Airbourne fraction (again, again)

Still no new science (is there any? Jules and James didn’t find much to post about at EGU), but Tamino posted on AF, which prompted me to look up some of my earlier posts. Tamino shows the CO2 growth rate from 1960, and they look upwards, which was rather less obvious when I drew them from 1990 on.

If you want to think happy thoughts, you can notice that the dCO2 rates are ~a bit less than 2 ppm on average, which is to say rather closer to 0.5% than 1% (1% gets you CO2 doubling in 70 years; but even 0.5% will get us above 600 ppm by the end of this century).

Update: this is an experiment (in two senses). Firstly, can I make a paypal “donate” button? And secondly, will anyone use it ;-? Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t.


To the lakes with the children for a little relaxation out of the flow of normal time, or so it seems from up there. My aunt lives in Torpenhow, a village so small it only just about has a wikipedia article. Its to the north west of the park, beyond Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw, looking out towards the Solway Firth and Scotland. Anyway, the only minor item of interest to the outside world is that I finally climbed Helvellyn via Striding Edge.


And very pleasant it was too, though it can’t begin to compare with the Stubai.

Also there was Allonby beach (or whatever it is really called; the bay near Maryport) and the Darling Infants:

DSC_6071-allonby-beach DSC_6072-chapel-allonby DSC_6054-d-e

ps: Yes I haven’t forgotten the sea ice. Sorry.

Gaddafi must go

An unusually forthright statement by our Glorious Leaders:

it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power. The International Criminal Court is rightly investigating the crimes committed against civilians and the grievous violations of international law. It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government. The brave citizens of those towns that have held out against forces that have been mercilessly targeting them would face a fearful vengeance if the world accepted such an arrangement. It would be an unconscionable betrayal. Furthermore, it would condemn Libya to being not only a pariah state, but a failed state too. Gaddafi has promised to carry out terrorist attacks against civilian ships and airliners. And because he has lost the consent of his people any deal that leaves him in power would lead to further chaos and lawlessness. We know from bitter experience what that would mean. Neither Europe, the region nor the world can afford a new safe haven for extremists. There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya: a future without Gaddafi that preserves Libya’s integrity and sovereignty and restores her economy and the prosperity and security of her people. This needs to begin with a genuine end to violence, marked by deeds, not words. The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging, including Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zintan, and its forces return to their barracks. However, so long as Gaddafi is in power, Nato and its coalition partners must maintain their operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds. Then a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process can really begin, led by a new generation of leaders.

I still think that we fouled up rather badly by waiting so long to start, but we seem to be on about the right lines, though we could be more vigourous. It looks fairly stalemate-y on the ground at present, as far as can be judged from the sparse reports. And the rebels are pretty rubbish at actual organised fighting – they look more like Keystone cops, running forward until the first shot then running back just as fast. But that cannot last for too long, and we’ve now committed ourselves (or our leaders have, in our name, and I don’t see any serious opposition) to Gadaffi going. So I expect he will, messily.

Brighton Man

DSCN1835-w-after_crop [Another in a series of posts designed to disguise my failure to come up with a daily sea ice bet. But I’ll get there.]

DSCN1813-hows-your-running The backstory: a while ago, last September, some friends mentioned that they were training for the Brighton Marathon and would I like to run the Grunty Fen half marathon in two weeks time? At that point I’d been running for about half a year (starting from “rowing and running, but I should add that I’d been fairly fit before then) so I said yes. Since then I’ve pulled my half marathon score down from 1:51 to 1:41, and done some training runs out to 32k, which is 3/4 of the real distance. But now it was time to do the Real Thing.
Continue reading “Brighton Man”

Muller is rubbish

But he isn’t a tosser. I’m sure he’ll be glad to know that.

Which Mullah do I mean? I mean Richard Muller (who has one of the worst-looking websites in the known universe, beaten only in my personal experience by TimeCube and (of course) Lubos). Muller is running the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST, geeddit?) project. By now you’ll have guessed I’m a bit cynical about all this, but don’t give up on me yet, I’ll not trouble you with any of the funding stuff, Eli is good for snark and mt has some good stuff too and Tamino pokes gentle fun.

Anyway, the back story (which I can’t be bothered to document) was that Muller, known for his contrarian views on GW {{cn}}, got funding to do a re-analysis of the instrumental temperature record. Everyone who was anyone (scientifically) knew that if he did it honestly he’d get the same answer as HadCRU, GISS, and anyone else who ever did it honestly {{cn}}. But the niggling question was, of course, in that case why bother do it? Apart from the fame and the money, of course. And while he had some good people on his team (Rohde) he also had some wackos (Curry). And the wackos were puffing him up no end.

But the interim result (his congressional testimony) is dull: groundbreaking work along the lines of:

Our results are shown in
the Figure; we see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported
by the other groups. We have also studied station quality. Many US stations have low quality rankings according to a study led by Anthony Watts. However, we find that the warming seen in the “poor” stations is virtually indistinguishable from that seen in the “good” stations.

and consensus-busting assessments along the lines of:

Prior groups at NOAA, NASA, and in the UK (HadCRU) estimate about a 1.2 degree C land temperature rise from the early 1900s to the present. This 1.2 degree rise is what we call global warming. Their work is excellent, and the Berkeley Earth project strives to build on it.

(my bold, put in there because some people missed it).

So, in outline, whenever he has been confronted by real results, Muller has managed to get the right answer, just like everyone else. Well done that man! (though, as WE points out, the 1.2 oC is a bit dodgy.

Why then is he rubbish?

Because he is still basically clueless about climate science. The continuation of his quote just above is:

Human caused global warming is somewhat smaller. According to the most recent IPCC report (2007), the human component became apparent only after 1957, and it amounts to “most” of the 0.7 degree rise since then. Let’s assume the human-caused
warming is 0.6 degrees.

I think he is getting this from the AR4 SPM, which indeed says Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations though I’m not sure where he gets 1957 from. This is infelicitous phrasing from the IPCC, but the real answer is just a few lines lower and is more explicit: It is likely that increases in greenhouse gas concentrations alone would have caused more warming than observed because volcanic and anthropogenic aerosols have offset some warming that would otherwise have taken place. And indeed, you can see that from the figure just below the text that Muller is (presumably) paraphrasing, that natural forcing since 1950 is slightly downward.

So Muller hasn’t bothered to read the IPCC report, or even talk to Rohde, which is a bit more worrying. Presumably due to physics-arrogance (the existence of which I’ve always found bizarre. When I was at university, the mathematicians looked down on the physicists :-). And because of that he goes on to make up his own numbers “Let’s assume the human-caused warming is 0.6 degrees”, which he then goes on to use in order to boost his own funding “The magnitude of this temperature rise is a key scientific and public policy concern. A 0.2 degree uncertainty puts the human component between 0.4 and 0.8 degrees – a factor of two uncertainty. Policy depends on this number. It needs to be improved.”

About the only point of all this would be for the septics and denialists to be finally convinced because “one of their own” has done it. But of course they are just going to disown him instead, so it appears to be a complete waste of time. Perhaps the more rational skeptics-with-a-k might listen, though. Anyone got any evidence that they are?

ps: It is a bit of a shame the Muller is going public with all this before publications or indeed the famed open-source code he intends to produce is actually available. Quite whose fault that is I don’t know. I’m sure Muller will be able to blame the congress-critters if he wants to.

[Update. There is a bit more of Muller showing that he is rubbish in a transcript of a radio interview NPR, April 11, 2011. Lets look at some bits: CONAN: And is it accurate to describe you as a climate change skeptic? Prof. MULLER: I don’t think so. I’m just a scientist. People want to pigeonhole everybody in this field just to simplify the argument… (etc)… So, Muller objects to being in the Skeptic camp. Indeed, he objects to the pigeon holing. But only when it is him being pigeon-holed, because we continue with CONAN: …the suggestion that some of your colleagues, who might be described as warmists, were cherry-picking their data… at which point Muller makes no objection to use of “warmists”.

Continuing: CONAN: How much of that is attributable to humans? … Prof. MULLER: Yes, yes. It’s us… Temperature has been rising over the last 100 years. That’s pretty clear. How much is due to varying solar activity and how much due to humans is a scientific issue that we’re trying to address OK, so Brownie points: T is going up, and “It’s us”. However how much due to humans is a scientific issue that we’re trying to address isn’t true – Muller isn’t addressing the question of attribution at all. If he thinks he is, he is clueless. And lest you think “we” in this context is scientists in general, he continues I have created a new project here in Berkeley – we call it Berkeley Earth – that is doing a reexamination of the global warming issue. We are addressing all of the issues that have been raised. That is utter bollocks. He is addressing only one, very small issue.

And as for Anthony Watts… I regard him as a hero in this business. – don’t make me vomit.]


* Picture This – Blondie
* Krugman
* mt on Muller’s snake oil
* Tamino
*Muller in SciAm – still rubbish