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Science: climate sensitivity is 1.7-2.6 °C

New paper pretty much excludes values above the IPCC mean value of 3 °C

As I learned from The World Climate Report, the Science Magazine is just printing an article that significantly reduces the IPCC estimate how much CO2 influences the temperatures:

Climate Sensitivity Estimated From Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum (fulltext PDF)
by Schmittner, A., Urban N. M., Shakun, J. D., Mahowald, N. M., Clark, P. U., Bartlein, P. J., Mix, A. C., and Rosell-Melé, A. (2011): the authors are from Oregon, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, and Barcelona, see also the home page of the lead author.

The climate scientists often use a bizarre "66% confidence interval": note that the "±1-sigma interval" in the normal distribution is a 68% confidence level interval so it suggests that climatologists are not quite familiar with the normal distribution.

At any rate, the IPCC says that the climate sensitivity's 66% interval is 2.0-4.5 °C of warming per CO2 doubling (from the concentration of 280 ppm in the year 1750 to 560 ppm around the year 2080) and 3 °C is the best estimate. The newest article in Science reduces the 66% interval to 1.7-2.6 °C with 2.3 °C being their median estimate. Two more reductions of the same magnitude would bring the climate sensitivity to a level compatible with Lindzen-Choi 2011 paper which is 0.5-1.3 °C at the 99% confidence level. The result of Schmittner et al. is closer to the IPCC's than Lindzen-Choi's but just by a little.

The last sentence of the abstract in Science says
"Assuming paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future as predicted by our model, these results imply lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought"
and probably invites the likes of Al Gore, Joe Romm, Michael Mann, and James Hansen to prepare a terrorist attack against the Science Magazine. To say the least, the CIA or FBI or whoever should carefully watch every step of those individuals.

The paper also includes the graph of their probabilistic distribution for the climate sensitivity:

The funny detailed shape is of course an artifact of their particular noisy data and it couldn't arise from a completely independent reconstruction. You see that they claim that the probability is about 40% that the climate sensitivity lies in the interval between 1 °C and 2 °C, it is about 60% that it is between 2 °C and 3 °C, and the probability that the figure is above 3 °C – the mean value of the IPCC – is nearly zero, much like the probability that it's below 1 °C.

It's also possible to see that the distribution excludes "very high sensitivities" much more stringently than it excludes "very low sensitivities": the decrease on the right end is faster than it is on the left end of the graph. You could say that the "inverted climate sensitivity" would have a more symmetric distribution, essentially because this inverted quantity 1/sensitivity is more mathematically natural. James Annan has been among the alarmists who have realized that the probability that the climate sensitivity is very high must be low unless the prior probabilities are unnaturally fine-tuned to prefer the "catastrophic figures".

I am convinced that this reconstruction is still a significant overestimate (by a factor of two or so) relatively to the correct figure but once again, the paper shows that the numerical value of the climate sensitivity isn't really what distinguishes climate realists from climate crusaders. The emotional and political reaction is what makes the difference.

Imagine that the climate sensitivity is 2.3 °C, their best estimate. About 0.8 °C of it has already materialized so the remaining warming up to the CO2 doubling would be 1.5 °C. That's demonstrably not harmful – it's just twice the harmless warming we may have seen, assuming, for the sake of generosity, that the end of the Little Ice Age was caused by James Watt and his steam engine 50 years before he was born, as the IPCC railway engineers claim.

In fact, even the arbitrary figure sometimes screamed by the brainwashed politicians – "warming shouldn't exceed 2 °C" – would be avoided under the business-as-usual. Try to appreciate how absurd it would be for the world to try to keep the temperature change within a predetermined interval. The world could pay trillions of dollars. Then, suddenly, Science publishes a paper that was prepared for $20,000 or so (a part of the climatologists' salary recalculated to the time spent with this paper) which shows that the trillions of dollars have been wasted because a more accurate estimate of the climate sensitivity is 30% lower than previously thought.

And at the end, all this theater is just a gradual march towards the really correct answer, one by Richard Lindzen, that the climate sensitivity is almost certainly (99.5% confidence) lower than 1.3 °C which means that even when the CO2 emissions double by 2050, the people will still lack any certainty whether the temperature change they will have been observing had a detectable man-made component. Any attempt to "plan the temperature" is clearly insane.

If you remember Richard Feynman's Cargo Cult Science commencement speech at Caltech, he mentioned that Millikan originally measured the elementary charge to be just 50% of the right value because of a wrong air viscosity. That may happen but what was more embarrassing was that other people, using the correct air viscosity, were repeating his experiments and they still got just 60%, then 70% etc. of the correct figure: it took some time for them to stabilize around the correct figure. That was because they were throwing away measurements that were "too inconsistent with the expectation" based on previous papers. That's what prevented physics from finding the right answer quickly. Feynman believed that such physics no longer suffered from this child diseases in 1974.

Well, I happen to think that physics – and science – suffers from it even today and even this paper in Science is an example. The climate science as printed in journals similar to Science will only gradually be converging to the right, low figure which Lindzen and others have approximately known for decades.

In particular, when I look at the latest paper, it seems obvious that they still pay no attention to the widespread error identified by Roy Spencer. They look for correlations between things in their reconstructions of the last interglacial and these correlations may be high. However, a part of this correlation isn't due to carbon dioxide's impact on the temperature but because of the opposite causation and because of the other effects (not considered) which influence both CO2 levels and temperature. For these reasons, a simple "best fit" that always assumes the causation in one direction only generally overestimates the sensitivities.

Barely dressed argument for AGW

Incidentally, the alarmists just published the first truly convincing video that we should reduce CO2 to 350 ppm:

Note that the female climate scientists above use women's logic: when it's warmer, they wear a fur coat; when the CO2 concentration and temperature is low, they undress. Most men do it in the other way.

Via Junk Science. However, the new paper in Science corrects the figure. According to the fixed calculation, the decrease of CO2 to 350 ppm will lead to a rather different final stage of the strip tease.

Botswana's peasants brighter than local journalists, Western intruders

The Botswana Gazette brings us the opinion of ordinary people in Africa. They realize that scientists may make lots of money by lying, so they often do so. Chimneys could actually be good for their weather because they could encourage rain which is what they need. And they may have a point: smoke from chimneys may offer some cloud condensation nuclei. No one is investigating whether such methods could work and help them because no one in the climate business really wants to help the Africans.

In the West, people often incorrectly assume that $200,000 is a small amount of money and no climate scientist could get bribed by such tiny fees (which would feed a village in Botswana for a month). The Western people's mistake is that they don't realize that in an uncorrupt environment, most of the climate scientists would be cleaning windows in McDonald's for 10% of their present salary (the rest would turn out to be incapable of this work as well).

Big Oil overtakes funding of climate activists

As Willie wrote me, AFP and others informed that the Pew Charities stopped their funding for the Pew Climate group, now renamed as the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, C2ES. It has various older and dead people in the board, including Theodore Roosevelt ;-) and a woman who worked as a climate puppet for Bill Clinton. Alexa's numbers show that the traffic on that website, despite its having a dozen of jerks who try to pretend that they are important, is lower than it is on this blog.

So instead of the Pew Charities, those redundant people will be getting millions of dollars every year from Shell, General Electric, and Bank of America. Nice. We will see whether De Smog Blog and similar ecofascist websites will launch an attack against the fellow climate activists. I suppose they won't because they're funded by the "Big Oil", too.

The utter irrationality of the oil companies' funding for the activists struggling to undermine not only these companies' main business but also the general pillars of the civilization only shows one thing: we live in an era when the amount of redistribution is so immense that by pursuing strategies and making contributions that look attractive to deluded politicians, journalists, and others, oil companies may actually hope to make a profit by getting a special treatment. The system is so corrupt exactly because the fraction of the "image" and ideology in the price of various things (and taxes) is so high – and perhaps higher than a critical threshold – that companies may often prefer solutions that look ideologically convenient for a pathological group of politicians over solutions that are economically beneficial.

Eileen Claussen is said to be the chair of the "reputable" group. What the hell is "reputable" about these bitches? The only thing that this woman achieved in her life was to act as a puppet and co-author a few perverse Marxist rants about the ways to increase redistribution and communism by the AGW pseudoscientific propaganda. As the traffic numbers show, everyone, including the AGW brainwashed people, know that this is a pile of worthless garbage but the AFP still calls them "reputable" and create the atmosphere in which millions of dollars are annually lost in the black hole of these parasites. AFP are liars, I am fed up with them, but I have to work with them every day – and unlike Sarkozy and Obama, I am right about it.

Heidi Cullen and weather

Salon has published a very long joke about the blondes. It's very long, indeed. It's formatted as a full-fledged article written by a stupid blonde, named Heidi Cullen, who claims that the weather wasn't changing when she was a little blonde kid. The joke is so long that it isn't even funny. Why don't they write a shorter one, for example: Al Gore asks Heidi Cullen who stands on the other side of a creek: "How do I get to the other side?" She answers: "But you are already on the other side!" The content would be exactly the same and it would save the readers' time.

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snail feedback (2) :

reader Alexander said...

The 1st AIE doesn't exist except for thin clouds and the satellite data can't be trusted because 40% of low level clouds [drizzle,rain] have different optical physics.

The real issue is the 2nd AIR which switches off this second optical effect and is most of the real AGW.

That means no IPCC GCM can predict climate. I suspect real CO2 climate sensitivity is <0.35K and it could be slightly negative from self-absorption near IR band saturation.

reader Richard Evans said...

I'd agree with that ^^^. I think that the climate sensitivity has been grossly exaggerated. Even the IPCC's own figures don't support their own claims of a 3C temperature increase on a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Using their own figures and equations I got a temperature increase of 0.37C from a doubling of CO2 (which turns into 0.31 when the S-B law is taken into account) and a feedback-inclusive temperature increase of 1C. Maybe if the missing tropospheric-hot spot were to appear, Skeptics may start taking their claims a tad bit more seriously.