A new informal bias-confirmed debate between MW&A and NASA-JPL?
I think some readers may find the occasional spats I trigger with other scientists to be interesting and even informative. For my part, I want answers, and so I find myself ultimately and repeatedly engaging with scientists, sometimes in seemingly confrontational ways.
In my view these exchanges are not about confronting the person but rather challenging the claims. I use my peer-reviewed paper  for this purpose because that IS its purpose. This post follows a typical example of such a challenge and mini debate with an anonymous (For now. His name may be Steve Moxon) blogger who represents NASA. I don’t understand how a taxpayer funded institution can be permitted to run a partisan and anonymous blog. Nor do I have any reason yet to believe that the blogger is actually a scientist. I do have plenty of reason to believe that in any case the blogger front man receives technical support from others. Upon my engagement, my own site was visited nearly 80 times in two days by staffers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
The NASA climate change solar forcing site is relevant to my work and that is why I chose it. Here is their blog site: https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2910/what-is-the-suns-role-in-climate-change/
So long as they are willing to engage in debate, I’m willing to try to keep up the capture of comments at this post. I’ve annotated occasionally in italics to add clarification. I’ve bolded some of their comments which specifically focus on my own comments.
NASA seems very long-winded in their responses and that’s why I’ve placed the most responsive parts in bold font. Perhaps I’m long winded as well, but at least there might be some useful climate information captured in this informal, unedited dialectic:
That the climate changed naturally before the impacts of humans became the dominant forcing of climate is uncontentious.
That the impacts of human activities are now the dominant forcing of climate is equally uncontentious, from a scientific basis.
Scientists have evaluated all natural forcings and factors capable of driving the Earth’s climate to change, including the slow, long-term changes in the Earth’s movement around the Sun (Milankovitch cycles or orbital forcings), and it is only when the anthropogenic forcing is included that the observed and ongoing warming since 1750 can be explained.
Natural vs Anthropogenic Climate Forcings, per the NCA4, Volume 2, in 2018:
Scientists have also quantified the warming caused by human activities since preindustrial times and compared that to natural temperature forcings.
Changes in the sun’s output falling on the Earth from 1750-2011 are about 0.05 Watts/meter squared.
By comparison, human activities from 1750-2011 warm the Earth by about 2.83 Watts/meter squared (AR5, WG1, Chapter 8, section 8.3.2, p. 676).
What this means is that the warming driven by the GHGs coming from the human burning of fossil fuels since 1750 is over 50 times greater than the slight extra warming coming from the Sun itself over that same time interval.
In the early 20th century human activities caused about one-third of the observed warming and most of the rest was due to low volcanic activity. Since about 1950 it’s all humans and their activities.
Further, the detection of the human fingerprint in the observed tropospheric warming caused by the increase in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases like CO2 has reached 6-sigma levels of accuracy.
There have been many, many scientific studies over the past 175 years examining the properties of greenhouse gases, the radiative physics of carbon dioxide and the role it plays in the Earth’s atmosphere. One of the most comprehensive, recent and openly-accessible is the US 4th National Climate Assessment (Volume 1, released in 2017 and Volume 2, released in 2018). You can download the whole thing or by chapter:
In short, human activities (primarily via the human burning of fossil fuels) have warmed the globe, which in turn are impacting the Earth’s climate.
Your paper is local-to-regional in scope and not one that deals with global forcings of climate, so it has no bearing on the subject of this post or on the human-contributions to the observed warming of the globe since 1750.
Additionally, there are multiple lines of empirical evidence (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Philipona 2004, Evans 2006, Chen 2007) that increasing carbon dioxide causes an enhanced greenhouse effect. Laboratory tests show carbon dioxide absorbs longwave radiation. Satellite measurements confirm less longwave radiation is escaping to space at carbon dioxide absorptive wavelengths. Surface measurements find more longwave radiation returning back to Earth at these same wavelengths. To sum, the result of this energy imbalance is the accumulation of heat over the last 50 years.
Further, there are direct observations of an increased greenhouse effect: a decade of measured greenhouse forcings from AIRS, decreased proportional OLR relative to increased temp (i.e. OLR should increase with temp increase, if OLR holds steady, that’s an increase in the GHE), and increased DLR.
Interestingly, scientists have also made the first direct observation of CO2’s increasing greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface. Increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, are trapping heat from escaping back into space and are thereby directly causing global warming.
The observations from the two monitoring sites showed an increase in the heat-trapping ability of the Earth’s atmosphere that moved roughly in tandem with the rise in carbon dioxide levels during the period, with seasonal variations. Each spring, plants pulled more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, temporarily lowering amounts detected at each station, only to release more of the gas back into the air in the fall.
“We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb what the Earth emits in response to incoming solar radiation,” says Daniel Feldman, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and lead author of the Nature paper.
“Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect,” Feldman adds.
CONCLUSION OF THIS DIALOGUE
I’m motivated from some of the commenters here and at other official climate media sites to write about my grandfather Al “Wallace” of the once semi-famous vaudeville act Sherman and Wallace, someday. As a youth, he made good money as a shill in carnivals. He ended up a very scrupulously honest and talented, but not very prosperous man. Rich nonetheless. Those early days he shared helped me to understand how the right questions can shape a narrative to the benefit of the carnival.
I’ll return to more important climate topics soon. Currently I’m working on follow-up pieces relating to the so-called tropopause, the recent disappearance of the Early Spring meme, a solar based forecast update, and the amazing ability of man-made ozone-destroying CFCs to hover in one place over the South Pole for decades.
 Wallace, M.G., 2019, Application of lagged correlations between solar cycles and hydrosphere components towards sub-decadal forecasts of streamflows in the Western US. Hydrological Sciences Journal, Oxford UK Volume 64 Issue 2. doi: 10.1080/02626667.2019.
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