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Gavin Schmidt on the Acquittal of CO2


by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD

Revised 3/18/10.


Gavin A. Schmidt is a well-placed leader of the Anthropogenic Global Warming movement. He is a climate modeler at NASA. While London trained as a mathematician, he was an NOAA Postdoctoral Fellow in "Climate and Global Change Research". He is an editor for the Journal of Climate. He is the principal of an authoritative blog called RealClimate.org.

As he has admitted and has been shown to be true, he usually doesn't respond to outside criticism. E.g., re newspapers see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/. However, he deigned to answer The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide. See the discussion of the Acquittal at website for CrossFit, Comment #48, 10/31/06, www.crossfit.com.

This is what he has to say:

"[Response: That's pretty confused. He neither understands the physics of CO2, nor the implications of the Vostok record, nor the concept of positive feedback. We've discussed each of these issues before, and I would refer you there. - gavin] {Begin rev. 6/2/10} Realclimate.org, 10/31/06, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/ocean-circulation-new-evidence-yes-slowdown-no/ {End rev. 6/2/10}

"Dec 2004. What does the lag of CO2 behind temperature in ice cores tell us about global warming? http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/

"22 Dec 2004. How do we know that recent CO2 increases are due to human activities? http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/

"5 Jul 2006. Runaway tipping points of no return. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/runaway-tipping-points-of-no-return/Gavin Schmidt on Physics"

RSJ dissects Dr. Schmidt's reply categorically.

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Schmidt's opening, "[Response: That's pretty confused. He neither understands the physics of CO2, … ", doesn't tell the reader what physics is relevant, what misunderstanding Schmidt might have perceived, or who or what is confused.

Relevant physics. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988, the physics of CO2 includes an annual gross exchange of about 90 PgC (90 Gigatons of carbon) per year, that determines the fate of CO2 in the atmosphere, it must be calculated in a numerical model, and it depends on the solubility of CO2 in water, and in particular, on the solubility pump.

The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide extensively addresses the solubility of CO2 in water. So what Gavin cannot reveal as my misunderstanding of CO2 physics must be an error of commission, not omission.

What does Gavin say about solubility and CO2 on his website, www.realclimate.org? First, Google says: Your search - "solubility pump" site:realclimate.org - did not match any documents. So apparently he completely neglects the CO2 physics of the solubility pump!

If you Google for solubility and "carbon dioxide" at realclimate.org, you'll find the following six unique citations.

(1) Schmidt, 16 May 2006, Current volcanic activity and climate?

There is an obvious spike in the rate of CO2 increase at that time -- in the other direction!

I've been all over the CO2 record from Mauna Loa, and I can tell you that just after the Mt. Pinatubo explosion, the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 decreased. From about 1977 to 1990, atmospheric CO2 was increasing at about 1.5 ppmv/yr, but from 1991-1992 the rate dropped to about 0.9 ppmv/yr. It rebounded quickly, and by 1994 was above 1.5 ppmv/yr.

Gavin? Could the Mt. Pinatubo explosion have caused a decrease in atmospheric CO2 increase rate? Or is the dip due to some other cause?

[Response: A small dip is completely understandable in terms of the carbon cycle response to the cooling. It could be a solubility effect (cooler oceans take up more CO2), but it's more likely a biosphere effect - reduced soil respiration maybe. I'd have to look up the relevant literature to be more precise... - gavin]. Comment #6. www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/ 2006/05/current-volcanic-activity-and-climate/. Emphasis in original, www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/ 2006/05/positive-feedbacks-from-the-carbon-cycle/

Gavin admits his confusion. Could solubility be playing a role, he asks!

(2) Archer of RealClimate.org, 27 May 2006, Positive feedbacks from the carbon cycle.

The oceans are presently taking up about 2 Gton C per year, a significant dent in our emissions of 7 Gton C per year. This could slow in the future, as overturning becomes inhibited by stratification, as the buffer loses its capacity due to acidification. Eventually, the fluxes could reverse as with a decrease in CO2 solubility due to ocean warming. www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/ 2006/05/positive-feedbacks-from-the-carbon-cycle/

Here the author admits only to the possibility that CO2 solubility could play a role. However, another aspect of this citation is far more important. Climatologists calculate that annually the oceans dissolve between 92 and 107 Gigatons of carbon, and emit variously between 90 and 103 Gigatons back into the atmosphere, accuracy unknown. (Google for 90 PgC/yr for an idea of the extent of this calculation.) The anthropogenic crowd presume that the 90 GT figure is natural equilibrium, and that the excess uptake of 2 GT is associated with anthropogenic CO2. Of course, this is nonsense. The 2 GT figure is merely the difference between two large, uncertain estimates. The sources for both the 90 GT and 92 GT figures and the 103 GT and 107 GT remain a mystery, concealing the method of computation, its probable accuracy, and the dependence on conditions and assumptions, especially but not exclusively global temperature (climate).

These observations point to one of several persistent scientific flaws in the AGW conjecture. In this case, the GCMs do not work in the most significant figures, but they claim validity in the region of the middle most significant figures. Now restricting the domain of a scientific model is a routine practice, and is quite acceptable. If the climatologists wish to restrict the domain of their GCMs to the present post glacial period, or even to the time since the Little Ice Age, they should so state this restriction. If they do so, however, they are bound to express their models against a doubly warming background: the post glacial period of about 60 to 80 thousand years, or to the post LIA period of a hundred and fifty years or so.

Instead, the climatologists glue the dubious CO2 measurements of the last fifty years onto the record of several centuries or onto the record of several hundred millennia, thus to proclaim an unprecedented level of CO2 due to man. They fail to account for the differences in measurement methods and the problems that implies with regard to calibration. They fail to account for the global temperature and the effects that has on the CO2 concentration. They fail to account for the difference in sampling intervals. They ignore that some technicians making the modern measurements reported that they waited until the wind was from the sea because that lead to higher CO2 levels. [Gray, Vincent R. "Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide", letter 3/1/99, Re: paper on pre-industrial carbon dioxide. http://www.john-daly.com/bull120.htm.] They ignore the hint in that admission that maybe the CO2 was fresh outgassing and not manmade at all.

(3) Schmidt, 8 Mar 2006, Art and climate, no response to Comment # 17:

Similarly is there a graph somewhere giving the solubility of CO2 versus temperature in sea water? www.realclimate.org/index.php/ archives/2006/03/art-and-climate/

Gavin never answered. The graph is in The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide.

(4) Schmidt, 5 Dec 2005, Debate over the Early Anthropogenic Hypothesis, by response to Comment #36.

It seems that increases in ocean temperature and CO2 outgassing go hand in hand. [Citations]

"The total amount of carbon in the ocean is about 50 times greater than the amount in the atmosphere, and is exchanged with the atmosphere on a time-scale of several hundred years. [¶] Dissolution in the oceans provides a large sink for anthropogenic CO2, due in part to its high solubility, but above all because of its dissociation into ions and interactions with sea water constituents".

"CO2 solubility is temperature dependent, hence air-sea heat transfer contributes to seasonal and regional patterns of air-sea CO2 transfer (Watson et al., 1995). Net cooling of surface waters tends to drive CO2 uptake; net warming drives outgassing." www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/ 2005/12/early-anthropocene-hyppothesis/

Gavin never took the hint. The evidence of the CO2 solubility affecting the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is in the Vostok data, reported and measured in The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide.

Actually, climatologists' calculations indicate a little more than one eighth of the CO2 in the atmosphere is exchanged annually. The record indicates that CO2 stream has a transport lag of about one millennium, but the exchange is perpetual.

(5) RealClimate.org, 7 Jun 2005. How much of the recent CO2 increase is due to human activities?

Why are the ocean and land taking up carbon, when we know that warming of the oceans reduces the solubility of CO2 and warming of the land accelerates bacterial degradation of the soils? The answer is that warming is not the only process that influences the oceans and land biosphere. The dominant process in the oceans is the response to increasing atmospheric CO2 itself. If the oceans had not warmed, they might have taken up even more carbon, although we cannot say for sure because warming may have other impacts, for example on marine biota. On land, bacterial degradation of the soils may have increased in response to warming, but for the moment this effect is smaller than the land response to other processes (for example fertilization by CO2 and nitrogen, changes in precipitation, etc). www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=160

This is all qualitative, with no references to computations. It is dismissive of the effect on solubility of warming, which is, after all, the principal independent variable of the solubility curve (solubility as a function of temperature, with a parameter of partial pressure.)

Once the climatologists re-integrate ocean models with their Global Circulation Models, they are likely to discover that the uptake of CO2 is relatively constant (at least until the entire sea surface freezes), and is limited by exposure time, partial pressure, wind velocities, and area. However, the outgassing is likely to be the more important parameter with respect to CO2 concentrations. At the same time, the greenhouse effect will be minor, mostly dependent on water vapor, and relatively constant.

(6) Schmidt, 21 Jan 2006. Calculating the greenhouse effect, no response to Comment #24 by Dave Nicosia (NOAA):

Also, in the ice core data, CO2 appears to passively follow the inferred temperature trends through the millennia suggesting its concentration follows the glacial to interglacial periods and the increased solubility of the oceans at lower temperatures. www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/ 2006/01/calculating-the-greenhouse-effect/

Gavin did not answer. As The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide shows, Dave Nicosia was insightful.


Schmidt says of The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide, "nor [does the author understand] the implications of the Vostok record … ."

The Acquittal says that the shape of the Vostok relationship between CO2 concentration and the temperature traces is fully represented by the solubility of CO2 in water, with no constant offset (no "forcing" component), and is confirmed by the CO2 lag, which the article quantifies, and which is consistent with the transport lag caused by the oceanic thermohaline circulation. Has anything written by or for Schmidt contradicted these new findings in The Acquittal?

In support of his accusations, Schmidt refers us to three papers he authored, all on his website. None of these citations says that the Vostok record demonstrates the essential fact that atmospheric CO2 and any temperature are correlated!

Schmidt's first citation is "What does the lag of CO2 behind temperature in ice cores tell us about global warming?", 12/3/04, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/. With regard to the Vostok record, this paper says only what is NOT significant. That insignificant fact, Schmidt asserts, is the lag of the CO2 concentration trace behind temperature trace. If that fact were insignificant, it would weaken the discoveries in The Acquittal, depriving its thesis of the lag that tends to confirm the model of the ocean controlling the atmospheric CO2 content.

In reality, the lag is an inconvenient fact to AGW. Enthusiasts must discredit this lag because their AGW conjecture rests on manmade CO2 causing global warming. That causal conjecture is severely damaged by the reversed timing: temperature changes precede CO2 concentration changes!

The AGW advocates postulate a rehabilitating theory: CO2 amplifies global warming.

From a detailed study of the last three glacial terminations in the Vostok ice core, Fischer et al. (1999) conclude that CO2 increases started 600 ± 400 years after the Antarctic warming. However, considering the large uncertainty in the ages of the CO2 and ice (1,000 years or more if we consider the ice accumulation rate uncertainty), Petit et al. (1999) felt it premature to ascertain the sign of the phase relationship between CO2 and Antarctic temperature at the initiation of the terminations. In any event, CO2 changes parallel Antarctic temperature changes during deglaciations (Sowers and Bender, 1995; Blunier et al., 1997; Petit et al., 1999). This is consistent with a significant contribution of these greenhouse gases to the glacial-interglacial changes by amplifying the initial orbital forcing (Petit et al., 1999). TAR, ¶2.4 How Rapidly did Climate Change in the Distant Past? ¶2.4.1 Background, p. 137.


There are many feedback mechanisms in the climate system that can either amplify ('positive feedback') or diminish ('negative feedback') the effects of a change in climate forcing. AR4, FAQ 1.1, p. 95.

But this residual amplification conjecture is equally bizarre. This model states that the amplified warming somehow releases more CO2, and hence the amplification is a positive feedback.

First, to the extent that this amplification could be so, the instability should soon cause the CO2 record to lead temperature. It never has. Schmidt has no data to confirm his amplification suggestion. Also see Schmidt's reliance on feedback, below.

Schmidt's second citation, "How do we know that recent CO2 increases are due to human activities?", http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/, 12/22/04, includes only the following with respect to Vostok:

In addition to the data from tree rings, there are also of measurements of the 13C/12C ratio in the CO2 trapped in ice cores. The tree ring and ice core data both show that the total change in the 13C/12C ratio of the atmosphere since 1850 is about 0.15%. This sounds very small but is actually very large relative to natural variability. The results show that the full glacial-to-interglacial change in 13C/12C of the atmosphere -- which took many thousand years -- was about 0.03%, or about 5 times less than that observed in the last 150 years.


CO2 levels are currently higher than for any time when we have direct measurements (directly, from 1950; before that, from air trapped in ice cores), which amounts to the last 780,000 years (see, e.g., a picture here for the last 400 kyr). Various considerations suggest that in the far past CO2 levels were considerably higher. From memory, the last time CO2 levels exceeded present was about 40 million years ago. Response to Comment #4.

This modern increase in CO2 is often found supported by a graph showing the Vostok CO2 concentration in time, with rapidly rising modern data linked added to the end of the Vostok record. Nowhere do the climatologists justify the method linking data taken by different methods, in different locations, and with grossly different granularity.

Data show that carbon dioxide levels are rising, they are now 30% higher than at any time during at least the past 650,000 years, and likely even the past several million years. 31 Mar 2006, Bush on "The Fundamental Debate", by the group, www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/bush-on-the-debate/

The Unprecedented Assumption

The absence of evidence is not evidence of the absence, even when abundant samples have proved negative. A tenet of the AGW conjecture is that the present levels of CO2 are unprecedented, going back four million years. The Vostok data go back 420,000 to 780,000 years, but the sample interval is one to two millennia. The current surge in CO2 is known by a different method, and is only 150 years long, a seventh of a millennium. If there had been just one similar epoch to the present during the period covered by Vostok, the odds are strong that it would NOT have been detected.

The AGW advocates suffer from the same problem as creationists. Transition species are missing from the paleontology record, but fossilization is an infrequent event, much longer than the periods of speciation. The chances of discovering a brief epoch in gas concentration, like the chances for discovering transition species, is quite small. Neither proof of God's hand nor of man's lies in such sparse data.

The 12/22/04 paper also says,

If we see CO2 increasing in the atmosphere, and humans emitting enough CO2 to account for that rise, then you have to go through some odd contortions to avoid a connection. You would have to postulate a suddenly increased natural sink (to remove the human CO2) and then a suddenly increased natural source (to increase the atmospheric CO2). Response to Comment #6.

To the contrary, to make the connection is to rely on correlation instead of a cause and effect model. This false reliance has blinded the AGW advocates to the on-going physics. Suddenly developed sinks and sources are not needed at all. The cold ocean is a sink to all atmospheric CO2, manmade, accidental, or ocean emitted. The cold sink is limited not by capacity, but by exposure, pressure, and winds. But for the ocean outgassing, the cold waters would scrub the atmosphere of all CO2 in less than a decade by the climatologists own uncertain carbon and flux estimates. The natural source is dominantly the oceans. CO2 concentration has increased because the oceans are warming, and have been since the Little Ice Age and since the last glacial period.

The Residence Time Assumption

Another AGW tenet is that the buildup of CO2 in the Mauna Loa Record is an accumulation of CO2 throughout the brunt of the industrial era. To make that accumulation viable, AGW advocates claim the duration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a century or more.

To the extent that the mean residence time of CO2 is less than a century, the build up must be from other sources. Others have claimed the residence time is the order of five years or less, and that appears to be supported by their calculations of the total concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the flux into the biosphere and especially the ocean. With such short CO2 persistence, the AGW conjecture needs shoring up with a new rationale for the 150 year growth in CO2.

The Keeling Curve Assumptions

The unprecedented rise in CO2, correlated to an extent with the calculated production of anthropogenic CO2, was discovered and analyzed by Charles David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, from measurements made at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii. The data comprise a seasonal oscillation on top of a steadily rising and even accelerating, non-seasonal base. Keeling warned that the data were a reliable indicator in a localized space, the middle, troposphere layers in the region. Keeling, C.D. & T. P. Whorf, Atmospheric carbon dioxide record from Mauna Loa, 1958-2004. www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/. Reportedly he also said that his data reflected natural events, including perhaps an unprecedented process. Keeling, C.D. & T. P. Whorf, Atmospheric carbon dioxide record from Mauna Loa, 1958-2004. www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/. He came to conclude that the seasonal portion was natural, and due to seasonal changes in the biosphere. See Kaufmann, Robert K., Seasonal Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: Longer Growings Seasons Versus Greener Summers, Boston University, Center for Energy & Environmental Studies. www.bu.edu/cees/people/faculty/kaufmann/documents/carbon_dioxide.pdf. However, he concluded that the non-seasonal part was anthropogenic. See Scripps CO2 Program, Charles David Keeling Biography. http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/program_history/charles_david_keeling_biography.html.

Later A.C. Manning in association with Keeling's son, Ralph, also a PhD oceanographer at Scripps, concluded that variations in north-south transport were likely a particularly important cause of the short-term variability of atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa. Manning, A.C. & R. F. Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, Correlations in Short-Term Variations in Atmospheric Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory. www.cmdl.noaa.gov/publications/annrpt22/MANNING.pdf . These results raise the question whether the seasonal variations may be due simply to the variations in prevailing or trade winds at Mauna Loa. Did Charles Keeling consider wind as the cause, and subsequently rule it out?

Likewise, what evidence did Charles Keeling have for his conclusion that the rapid, non-seasonal increase observed at Mauna Loa was manmade?

The possibility that weather causes the seasonal fluctuations at Mauna Loa suggests that the non-seasonal part might be related to climate, too. Perhaps Mauna Loa is down-current and downwind from undersea volcanic activity. Or, perhaps Mauna Loa is located in the seasonally shifting stream of ordinary CO2 outgassing from the oceans.

Regardless, implicit in the climatologists use of the data are the unlikely assumptions that the MLO atmosphere is already well-mixed and globally representative. These were not Charles Keeling's original findings.

Schmidt's third and last citation, Runaway tipping points of no return, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/runaway-tipping-points-of-no-return/, 7/5/06, helps little in gathering Schmidt's take on the relevance of the Vostok data. Just as the first paper established that the CO2 lag in the Vostok record is not helpful, the third paper says the CO2 concentration record is not helpful in understanding the present record! Here in a response to Comment #4, Gavin says

So if CO2 levels are so much higher now (26% higher than any point since 420K years before the industrial era), why aren't temperatures lining up?

[Response: The orbital configuration was different, with warmer [Northern Hemisphere] summers than today (or even the early Holocene). That seasonal change may have been crucial for the ice sheets. See the recent Overpeck et al and Otto-Bleisner et al papers in Science for what climate differences one would expect. With respect to today's CO2, that is not being changed by anything like the same mechanism, and so simply correlations with past data are not going to help. -gavin] Bold added.

So Gavin urges the mechanisms affecting CO2 concentrations in the Vostok record are nothing like the mechanisms today. Therefore, he says, one should not attempt to correlate the two records. To the contrary, that is exactly what climatologists do when they tack the Mauna Loa measurements onto the Vostok record, or when they make proclamations about the unprecedented CO2 levels in the post-industrialization period. Gavin seems to recognize a difference in geophysical processes, but not in the measurement methods. The first is a conjecture. The second is a certainty.


[N]or [does the author understand] the concept of positive feedback,

urges Gavin. For this position, Schmidt refers readers to his 7/5/06 tome, "Runaway tipping points of no return". http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/runaway-tipping-points-of-no-return/. Here he says,

The idea is that in many non-linear systems (of which the climate is certainly one), a small push away from one state only has small effects at first but at some 'tipping point' the system can flip and go rapidly into another state. This is fundamentally tied to the existence of positive feedbacks … . However, [tipping point] is currently being used interchangeably a number of potentially confusing ways and so I thought I'd try and make it a little clearer.

This introductory paragraph suggests the romantic, grammar school notion of the "Delicate Blue Planet". This model has been so successful that it has distorted the thinking of climatologists, environmentalists, and chaos theorists. It holds that natural objects and systems are found in a delicate balance, and that the most minimal disturbance by man could upset that balance, and so produce a catastrophe. These delicate systems and objects are always invisible, of course. But if the model were to extend to the observable, nature would contain cones standing on their tips, and rounded boulders perched on slopes.

Climatologists need to rid themselves of this Delicate Blue Planet misapprehension. They need to abandon their pursuit, however attractive, of knife edges over catastrophes. They should reconfigure their models to account for stable states, past and present, of all the parameters in their domain. These include not just global climate, but gas mixtures, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, and the ozone layer. They should be modeling these phenomena in their natural, closed-loop states to discover the controlling parameters and their dynamic ranges.

Where does the ozone come from? What controls its concentration? What controls the thickness of the ozone layer, and why is it as thick as it is?

Next under the heading "Positive feedback", Gavin begins,

A positive feedback occurs when a change in one component of the climate occurs, leading to other changes that eventually 'feeds back' on the original change to amplify it.

Leaving room for some climate jargon, this is almost a valid and workable definition. But it omits, among other things, the necessary control system context, and the concepts of gain, ordinary feedback, open loop and closed loop. Regardless, Gavin next attempts to explain what he thinks positive feedback means:

A simple example leads to a geometric series for instance; i.e. if an initial change to a parameter is D, and the feedback results in an additional rD then the final change will be the sum of D+rD+r2D...etc.

This explanation and Schmidt's understanding of positive feedback, or even feedback, are fatally flawed.

First, Schmidt's equation expresses a change in the parameter value, not the value of the amplified, closed loop output in his definition, or anything related to it. By reference to "in an additional rD", and by the plus signs in the series, Gavin reveals that he is thinking of the change as an additive amount. By his definition, the feedback is to cause an amplification of the original parameter. Amplification is multiplicative, not additive. If the original parameter value was P, after positive feedback the value would be rP, with r greater than one, or it might be written as (1+g)P, where g is now the feedback gain, and is greater than zero for positive feedback. Schmidt's algebraic example does not represent his verbal definition.

Second, Schmidt's change formulation converges to a constant, D/(1-r), for |r| less than 1. This he urges is to demonstrate a positive feedback which does not run away, or in scientific terms, diverge. In fact, what he has demonstrated is a kind of feedback which converges to zero as the number of iterations increases. What he calls feedback is only a transient, and its steady state value is neither positive nor negative, but is arbitrarily close to zero. This example briefly resembles a positive feedback, but in the long run Schmidt's example has no feedback at all.

In its Glossary, RealClimate.org provides the following definition dated 28 Nov 2004:

Forcings in the climate sense are external boundary conditions or inputs to a climate model. Obviously changes to the sun's radiation are external, and so that is always a forcing. The same is true for changes to the Earth's orbit ("Milankovitch cycles"). Things get a little more ambiguous as you get closer to the surface. In models that do not contain a carbon cycle (and that is most of them), the level of CO2 is set externally, and so that can be considered a forcing too. However, in models that contain a carbon cycle, changes in CO2 concentrations will occur as a function of the climate itself and in changes in emissions from industrial activity. In that case, CO2 levels will be a feedback, and not a forcing. Almost all of the elements that make up the atmosphere can be considered feedbacks on some timescale, and so defining the forcing is really a function of what feedbacks you allow in the model and for what purpose you are using it. A good discussion of recent forcings can be found in Hansen et al (2002) and in Schmidt et al (2004). http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/11/forcings/

From this, a feedback is any model parameter which is not a forcing, that is, which is not a boundary condition. This is not the definition of feedback in control system theory, and it makes the concept of positive feedback at least awkward to define.

Schmidt uses other definitions anyway. In a posting on 4/6/05, "Water vapour: feedback or forcing?", Schmidt wrote,

While water vapour is indeed the most important greenhouse gas, the issue that makes it a feedback (rather than a forcing) is the relatively short residence time for water in the atmosphere (around 10 days).

Now either a positive feedback is not a subset of feedback, or Schmidt's tutorial definition of positive feedback omitted the criterion of atmospheric residence time. According to RealClimate's Glossary,

Water vapour act[s] as a powerful greenhouse gas absorbing long-wave radiation. If the atmospheric water vapour concentration increases as a result of a global warming, then it is expected that it will enhance the greenhouse effect further. It is well known that the rate of evaporation is affected by the temperature and that higher temperatures increase the (saturated) vapour pressure (the Clausius-Clapeyron equation). This process is known as the water vapour feedback. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/11/water-vapour-feedback/.

So warming increases water vapor, which causes warming. Consequently, water vapor amplifies global temperatures. This fits Schmidt's definition of a positive feedback without reliance on Schmidt's essential criterion of residence time. Schmidt contributes to the confusion he set out to settle.

And why is water vapor a feedback and CO2 not? Because, goes the AGW scenario, the persistence of CO2 in the atmosphere is greater than 100 years. What If … the 'Hockey Stick' Were Wrong?, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=114, Gavin's response to Comment #20. The IPCC puts the residence time of CO2 at "5 to 200 yr" with the note, No single lifetime can be defined for CO2 because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes. IPCC, Climate Change 2001, ¶C.1, p. 38.

Gat, et al. in Environmental Isotopes in the Hydrological Cycle, Principles and Applications, Volume II: Atmospheric Water, Chapter 1, The Atmosphere, p. 1, place the residence time of CO2 at 4 years. See http://www.iaea.org/programmes/ripc/ih/volumes/volume2.htm . Would a four year persistence for CO2 qualify it as a feedback? Gavin's analysis doesn't answer that question. Regardless, as The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide teaches, CO2 must not be treated as a forcing so that the GCM can reproduce a CO2 output consistent with the Vostok record.

Schmidt's tutorial concludes where he has the title, "points of no return". Now he waxes literary, as if some being, human or spiritual, were in control and desirous of some outcome. He anthropomorphizes his science.

Will the earth return to a glacial state? Most assuredly. Will it recover with similar flora and fauna and climate as the present. That's not so certain.

At this point in his paper, Schmidt abruptly applies his errant tutorial to model based AGW via hypothesized ACO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. This is under the heading "10 years?", a reference to his opening citation of Jim Hansen's doomsday prediction. If this part is to have any validity, it must overcome the fallacy of the manmade CO2 increases in his citations.

Schmidt's switch from his tutorial is itself a tipping point -- a linguistic or literary tipping point.

Nowhere does Schmidt suggest that the models on which he relies to frighten the public might have been validated. He relies instead on an incompetent tutorial to support the AGW conjecture.

The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide survives Gavin Schmidt's opening salvo. The burden remains on the GCM operators advocates to revise their models. They need to abandon CO2 as a forcing, and instead make the atmospheric CO2 concentration respond to global temperature as dictated by the solubility of CO2 in water. This should be a fatal blow to anthropogenic global warming.

A Meta View

Transcending physics, scientific standards, which are understandable by a literate layman, must be satisfied. The AGW supporters are not meeting them. They need to divulge the domain in which their models meet all available data. They need to use their models to make significant and novel predictions which can be subjected to experiment. (This is a modern reformulation of the Popper falsification criterion.) They need to discard their reliance on consensus, ad hominem attacks, and beliefs, and instead rely solely on the technical fidelity of their models to the climate record. Until their models are validated, they should disavow any public policy consequences of their work. Any of their work destined for public consumption must rely on nothing of significance that is available only for a fee.

On a higher technical plane are additional, widely understandable standards to be met. Information sources should be readily discoverable for all parameter values and models. All data values, raw or reduced, must be discoverable, or accompanied by a statement of the method, the accuracy, or better, an error analysis.

Global Climate on the Margin

In the final analysis of the AGW conjecture, proponents model their chosen phenomena on the margins and without justification. They admit the overwhelming greenhouse gas is water vapor, probably 30 to 50 times more important than CO2. They admit the CO2 attributed to man is minuscule, about 6 to 7 PgC/yr (calculated) into an atmospheric reservoir variously estimated between 720 and 760 PgC. That's around 1% of 2.5%, or 0.025% of GHG.

They estimate the uptake of CO2 by the ocean from 92 to 107 PgC/yr, an error of about ±7 PgC/yr, approximately equal to the anthropogenic total. They estimate the outgassing of CO2 from 90 to 103 PgC/yr, an error of roughly another ±7 PgC/yr. Without putting too fine a point on the method, and in consideration of the range of values by other, undiscovered authorities and the sources and methods employed by any of them, the net difference between uptake and outgassing estimates is about 3PgC/yr, ±14 PgC/yr. Nonetheless, the climatologist use a figure of 2 PgC/yr as their estimate of the oceanic uptake of the manmade CO2 of 7 PgC/yr. Regardless, they then proclaim that CO2 persists in the atmosphere 50 to 500 years.

Water vapor is not only dominant among the greenhouse gases, it, like CO2, increases with increasing temperatures. Increase in water vapor should bring increases in cloud cover, decreasing solar radiation, and shutting down the warming effect.


Categorically, each of Gavin Schmidt's criticisms of The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide missed its mark.




Today is the end of June, 2009, and no climatologist of any sort who supports the AGW conjecture has countered this answer to Gavin Schmidt's off-handed dismissal, nor refuted any of the other advances made here in climate science. These include, but are not limited to, the following. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is imprinted with the pattern of Henry's Law for the solubility of CO2 in water, showing that it needs to be modeled not just as an anthropogenic forcing but also as a natural feedback. The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide. CO2 does not accumulate in the atmosphere, shown by multiple types of evidence. See On Why CO2 Is Known Not To Have Accumulated in the Atmosphere & What Is Happening With CO2 in the Modern Era, updated and augmented this month. The solar wind is more strongly correlated with climate than is El Niño, which IPCC says has catastrophic effects, while ignoring the solar wind and its effects on clouds for lack of evidence. Solar Wind, El Niño/Southern Oscillation, & Global Temperature: Events & Correlations. And IPCC's GCMs violate prerequisites of modeling and are inconsistent with climate physics, including omitting the most powerful and stabilizing feedback in Earth's climate. Fatal Errors in IPCC's Global Climate Models.

As recently as 3/31/09, someone who signs as "KSW" wrote RealClimate.org asking for a civil response to the Journal. Here is his request, and Gavin Schmidt's refusal:

Gavin, your pithy comments have made you my favorite contributor to RC. Thanks so much; I was surprised to see you take the time to so thoroughly rebut the rehashed comments made in #32 above.

Some time ago you dismissed a paper found at rocketscientistsjournal.com with a single line 'that seems pretty confused'; well RSJ is back with a new criticism of the IPCC, I wonder if you could apply the same red pen technique to this new entry that you provided to #32.


[Response: I can't really better my first judgment: That seems pretty confused. - gavin]

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/a-potentially-useful-book-lies-damn-lies-science/ , 3/29/09.

That does sum it up. Schmidt's original criticism had no substance. He made no technical point. Then as now, he urged that The Acquittal was confused. But he cannot find a single example. Not one AGW supporter will come out of hiding to defend their conjecture on points, except where the group safely controls the agenda. This is not science.

{Begin epilog 3/18/10.}

Schmidt's response, at comment #116, needs to be seen in context with comment #32 because it reveals realclimate.org's approach to "Communicating Science", the category under which it filed its paper, A potentially useful book – Lies, Damn lies & Science, id.. The critic-author listed is Rasmus E. Benestad, but Gavin Schmidt's name appears on 50 of 69 responses to 335 comments. Of the other responses, one is by "mike" [Mann] and the others presumably by "rasmus", although "gavin" takes credit for at least one of them. Gavin clearly owns the responses. Comment #32 is by Adam Gallon, 3/30/09. Gavin posted a number of rave reviews just for his handling of Gallon's post. The choir responds: "Re #32 Extra credit for that dismantling"; "Gavin, you're on top form (#32, #71)"; "I propose that henceforth comment #32 be preserved in each story for broadcasting real world examples of RC's moderation policy."

Adam, your statement is phrased in skepticism ("we've been told") with the implied question, "Is it true". For that skepticism (and a previous post or two), you've earned a dose of petulance and dismissal from adult discourse (clarified below). To demolish you for entertaining any skepticism, Gavin first made an exception to his policy by printing it, but then to disassemble it microscopically with flippancy to the point of ambiguity.

Here is the full text, annotated to accentuate realclimate.org's moderation policy.

32. Perhaps this scientifically illiterate public is using its senses? We've been bombarded with horror stories about the disasterous effects of "Global Warming", "Climate Change" or whatever it's name is today. Then we, the public, compare reality to the computer models.

[Response: Ah, 'you' the public. Well, I'm part of the public too, and your tiresome list of red-herrings, cherry-picks and outright untruths does not accord in any way to what this member of the public sees. I'm sure the other members of the public would appreciate you not speaking for them either. But since you put it all down in a list, it's easy enough to critique. - gavin]

We've been told that AGW will lead to more frequent & destructive hurricanes.

[Response: It may well do. The magnitude of such an effect is still difficult to discern. - gavin]

Gavin's remark "It may well do" is a link to an online, one page paper with no author, but titled Summary Statement on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change. It's from the 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cycles of the World Meteorological Organization. It says, The comprehensive scientific statement will be available on the WMO Tropical Meteorology Research Program website from Monday 4 December 2006. The point is that while this document has some authoritative basis, it does not reflect IPCC policy and it predates the Fourth Assessment Report. It also says,

1. Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.

This is one of 10 less-than-enthusiastic statements for what IPCC said later. Why would Gavin cite such a skeptical and obsolete paper? For example, it states,

3. The recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions. source

but IPCC says in Box 3.6: Recent Extreme Events,

Six of the eight most damaging storms on record for the USA occurred from August 2004 to September 2005 (Charlie, Ivan, Francis, Katrina, Rita, Wilma) while another storm in 2005 (Stan) caused severe flooding and mudslides as well as about 2,000 fatalities in central America (Guatemala, El Salvador and southern Mexico).AR4, p. 312.

The only way Gavin's source and IPCC's unqualified recent extreme event can be consistent is if IPCC includes coastal overpopulation among its extreme events. And remember, Gavin founded realclimate.org as IPCC-Lite.

Whoever told Adam what he reported spoke the truth: his rendition is exactly what the AGW model predicts and Gavin hedges. Here is IPCC's real position on the subject:

Based on a range of models, it is likely [IPCC is 90% confident that the probability is 66%; AR4, p. 121] that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation … . The apparent increase in the proportion of very intense storms since 1970 in some regions is much larger than simulated by current models for that period. AR4, Summary for Policymakers, p. 15

Frequently Asked Question 3.3: Has there been a Change in Extreme Events like Heat Waves, Droughts, Floods and Hurricanes?

Changes in tropical storm and hurricane frequency and intensity are masked by large natural variability. AR4, p. 308.


Frequently Asked Question 10.1: Are Extreme Events, Like Heat Waves, Droughts or Floods, Expected to Change as the Earth's Climate Changes?

Yes… . There is evidence from modelling studies that future tropical cyclones could become more severe, with greater wind speeds and more intense precipitation. Studies suggest that such changes may already be underway; there are indications that the average number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year has increased over the past 30 years. AR4, p. 783.

Often when IPCC talks about variability it is referring to variability not in nature but among its global climate models, and the distinction is not always clear. GCMs are variable because they have no predictive power. They model climate as delicately balanced at a point of instability, at tipping points that man can easily perturb, and quite unlike nature. They are one dimensional (vertical) when much of climate is three dimensional with major, complex horizontal currents. Computer models generally, and GCMs in particular, are not objective, but quantify the subjective notions of their individual modelers.

When Gavin says, "The magnitude of such an effect is still difficult to discern" he might have been talking about the difficulty in getting GCMs to agree. More likely, he is talking about the variability in the frequency and force of hurricanes. But how is that distinct from any other parameter in the global warming problem? Global warming is a thermodynamics problem, which deals with macroparameters, idealized parameters which are as a rule not directly measurable. The notions of a global average surface temperature and a global average planetary albedo are examples. Even the concept of a climate, whether regional or global, is a macroparameter. These parameters are difficult to discern, but are quite amenable to statistical methods.

Back to Adam and #32:

We see such storms have dropped to an historic low, lower than at least the past 30 years, possibly the last 50, as measurements aren't as good in the pre-satellite era.

[Response: Physical understanding is not based on time-series correlations of noisy data.]

In 14 hours, a reader saw through this nonsense, assumedly due to Rasmus since Gavin was not shown as the author this time, although Gavin took responsibility nonetheless:

74. re one of gavin's responses to #32

[Response: Physical understanding is not based on time-series correlations of noisy data.]

Wow! How many climate change papers did you just throw under the bus?

[Response: None. Explain to me how correlating two time series provides physical understanding. Perhaps you are under the incorrect impression that concern about global warming is because of people go around correlating CO2 levels to things? It is not. - gavin]

Comment by John Norris — 30 March 2009 @ 9:19 PM 74.

Few phenomena have contributed so much to "physical understanding" (belief systems) as has the cosmic background radiation. Long known to radar engineers and measured by them, it received a Nobel prize when years later it was rediscovered by physicists. Later developments show a spatial correlation or pattern in the background radiation, a noise process extraordinaire, to the confounding of the standard cosmological model. Rasmus' comment is wrong, and surprising coming from a physicist. Here is his complete realclimate.org biography:

I am a physicist by training and have affiliations with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (met.no) and the Oslo Climate Group (OCG) [My views here are personal and may not necessarily represent those of RegClim, OCG, met.no, or the mentioned societies]. I have a D.Phil in physics from Atmospheric, Oceanic & Planetary Physics at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Recent work involve a good deal of statistics (empirical-statistical downscaling, trend analysis, model validation, extremes and record values), but I have also had some experience with electronics, cloud micro-physics, ocean dynamics/air-sea processes and seasonal forecasting. In addition, I wrote the book 'Solar Activity and Earth's Climate' (2002), published by Praxis-Springer, and I was a member of the council of the European Meteorological Society for the period (2004-2006), representing the Nordic countries and the Norwegian Meteorology Society.

In my work, I often get questions from media and lay persons about climate change. I believe it is necessary to approach these questions with identifying what we really don't know and what we are more sure about. I believe that some of Karl Popper ideas about falsification can be useful.

Congratulations to Rasmus for hedging on Popper, a rare insight among scientists. Popper was a philosopher, not a scientist. He modeled science as an outsider looking in, and came to the wrong conclusion, confusing the essences of science, logic, and definitions. The short form of Popper's fallacious model is that he first discounted the critical nature of definitions, then conceived of science as a discipline that models the real world with what are called universal generalizations in logic. If that were true, his conclusion about a disproof would have been valid. As subsequent philosophers analyzed his thesis, to disprove that all crows are black one needs to provide an experiment showing how a white crow can't exist. Popper's model is not how science operates in theory or in practice. Science asserts logical statements, Hypothesis implies Conclusion, and the conclusion comes with odds. All crows are black by definition, not by model. If science came up with a DNA definition of the crow, the model would be if you have a crow, the odds are x:1 that it is black. And for any scientific model, the odds that it contains a Popper clause is approximately zero.

Gavin's question "Explain to me how correlating two time series provides physical understanding", is deserving of an answer especially because it comes from a mathematician, cross-trained and practicing science. The answer is at the core of all disciplines of science.

First, Gavin assumes unnecessarily that two time series are involved. Autocorrelation fits Rasmus' claim just as well, and the autocorrelation function is the Fourier transform of the power spectral density of surface temperature. Gavin will find IPCC investigations of the power spectral density in the Third Assessment Report. TAR ¶8.6.2 Coupled Model Variability, ¶, and especially Figure 8.18, pp. 499-500; TAR ¶12.2.2 Internal Climate Variability, especially Figure 12.2, pp. 702-4. Gavin and Rasmus may not realize that variability is a reference to noise in the data.

As to multiple time series, the position of Rasmus and Gavin is a reference to cross-correlation. This, too, has application in climate, although only cited once in IPCC's exposition on AGW. It says,

Correlation structures in surface temperature

Another extension is to examine the lagged and cross-correlation structure of observed and simulated hemispheric mean temperature as in Wigley et al., (1998a). They find large differences between the observed and model correlation structure that can be explained by accounting for the combined influences of anthropogenic and solar forcing and internal variability in the observations. Solar forcing alone is not found to be a satisfactory explanation for the discrepancy between the correlation structures of the observed and simulated temperatures. Karoly and Braganza (2001) also examined the correlation structure of surface air temperature variations. They used several simple indices, including the land-ocean contrast, the meridional gradient, and the magnitude of the seasonal cycle, to describe global climate variationsand showed that for natural variations, they contain information independent of the global mean temperature. They found that the observed trends in these indices over the last 40 years are unlikely to have occurred due to natural climate variations and that they are consistent with model simulations of anthropogenic climate change. Bold added, TAR ¶12.4.1 Simple Indices and Time-series Methods, pp. 716, 718

Rasmus and Gavin seek "physical understanding", not science, but a subjective reaction to science. IPCC addresses just that tangential aspect by addressing not predictive power of models, but explanation to the satisfaction of investigators. And in case Rasmus and Gavin believe that these are not methods applied to noisy data, the words variations and variability are in bold.

Gavin suggests that his people don't "go around correlating CO2 levels to things". They should, as shown in The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide. IPCC and IPCC-Lite err to assume correlation demonstrates cause. They do this whenever they rely on unprecedented occurrences, or in the coincident patterns of their Hockey Stick constructions, or the parallel diagrams of CO2 and O2 and CO2 emissions and δ13C. These representations are not numeric correlations, but correlations nonetheless in the form of patterns. These patterns happen to be forged, manufactured to support AGW. Regartdless, patterns or correlations can be the essence of scientific discovery, which lead to or validate models expressing cause and effect relationships. These correlations have proved vital to the advancement of science, but because of the relationship to modeling. These are basic lessons in the philosophy of science to which the folks at realclimate.org show a fundamental wanting. Gavin may run a big expensive climate model, but he and the others at realclimate.org and IPCC express ignorance of the basics of modeling.

While correlations are not essential to the conception of a model, the resulting cause and effect expressed by a model must be correlated, and the axiom of causation demands that effect lag cause. The absence of that correlation or that lag is sufficient to invalidate the model. Gavin thinks that CO2, and especially ACO2, causes global warming, but according to his admission here, his people are not doing the requisite correlation studies.

No one could take these claims by Rasmus and Gavin seriously as they affect AGW. They are reactionary, arrogant, petulant responses to Adam Gallon, created to demonstrate putting down scientific skepticism by bullying a non-scientist. This is realclimate.org's moderation policy, and what it considers to be Communicating Science.

Back to #32:

Speaking of measurements, we're told that (insert year you like) is amongst the "warmest on record".

[Response: Well, yes. It was. ]

The comment was a prologue, an incomplete thought, but Rasmus jumped on it. He asserts a Clintonesque "it" was, meaning what? He links to a long, historical article from NASA GISS which has been subsequently updated. The timely version would be its 2008 Annual Summary, revised 1/13/09. Its opening paragraph is:

Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis [see ref. 1] of surface air temperature measurements. In our analysis, 2008 is the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880 (left panel of Fig. 1). The ten warmest years all occur within the 12-year period 1997-2008. The two-standard-deviation (95% confidence) uncertainty in comparing recent years is estimated as 0.05°C [ref. 2], so we can only conclude with confidence that 2008 was somewhere within the range from 7th to 10th warmest year in the record. Id.

The main point of the article is that 2008 was in the range of "7th to 10th warmest" out of 12! In this logic, the coolest wear would still be warm: the 12th warmest.

Transcending this angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin discussion is the question, why do climatologists concern themselves with data extremes at all? Climate, as they will point out, is the long term average, sometimes as short as a decade, but better 30 years to centuries. The valid climate question is about long term averages, and not extremes or outliers. What if the warmest year is next to the coldest year, or even if the coldest is in the same interval? Where does the average for the last n years among all such decades? When their models don't pan out in the mean, they switch to variability. Entertaining this discussion of instant records arises because the climate data are not working to the investigators' purposes. The data don't fit the model.


We find that these records have been adjusted, possibly for good reason, but such adjustments do seem to favour reducing temperatures a bit before the 1930s, raising them a little post 1950s.

[Response: So you would rather leave in obvious errors that reduce the overall trend? Hmm... Many adjustments also reduce the trends (such as correcting for UHI and the bucket corrections on the SST). I suppose those are ok? ]

What Adam broaches, the improper adjustment of trusted temperature records, with all that implies with respect to ethics and scientific duty, later proved valid when CRU was found to be seriously mishandling data. Rasmus' response is not responsive: Gallon said nothing about "obvious errors". Gallon is talking about manufactured adjustments to data that work to skew the record in favor of the failed AGW conjecture. He was prescient, because that was the effect of the "fudge factor" discovered months later in the CRU computer code. In addition, the IPCC investigators conspired not to respond with data requested under the UK or US Freedom of Information Act, and claimed to have lost data in their protective custody and acquired with public funds.

We see that the surface stations are poorly positioned to return accurate measurements, the ones in the USA demonstrably so, ones elsewhere are unlikely to be better.

[Response: You fail to see that ocean temperatures, satellite measurements, glacier melting, Arctic ice retreat, changes in phenology are all consistent with a warming planet. Or that all the independent analyses actually agree, or that the GISTEMP analysis is very similar to what you get only if you use the 'good' stations? ]

Gallon inquires about the accuracy of measurements and Rasmus or Gavin answers with regard to the data validating AGW. The query was legitimate science.

The response, though, deals with investigators selecting supporting data and rejecting other data, which is the rankest abuse of science. The concept of discarding or re-calibrating real data, even outliers, in favor of proxy data is equally obnoxious. The idea is made worse in consideration of the fact that investigators calibrate proxy data to real data. The whole operation is a boot-strap to manufacture data to fit the preconceived model.

Among answers, Rasmus'/Gavin's is nth best out of n.

Continuing #32:

We question whether measurements from what was the USSR are trustworthy, when how cold things were in the back end of Siberia would be taken into account when fuel was allocated via a government office in Moscow, a few thousand miles away.

[Response: Changes in vegetation as a response to warming as seen by satellites over the same areas are obviously caused by former-USSR apparatchiks painting the ground green. ]

Was this jocular insert just to score a point by interrupting the continuity of Adam's post? Or, were the folks at realclimate.org creating a distraction from the doctoring circa 2008 of RCS (Russia and Caspian Service) data at CRU alleged by Steve McIntyre, for one? http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/16/iearussia-hadley-center-probably-tampered-with-russian-climate-data/ . What was the basis for Adam's concern eight months before the new became widespread?

We're told that anyone who questions the veracity of AGW, is a paid lackey of some big energy company.

[Response: No. You appear to be doing it for free. You realise that you are undermining the market for professionals in this field though?]

For more on IPCC's enemies list, visit the blog ExxonSecrets at greenpeace.org.

ExxonSecrets was born out of a need to easily explain the complex web of organizations, pundits, lobbyists and skeptic scientists running Exxon's campaign to deny and undermine the scientific evidence on global warming. Id.

Of course, skepticism is a virtue among scientists. Undeterred, ExxonSecrets branched out from its objectives. It includes Senator Inhofe's list of "400 scientists", at last count over 700. Do IPCC, Greenpeace, and the champions at realclimate.org contend that Senator Inhofe is in the pay of Exxon? Or this Journal, which is on his list? This scientist is a skeptic because he is a scientist. He has posted why AGW is a fraud, and with no links to any energy company.

Google Climategate or with site:.exxonsecrets.org to find a couple of examples of the null set. ExxonSecrets makes archives of its reports available online. They total ten, beginning October, 2007. The interval between them averaged 63 days, but the last one was May, 2009. One was due in mid June 2009. It has gone silent. With the anonymous whistle blowing, which realclimate.org calls the "CRU hack", on 11/20/09, the conspiracy theory of AGW enemies lost its impetus. CRU and IPCC are their own worst enemies.

Here we have a group of people specifically targeting the time since the industrial revolution, the industrial era, for setting in motion an irreversible human catasrophe. According to Hansen 25 years ago, we had 10 years to go to the tipping point. The movement seeks to reverse the cause, yet urges that industrial defenses are conspiratorial. As some wag once said, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you. At the same time, the leaders of the AGW movement are dominantly in the pay of government, from laboratories to academia, and will profit personally and professionally from their alarm. Without even a token of symmetry, the realclimate.org argument is pure hypocrisy.

Continuing #32:

We note that it's a government that's sticking a tax on a tax with fuel duty added to the pump price, then VAT (Sales Tax) is stuck on top of the gross sum; we note that our vehicle tax is linked to its CO2 output, so who's making the most money from this?

[Response: Oh my god! The UK government taxes food - they must want us all to starve! When you stop using services that the government pays for (err... like roads), I'll take you more seriously. ]

Does realclimate.org contend that the green movement does not engender profit? That big name leaders in the AGW movement have not personally profited?


We're told that the North Pole is melting, more and more is going each year, with 2007's melt meaning some 2m sq miles less than 2003

[Response: You dispute this? Long term trends in all seasons are towards less Arctic sea ice. You truly have to be blind not to see this one. ]

Rasmus or Gavin interrupted before reading Adam's support in the very next sentence.

We see that the arctic sea ice extent has increased since then, currently up around the 2004 levels, so we're told that it's not actually the area, it's the thickness and what birthday it's celebrated.

[Response: Ah, the old short term noise trick again. Don't you get tired of always using the same crutch? ]

Realclimate.org faced with a claim and data, divide the argument in two to ridicule the two pieces out-of-context. Whether the data support Adam's questioning claim, Rasmus and Gavin don't answer. The revision Adam observes, changing the critical parameter from area to thickness, exposes a weakness in IPCC's Arctic model.

Continuing #34:

We see intrepid men, paddling their way to the pole, to demonstrate how much the ice has melted.

We see them getting picked up by the ship that's followed them and then find out that an expedition got 60 miles further north in 1922. .

We see another intrepid group, walking to the pole, "Tweeting" as they go, telling us they're measuring the thickness of the ice, [which] has never been done before. .

We find out that the weather's so cold, that it certainly isn't the air temperature that's melting any ice and that the USN has had automated buoys measuring the ice thickness, bobbing away for years.

[Response: The reason why there is ice there in the first place is because it's cold. And the reason why we don't have great in situ measurements is because working there is tough. Pretending to rediscover these facts is no surprise to any potential explorers or to any readers. And if you looked at what the Arctic buoys are showing with respect to ice thickness, it is clear there is a long term decline. Probably just because former-USSR apparatchiks keep moving them though....]

Rasmus or Gavin ridicule Adam for doubting the Arctic ice conjecture, then ridicule his supporting data. When he persists with a parable about inventorying Arctic Ice, they explain with mocking profundity that ice is formed from the cold, then weasel word about the difficulty in measuring Arctic ice. They seem to be confessing that the data supporting the decline in Arctic ice, intended to demonstrate the existence of AGW, was not so hot.

Adam continues:

We're told that the sea level's rising, flooding Pacific Islands.

[Response: Sea levels are rising. Or are you in complete denial of this also? ]

RC derisively interrupts Adam's assertion again before reading the data.

Adam continues with his supporting facts:

We're told that the sea level's rising, flooding Pacific Islands.

We haven't seen any being evacuated, we see that Venice is actually doing what it has been doing, ever since some bright Italian decided to build a city on a swamp.

[Response: Actually Venice is built on islands in a lagoon, not a swamp. And they are spending billions of dollars building a barrage system to reduce their risk of flooding - which is increasing due both to rising sea levels and subsidence. I'm sure the good people of Bangladesh would appreciate your support for a similar construction across the entire Bay of Bengal. ]

For several centuries, the water level relative to the buildings in Venice rose at 6 inches per century. In the last century that rate doubled. Realclimate.org admits that the rise is part due to subsidence, and part to rising sea level, but with no quantification. But why didn't they answer the question about the Pacific Islands?

Perhaps Rasmus and Gavin feel more comfortable talking about Venice. But on that subject, their simple fact flung like a dagger to discredit Adam neither flies nor sticks.

"Timeline: 451: In italy, refugees flee to swamp areas near modern-day Venice." Bold added, http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/timeline/Venice

How swampy Venice joined with Italy. Rick Steves' Europe online. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/italy/venice.htm

The Jewish Cemetery on the Lido.

… [¶]After the cemetery was established, it was used regularly until the 18th century when there was no longer room to expand it and a new piece of land was given on the other side of a swamp. It is only in the last century that the swamp was drained. The drained land was given to the Christians for a cemetery which now lies between the two Jewish ones.

Because the Lido was strategically so important to Venice, stones were often taken from different sources to use in building fortifications and watch towers to defend the three channels through which it was possible to enter the lagoon. These channels were known as I bocchi di porto. One channel is very near the Jewish cemetery and many of the tombstones were taken away for defense purposes. Venice, Islands in the Lagoon, Slow Travel Italy, Two less well known but worthy sites: The Armenian Monastery on San Lazzaro and the Jewish Cemetery on the Lido. http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/venice/re_islands.htm

For the folks over at realclimate.org, the Lido is in Venice.

Landowners large and small, together with their neighbors in the contrade [wards], set out to conquer new land. They attacked the interior swamps and ponds as well as the fringes of the lagoon. As swamp after swamp was drained and land and buildings slowly but steadily took the place of water, a city began to emerge. [¶] … On the fringes of Venice, … stakes were driven into the ground every day and a few square yards of spongy earth were enclosed with boards. … Slowly the swamp was chipped away. Crouzer-Pavan, E., I. An Ecological Understand of the Myth of Venice, in Martin, J. J. and Dennis Romano, Venice reconsidered: the history and civilization of an Italian city-state, Google books, p 47.

Even parsing the differences between the various wetlands, e.g., swamps, bogs, and lagoons, is no help. The distinguishing element of a swamp is that the soil be spongy, but that is satisfied in the last citation. In ordinary use and by the definitions, Venice is built on a swamp.

Continuing with #32:

We're told that a warmer climate is a worse climate.

[Response: No, it's just a different climate and one we have not spent the last 200 years adapting to.]

Rasmus and Gavin err twice on IPCC facts, once for the past and once for the future.

Droughts associated with this summer drying could result in regional vegetation die-offs and contribute to an increase in the percentage of land area experiencing drought at any one time, for example, extreme drought increasing from 1% of present-day land area to 30% by the end of the century in the A2 scenario. Drier soil conditions can also contribute to more severe heat waves … . AR4 ¶ Precipitation Extremes p. 782.

Are Extreme Events, Like Heat Waves, Droughts or Floods, Expected to Change as the Earth's Climate Changes?

Yes; the type, frequency and intensity of extreme events are expected to change as Earth's climate changes, and these changes could occur even with relatively small mean climate changes. Changes in some types of extreme events have already been observed, for example, increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and heavy precipitation events (see FAQ 3.3). AR4, FAQ 10.1, p. 783.

Has there been a Change in Extreme Events like Heat Waves, Droughts, Floods and Hurricanes?

Since 1950, the number of heat waves has increased and widespread increases have occurred in the numbers of warm nights. The extent of regions affected by droughts has also increased as precipitation over land has marginally decreased while evaporation has increased due to warmer conditions. Generally, numbers of heavy daily precipitation events that lead to flooding have increased, but not everywhere. Tropical storm and hurricane frequencies vary considerably from year to year, but evidence suggests substantial increases in intensity and duration since the 1970s. In the extratropics, variations in tracks and intensity of storms reflect variations in major features of the atmospheric circulation, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. AR4, FAQ 3.3, p. 308.

Impacts of climate change upon these systems will include:

• The direct impacts of changes in temperature, CO2 and precipitation on yields of specific food and cash crops, productivity of livestock and fisheries systems, and animal health, as discussed in Sections 5.4.1 to 5.4.6 above. These will include both impacts of changing means and increased frequency of extreme events, with the latter being more important in the medium-term (to 2025). Positive and negative impacts on different crops may occur in the same farming system. Agrawala et al. (2003) suggest that impacts on maize, the main food crop, will be strongly negative for the Tanzanian smallholder, while impacts on coffee and cotton, significant cash crops, may be positive.

• Other physical impacts of climate change important to smallholders are: (i) decreased water supply from snowcaps for major smallholder irrigation systems, particularly in the Indo-Gangetic plain, (ii) the effects of sea level rise on coastal areas, (iii) increased frequency of landfall tropical storms and (iv) other forms of environmental impact still being identified, such as increased forest-fire risk and remobilisation of dunes.

• Impacts on human health, like malaria risk, affect labour available for agriculture and other non-farm rural economic activities, such as tourism.

For climate change impacts on the three major cereal crops grown by smallholders, we refer to Figure 5.2a-f and discussion in Sections 5.4.2 and 5.5.1. In Section 5.4.1 above we discuss the various negative impacts of increases in climate variability and frequency of extreme events on yields. Burke et al. (2006) demonstrate the risk of widespread drought in many regions, including Africa. Projected impacts on world regions, some of which are disaggregated into smallholder and subsistence farmers or similar categories, are reviewed in the respective regional chapters. An important study found that aggregate yields of smallholder rain-fed maize in Africa and Latin America are likely to decrease by almost 10% by 2055, but these results hide enormous regional variability of concern for subsistence agriculture.

With a large body of smallholder and subsistence farming households in the dryland tropics, there is especial concern over temperature-induced declines in crop yields, and increasing frequency and severity of drought. These will lead to the following generalisations (low confidence):

• increased likelihood of crop failure;

• increased diseases and mortality of livestock and/or forced sales of livestock at disadvantageous prices;

• livelihood impacts including sale of other assets, indebtedness, out-migration and dependency on food relief;

• eventual impacts on human development indicators, such as health and education.

Impacts of climate change will combine with non-climate stressors, including the impacts of globalisation and HIV and/or AIDS. Citations deleted, AR4, Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, ¶5.4.7 Rural Livelihoods: subsistence and smallholder agriculture, online, unpaginated.

Much of IPCC's frightening projection focuses on Africa, a region on the fringe because of on-going desertification. What does IPCC tell us of the increases in arable land and food supplies that accrue in Canada, Russia, or Greenland?

How do Rasmus and Gavin calculate that humans have adapted over the last 200 years? Of course humans adapt. In recorded history, they adapted to the Little Ice Age and to the Medieval Warm Period. They adapted to the glacial minima over the last half million years. Human population took a major hit from the Lake Toba super volcano eruption 74 kya, but that can be known only because population variations due to the intervening glacial extremes are in the noise. And humans will adapt to IPCC's most frightening scenarios. R&G imply that the range of the last 200 years, spanning the end of the LIA, the extreme events claimed for the last 50 years, and the entire range of instrumented temperatures, constitute the limit of human adaptation. The evidence is to the contrary.

Adam continues:

We remember what our grandparents told us and old news reels show of the winter of 1947-8, where snow lay on the ground for months, livestock starved in the fields if a helicopter couldn't get hay to them and we think "Thank (insert name of diety) that hasn't happened this year".

[Response: And we remember the summer of 2003 where 30,000 excess deaths occurred during a summer heat wave. What is your point? ]

Adam's point seems clear enough. Humans have a huge capacity to adapt.


We're told that non-climatologists aren't "qualified" to voice opinion on this matter.

[Response: When it comes to the science, you are right. Expertise does matter. Your contributions for instance are pretty much worthless, other than as an indication of how people behave irrationally when it comes to dealing with complex issues. Your opinion on what society should do about scientific discoveries however is worth exactly the same as mine since that is part of the democratic give and take. ]

IPCC is a government body, not a scientific body. Its output is political, and its Reports, like most political documents, are technically shallow and skewed to the politics. Its work is addressed to "policymakers", and is laced with its interpretation of science -- science which may not be questioned except by climatologists who are published believers in the AGW dogma. The work in question is incompetent, and laced with ignorance of elementary principles and ethics of science, (see IPCC's Fatal Errors) some of which Rasmus and Gavin demonstrate here. IPCC's work is dominantly a culmination of climatology and ecology, whose practitioners now anoint themselves as leaders of science. Their work calls into question whether they might be closer to charlatans than scientists. Intelligence and objectivity trump expertise.

We see a failed politician making films & globe trotting on a private jet; a highly intelligent man with a PhD in Engineering chairing the IPCC.

[Response: And we see underemployed peers of the realm pretending to know something about climate give testimony on capitol hill. Or retired TV presenters complaining about conspiracy theories. Or science fiction authors briefing the president.]

But seriously, all those trends show how layman's opinions on global warming have almost nothing to do with the science. it has to do with PR. "warmists" have a formidable PR machine. we have Andrew Watts and Steve McIntytre – both admirable men who make sound rational appeals to our intellect. this doesn't work with most people. "Warmists" appeal to emotions and exploit ignorance (pretty easy marks).

[Response: Oh yes, the IPCC reports, or the National Academies are full of hyperbole and appeals to emotion. Not like anything that comes from Monckton or Art Robinson of course. ]

I wonder if this will make it passed the censor's red pen here?

[Response: This is the most tedious complaint of all. Your contributions add nothing to any conversation. They simply regurgitate trivial and easily dismissed talking points you pick up from the flotsam of the blogosphere. Your freedom to contribute in your own house, on your own blog and indeed anywhere else that will have you is unabridged. That we choose to try and keep conversations on topic, civil and free of the seemingly inevitable tedium of your style of 'argument' is our choice. You do not have to read. Think of the blog like a dinner party - interesting discussion and disagreement is welcome, but boorish abuse of the hosts is not. You fall well into the latter category and we act accordingly. Now run off and complain about how mean we are. - gavin]

Comment by Adam Gallon — 30 March 2009 @ 7:35 AM

At the moment of formation of realclimate.org, Gavin promised Phil Jones and dozens of others:

The idea is that we working climate scientists should have a place where we can mount a rapid response to supposedly 'bombshell' papers that are doing the rounds and give more context to climate related stories or events.

Some examples that we have already posted relate to combatting dis-information regarding certain proxy reconstructions and supposed 'refutations' of the science used in Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. We have also posted more educational pieces relating to the interpretation of the ice core GHG records or the reason why the stratosphere is cooling. We are keeping the content strictly scientific, though at an accessible level.

The blog format allows us to update postings frequently and clearly as new studies come along as well as maintaining a library of useful information (tutorials, FAQs, a glossary etc.) and past discussions. The site will be moderated to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio. CRU email 1102687002

Adam Gallon's questions were a bombshell? Was his content, or especially the responses, "strictly scientific".

How do these experts treat real science? They ignore it, or ridicule it, or attack the authors for not publishing first in the journals they control, or being political, or being funded by industries these scientists attack. They flippantly dismiss the work as pretty confused, and not understanding physics.

Realclimate.org features an article titled The lag between temperature and CO2. (Gore's got it right.) Speaking of the movie version of An Inconvenient Truth, realclimate.org's Eric Steig says, How well does the film handle the science? Admirably, I thought.

The CO2 lag is evident only from ice core data, specifically at Vostok. Gore shows the modern CO2 record from Mauna Loa tacked onto the end of the Vostok reduction. Here's where CO2 is now – way above anything measured in the prior 650,000 year record. Gore, A., An Inconvenient Truth, Rodale, 2006, pp. 66-67. This is fallacious on several grounds, but consistent with IPCC and realclimate.org. The Journal has reported these errors repeatedly, and Gavin has refused to answer them. Among them are all the following three major facts:

• The modern CO2 record is collected in the plume of the outgassing from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific, while the ice core data are collected within the sink of CO2 inside polar waters. Even C.D. Keeling, the founder of the MLO record, warned against such comparisons.

• The modern record is recorded in flasks from continuous flow of atmospheric gases collected in approximately one minute. Vostok data are the result of ice formed after exposure to the atmosphere for a minimum of 20 years (and a maximum of about 1500 years.) Consequently, the Vostok data are low-pass filtered compared to MLO by a factor of 10,519,299:1 minutes, causing a reduction in variability by the square root or 3,243. Disturbance like the 50 year pulse of CO2 witnessed at MLO must be lost in the noise at Vostok.

• The sampling interval at Vostok is about 1,300 years. The odds that a event lasting 50 years would be detected there is about 3%. That is the confidence that supports the claim that the MLO record is unprecedented in the paleo record.

IPCC and realclimate.org cannot claim to have addressed the science when they ignore these facts. But that's just the tip of the ice core. They ignore the role of albedo in climate modeling, and albedo mitigates global warming from all causes in theory and recently confirmed by AIRS satellite measurements. Gavin claimed that the Journal is confused and doesn't understand physics or feedback. Yet it is realclimate.org and IPCC who predict climate open-loop – that is, without the overwhelmingly, dominant, feedback in Earth's climate, which happens to be negative. Neither IPCC nor IPCC-lite closes this loop. If either had, they were likely to have found climate sensitivity in the range of one tenth to one quarter of their open loop estimate -- 0.35 to 0.8 Wm-2 instead of 3.5 Wm-2 for a doubling of CO2.

Greenhouse gases will not produce IPCC's projected warming effects, much less CO2.

{End epilog 3/18/10.}



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Comments (15)

Challenge issued to environmental journalists and advocates of catastrophic AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming):

We believe climate models are programmed with excessive climate sensitivity based on a flawed understanding of past ice ages. Moreover, climate models wrongly magnify potential warming to accommodate positive feedback mechanisms while comparison with empirical measure shows negative feedback dominates, reducing warming experienced to about half theoretical values.

The challenge is for you to actually check the numbers -- see for yourselves whether we are wrong or not. Look up Stefan's Constant or just use 5.67 x 10-8 (close enough for our purpose but look it up to be sure). Now use it to check the assertion: "Global climate forcing was about 6 1/2 W/m2 less than in the current interglacial period. This forcing maintains a global temperature difference of 5 °C, implying a climate sensitivity of 3/4 ± 1/4 °C per W/m2." Either consult your texts for Earth's temperature in Kelvin and any other numbers you need or see the numbers we've used here. Off you go -- we'll wait.

Back so soon -- how did you do, prove us wrong yet? Well, we're waiting. All you need to do is show us where we've messed up the calculations and we'll publicly retract and correct. We've left you plenty of opportunities in our analysis of models and climate sensitivity. While you are about it, see how the "smoking gun for global warming" turned out to be nothing but a clown gun, just another failure of "global warming proof" that didn't make it into mainstream media coverage. Why is that?

[RSJ: This comment almost didn't get posted because it reads like an advertisement, and because the JunkScience reference had to be checked.

[The author appears to be Steven Milloy, who according to Wikipedia, runs the website JunkScience.com. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Milloy.

[RSJ: 11/21/06: Back so soon. The JunkScience reference has now been checked, along with the response by Gavin Schmidt, the subject of this topic. A full response is nearly finished. Watch for it to be posted here "soon".]

[The following by Borat, Comment #60, was posted to www.crossfit.com on 11/18/06:]

[S]omething in your article that was posted a while ago had been nagging at me, namely why the Vostok CO2 levels had been bouncing around between approx 200 & 300 ppmv for millenia, while I seemed to remember that current levels had broken out of that range to approximately 400ppmv. However, I think your posted response to Gavin Schmidt deals with that - you correctly point out that the most recent CO2 readings are not taken from Vostok (I had a look at the Vostok raw data out of curiosity), but made with different measuring methods, with sampling at different locations from Vostok, and in addition with some dodgy practices (waiting for onshore breezes which lead to higer CO2 levels). They are therefore not directly comparable data sets. Am I reading your response correctly?

[RSJ: Borat #60, re Vostok ice core data

[You read me correctly. Let me add a sip from the firehose.

[As soon as the Vostok data were reduced, the climatologists seized on it primarily for the CO2 implications for their global warming conjecture. They rationalized that the CO2 and temperature traces were global and not regional to Antarctica. They argued that the CO2 was well-mixed (a stock requirement in the field) because of its long retention in the atmosphere, variously stated as more than decates, or between 50 and 500 years. These arguments fail because climatologists compute the present day uptake of CO2 by the oceans to be between 92 and 107 Gtons/year and a present day outgassing between 90 and 104 Gtons, all from an atmospheric reservoir of 720 to 780 Gtons. This means that the half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 4.5 years, and the mean residence time for a molecule is about 7.1 years.

[Now the Vostok data could still be well-mixed, but not because of a residence time measured in decades or centuries. The climatologists have no fall-back position. The conclusions from the analysis in the Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide don't require well-mixed data. The data bear the imprint of the solubility of CO2 in water, which models would be unable to reproduce as a "forcing", a dumping of CO2 into the atmosphere. Also the short residence time challenges their theory that anthropogenic CO2 builds up in the atmosphere. The climatologists admit that water vapor is a "feedback" (i.e., by their definitions any model parameter which is not a forcing is a feedback). With the new results from Vostok, models will have to cause natural CO2 to be shaped by the complement of the solubility curve. If the climatologists still feel compelled to dump anthropogenic CO2 into the atmosphere and separate the effects, they will have to find a way to segregate ACO2 of about 6.5 Gtons/year from the ocean's outgassing of about 104 Gtons/year, and invent a reason that ACO2 doesn't achieve the same fate as the natural.

[One can't claim that the Mauna Loa CO2 curves originated by Keeling are not comparable to the Vostok record. A valid question is, how are they comparable? Both data sets are processed, but the published MLO data are also averaged and appear to have been detrended, that is, a little over-processed. (I'd like to have raw data for MLO, including temperature and the wind vector for each reading.) Keeling warned that these MLO data were regional and restircted to a few layers of the troposphere. Climatologist ignore these caveats and simply glue one set of data on the end of another.

[Keeling's data contain a seasonal variation that appears to be a simple, almost noise free sinusoid. This is an improbable result. He suggested that the seasonal variation was due to the carbon cycle of the biosphere, and that the long term, accelerating baseline was due to man. Because we now reason that the residence time of ACO2 is short, and that the great bulk of it (all the natural part) comes from the ocean, there are better models for the Keeling observations.

[First, the seasonal part of the Mauna Loa CO2 is closely correlated with temperature. The temperature in Hawaii is well-known to be a product of the ocean. Higher temperatures in the month mean warmer waters, and that means more CO2 outgassing. Simple, and consistent.

[Second, here is a novel, alternative conjecture for the MLO data.

[Hawaii sits ten degrees or so north and at least ten degrees west of a huge patch of ocean where most of the 107 Gtons/year of CO2 is exhausted into the atmosphere. The patch is about 20 degrees wide, centered roughly on the equator, stretching from the mid-Pacific to South America. Source is the International Geosphere Biosphere Program. See http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/carboncycle.htm, page 3. This area is included in the doldrums, an area of notoriously low wind and low pressure. The CO2 plume from this patch will enter a Hadley cell, rising and splitting poleward, where it then encounters the westerlies (or whatever lies in the tropophere above the westerlies). Thus in summary, Hawaii should lie in the plume of the bulk of the oceanic outgassing!

[The CO2 at Mauna Loa should not be well-mixed, and it should have a strong regional component due to the outgassing plume. Variations in the strength of the CO2 measurements might well be accounted for by slow changes in deep ocean currents. If the plume slowly moves across the island, this could account for the rise measured over the last 50 years. We must leave it to the climatologists to make the appropriate calculations.

[Man cannot be causing global warming by adding about 1% per year gross to the reservoir of atmospheric CO2, a greenhouse gas with less than one thirtieth the effect of water vapor. The global climate models are wrong, notwithstanding the measurements at Mauna Loa.

[RSJ 11/21/06: The MLO data also need to be checked for volcanic influences from other known and unknown undersea volcanoes.]

E. W. Refsland wrote wrote:

It is June 14, 2007. Where is Gavin Schmidt's response? And your "full" response?

What might be your deluded definition of "soon?"

You're embarassing yourself and the institution that awarded you a Ph.D.

(I'll guess I'll just have to wait for you to peer review my comment. I look forward to your answers.)

[RSJ: Check. Calendar synchronized!

[Gavin Schmidt responded to the Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide in October, last year. (So you needn't make the calculation, that would be 2006.) The RSJ full response was posted under the heading, GAVIN SCHMIDT'S RESPONSE TO THE ACQUITTAL OF CO2 SHOULD SOUND THE DEATH KNELL FOR AGW, and the short title, Gavin Schmidt on the Acquittal of CO2. It appears on this blog, and was posted 11/9/06! It's rather lengthy, so you didn't need the quotation marks.

[Gavin Schmidt has not responded again, in case that is what you are trying to find.

[Your reference to "embarassing yourself" is utterly disconnected. How so? By what? MY institution required spelling competency before matriculation. Or should you be congratulated for a clever new word with the root form, am-bare-ass?

[Your suggestion of a peer review of something of yours is also so far afield of your comment that I feel something may have been e-lost in the e-mail. I have received nothing from anyone named Refsland save this one strange comment.

[I'm fresh out of deluded definitions, but I can offer some contextual ones. If you're the geneticist and molecular biologist E. W. Refsland at the University of Minnesota, then "soon" might mean in a hundred generations. If you're in the climate field, then soon might mean still during the Holocene epoch. It's hard to decide with zero context.

[But then clearly you're concerned with the RSJ note of 11/21/06: "The JunkScience reference has now been checked, along with the response by Gavin Schmidt, the subject of this topic. A full response is nearly finished. Watch for it to be posted here 'soon'." In this context, "soon" means less than the time it takes to get a pro-AGW article published in a peer-reviewed climate journal, but more than the time it takes to tune an HTML document to work in MovableType.

[In the development of that promised full response, the subject matter has evolved. No more needs to be said about Gavin Schmidt. You can get some hints about the upcoming papers by reading the recent commentary, especially ON WHY CO2 IS KNOWN NOT TO HAVE ACCUMULATED IN THE ATMOSPHERE & WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH CO2 IN THE MODERN ERA just posted three days ago. Another paper should be out in a few more days, and a major paper on its heels.

[Sorry to keep you waiting, but the results will be well worth your while.]

Murray Duffin wrote wrote:

Hello Dr. Glassman,

While I agree with you overall, I do find a couple of apparent weaknesses in your argument. The first, and perhaps most important, is your suggestion of the uniqueness of Mauna Loa. Please see the following. Mauna Loa does seem to be representative of the total upper troposphere. See: http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm

[RSJ: This response should resolve your perception of apparent weaknesses.

[Your citation is a table of contents. It does not use the words total, upper, or troposphere, so your conjecture that Mauna Loa data is representative of the total upper troposphere was unverifiable.

[Data measured within the chimney of the massive outgassing from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific are unique. They would include Cape Kumukahi, which is mentioned in papers by the Consensus but not in the IPCC Reports, and Mauna Loa. The outgassing is evident in IPCC data. See Fourth Assessment Report, p. 523, Figure 7.8. The IPCC does not rationalize this uniqueness. Mauna Loa and the South Pole may share the uniqueness of elevation, being at 3397 and 2810 meters, respectively, but scarcely the 20 km of the upper troposphere.

[Keeling's Mauna Loa data are representative of something quite different and far more important than "the total upper troposphere."

[The high-accuracy measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentration, initiated by Charles David Keeling in 1958, constitute the master time series documenting the changing composition of the atmosphere (Keeling, 1961, 1998). These data have iconic status in climate change science as evidence of the effect of human activities on the chemical composition of the global atmosphere (see FAQ 7.1). Keeling's measurements on Mauna Loa in Hawaii provide a true measure of the global carbon cycle, an effectively continuous record of the burning of fossil fuel. They also maintain an accuracy and precision that allow scientists to separate fossil fuel emissions from those due to the natural annual cycle of the biosphere, demonstrating a long-term change in the seasonal exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere, biosphere and ocean. Bold added, IPCC, Fourth Assessment Report (4AR), p. 100.]

My comments:

CO2 delta in the atmosphere from 1970 through 2004 averaged 1.5 ppm/yr. From 1958 to 1974 it averaged 0.9 ppm/yr. From 1994 through 2004 it has averaged 1.8 ppm/yr. Snip "On the basis of flask samples collected at La Jolla Pier, and analyzed by SIO, the annual-fitted average concentration of CO2 rose from 326.86 ppmv in 1970 to 377.83 ppmv in 2004. This represents an average annual growth rate of 1.5 ppmv per year in the fitted values at La Jolla." snip.

[RSJ: What is the significance of the concentration changes you cite, relative to magnitudes, time periods, locations, or the IPCC reports? Your snippet is from Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Record from La Jolla Pier, California, U.S.A. http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-ljo.html. Keeling analyzed rates of change at Mauna Loa between 1978 and 2001 that ranged between 0.83 ppm/yr and 3.75 ppm/yr. Keeling, C.D., et al., Exchanges of Atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 with the Terrestrial Biosphere and Oceans from 1978 to 2000, Parts I and II, SIO Reference Series, No. 01-06, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, 6/01, p. 6 and Figure 5. http://repositories.cdlib.org/sio/reference/01-6/. He says,

[Data from Mauna Loa Observatory were chosen for this identification because the measurements there are continuous and thus provide a more precisely determined rate of change than any other station in our observing program. Also, the rate observed there agrees closely with the global average rate estimated from the nearly pole to pole data of Figure 4 (plot not shown).

[While the measurements may be continuous (not to be taken literally), a little analysis shows that Keeling plotted monthly values. Keeling did not, however, reveal how he calculated the slope at each point. What is significant here relative to your observations is that the magnitude of the change depends on the algorithm for its calculation, and that depends on the noise in the measurements. If one wants to forecast climate, a statistic defined over multiple decades or longer periods, the contributing parameters must be characterized over a like period. This requires statistics for each parameter, like CO2 concentration, based on many such periods. A rule of thumb for many is 10. If climate is to be predicted on a thirty-year scale, CO2 should be analyzed over 300 years. Perhaps 200 would do. Since the problem posed by the Consensus is relatively recently human activity, the problem needs to be split into a statistically stationary background CO2 with a deterministic, human component. The most recent 50 year record is not sufficient on its own, nor are the short term variations relevant.]

That's the one site that can be seriously affected by nearby emissions. All eight regularly measured sites track precisely. The major measuring sites are widely spread from north to south, and the uniform measurement results indicate that CO2 emissions are quickly and well mixed in the atmosphere.

[RSJ: What is the source for eight regularly measured sites? According to your source, the continuous monitoring network consists for four stations. Other lists contain 10 stations and 13 stations. The IPCC map contains about 121 stations in the network. TAR, p. 212, Figure 3.7. It complains that this network is "uneven, and severely under represents the continents. TAR, p. 212.

[I disagree that La Jolla Pier is "the one site that can be seriously affected by nearby emissions." My nomination goes to Mauna Loa.

[The word "precisely" is over the top in science (that every measurement has an error is axiomatic), but it fits what the IPCC reports. The Consensus shows two sites (not eight), and they track precisely. Third Assessment Report, p. 201, Figure 3.2a. The South Pole CO2 trace lies on top of the Mauna Loa CO2 data entirely within the Mauna Loa seasonal variations! How did this happen?

[In view of the facts that (1)

[The sites of anthropogenic CO2 uptake in the ocean are not resolved by inverse modelling because of the large, natural background air-sea fluxes (outgassing in the tropics and uptake in high latitudes). Bold added, TAR, p. 185.

[(2) Mauna Loa sits in the plume of the large CO2 outgassing, and (3) SPO sits in the large Antarctic CO2 sink, why do the two CO2 traces differ only by seasonal effects?

[Keeling himself warned,

[To acquire an atmospheric CO2 database adequate to establish human impacts on continental and global scales, it is necessary to sample air world-wide. Because atmospheric turbulence tends to smooth out the effects of local sources and sinks on the atmospheric CO2 distribution, only a limited number of sampling locations are required, however, provided that they are remote from large local sources and sinks of CO2. Bold added, Keeling, C.D., et al., Exchanges of Atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 with the Terrestrial Biosphere and Oceans from 1978 to 2000, Parts I and II, SIO Reference Series, No. 01-06, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, 6/01, p. 2.

[What could possibly be IPCC's justification for representing global CO2 by only two sources? It did not show all eight sites, nor claim the precision you have found. If what you say were true, the IPCC missed a good bet! You might find support for your conclusions about uniformity, and quick and well-mixed emissions in the IPCC reports, but they are not supported by the IPCC nor by your data.

[What could justify the IPCC's reliance solely on sources contaminated by oceanic CO2 sources and sinks?

[The Consensus provides the answer to the first question -- why its records of CO2 from MLO and SPO are in such precise agreement:

[The longitudinal variations in CO2 concentration reflecting net surface sources and sinks are on annual average typically <1 ppm. Resolution of such a small signal (against a background of seasonal variations up to 15 ppm in the Northern Hemisphere) requires high quality atmospheric measurements, measurement protocols and calibration procedures within and between monitoring networks (Keeling et al., 1989; Conway et al., 1994). Bold added, TAR, p. 211.

[Keeling apparently brought the MLO and SPO CO2 concentration traces into agreement by calibration! The data have been adjusted so that they support the conjecture that CO2 is uniform over the globe, or in Consensus terms, that this gas is well-mixed. This is not the only example of the Consensus applying such unscientific techniques.

[The Third Assessment Report frankly admits that "flux adjustments" have been inserted in the Global Climate Models to make their results agree more closely with observations. While the TAR cites only 16 of C. D. Keeling's papers, but it refers to "flux adjustments" 135 times. See, for example the discussion at TAR, Technical Summary, p. 49, (Box 3). Science labels such techniques as flux adjustments and inter-network calibrations disparagingly as fudge factors.

[The existence of inter-network calibrations of data traces calls into question the validity of all such data. The raw data need to be found and re-examined.

[Could the Consensus be backing away from its demonstration of station to station agreement? The Fourth Assessment Report provides a chart similar to TAR Figure 3.2a, but now from 1970 into 2006, but omitting the South Pole trace! 4AR, p. 138, Figure 2.3.]

The other problem, which may be a misunderstanding on my part, is the Vostok temp/CO2 relationship. The data is for Atmos. temp vs Atmos. CO2 concentration. It does not suggest anything about the rate of ocean uptake/outgassing vs sea water temp.

[RSJ: To the contrary, the data do in fact suggest that they have been shaped by the dependence of the ocean uptake/outgassing on global temperature. This is the effect of the surface solubility pump. It was not discovered by the Consensus, but is revealed for the first time on this blog in the article, The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide.

[In fact, the Consensus considered and summarily dismissed the solubility effect.

[One family of hypotheses to explain glacial/inter-glacial variations of atmospheric CO2 relies on physical mechanisms that could change the dissolution and outgassing of CO2 in the ocean. The solubility of CO2 is increased at low temperature, but reduced at high salinity. These effects nearly cancel out over the glacial/inter-glacial cycle, so simple solubility changes are not the answer

. … The relative importance of high and low latitudes for the transport of CO2 by physical processes is not well known, and may be poorly represented in most ocean carbon models (Toggweiler, 1999; Broecker et al., 1999). Bold added, TAR, p. 202, Box 3.4.

[The Consensus concludes, "The cause must lie in the ocean". TAR, p. 203.

[The issue is not "solubility changes", if by that the Consensus means different solubility curves. A single, fixed solubility dependence on temperature, and temperature alone, the solubility curve, accounts for the glacial/inter-glacial variations. What changes with global temperature is the operating region on the solubility curve. The Acquittal of CO2.

[Judging by the contents of the extensive IPCC reports, the "poorly represented" CO2 transport and the relevant solubility processes are actually omitted.]

For an atmospheric temp. increase of 0.7 degrees C as we have seen in the last century, atmospheric CO2 should only change by about 7 ppm, not the roughly 100 ppm that has been measured. I doubt that the ice core CO2 concentration is representative of atmospheric concentration, either at the time of precipitation or ice closure, simply because of the way the cores are handled, especially depressurization. However atmospheric concentration has almost certainly gone up by >50 ppm since the late 1700s. It's up by that much at Mauna Loa in 50 years.

[RSJ: Indeed. To account for this increase, the Consensus on Climate relies on a greater accumulation of Anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere than occurs with natural CO2. But the concentration of CO2 is dominantly dependent on the solubility of CO2 in water. The Acquittal of CO2. And the Consensus has not postulated a mechanism by which solubility can fractionate ACO2 and nCO2. The two species are irreversibly mixed in the atmosphere, notwithstanding an unquantified fractionating by some plants.

[Regardless, the Consensus expresses little confidence in the fractionating processes to discriminate between ACO2 and nCO2. See TAR, p. 207, Box 3.6. A table is needed of isotopic ratios of all sources of CO2 even to begin an analysis of the problem.

[The Consensus needs an alternative model to account for the recent CO2 buildup. A global factor is warming, which by the physics of the solubility of CO2 in water causes an increase in atmospheric CO2. A regional factor is the location of Mauna Loa in the plume of the large outgassing from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific. That plume may wander across Hawaii causing fluctuations in the measured CO2 concentration caused by atmospheric circulation changes rather than global CO2 concentration changes. Whether these mechanisms are sufficient is for climatologists to compute.]

I have some takes on CO2 and ocean uptake that are very different from IPCC, and in some ways different from your analysis that you might find interesting/useful, but they take up a couple of pages. I'd be happy to e-mail them if you provide an address.

[RSJ: Thanks, but no. I'm willing to share my e-mail address with you, but I'm concentrating on showing how the model posed by the IPCC and the Consensus is erroneous. I don't wish to pose a counter-argument, or to de-bug even a partial one. A counter-model would be weighed against the IPCC model, giving false legitimacy to both. The IPCC model fails on scientific principles, and on its internal omissions and contradictions.]

Regards, Murray Duffin

Murray Duffin wrote wrote:

Just scroll down a tad at this url http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm and you will find a list of the 8 sites. Click on the sites and you will get the data. Mauna Loa is not unique and its plume does not affect all of the other 7 sites uniformly. (I'm trying to be helpful).

[RSJ: First, the Consensus in Figure 3.2a compared the Mauna Loa data record just to the South Pole record. TAR, p. 201.The national concern must be with what the Consensus says in its IPCC Reports, and not how the climate might be better modeled. The alarm has rung, and it is a false alarm.

[Second, the data you site is reduced by a series of calibrations. See RSJ response to your comments of 10/13/07 6:58 PM, above. The IPCC reports have nothing to say about these calibrations, but Keeling did. Here's a sampling:

[To acquire an atmospheric CO2 database adequate to establish human impacts on continental and global scales, it is necessary to sample air world-wide. Because atmospheric turbulence tends to smooth out the effects of local sources and sinks on the atmospheric CO2 distribution, only a limited number of sampling locations are required, however, provided that they are remote from large local sources and sinks of CO2. Bold added, Keeling, C.D., et al., Exchanges of Atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 with the Terrestrial Biosphere and Oceans from 1978 to 2000, Parts I and II, SIO Reference Series, No. 01-06, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, 6/01, p. 2.

[Our approach here is to calculate a set of regional "source components" that, together, sum to all globally significant transfers of atmospheric CO2 with the terrestrial and oceanic carbon reservoirs. … In constructing these components, which portray both sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2, we make use of a priori information as much as possible… . For the less reliably known components, we prescribe, a priori, only their spatial and temporal structures, adjusting their overall strengths simultaneously to predict optimally our observations of CO2 concentration and 13C /12C… . [¶] … These exchanges, which transfer CO2 to and from terrestrial vegetation and soils (henceforth, together called the "terrestrial biosphere") and to and from the world oceans (henceforth, "oceans"), are inferred from global averages of time-varying concentration and 13C/12C ratio determined from our observations. Step 2, to be described in the articles that follow, computes regional fluxes, constrained to agree with the global average fluxes inferred in step 1. Bold added, id., p. 3.

[Keeling's statement is a forthright admission that he adjusted his data in magnitude and time to match his preconceived (i.e., à priori) concept of global average fluxes. Such a procedure could be an artifice in analysis of the records, but publishing such adjusted records is without a caveat is dishonest. To claim that level- and time-adjusted records are in any way evidence of homogeneity in time or amplitude between the different sites is erroneous.

[Third, the RSJ concern about a plume is not the volcanic plume Mauna Loa might emit. It is about the plume of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific outgassing of CO2. It directly flows across Mauna Loa, a fact not recognized by Keeling et al., or the Consensus. A shift in the patterns of atmospheric or oceanic circulations could well account for the increase in CO2 measured by Keeling.

[Judging by published data, some included in the IPCC Reports, Mauna Loa sits in the great plume of oceanic outgassing, a river of CO2 that flows across the globe. This makes it unique among the measuring sites in the network, and contaminated by its proximity to the greatest CO2 source known .

[The similarity in over-processed data from the eight sites can prove nothing. They do not help establish the Consensus's claim that the long, continuous record at Mauna Loa is characteristic of the whole of the planet. Nor do they support its claim that the CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, and especially not that anthropogenic CO2 does. Nor are they evidence of the corollary claim that any species of CO2 is long lived in the atmosphere. These are all examples, and do not exhaust the growing number of errors, some proving to be fatal flaws, in the IPCC Reports that today drive American and international policies and politics.]

Murray duffin wrote wrote:

Since I posted this comment I went back to Vostok and found 2 references that it takes 4000 to 6000 years for the ice to close, (Vostok is a very cold high desert with very low precipitation, orders of magnitude lower than Siple or Law Domes) and that modern air can be found in 4000 year old ice. That suggests to me that any relatively short peak in CO2, say a few hundred years, would be smeared out of recognition as part of a 4000 year moving average. Who knows how high the peaks might have been at previous interglacials? The consensus also ignores the fact that fossil leaf stomata from the warming prior to the Younger Dryas also suggest CO2 levels up to 340 ppm.

[RSJ: Please share your references.

[What is the physical method by which the ice closes, and how does the ice core sample open to begin the accumulation of gases? These questions would help establish a physical model for how ice core data obtains a sample of atmospheric gases. If you are correct, and no counter-argument is apparent, then the Consensus errs to compare Vostok data directly with the Keeling curve or other CO2 measurements in the network. Assuming your model is correct, then as a minimum, the Vostok data should be labeled as a multi-millennium running statistic.

[If your model is correct, then the Vostok measurements, which were sampled on average about every 1.5 millennia, would be correlated. That might be difficult to test because the Vostok sampling interval is not uniform. You might want to conduct an experiment forming the autocorrelation function with synthetic Vostok data representing a 4,000 to 6,000 year accumulation period, and sampled regularly every 1,500 years. It should have a predictable width around zero. Then you might randomize the sample interval and recompute the function as if the sample interval was uniform. From those results, would we expect to measure the 4 to 6 millennia effect in the Vostok record? Is it there?

[The claim by the Consensus that current CO2 concentrations are unprecedented in the last 420,000 years remains indefensible. Not enough measurements have been made to establish that claim with any confidence. The model you suggest shows that even if a sample had hit on an era like the present, it would not have been apparent in the data. A running average lies inside the peaks and valleys, and is time delayed. You might want to compute if the present CO2 concentration were to (a) remain high or (b) continue to grow at the present rate, how long would it take to become detectable in a Vostok-like data sampling and analysis? From such a computation, you could establish the confidence levels for the claims that the present levels or rates, continued for a specified length of time, are unprecedented.

[Of course, good practices in science demand objective comparisons of measurements made with different instruments, or of samples from different populations, such as those in different locations or different eras. The Consensus fails in this duty and instead makes unwarranted claims in support of its preconceived AGW conjecture, good enough for a Nobel peace prize.

[Your model may have other important ramifications on paleoclimate analysis. It may shift the reported lead/lag relationship between the ice core temperature anomaly and the CO2 concentration (although it would not affect the solubility relationship). You might want to perform an error analysis on the data reduction methods by which investigators assigned gas age to these two Vostok traces.]

sunsettommy wrote:

Greetings Dr. Glassman.

In your exchange with Mr. Duffin. I noticed that a published paper was not discussed. That might help shed additional information on the recent and prehistoric atmospheric CO2 levels.

Here is the link:


ABSTRACT More than 90,000 accurate chemical analyses of CO2 in air since 1812 are summarised. The historic chemical data reveal that changes in CO2 track changes in temperature, and therefore climate in contrast to the simple, monotonically increasing CO2 trend depicted in the post 1990 literature on climate change. Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm. Between 1857 and 1958, the Pettenkofer process was the standard analytical method for determining atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and usually achieved an accuracy better than 3%. These determinations were made by several scientists of Nobel Prize level distinction. Following Callendar (1938), modern climatologists have generally ignored the historic determinations of CO2, despite the techniques being standard text book procedures in several different disciplines. Chemical methods were discredited as unreliable choosing only few which fit the assumption of a climate CO2 connection.


a 25 page PDF.

It might be worth your time to read. It contains among other things criticism of both Callendar and Keeling's work. He also has charts showing that a number of locations show 400+ PPM in some years within the last 200 years.


[RSJ: The web server at icecap.us wouldn't respond on several tries. Beck's paper though is here:


[The IPCC story just on CO2 is highly flawed, and Beck adds to and detracts from it. For the moment, consider just the graph of CO2 concentration from multiple sources shown in Beck's Figure 1, p. 260. Beck cites to "Keeling et al. 2001" on the graph and to "Keeling [2]" in the caption. Neither his text nor his bibliography contains either citation!

[The IPCC reports contain two versions of a similar graph of CO2 concentration. These are TAR Figure 3.2(b), p. 201 for the years 900 to 2000, and 4AR Figure 6.4(a), p. 448 for the past 20,000 years to the present. The latter also includes a grey bar to "show the reconstructed ranges of natural variability for the past 650 kyr (Siegenthaler et al., 2005a; Spahni et al., 2005)." This grey bar range covers a CO2 concentration from about 180 to 300 ppm.

[The IPCC claims,

[The present atmospheric CO2 concentration has not been exceeded during the past 420,000 years, and likely not during the past 20 million years. TAR, p. 185.

[Keeling's Mauna Loa record now covers 50 years, and during that entire time it exceeded 300 ppm, the top of the grey bar range. What are the chances of detecting such a 50 year span during the last 420,000 years by one of the 363 ice core samples? It is 50 divided by the mean sample interval, 1140 years, which is 4.4%. If the claim is extended to cover the 650,000 year period covered by the extended Vostok record comprising 685 samples, the chances are 5.3%. Thus the IPCC claim is true with a confidence level of about 5%. Usually scientific claims are expressed in confidence levels better to much better than, and not much worse than, a coin toss, such as 80%, 90%, 95%, or better. The IPCC could be 95% confident that an interval such as the present was undetectable among the Vostok ice core reductions.

[In the Fourth Assessment Report, the Consensus on Climate introduces qualitative expressions to stand for quantified "likelihood of the occurrence" of events. Very unlikely is less than 10%, "extremely unlikely" is less than 5%, and "exceptionally unlikely" scores as less than 1%. 4AR, Technical Summary, p. 121. In the IPCC discussions on carbon dioxide and its immediate effects in the GCMs, the Consensus uses this scoring to impart a quantitative and objective score to what is actually no more than the writers' subjective opinions. Science precludes such subjectivity.

[However, with regard to the unprecedented nature of the Mauna Loa record, the confidence level is objective, calculable by the ratio of the record length to the sample interval. The IPCC could have said that the chances of having detected an interval like the modern record in the Vostok record was extremely unlikely. When the Consensus had a chance to be objective, it declined. Proclaiming an impending catastrophe trumped objectivity.

[So back to the graphs in question, the IPCC's grey region of "natural variability" is comparable to the other records, but the confidence level is extremely unlikely. Beck's paper adds another reason: larger concentrations were measured, but ignored. The so-called region of natural variability is unsupportable, and a sham. It should be ignored. With that distraction out of the way, we can discuss some of the other implications of the various CO2 concentration graphs.

[First, the data supporting the graphs are not as represented by Beck's Figure 1. Perhaps Beck has correctly stated the sources, but his two Keeling references can't be deciphered. Regardless of citations, the two IPCC graphs don't agree with the sources given by Beck. In both IPCC graphs, the IPCC attributes the modern record solely to the Mauna Loa record. All three graphs attribute the earlier, pre-industrial record to Law Dome samples, but the IPCC attributes these data to different sets of four ice core locations including Law Dome.

[Regardless of the graph for the modern record, the IPCC text is clear in various places that the Mauna Loa record is representative of the record from the other stations in the network. In a companion graph in the TAR, the IPCC shows that the South Pole data, but only the South Pole data, agree with the Mauna Loa data. This network comprises nine stations according to Beck's Figure 1. That number is supported by the Trends report by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-keel.htm. But nothing matters except what the IPCC, also known as the Consensus on Climate, says. No model predicts a greenhouse catastrophe except those of the Consensus. And the IPCC shows about 121 stations in its atmospheric CO2 measuring network. TAR, p. 212, Figure 3.7.

[Perhaps someday the data from those stations might be made reasonably available to the public (that is free, online, and compatible with desktop computers). Perhaps soon all the IPCC reference source material will be made available under the Freedom of Information Act. The public needs to put the IPCC on trial for what it has done, and the data could then be revealed as a part of discovery. Until then, the normal scientific virtue of skepticism, and scientific experience, call into doubt what the IPCC and Keeling portray in their graphs and the Consensus says in its reports about the nature of CO2 in the atmosphere.

[Each of the three graphs is too pat. The data from multiple stations lie right on top of one another within a line or symbol width, and the records from one source merge into the next with no discontinuities. These results are not consistent with scientific experience. It is acutely improbable when one considers that some data are proxies for CO2 while others are considered direct CO2 measurements, and as Beck points out, made with different instruments.

[The coincidence of records and related claims are contradicted by information supplied by the IPCC. The Consensus needs the record from Mauna Loa to represent the global concentration of CO2. So, it proclaims that the CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere. This, it asserts, is because of its long life time. But when one computes the lifetime based on the IPCC's own formula, it is quite short, on the order of 1.5 to 5 years or so using IPCC data. Furthermore, the IPCC ambiguously asserts that the longitudinal variation of CO2 is on the order of 1 ppm, and that the latitudinal variation is 10 times as great. The CO2 gradient would be obvious if it could be visualized.

[The gradient effect should fit the absorption and emission of CO2 by the ocean. At one point, the IPCC denies it exists, and at another point demonstrates its existence. The former is at TAR p.211 ("the existing airsea flux measurements do not support the idea of a large oceanic uptake of CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere (Tans et al., 1990; Takahashi, 1999)"). The latter is in 4AR Figure 7.8, p. 523; see also TAR ¶, p. 216. What is shown here is that the annual flux of over 90 Gigatons of carbon between the atmosphere and the ocean is concentrated at the poles and the Eastern Equatorial Pacific.

[In the last analysis, the IPCC claim that CO2 is well-mixed is contradicted by the IPCC's own evidence. Therefore, the Mauna Loa is not representative. The cause for the Mauna Loa record is best ascribed to the efflux of CO2 from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific. Mauna Loa sits in the plume of that outgassing. It is increasing in all probability because the climate is warming in recovery from the last ice age about 2,000,000 years ago, the last glacial epoch about 20,000 years ago, and the Little Ice Age about 200 years ago.

[The IPCC claims that that the natural exchange of CO2 between the ocean and the atmosphere is in equilibrium, and that the global increase is due to man's burning of fossil fuels. For this to be true, the Anthropogenic CO2 must be subject to different physics than the natural. The IPCC does not recognize this inevitable result of its claims. Yet, the IPCC admits the only difference is in the proportion of the isotopes of carbon present. Still, the IPCC asserts that the ocean processes CO2 according to its age. Fresh CO2 is absorbed rapidly (the [Solubility] Pump), middle aged CO2 is processed slowly (the Organic Carbon Pump), and old CO2 is processed over a period of 35,000 years (the CaCO3 Counter Pump). See 4AR, ¶¶, especially Figure 7.10, pp. 528-532. This is physically impossible, barring such nonsensical conjectures as CO2 flows in pipes, or old and new 12C are physically distinguishable.

[So why are the graphs so unscientifically pat? One reason is provided by the IPCC:

[The longitudinal variations in CO2 concentration reflecting net surface sources and sinks are on annual average typically <1 ppm. Resolution of such a small signal (against a background of seasonal variations up to 15 ppm in the Northern Hemisphere) requires high quality atmospheric measurements, measurement protocols and calibration procedures within and between monitoring networks (Keeling et al., 1989; Conway et al., 1994). Bold added, TAR, p. 211.

[So what the Consensus has done is to "calibrate" the various records into agreement. And there can be no other meaning for "calibration procedures … between monitoring networks". It accounts for coincidence in simultaneous records and it accounts for continuity between adjacent records. The most interesting information in this procedure would be the exact amount of calibration necessary to achieve the objective of nearly flawless measuring with the modern record dominating. The IPCC's method is unacceptable in science. It is akin to the IPCC practice of making "flux adjustments" to make its various models agree. See TAR for 87 references to "flux adjustment", and see 4AR for its excuse, condemnation, and abandonment. 4AR p. 117.

[Beck has made several positive contributions. In Figure 1 he illustrates well-known seasonal and diurnal variations in the CO2 concentration signal. At the resolution of his Figure 1, these are not discernable. The seasonal variation is prominent in TAR Figure 3.2a). Keeling attributed the seasonal variation to biological processes on land, which would support his conclusion that he was measuring if not a global CO2 concentration, at least a large, regional concentration. This is an unlikely model for the seasonal variation. It is inconsistent with the location of Mauna Loa in the plume of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific outgassing. A plausible explanation is that the well-known seasonal wind patterns across Mauna Loa modulate the location of the plume with respect to Mauna Loa. Beck takes into account the seasonal wind pattern at measuring stations in Figure 6, p. 267, and Figure 10, p. 271. A similar analysis holds for Mauna Loa. If Keeling made wind vector measurements at Mauna Loa, a study correlating his wind measurements with his concentration measurements would be illuminating.

[Beck provides charts of CO2 concentration in several figures which are local, regional, or. in the case of his Figure 12, impliedly global but unlabeled. These show periods as noted by Sunsettommy of more than a decade in which the concentration of CO2 exceeded the Mauna Loa record. To be sure, more work needs to be done with these data. Beck infers correlation by co-plotting records of smoothed data. Instead, correlation should be calculated using data in the most raw form available. This removes his subjectivity from correlation analysis, and reduces the problem to that of entirely quantifiable signals in noise.

[Regardless of the outcome of studies using statistical methods, Beck still reveals samples of atmospheric CO2 concentration not reported in his Figure 1 or the corresponding pair of IPCC figures. Thus Beck's paper is as Sunsettommy suspected, a help. It has shown another means in addition to subjective calibrations by which the Consensus on Climate has sought to portray solidarity in the CO2 data: the IPCC reports only data that fit its preconceived conjecture.]

Questioning Climate wrote wrote:

Dr. Glassman,

As an expert on CO2 in the atmosphere, I thought you would be one of the few people that might be able to resolve an issue that has been puzzling me. I have recently noticed a significant difference in the NOAA seasonal fluctuations of CO2 between Global and Mauna Loa data sets. Please see my comparison at: http://www.trevoole.co.uk/Questioning_Climate/_sgg/m8_1.htm

At present I cannot think of a "good" explanation for the shape of the Global data. Is it an artifact of the methodology used to construct it? Is there a physical basis for it? Does it have any real significance?

[RSJ:Your concerns are well-taken. The first clue to where the problem lies is in the data description in the headings to the two tables. The global table says,

[The uncertainty in the global monthly mean is estimated using a a [sic] monte carlo technique that computes 100 globally-averaged time series, each time using a slightly different set of measurement records from the NOAA ESRL cooperative air sampling network. The reported uncertainty, 0.13 ppm, is the mean of the standard deviations for each monthly mean using this technique. Please see Conway et al., 1994, JGR, vol. 99, no. D11. for a complete discussion. Units are ppm.

[First, this is not analogous to the methods applied to the MLO data.

[Second, the technique of Monte Carlo sampling applied here is bizarre on its face. Monte Carlo sampling is a powerful technique for selecting data to drive a system simulation. The data are usually selected from probability distributions of the driving variables, but selecting from measurements should work as well. The statistical analysis then of repeated runs provides a measure of the system response. So, what NOAA has produced here is a set of weighted CO2 samples suitable to drive a simulation. NOAA should have reduced all the available data.

[Third, "The reported uncertainty, 0.13 ppm" is confusing. Apparently it is self-referential, because an uncertainty figure appears nowhere else in the tables. What would the uncertainty have been had NOAA used 100% of the data?

[Fourth, the citation to Conway et al, 1994, is to a journal article not freely available to the public. The proper way to write a scientific paper is to paraphrase or quote whatever is necessary to the paper, citing the source to the specific page or paragraph number. To provide a citation as a starting point for reader research is not acceptable scientific writing. This improper method is the rule throughout the IPCC reports. They contain thousands of such citations, never quoted, and not directed to the specific page or paragraph. Some of the IPCC references don't even support the text for which they are cited. (Examples on request.) The IPCC reports should not be used by the US until it exercises the Freedom of Information Act to make the full bibliography freely available to the public in searchable text format.

[Regardless, what Conway et al actually say is in the last analysis irrelevant. Whatever algorithms NOAA used for the tables are unknown, and unpublished, so they can't be verified by Conway. Moreover, the global table appears not to have been used by the IPCC, and there would be no AGW problem but for the IPCC.

[What does matter are the interpretation and application of Conway by the IPCC. It cites the paper for the following proposition:

[The longitudinal variations in CO2 concentration reflecting net surface sources and sinks are on annual average typically <1 ppm. Resolution of such a small signal (against a background of seasonal variations up to 15 ppm in the Northern Hemisphere) requires high quality atmospheric measurements, measurement protocols and calibration procedures within and between monitoring networks (Keeling et al., 1989; Conway et al., 1994). Bold added, TAR, p. 211.

[See Gavin Schmidt's Response to the Acquittal of Co2 Should Sound the Death Knell for AGW, RSJ response to comment, 10/13/07.

[Here is the likely source of the spectral difference between the global and Mauna Loa CO2 records. The climatologists apply secret fudge factors to make the CO2 records from the different monitoring stations appear contiguous. They have likely adjusted only the amplitude of the total CO2 concentration and not the phase or amplitude of the seasonal fluctuations. As a result, while the MLO data perforce exhibit a single mean, seasonal pattern, the global data comprise the sum of 100 randomly selected records, "calibrated" to have similar amplitudes (similar to MLO, undoubtedly), but with different seasonal patterns, all with the same fundamental frequency but with different phases. The seasonal fluctuations in the global data thus have the same frequency components, but randomized phases.

[The calibration data corresponding to the mean amplitude differences between the stations contain information about the CO2 gradient across the planet. Those data are far more interesting than the ignored global reduction, and should be made public.

[Keeling attributed the seasonal fluctuations observed in his Mauna Loa record to seasonal effects in the biosphere.

[{Rev. 6/28/08.

These data, therefore, indicate that the seasonal trend in concentration observed in the northern hemisphere is the result of the activity of land plants.

[Keeling, C. D., The Concentration and Isotopic Abundances of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmospkere, Tellus, vol. 12, no. 2, 6/60.}

[More likely they were due to seasonal wind shifts at Mauna Loa, which would cause the plume of outgassed CO2 from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific to oscillate across Hawaii. The seasonal differences among the CO2 monitoring stations would depend on the local seasonal CO2 gradient at each station, and should be correlated with the seasonal prevailing wind. This hypothesis could be tested if the wind vector at each station were recorded and made freely available to the public in a useful format, along with the calibration data.

[{Rev. 6/28/08. Keeling, id., pp. 200-202 said,

Local contamination has been found to occur at all three continuous recording stations. … At Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, a less prominent variability has been found in approximately half of the records. This is attributed to release of carbon dioxide by nearby volcanic vents; combustion on the island associated with agricultural, industrial, and. domestic activities; and lower concentration of carbon dioxide in the air transported to the station by upslope winds. The values reported here are averages of data for periods of downslope winds or strong lateral winds when the concentration remained nearly constant for several hours or more.

[Did Keeling continue his practice of selecting data for a preferred wind direction and preferred concentration in his famous record from 1958 to the present? How did the investigators fix the MLO contamination problem?}

[In your analysis on your Questioning Climate blog, you first removed the linear trend from the global and MLO records for the selected interval. That is a conventional first step, and objective. In the next step, you partitioned the reduced records into "medium-term" trends. Not only is this step subjective, but it removes from the data what you ultimately should want to observe - the underlying, non-seasonal variations in CO2 concentration.

[In your third step, you estimated a sinusoid to fit the reduced data using guesses, a "crude amplitude match", and a "close enough" phase estimate. Instead, you should fit sinusoids at the fundamental period of one year to the two records, solving for the amplitude and phase that produces the minimum mean square error. Then subtract the best sinusoids from the detrended records to produce another pair of intermediate records. Repeat the process for the harmonics of the fundamental until the process runs out of gas. At each step, measure the variance (power) reduction in the reduced records. This way you will uncover the underlying concentration variations in the records.

[The two records are quite similar. The global is less noisy, as suggested by NOAA. The trends are quite similar: 1.618 ppm/year for the global data and 1.639 ppm/year for MLO. The measured seasonal components are as follows, where the fundamental or first harmonic has a period of one year:

phase, mos
power, %
1st 2.91  048.0
2nd 0.81  4.745.8
3rd 0.07  6.130.05

phase, mos
power, %
1st 1.97  034.7
2nd 0.67  4.765.4
3rd 0.14  -2.640.24

[The fourth harmonics are in the noise. NOAA removed the seasonal fluctuations and their harmonics efficiently in the records it called trends.

[The two fundamental seasonal components differ in phase by 1.15 months. That is a random variable depending on global CO2 gradient dynamics, both static and seasonal, and sampling errors because of the spatial distribution of the measuring stations and because of the Monte Carlo selection of data.

[{Rev. 6/29/08. Keeling, id., pp. 202-203, reported,

A clearly defined seasonal trend in concentration is found at all locations in the northern hemisphere. Going from south to north, the annual range of concentration becomes greater and the month of minimum concentration occurs earlier. Bold added.}

[The variations in CO2 concentration underlying the seasonal effects are quite similar, comparing the global to the MLO average records. To remove much of the noise, form the cumulative records for both. Then you will see previously undiscovered events in the CO2 record, most of which were discarded with the medium-term trends.

[The average, global CO2 concentration was close to nominal (1.62 ppm/yr) until 1987.9 when it suddenly began to rise at an additional 1.8 ppm/yr, over twice nominal. Between 1992.2 and 1998.2, it fell at 3.18 ppm/yr below nominal. Between 2005.6 and 2008.2, the CO2 concentration rose at 7.83 ppm/yr above nominal. These changes and other lesser changes in CO2 accumulation persist for years. These might be due entirely to the MLO record, depending on the unpublished weighting NOAA used to form the global record. If so, then the events could be due to regional events at the Hawaii station. Regardless, the events need to be checked against global and regional temperature records, and perhaps the Southern Oscillation Index, and it needs to be checked with the conjecture that the added CO2 is anthropogenic.]

Ron wrote wrote:

Dr. Glassman,

I and others have been theorizing the consequences and outcome of a real class action against the IPPC. After all, they just might be knowingly perpetrating a fraud against humanity. Great sums of money are being usurped from mankind and even scientists should not be exempt from gross negligence.

[RSJ: Let the scientists be, legally anyway. The professional embarrassment of the debunking of AGW should cause a mortal embarrassment.

[Think through this law suit. Imagine the attorneys involved, who could prove either pro or con arbitrarily, or both simultaneously. Imagine laying all the expert witnesses end to end. The queue would circle the planet. They will be able to explain the climate until no one could understand it. It would be quicker to let the anthropogenic experiment run its course, except for the fact that the AGW catastrophe will never come to pass. The attorneys will still bill a third of the trillion dollar Kyoto cost, which no entity could ever pay, so the clients will get nothing.]

That's just my introductory hello. I have two questions.

1. Viewing the Vostok 450,000 year chart, but OMITTING the CO2 portion, is there any credible debate over the TEMPERATURE scale? In other words, it indicates +/- 7 degC temperature gyrations every ~100Kyr. Do the GH camp and the anti GH camps both firmly agree on that count?

[RSJ: The AGW (preferred over GH = GreenHouse) camp is in lock step. The peer review process is king, and allows zero dissent. Surely the believers agree that the ice core temperature records are valid, and must somewhere quote an accuracy. They should. Meanwhile, the anti AGW crowd is all over the map. There are just too many ways to approach the debunking of a supernatural conjecture.

[No reason exists to challenge the Vostok temperature record. Take it at face value until it leads to a contradiction.]

2. Even if we completely dismiss CO2 GH effects, do you recognize a CO2 acid issue in oceans or can that be contradicted with sound science as well? Clearly, if there is a net exodus of CO2 from oceans, then there can be no simple argument for oceanic CO2 acidification and sea life extinctions. If another better acid/pollutant is likely the culprit, I'd like to be armed with that defense, if not CO2.

[RSJ: My scientific skepticism gauge registers quite high with regard to prediction of species extinction, on land or in the sea. Comets or eruptions of Yellowstone cause mass extinctions with great rapidity compared to any model one might conjure for CO2 depletion. Following these extinctions is a period of profound speciation as random mutations work without competition to refill depleted niches. This is a background of speciation and extinction which needs to be modeled before we give credence to another anthropogenic catastrophe.

[The common model of so many species per acre times the number of acres deforested equals the number of species driven to extinction is statistical nonsense and the comic relief of a scientific conjecture.

[The AGW conjecture contains a subconjecture related to CO2 acidification. The IPCC has several proofs that the buildup in atmospheric CO2 is manmade, each of which, by the way, is invalid. One of them is the notion that the ocean has a chemical bottleneck to absorption of CO2 caused by the depletion of carbonate ions. The proportion of carbonate ions in the surface layer is determined by pH of the surface layer. So, the model appears to say, as CO2 acidifies the ocean, the carbonate ions decrease, and the capacity of the ocean buffer to hold CO2 decreases. For an all but incoherent discussion, see AR4, Box 7.3: Marine Carbon Chemistry and Ocean Acidification, p. 529, and the discussion beginning with the introduction of the Revelle Factor at AR4, ¶, Carbon Cycle Feedbacks to Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, p. 531.

[The next paper in the hopper to be posted here will debunk all of the IPCC rationales by which it claims to know that the CO2 increase is anthropogenic. Included is this problem of acidification. The short form of the answer is that the IPCC has misused the Revelle Factor, which originally was only an imaginary fudge factor anyway to make CO2 accumulate in the atmosphere. The IPCC now uses it not as a relationship between concentrations, but instead a relationship about the pH-dependent distribution of the three DIC components, molecular CO2, bicarbonate ions, and carbonate ions.

[The consequences of the IPCC subconjecture relating to acidification include that the solubility of CO2 in water no longer depends just on temperature, pressure, and salinity, but also on the availability of certain ions in the solution, and on the isotopic weight of CO2. The latter gives solubility the property to fractionate. It also gives the absorption of CO2 a varying time constant, depending upon the age of the CO2. This is scientific nonsense unless CO2 molecules come with coatings that can be etched away. CO2 does not age in the water.]

I do have one other thing of far greater importance to discuss privately with you concerning a journalist in large newspaper who might like to talk with you. Please contact me by email so we might discuss this by phone.

Ron Ace

[RSJ: OK.]

yonason wrote wrote:

"They fail to account for the differences in measurement methods and the problems that implies with regard to calibration."

Do you mean they haven't concurrently matched older and contemporary methods to see if any correction might be necessary, and to quantify it if needed??!! If so, that's pretty sloppy.

[RSJ: Not quite, and not so innocent as sloppy. As quoted and discussed above, IPCC says,

[The longitudinal variations in CO2 concentration reflecting net surface sources and sinks are on annual average typically <1 ppm. Resolution of such a small signal (against a background of seasonal variations up to 15 ppm in the Northern Hemisphere) requires high quality atmospheric measurements, measurement protocols and calibration procedures within and between monitoring networks (Keeling et al., 1989; Conway et al., 1994). Bold added, TAR, ¶3.5.3, p. 211; text corrected 1/24/09.

[Thus IPCC admits it uses calibration to bring disparate CO2 records into agreement. It graphs the MLO record precisely on top of the South Pole record. TAR, Figure 3.2a, p. 201. It does the same with MLO and Baring Head, New Zealand. AR4, Figure 2.3, p. 138. It says of the latter,

Because CO2 is a LLGHG and well mixed in the atmosphere, measurements made at such sites provide an integrated picture of large parts of the Earth including continents and city point sources. Id.

[It's an integrated picture because IPCC "integrated" the data. Its implication that coincident data support its essential assumptions that CO2 is a "Long Lived GreenHouse Gas" (LLGHG) and that it is "well mixed" is false. It is based on fudged data.

[As a minimum, an investigator should publish records of his calibrations. Better, he should analyze why the records are not the same, and postulate models to account for the differences. Instead, IPCC provides CO2 records that match in the mean, but which may have trend and seasonal variations. IPCC provides an example of proper data presentation from disparate sources in its discussion of Total Solar Irradiance. See TAR, Figures 6.4, p. 381, 6.5, p. 382.

[In the same Figure 2.3, part (b), IPCC co-plots ACO2 emissions for 1970 through 2005 and the atmospheric isotopic fraction δ13C for 1981 through 2002. It changes the sign of δ13C and shifts its baseline, which are not objectionable. But at the same time it arbitrarily chooses a scale factor for δ13C to make it as parallel as possible to the ACO2 emissions. Then on the next page, it proclaims that δ13c "decreases at a predictable rate consistent with emissions of CO2 from fossil origin." AR4, ¶2.3.1, p. 139. This is its "isotopic signature of fossil fuel" to "confirm that the recent and continuing increase of atmospheric CO2 content is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions – most importantly anthropogenic CO2 emissions." TAR, ¶3.1, p. 187. It is nothing of the sort. IPCC data reduction bears the signature of fraudulent science. It is shameful rising to criminal.

[What the IPCC needs is a mass balance analysis to support what it claims for the observed δ13C. It relies on gas mass balance analysis to estimate the land/atmosphere and sea/atmosphere fluxes. TAR, ¶3.5.1, p. 208, AR4, ¶, p. 514. However, IPCC fails to report what its mass balance analysis might yield for the isotopic ratio. It thus fails to validate its mass balance analysis and fails to support its conclusions about the alleged anthropogenic signature.]

Fintan Lynch wrote:


I would point out that there is no such thing as a Rocket Scientist. Engineers design Rockets, so it should be 'Rocket Engineer's'. Even NASA recognises this.

Scientists are not Engineers and vice versa unless they have the necessary qualifications. Engineers should get credit for their achievements.

Fintan Lynch, B.E., Ph.D.


[RSJ: I don't agree with your implied definitions. My model of science is explicit, as scientific modeling requires. It not only fits all observations of how science works, but applies common terminology. Science is philosophy, that is, knowledge, and in particular the objective branch. It comprises the modeling of the Real World, which has two parts, the natural world and the manmade world. The former is the domain of basic science practiced principally by basic scientists, the latter of technology, practiced principally by engineers.

[Both branches apply the same scientific method, with its own four part definition comprising language, measurements, modeling, and validation. The scientific method is a checklist of necessities in perfecting models. A practice is science if it adheres to the scientific method. Heuristically, a model is science to the extent it makes validated, non-trivial predictions of the Real World that are better than chance.

[A few ancillary parts of the definition: Language includes logic and mathematics. Facts are measurements compared to standards. Models make predictions that can be validated with facts. Models come in four quality states: conjecture, hypothesis, theory, and law. A conjecture is an incomplete, objective model of the Real World. A hypothesis is a conjecture made complete, covering and consistent with all the facts in its domain and making a non-trivial prediction. A theory is a hypothesis in which at least one non-trivial prediction has been validated. A law is a theory in which all its explicit or implied predictions have been validated. Engineering and basic science do not differ in the primary scientific objective to match a model to the Real World: only engineers can alter the Real World to make the model and the technology converge.

[Not included in the definition: A model does not require Popper clause, except as his falsifiability might be construed to mean postulating a testable, non-trivial prediction. The scientific method is not a recipe, an ordered set of steps to perfect models as imagined by Francis Bacon and Feyerabend, nor is it exclusively inductive or deductive. Even though basic science is usually shared, publication and peer-review are quite irrelevant. Much of rocket science is proprietary or classified, and is not made public. No matter how convinced a scientist might be about his knowledge, science is neither to explain nor to describe, for these are subjective, "in the eye of the beholder", and outside the exclusively objective domain of science. The model is not the Real World, and what man perceives by his senses or his instruments does cover the Real World, but is a projection of it. Infinity and the infinitesimal are valid properties of mathematics, but because they are never measured, they are not facts.

[For more details, see Glassman, J. A., Evolution of Science, Hollowbrook Publishing, Wakefield, NH, 1992. It includes the following set of axioms necessary in rounding out the definition:

  #                   AXIOM             NOTES
0 Rational Domain The domain of discourse lies in rational thought.
I Curiosity Man must answer all question; he craves reasons & knowledge of the future and the unobservable, & control of his destiny: thus the Mission for Science.
II Real World ∃ an all encompassing Real World beyond knowledge
III Cause & Effect ∀ Effects observed in the Real World, ∃ a discoverable Cause in the Real World
IV Measurability ∀ objective observations, ∃ an unambiguous standard
V Uncertainty ∀ measurements, ∃ an error
VI Master Clock ∃ A master clock — universal, uniform, & unidirectional
VII Least Work Systems that adapt evolve to expend less energy.
VIII Logic Rules & Axioms Science is based on logical discourse, using a set of rules & axioms. The set is not unique.

[where ∀ = "for all" and ∃ = "there exists".

[Guided rocket vehicles, generalized to include any form of propulsion, are used as remote sensing devices to make scientific measurements and absorb energy across the vast spectra of electromagnetics, gravitation, mechanics, particle physics, chemistry, communications, navigation, and thermodynamics. Their development entails application of both basic science and technology, all of which is science and, for that matter, philosophy. Hence, the origin of the meaning of your doctorate.

[NASA is an authority to be cited with great caution. It, as with many once scientific journals, supports as beliefs and not science, two conjectures elevated to dogma: the alleged fact that man has caused global warming, and the alleged theory that man could, with today's technology, reasonably effect climate change.]


Dr Lynch needs to do his homework.... and get a life

[RSJ: Still waiting for Fintan Lynch to respond.]



I wished to advise you that some components of your web site are tricky to read for me, as I am color blind. I am a sufferer of tritanopia, but there are other forms of color blindness that may also get problems. I will understand the majority of the website Okay, and those parts I have problems with I can comprehend by using a custom browser. In any case, it would be great if you could remember us color-blind types whilst undertaking the next web page re-working.


[RSJ: Bummer! Where does the problem arise? I use font color, here #1D6D15, only to help distinguish my responses from the poster's text, but I also use the square brackets and a different font. Is this text, therefore, almost invisible to you, or to trianopes in general? The color may be critical to read some graphics. If so, can you identify which?

[You recommend considerations for other forms of colorblindness. Can you suggest some design rules for drafting universally readable documents?]

Brian H wrote wrote:

10071914616 GAVIN

Working my way through your excellent work here, but almost shouted, "Huzzah!" when I read the following:

Climatologists need to rid themselves of this Delicate Blue Planet misapprehension. They need to abandon their pursuit, however attractive, of knife edges over catastrophes. They should reconfigure their models to account for stable states, past and present, of all the parameters in their domain. These include not just global climate, but gas mixtures, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, and the ozone layer. They should be modeling these phenomena in their natural, closed-loop states to discover the controlling parameters and their dynamic ranges.

I am SOOO tired of hearing about "fragile" ecosystems and conditions that I now rate any source using the word (or its synonyms like "delicate") -9 out of a possible 10 for Presumptive Probity.

Resilient, flexible, homeostatic, balanced, and robust are turning out to be much more accurate descriptors of (e.g.) the Amazon and coral reefs. The only real positive feedback runaways I see are in Warmist/IPCC rhetoric.

[RSJ: In your post minutes ago on Why CO2 Is Known Not To Have Accumulated in the Atmosphere, etc. you closed with "The more CO2 [is] in contact with the ocean surface, the faster it dissolves." Recently I've been researching just that point, the rate of CO2 air-sea flux, and have gathered enough for an addendum to that paper. Now when you spoke of the warmist rhetoric, you reminded me of my recent discovery. It's a PhD dissertation, dated 10/99, published online, entitled, "The Rate of Air-Sea CO2 Exchange: etc.," by Ben J. H. Matthews, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Supervisors : Prof. P.S. Liss and Dr. P. D. Nightingale, and funded by European Study of Carbon in the Ocean Biosphere and Atmosphere. It contains this passage:

>>[Now, as we approach the end of the warmest decade for at least 1000 years (Mann et al 1999), there is no longer any serious doubt that our planet is getting warmer. Analysis of the pattern of temperature changes as a function of latitude and altitude (Santer et al 1996) and as a function of time (Tett et al 1999) has shown that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases must be the major factor contributing to global warming, at least since 1946. Other factors such as the natural variability of solar radiation, the depletion of stratospheric ozone, and the short-term cooling effect of volcanic dust and sulphate aerosol emissions also contribute, but to a lesser extent, to explaining the observed patterns of warming.

>>[Over 50% of the anthropogenic greenhouse warming is attributed to CO2, the other main greenhouse gases being methane, nitrous oxide, and anthropogenic halogen gases. Water vapour is also a major greenhouse gas but it has a very short lifetime in the atmosphere, its concentration being controlled by evaporation and precipitation. Any warming due to CO2 may therefore be amplified by a higher concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere.

>>[This and other physical feedback processes such as changes in albedo due to changing cloud cover and sea-ice are included in most global climate models. The latest prediction from such models (using central estimates of various parameters) is for a further global average warming of 1.9- 2.9C over the next century (Wigley 1999). These global figures mask much greater regional changes, and threaten severe disruption to agriculture and ecosystems, an increase in extreme weather events, flooding of low lying coastal areas, and spread of diseases.

[Now I intend to take nothing away from candidate Matthews research, or the publications of Liss and Nightingale, who are recognized as contributors to the science of air-sea CO2 flux. Nor do I wish to exploit the unfortunate circumstances of an uncooperative climate since 1995, nor the embarrassments at East Anglia.

[Here I highlight these paragraphs, surely independent of and irrelevant to Matthew's research, as examples of the perfunctory, obligatory deference to be paid if one is to publish in the peer-reviewed literature or advance in certain academic fields. The catch phrases, shabby science, and scare tactics from IPCC somewhat obliquely contained here might flesh out an AGW glossary of anti-science, complementing the romantic Delicate Blue Planet conjecture: the Hockey Stick Reconstruction, the anthropogenic cause, the Revelle buffer, long lived atmospheric CO2, water vapor amplification of CO2, the logarithmic model for GHG forcing, the feeble cloud albedo effect, threats to humanity -- sort of a Dummies Guide on how to read AGW papers. Without even reaching the air-sea flux problem, these were all tenets blessed into the doctrine years before even IPCC's Third Assessment Report.]

Brian H wrote wrote:

1007191437 GAVIN

I found Lynch's post quite accurate, and bracing.

About the color-blindness, here's a wee trick. Do Ctrl-A, which selects and reverse-highlights the entire page. In this case, it results in white-on-blue. Does that help?

[RSJ: Coll Brakewell never responded. I came to wonder if his complaint was legitimate, or one of the many silly forms of spam that infect the Net.

[I tried the Ctrl-A trick, and it worked with Firefox only where I had text in the Find box. How would it help Brakewell's problem? Does it work on other browsers, and how does it work in Windows?]

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 9, 2006 2:56 PM.

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