Aiiee, the stupid, it burns!

There is an absolutely classic WUWT piece of stupidity up from Joe Bastardi (h/t QS, who has been annoying me with ZOD nonsense recently). Sometimes, it is nice to find a small simple easily understood issue which demonstrates how clueless the septics are.

And the quote is:

Nor am I going to question them as to why they believe a trace gas like CO2 (needed for life on the planet) with a specific gravity of 1.5 as compared to the atmospheres 1.0, was going to mix with air in a way to affect the earth’s temperatures

(bear in mind that isn’t all that is wrong with the article, only the stupidest).

Some of the commenters notice the problem: “Brian Macker says: January 19, 2012 at 5:24 am Joe, Are you claiming that if we measure CO2 levels at altitude that we will find lower percentages than at sea level? That’s what it sounds like.

Bastardi’s point is stupid on a number of levels. Most obviously, if CO2 was going to separate, so would O2 and N2, and argon, and… well, lots of stuff. That doesn’t happen, and the answer is turbulent mixing. Its not a difficult answer, and you can find stuff in the AMS glossary. Or, you can just look up CO2 variation with height (e.g. Concentration variations of atmospheric CO 2 over Syowa Station …. There is a similar septic talking point as to “how can CFC’s cause the ozone hole when they are heavier than air” and the answer is the same: (a) mixing and (b) measurement.

One of the commenters even finds some data: “Alistair Ahs says: January 19, 2012 at 6:00 am Further, on your point about the mass of a CO2 molecule, when compared to N2, a quick google search shows up a research paper by Waleter Bischoff (1961), who made a number of measurements of CO2 at different heights above Scandinavia. He *did* find that on average the concentration of CO2 declined with height, but the rate of this decline is really quite modest – from the highest value of 318ppm below 200m to the lowest value of 312ppm at near to 3km. I haven’t read that, but I’d guess this is more to do with CO2 sources at ground level not being immeadiately mixed. There definitely is slight variation in CO2 around the world – but the variation isn’t important for talking about the greenhouse effect.

And then lots of other people point out to Bastardi that he has got it wrong – all of them polite and respectful, indeed one gets the impression that they find it hard to believe that “their man” has got it so hopelessly wrong.

So Joe Bastardi replies at January 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

You folks that are coming at me about co2 sg, apparently dont understand that simply put, it does not mix well with air. There was just an article about that here on WUWT.

Yes, that’s right: even when it has been carefully explained to him by his own side, he is still not capable of thinking.


* A Word to the Resourceful
* Another Bastardi Failed Prediction
* Chatting with the climate scientist Newt dissed (h/t KK)

44 thoughts on “Aiiee, the stupid, it burns!”

  1. Seems to me that if CO2 didn’t mix well and because of its weight stayed close to the ground it would collect in places like basements displacing the lighter stuff in the atmosphere like oxygen.

    In Bastardi’s universe basements are very dangerous places!

    [It might be fun to carry through the analysis carefully: what would be at the bottom – CFCs? And how thick would the various layers be? -W]


  2. Come on William, just because somebody happens to reject consensus reality isn’t any reason to go all insulting on him…

    /me runs

    [You cruisin’ for a brusin’? -W]


  3. William writes,

    “Sometimes, it is nice to find a small simple easily understood issue which demonstrates how clueless the septics are.”

    Do you think it also reveals a certain stupidity to generalise from a single remark by a non-expert to skeptics generally?

    [No surprise to see you defending JB’s stupidity. You do accept that it shows his ignorance of the subject he is trying to discuss, yes?

    I think it is good that his mistake is so gross that even the commenters there manage to notice, even if AW didn’t. But many, clearly, haven’t noticed. As for calling JB a non-expert: well yes, clearly he is indeed clueless. But he is arrogant enough, nonetheless, to post his nonsense, so clearly he thinks he is an expert. And don’t you think it was delightful that even when this was pointed out, he still persisted? That is very typical of the septic types: there is no way to make them see reality -W]


  4. >Do you think it also reveals a certain stupidity to generalise from a single remark by a non-expert to skeptics generally?

    The stupidity rests squarely on Bastardi (and those ‘sceptics’ like him of whom there are many) who feel it within their right to pontificate from a position of ignorance rather than feeling it incumbent upon them to find out and impart the true facts. Unless of course deception and lies are the intent all along.

    However, a more interesting question to me would be the who/where and even how these memes of stupidity are devised and propagated. I’ve no doubt that Bastardi and the even more reading impaired will staunchly maintain their incorrect beliefs even after correct information is provided.


  5. Do you think it also reveals a certain stupidity to generalise from a single remark by a non-expert to skeptics generally?

    If that was just “a single remark” that William happened to overhear on the bus, you might have a point. But it was one of many, many similarly stupid remarks that appear more or less constantly on the most widely read septic website of all.

    No, not all “skeptics” are as bad as the median WUWT blogger/commenter. But taken en masse, the movement has a general tendency to quibble over tiny details of the mainstream view of climate change, while tolerating or even promoting all kinds of breathtaking nonsense from its own side. For example:

    * CO2 is not a greenhouse gas
    * CO2 is coming from the oceans
    * CO2 is coming from millions of submarine volcanoes
    * CO2 is not well-mixed in the atmosphere
    * Beck’s archival CO2 measurements show CO2 isn’t rising
    * CO2 measurements in the ice cores are unreliable
    * The time lag between temperature & CO2 in ice cores shows that CO2 doesn’t affect temperature
    * Longwave radiation from the atmosphere can’t warm the surface
    * AGW violates the second law of thermodynamics
    * Venus is hot because of gravity, not greenhouse gases
    * Global warming on Mars/Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto shows that global warming on Earth isn’t anthropogenic
    * The observed recent warming is caused by the sun
    * … or it’s caused by Milankovich Cycles
    * … or it’s caused by galactic cosmic rays
    * … or it’s caused by internal heat from the Earth
    * … or it’s just an artifact of improper siting of meteorological stations
    * … or it’s just an artifact of “adjustments” of the temperature data
    * … or it’s just an artifact of errors in the satellite SST data
    * … or it’s just an artifact of mysterious, natural, long-period cycles
    * … or it’s not actually happening because it was cold and/or snowy at Point X on Date Y
    * … or it’s not actually happening because there was slightly less Arctic sea ice in 2007 than in 2011
    * … or it’s not actually happening because somewhere on Earth there’s a glacier that isn’t retreating
    * … or it’s not actually happening because I detest the idea of paying a carbon tax when I fill up my SUV
    * … or it’s not actually happening because I don’t like Al Gore, Bill McKibben, or Greenpeace

    Does anyone here doubt that the vast majority of the content posted at WUWT and other popular “skeptic” sites could be filed under one or another of those categories?


  6. William,

    I am not defending JB; in fact I know practically nothing about him. I am not defending AW either.

    [It is interesting that you think knowing something about him is relevant to defending his ideas. I note too that you’ve declined my invitation to actually comment on his idea. Would you like another go? Or do you find yourself unclear on the underlying science and reluctant to comment? -W]

    But it sure would be more interesting to see discussion of serious skeptic ideas – and then see if you can still claim that these ideas are stupid.

    [Are there any serious skeptic ideas? You can try to point some out, if you like -W]

    Incidentally, I read a very interesting paper:

    Chung, C. E. and P. Räisänen, 2011: Origin of the Arctic warming in climate models, GRL, VOL. 38, L21704, doi:10.1029/2011GL049816.

    [Are you proposing that as a serious skeptic idea? It doesn’t appear to be -W]


  7. Do you think it also reveals a certain stupidity to generalise from a single remark by a non-expert to skeptics generally?

    You’d have a point if that was just a stray remark William happened to overhear on the bus … instead of being a guest post on the most popular septic website.

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to be associated with the very large proportion of “skeptics” who are willing to accept all kinds of crazy ideas as long as they are very very not IPCC. But you can’t wave a magic wand and make WUWT etc. disappear.

    (This is the condensed version of a rather longer response that seems to have been diverted into moderation….)


  8. 254 Iodine (I2) 0.00000001
    131 Xenon (Xe) 0.0000000896
    84 Krypton (Kr) 0.0000011354
    48 Ozone (O3) 0.0000000349
    46 Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) 0.0000000199
    44 Carbon dioxide (CO2) 0.000388424
    40 Argon (Ar) 0.0093022565
    40 Nitrous oxide (N2O) 0.0000002988
    32 Oxygen (O2) 0.2086135599
    28 Nitrogen (N2) 0.7776845798
    28 Carbon monoxide (CO) 0.0000000996
    20 Neon (Ne) 0.0000181065
    18 Water vapor (H2O) 0.0039838358
    16 Methane (CH4) 0.0000017828
    4 Helium (He) 0.0000052188
    2 Hydrogen (H2) 0.0000005478

    Now converting to height with exponential pressure decay. Not quite sure how or if it is worth doing calcs but the CO2 and Argon would presumably be lethal to animals close to sea level. I’ll also let someone else work out if most of the other trace gasses fit (and possibly sink?) into dead sea region? 😉


  9. William,

    All I have is an out of context remark that appears to dispute that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere.

    [No, the remark is not out of context. And I’ve provided you with a link to the post, so you can check that yourself. And whilst the original remark is indeed ambiguous, the later clarification that he makes – and which I also quoted – makes his intent fully clear. So, you’re still making excuses for JB. Which is odd, because you don’t know him. But you do know which “side” he’s on, don’t you? -W]

    You already know I am not a scientist, so why so keen to expose this? I have observed that no serious scientist disputes that various gases – like CO2, CH4 & N2O – are well mixed in the atmosphere.

    [Sigh. Still not able to commit yourself on so simple a fact, which can be verified by so simple thought on your part? You are so grossly partisan, it is funny -W]

    Although not perfectly mixed:

    [Yes, jolly well done. Like I said already There definitely is slight variation in CO2 around the world – but the variation isn’t important for talking about the greenhouse effect -W]

    On Chung & Räisänen 2011, well it’s a very serious paper by respected authors (e.g. Chung has collaborated with Ramanathan).

    And it discusses a serious skeptic idea – namely Lindzen’s Iris hypothesis and the Lindzen/Choi theory. And considers that their result could “provide some support to the findings of Lindzen and Choi [2009] who argue that at low latitudes the real feedback is less positive than in climate models (or even negative), with the implication that models overestimate the global climate sensitivity.”

    [I could talk about L+C, but don’t feel particularly interested. RC has several useful posts on the subject, if you’re interested -W]


  10. Ok, what we have here is two possible stupidities

    a. fractionation by mass requires very low pressures. EINACS, but somewhere about 100 km altitude it sets in. Completely irrelevant to Bastardi’s dead herring

    b. CO2 does not mix immediately so you have variations in concentration where there are ground sources, but as soon as you get up a bit in the trop it is well mixed. True there are some NH SH differences, winter/summer etc but for practical purposes this is another dead herring


  11. Let me ‘splain a little for you, Alex, as you seem in desperate need:

    The models incorporate dozens, maybe hundreds, of feedback factors, estimates of the magnitude of which have and will continue to have error bars. Is the net cloud feedback to warming in the tropics one of those? You bet. Is it a “serious skeptic idea” that the tropical cloud feedback may be less positive than currently thought, affecting model sensitivity? No. Is it a “serious skeptic idea” that the tropical cloud feedback may be so sttongly negative as to stabilize climate to a meaningful degree? No, because it’s not in any way serious. The “evidence” provided for such a thing has not stood up to careful examination, and there’s a huge pile of evidence (e.g. virtually everything we know about paleoclimate) the other way.

    As for Lindzen himself, bear in mind that he has carefully avoided answering questions like “How is such a strong negative feedback compatible with the Pleistocene glacial cycles?”. In my opinion, that makes him a fraud. It also makes you a liar or a tool, but clearly you don’t care.

    I should note that there’s a bit more room for a more negative tropical cloud feedback when we’re talking fast-feedback (Charney) sensitivity rather than slow-feedback (equilibrium or Earth System) sensitivity, but even there the speed of the deglaciations e.g. imposes a sharp constraint. The sort of evidence-free special pleading needed to make an argument that there should be a strong negative feedback under present circumstances but not those is something that should fail to interest even the likes of you.


  12. >Do you think it also reveals a certain stupidity to generalise from a single remark by a non-expert to skeptics generally?

    So Joe Bastardi is a non-expert?? He supposedly has a degree in meteorology and sells himself as an expert weather forecaster. How can he not understand the atmosphere at all and still claim to understand the weather?


  13. This is REALLY, REALLY BASIC physics: gases don’t fractionate in the lower few dozen kilometers of the atmosphere because the mean free path between molecules is many orders of magnitude smaller than the length scale of turbulent motions.

    Such REALLY, REALLY BASIC principles provide effective “markers” to indicate whether someone is sufficiently informed for their comments on a given subject to be taken seriously. Much like a biologist who doesn’t know what DNA is, or a physicist who thinks atoms are indivisible.


  14. I love the conspiracy theory post, where first, they quote Cass Sunstein out of context (if one actually reads his paper, one finds that he argues _against_ government suppression of free speech, which you’d never know by reading the top post or any of the comments), and where the comments promptly degenerate into WUWT conspiracy theorists going at it about “Barry Soebarkah” and the fact that he was never “naturalized” as a US citizen (duh – because he was born here) and Akers and Obama’s election to the Harvard Law Review and every other Obama conspiracy… thereby pretty much proving Sunstein’s point that once conspiracy theorists detach from reality, they keep moving further and further due to “crippled epistemology”.

    There might be legitimate arguments to counter Sunstein’s suggestions in his paper, but WUWT will never get there because they are too busy making up crazy stuff (much like there are legitimate uncertainties in climate science, but WUWT-ites are too busy with “CO2 is heavier than air” and “the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, it is all gravity” and “the temperature records is totally manipulated” and “we never didn’t believe that the globe was warming, except when we did”…).

    [I think that last point is a good one; WUWT is too lost in nonsense to ever talk about the real issues of climate science -W]


  15. Steve Bloom, it is simply not true that Lindzen has carefully avoided discussion of Pleistocene climate change. In fact, much of his research in the 80s and 90s was concerned with precisely this question.

    [Sounds implausible. In fact I think its twaddle. But I did a google search to check and, yes, you’re wrong -W]

    The LC11 paper makes it clear that Lindzen disputes that the globally averaged temperatures actually change a whole lot in the glacial-interglacial transitions. Given the difficulties in measuring global average temperatures in the instrumental period, I find it amazing that scientists claim to be so sure they know the relative global average warmth in the last glacial maximum. While intuitively you would expect an ice age to be colder in the global average, there are reasons to believe they may not have been. So perhaps you can help me here. What makes you so sure that we know?

    [This is weird. You’re arguing strongly from personal incredulity, yet previously your ignorance is such that you don’t really know whether CO2 is well mixed or not. So clearly your own ability to judge any of this is negligible. The exact temperature change during LGM is indeed a matter of active research, but I think you need to start with the basics -W]


  16. The paper of Chung & Räisänen discusses poleward heat transport in climate models vs. a reanalysis dataset. They find that summertime arctic warming is vertically uniform in the climate models but is observed to be more concentrated near the surface in the ERA Interim reanalysis, and infer that the models overestimate heat transport into the arctic. They conclude:

    Assuming that the forcing is represented correctly, the implication is that either (1) the model‐simulated net feedback is too large (i.e. too positive) at low latitudes (<60°N), or (2) the feedback is too small (i.e. too negative) in the Arctic, or both.

    They also state:

    If the models simulate climate feedbacks correctly, the indication is that models have significantly incorrect climate forcing. Since GHG forcing is well established, the problem is likely in how the models treat aerosol effects. In this scenario, the real aerosol forcing might be significantly positive in the Arctic and significantly negative outside of the Arctic, while the models miss this feature entirely.

    The relation between heat transport and polar amplification has been examined by other researchers, including Hwang, Frierson, and Kay (GRL, 2011), who found that models with the strongest amplification have the strongest polar feedbacks, but that there was little relation between changes in energy transport and arctic amplification.

    My understanding (as an atmospheric scientist, but not someone who does climate dynamics) is that Chung & Räisänen have found that the models used—which are now one generation older than the current set of climate models, and in general do not represent aerosols as well as more recent models—are overestimating heat transport into the arctic, but that they cannot ascertain a cause for this. To me, it seems unlikely that arctic amplification is caused by negative tropical feedbacks, except in a relative sense in which the tropics warm very little while the arctic warms more.

    I do find it odd that in their figure 4, which compares model to reanalysis temperature trends, they include the past decade of strong arctic warming in the reanalysis trends, while the 20th century model runs only have data available up to 2000.

    [That will be a laziness artifact of using C20C type runs which only went up to 2000, and not pasting on the extra 10 years from another run -W]


  17. Alex, do you even realise what the claim that global average temperatures may well not have been as low during the last ice age as scientists think?

    I’ll give you a hint: we KNOW where the ice sheets were located. If the ice ages were not as cold as we currently think, that would mean that the earth reacts violently to much smaller temperature changes. Which, in turn, should make us really, really, really worried about the projected temperature increases, even if those are as small as Lindzen claims!


  18. [I’ve moved a long digression about LGM off into The Burrow (and moved the Burrow up, so it is nice and findable. Please continue any discussion there (all of you). IMHO anyone who doesn’t know enough about the atmosphere to know that CO2 is well mixed really doesn’t know enough to talk meaningfully about the LGM -W]


  19. ?[I think that last point is a good one; WUWT is too lost in nonsense to ever talk about the real issues of climate science -W]”

    See Krugman, P.

    “Let me instead go meta; this is an example of why policy debate is so frustrating, and why I’m not polite. The key thing about how the conservative movement handles debate is that it never gives up an argument, no matter how often and how thoroughly it has been refuted. Oh, there will be more sophisticated arguments made too; but the zombie lies will be rolled out again and again, with little or no pushback from the “respectable” wing of the movement.

    In comments and elsewhere I fairly often encounter the pearl-clutchers, who want to know why I can’t politely disagree, since we’re all arguing in good faith, right? “Wrong.


  20. William, William, William… look at yourself. Trying to be all reasonable and evidence based and serious. And blasting poor stupid folk for being stupid. Don’t you see how nasty and arrogant that makes you look?


  21. The exact temperature change during LGM is indeed a matter of active research, but I think you need to start with the basics

    There’s also a funny way in which these discussions of temperature change from the LGM to the Holocene kind of miss the point. The Schmittner paper is a nice example of this. Let’s say you accept the claim that the LGM temperatures were only a couple of degrees lower than today. That doesn’t alter the fact that this change of just a couple degrees was sufficient to entirely destroy vast continental ice sheets, raise sea levels by 120 m (!) and alter precipitation regimes and ecosystems across many parts of the land surface.

    So climate sensitivity is lower. But that just means that the sensitivity of the Earth system to changes in global temperature must be correspondingly higher. Should we really be reassured by the conclusion that a ~2 C change in global temperatures led to a 120 meter sea level rise?

    In other words, you can’t argue for strong negative feedbacks in the climate system by citing a slightly lower climate sensitivity or temperature change at the LGM. In terms of actual stuff that people care about — was my county buried under 2km of ice? did sea level change by a hundred meters? — the planet looked radically different in many regions.

    Now, if Chip K. and Pat M. can somehow disprove the existence of Pleistocene glacial/interglacial cycles, I might buy the argument about “negative feedbacks”. Until then, not so much.

    [But its not really the point I think. The septics are easily refuted on the easy arguments. The tactic is then to move onto more complex arguments – like ice age temperatures – where they can also be refuted, but more complexly. At that point normal people get lost in the crossfire -W]


  22. William, #14,

    You write, “your ignorance is such that you don’t really know whether CO2 is well mixed or not”. I find that an interesting conclusion. I did indicate that he is wrong. But I suppose I refrained from judgemental name-calling and felt in fairness I probably should firstly try to understand what he is saying, but frankly have no interest. So if I shouted loudly, “Hah! Look what an IDIOT he is!”, would you regard as an indication of higher than expected intelligence?

    Regarding Lindzen, I would think that scanning article titles in Google Scholar is not the same as actually reading them – and you clearly didn’t do that.

    In the context of the history of Lindzen’s thought, it appears that his belief in a self stabilising climate came in the first instance from consideration of the earth’s history.

    Some of the most important papers for Steve Bloom to read first are:

    R.S. Lindzen and B. Farrell (1977). Some realistic modifications of simple climate models. J. Atmos. Sci., 34, 1487-1501.

    R.S. Lindzen and B. Farrell (1980). The role of polar regions in global climate, and the parameterization of global heat transport. Mon. Wea. Rev., 108, 2064-2079.

    R.S. Lindzen, A.Y. Hou and B.F. Farrell (1982). The role of convective model choice in calculating the climate impact of doubling CO2. J. Atmos. Sci., 39, 1189-1205.

    R.S. Lindzen (1986). A simple model for 100 thousand years oscillations in glaciation. J. Atmos. Sci., 43, 986-996.

    R.S. Lindzen (1988) CO2 feedbacks and the 100K year cycle. Meteorol. Atmos. Phys., 38, 42-49.

    R.S. Lindzen and A.Y. Hou (1988). Hadley circulations for zonally averaged heating centered off the equator. J. Atmos. Sci., 45, 2416-2427.

    Hou, A.Y. and R.S. Lindzen (1992) The influence of concentrated heating on the Hadley circulation. J. Atmos. Sci., 49, 1233-1241.

    R.S. Lindzen (1993) Paleoclimate sensitivity. Nature, 363, 25-26.

    R.S. Lindzen (1993) Climate dynamics and global change. Ann. Rev. Fl. Mech., 26, 353-378.

    Kirk-Davidoff, D. and R.S. Lindzen (1994) Meridional heat fluxes inferred from past climates and implications for the tropical heat budget. (unpublished)

    R.S. Lindzen, R.S., and W. Pan (1994) A note on orbital control of equator-pole heat fluxes. Clim. Dyn., 10, 49-57.


  23. re: 20
    ‘[But its not really the point I think. The septics are easily refuted on the easy arguments. The tactic is then to move onto more complex arguments – like ice age temperatures – where they can also be refuted, but more complexly. At that point normal people get lost in the crossfire -W]’

    That is one subset of a general approach, whose end goal is to generate confusion by taking any simple discussion somewhere that most of the audience really cannot follow or would take too much effort to follow.
    For example:

    1) Involved theoretical physics derivations that prove Greenhouse Effect nonexistent, etc.

    2) Statistics. M&M — Wegman Report was good example.
    Scafetta’s cycles may be another.

    3) Ascribing something to researchers, without giving a clear citation or one likely to be accessible. Preferably researchers wrote in something other than English or about places that are very far away.


  24. The tone of Bastardi’s reply to his WUWT critics suggests another explanation .


    He does sound a lot more like a professional wrestler than an amateur climate scientist:

    “Joe Bastardi says:
    January 19, 2012 at 9:28 am
    Look, the most damming evidence is the amazing drop in mid trop temps. This is above the boundary layer and it would figure the response against the normal would wait. Moreover, Dr Maue’s site was showing temps through December to be running pretty close to what december turned out to be.
    You folks that are coming at me about co2 sg, apparently dont understand that simply put, it does not mix well with air. There was just an article about that here on WUWT. So how do you explain the very level that is supposed to be evidence of the GHG trapping hot spot, 400 mb, has plummeted in almost perfect timing with the la nina that came on. How do you explain, the response now evident in the global temps. And by the way, this is astounding, the Northern hemisphere between 25 and 75 n over a degree below normal, and forecasted to go to 2 below normal. You cant just blow that off, especially when you can see what temps have done in relation to the PDO in the past, and the fact that they have leveled off the last 15 years even as co2 has marched up.

    So why is it you demand that I listen to your points, and then say, none of the opposite points that are occurring matter? Why is it that a simple test with objective data over the next 30 years, not proxy tree rings ( btw there is no “hockey stick in China as they have shown.. so I guess its everywhere else) or super Nino hansen readjusting temps, cant be the objective arbiter of this argument And by the way, isnt wishing for el ninos to warm the global temps in effect and admission that its the pacific that is in large part controlling the climate. Are you trying to say the minute amount of co2 in the atmosphere is controlling the tropical pacific temps.

    It boggles the mind that you ask me to accept such things, when all I ask is we objectively measure right and wrong.”


  25. [… The tactic is then to move onto more complex arguments – like ice age temperatures – where they can also be refuted, but more complexly. At that point normal people get lost in the crossfire -W]

    Yep, undoubtedly so. OTOH I’m not so sure that the ice age temperature argument isn’t an “easy” one. I’ve been using it (admittedly to a Finnish audience, which may be relevant), saying (like J):

    if five degrees back then produced an entirely different planet [visualizing with both hands how many copies of the landmark Pasila link tower on top of each other the ice was thick here over Helsinki], then what do you think even two degrees would do?

    Now substitute:

    if three degrees back then produced an entirely different planet […].

    Sometimes the septics just ain’t thinking.

    [Sometimes ;-? -W]


  26. The tone of Bastardi’s reply to his WUWT critics suggests another explanation .


    That’s funny. I thought exactly the same thing when reading Bastardi’s piece this morning. And I’ve read his stuff and watched his presentations many times before, but never thought about the link with steroids.

    Not that it matters.


  27. Martin, this is an absurd argument you are making. It seems to be either unaware of (or to deliberate obfuscate on) the fact that (a) the ice sheets are particularly sensitive to changes in summer insolation (which are huge in the orbital scale) and not to globally averaged radiative forcing (which is tiny in the same), e.g. Roe 2006; Huybers 2011; and (b) that it is now recognised that climate sensitivity is probably not the same now (interglacial) as it was at the LGM (interglacial) anyway (e.g. [tut tut – rm, WMC]; Kohler et al. 2009). And if you think about the importance of the ice sheet feedback in the glacial-interglacial transitions, this is kind of obvious. I.e. when you have an earth covered by ice and all white, it is easy to change the albedo by removing that ice and making the planet all blue & green. On the other hand, now that that ice has already been removed (interglacial), it can’t be removed again, so the ice-albedo feedback is a minor player. So, (referring to (a)), your concern about ice sheets is irrelevant anyway and seems unaware of the actual mechanism that removes the ice (insolation changes corresponding to a tiny change in orbital scale forcing); and (referring to (b)), climate sensitivity now is likely to be much less than it was at the LGM anyway. So who exactly is not thinking here?


  28. Sorry, Chinese New Year here and too much wine. I should have said “NH ice sheets sensitive to NH summer insolation”. And regarding “…not to globally averaged radiative forcing (which is tiny in the same)” – on re-reading I have no idea what “which is tiny in the same” was supposed to mean. The point is simply that ice sheets respond ahead of changes to global averaged forcing (i.e. the CO2 lag) and this is well established in both hemispheres (I’ll give references but I suspect Dr. Connolley is going to edit this dishonestly to change the meaning anyway, or more likely publish the first post but not the correction). And also I obviously meant “glacial” not “interglacial” next to “LGM”.

    But obviously there is a huge positive feedback available when the earth is covered in ice and this is not available now that there’s hardly any ice left – and that’s the main point.


  29. Regarding “more complex arguments” and other items in #20, I ran across a good example of that.
    See p.13 of Heartland E&CN, April 2011, “Arctic Study Finds No Recent Warming.” *

    [Actually, that issue is just packed with goodies, like
    “Craig and Sherwood Idso are among the world‘s most tireless, honest, and ethical scientists.802 They are providing a tremendous service in working to thoughtfully counter the insanity of our global warming delusion and the
    absurdity of the depiction of CO2 as a harmful gas.”]

    * The real paper is:
    Opel, T., Fritzsche, D., Meyer, H., Schutt, R., Weiler, K., Ruth, U., Wilhelms, F. and Fischer, H. 2009. 115 year ice-core data from Akademii Nauk ice cap, Severnaya Zemlya: high-resolution record of Eurasian Arctic climate change.
    Journal of Glaciology 55: 21-31.


  30. re: #28
    yes (but as Hank knows):

    SSWR pp.61-62.
    “Now, Mr. Inslee pointed out that he thinks there is a physical explanation based on a blanket of carbon dioxide in the reflection. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmospheric profile, I don’t know. I am not an atmospheric scientist to know that but presumably if the atmospheric–if the carbon dioxide is close to the surface of the Earth, it is not reflecting a lot of infrared back.”

    That was 07/14/06.
    A week or so later he’d “remembered” high school.


  31. Alex, to someone with a basic understanding of the relevant science your comment 26 makes you sound like a raving lunatic. More politely, it makes you sound like someone who looks into the science in a manner and extent solely designed to bolster pre-determined lines of argument. But now even I’m getting bored, so just a few basic points for you:

    1) We have a bunch of ice remaining, enough to raise sea levels ~70 meters were it all to melt. Why is it not vulnerable?

    2) Just prior to the start of the Pleistocene, about a third of the ice was water, leading to sea levels ~25 meters higher than present. Can you explain why?

    3) Deep freezes like the Pleistocene are at least a rarity in the Phanerozoic, and it’s arguably uniquely extreme (the arguable part has to do with the thin data availability on the Ordovician glaciation ~400 mya, which in any case isn’t very comparable since it was really a different planet at the time). But the chief lesson of the past is that such things don’t last long. Milankovitch cycles are much the same all the time, so how does that happen?


  32. I do find it funny that some septics believe that Co2 is too heavy to get into the upper atmosphere, yet gleefully anticipate major cooling from the next volcanic eruption.

    And no I would not generalise stupidity to all septics based on Joe’s beliefs, but only to those who take his views seriously.


  33. > your comment 26 makes you sound like a raving lunatic

    Steve you seem to think it’s a problem of appearance…

    Alex is doing a textbook example of trying to obfuscate a very simple, basic argument by a sciency-sounding but nonsensical rant. Unfortunately, as WMC has already pointed out, the general public has no way of seeing through that.

    I’ll stop here, as more would deservedly migrate to the Burrow.


  34. “yet gleefully anticipate major cooling from the next volcanic eruption.”

    But volcanoes emit more CO2 than all of humanity’s vehicles (hat tip, Plimer), didn’t you know?


  35. WOW – please see WUWT where ACTUAL SCIENTISTS discuss above topics in a dispassionate, rational way (amusing to see all the non-scientists up-in-arms over other’s qualifications)


  36. “I do find it funny that some septics believe that Co2 is too heavy to get into the upper atmosphere, yet gleefully anticipate major cooling from the next volcanic eruption.”

    No, no, just the ash. There’s no carbon in _that_ part of it, right? :p


  37. …and along comes Ari Jokimaki at SkS to point out a report from 1895 that:

    As compared with the data for the earth’s surface near Stockholm, published by Palmqvist, and those for Wexholni, published by Selanders, the Andrée results, as shown in a table arranged according to the altitudes of the respective layers of air do not prove any diminution of carbonic acid gas with altitude up to the highest point, 4,300 meters, attained in these balloon ascensions. On the other hand the percentages of carbonic acid gas by volume throughout the different strata of air are very much the same as those observed at the surface of the earth. On the average we find in 10,000 volumes at the earth’s surface from 3.03 to 3.20 volumes of carbonic acid gas; at altitiides of 1,000 to 3,000 meters, 3.23 volumes; at altitudes of 3,000 to 4,000 meters, 3.24 volumes.

    Source: Skeptical Science (

    I suspect that the source of the information may have been Nils Ekholm, who was studying at the Stockholm “Hogskola” mentioned elsewhere in the article (and which, moreover, employed Ms. Palmqvist); who was just beginning to publish in 1895; and who knew Andree personally.

    Also there (as faculty member) was Svante Arrhenius, who was collaborating on work with the then-grad student Ekholm. Clearly Arrhenius had hard data on the atmospheric distribution of CO2, as he worked on his famous 1896 paper.

    Much more on Ekholm:


  38. As it turns out, my suspicion was wrong. Tracking back to the source of the 1895 republication revealed that the article came from “Wollny’s Forschungen,” an encyclopedic annual of agricultural physics. Most volumes of Wollny’s have been digitized, and lo, there on page 409 of volume 18 was the original–well, not quite, as it turns out that Wollny was doing a spot of republishing, too.

    But the point is that the author was intrepid balloonist S.A. Andree, who apparently wrote up his own data on CO2 before succumbing to complications of ‘hydrogen-loss denial’ in October of 1897.


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