Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eli Re- Retires

Carrot Eater (must the kids always show up the old bunny) points to a pamphlet released by Swiss Re providing answers to your average climate sceptic written by Urs Neu. of course, Rabett Run has a few exceptional climate sceptics, and the bunch confidently predicts that they will blame it all on Tamino. Eli sent Ethon over to pick up a bundle, and he came back with this interesting item in his craw about extreme events. More, as they say, later.


carrot eater said...

Credit to Nick Stokes for finding it.

I didn't realise that Neu wrote it.

Anonymous said...

"Normal scientific progress since 1998, including improvement of methods and much more data, suggests that the long-term variability is somewhat larger then previously thought."

I would like to get your view of this part of the referenced paper.

Is this not saying that some of what we previously though was AGW is, in fact, now understood to be natural?

A change to the 'settled science'?


carrot eater said...

That sentence has nothing to do with recent AGW whatsoever, at least not directly.

They're talking about the bumpiness of the handle part of the 'hockey stick'.

In Mann's 1998 and 1999 papers, in the years prior to the 1900s, the global temperature was fairly stable, with not too many big bumps or dips.

Since then, other people have tried to do similar analysis using more data and other methods (including Mann himself), and have gotten bumpier results during that period - bigger bumps, bigger dips.

This is clearly seen on the "spaghetti" graphs.

Mann's original effort is in medium blue. Before the 1900s, it's pretty flat. And then a whole bunch more analyses came in, and you can see they're not nearly as flat. Thus, "long-term variability" is wider than that suggested by Mann's original works (1998, 1999).

seamus said...

Richard, find us a scientist who says the science is settled. In any field.

EliRabett said...

If the science were settled no one would get tenure. Which is why gross anatomy is a dying field and departments of anatomy are departments of anatomy and something else.

Anonymous said...

No, no, no!
A dying field is ecology. Gross anatomy is what you find in jars of formaldehyde.

Richard C

Leonard Weinstein said...

I read the Swiss RE paper. There are many statements I directly disagree with, and NONE that clearly show CAGW. There are numerous statements I do agree with, such as the fact there has been some warming over the last 100 or so years, and that CO2 increase is probably due in large part to human activity. I do think the accuracy in the earlier data and UHI effects are factors, and probably would result in some drop in the increase, but probably not more than 0.1 to 0.2 C. I also agree with the fact that the increase in CO2 probably causes some warming, but I see no valid evidence that it is a cause of positive rather than negative feedback. If you look at all of the literature on temperature variation deduced by indirect methods, you clearly should see that the present variation is not large or unusual compared to the past several thousand years. Mann's data is WRONG. Tree ring data is not totally worthless, but very limited in both locations and independence from other factors than temperature. Hot spots and other arguments are not resolved, but appear to not support strong AGW, much less CAGW. I have degrees in Physics and a ScD in Fluid mechanics, and a 48 year career. I approached this issue independently and initially accepted AGW and a fear of CAGW. I have read hundreds of papers on the subject on both sides of the issue, and concluded that some small AGW is likely, but not a lot, and clearly not CAGW. In fact the next few decades are very likely to show significant cooling. If you disagree, that is your right, but just watch the actual climate unfold.

Steve Bloom said...

Leonard, if you're so damened experienced you should be able to provide a widely agreed-upon definition of "catastrophic" to go with your cavalier use of "CAGW." Oh, there isn't one? In that case I'd say you were just caught pulling stuff out of your nether regions, and at your age that's not a pretty sight.

John Mashey said...

Leonard Weinstein had a nice try for appeal to authority as a physicist... BUT

Here's another physicist, Burton Richter. I've heard him speak, talked to him on occasion, and bump into at Stanford now and then.

See Gambling with the Future or his recent book Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and energy in the 21st Century or the APS Energy Efficiency report he chaired.

Since all this was done post-retirement from SLAC Directorship, it does go to show that not all Emeritus professors have "gone emeritus."

He has different views than L.W. has and as he notes in the book, having a Physics Nobel does tend to open doors. Of course, he also accepts things like Conservation of Energy and absorption/emission properties of GHGs. People might try reading his book.

carrot eater said...

"but I see no valid evidence that it is a cause of positive rather than negative feedback. "

A rather poorly constructed argument.

Any external forcing (CO2, solar, whatever) will bring about some of both.

Do you have some argument to make about the relative magnitudes or time scales of either? Does that argument allow for ice age cycles to occur?

David B. Benson said...

Leonard Weinstein --- Global warming, decade by decade shouldn't be beyond you then. Ater that, try Tol, R.S.J. and A.F. de Vos (1998), ‘A Bayesian Statistical Analysis of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’, Climatic Change, 38, 87-112.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Leonard Weinstein,
I hope you will agree that we understand temperatures a whole lot better over the past century than the past millennium. If you have "degrees in physics," I would think that one question you might be asking yourself is where all that energy is coming from?

The consensus theory of Earth's climate provides an answer. In fact it provided the answer before the warming epoch emerged from the noise.

However, it also explains a lot more. It explains why we are seeing simultaneous stratospheric cooling along with tropospheric warming. It explains why we see polar amplification, more warming in fall, winter and early spring than Summer, etc. All in all, the predictive power of the model has been quite impressive.

Now you are asking us to forego that predictive power and presenting no reasonable alternative. Hardly a scientific attitude. What is more, I think that what we know about the greenhouse effect and what we have seen of the warming, ice melt, increased drought, increased inpulsive precipitation etc. is sufficient to establish a credible threat. You are asking us to face that threat flying blind--with no hope of bounding risk.

Uncertainty, Leonard, is not your friend.

Anonymous said...

For the interested who haven't seen it, Leonard has participated in the physics discussions over at His post above appears to lean heavily on the belief/conclusion that the temperature records are inadequate/unreliable, and the post leaves several questions. Among them, to you Leonard, are: what do you think constitutes "small AGW" and catastrophic AGW, and to what extent have you reviewed the biological/ecological literature that address the ecosystem's functional sensitivity of different warming levels (sufficient CO2-driven ocean acidification alone likely qualifies as "catastrophic" -- or are you separating warming from the other effects of high CO2?); what leads you to believe that the physical and biological trends we've seen/measured are likely to reverse within a mere 20 years, especially if/as we enter a solar upswing; how have you accounted for warming-driven methane release; what credible peer reviewed literature on 'the other side' are you describing; what supports your confidence that there is little to no probability that the AGW that you do accept will change weather patterns enough to disrupt crop planting/growing/harvesting/production severely (or do you classify famine as a natural phenomenon?)? Finally, what phenomena/evidence in the next few years, up to two decades, would convince you that your conclusion is invalid, or conversely, would validate your conclusion? It can be difficult to convey tone in text, so if my verbiage implies animosity, that is not my intent. I really want to know. s/An Irregular Bunny

PhilScadden said...

"I have read hundreds of papers on the subject on both sides of the issue". Hundreds of papers on the skeptic side of AGW? Really? Where did you find them? Can you give me 10 that havent been demolished by later papers? As to CAGW - well this depends on your definition of catastrophe. Is sealevel rise of 10mm/year a catastrophe? Sure is for many coastal areas - YMMV.
As actual climate unfolds, have you decided at what point (global temperature, rate of sealevel rise, etc) you would change your mind?