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Lindzen's London Illusions

Posted on 7 March 2012 by dana1981

On 22 February 2012, Richard Lindzen gave a talk to invited guests in a rented room in the Palace of Westminster.  Note that contrary to some reports about the seminar, it was not presented to UK Parliament.  Any member of the UK legislature can rent one of the many Palace of Westminster rooms for private purposes; that is what happened in this instance.

Lindzen's presentation, the slides of which can be viewed here and video can be seen here, appeared very similar to presentations given by Christopher Monckton.  In fact, Lindzen's talk contained many of the same climate myths we recently debunked from Monckton, which frankly does not reflect well on Lindzen.  The slides and presentation are almost identical to  Lindzen's testimony to the US House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing in November 2010, which in turn was almost identical to a presentation he gave at a Heartland Institute conference 6 months earlier.  In fact, Lindzen did not even update some of his graphs with data beyond mid-2010 for his UK presentation.

Lindzen's presentation contained so many misrepresentations that it would be too time consuming to address them all; however, we will address most of them here, including the base on which Lindzen built his house of misinformation cards.

What Lindzen Got Right

First we should give Lindzen credit for what he got right in his presentation.  For example, he acknowledged that there is a greenhouse effect, CO2 has been increasing, and global temperatures have increased, and notes that these are not controversial facts.  To his credit, in discussing the tropical troposphere 'hot spot,' Lindzen also acknowledged that models are correct to predict that the 'hot spot' should be present, since this is based on fundamental atmospheric physics.  He also acknowledges that the failure to observe the hot spot may be due to satellite and weather balloon measurements being wrong (or surface temperature measurements).  This is something that his fellow "skeptics" have been unwilling or unable to admit.

However, while Lindzen got a few things right in his presentation, he got a whole lot more wrong.

The Earth Has Warmed as Much as Expected

Lindzen quickly came out of the gate with his favorite myth, which we addressed in Lindzen Illusion #1: We Should Have Seen More Warming.  This argument in fact was the entire basis of Lindzen's presentation:

"If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments."

To support this claim, on the following slide, Lindzen claims:

"There has been a doubling of equivalent CO2 over the past 150 years."

This assertion is simply false.  A doubling of CO2 corresponds to a 3.7 Watts per square meter (W/m2) radiative forcing.  According to the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, the greenhouse gas (GHG) radiative forcing (compared to 1750) in 2010 was 2.81 W/m2 - only 76% of the way to doubled CO2-equivalent.

Lindzen's argument in a nutshell is that the GHG forcing has roughly doubled, and surface temperatures have roughly increased 1°C in response; therefore, the climate sensitivity is about 1°C for doubled CO2.  We recently demonstrated the errors in this argument when it was made by Monckton.

  • First, climate sensitivity is an equilibrium value (unless referring to the transient climate response [TCR]), and the planet is currently not in an equilibrium state. 
  • Second, estimating TCR (which is what Lindzen is really attempting) requires a linearly-increasing net radiative forcing, which simply was not the case over the past 150 years.
  • Third, as convenient as it would be for Lindzen's argument if aerosols exerted no effect on global temperatures, that is simply not reality.

Regarding aerosols, Lindzen has previously referenced the work of Ramanathan, who estimates the net radiative forcing from aerosols and black carbon at -1.4 W/m2 (Ramanathan and Carmichael 2008).  Lindzen is correct that the aerosol forcing is not well known and has large error bars, but those error bars do not even overlap with zero (for example, the IPCC puts the aerosol forcing at -0.4 to -2.7 W/m2).  Just because we can't pinpoint the value, that doesn't mean we can simply assume it is zero, as Lindzen does.

To estimate the TCR properly and determine if the Earth has warmed as much as expected, we can examine the changes over the past 60 years, during which time the net radiative forcing has increased roughly linearly.  According to Skeie et al. (2011), the best estimate anthropogenic forcing since 1950 is about 1.2 W/m2 (and the natural forcings over this period have been close to zero).  The average surface temperature change over that period has been approximately 0.7°C.  Therefore, TCR = dT/dF = 0.7/1.2 = 0.58°C per W/m2 (where dF and dT are the changes in radiative forcing and global surface temperature, respectively).

Thus for the 3.7 W/m2 radiative forcing associated with a doubling of atmospheric CO2, the best estimate transient warming is approximately 2°C, based on the observational data over the past 60 years.  In short, the transient response has been more than double Lindzen's claimed equilibrium response, and the actual equilibrium response is approximately 1.8 times their TCR, according to climate models.  Lindzen's claim about climate sensitivity, which is the basis of his entire presentation, is not even close to accurate.

As we've mentioned, there are large uncertainties associated with the size of the aerosol forcing in particular.  But not knowing its magnitude does not excuse completely neglecting it, as Lindzen does.

Positive Feedbacks

Later in his presentation, Lindzen follows up his incorrect low climate sensitivity argument, claiming that data indicate that climate feedbacks are negative (which would indeed suggest low sensitivity):

"Only with positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds does one get the large warmings that are associated with alarm. What the satellite data seems to show is that these positive feedbacks are model artifacts."

This claim is incorrect.  That water vapor is a positive feedback has been well-established.  For example, Dessler et al. (2008):

"Height-resolved measurements of specific humidity (q) and relative humidity (RH) are obtained from NASA's satellite-borne Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)...The water-vapor feedback implied by these observations is strongly positive, with an average magnitude of ?q = 2.04 W/m2/K, similar to that simulated by climate models."

While the cloud feedback remains uncertain, most recent research has indicated that it is positive (i.e. Dessler 2010).

Lindzen's Hypocrisy

Lindzen proceeds to criticize a letter published in Science expressing dismay about political assaults on climate scientists, signed by 250 members of the National Academy of Science.

"This letter appeared in Spring of 2010 in Science. It was signed by 250 members of the National Academy of Science. Most signers had no background whatever in climate sciences."

Lindzen objects to the USA's most prominent scientific institution taking the stance that the basic science behind human-caused global warming is sound and that climate scientists should not be subjected to political attacks.  He complains that this authoritative scientific body is taking an authoritative position.

And yet, Lindzen himself recently signed onto a letter sent to the Wall Street Journal by 16 climate "skeptics," only 2 of which (including Lindzen) have published peer-reviewed climate science research in the past  three decades, and at least 7 of which have received fossil fuel industry funding.  That letter said:

"...a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed."

Lindzen and company attempted to take a position of authority in this letter, to discourage climate mitigation policy.  The difference was that 250 members of the most prestigious scientific body in the USA signed the former, whereas Lindzen's letter was signed by just 16 "skeptics" including an economist, a physician, a chemist, an aerospace engineer, and an astronaut/politician.  Lindzen's hypocrisy here is troubling.

Conspiracy Theories

More troubling yet, Lindzen proceeds to engage in conspiracy theories in his presentation.  The quote in blue below comes from presidents of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science (Rees and Cicerone), and the quote in black is Lindzen's criticism of their statement.

"Our academies will provide the scientific backdrop for the political and business leaders who must create effective policies to steer the world toward a low-carbon economy.

Rees and Cicerone are saying that regardless of the evidence the answer is predetermined. If the government wants carbon control, that is the answer that the Academies will provide."

The presidents of these two prestigious scientific bodies are saying that their academies will provide a summary of the scientific evidence so that political and business leaders can be sufficiently well-informed to craft policies to reduce GHG emissions.  Somehow Lindzen interprets this as the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science acting as political pawns, throwing scientific integrity in the trash bin to give their governments "carbon control."

There is no other way to view this - Lindzen is advocating a ridiculous conspiracy theory, which is even more troubling than his  hypocrisy.

Misrepresenting Global Temperatures

Lindzen also trots out another of his favorite myths - "global warming stopped in [insert date]."  Lindzen inserts 1997:

"Looking at the above [HadCRUT3], one can see no warming since 1997."

As we know, HadCRUT3 is biased low and will soon be replaced with HadCRUT4.  The main reason for its cool bias is a lack of coverage in a number of rapidly-warming areas, particularly in the Arctic.  One of the HadCRUT4 adjustments will be to include more temperature data from stations in the Arctic region.

Other data sets already use area weighting to represent these regions of rapid warming.  GISTEMP shows a 0.14°C warming since 1997, and NOAA shows 0.073°C.  This despite the fact that virtually every non-greenhouse gas influence on temperature has been in the cooling direction over that period.   Human aerosol emissions increased, blocking more sunlight.  Heat accumulated in the deep oceans.  The solar cycle went into an extended minimum.  There were a number of strong La Niña events.  Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) showed that when we filter out the latter two effects and that of volcanic activity, the warming of surface temperatures has not even slowed (Figure 1).

 Figure 1: Average temperature changes recorded by 5 teams of scientists: 2 working on satellites (University of Alabama, Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems) and 3 working with thermometers and ship/buoy measurements (UK Hadley Centre & Climate Research Unit, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the US National Climatic Data Centre. Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) statistical methods have been used to 'take out' the effects of volcanic eruptions, Pacific Ocean cycles and the Sun.

Misleading with Graphs and Misrepresenting the Arctic

Next in his presentation, Lindzen puts on a clinic about how to mislead an audience with graphs.  Many of his graphs were simply zoomed out with very large axes to make any trends in the data difficult to discern.  For example, he presents this slide to argue that the Arctic sea ice "death spiral" is nothing to worry about (Figure 2).

Lindzen ice graphic lie

Figure 2: Lindzen's slide #38.

Of course when the data are zoomed out to the fullest extent with the seasonal variations included, the long-term trend (Figure 3) is difficult to discern.

Sept Arctic sea ice extent
Figure 3: Arctic sea ice September extent (NSIDC)

As Figure 3 shows, September Arctic sea ice extent (the summer minimum) has declined approximately 35% over the past 33 years.  And the Arctic sea ice volume data (since ice is three-dimentional) paints an even bleaker picture.  NASA has also put together a great interactive tool to illustrate the Arctic sea ice death spiral (Figure 4; drag the white bar to the right to see 1980 Arctic sea ice area, and to the left to see 2012 area).

Figure 4: This interactive illustrates how perennial sea ice has declined from 1980 to 2012. The bright white central mass shows the perennial sea ice while the larger light blue area shows the full extent of the winter sea ice including the average annual sea ice during the months of November, December and January. The data shown here were compiled by NASA senior research scientist Josefino Comiso from NASA's Nimbus-7 satellite and the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.

Lindzen gets a whole lot wrong when discussing the Arctic in his presentation.  He also suggests the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940, which is simply not the case (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Temperature Anomalies (1951-1981 Baseline) for the Arctic region (64-90°N) over the past 130 years according to ccc-gistemp analysis and NCEP reanalysis.

Lindzen claims that climate scientists place too much emphasis on annual temperatures and fail to discuss seasonal changes.  On the contrary, many studies have examined this issue and found that there is a complex seasonality in the Arctic in how heat is exchanged between the atmosphere and ocean throughout the year (i.e. see Serreze et al. 2009).  Lindzen also claims:

"summer ice depends mostly on how much is blown out of the arctic basin"

While meteorological conditions are important in explaining yearly variations in the amount of summer Arctic sea ice, they cannot explain the long-term trend illustrated in Figure 3.  That is due to a long-term (primarily GHG-caused) warming.  But Lindzen's final comment about the Arctic is one of his worst misrepresentations:

"In fact, the arctic is notoriously variable...So much for ‘unprecedented.’"

This suggestion that Arctic changes are not unprecedented displays a serious lack of familiarity with the relevant scientific literature.  For example, Polyak et al (2010):

"The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities."

Thibodeau et al. (2010):

"We conclude that the 20th century warming of the incoming intermediate North Atlantic water has had no equivalent during the last thousand years."

Kinnard et al. (2011):

"Here we use a network of high-resolution terrestrial proxies from the circum-Arctic region to reconstruct past extents of summer sea ice, and show that—although extensive uncertainties remain, especially before the sixteenth century—both the duration and magnitude of the current decline in sea ice seem to be unprecedented for the past 1,450 years"

"These results reinforce the assertion that sea ice is an active component of Arctic climate variability and that the recent decrease in summer Arctic sea ice is consistent with anthropogenically forced warming."

Fisher et al. (2012):

"Arctic ice core melt series (latitude range of 67 to 81 N) show the last quarter century has had the highest melt in two millennia and The Holocene-long Agassiz melt record shows that the last 25 years has the highest melt in 4200 years."

and Smol (2012):

"The demise of the Arctic ponds is a sign of climate change, a long-term shift in the Arctic climate measured by changes in temperature, precipitation and other indicators. Climate change has moved faster here than at lower latitudes. The change we have seen in the Arctic is the bellwether for global climate changes that are already under way."

 A Sad Display

Overall, Lindzen's presentation was extremely disappointing.  Most of his scientific arguments hinged on his "Earth hasn't warmed as much as expected" myth, which is based on completely disregarding the cooling effects of aerosols and the fact that the climate is not in equilibrium.

On top of this clearly flawed argument, Lindzen threw in a number of conspiracy theories and wild accusations.  He claimed the Royal Society and the National Academy of Science are no more than political tools without any scientific integrity, and that "the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating" make the anthropogenic warming theory implausible.

The presentation seems to have been aimed at pleasing Christopher Monckton rather than informing the rest of the audience about scientific realities.

Note: Martin Lack, who attended this presentation, has published a subsequent letter he sent to Lindzen.  This letter covers some of the points in Lindzen's presentation which we did not cover here, including a critical misleading slide which was not included in the PDF of the presentation which was the basis of this post.  Martin's post is well worth reading as well.

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Comments 51 to 88 out of 88:

  1. Can all readers, even if you don't look at any of my other posts on my blog, please read this one: Lindzengate - an update report (8 March 2012). It could change the course of human history (or at least your response to it could)!
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  2. Can I recommend that you pause a while and take stock. You seem to be as annoyed as I am that people such as Lindzen can, for what seems to be the sake of appearances, deliberately refuse to concede that they might be wrong and endanger us and our children and grandchildren into the bargain. He is not alone in refusing to admit to being wrong. I have a friend who was a science teacher before retiring. He is never ever wrong on any issue, not just scientific ones. There is no winning with him, nor, I suspect, Lindzen. And let's face it, Lindzen and those like him lead a good life. They are revered wherever they go and I'll bet they don't pay their expenses out of their own pocket, so there is an incentive to follow a formula that works for them if only because it gives them a better life than that of most of those that revere them. Monckton, who flits from limelight to limelight, will, on the other hand, never admit publicly that he is wrong for psychological reasons and in some ways is to be pitied, as indeed are his and Lindzen’s acolytes. I don’t think that setting deadlines, such as your demand for a response within seven days, is going to get you far. It is probably impossible for MIT to assemble their committee that deals with such matters as professional misconduct within such a short time. In any event, it would be a strange University that was oblivious of the behaviour of one of their professors on such a prominent public issue, especially seeing as said professor is running very much against the tide. If you put yourself in their shoes, they will probably take offence at being dictated to and ignore your correspondence – hardly a ‘win win’ situation. I will not advise on what you should do after pausing to take stock, other than to suggest that you gather round you wise heads and plot a strategy that will get you the goals you seek. Oh, one other comment: It is perfectly o.k. to write a strongly worded letter, just so long as you don’t send it. As a solicitor once said to me: You win more with honey than you do with sh*t. Think on and good luck. From my perspective, I think that the issue of climate change is so grave that a case can be made for charging deniers in positions of influence with committing a crime against humanity unless they can show good scientific reasons for holding the views that they do and that those views have not been properly debunked by their peers. Perhaps that is a route to follow with Lindzen if you don’t get MIT to respond to you, try to get him in The Hague instead.
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  3. post 52 is in response to post 51 - for some reason this got deleted twixt preview and submitting.
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  4. Unfortunately, there is no way that truthseekers can win from those that simply repeat their wrong arguments. What is even worse: the only answer is to repetitively debunk them. I very much admire the untiringly persistent and polite debunking at this site. It must be very tiring. But it is necessary. And Martin .. I feel your sense of urgency and anger. Maybe your methods are further from the science, but nearer to the way to fight this: like a political activist. Activists make use of the same advertising/PR-technique of repetition, repetition, repetition. It works. It is the way the world works, unfortunately.
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  5. Martin I followed your link and understand what you are saying, but I don't think melodromatic statements such as "he is in a prison of denial from which death will probably be his only escape" are helpful. IMHO. You might want to dial it back a notch or two.
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  6. #52 All they have to do is tell me investigation yes/no. In other words, something more than an automated reply (which I did not get). They do not need to find him innocent/guilty in 7 days. Indeed, it has been suggested to me that it may take MIT 6 weeks to investigate. I have certainly given them plenty to read. #55 Your comments are noted but, Lindzen does not hold back on the mockery and denigration of the expertise of others. I have also complained to my MP and suggested that Lindzen may have slandered their Chief Scientist and/or UK-based IPCC contributory authors.
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  7. How do we know atmospheric aerosol concentrations and their influence on the global temperatures in the more distant past, say between 1880 and 1940?
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  8. I was wondering what Martin Lack (@44) was referring to, so I finally had a look. What I found was a Wood for Trees graph, which I have recreated and shown below: Lindzen says of the graph that
    "Just to put this into perspective, a colleague took all the data sets he could find of temperature change since 1996, and, you know, this is the [incomprehensible] you could pick one or the other. It's about a tenth of a degree here or there. But basically if you compare it to the change in CO2 its pretty clear that, you know, by any normal standards this is pretty flat no matter which [incomprehensible] you pick, and arguing about the difference in these is probably a fools errand."
    That is pretty incomprehensible as an argument. It appears as though he is about to make the argument the graph is obviously designed for, ie, to argue that CO2 and temperatures do not correlate so that CO2 cannot be a causal factor in the temperature increase. But he never actually makes that argument! He has a ... I don't know - perhaps a seniors moment, perhaps an attack of conscience, and switches midstream to arguing that the differences between temperature indices is so small that it doesn't matter which one you pick for analyzing the data. Now that argument itself is obviously false. It may appear true if you carefully select just three temperature indices from twenty-two available from Wood-for-Trees. More importantly, it uses just two of three major global temperature indices. It is inconceivable that the Alfred P Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT should not know of the NCDC, GISS and UAH temperature indices. Particularly given that he had just been criticizing one of them just moments before. So when Lindzen say's that, "...a colleague took all the data sets he could find of temperature change since 1996...", he is knowingly misrepresenting the facts. More importantly, and Lindzen knows this as well, over such short (cherry picked) time periods, choosing other temperature indices, makes a significant difference: Martin may well accuse me of chasing of after a side issue on this, but I cannot criticize Lindzen for making an argument he did not in fact make, no matter what his intentions when setting up the slides. And Lindzen pulled out of making the "no correlation" argument at the last moment. It is well that he did not make that argument. If CO2 increase and temperature increase had been correlated on the graph, then (all else being equal) a 0.4 W/m^2 difference in greenhouse warming would have caused a 0.8 degree C change in temperature, which equates to a climate sensitivity of 8 degrees C per doubling of CO2. In fact it would be much worse, in that aerosol forcing and solar forcing are known to have been significantly negative over the period in question, while the ENSO trend was also cooling. Consequently, to achieve the sort of correlation that the graph suggests should exist according to the IPCC, the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 must be much greater than 8 degree C, rather than the 2 to 4.5 degrees C commonly accepted. The conclusion is inevitable. Anybody who uses this or an equivalent graph (and they are common on the web) either knows nothing about climate science, or is a deliberate liar.
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  9. Tom, this is precisely the point that too few are willing to push on RC, Gavin included. I know he, Gavin, and others want to keep accountability in-house, but this is an abuse of power issue that affects science across the board. Lindzen is smart. He knows just how far he can push the game before he starts to materially suffer (i.e. before the source of his power, his status as a respected scientist, suffers). Many are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept his admission of error--and let the situation go. Lindzen depends on that water under the bridge. It allows him to make strategic "mistakes" again and again. The outcomes of these rhetorical moves on the projects of science (and climate science specifically) and representative democracy far outweighs the contributions that Lindzen could make (or would want to make) with the rest of his career. The evidence for that is the attention that Lindzen gets here and at RC. People respond to Lindzen with a lot of energy. That doesn't suggest he's harmless, and, indeed, empowers him further in the minds of the doubters. I know what Gavin and others fear: if scientists can be put over the legal barrel for making mistakes, then those who control law will begin to control science. The mess that might potentially create is indeed frightening--much like the current fight over education in the US (that few actual educators are allowed to take part in). Yet is the proper response then to write chastising blog posts that few in the democracy (voters or their "representatives") will ever see? Is it to win a local battle while the war goes to pot? It's a complicated situation, but I expected a stronger response from the people who have the power to counter this type of serial abuse. Imagine you visit a city you've never been to before. You have to be at a hospital in this city by a certain time, or you'll suffer some nasty health problems. You hail a taxi. The taxi driver begins driving you toward your destination . . . you think. The taxi has very darkly-tinted windows, and there is a barrier between you and the driver. The taxi driver calls in to the central garage and tells everyone he's driving this fare to the hospital, and the thousands of other taxi drivers can track the progress of the taxi on the big board. The taxi begins to make random turns. It's not going to the hospital, or if it is, it's not going directly. The driver is delaying arrival. You notice that it's taking a long time, but this is a big city, and you don't know the route. The driver says, "Yah, it's across town, and traffic is terrible." Other taxi drivers note that the route your driver is taking is not at all ideal. Some stay silent. Some blog about it. One driver standing next to the company president says, "I don't think the fare is really all that sick. Maybe a drive around the city will do him some good." Some call the taxi and tell the driver he's making a mistake. The driver responds by saying, "Yes, you're right, I'm sorry," and he begins driving toward the hospital. But then he starts going in circles again. Some try to call the fare (you) directly, but you don't speak the same language, and even when you can understand, you're not sure who to trust. Meanwhile, your body is deteriorating. The other taxi drivers don't want the police to get involved. What is the president of the taxi company doing? You're close to passing out. Yah, I know--an off-the-chest rant. Consider it a contribution to the analogy collection.
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  10. #58 Tom Curtis Glad to know someone was curious to go and see what I was talking about. However, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and just looked at the screenshot of this Keeling v Temperature graph on either of my first two Lindzengate posts ("Open Letter to Richard Lindzen" ... or "Prof. Lindzen try this instead"). Had you done this you might have been able to spot the caption I have inserted underneath the embedded image, which reads as follows: "If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this [not now] 'missing' graph neither proves nor disproves anything." This is why re-inserting the graph into the PDF changes nothing. In fact, it implies that Lindzen doesn't even appreciate why it is so meaningless and misleading. This is why I was so gobsmacked by the whole thing. It was either complete incompetence or transparently disingenuous.
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  11. #60 A brilliant slide-by-slide de-bunk posted by John P.Reisman over on Real Climate has prompted me to clarify myself further: Whilst I am extremely grateful to John P. Reisman for taking the time to detail all of this so clearly, I am bound to indulge in a little bit of “I told you so”. For the benefit of those who may have skated-over any or all of my previous comments, with reference to the video of the Q&A session (very kindly posted by onto my Blog), let me explain: 1. I was there. 2. I saw the whole thing. 3. I could not believe what Lindzen was doing. 4. I blew my chance to ask a question by seeking to correct Lindzen’s obfuscation of the Milankovitch CO2/Temperature time lag; and why it is now the other way around for anthropogenic climate disruption. 5. I believe Lindzen deliberately interrupted to me to stop me talking. 6. I attempted to rebut his obfuscation and was silenced by Lord Monckton. 7. Lindzen can apologise and re-insert as many graphs as he likes; but he is merely digging himself an ever-bigger hole (IMHO). 8. Lindzen has even now re-inserted the “missing” graph of Keeling v Temp., the screenshot image of which I have on my blog along with the following caption: “If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this [not now] ‘missing’ graph neither proves nor disproves anything.” 9. This implies that Lindzen doesn’t even appreciate why it is so meaningless and misleading. 10. This is why I was so gobsmacked by the whole thing. It was either complete incompetence or transparently disingenuous.
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    [DB] Fixed link (the link was right but you were missing the "r" in "href").

    Preview, preview, preview...  :)

  12. Martin Lack@61, Lindzen was halfway through explaining Roe's findings when you interrupted him to "rebut his obfuscation." Could you rebut his and Roe's "obfuscation" here? Thanks!
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  13. #62 Not yet. But I know 100's of genuine climate scientists that most certainly could. Meanwhile, I am catching-up with them fast.
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  14. Martin Lack @62, Martin, you said that you "attempted to rebut his obfuscation and was silenced by Lord Monckton." So then, you must have been ready to rebut it then, so why not rebut it now? What is the obfuscation of Lindzen and Roe?
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  15. #65 Please accept my apologies John. That was a bit hypocritical of me. Thankyou for ignoring it. Roe (2006) says: "...variations in melting precede variations in CO2. Thus, the relatively small amplitude of the CO2 radiative forcing and the absence of a lead over dV/dt both suggest that CO2 variations play a relatively weak role in driving changes in global ice volume compared to insolation variations. This certainly does not rule out CO2 as a primary cause of tropical or other climate variations, or of the apparent synchronization of the ice-age signal between hemispheres". To me, none of this could have been - or can be - used to refute what I had just stated is the consensus view (i.e. "...because natural change is temperature-driven we can be sure unnatural CO2 change will cause temperature change because radiative energy balance must always be restored...") Therefore both Lindzen and Monckton conspired to shut me up. Q.E.D.
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  16. A bit of a Johnny-come-lately comment. I was prompted by a comment over on a RealClimate thread that said that Lindzen was now backtracking on the "significant warming" of the past century & now being dismissive of it. It occurred to me I had noticed that but not picked up on it. So I revisited the presentation & comment (also) here as this post is considering the London seminar in toto. pdf of seminar here P13-14 Lindzen goes all Winston Smith & presents temperatures 1851-1984. P35-36 Lindzen does a conjuring trick by shuffling the deck. The sequence of Artic temperatures he presents his audience is (filling in the gaps from here ) 2004, 2009, 1958, 2000, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1990. (His assertion that there is no trend is debunked by this post but I don't see mention of his sneeky shuffling trick.) And finally, the real unscientific stuff. P15 & his thin red line. (The 93rd Highlanders will be spinning in their graves!) Comparing Boston's weather with global climate is saying that variations in global mean temp of +/-4 deg C is not a problem (still "nomal") and +/-20 deg C would not be unprecidented. (Hope my F -> C convertion is correct.) In this I see Lindzen's membership of the Global Village Idiot Club having been upgraded to Full Life Membership.
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  17. Lindzen's London Illusions the videos. Note: The first part at least has been altered and a note added to mention the alleged screw-up, but I'm not aware that any further corrections have been made to remove the other errors. Part 1 Part 2 Q&A
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  18. MA Rodger@66, Going through each year of the Arctic daily mean temperatures seems to bolster Lindzen's point that the summer temperatures are not changing while there is great variability in the winter temperatures. I could find no mention of a trend in the Arctic other than the introductory sentence, so I am not sure what difference it makes in which order the graphs are presented in his talk. The discussion of the Arctic happens at about 20:00 in the second part of the talk. Maybe you could point to where he says that there is no trend?
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  19. 68, jzk, You seem to have missed this point from the article above:
    ...many studies have examined this issue and found that there is a complex seasonality in the Arctic in how heat is exchanged between the atmosphere and ocean throughout the year...
    I'm sure that at least one factor is the heat of fusion, the fact that no matter how warm the air in the Arctic might get, a lot of that summer energy is going to go into melting the ice instead of heating the atmosphere. This will naturally to some extent moderate summer temperatures. Lord help us when the ice melts soon enough that that cannot be the case.
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  20. Sphaerica@69, My comment was that Lindzen made no claim about there being "no trend" in the Arctic. His claim was that summer temperatures are not changing, but winter temperatures are quite variable. What does that have to do with the point you are making?
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  21. jzk @68 You could have warned me about the aweful music at the start of the second clip! Listening to the actual seminar (links @67), I can add to the comment @66. P13-14 uses graphs that stop in 1984 likely because as Lindzen says "No one's done this (analysis) in 20 years." Maybe he should have asked why nobody has. P35-36 He makes no mention of presenting a shuffled-up series of years. He perhaps mutters "decadal" as the final 4 are shown. There is no mention of winter trends or lack of trends, just "huge fluctuations." He says "And they're kinda random," (Ah ha, but is he referring to the fluctuations or the presented graphs?) However his main point is that there is physics at work here in the Arctic "...which is completely lost when you take annual mean temperatures." He is here entirely dismissive of any Arctic trend being anything to do with AGW, thus the throw-in 1922 report. I would add for jzk's benefit - the audience is never appraised that they are not being shown a time sequence of graphs while 'lack of summer trend' & an all-random fluctuating winter is proposed. That is plain sneeky. P15 was introduced with the words "But here's something that'll give you a little perspective on it." and after explaining the graph "Put in perspective of you regular experience." Perhaps most telling is a message from his 'take-away' from this section. "Say at least, so far, I mean if some day I see there are changes 20 times what I've seen so far, that would be certainly remarkable. But nothing so far looks that way." This refers to the global average temperature fluctuations so 20 times 0.5-0.7 deg C = 10 - 14 deg C!!!! Richard Lindzen - an alleged climatologist who doubts that anything short of 'Snowball Earth' or a 'Steam-Soaked Sphere' is worthy of remark.
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  22. 70, jzk, My point is that focusing on summer temperatures in the Arctic, while the ice is clearly melting further and further back each year, is disingenuous. His statement is one of misdirection with no merit. A discussion of summer temperatures is a cherry pick designed to mislead. There are many factors that affect summer temperatures, not the least of which is that melting the ice, a huge danger, is helping to hold those temperatures down.
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  23. Sphaerica@72, Cherry picking is when favorable evidence is chosen while unfavorable evidence is excluded. Which evidence was excluded? I recall him discussing both the summer and winter temperatures.
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  24. jzk, Come on. How stupid do you think people are? Implying that summer temperatures are not changing, while ignoring the rapid, growing ice melt, is cherry picking. Suggesting that the false dichotomy of summer versus winter temperatures is all that applies is pathetic. His entire position is pathetic, as are all of his presentations and arguments. Lindzen is a joke, a bad one, and history will not treat him kindly, if it remembers him at all (which it should).
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  25. Sphaerica@74, If all that is true, you ought to be able to calmly dissect his arguments. Going through each year of the data, it sure does seem to me that his premise is true. Summer temperatures don't seem to be changing while there is much variability in the winter temperatures. He didn't ignore the ice melt, nor any of the temperatures. His conclusion that because summer radiative forcing doesn't seem to be changing CO2 must not be a factor is subject to debate. However, nothing in your post @74 adds any clarity to this.
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  26. jzk @68, "Going through each year of the Arctic daily mean temperatures seems to bolster Lindzen's point that the summer temperatures are not changing while there is great variability in the winter temperatures." I find it incredulous that someone is defending Lindzen, especially when they appear to not grasp the obvious problems with his argument. First, those data are for 80 N, they are not representative of the Arctic. Second, they are model data and it has been shown that the ERA_40 data that he is showing have problems with the temperature. Third, the theory and scientific literature on Arctic amplification is very clear that the impacts of the ice loss should be and are felt primarily in between the fall and spring, with impacts that carry over into the next melt season. For exanple, Screen and Simmonds (2010), "The Arctic region has long been expected to warm strongly as a result of anthropogenic climate change owing to positive feedbacks in the Arctic climate system." Also, the reason that the warming is less during the short summer (note, not absent as Lindzen claims) is because there are changes in radiative frocing b/c of changes in cloud cover. Again fro Screen and Simmonds, "In the Arctic, this greenhouse effect dominates during autumn, winter and spring (Fig. 3), in agreement with in situ observations. In summer, the shading effect dominates in the lower-latitude regions of the Arctic basin whereas north of 80 N the two competing effects approximately cancel out (Fig. 3c)." So Lindzen's entire premise is wrong. Lindzen is also not providing his audience with a complete picture, nor is he providing any caveats as a good scientists should do. Additonally, research has shown that the length of the melt season is increasing significantly, see here. All these data and facts fly in the face of Lindzen's claims.Lindzen is playing games and doing his best to mislead people-- sadly that seems quite easy to do.
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  27. jzk - he didn't ignore the ice melt, but he sure did do his damndest to make it look small (Figure 2 in the post above).
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  28. 75, jzk, "His conclusion that because summer radiative forcing doesn't seem to be changing CO2 must not be a factor is.." ... utterly ridiculous, and you've bought it hook, line and sinker. What do you think is melting Arctic ice, and extending the melt season, if not increased temperatures? What is it, ice gremlins? That's the cherry pick... choose the statistic that appears, on the surface, to support the position you want people to select, and ignore the obvious, which is that it can't possibly be true. First... CO2 / GHG can be a factor if part of that influence is to raise spring, fall and winter temperatures and limit ice recovery as far as depth, not extent. This actually makes a lot of sense, because the thing about the Arctic in the summer is the length of the day and therefore the amount of direct solar radiation. In that situation, the importance of the GHG effect is diminished. Switch that to the long winter, and low incidence spring and fall, and suddenly GHGs become important. Of course, Lindzen knows that, even if you don't. Second... as explained, summer temperatures can appear more normal than otherwise because a whole lot of that energy is going into melting ice instead of raising surface temperatures. It takes 80 times as much energy to melt one gram of ice as it takes to raise 1 gram of water 1˚C. Third... as Albatross pointed out, what temperatures are really being measured and considered? We don't have good coverage of the Arctic, so you can't even really say that what he's saying is true. The bottom line... Arctic ice is melting in an alarming fashion, so I don't need a thermometer to tell me that the Arctic is warming, and anyone like Lindzen who is sticking a thermometer in your face and crowing "see, see, ignore that CO2 stuff, it's nonsense" is obscenely manipulating you.
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  29. Sphaerica@78, I said it was subject to debate. The point is that Arctic ice has experienced great variability including having about half of today's ice 6500 years ago. What caused it then?
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    [DB] "including having about half of today's ice 6500 years ago"

    Unsupported assertion; citation needed.  Also needed: context as to why this is pertinent to the OP.

  30. 6500BP is within Holecene Climatic Optimum, 4deg warmer in Arctic than today. This is consistent with (Milankovich) solar forcing. As DB asks, this is relevant to OP in what way?
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  31. jzk @79 the summer insolation in the Arctic was much greater (up to 8%) 11 to 6 thousand years ago than it is now. That would have resulted in a much greater retreat in summer sea ice, only partly compensated by the greater winter sea ice extent due to the lower insolation during the Arctic winter at the same time. Now, if you want to explain the current sea ice melt in the same terms, you only need to find a forcing that increases arctic summer forcing by 20 plus W/m^2 but without effecting global forcing.
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  32. Citation@79, Arctic Ice is very variable.
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    Response: [DB] You have failed to show how Funder et al is on-topic and germane to the OP.
  33. 82, jzk,
    Arctic Ice is very variable.
    An unsupported and vacuous interpretation of the science. Go back and read the link you provided, understand it and apply it coherently (with logic) to the problem at hand. BTW, this is yet another cherry pick... very Lindzenesque of you. Find something that when viewed uncritically would seem to support your position and distract from the truth, and then stick with that and ignore all of the other evidence. Hint: consider the information provided for you (and also included in the article to which you linked) concerning what was different about the environment then (the HTM) versus now. You might also stop to think how quickly the environment you describe came to pass. Do you think it happened in 30 to 50 years, like we're doing now? You throw out statements like "Arctic Ice is very variable" as if this is just an ongoing condition, and any day the Arctic ice could start to melt away, just on a whim, because it's, you know, variable. Let's go, jzk, get up to speed. Your nonsense fools no one, and neither does Lindzen's.
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  34. jzk#82: There's a bit of truth to that. A better way to put it is Arctic ice is way more variable - in the down direction - than it used to be.
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  35. Well Sphaerica@83, (-snipIt is very difficult to have a conversation when your posts keep getting deleted. I quoted from Funder as to some of the causes of arctic ice variability, which was directly on point, but it got deleted. It is especially on point because Lindzen mentioned it in his talk. Yet, any old post from a AGW believer will stand. Not a very scientific discussion going on here. I could fairly critique someone on either side of my beliefs, but that doesn't seem to happen here. The bottom line is that Arctic Ice variability is way more complicated than CO2 forcing or Milankovitch factor forcing. And yes, I think that the rate of climate change that we are experiencing now has happened many times in the past.-)
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    [DB] Your comments were moderated due to a failure on your part to establish relevancy to the OP of this post.  If you wish to continue your line of reasoning, replete with sources, far more relevant threads exist here at SkS than this one (use the Search function in the upper left of every page here).

    Before commenting again, please familiarize yourself with this site's Comments Policy & ensure future comments comply with it.  Thank you.

    Moderation complaints and off-topic comments snipped.

  36. A very detailed critique of Lindzen's Feb 22nd London lecture has now been published. The authors are B. Hoskins; J. Mitchel; T. Palmer; K. Shine & E. Wolff. It's well worth a read. The conclusion is interesting:
    "A pervasive aspect of RSL’s presentation was the conflation of uncertainty with ignorance; in his view, because we are uncertain about some aspect, we therefore know nothing about it and any estimate of it is mere guesswork. In this way we believe RSL does a disservice to the scientific method, which seeks to develop understanding in the face of inevitable uncertainties in our knowledge of the world in which we live. The scientific method has served society well for many hundreds of years, and we see no reason to doubt its validity for trying to quantify the risk of climate change and its impacts on society this century. On this basis we reassert that there is a substantial risk of human-induced climate change considerably larger than 1oC in global average this century and beyond. There is nothing in RSL’s talk to cast doubt on the existence of this risk. It is up to policy makers, not scientists, to decide whether governments should take concerted mitigating action to try to reduce this risk."
    Let's hope all the attendees are sent a copy!
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  37. Thanks John Russell, some very good points in that critique.
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  38. Comment on the 5 scientists' critique on Carbon Brief, which seems to have attracted some major league contrarians in defence of Lindzen -- including Monckton.
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