A Few Things Ill Considered

I get tons of drive by attacks on the HTTTACS articles and most are pretty thoughtless repetitions of everything we’ve heard a hundred times before, and often posted directly underneath their own refutations.

But occasionally there are seemingly very sincere and well posed questions or arguments that I have not addressed very thoroughly or very well before. These deserve equally thoughtful answers but I don’t always have the time to provide them.

I recently received one such via email from a fellow named Jonathon, which I will present below:

Dear Mr. Beck:

My name is Jonathan [redacted]. I am a fairly recent graduate with a BS in Economics, mostly focusing my research on climate change which I hope to pursue on a graduate level in the future. I’m also in the odd place of being a very staunch advocate of free market capitalism while believing climate change is a problem. I’d ideally like to try and reconcile the two in the future but my research isn’t why I’m e-mailing you. As I frequently refer to your refutations of denialist claims that I frequently encounter (ex. “since it’s exceptionally cold this particular day, therefore there is no such thing as global warming”), I find it as a way of keeping sane. However, I have two questions that I don’t feel you’ve really addressed in your guide.

…continued

One claim that I’ve encountered and can’t quite find a good reason to refute it is a claim about rent seeking or a “baptist and bootlegger” problem. The idea is that nearly all scientists get their funding from the government, and being normal people, they want money so they can continue to have comfortable lives doing what they enjoy, they will go with the flow and generate climate research that points to climate change which means they’ll get more money to investigate the problem because it’s of urgent importance and it’s another way for the government to exercise its power. This is not to say there is some grand liberal conspiracy of scientists or that all scientists are insincere and lack integrity, merely that they’re people who have families and bills to pay and they’re going to give the people who are paying their bills (bureaucrats who decide how to allocate funding) what they want to hear. A similar argument is that of the “baptist and bootlegger” – some argue that like a baptist preacher who would by day preach the evils of alcohol and by night make a hefty profit off moonshine, people like Al Gore are profiting through schemes like climate offsetting by preaching the impacts of global warming.

The closest you come to addressing this point is here – http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/11/23656/027 – but you cite entirely organizations who receive their funding through government grants. I do appreciate you cite some CEOs as acknowledging that climate change is a serious issue but one could argue that they have no more expertise in proclaiming climate change is real than a conservative pundit or economist in denying the fact. Essentially, this is a problem of “Who stands to gain?” and I’m curious how you address that.

Secondly, I have heard arguments that at the root of climate change debate isn’t so much actual science but philosophy and that environmentalists are using science for their own advantage to promote their own anti-capitalist agenda. I’m sorry I don’t recall the exact article, but I do recall on one occassion that GRIST was attacking a CATO Institute (a prominent libertarian think tank, in case you weren’t aware) who did a paper on climate change from a free market perspective (though rather wishy washy, in my opinion) and GRIST started attacking the paper based on assertions like “the free market is the best system for progress and equality”, arguing that the free market doesn’t “really” do that, that capitalists are greedy, bad people, etc. In short, this isn’t really abotu climate change but against environmentalists, who are inclined to be anti-capitalist, using science as a way of pushing their own agenda and that they could care less about the facts and merely want to placate their political and philosophical preferences. Furthermore, at least I would say that an environmentalist has no more right to pretend and be an economist than an economist does at trying to pretend and be a climatologist. In short, how do you address this point as well?

Thank you for taking your time in addressing my questions and I hope you will be able to respond.

-Jonathan

I don’t find the second point very interesting as it is really besides the point about what the scientific case is. Anyone is free to use valid science as they wish, I only object when people lie and misrepresent it. The alleged agenda of someone offering a solution is is already beyond the question of is there a real problem, which is what my guide has always focused on. The article Jonathon cites in his first point, (local copy of that article is here) is actually a better response for the second point, at least if the suggestion is that the scientific case itself is the result of a pre-existing philisophical agenda.

But the first point, that science is biased towards findings that perpetuate its funding, is at least plausible. But a plausible hypothesis is not enough to draw a conclusion from. Is there actual evidence to support this? Is there evidence that is inconsistent with this hypothesis?

Frankly, my main peeve with people who offer this up as a reason to reject 100+years of developing research, is that they never offer any good evidence that this effect is, one, real (and I actually don’t doubt it is) and more importantly two, that it is large enough to sway thousands and thousands of researchers so far from the truth. I would also appreciate someone believing this to be the case to explain how a government full of former and future oil executives is seeking evidence that burning fossil fuels is dangerous. Why isn’t the bias the other way (and personally I think any such government influence does in fact push the other way).

Does anyone out there want to take a crack at offering Jonathon a respectful and substantive answer? Why shouldn’t we be wary of scientific research whose very existence depends on certain conclusions?

Comments

  1. #1 thingsbreak
    May 19, 2009

    Why shouldn’t we be wary of scientific research whose very existence depends on certain conclusions?

    But that simply isn’t the case with anthropogenic forcing of the climate system. There is enough inherent variability in the system, paucity of paleoclimatic data, uncertainty in observations, difficulty in making regional, decadal scale forecasts, etc. to sustain the study (and funding for such) climate all without the addition of a conspiracy, intentional or not, to gin up a nonexistent crisis.

    Indeed, due to the relatively straightforward, well-known effects of GHGs, it would be an incredibly short-lived funding crisis to “invent”. As we have seen, the science has moved on from the question of whether anthropogenic greenhouse forcing exists in relatively short order.

    In fact, the deniers’ position is the one demanding ever more time to study the problem before seeking to remedy it, and the denial of anthropogenic greenhouse warming necessitates that even more funding be allocated for the study of climate as it essentially invalidates whole branches of the field and requires going back and starting from scratch!

    Basically, if one were seeking to prolong and/or increase funding to study something, it would be horrendously stupid to reach a conclusion as quickly as the scientific community did, and it would be stupider still to finger a culprit whose properties and thus implied broad future effects were as well-known and uncontroversial as GHGs.

  2. #2 Robert Grumbine
    May 19, 2009

    I’ll have to echo thingsbreak.

    The funding of research on climate this last 30 years has shot up most due to people who deny that there’s any such thing as anthropogenic climate change. The scientific fundamentals of the story — CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is rising due to human activity, such a rise can be expected to give a significant (on the scale of climate) warming — were all resolved issues 20 years or more ago.

    The increases, and demands for research, have been from those who want the names of every person who has ever been, or will be, killed by climate change. And want the list to have criminal proceedings standard of proof. Those who say that until you can prove that all climate change is due to human activity, they’ll permit no action to be taken. Fool’s errand there, since we’ve always known that the natural climate factors wouldn’t stop. But, if it gives funding to understand more about the universe, how many scientists are going to refuse to look?

    There’s a different take, though, regarding the certain conclusions that funders might want to see. That is, the Congress and White House have changed hands more than once during the past 20 years. The conclusions that one party or leadership group want to hear are not the conclusions that the other batch want. Through all changes, the scientists have been saying pretty much the same things. Language gets stronger as more evidence comes in. But the main line is unchanged, regardless of what those in power want to hear, and what it is they’ll give funding for. This holding true even with 8 years of a President censoring the scientists he could.

  3. #3 Kim Hannula
    May 19, 2009

    I know people with expertise in paleoclimate who work (or have worked) in the petroleum industry. The same training in understanding past climates can be used to find oil or to understand what makes climate change. And the people who work in the petroleum industry can make more money than academics – I don’t know the pay scale for NOAA or NASA. (Also, if the research is being done in a department of geosciences or earth and planetary sciences or anything like that, odds are that the department has received money from the petroleum industry for all sorts of things. I personally received money from at least four different oil companies during grad school, and I worked on rocks that were too hot to contain oil! So the academic researchers would have significant financial incentives to deny the role of fossil fuels in climate change.)

  4. #4 Robert Grumbine
    May 19, 2009

    Kim, and others: NASA and NOAA pay less, 20-30%, than tenurable academia last I saw. Granted I was focused on meteorology/oceanography rather than geology.

  5. #5 Brian Schmidt
    May 19, 2009

    Satellite data research in the late ’90s is an example that refutes the economic incentive argument. Research effort and money flows to areas where the science seems to have a problem, not where it’s resolved.

    There was a perceived problem of satellite temperature data not matching climate theory and models. No one tried to shut down the research, instead they kept working on it and found out the data was wrong.

    A hypothetical refutation on AGW will be either in a single, stunning Einsteinian analysis or an everwidening crack in the science that tracks more and more attention over the years. Either way, the researchers responsible for the refutation will have their careers made, so they have every incentive to follow this path.

  6. #6 Doug Mackie
    May 19, 2009

    A respectful response? Oh dear it will be hard. I’m tempted to say that most deniers (and “earnest seekers of truth”) doth protest too much and ascribe their own motivations to others.

    TOTAL research funding by governments as %GDP is stable in my neck of the woods (actually there is a decrease in “real terms” but let it pass). The focus of research priorities shifts with each government and I’d have to trawl the numbers but it is indeed likely that funding for climate change has increased at the expense of other areas.

    Jonathan, if you have one – just one – science argument then raise it. However, I’m not sure how questioning motivations in any way that invalidates the science.

    The frustrating thing is, that if you read this blog or RC or Grist, etc you must be aware that NO denialist claims hold water.

    Let us try a gedacht experiment: Allow for one moment that we are all in for the money. I put it to you that even if that were the case the science remains valid.

  7. #7 Dan satterfield
    May 19, 2009

    Brian and Doug make two separate and realistic points. The scientist who makes a stunning discovery will himself become stunningly famous.

    To assume that the consensus opinions of Science depend on the funding, would be to say that scientific method itself is grossly inadequate. While it’s not perfect, and peer review itself could use improvement, best not forget that it has taken us from living in huts to fixing a space telescope, and steering robots around Mars.

  8. #8 Nils Ross
    May 19, 2009

    I’m really just restating in a concise form what’s already been said here, but I think a restatement of some of this will help.

    1) Science is competitive as well as co-operative. Scientists can gain success by publishing evidence that refutes accepted models, as well as by publishing evidence that builds on accepted models. It’s the evidence that makes the scientist.

    2) Vested interests are a reality. There are groups with vested ideological interests in the climate change debate.

    3) The vested interests from (2) are very likely to fund scientists who view the evidence as supporting their ideologies. But it goes both ways; both pro- and anti-consensus ideological groups will attempt to fund research.

    4) The people whose ideologies require the current scientific consensus on climate change to be incorrect are loaded. Swimming in money, using $100 bills to light cigars loaded. They can afford to fund a huge amount of research to attempt to dig up evidence to refute the scientific consensus, have in the past, and still do currently.

    5) Despite this source of funding available to scientists discussed in (1) who might think they can find evidence to refute the consensus, the consensus remains unbroken. No such refutative evidence has been produced, despite available funding. Search for peer-reviewed research that refutes the consensus directly (as opposed to making it more sophisticated) and you’ll be disappointed.

    So the argument that the scientific consensus is a product of the ideology of funding bodies essentially refutes itself. There’s plenty of funding bodies out there that want AGW to be a myth. They can pay for the research, but the research continues to strengthen the consensus.

    Seem reasonable?

  9. #9 Iain
    May 20, 2009

    Not too hard this one. Oil and coal companies pay much, much better than governments. Any scientist in it for the money would be working for them. A nice polite e-mail, but aren’t these really standard denialist themes?

  10. #10 Roderick Spode
    May 20, 2009

    Why does Jonathon restrict his comment to climate science? The same argument could be used in the case of research into the negative effects of consuming tobacco, the consequences of a diet high in fat or sugar, obesity, adding lead to fuel, etc. Why be mistrustful of climate science but not science in general? The government is not the only source of science funding; many corporations fund research. If scientific outcomes follow money why did Exxon (allegedly) fund misinformation campaigns rather than scientific research into climate change? I believe the entire UK government budget for university-based research is about £1.5 billion, and a tiny fraction of that goes towards studying climate. British Petroleum alone has sales of $266 billion, and profits of $22 billion. The figures speak for themselves.

  11. #11 trrll
    May 20, 2009

    The notion that climate scientists promote climate change because it pays strikes me as utterly bizarre, considering that we just had 8 years of dominance by a political party and president whose attitude toward global warming has ranged from skeptical at best to outright hostile. Even if one supposes (for the sake of argument) that scientific peer review panels of funding agencies were packed with climate scientists with a vested interest in global warming, Congress can, and does, bypass peer review to earmark funding for a particular purpose. And then of course there are many large industrial firms with a vested interest in avoiding carbon emissions restrictions and taxes and the financial resources to fund research. So any competent scientist who could offer a reasonable prospect of generating models or data demonstrating that global warming concerns are overblown would very rapidly be able to find all the funding he could possibly want.

    Add to that the fact that the scientific work on climate change has received critical review from expert scientific panels from national scientific societies around the world, such as the US National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society. These are independent elite scientists with a demonstrated track record of scientific accomplishment, and most of them do not do climate science for a living. They serve pro bono, and their funding is not influenced by their judgments on the matter. Yet they concur with the conclusions of international organizations of climate scientists, such as the IPCCs as to the reality of global warming, the influence of anthrpogenic CO2, and the likely adverse consequences.

  12. #12 Chris Winter
    May 20, 2009

    Jonathan:

    Your principle allegation is that mainstream climate scientists are delivering the findings that will best assure them continued funding. There are two reasons to doubt this.

    First, as others have pointed out, funding flows to unsolved problems. The basic physics of greenhouse gases and their effects on temperature have been understood for 100 years or more. Understanding of the effects of climate change is more recent, but also well established. No one is going to pay for more studies supporting these accepted facts. On the other hand, any real evidence that the consensus picture is wrong would open the funding floodgates. The fact that none has appeared makes the mainstream view ever more solid.

    The second reason is that fraud and incompetence do not play well in science. Granted, both do occur; but they do not persist. Scientists who are faking their results, or just making careless mistakes, are soon found out. In most cases, this ends their careers. Pons and Fleischmann are perhaps the most prominent examples.

    It is true that the total budget for climate research has expanded in recent years. Denialists would have us believe that most of this goes to support the consensus, while studies of dissenting views are starved for funds. The most straightforward way to refute this would be to compare budgets of the mainstream and dissenting researchers. Unfortunately, I don’t have those numbers at hand. I do know that the annual U.S. budget is most often estimated as $1.7 to $2 billion. When spread over the entire research establishment, this is not going to make any scientist rich. And while federal funds may be limited to this amount, industry sources cannot be ruled out. Again, I don’t have any numbers, but it’s reasonable to assume that plenty of money would get behind any proof that global warming was not going to force them to drastically change their ways after all — if there were any such proof.

    You mention Al Gore. Note that he is a special case (and is not a scientist.) It does appear that his books and lectures have generated a large cash flow. But he’s said all the profits from those activities are plowed back in or turned over to charities. There’s no reason to doubt him (though I’m sure many Denialists wish there were.)

    To address your second question, I agree that the debate over global warming is based in philosophy. On one side are libertarians (or, more properly, Rothbardians) who oppose any government interference with business on ideological grounds. Pragmatists make up the other side; they understand that businesses often cut corners, and have especial difficulty dealing with long-term problems like global warming. Pragmatists (I consider myself one) realize that government must take a hand in mitigating global warming, even if only to change the tilt of the playing field.

    Sorry this reply has so many words and so few numbers, but it’s the best I’ve got right now. I hope it helped.

  13. #13 crakar14
    May 20, 2009

    I think we are forgetting something here, sure there should be funding made available to research something such as climate past present and future but not AGW exclusively.

    Anyway not sure if this is what Johnathon is talking about but research money is given to people to research the effects of AGW on coral reefs, on the plight of the polar bears, on the effects of migrating birds, the effects of AGW on the sex of egg laying reptiles (crocodiles etc) and the list goes on.

    Most of this research (not only ridiculous) is a complete waste of time and money. This funding should be made available to the people researching the climate. Oooops sorry i forgot the science is settled apparently.

    Basically whether you accept AGW or not it has created boom times for those willing and able to exploit it and as always much needed cash is redirected into someone elses pocket.

    The best example is the mother lode which awaits those heavily invested in cap and trade schemes, these people stand to make billions of dollars for essentially doing nothing.

  14. #14 BAllanJ
    May 21, 2009

    How can an economist quote a line like “the free market is the best system for progress and equality” and not see AGW as a classic example of the “tragedy of the commons”, only the commons here isn’t just a pasture, but a whole planet’s climate. Free markets must be controlled in their access to common resources and the climate is the most fundamental of these.

  15. #15 RF
    May 21, 2009

    My first objection would immediately be that this classifies as a conspiracy theory. Currently all relevant national science academies have accepted AGW and have urged action to combat it.

    These academies are those of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, The UK, the USA, and the list goes on to about 30 countries… Just the idea that scientists from so many different countries will be able to extort money from their respective governments in these huge numbers and with that exhilarating success using the same technique is implausible beyond ridicule.

    The second more sensible objection comes from the fact that climate change science dates back farther than any current politician can remember and most of them weren’t even born.

    A good video to overview the history of the science can be found here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    Once you watch it, it becomes clear why all of these accusation do not make sense.

  16. #16 Patrick
    May 21, 2009

    The simplest and most respectful answer is that the self interest of scientists has always been in proving others (their peers especially)wrong. Galileo and Einstein are the two most famous examples. If anyone could present a credible alternative to explain the results now being observed ( and predicted at numerous points in the past) they would be the most famous scientist in this century, as Einstein was in the last. Thousands of scientists are looking at the issue, and everyone would like to be the person that comes up with the alternative.
    To take it a bit further, even in the process of science, we have the null hypothesis. Every test is attempt to prove a concept wrong.
    One segment of “Proof or Propaganda” is dedicated to this question. Top preview segment on this page- http://prooforpropaganda.com/preview.html

  17. #17 Phil Scadden
    May 25, 2009

    There is a certain irony in this. Many governments (and I assume the USA included) manage science funding by putting up funds in areas of interest, working on the nice capitalist basis that the scientists will follow the money. Too true – if there is money in climate, then geologists become paleoclimatologists, atmospheric physicists become climatologists etc. Furthermore, many (most?) will be pursuing their own interests within that framework. Moving the money somewhere else doesnt result in unemployed scientists – just a different angle on the funding applications.

    As to second question, I am disturbed that the writer finds dealing with climate change incompatible with free market capitalism. Surely as an economist, its his job to find a way. Sure anti-capitalist nutters will bandy climate change for their own ends – as extreme libertarians will bandy some other issue for their ends. Its doesnt stop the science being well founded. You have to make policy on the basis of the facts not the ravings of nutters.

  18. #18 Kim Hannula
    May 28, 2009

    I think we are forgetting something here, sure there should be funding made available to research something such as climate past present and future but not AGW exclusively.

    That funding exists, and the research goes on. (Snowball Earth, for instance – one of the other sciencebloggers is doing a postdoc testing hypotheses about a frozen planet in the Precambrian.) And maybe people outside the geosciences don’t see how the research on anthropogenic global warming (especially the modeling of impacts of CO2 on climate) has provided inspiration for exciting, testable ideas about climate in the distant geologic past. That’s a sign of a robust, well-supported, important theory – it spawns research in other fields, and inspires new ideas about old problems.

  19. #19 Douglas Vickers
    May 29, 2009

    Dear Mr Beck

    A point frequently made by environmental campaigners is that the clear majority of the world’s climate scientists support the view that global warming is an urgent problem, and is primarily, if not exclusively, caused by human activity. Surely, they say, these people cannot all be scoundrels or incompetents.

    The point is a good one, and deserves a reasoned answer. Although, the number of scientists who take a dissenting position is underestimated, no one can seriously doubt that the majority support the orthodox view. To see why, it is helpful to turn to two recent published works. The first is an article by the great theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson, who in the New York Times Review of Books deplored the vilification of those who decline to accept the majority position. The second is the ‘The Trouble with Physics’ an exploration of string theory by the eminent physicist Lee Smolin. In one particularly revealing chapter, he discusses the strange propensity of the scientific community to indulge in group think and herd extinct, and explains the career-ending consequences for anyone who dissents from received wisdom.

    Of course, it is possible that the majority view is correct, but the suppression of dissent is unhealthy and unscientific.

    Those of us who are skeptics sometimes despair of the press ever giving our point of view a fair hearing. However, we content ourselves with the knowledge that as temperatures continue to fall as CO2 rises, time will prove us right.

  20. #20 DV
    May 29, 2009

    Correction to above: for herd extinct read herd instinct

  21. #21 pough
    June 1, 2009

    I’ve always found that first argument to be a very strange one. Just think about what it entails. Thousands of nerds all around the world would have to be banded together in solidarity to avoid really figuring things out and perpetuate a known lie for the sole purpose of using environmental causes to extract money out of (often right-wing) governments. And climate science alone among all sciences needs to concoct an Armageddon scenario to get grants?

    Just the fact alone that scientists tend to be nerds should be enough to refute it, really. Does incurious, greedy and stupid describe the nerds you know? Projection is what it is; from incurious, greedy and stupid people.

  22. #22 Westerner
    June 1, 2009

    But Pough, if I may say so, you are missing the point. There is nothing unique or even unusual about global warming when it comes to the refusal of the scientific establishment to permit other points of view. The whole history of science shows that, somewhat counter intuitively perhaps, scientists are particularly prone to what is sometimes called cognitive bias, but more commonly described as the herd instinct. We can speculate about why this might be so, but there is no doubt about the reality of it.

    To give just one example, when Einstein published his special theory of relativity in 1905 he was widely attacked and disbelieved, not because he was wrong but because his ideas seemed to contradict Newton, who had been universally accepted for centuries. There are innumerable other examples, so many, indeed, that it might be said that this situation almost defines the history of science. Ideas become accepted and harden into orthodoxy. Heretics are condemned as lunatics or rascals. Eventually, not always but often, the heretics are proved right.

  23. #23 RS
    June 1, 2009

    The Einstein analogy may not be the right one for AGW. The annals of Science are far more littered with stories of “discoveries” that were supposed to change orthodoxies but didn’t because they were not proven. Pons and Fleischmann seem like a better analogy for AGW. We should note that Einstein did not need a politician to make up a lot of nonsense to assist in getting his theory accepted, he used facts. Also, Einstein was horrified when his discovery was used for purposes of wielding power. Which is the obvious goal of the AGW crowd.

  24. #24 Snowman
    June 3, 2009

    Unfortunately, the warming lobby is consumed by hysteria and immune to reason. There is little or no point in pointing out the absurdities of their arguments. We must wait, as a writer above notes, until time proves the skeptics right, as it surely will, and sooner than most people think.

  25. #25 pough
    June 5, 2009

    Eventually, not always but often, the heretics are proved right.

    Bullshit. The few “heretics” you hear about often were proven right. The vast majority are barely footnotes because they were wrong. You’re conveniently forgetting about them. I’m a way more popular musician than U2 (hi Mom!) as long as we ignore all their fans.

    Science isn’t a democracy with every idea having equal weight. Every idea has to fight its way into the establishment and needs to get there by being the best explanation available for the data. In spite of the truly bizarre perception of some people, the current understanding of climate has been built by the hard work and dedication of thousands of very smart people all over the world and over the last 150 years. It isn’t simply a combination of a few political agitators trying to get power (in an amusing underpants gnomes way) and pressuring a large herd of sheep (the many other climate scientists) into unthinking approval.

    Everyone who goes against the grain has to fight hard to be accepted and rightly so. To show that the current understanding of climate science is wrong will take more than just FUD; it will take some amazing new physics that shows a new forcing that previously went undetected that not only mirrors CO2, but also prevents it from doing what it would normally do. While it may eventually happen, the idea is difficult to accept while it’s currently in the mere assertion phase.

  26. #26 Snowman
    June 5, 2009

    You are quite right, Pough, science is not a democracy. But that is precisely the point: the fact that the majority agree means nothing. Science is about truth, not consensus.

    But look, there is little point in debating. Time alone will show who is correct, and in this context perhaps I can quote the noted heretic and MIT atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen. ‘We will win this argument,’ he said recently, ‘because we are right and they are wrong.’

    Incidentally, the time required may be shorter than many of us had thought, not only because it is self-evidently true that the earth is entering a cooling phase, but because at long last an increasing number of journalists are beginning to wake up. Two days ago I was interested to see a prominent current affairs magazine referring to global warming as ‘yesterday’s fad’.

  27. #27 pough
    June 6, 2009

    But that is precisely the point: the fact that the majority agree means nothing.

    The fact that almost all of the best-qualified to render a decision on a topic agree is hardly meaningless. You’re probably fine with any consensus that doesn’t threaten to lead to taxes.

    How is it “self-evidently true that the earth is entering a cooling phase”?

  28. #28 Snowman
    June 6, 2009

    It is self-evidently true, Pough, from the global temperature records over the past decade. After reaching a peak in 1998, temperatures remained pretty well level for several years then began to plunge in 06/07 and fell even further in 07/08 – so much so, in fact, that ALL of the 0.6C rise of the 20th century has now been reversed. No one can be sure what the winter of 09/10 will bring, but if it shows another sharp drop then surely the warmists will have to start to take note.

    In fact, they already have as is evident from the rather crafty way they now address the issue. The term ‘global warming’ has, of course, long since been abandoned for the more agnostic ‘climate change’. But even more speciously, note that the warming brigade often defensively tell us, when confronted with the undeniable cooling of the past decade, that seven out of the ten warmest years ever (or similar statistics) have been recorded since 2000. Quite apart from the obvious sophistry of the argument – that is, if 1998 was indeed a peak year, then clearly the few years immediately after will be relatively warm – even this rather sneaky claim is untrue, as anyone can immediately see from a study of earlier centuries.

    Incidentally, warmists often scold us for pointing out the post 1998 pattern, claiming that by looking at only a few years we are confusing weather with climate. It is they, of course, who are confused. Weather and climate are the same thing, merely viewed in a different time frame. The question is, at what point does the weather come to be climate – in other years, how long must a trend continue before it becomes significant? Many of us think a decade is adequate, but of course others insist upon a longer time frame.

    But Pough, do I detect a slight softening of position on your part? Are we going to be able to welcome you into the ranks of the heretics?

  29. #29 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Snowman, have you actually looked at any temperature data apart from the misinformation posted on denier web sites? If you do you will find that what you say about temperatures “since 1998″ is, in fact, rubbish. Also read up on statistics, you seem to have a misinformed idea about trends and real data.

    There seems to be an infestation of deniers infecting all the science sites right now. Why people like that believe such nonsense and berate the climate scientists and those other informed individuals is something I find very strange. Why do people like you put their political beliefs over real science data?

  30. #30 snowman
    June 6, 2009

    You see, Ian, this is precisely the problem that many of us complain of. When we put forward arguments we are never answered with counter arguments, but merely called deniers, told we don’t understand the science and so on. Well, I don’t suppose it matters but for the record there are four main bodies recording the earth’s temperatures. They are:

    The Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    The Hadley Centre (the British Meteorological Office research group)
    The University of Alabama
    Remote Sensing Systems, a California company carrying out analysis work for NASA

    Because these four employ different monitoring methods and statistical techniques, their conclusions are not identical. But none reports any significant warming since 1998, and, indeed, only one reports any warming at all (and does so by the use of certain mathematical procedures that are, to say the least, controversial). Admittedly, there is an issue over the relative merits of straight line measurement versus sub-set averages; but when it comes to the fundamental question of whether or not the world has warmed since 1998 there can be no disagreement: the world has cooled, not warmed.

    Of course, Ian, you can argue against this if you wish, but to do so is to argue against reality itself.

    Best wishes.

  31. #31 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Snowman, as I said in my previous post, go and learn some statistics and some science then see if you can tell whether your statement is true or not.

    If you still think it is true then you are a denier, it’s that simple. If you deny the science (and statistics is part of science) then you are a denier and are not contributing anything of value to the discussion on AGW.

    There are many discussions on the statistics involved in AGW so I will not point you to any one in particular but, if you are serious, you can find them for yourself.

  32. #32 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,

    I do not berate the climate scientists.

    We know from data that temps have not risen since, 1998, 2002, etc. Pick your date. We know that there is possibly a slight down trend. We know that IPCC models all say the temps should be moving higher. We know that CO2 is still rising. We know sunspot activity is low and staying low. We know these years are among the top 10, if you will, since 1998. We know that on a downtrend from a peak, all temps will be in the “top xx”.

    We know that on a longer term basis, say 30 years, the last 4-5-8 years are just weather or noise in the signal.

    But as each day, month, year, decade passes with lower temperatures appearing and becoming more statistically significant, to say the least, yes, we’re concerned the climate models are wrong. And are less than enamored with the idea of significant expenditures to solve a “problem” that for the moment appears to be going away.

    Frankly, based on what is happening currently, AGW believers should be overjoyed. Predicting impending doom, one would look for any sign that is opposite to that prediction (and be open enough to consider it) but that is not happening, is it?

    Instead we see, “well, yes, cooler temps are a sign of global warming, er, climate change”. Excuse me if it’s hard for me to be a lap dog for the “climate scientists”.

  33. #33 pough
    June 6, 2009

    ALL of the 0.6C rise of the 20th century has now been reversed

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    Huh? Are we talking about the same planet? It looks to me like very little has been reversed. How would it even be possible for a full reversal in just a few years, especially including the years that, as you say, include 7 of the 10 warmest on record?

    In fact, they already have as is evident from the rather crafty way they now address the issue. The term ‘global warming’ has, of course, long since been abandoned for the more agnostic ‘climate change’.

    You got me on this one. Personally, I think it’s because of that chief warmist Frank Luntz. And further, I predict they’ll even change the name of their precious Internation Panel on Global Warming to the weaselly Internation Panel on Climate Change. You saw it here first!

    …confusing weather with climate. It is they, of course, who are confused. Weather and climate are the same thing, merely viewed in a different time frame.

    Now you’re sounding like the always-hilarious Harold Pierce, Jr.! Which brings me to a point I considered bringing up a little while ago but decided against. I think the terminology being used isn’t the best…

    Are we going to be able to welcome you into the ranks of the heretics?

    Heretic is a religious term. I know you denialists prefer to use religious terms because it makes it seem as though the decades of science performed by thousands of very smart people is simply a few ideologues making stuff up, but I think that’s (as you say) pure sophistry. (With maybe a dash of projection!) The more correct word to use when discussing people who are obstinately wrong in science is idiot. So to answer your question, no. I won’t be joining the ranks of you idiots. I wish you luck with your Lindzen thing, though. As much as I think the denialist side is foolish, I do think that challenges to the prevailing consensus are a good thing. Good challenges would be welcome. The current crop are far from compelling. Keep it up, though! It’s important, in spite of the fact that it’s mostly been comedic.

  34. #34 pough
    June 6, 2009

    We know that there is possibly a slight down trend. We know that IPCC models all say the temps should be moving higher. We know that CO2 is still rising.

    Now you have me curious. Do you think that AGW means every year is warmer than the last? Do you think that every increase in CO2 should automatically and instantly translate into higher temperatures, as though there were no other variables in climate? What does the word “trend” mean to you?

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/dont-get-fooled-again/

  35. #35 Snowman
    June 6, 2009

    Honestly, Pough, one despairs. Of course we don’t think – and no one has suggested – that every increase in CO2 leads inevitably and instantly to a rise in temperature. Indeed, that is the whole point of this discussion: we are asking ourselves how many years of static or falling temperatures must pass before we can draw reasonable conclusions. At the moment, as we all know, the world is getting cooler. Is that important? Many of us think it is, particularly, as Paul in MI points out above, it appears to coincide with a quiescent sun.

    For the moment, at least, it is difficult to be absolutely certain of these matters. But for what it’s worth, I believe the pendulum has begun to swing back – back, I hope, to reason and rationality.

    Anyway, keep reading and thinking: we will make a denier of you yet!

  36. #36 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Paul in MI, my comments to Snowman apply equally to you. If you persist in your absolutely wrong interpretation of the science and statistics, then you are a denier.

    All you have is “we’re concerned the climate models are wrong.”

    Then why don’t you either create your own climate models or pay someone else to do it for you? Then publish them in the peer reviewed scientific literature and we will see if they are meaningful.

    I think your later phrase “(we) are less than enamored with the idea of significant expenditures to solve a “problem” that for the moment appears to be going away” shows your true colours. You are not prepared to pay for your present day indulgences (overuse of fossil fuel) and wish to pass the financial burden on to future generations. There are words to describe that sort of attitude but I am sure you are smart enough to figure them out for yourself.

  37. #37 pough
    June 6, 2009

    Honestly, Pough, one despairs.

    One understands.

    Of course we don’t think – and no one has suggested – that every increase in CO2 leads inevitably and instantly to a rise in temperature.

    Then what, exactly, is the point of the question that mentions years where the temperature goes down while the amount of CO2 increases?

    Indeed, that is the whole point of this discussion: we are asking ourselves how many years of static or falling temperatures must pass before we can draw reasonable conclusions.

    Well, the experts say 30 years and the non-experts say a variety of things, depending on what they want to show. You won’t be surprised if I at least assume that the experts on climate have more authority than the non-experts. I’m inclined to go with what a climate-related statistician says about when we can draw some reasonable conclusions:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

    At the moment, as we all know, the world is getting cooler. Is that important? Many of us think it is, particularly, as Paul in MI points out above, it appears to coincide with a quiescent sun.

    So… let’s imagine a world affected by a number of things, two of which are CO2 and solar irradiance. While CO2 continues to increase (and its effects are not immediate), solar irradiance decreases and the temperature drops. I’m struggling to figure out how that bolsters your case. Solar irradiance seems to be cyclical. CO2 increase is not. Wouldn’t temperatures then look like a long upwards increase in temperature with cyclical increases and decreases overlaid as noise on shorter scales? Kind of like… what’s been happening?

    Solar irradiance decreases and La Nina hits around the same time and temperature drops. Are you expecting La Nina to stick around and solar irradiance to continue to decrease?

  38. #38 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Pough,
    “Now you have me curious. Do you think that AGW means every year is warmer than the last? Do you think that every increase in CO2 should automatically and instantly translate into higher temperatures, as though there were no other variables in climate? What does the word “trend” mean to you?”

    I think this was addressed in>
    We know that on a longer term basis, say 30 years, the last 4-5-8 years are just weather or noise in the signal.

    But as each day, month, year, decade passes with lower temperatures appearing and becoming more statistically significant . . .

    Agreed?

  39. #39 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,

    [All you have is "we're concerned the climate models are wrong."]

    That is addressed immediatly preceding as>
    We know that IPCC models all say the temps should be moving higher. We know that CO2 is still rising. We know sunspot activity is low and staying low. We know these years are among the top 10, if you will, since 1998. We know that on a downtrend from a peak, all temps will be in the “top xx”.

    We know that on a longer term basis, say 30 years, the last 4-5-8 years are just weather or noise in the signal.

    But as each day, month, year, decade passes with lower temperatures appearing and becoming more statistically significant . . .

    [Then why don't you either create your own climate models or pay someone else to do it for you? Then publish them in the peer reviewed scientific literature and we will see if they are meaningful.]

    The best in the business have models, time will prove them right or wrong.

    [You are not prepared to pay for your present day indulgences (overuse of fossil fuel) and wish to pass the financial burden on to future generations. ]

    These “present day indulgences” (cheap, plentiful energy) have provided all manner of positive effects for 6 billion people.

    You’ll have to excuse me if we’re going to take a little more convincing and observation.

    That is my true color and last I checked I am free to evaluate the situation that way.

  40. #40 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Pough,
    Based on your post at 11:49, we agree.

    And you(we) are extremely lucky that all these thigs, solar activity, La Nina, continued CO2 rising, etc. are able to be observed together.

    The future will bring the reality of your points into focus.

    Then the debate will be, what we should do about it.

  41. #41 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Paul in MI: “We know from data that temps have not risen since, 1998, 2002, etc. Pick your date. We know that there is possibly a slight down trend.” That is just not true. Check out the GISS data and you will see that both 2005 and 2007 (Dec-Nov; GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index) were warmer than 2002. Your comment “But as each day, month, year, decade passes with lower temperatures” is a complete exaggeration. We have had, at most, two years of slightly (non-significant) cooling not the decades you are insinuating. What you are saying is neither scientifically nor statistically valid.

    So quit trying to say that you are not denying scientific facts. You are a denier, subspecies inactivist i.e. do nothing today so it won’t cost me anything but who cares about future generations. That is a pathetic position to have. I hope you are ashamed of your selfishness and arrogance.

  42. #42 Snowman
    June 6, 2009

    Well gentlemen, it seems none of us will be convinced by the other side. Let’s agree to meet here again ten years from today. When we discuss the arctic conditions (in June!) and contemplate the latest attempts to get relief supplies to the ice bound populations of northern Europe and Canada, we can shake our heads in wry amusement at the fact that anyone was ever gullible enough to buy into this global warming nonsense.

    Best wishes.

  43. #43 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,
    Plainly, pathetic.

    Advancements in a free world come with a profit for those figure them out and a betterment of all mankind.

    Not from a “cost” imposed by a government.

    In the former, all men work together to do the heretofore unimaginable, which can’t be accomplished through force.

    Patience, young man, patience.

    The earth has been waiting for billions of years, she’ll survive a decade more.

  44. #44 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Patience my A$$, people like you have already wasted 20 years, we have to act now.

    You are the one who is pathetic with your denying and delaying tactics.

    Do you have children? If you do, do you not worry about their future and their children’s future? People like you are fiddling while the Earth heats up.

  45. #45 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,
    I’ve spent my whole working life reducing the need for fossil fuels.

    What has your activity included, short of whining?

  46. #46 snowman
    June 6, 2009

    There is no need to adopt that tone, Ian. We are trying to have a civilized debate and it really doesn’t help to call people names simply because they don’t agree with you.

  47. #47 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Snowman,
    Appreciated, but not necessary.
    They’ll learn civility one way or another.
    In the meantime we still have a constitution to protect us from totalitarianism.

  48. #48 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Seems like the deniers are ganging up on the scientists.

    Snowman, do you include lies, disinformation and obfuscation in your definition of “civilized debate”? Because that is exactly the tactics used by deniers like you and Paul in MI.

    You cannot produce one peer reviewed paper to back up your arguments.

    Till you can do that you have nothing to offer and since there is no debate among scientists, it is only deniers and delayers like you who keep insisting that there is a “debate” so that you can continue your stalling tactics.

    Calling a spade a spade is not calling you names,just an honest expression of your character as determined by what you post.

  49. #49 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    The leader has spoken, obey!

  50. #50 Paul in MI
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,

    [You cannot produce one peer reviewed paper to back up your arguments.]

    The best in the business have models, time will prove them right or wrong.

    That’s twice now! Focus man, patience.

  51. #51 Snowman
    June 6, 2009

    Oh dear, Ian, not this hoary old stuff about peer-review. It really does seem as if you are unaware of what a self-serving scam the whole process has become. I don’t expect you to believe me, of course, so I would refer you to ‘The Trouble with Physics’ a splendid new book by the eminent quantum theorist Lee Smolin, in which he provides a detailed analysis of how debased the process has become.

    Even more remarkably for a man of your erudition, it also sounds as if you haven’t heard of the scandal surrounding the Bogdanov brothers, two French hoaxers who recently published a lengthy series of articles on multi-dimensional particle physics in prestigious, peer reviewed journals, despite the fact that the articles were subsequently shown to be complete gibberish that didn’t even try to make sense.

    Having said all that, there are many articles criticizing AGW that survive the censorship and do appear in peer reviewed journals. Last summer’s Heartland Institute climate conference in New York published a list of them – numbering more than 500, as I recall.

  52. #52 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Paul in MI how many times do you have to be told that your delaying tactics will only make things worse?

    How much longer do you want to study the models, another 20 years, maybe 40 or even 60? You are so out of touch with reality. Look around you and you can see the effects of global warming. Don’t go around with your eyes closed or your head in the sand.

    AGW is described and shown to be correct by empirical science not models. I don’t think you understand the difference.

  53. #53 Vernon
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,

    Why not address the real issue, namely that AGW theory does not explain why we have been cooling for so long. For all other cooling periods, once they started it was possible to point to an event, usually volcanic, as the cause. The current cooling does not have a “cause” which is why the lame arguments presented by the warmers failing.

  54. #54 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Vernon, how long is “so long”? If you look at actual data, not junk you find on denier sites you will find that both 2005 and 2007 (Dec-Nov; GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index) were warmer than 1998 and 2002 was tied with 1998. How on earth do you interpret that as “cooling for so long”.

    Also, if you examine the short cooling periods you refer to you will find that they occur over a much longer period that can be accounted for by volcanic eruptions.

    The most likely explanation for “cooling” is that heat has been diverted from the surface of the oceans to the abyssal depths. Simple physics can explain why this can happen on a regular basis. Recent papers show that the abyssal depths are in fact slowly warming.

    http://oceans.pmel.noaa.gov/Pdf/gcj_3f.pdf

  55. #55 Vernon
    June 6, 2009

    Please post at least principle author and year of studies supporting your claim.

  56. #56 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Good grief Vernon, I gave you an actual link to the paper so you can read it for yourself. I know that is not the way you think references should be cited. Here is how Vernon lists references:

    “Chris,

    You asked so here are a few:

    Millet et al (2009) The chironomid-based inference model reconstructed a July air temperature decrease of c. 0.7°C for the DACP and 1.3°C for the LIA compared with the temperature prevailing during the MWP.

    Axford et al (2009) Much of the first millennium AD was relatively warm, with temperatures comparable to warm decades of the twentieth century. Temperatures during parts of the tenth and eleventh centuries AD may have been comparably warm.

    Loehle (2007) The mean series shows the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly, with the MWP being approximately 0.3°C warmer than 20th century values at these eighteen sites.

    Blass et al (2007) We found exceptionally low temperatures between AD 1580 and 1610 (0.75°C below twentieth-century mean) and during the late Maunder Minimum from AD 1680 to 1710 (0.5°C below twentieth-century mean).

    Polissar et al (2007) Here we report…..” and there are lots more (http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/04/open_thread_25.php#comment-1629623)

    It is obvious that when Vernon cites papers he doesn’t really want anyone to read them. This of course makes sense because what Vernon says the paper says is most often the complete opposite of what the authors actually said.

    You are pathetic Vernon.

  57. #57 Robert S.
    June 6, 2009

    It has all become so clear, they just accidentally re-arranged some words. They weren’t trying to make it nearly impossible to actually find the mentioned sources. If you flip reference and citation you get the following.

    Wilcox (1991) :is how you refrence a citation.

    Wilcox RV. Shifting roles and synthetic women in Star trek: the next generation. Stud Pop Culture. 1991;13:53-65
    :is how you cite a reference, Simple yes?

  58. #58 Vernon
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,

    your a twit. You provide a link to a single paper, yet your say “Recent papers… .” when you mean to say a single paper. I started to point out that you had to go to another blog to complain here, but then your only good at ad hom attacks so why let myself fall you your level.

    What I did get from reading the paper and what you failed to mention when you misrepresented this paper was that it was not a global or even hemispheric finding, but only in the South Pacific, the paper stated that it was not warming in the Atlantic. What it did state was earlier works found that the cooling between 1968/1969 to 1991 by 0.02C in the same area. The study found “over the last decade or so reveal an abyssal warming of 0.005°–0.01°C at decadal intervals” which pretty much means that in another few decades, the Southern Pacific cooling that happened in the 1968-1991 period may warm back up to the pre 1968/1969 level.

    About my citations. You must be pretty dumb to either not know how to find a paper with the subject, year, and lead author or your so insecure that it makes you uncomfortable to ask for the full citation. Besides that, I have found that the blog software does not like many links in a post and it adds work for Coby to have to push them out of moderation.

    Ian, please point to a single instance where I have refused to provide the full citation or a link when asked. Twit. Just more ad homs from you.

    You can read the papers here that show that the sea have cooled and the rate of sea level change show this to be true. I am not going to repost the links and cause Coby more work so read it here. The evidence supports that the sea’s are not warming.

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/04/warming-stopped-in-1998.php#c1684221

  59. #59 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Vernon, stop being an idiot. The papers you quote only show heat content in the top 700 meters of the oceans. Work is now showing that the loss of heat can be accounted for in the deep ocean (which is obvious to just about anyone except deniers) since we know that the heat escaping from the TOA is not increasing therefore it has to go some where. Just because there are only a few papers does not invalidate the data as you would like to think (can you even think?).

    Stupid as ever you say; “Ian, please point to a single instance where I have refused to provide the full citation or a link when asked”. Did you not read the list I gave in my previous post. It is almost impossible to track down any of the papers you are quoting (of course we all know why). I have called you on your inappropriate use of cites before. You are completely clueless when it comes to science. By the way, that is not an ad hom., only a true description of your behaviour on blogs such as this.

  60. #60 Richard Simons
    June 6, 2009

    Snowman (#28)

    After reaching a peak in 1998, temperatures remained pretty well level for several years then began to plunge in 06/07 and fell even further in 07/08 – so much so, in fact, that ALL of the 0.6C rise of the 20th century has now been reversed.

    Where on earth did you get this from? Why did you choose to believe it in the face of all the contrary evidence?

    The question is, at what point does the weather come to be climate – in other years, how long must a trend continue before it becomes significant? Many of us think a decade is adequate, but of course others insist upon a longer time frame.

    That’s a rather odd question, revealing a basic lack of knowledge of statistical techniques. If a data set has low variability, just a few data points can give a highly significant trend. If there is high variability or successive data points are correlated (as with weather/climate) then many more data points are needed. Experience has been that with climate several decades are required to distinguish a trend.

  61. #61 Vernon
    June 6, 2009

    Ian,

    Why do you lie so much. I asked where did I refuse to give the full citation and you point to a list of studies I quoted. When did you ask for full citations, Oh, thats right, you didn’t.

    You just keep on with the ad hom’s cause it is pretty clear you do not know anything. The papers I quoted talk about sea level rise. The other paper I quoted was yours and it was not talking about surface waters. You are stupid, you do not even read the papers you present.

    And you claim to be a scientist.

  62. #62 Richard Simons
    June 6, 2009

    To address the topic of the post, in addition to the practicalities of carrying out a world-wide conspiracy to falsify a large amount of data there are two points I’d like to make.

    First, reporting things that the funding agency does not want to hear is not usually considered the best way to increase your chances of getting further grants. Governments definitely do not want to be told that everyone has to cut back on waste and energy use.

    Secondly, in various parts of the world changes are happening, birds and crop pests occurring north of their previous ranges, the lawns of stately homes needing cutting throughout the winter when a few decades ago there was a period when the lawns did not grow, and so on. These changes can be seen by anyone who is at all observant, fit in with the predictions of AGW and could not have been fabricated by the researchers.

  63. #63 Ian Forrester
    June 6, 2009

    Vernon, you haven’t a clue. You pretend to be some thing that you are not, a reasonable and intelligent person. If you knew anything about science you would know that you don’t have “to ask for full citations.” They are given automatically. Anyone handing in a paper, even at junior high school level and presenting citations such as you presented in the post I illustrated above would have their paper thrown back at them with an “F” on the first page.

    You give these ridiculous citations because you don’t want people to find them since you misquote them, either on purpose or because you don’t understand what you are reading (take your pick). You also use incomplete (and unsourceable) citations because that is how they appear in the denier sites that you frequent and quote.

    And keep up with the ad hominems, it clearly illustrates what sort of a person you are. I get a laugh when you call me a liar when it is you who is doing the lying. You really are setting a bad example for your fellow deniers, so keep up the good work.

    And yes I am a scientist so I do know what I am talking about when I say you know nothing about science.

  64. #64 Snowman
    June 7, 2009

    Perhaps I could set out a few simple points on which most, if not all of us, agree, then see where that takes us:

    1. Global temperatures rose throughout most of the 20th century, by about 0.6C.

    2. In the 21st century the pattern has been one of stability in the early years followed by declines in the past two years. This may be simple noise in the system, but it is notable that the decreases eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.

    3. It is notable and perhaps significant that the pattern above follows, fairly exactly, the level of activity of the sun, as shown through the frequency of sunspots.

    The surprising weakness of the AGW case is that no one can demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between CO2 and temperature. Insofar as such a relationship exists, it is precisely the opposite of that which the warming lobby alleges. In other words, rising temperatures CAUSE higher levels of CO2, and not the other way around. This is so obviously, demonstrably true that it continues to astonish me that anyone would think otherwise. I suppose it demonstrates, once again, the power of group think in science and the unwillingness of people to put their heads above the parapet.

    I thought the whole issue was summed up rather neatly in a recent issue of The Crimson, the Harvard University newspaper. It has been nature’s joke on science, it said, that temperatures rose at the same time as CO2, leading most scientists, understandably but wrongly, to detect a causal link.

    In fact, the article continued, as the oceans have warmed (because of the sun) large quantities of CO2 have been released into the atmosphere. We can see this phenomenon every day on a more prosaic level by noting that a carbonated drink goes flat if allowed to become warm. As the temperature of the drink rises, it can no longer contain the same amount of CO2. The world’s oceans are demonstrating exactly the same process.

    What we have been observing is a perfectly normal, unremarkable and benign pattern. It is the tragedy of our age that hysterical fantasists have made common cause with vote-chasing politicians, to inflict upon the western world a policy involving unimaginable cost for no benefit whatsoever.

  65. #65 snowman
    June 7, 2009

    No more posts? I guess most of you must be in the US (and tucked up in bed). It’s mid morning here so I will no doubt hear from you later on.

  66. #66 Paul in MI
    June 7, 2009

    Snowman,
    Your summary covers most of the points I am concerned with as relates to AGW.

    On this point>
    [2. In the 21st century the pattern has been one of stability in the early years followed by declines in the past two years. This may be simple noise in the system, but it is notable that the decreases eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.]

    I am not following how the decreases eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.

    I think you state, as I am aware, of the 0.6C warming in the 20th century. Has it been that much for the last two years? I haven’t seen the graph or data showing that yet.

    Ian,
    I really appreciate your comments and info on deep ocean warming, that is an area I hadn’t heard much about and it is certainly germaine to the discussion. I’ll be looking forward to learning more about this “heat storage” in the future.

    Richard,
    [These changes can be seen by anyone who is at all observant, fit in with the predictions of AGW and could not have been fabricated by the researchers.]
    It also fits with non-AGW, or natural GW.

    ||Please note, none of the comments were meant to elicit a firestorm of responses, just points to converse, thanks.||

  67. #67 coby
    June 7, 2009

    Snowman,

    “it is notable that the decreases [in the last few years] eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.”

    This is a patently ridiculous assertion. Please see this article, and if it does not clear things up for you, please indicate what data you are using to come up with this mischaracterization.

  68. #68 Paul in MI
    June 7, 2009

    Coby,
    thanks for the refernce to the 0.6C temp issue. That puts it in context for me.

    ||Please note, none of the comments were meant to elicit a firestorm of responses, just points to converse, thanks.||

  69. #69 Snowman
    June 7, 2009

    Coby, I am sorry if I didn’t make myself clear, but I thought that this issue had been thoroughly dealt with by me and other commentators above. Of course, no one pretends that two years (let alone a single year) are conclusive. I merely meant to suggest that it is ironic that, after all the fuss, we are back where we started, temperature wise – back, that is, to the typical temperature patterns at the beginning of the 19th century. Will this pattern continue? Who knows, but as we observe the continuing quiescence of the sun, it would be a brave person who would bet against it.

  70. #70 Richard Simons
    June 7, 2009

    Snowman said:

    In the 21st century the pattern has been one of stability in the early years followed by declines in the past two years. This may be simple noise in the system, but it is notable that the decreases eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.

    Are you seriously trying to compare multi-year averages to the data for a single month? Is that the explanation for this twaddle?

    It is notable and perhaps significant that the pattern above follows, fairly exactly, the level of activity of the sun, as shown through the frequency of sunspots.

    But only as long as you stop graphing the data about 25 years ago.

    In fact, the article continued, as the oceans have warmed (because of the sun) large quantities of CO2 have been released into the atmosphere.

    This would have resulted in the pH of the oceans increasing whereas in fact it has been decreasing. There is no evidence for any release of CO2 from the oceans.

    Paul in MI said

    Richard,
    [These changes can be seen by anyone who is at all observant, fit in with the predictions of AGW and could not have been fabricated by the researchers.]
    It also fits with non-AGW, or natural GW.

    The difference is that these effects were predicted to be a result of AGW. They were not predicted by anyone who was claiming the temperature changes were natural. Indeed, those few who ventured to make a prediction were predicting the opposite.

  71. #71 Richard Simons
    June 7, 2009

    This may be simple noise in the system, but it is notable that the decreases eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.

    I’ve just taken a look at the
    GISS temperature data
    . The coldest month in 2008 had an anomaly of 0.15C, with an average of 0.44C. The earliest month when this was reached was December 1925, so for the previous 45 years no single month was as warm as the coldest month last year. And yet you are claiming that we are back where we were a century ago. Do you ever check what you write or do you just mindlessly repeat anything you come across?

  72. #72 Snowman
    June 7, 2009

    Now look, Richard, we really won’t make much progress if we have to keep repeating things for the benefit of the slowest members of the class. However, your faith in the GISS figures is, I suppose, touching, even though it does demonstrate astounding gullibility.

    Quite apart from the fact that, for some unfathomable reason, you seem to attach almost mystical significance to a single month, the GISS is the ONLY one of the four internationally recognized monitoring bodies that fails to agree the post 1998 pattern of stability followed by reduction in temperatures.

    Moreover, by the GISS’s own admission, it reaches its conclusions ‘using elimination of outliers and homogeneity adjustment’. Translation – if the figures don’t produce the result we want we will tamper with them until they do.

    Yours until hell freezes over (which won’t be long)

    Snowman

  73. #73 coby
    June 7, 2009

    Snowman:
    “we are back where we started, temperature wise – back, that is, to the typical temperature patterns at the beginning of the 19th century”

    Please indicate what data you are using to come up with this mischaracterization. CRU and GISS both have current anamolies .8oC higher than ~1900. .5oC if you cherry pick specific years in the most favorable way for you.

    “it is notable that the decreases [in the last few years] eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.”

    Please substantiate or withdraw this claim of yours.

  74. #74 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    Dear Coby and Ian. You asked for credible sources of statistics that would support the idea that there has been no warming (and some cooling) since 1998. I was a little surprised to be asked such a thing because I had assumed that, even among the most ardent warmists, these basic facts were not in dispute. Of course, warming lobbyists can and do put forward other arguments – that 1998 represented an atypical spike, that subset averages are more important than straight line trends, and so on – but no one, apart from the GISS, argues with the basic facts. And the GISS, of course, reaches its conclusions only by cooking the books (see above).

    If you would be interested in a more detailed exploration of these matters, could I suggest climateaudit.org, the website run by the Canadian mathematician Steve McIntyre? It was McIntyre, of course, who, when asked to testify before the Congress, famously demolished Al Gore’s ‘hockey stick’, a moment of high drama from which the warming lobby has never really recovered. I won’t pretend the website is an easy read. Much of it is of a highly technical nature, aimed at professional mathematicians and statisticians. Nevertheless, those who persevere will find it rewarding.

    Ultimately, of course, we must all make up our own minds about these matters, and such is the emotion surrounding the topic that there is little prospect (in fact, make that NO prospect) of one side convincing the other.

    Time alone will prove who is right. But as the world is clearly entering a cooling phase despite the rising CO2, I know which side I am on.

    Incidentally, all of this would be little more than an amusing debate, an entertaining way to spend a rainy afternoon. But the real danger is that the obsession with warming that seems to have an ironclad grip on the minds of the political class is blinding governments across the western world to the real and present danger of global cooling, and the dread possibility that we may be entering another little ice age. Now that is something that really would be worth worrying about.

    A bientot.

    Snowman

  75. #75 Ian Forrester
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman, you are obviously not serious about science when you suggest that we read the lies, smears and slanders over at climatefraudit.

    I’m through talking with you since you are both dishonest and a complete denier. You know nothing about science and are so arrogant in your dismissal and slandering of eminent scientists.

    Coby, this blog would be a lot better if obvious deniers and dishonest trolls were placed in some sort of sin bin as is done at Deltoid.

  76. #76 coby
    June 8, 2009

    Hi Snowman,

    You said “You asked for credible sources of statistics that would support the idea that there has been no warming (and some cooling) since 1998.”

    The problem with tactics like yours is that given the fact my exact words are directly above your rewriting of them, it is really too transparent to fool anyone with half a mind of their own.

    You have said (twice now):
    “it is notable that the decreases [in the last few years] eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century.”

    That is what I am asking evidence for. Please substantiate or withdraw this claim.

  77. #77 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    Hello Coby. Hi there Ian. You asked for evidence that temperatures today are similar to those of a century ago. There is plenty of it about, but the passage below from a recent report by the University of Alabama at Huntsville (one of the four internationally recognized monitoring bodies) may be helpful. Of course, there are innumerable charts and graphs analyzing these matters, but I thought the straightforward language of the report put it pretty well. It said:

    ‘Recent studies show sea conditions in the Arctic today are similar to conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Climate studies in the Antarctic report long-term cooling trends on scales ranging from 30 to more than 1,000 years, and that the ice cap there is growing.(6)(7)(8)

    Studies of severe weather events in North America found no evidence that extreme weather events, including tornadoes, are more common or more violent now than they were in the late 1800s. (9)(10)

    An analysis of hurricane and tropical cyclone data found those storms are not becoming either more frequent or more violent. (11)(12)

    A study of mean global sea level found the approximately 3 mm/y rise of the past 150 years has not accelerated during the 20th century. (13)

    And a Harvard-Smithsonian study (14) of more than 240 paleoclimate research papers published in the past four decades concluded that the 20th century was neither the warmest century nor the century with the most extreme weather of the past 1,000 years for specific regions.’

    In the interest of honesty and transparency, I should add that the university is not what you would call a denier, but rather an agnostic. The report goes on to say that the current level of scientific knowledge is insufficient to allow any conclusions to be drawn about the future. However, it says, the evidence does not support the conclusion that human activity is responsible for significant and accelerating warming.

    Hope you find this useful.

    Best wishes.

    Snowman

  78. #78 Adam
    June 8, 2009

    coby -

    I invoke Poe’s Law on Snowman.

    was a little surprised to be asked such a thing because I had assumed that, even among the most ardent warmists, these basic facts were not in dispute. Of course, warming lobbyists can and do put forward other arguments – that 1998 represented an atypical spike, that subset averages are more important than straight line trends, and so on – but no one, apart from the GISS, argues with the basic facts. And the GISS, of course, reaches its conclusions only by cooking the books (see above).

    No one who is being serious makes a comment so casually dismissive of basic standards of climate science. Well done, Snowman, you had us going for a while. I really enjoy your Denial Depot site.

  79. #79 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    Hi there, Adam. I am glad you enjoy the Denial Depot site but I am afraid I can’t take credit for it. In fact, until you mentioned it just now, I had never heard of it.

    I am not such an eminent personage – merely a humble seeker after truth.

    Kind regards.

    Snowman

  80. #80 Ian Forrester
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman, you are acting like Vernon, make up quotes that we are unable to find because you don’t know how to cite references properly or you are so dishonest that you don’t want us to find them since they are useless.

    Every one of the statements you quote are either not true or are so vague and unsubstantiated that they are worthless.

    Is that the best you can find at climatefraudit and whatswrongwithwatt?

  81. #81 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    Hi Ian, old pal. You can find the quotes yourself easily enough. Just go to the University of Alabama at Huntsville site, search on climate and, hey presto, there they are.

    Incidentally, I do wish you wouldn’t refer in that rather tiresome way to climatefraudit. It is, as anyone who takes the trouble to understand it will immediately comprehend, a serious site based upon deep mathematical analysis.

    Oh, and Ian, you can disagree with Steve McIntyre to your heart’s content, but I really think I must ask you, with the greatest respect, to reconsider when you refer to his ‘lies and smears’. In fact, Mr McIntyre himself makes it absolutely clear in setting out the ground rules for the site that personal attacks and discourtesy towards opponents will not be tolerated but will be immediately expunged. It is, as far as I know, the only site that operates this policy. It is an example that others might follow.

  82. #82 Ian Forrester
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman, have you ever heard of the peer reviewed scientific literature? It is full of really good science not rubbish put out by your friends the deniers. Give me quotes from papers in the PRSL and I will read them. I will not waste my time checking out your fraudulent cites by deniers.

    By the way, does the truth hurt? Does it get you a bit embarrassed to see your favourite rubbish bin called climatefraudit? Get used to it. You are a worthless denier.

  83. #83 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    But Ian, be reasonable old friend. The University of Alabama at Huntsville is one of the four most distinguished sources in the world when it comes to climate research. By what stretch of the imagination can it be called denier rubbish? I urge you, no I implore you, to see for yourself.

  84. #84 Ian Forrester
    June 8, 2009

    I don’t know anything about UAH. However, I know enough abotu Spencer and Christy (and I’m sure it is their rubbish you are quoting) to know that it is rubbish and is not part of the PRSL. If you want to convince scientists you will have to do better than that, we can spot a rat at any distance.

    And stop calling me “your friend” or “old Pal.” I do not make friends with dishonest, slanderous people like you.

  85. #85 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    Oh and Ian, another thing. One hesitates to bring this up, but there is a small issue here with your spelling which I feel we can no longer overlook. With the greatest reluctance, therefore, I must point out that the word in this context is ‘sites’, not ‘cites’.

    But look, we’ll say no more about it, and I will generously put it down to a slip of the pen, so to speak.

  86. #86 Vernon
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman,

    It is kind of a waste of time to try to have discourse with him. I try to ignore the more blatant trolls. Saying Spenser and Christy are not in PRSL… hahaha, he is so droll.

  87. #87 Ian Forrester
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman, why do you keep making your self look more and more stupid? You play at being some one who is used to arguing in a scientific manner. But in actual fact you know nothing about science, all you do is cut and paste from denier sites like climatefraudit (you’re not SM in drag are you?)

    If you knew anything about scientific publications you would know that I am not guilty of misspelling. That just shows your ignorance. A “cite” or to “cite” is used in reference to scientific publications. Thus if you “cite” a paper you discuss it and provide the complete bibliographic information describing it so that other people will be able to find it, read it and decide whether your interpretation is accurate. I find that many deniers like you and Vernon do not “cite” properly, probably so that we cannot check up on whether you are being honest or not.

    A “site” is a place, either geographically or in the internet.

    Says a lot for your character that the only person who is supporting you is Vernon, someone who I have so embarrassed that he claims that he will no longer discuss things with me. Vernon, any comments on the two papers I provided a few weeks ago showing that you are completely wrong when you say that there is no arctic amplification? Didn’t think so.

  88. #88 coby
    June 8, 2009

    Snowjob,

    Since it is unlikely you are so unintelligent as to think that papers about antarctic sea ice and hurricane trends substantiate your claim that “it is notable that the [temperature] decreases [in the last few years] eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century”, I accept your implicit withdrawal of the claim, and the fact that you don’t have the integrity to do it openly and honestly.

    More importantly it is clear evidence that you have no genuine interest in climate science, just cheap point scoring on blogs.

    BTW, all those numbers in brackets in the copied text you got from some unspecified webpage were important before you striped them of context.

  89. #89 Adam
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman -

    Searching the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s website for “climate” reveals plenty of press releases, but no peer reviewed literature. I appreciate your efforts to show that climate change denialists are daft mentalists, but this deep cover liberal stuff is getting old. C’mon man, come clean.

  90. #90 Richard Simons
    June 8, 2009

    Snowman said:

    Now look, Richard, we really won’t make much progress if we have to keep repeating things for the benefit of the slowest members of the class. However, your faith in the GISS figures is, I suppose, touching, even though it does demonstrate astounding gullibility.

    Quite apart from the fact that, for some unfathomable reason, you seem to attach almost mystical significance to a single month, [blah, blah].

    I am only repeating the question because you are avoiding answering it. Instead of being condescending, how about answering the question?

    I did not attach mystical significance to one month; I was trying to find some justification for your astounding claim that “This [the recent claimed drop in global temperature] may be simple noise in the system, but it is notable that the decreases eliminated nearly all of the increases of the previous century” that did not require you to be an out and out liar. In the process, I failed completely but I don’t feel too bad about it because you have also failed to justify this claim. The best you can come up with is a series of quotes that deal with regional climate and weather and comes nowhere close to meeting your extravagant claim. BTW, you claim the quotes are from a recent report. The report contains no reference to anything later that 2003 so it seems it is about 6 years out of date, hardly recent in a field like AGW.

  91. #91 Richard Simons
    June 8, 2009

    P.S. See, Snowman, how easy it is to put in links to things?

  92. #92 Snowman
    June 8, 2009

    Well Ian mon cher ami, you know me: generous to a fault, and one who lives to please others. I will therefore concede that, because your sentence contains an implicit ambiguity, it is not clear whether you refer to a ‘site’ as in website, or a ‘cite’ as in a quote or reference.

    But, that aside, am I the only once here who finds all this pseudo-scientific jargon pretty funny, as if we were presenting papers to Oxford University, instead of being – as we actually are – a bunch of rather sad guys (I don’t exclude myself) who have nothing better to do?

    Here’s what I suggest: why don’t we all get a life and stop this nonsense? And as for you, Ian, it’s time you got out and got some exercise, mate. All this hanging about looking up things in websites can’t be good for you. Get some fresh air. Go for a walk. You’ll should thank me for it, but of, course, in this cruel world one doesn’t seek gratitude.

  93. #93 crakar14
    June 8, 2009

    Re post 88, snowjob thats a good one Coby,

    Not sure about the temps being the same after 100 years snowjob but what i can say is;

    Rss show May being 0.09c and UAH showing May at 0.043c and since 2002 global temps dropping by (a small) 0.15c.

    So what do we make of this data?

    The AGW theory states that as CO2 goes up so wil temps due to a) small increase from CO2 and b) increased water vapour.

    Stefan Boltzmann based on the SB equation says a doubling of CO2 (280 to 560ppm) will increase the temp by 1 degree C without any feedbacks.

    Bill Kininmonth who is the former head of Australia’s National climate centre estimates the forcing to be 0.6C and this is based on water vapour amplification and includes the strong dampening effect of surface evaporation.

    Lindzen is America’s most eminent climate scientist, he estimates the forcing of 0.6C and is based on water vapour and negative cloud feedback.

    Idso has the forcing at 0.5C

    And then we have the IPCC, The IPCC rely on models to take 1 degree C of heating (re SB equation)and apply an enormous amount of compounding water vapour feedback to turn this into a 6.4 degree C heating. As such these models are based on the premise that Earths climate is tremendously unstable and prone to thermal runaway.

    At this point in time judging by real world temps i would have to say the IPCC has got it wrong. Or is there another explanation for what we are seeing?

    Crakar

  94. #94 Westerner
    June 9, 2009

    Shouldn’t we, in thinking about climate change, be looking at geology and not the atmosphere? As I understand it, geology tells us that the normal condition of the earth, the default position, is one of ice age with the interglacials being relatively brief interludes. Moreover, we know that in the past, CO2 levels have sometimes been higher, and sometimes lower. Yet the ice always returns.

    Isn’t it a bit strange to think that our era is fundamentally different from everything that has happened in the history of the earth, merely because CO2 is currently a bit higher than it was a few decades ago?

    Aren’t we, in worrying about temperature trends, simply over-analysing temporary minutiae, while all the while the ice gets ready to return, and maybe very soon, as it always has?

    Just a thought. Perhaps others more qualified can provide the answer

  95. #95 Ian Forrester
    June 9, 2009

    Snowman is getting embarrassed too by all the cites showing that he is wrong (why else is he telling me to stop finding and posting them?). I give you the same message as I gave Vernon, and that is, as long as you keep posting lies and misinformation I will expose what you are doing at every opportunity I get.

    It is you who needs to get a life and stop behaving in a manner which is detrimental to our present way of life. If we follow your course my children and their children will be living in a world very different to what we have now. Any sane person should be doing their utmost to prevent that from happening, not encouraging it like scumballs like you.

  96. #96 coby
    June 9, 2009

    Re comment #94.

    Snowman, changing your user name to avoid answering questions in favor of stirring up unrelated trouble will get you banned from posting here.

  97. #97 Adam
    June 9, 2009

    re: #94 and 96

    Wow, sockpuppets are yet another sure sign of a denialist crank! You denialists really are on a roll lately!

  98. #98 Vernon
    June 9, 2009

    RE: 84 Ian Forrester,

    I am not sure why you would imply that Christy does not do peer reviewed science but here is a short list from Google scholar:

    2009
    Limits on CO2 Climate Forcing from Recent Temperature Data of Earth
    DH Douglass, JR Christy – Energy &# 38; Environment, 20, 2009 – arxiv.org

    Federal trial on California AB1493–CO2 emissions: Perspectives from the losing side
    J Christy, AL Huntsville – Fourth Symposium on Policy and Socio—Economic Research, 2009 – ams.confex.com

    Snowfall changes in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains
    J Christy – 21st Conference on Climate Variability and Change, 2009 – ams.confex.com

    Discontinuity Issues with Radiosonde and Satellite Temperatures in the Australian Region 1979–2006 JR Christy, WB Norris – Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 2009 – ams.allenpress.com

    2008
    A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions
    DH Douglass, JR Christy, BD Pearson, SF Singer – International Journal of Climatology, 2008 – ephysics.fileave.com

    East African temperature variations and their possible causes
    JR Christy – 20th Conference on Climate Variability and Change, 2008 – ams.confex.com

    Potential economic consequences of climate change on the water resources of the Willamette River … … , JW Jones, JJ O’Brien, J Christy, G Hoogenboom, D … – Proceedings of the American Geophysical Union Joint Assembly, 2008 – agu.org

    2007
    Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations
    RW Spencer, WD Braswell, JR Christy, J Hnilo – Geophys. Res. Lett, 2007 – blog.acton.org

    Tropospheric temperature change since 1979 from tropical radiosonde and satellite measurements JR Christy, WB Norris, RW Spencer, JJ Hnilo – Journal of Geophysical Research, 2007 – devilskitchen.net

    Positive surface temperature feedback in the stable nocturnal boundary layer
    … Walters, RT McNider, X Shi, WB Norris, JR Christy – Geophysical Research Letters, 2007 – agu.org

    Use of Radiosondes and Satellites for Mutual Inhomogeneity Detection
    JR Christy, AL Huntsville, WB Norris, RW Spencer – 14th Symposium on Meteorological Observation and …, 2007 – ams.confex.com
    2006
    Methodology and Results of Calculating Central California Surface Temperature Trends: Evidence of … JR Christy, WB Norris, K Redmond, KP Gallo – Journal of Climate, 2006 – ams.allenpress.com

    Satellite and VIZ–Radiosonde Intercomparisons for Diagnosis of Nonclimatic Influences
    JR Christy, WB Norris – Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 2006 – ams.allenpress.com

    Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years
    … F Biondi, P Bloomfield, JR Christy, KM Cuffey, RE … – NRC Statement to Subcommittee on Oversight and …, 2006 – nationalacademies.org

    Estimation of tropospheric temperature trends from MSU channels 2 and 4
    RW Spencer, JR Christy, WD Braswell, WB Norris – Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 2006 – ams.allenpress.com

    2005
    Uncertainties in climate trends: Lessons from upper-air temperature records
    PW Thorne, DE Parker, JR Christy, CA Mears – Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2005 – ams.allenpress.com

    Correcting temperature data sets
    JR Christy, RW Spencer, CA Mears, FJ Wentz, SC … – Science, 2005 – sciencemag.org

    TEMPERATURE CHANGES IN THE BULK ATMOSPHERE BEYOND THE IPCC
    J Christy – Shattered consensus: the true state of global warming, 2005 – books.google.com

    Non-thermometric effects on MSU tropospheric temperatures
    L Litten, AL Huntsville, JR Christy, RW Spencer – 16th Conference on Climate Variability and Change, 2005 – ams.confex.com

    Observations of Satellite-Based Temperatures of the Troposphere
    JR Christy – 2005 – agu.org

    Ever-Changing Climate System: Adapting to Challenges, The
    JR Christy – Cumberland Law Review, 2005 – HeinOnline

    The impact of an observationally based surface emissivity dataset on the simulation of Microwave … JJ Hnilo, L Litten, BD Santer, JR Christy – 2005 – osti.gov

    Tropospheric Warming As Measured by Radiosondes: RATPAC and Uncertainties
    … , DH Douglass, E Kalnay, H Li, M Cai, JR Christy, … – 2005 – agu.org

    Central California: Opposing temperature trends valley vs. mountains
    JR Christy, AL Huntsville, WB Norris, KT Redmond, … – 16th Conference on Climate Variability and Change, 2005 – ams.confex.com

    Regional Drought Index Forecasts.
    KT Ingram, J Jones, J Christy, JJ O’Brien, D … – 2005 – crops.confex.com

    2004
    … in signals of large-scale climate variations in radiosonde and satellite upper-air temperature … DJ Seidel, JK Angell, J Christy, M Free, SA Klein, … – Journal of Climate, 2004 – www-mete.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp

    What may we conclude about global tropospheric temperature trends
    JR Christy, WB Norris – Geophys. Res. Lett, 2004 – geog.ox.ac.uk

    Update on microwave-based atmospheric temperatures from UAH
    JR Christy, RW Spencer, WD Braswell – 15 th Symposium on Global Change and Climate Variations, 2004 – ams.confex.com

    Irrigation-induced warming in Central California?
    JR Christy, AL Huntsville, WB Norris – 14th Conference on Applied Climatology, 2004 – ams.confex.com

    These are a few of what he has produced in peer reviewed literature, symposiums, and books. He is far from unknown and the fact that you do not know of him indicates that you have done no reading on the subject of climate other than the advocacy sites.

  99. #99 Ian Forrester
    June 9, 2009

    Vernon shows is stupidity and lack of being able to understand simple English syntax. No wonder you have so much trouble understanding climate science.

    I never said that Spencer and Christy have no papers in the peer reviewed scientific literature. What I did say was that the cite by snowman was a piece of pseudo-scientific rubbish that was not peer reviewed science but was a list of material from press releases and other non reviewed sources.

    Vernon get a life. And still no response to the two reports showing you are wrong on arctic amplification. You are pathetic. And I thought you were going to refrain from discussing things with me (since I embarrass you). Is that another of your lies?

  100. #100 Ian Forrester
    June 9, 2009

    Vernon said: “He is far from unknown and the fact that you do not know of him indicates that you have done no reading on the subject of climate other than the advocacy sites”.

    What a ridiculous statement. Of course I have heard of him since he is a denier, unfortunately he is also considered a scientist. He is a pathetic example for an honourable profession with his dishonest tactics which are well known to myself and any other intelligent person who has studied climate science.

    If you search this site for “christy” you will find that he is talked about here in very disparaging terms as befits his dishonesty.

    I get a laugh when you refer to science sites as “advocacy” sites. Always good to have a chuckle now and again just to reinforce my opinion of you Vernon. I can’t really say how I rally feel about you since this is a family site.

  101. #101 Vernon
    June 9, 2009

    Ian says ” I know enough abotu Spencer and Christy (and I’m sure it is their rubbish you are quoting) to know that it is rubbish and is not part of the PRSL.”

    Then where presented with proof he is wrong he says “I never said that Spencer and Christy have no papers in the peer reviewed scientific literature.”

    So which Ian is telling the truth and which is the liar.

    Seems like you have trouble remembering what you do say and where you said it.

  102. #102 Ian Forrester
    June 9, 2009

    Vernon, for goodness sake grow up and admit you were wrong. I repeat that I was referring to the cite by snowman. Anyone with more than two neurons to connect together will have seen that. Once again you prove that deniers are at the bottom of the class when it comes to intellectual ability.

    Keep up the good work Vernon, I’m sure the other deniers are cringing and worrying what nonsense you are going to say next in your efforts to prove that you have no case, just ad hominem attacks. I guess I won’t be receiving an apology any time soon for you referring to me as a liar when it is obvious that you were mistaken. Par for the course of course, from deniers.

  103. #103 crakar14
    June 9, 2009

    This is a little off topic, below is a link to a site i visit now and again for a bit of amusement and once again it has not let me down.

    Judging by the previous posts we could do with a good laugh, so here it is.

    w.w.w.evolutionaryleaps.com/UFO_Crashed_Into_Meteorite_to_Save_Earth.htm

    Have a nice day

    Crakar

  104. #104 pough
    June 10, 2009

    Perhaps others more qualified can provide the answer

    Oooh, I love irony. Do it again! Do it again!

  105. #105 Snowman
    June 10, 2009

    Good evening, Pough

  106. #106 Snowman
    June 10, 2009

    Is Ian not here tonight?

  107. #107 thoughtful Tom
    June 10, 2009

    So to sum up – the deniers (aka the elders of Krypton) have no evidence and get huffy when asked to provide cites or sites to back up their claims.

    Any time you ask for a peer reviewed article in support of their claim, the only answer is the sound of crickets.

    The real scientists get annoyed at the deniers buzzing with partial facts and tiny snapshots of data that “prove” their Exxon-serving outlandish claims. The say, patiently a few times, “what is your source” – then they dismiss the poster as a denier troll.

    Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and instead of leveraging a cool year or two to reduce CO2, we as a society do nothing, fueled in part by raucous and vacuous claims of the deniers.

    Is that about right?

    thanks,
    Tom

  108. #108 Adam
    June 10, 2009

    thoughtful Tom -

    Don’t forget denialists/deniers slandering scientists, and then positing world-wide conspiracies amongst all climate research scientists and governments for the purpose of implementing an extra cost on greenhouse gases.

  109. #109 Vernon
    June 10, 2009

    Tom,

    There are real scientist here? Where?

  110. #110 crakar14
    June 10, 2009

    Tom,

    Your latest post requires correction.

    Do you drive a car powered by an internal combustion engine running on petrol? How about where you get power to light and heat your home? From the same place as me?

    Why dont you go and live in a cave otherwise you are just serving Exxon like the rest of us.

    Also do not blame the deniers on this or any other site for the lack of action displayed by governments past and present.

    In 1988 Hansen announced to the world that CO2 was/will cause catastrophic climate change and in 21 years what has happened? Absolutly nothing Tom, now why is that Tom do you know why nothing has happened?

    Actually i can tell you that at least 50 Billion US dollars have been spent on CC.

    Was this money spent on R&D to replace our current based load coal/gas/nuke power? No of course not.

    Was this money spent on R&D to improve the very inefficent photo voltaic solar cells? Of course not.

    Was this money spent on R&D to improve battery technology? Of course not.

    Most of the money has been spent on motel and Al A Carte resturant food bills at the worlds most exotic locations as part of the travelling IPCC road show, oh and of course on some big shiny new computer models.

    So after 21 years and $US50,000,000,000 later the world has not reduced the CO2 levels by one molecule why do you think this is the case Tom?

    And after all this time and money the best our governments can come up with is a tax, a tax that will once again not reduce the CO2 levels by one molecule.

    In regards to your cheap shot about sources of information, can you be a bit more specific? Maybe i can help out in ths area.

    Crakar

  111. #111 snowman
    June 10, 2009

    Nicely put, Crakar, but I’m afraid your efforts will be wasted. Once people put themselves beyond the reach of reason they cannot see that their computer models and theorizing mean little when compared to actual temperatures and real experience. So, your point about failed predictions will not, of course, be answered, other than by rants and abuse. A theory that has no predictive quality fails the first test of science.

    They will also keep repeating their mantra about peer-reviewed scientific literature and use the term so much they even give it an abreviation, PRSL, completely ignoring the arguments of Lee Smolin and others who point out that this once-valuable process has become shamefully degraded because of cognitive bias, emotional blackmail and career threatening attacks. In oher words, in today’s climate (if I might use the term) it is a brave scientist indeed who defies this, and an even braver editor who publishes contrary opinions. Remember that most scientific journals are not self-financing but rely on the support of foundations and are responsible to trustees and editorial panels. Once the lobby gets to work on these people with an email campaign, the editor is put in an impossibly invidious position.

    Having said that, there are a remarkable number of contributors and editors who are brave and independent enough to write what they think. At its conference in New York last summer the Heartland Institute published a list of more than 500 contrary articles in peer reviewed journals.

    The lobby often says, in faux incredulous tones, but surely you are not suggesting that the scientific community is engaged in some colossal, world wide conspiracy. Of course, no one is suggesting that. But even when it comes to subjects such as string theory, the pressure to conform is anonymous. Despite the fact that string theory has made no significant progress in 25 years, it remains dominant and beyond challenge. Indeed, not a single tenured physics appointment has been made at assistant professor or above to a non-string theorist at any significant US research university for more than two decades. If such pressures exist in a rather archane and esoteric field like this, imagine how infinitely greater they are in a topic like climate change, which generates such visceral emotion.

    Anyway, we shall see, as time and increasingly cold winters gradually chip away at the theory and bring the public and media to their senses. In ten or fifteen years, when temperatures have fallen to the extent that real alarm is setting in, we probably won’t have time to look back upon the late 1990′s and early 2000s. But if we do, we will ask ourselves how we managed to get things so spectacularly, tragically wrong.

  112. #112 Richard Simons
    June 11, 2009

    Snowman: did you ever get round to providing us with justification for your ridiculous claim that “ALL of the 0.6C rise of the 20th century has now been reversed”?

  113. #113 Snowman
    June 11, 2009

    I did. See various statements above put out by the University of Alabama at Huntsville, one of the four internationally recognized authorities on climate research.

    I should point out, however, that Ian was not impressed because the statements were not in his favoured peer-reviewed literature, but rather in general statements released by the university.

    In a way, his objection is legitimate. The problem is, however, that these statements simply note recent temperature swings and, as they are mere statements of fact, do not receive scientific examination. You might as well as for peer reviewed literature proving that the world is round.

    But in any, case, Richard, I don’t really think it matters a great deal as the temperature drops occurred in 07/08 and 08/09 – in other words, a pretty brief period in the scheme of things and perhaps not overly important for that reason.

    What is more significant, (and something I am genuinely curious about) is the long term pattern revealed not in climate science but geology. I don’t think it is disputed by anyone that over the past one million years the normal position, the default position, is one of ice age. Broadly, these ice ages have lasted about 100,000 years with, roughly, 10,000 year interludes. Throughout this era CO2 levels have sometimes been higher, and sometimes lower. Yet the ice always returns.

    What I would like to know is this: why do some people believe that our current era is fundamentally, radically different than anything that has gone before? Why do they not think that CO2 can rise and fall, but the ice will return?

    Incidentally, this current interglacial period has lasted about 12,000 years. Could a change be overdue, perhaps?

  114. #114 pough
    June 11, 2009

    But in any, case, Richard, I don’t really think it matters a great deal as the temperature drops occurred in 07/08 and 08/09 – in other words, a pretty brief period in the scheme of things and perhaps not overly important for that reason.

    Finally. Your position on this seems to have gone from presenting it as though it were some important evidence to “it’s notable” to “it’s ironic” to “I don’t really think it matters”. Since the rest of us started with “it doesn’t really matter”, we can now agree.

    However, you did get me to read some temperature records. My position is that swings like this aren’t relevant in most cases and bringing them up is either a lack of understanding of statistics or else an attempt to use others’ lack of understanding to deliberately mislead. (I’d put you in the former category.) What’s important is the long term trend of about 30 years, because it teases the real trend out of the noisy data.

    At any rate, I checked to see if we’d even seen large swings of temperature before. We have. I’ve made a partial list:

    Swings up:
    1939/12 0.622
    1973/02 0.592
    1952/02 0.587
    1977/03 0.578
    1995/02 0.561
    1973/01 0.540
    1952/01 0.528
    1998/02 0.501
    1958/01 0.487
    1944/01 0.447
    1998/04 0.446

    Swings down:
    1974/02 -0.681
    1946/08 -0.639
    2008/01 -0.602
    1974/03 -0.504
    1950/01 -0.485
    1964/10 -0.469

    The list isn’t complete. It includes months where the variation from the previous year is what I considered to be “notable”. To be honest, though, I think they’re only notable in that they show how noise in a trend can be misleading and how important it is to use proper statistics to not get distracted by irrelevant data.

  115. #115 Snowman
    June 11, 2009

    Yes, in saying things like it’s ironic I meant to express surprise that we seemed to be back where we started. I found it ironic and notable; others clearly didn’t. Moreover, I said at an early stage that many people believed that averages over a period of years would seem to be more relevant.

    Anyway, I rather regret having started all this because I think that there is a far more important and interesting point that I refer to above at 113 – namely, the frequency and seeming inevitability of ice ages.

    This, it seems to me at any rate, is a genuinely significant matter and I would like to know what others think.

  116. #116 pough
    June 11, 2009

    Re: ice ages, I only started reading up on it. What’s struck me so far is that the times aren’t as certain as I thought. For one thing, there was apparently a 28,000 year interglacial. I didn’t know that. For another, there are some newer competing ideas on the times involved.

    So I think we’re only past due for an ice age only if older schools of thought are correct on the time frames and also if things are likely to continue on as before. Neither of those things are certain, in my admittedly limited opinion.

  117. #117 Snowman
    June 11, 2009

    Yes, Pough, I think you may have in mind the recent article in Nature that did indeed suggest a 28,000 interglacial. It went on to report, as you correctly assert, that there is now some doubt about the regularity of the ice/non-ice pattern.

    So, your point is a good one. However, I think the article presents this as a speculative idea and the consensus still seems to be in favour of 100,000 year ice ages with 10,000 year interglacials.

    I suppose all that can be asserted with absolute certainty is that the ice will come back. If the 10,000 interglacial pattern is indeed typical, then it might come back pretty soon.

    As for the fundamental belief that ice ages are typical, and interglacials are not, I don’t think that has been challenged.

  118. #118 Richard Simons
    June 11, 2009

    Snowman said (in response to my asking him if he ever justified his claim that “ALL of the 0.6C rise of the 20th century has now been reversed”?)

    See various statements above put out by the University of Alabama at Huntsville, one of the four internationally recognized authorities on climate research.

    I did. In fact, I was the person who posted the link that you could not be bothered to provide. They did not support your claim, that I now see you are trying to back away from without actually admitting it is unsupportable. Next time perhaps you will be a bit more careful not to spout random nonsense.

  119. #119 thoughtful Tom
    June 12, 2009

    Not to ignore Snowman and Craker’s ranting about how it isn’t fair that “their” side can’t get published in peer review journals because of whatever the conspiracy theory de jour their science is bad, but if we are afraid we are heading into another ice age, and we know CO2 forces warming (which we do), then, why, why, why! don’t we save the CO2 by ending the use of fossil fuel as soon as possible? That way we could put some CO2 in the atmosphere when we need it and stave off the impending ice age.

    If this global cooling bit is an actual concern – and not the canard of the moment – it seems this brand of denier would be the loudest voice for limiting CO2 and other GHG emissions through taxes, cap and trade, greening their lives, etc., etc.

    I sense a non-trivial inconsistency here.

    Tom

  120. #120 Snowman
    June 13, 2009

    Another ice age is surely coming, Tom, unless of course the planet has embarked upon a pattern wholly different from anything that has gone before. Let me sum up my point.

    I was invoking Occam’s Razor, the philosophical precept stating that ‘entities should not be allowed to multiply unnecessarily.’ To put it in more modern terms, the simpler explanation is always to be preferred over the more complex.

    One uncontested fact is that, over the past one million years, ice ages are the normal, default position of the earth, and are far more common than interglacial warms. There is some debate about the detailed figures, but the broadly accepted pattern is 100,000 year ice ages punctuated by 10,000 year interglacials. Throughout this period, CO2 levels have sometimes been higher than now, and sometimes lower. Yet the ice always returns.

    So, when we note the warming that occurred throughout much of the twentieth century and some recent evidence for cooling (although its significance is disputed) Occam’s Razor leads us to conclude that what we are seeing is merely business as usual.

    It also poses the following question: why, given the above, do we think that our current era is different from everything that has gone before in the history of the earth? What is the clear, unambiguous and compelling reason for believing that this time, the ice will not return? And given that the current interglacial has lasted about 12,000 years (rather longer than the average) how can we know that the ice is not imminent?

    It is not enough merely to point to relatively high and rising levels of CO2. As it has been higher in the past, this argument falls at the first hurdle as a scientific hypothesis.

    Some individuals here have attempted to portray this merely as a collision between the strict rationality of science, and rather wooly notions of philosophy. Of course, it is precisely the opposite. Occam’s Razor is a powerful, a priori method of arguing that cuts an argument down to its essentials, and is particularly valuable in scientific discourse.

    If anyone has a good countering argument, I would be genuinely interested in hearing it.

  121. #121 Ian Forrester
    June 13, 2009

    Snowman, you can go on all you want about Occam’s Razor but any scientist worth his salt does not believe it for one minute.

    Scientists go where the data take them not where some philosopher thinks they should go.

    In science, some times the correct interpretation is the simplest but in a lot of cases it just isn’t. Why should it be? Science is a lot more complicated than philosophy.

    And over the past 500,000 years CO2 has never been as high as it is now. (see: http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm)

  122. #122 coby
    June 13, 2009

    Snowman,

    Can you please provide evidence for your erroneous claim that CO2 levels have been higher than they are now at any time in the last 1 million years. Or do we add this to your other incorrect and unsubstantiated claim that the last two years saw the temperature return to levels of 100 years ago?

    Both claims are completely false and therefore unsupportable.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!