Arno arrak comments

Arno Arrak says:

October 25, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Harold – After reading this post I went and read your blog at HuffPost and a few reactions. Interesting and well reasoned. You are on the right track and have done your homework, never mind those idiots who want to put you down as a musician. As a scientist I have found that nearly every problem you face in real life lacks a textbook solution and you have to educate yourself about it from the ground up. Most “climate scientists” in fact were never educated in climate science. Hansen was an astronomer on the NASA Pioneer Venus probe before he joined GISS. He just quit the project before the spacecraft reached Venus because “The composition of our home planet was changing before our eyes.” And now he wants to close all coal-burning power plants. My previously published work had nothing whatsoever to do with climate but Al Gore made me take up climate science and I guess I have been a climate scientist ever since “What Warming?” came out. That was late last year and you unfortunately did not get a chance to read it before you wrote to Huffington Post. There are a few things you missed that I suggest you put into your future arsenal of climate discussions. Your first problem is that what is written about the El Nino and La Nina is all trash. They have no connection with the PDO and are strictly a tropical Pacific phenomenon. They involve the two equatorial currents, the trade winds, and the equatorial countercurrent in between. The trade winds push the water west where it piles up near the Philippines and New Guinea. Return flow is via the countercurrent and is periodic because of wave resonance. The El Nino wave is a mass of warm water that runs ashore in South America, spreads out, and warms the atmosphere. The rising warm air interferes with trade winds and raises global temperature by half a degree. The El Nino wave then retreats, water level drops by half a meter in its wake, cold water from below rises to take its place, and a La Nina is born. As much as the El Nino raised the global temperature La Nina will now lower it by the same amount and a temperature oscillation results. The eighties and the nineties saw such oscillations. They have existed since the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea and can be found in all global temperature curves if some idiot did not wipe them out with a running average. There can be irregularities and the super El Nino is an example. It was not part of the ENSO system and was probably caused by a storm surge that brought much warm water to the start of the equatorial countercurrent near New Guinea. As to the PDO I have reservations about calling it an oscillation. The reported period of thirty years is too long to be accommodated by any ocean basin. The length of the ENSO period is about five years and it involves the width of the entire Pacific basin. By that measure an oscillation taking thirty years could exist only in a basin five times as wide as the Pacific and I don’t see where it could be. The only thing that has the requisite length is the thermohaline submarine current starting in the Arctic, rounding Africa, and resurfacing in the Northern Pacific. I can’t imagine how it can oscillate but I can imagine how its flow could influence North Pacific temperatures. Be that how it may be, for me PDO is a pure hypothesis, not proven to be an oscillation. The second important thing to note is that Arctic warming has nothing whatsoever to do with the greenhouse effect. It started suddenly at the beginning of the twentieth century and has been going on, with a pause in mid-century, ever since. Carbon dioxide cannot start a sudden warming unless its concentration in the air takes a jump and this did not happen. What apparently did happen was a rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system at the turn of the twentieth century that directed the Gulf Stream onto its present northerly course. A lesser amount of warm water enters the Arctic on the opposite side through the Bering Strait. Thanks to prevailing winds more than the usual amount of warm water came through the strait in 2007 and melted a large patch of sea ice on that side of the ocean while the Gulf Stream side hardly changed. Look at NOAA maps for September 2006 and 2007 and compare. Oh, one more thing about carbon dioxide. Miskolczi has found, using NOAA database of weather balloon observations that goes back to 1948, that the optical thickness of the atmosphere in the infrared was constant for 61 years and had the value of 1.87. Which means that constant addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for all these years has had no influence on the transparency of the atmosphere to heat radiation that carbon dioxide absorbs or the optical thickness would have increased, and this did not happen. Way beyond logarithmic! And as to that positive water vapor feedback they use in the models, Miskolczy also proved that instead of being positive the feedback is strongly negative.

Dr. Judith Curry was recently called a heretic by  Scientific American due to her views on climate science and public policy. Here, in a post at he new blog,  she shows here resolve to maintain her independence from consensus thinking and to ignore the slings and arrows.

She takes no prisoners with this missive where she asks a very direct and effective question:

Let me preface my statement by saying that at this point,  I am pretty much immune to criticisms from my peers regarding my behavior and public outreach on this topic (I respond to any and all criticisms of my arguments that are specifically addressed to me.)   If you think that I am a big part of the cause of the problems you are facing, I suggest that you think about this more carefully.   I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus.  You may not like it, and my actions may turn out to be ineffective, futile, or counterproductive in the short or long run, by whatever standards this whole episode ends up getting judged.  But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.

Let me ask you this.  So how are things going for you lately?  A year ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe.   Now we have a situation where there have been major challenges to the reputations of a number of scientists, the IPCC, professional societies, and other institutions of science.  The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science.  The IPCC and the UNFCCC are regarded by many as impediments to sane and politically viable energy policies.  The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives.  In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.

What happened?  Did the skeptics and the oil companies and the libertarian think tanks win?  No, you lost.  All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand.  What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life.  And because of the high relevance of our field, we need to figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties.  This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.

Filed under: In other online forums,Natural Processes — by Richard Holle @ 5:49 am on October 25, 2010


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