Monday, December 28, 2015

Watts' argument in reality is that the denialist claim of no warming is wrong

There's been a little discussion of a non-peer reviewed (so far) paper published by Anthony Watts et al. claiming the warming at the best-sited US weather stations is two-thirds' that estimated by NOAA for the US based on the entire adjusted weather station record. Sou at HotWhopper (linked above) points out that Watts can't explain why a heat sink or a reflective surface at a station would produce not just a different temperature but a different trend over time. A station with a building next to it might be warmer - that's fine, but why would it then warm up even faster over time?

Victor Venema repeats that issue and also finds fault with Watts' decision to accept one data adjustment while rejecting all others. VV critiques the reliance on potentially-flawed station history metadata to assume a well-sited station has always been well-sited, pointing out that those stations could have been cross-checked with nearby stations. Meanwhile, Watts is holding back on the source data, saying he'll release it only after publication.

My two comments, fwiw. Going back to HotWhopper for a moment, Sou says:

The other point is that it appears that the researchers didn't categorise the weather stations strictly according to Leroy (2010). As far as I can tell, they only categorised them on the proximity of "heat sources or reflective surfaces (buildings, concrete surfaces, car parks etc)". There was no indication that the researchers attempted to group them according to the other criteria described in Leroy (2010), which were the slope of the land, the vegetative cover, proximity to water, and shade.
So they exclude siting factors that might make the station warmer (still unclear on why that would result in a different trend) but they include as okay siting factors that might make a station cooler. Vegetative cover and shading in particular might get more significant over time, so maybe that helps explain the differential.

Second, assume for a moment that Watts is right. I learned of the study through one Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller, beginning with the first sentence:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s reliance on poorly-sited weather stations to calculate surface temperatures is inflating the warming trend of the U.S. and maybe even the rest of the world, according to a landmark study....  
What’s more troubling, is that similar siting problems have been observed at weather stations around the world, meaning the global warming present in the surface temperature record may be overblown. Watts’ study comes after NOAA published a June study making further adjustments to temperature data and purported to eliminate the “hiatus” in global warming. Watts’ new paper casts more doubt on NOAA’s temperature adjustments — which always seem to increase the warming trend.  
Correcting for these poorly-sited stations could also bring surface warming trends more in line with observations from satellites, which show no statistically significant warming for about two decades.
Emphasis added, and nothing Bastasch wrote that is emphasized is actually in the Watts' work that he's reporting. So either Bastasch pulled the global implications of the study out of his own pocket, or somebody he interviewed (Watts?) decided to speculate.

Watts made no attempt to interpret global data, the vast majority of which is ocean data anyway, but if this study was somehow right and somehow had global implications, then the implications is that the globe is warming pretty fast. Watts would be out of the mainstream but still closer to the mainstream than denialists running for the Republican nomination and anyone else who says satellite data prove that surface temps aren't warming. Sou found one of Watts' commenters who noticed this, but Watts himself hasn't.

Finally, strange that the planet wouldn't be warming and absorbing more heat but still (as Tamino says) still confronting steadily rising sea levels. Why is that happening? And why are the vast majority of glaciers melting throughout the last two decades?

Maybe they're poorly sited.

Light Amusements

Now some, not Eli to be sure, might thing that blogging is all serious work and philosophizing.  However there are things that make life worth living.  Amongst them are some twitter sites such as

Florida Man

and of course, Florida Woman
People of Walmart is not recommended for those of you trying to hold your dinners down, they may have greeters but they don't turn anybody away, maybe except for the fully naked.  OTOH, academics appreciate Associate Deans
and news from Durango that Roger Cohen, a former Exxon exec is folding his bet with Roger Grossman, a retired doc, that it will be colder in 2017 than in 2007
In 2008, fed up with doomsday predictions about global warming, Cohen threw down the gauntlet on a $5,000 bet that the Earth’s overall temperature would be colder in 2017 than in 2007. The wager was inspired by Wharton School of Business professor Scott Armstrong’s similar $10,000 challenge to Al Gore over climate change, which the former vice president declined.
back in the 1980s when Exxon was actually researching climate change Cohen had writtern
“It is distinctly possible that the (research scenario) will later produce effects which will indeed be catastrophic – at least for a substantial fraction of the earth’s population,” he wrote in a 1981 memo. 
Cohen said he doesn’t remember writing the memo, but that in the days before he became more familiar with the science, it’s possible he was influenced by the “drum beat” telling everyone to be afraid of a new threat from something called “global warming.”
Since the proceeds went to charity it is a bit of a push, but as Grossman said, although he is too old to see the worst to come
I am concerned about my three granddaughters and the generations that come after us. They’re going to know a world very different than the one we have known and selfishly enjoyed.
Then a rather longer piece in the Griffith Review with a fine history of climate change
IT IS 1859, the Origin of Species has just burst upon the world and we are in London in the laboratory of the Irish scientist John Tyndall. Like Louis Agassiz, Tyndall is a very keen mountain climber, and he too is spellbound by glaciers. He has just returned from a summer in the European Alps and in a few years will lead an assault on the Matterhorn. Tyndall is investigating a possible cause of ice ages; he is interested in how the atmosphere might control Earth’s temperature. He wants to test the accepted notion that all gases are transparent to radiant heat. In his laboratory he first tests the main gases in the atmosphere, oxygen and nitrogen, and he finds that, yes, they are indeed transparent. Perhaps he will abandon this experiment. But then he thinks to test coal gas. There it is, easily accessible to him, for it is piped into his laboratory for lighting, an industrial gas, mostly methane produced by heating coal. When he tests it, he finds that it is opaque – it traps heat rather than letting it through. ‘Thus,’ as one writer put it, ‘the Industrial Revolution, intruding into Tyndall’s laboratory in the form of a gas jet, declared its significance for the planet’s heat balance.’ Tyndall then tries other gases and finds that CO2 is also opaque. In 1859, already a celebrated year in the history of science, the role of greenhouse gases in controlling the temperature of the planet has been identified.
BTW, there is a bit of a subtle mistake in that paragraph.  Anybunny notice it?

The Information and Technology and Innovation Foundation has a list of 22 reasons why USAns and others should be thankful for federal support of research

And finally the Washington Post at the end of November had an excellent graphic based piece for Uncle Bob at the festive table, explaining why climate scientists are running about with their hair on fire.  The last time the Uncle Bobs of the world ignored such we had 9/11

 Each of those indicators has a little blurb explaining exactly why things are going wrong.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Post Normal Policy

Having clarified what Normal Science is, Eli now moves on to Post Normal Policy.  Post Normal Science was formulated by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz. It tries to chart a path when

  • Facts are uncertain, 
  • Values in dispute, 
  • Stakes high, and
  • Decisions urgent. 
It was a response to problems that came to the fore in the 1980s such as environmental tobacco smoke, HIV/AIDS, acid rain, ozone depletion and, yes, climate change.  The observant amongst the bunnies will have noticed that science only has something to say about the first.  Values are a question of ethics, stakes economics, and decisions policy. However, the misleading formulation leaves much room for ClimateBall.  
The science part is Pre-Normal Science, the stage at which something has been observed, but no one quite knows where it came from, what it means or how to understand it.  Science actually has a way of dealing with such situations.

The initial flailing about to reach a useful understanding is later used by those who oppose action to obfuscate by insisting that still nothing is known, what is known is wrong, or at best that more research is needed.  Oh yes, natural variability.

Science starts with the Pre-Normal Science stage. What was the cause? Every idea could be proposed and is. Normal science sorts through them. Discarding ones falsified by observations and those inconsistent with basic principles.  Finally after a consensus forms the Jedi Council (IPCC, Ozone Secretariat, NRC, RS) clues in the policy makers.

Often after the science becomes sufficient there is no need for the last step except say, that’s a really cool paper. But sometimes the initial flailing about for a scientific solution can produce long lasting Post Normal Policy responses. These can be pernicious, and involve serious denial of reality.

Proposers of the discarded theories often still clutch them, but mostly they become opinionated Christmas Turkey Uncles/Aunts ignored within the scientific community and at the Family Festivals.

Post-Normal Policy ensues when normal science has reached a coherent, consilient consensus and it is clear that action is needed but it is economically or philosophically impossible for some to accept.

The response is to deny the utility of science and scientific judgment, thus the attacks on scientists and scientific panels that provide policy makers with their best scientific advice. It is important to remember that choosing up sides happens in the Pre-Normal Science stage before the scientific consensus emerges, but persists

Vested interests will frame research outside of the scientific consensus

Recognizing the division between Pre-Normal Science and Post-Normal Policy and the uses of the former to block action by in the later stage is useful for understanding the course of controversies that require normal science to understand policy responses.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Normal Science

In Eli's humble experience, junior high school and the Internet are major problems, at least as far as understanding what science is, because of the superhero syndrome, driven by Darwin, Newton, Einstein and Popper.  Popper, of course gets most of the blame and he deserves it.

Karl Popper conceptualized science as a never ending struggle to prove everything everybunny knows wrong. Popper saw science as a cycle of conjecture and refutation and that the best scientists should continually engage in throwing spaghetti against the wall to test which fall off (are refuted) and which stick (not yet refuted).

There are problems with this.  The model has some validity at the far edge, where nothing is known nor is there much experiences, think extreme high energies where string theory is currently doing battle with the multiverse but it is only there, in junior high classrooms where it is simple to teach and the Internet where everybunny is Galileo.

Normal science is done as a chess problem.  Players/scientists work out positions but they don't change the rules of the game.  There can arise situations such as pawn promotion which changed in the nineteenth century, but chess is a game of puzzle solving and it is not less interesting for that.  Changes in the rules improve and broaden the game, they don't change it into checkers.

Thomas Kuhn, in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" understood what normal science is
Normal Science means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.”
Normal Science by definition operates when scientists share a common set of theories, models and observations, in other words when there is a consensus. Normal science is puzzle solving within the field’s consensus. Kuhn understood how fascinating normal science can be, trying to understand the world within the structure of current knowledge.

The observant amongst bunnies out there have already noticed that this chops away at some of the most popular myths about science.  To Kuhn, and actually to 97%+ of the practicioners, consensus is where science starts and building upon that consensus is where 99.999% contribute. Kuhn points out that consensus among practicioners is almost unique to science and it is what allows science to progress.  This unique willingness of scientists to work within the consensus of their field is what drives scientific progress.  Policy communities, economists, social scientists are intellectually less constrained and less demanding of consistency.
The existence of a scientific consensus in a field implies a knowable nature.
 Because a problem has not yet been solved within the current consensus does not mean that a completely new consensus is needed.  Experience shows that it is more likely the observation or theoretical work has overlooked some factor or made a mistake.  It is only when a large body of work cannot be understood within the current consensus that scientists start looking for a new paradigm.  Major changes in the consensus, Kuhn's paradigm are almost without exception extensions of previous paradigms rather than refutations.  The new paradigm extends the region of validity of the old.

To this Eli can add a bit describing a useful scientific paradigm.  It is characterized by coherence, consilience and consensus, the rule of the three Cs.

Coherent paradigms are consistent

Consilient, paradigms explain much efficiently and are coherent

And consensus means just what Kuhn said, that members of the community can talk with each other in the framework of a coherent and consilient paradigm.

A Wonderful Day

Here is wishing that all have had a wonderful Christmas Day and the best for 2016 (that may be tougher, but good wishing is not only allowed, it is encouraged hereabouts)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Death of a glacier


Yosemite's Lyell Glacier, second-largest in the Sierras, has lost 80% of its surface area, down to .27 square km. Wiki says it's split in two and not moving, arguably not a glacier anymore, just stagnant ice.

I tried to get up to this one a year back but it didn't work out. Still on my list.

Glaciers can come back though. About 20 rash years ago, I was glissading down what was supposed to be a snowfield and not a glacier in Alaska when I found myself sliding toward a crevasse. I couldn't stop but I got my feet underneath me and jumped it (it wasn't very wide). That's when I learned that small glaciers can come and go, although the global trend for glaciers is obvious enough.

Monday, December 21, 2015

"Exxon hasn't issued a detailed policy position addressing these proposals"

Another nice article from Inside Climate News on Exxon, this time on whether the company's alleged support of a carbon tax is meaningful or just a way to oppose other regulation of greenhouse gases. As ICN demonstrates, Exxon won't say what kind of tax it supports, it hasn't supported past attempts at carbon tax legislation, and didn't join other oil giants in calling for a price for carbon at COP 21.

The fact Exxon hasn't laid out what it would support is more than enough to determine whether its "support" means anything. Even if it did take that step, there would then be the question of what it does to make that tax happen. Short of putting some of its mighty lobbying muscle behind carbon tax proposals, it seems like the support would be pretty meaningless.

It would be interesting to see if Exxon took any position on the carbon taxes in Alberta and British Columbia (I didn't find anything after a brief search). They did say negative things about the carbon tax in Australia when it was still in place.

UPDATE:  see the comments. Exxon's Canadian subsidiary seems reasonable in Alberta. OTOH the carbon tax there had some complicated financial relief measures for energy producers, so it comes down to the details.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gunn Control

Play this for Grandpa and Mother

Gavin Gets an Answer

NASA reported first results from L1 at the 2015 AGU Fall conference.  The view from a million miles is amazing.  Eli has been following this saga, well from longer than the "pause", and actually since before there was an Eli. Monday was a press conference, Wednesday was a lap of honor for Al Gore and NASA.  Monday (video) and Wednesday last week were fine days in the sun.

This was a blessed mission.  Launch and orbital insertion went perfectly.  DSCOVR (the politically correct name for Triana aka Goresat) ended up on station with enough fuel to last until 2029 and the platform is considerably more stable than spec.  The plan was to have enough fuel to last 5 years.  One problem may be that the earth observing mission was set up for two years.  A usual problem with NASA satellites is that they last forever, or at least a lot longer than originally paid for.  The EPIC camera is operating close to if not at theoretical with a resolution of 35 km at the Earth's surface.  The solar array is putting out 600 W, twice the required 300 W.

EPIC is discovering things about aerosols and clouds that were not envisioned before launch such as tracking ships "contrails".  It will measure ozone profiles down to the surface, cloud height, UV reflectivity and vegatation cover.

The NISTAR radiometer has four channels. At the news conference most of the talk was about the simplest one, the photodiode which measures total reflectivity in the UV/VIS/NIR out to ~1.1 microns (the band gap for silicon detectors).  Not much was said about the other three channels, Band A the total radiation channel out to 100 microns, Band B which monitors the total solar light reflected from the earth (albedo) and Band C which captures the NIR solar reflected out to 4 microns.

Eli left out a considerable detail which bunnies can get from the video.

A while ago, Gavin Schmidt pointed out that to really measure the total emission from the Earth required a second DSCOVR on the other side at L2.  Wouldn't you know it, but somebunny at 35.30 asked that and by the way what is going on with Band A, the total emission channel   This, shall Eli say, resulted in a rather you answer that looking at each other among the panel, until Steve Lorentz picked up the ball.

With regard to a twin satellite, Lorentz who is a contractor, not NASA, and yes, he would be in favor

Well to the second one I would certainly entertain the possibility of trying to fly future missions of this type, but i am not the one who writes the checks for that.
There then ensued a couple of minutes of audio visual follies hunting for the back up slide which had not been shown.  Good news was that the Band A, B and C detectors are working,anddetectors can tell the difference between pointing at the earth and pointing at space.  Noise in Band A and B are well below the design goal of 1.5%.  Have to wait for next year for more

Which brings us to the Wednesday Gorefest. (Video here, but there may be hoops to jump through.  Ah yes, go here first and register, no fees or anything required, then follow the bunny trail)

Al Gore was quite generous in describing the hoops that DSCOVR went through before launch. He  still had his vision fixed on view from a million miles which all the Kool Kidz scoff at and please, this time in HD.

Adam Szabo, project scientist and chief of the heliospheric physics lab at Goddard Space Flight Center went a lot further.  He wants a second satellite at L1 with improved instrumentation including a spectrometer and an order of magnitude better set of radiometers AND a twin at L2.

Stuart (Whole Earth Catalog) Brand also plugged for DSCOVR L2, about the science and the awe that could be done from there.

So, Eli asks, why was the news conference so reticent or were they trying to cut somebunny off?  Only Gavin knows:) but still, no bunny is cutting checks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why Senator Cruz is wrong

Steve Inskeep (NPR) recently conducted a timid and respectful interview with Senator Ted Cruz on the topic of global warming. Cruz gave a predictable farrago of talking points from the deniers. Peter Gleick posted a refutation of Cruz - a transcript of the interview with comments by Gleick - here. Of course, it's NOT a bunch of honest mistakes by Senator Cruz.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Red meat : all meat :: coal : all fossil fuels


(Source, p. 16)

I only recently became aware how much worse red meat is than other meat for GHGs. The reason why this gets little attention is likely because it doesn't fit into the standard ideological division between meat-eaters and vegetarians. The reality for climate is that there's closer to three categories, not two:  beef and sheep are worst, all other meats have half or much less than half the effect, and then vegetarian foods have less than half the effect of the other meats.

This is a simplification of course - here in the SF Bay Area, free-range cattle grazing provides an alternative land use to low-density sprawl in the hills, so I think that ranching has a positive climate impact. Still, the disparity speaks for itself.

Switching to vegetarianism can be a difficult change in personal behavior, but as someone pointed out in a presentation I saw this summer, getting chicken instead of beef isn't that big of a switch. The same presentation claimed a 20% reduction in GHGs from a "typical" Californian just by making the switch.

The policy implications of this are less clear. Getting an adequate price on carbon equivalents could sort things out in theory, but we're still from that day. Letting people know for their personal choices can help, and institutional food providers like schools should keep it in mind as well.

UPDATE:  this came with the carrots today - Climate impact of beef: an analysis considering multiple time scales and production methods without use of global warming potentials

Abstract: An analysis of the climate impact of various forms of beef production is carried out, with a particular eye to the comparison between systems relying primarily on grasses grown in pasture (‘grass-fed’ or ‘pastured’ beef) and systems involving substantial use of manufactured feed requiring significant external inputs in the form of synthetic fertilizer and mechanized agriculture (‘feedlot’ beef). The climate impact is evaluated without employing metrics such as CO2e or global warming potentials. The analysis evaluates the impact at all time scales out to 1000 years. It is concluded that certain forms of pastured beef production have substantially lower climate impact than feedlot systems. However, pastured systems that require significant synthetic fertilization, inputs from supplemental feed, or deforestation to create pasture, have substantially greater climate impact at all time scales than the feedlot and dairy-associated systems analyzed. Even the best pastured system analyzed has enough climate impact to justify efforts to limit future growth of beef production, which in any event would be necessary if climate and other ecological concerns were met by a transition to primarily pasture-based systems. Alternate mitigation options are discussed, but barring unforseen technological breakthroughs worldwide consumption at current North American per capita rates appears incompatible with a 2 °C warming target.

So there's the 1000 year viewpoint. See also this from the paper:

What kind of beef consumption and production scenarios are compatible with a 2 °C warming target? If consumption were to grow by a factor of three from its present 58 Mt yr−1 value, and the beef were produced by the midwest feedlot system, the equivalent cumulative carbon would be 504 Gt, which all by itself is enough to use up the remaining allocation of cumulative carbon corresponding to a probable warming below 2 °C. 

That might put you off your feed.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Adm. Titley on the Cruz Pause

John Hockenberry who has got four Emmys and three Peabody Awards called David Titley up and asked him about the Cruz Pause and the Cruz Conspiracy.  Now if you listen to the first part of the interview, well Hockenberry is a little unhappy with his long ago and former employer, NPR and the Cruz interview they put on a couple of days ago, with "a radio host".  Peter Gleick was unhappy enough with the interview that he fisked it.  Dave Titley, anger is not his style, but accepting nonsense is also not his style.  Eli has transcribed the part of the interview about the sainted satellite temperatures:

The science, the factual components of this are several. One that the satellite is in fact not measuring temperature it measures basically microwave returns. It turns out as I mentioned in the testimony, it is actually not rocket science but it is a lot harder to convert that into temperatures. The people who have done that before have in fact had numerous errors, which had to be corrected by independent analysis. And as those errors are being corrected that satellite data in fact shows more and more warming. 
But even if you say, accepted the data that Sen. Cruz presents at face value, he is actually averaging parts of the atmosphere that we know are cooling. The top of the atmosphere, the stratosphere is cooling, while the bottom is warming. So if you average, just anybody if you take +1 and you take -1 and add them up together, what do you get, you get zero. 
Then he takes this very, very specific 18 years. He is very much on message with his 18 years. Why. Because he is starting from a point that we had a huge El Nino in 1998 and he is connecting it to today. So a question that you could ask Sen. Cruz is if there are these natural variations and you started from a very high El Nino its amazing sir that your data in fact does not show a decrease. If we were just having natural ups and downs this where a down would be. So why didn’t we get a down. Why have we had we have so many years, what is it 10 of the last 12 years of being some of the warmest on record. It doesn’t sound like no global warming, it sounds like we had a very high plateau and now 2014 and 2015 we are going back up the staircase again. That is how climate changes. It doesn’t change in a nice straight line you have ups and downs but the downs are now flat and the ups are really up.

Oh yes, Tamino has the radio sondes between his teeth and is chewing Roy and John's SST calibration up.  Eli thinks, more and more, that something is happening with the AMSUs, maybe an aging effect to the receivers or the hot target.  That is just a bunny's wild hare guess.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bernard J Pushes Indur Golkany Down the Elevator Shaft

As somebunnies may have noticed, the CO2 is life, or plants or green line is being peddled by the denialati.  It was the one line Will Happer remembered to peddle during the recent Cruz farago.  Indur Golkany, beloved of Roger Sr. even wrote a paper about it that was peer reviewed (does that mean Chris Monckton? Why yes it does, and Happer even told Greepeach about it and how peer review works on his side of the aisle).

Bernard J has an excellent deconstruction of the Cruz four in the comments to a previous post.  Suffice it to say he would rather discuss climate change with pond scum than Mark Styne but one point stood out.

The next time somebunny tells you between the 5th and 12th floor that CO2 is not a pollutant because we breath it out reply:

Right. There's a reason why we breathe it out... We also shit, and shit is also great for plants, but too much of it in too constricted an environment...

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Senate Hearing Live Blog

So the Cruz follies are on the air, feel free to add your comments

Christy, Curry, Happer and Steyn, with Dave Titley for the forces of rationality.

Christy and Happer are pushing for Team B.  Conservative pushed Team B exercises has a long history of being wrong.  Happer sounds shaken.
UPDATE:  He damn well was shaken

See here for why

Curry is moaning that people don't like her

Steyn, well, Steyn is saying that Mike Mann is not a Nobel Prize winner.  Tell Richard Tol.  At this point he is on to the persecution of Exxon and that the science is not settled.  Awfully loud, may be mike hugging

Titley is up now.  As a former naval officer he starts with sea level rise, points out that risk management shows there is a serious problem putting theory and observation together.  What do we know, that the earth's climate is changing, that it associated with greenhouse gases, that we can mitigate the problem.  "If you wait for 100% certainty on the battlefield, you will probably be dead"

What to do.  We are already paying the costs, New Orleans, Sandy, Alaska.  Not some mid-tropospheric change in the  atmosphere.

Decarbonization will happen, the only question is how fast.  US must lead.
Cruz is talking to Happer, basically pushing that CO2 is good.  Happer backs off pointing out that higher CO2 was 5 million years ago.

Cruz says that this proves that high CO2 not related to industrialization.

Pulls up Christy's chart (its using RSS but it is the same).  It looks like TMT, not TLT (but has red line)  Of course UAH 6.0 was adjusted to match RSS.

Cruz talks to Titley about the pause.  Titley points out that unlike Christy he is not talking about the last 40 years.

Titley says what pause?  Points out that satellite data has had major errors in it.  

Cruz says that gee, no rise for seven years, etc.  Titley takes his head off, pointing out that the argument requires end point picking  (Ei's prediction Reps are going to stay away from Titley)
Peters points out that 97% of scientists hold the IPCC consensus position, as do major companies.

Goes to Titley about planning for the military and how there are always caveats but what sort of certainty will be needed.  Titley says 97% is like great.  Points out that intelligence evaluations deals with people who are trying to deceive us, but with climate we are dealing with physics.  

Peters shifts to certainty that mission commanders have with weather forecasts.  Titley points out that weather uncertainty can be framed in terms of risk.  The other part of risk is impact management.

Peters asks about difference btw weather and climate.  Titley says you live in weather, you plan in climate.  
Danes Montanta (R) starts on coal jobs.  Tries to middle btw coal and jobs and environment.  Goes after EPA clean power plan. Interesting that he does not go full Cruz.  Talks to Christy about impact on ghg.

Christy dons bleeding heart.  Says war on coal is a war on Africa and Clean Power Plan will have no effect on GHGs.  Mentions China under-reporting but not that China emissions have decreased.

Asks Curry about how the Clean Power Plan will stifle innovation.  Curry looks under desk for an answer, finding none says we need more research.  Finally comes up with you have to give people funding to fail to find good ones.  This should go well with those who went after Obama for funding Solyndra.
Schatz (D) says, hey, maybe everybody else is wrong, but otoh, bet with the 97%.  Points out that deniers are not funded much because everyone else thinks they are fantasizing.  Gives a shout out to John Cook and SKS.  Points out that there may be a quack out there who thinks that smoking does not cause cancel (down Russell), but please keep that one away from him.

Asks Titley to describe the GHG mechanism.  Titley points out that that is cutting edge 19th century science.  A bunch of old white dudes figured that out.  Fast description of GH effect, and that while it is necessary, too much of a good thing is bad.  

Schatz points to Titley's testimony on relationship btw ghg, temperature, ocean etc.  

Steyn butts in.  Says the 97% does not argue for action, uses term pro climate people.  Who is against climate Eli asks.  Says you need 100% agreement.  Gliver, etc.  Let's build the Dutch barrier around New York.
Cruz plays Galileo card.  
Next up is Udall (D).  Cruz can't get his R colleagues to come to the meeting.  Udall points out that this meeting is an attack on scientists.

Asks Titley if there is any time.  Titley says that there is nothing as useless as the runway behind you. Points out that even Curry said that more research on energy is needed.

Asks Titley was he always convinced.  Titley says that not always, because he comes from a weather model background.  Uses initial value vs. boundary value point.  When asked by CNO to look at this, like a reformed smoker, he saw all these independent lines of evidence.  

Asks Titley if science has progressed.  Titley says progress in science is not linear.  Overall level of confidence in basic GHG theory has increased
Another Democrat (Markey)  If there was an R in the room it would have been his or her turn.  Every Republican hates Cruz and won't show up. 

Asks Titley about weather 2014 was record year.  

Answer is yes.  Senator turns to COP 21.  Calls committee last redoubt of denial.  Points out that the panel has 4 deniers and 1 scientist.  Tells Titley that, unlike Galileo he will get his apology faster than Galileo.  

Senator invokes Kennedy's race to the moon as a challenge.  Says that as this was to meet the threat from communism, we now face a threat to our national security from climate change and need to meet is.  

Happer Christy and Curry are sitting there like wooden indians.

Senator says that Climate Science sits on a foundation of 150 years of basic research. Republicans insist that this existential challenge is an illusion.  It is time to stop this denial.  Strong statement.

Martin lists the many signs of global warming and says that the Earth is in the emergency

Curry demands to not be called a denier.   Steyn bigfoots. Curry talks about Antartica, rise in temperature.  Markey points out that 2015 is warmest ever, that this warming may have variability but the trend is straight up.  Steyn tries to bigfoot, finds that Markey knows more than him.  

Steyn tries to say that it was cold in Plymouth Rock

Food fight breaks out on percentage of human responsibility

Titley playing the voice of reason (somebunny had to) points to IPCC report saying humans are responsible for vast majority of warming.
Bill Nelson (another Dem) asks about surface temp chart and relation to SST.  Titley says that 90% of the excess heat goes into the ocean.  Nelson asks what happens to warm water.  Answer it expands.  Nelson point out that this will increase sea level

Nelson starts talking about GoreSAT measurements of heat in and heat out as a future indicator.  Titley points out that this would be basic physics

Titley describes problems climate change is making for military.
Cruz starts with second round.  Asks Curry about the statistical prob that 2014 was not the warmest year.  Trying to make out that 2014 was not the warmest year.  See earlier this year discussion.

Cruz gets into discussion about homogenization

Curry does not quite go there, retreating to natural variability.  Happer is playing potted plant.  Curry tries to say ocean temperatures are not well characterized, satellite data is the gold standard.  Throws a wrench into Cruz by pointing out that going from emissions to temperature  is not trivial.

Cruz invites Steyn to beat on the hockey stick and homogenization.  Steyn picks up cudgel.  For some reason Steyn is shouting.  Beats on Gavin Schmidt for not standing next to thermometers.  Gavin, of course is a juggler.  

Tries to go after Titley for not talking about ISIS.  Points out that there are a lot more Africans and that is the security threat.  Does a Trump imitation.

Happer goes to cross calibration with sondes.

Cruz is not happy with

Curry agrees.  

Curry says she has no federal funding.  Interesting. 

Cruz asks about AAAS letter.  Curry says that Marsha McNutt has stated that the debate is over.  This must not be allowed, we must have debate about whether the earth is flat.

Steyn says that statisticians think climate science is not very good.  Lies about majority of engineers, physicists, etc not holding to IPCC consensus.

Cruz trying to corner Titley about which is greater climate change or ISIS.  Titley says both.
Nelson points out that seal level rise in Bangladesh will cause a huge displacement and that is not a good thing.  Nelson prepares dagger.  How he respects Cruz, etc.  Points out that the Rs. have tried to stake Mike Mann in the Serengheti, that the words climate change were outlawed, etc.  When talk about muzzling of scientists on climate change, scientists actually had two  Rs vote not to.
Peters points out that the three scientists on the R side are way out of the consensus, Steyn is a political commentator.  OK, says Peters, thats the 3, where are the 97.  

Cruz has to sit there because there are no Rs to pass the gavel to.  He must have to use the men's room.  

Peters enters the report of the US Climate Change Program into evidence.

Peters asks Titley to deal with the problems of the satellite measurements.  Titley says it's not rocket science, it's harder.  No thermometers in space.  Mispronounces microwave.  Points out there are different frequencies which are mostly sensitive to different altitudes, but not entirely.  Talks about number of satillites, etc.  It is hard

Peters asks how climate models compare.  Titley goes with George Box that all models are wrong, some useful.  Says that GCMs are useful.  Refers to the 1980 Hansen and Lacis paper which pointed to warming, but less than observed.  Climate models are useful and they help us understand the future.

Peters asks about skepticism and peer review.  Titley says that skepticism drives science, and how it sometimes changes orthrodoxy.  Peer review is not a guarantee says that field is well summarized and manuscript is not off the wall.  

Christy is chopped liver.  Will he say something.

Peters asks Titley about natural variability.  Titley says human impact mostly about GHG but also land use and ag.  That fossil fuel burning is putting billions of tons into atm.  Seeing rainfall.  Atm cn hold more water.  Temperature is melting ice.  We have built human civilization on climate stability.

Titley says we can put our seat belts on and have a bumpy ride, or we can ignore the warning and have a very bad ride indeed.

Peters asks about higher CO2 in the distant past.  Titley points out that then there were few (no) people.  Plants do better, but so do weeds.   There are ag thresholds, what about water cycle, there are huge issues of ag in a changing climate.

Peters enters studies by Long and Meyers about CO2 levels.  

Peters enters Whitehouse speech to refute statements of Steyn
Cruz gets ready to wrap up

Happer says, hey you use IR to measure temperature in the hospital.  

Cruz tries to wrap up with a Gish Gallop.

Send some whiskey to Dave Titley and some donations to the Democratic Senators.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Adaptation, mitigation, inundation

For a moral argument about adaptation that mirrors what Eli was saying, ask Thilmeeza Hussain from the Maldives, on To the Point. When asked about how much funding the people of the Maldives might expect to deal with the impacts of climate change, she addresses the real issue:

I think we cannot put a price tag on people's lives. We cannot afford not to act on climate. 
Yes, funding is important for adaptation, but no amount of adaptation can save the islands without mitigation. I think everyone, both rich and poor countries, need to look at what is at stake. 
Maldives is known for its beautiful beaches and people of these islands have lived there in harmony with nature for over three thousand years, and they definitely don't want to trade their homes for some refugee camps. In Paris we cannot afford to be stupid quite frankly.  
Really what is there to negotiate when it comes to climate? I really cannot comprehend the fact that we are negotiating. I think the world should be gathered around to find a solution. There really is nothing to be negotiated when it comes to climate.  
I think only drastic and bold action needs to be taken when it comes to climate change.

There may be a bit of daylight between Eli and me on adaptation - I think it could be a bridge towards mitigation actions for people who are still shaking off denial - but she is right about the core issue.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Passes belief

So the forces of denial gathered together for a strategy session yesterday and played a mean game of climate bingo.  They also  didn't listen when a reporter for Open Democracy UK mentioned that he was a reporter and they let it all hang out.  Eli will not steal the eyeballs from Adam Ramsey, but he simply notes that this answers the question of how arrogant are these people.

Required reading, Eli will simply steal a quote

Monckton suggested that they should accept that the greenhouse effect is real. There was a fair amount of disagreement in the room. The chair said “I'm trying to appeal to left wing journalists”. For a moment they lost control as a number of people shouted out their various objections. The conclusion?: “The Greenhouse Effect – the debate continues”.
And, of course, this is a good time to bring back global climate denial Bingo.  Y3!!