Saturday, November 28, 2009

Climategate - Cooking the Books on Global Warming


If documents from any corporation or government office included the phrases "hide the decline" or "Mike's Nature trick" or asked colleagues to destroy certain emails ahead of a freedom of information request, the media would be all over it. Wouldn't they?

If the whistleblower released computer programs with programmer's notes that said:

shouldn't usually plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted

stop in 1940 to avoid the decline

There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations

What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah - there is no 'supposed', I can make it up. So I have :-)

Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!

that would be absolute proof the data was invalid. Wouldn't it?

Well, all this, and much more, has happened over the past two weeks, but, so far, the media is treading softly.


Because the alleged malfactors are the very scientists who gave us the Global Warming scare. They "cooked the books" to push Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) - the idea that humans are mostly responsible for recent warming and the idea the Earth is close to a "tipping point". AGW is a sacred cow to politicos who have long planned to ride to riches and control of the global economic system.

Well, that old AGW sacred cow ain't going nowhere anytime soon.


Today I Googled "climategate" and got 10,600,000 hits, a Google on "global warming" yielded fewer, 10,200,000 hits. The new term was invented only a week ago!

In my March 2009 postings on the Global Warming "Tiger" (see figure above) I allocated 30% of the apparent warming over the past 150 years to "Data Bias", defined as unintentional exaggeration of the amount of waming, primarily due to the encroachment of artificial heat sources on the measurement devices. I assumed the AGW scientists were basically honest, but unintended experimental bias had marred their results by about 30%.

Well, a couple weeks ago, thousands of emails and computer programs were released, possibly by an inside whistleblower from the major UK Climate Research Unit (CRU). Accuweather quotes Eduardo Zorita, a contributing author of the 4th assessment report of the IPCC: "research in some areas of climate science has been and is full of machination, conspiracies, and collusion, as any reader can interpret from the CRU-files."

Just as Madoff got into trouble when the declining stock market caught him short and exposed his Ponzi scheme, the AGW climate scientists have been caught short by the unexpected stabilzation and small decline in global temperatures, probably due to changes in sunspot activity and other natural cycles that are undoubtedly the major cause of long-term climate changes.


The whole idea of accurately estimating changes that average a tenth of a degree per decade in global climate over centuries is absurd because, as we all know, temperature varies by tens of degrees every day!

We have recorded temperature readings that go back about 150 years, most manually read by volunteers or weather station employees who had to trudge 30 to 100 feet or more out to remote thermometers morning and night in all sorts of weather. If they were five (or fifteen) minutes early or late, the data would easily be off by tenths of a degree or more. If a new person took the job, he or she might follow a different schedule. With the advent of automatic reading, over the past few decades, the devices required electrical power and that caused many of them to be moved closer to buildings, where artificial heat sources biased the readings. Over the years, as hot air conditioner vents were added to buildings and asphalt driveways expanded, many thermometers were further biased by new heat sources. All this added to the experimental bias.

Data prior to about 150 years ago must be obtained from proxies, such as tree-ring data that give an indication of temperature on the basis of the rate of growth. However, variables other than temperature affect tree growth, such as rainfall and atmospheric CO2. Such data cannot approach accuracies of even one degree, much less precision to tenths of a degree.

Recognizing the possibility of bias and lack of precision, the experimenters wrote computer programs to process the data to adjust these biases. Of course, that opened the possibility some scientists would exploit the processing to hide inconvenient temperature declines and exaggerate AGW. It is clear from the emails and computer programs that have been released that some scientists took that opportunity to adjust the data to fit the story they wanted to tell. They believed that Global Warming was mostly due to human activity. They manipulated the data to tell that story!

You will hear much about Climategate in the main stream media soon.

Ira Glickstein

PS: Let me be clear, I believe there has been actual warming over the past 150 years, and some percentage of it is due to human burning of previously sequestered carbon (coal, oil, natural gas). I favor reasonable action, including a revenue-neutral Carbon Tax, to reduce the rapid rate of increase of atmospheric carbon gases.


JohnS said...

A good posting. I appreciate your keeping us informed on the subject. I suspect that the cost of a revenue-neutral,(what ever that means),Carbon Tax will only burden the nation and provide little benefit.

R. Fryer said...

I've been following Steve McIntyre's website pretty closely for a couple of years. My climate skepticism is based primarily on his exposures (the FOIA foot dragging at CRU, the truncated series, the flipping of proxies, and the like). So the spirit of the emails was not a surprise - the extent and depth did surprise me.

I've found that a good aggregator of the climategate stories is ''

In particular, a lengthy post last friday (Nov 27) has many links to the reaction of other scientists - many worth reading:
(Sorry Ira - you told me how to embed a link but I've forgotten how. Feel free to edit it to fix that if you'd rather.)

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks R. Fryer for the link* to Climate Depot that reinforces what I reported about what Eduardo Zorita called "machination, conspiracies, and collusion" in some areas of Climate Science based on his reading of the leaked CRU emails and computer programs.

Good to have you on as a Commenter - Let me know at if I should have Google Blogger send you an invite to become an Author and have your Comments appear without any need for me to Moderate them.

Ira Glickstein

*For you and Stu and others who do not remember how to make a link clickable. The following HTML code:

{a href=""}The Virtual Philosophy Club{/a}

Will result in the following:

The Virtual Philosophy Club<

NOTE: Where you see "{" and "}" in the example, you have to type "<" and ">"

Ira Glickstein said...

Some important developments in the Climategate saga. The creator of the global warming alarmist "hockey stick" is under investigation at Penn State and the The director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK will stand aside. Scientists in the UK admitted throwing away raw temperature data they used for predictions of global warming.

Lork Monckton summarizes what he calls the abject corruption of climate science.

The new leader of the Liberal Party in Australia called AGW "crap". He replaces a "warmist".

Ira Glickstein


I figured out how to better show how to embed links in your Comments. The following HTML:

<A HREF="http://">The Virtual Philosophy Club</A>

Will display as the clickable link:
The Virtual Philosophy Club

Put the URL you want to link between the quote marks and the text you want to display after the > and before the </A>

Howard Pattee said...

The politicization of global warming has made everyone a little paranoiac, including a few scientists. For a more objective view read the Editorial in Nature and the linked articles.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, I read the Nature editorial and I recommend it to all interested in this Topic.

My comments:

1) Nature refers to those concerned about the efforts to hide the decline as "deniers". For years now, I've followed the major websites Watts Up With That (WUWT) and Climate Audit (CA) and others and NONE of them DENY that the Earth has warmed over the past 150 years.Nor do they deny human released carbon has a role in warming. WUWT/CA present science-based evidence the UK Climate Research Unit (CRU) and US equivalents have distorted the actual instrumental and proxy data to exaggerate both the effect of CO2 and the temperature increase. This is a logical scientific issue.

2) Nature calls the released emails and computer programs "stolen". We do not know for sure, but IMHO it is more likely they were released by an inside "whistleblower", concerned about the lack of scientfic integrity he or she observed at CRU.

3) Much of the released material was covered under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws because the research was paid for by public money. Nature does not mention the CRU Director's email asking other scientists to delete certain emails because they were covered under FOI.

4) There is no doubt the emailers at CRU and their counterparts in the US tried to suppress peer-reviewed and published scientific papers that cast doubt on their alarmist views. That their attempt to silence their scientific critics failed for the two papers referenced in the IPCC 2007 report does not diminish their effort to cut off valid scientific debate.

5) Based on their models, IPCC 2007 claimed human-caused C02 was responsible for more than half the apparent temperature increase. This cannot be true because CO2 continues to rise rapidly even as average global temperatures stabilize. No net increase over a decade and a half, and perhaps a small drop recently! The models are certainly wrong.

6) Therefore it is clear WUWT and CA and others who sometimes call themselves "lukewarmers" are correct that the vast majority of the warming is due to natural cycles of the Sun and ocean currents and so on.

Ira Glickstein

joel said...

It's sad that Nature decided to align itself with fraud rather than condemn the perpetrators. This does additional damage to the concept of scientific research in the public eye.

The emails don't surprise me. They fit with my own experience in big money, high stakes science. Research dollars and politics are more important than truth. The warmists have diluted the power of the term of "holocaust denier" with "warming denier." I wonder whether we will now see "climate-gate denier"? All's apparently fair in the quest for government funding.

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks for your astute comments Joel. It is good to see you back here after too long an absence.

Ira Glickstein

PS: I heard you will speak about Plato/Aristotle tomorrow at the Philo Club here in The Villages and I plan to attend. Perhaps you can post a version here at the Blog. I returned to the Philo Club after a two-year hiatus last week to hear David Dingee's twin daughters give great talks. One is press attache at the US embassy in Beijing and the other VP for customer experience at United Airlines. They both speak French (like you) plus Mandarin!

Howard Pattee said...

The rhetoric has now been degraded to meta-arguments about whether e-mails effect global warming. I am puzzled by Ira’s views. He says, “Let me be clear, I believe there has been actual warming over the past 150 years, and some percentage of it is due to human burning of previously sequestered carbon (coal, oil, natural gas). I favor reasonable action . . .”

But then his posts about the stolen e-mails sound rather hysterical, as if all scientists have conspired to present false data to win some kind of political contest.

Which Ira should a non-expert believe?

Should I just ignore the twenty-five reputable scientists whose opinions I assume are not motivated primarily by political gain, but by maintaining their professional reputations?

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard asks "Which Ira should a non-expert believe?"

There is only one Ira and no contradiction in what I said in July 2007 and all my CO2 and Global Warming postings since. Let me resolve the "puzzle" you see.

The Tiger graphic summarizes my estimates of the causes of the apparent 0.8ºC warming over the past 150 years. 0.5ºC to 0.6ºC is actual. Less than 0.1ºC is due to human activity (AGW).

So, even if we could reduce AGW to zero (which would be impossible without wiping out human civilization as we know it), we would get less than 0.1ºC relief from the warming.

The IPCC stated that the majority (i.e., over 50%) of the warming is due to AGW. Quoting your link to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS): "The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming." Both assertions are mistaken.

The IPCC and UCS conclusions are based on UK CRU (and US equivalent) research and computer models. It is this work that has been called into question by the whistleblower's release of CRU emails and computer programs. At a minimum, the files raise questions about the integrity of the published data. You need not be any kind of climate expert or programmer to recognize computer code with comments about "very artificial corrections" and "dummy stations" and "stop in 1940 to avoid the decline". The emails brag about "Mike's Nature trick" and ask US and UK colleagues to delete emails ahead of an FOI request. They admit that much of the raw data was thrown away.

The IPCC uses dozens of models, all of which are predicated on CO2 being the major cause of warming. Those models have been proven wrong because, as CO2 has merrily increased over the past 15 years, warming has screeched to a halt and even cooled a bit. Clearly, CO2 is not the dominant cause else warming would have continued at some rate. It has not. Therefore something else is the dominant cause. I believe it will turn out to be natural cycles in the Sun and decadal ocean current oscillations that are beyond human control.

So, why do I favor "reasonable action" on CO2? As a conservative I do not think it is a good idea to have CO2 (or any other environmental agent) double in several decades, quite apart from the small effect it has on global climate. I am also concerned about the volatile politics and extremist religion that endangers foreign oil supplies. I would like us to be more energy-independent. That is why I (and the Wall Street Journal and conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer) favor a revenue-neutral Carbon Tax. The Carbon Tax also happens to be supported by NASA's James Hansen (VP Al Gore's chief alarmist) and Ralph Nader (pardon the expression).

Your linked UCS statement says IPCC conclusions are robust even without the UK CRU models and research. That would be true if there was independent research, but the emails make it clear that US researchers were the originators of "Mike'a Nature trick" to "hide the decline". Your "twenty-five reputable scientists" persist in calling the CRU files "stolen" without any evidence an external thief hacked into CRU.

You, Howard, taught me that models may or may not be correct. You said "the map is not the territory." Many a general has convinced himself, based on moving markers on a map, that the battle was won, only to be proven wrong by actual evidence on the battlefield!

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Well, Ira, I hope you are right that CO2 increase will have no significant effect on warming and that nature is cooling us off. I'm not as confidant as you are.

What appears as most uncertain is the effects of either warming or cooling on the world's populations. Disasters will occur somewhere whatever happens.

Ira Glickstein said...

I hope, along with you, Howard, that the Natural Cycles that dominate climate change will moderate the warming of the past century and perhaps cool things down a bit in our lifetimes and those of our grandchildren.

I agree when you write:

"What appears as most uncertain is the effects of either warming or cooling on the world's populations. Disasters will occur somewhere whatever happens."

The only constant in climate is continual cyclic change. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose", attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1908-1990). "The more things change, the more they remain the same!"

Moderate and relatively slow environmental change creates disasters for some species (clades) and opportunities for others. That is the basic, unchanging storyline of Evolution.

Ira Glickstein

PS: According to our Live Traffic Feed (right-hand column) Someone from Australia (Christchurch, Canterbury) has just looked at your Google Profile and, from there, landed on your (Symbol-Matter Problem (Biosemiotics) postings on this Blog.

Howard Pattee said...

Ira says, “The models are certainly wrong.” His simple argument is that even though CO2 continues to rise rapidly the average global temperatures is stable.

Why am I not as certain as Ira? I am not an expert here, but I am confident that nothing is simple about global climates! Just measuring global temperatures is not simple. All I am reasonably sure about is physical laws. Alone, they are not enough to make predictions, but they are enough to raise questions.

For example, latent heat is the energy needed to change phase from solid to liquid. Apparently polar and glacial ice is melting faster than anyone predicted. This melting ice must be absorbing heat which would tend to stabilize global temperature. Here is my very rough estimate. (I’m sure experts have done this better.)

Total polar and glacial ice melt in 2008 ~10^11 cubic meters. (This must be a very rough estimate.)
Density of water and ice: 1000 kg/m^3
So the mass of 2008 ice melt ~10^14 kg
Latent heat of melting for ice: 3.3 x 10^5 Joule/kg
Therefore the heat at const. temperature necessary to melt 2008 ice ~3.3 x 10^19 Joules
Annual energy from sun on Earth ~4 x 10^18 Joules

So if these ballpark estimates are anywhere near reality (somebody check me), and no other effects are important (which is not the case) we should expect years of ice melting to absorb a significant amount of heat, some of which should cool the atmosphere. (I have no estimate of how much.) But when the ice is gone, unless other natural energy sources decrease, temperatures should rise precipitously.

This is only one line of argument, which I hope is way off, because it strongly suggests that we have passed the irreversible “tipping point”. The numbers are too large for human control. The literature is full of other lines of argument.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

[ Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice]

Ira Glickstein said...

Great to have Howard (a PhD physicist) doing some calculations about the joules required to melt sea ice vs the joules from solar radiation.

Please check out the Arctic Sea Ice Extent Graph. You will see there was more sea ice in 2008 than in 2007 and even more in 2009 than in 2008. Arctic sea ice hits its high mid-March and low mid-September. According to this official source, Arctic Sea Ice has been increasing, not melting, since 2007.

What is the source of your estimates of sea ice melt? Why did you use 2008 data?

As for the climate models. Have a look at the World Climate Widget in the right hand column of our Blog. Note that CO2 (pink line) has been rising constantly from 1979 to 2009. IPCC says CO2 is the "major" cause of global warming, and your UCS link says it is the "dominant" cause.

If any one input to a model is "major" and "dominant" and if it continues to rise at a constant rate, the output of the model also has to rise, no matter what the other, non-dominant inputs do. That is why all the IPCC models predict rising world temperatures if CO2 continues to rise.

Yet, as indicated by the jagged blue line in the graph, temperatures have stabilized and perhaps dropped a bit over the past decade and a half. Therefore, it seems to me, the models must be wrong about the "dominance" of CO2.

Please tell me why this is not a logical argument. advTHANKSance!

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira argument says, “If any one input to a model is "major" and "dominant" and if it continues to rise at a constant rate, the output of the model also has to rise, no matter what the other, non-dominant inputs do.” He asks, “Please tell me why this is not a logical argument.”

I have no idea of the details of the IPCC models or any of the numerous other models. I am sure they are very complex computer models with many variables and different output time scales. But even in a simple model Ira’s argument is not always sound.

For example, heating water in a pot the dominant input is the heat supplied to the pot and the output is the temperature of the water. Ira’s logic will work at first. However, when the water boils and heat continues to be supplied the temperature does not rise. You can even increase the rate of heating and the temperature stays the same. This is only about a short-term “output.” In the long term long term (when the water is gone) the pot will melt, and who knows maybe the house will burn.

That is essentially the argument I’m suggesting about arctic ice melt. Of course I am grossly oversimplifying because I am grossly ignorant of all the facts and theories that the experts are using for their models. I see no point in arguing details about which you are ignorant.

The estimate of ice melt does not depend strongly on the year. About a million square kilometers is typical. The important trend, see Figure 3 shows ice extent for 1979 to 2009 indicating a decline of 4.5% per decade.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, your boiling pot is a very good example and it is applicable to the CO2 "greenhouse"* issue.

As you know, the atmospheric "greenhouse" effect is that visible sunlight energy passes through the CO2 easily and warms the Earth. The warmed Earth emits infrared radiation (IR) into space but, when that IR hits the CO2 it does not pass through easily and most of it is re-radiated back to the Earth, warming it further. CO2 is like clear glass for visible light but acts like a "blanket" for IR.

If not for the CO2 the Earth would be too cold to support life as we know it, so thank God for the "greenhouse" effect.

As we know, CO2 has been rising rapidly and continually for decades and could double in a forseeable future. However, surface temperatures have stabilized. Why? Well, some scientists postulate that the current level of CO2 blocks nearly all the IR radiated from the Earth, so additional CO2 does not have much more effect. So, like your pot of heated water that stops increasing in temperature when it reaches the boiling point despite the constant heat of the stove, the CO2 in the atmosphere, when it reaches a critical level, blocks nearly all the IR and additional CO2 has a much reduced effect.

Here is an analogous example: Say you have a window with a heavy shade that blocks 90% of the light from outside. If you double it by adding another heavy shade it will only block 9% more of the light. If you triple it by adding yet another heavy shade, it will block less than 1% more and so on - Law of Diminishing Returns.

Great argument!

Ira Glickstein

*Which is not how a backyard greenhouse works which is why I am putting quotes around it.

PS: I am thinking about posting a series of simplified explanations of the Earth's heat balance to this Blog. My U. Maryland class ended today and I will have some extra time before next semester starts mid-January.

Howard Pattee said...

From his examples, I don’t think Ira has understood latent heat (or heat of fusion). To melt ice takes a lot of heat, and this heat does not raise the temperature. But the heat is still in the system. The heat necessary just to melt one cc. of ice at 0 deg. would raise the same one cc. of water by more than 80 deg. K or 180 deg F. My water boiling away model was to suggest what happens once the polar ice totally melts during the summer and this enormous latent heat energy that went into that phase change starts to work on global temperatures.

What I was also trying to point out is that Ira’s linear logic (dominant causes have dominant effects) is inapplicable. The basic difficulty with global models is that they are highly nonlinear (very small causes can have dominant effects). This “trigger” effect is what is popularly called the “tipping point.”

Thick ice has a low accumulation rate (e.g., Consequently, in linear regimes it takes a long time before climate changes affect ice caps and glaciers. In linear regimes both ice and water provide negative feedback buffering sudden temperature change. But all linear regimes are bounded and sooner or later they hit nonlinear regimes involving phase changes where ice melts and water evaporates.

The Earth is always in the nonlinear regime where the latent heat produces positive feedback. This is one reason there can be a much faster and often unstable response to small changes in greenhouse gas levels.
Ira says, “Some scientists postulate that the current level of CO2 blocks nearly all the IR radiated from the Earth, so additional CO2 does not have much more effect.” The data I know show the opposite: The carbon dioxide of the atmosphere has varied cyclically over the past 800,000 years, and is closely coupled with temperature and sea level (
Science, 4 Dec. 2009).

For a readable, objective sources of global weather data see Global Warming Art.

Ira Glickstein said...

Yes, Howard, CO2 and temperature are definitely correlated in the 600,000 year ice core record. But the CO2 rise and fall lags the temperature rise and fall by around 1000 years, see my Topic on this issue of cause and effect. Even the alarmist Real Climate acknowledges this lag. Dramatic temperature drops in the ice core record always start when CO2 has been at a peak for thousands of years.

Yes, I also know the heat of fusion for water to ice is 80 cal/gram and heat of vaporization for water to steam is 540 cal/gram (and I even remembered the numbers!) And I know 1 cal raises 1 gram of water 1ºC, so melting ice takes 80 times the energy it would require to raise the temperature of water 1ºC and turning water to steam takes 540 times as much energy as raising water 1ºC.

That is why it is impressive that there is more Arctic sea ice in 2009 than in 2008 and more in 2008 than 2007 - definite evidence of at least a bit of recent cooling at least in the Arctic. (And of course the fact there is less sea ice now than 1979 is evidence of warming since then).

When the surface of the Earth is warmed by excessive Solar energy input as we have experienced for much of the past century, some of that heat, as you point out, is absorbed by melting the sea ice (at 80 times the energy it takes to raise water 1ºC). Much of the rest of it goes into evaporating more water (at 540 times the energy it takes to raise water 1ºC) and the clouds rise high in the atmosphere to help block the Sun from further warming the surface. Every time I fly above the clouds I can't help but marvel at the brilliant mass of white vapor reflecting the Sunlight energy back out into space.

When there is a reduction in Solar energy input as we hope will be the case if Solar cycle #24 is further delayed and if it and several future cycles are long and weak, sea ice freezes, releasing the heat of fusion, helping to maintain surface temperatures. As the Earth surface cools, fewer clouds are formed, allowing more Sunlight to pass through to help reduce further cooling of the surface.

There seems to be a built-in temperature regulatory system on Earth that damps down climate change. Of course, climate change is not prevented entirely as the Medieval Warming Period (MWP) 800-1300 and the Little Ice Age (LIA)1650-1850 taught our recent ancestors. They had to cope with conditions warmer than today (MWP)and much colder (LIA).

Will the world end in fire or ice? Given our current Congress, more likely mire or lice.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, our data sources must be different. You have “definite evidence” of cooling from what source?

I used the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The yearly differences clearly fluctuate, but as I said, “The important trend, see Figure 3 shows ice extent for 1979 to 2009 indicating a decline of 4.5% per decade.” That would imply a steady warming.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, the NSIDC link you used shows that there was considerably more Arctic sea ice in Sep 2009 (solid blue line) than Sep 2008 (dashed green line), and a tiny bit more now than December of last year. It also shows the average from 1979-2000 (thick grey line) was considerably more ice than now.

I like to use the more extensive IJIS that shows each year from 2002 through 2009 in a different color. I like to look at the March peaks and September valleys. Again, the graph shows the lowest valley is 2007 (light green), with more ice in 2008 (orange) and still more in 2009 (red). Years prior to 2007 had even more ice than 2009, confirming that we are still warmer than 2002-2006.

Your link and mine agree (I think both use the same satellite data sources). Both confirm what I said in my previous posting:

"... there is more Arctic sea ice in 2009 than in 2008 and more in 2008 than 2007 - definite evidence of at least a bit of recent cooling at least in the Arctic. (And of course the fact there is less sea ice now than 1979 is evidence of warming since then).

Ira Glickstein

PS: I followed all the links in your previous posting and they seem to be from 2008 and earlier, and not conizant of the most recent slight cooling data.

Howard Pattee said...

We appear to differ over relevant time scales. It is clear that in Sept. 2009 there was more ice than Sept. 2007-8. But this difference does not appear to hold up for Dec. readings. The longer time scale of Fig 3 shows that these yearly differences are not dependable indicators except as a long range indicator of warming.

What I think is most unfortunate is that a vital but uncertain scientific issue has been taken over by extremists on both sides who have no idea of the complexity of the problem and no idea of how most scientists work.

I also think it is unfortunate when expert scientist on both sides enter into public disputes in the media where all objectivity is corrupted. In my view, scientists like Lindzen and Hansen have lost credibility among their more objective colleagues by entering into media disputes.

(However, I do think their Wiki page links are worth reading)

Ira Glickstein said...

Most of the climate scientists -on all sides- are basically honest, or at least started out that way.

The alarmists, in the '80's and 90's really believed the Earth was nearing a "tipping point" due to unprecendented amounts of CO2 released by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. They constructed computer models based on the apparently reasonable premise that "greenhouse" warming was at least linearly related to CO2 and other carbon gas concentrations. Furthermore, their models were built to assume, apparently equally reasonably, that the albedo of the Earth (percentage of Sunlight reflected) would drop uncontrollably as polar ice melted and exposed open water and ground. Warming would drive even more CO2 out of the oceans and melt even more ice in a vicious cycle, destroying human civilization in rising oceans, floods, droughts and storms and so on.

I think, given such science-based views, and experimental evidence of continual CO2 and temperature increases, it was their duty to alarm the political and economic process to take action while there was still time. (Which James Hansen and other members of the alarmist Team did - Enter Al Gore, etc.)

When, in the late 90's and in this decade, some of the observed data was, let us say, "inconvenient" to their perceived truth, they minimized it, explained it away, and looked for data that did support their story. They used their influence to fund scientists who produced favorable data and pressured to defund those who continued to produce "inconvenient" results. They continued to accept temperature readings from stations encroached by artificial heat sources and dropped hundreds of stations that were more representative of actuality. They "artificially adjusted" or totally deleted the tree core proxy data from 1940 on to "hide the decline". All this was justified to help the ultimate cause (which they still believe in), and to keep their expensive institutes well funded by their political allies who had other agendas that would be furthered by CO2 alarm. (Enter Climategate.)

You linked to the Wiki pages for Hansen on the alarmist side and Lindzen on the skeptic side. I would prefer Pielke as closer to my views. (Lindzen has some baggage regarding lung cancer risks and I dont trust anyone younger than me who smokes. But that was not the only reason I did not vote for the winner in 2008 ;^)

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira, I agree that Pielke sounds like a reasonable skeptic with his emphasis on the importance of regional weather models. Before I read about him I was struck by the huge anomalies in temperature last month, a difference of 12 degrees between
Barents Sea and Russia. How can you put much faith in fractional degree (averaged and questionable) data that claims to represent the entire Earth?

I am also skeptical of solar effects because I can find no consensual support for it. All I find are papers claiming it is not important. For example, see the paper in the Jan. 2009 Physics Today.

Also as an example of endless disputation over inadequate information see Duke University School of Environment web site.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard, your Physics Today and Duke University links are correct that total solar irradiance (TSI) varies by only a small percentage and probably has a relatively minor role in multi-decadal periods of warming and cooling.

However, I am amazed that neither link mentions Cosmic Rays, which are affected by Solar magnetic activity and have a role in cloud formation, thus indirectly affecting the amount of Solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. There is a correlation between Sunspot number and Solar magnetic activity that is associated with deflecting Cosmic Rays away from our Solar system. Decadal variation in quantity and heights of clouds seems to dominate warm and cool periods.

We know from historical records that cooling periods are associated with multi-decadal periods of weak Sunspot cycles. By weak, I mean cycles that peak with Sunspot number below 80.

The Little Ice Age from around 1650-1850 had what is called the Maunder Minimum cooling period from 1645-1715 when Sunspot number was below 20, and a smaller Dalton Minimum period from 1790-1840 with Sunspot numbers below 50.

Conversely, by strong I mean cycles that peak with Sunspot numbers over 100 (and are generally shorter than 11 years). Of the seven cycles from around 1930 to 2007, six of them peaked above 110. The most recent, #23, was a whopper, peaking over 120.

Back in 2006, NASA wrongly predicted #24 would be a "doozy", peak over 160, and start by early 2007. In 2008, with #24 still a gleam in their eye, NASA had to revise their prediction downward to 137.

Almost a year ago, when NASA dropped their prediction to 104, I (Ira) published my prediction it would be below 80 and peak a year later than NASA thought. Well, NASA has since revised their prediction down to 90. #24 is still quiet as a mouse. It is almost 2010. #24 is way late!

This could be great news! IF (a big IF) #24 is a harbinger of a series of longer, weaker cycles, that could mean a Natural Cycle of decades of reduced Solar warming. That, in turn, could moderate Global Warming and perhaps give us some Global Cooling and more time to formulate and implement a reasonable plan for controlling CO2 without wrecking the world's economy, such as a revenue-neutral Carbon Tax (also favored by NASA's chief alarmist James Hansen).

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

I did not intend to get sucked into the global warming discussion because I happen to believe that there are experts on the subject who know more that I do by orders of magnitude. So all I can do is use them to answer Ira’s claims.

The most comprehensive and authoritative study I found about solar effects on warming was a paper by Mike Lockwood and Claus Frohlich published in Proc. Roy. Soc. 2007.

Their results
“show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms [including sunspots] is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified.”

The most recent paper I found agrees, and ends with this conclusion: “In our simulations, changes in CCN from changes in cosmic rays during a solar cycle are two orders of magnitude too small to account for the observed changes in cloud properties; consequently, we conclude that the hypothesized effect is too small to play a significant role in current climate change.”

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Howard for all your research - I've been busy reading your links.

Lockwood & Frolich (L&F) start by reciting a tautology:

"There is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth’s pre-industrial climate..."

DUH! In the pre-industrial period there could be no significant human-caused climate change, so ALL change MUST have been due to changes in the Sun or something else not under human control.

And P&F continue:

"...and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half
of the last century."

OK, 1800-1850 includes the last part of the Little Ice Age, the most recent grand minimum cooling period with low Sunspot numbers (below 50).

Then, P&F do a detailed analysis of 1975-2005, a period that included whoppingly strong Sunspot cycles with peaks up to 150. The linked diagram shows how CO2 (blue line) increases with hardly any dips while Temperature (Red) seems to wave up and down, lagging a decade or two behind similarly wavy Sunspot number (Orange).

I believe one reason P&F do not find that Solar changes are sufficient to explain the rapid warming in the period they looked at is that the entire period consisted of uninterrupted high Sunspot numbers that they call a "grand maximum". Had there been a couple of low Sunspot cycles in the analysis period, their results might have been more favorable to the Sunspot/Cosmic Ray/Cloud theory of Svensmark 2007.

In any case, P&F conclude on a positive note:

"it is possible that the decline seen since 1985 marks the beginning of the end of the recent grand maximum in solar activity and the cosmogenic isotope record suggests that even if the present decline is interrupted in the near future, mean values will decline over the next century. This would reduce the solar forcing of climate, but to what extent this might counteract the effect of anthropogenic warming, if at all, is certainly not yet known."

Certainly a tiny thread of hope, but far more likely IMHO than any global agrement to stailize, much less reduce, CO2 emissions.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

I agree that we cannot expect much from international cooperation or intervention except some politically cosmetic agreements.

As you said earlier, the best motivation is simply to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

As a historical fact, nothing will really change until there is a real disaster.

Happy Hanukka and holidays in spite of it all.

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks Howard for your kind Chanukah wishes and Merry Christmas to you and everyone on this Blog.

Just a small bone to pick with you and most of the media:

Put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas and the CH back in CHanukah!"

The Hebrew CH sound is gutteral, similar to the CH in the Scottish "loch" or the German "achtung". Practice it in the mirror until you can get it right without spitting!

You have seen it spelled "Hanukkah" by (nearly) all the major media and pronouced Hon-uh-kuh (with the "Hon" as on "honk").

So, why do I and many Jewish websites spell it "Chanukah" while others spell it "Hanukkah"?

Because we are right and they are wrong! Here is the proof!

In Hebrew characters it is spelled: חֲנֻכָּה and, reading from right to left, the first letter חֲ is a "Chet" which has a gutteral, back of the throat, rumbling sound not represented by any single English character. As noted above, this has been represented in English as "Ch", based on the Scottish "loch". Unfortunately, in English, "ch" is also sounded like the first syllable of "chime" or Christmas". In a misplaced effort to resolve the issue, some Jewish scholars spelled it "Kh" a combination not usually found in English. Others spelled it as a "Ḥ" (an "H" with a dot under it).

The "Kh" was not widely accepted and the "Ḥ" was often simplified to a plain "H", which is why you often see "Hanukkah" or "Hanuka" or "Hannukah" or "Hannukkah" and hear it pronounced "Hon-uh-kuh". A grating sound to my ears!

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

It has always puzzled me how ancient languages were spoken, i.e.,pronounced. We know how they were written because ancient examples exist. No ancient sounds exist! Even my grandparents were hard for me to understand because of their German Swiss accent.