disrupt discussion.

Its a religon and they are ever vigilant against transgression.

Back to Salby please?

Apr 14, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

In this instance, I agree with aTTP, in that I find Salby's argument unconvincing.

But Jack Cowper raises an excellent point. aTTP is not content with saying that Salby's argument is wrong; he wants a term for persons who might agree with Salby on this topic. Why is such a term needed? In fact, this is an established pattern, of personalizing the debate. For example, at Tom Fuller's site, aTTP doesn't want to discuss whether Steve McIntyre's statistical criticisms of e.g. the MBH98 paper are correct; rather, he wishes to focus on saying "I don’t believe that the attack on MBH98 was motivated by a desire to do sound statistics."

Move away from what is being argued, to who is saying it, why they might be saying so, and constructing a label for dog-whistling. People like that are ad hominizers.

[See what I did there?]

Apr 14, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

@ Dung Apr 14, 2015 at 1:36 PM

Eli is right in the list he provides. Am surprised this is even being debated as I had assumed even you guys understood this simple observation. The "skeptik" ""correlation is not causation"" battle-cry is irrelevant here. What ATTP and Eli raise has nothing to do with correlation - what we are talking of here is just arithmetic. Remember that?

Apr 14, 2015 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterOnbyaccident

Double Troll alert.

Apr 14, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJan Stunnenberg

Absolutely agreed that ATTP's implicit demand (that you'll have to condemn Salby unequivocally as a kind of initiation rite to gain entry to the discussions) is pretty apalling. Even if the large majority of sceptics do agree that the increased CO2 is largely of fossil fuel origin.

The excellent Ferdinand Engelbeen has been quite strenuous (though always respectful) in refuting Salby's case over at WUWT, and all interested should certainly read his posts very carefully. And Salby doesn't help himself by avoiding authorship which is open to detail examination and criticism - he seems to stick to lectures.

Ferdinand has pretty much convinced me Salby is wrong, though as my science (very old) is in field biology, I still, as you might expect, have reservations regarding the weight of the 'mass balance' argument which is rarely of much relevance in biological systems. Thus
"CO2 growth rate = Human emissions + natural sources - natural sinks"
is true but not crucial, in view of the large imbalance of scale between the fossil emissions and the (variable) natural flux. A better question would be, what would the growth rate of CO2 be in the absence of fossil emissions?
Which is not quite the same thing. Ferdinand does a pretty good job refuting the oceanic origin of the excess by appeal to partial pressures, which I think is a pretty solid argument - though it may make some modest physical contribution through warming. However, we don't really have a handle on how to quantify the huge natural exchange, and the causes of its variability, sufficiently well to rule out Salby's argument. Ferdinand has great faith in the ice core work which would seem to establish that the present 400ppm is unprecendented in the last 1/2million years. If that's solid, it makes a pretty good case for the anthropogenic source. Read it and see what you think..

Apr 14, 2015 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commentermothcatcher

HaroldW,


Why is such a term needed? In fact, this is an established pattern, of personalizing the debate.

Why do we have "alarmist", "warmist"....? As I thought was clear, I wasn't asking for a term that I could use to label an individual, I was asking for some generic descriptor. It's clear that anyone who regards it as possible that the rise in CO2 might not be anthropogenic is not a skeptic, or a lukewarmer. It's clear that people here object to the term that is often used to describe such people. I was simply trying to get some help with identifying some kind of term that is appropriate, but not pejorative. If people are going to insist that certain terms should not be used, maybe you could at least help to identify ones that are suitable.


aTTP doesn't want to discuss whether Steve McIntyre's statistical criticisms of e.g. the MBH98 paper are correct;

I've never claimed that MBH98 did not have statistical issues, not have I claimed that MM05 did not highlight some issues. I simply have no interest in discussing them because past experience tells me that it is pointless and highly frustrating, and because it's all largely irrelevant. It's old. Who cares?

Apr 14, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@ Jan S

Well argued response. Keep bringing that science to us .... :-))

Apr 14, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterOnbyaccident

mothcatcher,


Absolutely agreed that ATTP's implicit demand (that you'll have to condemn Salby unequivocally as a kind of initiation rite to gain entry to the discussions) is pretty apalling.

Hmm, that wasn't my demand. In fact I didn't demand anything and what I said has little resemblance to what you seem to have taken from it. If you're not sure about what I meant, you just need to ask.

Apr 14, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

aTTP: "maybe you could at least help to identify ones that are suitable. "
I already did - those who agree with Salby's theory of CO2 origin. Why is any other term necessary?

"I was simply trying to get some help with identifying some kind of term that is appropriate, but not pejorative."
You will perhaps excuse me if I don't believe that your attempt to find a label is motivated purely by a desire to do sound terminology.

P.S. "I've never claimed that MBH98 did not have statistical issues, [nor] have I claimed that MM05 did not highlight some issues." Nor do you seem to admit the converse. It is a curious non-concession.

Apr 14, 2015 at 5:02 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"Eli is sad about this"

Odd that what really seems to upset wabbits and warmists alike is our disagreement with them, rather than the thermageddon they keep banging on about. Personally, I found it some relief to discover that their arguments and models were full of holes, unwarranted assumptions and tenuous proxies, and could go back to being the glass-half-full sort of chap I was before I swallowed their doom-laden scenarios a few decades ago.

I don’t think the world is perfect, but I’m willing to wager that whatever brings us down, it won’t be the presence of 0.04% CO2 in the atmosphere. Not that I shall be in a position to collect my winnings, unfortunately.

Apr 14, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Snots™. As in s'not what you think it is. Given Eli's disconnect between burning things and snot burning things, maybe a suitable acronym would be rabids. And then t'hares fag packet fizzics – s'never what you think it is, snot in the sleight test.

Apr 14, 2015 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Now some, not Eli of course, were sayin' that more CO2 in the atmosphere would produce carrots without limit. To discover that this is strongly limited is indeed sad.

Apr 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

The last time Salby's video was out I asked ATTP to show how Salby was wrong instead of just saying so.

He constructed a toy model of the oceans and attempted to 'prove' that since CO2 outgassing with increased temperature does not contribute enough CO2 to raise CO2 high enough Salby was wrong.

I laughed at the pathetic self-serving argument, devoid of biological sinks and sources and the effect of temperature on such systems, on his blog. He banned me for laughing at him.

He has the cheek to show up here. Funny.

I still would laugh at this simplistic, physics-based, conservation-of-mass based reductionism. His anger was "how can you not see what's so obvious". As before, he is unable to offer anything beyond.

How much more biologically active carbon would a 1C rise in global temperature introduce into the annual carbon cycle, over equilibration time?

You don't have to accept or deny anything in science, or physics. You simply take up Salby's argument - it seems fairly clearly laid out - and refute it by presenting contradicting evidence. If you cannot do it, keep away.

Apr 14, 2015 at 6:20 PM | Registered Commentershub

Eli

"strongly limited"

Still more carrots, though. Does nothing make you a happy bunny..?

Apr 14, 2015 at 6:54 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Attp,
Do try this equation.
Total global climate change = X*natural climate change + (1- X)*anthropogenic climate change
Use physical observation to solve for X.
0 < X < 1

As yet, there is no known X.
Effects of CO2 should not be contemplated until there is a solution for X.

Apr 14, 2015 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Attp,
Do try this equation.
Total global climate change = X*natural climate change + (1- X)*anthropogenic climate change
Use physical observation to solve for X.
0 < X < 1

As yet, there is no known X.
Effects of CO2 should not be contemplated until there is a solution for X.

Apr 14, 2015 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Salby clearly showed that fossil fuel emissions linearly increased at 0.04ppmv/yr prior to 2002, but at 0.14ppmv/yr after 2002; yet during that period the linear increase of all CO2 in the atmosphere remained constant at 2.1ppmv/yr. It therefore follows that the overall CO2 increase was blind to the CO2 created by burning natural gas, coal and oil. Consequently anthropogenic CO2 must be a negligible or small factor in the overall CO2 increase, unless it can be shown that Salby has made mistakes with his data.

Apr 14, 2015 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

I'm highly sceptical of Salby's claims. I don't pay attention to them now. Mainly because I once watched one of his talks (on t'internet), and was mightily unimpressed.

I really don't need that poor weary luvvy Ken Rice flouncing in here with his usual "To be honest, I've spent too much of my time doing this, to really do so again."

I also don't need that utter weirdo who pretends to be a rabbit and talks about himself in the third person.

I also don't need someone who is here "by accident".

Apr 14, 2015 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Shub,


The last time Salby's video was out I asked ATTP to show how Salby was wrong instead of just saying so.

He constructed a toy model of the oceans and attempted to 'prove' that since CO2 outgassing with increased temperature does not contribute enough CO2 to raise CO2 high enough Salby was wrong.


Well, that seems all wrong. I don't remember doing it because you asked. I also didn't do it to prove Salby was wrong. I simply did it to show that the oceans could not outgas enough to explain the observed rise. I tried explaining this to you numerous times during that exchange and you seemed incapable of understanding. I banned you - IIRC - because I asked you to explain yourself, and you refused to do so. Still complaining about it, though, I see.


How much more biologically active carbon would a 1C rise in global temperature introduce into the annual carbon cycle, over equilibration time?

Well, I think that if you want the biosphere to be the source of the enhanced atmospheric CO2, we'd have to have seen a signficant reduction in life on the planet. You should probably be thankful that not everyone laughs when they think someone else has said something particularly silly. To quantify this. A 120ppm rise in atmospheric CO2 is about 250GtC. The total mass of the terrestrial biosphere is about 1000 GtC. You can work out for yourself if we've seen a reduction in the terrestrial biosphere of about 250GtC. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if you now argued that we could see an increase in biosphere mass while it was also the source.


You simply take up Salby's argument - it seems fairly clearly laid out - and refute it by presenting contradicting evidence. If you cannot do it, keep away.

I've done so many times. That you don't (or won't) understand is not my problem.

Apr 14, 2015 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Asking the other person to answer questions when one is oneself asked a question is an old trick. It is a dirty and useless trick better suited for ignorant students.

Atmospheric CO2 has ranged from ~300 to upwards of 8000 ppm on earth. By your wonderful logic, at some point all the carbon must have completely been sucked out of the biosphere, into the atmosphere! How sillier can physicists reductionist conservation-of-mass nonsense get? It is not a closed box where your cat lives, it is an open system with different arms of the carbon cycle running at different timescales. 'Introduction into the carbon cycle' does not mean put into the atmosphere either.

Incidentally, the above comment illustrates how taking off in narrow tangents solely to refute a limited argument sets up vicious cycles.

In reality, you did set up your toy model to refute Salby, were subjected to sarcasm your bloated ego could not handle, and did succumb to banning people on your website to wriggle out. You did the same "answer my questions" first thing to Richard Tol.

Apr 14, 2015 at 9:11 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shub

Actually mate it was as high as 800,000 ppm in the very early days so warmists should be careful what they wish for. At some point between 120 ppm and 180 ppm it is reckoned that all life on the planet will end; we are after all, carbon based life forms

Apr 14, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Registered CommenterDung

@ATTP @12:17 PM: If you don't have time to post any specific, convincing arguments then I take it as that you don't have any.

I take Salby's work as an interesting angle of view on the atmospheric CO2 origin topic. I don't believe he's right but I believe his work deserves attention, replication, and validation. I'm not friend of dismissing someone's work just because others say something different, without being able to point at errors he made.

Apr 14, 2015 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha

"it is pointless and highly frustrating, and ... it's all largely irrelevant. ... Who cares?"

The same could be said of ...

Apr 14, 2015 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Kasuha,
You're broadly illustrating why I don't bother. On the off chance that you are actually interested, read Gavin Cawley's comment on this Discussion thread. It's about halfway down page 2 and the link should take you directly to the page. It directly addresses the problem with Salby's analysis. I'll even repeat the key point below


The mathematical flaw in Salby's argument is pretty easy to see, for anyone with a good grasp of calculus and statistics. Salby notes there is a correlation between temperature and the growth rate of atmospheric CO2. However, correlations are completely insensitive to constant offsets in the signals on which they are computed. The long term rise in atmospheric CO2 is due to the mean value of the growth rate, which is a constant offset. This means that the correlation he has observed is mathematically incapable of explaining any of the long term rise in atmospheric CO2.

DaveS,
I'm sure it could.

Apr 14, 2015 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Apr 14, 2015 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commenter James Evans

I am in exactly the same place.
Except Salby may come good. He just hasn't yet.

I'm unpersuaded but leaning towards man being the main cause of the CO2 rise (F Engelbehn has good points) so I doubt Salby's case. It's not disproven but isn't persuasive.

Yet though I'm less confident than you, I certainly endorse your judgements..

Apr 14, 2015 at 11:15 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

aTTP

"You're broadly illustrating why I don't bother."

And yet here you are again, bothering. Is scepticism an itch you can't scratch..?

Apr 14, 2015 at 11:37 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

James Evans

The reason the rabbit behaves like that is supercharged hubris. He can't bear to take anyone else seriously by addressing them in his every day identity.


Esmiff knows these things and much more besides. Esmiff hates the hobittses.

Apr 15, 2015 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Whodda thunk that Eli could get the anonymice so riled up, but thanks for the carrots

<p>Belive in yourself: eat a carrot</p>— Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) December 29, 2014

Apr 15, 2015 at 1:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

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