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Discussion > "Climate communication" - what do you think?

Jul 9, 2012 at 6:04 PM | simon abingdon

Hi Simon

Sure, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about forcings (eg: perturbation to the Earth's energy balance) not feedbacks (how the climate system responds to this perturbation). We got onto this (off-topic!) discussion because I said that the climate will be subject to an ongoing forcing (Jul 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM) and Dung challenged me to present evidence for that (Jul 2, 2012 at 8:10 PM).

We already know that global mean temperatures have increased decade-on-decade, so it does not look as if there is any over-compensating cooling acting on those timescales. It also looks as if the feedbacks are overall positive rather than negative, although as you know, the uncertainties are of course large.

Jul 9, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Dung

Hi Dung

The fact that Harries et al find a change in the longwave radiation budget in exactly the wavelengths corresponding to the lines in the CO2 absorption spectra shows that CO2 is not yet saturated.

Cheers

Richard

Jul 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

And all Harries had to do was to convert the units he observed the change into the same units we use to discuss forcing. It would have shown the linkage between observed CO2 changes and observed effects in the radiation budget. We've argued about it for years, and yet nobody has referred to Harries until now, and Harries does not present his results in a way which would be relevant to that argument. Is it not as easy as I perceive it to be? Can we get 2012 figures too?

Or would I be wrong, with my best evidence hat on, to suspect that the results show nothing much?

Jul 10, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

rhoda

Here is a comprehensive collection of observational data showing energy accumulating in the climate system:

GAT, cryospheric shrinkage, SLR, land surface temperature, SSTs, OHC

The calculated forcingfrom GHGs, principally CO2 is sufficient to account for the observations. Nothing else is. There is no serious alternative candidate. Nothing. Parsimonious reasoning leads to the conclusion that RF from CO2 is the most likely explanation for the observations.

Looking back over your whole position here, it seems to me that you are actually denying the existence of greenhouse effect under the guise of a demand for 'best evidence'. If you are not denying the existence and efficacy of radiative forcing from CO2, then you are obliged accept that the observations are the best evidence for CO2 forcing that you require. Or you have to provide an even more plausible alternative, which nobody has ever done. Oh, and explain why the RF from CO2 *doesn't* cause energy to accumulate in the climate system.

Part of communicating science is to get people to ask 'scientific' questions of themselves, surely? To think as clearly and objectively as possible. To reason against bias. No?

Your best evidence was there all the time.

Jul 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, I only ever ask questions. I make no statements on science. I am not obliged to have a position, nor may you assume anything other than what I write. Parsimonious reasoning makes me think you have nothing to add here but needless disputation.

Jul 10, 2012 at 2:35 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

rhoda

BBD, I only ever ask questions. I make no statements on science.

Not so. You are not a neutral inquirer here. This is you on your 'best evidence' thread:

I don't know who is reading here ,but no-one from the warmist camp has come up with anything but diversionary tactics. I conclude that the evidence is absent.

Describing the mainstream scientific position on AGW as 'the warmist camp' is makes it perfectly clear where you stand, as does everything you say here. Why pretend?

On that thread, you asked:

We are all familiar with the usual litany of models, proxies and the dead Swede, but why don't they show me 'radiative forcing' actually happening? By measurement of actual heating taking place.

See links above for lots of measurements of actual heating taking place. Actual heating caused by the increased RF from the increased atmospheric fraction of CO2. Best evidence, as requested.

Remember, to dispute the primary role of CO2 in causing energy to accumulate in the climate system you must

- deny the physics of radiative forcing, aka 'the greenhouse effect' *and*

- provide solid evidence for an alternative forcing sufficient to explain observed warming

Keywords: parsimonious reasoning, scientific communication, objectivity.

Jul 10, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

Radiative forcing as a source of warming the Earth is a theory, it is not proven. The fact that the world has not warmed for over a decade is empirical evidence that it is not happening. Dont even think about giving me any long term average b******t, radiative physics as it is described should be happening on a day to day basis. It is not happening.
Since the Hockey stick is a rotting corpse, the only thing keeping the CAGW charade on the road is radiative forcing/feedbacks and there is no proof.

Jul 10, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung

Nobody ever said the warming would be monotonous. Natural variability hasn't just stopped because of additional CO2 forcing. Trotting out spurious arguments like 'warming has stopped = AGW falsified" is illogical and reveals how shallow your grasp of the background detail actually is. DItto remarks about the Hockey Stick, which has nothing to do with the causes of modern climate change. Understand that nobody cares about the Hockey Stick any more except contrarians.

Arguing that there is no proof for the existence and effects of RF from CO2 is foolish. Aside from the fact that the 'greenhouse effect' is what maintains average surface temperature at ~15C - incontrovertible evidence that it exists - there's all the other observational evidence that energy is accumulating in the climate system. See [Jul 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM].

All you have to do is think about this in the way I suggested to rhoda. Consider it a litmus test that will reveal whether there is any purpose in for example Richard Betts taking the time to attempt to communicate science to you.

Jul 10, 2012 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Richard, you and I and everyone else knows that the Met Office is completely hopeless at forecasting the weather more than 9 hours in advance. (May I say here that for example whenever I flew as a B767 Captain from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic, well over ten hours flight time away, I always loaded max fuel for my takeoff weight to give me the best choice of alternates. I could not run the risk of your rapidly divergent 9 hour forecast leaving me vulnerable to the possibility of painting myself into a corner. If you’ve never actually had immediate responsibility for the lives of three hundred passengers, let alone over half-a-million in a modest 20-year career, you really cannot imagine how that focuses the mind).

However, I don’t want to ask you about weather forecasting; just now I’m more interested in the prognoses of climate science.

Richard, I keep saying it and perhaps you think it’s not worth saying, but it is fact that the oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface and clouds over 60%. But scientists appear not to have a clue about the behaviour of the deep ocean or the response of clouds to CO2 radiation or other greenhouse gases
.
If temperature increases had gone off-scale in recent years we might be interested in why. But they haven’t. Someone who didn’t read the newspapers would say “huh, another lousy summer” not “my God, if this continues we’re going to die”.)

So tell me Richard, why is my remark about the oceans covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface and clouds over 60% not a reason to admit that basically as far as climate and climate change are concerned none of you experts really knows anything much useful at all?

Jul 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

A guy who doesn't know basic statistics talking about complex long term phenomena, like the climate,

Yeah, that is who I want to get my best evidence from.

Jul 11, 2012 at 3:25 AM | Registered Commentershub

BBD:

Natural variability hasn't just stopped because of additional CO2 forcing.

IPCC 2007:

Spatial agreement between regions of significant warming across the globe and locations of significant observed changes in many systems consistent with warming is very unlikely to be due solely to natural variability.

IPCC 2007:

... it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone.

BBD:

...parsimonious reasoning ...

IPCC 2007:

The observed patterns of warming, including greater warming over land than over the ocean, and their changes over time, are only simulated by models that include anthropogenic forcing.

Circular reasoning always beats parsimonious reasoning!

Jul 11, 2012 at 3:41 AM | Registered Commentershub

shub

Nice quotes from AR4 supporting the the statement that natural variation hasn't stopped but that the multi-decadal warming trend can only be attributable to CO2 forcing. Thanks.

I've no idea what your final sentence means though. It doesn't connect in any obvious way to the rest of the comment.

Jul 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Don't make overambitious statements in your propaganda to push a view that are not supported by the literature you are trying to promote

Jul 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Registered Commentershub

Richard, it strikes me that one of the things that you need to discuss is why, after having the field to yourselves for 20 years plus, with all opposite views kept from the general public, with international support from the IPCC and other bodies, with Al Gore's inconvenient truth, with the environmental NGOs cheering you on and amplifying your messages, with every "lovey" in the land on your side, even Private Eye, with the government wasting £18bn/year trying to reduce our CO2 output, with the environmental NGOs given the run of Westminister to set policy, the climate scientists think they've failed in their communication. You may want to take a look at this as an atrocious piece of communication:

"This interactive workshop will consider how and in what ways Exeter can build a sustained approach towards impact generation through the potential establishment of a new Climate Knowledge Exchange Network and to consider the ways in which such a network would function and benefit stakeholders."

Now if that's the way you communicate amongst yourselves it's little wonder the hoi polloi are finding you difficult to understand!

As I've said elsewhere, you may have won, but it's not the victory you want. I for one will never forgive the climate science establishment for what they've tried, and succeeded in doing to our country.

Individual scientists like Tamsin and yourself and other colleagues may be ok, but the movers and shakers have a lot to answer for, yet they still don't think they've won.

Jul 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

shub

Don't make overambitious statements in your propaganda to push a view that are not supported by the literature you are trying to promote

First, factual exposition is not 'propaganda'. That's what you indulge in. Second, as we can see, what I said is entirely consistent with the literature. You were even kind enough to provide specific supporting quotations.

Jul 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

geronimo

As I've said elsewhere, you may have won, but it's not the victory you want. I for one will never forgive the climate science establishment for what they've tried, and succeeded in doing to our country.

Whoa! False equivalence alert. 'Climate science' did nothing to 'our country'. Nothing at all. Nor to any other country. All 'climate science' has done is point out that CO2 emissions warm the troposphere and cause energy to accumulate in the climate system, which is probably going to be a Very Bad Thing unless emissions are sharply reduced.

Policy makers and special interest lobbying determines policy responses - specifically energy policy. You cannot blame 'climate science' for the policy choices by New Labour that sidelined nuclear in favour of wind, as but one example.

Jul 11, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

So who exactly is it that is telling world governments to reduce CO2 emissions?

Jul 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Registered CommenterDung

BBD: It seems you read posts as you read your science

"'Climate science' did nothing to 'our country'."

What was actually said was:

"I for one will never forgive the "climate science establishment" for what they've tried, and succeeded in doing to our country."

So which part of "climate science community" are you misunderstanding.

Jul 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

geronimo - you are being transparently evasive.

Dung - science advises that there's a problem and government implements the policy response. If you don't like the physics, blame the universe. If you don't like the policy, vote for someone else.

Both - blaming 'climate science' is silly. It's science. Shall you blame the scientific understanding of disease for the existence of bacteria and viruses?

Jul 11, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD: "geronimo - you are being transparently evasive."

No BBD I'm not being evasive, you misread what I wrote, you're now embarassed and ought to be, so instead of apologising and moving on you've decided an airy comment will get you off the hook.Well it won't, you're still there, well and truly impaled.

Which part of climate science establishment are you confusing with "climate science".

You're also wrong on the dung front. Climate scientists are qualified to make guesses about what the climate will look like at some future date, that's all they are asked to do.

Then we, the people, can look at what they've told us, and if any solutions are needed we ask the engineers, technical and social, to put forward solutions. Climate scientists, and the climate science community are not qualified to tell us what the solutions should be. It is, of course, even worse, they are giving succour to the environmental NGOs, who use the climate scientists' authority to push governments into policies for which there is no democratic mandate.

Jul 11, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Yes, needless disputation aside, why did Harries et al not translate their results into heat units? They got almost all the way there and failed, neglected possibly, to point out the amount of warming they had measured. To me that figure is conspicious by its absence. It could have been a step on the way to proving the hypothesis.

Oh, and the lack of results in one of the bands related to CO2. Does that mean CO2 is saturated in that band if not the other? What difference would that make to the 3.7 watts per doubling if true?

Jul 11, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

A classical sign of a wrong theory is the emergence of ad-hoc explanations.

When BBD says

Natural variability hasn't just stopped because of additional CO2 forcing.

he is implying a position the IPCC itself does not hold.

Remember, as we were told to do, the original question was:

Remember, to dispute the primary role of CO2 in causing energy to accumulate in the climate system you must ..provide ...solid evidence for an alternative forcing sufficient to explain observed warming

Why would one provide solid evidence for an 'alternate forcing' when the original forcing fails to account for the observed warming, or the lack of it?

Natural variability is dialed in, and back out, as an explanation for various portions of the curve, which is indeed shown and predicted to rise monotonically. If one observes the IPCC projections, they all show monotonic projections with various rates of rise.

Jul 11, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered Commentershub

rhoda, Harries is the poster child for skepticalclimate and is quoted by all and sundry as proving that CO2 causes warming, when all it does is demonstrate that CO2 absorbs OLR in the 4 and 15nm bandwidths, which no one disputes. I have some vague recollection of a post on skepticalclimate that pointed out that the retained heat was a miniscule amount of the OLR, but can't point to it now because John Cook edits out posts he doesn't like post facto.

Jul 11, 2012 at 6:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Shub

When temperature goes up it is due to CO2, when it goes down it is natural variation. Didnt you know that?? ^.^

Jul 11, 2012 at 7:03 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Richard

Quote Jun 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Any responses to those points, or indeed any other thoughts, would be welcome.

Quote Jul 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

We got onto this (off-topic!) discussion because I said that the climate will be subject to an ongoing forcing (Jul 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM) and Dung challenged me to present evidence for that (Jul 2, 2012 at 8:10 PM).

Jul 11, 2012 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Richard

When you first appeared on BH I asked you a few questions but you only gave partial answers to one or two of them and no answers to the others. I decided you were being swamped and that it was not fair to press you. However now without people asking you loads of questions all at the same time I still find that you only partially comment on my questions.

I stated that if radiation absorbed by CO2 was reradiated in all directions then less than 50% would be radiated to the Earth's surface. You might therefore expect the warming to be less than a situation where no CO2 was present? Can you comment?

Jul 11, 2012 at 7:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung