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Use and abuse of climate simulations

Some of you may be interested in Gavin's Schmidt's forthcoming talk  at Exeter University. It's hard to deny his expertise in the area.

Climate change is now a constant presence in the media with many stories about the latest records in global heat, Arctic ice loss, sea level rise, or the potential for changes in extreme weather. But many people still have questions about how scientists study the Earth system, where the dramatic predictions of future change come from, and how credible they are.

In this talk Dr Schmidt will discuss the use and abuse of climate simulations, how they are used to attribute changes in the past and what they suggest for the future. He will specifically discuss how global society now has to choose its own adventure and what the implications of these choices will be.

Details here.

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Reader Comments (186)

Esmiff: I already told George Hart that alarmist climate scientists didn't deserve his trust. Reviewing their mistakes with me is a waste of time. I'm not listening anymore. However, there past political mistakes don't guarantee they are wrong scientifically.

Since Holocene climate before 1950 (the beginning of significant anthropogenic forcing) has warmed and cooled significantly due to natural or unforced variability, the warming since 1975 BY ITSELF doesn't conclusively prove anything about AGW. According to the land records that you cite for warming between 1860-1880 and 1910-1940 (HadCRUT global), GW didn't stop after 1975-1998. (See below.) That doesn't mean there wasn't a Pause, but the Pause ended in 2014-2015. For skeptics, the Pause was a drug pushed by Lord Monckton, and the thrill from that drug was always going to end with the next big El Nino. Lord Monckton is as irresponsible as any alarmist. Climate change isn't about warming over a period of one or two decades and never should have been cited to get Kyoto signed. Today we have about 0.70 K of warming over 40 years, which is larger in total than the earlier periods you cite. Others cite (1915-1940) since the early 1910s were unusually cool due to volcanos (Novaerupta, 1912).

1/75-10/16 1.8 (1.6-2.0) K/century with total warming of 0.7 K
1/98-10/16 1.4 (0.7-2.1) K/century
1/75-1/98 1.8 (1.2-2.3) K/century
1/02-1/13 -0.33 (-1.3-0.6) K/century most cooling
1/1915-1/1945 1.3 (1.0-1.6) K/century with total warming of 0.4 K (0.5 K if you start in 1910)

You may remember things differently than these numbers I just looked up - I do. However, many commenters at WUWT would say that there had been no SIGNIFICANT warming when the confidence interval - not the central estimate for the trend - included zero. (UAH and RSS report much slower warming. We don't have data from them for earlier periods of warming).

The big picture is that warming in the late 20th century last longer and was slightly more rapid than those earlier periods. This difference is modest. Without radiative forcing and evidence for some amplification from feedbacks, it would make sense to ignore recent warming. However, we do have valid scientific reasons to expect rising CO2 to have contributed something to warming since 1975.

Dyson usually makes sense, but his remarks about uptake of CO2 by soil aren't good science. Before Keeling, we had no idea of what happened to the CO2 we emitted. Now we do know, and a good scientist like Dyson should tell us the answer: CO2 is accumulating about half as fast as we emit it and about 25% of total emissions are going into the soil. Now Dyson needs real evidence showing that we actually CAN speed up accumulation of carbon in soil. Based on some experiments, many think CO2 could be released from the soil when it gets much warmer than today. Dyson is speculating (without evidence) that CO2 uptake can be increased beyond today's 25%.

You write: "It’s vital that we build climate models on experimental measurements and sound understanding, otherwise we cannot rely on them to predict the future."

Unfortunately, we can't build such models. Take evaporation from the surface of the ocean. We know that the evaporation rate is proportional to "undersaturation" (100% humidity for the local temperature minus the actual humidity, which is usually about 80% relative humidity over the oceans). Turbulent mixing is needed to carry the thin layer of saturated air touching the ocean away from the ocean surface. To a first approximation, turbulent mixing is proportional to wind speed. So climate models use something resembling E = k*U*V, where E is evaporation, U is undersaturation and V is wind speed and k is a tunable parameter. We don't have the computing power to calculate k inside a climate model from first principles of physics and k depends modestly on a number of other factors. Experiments in the real world (which are very hard to perform realistically) give us some idea of what k might be, but it appears to vary from season to season in some experiments. So modelers "tune" the parameter k, perhaps by adjusting k until model global precipitation agrees with observations of global precipitation. Total evaporation must equal total precipitation. When they tune other parameters (say involving clouds or precipitation), the amount of precipitation changes, so they adjust k again. Then they might have the right total precipitation, with some falling in the wrong places. More tuning. An unambiguously correct value for k doesn't exist and the best value for k depends on other parameters. Modelers don't have the computational power to test all combinations of parameters in the most sophisticated models used by the IPCC. Simpler models can't find an optimum set of parameters; there are always trade-offs where the parameters that produce the most realistic precipitation do worse in some other area. To complicate matters further, we don't have ideal information about how much precipitation falls and where. The model's representation of the physics of clouds and precipitation is also flawed because they also depend on parameterization. In the end, one can come up with an AOGCM that produces climate roughly similar to what we experience today, but further tuning to fix one problem tends to create problems elsewhere. There have been gradual improvements, but we have no way of knowing when a model is good enough to project future climate change reliably. Global change is similar among all models, but they disagree about how regions will change. For example, will precipitation in California decrease? Different models give different answers. A recent paper showed that ECS for the GFDL model could be changed by 1 degC/doubling by changing the "entrainment" parameters (for turbulent mixing in tropical thunderstorms) without causing a significant change in model performance that would allow them to chose the better parameterization!

Policymakers have invested billions in climate models, expecting to get definitive answers. Would you be publicly candid about these problems?

One thing is easy to do - if you want to: Tune your model so that 100% of observed warming is attributed to man. If you speed up (or reduce) heat uptake by the ocean, you reduce (or increase) warming at the surface. You can also adjust the amount of cooling caused by aerosols. All models attribute different amounts of warming to GHGs and different amounts of cooling by aerosols. Somehow all agree closely about the net effect of these processes.

The IPCC practices "model democracy". All climate models recommended by member nations get one vote in the multi-model mean that the IPCC says is the best answer to use.

Dec 22, 2016 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Thanks again, Frank... your comments are extremely insightful and should be read by anyone attending Gavin Schmidt's forthcoming talk at Exeter University (i.e. the original subject of this thread before a certain individual tried to derail it :-)

Dec 22, 2016 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt


Thanks for another kind reply.

There are so many things wrong with these models, it beggars belief anyone takes them seriously. Even if the data was correct, can computers really simulate that complexity? A huge discussion on the Guardian many years ago involving many qualified readers came up with a resounding 'no'. I unashamedly use Dyson as an argument from authority. It works for me !

There are also the major issues of 'hide the decline', UHI and other forms of cheating. One of the points I raised on Pielke's forum was the delusional nature of the academic (and other middle classes) view of their own decency and honesty.Given a choice, I always believed students before lecturers and it's a lot dodgier now.

As for The Gavin

I would rather spend the time standing outside in the rain beside a giant puddle in a busy bus lane than listen to him telling childish lies.

Dec 22, 2016 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff (Dec 22, 2016 at 12:47 PM), you say 'There are so many things wrong with these models...' but I think this is the wrong way to look it - they're not intrinsically wrong, they're just too crude to deliver the levels of knowledge and certainty needed to plan real-world energy policies.

Dec 22, 2016 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Dave Salt

Thank you for expressing my point of view in a more precise fashion. They are indeed too crude for policy making

They also have insufficient real world data, particularly in the crucial area of water vapour/cloud formation..

Dec 22, 2016 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Budgie wrote: "Frank, the consensus science which you retail is tainted by the CAGW meme."

Frank said: "And if I wrote the same comments at another web site, equally close-minded there people would say "the skeptical science you retail is tainted by Denial". Both are meaningless responses in a scientific discussion."

Actually far from meaningless.

For a start calling CAGW sceptics "Deniers" is just an ad hominem attack. In contrast CAGW was, and still is in the political sphere, the description of a theoretical claim (see The Carbon Trust, the Climate Change Act 2008, etc).

I anticipated you would say something along the lines of your reply, unfortunately. You come across as earnest and knowledgeable but with limited imagination: you apparently cannot see that when "climate scientists" crossed the boundary from investigative science to advocacy the issue ceased to be purely about the science.

Whether you admit it or not CAGW is an issue, even though some "climate scientists" currently deny (so I am told by some AGW "consensus" advocates) that they ever supported the CAGW theory. The public do not trust the "consensus" because of CAGW and what has been done in its name. Until "climate scientists" own up to their previous wild exaggerations that trust will not be recovered, irrespective of the science. And even then not for some years.

Dec 22, 2016 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

The climate models are sort if useful, in the same way that the game 'Risk' is sort of useful in the realm of geopolitics.
There is a map, armies, forcings, a random element and advanced concepts. But anyone who used the game to shape geopolitical policy would be a candidate for the rubber room.

Dec 22, 2016 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Frank (Dec 22, 2016 at 10:14 AM), the way you describe how to 'Tune your model so that 100% of observed warming is attributed to man' makes me think of this...
...which suggests that whenever Gavin mentions CO2 think 'gaffer tape' and when he mentions aerosols think 'WD40' :-)

Dec 23, 2016 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Frank (Dec 22, 2016 at 10:14 AM), the way you describe how to 'Tune your model so that 100% of observed warming is attributed to man' makes me think of this...
...which suggests that whenever Gavin mentions CO2 think 'gaffer tape' and when he mentions aerosols think 'WD40' :-)

Dec 23, 2016 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Budgie wrote: "I anticipated you would say something along the lines of your reply, unfortunately. You come across as earnest and knowledgeable but with limited imagination: you apparently cannot see that when "climate scientists" crossed the boundary from investigative science to advocacy the issue ceased to be purely about the science."

I've voiced strenuous objections to scientists crossing the boundary between what Schneider calls ethical science (the whole truth with all the caveats) and "making the world a better place" (scary stories, simplified dramatic stories, hiding doubts). The IPCC's SPMs are not ethical science; they don't contain any caveats. When one crosses over into policy advocacy, an adversarial system is used to develop policy and obtain justice. Each side has equal time to present their case, neither side is expected to tell the whole truth with all of the caveats, and the traditional press was expected to interview both sides before writing a story. Today, politicians and a self-perpetuating core of activist scientists are serving as prosecutor, judge and jury for fossil fuels BEHIND CLOSED DOORS without a defense attorney present. Unelected scientists from ivory towers are perverting the democratic process, because they don't think elected policymakers will do the right thing when presented with ethical science.

However, none of this means that consensus climate science must be wrong. Skeptics who cite the Pause as proof that the GHE doesn't exist are GROSSLY MISINFORMED. It didn't STOP warming in 1998, but for more than a decade fluctuations prevented us from detecting a trend significantly above zero. (We still can't detect a significant trend in the newest satellite analysis (UAH6), but UAH5.6 has one today.). Unforced variability in our climate is real - the Pause doesn't have to have a Cause. And radiative forcing is a real cause of climate change whose magnitude is poorly understood.

Dec 23, 2016 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Sorry, Frank, but now that you have raised the concept of “unforced variation”, this has greater credence than the nonsense of CO2 causing climate change. There was no increasing CO2 to raise the temperatures in the Minoan Warm Period; nor did CO2 decline to cause the intervening cool period before the Roman Warm Period (for which there was no rising CO2 to cause it); nor was there a rise in CO2 levels to cause the Mediæval Warm Period. All these, it would appear, are just the result of “unforced variation”. Why is the present rise, which is not at a greater rate nor of a greater magnitude than the three aforementioned rises, so different that this “unforced variation” is not a factor? Why does it have to be “radiative forcing”, when what is happening is no different from “unforced variability”? Perhaps because, this time, it is the rising CO2? This time, it’s yoomans wot’ve caused it?

Dec 23, 2016 at 11:15 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Still too delicate to mention CAGW, Frank?

CAGW drives our entire political system in the UK. Every government department has its CC unit which believes in CAGW. In particular our entire energy, transport and industrial policies are predicated on the belief that CAGW is true. CAGW has cost hundreds of thousands of primary jobs in the UK, merely exporting them to countries that cause more pollution, not less. Useless windmills, no generation margin, lack of dredging, wood pellets across the Atlantic, a lopsided economy, £billions in costs every year, the idiocy goes on, and on.

Our politicians will not change course until you "climate scientists" tell them that CAGW is a hoax. And for that you will have to be honest enough to admit it to yourselves. I won't hold my breath.

Dec 24, 2016 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Budgie, please lighten up on Frank. He is reasonable and thoughtful and certainly not flaming or trolling. His stance may be more moderate than yours but it is on the same general side.

Dec 24, 2016 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Cheers to all at Bishop-Hill

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy and cool new year :)

Dec 25, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

RR asks: Why is the present rise, which is not at a greater rate nor of a greater magnitude than the three aforementioned rises, so different that this “unforced variation” is not a factor? Why does it have to be “radiative forcing”, when what is happening is no different from “unforced variability”?

Laboratory measurements tell me that rising GHGs will reduce radiative cooling to space about 3.7 W/m2/doubling. And we have good evidence for modestly positive WV+LR feedback in the LWR channel during seasonal warming. If cloud feedback were strongly negative in the SWR channel, we would be able to detect it by seeing a significant increase in cloud cover with warming. An ECS much below 1 K/doubling requires strongly negative cloud feedback in the SWR channel.

The coldest periods of the LIA occurred with solar activity was unusually low (Maunder and Dalton Minima) and when there were large volcanic eruptions. We don't know whether various long periods of warmth and cold were "naturally forced variability", "unforced variability" or a combination of the two. So there is no proof that unforced variability cna be high (say 1 K). The consensus is that "natural forcing" from solar activity or volcanic eruptions hasn't been a major contributor to climate change in the 20th century, though large volcanos cause a transient dip of about 0.5 degC. So we can look at the AMO (tentative peak to trough amplitude of about 0.25 K from two cycles) and the amplitude of ENSO, and the amplitude of the unforced warming in the 1940's (which could be AMO), and the "missing warming during the Pause" and estimate that unforced variability could easily contribute a few tenths of a degC to climate change. The IPCC's climate models don't show unforced variability this large during control runs (without any forcing).

When Lewis and Curry calculate TCR and ECS from observed warming and forcing, they are assuming that all warming is forced and that unforced variability contributed nothing to warming. They choose periods of one and two cycles of the AMO, to eliminate any unforced contribution to warming from that phenomena. Their best estimate for TCR and ECS is 1.35 and 1.6 K/doubling. Suppose unforced variability actually contributed as much as -0.5 K to +0.5 K to the roughly 1 degK of warming in the 20th century. (Most scientists would consider this estimate ludicrously large, especially without AMO). If so, that would still leave a best estimate for TCR from 0.7-2.0 K and ECS from 0.8 to 2.4K. Can I prove that unforced variability couldn't have contributed all of 20th century warming? No, I can't. However, radiative forcing plus feedback tells me that ECS can't be much below 1 K/doubling, meaning that anthropogenically-forced warming must be at least half of observed warming.

Dec 26, 2016 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Budgie: "Our politicians will not change course until you "climate scientists" tell them that CAGW is a hoax. And for that you will have to be honest enough to admit it to yourselves. I won't hold my breath."

Sorry, Feynman, not Schneider, is my role model. No simplified dramatic statements about hoaxes from me. No making little mention of doubts and uncertainties. The whole truth with all of the caveats. GHG-mediated warming (AGW) is real, but probably exaggerated by the IPCC. There is no good way to define catastrophic, so it is hard to say AGW is real, but CAGW is a hoax. The best I can come up with is AGW is real, but CAGW is unlikely. I would be interested in a solution to this dilemma.

The costly and ineffective policies chosen by your government to combat AGW are not a scientific problem. James Hansen - who I think is ridiculously alarmist - supports nuclear power and a carbon-tax (rebated equally to all citizens so it isn't used to raise revenue/spending or promote crony capitalism and corruption). If your government must do something about what could turn out to be a modest problem, nothing is stopping them from adopting a sensible policy. (To protect domestic industry, I'd rebate the carbon tax on exports and charge a carbon tax on imports from countries that haven't reduced emissions.)

Here in the US, we have well-defined critical problems that need to be addressed. Social Security will be broke around 2030 and benefits can't be reduced for those who have already retired. Action now is critical. Revising or replacing Obamacare is essential, competition is disappearing rapidly and costs are unsustainable. In about ten years, all federal revenue will be consumed by entitlements and interest; defense and everything else will need to be borrowed. Our tax code is a mess and regulation is too costly. Given these immediate problems, the Democrats obsession with climate change is absurd: High costs borne by 21st century Americans and unknown benefits for 22nd century Americans (who should be much richer if we manage our economy properly), and no guarantee of any benefits without a binding international treaty (which is currently an impossibility).

Dec 26, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank


What exactly are those 'Laboratory results' you refer to,when you say:

Laboratory measurements tell me that rising GHGs will reduce radiative cooling to space about 3.7 W/m2/doubling

and how did they establish that number 3.7W/m2?

(BTW Thanks for you well written,considered thoughts on the issues)

Dec 26, 2016 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

So, Frank, what you are saying is that “unforced variation” exists only in those times when you cannot determine other “forcings”; but, if challenged, then you can find other “forcings”, whether or not there is any evidence (such as the mysteriously unrecorded large volcanic eruptions that have now occurred to cause the LIA; curious how none of the more recent volcanic eruptions – such as Krakatoa, the largest eruption in recorded history – have had such an effect).

As I said, the present warming, such as we have had (i.e. approx. 1.5°C over 2 centuries), is really no different from the warming from the Dark Ages to the Mediæval Warm Period, nor from the cool interlude following the Minoan Warm Period to the Roman Warm Period.

One of the major flaws in this farrago is that people do insist on extrapolating the warming rate over a few years (say, 1975 to 1998, when it was “over 0.3° per decade!”) to what it would be over a century (“Wow! That means it will warm more than 4°C this century!” Let’s forget that, at the beginning of the century, we were assured that it would warm by 10°C by the end of the century – only 9.9°C to go!), then compare it with the historical rates determined by various proxies, none of which can be refined to less than a century, and saying that the present rates are “unprecedented!” Sorry, but the only way to measure the rate of change over a century is to measure the change over a century; similarly, who knows what the rate of change was over any particular 3 decade period in the rise from the Dark Ages to the MWP?

Sorry, Frank, but you appear to be stuck in the idea that present warming (such as it has been) is entirely the fault of human-produced CO2. What you seem to be ignoring is that what CO2 that humans have produced is swamped by the CO2 that is naturally produced (unless, of course, it is ONLY the human-produced CO2 that is causing the warming, with radiation strangely avoiding naturally-generated CO2 – but that is such a ridiculous idea… surely…?). We still have no real idea of what is causing the present change, only that it is really no different from changes that have happened in the past – and we have no real idea of what caused those changes, either. There is only ONE fact that no-one can disagree with, and that is that we are around to witness the event, and are sufficiently developed to commence a full and proper recording of the conditions, and assimilate sufficient data to assess probable causes.

p.s. sorry if I appear rude and belligerent, but that is because… well… I am a rude and belligerent person.

BTW: hope you, and all others on this site, had a happy Christmas.

Dec 26, 2016 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Frank said: "The costly and ineffective policies chosen by your government to combat AGW are not a scientific problem."

Yes, it is a problem for science.

Your re-writing the "consensus" doesn't magically remove the responsibility of the "consensus" for convincing politicians that CAGW was (and is) real. It is difficult to describe CAGW as anything other than a hoax given the scientific and political circumstances. The political anger will be significant if the "consensus" owns up to the CAGW hoax, but the repercussions will be far worse if you don't.

Dec 26, 2016 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Jonas asked: "What exactly are those 'Laboratory results' you refer to,when you say ... and how did they establish that number 3.7W/m2?

The "laboratory results" come from the equations of quantum mechanics (which has been well studied in the laboratory) and from the absorption spectrum of thermal infrared by GHGs measured in the laboratory. I suspect that you have seen figures like the one below (but those broad absorption bands resolve into hundreds of individual lines at the low pressure and temperature of the upper atmosphere). Laboratory experiments have measured the absorption cross-section (o) (aka extinction coefficient in chemistry) of all of these lines for all GHGs at all relevant wavelengths and temperatures and pressures in our atmosphere. Since o changes with temperature and pressure, I could write this as o(T,P) or o(z) where z is altitude. In particular, "laboratory measurements" refers to these absorption cross-sections (o).

From quantum mechanics, we know how to calculate the change in radiation (dI) of a given wavelength due to absorption and emission of thermal infrared light as it travels a short distance (dz) up or down in our atmosphere. This is done using the Schwarzschild eqn, which is usually not discussed at blogs because of its mathematical complexity. When you hear of "radiative transfer" calculations, this equation is being used. Hopefully it will mean something to you - I was confused until I saw this equation, and afterwards everything seemed "obvious". If you aren't used to differential equations, you may find it opaque.

dI = emission - absorption
dI = +n*o*B(lambda,T)*dz - n*o*I*dz = n*o* { B(lambda,T) - I } *dz

n is the density of GHG molecules per unit volume and varies with altitude n(z)
o is the absorption cross-section for the GHG at the chosen wavelength and also varies with altitude o(z)
B(lambda,T) is Planck's function from Planck's Law for blackbody radiation.
I is the intensity of the radiation at the given wavelength entering the segment of distance dz. I+dI emerges.

Note that the emission term depend on temperature, but the absorption term does not. Both emission and absorption depend on the density of the GHG and how strongly (o) it interacts (emits and absorbs) with radiation of a particular wavelength.

Then you need to integrate (or sum up) all of the dI terms along a path from the surface to space or vice versa (about 50 segments where n, o and T can be treated as constants) and you need to sum up dI over all wavelengths emitted thermally by the planet. (Technically speaking, I is "spectral intensity" or energy flux per unit area per unit wavelength.)

When radiation passes far enough through a dense homogeneous material so that absorption and emission have come into equilibrium with each other, dI = 0 and I = B(lambda,T). At equilibrium, absorption is "saturated" and intensity doesn't change with distance. Planck derived his law by calculating the intensity of radiation in EQUILIBRIUM with "quantized oscillators", giving birth to quantum mechanics. Radiation traveling through our lower atmosphere is strongly absorbed and emitted at some wavelengths (and has blackbody intensity reflecting equilibrium between absorption and emission), but not at other wavelengths. Some wavelengths pass through the whole atmosphere unchanged. Others are changed by absorption and emission in the lower atmosphere, but as the density of GHGs (n) drops with altitude, no longer are changed appreciably at higher, less-dense altitudes. Since the radiation passing through the atmosphere is not always in equilibrium with the local temperature (absorption is not equal to emission locally), we must use the Schwarzschild equation to calculate emission from the top of the atmosphere, and not the simpler S-B eqn. Everyone discussing the S-B equation is over-simplifying.

In the laboratory, we use radiation emitted by a filament which is several thousand degK. In that case, we can ignore the emission term at laboratory temperature and only worry about absorption. In that case, the Schwarzschild eqn simplifies to Beer's Law. So, the Schwarzschild eqn contains Planck's Law and the S-B eqn (which apply only when absorption and emission are in equilibrium) and Beer's Law (which applies when emission is negligible).

-3.7 W/m2/doubling of CO2 comes from starting with blackbody radiation emitted upward by the surface and calculating what happens to its intensity at all wavelengths as travels through dozens of layers (dz) of atmosphere to space. To get the calculation right, you need to start at different locations with different temperatures and humidities and restart the calculation from cloud tops for more than half of the surface. On the average, 390 W/m2 of OLR leaves the surface and 240 W/m2 reaches space through 1XCO2 and 236.3 W/m2 through 2XCO2. Radiation passing downward from space to the surface starts at 0 W/m2 and an average of 333 W/m2 (1XCO2) or 334 W/m2 (2XCO2) of DLR arrives at the surface.

The GHE (or summed changes in radiation, dI) turns out to depend on the temperature gradient in the atmosphere:

dI = n*o* { B(lambda,T) - I } *dz

Look at the term in {brackets}. Upwelling radiation I is emitted from the surface or lower in the atmosphere where it is warmer. Somewhere lower, I has blackbody intensity, B(lambda,T), for a higher T. Thus the term in {brackets} is negative (except in the stratosphere, where temperature rises with altitude). So when the density of GHG increase (n gets bigger), then dI is more negative and less radiation escapes to space. In an isothermal atmosphere, there would be no GHE! When less radiation reaches space because all of the dI terms are slightly more negative, the planet must warm.

Satellites in space have observed the intensity (240 W/m2) and spectrum of LWR radiation reaching space. It agrees with the Schwarzschild eqn. Slight changes in the CO2 band have been detected over the past few decades. The Schwarzschild eqn has also been confirmed in more detail by looking at the spectrum of DLR arriving at the ground after sending a radiosonde up to measure overhead temperature and humidity at all attitudes. There is very good agreement at all wavelengths (except when humidity is very high, a minor problem).

When people say AGW is a settled science, they are dissembling. However, radiative transfer and radiative forcing should be called settled science. The theory of absorption and emission of radiation is part of quantum mechanics and the absorption cross-sections needed to use that theory have been carefully measure in the laboratory, The applicability of the theory in our real atmosphere has been demonstrated in the field. (Some AOGCMs and experiments get slightly different values for 3.7 W/m2, but no one thinks the correct answer is half or twice as big.) A Pause in GW for a decade while CO2 is rising and expected to produce 0.2 K of warming doesn't invalidate this area of science. Climate is subject to chaotic unforced variation (exemplified by ENSO).

MODTRAN and HITRAN are programs that numerically integrate dI and contain absorption cross-sections for GHGs and other data needed to calculate radiation transfer through our atmosphere. You can run MODTRAN for yourself at the link below. You must choose the "atmosphere" through which you want to calculate radiative transfer: tropical, temperate, polar, "US Standard" (used in aviation) and cloud type. No calculation will give you exactly 3.7 W/m2 - that comes from a composite of "many atmospheres". The output contains curves for blackbody radiation at different temperatures. In other words, it shows you what the intensity would be IF emission and absorption were in equilibrium at that temperature. The most strongly absorbed bands for CO2 have intensity appropriate blackbody radiation at 220 K, the temperature of the lower stratosphere where the density has decrease enough to let photons escape to space without being absorbed.

Dec 26, 2016 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Radical Rodent wrote: "So, Frank, what you are saying is that “unforced variation” exists only in those times when you cannot determine other “forcings”; but, if challenged, then you can find other “forcings” ...

The historical record of warming isn't the only information that we have! Radiative forcing is real and you ignore it. Some feedbacks can be observed. ECS is not zero and I think we know that it isn't less than 1 K. With these pieces of information, we can make some estimates for how much forced warming should have occurred. If ECS is 1 or greater, then at least half of warming since 1950 was anthropogenically forced.

I'll agree with most of your comments about unforced variability and the historical record through the Holocene. It is hard to point to any change and definitively say that event X was caused by natural forcing, but event Y (say the Pause or 1940s warmth) was caused by unforced variability. This is not rigorous science. Writing in 1990, Lorenz compared:

1) a 5 degC change in weather for 1 or 2 days, following a week of stable mean average temperature with
2) a change in climate for 1 or 2 decades after a century of relative stability.

Would we say that something forced the weather to change in scenario 1? Of course not, but we have a lot of experience with the weather Then how can we know something forced the climate to change in scenario 2? We can't know! Without many centuries of reliable temperature data, the only way we can understand FORCED climate change is through radiative forcing and ECS. (Lorenz says we can use AOGCMs to attribute warming to forcing - if they haven't been tuned to match the historical record.)

Frustration is the usual cause of rude behavior, but that doesn't need to persist. Others at blogs generously helped me understand the science and its real limitations, when I didn't understand radiative forcing and other phenomena. My early comments were rude because I thought there was an intent to deceive. Sometimes there is, but at Lucia's and ClimateAudit and ScienceofDoom and Judith's, I tend not to find it from the hosts and I recognize some commenters who tend to be more reliable - whether they believed in CAGW or not. I'm returning the favor at this blog since some here seem to be listening. However, I would not advise anyone to trust a blog. Ask for references or sources and find out what you can and can't trust. Otherwise you are just practicing a religion - believing what you want to believe. And in the Internet era, that can be dangerous. See Pizzagate.

FWIW: The Schwarzschild equation can be found in Grant Petty's meteorology textbook, "A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation". The book has nothing to do with climate change. About $40 from Amazon. It has all of the basics, but goes into depth.

Dec 26, 2016 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Frank: I might be frustrated, but we won’t go there. No, I am rude because I am naturally rude; I do not suffer fools gladly, especially when the fool proves to be myself; hence, I am invariably rude (though I might sometimes attempt to conceal it under the guise of humour). Also, I do not like being patronised.

There are two concepts in this farce that I find difficult to swallow: 1) the concept of “forcings”, a term I had not found in science before looking into climate “science” and one which I have trouble accepting, as it seems a bit too trite (and horribly convenient, too); a “forcing” is merely one of the many, many variable conditions within the chaos of the planetary system which might have an influence upon that system; and, 2) the concept of “unforced variation”; surely, I would have thought, an oxymoron – as I said before, a state should remain constant unless acting upon by an outside force (or “forcing”, if you prefer). I would moot that your hypothetical event Y was not caused by “unforced variation” but some not-yet-identified (or perhaps not-yet-admitted) “forcing” within the chaos of the planetary system.

I visit other sites, though might refrain from commenting, as, often enough, my comments can draw a surprising amount of ire from other commenters; occasionally – or rather too often, if truth be told – the site will edit or erase my comments as I raise questions that they will not or cannot answer. This site is one of the few (all, in my experience, sceptical – aka “denier” – sites) where the only constraint is moderation of language – even trolls are tolerated, within certain limitations (some are outrightly offensive) – and others are prepared to answer in reasonable tones, despite me trying their patience (h/t to TBYJ).

I have looked at the many arguments put forward, and the many formulae (though, sadly, the mathematics involved can be way outside my comfort zone or understanding); it will be dismissed as intuition, but I do feel that much of it is flawed. While you might insist that this is equivalent to practicing a religion, I would call it an agnostic view. I have found other hypotheses which are far more acceptable and simpler than the complexity that AGW seems to entail.

Sorry, but I consider that the climate change we are experiencing is entirely natural (or, perhaps to be more accurate, the human influence may well exist, but it is so slight as to be insignificant), and we can do little but observe it and its effects and attempt to determine what might be the principle components affecting it. Changes have happened throughout the history of this planet, not all of which have positively definable causes; some of those changes have been substantial, all of which occurred before humans actually appeared on the scene to cause the “catastrophic effects” of a slight rise in temperatures that we are witnessing, now.

Dec 27, 2016 at 1:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent: If I instantaneously doubled CO2 in the atmosphere, 3.7 W/m2 less OLR would leave the top of the atmosphere. At the instant of change, a radiative imbalance and a radiative forcing mean the same thing. The retained heat will gradually warm the earth and as it warms it will start radiate more OLR out the top of the atmosphere. That means that the radiative imbalance will shrink towards zero. However, we say that the "force driving warming" or "radiative forcing" is still 3.7 W/m2. Radiative forcing hasn't finished driving change until the radiative imbalance is zero. When the radiative imbalance reaches zero, we will have reached the new equilibrium temperature. ESC is the temperature change associated with the forcing (the doubling of CO2) and we report it in K/doubling.

In the real world, radiative forcing from GHGs has been slowing growing, creating a radiative imbalance AND a rising temperature. In this scenario, the rising radiative forcing is never equal to the radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. Right now, all "forcings" add up to 2+ W/m2, but 20th century warming has already begun to reduce the radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. According to ARGO, the current radiative imbalance is about 0.5 W/m2, the other 1.5+ W/m2 of radiative forcing have been negated by warming increasing OLR. If radiative forcing stopped increasing today, we would be about 3/4 the way to equilibrium warming.

Dec 27, 2016 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Frank, I would suggest that climate change consensus has become so political that to not at least point this out publicly and clearly to decision makers, as well as to demand that the scientific community condemns those so engaged, is to allow the problem to get worse. To the extent that science is supposed to have a check and balance system to correct error, it has clearly failed in the climate science arena.

Dec 27, 2016 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Perhaps Dr Schmuck will discuss the abuse of the climate consensus in January.

Any chance of another post Bish.

Merry Christmas by the way.

Dec 27, 2016 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Okay, Frank. Let us try to look at this another way: bearing in mind that the ice age scare of the 1970s was all because of CO2, and there are now increasingly desperate moves to air-brush it from history, how long would it be before a plummeting temperature scenario creates another “ice age” scare, and then attempts to air-brush the recent warming farrago out of history start?

You seem unable to realise that what you called “unforced variations” that you say caused the 1945-75 cooling, as well as the 1998-present plateau, are just as likely to have caused the 1975-98 rise. Why is that such a difficult concept to consider? I do not understand why you insist that it is all the fault of CO2; as I have pointed out on other posts, there are only two planets that we have managed to monitor to any degree of detail with which we can make comparisons with this planet, and both point to the possibility that there is no such thing as “greenhouse effect”, with both being “blessed” with atmospheres that are 11+ doublings of Earth’s, and no sign of any ECS at Earth-equivalent pressures. The lamest excuse I have been given for both is that the albedo just so happens to have reduced the relevant temperatures by an amount exactly equal to what the ECS should have raised it. While I cannot discount that idea totally, my instinct (and Occam’s Razor) leads to that it is that it is a load of crock, and we need to approach this from an entirely different angle.

What we really need to be doing is to agree on and then establish a reliable monitoring network, and collecting the relevant data.

Dec 27, 2016 at 5:42 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent wrote: "there are only two planets that we have managed to monitor to any degree of detail with which we can make comparisons with this planet, and both point to the possibility that there is no such thing as “greenhouse effect”."

Perhaps I can change your opinion on this subject. One can define a GHE in terms of temperature or in terms of W/m2. Defining the GHE as the difference in temperature with and without GHGs can be a fool's errand. If one removes all GHGs, clouds and surface albedo, the planet will be different. Everyone argues about the difference between today and some arbitrary model for the Earth without GHGs. There is NO right answer to this problem.

For me, the GHE is the difference in emission of thermal radiation between the surface (averaging 390 W/m2) and the top of the atmosphere (240 W/m2): 160 W/m2. This approach also works well for Venus and Mars. Simple.

The enhanced greenhouse effect (or radiative forcing) from 2XCO2 is 3.7 W/m2, for a total GHE of 163.7 W/m2. Equally simple.

(The GHE and radiative forcing are measuring the same thing, the change in outgoing radiation caused by the presence of an atmosphere or changes in that atmosphere. For the GHE, the reference point is surface emission (no atmospheric interference. For radiative forcing (aka the enhanced GHE), the reference point is TOA emission from the pre-ndustrial atmosphere.

Trouble starts when we try to convert a change in radiation (W/m2) into a change in temperature (K) Converting a GHE of 160 W/m2 into a temperature change of 33 K. Converting a radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2 into an ECS of ??? K. These are all controversial subject with no right answer. When the planet's temperature changes, other things change: clouds, surface ice, humidity, lapse rate. In AGW, we call changes associated with warming feedbacks, but feedbacks also interfere with calculating a GHE of 33 K. (The consensus likes to ignore this problem.) Without a handle on feedbacks, we can't convert ANY change in radiation into a change in temperature. For AGW, we can hope feedbacks are linear (a fixed value in terms of W/m2/K) over the few degrees K of warming we expect.. That hope is ridiculous for a change of 33 K.

The only way to avoid dealing with feedbacks is to PRETEND your planet is a blackbody with a fixed albedo (or a graybody with fixed albedo and emissivity). That is already several arbitrary assumptions and others have added a rotating or non-rotating spherical blackbody to the list. The large number of choices provides plenty of room for misunderstanding and controversy. Using a blackbody model with fixed albedo, a GHE 160 W/m2 becomes 33 K and an enhanced GHE of 3.7 W/m2 becomes 1.0 K (ie a no-feedbacks climate sensitivity of 1.0 K). Other choices are possible. None is "more correct" than any other; they all ignore feedbacks.

Given what I've learned about feedbacks, I'm confident that Earth's ECS can't much less than 1 K. Therefore I can conclude that current radiative force is responsible for at least half of recent warming is forced.

Dec 27, 2016 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

RR: What conclusions should I draw from the putative ice-age scare? Or Schneider's "nuclear winter", which became "nuclear autumn"? Neither was as big and widespread as the CAGW scare. That some scientists are alarmists about almost anything? Alarmism helps with publications and funding and ego? Do vaccines cause autism? Does the 2LoT prevent DLR from existing? Can DLR warm the ocean? Is the hockey stick "wrong"? Is a child sex ring operating out of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington DC?

All scientists should approach new ideas with skepticism. The hype is irrelevant. Only the science is relevant. The "coming ice age" of the 1970's is irrelevant to AGW today - except for the credibility of those personally involved in promoting it. What I hate most about the hype surrounding CAGW is what it does to the credibility of my profession!

For the last time, unforced and natural variability make it IMPOSSIBLE to say that 20th-century warming is due to GHGs. This is what the IPCC said in 1990. This is what the 1990 Lorenz paper I recommended said would be true in 2000 after another decade of warming - and the Pause began at the end of that decade. The Met Office said the same thing in their response to Parliamentary inquiries started by Doug ?. The consensus - when they are acting like scientists, not policy advocates - says that the temperature record ALONE doesn't prove something is changing our climate! We all agree with you. So please stop arguing about the temperature record ALONE.

After 1990, the IPCC added climate models to their analysis of the historical record of warming. Those models say that unforced (and natural variability) can not explain recent warming - it must have been anthropogenically forced. There are plenty of good reasons for suspecting that those models underestimate unforced and natural variability. If so, the IPCC's attribution statements are wrong! (This is Judith Curry's biggest complaint about the IPCC, they are ignore evidence of variability that is difficult to explain with models. I agree.)

I don't trust climate models - then can be tuned to assign any fraction of recent warming to rising GHGs. However, my investigations into feedbacks suggests that ECS and TCR can't be much below 1. ESC combined with radiative forcing tells me at least half of warming must be forced. Unforced variability could have added the other half. Or it could all have been forced. Or unforced variability could have reduced the amount of forced warming.

Dec 27, 2016 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Frank, if I may butt in: I see a simpler way to come to the conclusion that there is a Greenhouse Effect if you would bear with me.
A Black sphere with an atmosphere of nitrogen is at a steady state and re-radiating its solar derived energy to space. We add a couple of CO2 molecules, one dark side, one light side. The re-radiation, previously from the sphere surface is now above that. Gravity induced pressure gradient creates a lapse rate between the new radiating height and the surface. There is a GE because surface temperature is higher than it was before and higher than the S-B derived temperature. Coincidently, as the radiating area has increased, seen from space, the outgoing radiation has remained the same but its average temperature has reduced.
As I have just explained a GE which matches observations, is not all the radiative forcing theory of GE, if not Mumbo-Jumbo, at least redundant?

Dec 28, 2016 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

ssat: Your simpler model provides a reasonable rational for the GHE and the results produced by the Schwarzschild eqn. I happen to prefer the mathematical approach:

dI = n*o* { B(lambda,T) - I } *dz

When the term in {brackets} is negative (as it is for upwelling radiation traveling from hotter to colder), radiation passing through an atmosphere with more GHG (larger n) must decrease with altitude. For those who aren't mathematically inclined, your explanation is better. All explanations have weaknesses.

However, the increase in radiating surface area for the surface of the Earth (radius 6371 km) and the emission level of the atmosphere (10 km higher) is trivial.

The best thing for everyone is to use the MODTRAN website (linked above), which makes it easy for anyone to use the Schwarzschild eqn in person and see what actually happens - quantitatively. Above I tried to show that the unfamiliar Schwarzschild eqn produces physics that may be more familiar - Planck's Law (from which the Stefan-Boltzmann equation is derived) and Beer's Law.

FWIW, some skeptics mistakenly think gravity alone creates a lapse rate - that the lower atmosphere is warmer because it has less potential energy and therefore more kinetic energy. However, if a temperature gradient developed in an atmosphere because of a gravitational field, one could use that temperature difference and a heat engine to do work and thereby violate the law of conservation of energy. If the potential and kinetic energy argument were correct, there also would be more heavier gases (CO2 and Ar) near the surface. The troposphere has a temperature gradient because the surface is heated by absorbed SWR and buoyancy-driven convection develops when the temperature gradient becomes too steep. The gradient expected for buoyancy-driven convection and the gravitational potential energy argument are the same (-g/Cp). The fact that gases with different MWs are evenly distributed in the troposphere tells us that the gradient here must be the result of convective mixing, not gravity. Above about 100 km (where there is no vertical convection), lighter gases are enriched at higher altitudes.

Dec 28, 2016 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Scott Adams (Dilbert) December 28th

So today’s challenge is to find a working scientist or PhD in some climate-related field who will agree with the idea that the climate science models do a good job of predicting the future.

Notice I am avoiding the question of the measurements. That’s a separate question. For this challenge, don’t let your scientist conflate the measurements or the basic science of CO2 with the projections. Just ask the scientist to offer an opinion on the credibility of the models only.

Remind your scientist that as far as you know there has never been a multi-year, multi-variable, complicated model of any type that predicted anything with useful accuracy. Case in point: The experts and their models said Trump had no realistic chance of winning.

Your scientist will fight like a cornered animal to conflate the credibility of the measurements and the basic science of CO2 with the credibility of the projection models. Don’t let that happen. Make your scientist tell you that complicated multi-variable projections models that span years are credible. Or not.

Then report back to me in the comments here or on Twitter at @ScottAdamsSays.

Dec 28, 2016 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Frank, thank you for your reasoned reply. My description of a GE was non-dimensional in order to explain the relationship between radiating height and temperature. All of my statements were factually correct and my conclusion from them would be that a planet with a Greenhouse Effect can be defined as one where the average radiating temperature is less than the S-B calculated surface temperature and its near-surface temperature is greater than that S-B calculated temperature. I suspect we would agree on that.

What we should also be able to agree on is that the GE should be observable in the atmosphere. On Earth, the GE is ~33 degC, measured by thermometers at the bottom of the atmospheric column and compared to the S-B derived average radiating temperature. That is Earth's steady state condition: The volume of the atmosphere is supported by the energy flowing through it, that, in turn, is a function of its temperature and its temperature a result of radiative gas concentration.

A profile of pressure through the atmosphere behaves as one would expect and can be seen in the chart of Standard Atmosphere. The temperature profile does not follow that curve and must therefore have other influences. However, for the 33 degC we are interested in, assuming energy is evenly distributed among radiative gasses and their near neighbours, pressure variation will create temperature variation. There will be a lapse rate.

The dynamics of the steady state require radiative gasses to be absorbing, re-emitting and conducting omni-directionally while the received solar energy passes through. It would be perverse not to uncover DWLWIR in those circumstances with an instrument able to detect that: It would be the result of atmospheric radiative gas.

What I am being told is the cause of GE, I see as one result of it. Basically, effect is being confused with cause.

Dec 29, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"Total final energy consumption fell by 2.1 per cent between the third quarter of 2015 and the third
quarter of 2016.
Domestic sector energy consumption fell by 11.9 per cent, reflecting the warmer weather
compared to a year earlier. Average temperatures in the third quarter of 2016 were 1.6 degrees
Celsius warmer than a year earlier, with average temperatures in September 2016 being 3.0
degrees Celsius warmer than in September 2015.
Service sector energy consumption fell by 4.2 per cent.
Industrial sector energy consumption fell by 2.6 per cent.
Transport sector energy consumption rose by 0.4 per cent."

UK Energy Trends publication December 2016 covering Q3.
Again notice the risible warm weather excuse .

A social creditor would spot this now extremely deep structural schism in the energy system immediately.

We see continued rising energy consumption in the transport sector which is at the nexus of the consumer war economy.
Meanwhile we have extreme rationing in the final domestic sector , the point where humans actually consume the Industrial surplus.

Dec 29, 2016 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

ssat: As discussed above, I preferred to say there is a 150 W/m2 GHE (390-240), not a 33 K GHE. Anytime one tries to convert a change in radiation into a change in temperature, one needs to make assumptions that no everyone agrees with. Those assumptions are the model you choose for Earth without GHG's. For example is albedo still 30%? Why?

I didn't intend to criticize you description of the GHE as being due to a rising characteristic emission altitude. It conveys a clear description of how the GHE works. In reality, however, the photons that escape to space are emitted from all altitudes in the atmosphere (and 10 % from the surface) and it is the average of all of these that rises. Only modestly more photons originate where the temperature is around 255 K (5 km) than other altitudes.

Dec 29, 2016 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Frank wrote: "some "climate scientists" currently deny (so I am told by some AGW "consensus" advocates) that they ever supported the CAGW theory."

I remember Gavin doing this very thing. In his infernal in-line replies to commenters on RC, he specifically stated that he was not an alarmist, but then further down in the same thread, he wrote something like "but if we don't do something to limit CO2 emissions, we could be in real trouble."

Ha ha ha ha ha.... distinctions without differences.

As for Schneider's statement about each of us needing to decide between honesty and effectiveness, the trailing "hopefully, that means both" is a total weasel job. He's outlining his top priority, and accepting lies IF the problem is bad enough. That's what post-normal climate science is based upon, the presumption that CO2 emissions have already been proven to meet this "bad-enough" standard. To those who think he was advocating for unquestioning honesty, total objectivity, total transparency, pull your heads out.

I really hate weasel words. And poor little weasels, brave, ferocious little hunters getting smeared by climate scientists. It's not fair, it's not right. Stop the weasel words.

Dec 30, 2016 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

The sun was shining brightly
Upon the fields below:
He did his very best to make
The corn and fruit to grow;
And that was wrong because it brings
The prices down, you know.

The corn was ripening in the fields,
The fruit upon the tree;
The shops were full, and laden ships
Were sailing on the sea:
All things had a fictitious look
Of fair prosperity;
And that was wrong because the world
Was ruined utterly.

The Banker and Economist
Were walking hand in hand.
They wept like anything to see
Such plenty in the land.
“If this were only stopped” they said,
“The prospect would be grand!”

“If seven pests or seven plagues
Were loosened every year,
“I think” said the Economist
“That things would then be dear.”
“I wonder” said the Banker
And wiped away a tear.

“Consumer come and talk with us”
They both did make request.
“The time has come to tell you what
For you we think is best.”
“O thank you” the consumer said
With lively interest.

“And first” said the Economist
“It’s needful to explain
The economic laws which prove
That trade must wax and wane,
And why abundance is a curse,
“And scarcity a gain.”

“But not to me“ the man replied,
Turning a little white
“Such dismal scientific stuff
Would stupefy me quite.
“I’ll take it all on trust because
“I know you must be right.”

Two winking eyes behind the back
Of that Consumer met,
As if to say: “This blessed boob
“Has asked for what he’ll get.”
“Old chap” said the Economist,
“Your trust you won’t regret.

“This gross abundance that you see
Before your hungry eyes
Has ruined all the primary
Producing industries:
And so, to set things right again,
We must economise.

“And first we’ll make a cut in costs
By cutting down your screw,
And next we’ll cut production down
Till prices rise anew.
Then, though you’ll have less goods to buy,
More work you’ll have to do.”

“Right oh!” the good consumer said
(A sturdy Briton he),
And, smiling bravely, yielded up
His share of L.S.D.
By such contraction wages show
Their elasticity.

“It seems a shame” the Banker said
“To play him such a prank.”
With sobs and tears he cancelled out
A credit at the bank:
And that was right, unless you are
A monetary crank.

“Consumer” said that pleasant pair,
We’ve had a useful day.
Shall we be trotting home again?”
But nothing did he say:
And that was right enough because
He’d faded quite away.

Eimar O Duffy.

Dec 30, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Examine the British energy trends publication.
There is a direct and obvious correlation between Drax and other coal stations biomass conversion and the implosion of domestic energy consumption despite the large migrant increase.

The inflated costs of living prevent native family formation.
However the British and Euro banks require fresh blood , they invite the 1970s and 80s children of the Warsaw pact into their lair as a vampire invites guests to his castle .
(Birth rates were pretty respectable in the communist zone despite mass abortion)
Post 1989 the births collapsed.
As the forces of usury requires fresh blood they have instigated war and social breakdown in the Middleeast so as to funnel these poor misfortunates into their now absurd wood burning satanic mills.

The history of capitalism is the Scouring of the Shire repeated again and again and again.

Dec 30, 2016 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Some interesting observations although Marxist in tone.
Wanting the big state to save us from ourselves etc etc.

Dec 30, 2016 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Med check.

Dec 30, 2016 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Frank wrote:

I preferred to say there is a 150 W/m2 GHE (390-240), not a 33 K GHE.

Frank, lest we forget, the Greenhouse Effect is exactly a temperature effect. It is, we are told, what makes our planet habitable. It is only a radiative effect in the eyes of those that believe it is.

Frank wrote:

In reality, however, the photons that escape to space are emitted from all altitudes in the atmosphere (and 10 % from the surface) and it is the average of all of these that rises.

I absolutely agree which is why I wrote; That is Earth's steady state condition: The volume of the atmosphere is supported by the energy flowing through it, that, in turn, is a function of its temperature and its temperature a result of radiative gas concentration.

Frank wrote;

Those assumptions are the model you choose for Earth without GHG's. For example is albedo still 30%? Why?

My 'model' was descriptive of the initiation of a greenhouse effect in a prior non-radiative atmosphere. I formulated it for the ease in which it conveys an explanation of GE as opposed to the normal approach which vexes so many who read it. It needs no numbers attached to it: Absorption coefficients, albedo, irradiance, fluxes, concentrations etc need not be known.

Dec 30, 2016 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat


I do not see the point of this continual debunking of the trendy climate change set.
Its merely a capitalistic tactic to increase prices higher then income.
It has no validity.
Its becoming boring now.
What matters is its real world effects on for example social complexity.
The monopoly has been in continual expansion for 500+ years now.
It can now only maintain monopoly through Industrial sabotage which it calls climate change or whatever else takes its fancy.
I follow the Desmond Fennell doctrine in so far as accepting that the bomb has dropped already.
Civilization as we know it is no more etc etc.

The powers that be chose the replacement of Christianiaty with consumerism.
However it has even more internal contradictions then the old belief system.
Chief among them is the utter failure to actually consume as borne out by the UK final energy consumption figures.
Me thinks Hunter you are a bore unable to observe the real world around you.
Accuse others of madness but if you take British ebergy stats as real then my observations cannot be refuted.

Put it this way .
Danial Defoe was a great writer but also a spy.
A master of subterfuge.
You of course may enjoy a conversation but you do not take him at his word.
He is merely trying to sell you some scheme on behalf of his central bank friends.

Dec 30, 2016 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

The consumerist marriage cannot be consummated .
It therefore can be dissolved without consequence.
However the marriage strangely persists despite itself.
The only way to get real now is to go on a ultra long walk.
To make love to the mountain Count Henry Russell style.
To crave hunger and satisfy it by going to extremes.

Dec 30, 2016 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Dec 30, 2016 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

An end of year dorkish blast,
Is cast
Upon a disinterested hoard.

Such littering!

Will the Bishop sanctify or excommunicate into electronic chaos?

Dec 31, 2016 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSinger beneath bridges

Seat: The GHE slows down the rate heat scares to space as radiation, thereby making the planet warmer (a consequence of the law of conservation of energy). That is simple and correct - Qualitatively. When we try to turn this into a quantitative statement, It is always correct to say the GHE causes 150 W/m2 less radiation to escape our planet for space than is emitted by the the surface. However, "warmer" requires answering the question "warmer than what?" For example, the moon is the same distance from the sun as the Earth and does not have a GHE. It's average temperature is probably higher than Earth's. The difference between day and night and Equatorial and polar is 200 K, so the average is poorly known. Thus I have a preference for quantifying the GHE in terms of W/m2, not degC. It avoids needless controversy about the existence of a GHE and an enhanced GHE.

In both cases, the controversy arises when we convert W/m2 to degC. For the eGHE, conversion depends on climate sensitivity, CS is highly uncertain, but it isn't zero. However, I don't want to start explaining why zero is impossible to someone who knows the moon is warmer than the Earth which "proves" GHEs are bogus. Radiation change is simple, temperature change is complicated.

Dec 31, 2016 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Frank, GHG's don't trap radiation, they absorb and re-radiate it. The law of conservation is radiation in from the sun equals radiation out at TOA and there isn't a shred of evidence that there's an imbalance.

What you state is an unproven theory that has no basis in science.

Dec 31, 2016 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Mason

In my opinion people who cannot manage to ask themselves the simple questions are stupid beyond words.
I feel for their ignorance.

Dec 31, 2016 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Martin Mason's comments contain some common mistakes that plague online discussions of the GHE.

GHGs do not absorb and re-radiate photons. They absorb a photon creating an excited state that is relaxed by collisions with other molecules (thermalized) much faster than it can emit a new photon. Excited states are also produced by collisions and more than 99% of photons are emitted after being excited by a collision. Therefore the rate photons are emitted depend only on the local temperature, not the local radiation. When collisions occur much faster than any other process, we say a gas is in Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium or LTE.

Conservation of energy does NOT mean radiation in must equal radiation out. It means that when more energy (of all forms) is absorbed by an object than released by that object, it becomes "internal energy" - higher temperature. It gets warmer on sunny day and in the summer because absurd solar radiation is converted to higher temperature. Microwave oven heat when microwave radiation is absorbed.

In the troposphere, convection carries latent heat upward until clouds form and release it. This allows GHGs in the atmospher to be warm enough to emit more radiation than they absorb!

Sadly, Martin Mason is not knowledgeable about the physics of the interaction of radiation and matter (quantum mechanics) which has been tested and well understood for nearly a century. Nor does he know about the ARGO floats that have measured the planet's radiative imbalance (about 0.5 W/m2) via rising ocean temperature.

There are good reasons to be skeptical of the consensus on CAGW! Don't discredit skepticism with such nonsense, especially at the site of the author of an important skeptical book.

Dec 31, 2016 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

John Waters on the end of debate .
The human want to be liked rather then making a correct observation.
The culture within a liberal newspaper of note .

Its perhaps easier to observe the fragments of society as our (Irish)trajectory through the blackhole was so much more direct and quick.

The observations of the new anti universe can therefore be more fresh and authentic as to a large extent the changes happened in one human lifetime rather then the mutigenerational long 20th century flux within the larger island.

Dec 31, 2016 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

I see that Phil Clarke,thinks Griff has a point when actually he was made to be a fool shortly afterwards,when this was posted to Griff's amazingly stupid comment about Dr. Crockford.

Griff said,

"BTW: does Susan [Crockford] actually have any qualifications to speak about bear populations?

She does not research or publish (scientifically) about bears, nor is she involved in the biology of arctic populations, so far as I know."

Here is the reply that Phil must have missed because he comically thinks Griff said something intelligent:

"I am a zoologist with more than 35 years experience, including published work on the Holocene history of Arctic animals. I am currently an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and work full time for a private consulting company I co-own with two colleagues, Pacific Identifications Inc.
Crockford 08_21_2011_0056b

Like Ian Stirling, grand-daddy of all polar bear biologists, I earned my undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of British Columbia. Polar bear evolution is one of my professional interests, which I discuss in my 2006 book, Rhythms of Life: Thyroid Hormone and the Origin of Species (based on my Ph.D. dissertation earned in 2004 at the University of Victoria, B.C. Canada), see

You’ll find a list of my publications (with a brief introduction) further down, after the list of my most popular posts (with links). At the bottom of this page is a brief bio for posting elsewhere.

Zoogeography, paleoecology, archaeozoology and ostemetry papers
**Crockford, S. J. 2012. Annotated map of ancient polar bear remains of the world. Electronic resource, available at http://polarbearscience/references ISBN 978-0-9917966-0-1.

*Crockford, S.J. 2012. Archaeozoology of Adak Island: 6000 years of subsistence history in the central Aleutians. Pg. 109-145 in D. West, V. Hatfield, E. Wilmerding, L. Gualtieri and C. Lefevre (eds), The People Before: The Geology, Paleoecology and Archaeology of Adak Island, Alaska. British Archaeological Reports International Series, Oxford, pg 109-145. ISBN 978-4073-0905-7

*Nishida, S., West, D., Crockford, S. and Koike, H. 2012. Ancient DNA analysis for the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) from archaeological sites on Adak, Aleutian Islands. Pg. 147-165 in D. West, V. Hatfield, E. Wilmerding, C. Lefèvre, L. Gualtieri (eds.), The People Before: The Geology, Paleoecology and Archaeology of Adak Island, Alaska. Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, International Series 2322, ISBN 978-4073-0905-7.

*Wilson, B.J., Crockford, S.J., Johnson, J.W., Malhi, R.S. and B.M. Kemp. 2011. Genetic and archaeological evidence for a former breeding population of Aleutian Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii leucopareia) on Adak Island, central Aleutians, Alaska. Canadian Journal of Zoology 89: 732-743.

**Crockford, S.J. and G. Frederick 2011. Neoglacial sea ice and life history flexibility in ringed and fur seals. pg.65-91 in T. Braje and R. Torrey, eds. Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters: Integrating Archaeology and Ecology in the Northeast Pacific. U. California Press, LA.

*Baichtal, J.F. and Crockford, S.J. 2011. Possibility of kelp during the LGM in SE Alaska and implications for marine mammals. Poster 5-12, 19th Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Tampa, FL. Nov. 28-Dec.2.

**Crockford, S.J. 2008. Be careful what you ask for: archaeozoological evidence of mid-Holocene climate change in the Bering Sea and implications for the origins of Arctic Thule. Pp. 113-131 in G. Clark, F. Leach and S. O’Connor (eds.), Islands of Inquiry: Colonisation, Seafaring and the Archaeology of Maritime Landscapes. Terra Australis 29 ANU E Press, Canberra.

**Crockford, S. and Frederick, G. 2007. Sea ice expansion in the Bering Sea during the Neoglacial: evidence from archaeozoology. The Holocene 17(6):699-706.

*Crockford, S.J., Frederick, G. & Wigen, R. 2002. The Cape Flattery fur seal: An extinct species of Callorhinus in the eastern north Pacific? Canadian Journal of Archaeology 26(3):152-174.
Martinsson-Wallin, H. & Crockford, S.J. 2001. Early human settlement of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Asian Perspectives 40(2):244-278. (Includes an analysis of fish remains & a comprehensive list of modern Rapa Nui fishes).

Crockford, S.J. 1997. Archaeological evidence of large northern bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, in coastal waters of British Columbia and northern Washington. Fishery Bulletin 95:11-24.
Domestication, speciation and evolution papers

Crockford, S.J. and Kusmin, Y.V. 2012. Comments on Germonpré et al., Journal of Archaeological Science 36, 2009 “Fossil dogs and wolves from Palaeolithic sites in Belgium, the Ukraine and Russia: osteometry, ancient DNA and stable isotopes”, and Germonpré, Lázkičková-Galetová, and Sablin, Journal of Archaeological Science 39, 2012 “Palaeolithic dog skulls at the Gravettian Předmostí site, the Czech Republic.” Journal of Archaeological Science 39:2797-2801.

**Crockford, S.J. 2012. Directionality in polar bear hybridization. Comment (May 1) to Hailer et al. 2012. “Nuclear genomic sequences reveal that polar bears are an old and distinct bear lineage.” Science 336:344-347. Follow link and click on “# comments” under the title

**Crockford, S.J. 2012. Directionality in polar bear hybridization. Comment, with references (May 1) to Edwards et al. 2011. “Ancient hybridization and an Irish origin for the modern polar bear matriline.” Current Biology 21:1251-1258. to view comments, go through the host website, and find the paper at the Current Biology website.

Ovodov, N.D., Crockford, S.J., Kuzmin, Y.V., Higham, T.F.G., Hodgins, G.W.L. and van der Plicht, J.. 2011. A 33,000 year old incipient dog from the Altai Mountains of Siberia: Evidence of the earliest domestication disrupted by the Last Glacial Maximum. PLoS One 10.1371/journal.pone.0022821.
Crockford, S.J. 2009. Evolutionary roots of iodine and thyroid hormones in cell-cell signaling. Integrative and Comparative Biology 49:155-166.

**Crockford, S.J. 2006. Rhythms of Life: Thyroid Hormone and the Origin of Species. Trafford, Victoria [for a general audience, polar bear evolution discussed];

**Crockford, S.J. 2004. Animal Domestication and Vertebrate Speciation: A Paradigm for the Origin of Species. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Victoria (Canada), Interdisciplinary Studies. [filed at the National Library under Zoology; polar bear evolution discussed] Pdf available, just ask.

**Crockford, S.J. 2003. Thyroid rhythm phenotypes and hominid evolution: a new paradigm implicates pulsatile hormone secretion in speciation and adaptation changes. International Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A Vol. 35 (#1, May issue):105-129. [an invited submission; polar bear evolution discussed]

**Crockford, S.J. 2002. Thyroid hormone in Neandertal evolution: A natural or pathological role? Geographical Review 92(1):73-88. [an invited commentary]

**Crockford, S.J. 2002. Animal domestication and heterochronic speciation: the role of thyroid hormone. pg. 122-153. In: N. Minugh-Purvis & K. McNamara (eds.) Human Evolution Through Developmental Change. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. [polar bear evolution discussed].

Crockford, S.J. 2000. Dog evolution: a role for thyroid hormone in domestication changes. pg. 11-20. In: S. Crockford (ed.), Dogs Through Time: An Archaeological Perspective. Archaeopress S889, Oxford.
Crockford, S. J. 2000. A commentary on dog evolution: regional variation, breed development and hybridization with wolves. pg. 295-312. In: S. Crockford (ed.), Dogs Through Time: An Archaeological Perspective. Archaeopress S889, Oxford.

Northwest Coast dog studies
Crockford, S.J., Moss, M.L., and Baichtal, J.F. 2012. Pre-contact dogs from the Prince of Wales archipelago, Alaska. Alaska Journal of Anthropology 9(1):49-64.

Crockford, S.J., 2005. Breeds of native dogs in North America before the arrival of European dogs. Proceedings of the World Small Animal Veterinary Congress, Mexico City. [invited lecture] available online at:

Koop, B.F., Burbidge, M., Byun, A., Rink, U, & Crockford, S.J. 2000. Ancient DNA evidence of a separate origin for North American indigenous dogs. pg. 271-285. In: S. Crockford (ed.), Dogs Through Time: An Archaeological Perspective. British Archaeological Reports (B.A.R.), Archaeopress S889, Oxford. (collaborative research with Univ. of Victoria (Ben Koop, Biology) & National Science & Engineering Research Council, Canada (NSERC) [first published analysis of ancient dog DNA]

Crockford, S.J. 1997. Osteometry of Makah and Coast Salish Dogs. Archaeology Press, Publication 22, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.

[A comprehensive analysis of cranial & postcranial remains of adult dogs from 20 coastal archaeological sites]
Crockford, S.J. & Pye, C.J. 1997. Forensic reconstruction of prehistoric dogs from the Northwest Coast. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 21(2):149-153 [the story of the wool dog/village dog sketches done by RCMP forensic artist CJ Pye]

Seal and sea lion diet studies
Tollit, D.J., Schulze, A., Trites, A.W., Olesiuk, P., Crockford, S.J., Gelatt, T., Ream, R. & Miller, K. 2009. Development and application of DNA techniques for validating and improving pinniped diet estimates based on conventional scat analysis. Ecological Applications 19(4):889-905. [This study compares my bone ID of prey species to DNA analysis]

Olesiuk, P.F., Bigg, M.A., Ellis, G.M., Crockford, S.J. & Wigen, R.J. 1990. An assessment of the feeding habits of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, based on scat analysis. Canadian Technical Reports on Fisheries & Aquatic Science. 1730."

Phil apparently thinks that since she only published a couple dozen research papers on many Animals such as Dogs,Sea Otters,POLAR BEARS,Fish,as a Professional Zoologist make her unqualified to asses Polar Bear population.

You are a funny guy Phil.

Dec 31, 2016 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered Commentersunsettommy

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