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« So you don't have to | Main | Dellers on Huhne »
Monday
Feb042013

Revkin does low climate sensitivity

Andy Revkin has taken a long hard look at the trend towards low climate sensitivity estimates and seems to conclude that things are just as the sceptics have said.

I can understand why some climate campaigners, writers and scientists don’t want to focus on any science hinting that there might be a bit more time to make this profound energy transition. (There’s also reluctance, I’m sure, because the recent work is trending toward the published low sensitivity findings from a decade ago from climate scientists best known for their relationships with libertarian groups.)

Nonetheless, the science is what the science is.

It's a must-read.

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Reader Comments (147)

Again not the fault of the well funded right wing illuminati obstructing climate science. When is it, one might ask? ;-)

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterOlaus Petri

Sounds like people rowing back from a early absolute position of climate doom while rather desperately hopping that people will not remember that they where made in the first place .

Sorry but these guys way over sold 'settled science' and overdid the 'insults and smear approach' to support the cause for past claims to be forgotten nor these insults to be excused .

Meanwhile in reality even the 'less wild ' claims look like fallen on their face as the temperatures still fail to raise despite the increases in CO2.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Interesting to see Connolley's take in this.
The sad thing is that hell will freeze before Revkin will even entertain the possibility that Mother Nature is simply doing what Mother Nature has always done and that humanity's contribution — up or down — is minuscule.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Andy Revkin also discusses 'changes in ocean chemistry', as something to be worried about. This subject is a special interest of mine right now.

I've posted this:

'Hi Andy

I'd be very interested to see the actual observational data representing the 'change in ocean chemistry' you mention.

I'm thinking of something like the ocean chemistry equivalent of GISS or HADCRUTx. A substantial database of regular readings taken at many sites over a substantial period. With enough such readings over a sufficient period of time we should be able to understand our ocean chemistry - and any changes - much better.

Can you or your readers point me to it?

Thanks.'


It'll be interesting to see if it passes moderation.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

There's a nice record of ocean chemistry changes here: (NOT)

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/monterey-bay-aquarium-shows-no-change-in-ocean-ph/

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM | Registered Commentersteve ta

And once again there is much handwringing about the "policy message". Not only from bloggers, but the supposed "scientists" themselves. Towhit:

For these reasons, I can understand why some climate campaigners, writers and scientists don’t want to focus on any science hinting that there might be a bit more time to make this profound energy transition.

From William Connelley referring to the scientists:

My feeling, on the “policy” side, is that the “long tail” remains rather convenient and people are reluctant to let it go.


and your own quote:

There’s also reluctance, I’m sure, because the recent work is trending toward the published low sensitivity findings from a decade ago from climate scientists best known for their relationships with libertarian groups.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Interesting take on Gavin's explanation in the updates. I don't think he bought it...

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Sean Houlihane

Gavin is a lapdog. He will not buy it until his lords and masters buy it.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Mike Jackson: "Interesting to see Connolley's take in this." I'm tempted to ask why, but on reflection, why bother? As Connolley (with an e) says, he's willing to shill for Schmidt and Annan.

More amusing is that wikipedia has the following, rather good, description, but it seems to have ended up in the wrong place: "is the philosopher and intellectual (though far more so in the image he has created for himself in the novel's provincial backwater than in reality) who is partly to blame for the revolutionary ideas that fuel the destruction that occurs in the book."

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr Slop

All settled sciences are equal, but some are more settled than others.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Looks like slowly but surely the AGW edifice is breaking apart especially now as the mainstream scientists and newspapers try to get out of it with "lukewarming". See NPR on Polar bears, mainstream IPCC Climate Scientist in Sweden saying its all basically tripe and so on and on ect. Even Google I think is giving up on trying to keep antiAGW stories out of its search engine. Only the AGW diehards will still be around maybe for another year or so. I wonder if any of people responsible for the AGW fraud and keeping the game up at the expense of billions around the world will ever be brought to a Court of Justice (The Hague?)

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterEliza

We told him years ago, but he had not ears to hear. I've long defended Andy's intellectual integrity and curiosity, but the hands over his ears didn't help him. Graciously, his moderation of his blog reflects his curiosity.
=================

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

you have to enjoy the sight of His StoatiEness, trying to blame journalists for the fact that climate science is so poorly represented in the media, trying to distance himself as far as he can from Annan, and also trying to blame everything on "wackos" - he is not a great example of what the ancient universities produce as science graduates.

Where did he do his first degree, if he has one?

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I wouldn't count 3C as low climate sensitivity. But it's a small step in the right direction, acknowledging that very high values are unlikely. Perhaps the start of a long slow climbdown, which will be accompanied by much goalpost-moving and history-rewriting. Revkin still has no clue, regarding Billy Connolley and Gavin as reliable sources of information.

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I think Gavin is misrepresenting Annan's estimate.

Annan's 2.5 deg estimate appears to have been made before including the halt in temperature increase, the reduction of aerosol forcing the increase of black cabon forcing and the discovery of statistics errors in multiple papers.

"Yeah, I should probably have had a tl;dr version, which is that sensitivity is still about 3C.

The discerning reader will already have noted that my previous posts on the matter actually point to a value more likely on the low side of this rather than higher, and were I pressed for a more precise value, 2.5 might have been a better choice even then. But I'd rather be a little conservative than risk being too Pollyanna-ish about it."

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9959776&postID=1573684829816144955

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarkus

kim - you are too generous. I don't see anything approaching integrity or curiousity from Revkin. IMO putting your hands over your ears and eyes, whilst keeping your mouth fully operational, renders you irrelevant as a journalist. Comments like this reinforce it:

"There’s still plenty of global warming and centuries of coastal retreats in the pipeline, .."

A must read? What for?

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

[Snip - venting]

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Update

To Andy Revkin's credit, my post survived moderation unscathed and has been published .

I await any further replies with interest.

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I just read the update from Gavin and, as you might expect, it is fascinating in a Cluedological sense:

Andy, I think you may be slightly misrepresenting where the ‘consensus’ on this issue has been. While there have been occasional papers that have shown a large tail, and some arguments that this is stubborn – particular from constraints based on the modern tranisent changes – there has always been substantial evidence to rule these out. Even going back to the 2-11deg C range found in the initial cpdn results in 2005, many people said immediately that the high end was untenable (for instance).


It recalls the way that climate scientists and Connolley, Hansen et al have been trying to deny that the consensus back in the 1970s was that the world was about to enter a new ice age.

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

just checked wiki...seems that His StoatiEness went to Teddy Hall - so either he caught the rugby ball at his interview or was able to identify a "blade" - not, in themselves, signs of great perspicacity but they would let you get into Teddy Hall.

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Seems to me that those who are trying to rewrite history in vain and futile attempts to show that they were right all along should draw pause from the existence of the Wayback machine.

They should recall that after the BBC spent a lot of effort in a court case to prevent the details of 28gate becoming public, Maurizio Omnologos found it lying around in a Wayback archive anyway. A terrible warning that your words can come back to haunt you.....

Schmidt may have control of the copy of RC that you see today...but that's no guarantee that it wasn't saved somewhere else when it was new. It's rarely the original offence that gets you ...it's the cover-up.
As the vile Huhne has just discovered.

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

How could anyone seriously have ever suggested a sensitivity of more than 2C per doubling? Temperatures have barely risen 1.5C since the end of the little ice-age, when CO2 was about 265ppm:

Nik's long slow thaw graph

It is now at 390ppm. 390/265 = 1.47
So 1.47 gives c. 1.5C warming.
therefore a doubling gives 1.5C x 2/1.47 = 2C.

And that is only if we accept that all the warming from the end of the LIA to present was due to CO2 (very unlikely - did the atmospheric concentration of CO2 decrease from the end of the MWP?) Hence natural variability / long term oceanic or solar cycles are significant. My feeling is that climate sensitivity is only about 0.75C at the most. That or negative feedbacks (increased cloud cover and hence lower insolence kick in very quickly and cancel out the alleged increased GHG effect).

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:33 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Just to be clear, Revkin is a true believer - he and Joe Romm have the same goals. Revkin is simply more of a strategic thinker. Romm speaks only within the echo chamber. Revkin wants to convince the uncommitted middle. Thus, Revkin will carefully backtrack when necessary. And when he does, he always apologizes to his tribe. Note this: "Of course, I may still be exhibiting “reverse tribalism” even by digging in here, but at least I’m stating that up front." Here he's like a Communist party member at a show trial, apologizing for his sins. Reverse tribalism is what they're now calling admitting the truth, in spite of the fact that it makes 'the tribe' look bad. Revkin will always qualify any admission that the consensus orthodoxy may not be correct.

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarkB

Not banned yet. Your name is the clue. Andy did not ban my comments during 2008, when the bitter ones called his place DotKim. Well, he did take out me calling one of his bitter one's body 'the bag of bones that cages your soul'. Heh, I thought it was pretty tame.
================

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The marvelous irony, Iapogus, is in thinking where we would be if man were not responsible for the rise in temperature since the LIA. The children would know what snow is, from walking up hill five miles both ways from school. We are blessed if we did it, and blessed if we didn't.

Next year we'll learn just how blessed be we once sensitivity is better circumscribed.
==================

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

So kim - a journalist allowing a contrary view is something of note? Surely the null reversed?

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Its beginning to look as if Arrhenius (a fellow chemist hem, hem, not a 'climatologist') got the sensitivity about right (1.6-2.1K) in 1907, and it's all been a terrible waste of time, tears, money and MIPS ever since. The results are no more accurate than his.

Perhaps it's because Chemistry is deeply founded in observations, not in theories, while 'Climatology' - and especially climate modelling - is the exact opposite.

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Yes, nby, in my sad and long experience a journalist allowing a contrary view on climate is something of note. And I note Andy.
======

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I took on Eco-alarmer sylvia Tognetti and Eli Rabett (Josh Halpern) with Annan's post here:
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/consensus-what-consensus-the-lie-comes-undone/

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRog Tallbloke

'Nor so large to be a nightmare'. But you promised, Gavin; where are the Wild Things?
=================

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The bottom line of this is that bigger numbers are scary so are more useful to gain 'political' buy-in even if their not supported by the science. Hence the fact that there finding it hard to drop them altogether but at the same time looking to row back from their early silly claims and say face .

But we been here a few times has with the 'settled science ' idea where they attempt to say they never made any such claim in the first place despite all the evidenced then did . It shows how, once you gone down the 1984 route to 'historic accuracy', its easy to make it a habit that is hard to break.

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Surely the alarmists could not fail to be aware that if they always predicted the worst case scenario and kept on exaggerating the threat of global warming, that eventually there would come a day of reckoning. They were knowingly over selling the problem, reality had to intervene eventually, it was inevitable.

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Am I reading it right, that Schmidt regards it as a "nightmare" if climate sensitivity turns out to be low?

Feb 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

NW, I read Revkin to mean a high sensitivity would be the nightmare.
============

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:27 PM | Latimer Alder

Mr Alder,

Your observations at the above post are so right. The liars will be very publicly exposed by their own lies in their own words - verbatim.

SJ

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Dang, NW, that should be Schmidt means a high sensitivity would be the nightmare. But I don't read Gavin so I don't really know what's in his head, besides rowing back catastrophically through Scylla and Charybdis.
========

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Am I reading it right, that Schmidt regards it as a "nightmare" if climate sensitivity turns out to be low?

For the consensus climate scientist or the antii-fossil fuel eco-green, or the carbon tax by necesity to survive crowd, yes.

To hitch your wagon to the IPCC-derived, Al Gore/David Suzuki narrative requires you to believe that what we are doing will KILL the planet, or at least the human life on it, and do so within one hundred years. You are committed to this horror: so unless you are willing to have your core beliefs and sense of self as a warrior saviour trashed, you will be looking for the signs of impending death, not signs that we will be all right after all.

A strange situation to be in. The probable death of your grandchildren defines your importance in the universe.

No wonder Suzuki holds his wife at night and cries for the fate of humanity (his admission, truly).

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

The Stern Review did not use a fat-tailed distribution. I used the standard triangular one in PAGE, and add an ad-hoc amount to account for catastrophes.

The impact of a lower climate sensitivity on emission reduction policy is one of three:
If the aim is stabilize concentrations at some level, climate sensitivity is irrelevant (apart from the feedback of climate on vegetation).

If the aim is to stabilize temperature at some level, a lower climate sensitivity implies higher (cost-effective) emissions.

If the aim is to balance the costs of climate change against the costs of emission reduction, a lower climate sensitivity implies higher (Pareto optimal) emissions.

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM | steveta

From your link:

“The federal agency’s [EPA] memo to states Monday [I think this means that it the memo to states was on Monday, not something about stating Monday… I could be wrong.] recognize carbon dioxide is not only an air pollutant…”

Good grief! We are truly doomed if governments truly believe this!

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Am I reading it right, that Schmidt regards it as a "nightmare" if climate sensitivity turns out to be low?
Feb 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM NW

That's how I read it too.

Despite these guys' lavishly expressed "love for the planet", the thing that wakes them up in the small hours, tossing & sweating, is the ever growing possibility that the planet's doing fine - but their careers are going down in flames.

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:21 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

'To hitch your wagon to the IPCC-derived, Al Gore/David Suzuki narrative requires you to believe that what we are doing will KILL the planet, or at least the human life on it, and do so within one hundred years. You are committed to this horror: so unless you are willing to have your core beliefs and sense of self as a warrior saviour trashed, you will be looking for the signs of impending death, not signs that we will be all right after all.'

One wheel on my wagon,
And I’m still rolling along
Them Cherokees after me
I’m all in flames, at the reins
But I’m singing a happy song

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

No wonder Suzuki holds his wife at night and cries for the fate of humanity (his admission, truly).
Feb 4, 2013 at 8:11 PM Doug Proctor

Are you sure it's his wife?

http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2013/02/03/david-suzuki-john-abbott-college/

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:28 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

How many of the sensitivity estimations are Not based on simulations (models)?

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

“What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They'll kill us probably.”

Not if you give us our money back.

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"Revkin somewhat overstates impacts of changes in CS. It is not too small to be negligible, nor so large to be a nightmare"

Gavin cannot possibly mean what this statement appears to say. It just is not possible. Please someone give me an alternative interpretation, please.

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterpax

'Gavin cannot possibly mean what this statement appears to say. It just is not possible. Please someone give me an alternative interpretation, please.

It's Gavin Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Not too hot, not too cold..just right,

But the idea that Schmidt ever had locks at all is quite disturbing....Among his many 'challenges', follicular features highly.

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Must be a language thing. I see now that Gavin of course refers to CS itself and not the change (towards a lower CS).

Feb 4, 2013 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterpax

Patagon at 8:29
"How many of the sensitivity estimations are Not based on simulations (models)?"

They are easily separated: If the first number is a "1" or "2", they are not by models.

Feb 4, 2013 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBengt Abelsson

Observations over the last 15 years show empirically that climate sensitivity is about plus 0 degrees.

And you should all feel lucky its not minus 0 degrees!

Feb 4, 2013 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Yes, pax, that was his confusing ambiguity. He's probably just a little bit cognitively dissonant, and maybe his ears don't want to hear what his mouth says.
================

Feb 4, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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