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Old 03-31-2010, 11:00 PM   #376
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It takes a while to sort it out....

I often get discouraged at the way trysail pastes endless graphs and charts. I also get confused by the many articles he copies to the thread and responses to them followed by reponses to responses...

I think that trysail doesn't accept the hypothesis that we are causing global warming/climate change. I'm not sure because a lot of the things he posts are very much in support of the hypothesis.

Above on this page is a copy of something from...

On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II: Towards Rebuilding Trust
By Judith Curry, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

It's followed by a response...

A selection from Willis Eschenbach's response to Judith Curry's essay "On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II:Towards Rebuilding Trust"

All well and good. Dr. Curry was writing about the damage done to the publics' views on scientific credibility by "Climategate", those e-mails to and from researchers at The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU), and also by "Glaciergate". It starts off, after a brief introduction, with...

Climategate has now become broadened in scope to extend beyond the CRU emails to include glaciergate and a host of other issues associated with the IPCC. In responding to climategate, the climate research establishment has appealed to its own authority and failed to understand that climategate is primarily a crisis of trust. Finally, we have an editorial published in Science on February 10 from Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Science, that begins to articulate the trust issue: “This view reflects the fragile nature of trust between science and society, demonstrating that the perceived misbehavior of even a few scientists can diminish the credibility of science as a whole. What needs to be done? Two aspects need urgent attention: the general practice of science and the personal behaviors of scientists.”

It ends with...

No one really believes that the “science is settled” or that “the debate is over.” Scientists and others that say this seem to want to advance a particular agenda. There is nothing more detrimental to public trust than such statements.

And finally, I hope that this blogospheric experiment will demonstrate how the diversity of the different blogs can be used collectively to generate ideas and debate them, towards bringing some sanity to this whole situation surrounding the politicization of climate science and rebuilding trust with the public.


All in all, a well written blog on what happens when scientists behave badly and get caught. And a well written piece on why the public needs to educate themselves on the issue, and why scientists haven't done a very good job of teaching.

Here's part of what Willis Eschenbach had to say...

The solution to that is not, as you suggest, to give scientists a wider voice, or educate them in how to present their garbage to a wider audience.

The solution is for you to stop trying to pass off garbage as science. The solution is for you establishment climate scientists to police your own back yard. When Climategate broke, there was widespread outrage … well, widespread everywhere except in the climate science establishment. Other than a few lone voices, the silence there was deafening. Now there is another whitewash investigation, and the silence only deepens.


I guess what I'm getting to is that looking over Dr. Curry's many publications, lectures and letters, it's clear that ...
a) She firmly believes in the reality of global warming/climate change
b) She's meticulous in her research and publications
c) "Climategate" was a self-inflicted injury that never should have happened
d) Just because a few scientists behaved badly with some e-mails, the body of research and conclusions hasn't changed
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:10 PM   #377
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Originally Posted by dr_mabeuse View Post
From the blog "Climate Progess
Post by Joe...
Uh, oh.

If that's "Joe" as in "Romm" I think you'll understand why I'll decline a drink from that batch of Kool-Aid.

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Old 03-31-2010, 11:13 PM   #378
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http://1488276005495550431-a-1802744...attredirects=0

Circling the Bandwagons: My Adventures Correcting the IPCC
by Ross McKitrick, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph
March 2010


Quote:
This is the story of how I spent 2 years trying to publish a paper that refutes an important claim in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The claim in question is not just wrong, but based on fabricated evidence. Showing that the claim is fabricated is easy: it suffices merely to quote the section of the report, since no supporting evidence is given. But unsupported guesses may turn out to be true. Showing the IPCC claim is also false took some mundane statistical work, but the results were clear. Once the numbers were crunched and the paper was written up, I began sending it to science journals. That is when the runaround began. Having published several against-the-flow papers in climatology journals I did not expect a smooth ride, but the process eventually became surreal.


In the end the paper was accepted for publication, but not in a climatology journal. From my perspective the episode has some comic value, but I can afford to laugh about it since I am an economist, not a climatologist, and my career doesn’t depend on getting published in climatology journals. If I was a young climatologist I would have learned that my career prospects would be much better if I never write papers that question the IPCC.


I am taking this story public because of what it reveals about the journal peer review process in the field of climatology. Whether climatologists like it or not, the general public has taken a large and legitimate interest in how the peer review process for climatology journals works, because they have been told for years that they will have to face lots of new taxes and charges and fees and regulations because of what has been printed in climatology journals. Because of the policy stakes, a bent peer review process is no longer a private matter to be sorted out among academic specialists. And to the extent the specialists are unable or unwilling to fix the process, they cannot complain that the public credibility of their discipline suffers...
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:50 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by trysail View Post
http://1488276005495550431-a-1802744...attredirects=0

Circling the Bandwagons: My Adventures Correcting the IPCC
by Ross McKitrick, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph
March 2010

And as we all know by now, once Professor Mcfitrick's corrected data was published, it was picked up by the anti-AGW forces and validated, and used to demolish the entire AGW argument and invalidate all the findings of the IPCC, leaving it a shambles. And that's why the name of McFitrick is synonymous with scientific integrity to this day.

Let's be clear about something: in a comprehensive report on research with the scope and breadth of the IPCC paper, there are going to be errors. There are going to be oversights and gaffes and inaccuracies. There are even going to be spelling mistakes and typos. And that's why the IPCC report is a compendium of research from disparate disciplines using different types of corroborative data and science. It's an edifice built on many pillars of support.

In science, a theory like AGW, that's supported by many independent streams of evidence and information, is called "robust". It doesn't rely on any one experiment or set of numbers. With apologies to Professor McFitrick, I can think of any number of reasons why the IPCC was not particularly interested in his corrections. Having been involved in the assembly of scientific reports of this type (if not this prestige), I would think the most plausible reason was that, in the big picture, it was but a niggling detail. If it had any repercussions, I daresay no one's heard of them.

It's also interesting that Prof. McFitrick is, of all things, an economist. Without disparaging the Professor, I think it's interesting that of all the disciplines involved in the field of climate change, it's the economists and businessmen who have the biggest interest in discrediting it, who have the most to lose, and therefore the biggest bias.
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:24 AM   #380
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen55 View Post
I
I think that trysail doesn't accept the hypothesis that we are causing global warming/climate change. I'm not sure because a lot of the things he posts are very much in support of the hypothesis.
Yeah, I feel the same way, having actually read the interview with Dr. Lovelock, in which you learn that he really says nothing to doubt or disparage the theory of AGW. There are some things he would have done differently, and he would have liked to see more care taken, but all in all, he's quite in agreement with it.

He doubts the accuracy of the predictive models, but then, who doesn't? He mentions the fudging of data on the ozone hole, but neglects to mention that it was fudged downward because of pressures from industry and because scientists couldn't believe the ozone was disappearing that quickly.

He talks about labs being frightened of their modeling data, and of course they are now, when everyone expects them to predict the temperature to the exact degree in ten years. No model is capable of that, and no one but a non-scientist expects that kind of acuraccy. It's enough that the trends in all the accepted models agree.

Finally he talks about the inevitability of climate change within the next 20 years as we pump more trillions of tons of CO2 into the air. Certainly he's not blind enough to be suggesting that we wait until then before we do something about the problem.

Then I love this statement: "So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They've employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear."

Could it be because if we do something now it will be astronomically cheaper than waiting for the inevitable crisis in 50 years? Wasn't thinking like that once considered prudent?

And then this: "The Germans and the Danes are making a fortune out of renewable energy. I'm puzzled why politicians are not a bit more pragmatic."

LOL! How dare they make money off renewable energy? They should be burning coal like the rest of us, damn it! Why, if they develop renewable energy now, we'll be forced to buy the technology from them when we can no longer burn coal and are 50 years behind, and we'll wonder how we became a second-rate power.

I'm puzzed why Prof. Lovelock isn't a bit more pragmatic.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:07 AM   #381
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Denmark’s extensive wind energy effort is a disaster:

Quote:
There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions… Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery…

Industrial wind power is not a viable economic alternative to other energy conservation options. Again, the Danish experience is instructive. Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15¢/kwh compared to Ontario’s current rate of about 6¢). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” Aase Madsen , the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it “a terribly expensive disaster.”


Michael J. Trebilcock
Professor of economics
Toronto University
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:13 AM   #382
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By: Willis Eschenbach

Quote:
...
Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

To me this is the question that we should answer first. I believe that the answer is yes. Despite millennia-long volcanic eruptions, despite being struck by monstrous asteroids, despite changes in the position of the continents, as near as we can tell the average temperature of the earth has only varied by about plus or minus three percent in the last half-billion years. Over the last ten thousand years, the temperature has only varied by plus or minus one percent. Over the last 150 years, the average temperature has only varied by plus or minus 0.3%. For a system as complex and ever-changing as the climate, this is nothing short of astounding.

Before asking any other questions about the climate, we must ask why the climate has been so stable. Until we answer that question, trying to calculate the climate sensitivity is an exercise in futility.

I have explained in “The Thermostat Hypothesis” what I think is the mechanism responsible for this unexplained stability. My explanation may be wrong, but there must be some mechanism which has kept the global temperature within plus or minus 1% for ten thousand years.

I am, however, definitely in the minority with this opinion.

Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

If we are trying to see if humans have affected the climate, the null hypothesis has to be that any changes in the climate (e.g. changes in temperature, rainfall, snow extent, sea ice coverage, drought occurrence and severity) are due to natural variations.

Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

As I show in “Congenital Climate Abnormalities”, not only are there no “fingerprints” of human effects in the records, but I find nothing that is in any way unusual or anomalous. Yes, the earth’s temperature is changing slightly … but that has been true since the earth has had a temperature.

There is no indication that the recent warming is any different from past warmings. There is more and more evidence that the Medieval Warm period was widespread, and that it was warmer than the present. The Greenland ice cores show that we are at the cold end of the Holocene (the current inter-glacial period). There have been no significant changes in rainfall, floods, sea level rise, Arctic temperatures, or other indicators.

In short, I find no climate metrics that show anything which is anomalous or outside of historical natural variations. In the absence of such evidence, we cannot reject the null hypothesis.

Question 4. Is the globe warming?

This is a trick question. It is a perfect example of a frequently asked question which is totally meaningless. It shows up all the time on public opinion polls, but it is devoid of meaning. To make it meaningful, it needs to have a time period attached to it. Here are some examples of my views on the question:

1 During the last century, the earth warmed slightly (less than 1°C).

2 The earth has generally cooled over the last 12,000 years. We are currently at the cold end of the Holocene (the period since the end of the last Ice Age. See the Greenland and Vostok ice records.

3 The earth has generally warmed since the depths of the Little Ice Age around 1650, at a rate somewhere around a half a degree Celsius per century. See Akasufo, the Central England Temperature (CET), and the Armagh records.

4 The largest warming in any instrumental record occurred around 1680 – 1730. See the CET and Armagh records.

5 The earth was either stable or cooled slightly from about 1945 to 1975.

6 The earth warmed slightly from about 1975 to 1998.

7 There has been no significant warming from 1995 to the present (Feb. 2010). See The Reference Frame, Phil Jones.

I would say that there is widespread scientific agreement on the existence of these general trends. The amount of the warming, however, is far less certain. There is current controversy about both the accuracy of the adjustments to the temperature measurements and the strength of local effects (UHI, poor station siting, warmth from irrigation, etc.). See e.g. McKitrick, Spencer, Christy and Norris, Ladochy et al.., Watts, SurfaceStations, and Jones on these questions.

Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

This is another trick question that often shows up on polls. The question suffers from two problems. First is the lack of a time period discussed above. The second is the question of the amount of responsibility. Generally, the period under discussion is the post-1900 warming. So let me rephrase the question as “Are humans responsible for some part of the late 20th century warming?”

To this question I would say “Yes”. Again, there is widespread scientific agreement on that simplistic question, but as usual, the devil is in the details discussed in Question 4.

Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

I think that humans affect the climate in two main ways. The first is changes in land use/land cover, or what is called “LU/LC”. I believe that when you cut down a forest, you cut down the clouds. This mechanism has been implicated in e.g. the decline in the Kilimanjaro Glacier. When you introduce widespread irrigation, the additional water vapor both warms and moderates the climate. When you pave a parking lot, local temperatures rise. See e.g. Christie and Norris, Fall et al., Kilimanjaro.

The second main way humans affect climate is through soot, which I will broadly define as black and brown carbon. Black carbon comes mostly from burning of fossil fuels, while brown carbon comes mostly from the burning of biofuels. This affects the climate in two ways. In the air, the soot absorbs incoming solar radiation, and prevents it from striking the ground. This reduces the local temperature. In addition, when soot settles out on ice and snow, it accelerates the melting of the ice and snow. This increases the local temperature by reducing the surface albedo. See e.g. Jacobson.

There is little scientific agreement on this question. A number of scientists implicate greenhouse gases as the largest contributor. Other scientists say that LU/LC is the major mover. The IPCC places values on these and other so-called “forcings”, but it admits that our scientific understanding of many of forcings is “low”.

Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

Here we get into very murky waters. Is the overall balance of the warming and cooling effects of soot a warming or a cooling? I don’t know, and there is little scientific agreement on the effect of soot. In addition, as shown above there is no indication that the post 1980 temperature rise is in any way unusual. It is not statistically different from earlier periods of warming. As a result, I believe that humans have had little effect on the climate, other than locally. There is little scientific agreement on this question.

Next, some more general and theoretical questions.

Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

This is another trick question. Climate models do not produce evidence. Evidence is observable and measurable data about the real world. Climate model results are nothing more than the beliefs and prejudices of the programmers made tangible. While the results of climate models can be interesting and informative, they are not evidence.

Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

My answer to this is a resounding “no”. The claim is often made that it is easier to project long-term climate changes than short-term weather changes. I see no reason to believe that is true. The IPCC says:

“Projecting changes in climate due to changes in greenhouse gases 50 years from now is a very different and much more easily solved problem than forecasting weather patterns just weeks from now. To put it another way, long-term variations brought about by changes in the composition of the atmosphere are much more predictable than individual weather events.” [from page 105, 2007 IPCC WG1, FAQ 1.2]

To me, that seems very doubtful. The problem with that theory is that climate models have to deal with many more variables than weather models. They have to model all of the variables that weather models contain, plus:

• Land biology

• Sea biology

• Ocean currents

• Ground freezing and thawing

• Changes in sea ice extent and area

• Aerosol changes

• Changes in solar intensity

• Average volcanic effects

• Snow accumulation, area, melt, and sublimation

• Effect of melt water pooling on ice

• Freezing and thawing of lakes

• Changes in oceanic salinity

• Changes in ice cap and glacier thickness and extent

• Changes in atmospheric trace gases

• Variations in soil moisture

• Alterations in land use/land cover

• Interactions between all of the above

• Mechanisms which tend to maximise the sum of work and entropy according to the Constructal Law.

How can a more complex situation be modeled more easily and accurately than a simpler situation? That makes no sense at all.

Next, the problem with weather models has been clearly identified as the fact that weather is chaotic. This means that no matter how well the model starts out, within a short time it will go off the rails. But the same is true for climate, it is also chaotic. Thus, there is no reason to assume that we can predict it any better than we can predict the weather. See Mandelbrot on the chaotic nature of climate.

Finally, climate models have done very poorly in the short-term. There has been no statistically significant warming in the last fifteen years. This was not predicted by a single climate model. People keep saying that the models do well in the long-term … but no one has ever identified when the changeover occurs. Are they unreliable up to twenty-five years and reliable thereafter? Fifty years?

Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

Again I say no. For example, the prevailing theory is that forcing is linearly related to climate, such that a change of X in forcing results in a change of Y in temperature. The size of this temperature change resulting from a given forcing is called the “climate sensitivity”. In 1980, based on early simple computer climate models, the temperature resulting from a change in forcing of 3.7 watts per square meter (W/m2) was estimated to result in a temperature change of between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius. See e.g. Green and Armstrong 2007.

Since 1980, there has been a huge increase in computing power. Since 1980, there has also been a huge increase in the size and complexity of computer models. Since 1980, thousands of man hours and billions of dollars have been thrown at this question. Despite these advances, the modern estimate of the climate sensitivity is almost unchanged from its 1980 value.

To me, this lack of any advance in accuracy indicates that we have an incorrect understanding of the forces governing the climate. Otherwise, our bigger, faster and better models would have narrowed the uncertainty of the climate sensitivity. But they have not.

Question 11. Is the science settled?

To this one I would answer no, no, a thousand times no. We are just a the beginning of the study of climate. New information and new theories and new forcings are put forward on a regular basis. See e.g. Lu. The data is poor, short, and full of holes. The signal is tiny and buried in a huge amount of noise. We don’t know if the earth has a thermostat. In short, the study of climate is an infant science which is still poorly understood.

Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

Well, sort of. It is a very strange science, in that to my knowledge it is the only physical science whose object of study is not a thing, not a physical object or phenomenon, but an average. This is because climate is defined as the average of weather over a suitably long period of time (usually taken to be 30 years.) The implications of this are not widely appreciated. Inter alia, it means that statistics is one of the most important parts of climate science.

Unfortunately, a number of what I might call the “leading blights” of climate science, like Michael Mann with his HockeySchtick, have only the most rudimentary understanding of statistics. This initially got him into trouble in his foray into the area of paleoclimate statistics, trouble which he has only compounded by his later statistical errors.

Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

There are a number of problems with the current peer-review system, some of which are highlighted in the abuses of that system revealed in the CRU emails.

There are several easy changes we could make in peer review that would help things immensely:

1. Publish the names of the reviewers and their reviews along with the paper. The reviews are just as important as the paper, as they reveal the views of other scientists on the issues covered. This will stop the “stab in the back in the dark” kind of reviewing highlighted in the CRU emails.

2. Do not reveal the names of the authors to the reviewers. While some may be able to guess the names from various clues in the paper, the reviews should be “double-blind” (neither side knows the names of the others) until publication.

3. Do the reviewing online, in a password protected area. This will allow each reviewer to read, learn from, and discuss the reviews of others in real time. The process often takes way too long, and consists of monologues rather than a round-table discussion of the problems with the paper.

4. Include more reviewers. The CRU emails show that peer review is often just an “old-boys club”, with the reviewing done by two or three friends of the author. Each journal should allow a wide variety of scientists to comment on pending papers. This should include scientists from other disciplines. For example, climate science has suffered greatly from a lack of statisticians reviewing papers. As noted above, much of climate science is statistical analysis, yet on many papers either none or only the most cursory statistical review has been done. Also, engineers should be invited to review papers as well. Many theories would benefit from practical experience. Finally, “citizen scientists” such as myself should not be excluded from the process. The journals should solicit as wide a range of views on the subject as they can. This can only help the peer review process.

5. The journals must insist on the publication of data and computer codes. A verbal description of what mathematics has been done is totally inadequate. As we saw in the “HockeyStick”, what someone thinks or says they have done may not be what they actually did. Only an examination of the code can reveal that. Like my high science teacher used to say, “Show your work.”

Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

I disagree with those who say that the “precautionary principle” means that we should act now. I detail my reasons for this assertion at “Climate Caution and Precaution”. At that page I also list the type of actions that we should be taking, which are “no regrets” actions. These are actions which will have beneficial results whether or not the earth is warming...
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:24 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by trysail View Post

Denmark’s extensive wind energy effort is a disaster:

Let me see if I understand how posting this article supprts your skepticism over AGW.

What you're suggesting is, regardless of whether AGW is true or not, alternative forms of energy are just too expensive, so we really have no choice but to go on burning coal.

So really, as far as you're concerned, the science of global warming is not the real issue here. The real issue is economic.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:29 AM   #384
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... I think it's interesting that of all the disciplines involved in the field of climate change, it's the economists and businessmen who have the biggest interest in discrediting it, who have the most to lose, and therefore the biggest bias.
Not only do I believe your assertion is inaccurate, I think it is both illogical and unsupported by fact.

Those who have the most to lose are (a) consumers of food, (b) populations that heat and light their homes and (c) those who consume transportation fuels.

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Old 04-01-2010, 11:37 AM   #385
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... So really, as far as you're concerned, the science of global warming is not the real issue here. The real issue is economic.
First and foremost, the so-called scientific evidence is, at best, weak and, at worst, nonexistent. As I have stated previously, were a hypothesis proposed in your field based on similar flimsy evidence as that advanced by the proponents of the AGW hypothesis, you'd have conniptions.



Last edited by trysail : 04-01-2010 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:26 PM   #386
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Rebuttals to Anti-AGW Arguments

An exhaustive summation of scientific rebuttals to the Anti AGW arguments is presented here in handy summary form, from which this list is taken. This probably isn't the most exhaustive list available, but it's nice and concise, or about as concise as any treatment on the subject can be.

Entries preceded by an asterisk are hyperlinks in the source document that lead back to a much more thorough refutation of the anti-AGW argument, often siting source data, should you care to read them --dr.M.
=======================

Below is a complete listing of the articles in "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic," a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

* Stages of Denial,
* Scientific Topics,
* Types of Argument, and
* Levels of Sophistication.

Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

Stages of Denial

1. There's nothing happening

1. Inadequate evidence
* There is no evidence
* One record year is not global warming
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* One hundred years is not enough
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* Mauna Loa is a volcano
* The scientists aren't even sure

2. Contradictory evidence
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* Antarctic ice is growing
* The satellites show cooling
* What about mid-century cooling?
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* But the glaciers are not melting
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling
* Some sites show cooling

3. No consensus
* Global warming is a hoax
* There is no consensus
* Position statements hide debate
* Consensus is collusion
* Peiser refuted Oreskes

2. We don't know why it's happening

1. Models don't work
* We cannot trust unproven computer models
* The models don't have clouds
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high

2. Prediction is impossible
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* Chaotic systems are not predictable

3. We can't be sure
* Hansen has been wrong before
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* The scientists aren't even sure
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s

3. Climate change is natural

1. It happened before
* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* Greenland used to be green
* Global warming is nothing new!
* The hockey stick is broken
* Vineland was full of grapes

2. It's part of a natural change
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Climate is always changing
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* The CO2 rise is natural
* We are just recovering from the LIA

3. It's not caused by CO2
* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* What about mid-century cooling?
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* It's the sun, stupid

4. Climate change is not bad

1. The effects are good
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
2. The effects are minor
3. Change is normal

5. Climate change can't be stopped

1. Too late
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
2. It's someone else's problem
* Why should the U.S. join Kyoto when China and India haven't?
* The U.S. is a net CO2 sink
3. Economically infeasible
* Climate change mitigation would lead to disaster

Scientific Topics

1. Temperature
* There is no evidence
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* One hundred years is not enough
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* The satellites show cooling
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Some sites show cooling

2. Atmosphere

3. Extreme events
1. Temperature records
* One record year is not global warming
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga

2. Storms

3. Droughts


4. Cryosphere

1. Glaciers
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* But the glaciers are not melting
2. Sea ice
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
3. Ice sheets
* Antarctic ice is growing
* Greenland used to be green

5. Oceans
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling

6. Modeling
1. Scenarios
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* Hansen has been wrong before

2. Uncertainties
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
* We cannot trust unproven computer models
* The models don't have clouds

7. Climate forcings

1. Solar influences
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* It's the sun, stupid

2. Greenhouse gases
* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* What about mid-century cooling?
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* Mauna Loa is a volcano
* The CO2 rise is natural
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* The US is a net CO2 sink
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high

3. Aerosols
* What about mid-century cooling?
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster

8. Paleo climate

1. Holocene
* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* Greenland used to be green
* The hockey stick is broken
* Vineland was full of grapes
* We are just recovering from the LIA

2. Ice ages
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* Global warming is nothing new!

3. Geologic history
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Climate is always changing
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?

9. Scientific process
* Global warming is a hoax
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* There is no consensus
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Position statements hide debate
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Consensus is collusion
* Peiser refuted Oreskes

Types of Argument

1. Uninformed
* There is no evidence
* One record year is not global warming
* One hundred years is not enough
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* Climate change mitigation would lead to disaster
* There is no consensus
* We cannot trust unproven computer models

2. Misinformed
* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* Antarctic ice is growing
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* Greenland used to be green
* The satellites show cooling
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* It's the sun, stupid
* The U.S. is a net CO2 sink
* But the glaciers are not melting
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Vineland was full of grapes

3. Cherry Picking
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* Antarctic sea ice is growing
* The satellites show cooling
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Vineland was full of grapes
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* The sea level in the Arctic is falling
* Some sites show cooling

4. Urban Myths
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* Greenland used to be green
* Hansen has been wrong before
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Vineland was full of grapes

5. FUD
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* There is no consensus
* Antarctic ice is growing
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
* What about mid-century cooling?
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Climate is always changing
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* Mauna Loa is a volcano
* Global warming is nothing new!
* The CO2 rise is natural
* The hockey stick is broken
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* The models don't have clouds
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Peiser refuted Oreskes
* Vineland was full of grapes
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling
* We are just recovering from the LIA

6. Non Scientific
* Global warming is a hoax
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* Why should the U.S. join Kyoto when China and India haven't?
* Hansen has been wrong before
* Position statements hide debate
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Consensus is collusion
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s

7. Underdog Theories

8. Crackpottery


Levels of Sophistication

1. Silly
* There is no evidence
* Global warming is a hoax
* One record year is not global warming
* Climate change mitigation would lead to disaster
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* Mauna Loa is a volcano

2. Naive
* One hundred years is not enough
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* Why should the U.S. join Kyoto when China and India haven't?
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* We can not trust unproven computer models
* The satellites show cooling
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* The models don't have clouds
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* It's the sun, stupid
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Vineland was full of grapes
* Some sites show cooling

3. Specious
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* There is no consensus
* Antarctic ice is growing
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* Greenland used to be green
* What about mid-century cooling?
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Climate is always changing
* Global warming is nothing new!
* The CO2 rise is natural
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* Hansen has been wrong before
* Position statements hide debate
* But the glaciers are not melting
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Consensus is collusion
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Peiser refuted Oreskes
* Vineland was full of grapes

4. Scientific
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
* The hockey stick is broken
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling
* We are just recovering from the LIA
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #387
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"Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect."
Response:
Quote:
Database Error: Unable to connect to your database. Your database appears to be turned off or the database connection settings in your config file are not correct. Please contact your hosting provider if the problem persists.


Virtually every other response to the scientific questions refers to "Real Climate" which, as we both know, is an advocacy platform operated by Schmidt et al.



Where's the beef?



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Old 04-01-2010, 06:26 PM   #388
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I wonder if trysail ever reads anything I post.....

trysail, I think I've pointed this out to you before but I'll try it again.

Here's the beef...

That flowchart you keep posting is not The Scientific Method. It is one of many methods in science and the flow chart isn't even all that accurate. In science, a hypothesis doesn't get elevated to a theory by the results of one or several experiments. It gets elevated to a theory when it's generally found to give a better and more useful explanation of nature, makes better testable predictions and answers more questions than any competing hypotheses.

In many branches of science it isn't possible to run an experiment that has a control group. You can't (or shouldn't) run an experiment to learn the fine details of treated HIV/AIDS by taking one group of people with HIV/AIDS and treating them, while taking another group and not treating them, giving yourself control group and all the fine details of untreated HIV/AIDS.

Before calling me an idiot for coming up with such an asinine example, it's been done before with syphilis, by the US government. If you feel the need, read up on the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmtuskegee1.html

There are many situations where you can't run an experiment of any kind. All you can do is observe, collect data and try to understand it. Looking at global warming/climate change is an example appropriate to this thread. There is no "other earth" on which to shut off the burning of fossil fuel, to see what, if any, differences might exist. All you can do is look at evidence for climate changes in the past using what lines of evidence there are, then try and understand natural causes of climate change in the past and see if what's happening today is any different.

For what it's worth, I've already pointed out that 95% of climate scientist think that what's happening today is different. I also pointed out that think that what's happening today is different isn't good enough for them or anyone else. That's why they are still working on it.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:22 PM   #389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trysail View Post
"Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect."
Response:




Virtually every other response to the scientific questions refers to "Real Climate" which, as we both know, is an advocacy platform operated by Schmidt et al.



Where's the beef?

I don't know "Schmidt", but I would hope he'd be an advocate, an advocate for scientific veracity.

Is that how you see this debate? Us against them, and fuck the truth? No one's facts can be trusted because they're all "advocates" and they have agendas? Tne American Meteorology Society is an advocacy group"? The National Science Foundation has a hidden agenda?

I was a little more persistent in tracking down this water vapor question than you were, and I found this:

---------------------------------

Objection: H2O accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect; CO2 is insignificant.

Answer: According to the scientific literature and climate experts, CO2 contributes anywhere from 9% to 30% to the overall greenhouse effect. The 95% number does not appear to come from any scientific source, though it gets tossed around a lot.

Please see this paper ( paper: "Earth’s Annual Global Mean
Energy Budget" from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Co. (1997) * Boulder, Colorado
PDF), the textbook referenced here, and this article at RealClimate.

There is a very important distinction to be made, as you will read if you follow the link to Real Climate, between water vapour's role in the Earth's Greenhouse effect and it's role in climate change. If you were to read through the table of climate forcings in the IPCC report or at NASA's page about forcings in its GCM, you won't find water vapour there at all. This is not because climate scientists are trying to hide the role of water vapour, rather it is because H2O in the troposphere is a feedback effect, it is not a forcing agent. Simply put, any artificial perturbation in water vapour concentrations is too short lived to change the climate. Too much in the air will quickly rain out, not enough and the abundant ocean surface will provide the difference via evaporation. But once the air is warmed by other means, H2O concentrations will rise and stay high, thus providing the feedback.
-----------------------

In other words, the amount of water vapor in the air averaged around the world is generally constant at any given temperature. ater exists in what's known as a dynamic equilibrium between the liquid state (oceans, mostly), solid state (ice, of course) and gaseous state (water vapor). If the air contains too much water vapor, some condenses out as precipitation. If it contains too little, more water evaporates from the oceans to replenish it.

Thus, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is generally constant.

In order for water vapor to account for the increasing temperature of the earth, there would have to be some mechanism at work that's changing that equilibrium and forcing more water into the vapor state. Now what could this mechanism be? Find it and you've got a very good candidate for the cause of global climate change.

Well, CO2 fits the bill rather well. While CO2 doesn't form a liquid (not under terrestrial pressures, anyhow) so it can't establish a dynamic equilibrium. some of it can be absorbed by sea water, where it forms carbonic acid, and this is, in fact, exactly what's being observed around the world. Sea water is becoming more acidic due to the carbonic acid being formed by absorbtion of excess atmospheric CO2, and is killing off the coral reefs.

As a greenhouse gas, atmospheric CO2 also causes some warming of the atmosphere. This warming itself may not be that great, but a warming atmosphere changes the dynamic equilibrium between liquid and gaseous water and forces more water vapor into the air. (As you heat a pot of water, it gives off more water vapor. Same thing. Warm air holds more moisture than cooler air, as we all know.)

The excess water vapor in the atmosphere now absorbs even more heat via the greenhouse effect, heating the atmosphere even further. Which in turn increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which again raises the temperature, which again increases the amount of water vapor, which again increases the temperature, which... &C. &c.

You get the idea. An out of control feedback loop of increasing temperatures and increasing atmospheric water vapor. It's called the Runaway Greenhouse Effect and once it starts, there's not a fucking thing we can do to stop it. The average temperature of the atmosphere increases at an exponential rate (it heats up faster and faster)

Incidentally, as the earth's temperature increases, the acidity of the oceans will decrease, since CO2 is less soluble in warm water than cool. But that means all that dissolved CO2 will come bubbling out and only increase the rate of the runaway greenhouse effect.

Estimates of when we'll reach the edge of the runaway greenhouse on this planet at the rate we're going vary, but I know I've heard the year 2050 mentioned.

Of course, there's still a lot we don't know, like how cloudy it will be as teh temperature rises and how much heat those clouds will hold in, or how quickly the earth wil be able to radiate this excess heat out into space, and blah blah blah, but so far what we do know doesn't look good.

But then, what do I know? I'm just an "advocate".
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:40 PM   #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen55 View Post
...

There are many situations where you can't run an experiment of any kind. All you can do is observe, collect data and try to understand it. Looking at global warming/climate change is an example appropriate to this thread. There is no "other earth" on which to shut off the burning of fossil fuel, to see what, if any, differences might exist. All you can do is look at evidence for climate changes in the past using what lines of evidence there are, then try and understand natural causes of climate change in the past and see if what's happening today is any different.

Captain Planet - 3x1 - Greenhouse Planet Pt.1


"When Dr. Blight develops a new rocket fuel to assist in NASA's planned mission to Venus, she comes under the watchful eye of the Planeteers, who know the fuel will only hasten the degeneration of the O-Zone layer. But Blight is able to maintain her cover when the President of the United States himself arrives to oversee production of the fuel. Due to security, the Planeteers cannot get near the President without causing concern, so they cause a distraction to get Ma-Ti and Kwame inside the compound.

"As they warn the President, Blight and MAL become wise to the Planeteers' presence and launches the shuttle prematurely, with Kwame, Ma-Ti, and the President inside. They summon Captain Planet, whose powers are later drained by the craft's fuel. When he tries to return their powers, Kwame's and Ma-Ti's powers are rejected by the dense outer space atmosphere. Now, Cap must use his wits to find a way to stop Blight, while Kwame and Ma-Ti try to save themselves and the President from crash landing onto Venus."

The Planeteers use Venus as a model to show the President what a future Earth might look like if current anthropogenic behaviors continue. He ends the rocket fuel contract with Dr. Blight and recommits to fighting anthropogenic climate change.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:25 PM   #391
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Der Spiegel has a rather long, detailed article about how the AGW and the IPCC dug their own hole and possibly their own grave. It doesn't look good for the proponents and the climate modelers. My daughter, having an advanced degree in remote imaging and geography gets vehement.


http://www.spiegel.de/international/...686697,00.html
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:35 PM   #392
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It looks so much less important in regular size font...

Quote:
Originally Posted by trysail View Post
First and foremost, the so-called scientific evidence is, at best, weak and, at worst, nonexistent. As I have stated previously, were a hypothesis proposed in your field based on similar flimsy evidence as that advanced by the proponents of the AGW hypothesis, you'd have conniptions.
I think I hear the sound of an ax grinding.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:04 AM   #393
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Z,
If you don't know who Schmidt is, I'm more than a little concerned about your familiarity with the field. Schmidt is, of course, Gavin Schmidt:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Schmidt . Real Climate is a blog underwritten and hosted by an advertising agency—
Quote:
...our domain is hosted by Science Communications Network (and previously Environmental Media Services), and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications...

http://www.fenton.com/

The "grist" link to the water vapor talking point was not operating this morning; the error message I quoted is what I received when I clicked on the link. The role of clouds in climate modulation is one of a number of areas in climatology that is not well understood. It has been hypothesized that water vapor ( i.e, clouds ) operate in a negative feedback manner with respect to global temperatures. The subject is touched upon in the excellent Der Spiegel article for which VM kindly posted a link.


Quote:
Monterey Bay Aquarium intake water pH ( 1995- )

Multiple plots of the pH spot check data vs. time, for the period 1995 – present as measured in the incoming water to the Monterey Bay Aquarium drawn from a ~50ft depth. Each of the following pages contains a 10-year period of the data, with the monthly mean ± standard error of the spot checks being presented. The pH was analyzed using the method outlined with this project. Both short-term seasonal changes and longer-term events, such as El Nino, are present in the data.


http://sanctuarymonitoring.org/regio...100240_167.pdf
Quote:
Originally Posted by voluptuary_manque View Post
Der Spiegel has a rather long, detailed article about how the AGW and the IPCC dug their own hole and possibly their own grave. It doesn't look good for the proponents and the climate modelers. My daughter, having an advanced degree in remote imaging and geography gets vehement.


http://www.spiegel.de/international/...686697,00.html
The Der Spiegel piece is one of the most balanced summaries of what has transpired that I have encountered in the mainstream media. It is a commendable piece of journalism— a rarity. The discussion of Phil Jones' adjustments to/homogenization of the raw data, the nature of the UHI effect and the whole sorry affair of its handling is something that all who seek an understanding of the field should comprehend.

Thanks for bringing it to the fore VM.

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Old 04-02-2010, 07:21 AM   #394
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The IPCC itself is just a group of scientists. Institutions such as NOAA and the Woods Hole Research Center will continue to do climate science and hold the ear of the people creating public policy regarding AGW.

http://www.whrc.org/pressroom/press_...-11-24-CO2.htm


British Government apparently disagrees with the German version of the Daily Mail:

Committee defends Climategate researchers

Posted April 1, 2010

Britain’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has completed its review of the disclosure of climate data from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and determined that, while the climate science community needs to be more forthcoming with its data, it could find no reason to doubt the validity of the science presented by researchers at CRU. The committee also found that the actions taken by Phil Jones, director of CRU, in response to requests for data were common practice actions typical in the climate science community.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:40 AM   #395
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Quote:
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The committee also found that the actions taken by Phil Jones, director of CRU, in response to requests for data were common practice actions typical in the climate science community.
And this is supposed to make us feel better about climate science? Sheesh!
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:06 PM   #396
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Everybody pause, take a few deep breathes and chill for a while....

Perhaps it's time to think about the difference between what science is, as a way of looking at the world and trying to understand it, and the people (humans all) who do science. It might also help to think about the difference between what science is and the oceans of ink used to persuade all those who don't agree with me about what science really is!!.

The real world is out there and exists independently of us mere mortals. Science is a human invention and is subject to each and every human foible, like making disparaging e-mails and hoarding data. It can and has suffered from sloppy technique, sloppy interpretation and out and out fraud. It can and has taken a back seat to professional career aspirations, petty jealousy and inability to accept that one's cherished and career building idea is dead wrong. The ideas of others are sometimes sarcastically and derisively shat upon because "I'm the department head and I can get away with it!!"

It might help to remember that science is a way of trying to arrive at an objective truth. That an objective truth in science is merely what the evidence points us to today doesn't mean that it will not point in another direction tomorrow.

Science is abused by the political right and the political left. It is abused by people in the Arts, Philosophy, Theology and by any train of thought that ends in "ism" .

In fact, a simple rule of thumb that has usually works for me is to assume that any appeal to science made by someone discussing something in a field outside of science is "The farther from science that field is located, the greater the abuse of science that will be found." It also works when scientist A from this field, criticizes scientist B from that field. It's also seen when people outside of science try to bolster their favorite (or lambaste their most derided) scientific idea. Not that I see a lot of that happening around here. Well...maybe once or twice a month...maybe...but never by me...except on the odd Feb. 29th...maybe....

For a good read on the misuse of science and mathematics, try Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:42 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by dr_mabeuse View Post
...There is a very important distinction to be made, as you will read if you follow the link to Real Climate, between water vapour's role in the Earth's Greenhouse effect and it's role in climate change. If you were to read through the table of climate forcings in the IPCC report or at NASA's page about forcings in its GCM, you won't find water vapour there at all. This is not because climate scientists are trying to hide the role of water vapour, rather it is because H2O in the troposphere is a feedback effect, it is not a forcing agent. Simply put, any artificial perturbation in water vapour concentrations is too short lived to change the climate. Too much in the air will quickly rain out, not enough and the abundant ocean surface will provide the difference via evaporation. But once the air is warmed by other means, H2O concentrations will rise and stay high, thus providing the feedback.
-----------------------

In other words, the amount of water vapor in the air averaged around the world is generally constant at any given temperature. Water exists in what's known as a dynamic equilibrium between the liquid state (oceans, mostly), solid state (ice, of course) and gaseous state (water vapor). If the air contains too much water vapor, some condenses out as precipitation. If it contains too little, more water evaporates from the oceans to replenish it.

Thus, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is generally constant.

In order for water vapor to account for the increasing temperature of the earth, there would have to be some mechanism at work that's changing that equilibrium and forcing more water into the vapor state. Now what could this mechanism be? Find it and you've got a very good candidate for the cause of global climate change.

Well, CO2 fits the bill rather well. While CO2 doesn't form a liquid (not under terrestrial pressures, anyhow) so it can't establish a dynamic equilibrium. some of it can be absorbed by sea water, where it forms carbonic acid, and this is, in fact, exactly what's being observed around the world. Sea water is becoming more acidic due to the carbonic acid being formed by absorbtion of excess atmospheric CO2, and is killing off the coral reefs.

As a greenhouse gas, atmospheric CO2 also causes some warming of the atmosphere. This warming itself may not be that great, but a warming atmosphere changes the dynamic equilibrium between liquid and gaseous water and forces more water vapor into the air. (As you heat a pot of water, it gives off more water vapor. Same thing. Warm air holds more moisture than cooler air, as we all know.)

The excess water vapor in the atmosphere now absorbs even more heat via the greenhouse effect, heating the atmosphere even further. Which in turn increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which again raises the temperature, which again increases the amount of water vapor, which again increases the temperature, which... &C. &c.

You get the idea. An out of control feedback loop of increasing temperatures and increasing atmospheric water vapor. It's called the Runaway Greenhouse Effect and once it starts, there's not a fucking thing we can do to stop it. The average temperature of the atmosphere increases at an exponential rate (it heats up faster and faster)

Incidentally, as the earth's temperature increases, the acidity of the oceans will decrease, since CO2 is less soluble in warm water than cool. But that means all that dissolved CO2 will come bubbling out and only increase the rate of the runaway greenhouse effect.

Estimates of when we'll reach the edge of the runaway greenhouse on this planet at the rate we're going vary, but I know I've heard the year 2050 mentioned.

Of course, there's still a lot we don't know, like how cloudy it will be as teh temperature rises and how much heat those clouds will hold in, or how quickly the earth wil be able to radiate this excess heat out into space, and blah blah blah, but so far what we do know doesn't look good.

But then, what do I know? I'm just an "advocate".
There's the rub. It is not known what role clouds/water vapor play in the dynamic modulation of average temperature. It is entirely plausible— and has been proposed ( see below )— that, rather than an "out of control feedback loop" ( your words ), the water cycle may act to LOWER average temperatures.

As air becomes thinner, the density of air decreases, and so too does the pressure of air. Many different factors affect the density of air. Most measurably, as altitude increases, air becomes less dense, decreasing atmospheric pressure. As air becomes less dense, it contains less gases per unit of volume.

For the most part, this relationship works quite well. But factors other than altitude also effect the density of air. For one thing, water molecules have less mass than other gas molecules in air; so as water vapor increases, the density of air decreases. Temperature also changes the density of air. As air gets warmer it expands and becomes less dense, causing atmospheric pressure to fall.

In addition, air within the atmosphere can rise and fall, changing the atmospheric pressure. The density of the atmosphere varies at different points around the globe as well. At the poles, the atmosphere is much thinner than at the equator.

Quote:
A Layman’s Explanation of Why Global Warming Predictions by Climate Models are Wrong
by: Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.

I occasionally hear the complaint that some of what I write is too technical to understand, which I’m sure is true. The climate system is complex, and discussing the scientific issues associated with global warming (aka “climate change”) can get pretty technical pretty fast.

Fortunately, the most serious problem the climate models have (in my view) is one which is easily understood by the public. So, I’m going to make yet another attempt at explaining why the computerized climate models tracked by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – all 23 of them – predict too much warming for our future. The basic problem I am talking about has been peer reviewed and published by us, and so cannot be dismissed lightly.

But this time I will use no graphs (!), and I will use only a single number (!!) which I promise will be a small one.

I will do this in three steps. First, I will use the example of a pot of water on the stove to demonstrate why the temperature of things (like the Earth) rises or falls.

Secondly, I will describe why so many climate model “experts” believe that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause the climate system to warm by a large, possibly catastrophic amount.

Finally, I will show how Mother Nature has fooled those climate experts into programming climate models to behave incorrectly.

Some of this material can be found scattered through other web pages of mine, but here I have tried to create a logical progression of the most important concepts, and minimized the technical details. It might be edited over time as questions arise and I find better ways of phrasing things.

The Earth’s Climate System Compared to a Pot of Water on the Stove
Before we discuss what can alter the global-average temperature, let’s start with the simple example of a pot of water placed on a stove. Imagine it’s a gas stove, and the flame is set on its lowest setting, so the water will become warm but will not boil. To begin with, the pot does not have a lid.

Obviously, the heat from the flame will warm the water and the pot, but after about 10 minutes the temperature will stop rising. The pot stops warming when it reaches a point of equilibrium where the rate of heat loss by the pot to its cooler surroundings equals the rate of heat gained from the stove. The pot warmed as long as an imbalance in those two flows of energy existed, but once the magnitude of heat loss from the hot pot reached the same magnitude as the heat gain from the stove, the temperature stopped changing.

Now let’s imagine we turn the flame up slightly. This will result in a temporary imbalance once again between the rate of energy gain and energy loss, which will then cause the pot to warm still further. As the pot warms, it loses energy even more rapidly to its surroundings. Finally, a new, higher temperature is reached where the rate of energy loss and energy gain are once again in balance.

But there’s another way to cause the pot to warm other than to add more heat: We can reduce its ability to cool. If next we place a lid on the pot, the pot will warm still more because the rate of heat loss is then reduced below the rate of heat gain from the stove. In this case, loosely speaking, the increased temperature of the pot is not because more heat is added, but because less heat is being allowed to escape.

Global Warming
The example of what causes a pot of water on a stove to warm is the same fundamental situation that exists with climate change in general, and global warming theory in particular. A change in the energy flows in or out of the climate system will, in general, cause a temperature change. The average temperature of the climate system (atmosphere, ocean, and land) will remain about the same only as long as the rate of energy gain from sunlight equals the rate of heat loss by infrared radiation to outer space...

Again, the average temperature of the Earth (like a pot of water on the stove) will only change when there is an imbalance between the rates of energy gained and energy lost.

What this means is that anything that can change the rates of energy flow illustrated above — in or out of the climate system — can cause global warming or global cooling.

In the case of manmade global warming, the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is believed to be reducing the rate at which the Earth cools to outer space. This already occurs naturally through the so-called “greenhouse effect” of the atmosphere, a process in which water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide and methane act as a ‘radiative blanket’, insulating the lower atmosphere and the surface, and raising the Earth’s average surface temperature by an average of 33 deg. C (close to 60 deg. F).

The Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is like the lid on our pot of water on the stove. The lid reduces the pot’s ability to cool and so makes the pot of water, on average, warmer than it would be without the lid. (I don’t think you will find the greenhouse effect described elsewhere in terms of an insulator — like a blanket — but I believe that is the most accurate analogy.) Similarly, the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect keeps the lower atmosphere and surface warmer than if there was no greenhouse effect. So, more CO2 in the atmosphere slightly enhances that effect.

And also like the pot of water, the other basic way to cause warming is to increase the rate of energy input — in the case of the Earth, sunlight. Note that this does not necessarily require an increase in the output of the sun. A change in any of the myriad processes that control the Earth’s average cloud cover can also do this. For instance, the IPCC talks about manmade particulate pollution (”aerosols”) causing a change in global cloudiness…but they never mention the possibility that the climate system can change its own cloud cover!

If the amount of cloud cover reflecting sunlight back to space decreases from, say, a change in oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns, then more sunlight will be absorbed by the ocean. As a result, there will then be an imbalance between the infrared energy lost and solar energy gained by the Earth. The ocean will warm as a result of this imbalance, causing warmer and more humid air masses to form and flow over the continents, which would then cause the land to warm, too.

The $64 Trillion Question: By How Much Will the Earth Warm from More CO2?
Now for a magic number that we will be referring to later, which is how much more energy is lost to outer space as the Earth warms. It can be calculated theoretically that for every 1 deg C the Earth warms, it gives off an average of about 3.3 Watts per square meter more infrared energy to space. Just as you feel more infrared (heat) radiation coming from a hot stove than from a warm stove, the Earth gives off more infrared energy to space the warmer it gets.

This is part of the climate system’s natural cooling mechanism, and all climate scientists agree with this basic fact. What we don’t agree on is how the climate system responds to warming by either enhancing, or reducing, this natural cooling mechanism. The magic number — 3.3 Watts per sq. meter — represents how much extra energy the Earth loses if ONLY the temperature is increased, by 1 deg. C, and nothing else is changed. In the real world, however, we can expect that the rest of the climate system will NOT remain the same in response to a warming tendency.

Thus, the most important debate is global warming research today is the same as it was 20 years ago: How will clouds (and to a lesser extent other elements in the climate system) respond to warming, thereby enhancing or reducing the warming? These indirect changes that further influence temperature are called feedbacks, and they determine whether manmade global warming will be catastrophic, or just lost in the noise of natural climate variability.

Returning to our example of the whole Earth warming by 1 deg. C, if that warming causes an increase in cloud cover, then the 3.3 Watts of extra infrared loss to outer space gets augmented by a reduction in solar heating of the Earth by the sun. The result is a smaller temperature rise. This is called negative feedback...

If negative feedback exists in the real climate system, then manmade global warming will become, for most practical purposes, a non-issue.

But this is not how the IPCC thinks nature works. They believe that cloud cover of the Earth decreases with warming, which would let in more sunlight and cause the Earth to warm to an even higher temperature. (The same is true if the water vapor content of the atmosphere increases with warming, since water vapor is our main greenhouse gas.) This is called positive feedback, and all 23 climate models tracked by the IPCC now exhibit positive cloud and water vapor feedback.

In fact, the main difference between models that predict only moderate warming versus those that predict strong warming has been traced to the strength of their positive cloud feedbacks.

How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists
Obviously, the question of how clouds in the REAL climate system respond to a warming tendency is of paramount importance, because that guides the development and testing of the climate models. Ultimately, the models must be based upon the observed behavior of the atmosphere.

So, what IS observed when the Earth warms? Do clouds increase or decrease? While the results vary with which years are analyzed, it has often been found that warmer years have less cloud cover, not more.

And this has led to the ’scientific consensus’ that cloud feedbacks in the real climate system are probably positive, although by an uncertain amount. And if cloud feedbacks end up being too strongly positive, then we are in big trouble from manmade global warming.

But at this point an important question needs to be asked that no one asks: When the climate system experiences a warm year, what caused the warming? By definition, cloud feedback can not occur unless the temperature changes…but what if that temperature change was caused by clouds in the first place?

This is important because if decreasing cloud cover caused warming, and this has been mistakenly interpreted as warming causing a decrease in cloud cover, then positive feedback will have been inferred even if the true feedback in the climate system is negative.

As far as I know, this potential mix-up between cause and effect — and the resulting positive bias in diagnosed feedbacks — had never been studied until we demonstrated it in a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Climate. Unfortunately, because climate research covers such a wide range of specialties, most climate experts are probably not even aware that our paper exists.

So how do we get around this cause-versus-effect problem when observing natural climate variations in our attempt to identify feedback? Our very latest research, now in peer review for possible publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research, shows that one can separate, at least partially, the effects of clouds-causing-temperature-change (which “looks like” positive feedback) versus temperature-causing-clouds to change (true feedback).

We analyzed 7.5 years of our latest and best NASA satellite data and discovered that, when the effect of clouds-causing-temperature-change is accounted for, cloud feedbacks in the real climate system are strongly negative. The negative feedback was so strong that it more than cancelled out the positive water vapor feedback we also found. It was also consistent with evidence of negative feedback we found in the tropics and published in 2007.

In fact, the resulting net negative feedback was so strong that, if it exists on the long time scales associated with global warming, it would result in only 0.6 deg. C of warming by late in this century.

Natural Cloud Variations: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle?
In this critical issue of cloud feedbacks – one which even the IPCC has admitted is their largest source of uncertainty — it is clear that the effect of natural cloud variations on temperature has been ignored. In simplest of terms, cause and effect have been mixed up. (Even the modelers will have to concede that clouds-causing-temperature change exists because we found clear evidence of it in every one of the IPCC climate models we studied.)

But this brings up another important question: What if global warming itself has been caused by a small, long-term, natural change in global cloud cover? Our observations of global cloud cover have not been long enough or accurate enough to document whether any such cloud changes have happened or not. Some indirect evidence that this has indeed happened is discussed here.

Even though they never say so, the IPCC has simply assumed that the average cloud cover of the Earth does not change, century after century. This is a totally arbitrary assumption, and given the chaotic variations that the ocean and atmosphere circulations are capable of, it is probably wrong. Little more than a 1% change in cloud cover up or down, and sustained over many decades, could cause events such as the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age.

As far as I know, the IPCC has never discussed their assumption that global average cloud cover always stays the same. The climate change issue is so complex that most experts have probably not even thought about it. But we meteorologists by training have a gut feeling that things like this do indeed happen. In my experience, a majority of meteorologists do not believe that mankind is mostly to blame for global warming. Meteorologists appreciate how complex cloud behavior is, and most tend to believe that climate change is largely natural.

Our research has taken this gut feeling and demonstrated with both satellite data and a simple climate model, in the language that climate modelers speak, how potentially serious this issue is for global warming theory.

And this cause-versus-effect issue is not limited to just clouds. For instance, there are processes that can cause the water vapor content of the atmosphere to change, mainly complex precipitation processes, which will then change global temperatures. Precipitation is what limits how much of our main greenhouse gas, water vapor, is allowed to accumulate in the atmosphere, thus preventing a runaway greenhouse effect. For instance, a small change in wind shear associated with a change in atmospheric circulation patterns, could slightly change the efficiency with which precipitation systems remove water vapor, leading to global warming or global cooling. This has long been known, but again, climate change research covers such a wide range of disciplines that very few of the experts have recognized the importance of obscure published studies like this one.

While there are a number of other potentially serious problems with climate model predictions, the mix-up between cause and effect when studying cloud behavior, by itself, has the potential to mostly deflate all predictions of substantial global warming. It is only a matter of time before others in the climate research community realize this, too.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:55 AM   #398
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I must be missing something here, Try. This graph says to me that the current extent of arctic ice coverage is significantly below the historical average.

How does this support your argument?
Huh?

'fraid I don't quite follow you there, Z. It sure looks to me like all the lines are smack on the long term averages.




http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

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Old 04-05-2010, 11:42 AM   #399
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I'm not going to comment on Dr. Spencer's ridiculous analogy of a pot on a stove. You posted this piece before and I made my comments then.

I've not even going to point out that he's dead wrong when he says that CO2's role as a greenhouse gas is due to its insulating properties rather than its high efficiency as a converter of light into IR energy. That's basic science and Dr. Spencer should be ashamed of himself. What CO2 does is absorb shorter wavelengths of light--energy of a frequency that would normally be re-radiated into space--and convert it into longer-wave infra-red, which we experience as heat here on the surface of the earth.

Rather, I'll simply go ad hominem on the man and impugn his scientific credentials:

From Wiki:

========================

"Roy W. Spencer is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has served as senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

"He is principally known for his satellite-based temperature monitoring work, for which he was awarded the American Meteorological Society's Special Award. Based on the satellite evidence, Spencer suggests that climate sensitivity is lower than is currently believed, and that natural, chaotic variations in low cloud cover may account for most global warming.[1][2]

Spencer is a proponent of intelligent design, and rejects evolution as the mechanism for the origin of species.[3]"

=============================

No doubt, Dr. Spencer's aware of the Creator's Plan to ameliorate AGW and doesn't worry about it much.

As to your own comments amount the "density of gases"... As if this is something every first year chemistry students didnn't know. Charles' Law, Gay-Lussac's law, and the law of partial pressures are all very well known, and I'm sure climatologists are well aware of them, and your basic argument here--the argument that "things are complicated!"--is no argument at all but a simple admission of ignorance.

Maybe instead we should talk about the heat capacity of gases? dT/dH, the first derivative with respect to enthalpy? Or the equipartition of energy, that says that the thermal energy in a molecule is distributed among its translational and quantum vibrational states? How about fluid dynamics and the entropic factor as it applies to thermodynamic mixing? I assure you all of these are things atmospheric scientists are well aware of. These people aren't just a bunch of idiots with their fingers stuck into the air.

Even if Spencer were right (and I wonder why it's taking so long to get his paper published in a peer-reviewed journal. No doubt another manifestation of the Big Conspiracy...), what you're saying is that you're willing to gamble the future of the earth on what they might discover about cloud cover. That hardly seems prudent to me.

So once again, your basic argument is that AGW must be wrong because they just don't know enough

Well, I've got a better analogy. Your house is on fire. It might have started because you kept cans of gasoline in your basement, or it might have started because someone upstairs was smoking in bed. It might just burn your basement out or it might consume the whole structure.

Now, you want to wait till find out how serious the fire is before you do something about it? Or better yet, do you want to keep feeding gasoline into it on the assumption that the fire's already so big, a little more gas couldn't hurt?
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:57 AM   #400
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Originally Posted by trysail View Post


Huh?

'fraid I don't quite follow you there, Z. It sure looks to me like all the lines are smack on the long term averages.



Maybe I need glasses, but isn't the 2006-2007 line line like 1 million sq miles less than the long-term average? The 2009-2010 line follows the diminished 06'07, but then takes an excursion toward the norm. Whether this is a new trend or anomaly will have to be seen.


http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

Not going to comment on this because 8 years of data is not enough to make any meaningful comment about.

Again, if you look carefully at this graph, it shows a clear decline in the amount of ice coverage.

The upper graph shows daily sea ice (blue) co-plotted with the historical average. As I read it, with one exception, after 2001 the daily sea average is consistently below the historical average.

The bottom trace on the graph is even clearer in showing an overall decline in sea ice..
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