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Discussion > GHG Theory step by step

Supertroll - We don't disagree. My first paragraph said, "Modelling is about the only way that our climate can be understood." I totally agree that models are brilliant if used properly by competent scientists who have validated them correctly when necessary. I've used complex models professionally. You just have to glance at climate model outputs to realise that they are all over the place. That becomes a huge problem when they are then used for policy making.

My main criticism is that a small group of scientists launched their model based, half baked, global warming alarmism on the world right in the adolescent years of climate science and the early years of modelling when both were poorly understood and now we are stuck with the financial and political consequences.

Did you ever read the UEA "Readme" file by their IT man?

Oct 30, 2017 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

SC. Indeed I have. I have always considered the file to be more damming than the emails.
I still consider well constructed models to be valid experiments.

Oct 30, 2017 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Minty, you are missing the obvious, which Mr Cat stated, right at the very start: “Normal practice involves proposing a hypothesis that can be falsified.” The example you gave could quite easily have been falsified, perhaps to quite disastrous effects upon the expeditions (i.e. the testing of the hypothesis – which, in this case, proved valid. Of course, there are not really that many variables involved in your example, and the testing of the hypothesis demonstrated that there are probably no significant unknowns). Climate “science” does not allow for this; in climate “science”, if the observations do not agree with the theory, it is the observations that are wrong, and have to be “homogenised” to fit. The existence of unknown influences is just not allowed, in climate “science”.

Oct 30, 2017 at 5:37 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

I have a suspicion, possibly ill-founded, that the models use assumptions which beg the question. A number of sceptics have claimed that their outputs invariably give a linear output (of global average temp) with the slope determined by the CO2 scenario chosen.

I could well be wrong. But when I questioned a climate scientist about Detection and Attribution, his specialist subject, his reply seemed to me to be circular reasoning. You can't help but wonder whether the answer is (maybe unconsciously) programmed in.

Finally, you can't do ab initio physics with a six-hour time slice. 30 minutes maybe. In six hours a tropical thunderstorm can occur from clear skies and revert to clear skies. And does every day in some places.

Oct 30, 2017 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

The current position on climate change is that we have the GHG mechanism which has been around for many years but there is still no direct evidence to support it. There are papers that claim that while it does exist, the resulting warming is negligible.

Some claim that the warming in the 1980s had an unprecedented rate which proves the link with anthropogenic CO2. Others point to the identical warming rate in the 1930s before AW began. Then there is the question about how anyone can be sure if a particular rate of warming is unprecedented over a reasonable time period when our record history is so limited.

Then we have the pause, which the models did not anticipate and which the scientists cannot explain. AGW was said to be unstoppable. Natural factors were said to be of no account. The pause has more or less continued apart from an El Nino event, though climate scientists have been busy squeezing every fraction of a degree out of the measurements. Every tiny, questionable fraction is hailed as a new global record. Not a difficult feat in the midst of a near pause after 300 years of warming.

This period of warming, which may be nearing its end or which may decide to continue, is never mentioned by anyone who believes that the only source of warming can be GHG. This massive discrepancy is always overlooked. It is generally agreed that we have been warming up since the LIA, but climate scientists cannot tell us why. They don’t like to talk about it because only GHG can do warming. What caused the LIA? Don’t ask. The models don’t have enough aerosols, probably.

Most people attribute the LIA to a long period of low solar activity but climate scientists do not recognise that the sun has anything to do with climate, so forget that.
Nevertheless, the 300 years of warming also produced a long steady rise in sea levels. This is great, because the models quite rightly predict that AGW will cause us all to drown. Unfortunately, sea levels are not rising steeply, they are rising more slowly, alongside the sluggish increase in temperature.

In fact, the sea temperatures are actually falling. But then, sea temperatures are always rising or falling because most of them have cyclical temperature modulations which are poorly understood. Most of the earth’s heat is contained in the oceans and the surface temperatures drive the atmospheric temperatures, but we are getting into difficulty here because GHG generated warming prefers to drive things the other way around. We all know that 0.04% of carbon dioxide emits photons that cause the entire planet to overheat, so we must get our thinking in perspective.

What is my best guess? I think that GHG theory is correct but the impact on our climate is very small, certainly not a problem and probably a bonus. It means that we should have more sensible energy policies and be more concerned with plastic pollution, clean air and other issues.

We are at a relative low in CO2 concentration compared with highs of up to 9000 ppm. Organisms that need CO2 are therefore currently on a diet. Our oxygen supply and food chain depends on them.. Give them more whilst maintaining clean air. That means using gas. Use fracking to produce plenty of cheap gas and get energy prices down, especially for developing countries.

We are also getting towards the end of one of our brief periods of moderate temperatures and close to the onset of another ice age. Let us hope that we have more time at this (or higher) temperature.

Oct 30, 2017 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I hope you picked up the deliberate trail of clues in my last comment. Natural climate changes, particularly sea oscillations and solar influences dominate our climate. Climate scientists gained attention by stating that nothing compared with GHG and carbon dioxide is dominant. This is patently not true and there is much evidence to suggest that reality is the other way round. The warming from the LIA, ocean oscillations, El Nino and perhaps solar activity is ALL that we need to explain our climate.

Oct 30, 2017 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

rhoda, in all honesty, I cannot answer your question because I've not seen the models. However, climate scientists stated in the early days that carbon dioxide dominated the climate, nothing could change that, nothing could reduce temperatures and natural effects were negligible. I'm sure they really believed that. They must have blanked out so many observations, measurements, known climate science and obvious problems, but then, they were busy saving the planet.

I think the pause shocked them and brought them back to earth. But after all the hype and a trillion dollar industry depending on it, they can't just suddenly acknowledge the existence and the implications of all the natural climate drivers. Maybe admit they exist first, and worry about explaining the effect when pressed. Where is the heat coming from that has warmed us for 300 years after the LIA but before AGW? I've never heard them address that.

Oct 30, 2017 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Schrodinger's Cat, Rhoda, Radical Rodent, Supertroll, Steve Richards & Entropic Man,

Thank you all for your input over this thread especially in the last few days.

When it comes to Physics, I am the "Dummy" Rhoda referred to. Perhaps that is why I accepted the expertise of the UN's Elite Crack Squad, known as the IPCC, despite some misgivings about what I knew at school in the mid 1970s about MWP, LIA and UHI, even if those were not abbreviations I knew then.

I agree with Oct 30, 2017 at 7:02 PM | Schrodinger's Cat. I believe people DID believe CO2 was the Earth's Temperature Control Knob, because the Physics said so, it was just a matter of time before observations caught up. Unfortunately, a slight blip turned into a bit of a delay, then an undeniable Pause, but Climate Science continued to deny it, merrily adjusting, to mask and cover-up the cracks in the flaws. Some of those pause denier authors should be ashamed

"Bullsh¡t baffles brains" seems to have been a Climate Science speciality, with most of it dependent on theoretical physics that has now failed the practical.

We now know that the Space Shuttle Challenger was a disaster waiting to happen, but somehow a consensus was arrived at confirming it was safe to fly, despite most of the NASA experts having concerns about something, but being reassured by the Consensus. NASA had to redesign critical components, that they had previously certified to be safe, and also had to redesign some of their own Quality Control and Auditing.

Who else was able to know more about NASA standards? They were well versed in the Defensive Arts of National, Military, and Commercial Secrecy, and keeping out any outsiders, auditors or scrutineers.

Climategate confirmed that secrecy, deceit, obstruction, misinformation etc were being used to silence and block dissenting views, in a manner not expected of those trying to save the world for our grandchildren, at current taxpayers expense.

All of these Climate Science papers that claim to prove another one, must have been funded for a purpose. What was wrong with the first one, that required more funding?

GHG Theory Step by Step has confirmed some of the bits of theoretical physics that remain inadequately understood, but have been incorporated into the models with confidence. Climate Science had previously settled those by their own methods of satisfaction, for the purpose of incorporation into IPCC Publications. Climate Science seems to assume that one flawed paper can fix a problem, because no one will get funding to challenge it.

Nov 1, 2017 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC: a good summation. I, too, am as much a dummy as you, and was suckered into believing the lies promulgated by Mr Gore in his film (having been alerted to the probability of catastrophe some time before). However, I am naturally sceptical, so wondered quite how CO2 could be such a demon molecule. I rather had the picture of each CO2 molecule darting about amongst 2,500 other molecules, hoovering up any heat that it could find, then transmitting it back, Earth-wards; such a picture is ridiculous, of course, which fanned my scepticism, so I started asking questions. While I have never had my initial questions answered satisfactorily, I did find that, on some sites, responses rapidly became hostile, to the point of advising self-harm or suicide, and resulting in some sites banning me; on other sites, the responses were more muted, with admissions that they could not help, but to stay tuned as there was work in progress.

Nov 1, 2017 at 1:45 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


The approximately linear increase in temperature comes when you combine the accelerating release of CO2 (a steepening curve) with a logarithmic relationship between CO2 and temperature (a flattening curve). The linear response is in between.

If you want to study weather you use a weather model. Thunderstorms are weather. Climate models are designed to forecast average conditions over decades, so transient events are not their forte.

Nov 1, 2017 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Schrodinger's cat

How disappointing. After 30 pages of discussion you are still quoting the old propoganda memes.

Nov 1, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Nov 1, 2017 at 1:45 AM | Registered Commenter Radical Rodent

I remain happy to accept that CO2 is a GHG, I don't know any better. Climate Science doesn't seem to have got any better at understanding it's significance either.

It was MWP LIA and UHI that I started to look at in autumn 2009. The Phil Jones work on proving UHI was NOT a factor, particularly caught my attention, as I was brought up knowing it "was always warmer in London", and through work and travel this "couple of degrees difference" I could feel, and external air thermometers in cars recorded.

I noticed the Climate Audit thread asking CRU at UEA for station data, and did not understand what it was about, but that led to Climategate, which initially I thought was a spoof or hoax.

Then I bought The Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montfort, written pre Climategate, which Climategate confirmed!

So what is the "truth" behind Climate Science? I still have no idea, but trusting Climate Science not to over Cook the science is not a mistake I intend to repeat.

The Franklin Expedition has always been one of my niggles about Climate Science. The marine archaeology over the last 10 years has confirmed it. I note and agree with you niggles about day v night desert temperatures!

Nov 1, 2017 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

EM, you seem to imply that the logarithmic response is programmed in. There is therefore no actual physics in the model, movement of air masses and their enthalpy. Tropical thunderstorms are not mere weather. I am not talking about whether it rains at 3pm in Singapore. I am talking about massive heat movements which occur as emergent phenomena. In this case with a massive cooling effect and heat shifted right up to 40,000 feet. If they don't include that they can't get it right. If you only deal in my anathema of averages and big time slices, you don't catch this sort of thing. Neither can you deal with the way insolation varies throughout the day or the clouds. Averages just will not do. Unless you already know the answer and the model is just to back up your claims.

Nov 1, 2017 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

you are still quoting the old propaganda memes.
Nov 1, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Entropic Man

After 20 + years of funding, what has Climate Science done in response apart from regurgitate the same failed science ad nauseam?

Nov 1, 2017 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

EM: how disappointing. After so long in discussions with real adults you are still an arrogant, pompous oaf.

Nov 1, 2017 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

You go too far.
EM is not pompous.

Nov 1, 2017 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Pedagogic though, if that's a word.

Nov 1, 2017 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

"If you want to study weather you use a weather model. Thunderstorms are weather. Climate models are designed to forecast average conditions over decades, so transient events are not their forte."

EM, weather and climate models are the same thing. ie the Unified model that the Met Office use.

"The Unified Model (UM) is a numerical model of the atmosphere used for both weather and climate applications. It is in continuous development by the Met Office and its partners, adding state of the art understanding of atmospheric processes to new releases."

Nov 1, 2017 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Radical Rodent, consider your front paws duly smacked.

Delete "pompous", insert faithful or loyal or devoted or gullible.

True disciples of Mann's Hockey Stick, could be referred to as "flatliners", to match their ability to learn from recorded history.

Nov 1, 2017 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Oct 30, 2017 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

I am pretty sure there will be a key parameterisation that will dominate that will provide the linear output that you suggest. I am not sure why they don't simplify the models massively by throwing out all the things in them that don't matter. You would probably end up throwing out the physics in this scenario though...

Nov 1, 2017 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rob Burton, welcome back!

At University Level, is Meteorolgy still taught as a subject independent of Climate Science?

Work took me into the Met Office Bracknell in summer 1987, when the new sooper dooper Kray compooter was being installed, just in time for the late Ian McCaskill to write a poor script about hurricane forecasts, for Michael Fish to read out on the 15th October 1987.

Nov 1, 2017 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Rob Burton

The Unified Model is the physical model of the atmosphere. It is the partial differential equations used to calculate the state of the atmosphere and the heat transfer between grid elements over time.

Run the model over a time period of 11 days with a fine grid updated every few minutes. Reset the system with a data dump of new observations.every six hours. You are forecasting weather.

Run the model over a time period of 50 years with a coarser grid updated every few hours. Forcings are randomised or from an RCP. You are forecasting climate.

Since the underlying physics is the same on all timescales the same Unified Model can be used for short timescale weather forecasting and long timescale climate forecasting

Nov 1, 2017 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I really don't see it. There are plenty of factors which act over a longer period than a week or so. Are they parameters to the long-term model? I see no reason to have, say, El Nino in the weather forecast, I'd insert it as sea temps during my setup. On the other hand I'd expect the climate model to predict or hindcast its occurrence because it is an emergent phenomenon not a random event, and you've got all that ocean behaviour correctly modelled, haven't you. Haven't you?

Nov 1, 2017 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda


You are getting the idea. A thunderstorm is immense if you are under it, but it is barely large enough to be predicted in a weather model. In a climate model it is too small to pick out of the noise.

An El Nino is marginal. It is large enough to have significant weather impact, but only short term climate impact. It not usually forecast by a climate model. Even specialists cannot forecast ENSO more than six months ahead. ENSO tends to be included in climate hindcasts as a parameter and in forecasts as a random variable.

"you've got all that ocean behaviour correctly modelled, haven't you. Haven't you?""

Of course not! If I made such a claim you would accuse me of arrogance.

Nov 1, 2017 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Schrodinger's cat

"Where is the heat coming from that has warmed us for 300 years after the LIA but before AGW? "

Your question makes no sense.

Golf Charlie will confirm the the LIA, if you are a fan, is generally accepted as starting with the eruption ofwith the

Nov 1, 2017 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man