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Climate Hustle

Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate

Posted on 2 February 2012 by Kevin Trenberth

In response to the latest denialist plea for climate inaction published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the WSJ has published a response letter from a number of actual climate scientists, which is re-printed below.

Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.

You published "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science.

Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter. And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.

Thus, climate experts also know what one of us, Kevin Trenberth, actually meant by the out-of-context, misrepresented quote used in the op-ed. Mr. Trenberth was lamenting the inadequacy of observing systems to fully monitor warming trends in the deep ocean and other aspects of the short-term variations that always occur, together with the long-term human-induced warming trend.

The National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. (set up by President Abraham Lincoln to advise on scientific issues), as well as major national academies of science around the world and every other authoritative body of scientists active in climate research have stated that the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible. Impacts are already apparent and will increase. Reducing future impacts will require significant reductions in emissions of heat-trapping gases.

Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused. It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses. In addition, there is very clear evidence that investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy will not only allow the world to avoid the worst risks of climate change, but could also drive decades of economic growth. Just what the doctor ordered.

Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D.

Distinguished Senior Scientist

Climate Analysis Section National Center for Atmospheric Research

La Jolla, Calif.

Kevin Trenberth, Sc.D, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Richard Somerville, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D., Director, Climate Science Center, Texas Tech University

Rasmus Benestad, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Gerald Meehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences; Director, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Princeton University

Peter Gleick, Ph.D., co-founder and president, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security

Michael C. MacCracken, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Climate Institute, Washington

Michael Mann, Ph.D., Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University

Steven Running, Ph.D., Professor, Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana

Robert Corell, Ph.D., Chair, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment; Principal, Global Environment Technology Foundation

Dennis Ojima, Ph.D., Professor, Senior Research Scientist, and Head of the Dept. of Interior's Climate Science Center at Colorado State University

Josh Willis, Ph.D., Climate Scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Matthew England, Ph.D., Professor, Joint Director of the Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia

Ken Caldeira, Ph.D., Atmospheric Scientist, Dept. of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution

Warren Washington, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Terry L. Root, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

David Karoly, Ph.D., ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Kiehl, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Donald Wuebbles, Ph.D., Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Camille Parmesan, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, University of Texas; Professor of Global Change Biology, Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, UK

Simon Donner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada

Barrett N. Rock, Ph.D., Professor, Complex Systems Research Center and Department of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire

David Griggs, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, Australia

Roger N. Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Professorial Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Australia

William L. Chameides, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, School of the Environment, Duke University

Gary Yohe, Ph.D., Professor, Economics and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University, CT

Robert Watson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Chair of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Steven Sherwood, Ph.D., Director, Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Chris Rapley, Ph.D., Professor of Climate Science, University College London, UK

Joan Kleypas, Ph.D., Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

James J. McCarthy, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University

Stefan Rahmstorf, Ph.D., Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Potsdam University, Germany

Julia Cole, Ph.D., Professor, Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

William H. Schlesinger, Ph.D., President, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Jonathan Overpeck, Ph.D., Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

Eric Rignot, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Professor of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine

Wolfgang Cramer, Professor of Global Ecology, Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence, France

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Comments 51 to 75 out of 75:

  1. "No "skeptic" site does anything like this"
    Actually CO2Science does reference papers - but obviously in the sure confidence that the "skeptic" is not going to actually check since the papers often seem to state a diametrically different opinion to what CO2"science" says they do.
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  2. Dr. Trenberth successfully highlights the skeptics flaw, that among scientists engaged in climate research, anthropogenic global warming is not a theory or belief but is data, analysis and models.

    The so-called skeptics have utterly failed to suggest or promote an alternative hypothesis in peer reviewed literature that explains the observations and models, instead seeking to promote a manufactured consensus through posters and opinion pages.

    Unfortunately, the final arbiter of this story is going to end up being the physics, thermodynamics, physical chemistry and all the other sciences that make up the multidisciplinary field of climate science.

    There was a paper once written that I would quote here, not only for its content but for its context in this field of study -

    "A great deal has been written on the influence of the absorption of the atmosphere upon the climate. Tyndall in particular has pointed out the enormous importance of the question. To him it was chiefly the diurnal and annual variations of the temperature that were lessened by this circumstance. Another side of the question, that has long attracted the attention of physicists, is this: Is the mean temperature on the ground in any way influenced by the presence of heat-absorbing gases in the atmosphere?"

    S. Arrhenius, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground. April 1896
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  3. Well, a simplistic explanation for the lull in land temperatures is because most of the heat has gone into the oceans, carried north, and melting the ice. We all know what happens to temperature over time while heating a bath of ice. It stays at 0 until the ice has melted and then continues climbing.

    I know the difference between weather and climate. The extremes that we are seeing are caused by more energy being injected into a dynamic system.
    My analogy is like agitating a filling bath, if you agitate more vigorously, the peaks and troughs of the waves increase, even as the average level increases.

    The atmosphere behaves the same - it's a huge spherical "bath" of gas behaving like a thin liquid. Highs and lows of pressure are directly proportional to the height and mass of air above, but because of their size and the rotation of the Earth, they are forced to rotate while searching for equilibrium. As the world is retaining more heat, the atmosphere becomes more active, jet streams shift, pressure differentials increase, and then wind and weather become more extreme and unusual.

    Topical case in point now is the extreme cold that we are suffering in Eastern Europe, where in my memory the weather has been behaving strangely for the last decade, some winters not even seeing any snow. This year winter took a holiday until just last week.

    The high pressure above Siberia reached 1060 mb (1013+47), and would make a Category 5 hurricane if it were a low of 966! (1013-47).

    Also this year North America has an unusually mild winter. It seems to me that with more Arctic interaction, the Arctic will gain even more energy this year and we will again see record losses of ice cover this year.

    Whatever we can do to try to keep our climate stable should be done, whether cynically or pragmatically - the benefits of making use of alternative energies stand on their own, even if warming were not happening.
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  4. “consider Arctic ice melt and world glacier mass loss”
    >Why would I do so if I could use the temperature record and
    >why do you not mention the Antarctic?

    Elsa, that is like driving a car by GPS without looking out of the window!
    Even if global average temperatures have not seen much increase over the last decade, the unequivocal loss of Arctic ice and glaciers are particularly notable because they are the canaries in the coalmine, saying that Something Big Is Going On.

    Do we really have to wait for data to become so obvious that the last remaining denier has to concede? It'll be too late to do anything by then.
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  5. elsa, science crucially relies on converging evidence. That's why people have been retesting the theory of relativity in different ways, for decades, despite the clear success of the previous tests. Converging evidence is gathered to ensure that the previous measurements, no matter how carefully gathered, were not due to some cause other than the nominal cause. The many other indicators of a warming world, and indicators that humans are causing it (e.g., ice diminishing), converge with the temperature measurements in pointing to the same conclusions. That's why it really is important to attend to those other indicators.
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  6. andylee: interesting thought... a "category 5 high pressure" (at least as a notion of quite extreme high pressure), though it should be pointed out that many extratropical lows go much lower than 966mb in the Atlantic and Pacific in winter (e.g. Hurricane Bawbag, which spawned the trampoline Internet hit).

    elsa: if you think the last 10 years is significant, you seriously need to read Going Down The Up Escalator What's so strange about a short-term lack of warming? Nothing! They are present in observations and in climate models, and are just what to expect when you combine a solar max --> solar min with a period of roughly El Nino --> La Nina, masking the warming (see Foster and Rahmstorf). Warming is not monotonic.
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  7. muoncounter @20


    I think it is correct to respect the knowledge of experts in a given field but you can certainly question them and should. A skilled surgeon may claim you need an operation, but they could still be wrong, there is always the second opinion when medical treatments are involved.


    "While you're at it, consider Arctic ice melt and world glacier mass loss; explain how these symptoms can possibly be happening if there's been no warming." muoncounter.

    Arctic ice melt may very well be a signal of Global warming but there are other explanations out there. Note I am not endorsing any particular view but showing that other possibilities do exist.

    Here is one at this link.

    Quote from the link above: "Dr Drinkwater rejects the common explanation that the Barents Sea is getting warmer because the atmosphere in the polar regions has warmed."

    Current Arctic Sea Ice, low formation in Barents Sea area.


    source.
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  8. Norman#57: "there is always the second opinion when medical treatments are involved."

    Granted. But what we see here is really this simple: the second opinions given by an ex-astronaut, a newspaper blogger and some paid political policy hacks are not as valuable as the second opinions of those scientists working in climate science.

    Your link to Dr. Drinkwater, a fisheries biologist, is a case in point. In his opinion,

    "This warming is primarily due to currents -- a greater amount of warm Atlantic water is flowing into the North Atlantic and up to the Barents Sea."

    We've clearly shown in other threads that ocean warming is a result of upsetting earth's energy balance. So in his opinion, Arctic ice melt is due to warmer water moving north; what is left unsaid is that warmer water is due itself to global warming.

    A climatologist (like a practitioner of internal medicine) might make that connection; a fisheries biologist (like a guy who operates only on left elbows) might not.
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  9. Norman:

    If 97 out of 100 surgeons are telling you you should have, say, a tumour, surgically removed, and follow it up with adjuvant chemotherapy, and three others are saying you should just drink some herbal teas, which would you go with?

    Or would you ignore the surgeons entirely and go with the homeopath, the chiropractor, or the quack who tells you cancer is caused by liver flukes and can be cured with a "zapper"?

    That is effectively where we are at with climate science. The experts who are paying attention to the evidence are in broad agreement. The remaining tiny minority are espousing positions often indistinguishable from anti-science cranks.
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  10. muoncounter @58

    I checked up on Dr. Ken Drinkwater and he is more than a fisheries biologist.

    "Ken Drinkwater
    Ken’s expertise is in physical oceanography, climate change, and the impact of physical forcing on marine ecosystems. He graduated with a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University and worked at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) located in Halifax, Canada."

    Note the "climate change" as part of his expertise. source.
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  11. muoncounter,

    Also in the Science Daily article I linked to previously.

    The article does point out: "The entire North Atlantic warmed up during the 1920s and 1930s. More fish appeared not only in the Barents Sea but also off Iceland and Greenland. This warm period reached its peak at the end of the thirties and lasted until roughly 1960, when the waters began turning colder again -- and fisheries resources declined once more."

    Or this: "Many people recorded what they observed taking place in the ocean nearly 90 years ago. If we can determine what occurred during that warming period," believes Dr Drinkwater, "we will better understand what is going on today, plus we'll have more reliable input as to what we can expect in the future."
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  12. Norman (or Elsa)- we quickly run into the twin buzz saws of the denier perspectives 1) What is all the CO2 doing in the atmosphere if it is NOT warming the planet as predicted. And 2)If CO2 is not the culprit, what IS warming the planet (with the current El Nino and quiescent sun, we would expect to be in a major cooling trend.

    What is your response? Anyone having a cogent response to this is on the first rung of the ladder to being a skeptic, and not merely a denier.
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  13. Composer99 @59

    I am not sure that Dr. Drinkwater is a "quack" scientist on the fringe.

    Here is a current temperature graph of North Asia in Celcius. This graph shows that the land air temperature is definately cold enough to easily freeze ocean water. The only reason the Barents Sea area remains liquid is because of warmer water moving in to the area driven by ocean currents. I think his determination of why the Arctic is not freezing to the normal area is because of this influx of warmer water into this area.

    source.

    Here is a link to the weather at Novaya Zemlya, the elongated island above the Western Russia land mass.
    Novaya Zemlya weather.
    As you can see the temperatures are well below the freezing point yet in the arctic sea ice graph I posted @57 the water is not frozen.
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  14. Norman - go ahead and take the next step WHY is the water warming. Hmmm. What could warm the oceans - the largest heat sink on the planet....

    Go ahead and think this one through for us, and see if you don't end up understanding climate science a little better for the effort.
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  15. Norman,

    It would appear that transport of warm water into the Barents Sea could be a function of climate change. Drinkwater has written several papers looking at regional simulations on climate change and its impacts on North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea. Some of those predict increased wind and wind driven transport of warm waters northward as a result of climate change. He also mentions the AMO at times, so its clear he also thinks there is a regional mode that also tends to drive warm water northward as well. It's clear from his papers though that he considers climate change at the global level a given.
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  16. Norman#63: Please do not drag this thread off-topic with weather reports. The topic is getting climate information from climate scientists - not from biologists and not from weathermen.

    In keeping with that, if you are looking for Arctic temperatures, look here, especially at the December 2011 Arctic Air Temp anomaly map.
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  17. Norman brought my attention to the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research where I found this interview of Susan Solomon, which brings us back to the topic of climate scientists being best suited to talk about climate science
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  18. muoncounter @66

    Sorry. The thread is about how an expert in the field of climate science should be the one to get the correct information from. It is a counter to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece signed by scientists without expertise in the climate sciences.

    But your link does support the conclusions of Dr. Drinkwater and says much the same thing.
    Quote from your link to the Arctic sea ice page.

    "Air temperatures in December were lower than average over much of the Arctic Ocean, but higher than average over the Kara and Barents seas. Higher-than-average temperatures in these regions stemmed from two major factors. First, where sea ice extent is low, heat can escape from areas of open water, warming the atmosphere. Second, surface winds in the Kara and Barents Sea ice blew persistently from the south, bringing in heat from lower latitudes. This imported heat also helped to keep sea ice extent low in this area."
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  19. Norman, first the phrase "in this area" tells you that Drinkwater is not making a statement about loss ice across the Arctic. Second, those winds drawing warm currents northward could be a function of climate change, as coulod the warmth of the water itself. Drinkwater has himself published as much in a paper simulating effects of climate change on oceanographic processes. So you haven't established whether his position constitutes a contradiction to mainstream climate science with regard to Arctic ice loss generally. You have only interpreted it so.

    Finally, and more to the point of this thread, why don't you write Drinkwater and ask him if he agrees with the statement of Trenberth et al?
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  20. That temperature illustrated posted by Norman is an excellent example of deception and misrepresentation. If you'd looked at the same layout 48 hours ago, it was a tongue stretching across Eurasia to the eastern Europe. Europe was actually having an above-average winter until a extreme-event cycle built around the northern Siberia high pressure zone. Trying to claim that those cold temperatures are in any way representative and indicative of conditions in the Arctic is Wall Street Journalism:

    http://markvoganweather.blogspot.com/
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  21. owl905 @70,

    Here is a link to the January 2012 temp for Novaya Zemlya (land in area where Barents sea ice is still liquid). You are correct that area was very warm for its normal temp, but it has been below freezing temps since January 14th.

    January temps town on Novaya Zemlya.

    The air temperature in this area is not what is keeping the water around the island liquid, it would be warmer water moving in keeping the surface above freezing as the link muoncounter provided did state.
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    Response:

    [DB] You have already been warned about dragging yet another thread off-topic about anecdotal weather events.  Desist.

  22. Norman wrote: "The air temperature in this area is not what is keeping the water around the island liquid, it would be warmer water moving in keeping the surface above freezing as the link muoncounter provided did state."

    You say that with far more authority than it deserves.

    Surely increased air and water temperatures would both contribute to lower ice formation, no? To quote the NSIDC section under discussion:

    "Air temperatures in December were lower than average over much of the Arctic Ocean, but higher than average over the Kara and Barents seas. Higher-than-average temperatures in these regions stemmed from two major factors. First, where sea ice extent is low, heat can escape from areas of open water, warming the atmosphere. Second, surface winds in the Kara and Barents Sea ice blew persistently from the south, bringing in heat from lower latitudes. This imported heat also helped to keep sea ice extent low in this area."

    So, no... your claim that this text states that warm water is the cause is false. That is one of two factors they cite. The other being warm air blown in from the south. Shocking. Heat import counters ice formation... regardless of whether the heat is brought in by air or water. That should be wholly uncontroversial.

    And all that being said, going back to muoncounter's original statement we find: "While you're at it, consider Arctic ice melt and world glacier mass loss; explain how these symptoms can possibly be happening if there's been no warming."

    So how does arguing that the ice melt is entirely due to water warming (rather than both air and water) 'contradict' his statement that it is due to warming? You seem to be 'disagreeing' with his point by saying things which prove it.
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    Response:

    [DB] Please take this discussion to a more appropriate thread.  Thanks!

  23. Norman et al:

    90% of the planet's ice is in Antarctica - the portion in the Arctic when all other land ice is deducted is pretty small.

    The Arctic is subject to wide variations in sea ice extent due to transport of heat from lower latitudes and its relatively small volume.

    Not much is know about Arctic sea ice extent further back than 100 years or so.

    Transport of heat by currents to the Arctic can be, but is not necessarily an AGW indicator - it could simply be an internal re-distribution of planetary heat similar to ENSO.
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    Response:

    [DB] Please find a more appropriate thread for this discussion.  The topic of this thread is Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate

    The discussion that you and Norman are pursuing is off-topic for this thread.

  24. Thank you Daniel.

    To get specifically on topic - Perhaps Dr Trenberth could explain his fundamental disagreement with Dr Hansen about the magnitude of the warming imbalance and why he does not believe Dr Hansen's 'Chinese aerosols' explanation 'for a minute'.
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  25. The only fact about climate that was discussed in this article related to the last decade. That is why I focussed on that period. I know some peole have commented that I was not being very rigourous in my approach using only ten years and I accept that, my point was this was what was under discussion here. I have also tried to stick to information given in the article rather than look elsewhere as otherwise you end up with a monster subject to discuss.

    Someone pointed me to an interactive site and told me to go check out the numbers. I did and lo and behold I could not see any warming in the period. I then asked myself just how the reply to the "deniers" set out in this article could make out that there was warming given that was not what the graphs showed. Perhaps they were using a different series. But then I took a closer look at what they actually say, which is "Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade." So actually they do not quite say the planet warmed in the past decade, but by looking at the careful wording you can see how both sides could be right. The world may not have warmed in the decade but the warming trend has not abated. It would be intersting to know if these scientists actually think the world got warmer in the last decade as opposed to sidestepping the issue with a smart piece of wording.

    They then go on to say "computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean." That statement, as I pointed out yesterday cannot be true. It is not within the power of a model to do such a thing. While there has been a great deal of comment about other points I have made no-one has responded to this point at all. Anybody care to do so?
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  26. #73: That is a good point. Ice free Arctic, possible before 2020 could easily be a natural oscillation like ENSO, but with a frequency of approx. 125,000 years (last time we know for certain that the Arctic was ice free). That it happens right now when we are pumping 90 million tons of a heat trapping gas into the atmosphere every single day of the week probably has nothing to do with it.
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  27. elsa:

    (1) The reason why the last decade is of any focus whatsoever, apart from the fact it is the warmest decade in the modern instrumental record, is because it is the focus of denialist attacks on climate science. Over and over one sees claims such as "global warming stopped in 1998" or equivalent.

    The fact of the matter is that when you take into account the other factors which affect global surface temperatures, most importantly solar activity, ENSO, and volcanic activity, the warming is continuing unabated over the 'noughts and into the 'tens of this century. That is what Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 [apologies if I have misspelled any names] has done. A link to their paper is easily found on this site.

    The other fact of the matter is that when the denialists are making claims such as "warming is flat/it's cooled this decade" or other such nonsense, they are playing statistical & semantic games rather than coming to grips with the physics involved.

    You yourself appear to be guilty of this fallacy in suggesting previously that we should ignore things like ice melt & ocean heat content measurements in favour of land surface temperatures, even though this would be ignoring the basic physics involved.

    (2) The OP is a letter submitted to the WSJ and not itself a scientific publication. If you stick solely with this article I can see why you would get the impression that this is all a "he said-she said" argument. If you actually go check out the evidence you'll find it's anything but. The scientists posting the letter in the OP have the weight of massive amounts of converging evidence behind their statements. The scientists who posted the denialist editorial do not.

    (3) You state: "They then go on to say "computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean." That statement, as I pointed out yesterday cannot be true. It is not within the power of a model to do such a thing."

    Please provide substantiation for this final point of yours. One can both measure and model the flow of thermal energy throughout the Earth system (for ocean vs land & ice heat content see, for example, Church 2011). This thermal energy is what is causing surface temperatures to rise, ice to melt, and the ocean to heat up.

    Asserting what models can or cannot do without a reference to back up your claim is an argument from ignorance, and IMO if no one has bothered to reply to it it is because it is without merit to begin with.
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  28. elsa - I have responded to your off-topic model comments here, on the Models Are Unreliable thread. If you have additional issues with models, please take it there.

    On this thread, and on the previous measurements versus newspapers thread, your comments continue to focus on 10 year periods, in an apparent attempt to excuse claims made on those periods.

    The purposes of these threads is to point out that 10 years is insufficient time to make a trend determination, that pauses and jumps of up to decadal duration are to be expected, and that claims about short term trends being significant are really quite unsupportable. And in fact that "Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade".

    I have to say that your comments are, by now, quite disingenuous.
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  29. Composer99, get to the point. Has the world warmed in the last decade or not? If it has not, it would be quite an acceptable position to say that it has not but you continued to believe the trend was upwards. What I find really a bit poor from your side is that you try to hide the fact that it has not warmed but I have found you out. While KR calls me disingenuous I think that word might be better applied to the words used to describe temperature in the past decade by the authors of this article, which could very very easily be misunderstood by the public at large at whom the reply was aimed. A less charitable person might say the text was deliberately misleading.

    I have not said you should not use other temperature measures apart from land ones, but I have said, elsewhere, that it would be much better to use ocean temperature rather than dress it up as ocean heat content. The ice measure I have criticised elsewhere and it does seem to me very odd to use something as a measure of temperature rather than temperature itself.

    A model could not possibly show that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. That is not what any model could do. You could show such a thing by measuring temperatures on the surface and in the deep ocean. You could design a model and see whether its predictions were fulfilled by reality. But by itself a model could not even begin to do so.

    KR I fail to see how commenting on the precise text of the article could be off topic but no doubt you can explain. As I have explained I have focussed on a ten year period here and in the previous article because that is what the articles talked about. The time period was the authors' choice not mine. Since you accuse me of being disingenuous let us have your plain view on the question: did the world get warmer in the last decade? Don't hide behind the smart phrases of this article and don't go on about how 10 years may not be representative (which incidentally I accept). Just tell us what you think the facts of the temperature record are for the last decade.
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Please can everybody moderate the tone of this discussion? We are here to discuss the science, and that is not best served by ill-mannered, aggressive tone or over-confidence in ones own ability. Generally it is wise if you think there is a discrepancy or contradiction in the views of leading climatologists, then it is just possible that the miunderstanding lies with you, rather than with them.
  30. elsa, move it to an appropriate thread. KR has already responded to your disbelief about the power of GCMs.

    You should move your decadal musings to a thread like this one. I've responded to you there (or will shortly).
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  31. 79, elsa,
    ...it would be much better to use ocean temperature rather than dress it up as ocean heat content...
    Temperature at what depth? The surface? 100m down? 700m down?

    Maybe the best solution would be to integrate the energy content throughout the entire depth of the ocean.

    Oh, wait, that's "ocean heat content."

    Duh.
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] The comment I made regarding elsa's post applies all round. Please can we all keep as cool and collected as possible (whatever the perceived provocation) and avoid escalation.
  32. Ugh - wrong link for the last link -- try here or here or, better yet, here.
    0 0
  33. Thanks DM vey well said (in both cases!).
    0 0
  34. Suggested reading:

    “Two Nobelists Offer Views of Human-Driven Global Warming” by Andrew Revkin, DOT Earth, New York Times, Feb 2, 2012

    To access this timely and eye-opening article, click here

    Mario Molina and Burton Richter are the two Nobel Prize winners extensively quoted in this article.
    0 0
  35. elsa - The statement of import is "Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade" (emphasis added)

    Regarding the last decade (10 years only), the trend is quite flat. Note, however, that this is too short a time to make conclusions about the climate, only about the weather. See this plot.

    A 17 year trend for GISTEMP shows a slope of 0.15C/decade - that's statistically supportable. Your 10 year trend from 2001 has a slope of 0.03C/decade - very low. But a similar 10 year trend from 1989 to 1999 shows a slope of 0.25C/decade, almost twice the 17 year rate.

    At ten year intervals the ENSO and solar variability are much larger than anthropogenic climate forcings - and hence climate trends are not discernible from such short intervals. Unless, of course, you account for known variations, as did Lean and Rind 2008, or Foster and Rahmstorf 2011, who show that there has been no slowdown of climate change in the last decade once you account for other variables.

    So - the long term climate trend has not abated in the last 10 years. Your claims are about weather, not climate.
    0 0
  36. I think then KR we agree.
    1. There has not been any appreciable rise in temperature in the last decade.
    2. 10 years may well be too short a period from which to derive much in the way of conclusions.
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  37. elsa@86 there has not been a significant rise in surface temperatures in the last decade. The distinction is important as not all warming manifests itself at the surface. 2 is correct, but the "may well be" can be replaced by "is" from a statistical point of view.
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  38. elsa - I must agree with Dikran on both counts. >90% of the energy goes into the oceans, which makes ocean heat content (simply temperature * thermal mass) so very important. And it is too short a period of time to draw trend conclusions. No "may well be" about it...
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  39. Elsa, even though there has not been a statistically significant increase in temperature over the last 10 years, the *must* be an increase in heat in the system because the TOA flux imbalance (about .6 Wm-2) persists.

    And 10 years is not "may well be" too short. It is too short. You might want to look at this "elevator" thread to see that short term flat or cooling trends are quite common in the surface temperature record, even though there is an overall warming trend clearly evident in the data.
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  40. What I find really a bit poor from your side is that you try to hide the fact that it has not warmed but I have found you out.

    Just thought this particularly unpleasant accusation of dishonesty from elsa deserved highlighting.

    Also, I have to add that it's always funny when people who clearly don't understand the basics of AGW become convinced not just that it's hoax, but also that the hoaxers are too incompetent to create "evidence" that can withstand casual scrutiny from an ignorant amateur. Apparently, evil geniuses aren't quite as detail-oriented as comic books led me to believe.
    0 0
  41. Elsa.
    To post a chart in your comments, you need to put it on a server and indicate the link with the "patch" full.
    Example:
    "<" img src = "http://www.scam.com.br/tjdavila/solo/clima/trenberth07.jpg"">"
    Loock:


    I take this opportunity to tell Dr. Trenberth as for matters of the heart I'd rather see a counselor
    sentimental and I agree with Dr. Alegre "No need to panic about global warming."
    For deduction of your chart above, for a radiation of 390 watt square meters, only 40 escaped from the
    atmosphere into space. This proves that the atmosphere is opaque to long wave emissions, and therefore does not help reduce CO2 emissions. To explain the global warming we see the physical as meteorologists study the atmosphere of up to two meters and global warming is linked to the lack of soil water to evaporate and take heat beyond 500mb.

    The_Greenhouse_ effect_completely_natural
    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    Your claim is addressed in the post here. Per the comments policy for this site, please keep your comments on-topic, and post future discussion of this point on the appropriate thread.

  42. Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition?
    According to the internet IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri has a Ph.D. in industrial engineering.
    0 0
  43. The chairman is an administrator dude!!! They only thing he needs is good management, people, and negotiation skills...nothing else....move your strawman elsewhere!!!
    0 0
  44. Carbon500: That would be interesting if Dr. Pachauri was a sole author. As the IPCC is an agency that reviews current research, it makes no difference whatsoever what Dr. Pachauri does for a living.
    0 0
  45. Carbon500:

    Dr Pachauri's PhD does not "make or break" the IPCC AR4.

    The great quantity of scientific literature to which the AR4 refers, and which no critic or contrarian has yet satsifactorily deconstructed, is what gives the IPCC its authority as a reference for policymakers and the public on the subject of climate change.

    With regards to the two Wall Street Journal letters, what is important is that the letter written by Trenberth et al is in line with the overwhelming body of empirical evidence, and it is this conformance to the evidence which grants Trenberth and company their authority.

    By contrast, the letter/editorial written by Lindzen et al consists mainly of a series of rehashed, long-refuted contrarian claims which are out of line with what the evidence shows. This lack of evidentiary support negates the implicit claim to authority that Lindzen et al appeal to through highlighting their credentials.
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  46. Tarcisio: "To explain the global warming we see the physical as meteorologists study the atmosphere of up to two meters and global warming is linked to the lack of soil water to evaporate and take heat beyond 500mb."

    ¿Su teoría de la humedad del suelo explicar el enfriamiento estratosférico observado?

    "This proves that the atmosphere is opaque to long wave emissions, and therefore does not help reduce CO2 emissions."

    Traductor Google ha destruido todo lo que estábamos tratando de decir. Supongo que no quería decir que debido a que la atmósfera es opaca a ciertas frecuencias ampliado a la presión de la radiación infrarroja, las emisiones de CO2 se reducen. Eso sería un non sequitur.
    0 0
  47. And Tarcisio, Estoy casi seguro de que Google Translate ha destruido mi respuesta a usted.
    0 0
  48. John at 84,
    I love the tiger graphic. Skeptical Science should develop a similar graphic or ask permission to use it.
    0 0
  49. Carbon500:

    According to the internet IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri has a Ph.D. in industrial engineering.

    I believe he also has a Ph.D in economics with a focus on energy and resources.

    Of course, this hardly matters since the IPCC doesn't conduct climate research and as DrTsk notes, Dr. Pachauri is basically an administrator.

    Beyond that, the CVs of "skeptics" tend to deserve heightened scrutiny for the simple reason that they're the ones making extraordinary claims. When an industrial engineer accepts the expert consensus on climate, things are pretty much as they should be. When a weatherman or a petroleum geologist compares the experts to Lysenko, it's quite reasonable to take a closer look at his credentials. (Especially if he's making arguments that are demonstrably wrong.)
    0 0
  50. Dr Trenberth suggests only climate scientists are qualified to comment on climate matters comparing this with medical and dental consultations. He conveniently omits to note that although none of Nicholas Stern, Al Gore, Ross Garnaut and Tim Flannery are climate scientists their pronouncements in support of AGW are given wide publicity. This suggests Dr Trenberth has one rule for proponents of AGW and another for those who are less convinced
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