The Weekly Carboholic: new data reveals human-caused warming at both poles


According to a new paper published in Nature Geoscience and available online here, scientists from the UK, US, and Australia have detected anthropogenic influence on the climate of both the Arctic and Antarctica. Ana according to a Scientific American article on the paper, one of the paper’s reviewers, Andrew Monaghan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, believes that the paper may be understating the effect of anthropogenic carbon emissions on Antarctica. Monaghan’s reason? The new paper gives equal weight to cooling in the interior of Antarctica as to heating on the periphery, while interior cooling is suspected to be a result of the CFC-caused ozone hole.

While the paper is impressive for the data it used (100 years of Arctic temperature measurements and 50 years of Antarctic measurements from all available monitoring stations), the figures illustrate just how sparse the data set really is. If you look at the image below (Figure 2, parts c and d), all the colored sections are areas where there is sufficient data to draw conclusions from, while the gray areas have insufficient data. As is obvious, there’s a lot more gray than colored sections, and so critics could fairly attack the accuracy of the paper’s conclusions based on insufficient data. However, the authors tried to immunize themselves against such criticisms by comparing the results of their simulations and results based on their limited data with previously-generated methods for infilling the missing data developed by other researchers.

Ultimately, though, if you look at the topmost image (figure 1 from the paper), you’ll notice that the black observed line tracks most closely to the red line labeled “All”. That red line is the combined output of four climate simulations that include anthropogenic effects – the blue line is the simulation output when only natural effects such as solar irradiance and volcanism are included. In other words, only by including human influences on climate could the models be made to match reality.


Methane concentrations increase globally in 2007
According to TGDaily, a new paper on atmospheric methane from several MIT researchers suggests that new data contradicts anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and that, as the TGDaily article says:

[S]ince all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature – and not the direct result of man’s contributions.

Of course, that’s not at all what the MIT researchers said. It’s true, according to a New Scientists article on the same paper, that MIT researcher Matthew Rigby is quoted as saying “The worry is that we just don’t understand the methane cycle very well.” And it’s also true that Rigby and MIT professor and co-author Ronald Prinn were surprised by the simultaneous rise in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, since there’s no obvious sources for massive methane releases in the Southern Hemisphere like there is in Arctic methane hydrate deposits. But they have suggested an alternative hypothesis for the rapid increase in methane concentrations, a hypothesis that has precedents in the data of prior years. It’s possible that the simultaneous change in both hemispheres is related to a breakdown in the global effectiveness of a chemical reaction in the atmosphere that breaks methane down into water and carbon dioxide.

However, it’s too early to know if the increase is a short term “blip” in methane concentration (as illustrated at several points in IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 2, Figure 2.4b, page 142) or whether methane concentrations will continue to grow at an accelerated rate for years or longer. If it’s the former, then it’s probably not a big deal. But if it’s the latter, then that suggests either the hydroxyl/methane reaction is breaking down (a very bad thing) or that organic decay and hydrate thawing is dumping massive, and likely increasinly so, amounts of new methane into the atmosphere.


Architect of Berkeley’s new solar plan gives Grist an update
As of yesterday, the city of Berkeley, California has started their plan to reduce the price of solar panels for residential and commercial customers by converting the tens of thousands of dollars for installation into bundled city bonds that are paid off with higher property taxes. This reduces the cost of entry and makes the repayment time for the panels independent of how long the owner will be willing to stay in the home. The hope is that this program will make people far more willing to add solar to their homes and businesses and will reduce the interest rates the homeowners will have to pay below what they’d pay if they got a straight bank loan for the solar upgrade.

Grist has a guest post on this innovative solar funding program by the architect of the program, Cisco Devries.


Two useful climate disruption maps
The progressive think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) has put out two maps that could be quite useful for people concerned about the impact of green jobs and climate disruption on their communities. The first, the Interactive Map of the Green Recovery, shows how many jobs would be created in each state that received money from a CAP/University of Massachusetts $100 billion Green Recovery program. My home state of Colorado, for example, would receive more than $400 per person under the plan, that $2 billion total would be expected to produce almost 33,000 new jobs, and reduce the unemployment rate by between 20 and 30% (ie from 6% to between 3.6 and 4.8%).

The second map (example screen shown below) shows where a variety of climate disruption-caused problems are occurring and where they’re expected to occur as climate disruption gets worse throughout this century. Not only that, the “Human Toll of Climate Change” map shows a number of existing and projected problems on a Google map for parts of the entire planet, not just the U.S., and every data point is classified and supported with scientific research. It’s very well done and should be considered a very useful reference.

Image credits:
Nature Geoscience

33 replies »

  1. And if you look at the data more closely (like at the blown-up image here), you’ll see that we’re just about at maximum global sea ice coverage for the year, right before the Antarctic sea ice starts to retreat. And we’re just about the 1979-2000 mean. OK. Doesn’t really mean much, though, when ice extent in 1980 at this time of year was higher than 1979. So was 1981-83, 1985, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000, 2004, and 2005 were all really close.

    So what the source of your direct cut/paste should have said instead was this – “Global sea ice area: now same as in 1979 and 10-14 other years since 1979 too.” Doesn’t have quite the ring too it, though, does it?

  2. Judy, can I ask a question? I’ve read this and I’ve read your comments elsewhere, and I’m wondering what company pays your salary. You’re clearly a sock puppet, and I just want to know more about whose propaganda I’m reading.

    Also, I doubt Judy is your real name, but are you a woman or a man in real life?

  3. Sadly, nobody pays us. We have some advertising that still doesn’t even cover our operating expenses, and past that we’re paying for the privilege of doing S&R.

    But I couldn’t help noticing – you didn’t answer my question.

    I wonder what that means?

  4. I didn’t? I thought I did. Yes, I’m real and I live in British Columbia and I was born in 1937, so I’ve seen the cyclical changes. I remember the rationing of WW2 and going to bed wearing my overcoat because it was so cold in the house.

    I also remember being told of a new Ice Age coming in the 1970’s That was supposed to be our fault too.

    I use my real name and I am a real person….Dr. Slammy. Who are you?

  5. Wow – who am I? Are you so goddamned lazy that you can’t click the button that says “Writers”?

    In any case, it’s hard to imagine how somebody can spend SO much time trying to foist so much bad science on people without any apparent reason.

    So either you’re a sock puppet, or you’re really sad.

  6. Judy, over on the Care2News post, you put up a comment that said, and I quote (extensively):

    “Note that the ice extent for October 1979 (when satellite measurements began) is 18 million sq km, for October 2008 the ice extent was 18.1 million sq km. Ice concentration shows even greater increases, from 13.6 million sq km, to 13.9 million.

    Not a huge increase but certainly notable since everyone has been screaming about Antarctic ice melt off, obviously that is not happening. Interior ice is increasing at an even greater rate. According to NOAA GISS data winter temperatures in the antarctic has actually fallen by 1°F since 1957, with the coldest year being 2004. All the while global CO2 levels have gone up and the main stream media has been reporting near catastrophic warming conditions. The MSM and certain segments of the scientific community truly must have no shame.

    ”While the penguins would normally turn back when they hit the warmer Benguela waters, the current has been “exceptionally cold” this year” – The Washington Post

    The Antarctic penguins must not be enjoying all of this cold and ice too much as hundreds, perhaps thousands, are migrating to the warm beaches of Brazil. More than they’ve ever seen. Hey, wouldn’t you migrate to Brazil if you lived in Antarctica and it started getting even colder than normal?!?”

    First, ozone is a greenhouse gas, so reduced ozone over Antarctica is believed to be responsible for the cooling of the Antarctic interior. I ran some quick correlations on the southern hemisphere sea ice extent vs. the ozone hole size and the amount of ozone in the air (in Dobson units) and found a 0.35 correlation to the ozone hole size and a -0.37 correlation to the amount of ozone in the air. In other words, as the ozone hole grows, ice extent grows, and as ozone concentrations drop, ice extent also drops. However, because the correlation isn’t really high (the correlation between ozone hole size and ozone concentration is -0.97, for example, and the causal relationship there is well known), there’s more than just ozone going on in Antarctica. What that is, however, is being researched.

    Which is why the GRACE gravity mapping satellites come in so useful. GRACE detected ice mass loss of 164 cubic km of ice per year, +/-80 cubic km, from April 2002 to January 2006 (source).

    In other words, the science doesn’t support your claim.

  7. “when the reality is that it stopped warming in 1998”

    I thought we’ve been seeing record warms from 7 of the past 10 years, globally. Must be those media types making stuff up again..

    “winter temperatures in the antarctic has actually fallen by 1°F since 1957, with the coldest year being 2004. ”

    Hasn’t that Ozone hole over the antarctic been growing steadily for the past few decades, down there? As noted, it doesn’t seem to account for all of the cooling, but looks to be a significant contributor.

    I’d also guess that with more heat reflected back OUT (all that white ice) through that hole, that might contribute as well (meaning, not just evaporation heat escaping, but more reflected light being shot back out the hole instead of being trapped.. The hole is probably doing 2 cooling things, not one.. or is that what the current speculation already accounts for?)

  8. I love the twisted logic. The media hype was wrong in the 70s and it is wrong now.

    Exactly my point!

    Yes, there was ice loss in 2002-2006.

    That was then, this is now.
    Antarctic Ice for October 1979 and October 2008, Penguins Looking For Warmth!

    Why do we continue to hear the scare stories about Antarctic ice when its breaking records for ice growth? Not only is the interior growing but so is the sea ice. Sea ice levels are higher now than when satellite records began

    Note that the ice extent for October 1979 (when satellite measurements began) is 18 million sq km, for October 2008 the ice extent was 18.1 million sq km. Ice concentration shows even greater increases, from 13.6 million sq km, to 13.9 million.

    Not a huge increase but certainly notable since everyone has been screaming about Antarctic ice melt off, obviously that is not happening. Interior ice is increasing at an even greater rate. According to NOAA GISS data winter temperatures in the antarctic has actually fallen by 1°F since 1957, with the coldest year being 2004. All the while global CO2 levels have gone up and the main stream media has been reporting near catastrophic warming conditions. The MSM and certain segments of the scientific community truly must have no shame.

    ”While the penguins would normally turn back when they hit the warmer Benguela waters, the current has been “exceptionally cold” this year” – The Washington Post

    The Antarctic penguins must not be enjoying all of this cold and ice too much as hundreds, perhaps thousands, are migrating to the warm beaches of Brazil. More than they’ve ever seen. Hey, wouldn’t you migrate to Brazil if you lived in Antarctica and it started getting even colder than normal?!?

  9. Hmm.. mostly a cut and paste.. nice.

    And, the debunking was expressed as “very few” people making noise in the media about the ice age, people overreacting and no science to back it up. The DIFFERENCE is now we have hundreds of scientists all saying “wow, this is bad”, and the media is actually NOT hyping it that much. In fact, there are a LOT of people out there intentionally spreading lies to try and keep people confused about the reality of what’s happening (and not surprisingly, those same people starting the lies stand to lose the most if we decide to protect ourselves).

    The only twisted logic is that you’re saying “in 1970 we had an orange! now we have an apple! it’s all FRUIT!!!” ….. so? 1970’s orange can’t make applesauce, but our current apple can. In 1970 it was hyped from a tiny number of isolated sources, today it’s hyped (and I would argue it’s not) from a breadth of sources around the world. Not the same thing.

    And you’re focusing on the antarctic where there are atmospheric anomalies, right? What about the record ice retreating going on at the other end? The place where everything is NOT opened directly to space (huge heat vacuum) and is having record melts.. we’ll just ignore that, right? One anomaly MUST counter the entire set of observations? Things like (just the first google that came up)

  10. The article is about BOTH poles loosing ice,so here’s info that shows it’s getting colder in the Arctic too and the ice is up over last years low.

    You might try leaving that self- imposed green intellectual ghetto you all seem to dwell in and look at what is happening now rather than at poorly constructed climate models
    I like this one in particular:

    Alarmists Still Heated Even As World Cools
    Posted 11/4/2008

    Climate Change: It’s been a bad year for global warming alarmists. Record cold periods and snowfalls are occurring around the globe. The hell that the radicals have promised is freezing over.As the British House of Commons debated a climate-change bill that pledged the United Kingdom to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050, London was hit by its first October snow since 1922.

    Apparently Mother Nature wasn’t paying attention. The British people, however, are paying attention — to reality. A poll found that 60% of them doubt the claims that global warming is both man-made and urgent. (continues)

  11. I will try this again and see if it too disappears.
    Try getting out of that self-imposed green intellectual ghetto once in a while and you will finfd that after last years low ice level in the Arctic, it grew rapidly in 08 and maintained a about 26% over 07. it is growing quite rapidly now.

  12. Well, Judy, given that that domain is registered by Domains By Proxy with the specific intent to keep the owner/operator of that site hidden, I think I’ll pass on an information posted on it. If you want to propose a theory or observation about science, you don’t hide your identity.

    And it’s amusing that blizzards in places that normally have them and tend to have them this time of year is being touted as “evidence” of a new ice age.. What about the hot places that are getting hotter and the deserts that are expanding at record rates? If the planet was getting cooler, would deserts be growing? .. I mean, more violent storms are expected, of all kinds.. but growing deserts?

  13. Not sure you followed any links on that site.. but one is for “growing glaciers”. It says glaciers are growing in Norway, and suggests you go to the Norway site to find out.

    Here’s what I found by following the suggested links.

    “Results 2007
    Twenty-eight glaciers were measured in 2007, seven glaciers in North-Norway, and twenty-one glaciers in South-Norway. Twenty-four glaciers retreated. Kjenndalsbreen in Stryn, a western outlet from Jostedalsbreen, retreated more than 180 meters. It has retreated 500 meters since 2000. One glacier showed a small advance, and tree glaciers had small changes in their length (+/- 2 meters). Mean annual glacier length change was -36 meters.”


  14. Judy #14: the original post got caught in the Akismet spam filter – it’s been approved.

    #11: I’m curious how my logic is twisted. In the 1970s, there was almost no scientific evidence of a coming ice age and the media freaked out. In the 1990s and 2000s, there has been overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming, and the media is reporting it as the scientists call it. That’s hardly media hype – it’s objective science reporting that you just happen to disagree with.

    I’m not sure why you’re not hearing about ice growth records in the media, frankly. Probably because it’s not that big a deal – a single year of fast growth doesn’t necessarily mean anything any more than a single flooding event does or a single bad hurricane (or, as you mention in #13, a single season of cold weather or even a single record cold snap). If the growth rates continue unabated, or if they do this several years in a row, then it’ll be important.

    As for the 1 degree cooling, I already addressed that. And my point about mass balance is something you seemed to miss or ignore – sea ice extent is related to how cold the water and air is but has very little to do with how much new ice is forming in the interior of Antarctica. Mass balance is how much mass is moving around on the Earth, in the case of Antarctica in the form of ice. Mass balance determines whether more ice is forming on Antarctica than is flowing into the oceans via glaciers. That said, however, I cannot find any scientific data that supports or disproves the claim that the ice mass balance in 2007 (and so far in 2008) was positive – all the papers published in 2008 that I’ve found in a Google Scholar search stop their data in 2006 for some reason or another.

    In other words, you might be right, but there’s not any scientific data that I can find that says so. If you have some on the mass balance of Antarctica in 2007 (not the extent of sea ice), I’d love to read it.

    #13: No single datapoint is a trend, Judy, even if it’s an exceptionally cold winter. Its’ always going to be cold somewhere, hot somewhere else, wet somewhere and dry somewhere else. October and November have been unusually warm in my part of the US, but that doesn’t prove global heating any more than a cold snap in England, or Fairbanks Alaska, disproves it. That’s weather, not climate. Try to understand the difference.

  15. Brian, there is no scientific evidence of anything but a cyclic warming that peaked in 98…and the media is freaking out. This time the money trails is very conspicuous though , what with Gore’s $300 million for PR and spots on TV.

    Sorry, that’s disingenous. A warm day is seen as a sign of an apocolyse and more than just weather whereas the opposite isnever true. If its cold, it’s just weather.

    How strange that you can’t find anything after 2006, because I pulled this up immediately. Ice Mass Balance Data

    Only the Peninsula warmed and that is only about 2-3% of the total Antarctic landmass.
    “Antarctic Peninsula temperatures have risen six times faster than the global average in recent decades, triggering glaciological and ecological events unique in the history of this region in the last 1,000 years.”

    There is also the influence of volcanos in the Antarctic especially on and around the Penninsula.

    Climate Models Overheat Antarctica, New Study Finds (good map)
    And in the Arctic we have the Gakkal Ridge spewing out heat/

    Global sea ice 1979-present

    It really doesn’t matter how much ice there is at a given time when it melts periodically and then comes back again.
    Warming/Cooling is cyclical.

    “An excellent presentation disputing man-made global warming using nothing but pure science and statistics by Professor Bob Carter (Australian geologist). It would be very difficult to dispute his facts. In this video he pretty much proves that over 10,000 years the earth has been cooling. Looking at shorter periods of time one can find what ever they want in the numbers. There have been many periods of rapid warming and cooling over this period.”

  16. Oh yes, I forgot. Ocean acidification is just part of the hoax. There was a change of 0.075 in PH over 250 years.
    That’s not even a mole hill, let alone a mountain.
    The oceans have an ‘acidity’ measured on a pH scale of around 8.0, a figure larger than neutral pH=7.0, which means that they are alkaline or basic. The word alkalinity thus means the same as acidity. The pH of the oceans has been a mystery and remains a mystery because it depends on many factors. For instance, oceanographers think that the alkalinity of the sea depends on a chemical balance with rocks, particularly limestone rock. From this one can compute that the ocean’s pH should be around 8 and that it has not varied by much over hundreds of millions of years.”

  17. Another long post got lost…I’m tired and cannot reproduce it.
    I suggest you watch the vid below. Ultimately ice comes and goes in cycles so it really doesn’t matter how thick it is unless you are in an icebreaker.

    “An excellent presentation disputing man-made global warming using nothing but pure science and statistics by Professor Bob Carter (Australian geologist). It would be very difficult to dispute his facts. In this video he pretty much proves that over 10,000 years the earth has been cooling. Looking at shorter periods of time one can find what ever they want in the numbers. There have been many periods of rapid warming and cooling over this period. ”

  18. Brian

    Apologies if my links go weird…because I cannot preview it before posting.

    Dr Fred and a Q & A session. Is it a mistake to confuse the weather with climate change? Somebody tell this newspaper please.

    There may be consensus within the scientific community but an idiot is not leading the deniers of those who have their doubts. There remains a debate and a platform can be found still to hear it.


  19. Judy,

    I’ve been reading the Carboholic since pretty much the beginning. And i’m sure that Brian can attest to me having annoyed him at least once or twice. But what you do every week is kind of sad…not because you’re picking on him, but because you’re kind of sad.

    He expends a lot of energy distilling scientific papers into language that the rest of us can grasp easily. I’m always thankful for that because i simply wouldn’t do that work myself. I could see your point if Brian was one of the “sky is falling” set, but he isn’t…not by a long shot. For the most part, he presents the information and allows the reader to draw conclusions. He never lectures us about how bad and wrong we are and how we’re killing the planet. He’s openly questioned the proclamations of Mr. Gore (who must be at or near the top of your most loathed list) in this column. And he readily points out when data is insufficient. In short, he’s as balanced in his approach as one can be. I realize that you wouldn’t know anything about such an approach, but it might be worth learning.

    You told us that you’re no spring chicken, but apparently all those years have not led to you growing up…what a shame. I’ve lived in B.C. so i know that there are better things to do there than spend your time unleashing pent up anger into the ether.

    One last question: if we ignore you, will you go away?

  20. There’s still a debate about cigarettes causing cancer. If you’re not sure about that, talk to some older right-wing anti-science folks that will take science’s word that “what you’re doing is fine”, but summarily reject any science that says “this is bad for you” if it’s something they like. My neighbor says “lots of doctors say they have no idea what really causes cancer, so you can’t blame smoking”.

    And you notice that Judy is stuck on the antarctic like superglue, but didn’t comment about one of her own “resources” that basically contradicts her arguments (that glaciers are growing).

    You can’t argue with deniers. Those tend to be the same people that figure we have enough oil to last another 100 years, or more. The reality is, we’re probably 20 years out from deep shit, oil wise.

    I remember seeing some guy on TV “proving” it was both cooling and warming, “and you can’t have both!” he said.. See, he slipped in a 1/2 truth toward the beginning of his argument, then built the rest on that implication. He proclaimed victory, but simply bringing out the rest of that 1/2 truth destroys all the rest of his assertions, and his “victory”.

    He said “You know in Al Gore’s movie how that ice is breaking off of the front of those glaciers? That’s called calving and that happens as the ice grows out into the ocean too far and breaks off”. He said growing means cooling, means warming can’t be. However, “calving” is when the front of a glacier breaks off. It happens during BOTH growing AND retreating (over water) because the ice is too weak to hold up its weight .. in both cases.. So the triumph was based on a bastardization of realty and requires the dismissal of another fact for it to work. In science, you can’t simply dismiss [pertinent] facts as you see fit so your theory can be proved.

    This is why we need to be teaching our kids how to critically think.

  21. Judy #20 – posts with lots of links get flagged for moderation by the spam filter, Judy. That’s why your post didn’t show up until it was approved this morning.

    Judy #18: Simply stating that we peaked a heating cycle in 1998 doesn’t prove it. Prove it. Thus far you haven’t. Talk to me with data, Judy. And I have never claimed that any particular weather event is an example of global heating.

    I don’t expect you to do this, but if you look through everything on climate I’ve written, you’ll find that’s true. Weather is weather, climate is the average of weather over time and space. The two are fundamentally different, and anyone claiming “this flood was a result of global heating” doesn’t understand climate disruption any better than you do. Increased flooding in general, greater prevalence drought, lengthening summers/earlier springs/later falls, all of these are expected result of climate disruption/global heating. But single weather events mean nothing to climate unless the event becomes a long term phenomenon.

    Now, let’s take those links one at a time, shall we?

    The ice mass buoy one: Maybe I should have said “I couldn’t find any data that actually relates to the total ice mass balance of Antarctica and not just sea ice.” You misunderstand what that data is. It’s from a buoy, which means its floating in the ocean and therefore measuring the same things that the other sea ice measurements do. Not only that, but the ice thickness is only several meters thick, therefore it can’t be on the continent, where the ice is several kilometers thick. The ice mass data I’m talking about being unable too find for 2007 and later is the ice mass balance from ice creation in the interior of Antarctica vs. the amount of ice that is flowing into the oceans around Antarctica due to glacier outflows. Sea ice is not formed from glacial outflows.

    The Antarctic Peninsula one: The quote is correct that the Peninsula has warmed by 6x from the rest of the global mean increase, but claiming that “only the Peninsula warmed” is false. Look again at the second image in the actual post above, or better yet, read the actual paper I took that from. Notice that the map labeled “d” has station data on the Peninsula that shows either 0.6 or 0.9 Kelvin (equivalent to 1 deg C) warming. But look at all those other colors too – anything that isn’t gray is actual measured data for most of the last 50 years. 9 of the other 12 stations show heating between 0.3 and 0.9 Kelvin – the other three show no heating. None of them show cooling.

    The Antarctic volcanoes thing: Volcanic eruptions emit CO2, but they also emit a lot of SO2, which causes stratospheric cooling (see what happened after Pinatubo erupted, for example). Over the short term, SO2 dominates. Long duration volcanism works a little differently, though, since the SO2 isn’t blasted in the the stratosphere. In this situation, however, we have only one or two volcanoes in the Antarctic that we know to be erupting, only one of which is even uncovered by ice. If you look closely at the volcano location and surface (surface millimeter of ice and rock, not the air temperature) temperature images, you’ll see that the area immediately around Mt. Erebus is actually one of the bluest parts on the map (it’s the dark blue dot at the lower right edge of the Ross Ice Shelf), suggesting that Mt. Erebus isn’t emitting enough localized CO2 to cause even localized heating, never mind wide area regional heating. It’s possible, even likely, that volcanoes below the ice speed up the flow of glaciers above them. But how much, and how widespread active volcanism beneath the ice is in Antarctica simply isn’t known. More research is necessary (and being done) before the kinds of conclusions you’re drawing (by way of Anthony Watts doing the hard work for you) can be made.

    Anarctica and climate models: I read that link before, Judy, and it’s very interesting. But I can’t help but wonder if you read more than the first few paragraphs, because if you had you’d have reached the following:

    Part of the reason that Antarctica has barely warmed has to do with the ozone hole over the continent. The lack of ozone is chilling the middle and upper atmosphere, altering wind patterns in a way that keeps comparatively warm air from reaching the surface.

    In addition, Andrew Monaghan of NCAR, writer of the paper that corrected the climate models, also was a reviewer and agreed with the paper that found human influences in the Arctic and in Antarctica that I reported at the top of this post. So Monaghan’s right when he agrees with you but wrong another time?

    I took care of your Gakkel Ridge thing last week and again over at Care2. However, as a note, I find it remarkable that you’re criticizing me for saying that the ice mass balance data for the continent of Antarctica ends in 2006 with “that was then, this is now” and then you use a 2003 paper from the Max Planck Institute to buttress your case when the data you used last week, and that I debunked already, both were more recent thatn 2003.

    As far as that image, there’s annual periodicity, but the cycles I can identify visually are annual. I spent an hour or so yesterday trying to track down numerical data so I could run a number of statistical . However, as I mentioned in comment #8 above, the maximum yearly ice extent in Antarctica correlates to the ozone hole and level at 0.35 and -0.37 respectively (some correlation, but not huge amounts) and the global trend certainly appears to be flat over most of the period and trending negative since 2004. Not enough years of data to be sure that it’ll keep trending that way, but I’m sure that scientists around the world will continue to watch it very closely.

    Finally, I lack the time to watch Carter’s stuff – an hour on a Saturday morning just to watch something, never mind research it further, isn’t viable. I’ll do a little digging and see if I can find a copy of the slides on the web somewhere and maybe do a post on them another time. If there’s solid information there, I’ll say so. If not, then I’ll say that too.

    Judy #19: That the ocean is acidifying is undisputable. Average ocean pH of 8.21 has dropped to abouot 8.1, so that’s about 0.1 on a logarithmic scale. That’s a reduction in pH of 22.3%. Given that this represents the absorption of about 525 billion tons of CO2, it’s huge, not tiny like you say. The question, as you mentioned, is whether that’s outside the realm of normal variablity or not. According to the peer reviewed papers I’ve found, the answer is mostly yes. For example:

    Simulated atmospheric CO2 exceeds 1,900 parts per million (p.p.m.) at around the year 2300. The maximum pH reduction at the ocean surface is 0.77; we estimate, using a geochemical model, that changes in temperature, weathering and sedimentation would reduce this maximum
    reduction by less than 10%.

    A review of estimates of palaeo-atmospheric CO2 levels from geochemical models, palaeosols, algae and forams, plant stomata and boron isotopes concluded that there is no evidence that concentrations were ever more than 7,500 p.p.m. or less than 100 p.p.m. during the past 300 million years (Myr).Moreover, the highest concentrations inferred from the geological record were thought to have developed over many millions of years owing to slow processes involving tectonics and biological evolution….

    Based on the record10 of atmospheric CO2 levels over the past 300 Myr and our geochemical model8,9, there is no evidence that ocean pH was more than 0.6 units lower than today…. We conclude that unabated CO2 emissions over the coming centuries may produce changes in ocean pH that are greater than any experienced in the past 300 Myr, with the possible exception of those resulting from rare, catastrophic events in Earth’s history. (source)

    In other words, the pH change we’ve seen so far isn’t unprecedented, but if pH continues to rise as expected, ocean pH will fall more than it has in the last 300 million years.

    Here’s a NOAA factsheet from May 2008 that talks about why this is a big deal. The gist of it, though, is that lower pH means that everything in the ocean that relies on carbonate to make shells is at risk of dying. And that’s a very, very big deal.

  22. The figure given by Brian for PH seems to overstate the change and the scare stories are based on the assumption that CO2 will accumulate, even though its life in the atmosphere has only been estimated to run from 5 to 12 years. Not only that but Beck showed that CO2 reach levels higher than now 3 times before the present and before heavy industrialization
    Ernst-Georg Beck
    Dipl. Biol. Ernst Georg Beck, 31 Rue du Giessen, F 68600 Biesheim, France
    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.

    Click to access EE_18-2_Beck.pdf

    Chalk one up for coccolithophores
    Scientists have feared that gradual acidification of the world’s oceans would wreak havoc with organisms that build protective outer shells. But a new finding shows at least three species of coccolithophores — single-celled algae that are major players in the ocean’s cycling of carbon — are responding to ocean acidification by building thicker cell walls and plates of chalk, contrary to what some recent lab experiments have shown .

    “Dead planet thinking: most oceanographers, physicists, chemists treat the planet as a dead planet, where every force, every process can be described and captured in an equation, and then simulated by a computer. But life frustrates every attempt, as it corrupts equations, while also adapting to changing circumstances. Of all these, the sea is the worst with its unimaginable scale, complexity and influence. We may never be able to unravel the secrets of the sea.

    Opening with these thoughts, the (bio)chemistry of the sea is so complicated and unknown that the scare for acidic oceans is entirely unjustified. It is true that humans should act from a position of humility and prudence, adjusting to nature while never exploiting more than 30% of the environment but we have gone far over that limit. Today nature is adjusting to us and we cannot change that without a much smaller human population and much less waste (CO2 is part of human waste). Well, that is not going to happen. So we have to accept that nature is now changing. An important part of that is an increase of the life bringing gas carbondioxide. With higher CO2 levels, plants will produce more. Hopefully the world will become warmer too, and all this is welcome to the starving billions. As oceans become more acidic, they will become more productive too, adjusting to the new scenario. There will be no ‘tipping points’ but there could be some unexpected and unforeseen surprises. The world has been changing and adapting to major changes since it came out of the last ice age, and the changes caused by fossil fuel will be relatively small.”

    “As far as the science of ocean acidification goes, there are some major errors and conflicts, and the amount of missing knowledge is much larger than what we know. Scientists have uncritically accepted the findings of the IPCC with critically low ‘pre-industrial’ levels of CO2, but has anyone tried to grow plants and seedlings at 180ppmv CO2?”

    “What annoys me is that an entirely hypothetical threat is blown up out of all proportions, while at the same time the foremost threat to our seas, that of degradation, remains insufficiently acknowledged and investigated. In the world’s degrading coastal seas, many questions can be studied that also relate to ocean acidification, for acidification is also a symptom of degradation. What is the main threat to the world’s coral reefs – hypothetical decalcification or actual degradation?”

  23. I’m fascinated by the notion that comparison of the temperature records (such as they are) of the poles compared to CLIMATE MODELS proves anything at all. Climate models are programmed with the expectations of the modellers, so if the modellers think solar influence is minor and carbon dioxide is a scary greenhouse gas, then that’s what comes out.

    The credulity is that no-one has seen these models, nor tested them for their assumptions, nor run them backwards to see how well they reproduce the past. But its run on a computer by a PhD, therefore it must be true.

    Oh and while I’m thinking about it

    “I ran some quick correlations on the southern hemisphere sea ice extent vs. the ozone hole size and the amount of ozone in the air (in Dobson units) and found a 0.35 correlation to the ozone hole size and a -0.37 correlation to the amount of ozone in the air.”

    I think Brian Angliss needs to take a course in remedial statistics stat.

  24. John A said: “I think Brian Angliss needs to take a course in remedial statistics stat.”

    Care to explain beyond the obvious “correlation doesn’t prove causation”? I’ll happily agree that correlation isn’t sufficient, but you can’t have causation without correlation, so this is a necessary first step. And given that I had to estimate some of the numbers due to lacking access to a program to convert the binary data files into a format I could use, it was as good as I could do. It’s good enough for now, however, given that all the papers I referenced have access to those programs and have made similar correlations as well as attached causation to them.

    You misunderstand how models work, John – they’re built using the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Sometimes simplifications are made, but they’re always – ALWAYS – verified by running them against real world data. The models that don’t match the data are either thrown out entirely or are revised. In addition, no single model is ever trusted. Only multiple runs of multiple models can produce reasonable results.

    I’ve actually addressed your criticism twice, once here in a denier myth debunking and again here with a peer-reviewed paper (third section) that compares the accuracy of models vs. actual data. Their results: the models, when used in tandem and run repeatedly to generate a statistical mean and error bars, were nearly as good at predicting existing climate as actual climate data and reconstruction were.

  25. Second posting
    Brian, I am sure it is a grave disappointment to you to find out how you have been lead down the garden path.(it’s called denial)..but John A. has it pretty close. This is the only climate modeling I know of that was able to reproduce the past. Things may have improved since,

    A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts
    Anastasios A. Tsonis,1 Kyle Swanson,1 and Sergey Kravtsov1
    Received 5 April 2007; revised 16 May 2007; accepted 15 June 2007; published 12 July 2007.
    [1] We construct a network of observed climate indices in
    the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective
    behavior. The results indicate that this network
    synchronized several times in this period. We find that in
    those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a
    steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices,
    the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new
    climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with
    significant changes in global temperature trend and in
    ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the
    great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence
    for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a
    state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this
    mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of
    synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of
    the size and complexity of the climate system.
    Citation: Tsonis, A. A., K. Swanson, and S. Kravtsov (2007),
    A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts, Geophys.
    Res. Lett., 34, L13705, doi:10.1029/2007GL030288.

    Click to access 2007GL030288.pdf

  26. Nope, you still need the course in remedial statistics. The correlations you quote are so poor as to be indistinguishable from the behaviour of random numbers. I wonder if you tried to match them against other possible candidates but I suspect not.

    As for the climate models, methinks you protest too much. Climate model outputs are highly chaotic and depend not on “the laws of physics, chemistry etc” but on the taste buds of the chef. You are disengeuous about “simplifications” because it is these “simplifications” that aren’t derived from physical theory but from the belief system of the modeller.

    Verification against real-world data means exactly squat – they are not data, nor are they theory. Its perfectly possible to run verification test using an ARIMA model against “real world data” and come up with correlations much much higher than the ones you brought up. See for an example.

    I don’t misunderstand how models work because I study them and I know their limitations from modelling theory. It is entirely in the belief systems of credulous people that these climate models “prove” human-caused climate change, not from physical theory. The results of climate models are not data nor are they theory. They predict everything and therefore nothing. Ask Freeman Dyson about them. Richard Feynman though that this obsession with the outputs of models was a disease in science – and I think the disease had spread.

    In actual testing of climate models against future change (ie the near future rather than 50 years’ time), the models show an accuracy of 48% – almost exactly what you’d expect by flipping a coin.

    Sadly your other attempts to patch up bad theory are in similar vein, such as your claims about carbon dioxide, but I’m too busy to bother patching up your limited grasp of physics and chemistry. Suffice it to say that your cargo cult explanation of the carbon dioxide lag in ice cores makes a mockery of physical science texts and even logic.

    Please don’t bore me with peer review as if it meant something. The Mann Hockey Stick was peer reviewed. The cloning experiments of Hwang woo Suk were peer reviewed. The claims of Jan Henrik Schoen were peer reviewed. As Edward Wegman pointed out, the peer review process can be subverted when the reviewers are in very close proximity to the authors, which is why “independent review” can mean nothing of the kind.

    Peer review is worse than no review at all. Witness what is happening with Mann’s latest foray with a new improved Hockey Stick as Steve McIntyre forensically disassembles it – missing data, data used twice or four times, programming errors, entire centuries missing for no good reason, bad statistics, bad data and bad math – yet it flew through peer review.

  27. The standard deviation of the correlation of 29 random numbers uniformly distributed between 0 and 1 (which is sufficient because correlation accounts for both offset and slope variations) is about 0.19. This means that a correlation of 0.19 will be produced by randomness about 32% of the time. The correlations I estimated 0.35 and -0.37 can be produced by purely random events, but are at almost 2 standard deviations away from the mean (0, on a scale of -1 to +1). That means the likelihood that randomness produced the correlation is between 5% and 10%. Not great, admittedly, but not as bad as you suggest, John.

    You’ll have to do better than some handwaving about models, though, or whine about how bad they are at near term prediction. That’s not how they’re intended to be used, and those simplifications you disparage admittedly do make them less useful for near term predictions than for long-term predictions.

    Models are tools, nothing more, nothing less. They help provide insight into what’s going on and, when it’s impossible to run controlled experiments, they enable their users to run hundreds or thousands of simulations in order to develop a statistical model of the most likely outcomes. This is how climate models are used. It may well be that the models are not sufficiently open (in your opinion, anyway) to external review, but given that they’re highly valuable intellectual property, I’m not surprised. Do you demand that private corporations open their economic market or predictive sales models to external review?

    I’m not a theoretical scientist, I’m an applied scientist – I work as an electrical engineer. In my job, I’m expected to go through a process of theoretical design, preliminary review, mathematical design and verification, design review, layout, layout review, manufacturing, testing, and, if required, redesign, re-review, etc. In that process there is no fewer than three reviews (I’ve done incremental designs that were reviewed 8-10 times for various reasons) and at least one modeling step – some programs I’ve been on have three at the design level and at least 3 more at the system level. Not all models are done with statistical rigor since not all designs or customers require that, but when they are, I run my design through statistical worst-case and/or Monte Carlo analyses in order to determine statistically whether the design will work correctly under all required conditions.

    So I have a decent understanding of how statistical modeling works, and what it can and can’t do. But as someone who’s had to develop his own models a few times, and then had to correct the model to match real world test data and recheck the model on another design (and find that it performed much better the second time around), I know from personal experience that verification against real world data is the gold standard for verifying model performance.

    That said, however, I don’t deny that models are fundamentally “garbage in, garbage out” systems. But simply stating that the latest models which have been thoroughly vetted and verified (and that most of the latest real world data is tracking to within the upper end of the error bars) are getting garbage as inputs doesn’t prove it. You’ll have to provide proof to convince me.

    You said that “peer review is worse than no review at all.” Peer review is not a panacea for catching all errors, but it’s the minimum threshold for science publication for a reason. If you’re unwilling to submit your math, data, etc. for peer review, then you’re claiming that you don’t have sufficient confidence in your data or conclusions (or design in my career) to run them through the wringer of your peers. It’s simple psychology that people working on something for extended periods of time are more likely to make mistakes and miss errors even on their own review days or weeks after setting it aside specifically to let themselves come back at the work “fresh”. Preconcieved notions are difficult to break, and so peer review, preferably multiple times with gradually widening groups of peers, is absolutely required. But it doesn’t produce perfect work, and anyone who thinks it should or does doesn’t understand the nature of peer review well enough.

    The purpose of peer review is to reduce the number of errors in the final product, ideally to no errors. But because it’s always possible that the reviewers missed something, it’s never possible to reduce the probability of error to zero. In an engineering environment like I work in, if there were errors missed (and there almost always are, even after lots of reviews – in a decade of design engineering, I’ve been associated with a grand total of one “error free” board, and even that board was only defined as “error free” because it didn’t need connections reworked, just a few component values changed), we rework or redesign the product. In a science environment, if errors were made, other scientists discover them after publication, the original author(s) rewrite and correct their data and analysis, and republish following yet another peer review.

    That’s science.

    As for my supposed misunderstanding of chemistry and physics, provide actual examples of how badly I don’t understand physics and I’ll address them. Until you do so, however, you’re just spouting off.