Something in the air (methane mystery)

by Gareth on October 30, 2008

arcticmethane.jpgAtmospheric methane levels “shot up” in 2007, according to a paper in this week’s Geophysical Research Letters (MIT news release — Rigby, M., R. Prinn, et al (2008), Renewed growth of atmospheric methane, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL036037, in press. PDF here for AGU members.). This confirms NOAA’s announcement in April that methane levels were on the increase after a decade of stability, but adds a new twist to the data.

One surprising feature of this recent growth is that it occurred almost simultaneously at all measurement locations across the globe. However, the majority of methane emissions are in the Northern Hemisphere, and it takes more than one year for gases to be mixed from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere. Hence, theoretical analysis of the measurements shows that if an increase in emissions is solely responsible, these emissions must have risen by a similar amount in both hemispheres at the same time.

A rise in Northern Hemispheric emissions may be due to the very warm conditions that were observed over Siberia throughout 2007, potentially leading to increased bacterial emissions from wetland areas. However, a potential cause for an increase in Southern Hemispheric emissions is less clear.

A possible explanation might be a global reduction in the amount of hydroxyl free radical (OH) in the atmosphere. OH “mops up” methane (and other stuff), and is sometimes called the atmosphere’s cleaner or “detergent”. Unfortunately, measuring atmospheric OH is difficult.

“The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus any decrease in the rate of removal,” Prinn said. “Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each” is responsible for the overall increase.It is too early to tell whether this increase represents a return to sustained methane growth, or the beginning of a relatively short-lived anomaly, according to Rigby and Prinn.

Any increase in atmospheric methane is not good news. A possible reduction in OH is also disturbing, because it might indicate that pollution (from all sources, methane, industry, coal burning etc) is beginning to overwhelm the atmosphere’s ability to cleanse itself. Both together would be very bad news indeed.

[Update: Comments from a CSIRO scientist and co-author here.]

[Title reference]

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Lank October 30, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Are your readers aware that while carbon dioxide (and from this work, methane levels) have increased at a steady rate, global temperatures as measured by both satellites and land/sea stations have remained flat since 1998? That’s over nine years with no significant increase in temperature.

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CRUT3V_and_MSU.jpg

Surely that is a clear sign that these gases are not a significant cause of global warming.

Gareth October 30, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Nice try, Lank, but nobody’s buying the “flat/cooling since 1998″ meme. Because it isn’t true – and it ten years temperature data say nothing whatsoever about the nature of greenhouse gases. If you think they have nothing to do with warming, please start your re-write of basic physics. A Nobel Prize awaits.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 10:38 am

Gareth you are sadly mislead. There are tens of thousands of highly respectected earth scientists who you rank as “nobody’s”. (see links to list below). The graphs linked in 1 are the best data available from satellite measurements. If you deny these data then you have your eyes closed and if you are a scientist you should be ashamed. I have a PhD in geochemistry and many years of work experience – I can assure your readers that CO2 plays a very minor role in the complex climate system and that their time would be best spent preparing for changing weather conditions rather than trying to contol our climate.
There is a growing lobby of well respected scientists who believe that CO2 emissions are not a significant cause of global warming:
http://www.citizenreviewonline.org/april2006/15/warming.html
http://northgeorgiaweekly.com/content/view/113/1/
http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=62&Itemid=1
http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/20080730143936/opinion/letters/global-warming-skeptics-numerous.html
http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/skeptic-organizations.html
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.SenateReport
http://www.petitionproject.org/
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/More_Skeptics_Speaking_Out_Almost_Daily.pdf
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=f80a6386-802a-23ad-40c8-3c63dc2d02cb
http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=54

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 10:52 am

Re Lank… can any else say cherry picking? Please, why wont they stop!?!

Lank October 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

Gareth you are wrong. The graphs I linked in 1 above are from satellite measurements which are widely recognised as being the best data available. World temperatures have been rising naturally and steadily by about 0.6 degrees centigrade per hundred years and this trend started well before industrial CO2 emissions. The last ten years of temperature data and observations of sun spot activity show that this trend may be reversing and that we may expect cooler temperatures for the next few decades. I suggest that your readers prepare for changes in weather rather than try to do the impossible by controlling climate change through reducing CO2 levels. CO2 at worst has a miniscule effect on earth’s temperature but it does contribute to generally better plant growth which will boost forest and food production.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 11:06 am

I think that you will find that higher CO2 will help to accelerate cherry tree grow and also plays an important role in ripening the fruit. Good point Jonno.

Gareth October 31, 2008 at 11:55 am

Lank – you are simply regurgitating crank talking points. Each major assertion you make in your comment is either incorrect, a distortion, or irrelevant. I haven’t got time to deal with them all now – but I may do so in a future comment – perhaps even a post…

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Gareth… this has been discussed ad nauseam… why do they keep coming back with different names. May be it’s because they know that no one really listens to them… especially after Augie died.

I used to like the guy during the 90s.

The NZCSC (sic) (how dare they used the word science in their name, what a joke) are really sad.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Garth – These are not ‘crank talking points’. You should be ashamed to call yourself a scientist if you dismiss my comment with these remarks and if you do not consider other causes for climate change. The ‘I haven’t got time’ argument is common with people who dislike being challenged when they believe that they are always correct.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 12:28 pm

ad nauseam, Lank, ad nauseam.. I think you know this, who ever you are (take a guess)

Gareth October 31, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Sometimes, Lank, “I haven’t got time” means just that. Y’know, work and all that?

Lank October 31, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Nice argument Jonno! (7). Yesterday was the first time I had seen or posted on this site. Do you welcome new visitors and different opinions like this with all of your posts?

Wouldn’t it be great if AGW believers had an open mind and did a little research before they claimed their theory was fact and that anyone with different views were ‘jokes’.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 1:53 pm

“did a little research before they claimed their theory was fact ”

This just proves you are a joke… yes a have done the research.. you bring nothing new… as I said… cherry picking does not count. Ad nauseam!

Lank October 31, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Gareth ,

The Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center of Bergen Norway keep satellite derived Arctic sea ice cover plots which are updated daily and which show the standard deviation over the recording period. The current Arctic sea ice area data is well within the standard deviation since recordings started.
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

That means that Arctic sea ice area is normal for this time of the year. Could this perhaps signal that the trend of Arctic sea ice is now increasing and may extend rather than shrink? or have you not got time to consider this trend or respond because it does not fit your AGW agenda.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Jonno (12) – As a matter of fact I have probably got a better understanding of the issues than you have. Yes, I have done some research, a PhD in geochemistry and several decades of experience. How about you? I can’t see much new that you bring to this blog apart from your clever comments on cherry trees. I notice that you have not commented on my suggestion that cherry tree growth is helped by high CO2 levels!

Carol Stewart October 31, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Lank, Did you not look at the lower two graphs on the page you linked to? How did you fail to notice that the minimum sea ice extent for both 2007 and 2008 was considerably lower than the average monthly sea ice over the period 1979-2007? These graphs flatly contradict your interpretation in post 13.
Do you have a name? It’s quite OK if you prefer to be anonymous, but hard to take your qualifications seriously.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 2:25 pm

“As a matter of fact I have probably got a better understanding of the issues than you have”

I doubt that…

I am also qualified too. I never mentioned cherry tress, you did.

You may claim that, but obviously from what you are claiming, it is wrong. Nice one! I don’t think you have brought anything new either… same ad nauseam

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Lark (if that is your real name)… every regular (who understands climate science) knows the subject.

A PhD in geochemistry and several decades of experience? Okay Mr Scientist, let me see your peer-reviewed climate change paper(s) show that AGW is not real. What, you have nothing, thought so.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Carol – I am sure that you will able to see that in the bottom left graph that the current sea ice area is within the range of standard deviation for this time of the year.
It is quite clear from this graph that recent low arctic ice area is now back to relatively normal for this time of the year.

Yes I have a name.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 2:50 pm

“Could this perhaps signal that the trend of Arctic sea ice is now increasing and may extend rather than shrink? or have you not got time to consider this trend or respond because it does not fit your AGW agenda.”

So from what you are claiming, it doesn’t matter what the extent was prior to October 22, even if the 2007/08 extent is far lower than average.

So we should base climate science on just a few days now. You are a great scientist Lank….

Doug Mackie October 31, 2008 at 2:58 pm

It must be my turn to bite.
Lank, I guess “several decades experience” puts you into the “die before change” class.

But, if indeed you do have a PhD in geochem, what is your opinion of
(A) Vincent’s latest effort?
(B) Ken Ring’s claims?

Lank October 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Jonno (the cherry man at #16 & 17), Yes I’m sure you are ‘qualified too’ – at what?, fruit picking ? How about your peer reviewed papers or should that be pear reviewd.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 3:29 pm

No, not fruit picking… I don’t know where you are getting this from.

You obviously misunderstand what cherry picking is and then come up with cherry trees. In a similar vain, you misunderstand climate science and then coming up with rubbish.

I am making no claim that I have published, I just accept the evidence that is published, due to the rigorous process the evidence has gone through.

It is you old man that needs to publish any evidence that contradicts the published evidence…. Have you got any new evidence?

No evidence… thought so.

And you still claim that climate science should be based on 9 days of sea ice extent… more rubbish!

Lank October 31, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Doug Mackie (#20) – I like that phrase ‘ die before change class’. Should I do penance before I die? or does this mean that you believe that climate change is so slow that it will not be observable in my lifetime? If it is the latter then what is the point of all the catastrophy doom and gloom scenario that this blog site seems to promote?

I have many opinions on both both Vincent’s and Ring’s recent work – some positive and some not. I think that any good student of science should get positives and negatives from all contributors and be able to review with an open mind and be prepared to change as new evidence or ideas are presented.

My view is to keep an open mind and not put into pigeon holes. For example Leighton Steward, in his book ”Fire, Ice and Paradise” lists at least 18 different factors affecting climate change; energy from the sun, earth’s orbit, earth’s tilt and wobble, water vapour, methane, ocean current, plate tectonics, elevation of land masses, chemical weathering, meteorites, volcanoes, vegetation, albedo (reflection of solar heat), cosmic rays. All are climate drivers, with varying degrees of impact at different times in earth’s history.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Jonno (#22) – Where did I make this claim? ‘climate science should be based on 9 days of sea ice extent’. Please settle down and take a breath. This is just a positive trend towards normality in Arctic sea ice. Most of us concerned scientists would welcome this trend.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 3:36 pm

With “several decades experience”, you must have published something… what no?

Gees, keep on trying NZ CSC… no one else is interested in your groups rubbish! At least you can ‘publish’ your rubbish on that.

I got something you can include on your website… It is alien life forms (many light years away) blowing a hair dryer device (undiscovered particles (hat tip Nick) not hot air) towards the Earth and that is the real cause for the planet warming. I am sure this is the kind of thing you guys love to ‘publish’

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 3:39 pm

“Could this perhaps signal that the trend of Arctic sea ice is now increasing and may extend rather than shrink? or have you not got time to consider this trend or respond because it does not fit your AGW agenda.”

and

“Carol – I am sure that you will able to see that in the bottom left graph that the current sea ice area is within the range of standard deviation for this time of the year.”

That is where you based your claim.

Maybe you should take your pills grand pops and stop talking scary, you’re scaring the little kids.

Jonno October 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm

“All are climate drivers, with varying degrees of impact at different times in earth’s history.”

No shit grand pops.. and this time GHGs are the driver.

Carol Stewart October 31, 2008 at 3:44 pm

“This is just a positive trend towards normality in Arctic sea ice.”

Lank, this is simply not what the data on the site that you linked to (thanks!) is telling us. In the section on long-term observations, a percent change of -4.8% per decade is given. Check out the graphs on this part of the site:

http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/total-icearea-from-1978-2007

How, how can you as a self-respecting geochemist draw such wrong conclusions? Why? Why?

Doug Mackie October 31, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Please, oh please, tell us which parts of Ken and Vincent’s work that you have a positive opinion of. That alone will be work reading.

All those things do indeed have an impact on climate. I was not aware that this was disputed (except perhaps by Ken Ring). However, I had thought the idee fixe was in fact the CURRENT rate of anthropogenic perturbation on top of those “natural” processes.

Come, come. You really aren’t trying if you wish to use the sit on the fence approach. Science is testable. So tell us, what test would constitute unambiguous (cite your confidence levels if it helps) evidence for you? Be specific. Use an additional sheet if need be.

Carol Stewart October 31, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Apologies if this post appears twice; something strange happened after I posted the first version.

Lank, you ought to take your own advice to keep an open mind. No self-respecting geochemist would look at the data on the site you linked to and conclude that there is a positive trend towards normality in Arctic sea ice. You should look at the section on long-term and seasonal observations.

If you look at yearly maxima since 1979 in sea ice area, the percent change per decade is -2.9%.

If you use yearly means, the percent change/decade is -4.2%.

And if you use yearly minima, the percent change/decade is -7.9%.

What part of this don’t you understand?

Lank October 31, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Jonno, I’m not sure who you think that I am but you are clearly wrong and a very aggressive and rude person.

I have no links with NZ SCS. I think that you may need to attend some anger management classes – while you’ve back at school it may be worth while clueing up on a bit of science.

Lank October 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Doug (#28) – Maybe a bit of humility may be in order. Others have studied and read just as much as you and probably have broader experience in earth sciences.

What is the test of YOUR AGW claims? I’m looking forward to your response – use more pages if you want. Come on show us what a great scientist you are and how you are never wrong. As Gareth said maybe a Nobel prize awaits….

Lank October 31, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Doug – I’m sure you will agree that it is “broadly accurate” to define science as that which is testable. If a claim can’t be tested in some way then it isn’t scientific. A simple test for your AGW theory; CO2 going up…CH4 going up….temperature going down.
Doesn’t seem to stand up does it?

Laurence October 31, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Welcome back Harry, looks like you had a nice holiday and have returned fresh to the fray. I hope you don’t mind me pointing out one little flaw in your theory ……….temperature is not going down.

BTW. We did finally manage to get the boys on their bikes, but I dread to think what will happen when I tell them you have returned. Probably have to fork out for new underwear all round. ;-)

Gareth October 31, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Sadly, I don’t think “Lank” is Harry – he’s posting from an Aussie IP. Harry was/is a Brit.

PS: Jonno – you’ve subscribed to this thread, but the system doesn’t like your email address. I keep getting bounced mails in my inbox…

Gareth October 31, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Lank,

Before we go any further; I researched and wrote a book about this subject, so turning up here and baldly asserting that I’m “wrong” isn’t going to win you much esteem. I also suspect that by giving you the benifit of this long reply I’m wasting my time, but…

The graphs I linked in 1 above are from satellite measurements which are widely recognised as being the best data available.

Untrue. There are two satellite temperature sets derived from the same data, and they differ markedly from each other. They depend on the same radiation transfer code used to calculate GHG forcing in climate models, and have been extensively revised and corrected over the years. Problems remain. Try this post at Open Mind to get an idea of the issues involved. They are not regarded as the best data available, outside of a few people who are trying to discredit the surface record.

World temperatures have been rising naturally and steadily by about 0.6 degrees centigrade per hundred years and this trend started well before industrial CO2 emissions.

This doesn’t describe the global temp graph most people are familiar with. Temp rise over the last century was 0.7C.

The last ten years of temperature data and observations of sun spot activity show that this trend may be reversing and that we may expect cooler temperatures for the next few decades.

The average global temperature over the last ten years was significantly warmer than the average over the preceding decade. The world is (still) getting warmer. There is no correlation between sunspot numbers and global temperature, and no plausible explanation for any solar influence over and above the slight variation in total solar irradiance over the 11 year cycle (which is worth about 0.1 to 0.2C peak to trough, tops). Predictions of a “cooling cycle” have been made, but not by any working climate scientists.

I suggest that your readers prepare for changes in weather rather than try to do the impossible by controlling climate change through reducing CO2 levels.

Preparing for adverse weather is always a good idea, and we expect more as the atmosphere warms. Personally, I’m looking to improve my water supplies to help with increased drought, controlling run-off to reduce erosion, and planting shelter to reduce wind stress on crops. Controlling the climate by reducing CO2 emissions might, if we’re unlucky, turn out to be impossible, but that’s no argument for not trying. There’s still a reasonable chance we can limit the damage.

CO2 at worst has a miniscule effect on earth’s temperature…

Nonsense. The radiative effect of CO2 and other GHGs is well understood. The reaction of the climate system to that increase is much less clear – but that’s not grounds for confidence. The evidence for low sensitivity is much less compelling than for medium (3C for doubling), and it’s impossible to totally rule out higher figures. In this case, asymmetrical risk is not our friend.

… but it does contribute to generally better plant growth which will boost forest and food production.

I suggest you read up on Leibig’s Law of the Minimum. Plant growth is not in general limited by any shortage of CO2. There may be some limited “fertilisation” effect in ideal circumstances (grass growth in Southland, perhaps, but extra warmth and copious water will be just as important), but “generally better” is not supported by the evidence.

Instead of the sites you list as your sources, I’ll recommend one: Spencer Weart’s excellent Discovery of Global Warming (link in blogroll). It’s free, and provides a superb overview of the science. It’s also about 250,000 words, so don’t be tempted to rush…

Laurence October 31, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Must be Harry’s cousin then, exactly the same kind of dumb. Unless of course Harry has moved down here to be closer to the action.
If he starts telling us about the Romans growing grapes in Scotland we’ll know for sure they’re related.

Doug Mackie October 31, 2008 at 11:27 pm

You dodge my two questions:

1) Your opinion of Ring and Gray.
Pray, tell us of the positive things they say. I suspect you can not answer honestly (even anonymously) for you know they are wrong.
Though in truth (regarding anonymity) I can think of only a single disgraceful fellow who is an Oz PhD geochemist with an aversion to the truth about CC. Are you he?

2) Your own test.

Had you done your research you’d know that some time ago I made clear my Haldane fossil rabbit test: I say there is no other plausible explanation for ocean acidification. Explain it if you can and take care to include Suess effect (lamentably missing from Beck – beloved of Leyland and Gray) (and no, not Seuss – wrong doctor but the comparison is not inept).

That is my test. (That ocean acidification is an example of climate change and that the CO2 that has shifted the C species =ia has come from fossil fuels). Your mission: To provide an explanation of why acidification is not CC and/or plausible source for the CO2 (remembering constraints applied by Suess).

So again: What is your test?

Might I also suggest that all future “new” doubting posters claiming a science background be asked these same 2 questions? (Opinion Gray/Beck/Ring and Popper test).

Sonny November 1, 2008 at 10:22 am

“I have a PhD in geochemistry and many years of work experience ”

Lank, I’d love to read your Phd thesis and associated publications. I assume your PhD is available on the Australian Digital Thesis Database? Could you supply a link? Also, a link(s) to your other publications so we lesser folk can be educated?

Cheers

Sonny

Lank November 1, 2008 at 11:08 am

Gareth,
Thank you for your long and thought out response to my posts. I do appreciate your effort and am aware of your book/research which I have yet to read (saw it yesterday on this site) and will read your book before I blog you again. Maybe I could offer some constructive thought before you publish the sequel.

Yes of course you would not be comfortable with the satellite temperature data which I have linked to below. These readings clearly do not agree with the AGW theory. Perhaps you could use some of the land based data and get a leg up with the heat island effect.

Since the start of 2007 earth has cooled to the extent that all the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared. This is clearly illustrated by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been no net global warming since weather satellites measurements began in 1979.
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/uah7908.JPG

Doug,
In answer to your questions –
1) My opinion of Ring and Gray. They are both passionate about thier work and beliefs but I cannot do justice to an in-depth comment on this blog. I may email you seperately on this. No I am not disgraceful.

2) I can only repeat. My test is shown in the link attached. Atmospheric CO2 has increased steadily over the last ++30 years but there has been no significant ‘man made’ global warming over the last decade. How many years/decades of natural temperature variations would you need to see before your perceived warming effects of CO2 are tested?

Lank November 1, 2008 at 11:56 am

Sonny,
Sorry, but my PhD is not on the Australian Digital Thesis Database (why should it be I have not studied in Australia).
I am old – remember what Jonno said “Maybe you should take your pills grand pops and stop talking scary, you’re scaring the little kids”

jonno November 1, 2008 at 12:58 pm

“A possible reduction in OH is also disturbing, ”

I think this is very disturbing. The free radicals will rein supreme.

fragment November 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Lank, what does the red line in that UAH graph from icecap represent? Some sort of smoothing filter? What kind? It looks really suspicious to me the way that it responds dramatically to the data points at the end of the series, but hardly at all to the obvious variations in the rest of the series.

fragment November 1, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Oh, I found that it’s a polynomial fit.

batnv November 1, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Lank, sorry buddy but your wasting your time here. These AGWer’s are akin to christian creationists. You can present them with all the evidence under the sun but you will never convince them to retract from their faith.

The cult leader Gareth, as he told you, wrote a myhtical book on Global Warming, whoops, sorry, that’s now Global Climate Change, they gotta cover their ar$es after all.

You could say that Gareth is the Brian Tamaki of AGW movement here down under. Although Gareth’s movement is a hell of a lot smaller due to an irrelevant number of naive followers, sheeple anyone ?

And Lank, as you have seen above Gareth’s disciples do not like you attacking or even questioning the knowledge of their deity.

So Lank, repent my friend or you will not be welcome here at the church of the foolish. Blasphemy will not be tolerated on this site. Did you not read the 13 commandments linked at the top of this site ?

Gareth November 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Excellent, bat. I shall be grinning all the way through to the start of the rugby. Made my day.

Brian Tamaki! Chortle… 8-)

Sonny November 1, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Lank, I’d still like to read your thesis. Most academic institutes have digitalised theses and my university librarian is a wizard at sourcing anything I can’t access directly. Any research papers you’ve written on the subject would also be appreciated. Being a full time writer requires me to spend several hours each day on researching a wide range of subjects. Your take on this sounds fascinating and I’d really like to see the academic framework in which it evolved.

Sonny

cindy November 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Lank

you are old? I am reminded of that great Arthur C Clark quote:

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

I think in your case this would be very apt, especially as you are calling for people to have an “open mind” on science.

I don’t, however, know whether you are distinguished.

Doug Mackie November 2, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Ain’t no one here denying that Ken and Vincent are passionate.
I’m talking about them being right. I do so look forward to your explanation of why you think they are right.

You too bat: Is Ken right? If he is de Freitas’ ozone paper is wrong (along with pretty much everything in science and stamp collecting).

I do so love that Lavoisier and NZC”S”C have painted themselves into a corner with Vincent (and Ken). Too late now to call them wrong without a major loss of face.

Now, lemme see if I have this right before I get carried away:

Firstly, your comment that there has ” been no significant ‘man made’ global warming over the last decade”. This seems a tautology. Do you mean no warming whatsoever or do you mean you have proof that none of it is human induced?

Secondly, above you make claims about a global temperature. That is, you seem to accept that there is good quality data for global temperature. I had rather gained the impression that Vincent felt this not to be the case. Have I misunderstood? (You or Vincent).

I’ll respond further once I can work out exactly what it is you mean.
(e.g. when you say no change over last decade do you mean exactly the last decade i.e. with respect to 1998? -I hope not b/c that canard is the sort of rubbish even the Sunday Telegraph would balk at).

Jonno November 3, 2008 at 11:00 am

I am still waiting for an answer Lank… are you still claiming that things are ‘back to normal’

“Carol – I am sure that you will able to see that in the bottom left graph that the current sea ice area is within the range of standard deviation for this time of the year.”

on only a few days? This is not very scientific for a so-called expert.

Do you understand the difference between climate and weather?

Lank November 3, 2008 at 11:22 am

“Atmospheric methane levels “shot up” in 2007″ – The rise in 2007 methane levels was about 10 parts per billion over the course of a year, a real jump for such a short period of time.

Jonno – Thanks for calling me an expert but I can only claim to be an interested earth scientist
and
yes, do you?

Doug – Can’t you read the graphs I’ve linked to. Atmospheric CO2 has increased steadily over the last ++30 years but there has been no significant ‘man made’ global warming over the last decade. How many years/decades of natural temperature variations would you need to see before your perceived warming effects of CO2 are tested?

Jonno November 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

“yes, do you?”

No I don’t claim that the climate is back to normal only based on a few days. This would be ridiculous.

Once again I ask, do you know the difference between climate and weather?

I gather you don’t from this little gem

“there has been no significant ‘man made’ global warming over the last decade. How many years/decades of natural temperature variations would you need to see before your perceived warming effects of CO2 are tested?”

Btw, I don’t really think you are a expert, not at all.

Lank November 3, 2008 at 11:37 am

Batnv(#46) – ‘These AGWer’s are akin to christian creationists” I am starting to agree – I’ve never seen a list of more ridiculous “13 commandments” certainly sounds more like a religious sect than a group of concerned scientists! What is happening in NZ? are these people for real? Do they really claim to be scientists? Do they have meetings and sing global warming ‘hymns’? I can’t wait to read Gareth’s book – is a copy kept on a bedside table in all NZ hotel rooms?

What are Gareth and his desciples beliefs on other topics? Is the fire and heat of hell due to AGW? Will NZ get into ‘hot water’ if kiwis do not agree with and obey his church’s 13 commandments?

Jonno November 3, 2008 at 11:43 am

“Batnv(#46) – ‘These AGWer’s are akin to christian creationists””

Hahahaha, sorry, I am embarrassed for you that you consider yourself a scientist. Your ‘PhD’ should be taken away from you for being so stupid.

These AGW liars are akin to flat-earthers…

Hey… using your logic of basing it on a few days, today where I live is much warmer than the last two days, I guess GW is back on then.

Jonno November 3, 2008 at 11:49 am

Lank you claim to be ‘open minded’, yet

“I can’t wait to read Gareth’s book – is a copy kept on a bedside table in all NZ hotel rooms?”

Man, you are ridiculous, you must be a sad old man, who cares really.

Gareth November 3, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Doug – Can’t you read the graphs I’ve linked to. Atmospheric CO2 has increased steadily over the last ++30 years but there has been no significant ‘man made’ global warming over the last decade. How many years/decades of natural temperature variations would you need to see before your perceived warming effects of CO2 are tested?

There has been significant global warming over the last ten years. To make your claim, you have to ignore the fact that 1997 and 1999 were a lot cooler than 1998. Ten years later, 1998’s temperatures are more or less normal. Your assertion also ignores the 20-30 year lag in response to forcing. It takes a while for the oceans to heat up.

In response to the second part of your question (which is hardly novel here – been asked, and answered, many times), you need to look at multi-decadal averages. Ten years would be about the shortest reasonable one (the WMO standard definition of climate is averages over 30 years). We can see that the decadal average for 1999-2008 is warmer than 1989-98. If 2009-18 average is cooler than 99-08, then (if there have been no major volcanoes to cool things) that might suggest we need to look at the balance of forcings. But we’re doing that anyway…

To turn the question on its head: I’m intrigued as to how climate cranks will respond the next time the 2005 record is broken. Will they admit that there has been no “global cooling”? I suspect you’ll find an outbreak of messenger shooting: “the data must be wrong”.

Gareth November 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm

who cares really

I do! If there were that many copies out there, I’d be getting a lot more in the way of royalties…

Jonno November 3, 2008 at 12:18 pm

The thing is Gareth; these AGW liars keep repeating their same old lies,
i.e. Lank keeps repeating that there has been no warmer. Yet, it has been pointed out ad nauseam on why this is wrong.

You would expect in a so called debate that they would be able to continue it, no get stuck on the same old ridiculous points, but they can’t. They just repeat themselves.

So Lank, it has been pointed out many times why you are wrong, can you please tell me why the argument put forth by Gareth is wrong. You can’t? Thought so, but at least you can repeat the good old lie, ‘there has been no warming’.

(Although it has warmed over the last 3 days here in New Zealand, so AWG is back on.)

Btw, love the polynomial best fit line, seems like the AGW lairs would use anything to come across as ‘correct’

Doug Mackie November 3, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Lank,
Your post about the lower tropospheric graph expresses a global temperature. Gray says such a thing does not exist.

1) Is Gray wrong about this? Do you believe it *is* possible to measure an anomaly to a global temperature?

2) Again, I ask for clarification: Do you mean that since 1998 (specifically that year) there has been no increase beyond the 1998 temperature? If so it is a frequently rebutted point. (Sunday Telegraph excepted, naturally).

3) Is there a reason you don’t link to the original data from NASA? Is the ICECAP figure based on MSU data? UAH? RSS? U.Md? etc etc. (i.e. your fig bears only passing resemblance to those published by the collectors of the data (e.g. see sap-1 from 4th report for a simple summary).

4) Remind me again, what bits of Ken Ring and Vincent Gray are sound. Especially since ICECAP lists Gray as an “expert”. Indeed, they have a surprisingly complete list of denialists as their experts. Includes one or two people with what some sources call little standing in the climate science community. Everyone except Ken Ring it seems. Wonder if de Freitas was upset to find out that Ken invalidated his work on ozone. Anyone bothered to ask Ken about his thoughts on other issues, e.g. what governs sedimentation?

Carol Stewart November 3, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Re post 54, I have never understood this religious metaphor beloved across the whole crank spectrum from the lunatic fringes (Ken) through to the moderate end (Poneke). It’s never really gained much traction in public debate – probably because it doesn’t actually work.
And call me slow, but I couldn’t make head or tail of Vincent’s attempts to bring evolution into the AGW debate.

AndrewH November 5, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Hey Carol

There is most definitely strong parallels between the creation/evolution debate and AGW debate.

One side is based in science
The other in dogma, pseudoscience and belief (shrouded in mystery)

In the case of AGW the “belief” is that humankind is simply incapable of influencing their environment. The “mystery” is that if humans ain’t doing it what is. Various sects have their own beliefs about this.

Amen

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