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Climate Hustle

The contradictory nature of global warming skepticism

Posted on 11 September 2010 by dana1981

A major challenge in conversing with anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics is that they constantly seem to move the goalposts and change their arguments.  As a consequence, they also frequently contradict themselves.  One day they'll argue the current global warming is caused by the Sun, the next that it's "natural cycles", the next that the planet is actually cooling, and the next day they'll say the surface temperature record is unreliable, so we don't even know what the global temperature is.  This is why Skeptical Science has such an extensive skeptic argument list.

It should be obvious that the arguments listed above all contradict each other, yet they're often made by the same skeptics.  As one prominent example, in 2003 physicist and skeptic Fred Singer was arguing that the planet wasn't warming, yet in 2007 he published a book arguing that the planet is warming due to a 1,500-year natural cycle.  You can't have it both ways!

It's a testament to the robustness of the AGW theory that skeptics can't seem to decide what their objection to it is.  If there were a flaw in the theory, then every skeptic would pounce on it and make a consistent argument, rather than the current philosophy which seems to be "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks."

It would behoove AGW skeptics to decide exactly what their objection to the scientific theory is, because then it would be easier to engage in a serious discussion, rather than the current situation where we're basically playing whack-a-mole with the favored skeptic argument of the day, which totally contradicts the favored skeptic argument from yesterday.

Just as one example, you can't argue that the Sun is causing global warming and that climate sensitivity is low.   Solar output has only increased by about 0.1% over the past century, and the way you determine the associated global temperature change is to multiply the change in solar radiative forcing by the climate sensitivity factor.  So they only way you could argue for a significant solar warming would be if climate sensitivity is high.  You just can't have it both ways - if climate sensitivity is low, it's not just low with respect to greenhouse gases, it's also low to solar activity, orbital variations, volcanic emissions, etc.  And if it's low, then the Sun has caused less than 0.1°C of the 0.8°C warming over the past century.  Similarly, arguing for a low climate sensitivity contradicts the climate has changed before argument for the same reason.  If climate sensitivity is low, it will prevent significant climate changes regardless of the cause, whether they be anthropogenic or solar or some other natural forcing.

If you want to argue that the warming is due to a natural cycle, then pick a specific natural cycle and research it.  Make sure there's a scientific basis to your argument.  For example, don't argue that it's due to a 1,500-year cycle when the planet wasn't warming 1,500 years ago!  But most importantly, don't contradict yourself by claiming that the planet isn't warming the next day.  These kinds of flip-flops are common on Anthony Watts' blog, which had a very schizophrenic six month period:

And that's when he's not arguing that the surface temperature record is so contaminated that we don't even know if the planet is warming.  Or that this supposedly unreliable data shows cooling.

But until skeptics start making some consistent arguments, Skeptical Science has set up a page listing all the skeptic arguments that contradict each other in order to make the mole whacking a little easier.

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Comments 201 to 250 out of 353:

  1. Re: archiesteel (200)

    Nice point with that three-year trend. Ouch.

    The Yooper
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  2. @Baz,

    Multiple posters have pointed out that the HadCRUT data has been shown via independent analysis to be underestimating warming over the last decade due to low arctic coverage. So not only do you have only one temperature series out of many (not just the GISS) that even barely suggests flattening temperatures, but in addition that temperature series has been shown to be flawed. According to this analysis, it is irrelevant at this point whether a 10 year flattening is statistically significant or not, because such a flattening did not happen.

    This is a critical issue for your argument, since you've decided to rest your entire position on this single data set. Is it any wonder you've been accused of cherry picking? How exactly do you justify using this single flawed data set while ignoring all others? Note that the press release I linked to above came from the Met Office, the parent organization of the Hadley Centre. The Met Office clearly agrees that their own data is incomplete. How do you justify putting your trust in the Hadley Centre when their data shows flattening temperatures, but dismissing them when they claim that same warming was underestimated? What do you call this if not cherry picking?
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  3. Baz - In regards to statistical significance, you might benefit from looking at the Phil Jones says no global warming since 1995 thread. There are some useful discussions there on what timeframe is appropriate for statistical significance, and what time periods are usable for drawing conclusions.

    As headlined in a British paper early this year, Phil Jones (climatologist) stated that the warming since 1995 was not statistically significant. By this he pointed out that the statistical chance of the null hypothesis (no warming) was at 8% - it should be under 5% for the 95% confidence generally used in statistical significance tests.

    Given the noise (weather, yearly variations) in the temperature trends, 30 years is considered the appropriate period, not 15. And the global warming trend from 1980 to 2009 (just over 1 degree Fahrenheit) is statistically significant at the 99.9999 percent level.

    That is to say, given the data, there is only a 0.0001 % chance that it wasn't warming over that 30-year time frame; that the resulting data was due to a noisy but not trending signal.

    You can certainly make claims of personal belief from 10 years of data - that's up to you. However, you cannot claim scientific evidence, statistical significance, from such a short time frame. The numbers don't support it.
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  4. Daniel Bailey. Thank you for your post. Yes, of course I understand the importance of using long time spans for revealing trends in surface & sea temperature change. However, you should recognise that I came on here looking for an answer from those present on what they would accept as 'the' period to conclude that the AGW hypothesis may be false. Perhaps you would feel more at ease if we looked at ocean temps instead. I'm sure you understand that we could talk about them, and that I may be on safer ground (given the lack of heat content over the past few years). However, it is the surface & sea temps that politicians and journalists use, so I simply wanted to pose that question. I could equally have said, 'For how long should we observe no increase (or even decrease) in ocean heat content before we conclude that the AGW hypothesis is false?'

    I assume you're referring to realclimate when you ask about the contributions of publishing professionals - is that correct? Having read the site on many ocassions then I conclude it's not worthy. However, if you are referring to something particular I've said, then please say precisely.

    In short, I certainly require to learn more, but I feel there are far too many closed minds in both camps. The subject of AGW is often likened to Creationism. However, there are totally closed minds in Creationism, again on both sides, but neither is provable. Of course, Creationism is a nonsense, and not worthy debating. But with AGW a period of time should 'prove' the issue one way or the other. What I've been exploring here is that time period. But as I said, we could look at the heat store (oceans) rather than the time-lagged result (atmosphere) and ask ourselves if heat is being accumulated.

    Daniel, I certainly don't have the time for pointless debate, and that's exactly why some on here haven't had their 'questions' answered. I find this sort of poking extremely tiresome, and surely for another forum entirely.
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  5. Paul Daniel Ash. There was only one question mark in your 177, and I responded. Do you want to debate rising ocean heat content, or falling ocean heat content? Or do you want to debate the fact that it's still unclear, and that it may falsify the AGW hypothesis long before surface temperatures do?
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  6. @Baz: "Perhaps you would feel more at ease if we looked at ocean temps instead. I'm sure you understand that we could talk about them, and that I may be on safer ground (given the lack of heat content over the past few years)."

    But the oceans *have* been warming over the past few years!

    Here is the article on SkSc

    Also, you haven't told me what you think about the warming "restarting" with a vengeance in mid-2007?

    "Daniel, I certainly don't have the time for pointless debate, and that's exactly why some on here haven't had their 'questions' answered."

    How convenient.
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  7. @Baz Oh, and before you point out Berenyi Peter's comments in that thread, you should know he refuses to address the accusations of scientific fraud leveled at him, accusations that put his entire credibility at risk.

    If you are truly objective, and value actual research over BP's cherry-picking antics, then you have no real option but to acknowledge that oceans have continued to accumulate heat over the past decade, and have increasingly done so over the past three years.
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  8. Daniel, your ra-ra support of archiesteel's "3-year trend" is mis-placed, as it shows that your question to me of what was I trying to achieve now holds no credibility.
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  9. Baz > However, you should recognise that I came on here looking for an answer from those present on what they would accept as 'the' period to conclude that the AGW hypothesis may be false.

    We're dealing with statistics here, so there is not going to be a single hard number. In any case, you've gotten your answer multiple times: 15 years to establish a bare minimum of statistical significance, and enough to perhaps cast doubt, 25-30 years to establish a long term trend with high confidence. What more do you want?
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  10. @Baz: nice try. There is no reason to believe temperatures are "flat" when looking at a non-statistically significant 10-year period, and then refuse to acknowledge temperatures have been going up dramatically in the non-statistically significant 3-year period.

    The fact you're refusing to respond to me directly isn't because I wasn't polite. Rather, it's because you have *no* counter-argument that wouldn't also damage your own position.

    Checkmate, mate.
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  11. e at 202. I don't think you can say that HadCRUt is "flawed" yet allow GISS with its proxy Arctic data to be any more valid! Would you have drawn attention to ECMWF's report if it had concluded that Hadley's range was at the upper end? No, of course not! For a very good reason, because you believe that AGW is totally real and that HadCRUt is under-reporting it. I'll stop using their data when they do!
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  12. Baz - If you want a time period, I would say (given the noise in temperature variations and data) that if we saw statistically significant flattening or better yet cooling (because I really don't like the implications of ongoing temperature rises), that would be 15 years for considering the idea, 20 years for cautious agreement, 30 years for strong agreement, if the statistics hold up (i.e., no big changes in data variability - that would require considering the data on those merits).

    Note that this would include both atmospheric and total ocean heat content cooling; consistent signs of less energy accumulation in the entire Earth/air/water system, as opposed to oscillations between different heat stores or the PDO.

    Note that this timeframe is not a linear scale! The shorter the time frame the faster the statistical confidence drops. 10 years doesn't tell you much at all (impossible to conclude anything of significance), 5 years is just laughable.
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  13. KR, I take your point. However, I don't claim scientific evidence, statistical significance, from such a short time frame! As I have stated many times, I was looking for time frames from those here!
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  14. e "What more do you want?" NO MORE! I am merely responding to questions - I have pointed out many, many times that the figure is 15-20 years - how did you miss it?
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  15. KR. Five years was mine alone. I'm evidently not a scientist, but that '5 years' was typical of the man-in-the-street whether it's acceptable to those in the field of the sciences or not. As I stated, I jumped off the horse early. There were people who got off the Titanic when it sailed from Belfast to Southampton, before it voyaged across the Atlantic - but they weren't scientists.

    I accept your 30 years - thanks for answering.
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  16. archiesteel. Ask yourself why I'm answering EVERYONE else but not you. Is it because your points are more clever than theirs, and that I have no counter-arguments to your points? Is it, mate? Really?
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  17. Baz >Would you have drawn attention to ECMWF's report if it had concluded that Hadley's range was at the upper end?

    You have evaded my question, or are you saying you reject the ECMWF's conclusions because you believe AGW is false and will reject anything that contradicts that belief? I accept the conclusions of the ECMWF because they are consistent with multiple other data sets and because they are endorsed by the Met Office itself. In short, I can see no rational reason why I would reject it, so I am curious, why do you?

    You mentioned the GISS again, how about the UAH and RSS satellite data? Both show the past ten years continuing along approximately the same trend line as before. Again, how do you justify picking the data set you did while ignoring all others, including the analysis of that same data set?
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  18. e. I don't 'reject' their conclusions as such. They MAY be right, but it's not a certainty! It's just a conclusion!

    Yes, the UAH and RSS is interesting. As I understand it, both have suffered as a result of satllite drift, and there has to be corrections made for altitude drop (IIRC). They don't measure temperature, remember, but oxygen - and they're not calibrated.

    I have already explained that I choose HadCRUt merely because it is from where I live! Would you be choosing it too, if it was saying what you want to hear? Oh, I think you would! If HadCRUt showed a huge incline that even embarrassed GISS, then I know that it would be being massively exposed!
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  19. e @217,

    Maybe I can help. Someone seems to be under the impression that GISS uses "proxies" for their Arctic temperature data-- what they mean by that they have not said.

    For someone accusing others of being close-minded I find it ironic that the person in question refuses to consider other datasets. Anyhow, the HadCRUT data show statistically significant long-term warming, as do the other data.
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  20. Dear Baz;

    If you don't want to be accused of making "strawman" arguments, don't make them ("Scientists claim to KNOW the future").

    If you don't want to be accused of cherrypicking, don't do it (the last 10 years support my argument but the last 15 don't, so I'll stick with 10).

    Also, if you don't want to be accused of "argument from authority", don't base your claims on being a self-proclaimed expert ("I work with acids, so you're wrong"). And if you don't want to be accused of "appeal to the people", don't pretend that the "man-on-the-street" is more knowledgeable than the experts - especially when you have no evidence that popular opinion agrees with you anyway.

    The reason these are all termed logical fallacies is that they represent faulty reasoning. You don't impress anyone here by saying "I work with acids", and it doesn't convince anyone when that's the basis for your argument.
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  21. Re: Baz (204)

    Thank you for re-centering and distilling your position. If I understand you correctly, you wish to know from the readership here:
    1. How the "AGW hypothesis" may be proven false.

    2. What length of time is needed in time series data involving temperatures to be statistically significant?
    Am I reasonably close? I will assume I am, at least for now.

    Question 1.
    Reasonable question. Let me first offer up a clarification: it is something of a misnomer to refer to it as the "AGW Hypothesis" when in reality we are discussing the greenhouse gas effects of CO2, whether naturally-occurring or produced by man via the combustion of fossil fuels.

    Let's break it down, a step at a time:
    1. The greenhouse effect of certain gases was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824.
    Without the effects of greenhouse gases raising the Earth's temperature, the average surface temperature would be about -18 degrees C (i.e., no liquid water and thus no life). Based on that effect, increasing the level of a greenhouse gas in a planet’s atmosphere, all else being equal, will raise that planet’s surface temperature.

    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas (first reliably experimented with by Tyndall 1858 and first quantitatively reported by Svante Arrhenius in 1896) .
    Arrhenius, BTW, predicted a temperature response (sensitivity) due to a doubling of CO2 to be about 3 degrees C (the mid-point of the accepted range of 2.0 - 4.2 degrees C currently accepted). He was right in the magnitude, but had some details wrong (but in his defense, the sum errors mostly cancel out. Translation: he got it right because he was lucky).

    3. CO2 is rising (Keeling et al. 1958, 1960, etc).
    Well established. Being a well-mixed gas, stable global concentrations are reached quickly. Monitored for over 50 years, seasonal variations and all.

    4. Therefore (given 1-3 above) the Earth should be warming.
    Multiple, independent lines of evidence shows that this is the case. Listed in next line item.

    5. From multiple converging lines of evidence, we know the Earth is warming (NASA GISS, Hadley Centre CRU, UAH MSU, RSS TLT, borehole results, melting glaciers and ice caps, etc., etc., etc).
    Looking at all of the data we have, over time, we know the Earth is warming.

    6. The warming is moving in close correlation with the carbon dioxide (r = 0.874 for ln CO2 and dT 1880-2008).
    Based on the known physics of greenhouse gases, all computable by hand (i.e., no computer needed) the amount of warming predicted by the radiative physics of GHG's and the physical relationships of solids, liquids and gases, very closely matches observed increases. I cannot emphasize this point enough: this is basic physics, not some fancy GCM.

    7. The new CO2 (as shown by its isotopic signature) is mainly from burning fossil fuels (Suess 1955, Revelle and Suess, 1958).
    We can reliably differentiate between naturally-occurring CO2 present in the carbon cycle and that produced by the burning of fossil fuels. And that produced by volcanoes (fossil fuel emissions of CO2 are 100 times greater every year than that produced by all the volcanoes in the world).

    8. Therefore the global warming currently occurring is anthropogenic (caused by mankind).
    So, in order to disprove the "AGW Hypothesis" one merely needs to provide a physical basis for why the fossil fuel CO2 concentrations chemically don't interact with our physical world like CO2 that is already a part of the natural carbon cycle.

    Looking back into the paleo record, we see a tight relationship between temperatures and CO2 concentrations. The only thing different today is that fossil fuel CO2 contributions have raised CO2 concentrations 40% above the highest levels occurring during the interglacials of the past several hundred thousand years.

    And the world is warming.

    And it continues to this day.

    And will continue to do so (with normal seasonal variability/noise), as long as man continues to raise CO2 concentration levels.

    Question 2.

    30 years. Here's one source for that. If you want something a little less "math-ey", look up the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) definition of climate. 30 years: anything less is weather.

    So there you have it. Quibbles about atmospheric temp increases (warming) vs ocean (warming) vs North America (warming) vs the Arctic (warming vs the Antarctic (warming) are just that: quibbles.

    If you have a physics-based alternative to the observed & predicted effects of CO2 and GHG's that explains what we can see and measure that ALSO explains why CO2 derived from fossil fuels DOESN'T act as a GHG, then I'm all ears.

    And I also expect a formal submission of that alternative to a reputable, peer-reviewed (which eliminates E&E) publication for scientific review.

    Exxon Mobil will pay you billions, if you can do so.

    If, at this point, you have genuine concerns that you wish my help on, I'm here. Otherwise, all we have left is debate. And we both agree on the pointlessness of that.

    I look forward to our next chat. And if we don't, have a good life.

    The Yooper
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  22. @Baz >Would you be choosing it too, if it was saying what you want to hear?

    I'm not "choosing" anything, I'm looking at all the data as a whole, including the HadCRUT and the ECMWF data.

    You on the other hand are choosing one particular time frame of one particular dataset on which to base your entire position. The best "rational" justification you can provide for this logic is because it is from "where you live". Sorry, but that's pathetic. Either you are a troll, or you lack a basic understanding of how scientific reasoning works.
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  23. Baz - this "GISS using proxies" for arctic smacks of some disinformation from a denialist site. How about a closer look at how the two different data sets estimate the arctic?

    Hadcrut doesnt - or more to the point their global estimate effectively assumes that the arctic anomaly is same as the global average. A built-in assumption that arctic warms or cools at same rate as global average.

    GISS instead interpolates the missing grid squares from the nearby northernmost stations. This is what I assume what you mean by "proxies".

    Given that what evidence we do have (satellite, the northern stations etc) suggest that the arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe, which measurement technique do you think is likely to result in the best estimate of temperature?

    Also, I would take another approach to falsification.
    Climate theory (of which AGW is merely a result) makes a large no. of predictions, not just about the temperature trend but also things like the temperature distribution (eg arctic amplification, land/sea anomaly differences), OHC, stratospheric temperature profile, seasonal shift, day/night anomaly differences etc. The scientific approach is to compare the predictions with observations (taking into account the error estimates in both the observations AND the predictions).

    An unaccounted difference would require at very least modification of the theory. So far our theory of climate is doing well.
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  24. archiesteel (#197) says: "So, again, you have utterly failed to indicate that over-harvesting is the main factor responsible for the decline in polar bear number"

    If you look at my first post on the topic (102) I said since hunting was the main factor for the decline it should be addressed in the thread. You answer to that is now a straw man: "over-hunting".

    The three causes of polar bear deaths can be categorized as (1) hunting, (2) natural, not climate-related and (3) natural and climate-related. The reproduction rate is about 0.5 cubs per female per year. That means births of 500 in SHB and WHB and deaths a bit higher than that and about 5000 deaths worldwide annually. The hunt worldwide is about 700

    The mortality dynamics are heavily dependent on cub survival which will indirectly affected by climate change, other natural factors, plus hunting to a smaller extent. Life expectancy improves after that so cub deaths are probably what matters. Also some studies suggest climate stress affects the birth rate so I would need to factor that in as well for SHB and WHB in particular. Bottom line is I can't say that hunting deaths are greater than climate change deaths without a lot of missing information which I need to research.
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  25. There was only one question mark in your 177, and I responded.

    I was not asking questions, I was responding to your questions… e.g. "there is no correlation though, is there?", "What's happened to the heat?" "what would it take for man-made global warming to be falsified?"

    If you accept those answers, I'd be interested to know that. If you reject them, I'd be curious about the basis of your disagreement.

    I've engaged your questions with respect and courtesy, as has Daniel Bailey, who has done so with much more detail and substance. Do you have any response at all to the answers he gave to your questions?
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  26. Baz... To follow up on the Yooper and your comment at 204, "I feel there are far too many closed minds in both camps." I think minds are less closed on the AGW side of the fence than you might be lead to believe.

    Yes, there are some aspects that climate scientists will battle to their dying breath over, but what they're battling over is not a matter of opinion. They're defending the basic scientific facts, as Daniel listed above.

    As a layman I've come to side with the AGW camp because I see them stating both the very clear science and presenting the aspects that are uncertain. Whereas on the other side I keep seeing isolated and contradictory arguments (the point of this blog post).

    The late Dr Stephen Schneider put it very well in this fairly recent TV discussion where he says, "If you see one side, either side, saying they KNOW the answer, they're wrong. Science doesn't do absolutes. But when you see someone saying, 'Here is what were sure of, here's what fairly certain of and here are the uncertainties' that is who you should be listening to."

    The basic science of AGW is, as so many say, done. Man made CO2 is warming the atmosphere. There are just no two ways about that. But there are uncertainties with feedbacks and climate sensitivity. Is it going to be 1.5C or 6.2C for doubling CO2? We simply do not yet know. But we do know enough to act to make sure that we do not expose the planet and human civilization to the potential catastrophe of, as Dr Richard Alley puts it, "the long tail of the distribution." (i.e., the possibility that things are going to be worse than we think).
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  27. @Baz: "Ask yourself why I'm answering EVERYONE else but not you. Is it because your points are more clever than theirs, and that I have no counter-arguments to your points? Is it, mate? Really?"

    Yes, it is. (There can't be any other explanation, since I wasn't impolite to you.)

    Case in point: looking at the last three years (instead of five, or ten) shows dramatic warming. Why not see this as a sign the warming has resumed?
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  28. @Eric: "If you look at my first post on the topic (102) I said since hunting was the main factor for the decline it should be addressed in the thread. You answer to that is now a straw man: "over-hunting"."

    That is *not* a strawman - if hunting is the main reason for the decline (which means that more bears die than what is required to sustain the population), then by definition it *is* over-hunting (or over-harvesting, etc.).

    As it is, nowhere in the link is anyone arguing that over-hunting is currently responsible for declining bear populations *overall*, therefore there is little evidence to support your claim.

    "Bottom line is I can't say that hunting deaths are greater than climate change deaths without a lot of missing information which I need to research."

    That's the most sensible thing you've said so far in this thread. Thank you.
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  29. Stop the presses, this just in: NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far.

    And the warming continues, anon.

    The Yooper
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  30. #229: But we all know the reliability of those temperature records. Hey, I know: warming is really cooling when you look at these things in the mirror.
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  31. Re: muoncounter (230)

    Dude, everyone knows that in the darkness of the mirror the true heart of skepticism darkly lies.

    Speaking of skepticism, if it walks like a duck...

    The Yooper
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  32. Re: Berényi Péter (165)

    Sorry, was traveling when you posted this.

    Just wanted to credit you with a deft, understated touch that resonated well with a superb choice of graphic. Very apropos.

    Bravo, Sir.

    The Yooper
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  33. Daniel... And the scary part of this being the hottest year on record is,

    1) We're now in an La Nina
    2) The PDO is negative
    3) We in a deep solar minimum

    I shudder to think what's going to happen when we flip over to the other side of those three. "Whoops! I think we just found Trenberth's 'missing heat.'"
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  34. Paul Daniel Ash 225. That would be 204 then, would it? - my reply to 'The Yooper'. Can't understand why you didn't see it.
    In 199 you said, "Any response to the other information in my comment?"
    Yet in 225 you say "I was not asking questions"
    Well I beg to differ - I spy a question mark. It was to THAT comment that I replied, "There was only one question mark in your 177, and I responded."

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  35. scaddenp. Sorry that you missed my earlier post, that my 'GISS uses proxies' actually came from Phil Jones, not a "denialist site" (what a charming term?).
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  36. Soory, I should expand on that. I actually asked (in my ignorance) why I should continue to use HadCRUt when the rest of the world seemed to switching over to GISS. I was pleased to get an email from Mr Jones himself stating that GISS uses proxies for Arctic cover. He didn't tell me how far away that proxy was - that DID come from a sceptic site!
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  37. e. 222, See above.
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  38. Rob Honeycutt 226. Thanks for your reply. And of course, as I have stated, I agree with the physics behind CO2 and the warming that has occurred, and I agree with most of your concluding paragraph. Where I disagree is that we DON'T know enough. I admit that it's a gamble which could turn horrific. But my money is on the mild result. Quite seriously, I would like 10 more years before we worry. Now, some would say that's 10 years we haven't got. But you could say that the world ain't gonna change anyways! And that we should spend it on adaption rather than change. But to me, a layman, it all appears as though we simply don't know enough - and that's been reinforced by spending the past hour reading the Ocean Heat Content thread on this site (with comments by Prof Pielke).

    I appreciate that some on here want 30 years before 'admitting' that we got it wrong. That's an awful long time, and a lot of money spent trying to change something that changes itself. Not being a scientist, I didn't have the intellectual constraints, and obviously chose a much shorter time to jump ship. The next few years is going to be mighty interesting - OHC and surface temps. As I understand it, if the oceans don't heat, then it's over!

    Thanks to those that were polite and answered my questions. I shall stay here as there's lots to read. Again, thanks.
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  39. Dear Adam C at 220. You say that I wrote this: "("I work with acids, so you're wrong")." And you actually put it in speech marks - as if it were verbatim.

    What I actually wrote in Post 130 was this:

    "As the owner of this site can confirm from my registration details, I work with acids, and I hate the ter(m) "acidification" as it's just plain wrong."

    I'm surprised that comments like yours don't get deleted - when they are so obviously in error. If you want to bark at someone on a forum such as this, and even draw in cliches like 'strawman' and 'cherry-picking' (congrats, you managed to get two cliches in one post!) then at the very least make an attempt to get your facts correct. It serves no purpose to poke or bark, but it's also a useless waste of time if you actually get your facts wrong when quoting someone.
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  40. Baz... Actually, it's not just the scientists who are saying that we DO know enough to act. It's the economists who are pasting the climate models onto economic models. There is a tremendous amount of research that has gone into creating that IPCC range for climate sensitivity of 1.5C to 6.2C, with ~3C being "best fit."

    Today the costs involved to deal with climate change are actually manageable. But each year we go without serious action pushes us into extremely hazardous territory. People keep saying, you buy fire insurance for your home on the tiny risk that something terrible will happen. If there is a 10% chance that we are out past the 3C mark then we should be doing something BIG... right NOW!

    What you have to understand is, with people like Dr Pielke, they are the voices that are keeping the IPCC numbers down. There are other voices saying the IPCC numbers are too low. The IPCC is required to listen to all those voices and give an opinion on the science. If you are JUST listening to Pielke you are cutting out 95% of the information on the issue of climate change. Likewise, if you listen to others you'll get a skewed sense that we are destined to hit 7C+ by 2100.

    Personally, I don't think it's 1.5C. And I don't think it's 7C. The extremes are invariably always wrong. But the middle is still concerning enough to take action. You definitely don't want to sink the world economy. No one is suggesting that. But solid market based solutions are required to address this. Now.
    0 0
  41. Baz - Would you prefer the term "less alkaline"?

    Whether you like or not, "acidification" is the term used for the pH change of the oceans. And disagreements about terminology does not change either the physical reality of the pH change or its effects on the ocean organisms.

    Incidentally, thanks for the response on the time-frames for considering warming/cooling trends. 30 years for a climate measure seems to be the consensus view based upon internal variability and instrument noise.
    0 0
  42. Baz... "As I understand it, if the oceans don't heat, then it's over!"

    I honestly think that Dr Pielke is playing a dangerous game with his own professional reputation. If the "oceans don't heat" then there's a lot of explaining to do. Why are the ice caps melting? Why is Greenland's ice mass loss accelerating? Why are season start and end dates changing? Why is sea level rise accelerating? Why to the climate sensitivity data accurately explain paleoclimate? Why are we getting very consistent warming data from satellite and ground based temperature readings? This is just to name a very very few of the thousands of empirical observations detailed right here on the Skeptical Science site.

    Why are we getting these thousands of bits of information very consistently pointing at the same answer? Yes, I know there are data that isn't consistent as well, but these are FAR fewer than the one's that point to AGW. And these have the nasty propensity to be very inconsistent in their explanations and mechanisms.

    Yes, if the ARGO data continues to show no warming we need to figure out where Trenberth's "missing heat" is. Pielke is putting himself out there where Dr Spencer was with the UAH satellite data that was showing cooling until the data was fixed. Spencer suffered a huge loss of credibility when we found out the problem with his data. Pielke would be wise to tread more carefully as he wades into similar waters.
    0 0
  43. KR at 06:19 AM, the term used should be neutralisation as it is the neutralising effect on a normally alkaline ocean that is the concern, not that the ocean will ever become acidic, or is that the concern?

    30 years as a climate measure is inadequate. When there are natural cycle that can take 6 or 7 decades to complete, anything less then two such cycles is meaningless.
    0 0
  44. KR and johnd. I'm not really happy with 'neutralisation' either! Because you haven't neutralised a solution if you've reduced it from 8.1 pH to 8.0. Obviously there doesn't appear to be a suitable term, unless you use the phrase that you've 'reduced the alkalinity'. I only brought it up to say I was unhappy with the term 'acidification' as it smacks of alarmism. However, this is really a side issue and off topic.

    Rob, Pielke will have to answer for himself in due course, but he is an esteemed climate scientist. However, I want to pull you up on a thing or too (can't let them pass :)) 'Ice caps are melting' is another of my pet hates. First of the Antarctic certainly isn't! And we know there were similar ice situations to today just 70-80 years ago. And I can't see any "acceleration" in sea level rise ( but I'm happy to see any links you have.
    0 0
  45. Baz... I believe the GRACE satellites are clearly showing ice mass loss on Antarctica as well. Here is an article from Nature Geoscience.
    0 0
  46. Baz... Do you not see what happens here? Antarctica is a great example. There are tons of charts that are showing ice extent increases in Antarctica. Right? So, the game is, every time someone mentions Arctic sea ice losses they come back and say, "Oh, but Antarctica is gaining ice. See!"

    But they neglect to look any further or if they have further data they neglect to pass it along. East Antarctica is gaining mass do to increased snowfall, consistent with global warming theory. (Same with Greenland.) But overall it's been clear for a long time and is even clearer now that Antarctica is LOSING mass at an accelerated rate.
    0 0
  47. I definitely agree that Pielke is a highly rated climate scientists. And honestly that's why it bothers me so that he's made his recent statements about OHC. His rhetoric is extremely imprudent. I really expect more from a scientist of his stature.
    0 0
  48. Baz at 07:14 AM, I agree with you entirely on the terminology, and that instead whatever term is used should convey a sense of what the present status quo is.
    I suspect many who merely repeat the term acidification parrot like aren't even aware of the degree of alkalinity.

    I only threw in the term neutralisation to support the point you make about acidification being used because of the emotive effect.
    An alarmist should not be able to argue that acidification is more appropriate than neutralisation if the emotive impact is not a factor.
    Of course "reducing the alkalinity" is the most technical correct without any emotive overtones, but that is irrelevant when politics is involved.
    0 0
  49. That would be 204 then, would it? - my reply to 'The Yooper'. Can't understand why you didn't see it.

    I was referring to Bailey's 196 "The explanation that is best representative of the whole of the data is most credible" and my question of what you find lacking in this approach, which was not answered in your 204. I was also asking about your reaction to his 224.


    In 199 you said, "Any response to the other information in my comment?"
    Yet in 225 you say "I was not asking questions"
    Well I beg to differ - I spy a question mark. It was to THAT comment that I replied, "There was only one question mark in your 177, and I responded."

    In 177, I was responding to your questions… e.g. "there is no correlation though, is there?", "What's happened to the heat?" "what would it take for man-made global warming to be falsified?" and in 199 I asked if you had any response to those statements.

    Do you, or don't you?
    0 0
  50. Re: Rob Honeycutt (245, 246)

    To elaborate on what you said a little bit: BOTH the WAIS AND the EAIS are LOSING mass since 2006, per your source. Here's the relevant bits:
    "132plusminus26 Gt yr-1 coming from West Antarctica. However, in contrast with previous GRACE estimates, our data suggest that East Antarctica is losing mass, mostly in coastal regions, at a rate of -57plusminus52 Gt yr-1"
    My drug-laden math cells find a minimum loss of 5 Gt yr-1 from the EAIS and an additional minimum 106 Gt yr-1 from the WAIS.

    Both on a diet. Sign me up.

    The Yooper
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