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State of the Climate 2012

Australia’s land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. This is the headline finding in the State of the Climate 2012, an updated summary…

The long-term warming trend has not changed. Guillaume Brialon

Australia’s land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

This is the headline finding in the State of the Climate 2012, an updated summary of Australia’s long term climate trends released by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology today (14 March 2012).

The long-term warming trend has not changed.

Each decade has been warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. Global-average surface temperatures were the warmest on record in 2010 (slightly higher than 2005 and 1998). 2011 was the world’s 11th warmest year and the warmest year on record during a La Niña event. The world’s 13 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past 15 years.

On land around Australia the observed warming trends are consistent with the global-scale warming - despite 2010 and 2011 being the coolest years recorded in Australia since 2001.

In the oceans around Australia, sea-surface temperatures have increased faster than the global average, and sea-level rise since 1993 is greater than, or equal to, the global average.

Australian average temperatures over land

Australian annual-average daily mean temperatures showed little change from 1910 to 1950 but have progressively warmed since, increasing by 0.9 °C from 1910 to 2011. The average temperature during the past ten years has been more than 0.5 °C warmer than the World Meteorological Organization’s standard 1961-1990 long-term average. This increase continues the trend since the 1950s of each decade being warmer than the previous.

The warming trend has occurred against a backdrop of natural, year-to-year climate variability. Most notably, El Niño and La Niña events during the past century have continued to produce the hot droughts and cooler wet periods for which Australia is well known. 2010 and 2011, for example, were the coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events.

Changes in average temperature for Australia for each year (orange line) and each decade (grey boxes), and 11-year average (black line – an 11-year period is the standard used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Anomalies are the departure from the 1961-1990 average climatological period. The average value for the most recent 10-year period (2002–2011) is shown in darker grey. Bureau of Meteorology

Oceans

Rising sea level

Global-average mean sea level for 2011 was 210 mm (± 30 mm) above the level in 1880. The observed global-average mean sea-level rise since 1990 is near the high end of projections from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

Rates of sea-level rise are not uniform around the globe and vary from year to year. Since 1993, the rates of sea-level rise to the north and northwest of Australia have been 7 to 11 mm per year, two to three times the global average, and rates of sea-level rise on the central east and southern coasts of the continent are mostly similar to the global average. These variations are at least in part a result of natural variability of the climate system.

High-quality global sea-level measurements have been available from satellite altimetry since the start of 1993 (red line), in addition to the longer-term records from tide gauges (blue line, with shading providing an indication of the accuracy of the estimate). Sea level rose at a global-averaged rate of about 3 mm per year between 1993 and 2011, and 1.7 mm per year during the 20th century as a whole. CSIRO

The rate of sea-level rise around Australia as measured by coastal tide gauges (circles) and satellite observations (contours) from January 1993 to September 2011. CSIRO

Increasing sea-surface temperatures

Sea-surface temperatures in the Australian region in 2010 were the highest on record, with nine of the months during 2011 ranked in the top ten warmest months on record. Sea-surface temperatures averaged over the decades since 1900 have increased for every decade. Terrestrial and ocean surface temperatures have shown very similar warming trends over the last century.

The warm sea-surface temperatures in 2010-11 were strongly influenced by La Niña. Ocean temperatures around Australia were warmer during 2010-11 than for any previously identified La Niña event, likely due to the influence of the long-term warming trend of the past century.

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions account for about 60% of the effect from anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the earth’s energy balance over the past 250 years. These global CO2 emissions are mostly from fossil fuels (more than 85%), land use change, mainly associated with tropical deforestation (less than 10%), and cement production and other industrial processes (about 4%). Australia contributes about 1.3% of the global CO2 emissions. Energy generation continues to climb and is dominated by fossil fuels – suggesting emissions will grow for some time yet.

CO2 levels are rising in the atmosphere and ocean.

About 50% of the amount of CO2 emitted from fossil fuels, industry, and changes in land-use, stays in the atmosphere. The remainder is taken up by the ocean and land vegetation, in roughly equal parts.

The extra carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans is estimated to have caused about a 30% increase in the level of ocean acidity since pre-industrial times.

The sources of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere can be identified from studies of the isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2 and from oxygen (O2) concentration trends in the atmosphere. The observed trends in the isotopic (13C, 14C) composition of CO2 in the atmosphere and the decrease in the concentration of atmospheric O2 confirm that the dominant cause of the observed CO2 increase is the combustion of fossil fuels.

Measurements from Cape Grim, Tasmania, showing: increasing monthly-mean, background concentrations of CO2 (parts per million,top) showing that the CO2 growth rate has increased above the linear trend (dashed line) through the measurement period; the decreasing ratio of 13CO2/12CO2 in the atmosphere (expressed as δ13CO2 in units of per mille, centre); and decreasing concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere (expressed as the ratio of oxygen to nitrogen, bottom), including measurements at Cape Grim from both CSIRO (light green) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (dark green). CSIRO

Future changes

Australian average temperatures are projected to rise by 0.6 to 1.5 °C by 2030 when compared with the climate of 1980 to 1999. The warming is projected to be in the range of 1.0 to 5.0 °C by 2070 if global greenhouse gas emissions are within the range of projected future emission scenarios considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These changes will be felt through an increase in the number of hot days and warm nights, and a decline in cool days and cold nights.

Climate models suggest long-term drying over southern areas during winter and over southern and eastern areas during spring. This will be superimposed on large natural variability, so wet years are likely to become less frequent and dry years more frequent. Droughts are expected to become more frequent in southern Australia; however, periods of heavy rainfall are still likely to occur.

Models generally indicate an increase in rainfall near the equator globally, but the direction of projected changes to average rainfall over northern Australia is unclear as there is a lack of consensus among the models.

For Australia as a whole, an increase in the number of dry days is expected, but it is also likely that rainfall will be heavier during wet periods.

It is likely (with more than 66% probability) that there will be fewer tropical cyclones in the Australian region, on average, but the proportion of intense cyclones is expected to increase.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will continue to provide observations, projections, research, and analysis so that Australia’s responses are underpinned by science of the highest quality.

A list of peer-reviewed references underpinning State of the Climate 2012 can be found on the CSIRO website.

Join the conversation

249 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Tim Scanlon

    Author and Scientist

    Thanks Rob and Megan. So much good data out there, nice to have a short summary like this.

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  2. Mark Harrigan

    PhD Physicist

    Great summary thanks - now cue the usual chorus of pseduo skeptic evidence free obfuscation, cherry picking, nit picking and denial.

    In the meantime I hope the rest of us can focus on what we need to DO :)

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      This is certainly "useful" advice..."Models generally indicate an increase in rainfall near the equator globally, but the direction of projected changes to average rainfall over northern Australia is unclear as there is a lack of consensus among the models."

      Perhaps Mark Harrigan can tell us what to DO with this gem..

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Sure Marc - as apparently you seem incapable. We learn and we adjust the models to help us increase our understanding.

      No doubt it has escaped your attention (or perhaps the scope of your understanding) that Climate Science is complex and that our knowledge and understanding of it is an ever developing thing.

      Or perhaps you are trying to continue to purvery the myth (by implication) that the science of AGW relies on models? It doesn't. And they are actually (overall) pretty good.

      Read and learn

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

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  3. Jeremy Hall

    PhD student

    Nothing new there then. With the usual debate due to begin anon, I have a request:

    If you're not a practising, professional climate researcher and you want to claim that the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change isn't solid, please explain why claims like that never appear in actual scientific journals.

    On a related note, I'd also like to propose a variant of Godwin's law whereby anyone invoking the ridiculous worldwide conspiracy where all scientists lie about warming to gain funding (or whatever) automatically loses the argument...

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    1. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      "If you're not a practising, professional climate researcher and you want to claim that the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change isn't solid, please explain why claims like that never appear in actual scientific journals."

      ....:)

      Explanation: Scientific journals are not the appropriate place to ask open-ended questions.

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    2. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to David Collett

      Explanation 2: Even if your making a statement, "there is no evidence for climate change" then that is still not someting for the journals.

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      Right on cue I see - and twisting what was said.

      Jeremy did not say - if your making a statement "there is no evidnece for climate change" he said "..want to claim that the scientific evidence...isn't solid"

      Mr Collett can't even read.

      Clearly he also has no understanding of what a scientific journal is or does. I doubt he has ever even read one?

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    4. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Dr Mark Harrigan,

      "Clearly he also has no understanding of what a scientific journal is or does. I doubt he has ever even read one?"

      No I have not read a whole scientific journal.

      And no, I am not aware of scientific papers that can be used to argue FOR global warming due to man made emissions of CO2, which I guess is why the thrust of Jeremy Hall's original comment is very valid. There are good papers showing CO2 is a green house gas etc,...or on radiative forcing models etc..

      ...but they are just threads in the garment of the Emperors new clothes

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      So - because you are deliberately ignorant climate change is not real and you prefer to reference a fairy tale?

      Very credible indeed.

      If you had an open mind (as opposed to a denialist conspiracist mindset) a short search on Google would provide all the scientific publications required.

      here is but a sample
      ---------------------------

      Rosenzweig et al (2008). "Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change"
      Nature 453, 353-357.
      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2008/2008_Rosenzweig_etal_1.pdf

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    6. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      With an open mind I could even read the sample papers you are referring to, which I will attempt over the next few days...:)

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      David. That's a fair reply which I will take in the spirit in which it is expressed. Good on you for at least being willing to reconsider. :)

      Nevertheless I would ask you to reflect - why were you so willing to apparently express an opinion in denial of AGW when you had not taken the time to inform yourself first?

      This is part of the problem.

      My own history is that I came to the science of AGW with extreme skepticism. I am trainded physicist and on a superficial examination of the issue…

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    8. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      I have spent time at uni studying physics (didn't finish..didn't have enough fuel in the tank for 3rd year quantum..), which gave me a lot of respect for science and originally I just trusted the CSIRO on this topic.

      But due to my own political frustrations I started putting a site together that gave me an excuse to "have a position" on different topics, climate change being one of them: www.taxpayers.net.au/science-2/climate-change/ On climate change I can either be on the fence, For or Against. If I am going to be FOR then I need to be confident I can argue FOR CO2 being a major problem, I looked through some IPCC reports, contacted CSIRO and others and to date have not seen anything convincing to be able to be in support of CO2 taxes etc.

      At work, will need some spare time to read your links..

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    9. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to David Collett

      the pleasure is in coming to a position, as it requires thinking..

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    10. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Hi David - I wish I had the time/expertise to meaningfully critique the climate research. But it's a seriously complex field (3rd year quantum was nothing by comparison ;) and the primary literature is not exactly user-friendly in terms of explaining itself. If I really wanted to understand for myself, I'd start by working through something like: http://www.climate.be/textbook/contents.html

      As noone pays me to do that, for now I rely on the army of "deniers" out there to keep me informed…

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    11. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Your quote is certainly broad, and I've never come across an example. Do you mean 'There is no evidence that shows conclusively that a doubling of carbon dioxide from an assumed pre-industrial 280 ppm to 560 ppm would produce any more than about 1 deg C of warming'?

      A more general version might be 'There is no evidence to show that any likely increase in greenhouse gas emissions would produce catastrophic or even dangerous climate change.'

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    12. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, the first paper uses the IPCC fourth assessment report to establish that temperature changes due to CO2 are a given.

      The second paper about conservation of energy initially looked very interesting but there is no conclusion or results so I am unsure about it(I guess that is the format for the letters section). Again that paper relies on the fourth assessment report by the IPCC to establish temperature changes due to CO2 is a given. But ïn terms of how the IPCC came to its conclusion it…

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    13. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to David Collett

      "Patterns of change: whose fingerprint is seen in global warming?"

      I will read that one..:)

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    14. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to David Collett

      Mark, that patterns of change letter is a good one and probably the most coherant argument I have seen yet so will spend some time on it, reading the references etc..

      Thank you for linking to it..

      Cheers
      David

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    15. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Don Aitkin states "There is no evidence to show that any likely increase in greenhouse gas emissions would produce catastrophic or even dangerous climate change"
      Typical to form he makes this claim quite airily - in direct contradiction to the scientific consensus (not in itself a problem) without ANY evidence or logic to support it (which is a problem).
      Apparently he fails to understand that the "goldilocks" conditions we have enjoyed on the planet for some time are precisely BECAUSE of the greenhouse…

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    16. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      Pleasure - there's LOTs more papers where those came from David. I encourage you to keep reading.

      Despite the claims and cherry picking of minor flaws, climate science is a picture built up like a mosaic - you need to look at quite a lot of the bits before a clear (and valid) picture of reality emerges.

      The Climate Sciemce community itself has many debates about this - not like the rubbish on blogs you see which deeks to deny the basic science - but about areas of uncertainty (e.g. climate sentivity, negative forcings, impact of albedo etc) and hence how warm it might become and how fast that might happen. But there is a strong mosaic of evidence to show that it IS happening and that, due to the residual time of CO2 and other variations - the impacts of the cause (human introduced CO2) are often delayed but virtually inevtiable in the climate.

      Keep reading - I suggest you visit SKS as they regularly post updates on the latest publsihed science (there's a weekly thread on it)

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    17. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, you misrepresent me. I asked Jeremy whether one or other of my formulations was what he had in mind. The rest of your comment is irrelevant.

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    18. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Goodness, you are determined, aren't you. Go back and read again.

      Jeremy (not me) used a phrase, and said it was a bit broad. I agree it was a bit broad, and offered him two less broad options, and asked if that was what he had in mind.

      Jeremy hasn't replied, but you have jumped in to deny these statements: they are unsubstantiated, wrong etc. Maybe so maybe not. The point is, they were options for Jeremy to consider, in refining something he thought too broad.

      Why don't you talk to Jeremy again.

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    19. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I wonder if the science is better than the Data. The eagerly awaited audit of the BoM land temperature data base is in, and it is not at all flattering.

      Th bottom line reads:
      1. The BOM records need a thorough independent audit.
      2. It’s possible that a significant part of the 20th Century Australian warming trend may have come from something as banal as sloppy observers truncating records in Fahrenheit prior to 1972.
      3. Many High Quality sites are not high quality and ought to be deleted from the trends.
      4. Even current electronic equipment is faulty, and the BOM is not checking its own records.
      5. Even climate scientists admit that truncation of Fahrenheit temperatures would cause an artificial warming effect.

      See here for details:
      http://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/near-enough-for-a-sheep-station/

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    20. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      What a joke. This "independent audit" was conducted by a range of known cliamte science pseudo skeptics with a blatant politcal agenda. "Independent" my rear end!

      They are all either members of the Australian Climate Science coalition (a known collection of climate science deniers) or the similar bodies. It included such luminaries as Anthony Cox who is on record as being unable to tell the difference between a Watt and a Joule, unable to interpret properly a published uncertainty measurment on temperature or correctly interpret the conclusions of Prof Nordhaus on the economics of climate action.

      The people who conducted this "audit" are biased and have virtually zero science or climate credentials between them.

      This "independent" audit is a scam - which you have apparently either been taken in by or are deliverately propagating as a misrepresentation.

      Shame

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    21. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Ah yes, its the poor old messenger's fault.

      It seems to me that the auditors are biased against unwarranted claims based upon data that almost certainly does not support them.

      Indeed, it reminds me of the audit of the IPCC's AR4 report of 2007 which revealed that 30% of their references were non-peer reviewed. Which followed on the heels of their chaimnan's public insistence that non-peer reviewed references were voodoo science.

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    22. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Jeremy Hall,

      Richard Lindzen (one of this world's most respected climatologists), Roy Spencer, (the director of NASA's UAH satellite global temperature measurement programme) John McLean et al.(Climate computer modeler),

      Heinze Hug (Spectroscopist working on CO2), Jack Barrett (Imperial college London, IR spectroscopist)....and many, many others, were and are publishing in very reputable journals. Their work in general depends on empirical evidence, not shoddy, uncertain, chaoticly challenged…

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    23. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      Richard Lindzen is indeed distinguished, Distinguished by the number of times he mis-speaks on climate. He has routinely claimed global warming stopped in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2010 (apparently he can't make up his mind)

      see here

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Richard_Lindzen_arg.htm

      Roy Spencer has a similar track record

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Roy_Spencer_arg.htm

      It is of course possible to find prominent dissenting scientists about climate change to support one's…

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    24. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      Unsubstantiated claims are just that - unsubstantiated. There is no relable evidence from an indepent source that the BOM data is flawed.

      In any event global temperature records showing significsnt rapid increases in temperature unable to be explained by any mechanism other than CO2 enhanced greenhouse effect are well established - despite the effort of pseeudo-sketpic denialists to insist otherwise.

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    25. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, have just been reading through that letter, "Patterns of change: whose fingerprint is seen in global warming?". There is nothing in there that gives me even the slightest confidence CO2 is making changes to the earths temperature.

      I guess i should now be asking pro-warming people, "What fingerprints do it for you?, which particular fingerprints pointing to global warming due to CO2 convince you?". Is it the models? is it the fact that CO2 is proven to be a greenhouse gas?

      The above article gave me confidence that sea level rises haven't really changed due to our industrial output of CO2 and that fingerprints letter gives me confidence the IPCC fingerprints aren't really pointing anywhere..

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    26. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      Well David - I don;t understand how anyone who has under4stood that those papers have to say to come to the conclusion that you have. To me they are clear, they evidence is compelling and the physical mechanisms and logic convincing.

      Have a look here - it's not a paper but a simple presentarion of the facts.

      The main point is - if you accept that it has actually wamed (many delailists don't despite the unequivocal evidence) then you are obliged to postulate a valid mechanism. The case is fairly strong that it is CO2 and there is NO evidence it can be anything else.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Breaking_News_The_Earth_is_Warming_Still_A_LOT.html

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    27. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      Mark, name-calling doesn't advance your cause one bit.

      Renowned experts have found the BoM temperature data base to be corrupt. Its that 'data' the the Government and Greens rely on to support their attack on the Australian economy.

      Its the same 'data' the Tim Flannery cites when telling us all that drought and flood are now to be the norm, to say nothing about desalination plants and mindless CO2 tax.

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    28. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to David Collett

      "which particular fingerprints pointing to global warming due to CO2 convince you?"

      The troposphere is getting warmer and the stratosphere is getting cooler. Therefore there must be something interfering with heat transfer between the two. This issue is utterly ignored by those in denial of the science.

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    29. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Toby James

      Toby - wuth due respect - there are no "renowned experts" listed anywhere on the link you posted. They are all known bloggers who refuse to accept the science of AGW.

      They are also known NOT to be independent but in fact people with an ideological bent to denying the reality of AGW.

      It is NOT "name calling" to point this out and therefore overturn your specious claim that an independent audit has called the BOM data into question. In any event, as has been pointed out to you - the BOm data are consistent with the results of the BEST study - which was carried out by a promoment and well known genuine science skeptic - and he found that the data upon which the science if AGW rests were confirmed.

      IF, on the other hand, you could find a trult independent audit that was validated and publsihed in a reputable journal - that WOULD be woth paying attention to.

      Until then your claims have no basis - the fact that you continue to make them only betrays your bias.

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    30. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to John Nicol

      John,

      I gather you think the evidence that CO2 causes climate change is not solid.

      If this is true then the current scientific consensus outlined in the article above is completely wrong, and should be revised immediately.

      I can't quite follow your explanation of why this isn't happening...

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    31. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Sorry Don, I missed this before... Bit of a misunderstanding there I think.
      I quoted that phrase: "there is no evidence for climate change" from David Collett's reply earlier. He suggested that sort of statement is "not something for the journals". I was pointing out that I think it's definitely something for the journals - if only it were true!

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    32. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to David Collett

      Hope you're enjoying the reading David.

      To answer your question, the simplest "fingerprint" for me is to compare and contrast, for example:
      www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Guide_to_Skepticism.pdf with any similar denial document, for example
      http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/sh1/the_skeptics_handbook_2-3_lq.pdf

      Anyone can write what they want on a pdf of course. But one has decent references which support what it says, and is based on real science. The other doesn't, and isn't, because peer-reviewed…

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    33. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Hi Jeremy, I had lost interest in this thread but I found your two links above interesting. The two points that took my interest in the SKS link was the "Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing long wave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997" and the point about ocean warming which I will chase up too. Those two points are worthy of further reading in my mind so its on the to-do list. The main thing I am scratching my head about is that the above paper shows methane is of similar importance to CO2 but why no methane tax?

      In terms of arguing FOR warming due to CO2…the above paper and ocean warming would be the place to start for me..so will look into it a bit more again..:)

      Cheers
      David

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    34. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to David Collett

      Good on ya :) Haven't looked it up but I think methane probably comes under the carbon tax - they usually measure total emissions as "CO2 equivalent". A tonne of methane would be worth 20 or so tonnes of CO2 because it's a much stronger greenhouse gas.

      I think methods of ocean temperature measurement have improved quite a bit lately. It's way out of my field, but if 80% of the trapped heat energy ends up in there I'd expect it to cause some drastic effects - probably slowly and irreversibly.

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    35. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      While the spectral characteristics lead to any increases in methane being heavily condemned as are CO2 emissions, the fact is that in practical terms

      1. the amount of methane present in the atmosphere is very small and increases caused by human beings is also very small copared to the amounts of carbon dioxide.
      2. Methane is an unstable gas as is shown by the variations (both increasing and decreasing) in its concentration in the atmosphere over time. Provided the annual output of methane remains constant, the amount of methan in the atmosphere will also remain constant as past inputs break down to provide the less absorbing CO2 and water etc.

      The biggest contributor to methane is apparently natural swamps and white ants, which have been around for millions of years, but we still have a comparatively small quantity of meethane in the atmosphere.

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    36. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Jeremy,

      Just went to the VIC state library after work.

      Catalogue number MAG 505 N219, Nature 26th April 2001, page 1124:

      "erratum …..

      ….Increase in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing long wave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997

      ….In Fig. 1a of this paper, the labels for the two curves were inadvertently switched. The grey curve represents IMG and the black curve represents IRIS."

      The paper is a dud.

      The librarian was helpful though, he said if I join the National Library of Australia based in Canberra that I can access the main journals online from home…that IS helpful!!

      ..:)

      I took a photo of the above, I can email to you if it saves time..
      david@taxpayers.net.au

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    37. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to David Collett

      Here's the physics.

      1. Sun irradiates earth with short-wave energy.

      2. Earth re-radiates long-wave energy.

      3. Greenhouse gases retard transmission of long-wave energy, not short-wave energy.

      4. Greenhouse gases thus regulate earth's temperature.

      5. Altering atmospheric greenhouse gas content therefore alters earth's temperature.

      6. Ocean is thermally coupled with atmosphere, and transfers a lot of heat to both Arctic and Antarctic.

      7. Arctic sea ice is melting, so that summertime…

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    38. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to David Arthur

      I admire your patience and persistence with these people David.

      Of course, it will make no difference to them, but hopefully others may be following the exchanges and realise the difference between yourself and the willful and stunning ignorance of your "opposition".

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    39. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to David Collett

      You seem rather keen to dismiss the paper as a 'dud' based on a small labelling error. If they'd really managed to get their datasets backward the paper would've been retracted (if it was even accepted in the first place).

      Finally got around to looking at the paper - the results look fine, maybe a little tenuous but that's cutting-edge science for you. I don't know much about their data handling techniques, so I can't really tell from the paper how conclusive it is. Instead, I glanced over a list of papers that cite this one (you can use google scholar to do this). If the main points of the paper were wrong or strongly disputed the citing papers would say so. If the work is more or less accurate, citing papers will use and build on this result. Look for yourself which has been happening in the last 10 years...

      That's really cool about the public library, I didn't know that. Spread the word - it's stupid how hard it is for most people to access peer-reviewed journals.

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    40. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      "You seem rather keen to dismiss the paper as a 'dud' based on a small labeling error."

      Since the labeling error effectively destroyed the whole point of the paper yes I did think it was a dud. The paper may have been retracted, but I don't know how to check that so I will add learning how to check it to the to-do list.

      From my point of view, if that paper is valid I would expect that their approach has been continued and refined by others and that by now (10 years later) there are many more…

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    41. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Ok, so that paper by Harries et al,

      "Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997"

      is cited 93 times according to Google Scholar.

      So I started sifting through the citations to exclude papers that were not building on the work of Harries et al..but just then realised it is more efficient to just read the updated paper by Harries & Griggs from 2007:

      "Comparison of Spectrally Resolved Outgoing Longwave Radiation over the Tropical Pacific between 1970 and 2003 Using IRIS, IMG, and AIRS"

      which is cited by only 4 according to Google Scholar.

      Of the 4 citations to the updated paper by Harries, I would like to invite readers to view just one of those citations (obviously you can read the other three).

      Namely:
      http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:HYkIMK3v3OMJ:scholar.google.com/&hl=en&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=1,5

      Enjoy!!!

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    42. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      The "journal of cosmology" to which David Collett refers is a known and recently established fringe publication with a known predilection for publishing questionable and even quack science

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journal_of_Cosmology

      It's peer review processes have been called into serious question.

      It has ZERO credibility with respect to climate science.

      The contribution of CFC's (which this paper contends is the major cause of warming) is known to be small

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/CFCs-global-warming.htm

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    43. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I assumed it was a valid journal, just read the abstract of the paper and that it was from a University in Canada.

      So well done Mark for pointing out that the journal is not the best source for papers.

      So both yourself, Mark and Skeptical Science are attempting to argue FOR global warming due to CO2 using (amongst other arguments) the paper above by Harries et al. "Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997"

      which was published in Nature.

      Now the later and more detailed paper by Harries & Griggs, "Comparison of Spectrally Resolved Outgoing Longwave Radiation over the Tropical Pacific between 1970 and 2003 Using IRIS, IMG, and AIRS"

      was published in 'Climate'.

      Before going any further, is 'Climate' a reliable source for papers on Climate Change, Mark?

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    44. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to David Collett

      Look up the "Impact Factor" to get a measure of a journal's credibility.

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    45. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to David Collett

      Why is it that David Collett "Assumes" that a journal is valid which publishes a specious paper alleging climate change is due to CFCs but is apparently incapable of checking the validity of a journal that publishes a paper that clearly establishes the reality of Climate Change

      The "Journal of Climate" which published the more recent (2007) Harries paper has an impact factor greater than 3.5 - putting it in the higher echelons of respectability in this knowledge domain. It is a publication of the American Meteorological Society. Such information can be readily obtained by anyone with an inquiring and open mind. Something David Collett has yet to demosntrate alas.

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    46. David Collett

      Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Thank you for pointing that out Chris.

      As for your question Mark, yes I have been incapable of checking a journal’s impact factor. And I actually found the idea a bit surprising when the comments came in from you and Chris.

      looking up impact factor on wikipedia....”is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field.”

      I am…

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    47. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Nicol

      Anthropogenic warming increases the rate at which wetlands release methane to the atmosphere. This also holds for frozen wetlands (tundra) which are thawing due to the same cause.

      It has also been suggested (Ruddiman) that the advent of wet rice farming some millenia ago initiated the anomalous rise in atmospheric methane which has persisted thereafter - leading Ruddiman to propose that the onset of anthropogenically elevated methane levels marks the onset of the Anthropocene. Other authors…

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  4. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

    Not sure if this paper made your review....It's in press at Coastal Engineering titled "Is there any support in the long term tide gauge data to the claims that parts of Sydney will be swamped by rising sea levels?"
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378383912000154

    Abstract
    The government of Australia is supporting the statement that sea levels are rising faster than ever before as a result of increased carbon dioxide emissions. Consequent to this, low-lying coastal areas…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      On Cue! :) Typical cherry picking denialism from Mr Hendrickx.

      An obscure corrected proof of a paper in a journal only distantly related to climate science shows that relatively recent measurements of sea levels in a single location (Sydney) are still rising but not as much as elsewhere and that the rise is not accelerating.

      1) The article makes the point that there is expected to be varation in sea levels from place to place - but Mr hendricks wants to cherry pick

      2) As any good scientist…

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      In regard to the paper, it is clear you didn't bother reading it. While the title mentions Sydney it includes an analysis of other tide gauges around the world, finding:

      "The worldwide average tide gauge result obtained considering all the data included in the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level data base show a modest sea level rise and about zero acceleration."

      Perhaps you can outline why you consider how posting a reference to a piece of peer reviewed science is an act of "denialism"? How many other "cherries" have the authors purposely overlooked that disagree with their alarmist message. Its becoming a veritable truck load.

      NSW councils are currently using high end predictions of sea level derived from dodgy climate models to restrict development coastal areas. They, and the public should be fully informed of the facts surrounding this, anything else is cargo cult science.

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    3. Garry Claridge

      Systems Analyst

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Marc,

      The abstract says that Sydney is Australia's "major city"! That generalist claim put me off to start with ;)

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    4. Ian Smith

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Michael Brown

      also published in the same journal

      "A recent article published in the Journal of Coastal Research analysed a number of different sea-level records and reported that they found no acceleration of sea-level rise. We show that this is due to their focusing on records that are either too short or only regional in character, and on their specific focus on acceleration since the year 1930, which represents a unique minimum in the acceleration curve. We find that global sea-level rise is accelerating in a way strongly correlated with global temperature. This correlation also explains the acceleration minimum for time periods starting around 1930; it is due to the mid-twentieth-century plateau in global temperature."

      http://www.jcronline.org/doi/full/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-11-00082.1

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    5. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      A couple of points in regard to the discussion about sea-level rise here.

      The rate of sea level rise is not monotonically increasing. Even cursory examination of the sea-level rise curve as presented in the state of the climate report above clearly indicates that there is annual, decadal to mulit-decadal, variability with sea-level rise frequently flattening or even reversing for years at a time. The longer trends however, both from globally averaged tide gauge records and the shorter satellite…

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    6. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Ian, that makes sense. It is consistent that the recent decelleration in sea level rise is expected being in correlation with the dip/plateau in atmospheric temperature on the same period.
      CSIRO graph below updated to dec 2011

      http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/alt_gmsl_seas_rem.jpg

      Long term sea level rise is still fairly linear at about 3.1mm/yr but most recently sea level rise has been decellerating - perhaps something to do with the la-nina cooling leading to more over land precipitation?

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    7. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred -agreed but the trend is best fit to the optimistic B1 scenario in IPCC AR4. IPCC AR4 quoted 1.8 to 3.8 mm per year for the B1 Scenario back in 2007 with up to 5.9mm/yr for the A1F Scenario.
      CSIRO interpretations of observations in 2011 are in the middle of the optimistic B1 Scenario realm at 3.1mm/yr although the authors of this article are just plain wrong to claim that observed sea level change is near the high end of IPCC predictions. The high end is 5.9mm/yr - we are closer to mid way between the low and high prediction for the most optimistic B1 scenario and no where near the pessemistic high end 5.9mm/yr of the A1F scenario.
      See Table SPM.3. Projected global average surface warming and sea level rise at the end of the 21st century.
      http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

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    8. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to James Szabadics

      James - I was referring to the "observed" sea-level rise. The point I was making was that long term globally averaged "observations" show that despite shorter term deviations the long term trend is clearly rising (and looks to be accelerating). Arguing the toss over trends derived from too short, or to regional, a data set is not particularly instructive towards the bigger picture.

      I wasn't arguing the details of the modeled versus observed sea-level rise but since you have introduced that topic…

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    9. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred, a few years ago the CSIRO had the trend of sea level rise based on reliable sattelite observations since 1990 at 3.4mm/yr and now it is 3.1mm/yr. When you say "looks to be accellerating" I'd say if you consider the modern reliable data this is not a correct conclusion ... Sea level rise based on the known good data looks quite linear and has decellerated over the last 5 years despite recent adjustments for GIA (but this is likely a temporary deviation below linear trend due to la-nina).http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/alt_gmsl_seas_rem.jpg

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    10. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      David - you are correct that the IPCC sea level rise projections do not include any dramatic change from an ice sheet collapse, just basic melting due to lower atmospheric temp changes.

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    11. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Hi James,

      sorry for the late reply.

      As I have indicated as the main point of both my comments above - climate scientists well understand that there is "observed" decadal variability! This means that 20 years of data will not be statistically sufficient to draw out longer underlying trends.

      You point to the satellite data. The duration of the satellite observations (a little over twenty years) are not sufficient to reflect the longer term trends because we already know that there is substantial…

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    12. Fred Pribac

      logged in via email @internode.on.net

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Oops - I wrote:

      "Although shorter subsets of the data - such as the satellite data - can be fitted by a linear trend to within the quoted uncertainty of the obs, a linear trend does not fit the to the full length of the data set."

      I have probably miss-stated this. A linear trend can be fitted to the overall data - giving the much quoted 1.7 mm/year rate of sea-level rise. An accelerating sea-level rise curve - as predicted by the models - fits the data better!

      The data also suggests that for the last twenty years at least the rate of sea-level rise has been at about 3mm/yr. Arguing the toss between 3.2 and 3.4 mm/yr is missing the point.

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    13. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Thanks James.

      My understanding is that, IPCC assessments to date including the most recent AR4 (2007) have not attempted projected contributions to sea level from ice melt at all, because there has been insufficient data. That is, assessments have considered and projected only thermal expansion due to warming ocean.

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    14. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      Fred,

      Since 1930 the data looks linear.

      I would not go so far as to say a log term trend of slowed sea level rise is evident but I would say that there is no evidence of acceleration. The data *still* appears to be linear and is below trend over the last several years.

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    15. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist: The Con is a bad Monty Python sketch, for climate sense see: http://www.thegwpf.org/

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      And perhaps you might like to list your many published paper in climate science Michael?

      As far as I'm concerned anyone prepared to do work outside their immediate field has something interesting to say. What on earth are you teaching your Post Grads? Are you forever condemning them to a life lived in the dark looking down an objective lens (or flat screen monitor) in the dead of night because their research skills are only suited to one thing?. What an utterly ridiculous proposition.

      Talk about a backwards approach to research!

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  5. Chris Plant

    Engineer

    CSIRO has sacked scientists who have not engaged in the Groupthink that is climate change.

    BOM's David Jones is involved in the Climategate emails exposing the lies and the cover-up. BOM totally failed to predicted the last three years of wet weather, instead claiming severe droughts. BOM has been manipulating the historic temperature data to support their preconceived views. That first graph has been demolished by others many times but they still trot out the same old garbage - like sad old Trotskyists quoting Marx to a post-1989 world.

    Just a quick example.
    "About 50% of the amount of CO2 emitted from fossil fuels, industry, and changes in land-use, stays in the atmosphere."

    For how long? Forever? Let's just ignore the well-established laws of physical chemistry and of extensive experimental data to the contrary.

    Thes once-august bodies have trashed their own reputations.

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    1. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Chris Plant

      Chris, please refers to the graphs and chart above. They speak louder than all your words. You and the climate change denialists have absolutely zero credibility now. Go read the climategate emails yourself, and understand them, and then retract your statement about there even being a scandal and a "cover-up". Will you publicly apologise to David Jones here on this forum please?

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    2. Andrew Watkins

      Manager Climate Prediction, National Climate Centre at Australian Bureau of Meteorology

      In reply to Chris Plant

      G'day Chris,

      You're obviously passionate, but I feel I need to correct you here. The Bureau did not 'claim severe droughts' in the last three years. On the contrary, the Bureau issued a press release back in July 2010 warning of the possibility of a La Nina and associated flooding, and also has issued seasonal outlooks warning of wet conditions in both of the key La Nina affected flood periods (and indeed throughout the full La Nina period).
      The 2010 Press release is available from: http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/ho/20100624.shtml
      and the Nov-Jan outlook for 2010-11 and 2011-12, respectively, at:
      http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/archive/rainfall/20101026.shtml
      and
      http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/archive/rainfall/20111025.shtml
      Feel free to sign up to our fortnightly alerts for our ENSO Wrap Up, will give you the most up to date information on the Bureau's El Nino/La Nina thinking.
      http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

      Cheers,
      Andrew

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Chris Plant

      Thanks for mentioning well-established laws of physical chemistry.

      Earth is warmed by absorbtion of short wave sunlight. Because of this, Earth's temperature can remain unchanged by returning the same amount of energy to space. That is, solar shortwave energy is balanced by the earth re-radiating to space as a 'black body' radiator with a characteristic temperature of ~255K; that is, from space the earth's spectrum is roughly that of a radiating body with an optical surface temperature of around…

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  6. Geoff Russell

    Computer Programmer, Author

    How can the CSIRO claim a concern for climate change and endorse the diet with the highest greenhouse gas footprint on the planet?

    The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet both as a weight loss diet and as a general form of eating has an even higher greenhouse gas footprint than the "standard" aussie diet because it specifies lean meat/low fat milk... meaning more of the animal isn't eaten and more of the dairy calories thrown out.

    The head of IPCC says eat less meat, James Hansen says move toward…

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    1. Ian Smith

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Keep in mind a lot of animal production is carbon neutral, plants absorb carbon, animals eat carbon, animals excrete carbon. Few animals eat coal.
      Vegetable production requires production and transport of a lot of fertiliser and pesticide some of which is derived from fossil fuels (nitrogen fertiliser from gas).

      That said, animals do produce methane and are a reason for land clearing (not so much in Aust.) which are issues, we just need to be careful as figures can be fudged both ways.

      Just food for thought (no pun intended)

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    2. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Ian, the carbon in the methane produced by animal production isn't new carbon, but it is put "on steroids" for 10-20 years when methane is produced. The C in CO2 is effectively turned into CH4 and that atom traps heat 25 times more than it did previously. Various feedbacks make the picture even worse. Land clearing? "not so much"? Over 400,000 hectares per annum in Qld between 1988 and 2008 (see paper by Bisshop and Pavlidis in
      http://www.aaee.org.au/wp-content/uploads2/2009/01/AAEE_2010_Conference_JournalB.pdf)

      You could replace Australia's entire domestic beef consumption with plant food grown on about 220,000 hectares.

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    3. Ian Smith

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Yes but other areas are increasing areas of vegetation.
      I wasn't saying you were wrong, just some figures get blowen out of proportion by interest groups both ways.

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    4. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Ian I agree with your statements.

      But, and there always is one, it depends upon which timeline and circumstance you wish to view emissions in.

      Emissions of fossil fuels and other stored GHGs is driving climate change. These are long term gases, they trap heat and they haven't been part of the "normal" climate for millions of years. Were the "neutral" emissions come in is peak and spike loading of the atmosphere on top of the "unnatural" emissions. So we can't ignore soil, plant and animal emissions, but I agree they aren't the driving problem.

      Hopefully Richard Eckard's article will appear soon, he has a very good summary on agricultural emissions and management.

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    5. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Ian Smith

      The QLD clearing figures are net. Yes, there is considerable revegetation because
      we now have 70 million sheep instead of the 170 million we had in1990. If we got rid of the cattle we could allow huge areas to reforest and we'd need less hospitals and
      save about $1.5 billion in lipid lowering subsidies.

      Tim is famous for slandering me, probably because he's been repeatedly exposed for getting stuff wrong and not understanding basic arithmetic. I never said what he said I said about that Nature article. But by all means follow the link to the Mike Archer article and read both sides. Note that the Archer article is full of factual errors exposed in excruciating detail in 3 posts:

      http://animalliberation.org.au/blog/120-archer-dodgy-health-advice.html
      http://animalliberation.org.au/blog/121-archers-dodgy-land-claims.html
      http://animalliberation.org.au/blog/122-archers-dodgy-mouse-claims.html

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    6. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Beef: 2,100,000 tonnes of beef produced in Australia annually.
      Yields 6,111,000,000,000 calories
      Requires 17,271,636 hectares to grow
      To replace with wheat: Requires 1,450,000 hectares
      Average yield of wheat is 1.6 t/ha, and 72% conversion to flour (beef is 50% carcass weight).
      This area represents 5.5% of cropping land, and there is decreasing farming land available, 3% per year.

      Can't replace beef, let alone meat in Australia.
      http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/7121.02009-10?OpenDocument

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    7. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      You're a living example of how hard it is to find good proof readers.

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  7. Anon Ymous

    Geologist

    I'm a geologist - not a climate scientist (I doubt how many actual climate scientists hang out on the converstaiton), but during my undergrad course, I was presented with information from both sides of the arguement. Our lecturers informed us that yes, climate change is fact, no we don't know how much of it is anthropologic. The main reason to this was due to proxy data and arguement that IPCC models are inaccurate. Another arguement I might put forward is that the IPCC isn't generally one to use paleoclimate data until very soon (see http://www.nature.com/news/forecasters-look-back-in-time-1.10215). It will be interesting to see their data, and the criticisms of it.

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    1. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      i should probably add to that - proxy data was said to be in support of the world going through 'natural cycles'. It also supports evidence for Negative feedback (take greenland for example).

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    2. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      noticing my negative ratings - awesome :)
      but seriously, I'm not denying the facts in this article, its just that I was addressing long-term data (that means, for a geologist, proxy, paleoclimate data), not just data that goes back to the 50's. I dont deny climate change or this article, I just want to question question question, that is all really

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    3. Ben Heard

      Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      Cameron, the negative ratings are charming aren't they? I'll resist and reply instead.

      We do know, with great certainty, that the vast majority of the observed warming since the middle of last century is anthropogenic. So your lecturers were misleading on that point. There is nothing about the distant past that the IPCC somehow forgot to consider.

      Proxy data does a very different and important job to the actual climate observations we have that began 150 or so years ago and have built up since…

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    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      Thanks Cameron, here's a partial understanding of the current kerfuffle about climate from a paleoclimatological perspective.

      Cameron, the climate always has changed and always will change. The issue for us is the RATE at which it changes - slowly enough, and ecosystems adapt without large extinctions. Too rapid climate change disrupts ecosystems.

      The ongoing processes causing climate to change are continental drift, mountain formation and erosion, and biological evolution.

      What marks…

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    5. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to Ben Heard

      Thanks Ben,
      A good 'conversation' on this website is always helpful! :)
      very much appreciate the input on what you say about models and that the emphasis of research is what's happening now. I did have a chat to a friend of mine today who is a senior lecturer in geology, and asked him what he thought. I guess he wasn't too sure of what the end impact of all this is going to be, but was careful to say that we wont experience a runaway greenhouse affect (like venus, i suppose). He also said that (like i myself i admit) he thinks that even if the world experienced a thermal maximum, we wouldn't cease to exist. what are your thoughts on that? and what role do you think negative feedback systems have in that case?

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    6. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to Jane Rawson

      thanks, will get around to reading these soon!

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    7. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, could have saved you a wall of text there, as it has always been an interest of mine to keep up my knowledge on past events involving climate - ever since learning about it in first year undergrad. Anyway, a few things there I hadn't thought about, just goes to show how complicated this issue really is! And how little we know :P

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    8. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      I find the eocene event particularly intriguing and like to read up in some journals on possibilities of the causes etc. It is all very relevant to today

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    9. Anon Ymous

      Geologist

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      i.e. if greenland melts may cause an ice age
      cheers

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    10. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      The European Geosciences Union runs an interactive open access online journal "Climate of the Past", address http://www.climate-of-the-past.net/.

      That site includes a pretty good recent review of research into the PETM: "Down the Rabbit Hole: toward appropriate discussion of methane release from gas hydrate systems during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum and other past hyperthermal events", by G R Dickens, Clim. Past, 7, 831–846, 2011
      www.clim-past.net/7/831/2011/
      doi:10.5194/cp-7-831-2011

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    11. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      Gday Cameron,

      If Greenland's iceacap melt, we may not get reglaciation - this is because the earth has already accumulated sufficient heat energy for northern hemisphere to not freeze over, even if the Atlantic heat conveyor is "shut down".

      Further, atmospheric greenhouse gas content is already substantially higher than at any time since at least the mid-Pliocene.

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    12. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      Gday Cameron, I share the expectation that homo sapiens will survive through a "thermal maximum"; I consider such an occurrence to be quite plausible, and have used the term "Anthropocene Thermal Maximum" elsewhere in these pages.

      Regarding survivability, my concerns are more focussed on myself, my relatives, and Australia's biota. My greatest concern may be Australia's future prosperity - unlike mountainous nations such as Iran (which is trying to develop energy security independent of fossil fuel use) Australia has imprudently invested much of its capital in coastal infrastructure.

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    13. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Anon Ymous

      In news just in, a recent letter to Nature summarises modelling which shows that the PETM may be attributable to thawing of terrestrial permafrost, rather than to disruption of submarine methane clathrates (DeConto et al, "Past extreme warming events linked to massive carbon release from thawing permafrost", Nature 484, 87–91 (05 April 2012) doi:10.1038/nature10929; story at Reuters' science news website Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120404133801.htm).

      According to…

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  8. James Szabadics

    BSc

    It's a good summary of the CSIRO position, much appreciated.

    It also clearly lays out predictions based on the idea that the suns geomagnetic cycles have no influence on climate and continues with the GHG/AGW standard explanations. What happens in 2012 -2020 will be interesting. La-nina has officially ended for now but will it return soon or will we see el-nino next? What pattern will predominate for the next decade and where is global temperature and sea level headed next? if you ask the CSIRO it is headed up.

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      "the CSIRO position"?

      hat you call "the CSIRO position" is REALITY as it is in the world outside your dreamscape.

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      I've no idea about your dreamings unless you report them in this pages.

      The point I'm making is that what you call "the CSIRO position" is REALITY. External, observable, pobserved reality. All this raving post-Modern tosh "my reality is better than your reality" that is lapped up from the Murdoch press is pernicious nonsense.

      Wake up to yourself.

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    3. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,

      In that case please don't lay claim to knowing other peoples dreamscapes - its got nothing to do with the science of climate study or my compliment on this useful article summing up the CSIRO position on the interpretation of the available (adjusted and filtered) climate data measurements through to the end of 2011 and the possible implications for future predictions of climate change.

      This article is an official summation of the CSIRO interpretation of the data (or best effort at recording aspects of reality) and also prediction of future change (not reality yet - a prediction). I compliment "The Conversation" for this excellent piece of writing and if you want to start talking about dreamscapes or making up invented rubbish such as "my reality is better than yours" ????!!!! (don't know where you get that from) then it in my opinion that adds no value.

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    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      I repeat - describing the article as reflecting some "position" does it the disservice of associating it with politics or religion. It also does one's own thinking the disservice of "classifying" the result of considered research as "just somebody's opinion".

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  9. Gideon Polya

    Sessional Lecturer in Biochemistry for Agricultural Science at La Trobe University

    Excellent summary of a very important report for Australia. Some features of the report leaped out for me in a societal context [my perceptions in parentheses]:

    1. The expert CSIRO-BOM Report makes it clear that climate change is substantially man-made and worsening [a powerful blow against the anti-science, anti-social climate change denialists].

    2. Loosely, + 0.8C since 1910 and increased summer precipitation in the north and decreased winter rain in the south and south west [big implications…

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  10. David Collett

    Sales at https://aussiebuilder.com

    I find this article very reassuring that humans are having little impact on climate.

    Sea level rises have been occuring consistently well before the CO2 increases due to humans.

    There is no such thing as a constant climate. At all points in history the climate is changing and temperatures are either going up or going down.

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    1. Ian Smith

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to David Collett

      Its not that the climate is changing, its the rate at which it is, and the rate at which it is changing is detramental to humans.
      The only way it could be changing as fast as it is, is via human influance.

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    2. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Ian Smith

      Ian - when you say the rate of climate change *is* "detrimental to humans" could you explain by what metric? I think you mean that it will be detrimental in the future IF we see warming in line with pessemistic predictions.

      So far since 1880 Human population has boomed as temperature has increased. Life expectancy has increased, obesity problems are showing over feeding is an issue for a large and increasing number of humans. I was unaware that any detrimental symptoms were evident in global…

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Gday James, it's the future effect of climate that will adversely affect humans.

      I don't know if you've ever been to that part of the world, but SW WA is facing desertification due in large part to the southward shift of winter rainfall. The trouble is, there is no land south of SW WA to which its human population can relocate. I suppose the Good News is that mallee-type vegetation can take over the deforested lands of that part of the wortld when the people are gone.

      Now, that's an example in a first world nation, from where people can relocate. Let's now think about the people of Pakistan, northern India and southern China. As ice becomes more seasonal in the Himalayas and Tibet, flows in the Indus, Ganges and Yangtse Rivers will become much more seasonal; monsoon season flooding will be more common and more severe, and dry season water shortages more pronounced.

      Will all those people relocate to Siberia? Who will help them pay for the move?

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    4. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, Yes I agree that *if* the world warms as the IPCC predict in the more dire scenarios based on atmospheric CO2 changes there will be major challenges ahead for humankind. To date however overpopulation is the issue. No signs of the warming climate at +1 above 1880 slowing down rampant human breeding success and increasing life expectancy (ageing population) - more serious problems with population and its effects in terms of demand for finite resources, toxic chemical emissions and unsustainable land use practices are already evident and not being addressed.

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    5. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Gday James, the details of IPCC predictions are near-certain to be wrong.

      1. Sun irradiates earth with short-wave energy.
      2. Earth re-radiates long-wave energy.
      3. Greenhouse gases retard transmission of long-wave energy, not short-wave energy.
      4. Greenhouse gases thus regulate earth's temperature.
      5. Altering atmospheric greenhouse gas content therefore alters earth's temperature.
      6. Ocean is thermally coupled with atmosphere.

      That is, the world is dead-certain to warm, it's just…

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to David Collett

      Gday David, the climate always has changed and always will change. The issue for us is the RATE at which it changes - slowly enough, and ecosystems adapt without large extinctions. Too rapid climate change disrupts ecosystems.

      The ongoing processes causing climate to change are continental drift, mountain formation and erosion, and biological evolution.

      What marks all these are their relatively slow progression, and hence relatively slow rate of changing climate as a result. Following…

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  11. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    The State of the Climate statement is effective in showing how climate is changing and is effective in showing how atmospheric CO2 concentration is changing.

    The statement does not explain how the latter trend is driving the former.

    My observation is that many people do not understand *HOW* greenhouse gases affect the climate. This lack of understanding leaves them easy prey for professional climate change Deniers.

    1. People seem to not understand that the sun radiates the earth with…

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    1. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, this is a good simple explanation but alas our planet is not so simple that you could use this to explain the climate changes we have observed.

      You do understand that earths albedo is critical to the incoming shortwave energy conversion, it is not static and may itself be influenced by climate change as either a positive or negative feedback as well as be cyclical due to natural forces. Clouds reflect up to 30% of incoming shortwave radiation (sun light), aerosols too make the atmosphere…

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Thanks for your comments, James.

      I'm glad you mention albedo (reflection of incoming shortwave energy, generally light), and I'm delighted that you mention observed climate changes. I say this because many less adept intellects than yours seem to not understand that climate change is more than just changes to atmospheric temperature. As Drs Vertessy and Clark allude, the vast bulk of retained heat is stored in the oceans; as yet, we do not have a full appreciation of the ocean's thermal energy…

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    3. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, thanks for the reply it certainly does add to the picture but raises some additional questions.

      IR energy measured at the top of atmosphere would be lower if clouds formed in the atmosphere beneath the sensor because up to 30% of incident light can be reflected before it could get converted to IR wavelengths at the earths surface. Are the IR sensors calibrated continuously for such albedo changes cause by transient things such as clouds and snow? I did not think they were. Or are they…

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    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Thanks James. The premise of your second paragraph ".. if clouds formed in the atmosphere beneath the sensor ..." implies IR retention below levels at which the atmosphere is what I call "optically transparent".

      I think that's due to a misnomer on my part: I should have used the term "radiatively transparent" rather than "optically transparent". You see, what the clouds do is interact with energy being transmitted up from the ground; the height above which the atmosphere should be radiatively transparent is well above where clouds form. Even there, the term radiatively transparent refers only to wavelengths that are not absorbed by these "greenhouse gases".

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    5. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David - yes i agree. What I am saying is that clouds reflect a proportion of the incoming light energy back to space through the radiatively transparent (to light) upper atmosphere. This reduces the amount of IR measured at the top of atmosphere because the IR was not created due to the light being reflected as light.

      If the clouds were absent that light will strike the ground / ocean and be absorbed and re-radiated in longer wavelengths that the GHG will not be transparent to.

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    6. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to James Szabadics

      James Szabadics:

      "IR energy measured at the top of atmosphere would be lower if clouds formed in the atmosphere beneath the sensor because up to 30% of incident light can be reflected before it could get converted to IR wavelengths at the earths surface."

      The conversion of incident light to IR is not the direct process you appear to believe. IR from the surface is generated by the temperature of the surface subject to the emissivity of the surface. So changes in cloud cover only affect IR generated by the ground by the effect they have on ground temperature. As I'm sure you're aware, ground temperature depends on a lot more things than just the solar radiation falling on it, the IR coming down from the sky, to name one.

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    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      "What I am saying is that clouds reflect a proportion of the incoming light energy back to space through the radiatively transparent (to light) upper atmosphere. This reduces the amount of IR measured at the top of atmosphere because the IR was not created due to the light being reflected as light."

      Perhaps. At the same time, however, it is worth noting that transmission of radiation through clouds from ground to space is disrupted; you may have noticed how cloudy nights are always warmer than clear nights.

      In other words, what you are discussing is a secondary effect at best.

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    8. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Gday James, I think your argument is that the warming is limited by increased reflectance of incoming solar radiation off the tops of clouds; is that correct?

      While there are studies that support this proposal, there are also studies which suggest that the opposite will occur. See, for example, "Cloud Study Predicts More Global Warming", ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2010):
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122172010.htm

      Over at Skeptical Science, there's a webpage concerned with this question ("What is the net feedback from clouds?" http://www.skepticalscience.com/clouds-negative-feedback-intermediate.htm). On that page, have a look at the summary of 2010 work by someone called Dessler, who concludes that, if anything, clouds give a net positive "feedback" to warming trends.

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    9. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, clouds are transient (minute by minute clouds can form and disperse) and feedback is both positive (at night) and negative during the day and they drift with air currents so a sattelite pass every few hours doesn't cut it. Daytime cloud increases albedo and is net cooling. Night time cloud reflects IR downward and traps warmth. This is precisely why we need an albedo sattelite on the sun side of earth to measure the combined effects of snow, ice, cloud, land use and aerosols and furthermore a better way of measuring cloudiness to capture day amd night time cloud at various overlaying altitudes. Knowing the net feedback without all of this data is "unknowable".

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    10. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      TOA observations give a partial indication of daytime albedo reflectance as they orbit, so at least some information about diurnal variation in reflectance is being gathered as we discuss the matter.

      To date, there is no evidence that daytime reflectance has more than marginal effect on whole-earth energy balance.

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    11. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      You make an important point on measurement of solar insolation at the earths surface .

      On a cloudy day it can be overcast in one location and 10km away mostly sunny on the very same day. Unless you have a dense grid of surface solar insolation instrumentation you may have difficulty detecting changes in global cloudiness compared to the all encompassing do it from space approach. From space you also get to see changes in land use, snow cover, surface water, vegetation and other…

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    12. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, > 99% of all energy in the atmosphere including IR originated from the suns light. If you reflect a little more or a little less sunlight the planetary energy budget particularly in IR will change which is why albedo is important to measure. Not just through clouds reflecting light, but also surface changes in land use, snow cover, standing water etc all change reflectivity and emsissivity.

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    13. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Agree James - but I do not think the uncertainty you (perhaps) imply exists is supported by the evidence.

      Nasa DOES in fact measure insolation at a large number of sites

      http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/sse/sse.cgi?markharrigan@tpg.com.au+s02+s05#s02

      and have considerable data

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=1355

      averaged over a considerable period of time. No such variation in solar insolation of sufficient magnitude to explain the measured warming has been found. So, whilst any variation in albedo clearly matter - they cannot be used to explain AGW

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    14. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      Short Wave Insolation is measured globally but remember this measurement is independent of earth surface albedo - it takes into account local cloud and aerosol at each site.

      Global SW Insolation shows huge seasonal variability linked to global cloud.

      http://www-cave.larc.nasa.gov/cave/plots/ts.2049.00.jpg

      http://www-cave.larc.nasa.gov/cave/plots/ts.34950.00.jpg

      Notice the lack of global cloud in the 2005 jan to july period? The negative cloud forcing has increased in recent years during this period.

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    15. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, we know that cloud during the day is a negative feedback and a positive one at night. We also know that clouds are transient and can form and disperse in minutes or hours. If cloud is persistent day and night combined with some precipitation the overall effect is a fairly strong net negative feedback. If average daytime global cloud changed (up or down) by 1% then this changes the radiation budget of the planet and is not considered a secondary effect. This is why the CERN CLOUD experiment has attracted funding - The CLOUD experiment involves an interdisciplinary team of scientists from 18 institutes in 9 countries, comprised of atmospheric physicists, solar physicists, and cosmic-ray and particle physicists.

      http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/research/CLOUD-en.html

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    16. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,

      if that was the case why would we worry about the arctic icecap melting? Quite clearly albedo reflectance of incoming sun light averts IR production and sends the energy back to space from whence it came. To say reflectance has only a marginal effect on energy balance is silly.

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    17. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Gday James, thanks for the question.

      Where I wrote "To date, there is no evidence that daytime reflectance has more than marginal effect on whole-earth energy balance."

      I should have written "WITH RESPECT TO ANY GIVEN 24 HOUR PERIOD ie 1 day, there is no evidence that daytime reflectance has more than marginal effect on whole-earth energy balance. On longer time-scales, diurnal averaging is already implicit."

      Thank for seeking the clarification.

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    18. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to James Szabadics

      Gday James, you write: "If cloud is persistent day and night combined with some precipitation the overall effect is a fairly strong net negative feedback."

      It's that 'some precipitation' that is a fairly strong negative feedback; the hydrological cycle functions as a heat transfer conduit, that transfers the heat of evaporation from the surface up through the lower troposphere to the point of condensation, effectively bypassing the greenhouse gases of the lower troposphere.

      This is separate…

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  12. Brent Hoare

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Wonderful to see this fascinating report, I live in hope that it will cause the deniers to realise the error of their ways, apologise for being so abusive and annoying of real scientists and go back to their day jobs, but won't hold my breath waiting...

    In any case, what interests me is the synthetic greenhouse gas contribution to GHG emissions, due to the potential for rapid fast acting emissions abatement that policies to restrict consumption and emissions could acheive, and also to recover…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Brent Hoare

      "what is happening with HFC increases"

      Try RCP Scenario data group: www.pik-potsdam.de/~mmalte/rcps/ The data files give forcing for individual gases and groups of gases.

      It's interesting that the forcing from HFC134a (used in car air-conditioners) is expected to increase for a long time into the future in RCP8.5, although it's relatively small.

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    2. Brent Hoare

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Many thanks Chris, I wasn't aware of this source. It's not the most accessible for non-technical types like me, but many other projections confirm HFCs are a significant looming threat, particularly R32 and R125 predicated on assumptions of booming growth of air conditioners in developing countries that follow recent trends in refrigerant choice in developed countries.

      The Cape Grim data are available at the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases too (http://gaw.kishou.go.jp/wdcgg/wdcgg.html

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Toby James

      Southern hemisphere temperature trended down since 2001? And how has the SOI varied over that time?

      Meanwhile in the Northern Hemisphere, HADCRUT data doesn't factor in Arctic warming, but it does include mid-latitude freezing winters.

      GISTEMP data is more complete.

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    2. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to David Arthur

      How does that help, David?

      CSIRO's 2012 update on global warming in Aus says the long term trend ( they don't say how long - I suppose they mean begining at the Little Ice Age) is continued warming due to CO2.

      I said HADCRUT, you said GISTEMP

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Toby James

      You say HADCRUT, you may as well say UAH, they're both less complete than GISTEMP; recent HADCRUT averages are sensitive to mid-latitude northern hemisphere (NH) freezing winter temperatures, but they do not give due weighting to NH Arctic summer high temperatures.

      This tells me that if you're looking for a global overview, HADCRUT data may not be the best available; myself, I wouldn't be basing my sweeping global assertions on HADCRUT .

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    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Toby James

      I forgot to add that any statements CSIRO make would be based on BoM data, which commenced early in the 20th century.

      BoM atmospheric data therefore pretty well commenced with the end of the Little Ice Age with respect to air temperatures, although it is likely that ocean temperatures would have been "recovering" for some time thereafter.

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    5. Toby James

      retired physicist

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, this thread has nothing to do with the NH or anything in it.

      Your comment in the post above your last one: ". . . any statements CSIRO make would be based on BoM data . . ." does not reflect well on CSIRO.

      The eagerly awaited audit of the BoM's land temperature data base reveals a rather sad situation (see my posts above). Sloppy data and the processing thereof is currently eroding confidence in BoM's data.

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Toby James

      Thanks Toby,

      More likely than not, the result of any audit of BoM data will produce results akin to the results of the BEST review of global temperature data sets. After all, BoM data is broadly consistent with GISTEMP data.

      Nevertheless, the point you make that HADCRUT might be okay for the SH is fair enough. The fact remains that SH temperatures are substantially affected by ENSO, in turn affected by Indian Ocean dipole.

      Because ocean currents are the major heat transfer mechanism around the earth's surface, and ocean currents vary on multi-decadal time scales, one decade's worth of atmospheric temperatures is insufficient for reliable conclusions to be drawn.

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  13. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    There are some serious errors and shortcomings in the CSIRO-BoM report State of the Climate 2012. For example, they claim “Fossil-fuel CO2 emissions increased by more than three per cent per year from 2000 to 2010” which is correct and then in the very next bullet point that “the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in 2011 was 390 parts per million – higher than at any time for the past 800,000 years”, without admitting that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased by only 0.3% p.a…

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    1. Garry Claridge

      Systems Analyst

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim, you may need to do a bit more research as your initial assumptions about rate of retention of increased fossil fuel emissions is missing some coupled logic.
      Good luck with your research.

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      And there are some serious errors and shortcomings in Tim Curtin's logic - which wouldn't be the first time

      The first and most obvious retort to his silly poinabout increased atmospheric CO2 being a benefit to plants is that he is WRONG

      The flaw in the argument is that plants require more than just CO2 to live. Owners of industrial greenhouses who purchase excess CO2 also invest considerable effort in keeping their plants at optimum growing conditions, particularly with respect to temperature…

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      As always, Curtin is not seeking to correlate his comments with reality. As ever, he argues against it, which necessarily implies that he seeks to convince others to "believe" in his demobnstrably false view of the world.

      Perhaps that is why his communications invariably descend to the level of personal attacks.

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  14. Don Aitkin

    writer, speaker and teacher

    Once again, I would ask those who comment to observe ordinary canons of politeness. It must be plain by now — if only because there is so much debate about aspects of global climate and of our own — that there are a number of differing points of view. Most of them can call on scientific papers in support of that POV. No one can point to conclusive evidence or argument. There is no single paper that 'explodes' or 'debunks' a whole POV.

    To me, references to 'denialist conspiracist mindset' or people…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      But Don - it's NOT about a POV it's about evidence. Evidence about which you are in apparent denial. Your points are all either incorrect or illogical in the face of the evidence.

      And I do call it being deliberately ignorant when access to the evidence and science are clear. Yet people are so willing to claim to know better and are quickly found out to be ill informed and have not bothered to correct that deficit before having the arrogance to point out where the established science is apparently…

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    2. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, the best I can do with respect to your post is simply to list the emotive and somewhat abusive words that you have used:

      'denial, incorrect, illogical,deliberatively ignorant, arrogance, offensive, hypocrisy, guilty, wilful ignorance, arrogant and (wilfully?) ignorant denier?'

      Then you list half a dozen papers, as though they are truth. Papers in academic journals are arguments about reality; they are not truth. Authors don't 'establish' that something has happened: they 'argue' that…

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      I link to the NASA data site for my data and without any substnatiation at all you claim it's highly equivocal??

      On what basis do you claim they are wrong.

      I note also you have completely failed to address any of the points or evidence or logic of the papers to which I have referred.

      I have also made no claims about correlation and causation - rather I have pointed to numerous peices of pubslihsed science that clearly explain establish the physical mechanisms that establish causation…

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    4. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      OK, I'll do this just once more.

      You link the NASA data. Great. What do you know about sea surface temperatures? Anything? Do you know that the seas cover 70 per cent of the globe. Do you know that the data are simply awful? Do you know that there have been several different methods of measuring sea temperatures, that they are different both over time and even today, that they are most frequent where ships sail on regular routes, and that much of the ocean is hardly travelled on at all? Do you…

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Handwaving obfuscation based on ignorance of the science (and, as usual - absolutely no evidence to back a claim of doubt and uncertainty) doesn't count

      You ask -"What do you know about sea surface temperatures? Anything? Do you know that the seas cover 70 per cent of the globe. Do you know that the data are simply awful?"

      Well - do YOU know anything? What is the basis for your unsubstantiated claim the data are awful?

      The measured uncertainty in Sea Level is no where near the scale required…

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Gday Don, It was your Ockham's Razor talk several years ago which first alerted me to the existence of ideological Denialism.

      I prepared a response to your talk in which I set out how and why much of the science commentary in your talk was factually erroneous. You may recall that I emailed you a copy.

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    7. Nick Kermode

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Don,
      "it would be useful to compare its output with a paper from the opposite side". This has been done, for many years by many people and is how science has advanced in every field. It is also the reason why there is so much widespread multidisciplinary agreement with the current position. Statements like " have unknown but large error bars" make your argument a bit of a laugh really. If it is unknown it could be just as likely to be very small as very large. Also your hypocrisy is very…

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    8. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,

      Re Argo: My point about SST is that they have not been based on good data over the 19th and 20th centuries, and have only approximate validity or meaning. As I pointed out, Argo data are very recent, and you said (and I agree) they are still being calibrated. No doubt they will become the new standard. But they don't help with SST from 1850 to 2000.

      'ideological denialism' In 2008 I received several hundred emails and letters about my API speech, the AQ article and the Ockham's Razor talks. I have had a look through my emails, but I don't see one from you. That doesn't mean I didn't get it, but that it may be field somewhere else. Please send it again if you think I ought to read it (again): donaitkin@grapevine.com.au

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    9. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      "a 'global temperature anomaly', which is given to three decimal places"

      This is one of Don's favorite pieces of misinformation. When asked for a citation, he apparently pointed to (it's hard to be sure because he's not specific) this interview: http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/this-drought-may-never-break/2008/01/03/1198949986473.html

      That interview stated "NSW's mean temperature was 1.13 degrees above average." No doubt Don would just say this is a gotcha, but that figure only has two…

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    10. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      David: further on SST. If you Google up 'Historical measurements of sea surface temperatures' you will get some quick reads on how it was done, by using canvas buckets thrown overboard, and measured on deck with a thermometer, with wooden buckets, with thermometers in the engine intake, and so on. Even a short read will make you wonder, given the variety, how such readings can be compared. None of them is technically a sea-surface temperature. More recently measurements have been done by satellite…

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    11. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to David Arthur

      Don't bother trying to point out the flaws in Don Aitkin's arguments, David. If you do, he'll just be intellectually dishonest and move the goalposts to something else.

      Even if you succeed in establishing some degree of accuracy in oceanic temperature measurement, he'll then turn around and say: but there's been no warming from January 1944 to January 2012 because their anomalies are virtually the same. Picking those two points to establish the global warming trend is just as valid as any other choice. It is NOT cherry-picking.

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    12. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Thanks Don, if I can resurrect my old computer I'll get that response to your Ockham's Razor talk to you.

      Meanwhile, Nature Geoscience have published a letter from Norman Loeb et al "Observed changes in top-of-the-atmosphere radiation and upper-ocean heating consistent within uncertainty", (PUBLISHED ONLINE: 22 JANUARY 2012 | DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1375) which essentially demonstrates that the "missing heat" problem (described as a "travesty" by Trenberth in an email leaked from UEA Climate Research Unit) was never really missing at all; the difference between incoming and outgoing energy as measured at the top of the atmosphere are consistent with observed ocean heat accumulation within measurement uncertainty.

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    13. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to David Arthur

      Thanks, David. I'll read the new article over the weekend. If you are interested (indeed if anyone is interested) in the way SST have been calculated, the very best account I have found is a long post on Judith Curry's 'Climate etc' website: http://judithcurry.com/2011/06/27/unknown-and-uncertain-sea-surface-temperatures/
      It is by Tony Brown, who has his own website as well. Not only is it most comprehensive, it is also very well written.

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    14. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      In my response to Don Aitkin's Ockham's Razor talk, I described Don as a political scientist. Don corrected that for me in personal communication, writing "I haven't been a political scientist in any real (academic) sense since about 1985. Since 1981 I have been deeply involved in the world of research policy, research grants, peer review, research priorities, relations between government and science, government and universities, co-operative research centres - and for twelve years, running one…

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    15. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to David Arthur

      It is odd, to say the least, to see one's private correspondence appear on the web within hours of my having sent it. No matter — I sent it privately because you sent your paper and the TOA paper to me privately. I responded the same way.

      Re: Climate science is a young, immature science. All judgments, I think, are in essence comparisons (I'll go into it further if you are interested). I meant that climate science is young, and immature, in comparison with say physics or chemistry or geology. It has no agreed founding fathers, no celebrated journal, no body of knowledge that is its own and, as I said in another post, people enter it from other disciplines and with their own techniques. In twenty or thirty years it will be much better established.

      That's all.

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    16. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      As previously stated, climate science has a long history as a branch of physical chemistry as applied to the earth.

      If you think any science "needs" a founding father, then you don't understand science at all. Science has no founding father, it is a discipline, a process by which observations lead to ability to develop expectations which are tested against further observations.

      It doesn't have some ancient academe before which all climate scientists prostrate themselves every day as they go…

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    17. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Oh dear. You've used another piece of private correspondence. Do you do this to others too?

      We'll have to disagree on the question of the longevity/maturity of climate science.

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    18. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Thanks Don.

      Our private correspondence indicates that you are not conversant with the basic science that determines climate change.

      Would you prefer for that we waiting for climate change to become some verdigris-encrusted Holy Writ? I suggest that such reverence for the Wisdom of The Ancients is not an appropriate attribute for planning and decision-making.

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    19. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      Gday Don, I'm pretty sure that my publicly repeating aspects of what passed between us privately did not break any confidences.

      After all, there's nothing in what I've revealed that you wouldn't have stated publicly anyway.

      I see you as one who misunderstands the science, does not recognise the environmental consequences of aspects of our industrial processes, and wrongly believes that scientific concern regarding these consequences is 'motivated' by some political attitudes or another…

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  15. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Mark: you embody the same shortcomings you attribute to me, when you say e.g. "The flaw in the argument is that plants require more than just CO2 to live. Owners of industrial greenhouses who purchase excess CO2 also invest considerable effort in keeping their plants at optimum growing conditions, particularly with respect to temperature and moisture". ALL plant physiologists agree that elevated atmospheric CO2 reduces plants' water requirements.

    More generally, do try and grasp the difference…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Author and Scientist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim, your statements about CO2 and plants is incorrect. You cannot compare glasshouse and growth chamber experiments with real world plant growth in this way.

      Water is the main limiter, especially in rainfed cropping and pastures. The next limiter is nitrogen. CO2 is already concentrated by the plants as part of respiration to facilitate photosynthesis. Water use efficicency has marginal improvements under higher CO2, but this affects water requirements, nitrogen requirements (the two major limiters) and causes lignin issues.

      http://www.princeton.edu/%7Emauzeral/papers/Wang.Mauzerall.Atmospheric.Environment.pdf
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2435.1999.00308.x/abstract
      http://www.pnas.org/content/107/45/19368.abstract?sid=638fbac9-85ca-424f-8137-50fd394727cf
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02351.x/abstract
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/328/5980/899.abstract
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19017124

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Rubbish Tim - you tried to perpetuate a myth that increased CO2 is good for plants - when the whole system is taken into consideration - it isnt. You have been found out and now you shift your ground.

      Good luck with the paper though. At least you have the courage to publish - which is more than most pseudo sceptics and armchair scientists will do.

      But, until it is published and subject to peer review, you are just another pseudo skeptic in the bloggoshphere trying to refute the scientific reality of AGW.

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  16. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Mark Harrigain said, inimitably as ever, "Rubbish Tim - you tried to perpetuate a myth that increased CO2 is good for plants - when the whole system is taken into consideration - it isn't."

    Mark: do check out any source on the carbon content of foods. All non-animal foods embody around 40% carbohydrate, all animal food (beef etc) has been raised entirely on plant food. The world's population has risen from 1 billion c.1800 to 7 billion now, all of whom are actually better fed than the 1 billion were in 1800, eating both carbohydrates and animal protein (beef etc) reared on carbohydrates.

    Whence came the carbohydrates and protein for the 7 billion if not mainly from the enhanced atmospheric CO2? Do read Farquhar et al. passim since 1980. My E&E paper on Climate Change and Food Production gives the refs to him and my econometric evidence on this (also at www.timcurtin.com). Refute that, then get back to me to me, but not before.

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim, the fundamentall point you are missing is that more CO2 "enables" plants to grow faster - it doesn't "make them" grow faster (you are being a typical economist - try talking to an agricultural scientists to understand this). Tim Scanlon would be able to give you some good pointers.

      It is apparent that you fail to understand that successful agricultural production depends on far more factors than "just" CO2. If you are trying to build a case for increased levels of CO2 to be "good" for the…

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  17. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Garry Claridge: what do you mean when you say my "initial assumptions about rate of retention of increased fossil fuel emissions [are] missing some coupled logic"?

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  18. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Chris O'Neill denies that the 'global temperature anomaly' is given to three decimal places, and he is almost correct, as Gistemp only does it to two, but that is still spurious precision given the nature of the instruments used to measure temperature before the digital age. But Don Aitken is also right, as HadleyCRU does show anomalies to 3 decimal places. More precision please!

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  19. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Chris O'Neill denies that the 'global temperature anomaly' is given to three decimal places, and he is almost correct, as Gistemp only does it to two, but that is still spurious precision given the nature of the instruments used to measure temperature before the digital age. But Don Aitkin is also right, as HadleyCRU does show anomalies to 3 decimal places. More precision please!

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  20. Melissa Lowe

    Company Director

    I came on this site to improve my knowledge and arm myself with information regarding our "climate" but after reading this article and going through the conversations below it, I am actually really disappointed.

    I see some good stats, explanation and arguments (most I can grasp and understand) but what has been extremely disruptive is the "bitching" (sorry it's the only way to describe it) this has now become about ego's/power and not about helping to solve the problem (or even if there is one…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Melissa Lowe

      Melissa:

      "I was so looking forward to a mature approach to climate change"

      The problem is there is just too much money involved for this to happen.

      "I wanted to ask some questions and opinions on some issues on climate change"

      I can tell you the name of a site that is written by a substantial number of professional climate scientists who also answer questions, if that's what you want: realclimate.org

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    2. Don Aitkin

      writer, speaker and teacher

      In reply to Melissa Lowe

      Melissa,

      Amen about the bitching you see.

      If you want to read about the issues, in my opinion you need to look at websites from both the orthodox and the dissenting perspectives. Realclimate is orthodox; Climateaudit is dissenting. If you want to see a debate in progress, the best is Judith Curry's 'Climate etc', where top guns from both sides do argue, and at length. It is more civilised than The Conversation, and international in its coverage and participation.

      Good luck!

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Don Aitkin

      "top guns from both sides"

      An example of one of these "top guns" is cited by Don later on, i.e. Tony Brown who has written things such as "Historic variations in CO2 measurements": http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/historic-variations-in-co2-measurements/ in which he says:

      "I tend to believe that those who compiled the historic CO2 measurements present a more compelling case than modern evidence and would be confident that a significant percentage of these historic CO2 records have…

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    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Melissa Lowe

      Melissa,

      Here's a short summary of the physics.

      1. Sun irradiates earth with short-wave energy.

      2. Earth re-radiates long-wave energy.

      3. Greenhouse gases retard transmission of long-wave energy, not short-wave energy.

      4. Greenhouse gases thus regulate earth's temperature.

      5. Altering atmospheric greenhouse gas content therefore alters earth's temperature.

      6. Ocean is thermally coupled with atmosphere, and transfers a lot of heat to both Arctic and Antarctic.

      7. Arctic…

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    5. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Melissa Lowe

      Melissa,

      Here's a longer description of the physics.

      Earth is warmed by absorbtion of short wave sunlight. Because of this, Earth's temperature can remain unchanged by returning the same amount of energy to space. That is, solar shortwave energy is balanced by the earth re-radiating to space as a 'black body' radiator with a characteristic temperature of ~255K; that is, from space the earth's spectrum is roughly that of a radiating body with an optical surface temperature of around 255K…

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    6. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Melissa Lowe

      Melissa, here's a potted summary of the paleoclimatological background.

      The climate always has changed and always will change. The issue for us is the RATE at which it changes - slowly enough, and ecosystems adapt without large extinctions. Too rapid climate change disrupts ecosystems.

      The ongoing processes causing climate to change are continental drift, mountain formation and erosion, and biological evolution.

      What marks all these are their relatively slow progression, and hence relatively…

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    7. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Melissa Lowe

      Melissa, what I've set out is all fairly standard, well-known physics.

      The attributes ascribed to various serial pests in these discussions are, for the most part, well-deserved. After all, I'm not explaining anything to you that I haven't explained to them, often several times over.

      They, however, are unable to separate ideology from reality.

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  21. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Mark Harrigan: you can be a bore. I agree that E&E does as it admits publish some non-peer reviewed papers, my own however was very thoroughly and meticulously reviewed by two different reviewers.

    Meantime we know from the Climategate emails that staff at CRU at East Anglia who were lead authors in AR4 were more than willing to change the concept of peer review to keep out citations of inconvenient papers, and that people like Trenberth are able to have editors sacked or forced to resign (eg…

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  22. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Chris O'Neill kindly suggested to Melissa here that "I can tell you the name of a site that is written by a substantial number of professional climate scientists who also answer questions, if that's what you want: realclimate.org". But he omitted to mention that realclimate invariably either deletes or consigns to its Waste Bin all questions that are in any way inconvenient to its religion (I know from personal experience).

    Moreover, almost all its "substantial number of professional climate scientists" are employed by the site's owners, James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt of NASA-GISS.

    As always Chris is economical etc... but I think he should have mentioned that realclimate's "scientists" have a vested interest, i.e their jobs, in promoting catastrophic global warming predictions.

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  23. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    The ever gracious David Arthur has just commented above:
    "As always, Curtin is not seeking to correlate his comments with reality. As ever, he argues against it, which necessarily implies that he seeks to convince others to "believe" in his demobnstrably false view of the world. Perhaps that is why his communications invariably descend to the level of personal attacks."

    I do not think that is an accurate account of my previous posts here - perhaps Arthur could provide direct quotes? How about…

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Thanks Mr Curtin, my observations are based on the discussion between your good self and Tim Scanlon on this page.

      There seems no problem with your capacity for writing; the fact that Tim Scanlon must continually correct your misunderstanding of the articles you cite suggests difficulty with comprehension of written language.

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  24. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    David Arthur's comment fails to document his claims my posts "invariably [sic] descend to the level of personal attacks," and he himself is misleading when he says: ""Thanks Mr Curtin, my observations are based on the discussion between your good self and Tim Scanlon on this page. There seems no problem with your capacity for writing; the fact that Tim Scanlon must continually correct your misunderstanding of the articles you cite suggests difficulty with comprehension of written language."

    Scanlon…

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Your discussion with Scanlon, in an area in which he has more expertise than an econometrician, is evidence enough of your inability to grasp the subject matter.

      Some things you'll never get around, which you don't understand and continue to Deny are
      1. Sun irradiates earth with short-wave energy.
      2. Earth re-radiates long-wave energy.
      3. Greenhouse gases retard transmission of long-wave energy, not short-wave energy.
      4. Greenhouse gases thus regulate earth's temperature.
      5. Altering atmospheric greenhouse gas content therefore alters earth's temperature.
      6. Ocean is thermally coupled with atmosphere.

      Rabbitting on about atmospheric temperatures without also considering ocean misses much more than half the story.

      Having studied physical chemistry, this is more in my area of competence, (evidently not yours) where I continually point out your errors.

      Then, of course, there's your discussion with Mark Harrigan.

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Arthur

      Sorry David Arthur, but I must comment on your rely to Tim Curtin.

      You remark upon his understanding of some details. It is not uncommon for all of us to misunderstand, at one time or another, some of the material regarding Global Warming. However, as a physicist with experience in spectroscopy, absorption, radiation, line broadening and energy transfer, I believe Tim has a reasonably good grasp of these things.

      do not know what Tim's background might be, but he is here, as I am, to learn…

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Nicol

      Thanks John. You write: "It is not difficult to show that most of the warmth we now enjoy, would be available if there were only about 20 ppmv of CO2 and not the 390 ppmv as now."

      This contention is contradicted by ice core records and paleotemperature reconstructions, which show that the world was much cooler that at present (global average of ~5 deg C cooler) during glacial periods, when atmospheric CO2 was ~180-200 ppmv (ie half its present value, and 10 times 20 ppmv).

      The paragraph…

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    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Nicol

      Thanks John.

      You write: "Thus radiation from the peak of a CO2 vibration-rotation line at a comparatively low level (say12,000 m), may/will coincide with a lower, weaker part of the absorption spectrum above. This needs to be accounted for before one can say what the net result will be of increased CO2 in regards to the inhibition of radiation."

      This contrasts with my understanding that, over the period of satellite observations, the spectrum of energy radiating outwards from the top of earth's atmosphere has shown increasing deficits at CO2 absorbtion bands in accordance with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration.

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  25. trevor prowse

    retired farmer

    The climate report could have included some positive findings if it was a true scientific report such as the positive effect of co2 on most plants. Also the growing season has lengthened from 212 to 230 days.There have been a reduction from18 down to 13 frost nightswhich will lessen the risk of frost damage on cereals.Annual rainfall has gone up from 410 mm to 500mm or a trend of 8.38 per decade.Number of wet days has stayed the same in 110 years.Average number of heavy rain days has been stable.If…

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    1. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to trevor prowse

      Well said Trevor. It is so good to have a comment on the practical application of common sense to the many fields of data which consistently show what you point out, but which are either ignored by the commentariate everywhere or are completely misinterpreted. The Conversation needs more people of your ability and understanding to join our discussions. John Nicol jonicol18@bigpond.com

      PS. I hope my "commenting on your comment" does not bring an adverse reaction to what you have said so well.

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  26. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Michael Brown (10 April) charming as ever writes “It is interesting to note that the author of the paper highlighted by Marc Hendrickx seems to be an expert in car engines and does not have an established track record in sea levels.” The author Brown puts down with his insulting insinuation that he's no more than a car mechanic is Dr Boretti of Ballarat University, which Brown implies is no better than a service station. Ah, the collegiality of Australian academics like Brown!

    In fact Dr. Boretti's…

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    1. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      I have looked at the Boretti papers. They are yet another example of simple polynomial fits to data that one more commonly sees on blogs than in print. There are some glaring flaws in the papers.

      One paper includes polynomial fits to just 5-years of sea level data and fit parameter values are provided to 5 significant figures without uncertainties! It is absurd to report "is reducing -0.078792 mm/year/year/year" given the scatter in the data.

      Other factors that can change sea level rise on short time scales have not been considered by Boretti. In particular, the ENSO cycle has an impact of sea level rise (http://climate.nasa.gov/news/?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=570).

      Boretti also has some odd collaborations. For example, http://www.climtechsolutions.com/?p=1820 is pure pseudo-science.

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    2. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      As Brown is unable to navigate around The C, I have double posted my response to his latest (with apologies to The C):

      Michael Brown asks without evidence "Why is Tim Curtin unable to use the reply option?". I can but I choose not to, so my reply is "Why is Michael Brown incapable of scrolling down to the latest post?". Replying to his idiocies as he proposes means they get lost in the maze that The C espouses. Better blogs stick to chronological order.

      Then Brown claims he has read the Boretti…

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      More distortions, errors and smug insults from Tim Curtin.

      Where did I state Boretti is a mechanic (rather than an expert on car engines)? Where did I state that one should only use linear fits? (If the data supports it and the functional form is justified, one can use other functional forms.) When did presenting uncertainties (or margins of error) become quaint? Why should a 3rd order polynomial suffice to negate the impact of ENSO on sea level? Indeed, in his paper Boretti seems unaware that ENSO has an impact on sea level.

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    4. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Your comments on Boretti were smears reflecting your habitual intellectual arrogance. An expert on car engines, just as much as a mechanic, is fully capable of having intelligent views on climate change based on their own research of the liertaure. You as an astonomer have much less standing in this area.

      For example, you clearly believe that CO2 etc are "greenhouse gases" even though they radiate to space (thank goodness) virtually all the heat they absorb, whereas, like the 97% of all climate…

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      This is simply false non-science from Tim Curtin. Even the doyens of climate science denialism like Fred Singer and Roy Spencer do not deny that CO2 is a GHG.

      It is an established physical fact that N2 and O2 are transparent to IR - they are DIATOMIC molecules and physically incapable of the vibrational/rotational states required to absorb IR.

      By this post Tim Curtun demonstrates his utter and profound ignorance of basic climate physics.

      Tim if CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas - why does the history of the planets temperature correlate so well with CO2 levels - and why is Venus so hot.

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    6. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Hehe... that should be another standing rule in this sad debate. If you make someone resort to denying the greenhouse effect I'm pretty sure you can claim victory :)

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    7. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Jeremy Hall

      Thanks Jeremy for your second thoughts re Tyndall.

      He PROVED that hydrogen, oxygen, and Nitrogen really are GHGs, as they did not absorb or radiate heat in samples of dry air without CO2, while after adding back [H2O] and [CO2] there was powerful evidence of absorption and radiation, with the former about 13 times more powerful than the latter, hence its deletion from AR4 WG1, e.g. Table 2.1, p.141.

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    8. Jeremy Hall

      PhD student

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Sigh.
      - They weren't second thoughts, it was the first time I'd seen the paper.
      - I said the results look good, ie consistent with what was subsequently confirmed. As you say, he clearly demonstrated that CO2, H2O absorb and re-emit infrared radiation while O2, N2 don't.

      - I didn't say this means that O2 and N2 are greenhouse gases, or that CO2 and H2O aren't . That's just backwards - one of the more dramatic physics fails I've seen in these discussions (and there have some good'uns!)

      If I thought that spelling out the (pretty basic) physics involved would change the mind of anyone who's reading, I might bother to do so...

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  27. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Michael Brown asks without evidence "Why is Tim Curtin unable to use the reply option?". I can but I choose not to, so my reply is "Why is Michael Brown incapable of scrolling down to the latest post?". Replying to his idiocies as he proposes means they get lost in the maze that The C espouses. Better blogs stick to chronological order.

    Then Brown claims he has read the Boretti paper which he claimed had been written by a car mechanic. Actually Boretti's paper in Coastal Engineering is totally transparent, and using polynomials produces better fits (higher R2) than linear (concepts unknown to Brown) because they capture ENSO, unlike linear.

    What Brown needs to do is write and get accepted in a peer reviewed journal his very quaint views on the statistics of climate change. Until he does, I judge both him and Monash to be no better than shoe shine boys in Calcutta (to use his own mode of debate).

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  28. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Mark: Yes indeed, it is an established physical fact that N2 and O2 are transparent to incoming solar radiation, but they do not absorb or radiate heat and that is why they really are GHG. You then asked “if CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas - why does the history of the planet’s temperature correlate so well with CO2 levels…” - but it does not on this planet* - “and why is Venus so hot?"

    Here goes (h/t to JM):
    “CO2 strongly absorbs infrared light at 15 microns. It absorbs other wavelengths (such…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim - I doubt if even crayons would help you :)

      By this post you demonstate the same skill with managing theads on TC as you do with Climate Science - which is to say ZERO.

      You have stated that CO2 is NOT a GHG but O2 and N2 are because "they do not absorb or radiate heat" - this is utter rubbish and worthy of the tinfoil hat brigade.

      A Greenhouse Gas - BY DEFINITION (look it up) is one that ABSORBS IR. CO2 does - O2 and N2 don't.

      The rest of your post is regurgitation of something you…

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    2. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark sez: "A Greenhouse Gas - BY DEFINITION (look it up) is one that ABSORBS IR. CO2 does - O2 and N2 don't". That is why your definition is wrong. If a gas can absorb heat as CO2 does, then it can radiate it, while as even Jeremy Hall admits, O2 and N2 do not absorb heat and therefore cannot radiate it.

      But to be fair, even supposedly competent physicists are at odds on this. In 1981 Fred Hoyle said that the IR spectrum where CO2 can be radiated is a "trap" that stops it, while in that very same year Jim Hansen said it was a "window" open for radiation. Who am I as a mere layman to believe?

      Please give me your papal edict on this, hopefully without the concomitant lifelong house arrest confered on Galileo!

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      It is not my definition. It is the definition established by physicists the world over. That CO2 can absorb CO2 is an experimentally verified fact known for over a century. OF COURSE it re-radiates - that's why there is "Back Radiation" which keeps the earth warmer than it would otherwise be.

      You can clearly see the absorption band in the satellite data - http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/infrared_spectrum.jpg

      There is no papal edict required Tim - take off your tinfoil hat and do try and comprehend

      Tim Curtin has no understandoing of even basic physics.

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    4. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark: My original point was indeed that CO2 unlike N2 and O2 can radiate, in all directions. The question is how much in each direction? Your SkS graphs are difficult to quantify.

      There are surprisingly few actual measurements, and they like those of Harries et al. (Nature 2001) are opaque (pun intended): “Changes in the Earth's greenhouse effect can be detected from variations in the spectrum of outgoing longwave radiation, which is a measure of how the Earth cools to space and
      carries the…

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim: Your iriginal point was that CO2 was not a GHG and that N2 and O2 were. This is false - you have been shown to be wrong and you can't admit it. You clearly have absolutely no understanding in this topic whatsoever.

      You now belatedly acknowledge that CO2 re-radiates - indeed isotropically. Equally in ALL directions. There is no question about how much in each. As usual you have no idea.

      The net effect (as shown in the satellite data to which I refered - I can't help it if you haven't the wit to understand it) shows the reduction (looking down) in IR escaping to space due to the absorption from CO2 (showing the IR wavelengths emitted by the earths's surface due to its Black Body emissions being absorbed by CO2 - and hence less escaping into space) and the increase in IR being picked up at the surface due to the back reflected radiation (ergo earth gets warmer)

      Only an idiot could fail to understand it.

      You qualify

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    6. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I note how Harrigan refuses to abide by The C's rules on abuse, when he says inter alia "Only an idiot could fail to understand it.You qualify".

      Be that as it may, my original point was that CO2 is not a GHG and that N2 and O2 were, has been confirmed here by none other than Andrew Glikson, who said only today (at his Discovery of Fire article, that "Certain gases in the atmosphere have the property of absorbing infrared radiation. Oxygen and nitrogen the major gases in the atmosphere, do not have this property" (and therefore cannot radiate heat to space).

      Harrigan, you are the one who is wrong, and will never admit it, showing you have absolutely no understanding of this topic whatsoever.

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim Curtin is on record many times on TC offering abuse and insults. It is a case of the pot calling the kettle back if he smarts at my allusion to comments that are false and idiotic. The fact that he keeps making such silly statements is hardly a defence

      I'm sure Andrew Glikson could make this clear himself if he is reading but is probably unlikely to want to waste his time.

      Tim - try and follow this carefully. Oxygen and nitrogen cannot absorb IR - therefore they are TRANSPARENT to IR - that means that the heat radiation from the planet PASSES RIGHT THROUGH THEM - which by definition means they cannot trap heat within the atmosphere and thus are INCAPABLE of being green house gases.

      I cannot believe anyone can be so obtuse AND be willing to keep repeating it.

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    8. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      I am disappointed to find that you are up to your old tricks again of abusing people rather than taking part in a helpful and interesting conversation with them.

      The remark:"You clearly have absolutely no understanding in this topic whatsoever." has no place in a civilised discussion just because you were unable to follow what Tim was saying in the first place. I have foillowed his responses and there is nothing which indicates that he has no understanding.

      In fact he makes some…

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    9. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Hmm, I can see on this other thread to which you refer that you have completely failed to understand what Andrew Glickson has said. A number of others have tried to point this out to you and you remain obdurately adamantine in your lack of understanding of something that is so basic even a child could understand it.

      Tell me Tim. Given that a sheet of glass is transparent to visible light does it keep light in a room or let it escape?

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    10. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      Mr Nicol - I care not a fig for your watching or your opinion. You are on record as denying the scientific reality of climate change and making false statements in this area. That is not deserving of respect.

      Your comments are irrelevant.

      Tim Curtin has stated a blatant falsehood. That CO2 is not a GHG and that N2 and O2 are. This is in effect a blatant denial of the Green House Effect - nott even deniers like Singer and Spencer are stupid enough to make this statement.

      If you support…

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    11. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      And just to be clear - no equivocation. Do you John Nicol agree or disagree that CO2 is a GHG and that N2 and O2 are not? YES or NO?

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    12. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      For the record Mr Nicol I shall take a failure to answer this YES or NO question unequivocally a demonstration of a complete failure of intellectual courage and transparency.

      Is CO2 a GHG gas? Yes or No? If you answer Yes you are disagreeing with Tim Curtin but at least shwoing you understand basic physics. If you state NO in answer you show you have no credibility to make any comment on climate science.

      If you fail to answer you obviously are afraid to state the courage of your convictions when called to account though you are all too ready to hold others accountable to some standard of politeness that avoids dealing with facts

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    13. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      Of course by the pseudo definition of a Green House Gas, CO2 is a green house gas. No question. But so what.

      The Green House Effect from these gases is well accepted as playing a small part in the capturing of energy from the IR field radiated by the earth. Water vapour captures more by absorption of IR at different frequencies . There is a loss of much more "additional" energy - that corresponding to the increase in daytime temperatures over the average - which goes directly to…

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    14. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      John - I am glad you agree that N2 and O2 cannot warm the planet but that CO2 does. Perhaps you would take the time to point this out to Tim Curtin to help him avoid continuing to make a goos of himself - since, after all, you are not here to deny the science but to "learn" and 'echange with oithers"

      I look forward to your publishing in the literature your thesis (in contradiction of all established physics and climate science) that it's effect is "negligible" - no doubt you can explain why the…

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    15. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      I am afraid you have not properly understood my point, nor do you properly understand the basic behaviour of fluids, in this case gases. You said “"John - I am glad you agree that N2 and O2 cannot warm the planet but that CO2 does.” I did NOT say that N2 and O2 cannot warm the planet. There presence in air in the absence of water vapour, carbon dioxide or any other green house gas, will inevitably lead to some warming above the accepted 255 K radiation balance temperature. The warming…

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    16. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      Mr Nicol, I think I have understood better than you have yourself. The mechanisms you articulate for N2 and O2 can transfer heat from the surface. NOT away from the planet as a whole.

      In any event you have not addressed the EVIDENCE. If CO2 were providing a mechanism to allow thermal energy to escpate the planet we would see a peak in thermal IR bands when looking down. We don't - we see a trough.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/infrared_spectrum.jpg

      So your contention is contradicted…

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    17. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark,

      Lets keep it simple for you and for the moment consider the earth and the air as it is but without any pesky green house gases which was a scene I set briefly last time. If there were no green house gases in the atmosphere, the energy which left the surface by radiation would be about 50% of the total radiation received unless the noon day temperature in the tropics, for example, were to rise to 119 C, the equilibrium temperature directly under the sun.(Even with the green house gases…

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    18. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      John,
      Thank you for your long post.

      You have now demonstrated comprehensively and in public that you have absolutely no understanding of the climate or the physics involved and have scant disregard for evidence. To be expected of a pseudo-skeptic climate science denier I suppose.

      Let me keep it simple for YOU (and in much less than the 1500 words you took and hopefully laid out more clearly). You are completely wrong.

      Your entire logic rests on assuming that the earth perfectly absorbs…

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    19. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Yet another rude and insulting diatribe by Harrigan. I do not have time to deal in detail with his recycling of the conventional wisdom, based as it on the Kiehl-Trenberth cartoon where the globe is flat and the sun shines 24 hours a day everywhere. I am sure John Nicol will take the rest of it apart.

      But at least Harrigan does eventually agree that Professor Nicol IS "right- there IS a transfer of heat energy from the atmosphere to GHG's and it DOES radiate away. But it DOESN'T cool the planet as the above figures unequivocally show."

      In simple English, the radiation does cool the earth relative to the temperature it would reach in the absence of that radiation.

      That is why CO2 is not really a GHG - it absorbs AND radiates, whereas N2 and O2 do NOT radiate, and are in that regard true GHGs.

      Using your style here, you claim to be a physicist, so read Tyndall for a greater understanding than Trenberth has ever achieved.

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    20. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      LOL - if Mr Curtin cannot understand the Trenberth figures he is free to point out why the American meteorological society is wrong too! I await his published efforts with eager anticipation. I expect I will be able to hear their laughter at his meagre understanding from here.

      By the way Tim - if you actually READ and understood Trenberth you would gather that there is no flat earth OR 24 hour sun shining. It is in fact based on the same influx of 1368 Wm-2 that John Nicols uses (the only correct figure he manages). However no doubt your statistical analysis fails to reveal that!

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    21. John Nicol

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Dear Mark,
      Thank you for commenting on my discussion on the effect of pure N2/O2 atmosphere without the complication of added Green House Gases, and the effect of addng GHGs. Yes the posting was quite long.
      By contrast now, I think I will pose to you a single question in two parts:
      a. If there were no green house gases in the atmosphere, but only N2 and O2 at their current concentrations, would the effective radiative equilibrium temperature Teff = 255K (approx)? [Note: The effective temperature…

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    22. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to John Nicol

      John,
      Apparently you either did not or cannot read my post?

      You have not addressed ANY of my points at all despite my carefully responding to all the errors of fact in yours.

      I have already answered your first question in my post. Try reading it more carefully.

      In any event your questions are irrelevant and are a transparent attempt to avoid admitting you made stupid errors.

      You made fundamental errors in your original post. Yet you do not address this? Why not? Haven't the courage…

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  29. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    I am sorry, I give up on trying to find here Mark Harrigan's latest response to me. If anybody at The Conversation is watching which I doubt, could you/they please revert to strict chronological ordering of posts and responses!. LIfe is too short for me to track down the latest rubbish from Harrigan in order to reply to it So here it is, wherever The C chooses to place it.

    Harrigan said: "Tell me Tim. Given that a sheet of glass is transparent to visible light does it keep light in a room or let it escape?"

    Wow, we are now into deep post-Einstein science! The issue is not light but HEAT. Check said Einstein! If you cannot grasp that real greenhouses are all about retention of heat rather than light, sorry, Mark, but I give up on you! (like John Nicol).

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim - all you are doing by your possts is continuing to demonstate your complete incompetence and total misunderstanding about the physics. I'm afraid you have no competence in climate science what so over and demonstrate a total misunderstanding of the physical concepts.

      You apparently fail to understand the difference between absroption and transmission of IR (infra-red LIGHT!) and heat (A form of energy associated with the motion of atoms or molecules).

      The issue IS light with reference…

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  30. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Sorry Mark, thanks to The C I could not find your latest contribution to obfuscation, so here is my possibly last attempt to spread enlightenmenent here:

    Check Kiehl & Trenberth BAMS 1997:

    “For the clear sky, water vapor contributes to 60% of the total radiative forcing, while carbon dioxide contributes 26% to the clear sky radiative forcing. In discussing increases in greenhouse gases and their impact on climate change, the dominant contribution of water vapor to the current greenhouse effect…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Mr Curtin - it is indeed a pity that you lack the competence to follow and post replies to threads on TC.

      It is also a pity that you similarly lack the ability to understand even the basics of climate science, the basic physics of radiation and indeed the ability to read and comprehend the IPCC report

      I wonder, Tim, since you claim to be qualified in the dismal science if you even read and understand what you are so ready to misquote? You've either totally failed to understand Trenberth and…

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    2. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Thanks Mark, and I also look forward to your response to John Nicol’s last. But you are the one who needs to pay attention, especially in regard to stocks and flows, for this comment of yours is seriously in error:

      CO2 is long lived (decades) as a GHG, H2O ain't (weeks)

      Just as the Opening Stock of [CO2] on 1st January this year was 393.1 ppm (actually that was the average for January but I do not have the daily data at Mauna Loa). Emissions of CO2 took place on that day along with fluxes up…

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Thanks Tim for your correction - but once again you show you have no idea what you are talking about.

      But - I do appreciate this - because I was wrong. CO2 that WE put there lasts for MUCH longer than I said

      http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0812/full/climate.2008.122.html

      "The climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge, longer than time capsules, longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human civilization so far"

      I…

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    4. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, you really do have a problem with stocks and flows and with gross or net fluxes.

      Atmospheric CO2 is as they say a well mixed gas, with around 12% of the total coming down or going up every year, so an average uninterrupted life of each molecule up there is around 8 years (see IPCC TAR Houghton et al and Houghton himself 2004, before the used car salesman took charge). A very similar process is evident with regard to [H2O] even if its turnaround time is much shorter.

      As for your claim…

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim - I made no statement about flows - I made statements about residence times to address your errors.

      You introduced flows to obfuscate the issue because you cannot acknowledge your fundamental error where you misprespresented and failed to understand the IPCC report - where you claimed (in apparent alarm but really just demonstrating your inability to grasp the subject) "Yet IPCC AR4 WG1 repeatedly states that water vapor contributes 0% of radiative forcing, see Table 2.1 at p. 141 and repeatedly…

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    6. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, put up or shut up. At the end of the day your weird physics has to be substantiated by statistical falsification of the nul hypothesis that changes in radiative forcing from rising [CO2] has no statistically significant effect on changes in temperature whereas changes in [H2O] do provide a very convincing verification of the nul hypothesis that changes in [CO2] are irrelevant, in part because the latter rise monotonically while changes in GMT or anywhere do not.

      When such analysis cannot confirm the contra-nul hypothesis, then you have to question why that hypothesis fails to be verified. Einstein, Popper and our own Eccles understood that, but you do not, because of your religious belief that [CO2] is the devil incarnate.

      John Nicol's hypotheses are vindicated by my regressions. Yours and the IPCC's are not.

      Check your physics, or find statistical support for it. So far there is none.

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim - still can't admit your errors then? have to shift ground again eh?

      If you think my physics is weird you are welcome to write to every reputable science body in the world (who agree with my physics) and explain to them why they are so wrong. Good luck with that :)

      You repeatedly show in your posts you have no idea about the physics on which you so readily pontificate.

      Let me point out another stupid statement you made:

      You said " What tosh! How much heat is delivered by 0.9 W per…

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    8. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, Telstra stuffed my internet connection yesterday, so I cannot send the detailed reply I had prepared (from this internet cafe), but let me note here that you are wrong about the kettle. In brief, it requires 50 Watts to get a kettle to boil in 3 minutes, and you cannot get that from the insolation reaching just the area of the kettle, which is much less than 1 sq.metre. Check and get back to me.

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    9. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Yet another "Dog ate my homework" excuse from Tim Curtin to avoid dealing with his errors in climate science and now he seeks to reframe a stupid statement he made in order to obfuscate. Quelle Surprise!

      Tim - your original reference to a kettle boiling was pretty stupid to begin with as a pathetic attempt to suggest 0.9 Wm-2 was not significant- but if you meant an ACTUAL kettle then you are more stupid than I thought.

      Please be assured though - NO ONE is claiming climate change will boil…

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    10. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      I said "What tosh! How much heat is delivered by 0.9 W per sq. metre? Not enough to boil a kettle!" to which you gave an incorrect reply: “Well Tim the correct answer is talk about how much power is involved and the answer is 459 Terra Watts of power or 459,000,000,000,000 Joules every second.”

      Actually, a typical kettle needs 1,000 Watts to boil for an hour, and 50 Watts to get to boil for the 3 minutes needed for one pot of tea. Moreover most kettles are less than a square metre in area, so…

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    11. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Usual rubbish and iditioc errors from Tim Curtin showing he has no idea.

      Tim - water needs 4.19 Joules per gram of energy to heat it one degree.

      That means 1 litre at 20 degrees C (room temp) needs 335.2 Kilojoules to take it to 100 degrees C (boiling point).

      50 Watts of power is 50 Joules per second - so it would take a kettle at 50 W 6704 seconds to boil the water -(assuming no heat loss to the surrounding air). That's about 1 hour 52 minutes.

      Don't know where you get your 3 minutes from but it's utter rubbish - like all the rest of your posts on this topic

      (P.S. no doubt you used your "statistics" to do this clacluation? You really are a dunce and not worth further discussion)

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  31. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Harrigan

    I agree, you are not worth debating, as you lack all of basic courtesy, intelligence, and competence, (e.g. your total lack of any capacity to undertake statistical analysis like LSR)*.

    When you show you can do that, I shall be glad to resume discussion with you.

    Regards

    Tim
    * for examples of how that is done, go to
    www.timcurtin.com

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim Curtin has lost the debate.

      He can't even correctly calculate the power requirements to boil a kettle of water.

      He doesn't understand what a greenhouse gas is or the difference between radiative transfer and heat.

      He's incapable of reading a table correctly in the IPCC report or understanding what it means and doesn;t appreciate the difference between Long Lives Green House Gases and Water Vapour.

      He has no conception of how the current energy imbalance impacts the climate.

      He…

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