Republicans Make Being An Idiot Litmus Test For Serving On Global Warming Committee

From the Gannett News Service:

House Republican Leader John Boehner would have appointed Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to the bipartisan Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming — but only if the Maryland Republican would say humans are not causing climate change, Gilchrest said.

“I said, ‘John, I can’t do that,’ ” Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., said in an interview. [...]

Gilchrest didn’t make the committee. Neither did other Republican moderates or science-minded members, whose guidance centrist GOP members usually seek on the issue. [...]

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a research scientist from Maryland, and Michigan’s Rep. Vern Ehlers, the first research physicist to serve in Congress, also made cases for a seat, but weren’t appointed, he said.

“Roy Blunt said he didn’t think there was enough evidence to suggest that humans are causing global warming,” Gilchrest said. “Right there, holy cow, there’s like 9,000 scientists to three on that one.”

According to Raw Story, all six Republican choices to sit on the panel are global warming denialists. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the ranking minority member of the committee, said in a statement: “Recent fluctuations in the Earth’s climates and temperatures have led to numerous sensational headlines describing an eminent doomsday scenario.”1

Fortunately, the six Republican denialists will be outnumbered on the committee by nine Democrats who haven’t been actively selected for their anti-reality delusions, so maybe this committee could actually get something worthwhile done (although I have no illusions that anything the Dems propose will be enough). But still, it indicates a lot about the current corruption of the Republican party: it’s not just that they don’t select the best people for the job. They actually make being incompetent and stupid a requirement.

  1. An “eminent” doomsday scenario? What is that, a doomsday scenario with an impeccable reputation compared to the other doomsday scenarios? The Representative needs office help who know the difference between “eminent” and “imminent.” Yeesh. []
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166 Responses to Republicans Make Being An Idiot Litmus Test For Serving On Global Warming Committee

  1. 101
    Charles says:

    You just pulled “warming the environment” out nowhere. The two statements never used that phrase. You used “anthropogenic global warming” in both statements (and you put it in scare quotes the first time). Are you really claiming that:

    the unproven and unsupportable “anthropogenic global warming” perspective

    is not a denial of anthropogenic global warming? Are you pretending to not know why you put that phrase in scare quotes? Are you pretending to not know what “unsupportable” means?

    This is simply ridiculous. Admit that you were wrong. Admit that you did indeed start off denying anthropogenic global warming, but that you can’t actually defend that denial by argument, so have been reduced to claiming that you never denied it (which is simply sad). If you can’t admit those things, if you can’t admit being wrong, if you won’t stand by the things you’ve claimed, then there is really no purpose to talking with you (except to ensure that they lies you repeat are not simply allowed to stand unchallenged). But for some reason, I’ll argue with you anyway.

    There’s a reason I asked you which IPCC SER scenario you thought was “right”. I asked to see if you understood anything about the scenarios. You chose not to respond, and I noted that. So I told you which one I picked and why, and you responded as someone who doesn’t understand the scenarios would respond — you didn’t say which you believed, you just attacked my choice. You didn’t attack WHY I chose my choice, you just plain attacked it.

    Actually, I missed that comment because it got moderated, and therefore showed up earlier in the thread than the last comment I’d seen. I haven’t ever looked at the reasoning that went into the IPCC emission scenarios, so I’ll have to get back to you on that after I have finished reading. However, I’ll note that you keep talking about peak oil as though oil were are only source of fossil fuels. How are our coal supplies doing? They were just fine last I checked. Please point me to some predictions from the fuel industry showing that China will not be able to supply it’s ever increasing power requirements from ever more coal power plants for the next century.

    On solar cycles, I’ve ignored that because you don’t seem to understand that solar inputs are already incorporated into the models (with the exception of galactic cosmic rays, the effects of which seem to be not settled science, and which don’tseem to have show substantial variance over the past century from what little I’ve now read). For instance, check out figure 1b in the paper I referenced earlier. This shows what effect a particular model estimates the cycle of solar inputs has had on the climate over the past century. It is noticeable, but not as large as the effects from volcanic eruptions, which are still not nearly as large (or as long lasting) as the effects from anthropogenic greenhouse gases. You have given no reason for thinking that your back of the envelope ideas about solar cycles are more valid than the numerical models.

    As for “statistical”, yes, they are “statistical” — statistical methods are being used to fit the various observations together. That might not make them “Statistical Models(tm)”, but those models make heavy use of statistical methods to fit data together.

    When I was taking graduate statistics I learned all about the problems with statistical modeling, which is why the phrase “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics” is so funny to some of us.

    These aren’t statistical models. They really aren’t. You agreed they aren’t, but then you back track immediately and start talking about statistical models. These models do not use statistical methods to fit the observations together (that would be a statistical model), they use numerical solutions of discretized physical functions to approximately model the climate based on forcings. They are not statistical models, they do not use statistical methods to fit forcings to observations.

    The particular paper I referenced uses standard statistical methods to demonstrate that climate models run with various different forcings can be summed to produce the same results as climate models run with the combination of forcings. So you could argue that that paper constructs a statistical model of the numerical models to support an argument about one of the characteristics of the numerical models, but merely mentioning “lies, damned lies, and statistics” is not a sufficient rebuttal to the statistical work in that paper (and is irrelevant to the underlying numerical models).

    Also, you claim that the model in the paper I referenced is an uncoupled model. You are simply wrong. Let me quote from the paper:

    Section 2. The model and Experiments
    We use the fully coupled Department of Energy (DOE) PCM described by Washington et al (2000)….

    Validating a numerical climate model is difficult (claiming that “those scientists” have “refused” is beneath you), but we will certainly be getting more of that sort of validation over the next decade (you can’t validate on the data you used to calibrate your model (particularly when it is a small set of data), and we only have one set of global temperature data, so validation requires new data, something that only time will provide). However, the climate models are testing in a multitude of ways other than proper validation. Validation would be very beneficial, but since “those scientists” have cruelly refused to use their time machines to go get future data, we are stuck working with the methods we have available.

    You also have still made no acknowledgment of any of the points you have tried to raise that have been shot down, for instance the fact that the science-like “documentary” you mentioned is rubbish or that the OISM paper you implied was peer reviewed was actually a pathetic piece of crankery which has been thoroughly debunked and was intentionally designed to look like it was a peer reviewed article, which it manifestly is not. You also keep bringing up the Urban Heat Island effect, as though it were not accounted for in modern calculations of global warming trends, something which has been pointed out to you by Amp, but which you then claim is merely him not understanding the Urban Heat Island effect. If you would acknowledge and retract your errors, I would be much more likely to treat you with respect. Likewise, you dismissed Jake’s article for not being peer reviewed, but I don’t see you attempting to rebut the peer reviewed basis of the article he cited. Will you agree that the oceans are indeed getting more acidic, and that they are going to get even more acidic over the next century?

  2. 102
    Robert says:

    since “those scientists” have cruelly refused to use their time machines…

    They have time machines? And they aren’t using them to bring advanced computer game systems back from the future? Screw those scientists, man. They’re dicks.

  3. 103
    Charles says:

    One funny thing is that the proper societal response to peak oil is pretty much the same as the proper societal response to anthropogenic global warming: we need to switch over to non-fossil fuel based energy supplies as quickly as possible, and we need to ensure that developing countries like China and India do not develop as fossil fuel reliant economies, but instead leap directly to post-fossil fuel technology.

    Think of the 1A scenarios as being the demand for fossil fuels, and the peak oil curve you provided as being the supply. If we don’t do something pretty massive to switch ourselves away from fossil fuels, those two curves are going to hurt. Likewise, compliance with Kyoto or even stricter limits becomes much easier if the supply dries up that fast, so agreeing to Kyoto will be largely irrelevant if you are right, while it will be critical but inadequate if you are wrong.

    Of course, this is ignoring the importance of coal, which will be a power source that will not run out soon, but will contribute mightily to global warming.

  4. 104
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles,

    Oh, geez, Charles.

    Do I believe we caused the hockey stick, which is what the IPCC and the “Global Warming(tm)” crowd is about?

    No.

    Do I believe we’re making things warmer?

    Yes.

    These are not mutually exclusive statements. They are only mutually exclusive if you are so stuck in some binary thought world in which us raising the temperature 0.1 or 0.2 degrees means we’re response for 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 entire degrees.

    It’s this Either/Or fixation people like you have that makes talking about global climate change just utterly futile and impossible. The problem with talking to someone like you is that as soon as someone like me cops to “humans change climate”, we get attacked if we don’t support the entire doomsday scenario foisted upon us by the IPCC. And if we don’t cop to your doomsday scenarios you pick and pick and pick and pick, trying to force us into the equally absurd position that people aren’t affecting the climate.

    And you have some nerve saying I don’t answer your questions — I’ve asked you numerous ones, like which scenario from the IPCC report do YOU think is most likely. And the answer was …. ? Well, you don’t have an answer because this isn’t about reality for you, it’s about bashing people. It’s feel-good-ism, like Algore and his recent request to put up a whopping 33 (oh, boy) panels on his house. Assuming he’s putting up 33 200 watt panels (about the biggest people put on their houses), he’s going to generate a whopping 6600 peak watts for an average of 4.45 hours a day, or about 29 kilowatts per day or all of 890 kilowatt hours a month. Oh, boy, howdy — he’s DOING something. Except he uses, like, 22,000 kilowatt hours a month. But he’s plenty rich and can go buy carbon offsets, so that makes being a profligate waster of energy okay by you, and you worship the very ground he walks on.

  5. 105
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles writes:

    Validation would be very beneficial, but since “those scientists” have cruelly refused to use their time machines to go get future data, we are stuck working with the methods we have available.

    I ignore most everything you write because you are little more than a trained parrot, so far as I can tell.

    I have explained more than once now how to validate climate models without use of a time machine. If you don’t understand it, or if you’ve asked an “expert” and they are looking for a time machine, I’d be more than happy to explain it to you ALL.OVER.AGAIN.

  6. 106
    Mandolin says:

    I asked an expert to come into this thread, and he did, Julie. I didn’t see you address his response.

  7. 107
    Robert says:

    Geoid -

    The difficulty with analogizing climate models (of whatever sort) to models of magnetic reversal is that geophysicists aren’t predicting “there is a 3.5% chance that the poles will reverse next month”. The claim being made by the model isn’t nearly so strong. We believe in the claim made by geophysicists (she’s gonna flip one of these days) because it’s plausible and there’s evidence of it happening. If that claim, on the same evidence, were “it’s going to flip in September of 2097″ – well, we need a little more from the model, now.

  8. 108
    Geoid says:

    Robert,

    I understand where you’re coming from here. The big problem with climate models is that there are hundreds of feedbacks, many of which have large error bars. Increased temperature makes more clouds because of increased precipitation, increased cloud cover increases planetary albedo, is a cooling effect, etc. This makes it very hard to predict how much things are going to change if you alter a couple of the parameters.

    However, this limits the predictive power of the model in terms of how much of an effect there is, not whether or not there is an effect. We do understand what these parameters do, basically. If you increase carbon in the atmosphere and ocean, you just plain get a warming effect, with a lot of feedbacks to increase that effect. Therefore, if you pump huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, you will increase global temperatures.

    So in one sense we require more in the predictive power of these climate models, but in another sense we don’t: no one is arguing that the Earth’s magnetic field doesn’t change polarity, but people doubt that these parameters do what we say they do. What we are arguing here is that we know what effect adding carbon to an atmosphere/ocean system is, which we do.

    Personally, I find the record of Earth’s history to be much more intellectually satisfying when thinking about global climate change. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (about 55 million years ago) was a time of a spike of warming and CO2 and methane addition to the atmosphere. The methane addition is a sudden phenomenon, occuring when methane hydrate ice that exists in marine sediments is warmed to the point that it gets released all at once. Methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, per concentration, and the sudden release has a very real warming effect.

    So I guess my question is, where is the disconnect? Where does the “anthropogenic carbon doesn’t contribute to warming” come from? It seems simple enough to me. 1) People add carbon to the global system. 2) We have historical data that shows what addition of carbon to the global system does to temperature, among other things. 3) Temperature increases.

    The problem with the models is degree; we aren’t sure exactly how the feedbacks will affect each other, so we don’t know exactly how much, or how soon. But as with floods and earthquakes, we make estimates based on data. We have models of river stage over time and talk about 100 year floods. Well, they don’t happen every hundred years, on the dot. But no one argues that floods don’t happen, or that dumping excess water into the system doesn’t increase the chance of flooding.

  9. 109
    Robert says:

    1) People add carbon to the global system.

    Well, people move carbon around. And certainly some of those movements have far-reaching consequences. But we aren’t actually importing anything to the planet and the ecosystem that isn’t already here.

    I find your other arguments/points generally persuasive.

  10. 110
    Geoid says:

    I would also like to say something in response to the monumental effort Charles is putting out here.

    a) He has a lot of good information about modeling, its limitations, and its abilities. I have been intentionally not talking about modeling, as it isn’t part of what I do, and I think that the geological record is a much better thing to use for the purpose of convincing yourself that global climate change is real and that anthropogenic carbon is a real input.

    b) He made a point about solar cycles that I think deserves reiteration and deepening. Global warming (and anthropogenic warming) deniers often talk about the cyclicity of global temperature, and how that’s the cause of warming in this case. I would like to point out that it’s the same scientists that are investigating global warming that both discovered the cyclicity of global temperature and use it to make predictions. Like Charles said, we incorporate solar cycles (Milenkovich cycles) into models. If a scientist didn’t, they would stop getting funding. That would be an idiotic model that didn’t incorporate these cycles. Other effects have to do with the position of the continents, amount of continental shelf space, and tectonics that affect volcanism. These are all inputs. Possibly inputs with error bars that are large (not for Milenkovich cycles; we understand those quite well). But these are all accounted for. Therefore you cannot say that the warming is due to this cyclicity. We have factored it in and are looking at the effects that aren’t due to it.

  11. 111
    Geoid says:

    And actually Robert, while we are definitely not creating new carbon, we are liberating carbon that hasn’t been exposed to the rest of the system since the Carboniferous and Cretaceous, both of which we know were much warmer than today.

  12. 112
    Charles says:

    Yup, that’s me, worshiping the ground Al Gore walks on. Now you are justing getting weird, Julie.

    I’m still reading through the emission scenarios, so I still can’t answer your one lonely question. What is it that is keeping you from acknowledging any of the lies you’ve been caught out in? I guess it is because you don’t actually read anything that I write, so you obviously are simply here to repeat your propaganda.

    —-

    A little while later…

    Oh my God, I never clicked through your link on how sunspot activity correlates to wars and economics (in which no actual correlation analysis is performed, just eyeballing and hand waving).

    Since there is actually a link between sunspot activity and the global temperature regime, I had assumed that you had linked to a legitimate source documenting this link (although I expected it to be a denialist source that would attempt to argue that despite the fact that solar activity is included in the GCMs, somehow the solar activity explained the entirety of the climate change). I had no idea you had linked to piece by a paranoid crank that had no basis whatsoever and had nothing to do with climate change. I can’t imagine how you could have hit that piece by accident, so I can only assume that it is something you have bookmarked because you actually believe it.

    Let me just quote the best bit, here is Julie’s idea of science:

    Solar Cycle 15: 1916-1918 just barely 100
    1914-1918 First World War
    1916-18 Irish and Indian revolts
    1917 Russian Revolution
    1919 The Atom is Split

    Solar Cycle 16: 1927-1929 under 100 wide 1926-1929
    1927-1929 Fabled American Bull Run ends in crash of the stock market in long slow slide which bottoms in 1933
    1926 Hitler in jail for NAZI’s attempted Munich Putsch, begins writing Mein Kampf which outlines how he will lead Germany to make the world’s greatest power.
    1927-1931 Mussolini and Hitler build power on economic unrest; revolt in Vienna and China; formation of Red Army; Spanish Republic formed; mass civil
    disobedience in India launches Ghandi’s campaign to free India

    Solar Cycle 17: 1936-1938 wide 1936-1939
    1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, Germany and Japan start World War II
    1937-1940 US steel strike

    Solar Cycle 18: 1947-1949 wide 1947-1950
    1946-1949 Greek Civil War, India-Pakistan riots, Red Army wins China, Vietnam revolts
    1947 – 1948 Flying saucer sightings begin, saucer crashes in Roswell, NM, “shadow” government is set up inside the military industrial complex with the CIA to fight communism and hide the remains of ET
    1948 Ghandi assassinated, Israel’s War for Independence
    1950-1953 Korean War

    I’m sorry Julie, I’m not going to try to discuss climate change with you anymore. Your ‘scientific’ sources cite the landing of extra-terrestrials at Roswell and the foundation of the CIA “shadow government” as proof that historical events are driven by sunspots. And here I thought it was a crazy bit of psuedo-science even before I hit that bit…

    Anyway, I’ve done some interesting reading sparked by rebutting you, so thanks for that, and thanks also for the laugh that that sunspot “paper” provided.

  13. 113
    Charles says:

    For anyone else who is interested:

    On the question of the emission scenarios that Julie raised, I’ve been reading around, and I thought this discussion of the emission scenarios was much more helpful than the IPCC summary for policy makers, which does not provide nearly as many lovely charts.

    Also, this summary of the plausibility of the emission scenarios with regard to available fossil fuels provides a good answer to the “peak oil” concerns that Julie raised. I sentence summary: yes, many of the scenarios have implausible oil consumption levels, but if you include the substitutability of coal for oil, then most of the scenarios are brought back into the plausible range.

    The author of those pages, Jean-Marc Jancovici, has some eccentricities to his English (he’s French) but his content seems pretty sound (and heavily drawn from official sources). He is not a research scientist, but seems to have sufficient qualifications to be able to understand the material that he is presenting. If he believes in UFOs or is any other sort of madman, I could find no references to such in the pages I read through. :p

  14. 114
    Charles says:

    For anyone else who is interested: On the question of the emission scenarios that Julie raised, I’ve been reading around, and I thought this discussion of the emission scenarios was much more helpful than the IPCC summary for policy makers, which does not provide nearly as many lovely charts.

    Also, this summary of the plausibility of the emission scenarios with regard to available fossil fuels provides a good answer to the “peak oil” concerns that Julie raised. I sentence summary: yes, many of the scenarios have implausible oil consumption levels, but if you include the substitutability of coal for oil, then most of the scenarios are brought back into the plausible range.

    The author of those pages, Jean-Marc Jancovici, has some eccentricities to his English (he’s French) but his content seems pretty sound (and heavily drawn from official sources). He is not a research scientist, but seems to have sufficient qualifications to be able to understand the material that he is presenting. If he believes in UFOs or is any other sort of madman, I could find no references to such in the pages I read through. :p

  15. 115
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Mandolin,

    The only response I’ve seen that sounds like it comes from an expert is Geoid’s, and I think I was asleep when he made the more interesting post of his.

    I don’t think Charles has ever had a science course beyond putting baking soda and vinegar in a glass and watching them fizz.

    I’m glad to see Geoid admit that models don’t work over 30 year intervals (I kept hoping Charles would, but he didn’t), but that’s still not a valid excuse for not validating the models that are being used by the IPCC folks — we have data going back hundreds and thousands of years, and they’re free to run the same model against that data from however far back they want and see if it predicts the current climate. If Geoid has an example of where that’s been done, I’d be happy to look at it. And just to be clear, because I keep having to say it over and over again, I’m referring to a model predicts the current climate the same exact way the models referenced by the IPCC folks predict the climate 100 years from now.

    In regards to his comments about solar cycles, I made a comment a while back about my thoughts regarding the recent upturn in the temperature record and solar cycles (and I mean “recent” as in last decade). Whether it’s just a bad coincidence for climatologists or not, a solar cycle that’s produced the sorts of record activity that scientists would predict would increase global temperatures, can’t just be dismissed. That’s why I said upthread that I’ll be convinced one way or the other when we get into the solar minimum. I also said that based on what I see, I’m leaning on the side of disbelief.

    Geoid does make an interesting remark, and something I’d not considered because I don’t recall seeing a paper that presents the data. And that is, if the carbon in the atmosphere today is “old” carbon that’s not being exchanged, because there’s just too much of it (because that’s the crux of the carbon caused warming argument — we’re pumping more in than the system can take out), we should be able to see that from the isotopes. I tried to Google this, hoping I’d find something that supported that the atmosphere is aging, but didn’t find any hits. If he’s got any papers on that subject, I’d love to read them.

    Papers such as this support a link between atmospheric carbon and temperature, but don’t make any points about the ratios between carbon isotopes in the current environment (I’m not surprised). They do include this sort of chart, which is either an unfortunate coincidence or proof that we’ve been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for more than the past 100 years. That sort of chart, not some self-delusional act of disbelief, has more of an influence on why I disbelief the IPCC report than just about anything else.

    To me, this tabular data is just damning for those guys — that’s a very, very clear and steady rise in the pre-industrial era’s atmospheric carbon. Bad coincidence for climatologists or proof of a non-human cause? What would be, I think, a sound argument that this is just an unfortunate coincidence would be to see how the C14 to C12 ratio in the atmosphere is shifting. If the majority of the increase is dino-era carbon, I’d think the proportion of C12 to C14 would be dramatically shifted in the direction of C12. If Geoid has a paper which shows that, I’d be convinced. Cynically, I also think that if anyone had that paper, it would have been more widely distributed because it would show where the carbon is coming from.

    In terms of current climate, I’m skeptical for the two reasons I’ve given –

    1). The atmospheric carbon record shows a clear upward trend starting well before the current industrial era.
    2). The current solar cycle has produced a number of record-sized events, and as even Geoid admits, the solar cycle has an impact on temperature.

    In terms of projected CO2 emissions, I’m skeptical for the two reasons I’ve given –

    1). While the overall reserves of total carbon are indeed quite huge, those reserves are not getting any easier to recover and this will increase their cost and reduce demand according to well-understood principles of supply and demand.
    2). The increasing costs of fossil carbon fuels will drive technology to produce renewable resource versions of carbon fuels and those renewable forms will not increase net atmospheric carbon.

  16. 116
    Sailorman says:

    Julie,

    that comment regarding Charles was nasty and uncalled for. Not only do I suspect it to be vastly untrue, but as you do (or should) know, it’s irrelevant to his arguments.

    We could get into the “battle of the scientific background” argument. You know how those go.

    But what would be the point? You happily insulted Charles’ background because you disagree with him (or was it that he pointed out the reference to aliens in your link, hmm?) I don’t think there’s going to be a huge line of folks lining up for similar insults.

  17. 117
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Sailorman,

    Hey, Charles is the one who admits he insults me because I disagree with him. I should get a couple of free pot-shots in from time to time. I still think that Charles understands neither science nor economics. He’s free to demonstrate some kind of science understanding beyond linking to papers and reading websites that support or oppose those papers.

    As for the space aliens link, I didn’t provide it for the humour value, I provided it because it shows, as do so many exactly identical graphs, the connection between the solar cycle and the temperature. If people who believe in space aliens get that right, I have a hard time understanding why Charles doesn’t …

  18. 118
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Urph. I knew I forgot something.

    2). The increasing costs of fossil carbon fuels will drive technology to produce renewable resource versions of carbon fuels and those renewable forms will not increase net atmospheric carbon.

    3). If current carbon fuel consumption is maintained using renewable resources, there will be a net decline in carbon in the atmosphere as carbon is deposited into the deep ocean in stable forms and new carbon is not introduced from fossil sources.

    Sorry. It’s a complete line of thinking and I’d stopped at the economic argument part of it.

  19. 119
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    You actually don’t know the research on carbon isotope ratios? Try googling a little harder. If you can’t find it before this evening (or if Geoid doesn’t provide it to you before then) I’ll post some links for you.

  20. 120
    Charles says:

    And your link to the fact that there is a CO2 cycle that corresponds to the cycle of ice ages, as though it were a proof that the rise in global CO2 levels in the past century is non-anthropogenic demonstrates:

    1) that you are engaging in the bizarre binary thinking on this question that you accuse me of.
    2) you really don’t know the research on this subject
    3) you are once again implicitly denying anthropogenic global warming (which is fine, I just wish you wouldn’t lie about it later)

  21. 121
    Jake Squid says:

    I would like to say how much I value the information posted here by Charles and Geoid. It’s nice to be able to learn from , you know, actual scientists about climatology and modeling (statistical vs numerical for example) and so on in a dialogue. It’s kind of like reading Galileo – J,COH serves as Simplicio.

  22. 122
    Mandolin says:

    “Geoid does make an interesting remark, and something I’d not considered because I don’t recall seeing a paper that presents the data.”

    Hey Julie,

    Geoid’s my fiance (can I say that it just makes me indescribably happy when I see him make sense on these threads?), so I get a lot of his stuff second hand when he hears or reads papers. That’s why I said earlier that we were on our way to a warm period like the Carbiniferous; my understanding (and again, I’m a science fiction writer not a scientist, so I am not an expert) is that carbon which was around in the Carbiniferous got stored in oil, where it was dormant. Now we’re using that oil as fuel and releasing the carbon back into the atmosphere, which means that for some amount of time, we’ve been returning to the amount of carbon that was in the atmosphere during the C-fous, when we know the earth was much hotter.

    I can’t cite, but I’ll bother him and maybe he can. He’s working on his thesis, so I have to poke him to get him to come check. I think he’s enjoying the discussion, though. He used to read a lot of the feminist threads, but not know what to say.

    (For what it’s worth, whether or not Charles has had a lot of science classes, Geoid felt he accurately presented the research. [I don't know if that means he agreed with every point Charles has made, but certainly with the bulk.])

  23. 123
    Ampersand says:

    I’m a science fiction writer not a scientist

    Is any of your work published, either on dead tree or on the internet tubes? I’d be curious to read it.

    (Also, let me say that I also really appreciate Geoid and Charles taking the time to share their knowledge in this thread).

  24. 124
    Charles says:

    I’ve really appreciated Geoid’s participation as well. I know next to nothing about the geological record side of the climate change arguments (I am purely an interested amateur), so it is nice to have someone who knows that side of things. It is also really nice to know that people are finding the stuff I’m saying useful. I don’t really have any hope of changing Julie’s mind on any of this (certainly not of getting any acknowledgment that I have changed her mind on any of this…), so it is nice to know that my work on this has not been pointless.

    On the modeling side, this paper has a really nice discussion of the problem of model drift (it isn’t the main topic, although the main topic is related).

    In a nut shell (okay, it turned out to be a really big nut, I really didn’t men for this to get so detailed), if you start a model with inadequate knowledge of the ocean conditions, then the model can take centuries of run time to reach equilibrium. Since we haven’t had an adequate knowledge of the ocean conditions, the models have had to be run for centuries to produce a stable ocean condition (it is only within the past ~10 years that we have reached the point where this was computationally reasonable, so earlier models had to include cheats to counter-balance the drift caused by incorrect ocean conditions).

    One solution is to run the model for thousands of years and then use the resulting stable ocean conditions as the initial conditions for the real model run. Another solution (which this paper reports) is to take the best available ocean condition information (which has improved hugely in the past few decades: older GCM runs have used the Levitus climatology, which has limitations of accuracy and resolution, and is a climatology for an extended period. I’ve worked with Levitus ocean climatology and while it is an impressive accomplishment, it has serious problems as a model input) and start the ocean from that (this paper used the estimate ocean conditions for 1995).

    The result that the paper shows is that:

    1) the PCM (the numerical model used in this study and the study I referenced previously) run for a thousand years under historical CO2 conditions and steady state solar and volcanic conditions settles down to a stable ocean that is an average of 0.1 C away from the estimated 1995 actual ocean! This is astoundingly good.

    2) running the next century simulation using the 1995 estimated ocean conditions instead of the thousand year developed conditions produces only trivial differences in the 2000-2090 results (which is convenient, because it removes the need to rerun the 20th century for each model run, thereby cutting in half the length of each projection, and removes the need to run the 1000 year run to generate initial conditions).

    This is some truly impressive stuff (and I have Julie to thank for getting me to take a closer look at the GCMs). If some of that is as clear as mud to anyone, ask and I’ll try to make it clearer.

  25. 125
    Charles says:

    Okay, one last thing before I get back to work.

    Google “CO2 isotope ratios global warming”: first link, scroll down to “It becomes important to determine the source of the increase in CO2 from 280 to 380 parts per million by volume between 1800 and 2005.” This gives a good thumbnail of the CO2 isotope question Julie raised (and there is a bibliography at the bottom if anyone wants to go to the source literature).

    One last last thing. For some reason, I couldn’t post last night, but I have some great links on peak oil and the emissions scenarios that I will post some time tonight. Nut shell version: the emissions scenarios are not strictly realistic, but are quite close if you allow for the substitution of coal for oil (you can create oil from coal, so there is a direct substitution at a price). Also, as should be obvious to anyone who has thought about this, the people who generated the emissions scenarios were economists and energy experts, not climate scientists, exactly the people Julie claims should have been consulted.

  26. 126
    Charles says:

    Arg, something is eating my posts (both last night and today):

    Super short repeat: google “CO2 isotope ratios global warming” (without the quotes) and click the first link and scroll half way down for some good information on carbon isotopes and how they demonstrate that the increased CO2 in the atmosphere over the last century is anthropogenic and not oceanic in origin.

    [fingers crossed that this one without links gets through]

  27. 127
    Robert says:

    Charles, it’s the nanobots!

    Crazy nanobots. They’ll eat anything!

  28. 128
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles,

    No, believe it or not (hard for you to grasp, I’m sure) I neither know everything nor even CLAIM to know everything.

    And equally contrary to what you and your binary thinking seem to think, I’m aware that burning fossil fuels should be changing the isotope ratios, I’ve just not seen the information presented in a way that says “Hi!”. For example, I went to your paper and look at footnotes 4, 5 and 7 (just so you can know htat I actually do read the stuff you point me at) and all of them say either “we know this” or “I’d tell you all about it, but you wouldn’t understand.” Well, this reader really would understand.

    Briefly I’ll ‘splain it to you.

    Production of C14 — Carbon 14 — occurs in the upper atmosphere as a result of a nitrogen atom (N14) and a neutron (courtesy of the dreaded Cosmic Radiation …) joining together. The new atom then emits a hydrogen atom (H), leaving behind a new atom of C14. (It’s radioactive decay in the upper atmosphere — which means it’s illegal in certain parts of California, but I digress.)

    This goes on all the time (except for in certain parts of California) and this C14 is then taken in by plants, absorbed into the ocean, blah, blah, food chain, blah, blah. Then all those things die and their C14 goes with them. Over time, because C14 is radioactive (and therefore illegal in Berkley), it decays into N14 through beta decay (a neutron emits an electron and becomes a proton, so carbon becomes nitrogen — really neat stuff).

    Carbon from dinos has no C14 because all of the C14 has busily radiated itself into N14 over the past 10′s of millions of years. It’s just … not there.

    The result is a really simply equation — C14-2007 = C14-1800′s (ignoring the ways we’ve managed to create C14 by blowing things up) because C14 production and removal is more or less constant (except it isn’t, but I’m going to stay real simple on this) and C12-2007 = (380ppm / 280ppm) * C12-1800′s. Not really all that hard of a concept to understand — it’s 6th or 7th grade math.

    THAT process produces this nice ratio — 1.36 — of the increase in C12 relative to a (reasonably constant …) C14. If the increase in CO2 is from fossil fuels, the ratio of C12 to C14 should have increased somewhat proportionally to the fraction of pre-1800′s. There really should be a CHART out there somewhere, not some comment on RealClimate that we can’t understand this stuff.

    However, the most convincing arguments for scientists (based on isotopes and oxygen decreases in the atmosphere) may be hard to understand for the general public because they require a high level of scientific knowledge. I present simpler evidence of the same statement based on ocean observations, and I explain how we know that not only part of the atmospheric CO2 increase is due to human activities, but all of it.

    Uh, right. How about the chart you patronizing idiots.

    ANYWAY, it should be a pretty straighforward matter to calculate how much more C12 there would have to be if the increase from 280ppm to 380ppm is “fossil” based, and I’ve kindly provided you with a first order approximation. I mean, the short answer is “well, almost all of it”, which has some really ugly implications for carbon dating, but it should be just about as trivial as can be to produce a chart and show, on some scale or another, the fraction of the atmosphere that is C14 — the reduction in C12 to C14 should fit that number up above. If Geoid has a reference to such a chart, I’d be happy to look it over. I’ve been all over RealClimate of late and there aren’t even footnotes to articles that would show this.

  29. 129
    Geoid says:

    So Julie, I looked at the article you cited dealing with atmospheric CO2 levels in ice cores and graphed them. Indeed they show the cycle of ice ages, and we are in a warming trend. However, the numbers are pretty damning for your argument. The maximum CO2 concentration is about 290 ppmv, with an average of about 240 ppmv. I looked at that, then added the post-industrial data to the graph. Here’s the paper to get values from (by the way, this is the paper cited in Gore’s slideshow): Keeling & Whorf, 2005 (Click on Graphics in the top left corner)

    Now this shows atmospheric concentrations very well above the maximum from the near-recent ice core record you cited. I encourage you to input a couple of those values into a spreadsheet with the ice core values, and see what results. When I did it, I got a vertical line jumping up to three times as much as the previous maximum changes. This is not part of that trend.

    I wish I could just put this spreadsheet up here; I don’t have hosting ability. Is there a way I could send this to someone who can post it? I’m just using Excel.

  30. 130
    Geoid says:

    Ah, just noticed that you are already up on the CO2 increase.

    Still a cool graphic.

    Anyway, I noticed that you are concerned about C14. I hadn’t really heard a lot of people talking about radiogenic carbon when dealing with climate change. I usually hear about C13, a stable isotope of carbon that fractionates due to photosynthesis and other things. The delta C-13 value (amount of fractionation) can tell you about atmospheric CO2 concentration from times where we don’t have atmosphere samples from, like the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (about 50 million years ago), when the climate was much warmer than today, and the concentration of CO2 was much higher. Here’s a link relating delta C-13 with delta O-18, a stable isotope of oxygen that is a very good proxy for temperature: Singh & Lee, 2007. I’m sorry for the PDF; if you want a real full-text article, it kind of has to be one.

    I’ll look into the carbon 14 stuff you were talking about; I’m really not familiar with it enough to comment at this time.

  31. 131
    Geoid says:

    Also, Julie, the weird radioactivity comments aren’t really appreciated. I’m in the Bay Area myself, and given that scientists work with radiological material all the time it’s not very pertinent. Implying that we hippies are so afraid of nuclear energy that we disallow all radiogenic materials is kind of rude.

  32. 132
    Geoid says:

    Also, a first order understanding I can convey of oxygen isotopes is that “heavier” isotopes of oxygen with more neutrons (O-18 instead of O-16) are harder for physical processes like evaporation to take out of seawater. So when it’s hotter and there’s more evaporation, which preferentially takes O-16 out of the ocean, the concentration of O-18 relative to O-16 of the ocean increases. This allows us to find temperatures from the rock record.

  33. 133
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Geoid,

    Well … do you have a chart showing the ratio of C12 to C14 over time? Sorry — had to ask ;)

    My issue with that paper really is that we were already heading up from a low of 188ppm 32.8KY ago. There’s an article on RealClimate which makes the point that had all of the fossil carbon stayed in the atmosphere we’d be at, I think I’ve got this correct, circa 780ppm right now, based on 500ppm added to a pre-industrial base of 280ppm. As various people have said, including over on RealClimate, “We don’t know why more isn’t in the atmosphere”.

    A lot of people I know who doubt the IPCC work have a response — “Because the system works better than you think it does?” I worked for an oil company about 20 years ago, and that’s why my answer is also “What, you think we have an infinite supply of the stuff?” Not that I’m going to run out and buy a pedal car any time soon, but I think that if some of that science the “general public” isn’t supposed to understand were published, more of us with science backgrounds would cause less trouble. Or more trouble. It all depends.

    I’m not sure what I can do by way of hosting or posting the spreadsheet, but I can convert Excel spreadsheets into graphs (along with most everyone else who uses Excel a lot). If you can get me the spreadsheet I can turn the data into a JPEG and put it up on Photobucket. Amp has my real e-mail address, which I don’t post much of anywhere because I hate SPAM. If you can get an annotated C12:C14 ratio chart with major artificial events, like atmospheric nuke testing, overlaid on a atmospheric CO2 chart that would also be sweet. Or not.

  34. 134
    Mandolin says:

    ” Implying that we hippies are so afraid of nuclear energy that we disallow all radiogenic materials is kind of rude.”

    I missed this implication, but I’ve got to agree, it’s silly. Reed College has a nuclear research thingamajig. Just sayin’.

  35. 135
    Geoid says:

    Ah, here’s what you’re talking about. I found an abstract (Levin & Kromer, 1997)about decreasing C-14/C-12 ratios, due to addition of anthropogenic carbon to the atmosphere. This followed a local phenomenon of addition of CO2 without radiogenic carbon (dino-carbon) to an atmosphere with radiogenic carbon. The ratio was compared to the maritime mean nearby, where the plumes of anthropogenic CO2 hadn’t travelled. I can’t find out how to get the link to you; I have subscriptions to papers I’m not sure I’m allowed to post abstracts of, and the link will bounce you, I’m pretty sure. I’ll try to put the link in, anyway, just in case: Levin & Kromer, 1997. This is only the abstract; I can’t seem to get the whole paper. I’ll keep looking at this.

  36. 136
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Geoid,

    I’m not looking for O16:O18 ratios as an indicator of temperature — if you read my posts you should be aware that I’m familiar with the history of temperature change, even if some people like the claim the Medieval Warm and Little Ice Age weren’t global events.

    What I’m looking for is a way to demonstrate that the increase in CO2 is from an increase in C12 released from fossil sources. If the carbon cycle is being overwhelmed completely I’d expect there to be an increase in C12 to C14 that’s fairly drastic. Perhaps not as drastic as 380 / 280 ppm (1.36), but certainly greater than unity. If, however, the exchange mechanisms are working, I’d expect the change to be much closer to unity than 1.36. Knowing the second derivative of the change would be sweet as well. If it’s completely anthropogenic, I’d expect the second order derivative of C12:C14 to be positive. It’s too late on a Friday to come up with a reason why it wouldn’t be positive regardless, but a nice, large positive number would be very convincing.

    As for the jokes about radioactivity, it’s all part of my charming personality and comes from listening to environmental extremists who wanted to outlaw Cl a few years back to solve the ozone problem. If you want me to stop making cracks about radiation being illegal in Berkley, you’ve got to get the other guys to stop suggesting that chlorine be outlawed …

  37. 137
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Geoid,

    The URL had your session ID embedded in it, so that wasn’t going to work.

    You should be able to post just the graphics to Photobucket and publish a link here under “Fair Use” doctrine, since we’re definitely having an educational discussion.

    Is this the graphic in the article? I found something by them at this URL. However, as they note, there’s this small matter of nuke-related C14.

    A longer time series, even with nuke C14 in it, would be really good. Nukes should show up as single events in the series (more or less) with some amount of stability once it was all mixed into the atmosphere. So, if there’s a time series going back to 1800, C12:C14 should increase with (or not) CO2, with changes in C12:C14 that correspond to various nuke tests, then resuming the trend after the CNTBT had been in effect for a while (and picking up again courtesy of India and Pakistan and N. Korea and …)

  38. 138
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Oh, JOURNAL. What journal was it published in? I’m about 15 miles from a major university and wouldn’t mind bopping down there to check it out.

  39. 139
    Ampersand says:

    Any images or files that people want available to download can be sent to me at barry (at) amptoons (dot) com, and I’ll make them available the next time I’m at my computer. (Depending on the time of day and my work schedule, that could be immediate, but it could also take hours…. sorry.)

  40. 140
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    If you have access to a university library, you could try checking out the sources listed in the 2 paragraph explanation of the issue here: http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/scq.CO2rise.html

  41. 141
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles,

    I’ll see if I can find Butcher in the library, but as it’s a fairly phat book, I’m not even going to promise to read any of it.

    Pictures. I don’t need pictures because I’m st00pid, I need pictures because I’m BUSY.

  42. 142
    Geoid says:

    I’m not sure if I’m in moderation or if I didn’t actually submit the comment I meant to, so here’s a repeat:

    I just talked to a climate guy in my department about bomb carbon. Apparently its addition to the atmosphere in 1955 screwed up any radiocarbon dating younger than that. If you look at a curve for C-14 from 1955 to now, this is what you see: NIWA Data. So while I’m sure the addition of old carbon to the system is reducing the ratio of C-12/C-14, you won’t be able to see it because of the huge impact the bomb carbon has had and continues to have on the record.

  43. 143
    Ampersand says:

    I’ve put an excel spreadsheet Geoid emailed me online, so folks can download it.

    I’ve also put an image from that spreadsheet online, so that folks without Excel can at least take a look at the graph.

  44. 144
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    I get that. If I find a good picture, I’ll put it up. I’m putting up references because that’s what I’m finding.

  45. 145
    Charles says:

    Julie, any response to the modeling paper I described in comment 123?

    What is it about running a model for a thousand years (with no flux adjustments) and missing the average ocean temperature by 0.1 C (although they mention that they do worse (0.3 C drift) in the deep ocean) in 1995 that you would describe as the model skewing off in one direction or another? The numerical models of the climate used to always skew off in one direction or another if they weren’t adjusted to stay on target, but that isn’t the case anymore. The models have gotten better.

    So yes, one more time please explain, in detail, what that model run was doing and why it doesn’t meet your criteria.

    (I don’t count that as validation because the historical data has inevitably been indirectly involved in calibrating the model (you have to calibrate on something, and really you have to calibrate on everything you possibly can, given the paucity of detailed data for the global climate), but I think that it is as close as we can get to validation without a time machine or a lot of patience).

  46. 146
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles,

    It’s precisely that they used to (still do, so far as I know) veer off in one direction or another that’s the problem. Keeping it on track doesn’t mean it’s right, it means they kept it on track.

    There’s a lot to be said for those of us who remember such things, and “such things” includes really bad models from years gone by, and the 1970′s “Global Cooling” that you like to downplay, and so many other things.

    Stop and think what’s being asked of the planet — to seriously grind a lot of things to a near halt. Those guys had better be right, and they’d better not be hiding behind “Gee, it’s going to be hard for us!”

    Are there ways around fossil fuels? Sure, and many of them are becoming cheap enough that NOT being “green” is stupid. I wrote over on RealClimate about CF lights because someone was going to do some kind of energy fair about them. I cut my electric bill by 30% switching to them. I was going to put it off until all the bulbs burned out, but after seeing how much less electricity they used, I switched them all over a two week time. In six months time they’ll be paid for. Are they “green”? I could care less — I saved a mess of money last month and this month I’ll save even more. Anyone who isn’t using CF lights now should just grab a stack of $10 bills and light them on fire, and everyone who is using them should compare bills with their neighbors.

    On a final note, your badgering me has become really, really creepy. I’ve explained my various positions to you many times, I’ve read articles you’ve asked me to read, and I’ve spent a lot of time on this discussion. To put it bluntly, you’re creeping me out. One other thing — skepticism and denial aren’t the same thing. Don’t treat skeptics like we’re “global warming deniers”. I don’t “deny” global warming — were this a discussion going the other way, I’d be arguing on the side of global warming because I’m skeptical of the “no global warming!” side as well.

  47. 147
    Ampersand says:

    Julie, you denied global warming earlier this thread. You’re not honest enough to own up to it, but there is no other reasonable interpretation of your referring to anthropogenic global warming as

    the unproven and unsupportable “anthropogenic global warming” perspective

    Except that you think that anthropogenic global warming is “unproven and unsupportable.”

    You seem incapable of taking responsibility for your own actions, Julie. You chose to say it; no one held a gun to your head and forced you to type in such an idiotic statement. Nor did anyone force you to link to a fraudulent paper while implying it was peer-reviewed; nor did anyone force you to imply that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists lie about global warming for the money; nor did anyone force you to link to a crank paper about how sunspots control human history written by people who believe in CIA-led UFO conspiracies; etc, etc..

    You chose to do all those very stupid things; Charles didn’t make you do them. And your choice to lie about what you’ve said, rather than take responsibility for your own words (i.e., “point well taken, I shouldn’t have linked to that, my bad. Moving on…”), is also your responsibility, not Charles’.

    In short, don’t blame Charles for the fact that you’ve been acting like a fool.

  48. 148
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    It’s precisely that they used to (still do, so far as I know) veer off in one direction or another that’s the problem. Keeping it on track doesn’t mean it’s right, it means they kept it on track.

    This model doesn’t veer off in one direction or another, does it? Maybe you mean something by that other than what I think you mean?

    I can’t even parse “Keeping it on track doesn’t mean it’s right, it means they kept it on track.” If they kept it on track so that it hit the correct ocean temperature within 0.1 C, what does it mean to say that they didn’t get it right, just on track? Also, how can you square saying that the models still do veer off in one direction or another with agreeing that the model stayed on track (i.e. did not veer off in one direction or another)?

    Also, I don’t really understand why you think that the fact that the models have improved by huge leaps and bounds in the past 4 decades means that the models can not be trusted now. The fact that some model run in the past produced a frozen ocean has pretty much no relevance to the fact that a model run now can take an approximate ocean climatology, freak out for a hundred years and then stabilize, then run for a thousand years and only miss the ocean temperature by 0.1 C at the end of that 1000 years (other than showing exactly how far we’ve come and how fast…).

    I can see how experience with climate models 20 or 30 years ago would make you suspicious of climate models in general, but I can’t see why it would prevent you from being willing to reevaluate your opinions of climate models based on the newest climate model capabilities.

    I’m also puzzled that you find it creepy that I am arguing with your stated positions, and that I keep asking for your response to points raised in response to your previous points. Do you really find it strange that someone who is arguing with you would expect you to explicitly concede points that should be conceded, rather than just allowing you to drop those points without acknowledging the rebuttals? I’m sorry you find it creepy that I’m arguing with you. I certainly don’t intend to be creeping you out. I’m certainly finding arguing with you about all this fairly frustrating and annoying (if still fairly interesting for what it is leading me to read), but I’m not sure why that would come across as creepy.

    Anyway, I have been spending way too much time on this argument this past week, and we seem to be incapable of communicating effectively with each other, so perhaps we should simply end this discussion for now (actually, I’m really interested to see what Geoid makes of the carbon isotope research, but perhaps we should end this other than Geoid posting whatever conclusions he reaches on that subject if he wishes to).

  49. 149
    Charles says:

    [this is my comment from last night that the spam filter ate. I have salvaged it from the akismet spam filter.]

    For anyone else who is interested:

    On the question of the emission scenarios that Julie raised, I’ve been reading around, and I thought this discussion of the emission scenarios was much more helpful than the IPCC summary for policy makers, which does not provide nearly as many lovely charts.

    Also, this summary of the plausibility of the emission scenarios with regard to available fossil fuels provides a good answer to the “peak oil” concerns that Julie raised. I sentence summary: yes, many of the scenarios have implausible oil consumption levels, but if you include the substitutability of coal for oil, then most of the scenarios are brought back into the plausible range. The most extreme scenario has implausible but barely conceivable fossil fuel consumption.

    The author of those pages, Jean-Marc Jancovici, has some eccentricities to his English (he’s French) but his content seems pretty sound (and heavily drawn from official sources). He is not a research scientist, but seems to have sufficient qualifications to be able to understand the material that he is presenting.

    One interesting point that Jancovici makes that is unfortunately under-emphasized in coverage of the IPCC results is that the difference between the high end temperature estimates for 2100 and the low-end estimate is almost entirely a matter of uncertainty in which future we will choose (or will be forced upon us by running out of fuel…), not a matter of uncertainty in the climate models.

    Another point which I mentioned earlier is that the correct societal response to the doomsday scenarios of peak oil is to try to get alternative technologies developed before the fuel crisis hits. Surely, a collapsing economy is not the ideal time to be trying to do massive technological conversions. This is the same solution as the scenarios that lead to the low-end CO2 production levels (although those scenarios also require that our alternative fuel sources not be synthetic coal-derived oil, which can solve our “peak oil” problems, but not our anthropogenic global warming problems).

  50. 150
    Charles says:

    Apparently, short posts with multiple functional links equals instant death for my posts…

    Here is my post from last night on the emissions scenarios question that Julie raised. Its an interesting issue.

    —————-

    I thought this http://www.manicore.com/anglais/documentation_a/greenhouse/emission_scenario.html
    discussion of the emission scenarios was much more helpful than the
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/sres-e.pdf
    IPCC summary for policy makers, which does not provide nearly as many lovely charts.

    Also, this http://www.manicore.com/anglais/documentation_a/articles_a/ERCA_a.html
    of the plausibility of the emission scenarios with regard to available fossil fuels provides a good answer to the “peak oil” concerns that Julie raised. I sentence summary: yes, many of the scenarios have implausible oil consumption levels, but if you include the substitutability of coal for oil, then most of the scenarios are brought back into the plausible range.

    ——————-

    Sorry for the ugly formating.

  51. 151
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Amp,

    I stand by the comment that you seem to think got me into this mess. Until the predictive models are properly validated, which they haven’t been, there is no way to say that the claims of the anthropogenic global warming crowd have been proven.

    In a field that has a consistent track record of being wrong (the climate modeling field, just so you know), suddenly saying “Hey, we got it right this time!” isn’t going to cut it. Climate modelers have been saying “Hey, we got it right this time!” for my entire life. If they got it right this time, it’s going to be a first. And if you want to talk about conceding points, I’d like to see you, Charles, and everyone else here concede just that one very simple, very plain, very basic point. That’s a point I’ve been explicitly raising ever since #74.

    And I do hold Charles responsible for his behavior. No one else made him decide to act the way he admitted to acting in #86. Had Charles admitted this

    Also, I don’t really understand why you think that the fact that the models have improved by huge leaps and bounds in the past 4 decades means that the models can not be trusted now. The fact that some model run in the past produced a frozen ocean has pretty much no relevance to the fact that a model run now can take an approximate ocean climatology, freak out for a hundred years and then stabilize, then run for a thousand years and only miss the ocean temperature by 0.1 C at the end of that 1000 years (other than showing exactly how far we’ve come and how fast…).

    this entire fiasco would have ended 70 posts ago. So, neither you nor Charles have any business lecturing me about “conceding points”.

  52. 152
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    So all you wanted from me was that I agree that the Levitus climatology is a poor starting point for a numerical climate model, but that if you run a modern climate model for a hundred years, it will eventually correct the bad values in the Levitus climatology and produce something much closer to the true ocean values? Surely that isn’t what you wanted me to admit?

    Surely what you wanted me to admit was that:

    What is it about running a model for a thousand years (with no flux adjustments) and missing the average ocean temperature by 0.1 C (although they mention that they do worse (0.3 C drift [over a thousand year period]) in the deep ocean) in 1995 that you would describe as the model skewing off in one direction or another? The numerical models of the climate used to always skew off in one direction or another if they weren’t adjusted to stay on target, but that isn’t the case anymore. The models have gotten better.

    So the deep ocean temperatures still skew off by 0.03 C per century. There is still a slight tendency of one part of the model to skew weirdly off in the wrong direction (the deep ocean is very slow, so you’d have to run the models for a very long time to get the deep ocean temperatures to self correct).

    If all there is left to argue about is how we each conducted the argument, then I think we are definitely done.

  53. 153
    Mandolin says:

    By the way, I think Geoid has been trying to post, but his comments aren’t going through for some reason (site-related, not mod-related).

    I also do have some publications I can share — even one related to energy crises. ;-) I’ll sit down and put together a post a bit later when I have more time.

  54. 154
    Charles says:

    I looked in the akismet spam filter (which ate some of my posts recently) and I didn’t see any sign of Geoid’s posts. Maybe he could email his post to Amp (barry at amptoons dot com)?

  55. 155
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles,

    Climate modeling has a decades-long history of being wrong. Climate models have, as you in your own words said, a tendency to “freak out for a hundred years”, and as others have said “freeze the oceans”.

    While the new models may well be right, I’ll just point out that a broken watch is right twice a day, and if they are right, it would be the first time in my entire life.

    If there’s anything in this post that you can actually disagree with, I’d love to know how you manage to do so. You can try to weasel around them being wrong by saying “They didn’t know” or “They didn’t know enough” or “They’ve gotten much better!”, but the bottom line is they have a DECADES long history of being wrong. If you understood the significance of that, you’d understand the significance of what I’ve said about validating their models against the modern climate.

  56. 156
    Sailorman says:

    the bottom line is they have a DECADES long history of being wrong. If you understood the significance of that, you’d understand the significance of what I’ve said about validating their models against the modern climate.

    I think CHARLES understands the significance of that. Do you?

    Look, a bad model that got used in the past says a lot about that model. What the proper response to your attacks on old models that are known to be faulty and which aren’t even used anymore? “Yeah, Julie, but you were wrong 20 years ago” perhaps?

    The reason you’re not getting the responses you want is that you’re approaching the ridiculous: It’s not clear that you can separate your specific views on what’s being discussed from your overall views of the scientific community at large. It’s a bit like a generalistic ad hominem attack. (and it sort of creeps me out, by the way; I wish you’d stop.)

  57. 157
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Sailorman,

    I understand that many people think the current models are right. I understand that perfectly well. But there’s no evidence that the new models really are any better at long-range — and a century or two is pretty long range – climate forecasting. They might be better, they might even be a lot better, but they might also “freak out for a hundred years”, as Charles said. Do we know that once they are done “freaking out for a hundred years” that the results are really valid?

    There’s a scientific history of making doomsday predictions that never come true.

    Malthusian Catastrophe

    As regards your accusations of some kind of generalised ad hominem attack, I don’t have problems discussing scientific topics with scientists. People with science educations generally understand the limits of science. Lay people tend to be less aware of the uncertainties in science.

    I do find it amusing that Algore is such a green advocate, but rather than cut his consumption (like those of us who don’t have his wealth to spare would have to do), he keeps sucking up electricity like a drunk on a payday binge. So I enjoy making fun of him. I’d think that if he really, truly, and deep down, believed what he’s spewing that he’d find his way clear to cut that 22,000 KWH down to something more reasonable. Like, maybe, closer to the 660 KWH I used last month, or the 630 KWH the month before. Don’t you find that just the least little bit suspicious?

  58. 158
    Mandolin says:

    “Like, maybe, closer to the 660 KWH I used last month, or the 630 KWH the month before. Don’t you find that just the least little bit suspicious? ”

    I’m guessing you don’t read Pandagon.

  59. 159
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    You show no sign of having understood anything that I said other than the bit that supported you position. You don’t seem to have understood why the models “freak out for a hundred years” or why they stop freaking out, or that they don’t freak out if you feed them better initial conditions. Nor do you seem to understand that the models can now be run for a thousand years and end up with correct results for the modern day.

    There is another point, which I’m sure you will also not be willing to understand: the models 17 years ago were (for all their problems) correct. Their results (interpreted intelligently) were roughly accurate at predicting the climate change we have seen in the past 17 years (the strictest form of validation possible), and the much better modern models simply confirm the results that could be extracted from the older models.

    This is from the 1990 IPCC first assessment report (the full document doesn’t seem to be online, so I am quoting from here):

    Based on current models, we predict: under [BAU] increase of global mean temperature during the [21st] century of about 0.3 oC per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2 to 0.5 oC per decade); this is greater than that seen over the past 10,000 years; under other … scenarios which assume progressively increasing levels of controls, rates of increase in global mean temperature of about 0.2 oC [to] about 0.1 oC per decade.

    So the models were pretty bad in 1990, and their raw results were obviously wrong, but by massaging the model results in various ways (mostly, by looking at the difference between scenarios, rather than at the specific results of individual scenarios), it was possible to make predictions with them.

    Over the past 17 years, the central tendency of those predictions have been shown to have underestimated the degree of global warming, but the actual degree of global warming did fall within the uncertainty range of the predictions.

    The models 17 years ago (used intelligently) were right.

    The modern models are much better than the models 17 years ago (so you can now try to predict regional climate change, rather than just global trends), but at the gross level, they are simply confirming the results of the models from 17 years ago.

    So returning to your comment (first sentence, third paragraph, you asked me to explain how I manage to disagree with anything in your comment. I disagree with just about every line of your comment, so I’m afraid what follows is pretty much a fisking, minus the wit. I consider fisking rude, so I wouldn’t do it if you hadn’t asked me to) :

    Climate modeling has a decades-long history of being wrong.

    The sense in which this is true is irrelevant, as I demonstrated above with the model based predictions from the 1990 IPCC report.

    Climate models have, as you in your own words said, a tendency to “freak out for a hundred years”,

    I explained already why this happens, and it is not something that will suddenly start happening in the middle of a model run, so it is irrelevant to predicting the next century.

    and as others have said “freeze the oceans”.

    This has never been a significant problem with climate models, and is certainly not a significant problem with climate models now. Certainly, if you set up the model inputs incorrectly, you can get nonsensical results. This provides great denialist sound bites, but is completely irrelevant.

    While the new models may well be right, I’ll just point out that a broken watch is right twice a day,

    This is simply idiotic.

    and if they are right, it would be the first time in my entire life.

    As I demonstrated above, you are completely wrong here. The models correctly predicted the direction and rough magnitude of global climate change over a 17 year period nearly 20 years ago.

    If there’s anything in this post that you can actually disagree with, I’d love to know how you manage to do so.

    I’m willing to oblige your request, but after this I’m done arguing with you.

    You can try to weasel around them being wrong by saying “They didn’t know” or “They didn’t know enough” or “They’ve gotten much better!”, but the bottom line is they have a DECADES long history of being wrong. If you understood the significance of that, you’d understand the significance of what I’ve said about validating their models against the modern climate.

    They didn’t know! They’ve gotten much better!

    While that’s true, (used intelligently) they also (17 years ago) correctly predicted the future climate trend of the past 17 years (do I repeat myself? I repeat myself). I understand the significance of that, and I understand the significance of that as validation of the models against modern climate.

    I’d ask if you understand the significance of that, but we are done here. I am done discussing this with you, and you are done discussing this here.

    You are wrong about the climate models and you have been wrong about them for twenty years. And, unlike the modelers, you haven’t learned anything from your error, and you refuse to acknowledge either that you were wrong then (when being wrong on this was reasonable scepticism) or that you are wrong now (when being wrong on this is unreasonable denialism).

    [Moderator hat on: Julie, please don't post anymore in this thread. I don't have the time to continue explaining why you are wrong, and you have had plenty of posts to explain your position. It has been a frustrating discussion, but the material I've read over the past week has been interesting, so thanks for giving me a reason to go read it.]

  60. 160
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    (Ignoring Charles for a second so I can thank Mandolin …)

    Thanks for the link. I read the entry on Pandagon that I think you’re referring to. I made this post recently and will make another post on a similarly related topic in the near future (for those of y’all into LJ …)

  61. 161
    Charles says:

    Julie,

    Actually, I was being unfair. If you’d like to make a final post on this thread, that is okay.

  62. 162
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Charles,

    I think I’ve made plenty of “final posts” already. I will make one that hopefully you’ll like a bit better.

    First, just as Charles has thanked me for prodding him to read so much these past few days, I’d like to thank him for prodding me to do likewise. I’m still skeptical, but that’s just me. Just as Charles as prodded me into reading more about climate modeling than I had in a few years, I hope Charles reads about developments in the development of alternative and renewable energy as a cost-effective alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels. Long term my thoughts are that technology and free-market capitalism is going to be what saves us.

    Whatever the answer — global warming or running out of fossil fuels — our current behavior is unsustainable and both scenarios will cause dramatic changes in our lifestyles if we don’t change now.

    I’ll again repeat this link. There are always ways to cut our energy usage and the last three months have taught me a thing or two.

  63. 163
    News says:

    Here is the current data on the sunspot graphs, and the correlation with warming. This is apparently available on the sites listed, or by any search, but the spreadsheet here allows us to look for ourselves.

    search result:

    http://people.uleth.ca/~dan.johnson/sunspots.htm

  64. 164
    Charles says:

    News,

    Actually, the post you link to shows the wrong feature of sunspot activity. The suggested connection is between the length of the sunspot cycle and the global average temperature. The effective rebuttal (the paper that showed the correlation made some extremely significant errors of calculation and used a dodgy combination of smoothed and unsmoothed data, correcting the data problems causes the late 20th century correlation to largely vanish) can be found here.

    Sunspot cycle period does seem to show a substantial contribution to the early to mid-20th century warming, but my understanding is that it is only a partial component (~25%?) of the late 20th century global warming (this estimate is also supported by the general climate models). The other 75% (or more, there seems to also be a cooling trend that is being completely overwhelmed) is believed to be from anthropogenic CO2.

  65. 165
    Mandolin says:

    Thanks for the link. I read the entry on Pandagon that I think you’re referring to. I made this post recently and will make another post on a similarly related topic in the near future (for those of y’all into LJ …)

    Heh, you’re welcome. I was being a bit grumpy, but thank you for taking me at face value. I’m glad you found it useful.

    It’s very cool to have your livejournal link. I’ll try to drop by there occasionally to read.

  66. 166
    Julie, Herder of Cats says:

    Mandolin,

    If you have an LJ account, let me know the ID. Most of my entries are closed and if you’re interested in reading more than just that one link, you’ll need to be friended. I made a closed post about the link upthread and Charles (who has an LJ account) responded.

    So … if you have an LJ account, lemme know and you can join in that discussion. I’d like to know what your fiance has to say about C14:C12 ratios as that thread never evolved over here.