Monday, December 10, 2012

Open letter to Dan Pangburn, et al. Re: "Historical Data on Global Warming..."

Open letter to Dan Pangburn 
Regarding your "Historical Data on Global Warming provided by U.S. Government Agencies" op-ed"

Dear Dan Pangburn, 
You've written to me over at my and offered links to your work.  I have read more of your blogs and posts and various comments around the web.  Well, it's fired me up with a desire to write you a letter asking some heart to heart questions and sharing my perspective with you and your compatriots.  I'm doing it here because WUWTW seemed a more appropriate location.

I'll base my letter on that piece you keep plugging, your March 15, 2008 op-ed:

"Historical Data on Global Warming provided by U.S. Government Agencies"

I will include your direct quotes from that paper followed by comments and further links to sources that support my arguments.

You write:  "I have been researching the global warming issue for months. I am a licensed Mechanical Engineer with an MSc in Mechanical Engineering. The following is a brief verbal description of some of my sources and findings with graphics that show these findings..."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

First off, what's up with that title?  

It's sweeping and somehow authoritative sounding, as if it originated in a government office.  Why did you choose to give it that semi-official sounding name?

Then consider how you establish your authority.  
You seem to believe that as a mechanical engineer you've got the background to master climatology with a few months of personal study.  As if that lends you the genius to leapfrog scientists who have spent many years studying and mastering this topic.  

Aren't you claiming a bit too much?  What about those experts who have spent years wrestling with the formulas, data, models and their complexities?

How does mechanical engineering prepare you to understand the natural world?  
Your world of buildings and bridges and mechanical forces is filled with the laws of physics in their most simplified form.  It's a world full of constraints and absolutes - whereas our planet's natural systems work on an altogether different level.

How is it that after a few months of study you feel qualified to so absolutely dismiss long standing "consensus" science and practice?  You complain about papers not being accepted for publication.

What that lot of unpublished papers that were basically substandard?  Ds and Fs so to speak...  why should seriously flawed papers deserve to be published? 

Even from reading your replies at various discussions you reply to knowledgeable folks and their critiques... it seems evasive and willfully ignoring significant complaints. 

I wonder, can you explain the difference between mechanical and Earth studies?
I'm serious, can you come up with a short descriptive comparison?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

You write:  "The assertion that humans have or ever can have a significant influence on climate such as by limiting the use of fossil fuel (a.k.a. limiting human production of carbon dioxide) is not supported by any historical record."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

What does this mean?  The human population has never been as large or resource consuming as today - so of course, there are no historical comparisons.  

Do you seriously question whether humans can have a significant influence? - please explain that.

What about the evidence that humans have become a unprecedented major geologic force on this planet?  Centuries of struggling to tame and subdue the biosphere have succeeded with a vengeance... don't you think?

I'll be honest with you, to me, believing humans can't possibly have major global impacts makes as much sense as believing our universe was formed 6 thousand years ago in one frenzied week... oh yea, silly me, half the US population does believe that god created Earth in a week long frenzy.

~ ~ ~

For those who are curious human impacts the evidence overwhelming, here's a sampling:

Dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch? Earth Has Entered New Age of Geological Time, Experts Say
Mar. 26, 2010 — Geologists from the University of Leicester are among four scientists- including a Nobel prize-winner -- who suggest that Earth has entered a new age of geological time.
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Living in the Anthropocene: Toward a New Global Ethos
Paul J. Crutzen and Christian Schägerl
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A man-made world -
Science is recognising humans as a geological force to be reckoned with. 
~ ~ ~ 

A Global Map of Human Impacts to Marine Ecosystems
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A major international conference focusing on solutions to the global sustainability challenge.

~ ~ ~ 

As you can see, honest curiosity and a sincere effort reveals a plethora of evidence of human's major disruptive impacts upon our planet.  There's much more out there then I'll ever have the time to dig up.

Faith can't erase that reality.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You write:  "The temperature1 has varied substantially while the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere2 exhibits a smooth progressive rise. Note on this graph that prior to about 1910, and again from 1944 to about 1976, temperature showed a decreasing trend while atmospheric carbon dioxide level was increasing. . . "

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

You are deliberately misrepresenting the science.  For a more complete treatment view these examples:

What caused early 20th Century warming?

IPCC Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report
2.2 Drivers of climate change

You also confuse "Trend and variation," 
here's a simple video explaining what you've omitted:

"Trend and variation"
Uploaded by TeddyTVNorge on Jan 4, 2012

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You write:  "In the previous graph it appears that since 1976 the increasing carbon dioxide level has caused the average global temperature to rise. However, a close look at the graph below reveals the fact that, typically in the past, global average temperature rose or fell before the carbon dioxide level changed."  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Dan you ignore too much of the story.  What about this information:

CO2:  The Biggest Control Knob on Earth's Thermostat  
Professor Richard Alley
~ ~ ~
Ben Santer: Crushing the Myth of Global Cooling
(considering signal and noise)
~ ~ ~
(CO2) A Natural By-Product of Nature

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

You write:  "This graph shows that the average global temperature 400 years ago was significantly higher than now and the recent rate of temperature change is not unusual."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That graph does not represent the global temperature, nor does any one graph definitively do that.  They are building blocks of learning.  Why are you ignoring the accumulated knowledge scientists have built up regarding the MWP and other temperature fluctuation over the past thousands of years?  

Do a search for "Medieval Warm Period" over at (that internet repository of climate science papers), the list of informative information is impressive and clearly shows that temperature fluctuations are considered and understood.

Results "Medieval Warm Period"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

You write:  "For most of earth’s history carbon dioxide level has been several times higher than the present8,9. The planet plunged in to the Andean-Saharan ice age 440 million years ago10 when the carbon dioxide level was over ten times higher than now.The conclusion from all this is that carbon dioxide change does NOT cause significant climate change." 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

What a sad, even pathetic, deception you are playing here.  It's worth repeating, no climatologist has ever claimed CO2 was the driving factor in every climate swing Earth has experienced !

Comparing today's globe and biosphere with what existed 440 million years ago is as disingenuous as it gets.  

You willfully ignore that our global heat distribution engine is a product of evolution and that it has reached a special sweet spot during the recent geologic era.  One that has been most conducive to society's development; one that we are dependent on; one deserving of much respect and appreciation.  After all our society is dependent on predicable stable weather conditions.
~ ~ ~

YouTube's "ThinkAboutIt" has put together an excellent < 8 minute video reviewing the past 600 million years of our climate's evolution.  It valuable information presented in a timeline fashion and filled with fascinating details you seem obvious to.

Man Made Climate Change in 7 Minutes 
(The last 600 Million years of our climate's evolution in 7 minutes)

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You write:  "Actions to control the amount of non-condensing greenhouse gases that are added to the atmosphere are based on the mistaken assumption that global warming was caused by human activity. These actions put freedom and prosperity at risk. "

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You reveal your agenda... and it doesn't sound like its got anything to do with understanding our planet.  I'm thinking you are one of those folks committed to that "free-corporate-market" philosophy, more interested in retaining assets and power than understanding how our planet behaves.

You talk of "freedom and prosperity" but ignore how dependent every aspect of our society is on stable reliable weather patterns.  The very thing our rampant ever increasing CO2 injections into our thin atmosphere is promising to disrupt.

Have you seriously considered you might be wrong and this course you are advocating, of ignoring Earth Observation evidence and expert opinions, will prove destructive to our younger generations?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Mr. Pangburn,  I wonder what you think of Spencer Weart's words in his essay:

Guest commentary by Spencer R. Weart, American Institute of Physics
"I often get emails from scientifically trained people who are looking for a straightforward calculation of the global warming that greenhouse gas emissions will bring. What are the physics equations and data on gases that predict just how far the temperature will rise? A natural question, when public expositions of the greenhouse effect usually present it as a matter of elementary physics. These people, typically senior engineers, get suspicious when experts seem to evade their question. Some try to work out the answer themselves (Lord Monckton for example) and complain that the experts dismiss their beautiful logic.
The engineers’ demand that the case for dangerous global warming be proved with a page or so of equations does sound reasonable, and it has a long history. The history reveals how the nature of the climate system inevitably betrays a lover of simple answers. . . link"

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The CO2 problem in 6 easy steps

We often get requests to provide an easy-to-understand explanation for why increasing CO2 is a significant problem without relying on climate models and we are generally happy to oblige. The explanation has a number of separate steps which tend to sometimes get confused and so we will try to break it down carefully. . .
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Basic Radiation CalculationsThe foundation of any calculation of the greenhouse effect was a description of how radiation and heat move through a slice of the atmosphere. At first this foundation was so shaky that nobody could trust the results. With the coming of digital computers and better data, scientists gradually worked through the intricate technical problems. A rough idea was available by the mid 1960s, and by the late 1970s, the calculations looked solid — for idealized cases. Much remained to be done to account for all the important real-world factors, especially the physics of clouds. (This genre of one-dimensional and two-dimensional models lay between the rudimentary, often qualitative models covered in the essay on Simple Models of Climate and the elaborate three-dimensional General Circulation Models of the Atmosphere.) Warning: this is the most technical of all the essays. K
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Dan Pangburn said...

Thanks for pointing out this assessment, now well over 4 years old. It reminds me that I started examining this issue over 6 years ago. I started out at the then-popular notion that added atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) would lead to extensive temperature rise for the planet. What I discovered demonstrated that the notion was wrong and the paper shows why that notion is wrong.

It said then what remains true now that “…[atmospheric] carbon dioxide change does NOT cause significant climate change.”

According to credible agencies (NOAA, UAH, GISS, RSS, Hadley Center) that report this stuff on the web, the CO2 level has continued to increase on a smooth trend while the average global temperature (agt) trend since 2001 (some say about 4 years earlier) has been flat.

Since that March, 2008 paper I have discovered what actually did cause the agt trajectory since 1895 (well, there is that 12% that the equation doesn’t explain, but EVERYTHING ELSE must find room in that 12%). The equation, detailed description of the method and links to the source data are all included in my later papers, all available on the web.

As to those papers by others that you list above, most, if not all, were funded by folks who were frightened into believing that there was a looming catastrophe (unfortunately for human prosperity, many, especially many politicians and people in the ‘main stream media’ still do) that needed to be researched. Surprise, surprise, all of their papers concluded that there was a looming catastrophe and that they would need more funding to research it.

I am unfunded.

As the CO2 level continues to go up and agt doesn’t, the lack of a catastrophe will become evident to more and more people. Apparently, the separation between the rising CO2 level and not-rising agt will need to get much wider for the AGW mistake to become evident to you.

It is already evident to most scientists (and at least one engineer) whose technological knowledge extends beyond meteorology (and who are not corrupt, i. e. not motivated by funding) that have actually examined the issue.

Peter said...

Are you claiming because you are unfunded you are correct and everyone that's funded to do these observations and studies are liars or stupid? ...sure sounds that way
~ ~ ~

What average global temperature (agt) trend are you looking at?

Where are the warming oceans reflected in your thinking? Are you claiming there has been no warming in our oceans. What about the planet's cryosphere? Are you claiming it hasn't been melting or that the melting isn't significant? What about the increasing atmospheric moisture content that's tied to agt?

What you've discovered is that you can tinker with your own models to your own delight. Incidentally, it seems like you have pdf's scattered all over the place - have you collected your math and conjectures into a coherent whole?

I've run out of time again... but I'll be back.

Incidentally, you've inspired another post that looks at this nonsense about no global warming happening...

Dan Pangburn said...

No, I just mean that I am unfunded. All my stuff is on the web so anyone can check it. And no I don't think anyone is stupid but I do know now that a lot of them have made a mistake.

agt is defined in the legend on Figure 4 in the pdf made public 10/24/12 (and elsewhere).

My assessment (mostly based on the 110 meter effective depth number from NOAA) is that the thermal capacitance of the oceans is about 30 times everything else. That means that about 30 times as much heat goes into the oceans as goes in to everything else. The cryosphere is part of everything else.

Any influence that atmospheric moisture content has on agt has to find room in that unexplained 12%.

There is nothing to tinker with, no way to tinker. All of the pdfs are in chronological order at

Peter said...

Reply to Dan's above comment:

Actually your 9/24/11 article has this:

"The equation posits that average global temperature (agt) can be calculated from (1) the timeintegral of sunspot numbers (a proxy that correlates with energy retained by the planet), (2) predefined effective sea surface temperature (ESST) and (3) the measured atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) level. The influence of CO2 can be zeroed out by setting the coefficient ‘d’ to zero."
~ ~ ~

At (1)"A proxy that correlates with energy "retained" by the planet" -
you are suggesting that sunspots impact the % of heat retained by Earth. How does that work physically?

I'm not asking if you can create/find some correlations... I'm curious if you can explain the physics behind how sunspots teleport heat retention capacity to our atmosphere?


And there's the rub, you ignore the thermo sequestering rest of the ocean. Leaving one to question how many other fudge factors you've manipulated to create your story, er model.

New Comparison of Ocean Temperatures Reveals Rise Over the Last Century
Apr. 1, 2012 — A new study contrasting ocean temperature readings of the 1870s with temperatures of the modern seas reveals an upward trend of global ocean warming spanning at least 100 years.

Journal Reference:
Dean Roemmich, W. John Gould, John Gilson. 135 years of global ocean warming between the Challenger expedition and the Argo Programme. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1461
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dry Lands Getting Drier, Wet Getting Wetter: Earth's Water Cycle Intensifying With Atmospheric Warming
May 20, 2012 — A clear change in salinity has been detected in the world's oceans, signalling shifts and an acceleration in the global rainfall and evaporation cycle.

Journal Reference:
P. J. Durack, S. E. Wijffels, R. J. Matear. Ocean Salinities Reveal Strong Global Water Cycle Intensification During 1950 to 2000. Science, 2012; 336 (6080): 455 DOI: 10.1126/science.1212222
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Humans Are Primary Cause of Global Ocean Warming Over Past 50 Years, Research Shows
June 11, 2012 — The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone.

Journal Reference:
P. J. Gleckler, B. D. Santer, C. M. Domingues, D. W. Pierce, T. P. Barnett, J. A. Church, K. E. Taylor, K. M. AchutaRao, T. P. Boyer, M. Ishii, P. M. Caldwell. Human-induced global ocean warming on multidecadal timescales. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1553


Can you explain what you mean; what you think it signifies?


Dan Pangburn said...

"... explain the physics behind how sunspots teleport heat retention capacity to our atmosphere" its explained on page 13 of the pdf made public 11/24/11.

" many other fudge factors" look at the equation. There are no fudge factors. The coefficients only serve to determine the fraction of the agt rise that is attributable to each of the three primary contributors.

"...upward trend of global ocean warming spanning at least 100 years" agt is overwhelmingly determined by average ocean temperature. This is consistent with the agt rise as measured and as calculated by my equation. But the agt trend has been flat for over a decade now.

"...change in salinity has been detected in the world's oceans, signalling shifts and an acceleration in the global rainfall and evaporation cycle" this is nonsense. Both evaporation and rain are salt free processes. Besides, it took over 4 billion years to get up to the 4% or so average salt content of the oceans. Any change in a century would be undetectable. It looks to me that they searched until they found the correlation that they were looking for and then made that finding public.

"Humans Are Primary Cause of Global Ocean Warming Over Past 50 Years, Research Shows" They are wrong. See my pdf made public 10/24/12

Peter said...

page 13 of the pdf made public 11/24/11:

The mechanism sequences appear to be:
Fewer sunspots; reduced solar magnetic shielding; increased galactic cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere; increased low-level clouds; lower average cloud altitude; higher average cloud temperature; increased cloud-to-space radiation; lower agt.

Fewer sunspots; reduced solar magnetic shielding; increased galactic cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere, increased low-level clouds, increased albedo, less energy absorbed by the planet, lower agt.

The opposite, more sunspots, results in higher agt.

Total Solar Irradiance, TSI, is complementary but a much smaller contributor.

Others have looked at just amplitude or just time factors for sunspots and got poor correlations with agt. The good correlation comes by combining the two, which is what the time-integral does. It appears that this has not been done previously.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dan you are talking correlation and not explaining any physics.
It's like your whole argument comes down to you finding some correlation, but that isn't causation!

Furthermore: your correlation doesn't hold up under real world scrutiny.
Worst you seem to think it's fair to over simplify.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Unfortunately, it takes a good faith effort to learn these things.

Water levels correlate with sunspots...
~ ~ ~

What does Solar Cycle Length tell us about the sun's role in global warming?...
~ ~ ~

Solar activity & climate: is the sun causing global warming?...
~ ~ ~

What do the CERN experiments tell us about global warming?...

Peter said...

¶2 That was a poor choice of words. Rather than "fudge factors" I should have pointed out that you approach all of this with a certain writer's license.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

¶3 Just saying so don't make it so.
Where have you incorporated the amount of heat being added to our oceans?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

¶4 So Dan, this sounds like full blown Dunning-Kruger... with a swat of your opinion - you've shown just how poorly you understand the complex dynamics at work in our global heat distribution engine. Sure you manipulated numbers to find a correlation you were searching. Yet, you show an arrogant disregard for the physical dynamics at work between oceans and atmosphere.

Research Expedition to Explore Ocean Salinity, Climate - Briefing Materials...
~ ~ ~

Global ocean salinity changing due to anthropogenic climate change
December 18, 2012...
~ ~ ~

Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis 5.2.3 Ocean Salinity...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

¶5 "They are wrong." you sound pretty sure, are you sure it's not your politics driving your thinking? How do you know they are wrong? When have you become acquainted with that science?

I would suggest that instead of willfully trying to ignore it, you'd think seeing such millennial scale changes happening in decades, ought to raise some alarm.

But, it sounds like you just want to swept it under the rug, as they say.

Come on, enough with sending people off goose chases. Try explaining your reasoning here.

Dan Pangburn said...

"'ve shown just how poorly you understand the complex dynamics at work in our global heat distribution engine." If by this you mean how energy moves around the planet, aka weather, that is not the subject (but is indicative of some of the minutia that most Climate Scientists have gotten mired in) and is not particularly relevant to agt. The subject is agt and it is a simple problem in radiation heat transfer. That is something that I understand quite well.

The mechanism by which EMR is absorbed by the atmosphere (the crux of the AGW idea) is called thermalization. I searched the IPCC reports for this word and even the British spelling of it. It is not there. I describe how thermalization works in the pdf made public 8/11/10.

Another factor that most Climate Scientists appear to be oblivious to is glint. What EMR does when it encounters a water surface has been known since Freznel came up with his equations of reflection and refraction. Bottom line, open water in the far north will reflect most EMR so it can't heat the water. But its emissivity remains at over 99%.

The equation resulted from an application of the first law of thermodynamics (that's physical law stuff). The equation, when calibrated to measurements prior to 1965 and using actual sunspot number data has matched (within +/- 0.06 C degrees) the agt trend since then.

That is a match for 47 years. How much longer will it need to match before you concede that there is no such thing as significant AGW?

All of that salinity stuff is grasping at straws. Since the planet isn’t getting warmer, they (the Warmers) had to come up with something else. For a while there it was increasing ocean acidity but maybe the word spread (Woods Hole report that there is about 50 times as much carbon dissolved in the oceans as exists in the atmosphere.

Peter said...

Dan regarding your 12/22/12 comments to me.

I told you I won't allow repetitive comments...
Also considering that you consistently ignore my questions - why should I keep playing your game?

Your gimmick is pointing us to these great pdf's you've "published"
And I keep wondering - why won't you just clearly explain it?

For instance., you've ignored the critique of my pal.
Why not take that as a starting point... try explaining it, you know like a science teacher or something.
~ ~ ~

"It's the Sun, Stupid!" ~ further conversations with Dan Pangburn {#C}


Incidentally, as for your suggestion of "EMP Glint"... "Fresnel equations" and who know's what not... are you serious?

I did various searches; nothing interesting, another wild goose chase...?

Tell you what, explain it in a coherent fashion;
I'll post it.


see you at:

"It's the Sun, Stupid! ~ further conversations with Dan Pangburn {#C}"

Dan Pangburn said...

"...your suggestion of "EMP Glint"... "Fresnel equations" " I don't know what EMP (Electromagnetic pulse) glint means either. I said EMR (Electromagnetic Radiation). The glint that you see is sunlight (EMR) reflecting from water. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on Fresnel.
This is going nowhere.
Try tracking the agt, I do. Just when do you expect the trend to start being significantly up again?

I see no point in making comments when you do not post them.

Peter said...

There's no point in posting repetitive comments!
You repeat yourself endlessly but other than your insistence that you are correct and everyone else is wrong you don't add anything of interest.

Oh well, guess I'm being over dramatic since you tossed out this new theory: 'EMR glint is perhaps the culprit' (sorry about the typo on that.).

Sounds a tad WOO to me, but go ahead explain it.
~ ~ ~

As for tracking agt - you are extremely selective in what you choose to track.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here's what some actual experts have to say about that:

Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence. Observations show increases in globally averaged air and ocean temperatures, as well as widespread melting of snow and ice and rising globally averaged sea level.

Surface temperature data for Earth as a whole, including readings over both land and ocean, show an increase of about 0.8°C (1.4°F) over the period 1901─2010 and about 0.5°C (0.9°F) over the period 1979–2010 (the era for which satellite-based temperature data are routinely available). Due to natural variability, not every year is warmer than the preceding year globally.

Nevertheless, all of the 10 warmest years in the global temperature records up to 2011 have occurred since 1997, with 2005 and 2010 being the warmest two years in more than a century of global records

Paul Charriere said...

Peter, I think it funny you label Dan a denialist. Are you a history denialist?

citizenschallenge said...

Nothing funny about it.
What Dan's written and claimed is contemptible contrarian nonsense. If you disagree, provide some details to consider.

As a matter of fact, considering I've had a keen interest in the topic of understanding our planet's climate system along with her evolution since about 1970, you could say I'm a historian of sorts of climate science denial and the tactics they employ.

Oh and yes, global warming is caused by humanity increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. It really is that simple!
Even if Pangburn doesn't think so.

Paul Charriere said...

Can't any of you guys come up with another phrase other than "willfully ignore?" It seems that anyone who disagrees with man made climate change narrative then they "willfully ignore."

citizenschallenge said...

Well if you depend on lies and ignoring reams of valid evidence to make your case than willfully ignoring evidence is just what it is!

Another way I put it, Willful Ignorance
If you don't like the descriptive improve your game.

Now, if you have anything constructive to say or ask or take issue with about the facts I present, or the narrative I present,
then do so.

Stick to the issue at hand, not idiot distractions.
PS. Denial = willfully denying clear and present facts.