Wednesday, March 31, 2010

McLean whinges

John McLean is doing the usual on the Drum, moaning about how mean Stephan Lewandowsky was to him. The bunnies might like to take a bite.

And, oh yes, he is still moaning that James posted a formatted copy of the rebuttal

Go comment over there:)

Eli can retire: Part II - so much for Miskolczi

In Eli's continuing series from the replies to the EPA endangerment finding for CO2 pollution, we get the final work on Miskolczi and the majic humidifier. As Nick Stokes said, you can sum up Miskolczi as "the greenhouse effect doesn't exist, the proof is left as an exercise for the reader.

Comment (3-34):
Commenter (3701.1) requests that EPA analyze Miskolczi's theory (Miskolczi 2007) that water vapor balances out CO2 forcing. Commenter 3535 submits a statement by Miskolczi that claims that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Protection (NCEP)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reanalysis data show a slight decrease in global average absolute humidity in the past 61 years, which compensates for increases in GHGs.

Another commenter submits Paltridge et al. (2009), which also found decreasing absolute humidity at high altitudes from the NCEP data. Some (0798, 2982) cite Miskolczi (2007), which theorizes that water vapor will condense or evaporate as needed to maintain a constant greenhouse effect, citing a finite atmosphere used in calculations and observed decline in upper atmosphere humidity as validating factors. A number of other commenters (3323.1, 4003, 4041.1, 4932.1, and 5158) state that the lack of observed constant humidity levels are contrary to anthropogenic global warming theory and the IPCC
computer models.

Response (3-34):
The hypothesis that increased CO2 forcing will lead to a counterbalancing decrease in water vapor is highly speculative, and is not supported by the vast body of scientific literature. Miskolczi claims that the greenhouse effect should maintain a balance, so that every increase in a GHG should lead to a corresponding decrease in water vapor (and vice versa), effectively implying a climate sensitivity of zero.

A climate sensitivity of zero is completely incompatible with historical temperature variations, as it would imply an unchanging climate in direct contrast to historically recorded temperatures changes on all timescales. Miskolczi also claims that “On global scale, however, there can not be any direct water vapor feedback mechanism, working against the total energy balance requirement of the system. Runaway greenhouse theories contradict to the energy balance equations and therefore, can not work.” This demonstrates a lack of understanding of feedback mechanisms in the climate (see response in Volume 4 for a discussion of runaway climate).

Several commenters also cite evidence for decreasing absolute humidity, in contrast to the IPCC conclusions (cited in the TSD) that “[a]lthough surface specific humidity globally has generally increased after 1976 in close association with higher temperatures over both land and ocean, observations suggest that relative humidity has remained about the same overall, from the surface throughout the troposphere (Trenberth et al., 2007).” The data from the NOAA NCEP/NCAR reanalysis for humidity has been questioned in other papers (Soden et al., 2005) (especially for the pre-satellite period), and a Dessler et al. (2009) review also contradicts this data. Even Paltridge et al. (2009), which relied on the NCEP reanalysis data, recognized that “[i]t is accepted that radiosonde-derived humidity data must be treated with great caution, particularly at altitudes above the 500 hPa [hectopascal] pressure level.”

Falling absolute humidity during a period of warming is also difficult to reconcile with theoretical understanding, model results, and historical temperature trends. The analysis in the IPCC (Trenberth et al., 2007) stated: “Due to instrumental limitations, long-term changes in water vapour in the upper troposphere are difficult to assess,” but nonetheless concluded: “To summarise, the available data do not indicate a detectable trend in upper-tropospheric relative humidity. However, there is now evidence for global increases in upper-tropospheric specific humidity over the past two decades, which is consistent with the observed increases in tropospheric temperatures and the absence of any change in relative humidity.”

No trend in upper- tropospheric relative humidity, and evidence for increases in specific humidity, are consistent with model predictions that relative humidity should stay fairly constant, implying increasing absolute humidity with increasing temperature, and therefore a positive feedback (see response on Volume 4 for more responses on relative humidity predictions in models).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eli can retire 1

Thanks to Marcus, Eli has a ready source of pre-written posts, the EPA Endangerment Response to Comments. The rest of you keep your hands off.

Comment (2-4):
A commenter (0740.1) states that ice core CO2 measurements are impacted by water contamination, and that there are no other methods of measuring historical CO2 (commenter 3722 also objects to ice core record manipulation). Several commenters (0339, 0714.1, 2210.5, 3722) have cited either Beck (2007) or Jaworowski to support a contention that CO2 was at high concentrations in the recent past immediately before the Mauna Loa record started, or during past interglacials (0655).

Response (2-4):
We disagree with the assertion by several commenters that estimates of historical CO2 concentrations are incorrect. According to IPCC (Jansen et al., 2007), “it is possible to derive time series of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols for the period from about 650 kyr [thousand years] to the present from air trapped in polar ice and from the ice itself.” This methodology has been “verified against recent (i.e., post-1950) measurements made by direct instrumental sampling.” Additionally, these measurements are consistent with various less accurate methods such as using the size of stomatal pores on tree leaves, boron isotope measurements in plankton buried under the ocean, or carbon isotope ratios in algae buried in the ocean floors, moss samples, and foraminefera carbonate shells. Therefore, there is extremely high confidence in the CO2 values determined from the ice core records, and we disagree that there is any evidence that water contamination or other manipulations reduce the confidence in the ice core estimates.

The commenters cited a theory from Jaworowski that water contamination in the ice core record reduces its reliability, and that the IPCC CO2 historical estimates require shifting the ice core records an arbitrary number of years in order to make them line up with the instrumental record. The critiques of Jaworowski on the shift were addressed by Hans Oeschger (1995), who pointed out that the ice core record shift was done in accordance with theoretical estimates of the rate of diffusion in gases in firn, and that these theoretical estimates were confirmed by isotopic enrichment in line with theory. Güllük et al. (1998) also rebutted Jaworowski on contamination, stating that “Jaworowski et al. [1992, 1994] suggested that CO2 measurements may be subject to fractionation due to clathrate formation and destruction. The good agreement of our CO2 measurements with those made by LGGE using the milling extraction procedure makes this artefact unlikely.” Similarly, Raynaud et al. (1993) found that the objections by Jaworowski were unfounded, demonstrating that the changes in CO2 and methane (CH4) are similar for different interglacial periods, regardless of depth, and that ice cores from different locations give the same values regardless of different “brittle zone” conditions between the different locations.

With respect to the citations of Beck (2007) and Jaworowski (1992, 1994) on pre–Mauna Loa CO2 records, these papers rely on chemical measurements that were taken in many environments which were not far enough away from sources and sinks of CO2 in order to measure the background concentration.

Beck himself (2007) notes that many of his measurements were taken from the “periphery of towns” and shows temporal CO2 plots that have large (210 ppm) variability over a time period of two months. He recognizes that some of these data points need to be corrected by 10 to 70 ppm to take into account nearby cities. This large variability is in contrast to the relatively smooth year after year increase in the Mauna Loa and other modern instrumental records. The pattern of CO2 changes in the Mauna Loa records are much more consistent with the ice core records than with the Beck estimates. Therefore, we find that these historical CO2 estimates by Beck and Jaworowski are not reliable alternatives to the conclusions of the assessment literature on historical background CO2 levels.

Therefore, EPA has determined that the assessment literature estimates of historical CO2 concentrations over the past 800,000 years are of high quality and the most reliable estimates available.
Easy blogging

CRU Inquiry Report

UPDATE: Visitors from Eschaton might be interested in this post on tone trolling, Broderism and how to spot it.

The UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee has issued its report on the Climate Research Unit inquiry. In a statement issued with the report

Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, said:

"Climate science is a matter of global importance. On the basis of the science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds on climate change mitigation. The quality of the science therefore has to be irreproachable. What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided."

The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. On the accusations relating to Professor Jones's refusal to share raw data and computer codes, the Committee considers that his actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community but that those practices need to change.

On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—"trick" and "hiding the decline"—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.

Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.

Here are some links that go beyond the basic press release

Big City Lib has more

The full report is at deSmog Blog

The oral and written evidence is now available as a single Acrobat file

More at Climate Progress

Stoat will be chiming in when he gets out of the river

Real Climate has a discussion but more is anticipated

Policy Lass includes a comment from Yrs Truly

James Annan gleefully points out the mote in the committee's eye

Deep Climate lands on Graham Stringer's reading list

Richard Black makes some important points, which enrages the trolls.

Thanks to Helen Cotterill for the tip

Eli's general conclusion is that we should have aggressively submitted evidence to the Committee dealing with the way Prof. Jones and the CRU had been attacked for many years, and how the denialists have systematically distorted his and others work. The denialists did not make this mistake and their fulminations crept into the Science and Technology Committees report.

However, importantly, the basic AP and other news service, reports really hammer on the denialist campaign to vilify Phil Jones and that the science has been reaffirmed. Even Sky News follows that tack

How big is that molecule in the window

Down in the comments Peter Ridley makes believe that Eli is Bob Grumbine and asks

I need some help with regard to the size of gas molecules and adsorption of atmospheric gases. I understand that you are a specialist in this area so can you give me a link or two to relevant sites/papers?
Eli is touched by Peter, for asking these two subtle and complicated questions. The Bunny will try at least to get started. Climbing into the wayback machine and setting the dial to Gen Chem 1, we find (and you can find this in an Gen Chem or Physics book and even the Wikipedia) that a wide range of the behavior of gases can be described by what is called the ideal gas law, the three assumptions of which reverse Peter's questions. In an ideal gas
  1. The size of the molecules is zero
  2. They do not interact
  3. They move randomly, with a Maxwellian velocity distribution
Clicking on the link takes you to a nice applet demonstrating ideal gas behavior at Oklahoma State, a small, but significant apology Eli supposes for Darryl Imhofe.

Simply looking at the three assumptions of the ideal gas law tells us that molecular size is a measure of the interaction between molecules since size measures in some way the distance that they begin to significantly interact at. So what are the forces involved? Although spin plays a role, intermolecular forces are electrical forces, the repulsion of the negatively charged electrons for each other and their attraction to the positive nuclei, as well as the mutual repulsion of the nuclei. As molecules approach each other the electrons rearrange themselves under the influence of the positive and negative charges in the other molecule. The details differ, depending on whether ions, molecules with net charge, are involved, or polar molecules, molecules where the charges sum to zero, but the are arranged asymmetrically so there is a positive and a negatively charged end. The figure to the left shows the result of such rearrangement as two non polar molecules approach each other. The potential is called a 6-12 or Lennard-Jones potential describing the negative power of the attractive and repulsive potentials involved or the names of the folk who thought it up. It turns out to be a pretty good model for collisions of non-polar molecules when the density is low and demonstrates Peter's problem (Peter has a principle, why not a problem). On the one hand the ideal gas law works really well to describe the behavior of most atmospheric gases and its assumption is that the size of molecules is zero. On the other hand, our ball and stick picture of a molecule is as a hard sphere, or if the bunnies have been reading their textbook, a collection of hard spheres, but look at the potential, it extends to infinity!! because electrical attraction is unbounded. We get some hint of what to do by looking at the Lennard-Jones potential energy function for a collision of polar molecules

The ε is a measure of the depth of the attractive part of the potential, the σ is the cross-sectional area of the collision, e.g. the size we are looking for. You can do similar things for collisions of polar molecules with each other or non-polar ones, or for ionic collisions, etc, at the cost of a more complex potential. These are all simple model potentials which fit a number of cases over impressive ranges of pressure and temperature, but they are models. The most accurate ways of finding the best fit require complex ab initio (first principles) quantum chemical calculations for specific collision partners, or simpler molecular mechanics models, but there you have to ask yourself, what do you mean by a collision, is a collision one in which velocity and quantum state don't change, but the direction of each molecule is changed, one in which the velocity changes, etc. Each of these will have different cross-sections, and thus, from Peter's POV a different "size"

Still, you can do very well with the 6-12 potential, or even a hard sphere potential, the question is how can the class find the cross-sections. The answer is surprisingly simple, measure the viscosity, measure the second Virial coefficient, measure any departure from the ideal gas law, because that is a measure of the range and the forces between molecular pairs in a collision.

This was the way molecular sizes were determined before large computers and molecular beam systems. Eli has a very old book, Molecular Theory of Gases and Liquids by Hischfelder Curtiss and Bird from 1952, which goes through such models in detail and has extensive tables of cross-sections derived from measurements. HOWEVER, probably the simplest way is to get thee to a computer with a molecular mechanics program such a pcmodel, or programs such as SPARTAN or Gaussian, and calculate the size of the molecule using potted subroutines.

Think of this as the start of a discussion.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too bad to be believed

Stephan Lewandowsky beats the drum about peer review and Foster, et al. Folks, our friends need a press release, so Eli has borrowed a word here and there.

Climate Scientists Respond to False Claims

Climate scientists continue to respond to badly flawed, politically driven, papers by those who deny the strong evidence for humans affecting climate in ways that portend major future disruptions.

Such papers have confused the public debate, but increasingly scientists are stepping up to provide strong refutations. Last year, John McLean, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter, published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research using a mathematical procedure that eliminates long term trends to claim that there is no long term trend in global temperatures.

The Journal of Geophysical Research is publishing a devastating rebuttal by a team of nine of the world's leading climate scientists from Japan, the UK, the US, and New Zealand, Foster, et al. This rebuttal uncovers numerous errors and, most crucially, it unambiguously shows that the paper by McLean and colleagues permitted no conclusions about global warming, let alone the lack thereof.

Although the original paper's authors loudly proclaimed to the media that their work shows that "no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation" and that it "leaves little room for any warming driven by human emissions", these claims have now been shown to be wishful thinking at best, and mendacious propaganda at worst.

As the Journal of Geophysical Research's editor wrote about the response "while I appreciate the value of "taking the high road", I do not object to emphatic statements that conclusions are incorrect. Strong language is needed sometimes when errors must be corrected."

Comment on Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature" by J. D. McLean, C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter

G. Foster, J. D. Annan, P. D. Jones, M. E. Mann, B. Mullan, J. Renwick, J. Salinger, G. A. Schmidt, and K. E. Trenberth

So, where do we send this?

PS: For an insight into the disjunction between science and the press, and how to play the game, take a look at the post from which the image came, and the comments

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The two cultures

The phrase has lived on as a vague popular shorthand for the rift—a matter of incomprehension tinged with hostility—that has grown up between scientists and literary intellectuals reporters in the modern world.
Real Climate has both the contra and the really contra about coverage of climate issues and the pro, James Randerson defending the Guardian. Who amongst us can forget Leakgate, and Andy Revkin, although not donning the hair shirt is trying to make nice, and getting it, even when he is not getting it. And, of course, Michael Tobis, invented reporter concern blogging.

So, what's going on Eli asks?

Well, IEHO, there is a disjunction, but it's a strange one. Scientists can't figure out why reporters keep giving space to denialists who keep on burning them and, of course, the denialists keep on burning them and the reporters keep on taking it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's always the third goddamn reviewer that screws us over

Well, James is having fun with McLean (Part II), deFreitas (Part I) and Carter (Part 0). For those who don't know, a comment on that mendacious nonsense appeared recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, authored by G. Foster, J. D. Annan, P. D. Jones, M. E. Mann, B. Mullan, J. Renwick, J. Salinger, G. A. Schmidt, and K. E. Trenberth, which pretty much takes MdFC apart at the seams. Tamino provides the blog version, showing how MdFC differentiated under the rocks. Still, there was one interesting paragraph in MdFC's response which they put up on Icecap. Supposedly this will be published by Princess Denial in Energy and Environment,

On November 20, a newly appointed, replacement JGR editor informed us that a group of scientists led by Grant Foster had submitted a critique of our paper for publication in JGR. To which a reviewer responded “But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the level of “blog diatribe”. The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journal article. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent with the language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.”
Ordinarily McLean would never see the referee reports on the submitted comment, but thanks to the majic theft of Emails from the CRU, we can read all three referee reports (go ahead, you google it, Eli is dirty enough from his trip down into the quote mine.)

The first referee said:
This paper does an excellent job of showing the errors in the analytical methods used by McLean et al. and why their conclusions about the influence of ENSO on global air temperature is incorrect.
The second referee said:
I think this comment on McLean et al can be published more or less as is.
But the f$#$%% third referee said
Accept pending major changes (mainly in style not scientific comment)

The real mystery here, of course, is how the McLean et al. paper ever made it into JGR. How that happened, I have no idea. I can't see it ever getting published through J Climate. The analyses in McLean et al. are among the worst I have seen in the climate literature. The paper is also a poorly guised attack on the integrity of the climate community, and I guess that is why Foster et al. have taken the energy to contradict its findings.

So the current paper (Foster et al.) should certainly be accepted. Someone needs to address the science in the McLean et al paper in the peer-reviewed literature. But the current paper could be - and should be - done better. That's why I am suggesting major changes before the paper is accepted. All of my suggestions have to do more with the tone and framing of the current paper, rather than its content.
and in the fourth paragraph, put in the zinger "
But as it is written, the current paper almost stoops to the level of "blog diatribe"
Eli, of course, is quite fond of blog diatribes, but in further proof of how blogs understand referees (see video above), the third referee closes with
2. Similarly, instead of framing the paper as "Taking down McLean et al.", why not focus more on interesting aspects of the science, such as the frequency dependence between ENSO and global-mean temperature (perhaps cross-correlation analysis would be useful); the importance of not extrapolating results from one timescale to another timescale; or the lack of trends in ENSO. That way, the current paper contributes to the peer-reviewed literature while also doing a service by highlighting the problems with McLean et al.

3. In general, the current paper is sloppy and needs tightening. I don't think the lead author needs 10 pages of text to make the main points.
Well, the third referee didn't much like McLean, de Freitas and Carter and nor did the editor
Reviewer 3 is concerned with the tone on the writing; while I appreciate the value of "taking the high road", I do not object to emphatic statements that conclusions are incorrect. Strong language is needed sometimes when errors must be corrected.
Excuse Eli, he needs to dig his way out of the quote mine.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Because I could

Ada Lovelace mother of programming, designed a code for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine to be. All the more remarkable, since as John Mashey points out, the Analytical Engine was the first first known computing startup that spent a lot of someone else’s money, had a workable design, but never shipped product, at least in part because the designer wasn’t easy to work with. You can read Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles, comics version of their adventures, which was inspired by the Ada Lovelace Day (March 24) Project where bloggers, honor women who have contributed to technology and science.

Last December Eli was privileged to take part in an MRS seminar held in honor of Dr. Marni Goldman, who died in 2007 of complications from lifelong muscular dystrophy. As far as anyone can remember this was the first time that MRS had ever had a memorial seminar at a National Meeting. Marni, who he had met a few times at MRS meetings, was an extraordinary person, and Rabett Run's choice to honor on Ada Lovelace day. Below is a video showing Marni as a graduate student in the 1990s at Berkeley.

She graduated as a double minor at U Penn, in psychology and materials science and engineering before earning her masters and doctoral degrees in materials science at Berkeley after which she did a post-doc at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. In the words of her advisors, her science blew people away. After her post-doc Marni's interests moved to science education and outreach. Marni was Educational Director of the Center on Polymer Interfaces and Macromolecular Assemblies, an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. She was a major influence on all of the campus she studied and worked at as can be seen in reading the tributes to her. Educational materials she created are accessible on the web

Ron Gronsky, her mentor at Berkeley, has a story (follow the link for more, it is well worth it)

In addition to her able manipulation of her wheelchair, Marni also drove a heavily modified van with keypad control and 6 inch diameter steering wheel to match her limited physical reach to the rigors acceleration, braking, and navigation on the California highway system as well as the more challenging Berkeley neighborhood traffic diverter system. I have a warm place in my heart for motor vehicles, particularly the "performance" kind, so I had many discussions with Marni about the engineering advancements in her "ride." She was very proud of, and pleased with, the performance of her van, too.

One day we attended an event that had both of us, Marni and I, driving back and forth on the interstate, with several graduate students as passengers. I dutifully took the lead and watched my rearview mirror diligently so Marni would not get lost, slowing as necessary to continue our caravan. All went well on the way down. We were heading back to Berkeley in the early evening when it happened...

I lost sight of Marni's van in my rearview mirror.

Near panic, I began scanning my mirrors but couldn't slow down because I had a large truck barreling down on my classic 1972 Dodge Demon. So I took the only reasonable course of action. I downshifted and punched it, leaving the truck in a cloud of blue smoke, exceeding the speed limit now by a considerable amount, preparing to draft the SUV in front of me, and slice into the passing lane.

However, I was sealed off there, too...

Blowing past me (literally) in the fast lane was... MARNI'S VAN!.

She took the lead, and I never caught up with her!

The next day she came to my office for a pre-scheduled meeting, so I asked her about the "passing" incident, risking my sounding more like a parent than a research advisor, but I was very concerned...

"Marni, I was doing at least 70 in a 55 mph zone and YOU PASSED ME! That was really scary! Why did you do it?

Before she spoke, I saw it again. The characteristic smirk that I saw Marni give so many times over the past few years, which I came to love and to fear at the same time: the twinkle in her eyes, a turn of her head to the side while she kept you in sight, followed by that unmistakable pre-emergence of a bright smile. And of course by now I knew to hold my silence, because she was about to give me the answer. And she did.

"Because I could." She said.
A scholarship has been established in her name

Monday, March 22, 2010

Andy Revkin, out in the cold

Andy Revkin has a problem. Actually he has several.

Ethon and Eli were sitting around popping liver in the microwave (messy, messy) when the subject of wither Dot Earth bubbled up. Andy was the "lead" science reporter at the New York Times, but took a buyout in December 2009. Ethon, who is pretty sharp with the numbers noticed that Andy's new home base, Pace University, has some really nice roosts but the Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, where he is Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, has the stink of a soft money operation, which means no tenure and little, if any, direct funding from the University. You teach a course, on line or off, you get capitation. You want to support your salary, you got a hunting license, but that means you need land to hunt on and something to flush the game. Ethon, of course, was eager to offer his services. He hears there are some nice pickings, and he is sure he could flush a phoning Pielke or two.

In his new situation, Revkin needs visibility. Dot Earth is some of the best real estate in the blog universe and evidently the Times has given Andy squatting rights. What happens when the Times goes subscription again in 2011 might be another story so everything has to be in place by then, especially if he has to decamp for a new site, and maybe without the moniker.

Revkin trained as a reporter and sees himself as an intermediary. From his years as the NY Times' science honcho, Revkin has built a power address book. IEHO Revkin wants to position Dot Earth as a place where scientists and the public meet, where he can bring in a wide variety of scientists and policy people and they can interact with those who inhabit the comments. To Eli, he is less interested in controlling the discourse than at hosting it and identifying where the hot action is.

In contrast, Real Climate's owner operators see their job as explaining climate science to the readers.

RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team. This is a moderated forum.
Eli? Eli is in it for the carrots.

Revkin's dilemma is that he needs to maintain access to the scientists while attracting the broadest possible crowd. His balancing act is wearing thin. The Yale Forum had a fairly long article about the problems Revkin will have in Second Life

That is decidedly not how pro-climate-control advocate Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois sees things. He recently did an e-mail blast distributing his e-mail to Revkin specifically trashing Revkin for “gutter reportage” on Dotearth.

“The vibe I’m getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists,” Schlesinger railed in his e-mail to Revkin. “I sense that you are about to experience the ‘Big Cutoff’ from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included,” he wrote.

Like other reporters, Revkin is known to take such criticisms as an affirmation of his journalistic independence. But perhaps more surprising was a recent complaint from mainstream climate scientist Ken Caldeira, of Stanford University and its Carnegie Institution of Washington. Caldeira sometimes draws the scorn of those most committed to strong action on climate change, but few could seriously consider him a climate “skeptic.”

Addressing Revkin about his coverage of the e-mails hacking in a November 21 Times front-page article, Caldeira complained of “about the worst piece of journalism that you have ever published.” He complained that the paper, and Revkin in particular, had taken “a few lines out of context for maximum inflammatory intent.”

Caldeira also equated Revkin to widely quoted climate contrarian Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute, at one point asking Revkin if he had “let yourself be an operative of Pat Michaels. Truly disgusting.”

The problem, of course, is that most of the scientists and their friends and colleagues have been strongly and unfairly attacked by the Pat Michaels (and the you know who elses) of the world and they recognize the flim-flam for what it is. They are not going to take kindly to being asked to play with someone who gives Pat oxygen. The problem is also Eli and his dear friends who have spent the last six or seven years digging the moles out of the ground and do not care to extend what remains of the hand of friendliness after losing a fair amount of flesh.

But forget that, we all get Alzheimers sooner or later. Look at what has happened to, currently inhabited by a couple of indefatigable types on both sides who know how to work the ctrl-C, ctrl-V combination. There are visitors, passerbys and others, but the comments have become arthritic: swollen, painful and stiff. Andy is trying to losen this up by interjecting when a commenter becomes, well, imaginative, but he needs to attract another bunch and a greater variety.

The initially promising Climate Feedback died swiftly by dissing what should have been its natural supporters with a set of lamely wanna be contrarian posts by the usual selection of freakoscience posters. Everyone got a bad taste in the beak from that, and has stayed away in droves since.

Now Ethon has a few suggestions. Don't go where the heat is for a while. It's pretty clear that Revkin does not have the depth to see the rocks in the trickster's arguments. Recapture the right crowd, find a new one, get away from climate issues and emphasize environmental ones, at least for a while. Bring in experts on specialized topics and figure out how to get them to converse with the crowd. You probably should show them the flames, but you don't have to publish them. Recognize that, for example, there are a lot of birds out there who want to understand the environmental pressures on their roosts. Use that Rolladex.

In short, do what others can't and you can. At least for the next half year, the emphasis should be on protecting the guests on the Andy Revkin show and establishing a dialog between them and the audience. The goal is that visitors would learn something on every visit.

Oh yeah, most importantly, add Rabett Run to the blogroll.

Whale of a story

Eli had previously recounted the amazing story of how Denis Wingo and Keith Cowling had brought Lunar Orbiter tapes back from the dead, digitizing the high resolution analog images of the moon and the first blue (ok, greytone) marbles. Word got around, and soon data archivists who had pallets of old tapes from early satellite missions came calling.

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is moving on to NIMBUS tapes from the 1960s. Among other things, once these tapes are analyzed it will be possible to follow ice extent back almost 20 more years. The National Snow and Ice Data Center believes it will be possible to figure out monthly averages as far back as the mid-60s.

The figure to the right show a thermal map from 23 September 1966. The blue area in the center is cold clouds over the Indian Ocean.

But why is Eli posting this you ask. Well there finally is an answer to why many of the tapes were recorded over. Turns out, that the highest quality tape used whale oil in the tape binder which held the iron oxide. Eli speculates that this lubricated the tape as it moved quickly through the transport. When commercial whaling stopped in the 1980s, new tapes were not available.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pass the Brazilian popcorn

There have been a number of developments on the Amazin Amazon Press Release front. Real Climate has a reply from Scott Saleska to Samanta, et al, in which Saleska clearly shows that Samata, et al's data for the short, but intense 2005 Amazon drought matches the greening that Saleska, et al. found in 2007. This getting deep down and dirty, the principals, Ranga Myneni and his student Samanta jumped the land shark here. First we had the "inventitive" quote they manufactured from Jose Marengo, which disappeared after Tim Lambert wrote to Dr. Marengo, and got a never said THAT from him.

One of the commenters at Real Climate, has found a post, flacking the paper apparently from the good Prof. Myneni. And where, the bunnies ask, did this gem show up? On Sean Hannity's web site forum. For outlanders, Hannity is one of Rupert Murdoch's hired hands, makes Chris Monckton look sane and liberal. And what appeared under Myneni's name??

An article published yesterday (March 4, 2010) in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), the authors report that Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought, contrary to a 2007 report published in the prestigious journal Science and the IPCC claims about these forest response to precipitation declines. This article corrects much of the mis-information regarding the drought sensitivity of this important biome. The abstract of our article is shown below. I hope you will find this article interesting enough to write about it and/or help disseminate the news. If you wish to talk to us about this article, please contact the first author, Arindam -

The sensitivity of Amazon rainforests to dry‐season droughts is still poorly understood, with reports of enhanced tree mortality and forest fires on one hand, and excessive forest greening on the other. Here, we report that the previous results of large-scale greening of the Amazon, obtained from an earlier version of satellite-derived vegetation greenness data - Collection 4 (C4) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), are irreproducible, with both this earlier version as well as the improved, current version (C5), owing to inclusion of atmosphere-corrupted data in those results. We find no evidence of large-scale greening of intact Amazon forests during the 2005 drought - approximately 11%-12% of these drought-stricken forests display greening, while, 28%-20% show browning or no-change, and for the rest, the data are not of sufficient quality to characterize any changes. These changes are also not unique - approximately similar changes are observed in non-drought years as well. Changes in surface solar irradiance are contrary to the speculation in the previously published report of enhanced sunlight availability during the 2005 drought. There was no co-relation between drought severity and greenness changes, which is contrary to the idea of drought-induced greening. Thus, we conclude that Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought.
[UPDATE: Eli acknowledges that posting in anothers name is easy on forums, which raises the point of who done it. Emails have been dispatched, but truly evil thoughts are forming. In the spirit of uninhibited bs (blog stuff) the choice appears to be between a rogue grad student, a professor in the early stages of very emeritus, or a public information officer looking for a job with Fox news - place your bets]

As Saleska points out, Samanta, et al. are playing a bit of three card monte here. The total amount of the forest imaged well enough to make a determination of browner, greener or no change was about 34%, which was composed of ~10% greener, 4% browner and 20% about the same, ie, greener was ~2.5 times more likely than browner. Added: To make this all even tastier, Saleska and Myneni were co-authors on a 2006 paper "Amazon rainforests green-up with sunlight in dry season" Fee, fie, foo fiddle-de-de, Eli smells some jealousy.

Stay tuned. Ms. Rabett has sent out for huge supplies of popcorn.

And oh yes, for your guide to all that is Samantagate, Deltoid

Suggestions needed

Some bunnies, not Eli, the Rabett hastens to add, would let it go to their ears when Michael Ashley writes in the comments

Hi Eli,
Just thought that you would like to know that this thread inspired me to write my recent opinion piece here.
B'rer Ashley

B'rer Ashley has it right, when he addresses Mr Maurice Newman, Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The "skeptical scientists" who are quoted in the media almost invariably have few to no publications in the field and are often in the twilight of their careers. Their "theories" are illogical, incoherent, and inconsistent. Yet far from being suppressed by the media, they are given extraordinary access and are regularly asked to comment. Worse, they are usually portrayed as experts - regardless of their lack of expertise in climate research.

You can easily prove me wrong, all you have to do is name just one scientist who has published a viable alternative theory in a credible science journal, that hasn't since been debunked. I bet you can't do it.

and at the end brings the scary
To provide true balance, the ABC should instead be giving airtime to where there is truly informed disagreement: the many expert climate scientists who think that the IPCC has seriously underestimated the likely future rate of climate change.
Now Eli is not, he hastens to add, trying to steal Tim Lambert's thunder, or his site views (although Tim has more than enough of those). Tim had this earlier, but when Eli got to the ABC site the comments were already closed. The bunnies need a better way of spreading the word when something important hits the mainstream media, the blogs, and even the forums. Folks like B'rer Ashley deserve support. Many places all that is needed is to check off the posts of others that you support (dotearth is one of those), don't have to write anything yourself.

Suggestions?? Something like an events of the day box at the top??

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mad as Hell

In an interesting development nineteen scientists who know their way around the Amazon have issued a strong statement contesting the BU press release flacking a recent paper by the Myneni group (Ear tip to Joe Romm)

The press release from Boston University describing a recent article in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by BU researchers on the response of Amazon forests to the 2005 drought is misleading and inaccurate. It claims that the study “debunks myths about Amazon rainforests”, which is simply not true. First, there is no myth. Rather, there are multiple, consistent lines of evidence from ground--‐based studies published in the peer--reviewed literature that Amazon forests are, indeed, very susceptible to drought stress. Second, nothing is debunked by the new study. The new study contributes to our understanding of interpretations of data retrieved from satellites, but it does not prove or disprove anything about what is really happening on the ground. The BU press release also claims that the new BU paper demonstrates that the IPCC statement about the sensitivity of Amazon forests to small reductions in rainfall is inaccurate, which is also not true. While the IPCC statement could be criticized for citing a review paper rather than original research papers, the main conclusion of the IPCC statement – that Amazonian forests are very susceptible to reductions in rainfall – remains our best understanding of the data available at the time of the IPCC report and also today.
among the interesting signers are Simon Lewis, who took out after the press release at Real Climate, and encountered a rather disingenuous reply from the first author, and Myneni's graduate student Arindam Samanta, but also George Woodwell. Woodwell, as those of you young enough to retain some short term memory may recall, was one of the National Academy types that Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute tried to cower by releasing their emails. Eli remarked that Ebell might have stirred up a hornet's nest.

Pass the popcorn

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Large bird whistle posting

Read this

There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for a variety of problems, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. We (the office of Secretary of Health and Human Services) have reached out to media outlets to try to get them not to give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting.
and then read this
There is a well-orchestrated and fairly successful effort under way to confuse and sometimes cherry-pick information," Lubchenco said.

The best response, she said, is to provide information from trusted sources such as NOAA, which operates the National Weather Service and collects and distributes data on weather and climate.

"I don't view our role as trying to convince people of something," she said. "Our role is to inform people."
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A modest suggestion

UPDATE: Some confusion about Samanta's sex but somewhat more concerning, although he is the the first author, Samanta is a graduate student in Ranga Myeni's group.

Press releases hyping every half baked paper have become a plague on the land, often having no relation to the paper itself, but achieving a far wider audience as it spreads through the media. One example is being cut to pieces at Real Climate and In It. Eli is not inclined to play nice as some of the folk at Real Climate are, granting the benefit of the doubt to Arindam Samanta the first author.

Give him credit, Simon Lewis, who wrote the post, Up is Down, Brown is Green (with apologies to Orwell, gets it, but still wants to be nice.

As others may have noticed, the climate debate is NOT being played out in the scientific literature and there are a fair number of nasty people out there gunning for climate science. Pretty much anyone can spin a clear statement into a CYA garment. Either Samanta knew what he and his colleagues were doing in that press release, in which case as Dr. Lewis has shown, he was culpably wrong (UPDATE: He knew), or he was unbelievably naive, in which case he still is wrong and needs not to post on Real Climate, but in the places where her paper is being used as a club against the IPCC. Eli makes no assumption about motives, but he understands responsibility and effects.

In the words of Daniel Patrick Moynahan, if you define deviancy down, you get deviants. A large proportion of the mess we find ourselves in is owed to your (climate scientists) willingness to listen to excuses in private from the Lindzens and the Pielkes, while they read you out in public. Samanta has taken the first bite, either the cost is made clear to him, or he will take the second.

Eli has a modest suggestion: Proposed outreach, so called "broader outcomes" have become an important part of grant applications and press releases are certainly an outreach. Require all press releases to be included in any grant renewal request. Let the reviewers at em.

Friday, March 12, 2010

When you're in a hole stop digging

Stoat, of course, has trademarked IOPgate, and Eli is looking on with interest, when his attention was gathered by a comment from J Bowers, who has been quite active on the matter pointing to the latest CYA from the IOP. The Rabett's eyes fell upon this interesting sentence at the end of the article

"We asked the energy sub-group of our Science Board to prepare the evidence, based on its analysis of material that is in the public domain following the hacking of the CRU e-mails last year," says the IOP. "
The IOP has several groups (let alone subgroups) that would have been more appropriate, such as the Environmental Physics Group, the Molecular Physics Group (take Eli's word for it, he knows some of these scientists. The Bunny knows that taking the word of a stuffed animal is a stretch, but he hopes that a certain level of trust has been established here), the Physics and Law Group, etc., as well as having many prominent members who are far more informed on the matters that Parliament is considering than the "energy subgroup".

We know that the IOP statement was drafted by Peter Gill, from the "energy subgroup" a nutjob who has signed onto every climate denialist crankcase known to lagormorpha. The question is who recruited this wacko, and if he was recruited to do the drive by with the collateral damage to the IOP's reputation, why is that person still working for the IOP? If, on the other hand, Gill showed up at the door with his piece of trash who was stupid enough to sign for it and why is she still working for the IOP?

Clearly the "energy subgroup" is an incubus in the corporate bosom ranking right up there with the "gravity doesn't exist" bunch and "quantum mechanics is a socialist plot" subgroups.

The IOP needs clearly explain what happened and take action to repair the damage to its reputation.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Over reach

It is beginning to look like the theft of Emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia was an over-reach. A group of National Academy of Science members have been discussing how the War on Science has broadened out and now threatens science in general. In an obvious attempt to intimidate, Myron Ebell, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has made this other purloined correspondence public, eliciting much hand wringing from the usual suspects. Make no mistake, the barbarians are at the door.

Joe Romm has a Romm length post up about the penultimate Email from George Woodwell

We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths. There are lessons to be learned from the legal profession for defending one's professions. Take any challenge, not as something to be addressed directly, but as an opportunity to add substance to the case. If the opposition opens an issue, make the issue theirs, and so hot that they have to let go.

Those who stole the e-mails were criminals, not those who wrote them, and the argument must be for jailing the criminals, not investigating the scientists, all of whom were doing their jobs properly, sorting perspectives, data, analyses of data and how to proceed logically and forthrightly. We must make the issue what it is, the most troubling environmental and political challenge the world has ever faced. Those who deny the biophysical facts of the world would deny the reality of the law of gravity. The product of such denials is systematic progress in destroying this civilization. If one wants a view of where that process leads, take a quick look at Haiti at the moment.

The University's response to the challenges of Mann were totally wrong, misguided confessions that they have doubt as to the University's wisdom in employing and supporting him. And we, the scientific community, in an equally misguided effort at showing reasonableness and objectivity, participated.
This is the heart of the matter. Eli knows a lot of people in the climate science community whose work does not impinge much on climate change (regional pollution, ozone issues, chemical kinetics, etc) Up till now they have operated on the assumption that they and theirs will be left alone if they keep their heads down, but this is becoming untenable as the war against science broadens. The NAS members are beginning to realize that the attack on Phil Jones and Mike Mann is but the opening salvo.

The NAS members need to take the lead in withdrawing respect and collegiality from the Pielkes, the Lindzens and the Christys. Minnows like Douglass will sink of their own weight and the Lomborgs and McKitricks will have no support.

Agitprop like Douglass, Christy and Singer, will have a much tougher time getting published, because they have abused the default assumption of working in good faith and editors are finally becoming aware of this. Fantasists like Soon, Gerlich and Chilingar will be laughed out of town.

Andy Dessler and others have organized a response defending climate science that appears in the Houston Chron. They need support, go over there and hit the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons. Their science is good, but they do not understand the need to defend Jones, Mann and the CRU against outrageous attacks.

It is instructive to look at the tobacco wars. For a long time a small group of former scientists and a few wanna bes provided cover for the public relations types who ran the disinformation campaign. Just to name two, Fred Singer and Fred Seitz provided ammunition that the tobacco companies used to make sure that millions of additional people died. That anyone takes Singer seriously is evidence of a moral failing.

It was only when the biomedical scientific community decided to cease extending any respect to those providing cover for Big Tobacco that any progress was made. It took a long time, but you stopped seeing "Prof. X disagrees because Prof. X was simply read out of respectable company if he tried to deny the obvious in the New York Times while attempting to publish in Nature.

UPDATE: James Annan who quite rightly is unhappy about the current climate writes
You haven't had much climate science here recently, mostly because all that's been in the news relating to climate science, well...isn't actually anything to do with climate science really.
and points to an article on the ABC blog by Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky on the Australian Broadcasting Network Drum, which, as James says, we need more of
Sceptics seek answers and scrutinise arguments before accepting the current state of scientific knowledge as fact. Denialists dismiss sound arguments, solid data, and experimental evidence in favour of propositions that have long been shown to be flawed.

The world's pre-eminent scientific journal, Nature, therefore refers to those who cling to long-debunked pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories while dismissing the findings of thousands of peer-reviewed studies by their true label — denialists.

The potentially devastating consequences of denialism are brought into sharp focus by the sad history of South Africa's AIDS policies. Despite having one of the world's highest rates of HIV infections, the government of President Thabo Mbeki went against consensus scientific opinion 10 years ago and declined anti-retroviral drugs, preferring instead to treat AIDS with garlic and beetroot. Politicians even accused a leading South African immunologist of defending Western science and its "racist ideas" for his insistence on scientific treatment methods. According to a recent peer-reviewed Harvard study, this denialism cost the lives of more than 330,000 South Africans.

For that, President Mbeki and his associates are now held in richly deserved contempt around the world.

Precisely the same fate awaits denialists of climate change.
UPDATE: Joe Romm is mystified by what a Romm length post is: Comprehensive.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Evidence of adverse editorial selection by the CRU Email theives

Tim Osborn is one of the Climeros'** targets [thanks to Marco for that, although Eli has chosen to exercise his dyslexia a bit] because of various Emails made public after the theft of the CRU file, but the questions has always been what was edited out of the Emails that have been made public. One of the constant whines from our friends the Climero's has been about how Osborn, as a member of the International Journal of Climatology editorial board maneuvered to get Santer, et al. published as a full paper, rather than as a reply to Douglass, Christy, Singer and not Knox. Santer has already had his say on this at Real Climate, Osborn has his in his submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology pointing to what was made public by the theives

"just heard back from Glenn. He's prepared to treat it as a new submission rather than a comment on Douglass et al."

provided undue favour to Santer, because Douglass et al. would not have a right to reply if the Santer article was treated in this way.
and what was not
This is false. What was not released in the disclosed emails, however, was my discussion with the journal's editor, where I note:

"He (Santer) has done a substantial amount of new work that will be included, hence it is more than just a comment on Douglass et al."

With this proper context, it now becomes clear that the reason for treating the Santer article as a new submission was because it deserved to be treated in that way - it reported many new scientific findings. It is worth also noting that treating the Santer article as a new submission does not in any way reduce the opportunity for Douglass et al. to respond to Santer - via a comment on Santer et al. or via their own new submission to this journal or any other.This is strong evidence that the quote miners who stole the CRU Emails have been, let us say, economical with the electrons, providing misleading selections.

**They are big and I is small and that is not fair, oh nos!

RSC Gate

Stoat is all over IOP gate and got sucked into Svenskagata, so Eli went looking for fresh meat in the submissions to the Parliamentary Committee looking into the CRU affair. Being an immigrant to chemistry, the Bunny thought he would look at the Royal Society of Chemistry submission, and found some interesting things there that actually contribute rather than vent. The RSC has clearly thought about the changing nature of communication and the attacks on science and scientists that have brought us to this pass. As usual, go read the whole thing, but the important parts of the submission are below. (Emphases added by Eli)

8. With the increased use of electronic media, access to information is widespread for scientists and the public alike. While this is a great benefit to society, the quality and validity of information available raises complex problems as valid scientific information and general opinion are presented side by side. The inability to decipher which information is legitimate, results in confusion, misinterpretation and may lead to mistrust of 'science'. There needs to be a clearer understanding in the public domain of what constitutes a reliable source, including an appreciation for the process that is used for disseminating research and the advantages of peer review.

9. The peer review system is central to the credibility of science: its purpose to prevent the dissemination of unwarranted claims and unacceptable interpretations. Formally published scientific research is subject to this authoritative process whereby a community of qualified, impartial experts examine the information and possess the ability to prevent publication. Authors generally protect their data until it has been peer-reviewed and published in a formal publication due to the competitive nature of research.

10. The issue of misinformation in the public domain must also be tackled. Just as the scientific community must be open with regard to their evidence base, those who disagree must also provide a clear and verifiable backing for their argument, if they wish their opinions to be given weight. When disagreements occur, the validity of the analysis must be established before credence can be given to any opinion. Increased understanding of the process of scientific research, firstly in the government, but also within the media and general public, is vital in order to foster a more open sharing of information.

11. Support from the scientific community is needed to provide context and to explain the process by which conclusions are reached. Encouraging scientists to openly engage with the public can only be achieved if researchers are given the necessary backing in the face of any unfounded arguments against their work. This support must come from the highest levels, sending out a strong message on the importance of scientific methodology and research and promoting open sharing of information between scientists and the wider community.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Idiots Delight

UPDATE:  Turns out that Beenstock and Reingewertz Beenstock et al were clueless about the data they used.   In particular, point out that the greenhouse gas concentrations they used was not a single series but changes from ice cores in 1960 to atmospheric grab samples.  This throws B&Rs analysis into the trash can.  See here for details

UPDATE: Could somebunny point Eli to a consistent set of forcings in numerical format going back to the year dot.

UPDATE: Many thanks for the pointers (see comments)

UPDATE: Take a look at Nick Stokes on this

So the new best thing in the denialsphere is a paper by Michael Beenstock and Yaniv Reingewertz from the Department of Economics of the The Hebrew University where they pull a Wegman, analyzing climate data without knowing anything about the science. Now this is par for the course in economics where there are no constraints, but it ain't so cool when you deal with physical reality. Anyhow, the rubber hits the road very quickly when they say that

The method of co-integration is designed to test hypotheses with time series data that are non-stationary to the same order, and to avoid the pitfall of spurious regression. The order of non-stationarity refers to the number of times a variable must be differenced (d) to render it stationary, in which case the variable is integrated of order, d, or I(d). We confirm previous findings, that the radiative forcings of greenhouse gases (C02, CH4 and N2O) are stationary in second differences (i.e. I(2)) while global temperature and solar irradiance are stationary in first differences (i.e. I(1)).
Straightforwardly this is a claim that forcing has been increasing as a second order function, while temperature has only been increasing linearly. Given the noise in the temperature record, that is a reach as an absolute, but Eli is a nice Rabett. Still, as one of the mice said, whoa. The best estimates of the radiative forcing is the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which was first described in a paper by Hofmann, et al. and considers all forcings since 1979. Why 1979? Well that's when they established the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory global cooperative air sampling network. It's also the year when Eli got a tenure track job. Makes sense.

If you look at the CO2 forcing above it looks pretty linear, but how about the total radiative forcing, because, our new hero's are claiming that
.......greenhouse gas forcing, global temperature and solar irradiance are not polynomially cointegrated and AGW is refuted. Although we reject AGW, we find that greenhouse gas forcings have a temporary effect on global temperature. Because the greenhouse effect is temporary rather than permanent, predicitons of significant global warming in the 21st century by IPCC are not supported by the data.
Hmm, that looks pretty linear too (the color you can't see in the legend is for CH4). So we have the result that the radiative forcing since 1979, has been linear. What about before 1979? Well, let's go to the IPCC WGI. Calculation of radiative forcing requires calculations, that means models. The figure below is from Nozawa et al., 2005; and Takemura et al., 2005. Different GCMs, get different values, but the general trends are as shown. Even if you simply plug into simple algebraic equations to calculate the radiative forcings, those equations came from GCMs, so in a real sense Beenstock and Reingewertz are unwittingly engaging in a circle jerk, but let the magnomious Rabett Labs skip over this,
The bunnies tossed back a few beers, took out the ruler and said, hey, that total forcing looks a lot more like two straight lines with a hinge than a second order curve, and indeed, to be fair, the same thought had occurred to B&R
We also check whether rfCO2 is I(1) subject to a structural break. A break in the stochastic trend of rfCO2 might create the impression that d = 2 when in fact its true value is 1. We apply the test suggested by Clemente, Montanas and Reyes (1998) (CMR).xvi The CMR statistic (which is the ADF statistic allowing for a break) for the first difference of rfCO2 is -3.877. The break occurs in 1964, but since the critical value of the CMR statistic is -4.27 we can safely reject the hypothesis that rfCO2 is I(1) with a break in its stochastic trend.
BUT, the period they looked at was 1880 - 2000. Zeroth order dicking around says that any such test between a second order dependence and two hinged lines is going to be affected strongly by the length of the record. Any bunnies wanna bet what happens if you use a longer record???

Some snark to be added later.


Friday, March 05, 2010

JoAnne Simpson 1923-2010

Dr. Joanne Simpson who lead the TRMM mission to measure tropical rainfall has died. In the hurly burly of the comments section here there was a wonderful tribute from one of the anonymice, which touches on the unseemly rush to use her eulogy as a club, but captures her spirit

Very sorry to hear Dr. Simpson died.

She was a dedicated and determined scientist.

She planned a trip to climb in Nepal at age 70. She had to have knee surgery not long before. She recuperated and went on her trip as scheduled.

She ran long meetings at this time, so long and uninterrupted I couldn't sit. I nicknamed her (entirely to myself) "Iron Butt". I had to get up and stretch, but then I hadn't begun my day with a long run, although Simpson had.

She promoted and was Project Scientist on the TRMM satellite, which measured tropical rainfall and developed understandings of it.

That a memo of hers after retirement was ripped out of context and used to provide a misleading impression of her was sad. She was an experimentalist and didn't delve into climate models -- or anything to do with computers. Like most scientists, she did not give equal weight all aspects, her understanding was deeper in some areas than others. She didn't understand why "scientific arguments" were being played out in newspapers -- naive about the anti-AGW hacks.

As a female, she pioneered in science and achieved with an iron will in spite of obstacles that would have daunted most men.
Eli thinks we want to keep any discussion seemly, but he can't resist this story she told at the link above
“I had never in my life been at a place before where anyone else other than the secretaries and me used the ladies room,” says Simpson. She recounts that the second day she arrived at Goddard Space Flight Center, she went to the ladies room to freshen up and found to her surprise two other women scientists washing their hands and discussing meteorology. Never before had she encountered a working environment so friendly to women.

There was a 2003 AMS Festschrift for Dr. Simpson, but the articles are not on line although the abstracts are. Links to two of them can be found below

The Research of Dr. Joanne Simpson: Fifty Years Investigating Hurricanes, Tropical Clouds, and Cloud Systems. W.-K. Tao, J. Halverson, M. LeMone, R. Adler, M. Garstang, R. Houze Jr., R. Pielke Sr., and W. Woodley

From Hot Towers to TRMM: Joanne Simpson and Advances in Tropical Convection Research. Robert A. Houze Jr.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Simplest Explanation

Mom Rabett asked Eli to explain the greenhouse effect and why increasing CO2 increases the global temperature. Now Mom, the last surviving first grade dragon, could teach a stone to read, but she was the reason the New Math didn't work so Eli had to think really hard (and thanks for the help to the bunnies).

Mom, he said, the Earth absorbs energy from the sun and reaches a steady temperature when it radiates the same average amount of energy to space. Scientists would want Eli to insert per unit time here, and that should be understood in everything that follows.

Each part of the Earth's surface emits heat in the form of infrared (IR) radiation. The peak of this emission is right at the frequency where CO2 absorbs strongly.  While the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is small, 380 parts per million or 0.038%, this is still a large number of molecules, large enough that near the surface, at wavelengths where CO2 absorbs, the average distance light will travel before being captured is a few meters (a couple of yards).

Greenhouse gases, as well as absorbing IR radiation, emit it. It gets a bit complicated because almost none of the greenhouse gas molecules that absorb IR light emit it immediately.  Instead the internal excited energy of the molecule is transformed into thermal motion of the molecules nearby through collisions.  This takes about a microsecond, a millionth of a second and is roughly a million times more likely than the molecule directly emitting IR light.

In the same way unexcited greenhouse gas molecules can be excited by collisions into a state where they emit.  It turns out that the rate at which excited molecules can form and their emission spectrum is determined by the temperature, so by looking at the spectrum we can tell the level at which the Earth radiates to space.

The distance that the emitted radiation can travel is short near the surface, but increases as one climbs through the atmosphere because density, pressure and temperature decrease as we climb. Each of these lengthens the distance radiation emitted from a molecule travels before being absorbed, until about at

10 km altitude where the temperature is -50 C (or ~-60 F or~220 K) and the density has decreased by a factor of ~3, it becomes possible for radiation from CO2 molecules to reach space, carrying thermal energy away from the Earth. Below that level, energy emitted by a CO2 molecule is soon absorbed by another relatively nearby one. Thus this energy simply cannot be radiated to space to balance the incoming solar energy.

Decreasing temperature slows down the rate at which each molecule can emit while decreasing density means there are fewer greenhouse gas molecules available to absorb or radiate the energy.

Taken together this means that the doorway to space is very narrow at wavelengths where CO2 can absorb. Since the same amount of energy has to be radiated to space as is coming from the sun, something has to increase, and that is the temperature of the surface. As the surface warms, the rate at which it can radiate energy increases, pushing more thermal IR radiation out into space.

If we increase the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere, the altitude at which energy can be radiated to space rises also, but since this higher level is colder and the pressure and density are lower, the doorway becomes narrower, and the surface has to warm more in order to shove the same amount of energy out and restore the balance with the incoming energy carried by the sunlight.

UPDATED:  The first figure above shows the IR emission spectrum of the earth.  The labels show where CO2 and stratospheric ozone emit.  The small lines are emission from water vapor and methane and N2O absorb roughly where the step at 1250 cm-1 is.  Superimposed on the spectrum are a series blackbody curves typical of different temperatures in the atmosphere.  By looking at where the emission lines cross the blackbody curves we can estimate the effective temperature, and thus the altitude, at which each molecule emits to space.

For example we see that most of the CO2 emits at about 215 K, several kilometers up in the atmosphere, however the temperature of the ozone emission is about 270 K, which is that higher still in the stratosphere, about 25 km up.  Finally we see the temperature of the surface is about 290 K in this spectrum in the atmospheric window where the absorption of water vapor (the small lines) is weak.  By looking at where the water vapor lines meet the blackbody curves and matching the temperature to the altitude it is clear that there is not much water vapor about a couple of kilometers.  That makes sense, most clouds are in the lower part of the troposphere

For those who want more detail (and some math, but lots of pretty figures) Chris Colose has something to offer and SOD has a lot more math


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Turner Tunes

As all the bunnies know, Leakegate has now spawned Amy BishopTurner Tunes. Amy leads off by talking about Richard Dawkins closing the forum on his web site. Amy wrote:

Richard Dawkins isn’t a man used to having his face likened to a “slack-jawed, turd-in-the-mouth mug”. Nor to being compared to “a suppurating rat’s rectum”. You can see why he might take offence.

Last week the celebrated evolutionary biologist abruptly closed the discussion forum on his website after somebody posted about a “sudden urge to ram a fistful of nails” down his throat. Another wanted to “trip [him] up and kick [him] in the guts”.

Dawkins blogged: “Imagine that you, as a greatly liked and respected person, found yourself overnight subjected to personal vilification on an unprecedented scale from anonymous commenters on a website.” He went on to describe his disbelief at the blogosphere’s vitriol and tendency to overreact to trivia and concluded that “there is something rotten in the internet culture”.

Bitching, infighting and back-biting have always been part of academia, much as they are a given in politics or the school playground. But now it is no longer confined to the footnotes of journals or senior common rooms. It is open, nasty and, as Dawkins can testify, getting nastier by the day.

So, let's take the poll
Why did the Richard Dawkins Foundation close its forum
To reopen in a new format in thirty days
Because people wrote nasty things about the new format
Because people wrote nasty things about atheism
Because people wrote nasty things about Richard Dawkins pushing atheism
To give Amy Turner something to whine about free polls

and look at what happened

Believe it or not, it all started with a decision by the Richard Dawkins Foundation to change the nature of the forum

Which brought in some interesting (cover the bunnies' ears)
A Message from Richard Dawkins about the website updates

Imagine that you, as a greatly liked and respected person, found yourself overnight subjected to personal vilification on an unprecedented scale, from anonymous commenters on a website. Suppose you found yourself described as an “utter twat” a “suppurating rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum inside a dead skunk that’s been shoved up a week-old dead rhino’s twat.” Or suppose that somebody on the same website expressed a “sudden urge to ram a fistful of nails” down your throat. Also to “trip you up and kick you in the guts.” And imagine seeing your face described, again by an anonymous poster, as “a slack jawed turd in the mouth mug if ever I saw one.”

What do you have to do to earn vitriol like that? Eat a baby? Gas a trainload of harmless and defenceless people? Rape an altar boy? Tip an old lady out of her wheel chair and kick her in the teeth before running off with her handbag?

None of the above. What you have to do is write a letter like this:
Dear forum members,

We wanted you all to know at the earliest opportunity about our new website currently in development. will have a new look and feel, improved security, and much more. Visits to the site have really grown over the past 3 1/2 years, and this update gives us an opportunity to address several issues. Over the years we've become one of the world's leading resources for breaking rational and scientific news and original content. We are focusing on quality content distribution, and will be bringing more original articles, video and other content as we grow.
You will notice that the forum has in fact been closed to comments (not taken down) sooner than the 30 days alluded to in the letter. This is purely and simply because of the over-the-top hostility of the comments that were immediately sent in. Note that there is no suggestion of abolishing the principle of a forum in which commenters can start their own threads.
Even when they actually have a point the Turners and Leakes cannot resist twisting and misleading. It must be genetic, but the question is, has the Murdoch press perfected a test to spot these folk.

UPDATE: Well folks, it gets even weirder, according to a letter posted at the Times
David Edwards wrote:
Oh dear, not this AGAIN ...

First of all, the insults were NOT directed at Dawkins himself, they were directed at his web designer, Josh Timonen, and were directed at this individual AFTER ne engaged in manifest acts of duplicity and malfeasance.

Second, the insults were NOT posted on Dawkins' own forum, but on a DIFFERENT forum, AFTER Timonen had pulled the plug on the Richard Dawkins Forums, and engaged in rampant vandalism of the data contained therein, an offence that in many companies would lead to the perpetrator being sacked, and possibly subject to criminal prosecution.

Third, the thread in which much more reasoned criticism of Timonen's actions was posted on Dawkins' own forum was summarily deleted, and critics of his heavy-handed incompetence were subject to having their entire user histories expunged. Unfortunately for Timonen, the relevant thread has been preserved, and provides evidence that he lied to his boss, by presenting quote mines from another forum as if they constituted the views of the entire membership, when these were nothing more than the venting of steam at Timonen's mendacity.

Furthermore, given that much of the material that was destroyed during Timonen's "Year Zero" operation on the forums, included the very expositions of valid science, and critique of the professiional liars for doctrine operating within corporate creationism, that Dawkins himself has repeatedly stated he wishes to see more of on his website, Timonen was acting in direct violation of his boss's publicly stated policy by destroying that material.

Now, is it too much to ask, given that anyone who wishes to can find the EVIDENCE supporting the above charges courtesy of two or three mouse clicks, that paid, professional journalists report the FACTS, instead of disseminating manifest misinformation?
Eli will let Boris have the last word
Ha-- Leake sent a girl to fight his fights. Well, a girl and, whatever Pielke Jr. is.