Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A List for James Inhofe....

Update 6/4/07

Welcome to our new friends from Planet Gore. You might be interested in some further comments on An Inconvenient Truth such as "The lag between temperature and CO2 (Gore's got it right)" and Glaciers (Al Gore got it right), and oh yes, sea level. For those wanting more details about the IPCC sea level rise statments, and why Gore's statement are not in disagreement with the latest IPCC report we have more from someone involved in drafting the IPCC report. More references on request.

Update 7/4

18. In the department of you take it from whence it comes we have Roy Spencer:

What would Spencer have said if he was contacted? It’s interesting to note that both he and the other skeptic E talked with had mixed reactions to An Inconvenient Truth. Asked if the film was scientifically accurate, Spencer said, “Partly yes and partly no. His explanation of global warming theory was very good. He correctly showed that the planet is warmer now than it has been in hundreds of years. But Gore said ‘thousands,’ and the National Academy of Sciences report says we know only that it is warmer than any time in the last 400 years. Gore repeatedly buys into the most catastrophic views and presents them as fact. And he incorrectly makes it appear as if extreme weather is increasing with global warming.”

But many scientists do believe that hurricane strength is affected by warmer water. Does Gore’s film go beyond that? “He shows all these things that happen naturally, ice calving off and falling into the ocean, for instance, droughts and floods—and implies that it is all related to global warming,” Spencer said. He also claimed that only two of the five scientists interviewed in Borenstein’s piece were actually climate scientists.

Update 7/2

17. Judith Curry
"You cannot blame any single storm or even a single season on global warming. ... Gore's statement in the movie is that we can expect more storms like Katrina in a greenhouse-warmed world. I would agree with this," said Judith Curry. She is chairwoman of Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and is co-author, with Mr. Webster, Mr. Holland and H.R. Chang, of a paper titled "Changes in Tropical Cyclones," in the Sept. 16 issue of Science, a weekly publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science."

16. I'll go out on a limb with Bob Watson, chief scientist of the World Bank and former head of the IPCC.

UPDATE 6/29:

15. Dr. Jeffrey Masters, meteorologist posted a review on his blog. Disagreed about the Katrina bit, but what the hell, he is a meteorologist

Senator James Inhofe is demanding that AP provide him the names of the 19 atmospheric scientists who told the press agency that the science in "An Inconvenient Truth" was accurate. I have gone through a number of articles and put together a list of the first 14 that I could find.

Here is a chance for climate scientists to step up to the plate. If you agree with Jim Hansen, Robert Corell, Eric Steig, and the others listed below, put your name, some indication of your expertise and any other words you may wish into the comments. I will move them up into the text, and we will have our own little list. The only rule is that you MUST be a climate scientist, or in a closely related field and have seen the movie or read the book.

1. James Hansen, NASA/GISS, - NY Review of Books
Indeed, Gore was prescient. For decades he has maintained that the Earth was teetering in the balance, even when doing so subjected him to ridicule from other politicians and cost him votes. By telling the story of climate change with striking clarity in both his book and movie, Al Gore may have done for global warming what Silent Spring did for pesticides. He will be attacked, but the public will have the information needed to distinguish our long-term well-being from short-term special interests.

2. Robert Corell, chairman of the worldwide Arctic Climate Impact Assessment - source AP

"I said, 'Al, I'm absolutely blown away. There's a lot of details you could get wrong.' ... I could find no error."

3. William Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. "Excellent. He got all the important material and got it right." - source AP

4. Karen Bice, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,
..saw Gore's film last week in New York City. As a scholar in paleoclimatology - the study of past climates - Bice said she was impressed with Gore's knowledge and said information presented in the documentary was factual. - Cape Cod On Line
5. "I saw it last night and was impressed with the climate science presented in the film," said David Archer, a climatologist at the University of Chicago. - Inter Press Service

6. Eric Steig University of Washington geochemist in Real Climate
How well does the film handle the science? Admirably, I thought. It is remarkably up to date, with reference to some of the very latest research. Discussion of recent changes in Antarctica and Greenland are expertly laid out. He also does a very good job in talking about the relationship between sea surface temperature and hurricane intensity. As one might expect, he uses the Katrina disaster to underscore the point that climate change may have serious impacts on society, but he doesn't highlight the connection any more than is appropriate (see our post on this, here).
7. Dr. Gavin Schmidt, NASA/GISS climate modeler in Salon
"Such an amount of relatively hard science could have been extremely dull, and I've been to a lot of presentations on similar stuff that were very dull," says Schmidt. "Where there was solid science, he presented it solidly without going into nuts and bolts, and where there were issues that are still a matter of some debate, he was careful not to go down definitively on one side or the other."
8. Lonnie Thompson, a professor at Ohio University, - in Salon
whose work on retreating glaciers from the Andes to Kilimanjaro and Tibet is featured in the film, was happy with the result. "It's so hard given the breadth of this topic to be factually correct, and make sure you don’t lose your audience," he says. "As scientists, we publish our papers in Science and Nature, but very few people read those. Here's another way to get this message out. To me, it's an excellent overview for an introductory class at a university. What are the issues and what are the possible consequences of not doing anything about those changes? To me, it has tremendous value. It will reach people that scientists will never reach."
9. John Wallace, of the University of Washington, in Salon
"I think that he's gone to great lengths to make the science comprehensible to the layman," he says. "Given the fact that this was a film intended to bring the message to the lay public, I think it was excellent."
10. David Battisti, a University of Washington scientist in the Seattle Pilot
There are some minor things I might nitpick, but they don't detract from the overall message," said .
11. At a screening organized by EPA scientists and engineers:

Bob Hall -- chief of EPA's air pollution technology branch, which does research on pollutants emitted by boilers and engines -- called the film an eye-opener.

"There is a little bit of politics in it," Hall said of the film. "Overall, it's more factual. I think he is doing a good public service if the public will watch it."....

12. continuing
Like her colleagues, Geri Dorosz, an environmental scientist, said the fact that the movie will bring the issue to a wider audience was inspiring.

"He is preaching to the choir here," Dorosz said. "Now, if he could preach to some of those that are singing out of tune."

13. Richard Gammon, another UW climate change expert, said the film could be "pretty shocking" for people who are in denial about global warming and see the movie as their first exposure to the evidence.

He doesn't criticize the science in the movie, but wished "it could have ended on a more positive note and talked a bit more about solutions." in the Seattle Pilot

14. And perhaps most touchingly in a tribut to Yoram Kaufman, the chief atmospheric scientist at NASA/Goddard, who was killed while riding his bike Laurie David said
In a fitting tribute, Yoram's NASA colleagues have arranged for a special memorial screening of "An Inconvenient Truth" to honor Yoram. The screening is open to the public....

NASA and other scientific agencies around the world observed a moment of silence during his memorial service on Sunday. The tribute even extended into space, where data collection on two satellite spacecraft ceased for the moment of remembrance.
Let's go

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flacking for death and destruction ....

One of the accidental themes of Rabett Run has been the smokescreen that a few scientists have put up to limit regulation of tobacco. Anyone paying attention knows that a rather small number of well paid scientists coordinated a campaign to provide cover for Big Tobacco. Strangely in large part they were the same people who now are out front on climate change denial.

The last refuge of the tobacco scoundrels was slipstream, or passive smoke. they spent considerable time denying that passive smoke was a problem, indeed, the the misleading sign up list strategy originatedwith the Heidelberg Appeal, which was designed as a three-fer to oppose regulation of tobacco smoking and disease causing substances legislation and acknowlegement that people were changing the Earth's climate. The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution took $20,000 for Fred Singer to produce a screed against passive smoke regulation

Today, the US surgeon general issued a report conclusively stating that passive smoking is extremely dangerous. The report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General can be read on line, along with the press release, remarks by the SG and the executive summary. The six major conclusions of the report are:

  • Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
  • Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
  • The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
In the news conference held to announce the report, the Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, stated that :
"Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children," the report added. "The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke."
"Nonsmokers need protection through the restriction of smoking in public places and workplaces and by a voluntary adherence to policies at home, particularly to eliminate exposures of children,"
Of course, the tobacco companies provided their usual denials
Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA unit said people could choose whether to be around smokers.
Phil might consider the babies whose moms and dads smoke.

Eli would like to ask Seitz and Singer and their fellow travelers on a very well paid road what they intend to do to make up for the harm they have caused? Those who have contributed to the smog machine have to ask themselves the same thing. On the other hand, it would really do the heart good to see them chased down by a mob of tort seeking lawyers. Were the world just, Singer, Seitz and Co. would spend the rest of their days in jail. Eli would settle for watching them spend the rest of their days in court.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


A few weeks ago, in a posting on sea level rise, Eli pointed out that sea level rise lags warming by a considerable extent. This accounts for a 500 year delay between when you stop emitting CO2 and the final sea level.

(click to enlarge)

To repeat the top figure is the prediction for increasing CO2 by 1% a year for 70 years and then holding it constant, the bottom is for increasing CO2 by 1% a year for 140 years and then holding it constant. But, as was pointed out, there is a caveat to this prediction, that glaciers respond slowly to external forcings.

A recent feature article in The Earth Observer, v. 18(3), p. 8, 2006 casts strong doubt on that article of fate. The authors, Leigh Stearns and Gordon Hamilton report on measurements by others on two glaciers in southeast Greenland, Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim. The flow has speeded up greatly, the calving front has rapidly retreated, and the ice surfaces are 100 m lower.

The 11-14 km/yr flow speed cannot be accounted for by internal pressure on the ice and the associated deformation.
The scientists speculate that warmer summer temperatures observed in this part of Greenland are melting increasing amounts of water that is subsequently stored in surface ponds. This melt water eventually reaches the glacier bed, lubricating the ice-rock interface, leading to acceleration. Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim glaciers are not the only glaciers in Greenland known to be undergoing recent rapid changes. Jakobshavn Isbræ, a tidewater glacier at a comparable latitude (69º N) in west Greenland accelerated 30% between 2000 and 2003 [Joughin et al., 2004] and retreated more than 3 km over the same period [Thomas et al., 2003]. The picture emerging from these observations is one in which large changes in ice dynamics can occur on short timescales of a few years. If the mechanism triggering the changes of Kangerdlugssuaq, Helheim and Jakobshavn affects other Greenland outlet glaciers, which currently show stable ice dynamics [Stearns et al., 2005], the mass balance of the ice sheet will become increasingly negative, unless balanced by an equal increase in snow accumulation, and rates of sea-level rise will increase much faster than current models predict.
Oh well.

Update: If you have not already read Jim Hansen's article in the New York Review of Books do so. The base of his argument is the catastropic scenerio discussed in this posting.

Update II: The LA Times publishes a front page article on Greenland glaciers in a perfect storm of articles in the yellow press. And, for the calmer heads we have an earlier post from Real Climate. ThLA Times article was picked up by Political Animal, and other blogs (follow the trackback)

Update III: And to close the circle, Real Climate answers Eli's request for more within the hour. Good going guys:)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nanny wants to know

if the forcing by CO2 has grown since 1950 and if the rate of growth of the forcing has increased. Fortunately for him, we can find the answer in a PNAS paper by Sato and Hansen

Click for clearer/larger image

These are not the forcings, but the rate of change of the forcings. The rate of growth for CO2 forcing has clearly increased, as has the forcing itself. On the otherhand, it appears that the CFC forcing is actually decreasing (thanks to the Montreal Protocols).

The actual changes in forcings and concentrations can be found in an earlier Rabett Run posting

PS. You can also find the forcing for CO2 in the PNAS article CO2 F = f(c) - f(co), where f(c) = 4.996 ln (c + 0.0005c2). co is the preindustrial value for the CO2 mixing ratio in ppm. From this and concentration data you can calculate changes in forcing and changes in the rates back to the year dot.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

There he goes again v.93 p.1220....

Eli has not visited the place with no name, but this evening as he was sitting innocently in the garden when Ethon came by and whispered in his ear about what was going on at Pielke Jrs. blog. Roger, of course is up to his old tricks, quite in line with his blog's namesake (Wikipedia).

Prometheus was a son of Iapetus by Clymene(one of the Ocenaids). He was a brother of Atlas, Menoetius and Epimetheus. He surpassed all in cunning and
Steve Bloom pointed to an article on Rick Piltz' Climate Science Watch
Lieberman calls on White House and NOAA to address climate science censorship allegations 6/14/06.
Of course, Steve would have done better to point at Climate Science Watch's long list of NOAA, shall we say, information management actions, each of which has an attached article and set of sources:

BBC Panorama: Has the Bush administration covered up the findings of global warming scientists? 6/07/06 - with remarks from NOAA's Thomas Knutson and Jerry Mahlman

NOAA censors speech by science experts on endangered salmon 6/04/06

Rep. David Wu requests GAO investigation of science manipulation and censorship 5/9/06 - including NOAA

House Science Committee Chair Calls for Reform of NOAA Public Affairs Policy 4/12/06

Washington Post reports "Climate Researchers Feeling Heat From White House" 4-9-06

Senators call for National Academy auditing of government reports on climate change 3-29-06 Directed toward actions of Dr. James Mahoney, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

Providence Journal: "NOAA hiding truth about hurricanes, scientists say" 3-29-06.

Former NOAA Lab Director: "Climate scientists within NOAA have been prevented from speaking freely" 3-10-06

Senate committee lets Adm. Lautenbacher off the hook on NOAA media restrictions 2-24-06 (Eli wrote on this one earlier)

Sen. Mikulski's letter requesting GAO report on openness in federal science communication 2-21-06 (specifically mentions NOAA)

Jim Hansen: NOAA "by fiat" put out "biased information" on hurricanes 2-16-06

The NOAA Media Policy: Political pre-approval for public communication by scientists 2-14-06
Rick Piltz's site is one stop shopping for those seeking to understand the game being played.
Rabett Run had some even more current comments by Warren Washington, which included a pointer back to a 1989 statement by Jerry Mahlman about how Bush administrations distort science.

As Steve Bloom said, nothing here, move on, just a day's work on Mount Caucasus, chewing on reality.
Update: Steve Bloom points out the post was from a guest, and that Steve wanted to use something recent. I will resist the urge to say still, and buy my pet Ethon a gig of error correcting memory.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The doctor is out.....

On deadline for a proposal. Writers block. Mom's birthday. Nothing new until Wed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NOAA (No Opposing this Administration's Attitudes)....

From the Rocky Mountain News we have the latest information about news management in the United States of America ......

Warren Washington, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, said that Bush appointees are suppressing information about climate change, restricting journalists' access to federal scientists and rewriting agency news releases to stress global warming uncertainties.
"The news media is not getting the full story, especially from government scientists," Washington told about 160 people attending the first day of "Climate Change and the Future of the American West," a three-day conference sponsored by the University of Colorado's Natural Resources Law Center.
.....Washington said in an interview that the climate cover-up is occurring at several federal agencies, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Forest Service. NOAA operates several Boulder laboratories that conduct climate and weather research.
Washington's comments echoed statements made by NASA climate researcher James Hansen in a Jan. 29 article in The New York Times. Hansen said the Bush administration tried to stop him from speaking out after he called for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
......Washington insisted that government officials are "trying to confuse the public" about climate change and the scientific consensus that global warming is a real problem.
This is an eerie echo of what happened in the first Bush administration. We have already heard from Jim Hansen back in 1989, how the Office of Management and Budget changed his written testimony to a Senate Subcommittee, here is Jerry Malman,
Sen. Gore: Dr. Mahlman, have you ever had an experience with OMB attempting to change your presentation of scientific conclusions to the Congress?

Dr. Mahlman: I have experienced a somewhat subdued version of a similar phenomenon.

Sen. Gore: You have?

Dr. Mahlman: Yes. This was for testimony prepared for analogous hearing for the House Appropriations Committee on the 21st of February, and that in my organization, NOAA, the issue came down to a struggle as to whether if an individual scientist is asked to offer testimony whether he or she speaks for him or herself.

And I got a lot of comments, not only from OMB, but from other people in the agency in the name of clearance of testimony that I found objectionable and also unscientific, and I pointed out to them that if I were to adhere to these recommendations that I would have an integrated testimony which would be severely embarrassing to me in the face of my scientific colleagues and that I wished to get a clarification as to whether there is clearance of testimony by people who are outside my suptervisory line or are they merely offering review of testimony which I always find valuable.

I did get reviews from OMB. I did receive conclusions from them and others that should have been changed in my testimony, according to their assertion that I found unacceptable, and I said that I find this unacceptable and I insist on having the right to offer my own testimony in my own words.

We in the scientific community demand the right to be wrong because if we do not have the right to be wrong, we have squelched the right to be creative.

And I made it very clear that I am speaking for myself, not for my agency, nor for Commerce, nor for OMB, and that seemed to be the end of it, and effectively for this testimony I did not receive similar feedback.

Sen. Gore: Were these scientists at OMB?

Dr. Mahlman: Not to my knowledge. They are all anonymous

Sen. Gore: Dr. Hansen, were there scientists in OMB who ordered the change in your testimony?

Dr. Hansen: I do not know them personally, so I really cannot say.

Sen Gore: These are nameless, faceless individuals with whom you are dealing, is that correct?

Dr. Hansen: Yes.

Sen. Gore: Sort of like members of the Science Politburo of the Bush Administration.
And, of course, if anyone wants data on whether this has continued at NOAA, we have the word of, why, Jerry Mahlman, via Rick Piltz web site
Contrary to Dr. Lautenbacher’s assertions, I state emphatically that climate scientists within NOAA have indeed recently been systematically prevented from speaking freely to anyone outside NOAA who is seeking information on the new scientific insights that have added to the prodigious amount of information gained recently on the scientific understanding of our inexorably warming planet. It is quite distressing that Dr. Lautenbacher has chosen in his “Message” to pretend that NOAA climate scientists have not been forbidden from speaking freely about their scientific contributions to global warming science, unless the call is accompanied by an Administraton “minder” of the conversation. From my recent personal experience, his contention is simply not true. A number of NOAA scientists have directly and openly disagreed with Lautenbacher’s statements that deny his direct connection with censorship of climate science
And, of course, anyone interested in more data about NOAA suppression of science can look at this page from the Piltz web site for several stories, or go directly to this BBC story and webcast

A US government whistleblower tells Panorama how scientific reports about global warming have been systematically changed and suppressed.
Some of America's leading climate scientists claim to Panorama that they have been censored and gagged by the administration.
.....Another scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tells Panorama he had research which established global warming could increase the intensity of hurricanes. He was due to give an interview about his work but claims he was gagged.
......Panorama learns that some scientists are afraid that what they see as a cover up will leave it too late for the US to have any hope of controlling climate changes brought about by global warming.
or this one about fisheries in the West from the Washington Post
The Washington office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- the agency responsible for protecting endangered salmon -- has instructed its representatives and scientists in the West to route media questions about salmon back to headquarters. Only three people in the entire agency, all of them political appointees, are now authorized to speak of salmon, according to a NOAA employee who has been silenced on the fish.
The order was issued the day after an article appeared last month in The Washington Post quoting federal technocrats making positive statements about two recent decisions -- one by a federal judge, the other by federal scientists -- that challenged previous Bush administration policy about protecting salmon in the troubled Klamath River, which flows out of Oregon into California.
And if you really wanted more data to show that NOAA is up to improved versions of it's old Bushite tricks, well Rick Piltz has a lot more on these activities at NOAA. Some of you might direct Rick's posts to the attention of the Captain Renault of climate blogging, who I am sure will be shocked, shocked to find that NOAA management is engaged in distorting science. We all know that Donald Kennedy, Kevin Trenberth, the IPCC, the FCCC are is the only one who do that.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Business was not usual (continued)

Jim Hansen, in his testimony to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (btw he testified four times on essentially the same topic between November 1987 and 1989) said:

For the future, it is difficult to predict reliably how trace gases will continue to change. In face, it would be useful to know the climatic consequences of althernative scenerios. So we have considered three scenarios for future trace gas growth, shown on the next viewgraph.

Scenerio A assumes the CO2 emissions will grow 1.5 percent per year and that CFC emissions will grow 3 percent per year. Scenerio B assumes constant future emissions. If populations increase, Scenerio B requires emissions per capita to decrease.

Scenerio C has drastic cuts in emissions by the year 2000, with CFC emissions eliminated entirely and other trace gas emissions reduced to a level where they just balance their sinks.

These scenarios are designed specifically to cover a very broad range of cases. If I were forced to choose one of these as most plausible, I would say Scenario B. My guess is that the world is now probably following a course that will take it somewhere between A and B
Of course, as we have seen in the previous post, atmospheric methane (CH4) concentrations have leveled off starting in 1990 and the Montreal Protocols are actually reducing the mixing ratios of the CFCs.

In testimony to the House Energy and Power Subcommittee Hansen made the following recommendations for immediate action:
I think we could take some steps now to reduce the rate of growth of the greenhouse effect. Chlorofluorocarbons, which destroy ozone, as well as cause 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, could be phased out entirely over an appropriate period of time. The manufacturers agree that there are or will be substitutes for the chlorofluorocarbons.

Also, we should increase our energy efficiency, because CO2 causes 55-60 percent of the greenhouse effect. There's a lot of room for improved efficiency. It would have other benefits, independent of the greenhouse effect, especially on our balance of payments deficit. How to get at that problem is, of course, a major difficulty and that's something you can address better than I can. I know that there are major ways that we could improve our energy efficiency.

Finally, I think we should discourage deforestation and encourage reforesetation, because that would not only reduce atmospheric CO2, but also preserve the habitat for innumerable, valuable biological species. The impact of these kinds of steps on the short run is going to be relatively small, but it's very important, because it would change the direction in which the greenhouse effect is headed. Instead of the sharp, upward ramp that we're on now, it could put us on a more manageable course on the longer term, over the next several decades.
Before anyone gets crazy, the "CO2 causes 55-60 percent of the greenhouse effect", clearly refers to the forcing, not the total greenhouse effect.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Business as usual in 1988

More silly indirection from Pat Michaels, about Hansen's Scenerio A. In essence, Michaels is claiming that Scenerio A was "business as usual" and since nothing was done about greenhouse gases, it should be the reference for checking the accuracy of the 1988 GISS model. You can find links to links at Deltoid, and, of course, we have been blog, blog, blogging along over here at Updike Upper Falls.

However, greenhouse gas forcing has been less than the 1988 business as usual would anticipate, principally because of a flattening of the mixing ratios for methane (CH4), and the chlorofluorocarbons. In the former case economics was the driving force, in the latter, policy as expressed in the Montreal Protocols. We can see this by looking at the NOAA ANNUAL GREENHOUSE GAS INDEX from which the following graphs showing the mixing ratios for CO2, CH4, N2O and the CFCs are taken. In the upper left hand corner of each graph I have put the approximate (2001) amount that each of the greenhouse gases contributes to the forcing.

Clearly, the 1988 business as usual trajectories for methane and the CFCs would have lead to a very different situation than the current one. We can see this in a graph taken from the same source which shows all of the greenhouse gas forcings (a strength of the forcing concept is that it allows a useful comparison of the effect of different greenhouse gases/solar insolation, etc.)

(click to enlarge)
Business as usual would imply that the fairly linear increase in forcing up to 1988 continue. That would imply an additional ~10% forcing today.

(to be continued)

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Senator Gore: I would like to start with you, Dr. Hansen

In your statement you respond to our request for information on our scientific understanding of global climate models and our effort to determine which effects are pretty well understood and which effects are subject to change as we learn more about the models.

You respond by saying among other things, that as the models improve and more evidence becomes available, it is not very likely that scientists will change their conclusion that increases in greenhouse gases will intensity drought in the middle and low latitude land areas like the Midwest of the United States.

I am puzzled that you also say on that same point on page 4 of your statement that you want to stress that you do not really believe that and that as the computer models evolve, that conclusion will very likely evolve and should not be regarded as reliable.

I think I know the answer to the question I am about to ask you, but why do you directly contradict yourself in the testimony you are giving about this scientific question?

Dr. Hansen: Let me first rephrase exactly what we said in that regard because when I discussed this with my scientific colleagues the slight rephrasing makes a difference.

What I said was we believe it is very unlikely that this overall conclusion drought intensification at most middle and low latitude land areas if greenhouse gases increase rapidly, will be modified by improved models. Now, that is what I believe and it is what I wrote.

The last paragraph in that section which seems to be in contradiction to that was not a paragraph which I wrote. It was added to my testimony in the process of review by OMB, and I did object to the addition of that paragraph because in essence it says that I believe that all the scientific conclusions that I just discussed are not reliable, and I certainly do not agree with that.

Senator Gore: Now we are confronted with the most difficult environmental question humankind has ever faced and we are forced out of necessity to fashion policy on the basis of science that is incomplete and as we gain more information, we find more justification for toughening the actions.

I think we know enough already and a lot of other people believe that. But the Administration does not want to act. They want to sit still and do nothing, and as the evidence becomes clearer and clearer, they become more and more afraid of the scientists coming up here and telling us how much closer they are to certainty about what is going on. -
May 8, 1989, Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space
There is lots more to come :). BTW, that's three links to follow in the title line.

Update: Coby Beck asks what OMB is in the comments. It is the Office of Management and Budget, through which the US president manages the US government.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

You say emissions, I say concentrations .....

and together we say forcings. I see that even I have been caught up in confusing emissions and concentrations in the various scenerios described by Hansen et al. To clear this up, Hansen et al., made a forecast of what the mixing ratios would be for CO2 and methane. They did not predict emissions. They predicted emissions for the CFCs. Building on previous work of Weiss (J. Geophys. Res. 86 (1981) 7185, they predicted emission scenerios for N2O, although this is somewhat hidden in the description.

However, the real point of all this is that it is possible to produce simple, accurate predictions of future forcing over a 15 year period, and perhaps longer. On the other hand emission scenerios are easier to link to social and economic policy decisions.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Continuing our series.....

on the emission scenerios in Hansen, et al, 1988 (implicit to Hansen's congressional testimony) we now show a comparison between the predicted methane concentrations from Scenerios A, B and C.

(Click on image to enlarge and make clearer)

There is a bit of a cheat here. Hansen, et al. assumed that the mixing ratio was 1.4 ppb in 1958. The figure above assumes 1.34 to give the best fit to the data. The figure below shows the mixing ratios assuming 1.40, 1.34 and 1.30 ppb in 1958 with Scenerio C as described in Hansen et al.

(Click on image to enlarge and make clearer)

There are a number of issues here. First of all the methane mixing ratio series does not extend as far back as that for CO2. Eli is using Blake's (UC Irvine) data which extends back to 1979. Blake analyzes grab samples by gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector. This is an accurate and sensitive method. Samples are taken at fixed sites at different latitudes (Mauna Loa and Antarctic stations are used) and on ship transects. Keep in mind that since methane has an atmospheric lifetime of only a few years, that concentration will vary with latitude and altitude, since the sources are at the surface and emissions are concentrated in the northern hemisphere. Thus it is not trivial to say which of the three starting points is the best. For example, the lower one is more representative of the Antarctic measurements, the top one of mid northern latitudes, and so on.

The important points associated with these scenerios and the data are:

- Scenerio C from Hansen, et al. was a good model for the actual CH4 mixing ratios for about a decade.

- Scenerios A and B were overestimates for methane forcing

- Beyond 2005, even Scenerio C is beginning to exceed actual mixing ratios.

- Claims by Michaels that actual emissions followed Scenerio A are falsified for both CO2 and CH4. At best Michaels is culpable for not RTFR. At worst he is a stone liar and a perjurer.

- Those attempting to defend Michaels have either not RTFR, or cannot UTFR or are just passing gas.

- Comparison of trends in greenhouse gas emissions with these predictions show that alternative scenerios such as those proposed by Hansen are possible.

- Most importantly it shows that reasonable scenerios can be constructed over a ~20 year period (contrast that with economics for example).

- It shows that many details in emission scenerios are unimportant, or rather that false estimates in one direction are most likely going to be cancelled by false estimates in the other for a different forcing agent, and that on average the scenerios should be useful for larger periods.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Update on scenerios....

It looks increasingly like Scenerio C from Hansen et al, is a much the best match (except for CO2 after 2000) to the actual greenhouse gas mixing ratios up till now. If you look at the prediction, there is not much difference between those for Scenerios B and C. The bottom line is that anyone who says Scenerio A is the best match is blowing smoke. Finding a consistent set of data for all of the non-CO2 greenhouse gases is proving to be a problem. Hopefully graphs tomorrow.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Scenerio A B and C

Having posted on Hansen et al., assumptions for CO2 forcing, it struck me that there was some value in posting the scenerios for the other gases. Might even get others to do some of the work.


A: Begins at 1.4 ppbV in 1958. Increases by 0.06%/yr until 1970, 1%/yr until 1980 and 1.5%/yr thereafter.

B. Begins at 1.4 ppbV in 1958. Increases by 0.06%/yr until 1970, 1%/yr until 1980, 1.5%/yr until 1990, 1%/yr until 2000 and 0.5%/yr thereafter

C. Begins at 1.4 ppbV in 1958. Increases by 0.06%/yr until 1970, 1%/yr until 1990, 0.5%/yr until 1990, 1%/yr until 2000 and is constant thereafter.

Amazingly, the data most closely matches scenerio C. Methane concentrations level off ~1990 so all scenerios overestimate methane concentrations. Scenerio A is wildly off. This is a serious problem for anyone trying to claim that Scenerio A is the McGuffin.
CFCs (principally CFC-11 and 12) . Note: the scenerios look at emissions not concentrations. CFC lifetimes are assumed to be 75 and 150 years

A: Data ends in 1982. Emissions are assumed to increase at a rate of 3%/yr.

B. Data ends in 1982. Emissions increase at a 3%/yr until 1990, 2% until 2000, 1% until 2010 and are constant thereafter.

C. Data ends in 1982. Emissions increase at a 3%/yr until 1990 and then decrease linearly to zero.

The problem with interpreting this is that while C best approximated what happened with CFCs, the HFCs that were introduced in their stead have a significant greenhouse potential. This would have to be factored in. The Scenerios model increases in other CFC like molecules by multiplying the CFC forcing by two.

A: Increases 0.1% from 1958, 0.2% from 1980, 0.4% from 2000 and 0.9% in 2030

B. Defined differently (weird) Uses a formula that depends on anthropogenic emissions which are assumed to start at a 3.5%/yr growth rate in 1988, decline to 2.5%/yr in 1990, 1.5% in 2000 and 0.5% in 2010.

C. Flat lines after 1988.

I have to RTFRs to get beyond this to concentrations and forcings, but it is clear that Scenerio A is an overestimate for the actual forcings since 1988.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

As Mr Dooley says, trust everyone, but cut the cards....

On second thought, maybe we should exclude Pat Michaels from that. More of a shake hands and count your fingers type that boy. A few weeks ago, I posted on a push back that had developed against Hansen, and his 1988 testimony to congress. A version of the key graph from Hansen's presentation, with the data up to 2000 is shown below (UPDATE: Eli substituted a new figure with observations updated until 2005 from PNAS: Global temperature change Hansen, Sato, et al. 2006 [5/11/07])

As you may recall, our boy Pat in later testimony to the US Congress, had erased the lines showing scenerios B and C and then claimed that Hansen's prediction was too high. In defense of Michaels, folk were claiming that Hansen had never said that scenerio B was the most likely. Eli went and RTFR (J. Geo Res. 93 (1988) 9341), and sure enough Hansen et al. sure enough said that B was the most likely scenerio

Now comes Paul Krugman, who as part of a column on the mendicity of the global warming denialists (Swift Boating the Planet), flat out calls Michaels a fraud, and takes Hansen to task for being unwilling to do so.
Even now, Dr. Hansen seems reluctant to say the obvious. "Is this treading close to scientific fraud?" he recently asked about Dr. Michaels's smear. The answer is no: it isn't "treading close," it's fraud pure and simple.
This, of couse, sets the cat among the canaries. Michaels posting from the Climate Change Denial Center of the world replied that he was sorely wounded, and then sets us off on a wild goose chase, commiting a second fraud.
NASA scientist James Hansen had a model that did just this, published in 1988, and referred to in his June 23, 1988 Senate testimony as a “Business as Usual” (BAU) scenario.
BAU generally assumes no significant legislation and no major technological changes. It’s pretty safe to say that this was what happened in the succeeding ten years.
He had two other scenarios that were different, one that gradually reduced emissions, and one that stopped the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 2000. But those weren’t germane to my discussion. Somehow, Krugman labelled my not referring to them as “fraud.”
The BAU scenario produced a whopping surface temperature rise of 0.45 degrees Celsius in the short period from 1988 through 1997, the last year for which there was annual data published by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the time of my testimony. The observed rise was 0.11 degrees.
I cited the reasons for this. In fact, the rate of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere was quite constant–rather than itself increasing like compound interest–during the period.
The reason this is a fraud, is that there is very little difference up to 2004 in CO2 mixing ratios for Senerios A and B (and C tracks right along until 2000 when it goes flat). The graph below shows the data (Mauna Loa), and the predictions of Hansen's Scenerios A, B and C for CO2 concentrations.

(Click to enlarge and produce a clearer image)
Moreover, the assumptions of Hansen, et al. for the growth of CO2 concentrations was very good (both Scenerios A and B are about 2 ppm lower than measured in 2004). OTOH, we are now only about 18 years from the publication of the Hansen paper.

Until 2010, the difference in forcing between Hansens scenerios A and B all come from changes in concentration of chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide and volcanic eruptions. You can see this in Fig. 2 from the paper. That figure shows (copy below) forcings from CO2 increases (top), CO2 + trace gases (middle) and CO2 + trace gases + aerosols from volcanos (bottom).

(Click to enlarge)

The dip in the bottom third near ~1982 represents the effect of the eruption of El Chichon, the later dips are guesses about when major eruptions will occur. Pinatubo came at in the 90s, a bit earlier than assumed, but the depth of the effect was about right.

So now the question is, how well did Scenerios A, B and C match the actual growth of concentrations of the other greenhouse gases and how well did the observed forcing match that assumed in each Scenerio. Unfortunately that means I have to find the observational data. Hints are allowed.

P.S. I see from Michaels post that RPJ has jumped the Hansen shark again.
On May 30, Roger Pielke, Jr., a highly esteemed researcher at University of Colorado’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, examined Hansen’s scenarios. Of the two “lower” ones, he concluded, “Neither is particularly accurate or realistic. Any conclusion that Hansen’s 1988 prediction got things right, necessarily must conclude that it got things right for the wrong reason.” (italics in original)
Well Roger, if you happen to peek in you can see that Hansen, Fung, Lacis, Rind, Lebedeff, Ruedy and Russell nailed the CO2 concentrations and the forcing from it.

Update: The emission scenerios for methane (CH4) are now posted.