Our ice is disappearing

By Phil Plait | January 21, 2010 10:49 am

If you are a normal person trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong on an issue, it can be pretty confusing. When it comes to things like global warming, there are folks out there who twist, distort, and spin the facts so grievously that it’s hard to tell the difference between what they are doing and outright lying. And when one of them does it, a slew of others pick it up, making the chorus of nonsense self-reinforcing, muddying the waters even more.

We saw this happen with the CRU emails that were hacked — a situation which was nowhere near as important as so many trumped them up to be — and of course we will see it again and again.

To help staunch that, there are two points about global warming I’ve recently come across that I want to make sure are very clear.

1) Some global warming denialists obfuscate what’s going on with Antarctica, saying the ice there is actually growing, not melting. That is patently false. Where it really matters, Antarctic ice is melting.

antarctic_iceloss

As you can see by this NASA graphic from the linked page, Antarctica loses over 100 billion tons of ice per year, the equivalent of about a hundred cubic kilometers (more than 20 cubic miles) of ice. That number is hard to grasp, but it’s the equivalent to the volume of a mountain about 14,000 feet high — or, if you prefer, it’s like saying that one Colorado Rocky Mountain’s worth of ice disappears every year. Just in Antarctica alone.

You may note that the line fitted to the points in that graph is changing its slope, getting steeper with time. I wouldn’t extrapolate that too much, but if true, it means the loss rate is accelerating.

2) The IPCC report in 2007 was a landmark analysis of the current GW situation. It has been attacked repeatedly by denialists, of course. As it happens, in one part of the report they said that Himalayan glaciers may melt away completely by 2035. This turns out to have been based on a report that was not peer-reviewed, and most likely incorrect.

However, this does not mean the entire report is wrong, and it certainly doesn’t even mean that Himalayan glaciers are fine! Quite the opposite, in fact. A new study of Himalayan ice using satellite data shows that the ice is disappearing, and from 2003 to 2009 shrank at a rate of 47 billion tons per year. I’ll be careful to note that the uncertainty in this measurement is about 25% (12 Gt/year) and has a short baseline in time, but even considering that, the loss of Himalayan ice is definitely large and almost certainly increasing — perhaps twice as rapidly now as it was in the past 40 years before the study.

This is supported by a ground-based study of over 600 glaciers being monitored by Chinese scientists, which showed that between 1980 and 1995, 90% of those glaciers were retreating, and in the period of 1995 – 2005, 95% retreated. In other words, the vast majority of the glaciers studied were losing ice, and in more recent years the number of glaciers losing ice increased.

This is all consistent with global loss rates of ice: it’s disappearing faster now than it was in previous decades.

himalayan_glacier

Get a good look at Himalayan glaciers while you still can.

Expect to hear the antiglobal warming crowd crowing over this, and the media misreporting this to sow more doubt about global warming. But the important point to remember is this: the Himalayan ice really is shrinking, and the same thing is happening in Antarctica.

Global warming is real. It’s also getting worse. You can shout, you can scream until you’re red in the face, and you can deny the facts all you want. But facts are pesky: they exist whether you believe in them or not.

My thanks to expert glaciologists Drs. Lonnie Thompson and C. K . Shum for taking time to explain the Himalayan studies to me and for providing me with the numbers from the ground studies.

Glacier image from mckaysavage’s Flickr stream licensed under creative comons.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking

Comments (257)

  1. khan

    At a certain temperature, ice melts. It does not argue. It does not give speeches. It does not issue reports. It melts.

  2. Bob

    What was the ice doing in the year 1492? or when Caesar ruled Rome? or when the pyramids
    were being built?

  3. @khan: Best summation ever.

  4. Jason

    I don’t doubt for a moment that warming is real. What I SERIOUSLY doubt is that “man” is the cause, especially when other planets in our system are warming up, too!

    Concerning the ice melting at a faster and faster rate, well, that’s expected. It’s a type of feedback loop. Less ice to reflect light, the warmer it will exponentially get. It’s just like when the snow melts in your yard: it melts faster the more the snow melts.

    My “conservative” cousins (not my “brothers” anymore) do need to accept that warming is happening. What both sides need to do is sit down and decide if it’s anthropological. Don’t get me wrong, we need to be good stewards with what God has entrusted to us; “green” is NOT bad, but I see “green” being used as a form of government control.

    But, conspiracy thinking tells me that even if it is found with total certainty that it’s nature acting up, then people might feel helpless and society COULD spin out of control. Therefore the governments are keeping a lid on that, and trying to make us feel like we are in some sort of control of the matter.

  5. Carlos

    There is a lesson to be learned. When scientists are overly-zealous in their desire to prove a point they can end up damaging their cause far more. So the data indicates slower warming, or even local cooling, glaciers that may or may not be disappearing, etc. etc. – report the facts! I can imagine some of the potential reasoning – “If we report that there was cooling the last 10 years, the warming deniers will use that as proof” That may be true, but it is more damaging to be accused of lying than of presenting data that may not back up your hypothesis. Out of family data can be proven wrong, proven insufficient, or explained by future data. Distortions, falsifications and lies stay with you forever – even if retracted.

  6. Steve in Dublin

    Cue Spectroscope with several paragraphs worth of denial in 3… 2… 1…

    What, hasn’t the ice heard about Climategate?

  7. Bernie Dunston

    Assuming it’s all true…what are we supposed to do about it? Move our cities? Leave earth? What’s the big deal? So we can’t look at glaciers that have been melting for hundreds of years. Who cares?

  8. Sharon Astyk makes an interesting point which actually should be communicated more:
    http://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2010/01/omigosh_the_ipcc_made_a_mistak.php

    The worst thing you can say about the IPCC is that they actually underestimate thing like Artic ice melt. The model runs for temperature look good, some other models are wrong – they are too positive. Of course I wouldn’t hold that against them, but it’s nice to mention from time to time.

  9. Charles

    Reminds me of a TED talk by James Balog. Words help, but a time lapse of a glacier receding- that gets the point across.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/james_balog_time_lapse_proof_of_extreme_ice_loss.html

  10. Haven’t we been told again and again that 2002-2009 is too short a time to be talking about “climate”?

    Likewise for the second point. “a short baseline in time” means it is _weather_, not _climate_ and therefore irrelevant regarding “global warming”.

  11. Chris Winter

    I’ll echo GreyDuck’s praise. That is an excellent and evocative summary.

    In that context, I’ll recommend Mark Bowen’s book Thin Ice. It is a couple of years old now, but still relevant to the question of how fast glaciers and snowcaps are melting. It covers a lot of Dr. Lonnie Thompson’s work and also reports eyewitness accounts from mountain-climber friends of Bowen — who is a climber himself.

    Here’s my review of the book:

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Erudition/Reviews/M_Bowen/Thin_Ice.html

  12. Dan

    In addition to the glacier melting rates increasing, last decade was the hottest year on record, bumping the 90′s to the second hottest.

    Last decade saw, if I recall correctly, a 0.3° increase in average global temperature. That’s huge for just 10 years time.

  13. Chris Winter

    Right now, this looks like just a mistake — carelessly copying some information from a usually trustworthy but not peer-reviewed source, which information turned out to originate elsewhere. It’s certainly far to early assess the import of the blunder, much less to assign blame.

    There’s a good article on this in The Economist. I’ll be reading that next.

  14. Chrysoprase

    The Onion sums up pretty well why all the argument about to hit this comments section is ultimately irrelevant, if you are an American odds are this article represents you pretty well regardless of if you accept AGW.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/how_bad_for_the_environment_can

  15. Sean

    Sometimes I wonder if people use typists or Dictaphones to comment on your posts. Certainly, this occurs AFTER these same folks have had someone read excerpts of the post to them. I suppose thought must precede reading lessons, though, so I can understand their resistance. After all, who wants to turn off the Fox long enough to learn to think?

  16. The Other Ian

    That graph is confusing. What is the 0 point, and why was the overall change above 0 prior to 2006?

  17. Daniel

    Give me an average of…say…100,000 years and I will buy GW…10 years isnt a grain of sand in the history of earth or her climate (unless you are a creationist…muhahaha).

  18. Sam

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the issue accepts the fact that global warming is happening. The earth is in a warming trend. That’s difficult to argue against.

    It seems the issue that people are debating (again, people with a rudimentary understanding of the issue) is whether or not humans are playing a *significant* role in that warming trend. Right? And as far as I know and from what I’ve read, we’re fairly certain we play a role in the warming trend, but we’re still not certain how big that role is.

    So people will run around and deny global warming, because that’s what they think their political party is telling them, but they simply misunderstand the issue.

    Am I right or am I wrong?

  19. Paul M

    I read elsewhere that the 2035 value likely came from a Russian analysis that set the year at 2350.

    While typos happen, questions regarding the quality of the peer review are appropriate, even if these errors occurred on half a page of an 800+ page report.

    Does that change conclusions elsewhere in that report, or in other reports? Not in the least.

  20. Art

    I want to know the minds of people who deny our affect on our climate or that it goes through natural cycles.
    Regardless of what we believe or don’t believe about global warming, we need to strive for efficiency and conservation to sustain a burgeoning global population without destroying our habitat.

  21. Steve

    I’ll echo The Other Ian here, and say that this type of graph represents one of the most frustrating habits that science journalists have. The graph is not thoroughly explained, but the fact that its got a downward trend is supposed to demonstrate a point.

    I’m not questioning the veracity of the graph. I’m just saying that a little explanation is in order when information is presented.

  22. (Apologies if this appears twice, I suspect my first comment was blocked by the spam filter.)

    CNN has an article today about photographic evidence of glacier retreat in Europe and Alaska. Click my name for the story.

  23. Ray

    OK, the ice is melting. Where is the water going?

  24. Chris Winter

    OK, per The Economist, it appears that the passage about Himalyan glaciers disappearing by 2035 came from a “grey report” by the WWF, which in turn picked it up from Down to Earth, an Indian magazine. The article in Down to Earth was based on an interview with Dr. Syed Hasnain, chair of the working group on Himalyan glaciers of the International Commission on Snow and Ice.

    Beyond that point the picture gets fuzzy, so I’ll wait for further information.

  25. @18. We do have hundreds of thousands of years of climate data. They can drill ice cores in frozen areas and see how the climate was as each layer of ice was successively laid down. We can see the levels of atmospheric gases and particularly of greenhouse gases, as they have been trapped in the ice. And the greenhouse gases (particularly CO2) have zoomed much much higher in concentration over the last century or so.

    And we know it’s from humans because 1) we’re the only new thing around and 2) the chemical reactions that run our civilization (fossil fuel buring) produces CO2. It’s simple chemistry.

  26. Jacob Spinney

    Can you please present me with the facts about antarctic mass variation not within the last 7 years, but within the last million or so? Otherwise how am I supposed to know that there has never been this little ice on the planet ever before in history (and thus indicating a human cause)?
    I think you do yourself a disservice by straw-manning many of the climate change “deniers” positions. The deniers do not deny that the climate is changing, they merely wish to stress that the climate has ALWAYS been changing long before us humans came along.
    There are various points that skeptics contend with. Some hold the position that the earth has reached its peek of warmth (as it hasn’t warmed at all in the last decade). There’s some who agree on the warming trend, but disagree on how much humans are to blame for it. There’s some who agree with the warming trend and the human cause, but see the warming as a good thing (higher CO2=higher crop production, etc.). There’s some who agree with the warming trend and the human cause and that it’s a bad thing, but disagree on the solutions (of which always seems to be spending trillions and trillions to reduce CO2 emissions by hardly any statistically significant amount, instead of a few billion on research for safely counteracting the extra warmth us humans contribute and in the meantime helping to move people away from regions that will be negatively affected and into regions that will be positively affected and then use what’s left over to cure world hunger and disease).

  27. EmaNymton

    I’m sorry, Phil, you don’t seem to understand the rules of science.

    If even one argument or fact of one side is shown to be mistaken, then everything that side says is wrong. Global Warming has been proven completely false, and everything those advocating that position say about it is now right by definition.

    Rules are rules. You’d think that, as a scientist, you’d know that.

  28. Thanny

    Jason:

    When “other planets” are warming, too? Wouldn’t that have to be “all other planets” to make any sense?

    You post here, but apparently don’t read:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2007/04/29/is-global-warming-solar-induced/

    Global warming is caused by humans digging carbon out of the ground, converting it into carbon dioxide, and dumping it into the atmosphere, where it traps infrared radiation, forcing an increase in temperature to achieve radiative equilibrium.

  29. Jason,

    The other planets are NOT warming
    http://www.grist.org/article/mars-and-pluto-are-warming-too/
    and if they were, we’d look for a common cause. The Sun is NOT the cause of the current climate dilemma.
    There are many forcings to climate change, from orbital cycles to natural outgassing, etc. There is currently NO model that can explain current trends without the addition of human-caused CO2 enhancement.

    And the current climate scientists are the ones to talk to, not some half-baked loner — even Gore is just a “reporter”, not a researcher. Most of the research today is centered on subtle feedback mechanisms that increase global warming and account for currently known masking effects:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PM4Qu0ht6k

    Major scientific organization which have huge reputations to protect, as well as multinational corporations who want caps on their OWN industries’ emissions
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF_anaVcCXg , PLUS the Pentagon
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121352495
    all consider global climate destabilization to be a real concern. We have to act soon.

    It doesn’t even matter if “we” are causing the climate to change. The current human civilizationm, with agriculture, trade, etc., depends on the current climate. It’s a risk not worth taking to do NOTHING about the warming.

  30. #4 @Jason

    especially when other planets in our system are warming up, too!

    Jason, Jason, Jason…

    This is an astronomy blog. That means you’re pretty well guaranteed an audience that knows what you’re saying there is a load of old tripe. Astronomers measure the sun, and know it isn’t getting any hotter. They know that, while some planets undergo seasonal cycles (in some cases several hundred years, as with Neptune’s Triton), the mean temperatures aren’t changing.

    You really need to match your talking points to the blog you’re trolling. Most of us here don’t understand economics so you could try saying “OK, so people are warming the earth, but cap-and-trade is a giveaway to Goldman Sachs that won’t actually help anything” or “Government should get out and leave it to technology”. You never know, you might take someone in that way. (Note: don’t try those arguments on an economist’s blog, because you’ll be torn to shreds. Just sayin’.)

    ‘K?

  31. @28. Actually, it seems you are the one who doesn’t seem to understand science or even basic logic. Just because one side is shown to be wrong doesn’t mean the other side is automatically right.

    Furthermore, a scientific theory can be huge and complex containing thousands of data points. If it’s shown that a couple data points are not covered by the theory, then we don’t just immediately chuck it all in the bin, especially if the theory has been so successful in many other aspects. We DO acknowledge these points however and try to explain why those points are different and modify our theory accordingly.

  32. EmaNymton

    @32, you might want to look up “sarcasm.”

  33. Glaciers are retreating, yes, but is this unusual? And is the current extent of glaciers alarmingly small?

    The answer: NO

    In reality the glaciers in the European Alps for example, are still larger than during most of the Holocene. They are larger, for example, than in Roman times, 200 BC to 200 AD. At that time, glaciers weren’t only smaller, but the tree-line reached higher altitudes too.

    What people do not realise is that a mere century ago, glaciers had advanced to a position that is unique for the Holocene. During notably the second part of the Little Ice Age (LIA), the cold snap between AD 1200 and 1850, glaciers have been expanding to sizes they never had before during the Holocene. This proces only stopped mid-19th century.

    After that glaciers mostly have gone in retreat: but they are still larger than before the advance of the LIA. In terms of size, there is nothing dramatic about the current extend of the Alpine (and Himalayan, and Alaskan) glaciers. They are larger than they were during most of the Holocene.

    When you compare photographs, paintings or drawings made 100-500 years ago with photographs of today’s situation, you see in many cases that glaciers have retreated. And that looks very dramatic.

    Yet, what should be strongly kept in mind is that it is the 100-500 year ago situation that is unusual, not the current situation. The extend of glaciers between about 1400 and 1850 AD is an anomaly within the Holocene, linked to the fact that this period is an unusually cold period that saw glaciers expand, unlike what was the case for most of the rest of the Holocene.

    And this is something that is well documented in scientific literature. Especially ref. #1 below is worth reading in that sense.

    Sources:
    1. Ivy-Ochs et al., Quat. Science Review 28 (2009), 2137-2149 (Alps LIA glacier advance and comparison to earlier periods)
    2. Jackson et al., Canadian Journal of Earth Science 45 (2008), 83-98 (Canada LIA glacier advance)
    3. Wiles et al., GSA Bulletin 114 (2002), 896-908 (Alaska LIA glacier advance)
    4. Kirkbride & Dugmore, Quaternary Research 70 (2008), 398-411 (Iceland LIA glacier advance)
    5. Wanner et al., Quat. Science Review 27 (2008), 1791-1828 (broad overview)

  34. Jon

    @24. Ray

    “OK, the ice is melting. Where is the water going?”

    Downhill, I would assume. :) Eventually adding to the oceans.

  35. Tom B.

    “As you can see by this NASA graphic [...], Antarctica loses over 100 billion tons of ice per year” – So what?
    The graph also shows that the ice mass change was positive at least from 2002-2006, so presumably the ice mass is now back to the where it was a couple of years ago. That’s not evidence for anything, except maybe that there have been fluctuations in the ice mass during the last decade.
    Don’t get we wrong, I do believe that global warming is a fact. The point I’m trying to make here is that it is not good enough to just say “Right now the ice melts, therefore global warming” and attach a misleading graphic. It makes it much too easy for the denialists to distort the evidence for what is really happening.

  36. wfr

    Phil, that graph from NASA is truly horrible, and I’m surprised you didn’t call them on it.

    The average value of “ICE MASS CHANGE (Gt)” is depicted as positive (you know, greater than zero) before 2006.

    If we integrate the graph across its domain, we must conclude that Antarctica has about the same mass it had in 2002.

    Right?

  37. MartinM

    Obviously, it’s ice mass change relative to some baseline value. So what?

  38. Sam

    @Steve Cooperman: I would like to hear your evidence to support your claim that Mars is *not* warming. As far as I know, we simply don’t have enough data to make a statement on the matter either way.

  39. Charlie Young

    Looks to me like the graph is saying that until about 2006, Antarctica was gaining ice mass, but the ice mass gain was slowing until 2006. At that point, the graph seems to show a trend of losing ice mass after 2006. Looks by the graph that the ice mass to this point was about a push from the time the data was started to now. The graph of ice mass continues to decline, so extrapolating would show an overall loss of ice mass that is continuing.

  40. Tom B.

    But you don’t know how long the ice mass has been increasing before 2002. The only thing the graph shows is that the ice mass today is about the same as in 2002 and that there are fluctuations.
    If you want to make a point that the denialists twist the evidence to show that the ice mass is increasing then it might not be such a good idea to show a graph that tells the ice mass hasn’t change over a period of time.
    And what was this “one Colorado Rocky Mountain’s worth of ice disappears every year” all about? Someone forgot to mention that the very same mountains of ice just built up a few years earlier. This is like the stuff you can read on the denialist blogs.
    I’m a big fan of this site but somehow that article doesn’t live up to the ususally high standards. Sorry.

  41. Petzphur

    What are we suposed to do if GW is real and caused by people?

    How about we stop f***ing with the atmosphere.

  42. Jesse

    LOL – ‘Global warming is real. It’s also getting worse. You can shout, you can scream until you’re red in the face, and you can deny the facts all you want. But facts are pesky: they exist whether you believe in them or not.’

    Here’s another pesky fact for you. This ‘human induced’ global warming is never going to stop OR be reduced by any meaningful level. That’s the problem with your whole argument. If you think humans affect climate change, then we’re all screwed. The United States is statistically meaningless when it comes to any human contributions (real or not) to the EARTH. As soon as you get China, India, South America, etc. to stop building and growing and having billions of people in their countries – then you’ve got a shot at STARTING to slow down any sort of human environmental strain.

    Since you have one communist country that hates us, and both trying desperately to build their countries up to be global-economic powers, good luck with that in the next century. No wonder the entire world hates the USA. No one told us not to burn coal, oil, and exploit every natural resource in the lower 48 states when we were going through our industrial revolution, so why do we think we have the right to tell sovereign countries how to build their infrastructure? Are you going to try to argue that we are smarter than the Chinese and Indians, and that we’re trying to teach them not to destroy Earth like little freaking 2nd graders? Wow, now you’re condescending and arrogant.

    THEY KNOW THEY HAVE POLLUTION PROBLEMS AND THEY DON’T CARE. THEY CARE ABOUT MONEY AND POWER, JUST LIKE WE DO.

    But you just want to try real hard to raise awareness? Raising awareness is stupid, everyone is aware that a certain subset of people think humans are destroying the Earth. That subset doesn’t like to share their data, or be completely transparent- which is contradictory to raising awareness, but whatever. Awareness doesn’t feed hungry people, or buy food or grow into global-economic markets.

    So, as we get frigid temperatures all across America, embrace all the global warming you can find, or not- that’s what makes the United States of America great. We’re free to live how we choose. America does not own the Earth. Other people in other countries are just as smart as we are, and yes they know we’d rather they build infrastructure at a drastically higher cost using green theology, but they’d politely like to pass on that. And THAT is true whether you believe in it or not.

  43. Charlie Young

    I should have added that this is just a snapshot of observations from 2002 to 2009. No meaningful extrapolations in either direction can be deduced since the overall cycle of ice formation and depletion probably occurs over a much greater period of time than 7 years.

  44. MartinM

    Charlie Young:

    Looks to me like the graph is saying that until about 2006, Antarctica was gaining ice mass, but the ice mass gain was slowing until 2006.

    Tom B:

    But you don’t know how long the ice mass has been increasing before 2002. The only thing the graph shows is that the ice mass today is about the same as in 2002 and that there are fluctuations.
    If you want to make a point that the denialists twist the evidence to show that the ice mass is increasing then it might not be such a good idea to show a graph that tells the ice mass hasn’t change over a period of time.

    The graph is not showing rate of change. A positive value means that the total ice mass at that point was greater than whatever baseline value was used. It does not mean that the ice mass was increasing. The graph shows a continual decline in total ice mass.

  45. Tom B.

    @MartinM: Where can I find that information? If this is the case then it is just an issue of badly presented data.

  46. MartinM

    If you think humans affect climate change, then we’re all screwed. The United States is statistically meaningless when it comes to any human contributions (real or not) to the EARTH.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, the US contributes around 20% of the world’s annual CO2 emissions. Only China exceeds your contribution, at 21.5%; per capita, they’re nowhere near the US yet. India’s CO2 emission per capita is way below the global average. The reality is that the US is the largest contributor to global warming by quite a margin.

  47. MartinM

    Where can I find that information?

    Click the graph and read the NASA page it links to.

    If this is the case then it is just an issue of badly presented data.

    No arguments there.

  48. Jesse

    lol Hey MartinM – Where do you think we get that China/India co2 emission information from? You confident that’s even remotely accurate? REALLY? I’ve got this bridge I’d like you to take a look at…its ON SALE!

  49. Steve in Dublin

    Tom B. @ 41

    Oh really? The Y axis on that graph shows the *change* (or, delta if you prefer) in the ice mass since 2002. The graph starts out at +400Gt (billion tons) in 2002, and has decreased to -500Gt in 2009. That’s a net loss of 900 billion tons of ice in just 7 years! And it looks like that change is slightly logarithmic too, which doesn’t bode well. I agree that it would be nice to have figures for the last 50 years or so, but I’m assuming if the loss is logarithmic, it would have been pretty flat up to where the graph starts. MartinM has already pointed this out, I’m just elaborating.

    Oh, and way to be typical denier-types on a science blog, guys, when you can’t even read a simple graph. /snark

  50. Charlie Young

    #43 Jesse- That is an interesting economic and humanistic argument, but the fact remains that the US is still one of the largest producers of CO2 in the world and also one of the largest consumers of natural resources on the planet (and greater per capita than almost any other country).

  51. Robert E

    @ #7 “who cares?”

    That would be the 1.3 billion people who depend upon the Himalayan glaciers for water regulation. Do a quick google search on “himalayan glacier water dependence.” (though there are a few questionable sources to wade past, there is a lot of good info.

  52. @Charles #9, I also recalled the Extreme Ice Survey while reading this, and was pleased to see some footage from it on the monitors over the train station at Denver International Airport yesterday.

  53. MartinM

    Where do you think we get that China/India co2 emission information from?

    From the CDIAC. If you have an issue with their methodology or results, take it up with them.

  54. JJ

    Still not convinced.

  55. Imipak

    On a related note, here’s the 2009 global temperature data looks like integrated into the record of the past century.

    “If It’s That Warm, How Come It’s So Damned Cold?” James Hansen; also addresses the cold northern-hemisphere winter of 2009/2010.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/2009-temperatures-by-jim-hansen/

    It’s denser and more technical than Phil’s writing, but speaking as someone who’s bluff was called by a denialist in 2004 and was unable to refute a particular false assertion, I strongly recommend making the effort to dig into the science in a bit more detail if you enjoy pricking denialist’s balloons by pointing out the methodological blunders and falsehood they promulgate. It was sobering to discover how little I really knew, and how much was based of arguments from authority. Those have their place, of course, but when it comes to refuting the denialist talking-point of the day, a bit of detailed background is very helpful. An /excellent/ free resource is David Archer’s textbook for non-scientist undergrads, “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast”, and the awesome resource of the free video of the University of Chicago lectures accompanying the course:
    Book: http://www.amazon.com/Global-Warming-Understanding-David-Archer/dp/1405140399
    Lectures: http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html

  56. China isn’t too far ahead now in emissions. Question is how far ahead will they go? Will they be a trend setter and adopt enviro-friendly technologies early on? One can imagine they will continue to grow while we cut back.

    They will hardly listen to a bunch of whiny scientists [from other countries] anyway. :P

  57. Robert E

    The other problem with using this as an “AHA! Your Wrong!” moment is isn’t the IPCC themselves the ones who announced finding the error? If they were deliberately trying to mislead people, why would they bother pointing it out?

  58. Charlie Young

    I’m still seeing positive values for the ice mass change from 2002 to a little after the start of 2006. The ice mass change numbers then go negative. I agree that the data is presented poorly if they are trying to show an overall loss of ice mass. It still shows a positive ice mass change until 2006 which I interpret as a gain in ice mass. Even though, as the article states, there is a loss of 100 cubic km of ice per year since 2002, there can still be an increase in ice mass from new formation of ice from other sources.

  59. Revyloution

    Man, I get tired of ‘almost experts’.

    I can’t ever say it enough. Expertise matters.

    I went to college, I took advanced mathmatics and physics. I can read a scientific journal and not be lost in the language.

    And I am in no way qualified to understand Climate Science. Its not my job. I don’t have 60+ hours (at least) per week to spend studying, performing experiments, and reading reports of colleagues.

    I know enough about science that if there is one ‘expert’ standing up and declaring an entire field to be wrong, he/she is most likely a crank. There’s a small possibility he/she is a genius, and will re-write the field. But only after they make predictions that prove correct. There are so many cranks, that we have to hold any dissenters feet to the fire.

    Knowing all I have just stated, I’m willing to accept the findings of the climate science community! I know they might be wrong, but proving them wrong isn’t my job. If you’re a scientists who thinks they are, then get a grant from BP and do the experiment!

    We live in a world where we depend on experts. You don’t ask your doctor for advice on fixing your computer. You dont ask your IT guy to build you a house. You dont ask your housing contractor to build you a bridge. And you sure as hell shouldn’t ask a playboy bunny about vaccines.

    Expertise matters. If you think you’ve read something that debunks something in science, then check the sources. If it’s just one guy, or just one lab, its probably bunk. If it’s not bunk, YOU aren’t the person they need to convince. It’s their peers in their field.

  60. Martin Moran

    All I really get from all of this is how little ‘normal’ people like me and it seems lots of others here truly understand about this issue. The important part for me though is that ice mass is decresasing comment no.1 from Khan is great.

    I was trying to make some sense of this myself a while ago and found this really interesting chart from the BBC:

    http://tinyurl.com/y87dq8t

    Notice when the industrial revolution kicks in, seems pretty conclusive to me that humans are the main culprit.

  61. Steve in Dublin

    Charlie Young,

    OK… now I see that you are making what appears to be an honest mistake in the interpretation of the graph. Maybe there is a better way they could have named the Y axis, but I can’t think of one. The thing is… they couldn’t show the total antarctic ice tonnage, or the numbers on the Y axis would be so big that the graph would be a straight line (which the climate change deniers would love, no doubt), so they have to go with some kind of delta. As MartinM already pointed out, the graph is not showing the rate of change, it’s showing the amount of change.

    Shorter summary: the antarctic is NOT gaining ice up to 2006. It is losing ice at an ever increasing rate.

  62. wfr

    “Maybe there is a better way they could have named the Y axis, but I can’t think of one. ”

    They don’t need to rename it. They simply should have put the zero at the top.

    I brought this up to illustrate that the scientists have to be more careful if they want to sell credibility. NASA really flubbed this graph and opened the door to a lot of nonsense-talk, as illustrated by this comment thread.

  63. George

    Jesse:
    Before you try finding a buyer for that bridge, think through how obvious its defects are to the buyer. Do you you really think we have to take China/India’s word for how much CO2 they produce? It’s pretty easy to look at how many powerplants, cars, farm animal, etc are present and make a pretty good estimate of how much CO2 they’re producing. I’m not say this is how they do it, but you could easily look at a satellite photo and see these powerplants and cars. If we assume that their powerplants and cars aren’t that different from ours (a reasonable assumption), then we can get a very good estimate of their impact on the atmosphere.

    We can also go to china and measure the concentration of particulates and CO2 in the atmosphere locally. Easy.

  64. Ross

    I don’t know that this conclusively proves that climate change is largely influenced by the actions of humanity, but it does make a fair point that carbon levels in our atmosphere are at much higher levels now than in other studied eras:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jan-feb/085

    “As expected, carbon dioxide fluctuated with variations in local temperature, with higher levels corresponding to warmer epochs. But despite major shifts in the climate over the period she studied, Hönisch found that overall concentrations of the gas remained remarkably constant. That makes today’s sky-high readings look even more anomalous. “It really shows how much we have interfered with the environment,” Hönisch says. “This goes way beyond anything that earth has seen in a really long time.” The researchers now want to dig deeper below the seafloor, where plankton have been piling up for some 100 million years, to study times when carbon dioxide levels were as high as they are today.”

  65. Charlie Young

    61 Steve in Dublin but wouldn’t you assume that the zero on the Y axis would represent the arbitrary base line amount of ice and any number above that point on the graph would represent a net gain in ice mass? The Y axis represents the ice mass change which can also be called the delta. It doesn’t show total ice mass and I do get that if this were the case, it would be difficult to show anything but a straight line. That is why (I assume) they showed it as a rate of change rather than total ice mass.

  66. Tom B.

    @Steve in Dublin:
    I’ve checked other publications on GRACE ice mass measurements and they all use “ice mass” in Gt on the Y axis. And that’s what should have been used here as well.
    BTW, no need to get nasty in #50 – I know how to read a graph if it is presented correctly, it this case it just wasn’t

  67. Fernando Colina

    “You can shout, you can scream until you’re red in the face, and you can deny the facts all you want. But facts are pesky: they exist whether you believe in them or not.”

    Phil, everybody is screaming, on both sides, all the time.

    It’s a serious topic. Let’s be serious, ok? You show a chart for 6 years of observations. 6 years!? You must be kidding! The chart does not even cover a single solar cycle! I’m a layman, so I must place my faith (such as it is) on dispassionate scientists. Trouble is, when you show a chart that *seems* meaningless, or when the UN relies on typos to issue its latest doomsday report about the Himalayas, or when people that have a lot to gain from jockey stick charts come up with jockey stick charts, my bullshit sensors activate.

    I trust you, but I would trust you more if you would show more intolerance for bad behavior in the leading “celebrity” climate scientists and UN organizations. I would also prefer it if you showed some humility in specialties in which you are not an expert (sorry if I’m guessing wrong), such as macroeconomics, political science, and even morality and ethics, which ultimately are the areas where, once the fact of global warming is well understood, the debate should take place.

    In other words, I think you must acknowledge that science’s role is only advisory. Ultimately, if a wholy scientifically informed humankind decides that it’s better to live in a hot world on top of the newly de-iced Himalayas, that’s none of your *scientific* concern.

  68. moptop

    Wow. Six years. Devastating. Whatever happened to “weather, not climate”? Oh, I forgot, there was no Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period, or even Holocene Optimum. Up ’til now in the Holocene, glaciers weren’t melting. The flat climaters tell me so.

  69. Charlie Young

    I can read graphs, too. If the Y axis was to represent the actual ice mass and not the change in ice mass, it still shows a problem. It would bottom out at zero. It can’t have a negative ice mass.

  70. t_p_hamilton

    “Wow. Six years. Devastating. Whatever happened to “weather, not climate”?”

    Some signals are strong enough to show through the noise in a shorter time period. Like the decline in arctic ice.

  71. Tom B.

    I think the satelites just measure the changes in the gravity field. They can’t determine the absolute mass of the ice shell, only the changes. That’s why the put an arbitrary zero point on the graph.
    The y-axis is still wrong :o )

  72. John Moore

    I guess my question is if we stop using petroleum products across the board how long will it take for the atmoshpere to return to normal? I know there is no such thing as normal because the climate has/is/will be changing long after homo sapiens are dust. My next question would be how many dollar bills will it take to enact whatever grandious scheme we contrive to fix this eco-disater? The bickering over whether or not the humans have caused this or if its merely cyclical diviation is totally irrelavant if we have no way of stopping/reversing/fixing the condition.

  73. t_p_hamilton

    Charlie Young says: “I can read graphs, too. If the Y axis was to represent the actual ice mass and not the change in ice mass, it still shows a problem. It would bottom out at zero. It can’t have a negative ice mass.”

    GRACE only measures gravity. One cannot say how much of the gravity is land and how much is ice. Changes in gravity over time can be converted into changes in ice (I assume isostatic rebound rates are figured in). It is fairly clear from the figure that the baseline (0) is the average of the period of all GRACE observations (Mar 2002 to present).

    If you can think of a better way to explain/label the figure, please contact NASA.

  74. t_p_hamilton

    John Moore asks: “I guess my question is if we stop using petroleum products across the board how long will it take for the atmosphere to return to normal?”

    As the phone commercials say, there is an app for that. http://carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/index.php?page=carbon-budget-tool

  75. Martin Moran

    72. John Moore I agree with you about bickering over whether or not humans have caused this, but what really annoys me about that argument is the governments will still use this as a way of raising extra revenue. What I would really like to know… is the momentum of this warming gone too far can we do anything about it or will it continue no matter what we do?

  76. The Arquette Sisters

    Fake, but accurate… where have we heard that before?

  77. Charlie Young

    Still obsessing over the interpretation of the graph. I can see the point of view of MartinM and Steve in Dublin. When you look at the graph, if they set some arbitrary mass of ice as the zero amount, when you read the graph you do see that the mass of ice has been declining since 2002. It would show that the mass of ice was 400+ Gt greater than the arbitrary zero amount in 2002 and hit the zero amount in 2006 and has continued to drop below that zero point since. What doesn’t make sense is how did they set the zero point. It wasn’t 2002 since they show the ice mass is 400Gt over the zero amount. Also, this might be interpreted as stating that the arbitrary zero amount is some important amount of ice. Where was the zero point derived from? The graph is just a poor representation of the data if they are really trying to show the decline. Why not set the Y axis at zero in 2002 if they want to show a decline?

    I still tend to believe my original interpretation of the graph is correct. The Y axis represents a change in the ice mass so the graph represents an increase or decrease in ice mass over time.

  78. I agree that the y-axis shows that it was gaining in mass from 2002-2006. And yes, I understand how to read a graph, and yes, I see that it isn’t showing rate of change. But it is showing amount of change. What else does it mean to say the amount of change was +900 Gt in 2002 and -700 Gt in 2009? Yes, there is ice loss going on, but based on this graph it has only just now about decreased to where it was in 2002. That makes this a poor graph to illustrate anything.

  79. wfr

    Charlie and Nora
    With respect, I must say that you just don’t get it. The graph shows an increase in mass from 2002 to 2006. THIS IS A MISTAKE. And Phil should have flagged it. The mass has been decreasing steadily since 2002. Sorry, not steadily, accelerating!

    NASA put the zero in the wrong place. They should be ashamed.

    “Either I’ve got vision or the rest of the world needs bifocals.”

  80. Gwenny

    My problem with the AGW cultists is they are so focused on one of many myriad facets of the human impact on the planet. How often do you see one of them talk about the impact of almost 7 billion people on the environment? Six plus billion people breathing, eating (cooking), excreting, procreating and dying . . . I mean, a resting person gives off heat equivalent to an 100 watt incandescent bulb every hour. Playing sports, sex . . any activity that gets your heart moving increases the amount of heat you give off. Plus you excrete CO2 as a side effect of respiration. Then you have the millions upon millions of miles of roads we have built, tearing down forests, leveling diverse eco-systems, to allow those billions of people to get around. These roads and our other buildings have been shown to increase local temperature by 20F in summer time.

    You know if you look at charts, as population has increased, CO2 has increased and so have global temperatures! Perhaps CO2, like increasing temperatures, is a symptom of our out of control population growth.

  81. Jeffersonian

    @33

    …and this was supposed to be obvious to whom?

    @34 Marco
    Try restating your position without blatantly ignoring rate of change. Good luck with that.

    @36
    “it is not good enough to just say ‘Right now the ice melts, therefore global warming’”
    You’re right. But then again, nobody is saying just that. That’s why it’s an indicator.

    @43 Jesse
    True in general (disregarding your Asian consumption claims) except for assuming that new technology plateaus at a high entry cost. A leading country, USA in this argument, can create better technology that benefits everybody. Incentive to expand technology is important for mid/long term economics, regardless. “We give up” is not a good economic model.

  82. Charlie Young

    OK, I found another article related to the Grace satellite measurements of the ice mass loss in Antarctica. It stated thus:

    “The team used Grace data to estimate Antarctica’s ice mass between 2002 and 2009. Their results, published Nov. 22 in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the East Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass, mostly in coastal regions, at an estimated rate of 57 gigatonnes a year. A gigatonne is one billion metric tons, or more than 2.2 trillion pounds. The ice loss there may have begun as early as 2006. The study also confirmed previous results showing that West Antarctica is losing about 132 gigatonnes of ice per year.”

    There it is. The ice loss there may have started as early as 2006, just as the graph shows. So it looks like there was a gain in ice mass until 2006 when it started losing mass.

    Here is the link to the article

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features.cfm?feature=2378

  83. @77

    I’m not sure why you think I don’t get it when I am agreeing with you. The way the y-axis is labeled shows an increase in ice from 2002-2006. I know that was not the intent (I went to the NASA site, I see what they’re trying to say), I’m not arguing that the ice did in fact increase. I’m just saying that’s what this graph shows, which makes it a very poor graph. That’s all!

  84. adam

    Confirmation bias, Phil. You’re unilaterally attributing melting ice to human activity, ignoring all the unknowns and variables and connections in between. That’s not very sciencey of you.

    You keep harping on “denialists,” but you seem completely unaware of the large camp of people who understand that there has been a warming trend but are skeptical of the claim that humans are the primary cause.

    And what about the effects of our sea ice loss? 130,000 years ago, at the warmest period of the last inter-glacial cycle, the earth was notably warmer and global sea levels were around 15 feet higher. We certainly weren’t the cause of THAT.

    Keep in mind these warm cycles come around about every 100,000 to 150,000 years. Seems like we’re due. And, while very uncertain, most reports peg our sea level rise due to melting ice at 5-15 inches over the next 100 years. Here’s one such study: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/MLK2.pdf

    You’ve got a lot of nerve criticizing skeptics and the media of “misreporting” when that’s exactly what you’re doing here.

  85. Marcus

    The “zero” line is just the average of the entire period. It is not a coincidence that the integral over the time period looks like it is about zero – it is _exactly_ zero. And yes, the Y axis should be labeled “Ice Mass (Gt) Relative to 2002-2008 Average” or something like that.

    With respect to the “weather not climate”: yes, it is a short time period, because that’s what we have satellite data for. Of course, added to the 30 years of satellite data for Arctic sea ice, century long data for Arctic sea ice, many decades worth of data for glaciers, century of data for sea level rise… it is another piece of evidence pointing in the same direction. And contrary to the assertions of some contrarians. (though some contrarians restrict themselves to the more accurate, but still incomplete, assertion that Antarctic sea ice has not been shrinking) Also, to a certain extent indicators such as global glacial melt and global sea level rise are integrators of changes over time and therefore a shorter time period is more definitive than, say, global mean surface temperature.

    Finally, with respect to the “glaciers have been receding since the LIA” (or the companion, “it has been warming since the LIA” or “sea levels have been rising since the LIA”): this isn’t Newton’s 1st Law, folks. Trends do not continue until acted upon by an outside force. In most natural systems, what you get is application of an outside force (change in solar forcing, change in volcanic aerosols, change in greenhouse gas concentrations). In the absence of any other force, and assuming a step change, you’ll get a fast change to start, asymptotically approaching a new equilibrium. With glacier retreat, my understanding is that there was a pause in many regions during the 60s and 70s when warming had slowed/stopped (due to a cessation of forcing increasing: see net forcing in http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/), and then glacier retreat resumed in these regions in the 80s when warming intensified.

    All of this glacial retreat, Antarctic melt, sea level rise, etc. is a reflection of a warming planet. It does not prove anthropogenic influence: that comes from a combination of observed warming patterns combined with theoretical understanding (and modeling too). In some cases, and Antarctic ice may actually be an example, theory does not actually confidently predict a direction: the IPCC estimate for Antarctica actually assumed that increases in snowfall in the interior due to more evaporation in a warmer world might outweigh increased melting at the edges of the continent. So things are complicated. But the thing that isn’t complicated is that contrarians are usually misinformed or mistaken about the science.

  86. wfr

    Nora, you are absolutely correct about what you said, and I apologize profusely for lumping you in with the less rational commenters.

  87. Nick

    adam, we’re in an interglacial, one of the ‘warm’ periods.

    Sea ice loss does not really impact ocean-level rise. Imagine ice in a glass of water. Yes, the ice is less dense, but when it melts it doesn’t appreciably raise the water level. Now imagine a glass of water – and then drop some ice into it. Even before it melts, the water level rises.

    The Antarctic ice sheet is many kilometers thick. Sea ice is about ~0.5-3m depending upon its age. From a mass perspective, as I recall from my glaciology course last semester, sea ice accounts for <2% of total ice mass in the cryosphere. Then again, the worry with sea-ice loss is a loss of albedo – open ocean is pretty dark compared to reflective ice. Additionally, the ice protects warm ocean currents from the frigid Arctic air (sounds ludicrous, but the ice creates a temperature gradient and acts as an insulator).

    Just because the climate has warmed and cooled in the past does nothing to discredit the fact that we are influencing the climate now. It's a non-sequitur. Climate scientists understand the paleoclimate record – it's from knowledge of our past climate and atmospheric chemistry that we can make even stronger statements about our influence.

    -Nick

  88. Hm. I went back to the NASA site and the graph is actually not very clearly explained at all (the caption refers to loss in cubic km while the graph shows Gigatons, and I do not know how those relate for ice). So maybe the graph is right and the loss didn’t begin until 2006. Either way, it’s a useless graph because it’s either mislabeled or not providing much useful information.

    Even if the ice is still technically the same mass as 2002 due to fluctuation, the rate of change is decreasing and, as Phil pointed out, the rate of decreasing is increasing. Which is the important thing to take away, it’s a shame NASA flubbed the graph so badly!

  89. Eamon

    Adam@85,

    first – the onset of the warm cycles is very slow – ten times slower than with the changes we’ve been having.

    Second “seems like we’re due” – that’s not very scientific is it? Now I’m assuming that the cycles that you’re talking about are Milankovitch cycles, caused by variations in the Earth’s orientation in its orbit. The problem with your assertion is that the published research says we won’t exeperience any major changes due to these cycles for at least 50,000 years. (Berger & Loutre 2002).

  90. Eidolon

    Adam:
    The concept of “due” is overworked at best. Absent any understanding of the cause of the change, you can hardly say we are “due”.

    To cite those who are denialists as skeptics is to ignore the reality that the data has not changed, nor have the connections to human activity. Just who are the members of the “large camp” of people? Are they experts in the field of climatology? I’m damn good at physics and chemistry, but as was pointed out early in this thread, I defer to people who are expert in the field. Hard as it is to grasp for some, the issue is quite complex and even educated people have a hard time understanding all the nuances.

    You also toss out a red herring in that the paper you reference deals with sea level rise, something not dealt with in the post. The encroaching high tides and storm tides are a reality in the Maldives and other island nations. No need to massage these data – people are moving out.

  91. Charlie Young

    The graph is not wrong. It shows the ice mass decreasing rate of change from 2002 to 2006. It just dips into the losing ice mass stage in 2006. Ice is still being lost at 600 to 800 Gt during the end of 2008- beginning 2009 period. It will be interesting to follow this trend to see if it continues downward over the next few years. Continuing to follow the data is the only way to make any reasonable sense of this trend. You can’t extrapolate based on such a short period of time.

  92. #58 the IPCC was _forced_ to _admit_ the error. When the first reports circulated months ago, Dr Pachauri dismissed them without a thought.

    I have a vague recollection that the first ones to spot the mistake were some researchers in India, but I might be wrong.

  93. itsCalledCHANGE

    @Jason

    It does not matter what the frikkin ice or carbon dioxide levels were in whatever era in the past, climate changes affecting us NOW and in the future are what matter.

    It makes NO SENSE to establish mankind’s precise role BEFORE taking action. Would you be happy to arrive home from work one day to find smoke billowing out of your house only to find that the firemen are debating whether it was a lightning strike or an overloaded power bar – BEFORE TAKING ACTION ?

    GEEZ

  94. John

    Really sad that a so-called astronomer and skeptic is falling for this nonsense because of a graph. Phil will either be apologizing for this anti science or deleting these posts within a couple of years I’ll bet.

    Satellite data shows very clearly that there is more ice in the antarctic now than there was 30 years ago when we first started looking.

    The comparatively slight decline since 2006 is a blip. But it’s big enough to fool some people into panicking.

  95. Geophysicist

    Phil. It is actually a fact that the ice in the central parts of Antarctica is thickening. It is also true, as you state, that some ice loss on the shelves is occurring. The key reason for this however, especially if you look at the location of the largest degree of ice melt, is from super heated water driven up from volcanic vents melting the ice from beneath. This is well understood by antarctic researchers, many of whom enjoy the occasional swim in the quite temperate Antarctic water!

    It is completely unrelated to global warming, which I confess is real, but am not yet satisfied is primarily driven by anthropogenic causes.

  96. Lomborgist

    I am not a Global Warming Denier. I am a Global Warming Defeatist. There ain’t no way that you’re going to get 3+ billion people on board for this project, given the natural forces of hunger and greed.

    It doesn’t matter what caused it. It’s happening, and there is no going back. Our finite resources are better spent building dikes and growing food.

  97. Brian Too

    Your list is good but incomplete.

    Numerous ski resorts in Europe are finding their ski seasons getting shorter and are trying to stave off disaster. One actually purchased a giant geo-textile in an effort to insulate the snow pack! It’s a short-term solution of course.

    Also, in just a few years Glacier National Park will contain no glaciers.

  98. @33. EmaNymton Says:
    “@32, you might want to look up “sarcasm.””

    Tone doesn’t carry into text, and there’s a very good reason for Poe’s law.
    If you are being sarcastic in the comments, you have to let people know.

  99. MentalMoment

    I’ll add to the “poor graph” comments.

    The paper by Velicogna “Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland
    and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE” has the Y-axis as simply “Ice Mass (Gt).”

  100. Steve Huntwork

    I fully agree:

    “Phil will either be apologizing for this anti-science or deleting these posts within a couple of years I’ll bet.”

    My bet is that Phil will claim that he trusted what he was being told without question, but finally realized that something was wrong. That absolute trust in un-verified data sources was a major embarrassment to him.

    That, or he will delete all historical records of anything that he said on the subject…

  101. It’s not just the Himalayas and Antarctica, folks.

    Check out my name for a link to a site that quantifies major changes in just under a century in Sierra glaciers. There are HUGE numbers of other pointers to climate change in the sierras and elsewhere — ice melt is one big one.

    You can argue about the science all you want, but pictures, ice cores and animal migrations tell a very complete story of climate change. And human-induced factors are part of that picture. All the whinging and moaning otherwise isn’t going to change that.

  102. Crab

    They’re melting only in your models.

  103. ccpetersen

    Steve @100:

    That’s uncalled for. You owe Phil an apology for 1) accusing him actions that he hasn’t made and wouldn’t make, and 2) insinuating dishonesty where none exists (on Phil’s part). Trollery, sir. Pure trollery. If you don’t trust the global warming information, that’s your business and you have every right to think whatever you want to think about it. But, making personal accusations is uncalled-for.

    Remember the old adage: best to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.

  104. 81. Gwenny Says: “How often do you see one of them talk about the impact of almost 7 billion people on the environment? Six plus billion people breathing, eating (cooking), excreting, procreating and dying.”

    Actually, except for the “cooking” in your list, humans have no measurable effect at all. The amount of bacteria (in terms of biomass, not just numbers) outstrips anything else in the biosphere. For metabolic impact, these little bug(ger)s have more influence (and actual mass) than all other organisms…combined.

    - Jack

  105. 99. John Marley Says: “Tone doesn’t carry into text”

    It does if you know how to write.

    “If you are being sarcastic in the comments, you have to let people know.”

    Not always.

    - Jack

  106. Eamon

    Geophysicist@96

    This is well understood by antarctic researchers, many of whom enjoy the occasional
    swim in the quite temperate Antarctic water!

    I have been unable to find a reference to this – do you have one?

    On the subject of the volcanism itself, I’m assuming you’re referring to this paper:

    “A recent volcanic eruption beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet” by Corr and Vaughn in Nature Geoscience 2008.

    They conclude:

    “It is thus possible that volcanic activity over HMSV contributed to some of the recent changes in velocity of Pine Island Glacier, but it cannot explain the widespread thinning that has been observed across these glacier basins in recent decades.We follow previous authors in favouring an oceanic driver as the likely cause for these changes.”

    This does not support your hypotheis at all.

  107. Daniel J. Andrews

    Maybe someone posted this already, but if they didn’t here is a pdf of a presentation given at the AGU this past December that is, as Realclimate says, a good summary of the current state of the Himalayas and the various sources of misinformation floating around (including NASA’s contribution—which NASA has now corrected since they are science and reality-based (when was the last time Watt or Monckton corrected an erroneous claim…or perhaps in their cases a deliberate distortion).

    web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf

    Any of you who think you have a brilliant rebuttal that will put those egghead scientists in their place, then why don’t you comment on it over at realclimate.org—they have a post up on the IPCC and Himalayan glaciers. You’ll get some good feedback. Use that to demonstrate human’s are not responsible for global warming, and you’ll be famous. Demonstrate global warming isn’t occurring and you’ll win the Nobel Prize for overturning physics and probably chemistry too.

    It shouldn’t be too hard…some of you sound oh so certain you are right…you must have compelling evidence to back that up (sorry, ignorance of math, stats, trend lines, chemistry and physics does not count as “compelling”). You can see the climate folks’ compelling evidence—over 34,000o papers in peer-reviewed journals that have survived prolonged scrutiny.

    By contrast, deniers have a soggy mass of ideas and conspiracy theories which manage to contradict each other and aren’t even consistently applied—e.g. temp data that shows warming is manipulated by scientists and can’t be trusted…unless it shows cooling or unless it shows 1940s was warmer than today in which case they’ll praise the temp data….until it shows current warming again.

    Or it is warming but we’re not responsible because the sun is responsible, or cosmic rays are responsible, or orbital variations are responsible, or unseen undetectable underwater volcanoes are responsible (and all the experts missed these too! Shocking!). Or it isn’t warming at all, in fact, it’s been cooling since 1998. Or CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas and isn’t causing warming/or is only a small amount in the air and can’t be responsible for warming, but current warming is caused by the greenhouse effect of all that CO2 emitted from volcanoes.

    Or the decades of Earth temp records or more recent satellite records aren’t long enough to show any reliable trends, but apparently a few data points taken from a long distance over just a few years is reliable enough to show Mars or Pluto is warming. Or models are unreliable, but those same models are reliable when applied to show warming on Mars. Or it’s been cooling since 1998 (therefore, it is the sun’s cycle), but the same people say Mars is warming (therefore, it is the sun). heh, the sun’s output diminishes causing cooling on earth while at the same time causing Mars (and Pluto, and 4 other planetary bodies out of a hundred or so) to warm up.

    Or the sun is causing both Earth and Mars to warm up in which case GW didn’t stop in 1998 after all. But the same website will use both contradicting stories depending on what they’re trying to “prove”, and not only don’t explain the contradiction but seem unaware they are contradicting themselves.

    Truly they provide the best evidence for AGW because if the denialists actually had any science behind them, they wouldn’t have so many consistent contradictions coming from the same people over and over again. I like how they switch too….one month it is one fable, next month it is another fable that contradicts the first one (fine, maybe they have new evidence), but the following month it is the first fable again, then the second, then the first, then a new one that contradicts both, then back to the first…..basic incoherence.

    But don’t let logic stop you—that Nobel Prize can be yours.

  108. Steve Huntwork

    I will keep and repost this quote from Phil for the next few years:

    “As you can see by this NASA graphic from the linked page, Antarctica loses over 100 billion tons of ice per year, the equivalent of about a hundred cubic kilometers (more than 20 cubic miles) of ice. That number is hard to grasp, but it’s the equivalent to the volume of a mountain about 14,000 feet high — or, if you prefer, it’s like saying that one Colorado Rocky Mountain’s worth of ice disappears every year. Just in Antarctica alone.”

    …………

    As an Astronomer and rather smart person, Phil needs to explain to everyone how a satellite could measure such a tiny change in gravity over the entire continent of Antarctica to such an amazing accuracy!

    How was this truely amazing accuracy from a satellite validated and verified?

    Curious minds would like to know…

  109. Ace

    104. ccpeterson
    “You owe Phil an apology for 1) accusing him actions that he hasn’t made and wouldn’t make, ”

    Isn’t he just accrediting a negative action to Phil that has not happened? And haven’t you done the same thing in the opposite direction in saying that he “wouldn’t make” said actions?

    Explain to me the difference.

  110. John

    @Daniel J. Andrews:

    The science needs to be ‘behind’ the theory to begin with. I’m not a denialist because I have no science ‘behind’ me, I’m a skeptic because I see very little ‘behind’ the AGW proponents.

    In other words, scientifically speaking, the burden of proof is on those who believe in AGW, not those who are skeptical.

    A subtle point I know, and easily missed if you’re an alarmist who believes the world is ending and we’re the cause.

  111. Steve Huntwork

    Let me be a little more specific:

    The GRACE-A and GRACE-B satellites measure tiny changes in their orbits which are caused by Earth’s mass over specific locations.

    When passing over the continent of Antartica, they are measuring the integrated mass of the ice, continental rocks, volcanic magma and the water of the oceans.

    Amazingly, out of this huge integrated mass of the Antartic continent, these two tiny little satellites were able to measure a change of “20 cubic miles” in ice mass?

    Do we actually need to talk about orbital dynamics and the subtle changes caused by atmospheric drag? Do we need to talk about orbital inclinations and why these satellites do not pass directly over the entire continent of Antartica?

    How was this validated and verified?

  112. flibbertigibbet

    Steve @ 109:
    Phil is an astronomer, but I am a remote scientist, so let me give him a hand with your question:

    In simple terms, it’s a type of triangulation- multiple satellites capture the same image when scanning the surface on their voyage in orbit. A satellite that is assigned to Antarctica- which for this study was MODIS’s satellites Terra and Aqua- would be on an orbit that would continually pass over the landmass every 16 days over the course of a year for however many years collecting data.

    Data is analysed from both satellites and compared to each other and over time. THEN it is usually verified using what we call ‘ground-truthing’, or collecting the pertinent data on the ground to see if the results are significant.

    What Phil is trying to do here is this: the satellites and the ground-truthing data validated and verified that Antartica is losing a hundred cubic kilometres of ice PER year, which using the above methods is easy to notice- and he is using an analogy that people would recognize.

    On a separate note- it’s not about gravity, it’s about volume, which is what the satellites measure. As for what can only assume is sarcasm- yes, it IS truly amazing accuracy. The resolution for the visible spectrum is 5oom, so miles? No problem.

    Ray @ 24
    The ice is going into the oceans. Ever hear of Tuvalu? Better visit now, they’ve applied to the UN for help because their land is disappearing into the sea.

  113. itsCalledCHANGE

    @112

    Maybe the contributions to the integrated mass from the water, magma, and continental rock dont change very much from say, a pass 5 years ago versus last year so, any change in the integrated mass seen in last years’s pass can be attributed to a change in the contribution coming from ice.

    Just speculating though. I use last year and five years ago just as examples.

  114. Steve Huntwork

    flibbertigibbet @ 113:

    Nice try, but that is not what was quoted:

    “Meanwhile, measurements from the Grace satellites confirm that Antarctica is losing mass 11. Isabella Velicogna of JPL and the University of California, Irvine, uses Grace data to weigh the Antarctic ice sheet from space.”

    Oh, and by the way, mass is rather strongly related to volume, and the satellites were measuring how mass changed their orbit. If you have not noticed, there are active volcanos in Antarctica and it would not take much movement of volcanic magma for a change of “20 cubic miles” in ice mass

    I will ask my question once again. How were the GRACE satellites able to measure such a tiny change in mass over the Antartica continent? Seriously, this is probably below the ability to compute using double precision floating point math.

    Phil is quoting other people, but how was their data actually validated and verified?

  115. Spectroscope

    Sorry BA, this latest feeble attempt to defend the fading AGW cult is doomed to failure & you are just continuing to make a fool of yourself by supporting this Big Green-Socialist Lie. :-(

    Read Ian Plimer’s comprehensive and genuinely scientific & skeptical book, Heaven & Earth & you’ll see why. Really, read it & think again. It is fully sourced, well-written, factual and spot on.

    Even the lead authors of the IPPCC are starting to backpedal on the most hysterical of the Alarmists claims and most Americans and other rational folks are not buying the Warmer nonsense any more.

    Start being skeptical BA, start really thinking about what the genuine climate skeptics such as Plimer and Watts and even Randi are saying.

    The Anthropogenic Global Warming speculation FAILS the basic test of skepticism :

    1. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” (Carl Sagan’s law)

    AGW is very much an extraordinary claim. Where’s the extraordinary and really *clear* evidence showing it to be anything more than natural, cyclical warming? Co2 from humans supposedly makes the planets warmer – yet while Co2 levels are higher every year, the hottest year on record was 1998 or a dozen years ago! Rapid alarming warming? Really? :roll:

    2. Occams Razor – the simplest & most obvious explanation is usually right. We know the Sun varies its output very slightly. We know the Sun drives our climate, we know Milankovitch and other orbital & geological cycles have a major impact on climate. Volcanic eruptions, for instance have been proven to have an important effect as have events such as Tunguska which left “white nights” visible in its wake back in 1908.

    We have’t had a major violcanic eruption for ages or another Tunguska event – could that be one reason why temperatures are slightly, pleasantly warmer than they were back in the 1960′s-70′s. If not then why not?

    Metaphorically, hearing the hoofbeats of apparent possible climate change why are the Alarmists looking for for the “zebras” or white rhinosceri of humans supposedly impacting the environment through a naturally varying, non-toxic beneficial gas like Co2 rather than the blatantly obvious astronomical and geological factors that have been known to work before?

    3. Copernican principle of Human mediocrity – We ain’t the centre of the Universe. We also ain’t the centre of the climate. Humans are not big enough or influential enough to cause the global climate to change. We can have some major *regional* effects such as diverting rivers and causing the Aral sea to dry up but *globally*? Not so much.

    The AGW Cultists following their “watermelon green” socialist faith shriek that we are the guilty ones. “We did it all! Its all our fault!”, they howl violently demanding that their solution “We must all tax ourselves to death in penance and throw away all the conveninces and benefits of modern society retreating to caves and wearing hairshirts until the Mother Lenin .. er Mother Earth .. forgives us our eco-Sins!” :roll:

    BZZZT. Wrong. Climate has always changed. There are many cycles based on a number of natural factors and we are in an interglacial period where this is even more true – there’s been the Roman warming, the Medieval Warm period, the Little Ice Age and now we’re enjoying the pleasant interlude of the Late 20th Century Warming -nothing unusual or exceptional about it. It was warmer before us with far higher Co2 levels. (C02 levels are now actually *lower* than at pretty much any time in Earth’s history.)

    During the 1960′s-70′s we were worried about an ice age – a far worse climate threat – and that you’ll recall was long after the indiustrial revolution that supposedly kicked this off. Supposedly mainly becuase the Green Cult has an irrational and self-destructive hatred of industry and science and capitalism. You are supporting the wrong side in many ways BA, not only are the Alarmists factually wrong and lacking any understanding of science and skepticism, the Warmers really hate science much as they try to use it for their ends.

    Throw in the fact that these sort of predictions of the End of the World, that “the sky is falling”, whether they are religiously or “scientifically” based have a 100% failure rate and you should, if you are reasonable & rational, have the ability to understand we have nothing to worry about.

    The AGW hypothesis has already failed its “experiemntal” predictions & been falsified – the AGW cultists didn’t, for example, predict that temperatures would peak in 1998 and thereafter stabilise or even cool somewhat as they have done. We were told back in the late 1980′s-90′s that the world would be ending about now. It hasn’t & it won’t. Time is its worst enemy as we are already starting to see and the CRU fraudsters and others who have exxagererated, distorted, spun and scammed us for money, fame and personal gain are getting exposed as the frauds they are on an ever-increasing basis.

    Time to desert their sinking ship BA & take a more skeptical look at this issue. Actually, you are well overdue for that. :-(

  116. Eamon

    Spectroscope@116

    Ian Plimer’s comprehensive and genuinely scientific & skeptical book, Heaven & Earth

    Oh, the book that has a 46-page guide to its numerous errors (Compiled by Ian Entling) – that explains a lot.

  117. Spectroscope

    @ 117. Eamon Says:

    … Oh, the book that has a 46-page guide to its numerous errors (Compiled by Ian Entling) – that explains a lot.

    Which book has the errors there -Entlings or Plimers? I’m saying Entlings. ;-)

    Plimer after all is a professional scientist and prize-winning genuine skeptic with a proven record for standing up against nonsense like Creationism and the Gore’s Bull Warming myth. Entling? Never heard of him. Who’s he & what’s he done to deserve to be taken credibly?

    @ 13. Dan :

    Last decade saw, if I recall correctly, a 0.3° increase in average global temperature. That’s huge for just 10 years time.

    With what *error bars* + /- 0.5 degrees or 0.0005 degrees? Over what span of time?

    @ 6. Steve in Dublin Says:

    Cue Spectroscope with several paragraphs worth of denial in 3… 2… 1…

    Aw shucks, I got here as soon as I could. :-)

    I do, however, have other stuff to do and real life does get in the way sometimes.
    Miss me much? ;-)

    What, hasn’t the ice heard about Climategate?

    Haven’t you? ;-) :-P

    If you look at the Climategate scandal, really *look* at it, you’ll find it adds up convincingly to the verdict that the “AGW” Scare is the worst ever case of scientific fraud handily beating the Piltdown man and even the newspaper hoax of Herschel supposedly finding a whole ecology of living things on the Moon! Go on take a long hard look at the evidence it provides.

    Maybe you,like the BA, could excuse or rationalise away the use of the word “trick” but it doesn’t stop there. Using such “tricks” to “hide the decline”, censoring and suppressing dissenting scientists, even altering what is meant by “peer review” turning the so-called “science” of “climatology” into a private AGW Alarmists mutual self-admiration club, gloating over the deaths of Climate Skeptics and threating to bash them at conferences, its just a mine of unpleasant revelations that are utterly totally damming of the we now clearly know fabricated Warmist cause.

    I am amazed these Climategate revelations haven’t had a much bigger effect and I sure hope there is a proper open public enquiry as Inhofe has called for – & Senator Stephen Fielding in Australian politics – followed by appropriate punishment incl. jail time for the CRU farudsters.

    I am even more amazed and deeply disappointed that the Bad Astronomer has so glibly brushed aside & excused away tohimself if nobody else the *really* inconvenient truths revealed by Climategate and the CRU’s fraud. I guess it goes to prove there’s none so blind as those who will not see. One day I predict the BA, who I actually have considerable respect for on most issues, will feel very embarrassed at being so totally taken in by the AGW myth which is already clearly very much “busted.”

  118. Spectroscope

    One other very important thing about that graph the BA posted :

    What reason do we have to trust it?

    What was the methodology used?

    What flaws and possible introduced bias’es does that methodology have?

    Was it produced by genuine skeptical scientists or by CRU-style fraudster “scientists” with a green socialist agenda and their psuedo-scientific, semi-religious AGW faith & AGW based funding in mind?

    Is it as reliable (NOT!!) as Mike Mann’s demonstrably false “hockey stick” graph?

    Everyone needs to look very seriously at these issues raised above esp. in the light of Climategate and take *anything* an AGW cult supporter says with a planet-sized block of halite or rock salt! ;-)

    Do that & the Al Gore & radical Socialist Greens gravy train will very quickly get derailed.

    So, sorry (literally feeling pity for you!), BA as you’ll notice just from reading the comments here, it just isn’t that convincing. Not at all.

  119. Utakata

    Oh, go away Spectroscope. You guys won Massachusetts…so be happy. And leave us skeptics of your peddling right wing bunk alone. Cheers…

    …here’s my obligatory :)

  120. Spectroscope

    Open message to the Bad Astronomer

    I think you, Dr Phil Plait, do such a great job of being and communicating skepticism when it comes to anti-vaxxers, creationists, Moon Hoax believers, conspiracy theorists, etc ..

    It is just such a tragic shame that you have suspended your skeptical-sense & have such a blind spot when it comes to the AGW myth.

    Dr Plait I really do respect your judgement and writing skills and I urge you as strongly as I possibly can to read Professor Ian Plimers comprehesive book Heaven & Earth’which totally debunks the AGW myth & to visit some AGW skeptic sites and really re-think long and hard about this issue.

    I and many others will think much more not less of you if you come out and admit you are wrong on this one AGW issue. Please do so. Please at least consider this.

  121. Spectroscope

    @ 122. Victor Prime, the Ghost-Who-Waddles Says:

    Spectroturf is a Poe. Calling it now.

    Wrong. You got both my name and your idea of me as a “poe” totally wrong there.

    Not that I’m surprised, the AGW cultists have always had the wrong ideas about many things and resorting to ad hominem’s and “shooting the messenger” by doing offensive things like calling them “deniers” (& insultingly warping their names) have long been their favourite tactics. :roll:

    If you disagree with what I’ve written or the logic of my case against the AGW bunkum please
    explain why you – erroneously – think so logically and without resorting to that tired and illogical canard.

    No strawmen caricatures of what us Climate Skeptics think either, please. :roll:

    I will be civil to you if you will show the same basic courtesy to me & other AGW skeptics. Please remember the BA’s rules here about being polite & not being a jerk even with those who disagree with you. I do – even if I do put my case strongly and frequently here without holding back as I think it should be put.

    —————————-

    PS. A correction to my “Open Letter to the BA” post 123 :

    “I think you, Dr Phil Plait, do such a great job of being *skeptical* and communicating skepticism when it comes to anti-vaxxers, creationists, Moon Hoax believers, conspiracy theorists, etc .. It is therefore such a tragic shame that you do not apply the same skepticism to the AGW cult. “

    Is what I intended to say there accidentally leaving out the word ‘skeptical’ in that first line.

  122. Eamon

    Specroscope@119

    Which book has the errors there -Entlings or Plimers? I’m saying Entlings

    Nope, the guide is written by Entling.

    Plimer after all is a professional scientist and prize-winning genuine skeptic with a proven record for standing up against nonsense like Creationism and the Gore’s Bull Warming myth. Entling? Never heard of him. Who’s he & what’s he done to deserve to be taken credibly?

    Entling is a professional scientist who’s reviewed Plimer’s work. He found such curious things as his belief that the sun has the same composition as a meteorite, graphs that have been fiddled with, and a whole host of references that say the opposite of what Plimer says they do…

    You can find the PDF on the web, I recommend it.

  123. Petoht

    Man… remember when the Bad Astronomer wrote about astronomy? Wasn’t that awesome?

  124. Utakata

    /facepalm

    I remember when trolls used to be smart. Look at the articles above and below this one, Petoht.

    @ 122 Victor Prime, the Ghost-Who-Waddles:

    You better get PZ over here to put him back in his dungeon then.

  125. Stanley H. Tweedle

    So sad, isn’t it?
    :-(

  126. “No strawmen caricatures of what us Climate Skeptics think either, please. ”

    I love how some deniers whine about how others characterize them and then go on to insult others in exactly the same way. Cultist? Really?

    There is a great series of videos that basically takes apart all these silly claims against climate change: http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610
    I highly recommend everyone watches them.

  127. Eamon

    Petoht@126

    You must have a short attention span – his last blog post was on matters astronomical ;)

  128. @82 “Jeffersonian”:

    In the absence of yearly documented ice retreat data before the modern era, it is impossible to assert that modern day glacier retreat is unusually fast compared to other Holocene periods of retreat. You seem to assume that. Prove it. Good luck.

  129. A related great article about the challenges of getting out the message from the evidence / science based side of the house!

    Pseudoscience in the Ascendency

    For me this is the winning line;

    “I’m allergic to willful ignorance, but I’m in desperate need of an open exchange of ideas. I never won a debate using make-believe facts, but neither did I ever win one by calling my opponent stupid.”

  130. Pascal’s Wager (applied to Global Warming:)

    If AGW is true and we change our ways to better the environment, we might stave off the warming trend and have a better environment for it.

    If AGW is true and we do nothing to change our ways, we’re screwed.

    If AGW is false and we change our ways to better the environment, we come out with a better environment anyway.

    If AGW is false and we do nothing to change our ways, the trends will continue as always and our environment will suck.

    I dunno about you, but I’m all for a better environment in the end.

    Edit: And yes, I’m aware of the failings of Pascal’s Wager.

  131. Paul from VA

    @Steve Huntwork

    You ask: “I will ask my question once again. How were the GRACE satellites able to measure such a tiny change in mass over the Antartica continent? Seriously, this is probably below the ability to compute using double precision floating point math.”

    Have you ever used a GPS unit? Then your argument is defeated. GPS operators routinely compute the predicted locations of satellite to accuracies of 1 cm or better. In order to do these calculations, they rely on a non-spherical model of the earth that accounts for various lumps and bumps. These models are tested and updated on a daily basis. If these lumps were not accounted for and measured, your GPS would not function. One of these lumps is the antarctic ice sheet. The ice sheet matters far more than underwater volcanoes because it is at a relatively high altitude. Underwater volcanoes barely matter, since they are below the nearly spherical sea level.

    If you don’t believe me, then you can’t believe that GPS exists either. Please come back when you have read and understood a textbook on astrodynamics, such as “Fundamentals of Astrodynamics and Applications” by David Vallado so that you don’t have to make arguments from incredulity….

  132. Scott B

    @ Kevin 133: You completely ignore the impacts of limiting our CO2 emissions. There will be a serious cost in dollars and quality of life in order to “change our ways to better the environment”. I think a more complete statement of your reply is:

    If AGW is true and we change our ways to better the environment, we might slow the warming trend and have a better environment for it. Our economy will be temporarily devastated in the process, but some could claim that it was a pain that was worth it. (too bad there’s no way to prove AGW is true if we stop it before it happens).

    If AGW is true and we do nothing to change some countries will be better off, others will be worse off. We will do as we’ve always done and try to mitigate the effects of the warming to the best of our ability and technology. This will also have a significant impact on lives and the economy, but I haven’t seen a good report showing this would be worse than limiting most all of our CO2 emmisions.

    If AGW is false and we change our ways to better the environment we have wrecked our economy for no reason. CO2 had no negative effect on our environment and we spent trillions of dollars to stop releasing more.

    If AGW is false and we do nothing to change our ways, then the climate will vary as it always has, we will try to mitigate the impacts of mother nature, and humanity continues on its path.

    The problem with this type of argument is the truth and what will happen is likely somewhere in between these 4 extremes. Saying AGW is true or false way oversimplifies a very complex issue.

  133. drhealy

    “Our ice is disappearing”; what a surprise. Perhaps that’s why we call the current period an interglacial period. The ice “has been disappearing” for 20,000 years at varying rates and will continue until the current interglacial period ends. I would think that an astronomer who studies events that occur over billions of years could put this all in the proper context. Most geologists I have talked with have a much less catastrophic view of mankind’s effect upon climate than the author does.

    Also, please realize the Dr. Lonnie Thompson that you cite, follows the practice of Jones, Mann and numerous others in failing to make his data and methods available for review and duplication; a continuing travesty of the scientific method. As the oft repeated saying goes, “It ain’t science, it’s climate science.”

  134. mike burkhart

    Hear is the problem it is not the global warming crtics who cause doubts its the cold weather I’ve heard people say if there is global warming why are we haveing below 0 winter ,they say Al Gore full of!$% and when tempertures drop in most all of U.S. (even in Florida) they say wheres all this global warming I keep hearing about? many say Ill beleve thers global warming when its 90° in winter.

  135. @Scott B:

    I’m not saying we should go back to the Dark Ages of technology. I’m also not saying there wouldn’t be a cost to it. We are a smart people. We’ve come up with solutions to things that were completely unimaginable in the past. I’m sure there’s some brilliant scientists out there who are uncovering ways to ‘better our environment’ without serious impact to quality of life.

    I just foresee the scenario of what will happen in the future, what legacy would you prefer for your descendants:

    Our planet is greener and more in tune with the environment because science and government got together and figured out how to fix it.

    Or…

    Our planet is an arid wasteland and cities are devastated by climate change because science and government just sat back and watched it happen.

    “Think of the children” sounds so cliché, but it fits in this situation. Are fleeting, temporary luxuries worth the destruction of the environment? Is it worth it to possibly give a bit to see to the future of our planet?

    @mike burkhart:

    A wonderful, understandable explanation is at this link here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDTUuckNHgc

  136. Erasmussimo

    I’ve slogged through all these posts and I am sad to see that the denialists’ arguments haven’t improved in the last few months. There is definitely a shift away from the old denial of actual temperature increases (remember “the earth has been cooling since 1998″?) Nowadays the common argument is that this is all just part of natural variation, and that humanity has nothing to do with it. We’ve even seen the old “solar variations” argument — sheesh! Next they’ll be citing luminiferous ether to support their claims.

    There are two huge flaws with the “natural variations” argument. The first is a simple logical fallacy. If we can show that A causes B (natural variations cause climate change), that doesn’t mean that C cannot also cause B (human carbon emissions cause climate change). Here’s a very simple example: we know for certain that lightning can cause forest fires, and that there were lots of forest fires in North America long before humans arrived on the continent. That does not mean that humans don’t cause forest fires nowadays. Nor does it mean that we can afford to ignore human contributions to forest fires.

    Some denialists will offer the argument that the burden of proof for showing that climate change is indeed anthropogenic falls upon the supporters of that hypothesis. That’s a fair argument — but in fact, that burden has been met with a huge amount of theoretical and modeling work that demonstrates clearly that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide should cause increases in temperature. The theory is strong and clear. There are plenty of arguments about details, but the basics are undeniable.

    The second gigantic flaw in the denialist position that all this has occurred in the past arises from the fact that times have changed and there are now people living on land that was previous submerged in warmer times. Sure, climate was warmer in Jurassic times — but then, half of North America was under water during those times. That’s not something that we can simply shrug off. We committed two trillion dollars, lots of lives, and our geopolitical reputation to staving off the perceived threat imposed by Saddam Hussein — if we’re facing the inundation of large amounts of land, surely we can afford a few trillion to cope with that.

    Which brings me to the argument that coping with AGW will ruin our economy. Denialists make this claim without ever offering any substantiation for it. Sure, if we shut down all use of fossil fuels, our economy will collapse — but that’s a straw man argument. We have a huge range of options that fall far short of devastating our economy, but denialists never discuss the serious possibilities, only the absurd ones.

    However, I will agree with the pessimists that the global community will fail to address the AGW problem and that our descendants will face enormous costs because of our stupidity. Never forget that we are really just Pleistocene hunter-gatherers faking it as civilized creatures. A problem that snarls in our face (such as Saddam Hussein) gets our juices flowing and we respond. A problem that requires cerebration to recognize is beyond our political capabilities. A hundred years from now when the Inundated People’s Front is bombing dikes and carrying out revenge terror operations against us because our intransigence led to the loss of their homelands, our descendants will curse the denialists who helped get us to that sad predicament. And if you think that the resettlement of a few million Jews in Palestine led to serious problems, think about what it will be like when we have to take in tens of millions of displaced people from places like Bangladesh, the Maldives, the Nile Delta, lower Amazonia, and so forth. And don’t buy real estate in Florida.

  137. Itzac

    Here’s a figure that offers a better perspective for those who question our impact on the climate.

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=convert+world+population+density+to+people+per+acre

    There are 0.18 people per acre on the planet, or inversely, 5.5 acres per person.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acre

    The historical definition of an acre is particularly illuminating. That’s a little less than five football fields. You could walk that perimeter in well under an hour. Imagine what kind of damage you could do to that plot of land in a very short time frame. Then try to tell me we couldn’t inadvertently have had so significant an impact on our planet.

  138. t_p_hamilton

    I am with Steve Huntwork here. Obviously the people running satellites launched by NASA don’t know about orbital dynamics, drag, and precision in calculations. I need verification! These people should come to my house and explain these things to me. They should also bring wine, otherwise that would be rude.

  139. Jason

    “I don’t doubt for a moment that warming is real. What I SERIOUSLY doubt is that “man” is the cause…”

    I would propose that cramming 6 billion people on the planet, half of which are driving cars is going to eventually take it’s toll on our environment.

  140. Evil Merodach

    @Jason #145. To reiterate what others have been saying, solar radiation has been pretty much been absolved from causing global warming. In fact we are still in the midst of a deep solar minimum.

    Those who say that global warming isn’t man-made never seem to come up with a cause except to say it’s the sun or part of some “natural cycle”. Well, it definitely isn’t the sun, and even a natural cycle has to have a driver — although AGW deniers can’t seem to point at this mysterious driver.

    Maybe it’s cosmic rays. Oh wait, that’s been discredited too.

  141. Mike G

    Google is your friend. Typing “GRACE accuracy” gets you this-
    http://www.geology.ohio-state.edu/~alsdorf/files/GRACE/MethodsPapers/Wahr_GRL_GRACE_Errors.pdf

    Also, I’m surprised so far no one has really answered the question of how we know that the current warming isn’t just part of the natural trend. I’ve only seen a scattered piece of the answer scattered here and there.

    For one, we know what the mechanisms for most of the major natural sources of climate change are- things like change in solar output (actual trends, not just cycles), or orbital variations. Absent some change in these forcings we can rule them out.

    The rate of change is also important. As has been pointed out, things like Milankovitch cycles are not only ruled out because we aren’t in the warming phase of the cycle, but because they don’t cause such rapid onset of warming.

    When and where the change occurs is important too. The current trend is warming of the troposphere and cooling of the stratosphere. That is inconsistent with any known mechanism of warming due to increased energy input from outside the atmosphere (like the sun), which should occur from the top down. However, it is consistent with warming due to excess heat retention in the atmosphere due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Also, the increase has been greater at night than during the day. Again, that pattern is consistent with the trapping of heat within the system and inconsistent with an increase in energy input from the sun (which would be radiated back out at night).

    That’s just a process of elimination though that tells us it’s probably NOT these other forcings. We know that it is CO2 because of physics and direct measurement.

    The basic physics showing that increasing CO2 increases the greenhouse effect go back roughly 100 years.

    We’ve known for over 50 years that the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing. This has been directly measured, most famously at Mauna Loa, but also from a network or ships, planes, and land-based stations around the globe.

    We’ve also know since roughly that same time that virtually all of that increase is due to human activity. One way we can tell this is through the isotopic signature of the carbon atom in the CO2. There are 3 different carbon isotopes which occur in different ratios in different sources such as recently living biomass or in fossil fuels. By measuring the change in the isotopic ratio in the atmospheric CO2 over time you can determine what the source of the CO2 was. Isotopic analysis indicates that it’s largely from fossil fuels. The drop in atmospheric O2 levels concurrent with the increase in CO2 is further indicative of combustion as the source (though respiration cannot be ruled out based on this measurement alone). Another independent check is simple accounting. People tend to keep fairly good records of how much coach, natural gas, and oil they extract from the ground, which gives a pretty good estimate of how much CO2 should have increased as a result of fossil fuel use over the past century.

    We also have satellite measurements which show decreased outgoing IR radiation over the portion of the spectrum absorbed by CO2 (which was established about 100 years ago) and ground based measurements showing increased downwelling IR from the CO2 portion of the spectrum. That is essentially direct evidence of an increasing greenhouse effect of CO2.

    Taken together, you have physics which says you should see warming with increased CO2. You have measured increases in CO2. You have measurements indicating that that increase is largely anthropogenic. You have a warming trend with a temporo-spatial pattern consistent with what the physics predicts. You have measurements, indicating that there is an ongoing enhancement of the greenhouse effect and that the enhancement is occurring in large part, over the CO2 portion of the spectrum.

    In order to show that natural variations are a more likely explanation you not only need to come up with a plausible natural mechanism which can fit the temporal patterns, spatial patterns, and magnitude of the warming, but also a mechanism to explain why CO2 doesn’t have the effect the physics says it should.

  142. Paul

    Gorebull warming is about power and money, not the climate anymore. People who act like they believe in AGW are probably invested in the “green” industry and will make a lot of money. It’s about making policy to create a 1 world government. Shame on you Phil for supporting pseudoscience. So many of you all that make comments on here probably have no real knowledge of climate and are just regurgitating information you hacked of the web somewhere. Phil you can also drop the elitism, it’s boring.

  143. Utakata

    Actually Paul, Globeck…I mean global warming denialism is about power and money. If “Gorebull” warming was about power and money…you right wing nutters would be all for it. I rest my case.

    …and Sorry BA if I’ve been more ad hominem that usual, these denialist are spouting off the same tired old politically tinged “true believer” nonsense. You can’t convince them…so might as well laugh at them. Anyways, back to science. :)

  144. TR

    The suggestion that the anthropological debate is mute without a potential solution misses the point. Unless we understand the root cause of the problem, we can’t formulate an effective solution, and unless a sufficient majority of people implement that solution, it will fail.

    To those who suggest that a solution would be too inconvenient or too expensive, I ask: Compared to what?

    Even if we must spend 100% of the world’s wealth and change our lifestyles entirely just to reverse the trend in 10-thousand years, that’s still a better alternative than rendering the planet uninhabitable. Unless we have a reasonable way to estimate the “natural” life expectancy of our species, our extinction at any date amounts to incurring what is an essentially infinite cost, insomuch as it leads to the total loss of all the revenue that would eventually have been generated by innumerable future generations.

    To expand on a point made by itsCalledCHANGE in post #96; it’s not that we have come home from work to find the firemen bickering in front of our burning house. We are in the burning house, and we are fighting over who started the fire, just how flammable the walls really are, and whether or not it will be too inconvenient and/or expensive to use-up the fire extinguisher. Oh, and the house is actually a boat in the middle of the North Atlantic. And our radio is out.

    And before anyone points out that our extinction is not the inevitable outcome of GW, let me say that I know that. But which option makes more sense:

    A) Implementing a measured approach that brings us gradually in line with a sustainable population enjoying a reasonable standard of living?

    or

    B) Adopting a “it will work itself out” approach which will result in a precipitous loss of quality of life for the vast majority of people and a hopefully-less-that-zero probability that the rest will survive much as they would have if we had planned ahead instead?

    If you don’t believe that GW will dramatically change the way you live your life in the future, that just because you are not in one of the socioeconomic strata which have seen it change their quality of life already. The process underway right now, and it is working it way up the income ladder even as I write this.

  145. TR

    Paul – what could you possibly mean when you say that it’s “not about the climate anymore?” Whether GW is a climatic phenomena or not is a matter of reality, and is not time-sensitive in the way that you seem to be suggesting. If human activity was leading to global warming before Al Gore’s video (and no one was poised to make any money by solving the problem), then the same human activity will still lead to GW after Al Gore’s video (even if the market rewards someone who can find a solution to the problem).

    Your very statement is indicative of the reason things are likely to get much worse before they get better. Somewhere along the way, some people got the idea that reality is a matter of opinion, and that any statement made by someone you don’t agree with can be treated as false, even if the statement addresses itself to an issue of fact. If All Gore produces a video explaining that the sun appears to follow the ecliptic, and a bunch of liberal realtors make a fortune selling houses with southern exposures, that does not alter the sun’s apparent path.

  146. MadScientist

    Some more information is needed; so what if the ice is shrinking that much? (1) what is the overall volume of ice, (2) what is the error on those estimates, and (3) what is the significance of the loss of that amount? I could always calculate, for example, the amount of hydrogen lost from earth to space each year and go OMFG! We’re losing all that hydrogen!

  147. Erasmussimo

    Good question, MadScientist. It’s pretty easy to calculate from these numbers that this melting is, all by itself, raising sea level by about half a millimeter per year. That’s not much at all, but remember that 1) that’s every year; it just keeps rising; 2) that’s only the contribution from Antarctica. The Greenland ice sheet adds to it; 3) it’s accelerating. We can’t yet say how large that second derivative is, but we could easily be talking about several millimeters per year not far in the future.

    My overall conclusion is that we’re not looking at any serious problems in the next ten or twenty years. But within 50 years we would well be looking at a destructive rise in sea level.

  148. Whenever some measured quantity is in doubt, you should look for a way to amplify the signal. Has anyone looked at Florida lately?

    Here’s a state with something like 1,000 miles of border, 95% of which is surrounded by ocean. The highest point in the entire state is only 100 m (about 340 ft) above MSL, and that’s in the panhandle. The highest point in the peninsula is more like 80 m. I would think that every mm rise in sea level would cause Florida to lose several miles of coastline. Is that happening?

    - Jack

  149. Don Gisselbeck

    Remember that many of the people who will benefit most from no action on AGW are the $10,000 an hour oil executives. Why should we trust them or their stooges on any subject?

  150. mike burkhart

    My point was from what I have heard I do’nt think anyone will beleave or what to any thing about gw untill it efects them in there own backyard

  151. Eamon

    Jack Hegerty@154

    The highest point in the peninsula is more like 80 m. I would think that every mm rise in sea level would cause Florida to lose several miles of coastline. Is that happening?

    That would depend on the percentage of Floridian land that is only a few mms above sea level. If the coast of Florida is similar to those in Ireland or Japan (two places of which I have experience) then the only places losing area to the sea at such a low rate of increase are liable to be beaches, as other parts of the shore line have quite a steep profile.

    There doesn’t seem to be much easily available information on foreshore height profiles on the web, but my gut feeling is that a sea level rise of a mm is not going to have a noticeable effect on Florida’s coastal area.

  152. StevoR

    @ 119. Eamon Says:

    Spectroscope@116 : “Ian Plimer’s comprehensive and genuinely scientific & skeptical book, Heaven & Earth” Oh, the book that has a 46-page guide to its numerous errors (Compiled by Ian Entling) – that explains a lot.

    I’ve met & talked with Ian Plimer in person and he has given a talk to my local Astronomical society.

    From my direct personal experience of him, I would say that Professor Plimer is trustworthy, extremely knowledgeable on this issue, highly intelligent and sincerely believes the extremely strong case he has made in his book and his lectures against the AGW idea.

    Yes Plimer’s book may, perhaps, have a few minor errors – is there ever a book that gets everything 100% right? But I still think it makes an overwhelmingly powerful case against the AGW idea and its backers.

    In fact, I used to be a strong believer in the AGW myself until I met Professor Plimer and read his Heaven & Earth book on the issue. I suggest you (& others here incl.the BA) read it for yourself and make your own judgement based on what Plimer actually says in the original source – rather than take as gospel second hand what this Entling critic may have misrepresented or taken out of context or generally warped from it.

  153. StevoR

    My view, for whatever its worth, is that this AGW issue indeed appears very much like a “he said /she said” debate.

    Each side can put forward a number of experts to argue their case, each side calls the others work invalid and resorts to calling names. Eg.

    Alarmist vs Denialist, Believer vs Skeptic,
    Funded by Big Oil Vs Funded by the Left and Overseas Interests.

    It boils down to this : There are two sides here and this issue is very politicised and muddy.

    So let me please use an analogy & see if we can make sense of things.

    Imagine you are at the beach with a friend and your friend turns to you and says : “Oh look the tide is coming in – really fast too!”

    Now you turn and look at the sea and the sand and you see a high water mark where seaweed and flotsam has washed up, you see firm damp sand and the waves staying where they are & not seeming to advance or retreat. You’re not really sure if the tides actually going out or is stable but you *are* sure its not coming in fast. So you turn to your friend & say : “Nope, I don’t think so ..”

    Now imagine that instead of the sea and tide we are looking at global temperatures and whether they’re rising or not. Which, of course, has to be the biggest test of whether AGW is right or not.

    Now the metaphorical high-water mark is the year 1998 which was, I understand, the hottest year ever recorded. Some pro-AGW folks say another year instead but that’s contentious and in any case certainly not much hotter. Last year, 2009, their saying, I think, *may* be the fifth warmest. (5th? Pah! Get back to me when its at least second or third!) ;-)

    Point is, according to the AGW believing side, human CO2 is supposedly causing catastrophic, dangerously *RAPID* warming.

    So call me naive or whatever, but if that’s true then shouldn’t each year be getting increasingly hot?

    If AGW was right shouldn’t we expect this year hotter than last hotter than the one before that? Surely at least *every other year* should be as hot or hotter than the record if higher Co2 makes as much diference as they claim it does?

    So the metaphorical tide is meant to be coming in.

    But it sure doesn’t look that way!

    What we observe is a high-water mark in 1998 and then a series of years that are all cooler so things are either stable in a nice warm state or actually cooling off.

    Thus human C02 can’t be doing too much damage then can it?

    Carbon Dioxide may well NOT have anything to do with climate anyhow if adding so much is theoretically so bad but actually appearing to do nothing at all right?

    I know the AGW believers claim 1998 was an exceptional year and something special. D’uh! It was the hottest year ever! That’s exceptional sure – but that’s all.

    Maybe they’d have a point if it wasn’t so long ago – surely in the decade plus more two years since then with all the constantly building up levels of Co2 that are meant to be causing the problem with all the rising heat we’re meant to be getting surely we’d have another exceptional year again? Don’t you reckon? If 1998 was even five years ago instead I might think they have a case. But over a decade ago!? Come on!

    The climate just ain’t doing what the AGW mob said it would!

    That common sense basic level practical test, to me anyhow, seems to indicate pretty conclusively that the AGW hypotheisis is wrong.

    If you disagree with me, fine that’s your right – please explain to me exactly where I’m wrong, preferably in plain english. Use my analogy if you can. I may be wrong & yeah, I know there’s a heck of a lot of scientists that support the AGW idea.

    But lets go back to The Analogy Beach for a sec .

    Imagine that you point out to your friend that the tide is not in fact rushing in & then he starts calling you a “Denier” and abusing you. Or that he starts waving his arms around and trying to throw your spare clothes, towel and beach chair onto the road in front of speeding traffic and yelling : “Teh Tidezzz coming IN! Teh Tidezzz Coming in! RUN for your life! We’re all gunna DIII-IEEEE!!! “ Well it doesn’t really make sense or help his argument does it? In fact, you’d question your friends sanity.

    But that’s what it looks to many folks (me too) like what the pro-AGW mob are sayin’ and how they’re acting.

    Plus here’s a common-sense rule of thumb – anyone who predicts some dreadful apocalypse tomorrow whether from religious or scientific causes is almost certainly wrong. The extremes are usually wrong. Not always & I ‘spose the world will end someday but generally if somebody starts preaching about how this or that “sign” means “The End is Nigh!”, .. Well take it with a shaker full of salt. The worlds still here and the list of failed Apocalypse predictions is nearly endless. :roll:

    So the extreme AGW scenarios actually leave me less convinced of the whole :

    human Co2 =DOOO-OOM! idea.

    Thus no I don’t think AGW is happening and even if it is I don’t think it’ll be any worse than Y2K. Moreover, *if* its happening at all then it is probably natural – the Sun & Earth make human actions pale into insignificance. We’re just not big enough to change the climate in my opinion.

    Besides even if GW is real and even if it ain’t natural, I don’t think its urgent or requires drastic measures – things just aren’t warming up at the alarming rate that’s advertised. We may well end up being better off and we will adapt and manage in any case.

    Throw in the emails of the “Climategate” affair which seem to show the AGW believers manipulating or downright inventing data, appearing to be repressing contrary opinions and debate – generally looking very ugly and untrustworthy and well .. What rational person wouldn’t be skeptical of the AGW side?

    That’s how I see where we are anyhow. Perhaps I’m wrong. But I don’t think so & will take a bit of convincing otherwise.

  154. Spectroscope

    No response by the BA to my “Open message to the Bad Astronomer” comment to the BA at (125.) January 21st, 2010 at 10:54 pm :

    I think you, Dr Phil Plait, do such a great job of being and communicating skepticism when it comes to anti-vaxxers, creationists, Moon Hoax believers, conspiracy theorists, etc .. It is just such a tragic shame that you have suspended your skeptical-sense & have such a blind spot when it comes to the AGW myth.

    That’s rude of him. :-(

    BA if you are reading I’d like a reply to that please.

  155. Eamon

    SrevoR@158

    In fact, I used to be a strong believer in the AGW myself until I met Professor Plimer and read his Heaven & Earth book on the issue.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what scientific points did Professor Plimer make that made you reverse your views on AGW. Also, was there any one point that clinched it for you?

    Also, reversing the question – what scientific facts made you a supporter of AGW before the professor changed your point of view?

    rather than take as gospel second hand what this Entling critic may have misrepresented or taken out of context or generally warped from it.

    Well, Ian has just looked at the scientific references in Plimer’s book and found that they don’t support what Plimer says they do. I’ve looked at some of the papers referenced and agree with Ian.

  156. Eamon

    Spectroscope@160

    Perhaps it’s BA’s decades long experience in Physics and Astronomy that enables him to ignore, without fear of being proved wrong, your points about AGW.

    Perhaps he has visited Anti-AGW sites and found them wanting.

    Or perhaps he’s a busy man who doesn’t have time to respond to each post on his blog.

  157. Spectroscope

    @ 131. gss_000 Says:

    I love how some deniers whine about how others characterize them and then go on to insult others in exactly the same way. Cultist? Really?

    Yes really. The Warmers and Greens do indeed have the properties of a cult and a dangerous self-destructive one at that. Al Gore for one leads a cult of personality and his IPCC “scientist” acolytes like Mike Mann, Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth are exposed by the thousands of leaked Climategate emails as the followers of Green dogma to the point where they will change facts or delete data rather than behave rationally.

    @ 139. drhealy Says:

    “Our ice is disappearing”; what a surprise. Perhaps that’s why we call the current period an interglacial period. The ice “has been disappearing” for 20,000 years at varying rates and will continue until the current interglacial period ends. I would think that an astronomer who studies events that occur over billions of years could put this all in the proper context. Most geologists I have talked with have a much less catastrophic view of mankind’s effect upon climate than the author does.

    Also, please realize the Dr. Lonnie Thompson that you cite, follows the practice of Jones, Mann and numerous others in failing to make his data and methods available for review and duplication; a continuing travesty of the scientific method. As the oft repeated saying goes, “It ain’t science, it’s climate science.”

    Exactly right! I couldn’t agree more – well said.

    @ 140. mike burkhart Says:

    Hear is the problem it is not the global warming crtics who cause doubts its the cold weather I’ve heard people say if there is global warming why are we haveing below 0 winter?

    Why indeed? We’re seeing record cold snaps – temperatures in America and China and England and
    elsewhere that are far colder than they’ve been in many decades. When did the AGW Alarmists predict that? How can they explain it? They didn’t & can’t & their Emperor Gore stands visibly stark naked in the middle of a blizzard! ;-)

    they say Al Gore full of!$%

    You say that like he isn’t? ;-) :-P

    Al Gore is the original big fat liar. Non-inventor of the internet, non-victorious sore loser Presidential candidate and now a shrill shill for high taxing, radical green, big government socialist answers to the non-issue that is the Gore’s Bull Warming. Nothing Gore says can or should be taken seriously. Even people on the Lunatic Left are now starting to realise what a colossal fool Gore is.

    and when tempertures drop in most all of U.S. (even in Florida) they say wheres all this global warming I keep hearing about? many say Ill beleve thers global warming when its 90° in winter.

    Yes, some non-elite average folks have a lot more common sense than many scientists who keep believing Garbage In-Garbage Out computer games over what they can observe outside their own windows.

    Which is one thing – when they start trying to spin & manipulate the actual facts using “tricks” to “hide the decline” and admitting internally that “its a travesty” they can’t explain “the lack of predicted warming” while still loyally preaching the Socialist Green manifesto to the rest of us & threatening to delete data rather than allow others to see it – then it becomes something else many orders of magnitude worse again.

    @ 155. Don Gisselbeck Says:

    Remember that many of the people who will benefit most from no action on AGW are the $10,000 an hour oil executives. Why should we trust them or their stooges on any subject?

    The average over-taxed, hard working American and Western tax-paying citizens.

    We, the people, are the victim of this scientific fraud aimed at forcing us to change our way of life and pay more to be able to do far less restricted by the edicts of the sort of people who brought the world East Germany & Cuba. To lower our standard of living sacrificed at the alter of Green ideology in the name of solving a problem that doesn’t even exist.

    You and I are the beneficiaries of derailing Gore’s Greenhouse Bull gravy train. Let’s just stand up en masse & do it. For us & our kids and our way of life. Because falling for the Gore Bull Warming Lie is death for our economy and terrible for all our futures. :-)

  158. 159. StevoR Says: “So the metaphorical tide is meant to be coming in…But it sure doesn’t look that way!”

    Let’s see if we can put some historical perspective on this.

    For the past few years I’ve been in the process of converting all of my VHS tapes to DVD-R while they’re still readable. The upside to all of this is that I get to re-watch a lot of shows that are now a decade or two old. A few months ago I copied all of my science programs from the ’80s up to the present. The process was eye-opening.

    On the topic at hand there were a few NOVA’s on climate change from 1987-88 and, most interestingly, a special by James Burke (“Connections, “Day the Universe Changed,” etc.) called “After the Warming.” This show was, in typical Burke style, done in a very engaging manner. It was written as a documentary from the future, around 2060 (hence the title). Some of the documentary was real, going back to the early 20th Century to talk about the origins of industrial CO2, but then it started going into predictions (predictions from 1986 when the show was made, but still “in the past” in the context of the story) for the next few decades.

    According to this program, which was made with input from all of the early AGW scientists using the best models of the day, by one decade into the 21st Century (i.e. now) the temperature should have risen some 5°C, the ice caps were gone, some equatorial regions uninhabitable and the oceans shown major disruptions in their deep currents. Has this happened?

    OK, before you all start on how primitive the models were back then, I realize that. The point I’m making is that these people were just as sure of their data, just as sure of their predictions and outcomes as anyone today, yet none of the predictions has come anywhere close to the severity we are supposed to be seeing today.

    Does this make me a denier? I’m sure in many of your eyes. Let’s just say I’m a realist and a historian. The most fundamental test of any theory is its ability to make predictions. These shows had the guts to make predictions that could be evaluated years later. I’m still waiting for any of them to come close to observations.

    - Jack

  159. Eamon

    Spectroscope@163

    Why indeed? We’re seeing record cold snaps – temperatures in America and China and England and
    elsewhere that are far colder than they’ve been in many decades. When did the AGW Alarmists predict that? How can they explain it? They didn’t & can’t & their Emperor Gore stands visibly stark naked in the middle of a blizzard!

    First, AGW doesn’t have much predictive power regarding the weather – Climate is a long-term thing.

    Second, as for the weather, it’s due to the Arctic Oscillation. the AO has led to cold snaps in some places, and warm spells in other places: Greenland is 25 degrees centigrade warmer than normal.

    Third, have you any experience is matters scientific Spectroscope? The answers I have given are easy for anyone with a whit of scientific curiosity to find – you seem to be more interested making juvenile pronouncements on matters you seem to have no expertise in than in educating yourself.

  160. I know the AGW believers claim 1998 was an exceptional year and something special. D’uh! It was the hottest year ever! That’s exceptional sure – but that’s all.

    2005 was the hottest. 2009 was the second hottest. Thus saith NASA:

    “Now let’s consider whether we can specify a rank among the recent global annual temperatures, i.e., which year is warmest, second warmest, etc. Figure 1a shows 2009 as the second warmest year, but it is so close to 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 that we must declare these years as being in a virtual tie as the second warmest year. The maximum difference among these in the GISS analysis is ~0.03°C (2009 being the warmest among those years and 2006 the coolest). This range is approximately equal to our 1‐sigma uncertainty of ~0.025°C, which is the reason for stating that these five years are tied for second warmest. The year 2005 is 0.061°C warmer than 1998 in our analysis.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/2009-temperatures-by-jim-hansen/

    denialists = creationists.

    They both use crayons to write their “thoughts.”

  161. Petrolonfire

    Given the failure of the Copenhagen talkfest and the seemingly insurpassable odds against Humanity doing anything even near enough to make a difference in enough time for it to matter; I think the Climate Skeptics durn well *better* be right! ;-)

  162. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 127. Eamon Says:

    .. Entling is a professional scientist who’s reviewed Plimer’s work. …

    What area of science is Entling an expert in, Eamon if I may ask?

    You can find the PDF on the web, I recommend it.

    Can you give us a link there or directions where to find that please?

    It may be of interest for some people here to note that Prof. Ian Plimer and The Guardian newspaper columnist and strong advocate of the AGW side George Monbiot had a debate last month on the Australian ABC TV Lateline news program. A transcript of that is available here :

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2009/s2772906.htm

    I won’t say much else but one thing I will say is that, for good or ill, the Anthropogenic Global Warming science – and even more so the debate – is definitely not “settled” as some have claimed. Not as it appears to me anyway.

  163. moptop

    “Climate Skeptics durn well *better* be right”

    Or maybe, given that a climate skeptic just got elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, alamists had durn well better start answering skeptic’s questions, because these constant reasurrances that the scientists know what they are talking about aren’t getting the political traction you guys seem to need. The reason I am skeptical is that, at bottom, every extended argument I have with alarmists ends the same way, it *must be true* because well, *all of the scientists say so*. The alarmist’s problem is that there are millions out there with technical educations and a somewhat sophisticated understanding of mathematics whose questions are just ignored or laughed off.

    One I can think of is this, what is the change in percentage terms? What is the possible error? It seems to me that a mountain, even a mountain the size of say, Long’s Peak, I think it is, visible from Denver, which is about the size the author cites, is but a pimple on an elephant’s hide when compared to the vast extent of Antarctica.

  164. Eamon

    MTU@167

    Enting is a a Mathematical Physicist, and his review of the errors in Heaven and Earth is here: http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/plimer1a9.pdf

    As for the debate being settled – it’s all down to the physical properties of CO2 and the other greenhouse gasses. Possibly the best comment on Plimer’s work came in a review of his book in The Aurtalian, by the Astronomer Mike Ashley. He finishes his review thusly:

    Plimer has done an enormous disservice to science, and the dedicated scientists who are trying to understand climate and the influence of humans, by publishing this book. It is not “merely” atmospheric scientists that would have to be wrong for Plimer to be right. It would require a rewriting of biology, geology, physics, oceanography, astronomy and statistics. Plimer’s book deserves to languish on the shelves along with similar pseudo-science such as the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky and Erich von Daniken.

    The whole review can be accessed at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/story-e6frg8no-1225710387147

  165. Eamon

    Moptop@168

    Or maybe, given that a climate skeptic just got elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, alamists had durn well better start answering skeptic’s questions,

    And the questions get answered again, and again, and again – check out sites like skeptical science.

    The alarmist’s problem is that there are millions out there with technical educations and a somewhat sophisticated understanding of mathematics whose questions are just ignored or laughed off.

    You mean like the people who make the elementary error or claiming that global warming is going on on some of the bodies in the solar system? The problem is that some people think they have a better understanding of all the fields of science than those who have spent most of their lives working in those fields.

  166. TR

    The problem with your analogy, StevoR Says, is one of scale.

    Certainly, if I were in the situation you described, I would not turn and run from the sea for fear of drowning. But we are not walking along the beach, and we are not several feet below the high tide mark.

    A better analogy would be a homeowner on a beach-front lot looking out at the surf. If I see that the high tide mark from last week is higher than any I have ever seen before, and in fact I have noticed that for the past few month the high tide mark has been getting progressively closer to my foundation, I’m not going to be very reassured by a friend who says “Oh, but that last wave didn’t come all that close.”

    The process may be slow, and it may be punctuated by periods of relative normalcy. But, given that I don’t really have the option of picking up my house and moving it on short notice, I need to be mindful of the long-term risk.

    The suggestion that GW is not an issue because the hottest year on record was just over a decade ago, and last year was only in the top 5, overlooks the number of years in the record. In a record dating back 130 years, all but one of the hottest years have been in the last 2-1/2 decades, and 5 of the top 6 have been in the last 9 years. You suggest you won’t be convinced until the temperature increase progressively in each sequential year – that’s like the beachfront homeowner saying he’s not going to start packing up until he sees a tsunami wave coming. In the first place, by then it would be too late. But more importantly, no one is saying there is a tsunami coming, we are just suggesting that if the high-tide line keeps advancing the way it has lately, the foundation is going to be compromised sometime soon.

  167. alamists had durn well better start answering skeptic’s questions

    Well, actually no. If a “skeptic” wishes to educate themselves on the science, they are free to read and consult any one of the tens of thousands of scientific papers and review papers and technical and non-technical summaries that have been amassed over the past 50 years. Most “questions” from skeptics arise from their abject failure to do any homework whatsoever. Skepticism arising sheer laziness is not skepticism: it is garden-variety ignorance.

    And you completely miss the point of Phil’s graph: it shows an ongoing trend of ice mass loss. It is not “proof” of AGW, but just one of thousands and thousands of datapoints which all suggest the reality of AGW. What is germane is the totality of the data points and whether they suggest the Earth is behaving in the manner that the physical theories predicted by AGW. This is why weather is not climate and climate is not weather. Climate is weather minus interannual localized noise. To get a statistically significant signal to noise ratio, the longer time series, the better.

    Again: According to NASA, 2005 was the hottest year on record. 2009 was second:

    “Now let’s consider whether we can specify a rank among the recent global annual temperatures, i.e., which year is warmest, second warmest, etc. Figure 1a shows 2009 as the second warmest year, but it is so close to 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 that we must declare these years as being in a virtual tie as the second warmest year. The maximum difference among these in the GISS analysis is ~0.03°C (2009 being the warmest among those years and 2006 the coolest). This range is approximately equal to our 1‐sigma uncertainty of ~0.025°C, which is the reason for stating that these five years are tied for second warmest. The year 2005 is 0.061°C warmer than 1998 in our analysis.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/2009-temperatures-by-jim-hansen/

    RTFP !!!

  168. gss_000

    Spectroscope@163

    Why indeed? We’re seeing record cold snaps – temperatures in America and China and England and

    How many times does someone have to explain, again and again, stop looking at regional effects. There are also record warm temperatures during that same period in the arctic. Look at this pic:

    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100105_Figure4.png

    Can you see the color red? It’s not record cold everywhere, and only you and other deniers are setting up this strawman argument that global (see, the word glo-bal means the entier, as in whole, complete, world, not just regional effects) warming means there will never be record cold. We’ll still see records broken, it’s just that what proves the case is the number of record highs around the world in greater than the record colds by about 2:1.

    In fact, some areas will be colder and others will be warmer than now under the theory. Why do you think the temp change is only predicted to be a few degrees? That’s because some areas will warm and some areas cool and when you average them together, that gives you an increase of a few degrees.

    Thanks Doug Watts, for putting last years temps in perspective. It says something that *despite* the really cold Dec in many places and an El Nino effect that in many ways should have made things cooler, 2009 was as high among the record years by various calculations.

    @168. moptop

    How many times do we have to explain things again and again. It’s not like the answers are out there or are being hoarded. Again, a lot of answers can be easily found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610 But I’m pretty positive it’s easier to assume people aren’t answering questions than actually read and listen to those who are giving them.

  169. gss_000

    Oh, and Spectrograph,

    I think its the deniers whose side has more “cult-like” qualities. Cults don’t admit their mistakes, like the IPCC did with the Himalayan prediction. That is unlike some prominent deniers, not all but some very prominent ones, who not only fabricate and lie about the facts but would never admit they are wrong when it is shown to their face.

  170. Spectroscope

    @ 172. gss_000 Says:

    Oh, and Spectrograph, I think its the deniers whose side has more “cult-like” qualities. Cults don’t admit their mistakes, like the IPCC did with the Himalayan prediction. That is unlike some prominent deniers, not all but some very prominent ones, who not only fabricate and lie about the facts but would never admit they are wrong when it is shown to their face.

    The CRU “scientists” have known about the utterly damming Climategate emails that expose their side for the scientific fraud it is for quite a while now – have they admitted guilt, apologised and turned themselves over to the state confessing their clearly evident fraud and resigned themselves to rightfully long terms of imprisonment as the evidence demands?

    No, I didn’t think so. :roll:

    There are a wide range of climate skeptics who vary in whether warming is occuring whether it is natural or just isn’t going to be all that bad, etc .. We are not an orthodoxy anywhere near that of the Alarmists so I think your point there actually helps my cause more than your own. So thanks I guess! ;-) :-P

    @ 165. Eamon Says:

    Spectroscope@163: “Why indeed? We’re seeing record cold snaps – temperatures in America and China and England and elsewhere that are far colder than they’ve been in many decades. When did the AGW Alarmists predict that? How can they explain it? They didn’t & can’t & their Emperor Gore stands visibly stark naked in the middle of a blizzard!”

    First, AGW doesn’t have much predictive power regarding the weather – Climate is a long-term thing.

    Climate *is* what you get when you’ve had enough weather to add up to something. Weather is what’s happening now – climate is what’s happening now plus what’s happened over centuries and even millennia. As you’d know if you were as much of an expert as you claim to be.

    The Alarmist AGW hoax predicts the weather – and the climate – is changing and doing so at an *accelerating* alarming rate. It’s just not. As even Kevin Trenberth, lead IPCC author and GoreBull Warmer hysteric confessed in the leaked Climategate emails:

    “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.”

    Second, as for the weather, it’s due to the Arctic Oscillation. the AO has led to cold snaps in some places, and warm spells in other places: Greenland is 25 degrees centigrade warmer than normal.

    So when its colder than expected its unusual but just “weather” but when the weather is hotter than usual its always proof of Gore Bull Warming & not just usual variable “weather”? Typical Alarmist hypocrisy. :roll:

    Third, have you any experience is matters scientific Spectroscope?

    I am an amateur astronomer and geologist and have been for most of my life so, yes, I do indeed have some experience with science & its method – and with putting things such as time and space in their broader perspective which alarmists always seem to lack even for the geological eyeblink that is a few centuries. Time – Prehistorical and even on its far shorter historical scale – says AGW is bull. Put it in perspective and you’ll see the climate of our age is nothing special.

    The world has been much warmer and Co2 levels very much higher by twenty-five times and more in the past. It hasn’t meant the end of the world or passed any “tipping points” towards Earth joining Venus ( D’uh! We’re further from the Sun so that can’t happen here – not till our Sun evolves into a sub-giantluminosity class IV star anyhow!) and its happened long before us Humans had any industry going to pollute things & make better lives for ourslves.

    Climate always changes and the fact that things are, possibly getting or staying warmer for a short spell is good news that we ought to celeberate not soil our pants over. Sadly this good news will not last and signs are that the late 20th Century warming has already passed its peak and the trend is now downwards. Time will tell with that but that’s what seems most likely & the Alamists call to take “urgent” action seems ever more shrill and making ever less sense as the climate continues to do what its always done and oscillate between slightly cooler and slightly warmer decades.

    Socialism when openly communist or disguised under Green rheoric cannot and will not change that but will only make life more miserable for everybody.

    The answers I have given are easy for anyone with a whit of scientific curiosity to find – you seem to be more interested making juvenile pronouncements on matters you seem to have no expertise in than in educating yourself.

    Yet another ad hominem. Yawn. :roll:

    Actually the information is out there but NOT on sites that are promoting the AGW lie. The mass media love to sell papers with predictions of upcoming calamity no matter how ludicrous and blatantly wrong such predictions are. You’d think people would eventually learn this from experience and stop falling for it but, no-oo , it seems the suckers – like you – never get it.

    I wonder how many years it will take this now already thoroughly discredited AGW Gore Bull Warmer nonsense to die? I think its drawn out death has already began but, man, it sure is taking a while. I just hope we have the sense not to screw up our economy for this bunkum in the meantime. :-(

    @ 171. Doug Watts:

    Jim Hansen & “Hockey-stick” fraudster Mike Mann’s Real Climate propaganda site? Are you still falling for that giant cesspit of lies? Sheesh! Wake up! No wonder you’re regurgitating nonsense here. :roll:

    As was proved by the Climategate scandal, “RealClimate” censors dissenting opinions and pushes the Alarmist line over the truth. It was totally discredited there and now has zero credibility. Zero, zip, zilch, nada, none. Time you woke up to that reality and got your facts from sources that are actually y’know factual.

    Like how most people know that despite your claims there 1998 was the hottest year based on what real scientists not the CRU variety say. When you say “NASA” but mean that fruitcake Jim Hansen you ain’t doing your cause any favours. :roll:

    People are starting to get skeptical of this Gore Bull Warming lie and the tide is turning and not just in StevoR’s (159) excellent beachside analogy. ;-)

    @ 162. Eamon Says:

    Spectroscope@160 Perhaps it’s BA’s decades long experience in Physics and Astronomy that enables him to ignore, without fear of being proved wrong, your points about AGW. Perhaps he has visited Anti-AGW sites and found them wanting. Or perhaps he’s a busy man who doesn’t have time to respond to each post on his blog.

    Or perhaps he is just being rude and ignoring those people who disagree with his views? I guess we won’t know until he deigns to speak for himself which he is quite capable of doing on his own.

    Still no reply from the BA I notice.

  171. Erasmussimo

    Well, the deniers are out in force, I see, posting long screeds and ignoring the evidence, as always. Some basic rejoinders:

    Regarding the “tidal beach” analogy: to make the analogy more correct, you need to add in the fact that the guy claiming that the tide is coming in has been measuring the water levels in five different ways for the last three hours, that his calculations of the position of the moon indicate that the tide should be coming in, and that he has prepared a gigantic analysis, more than a thousand pages long, analyzing every fragment of data available, based upon thousands of scientific papers, while all you have is your observation that you’ve noticed some fairly small waves for the last hour.

    I note that the deniers are quite enamored of the use of straw man arguments: they constantly harp on the notion that catastrophe is not just around the corner. As it happens, neither do the scientists. If you would take the time to read the IPCC reports, you’d see that they do not predict catastrophe, either. They predict a gradual warming over a period covering decades; their major predictions lie a hundred years in the future. Yet deniers don’t address those points; they would rather address absurd claims.

    Then there are the stolen emails. It amazes me how facilely deniers reverse the significance of all those emails. Consider: there were thousands of emails in that cache and many megabytes of files. In all that huge mass, they couldn’t find a single smoking gun. Not one. They had to twist and distort the content of those emails to come up with anything — and their lies have easily been exposed in a number of fora. When you look at those emails knowledgeably, you see human beings griping and bitching about injustices, but you don’t see a single case of improper behavior. Let’s turn this around. Suppose that we were able to hack into the complete computer records of any given person, denier or rationalist. Suppose that we got every single email sent or received in the last ten years. Suppose also that we could see a complete record of every single web page that person has visited. If we now went to work on that huge mass of data, do you think we couldn’t come up with something embarrassing — especially if we’re allowed to take things out of context, interpret wordings in the worst possible light, and so on? I’m quite certain that we could get plenty of dirt on anybody using such methods. But the fact is, we DIDN’T get any significant dirt on an entire department of these people! That, to me, is a testament to their intellectual integrity.

    Next, I’d like to comment on the role of geology in all this. Geologists, it seems, are the only scientifically trained people who reject the AGW hypothesis. Of course, there are lots of geologists who embrace the scientific results, but there does seem to be a predilection on the part of geologists to reject AGW. And they always use the same reasoning (which Spectroscope also used): the earth’s climate has changed enormously over the last few hundred million years. It’s been much hotter and much colder than it is now. Therefore, they conclude, any current warming is no big deal. I have a simple, nail-em-to-the-wall rejoinder to that: when the earth was that much warmer, were not the locations now occupied by every coastal city on the planet under water? Sure, the earth can handle such changes easily, but do you think that civilization could survive the inundation of every coastal city on the planet. (And before some idiot twists my words, I am NOT predicting the inundation of every coastal city on the planet; I am instead arguing that the conditions cited by these geologists would be seriously injurious to human civilization.)

    Another falsehood that has shown up here: the claim that there are plenty of scientists on both sides of the issues. This is a blatant lie, and has been shown to be a lie many times over, yet the deniers just keep on parroting the claim in the hope that mindless repetition will accomplish what the facts cannot. The great majority of qualified experts embrace AGW; a handful of qualified experts reject it; and a huge number of charlatans reject AGW.

    Next, I’d like to challenge the deniers to read the IPCC reports. They’re readily available on the Internet. They are the best possible source of information on the issues. If this stupid argument were handled with intellectual integrity, we’d all be arguing over the contents of the IPCC reports; deniers would cite particular claims in the IPCC reports and argue against them. But no, deniers don’t have the intellectual chops to argue the science, so they instead argue about Al Gore and Time Magazine and liberals and one-worlders and socialists and everything EXCEPT the IPCC reports.

    If any of you deniers have the slightest shred of intellectual integrity, I challenge you to read the IPCC reports and come back here and cite something that you think is wrong in those reports. Cite chapter and verse, give an exact quote, and explain your objection. Stop mouthing meaningless political slogans and get real! And if you refuse to argue the science, would you at least accept the fact that your beliefs are fundamentally nonscientific in nature?

    Another thing: the claim has been made that we’re experiencing record cold snaps. I call this the “Kokomo is Kold” argument. Sure, at any given time, you can find some place on the planet where it’s cold. It is particularly likely to happen just now, because it’s winter, a fact that some people ignore. What matters is not the temperature in one location, but the overall planetary picture. For that, we have mountains of data, and all that data is absolutely clear: over the last 30 years, temperatures have been climbing. 2009 was, what the ?fifth? warmest year in the record books? And yet there are bozos out there who insist that it’s getting colder. Sheesh.

    Lastly, Spectroscope, you’ve been harping on the fact that BA refuses to answer your claims. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: will you answer MY claims?

  172. Eamon

    Spectroscope@176

    Climate *is* what you get when you’ve had enough weather to add up to something. Weather is what’s happening now – climate is what’s happening now plus what’s happened over centuries and even millennia. As you’d know if you were as much of an expert as you claim to be.

    First, I have never claimed to be an expert, Ad Homing?

    As to Climate, because it is long term, cold spells in any one area or areas are just going to be blips.

    The Alarmist AGW hoax predicts the weather – and the climate – is changing and doing so at an *accelerating* alarming rate. It’s just not.

    It does not claim that AGW will result in a monotonic accelerating increase in temperature – the Earth is sufficiently complex that that cannot be said. What can be said it that the temperature will trend up.

    As even Kevin Trenberth, lead IPCC author and GoreBull Warmer hysteric confessed in the leaked Climategate emails:

    “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.”

    ‘GoreBull Warmer hysteric’? You are priceless. As to Trenberth, he’s referring to the inability to track the warming though all the sinks the Earth poseses. You can even check out the paper his quote refers to: Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27

    Here’s the abstract:

    Planned adaptation to climate change requires information
    about what is happening and why. While a long-term trend is for
    global warming, short-term periods of cooling can occur and
    have physical causes associated with natural variability.
    However, such natural variability means that energy is
    rearranged or changed within the climate system, and should
    be traceable. An assessment is given of our ability to track
    changes in reservoirs and flows of energy within the climate
    system. Arguments are given that developing the ability to do
    this is important, as it affects interpretations of global and
    especially regional climate change, and prospects for the
    future.

    Doesn’t support your assertion.

    “Second, as for the weather, it’s due to the Arctic Oscillation. the AO has led to cold snaps in some places, and warm spells in other places: Greenland is 25 degrees centigrade warmer than normal.”

    So when its colder than expected its unusual but just “weather” but when the weather is hotter than usual its always proof of Gore Bull Warming & not just usual variable “weather”? Typical Alarmist hypocrisy.

    Where did I say anything about hotter than usual weather being proof of AGW (I’m assuming your juvenile ‘Gore Bull Warming’ refers to AGW, right?)? Your response is typical misrepresentation.

    “Third, have you any experience is matters scientific Spectroscope?”

    I am an amateur astronomer and geologist and have been for most of my life so, yes, I do indeed have some experience with science & its method – and with putting things such as time and space in their broader perspective which alarmists always seem to lack even for the geological eyeblink that is a few centuries. Time – Prehistorical and even on its far shorter historical scale – says AGW is bull. Put it in perspective and you’ll see the climate of our age is nothing special.

    So you’re trying to say that AGW, the theory that man’s recent activities is effecting the climate, is false because climate has changed in the past? Seems like a non sequitor to me. Got any papers to reference?

    The world has been much warmer and Co2 levels very much higher by twenty-five times and more in the past. It hasn’t meant the end of the world or passed any “tipping points” towards Earth joining Venus ( D’uh! We’re further from the Sun so that can’t happen here – not till our Sun evolves into a sub-giantluminosity class IV star anyhow!) and its happened long before us Humans had any industry going to pollute things & make better lives for ourslves.

    Spectroscope, so what? The Earth was different then, and the sun was less luminous. As to your Venus snipe – I’m well aware of the Stefan–Boltzmann law.

    Climate always changes and the fact that things are, possibly getting or staying warmer for a short spell is good news that we ought to celeberate not soil our pants over. Sadly this good news will not last and signs are that the late 20th Century warming has already passed its peak and the trend is now downwards.

    Got a reference for your ‘downward trend’ claim?

    Time will tell with that but that’s what seems most likely & the Alamists call to take “urgent” action seems ever more shrill and making ever less sense as the climate continues to do what its always done and oscillate between slightly cooler and slightly warmer decades.

    Well, if all there is is an oscillation between hot and cold decades then how come we’ve got a warming of around 0.8 degrees from 1880 to today?

    “The answers I have given are easy for anyone with a whit of scientific curiosity to find – you seem to be more interested making juvenile pronouncements on matters you seem to have no expertise in than in educating yourself.”

    Yet another ad hominem.

    Not really – you just trot out warmed-over points and don’t actually look at the science – as your Trenberth statement above proves.

    Actually the information is out there but NOT on sites that are promoting the AGW lie. The mass media love to sell papers with predictions of upcoming calamity no matter how ludicrous and blatantly wrong such predictions are. You’d think people would eventually learn this from experience and stop falling for it but, no-oo , it seems the suckers – like you – never get it.

    Ad homing again? Use google scholar to find peer-reviewed papers backing up your assertions if you want me to take your ‘information’ seriously.

    I wonder how many years it will take this now already thoroughly discredited AGW Gore Bull Warmer nonsense to die? I think its drawn out death has already began but, man, it sure is taking a while. I just hope we have the sense not to screw up our economy for this bunkum in the meantime. :-(

    Well, if there’s a change in the laws of physics you might get your wish.

  173. Eamon

    Erasmussimo@177

    Well put!

  174. For the sake of clarity, I have only debunked the “1998 was the warmest year” myth. NASA data shows this is false. 2005 was the warmest year on record, with 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 being in a virtual dead heat for second (ie. diff. below the error bar). So that dispenses with the “Earth has been cooling since 1998″ myth.

    And note that if, as Spectroscope attempts, you declare all of NASA’s temperature data to be a big fat lie, then you can’t use the “1998 was the warmest year” either, since it is … err … based on the same NASA data that you are calling a “big fat lie.” You at least have to choose which “big fat lie” you wish to cite and stick with it.

    In the legal trade this is called “grasping at straws” or “proving too much” or “It can’t have happened both ways.”

    The organic fertilizer industry has other words for it.

  175. Time – Prehistorical and even on its far shorter historical scale – says AGW is bull. Put it in perspective and you’ll see the climate of our age is nothing special.

    As someone who claims to be an “amateur astronomer and geologist” you should be aware that astronomical and geological events have causality. They don’t just “happen.” There is always a cause. Time doesn’t “cause” things. Physical phenomena, like erosion or chemical weathering or plate subduction “cause” things in a geologic sense. Time doesn’t “cause” Ice Ages — even though, assuredly, they happen over “time.” This is like saying that “time” will cause the Sun to burn out. No. It is the consumption of all its hydrogen fuel that will cause this. This would be like saying it’s impossible that a Blue Giant can fuse all of its hydrogen in 100 million years because the Sun will take 10 billion years to fuse its hydrogen, or vice versa. Even within the two fields of which you profess knowledge, your argument miserably fails.

  176. “Geologists, it seems, are the only scientifically trained people who reject the AGW hypothesis. Of course, there are lots of geologists who embrace the scientific results, but there does seem to be a predilection on the part of geologists to reject AGW. And they always use the same reasoning (which Spectroscope also used): the earth’s climate has changed enormously over the last few hundred million years. It’s been much hotter and much colder than it is now. Therefore, they conclude, any current warming is no big deal.”

    I’ve noticed this general trend as well. But as stated above, geology is all about causality, esp. since the onset of plate tectonics in the 1970s, which provided the first-ever evidence-based explanation for most regional, continental and global scale geological phenomena (before this, the formation of the world’s mountains and oceans could only be explained by poorly defined terms like ‘eugeosynclines’). To apply this excuse for not seeking causality to geology would be like saying that mountain building “just happens” because it has “happened for millions of years” without even seeking an actual physical explanation. It is basically geologists commenting on something that is completely out of their range of expertise and arguing from incredulity and ignorance. Nothing new.

  177. jorge c.

    fron timeson line (u.k.):
    The chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Rajendra Pachauri’s Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion’s share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers.

    It means that EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognise as bogus. The revelation comes just a week after The Sunday Times highlighted serious scientific flaws in the IPCC’s 2007 benchmark report on the likely impacts of global warming.

    The IPCC had warned that climate change was likely to melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 – an idea considered ludicrous by most glaciologists. Last week a humbled IPCC retracted that claim and corrected its report. (…)
    World misled over glacier meltdown
    Since then, however, The Sunday Times has discovered that the same bogus claim has been cited in grant applications for TERI.

    One of them, announced earlier this month just before the scandal broke, resulted in a £310,000 grant from Carnegie. (…)

    The Carnegie money was specifically given to aid research into “the potential security and humanitarian impact on the region” as the glaciers began to disappear. Pachauri has since acknowledged that this threat, if it exists, will take centuries to have any serious effect.

    The money was initially given to the Global Centre, an Icelandic Foundation which then channelled it, with Carnegie’s involvement, to TERI.

    The cash was acknowledged by TERI in a press release, issued on January 15, just before the glacier scandal became public, in which Pachauri repeated the claims of imminent glacial melt.

    It said: “”According to predictions of scientific merit they may indeed melt away in several decades.”
    The same release also quoted Dr Syed Hasnain, the glaciologist who, back in 1999, made the now discredited claim that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035.

    He now heads Pachauri’s glaciology unit at TERI which sought the grants and which is carrying out the glacier research.

    Critics point out that Hasnain, of all people, should have known the claim that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 was bogus because he was meant to be a leading glaciologist specialising in the Himalayas.

    Any suggestion that TERI has repeated an unchecked scientific claim without checking it, in order to win grants, could prove hugely embarrassing for Pachauri and the IPCC.
    The second grant, from the EU, totalled £2.5m and was designed to “to assess the impact of Himalayan glaciers retreat”.

    It was part of the EU’s HighNoon project, launched last May to fund research into how India might adapt to loss of glaciers.

    In one presentation at last May’s launch, Anastasios Kentarchos, of the European Commission’s Climate Change and Environmental Risks Unit, specifically cited the bogus IPCC claims about glacier melt as a reason for pouring EU taxpayers’ money into the project.

    Pachauri spoke at the same presentation and Hasnain is understood to have been present in the audience.

    The EU grant was split between leading European research institutions including Britain’s Met Office, with TERI getting a major but unspecified share because it represented the host country.

    The “Glaciergate” affair has seen Pachauri come under increasing pressure in India, prompting him to call a press conference yesterday (Saturday) where he dismissed calls for his resignation and said no action would be taken against the authors of the erroneous section of the IPCC report.

    He said: “I have no intention of resigning from my position,” adding the errors were unintentional and not significant in comparison to the entire report.

    However, other questions remain. One of the most important is in connection with Pachauri’s earnings.

    In an interview with The Sunday Times he said his only income came from his salary at TERI. However TERI does not publish his salary and he refused to divulge it.

    In India questions are also being asked about Pachauri’s links with GloriOil, a Houston, Texas-based oil technology company that specialises in recovering extra oil from declining oil fields . Pachauri is listed as a founder and scientific advisor.

    Critics say it is odd for a man committed to decarbonising energy supplies to be linked to an oil company.

    The problems come at a bad time for the IPCC which is recruiting scientists for its fifth report into the science and impacts underlying global warming.

    Yesterday, Pachauri said he intended to remain as director of the IPCC to oversee the fifth IPCC assessment report dealing with sea level rise and ice sheets, oceans, clouds and carbon accounting. The report is expected by 2014.

    LINK:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6999975.ece?token=null&offset=12&page=2

    mr. plait, another post like this and a lot of peoples will beguin thinking thata jenny mccarthy is right!!!!!!!

  178. jorge c.

    this is even better!!! from the times online (link http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6999815.ece)
    From The Sunday Times January 24, 2010

    Sloppy science is seeping into the climate watchdogCharles Clover
    2 Comments
    Recommend?
    You need a steady nerve if, like me, you think it is a matter of evidence, not belief, that the world is warming as a result of human activity. After Climategate — the emails that appeared to show scientists using tricks to “improve” the evidence for global warming — comes Glaciergate, the disclosure that the Nobel prize-winning panel on the world’s climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published an unsubstantiated assertion that Himalayan glaciers were in danger of melting away by 2035.

    When you stop to think about it, the assertion made in 1999 by an Indian scientist, who now disowns the statement, is absurd. Some of the Himalayan glaciers are a third of a mile thick and those on Everest, for instance, start at more than 20,000ft. So even though glaciers the world over are melting, a date for the total disappearance of the ones in the Himalayas is more likely to be nearer 2350, if ever.

    How did the 2035 figure get pasted into an IPCC report that was apparently scrutinised by experts from the countries most familiar with the annual Himalayan snow-melt?

    While we ponder that question, it looks this weekend as though Glaciergate could be followed by Disastergate, Hurricanegate, Floodgate and Droughtgate. It is beginning to look as though the more alarming assertions published by the IPCC — that climate change is behind the increasing frequency of, and damage caused by, natural disasters — may not have been properly peer-reviewed. They lack the gold standard of credibility that we have been assured the panel’s 3,000-page assessment enshrines.

    It is a mess. And politically it couldn’t have come at a worse time, just as the election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts brings the end of Barack Obama’s super-majority in the Senate, in a Congress in which only one party believes in doing anything about global warming. The drip, drip of error gives ammunition to even the most scientifically illiterate Republican senator who wants to talk down Obama’s climate bill. The frail global pact to reduce emissions that survived the ill-fated Copenhagen conference will not survive the defeat of cap-and-trade in America.

    Are the CNN bulletins right to suggest that the improper use of “grey” literature — reports that were not peer-reviewed — has undermined the case for concern about global warming and for steep cuts in our emissions?

    Absolutely not. The 2035 figure was not central to the IPCC report’s findings or even mentioned in its summary. That is why it has taken so long to be challenged, in the end by another IPCC scientist working on melting glaciers, not a sceptic. Established IPCC rules on sourcing and evaluating “grey” literature say such sources should be identified and actively reviewed. These rules were clearly breached.

    To be fair, I think it is understandable that one or two details were missed in a report stretching to 1,500 pages that went through several drafts. Modern scientists are unforgivably prolix and, as any author knows, the longer the book, the more likely it will contain mistakes. Nevertheless it is the job of the IPCC author, the chapter’s author and the working group chairman to spot strong statements that are unsupported by strong evidence. That is their job. In this case they screwed up.

    Though their errors are worse than any yet shown to have been committed in an email from a scientist at the University of East Anglia, I think it would still be forgivable if it turned out to be just one incident. We all make mistakes. But if it turns out to be just one example of a general sloppiness creeping through the IPCC, then it will reflect disastrously on the chairmanship of the IPCC itself, currently occupied by Rajendra Pachauri.

    Pachauri already stands accused of poor judgment for defending the report’s general conclusions about Himalayan glaciers after they were called “alarmist” by India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh. Pachauri accused Ramesh of relying on “voodoo science”. Pachauri looks pretty silly now.

    The IPCC chairman also stands accused of making policy statements — for example, encouraging the world to eat less meat — when he is meant to be an adviser to policy makers, not one himself.

    Pachauri also seems to have an awful lot of jobs. He already has a full-time job as director general of the Indian Energy and Resources Institute, which seems to benefit from UK government funding. He is also an adviser to Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and the Chicago Climate Exchange — all of which stand to benefit from carbon trading. His predecessors, Bert Bolin, a Swedish scientist, and Bob Watson, now chief scientist at Defra, were part-time, but they put enormous effort into the job. How much time is Pachauri putting in? It doesn’t appear to be a lot.

    If we are to have the best possible predictions about climate change, urgent decisions need to be taken. The agreeable but gaffe-prone Pachauri should accept it would be wise to walk now, so some heavy-hitters can step in and prevent a disastrous slide in the IPCC’s credibility. The sooner, the better.

  179. Erasmussimo

    This report cited by jorge c. provides us with an excellent example of how easily the truth of a complicated topic can be skewed by reporters with political agendas. Let’s go over the facts here.

    1. The discovery of this error was made by scientists, not outsiders. The prediction of the Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035 was not in the original IPCC report, but was inserted rather late in the preparation of the draft of the second working group. The IPCC protocols for preparing its reports are complicated and involve much separation of effort to insure that the results are not biased by individuals. This is an example of their extremely careful methods backfiring on them. The record of comments shows that there were no serious objections to it; it appears that nobody noticed the change in wording. The problem was noticed by some scientists late last year and published in various places. Only then did the deniers and the press pick up on it — and they completely misrepresented what happened.

    2. There is absolutely no question that the Himalayan glaciers are losing mass; they are melting and the only question is how long it will take. The reporter claims that the prediction of a complete melting by 2035 is considered ludicrous by experts — but he doesn’t provide any quotes from any such experts. It’s clear from reading the source materials that most of the glaciologists consider that prediction to be off the mark, but not ludicrous. If things continue to get worse, it is certainly within the realm of possibilities.

    3. There is plenty of evidence that glaciers all over the globe are melting quickly. It is entirely plausible that some glaciers will have completely disappeared by 2035.

    4. The Himalayan glaciers are divided into an eastern group and a western group. The eastern group is melting more quickly while the western group is melting more slowly.

    5. Based on current measurements, the melting of the glaciers will result in increases in water flow in the rivers emerging from the Himalayas; the increase will be a few percent. These increases will last for a few decades, then water flows will begin to decrease by a few percent. However, if temperatures continue to rise, this process could be accelerated.

    Those are some of the basic scientific results we can be confident of. There are also a number of insinuations in the report that are not logically viable. The report insinuates that Mr. Pachauri has engaged in some form of impropriety by knowingly seeking grant money based on something that he knew to be untrue. This is a falsehood. There is no evidence that Mr. Pachauri knew, or should have known, that the prediction was unreliable. Nor is there any evidence whatsoever that he engaged in any deceptions in regard to this prediction.

    The insinuation that the funded research program is a waste of money is also deceitful. There is no question that India will be facing serious water shortages within the next few decades, for reasons having nothing to do with melting of the Himalayan glaciers. Thus, any studies into changes in the water supplies for the Indian subcontinent will surely be of value.

    Once again, deniers have twisted the facts to create completely misleading insinuations.

  180. jorge c.

    mr Erasmussimo:
    the indian government never accepted the analysis presented by IPCC they were skeptic… so they did a study about the melting of the himalayas. this study contradicted the IPCC analysis. Mr.pachauri, dismissed the indian report because it was not peer reviewed… “voodoo science”, he said.
    well now we found that “his” study was nor peer reviewed either!!!!
    mr.pachauri is the chairman of an organisation. he is, do you like it or no, in the last instance the responsable for the analysis.
    i think that you are “denying” the obvious of this mess…

  181. jorge c.

    and yiu all please take note that the ganges, bramaputra and indus river:
    University of Arizona report Dec. 2009: “the Himalayan glaciers supply about 1.2% (error margin 2) of the total run off for the mayor Indian rivers Indus, Ganges, and Bramaputra”.
    The monsoon rains supply the 98% water for the farmers (and for the glaciers).
    (Black soot from factories and fires causes some melting of Eastern Himalayan glaciers, not CO2).

    the link http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf

  182. jorge c.

    and please take note that:
    University of Arizona report Dec. 2009: “the Himalayan glaciers supply about 1.2% (error margin 2) of the total run off for the mayor Indian rivers Indus, Ganges, and Bramaputra”.

    The monsoon rains supply the 98% water for the farmers (and for the glaciers).

    (Black soot from factories and fires causes some melting of Eastern Himalayan glaciers, not CO2).
    link:http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf

  183. Erasmussimo

    jorge c, I think you give away your lack of objectivity when you declare, in post #185, that “This is even better!” The news report you paste in is a political report, not a scientific report. It’s not about the science, it’s about the politics. It’s full of speculation and innuendo, not evidence and logic. Indeed, I think it is more properly described as an op-ed piece. Now, everybody has a right to their opinion, and I don’t begrudge this fellow voicing his own opinion. But I’ll also point out that one man’s opinion means absolutely nothing when we’re talking about scientific questions. What matters is data, evidence, and logic, and post #185 has none of those things.

    In your post #188, you make the vague statement that “the Indian government never accepted the analysis presented by the IPCC”. Are you saying that every single person employed by the Indian government rejected every single statement made in every single IPCC publication? Or perhaps are you saying that some members of the Indian government rejected every single statement made in every single IPCC publication? Or are you saying that every single member of the Indian government rejected some of the statements made in the various IPCC reports? Or are you perhaps saying that some members of the Indian government rejected some statements in some of the IPCC reports? I think it much behooves you to clear up the vagueness in your statement.

    You next claim that “they” — presumably the Indian government — carried out a study on the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas, which contradicted the IPCC analysis. There have been MANY studies of glaciers in the Himalayas. Here are some of those studies:

    Raup, B. R., Racoviteanu, A., Khalsa, S. J. S., Helm, C., Armstrong, R., & Arnaud, Y. (in press). The GLIMS geospatial glacier database: A new tool for studying glacier change. Global and Planetary Change.

    Rupper, S., G. Roe and A. Gillespie, 2009, Spatial patterns of glacial advance and retreat in Central Asia, Quat. Res. 72, 337-346.

    Sakai A, Nishimura K, Kadota T, Takeuchi N/, 2009, Onset of calving at supraglacial lakes on debris covered glaciers of the Nepal Himalayas. Journal of Glaciology, 55(193), 909-917.

    Salerno, F., E. Buraschi, G. Bruccoleri, G. Tartari and C. Smiraglia, 2008, Glacier surface-area changes in Sagarmatha national park, Nepal, in the second half of the 20th century, by comparison of historical maps, Journal of Glaciology, 54(187), 738-752.

    Shangguan, D., Sh. Liu and Y. Ding, 2007, Glacier changes in the West Kunlun Shan from 1970 to 2001 derived from Landsat TM/ETM+ and Chinese Glacier Inventory data, Annals of Glaciology, 46, 204-208.

    Shangguan, D., and 9 others, 2006, Monitoring the glacier changes in the Muztag Ata and Konggur mountains, east Pamir, based on Chinese Glacier Inventory and recent satellite imagery, Annals of Glaciology, 43, 79-85.

    Sharma, K.P., C.J. Vorosmarty, B. Moore III, 2000, Sensitivity of the Himalayan hydrology to land-use and climatic changes, Climatic Change 47, no. 1-2, 117-139.

    Shiyin, L., Wenxin, S., Yongping, S., & Gang, L. (2003). Glacier changes since the Little Ice Age maximum in the western Qilian Shan, northwest China, and consequences of glacier runoff for water supply. Journal of Glaciology, 49, 117-124

    Su, Zh., and Y. Shi, 2000, Response of monsoonal temperate glaciers in China to global warming since the Little Ice Age, Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 22(3), 223-229

    These are just a few of the studies that have been done; which one were you referring to? One of these or some other study?

    Next, you refer to the study that Mr. Pachauri referred to as “his” study. Might I suggest that you review the complete application to determine what OTHER studies Mr. Pachauri cited in his grant application? You might have a case if the ONLY study he cited was unreliable. But there are lots and lots of studies that support the overall conclusion that glaciers in the Himalayas are melting.

    You claim that Mr. Pachauri, as chairman of an organization, is responsible for “the analysis”. WHAT analysis? Are you claiming the Mr. Pachauri is responsible for the entire IPCC AR4 WG2 report? Or only a portion of that report? If so, WHAT portion of that report is he responsible for? And inasmuch as the IPCC has already apologized for the mistake, what’s your point? The basic conclusions of the IPCC reports are not in the slightest way jeopardized by this trivial mistake.

    I suggest that you are are interpreting a trivial mistake as a major blunder. This would make sense if you have not in fact read the entire IPCC report — it’s impossible to have perspective on something that you haven’t read. So I put the question to you: have you read the entire IPCC report? If you haven’t, then how can you possibly interpret the significance of this mistake?

  184. Erasmussimo

    jorge c, we cross-posted, so let me now address your post #189. I am pleased to see you consulting some scientific work on this problem, but I suspect that you don’t quite understand the information presented in the work you cite. You write:

    The monsoon rains supply the 98% water for the farmers (and for the glaciers).

    Actually, the monsoons supply 100% of the water. Glaciers are not a source of water, they are a storage medium for water. The hydrologic significance of glaciers is that they release water into the river basins during the dry season. If it weren’t for glaciers, the rivers that irrigate much of south Asia would dramatically decrease their flow. This is all very complicated because the amount of water supplied by glaciers to the rivers depends crucially on location and time. Unfortunately, the Himalayan glaciers are so vast, and so little measured, that it’s difficult to make reliable statements about the precise role they play in south Asian hydrology. But we do have a much better example in the case of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Like South Asia, California alternates between a wet season and a dry season. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada supplies the rivers that provide irrigation water to agriculture in the Central Valley. That snowpack has been carefully measured for more than 50 years now, and we have a pretty good idea of how things are developing. There is no question now that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is weakening each year, and that supplies of river water will be dramatically reduced in the long run. California is already preparing for higher water flows in the winter (wet season) and drought problems in the summer (dry season). Because the Himalayas are much larger and colder than the Sierra Nevada, we expect the analogous problems in south Asia to come later. But I don’t think any serious experts deny the long-term hydrologic problems that will be imposed by AGW.

    Next, you write:

    (Black soot from factories and fires causes some melting of Eastern Himalayan glaciers, not CO2)

    Again, this statement is vague. It is definitely true that black soot contributes to melting. That does not imply that CO2 does NOT contribute to melting. They BOTH contribute to melting.

  185. This is all very complicated because the amount of water supplied by glaciers to the rivers depends crucially on location and time.

    It’s all actually very simple. It’s only complicated if you are a willful tool, like jorge.

  186. jorge c.

    please mr Erasmussimo, don’t be silly the presidents/chairmans of an organization/republic/firm is responsible for ALL the products/analysis/laws of said organization. HE IS the chairman/president. the himalayas are melting, o.k., but there is a difference between 2035 and 2350!!!! Mr.pachauri chose some people to make an analysis. they made it wrong, so, i’m sorry, mr pachauri, who chose them, is responsaible, plain and simple.
    i leaving this blog, i want to make you a question: are you a politician??
    because twisting the reality is proper of a politician!!!

  187. READ THE ARTICLE!

    The claim that ice in Antarctica is growing is NOT patently false.

    Did you read the article instead of pasting the single graphic?

    Key points from the article: How is it possible for surface melting to decrease, but for the continent to lose mass anyway? The answer boils down to the fact that ice can flow without melting.

    The ice in West Antarctica is, in fact, decreasing. However, the ice in Antarctica as a whole is growing. East Antarctica is a much larger area, and has a higher mean elevation.

    Stick to astronomy!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/17/revealed-antarctic-ice-growing-not-shrinking/

  188. Devil's Advocate

    Did you read the article that you cited, or did you just jump on the graphic and paste it to your blog? The title was posed as a question. Antarctica is losing ice mass but not all of the loss is due to melting.

  189. Erasmussimo

    Jeez, guys, can’t we have an adult discussion over this? Doug Watts resorts to name-calling without a shred of logical argumentation; jorge c also resorts to name-calling, but at least he attempts to present an argument, although it’s an argument without substance. I asked him to detail his accusation regarding Mr. Pachauri’s responsibility, and he refused to do so; he merely repeated it.

    If this is how we address the issues of AGW, then what hope have we of solving the problem?

  190. Erasmussimo

    Re #195: You base your claim on an article in the popular press, which in turn contains a few paltry quotes from a single scientist, Ian Allison. It turns out those quotes appear to be highly selective. I suggest that you examine Mr. Allison’s opinions on this matter in greater detail. Here’s a link to a popular press story that gives a much more complete selection of quotations from Mr. Allison:

    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45629

    As it always is with deniers, Mr. Allison has been quoted out of context. His views on the matter are substantially more complex than what is implied in the article you cite. For example:

    The results of the research “show a warming that is consistent with the others. If the other continents need greenhouse gases to explain [temperature increases] then I would extend it to Antarctica as well,” says Allison.

    “They’re important because of the feedback processes that can occur,” he says, adding that the warming identified in the new research can be observed in the melting of Antarctica’s sea ice.

    I caution, however, the Mr. Allison’s views are nuanced and you should read the entire article to get a better appreciation of his position. He is most definitely NOT suggesting, as your article implies, that the mass of ice in Antarctica is increasing, nor is he denying that the Antarctic is warming. He is instead pointing to a number of factors at work.

    I also expect that the author of #195, like the other denialists here, will not attempt to defend his claims, other than perhaps to repeat them parrotlike. Logical discussion is not what these people do; they’re propagandists, not rationalists.

  191. David D.

    I just ran across this little item (from dailymail.co.uk):

    “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

    Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

    In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.” (emphasis added)

    Not just a “trivial mistake” after all.

    See also timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7000063.ece, linking Pauchari’s TERI organization to government funding grants that were solicited using the bogus “Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035″ claim, and telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7062667/Pachauri-the-real-story-behind-the-Glaciergate-scandal.html, a story that shows Pachauri’s own employee at TERI was the source of the bogus glacier claim.

    Not insinuating. Just sayin’, you know?

  192. Erasmussimo

    David D, the article you cite is just one more example of biased reporting. Let’s consider the central accusation made by the article you cite:

    “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

    Here’s the actual quote from Mr. Lal:

    ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action… It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’

    Note how the reported exaggerated the quote by inserting the unjustified adverb “purely”. The quote in no wise suggests that achieving political goals was the sole reason for inserting the incorrect statement. But the reporter adds that tweak to suggest malicious intent on the part of Mr. Mal.

    Note also the use of the term “bogus”, implying that the claim is false. But the claim was unverified, not false. The reporter is exaggerating the situation, implying deceitful intent where none is evident from the actual statements.

    Note also the frequent use of the suffix “-gate” to insinuate a scandal when no scandalous behavior has been established. This is propaganda, not rationalism. All claims and insinuation based on distorted rephrasings of the facts.

    You also claim that this was Not just a “trivial mistake” after all. I ask of you the same question that I asked an earlier denier (and I expect the same refusal to respond): what is the significance of this statement in the context of the overall IPCC report? Have you even read the IPCC report in which it was included? Have you even read the chapter in the report in which it was included? If you haven’t, then how can you claim that it was not trivial when you don’t have an inkling of its context?

  193. David D.

    You focus on the words “purely” and “bogus,” even though the guy admits that he knew the claim was false and put it in there for political reasons. If not “purely,” what other reasons would you surmise including this material? As far as bogus, the claim is both false AND unverified. Is “bogus” the wrong word?

    I have actually read that portion of the IPCC report. The inaccurate (false, unverified, bogus) date was a significant part of that portion, and certainly has not been quoted out of context. Indded, even the IPCC concludes that “clear and well-established standards of evidence” were not applied properly (ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/himalaya-statement-20january2010.pdf).

  194. Erasmussimo

    David D, you are twisting the man’s words. He did NOT admit that he knew that the claim was false, as you claim. Here’s a statement from

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html

    Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

    He knew that it was unverified, not that it was false. There’s a huge difference, and you’re sweeping that difference under the rug.

    the guy admits that he… put it in there for political reasons.

    Again, you misleadingly emphasize one aspect of his statement. He admitted that political factors played a role in his decision. But he does NOT say that political factors were the only reason for his decision. A more precise representation would be “He admitted that political reasons were one factor in his decision.” And I agree that such reasons should not have entered into his calculations at all. But you overstate your case. Can’t you just rely on the facts as they are, rather then hyping your interpretation of them?

    As far as bogus, the claim is both false AND unverified

    No, the claim is not false. The original claim is that the likelihood of the Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035 is very high if the earth keeps warming at the current rate. The trick here is that the concept of “current rate” includes both derivatives of global temperature with time: the rate of change and the increase in rate of change. If you use the smoothed instantaneous rate of change in 2007 and the smoothed instantaneous second derivative of global temperatures in 2007, you get a really high global temperature by 2035. If you then add in likely changes in monsoon patterns resulting from this, it is entirely plausible that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. There would still be plenty of ice in the Himalayas, but not enough to sustain the current set of glaciers.

    We can get into lots of semantic arguments about precisely what the statement means, and I agree that the statement as written is questionable, but to call it false is an exaggeration on your part.

    You claim to have read the relevant IPCC chapter. Perhaps you recall this paragraph:

    Melting of glaciers in Asia contribute substantially to the freshwater supplies in the region. In drier parts of Asia, wasting glaciers account for over 10% of fresh water supplies (Fitzharris, 1996; Meier,1998). Glaciers in Asia are melting faster in recent years. Substantial melting of glaciers has been reported in Central Asia, Western Mongolia and Northwest China in recent decades. There are over 8400 glaciers in Tajikistan with total area of about 6% of the territory of the Republic and provide about 25% of the water in Tajikistan rivers (Meshcherskaya, 1990). Observations suggest that since 1908 for 1986 the Zerafshan glacier has highly degraded and receded by more than 1 km since 1908. The volume of ice at the lower boundary of Abramov glacier is also reported to have continously decreased in recent decades. The glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau have also retreated rapidly since the 1980s (see sub-section 10.6.2 below). The magnitude of the glacial retreat is the largest at the south and east margins of the Plateau (Pu et al., 2004). Foremost among the impacts of rapid melting of glaciers are the increase in glacial runoff and increased frequency of glacial lake outburst causing mudflows and avalanches such as observed in the Himalayan region (Bhadra, 2002). Recent study in northern Pakistan, however, suggests that glaciers in the Indus Valley region may be expanding due to increases in winter precipitation over western Himalayas during the past 40 years (Archer and Fowler, 2004).

    Gee, it seems to contradict the claim made later. That’s part of the context of the chapter — did you notice it? Or how about this paragraph from the Executive Summary:

    Climate change has the potential to exacerbate water resource stresses in most regions of Asia. Freshwater availability in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia is expected to be highly vulnerable to projected climate change and could adversely affect more than a billion people in Asia by 2050s (high confidence). Increases in temperature are expected to result in more rapid recession of Himalayan glaciers (medium confidence). More sustainable water use based on improvements in water use efficiency and marked changes in irrigation sector would be needed. [10.4.2]

    Gee, that’s nowhere near as extreme as the statement you’re obsessing on. But you didn’t notice that, did you?

    You claim that the unverified statement was a significant part of the chapter. Did you notice that the unverified statement is on page 46? The second quote above is the from the Executive Summary on page 3. Do you claim that the unverified statement on page 46 is of greater significance than the statement in the Executive Summary on page 3? Or the first statement I quoted, from page 14?

  195. Erasmussimo

    You note that “the IPCC concludes that “clear and well-established standards of evidence” were not applied properly ”

    That’s absolutely correct. Those clear and well-established protocols were not followed. But that does not make the claim false, and it doesn’t mean that anybody engaged in deceitful behavior. They made a mistake, a mistake that had little overall significance to the report as a whole. That’s the truth of the matter.

    By the way, I appreciate your taking the time to respond to my challenges.

  196. David D.

    Your comments are appreciated and seem to be well-thought out, like a lot of others here (not all).

    The fact that you are having to explain away a statement, which was seized upon by many on the pro-AGW side (please don’t argue about what “many” means :) ), a fact that was placed in the report (approved by Pachauri) when it was known that it was not based on good science–you shouldn’t have to be trying to defend something found in a “scientific” report.

    I’m not going to change your mind, and you’re probably not going to change mind–but at least we didn’t call each other names . . .

  197. Erasmussimo

    I agree that this entire affair is embarrassing to the IPCC and makes it obvious that we cannot place absolute trust in the IPCC reports. My primary claim is that all of these brouhahas — the stolen emails, the glacier claim, the income of one of the IPCC people — are a tempest in a teapot. In considering the overall issue of climate change, they really don’t mean anything.

    And I certainly appreciate your demeanor and argumentation. You stand head and shoulders above the usual denier crowd.

  198. @ 147. Mike G :
    You wrote:
    “For one, we know what the mechanisms for most of the major natural sources of climate change are- things like change in solar output (actual trends, not just cycles), or orbital variations. Absent some change in these forcings we can rule them out.

    The rate of change is also important. As has been pointed out, things like Milankovitch cycles are not only ruled out because we aren’t in the warming phase of the cycle, but because they don’t cause such rapid onset of warming.”

    If only it was this simple. If however, you care to consult some pertinent literature on past climate change, you’ll discover it isn’t this simple. Over the Holocene alone there is quite some (sometimes very rapid) climate variation that does not answer to the points you mention above either. Climate variation that dates to times before the industrialization started.

    While AGW supporters are quick to brand AGW sceptics as “morons reasoning too simply” (and yes, the O’Reilly squadron affraid to “pay more taxes because of those socialist Liburruls” among them truely are!), you are a prime example of a considerable portion of AGW supporters who fall in the same category.

    You obviously know nill about paleoclimatology and past climate behaviour, yet confidently pronounce utter bull under the pretence of being “scientific” and superior.

    @ 177. Erasmussimo:

    No, it aren’t “only” geologists that make up the rank of scientific AGW-sceptics. In fact, it are primarily palaeoclimatologists and palaeoecologists. These are people that have an actually quite pertinent knowledge of past climate behaviour – unlike the average physicist or atmospheric scientist. Or astronomer-blogger.

    The scientist behind the AWG hypothesis are primarily scientist who work with relatively short-term, late-historical data sets. Palaeoclimatologists and palaeoecologist work with a larger time perspective. One that in my opinion, beying a scientist in a field that is closely alligned with the world of palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology, is more pertinent to the issue under debate than a limited late historical view. The IPCC report in my opinion is a limited late historical view only. The time span under consideration is too short.

    Both on the anti-AGW and pro-AGW side, there are many people who really have no grasp at all on the relevant time scales involved.

    People, either anti-AGW or pro-AGW, who bring up deep prehistory (e.g. the Cretacious or Carboniferous) are idiots. It’s aples and pears.

    Past climate in the Holocene, the current interglacial, however is highly relevant and should not be dismissed. Past climate in previous interglacials, most notably glacials with similar orbital forcing situations (e.g. OIS/MIS 11), are relevant.

    Most people commenting here (of both persuations) seem to have no idea of the time depth of the current interglacial, and of past climate fluctuations during the current interglacial. Fact is that the Holocene is not wel covered by the IPCC report at all. It covers a small part only (3% by temperature proxy, and 10% in a broader sense), and significantly, it covers a part only that paleoclimatologist know is very cold compared to most of the rest of the Holocene.

    I am growing very tired here of people, of both persuasions (!), making grand statements about the current situation and how unusual (or not) this is, without any real knowledge of palaeoclimate in their possession (that is : many of those pronouncing here, have ab-so-lutely nil real knowledge of palaeoclimate). The pro-AGW side of those especially irritate me, as they do it with an arrogant attitude of “we are right and have science on our side, and you are morons”. This while, from a palaeoclimate perspective, they are big morons themselves.

  199. Erasmussimo

    Marco Langbroek, you seem intent on establishing that all the other commentators here are morons while you are the knowledgeable person. I will not question your knowledge of the field; it is apparent to me that you are well-versed in paleoclimatology. However, you never get around to making a scientifically constructive point! I agree with you that Holocene history is of great value in evaluating current temperatures, but I think you misplace its significance. Yes, there were rapid temperature changes during the early Holocene, but it’s not quite kosher to compare those with current rapid temperature changes, because the early Holocene temperate changes took place at lower average global temperatures and, most importantly, when there was a much larger surface area covered with ice. Under such conditions, you can get very high positive feedback to warming, and that factor alone may account for the rapid Holocene warming. The Younger Dryas, of course, adds serious complications to this thinking, but surely you’ll agree that the planet was undergoing dramatic changes in sea level, ocean currents, and primary atmospheric circulation. None of those factors apply now. Hence, I find it difficult to draw useful parallels between early Holocene climate and current climate.

    Moreover, once we cleared the early Holocene, the temperature variations were much slower. Yes, some of those temperature variations may have been large in magnitude, but they were so much slower in pace that Mike G’s point in #147 about rate of change is reasonable.

  200. Mike G

    Odd that you would mention paleoecologists as a group with the best handle on the issue, since I work on paleoecology of coral reefs. While I’m mostly interested in the past few thousand years for my work, I’m very familiar with climatic variations on the multi-million year scale.

    But since I’m a complete simpleton, perhaps you can elucidate which “natural cycle” (implying that it’s something that has repeated in the past) we see in the climate record that we don’t have a good explanation for. Or perhaps one of the well-known cycles is responsible for the current trend, so which one would it be? PDO, Hale, Dansgaard-Oeschger, and Milankovitch are all out of the running.

    You also mention MIS 11 as if it’s somehow comforting. It shows that natural forcings alone can produce interglacial temperatures similar to those seen in the past 2 centuries. I wasn’t aware that that was in dispute. However, there’s still that 800 lb gorilla of CO2. It was at roughly pre-industrial levels back in MIS 11. It doesn’t tell us anything about what happens when you add another 100 ppm of CO2 on top of the MIS 11 baseline. Physics tells us it gets warmer. Direct observation tells us the physics is right.

    What mechanism negates the physical basis for anthropogenic warming?

  201. gss_000

    @206. Marco Langbroek

    The humility of this post is truly astounding.

    To think, not one scientist actually considered this when making their theories. Or, maybe, they were able to look at ice cores and other sediment records to get oxygen isotope ratios that translates into temperature readings. You actually might want to do some reading yourself, because people, especially climate scientists, actually study the record you think they know nothing about.

    See here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Paleoclimatology_IceCores/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514131131.htm

    Hmm…ice cores going back 800,000 years showing that there have never been levels of CO2 as high as now. And the Holocene only goes back 11,700 years? To think scientists in their research just decided to skip the Holocene entirely when it’s so much easier to sample. Please.

    People forget that this research has been going on for decades with thousands of scientists. There is still a lot to learn, but the basics, and basic checks like this one, have been covered.

  202. Regarding the disappearance of ice from the Antarctic: A larger time scale, not just a decade, is revealing here too. A very recent review of the Holocene history of Antarctic ice fields can be found here:

    - Hall, 2009: Holocene glacial history of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 2213-2230.

    Some interesting facts from this comprehensive overview:

    - In several areas, ice extent was less than at present in mid-Holocene time;

    - several current ice sheets were not present 2000 years ago

    - like for Alpine glaciers, ice in general has been advancing the last few centuries under influence of the LIA cold anomaly;

    - Concerning the Ross Ice Shelf, the grounding line has been retreating there for >8000 years.

    What it basically shows is that:

    1a) Antarctic disappearance of ice and retreat of grounding lines is basically a continuous process since the Late Glacial Maximum;

    1b) disappearance of ice hence is the norm rather than the exception;

    2) There are fluctuations on this general trend, and some areas have seen temporary ice growth episodes over the last few centuries;

    3) As a result of this, the current extent of the Antarctic ice sheets is significantly larger than it was a mere 2000-3000 years ago.

    Direct quote from the conclusions (emphasis mine):

    Data from most regions, including East Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the western Ross Sea, indicate a time, generally during the mid-Holocene, when ice was less extensive than at present. This result suggests that the magnitude of present ice recession and ice-shelf collapse is not unprecedented. However, the fact that some ice shelves (i.e., Larsen B) apparently survived that mid-Holocene warmth only to succumb in the last decade suggests that we are probably approaching mid-Holocene conditions
    [from Hall, 2009: Holocene glacial history of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 2213-2230]

  203. Erasmussimo

    The Antarctic presents us with all sorts of interesting questions, but I don’t think that it provides us with compelling evidence regarding AGW in general. The problem here is that ocean circulation around the Antarctic tends to thermally isolate it from the rest of the global climate. I’m not saying that the Antarctic is completely isolated from the rest of the planet; rather, the degree of isolation is so great that changes in Antarctic temperatures cannot be considered to be guides to changes in temperatures over the rest of the planet. Indeed, the information you present points in different directions:

    1a) Antarctic disappearance of ice and retreat of grounding lines is basically a continuous process since the Late Glacial Maximum;

    3) As a result of this, the current extent of the Antarctic ice sheets is significantly larger than it was a mere 2000-3000 years ago.

    My point is that the Antarctic is an anomalous case. We certainly don’t know anywhere near as much about the climatological history of the Antarctic as we do for the rest of the planet. Therefore, I don’t think that the Antarctic provides us with strong evidence either for or against the basic AGW hypothesis. The most important consideration here is how quickly the Antarctic ice melt will contribute to sea level rise. There’s surely a lot of fascinating science here, but ultimately I don’t think it has much impact on the overall AGW case — at least, not yet.

    I just went and checked the paper to which you refer and I’d like to add this material from the abstract:

    Glaciers in all areas underwent renewed growth in the past millennium, and most have subsequently undergone recession in the past 50 years, ranging from near-catastrophic in parts of the Antarctic Peninsula to minor in the western Ross Sea region and sections of East Antarctica. This magnitude difference likely reflects the much greater warming that is taking place in the Antarctic Peninsula region today as compared to East Antarctica.

  204. Saint PartlyCloudy

    The purest form of denial is to say that a scientific theory, whose most fundamental supporting data has been proven fraudulent, is still valid because “some of it could still be right”.

    This is a pathetic excuse for science, by pathetic excuses for scientists, who are scared crapless because the free-ride they have enjoyed at the taxpayer’s expense is now in jeopardy. And the reason for it is because their actions and claims are looking a lot like fraud. If you all want to buy the face saving, scientifically bankrupt turd that this article is, then that’s your business. But this steaming dump of denial doesn’t even live on the same PLANET as real science. THis is guiltless excuse-making and face-saving by known frauds.

    Keep in mind that Discover BOLDLY published the same story about glaciers disappearing by 2050, just a few months ago. Guess who their featured “highest authority on Glaciers” was? The same liar that duped the IPCC. Yet Discover coudn’t say enough about his credibility and the validity of his claims, extensively detailing his very legitimate conclusions. Ha! So having already established that DISCOVER IS NOT DEALING IN FACT, face-saving is the ONLY logical explanation for this blatant offense to my intellect. Complete with more factless speculation from so-called experts that they totally believe.

    Unfortunately I have differet plans for Discover’s face. It involves acts that cannot be tastefully described in this forum…

  205. Saint PartlyCloudy: stay classy.

  206. Erasmussimo

    Saint PartlyCloudy, your screed might have some significance if it were backed up by evidence and logical argumentation, but it’s nothing but a mass of baseless accusations and outright falsehoods. If you have something worthwhile to say, present your evidence and argue your case. Do you really think that invective is tantamount to logic?

  207. Chris Winter

    StevoR (#158) Says: “I’ve met & talked with Ian Plimer in person and he has given a talk to my local Astronomical society.

    From my direct personal experience of him, I would say that Professor Plimer is trustworthy, extremely knowledgeable on this issue, highly intelligent and sincerely believes the extremely strong case he has made in his book and his lectures against the AGW idea.

    Yes Plimer’s book may, perhaps, have a few minor errors – is there ever a book that gets everything 100% right? But I still think it makes an overwhelmingly powerful case against the AGW idea and its backers.

    In fact, I used to be a strong believer in the AGW myself until I met Professor Plimer and read his Heaven & Earth book on the issue. I suggest you (& others here incl.the BA) read it for yourself and make your own judgement based on what Plimer actually says in the original source – rather than take as gospel second hand what this Entling critic may have misrepresented or taken out of context or generally warped from it.”

    Stevo,

    “a few minor errors”? Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s far worse than that. Google “Ian Plimer mistakes” and you’ll find plenty of critiques. I don’t want to turn this blog into a link farm, so I’ll give you just two:

    Barry Brook (Australian) discusses the errors in Ian Plimer’s Heaven ad Earth and links to the detailed commentary by Ian Entling (46-page PDF).

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/

    Professor Barry Brook holds the Foundation Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change and is Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide.

    And this site collects reviews of the book by seven scientists including Dr. Brook:

    http://www.aussmc.org/IanPlimerclimatebook.php

    Dr. Plimer has done good work in the past. But the bottom line on his latest book is that it is riddled with mistakes which he refuses to admit.

  208. Chris Winter

    StevoR in #159 (in part):

    “Point is, according to the AGW believing side, human CO2 is supposedly causing catastrophic, dangerously *RAPID* warming.

    So call me naive or whatever, but if that’s true then shouldn’t each year be getting increasingly hot?

    If AGW was right shouldn’t we expect this year hotter than last hotter than the one before that? Surely at least *every other year* should be as hot or hotter than the record if higher Co2 makes as much diference as they claim it does?”

    Average global temperature — derived from vast numbers of measurements worldwide, on the ground and by satellites.

    Long term trends — We now have measurements going back over 50 years for most of the land surface. They show a steady warming trend, rising faster than before that time.

    [high drama snipped.]

    “But that’s what it looks to many folks (me too) like what the pro-AGW mob are sayin’ and how they’re acting.”

    That’s not what the AGW proponents I know are saying. Got any names?

    [Another snip]

    “Throw in the emails of the “Climategate” affair which seem to show the AGW believers manipulating or downright inventing data, appearing to be repressing contrary opinions and debate – generally looking very ugly and untrustworthy and well .. What rational person wouldn’t be skeptical of the AGW side?”

    “Seem to show” is right. There’s no scandal there, only intemperate remarks that have been blown way out of proportion.

    “That’s how I see where we are anyhow. Perhaps I’m wrong. But I don’t think so & will take a bit of convincing otherwise.”

    Since you apparently are willing to be convinced, I suggest this: Go to either RealClimate or Climate Progress site and search there for “ClimateGate”. They’ve both covered it thoroughly. Or, Google it yourself.

  209. Chris Winter

    Spectroscope (#163 — in part):

    ” @ 131. gss_000 Says:

    ‘I love how some deniers whine about how others characterize them and then go on to insult others in exactly the same way. Cultist? Really?’

    Yes really. The Warmers and Greens do indeed have the properties of a cult and a dangerous self-destructive one at that. Al Gore for one leads a cult of personality and his IPCC “scientist” acolytes like Mike Mann, Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth are exposed by the thousands of leaked Climategate emails as the followers of Green dogma to the point where they will change facts or delete data rather than behave rationally.”

    Absolute drivel, sir. No false data were made up. No real data were erased to conceal a fabrication. There is no scandal behind ClimateGate. You would know that if you were paying attention.

    And…

    “Al Gore is the original big fat liar. Non-inventor of the internet, non-victorious sore loser Presidential candidate and now a shrill shill for high taxing, radical green, big government socialist answers to the non-issue that is the Gore’s Bull Warming. Nothing Gore says can or should be taken seriously. Even people on the Lunatic Left are now starting to realise what a colossal fool Gore is.”

    Are you finished? Good.

    Here’s what you need to do: Talk to your local Republican representative’s office. I’m sure they can find a place for you. Keep you off the street — and off the blogs. With a message like that, you might even run for the office and win. Who knows? You can’t be any less qualified than many who have made it to Congress.

  210. Chris Winter

    moptop (#169): ” ‘Climate Skeptics durn well *better* be right.’

    Or maybe, given that a climate skeptic just got elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, alamists had durn well better start answering skeptic’s questions, because these constant reasurrances that the scientists know what they are talking about aren’t getting the political traction you guys seem to need. The reason I am skeptical is that, at bottom, every extended argument I have with alarmists ends the same way, it *must be true* because well, *all of the scientists say so*.”

    Were you calling them “alarmists” after they gave you this answer, or before? I ask because this ability to be offended isn’t just on your side of the fence. Okay, let’s assume you didn’t insult them.

    Did they not tell you WHAT the scientists said? And maybe point you to some links for more information? For that matter, have you looked for information yourself? Google is your friend.

    “The alarmist’s problem is that there are millions out there with technical educations and a somewhat sophisticated understanding of mathematics whose questions are just ignored or laughed off.

    One I can think of is this, what is the change in percentage terms? What is the possible error? It seems to me that a mountain, even a mountain the size of say, Long’s Peak, I think it is, visible from Denver, which is about the size the author cites, is but a pimple on an elephant’s hide when compared to the vast extent of Antarctica.”

    Sorry; I have no idea how to answer that. You ask “what is the change in percentage terms?” In what quantity? Temperature? Ice volume? You have to ask good questions if you want satisfactory answers.

  211. Chris Winter

    Spectroscope again, in #176, wrote: “Yet another ad hominem. Yawn.”

    Wrong again. Calling your postings immature is not attacking you as an individual. And neither will I. But because of the absurd lengths of your blathering missives, it’s damn tempting.

    “Actually the information is out there but NOT on sites that are promoting the AGW lie.”

    So any correspondent, or any site, that tells you AGW is real is automatically assumed to be lying? More information won’t change that outcome.

    ” The mass media love to sell papers with predictions of upcoming calamity no matter how ludicrous and blatantly wrong such predictions are. You’d think people would eventually learn this from experience and stop falling for it but, no-oo , it seems the suckers — like you — never get it.

    Nope, no ad hominem there… ;-) Get it?

  212. Chris Winter

    jorge c. (#184) quoted from a Timesonline story about the “glacier goof”

    Sorry, Jorge; This is another non-scandal. Here’s an excellent summary by Climate Science Watch:

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/ipcc_slips_on_the_ice/

  213. Chris Winter

    Erasmussimo (#197) wrote: “If this is how we address the issues of AGW, then what hope have we of solving the problem?”

    Erasmussimo, I respect your work here immensely. But there are times when logical reasoning and calm presentation of data fail. Right here and now is one of those times, because we are dealing with people who don’t want to learn. Some, like “Spectroscope”, have an agenda; others lack the required basic education in some area. I suspect Jorge may not know English well. In any case, if people are not willing to listen, they cannot be convinced.

  214. Chris Winter

    Saint PartlyCloudy (#212): “The purest form of denial is to say that a scientific theory, whose most fundamental supporting data has been proven fraudulent, is still valid because ‘some of it could still be right.’ “

    Who has said this?

    More to the point, what “fundamental supporting data” has been disproven?

    Oh wait, you mean the “2035 / 2350″ thing; the “glacier goof” — right? Another tempest in a teapot.

    Actually, what’s really offensive (to me) about this episode is the way a small but significant error is blown out of proportion in a desparate attempt to invalidate AGW by assertion. But I’m getting used to it; it happens so often.

  215. badnicolez

    It’s disappearing so fast that “scientists” need millions of dollars to study it now, before it’s gone!

    http://www.americansolutions.com/energy/2010/01/un-climate-chief-enriches-himself-with-bogus-scientific-report.php

  216. Erasmussimo

    Jeez, the deniers just keep on repeating the same old lies, apparently without even noticing that their lies have been refuted, right here in this topic. Badnicolez, Mr. Pachauri’s grant deals with water resources for India, which is ALREADY a big problem, and is certain to grow worse with advancing climate change. The melting of the Himalayan glaciers is a contributing factor to this, but it is not the sole factor at work. And regardless of whether they melt in 2035 or 2060, the implications of that melting for water supplies are serious and deserve study.

    Moreover, Mr. Pachauri is NOT, as your article claims, “enriching himself” with the grant money. It goes to his institute, not into his pocket, and he is required to account for every penny.

    Lies, lies, lies. Can’t you people EVER get your facts straight?

  217. David D.

    This post has already rolled off to the second page on my screen, but I feel the need to comment again.

    @#220–a few quotes from the “excellent summary” at climatesciencewatch:

    “This specific problem involving several sentences and one reference does not significantly alter the broad and solid scientific basis for action on climate change.” Except that it is not just one reference. It has come to light that the report has many references to non peer-reviewed articles, most of them coming from the WWF. This does not help reinforce the “solid scientific basis” for the report.

    “To begin with, the handling of this incident so far by the IPCC leadership, especially the dismissive initial response to external criticism by IPCC chairman Pachauri, raises concerns that call for further discussion.” This sentence doesn’t exactly exonerate Pachauri in this non-scandal, does it? Again, as chair, he is responsible for the production and output of this report. This kind of sloppiness is at the very least a disturbing distraction from the supposed scientific, non-political nature of the IPCC report.

    Again, let’s go back to the original, garbled date (for Himalayan glacial disappearance) of 2350. I don’t think there is anyone on either side of this debate who feels that the state of climate science at this time can make this kind of prediction with any kind of confidence.

    There seem to be a lot of tempests in this teapot as of late.

  218. Erasmussimo

    David D, the “solid basis” on which the IPCC report is based consists of literally thousands of scientific papers covering a huge range of topics: lake bed sediments, ice in Greenland, tree rings, satellite data, oceanic temperature gradients, glaciers (not just in the Himalayas), the Arctic icepack, and on and on. The scale of this data is truly staggering. Yet deniers will pile onto a single sentence in the report (one that is partially contradicted at two other places in the same chapter) and declare that, since that single sentence was based on an unreliable source, the entirety of the science in the IPCC report has been discredited. I’m not sure what other references to non peer-reviewed papers you are referring to — some elucidation here would help.

    Sure, “further discussion” is always called for. And it is always going on. Indeed, discussions among climatologists are so intense that it is more than a full-time job just keeping up with all the discussions. Don’t fall prey to the lie that discussion is squelched. Mr. Pachauri did denigrate the report — but he didn’t squelch it, did he?

    To call this “sloppiness” is most unfair. The USA committed $2 trillion in current and future spending and some 5,000 lives (and perhaps 20,000 disabled vets) to deal with a perceived threat in Iraq that turned out to be based on EXTREMELY sloppy intelligence. The sloppiness that we observe in the IPCC report does not compromise its overall conclusion, but the ENTIRE justification for the Iraq War was flat wrong. If we give a free pass to the people who contributed to the mistaken decision to attack Iraq, how can we turn around and make a stink about a much lesser mistake?

    There seem to be a lot of tempests in this teapot as of late.

    That’s just the fanaticism of the deniers; they scream loudly. Among reasonable people, there’s hardly a ruffled feather.

  219. David D.

    I was hoping that you would have been a bit more familiar with this portion of this controversy. Try Watts’ blog (wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/24/the-scandal-deepens-ipcc-ar4-riddled-with-non-peer-reviewed-wwf-papers/) or the similar post over at Climate Audit for some elucidation. Apparently the AR4 has, er, A LOT of non peer-reviewed references.

    From Watts: Yet IPCC’s rules are such that they are supposed to rely on peer reviewed science only. It appears they’ve violated that rule dozens of times, all under Pachauri’s watch.

    So–since we went to war in Iraq on sloppy intelligence (I certainly agree), then let’s have sloppiness all around?

    That’s just the fanaticism of the deniers; they scream loudly. Among reasonable people, there’s hardly a ruffled feather. Implying that only un-reasonable people would question the idea of AGW is not only something that I thought was beneath you, but also patently untrue. Contrary to what is often pronounced on this blog, for example, there are many very reasonable and professional scientific and skeptical people who call into question much of the AGW position. I don’t think of AGWers as all cut from the same cloth as Al Gore; it is similarly unfair to regard all AGW skeptics as rabid right-wing know-nothings.

  220. David D.

    Moreover, Mr. Pachauri is NOT, as your article claims, “enriching himself” with the grant money. It goes to his institute, not into his pocket, and he is required to account for every penny.

    This seems like an incredibly naive assessment of this issue. At the very least, do you not see a rather glaring conflict of interest here?

  221. t_p_hamilton

    David D said:”From Watts: Yet IPCC’s rules are such that they are supposed to rely on peer reviewed science only. It appears they’ve violated that rule dozens of times, all under Pachauri’s watch.

    So–since we went to war in Iraq on sloppy intelligence (I certainly agree), then let’s have sloppiness all around?”

    Watts is wrong, IPCC allowed non-peer reviewed studies. Sloppy on Watts’ part, and on yours for not checking. Your source of intelligence is unreliable.

  222. David D.

    @#229–

    It is obvious that IPCC allowed non-peer reviewed studies. The question that is raised is whether or not this violates IPCC rules. Watts may be wrong; in fact, I am trying to go through the IPCC site to see exactly what is said.

    Perhaps you have documentation where it specifically says that IPCC allows use of non peer-reviewed studies in preparing its reports.

  223. Chris Winter

    David D wrote: “@#220—a few quotes from the ‘excellent summary’ at climatesciencewatch…”

    http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=the_bush_administration_s_environmental_record_146

    “In a memo to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol denounces esteemed climate scientist Robert Watson, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as someone “handpicked by Al Gore” who is using the media to get “coverage for his views.” Thus he asks, “Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?” In addition to Watson, Randol names other climate experts who he wants “removed from their positions of influence.” A year later, the Bush administration will block Watson’s reelection as IPCC chairman.”

    Scroll down to the second item.

    I agree this “glacier goof” is an embarassing lapse on the part of the IPCC, and calls into question its policy of allowing information from “grey reports” into its documents, and that Dr. Pachauri should answer for it — as I’m sure he will. But, considered in context, this is no better basis for wholescale condemnation of the IPCC, or Dr. Pachauri, than “ClimateGate” was for condemnation of East Anglia CRU and Dr. Jones.

    It also strikes me that once an esteemed, dedicated climate scientist (Robert Watson) was ousted from the IPCC chair, and replaced by an engineer/economist, those who brought about the ouster bear some of the blame for any subsequent lapses of accuracy.

    See also:

    http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=3925&method=full

  224. Erasmussimo

    David D., I’ll start with an apology for the “reasonable people” crack, although I think it fair to draw a big distinction between those people who are trumping up this “scandal” nonsense and the people who are dismissing it as trumped-up nonsense. I do NOT respect the intellectual integrity of the people screaming “Scandal!”

    Let’s take the example of the non peer-reviewed papers that are listed in the Watts-Up webpage you cited. Here’s the first:

    Allianz and World Wildlife Fund, 2006: Climate change and the financial sector: an agenda for action, 59 pp. [Accessed 03.05.07: http://www.wwf.org.uk/filelibrary/pdf/allianz_rep_0605.pdf

    Look at the contents of the paper: it’s about the role that the financial sector can play in addressing climate change. It’s not a scientific paper and it’s not about a scientific topic. Therefore, there is no need for it to undergo peer review; nobody is claiming that it represents scientific truth. Hence, making a big deal about it NOT being peer-reviewed is intellectually unconscionable.

    I believe that ALL of the objections I see are to the the WG2 report, not the WG1 report. Let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page about the difference between the two reports. Working Group I covers “The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change”. Working Group II covers “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”. Thus, if you want to argue about the scientific aspects of climate change, you use the WG I report, NOT the WG II report. And yet that is precisely what the deniers are doing. They’re claiming that the WG II report does not meet the standards of scientific inquiry. That’s just flat lying.

    As to the Iraq War comparison (and I most certainly do NOT want to argue about the Iraq War ;-) ), my point is that we should apply consistent standards of reliability of information in making policy decisions. Our polity makes all sorts of complex and high-impact decisions based on lousy information. We invaded Iraq on bad intelligence. We’re arguing about the health care bill and how many of us have even read the House and Senate versions of the bills? I certainly haven’t, and so I have no opinion on the bills, but I know lots of people on both sides who seem quite certain of their opinions, even though they appear not to have read the bills. On just about every major political issue we face, we must wade through a murky morass of unreliable information. The quality of information we have on climate change is far superior to anything we have on other big political issues, yet deniers continue to insist that we should take no action because the science isn’t perfect. That’s wrong.

    On the matter of Mr. Pachauri’s group getting funding, you seem to think that there’s something improper about it. Let me ask you: would you rather have the IPCC chaired by somebody who gets no grants — that is to say, somebody who isn’t working in the field? A politician, perhaps? I myself prefer that the IPCC be chaired by a knowledgeable expert in the field, and he should not have to retire as a scientist in order to chair the IPCC. Don’t you agree?

  225. David D.

    You are right–the first paper is not a scientific paper–it’s “an agenda” paper, produced by an advocacy group. Apparently, the IPCC DOES allow the referencing of non peer-reviewed literature in the devlopment of their reports. I do not understand why the IPCC felt the need to reference what are basically politcal position papers in their report, whether it’s WG I or II; that they did this numerous times is rather disturbing. Indeed, there are specific procedures (see ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf) that must be followed in using “grey literature” (non peer-reviewed), which call for careful review and “critical assess[ment]” of the source. I’m not sure what kind of critical assessment a WWF paper might have passed. Including these kinds of references in a scientific report does nothing to enhance its scientific credibility. And I’m not sure that WWF papers meet the “standards of scientific inquiry.”

    I do not believe I am alone in thinking that there is a conflict of interest in Pachauri’s group getting funding. These kinds of conflicts are routinely disclosed and discouraged (if they are not actually illegal) in other fields of endeavor, like medicine.

    Indeed, I would greatly prefer if the IPCC was chaired by someone who gets no grants; this does not mean that they couldn’t work in the field, but it would mean that they (or their institute) would not see any financial gain from their IPCC recommendations. I also agree with you “that the IPCC be chaired by a knowledgeable expert in the field, and he should not have to retire as a scientist in order to chair the IPCC.” I am not exactly sure how a degree in industrial engineering from a railway institute can designate one as an expert in the field of climate change.

  226. Erasmussimo

    David D., you state:

    I do not understand why the IPCC felt the need to reference what are basically politcal position papers in their report, whether it’s WG I or II; that they did this numerous times is rather disturbing.

    The answer is provided in the document you cite:

    Because it is increasingly apparent that materials relevant to IPCC Reports, in particular, information about the experience and practice of the private sector in mitigation and adaptation activities, are found in sources that have not been published or peer-reviewed (e.g., industry journals, internal organisational publications, non-peer reviewed reports or working papers of research institutions, proceedings of workshops etc) the following additional procedures are provided. These have been designed to make all references used in IPCC Reports easily accessible and to ensure that the IPCC process remains open and transparent.

    So why is it disturbing that they would cite non peer-reviewed papers regarding the ‘experience and practice of the private sector in mitigation and adaptation activities’? You are applying an inappropriate standard: you want peer-review of nonscientific papers. There aren’t any! The IPCC instead declares that critical analysis should be applied to the decision to include such papers. Do you claim that critical analysis was not applied to the decision to use any of the papers listed at “Watts Up”?

    I think we hit the nub of the problem when you write:

    Including these kinds of references in a scientific report does nothing to enhance its scientific credibility.

    But the WG II papers are explicitly NOT scientific reports! As I explained in #232, the scientific analysis is done by WG I, and WG II is responsible for “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” — NOT science!

    I do not believe I am alone in thinking that there is a conflict of interest in Pachauri’s group getting funding. These kinds of conflicts are routinely disclosed and discouraged (if they are not actually illegal) in other fields of endeavor, like medicine.

    No, you are mixing together two completely different situations. Yes, there is certainly a conflict when somebody inside a grant-giving organization obtains a grant from that organization. Yes, such situations are certainly ethically unacceptable. But we’re not talking about Mr. Pachauri receiving a grant from the organization he heads. We’re talking about him receiving a grant from an organization over which he has absolutely zero control. How can that be ethically questionable?

    If we applied your standard, then no official of any scientific organization could be a working scientist. That’s just absurd.

    Indeed, I would greatly prefer if the IPCC was chaired by someone who gets no grants; this does not mean that they couldn’t work in the field, but it would mean that they (or their institute) would not see any financial gain from their IPCC recommendations.

    Please explain to me how it is possible for a scientist who gets no grants can continue to work in any scientific field other than a purely theoretical field? I can understand how somebody working in general relativity or string theory wouldn’t need any grants, but just about everybody working in climate change science needs equipment, computers, research assistants, and a great mass of supporting materials. To require that a scientist abandon all funded activities in order to serve as an official in the IPCC guarantees that scientists will not be running the IPCC. Is that what you want?

    You impugn Mr. Pachauri’s credentials by pointing out that his degree is in industrial engineering. I agree that he is not a climatologist, but if you examine his career you’ll see that he has a long and distinguished record leading academic and scientific organizations. Such organizational skills are rare among scientists. The irony of all this is revealed by this statement:

    In fact, far from being an alarmist, Pachauri was specifically chosen as IPCC chair in 2002 after the Bush administration waged a successful campaign to have him replace the outspoken Dr. Robert Watson, who was opposed by fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil.

    Source: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/12/12/ipcc_report/index.html

    Here’s a second source on the same story:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Watson_(scientist)

    The man that Mr. Pachauri replaced, Mr. Watson, was in fact a highly credentialed climatologist, but Mr. Pachauri was picked by the Bush Administration because his background in economics, they felt, would make him more “realistic” in his assessments.

    So yes, I would prefer that the IPCC be headed by a true climatologist, and I think that Mr. Watson is the ideal candidate for that, but we’re stuck with Mr. Pachauri at the behest of Mr. Bush.

  227. t_p_hamilton

    David D said:”Indeed, I would greatly prefer if the IPCC was chaired by someone who gets no grants; this does not mean that they couldn’t work in the field, but it would mean that they (or their institute) would not see any financial gain from their IPCC recommendations. I also agree with you “that the IPCC be chaired by a knowledgeable expert in the field, and he should not have to retire as a scientist in order to chair the IPCC.” I am not exactly sure how a degree in industrial engineering from a railway institute can designate one as an expert in the field of climate change.”

    Your conception of how science research and funding works is quite naive. Grants do not result in financial gain for the scientists, grants only pay summer summer salary (at the pay level the university sets in the academic year) in spite of the expectation that they do research ALL YEAR. You have to be knowledgeable and hard working and successful to get grants – these are PRECISELY the best candidates to lead IPCC.

  228. David D.

    To clarify–I am not against whoever is heading IPCC from getting ANY grants–except where there is a conflict of interest.

    Look–the guy who is credited with the original 2035 quote ends up working for one of Pachauri’s institutes (TERI). TERI (they certainly realized the date was in error long before last month) uses the 2035 date extensively in presentations, to the EU for example–who awards a lot of grant money–to TERI. And yet you don’t see a conflict of interest. Surely there’s a way to better structure these kind of relationships to avoid this mess in the first place. There are a lot of people who are concerned about an improper relationship here, and they are not all “deniers.”

    I understand how vital grants are to research and economic survival in the academic setting (been there done that). But I’m pretty sure that the $500,000 grant from Carnegie that TERI received paid a lot more than one summer salary, don’t you?

  229. t_p_hamilton

    DavidD:”TERI (they certainly realized the date was in error long before last month) uses the 2035 date extensively in presentations, to the EU for example–who awards a lot of grant money–to TERI. And yet you don’t see a conflict of interest.”

    That is NOT conflict of interest! A conflict of interest arises ONLY when the person getting the grant has a hand in the decision making process. In the example of the $500K grant from Carnegie, were any of the people receiving this grant on the Carnegie board? Or reviewing the proposal for Carnegie? I would bet NO.

    When you say that TERI realized the figure was in error before sending in the proposals, what is your source for this? It would be ironic if it was just hearsay.
    Blogs and op-ed columns do not qualify as reliable.

    “But I’m pretty sure that the $500,000 grant from Carnegie that TERI received paid a lot more than one summer salary, don’t you?”

    But not to the proposers, in most cases (don’t know the particulars of the budgets). Most proposal money goes to support students, staff and postdoctoral researchers.

  230. Erasmussimo

    David D, I’d like to echo t_p_hamilton’s arguments. Your post #236 makes two incorrect assumptions:

    1. That the people at TERI knew that the 2035 date was wrong when they were using it, thereby engaging in deliberate deception. In fact, researchers risk the loss of all future funding if their grant applications are shown to contain deliberate deceptions. There are plenty of examples of researchers losing their entire careers because they engaged in some form of deception to obtain grant money.

    2. That grants are used to employ only one person. That’s absurd; most scientific efforts these days are big team efforts with lots of people involved. They cost a lot of money. About ten years ago I participated in a NASA research project. The data-gathering of that project involved about three dozen people, millions of dollars worth of equipment, and entailed costs of, I believe, about $3 million. On the scale of most scientific projects, $500K is tiddlywinks.

    Lastly, you misunderstand a well-defined term: “conflict of interest”. A conflict of interest arises when a decision-maker has two personal interests that conflict with each other. I challenge you to accuse any individual in the TERI grant of having a conflict of interest. Certainly Pachauri had no conflict of interest — he didn’t make the decision to award the grant! The only people who might be accused of a conflict of interest are the people who awarded the grant. Can you show that any of them had a conflict of interest? If not, then your entire case collapses.

  231. David D.

    I haven’t found anything where TERI or its principals have admitted that they knew that the 2035 date was in error prior to last month. But let’s assume that that is true (as unbelievable as I find this to be). What an example of extremely sloppy science. And there are “plenty of examples” of unscrupulous researchers who have engaged in deception before.

    Let’s say you own a drug company that makes drugs for epilepsy. One of your employees testifies before the NIH abut the necessity of developing an epilepsy drug on your company’s drawing board, using information that he (and maybe you?) knows is false. The NIH awards your company a hefty grant. Are you ethically okay with this scenario? I think you define “conflict of interest” a bit too narrowly.

    By the way, I never said or implied that grants employ one person.

    “On the scale of most scientific projects, $500K is tiddlywinks.” Yeah, but it’s not the only income that TERI had. You seem to be under the delusion that Dr. Pachauri is some scruffy grad student eating Ramen noodles in his dorm at night.

    Again, I appreciate your thoughts and comments–they are well thought out, and have made me look closely at this story. At the very least, these blunders and Pachauri’s actions have negatively impacted an organization that should be above scientific reproach. I hope that some things can change and “tighten up.”

  232. Erasmussimo

    David D, you yourself expose the falsity of your own argument:

    But let’s assume that that is true (as unbelievable as I find this to be).

    Why should we make an assumption that none of us accept? This is nonsense!

    My point about the size of the grant was merely that we’re not talking about a grant on which the future of TERI rested. Why would anybody risk losing their career over a tiddlywinks grant?

    I don’t believe that there is any substance to the many accusations leveled at Mr. Pachauri. He made a trivial mistake that was contradicted in other places in the same report. It would be interesting to compare the 2,000 page health care bill with the IPCC AR4 reports, which are roughly the same size. Do you believe that the health care bill does not contain a single mistake or contradiction?

  233. David D.

    I didn’t speak too clearly–by ‘let’s assume that that is true’ I was referring to “let’s assume that TERI did NOT know the date was in error. I thought you DID accept that assumption.

    Whether or not the future of TERI rested on it or not, $500,000 is not tiddlywinks. I don’t think anyone at IPCC expected this much scrutiny of this report–perhaps they thought that this “trivial mistake” would not see the light of day.

    Oh–I’m pretty sure that the health care bill is filled with mistakes and contradictions, and probably one or two conflicts of interests :) . But, where I expect a certain level of integrity from the IPCC, I don’t really expect much from the 535 people in DC.

  234. t_p_hamilton

    David D:”And there are “plenty of examples” of unscrupulous researchers who have engaged in deception before.”

    Usually cases of a) plagiarism b) data falsification. Not the case here, there was a source that had a number for the Himalayas melting, and they used it. Sloppy is not the particular problem here. The problem is structural within IPCC, where not enough expertise was engaged in critically evaluating the non-peer reviewed sources in Working Group 2.

    Pointing out that lying is not the same thing as conflict of interest is not an approval of lying!

    Repeating what other sources say does not absolve responsibility for spreading innuendo (and that is what this is). Only sources that contain actual full context quotes of the scientists involved, or a paper trail of things actually written by the scientists will do.

  235. Erasmussimo

    OK, David D, thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding. Even with the reversed assumption, I reject your reasoning. If they got it wrong, that doesn’t mean that they’re sloppy. After all, that statement went right by lots of reviewers and nobody caught it. You might argue that they’re supposed to get everything perfect, but I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation. Science proceeds in a herky-jerky fashion; even peer-reviewed publication doesn’t mean that a paper is correct; it means only that there are no obvious flaws. In general, we can’t treat any given paper as “highly reliable” until several years have passed after publication and it hasn’t been attacked. Remember, too, that this statement was NOT in the science section of the AR4 — in was in the section devoted to impacts and potential policies. The science section remains unchallenged. So while you are welcome to reject that particular comment in that particular chapter, none of this affects the science at all.

    $500K may not be tiddlywinks to you, but to scientific institutions with annual budgets in the many millions of dollars, it’s not big enough to bet the farm on.

    I don’t think anyone at IPCC expected this much scrutiny of this report–perhaps they thought that this “trivial mistake” would not see the light of day.

    Egad, man, do you have any idea of how much scrutiny this thing underwent prior to publication? Look at the list of reviewers on the chapter head — dozens of people went over it. Do you really think that they put all those people to work double-checking it if they thought nobody would ever read it?!!?!?!

  236. David D.

    “Egad, man, do you have any idea of how much scrutiny this thing underwent prior to publication? Look at the list of reviewers on the chapter head — dozens of people went over it.”

    . . . and yet they all somehow missed this trivial error.

  237. Erasmussimo

    Yes, indeed, they missed it. Surprise, surprise: scientists are human. They make mistakes. The only way to cope with human frailties is to have lots of people consider the work. Even then, mistakes get through. But we’re talking about a document several thousand pages long with perhaps a hundred statements per page — that adds up to several hundred thousand statements. And we’ve managed to find ONE statement in the whole thing that is in error. Can you think of any other document that has such a low error rate?

  238. David D.

    You make it sound like it was a mislabeled graph on pg 204, or a misspelled word. It was a claim that was highlighted and repeated and widely publicized; it was important enough that when it was pointed out that it was actually incorrect, IPCC had to issue a statement admitting that “clear and well-established standards of evidence . . . were not applied properly.” Hardly an “errata” insert.

  239. Eamon

    . . . and yet they all somehow missed this trivial error.

    Well David, the fact is that the Denialists also missed this trivial error – so by your logic either:

    A) They weren’t studying the AR4 hard enough looking for flaws.

    or

    B) They do not have the scientific expertise to identify trivial errors in science.

    Of course, you could also say “C) they’re only human” – but then you’d have to let the IPCC WG2 reviewers off the hook.

  240. Erasmussimo

    David D, I just did a little research. First, when you declare that the claim was “highlighted and repeated and widely publicized”, I think you’re laying the hype on a little thick. I didn’t notice any talk about the incorrect prediction until this December. Most of the stories that accepted it at face value came out in October of this year; I don’t know why. The first rebuttal that I can find was a BBC report on Dec 5, and by Dec 10 the scientific community was definitely reacting to the problem. I googled “Himalaya glacier 2035″ and, of the first 100 entries, 93 were stories about the error and only 7 were stories that are part of your “widely publicized” wave of stories. In other words, there were more than ten times as many stories about “IPCC makes mistake” than about “glaciers to melt by 2035″. The publicity has definitely been much more about the mistake than the claim.

    I also researched how the scientific community discussed the issue. At RealClimate, there was no mention of the 2035 prediction at all until after the BBC story in early December. At WattsUp…, there was no discussion of the error until December 22nd, about 16 days AFTER the people at RealClimate had started discussing it. Even more astounding, a WattsUp story on Nov 11th quoted the 2035 prediction — and did NOT challenge it! In other words, the prediction that you claim is obviously false went right by Mr. Watts. And you blame the IPCC for not noticing it!

    Jennifer Marohasy’s denier blog didn’t get on the bandwagon until January 22nd. Climate Audit, the biggest denier blog, didn’t seem to notice the problem until January 23rd. Bob Tisdale NEVER commented on it. Neither did David Stockwell. Even more astounding, the denier blog IceCap had a story on August 11th, 2009, arguing that the Himalayan glaciers are not melting as fast as some scientific papers have claimed — but it NEVER mentioned the IPCC 2035 prediction!

    In other words, this prediction that you claim was “widely publicized” was in fact unknown to just about everybody on both sides of the issue until several scientists noticed it in early December and began talking it up. Only AFTER the real scientists noticed the error and began publicizing it did the deniers jump onto the bandwagon.

  241. David D.

    @247
    “. . . the fact is that the Denialists also missed this trivial error . . .” So–it was an “Alarmist” who brought the attention to the wrong date. I get it now . . .

    @248
    ” . . . a WattsUp story on Nov 11th quoted the 2035 prediction — and did NOT challenge it!” The WUWT story on that date is titled “Pachauri claims India scientific position arrogant,” referring to an Indian governmental report that countered the IPCC claims. No–it did not directly challenge the 2035 date, but the whole post was about disputing the IPCC claims.

    I found a similar post on WUWT dated July 24, 2009, entitled “India says no to climate alarmism.” “Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister . . . dismissed scientists’ predictions that Himalayan glaciers might disappear within 40 years as a result of global warming.”

    I notice that there is a lot of search “noise” associated with the recent flurry of news surrounding this issue, so it is hard to see how the scientific community reacted to the 2035 date when it originally came out in 2007. Apparently, real scientists on both sides of the issue must have implicitly trusted the findings of the IPCC; perhaps those scientists may not be so trusting in the future.

    So, “deniers” AND “alarmists” both were (knowingly, according to Dr. Lal) misled by the IPCC report,“until several scientists noticed it in early December.” Was it scientists or journalists who noticed the error?

  242. Erasmussimo

    Was it scientists or journalists who noticed the error?

    Here’s the quote from the BBC news story dated December 5th, and apparently the first public knowledge of the error:

    J Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University, says he believes the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.
    He is astonished they “misread 2350 as 2035″. The authors deny the claims.

    So apparently Mr. Cogley started the ball rolling. However, I also remember reading a presentation by a scientist around December 14th who seemed to be unaware of the news stories and noted the same problem. In any case, it was definitely the scientists who caught the error.

    Apparently, real scientists on both sides of the issue must have implicitly trusted the findings of the IPCC; perhaps those scientists may not be so trusting in the future.

    I’ll remind you that the number of “real scientists” on the denier side of the issue is vanishingly small. And I disagree with your assessment of the WUWT story. As I read that story, it’s primarily about the report from the Indian government group. I read that report. First, that report was published under a statement that it did not reflect the opinion of the Indian government and was intended to elicit discussion of the issues. The report relied on some questionable methods in drawing its primary conclusion that the rate of mass loss in the Himalayan glaciers had been reduced in the last ten or twenty years. For this reason, the report itself was dismissed by a number of scientists (not just Mr. Pachauri) as seriously flawed. So we had an error in a portion of the IPCC 2007 report, and a counter-report that was seriously flawed. I can’t find that report now — I’m sure I could find it with some effort — but it was definitely controversial in its own right.

    I think I’m going to abandon this discussion now, because it has taken a meandering tone, with you seeming to be determined to smear the IPCC or Mr. Pachauri one way or another. When I explain one point, you simply jump to a new smear. I give up.

  243. @ #211 Errasmussimo:

    You say: “Indeed, the information you present points in different directions”

    But that is only because in your quote you leave out my point # 2:

    2) There are fluctuations on this general trend, and some areas have seen temporary ice growth episodes over the last few centuries;

    With point #2 taken into account, there is no contradiction at all. The current ice extend is due to a short but significant period of ice growth, a (significant) fluctuation on the general trend.

    You now argue that you: ” don’t think that the Antarctic provides us with strong evidence either for or against the basic AGW hypothesis. . Well, that kind of pulls the ground away under one half of Phil’s post isn’t it?!

  244. @ #207 Errasmussimo:
    You write:
    “Moreover, once we cleared the early Holocene, the temperature variations were much slower.”

    The truth is that, especially in the second half of the Holocene, there is quite some temperature variation on relatively small time scales.

    @ 208. Mike G:
    One Holocene climate fluctuation there is still no solid explanation for, is for example the Little Ice Age (LIA). Orbital Forcing doesn’t explain the magnitude of it, influence of solar activity is often proposed but far from accepted (and especially opposed by pro-AGW people).
    Likewise, the causes of short warm periods like the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warm Period are still ill understood.
    The reality is that Orbital Forcing explains the larger general trends in the glacial-interglacial cycle, but much of the short-term fluctuation occuring upon these larger trends is still ill understood.

    The mechanism behind the occurence of the possibily semi-periodic Dansgaard-Oescher (DO) events you mention for example, are virtually ununderstood. Same for Bond oscilations, and Heinrich Events. Even whether they have a more or less fixed periodicity is still disputed, let alone what causes them. All we know is that they do occur.

    As it comes to short term climate fluctuations (like DO, Bond or Heinrich events), that is exactly a field of climate variation phenomena we still lack any basic understanding of.

    @ 209. gss_000:
    You twist my words. I never said nobody looked at the Holocene (or the period before). I am very familiar with Pleistocene climate research based on proxies like ice cores etc. and (unlike you) don’t need Wikipedia for that. I knew what an Oxygen Isotope Curve was before the internet let alone Wikipedia even existed.
    What I did say, is that the IPCC report and the general discussion on AGW doesn’t take into account much of the Holocene. The IPCC report, considered the definite report by many on the topic, looks in detail at the last 150 years and in a more broader sense the last 1000 years only. That is resp. 3% and 10% of the Holocene duration. And that is simply too short. Moreover, it is a period known to be a cold anomaly compared to the rest of the Holocene.

  245. @ #208 Mike G:

    You wrote: “It doesn’t tell us anything about what happens when you add another 100 ppm of CO2 on top of the MIS 11 baseline. Physics tells us it gets warmer. Direct observation tells us the physics is right”

    Only when you look at the last 150 years only. Other observations show this isn’t this simple.

    For example: during the “Little Ice Age” (14th-19th century AD) in the late Holocene, CO2 concentrations and CH4 concentrations were higher than they ever had been during any period in the Holocene up to that moment (they are surpassed only by current values).

    Yet this was the coldest part of the Holocene.

    (see Elsig et al. (Nature 461 (2009), 508-510), Indermühle et al. (Nature 398 (1999), 121-126). for Holocene CO2 values. And see also Ruddiman, Climatic Change 61 (2003), 261-293).

    What this shows us, is that things are much more complex. Higher levels in greenhouse gasses do not necessarily translate directly into higher temperatures.

  246. dane skold

    Per Phil Jones…. no statistically significant warming or cooling since 1995.

    Facts are indeed stubborn things.

    Whither global warming then?

  247. dane skold

    Let’s see….. Antarctic Sea Ice Extant grew from 1978 through 2006, yet the sky is falling because charting the sea ice extant from 2002 through 2009 reports decreasing ice extant.

    Would that 7 year period be mere “weather” compared to “climate” of 1978-2006?

    Antarctic Sea Ice Extent
    Reference
    Turner, J., Comiso, J.C., Marshall, G.J., Lachlan-Cope, T.A., Bracegirdle, T., Maksym, T., Meredith, M.P., Wang, Z. and Orr, A. 2009. Non-annular atmospheric circulation change induced by stratospheric ozone depletion and its role in the recent increase of Antarctic sea ice extent. Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2009GL037524.
    What was done
    The authors briefly review the history of Antarctic sea ice extent derived from satellite observations, after which they attempt to derive an explanation for the empirical data being what they are, based on climate model simulations.

    What was learned
    Citing the work of Zwalley et al. (2002), Turner et al. note that over the period 1979-1998, sea ice extent surrounding Antarctica increased at a mean rate of 0.98% per decade, and that Comiso and Nishio (2008) derived a value of 0.9% per decade for the period 1978-2006. This sea ice extent increase, according to their modeling work, is largely driven by an autumn increase in the Ross Sea sector that “is primarily a result of stronger cyclonic atmospheric flow over the Amundsen Sea,” and they say that “the trend towards stronger cyclonic circulation is mainly a result of stratospheric ozone depletion, which has strengthened autumn wind speeds around the continent, deepening the Amundsen Sea Low through flow separation around the high coastal orography.” On the other hand, and much more simply, they also report that “statistics derived from a climate model control run suggest that the observed sea ice increase might still be within the range of natural climate variability.”

    What it means
    As a result of these contrasting possibilities, it is clear that the true cause of the near-three-decade increase in Antarctic sea ice extent cannot be stated with any confidence. The only thing we can conclude at this point in time, therefore, is that for some still-unproven reason, and in spite of the supposedly unprecedented increases in mean global air temperature and CO2 concentration that the planet has experienced since the late 1970s, Antarctica sea ice extent has stubbornly continued to just keep on growing.

    References
    Comiso, J.C. and Nishio, F. 2008. Trends in the sea ice cover using enhanced and compatible AMSR-E, SSM/I, and SMMR data. Journal of Geophysical Research 113: 10.1029/2007JC004257.

    Zwally, H.J., Comiso, J.C., Parkinson, C.L., Cavalieri, D.J. and Gloersen, P. 2002. Variability of Antarctic sea ice 1979-1998. Journal of Geophysical Research 107: 10.1029/2000JC000733.

  248. Update to reward anyone whose read (or skimmed?) down to the end here :

    NASA has recorded that 2010 was the hottest year on record.

    Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

    Click on my name for source.

    In other recent news Physicist and (former) Climate Contrarian Richard Muller’s BEST(Berkely Earth Surface Temperatures) study has taken a long hard “skeptically” funded look at the data and concluded ..

    ..that Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating is real and the mainstream consensus climatologists were right all along.

    In fact the BEST graph shows slightly more rapid rise in temperature than earlier graphs.

    Oh, and there’s the small matter of 2011 being the second lowest arctic sea extent and perhaps lowest sea ice volume – plus, well, you could keep going in this vein for a ve-e-ry long time.

    Suffice to say, Global Overheating is real and the pile of evidence for it keeps rising every day. Just like the global average temperatures.

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