Saturday, December 30, 2006

Without oxygen, the brain dies...

Richard Clarke was a high level civil servant in the Clinton and Bush administrations (at least early on). Today in the Washington Post, he writes about how the Iraq debacle has sucked all the oxygen out of the room where the important people meet, leaving no time to deal with other problems.

In the end, there are only 12 seats at the conference table in the White House Situation Room, and the key players' schedules mean that they can seldom meet there together in person or on secure video conference for more than about 10 hours each week. When issues don't receive first-tier consideration, they can slip by for months.
HIS number one of those that have been neglected is
Global warming: When the possibility of invading Iraq surfaced in 2001, senior Bush administration officials hadn't thought much about global warming, except to wonder whether it was caused by human activity or by sunspots. Today, the world's scientists and many national leaders worry that the world has passed the point of no return on global warming. If it has, then human damage to the ecosphere will cause more major cities to flood and make the planet significantly less conducive to human habitation -- all over the lifetime of a child now in kindergarten. British Prime Minister Tony Blair keeps trying to convince President Bush of the magnitude of the problem, but in every session between the two leaders Iraq squeezes out the time to discuss the pending planetary disaster.

Read his formulation carefully. Now tell me that S. Fred and Co. are innocent little tooth faries.

The Boulder Society for the Suppression of Rabetts Commenting....

UPDATE: KV was on a ski trip. in which case as Eli said below, no harm, no foul. (the Brooklyn version being no blood, no foul, but that would be violent). We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
It appears that Kevin Vranes has in the local Boulder comstockian tradition placed Eli on double super secret probation. Along with Jean-Luc Godard, Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho, so Eli is not too disturbed about this. Acceptance is not what the bunny is about. Of course, Kevin may be away skiing, in which case, no harm no foul.

The only downer is that KV has given the blog key to the beastie boys. They are licensed to do ill and claimin' that the Rabett ran. Eli is not sure that he would trust those kids. Happy Bunny would enjoy discussing the matter with them.

Benny and the dunk tank

Like the guy at the carney who insults the crowd so they will buy chances to dunk him in the tank Benny Peiser is once more on the search.

"Some commentators have argued that these differences undermine my main criticism while they validate Oreskes' claim. However, as I have stressed repeatedly, Oreskes entire argument is flawed as the whole ISI data set includes just 13 abstracts (less than 2%) that explicitly endorse what she has called the 'consensus view.'"
The rules of the competition are that the endorsement must be in the abstract and that it must endorse the 'consensus view' which we will take as the IPCC TAR as advanced by the NAS report, and various statements of learned societies (this is going to be a lot easier when the fourth Assessment Report is released). The list starts in 1993. In many cases the articles anticipated the consensus and contributed to it.

Brian Schmidt at Backseat Driving was the first to take him up, picking the second in the list and getting us off to a fine start.
Eli can extend Brian's comments a bit, noting that the conclusion
Under the dry continental climate of eastern Nebraska the effect of 2 X CO2 scenario on local precipitation regime is spatially variable and significant: the number of wet days slightly decreases but both the mean and variance of daily precipitation increase resulting in a more variable precipitation regime.
matches the consensus view in IPCC TAR WGI
These factors suggest that, while global precipitation exhibits a small increase with modest surface warming, it becomes increasingly concentrated in intense events, as is observed to be happening in many parts of the world (Karl et al., 1995), including the USA (Karl and Knight, 1998), Japan (Iwashima and Yamamoto, 1993) and Australia (Suppiah and Hennessy, 1998), thus increasing risk of flooding. However, the overall changes in precipitation must equal evaporation changes, and this is smaller percentage-wise than the typical change in moisture content in most model simulations (e.g., Mitchell et al., 1987; Roads et al., 1996). Thus there are implications for the frequency of storms or other factors (duration, efficiency, etc.) that must come into play to restrict the total precipitation. One possibility is that individual storms could be more intense from the latent heat enhancement, but are fewer and farther between (Trenberth, 1998, 1999).
The fourth abstract includes the following statement at the end
AB The possible influence of the marine biogeochemical sulfur cycle on the global climate has been a topic of much recent research. Based on the hypothesis that phytoplankton could affect cloud albedo by producing dimethylsulfide, which is a precursor to aerosols and cloud condensation nuclei, and that cloud albedo could in turn affect the productivity of the phytoplankton, the presence of such a feedback cycle would have significant implications for models of global climate change. By considering available data on the relationships between individual components of the proposed feedback, an empirical model is developed of the cycle as a whole, allowing an assessment to be made of the degree to which the cycle could thermostatically regulate the climate. It is estimated that the feedback strength is about 20% (10% - 50%) of that which would be necessary to completely counteract a perturbation to the global climate, such as is anticipated due to accumulation of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
And, from the TAR (published seven years after this paper) DMS emissions from phytoplankton are still not very well characterized, but again we find general agreement
There are several possible sources of error in these calculations. The most serious assumption is that the DMS concentration fields do not change between the years 2000 to 2100. DMS is produced as part of phytoplankton bloom cycles, especially in high latitude areas. It is likely that the mean distribution of phytoplankton blooms in the upper ocean would change between 2000 and 2100 given any perturbation of the sea surface temperature, wind speed, and sunlight. The other major assumption is that the monthly climatological ice cover does not change between 2000 and 2100. Ice acts as a lid on the ocean in upper latitudes through which DMS cannot pass.
Overall, the calculations suggest a small increase in global DMS flux between the year 2000 (with a global DMS flux of 26.0 TgS/yr) and the year 2100 (with a global DMS flux of 27.7 TgS/yr). The most noticeable features in the 2100 fields are the predicted increases in DMS fluxes in some areas of the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and some areas of the Southern Ocean immediately adjacent to the Antarctic continent. There are some localised increases predicted in the tropical and sub-tropical Pacific Ocean.
The next paper
not only agrees with the consensus, it played a part in forming the consensus as referenced in the TAR
Analysis of potential impacts, using dynamic simulation and geographic databases, has been demonstrated for South Africa and the southern Africa region by Schulze et al. (1993) (see also Schulze et al., 1995; Hulme, 1996; Schulze, 2000). Relatively homogenous climate and soil zones were used to run agrohydrological, primary productivity, and crop yield models. The results reaffirm the dependence of production and crop yield on intraseasonal and interannual variation of rainfall.
The fifth paper starts:
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development alerted the world to the hazards presumptive if the planet's natural resources of land, water, air, energy and biological organisms are not protected and utilised more conservatively. UNCED declared two urgent research priorities: global climate change and genetic diversity. Excessive use of fossil fuels and a resultant atmospheric pollution forebodes higher temperatures at the earth's surface. The consequences for agriculture are unpredictable.
That's clear enough, certainly this was endorsing the 'consensus view' in 1993, when the observations, models and predictions were less certain. Let's move on to #6
An understanding of the energy exchange processes at the surface of the earth is necessary for studies of global climate change. If the climate becomes drier, as is predicted for northern mid-latitudes, it is important to know how major agricultural crops will play a role in the budget of heat and moisture.

The IPCC TAR says that there will be increased summer continental drying and risk of drought over most mid-latitude continental areas.
So far Eli has looked at 6 abstracts and found 5 that support the 'consensus view'. Benny is going to get wet. Stay tuned.

Ms. Rabett's Nude Scientist Exam....

The web is full of tests on how nerdy you are, how smart, how political. Ms. Rabett, an accurate and somewhat acerbic observer of Eli and his ilk, has decided to contribute to the genre. She will share her Nude Scientist Exam. This simple test can tell within three sentences whether someone is a scientist or not.

Talk about any situation of your choice, using no modifiers or exceptions.
for extra points attempt this in bed with your loved one.

What brings this up is how Kevin Vranes opened a new window in the Exxon advent calendar. At the AGU, Kevin encountered some folk who worried that perhaps scientists were too definite about the effect people were having on climate. While Eli went perhaps too nuclear (naw), Vranes did provide ammunition to the denialists which they were happy to accept. The guys Kevin talked to had clearly passed their Nude Scientist Test. Garhane in the comments at Kevin's blog had seen this all too often
Scientists, and I am mainly familiar with biologists, and employees of government, will provide environmentalists with quite a bit of good information, hints on where to get good data, and make a lot of statements about their science and the state of the eco system they study. You review this with them in fine detail, work up affidavits, go over factual material many times, and prep them for trial. Then they get on the stand and talk like they never heard of what they have been telling you, they collapse into uncertainty and wind up good witnesses for the other side. It does not seem to matter how careful you may be in reviewing evidence or in framing questions, they will find a way to kill the environmental argument. IN fact they are often eager, or seem eager to do it.
Contrast this with a member of the denialist nomenklatura, Steve Hemphill. Mention anything about climate change and Steve spews out
If it was CO2, CO2 concentration changes would lead temperature changes in reality (models are not reality). It doesn't. Temperature changes lead CO2 concentration changes.
No mention that this occurs at the end of the ice ages, no mention that in those cases CO2 is both a response and an amplifier of orbital changes and no contemplative statement that hey, if that happened then, what happens if we spew a bunch of carbon (in the form of CO2) into the air which has been sequestered for 1 billion years or so as fossil fuel (details and links). Steve is not a scientist.

This post and test was brought to you in response to a request by Brian Schmidt (sorta, he caused me to start along this crooked trail. Blame him if you passed:).

Statistical Russian Roulette part II....

or global warming claims another victim.

In August the Ayles Ice Shelf broke off Ellesmere Island. However, with Arctic ice loss being in the news and on the blogs, Eli thought he would play another game of statistical Russian Roulette with the snow gun gang.

The latest issue of "The Earth Observer"** has an article by Stefanie Renfrow and Jim Scott (pp12) describing how the arctic sea ice is retreating as temperatures rise, (and why, you ask the Bunny. Hey guy, if you are still asking those questions, Lab Lemming has some Special Chocolate Easter EggsTM for you)

Including 2006, the September rate of sea ice decline is now approximately –8.59% per decade, or 60,421 km2/year (23,328 mi2/year. NSIDC Research Scientist Julienne Stroeve said, “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean will have no ice in September by the year 2060.” The loss of summer sea ice does not bode well for species like the polar bear, which depend on the ice for their livelihood, she said.

Ice extent from January through the middle of July 2006 was well below 2005 conditions, which, if it had continued, would have led to a new record low. Figure 2 shows a timeline of sea ice extent from June through October; the long-dashed line that indicates 2006 trails beneath the short-dashed line of 2005 until mid-July.
but this is mere conventional wisdom, more interesting to us statistics torturers is Figure 2:
Not only did the extent decrease, (see our unmatched archives for a graph of the change in minimum extent) but if you look at the form of the curves, the minimum has moved almost half a month later in the year, from early to late September. This means that melting is continuing for a longer time AND that the freeze starts later. Moreover the bottom of the curve is wider, meaning that ice is open longer. Certain bears are rumored to be interested in this as is their food in Churchill, CA on Hudson's Bay.

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Senior Research Scientist Mark Serreze said
“I’m not terribly optimistic about the future of the ice. Although it would come as no surprise to see some recovery of the sea ice in the next few years—such fluctuations are part of natural variability—the long-term trend seems increasingly clear. As greenhouse gases continue to rise, the Arctic will continue to lose its ice. You can’t argue with the physics.”
The last would be contested by the regular denialists.

**The Earth Observer is a newsletter reporting on Earth Observation System related news, including satellite planning and operation and the scientific implications of the observations. Very worthwhile.

Gubmint, is incombetnt....

Anyone who has dealt with the tax adverse free riders riding the Internet bus knows their rants. Lateley Eli has been pointing out home truths over at Volokh,

Data shows that it takes about 33-40% of total income for government expenditures to maintain a first world country excluding health care. In some countries health care is paid out of taxes, and in others it is, well...In any case health care costs about 10-14% additional. When you add health care costs to the US total government expenditures you get about 46%. Now you can rant about this and that but taxes are the admission fee to civilization. You could also move to Somalia, taxes are lower there, and you won't have very long to worry about your car.
Got the usual rant backs to which the response was
I am sure that everyone here could chop that in half, and it would be at least as successful as the Iraq war. In other words, if you have a remarkably consistent level of expenditure across a large number of different societies with different traditions, and you think they are all fools, maybe your plan is not so good.
So now we come to the second string on the two string fiddle, that whatever the government touches turns to regulations, four pounds thereof. Cactus at Angry Bear (Brad DeLong with attitude) writes

The Government, the Private Sector, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and a Flag-Waving Member of the Local Chapter of Kiwanis - an Anecdote
From the first paragraph
And the guy said with a smirk (and I do remember that), something like this: "This is the US Army's specs on a chocolate chip cookie. But my company sells more cookies every day than the Army eats. And we don't have no stinking manual like that. We have a recipe. And we do just fine. See how inefficient the gubmint is! Bad gubmint! Bad gubmint!"
to the last, a bunch of truth
So the process continues. Eventually, the Army has a spec that indicates even situations that a rational person would say "This makes no sense. Everyone knows that." But the rational person wouldn't realize that when the Army specifies that no sawdust is to be used in making flour, or that no more than X parts of per million of rat droppings will be in the cookie, that the Army has a damn good reason for having that in there, namely that some upstanding leader of the community who waves a flag and is a member of the local Kiwanis actually tried to pass such things off on American military personnel. And of course, that upstanding leader of the community who waves a flag and is a member of the local Kiwanis is happy to lecture one and all about how much more efficient the private sector is than the public sector 'exhibit A' being the Army's specs on making a chocolate chip cookie.
So, the next time SomeBird waves an EPA regulation at you, tell them why it weighs 25 kilo.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kevin Vranes opens a new window in the Exxon AR4 advent calendar....

At first there was no consensus, then everyone knew that a scientific consensus is unimportant, now, the latest tactic is that the holders of the consensus are feeling guilty. The first gun fired in this direction was the misleading article in the Telegraph telling about how the fourth Assessment Report from the IPCC will downgrade the risks from climate change. Today Tim Lambert has a link to a posting by Kevin Vranes, as fine an example of blaming the victim as exists.

We tried for years - decades - to get them to listen to us about climate change. To do that we had to ramp up our rhetoric. We had to figure out ways to tone down our natural skepticism (we are scientists, after all) in order to put on a united face. We knew it would mean pushing the science harder than it should be. We knew it would mean allowing the boundary-pushers on the "it's happening" side free reign while stifling the boundary-pushers on the other side. But knowing the science, we knew the stakes to humanity were high and that the opposition to the truth would be fierce, so we knew we had to dig in. But now they are listening. Now they do believe us. Now they say they're ready to take action. And now we're wondering if we didn't create a monster. We're wondering if they realize how uncertain our projections of future climate are. We wonder if we've oversold the science.
This can be understood as the second leg in a campaign lead by reactionary industry and think tanks and politicians to discredit the scientific study of climate. The first effort was FUD based joining public relations firms, think tanks and a small group of denialists with scientific reputations, and sometimes just reputations of scientific reputations, and thin ones at that. Eli discussed the basis of that stage: (reproduced here in full for the link adverse)
Anyone who has come up hard and fast against reality understands that there is neither a theory or a model that explains everything. There are always residuals, unexplained anomalies and people on the fringes who will hold onto those for dear life, weaving webs of conspiracy theories that focus only on what remains unexplained. This throws the baby out with the bathwater: the fringe theories might explain the residuals, but they can't deal with the basic facts of the situation.

The best theories and models deal with the largest extent of the evidence available using intellectually valid and understandable ideas with predictive power. Those with no tolerance for ambiguity are doomed to a life of carping. The study of elephant droppings is not as interesting as the study of elephants. (Motivated by comments of Michael Sherman, editor of Skeptic Magazine on CSPAN)

However, if the elephant dropping salesman, is loud and insistent he can attract an audience, and if someone is paying him a lot of money to attract elephant dropping customers, why, as Barnum said, no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
The elephant dropping salesmen, unfortunately were the ones talking to the public, indeed were the ones getting money to talk to the public through right wing think tanks and their supporters. When a few of the science types realized that the only way to get the gravity of the situation across to the public was to start to talk to the public, the push back was ferocious. The purpose of the attack was to force the scientists back to the lab bench. In many cases it was successful. If you want to understand this consider the ferocity of the onslaught against Jim Hansen and Michael Mann. Mann's case is particularly instructive. Mann was a post-doc when he was coauthor of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes papers. The other two are very senior scientists. Why was Mann attacked and NOT Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes? The simple answer is that the other two retreated from the confrontation, Mann met it.

Within the last few years, the public has become aware that there is a scientific consensus on global warming, first in the civilized world, lately among the population in the United States. Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth has played an important role, packaging the basic issues in a way that is understandable and entertaining for the public. The next tactic of the denialists was to deny that a consensus exists, then to deny that the scientific consensus had any meaning, and now, we have the Rovian tactic of attacking the opponents strength to discredit them, here, by claiming that the holders of the consensus are having second, guilty thoughts because there are outstanding issues, and, horrors, they have made clear to the public what the risks are.

Don't worry, Kevin, be happy

UPDATE: Great minds think alike, Andrew Dessler pretty much agrees with Eli.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Another dog doesn't bark in the cyclone wars...

Eos is a good source for stuff that is new, interesting, and not quite ready for prime time. In the latest episode of RTFR, Anonymous quoted from the recent WMO Statement on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change

1. Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.
Eli quoted more of the statement back. In any case, in the 28 November issue of EOS, come Wu, Yeung and Chang from Hong Kong to say
Trends in Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Intensity
An analysis of the tropical cyclone best track data from the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre Tokyo as well as that of the Hong Kong Observatory indicates that, in contrast to an earlier finding, there was no increase in western North Pacific category 4–5 typhoon activity between the two periods of 1977–1989 and 1990–2004.
They discuss how using different data sets (Joint Typhoon Warning Center - used by Webster, et al., Regional Specialized Meteorological Center - Tokyo, or the Hong Kong Observatory - Hong Kong) gives different answers. The JTWC data set shows a significant increase in cat 4/5 storms over the 1975-2004 time period the other two do not. Naturally, they like their own which is one of the nots.

(Having some trouble uploading the image with Blogger. I will add it later. Eli really recommends joining AGU, it impresses the opposite and same sex, makes your mom proud, lets you see the figure the Rabett is having trouble with and costs only $20 per year, for which you get paper and electron EOS subscriptions, Physics Today, on line access to the AGU Earth and Space Science Index and a few other goodies like discounts to meetings. AGU also has neat virtual journals where you get access to all of the articles in all AGU publications in a particular subject. Global Change (Eli subscribes) costs $218/yr, but if your interest is geochronology that costs $24/yr....)

UPDATE (2 hours, much fur later) Darnation (the little bunnies are still up) they are pushing the pictures onto Web Picassa. Since Google has shrunk the free space to 250 Mb from Blogger's 500, that means that soon Eli and the blog elite will have to start taking ads to pay the $24.95 for 6 Gig.

Monday, December 25, 2006

You better watch out.....

Via Feministing (Eli is a confused Rabett, he also reads Volokh)

There is a tide in the affairs of men.....

In the Independent 24 Dec 2006

Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) is in talks to invest up to £10m in a tidal energy specialist ahead of a possible stock market flotation next year.......

The Bristol-based company is planning to install the UK's largest commercial tidal-energy project off the coast of Northern Ireland this spring. The project will use sea currents to generate 1MW of electricity - enough to meet the energy needs of 1,000 households....

SSE's investment, probably in exchange for a stake in MCT, would be the largest by a major utility in a tidal-energy firm. Until now, utilities have favoured backing more proven forms of renewable generation, such as wind farms. But the Government's energy White Paper, due out in the spring, is expected to provide bigger subsidies to wave and tidal projects, making them more attractive to investors.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

They gave an Inconvenient Truth for Christmas...

Amazon Rankings:\

Paperback #73; 257 reviews ( )

Hardcover will publish April 10, 2007

DVD # 2; 277 reviews ( ) #9 in UK (not yet issued),

Earth in the Balance, paperback #34

Saturday, December 23, 2006

O brave new Blogger....

O, wonder!
How many goodly features are there here!
How beauteous beta is! O brave new blogger,
That has such software in't!


Eli followed the lemmings over the cliff and having done so thought that he would make some changes to improve the readability of Rabett Run and learn some CSS or whatever the hell beta uses. He may have done so. The bunnies in the compositing shop lead the way. The basic design was retained, as was a fairly large serif font for readability. They put the sidebar on the right, where it won't run into images, made the text area bigger, but hopefully not too large for scanning, changed some colors to improve readability (if anyone is color blind, please let us know if it needs another change), fiddled with the line spacing and margins and started going back through the old posts to eliminate misplellings.

The complaint window is open. Suggestions are welcome.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A tasty holiday Christmas treat.....

For those looking for something new and tasty this Christmas, Brian Schmidt offers detailed instructions on how to cook Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt and Patrick Michaels for your holiday Christmas dinner. In a pinch you may substitute Tim Ball or any other home grown denialist your local market is stocking. We advise you to carefully follow the recipe which starts

1. Place Blair, Bolt, and Michaels in a large, water-filled pot equipped with a step ladder they can use to escape at any time. Set initial water temperature at average levels.

2. Well go read the rest at Backseat Driving Eli's not Brad DeLong.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

RTFR...the WHOLE FR....

Somewhere down in the comments, anonymous says....

Speaking of inconvenient truths:
1. Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.
2. No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.
Point 1, is the WMO trying to avoid open warfare, which fails. This being the same document that the Boulder Staked Out On The Rocks Society referred to and comes from the summary statement. However, that is the classic comics edition. If you read the full version (RTFR like the bunny tells you), among other things you get (Eli pulled the references to save space, RTFR)
6. The climatological conditions under which tropical cyclones occur have been well established over decades of research. These include a requirement for warm sea surface temperatures, low vertical wind shear and high values of large scale relative vorticity in the lower layers of the troposphere .
7. It is also well established observationally that over the past several decades the sea surface temperatures over most tropical ocean basins have increased in magnitude by between 0.25 – 0.5 degrees C .
8. It is well accepted by most researchers within the field of climate science that the most likely primary cause of the observed increase of global mean surface temperature is a long term increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. It is likely that most tropical ocean basins have warmed significantly due to this same cause. If anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases are the primary cause, then it would be expected that tropical sea surface temperatures will increase by an even greater amount in the 21st century than during the 20th century, as described in the climate projections of the IPCC (2001).
9. Globally the major factor affecting tropical cyclone frequency and tracks on an
interannual (e.g., 2-7 year) time scale is the ENSO phenomenon.
They go on to talk about the Emmanuel and Webster papers and the push back from Gray, et Landsea, and hit the bottom lines fairly quickly
13. The scientific debate concerning the Webster et al and Emanuel papers is not as to whether global warming can cause a trend in tropical cyclone intensities. The more relevant question is how large a change: a relatively small one several decades into the future or large changes occurring today? Currently published theory and numerical modeling results suggest the former, which is inconsistent with the observational studies of Emanuel (2005) and Webster et al. (2005) by a factor of 5 to 8 (for the Emanuel study).
This puts the shoes on the other feet when it comes to theory or observation
The debate is on this important quantification as to whether such a signal can be detected in the historical data base, and whether it is possible to isolate the forced response of the climate system in the presence of substantial decadal and multi-decadal natural variability. This is still hotly debated area for which we can provide no definitive conclusion.
14. Through the work of many researchers there is a developing theory governing maximum tropical cyclone intensity. The key concept is that for a given ocean temperature and atmospheric thermodynamic environment there is an upper bound on the intensity a tropical cyclone may achieve. This upper bound is referred to as the Maximum Potential Intensity (or MPI).......Given, however, that only a small percentage of tropical cyclones attain their MPI and that the sensitivity of hurricane intensity to CO2-induced warming is 3-5% per degree Celsius in these simulations and theories, Knutson and Tuleya (2004) have speculated that CO2 induced tropical cyclone intensity changes are unlikely to be detectable in historic observations and will probably not be detectable for decades to come.

18. Given the consistency between high resolution global models, regional hurricane models and MPI theories, it is likely that some increase in tropical cyclone intensity will occur if the climate continues to warm.
19. A robust result in model simulations of tropical cyclones in a warmer climate is that there will be an increase in precipitation associated with these systems....

21. There is general agreement that no individual events in those years can be attributed directly to the recent warming of the global oceans. A more appropriate question is whether the probability of an event happening in a particular basin has been increased by the ocean warming, as for example the probability of cyclone development can change according to the phase of ENSO or of the Madden Julian Oscillation.
They agree that most damage costs are due to sea side development, and that things will get worse
25. Projected rises in global sea level are a cause for concern in the context of society’s vulnerability to tropical cyclone induced storm surges.
The Rabett agrees strongly with the last point, he does. Now go read the full statement like good folk do right before class. There will be a test.

A worthy successor to Jib Jab for the holidays Christmas...

Walt Handelsman in Newsday. Run do not walk to see these. And here, straight from the melting North Pole are Santa's elves expressing themselves in music to the words of anonymuse's carol

On the Frist day of Christmas a denialist gave to me,
A "CO2 is life" video clip.

On the second day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
2 think-tank wanks and a "CO2 is life" video clip.

On the third day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Three Petro-geologists,
2 think-tank wanks
and a "CO2 is life" video clip.

On the fourth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Four blogging Frauditors,
3 petro-geologists,
2 think-tank wanks
and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the fifth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
4 blogging Frauditors,
3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the sixth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Six Oilmen alying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
4 blogging Frauditors, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the seventh day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Seven denialists a-shilling,
Six Oilmen alying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
Four blogging Frauditors,, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the eighth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Eight Bushies a-censoring,
Seven denialists a-shilling,
Six Oilmen alying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
Four blogging Frauditors,, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the ninth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Nine Singers singing,
Eight Bushies a-censoring,
Seven denialists a-shilling,
Six Oilmen alying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
Four blogging Frauditors,, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the tenth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me
Ten Lord Monckton's a-leaping,
Nine Singers singing,
Eight Bushies a-censoring,
Seven denialists a-shilling,
Six Oilmen a-lying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
Four blogging Frauditors,, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the leventh day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me.
Eleven tailpipes puffing,
Ten Lord Monckton's a-leaping,
Nine Singers singing,
Eight Bushies a-censoring,
Seven denialists a-shilling,
Six Oilmen alying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
Four blogging Frauditors,, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, a denialist gave to me,
Twelve Oil drums drumming,
Eleven tailpipes puffing,
Ten Lord Monckton's a-leaping,
Nine Singers singing,
Eight Bushies a-censoring,
Seven denialists a-shilling,
Six Oilmen a-lying,
Fiiiiive Inhofe rants,
Four blogging Frauditors,, 3 petro-geologists, 2 think-tank wanks and a CO2 is life video clip.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Give an Inconvenient Truth for Christmas.....

In the comments Anonymous asks:

I need advice. My relatives and most of their friends pride themselves on their climate change ignorance and denial. In fact that they work hard at actively maintaining their delusional states of mind. When ever you mention any scientific facts they don't like the sound of they smirk smugly and stay silent. They act if as if you are not there and completely ignore whatever you might be saying. It is is as though you are invisible in those moments.
and Eli responds....
Well you could always give their kids Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD for Christmas.....Still time to get it delivered.
It's number 3 on the Amazon DVD list! The reviews are interesting, demonstrating a breakthrough that this movie has contributed strongly to. You will never get through to the parents, but the kids.....:) More on this later in conjunction with the issue of how bludgeon like one should be.

Banned the world round.....

Eli, silly Rabett, thought that he was only banned in Boulder. It turns out that Rabett Run, indeed, anything blogspot, is or was banned pretty much the world, round, India, Pakistan and a whole lot of other important places. But never fear, this blog, and perhaps your blog, are reproduced by services like inblog, in India, and pkblog, in Pakistan. To be honest (an occasional fault that Eli promises to control) we have not made it to pkblog, being only the poor 155,443 rd ranked blog on Technorati. And WHOSE FAULT IS THAT DEAR READER. It is your fault, you don't link here enough, and most importantly put our humble burrow onto your blogroll. YOU know who you are, and thanks to Technorati Eli knows who has been naughty or nice, and we are passing the word to the guys who bring the chocolate Easter eggs.

Quiggin on Stern....

John Quiggin has launched a review of the Stern Report. He likes it. To encourage you to read Quiggin Eli has selected some of the raw liver parts

By 2006, the credibility of the anti-science groups was on the verge of collapse, at least as regards climate change. Factors contributing to this outcome included the resolution of remaining scientific controversies, particularly relating to satellite measurements of tropospheric temperatures, the success of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth and increased publicity regarding the extent to which prominent skeptics were beneficiaries of funding from fossil fuel industries.1
The footnote points out that the same guys were on varsity scholarship from the tobacco industry. Eli will modestly take some little credit for bringing that up, both here and elsewhere, although it is certainly not original with him. OTOH, the Rabett did really dig out some goodies. Anyhow, Quiggin goes on to say:
The Stern Review radically changed the terms of the debate by presenting the issues in economic rather than scientific terms. The effects of global warming, previously discussed in qualitative terms were shown to correspond to large losses in economic welfare. The result was to outflank the remaining skeptics. They could either continue denying the results of scientific analysis, or try to salvage the fallback position, undermined by the Stern Review, that although global warming is real, the costs of doing anything significant about it exceed the benefits, at least in the short term. It is this latter position which will be critically examined in the
present paper.
Quiggin does a good job of setting out the issues. You may not agree with the conclusions but you will learn something by reading the paper.

BTW, it occurred to Eli last night, that now that Stern is has resigned from the Treasury, he can pretty much say anything he damn pleases. We look forward to his contributions:)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh how fair he likes to appear to be.....

Being banned in Boulder has its advantages, for example, Ethon comes visiting now and again with reports on the atrocities. Eth is quite fond of grandma's chopped liver recipe and we always have some on hand to cut the bitter taste of Greek hero bile. The latest is that Jr. has borrowed Dad's stuffed shirt and is out harumphing again. The joy is that anyone who follows the links finds the Center Director once more staked out on Flagstaff Mountain.

Here is the beginning of the newest.....

Holland and Webster’s new paper can be found here in PDF and the text I have excerpted below in bold comes from their pp. 5-6. My comments are interlaid within their text.

Questions have been raised over the quality of the NATL data even for such a broad brush accounting. For example, a recent study by Landsea et al (2006) claimed that long-term trends in tropical cyclone numbers and characteristics cannot be determined because of the poor quality of the data base in the NATL even after the incorporation of satellite data into the data base. Landsea et al. also state unequivocally that there is no trend in any tropical storm characteristics (frequency or intensity) after 1960, despite this being established in earlier papers by Emanuel (2005) and Webster et al. (2005), and more recently by Hoyos et al. (2006).
Here is what I read in Landsea et al. (2006) (PDF): "There may indeed be real trends in tropical cyclone intensity . . ." Holland and Webster report the opposite of what Landsea et al. (2006) actually says. Landsea et al. (2006) state that they do not believe that the data record is of sufficient quality to definitively detect trends. They do not say that there are no trends. Holland and Webster ascribe a claim to Landsea et al. that they do not make.
Unfortunately if you follow the link you find that right after Landsea, et al., do the cringing please the ref mayindeedbe (but we don't believe a word of it fingers crossed behind the back bit)
There may indeed be real trends in tropical cyclone intensity.
They drop the hammer.
Theoretical considerations based on sea surface temperature increases suggest an increase of ~4% in maximum sustained surface wind per degree Celsius (4, 5). But such trends are very likely to be much smaller (or even negligible) than those found in the recent studies (1–3). Indeed, Klotzbach has shown (23) that extreme tropical cyclones and overall tropical cyclone activity have globally been flat from 1986 until 2005, despite a sea surface temperature warming of 0.25°C. The large, step-like increases in the 1970s and 1980s reported in (1–3) occurred while operational improvements were ongoing. An actual increase in global extreme tropical cyclones due to warming sea surface temperatures should have continued during the past two decades.
Still, there is much to learn here. For example the expert entrails readers and their bunny grad students have concluded that Pielke and Co. are getting ready to abandon the field and retreat to we never said that land with regard to hurricane intensity. Watch the moving shell.

Tol's revenge, or Gordon is brown.....

Gordon Brown's recent pre-budget report appears to have pushed Sir Nicholas Stern to resign from the Treasury on the day it was issued. Stern, silly bunny, believes that there is nothing in the proposed budget that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and based on the report, he got it right. Apologies to anyone Eli foolishly accused of being cynical about Labour governments.

Stern, might be going over to the Conservatives who thought his proposals were too meek. OTOH, they also peg the you gotta be kidding meter.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

This is really not Eli's thing.....

About half a year ago there was a huge blowup over the attempted hiring of Alla Karpova at MIT by the McGovern Institute for Brain Science when she was blown off by Susumu Tonegawa, director of the other neuroscience institute in the department, the Picower. Pinko Punko was all over it. The Boston Globe obtained the complete Email interchange between the two, which included such classic knifework as

Tonegawa: With these positive things said, I do have a strong reservation about having you as a faculty colleague in the same building here at MIT at this time because of a serious overlap in research interest and approach: reward-driven learning and decision-making studied using genetically engineered rodents (and possibly primates in the future). We briefly discussed the possibility of arranging a collaboration. But this is complex because others (postdocs and students) are involved and your lab and my lab's expertise are not really complimentary. Furthermore, for career development (tenure evaluation), it is disadvantageous for a junior faculty (you) to have a collaborative arrangement with a senior faculty member (me).
I put some further thought into it and talked extensively with my postdocs and graduate students. I also talked with my current collaborating faculty colleagues, and we all came up with the conclusion that if you set up a lab at the McGovern Institute, unpleasant competition will be unavoidable. Also, my postdocs and graduate students and your counterparts will be very reluctant to be open to each other about their current status of research. Management of these people and the research projects will become very difficult for both of us. What accentuates this difficulty is the still uneasy atmosphere between McGovern and Picower which you may have noticed.
And Karpova's sweet reply
On top of our personal interaction, it would pain me to see my appointment to increase the tensions between the Picower and the McGovern Institutes. By nature, I always try to diffuse conflicts and to bring people closer. It is unlikely that I could live with myself if I knew that I contributed to escalation of such a conflict. I was naively excited about McGovern’s interest in me because I felt that I could always find the understanding and support at the Picower and that maybe I can help diffuse some of the tensions between the two, while it seems that the opposite would result from my appointment.
Soon after which the entire correspondence appeared in the Boston Globe. The end of the story is that Karpova went off to enjoy Howard Hughes' money at Janelia Farms, lots of people at MIT were super ticked off, and a COMMITTEE was formed.

Well the committee has reported (Nov. 2) and it is not sweetness and light, with harsh words for all. The two institutes are called out for not playing well with others, the hiring process is described as flawed (polite for cluster, well you know) and
Faculty members also feel a responsibility, when mentoring young scientists, to be sure that each has a reasonably unique topic of research to pursue. Therefore, it was not inappropriate for Tonegawa to inform Karpova that his lab would not collaborate with hers. It was also not inappropriate for him to warn her that the mouse facility was becoming oversubscribed. It was, however, inappropriate for him to imply that the mouse facilities in the neuroscience building would not be made available to her. It was inappropriate for Tonegawa to send an email expressing concern about overlap and competition while the Department Head was deliberating about whether to make an offer. It was even more inappropriate for him to send discouraging email after an offer was made. We heard from many that Tonegawa has a history of being very competitive, perhaps overly so. We also heard of a long history of disagreement between Tonegawa and other members of the Biology faculty, including incidents involving hiring and promotion. Tonegawa’s communication with Karpova may be a manifestation of inappropriate competitiveness, mainly directed at the McGovern leadership. However, we also believe that to some extent Tonegawa was provoked. For example, Tonegawa was not included on Karpova’s interview list despite the closeness of his area of research with hers. His concerns about scientific overlap were dismissed, first by the search committee and later by members of the Department and the Department Head, when normally the issue of overlap is taken very seriously by the Biology Department.
Closing the circle November 17, Tonegawa sent a letter of resignation
I have informed Dean Silbey and Provost Reif this afternoon of my decision to resign as director of the Picower Institute, effective December 31 when my appointment expires, so I can devote all my energy and focus to research.
Will Robert Desimmone, Director of the McGovern, be far behind?

Then and now.......or
Google Bombing Michael Crichton

John Fleck
points to an article in TPMuckraker where, in his new fishwrap, Cricheton gratuitously slanders a critic (behind the Lexis-Nexis wall) as a child molester. This sort of thing has a long history, not only with Crichton, who has practiced it in the past, but with some rather famous authors. However, this is not without risk, and the critic, Michael Crowley, could sue and get Cricheton's book pulped, at least in England.

Still, the calculus has historically been that the targets, either shrug it off, as not being worth the expense to sue, or as the last link points out, hire some thugs to beat on the artiste. As emotionally satisfying as the later may be, today the tables have turned. Even with good sales, Cricheton's book will only reach a few thousand who buy it and read it. If made into a movie, the studio lawyers will see that the extraneous scenes never make it to the script, let alone the screen. In short, Cricheton's reach here is limited.

But folks, Google is everywhere, and it would only be just if every time anyone used the term Michael Cricheton, there was a link to the TPMuckraker article. A Real Climate article on clueless Michael already is number four on the MC list. However, this is not really in the spirit of true Google bombing. Perhaps we should link fishwrap to some article on MC, much in the spirit of the original Google bomb "talentless hack", which, though descriptive has already been taken and would be hard to dislodge. Still, dear friends, Eli is confident in your cleverness and quite willing to lend an ear.

You might be interested in leaving a review at Amazon, and elsewhere, pointing to MCs bad behavior (it actually was not such a bad review, the skin Crichton skin is thin) and leaving a few links.

Rabett Run is open to suggestions, but as a stopgap we are going to add this to our blogroll:)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Gift for John H ....

Eli has observed a bunch of Johns hanging about in the comments, trying to dazzle our arnavoni (didn't know there were so many ways to say rabett, did you?).
Today, for John H. we start a celebratory round fisking the manuscript sent with the OISM Petition, Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, by Arthur Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Willie Soon, and Zachary W. Robinson (RBSR). This will be a long one. For those of you more into the entertainment thing the producers have put out a humble beseeching for Anonymuse bait at the bottom along with a special YouTube video where, for the first time on Rabett Run, interested bird watchers can add Ethon to their life lists as he flies to the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine (OISM) to attend their gala liver fete.

The RBSR thing appeared no where, but was designed to look like it was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Enough people were fooled that the National Academy was inundated with calls asking if it was their new position and had to issue a news release
The Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is concerned about the confusion cause by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy. This petition criticizes the science underlying the Kyoto treaty on carbon dioxide emissions (the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and it asks scientists to recommend rejection of this treaty by the U.S. Senate. The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal.
The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.
There are many other sources that you can go to for discussions of the chicanery involved in the OISM after dinner entertainment and farago. Scott Church has a nice summary with links, and, of course there is always the Wikipedia . Here, we will concentrate on the RBSR manuscript. Rabett Reviews starts with a letter signed by Sherry Rowland, John Holden, George Woodwell, Harold Mooney, Peter Raven and Jane Lubchenco.
We call this to your attention because of a current massive petition campaign in progress in the United States which calls upon our government not to act on the Kyoto agreement of last December. The request for signatures to this petition was accompanied by a summary view of the situation as expressed in an op-ed article published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on December 4, 1997, and by a pamphlet in scientific format which carries no indication that it has been published anywhere. A computer search for the names of the authors of the op-ed article does not turn up a single publication by either of them in any area of science pertinent to global warming.
that points to a short, but substantive criticism of the Robinson WSJ op ed and the manuscript
We are enclosing with our letter a response to this op-ed article from three of the most distinguished climatologists in the world, which refutes in detail its arguments.
the second letter, by Thomas Karl, Kevin Trenberth and James Hansen, directly addressed the WSJ op ed, which itself summarized the Robinson, et al. manuscript.
The title of the article and the article itself contain many factual errors, unsubstantiated claims, and misleading statements. We enumerate some of these:
listing three of the basic problems in Robinson and various....
  • Robinson and Robinson (and RBSR - Eli) state, "The rise in [carbon dioxide] probably results from human burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, although this is not certain." On the contrary, there is no doubt that the atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is due to human activities.....
  • Robinson and Robinson (and RBSR - Eli) state that the global warming hypothesis is no longer tenable, and that scientists have been able to test it carefully and it no longer holds up. A review of the scientific literature reveals this simply is not true. First, there is no question that adding greenhouse gases will change the climate. There is a greenhouse effect. Second, man-made causes play a role.......
  • Robinson and Robinson (and RBSR - Eli) state that the highest temperatures occurred about 1940. They further state that during the past 20 years, satellite measurements of atmospheric temperatures have actually tended to decrease. Unfortunately, the Robinsons' discussion is misleading. There are several salient facts to consider.......
They conclude
We may agree with Robinson and Robinson on one point. There may be more serious issues than global warming that threaten continued advances in the quality of life for humankind. One of these is the attempt by Robinson and Robinson to misinform the general public about the scientific process and what is known and unknown in the frontiers of science.
To this Eli adds a general comment
  • Robinson and Robinson (and RBSR - Eli) cherry pick references, individual observational sites and data to make broad, unsupportable and false claims about global issues including present day temperature and sea level rise and the increase in intensity of major storms including hurricanes. They overestimate CO2 fertilization effects anticipating the recent CEI propaganda campaign "CO2 we call it life"
Consider the first issue, how confident can Eli and you, constant reader, be that the sharp recent rise in atmospheric CO2 is due to what people are up to? There has been great laughter in the Bunny Bar about some recent attempts to deny this, by the Good Diplom Beck and before him by Zbigniew Jaworowski, whose fantasy has become food for the Boojum. But let us descend into the RBTR abyss. Please don you protective bunny suit so that you will not have to be sent to the full body cleaners. RBTR start out well enough
The annual cycles in figure 1 are the result of seasonal variations in plant use of carbon dioxide. Solid horizontal lines show the levels that prevailed in 1900 and 1940 (2).
The figure pictures the Mauna Loa CO2 concentration record with lines drawn for estimates of CO2 mixing ratios in 1900 and 1940. Reference (1) is the cdiac database. But soon small problems appear....
The magnitude of this atmospheric increase during the 1980s was about 3 gigatons of carbon (Gt C) per year (3). Total human CO2 emissions primarily from use of coal, oil, and natural gas and the production of cement are currently about 5.5 GT C per year.
RTBR are writing in 1998, but they use an average figure for the 1980s. Why would anyone do that? What if the CO2 concentration (and thus carbon in the atmosphere) was increasing sharply? (to go from CO2 mass to carbon mass multiply by 12/44, the ratio of the molecular weights). By averaging over an earlier decade, and not considering the change during the eight previous years, they can minimize the stated increase of carbon in the atmosphere. If you look below you will see that that is indeed the case. RBTR go on:
To put these figures in perspective, it is estimated that the atmosphere contains 750 Gt C; the surface ocean contains 1,000 Gt C; vegetation, soils, and detritus contain 2,200 Gt C; and the intermediate and deep oceans contain 38,000 Gt C (3). Each year, the surface ocean and atmosphere exchange an estimated 90 Gt C; vegetation and the atmosphere, 60 Gt C; marine biota and the surface ocean, 50 Gt C; and the surface ocean and the intermediate and deep oceans, 100 Gt C (3).
You have to watch the moving shells. RBTR bring out the mushroom shovel, covering the reader in growth enhancer to seed an image. The relevant numbers for atmospheric exchange with the surface ocean and soils are 90 and 60 GtC respectively, but RBTR want to have some big numbers on the table. The sources of the atmospheric carbon are broken out below (sorry for the quality, you will have to click on the figure to blow it up a bit)

Another issue is that the average time that it takes to move from one reservoir to the other varies by orders of magnitude. It takes centuries to move CO2 from the surface to the intermediate and deep ocean. This feeds into another common denialist deception (explanation provided at link), confusing the issue of how long an increase in CO2 atmospheric concentration will last as opposed to how long a CO2 molecule emitted into the atmosphere will stay there before being exchanged with one in the easily accessible oceans/soil reservoirs. But I digress (its Eli's blog and he'll digress if he wants to) and here comes the RBSR mushroom growth enhancer hammer

So great are the magnitudes of these reservoirs, the rates of exchange between them, and the uncertainties with which these numbers are estimated that the source of the recent rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide has not been determined with certainty (4).
Now, as constant reader will find out below, exchanges between the relevant reservoirs ARE well enough known to identify the fossil fuel source, AND there are many more strands to the argument which really nail it down. A simple one is, as Stoat pointed out:
The increase in atmospheric CO2 is a good bit less than the amount humans release. Therefore, natural processes are not increasing atmospheric CO2; they are decreasing it
RBSR's reference (4) is a doozy, which will provide Eli and Eth some warm chewies one cold day when we light the fire
Segalstad, T. V. (1998) Global Warming the Continuing Debate, Cambridge UK: Europ. Sci. and Environ. For., ed. R. Bate, 184-218.
The European Science and Environment Forum started as a Phillip Morris astroturf operation to be the over the pond equivalent of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (it sounds like science) and is now incestuously tied to the George Marshall Intitute. Tom V. Segalstad is a rock geologist at the University of Oslo and runs a Michaels/Idso like consulting operation with his family, most of which is his wife doing library information systems, astroturf to go-go on the side. In short, not the most authoritative thing you could find. RBTR go on to state that
Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are reported to have varied widely over geological time, with peaks, according to some estimates, some 20-fold higher than at present and lows at approximately 18th-Century levels (5).
They didn't tell you that when the CO2 was at 20x, the time was at ~600 million years ago, when there was zero fossil fuel was in the ground, pretty much zilch carbon stored in soils, and oh yes, no oceanic biological pump that moves CO2 into carbonate shells at the surface down into the deep ocean where they are be incorporated into the lithosphere. Shortly thereafter, life really took off at the beginning of the Cambrian and created all those carbon reservoirs, which, of course removed most of that 20x carbon. There was even more CO2 in the atmosphere 4 billion years ago, that being a favorite denialist troph, but they forget to tell you that there were no Ipods then either.

Let us now consider the claim that the cause of the rise in CO2 has not been determined with certainty to be caused by us. A good place to start is Jan Schloerer's long ago climate FAQ which was established even before the OISM was a glint in the Exxon eye.
1. Why does atmospheric CO2 rise ?

Time and again, some people claim that human activities are only a minor source of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) which is swamped by natural sources. Compared to natural sources, our contribution is small indeed. Yet, the seemingly small human-made or `anthropogenic' input is enough to disturb the delicate balance. "Anthropogenic CO2 is a biogeochemical perturbation of truly geologic proportions" [Sundquist] and has caused a steep rise of atmospheric CO2.

The vexing thing is that, in the global carbon cycle, the rising level of atmospheric CO2 and the human origin of this rise are about the only two things that are known with high certainty. Natural CO2 fluxes into and out of the atmosphere exceed the human contribution by more than an order of magnitude. The sizes of the natural carbon fluxes are only approximately known, because they are much harder to measure than atmospheric CO2 and than the features pointing to a human origin of the CO2 rise.

*From its preindustrial level of about 280 ppmv (parts per million by volume) around the year 1800, atmospheric carbon dioxide rose to 315 ppmv in 1958 and to about 358 ppmv in 1994 [Battle] [C.Keeling] [Schimel 94, p 43-44]. All the signs are that the CO2 rise is human-made:

* Ice cores show that during the past 1000 years until about the year 1800, atmospheric CO2 was fairly stable at levels between 270 and 290 ppmv. The 1994 value of 358 ppmv is higher than any CO2 level observed over the past 220,000 years. In the Vostok and Byrd ice cores, CO2 does not exceed 300 ppmv. A more detailed record from peat suggests a temporary peak of ~315 ppmv about 4,700 years ago, but this needs further confirmation. [Figge, figure 3] [Schimel 94, p 44-45] [White]

* The rise of atmospheric CO2 closely parallels the emissions history from fossil fuels and land use changes [Schimel 94, p 46-47].

* The rise of airborne CO2 falls short of the human-made CO2 emissions. Taken together, the ocean and the terrestrial vegetation and soils must currently be a net sink of CO2 rather than a source [Melillo, p 454] [Schimel 94, p 47, 55] [Schimel 95, p 79] [Siegenthaler].

* Most "new" CO2 comes from the Northern Hemisphere. Measurements in Antarctica show that Southern Hemisphere CO2 level lags behind by 1 to 2 years, which reflects the interhemispheric mixing time. The ppmv-amount of the lag at a given time has increased according to increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. [Schimel 94, p 43] [Siegenthaler]

* Fossil fuels contain practically no carbon 14 (14C) and less carbon 13 (13C) than air. CO2 coming from fossil fuels should show up in the trends of 13C and 14C. Indeed, the observed isotopic trends fit CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. The trends are not compatible with a dominant CO2 source in the terrestrial biosphere or in the ocean. If you shun details, please skip the next two paragraphs.

* The unstable carbon isotope 14C or radiocarbon makes up for roughly 1 in 10**12 carbon atoms in earth's atmosphere. 14C has a half-life of about 5700 years. The stock is replenished in the upper atmosphere by a nuclear reaction involving cosmic rays and 14N [Butcher, p 240-241]. Fossil fuels contain no 14C, as it decayed long ago. Burning fossil fuels should lower the atmospheric 14C fraction (the `Suess effect'). Indeed, atmospheric 14C, measured on tree rings, dropped by 2 to 2.5 % from about 1850 to 1954, when nuclear bomb tests started to inject 14C into the atmosphere [Butcher, p 256-257] [Schimel 95, p 82]. This 14C decline cannot be explained by a CO2 source in the terrestrial vegetation or soils.

* The stable isotope 13C amounts to a bit over 1 % of earth's carbon, almost 99 % is ordinary 12C [Butcher, p 240]. Fossil fuels contain less 13C than air, because plants, which once produced the precursors of the fossilized organic carbon compounds, prefer 12C over 13C in photosynthesis (rather, they prefer CO2 which contains a 12C atom) [Butcher, p 86]. Indeed, the 13C fractions in the atmosphere and ocean surface waters declined over the past decades [Butcher, p 257] [C.Keeling] [Quay] [Schimel 94, p 42]. This fits a fossil fuel CO2 source and argues against a dominant oceanic CO2 source. Oceanic carbon has a trifle more 13C than atmospheric carbon, but 13CO2 is heavier and less volatile than 12CO2, thus CO2 degassed from the ocean has a 13C fraction close to that of atmospheric CO2 [Butcher, p 86] [Heimann]. How then should an oceanic CO2 source cause a simultaneous drop of 13C in both the atmosphere and ocean?

Overall, a natural disturbance causing the recent CO2 rise is extremely unlikely.
Real Climate has discussed the isotope ratio evidence in sciencespeak, and simplified sciencespeak. Finally, again in Real Climate, Corinne Le Quéré presents a new simple argument, pointing out that the only carbon reservoirs which can exchange CO2 rapidly enough to be consistent with the observed rise (a few years at most) are atmosphere, the upper oceans, and soils.
Why are the ocean and land taking up carbon, when we know that warming of the oceans reduces the solubility of CO2 and warming of the land accelerates bacterial degradation of the soils? The answer is that warming is not the only process that influences the oceans and land biosphere. The dominant process in the oceans is the response to increasing atmospheric CO2 itself. If the oceans had not warmed, they might have taken up even more carbon, although we cannot say for sure because warming may have other impacts, for example on marine biota. On land, bacterial degradation of the soils may have increased in response to warming, but for the moment this effect is smaller than the land response to other processes (for example fertilization by CO2 and nitrogen, changes in precipitation, etc).
And so to bed. We will revise this a bit tomorrow to polish it up and build better snark and then on to Part II: What have you done Dr. Robinson?

Which kind of brings us to Eth's guest appearance

and the lyrics to be filled in later Lyrics have been provided by Anonymuse as holiday Christmas gift for the two Johns. You can hear the original on YouTube or search under "sloop John B". With great trepedation and due humility (take that as read), Eli has made some minor editorial changes, he can be convinced that we are wrong. UPDATE: Made some more changes to lighten up the tone a bit. In this sort of thing you really have to be ironic rather than angry (or at least hide the anger well:)
We debunk the John-nies tales
The Lambot, Rabett and me,
'Round climate blogs we did roam
Blogging all night, got into a fight
The denialists are washed up, run along home.

So debunk the John-ny tales
See how incensed they get,
Send for James Hansen and more,
Run along home
Run along home
Run along home
The denialists are washed up, run along home.

The denialists they got paid,
for the nonsense that they made,
Men in labcoats came and took them away,
Lambots and Rabetts, don't let them alone
The denialists are washed up, go run along home.

So debunk the John-ny tales
See how weird they are,
Send for James Hansen and more,
Run along home
Run along home
Run along home
The denialists are washed up, run along home.

The Tuvaluans they got screwed,
Forced-to another latitude,
The rescue boats had to come and take them away
Carbon emitters, please let them alone.
The denialists are washed up, run along home.

So debunk the John-ny tales
See how bizarre they get,
Send for James Hansen and more,
Run along home
Run along home
Run along home
The denialists are washed up, run along home.