The Island of Doubt

ResearchBlogging.orgIf predicting climate trends was as easy as predicting the reaction of global warming pseudoskeptics there wouldn’t be any deniers left. When I came across a new study in Nature Geoscience on the cause of the massive shift in the climate 55 million years ago, my first reaction was, “How long will it take before someone completely misrepresents this paper as evidence that undermines anthropogenic global warming?”

Not long. See here, here and here, if you have the time.

In the paper, Richard E. Zeebe of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii and his colleagues use some clever isotopic analysis techniques to determine how much carbon was released during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) … I’ll let David J. Beerling of the University of Sheffield explain it, as he does in an accompanying essay in Nature Geoscience:

Global warming 55 million years ago was accompanied by a massive injection of carbon into the ocean-atmosphere system, but the resulting climatic warming was much greater than expected from the modeled rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide alone.

Which means our models, the ones forecasting disastrous rises in global average temperatures as soon as the middle of this century if we don’t stop pouring more carbon into the ecosystem, aren’t up to the task yet of explaining what happened millions of years ago. Does this mean that the world isn’t going to warm as much as we feared? Although pseudoskeptical blogospheric reaction would have you answer in the affirmative, the correct response is no. And here’s why.

Anyone who has actually read the paper or the essay would understand that the research in question hasn’t produced any evidence that would make us rethink the basic idea that more carbon in the air traps more heat. All it does challenge is the completeness of our models. Zeebe et al’s analysis still finds that massive amounts of carbon-containing molecules found their way into the atmosphere and oceans, precipitating an extreme increase in temperature — something like 7 or 9 °C — in a relatively short timespan.

What we still don’t know is where all that carbon came from.The resulting warming was twice what we would have expected from carbon dioxide levels alone. As Zeebe and company write:

The origin of this additional warming is unknown at present. Possible causes of the excess warming include increased production and levels of trace greenhouse gases as a consequence of the climatic warming (CH4) [methane].

Beerling, who is better positioned to extrapolate than I, offers “the release of large quantities of methane.” What he’s talking about are frozen hydrates — or clathrates — which are abundant on Earth, largely buried beneath the Arctic permafrost and seabed. If they thaw thanks to global warming, the result would a positive feedback loop in which the carbon from the carbon dioxide initiates the release of more carbon in the form of methane from the clathrates. And then you do see the kind of temperature increase inferred from the isotopic analysis. As Beerling ads:

The total mass of carbon involved in the PETM warming event is uncertain, but some estimates suggest it is roughly equivalent to that stored in fossil fuels (3,000-4,000 Pg C), heightening the relevance of the PETM to present-day climate concerns.

The Zeebe paper is forced to make many assumptions, and some of those assumptions may prove unwarranted. For example, it assumes that the climate response to a doubling of CO2 concentrations is the same regardless of the starting point for CO2 concentrations. Given the role of tipping points, that may be prove to just plain wrong.
Furthermore, this is just one paper, after all. And it hasn’t had time to be digested by the entire climatology community. It could be that another few studies will come to opposite conclusions — that our models do explain what happened 55 million years ago.

But the point is, Zeebe et al haven’t discovered some flaw the basic physics, only a shortcoming in our models’ assumptions about the source of carbon-induced warming and the role of positive feedbacks. If anything, what they’ve found is quite worrisome. If the Beerling’s conjecture about feedbacks is correct, then we could be looking at twice the warming hitherto expected this century. (Remember that a global rise of just 2 °C above pre-industrial levels is considered disastrous enough for the world to agree to try to keep things below that.)

Also, just because we don’t understand what happened 55 million years ago perfectly, that’s no reason to get complacent. The Earth was largely ice-free at the time. CO2 levels were three times higher than today’s even before the subsequent spike. So although it’s important to understand what happened then, because it’s one of the few times the planet has experienced something sort of similar to what’s going on now, there are limits to the analogy.

We are going where no one has gone before. The real take-home message from this paper is this: anyone who says the science is settled and we don’t need to be spending any more money on such research is just plain wrong.

Zeebe, R., Zachos, J., & Dickens, G. (2009). Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum warming Nature Geoscience DOI: 10.1038/ngeo578

Comments

  1. #1 Hank Roberts
    July 17, 2009

    Apropos science education, I’d sure like to see someone interview whoever at Rice drafted this press release:

    http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=12794&SnID=192503617

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-07/ru-gwo071409.php

    And compare it to the process at Manoa, which a couple of days later released this (along with an excellent image, better displayed at EurekAlert than at the Manoa page):

    http://manoa.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/uhmnews2?20090714185609

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-07/uoha-ag071609.php

  2. #2 Brian Schmidt
    July 18, 2009

    I’m going off memory here, but I thought models didn’t account for ice-cap feedbacks, because they took thousands of years (supposedly). Too long by our standards, but not too long compared to PETM. Was that accounted for?

  3. #3 Tom Fool
    July 18, 2009

    Hey James,
    I came to this site because as a so-called “denier” (I heard that term for the first time today) I was told by a friend more sympathetic to man-made global warming theories that I would find objective information here. Yet in your first paragraph of this article, you state (upon discovering the new study in Nature Geoscience)…”,my first reaction was’How long will it take before someone completely misrepresents this paper as evidence that undermines anthropogenic global warming?’ Your first reaction WASN’T, “Hmmmm… maybe there’s some new information here that might shed new light on our preconceived ideas that anthropogenic global warming is man made.” Nope, that question is already settled in your mind, evidently. If someone presents data that challenges your assertion that global warming is man made, then the task at hand isn’t to weigh the merits of their data, it’s to find ways to dispute their findings. This blind devotion to your cause, irregardless of conflicting information, is what makes us “deniers” all the more skeptical. But since you are so confident in your unbending position, would you kindly explain, in scientific terms, the merits of Obama’s “Cap & Trade” legislation and how it can be proven that such legislation will have a measurable, positive impact on global warming? I’ll look forward to your response.

  4. #4 Jock Shockley
    July 18, 2009

    Not sure if you noticed, being a little biased as you are, but the only science supporting AGW comes from a few models that don’t seem to work very well. There is no actual scientific base for it anymore (ask what happened to the hockey stick?). Temperatures are not increasing (in lockstep with atmospheric CO2 or otherwise), sea levels are not increasing more than normal, polar bears are not endangered, ice is increasing on one side of Antarctica and Greenland and declining on the other (changing currents), and what little warming effect atmospheric CO2 has decreases as concentration increases (Artmospheric Chemistry 101). Pretty much the only thing supporting AGW are the huge profits to be made off cap and trade, and nuclear power stations. The words “academic fraud” are becoming more common in regard to this issue. Perhaps some actual research of both sides might be a better use of your 2 degrees. btw, Real Climate and George Monbiot are “doubtful blogs” only in terms of their content. As I said, do some real research rather than pretending to be a genuine science reporter.

  5. #5 Nils Ross
    July 18, 2009

    @ #2, “Tom Fool”:

    It’s almost like James read the article before he started writing this blog post. So that he’d already considered and rejected the proposition that the content of the paper cited challenged the accept model of anthropogenic global warming. He goes on to explain WHY he’s done this in his post, so your criticism is infantile.

    The consistent belief thrown around by denialists that science itself (or climate science specifically) has an ideological vested interest in perpetuating a particular model in isolation of the evidence is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Science is arguably the only social construct with internal mechanisms that prevent this kind of abuse: specifically, the fact that one scientist can profit by showing another scientist’s assertion to be false based on evidence.

    As for Obama’s Cap and Trade legislation, you’re completely off-topic. This isn’t the thread for that discussion. While we’re off-topic, though, perhaps you’d like to justify to the rest of the website here your inability or unwillingness to divide your posts into paragraphs for the sake of clarity? Hell, since we’re wandering so far OT, let’s discuss the relative merits of chocolate cake and sand dunes.

  6. #6 Nils Ross
    July 18, 2009

    As for #3, “Jock Shockley”, since you’ve demanded James do some ‘real research’, perhaps you wouldn’t mind linking all of us poor deluded fools to peer-reviewed literature debunking the anthropogenic global warming model? It seems only fair, since one only has to type “CO2 atmosphere warming” or something similar into scholar.google.com to come up with the last thirty years worth of thorough, peer-reviewed scientific literature which supports AGW.

    The reality is that there is no such literature. If the evidence showed AGW was a bad model, or FAILED to show it was a GOOD one, it wouldn’t be the currently accepted scientific consensus. Telling lies doesn’t make you right. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Supply some or GTFO.

  7. #7 Oakden Wolf
    July 18, 2009
  8. #8 Tom Fool
    July 18, 2009

    Nils,
    My criticism, you say, is “infantile.” Waaah!… you hurt my feelings.
    Try to follow: James says, “So although it’s important to understand what happened then, because it’s one of the few times the planet has experienced something sort of similar to what’s going on now, there are limits to the analogy.”
    I like the “sort of similar to what’s going on now” part best. The problem is there were no Homo sapiens around 55 million years ago with cars and factories to fill the atmosphere with C02, so there should be a BIG EMPHASIS on the “sort of.” His casual dismissal of this paper’s findings possibly challenging any of the preconceived ideas held by you “variable climate deniers” indicates an inherent bias that you are so invested in, you don’t even recognize it. But I’m “infantile,” so what do I know?

  9. #9 Tom Fool
    July 18, 2009

    #4 Nils,
    I like chocolate cake much more than sand dunes. Do I need to break that up into paragraphs for you to follow?

  10. #10 Jock Shockley
    July 18, 2009

    Nils, I spent two years working on a project to compare the competing arguments relating to AGW/climate change for the benefit of policy makers who need hard data for decision making. We eventually gave up because we could not find “hard” science for the pro side, while the “con” side was quite clear.
    I could argue all day, and you would just try to pick holes little holes rather than actually think. My best advice is to do your own homework and research, look at both sides, and actually think about what you read rather than believe what you want, or fear, to believe because it makes you “right” against the odds.
    The reality is that there is no supporting evidence, and there is no scientific concensus. If you believed that latter line (from PR 101), its no wonder you fell for the rest.
    As for your polite admonition to GTFO – DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK AND THINK RATHER THAN BELIEVE.
    Peer-reviewed literature? Who are the peers, who selects them, who ensures they are unbiased, answer me that?
    I swear, Nils, your inability to research is the stuff that good sucker campaigns are built on.
    I will answer three questions for you – make sure the questions don’t reveal your ignorance.

  11. #11 Tom Fool
    July 18, 2009

    Jock,
    “Pretty much the only thing supporting AGW are the huge profits to be made off cap and trade…”
    Nils says that subject is “off topic,” so get in line.
    And as you well know by now, the “Variable Climate Deniers” cherry-pick they’re data, so careful when you reference Mann’s “hockey stick.”

  12. #12 Jock Shockley
    July 19, 2009

    Thanks Tom,
    I’ll try to be good for the children.
    Can’t see how “follow the money” is ever “off topic”, but I will play nice.
    I still chuckle about the hockey stick, though. Mann went from poster child to muppet in one fell swoop. Its had its impact though, and people still believe it even though nobody is “couragious” enough to use it any more.
    Jock

  13. #13 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    I’ll make the naive assumption that either of you are really interested in dialogue and go over your salient points — and I use that term loosely — one by one.

    *”I like the “sort of similar to what’s going on now” part best. The problem is there were no Homo sapiens around 55 million years ago with cars and factories to fill the atmosphere with C02, so there should be a BIG EMPHASIS on the “sort of.””
    -This IS infantile. The reduced 13C and 14C isotope levels in the ‘extra’ CO2 in the atmosphere now correspond to the levels in fossil fuels. The increased CO2 concentration we see in the atmosphere now IS DEFINITELY the result of human actions. The fact that you’re obliquely denying this is the case (rather than arguing that CO2 itself causes no warming or has some other effect) is revealing of you mindset, to say the least.

    *”His casual dismissal of this paper’s findings possibly challenging any of the preconceived ideas held by you “variable climate deniers” indicates an inherent bias that you are so invested in, you don’t even recognize it.”
    -James hasn’t dismissed the paper’s findings at all. What he’s done in the blog post above is point out the most obvious route by which they’ll be misrepresented. The period discussed in the paper is significantly different to the conditions which we are now experiencing, despite some similarities, and James makes this point. If anything, as James correctly points out, the fact that there was MORE warming for a given CO2 increase during the period discussed should caution us that the models we have for the current situation are perhaps too conservative — although this may be stretching the interpretation too.

    *”Peer-reviewed literature? Who are the peers, who selects them, who ensures they are unbiased, answer me that?
    I swear, Nils, your inability to research is the stuff that good sucker campaigns are built on.”
    -Peer review is a process in science whereby scientists with reputations established by publishing papers in the field review articles submitted for publication. These scientists are selected for a given submitted article by a combination of the authors submitting papers (who have to show those people ARE experts in their field by citing relevant publications) and the boards of the journals themselves, whose reputations and profits depend on their selection of academics with good credentials.

    The implication of your statement is that you believe that THE ENTIRE BODY OF SCIENCE, or at the very least the entire body of atmospheric science, has been subverted to a single ideology in the absence of evidence. Such a claim is extra-ordinary, and therefore requires extra-ordinary evidence. Which you will be incapable of providing, because what you are suggesting is patently untrue. Peer review works, in every moderate-to-high impact factor journal (and any number of lesser journals too); the fact you don’t believe this doesn’t speak too well of your experience with science or of your own objectivity.

    *”Can’t see how “follow the money” is ever “off topic”, but I will play nice.”
    -Since you brought it up again (even though the money trail IS off topic). The reality is that there’s more money to made by NOT paying attention to emissions than there is by doing something about them. There have historically been and remain to be atmospheric research funded by those with an economic interest in energy production. It would be overgeneralising to suggest these interested parties would prefer data debunking the AGW model, but it’s certainly true that the scientists they support wouldn’t hesitate to publish such data. Again, I throw down the gauntlet. Link me peer reviewed literature providing evidence against the AGW model.

    *And I’ll do the same for the argument here:
    -http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6809/abs/408184a0.html
    -http://www.springerlink.com/index/X27X32P961431434.pdf
    -https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/sm9401.pdf
    -https://www.gfdl.gov/bibliography/related_files/sm9003.pdf
    -http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6836/abs/411469a0.html
    -http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v406/n6799/abs/406978a0.html

    These are just the first few relevant hits that came up on scholar.google.com after I typed (as I claimed) “CO2 atmosphere warming”.

    *I think that addresses your salient points. I’ll finish off by pointing you to “http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php” to answer any further crazy, long-since debunked arguments you might come up with, and again challenge you to put up or shut up. Links to peer-reviewed literature debunking the current scientific consensus of AGW or the label of ‘denialist’ stays.

    (Not that you care! I know, I shouldn’t feed the trolls!)

  14. #14 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    My response was lengthy enough that it got picked up as spam. Hopefully James doesn’t double post it. Here it is broken up into separate responses:

    I’ll make the naive assumption that either of you are really interested in dialogue and go over your salient points — and I use that term loosely — one by one.

    *”I like the “sort of similar to what’s going on now” part best. The problem is there were no Homo sapiens around 55 million years ago with cars and factories to fill the atmosphere with C02, so there should be a BIG EMPHASIS on the “sort of.””
    -This IS infantile. The reduced 13C and 14C isotope levels in the ‘extra’ CO2 in the atmosphere now correspond to the levels in fossil fuels. The increased CO2 concentration we see in the atmosphere now IS DEFINITELY the result of human actions. The fact that you’re obliquely denying this is the case (rather than arguing that CO2 itself causes no warming or has some other effect) is revealing of your mindset, to say the least.

  15. #15 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    *”His casual dismissal of this paper’s findings possibly challenging any of the preconceived ideas held by you “variable climate deniers” indicates an inherent bias that you are so invested in, you don’t even recognize it.”
    -James hasn’t dismissed the paper’s findings at all. What he’s done in the blog post above is point out the most obvious route by which they’ll be misrepresented. The period discussed in the paper is significantly different to the conditions which we are now experiencing, despite some similarities, and James makes this point. If anything, as James correctly points out, the fact that there was MORE warming for a given CO2 increase during the period discussed should caution us that the models we have for the current situation are perhaps too conservative — although this may be stretching the interpretation too.

  16. #16 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    *”Peer-reviewed literature? Who are the peers, who selects them, who ensures they are unbiased, answer me that?
    I swear, Nils, your inability to research is the stuff that good sucker campaigns are built on.”
    -Peer review is a process in science whereby scientists with reputations established by publishing papers in the field review articles submitted for publication. They are selected by a combination of the authors submitting papers (who have to show those people ARE experts in their field by citing relevant publications) and the boards of the journals themselves, whose reputations and profits depend on their selection of academics with good credentials.

    The implication of your statement is that you believe that THE ENTIRE BODY OF SCIENCE, or at the very least the entire body of atmospheric science, has been subverted to a single ideology in the absence of evidence. Such a claim is extra-ordinary, and therefore requires extra-ordinary evidence. Which you will be incapable of providing, because what you are suggesting is patently untrue. Peer review works, in every moderate-to-high impact factor journal (and any number of lesser journals too); the fact you don’t believe this doesn’t speak too well of your experience with science or of your own objectivity.

  17. #17 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    *”Can’t see how “follow the money” is ever “off topic”, but I will play nice.”
    -Since you brought it up again (even though the money trail IS off topic). The reality is that there’s more money to be made by NOT paying attention to emissions than there is by doing something about them. There have historically been and remain to be atmospheric research funded by those with an economic interest in energy production. It would be overgeneralising to suggest these interested parties would prefer data debunking the AGW model, but it’s certainly true that the scientists they support wouldn’t hesitate to publish such data. Again, I throw down the gauntlet. Link me peer reviewed literature providing evidence against the AGW model.

  18. #18 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    *And I’ll take up my own challenge here, with some papers relating to AGW – their references are also relevant:
    -http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6809/abs/408184a0.html
    -http://www.springerlink.com/index/X27X32P961431434.pdf
    -https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/sm9401.pdf
    -https://www.gfdl.gov/bibliography/related_files/sm9003.pdf
    -http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6836/abs/411469a0.html
    -http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v406/n6799/abs/406978a0.html

    These are just the first few relevant hits that came up on scholar.google.com after I typed (as I claimed) “CO2 atmosphere warming”. I think this pretty much deals with my “inability to research stuff”.

  19. #19 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    *I think that addresses your salient points. I’ll finish off by pointing you to “http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php” to answer any further crazy, long-since debunked arguments you might come up with, and again challenge you to put up or shut up. Links to peer-reviewed literature debunking the current scientific consensus of AGW or the label of ‘denialist’ stays.

    (Not that you care! I know, I shouldn’t feed the trolls!)

  20. #20 Jock Shockley
    July 19, 2009

    Nils, nice one. I haven’t provided links because you’ll learn more if you find it yourself. It isn’t difficult.
    1. Check the ice cores at Vostok and elsewhere. Atmospheric CO2 has been increasing for centuries at a steady rate.
    2. Atmospheric CO2 rises about 800-100 years after the last temperature rise (like now is about 800-1000 years after the Medieval Warm Period.
    3. Check the concentration of atmospheric CO2 against average atmospheric temperature – CO2 is increasing at a steady rate, even when a/temps went down during the 1940-70.
    4. The heating effect of a/CO2 decreases as concentration increases – beyond a soon to be reached point there will be NO further warming from CO2 – the main impact of CO2 came in getting us out of Ice Ages. (You may have to find at atmnospheric cemistry text for this one.)
    5. Your little rant on peer review is touchingly naive. If you think it works like that in “edge” fields then perhaps you should go work at a research lab sometime. The ideology is “research funding” – and its very persuasive. I prefer the work of Emeritus Professors because thay are beyond this scamble for funds.
    Next…

  21. #21 Nils Ross
    July 19, 2009

    In response to #17:

    You haven’t provided links because you don’t have any. Not a single scrap of evidence that hasn’t been already debunked. Come on, prove me wrong. As to your numbered arguments:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png

    Epic fail. Your statement is wrong. A complete lie. CO2 has risen sharply in the last century; the gradient was steeper in the century before that, corresponding to the onset of industry. This trend is superimposed on the natural cycle rather than being part of it.

    2. Epic fail through simple reasoning. Isotope analysis of CO2 in the atmosphere shows an anomolously low level of 13C and 14C, indicating that it has come from a source not recently part of the ecosystem. In the absence of any other source, and the knowledge that we emit CO2 in corresponding quantities, we are the source. This rise is not natural.

    3. This is a straw man argument. No one is claiming that temperature is at all times correlated directly to CO2 concentrations. Climate models are highly non-linear. The central claims of the AGW theory are that humans are causing the increasing in greenhouse concentration and that this causing a warming in climate over a long period of time. There are obviously other factors in play (ice cover, albedo, aerosols, ozone, el nino type formations, etc etc), but these factors do not void the assertions of the AGW model simply by existing.

    4. This is a trivial argument. A greenhouse only becomes so hot because it works by the balance between radiative forcing from the sun and emission. An increase in CO2 leads to an increase in temperature due to increased absorption and re-emission in all directions of IR light. No one is claiming that temperature increase will continue indefinitely. This is irrelevant; small changes in global mean temperature will likely be catastrophic for the ecosystem that supports our species.

    5. Climate and atmospheric science is no more an ‘edge’ field than any science. Science works at the edge of current understanding. Your argument directly attacks the process of peer review without providing evidence that it is flawed systematically. Science is demonstratably the most successful cultural construct in the history of our species, and the process of peer review is central to that success. It works. Your argument doesn’t.

    These five arguments took me less than ten minutes to refute. You have shown yourself to be somewhere between misinformed and dishonest. The label of denialist sticks quite nicely.

  22. #22 Jock Shockley
    July 19, 2009

    6. The money – how old are you? Exxon spends about $25m a year on this topic, I understand that there are about $1t available for pro-climate-change research. Even if its only $1b your point is not valid. I wonder how much the nuclear power industry is tipping in to shift from glowing nuclear green to cool environmentally friendly green?
    While you’re mulling that over, let me ask why you think the major scientists are not willing to debate the “science”? Gore won’t (look up Generation Investment Management), IPCC dont. Check out the Intelligence Squared debate for a rare example (its on Youtube). In short anybody who tells you that there is no debate, is hiding something.
    My research indicates that AGW science is rubbish, and we need to work on finding the real drivers of climate change. Anybody with a genuinely enquiring half mind can see that CO2 is no more than a minor driver of change.
    And yes, Nils, I have read the peer-reviewed literature and done the IPCC reports in detail. For the record, IPCC do not actually address, in more than speculative form, the causal mechanism that makes a/CO2 drive a/temp. They talk about it but never reveal any research (peer-reviewed or not).
    DO SOME REAL RESEARCH AND DO NOT JUST REPEAT WHAT YOU’VE BEEN TOLD!

  23. #23 Jock Shockley
    July 19, 2009

    1. Well done. You’ve done some research. Now go and plot the actual data from Vostok and others against temperature, and try to find the hockey stick uptick. Well done, you’ve actually found old work from before Mann, et al, was discredited. A good first try.
    2. The rise is mainly natural, but man made emissions have added to the total. Well done. Doesn’t mean anything in terms of a relationship with a/temp, but you’re trying.
    3. Ignoring the basic principles of atmospheric chemistry, you have a point. Actually, you dont, those factors do negate the theory of AGW, but its your dime.
    4. Please learn the difference between Greenhouse and AGW. “small changes in global mean temperature will likely be catastrophic for the ecosystem that supports our species” – precisely why we need to get off this bandwagon and investigate genuine causal factors.
    5. Opinion showing little understanding of either science or culture. I’m guessing you believe anything you’re told by a person in a white coat. “Science is demonstratably (sic) the most successful cultural construct in the history of our species”…cf? I think your putting Descarte before the horse. Modern science is a very hit and miss means of investigating our common reality – it is neither comnprehensive nor co-ordinated. Please read more widely on history and social structures.
    Its a shame that you think that 10 minutes was productive. Your first point indicated that you are not current in your knowledge, and that your internet research skills are not discriminating – you find what supports your point and quote it with no regard to its context.
    I look forward to your next effort.

  24. #24 Tom Fool
    July 19, 2009

    Nils,
    I may have been a bit hasty in my assessment of James’ analysis. He seems to be less prone to throwing out the usual generalizations and wisely concedes: “The real take-home message from this paper is this: anyone who says the science is settled and we don’t need to be spending any more money on such research is just plain wrong.”
    I’m not so sure about the money part (obviously the climate change hysteria is good for business, if you’re a researcher), but the science is hardly settled. You, on the other hand, seem to frequently resort to the usual unsubstantiated alarmist rhetoric without back up your claims:

    “…small changes in global mean temperature will likely be catastrophic for the ecosystem that supports our species…”

    “In the absence of any other source, and the knowledge that we emit CO2 in corresponding quantities, we are the source. This rise is not natural.”
    Says who? Where? When? How?

    “The reality is that there’s more money to be made by NOT paying attention to emissions than there is by doing something about them.”
    You obviously don’t understand “Cap & Trade.” The government (the only body able to set policy) will make BILLIONS off “Cap & Trade.” http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2243772/cap-trade-bill-generate
    Obviously our government has a deeply vested interest in guys like you continuing to carry the torch for this monumental hoax. Keep up the good work!

  25. #25 Opus
    July 19, 2009

    Poor Jock – he brought a casserole to a knife fight. Still can’t get a handle on the concept of science – he’s stuck at the point where assertions do not equal proof. If the truth were known he’s probably the victim of a hoax: somebody with a financial interest in the current state of affairs put out a list of talking points designed to hook gullible people who have a predisposition to believe conspiracy theories. Jock bought it lock, stock and barrel and parrots the talking points whenever possible under the mistaken impression that he’s talking about ‘science.’ The reason he can’t link to any peer-reviewed literature is simple: he’s never seen any.

    The one sure tip-off that he’s been suckered: he can’t keep from bringing Al Gore into it, and doesn’t realize that Gore is not a climate scientist.

    Today’s vocabulary lesson has been brought to you by Josh. The lesson is that the root of the word ‘ignorance’ is the verb ‘ignore.’

  26. #26 CW
    July 19, 2009

    This entry about denialism fits Jock and Tom Fool to a T.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/about.php

  27. #27 Tom Fool
    July 19, 2009

    “The one sure tip-off that he’s been suckered: he can’t keep from bringing Al Gore into it, and doesn’t realize that Gore is not a climate scientist.”
    I’m glad to see that Al Gore doesn’t receive much cred on this blog, but you’d think as a politician, he’d welcome the opportunity to debate the merits of AGW science. With he and his family having a “carbon footprint” that would rival that of most small towns, however, one really has to start questioning his commitment to Sparkle Motion.

  28. #28 Tom Fool
    July 19, 2009

    “It would be overgeneralising to suggest these interested parties would prefer data debunking the AGW model, but it’s certainly true that the scientists they support wouldn’t hesitate to publish such data. Again, I throw down the gauntlet.
    The UN’s IPCC, which you have referenced, is not a pure, “climate study” scientific organization, as we have been led to believe. It is an organization of UN bureaucrats, environmental activists, and environmentalist scientists founded in the 60′s to give credence to Maurice Strong’s assertion that fossil fuels were responsible for greenhouse gases. These environmental activists craved UN funding so they could produce the science they needed to stop the burning of fossil fuels. They and the current crop of global warming alarmists have a vested interest in promulgating the hysteria. So yes, “follow the money.”

  29. #29 Tom Fool
    July 19, 2009

    Nils,
    I wish I was able to delete that last post… you never referenced the IPCC… it was someone else somewhere else, so never mind. I have been a bit like a “bull in a china shop” in here and probably just need to say goodbye now.
    Cheerio!

  30. #30 dan
    July 19, 2009

    I’m curious, how is it possible that I keep hearing the idea that this is all to make a profit with caps and trading CO2 credits. Didn’t Exxon just make the highest quarterly profit of ANY industry in history? Are they part of this green movement? Don’t they drill and process oil?

  31. #31 Hank Roberts
    July 19, 2009

    Sigh. They come, they unload their bin, they depart.

  32. #32 Thomas Lee Elifritz
    July 19, 2009

    Sigh. They come, they unload their bin, they depart.

    It’s all they know. Ther’re retards – Americanus retardus.

  33. #33 llewelly
    July 19, 2009

    ‘Jock Shockley’ | July 18, 2009 11:48 PM:

    Peer-reviewed literature? Who are the peers, who selects them, who ensures they are unbiased, answer me that?

    ON NOES!! ITSALLABIGCONSPIRACY!!! Enviros, Freemasons, Reptoids, and Shoggoths, OH MY!!!

  34. #34 Jock Shockley
    July 19, 2009

    Nice turn of phrase, Opus. I prefer my taste to your dull blade, though. Did you actually have a point or was it just a little rant. If you have any “proof” of AGW then trot it out – I am happy to debate.
    Its a pity others didn’t realize that about Al Gore – did it take you long to work out? good point, Tom, why doesn’t Gore (or anyone else on that side) want to debate this?
    CW – I am not a denialist. I do like dealing with solid information and “facts” where they exist. Both are lacking from the AGW theory. As I said above, do some research instead of parroting what you have been told. Come to your own assessment. Actually investigate. Really read the IPCC reports, especially about CO2, and challenge their work to see if it holds up. Act liek a scientist. Use the scientific method.

  35. #35 Jock Shockley
    July 19, 2009

    :-) Nice one, llewelly.
    Peer review is a process, and it isn’t perfect, especially in contentious fields. Any masons and reptoids you perceive in this are entirely your own problem.
    Anyway, if it were a deliberate conspiracy it would be much better organized. This is just power politics and some very fine marketing and PR aimed at a well-primed market. When there is no debate, it obviously isn’t about the actual science.

  36. #36 Andrew Dodds
    July 20, 2009

    Jock -

    Simple question (lack of answer or evasion will could as admission of defeat, standard clause):

    - Do you believe that a natural greenhouse effect exists? (Yes/No)

    To follow up -

    - If the answer to the above is ‘yes’, how is it possible that naturally occuring greenhouse gasses raise the temperature of the planet, but somehow the planet ‘knows’ which GHGs are man made and ignores them?

    - Otherwise if you answered ‘no’ to the above, how do you explain how the Earth is not a ball of ice with deep frozen oceans?

    I await your equivocation with interest.

  37. #37 Jock Shockley
    July 20, 2009

    Andrew,
    - I believe there is solid evidence that a natural greenhouse effect exists on Earth which results in normal temperatures being about 16C above what would be normal for this type of Ice Planet without GHGs.
    - Bad question. I assume you are asking how an increase in the concentration of “man-made” greenhouse gasses can avoid contributing to further atmospheric temperature rises? Answer: You assume that there is a direct relationship between concentration of GHG and atmospheric temperature. There is not. By way of example – visualize a graph with actual atmospheric heating effect on the y axis and concentration of CO2 on the x axis. The relationship is a backward curve, starting steep at low concentrations and decreasing (laying back to the right) to become almost horizontal as concentration increases. Upshot – beyond a certain point, increasing concentrations of CO2 have little or no further heating effect. We are currenbtly well into the “layback” area. This is a “fact” you may check with any local expert in Atmospheric Chemistry!
    This picture is further complicated by the “fact” that water vapour (the largest GHG by far) absorbs many of the same wavelengths as CO2. Sadly, in (incorrectly) blaming CO2 for a supposed increase in atmospheric temperatures, the complicated atmospheric interactions of water vapour are still not well understood.
    I am sorry I could not provide you with the equivocation you so keenly desire. I just deal in supported hard data. Can I humbly recommend that you attempt the same.
    I assume that you are an advocate of AGW – as such I eagerly await a factual refutation of the above. Any a-factual refutation will be seen as an admission of defeat… yada yada.

  38. #38 Andrew Dodds
    July 20, 2009

    Jock -

    Well, yes, I do assume a direct relationship between total GHGs and climate. You appear to be using an incorrect model of saturation. See:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    For a more complete description, but although the lower atmosphere is effectively saturated with CO2 adsorbtion, by definition as you go higher, the pCO2 falls (Same concentration, less air), so the saturation drops, until you reach the radiative top of the atmosphere.

    Raising the CO2 concentration will be definition raise this height, which will adiabatically increase the temperature of the whole atmosphere. It is also useful to note that there is much less water vapour proportionately at high altitudes.

    You may be using hard data, but in a very oversimplified model, which is why your conclusions are wrong. Were you correct, you would also have to explain why the greenhouse effect on Venus makes it several hundred degrees hotter than would be expected.. which obviously couldn’t happen if your model were correct.

    So now that is cleared up, do you now understand that the man made greenhouse effect is real?

  39. #39 Jock Shockley
    July 20, 2009

    Nils: I have seen “How to talk to a skeptic” quite a few times. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at the pseudo-scientific claptrap. I loved how they said CO2 increasing 800 years AFTER a heating event was, nonetheless, causal. The desperation of their arguments is often sad and tortured. Pity, it was a good idea.

    Andrew: Impressive. I think if you reread your link though, you’ll see just how uncertain much of this “science” you quote is. Lots of theories advanced and discarded. Your theory is popular with Climate Modellers – and their models don’t predict very well. The effect at high altitudes is minimal due to the low density of the atmosphere there. Higher temperatures in very thin air at the top of the atmosphere has little impact on thicker air further down (hard to move the greater density of molecules). Where IS that pesky middle atmpospheric hotspot that your theory predicts but nobody can find? Wind sheared it off perhaps?
    Venus? Nice try. The Venusian atmosphere may be about 97% CO2 (compared to Earth’s 0.038%), but it is also a lot closer to the Sun, and its cloudy – we don’t know much about clouds (no funding). How about Mars? That atmosphere heated about 0.6C since 1970, about the same as Earth did. Love to hear your opinion on that. How about Pluto? Any idea what is happening there?
    Don’t overcomplicate the issues, Andrew. You can’t hide behind complex theories, especially when their prediction fail to reflect observed data. Remember Occam’s Razor.
    If your theories don’t work, check your assumptions.

  40. #40 Andrew Dodds
    July 20, 2009

    Jock -

    It seems a shame that you have resorted to throwing out any old thing in the hope that it will stick.

    As far as theories been advanced and discarded, one of those discarded is the very thing you were first talking about. Do you admit this now? If you raise the height at which the atmosphere radiates into space, you must by definition increase the surface temperature. (pV = nRT)

    As far as Venus goes, the sun is twice as strong (square of distance), but the clouds give it an albedo roughly twice that of earth, so the incoming radiation is roughly similar. Direct observation showing that you are wrong.

    I’m not ‘hiding behind complex theories’, I’m explaining the correct one to you!

  41. #41 Jock Shockley
    July 20, 2009

    If the atmosphere was constrained, like a balloon (or a greenhouse) the Ideal Gas Law may have some relevance. If you weren’t dealing with a non-Ideal gas like CO2 (and mixed with natural air) it may also have some relevance. If you could say with certainty what the role of clouds and water vapour are below that layer, then you may have some relevane. As it is your argument is in deep trouble.
    Nice argument about Venus, but without numbers for incoming energy and albedo, its meaningless. Earth’s albedo does not balance incoming radiation, and I’ll bet Venus’s doesn’t either. If incoming radiation is x, and reflected radiation is y, you just said that 2x=2y, which only makes your point if x=y. Quite frankly if that’s the best you can do, I suggest you don’t bother again.
    Maybe try understanding the theories you’re regurgitating.
    So much for your correct theory. Better go back to the Wally who explained it to you and ask them to rethink.
    Now, which theory I mentioned has been discarded, by whom, and for what reason?

  42. #42 Andrew Dodds
    July 20, 2009

    Jock -

    The atmosphere is indeed constrained. Obviously gravity is ‘only a theory’ but it does appear to exert an influence on the atmosphere. Not sure how clouds are relevent, apart from some attempt by you to muddy the waters?

    As far as venus goes, the numbers would be (approx):

    Solar flux ~2900 w/m2
    Albedo 0.8
    Hence surface flux (absorbed) ~600 w/m2

    And for Earth:

    Solar flux 1460 w/m2
    Albedo 0.4
    Hence surface flux (absorbed) ~880 w/m2

    As you can see, these are about the same given assorted uncertanties and unbalances.

    So the higher temperature of Venus is entirely down to the CO2-greenhouse effect.

    The theory you referred to was that the greenhouse effect could easily be simulated by a 1-layer model, which leads to rapid saturation of absorbtion by CO2. This has been known to be wrong since the 1950s.

  43. #43 CW
    July 20, 2009

    Jock, of course I didn’t expect you to agree that you’re a denialist. That’s one of the traits of being a denialist–denying that you’re a denialist. It’s like with an alcoholic who denies that he is an alcoholic. Meanwhile, everyone around him sees that he is an alcoholic.

    Same thing here. Everyone here (except the other denialists, who will enable you, just as alcoholics enable one another) can plainly see that you are a denialist. Not that I’m trying to convince you; I know I can’t.

    In fact, I find it sort of interesting in a watching-a-car-wreck sort of way. You are an oddity. It makes me wonder what drives you. Is it a need to feel important or special? Is there a gene for contrary thinking? Surely there’s been some psychological research into denialism. I wonder what it revealed. You should volunteer for a study if there ever is one. You could actually help advance science in a positive way.

  44. #44 Jock Shockley
    July 20, 2009

    I’ll get back to you tomorrow, Andrew. I’ll check your logic after a good nights rest.
    CW: And you are an alarmist, who thinks they might know something but doesn’t know enough to back up what they think they think. Perhaps you’d like to actually debate rather than just doing your deniophobic rant thing.

  45. #45 CW
    July 20, 2009

    Depending on your definition of alarmist, it’s possible I am one. My definition of alarmist would be: Someone who accepts the evidence that humans are causing at least some warming, and understands that we’d better take steps to stop doing that. How drastic should those steps be? I don’t know. I will freely admit that. And I’m not qualified to determine that anyway. I acknowledge my own shortcomings.

    As far as debating the science, no thanks. If you want to interpret that as evidence that you would win the debate, feel free. Makes me wonder if denialism is ego-driven. Do you feel personally insulted when someone calls you a denialist? This is a sincere question.

  46. #46 Steve Bloom
    July 20, 2009

    As Ray Pierrehumbert says, we *should* be alarmed.

  47. #47 jock.shockley
    July 21, 2009

    Andrew: The heat on the surface of Venus is internally generated heat not heat from solar radiation. The heavy gas cloud surrounding Venus is like an insulation blanket that traps the surface heat. (http://www.barry.warmkessel.com/barry/2related.html)
    I guess that rules out the Greenhouse effect as the sole cause.

  48. #48 Jock Shockley
    July 21, 2009

    Andrew: The heat on the surface of Venus is internally generated heat not heat from solar radiation. The heavy gas cloud surrounding Venus is like an insulation blanket that traps the surface heat. (http://www.barry.warmkessel.com/barry/2related.html)
    I guess that rules out the Greenhouse effect as the sole cause.

  49. #49 Soil Creep
    July 21, 2009

    Wow! Denying the “greenhouse” effect on Venus! LOL!

    And that’s simply INCREDIBLE link you’ve provided, Jock.

    I clicked “Back To Home Page” and read the follwoing: “Vulcan is the distant, yet to be observed, dark star companion of our Sun. It has flavored the human spirit, aided in the manifestion of avatars like Christ and Buddha, and stimulated quasi-periodic bombardment of Earth by comet strikes redirecting the course of human civilization.”

    LMFAO! Seriously? Major fail, Jock!!!!

  50. #50 Jock Shockley
    July 21, 2009

    Soil Creep: I said “sole source” in response to A Dodds posting. Please read carefully, Creep.
    Vulcan? Really? Chuckle. All you have to do then is prove his statement about Venus is wrong then. Should be easy for an eagle eye like you. Obviously everything on the whole site is wrong if you found something to laugh at. I feel the same way about realclimate.org, but they sometimes do have factual information.
    I recall from my deep past that greenhouse is only one of the contributing factors in Venus’ high atmos temp. Perhaps you can investigate this?

  51. #51 Andrew Dodds
    July 21, 2009

    Jock -

    Problem is, which statement are you referring to?

    There appears to be a claim that an impact 300 million years ago is the reason that the temperature at the surface is high now, but this does not hold water – you could not maintain an out of equilibrium state for that long. Unless you can show me the maths otherwise.. I believe that Lord Kelvin showed that the Earth – which is marginally bigger than Venus – would cool down from entirely molten within about 10 milion years without radioactive heat generation, so 300 million years for Venus is right out (unless it has a staggeringly powerful greenhouse effect, meaning that the greenhouse effect is actually stronger than we think).

  52. #52 Jock Shockley
    July 21, 2009

    Andrew, I seem to recall volcanic activity contributing to the thick atmosphere and the heat level. Unusual in an Earth context, but the surface there is much hot than our crust. Anyway, it doesn’t seem to be the greenhouse effect that causes all the heating.
    A nice discussion but it doesn’t really contribute much to Earth and the blaming of CO2 for the warming that isn’t.
    CO2 IS INNOCENT!
    I’d like to continue this but I am going on leave and won’t be on the ‘net as regularly. Thank you, gentlemen, for the informed parts of the “debate”, and to those of you unable to contribute to that, thanks for being convenient and easy targets. Respectfully, Jock.

  53. #53 Andrew Dodds
    July 21, 2009

    Jock -

    Again a change of subject.. but volcanoes on Venus as on Earth just represent part of the global heat flux, a much smaller effect than human-induced extra radiative forcing. The actual temperature of the crust does not matter, just the flux.

    In any case, the greenhouse effect on Venus is extremely relevant to the argument you were trying to make, because it shows empirically that there is no limit to how much CO2 can warm the atmosphere.

    How you say ‘CO2 is innocent’ in regard of this mystifies me, unless you are ideologically committed to this position, in which case you would do yourself more credit to admit it.

    but should you still be reading, consider this:

    - As long as the ‘Conservative/Business’ sphere is mired in denying robust scientific theories (and believe me that is exactly what is happening), all of the solutions will come from the more left-wing contingent. Is that really what you want?

  54. #54 Brad Arnold
    July 21, 2009

    In the July issue of the International Journal of Global Warming, Bo Nordell and Bruno Gervet of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden have come up with a remarkable finding that completely changes the way we understand global warming. By the way, the article “Global energy accumulation and net heat emission” is peer reviewed (in other words, it is credible science).

    The scientist’s calculations show that three fourths of accumulated heat is from heat emissions. In other words, most of the global warming is from heat humans have generated, not from increased levels of greenhouse gas in the air.

    If you factor in the heat of magma and lava from presumed volcanic eruptions during the PETM, that might well be where the extra heat came from.

  55. #55 Jock Shockley
    July 21, 2009

    Not gone just yet…
    I’m not convinced that the private sector is fighting this with any enthusiasm. They are too busy surviving at present. And they’ll pass the cap and trade costs on to the public, so they don’t really care. The Green sector is very big into it because their survival depends on it (organizationally, not personally). Recycling is no match for a world destroying threat!
    I say “CO2 is innocent” because that is my finding. For the record I am not being paid anything for this. My interest in this comes from 20 years as a research analyst. I started looking into this because something didn’t feel right – when I looked closely my gut feeling was correct (which left me more worried than happy).
    I have not found any convincing scientific evidence indicating that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 causes a rise in atmospheric temperature, although the opposite appears to be true. The cultural dimension of this also fascinates me.
    The forced lack of debate is a warning sign. Gore saying ignore anybody who doubts him is a warning sign. The rapid approach of most AGW enthusiasts is another warning sign. (Most of them have no real idea why they believe it, they just do, don’t they Creep and CW?)
    I am just irritated by scientifically ignorant enthusiasts who have leapt on the bandwagon for simplistic reasons. and by scientifically aware people who don’t know how to research both sides impartially. and by journalists and organizations riding this to make a buck out of it. and by politicians who clearly don’t understand anything but opinion polls. (Hmmm, quite alot there to by irritated by, eh?)
    For your last point, Andrew, I am much more worried by the green enthusiast contingent being wilfully ignorant of the thousands of scientists (climate and otherwise) who disagree with them but get ignored by the media because their message holds no “fear”, and we all know its “fear” that sells news.
    This just isn’t about the science, but its about the only way into these self-congratulatory discussions, and once it becomes common knowledge that there is no genuine scientific basis left for the AGW theory it may be worthwhile to have done so.
    Then we can assess the climate change, environmental degradation and sustainability with real science and scientists who aren’t just chasing research funding.
    Eventually the charges of academic fraud will come as the angry public demands payment for being suckered, and the green wunderkind will be pulled from their media thrones.

  56. #56 CW
    July 21, 2009

    Jock says: “The forced lack of debate is a warning sign.”

    That’s what the evolution denialists say. And the moon hoaxers. And the anti-vaxxers. All the denialists say that.

    Are you by chance a libertarian?

  57. #57 CW
    July 21, 2009

    It’s funny, all the signs of denialism are there in Jock’s last post:

    The evidence isn’t strong enough…

    The alarmists aren’t willing to debate….

    People are making up their minds without understanding the issue…

    The scientists aren’t objective; they only want funding…

    Politicians only want to do what is popular…

    It’s all about fear, not reality…

    It’s all about money….

    His side is “real science”…

    Wait, not all the signs are there. He hasn’t said anything about Galileo. Yet.

  58. #58 Jock Shockley
    July 21, 2009

    Is that so? I think you need to get out into the real world a little more CW.

    lib⋅er⋅tar⋅i⋅an
    –noun
    1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct.
    2. a person who maintains the doctrine of free will (distinguished from necessitarian ).

    Well, I like the ability to think for myself, and I like free will. I don’t like the idea of idiots like you telling me how or what to think (for obvious reasons). I like the idea of freedom, but I know that places obligations on me.
    I never thought of myself as a libertarian, although I was a bit of a libertine in my youth. Never had much of a bleeding heart, though.

    Are you by any chance a complete idiot?

  59. #59 Jock Shockley
    July 21, 2009

    CW: Care to make a point instead of a list?
    If you have any actual proof of anything, please trot it out so we can all see what you’re made of. Come on, impress us with your skill.

  60. #60 CW
    July 21, 2009

    “Are you by chance a complete idiot?”

    I suppose it’s possible. Willing to admit you might be a denialist? The first step to healing is admitting it.

    I am making a point–about denialism.

  61. #61 Andrew Dodds
    July 21, 2009

    Jock Shockley -

    I don’t understand. We have gone through an example showing that CO2 certainly exerts a greenhouse effect with an effect on temperature, you you continue to deny this without explanation.

    And then trail off into accusations of fraud without bothering to justify any of it.. Was Arrhenius part of this fraud?

  62. #62 Marion Delgado
    July 22, 2009

    When the trolls start actually LABELING themselves as shock jocks and Tom fools, is it not time to mercy kill the troll response project?

  63. #63 Lance
    July 23, 2009

    Hey Delgado,

    Why don’t you kill/file yourself. You haven’t made a substantive post in years (if ever).

  64. #64 Jock Shockley
    July 26, 2009

    OK Andrew. Prove your case beyond doubt.

    Hi Delgado. Perhaps you can try to do the same.

    I would like unequivocal proof that CO2 is responsible for observed changes in atmospheric temperature observed over the last 120 years since thermometers became sort of reliable.
    As you seem so sure, you should be able to do this in 24 hours.
    Go.

  65. #65 Sohpet
    July 27, 2009

    Thanks

  66. #66 Andrew Dodds
    July 27, 2009

    Jock -

    Read the link I’ve already provided. And the references thereof; although you should be aware that total forcings are responsible for temperature changes.

    As far as CO2 goes, we’ve been through it:

    - CO2 makes the atmosphere more opaque to outgoing IR radiation in several bands.

    - Increasing CO2 raises the height at which the atmosphere becomes effectively opaque in these bands.

    - Therefore, due to adiabatic effects the surface must become warmer as CO2 is increased.

    - There is no limit to the extent of this effect as witnessed by other planets.

    - So we have a physically based theory backed by independent observation that accounts for the temperature changes observer over the past century or so. Furthermore, this theory is really only an extension of a natural process that prevents the Earth freezing solid; denying it’s existance raises many other problems.

    And thermometers have been reliable for longer than 120 years..

  67. #67 Jock Shockley
    July 27, 2009

    All theory, Andrew. I said unequivocal proof! for the record, what you said doesn’t match past atmospheric temperatures to CO2 levels.

  68. #68 Brian D
    July 27, 2009

    Jock Shockley:

    1) Science never deals in unequivocal proof. What you’re asking for doesn’t exist. However, when we have a collection of observations that match well with a physically valid theory, we have reason to accept it tentatively, barring contradictory evidence. The real question here is – What evidence do you have that *disproves* this, either in the observational side or the physical theory side?

    2) No scientist says that it’s just CO2 – the closest you’ll get is someone talking about dominant forcings. However, without inclusion of anthropogenic CO2, you *cannot* account for the spike in temperatures from around 1975 or so.

  69. #69 Jock Shockley
    July 27, 2009

    Brian:
    1) Don’t try to turn the question back. Andrew didn’t like what I said, so I asked him to prove his point. A theory usually has actual evidence before it is accepted as even a working theory. AGW has nothing.
    2) You mean the spike that is just like the one from 1880 to 1940?
    Try again?

  70. #70 Andrew Dodds
    July 28, 2009

    Jock -

    I don’t understand. We’ve been through this already and you seem to have zero comprehension, or ability to follow links and read them.

    If you won’t do this then you seem to be saying ‘Show me proof, and by the way I won’t read it if you do’. That’s grossly stupid.

    Read the link provided, there is plenty of information there.

  71. #71 Sohpet
    July 28, 2009

    Thanks .

  72. #72 Jock Shockley
    July 28, 2009

    Andrew. The aip link? Nice summary from an enthusiast’s viewpoint, but hardly convincing in any scientific sense. For the purpose of this discussion, which part of the history contributed a scientific proof that CO2 is the main driver of changes in atmospheric temperature?
    And where do the predictions match past observations, let alone the future?
    In your own words, Andrew – maybe even dot points. Your scientific credibility is at stake. What actual “proof” do you have? How much is unsupported belief like most of what you have said up to now?

  73. #73 Andrew Dodds
    July 29, 2009

    Jock -

    It’s not unsupported belief.

    Do you regard the absorption spectra of CO2 as an ‘unsupported belief’?

    Do you regard the existence of a natural greenhouse effect as an ‘unsupported belief’? If you do, explain why we are not all frozen under a 3km ice sheet right now.

    Given the above, how is it possible that naturally occuring greenhouse gasses have a strong effect on temperature, but that man made GHGs have little or no effect? How does reality ‘know’?

  74. #74 Jock Shockley
    August 3, 2009

    Andrew: CO2 absorbs certain spectra up to the point where no more can be absorbed. As this point is approached the “heating” effect diminishes to zero. The greatest “heating” effect occurs from the lowest part of this curve. That is, the greenhouse effect occurs with, say, the first 50% of absorption – any heating effect after that declines as concentration increases.
    Your “belief” that the heating effect of CO2 increases consistently as concentration increases is NOT SUPPORTED.
    This is basic stuff, Andrew. I am alarmed that you haven’t already established this.
    I am still waiting on some (any) definitive proof.

  75. #75 Andrew Dodds
    August 3, 2009

    Jock -

    We have already been through this using the example of Venus.

    That you simply refuse to believe established science with real-world examples, prefering to recycle denialist talking points and refuse any real debate, shows you up to be a political ideologue. Stop tying to pretend otherwise.

    Discussion over. You lost.

  76. #76 Jock Shockley
    August 3, 2009

    Gee, Andrew. Do you think there may be other factors than just “greenhouse” at play on Venus?
    I guess you have no proof and have resorted to the usual abuse in the absence of it. Incidently, a debate involves opposing viewpoints – a real debate does not involve name calling or abuse.
    I am still waiting for actual proof from your “established”
    science. Lay it out for me in detail. Don’t be afraid to use numbers.
    Its a pity it isn’t all laid out in a definitive website somewhere – makes you wonder why IPCC haven’t done that.

  77. #77 guthrie
    August 8, 2009

    What sort of proof do you want, jock? So far Andrew has been very kind for you, laying it all out clearly and succinctly. The fact that you don’t understand is not his fault.

  78. #78 Jock Shockley
    August 9, 2009

    Guthrie: Andrew laid out some arguments (some overly simplistic and some just not actually accurate), and linked to some further arguments, but never provided any proof that CO2 has any current or significant heating effect on the atmosphere. The whole AGW argument rests on such proof existing, yet nobody can come forward with that proof. Even IPCC is quiet on the proof, despite their trumpeting its effects.
    I am happy for you, or anybody else, to provide this proof, succinctly or otherwise.

  79. #79 mediajackal
    August 10, 2009

    Jock:
    Ya know how dumb are turkeys? Turkeys are so dumb they will stand in the rain, heads up, gazing at the sky until they drown.

    Yer a turkey, Jock.

  80. #80 Jock Shockley
    August 11, 2009

    If I am that dumb, you should be able to prove me wrong by return post. I look forward to your response.
    I’m guessing that you won’t though, probably because you don’t understand the science and are just parroting what you’ve been told without any actual thought.
    Give it a year or so mediajackal, and it won’t be you that is laughing.
    Put up, or scurry away.

  81. #81 guthrie
    August 13, 2009

    Jock, I think you’ll find he did. Some of the early experiments were done by Arhenius. Your repeated disagreement just shows you don’t understand. Heck, even some of the denialists who are real scientists agree that CO2 can affect the climate, they just disagree how much it does.

  82. #82 mediajackal
    August 14, 2009

    Sorry, Jock, mandatory day off which I used for R&R, as I’ve a marriage to keep healthy

    I’ve reviewed the evidence; I’ve studied arguments for and against; I believe human activities have led to increased CO2 levels, that such increase will result in climate change — and that such climate change is occuring now — and that you are having a thoroughly enjoyable time tweaking everyone who disagrees with you. You will not change your mind because A) you’re having too much fun or B you’re delusional. I’ve a sneaky suspicion it’s A.

    You little devil.

  83. #83 seks
    August 15, 2009

    If I am that dumb, you should be able to prove me wrong by return post. I look forward to your response

  84. #84 Jock Shockley
    August 17, 2009

    Guthrie: show me proof that CO2 (from current levels) can be a significant causal factor in atmospheric temperature change.
    Has it occured to you that I actually do understand?
    Jackal: Quite alright. I was travelling anyway. On to business… On what basis do you believe that increased CO2 will “result in climate change”? Climate change is a normal state that results from a multitude of factors – why do you consider CO2 to be “the one”? I care not a jot for your beliefs – show me your evidence!
    and How about C: I am tired of stupid people believing what they are told without checking their facts!

  85. #86 sohbet sitesi
    August 19, 2009

    Thnk you my Admin.

  86. #87 erstwhile
    August 23, 2009

    Hi Jock,

    fascinating to see that despite having to head off on leave you found the time to continue both here and elsewhere. Jock you are evidently into this denial stuff as a semi-professional activity. You’ve evidently met your match here, up against climate scientists. Quite amusing. Pity we didn’t have more time on http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2009/0820/1224252939867.html

    Are you paid to do this? Do you sleep at night? Where else do we find your stuff?

  87. #88 erstwhile
    August 23, 2009

    and here jock – http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,25925990-2,00.html, august 14th.

    and here http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/fielding_warming_tothe_climate_doubters/

    and here http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24781908-5013480,00.html

    Hmm. looks to me that this isn’t a renegade scientist (ok, analyst or whatever) seeking to debate the truth of the thing. Looks like an aussie exploration scientist to me.

    On a mission to attack the theory everywhere, with quite a google” global warming” determination.

    Rumbled Jock. Rumbled.

  88. #89 erstwhile
    August 23, 2009

    Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT – ah yes that would be the good professor who’s views on climate change were misrepresented in the documentary – was it called “Not Evil Just Wrong”? – channel 4 anyway. Of course he later clarified how people like you were deliberately misrepresenting his view when he said of that work calling it an he believes it is “an almost inescapable conclusion” that “if man adds excess CO2 to the atmosphere, the climate will warm”. He was like the vast majority of climate scientists, who put forward perfectly reputable evidence questioning orthodoxy – disgusted by people like you abusing that research by misreading it and taking it out of context.

    Of course you deniers still keep banging on about this stuff, on the any chink is a deep flaw kind of model. you just don’t get science do you Jock. But there you go Jock, you rely on someone who denies the very basis of your own belief system. What a fool.

    But what’s the point in engaging with this nonsense straight off the wingnut blogs. Let’s let Ben Goldacre do the hatchet job on shock-Jock, and the rest.

    http://www.badscience.net/2007/03/insert-swindle-gag-here/

  89. #90 erstwhile
    August 23, 2009

    ah silly me – of course the wrong prof. (I was thinking of Wunsch at MIT). Nevertheless here’s what Lindzen has to say..

    “There is little disagreement that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 parts per million by volume in the 19th century to about 387 ppmv today…there has been no question whatever that carbon dioxide is an infrared absorber (i.e., a greenhouse gas–albeit a minor one), and its increase should theoretically contribute to warming.”

    So what’s his problem? It’s a call for caution…

    “Although no cause for alarm rests on this issue, there has been an intense effort to claim that the theoretically expected contribution from additional carbon dioxide has actually been detected.

    Given that we do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change, this task is currently impossible.”

    ie. he thinks the evidence is weak.

    Not, Jock, that he thinks there is no basis for the theory of global warming, or that the basic science is flawed – simply that he thinks (or thought back in 2006 when he wrote this) the IPCC goes too far in making predictions, based on where the science is.

    Hardly the champion you were looking for.

    And he is a voice amongst many many voices who disagree with him. In 2001 he said there was no consensus on the causes of climate change (thereby acknowledging what you cannot – the importance and relevance of consensus in science). He was correct in 2001. He is no longer correct, and we thus see his views on the science firmly outside the mainstream at this point. Yet you continue to rely on voices such as his – the myth of the lone scientist struggling against the days dogma. Bad odds Jock. Time to move on.

  90. #91 erstwhile
    August 23, 2009

    more fun here http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptics/Lindzen.htm

    but this is the perhaps best description of why folk like you need to wake up and smell the coffee, and accept that even in the absence of absolute evidence for a scientific position, the ethical and indeed patriotic position to adopt is not the contrarian for the sake of it position, but the position most likely to be correct.

    Sir. Martin Rees.

    “Scientists will continue to monitor the global climate and the factors which influence it. It is important that all legitimate potential scientific explanations continue to be considered and investigated. Debate will continue, and the Royal Society has just hosted a two day discussion meeting attended by over 300 scientists, but it must not be at the expense of action. Those who promote fringe scientific views but ignore the weight of evidence are playing a dangerous game. They run the risk of diverting attention from what we can do to ensure the world’s population has the best possible future.”

    This is not a game Jock. Show a little responsibility.

  91. #92 Jock Shockley
    November 11, 2009

    erstwhile: sorry, just noticed you.

    So, prove me wrong. Don’t just quote your side’s authorities. If they were right I wouldn’t be bothering with this.

    No, it isn’t a game. It is very serious and very skilled. Certainly skilled enough to suck you in.

    Do some real research, ask questions, question what you’ve been fed, think, don’t believe anybody just because you’re told you should or shouldn’t, be independent, and learn to think!

    btw. No I am not being paid – I do this because AGW is a scam. Follow the money!

  92. #93 Marco
    November 12, 2009

    Jock, people on ‘our’ side have been demanding skeptics do real research for ages. Those few who have done so have failed miserably. To the extent that Spencer now even attacks (but very kindly worded) Lindzen’s fundamentally flawed analysis. It appears Spencer realises that the total nonsense by some of his fellow ‘skeptics’ is hurting his own case.

    So far, when following the money, I see no reason to believe scientists promote AGW for any monetary gain. I do see quite a few of the ‘skeptics’ working for libertarian or conservative thinktanks. Their lifelihood depends on defending the ideology. Organisations like Hadley CRU depend on measuring and understanding the weather and climate. Whether any climate change is natural or anthropogenic does not matter one yota for their organisation, society needs an understanding of weather and climate regardless.

    You yourself may call yourself “independent”, but you are not. Based on previous discussions elsewhere, you have entrenched yourself in a position based on politicial ideology.

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