2011-01-30 06:07:32Taking it to Lindzen - A Case Study of a Climate Scientist Skeptic
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.140.0.210

This one was fun.  Acting on John's suggestion, I finished up a draft of the now Case Study Trilogy by looking at Lindzen's previously discussed errors in more detail.  It's a bit on the long side, but I have to say I think it's pretty damn kickass, assuming I did the calculations right.

Using the IPCC range of net anthropogenic forcing uncertainties (which I justified by using Ramanathan - Lindzen's reference in his argument to ignore aerosols) I found that we "should have seen" 0 to 1.5°C, with a most likely value of 0.8°C.  I also showed that this calculation puts a lower bound of 1.6°C on the climate sensitivity to 2xCO2, which is inconsistent with Lindzen and Choi (2009), which put it at around 0.5°C.  A double-whammy, both rebutting Lindzen's frequent "we should have seen more warming" argument, and LC09.  Oh, and it's also consistent with the IPCC most likely sensitivity of 3°C.

The title is currently A Case Study of A Climate Scientist Skeptic.  I thought it would be good to continue with the 'Case Study' theme, but I'm open to other suggestions.  I'd also appreciate if people could verify that I'm doing the calculations correctly, and of course any other feedback would be appreciated.

I figure we should probably sit on this one for a while so as not to distract from the Monckton Myths?  I can take out the Lindzen history and other specific Lindzen references and adapt this into an "Earth hasn't warmed as much as expected" rebuttal quite easily.  But we don't necessarily have to go live with the blog post right away.  I'll leave that up to John.

2011-01-30 07:38:48
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
91.154.107.128
It's a very good piece of work. However, I wonder if you should include to the end couple of paragraphs explaining how amazingly large amount of errors is included to the L&C 2009. I mean that it's a contender of the worst peer-reviewed paper ever, so perhaps we should also say it every time we discuss it.
2011-01-30 09:13:36
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.201.144

Yeah Ari, that and the clip from Lindzen's debate with Andrew Dessler, here:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/10/dessler_debates_lindzen.php

1hr 11mins to 1 hr 16 mins. It's funny.

Great job of explaining this Dana, especially the summing up and last sentence. 

2011-01-30 09:14:50
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.52.112

I really do recommend that you hold off on this to avoid interfering with the MM series:

- if you've made a mistake, Lindzen will take you to pieces

- If you're right, he may still go after you, and you will probably have to devote full time for several days doing research to back up what you said, and to shoot holes in what Lindzen is saying back

I return to my analogy with Germany's foolishly taking on two fronts during WWII: We have a golden opportunity to shoot Monckton down, in coordination with the televised interview. Lindzen can wait.

 

2011-01-30 09:25:36
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.201.144
Neal, I think the plan is to sit on this until the Monckton stuff is out of the way.
2011-01-30 11:02:32Question
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.184.89

Dana, 

Let me be picky (and I'm no climate scientist, so I may well have this wrong) 

You wrote:

In fact, this is a simple calculation.  The IPCC 95% confidence range puts the total net anthropogenic forcing at 0.6 to 2.4 W/m2 (Figure 1).  On top of that, as discussed above, ocean heat uptake accounts for approximately 0.6 W/m2.  Therefore, subtracting the ocean heat uptake, the total net anthropogenic forcing over this period is somewhere between 0 and 1.8 W/m2, with a most likely value of 1.0 W/m2.

A doubling of atmospheric CO2 corresponds to a radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2, according to the IPCC.  Therefore, the net anthropogenic radiative forcing thus far is between 0% and 50% of the warming associated with a doubling of atmospheric CO2, with a most likely value of 27%. "

and

" We can also flip the calculation backwards, assuming the IPCC most likely climate sensitivity of 3°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 and using the numbers above.  In this case, we should have seen from 0% to 50% of 3°C, or about 0 to 1.5°C.  Additionally, the most likely amount of warming is 27% of 3°C, which is 0.8°C.  In other words, we have seen almost exactly the amount of warming that we "should have" seen, according to the IPCC."

One niggle is that "most likely" usually means "mode" whereas the 3 degree value is a median, I think. The difference is not big but the PDFs for the sensitivity are not normal (more lognormal or pareto), so it does make a difference. (As Meal said, someone is going to put your analysis under a microscope for this post).

Another quibble is that applying the 27% interpolation linearly to a logarithmic effect is not strictly correct. Why not calculate the actual expected temperature effect at  3 degrees climate sensitivity for the 2005 CO2 levels, which would be  3* ln(375/280)/ln(2), which equals 1.38 deg C? Then compare that to the 0.8 degrees observed to show the heat in the pipeline. Either that or calculate what the climate sensitivity would be for the observed temperature, assuming no more heat in the pipeline. I get 1.4 degrees which is more than Lindzen's climate sensitivity, if I recall correctly, which would strengthen your last paragraph.

I hasten to add that you should not trust my calculations and assumptions. If I were you, I'd run this post past a climate scientist before publishing it. If you have made any error, even a trivial one, you can bet that it will get blown out of proportion.

 

2011-01-30 11:08:04
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.52.112

Rob,

There seems to be some back & forth on that issue; John made a different proposal on another thread. I'm just making sure my rationale has been presented.

2011-01-30 12:05:25
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.140.0.210

Andy, I'm pretty sure "most likely value" is the correct description of the 3°C climate sensitivity.  If that's the wrong terminology, let me know.

I also think the 27% calculation is correct.  I'm not looking at the change in CO2, I'm looking at the radiative forcing, which incorporates the logarithmic effect of the CO2 change.  Keeping everything in W/m2 allows me to incorporate the ocean heat uptake, and it also takes into account that logarithmic effect.  Again if I'm wrong, somebody let me know.

Ari - I don't want to go into the details of LC09 because it's a different subject.  But I will link to John's rebuttal about the paper, which discusses its problems.

As for when this should go live, I'd say either tomorrow (to give a couple days before the MM series), or maybe next weekend so that I don't step on the MM toes.  I'll leave it up to John.   I'd be pretty surprised if Lindzen responds to this post though.

Once there's agreement that I've done the calculations right, I'll put together the "Earth should have warmed more" rebuttal.

2011-01-30 14:56:44
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.184.89

Dana: yes you are correct about the 27% calculation being linear since,as you say, you are dealing in W/sq m forcings. I was trying to relate the 27% figure directly to the CO2 concentration since it didn't immediately make sense to me what it signified physically. Apologies.

I checked AR4 to see how the IPCC used "most likely". In box 10.2 p 798 they explicitly defined "most likely" as meaning "mode". Their Figure 1 in that box plots modes and medians and there is considerable spread between the two values on all models, except the unweighted distribution composites, where the distributions become more symmetrical. My error is in assuming that they would naturally quote a median number rather than a mode for the single best estimate. By rounding down to 3 and using a mode rather than a median or mean they have been conservative in quoting this important number. (All their other uses of "likely", "very likely" etc are explicitly defined to percentile figures but not "most likely".)  Anyway, to cut a long story short, your use of the terminology is correct.

2011-01-30 16:28:38To post or not to post
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21

I'm going to straddle the fence on whether to post this now or later:

  • Pros: good posting closer to the "Lindzen/FEU trilogy" and Dana promised it in several places
  • Cons: might be more effective in the Lindzen series.

I'm leaning towards posting sooner than later. However, not before Tuesday - you just posted Lindzen Part Two and you want to give it at least a day to breath. So then you've got Monckton's Myths so we're looking at the middle of the week at the earliest.

In the meantime, it might be worthwhile getting a few climate scientists too look at it. Dana, what if I email Andy Dessler and/or Stefan Rahmstorf to have a look at it?

Also, it wouldn't hurt to begin to start a thread on Lindzen's Illusions, just to explore whether the series has legs. How many illusions could we write about? He did make a remark about Tsonis' research recently on WUWT that infuriated me - would love to hit that with a heavy mallet. But overall, is there enough of Lindzen misinformation to build a series? Or is it mainly this 'warming in the pipeline' issue that's his main bugbear. Perhaps adding past Lindzen articles to http://www.skepticalscience.com/Lindzen_Illusions.htm is a good start.

Hang on, just had a look, someone has been busy adding Lindzen articles already. Dana, is that you? You are keen!

On a strategic level, I'm still a little fuzzy on exactly what is happening with Carter Crocks with Peter Sinclair so those details need to be hammered out also - what to cover, when to start, etc.

2011-01-30 18:39:05
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.140.0.210

Andy - thanks for looking into those issues.

John - yeah, that was me.  I added some Lindzen articles while I was researching this post.  I'm pretty sure we could do a good series on Lindzen.  The reason I'm so keen is that he pisses me off.  With Monckton, at least he's just an amateur who's basically paid for his denial.  Carter's just an idiot.  But Lindzen, he's a really smart guy.  He knows exactly what he's doing - he's just incredibly intellectually dishonest.  That ticks me off.  Like in LC09 - there's no way he didn't know his start/end points were cherrypicked to minimize the sensitivity.  In this argument, which he makes all the time, there's no way he doesn't know that despite the large uncertainty, you can't just ignore aerosols.  He's just plain dishonest.

As for climate scientists, feel free to send it to whoever is willing to look it over.  Rahmstorf would be ideal, since he's very familiar with this Lindzen argument and has rebutted it himself.  But I'll take any expert feedback I can get, gladly!

As for the launch, if we're going to do Carter before Lindzen, I'd prefer to launch sooner than later - to keep with the trilogy and my promise to look at Lindzen's claims in more detail.  If we do a Lindzen series in a few weeks or months, we can always come back and revisit this rebuttal in a brief post or something (we should also revisit your LC09 rebuttal).  But I wouldn't want to do this one too soon after the Monckton Myths launch.  Maybe next weekend or something.  Don't want to step on the MM toes.

2011-01-30 21:08:59
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.112.237
What is most infuriating about Lindzen is that he says (or hints) at things in WSJ op-eds that he would never try to get away with in his technical articles. It would be super if we could build a bridge between those two worlds, so that his hypocrisy gets the highlight.
2011-01-30 21:51:18Trace gas
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21
Upon reflection, we shouldn't rush the trace gas rebuttal. It's a big argument, not particularly unique to Monckton and there are many ways to approach the rebuttal. So it's worth taking our time and doing this right.

I'm keen to make MM all it can be but also are conscious that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

2011-01-30 22:23:52Trace gas: relief!
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.112.237

I agree: It should be done carefully.

I think the near-term focus ought to be "all Monckton all the time".

2011-01-31 02:04:22
MarkR
Mark Richardson
m.t.richardson2@gmail...
134.225.187.80

L&C updated their sensitivity estimate to above 0.8 C.

 

 

I'm surprised they stuck by their guns, Trenberth's response was devastating IMO but I need to look in more detail to be sure.

2011-01-31 05:39:30
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.226.149
And this study:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128095044.htm reckons there's 0.9C of warming suppressed by aerosols. 
2011-01-31 05:49:28
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Well spotted Rob.

 

I don't think my "employer" has a license for GRL, but I can root around and see if I can track down the Armour and Roe paper..

 

MarkR "L&C updated their sensitivity estimate to above 0.8 C"

 

Is this in their offline "corrected" manuscript?

2011-01-31 07:02:35
MartinS

mstolpe@student.ethz...
80.218.206.88

@Albatross:

You can find a free copy of Armour & Roe here: Climate commitment in an uncertain world

 The corrected Lindzen & Choi paper can be found here: On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implications

Do you know what heppend whith that? They submitted it in February 2010. I thought the Journal of Geophysical Research is quite fast with its peer review, isn't it?


2011-01-31 09:15:11LC09
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.140.0.210

Well, I'll just change the LC09 sensitivity to "less than 1°C".  Does everyone agree that my calculations are correct though?  I'm actually going to go back and add the solar forcing too - don't want the skeptics to say I'm ignoring natural effects.

2011-01-31 10:18:25
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.162

Good piece, I can see why you'd like to have it published soon :). Though, I think we should wait a few days after the Monckton Miths.

I checked your calculations and they're ok.

A typo in the paragraph before fig. 1: -2.7 => -2.3

 Toward the end of the second last paragraph: "is inconsistent even with our calculated climate sensitivity lower bound (1.4°C)"

I think you could simplify a bit by not calculating the uncertainty range at every step.

2011-01-31 12:43:22
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.158.135

I notice the IPCC figure seems to count black carbon separately to other aerosols, and quantifies it as just 0.1 W/m^2. Or is that only counting its effects on snow?

Also, shouldn’t it be 0.6 watts per square meter of surface, not ocean?

“the errors win Lindzen and Choi” – the “win” should be “with” or “in”.

2011-01-31 15:21:09thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.140.0.210
Good comments Riccardo and James, thanks.  I made the changes accordingly.
2011-02-02 13:50:37
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

MartinS,

Thanks.  Only just read this. If the paper was submitted in Feb 2010, it should easily have been in print by now-- that was a year ago and GRL has a pretty quick turnaround (one of the reasons it is so popular).

2011-02-03 07:44:59
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

Have you seen this paper by Schwartz et al. (2010)?

2011-02-03 09:22:38nope
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

No I hadn't.  Dang, it's spot-on for this rebuttal though.  I'll have to add a discussion about it.  Basically they find that either aerosol forcing has to be significant, or climate sensitivity has to be low.  We can't say which is the case because the aerosol uncertainty is too high.

Thanks for the link (free version here).

*update* Well crud, Schwartz et al. use a lower value for ocean heat uptake than Rahmstorf.  I included both, but it bumped the "expected warming" by now up to 1.0°C and the best estimate sensitivity down to 2.4°C for 2xCO2.  Still within the IPCC range, but not as close as it was before.  Lindzen and Choi are also still outside the new climate sensitivity lower bound (1.2°C), but not by as much.

Oh well, it's good to incorporate these figures now rather than be criticized for omitting them later.