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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 101 to 150 out of 353:

  1. Baz wrote : "As I've said, I'm sceptical that what we're doing (our experiment with the atmosphere) will result in warming temperatures - and I'll tell you why. It's that blue line. Oh yes, I used to be a believer in warming. Hell, I used to be a member of Greenpeace. But just a few years back I couldn't equate that with that blue line. Admittedly, I came off the warming horse early, but what of some of you? For how long does that blue line have to go straight or fall, for you to question the very subject this site is based on?"


    How can "that blue line" (that has been trending upwards since 1850) have turned you into a so-called skeptic and ex-member of Greenpeace ?

    How could you have been a "believer in warming" rather than an accepter of the facts ? Why do you deny the facts now ?

    How can you be sceptical of warming temperatures when the graph you give a link to shows warming temperatures since 1850 ?

    What ("a few years back") was so damning in your eyes ? Can you give the details ? What was the trend, and over how long a period ?
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  2. archiesteel (#96), in laymen forums I always ask the same question: what is the catastrophe? I pointed out the hunting of polar bears here on the polar bear thread and got no answer. I asked here what temperature was required in the model that melted Greenland's ice in a few hundred years, again no answer. Then in many of the rainfall = catastrophe threads I point out that the sensitivity is directly lowered as water vapor becomes more uneven. So far I can safely say there is no catastrophe, not now and not for a long time, so speculating on high sensitivity without support is not prudent or cautious, but rather reckless.

    All that said (much too abbreviated to be convincing), a substantial change to the earth like CO2 increases should not done without any consideration of possible negative outcomes. I want to see more science in that area and less hype (e.g. my first quote in this thread, as well as research on positive outcomes.
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  3. Baz #98
    I think that's a fascinating question because it clearly illustrates the Real hockey-stick illusion. Not the McIntyre/Mann "debate"; but the focus on Temperature alone produces an illusion in itself.

    What is happening, in fact, is AG-Energizing. Energy is being pumped in faster than it is escaping. Energy goes to a number of places: it can warm up air, melt ice, warm up water, vaporise water, generate strong winds and waves.
    Schematically: Air has twice the specific heat capacity of Ice which is twice that of water: and the latent heat of water is almost 100 times its heat capacity... So, consider a system with for equal weights of water/air/ice close to equilibrium into which energy is pumped. An increase of 1° in air temperature represents a fraction of the total energy absorbed by the system.
    Of course there are details, e.g. is the ice just below 0° or is the core -20°? Water cannot always vaporise, that depends on partial pressures. If there's significant humidity, for example, than the air temperature rise will be different for the same increase in total input energy (i.e. it depends on the initial temperature).
    Of course the world has vastly different amounts of air, ice and water, they are nowhere near in equilibrium - so that some energy goes into dynamics caused by disequilibrium (waves, wind etc.). It may be hard to work out exactly where all the energy might go and in what proportions... but, empirically, if more energy is going into the system, one would expect all these system to respond in a generally obvious way; maybe a little more melting here, a little less there - but more snowfall...

    But, for me, the killer argument for AGW (really AGE) is that everywhere we look there's, generally, more energy.
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  4. I have only one question:

    Is it because Anthony Watts has published two posts (05 and 20.082010 - WUWT) by Ferdinad Engelbeen (He is "hot advocate” of the theory AGW - - Why the CO2 increase is man made (part 1) and part 2) - Anthony Watts publishing these posts has been "a follower” of the theory of AGW?
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  5. Baz, in addition to all the other answers pointing out the statistical fallacy of your argument it also requires acceptance of something we already know to be false... "Just suppose, for a minute, that this blue line carries on reasonably straight, or even heads down"

    Why would I do that... when we've already got eight months worth of data for 2010 showing it to be thus far the hottest year ever recorded? Your 'just suppose' scenario has already been contradicted by the actual facts.

    That said, the question, 'how long would it have to be flat or negative to disprove man made global warming', is inherently flawed. If you look at it at all logically you should be able to see that the duration of fluctuations depends on what causes them. That chart shows temperatures dropping from ~1880 to 1910... so obviously 30 years of declining temperatures didn't 'disprove man made warming'. If we started releasing all the particulate pollution we could and blotted out the Sun for 50 years the cooling from that wouldn't 'disprove man made warming' either.

    BTW, you should also work on your phrasing. The idea of 'disproving AGW' is ridiculous. AGW is an observed fact. In some of your posts you have specified that you question the extent of positive feedbacks. That is not wholly unfounded, but describing it as 'disproving mad made warming' is just nonsense.

    Extensive research has narrowed current 'climate sensitivity' to a range between roughly doubling warming from a forcing (in this case human CO2 emissions) to multiplying it by as much as a factor of five (with higher values considered very unlikely, but not completely ruled out). To 'disprove' that with a lower climate sensitivity you'd have to show some climate process which all that prior research overlooked or miscalculated.

    In the mean time, ponder this... climate science says a doubling of CO2 from the historical ~280 ppm to 560 ppm would produce about 1 C of warming and that feedbacks would increase this to at least 2 C or more (best estimate is currently about 3 C). We are presently at about 390 ppm... a 40% increase. Yet we have already seen over 0.8 C of warming. We're at nearly 1 C warming with less than half the CO2 increase needed (by itself) to get us to that point. How does that NOT indicate that net feedbacks are positive and significant? Especially since it is right in line with the projections of 3 C for doubling of CO2?
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  6. VeryTallGuy, many thanks for that, it's much sppreciated. So for you, it would be 20 years, that's fair enough.

    kdkd. No, it's not any approach at misdirection at all, it was simply a question! VeryTallGuy answers it, why not give it a try yourself? I wasn't actually referring to any previous bumps, as that would be prior to Tamino's 1975 start. But I wasn't referring to bumps at all, but prolonged stability or decline.
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  7. Hello JMurphy. Happy to answer your questions (even though you and others haven't answered mine):

    "How can "that blue line" (that has been trending upwards since 1850) have turned you into a so-called skeptic and ex-member of Greenpeace ?"
    Because when warming didn't continue at the same pace (around 2005) I began to question if I was right about my beliefe in warming.

    "How could you have been a "believer in warming" rather than an accepter of the facts ? Why do you deny the facts now ?"
    That's a problem if mis-reading you have there which seems to have affected a number of people here. Is it common? As I have said on here, I don't deny the facts - the physics of GHGs, but what I do deny is that we 'know' what the overall result will be (pos/neg feedbacks).

    "How can you be sceptical of warming temperatures when the graph you give a link to shows warming temperatures since 1850 ?"
    AGAIN(!) I'm not sceptical of warming thus far. I'm sceptical that warming will continue - that there will be a postive feedback from contuing with our release of CO2 etc.

    "What ("a few years back") was so damning in your eyes ? Can you give the details ? What was the trend, and over how long a period ?"
    As I said, I re-looked at the issue around 2005. Up until around then I was a believer. I'm not fully in the sceptic camp apparently, but have pitched a tent outside. The HadCRUt global series shows remarkable stability over the past 10 years despite an ever-increasing CO2 release. So five years ago I questioned if my belief was correct. My question (again) to you and others is when will you question your belief:
    10 years?
    20 years?

    Only 'VeryTallGuy' has answered!
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  8. Well put, les@103. You address very clearly why Baz should not be "losing his faith" over a blip in the temperatures. The rise of temperatures in the 90's was quite spectacular - much faster than models predicted. That this was followed with a slow-down is not surprising.

    Has any work been done on quantifying the period of time that global atmospheric temperatures might deviate from the trend? For example, if you look at the Dow Jones over the 20th century, you will find a couple of 10 year periods where stock prices stalled. So what is it, 10, 20, 30 years?
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  9. Hi Baz,

    A question for you: In 2005 you concluded that global warming wasn’t happening because the warming didn’t continue at the same pace ? How many years did you take into consideration to conclude that global warming has stopped/never happened ?

    To answer your question: I would stop believing in AGW if for a significant period of time (in the range of 15-20 years) global temperatures would not rise, or even show a slight cooling, in short if there was a statistically significant dataset that rejects the AGW hypothesis – and if no other explanation could be found for this phenomenon.

    By the way, It’s not just the man-made warming theory that would be in trouble. Unless a cause could be found for this cooling (like for instance: a marked increase in volcanic activity),the whole climate model and surrounding science would prove to be invalid, and a new climate theory would have to be built from scratch.

    It is unlikely that this will happen. Climate models have been used to explain past climate changes, and have been successfully used to predict future climate changes. This gives climate scientists some confidence that they understand what is happening.
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  10. caerbannog,

    If Watts and Co. were serious, they would have been crunching numbers from the get-go, adding data from each new surface temperature station as as soon as it was surveyed. There is simply no good reason to procrastinate on the data crunching until their "survey" is entirely complete.

    You prolly know this,but a few people were doing exactly this in 2007/8, I think, at climateaudit. John V was one, and IIRC Steve Mosher was another. Over a period of months they had four threads done with a few hundred posts in each. They had (13 or 17) good stations (can't remember which) at that early stage, and the fit was extremely close to the official record at that time.

    But then it just stopped, and I've been asking around to find out why - having learned from Watts that the public, real-time project would not be continued.

    The temperature gridding/averaging process is not all that difficult conceptually -- basically it's a tedious programming slog. It's a straightforward task that any reasonably talented science/compsci/engineering undergraduate student could tackle.

    I read somewhere that these guys could do it in a day. John V has a website called 'opentemp', where I think one could crunch the numbers - if Anthony would release them. But he felt stiffed by NOAA over Mene et al, and won't part with any more data until the paper is published.

    I allow myself this one obsession. so here's a few links to that project.

    These are the four threads: First | Second | Third | Fourth

    This is a post from there where John V crunched the numbers (graphs went missing after CA crashed a while back).

    Watts' in-line reply saying he'll do the number crunching when 75% of stations are in. That was november 2008, and Anthony said there were 'a few months to go'.

    Announcement at WUWT declaring 80% of stations rated - June 2009.

    A year after that I politely asked Anthony about an update. His reply came with a free insult.

    I could link to the series of posts late last year where John V asked Anthony about releasing the data, but I've exorcised my demons for this year.
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  11. Congrats Ann #109,
    in just one paragraph you correctly put this complex problem in the right context:

    "I would stop believing in AGW if for a significant period of time (in the range of 15-20 years) global temperatures would not rise, [...], and if no other explanation could be found for this phenomenon."

    It should be as easy as this.
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  12. Mosh @67:

    Pieces are slected [sic] because they are new, unusual, puzzling, contradictory. What you want is for somebody else, some authority, to settle the controversy. Anthony is happy to let his readers try. blood sport

    This is pretty much the issue I have with most of the soi-disant "citizen scientist movement." What is taking place at WUWT, at its best, is argument. Sophistry, if you will. That's all well and good, but it's not science. Pretty much every post and every comment there is suffused with the attitude "these scientists have no idea what they're talking about, I can understand this stuff much better than they." And perhaps some - even many - of those commenters could make a contribution, if they set aside 38 Ways to Win an Argument, got a science education, found a lab, and published. Instead it's just LOLs and WTFs.

    Nobody wants "some authority to settle the controversy." The controversy should be settled by good science, competently and transparently done. Not 'blood sport.'
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  13. @Eric: "in laymen forums I always ask the same question: what is the catastrophe?"

    So, for you the catastrophe has to take place first before we try to mitigate it?

    I'm sorry, but that is not a rational position. We are already seeing the dire effects of AGW in the oceans, we are already suffering the effects of increased extreme weather.

    You're basically taking a gamble with the future.

    "So far I can safely say there is no catastrophe"

    Tell that to Pakistanis and people in Moscow. As for polar bears, here in Canada they are being forced southward, so much so that they have (in at least one case) started mating with brown bears. Declining numbers here are *not* due to hunting, because polar bear hunt is severely restricted.

    It seems to me you like to cherry-pick evidence that supports your agenda. That's hardly what a real scientist is supposed to do, but it's entirely consistent with the kind of disinformation spread by contrarians.

    Your excessive caution in dealing with this threat might be justified if we didn't need to transition away from fossil fuels for *other* reasons, but the fact is that we do. It makes no sense to argue against such a transition, even if you're skeptical of the science. What other reasons would one have to argue in favor of keeping fossil fuels, a finite resource that is the cause for conflict and inequality?
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  14. @Baz

    Five years is not a sufficiently long period to claim warming has stopped, especially since it's clear 2010 will be one of the warmest years on record.

    Fifteen years is barely enough to produce a statistically-significant thread with the amount of noise produced by natural cycles, but is *is* enough.

    As VeryTallGuy said, a 20-year period is a good start, assuming we cannot ascribe it to some specific phenomenon. It still doesn't change the fact that you didn't act in a rational manner by "losing your faith" over a five-year period.
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  15. Baz : "Because when warming didn't continue at the same pace (around 2005) I began to question if I was right about my beliefe in warming."


    What pace ? Since when ?
    What belief ? Didn't you accept the facts, then ? You just believed ?
    What figures do you remember from that time, which made you doubt ?



    Baz : "As I have said on here, I don't deny the facts - the physics of GHGs, but what I do deny is that we 'know' what the overall result will be (pos/neg feedbacks)."


    We don't 'know' anything about the future, in fact, but scientists can make projections and suppositions based on scientific work. What, among all that scientific output, leads you to believe that the "overall result" will be better than the consensus states ?



    Baz : "AGAIN(!) I'm not sceptical of warming thus far. I'm sceptical that warming will continue - that there will be a postive feedback from contuing with our release of CO2 etc."


    For what reason are you sceptical ? Why do you think that warming has stopped or will stop, or that the feedbacks will be of little consequence in total ?



    Baz : "The HadCRUt global series shows remarkable stability over the past 10 years despite an ever-increasing CO2 release. So five years ago I questioned if my belief was correct."


    I can't see that stability, myself : what with all the peaks and troughs showing between the beginning of 2000 and the most recent figure (shown here). It also shows a positive trend, although small (data here).

    I find it even stranger that you had such doubts, when you compare the 10 year trend up to 2005 - when you say you had your doubts. Still lots of peaks and troughs but the trend is much more positive.

    So, what exactly made you doubt the evidence ?


    As for your question, I would give it between 20 and 30 years before being able to even determine any sort of significant flat or downward trend because we have had those in the past, as has already been noted, and we would have to understand why it was happening before throwing away any theories. It would also be nice to have a replacement theory...
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  16. @Eric: sorry, I didn't realize the Norwegian group was studying polar bear populations in Canada as well. However, it's clear you are biased in your interpretation that overhunting is the primary reason for population decline - for example, the article you linked to does not say that, even though the quota was 105, 200 bears had been killed. You seemed to have pulled that number out of nowhere.

    Ask those indigenous communities if the warming should be cause to worry, and you'll get a clear positive answer. One of the very reasons they want to shoot polar bears is that the latter are going further inland every year, increasing the number of human-bear interactions (which almost inevitably end up with the bear being shot).
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  17. Baz @98,

    I too will warm you of the pitfalls about drawing conclusions based on short windows. Oh, and the there is another contradiction made by "skeptics", I thought the CRU data was "corrupted" after (faulty) claims where made after the stolen emails were posted. But now skeptics seem to gravitate towards HadCRUT because it shows the least/slowest warming of all the global SAT products (mostly b/c it excludes the Arctic where we know rapid long-term warming is taking place).

    Hansen has written on the global SAT and he says, with good reason, that using a running average of SATs is a better way to depict the global SATs (it effectively reduces the noise).

    Baz, have a look at the NASA GISS graph below and tell me that you think global warming has stopped:




    Also, consider reading this

    If time is an issue just look at Fig. 21.
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  18. Baz,

    I'd second Riccardo and Ann above, but also, as I did the work for you I'd appreciate more than just a "that's fair enough" response.

    Could you let us know whether you agree with the analysis, and if not, why not, providing your own working.

    Fair enough ?
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  19. Eric #102, I responded to your comments on polar bear hunting here. Basically, I think the data shows this to be a red herring.
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  20. Baz Skepticsim does not equal "I doubt." Nothing you have posted indicates you have earned the title of skepticism - approaching the world with a "let's see the facts" attitude.

    Instead you express your (personal, unfounded in facts) doubt selectively, and yet you are gullible in regards to anti-science (not being harsh - AGW IS the science of climate) claims. Thus you buy into "no warming since (pick a recent year)" but refuse to seriously consider trends over 15-20 years.

    You ignore sea level data, but are a fan of ARGO based OHC numbers.

    You ignore satellite data, temperature data, ice volume data, sea acidification data and the slam-dunk - night time warming data.

    Help me out - can you put your position into a internally-consistent theory or thesis?

    It is 2010 and I claim that "I doubt" is no longer a valid counter to the science of our climate (aka AGW).
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  21. actually thoughtfull, I didn't "ignore" those metrics, but when all is said and done it is the thermometer we must look to. As for ocean "acidification", sorry but I hate that term. If I add a tiny, tiny piece of sugar to a glass of sea water, I haven't "sweetened" it, I've made it a tiny, tiny bit less bitter. The term "acidification" is bizarre. No, I can't give you an "internally-consistent thesis" because I don't know. That's what makes me different from a lot of you, and from a lot of sceptics. I don't profess to know whether we'll suffer from positive feedbacks, or whether the climate system will 'equate'. I think the trouble (from looking out of my tent) is that too many of you 'think' you know what will happen to the temperature in 20-30 years time. You do not!

    VeryTallGuy. No, in a word, I'm not here to argue, but to learn. Sorry, but I don't get as much time as some of you obviously do. Family and work commitments are too much.

    Albatross, I didn't gravitate towards HadCRUt, I'm English, so it's natural for me to use a UK organisation. However, that said, I don't think GISS is valid as it uses Arctic data where no recording stations exist, relying on proxies from 1,000 miles away. That ain't good science! When I actually asked Phil Jones which I should rely on (yes, I did) he said HadCRUt - well, he would, wouldn't he?

    JMurphy: Re, HadCRUt, last 10 years:
    0.40
    0.46
    0.47
    0.44
    0.48
    0.42
    0.40
    0.32
    0.44
    0.49? (2010)

    Archiesteel - I never claimed to be rational!

    Ann, 5 years. I was a 'warmist' in 1999, and thought that the warming would continue. Admittedly, I have to confess I didn't know about El Ninos then(!). By 2005 I figured that I may have my theory about warming wrong. Five MORE years has done nothing to change that, but hey, if warming picks up again significantly then I'll change sides. No one has ever accused me of not being flakey! But it's interesting to note that a few scientists have come out with cooling predictions for 20-30 years based on PDO/AMO.

    So all, I think we can safely say 15-20 years then, yes?
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  22. No, I can't give you an "internally-consistent thesis" because I don't know... too many of you 'think' you know what will happen to the temperature in 20-30 years time.

    I don't know of anyone who seriously thinks they know the future. Most everyone has some expectation of what they think it may be. You say right in that same comment that "I was a 'warmist' in 1999, and thought that the warming would continue... By 2005 I figured that I may have my theory about warming wrong... if warming picks up again significantly then I'll change sides."

    So you have your own theories about what will happen. The only difference is that climate scientists' are systematic and evidence-based, and yours seem to be WAGs rooted in a rather selective reading of the available data. It's an OK place to start, but for someone who claims that you're "not here to argue, but to learn," you're doing an awful lot of argument by assertion.
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  23. @Baz: "The term "acidification" is bizarre."

    It's not, really. The oceans' pH has lowered at unnaturaly high rates, hence they are "acidifying" according to a very well-understood metric.

    "I never claimed to be rational!"

    Well, science is a rational enterprise. You don't have to be rational all the time (I know I'm not), but when discussing something so important developing a rational argument is paramount.

    "Five MORE years has done nothing to change that, but hey, if warming picks up again significantly then I'll change sides."

    Warming has picked up significantly since 2006, and even more so since 2008 (if you like looking at short time spans).

    "I think the trouble (from looking out of my tent) is that too many of you 'think' you know what will happen to the temperature in 20-30 years time. You do not!"

    As Paul Daniel said above, no one does know, however we can map out some degree of probability. If there is even a one in ten chance of a catastrophic outcome (I believe it's much more than than), then it makes sense to try and mitigate it, especially since the best way to mitigate it is to transition away from fossil fuels, something we should be already doing for *other* reasons.
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  24. Baz

    "No, in a word, I'm not here to argue, but to learn."

    Can you enlighten us as to what you have learned please Baz, because asking provocative questions, hearing answers but not changing your views has a name:

    *trolling*

    Either you've learned something, or you're trolling.

    Which is it ? All the people here who've honestly engaged with you deserve a response.
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  25. Paul Daniel Ash. With all due respect, I don't think you're really reading what believers in warming actually write. I don't recognise "I don't know of anyone who seriously thinks they know the future". In all the sites I read, it would appear the exact opposite. No, Paul, I DON'T have my own theories about what will happen! If I wrote anywhere here that I did, can you point it out so that I can correct it? Being sceptical isn't a theory, Paul. And I don't know what "WAGs rooted" is - please explain.
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  26. Baz,

    Fair enough about gravitating towards HadCRUT, but as for your claim that "I don't think GISS is valid", that is a rather odd statement, especially given that HadCRUT, NCDC, GISS and JMA (and even the ECMWF reanalysis) are all in excellent agreement (see the latest post at RealClimate). GISS has been shown to be "valid". Is it perfect? No. But then neither are the other global temperature (surface and satellite) datasets. Yet they all present a coherent, robust and remarkably similar picture of long-term warming.

    Mojib Latif has warned about people drawing incorrect conclusions from noise in the global SAT record arising from internal climate variability. The climate system is not going to warm monotonically, climate scientists know that. And that is why they look at trends over periods of 20-30 years and not <15 years, or worse still <5 years.

    Anyhow, this post is about contradictions, so I'm not sure how your comments on the SAT record fit in with this. Also keep in mind that the pH is logarithmic.

    Please email the experts at NOAA (specifically PMEL) and Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Woods-Hole Oceanographic Inst. and tell them that you think ocean acidification is not an issue and that they have it all wrong. Personally, I do not like the term, but I still undertsand that the science has shown it to be a very real issue for marine life.
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  27. VeryTallGuy. That's a shame you posted that. As you'll see above, I HAVE responded. How did you miss it? Is it a standard response to trot out the word "troll"? I did want to engage to get some answers on what believers in warming think. To answer your question (as I have done above plenty of times - even when people didn't answer mine) I have learned that some of you think that if warming doesn't continue for 15-20 then you will change your mind. As I said (again) I chose to after only five years - my choice. Please don't name-call, it's puerile.
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  28. @Baz: "In all the sites I read, it would appear the exact opposite."

    Saying something has a high probability of occuring doesn't mean you're certain it will occur.

    For example, if you're playing Blackjack and you haven't seen a figure in several rounds, chances are higher than normal that the dealer has a figure as his hidden card. Of course, you can't tell that for sure, but it'd be unwise to bet he doesn't...
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  29. @Baz
    I do not "know" that the sun will rise tomorrow. Nevertheless, I make an evidence-based prediction that it will, and most likely I will be correct.

    Science is all about uncertainty and prediction. Nothing in science is known. Telling an audience of scientists that they don't "know" what will happen is completely unnecessary and doesn't make your case at all.
    0 0
  30. Albatross, yes, I too have read that the changing pH really is an issue - but it isn't "acidification". As the owner of this site can confirm from my registration details, I work with acids, and I hate the ter "acidification" as it's just plain wrong.

    I cannot put any faith in GISS due to the Arctic proxies.
    0 0
  31. I take the points aboput certainty in science. Yet, as I said, if you actually listen to what is said by believers in warming (if you listen with a critical ear) you might be surprised at what is said with some real certainty.
    0 0
  32. @Baz: one more thing. You said: "I have learned that some of you think that if warming doesn't continue for 15-20 then you will change your mind. As I said (again) I chose to after only five years - my choice."

    Right, and as we've explained, five years is too short a time period to establish a statistically-significant trend.

    Note that we all said 15 to 20 years *if* the cooling couldn't be explained by other sources (such as a dramatic increase in aerosols that would last that long, for some reason...)

    "Please don't name-call, it's puerile."

    To be fair, VTG didn't call you a troll. He simply stated that "asking provocative questions, hearing answers but not changing your views" is trolling. He's giving you a chance to avoid that label by giving a rational response to the points brought to you.

    Science isn't about opinion and feelings, it's about logically interpreting observed facts.
    0 0
  33. DON'T have my own theories about what will happen! If I wrote anywhere here that I did, can you point it out so that I can correct it?

    04:39 AM on 14 September, 2010: "my theory about warming"

    My point is that you do have some guesses or ideas or expectations about what you think may happen. You hedge them about with caveats about how you don't really know for sure, and are open to change with new information. This is exactly what every climate projection says.

    The only difference, as I said above, is that climate scientists use data, and mechanisms rooted in well-established physical principles, to make their projections. You, on the other hand, rely on what are technically referred to as WAGs: Wild-Ass Guesses.
    0 0
  34. @Baz: "Albatross, yes, I too have read that the changing pH really is an issue - but it isn't "acidification"."

    If the pH is being lowered, how is that not acidification?

    "I cannot put any faith in GISS due to the Arctic proxies."

    Yet, their figures are corroborated by the Danish Meteorological Institute, which relies less on proxies than GISS. Again, your distrust does not seem rooted in logic, but rather seems heavily influenced by the disinformation campaign waged by climate change deniers...
    0 0
  35. archiesteel, As I said, my choice, whether that's 'wrong' or not. No I know he didn't call me a troll otherwise I assume the site owner would delete the comment, but I've seen this 'type' of posting before, and I'm not in favour of it. I would have thought that the fact that I've been completely upfront on my opinions shows I'm not "trolling". If I don't change my views based on a few replies, that most certainly doesn't make me a troll either.
    0 0
  36. archiesteel, no my distrust of GISS relies on a email conversation with Phil Jones!
    0 0
  37. Paul Daniel Ash. That "theory" was about warming - held until five years ago. And no, not "wild-ass guesses" just observation - of the HadCRUt 10 year data, as I have explained.
    0 0
  38. archiesteel. Going from 8.1 to 8.0 isn't "acidification". It's simply the wrong term, but is used so much now.
    0 0
  39. Gaz,

    "I cannot put any faith in GISS due to the Arctic proxies."

    I am not sure what these "proxies" are that you are referring to in the operational NASA record-- they do not use proxies in GISTEMP. Or did you mean to say that you have issues with the method they employ to interpolate sparse data over the Arctic? Did you know that NCDC use similar data and interpolations techniques as NASA does? Moreover, NASA include data from Arctic stations which, as far as I know, HadCRUT does not. Those data have value.

    Do you know exactly how HadCRUT estimates the anomalies over the high Arctic Gaz?

    Do you have any faith in the RSS MSU data over the high Arctic, or that product in general?

    Sorry for all the questions, but it seems that you are opining about things about which you do not have much experience, so I'm trying to establish what you do and do not know.

    For better, or worse, the experts use the term ocean acidification. Sorry, like it or not, we have to deal with that. It is certainly not a valid reason for dismissing it.
    0 0
  40. Paul Daniel Ash. You said that "you have your own theories about what WILL happen". You still haven't pointed out where I said that. Please state or retract. Thank you.
    0 0
  41. @Baz: "If I don't change my views based on a few replies, that most certainly doesn't make me a troll either."

    True, however if you present opinions that are not supported by a rational argument on a science-based site, then chances are you are, in fact, trolling. For example, we've explained why you shouldn't make up your mind on a five-year time frame. You haven't put forward any rational argument as to why you should. Considering this is a science site, you kind of have to if you want to be taken seriously, or admit you were wrong (there's nothing wrong with that).

    "And no, not "wild-ass guesses" just observation - of the HadCRUt 10 year data, as I have explained."

    Looking at the HadCRUt data for the last 10 years shows a positive warming trend. So, I guess you'll go back to being a believer now? (I mean, if you're consistent with yourself.)

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2000.5/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2000.5

    "my distrust of GISS relies on a email conversation with Phil Jones"

    That's hardly a valid argument - especially since you can't prove such an exchange ever took place. It's usually a bad idea to use such unverifiable claims as arguments in a scientific discussion...
    0 0
  42. For the third time, my point is that you do have some guesses or ideas or expectations about what you think may happen. You base those guesses in, as you've said, a reading of the HadCRUt temperature data. You allow for uncertainty in those guesses. Except for a certain rigor, this is exactly the position of mainstream scientists.

    Your accusation of certainty is a straw man. Please either provide an example of any such assertion or move on to a different argument.
    0 0
  43. @Baz "archiesteel. Going from 8.1 to 8.0 isn't "acidification". It's simply the wrong term, but is used so much now."

    Sure it is. It is making the water less basic and more acidic, therefore it's acidification. I don't understand your opposition to that term.

    I'm curious, though. What would be the correct term for that phenomenon?
    0 0
  44. Albatross, it IS a valid reason for dismissing it. I work with acid. If we change the value from 8.1 to 8.0 we would NOT say that we have "acidified" it! Although it's logarithmic, it's too small a change to justify the term.

    Not sure about RSS and UAH. I've read a bit on it, and there could be satellite drift, so I'm not at all sure. Are you asking me about HadCRUt? If so, then the answer is that it excludes much of the Arctic.
    0 0
  45. archie, yes I can prove that - I have the emails!

    Paul. For the third time I did not say that I have theories about what WILL happen - I did not. We've had "troll" now "strawman". Sorry, but it's very poor Paul. There's only "ad hominem" to go and we'll have the set!

    From my observation of the HadCRUt data I see no reason to be alarmed at postive feedbacks. 10 years of reasonable stability (you'll not that I didn't include:
    0.29
    0.27
    ...to show 12 years!

    Now, that's 'unscientific' - granted. But you'll remember I was trying to tease out what WOULD be acceptable for those that believe in man-made warming.
    0 0
  46. Greetings everyone. I have been lurking on this site for 1+ years now and have never felt the need to make my voice heard before. Now I am going to defend Baz.

    Baz at 07:06 AM on 14 September, 2010:
    "If I don't change my views based on a few replies, that most certainly doesn't make me a troll either."

    This is a perfectly reasonable stance. You can not expect someone to change their mind instantly. It will take time to digest the info you have presented. If he is really interested in the data (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) then he will be back to learn more. Pressing him to reverse himself now is only going to push him away from this resource.
    0 0
  47. @Baz :"archie, yes I can prove that - I have the emails!"

    You don't get it. The fact that a conversation with Phil Jones should not be a valid reason to distrust GISS in itself.

    Anyway, that's irrelevant, since the CRU data shows a warming trend for the last 10 years. Logically, this should convince you we are still in a warming trend.

    "We've had "troll" now "strawman"."

    Well, since AGW theory-proponents are not certain this is what will happen (only that it is highly probable), then it's fair to say claiming they are *is* making a strawman argument.

    So, you really have only two choices here: either you take back your assertion that AGW proponents are certain of what's going to happen, or you have to accept the fact you are making a strawman argument (a logical fallacy).
    0 0
  48. Also, you have yet to provide the correct term for lowering the pH of oceans...
    0 0
  49. Baz, a "straw man" is an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. It's a descriptive term. Unless you provide some evidence that your accusation is correct, I'd ask you to let it go.
    0 0
  50. Baz wrote : "To answer your question (as I have done above plenty of times - even when people didn't answer mine) I have learned that some of you think that if warming doesn't continue for 15-20 then you will change your mind. As I said (again) I chose to after only five years - my choice."


    Actually, you haven't really answered any questions except by stating what you believe and what you reckon. Nothing substantial and no detail as to why you believe such things.

    Your response shown above gives a good example : It has been pointed out how one needs a longish period of time (you give it as "15-20" but I would say it should be more like 20-30 years - there's a good explanation why, here) to determine a valid climatic trend, but not in isolation - the reasons behind such a trend also need to be understood. Your response ? "I chose to after only five years - my choice". How can anyone respond to an assertion like that ? How can you possibly, rationally, arrive at such a position ?


    Actually, maybe the best response to you is this :

    "I choose to believe that you are not being totally honest and credible. My choice."

    But I do have some back-up to my assertion, which is another sentence of yours :


    "I did want to engage to get some answers on what believers in warming think."


    So, did I imagine reading you saying you used to be a 'believer' ? And you don't know what 'believers' think ?! Pull the other one...
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