Comment on The Webog Of Michael Tobis “My Final Word on Klotzbach”

Michael Tobis at Only In It For The Gold has posted a weblog titled “My Final Word on Klotzbach”.  In it he perpetuates the misinformation concerning our paper that I reported on earlier today (see).  He continues, for example,  to assume we are talking about an error in the measurement of the surface temperatures (which we are not), and to claim that the Eastman et al 2001 paper misrepresents the radiative effect of added CO2 over the time scale of our model simulation.

In the Eastman et al paper, we showed that for short (monthly) time scales, the biogeochemical effect of added CO2 and of land use change were larger effects on the seasonal weather than the radiative effect of CO2.  The advection of weather from outside the regional domain was the same for each of our model sensitivity experiments.  This does not mean the radiative effect is not important at longer time periods (it is), but its biogeochemical effect is much more immediate.

The Eastman et al paper citation was just presented to illustrate one of the effects (added CO2 and H2O) which can reduce the long wave cooling to space.  The conclusions of our paper are not at all affected by that paper.

Our paper is dependent on the paper

Lin, X., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, K.C. Crawford, M. A. Shafer, and T. Matsui, 2007: An examination of 1997-2007 surface layer temperature trends at two heights in Oklahoma. Geophys. Res. Letts., 34, L24705, doi:10.1029/2007GL031652.

This is the one Micheal Tobis should be commenting on, if he disagrees with our findings.  Also, we published the issue of a warm bias (and other uncertainties and biases in the surface temperature trend record) in

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

Except for one Comment in JGR (see),  and our Reply (see and see), our paper remains without any peer reviewed disagreement of our findings. Michael Tobis should read and comment on this paper, also, if he wants to be convincing that he is actually understanding the science.

I will repeat here what we have reported in our paper, and on the blogs;

“[T]he temperature at a single level over land near the surface, as representative of deeper layer temperature trends that are positive, introduces a significant warm bias.”

Moreover, despite his claim that much of the trend is in the tropics, as seen in the figure from NCDC reproduced in my weblog New Paper Documents A Warm Bias In The Calculation Of A Multi-Decadal Global Average Surface Temperature Trend – Klotzbach Et Al (2009), there is a substantial warm anomaly at higher latitudes over land.

With respect to his statements that

“1) The mechanism described in Pielke & Matsui is surely real in this respect: as greenhouse gases increase and global warming proceeds, the strength of extreme nighttime near-surface inversions will decline. If it is faster than other effects it will contribute to making the surface temperature trend go up without affecting the middle atmosphere trends.

This comment is certainly true, and fits with our findings. If Micheal really accepts this, then he should agree that using the surface temperature trend as a diagnostic of global warming (e.g. see pages 19-21 in NRC, 2007) is an inadequate metric.

2) It is implausible that this effect is large enough in the aggregate (common enough as a fraction of space and time) to account for discrepancies in global trends in GCMs. It would take quite a lot of serious revisiting of boundary layer theory and boundary layer implementation in models to quantify the expected effect to demonstrate this one way or the other, work that the Pielke crowd has not undertaken.”

Our conclusion is based on the Lin et al (2007) paper and substantiated by the Klotzbach et al 2009 (2009) paper.  Stating that “It is implausible that this effect is large enough in the aggregate (common enough as a fraction of space and time) to account for discrepancies in global trends in GCMs” documents that he has failed to complete the actual  quantitative analysis to refute our claims. The warm bias we have identified occurs whenever the overlying atmosphere warms and the surface boundary layer is stably stratified.

The bottom line conclusion that should be reached is that Michael Tobis has not completed a proper scientific assessment of our paper, but rather, has other motives for dismissing it.  This is unfortunate, since if he would actually engage in a constructive debate on this subject with questions and answers, everyone would benefit. He is certainly welcome to do this on my weblog or on his.

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