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Hotties vs Frosties?

Posted on 9 July 2010 by John Brookes

Guest post by John Brookes

There is much heat in the blogosphere debates between those who believe that we are warming the planet, and those who are highly skeptical of such claims. I will put my cards on the table right now, and say that I think we are warming the planet. There is a lot of mistrust between the warring factions. People like me are referred to as AGW alarmists, while people on the other side are regularly derided as deniers. So to start with, I'd like to take some heat out of the debate by giving nicknames to the combatants. Those on my side will be referred to as "hotties", while the other side will be referred to as "frosties".

What are hotties like? Hotties are latte sipping, bicycle riding, quasi-intellectual, communist, greeny idealogues who hate the modern world and want to drive us back to the dark ages. Most Hotties have been hidden away in their ivory towers for so long suckling off the taxpayers teat that they know almost nothing about the real world, the world they are trying to destroy. They want to impose more and more rules limiting what you can do. Hotties have been brainwashed by an elite who are using the threat of climate change for their own ends. The elite consists of politicians are intent on creating a world government, and tame but dishonest scientists who are rewarded financially for fudging data and saying what the politicians want to hear. Hotties try and drown out all dissenting opinions. Philip Adams is their hero. Hotties should wash more often.

How about the frosties? Frosties are chainsaw wielding, grumpy, overweight, middle-aged men who drive older model 4WDs. They have Galileo complexes and opinions on everything, are outraged by most things, rail against the youth of today, and are suckers for conspiracy theories. They cherry pick data, and use tired and discredited arguments as though they are brand new. They would argue that black was white, if they thought that admitting black was black would weaken their position. They intimidate and harass real climate scientists, while their own Plimer, Monckton, Nova, Archibald, etc are in the pay of industry and have less credibility than John Worsfold talking about the Eagles next premiership. They don't have heroes. Rugged individuals who are single-handedly supporting the whole of western civilisation have no need for heroes. Some do have a bit of a crush on Jo Nova though.

So I've spent some time on both hotty and frosty blogs, and this is not what I see. For example on Jo Nova's blog, I have found many well meaning frosties who are only too happy to help expand my limited understanding of the science of climate change. At one time I put up a post which said that most hotties and frosties did not understand what was going on, but were simply barracking for their side. Rather than wishing me good riddance, Eddy, a regular there, encouraged me to aim higher. Thanks to Eddy, I've decided to work a bit harder to understand what is going on. Many of the frosties are doing exactly the same thing, trying to work out what is going on. They think that attempts to reshape our world without fossil fuels spells disaster, and think it is their duty to fight against it. Sure there are some frosties who are over the top and abusive, but the same can be said of some hotties. Of course there are also frosties who uncritically lap up any new argument which supports their case, while demanding much higher standards of the hotties. There are also probably a few who are paid directly or indirectly by big coal.

A similar judgement can be made about most hotties. They genuinely believe that climate change is a serious problem which needs to be tackled, not because of their ideological beliefs, but because of its predicted effects. Most of the climate scientists are actually committed to finding the truth, even if it puts them out of a job. Scientists are like that, they are driven by a desire to understand, and their reputation in the scientific community, should they be found to have any other motive, would be mud. Just like the frosties, most hotties are trying to improve their understanding of climate change. Of course there are some hotties who will believe any old rubbish which says that humans are bad and the world is about to end because of it (and I blame the catholic church for this ;-)). There are also probably a few scientists who are so wedded to the idea of climate change that it gets in the way of their objectivity.

I don't think there is any hope for the lunatic fringe on either side. If your starting point is that the people on the other side are evil incarnate, then you won't move from that. But for the rest of us, maybe there is some common ground. Can we find the points on which we agree? Much more importantly, can we pinpoint the exact places where we disagree?

Say you are marking a short answer question in a students physics test, and their answer is wrong (no post modernism here). Unless the student has absolutely no idea what they are talking about you will usually be able to find the exact place they went wrong. For example, they assumed that a cube had 8 faces, rather than 6. After this mistake, even if they use the correct method, their answer will be wrong. If they want to get the right answer, they must return to the mistake and correct that.

Of course the real world isn't so clean cut. It’s not normally a simple problem where you know all the facts exactly and just have to join them together appropriately to get "the answer". Imagine our student having to tackle their problem, but with no knowledge (and no way of finding out) just how many faces a cube has. They may look at systems they understand reasonably well, and work backwards until they conclude that a cube has about 5.3 +/- 1 faces. So they'll use this range of values, and it will give them a range of values for the answer. If this range is not too large, it may be useful. Of course if they botch things up and conclude that a cube has 17.3 +/- 0.2 faces, any results based on this will be useless. It is often the case with problems that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and someone else may find a way of tackling the problem without needing to know the number of faces a cube has. If their results don't agree with the cubist ones, then there will be a bun fight until most people agree with one or other side. What if one or two people refuse to agree? Well, you just carry on without them. You are doomed to get nowhere if you need everyone to agree with you.

It follows that for many real world problems, you won't be able to "prove" anything. You will over time simply build up a weight of evidence to help you make decisions. This is particularly so for climate science, where you can't say, "Here is a world I prepared earlier".

Of course the fervent hotties will say, "But we've already done all the necessary work, and the weight of evidence is overwhelming." And the fervent frosties will say, "They haven't proved anything. They have failed to address this and this and this. Their results are meaningless". And there is validity to both of these points of view.

Let us take just one point, “Global temperatures over the last 15 years don’t show any signs of warming”. Most frosties are smiling now, while most hotties are like “WTF?” If both sides are looking at the same data, then how can they disagree? Surely one side must be dishonest or deluded. Well, no actually. Here is a graph of some data.

Up or down?

Is it increasing, decreasing or staying the same? Have a good look - take all the time you like. Don't scroll down yet. Can you draw any conclusion?

You can apply all the statistical tests you like, and draw trend lines, or trend curves or do whatever you like, and I will have no faith in any statement other than, “You can’t tell”. But that is not what I say. I say it is definitely increasing. I’m absolutely sure of it. Why? Because I know where the data came from, and I have a model in my head of what I expect that data to do, and when I look at that data, it only confirms the model.

The data is the daily maximum temperature for Perth for September 2009. Here in Perth, we get warmer during September (that is the extremely simple model I have in my head), and with this in mind, when I look at the data, that is exactly what I see – a steadily increasing trend with some unusually warm days at the start of the month, and one unusually cold one at the end.

This is why frosties and hotties can look at the same data and see different things. The frosties look at the data without any underlying model, and see no trend. The hotties look at the data in the light of their models, and see something different. The point of difference is not that they see different things, it is the presence or absence of an underlying model of what they see.

So lets sort out our common ground, and work out where our differences really come from. At least then we can have a debate which is better than, "You are a moron", "No, you are a moron".

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Comments 51 to 100 out of 101:

  1. "...would these green folks advocate going against Nature to artificially cool the Earth?" So if I reduce the amount of fossil fuels I use,and granting your hypothetical to be true, how exactly am I "artificially" cooling the Earth? Also, if I have an iced latte, am I helping getting rid of the waste heat?
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  2. John, I beg to differ with you. I have observed and posted on WUWT and one of my first experiences was to have a poster say that if I could not correctly spell the name of another poster (Anna vs Ana) then I wasn't likely to have any understanding on the subject matter. While this was the worse example, there were plenty others who were nasty in proportion to the civil ones. Also the major difference between the rudeness of "Skeptic" vs "AGW's" can be very easily spotted on the commentary section of any site that has an article on GW or even You Tube. In other sites or in You Tube, whenever a video is posted on either side of the issue, the "Skeptics" come out in full force, overwhelming the number on "AGW's". And the majority of them range from rude to extremely rude. Take a look John, and you'll find that there is NO EQUIVALENCY whatsoever. By the way, MSNBC is taking a poll of people asking for their opinion on whether the British Panel's exoneration of scientists on "Climate Gate". Anthony Watts is on the warpath asking his readers to vote. Our side has been steadily slipping. From 42% in our favor and 58% against, yesterday to 39.1%<60.9% as of this moment. Some of you may want to put in your two cents worth. Sorry for the long link. http://msnbc.newsvine.com/_question/2010/07/07/4630892-are-you-satisfied-with-the-british-panels-conclusion-that-while-climategate-scientists-were-not-always-forthcoming-their-science-was-sound?pc=20&sp=180&threadId=1004983&commentId=15443603#c15443603
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  3. BP #40 Your argument is rather weird. You appear to be claiming that reductionism is the only valid approach to scientific method. As you can see here reductionism becomes much less useful in situations with "higher amounts of complexity, including culture, neural networks, ecosystems, and other systems formed from assemblies of large numbers of interacting components". You'll find a large literature refuting your implied assertion that reductionism is the only valid approach if you look for it. The only people who claim that pure reductionism is a valid approach for studying complex systems are those who have not had to think deeply about the problem.
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  4. villabolo #51: Online polls... humbug! (Not you, Baa Humbug. You aren't a poll.) :P We've recently had elections in the Netherlands and there were online polls showing 70-80% of the votes going to the anti-immigrant Freedom Party (who also believe AGW is a conspiracy to raise taxes, globally orchestrated by the dutch Labour Party - no, I'm not making this up), with even people vehemenly believing those figures. Of course, in the end, it didn't happen quite that way. Online polls really just show one thing only: people voting on online polls. Which, fortunately, is not the same as "our side slipping". ;)
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  5. What a ridiculous, naive post. Of course the fervent hotties will say, "But we've already done all the necessary work, and the weight of evidence is overwhelming." And the fervent frosties will say, "They haven't proved anything. They have failed to address this and this and this. Their results are meaningless". And there is validity to both of these points of view. The heart of the ridiculousness is in that paragraph. The denialists are arguing in good faith! Ha! The fallacy of false equivalence
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  6. What a simple question. How could anyone be other than a "Hottie"? Thanks to the brainwashing I get on this site, you can count me as a "Hottie" even though my wife might disagree. It is clear that increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause warming. You folks are mostly with the IPCC that predicts a warming as high as +4.0 Kevin per doubling of CO2 concentration. IMHO +0.5 Kelvin is a much more likely figure. It is a shame that nobody is likely to be able to measure this quantity with any accuracy in my lifetime. Otherwise we could make some wagers.
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  7. Galloping Camel says, "...we could make some wagers." This is the crunch. If we 'warmists' are willing to take on the deniers directly by asking them to bet on outcomes, I think the reality would strike very quickly. And I can assure everyone it's a great way to shut someone up. The following is from an article in the Guardian "The bet is the latest in an increasingly popular field of scientific wagers, and comes after a string of climate change sceptics have refused challenges to back their controversial ideas with cash. Dr Annan first challenged Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is dubious about the extent of human activity influencing the climate. Professor Lindzen had been willing to bet that global temperatures would drop over the next 20 years. No bet was agreed on that; Dr Annan said Prof Lindzen wanted odds of 50-1 against falling temperatures, so would win $10,000 if the Earth cooled but pay out only £200 if it warmed. Seven other prominent climate change sceptics also failed to agree betting terms. In May, during BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot challenged Myron Ebell, a climate sceptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC, to a £5,000 bet. Mr Ebell declined, saying he had four children to put through university and did not want to take risks." So are we going to set up a really big fund to take on the deniers, with a handsome payout if they're proved right? I tell you; you won't see them for dust!
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  8. Baa Humbug #29, can you even NAME a scientist who says that AGW does not exist? Not that it might not be as bad as projected, but that it actually is not happening. I've seen a few, but in each case they've been pushing COMPLETE nonsense which flies in the face of basic physics (e.g. 'infrared radiation is magically prevented from traveling from a colder atmosphere down to a warmer planet'), mathematics (e.g. 'If we take a derivative to factor out the ongoing rise in temperatures then they correlate to natural process XYZ - ergo there is no ongoing rise'), and/or logic (e.g. 'CO2 levels go up and down all the time because 70 year old records taken outside factory districts show wild fluctuations'). Thus, if you think there ARE rational scientists who claim AGW is not happening at all I'd love to see their work. If not, then why can't we be done with a claim which NO ONE can provide support for and concentrate on the question of degree? Yes, I believe even there 'sceptics' are out on a VERY long limb, but they've still got SOME rational foundation for doubt. The biggest problem I see with their position is that IF they were right about all of the negative feedbacks in the climate system we ought to have seen those effects showing up by now. Yet MEASURED warming is on pace with 3 C per doubling of CO2 projections.
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  9. John Russell at 18:35 PM, it is telling that Dr. Annan wasn't prepared to accept odds of 50-1. That means he doesn't believe that warming is virtually certain to use IPCC terminology. Based on IPCC defined likelihood of an outcome, the betting odds should be as follows:- "Virtually certainty" of warming occurring would roughly equate to odds of 100-1. "Extremely likely" of warming occurring, probability > 95%, would roughly equate to odds of 20-1. "Very likely", probability > 90% equates to roughly 10-1. I wonder what odds Mr. Annan would consider a fair bet? IPCC REPORT DEFINITIONS Likelihood of an outcome or result Virtually certain > 99% probability of occurrence Extremely likely > 95% Very likely > 90% Likely > 66% More likely than not > 50% Very unlikely < 10% Extremely unlikely < 5%.
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  10. johnd #58: "That means he doesn't believe that warming is virtually certain to use IPCC terminology." Why? Somebody who's only prepared to put up £200 if you're willling to pay $10,000 is deliberately making the stakes too high, so the other will back down. "I'm sure, you're sure, but I'll let you run all the risks." I'm not a betting person, but even if I was, I wouldn't bet against somebody who wouldn't be willing to run any risks himself. ;)
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  11. GC provides an example of the denialist tactics: exaggerate, spin, and disregard evidence. There is good evidence that indicate climate sensitivity for doubling CO2 is at least 1.5 and at most 5 degrees C, so 2 to 4 is a good estimate. This is a reasonable conclusion from looking at all the science that's been done on the subject (which is what IPCC does). Yet here Mr. GC says all us warmers believe it's on the high end (we don't), while he asserts (with no evidence) that the value is much lower than the low end of the reasonable estimate. Because even 2°C is not good news for human society. Yet somehow pure wishful thinking is supposed to trump what the accumulation of scientific evidence is telling us. As usual, Real Climate provides excellent guidance on this subject: The certainty of uncertainty "The bottom line is that climate sensitivity is uncertain, but we can pretty much rule out low values that would imply there is nothing to worry about. The possibility of high values will be much harder to rule out."
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  12. gallopingcamel at 15:21 PM on 10 July, 2010 "It is clear that increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause warming. You folks are mostly with the IPCC that predicts a warming as high as +4.0 Kevin per doubling of CO2 concentration. IMHO +0.5 Kelvin is a much more likely figure. It is a shame that nobody is likely to be able to measure this quantity with any accuracy in my lifetime." That's an odd set of comments if you don't mind me saying so gallopingcamel. What evidence lends you to believe that climate sensitivty is so low? On the contrary, there seems to be a very large amount of evidence that supports a climate sensitivity between 2 - 4.5 oC (per doubling of [CO2]), which is quite well constrained at the low end (little likelihood of climate sensitivity below 2 oC[*]), but poorly constrained at the high end (scientifically poor basis for rejecting higher climate sensitivities). See for example Knutti and Hegerl’s recent review. R. Knutti and G. C. Hegerl (2008) The equilibrium sensitivity of the Earth's temperature to radiation changes Nature Geoscience 1, 735-743 [*] In fact it's increasingly difficult to see how climate sensitivity could be below around 2 oC (per doubling of [CO2]. For example, the Earth has warmed by around 0.8-0.9 oC since the middle of the 19th century, while [CO2] has risen from around 286 ppm then to 386 ppm now. A climate sensitivity of 2 oC should then give an equilibrium warming of: ln(386/286)*2/ln(2) = 0.85 oC We know that the Earth can't come instantly to equilibrium with the enhanced greenhouse forcing: we have a significant amount of warming to come from the greenhouse gas levels already attained. Likewise we know that some of the warming from the existing greenhouse gas levels has been offset by enhanced anthropogenic aerosols which are counteracting greenhouse induced warming. On the other hand some of the warming is due to non-CO2 sources (man-made methane, nitrous oxides, tropospheric ozone, black carbon). Non greenhouse gas contributions to this warming (solar, volcanic) are known to be small [**]. Overall if we've already had the warming expected from a 2 oC climate sensitivity, and we still have some warming still to come, and some of the warming has been offset by atmospheric aerosols, the likelihood of a climate sensitivty below 2 oC is really rather small (something extremely large must be missing from the known physics). What's your explanation gallopingcamel? [**] see for example: Knutti and Hegerl (see above), Murphy et al. (2009), Rind and Lean, 2008, Hansen et al (2005), etc.
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  13. johnd wrote : I wonder what odds Mr. Annan would consider a fair bet? Well, let's see : If Lindzen believes the earth will be cooling over the next 20 years (from 2005) and Annan believes it will continue to warm, then it's a straight bet of one man's money against the other's. Who needs odds...unless you're not confident of winning and want to put the other person off ?
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  14. #8 perseus at 19:06 PM on 9 July, 2010 Despite Kuhn’s theories, the peer review procedure, a dedication to the truth, and sometimes quite fierce competition amongst scientists should prevent ‘Warmists’ becoming over-partisan Come on. There is a peer reviewed journal of Homeopathy on ScienceDirect. Does it make homeopathy a valid branch of science? Do you think those folks do not insist on being dedicated to truth? Is there no fierce competition in that field? The anonymous peer review process as it is practiced recently is an invention introduced after WWII in America then spread like wildfire all over the world. It was to ensure taxpayer's money went into sound research, not crap and also to keep up the prestige of popular journals. There was also a secret motive, to compensate for declining willingness of people to take personal responsibility and increasing reluctance of society to accept responsibility and conscience as assurances. Read some more on the subject. Michael Nielsen Three myths about scientific peer review January 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm · Filed under The future of science The New York Times THE DOCTOR'S WORLD When Peer Review Produces Unsound Science By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D. Published: June 11, 2002 Unfortunately people all too often mix up the very different concepts being dedicated to truth vs. to a noble cause.
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  15. "The hotties look at the data in the light of their models, and see something different. The point of difference is not that they see different things, it is the presence or absence of an underlying model of what they see." Unfortunately, the discussion often devolves into stylistic debates. There seem to be some who want to find models that fit data and others who suggest that models should tell data where to go. As an easy example -- Model: everyone knows human activity can't be causing global warming; Conclusion: any data that shows warming is invalid. But what happens when the discussion is merely "your data doesn't look like I think it should"? Or more insidiously, "your data doesn't look like my model results say it should"? I'm with Conan-Doyle on this: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, rather than theories to suit facts."
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  16. #43 chris at 02:00 AM on 10 July, 2010 there is a limit to how much we can productively "gnaw over" these [OHC issues] on a blog such as this Why? I have already shown you there is a problem with Murphy 2009. It is inconsistent with the NODC OHC history reconstruction. At least if both accounts are considered to be roughly correct, it follows between 1977 and 1990 about 4×1022 J of heat was sequestered in the deep ocean (below 700 m) without ever touching the upper layer. Then this process was interrupted, after that date all heat kept staying up. In the meantime, as documented in Marsch 2000 Fig. 12. (a). there was no any abrupt change in total ocean overturning. The whole thing looks next to impossible. The reason I keep gnawing over this issue is Google shows 152 references to this paper at the moment at skepticalscience.com. Therefore it must be pretty important from your point of view. But until the strange discrepancy is explained, either Murphy 2009 or Levitus 2009 should be considered wrong (or both). I do not want you to solve this particular problem, it is, as you say, a blog after all. Just acknowledge the problem exists. Even better, show us references to the peer reviewed literature where the problem is discussed. Or explain why is it ignored. Until that time stop citing this paper as proof of warming, because with no further details supplied, the most probable explanation is that prior to mid 2003 (large scale deployment of ARGO) global OHC measurement is simply unreliable.
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  17. #52 kdkd at 09:00 AM on 10 July, 2010 The only people who claim that pure reductionism is a valid approach for studying complex systems are those who have not had to think deeply about the problem. I have done my share of work in studying complex systems. And no, I am not advocating a pure reductionist approach here. But the fact you may have emergent phenomena in complex systems does not justify a sloppy approach. It is imperative to have all the basics right.
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  18. #48 e at 02:36 AM on 10 July, 2010 This is a blog, we aren't performing the scientific method here I see.
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  19. Berényi Péter at 07:41 AM on 11 July 2010 "Until that time stop citing this paper as proof of warming...." Who said anything about "proof" Peter? What an odd thought! Is there a problem with Murphy 2009 and Levitus 2009 etc? Well yes, they're very unlikely to be fully correct are they? That's the nature of science in the delightful areas of uncertainties. In this particular arena there are some confusing uncertainties especially during a rather short period where the apparent OHC is seemingly incompatible with TOA radiative imbalance and the sea level rise doesn't quite match the apparent independently determined thermal and mass contributions. So it's a little bit of a mess right now wouldn't you say? But what is to be gained by continually pointing this out and prodding it like a sore tooth? Why not simply embrace this little uncertainty, and wait for the interesting developments that are sure to shed light on it in due course. However much one redisplays the graphs and fiddles around with the numbers we're probably not going to come with the answers on this blog. Of course you might come up with some interesting theories, and that can be quite entertaining. Otherwise I would suggest avoiding using uncertainties in sub-issues (however delicious these often are) to support dubious brutalist deductive "logic" whereby one chooses one's conclusions and then rummages around in the uncertainties to construct premises that support these. It isn't very scientific.
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  20. #37 Lou Grinzo at 23:56 PM on 9 July, 2010 I don't see how anyone can escape the conclusion that further delay in reducing our CO2 emissions would put us on an almost unimaginably bad path Are you advocating quick development and en masse deployment of either uranium or thorium based breeder reactors? If carbon dioxide is such an evil thing, there is no other commercially viable alternative. Just do the math. Am . J. Phys. 51(1), Jan. 1983 Breeder reactors: A renewable energy source Bernard L. Cohen Department of Physics. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
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  21. #68 chris at 08:03 AM on 11 July, 2010 Who said anything about "proof" Peter? What an odd thought! You are right, it is never proof, it is picture. Is global warming still happening? "Combined with the results of Murphy 2009, we now see a picture of continued global warming"
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  22. Berényi Péter at 05:43 AM on 11 July 2010 #8 perseus at 19:06 PM on 9 July, 2010 "Despite Kuhn’s theories, the peer review procedure, a dedication to the truth, and sometimes quite fierce competition amongst scientists should prevent ‘Warmists’ becoming over-partisan." I think there is some truth in that, although it would be more realistic to broaden the peer-review procedure to include all of the pre-publication peer assessment that involves (i) presentation of one’s work at group seminars; presentation at departmental seminars, (iii) presentation at scientific meetings. Published work of any importance has usually gone through an extensive peer review process of this sort before a paper is submitted, and work of any merit is generally submitted in the expectation that it will be published. Berényi Péter at 05:43 AM on 11 July 2010 "There was also a secret motive, to compensate for declining willingness of people to take personal responsibility and increasing reluctance of society to accept responsibility and conscience as assurances." I’m not sure there’s much evidence for that Peter. Peer review in its modern form is largely a means of spreading the burden of quality assurance away from journal editors in the light of a huge increase in scientific publication, and establishing a more reliable and systematic means of maintaining the quality of published work. One of the often forgotten things in these dreary times where everything is subject to “politicisation”, is that peer review is simply a good way of improving the quality of published work. It’s blindingly obvious that those with expertise in a subject are best suited to addressing real or potential flaws, inconsistencies or confusions, and generally to improve the presentation and to offer thoughts and suggestions. In my experience that’s a major element of peer review (‘though it doesn’t always work so nicely). More significantly, Perseus’s comments about “dedication to the truth”, and yours on “declining willingness of people to take personal responsibility”, are the diametrically opposed idealistic (perseus) and cynical (Peter) views of science and scientists. I believe perseus is far closer to the reality. The large majority of scientists are motivated by doing good work, finding out stuff, hopefully something quite important occasionally, and making a productive contribution to their field. It’s the inherent integrity (their “willingness to take personal responsibility”) of the large majority that make scientific publishing (and the peer review part of this) rather successful. I would say scientists recognise that they have an individual and collective responsibility to get things as right as they are able. Likewise scientists interact with a natural world that has an inherent reality (there are philosophical viewpoints that dispute that!), and their work and interpretations are constrained by that reality. Despite many efforts by pseudoscience misrepresenters it is simply not possible to maintain the deceit, for example, that smoking cigarettes doesn’t increase the risk of cancer, or that oil can’t form naturally since it’s seemingly impossible for “low chemical potential biological detritus to high chemical potential hydrocarbons with no external free energy source” (false premise)... and so on. The inherent reality of the natural world can be considered a fundamental element of peer review. Your example of the journal “Homeopathy” is another example of unnecessary cynicism. If one wishes to trash a process (like peer review) one may wish to root around for the dismal examples with which to flay the entire process. But science, and scientific publishing will survive “Homeopathy”! Much like “Energy and Environment” we can recognise it for what it very likely is. I’m not going to comment further on “Homeopathy” since I haven’t looked at the journal in detail. However it’s unlikely to be an important element of the progression of scientific knowledge since no one seems to cite the papers there (it has an Impact Factor of around 1). So not a great problem really, 'though it might be wasting rather a lot of money and effort to little effect.
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  23. gallopingcamel #55 wrote, "You folks are mostly with the IPCC that predicts a warming as high as +4.0 Kevin per doubling of CO2 concentration. IMHO +0.5 Kelvin is a much more likely figure." Radiative physics suggests a figure of just under 1 C from the CO2 alone without considering any feedbacks. Thus, to get to a 0.5 Kelvin/Celsius result we'd have to assume significant negative feedbacks. However, measured results show a very different story. We passed +0.5 Kelvin a couple of decades ago and still aren't anywhere near a doubling of CO2. Ergo, your "much more likely figure" has already been exceeded by the measured warming... which indeed is now nearly double that amount. This suggests positive feedbacks and leads to the '2 C minimum / 3 C most likely / 4.5 C possible' values now being projected.
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  24. #25 carrot eater at 22:40 PM on 9 July, 2010 Anybody can take the existing data sets and analyse them in their spare time, with no funding at all I am doing just that. Downloaded GHCN v 2.0 data, selected USHCN stations, and analysed adjustments done in v2.mean_adj.Z (relative to v2.mean.Z). The result looks like this: The adjustment pattern is rather weird. Middle line (red) is average adjustment for each month, upper (yellow) and lower (blue) lines are 1 sigma error limits. We can see a rather smooth adjustment trend (and two discontinuities around 1918 and 1950) with an upward slope which accounts for a good portion of 20th century warming in the US. Also, the dispersion of adjustments is huge compared to the trend. And there is a large seasonal signal of smoothly varying strength. Beyond April 2006 adjustment is zero. With no further explanation it does not increase one's confidence in surface temperature reconstructions done by professionals. Legitimate adjustments necessitated by instrumental bias simply can't look like this. Furthermore, there is the (not well advertised) issue of different adjustment procedures being applied to US data and the rest of the world.
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  25. "Furthermore, there is the (not well advertised) issue of different adjustment procedures being applied to US data and the rest of the world." - BP And what exactly would that be?.
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  26. BP you have already proven in the ocean acidification thread that you are looking for certain things in the data, that you will find them even if they are not there and that you will share with all your emotional response to what is not there. You're doing it again now with the "rather weird" and other comments. Yet, once again, you have only taken a superficial look, and fall far, far short of the standards to which you are willing to hold everybody else. I'm not impressed with you claiming some sort of high ground while systematically suggesting ill intentions in every piece of science that you dislike. Especially when such suggestions are based on nothing more than a biased, cursory look. Drop the accusations if you can't back them up with something really solid.
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  27. Berényi Péter at 08:21 AM on 11 July, 2010 The evidence surely supports the conclusion that "global warming is still happening", doesn't it Peter? Sea levels continue to rise at a rate that is larger than can be accounted for by the apparent mass increase (indicating continuing heat uptake), and the measures of ocean heat uptake although seemingly reduced during the period between around 2003-7/8 are positive if one includes estimates of ocean heat at depths [Murphy et al. 2009 and other direct measures of deeper ocean heat uptake (e.g. [*])]. The land ocean temperature index indicates that the Earth surface is warmer during the last 12 months than any previous 12 months in the record. So global warming is still occurring, even if there has been a short time period during which the apparent uptake of heat into the oceans may have been reduced somewhat. It might be preferable to state "The evidence supports the conclusion that global warming is still happening although there is some uncertainty in balancing the heat and sea level budget during the period 2004-2008." And there's also the rather philosophical problem relating to the progression of events (with inherent variability) into the present and future! After what period of time are we justified in stating that global warming is or isn't continuing? At the end of 2008 when there had been a short downturn in surface temperature and sea level could we conclude that "global warming is not still happening"? Not really, even though you attempted someting like that in a previous post with your fit of a truncated sea level dataset to a quadratic to infer a deceleration; 18 months later the surface temperature is near a high record, the sea level rise has recovered such that it's pretty much smack on the decadal trend, and the quadratic fit of the full record is more or less equivalent to a linear fit. So obviously we need to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on events occuring during short time periods. P.S. In a post above you asked: "Even better, show us references to the peer reviewed literature where the problem is discussed." It's discussed in Cazenave (2009) and Leuliette and Miller (2009) cited below, as well as in these papers [**](amongst others). [*] e.g. Cazenave A et al. 2009. Sea level budget over 2003–2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo. Glob. Planet. Change 65:83–88 who estimate a 0.37 (+/- 0.1) mm.yr-1 heat uptake contribution to sea level rise during 2003-2008 based on ARGO data down to 900 metres. see also Leuliette E, Miller L. 2009. Closing the sea level rise budget with altimetry, Argo and GRACE. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36:L04608 who estimate a 0.8 (+/- 0.8) mm.yr-1 heat uptake contribution to sea level rise during 2003-2007 from ARGO data. see also papers from Johnson et al who find significant recent heat uptake in the deep oceans: Johnson GC et al. (2006) Recent western South Atlantic bottom water warming Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L14614 Johnson GC et al. (2007) Recent bottom water warming in the Pacific Ocean J. Climate 20, 5365-5375. Johnson GC (2008) Warming and Freshening in the Abyssal Southeastern Indian Ocean J. Climate 21, 5351-5363. Johnson GC et al. (2009) Deep Caribbean Sea warming Deep Sea Research. 1 –Oceanograph. Res. 56, 827-834. [**] A. Cazenave and W. Llovel (2010) Contemporary Sea Level Rise Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 2010. 2,145–73 K.E Trenberth (2009) An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy Curr. Op. Environ. Sustain. 1, 19–27 K. E. Trenberth and J.T. Fasullo (2010) Tracking Earth’s Energy Science 328, 316-317.
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  28. There are actually three categories, not two:
    1. hotties – people who believe firmly that AGW is happening
    2. frosties – people who believe firmly that AGW is not happening
    3. scientists – people who believe the theory should stand up to testing against the evidence
    The vast majority of scientists working in this field have found no reason to overturn the major conclusions that arise out of adding CO2 to a climate modelled by a theory that is a successful explanation of ice ages and interglacials on our own planet, the climate of Venus, the climate of Mars etc. The mistake many people make is placing genuine scientists in one of the fist two categories. Someone working in climate science whose work provides strong evidence for dangerous AGW, if they are a good scientist, would welcome being proved wrong. The willingness to be shown to be wrong is the test of a good scientist. If you examine the work and blog presence of the likes of Spencer, McIntyre and Lindzen, they are extremely reluctant to admit fault in their work, and happily consort with ideological frosties. I don't know any mainstream climate scientist whose work upholds the view that we are facing dangerous AGW who is prepared to site with non-scientific "hottie" arguments, i.e., views that are not supportable in science. Mosey over to RealClimate and read through comments and responses to comments to see what I mean. Anyone there putting up a case that is not scientifically supportable is very likely to be corrected, whether their case is "hottie" or "frostie". Contrast that with WUWT, where any argument against AGW is entertained, no matter how bizarre or devoid of scientific reasoning or evidence.
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  29. If this had appeared on a history test, the question would have been “What British Prime Minister conducted his relationship with Germany like this?” And the answer would have been Stanley Baldwin. The issue itself is presented as less important than the argument, like a child watching his parents have a fight; ‘the pro-pollutionists are just a bit misguided and protective of their standard of living.’ The science itself is sanitized and diffused with the use of the word ‘believe’ for all positions. The convoluted use of the cube example illustrates how to miss the point – there is a reality answer for the cube, just as there is one reality answer for the effect of GHG pollution increases. It’s not public v private funding, and it’s not which brand is best. The ‘proof’ duck in the comments is an example of removing reality from the issue. The response is simple - ‘Prove the Greenhouse Effect doesn’t exist’. Failing that, there is a global issue of urgent priority. Here are some existing proofs: Micro: The heat properties of GHG gases at the chemistry level; Observable: The heating rate of three (or more) beakers filled with air, exhaled breath, and CO2 gas on a tabletop (identical heat sources); General: The unsaturated nature of the effect - repeat the tabletop experiment in rooms with various levels of background CO2 (outdoor, indoor, closed office building); Macro: Variation in effect when none, weak, moderate and super-charged atmospheres are present - the four inner planets and the Moon; Historical: The growing GHG anomaly since the industrial revolution started; Analysis: The human sources of the GHG gases. Therefore, the increase in concentration of Greenhouse gases will, as a consequence, facilitate increases in global temperatures. Proof: the data trends since 1880 validate this proposition. The biggest fallacy in the article is that getting along is more important than getting something done – while the pollution-rate is accelerating. Semczyszak gave the best example of the pro-pollution bankruptcy – “Schwartz's work … “We know we have to change the course of this ship, and we know the direction of the change, but we don't know how much we need to change the course or how soon we have to do it.” - has to have an answer.” That’s incorrect – that’s being diagnosed with a disease that will kill you, but you won’t do anything before you know how fast. It’s the weakest response. This article comes up very short; it implies that there is, effectively, a static problem out there and some side discussion gets everyone to eventually buy in on a right, or at least really good, answer. The problem is accelerating. The responses so far have been minimal, discredited, and sabotaged. This article forgets to actually face the problem and take a a stand. While the intent of the article is commendable, perhaps even a pinch of noble, it recommends pause. That is actually further pause - inaction and delay is turning into drift and analysis paralysis - just as it did with Stanley Baldwin's foreign policy.
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  30. BP #66 "no, I am not advocating a pure reductionist approach here" Well you're exposing your prejudiced approach to the topic then, because it's impossible to reconcile this with your statement that "each piece of evidence should be able to stand on its own right, irrespective of any support that may or may not come from another domain" (#40). For these two statements to be consistent with each other I think you have to make the assumption of a perfect measurement model, and probably a host of other spurious things such as a lack of interdependence in the system, a lack of stochasticity, both of which are clearly false. We certainly don't see any admission of interdependence in your arguments, despite the fact that the climate system is clearly made up of highly interdependent subsystems.
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  31. #76 chris at 10:34 AM on 11 July, 2010 Chris, none of your references addresses the question what's happened in 1990 that suddenly prevented heat going deeper than 700 m while global ocean overturning rate didn't show any abrupt decline. In fact of course nothing like that has happened. It was instrumentation that changed abruptly.
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  32. #79 kdkd at 11:23 AM on 11 July, 2010 you have to make the assumption of a perfect measurement model No. It's just correct error bars and clear statement of uncertainties I am looking for. It is also perfectly legitimate and scientifically correct to say under certain circumstances that  W e   d o   n o t   k n o w.
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  33. #75 Philippe Chantreau at 10:15 AM on 11 July, 2010 you have already proven in the ocean acidification thread that you are looking for certain things in the data Not yet finished with that. I'll recompute the upper layer. However, there is a small problem with OHC and acidification trends. Either heat is sequestered easily in deep ocean (it would solve the mystery of Trenberth's missing heat) or not. In the first case dissolved carbon dioxide should go down just as easily, making serious large scale pH change impossible. In the second case Earth is simply not accumulating heat whenever it does not show up in the upper layer of oceans. As it happens for extended periods, how comes heat is not trapped as it is supposed to?
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  34. #74 Dappledwater at 09:32 AM on 11 July, 2010 And what exactly would that be? Like this:
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  35. BP #81 Indeed, we do not know why the ocean heat models and measurements are problematic, and why they are inconsistent with the bigger picture of large amounts of independently derived evidence showing that anthropogenic warming is a serious concern. Not just the various temperature datasets in case you wanted to take issue with that small part of the big picture by the way. But this is not the same as the hard reductionist argument that you have been making, which you now seem to be retreating from somewhat - given that you have not addresed the most important issue in my post, that your arguments to date are unable to address the critical issue of system interdependency...
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  36. philipm at 10:35 AM on 11 July, 2010 says: "There are actually three categories, not two: 1. hotties – people who believe firmly that AGW is happening 2. frosties – people who believe firmly that AGW is not happening 3. scientists – people who believe the theory should stand up to testing against the evidence" I don't agree. What you write is elitist. I'm not a scientist, but neither am I in your group 1 or 2. About 20 years ago I was sceptical whether AGW was possible. I gradually changed my view as a result of exposure to the available information. I now trust that the majority of scientists, 'the consensus', have got it right. As far as I can understand the subject -- and I don't have to tell anyone here; it's highly complex -- the evidence stacks up to the point where I'd be a fool not to believe it. But am I certain? Definitely not; I'm old enough to have seen the scientific consensus shift on several topics before. However, do I think we should act on GHGs? You bet. Surely, any sensible person would weigh up the odds and be frightened about what the future might hold? To me anyone who is fighting (careful choice of word) AGW is either too frightened to confront the evidence or, perhaps, lacks a certain amount of imagination. Whatever the actual reason, the answer must lie in their psyche.
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  37. BP, you missed the point. The point was not about the data, it was about your attitude. You started with the assumption that the papers came to conclusions that were wrong. You went looking for what was wrong and you found it, although what you found did not exist. That is the definition of bias. What you found did not exist but you found it anyway because you were so eager to find it that you were going to no matter what. Then you assumed, again without anything to back it up, that the (non-existing) flaws that you found were due to an intent to deceive from the authors. Don't try to deny that, your anger and accusations are patent in many of your posts, and explicit in the acidification one. But you are yet to present ANY kind of evidence of an intent to deceive or even that a paper is wrong. You raise some valid points, but their significance is far below what you suggest (especially the fraud suggestions) and, frankly, you should drop the attitude. It is quite obvious that you need to watch your own bias way more than that which you see in others.
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  38. Philippe @87, "You went looking for what was wrong and you found it, although what you found did not exist. That is the definition of bias. Philippe, Peter recently made the same error when raging against the lowering of pH. He assures us that he is searching for the truth, but his approach seems to be inconsistent with that.
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  39. My cudos to you for an entertaining article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and tend to side with much of what you said. I do take exception to the statement that hotties are characterized as latte sipping – heck I enjoy a good latte now and then! Hmmm maybe that makes me a “coolie” instead??  As for the chain saw wielding, overweight, middle aged man who drives an old 4WD – I plead guilty as charged!. I need my chainsaw to clear the dead trees that happen from time to time on our property; I am not a hard body ….well I enjoy a cold beer now and then; and I drive a 1993 Isuzu Trooper because it is the best vehicle I have ever owned (380,000 km and still going strong!) and I need the 4WD when we get heavy snowfalls (30 to 50 cm) otherwise we would suffer from a bad case of cabin fever!! Apart from that description, the balance of your characterization does not apply to me.  Now I am a “frostie,” not because I am a denier (a term I believe better fits the extreme element of the “frostie’s side just as alarmist best fits the extreme views of that “other side”). Rather I feel there is a role to play in questioning a side when the evidence supporting that side is not iron clad. Before I elaborate further, allow me to post a philosophy which I believe is embedded within the process of scientific evolution. As scientists we must continually question the “status quo”. If we stop doing so, our understanding of science will cease to evolve. Hence despite what the “science” may tell us, there is a definite role for taking a contrarian position. Science is rarely definitive. The application of science is what changes over time and is the basis upon which we evolve as a species. Perhaps we frosties have taken our position because a) we tend to be well educated and b) our education is supplemented with substantial work in our field? As a geologist who first graduated in the early 1970’s and who has spent a substantial time in the field applying what I learned at university, I have come to appreciate the vast differences that exist between scientific principles and the application of those principles in the field. From that I have learned to question and re-question my own observations and my own interpretation of those observations in order to arrive at the best interpretation possible. From those exercises I make it a point to always look at data from all sides and it is this philosophy that places me on the side questioning the validity of reports such as those published by the IPCC. I am not saying I am right and am not saying the other side is wrong. What I do believe is that the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the two positions. We are not talking about irrefutable proof as I contend we are unable to even get close to such a stance until such time as we know everything there is to know about ALL climate drivers in our system. We still have a long way to go in order to get to such a position. Now I don’t have a problem with anyone establishing a position on a subject based on specific criteria or data. However I encourage people on both sides of the argument to seriously assess the evidence from the other side instead of out right rejecting it as is what happens so often. Instead of accepting a paper that was “peer reviewed” as proof of its factual basis, read the paper with a critical eye to identify weaknesses in the argument being put forward. In many instances the conclusions of a peer reviewed paper are only applicable to the environment upon which the study was based and expanding them to a global environment can’t be supported. For instance, recently there was an article posted in this blog dealing with the disappearance of certain species of lizards in Mexico and other locales in the world. There was also a paper published recently that focused on the disappearance of certain species of snakes in geographic areas similar to those identified in the lizard study.. Two studies, the same observations but two conclusions: one pointed to global warming (the lizard study); the other concluded more information was needed to identify the cause. With regards to your sample of temperatures, I believe you have illustrated what I believe is a fault in many arguments which essentially boils down to “since my model predicts what I see, therefore my interpretation of what I see is correct”. How unscientific can one get with such an argument? Since when is it acceptable to cast out statistical theory in favour of a “gut hunch”? Given that each side of the debate can take that same data and apply scientific principles to arrive at proof supporting their respective positions simply illustrates the paradox that exists within the debate itself. As for using models to prove any theory, well that is another problem I have with the debate. Too often people are stating that because a model predicts an outcome we observe today, then the observation is proof that the model is accurate and therefore the theory embedded within the model is true. Sorry but such logic does not fall under the auspices of scientific proof. If it does then the octopus in Germany that had a 100% prediction rate in selecting the winner of certain games at the world cup would be classified as a valid model! Whether you have a model in mind or not has nothing to do with the accuracy of your interpretation of data. I would venture to say that since you do have a model in mind and that you allow that model to affect the way in which you interpret the data, your interpretation is then biased at the outset by the model you have in mind. I would like to outline where I believe my position differs with that of the “hotties” but alas my post would be way too long. Now if the moderator of this blog would welcome an article from me where I elaborate those differences, I would welcome the opportunity to do just that!
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  40. Albatross, my comment referred mainly to the acidification post. I would have thought that BP would not so quickly reiterate accusations in another thread, like he did here in post 74.
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  41. Geoguy - This "since my model predicts what I see, therefore my interpretation of what I see is correct” is I think a complete mis-characterization of the argument. How do you know why havent found all the drivers for climate? Answer - you can never know. Proof is impossible in science. However, what you have to do with models all the time is make predictions from them and compare to reality. Every time you get you right, it improves the confidence. The correct characterisation is more like "since my model predicts what I see, I have no reason to reject the model”. Now tell my what alternative theory of climate that you like that can make that statement?
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  42. BP. "Legitimate adjustments necessitated by instrumental bias simply can't look like this" Why not?? I cant really imagine how you would expect such a graph to look without a very deep looking at station procedures and changes. We had a similar argument about NZ stations - screams that "adjustments" were being made to give more warming. You cannot resolve these without looking at the individual stations that are supposedly adjusted wrong. NIWA published details on adjustment cases where it was high. eg Hokitika and also showed the trends for the record for those stations that had no moves at all. NZ Temp Record Your arguments about the temperature record are empty till you can show the adjustment is wrong - or publish a better way to adjust the record. I am disappointed that you have declined to discuss the consilience issue - what do you the chances are that there are systematic errors in the independent records for sealevel, glacial volume and temperature that will somehow make AGW go away? I am all for skepticism and close examination of the science so long as you also acknowledge the weight of evidence and recognize that we are very likely facing a serious problem. Public policy cant wait on perfect science.
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  43. BP @ 84, so it's just speculation on your part?.
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  44. scaddenp - # 91 - knowing the drivers is one thing; knowing completely how they interact with one another to affect our climate is another. We are learning new things about our sun each day, the sun that sends the heat to earth. We are also learning new things about cosmic radiation and how it affects our climate. We know that ocean currents are a big determinant of climate yet we do not fully know to what extents. We know that episodes of el Nino and el Nina have profound effects on global temperatures yet we do not fully comprehend how those episodes occur...and yet we can emphatically state that AGH's are THE driver to rising global temperatures??...I think not. Models tend to have their own built-in bias. http://www.stat.tamu.edu/~mjun/paper/A06624R1.pdf Furthermore models are only as good as the input parameters, including the interaction of parameters that drive our climate. Models are not proof of a theory, only evidence how the theory may act under specific parameters. Consequently you have every reason to reject the model if you are wanting to come to a specific conclusion.
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  45. geoguy - the point about drivers is not that we know them but that you cannot have proof in science. Testing models against data is at the heart of science. I really dont know how else you pursue the subject. (Not that I think anything "new" about cosmic radiation or ocean currents has changed any picture of the earth heat budget). The models are very good at not only predicting temperature but also the pattern of warming - and they spring from a basic physics. A conclusion that 3.7Wm/2 of radiative forcing is NOT going to cause warming requires some as yet undiscovered negative forcing. Is this measurement of GHG forcing not direct enough for you? Oh and models in the scientific sense ARE the theory. The computersdo the numerics for the model. If comparing their prediction to data is not the way to test the model, then what is? I am not really sure what point you are trying to make with the Jun paper. But for further analysis on the use of model ensemble, see Annan et al "Consequently you have every reason to reject the model if you are wanting to come to a specific conclusion. " This statement just does not make sense. Please lets hear your alternative theory of climate that is making better predictions. Some numbers not hand-waving would be good.
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  46. owl905 @79 - Thanks for the comments. I don't favour delay. I would like to see a carbon tax implemented now, and steadily increased. Only if the weight of evidence starts to turn, would I want the carbon tax to be removed. I do favour civilized debate. As I said in a comment above, there is no point in assuming that people with opposing views to your own are arguing in bad faith. Some are, but you won't sway them. Rather than polarise people into the two camps of hotties and notties, I'd like to think that there is a third camp who are more interested in finding out exactly what is going on. There is of course a 4th camp, by far the biggest, which is people who don't know, and are smart enough to know they don't know, and who will leave it to others to work it out. These people will decide elections and policy. I think it is unwise to tell such people, "If you aren't with us you are against us". Faced with a perceived need to take sides, they might go all notty on us. For these people, the precautionary principle (you could take a chance and bet that all those scientists are wrong...), together with reassurance that the change to a low carbon economy will not be the end of the world as we know it, should be enough to see them support action. Trying to "prove" that global warming is real and dangerous could be counter productive. If they have kids, they might like to think of their future - after all, parents will happily incur the large financial penalty of private schooling in the hope that their kids will have a better life. A much smaller investment in the environment would seem like a sensible thing to do.
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  47. Geo Guy wrote : As scientists we must continually question the “status quo”. If we stop doing so, our understanding of science will cease to evolve. Hence despite what the “science” may tell us, there is a definite role for taking a contrarian position. Science is rarely definitive. The application of science is what changes over time and is the basis upon which we evolve as a species. So, Creationism (which continually questions the status quo, takes a contrarian position and likes to show that the Theory of Evolution is not definitive) is a valid position to take, is it ? Perhaps the answer lies "somewhere in the middle" - we're not talking about "irrefutable proof" after all, are we ?
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  48. John Brookes @ 96 “Thanks for the comments. I don't favour delay. I would like to see a carbon tax implemented now, and steadily increased. Only if the weight of evidence starts to turn, would I want the carbon tax to be removed.” One has to question whether this is the most appropriate and robust strategy in terms of being applicable to more than one possible scenario. In this regard, it would appear that the different possible scenarios for climate change that have been advanced by various interest groups can essentially be simplified as being: 1. Continual warming with no prospect of a further glacial period; 2. Warming in the short to medium term before the onset of cooling that precedes a new glacial period; 3. Temperature equilibrium in the short to medium term before the onset of cooling that precedes a new glacial period; and 4. Cooling in the short term to medium term preceding the onset of a new glacial period. Both continual warming and the onset of a new glacial period in the future will have a significant impact on the sustainability of the human population which is already being impacted by a shortage of resources, particularly food, water and energy, to even meet basic needs let alone the lofty goals of narrowing the disparity in global living standards which is becoming an increasing source of conflict. Based on the premise that GHGs are contributing to warming, it is evident that attempts to control one of one of these gases, CO2, via the suggested further carbon tax (carbon taxes already exist, i.e in many countries petroleum products are currently heavily taxed) is only applicable to addressing scenario 1, as the impacts from another glacial period outlined in scenarios 2 to 4 could be beneficially mitigated by the warming afforded by GHGs. In addition, within the context of the dynamic natural processes affecting both the earth and the universe, as no one appears to have been able to accurately determine the appropriate level of CO2 in the atmosphere for the earth’s current and future situation, one must pose the question, what happens if we get it wrong and we create a reverse tipping point by reducing too much CO2 and accelerate the onset of the next glacial period? Within this context, the most robust strategy that is able to respond to the four possible scenarios of climate change and the inability of the earth’s resources to currently provide every human being with a globally accepted living standard, sadly remains placing limits on population growth. It is contended that this strategy could even be more effective in reducing CO2 than the proposed carbon tax due to the cumulative impact of a reduction in the demand for goods and services and governments would still have the option to review and relax controls to order to respond to changing circumstances in the future, and even increase CO2 emissions to mitigate the effects of a new glacial period should the weight of evidence suggest this to be necessary and appropriate. Finally, just as the Stone Age ended, not because the earth ran out of stone or a stone tax was introduced, the carbon age will end because humans will find more appropriate or cheaper alternative sources of energy rather than being subject to further arbitrary carbon taxes that generate revenue that is more likely to be used to try and address sovereign debt rather than facilitate the research and development of alternative sources of energy.
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  49. #87 Philippe Chantreau at 01:44 AM on 12 July, 2010 The point was not about the data, it was about your attitude. Stop ranting about my attitude, please and let's focus on data instead. If you show my reasoning to be faulty by uncovering the specific error, I am quite ready to accept it. On the other hand if you try to find flaws in my attitude, that gets us nowhere. BTW, your attitude of surmising an error is something to be ashamed of instead of to be corrected is highly questionable. At least I refuse to take this attitude as a valid and fruitful one. What about actually doing some work by trying to understand things on your own? It would have the advantage of promoting public understanding as well.
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  50. Geo Guy #94 wrote: "...and yet we can emphatically state that AGH's [sic] are THE driver to rising global temperatures??...I think not." 'THE' only driver? No. 'THE' most significant driver? Based on both the paleoclimate record and measurements of current warming I don't see how anyone can dispute it. We can see from the paleoclimate record that major warming and cooling shifts have continuously corresponded with GHG shifts. We can measure GHG and radiation changes and compute (not guess, not model, not estimate... but compute from proven values and formulae) that they account for most of the measured warming observed thus far. In short, we know that CO2 is the primary driver of current warming because we can do math; Even most 'skeptics' now seem to accept that a doubling of CO2 by itself would cause about a 1 C (actually just under) increase in global temperature... this is computed from the measured radiation absorption spectrum of CO2 and the formula Arrhenius came up with over a century ago. If that is taken as accepted, as all but the extreme fringe of skeptics seem to agree, then we can compute expected 'GHG only' warming for other CO2 levels; In 1998 the CO2 level was 365 ppm, but with changes in other GHG levels factored in the 'CO2 equivalent' was 412 ppm. The historical level generally used is 278 ppm. Thus, IF 'x*ln(576/278) = 1 C' (i.e. 1 C increase from CO2 doubling) THEN, 'x*ln(412/278) = 0.57 C' The measured warming through 1998 was about 0.75 C above what it was back when GHGs were at 278 ppm. Thus, 76% of the observed warming can be explained by the warming we know the increase in GHGs should have caused. That makes GHGs the primary (76%) driver of the observed warming... and the remaining 24% shows that feedback effects have been positive, not negative. We only then get into models with the expectation that feedback effects will accelerate as time goes by and estimating the end result. This is why you no longer find 'skeptic' scientists claiming warming of less than 1 C for a doubling due to negative feedbacks... we KNOW net feedbacks are positive. The only remaining refuge of 'skepticism' is that these net positive feedbacks will be less than the majority of scientists believe. Disclaimer: The math above is greatly simplified in that it computes temperature anomalies directly rather than radiative forcings and then the temperature anomalies those would cause AND ignores changes in atmospheric density as composition changes (which would only be significant for MUCH greater atmospheric changes than we are looking at and would then lead to MORE warming). That said, it's precise enough for illustrative purposes... most of the observed warming is due to GHG increases.
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