Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The American Physical Society Throws Down



One of the joys about having a publishing or public relations office is that news is not judgement, indeed to believe Andy Revkin, that would be evil issue advocacy.  The APS AIP (APS is a majore part of AIP) publishing office just threw down for Steve Koonin (yes, John M, Eli has WebCited, but comments can be left at the AIP APS)
In January, when Steven E. Koonin welcomed participants to the Climate Change Statement Review Workshop that he was chairing for the American Physical Society, he made a point of acknowledging “experts who credibly take significant issue with several aspects of the consensus picture.” Participating, and fitting that description, were climate scientists Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, and John Christy. Now Koonin has published a high-visibility commentary in the Wall Street Journal under the headline “Climate science is not settled.” In the paper version, the editors italicized the word not.
Ben Santer, Isaac Held and William Collins have now been officially declared chopped liver.
It can be added that Koonin has a long past in investigating and pronouncing on physics questions of special public importance. A quarter century ago, the article“Physicists debunk claim of a new kind of fusion” included this: “Dr. Steven E. Koonin of Caltech called the Utah report a result of ‘the incompetence and delusion of Pons and Fleischmann.’ The audience of scientists sat in stunned silence for a moment before bursting into applause.”. . .

Koonin’s 2000-word WSJ commentary dominates the front page of the Saturday Review section, with a jump to an interior page. The editors signposted it in several ways. The subhead says, “Climate change is real and affected by human activity, writes a former top science official of the Obama administration. But we are very far from having the knowledge needed to make good policy.” A call-out line in boldface on the front page says, “Our best climate models still fail to explain the actual climate data.” Another, after the jump to p. C2, says, “The discussion should not be about ‘denying’ or ‘believing’ the science.” A photo caption on the jump page says, in part, “Today’s best estimate of climate sensitivity is no more certain than it was 30 years ago.” A caption on the front page says, “While Arctic ice has been shrinking, Antarctic sea ice is at a record high.” (Although that photo plainly shows only the extraction of an ice-core sample, the caption adds, “Above, scientists measure the sea level in Antarctica.”)
Now Eli, Eli wonders who wrote this press release.  Not really, but implausible deniability is always useful.  Suspicions are that something wonderful will come from NYU

UPDATE:  It turns out that the author of this piece has a track record.  In the comments, Pinko Punko answers Eli's question.
I'd like to note that the author of the piece, Steven T. Corneliussen, also authored this nice write-up of the National Review attacking Neil deGrasse Tyson. It includes some nice notes about the Discovery Institute and Ann Coulter and reports these opinions as if they were just news. Not clear why this was deemed newsworthy to the Physics community. See how oddly it reads.
Denunciations from Roger Jr. and Andy of such obvious issue advocacy are a bit late tody

152 comments:

Magma said...

A couple of comments: AIP is the publishing and services arm of nine other societies in addition to the APS.

And "threw down on Steve Koonin" would mean to challenge or fight him. Given the long uncritical excerpts from Koonin's commentary plus the flattering description of Koonin, stating that the AIP "doubled down on Steve Koonin['s commentary]" might be more accurate.

However this may overstate the matter. It is, after all, a daily edition of Physics Today and it's likely that the author takes physics news filler where he can get it.

In the bigger picture, if the APS isn't able to assemble a qualified small subcommittee tasked with hearing from relevant witnesses and making a science-based recommendation on updating the society's climate change position statement, then maybe it isn't qualified to issue such position statements in the first place. It is hardly possible to imagine, say, the AGU going through such a fiasco of a process.

J Bowers said...

"* The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided."

10,885 peer reviewed papers published in 2013, and two reject AGW. Did Lindzen, Christy and Curry spike Koonin's coffee?

Hank Roberts said...

Who is this guy?

Could an NPR editor therefore argue that, whatever the science and whatever the RealClimate scientists may say, public realities manifestly require balance from journalists?

Would such an editor accept RealClimate's comparison from seven years ago, likening the assertions of flat-earthers to those of Discovery's Youngkin, the British documentary, and Heartland's Taylor?

---
Steven T. Corneliussen, a media analyst for the American Institute of Physics, monitors three national newspapers, the weeklies Nature and Science, and occasionally other publications. He has published op-eds in the Washington Post and other newspapers, has written for NASA's history program, and is a science writer at a particle-accelerator laboratory.

Physics Today Online , (March 2013) ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/PT.4.2423
+

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

One would have thought that they would have backed away from this like one does a load of manure.

Apparently the APS does not regard it's scientific reputation highly.

Lindzen, Christy and Curry.

The Three Stooges find a friend.

Pinko Punko said...

I'd like to note that the author of the piece, Steven T. Corneliussen, also authored this nice write-up of the National Review attacking Neil deGrasse Tyson. It includes some nice notes about the Discovery Institute and Ann Coulter and reports these opinions as if they were just news. Not clear why this was deemed newsworthy to the Physics community. See how oddly it reads.

EliRabett said...

Changed it to threw down FOR Steve Koonin. Oh well. Corneliussen appears to be quite interesting.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

His Google+ page is pretty revealing. Scary, but revealing.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Oops, forget that, it can't possibly be the same Steve.

Magma said...

I don't know. I didn't care for this piece, but to be fair to Physics Today and Corneliussen a look through more of the Science and the Media articles is probably warranted before drawing any conclusions.

It may be that Corneliussen's mandate is to cover this topic, warts and all, in a disinterested manner.

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/science-and-the-media

Unknown said...

As Carl Sagan said, "extraordinary claims call for extraordinary evidence". Anyone who claims that modern anthropogenic global warming isn't happening better have a good argument. Merely saying "I just don't believe it" is not a good argument.

Want an analogy from astronomy/astrophysics? Here's a physics professor who claims that black holes don't exist. Many decades ago, that was a reasonable position, but not any more.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Here is one from February :

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.5.8034

I still can't make sense of the google+ page, nor can I get to the end of it. It's sprinkled with strong opinions and libertarian ideology, and oddly enough, some actual science stuff. I can't quite connect it to someone who writes about spectroscopy laboratories.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the American Chemical Society, and a physical chemist, I have this to say to the APS's inability to draft a reasonable position statement via expertise: HA-HA!

Rib Smokin' Bunny

Fernando Leanme said...

J Bowers wrote

"10,885 peer reviewed papers published in 2013, and two reject AGW"

This doesn´t mean the science is settled.

BBD said...

Fernando

This doesn´t mean the science is settled.

Enough with that strawman, please.

Or people are going to get impatient with your cheap rhetoric and tempers will fray. You will be perceived as nothing more than a troll.

The difference between "we know enough" and the silly claim that "the (any) science is settled" is abundantly obvious to everybody else.

Jonathan Gilligan said...

Much more so than climate change, we could write that "Terrorism is real and affected by ISIL. But we are very far from having the knowledge needed to make good policy."

We could also write that "Federal budget deficits are real and affected by Congress. But we are very far from having the knowledge needed to make good policy."

After all, climate models, as bad as they are, have far superior predictive power to macroeconomic models or political scientists' models of conflict.

But somehow I doubt we would ever see WSJ publishing either of those op-eds.

J Bowers said...

More than settled enough for policy purposes. Unless you're an anarchist. Perhaps anarchocapitalist.

Anonymous said...

2012 US annual average temps were on the order of 2C above average.

Yet GDP was higher, longevity and most measures of well being continued increasing.

Hiding behind the co2 leads to warming is the reality that the small warming is irrelevant.

I'll be back later with fresh panties, because you girls seem to have wee-weed in yours.


Eunice

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

GDP was higher, longevity and most measures of well being continued increasing.

Well that should just be able to go on forever then, since it's all propped up by carbon and new estimates include 12 billion people on the planet in the near future.

Do your delusions have no bounds? Or do you just artificially cut them off at the year 2050?

Oh, and love the immature jokes!

Hank Roberts said...

This letters-to-the-editor exchange has multiple comments by a Steven T. Corneliussen -- sounds much like the same person from his self description:

http://hamptonroads.com/2012/04/repeating-history-science-class

Oddly, the point of view there seems to oppose the very sort of writing reported under his name at the AIP.

----excerpts follow-----
(he's exchanging comments with a writer named Roberts -- no relation to me)
-----

About those ad hominem attacks
Submitted by Steven T Corneliussen, Poquoson, VA on Wed, 04/18/2012 at 1:14 pm.

... in the recent climate skirmishing in the Wall Street Journal (http://www.physicstoday.org/daily_edition/science_and_the_media/em_wall_street_journal_em_presses_to_have_climate_change_seen_as_an_open_scientific_question), sixteen mostly nonclimatologist climate skeptics accused consensus proponents of Lysenkoism .... My own sense, as someone who writes about this controversy for a living, is that both sides can be plenty nasty.

-----
Submitted by Steven T Corneliussen, Poquoson, VA on Wed, 04/18/2012 at 9:23 pm.

... "even if 100% of scientists were convinced that man-made global warming is occurring," there could be no "peer-reviewed literature to support a scientific consensus on what to do about it," since what to do about it is not a question for science to decide. On that, scientists can only assist by providing information. In my view, most of the trouble with this entire technocivic issue stems from conflation of climate science with climate policy.

---------
But is that what the editors said about Heartland and evolution?
Submitted by Steven T Corneliussen, Poquoson, VA on Wed, 04/18/2012 at 1:00 pm.

Dr. Tabor wrote, "Show me your evidence Heartland has any such intent." Forgive me, Dr. Tabor, but I don't read the Pilot's editorial to say that Heartland itself will generate bogus curricula on evolution and cloning. The wording appears to me only to predict that the Heartland example will be followed, whether or not by Heartland.

-------
False: "no way to get the information" and "technical writer"
Submitted by Steven T Corneliussen, Poquoson, VA on Thu, 04/19/2012 at 7:35 am.

1. As I've said, if scientists conducting actual science had tried to submit actual science to peer-reviewed journals and if they had been dishonestly and deplorably thwarted, we would obviously know about it. To say that there's "no way to get" such information is to dodge a fundamental question about this whole debate.
2. No, I'm not a "technical writer." That's valuable work, but it's not what I do. I'm a media analyst and advisor for the American Institute of Physics in Washington, and I write the "Science and the Media" column for Physics Today Online -- a science magazine with substantial international circulation. (I'm also semi-retired as a science writer, not a technical writer, from a local organization that is very sensitive about employees even remotely seeming to speak in public for it, but it's named after an American founder.)
3. My sense is that your middle paragraph, characterizing climatology, is overstated or outright wrong. Maybe I'll look into that for next time. I suspect that you are drawing your information from sources professing to be "conservative," but my question for those sources is always this: If so important an institution as science is even half as corrupt and degraded as you charge, wouldn't true conservatives be trying to fix the system?
4. Yes, my own bias is to be influenced by mainstream physics, where I work -- but I do run into key disbelievers in the consensus, and as a nonscientist I don't claim to know the truth myself either way.
-------------------

Hm. My excerpts; see the original for context of course. Seems to me his columns give a lot of attention to what he calls "key disbelievers in the consensus" though.

J Bowers said...

Controversy sells copy.

Pinko Punko said...

If Physics Today only covers climate science from one direction, I think we also have our answer.

Fernando Leanme said...

Bvd, the supposed fact that x papers mentioned anthropogenic global warming doesn't mean the science is settled. The key issue is the transient climate sensitivity. That's not settled to my satisfaction.

The fact that it's not settled to my satisfaction means I wish to move slow and with solid steps. Those who can visualize the broader problem. Try it and you may have more success convincing people. That 97 % baloney is misfiring.

KR said...

This doesn´t mean the science is settled.

Fernando, "Settled science" is an interesting term - primarily coming from 'skeptic' sources, it is in fact a demand for impossible perfection, a move of the goalposts far past what is actually used in practice either for science or policy.

Yes, 0.02% of the publications in 2013 rejected AGW. There are also people claiming that the world is run by reptilian humanoids - but that doesn't mean a sensible person would take such claims seriously.

Any scientific theory can be overturned - but in the absence of some credible evidence it behooves us to act according to the rather huge consensus rather than claiming a few extreme opinions and nutjobs call all of the data into question.

KR said...

Addendum: If the 'skeptic' evidence was credible we would see increasing numbers of scientists convinced by it - rather than the observed decrease in such works, the increase of AGW consensus over time.

J Bowers said...

Unsettled Science

Pinko Punko said...

This is really demoralizing. The physics community might be confused about what is going on.

BBD said...

Fernando

You've been lapping up the nonsense over at JC's which is *dangerous* if you don't understand what Lewis is doing. And I see from your commentary there that you don't.

Paleoclimate variability and observed climate behaviour effectively rule out low sensitivity to radiative perturbation. The range that remains plausible given the evidence is too high for lukewarmerist complacency. Emissions policy is going to be necessary to avert rapid and potentially dangerous warming.

You are going to have to bite the intellectual bullet on this at some point, so it might as well be sooner than later.

BBD said...

Those who can visualize the broader problem. Try it and you may have more success convincing people.

And Fernando, for someone essentially fucking clueless, you can be rather too patronising.

Stop it, please.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Fernando: "The key issue is the transient climate sensitivity. That's not settled to my satisfaction."

Evidently, it is, since you have reached a conclusion that action is unwarranted. But here's something that bothers me, Fernando. Why do you lukewarmers always assume that any uncertainty in climate sensitivity or any other relevant parameter will miraculously support your side of the argument? Are you really so naïve that you can't conceive of this roll of the dice not coming up sixes?

Moreover, there is a whole helluva lot more to this than transient sensitivity. There are also tipping points. For instance, only about half of all carbon emitted by humans has gone into the atmosphere. We know that we won't be as lucky as the temperature rises. What happens when the oceans, etc. become a net source of carbon, rather than a sink? What is your mitigation plan for when that happens? Prayer?

J Bowers said...

"This doesn´t mean the science is settled."

Forgot to mention that's a whopper of a strawman fallacy. No surprise there, though.

Hank Roberts said...

Hmph. These guys should at least read
A Skeptics Guide to Climate Change - Berkeley Earth
static.berkeleyearth.org/pdf/skeptics-guide-to-climate-change.pdf


It's a classic illustration of an observation I recall from the 1960s about civil rights and other public health activities -- that those in power will oppose the changes needed for a long time, then eventually move to the front and claim they are ready to lead.

And usually they succeed in taking over.
Sheepish, but that's how it goes.

Chris G said...

So I read Corneliussen's piece on the AIP website - http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.5.8071

The last comment is from 'NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr'. He (or she) writes:

"Show me one model--just one, Dr. Koonin that does as well as the main models and does not predict significant warming in coming years. Science denialists like you have produced bupkes when it comes to climate models--now why would that be?"

I've had that thought myself. Are there any models with even a minimal record of success that predict everything is going to be just fine? Seriously, have they got anything?

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Does anyone here besides myself care to speculate on any possible relationship between Steven T. Corneliussen the occasional science op-editor for Physics Today and Steven Corneliussen the highly prolific and apparently insane and opinionated rabid libertarian nutjob and automobile aficionado that exists over at his google+ page? Is this a younger scary version of Steven Corneliussen, or some other guy?


Hank Roberts said...

Way too many of them to guess who's who:
https://www.google.com/search?q=Steven+Corneliussen

Click "Image" search for a good time.

Hank Roberts said...

Although if you narrow the search with physics climate politics, you get better results, among them this mention of another Physics Today article by Steven T. Corneliussen:

http://noelturnbull.com/blog/the-production-of-ignorance/

which says in part:
----excerpt follows-----

Climate scientists need to set the record straight: There is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is happening, was written by Edward Maibach, Teresa Myers and Anthony Leiserowitz. It can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000226/pdf Among other things it says: “The pervasiveness of this misperception is not an accident. Rather, it is the result of a disinformation campaign by individuals and organizations in the U.S. – and increasingly in other nations around the world (Norgaard, 2006; Dunlap & McCright, 2011) – who oppose government action to reduce carbon emissions (e.g., Oreskes & Conway, 2010). ...

About the same time the blog got the paper the blog’s friend John Spitzer sent a link to a Physics Today article which discusses the work of Stanford University’s Robert Proctor, a professor of the history of science, on ‘agnotology’ or how ignorance gets produced. http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.5.8040

The article, by Steven T. Corneliussen, explains that ‘agnotology’ is “a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance.” The article ranges over taxpayer funds for schools which teach the Earth is less than 10,000 years old and Adam and Eve shared the world with the dinosaurs (happens in Australia too); the role of the Wall Street Journal in producing ignorance (also happens here from the same media company); the tobacco industry; and, climate change denialism ....

---- end excerpt -----

Pinko Punko said...

I don't think there is any need to dig around this person's life. Seeing the subjects covered maybe or may not relate to any personal views. I would suggest that the decisions to cover some aspects of climate debate and not others indicates the reason why the current article was put out. That is enough for me.

Magma said...

@ Thomas Lee Elifritz

They are different people, and a name seems to be the only thing they have in common. The Physics Today writer is a Virginia-based former naval officer and freelance science writer with degrees in English. The other is an auto parts worker in Michigan.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Ok, I was just trying to rationalize how a person who eight years ago was making seemingly rational posts on RealClimate is now pimping Lindzen, Christy and Curry, et al, on the editorial pages of Physics Today, in a faux neutral voice. My working hypothesis was a libertarian epiphany, but that doesn't seem to be the case. This may be a case of conservative regrets. And yes, I do have a right to look at him since he's thrown his hat into the ring in a fairly dramatic and public manner.

Russell Seitz said...

Agonotology is all to often self referential.

Fernando Leanme said...

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Fernando: "The key issue is the transient climate sensitivity. That's not settled to my satisfaction."

Ray: "Evidently, it is, since you have reached a conclusion that action is unwarranted."

Fernando: Where did you read I had reached such a conclusion?


Ray: But here's something that bothers me, Fernando. Why do you lukewarmers always assume that any uncertainty in climate sensitivity or any other relevant parameter will miraculously support your side of the argument?

Fernando: I don´t believe in miracles. I´m as atheist as they come. Any reference to deities or supernatural beings is purely a device to make believers feel comfortable.

Ray: Are you really so naïve that you can't conceive of this roll of the dice not coming up sixes?

Fernando: No, I´m not naive. I also consider the other side of universe of possibilities, which apparently some of you ignore: your proposed actions are a near certaintity to wreck the world economy and lead to mass starvation, war, and the emergence of mutants who eat human flesh.

BBD said...

your proposed actions are a near certaintity to wreck the world economy and lead to mass starvation, war

This is banal trolling, Fernando. And it's argument by assertion so it doesn't merit a response.

Follow your own advice: advance serious arguments.

You will get no traction here with bog-standard denier rubbish like this.

Jason said...

"The key issue is the transient climate sensitivity. That's not settled to my satisfaction."

No it isn't the key issue. In part because we're talking specifically about 'settled science' in the sense that politicians and pundits talk about settled science: ie basic broad brush stuff like CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it'll get hotter and that there's a range of potential consequences.

And then it also isn't the key issue beyond the context here and into actual policy making just because of practicality and the real world and the fact that the clock is ticking.

Imagine driving along, happily reading the road ahead when an engine fault fills the cabin with smog. Now we can't see the road ahead.

Fretting about whether you might have a big crash or a little crash or crash to the left or to right really isn't the point - and pontificating about it just isn't useful. We've everything we need to know that crashes happen and that they can be in the range of big and small. And we also know we're not likely to develop amazing predictive powers to meet 'your satisfaction' (what ever that is, if I were a cynic I'd bet it shifts to let it mean what the hell you want it to mean) in a timely fashion.

Uncertainty is not a safety blanket.

Meanwhile the fact that a fault has filled the cabin with smog such that we can't safely read the road ahead still needs addressing.

I also consider the other side of universe of possibilities, which apparently some of you ignore: your proposed actions are a near certaintity to wreck the world economy and lead to mass starvation, war, and the emergence of mutants who eat human flesh

No they won't. It's good to consider the consequences of fixing your engine fault - you're right in that regard. But your interpretation is utter fantasy. A weird, bizarre, perverse fantasy. There's no shortage of deep places to sequester CO2, no shortage of atoms to fizz, nor gusts of wind to harvest or materials to build solar panels with. We have good information about how much energy we need, where we need it and at what price.

Get a grip.

Anonymous said...



"mutants who eat human flesh"?

They are called "capitalists"

J Bowers said...

"Fernando: No, I´m not naive. I also consider the other side of universe of possibilities, which apparently some of you ignore"

Nope. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. If you want to gamble, I suggest you find your own civilisation to gamble with. You could ask Judy and Tony to join you.

Anonymous said...


"In 2004, Koonin joined BP plc serving as their Chief Scientist where he was responsible for guiding the company’s long-range technology strategy, particularly in alternative and renewable energy sources." -- from wiki

Don't know about the renewable end of things, but one of BP's long range technology strategies is deep water drilling.

How has that worked out?

And if alternative means "nuclear" then that may not be working out so well either "after" the Fukushima disaster (which is still going on, BTW, though it will certainly get no mention at Ohemen Run)

Jeffrey Davis said...

"The key issue is the transient climate sensitivity. That's not settled to my satisfaction. "

Oh, have a bit of wit. The science must wait on Fernando's satisfaction.

Russell Seitz said...

Do you know anybody who's satisfied with the several sigma spread on CO2 doubling sensitivity?

The values from last 50 or so published estimates aren't exactly converging.

Hank Roberts said...

>

Russell, is there a serious discussion of this somewhere? If not, I'd sure like to see that.

As I understand it, we don't expect to make one single prediction for what climate sensitivity will turn out to be. Yes, we'll get one single number in the real world, when the real world runs through the 'calculation' and every one of the many variables gets nailed down.

But beforehand -- when every player in nature has a handful of cards and we can't see what most of the cards are -- the many different numbers represent speculation, best poker-player guesses -- about what will get thrown down on the table when it happens.

I'm pretty satisfied with the spread:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/Frequency_distribution_of_climate_sensitivity%2C_based_on_model_simulations_%28NASA%29.png

That ain't bad. Bad would be a much wider spread, more likelihood of a much longer tail toward the high end.

I mean, this isn't poker. In poker you know exactly how many cards there are, and how many of each value (except for cards up someone's sleeve).

This is more like poker played with an unknown number of hidden players, using somewhat more than a single deck of cards, and not everyone is playing with the same deck.

The planet is a big analog computer.
It's going to crunch the numbers and tell us its sensitivity to doubling CO2 -- this one time, with these particular variations.

But -- we wouldn't get the same result from a hundred identical planets started with the exact same initial conditions.

-----
That's an amateur reader's take on it, in words, analogy/doggerel, lacking math.
I anticipate correction. Hoping it generates a topic somewhere that this can be clarified.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I'm satisfied atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration went from preindustrial values of 280 ppm to 400 ppm in 150 years and is now rising at roughly 3 ppm/year.

I'm pretty sure it's a greenhouse gas and that spike in atmospheric concentration produces a top of the atmosphere global planetary energy imbalance of roughly 0.5 Watts per square meter or more.

How that energy is distributed across thermal sinks doesn't really concern me that much as I know what the result of that is and will be.

Deny much, Russell?

BBD said...

Russell Seitz

The values from last 50 or so published estimates aren't exactly converging.

Would it perhaps be more accurate to say that the best estimate of ECS as ~3C/2xCO2 has proven to be durable?

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Fernando: "your proposed actions are a near certaintity to wreck the world economy and lead to mass starvation, war, and the emergence of mutants who eat human flesh."

Well, now there's a calm, considered statement. All that's missing is the "Oooga-Booga" on the end.

Pray, Fernando, what proposals have I made that would wreck the global economy? Again, we are talking about the need to develop an entirely new energy and transportation infrastructure. Don't you think that might involve some significant profit for some businesses and individuals? Don't you think that would have been easier if we'd started the process when the evidence of the climate change threat was merely overwhelming--say, back in the mid-90s? Don't you think it's going to be a whole helluva lot harder if we wait another 20 years?

You keep rolling snake-eyes.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Russell,
The sensitivity situation has become a lot more muddled in the last decade. Last I looked, the distribution was actually bimodal, with one mode centered around 1.8 degrees C per doubling and the other aroung 3.4 degrees C per doubling. So, the question is why the bimodality? One thing I noticed is that the estimates in the lower mode tend to assume a rapid equilibration time for the climate--that is, that the global temperature settles to a new equilibrium value within a few years after an energy perturbation. Those in the higher mode mostly assume a longer equilibration time.

So, the question is--which equilibration time is more reasonable? I would say that a short equilibration is not consistent with what we know about the climate system. In particular, we know that a lot of the energy is flowing into the deep oceans--that doesn't raise the surface temperature, which is the only way outgoing radiation is increased and equilibrium restored.

So, rather than cause for relief, I would argue that this is actually arguing for a slightly higher climate sensitivity

KR said...

Fernando: flesh eating mutants?!?

I find the 'skeptic' strawman of CAGW (with the added 'catastrophic') juxtaposed with the supposed destruction of the world economy if we move to renewable energy sources - to be, well, rather contradictory. But we hear it all the time.

Fernando, there is no reason to expect non-fossil energy to destroy economies. You might as well have argued that transitioning from whale oil to fossil fuel would cause world-wide economic chaos, when what actually happened is that economies boomed with the tiny exception of dedicated whale-oil producers.

Wind power is now cheaper than coal/oil, solar is fast approaching that level, and public health benefits _alone_ pay transition costs for renewables several times over (not counting reduced carbon emissions, or the potential savings in agriculture, fisheries, and reductions in extreme weather events). Your economic scarecrow has no straw, no content.

Anonymous said...

Wind power is now cheaper than coal/oil, solar is fast approaching that level, and public health benefits _alone_ pay transition costs for renewables several times over (not counting reduced carbon emissions, or the potential savings in agriculture, fisheries, and reductions in extreme weather events). Your economic scarecrow has no straw, no content.

I'm not sure the total costs are, especially when you add storage or down time, but assuming they are, then policy isn't necessary, because the market will move much faster than government to the lowest cost options.

Anonymous said...


I find the 'skeptic' strawman of CAGW (with the added 'catastrophic') juxtaposed with the supposed destruction of the world economy if we move to renewable energy sources - to be, well, rather contradictory. But we hear it all the time.


I tend to agree - people make up 'scary stories' to try and validate their beliefs.

Government action would be unnecessary and distorting, but,
we already tolerate a lot of distortion and the economic principles
of the theory of rational expectations and of regulatory capture still pertain.

turboblocke said...

...when you add storage or down time...

I may be doing you a misservice, but that's a pair of denier dog whistles that you have there. Could you please explain what you mean?

Anonymous said...

turbo - fossil fuels have an advantage that they are stored energy - the big coal piles so electricity can be generated as needed.

Solar and wind are, of course, variable and there is additional cost to store ( eventually ) or the cost of some other energy to keep the lights on. Those costs are hidden.

Thermal solar to store heat in molten salts seems like a good idea ( unforseens? downsides? ). But not as of today available.

Solar can and probably will provide all the energy we need. But we'll need storage, and something other than huge volumes of batteries everywhere.

wheelism said...

Look! Up in the sky!

It's Adaptation!
It's Delay!
It's...Adam Smith's Invisible Hand!

J Bowers said...

Fossil fuels, of course, add a huge burden on taxpayers through increased healthcare and environmental cleanup costs not covered by the fossil fuel industry. Those costs are hidden by 18th Century laissezfaire throwbacks.

Anonymous said...

Thermal solar to store heat in molten salts seems like a good idea ( unforseens? downsides? ). But not as of today available.

If it's not available, what's this?

KR said...

As J Bowers noted, fossil fuels have huge costs hidden by failure to account for external impacts, for using the atmosphere as a sewer.

Under large-scale use of wind/solar storage costs _decrease_, as distributed sites experience fewer system disruptions (Archer et al 2007, Supplying Baseload Power and Reducing Transmission requirements by Interconnecting Wind Farms) - weather patterns won't block all of the generators at the same time, and regional system fossil fuel backups for shortfalls are estimated to be on the range of 2-3% total power; a 40-50x reduction in CO2 emissions.

J Bowers said...

How does up to half a trillion taxpayer bucks a year to pay for added healthcare and envrinomnent cleanup costs from coal alone make fossil fuels financially better than renewables?

Anonymous said...

Thermal solar to store heat in molten salts seems like a good idea ( unforseens? downsides? ). But not as of today available.

Well, it's better but still not without requiring coal ( and the cost of this coal ) for the down time:

"Solana, on the other hand, produces power for an additional six hours after the sun has gone down thanks to its huge molten salt storage tanks."

Anonymous said...

Look! Up in the sky!

It's Adaptation!
It's Delay!
It's...Adam Smith's Invisible Hand!


The point is not to worry about stupid government policy because corporate lawyers can get around those in no time.

That's why GE doesn't pay any tax even though we have the stupid government policy of the highest corporate tax rates on the planet.

Anonymous said...

environmental cleanup costs...

You mean for that carbon dioxide that plants love to photosynthesize into the Hot Cheetos and Little Debbies you're having for dinner tonight?

turboblocke said...

OK, so they were the dog whistles. Most deniers don't know that all forms of generation need back up, google "grid balancing" and check out capacity factors of generators while you're at it. You'll be surprised at how low they are for conventional plant which benefits from fuel at hand. Which brings me to the cost of storage: why is the cost/means of storage for renewables seen as a big deal whilst the high stock piles of coal and the massive tanks of gas and oil plus the billions sunk in exploration totally ignored. Isn't there a couple of dozen trillion dollars tied up in these reserves and the infrastructure to bring them to the point of use to "keep the lights on"? How come that's never seen as a problem with fossil fuels?

Russell Seitz said...

There is no denying that
<a href="http://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2013/04/not-converging-on-zero.html'>the range of published sensitivity estimates from Arrhenius' day to the present is what it is, and what it is not doing is converging- it's still noisy as hell after a century of progress in the field.</a>

Wishing for it to converge on a single uncontroversial value will no more make it do so today than it did 30 (or 50) years ago -- the more complex the system the harder to define its fundamental parameters.

Russell Seitz said...

Here's the unbroken link :

Russell Seitz said...

http://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2013/04/not-converging-on-zero.html


Eli, would you please fix this if you get the chance- Thanks

wheelism said...

YOUR point seems to be that businesses unencumbered by regulations will make sound, responsible decisions as regards the environment. Color me unimpressed.

wheelism said...

(The above was directed at Anonymous, NOT Russell.)

Marion Delgado said...

The insinuation that Koonin somehow led the way debunking the cold fusion nonsense is obviously aimed at very low-information readers. What nonsense. He was only quoted in one article because he was also in Utah. Not because anyone on Earth gives a rat's ass - or ever did - what he thinks on "physics questions of special public importance."

By the way the Pons and Fleischmann results were immediately met with "did they follow all inputs as well as outputs, and for the life of the process?" and when it was shown that they did not, as everyone assumed they did not, people lost interest.

That was mostly a media event, to begin with.

BBD said...

Russel Seitz

Wishing for it to converge on a single uncontroversial value will no more make it do so today than it did 30 (or 50) years ago -- the more complex the system the harder to define its fundamental parameters.

I wasn't aware that the widely-used best estimate of 3C +/-1C / 2xCO2 ECS was considered 'controversial' except in contrarian circles.

Fernando Leanme said...

bbd, here's a sanitized version of your prior comment:

"And Fernando, for someone essentially #!|#%+!! %#>##!!# you can be rather too patronizing ".

Maybe I should remind you my superiority arises from my politeness and gentle manners? It's what I call the minority's burden.

The climate response is a debatable issue. It is being debated. And this is the main thrust of the Koonin oped. Those who try to wave the 97% consensus flag are doing so as a defensive measure. It's a rather weak effort to try to freeze scientific dogma. And if you stay in an echo chamber exchanging pleasantries ahoy then you will be increasingly isolated.

BBD said...

Maybe I should remind you my superiority arises from my politeness and gentle manners?

What 'superiority'? You are clueless and a denialist troll.

The climate response is a debatable issue. It is being debated. And this is the main thrust of the Koonin oped.

What's worse, you are being selective in what you respond to. You prefer to tone troll rather than acknowledge that you are engaging in feigned agnosia. There's a world of difference between knowing enough and pretending not to.

Intellectual dishonesty isn't 'superior', Fernando, it is contemptible.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
What you say with regards to the thrust of Koonin's op-ed would have more merit if he hadn't made so many silly mistakes. Someone writing an op-ed saying "we don't really understand this" while making a bunch of basic mistakes is really just writing an op-ed that says "I don't really understand this".

I probably don't need to explain this further - but I will - but just because a few people with credentials don't understand something, doesn't mean noone understands it.

BBD said...

Since Fernando is being intellectually dishonest, I'll have to repeat the part of the earlier comment that he deliberately did not mention:

Paleoclimate variability and observed climate behaviour effectively rule out low sensitivity to radiative perturbation. The range that remains plausible given the evidence is too high for lukewarmerist complacency. Emissions policy is going to be necessary to avert rapid and potentially dangerous warming.

Fernando Leanme said...

What does low sensitivity to Co content mean to you? Do you think 1.5 degrees C to doubling TCR is completely out of the question?

Heres what I write about these topics....

http://21stcenturysocialcritic.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/burn-baby-burn-co2-atmospheric.html

Calling me intellectually dishonest arises from a lack of exposure to polite society. Have you heard of treatment for finger control? It can help you be more effective to think before you start typing trash. .

Fernando Leanme said...

And then there's physics... Which silly mistakes? Haven't you noticed the gaping hole on your right flank? Right where your liver used to be? Or do you think the Wall Street journal is a nature publishing magazine?

Hank Roberts said...

But, Russell, that range between 2 and 4 that VVattsup charts is -- displayed another way -- this one:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/Frequency_distribution_of_climate_sensitivity%2C_based_on_model_simulations_%28NASA%29.png

That's what we'd expect to see from something with the complexity we have modeled so far.

Me, I'm counting on the coccolithophores to be smarter than us. They were able to handle this problem the last few times.

Sloop said...

Great comment thread.

Fernando: "your proposed actions are a near certainty to wreck the world economy and lead to mass starvation, war, and the emergence of mutants who eat human flesh."

In addition to the very dubious nature of claims of impending economic doom as we proceed with decarbonization, given that there are 800 million chronically malnourished humans, and many more folks without adequate access to sanitation and clean drinking water, I cannot accept the notion that the world economy is anywhere close to a economic state we could judge rationally as successful. I'd even suggest that in a way those on the top (us) *are* consuming human flesh, in the sense that many more human lives must be short, brutish and incredibly menial in order for the rest of us to be able to line up to buy the latest iPhone.

And while I'm at it GDP is a lousy measure of socioeconomic well-being.

Well, maybe the reptilian humanoids will help us out of our collective dilemma. What have we got to lose by asking them for some help?

Aaron said...

Stating that the "science is settled" does not mean the science is correct.

I suggest that the correct science is that AGW is coming faster, and with larger impacts and effects than told in the IPCC reports.

I suggest that convincing evidence is being produced, and more scientists are now accepting accelerated time lines - as in Arctic Sea has diminished faster than projected in AR4, and impacts are greater than projected in IPCC reports for this time frame.

Russell Seitz said...

BBD

You are at liberty to bet on whatever value you please but the IPCC uncertainty range remains 3 C, because it is well and truly uncertain which value will turn out to be right -- after 30 years of further study , progress is far from heuristic

EliRabett said...

Russell, there is a difference between a probability distribution and the most likely value.

While the probability distribution has remained broad, not every value in it is equally likely and that has changed over the years. If nothing else, the asymmetrical shape should tell you something dangerous is there.

Steve Bloom said...

ECS is a model benchmark, Russell, nothing more. Don't mistake it for the real thing.

BBD said...

Russel

In support of the best estimate, have you come across Hansen et al. (2013)?

0.75C per W/m^2 change in forcing may be conservative, even for fast feedback sensitivity. Whatever the case, there seems to be a strong argument for ~3C/2xCO2 as the most likely value for fast-feedback sensitivity (ECS).

As Eli says, pointing to the range while ignoring the evidence for the most likely estimated value is unhelpful.

BBD said...

Russell; sorry.

J Bowers said...

"You mean for that carbon dioxide that plants love to photosynthesize into the Hot Cheetos and Little Debbies you're having for dinner tonight? "

I'm sorry to hear you eat pine cones for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

* Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition. Myers et al (2014)
* Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Inhibits Nitrate Assimilation in Wheat and Arabidopsis. Bloom et al (2010).
* Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2. (Shaw 2007)
* Photosynthetic inhibition after long-term exposure to elevated levels of carbon dioxide.(DeLucia 1985)
* Insects Take A Bigger Bite Out Of Plants In A Higher Carbon Dioxide World.
* Food for Thought: Lower-Than-Expected Crop Yield Stimulation with Rising CO2 Concentrations
* Temperature dependence of growth, development, and photosynthesis in maize under elevated CO2 (PDF)
* Nitrate assimilation in plant shoots depends on photorespiration

J Bowers said...

"even though we have the stupid government policy of the highest corporate tax rates on the planet"

No. Not even close.

Fernando Leanme said...

"And while I'm at it GDP is a lousy measure of socioeconomic well-being. "

I guess we could ignore fundamental economic principles, invest in energy sources with very negative returns, and convince people that everything is fine because we no longer measure GDP. When I consider it, we could use the indicators used by the Venezuelan deputy ministry of people's happiness....

http://rt.com/news/venezuela-ministry-of-happiness-777/

Meanwhile Venezuela's economy goes to hell...


http://21stcenturysocialcritic.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/why-does-ny-times-editorial-criticize.html

BBD said...

Fernando

I know trolling is fun, but why not learn in the process? Do, please, read the Hansen paper linked just above in my response to Russell. If you want to zoom in on fast-feedback sensitivity, see section 5.

And remember, every time you tone-troll me instead of responding to what I say, you publicly double down on your intellectual dishonesty:

Paleoclimate variability and observed climate behaviour effectively rule out low sensitivity to radiative perturbation. The range that remains plausible given the evidence is too high for lukewarmerist complacency. Emissions policy is going to be necessary to avert rapid and potentially dangerous warming.

matt said...

Why are ppl worried about distorting the market (via government action) in regards to CC - a market failure?

Public transport, national defence, highways, preventing monopolies, Bob Loblaw all distort the market.

Assumptions are often the first thing read, and the first thing forgotten

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

Sloop said...

“I guess we could ignore fundamental economic principles, invest in energy sources with very negative returns, and convince people that everything is fine because we no longer measure GDP. When I consider it, we could use the indicators used by the Venezuelan deputy ministry of people's happiness....”

Economics is the scientific study of how humans allocate resource abundance/scarcity.

Just because I criticize the utility of a standard measure of economic throughput for assessing how well we’re doing allocating resources or scarcity among the living, and correspondingly between present and future generations, does not mean I do so on the basis of rejecting free market-based systems of economic production and value allocation.

Criticisms of GDP as a measure of socio-economic well-being or economic development are hardly considered radical by economists of many stripes.

Mr. Leanme, your response is both a flail and a fail.

Anonymous said...

Rabett Run: very long on name calling and very short on science.

Eli must be so proud of all the little Rabetts he has birthed.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

very long on name calling and very short on science.

You're right, your anonymous unpresented invisible science is much more persuasive. I'm convinced.

Anonymous said...

Thomas

based on your comments, name calling seems to be your primary area of expertise.

You must have an advanced degree in that field.

Anonymous said...

"Why are ppl worried about distorting the market (via government action) in regards to CC - a market failure?

Public transport, national defence, highways, preventing monopolies, Bob Loblaw all distort the market."


I agree - gov action distorts the economy.

The difference is, transportation, defense, and anti-trust have benefits.

Preventing imaginary harm is useless ( except in imaginations ).

Further, all the little rules of energy use allow intrusive government to boss people around in arbitrary and capricious manner.

Don't we have enough of a police state without adding the green police?

Anonymous said...

"At 35%, the United States has the highest nominal top corporate tax rate in any of the world's developed economies."

KR said...

"...imaginary harm..." - Seriously? Read some of AR5 WG2, Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, we're seeing costs from climate change and our emissions now, and things will get a lot worse before they can get better.

"Don't we have enough of a police state without adding the green police?" - Ah, that clarifies it, you're a conspiracy theorist...

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

based on your comments

And gosh, here I am reading your comment thinking you were going to enlighten us or at least give us a link to your super secret invisible anonymous astrological climate science. Whenever you're ready.

Fergus Brown said...

As I was warned previously, Fernando has demonstrated himself to be a malicious and dishonest troll here, on my blog, at P3 and the Guardian. I strongly suggest people ignore his inane and pompous trash. He is a timewaster and a denialist.

Anonymous said...

I think I understand now.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll: "I agree - gov action distorts the economy."

No. Government action is PART of the economy

Anonytroll: "Preventing imaginary harm is useless ( except in imaginations )."

So, is the FDA preventing "imaginary harm"? The FAA? When parts of North Carolina were inundated under coal tailings sludge, was that imaginary harm?

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I think that's called freedom of expression, anonymous, and the fact that you are still allowed to comment proves that it does work.

But there is always the process of constitutional amendment available for you to defeat the bill of rights. So do get started because it's a long and arduous process.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I think that's called freedom of expression, anonymous, and the fact that you are still allowed to comment proves that it does work.

But there is always the process of constitutional amendment available for you to defeat the bill of rights. So do get started because it's a long and arduous process.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no, I'm all for freedom of expression, but you can bet 350.org is trying to clamp down on it because of the wonderful true representation of their membership.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

And how do these expressions of freedom change the reality of physics again? I'm still waiting for your presentation of the physics of nutty libertarians.

Sloop said...

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll: "I agree - gov action distorts the economy."

No. Government action is PART of the economy

a_ray is correct IMHO: it's a major theoretical (and empirical) boo-boo to define government action as by definition a 'distortion' of 'the economy'.

Consider for starters the history of development of modern european economies starting with the emergence of Italian renaissance cities (and their governments) in the 1400s, and concurrent urbanization and trade development in other parts of western Europe.

J Bowers said...

Tut tut, let's not be deceptive and quote mine.

"At 35%, the United States has the highest nominal top corporate tax rate in any of the world's developed economies.[1] However, the average corporate tax rate in 2011 dipped to 12.1%, its lowest level since before World War I, largely due to the great recession and a bonus depreciation tax break.[2]"

Hank Roberts said...

Revkin/NYT:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/certainties-uncertainties-and-choices-with-global-warming/

Includes an "open letter written by nine scientists affiliated with the Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making at Carnegie Mellon"

Anyone have the citation for this from that letter?

"... model (based on the work of Judith Lean at the Naval Research Laboratory) that accounts for solar variability, El Niño, volcanic activity, and greenhouse warming indicates that the underlying trend of global warming has accelerated ...."

Russell Seitz said...

EliRabett said...
"Russell, there is a difference between a probability distribution and the most likely value.

While the probability distribution has remained broad, not every value in it is equally likely and that has changed over the years. If nothing else, the asymmetrical shape should tell you something dangerous is there.'

Eli. that's why I titled my post " Not Converging On Zero"

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
Which silly mistakes?
Work this one out. How wrong is he when he says that we'll only have changed the greenhouse effect by 1 - 2% by the mid 21st century? Answers on a postcard.

Anonymous said...

Tut tut, let's not be deceptive and quote mine.

"At 35%, the United States has the highest nominal top corporate tax rate in any of the world's developed economies.[1] However, the average corporate tax rate in 2011 dipped to 12.1%, its lowest level since before World War I, largely due to the great recession and a bonus depreciation tax break.[2]"


Precisely the point I was making.

Even if government comes up with an onerous policy - high marginal rates.

It later comes up with contradictory policy - lots of loopholes.

In one sense, it means don't worry too much, because relieving their own onerous policies is what politicians like to do.

On the other hand, the policies or the reactions to the policies distort things - small companies that don't have huge staffs of lawyers,accountants, and lobbyists are disadvantaged.

Fernando Leanme said...

And then there's physics....

That 2 % sure looks good enough for government work. Here's your clue:

530-400-0,01

If you want me I can drop by for a cup of coffee and chat about the weather.

BBD: I tend to think a full Cenozoic analysis lacks validity because the continents moved around too much. This is a vexing problem. My friends used to tell me they only semi trusted data since Panama closed.

Hank Roberts said...

DFTT

Fernando Leanme said...

Hank Roberts:: I think that times reference mentioning Judith takes into account the high probability that we are supposed to be in a cooling spell but we aren't. You know, it's a combination of weaker sun and the earth orbit shifting the Southern Hemisphere so it absorbs less sunlight and things like that.

The letter they mention is ok. But these guys got skin in this game. For example I tend to think those ocean energy uptake estimates need work (I don't think Balmaseda's re analysis is a full work out because it's missing a couple of nuts and bolts).

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
Try probably at least 2/33 for RCP4.5 and above. You can probably do the math.

BBD said...

FL

BBD: I tend to think a full Cenozoic analysis lacks validity because the continents moved around too much. This is a vexing problem. My friends used to tell me they only semi trusted data since Panama closed.

A handful of openings and closures of ocean gateways can't drive an over-arching ~50Ma cooling trend, only punctuate it.

But 'continents moving around' *can* alter climate over geological time-scales by gradually introducing and removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

From Hansen & Sato (2012)

India was the only land area located far from its current location at the beginning of the Cenozoic. The Indian plate was still south of the Equator, but moving northward at a rate of about 20 cm per year (Kumar et al., 2007), a rapid continental drift rate. The Indian plate moved through the Tethys Ocean, now the Indian Ocean, which had long been the depocenter for carbonate and organic sediments from major world rivers.

The strong global warming trend between 60 and 50 My ago was presumably a consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2, as the Indian plate subducted carbonate-rich ocean crust while traversing the Tethys Ocean (Kent and Muttoni, 2008). The magnitude of the CO2 source continued to increase until India crashed into Asia and began pushing up the Himalaya Mountains and Tibetan Plateau. Emissions from this tectonic source continue even today, but the magnitude of emissions began decreasing after the Indo-Asian collision and as a consequence the planet cooled. The climate variations between 30 and 15 million years ago, when the size of the Antarctic ice sheet fluctuated, may have been due to temporal variations of plate tectonics and outgassing rates (Patriat et al., 2008). Although many mechanisms probably contributed to climate change through the Cenozoic Era, it is clear that CO2 change was the dominant cause of the early warming and the subsequent long-term cooling trend.


Fernando Leanme said...

And then there's physics... I use my own CO2 concentration estimate. It does have a flaw, I ignored cement plants.

I don't like the IPCC RCPs. They need much better workflows.

In any case the old man can generate a 2% figure using the numbers I gave you. So now you are down in the trenches debating CO2 concentration pathways. Do you know what I think? They swished you a three pointer.

Meanwhile Obama is picking a war with Russia and bombing Arabs....is anything new in this world anymore?

Fernando Leanme said...

Eli, what's a stretched exponential?

BBD: it's not only opening and closing a few gates. It's the width if the ocean and the way the Antarctic circumpolar zingy worked.

Also I don't understand the idea behind the supposed subduction of a carbonate basin. Thick carbonates don't subduct, they scrape and form mountains. I should know, I live on the result of the collision between Africa and Europe. Do they mean the pelagic carbonates? Or do they think India was munching something like the Bahamas?

BBD said...

FL

BBD: it's not only opening and closing a few gates. It's the width if the ocean and the way the Antarctic circumpolar zingy worked.

The opening of the Drake Passage and the Tasmanian Passage allowed the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which thermally isolated Antarctica ~34Ma.

Substantially increased Antarctic glaciation increased albedo and there's a big step down toward the Icehouse at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition.

But it took another 30Ma before the onset of the Pliocene NH glaciations.

Discrete ocean gateway openings and closures punctuate but cannot drive 50Ma of general cooling.

For that, you need a general forcing change.

What where the major forcing changes during the Cenozoic?

Susan Anderson said...

Well, now you've got Andy Revkin, as usual being mildly ambiguous but off base. Any people who like to stick their necks out can go over there, and please ignore wmar, KurtS, Kip, Adrian O and the other dominators over there, or you'll waste an awful lot of time.
dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/certainties-uncertainties-and-choices-with-global-warming/

BBD said...

Also I don't understand the idea behind the supposed subduction of a carbonate basin. Thick carbonates don't subduct, they scrape and form mountains. I should know, I live on the result of the collision between Africa and Europe.

You are mistaken.

Russell Seitz said...

BBD, it is hazardous to generalize about tectonics- the Indian Plate is subducting, but the top of Everest is marine limestone, and the fastest rising mountains in this hemisphere are the carbonate dominated Sierra de las Minas

BBD said...

Russell

Presumably you aren't disputing that subduction and weathering modulate atmospheric CO2 levels over geological timescales?

I think we might be at cross-purposes?

Russell Seitz said...

BBD
Point taken- Karst happens , and without fast tropical weathering, many Caribbean coast ranges would look more like the Dolomites

J Bowers said...

"small companies that don't have huge staffs of lawyers,accountants, and lobbyists are disadvantaged."

Not in this case. The tax break (bonus depreciation) that's thought to have mainly led to the low real rate accelerates write off of investment in industrial equipment, manufacturing plant and computers. No intricate accounting or lobbying required outside of normal deductions.

EliRabett said...

Here you go Fernando

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
So now you are down in the trenches debating CO2 concentration pathways.
It seems that you can't do the maths. The 2/33 refers to the rise in temperature relative to the greenhouse effect. For RCP4.5 and above there is a good chance of 2 degrees or more by mid-century. For completeness, 2/33 is 6%, not 1 - 2%, and it could be much higher, depending on our actual emission pathway. Therefore 1-2% by mid-century is wrong by at least a factor of 3.

This is the point where you go : "I see, so Koonin was wrong. Thanks." I won't hold my breath.

Chris_Winter said...

Anonymous: Preventing imaginary harm is useless ( except in imaginations ).

Further, all the little rules of energy use allow intrusive government to boss people around in arbitrary and capricious manner.

Don't we have enough of a police state without adding the green police?


You seem bent on preventing the imaginary economic disaster you think would be caused by cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions.

WRT to the genuine harm resulting from a police state, where were you when BP (aided by the government at times) was preventing news reporters and local citizens from viewing the results of its well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico?

Anonymous said...

ATTP,

2 degrees by mid century implies a 4K per century rate.

For the satellite era, observations are roughly a third of that rate.

And Then There Are Observations
What possible justification would you have for imagining a three fold acceleration?

Particularly when the rate of annual forcing growth has remained nearly constant for the last two decades?

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Your carbon sinks will saturate. Your thermal buffers will expire on slightly longer timescales. So you're good, you've got time, except for the rough ride associated with all the bad side effects, like war, strife, famine, etc., a long list I don't feel like repeating here. Your descendents won't be as lucky as you though.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Anonymous,
Well, our future warming depends on our future emission pathway, but we're currently on track to double anthropogenic forcings by mid-century. Given we've had around 0.9 degrees of warming so far, another degree by mid-century is not implausible. You could, of course, look at the different projections and see the likelihoods for yourself.

Fernando Leanme said...

Eli, Eli...sometimes you remind me of the runaway train with the Oscar winners aboard. I was showing Andy how it's possible to arrive at the 2 % figure. The Wall Street Journal isn't a science journal, right? Koonin delivered a message backed by his math. Whether you like the results or not is a different matter.

Do like I do, get off the train and learn to ride a hovercraft? This allows you a much wider understanding of human nature.

For example, I thought Obama's 97 % of scientists think global warming is dangerous was a slick political move. It was wrong, and I suspect the democrats will lose seats in November, although I can't put my finger on the exact reason why.

When I read Obama's statement it inspired me to write my spoof paper connecting the "f factor" to tornado frequency. Did you like it? Or are you bent over shoveling coal in your runaway train's boiler? Humor can help you relax, and understand humanity, my friend.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
I was showing Andy how it's possible to arrive at the 2 % figure.
No you weren't. Given that 0.9/33 is already 2.7%. We also still have a planetary energy imbalance, so the forcing ratio would be greater than 2.7%. The only way to get to 1 - 2% by mid-century is to have cooling which if we continue to increase our emissions and don't have an asteroid strike or major volcanic activity, is physically implausible.

J Bowers said...

"Do like I do, get off the train and learn to ride a hovercraft? This allows you a much wider understanding of human nature."

Now I get it. Pretentious. Finally.

Fernando Leanme said...

Andy, I thought it would be clear?

Take the natural log of 400 over 0,01...

then take the natural log of 530 over 400....

Divide one by the other. I think you can figure out what he did now that I gave you a hint.

Fernando Leanme said...

Bowers, the only pretense the idea conveys is that we shouldn´t be too married to a specific dogma, political belief, or credence because in time it´s likely we´ll find out we are wrong.

Let me see if I can give you a mental image:

Most of us find ourselves walking down a winding alley, surrounded by very tall walls. These walls make it impossible to get a glimpse of what lies outside our "universe". Once in a while there´s a breach in the wall, but most of us refuse to peek outside. Why? Because we can´t even accept the walls exist. ANY information we get which shows those walls confine the way we think is rejected. What I try to do is get on top of the wall, and look around.

Do you think visit here to troll you like many of you think? Could it be because I like to sit on top of the wall? In other words, I´m not afraid of trying to understand the way you think. On the other hand some of you are incredibly intelligent, but you are locked inside the walls. Which isn´t unusual. Most people are like that.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
You're making the same mistake as Koonins. The correct comparison is with forcings and feedbacks, not just forcings. Hence the ratio should be the anthropogenic temperature change (2 degrees) to the greenhouse effect temperature change (33 degrees).

Fernando Leanme said...

Andy, I´m not making the same mistake as Koonins. I´m just showing you his logic.

Now it´s up to you to show the logic is flawed by using science. And you´ll fail. Why? Because you are dealing with an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal.

I suggest you try to differentiate between the use of scientific tidbits to get political leverage versus what you publish in a science journal. As I mentioned, I thought Obama´s 97 % statement was baloney. But I don´t consider it "a mistake". The political world involves using information to seek support. Koonin used the information that´s available to seek support for his position. And there´s very little you can do about his approach. There´s nothing mathematically unsound about that 2 % figure. Get over it, that´s over with.

Hank Roberts said...

Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is this real?

Fernando Leanme said...

I wouldn´t know about "Republican math" anymore than I know about "Democrat math" or "Communist math".

If you want to try a conspiracy theory try this confession: "I landed on your planet disguised as a beer can many years ago. My mission is to convince you to increase the planet´s temperature to make it more livable for our invasion forces." Better?

...and Then There's Physics said...

Fernando,
Oh, I see. I can't show that it's wrong because it's an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. What absolute bollocks. FFS, wasting my time, again. When will I learn, although - Fernando - given your normal style it should have been obvious.

J Bowers said...

Nando, we're always wrong to some degree, but then there's being so wrong that one isn't even wrong anymore. All you do is sit on your wall and throw misguided peanuts, but I've noticed over the time that we've been having our pleasant chats how the peanuts only ever seem to be thrown at targets on one side of the wall. Personally, I find a monkey sitting in a tree throwing crap, in the hope something hits and sticks, a far more apt metaphor.

Jeffrey Davis said...

There was a terrible bridge disaster several years ago. A freighter hit one of the supports of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and knocked out 1200 ft of the bridge and several cars wound up falling into the water. If it could have been seen and a large "Bridge Out" sign had been posted, would it have mattered if only 50 ft of bridge had been missing? "No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve: "

There's a threshold to a horrifying disaster with AGW. And though there's nobody here who knows where exactly where it is, we don't need that kind of precision. There are people in the debate who claim that it won't occur at all with AGW. We're at around .9C of warming and we've seen large simultaneous crop failures in Russia and Australia due to drought. That's not debatable. It happened. It takes a 'peculiar' moral vacuum to waffle over that when the overwhelming preponderance of evidence is that the consequences for AGW could be dire.

And by 'peculiar' I mean 'disgusting.'

Fernando Leanme said...

" We're at around .9C of warming and we've seen large simultaneous crop failures in Russia and Australia due to drought. That's not debatable. It happened. "

So? Barcelona FC is at the top of the league standings, and meanwhile Ronaldo has scored 10 goals for Real Madrid. That's not debatable either. ... Does Ronaldo scoring a lot for Real Madrid put Barcelona at the top?

Ian Forrester said...

FL does not appear to understand football as well as climate science. Barcelona are at the top since they have not conceded any goals whereas Real Madrid have conceded 9.

Hank Roberts said...

The Koonin opeditorial was tied to the UN meeting and climate march. He's apparently still officially on that committee?

I suppose the timing of any further news may be tied to the next round of US elections coming up soon.

Hank Roberts said...

Aside -- has anyone seen followup on the 'unknown unknown' forcings or feedbacks?

We know there are mysteries about the atmosphere, e.g.

sprites.

But -- JC must have had something in mind. Surely it's not up to us to figure out what it might have been?

Fernando Leanme said...

Ian, Barcelona has a porous defense. My analysis shows PSG will defeat them and Real Madrid will win in Bulgaria.

Bowers, I don't throw anything. The most I do is write jokes about this whole issue. Did you like my climate zombie take? I had a lot of fun writing the bit about the Nissan Pathfinder being a "normal" vehicle one could use to defend from climate zombie threats.

Returning to the topic, I think the politics is getting really interesting. I bet you will be dropping the 2 degree C limit spiel. The Indians and Chinese sure love burning coal. Would you donate if I start a geoengineering research unit? I need public support.

Hank Roberts said...

Aside, I keep wondering what 'unknown unknowns' JC was referring to. How about the possibility that aerosols and bacteria lofted high in the atmosphere by human activity are changing this somehow in ways that affect heat retention by the planet?

DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2008.05.018


Abstract

"Research topics on the global electrical circuit are addressed that have received attention in recent years. These topics include the diurnal variation of the global circuit, surface measurements of electric field at high latitude, the annual variation, the semiannual variation, the role of lightning as a source for the global circuit, the electrical contribution of mesoscale convective systems, the possible effect of thunderstorms on the E and F regions of the ionosphere, the evidence for a global circuit impact from nuclear weapons tests, the controversy over long-term variations, the response to climate change, and finally the impact of the global circuit on climate."

-------
Yes, it's a stretch. I'm trying to imagine what could possibly be behind the repeated mention that there are some mysterious forces ....

Gator said...

Hank: "But -- JC must have had something in mind. Surely it's not up to us to figure out what it might have been? "

You know what she had in mind. ;)
The god of the gaps.
The uncertainty monster.
The science is not settled (will it ever be?)
FUD.