Sunday, March 30, 2008

O. . . .

Friday, Eli wrote about recent papers by Myanna Lahsen, and Naomi Oresekes, Erik Conway and Matthew Shindell about the Marshall Institute's founders, William Nierenberg, Robert Jastrow and Fredrick Seitz. Lahsen came to the conclusion that after retiring these three attacked climate science and scientists to make up for a loss of status. Oreskes and Conway thought not, in Eli's word's if for no other reason that Nierenberg was director of Scripps, and had built up climate science there and Jastrow hired Hansen and built up atmospheric sciences at GISS. O&C ask if they would kill their own babies.

Lahsen and Oreskes and Conway are missing something important. All three papers demonstrate that Nierenberg, Jastrow and Seitz were willing to use any funding source to support their ambitions without scruple. The tobacco archive establishes how as president of Rockefeller University Seitz brought in major big tobacco research money, and how in retirement he was a major player in directing their research resources. As quoted yesterday about Jastrow
in David Randall's book General Circulation Model Development, Hansen writes

But at about that time, the director of GISS, Robert Jastrow, concluded that the days of generous NASA support for planetary studies were numbered, and he thus began to direct institutional resources towards Earth applications.
The Marshall trio pushed the line that climate scientists are in it for the $$. Nierenberg, Seitz and Jastrow were simply reflecting on what they had done.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Speak some ill of some dead

Recent weeks bring news of the death of Fred Seitz and Robert Jastrow. Eli is not shedding a bunch of tears. Rabett Run has described how over three decades Seitz provided cover for the tobacco companies. Together with William Nierenberg, Seitz and Jastrow founded the George Marshall Institute, ostensibly to promote the Strategic Defense Initiative but later to deny the ills of tobacco, ozone depletion, man-made climate change and more. Nierenberg died in 2000

Three new papers deal with our trio (freely available):


One can also look for papers from a recent conference "Dissent in Science".

Lahsen thinks that the three came to their positions through a combination of arrogance and their loss of status as they aged.
In some respects Nierenberg, Seitz and Jastrow are representative of broader categories of which they are partly part. They share common characteristics with other physicists and with a particular subgroup of physicists and governmental advisors in particular, an older generation of elite physicists shaped by nuclear physicists. The Marshall Institute trio has lived through dramatic changes in popular attitudes towards science and the environment. Their engagement in US climate politics can be understood in part as a struggle to preserve their particular culturally and historically charged understandings of scientific and environmental reality, and an associated, particular normative order. The trio has found support for important dimensions of their worldviews and policy preferences within the backlash and among Congressional Republicans, but they must continuously contend with challenges to the privilege to which they had grown accustomed in science and government.
In passing she records a conversation with a young physicist which explains the arrogance
this is a problem with physicists: they think they know everything, because they’re smart. What they don’t understand is that yes, it is true, actually meteorology is a branch of physics. And so you take a physicist, like me, and you can sit him down, and in 2 or 3 years, they could learn meteorology. But physicists confuse being smart and having the ability to learn everything with actually knowing stuff!
Oreskes and Conway are not convinced, if for no other reason that Nierenberg was director of Scripps, and built up climate science there and Jastrow hired Hansen and built up atmospheric sciences at GISS. O&C ask if they would kill their own babies

Indeed, in David Randall's book General Circulation Model Development, (much there that bears on recent conversations) Hansen writes
But at about that time, the director of GISS, Robert Jastrow, concluded that the days of generous NASA support for planetary studies were numbered, and he thus began to direct institutional resourses towards Earth applications.
Still, Eli has heard rumors that Jastrow left GISS when he ran afoul of regulations and was offered a Hobson's choice, without a doubt Nierenberg, Seitz and Jastrow were arrogantly proud, and Seitz was willing to front for the tobacco industry in return for power, money and visibility so he is not convinced totally of Oreskes and Conway's argument on this score.

They prefer another point Lahsen also makes:
The political preferences of climate change "contrarians" including Singer, Nierenberg and Seitz can be characterized as anti-communist, pro-capitalish and anti-government interference. We agree. Indeed, philanthropist George Soros has given this perspective a succinct label: "market fundamentalism". Market fundamentalists hold a dogmatic, quasi-religious belief in unfettered market capitalism, and therefore oppose anything that restrains the business community, be it restrictions on the use of tobacco or the emission of greenhouse gases.

There is something very peculiar about this, because many people believe in the merits of free markets but still accept the reality of global climate change. One can argue the merits or demerits of carbon taxes, emission control, carbon credits and all kinds of other potential responses to cliamte change without denying the scientific facts - and indeed all over the world people are doing just that.
Oreskes and Conway conclude that Nierenberg, Seitz and Jastrow viewed climate change through the lens of the Cold War
The Cold War however is over. We face now not a binary choice between communism and capitalism (if ever we did) but rather the realization that capitalism has had unintended consequences. When humans began to burn fossil fuels, no one intended to create global warming. But they (and we) did. Capitalism triumphed over communism, but now must deal with its own waste products.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Link

John Mashey's take on Schulte's E&E paper has stirred the firm of Monckton of Brenchley (not verified) to threaten dire dires. This is something to link to. Pass the popcorn

Uben! Uben! Uben!
(Calibrate, Calibrate, Calibrate)

Well, not really a good translation. In Germany, screw ups on the football field are greeted by a heartfelt shout: Uben! Uben! Uben! or practice, practice practice. Eli is much in favor of this, but common sense is also needed. Tim Curtin springs to the defense of inanity over at Deltoid and criticizes Eli's take on the good Diplom Beck. Yves decks him by pointing to "Oxygen Deficiency in Antarctic Air" by Ernest Lockhart and Arnold Court that appeared in Monthly Weather Review. Starting from the conclusion of sod. . .

"they got CO2 concentration wrong by 200ppm at the worst! (and we don t really know what the real CO2 concentration was at the place they were measuring!"

They, IMO, are mostly Beck and ZJ when making global conclusions from local measurements from primary authors whose first purpose were not always CO2 levels, even local (see for instance Lockhart and Court 1942 available in docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/070/mwr-070-05-0093.pdf, about ... oxygen depletion in Antarctica).

which Eli had mentioned about a year ago.

Eli is having the kind of week that Ms. Rabett goes revenge shopping during, possibly this will be a mite too strong, but it is exactly this sort of thing that differentiates the telephone book that Beck published, a critical review such as the IPCC report, or a decent scientific paper, like Machata and Hughes' "Atmospheric Oxygen in 1967 to 1970" Science, 158 (1970) 1582.

We see the same sort of ingrained nonsense from the engineering types who insist that data analysis consists of simply writing numbers down without worrying what they mean and never, no never, evaluating if they make sense and what sort of corrections need to be made. Thus the recent spate of the world is cooling since 1998 naivety, be it put on or real, and bunny labs can make a pretty good guess at that choice too.

Machta and Hughes measured atmospheric oxygen mixing ratios from 49 North to 60 South latitude and found no variation within the accuracy of their measurements settling on an average value of 20.946 percent. They looked at previous measurments and evaluated them. Some were ok, some were dodgy. They comment on the measurements of Lockhart and Court:
In 1942 Lockhart and Court reported oxygen abundances in Antarctica averaging 20.92 percent by volume and suggested that the low values might be unique to the location. Glueckauf pointed out that they performed no analysis of normal non-Antarctic air to confirm their procedures. To further cast suspicion, their carbon dioxide abundances were many times higher than that found in recent times. Table 1 does not suggest lower values approaching the Antarctica (sic).
The method that Lockhart and Court used had a resolution of 300 pppm for CO2 and 400 for oxygen. They found CO2 mixing ratios as high as 1700 ppm. For example between January 2 and January 4th they recorded values of 1700, 1500 (1/2), 1100, 900 (1/4) and 400, 200, 600, (1/55) 600, 700 (1/5 sample 2), 1600, 1400 (1/6). Think about what it would mean, if rather than a change in local conditions, or bad measurment methods or techniques, if this had really been a change in the background level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Thus, another Beckie GOGI, garbage out tells you that what went in was also garbage, or that someone made garbage in the measuring process. (End of post)

Friday, March 21, 2008

GOGI**

As Tonstant Weader knows, Eli has found the Good Diplom Beck a bit too hummy. Bunny Labs has had a word or two or three or four to say about Ernst-Georg Beck who never met a CO2 measurement he did not accept as representative of the background atmosphere, especially when it was taken in the middle of Paris or some other large city, which as we all know has a bit more CO2 in the air, then in your average fizzy beverage of choice. The Rabett is not the only one to notice this, so has Coby Beck, as has Tim Lambert, as has Stoat (see we only disagree about how much ice to put in the Scotch, Eli says none for the good stuff) and as has Real Climate, in a post titled Beck to the Future, Eli believes one of the first times the eminent scholars over there were so enraged they resorted to punishment.

Having misplaced an early copy of Becks manuscript, 180 Years of Atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods" Eli didn't have the carrots (you guys better pay attention to those ads on the top left) to penetrate the Energy & Environment paywall, but, good fortune, it now has reappeared on Beck's Blog, together with some comments published in E&E by Harro Meijer and Raph Keeling, CD's son, and a pretty good atmospheric scientist himself.

Meijer starts gently

Beck has re-interpreted various 19th and early 20th century chemical CO2 measurements, and derived very far-reaching conclusions. His work, however, contains major flaws, such that the conclusions are completely wrong, as they are based on poor understanding of the atmosphere.
Which, of course, was Eli's point in Amateur Hour. Meijer concludes by stating his disappointment with Princess Denial, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
It is shocking that this paper has been able to pass the journal's referee system. "Energy and Environment" apparently has been unable to organise a proper peer review process for this paper, thereby discrediting the journal.
Ralph Keeling is not so forbearing
The Beck article provides an interesting test case for E&E's recently advertised willingness to serve as a forum for "skeptical analyses of global warming" (E&E mission statement, Dec. 2006). The result was the publication of a paper with serious conceptual oversights that would have been spotted by any reasonably qualified reviewer. Is it really the intent of E&E to provide a forum for laundering pseudo-science? I suggest that some clarification or review of the practice is appropriate
This pretty much ensures a never ending supply of Beckies, so let's go to the tape

Ernst-Georg, of course, could not let it go, being the toast of the
Theodor-Heuss-Akademie, is not something to be sneezed at if you are a bio teacher at a Gymnasium. Meijer and Keeling pretty much said the same things that were laid out in the blog links above, e.g. it is not very smart to use measurements taken in areas where there is a lot of combustion to represent the background level of CO2. Georg Hoffman pointed this out in Real Climate

Secondly, nearly all early sampling facilities were tested in continental environments often under the sporadic influence of heavily polluted air masses (such as Paris, Parc Montsouris, Copenhagen, Dieppe etc.). How large is the influence of such “CO2 pollution”? A quick tour through my car-traffic-saturated home town, Paris, can give us a good first impression:

  • Jardin Luxembourg (major but still tiny green spot in the center of Paris) 425ppm
  • Place de la Bastille: 430ppm
  • Place de l’Etoile (the crazy huge roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe): 508ppm
  • And the winner was Place de la Nation: 542ppm (ie 160ppm over background!).
All these measurements by David Widory and Marc Javoy (reference below) were snapshot measurements, but they show how CO2 concentrations can vary strongly due to nearby fossil fuel combustion.
Keeling makes a point echoed by many
“It should be added that Beck’s analysis also runs afoul of a basic accounting problem. Beck’s 11–year averages show large swings, including an increase from 310 to 420 ppm between 1920 and 1945 (Beck’s Figure 11). To drive an increase of this magnitude globally requires the release of 233 billion metric tons of C to the atmosphere. The amount is equivalent to more than a third of all the carbon contained in land plants globally. Other CO2 swings noted by Beck require similarly large releases or uptakes. To make a credible case, Beck would have needed to offer evidence for losses or gains of carbon of this magnitude from somewhere. He offered none.”
And, what else, dear bunnies, Beck completely misses the point
The criticism that my paper presents no evidence for loss of gains of carbon makes sense, but this was not the subject of the paper: it is restricted to quality assessments of the selection of old data.
Beck says that according to those truly excellent 90,0000 CO2 titrations by Nobel Prize Winners!!!! using chemical methods, CO2 went from 310 to 420 ppm in 25 years. Keeling notes that this requires an enormous release of carbon, one that no one has noticed, but that surely WOULD have been noticed. In polite seminars, this is called a Bull Chocolate Test, aka inducing a GOGI situation, if you get garbage out, you put garbage in. EGB is not one to notice that the thing melted in his hand.
It is surprising, that the old data suggest a variability of the sizes mentioned.
Ernst, follow the bouncing bunny. It is not surprising. It shows that the old data was not representative of the background CO2 levels, but was representative of the local situation, dominated by urban ills. You don't have to go any further
If, however, the base line over the period 1800 to 1950 was at a higher level than the generally assumed pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, then the swings reduce.
Keeling and Meijer and everyone else were using Beck's baseline. Beck does not recognize (pay attention you there in the back with the bunny Peeps) a worse problem on the downslope between 1945 and 1960 when the decrease in atmospheric CO2 would require that the earth opened and swallowed back the CO2 it generated between 1920 and 1945. BTW, we really do know about the background level in 1960, because the Mauna Loa measurements were going by then, but never mind because "if we don't know anything, we know nothing" according to Beck
There seem to be many aspects of the carbon cycle which are insufficiently resolved (e.g. the up welling from the deep sea in equatorial waters, a major source in natural cycle).
some frantic and irrelevant handwaving
Another aspect that seems to be neglected to date is that ice core data may indicate a too low CO2 value because of the presence of CO2 fixing bacteria (see Table 1 in Christner et al.).
and finally
It should be noted that the fundamentals of my assessment of the quality of the old measurements has not been challenged by RFK or by Meijer.
which, in case anyone is still paying attention, was because they did not have to do that to show that what was being measured was not what Beck (and those who did the measurements) thought they were measuring and besides which, if you know the literature, has already been done.

More to come. Get your Beckies here

** Garbage out, garbage in, a very common way that scientists think about things. If the result is beyond belief, so were the assumptions on which it was based. Eli will now hie himself over to the Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Halloween Pictures

One of the mice, cce, suggested that Eli put up this image from the NASA there ain't no old ice today news conference.


Some things speak for themselves but Eli would remind gentle readers that the reason the bunny risked a couple of beers with Stoat was that the easiest place to reach a new extreme from is from a new extreme, especially if the system has some memory.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gassing it up

Eli has had an idle thought. If you google "Sheep Mountain CO2 strip bark" you will hit the motherwave of denialist froth centered on the dendrology of very old trees high up in the Sierra sampled by Graybill. You could also add Campito, which is a bit to the north. Both can be found in the International Tree Ring Data Bank housed on line by NOAA. Now, being a curious bunny, Eli wanted to see where this was, and he had a map from "Trends in twentieth century tree growth at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains, USA from Bunn, Graumlich and Urban to go on. The area looked familar, so he looked it up on Google maps, and wadda you know, Sheep Mountain is right across from the Long Valley Caldera.

This may not mean much to the sheltered readers of this blog, but veterans of the CO2 comes from volcanoes nonsense will recognize Long Valley as the largest geological source of CO2 in the US, and pretty close to being the largest geological source anywhere until the next Pinatubo goes off (which may be at Long Valley:(.

A lot less than a zillion tailpipes but not zilch. Making the not so dumb assumption that winds move the CO2 from the caldera west up onto the mountain the case for CO2 fertilization looks pretty strong. OTOH, the level there could be a lot higher than normal and could have been so for a long time.


Elocution Lessons

Ethon brought in the mail on his way back from Boulder. In it was Eli's copy of EOS, the AGU membership magazine (pay the damn $20.00 dues, you can't even get a decent bunch of carrots for that these days with the $ in the toilet) Susan Hassol, one of RP Sr and Jrs. favorite punching bags, has written an elocution letter for scientists

. . .stop speaking in code. Words that seem perfectly common to scientists are still jargon to the wider world and always have simpler substitutes. Rather than “anthropogenic,” you could say “human caused.”
Your neighborhood Rabett has been very strong on doing this, although, as always there are lapses. BTW, don't just read the Boulder Post, read the comments esp that from Ben Santer to Jr. and watch for deployment of the Patented Pielke Aggressive Cringe. Hassol goes on
Instead of “spatial” and “temporal,” try “space” and “time.” When you talk about trends in degrees per decade, you are asking people to do math in their heads. Instead, try giving the total change over the full period of time. And know your audience; always use Fahrenheit for Americans.
Well yeah, but no ethical scientist uses Fahrenheit. Yet then we come to the most important part.
Clearly state the settled scientific conclusions. Do not overdo “weasel words” and caveats. We know it is warming and we know it is due primarily to human activity. Say so. Saying human activity “contributes” to global warming makes it sound like human activity might be only a minor contributor. It would be more accurate to say “most of the warming….” Clearly distinguish settled science from the details on which scientists frequently focus their attention. Avoid using the word “debate” in connection with climate change. It reinforces the mistaken notion that there is a debate about basic issues that are settled science. When referring to the whole issue, try something like “the urgent challenge of human-induced climate disruption” rather than “climate debate.”
Word choice is very important, Hassol makes some excellent suggestions
  • to lay people, enhance means to improve or make better... So the “enhanced greenhouse effect” or “enhanced ozone depletion” sounds like a good thing. Try “intensify” or “increase” instead.
  • “Positive” connotes good and “negative” connotes bad to nonscientists. So “positive trends” or “positive feedbacks” sound like good things. Instead of “positive trend,” try “upward trend.” Instead of “positive feedback,” try “self-reinforcing cycle.”
  • To people unfamiliar with the scientific method, a “theory” is just an unsubstantiate hunch, opinion, conjecture, or speculation. Instead of saying “according to theory,” you might say, “according to our physical understanding of how this works,”
  • I suggest avoiding the use of the word “theory” to refer to things as well established as the greenhouse effect or the human intensification (not enhancement) thereof.
She comes up with a very nice analogy for discussing hurricanes
The ever popular metaphor of loaded dice provides a good response to the question of how global warming is affecting various weather phenomena. When people ask if global warming is responsible for the recent streak of heat waves, floods, wildfires, and intense hurricanes, you can say that by loading the atmosphere with excess greenhouse gases, we are loading the dice toward more of these extreme weather events. The data show this is already occurring for many
phenomena; and models have long projected these changes
And how to deal with the ill posed question:
Rather than accepting the premise of a poorly framed question, reframe it. When people ask if global warming can be blamed for a particular hurricane, heat wave, fire, or flood, a simple “no” does not respond to the essence of the question. What they really want to know is whether global warming is having an effect on such events, and the science suggests that it is. You can reframe such questions to explain that global warming is increasing the chances of such events occurring, and you can also explain some of the connections.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eli will have some ice on that

Eli went up to Philly today and returned with carrot gelato from Capogiro, something you should consider when there, or order some by Email. Ms. Rabett welcomed him home with spoon in hand.

So, constant reader, you ask, what about the ice up north. Perking along thank you, a lot of really thin stuff set to vanish when it warms a bit. You can get an idea of this by looking at the comparison between the low ice at the beginning of September and the ice today from Cryosphere Today. You might also notice that a lot of the "extra" ice from this winter is in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea, up there at the top and especially the Davis Strait between Canada and Greenland. Stuff that will be gone soon, but pay attention to the coloring, the bright purple stuff is only 80% coverage.

Cymraeg llygoden
makes work for bunnies by pointing to an article from the BBC,

discussing how the old ice is flowing out of the Arctic, into the Atlantic, driven by the Arctic oscillation. Lots of figures, photos and the entire NASA news conference are available. Eli has a bet with Stoat, and an in with Santa, the Easter Rabett and St. Nick are in the same line of business.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pass it on



Watch S. Fred play telephone. You know, the game they learned at the N3xus6 School of Denial in Lesson Two, (excerpt to the right), where you get a bunch of denialists in at a conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute and they start makin' it up and then in Lesson Three, they start passin' it on.

Anyhoo, ol' S. Fred's little magnum opus, the Nonsensical Summary for Bad Climate Policy considers whether CO2 concentrations have been rising, and who are his go to guys for makin it up, why our friend

Zbigniew Jaworowski [1994, 1992] has repeatedly pointed to the unreliability of ice-core data to establish pre-1958 CO2 concentrations, thus creating doubt about the magnitude of the human contribution to the current atmospheric CO2 concentration.
The boojum and his slithy toves tore this apart, and for those who do not enjoy gray-green secretions on the floor, Hans Oeschger did the honors in Environmental Science & Pollution Research 2 (1) 1995, pp. 60-61 as did and so did Eli a bit, on the way to ripping a new one for S. Fred's other telephone partner
Ernst-Georg Beck, by assembling more than 90,000 pre-1958 measurements of atmospheric CO2 dating back to the nineteenth century, has shown rather large variations, including a major increase roughly coincident with a rise in ocean temperatures from 1920 to 1940 [Beck 2007].
Of course, Real Climate took Beck to the future, as the bunny had yet earlier. But we also get to watch the concern drip from the jaws of our concern troll

Others have disputed the significance of these measurements; the issue has not yet been fully resolved.
Lewis Carroll had it right
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back
No better explanation gives of why vorpal blades are needed to finish off the Climate Jabberwocks and the difference between a telephone book (the
Nonsensical Summary for Bad Climate Policy) and the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, an expert critical review.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The return of Maclaurin and Taylor

About a month ago, Eli made a serious error in expanding a function from which he has received a serious amount of grief. I suppose the point being that the rabett hole has its uses. The point was to show that there was little difference between using a linear function for modeling thermal emission and a function which varies as the fourth power of the temperature. There was a graph at the end which showed that this was true, but it got lost in the forth and back.

The Maclaurin series is an expansion around a point


f(a) means the function evaluated at point a, f'(a) is the first derivative of the function at point a, f"(a) the second derivative of the function at point a, etc. If we apply this to the Stefan Boltzmann formula for emission as a function of temperature
then (UPDATE: AARGH forgot the 2! (which I neglected anyhow) Thanks Nick (I think?)))What happens if we keep only the first two terms and expand the function around 300 K for temperatures in the range 250-350K
which is not bad. We could improve this by adding a small offset to the linear term

which is what we originally showed as the best linear fit.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A cornucopia of chocolate


as guthrie put it. Eli has started throughFred Singer's Nonsensical Summary for Bad Climate Policy. You gotta understand, forcing somebunny to read this thing straight is what the CIA substituted for waterboarding, but it is such a rich source of chocolate (thanks Fred) that it is hard to resist. So what to fisk, what to fisk, oh yeah on page 19.

Measurements of increased ocean acidity give us little additional information about the sources of CO2 increases. Although higher concentrations of carbon dioxide reduce the pH of the ocean to some degree, it still remains slightly alkaline; pH values range from 8.2 (in the Norwegian Sea of the North Atlantic) to 7.9 (in the Eastern Pacific and Arabian Sea) [Doney 2006]. There seems no imminent danger of impact on shell formation by marine creatures. The much-feared effects on coral growth are not supported by actual data. [Lough & Brnes 1997; Fine & Tchernov 2007]
Simon Donner will probably have some very nasty things to say about this startling piece of deception, but let us, dear anonymice, take a shot at it . What about
Measurements of increased ocean acidity give us little additional information about the sources of CO2 increases.
Strawman alert!! Strawman alert!! Strawman alert!! Strawman alert!!

Measurement of atmospheric mixing ratios, decline of O2 mixing ratios, pCO2 in the ocean, and the isotopic carbon composition and other stuff tells us about the source of CO2 increases. Ocean acidity is a RESULT of increasing atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios. So, dear mice, why did old S. Fred slip that irrelevancy in Eli asks, but let us pass on. How about
Although higher concentrations of carbon dioxide reduce the pH of the ocean to some degree, it still remains slightly alkaline; pH values range from 8.2 (in the Norwegian Sea of the North Atlantic) to 7.9 (in the Eastern Pacific and Arabian Sea) [Doney 2006].
Strawman alert!! Strawman alert!! Strawman alert!! Strawman alert!!

Ocean pH varies between oceans, the pH remains slightly alkaline. What we don't see is that the average pH has decreased by ~0.1 units since 1750 which corresponds to a 30% increase in [H+] concentration (e.g. acidity), that various types of sea life are well adopted to the local acidity and sea temperatures and not so for the changing ones.

Well, fish swim, but corals don't so are corals threatened? Maribo had some good stuff on that and Eli riffed on it a bit, but what do the Chicago boys have to say
There seems no imminent danger of impact on shell formation by marine creatures. The much-feared effects on coral growth are not supported by actual data. [Lough & Brnes 1997; Fine & Tchernov 2007]
Poor Eli, doomed to disappointment, he went and RTFR only to discover that S. Fred was dissembling, no, actually he was flat out selling male milk chocolate.

Fine and Tchernov, hmm, as the abstract says, what did they find
Anthropogenic-driven accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and projected ocean acidification have raised concerns regarding the eventual impact on coral reefs. This study demonstrates that skeleton-producing corals grown in acidified experimental conditions are able to sustain basic life functions, including reproductive ability, in a sea anemone-like form and will resume skeleton building when reintroduced to normal modern marine conditions. These results support the existence of physiological refugia, allowing corals to alternate between nonfossilizing soft-body ecophenotypes and fossilizing skeletal forms in response to changes in ocean chemistry. This refugia, however, does not undermine the threats to reef ecosystems in a high carbon dioxide world.
Which in plainspeak means
  1. increase the acidity and
  2. the animals who build the corals can't form shells, but
  3. some of the animals who build the coral reefs can exist without shells, although
  4. fish and other animals who eat those newly naked coral dwellers will get fat
  5. until they eat all of them
  6. and the reefs disappear at least
  7. until the CO2 mixing ratio returns to where it was
  8. and the few remaining coral builders start working again, but
  9. don't hold your breath for this to happen
and in a reply to comments by George Stanley, they conclude
We share Stanley’s concern that our findings might be misinterpreted by the reader, as the title suggests “survival.” The last sentence in our paper, however, clearly states that while we discovered physiological refugia for corals under acidified conditions, coral reefs and their services will be lost. Corals without carbonate skeleton do not provide protection from predators to both the coral host and the numerous species that are associated with it. So even if corals survive acidification, reefs will not.
that last sentence was
Physiological, versus geographical, refugia may provide a broader explanation for the existence of corals during times of stress. It is important to note that although survival as soft bodies allows corals to persist, substantial decalcification of reefs will cause major changes to the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems and the services they provide to human society.
Technically the nanomules are called corals, and what they build are the reefs. At least some of the corals might survive without their shells, but many would become fish food. Worse, F&T did not look at all possible corals and many may not be able to survive without shells.

-The Auditors

Open Review


The Heartland Institute has posted the Non-SensicalGovernmental International Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policy Makers. In keeping with the real IPCC tradition allowing non-experts and experts alike to review their reports, Eli has been charged* with collecting open reviews of this document which can be deposited in the comments and forwarded to the authors, a handy list of which is

  • Warren Anderson -United States
  • Dennis Avery -United States
  • Franco Battaglia -Italy
  • Robert Carter -Australia
  • Richard Courtney -United Kingdom
  • Joseph d’Aleo -United States
  • Fred Goldberg -Sweden
  • Vincent Gray -New Zealand
  • Kenneth Haapala -United States
  • Klaus Heiss -Austria
  • Craig Idso -United States
  • Zbigniew Jaworowski -Poland
  • Olavi Karner -Estonia
  • Madhav Khandekar -Canada
  • William Kininmonth -Australia
  • Hans Labohm -Netherlands
  • Christopher Monckton -United Kingdom
  • Lubos Motl - Czech Republic
  • Tom Segalstad -Norway
  • S. Fred Singer United States
  • Dick Thoenes- Netherlands
  • Anton Uriarte -Spain
  • Gerd Weber -Germany
A few bloggish links provided, most have contact information but time is a wasting. Feel free to fisk the sucker.

Rabett Labs notes that several of these authors tried to play with the big boys and got slammed.


* I need the links

Monday, March 03, 2008

Some real fluid dynamics

Stoat has been investigating unicycles and fluid dynamics. Real Rabetts use non-newtonian ones

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A formal reply to Gerlich and Tscheuschner

Arthur (of dot earth fame), has composed a formal response to Gerlich and Tscheuschner. He comments on the thread All you never wanted to know about Gerlich and Tscheuschner

My formal response to G&T here:

http://arxiv.org/abs/0802.4324

"Proof of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect".

Contrary to the claims of G&T, I show here that:
1. An average surface temperature for a planet is perfectly well defined with or without rotation, and with or without infrared absorbing gases.

2. This average temperature is mathematically constrained to be less than the fourth root of the average fourth power of the temperature, and can in some circumstances (a planet with no or very slow rotation, and low surface thermal inertia) be much less.

3. For a planet with no infrared absorbing or reflecting layer above the surface (and no significant flux of internal energy), the fourth power of the surface temperature always eventually averages to a value determined by the incoming stellar energy flux and relevant reflectivity and emissivity parameters.

4. The only way the fourth power of the surface temperature can exceed this limit is to be covered by an atmosphere that is at least partially opaque to infrared radiation. This is the atmospheric greenhouse effect.

5. The measured average temperature of Earth’s surface is 33 degrees C higher than the limit determined by items (2) and (3). Therefore, Earth is proved to have a greenhouse effect of at least 33K.

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Silly to think this was even needed, but, I hope it helps. Spread it far and wide if you feel like it! :-)

That's all folks! Cue the merry-go round