MODTRAN

Chris suggested that maybe I should summarise yesterday’s discussion with Roger Pielke Sr. I may do that but I think I would first need to give it some thought, and I also need to catch my breath slightly. However, as suggested by KR, I have been playing around a little with MODTRAN. In case you don’t know, MODTRAN is a radiation transfer code that simulates the emission and absorption of infrared radiation in the atmosphere.

Using MODTRAN you can vary the type of atmosphere, the CO2 concentration, the methane concentration, the water vapour scale, and the ground temperature. I started with a Tropical atmosphere, a CO2 concentration of 280 ppm, a methane concentration of 0.8 ppb, a ground offset temperature of 0, and a water vapour scale of 1. These were chosen to roughly match the pre-industrial conditions. This gives an upward IR heat flux of 289.82 Wm-2 (which I’ll call the reference value). I then increased the CO2 to 390ppm and the methane to 1.8 ppb, and the upward IR flux decreased to 287.69 Wm-2. This is consistent with the IPCC’s anthropogenic forcings (about 2.2 Wm-2). I appreciate that there is much more than simply CO2 and methane involved, but this is the right ballpark (there are other positives and negatives, but they seem to roughly cancel).

I then increased the ground offset temperature to 0.85 to roughly match the surface warming since pre-industrial times. The upward IR flux increased to 290.76 Wm-2. This is greater than the reference value (289.82 Wm-2). In the absence of other feedbacks, this would imply the we should actually be above equilibrium and be losing more energy into space than we gain from the Sun. However, we actually have an energy imbalance of around 0.7 Wm-2 (i.e., the climate system is currently gaining, rather than losing, energy). This implies a net positive feedback of around 1.6 Wm-2. If I adjust the water vapour scale from 1 to 1.085, the upward IR flux drops to 289.13 Wm-2 (i.e., about 0.7 Wm-2 less than the reference value). So, to match the current conditions seems to require a positive feedback of around 1.6 Wm-2 which, if mainly water vapour, would imply an increase in water vapour of around 8.5% (I think).

I should make clear that I’m not suggesting this is some kind of definitive calculation. I have, however, tried some of the other atmospheres and I get the same basic result. There are, however, reasonably large uncertainties in some of the numbers, which I haven’t considered. This is, also, essentially a local calculation. Globally it is presumably much more complicated. The warming of the land and sea surface is different. There is polar amplification. However, a big part of the discussion with Roger related to positive feedbacks which – based on the IPCC numbers – he seemed to be suggesting were not yet operating. I was arguing that even the IPCC numbers indicated that positive feedbacks needed to be operating at a level similar to the level of the anthropogenic forcings. A fairly simple MODTRAN test seems to confirm this. Of course, I’m not an expert at this so if someone thinks that I’ve misunderstood something or used and interpreted MODTRAN incorrectly, feel free to let me know through the comments.

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93 Responses to MODTRAN

  1. Tom Curtis says:

    A word to the wise. The version of Modtran available at the University of Chicago is an early version (circa 1990), and is not as capable as the current version. Further, the controls allow very limited adjustment of inputs. These two factors combined mean the results are inaccurate in detail. It is a brilliant tool for teaching basic principles, but not for finding accurate quantitative results on changes in upward and downward radiative responses. This is exacerbated if you use a single latitude zone or season to model the response of the entire globe.

  2. Thanks, Tom. I didn’t realise that. I knew that I was doing something quite simple, so it was only intended as illustrative, rather than definitive. It was probably more of sanity check for me, than anything else, but I thought – given yesterday’s discussion – that it would be interesting to post what I had determined.

  3. I also don’t have $800 floating around at the moment 🙂

  4. Tom Curtis says:

    Neither do I, mores the pity.

  5. KR says:

    Actually, my suggestion of MODTRAN was probably too simplistic.

    Myhre et al 1998 is one of the classic references on radiative codes and global effects, and has been incorporated into all IPCC reports since then. They calculated radiative transfers using three different transfer schemes (software codes), and three vertical profiles (tropical, northern and southern hemisphere extratropical profiles). Spectral data came from the HITRAN-1996 and HITRAN-92 databases (depending on model).

    From this they derived simplified expressions and constants (curve-fits) for the radiative forcings of various GHG’s, as seen in their Table 3. This is where the standard value of CO2 forcings, ΔF = 5.35*ln(C/Cinitial), comes from.

    [Side note: the CO2 forcing from Myhre et al 1998 is ~15% lower for CO2, 10 and 25% higher for various CFC’s, than earlier estimates – and I suspect that CO2 constant is in part why the Hansen 1988 model projections ran a bit high]

    The take-home message here is that single profiles are, sadly, not sufficient for global calculations. They can, though, be useful “what-if” explorations.

    Ramanathan et al 2006 has a good discussion and some equations for cloud and water vapor forcings.

  6. Interesting, thanks. I hope it was clear from the post that I wasn’t claiming that this was some kind of definitive calculation. Of course, even if I do get that kind of thing wrong, I’m always confident that someone will clarify things through the comments 🙂

    As you suggest, it can be a useful illustration. The basic Otto et al. calculation (suggesting an ECS of around 2oC) would imply positive feedbacks that are comparable in magnitude the anthropogenic forcing. A simple test with MODTRAN gives a similar kind of result. So, a nice sanity check, if nothing else.

  7. BBD says:

    Yes, your post was clear. And thanks for the demonstration, especially since RPJSnr tried to avoid the little problem of his over-interpretation of the NVAP water vapour data by throwing that little task at me.

  8. dbostrom says:

    This might pertain to somebody reading this:

    “As of June 2012, US government employees and those working on a valid US Government contract are no longer are required to pay a fee to use and receive support and upgrades for MODTRAN5.”

    An NSF grant is a federal contract.

  9. RichArd says:

    You need to compare green houses where they pump up the levels of co2 to 1000ppm + for increase in produce, the checks I do on greenhouses with the increase in co2 and those without show no increase in warming.

  10. Well, I think that’s because in a greenhouse, the warming is consequence of the glass/perspex from which the greenhouse is made, not from the composition of the air in the greenhouse. Even a greenhouse that has standard atmospheric composition heats up. This is because the glass lets the visible sunlight in, but then acts to trap the outgoing infrared. So, the process is – in a sense – the same as in the Earth’s atmosphere, but what’s actually trapping the outgoing radiation is different. Pumping up the CO2 in the greenhouse therefore has very little additional affect but may help to improve production.

  11. Tom Curtis says:

    wotts, most of the warming in a conventional greenhouse is from preventing heat escape via convention. Consequently the atmospheric “greenhouse” effect is in fact ill named – but we live with all sorts of things ill named for historical reasons so what’s one more between friends. Whether a conventional greenhouse with an enhanced CO2 atmosphere would show any additional warming depends on a host of factors including the material of the panes (glass traps IR radiation anyway, so additional CO2 will not add much additional effect), how humid it is (which effects how much back radiation there is), the local ambient air temperature (same deal), and whether or not the additional convective heat transfer from surface to panes due to the increased heat capacity of CO2 relative to N2 or O2 outweighs additional radiative heat retention. If not, additional CO2 may well cool the greenhouse. RichArd, of course, provides none of these relevant details, and probably hasn’t even thought of them.

  12. Yes, I put the “I think” in because I had a feeling that I was forgetting something. Indeed the lack of convection is dominant reason why greenhouses warm up.

  13. richard says:

    Tom,

    I think your reasons for why a greenhouse( fairly controlled environment) may or may not increase temps, with a large increase of co2 ,perfectly illustrates the problem in establishing whether co2 has any effect in an open atmosphere where that are far more atmospheric effects to take in to account, as we know the climate models themselves do not take into account clouds, which as we know on average cause cooling.

    “If not, additional CO2 may well cool the greenhouse” – as some think it actually helps cool the atmosphere. It’s strange how things turn out in science.

  14. No, the influence of CO2 in the atmosphere is well understood. A greenhouse is really small. The radiative surface of the atmosphere is at about 10km. What you’re suggesting is that if you were to take the first 3m or so of the atmosphere and double/triple that CO2 concentration in the first 3m, that it would have a significant influence on the temperature. The point is that a greenhouse doesn’t get warm because of the air inside (or, rather, the influence of the air inside is small). It’s mainly because of a lack of convection and partly because of the glass/perspex.

    As far as clouds are concerned, the effect of clouds is actually net positive, although small. No, CO2 does not cool the atmosphere or, at least, adding more CO2 will not provide a negative forcing.

  15. richard says:

    “No, the influence of CO2 in the atmosphere is well understood. A greenhouse is really small.”

    but bigger than the glass container in a lab that is used to show the effect of co2,

  16. A glass container in a lab is used to determine the spectral properties of CO2, which turn out to be consistent with the outgoing spectrum measured by satellites.

  17. richard says:

    “As far as clouds are concerned, the effect of clouds is actually net positive, although small”

    Hmm looking at NASA details it seems negative.

  18. richard says:

    A glass container in a lab is used to determine the spectral properties of CO2, which turn out to be consistent with the outgoing spectrum measured by satellites.

    Does the lab experiment show warming, no warming or cooling.

  19. I think you’re confusing the cloud radiative effect (which is negative compared to there being no clouds at all) and the influence of clouds today relative to 1750 (prior to the increase in atmospheric CO2).

  20. It shows absorption. I have quite an open policy with respect to comments. However, I’m not interested in an exchange with someone who appears to completely deny the greenhouse effect.

  21. richard says:

    “outgoing spectrum measured by satellites”

    I though the two that were launched to measure co2 properties both blew up. Which satellites measure the outgoing spectrum.

  22. NASA had a satellite called IRIS. Japan’s had a satellite. I assumed that CERES does it too, but maybe I’m wrong about that. There has, I believe, also been a measurable change in the outgoing spectrum (over some decade-like timescale) consistent with what would be expected from the increased CO2.

  23. richard says:

    “NASA had a satellite called IRIS. Japan’s had a satellite. I assumed that CERES does it too, but maybe I’m wrong about that. There has, I believe, also been a measurable change in the outgoing spectrum (over some decade-like timescale) consistent with what would be expected from the increased CO2”

    “I believe” oof- a tad uncertain.

    not sure I actually denied a greenhouse effect, after all even the desert that plummets from 100 degrees to freezing in a few hrs never plummets to moon’s, no atmosphere, night time temps after a few hrs.

  24. The reason I use believe a lot is because sometime I’m wrong and I tend to acknowledge that. If you didn’t actually deny the greenhouse effect, you came about as close as it is possible to doing so without actually doing so then.

  25. BBD says:

    Richard

    There’s lots of information about this on the internet. If you are interested – which is to say genuinely sceptical and wish to find out more, then why not look?

    There is a very good, and very comprehensive introduction to the topic of atmospheric radiation and the greenhouse effect here. I hope you find it helpful.

  26. richard says:

    ahaha that’s because i am open minded.

    I come from an agricultural background as do most of my relations, we follow agriculture around the world closely as profits are slim, we need to know what is going on, for us the weather indeed the climate is critical.

    What is alarming is the increase in bumper crops around the world, this affects our profits. Your fixation on whether co2 causes warming or not seems to have no bearing on the realities of what is happening to us. All we see is year after year global bumper crops. I have mentioned this on anther thread of yours. Even Africa once providing 7% of global food, now around 2% is creeping back up.

    It is annoying for us to see year after year, for 30 years, that climate change is happening and devastation will ensue when all we see is an erosion of our profits as the world forges ahead in agriculture which to us shows a benign climate.

    I have posted this before but you should read it, actually it is great is happening I am pleased but maybe I should be moving to Africa!!

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/innovation/africa-continent-of-plenty

    Ahha i hear you say but in another 40 years it will be different, it will be worse but 30 years ago we heard the same, that Africa would be first in line to be devastated. The article perfectly illustrates that what people think about Africa and the actually realities are different. I have found this to be true across other areas.

    I am sorry but after 30 years ” crying wolf” comes to mind.

    Its great that you have the urge to form a website and blog your feelings but I suggest you come clean as to who you are and change the name of the website.

    You may not like WUWT but i have found them to be quite welcoming to all comers. Not so some other websites where even when i question , as you know we should all do, I get banned.

  27. BBD says:

    First, the rise in agricultural productivity is predominantly a result of increased area under cultivation and technical improvements including higher-yielding strains. Second, what happens when the ongoing warming exceeds the thermal range of the major food crops? Because without policy intervention, it will, eventually. See: radiative physics; greenhouse effect.

    Maintaining a myopic and intense focus on the next decade or two is not a useful way of approaching the topic.

  28. Firstly, I tend to try and discuss the science. I’m not fixated on CO2, but the evidence that the world is warming is overwhelming. The consequences of this are less certain, but what is fairly certain is that we will move into climate regime never before experienced by humans. Is there a chance that this will be good for us? Possibly. Is it worth the risk? I would say no, but that’s not really for me to decide. The point I’m trying to make is that there is a difference between considering and accepting the scientific evidence (with uncertainties) and knowing/deciding what to do. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but am trying to present information about the scientific evidence for people to consider.

    I’ve got to say that I find your comment rather odd. You seem annoyed that nothing is happening (noone said anything catastrophic would have happened by now) and particularly annoyed that you’re losing money because of changes in agriculture. I’m slightly at a loss as to what this has to do with climate change. That would seem to be more a consequence of living in a country that devalues manufacturing and agriculture and bases government policy on what’s best for big business and not what’s best for the people of the country. I don’t think you can blame climate change for that (although clearly many do).

    As far as the blog name is concerned, Anthony hasn’t complained and seems to be advertising his “blog spawn”. If he really didn’t want me to call my blog this name he’d be welcome to make that clear and I may well consider it if he did. As far as declaring who I am, I fail to see what that’s got to do with anything.

  29. richard says:

    bbd

    indeed that is so but in India they have broken yield records with out any use of fertilizers.

    Regarding the future, we heard the same 30 years ago, how long do you go on with this mantra.

  30. richard says:

    I read the Un report “2300”, will post if i can find it,

    They talk about warming and in conclusion say the warming benefits out weigh the devastation of cooling.

  31. I thought 30 years ago, the predictions were for an ice age and that made climate scientist unreliable? Now you’re saying the message has been the same for 30 years and that makes them unreliable?

  32. BBD says:

    indeed that is so but in India they have broken yield records with out any use of fertilizers.

    The Indian Green Revolution was brought about entirely by the use of fertilisers in conjunction with high-yield strains. This was Borlaug’s strategy. Indian agriculture is consequently heavily reliant on fertilisers.

  33. SekeRob says:

    Bumper corps? Deminishing profits? hmmm http://www.reporternews.com/news/2013/jul/21/record-wheat-price-reached-in-12-13-season/ now why is it that we’ve seen nothing but all around steep rises in food prices over here in the past few years? Was there not that major crop failure in Russia too, due some heatwave?

  34. richard says:

    “Maintaining a myopic and intense focus on the next decade or two is not a useful way of approaching the topic”

    I was told I was being myopic 30 years ago when I doubted the doom laden scenarios, maybe as farmers we have seen every weather condition you can name, we are closer to the weather so to speak, our family keep diaries, some from the 1920’s are interesting, the ground so hard and dry we could not even plant seed.

    Anyway here we are today with more and more land being farmed. Even the united states had bumper crops this year, Actually 2004 was an unbelievable year for the states where everything came together perfectly .

    Moving on . Tuvalu was in interesting case of doom regarding sea levels, but as i dug deeper i found out that they use coral for building, come the 1970’s they stripped the coral really badly for building as tourism took off, this had a devastating effect on Tuvalu regarding the sea levels and badly effected the natural water supplies on the island, The more i dig a different story always arises as to the why something has happened.

  35. richard says:

    “The Indian Green Revolution was brought about entirely by the use of fertilisers in conjunction with high-yield strains. This was Borlaug’s strategy. Indian agriculture is consequently heavily reliant on fertilisers”

    but still the weather is absolutely key in making or breaking in these countries.

    and shows what can be done on smaller scales,

    “Kumar, a shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India’s poorest state Bihar, had — using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides — grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare [~2.5 acres] of land. This was a world record…..”

  36. richard says:

    SekeRob

    good call on prices,

    not sure how the supermarkets price things but the sale of corn etc has changed over the last 40 years and is heavily manipulated by dealers, we as farmers are affected by them and to get the best price sell in three stages, some straight of the field, some a bit later then later still to then get an average price.

  37. BBD says:

    I was told I was being myopic 30 years ago when I doubted the doom laden scenarios

    Provide evidence that anyone predicted “doom” by ~2013. This is a rather crude strawman. The same goes for your new diversion onto SLR which is going to be a problem later this century and going forward, not now or in the next few decades.

    You are refusing to look at this objectively, preferring instead distractions, myopic hyperfocus, misrepresentation etc. It is boring and pointless.

    * * *

    I don’t care about anecdotal and unreferenced stories about Kumar. My point about Borlaug’s Green Revolution stands – it was and is heavily dependent on fertiliser use. You were, and are, incorrect to claim otherwise.

  38. BBD says:

    Actually 2004 was an unbelievable year for the states where everything came together perfectly .

    And 2012? Tell me how that went for weather and US agriculture.

  39. richard says:

    “I thought 30 years ago, the predictions were for an ice age and that made climate scientist unreliable?”

    when was James Hansens first predictions for warming? anyway the start of his scenario a, b, c, not sure we have hit any of these.

  40. richard says:

    Actually 2004 was an unbelievable year for the states where everything came together perfectly .

    And 2012? Tell me how that went for weather and US agriculture.

    in the end they had some bumper crops in certain areas but not as bad as thought,

    this year is bumper crops for US as it is world wide though not in South America where they were hit by the cold.

  41. richard says:

    bbd

    “You are refusing to look at this objectively, preferring instead distractions, myopic hyperfocus, misrepresentation etc. It is boring and pointless.”

    misrepresentation, not sure where i misrepresented.

    myopic hyperfocus, I was looking at global agriculture, BBD seemed focussed on just the United states with his comment on Agriculture, if he had looked at global he would have seen a bumper year,
    now I would call that myopic.

    I am guessing that the general population is feeling the fatigue as well, seems the press is down grading in the global warming area and cutting back on reporting, not sure the reason, maybe financial cutbacks.

    Though interesting that in Europe more of the MSM is starting to question the whole warming scenario.

  42. richard says:

    “I don’t care about anecdotal and unreferenced stories about Kumar. My point about Borlaug’s Green Revolution stands – it was and is heavily dependent on fertiliser use. You were, and are, incorrect to claim otherwise.”

    yep too true, I got the story from the Guardian, was on the BBC website as well.

  43. BBD says:

    Hansen predicted in 1988 that warming would be discernible by now. He did not predict “doom” now. He was correct. The extremely simple (by modern standards) model (GISS Model II) used for those scenarios proved skilful allowing for its limitations and the fact that it had a rather high sensitivity (4.2C I think). Again, you are erecting a strawman. Please stop doing this.

  44. BBD says:

    You are not responding to my point, which was that concentrating on agricultural productivity *now* is not a useful way of considering the impact of future warming on agricultural productivity. This is what I mean by myopic hyperfocus on the present.

  45. BBD says:

    Again, you have simply not responded to my point about the dependency on fertiliser as a consequence of the Green Revolution in Indian agriculture. Again you repeat an anecdote about a single farmer and do not reference it. If you would like me to read your anecdote, please provide a link to it.

  46. BBD says:

    So what? The concern is over the impact of future warming and associated changes in rainfall patterns on global agricultural productivity. What is happening today tells us very little about that, so I am at a loss to understand your fixation on the present.

  47. richard says:

    for sure since the 1960’s india’s yields has been on the increase with fertilizer, they have a long way to go though as 5 billion dollars worth of food goes to waste as it cannot get to market in time.

    But often the increase is due to better use of land, even here in the UK we have a difference in yields from different farmers due to a host of different reasons, weather, soil, in the end just better farmers.

    But you also have to have the right weather for bumper crops, take the US this year, were the bumper crops from good weather , more land being harvested or more fertilizer,

    your call.

  48. richard says:

    This is what I mean by myopic hyperfocus on the present.

    the fear of not producing enough for the world is always talked about, at the moment the worlds population is increasing a 100,000+ a day- and being fed. The UN’s 2300 report on future population seems to see a massive increase so i would assume that they have looked ahead and felt that agriculture will be fine.

  49. dbostrom says:

    The topic was MODTRAN, yes?

    One of the calibration challenges for running a blog on climate science is knowing when to truncate a diversion. “Early and hard” is a good rule of thumb to begin with.

  50. BBD says:

    And again, you simply do not respond to my points. dbostrom is correct. This is OT and going nowhere. Time to stop.

  51. richard says:

    not sure that is true,

    did you read the guardian article, refuse to read it, or have a reply to the guardian article

  52. BBD says:

    Even if this cultivation system is eventually demonstrated to work on a regional scale, it has no bearing on the point, which is that temperature and precipitation changes in the future will have potentially increasingly negative effects on yield. You are doggedly refusing to look at this objectively.

    Dismissing the future impacts of warming on the basis of experimental rice cultivation *now* could be viewed as ridiculous. Anyway, enough on this now.

  53. richard says:

    of course the guardian article refers to lots of farmers and in other countries using a new method of farming which might interest you.

    anyway the whole point is that agriculture is a definitive sign of how the climate is doing and at the moment with bumper crops across the world it is a positive sign, of course you can talk about the future , but for sure you do not know what will happen.

    if you look at NASA world observatory , the last 30 years has seen a greening of the northern hemisphere, I would say that is a positive outcome.

    I give you a link this time.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalGarden/

  54. Tom Curtis says:

    Richard, I see little point in discussing this issue in detail here, where due to the inability to present graphs in comments, I cannot show you any of the primary evidence. If you wish to take this topic up in earnest, I recommend you do so here, having read the original post and my comment at 43. If, having done so, you still wish to challenge the evidence for an atmospheric greenhouse effect, and the accuracy of line-by-line radiation models, I will expect to see actual evidence – something you have distinctly failed to provide in your comments here.

    If you are unable to post at SkS, then in my experience the moderators there are pretty good at picking denier trolls; and given your comments here, it would not surprise me one iota if you are picked for one. Further on you almost, but not quite, deny that you denying the existence of an atmospheric greenhouse effect, just as here you almost, but not quite, deny that there is one, or at least that there is evidence for one. The refusal to be forthright in discussion always marks a person who is trying to sow confusion rather than somebody trying to debate in good faith.

    I see that further on, being unable to maintain a position that the atmospheric greenhouse effect is poorly understood or evidenced you shift the topic entirely to agricultural production and supposed doom and gloom predictions. Please quote directly from any IPCC report indicating loss of agricultural productivity by 2013-2015. Absent that, you are transparently arguing a strawman, and I have no intent in indulging you.

  55. richard says:

    “Even if this cultivation system is eventually demonstrated to work on a regional scale, it has no bearing on the point, which is that temperature and precipitation changes in the future will have potentially increasingly negative effects on yield. You are doggedly refusing to look at this objectively”

    Well I guess I looked at the UN’s 2300 projections for population growth , factor in that that would mean they were being fed.

    Now of course if they had said that the population would rapidly decrease from lack of food then I would have to agree with you. So they say one thing for the future you say another, at the moment with bumper record agriculture i remain very positive.

  56. Tom Curtis says:

    The UN’s world population report to 2300 explicitly cautions that they only project demographic trends (ie, current trends in mortality and fertility). They caution that many factors could change the trends, and that the report is “… a little like predicting the outcome
    of a basketball game after the first five minutes. No one can do that reliably.”

    In their concluding section, they write:

    “Finally, factors not connected with or only remotely related to individual demographic behavior or population policy intent may also upset the quietude depicted in the United Nations long-term projections. In trying to take account of such forces when drawing up population futures, demographers would of course venture on territory beyond their professional expertise. But at least acknowledging them is necessary because
    doing so provides a much-needed cautionary note in taking business-as-usual population projections even remotely at face value.”

    They then go on to indicate that among the factors which they acknowledge, but don’t take into account in their projections, are potential impacts of global warming. There discussion of even that is horribly dated and cursory, perhaps not surprising in a report from 2004.

    This illustrates the Janus faced nature of Richard’s arguments. He first introduces a matter relating to greenhouses, and appears to be drawing simplistic conclusions from them. Rebutted, he immediately says that atmospheric physics is far to complex to really know what is going on (in evidence of which he falsely claims that GCM’s do not include clouds), but now he is back to simplistic arguments again. The UN in 2004 forecast a population growth with BAU without modelling agricultural productivity, and without assessing the impacts of global warming on that productivity, and from that he concludes that agricultural productivity will keep pace with population growth into the future, regardless of the consequences of global warming.

  57. richard says:

    They then go on to indicate that among the factors which they acknowledge, but don’t take into account in their projections, are potential impacts of global warming. There discussion of even that is horribly dated and cursory, perhaps not surprising in a report from 2004.

    then a useless report then, waste of money, not unusual for the UN!!

    But there again how many reports on climate change for the future use the words may, might or could, hmmm uncertain words!

    but based on the rapid increase of the population -100,000+ per day, I would say they are probably going to be on the mark.

  58. richard says:

    do you not get bored of these type of headlines, I can find lots more with might, may or could if you want.

    Huffington post

    15 Mar 2013 – NAIROBI, Kenya — Global warming MAY have contributed to low rain levels … But the new research doesn’t mean global warming directly caused those deaths. .

  59. richard says:

    4 Oct 2013 – Increased amounts of toxic mercury MAY enter people’s seafood as the oceans warm.

    2 Sep 2013 – A group of scientists say that warmer air MAY help push hurricanes into the Atlantic Ocean and make storms like Sandy less common.

    13 Sep 2013 – Climate change MAy push canopy-dwelling plants and animals out of the tree-tops due to rising temperatures and drier conditions, argues a …

    Factors that MAY increase the probability of abrupt climate change include higher magnitudes of global warming, warming that occurs more rapidly, and warming …

    this just goes on and on,

  60. richard says:

    15 Mar 2013 – Global warming MAY have contributed to low rain levels in Somalia in … making global warming one of the causes of Somalia’s famine

    29 Oct 2007 – Climate change is happening faster than anyone predicted and its consequences COULD be dire for the survival of civilisation in the 21st century because of the chaos it will cause in terms of famine, drought and mass migration …

  61. richard says:

    zzzzzzz and on and on ,

    news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/…/060829-methane-warming.html‎
    29 Aug 2006 – Global warming MAY release methane—a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide—that increases temperatures and unlooses more methane, … Glacier methane MAY cause global warming feedback loop.

  62. dbostrom says:

    Richard’s having fun with warmist-winding, being sort of a Pied Piper of Pissing-Off as he leads everybody through an exploration of fractal evasion.

  63. richard says:

    TOM, don’t be so depressed,

    guys don’t get so depressed,

    Scientists: Climate Change MAY Offer Hurricane Help
    news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/…/2013/…/130902-hurricanes-climate-ch…‎
    Published September 2, 2013 … Climate change MIGHT alter atmospheric conditions so that future hurricanes MAY be pushed away from … The changes they predict COULD make it less likely that a future hurricane would follow a path similar to …

  64. I’ve been out for the evening, so have missed most of this. I agree with dbostrom, this was about an illustrative test using MODTRAN, not about how climate change might influence agriculture. So, off topic and, as far as I can tell, going nowhere.

  65. richard says:

    HAhaha, Maybe, but to be honest I am not really that worried for the future, actually very positive. ISrael has done and is doing great work in greening the desert and doing great work in Africa regarding Agriculture.

    When I look back over the last 2000 years what is astounding is how bad the climate/ weather has been,

    In the US over the last 2000 years they had 100- 150 year droughts , there is one that happens every 700- 800 years , we are due one soon,

    Actually worth looking up megadroughts.

    East africa in the 16th century – 100 year drought,

    Europe worst drought was in or around the 14th century.

    China had had some real humdinger droughts killing millions over the last 2000 years, the last 30 years has been relatively quiet in comparison.

    The crazy thing in the US is that it was covered with prairie grass which has one amazing
    property- to withstand droughts, so what happens, this is ploughed up and planted with corn etc,whenever a drought happens it is seen as proof of, this is crazy if the one plant that covered the US was a drought surviving grass.

  66. richard says:

    ah true, off topic , but adaptation is the secret. go with the flow, experiment and have fun, see where it takes you.

  67. richard says:

    the secret is not to feel needled!!!

  68. Possibly, but there are a couple of reasons I don’t encourage this. One is that it isn’t going to end up as a constructive discussion. A bit of fun’s fine, but there is a point at which it becomes pointless. The second is that this post was a genuine attempt to illustrate something about the fundamentals of global warming. Turning it into a discussion about agriculture is just too far from the point of the post to make it reasonable.

  69. richard says:

    anyway i shall finish on this little number from the BBC, with the inevitable MAY included.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8003060.stm

    “Severe droughts lasting centuries have happened often in West Africa’s recent history, and another one is almost inevitable, researchers say.
    Analysis of sediments in a Ghanaian lake shows the last of these “megadroughts” ended 250 years ago.
    Writing in the journal Science, the researchers suggest man-made climate change MAY make the situation worse”

  70. dbostrom says:

    Just a reminder because it may have been lost in the irresistible fascination of Richard the Strange Attractor: if you’re a US gubbermint employee or have a federal contract (such as NSF grant) it appears that you can skip the MODTRAN licensing fee and go directly to having fun with the code.

  71. richard says:

    “Possibly, but there are a couple of reasons I don’t encourage this. One is that it isn’t going to end up as a constructive discussion. A bit of fun’s fine, but there is a point at which it becomes pointless. The second is that this post was a genuine attempt to illustrate something about the fundamentals of global warming. Turning it into a discussion about agriculture is just too far from the point of the post to make it reasonable”

    I know but with the limited replies you had I took the opportunity to inject a different topic and it seemed to ignite the replies rather than your initial topic.

    So I would suggest make it more free spirited.

  72. Tom Curtis says:

    Thanks, Richard. I believe you have now established your point that climate scientists are not “alarmist”, indeed, are conservative if anything, based on the very cautious language they use. That was your point, wasn’t it?

    Or are you just trying to make an illegitimate rhetorical play from the fact that climate scientists don’t overstate conclusions?

  73. richard says:

    hahahah Just a reminder because it may have been lost in the irresistible fascination of “Richard the Strange Attractor” good name. I shall be back with more agricultural news.

    and maybe more mays,mights and coulds.

    Good night gentlemen.

  74. Tom Curtis says:

    Or, in translation, please don’t stop me (Richard) from topic switching any time the evidence is shown to be contrary to my (Richard’s) position.

  75. And my previous comment was a subtle attempt to ask that we stop this now. I’m quite happy with the exchanges that take place here. If I wanted to have a discussion about the influence of climate change on agriculture, I would write a post encouraging that. Until I do that, however, can I ask that we end this discussion. It’s been fun, but there’s a time and a place for everything.

  76. richard says:

    Thanks, Richard. I believe you have now established your point that climate scientists are not “alarmist”, indeed, are conservative if anything, based on the very cautious language they use. That was your point, wasn’t it?

    Well James Hansen came up with some alarmist a,b,c scenarios for the year 2000, not sure they panned out.

    might ,may, could, not sure these words have ever worried me. Of course this is how the insurance industry works so successfully and makes huge amounts of money, the odds are that the event never happens.

  77. This is where I find the rhetoric frustrating. Hansen, 1988, provided a set of predictions/projections for future warming. Whether or not you find the projections alarming or not, is up to you. I don’t believe that his paper made any alarmist claims.

  78. richard says:

    Or, in translation, please don’t stop me (Richard) from topic switching any time the evidence is shown to be contrary to my (Richard’s) position.

    hahaha, no i will certainly stick with the topic. I think the most you offered up was that future agriculture will be affected but that is just star gazing, what i offered and backed up with links is that agriculture ( NASA- northern hemisphere greening) over the last 30 years has prospered. It was good to see that none of you disagreed.

  79. You’re welcome back, but do bear in mind that I do have a moderation policy that discourages thread-bombing.

  80. richard says:

    This is where I find the rhetoric frustrating. Hansen, 1988, provided a set of predictions/projections for future warming. Whether or not you find the projections alarming or not, is up to you. I don’t believe that his paper made any alarmist claims.

    I can only go along with what you are saying, that there has been no alarmist claims , and urge you in this case not to worry about the future.

  81. richard says:

    You’re welcome back, but do bear in mind that I do have a moderation policy that discourages thread-bombing.

    Is that what it is called!!!

    I think your policy should be that if the topic does not take off after a day then it should be open to thread bombing. Could open up lots of possibilities.

  82. The point I was making was that whether or not you find a projection/prediction alarmist is a judgement. I, for example, don’t think I’ve written much, if anything, that is explicitly alarmist. That’s not to say that I don’t think we should be alarmed, but simply that there is a difference between the scientific evidence ,and how we interpret that evidence in terms of whether or not we should be alarmed. That is a judgement and simply presenting evidence should not, in itself, be seen as alarmist (in my opinion at least).

  83. Possibilities that I’m not all that keen to open, hence my desire not to do as you suggest.

  84. richard says:

    I have found other sites where it goes off tangent and gets interesting and very funny.

  85. There you go then. There are sites that do that and others that don’t.

  86. richard says:

    “Possibilities that I’m not all that keen to open, hence my desire not to do as you suggest”

    See how your site does and then take a view on that, never say never. You never know your site might become the default site for agricultural news!!!

  87. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts, I seriously recommend you cut your losses with Richard. He is patently a thread bomber, who is not interested in rational discussion, only in putting up his talking points. He will also switch topics anytime he finds respondents willing to seriously engage his nonsense. His comments on this thread show that he will add nothing to the conversation, and will not voluntarily comply with your moderation requests.

  88. richard says:

    I could help you there!!!!

  89. It’s getting late, so I really do need this to stop now. This site is not for anything other than presenting my views (ideally based on the scientific evidence) on climate change/global warming and to allow others to comment on the posts. Other than that, I have no interest in using it for anything else. I don’t wish it to be become the default site for agricultural news. If you want that, it’s very easy to start a blog of your own.

  90. It does indeed seem that way. My losses will be cut by my need to get some sleep.

  91. richard says:

    ahh come on Tom, surely you took a look at some of those links, they are interesting and certainly give a different ( African link) perspective. I put that link up expecting a come back but there were no takers. Actually judging by the replies here I know they were not looked at.

    But why not start an agricultural topic and we can then really get to grips with it, I would be happy to really engage, as it is it is Saturday night, I had a beer, talking to the family , eating, so yes i guess it was a fun night on this site.

  92. richard says:

    The point I was making was that whether or not you find a projection/prediction alarmist is a judgement. I, for example, don’t think I’ve written much, if anything, that is explicitly alarmist. That’s not to say that I don’t think we should be alarmed, but simply that there is a difference between the scientific evidence ,and how we interpret that evidence in terms of whether or not we should be alarmed. That is a judgement and simply presenting evidence should not, in itself, be seen as alarmist (in my opinion at least).

    A measured response, but having read your response not sure whether i should be alarmed or not alarmed, seems the scientists in your words are not being alarmist. If I saw a really alarmist scientist saying this is really going to happen then I guess I and the world would sit up and listen.

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