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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Permafrost feedback update 2015: is it good or bad news?

    Thanks for informing us of this important study, Andy. Dare we hope for a main post on it soon?? '-)

  2. There's no empirical evidence

    @Tom,

    You said, "Soil sequestration will peter out more slowly, but will itself reach equilibrium over time." Maybe. I would like some evidence that aside from the atmospheric CO2 levels reaching ~170ppm +/- that there is any reduction in healthy grassland ecosystem's sequestration of CO2 in the soil.[1] Overgrazing can cause a reduction. Undergrazing can cause a reduction.[2]  But judging from the actual evidence and the cause of carbon sequestration[3], I seriously doubt there is any "petering out" of carbon sequestration as soils improve. Here is why, one of the primary reasons for such increased soil sequestration of carbon in grassland soils is the mycorrhizal fungi plant symbiosis. This effect is not dependant on carbon already sequestered, but instead a direct feeding of products of photosynthesis to the fungi and it has a direct relationship to grazing pressure.[4] I conclude that the reason Savory, Sacks, Teague, and several others are seeing a difference in the sequestration rate differences according to management practices is this symbiosis. They also are finding the quantity of carbon contained in soils is directly related to the diversity and health of soil biota. This correlation deriving directly from root exudates which feed the mycorrhizal fungi, which then produce glomalin.[5] Unless you can show any break in that cycle (other than atmospheric CO2 levels dropping below what C4 plants can effectively use as generally happens) that might occur when soils reach a certain level of SOM, there is no reason to believe sequestration will "peter out" in the soil. Unless you can back up that assumption. Keep in mind you would also need to show there even exists enough CO2 in the atmosphere to reach any kind of plateau like that.

    You also said, "It is thoroughly implausible that so sensitive a feedback mechanism would not either act as an inexorable pump of CO2 levels down to far below preindustrial levels, or result in wild fluctuations in CO2 levels on an annual and decadal basis."

    And yet atmospheric levels have experienced an inexorable pumping down well below those levels. It happened every glaciation phase but this one. What stopped it, if not the megafauna extinctions? Remember we have evidence that both overgrazing AND undergrazing reduce carbon sequestration in grassland soils and about the same general time the megafauna extinctions occured, the CO2 levels stopped dropping. Much later they started rising significantly. Analogy would be a draining pool. First you plug the drain, then you begin filling. Soon it will overflow. But if you hadn't stopped the drain when you began filling it, likely it wouldn't overflow. It just wouldn't empty. The reason your models are flawed is because you are measuring the stoppered pool and assuming this is the extent of the drain. Instead you must measure a cleared drain to calculate what fill rate will make it overflow. This is the relationship of the grasslands ecosystems which are the primary driver of global cooling and fossil fuels which are the primary driver of global warming. In order to make a proper compareson you need measurements of fully functioning grassland ecosystems that are not over grazed or under grazed, and certainly not tilled. There are only a few such measurements available, but the ones available seem to indicate that the "drain" when cleared is significantly bigger than the "fill". 

  3. 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #17

    DSL @2, Roman Mureika is a statistician that frequently comments at Climate Audit, being very critical of anyone disagreeing with McIntyre.  As a rough measure of his ability, he has an effective Google Scholar h-rating of 6.  Most of his papers deal with the ins and outs of record times for 100 meter sprints.  For comparison, Grant Foster who is belittled on Climate Audit as a statistical nobody in comparison to Mureika has an effective Google Scholer h-rating of 10.  What is more, unlike Mureika, he has published on the temperature record.

    The GWPF is certainly stacking the deck with people with a known outlook.  As Nick Stokes points out, they have also stacked the deck with the questions they put to the inquiry.

    Having said that, van Wijngaarden has an academic record that certainly justifies his being on this sort of panel, including publications on climate statistics.  Based on his publication record, he at least is unlikely to perform a simple hatchet job.  

  4. 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #17

    rkrolph, that GWPF waste of time is covered by And Then There's Physics, and several other folks in the comments there.

  5. 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #17

    rkrolph, it's being put together by the GWPF, one of the core denial machines.  It's Pielke Sr., Chylek, McNider (UAH), Roman Mureika (wth?), and William van Wijngaarden (wth, part 2).

    Note that "experts" is the label rather than "climate experts."  It's all rhetoric in the name of shaping public opinion.  

  6. 2015 SkS Weekly Digest #17

    There is an recent article in the Telegraph by Christopher Booker about an international team of scientists assembled to investigate the temperature record adjustments.  Isn't this just a repeat of the same nonsense that was debunked here not too long ago?  If it is really the same thing, then how does this junk keep getting repeated?  I know the deniers are jumping all over this one. 

  7. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    WheelsOC @29

    I agree with you that it would be difficult to create some index to assess climate researchers and commentators, because what ever method you used would be modifiable by others to suit their purpose which, in the end, would make the index next to useless. It's a bit like the many so called fancy sounding pseudo scientific climate research centres that have come into existence to deny AGW, that, in reality, are little more than sophisticated marketing centres rather than serious scientific research institutions. It seems, from the article, that the h index is also open to interpretation, but at least academics do have some understanding as to its meaning. Also, it seems, that academics are able to assess the relative merit of research and comments made by their peers, and as such do not need an index of assessment other than the research they have done and the statements that they make.

    However, to those outside academia, all this is very confusing. Assessing what has merit and what doesn't is very difficult for the lay person or merely interested to assess. Having some index would be helpful, although it would be difficult to create a consensus about an index of credibility. In the CC/AGW debate it is not so clear cut, so the realities of that debate are taking much longer to penetrate the public conscience. It took about 100 years for continental drift theory to become widely accepted in the public conscious. Unfortunately, we don't have the same 100 year time frame to create a public consensus in the climate change debate so that it becomes widely accepted in the public mind so that proper public policy can be implemented to alleviate the worst impacts of AGW and CC. It might be easier for the public, if there was actually some easily assessible CC CV so that the relative merits of the various arguments can be more readily assessed. In Australia, there will be many outside science/economic circles who are cheering the appointment of Bjorn Lomborg to lead this 4 million dollar government funded research centre because it suits their politcal point of view.

    In Australia we don't need more commentators advocating non-action. The sad part about all this is that that 4 million dollars would probably be better spent searching for alternative methods of energy generation. In fact, the efforts to find alternative, more sustainable, less emitting forms of energy, considering the time frame needed, amounts to little more than tokenism. I find it incredible that the Blue Horizon platform that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico and messed up the coast line, cost 5 billion dollars. It had to drill through a kilometre of water and a kilometre of rock to get to the oil, an amazing technology showing it can be done. However, the Australian government has allocated less than half the cost of the Blue Horizon platform to alleviate carbon dioxide emissions and create alternative energies. It seems to be the same with all greenhouse gas emitters. They fund token efforts. They should be leading the charge in finding alternative energy technologies, not funding deniers in some mickey mouse pseudo-scientific so called research institute. All I have seen so far is mere tokenism and mere tokenism is not going to reduce CO2 emissions. It will take public action from an informed public, not more denial. I do not have much faith that mankind will do what is necessary.

  8. PhilippeChantreau at 09:01 AM on 27 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Very true Rob. And yet, even back in the beginning of the theory, those who had expertise and insight knew that there was simply no better explanation. In fact, all others fell far short of the mark. Arthur Holmes was one these insightful experts. End of off-topic.

  9. Rob Honeycutt at 08:47 AM on 27 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Just to add a point on plate techtonics (though I know it's off-topic)...

    Part of the challenge there was coming up with solid evidence of plate techtonics. The idea was fantastic, but for a very long time it wasn't accepted merely because there was little data that supported it. It took many decades to pull together the data that was sufficient to convince the scientific community.

    And that is how it's supposed to work. When the evidence is there, scientific consensus can actually move fairly rapidly.

  10. PhilippeChantreau at 06:42 AM on 27 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Pluvial, what in the world are you talking about? Game theory is a mathematical construct, it has noting to do with "playing games" as the expression is understood in every day language. The rest of your post is barely intelligible. If you have something of substance tosay about the topic, go ahead. If it's about something else, go to the appropriate thread and formulate it in a way that is leads to constructive discussion.

  11. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    PluviAL@30 said: "something motivates... [Lomborg] and his supporters, and it is not just money."   You claim open-mindedness.  Open your mind to the possibility that it is, in fact, just money.  Even consider the possibility that Lomborg, himself, may not know it.  He is skeptical, he says so, and money flows his way.  Why wouldn't he continue down that path that has worked so well for him?  According to this article, "Lomborg operates by attaching himself to these centres as an adjunct professor... rather than a staff member. This offers the freedom to command remuneration well above a professorial salary – such as the US$775,000 he was paid in 2012 by... [his U.S. based Copenhagen Consensus Center] and the US$200,484 paid... in 2013."

    As regards Lomborgs economic arguments, I'm reading 'Climate Shock' by economists Wagner and Weitzman.  Once CO2 rises to 560ppm (this is almost certain by 2050 or so),  the probability of hitting 1.5C to 4.5C is 66% (IPCC estimate).  But that probability has a positively skewed distribution with a high end 'fat tail'.  Assuming a 6C rise means mass extinction (very likely) and profound disruption to the global economy (also very likely), then there is already a small (0.04%) chance of hitting 6C already, at todays 400ppm CO2.  But, by mid-century, at 560ppm, that probability increases a hundred-fold, to 4%.  That's a 1-in-25 chance, higher odds than of hitting 'snake eyes' when rolling two dice.  And that level of risk is already 'dialed in' because we can't 'decarbon' the economy fast enough to avoid it.   A game-theorist should understand 'Pascals Wager': why risk a 'wait-n-see' on carbon, if the punishment is eternal damnation?  As the authors state "The appropriate price on carbon is one that will make us comfortable enough to know that we will never get to anything close to 6C."

  12. Ian Forrester at 05:21 AM on 27 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Pluvial, we are discussing science here, politicians and non scientists might like to hear about "alternatives". However, in science, any alternative must be based on accepted science. Lomborg's "aternatives" are not based on science but on ideology.


    Also where did you get this from:

    The best scientists of the time were still working with various version of the shrinking continents theory.

    Continetal drift theory did not involve "shrinking continents", it was not accepted at first because no-one could come up with a method for the continets to move till plate techtonics was discovered and described.

    Your last paragraph is just gibberish I'm afraid. Stop pretending to be knowledgeable about science when it is obvious you don't have a clue.

  13. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    As expected, your response is far better than my effort. No doubt you are right in every respect except this: People want to hear alternatives, especially politicians, and others of us on the outside. I have read both his books, and not being a very critical reader, I was somewhat convinced.

    You see my method contrary to bozzza's argument is not really madness, it is open mindedness. OK, Lomborg’s arguments are soft, and maybe even systematically disingenuous, after all he is a game theory student. However, we still need to hear what he is trying to get at, something motivates him and his supporters, and it is not just money.

    We can illustrate the linearity trap which the conventional science community is subject to by observing the long time it took to consider today’s conventional tectonic plate theory, which is substantially defective even today. The theory was proposed decades before it was seriously considered. The best scientists of the time were still working with various version of the shrinking continents theory, which is really absurd in retrospect. It took so long to consider it because the stiff scientific method, and its propagation process, is linear. This means that only accepted lines of inquiry are accepted, and that anyone who steps outside the bounds is castigated, with threat to their credibility and thus their livelihood. Is that any less negatively motivating than what Lomborg exposes himself to? I do appreciate your sincere statement that erroneous offers are valualbe, but it is not practiced enough

    Consider this: You are to bet civilization’s future on the outcome of one sumo match. One side is the current champ and favorite at 44 lbs. On the other is the challenger he weighs in at 174,000 lbs. but everyone knows he is slow, except for you. You know he is cunning and can move fast if he chooses. Who will you bet on? Well, conventional science still puts our lot on the little champ, earth flux. The big guy is insolation and gravity effects from the sun and moon, which can express themselves through ice loads and other climate loads on the continents. The mechanics for expression are far better than core convection. If this is right, in the future it will be as absurd to look back on current theory as this fight, or the shrinking earth theory. Each day more information comes up favoring the big guy, and the consequences of the of the resolution are urgent and tremendous, yet it is still ridiculed by main line science and largely ignored. That’s a fault resulting from the linearity of the method, and its propagation process.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] You are now skating on the thin ice of sloganeering which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  14. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    mancan18, nothing you said really addresses the issue I brought up. In fact it seems more like doubling down (reasserting what's been challenged without providing a new argument or rebuttal).

    The problem with your solution is that it leans too far into the realm of purity tests. What you're essentially coming back with is that we need purity tests. In reality, that's detrimental to the credibility of research centers.

    To put it another way, think of the anti-evolutionists. They often have "research centers" designed around religious Apologetics, and one of the mechanisms they use to ensure that their "researchers" stay on the straight and narrow ideological path is to implement a Statement of Faith. Potential Apologists have to agree to a set of beliefs from which they aren't allowed to deviate while remaining attached to the Apologetics outfit. This behavior has long been pointed to as a black mark against their claims of credibility by the scientific community.

    By asking for a similar pre-screening test about an individual researcher's beliefs upfront, you are implicitly pushing for something that would harm your hypothetical research center's credibility the same way. It essentially functions as a restriction of academic freedom imposed on anybody you'd like to hire.

    It's one thing to reject candidates who brazenly dismiss the reality of gravity. It's another thing to test candidates based on their existing commitment to a preconceived political plan of action and specific metrics like "safe levels of carbon." The latter is absolutely not something you want to do if you're setting up an institution with the express purpose of finding good solutions through research. You want to attract researchers based on their being productive, engaged people who are passionate about the question, not based on how wedded they are to particular policy viewpoints ahead of time.

    In the end, it would be coutnerproductive to your goal of making the most credible and trusted source of information for the general public. Such a research center would be tainted by the perception of being packed with partisans and ideologues rather than picking the top scientists based purely on their capabilities.

  15. One Planet Only Forever at 02:26 AM on 27 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    A scientifically rigorous method of evaluating the merit or contribution of individuals is appealig. However, the measure of the contribution of anyone in humanity (in science, business, politics or any other field of endeavour), needs to be how 'helpful' their contribution was toward the development of a lasting better future for all of humanity. And it is clear that the only lasting future for humanity is through learning how all of humanity can be a sustainable part of the robust diversity of life on this amazing planet (or any other planet that humanity succeeds in reaching).

    With that in mind, a better test of the legitimacy of a contribution would be how it adds to the advancement of humanity toward that lasting better future for all life. Anyone who simply was unaware of the 'unhelpfulness' of their efforts would have their misguided contributions given a zero value (giving the benefit of the doubt that the individual simply lacked awareness or understanding). And 'unhelpful contributions', including contributions that would mislead less aware or less informed people would be given a negative value, with the magnitude of the negative assessment being related to the degree that the individual should have 'known better' or been able to be informed enough to better understand the 'unhelpful nature' of the claim they tried to make.

    A more common sense approach would be to simply focus on identifying who has been 'unhelpful' and have laws in place to formally remove deliberately unhelpful people from positions of significant influence in humanity (in science or business or politics or any other human endeavour), regardless of the momentary popularity or profitability of what they are trying to get away with.

  16. PhilippeChantreau at 02:19 AM on 27 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Pffft. Much ado about nothing. Lomborg's work is of such low quality and significance that, without the eagerness to prop him up and create baseless "controversy" he would have gone compeely unnoticed. In one of his earlier brushes with serious scrutiny (i.e. by official bodies), he was found to be "not even wrong." In other words, the work was so poor that one could not establish an intention to mislead with any certainty. Not much of a contributor to Human knowledge. I won't cite, this is sonmething that has alreadybeen discussed here on several occasions over the years.

  17. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    PluviAL @23, Bjorn Lomborg can only have made a valuable contribution to the debate if the accusations against him are false.  Accusations such as those by J van den Bergh (quoted by me above).  Or this accusation made by Dan Wenny in Natural Area's Journal, 2002:

    "Many of you are no doubt familiar with the claim that a significant proportion of earth's species will likely go extinct in the near future as a result of habitat loss and other effects of economic development unless action is taken.  Lomborg's strategy of rebutal is simple: (1) start with a false comparision; (2) distort the data and selectively compile evidence to knock down the straw man; (3) use questionable sources, citations out of context, and irrelevant examples while ignoring most of the scientific literature." 

    The charges are serious, and amount to a claim that Lomborg mounts his case by a process of scientific misconduct, not too dissimilar to that found among the writtings of creationists.  A review in Nature by Jeff Pimm and Stuart Harvey was harsher, saying that in the Sceptical Environmentalist "the text employs the strategy of those who, for example, argue that gay men aren't dying of AIDS, that Jews weren't singled out by the Nazis for extermination, and so on." (Quoted from wikipedia)

    I have not read the book, so I do not know that the claims made against it are valid.  I do know that they were made by people with firmly established reputations of quality researh in their fields.  I also know that they claims were validated by the body established by the Danish government to adjudicate cases of scientific misconduct.  (That that adjudication was overturned by a political body, ie, the science ministry carries little weight with me - particularly considering that the purported grounds of overturning the adjudication effectively damn the Sceptical Environmentalist in any case.)

    I also know that Lomborg is certainly guilty of the one most basic tactic of creationists, and AGW deniers, and the rest of the whole pseudo-scientific crowd - of taking his case to non-experts before taking it to experts.  I view that as a tacit acknowledgement that the people who knew enough to assess his argument would find it bad.

    That being the case, no government should appoint him to any academic position except as a result of normal, armslength selection proceedures.  And if they do, it is because they do not want research on the topic, but a ready supply of press releases.

  18. 2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #17B

    I would think, given the currently very odd trajectory of Arctic sea ice as of the 24th of April , that more questions would best be avoided by the Abbott Government at this point in time.

    Tony Abbott can't even answer questions about the NBN- how is he going to explain the very odd trajectory of Arctic sea ice undermining his every stammering slogan?

    When do we hear from Lomborg about this Arctic sea ice thing and how best Australian tax-payer dollars are spent on avoiding what looks like a very bad trend from getting worse?

  19. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Tom Curtis

    I am not saying that being wrong in science is a problem. Its not. In fact it normally leads to better understanding and a science that is more robust. I am also not saying that the h index is not an important measure to determine the credentials of professional academics. I was being devil's advocate in suggesting a SLC (safe level of carbon dioxide) index for those who enter the climate change argument. While the h index should be enough amongst professional academics to assess credentials, it does not help those outside academia in assessing credentials. Some form of SLC index would at least inform outsiders about the merits and positions of the various advocates. Or perhaps some CSC (Climate Science Credibility) credential based on the Consensus Project might be more useful in assessing climate scientists. Again I am being devil's advocate. Amongst climate science commentators, there is a huge difference in climate science credentials between the likes of Andrew Bolt, Richard Lindzen, Ian Plimer, Bob Carter, David Karoly, James Hansen, Judith Curry, Al Gore, Tim Flannery, Bjorn Lomborg and the various scientists who regularly contribute to sites like SkS. Unfortunately, for outsiders, there is a lot of noise which is hard to penetrate and creates doubt that allows any politically motivated denier to drive a truck through the arguments. There needs to be a simpler measure for the wider public to make an assessment as to the quality of what is being claimed. After all, those who believe the level of CO2 is not the key issue in the whole debate probably should not be given any credibity in the discussion. Because at the moment, we are right on track to release the CO2 that was naturally sequestored in the Earth's crust over millions of years in a little over 300 years putting CO2 levels not seen since the dinosaurs. Now anyone suggesting that this is a good thing needs to have their arguments closely scrutinised.  

  20. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    We don't have to see him determine anything.

    What does one mean by 'science is too linear'? What does one mean by 'open minded'? What is a 'sincere alternative argument'?

    Who pays for these Universities and why do they exist again?

    Science is only method... madness is everything else!

  21. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    I have to be heretic once again: Admitting that most commenters here are better informed, write better than I, and are more rigorous in their arguments, it still seems Bjorn Lomborg makes a valuable contribution to the discussion. This means that science minded people have to be more open to sincere alternative arguments. Not denying that Lomborg has compromised motivations due to the funding of his institute, who does not have funding issues? The whole excessive concern with h-rating is an indication with the lack of a good index by which to gage value of communications. There is value in communications other than scientifically sanctioned papers. We just don’t have a good way of appreciating these. Science is too linear, by necessity. The arguments about climate change are global, even on the scientific side. That is why the models are so hard to pin down. When we consider economic, social, urban architecture (the dumb car city), political, market, and infrastructural inertia, and so many other issues which Lomborg tires to get at, we can see value that he brings to the table.

    So, yes, he is an asset to a faculty. How much, we will have to see, and he will have to determine.

  22. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    mancan18, there is no problem with being wrong in science.  By the nature of what they do, scientists must be wrong a good percentage of the time.  If not, they are not properly exploring the issues.  What is not acceptable in a scientist is being wrong in uninteresting ways - ie, in a way that can be refuted by current knowledge, that does not require further research to show that you are wrong.  If that is the case in a given paper, it will generate very few responses, and no citations (other then self citations) and consequently have a very low citation number.  

    The advantage of the h index is that you can publish a thousand papers each with 2 citations and it will not lift your h index above 2.  Therefore being consistently wrong in uninteresting ways will not generate a high h index.  And being consistently wrong in interesting ways means you are a productive scientist.

  23. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Peter Lloyd @17, Lomborg has just been granted 4 million dollars by a government that claims to be in a budgetary crisis.  That crisis has been sufficient to justify, in the governments opinion, the defunding of a Climate Science advisory body, to introduce massive cuts to Australia's premier research body (CSIRO), and to try to introduce cuts to university funding in general.  Further, the grant was not initiated by a university, or by application to Australia's academic grants body (the Australian Research Council).  It was not even initiated by the Minister of Education.  Rather, it was initiated in the Prime Ministers office.

    Given that the grant was an endrun around normal methods to ensure research quality, it is reasonable to ask what sort of research quality can we expect.  The h index gives an indirect measure of research quality, and by that indirect measure it is shown that Lomborg's "research" is effectively non-existent (only 7 papers to show for almost 20 years research) and of very low quality (h-index of 4, h-index of climate related papers of 0).  On this basis, and given the political nature of the grant, it is reasonable to conclude that Lomborg is being given the money for what he says, not for how he backs it up.

    Pointing that out is not playing the man.

  24. PhilippeChantreau at 12:18 PM on 26 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Peter Lloyd, you're wrong. This is entirely about Lomborg's work. It is about his publications, how much they have been cited, how relevant they are to the debate. It is about how misleading and how damaging his work has been. The comment just above is about the miserable lack of knowledge demonstrated in chapters of Lomborgs book in which Daniel has expertise. The comment above that one says nothing about the person and is somewhat off topic. The previous one (16) states that Lomborg leans a certain way in the debate considered and was likely chosen because of that. How does it attack the person? Lomborg advertises his convictions loud enough that stating them here is hardly a personal attack. The previous comment (15) argues the merits of the entire premise behind Lomborg's argument and others similar in reasoning. Above that we are a little more on topic, which is Lomborg's true qualifications for the position he was awarded. These are a rather objective matter, especially when considered through the normal means used to assess such qualifications. One can be whoefully unqualified for something and still be a nice person. Stating that they are not qualified does not constitute a personnal attack. Your statement has no basis whatsoever.

  25. Daniel J. Andrews at 08:11 AM on 26 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist was most emphatically not peer-reviewed. If it had been peer-reviewed, they would have demanded rewrites to correct his numerous errors and misconceptions and his dead-end citations. Some of his chapters fell into my area of expertise. They were pitifully erroneous on different levels (actual factual errors, misunderstandings of facts and ideas, incorrect citations, misrepresentation of definitions and current knowledge). He wasn't quite as bad as the "evolution is just a theory" level of ignorance, but he certainly was still wading around in the ignorance pool even if not standing in the deep end.

  26. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    WheelsOC, I know a SCL index would clearly indicate where you/they stand, but that is the whole point. It seems climate deniers can make all sorts of outrageous claims, yet never have to justify their stance, scientifically, and are able to remain non-commital about what they think should be a "safe" level that we allow the CO2 level to rise to.

    Now I'm no climate scientist, I'm a mathematician, but from all the articles from bona bona fide climate scientists that I've read and evidence and adverse effects that I have gone through particularly the paleoclimate evidence, I think it is about time we were seriously trying to reduce emissions, because further increases, particularly at current and increasing rates, are leading us into some pretty adverse territory and the unknown. Waiting for certainty, as the climate deniers seem to advocate, although it is not a valid scientific position to take, is most likely bite us in ways that we probably haven't imaged yet. Because, sure as eggs, the Earth's climate system, although we are gaining a greater understanding of its processes, will still have some surprises for us that we probably won't like.

    At the moment all we have are indications, and what we do know for certain is that over the last century or so; CO2 levels have increased 40% due to burning fossil fuels and other human activity; average global temperatures have risen about 0.8 degrees celsius; the ocean level has risen about 20 cm; polar ice is slowly retreating; storms seem to be intensifying; seasons seem to be slightly out of kilter; the tropical and temperate climate zones seem to be slowly advancing towards the poles while the polar zone seems to be contracting slightly; and some species are thriving while others go extinct; and none of this appears to be from natural causes, like the sun increasing its activity; and all of this is happening at rates unknown in the paleoclimate record and will most certainly have some fairly serious economic and social impacts, despite Lomborg's assurance that it's all Ok. I for one think we should reduce the use of and stop using fossil fuels. Hopefully Paris will provide a political framework, but I don't have too much faith that it will happen.

    It is time to expose the political nature of the climate deniers arguments and have them justify their position scientifically and economically rather than climate scientists having to defend themselves all the time from their mostly scientifically (and economically) inane arguments. Perhaps, then there will be proper scientific debates and research centres like Lomberg's government funded centre will become a centre for serious scientific (and economic) discussion rather than some sophisticated marketing exercise. I tend to suspect that Lomberg's centre will only attract like minded people and not be truly representive of the greater climate change debate.

  27. Changes in water vapor and clouds are amplifying global warming

    Kevin Trenberth has the dubious honour of belonging to a select cadre of scientists, i.e. those whose words have been most widely and wildly misconstrued by fake sceptics. 

    Those unfamiliar with the "travesty" story may care to look at an SkS article from December 2009 which provides a background. 

  28. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    You might notice that you are attacking the man rather than the work. I thought Skeptical Science didn't do that.

    Moderator Response:

    Peter, to which 'you are you making reference?

  29. Permafrost feedback update 2015: is it good or bad news?

    I wish there were some good news to report, but I would nonetheless urge everyone to read Robert McSweeney's latest piece at The Carbon Brief. He reports on a new paper in Nature Geoscience (which I have only so far skimmed, myself) that predicts that the terrestrial carbon sink will turn into a source by the end of the century, because the limited supply of nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients in soils will be insufficient to allow the increased plant growth from CO2 fertilization predicted in current Earth System models.

    If I have read the paper correctly (that's a big "if") a terrestrial carbon sink of 140 +/- 240 PgC assumed in current RCP8.5 models could instead turn into a net carbon source. (Note that the error bars are very large.)

    If so, that effect could be as big as--and additional to--the permafrost emissions reported above.

  30. Permafrost feedback update 2015: is it good or bad news?

    Billthefrog, thanks.

    I can't speak to what the scientific community currently thinks about the imminent catastrophic release of methane from clathrates. I'm not part of the reseach community in this area and I can only rely upon what I read in the literature. The IPCC considers the risk by 2100 to be "very unlikely" (Chapter 12 Table 12.4 ).

    My own opinion, for what it is worth, is firmly with David Archer and Carolyn Ruppel. Of all the vulnerable stores in the Arctic clathrates, being deep in the ocean or deep below permafrost are, quite literally, the best insulated against future warming. Methane released from the ocean-floor clathrates, moreover, will tend to be consumed by bugs at the ocean floor or dissolved and oxidised in the seawater and will mostly not get into the atmosphere. (See Ruppel's excellent piece in Nature.)

    This does not mean that hydrates should not be a concern (even the IPCC with its "very unlikely" grants a 5-10% probability of this happening this century). Over longer terms, centuries and millennia, carbon release from hydrates will certainly provide  a big new source of carbon to the surface that will prolong and perhaps worsen the climatic effects of 20th and 21st Century human emissions.

    The persistence of the imminent clathrate bomb ideas seems to rely on the idea that there are huge metastable deposits of methane clathrates lying around very close to the surface on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). There is no evidence for the presence of these deposits either from sampling or geophysics. Furthermore, what we know about the physical chemistry of clathrates tells us that they should not exist at those depths and conditions.

    I will end by noting that in Shakhova et al.'s recent paper on methane release on the ESAS, the terms "hydrate"  is used only once, in a general sense in the body of the text and "clathrate" not at all. (i.e.,"Among Arctic reservoirs, subsea permafrost, hydrates, and associated CH4 deposits are the most worrisome owing to high heat transfer from rapidly warming shallow Arctic seas"). I have no idea why this is so: it could be that the authors themselves no longer think exposed hydrates on the ESAS are worthy of mention or if the reviewers of the paper insisted that shallow hydrates therenot be referred to without evidence that they exist. In any case, it is unlikely to be an oversight.

  31. Permafrost feedback update 2015: is it good or bad news?

    Andy,

    Thanks for the very informative article.

    Can I ask a question concerning the level of credence that is currently being given to the views of Peter Wadhams - and his colleagues on the Arctic Methane Emergency Group - as they pertain to this very topic? As far as I can tell from my (very) limited viewpoint, he seems to represent the more apocalyptic end of the clathrate release spectrum, with, perhaps, David Archer at the other. There was an SkS article about 2 years ago by Chris Colose which seemed to suggest this divergence in viewpoint, but I don't know if perspectives within the broad scientific community have changed much in the interim.

    I know that PW went very much out on a limb when he expressed the view that September levels of Arctic Sea Ice could be effectively gone by 2015. (He had elsewhere suggested the figure might be 2016 +/- 3 years, but, since we're in 2015, let's go with that version.) Not many people bought into this particular scenario, and, let's not be coy about this, it did provide a pretty soft target for the "it's not happening" brigade. The "official" AMEG line has softened (unsurprisingly) since PW made his claim back in 2012, and now simply states that...

    "The tipping point for the Arctic sea ice has already passed"

    However, and rather confusingly, about 2 lines further down on the AMEG home page, it goes on to state that...

    "The meltdown is accelerating and could become unstoppable as early as Sept 2015"

    Now, just because PW took an extreme view on Arctic Sea Ice, that doesn't necessarily brand him forevermore as "the boy who cried 'wolf!'" Hence my question about whether his views on methane release are still considered pretty extreme, or whether they're merely at the other end of a perfectly feasible probability range.

    Cheers    Bill F

  32. Medieval Warm Period was warmer

    I'd say it's less about trust than cherry-picking on the part of the "people."  People for whom critical thinking is not a matter of habit are going to cherry-pick the field of information according to what makes them comfortable.  These people aren't trying to put together an understanding of the situation.  I talk regularly with people who claim, all at the same time, that 1) climate has changed before, 2) it's been much hotter in the past, and 3) climate science is a fraud. (and how do we know about the past?  Climate scientists — the same ones who are telling you that AGW is, in fact, quite real.)  The information is not being put together into a coherent picture, and there's no desire to do so.  The desire is to surround oneself with claims that block responsibility--responsibility for current activity and for future activity.  Trust means going to sources that tell you what you want to hear (in the name of freedom).  

    When people hear that the MWP exists, they have a range of possible responses.  
    1. Those climate scientists are hiding stuff.
    2. How warm was the MWP?
    3. What was the cause of the MWP?
    4. Really?  I think I'll go check it out on Wiki and google scholar.
    5. So? Stop talking to me about stupid crap. I'm trying to get into the game.

    It would be less easy to automatically go with no. 1 if climate science communication wasn't primarily defensive.  Sources that misrepresent the science are not legally bound in the US to represent the science accurately.  Thus, we have some very good, very well-paid rhetoricians who frame the message in the most effective way.  The sources don't simply point to Al Gore not talking about the MWP; instead, they create a narrative of persistent deceit, and they can do that because very few sources put together the actual science into a narrative, the narrative that scientists see.  It's simply too complex for the general public.  There will always be little bits of information that don't get included, bits that can be re-framed and blown out of proportion by experts.  The so-called "climategate" is an excellent example, and it revealed the willingness of the "people" to jump all over anything that suited their interests, even while just a tiny effort toward critical thinking would have revealed the absurdity of the whispered claims.

    The MWP is a good example for another reason.  All due respect to Mike Mann, but his multi-proxy record of the last 1000 years of surface temperature is not fundamental to the theory of anthropogenic global warming.  It's important, but one cannot work backward from it to confirm or refute the basic physical foundation of the theory, regardless of the accuracy of the work.  Yet that is precisely what "denier" opinion shapers claim. At every step, they push the logic that one alleged inaccuracy causes a breakdown of the entire theory.  The details are irrelevant; the logic is the message.  It is the logic of doubt, the logic that says "You're right: you don't need to try to understand this, because everyone has an agenda, and you're never going to get good information."

    In this sense, people "trust" Rush Limbaugh, but not blindly.  They trust him until he rubs up against their own expertise and experience.  And if he's just plain dumb where their expertise goes, it doesn't transfer to the stuff they don't know anything about.  As long as his message is about not being responsible for the woes of others, everything is all good.

    Any why was Mann attacked so ferociously?  Because he scored a rhetorical home run with his graphed results.  Easy to understand.  No one puts an attack on Lacis et al. 2012 in front of the general public.  It's a fine publication, and works through the fundamentals in a readable way, but it didn't produce any easy-to-get visuals.  Once you see the 'hockey stick' graph, it can't be unseen, and so denierville's experts have to attack, attack, attack.  Same thing happened to Marcott et al. 2013.  They shape public opinion, and, given the enormous amount of money going into the opinion shaping campaign, it's a credit to the people of the US that perhaps only a third of them have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.

  33. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    mancan18:

    As well as the h-index, perhaps climate scientist credentials should also be determined by a SCL index, (Safe CO2 Level Index) as well, in which they are required to clearly state, with supporting scientific evidence, the CO2 level that they deem as "safe", while not adversely impacting the planet. Also, as a part of the index, they should be required to justify the economic and political approach needed in order to limit CO2 emissions to the level that they propose.

    I wouldn't support that, it's too much like a test of ideological commitment even if the post is to head up a "policy research center." The real issue is getting a rough metric of their relevant research expertise and experience.

    The most important factor here is whether the person being given a department to oversee actually has the academic chops to serve as a credible head based on their active involvement in the field. The problem here is that it appears someone's being given the position because of the flavor of their sideline critiques.

    Just as you wouldn't pick a new coach to head your team simply because they yelled the words you wanted to hear from their spot in the bleachers, you don't set up an expensive new "policy research center" on the back of somebody who's barely done any legitimate research, and of apparently low quality at that. You want somebody with an outstanding record of participation in forming our understanding of the issue. Setting up an arbitary "what should we do?" test right off the bat is not really much better than picking people based on their propensity to boo the other team.

    If you desire a true research center for generating policy solutions, having them outline their existing idea as a test of fitness seems like filtering for what you want to hear rather than allowing the solutions to arise from any genuine developments in the research.

  34. It hasn't warmed since 1998

    @ 338, hot water doesn't rise: because it is energised and is relatively free to move due to its liquid state it moves in random directions allowing cold water to sink through it which conversely is moving in basically only one direction- that being down.

    Is this density? I suppose it is!

    The concept of hot water rising is not correct, apparently, though there is a concept called "Flotation": but the reality is a warmer body of water is spreading out due to it's more energetic state and if a cooler body of water happens to be sitting on top it will fall through it due to gravity having a stronger influence over the colder waters behaviour.

    Of course the warm water is not sinking: heat energy doesn't belong anywhere- it moves from one object to another unlike the quantity we call mass which stays with the object being considered. (I forget the name for this idea..) When the heat energy moves out of the body of water you have under consideration (this is why dashed lines are drawn around things: it's called a system boundary and represents the system/body of water you are talking about) then this water will be sinking due to gravity.

  35. One Planet Only Forever at 01:08 AM on 26 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    mancan18,

    My MBA education helps me understand another unacceptable aspect of Lomborg's stories and the tales told by many like him.

    Economic assessments evaluating the cost today to avoid creating more CO2 and comparing those costs (or lost opportunity to benefit), with evaluations of the future costs of the results of increased amounts of excess CO2 are fundamentally flawed.

    The most fundamantal flaw is the presumption that it is legitimate to compare the benefit that would have to be given up by some people among the currrent generation of humanity to avoid creating costs that would be faced by others, particularly future generations of humanity.

    The evaluations done by the likes of Lomborg and Stern (including the US government agencies and so many other 'economic investigators'), are based on the falacy of being able to apply the method of financial evaluations a business entity would make to compare its 'project options' to matters of global humanity. Such overall evaluations of benefit and cost through time are only valid when the same actual people will experience all that is being evaluated. That is not even a valid way of judging the acceptability of a business pursuit that will allow a few to profit or benefit through an action that has negative consequences for others.

    The real evaluation of legitimacy or merit of any human activity is the creation of benefit for others, particularly for future generations. I consider any activity that does not create benefit for humanity into the future to be 'entertainment', an important aspect of life that must be harmless (however, any perception of harm to unacceptable beliefs of some by the enlightenment that can be delivered through entertainment and art is not real harm, it is a benefit).

    Any activity that creates costs for others must have those benefiting do more to provide benefit to those who face the costs than the costs those others face. And the evaluation of the cost the others face and the benefit they receive must be performed by the ones facing the costs, not by the ones wanting the benefit from the activity that will result in the costs to others.

    In addition to the above obvious fundamental flaw of the economic evaluations many perform and report related to excess CO2 and climate change, the way the evaluation is performed can be biased in favour of those among a current generation who want to get away with benefiting from activity that all of humanity cannot develop to enjoy if they wished far into the future. In fact, many of the evaluations will discount future costs using the business Net-Present-Value method of comparing future costs or benefits to current day costs or benefits. That evaluation makes sense for a business comparing its project options, especially if it will borrow money to finance the project, but it is totally inappropriate for comparing costs faced by future generations to the benefits of a current generation. With Net-Present-Value it is possible to discount costs more than 20 years in the future into irrelevance.

    Of course, in addition to all of the above, many of the economic evalutions accidentally or deliberately overstate the lost benefit to the most fortunate in the current generation and understate the future costs.

    So in addition to the science being deliberately attacked and misrepresented by those who want to maximize their personal life's benefits any damaging unacceptable way they can get away with, the economics of the matter are also being significantly misrepresented in efforts to justify the benefits being pursued by the same unacceptable group of people.

  36. Medieval Warm Period was warmer

    Glenn Tamblyn and DSL.  What my point is that what is being discussed here is the wrong "myth".  It's not about people thinking: "The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than current conditions. This means recent warming is not unusual and hence must be natural, not man-made." ... People think something more like... "Oh look, people who talk about global warming pick and choose the data which they tell us about, and omit that which does not support their view so as to make their own view sound more convincing".  Exactly how warm or not the MWP may or may not have been is irrelevant.  Most will never understand the complexities of the issues, this is about trust...

  37. Medieval Warm Period was warmer

    MrN9, it's also going a bit too far to claim that "many in the general public" are concerned about Gore's non-mention of the MWP.  I'd guesstimate that less than 2% of the general adult public knows anything about the MWP/MCA, and most of those people could care less one way or the other.  I ask my first year students (highly selective university) each semester if they can describe how the greenhouse effect works--just the basics.  No more than one or two in 30 gets close.

  38. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    As well as the h-index, perhaps climate scientist credentials should also be determined by a SCL index, (Safe CO2 Level Index) as well, in which they are required to clearly state, with supporting scientific evidence, the CO2 level that they deem as "safe", while not adversely impacting the planet. Also, as a part of the index, they should be required to justify the economic and political approach needed in order to limit CO2 emissions to the level that they propose.

    It seems to me that deniers and skeptics are never challenged to state, in their view,  a "safe" level of CO2, and exactly how much more of the known fossil fuel reserves that we should burn. All they do is sow seeds of doubt and create confusion with the projections and evidence. In other words they run interference. Those who claim to be climate scientists should be made to nail their colours to the mast, so to speak. At least then it will be obvious who they are and where they stand. The trouble with Lomborg and his ilk is that they never clearly state what CO2 level they think is "safe". All they suggest is that it'll all be Ok, it's natural, or that there will be negligible warming, all with little real scientific evidence. All the while, we continue to increase our burning of fossil fuels and hence pump even more CO2 into the atmosphere.

    In other words deniers and skeptics should always be asked how much, when do we stop, and how? Perhaps, these are also good questions for bona fide climate scientists to answer as well.

  39. Glenn Tamblyn at 21:47 PM on 25 April 2015
    Medieval Warm Period was warmer

    MrN9

    "Actually I think more the concern that many in the general public have is that the Medieval Warm Period was not mentioned by Al Gore in his inconvenient truth and that the Medieval Warm Period is usually not mentioned by those pushing global warming"

    Leaving aside that what Al Gore may have said about something or other, which has no relevence, the premise of you argument is that there was a Medieval Warm Period. Given that the topic is Global Warming, the question is - was there a MWP Globally?

    Read the Intermediate rebuttal. Was there actually a MWP? The evidence suggests no.

    So what is your point?

  40. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    thomaswfuller3 @12, are we playing a game of selective quotations?  Here's my move:


    "CUP surely carries an immense responsibility for the misinformation and public confusion that Lomborg’s book generated. Just referring to a standard referee procedure, as CUP’s employee Harrison (2004) does, is inadequate.

    Referee procedures once in a while may fail in adequately judging the scientific quality of a manuscript. It is likely that the reviewers of CUP were impressed by the broad perspective, smooth writing style and amount of detail and never bothered to systematically check the latter. The overwhelming collection of unusually critical reviews by experts (as mentioned in this paper) could have been regarded by CUP as
    an improved, ex post review procedure, and in response the publication decision might have been rectified. Nevertheless, the book is anyway sure to go down in history as an unreliable source of information and argumentation, being one of the most severely criticized texts issued ever by a prestigious academic publisher. Not particularly something to be proud of, neither by Lomborg or CUP.

    To close, the following brief statement perhaps best summarizes the Lomborg case:


    ‘‘The greatest regret I have about it all is the time wasted by scientists correcting the misinformation you created’’ (E.O. Wilson in a letter addressed to Lomborg (Harvey 2002))."

    J van den Bergh, Journal of Integrated Environmental Sciences, 2010 (Download)


    Despite the claim that the Skeptial Environmentalist was peer reviewed, it was not a peer reviewed article, and therefore it should not have been included in Lomborg's h index.  It certainly should not have been included multiple times, as must be done to achieve a h index of 21 for Lomborg.

    As to claims that CUP are peer reviewed in any sensible way, that is a proposition I have held in doubt since they began publishing Intelligent Design Creationist tracts.  Until such time as there is an open review of the CUP review process to ensure that their reviewers were  relevantly expert, and were not chosen for a predisposition to pass the book under review, I consider their claims to have properly reviewed such a travesty of a book to be moot.


     

    Moderator Response:

    Edited to correct line spacing.

  41. Medieval Warm Period was warmer

    Apparently the myth is "Medieval Warm Period was warmer

    The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than current conditions. This means recent warming is not unusual and hence must be natural, not man-made." ...

    Actually I think more the concern that many in the general public have is that the Medieval Warm Period was not mentioned by Al Gore in his inconvenient truth and that the Medieval Warm Period is usually not mentioned by those pushing global warming.  I think people see this as selective reasoning or confirmation bias and therfore find it difficult to trust what they are being told. 

  42. Changes in water vapor and clouds are amplifying global warming

    Glenn Tamblyn

    Thanks for putting some numbers to this.  Since clouds do have a cooling effect (although less in a warmer world), would it be possible that if cloud cover was underestimated for the future, then you could still get a net cooling effect.  For example, using your numbers, if equivalent cloud cover was 20% greater, then you would have 66 watts/M2 cooling, and 44.4 watts heating, giving a delta of 21.6 watts/M2 net cooling, which would be greater than the current IPCC value of 20 watts/M2, and therefore a cooling feedback.   It's not that I think this may be a likely scenario, but am just wondering if I am understanding this correctly. 

    I guess a simpler way of putting this would be asking if in the future we were to somehow artificially induce more clouds, would that help cool the planet, with everything else being equal?

  43. thomaswfuller3 at 16:58 PM on 25 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    "we were surprised and disappointed to see the critics' letter being quoted in an issue of Time magazine (2 September 2002)... in which the authors repeated their charge that the book had not been peer-reviewed despite the assurances to the contrary that they had by then received by the press... It has become part of the anti-Lomborg folklore that this book bypassed the usual Cambridge peer-review process... This is a charge that is repeated in many of the public and private attacks in the press, and it is unfounded."

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skeptical_Environmentalist

  44. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Thanks Corey for your good explanation of h-index.

    Is said index realy representative of one's academic credentials? How about quality of cited work? We certainly have plainty of contararians whose work has been 'discredited'. However in order to discredit an article, you need to right another article where you have to cite the non-credible piece. Does such 'discrediting' citation count towards h-index? If so, h-index is not a good credibility measure.

  45. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    It's worth noting also that Dana wrote his papers in his spare time, not as part of his employment.

  46. Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Rob Honeycutt @7, why restrict it to very well known scientists.  From the SkS crew we have Gavin Cawley with 26, Kevin Cowtan with 22, John Abraham with 17.  Obviously the list is not exhaustive.  Of particular interest, it excludes John Cook with 7 and he hasn't even completed his PhD yet.  We even have Dana Nuccutelli who matches Lomborg's H index of 4, albeit with more papers (15 vs 7) , more citations (228 vs 190), is more active (h index of 4 since 2010 vs 0 for Lomborg), and walks all over Lomborg in number and quality of popular articles.  Perhaps he should apply for 4 million dollars from the aussie government for his own consensus center?  He certainly deserves it more than Lomborg.

  47. There's no empirical evidence

    MA Rodger @280:

    "This strongly suggests that the marked trashing of eco-systems over that period has not altered "ecosystem services" to any significant extent on a global scale."

    Exactly!

    Indeed, RedBaron's thesis is intrinsically implausible in that it requires biosphere sequestration of CO2 (by an unaltered biosphere) would go from just matching preindustrial LUC (at best) to matching industrial era emissions with a few years lag at most.  It is thoroughly implausible that so sensitive a feedback mechanism would not either act as an inexorable pump of CO2 levels down to far below preindustrial levels, or result in wild fluctuations in CO2 levels on an annual and decadal basis.  As neither has happened, presumably the feedback mechanism is slow, as is indicated by all the data.

    Indeed, that is what we should expect.  In principle, the Net Ecosystem Productivity (ie, the rate of Carbon sequestration) of an undisturbed forest will approximate to the rate of formation of coal.  That is, it will be effectively zero.  Immediately after it is massively disturbed, as by clear felling, it will become a carbon source, but will then become a large carbon sink with regrowth.  However, within a few years or decades (depending on the rate of growth of the trees), it will decline as a sink, and approach the rate of sequestration of the formation of coal over time (if completely undisturbed). (See here, and also here.)

    This pattern also applies to grasslands, with a possible (but not demonstrated by RedBaron) ongoing and slightly higher rate of sequestration due to the accumulation of soil carbon.  Even there, however, carbon accumulation in soil is dependent on the rate of bioturbation, which implies such carbon soil carbon is outgassed at some rate depending on the rate of bioturbation at a given level.  From that in turn it follows that even soil carbon will reach net zero sequestration given mature conditions, with a slight excess of sequestration if the soil is buried by sediment, and a slight excess of emission if it is eroded.

    This pattern also means you cannot project high rates of initial sequestration in ecosystem reclamation projects (as in his linked article @278) forward as an expected sustainable rate.  It will peter out rapidly for grasslands (excluding sequestration in soil), and over a few decades for forest.  Soil sequestration will peter out more slowly, but will itself reach equilibrium over time.

    The upshot is that the high rate of biosphere sequestration we see now is a consequence of prior degredations.  Absent the regrowth of northern forests (particularly in the USA), it would be much smaller.

  48. michael sweet at 09:30 AM on 25 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    For interest, the author of the OP has an h index of about 48 (obtained by counting the papers in his link above).

    Obviously as you get a higher h index it is harder to get enough citations to raise your score.

  49. Rob Honeycutt at 09:01 AM on 25 April 2015
    Lomborg: a detailed citation analysis

    Andy... Ah, gotcha. I was tripping myself up because I kept trying to look up RB Alley, who also doesn't have a profile on Google Scholar. But I found Kerry Emanuel who, though he's 10 years older, has an h-index of 74. Or there's Jason Box, who is younger than Lomborg (not sure exactly how much), and has an h-index of 35.

    That puts it more into perspective.

  50. It hasn't warmed since 1998

    DarylLynch @338:

    1)  The upper ocean is heated by short wave radiation (visible light) from the sun.  It cools by evaporation and by radiation of IR energy.  Obviously the rate of cooling depends primarilly on its ability to transfer net energy from its skin layer to the atmosphere (which absorbs most of that IR energy).  If you warm the atmosphere, you restrict the rate at which it can cool.  Ergo it must warm to gain a new balance between incoming solar energy and outgoing (IR and evaporative) energy.

    2)  Cold water sinks because it is more dense.  But salty water is more dense as well.  When ice forms in the arctic (or antarctic) winter, the water becomes more dense due to the excess salt left behind by the freezing process, and sinks.  (The arctic and antarctic water is already unusually salty because of evaporation as it travels from the equator).  Further, winds over the ocean can generate substantial force.  They act in some ways to drive surface waters to depth.  I am, however, very unfamiliar with that process, so you are better of asking Rob Painting for details.

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