2011-03-08 13:35:43Congressional testimonies from Christy & Pielke - feedback required
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

I've obtained Christy and Pielke's testimonies for tomorrow's hearing. Please don't share these around - I can share them on this private forum but not publicly. Feedback is welcome - particularly questions to ask Christy or Pielke or anticipation of what they'll say in their testimony that we can have answers to:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Christy.Testimony.pdf

http://www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Pielke.Testimony.pdf

2011-03-08 14:58:12pathetic
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233

Christy's really disappointed me.  Global warming = UHI?  Seriously?  WTF?  I just stopped reading at that point.  I thought Christy was better than that.

2011-03-08 15:26:46Comments on Christy
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

These are someone else's comments on Christy but I'm posting them here to keep everything centralised:

First, according to the T2LT data (http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.4), the lower troposphere globally is warming at +0.14 C/dec.  Mid troposphere (TMT) is warming globally at 0.052 C/dec (http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2/tmtglhmam_5.4).  So, is he averaging the two values to get his 0.09 C/decade?

Second, he talks about record highs and lows, but doesn't Meehl et al
(http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0923/2009GL040736/2009GL040736.pdf)
handle this?

Third, he ignores the two recent Nature papers on attributing recent extreme weather to ACD.

Fourth, I was under the impression that tropospheric heating was a function of ANY warming, while the "actual" fingerprint was the combination of tropospheric heating AND stratospheric cooling (which, conveniently enough, his TLS lower stratosphere data shows:
http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t4/tlsglhmam_5.4).

Fifth, the "global warming is land use changes near weather stations"
hasn't held water since Menne et al 2009, IIRC.

Sixth, he quotes Douglass et al 2007, which was brutally demolished by some of you here.  Gotta love synthetic data checks....

Seventh, negative feedbacks (low climate sensitivity) aren't physically realistic given what we know about past climate, as Barry Bickmore has recently shown in great detail.

Eighth, he says that the "climategate" show that the IPCC "has had problems with those who take different positions on climate change." 
Yet every single review has found the emails to be essentially harmless.

Ninth, he makes a number of claims that models aren't turning out to be proven right, yet IIRC the model projections from 10-30 years ago, when updated with modern details, turn out to be pretty accurate.  Didn't I read someone say that Hansen's model, when corrected to the modern power retained per CO2 doubling value, is pretty much right on, within a reasonable margin of error?

Tenth, I think Christy is muddying the waters about "warming from models should be about 3x what's observed" between surface vs. troposphere, but perhaps that's just my inexpert perspective.

2011-03-08 15:39:51Comment on Pielke
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

Here's another comment in an email (not from me) that I'm collecting here:

Pielke Snr has 4 main points and I can agree with 3 of them although then, so what?  Wrt point 4: In the last IPCC report, as I recall, over 70% of the authors were entirely new and had not been in previous ones.

2011-03-08 16:05:35Comment on comment on Christy
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

More juicy stuff from a NASA climate scientist on that earlier email:

> First, according to the T2LT data
> (http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.4), the lower
> troposphere globally is warming at +0.14 C/dec.  Mid troposphere (TMT)
> is warming globally at 0.052 C/dec
> (http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2/tmtglhmam_5.4).  So, is he
> averaging the two values to get his 0.09 C/decade?

actually it's sneakier than that - he has taken out the trend associated with the tropical SST. Thus his 0.09 is not the long term trend at all.

his claim of 0.26 C/dec for the model ensemble is a little high (I make it 0.21 deg C/dec, but he may have put in a factor of 1.2 to account for the expected SAT to TLT amplification). The range among the models with this factor would be 0.26 +/- 0.2 over the period 1984 to 2010 (95%), so the observed number is well within the envelope.

> Second, he talks about record highs and lows, but doesn't Meehl et al
> (http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0923/2009GL040736/2009GL040736.pdf)
> handle this?

he is talking about whole states, not individual records - and so you have a huge sampling problem (50 points compared to 1000s). The Meehl paper is much better, and the continuation of the record into 2010, shows roughly twice as many high records as low records.

> Third, he ignores the two recent Nature papers on attributing recent
> extreme weather to ACD.

Zwiers will deal with this.

> Fourth, I was under the impression that tropospheric heating was a
> function of ANY warming, while the "actual" fingerprint was the
> combination of tropospheric heating AND stratospheric cooling (which,
> conveniently enough, his TLS lower stratosphere data shows:
> http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t4/tlsglhmam_5.4).

Yes and no. Tropospheric amplification is a signal associated with any surface warming, but the TLS record is mostly affected by ozone depletion and volcanoes, strat cooling due to CO2 is higher up and mostly seen in the stratospheric sounding unit (SSU) records.


> Fifth, the "global warming is land use changes near weather stations"
> hasn't held water since Menne et al 2009, IIRC.

nor does it explain the MSU trend!

> Sixth, he quotes Douglass et al 2007, which was brutally demolished by
> some of you here.  Gotta love synthetic data checks....

The fact that doesn't acknowledge that Douglass et al 2007 was grossly in error is very telling. Even the McIntyre comment acknowledged this.

> Seventh, negative feedbacks (low climate sensitivity) aren't
> physically realistic given what we know about past climate, as Barry
> Bickmore has recently shown in great detail.

He is deliberately confusing two issues - the big overall negative feedback associated with the Planck response (i.e. sigma T^4) and the usual climate science usage of negative feedback being a response of smaller magnitude than the Planck response.


> Eighth, he says that the "climategate" show that the IPCC "has had
> problems with those who take different positions on climate change."
> Yet every single review has found the emails to be essentially harmless.

none of the UEA emails were from the 'IPCC'.

> Ninth, he makes a number of claims that models aren't turning out to
> be proven right, yet IIRC the model projections from 10-30 years ago,
> when updated with modern details, turn out to be pretty accurate. 
> Didn't I read someone say that Hansen's model, when corrected to the
> modern power retained per CO2 doubling value, is pretty much right on,
> within a reasonable margin of error?

yes you did:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/01/2010-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

> Tenth, I think Christy is muddying the waters about "warming from
> models should be about 3x what's observed" between surface vs.
> troposphere, but perhaps that's just my inexpert perspective.

This is at the peak warming level - not the same as the TLM or TLT product. And it only works for the tropics, where (unfortunately) we have very poor radiosonde data.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/tropical-tropopshere-ii/

2011-03-08 17:24:21If global warming is caused by dodgy weather stations...
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.166.156

How does Christy explain the warming oceans and troposphere, at night and during winter, rising tropopause, cooling stratosphere, rising humidity, increasing intense rainfall and flooding, rising sea level, shrinking ice sheets and glaciers, expanding subtropics, migrating species, melting permafrost, and disappearing Arctic sea ice? And why isn’t the rising carbon dioxide having any effect?

2011-03-08 18:32:35
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.82.199

Yeah, it would be nice if the questioners follow James' example. Don't get drawn into the myopic skeptic world, where one can make believe the Earth isn't warming. Like John says step back and look at the big picture, see how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together.  

Here's hoping the people posing the questions have thought long and hard. 

2011-03-08 20:09:06
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.211

Christy refers to a 1994 study relating to that 0.09 trend. I think at that point they had the UAH records uncorrected for their diurnal drift error. Also he seems to be referring to climate model results back then so it seems that he's using badly outdated data here. Paper is here but not even abstract is available. However, here's a quote from some greenpeace-webpage briefly describing this paper (this shows that Christy's numbers are indeed from 1994):

"In a brief scientific communication to the journal Nature, Christy and McNider report that satellite observations of temperature trends in the lower atmosphere indicate a warming rate of about 0.1 oC per decade since January 1979. The researchers used the Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) on the NOAA Tiros-N Satellites to observe the lower atmosphere. After removing the temperature effects of the El Nino phenomenon and the El Chichon and Mt Pinatubo volcanic eruptions, they found a trend of 0.09�C/decade upward in the lower 7km of the troposphere. They note that this is in contrast to model predictions of 0.3-0.4�C/decade but point out that the length of the record is "relatively short for determining climate trends". (J. R. Christy and R. T. McNider, "Satellite greenhouse signal", Nature, v.367, p.325, 27 January 1994)."

2011-03-08 20:22:36
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.113.129

This is very disappointing. Is there going to be anyone "cross-examining" to Christy's testimony? Someone competent?

2011-03-09 00:33:52Questions for Christy
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

Here are a few possible questions for Christy based on his written testimony. His blaming of warming on UHI/microsite influences presents an opportunity to talk about all the evidence for warming:

In your testimony, you conclude that "much of the surface temperature warming is related to surface development around the thermometer sites". Do you believe sea levels are rising because of "development around thermometers"? Is permafrost melting because of the way we've configured our weather stations? Is Greenland and Antarctica losing hundreds of millions of tonnes of ice every year because someone put a thermometer near a car park? Signs of global warming are manifesting throughout nature - migrating species, retreating glaciers, disappearing Arctic sea ice. Is much of this warming due to development around thermometer sites?

It annoys me, this conceit by Christy, Monckton and Lindzen that low climate sensitivity comes from observations while high climate sensitivity comes solely from models. So I thought this question (although perhaps it's overlong):

You cite the work of Dr Roy Spencer as evidence for low climate sensitivity. But why do you ignore all the observations that indicate high climate sensitivity. A review by Reto Knutti and Gabrielle Hegerl lists all the observations used to determine climate sensitivity - studies looking at the instrumental period, over the last millennium, the climate response to volcanic eruptions and proxy data from millions of years ago. All these lines of evidence point towards high climate sensitivity, indicating that positive feedbacks are going to amplify the warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. It would be nice if negative feedbacks gave us a get out of jail free card but there's one clear reason why we know negative feedbacks aren't going to suppress climate change - they never have in the past.

And do I misread him or is he actually saying the tropospheric hot spot is a greenhouse signature? I'd expect that from a denier blog but from a climate scientist?! However, I don't know if this question is too technical and obscure:

You talk about "one of the clearest signatures or fingerprints of greenhouse gas warming" consisting of "a region of the tropical upper atmosphere which in models is shown to warm at least twice as fast as the surface rate of warming". However, is it not true that this tropospheric hot spot, as it's often called, is a result of any type of warming, not just greenhouse gas warming? The notion that the tropospheric hot spot is unique to greenhouse warming is a misconception found on blogs and various websites but it's surprising to hear a climate scientist repeating the misconception.

Are these questions worth suggesting for the hearing?

2011-03-09 00:56:48
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.166.156

Also, don’t forget the evidence that it’s greenhouse warming – warming at night and during winter, rising tropopause, cooling stratosphere – and why isn’t the rising carbon dioxide having any effect?

2011-03-09 01:18:24CO2 effect
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

I don't believe Christy or Pielke deny the greenhouse effect. Christy's main thing seems to be low climate sensitivity. Pielke's main thing is that land use is ignored (which it isn't).

Ironically Christy invokes night warming as evidence for UHI and evidence against there being real warming. That's a pretty obscure topic for a congressional hearing though.

2011-03-09 03:55:39good questions
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

Those are good questions.

I think after the hearing, we should put together a response at least to Christy and maybe Pielke too.  I was thinking something simple - just quote each of Christy's ridiculous statements, and provide a sentence or two rebuttal with links to the relevant pages, rather than re-inventing the wheel, since we've rebutted most of these already.  Even the ones we haven't rebutted specifically, like the 0.09°C/decade claim could be rebutted in just a couple sentences (like hey, UAH shows the trend is 0.14°C per decade.  That's your own data, buddy!).

2011-03-09 05:49:38
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.205.107

Dana, that's a good idea. Guys, I think you forget this is a dog and pony show. If the questioners were on to it, they'd be using questions as a basis to introduce all the evidence James refers to.

2011-03-09 06:24:55
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.113.129

The live-blogging I've seen on this so far seems pretty thin. It might be worthwhile to do a very complete take-down of this pathetic travesty of science.

2011-03-09 09:06:34Christy
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

I'll take the response to Christy's testimony.  Maybe somebody else could take Pielke.  Should be pretty easy - he hardly said anything of substance really.

2011-03-09 12:11:39
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana an others,

 

I agree, a thorough and VERY PUBLIC debunking is required here-- something like Monckton Myths series perhaps.  Thanks for taking on Christy Dana.  Now that I have successfully defended my PhD (only yesterday in fact) I might have some more time available be able to help, although I need to complete my revisions.

How about also tacking the Gish gallop from the Republican senators?

That gong show this morning really blew my mind.

2011-03-09 12:20:46Christy's Chrap?
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.229.6

Congrats on defending your PhD, Julian - great stuff!

What next to focus our efforts on? Before we launch any new Monckton Myths style series focusing on specific skeptics, I was thinking we launch the overall resource on all the skeptics (aka http://sks.to/skeptics) which is discussed here. Before we can do that, however, we need to collect good, concise, debunkable quotes from the 8 to 12 major skeptics. So anyone who would like to contribute to this effort, please check out this thread.

2011-03-09 13:05:52
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Thanks John-- it was a long and sometimes humbling experience.  Glad it is over.

 

2011-03-09 13:13:51
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

On several occassions  both Christy and Pielke (IIRC) said that Antarctica is gaining ice or that Antarctic sea ice is increasing.  Both statements are demonstrably wrong.

 

2011-03-09 13:51:47comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

Congrats Albatross, great to hear!

PS we could do a whole series on Goddard. I'm going to pick on him today.



What happens if you start at the start of the 21st century?

2011-03-09 14:06:28
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Thanks Robert, much appreciated.  We are fellow Canucks by the way :)  

2011-03-09 14:18:29Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

Fellow Canucks eh? haha

If you don't mind me asking what did you get your ph.d in anyways?

It's nice to have a few canadians here to balance things out :P



On the Goddard topic,
Steven Goddard is a pseunonym actually. That was confirmed by Stephen Mosher over at Lucia's place I believe.

2011-03-09 14:31:01
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi Robert,

My degree is in meteorology-- land-atmosphere feedbacks, particularly how thunderstorms respond to anomalies in soil moisture/vegetation vigour.  Quite the change from microphysics and hail.

Yes, depressing times to be an atmospheric scientist in Canada too....

You are right Mosher has confirmed that Goddard is a pseudonym, over at Curry's place too.  Kinda odd b/c Watts claims that anyone posting on his site must use their real name!  Mosher claims not to know who Goddard is...I do not believe him for a second.

2011-03-09 14:44:15Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.163.105

Meteorology eh? that's pretty interesting, but yes alas it is a rough time to be in that field in Canada. I am thinking about doing my ph.d once I finish my masters at a Canadian University but given the hard times who knows... as long as "He" is in power this is going to be a rough time for this field.

2011-03-09 14:45:43
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102

Congrats, Alby!

2011-03-09 14:50:29
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
144.137.2.89

Some points I picked up on Christy

- The graph of floods in Brisbane. When was the Somerset Dam built?

- Page 9 about local state weather and that it isn't predicted by models. Of course it isn't too fine grained.

- Removing Tropical SST's from the TLT set seems a VERY strange way of removing the effects of ENSO.

- "The facts that (a) the daytime temperatures do not show significant warming in these studies and (b) the daytime temperature is much more representative of the deep atmospheric temperature where the warming due to the enhanced greenhouse effect should be evident, lead us to conclude that much of the surface temperature warming is related to surface development around the thermometer" WTF! Hasn't he heard of the effect of aerosols on daytime temperatures and that the GH effect is 24 hours a day?

- McKitrick 2010 uses the TMT mid troposphere products. These are effectively useless in their basic form for estimating mid troposphere temps since the signal is too contaminated by stratospheric cooling. Spencer & Christy where the first to introduce a TLT product for the lower troposphere in 1992 precisely to remove this stratospheric baising. Analyses by Fu & Johanson also show warming in the mid troposphere.

- When he cites Klotzback et al 2010 he is actually citing a paper co-authored by himself and the Pielke's

- Similarly his graph of Climate Sensitivities is also using TMT which will give a quite spurious result

To Pielke

- Why is he looking at 2005 to mid 2010. Cherry picking. Isn't climate judged on a longer time scale - the WMO definition of climate is over 30 years isn't it. Also what else has occurred during those 5 years - a deep & long solar minimum and a huge increase in industrial activity in China with what impacts on aerosols?

2011-03-09 14:54:03
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Thanks Daniel :)  I owe you an email-- need to catch up.

 

Good points Glenn, so much to debunk and refute...sigh.

 

Robert, yes I wish that "He" was no longer in power....killed CFCAS and not replacing it.

2011-03-09 15:33:51congrats
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233

Congrats Albatross, way to go!  Are you officially Dr. Alby now?

I started drafting up the Christy response.  Might be able to finish a draft tonight - this is one of those strike while the iron is hot instances, so the sooner we can get it reviewed and published the better.  The 0.09°C/decade claim was more nuanced than I thought.  Apparently he got a paper published in Nature 17 years ago using this method to remove the ENSO influence, but I agree with Glenn, it seems like a weird way to do it.  Anyway, I think I got a decent response to that courtesy of RC and tamino.  Gonna go try and finish writing this thing.

As John said though, we want to get the skeptic pages launched, but first we need to gather up a few juicy quotes apiece for some climate scientists to respond to.  So if you have time, go to the link John provided and add some quotes.  We've got some good ones there for Lindzen and Spencer and Christy so far.

2011-03-09 17:09:50
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

Thanks.  Good question, when I convocate I suppose.  I have told friends and family that they are only aloowed to called me "Dr" for one day, the day I convocate.

I'm surprised that Christy got that paper published.  When dealing with oscillations in the global SAT, one can usually address their impact by calculating a running mean that is at least of the same length as the cycle.  No?  Hansen suggests calculating a running mean.....

Regardless, what counts is the stat. sig. long term trend in global SATs or lower tropospheric temps, and the data require/dictate that we need about 20 years to extract a reliable signal.  

Anyhow, I'm sure RC and Tamino gave a much more robust and convincing answer ;)

 

2011-03-10 01:01:41The Great Karnak says...
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102

Tamino calculates 15 years to reach statistical significance in his post How Long?

2011-03-10 23:22:08Pielke testimony
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.160.33.83

A couple of thoughts on Pielke's testimony:

 

"Global warming is a subset of climate change"  - what?  Surely global warming is the major driver of climate change, so how can it be a subset?  If A causes B, then A cannot be a member of the set B.  One may as well say that voltage is a sub-set of current, that hot oil is a subset of French fries.

 

"Research has shown that a focus on just carbon dioxide and a few other greenhouse gases as the dominant human influence on climate is too narrow, and misses other important human influences."

 

A classic rhetorical phrasing: "Research has shown that ... ", does not mean 'robust and widely accepted research' but is often used to imply just that.  Also contains a straw man argument by implying that climate scientists at large are looking at CO2 to the exclusion of other contributory factors of global warming, which is patently untrue.

 

Also, use of the word 'dominant' in this way implies that the 'missed influences' may plausibly be found to have a major influence such as to cause greenhouse gases to lose their dominant status.  Thus are sown the seeds of doubt.

2011-03-11 00:03:44
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.114.194

logicman,

In all fairness, I believe I have seen elsewhere an attribution of nearly half of global warming to be due to land-use changes.

2011-03-11 06:59:16land use change
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.160.33.83

nealjking:

 

most of what I have read about land use change within the context of global warming points out the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and the loss of sinks due to such causes.  For example, a change from forest to crops tends to cause an immediate local surge in GHG emissions and a drop in GHG - especially CO2 - absorption rates.

 

Has anyone put numbers on the change of land from barren / farmland to motorway?  During my lifetime I have seen a continual rise in the amount of roads here in the UK.  Much of the concrete ribbon runs over former farmland, woods and moorland.  When a road is built there is a CO2 cost in the cement used, apart from other factors.  Once the road is open it has been seen that vehicle use increases as demand climbs to match supply.  That's quite an imbalance of sink loss and emissions gain.

 

Anyway, any scientist who claims - directly or by implication - that CO2 is being studied to the detriment of other factors hasn't done his or her homework.

2011-03-11 07:51:28
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.114.194

I think it happens to be Pielke's particular interest in land-use issues that could influence his opinion that that aspect is not getting enough emphasis, compared to the greenhouse effect.

Perhaps that is a bit idiosyncratic, but not necessarily mendacious.

2011-03-11 18:09:12
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.160.33.83

"Perhaps that is a bit idiosyncratic, but not necessarily mendacious."

 

Agreed.