2011-02-09 13:29:49Carbon Dioxide and Earth's Future: Pursuing the Prudent Path
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21

Just letting everyone know about the next uber-document by the skeptics:

Carbon Dioxide and Earth's Future: Pursuing the Prudent Path

WUWT provides support, of course:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/08/rebuttal-to-the-climate-rapid-response-team/

I added it to the database plus all its skeptic arguments:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/article.php?a=5127

There's some discussion among climate scientists and the rapid response team on the best way to respond to this. Will keep everyone posted, to see if there's a way SkS can be involved and contribute. Feel free to post suggestions here too.

2011-02-09 14:07:01
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102
Ugh.  A wretched hive of scum and villainy, that is.  Use the Dark Side, they do.
2011-02-09 14:45:35Gish strikes again
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233
Ugh, 100 pages of pure unadulterated crap. We could certainly debunk every argument therein, but the effort required would be pretty massive. A major gish gallop effort. I wonder how widely-disseminated this will become. WUWT pushing it is a bad sign. Notice some of the names signing on - Spencer, Lindzen, Singer, Douglass, Akasofu...the usual group. They just keep flushing their credibility down the toilet.
2011-02-09 16:58:29MWP
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233
I'm thinking of doing a post on the MWP. I'm getting tired of deniers like the Idsos obsessing over it. We're not worried about current temps, we're worried about several degrees further warming. Some perspective is in order.
2011-02-10 03:24:15
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
192.84.150.209
I think we should write somenthing on this letter but without going into the details of the claims taken from the crap Idso report. It is more important to highlight the style, the scope and the credibility. For example, here's a comparison:

Deniers:
- NIPCC
- Idso Report

"Gang of 18" (in Pielke's words):
- The National Academy of Sciences and leading national scientific academies worldwide
- U.S. Climate Impacts Report

Spot the difference!

Also, look at the list of signers. The "gang of 18" are well known. Here are the first 6 deniers:
  • Syun-Ichi Akasofu, University of Alaska, we know him
  • Scott Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania, professor of marketing
  • James Barrante, Southern Connecticut State University, retired professor of physical chemistry, in his curriculum he writes "I have published a book review on the principles of spectroscopy, several papers in the areas of nuclear magnetic resonance and crystal structure".
  • Richard Becherer, University of Rochester, apparently on optical physicist but he's not listed in the U. of Rochester directory.
  • John Boring, University of Virginia, don't know, not listed in the UVa directory
  • Roger Cohen, American Physical Society Fellow, retired from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.

I stopped at the 6th, too boring to check them all. Of the first six only Akasofu can be considered a climate scientist.


P.S. note that Pielke didn't sign.
2011-02-10 04:45:22
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
192.84.150.209
One more thought. We could use their long list of "no" for a quick and schematic rebuttal just pointing to the blog posts already written.
2011-02-10 10:17:23Response to dana1981
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105
Hey Dana, if you plan on doing a response regarding the MWP I have all the most recent YEARLY NH reconstructions in one excel file and baseline adjusted to 1931-1960 with NASA observations.


Another thing i'd make note of is the John Christy didn't sign. There's a couple deniers in Canada who didn't sign either
Dr. Denis Lacelle (Cryospheric Isotope Geochemistry), Dr. Ian Clark (Paleogeology), Dr. Tim Ball (Former professor of Geography). Interesting...

I like how they say Antarctica as a whole is cooling despite what the skeptic O'Donnell's Papers says... Hypocrisy anyone?

We wouldn't need to put together a big document to refute this. All we'd need is about a 10 page document. The Antarctic refutation is 1/3 of a page at best for example. MWP is 2/3 of a page... Arctic Temperature Trends is 1/2 a page... etc...
2011-02-10 10:34:40reconstructions
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

I was just going to use the NOAA NCDC plot of the NH reconstructions, but if you've got the data in Excel Robert, I'd be happy to use that instead (though I'm not great with making nice plots in Excel, but if you've already plotted it, even better!).  You can send it to me at dana1981@yahoo.com

The Idso paper particularly highlighted the Ljungkvist reconstruction - do you happen to have that one too?

2011-02-10 11:51:39Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105
Hey Dana,
I sent along my data, I only put it together last night for some work with a colleague. The thing is that it is annually resolved so it is not directly comparable to Ljungqvist because Lj2010 use decadal averages like 0-9, 10-19 etc... If anyone here is clever and knows a simple excel way to calculate decadal averages then it could really help plotting it all out. I know there's away I just haven't thought much about it yet ;) need more hours in the day...

You might prefer to smooth all the annually resolved data from the summary page.

So what's our plan anyways? We putting together a quick document debunking the major scientific claims?
2011-02-10 13:10:43Debunking the NIPCC report
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21
If there are at least a few people serious about debunking the NIPCC document, say so here and I'll mention it on the various groups I'm on - there are probably others working on stuff and it might be worthwhile collaborating or inviting them here to be part of a combined effort.
2011-02-10 14:44:13I'm Game
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105
I'm game,
I think Dana is too.

I can handle the Arctic Warming, Antarctic Refutation, MWP if Dana doesn't want it (i'm assuming he's putting something together though?)

I can also handle the Greenland Ice Sheet and Antarctic Ice Sheet stuff where its evident they made mistakes. So essentially the polar regions I'm okay with.

Any other takers?
2011-02-10 15:22:20Best way to structure this response?
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21

Any thoughts on the best way to roll this out? A series of blog posts would be okay but not have that oomph factor. Release a PDF that compiles all our rebuttals, endorsed by scientists and released to the media and policy makers with a press release?

But we want to avoid the back-and-forth we said/they said narrative which would play into the NIPCC hands. Eg - scientists release a letter to congress, NIPCC release a counter letter, we release a counter to their counter. It's a tennis match. How can we transcend that?

2011-02-10 15:54:20I'm in
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233

Robert, my plan was to do an overarching rebuttal to the whole theme of the Idso paper - the whole paper focuses on current climate, but what we're concerned about is future climate change.  I was going to sort of center it around an MWP discussion, but I don't need to go into the details.  If you want to do an MWP rebuttal with your reconstruction data, talking about how Ljungkvist shows today as hotter than the MWP too, feel free.  My main point there was going to be "every reconstruction agrees today is hotter than the MWP peak - if the Idsos want to prove otherwise, they should quantify their results and submit to a peer-reviewed journal.  Until then, all the data shows today as hotter."

But I'd rather focus on the today vs. future climate aspect and not get bogged down in the details.  Although I also want to talk about the contradiction of 'MWP was hotter' and 'climate sensitivity is low'.  But that could be a separate discussion too.

John - hard to say what the best approach would be.  It would be nice to get a lot of parties involved, maybe some other bloggers.  Bart Verheggen wants to cover the contradiction of the NIPCC 'aerosol forcing is large' argument.  Maybe we could get some other on board too, like Kate (climatesight), maybe Tim Lambert, Michael Tobis, Coby Beck, etc.?  I'm sure we can come up with plenty of junk to debunk between those two massive reports.

We might consider both putting together a PDF and doing some individual blog posts for the various arguments, particularly the contradictions.

2011-02-10 15:55:49Good Point
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.14.78
Hey John,
you make a very strong point there. Obviously a document would be best but we stick to the things that we can purely prove very easily. The issue we have is that there would be a back and forth, argument and counter argument over and over again. How does one get out of that reoccurring issue? We need to figure out an effective strategy for this. Blog posts only reach certain individuals. Perhaps the best way to do this is to not create it as a direct response to their article. We do a document similar to the copenhagen diagnosis and have a press release and so on. The document SHOULD address many of the issues brought up in the NIPCC work but not directly point to them. Call it an overview of the science but with specific examples where their claims are debunked. Call it its own separate entity but really have it debunk their work also?

I don't know though, that's my idea. Anyone else got any to avoid the perpetuation of back and forth ?
2011-02-10 18:53:39Prudent Path week
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21

What about if we have a week of intense scrutiny of the Prudent Path document. Call it Prudent Path Week. The whole series needs a theme so we need to see what overarching theme can tie all the different rebuttals together, so each post reinforces the point.

Perhaps we can turn their title against them - call it Prudent Path Week. Make the theme being what is the prudent path to take given all the scientific evidence. SkS could do one post per day for 7 days and hopefully other blogs could get in on the action too. Maybe at the end of the week, we could compile all the content into a single PDF document that gets released to the media/policy makers. It would be called something like "What is a prudent path given all the scientific evidence?" (better title required!!!)

Thoughts, comments?

2011-02-11 03:43:42good idea
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

I like it, especially if we could get other blogs on board.  It ties in with my plan to contrast the focus of the Idso report (current climate) vs. what we're actually concerned about (future climate).  The future climate is what dictates what the prudent path is.  I think that's the overarching theme - while climate change impacts so far haven't been bad, if we continue on a business as usual path, they will be. 

And then maybe each post can present some evidence to that effect.  Like if Rob does MWP and Arctic warming, he can highlight how rapidly temps are currently rising and where they're expected to go in the business as usual scenario that the 'skeptics' are promoting.

2011-02-11 23:56:22NIPCC report and tennis matches
Bart Verheggen

bverheggen@yahoo...
82.169.44.180

Hi everyone,

I'm new here, as per John's invite (thanks John!). When the NIPCC report came out, I wrote a rebuttal, centred on some general stuff and then focussing on the role of aerosols (they anticipate negative feedbacks involving aerosols negating any warming). Along the way, they cite many truly interesting articles, most of which don't make any statment on the climatic or even global relevance. So the letter posted at WUWT, claiming that the "thousands of papers" don't predict negative consequences from AGW is perhaps true, but many of them don't predict the opposite either: They're just interesting papers spun a certain way. I think such overarching arguments are important to make, also because that could be a means to bypass the tennis-match style of the debate, as John called it.

The NIPCC repoert has gotten much less visibility than I had expected though. The fact that my rebuttal scores pretty high in google (from Holland it's in the top-10 when searching for "NIPCC report") is perhaps a sign, as my blog is not widely read or widely linked (i.e. it doesn't often have a high google ranking). I haven't come across another rebuttal either, so there's two arguments to make then: - good to have another (series of) rebuttal. - no more rebutaal is needed, as it would only increase the NIPCC's exposure. The latter is an argument we should at least consider, I think. A colleague of mine has made some kind of inventory of arguments put forward in the NIPCC report, sorted by topic. It's in Dutch, but I could translate it and post it here (with his approval, that is).

One idea I had was to point out that aerosols are used as a wild card by some skeptical aguments: It's higher or lower than expected, and in both cases it means that future warming will be mild/largely absent. In the former case via large negative natural feedbacks (NIPCC); in the latter case via its (wrongly) assumed effect on climate sensitiviy as deduced from simple energy balance considerations based on the observed warming so far (see Dana's recent post on Lindzen).

Bart

2011-02-12 04:48:16good idea
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

Hi Bart!  I like the idea of highlighting that "skeptics" try to use both high and low aerosol forcing claims to argue that future warming is of no concern.  The NIPCC argument puzzles me though, because there aren't many natural sources of aerosols.  There's volcanic eruptions, but their aerosol emissions only have a significant impact on temperatures for a year or two, at which point they're washed out of the atmosphere.  So the only reason aerosols would continue to have a significant cooling effect is if anthropogenic aerosol emissions continue - but most countries are moving in the opposite direction (towards clean air).

But anyway, it's always good when we can highlight contradicting skeptic arguments.  We still have to figure out how we're going to approach the Prudent Path response first though.

2011-02-14 00:06:58Natural aerosol sources
Bart Verheggen

bverheggen@yahoo...
82.169.44.180

Dana,

There are many more natural sources of aerrosols besides volcanoes. See e.g. this overview article, or a recent article I collaborated on, where we present evidence that organic compounds contribute to the formation of new aerosol particles (oxidation in the gas phase leading to the formation of low volatility vapour, which then condenses togetehr to form a new particle). Most organic compounds are emitted by nature, and many of these processes are temperature dependent. Ergo, it is not a strange hypothesis at all that with future warming, these emissions will increase, leading to more aerosol production. Same with DMS compounds from the ocean (CLAW hypothesis, 1987). The thing is, none of these routes have been well quantified, so the spin given to it in the NIPCC report is not more than that: spin. But the underlying physical process is real.

2011-02-14 08:29:53Draft of NIPCC vs Lindzen blog post.
Bart Verheggen

bverheggen@yahoo...
82.169.44.180

See below a first draft of an article about how some contrarians use the uncertainty in aerosol forcing as a wild card / fudge factor (which is the better word in this case?) to arrive at their predetermined conclusions.

I think it may be good to add another two paragraphs of basic rebuttals for each argument (NIPCC and Lindzen) besides referring to the respective detailed critiques.

I haven't found a direct quote of Lindzen claiming that aerosol forcing is smaller than the IPCC estimate. The most direct quote is him (erroneously - still have to check that) citing Ramanathan (2007), but it would be good to have him directly stating such (as e.g. the Dutch journalist Marcel Crok does; see below).

Bart

Radiative forcing by aerosol used as a wild card: NIPCC vs Lindzen

 

The greatest source of uncertainty in understanding climate change is arguably due to the role of aerosols and clouds. This uncertainty offers fertile ground for contrarians to imply that future global warming will be much less than commonly thought. However, some (e.g. Lindzen) do so by claiming that aerosol forcing is overestimated, while others (e.g. the NIPCC) by claiming that aerosol forcing is underestimated. Even so, they still arrive at the same conclusion…

 

Let’s have a look at their respective arguments. Below is a figure showing the radiative forcing from greenhouse gases and from aerosols, as compared to pre-industrial times. The solid red curve gives the net forcing from these two factors. The wide range of possible values is primarily due to the uncertainty in aerosol forcing (blue dotted line).

 

The greenhouse gas forcing (dashed red curve) is relatively well known, but the aerosol forcing (dashed blue curve) is not. The resulting net anthropogenic forcing (red solid curve) is not well constrained. The height of the curve gives the relative probability of the associated value, i.e. the net climate forcing is probably between 1 and 2 W/m2, but could be anywhere between 0 and 3 W/m2. (From IPCC, 2007, Fig 2.20)

 

The NIPCC report (a skeptical document, edited by Craig Idso and Fred Singer, made to resemble the IPCC report) sais (chapter 2): “The IPCC dramatically underestimates the total cooling effect of aerosols.” They hypothesize that natural emissions of aerosol precursors will increase in a warming climate, causing a negative feedback so as to dampen the warming. Examples of such gaseous aerosol precursors are dimethyl sulfide (DMS) emitted by plankton, iodocompounds created by marine algae and carbonyl sulfide emitted by plants. They use these putative negative feedbacks to claim that “model-derived sensitivity is too large and feedbacks in the climate system reduce it to values that are an order of magnitude smaller.”

 

On to Lindzen:
The greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (…) which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far (…).

 

Lindzen again (E&E 2007):

“How then, can it be claimed that models are replicating the observed warming? Two matters are invoked.”

 

The “two matters” he refers to are aerosol cooling and thermal inertia from the oceans (a.k.a. “warming in the pipeline”). He then proceeds to argue that both of these are much smaller than generally thought. E.g. on aerosols, Lindzen writes:

“a recent paper by Ramanathan et al (2007) suggests that the warming effect of aerosols may dominate – implying that the sign of the aerosol effect is in question.” Dutch science journalist Marcel Crok uses much the same argument in his recent book (in Dutch), writing that “aerosol cooling is probably much less than expected” (my translation). By neglecting the importance of these two factors, Lindzen argues that the only way left to explain the observed warming is by assuming a small climate sensitivity.

 

So we have the peculiar situation that both of these approaches try to claim that climate sensitivity is small, but the NIPCC approach is to claim that aerosol forcing is very large (thus providing a negative feedback to warming), whereas the Lindzen approach is to claim that aerosol forcing is very small (thus necessitating a small sensitivity to explain the observed warming so far). Of course they can’t both be right, and probably they neither are. Looking back at the figure, both approaches are based on assuming that aerosol forcing is at the edge of the probability spectrum, whereas the most likely value for aerosol forcing is somewhere in the mid range. Both approaches also ignore the other lines of evidence that point to climate sensitivity likely being in the range of 2 to 4.5 degrees. E.g. a value as small as suggested by the NIPCC (0.3 degrees) is entirely inconsistent with the paleo-climate record of substantial climate changes in the earth’ history.

 

See also a more detailed critique of the NIPCC and of Lindzen’s argument.

 

2011-02-14 11:34:38nice
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233

Looks good Bart.  You've got a typo in the "NiPCC report....says" sentence.

I'd point out that in his calculations, Lindzen assumes that the total aerosol + black carbon forcing is zero.  He also uses the term "fudge factor" (see the email I sent you), so that would be the preferable term (as opposed to wild card). 

It would also be nice somewhere in the climate sensitivity discussion to link to the SkS climate sensitivity is low rebuttal.  You could even replace the existing link, since the rebuttal discusses Knutti and Hegerl.

We'll probably have to add something to the end to tie it into the Prudent Path Week theme.   Probably something about how the realistic range of possible climate sensitivity values means that the planet is going to warm a dangerous amount this century in a business as usual scenario, so it would be prudent for us to reduce our emissions.  It's a bit off the aerosols topic, but we'll want to tie it in somehow.

2011-02-14 21:59:50
Bart Verheggen

bverheggen@yahoo...
130.112.1.3

Dana/John

I don't have access to the prudent path week forum, so can't see what's going on there. I'll make some changes to the draft post, hopefully tomorrow.

Re says/sais: Is that a matter of American vs British spelling, or is "sais" plain wrong?

2011-02-15 03:36:52wrong
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

"sais" is just plain wrong :-)

John, any idea why Bart wouldn't have access to the Prudent Path Week discussion?  They're both in the Authors forum...

2011-02-15 23:09:23got it
Bart Verheggen

bverheggen@yahoo...
130.112.1.3

Re says/sais: If only I knew that earlier...

Re Lindzen, I found two statements of his that seem to better pin down his vision of low aerosol forcing:

PNAS 2010

The present paper offers a potentially important example of where the secondary effect is to warm, thus reducing the ability of aerosols to compensate for excessive warming in current models.

and probably better yet, from ppt slides at GMI:

‘anthropogenic’ forcing includes not only CO2 but also aerosols, and the latter are unknown to a factor of 10-20 (and perhaps even sign).

 

2011-02-16 03:58:00not bad
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233
The second quote is pretty good.  Lindzen is smart - he hedges his bets by focusing on the magnitude of the uncertainty in his text, and then ignores it in his calculations.  So it's a little difficult to pin him down.
2011-02-16 07:24:46Accessing forum
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.217.214
Bart, you can't see this thread?

http://skepticalscience.com/thread.php?t=904

Or this version, with www in the URL?

http://www.skepticalscience.com/thread.php?t=904

What error message do you get?
2011-02-16 09:04:36accessed
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233
He's commenting in there now, John.  Maybe just some sort of glitch - URL copied wrong or something.