An Unexpected Limit to Climate Sensitivity

An Unexpected Limit to Climate Sensitivity. Climate scientists have struggled for decades to accurately determine the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to changes in atmospheric CO2. Citizen-scientist Willis Eschenbach thinks he’s figured it out. It’s not 3℃, if the cartoon version atmospheric model he’s using is right the sensitivity should be 9℃! Clearly those scientists don’t have a clue (this is what we call “foreshadowing”).

Oops. He was measuring the wrong system, and he forgot about “conservation of energy”.

Prediction is hard, especially of the future.

Prediction is hard, especially of the future. Willis Eschenbach tries to convince us that “problems” with 20 year-old computer models mean that we can’t trust the new ones.

Did Hansen, et. al.’s 1992 prediction Potential climate impact of Mount Pinatubo eruption really “miss the mark”? After all, they did predict a “3 sigma” event and the result was only a “2.1 sigma” event… It seems that they correctly predicted the temperature drop duration but over-estimated the scale. Not too shabby for 20 year-old model run with 20 year-old computer horsepower.

Of course Willis doesn’t give any hard numbers for his suggestion that their prediction “failed”. Couldn’t find an Excel formula for that, Willis?

And how did the much more relevant climate model prediction, 20 more years of increasing global temperatures, work out? Oh yeah, that’s what we’ve had. Willis’ insights are no better that Yogi Berra’s.

This is all just an attempt to prop up denialist obstructionism by suggesting that since we can’t predict the future perfectly we should never take any kind of preventative action at all.

Some of the Missing Energy

Some of the Missing Energy. Willis Eschenbach keeps trying to use Excel to disprove the Earth’s accepted energy balance. He’s suddenly learned about evaporation and now the counter-proof is “thunderstorms!” Apparently they make CO2 irrelevant. He also introduces the new preferred energy unit, the “tiny bit”.

Try again.

Knobs

Knobs. Anthony Watts gives us another example of Willis Eschenbach grappling with the English language, along with more of his goofy charts. In this case he’s directing his “scientific scrutiny” at Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature, a paper that appeared back in the October 15th 2010 volume of Science. There’s some useful coverage of it at Climate Progress.

So many words for so little value. Willis’ concern about the paper’s “theoretical claim” that “global net advective energy transports must equal zero” boils down to intentional obtuseness about basic physics. His complaint about computer modeling (which of course can never be trusted and are never useful) of an atmosphere without CO2 is another example of simplistic misrepresentation and trying to recycle unsupported denialist theories about cloud feedback.

Anthony brought this report to his readers ‘critical attention’ back in October with nothing more than an allusion to “last ditch effort” to fight “falling public opinion” (keep saying it Anthony, keep saying it). The comments were, as always, a sea of enthusiastic ignorance.

Interestingly, the corresponding author is Andrew Lacis, whom denialists tried to claim earlier this year as a dissenting climatologist by misrepresenting his remarks from back in 2005 about a draft of the IPCC’s AR4 report. Guess he’s back on the naughty list.