2011-05-29 05:38:47Christy Crock #6: Climate Sensitivity
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
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Christy Crock #6: Climate Sensitivity

FYI we may launch the Christy Crocks page along with this post.  Once I get some feedback on this, I'll add a reference to the Hansen paper in 'climate sensitivity is low' and add a note to that effect at the bottom of the post.

2011-05-29 06:13:02
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
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Dana,

A heartfelt and sincere thanks for this.  I was was so mad after hearing Chrsity lie on CBC. I am glad that you picked up on his clever trick to use the word "we"--fabricating consensus on an issue, now that is deceptive and disingenuous.

I have given your post a quick read, and it looks good to me.  What I would emphasize more strongly the overwhelimng evidence that EQS is not low-- you do mention this and you do provide a link, but perhaps repeating a graphic or PDF of CS from one of your other posts on this matter of EQS will solidify your case in addition to having Hansen and Sato's paper-- a picture is worth a thousand words.

Past climate shows us that the climate is indeed quite sensitive to small changes in radiative forcing-- how Christy can deny that is beyond me.  This post can potentially really hurt him because he is using the argument in his CBC interview that climate has changed before and what we are seeing now is within the realm of previous natuarl variability (see one of the quotes that I posted).  So he accepts that the climate has shown some pretty dramatic wings in the past, in repsonse to relatively small changes in external forcing-- then how the heck then can he argue that CS is low? Maybe you need to note that he is contradicting himself there, and that his argument is a logical fallacy.

"In short, Christy and the other "skeptics" who are claiming high certainty that climate sensitivity is low are not only contradicted by dozens of studies on the subject,"

So maybe here you could add that it also contradicts their claims that the climate has changed markedly in the past to relatively small changes in forcing.

Any chance of The Guardian covering this? Or having TreeHugger or Huffington post cover it?  We need to take the fight to them...

 

2011-05-29 06:43:40
Rob Painting
Rob
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Dana, in your conclusion is is worth mentioning that Christy and co. are cherry-picking again? Elevated CO2 levels are causing a host of other problems, such as ocean acidification. By focusing only on the sensitivity issue (no I'm not suggesting a in depth treatment) we allow them to dictate the narrative. I just suggest a mention of other issues in summing up is all, the public need to know that the problem is much bigger than the sensitivity issue.


2011-05-29 07:09:40
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
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Excellent point Rob.

2011-05-29 07:49:09
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
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Alby - that's a good point, I could make it into a combo 'sensitivity is low' and 'internal variability' post and show Christy is contradicting himself. I can add one of the low sensitivity figures too. Rob - yeah, it might be worth mentioning that there are other CO2-related problems that we shouldn't ignore. In this particular interview I don't think it's fair to accuse Christy of cherrypicking here, but if you take all of his arguments together, then it's accurate.
2011-05-29 08:12:19
Rob Painting
Rob
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118.92.102.204

Dana, think about the broad picture that these "skeptics" are trying to paint;

"there's nothing to worry about, look at climate sensitivity"

In other words, by only focusing on one aspect of climate change, you can neglect all the other negative consequences of rising CO2 levels. I'm not saying you should accuse Christy of cherry-picking, I'm saying you shouldn't fall into the trap of letting skeptics like him guide the narrative. Ocean acidification for instance, is a truly massive problem bought about by increasing CO2. There are other reasons to limit CO2 emissions.   

2011-05-29 09:55:16
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
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Yeah, it's kind of tricky not to let the skeptics dictate the narrative when we're responding directly to something they've said.  I think it might make more sense limit this post to sensitivity and variability, and then at some point do a Christy Crock summary, and in there we can bring up the risks and consequences that Christy is ignoring.

2011-05-29 10:46:49
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
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69.230.97.203

Oh and for the MSM like TreeHugger, a summary post would make more sense too.  This particular post is a bit too technical.

I updated the post to discuss the self-contradiction of arguing for large past climate changes and low sensitivity.

2011-05-29 11:33:56
Rob Painting
Rob
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118.92.123.108

It would be nice to be able to link to a thorough post, or series of posts, which sum up the chaos an extra 2 degrees of warming, or "x" amount of extra CO2 might mean for the planet. Basically a comprehensive debunking of "it's not bad". That way every time we get drawn into rebutting a specific argument a.k.a adopting tunnel-vision, we can conclude by reminding the reader to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, there's all this other stuff which is a worry too, that's why cutting GHG emissions is so urgent.

The basic gist of the disinformers claims are that we can keep polluting the atmosphere with carbon and nothing bad will happen, clearly that's not right, we know the oceans are becoming acidified and might be poked by the end of the century, even without considering how sensitive the climate might be.

If you're going to adopt the mindset that one might if one were submitting a paper to a scientific journal, then you've fallen into the "skeptic" trap. We have to rebut a lot of this garbage for sure, I'm not suggesting that we don't. What I am suggesting is that we have to move beyond the tit-for-tat stuff, encourage readers to see the broader picture too. Isn't that the whole point of Sks? To educate the public, so they understand why this is a looming crisis? 

I'll get started on a series of "it's not bad" posts in a couple of weeks. Been looking at the extreme precipitation projections, and the latest observations to date - it's a bit of an eye-opener.   

2011-05-29 12:54:44
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
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Yeah I had the same thought in a Gen Chat thread from Badger where some skeptic said 1000 ppm CO2 is ideal. We have a whole bunch of separate posts why high CO2 is bad, but nothing capturing them all. "it's not bad" is a start with a good list, but we could use a detailed advanced version of that one, putting together all these various reasons why high CO2 has bad consequences.
2011-05-29 15:40:05
James Wight

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I don’t have time to look at this right now, but I will probably have something to say about it.

2011-05-29 16:29:19
Rob Painting
Rob
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118.92.126.77

Been that busy bitchin' forgot the ol' thumbs up. 

2011-05-30 04:22:48
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
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Nicely done Dana...Bazinga.

2011-06-02 23:59:37More harping
James Wight

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Hansen’s other recent draft paper, “Earth’s Energy Imbalance”, contains a discussion of long-term climate sensitivity which Hansen plans to move to the revised version of “Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change”. A very brief summary:

Sff, all fast feedbacks including aerosols: 3C

Sff+sur, fast feedbacks plus surface feedbacks: 6C

SCO2, specified CO2 amount as forcing: 8C

Sff+sf, all feedbacks: remarkably large, especially for negative forcings

2011-06-03 02:40:23
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
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Do you think that requires a change to the post, James?

2011-06-03 14:37:22
James Wight

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I think it's a pretty important omission.

2011-06-03 14:40:32
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
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Could you suggest specifically how to revise the text?  I've got Sff and Sff+sur in there already.

2011-06-03 16:35:10
Andy S

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Looks good.

The thing that bugs me is the way the lukewarmers assert that senitivity is 1 without providing any uncertainty range. Then they'll say that mainstream climate scientists downplay uncertainty. I'll be harping on this in my Matt Ridley series that I'm slowly working away at.

The only thing I would change is  "a subject which John recently discussed"  to "a subject which John Cook recently discussed" since we  have more than one John and new readers, or readers of a cross-posted version might not know who you mean.

2011-06-03 22:28:38
James Wight

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Where do you mention Sff+sur?

2011-06-04 01:40:30
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
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James - whoops, I thought I did.  I linked to your 'slam on the brakes' post, but I guess I didn't give the long-term 6°C sensitivity.  Would adding that be sufficient?

Andy - good point, thanks.

2011-06-04 12:35:55Okay, how about this?
James Wight

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“In another of Hansen’s draft papers, Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications, he concludes that slow feedbacks greatly amplify the 3°C sensitivity from fast feedbacks. The exact value depends on the climate state you start with, which feedbacks you include, what timescale you’re interested in, and what assumptions you make. Adding other greenhouse gases increases climate sensitivity to 4°C for doubled CO2, and adding ice albedo gives 8°C for doubled CO2 (as long as the Earth has ice sheets). These feedbacks have historically occurred over centuries to millennia, but could become significant this century. Including CO2 itself as a feedback would make climate sensitivity even higher, except for the weathering feedback which operates over hundreds of millennia.

To avoid kicking off slow feedbacks, Hansen advises that we return the Earth to energy balance by eventually reducing atmospheric CO2 levels to 350 ppm.”

2011-06-04 13:50:27
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
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Looks good, thanks James.  I added that bit, and added you as a co-author, because that was a pretty substantial contribution.