Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Post Without Name

Received from Rabett Run's special Onion correspondent. Read at your own risk

NEW YORK—In a statement posted this morning on several Warmist websites ( here, here, here, and here) comprising the Global Warming Network, IPCC, claimed responsibility for last Thursday's devastating personal attack on Northern California resident Anthony Watts.

The highly coordinated strike, targeted the unsuspecting TV weatherman as he exited a meeting where he had received further marching orders from Roger Pielke Sr. and made light of Watt's failure to execute a useful experimental design for the Surface Station Project, related to his complete lack of training and meaningful qualifications, and inability to meet single women, occurred at 9:32 AM. At 9:35 AM, a second wave of vicious insults was reportedly launched at Watts, obliterating what little remained of his self-esteem.

"The foot soldiers of IPCC have struck at this pathetic slob of a man with righteous force, and they have brought him down," read the statement from the James Hansen Kombat Brigade hiding in the wastelands of northern Manhattan. All praise to Claude N. Williams, Jr., and Michael A. Palecki from the NOAA/National Climatic Data CenterNational Climate Data Center, who carried out the personal attack. "There is nothing left of him now. Anthony Watts has been destroyed."

"Praise be to Rajandra K. Pachauri," the statement continued. "Rajandra K. Pachauri is great."
Not the IPCC (NIPCC) officials and funders from the Heatland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise institute told reporters that it could take months to determine the full extent of the damage from what they are calling the worst ever ad hominem strike on a climate denialist blog, even as mop up crews from pielkeclimatesci and Watts Up With That worked the Internet around the clock to salvage whatever bits of Watt's' self-respect they could from the wreckage.

"Never before has our nation witnessed such brutal mockery," NIPCC Director S. Fred Singer said. "It appears that the IPCC had been monitoring Mr. Watts long enough to become fully conversant in his insecurities, and was prepared to employ any means necessary, even pointing out his huge, Neanderthal-like statistical ignorance, to achieve its terrible goal. Indeed, there wasn't a single emotional sore spot—from his lack of scientific training to the fact that most scientists don't seem to like him—that they did not exploit. "

"It's unthinkable," Singer added. "They even reminded Tony about the time nobody showed up to his NIPCC talk for whom we had not paid the admission fee. Indeed, even there, some of the street people were extremely disrespectful even though we fed them well."

When asked by reporters why the NIPCC had failed to prevent the hurtful attack, Singer said it was impossible for the NIPCC to secure every potential target in a denialosphere so densely populated with losers. Substantial resources had already been expended defending the hopeless Ian Plimer and the emergency squads were out dealing with Rosegate when the attack on Watts began. Other resources were engaged in an attack on the great enemy Pachauri coordinated by Roger Pielke Jr. who had made his Roladex available to the NIPCC in a major campaign.

"At this time, we simply don't have the resources necessary for such an undertaking," Singer said. "As much as we would like to, we cannot guarantee the safety of every TV weather presenter who sleeps on a futon and still has not graduated from high school junior college although almost 50 years old."
Critics, however, pointed to the fact that the IPCC allied blogistas had attempted a similar personal attack on Watts in 2009, one that might have succeeded had it not been for an uncharacteristic intelligence-gathering error on the warmists part when we were able to temporarily trick force You Tube into taking down a video critical of Watts.

"We know that the IPCC will keep returning to a target until they get their desired result," CEI director Myron Ebell said. "Seven months ago, for whatever reason, they failed to take into account that Mr. Watts had been feeling pretty good about having learned how to operate a digital camera that morning and was optimistic about a job interview he'd just been on. That attack was unsuccessful, but we should have learned from it."

"I mean, just look at the guy," Ebell added. "It's hard to imagine a more vulnerable target."
While acknowledging that there is no foolproof way of protecting oneself against the cruelly incisive barbs of the IPCC and the warmist bloggers, NIPCC released today a list of basic self-maintenance measures that Americans, particularly the most defenseless sad sacks, should employ to minimize their risk. Chief among these is learning how to read the scientific literature and do basic statistics. According to Singer, small, relatively easy improvements in literacy and numeracy can deprive the IPCC of obvious defects upon which to capitalize. Special teams have been detached to help Chiefio understand what an anomaly is.

"All denialists must be vigilant about checking their FORTRAN code and elimate GOTOs," Singer said. "Also, they should not directly call Gavin Schmidt names, but leave that to the comments and the FOIA demands."

"A personal attack can come at any time and when you least expect it, whether you're lounging around all weekend at the NIPCC conference or sitting in the waiting room of a brain-loss clinic," he added.

Ebell stressed that there was no immediate threat of a personal strike against any particular individual. However, he admitted that his department was closely monitoring a number of "soft targets," including Epsom resident Richard Courtney, chronically outraged Canadian blogger Steven McIntyre, the walkabout Jennifer Marohasy, and Scrotum, a 28-year-old ruined castle resident who divides his time between fighting UN jackboots on-line in the World of Climatecraft and staring glassy-eyed at old family yearbooks late at night.

"I've personally monitored a few of these targets myself," Singer said. "Believe me, an attack from the IPCC is the last thing these losers need."

Received from our special correspondent at the Onion. Read at your own risk


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tom's trick and experimental design

By now all the bunnies are all familiar with"Mike's trick". How Michael Mann realized that if you want to show global temperature anomaly changes and your proxies end in 1980, you show the trend into the late 1990s by using the more reliable instrumental records.

But Tom Karl has a pretty good trick too. Realizing that it was impossible to jump back into the wayback machine and improve the COOP stations in the US Historical Climate Network he set up the US Climate Reference Network,

Its primary goal is to provide future long-term homogeneous observations of temperature and precipitation that can be coupled to long-term historical observations for the detection and attribution of present and future climate change. Data from the USCRN will be used in operational climate monitoring activities and for placing current climate anomalies into an historical perspective. The USCRN will also provide the United States with a reference network that meets the requirements of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). If fully implemented, the network will consist of about 110 stations nationwide. Implementation of the USCRN is contingent on the availability of funding.
As Eli put it In other words, here is a sensible way of checking the accuracy of older climate networks in the past and calibrating them in the future. Pictures of stations in the network can be found on the web site. The stations are designed to be optimal, with respect to location, instrumentation and operation. The USCRN design is paired, that is the USCRN stations are near USHCN stations and the results of the network compared. Indeed, the Menne paper (Excellent discussions here, here, here, and here, Class 5 discussions here. Snit fit here) does exactly that showing that not only are the temperature anomalies from the best and worst USHCN stations identical, but that they also overlay those of the USCRN. Coupled with the excellent agreement over a now thirty year period between the various MSU and surface station temperature anomalies (NOAA, GISSTemp, HadCRUT) sensible people understand that properly constructed global temperature anomalies such as GISSTemp, HADCRUT, RSS, and UAH are yielding an accurate and precise picture of global climate change. That Karl's Trick (TM- ER) is working is the real take home from the Menne paper.

In 2008 Friend Atmoz had pretty well shown that Pielke Sr. and Watts were on a snipe hunt with their surface station picture show. Atmoz first looked in detail at two of the best US HCN stations in Minnesota, finding that the correlation between stations ~220 km apart was greater than 0.9 using the raw data from the USHCN archive. One of these was in a rural location, in a field, and the other at an airport (the Watts boys are moaning about airports not being real good stations, but Atmoz has preemptively shown that this is just shinola). Furthermore Atmoz showed that the correlation between what Watt's called an awful station, Detroit Lakes, and the good stations was also very high (> 0.8)

Atmoz's conclusions were
  • This area of the USHCN is over-sampled [ER- holds for all of the US except maybe Alaska]
  • CRN ratings as applied by do not contribute a great deal to yearly average temperatures
  • The urban heat island (UHI) may not have a large effect in this region [ER-Note this refers to the anomalies]
  • Local heat sources, such as airplanes and air-conditioners, have only a small influence upon the temperature record [ER - at least as far as the anomalies]
However, dear bunnies, it was Atmoz's second post a couple of months later that exposed Tom Karl's trick, here he plots the monthly anomalies of the University of Arizona COOP station with and that of a US CRN station at the Senora Desert Museum which is ideally situated. Our friend Tony Watts, of course, had been dissing the UofA station.
This and the graph from Menne at the top shows that Karl's trick is working. Although we only have seven to eight years of the CRN, that is enough to show that neighboring US HCN and CRN stations measure the same high frequency variations in temperature anomalies and it is unlikely that long term trends will differ. It is also a clear validation of GISSTemp's assumption that measurements at locations considerable distance from each other are strongly correlated and that one can make use of that correlation to estimate temperature anomalies at locations which are not directly measured.

But there is more, faithful readers, that is but the half of it. The strength of Karl's Trick (TM ER) is that the CRN was carefully designed. Among other things, NOAA figured out that they only needed ~100 stations to adequately determine climate trends for the US. They were also careful to site CRN stations near USHCN stations, they over instrumented them and more

Contrast this with the helter skelter Surface Stations nonsense. Today Watts moans that
Texas state Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon suggested way back at 33% of the network surveyed that we had a statistically large enough sample to produce an analysis. I begged to differ then, at 43%, and yes even at 70% when I wrote my booklet “Is the US Surface Temperature Record Reliable?, which contained no temperature analysis, only a census of stations by rating. 

The problem is known as the “low hanging fruit problem”. You see this project was done on an ad hoc basis, with no specific roadmap on which stations to acquire. This was necessitated by the social networking (blogging) Dr. Pielke and I employed early in the project to get volunteers. What we ended up getting was a lumpy and poorly spatially distributed dataset because early volunteers would get the stations closest to them, often near or within cities. 
The urban stations were well represented in the early dataset, but the rural ones, where we believed the best siting existed, were poorly represented. So naturally, any sort of study early on even with a “significant sample size” would be biased towards urban stations. We also had a distribution problem within CONUS, with much of the great plains and upper midwest not being well represented. 
This is why I’ve been continuing to collect what some might consider an unusually large sample size, now at 87%.
Even at 33% there were more than enough stations. So how do we interpret Watts' lament. Well, if it were Watts alone maybe he should attend an experimental design seminar, but since Roger Pielke Sr. is pulling the strings, this can only be seen as an attempt to put off the evil day they are now confronting. Is this evidence of bad faith, why yes.

Surveys can be corrected for population density if you know what the population density is, and area averages are easy to do. Over-representation of urban/suburban stations can thus be corrected for if one really wants to know the answer.

Oh yeah, can't resist pointing out that in 2007 Eli noted that
UPDATE: Following the crumbs left by the mice (Dano and Chuck) in the comments below, Eli observes that this is exactly what Roger's survey is designed to do with its bias, nay more than bias, prejudice for photographing sites close to people, e.g. in developed areas. Folk are going to take pictures of sites near them, so they are going to get a sample heavily tilted towards sites near them. It will be fun to correlate the locations of sites photographed with voting patterns. Of course we have the American speaking bias on top of that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's a slow week

So Eli opens the comments for

Links your Mom would have warned you to avoid like the plague
Science fiction only please

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Honest Joker

In a recent thread, somewhere or other, Eli forgets, Roger Pielke Jr. asked Eli to comment on his policy studies. Now true, Ethon would like a bite, but we are ever so earnest here at Rabett Run and the policy person formerly known as #14 deserves an answer, although the Rabett respectfully declines the opportunity of doing it at Roger's new place. Dad Rabett taught Eli the need to control the message. From the Ragged Edge of Reality we have a pretty good description of where RPJ is coming from: There is no need for scientists to get involved in policy cause he will handle it all.

Eli has remarked on the immaturity of Roger's policy framework before, but to be fair, he went and read the "Honest Broker". It is a piece of incredibly immature twaddle, if this is policy studies then policy studies got big problems. To repeat myself (which Eli does very well), Roger's naive injection (let's be nice) of the "honest broker" into climate science policy studies has pushed discussion into a fruitless direction. As with many such things, reality shows how hollow this is. IEHO looking at what brokers do in the real world better illuminates the issue.

Brokers do not expand the scope of choices available to clients, they narrow them. Brokers make markets. Brokers make a living by matching buyers to sellers and taking a commission (You thought they do it for free? What carrot wagon you fall off of bunny?). Ethical brokers will go out on the market seeking product suited to clients and will seek clients suited to products available to them. Ethical brokers have mutual obligations to sellers and buyers, to qualify the buyers and vet the sellers, not to sell every piece of nuclear waste to every rube with a cell phone.

Good brokers know what is available for purchase and what their buyer's needs are. They select the best matches (with allowance for the front and back end fees they are going to collect). The broker you want often tells the client NO, don't do that. Where the client insists on committing financial suicide the ethical broker is obligated to tell the buyer to take the business elsewhere. Contrast this with Roger's model of how the "honest broker" gives advice on how to find food

. . you might instead provide your visitor with information on all restaurants in the city, basic information on each (cost, menu, etc.) and let the visitor face the challenge of reducing the scope of choice (i.e., making a decision). Such "honest brokering" could also be strong (e.g., a comprehensive guide to all restaurants in the city) or weak (e.g., a guide to all those within a 5 minutes walk). The defining characteristic of the honest broker is an effort to expand (or at least clarify) the scope of choice for decision making.
Notice that the "honest broker" is not allowed to say that the food sucks, or that the place was closed for health violations, lest she become the dreaded "Issue Advocate" Pielke's "honest broker"slams the Yellow Pages down on the counter and leaves.

His argument is that all choices are political/personal by nature and the proper broker's role is to show all products and not advise the client based on technical knowledge and experience. At best this is postmodernism, that power determines reality. Even in the best comments section (Hi Marky!) you can always find someone who denies quantum mechanics, that tobacco smoke causes cancer, or HIV causes AIDS, or that increasing greenhouse gases will lead to increased global warming. Pielke is telling the powerful to do what they want, there is no reality beyond what they create.

Peilke's honest broker is simply a Thabo Mbeki enabler, allowing the former South African President to glom onto far out denialist science fiction on HIV as equal to the best research and expert advice available. Many people died and are dying because of that attitude. Fundamentally Pielke cannot accept that there are experts in anything who might provide educated advice. There is no better illustration of Pielke's nihilism than his description in the "Honest Broker" of the 2003 Soon, Baliunas and Robinson paper that appeared in Climate Research
It is characteristic of the science and politics of the early twenty-first century to see scientists actively engaged in political debates and particularly as related to the environment. For example, when a 2003 paper in the journal Climate Research argued that twentieth century climate variations were unexceptional in millennial perspective advocacy groups opposed to the Kyoto Protocol predictably hailed the research as “sound science”, while advocacy groups in support of the Protocol called the paper “junk science” (Regalado 2003). In this case, more troubling than the “cherry picking” of scientific results by Issue Advocates (scare capitals –ER) is that many scientists’ evaluations of the scientific merit of the Climate Research paper correlated perfectly with their public expressions of support for or opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change
There is no attempt to come to grips with whether the paper was a contribution to knowledge or a provocation (Hint), and no discussion of how the most expert editors resigned when that piece of trash was forced into the journal. Roger's assumption is that the science follows the policy, not the policy view the science.

Roger is not shy about evaluating claims by the likes of James Hansen, Kevin Trenberth or the Munich Re folk, and always finding fault with them, but he is curiously shy about doing the same for Pat Michaels, S. Fred Singer and that ilk which is a marker of what he is really about. There is no better illustration of Pielke's track record of dishonesty than his attempt to tear Evan Mills down. Mills, of course, thinks that there is evidence that cyclone damage is increasing, something that Roger Pielke Jr. disagrees with.

Since his orientation is towards serving power (a well known and excellent career track for political scientists), the only thing that counts is power and appearance. In a comment at Cruel Mistress, Roger unmasks himself. Ben Hale discusses the morality of cruise ships stopping at a guarded enclave in Hati immediately after the earthquake. Roger, as usual, thinks its all about him and the only thing wrong would be getting caught in public.
There are a lot of other choices that we all make that are equally insensitive, but the don’t look bad because no one sees them. So perhaps pointing to Royal Caribbean and saying tsk tsk makes us feel a bit better about those other things.
He is quite the expert in erasing context. For example, in discussing tobacco he said
In the battle over smoking efforts to deny a link between smoking and health risks seems to have been completely a lost effort.
This is consistent with Pielke's effort to frame other issues has a huge role in getting a subject onto the "agenda" of decision making, but after that, its role is very much diminished and subsumed to other factors, such as cultural, social, and political. If this is correct, it would require some deeper understanding about the role of advocacy related to scientific issues and the efficacy of using science as a tool of advocacy.
and he continues
This begs the question -- why has anti-smoking advocacy been so successful over time? The throwaway answer that increasing scientific certainly is the key does not seem to jibe with this data.
The problem with this whole line of reasoning is that it is built upon a falsehood. The tobacco industry used advertising, public relations campaigns, Potemkin science, litigation, and any other method it could find to maintain revenues. Deaths were collateral damage. This is no secret to anyone who reads the newspapers let alone science journals. The mortality data and the data on tobacco use and its relationship to advertising both pro and con is readily available to anyone who makes the smallest effort to search. The Potemkin science allowed all of the other efforts to go forward, providing a screen against the imperative necessity of eliminating tobacco that were being uncovered by medical research. The tobacco companies were the successful ones, with all the facts against them, they delayed action for decades, but in the postmodern Pielke World, there are no facts. (Except that there has been no measureable increase in tropical cyclone intensity, that Roger reluctantly accepts as a fact)

Eli awaits Roger complaining that his specific policy proposals have not been discussed. True enough. Tomorrow comes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The hedgehog and the hyena

It is pretty clear that the hedgehogs of the world understand what the hyenas don't, that given enough measurements the imperfections in individual weather stations average out and you are left with reliable trends, at least if you understand what area averaging is and how to correct for things like the time of day that different folks measure at. John V (in the comments, and the graphs have disappeared in the reorganization of the site, here they are, thanks to Valtteri Maja and Zeke Hausfather) at Climate Audit and later at Hyena Watt's place figured that out early when he compared the trends in the best and the worst stations and found essentially no difference..

However, there are surprises. The bunnies bring words in several threads at Rabett Run that Matthew J. Menne, Claude N. Williams, Jr., and Michael A. Palecki from the NOAA/National Climatic Data CenterNational Climate Data Center have been looking at dirty pictures of weather stations in the US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), and those in the carefully sited, but new US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) and come to the conclusion:

Recent photographic documentation of poor siting conditions at stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has led to questions regarding the reliability of surface temperature trends over the conterminous U.S. (CONUS). To evaluate the potential impact of poor siting/instrument exposure on CONUS temperatures, trends derived from poor and well-sited USHCN stations were compared. Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures. These results underscore the need to consider all changes in observation practice when determining the impacts of siting irregularities. Further, the influence of non-standard siting on temperature trends can only be quantified through an analysis of the data. Adjustments applied to USHCN Version 2 data largely account for the impact of instrument and siting changes, although a small overall residual negative (“cool”) bias appears to remain in the adjusted maximum temperature series. Nevertheless, the adjusted USHCN temperatures are extremely well aligned with recent measurements from instruments whose exposure characteristics meet the highest standards for climate monitoring. In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.
Eli will add more links later. He understands that the howling has already begun over at the kennel. Bring hankies.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another damn puzzler

The lapse rate is the rate of cooling with altitude based on the compression of the atmosphere by gravity. Here is a short derivation of the adiabatic lapse rate
Of course, it's not as simple as that, but to first order it predicts a constant decrease in temperature with altitude. The graph to the right is a represents that with a few twists and turns.

One of the bleats of denial, based on such graphs is that "the temperature profile of the atmosphere has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect", but this is not true.


Eli already gave the answer elsewhere, so they who should not be named should be still for a short while.

Eli promises to link to the answer given by Pieter Vermeesch who wrote the New Years Puzzler. Several have already spotted it. You may, of course, choose to differ


In 2000, NOAA changed some of its reporting for the US Historical Climate Network Data. In 2007, Steve McIntyre discovered an inconsistency about how GISSTEMP processed the information. Obviously this error could only affect post 2000 data, but mysteriously many reports claimed that this had forced GISS to re-rank 1934 as the warmest US year instead of 1998 and the change had arisen from the correction found (Eli will resist the temptation to snark) by Blogger McIntyre (sounds Canadian, eh?). Even Gavin Schmidt on Real Climate appears to have gotten this wrong on 10 August 2007, which was very early days in the controversy

Frankly Eli paid it no never mind at the time, because the difference between 1934 and 1998 was not even fractional either way (0.01 C or so). There was a significant effect on the post 2000 years which affected their rankings for the US data. Still there were lots of such reports

We find the solution in an Email from Makiko Sato to James Hanen 24 Aug 2007:

"Of course Reto thinks the ranking that shows which year was warmer by 0.01 deg is stupid. But as long as I give the table of US mean temperature on our web site, people can make rankings themselves. What Reto wanted to tell you was from Jan 7 - Aug 7, 2007 we had 1998 warmer than 1934 by 0.01 deg in the table I showed on our web page. (The reason was those numbers keep changing by such a small amount by adding station data, as probably as Reto pointed out, we processed data in January before a lot of data came in. These recent data can change numbers in old time by small amounts.) From next time I will update the US mean table every month. I was doing it only once a year because I didn't think people would make such a mess out of 0.01 deg difference in US. 0.01 deg is negligible globally but even 2% of that for the US."
Reto Ruedy lays out the details of the thing on 23 August 2007
The US temperature graph in our 1999 paper, based on GHCN data, shows 1934 0.5 C warmer than 1998; 1998 was in 5th place behind 1921, 1931, 1938, 1953.
Remember this is for the US, something a lot of people disremembered sort of on purpose
In the corresponding graph in our 2001 paper, now based on the carefully corrected USHCN data, 1934 and 1998 are in first, 1921 in third place (NOAA who provided the USHCN data had 1998 slightly ahead of 1934).

The US table we had posted during all of 2006 showed 1998 and 1934 even at 1.24 C (I got a copy from a journalist in Brazil, we don't save these data).

As far as I know, the US table on our site from Jan to Aug 2007 was the first and only one with 1998 ahead of 1934, some US stations must have still been missing in the GHCN file we downloaded on January 8, 2007. (Each month GHCN regererates the whole file over a period of a few days; In previous years we had to wait til mid January for the US stations to be added in again.)
The final summary on GISSTEMP for 2007 states
Finally, we note that a minor data processing error found in the GISS temperature analysis in early 2007 does not affect the present analysis. The data processing flaw was failure to apply NOAA adjustments to United States Historical Climatology Network stations in 2000-2006, as the records for those years were taken from a different data base (Global Historical Climatology Network). This flaw affected only 1.6% of the Earth's surface (contiguous 48 states) and only the several years in the 21st century. As shown in Figure 4 and discussed elsewhere, the effect of this flaw was immeasurable globally (~0.003°C) and small even in its limited area. Contrary to reports in certain portions of the media, the data processing flaw did not alter the ordering of the warmest years on record. Obviously the global ranks were unaffected. In the contiguous 48 states the statistical tie among 1934, 1998 and 2005 as the warmest year(s) was unchanged. In the current analysis, in the flawed analysis, and in the published GISS analysis (Hansen et al. 2001), 1934 is the warmest year in the contiguous states (not globally) but by an amount (magnitude of the order of 0.01°C) that is an order of magnitude smaller than the uncertainty.
Never mind although Eli assumes some will proceed to have the vapors.

Another adapter of the Rabett Simple Plan to Save the World

Non-Alzheimer readers (there must be at least two out of the myriad dozen who read Rabett Run) may recall Eli Rabett's Simple Plan to Save the World and, just to save energy involved in following a link, Eli has put it at the end of this post. This is an idea whose time has come. As evidence thereof, an editorial in the 11 Jan 2010 issue of C&ENews, house organ of the ACS (and yes, Exxon, the other oil companies and the oil and polymer industries all read this and are members). Eli calls your attention to the paragraph he bolded.

For starters, H.R. 2454, the 1,200-page climate-change and energy legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009 that establishes a CO2 cap-and-trade system, should be put out of its misery in favor of a simple carbon tax.

Cap-and-trade is a sop to the coal, petroleum, and other energy-intensive industries; it does nothing but muddle the very simple need to put a price on carbon on which industry can base its capital-spending decisions. A carbon tax accomplishes that goal simply and efficiently.

The Europeans already are coming to recognize the inherent problems of cap-and-trade because they are experiencing them. The European Union and the U.S., together with Japan—already the most energy-efficient developed nation—should jointly enact a significant and escalating carbon tax that would promote real energy efficiencies and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

But wait, wouldn't that leave China, India, and other nations free to undercut the carbon-tax-inflated prices of goods from the U.S., the EU, and Japan? Not at all. Nations that adopt the carbon tax regimen should impose a carbon tariff equal to the carbon tax on all manufactured goods from countries that do not participate.

The Chinese, in particular, would protest such an action vociferously. Let them. China is not a developing nation; it is an authoritarian, industrialized, mercantile behemoth that is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It is time for the world to stop allowing China to pretend otherwise. If China wants to sell its carbon-tax-free products to developing nations in Africa, Asia, and South America, fine.

Many thoughtful economists have put forth mechanisms whereby a carbon tax would be truly revenue neutral, simultaneously discouraging the use of fossil fuels and stimulating development of alternative energy sources while protecting less affluent consumers. It's time to join forces with other developed nations to put one in place.

The world is moving, as the editor, Rudy Baum points out, not a single Head of State at the Copenhagen conference doubted that climate change was a looming problem, no one signed on to the denialists position. The world has agreed that there is a very serious problem and that there is a solution, just that there is no agreement yet what the solution is. Thus the power of the "Simple Plan".
a. It does the job
b. It can beimplemented by the developed world on itself

The Simple Plan to Save the World:
Nations wishing to make major progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions should introduce emission taxes on all products. These taxes should be levied on imports as well as domestic goods at the point of sale, and should displace other taxes, such as VAT, sales taxes, and payroll (e.g. social security, health care) in such a way that tax revenues are constant, and distributed equitably.

These should be introduced as an Emissions Added Levy(avoiding the bad jokes). EAL would be imposed on sale for emissions added in the preceding step and inherent to the consumption of the product, as would be the case for heating oil and gasoline. Manufacturers would pay the EAL on electricity they bought, and incorporate this and the levy on emissions they created into the price of the product they sell.

Imports from countries that do not have an EAL would have the full EAL imposed at the time of import. The base rate would be generic EALs based on worst previous practices in the countries that do have EALs, which would be reduced on presenting proof that the actual emissions were lower.

All countries with EAL systems would reserve a portion (say 5%) for assisting developing countries with adaptations (why not use acclimations?) and mitigating programs.

By basing the levy on emissions rather than carbon all greenhouse gases stand on a common level, sequestration is strongly encouraged as well as such simple things as capturing methane from oil wells and garbage dumps (that gets built into the cost of disposal). The multipliers would come from CO2 equivalents on a 10 year basis.
There was a later codicil
India and China and many other developing countries should reduce their emissions of black carbon by 90% or more in the next decade as part of their work. This will not only significantly reduce warming of the climate, it will make a major contribution to the health of their people. Simple and economical methods of doing this are available.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Came up empty and got dissed

The great thing about the comments at Rabett Run, is Eli learns a lot. A lot of the time Eli is not paying attention so that is a good thing. For example the great GISS Email dump. Turns out that Judicial Watch was pulling a Mo on CEI, which played Curley's nose.

The obvious back story now that it gets pointed out is that CEI had three FOIA requests pending since 2007, one for anything having to do with the error uncovered by Steve McIntyre in how Goddard incorporated post 2000 USHCN data, one asking for all Emails about McIntyre 's correspondence with GISS about this, and one (still pending) asking for any emails mentioning Real Climate. It was these pending FOIA requests that CEI threatened to sue about in November 2009 at the height of the heavy breathing on the theft of the CRU emails.

The Email dump appeared quietly in December in the Goddard FOIA library and kind of sat there like a dead fish, because, as we said earlier, they reflect well on GISS, and poorly on McIntyre and his horde. No there there for CEI, which cut its losses, moving the bet to the third FOIA. They may be disappointed again.

However, there are all sorts of opportunists out there on the wingnut right, and Judicial Watch has a history of being slightly shifty. They found the response and put out a press release

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained internal documents from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA's handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States. According to multiple press reports, when NASA corrected the error, the new data apparently caused a reshuffling of NASA's rankings for the hottest years on record in the United States, with 1934 replacing 1998 at the top of the list.

As Hansen points out in Email specially linked to by Judicial Watch
a) the error only affected post 2000 data so it had nothing to do with data from 1934 and 1998
b) this was about US, not global temperature anomalies
c) the difference between GISSTEMP US temperatures for 1998 and 1934 was a meaninglessly small
d) as the analysis methods changed over time the difference moved around a bit, but again, not in a way that was significant.
This, of course, is the answer to carrot eater's question
Eli, they made a movie about you. Something about a gospel.

You should play a game. See if you can guess which email is going to be taken out of context as proof of ..something or other.
Eli has been thinking of packaging his essays together and selling it to Lubos and Judicial Watch as the book of Eli.

Of course, Judicial Watch was too stupid to figure out that the Emails showed GISS reacting promptly and carefully to correct the error. OK, they called McIntyre a clown, but, let's be honest here, comparing him to Judicial Watch is like comparing George W. Bush to Lyndon LaRouche.


The GISS Email Dump

Judicial Watch has FOAed Emails from NASA/GISS about their interaction with Steve McIntyre and the correction to the USHCN data from August 2007. After reading the files, (available in the memory hole for now) allow Eli, a tax payer, to say that they reflect well on James, Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Makiko Sato, Gavin Schmidt and a number of reporters including Andy Revkin, Demian McClean from Bloomberg, Leticia Francisco Sorg from Editora Globo and others who, undoubtedly will be named elsewhere.

It is a fascinating look at both how GISS reacted, quickly to figure out the source of the problem, and responded to McIntyre and the news media. It is equally informative as to how good and bad reporting on science issues gets done.

Since it is always good to start at the start, Eli is going to reproduce most of an Email from the sysop who caught McIntyre's web crawler

On about May 16 at around 10:30 or 11:00 pm, as I was getting ready to leave GISS for the nights, I belatedly checked the error logs on the two web servers and discovered that there were several thousand errors in the log on Web2. On a normal day there would be about 500.
he continues
The identity of the computer making the requests was consistent, and as best I recall was something in the domain of Rogers Communications, a Canadian phone company and IPS

Plainly this activity was from an "automated" agent, which in rough parlance is usually called a "robot". Many robots have legitimate purposes, e.g. serach engines such as Google or Yahoo, but others do not (spambots), and others one just doesn't know.

As the robot on May 16 came from a generic ISP address rather than, say and academic address and further because it's "user agent" tag provided no further information about who was runing it, and also because the GISS websites have "robots.txt" files which instruct all well behaved web robots to stay out of the CGI directories, I cut off access to the ISP in question to the websites on Web2.

The next day I received e-mail from McIntyre asking what was up. He did not identify himself or on whose behalf he was acting.

At some point Reto got involved in the communications, and he must have mentioned to Jim what was up. Later on Reto indicated to me that Jim had said to go ahead and re-grant McIntyre access to the material.

I do not know if at any point McIntyre actually asked Jim or Reto if it was possible to obtain the GISS copy of the station data in a single or small number of files. All I know is that my first contact with him came because he was blasting umpeen thousand requests at the webserver.

I have no idea how much traffic McIntyre's website gets, and I don't know that I have ever looked at it. His tone in his e-mail was on the arrogant side, so I had no desire to prolong communication with him and longer than was necessary
Oh yeah, the naughty bits, well, Hansen says
There are some desperate characters trying to make a mountain our of a mole hill.
Do we want to lower ourselves to debating with a court jester? Of course that's what he wants.

I don't have a strong preference as long as it is not taking a significant amount of my time.

I have not read the stuff you are referring to [McIntyre's whinge to Town Hall, more later], but as I recall, as soon as I was told about the matter, I said that he was welcome to the data


Remember Darwin Dearest? You know, how Willis Escherbach manipulated the data from Darwin Australia to make a warming trend into a cooling. Tim Lambert dealt with this in detail and Willis of course has a number of priors.

What Willis forgot to correct for according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was

A change in the type of thermometer shelter used at many Australian observation sites in the early 20th century resulted in a sudden drop in recorded temperatures which is entirely spurious. It is for this reason that these early data are currently not used for monitoring climate change. Other common changes at Australian sites over time include location moves, construction of buildings or growth of vegetation around the observation site and, more recently, the introduction of Automatic Weather Stations.

The impacts of these changes on the data are often comparable in size to real climate variations, so they need to be removed before long-term trends are investigated. Procedures to identify and adjust for non-climatic changes in historical climate data generally involve a combination of:

  • investigating historical information (metadata) about the observation site,
  • using statistical tests to compare records from nearby locations, and
  • using comparison data recorded simultaneously at old and new locations, or with old and new instrument types.
Well guess where the tortured numbers pop up again. Three points to the guy in the corner who said, gee, that's just the sort of thing that Joe D'Aleo would love and five to the lady in the black hat who said, that's so good it should be featured on the new KUSI blockbuster show we set our TIVO to capture when we went to the tea party. It would be nice to see a libel suit dropped on these clowns, but it's time to saddle up and point out that the icecap man is melting. Oh yeah, here is the "programming expert", please help undress him

There is more of the usual, the number of stations has fallen over the past thirty years, etc. Pushback will be needed.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Where's Roger

Ethon flew in rather dejected. He was all ready for a snack, he heard there were some excellent Pielke wing to chew over at the Buffalo Beast, but when he got there it was gone. So he went over to Alternet where the same article was posted (and got 206 comments). Nothing nourishing there. Finally, he found the chewy bits over at Tenny Naumers Climate Change: The Next Generation. Mike Roddy and Ian Murphy had written about some of the bastards responsible for subverting public understanding of climate change and there he was at number 14.

14) Roger Pielke Jr., Political Scientist

Misdeeds: It’s telling that Pielke thinks his poli sci degree entitles him to have an opinion about all aspects of climate science. Specifically, it’s telling us that he thinks we’re idiots. Pielke constantly parrots fallacious claims about ice, ocean temperature and warming rates from whacked out websites like Roger has been dubbed the Most Debunked Science Writer in the Blogosphere by Climate Progress, yet still appears in the media as a contrarian “expert.”

Corporate teat: The Breakthrough Institute, whose founders, like Fox News, stress “balance.”

Most egregious lie: “In the ongoing battle between climate scientists and skeptics, there will be disproportionate carnage, because the climate scientists have so much more to lose.”

Comeuppance: Having been denied access to a newly-green Siberia by the Russian Army, vultures circle Pielke as he roams aimlessly in search of food and water. Hyenas, an invasive species from drought stricken Africa, track his every move in anticipation. Too weak to continue, he collapses. As the scavengers close in, Pielke finally realizes the irony of the above quote and cries, “I get it now!” The hyenas laugh and rip him to shreds.
It sure looks like the Climate McCarthy's won here. Think what you like about Roger Pielke, Mike Roddy and Eli don't think much of him, and Roger thinks the world of himself, the attacks by Shellenberger and Nordhaus and Roger's whining, sure are the best McCartheyite work seen in a long time.

Now imagine, just imagine, that say Michael Mann, or let's say Phil Jones complained to various editors about some papers that appeared, let's say in JGR. What do you think that Roger would say? What do you think they would have said if the juicy bits were, let us say, cut out of the Klotzbach.

I think we can get past the lie -- and it was a lie -- that these activist political scientists, in the words of Michael Shellenberger, "are not taking a political stand." They are indeed taking a political stand and they are doing so in stealth fashion using the authority of their Institute as cover to do so. This group of activist scientists are firmly entrenched in the major institutions of the INTERNET, such as the Alternet and on speed dial from every reporter.

So Pielke and his friends Nordhaus and Shellenberger in order to short circuit the ability of their political opponents to cherry pick and blow out of proportion things that these activists policy types do not agree with, they saw a convenient short cut: Simply reshape the editorial system such that those discomforting paragraphs don't ever appear or go unmentioned.

The problem with this strategy, of course, is that many climate scientists (and presumably others inside and outside of the scientific establishment like Eli) are unwilling to cede ownership of the "truth" to a small clique of policy types.

The clique of activists sees absolutely nothing wrong in what they are doing -- they are after all justifying their actions in terms of "truth" in support of the greater good.

The Buffalo Beast and AlterNet editors blew it

Can you help Ethon find Roger?

And oh yes, tell Ted and Michael what you think of their playing the editors

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snark attractant

As a celebration of the CRU hacking, Eli is going to publish some of the better Emails he has received. In his INBOX, good snark is a valued commodity and respect for administrators somewhat lacking. Let the tutt tutting begin.

I. Gell-Mann established the Santa Fe Institute to examine emergent patterns from seeming chaos. Emergence probably includes biological behaviors that establish themselves and get repeated in various differing branches of the collection of all life on the planet.

II. I got to see Denali National Park in Alaska at the very end of fall. I got within 5 foot of a momma grizzly with two cubs. Grizzly bears hibernate to survive the intense cold of the interior Alaska winter. This is one impressive species of life. One that will have its way to the detriment of all other life forms.

III. Bears are not incredibly intelligent and hold no patents or intellectual property. They produce nothing much beyond more bears and a lot of dung. They are big, however, and cannot be easily stopped when they set their mind to something.

IV. While not overly intelligent, they can sense the onset of a long cold spell. When winter is near, these bears will become "hyperphagic" and will go on impressive feeding frenzies that make sharks seem picky. This, of course, is an emergent behavior allowing the bears to survive the cold winter at the expense of any other useful but weaker life forms.

V. The economic climate is going into a deep freeze, and Grizzly Deans are getting hyperphagic. Run, Faculty. Run!

VI. Its time to write a paper on emergent Grizzly Dean biomemetic behavior for the Santa Fe Institute.

VII. We will be famous. That is, if not eaten by a dean first
This explains much. Audit starts on Friday.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Mikes have the Willies

Eli don't know what it is about the Mikes, but they certainly appear to have the Willies. Rabett Run now houses Mike Powell's take on Willie Soon's OISM front piece. Suffice it to say that Mike don't think much of it. Today Eli ran across a rather longer fisking aka comment, by another Mike, Michael MacCracken, hosted on Climate Science Watch. Now just as there are multiple versions of the various Baliunas, Soon and assoted Robinsons fish wrap, MacCracken provides multiple takedowns. His summary of the JPANDs version which Sallie was too shy to join in on (Little Bunnies, you do remember JPANDS, Journal of the American Physicians, Surgeons and Wingnuts, don't you?)

Expanding on a paper first presented ten years ago, the authors present a summary of climate change science that finds fault with nearly all of the internationally peer-reviewed findings contained in the comprehensive scientific assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In particular, the authors find fault with IPCC’s conclusions relating to human activities being the primary cause of recent global warming, claiming, contrary to significant evidence that they tend to ignore, that the comparatively small influences of natural changes in solar radiation are dominating the influences of the much larger effects of changes in the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on the global energy balance. After many scientific misstatements and much criticism of IPCC science, the authors conclude with a section on the environment and energy that argues for construction of 500 additional nuclear reactors to provide the inexpensive energy needed for the US to prosper and to end importation of hydrocarbon fuels (particularly petroleum). Taking this step, along with the beneficial effects of the rising CO2 concentration, will, they argue in complete contrast to the prevailing scientific views, create a “lush environment of plants and animals” that our children can enjoy.
Of course, when Sallie was joined in things were not much better. MacCrackens comments on “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” by A. R. Robinson, S. L. Baliunas, W. Soon, and Z. W. Robinson are, perhaps, slightly stronger
This paper is filled with distortions, errors, and one-sided interpretations of the science and blithely presumes that because we have survived to the present, the future will bring no problems as the population rises, energy use rises, atmospheric composition changes, and the earth’s natural systems are seriously and rapidly altered by human activities. While it is true that we do not know all, or maybe even most, answers to questions about the future, the international scientific community has come to the conclusion that virtually all the evidence is pointing in one direction and these authors, ignoring that literature and the international conclusions, pick and select and come to the exact opposite conclusion. Theirs is truly the style of argument of a defense attorney with a very weak case--the first line of defense is that man is not causing any change; their second is that man is certainly not causing an exaggerated set of changes they attribute to the other side; their third is that if changes do occur, all of the impacts will be positive and easy to deal with (but here they leave out whole categories of impacts from consideration); and their fourth line of defense is that even if adverse changes do occur, what is happening is for the long-term greater good of society whether society likes it or not. All of these lines of defense have been considered by the international scientific community in great detail and then their analyses have been reviewed broadly by experts and governments--and all of these supposed lines of defense fail. With unanimity, the cautiously stated summary for consideration by policymakers is that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate” and that “the probability is very low that these correspondences could occur by chance as a result of natural internal variability only. The vertical patterns of change are also inconsistent with those expected for solar and volcanic forcing.” These conclusions stand unrefuted by this work.
No disrespect to Mike Powell, but among other things Mike MacCracken was atmospheric and geophysical sciences division leader at Lawrence Livermore, senior scientist at the Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, coordinated US review of the IPCC FAR, and president of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS). In other words, one of the few persons policy types should go to who wanted to know about climate science. It is true that MacCracken has not taken the vow of pablum required of all lily liver Honest Brokers, and lacks the ability to take fools gladly. That is a feature.

Between the two Mikes you might even be able to educate 30,000 ......... Oh well, hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


There are, dear Bunnies, more whackos under heaven and earth than even Eli could shake a stick at. While in the case of climate change denialism it often appears that these are from the out the window right, to be fair, some are on the left and others, well, they are simply commuters from Mars. This makes for very strange bedrooms. A prominent example from the left is Alexander Cockburn,

John Farley, has a Monthly Review article taking this apart. Rabett recommends. To give a taste (two tastes per customer), John's take on two incessant denial-o-whines are worth cutting out and putting in our wallets. That the European Warm Period is not there in the MBH reconstructions is a golden oldie. After pointing out that the warming was a) not synchronous globally and b) not global, at least synchronously the article gets to the root of the thing

Those who believe that the Medieval Warm Period is very important are making the assumption that there is only one factor determining the climate. If you make that assumption, and if the sole factor is burning of fossil fuels, then our understanding of global warming would be challenged, because of course massive burning of fossil fuels did not happen in medieval times. Some six decades ago, many scientists in fact assumed that only one factor influences climate, although they couldn't agree on what factor, and global climate change was thus not understood. Today we know better: a number of factors influence global climate, including the intensity of the sun, aerosols, the greenhouse effect, Milankovich cycles (changes in the Earth's orbital motion), volcanic eruptions, and other factors.
Second, Eli understands that several WUWT readers have had Kenneth Trenberth's comment
The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't.
tattooed on the same parts of their body as the Christmas fairy tried to light. Farley brings the context (Eli knows that's unfair)
What climate scientists do not fully understand are the short-term fluctuations above and below the long-term trend. As part of those fluctuations, energy is transferred between different parts of the earth's climate system: glaciers, polar ice, the deep ocean, etc. Trenberth asks why the January 2008 temperature was unusually low. "Was it because a lot of heat went into melting Arctic sea ice or parts of Greenland and Antarctica, and other glaciers?" Currently we just can't say.
Oh yeah, Cockburn doesn't understand the second law of thermodynamics. John does.


Bunny's got a new puzzler

At Rabett Run Lodge where all the Rabetts went for the holidays, the girls wouldn't let the guys watch football, so Eli spent New Years on the couch looking at this. No accounting for nerds. According to the Beeb

Scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock from EADS Astrium visits the Royal Institution’s new Young Scientist Centre to carry out a simple experiment that shows how CO2 traps heat. -BBC

Watch the video (opens in new window)

Skeptical Rabett says, technically true, but it's not a demonstration of the Greenhouse Effect, only part of it. Since the annonomice are batting the New Years Puzzler about pretty well, let's see how they do on this one

Clue on the flip side:

Alexander Graham Bell would have figured this out.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Getting there first

Since some of the known guilty have taken to putting up Eli's comments as posts, the Bunny was thinking he gotta get there first to grab the hits.

We start with something at our changing climate, where Bart is being instructed by Tom Fuller about deference due denialists:

6. Tom: Say a fond but firm farewell to those who have served you poorly in the struggle to gain public support. Al Gore. Joe Romm. (Not Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt.) Michael Mann. Phil Jones.

Bart: Scapegoating is not the answer.

From which you gather that there are about 9 more points worth reading. Bart's answer was nowhere near strong enough. Eli's take on this nonsense is

You know, it is a common tactic of our friends on the out the window right, to demand that everyone else disown those on our side who are effective. Eli would be a hell of a lot more impressed if they first tossed their friends like, oh, lets say Morano and Inhofe on the political side and just for arguments sake, Gerlich and Chilingar on the science fantasy beat.

Bart, if you even let closeted denialists like Fuller get away with that by being quiet, you are playing right into their tactic because its part of their strategy to get rid of anyone who is effective. Take a look at the push back on Gavin and now Wm. Connolley

Interested mice can go over there and read the entire thing, and also the advice to denialists that Bart points to from James Hrynyshyn which points to more advice to denialists from Daniel Loxton at Skepticblog

For our second little liver bit, we go to a comment, so trenchant that even the mild mannered Michael Tobis gagged on it, arising from a scrum comment section (all the dirty work happens in the scrum which explains why one of Eli's ears have those cute little nibble marks that Ms. Rabett adores) during which much trash was being thrown over the transom and batted back. MT asked
Wow, this Nazis are left-wingers meme has been quite thoroughly spread around in some circles. Talk about revisionism! It certainly goes a long way to explaining the bizarre Obama with Hitler mustache posters we saw during the health care debate.

It's really off topic for this blog, but this amazing piece of propaganda needs to see the light of day somewhere. Has anybody sane remarked on it?
and Eli pointed out that
Oh yeah, the Nazi thing. The point is not to call liberals Nazis, the point is to devalue the use of the analogy when the wingnuts and corporatists get called on their behavior. The Nazis were not socialists in either their economic or social policy, they were definitely corportists economically like the AEI Republicans and nativists socially, like the Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs Republicans.

The point of the Goldberg variation is to take a useful stick away from their opponents.
Language wise, denialist is the term of choice because it is correct, pithy and works. Anytime someone starts whining bout how mean that is of you, tell them how you might discuss it with them if they tossed Morano, Inhofe, Watts and the rest of the crew under the bus. Till then they are denialists.

The bunnies may have noticed the push towards "warmist". If this were the dozens, that would not even rate a pair. Not very effective, still let's push back on it with the correct term to describe our position: realist.

Comments? Be sure to copyright your work or somebunny may grab it.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

James McCarthy tells it like it's going to be

James McCarthy, President of the AAAS told it like it's gonna be if we don't watch out in his Presidential Address

The signs of a changed world are already apparent, McCarthy noted. Since 1950, the incidence of flooding and wildfires has risen dramatically on each continent. Decades-old slabs of sea ice are being replaced by thinning sheets that disappear from year to year. From the poles to the equator, climate change is threatening the livelihoods of some of the world's most vulnerable populations.

For 800,000 years, levels of heat-trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide never rose above 300 parts per million—"until now," said McCarthy. And, he added, the consensus of mainstream researchers and world science organizations is that the trend is driven by human activity.

By coincidence, the roots of the modern climate crisis are also having an anniversary year, said McCarthy. While 1859 may be best known in scientific circles for the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species by the Means of Natural Selection, it also marks the debut of the first commercial oil well, the precursor of the modern internal combustion engine, and the first demonstration that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas..

The technologies introduced in the 1850s "are those that today look to have significantly altered the planet," said McCarthy at a Thursday morning gathering of international journalists attending the Annual Meeting.

The address is available in Real Player. He is antidynamic tho. Anybunny know how to embed it into Blogger?

Commander Coincidence

So Eli and Ethon are sitting around wondering whether to turn the snark down for the new year, play nice with the global warming doubters, cut back on the liver snacks, eat fewer carrots, and you know, generally shape up.

On the other hand, Ms. Rabett is out traveling, the beer in the fridge is cold and the supermarkets are open. Hell no, there is too much fun to be had and in the words of the poet

When all about you who have a clue
Are telling you that you missed something
And ignoring what you say
And you are calm and confident
Maybe there's somthin you don't know

Not to peck on the young fellow, but Ethon's new friend Qing Bing (Bunny) Lu should listen. Eli has already had a few words on the subject. Lu's paper in Physics Reports is the toast of the denial-o-sphere,

The cosmic-ray driven electron-induced reaction of halogenated molecules adsorbed on ice surfaces has been proposed as a new mechanism for the formation of the polar ozone hole. Here, experimental findings of dissociative electron transfer reactions of halogenated molecules on ice surfaces in electron-stimulated desorption, electron trapping and femtosecond time-resolved laser spectroscopic measurements are reviewed. It is followed by a review of the evidence from recent satellite observations of this new mechanism for the Antarctic ozone hole, and all other possible physical mechanisms are discussed. Moreover, new observations of the 11-year cyclic variations of both polar ozone loss and stratospheric cooling and the seasonal variations of CFCs and CH4 in the polar stratosphere are presented, and quantitative predictions of the Antarctic ozone hole in the future are given. Finally, new observation of the effects of CFCs and cosmic-ray driven ozone depletion on global climate change is also presented and discussed.
The thing has a history, going back to the late seventies, but really only heating up when QB took a blow torch to the matter, claiming it implied all sorts of crazy stuff and not listening to anyone. This is doubly strange because Lu is at Waterloo and Waterloo has had a bunch of really good molecular chemistry types who wandered into atmospheric science in general and stratopheric ozone in particular. Waterloo is the lead institution for the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) on board the Canadian SciSat, up there measuring the CFCs Lu is babbling about (and Eli is being nice).

Well let's get some preliminaries out of the way. Lu's lab has shown that CFCs are decomposed on ice when low energy electrons attach to them (DEA-dissociative electron attachment). No one is questioning that, but eyes start to cross when he extrapolates the lab measurement to claim that cosmic ray driven DEA is the primary (actually he sometimes appears to say the only) way that CFCs decompose in the atmosphere, with the action taking place on ice particles in the polar stratospheric clouds. In the Physics Reports paper, Lu takes this a step further.
Moreover, this review has also shown that CRE-driven polar O3 loss leads to an 11-year cyclic stratospheric cooling over the past 50 years. The observed data demonstrate that the longterm change of polar stratospheric temperature over Antarctica depends solely on the variation of total ozone, indicating that the effect of greenhouse gases plays a negligible role in the stratospheric cooling over the past five decades. Most strikingly, it is also found that global surface temperature change has an excellent linear dependence on the equivalent effective stratospheric chlorine (EESC). And weak but visible 11-year cyclic oscillations in the surface temperatures are also observed to follow the 11-year CR cycles. These observed data point to the possibility that the global warming observed in the late 20th century was dominantly caused by CFCs, modulated by CRE-driven ozone depletion. With the decreasing emission of CFCs into atmosphere, global cooling may have started since 2002. These observations imply that current climate models may underestimate the effects of CFCs and would have to be revised seriously. This is likely a subject deserving to look at closely.
As Eli said, this thing has a history, folks have been going back and forth with Lu (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) since 2000, pointing out to him, like, yeah, the cosmic ray flux has an 11 year cycle, but so does solar UV intensity. Since the later drives the Chapman cycle (the ozone-oxygen process) as well as photodissociation of CFCs, finding an 11 year cycle in CFC production proves nothing, and simple correlations are not going to do the job, but it is hard to slow Qing Bing down.

The latest, and most complete takedown comes from Rolf Müller and Jens-Uwe Grooß
(open for downloading) in a response to Lu's next to latest. Interestingly, the editors appear not to have accepted a response from Lu, so maybe they thought this was coming to an end.

As Eli said, even without CFC's one is going to find an 11 year cycle for stratospheric ozone driven by the rates of solar ozone formation and destruction and pretty much the same for the ozone hole. To make everyone even happier, El Chichon exploded in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991, 9 years, not 11 but close enough, especially when you consider that their effects on stratospheric ozone persisted for a few years each. It turns out that both volcanic explosions happened when cosmic ray intensity was rising, and both reduced stratospheric ozone over a period of years. If you account for the stratospheric temperature, halogen loading and the aerosols from the eruptions you get the figure on the right, accounting for the observed ozone loss in the arctic. This does not include the CR-DEA mechanism and for Lu to claim that it is a result of the CR-DEA mechanism he would have to show that one of the other factors was not working. It does not depend on the photolysis rate for the CFCs, only on the observed halogen loading and measured reaction rates. Given what we know about the kinetics of ozone and halogens that is not likely. The last guy who tried that is getting his teeth handed to him in triplicate. Although not explicit in the Physics Reports paper, Lu explicitly relies on the aforementhions Pope ClOOCl absorption cross-section which would limit the amount of ClO in the atmosphere, as a falsification of the photochemical models, but that result is, as they say, in deep doo doo, gone histoire..... (some more to report soon)

CFC concentrations were too small to matter much except in the past thirty years, we only have satellite data on global distributions of ozone since 1978, and the depth and size of the ozone hole depends strongly on stratospheric temperature and the size of the polar vortex, so there is not going to be a huge data series, only two or three 11 year cycles. None of these things is controlled by cosmic rays. Lu's simple eyeball correlation of cosmic ray flux and ozone at the poles over the past 30 years using heavily smoothed data don't prove bupkes because it does not handle any of the confounding factors with anything but a handwave if that.

One differentiates between stratospheric ozone depletion and spring-time polar ozone depletion. The accepted model for stratospheric ozone depletion is that CFCs are emitted at the surface, almost all in the northern hemisphere, and over a period of years diffuse through the tropopause into the stratosphere. The last for a few years in the stratosphere until they rise high enough to be exposed to far UV light which dissociates them. The chlorine atoms, and ClO molecules that are formed catalytically destroy ozone molecules. For more detail google stratospheric ozone depletion, for a lot more detail see the Stratospheric Ozone textbook

Polar ozone holes form in the springtime at first light. During the long months without light at both poles a wind system seals the atmosphere around the poles. Stratospheric clouds of nitric acid trihydride ice particles form in this cold polar vortex. Much of the chlorine in the stratosphere is tied up in ClONO2 and HCl. When these molecules are absorbed on the ice particles, the NO2 is converted to nitric acid, leaving Cl2. Similar things happen to form ClO. The Cl2 is released. Cl2 is very easily photolyzed at sunrise in the spring and you end up with a huge pulse of Cl that chews up the ozone. When the polar vortex disintegrated, NOx and ozone from lower latitudes rushes in, re-establishing ClONO2 and removing active chlorine. The ozone "hole" then fills in. You can find an animation of the process here and, of course, google is your friend.

Lu claims that the major process for destroying the CFCs is dissociative electron attachment on the PSC ice particles where the low energy electrons come from cosmic ray cascades and that it is this process which loads the region inside the polar vortex with chlorine.

Lu's postulated polar DEA mechanism can only occur during the winters. The associated ozone destruction would be a spring time phenomenon driven by cosmic ray intensity. Müller and Grooß looked at the amount of CFC-12 in the antarctic stratosphere between 2004 and 2008 when the cosmic ray intensity was growing. If Lu's theory is correct the amount of CFC-12 should decrease over this period. It does not. Müller and Grooß use ACE data to show this.

Eli has another thought. One of the tells in Lu is that everything is heavily averaged and many of his critics think inappropriately. Without the averaging, most of the claimed correlation goes away. If you think about it, his explanation is a kinetic jump experiment, CFC destruction only occurs in the polar winter (the mechanism for the actual ozone destruction in the polar spring is not any different than the catalytic mechanisms first described by Molina and Rowland what differs is how the free Cl forms). That means that according to Lu the only thing which matters is the cosmic ray flux during the winter, AFTER the polar stratospheric clouds have formed. What Lu needs to do is unsmooth.
Probably more to come.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's Puzzler

Ethon, at semester break, flew back from his aerie in the Front Range with a neat puzzler. Roger is all upset because the evidence for increased weather and climate change related damage keeps accumulating. The boy would make a great WW I general. The damage is starting to emerge from the noise and he is still stuck in the past.

The political scientist formerly known as Prometheus hit the International Disaster Data Base and brought the purple graph, showing how the number of floods in West Africa have increased a lot in the past three decades. P thought that the effect was caused by under-reporting in the past and therefore Munich Re was talking trash. Not unreasonable thought Eli, although Ethon was looking under the table for cards that had been dropped on the floor. To satisfy the skeptical bird the bunny went to the data base and thought, hmm, under-reporting might not be such a bad problem in Western Europe, so he ran the figures. However, as Steven Leacock would say, this has nothing to do with our bright and sunny puzzler** but is merely blog filler.

This week's puzzler comes from Pieter Vermeesch at UC London. The data comes from the US Geological Survey and shows the number of earthquakes in the ten year period starting in 1999 whose magnitude exceeded 4 on each day of the week.

The average bunny would tell you that the day of the week has nothing to do with the frequency of non-domestic earthquakes. True, Eli knows from experience that propinquity makes for large weekend blow ups with Ms. Rabett. Still Mother Earth IS NOT THAT KIND OF LADY.

That's gonna be the null hypothesis anyhow, and there are six degrees of freedom.

Rabett Labs hitched up the IBM computators bought cheap from the Manhattan Project, shanghaied recruited a bunch of young volunteers, and found that for this case Pearson's chi-square statistic is 94, which means that the probability of the null hypothesis being true is 4.5 x 10-18 or about as likely as Ethon going vegan. (OK this is a blog, Eli exaggerates. Make something of it.)

Eli will provide the link with the solution in a day or so. The question is why is the result wrong. It ain't the math.

**IV. -- Gertrude the Governess: or, Simple Seventeen_

_Synopsis of Previous Chapters:_
_There are no Previous Chapters._

IT was a wild and stormy night on the West Coast of Scotland. This, however, is immaterial to the present story, as the scene is not laid in the West of Scotland. For the matter of that the weather was just as bad on the East Coast of Ireland.

But the scene of this narrative is laid in the South of England and takes place in and around Kmotacentinum Towers (pronounced as if written Monckton Taws), the seat of Lord Kmotacent (pronounced as if written Monkton) and his faithful servant Escrushium (pronounced as if written Scrotum).

But it is not necessary to pronounce either of these names in reading them.

(Thanks to project Gutenberg for the stories on line:)