Re: [asa] Data doesn't support global warming

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Mon Dec 14 2009 - 00:52:32 EST


1) I know that this is a very "emotional" issue for you. You come into
the room expecting to be stabbed in the back. So your adrenoline is
running high and your responses sharp. Speaking only for myself, I am
not fully persuaded of AGW. I've been skeptical for years because of my
experience with running and developing complex physics codes. But I am
listening and learning from others. You come armed with a quiver full
of arrows. So your situation is different. I only council that you not
presume everyone is attacking you or your positions.
2) It seems to me that the albedo issue is important for global climate
warming. With global albedo measurements, we can estimate the amount of
energy that is being absorbed by the terrestrial system. This, however,
does not immediately translate into temperatures. In order to translate
this into global temperatures we would need an estimate of global heat
capacity, which likely will change with a changing terrestrial
environment. Nonetheless, albedo measurements are an independent and
global measurement that can support global climate change. Whether CO2
is essentially responsible for the change in albedo is a secondary

BTW, I am imagining that albedo is estimated by essentially integrating
over the UV to IR spectrum for wide angle sensors looking towards the
earth and away from the earth. So it measures the ratio between
the outgoing and ingoing radiative energy.
3) From what you have said, apparently in opposition to what I have
said, I take it that we are in agreement, i.e., my attempts to summarize
(in part) what you are saying have been confirmed by your responses, which
is only to say that either I said it badly or that you misunderstood what
I was saying.

To be more explicit, you believe that the temperature data has significant
variance. This is, of course, not something new. I was simply rehearsing
how science has tried to deal with such problems, both statistically and
by seeking "independent" confirmation.

I would suggest that you indicate by what means we might resolve the
problem. What would you do to determine whether there is global warming,
and at what rate?



   On Sun, 13 Dec 2009, Glenn
Morton wrote:

> Replies for Bill Powers, and Murray Hogg Iain Strachan
> Bill Powers wrote:
>> Glen:
>> Permit me a few comments on what you've said below.
>> 1) The Oct temperatures in US are useful data, but they cannot be the whole
>> picture. CO2, as you say, ought to be in effect in Oct, as well as any
>> other month, but there are also likely to be many other factors that
>> influence local temperatures, including ones that are local and not of a
>> global nature. We would have to be able to substract the effects of these
>> to see the effect of CO2 alone.
> Are you saying that the entire US is having a local effect? Ok, I agree that
> we must subtract local phenomenon before we can see the effect of CO2 alone.
> No doubt. So, tell me how you subtract the impact of the local air
> conditioner seen in this USHCN station.
> Who keeps records of when it was on warming the thermometer?
> And of course there are urban heat island effects which can be as much as 15
> deg F difference in temperature within a few hundred yards. Please tell me
> who subtracts these very nonlinear effects seen in the picture below for
> Atlanta.
> Picture from
> Of course the picture of the next day's urban heat island will be different.
> So, please tell me how to fix the data.
> If the other effects happen to
>> dominate the local weather in these states, we could not take these
>> locations to be representative of the global temperature.
> 45 out of 48 states? You are aware aren't you that many stations went into
> the average for each state? I am gobsmacked by the apparent claim here that
> the same local problem affects ALL the cities in each of the 45 states. Is
> that your claim? Please explain how this connection works.
> And while you are at it, please explain why we shouldn't consider the warming
> as local effects? You have a one-way street--cooling must be local but you
> ignore the possibility that the warming might be local.
>> 2) It seems that you are saying that temperature measurements fluctuate
>> widely, even for geographically close and similar locations. If the
>> terrestrial global temperature was only based upon such "representative"
>> samples, then global warming would be suspect. Here it seems that we need
>> to appeal to what we know about statistical sampling. We would, of course,
>> require some knowledge of the temporal and geographical variance in the
>> temperature. We would have to presume that the sampling is unbiased. It
>> seems, however, that it would be possible to validate a sampling set. I
>> don't know whether these studies have been done.
> Sampling is only as good as the data going into it. If I say that the US has
> 5 trillion people, and the UK has 1 person, and China has 16 trillion people,
> you can average away but your answer will be wrong because the data going
> into the average is crap. We also know that statistical sampling gives us a
> measure of the noise in our data. When I compare two nearby towns day by
> day, which involves tens of thousands of daily difference measurements, the
> standard deviation is almost always greater than 3 deg F. Now, if that is
> the noise level in the data, then to claim that the world has warmed by 1.1
> deg F +/- 3 deg F is quite silly. The SD also includes the possibliity that
> the world has actually COOLED.
>> 3) Isn't it so that global warming is not merely based upon temperature
>> samples at specific locations, e.g., satellite albedo measurements?
> Ah yes, albedo. It is going down you know and it is going down in sufficient
> quantity to account for the supposed CO2 warming. Let's go back to Sagan's
> nuclear winter paper. I do this because the issue of global warming wasn't an
> issue then. Thus he didnt say what he said in order to help or hurt global
> warming.
> Simple climate models (31) suggest that if the global albedo changes from
> its value of 0.30 by 0.01, a surface temperature
> change of ~2 K will result." Carl Sagan, Owen B. Toon, James B. Pollack,"
> Anthropogenic Albedo Changes
> and the Earth's Climate", Science 206(1979),p. 1367
> So we have a simple albedo vs temperature relation. So, what has happened to
> the earth's albedo?
> "The global CERES observations show a small decrease of ~2 W/m^2 in shortwave
> reflected flux, equal to an albedo decrease of 0.006. These results stand in
> stark contrast to those of Pall2 et al. (4), which show a large increase of 6
> W/ m^2 or an albedo increase of 0.017, as shown for comparison in Fig. 1."
> Bruce A. Wielicki,et al, "Changes in Earth's Albedo
> Measured by Satellite," Science, 308(2005),p. 825
> "We correlate an overlapping period of earthshine measurements of Earth's
> reflectance (from 1999 through mid-2001) with satellite observations of
> global cloud properties to construct from the latter a proxy measure of
> Earth's global shortwave reflectance. This proxy shows a steady decrease in
> Earth's reflectance from 1984 to 2000, with a strong climatologically
> significant drop after 1995. From 2001 to 2003, only earthshine data are
> available, and they indicate a complete reversal of the decline.
> Understanding how the causes of these decadal changes are apportioned between
> natural variability, direct forcing, and feedbacks is fundamental to
> confidently assessing and predicting climate change."
> E. Palle´, P. R. Goode, P. Montan~e´s-Rodr?guez, S. E. Koonin2, " Changes in
> Earth's Reflectance
> over the Past Two Decades, Science 304(2004), p. 1299
> A decrease in albedo means more heat absorbed. The amount noted by CERES is
> 60% of that claimed by Sagan to cause a 2 deg K change in temperature. If
> the problem is albedo, and not CO2 then why should we worry about CO2. We
> should be working on the albedo problem.
>> 4) Do you deny that global glacial loss is accelerating? If you do not,
>> how do you account for this?
> Sure some glaciers are receding. But I want you to be aware that 5000 years
> ago during the Holocene climatic optimum, there were no Alpine glaciers,
> Southern Norway was devoid of glaciers, Southern Alaska was devoid of
> glaciers, Antarctic Ice shelves were melted 80 km further south of their
> present locations at latitudes which have yet to start melting even now. The
> seas, were 2 meters higher then than they are now. Source:
> We have yet to move outside of the variation in climate seen during the
> history of mankind--even if one is a YEC!
> Hi Murray
>> Whether the assumption is correct or not is moot, but it appears to be
>> this: the global temperature >system is as simple as the temperature system
>> in the interior of a car.
>> Perhaps this is not altogether the case?
> The global weather system is not simple. The outflow of radiative heat IS
> simple. Radiation is not affected by atmospheric circulation as radiation
> works at the speed of light, not the speed of the wind which is much slower.
> Radiation cares not which way the winds are blowing. You are conflating
> global CIRCULATION models, which ARE complex with simple radiation escape.
> Just for your information, my first YEC article eventually brought an
> admission from ICR that the water vapor canopy was untenable. It took 10
> years. That work was based on radiative heat transfer through a greenhouse
> gas (in that case, water), so I have some experience in that area and know
> that that problem is simple. Calculating wind currents isn't
> I frankly find the 'global temperature is complex' to be one of those
> psychological escape clauses. If you can say that anything I present is too
> complex, therefore you don't have to pay attention to anything I present, you
> have a perfect out to every single argument anyone can present.
> Epistemologically it is no different than when a YEC is presented with a
> problem which he can't solve, claims a miracle by God to escape the problem.
> I would say that if the system is so complex that no objection can be
> entertained, then it is too complex for you to claim to know that the
> temperature of the world has risen. The system is either simple enough to
> understand or not, for both sides.
> One final thing, Please explain why CO2 doesn't work for 100 years to warm
> Octobers over the US??? Everyone wants to avoid that very very big problem
> by totally ignoring it or as Randy did, minimize its areal impact. If we are
> going to discuss data, it should go like this. I post data, you tell me why
> the data is wrong, specifically either observationally, theoretically or
> logically. Saying it is complex is not one of the above. Claiming complexity
> is nothing more than proclaiming a miracle.
> In climate progress, Iain probably correctly, chided John Wally for not
> reading Michael Mann's defense. I have read it. And a couple of things stand
> out for me.
> Thanks Phil,
> (Tom: Congrats again!)
> The Soon & Baliunas paper couldn't have cleared a 'legitimate' peer review
> process
> anywhere. That leaves only one possibility--that the peer-review process at
> Climate
> Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board.. Mann
> claims:
> " I support the publication of "skeptical" papers that meet the basic
> standards of scientific quality and merit."
> Such self-serving on his part
>>>> From: "Michael E. Mann" <>
> To: Phil Jones <>,,
> Subject: Re: Fwd: Soon & Baliunas
> Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 08:14:49 -0500
> Cc:,,,
> Thanks Phil,
> (Tom: Congrats again!)
> The Soon & Baliunas paper couldn't have cleared a 'legitimate' peer review
> process
> anywhere. That leaves only one possibility--that the peer-review process at
> Climate
> Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board. And it
> isn't just De
> Frietas, unfortunately I think this group also includes a member of my own
> department...
> The skeptics appear to have staged a 'coup' at "Climate Research" (it was a
> mediocre
> journal to begin with, but now its a mediocre journal with a definite
> 'purpose').
> And he tried to keep the BBC from publishing skeptical views
>>>> Michael Mann wrote:
> extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its
> particularly odd,
> since climate is usually Richard Black's beat at BBC (and he does a great
> job). from
> what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.
> We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be
> appropriate for
> the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what's up
> here?
> mike<<<
> Clearly he was trying to deep six alternative views.
> One final thing. I posted on my blog tonight on a climate model they ran for
> AR4. The output data was in one of the emails. I plotted it. Guess what, it
> shows cooling but what was published in the AR4 shows something entirely
> different. Wonder why? or for just that
> post

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Dec 14 00:53:24 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Dec 14 2009 - 00:53:26 EST