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    Very foolish indeed. But is it not also foolish to poke a stick at a wild and angry beast? Taxes and cap and trade are pointless exercises with an overt anti growth agenda. Skeptics on the other hand have vacated the field being busy in the climate wars - climate zombie vs climate wombat. The solution is in the human technological capacity - think our way out of the problem.

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    A metatheory of climate will not have practical application any time soon - that's not a reason not to pursue it.

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    Is the presumption of a 2% change in (1/T) tied to a 2% change in flux found in textbooks, and generally accepted in the climate change literature? If so, then the generally accepted value for climate sensitivity is a factor of 4 too large. The reason is that the Stefan-Boltzmann law says j is proportional to T^4. Taking the derivative of both sides with respect to T, and then dividing both sides by the Stefan-Boltzmann law, and rearranging shows that the % change in T will be 1/4 times the % change in flux. Because 1/T contains T^1, the % change in (1/T) will also be 1/4 times the % change in flux. You and all other knowledgeable bloggers are asked to comment on and make any corrections to my calculations found at http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect posted on Feb. 7 at 7:44 pm.

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    I will post something a bit less technical with links later today.

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    Milanovic, Interesting and useful analysis. Sometime what may appear to be a chaotic behaviour it is just part of an orderly longer term process, engineers often refer to it as a noise. In the solar science circles, during the last two years, there is a raging debate about sunspot activity, and why NASA’s top people got it so wrong. Despite all the computing power and sophisticated theoretical models, they managed to get it wrong (it looks like ) by a factor of 3 (150+ instead of mere 50 or possibly less). This was not some long term prediction, but just 4-5 years ahead. You mention 3 bodies gravity problem. In 2003, prompted by my daughters homework I wrote a simple equation, showing effect of 2 celestial bodies on the third (in this case Jupiter and Saturn on the Sun). Although it was denounced by the NASA’s top man Dr. David Hathaway (who is now unfortunately subject of a relentless mockery) it has proven surprisingly accurate. Graph compares the actual solar magnetic field daily measurements with a simple numerical calculation. It gives one of the highest correlation (R^2 = 0.9285) in the natural sciences for two (still considered unrelated) processes: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm It tells directly what the sun is doing and why, not based on gravity but on magnetism, another fundamental force, in certain respects very alike the gravity. Why this could be of interest to the climate science? Well, if there is a direct link between solar activity and the global climatic events, than next 10-20 years may take an unexpected turn.

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    The scientific process is about the cumulative evidence. The scientists have in general trust that the others do not cheat, but they do not trust that the others are right. Being skeptical of every result that has not been verified thoroughly by several independent studies (unless the result is easy to prove) is a basic feature of the scientific process. This general skepticism makes any specific type of proof to have less significance. Therefore the principles are most important, detailed rules help by making the process more efficient, but they are not as essential. A corollary of my previous comment is that very much of the knowledge used from climate science is not yet at the level of well established scientific knowledge. Even for results, which have not been contested, the evidence is often too thin. This is not a problem for science itself as it is really an unavoidable part of science. It is, however, a big problem for the use of the results of climate science in decision making. The climate science has produced very much preliminary knowledge waiting for better confirmation. This preliminary knowledge is not worthless and is often rather strong, but using it is problematic, as its reliability is difficult to estimate. This is a situation of PNS. Science proceeds in parallel, not undisturbed, but proceeds anyway. For the NAS the same PNS type problem appears in many fields of research. All research related to health issues is very severely influenced by these problems. When the results of research are used in decision making the need of formal rules becomes important. Then the conflicts of interest must be taken seriously and steps taken to reduce their improper influences. In climate issues the direct conflicts of interest are less common, but political ideologies have taken to some extent their role. There are, however, no comparable possibilities of declaring political views of scientists.

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    Having consulted Tim Palmer's Lorenzian Meteorological Office 'Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space. Prognostic equations for ρ, the Liouville and Fokker-Plank equation are described by Ehrendorfer (this volume). In practice these equations are solved by ensemble techniques, as described in Buizza.' (Predicting Weather and Climate - Palmer and Hagedorn eds - 2006) Don't ask me for the details - I mistook an ordinary differential equation for a form of lyric verse.

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    Oh - and clouds are uncertain.

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    Outstanding contribution. Thank you. DavS

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    Fred, I agree strongly with you. Great results have very often been the result of being stubborn against evidence. The scientists has reached an intuitive belief that a new approach may be valuable, but faces strong "proofs" against it both from own reasoning and from others. For the further progress it may be important that the idea is published, but it would not be possible, if the scientist would not belittle the apparent problems. My experience from observing other during the 10 years I was active in theoretical physics was that the great new ideas were commonly such that many people had thought about them, but most were too rational to avoid dismissing them. They believed the evidence and followed the standard rules. Those who were able to break the rules succeeded. I must add that perhaps 99.9% of the cases, where rules were broken do not lead to anything useful. Thus the point is breaking the rules in the right place and that is where the great scientists differ from the good ones.

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    Strongly recommended reading in relation to these issues : Nancy Cartwright How the laws of physics lie, Oxford University Press, 1983.

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    Here is a better link to how the laws of physics lie with preview of some pages of the book .

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    If your stick is made out of carbon dioxide I doubt the angry beast will notice. In my view, and your post on cloud seems to support it, most of the late C20th warming was due to the increased insolation at the ocean surface rather than an increase in airbourne co2. The match I have found between specific humidity near the tropopause and solar activity levels leads me to believe the water vapour feedback has a lot more to do with the sun than co2. http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/shumidity-ssn96.png?w=614 Since water vapour causes most of the greenhouse effect, I'm not too concerned about trace gas concentration changes. Water vapour concentration changes are the controlling influence on Earth's internal energy balance, and it looks like solar activity levels are the controlling influence on water vapour concentration changes. Given the deep dive in solar activity levels, it's not surprising to me that plenty of rain has been falling over the last two years. Are there any goo measures of the average height of the tropopause accurate to within 200m we can consult?

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    Bryan, In my comments to Claes I have stated, that there may be alternative ways of describing the same things. That is OK, but that gives you no right to say that the way others want to discuss the matter is wrong. It is just an alternative. It is the alternative used by almost everybody, who is working on these issues concretely. It is used by them, because it helps them in doing their work correctly and producing practical results in engineering and in understanding atmosphere. Here "understanding atmosphere" refers to the practical uses of this understanding in meteorology, remote sensing etc. The Climate science is is not the originator of these concepts. It is only one adopter of them.

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    Al, if my ‘ignorance’ is in question then yours can be in no doubt. Just two words utterly destroy your bogus thought experiment: Poynting’s law. To elaborate, when calculating any transport of electro-magnetic energy (radiation) all such flow is to be determined by field vector calculus (i.e. Poynting's vector (see Poynting's theorem) which is an energy conservation law: see John David Jackson (1998). Classical electrodynamics (Third ed.). New York: Wiley. ISBN 047130932X. http://worldcat.org/isbn/047130932X). Vectoring laws specifically require that when the direction of such energy flow is equal and in opposite motion ( as per your “long room with two flat black walls, each having a certain temperature, T1 and T2, of about the same level” ) all such flows must be summed to zero. This is a law of science and not an option! Thus, just like conduction and convection radiation can have no BACK FLOW.

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    Stay focused please, Magnus. This is about whether the hockeystick is important to estimates of climate sensitivity. It is not because most climate scientists do not share your level of scepticism, and are probably more focused on the detailed observations of forcings during the climate model era (the last 30-odd years).

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    Michael, Judith did delete some of the data. I will not speculate as to whether that was dishonest, as I don't have access to Judith's mind, Judith. We might ask, as Steven Mosher asks, what scientific best practise would be, specifically would that include modifying the body post to include or link to alternative interpretations and the full email texts? We may guess that Judith would not want to underplay the role of uncertainty.

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    Exactly. There is no analogy in Gavin's "analogy". The "hide the decline" graphmakers were leaving off (inconvenient) data that exists in the timeline they were graphing. The hurricane example above doesn't leave off any data in its timeline. Score one for JPeden.

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    Concerning the gradual decoherence I add that it is perhaps easiest to understand when QM is formulated using density operators instead of wave functions. The formulations are equivalent, but different aspects of the theory are easiest to understand in each formulation. The formulation in terms of density operators was developed by John von Neumann and described in his book "Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics" in 1932.

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    Wealth is extraordinarily concentrated worldwide, and one of the principal goals of wealthy families is exerting power and influence ("impact"). As of 2004, 77,000 families worldwide controlled assets totaling over USD $50T, a number almost twice what pension fund aggregate assets were. There were approximately 1mm families worth > USD $10mm, with an aggregate net worth of $90T, i.e 3x times pension fund assets. Prince/Grove, "Inside the Family Office", 2005. Numbers are down some since then, but the distribution is unchanged.

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