Monday, March 19, 2012


Bob Grumbine calmly explains to Tony about the problem in trusting Steve Goddard,

There's a bit of a tempest at WUWT and Steven Goddard's regarding satellite data on sea ice. And there are some anxious comments about FOIA filings to be made regarding data that's been hidden. I have to concede that it takes a bit of a historian to know what's really being said in the IPCC first report regarding sea ice. (see page 224, figure 7.20 for the source of the tempest.) Fortunately, I am such a historian :-) To give away the ending: There's nothing terribly dramatic going on in the sea ice or the history. But I'll take the chance to talk history of sea ice analysis.

The tempest arises because the figure shown there has sea ice cover in the early 1970s in the Arctic being notably lower than it was through the 1980s. (Curiously, no interest is displayed at either site regarding the Antarctic being far higher in the 1970s than the 1980s.) If the figures were commensurate with the satellite observations such as those used in the Cryosphere Today anomaly figures, it would suggest that the Arctic coverage of the last few years wasn't as remarkable as we've generally thought. (On the other hand, it would also say that the 'record high' Antarctic coverage of recent years was not particularly high at all, a point being neglected at both sites.)
Go read the whole story. Meanwhile at the place where this all started, the Weasel, Julienne Stroeve and Bob try and clear things up, summarized by Guenther Kirschenbaum

What is so complicated about this whole Skate picture?

The Skate is famous for surfacing at the North Pole, so someone inadvertently assumed that picture must have been from that event and said so on the Internets. Then someone who really badly needs to refute the existence of AGW comes by, copies the whole thing and goes: “Hahaa, there you go, warmistas! There was open water at the Pole in 1957! No AGW! Hahaa!”

Of course, this half truth travels around the world a couple of times and gets so much attention that folks find out that this picture wasn’t made at the Pole in 1959 (not that it matters, it was a piss poor argument to begin with), and they change the caption.

As can be expected, this changing now becomes the focus, accompanied by a casual “I’m interested in nailing down the date on the one in question”.

First the Goddard conspiracy theory du jour, and then this, together in one post. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. As always, top notch science, Anthony.

In other news, the Yorkshire Ranter wanted to know how the Montreal Protocols could have been passed.
Perhaps more telling is this NASA web page, which describes the output from the Goddard Space Flight Centre's Chemistry-Climate Model given inputs corresponding to a world that kept using the stuff. It's either utterly terrifying, or enormously inspiring, depending on how you look at it. Rowland, Paul Crutzen, the British Antarctic Survey people who did the fieldwork...they essentially saved the world.

But what really interests me was how they got the Vienna and Montreal protocols passed. I had the vague impression that something had changed since 1989, that the ex-tobacco industry unscience industry was only cranked up later to bash the climatologists. In fact, I'm wrong. A comment at Realclimate points out that they were indeed targeted by the usual suspects. Rowland was accused of being a KGB agent trying to destroy capitalism
Eli had a thought
One of the things was that Dupont and ICI management was still full of chemists and that Thatcher herself (although they are reluctant to take credit) was an Oxford chemistry BA. So even though they didn't want to believe the science they had the tools to understand it.


Hank Roberts said...

The diplomat's history is well worth reading. Link and quote here:

Anonymous said...

There are several usual theories I've heard on why the Montreal Protocol was easier than the Kyoto Protocol (and perhaps not a good model)

a) CFCs were not a major backbone of the economy the way that fossil-fuel burning is... and it could be substituted for in a fairly transparent way to the end user. While electricity can be transparent, changing car fueling would be less so. Cigarettes would also be hard to swap for.

b) Related - CFCs are easy to substitute for, in comparison to fossil fuels.

c) The industries involved weren't so upset because patents were due to expire, and they could get a monopoly on the new stuff...

d) it was mostly a developed world problem at the time, no real north-south divide.

I'm sure there are others, too...


NnN said...

"Bob Grumbine calmly explains to Tony about the problem in trusting Steve Goddard"

What about the problem in Tony being able to trust himself?

Anonymous said...

For the bunnies in denial, a Arctic sea ice Hockey stick.

Note too that between 1972 and 1979 the anomalies in Arctic sea ice were no more than -1x10 km^2 (see FAR Fig 7.20), in recent years (since 2005) they have been as large as -2 x10^6 km^2, and frequently between -1x10^6 and -2x10^6 km^2. See here.

If one looks at running averages, the recent negative Arctic sea ice anomalies are even more striking.

Silly micro-cranium bunnies, no wonder they hop around pseudo-science sites like WUWT if they buy into Goddard's BS.... ;)


rp^2 said...

Eli: The CFC industry didn't just have chemists on staff, they had atmospheric chemists. Dupont hired Mack McFarland from NOAA. He participated in the antarctic ozone missions in the late 1980's and IIRC is a coauthor on some of the resulting papers.

Hank Roberts: Richard Benedick (the diplomat you cited) has written an authoritative account of the negotiations that led to the Montreal Protocol, _Ozone Diplomacy_ (Harvard, 1991.) Essential reading for anyone interested in this subject. (Together with _The Ozone War_ by Lydia Dotto and Harold Schiff, the best account IMO of the early years of ozone depletion research, up to 1977.)

MMM: The "expiring patents" is largely a myth concocted by ozone denialists to explain why the CFC industry had given up the fight (the original patents had expired decades before), but Dupont certainly did benefit from patents on CFC substitutes.

Anonymous said...

I recollect Naomi Oreskes saying in one of her talks that CFCs were a poor comparison to CO2 because Dupont only agreed to the Montreal Protocol (i.e. called off its attack dogs) until they have developed an alternative they could make money from.

J Bowers said...

Photograph of USS Skate during the actual event, taken by Commander James F. Calvert. Spot the differences, like where the men are standing.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

Any picture of snow or ice is obviously a fake, none exists anymore due to global warming. So Anarctica as a whole has gained ice but now there is some bogus "sea ice" measurement and "young ice" and "old ice".

You wonder why nobody is buying it.

Marion Delgado said...

As the case of Lubos Motl makes abundantly clear, some of them are not "trusting" Steve Goddard but simply using his willingness to create glib scenarios with plausibility for laymen to sell doubt.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Nobody is wondering why you don't buy it. You're incapable of understanding any sort of book that doesn't have more pictures than words.

Hank Roberts said...

> Blogger rp^2 said...
> ... Richard Benedick ...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

The ice caps are an anomaly and have not existed throughout most of earth's history. Eli is misleading people into thinking that if they melt it will be unprecedented or something. In fact I don't think Eli can present a scenario that hasn't occurred in history already.

guthrie said...

So, alleged Dr Cadbury, how easy is it to relocate nuclear power stations, cities and oil refineries from the seashore or else build walls to keep them all safe? Maybe you have an opinion on ocean acidification?

Or maybe you don't have a clue.
That'll be the one.

Steve Bloom said...

Just so, Jay! So if we were to get a repeat of, say, the PETM, we would have *nothing* to complain about.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for being a bit OT here, but just wanted to get the word out. "Lord" Monckton will be bringing his dog&pony show to San Diego March 24.

Details here:

Monckton will be giving a presentation at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre, 5998 Acala Park, University of San Diego, Saturday Mar 24 at 7PM.

If anyone here knows any researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who might be inclined to "crash" Monckton's little tea-party, please pass this on to them...

UCSD/Scripps is just a few minutes from USD, so there is a pretty sizeable group of top-notch climate-scientists who live in the neighborhood... and if some of them don't have anything better to do on a Saturday night... well, I just thought I'd toss it out here...

Rather short notice, but I just found out about it -- This event is being promoted to Tea-Partiers and right-wing GOP types here (with very little notice being given to the general public).

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

from the Lord Monckton, Mashey nemisis #1

"In the Cambrian era, when CO2 concentration was 7500 parts per million, or around 18 times today's, the first calcite corals achieved symbiosis with algae, then the only plant life on Earth. In the Jurasic era, when CO2 concentration was around 6500 parts per million, the first aragonite corals came into existence. For most of the past 750 million years, CO2 concentration in the oceans has been at least 1000 parts per million, compared with <400 today. Why were the oceans never acid throughout this time, notwithstanding the high partial pressures of CO2? Because the oceans run over rocks, and rocks are pronouncedly alkaline. As long as there are rocks beneath and around the oceans, the oceans cannot and will not acidify.

One final point about so-called "acidification". Believe it or not, calcium carbonate shells and corals dissolve 15 times more readily in the strongly-alkaline seawater of today than they would in neutral water of pH 7.0. If it were possible to neutralize the oceans somewhat, shells would be less at risk of dissolving, not more at risk. I do not know how much chemistry you have, but I can show you the chemical equations underlying this topic, if you like. There was not and is not any sound scientific basis for believing that a little extra CO2 in the atmosphere will have any appreciable effect on the oceans."

so basically the answer is there has been a ton more co2 in the ocean, but you failed to check history.

Anonymous said...

(previous post eaten or lost in moderation -- give this one a try -- moderator, if both come through, delete one)

Followup re: Monckton in San Diego.

On-line reservations here:

Total auditorium capacity is about 300 -- currently about 113 seats left.

Would be fun to see the house partly packed with SIO types -- not likely, because the SIO folks probably aren't inclined to waste their time with this clown -- but still fun to think about.

Anonymous said...

@-Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.
"There was not and is not any sound scientific basis for believing that a little extra CO2 in the atmosphere will have any appreciable effect on the oceans."

"...not any sound scientific basis for believing..."
Belief is surely an opinion held in the abscence of evidence so it makes no sense at all to talk about the prescence or abscence of a sound scientific basis for a BELIEF....

There is of course a sound scientific basis for understanding and knowing that a lot of extra CO2 added rapidly to the atmosphere DOES have an appreciable effect on the oceans.
For instance -
"In the North Pacific, the upward migration of the aragonite saturation horizon from anthropogenic CO2 uptake is currently 1–2 m/year" (Feely et al., 2006).


a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

So, Jaybird, by your logic, since the planet was hot enough at one point to melt iron, we should be just fine if the planet reaches the same temperature again, right?

And since prior to solar ignition, the protoplanetary debris was at ~3K, we should be fine down to that temperature, as well. Right?

Hey, look everyone! I'm doing science the Jaybird way. I just hope my brain doesn't get stuck like this.

Anonymous said...

Well color me stoopid.

Dear Dr Jay Fud, and an interesting Duane Gish canard you speak of. Sadly, as we all know human evolution has been running for the past two and half million years. Past history and past cycles are just that unless they just happen to be those critical to man's evolution in the past two and half million years, that is.

Now back to the reality of the submarine picture of nonsense about the North Pole produce by a pseudonym called Steven Goddard. Alas the silly incompetent fool quite forgot what really happens in the Arctic Circle.

Coutessy of comment posted by 'heystoopidone' at WUWT:- "Submarines in the Winter Twilight" by Ric Werme

How it works

The sun comes up each day because Earth rotates once on its axis every 24 hours or so. Seasons are a result of Earth being tilted 23.5 degrees on its spin axis coupled with the planet’s 365-day orbit around the sun.

The Arctic Circle, a line at 66 degrees north, marks the latitude at which the sun does not set during the summer solstice (when the top half of our planet is facing directly toward the sun), the longest day of the year, nor rise during the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. The farther north you move from the line, the longer the period of night-less summer or sun-less winter. Ilulissat is located about 3 degrees north of the Arctic Circle, so residents spend the middle of winter without any sunlight.

At the North Pole, the sun rises only once a year — at the start of spring. It gets higher in the sky each day until the summer solstice, then sinks but does not truly set until late September, at the autumn equinox.

Watt a silly shame Anthony and his tribe of Denialati conveniently forget about the planet called Earth, as it both rotates on it's axis and orbits old Sol every 365.25 days.

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. Cree Indian Proverb ...

guthrie said...

Ahh, Cadbury, your lack of knowledge is astounding.
First you quote Monckton, a known liar and fantasist.

Your quote begins by claiming that because the oceans in the past were more acidic there won't be a problem now. Which is a lie. Changing pH is associated with changes in the beasties which lay down calcium carbonate shells etc. They end up with less room in the ocean to survive, thus the ecosystems are changed.
as for the weird claim about different dissolution rates in pure water, the odd thing is that oceanic water has a lot of salts and dissolved CO2 which shifts the equilibrium, thus, despite Monktons claim, making the oceans more acidic will lead to such changes as I have already described.
You really need to get better information sources.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

I just read some of the above hand waving and find all of it to be quite lacking.

a_ray in wonderland says the planet was once hot enough to melt iron. Gee, if that were the case, many other things with lower melting points than iron would have melted but they didn't.

coloring stoopid seems to believe that animals are all going extinct and launched into some pointless explanation about the rotation of earth's axis for no reason.

guthrie claims the oceans were at one point acidic, that's a lie. There isn't going to be less room in the ocean, the answer to your premise has been answered but you hate history.

EliRabett said...

Jay baby, more acidic means a lower pH. If you move, for example, from pH 8 to pH 7.9 (roughly what is happening now), the ocean is more acidic, but still on the basic side of neutral. And pH is a log scale, so a unit change corresponds to a decade

Now this has been explained a lot of times, and is all over everywhere, so sticking your fingers up your nose and rerunning is simply going to get you banned to the Rabett Hole. Take this as a friendly note

guthrie said...

Do we know what the alleged Dr's PhD is in? Because it sure isn't chemmistry. (Mind you I had to do a quick check on things, it's years since I've needed to know much about pH, and in reality it is much more complex than they tell you at school)

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

Okay well I proved my point anyway. That says nothing about the fact that there was far more co2 in the atmosphere before, and the oceans did not have a significant change in ph. So what's the number Eli? You don't have it.

EliRabett said...

J, in case you have not figured it out, most of us bunnies are sick of your half truths. Yes, CO2 was much higher eons ago, and higher even than that at dawn times for the planet, but, as it old song goes, the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la, have nothing to do with the case. You would have had a rum time surviving during those periods of higher CO2.

Now, of course, it's your choice, straighten up or fly off.

Anonymous said...

Jay Cadbury:

from Doug Mackie
Yes. Please provide your equations. I shall be interested to see in what way they differ from those we gave in the booklet produced from our series of OA not OK posts John Cook's Skeptical Science.

Please clearly state the conditions used for your calculations (i.e. things like total carbon, total alkalinity, temperature, pCO2) and any assumptions made and give a reference for the source of your constants. (We give all this information about our calculations in the booklet ).

I have done these calculations many times and I think that you are in error.

Anonymous said...

"I do not know how much chemistry you have, but I can show you the chemical equations underlying this topic, if you like."

Yeah. I bet I know a lot more chemistry than Mr. Monckton (as in, I have 2 chemistry degrees, plus a PhD in a related field). There is a key difference between the acidity of the ocean with a high-CO2 atmosphere at equilibrium, and the acidity of the ocean with an atmosphere whose CO2 concentration is rapidly increasing. Given enough time, the ocean can indeed buffer itself by dissolving CaCO3 from the ocean floor (also, from friendly nearby coral). When it has rebuffered - after ten thousand years or so - new corals will be fine. But not in the interim...


Anonymous said...

Dinosaur Jay: I suggest that you read some of this pretty good acidification FAQ, which addresses many of the common confusions:

Do a search for "OA in Geologic History" to get the real story about the lessons that the deep past give us (and don't forget the dissolution of most coral organisms at the paleocene/eocene thermal max, which may have been the fastest large CO2 change in history before today...)


kT said...

A couple of degrees in chemistry and a PhD just isn't what it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Something for "The Earth was much warmer during the Cretaceous, so everything will be OK" folks to think about...

According to Dr. Richard Alley, sea surface temperatures in the tropics reached 100F back then (ref: Alley's now-legendary 2009 AGU lecture). Sea surface temps of 100F means dew points up near 100F. That combo of heat/humidity will kill anyone exposed to it for more than just a few hours.

So while Cretaceous-era life thrived in a Cretaceous hothouse climate, humans wouldn't. If the Earth's climate were transformed to a Cretaceous-like climate tomorrow, billions of people would die of heat stroke long before they had a chance to starve to death.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Anonymous said...

Sea surface temps of 100F **mean** dew points up near 100F.

Hank Roberts said...

The job of the rodeo clown is to distract the audience while the failed rider exits the arena. If you're watching the clown, you're missing the main act.

Hank Roberts said...

And this may make you wish you were elsewhere:

--- quote---
... The business-as-usual scenario estimated that if human beings continued to consume more than nature was capable of providing, global economic collapse and precipitous population decline could occur by 2030.

However, the study also noted that unlimited economic growth was possible, if governments forged policies and invested in technologies to regulate the expansion of humanity’s ecological footprint. Prominent economists disagreed with the report’s methodology and conclusions. Yale’s Henry Wallich opposed active intervention, declaring that limiting economic growth too soon would be “consigning billions to permanent poverty.”

Turner compared real-world data from 1970 to 2000 with the business-as-usual scenario. He found the predictions nearly matched the facts. “There is a very clear warning bell being rung here,” he says. “We are not on a sustainable trajectory.”
---- end quote----

Hank Roberts said...

".... the oligarchic right never had better whores than the intellectual courtesans at Cato. Polysyllabic prostitutes eager to twist their tongues around fresh rationalizations for a new feudalism...."

Hank Roberts said...

barry said...

Hi Eli et al,

seems like the best thread for this...

I emailed PEER about the case they undertok on behalf of Dr Charles Monnett, followed here last year. It had been a long time since an update and I keep thinking about it. This is the reply to my email.



We have not posted an update because nothing much has happened.

1. The Interior Inspector General investigation continues, with the “IG” interviewing witnesses as recently as this February. This IG investigation has now been going on for 2 years. It has no timetable and the IG is not compelled to produce a report. In short, there is no “process” in which we can be engaged on behalf of Drs. Monnett & Gleason. So, in response, PEER has aggressively disclosed what we can about the investigation –including the transcripts of the IG interviews – so that the interested public could follow this byzantine probe.

2. A complaint PEER filed in August on Dr. Monnett’s behalf alleging improper interference with his scientific work has not been acted upon. We are trying to ascertain the reason for the inaction.

3. PEER has filed a series of demands for documents on behalf of Dr. Monnett and that material is dribbling in. One piece we do not have is a copy of the request for criminal prosecution of both Drs. Monnett and Gleason made by the IG but rejected by federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice. This document may (or may not) explain the IG’s theory behind this investigation.

If you would like elaboration on any of the above, please let me know.

Jeff Ruch

Executive Director

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

(address and phone number given)


Jeff Ruch replied within 12 hours. If anyone would like me to email him with further queries, jot them here (assuming that's ok with Eli). Otherwise, the email address I sent to is in the contact section at the PEER website.