Science could have it all wrong. But…

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” -C. S. Lewis

Many of you are a little bit skeptical that I talk about things like the History of the Universe, Inflation, Dark Matter and Dark Energy like they are absolute certainties. After all, isn’t it true that there are an awful lot of assumptions that we make in order for these things to be true?

Image credit: NASA.

Absolutely!

That’s right, I admit it. We make assumptions when we come up with these theories and pictures of how nature and the Universe themselves work.

And if these assumptions turn out to be wrong or invalid, well, our theories will…

Image credit: showstudio.com.

And some of them, no doubt, will. Someday.

Perhaps it will be dark matter. Now, you know my position, and you also know that there are alternatives, despite their shortcomings.

And perhaps there will be some great new discovery that invalidates one of the assumptions that went into it.

Image credit: Cetin Bal.

After all, it was Albert Einstein himself who said,

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

And that’s true! If general relativity turns out to be wrong on large scales, maybe we actually are misinterpreting all of this data.

But with the assumption that general relativity is correct, we get a whole suite of evidence that all points to dark matter.

Image credit: WMAP team / NASA.

We have precision measurements of the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. They occur on all observable scales at very particular magnitudes, consistent with a Universe with about 5 times more dark matter than normal matter, and not with any dark-matter-free alternatives.

(Yes, we have the assumption that in addition to general relativity being correct, the Big Bang description of the early Universe is also correct. Of course, that’s another well-founded assumption, but an assumption nonetheless.)

Image credit: 2 Micron All-Sky Survey.

And the same story holds when we look at the local, large-scale clustering of galaxies! We need dark matter to make our observations match up with our predictions and simulations.

There is a plethora of other data sources we can use to test whether the Universe needs dark matter or not (that I won’t go into the details of), such as peculiar velocities of interacting galaxy pairs, baryon acoustic oscillations at high redshifts, X-ray observations of galaxy clusters, Big Bang nucleosynthesis (which limits the amount of normal matter), and the most common (but not the best) argument, the observed rotations of individual galaxies. And when you take it all together, each individual argument is not only strong enough to indicate the presence of dark matter, but gives the same quantitative abundance of dark matter.

In other words, we put the puzzle together, and despite the fact that we’re missing a piece or two, we have an extremely clear and compelling picture.

It could, however, all be wrong. It would take some extraordinary evidence to change what is presently an overwhelming scientific consensus, but it could happen. After all, the ability to challenge your assumptions, assimilate new evidence and look as objectively as possible is what makes you a good scientist.

And I do my best to explain to you what we know and how we know it, and why certain theories and ideas are superior to others. In areas of the Big Bang, dark matter, and theoretical cosmology, I am an expert.

I’m not the only expert; I’m not even the best expert in any of those areas. But very few among you out there would dare to tell me that I — and everyone in my field — was an incompetent fool who’s misreading all of the data and putting it together in this misleading way, just to promote my own Big Bang / dark matter ideology.

Image credit: the late William Tietjen.

Now, I’m not an expert on evolution. (As you can see.) Quite to the contrary, I have the biology education of about a college junior. But just as surely as I know that the Big Bang is an excellent, valid, useful and — as far as we can tell — true scientific description of the Universe, Evolution — with natural selection as its mechanism of operation — is an excellent, valid, useful, and true scientific explanation for the diversity and development of life on Earth.

Perhaps naively, I think I have a pretty good understanding of how it works, but I recognize that — in this arena — I am not an expert. But the overwhelming majority of biologists accept evolution via natural selection as the best explanation for a compelling suite of biological phenomena, and it would be incredibly insulting and arrogant of me to believe that I — with my lack of knowledge and education — knew better than the experts.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory and Robert Simmon.

So why do so many people do exactly this when it comes to climate science?

I was shocked — absolutely shocked — by the huge discussion that took place on my one post this year on climate change and global warming: over 350 comments! And so many of them simply dismissed the scientific consensus.

And make no mistake about it: there is an overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. From wikipedia:

No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate…

I’ve had people with no scientific training lecture me about the astrophysical causes of global warming (!), like somehow nobody’s thought of testing that hypothesis.

Of course, many note that it isn’t about the science at this point, and point to argumentative reasoning and confirmation bias.

Let me tell you something personal.

Image credit: C. Schulz.

Everybody, sometimes, about some things, is wrong. I have posted a number of things here — on this very site — that are wrong. (Follow the link for a recent example.)

But — apparently — I’m very unusual. I like it when I’m wrong. Instead of being the teacher, it gives me an opportunity to learn something new. It gives me a chance to improve myself and my understanding of things. It often connects me, intellectually, with a new point of view and a new set of (usually, quite admirable) people.

If you cannot be wrong, you cannot learn. And if you think that nobody else can do anything right, you are missing out on learning about everything that you yourself are not an expert in, which is most things.

So there was a lot of information here, and you probably have a lot of thoughts and opinions, and I want to hear it. Those of you who don’t trust any (or all?) of the “consensus” ideas put forth here, why don’t you? Those of you who think you know better than the experts in these fields, why do you? And those of you who think I’ve got it right today, don’t just lurk; share a story of a time when you learned something!

Because science could have it all wrong. But if it does, scientists studying it are likely going to be the ones who find the mistakes, make the corrections, and push us ahead in our understanding of the Universe.

Comments

  1. #1 aquanerd
    July 18, 2011

    Beautifully written!

  2. #2 Mike Haubrich
    July 19, 2011

    Excellent points, and I just want to add that natural selection is only one of the mechanisms incorporated into the theory of evolution. Here is a summary page at PBS.org that discusses NS and additional mechanisms.

  3. #3 Katkinkate
    July 19, 2011

    I agree. It has frustrated me many times when I try to explain this to both my father and siblings, ie. how the scientific community works to figure out the most likely truth in quite an efficient manner and is self-correcting when it goes wrong. They insist in believing the propaganda from all the anti-science groups out there (climate change skeptics, alternative medicine, religions (anti-evolution)). Science needs to hire some good publicity and recruitment agents. Love your blog Ethan.

  4. #4 Gopibllava
    July 19, 2011

    If you think that the mainstream scientific community is ignoring evidence against AGW:

    Show me the papers that were submitted and rejected.

    To publish a paper, you don’t ask the journal what they think and then write a paper. You write the paper, and you submit it. Many journals do blind review. The reviewers don’t even know who wrote the paper. In many cases, literally anybody can submit a paper – they don’t ask for proof you have a PhD (I’ve never seen any specific academic credentials needed for submitting a paper).

    I get very frustrated reading rants against academia by people who don’t even understand how a paper gets published in a journal.

  5. #5 Sascha Vongehr
    July 19, 2011

    Experts do not fall from the sky, they are selected by a self-reinforcing, thereby emergent establishment which one cannot join without subscribing to certain highly questionably core beliefs in the first place.
    I did not have to be a GR expert yet to mistrust the consensus against emergent gravity for example already many years ago, I only needed to look at how the consensus was defended in order to know that the experts were not basing their opinion on expertise. And so it goes with much of what has been/is told by medical experts (nutrition/drugs/…) and in other areas directly relevant to people. With all this in mind and given the financial and political stakes involved in global warming/GMO/ …, given that human perception is ridiculously selective and under the guide of rationalization plus that the experts in any field do belong to a certain group or even class, how can one tell people to just trust experts?
    We do whenever experts agree with our opinion and the persons addressed are judged too silly to get to the same opinion. Meaning, whenever we tell somebody to trust experts we are actually saying …

  6. #6 scott
    July 19, 2011

    I get hit by all angles where I live. I’ve got religious friends who think they’re experts on evolution and the cosmos, I’ve got alt/med friends who want to change the scientific method so their crazy beliefs seem rational, and I’ve got friends who don’t believe humans have anything to do with climate change.

    And then I come along and try to educate them after reading people like Dawkins and Sagan and delving into the skeptic community on the blogoshpere like James Randi, science based medicine, Quackwatch, Dawkins website, PZ, this blog and many many others.

    And what do I get for all my trouble? I get called a dick for not accepting their “equally valid” opinions. Then I’m told that I should look into it all a little deeper because science doesn’t know everything.

    Some people are so stuck in their own perceptions that its almost impossible to pry their minds open enough to get some good information in.

  7. #7 TotalGeek
    July 19, 2011

    Nice post Ethan.

    I was discussing climate change with one of my best friends. He told me of a point of view that I hadn’t heard of before and it came from his father.

    His father said to him that climate change was no big deal and that he couldn’t care less about it. He explained that mass extinctions had occurred many times in the past so we shouldn’t worry about it now.

    The point I think he was missing is that we’ve caused this environmental problem ourselves, and we have the power to do something about it, provided everyone starts heading in the same direction and doesn’t just stand around pointing fingers.

  8. #8 Mule07
    July 19, 2011

    There are a couple of very brave examples of Greens in the UK coming out in favour of nuclear power because of it’s low carbon credentials. I say brave because the backlash has been pretty severe. Not surprising as the green movement was basically started to protest against all things nuclear.

    Their argument goes that they have looked at the evidence for and against nuclear and they have concluded that CO2 and AGW is a much bigger threat to humanity than the perceived threat from nuclear power.

    One of these people is an environmental writer for the Guardian, the other is prominent green activist (George Monbiot and Mark Lynas)

  9. #9 Azkyroth
    July 19, 2011

    About halfway through a reading assignment for my philosophy class on public service ethics yesterday, I discovered that Social Dominance Orientation is NOT in fact the same measured personality disorder trait as Right-Wing Authoritarian Orientation, as I initially inferred while reading the study, though they’re very strongly correlated.

  10. #10 Azkyroth
    July 19, 2011

    His father said to him that climate change was no big deal and that he couldn’t care less about it. He explained that mass extinctions had occurred many times in the past so we shouldn’t worry about it now.

    The point I think he was missing is that we’ve caused this environmental problem ourselves, and we have the power to do something about it, provided everyone starts heading in the same direction and doesn’t just stand around pointing fingers.

    You might point out to him that being a species at a relatively high trophic level and with a population exceeding the carrying capacity of the environment absent industrial farming practices (and possibly even with them), which are…somewhat delicate from a climate perspective…humans are basically sitting on top of that card structure up top in the post.

  11. #11 TotalGeek
    July 19, 2011

    @Scott, #6.
    Nice post.

    It’s nice to know that other people are experiencing the same headaches that I get :)

    When you are doing integer mathematics:
    2 + 2 = 4

    And I’m not accepting someone trying to tell me the answer is actually 5 because it’s their “equally valid” opinion, and they don’t need evidence to back it up.

    Cheers!

  12. #12 fletch
    July 19, 2011

    I think somewhere between 30 to 50 percent of the posters who deny climate change or evolution are just trolls, saying what they say to provoke a response, since that’s the only social interaction they ever have.

    The remaining 50 to 70 percent are the same people who watch Fox News and think they’re getting “fair and balanced” coverage. There is nothing that can change their minds, they have been hopelessly brainwashed.

  13. #13 Russy
    July 19, 2011

    @ Sascha #5,

    That’s some wacky you’re throwing on the table. There are plenty of people in science with unorthodox ideas, and yet they still manage to get degrees AND hold down day jobs. Hell, there was a young-earth creationist who managed to get a phd in geology. From Harvard.

    But it’s not about the position you take, it’s what evidence you throw down to back it up. If you don’t have any, then no one needs to listen to you.

    Taking the GW example, this is exactly what the climate scientists have done. Mountains of data, accessable to anyone willing to do a little leg work. On the flip side, the (few) experts on the opposition have simply failed to do the same. This is not for lack of resources; companies like Shell or Exxon have deep pockets and a vested interest in the debate.

    I’m not unreasonable. There are lots of cases where unconventional theories have won out in the end, and I’m willing to change my mind in response to good research. But I’m not going to listen if you can’t put up the same effort as those you disagree with.

  14. #14 penn
    July 19, 2011

    I truly believe that the most fundamental driving force behind AGW denial in the general public is a desire to piss off liberals and/or just not be associated with liberals. Obviously they are given cover by a great deal of misinformation produced mostly by large fossil fuel producing/using industries. But, fundamentally people choose to deny climate change because they don’t want to be considered one of those liberals not because they find the denialist evidence convincing.

  15. #15 Composer99
    July 19, 2011

    What a lot of so-called skeptics seem to miss out on, with regards to global warming, is that the CO2 as driver of climate hypothesis already spent its time in the scientific wilderness, during the half-century in between Svante Arhennius1 and Gilbert Plass. It was, to borrow Russy’s phrase, the unconventional theory that won out in the end.

    —–
    (1) Apologies if I mis-spelled his name. It may be the work of a moment to look it up, but I don’t feel like doing that for a blog comment.

  16. #16 Birger Johansson
    July 19, 2011

    I like that you are fighting the good fight.
    But if the reality deniers triumph, maybe you should consider moving to Scandinavia.
    I fear USA needs to hit rock bottom before enough people understands just how the dysfunctional the system is getting, and your efforts will be wasted. PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!

  17. #17 Daniel J. Andrews
    July 19, 2011

    And those of you who think I’ve got it right today, don’t just lurk; share a story of a time when you learned something!

    I was raised believing in a literal 6-day creation. I held that belief till I was well into adulthood. I switched careers from counselling to biology, and for the first time came face-to-face with actual scientific evidence, and discovered that what I’d been told scientists say/do/believe was not actually what they say/do/believe.

    It was over a ten year journey before I felt comfortable enough with the evidence to unequivocally say, “Six day creation, no”. It wasn’t an easy journey either, but I love learning even if that means changing everything I’ve thought was true before.

  18. #18 joed
    July 19, 2011

    Isaac Asimov wrote a wonderful book titled, The Relativity Of Wrong. Asimov made a very good case that our view of the universe is probably quit accurate and will continue to be tweeked closer and closer to reality. He said Newton was right-on for our Solar System and Einstein just tweeked Newtons numbers a bit in order to move beyond our system.
    Sure, what we know may not be absolutely true but often it might as well be. And there are things you would be a fool to bet against.
    Mr. Segal, thanks so much for the excellent articles written in a way that even I can understand. This is the knowledge that needs to be made public.

  19. #19 healthphysicist
    July 19, 2011

    There is no way to know what the Truth is, in order to know how far our truth is from it. That is what Skepticism is (not the same as skepticism of pseudo-science).

    There is no reason to have perfect vision. Evolution predicts that our vision will only be good enough to be good enough. So we don’t see in the infrared or microscopically or 4 pi.

    Likewise, evolution predicts that our cognition will just be good enough to survive. Not good enough to know the Truth. That is the evolution paradox…..of course, that means evolution itself might not be true!

    (Not to be interpreted as support for creationism)

  20. #20 Jochen
    July 19, 2011

    A good thing about science is the ability to quantify how wrong one can be — and I don’t merely mean in the ‘error bar’ kind of way, but more fundamentally, in the range of things that can possibly be consistent with existing (empirical) knowledge. A theory does not fix completely what kinds of things may exist; rather, it puts constraints on them, and to the extent the theory has empirical support, those constraints must be satisfied by everything that is to replace it.

    For instance, Newtonian mechanics is often said to postulate an absolute time; but actually, it is consistent with a relativistic notion of time at least to a certain degree. As long as the deviation from Newtonian behaviour is too small to be noticeable, both an absolute and a relativistic time is compatible with the theory — thus, the observational agreement with Newton’s theory rules out theories in which deviations occur much earlier: it couldn’t have been replaced by a relativistic theory in which significant effects already obtain at everyday velocities.

    Observation can never prove a theory right, but it can put limits on just how wrong it can be, and what it can possibly be replaced with; these days, those limits are extremely good, so that whatever models we have today may be around in the future, even if they are wrong, strictly speaking, since they may still be useful and good enough for certain purposes — much like Newtonian mechanics still was good enough to put a man on the moon.

  21. #21 Terri
    July 19, 2011

    Wonderful information. I enjoy your blog so much. Thanks.

  22. #22 joed
    July 19, 2011

    @19
    And how true is your statements about truth?!

  23. #23 Bill
    July 19, 2011

    @ 19 “There is no way to know what the Truth is”

    I disagree. I drove to town yesterday. I spent over an hour on the highway at 70 mph and navigated through busy urban streets full of other vehicles, pedestrians and traffic signs/lights. How did I make it home without really knowing which direction the road went, what color the traffic lights were, when the pedestrians cleared the intersection, etc?

    “Evolution predicts that our vision will only be good enough to be good enough.” Good enough for what? To know if the light is red or green. To learn a truth about the external world. Natural Selection insures that those who survive can actually detect real elements in the environment, that’s called fitness. Just because I can’t see infrared light does not contradict the fact that I CAN see visible light and obtain real information about the true world around me.

  24. #24 greame
    July 19, 2011

    I think a bit part of the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand that science does not prove anything; it just disproves, or tries to disprove an idea. The longer an idea goes without being disproven, the more confident we can be in the idea. So when they hear that Evolution or the Big Bang is a scientific consensus, they think the scientists are saying it’s 100% true, and because it goes against their own presuppositions, in spite, the reject it.

  25. #25 healthphysicist
    July 19, 2011

    Bill –

    Just because you can frame a small part of a system, has little to do with the Truth. “Yesterday” is relative to a planet that rotates. An “hour” & “70 mph” is relative to the speed of that planet. The visible light you see is a part of the Truth.

    Clearly, you made it home, just like a bee can return to its hive. Our cognition is better than a bee’s (or so we tell ourselves). But not necessarily good enough to ever comprehend the Truth. It might be….we can’t tell. We certainly haven’t come close yet.

  26. #26 BenHead
    July 19, 2011

    I’m pretty sure that global warming deniers are either making plenty of money from the human activities causing global warming, or are not sufficiently well-trained in basic scientific methodologies to understand who they should or shouldn’t listen to. Especially since those with a vested financial interest are so good at spreading misinformation and making it appear to come from legitimate sources.

    ———-

    Personally, I carefully try to avoid being wrong. I probably too often preface my statements with phrases like, “I’m not 100% sure on this, but my understanding it that…” That said, when I am “sure” of something and turn out to be wrong, I, too, try to take it as an opportunity to learn. I don’t get mad, I don’t try to fudge the facts (or fudge what I’d been saying all along to match the facts). I go, “huh, how about that?” and try to remember it so I’m not wrong in the same way again.

    My wife hates it, because when I’m wrong and she’s right, it makes it really hard for her to rub my nose in it. :P

  27. #27 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “I go, “huh, how about that?” and try to remember it so I’m not wrong in the same way again.”

    However, the sine qua non of a denialist is never seeing any evidence that they’re wrong and therefore avoiding the need to go “Huh, how about that?”.

    Of course, healthyphysicist goes even further into the woo and avoids any statements whatsoever, reducing everything to crystal-age woomancering.

    PS if a denialist turns out to be wrong, then they’ve just screwed the next generation and any future generations up. If you want to risk something, risk it for yourself, not for others.

  28. #28 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “I did not have to be a GR expert yet to mistrust the consensus against emergent gravity for example already many years ago”

    So which way does the apple fall on your planet?

    “I only needed to look at how the consensus was defended in order to know that the experts were not basing their opinion on expertise.”

    No, that requires that you infer the unseen from the seen and therefore is merely a projection from yourself to others.

    “With all this in mind and given the financial and political stakes involved in global warming”

    So the CEO of Exxon who got 23 million in a year and whose company gives a hundred thousand dollars to a senator isn’t evidence of financial and political stakes involved in denial of AGW?

    “how can one tell people to just trust experts?”

    Find out what do YOU know, or CAN know.

    E.g. Denial have out of 15 years of emails “I’d rather destroy the data than give it to that asshole”, “I think the paper is crap and shouldn’t ever be printed” and a few other things. But out of themselves, they have “I’m a member of the House of Lords”, “I don’t get paid by the oil industry” (40% of the funding comes from there), “I wrote this” (Wegman) and so on.

    So given that you can see for yourself where the biggest whoppers are, who would you treat as less reliable?

    Then add that CO2 can be shown to be opaque to IR but transparent to sunlight and your knowledge of how you can lag a hot water tank to make it hotter with the same heating element inside it, you can then see that *in principle* the AGW theory is believable.

    Add to that the earliest work on it gave a sensitivity at the top end of current proposals 150 years ago, and you have little room to add a modern conspiracy to deny AGW.

    But still people do.

    It isn’t a rational choice, obviously.

  29. #29 healthphysicist
    July 19, 2011

    Wow –

    WOW! I’m not promoting woo.

    Science is the best tool we have. Anthropogenic global warmng is true to the best of our knowledge. Evolution is true to the best of our knowledge. The Big Bang is true to the best of our knowledge. We can’t throw our hands up and say we can’t make progress just because we might be cognitively impaired underlying it all.

    But we still might be cognitively impaired…we don’t know by how much.

  30. #30 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “The point I think he was missing is that we’ve caused this environmental problem ourselves,”

    He’s also missing that people die of natural causes all the time.

    But we’ll still put him in an asylum or jail if he goes out adding to the total himself.

  31. #31 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “Not surprising as the green movement was basically started to protest against all things nuclear.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_politics

    > The first political party to be created with its basis in environmental issues was the United Tasmania Group, founded in Australia in March 1972 to fight against deforestation and the creation of a dam that would damage Lake Pedder

    I think you’re letting your ideology get in the way of your brain.

    http://www.cnduk.org/

    Were made to stop nuclear weapons.

    Then again, your problem is that they aren’t for big money projects.

  32. #32 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “WOW! I’m not promoting woo.”

    Yes you are.

    If I were to go to some crystal healing site I’d read almost word-for-word the same screed as you’re posting. They are 100% content free fluff.

  33. #33 healthphysicist
    July 19, 2011

    If you think epistemology is content free, that is a reflection of your epistemology.

  34. #34 Vicki
    July 19, 2011

    Scott–

    I don’t have friends who insist I should accept their “equally valid” opinions [1], but I think if I did, I’d be asking them why they aren’t “dicks” for not accepting my equally valid opinions. If they really think all opinions are equally valid, they shouldn’t be trying to change your mind.

    [1] I do have a friend who takes astrology seriously (somehow). But she has never tried to convince me that I should accept astrology. She may do weird herbalism stuff, but when I needed a ride to a 24-hour drugstore because I’d left my prescription medication home and needed to replace it, she cheerfully drove me there.

  35. #35 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    You talking piss, not epistemology, kid.

    “What is truth? We don’t know truth, and truth is like true, but we don’t know truth, we only know what truly truths our truthing”.

    Truth is what exists whether you believe it or not.

  36. #36 Ultracold
    July 19, 2011

    What really galls me with “skeptics”, particularly with AGW, is their insistence that established scientific consensus is all one massive conspiracy – but those leading the denialist charge? No, there could never possibly be any conspiracy to deceive people there! *facepalm*

  37. #37 Juice
    July 19, 2011

    Truth is what exists whether you believe it or not.

    Wow agrees with Ayn Rand.

    Taking the GW example, this is exactly what the climate scientists have done. Mountains of data, accessable to anyone willing to do a little leg work.

    …or file a FOIA request. Oh wait…

  38. #38 Ethan (not that one, the other one)
    July 19, 2011

    Sasha Vongehr is not advocating a particularly odd or uncommon shortcut. Substituting an examination of motives (real or imagined) for an examination of facts is used all the time, in many areas, by people on all sides of political disputes.

    The strength of science is that we return, again and again, to the facts. Nonscientific motives affect us all the time, but by making the facts our touchstone, we create a way that most of us can eventually agree. In scientific disputes, motives are wind.

    BTW, “emergent gravity” has neither failed nor succeeded and I’m not sure what the point is of bringing it up.

  39. #39 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “Wow agrees with Ayn Rand.”

    And I agree with her when she says that one plus one is two or when she says “A” is for “Apple”.

    “…or file a FOIA request. Oh wait…”

    You don’t know the laws on FOIA, do you?

    You also don’t know that the data was ALREADY available, do you.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    Just like when you deniers were insisting that the models were unavailable and that PROVED that AGW was a scam, despite for years this:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

    being available.

    Well illustrating the denialists refusal to learn anything, even if it’s what they ask for.

  40. #40 AngelGabriel
    July 19, 2011

    To think and discuss as a scientist requires that one persistently guard against the human tendencies to lie and even be biased subconsciously (e.g. the double blind aspect of data analysis in the recent symmetry breaking Fermilab announcement). As well, scientist must guard against the pernicious aspects of our powerful urge to cooperate (e.g. hence Galileo’s admonition, “In the questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”

    Humans are cooperative; maybe the most cooperative species upon the planet; the complexity of civilizations and science requires cooperation. On the other hand, deception is a highly refined and valued skill of the human species.

    Scientific thinking requires an open mind: accepting that ones most cherished as well as most reasoned ideas may be wrong. And I don’t mean wrong in a trivial sense. I mean wrong in a deep understanding earth shaking fundamental sense.

    Such thinking is narrowly valued. Because to live successfully as a human being; we need to believe rock solid in things that have been or will be proven to be completely fundamentally wrong. (e.g. a mathematician believes and spends an entire mathematical career trying to prove that Euclid’s fifth postulate can be derived from the first four.)

    The statement, “there is an overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming” is not much different than the statement “That is an amazing red dress.”

    In both cases, the call to action is implied by the adjective; agreeing to a fact (e.g. global warming or redness) does not lead to action hormonal, political or scientific.

    Understanding (or misunderstanding) leads to action. Whether I see a lion or mistake a shadow; I act. Understanding is not just scientific; it may be economically, theologically, biologically, psychologically, morally, socially, politically informed or not.

    Humans both lie and cooperate expertly (e.g. love at first sight). Lying is the hammer and cooperation the anvil between which practical human matters (e.g. reproduction, family) are decided by individuals, politicians and scientists.

    Global warming discussion masquerades and morphs from scientific to economic, technological, moral, political. Arguing the science of global warming is a red herring literally like arguing about the weather. The real issue is the ski business or something else.

  41. #41 Wow
    July 19, 2011

    “Scientific thinking requires an open mind: accepting that ones most cherished as well as most reasoned ideas may be wrong.”

    Do you know who you should be MOST skeptical of in science?

    It’s the same one that the denialist, being anti-science, is NEVER skeptical of:

    Yourself.

    The denialist always KNOWS it’s a scam. They KNOW that the data is fraudulent. They KNOW they’re being silenced.

    PS as to: “”In the questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”, the important thing is that it has to be CORRECT reasoning. It’s no good being humble and wrong. And it’s not wrong to be confident and have a thousand others likewise on a statement.

    “The statement, “there is an overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming” is not much different than the statement “That is an amazing red dress.””

    False.

    One is about how effectively a theory has withstood all tests to prove wrong, the other is a personal preference statement.

    They’re not the same.

    “In both cases, the call to action is implied by the adjective;”

    This is another place where the two statements are not equal: there’s no call to action in the amazing dress case.

    “Global warming discussion masquerades and morphs from scientific to economic, technological, moral, political.”

    But the climate science remains science.

    The real issue is that you have nothing other than vapidity to counter the facts. So you mumble incoherently and cry like a baby when your inarticulate whine is discarded with scorn.

    The real issue is why do you want to ignore the danger to others?

  42. #42 cincinatheist
    July 19, 2011

    I love your articles Ethan. But please, for the love of Zeus, don’t ever start another article about science with a quote from C.S. Lewis ever again. ;)

  43. #43 Ron808
    July 19, 2011

    Secret of mass states the universe is a life form and defines the atom as life form.
    http://secretofmass.weebly.com/

  44. #44 joed
    July 19, 2011

    Healthphysicist, I don’t blame you for not wanting to deal with my question to you @22.
    Folks like you will say anything to confuse the issue, will say anything to create chaos because you know your statments will not stand and you can’t back them up. so, you just say anything to try to create chaos. I am not the only person on this site that is hep to your jive.
    My reasoning tells me you are a christian. I don’t know if you are or not but but you might as well be.

  45. #45 AJKamper
    July 19, 2011

    I’m with healthphysicist here, but I think I can make it clear without resorting to capitalizing “truth,” which doubles perceived woo right there.

    Seriously, though, we know that what we perceive is not reality itself, but an extremely modified view of it. QM’s probably the best example of this–things exist as waveforms, but we experience them as individual objects. And like HP says, there’s no reason to believe that our perceptions should in any way conform with whatever it is that is real, because perceiving merely reality might be counterproductive on an evolutionary scale.

    PHilosophically speaking, we’re situated creatures–we don’t know if we’re perceiving what is real. That’s classic, Cartesian skepticism.

    But that’s not an anti-science view at all–indeed, it’s very much pro-science. It takes away trying to find “truth,” and replaces it with falsifiability and predictability. We might not know what is “real,” but if we can predict what will happen when we shine a beam of electrons at two slits, we don’t really need to know if the electrons are really waves or particles or what have you. We work with what we have.

  46. #46 JimV
    July 19, 2011

    Most of us *are* too dumb to have thought of things like General Relativity and Evolution, until people like Einstein and Darwin came along. I would be inclined to bet that there are things the human race will never figure out, before it destroys itself. So what? As long as scientific theories like GR and Evolution continue to work and explain how to make GPS devices accurate and why an equal number of male and female elephant seals continue to be born despite that fact that only 5% of males get to own a harem and reproduce, if they aren’t “true” they might as well be. When they stop working, we’ll have data to suggest new theories (the three most important things in science are data, data, and data, I like to say), and either figure out something better or not. Until then, worrying that they might not be “true” strikes me as a waste of cogitation.

    Back to the subject, I was wrong just last night at about 11:30 PM, coincidentally. I thought I had found a fix for a glitch in a computer code, uploaded the new code, then just as I was about to go to bed, realized there was something about my test run which I didn’t understand, booted my laptop again, and spent until 3:30 AM finding the real problem. As long as there is a way to test one’s conclusions (or illusions), there is no need to go to bed wrong.

    Which reminds me of my favorite Einstein aphorism (please don’t tell me that it is apocryphal): “All mathematicians make mistakes; good mathematicians find them.” (I like to broaden that to include engineers, though.)

  47. #47 joed
    July 19, 2011

    @45 Oh, bullshit. who told you that!

  48. #48 OKThen
    July 19, 2011

    Humor, not reason, may be the only effective way to discuss global warming.
    GLOBAL WARMING is for sissies, give me EXTREME WEATHER.

    “The US was half a degree warmer from 1981 to 2010 than from 1971 to 2000.” BORING.

    “Wichita temperatures were 100 degrees for 20 consecutive days.” COOL.

    “In a 261-page report, 385 scientists from 45 countries looking at 41 different climate variables say that every single variable points toward a warming climate.”
    HUHH, DOES THAT MEAN THERE IS NO INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH? HA HA.

    “FLOODS, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other extreme natural phenomena have left a trail of destruction during the first half of 2011. But this could be just the start to a remarkable year of bad weather. Next up: drought. In the (United States), 14 states are now baking in blast-furnace conditions — from Arizona, which is battling the largest wildfire in its history, to Florida, where fires have burned some 200,000 acres so far.”
    LIKE APOCOLYPSE NOW!

    I just want to know, will the price of my Big Mac rise? Because, you know, the heat wave, and drought in Texas is just killing farmers. Oh yeah, their corn and cattle too.
    COOL, I’LL SWITCH TO MCNUGGETS.

    Is it true that Lady Gaga believes in Global Warming. SHE’S SUCH A FREAK.

    Extreme kayaking down melting glaciers is HOT. WATCH OUT FOR THE ICEMEN. HA. HA.

  49. #49 Colin Day
    July 19, 2011

    @Wow
    #35

    I would say that facts (or reality) are what exist whether we acknowledge them or not.

  50. #50 Jon
    July 19, 2011

    I think people would be less suspicious of the standard model if some of the terms weren’t so needlessly confusing. Take “big bang” for example. For years I thought that “the big bang” meant the cosmos went off like a firecracker and was expanding by force of inertia. But now it turns out to be expanding under its own speed. And “dark energy.” That makes it sounds like the other forces are clear as day. But just how does our galaxy’s Local Group know how to stick together? The Wikipedia says there might be little particles “with no mass and two spin” but no one has ever seen one. Well that’s pretty darn opaque to me but no one talks about “dark gravity.” The model is most persuasive not when it explains the cosmos, but when it fesses up to what it doesn’t know. The Wikipedia’s article on gravity names several unexplained phenomena with names like “the Pioneer anomaly” and “the Fly by anomaly” and “an anomalous increase in the astronomical unit.” Science appears most awesome when confronts its own perplexities.

  51. #51 AngelGabriel
    July 19, 2011

    Wow
    I mispoke or certainly was misunderstood.

    The ski resorts web site always has a better ski temperature than an official weather site for the same location. Is the difference science or something else?

    Arguing the science of global warming is a convenient red herring for politicians; a lawyer argues his case regardless of factual merit.

  52. #52 Adam Lang
    July 19, 2011

    First off, your blog is great. You do an excellent job of bringing the universe the the lamen man while sharing your knowledge yet not watering it down to be boring. Keep it up. i admire your work and thank you for spending your free time sharing that work. Now to the meat and potatoes. If so much of the universe is Dark Energy. What exactly is that energy (to the best of your knowledge, that is if you have any theories) and second what is Dark Energy?(personal theories) We know they exist because they exert a force correct? What force is that and how do we figure out what makes it. And how come its taking so long to find dark matter if there is so god dam much of it lol? When will the LHC finally find some higgs boson. Oh science dont get me started on the higgs boson. Please feel free to describe what it is and what is does. Thanks for listening and writing.

    Adam The Science Guy

  53. #53 Lloyd Hargrove
    July 19, 2011

    Science per se is a collection of ongoing and most honorable processes through which any consensus in what we believe dictates the reality we perceive as well as the vice versa. At least that’s what brain science tells us.

    Worthy of reiteration: “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” -C. S. Lewis (novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist)

    We might add that when any such road actually appears to become a dead-end (as most eventually will) it does not behove us to stand there and mutter, “So that’s as far as we can go…”, but perhaps it would help to remain somewhat flexible as to the relative certainty of some earlier assertions that got us here.

    For example:
    Assumptions of how collective vacuum energy might affect deep space observations may range from it being nulled out altogether to it being regarded as infinite from a mathematical if not pragmatic standpoint. “Using the upper limit of the cosmological constant, the vacuum energy in a cubic centimeter of free space has been estimated to be 10-15 Joules.[1] However, in both Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Stochastic Electrodynamics (SED), consistency with the principle of Lorentz invariance and with the magnitude of the Planck Constant requires it to have a much larger value of 10107 Joules per cubic centimeter.[2][3]”. (Such spread explains the magnitude of the problems we are dealing with.)

    In considering the above, is our “consensus in science” actually limited to those found within the limited confines of each branch thereof, and if so is our perceived reality/realities to remain undefined except as it appears within such dark, narrow spectrums? No, science doesn’t have it “all wrong” but neither does it have everything “all right”. That which we think we know always remains hostage to the occasional paradigm shift such as those historically few upon which most of our progress in science has actually been made.

  54. #54 mxh
    July 19, 2011

    I think a major problem is that the media always has to present two sides to the story and pretty much always presents the two sides as equal, even if one has much more evidence for it. This leads to a bunch of isolated nuts get a lot of media exposure and it makes it look like there really is a valid debate on these issues. When everything is presented as opinion, then the average person will start to believe that their opinion should be no different than that of experts.

  55. #55 Eric
    July 19, 2011

    The issue is threefold (at least):

    1. Too many industries are at stake if AGW is true. This means coal, oil, gas, most of the primary resource industries, and everything downwind from them. There is more money than you can imagine at stake in keeping the status quo going for as long as possible. You can bet your arses they will fight for it – even if secretly paying people to promote the agenda that this is all a big hoax or conspiracy.
    2. Talk radio, television, politicians, conspiracy circles, all conspire to convince people that AGW is a hoax and has been proven to be so. But there is no evidence disproving AGW, only logical fallacies and straight out lying to their listeners/readers. Possibly connected to point #1.
    3. Most people don’t know how to think scientifically, and/or objectively. People take what they hear and are truly convinced and can’t be swayed no matter how much you know you are right and they are being dishonest to themselves. Plus, it’s very easy to be in the denier camp when you know nothing, or next to nothing about a subject.

    I just wish people would be more honest to themselves. Learn a little, educate yourself on the subject matter and maybe realize you were wrong and use the whole thing as a learning experience that you will benefit from for the rest of your life.

  56. #56 Rick
    July 19, 2011

    Excellent post…

  57. #57 bill
    July 19, 2011

    healthphysicist @ 25
    “Yesterday” is relative to a planet that rotates. An “hour” & “70 mph” is relative to the speed of that planet.
    True
    Clearly, you made it home, just like a bee can return to its hive.
    True. We both have a way to navigate our environments and find our way home, using true, real, landmarks in the external world.
    the Truth
    Whatever are you talking about?

  58. #58 bill
    July 19, 2011

    AJKamper @ 35
    there’s no reason to believe that our perceptions should in any way conform with whatever it is that is real,

    Not true. Our nervous systems evolved to discriminate real objects in our environment. Those who can’t tell the difference between an apple and a preditor don’t last long. Natural Selection 101.

  59. #59 bill
    July 19, 2011

    AJKamper @ 35
    there’s no reason to believe that our perceptions should in any way conform with whatever it is that is real,

    Not true. Our nervous systems evolved to discriminate real objects in our environment. Those who can’t tell the difference between an apple and a preditor don’t last long. Natural Selection 101.

    Lloyd Hargrove @53
    which any consensus in what we believe dictates the reality we perceive as well as the vice versa. At least that’s what brain science tells us.

    Nonsense. 30 years ago the consensus among brain scientists was that the adult brain does not produce new neurons. Now it is well established that neurogenesis occurs late into life. Luckily, the brain scientists didn’t hear your proclomation regarding brain science.

  60. #60 AJKamper
    July 19, 2011

    Bill: That’s not quite it–in fact, the opposite. For example, it could well be advantageous to overreact to things that might be predatory, because it’s an evolutionary advantage to get away from anything that poses a sufficiently great risk of being a predator. Another example would be our habit of seeing faces (JEsus, Mary’s, whatever) in random patterns; our brains are hardwired to recognize faces early, but that evolutionary advantage also leads us astray in other contexts.

    Natural selection is precisely why it might be advantageous NOT to see the world accurately.

  61. #61 sambo
    July 20, 2011

    sick of people having 10% of the information claiming to understand something, it show’s they are not as smart as they think, get honest and admit you dont know because you dont have all the information. that goes for all science that doesnt have all the information requied before making any claims. stop basing your methodology on the desired outcome. people with sub standard practices are casting dout over the integrity of modern day science and is more and more being seen as a means to an end, science is abused by the majority and has resulted in shock jocks leading the simple minded massess under the science banner,its like watching zombies trying to eat each others brain, you end up hungry and irrational

  62. #62 bill
    July 20, 2011

    AJKamper @ 60 said
    “our brains are hardwired to recognize faces”

    AJKamper @ 35 said
    “there’s no reason to believe that our perceptions should in any way conform with whatever it is that is real”

    So which is it? Faces are real, aren’t they?

    Also, there is a big difference between erroneous risk assessment and an assessment that does not conform in any way to what is out there. Both of your examples are of errors in an imperfect system that evolved to ensure our perceptions do conform to an external reality.

    What do you propose is the advantage to seeing the face of Jesus in burnt toast? What is the advantage to thinking an apple is a predator?
    You suggested because it’s an evolutionary advantage to get away from anything that poses a sufficiently great risk of being a predator., which implies an ability to assess the risk. That requires some degree of agreement between perception and reality.

  63. #63 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “I think a major problem is that the media always has to present two sides to the story”

    I believe it started out more as a cheap way of avoiding claims of bias. Cheap journalism. It gets the two talking heads to do all the work so you don’t have to. And conflict is a lot more entertaining (if much less informing) than an actual discussion on something with one expert.

    Now it’s moved so far that Fox News can argue in court that they don’t have to tell the truth. And win.

  64. #64 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “The ski resorts web site always has a better ski temperature than an official weather site for the same location. Is the difference science or something else?”

    Something else.

    Is this a trick question?

    But the difference can be found by checking the records nearby or alternative sources, just as you have.

    So any conspiracy for AGW has to involve 150 years of science and every national weather service in the world in the last 50 years, many of them for much, much longer. For every station used around the world (thousands upon thousands of sites)

    You have shown that it can’t be done for one single ski resort for a few short years.

  65. #65 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “HUHH, DOES THAT MEAN THERE IS NO INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH? HA HA.”

    It means there’s no indication of intelligent life behind that post.

    How much energy is required to heat the atmosphere by an average of 0.5C? And how much lead would that melt? Hint: it’s approximately 150 1 km cubes of lead.

  66. #66 chris
    July 20, 2011

    I wonder if climate change deniers tell their oncologist that they disagree with their choice of chemotherapy or radiation dose. Or they claim the type of surgey their surgeon has selected doesn’t have enough enough evidence to support its use. I highly doubt it…
    Nice post Ethan!

  67. #67 Jim
    July 20, 2011

    The problem with many of the bloggers here is that they tend to lump too many things together. There are three separate questions:

    1. Is the climate getting warmer?

    2. What, if anything, should we do about it?

    and 3. Is the warming caused by humans?

    Question 3 is a red herring, because even if the answer were no, we would still have to answer question 2. It is pointless to waste time on it.

    As to Question 1, obviously it depends upon the starting point of the investigation, but the Earth’s climate has been getting warmer and cooler for billions of years, so even with a coin flip the answer would be yes 50% of the time on average over a sufficiently long timespan. Over the last 15 years the answer appears to be no, but let’s just agree for now that the answer is yes, the Earth is getting warmer.

    The true question, then, is number 2. That’s not merely a rational scientific inquiry — it involves psychology, economics, engineering, politics, law, sociology, international relations, and even religion. Indeed, if one were to pursue the answer to this question using the scientific method, and if it were somehow testable, I submit that the idea of collective action by all of the industrialized and industrializing world to limit CO2 emissions would fail. But if we believe the consequences of Question 1 are unacceptable (which is itself a value judgment), that is where we should be focusing our time and energy.

    I think the issue here is that many people, on both sides, conflate the questions. The “scientist” side assumes that if someone opposes Kyoto as an insane, unworkable, ineffective solution, the opponent believes that the climate is not getting warmer (which is in many cases true). The “non-scientist” side assumes that if someone says the Earth is getting warmer, that person wants to impose radical, unrealistic change that will put humanity back into a pre-industrial state of nature (which is in many cases true).

    Let’s all agree that the action is all on Question 2, and that time spent worrying about Questions 1 and 3 is largely time wasted. Unfortunately for this blog, the answer to Question 2 may involve science, but science alone cannot provide the answer.

  68. #68 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “Question 3 is a red herring, because even if the answer were no, we would still have to answer question 2.”

    Snrk.

    Wrong.

    If the warming was occurring, but not human caused (q2), then q3 would already be answered.

    1. Is the climate getting warmer?

    Yes

    3. Is the warming caused by humans?

    (should be next)

    Yes

    2. What, if anything, should we do about it?

    (should be last)

    If it’s not warming, 2 and 3 are answered. If 2 is “no”, then 3 is answered. Only if 1 and 2 are “yes” can 3 become a question to answer.

    And the answer is: we should stop producing excess CO2, since that is the cause of the warming currently seen.

    “As to Question 1, obviously it depends upon the starting point of the investigation”

    Trivially true.

    “but the Earth’s climate has been getting warmer and cooler for billions of years”

    Assinine. The climate has changed for billions of years FOR A REASON.

    What’s the reason for the change now?

    Human production of excessive CO2.

    That the climate changed in the past due to natural CO2 changes doesn’t change that we’re doing it now. That the climate changed due to processes other than CO2 doesn’t stop human CO2 causing it now.

    “Let’s all agree that the action is all on Question 2″

    Except it should have been Question 3, yes, lets.

  69. #69 Ethan (not that one, the other one)
    July 20, 2011

    @Jim Wow’s answer is pretty good, but you might also want to consider http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm

    Briefly, it has warmed over the last 15 years. Whoever told you otherwise was…mistaken.

  70. #70 Rachelle
    July 20, 2011

    Unfortunately timed political–not scientific–comment.

    Even the global warming enthusiasts have admitted that warming has stalled and the planet has gotten cooler since about 1998.

    The recent cooling is blamed, of course, on human activity…pollution again…Chinese coal-fired plants.

    So, what caused the Medieval warming period? What caused the mini-ice age? What caused previous ice ages and global warming?

    Ethan makes much of a grand consensus on global warming. Very little research shows the ‘consensus’ is not as grand as he imagines.

    But when did science advance by consensus? Aren’t many advances made by questioning the consensus?

    I hope Ethan is better in physics than he is in this stuff.

    Perhaps he should consider politics if he is going to make a career of b.s.

  71. #71 Chapman
    July 20, 2011

    There are two problems that many people see with the “scientific consensus” of anthropogenic global warming (climate change is a misnomer because the climate is always changing). The first is the fact that climate is a complex chaotic system. There may be some patterns and equilibriums, but there are also swings and surges that break the mold and are otherwise unexplainable and unpredictable by any computer modeling. Even the scientific experts, and I am by no means a scientist, cannot predict the actions of a complex chaotic system any more then they can predict where a single water molecule will travel through Earth’s water cycle.
    The second problem is that “anthropogenic climate change” has become a buzzword in the scientific community and a surefire way for scientists to get fully funded research grants, published works with positive peer review, and a tenured professorship. Yes, scientists should be objective fact finders, but they are also people too. People make decisions based upon what is best for them as people, they want to provide well for their families and progress professionally and economically through their years. Scientists in otherwise unrelated fields strive to link their research to climate change/global warming in order to guarantee funding. Why else would they contort themselves so?

    It is the vested interest that the scientific community has in anthropogenic global warming that causes the most skepticism from my side of the debate. If anthropogenic global warming is proven wrong it is not like the scientists will be all super excited that they were proven wrong, careers will be destroyed, credibility will be lost, political power will be eroded and blame for real-life economic tragedy would fall square on the shoulders of climate scientists. That is not even in the same universe as being wrong about dark matter or evolution.

    Its not science……its business and personal

  72. #72 Vicki
    July 20, 2011

    Jon @50: As far as terminology goes, some of it is really, truly not the fault of the people presenting the standard model. “Big Bang” was coined by someone who intended it to be dismissive, because he was sure that theory was wrong. Few people take Hoyle’s steady-state theory seriously these days, but we’re still using his name for the theory he opposed.

    Beyond that, Wikipedia is a starting point, not a place to stop, and not only because anyone can edit it, regardless of what they know. (Which means not only whether they are informed on the subject, but whether they can write even semi-coherently.) For example, there is a plausible and very mundane explanation of the Pioneer anomaly, in terms of how the spacecraft give off heat.

    I think Ethan has explained why the local group holds together, either here or in some other recent post.

  73. #73 Jim
    July 20, 2011

    @wow, you completely missed the point. Even if it is true that the climate is warming (Question 1), and atmospheric CO2 resulting from human activity is the principal cause (Question 3), that does not necessarily mean that the best solution is somehow to reduce global human usage of carbon (as if that could realistically be done in the absence of economically reasonable alternative sources of energy, which I posit it can’t). It’s possible that CO2 reduction through mandating emission reductions directly (or indirectly through a universal carbon tax) is a solution, but it does not mean that there are not others. That’s an enormously expensive solution and in a pseudo-scientific sense, not even the most parsimonious solution. The most parsimonious solution is to find a way to cool the globe directly, probably through increasing albedo through various means. The longer-term solution is likely to spend some of the resources devoted to direct carbon reduction (and the associated opportunity cost to the world’s economies) on alternative energy sources. The choices are of course based on science and its cousin engineering, but science fails to provide a complete answer.

    We still have slavery and human trafficking in some parts of the world, and that’s universally condemned. Women don’t have equal participation in the political systems in much of the world, and the second largest economy in the world censors the internet and crushes dissent. Why would anyone think a solution based on loose international agreements would cause most of the world’s governments to do something against their self-interest in curtailing carbon use (Conversely, why would anyone think the world’s governments, except perhaps for some Europeans, would enter into a tight agreement that actually constrained them economically)? Energy efficiency is a wonderful thing, but with increasing global economic development the crusade against carbon is a losing proposition.

    There is a lot on which the two sides could agree, if they stayed focused on solutions and did not collapse the 3 questions into one.

  74. #74 Brandon
    July 20, 2011

    Why I don’t believe in climate change or evolution is: I have not seen any evidence of it nor any experiments that support it. All people do is argue, which is unconvencing, they don’t produce experiments. Also the matters the artilce address are highly speculative, I tend not to believe something SO speculative with out alot of sound evidence.

  75. #75 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “I have not seen any evidence of it nor any experiments that support it”

    This is what two-year-olds do, Brandon.

    “@wow, you completely missed the point.”

    Jim, YOU completely missed my points.

    1) Those questions were in the wrong order
    2) That screed of “it’s changed in the past” is timewasting drivel.

    “Even if … that does not necessarily mean that the best solution is somehow to reduce global human usage of carbon”

    Yes it does, because the reasoning of how we know the correct question 2 is right is because CO2 is naturally a greenhouse gas.

    Therefore production of less of it would reduce the warming.

    It’s rather simple. Cause. Effect.

    “as if that could realistically be done in the absence of economically reasonable alternative sources of energy, which I posit it can’t”

    Well, you’re wrong:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/100-percent-renewable-by-2050.html

    “That’s an enormously expensive solution”

    You’re wrong again:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Review

    “The most parsimonious solution is to find a way to cool the globe directly, probably through increasing albedo through various means.”

    That won’t do squat unless we stop increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

    It’s like those numbnuts in the disaster movies running along the valley floor to get away from the flood of water from the broken dam. It delays the death by a few score yards of running like the clappers.

    “We still have slavery and human trafficking in some parts of the world”

    What does this have to do with Question 3? The “what should we do about it?” one? NOTHING.

    And we’d still have them if we spend all our money on getting rid of them.

    Then there’d still be starvation.

    Then there’d still be some other problem.

    You’re an inactivist denialist, Jim.

  76. #76 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “The recent cooling”

    What cooling? The trend for the past 30 years is still up.

    The temperature trend for the last three years is up.

    WHAT “recent cooling”?

    “So, what caused the Medieval warming period?”

    Try googling. It’s been answered. By the climate scientists.

    The take-home though is that forcings on climate caused the warming. One of the forcings doing so now is one that didn’t exist then, but this is no more proof that AGW isn’t true than the fact that forest fires started in forests with no humans, therefore arsonists can’t have caused the Australian fires recently.

    “What caused the mini-ice age? What caused previous ice ages and global warming?”

    Same response. The climate science has addressed these. And the same science shows that the new factor “CO2 from humans burning fossil fuels” is the reason this time.

    How come you lot never ask “What is causing it this time?” without demanding that it’s the same reason now as before?

    “But when did science advance by consensus?”

    Ever since repeatable experimentation was a requirement to test science theories.

    I.e. for almost the entire history of science.

    Professor X does an experiment to test a theory, theory survives.

    Professor Y does an experiment to test the same theory, the theory survives.

    There is now a consensus between two professors that the theory is sound.

    Until there’s a test that proves the theory unsound and others can repeat that test and verify (thereby making another consensus: the theory is not sound in the realm of that test), the preceeding consensus applies.

    Heliocentrism wasn’t accepted until several other lines of inquiry tested the theory and found it solid.

    A consensus.

  77. #77 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “The first is the fact that climate is a complex chaotic system.”

    So is the tossing of a coin.

    Yet you can make predictions about coin-tossing events.

    “The second problem is that “anthropogenic climate change” has become a buzzword in the scientific community”

    Nope.

    “and a surefire way for scientists to get fully funded research grants, published works with positive peer review, and a tenured professorship”

    Nope.

    1) Grants for astronomy come from the same government pool and go to climate research not astronomy. So why are astonomy scientists agreeing with the AGW theory?

    2) If someone came along and proved AGW nothing to see, they’d get grants elsewhere, looking (for example) at other problems. Freed up money would go to other science projects and the national academies of science would have the same grant spending as before. So why are the national academies agreeing with the AGW theory?

    3) Tenure doesn’t come from agreeing with AGW. Else there would be no tenured professors who weren’t climate scientists agreeing with the IPCC.

    Yours is a conspiracy theory based on the fact that you have no moral qualms about lying to get money and assume that everyone’s like that.

    “It is the vested interest that the scientific community has in anthropogenic global warming that causes the most skepticism from my side of the debate.”

    And it is the inability to see any data or evidence that shows you wrong that displays how you are a denialist not a skeptic. Your conspiracy theories also show you’re a nut.

  78. #78 zaybu
    July 20, 2011

    Excellent post, Nethan. Keep up the good work

    In regard to the concept of truth, here are a few pointers.

    The word “true/false” is a value given to a statement. For instance, the statement, “It is raining outside”. The only way I can find out if this is true or false is by checking if it is raining ouside or not. There are some caveats we should be aware of, and without being exclusive, here are some. It’s raining, and so I determine that the statement is true. But what if I’m under drugs? IOW, how trustworthy are my senses? One way to go around that is by checking with say a hundred people. If the majority have concluded that it is raining, I might feel more confident of the truth of my statement. But it is always possible that we live in the matrix, controlled by aliens, and we can never know what we perceive is the truth. Another caveat is, what is rain? Just a few drops for many might not constitute as rain. So I might conclude the statement is true, while others might balk. So I would need to be more precise and declare that rain is so many drops falling per second, hopefully this might be a better way to determine the outcome. But even there, there is a margin of errors, and what if today’s downpour falls right into that margin of errors? I hope you get my drift.

    The point here is that the concept of “truth” is a human concept, and we use it as a tool, just like we use a ruler to measure things — a thermometer being a good example. But like any tool, the concept of “truth” has its limitations. Being unaware of them might lead us into errors or misconceptions.

    The next point is how can we trust our experts?

    Take the development of science from classical to quantum physics. In some experiments, it could be seen that a photon, or an electron, could be either a particle or a wave. But conceptually, these two are exclusive. Two particles will collide and bounce off in different directions; OTOH, two waves will meet and go right through each other. How could a photon behave as a particles in one set of experiments, but behave as a wave in another set of experiments? Something had to give. The resolution of that dilemma was a different kind of thinking. Classically, one could take a particle’s position, plot it on a graph against its momentum, called a phase space, and that was a point on that graph. A curve on that phase space represented the trajectory of that particle. In quantum physics, this could no longer be tenable. The solution was to represent the state of a particle as a vector on a Hilbert space, observables as operators acting on these states, and the probability of finding a particle in a given state as the square of the amplitude, which is found by projector operators from any arbirary state to the given state we are interested. Today quantum physics is the most accurate, most precise theory we have ever fashioned. Just about every electronic gadget owes its existence due to our understanding of quantum physics. Now to understand quantum physics, a five-year training in that field might help.

    The point here is that if you’re not an expert in a given field, before you pronounce yourself, please do the legwork that the experts have been willing to go through before making any judgment.

  79. #79 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “But it is always possible that we live in the matrix, controlled by aliens, and we can never know what we perceive is the truth.”

    If we’re living in a matrix and it’s designed to appear real, then what’s the difference in treating it real as opposed to gazing into navels and going “Wow, man, that’s, like, really deep, man” like some pie-eyed hippie in the 60’s.

    One way to test how strongly someone worries about what is “truth” is to ask:

    Is it true that a gunshot to the head will kill you?

    If they then go on about how we don’t really know what “truth” is, then ask them to put a gun to their head and pull the trigger.

    If it’s not truth, not reality, then there’s no death, and therefore no consequence.

    Oddly enough, it’s only when there’s nothing at stake (or a lot at stake to delay or obscure) that the truth becomes so hard to define.

    When a consequence applies directly to them, the matters of truth and reality seem to become rather more defined…

  80. #80 Rachelle
    July 20, 2011

    WOW in 76 is confused by the question I posed in 70.

    Me: “But when did science advance by consensus?”

    WOW: “Ever since repeatable experimentation was a requirement to test science theories. etc.”

    Think for a moment WOW. A consensus merely supports an advance. And advances are often made by questioning a consensus.

    The Ptolemaic system, phlogiston, spontaneous generation, a universal flood, etc. were all accepted by consensus and found to be lacking when the consensus was challenged.

    Even the heliocentric system of Copernicus and Galileo, which you embrace for being received by consensus, was flawed in that it still relied on perfect circles for orbits. Kepler had to tidy that up.

    In any event, you and Ethan are wrong in assuming that a general consensus that anthropogenic warming on a significant scale exists. It doesn’t, and it is easy to find that it doesn’t exist.

    As for the recent global cooling that you doubt, you are too far behind the news to participate in this thread in any reasonable fashion. Even those who embrace global warming have been compelled by the evidence to accept that there has been a recent cooling which they are hurrying to try to explain.

    Votes count in juries and in Congress–with what effect you can judge for yourself–but they are less important in discovering the truth in the natural world.

  81. #81 Wow
    July 20, 2011

    “Think for a moment WOW.”

    I did. Rather more than you managed, too.

    “A consensus merely supports an advance. And advances are often made by questioning a consensus.”

    Nope. An advance is made when you learn something new. But you only learn something new is true (in a science sense) after it’s reached consensus.

    Else I could “advance science” by saying that Mars is a huge cheezy-puff under the crust.

    Try thinking for once.

    Even for a moment.

    “The Ptolemaic system, phlogiston, spontaneous generation, a universal flood, etc. were all accepted by consensus ”

    And none of them were science. The ptolemaic system was philosophy, phlogiston never had a theory, spontaneous generation and flood were religion.

    Just because there’s a consensus (and the Ptolemaic system wasn’t a consensus even amongst the philosophers) doesn’t mean it’s science.

    Don’t you read your own questions?

    “Even the heliocentric system of Copernicus and Galileo, which you embrace for being received by consensus, was flawed in that it still relied on perfect circles for orbits.”

    And the ecccentricities required finer measurements than were available at the time.

    When Kepler came along, the orbits of the planets didn’t change to becoming tetrahedral.

    “In any event, you and Ethan are wrong in assuming that a general consensus that anthropogenic warming on a significant scale exists. It doesn’t, and it is easy to find that it doesn’t exist.”

    1) Logic fail. Can’t prove a negative.
    2) I can prove that negative is false:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=734

    You can do it too: do a google scholar search.

    “As for the recent global cooling that you doubt”

    It doesn’t exist.

    “Even those who embrace global warming have been compelled by the evidence to accept that there has been a recent cooling”

    False.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:2008/to:2011/plot/wti/from:2008/to:2011/trend

    Trend, recent, upward.

    Cooling requires a DOWNWARD trend.

    “Votes count in juries and in Congress … but they are less important in discovering the truth in the natural world.”

    So why are you so set against there being a consensus? If votes don’t count, then why does there being few votes “for” AGW make it false?

  82. #82 Marcus Webb
    July 20, 2011

    “To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change frequently.” — Winston Churchill

  83. #83 Juice
    July 20, 2011

    You don’t know the laws on FOIA, do you?

    I shouldn’t need to.

    A good scientist is willing to share his data, isn’t he?

    You also don’t know that the data was ALREADY available, do you.

    And yet…it wasn’t.

    It also seems that we have a lot of Objectivists in these comments.

  84. #84 Rachelle
    July 20, 2011

    In 81 WOW gives a good example of the irrational lengths one will go to keep a death grip on global warming and the great importance of consensus.

    When I pointed to the Ptolemaic system and phlogiston as having once enjoyed a majority consensus he said:

    “And none of them were science. The ptolemaic system was philosophy, phlogiston never had a theory”

    Actually, at the time the Ptolemaic system was developed there was no significant distinction between philosophy and science and, in any event, the system provided a rational and mathematical description of the observed universe that could, and did, fairly accurately predict the motions of heavenly bodies. That’s science.

    Phlogiston was a theory that attempted to provide a model for observed phenomenon. Google it.

    Not quoted above was your complaint that belief in a universal flood was religion and not science. Surely some religious texts convinced people of the Flood, but early scientific geologists also found evidence of flooding that seemed, at first, to support the mythical accounts of flooding. Observation leading to Theory….that’s sometimes found in science, isn’t it, WOW? Greater and much more demanding observations were needed to overturn the consensus of the earlier theory of universal flooding. That’s science, isn’t it? Read “The Great Devonian Controversy” for superb history of science and examples of how advances in fields often go against the consensus.

    That’s my last post to you. You are a mere ideologue.

  85. #85 Angry Gamer
    July 20, 2011

    Of course Scientists’ are wrong about Man Made Global Warming

    see this link for proof of predictions made given short time series data.
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

    Opps…

    You see we as humans have only had this thing called a “Thermometer” to measure temperature since 1638. This means that we really don’t have much evidence to say what the temperature trends really have been in macro time scales. Even local weather stations in Europe that have been in operation since those times most likely DID NOT record temperature precisely (like to .1 degree). But here we are in the 21st century demanding policy changes due to apparent .2 degree rises… Please

    Yes I know about Tree Rings and Ice Cores and that those are “Proxies” for the real temperature measurements that thermometers “would” have recorded had they existed.

    BUT, how are these proxies calculated? How is the data crunched to assure that .2 degree shifts are meaningful? What are the measurement error rates? What about tree ring measurement? What about CO2 absorption rates in eras where there were no measurements? etc etc

    What it all comes down to is FAITH. Faith that the scientists did the right calculations. That the Tree Ring guys got it right. That the data that is all built on a fragile premise that data for 373 years (and sparse temp data for 200+ of those years). Is something we can spend Trillions of dollars preventing.

    I used to laugh about how natives would throw goat sacrifices into a volcano to placate the fire gods and ward off some impending doom. Now in the 21st we have “scientist” warning of impending doom and insisting that we sacrifice huge amounts of goat dollars all in the hopes that A) The Scientist Shaman are right B) That this goat sacrifice will help.

    Excuse me for being skeptical and firmly believing the science-shaman are full of crap this time… Just like they were in 1974
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

  86. #86 Composer99
    July 20, 2011

    Rachelle: Wow has provided references to sources of evidence supporting his claims (namely, that your assessments of AGW are incorrect), sources which directly cite (and most importantly, accurately interpret & represent) the relevant scientific literature.

    You have manifestly failed to support your claims with reference to evidence. At all.

    If you expect people to take your specious claims regarding AGW seriously, you need to pony up the evidence.

    So who’s the ideologue here?

  87. #87 David Dilworth
    July 20, 2011

    “The difference between theory and practice is larger in practice than in theory.” –Gary Kumfert, CCA Forum, March 2001

    In theory you want to learn “I like it when I’m wrong. Instead of being the teacher, it gives me an opportunity to learn something new. It gives me a chance to improve myself and my understanding of things.”

    “If you cannot be wrong, you cannot learn. And if you think that nobody else can do anything right, you are missing out on learning about everything that you yourself are not an expert in, which is most things.”

    In practice, you have apparently intentionally evaded a “learning opportunity” that was presented to you quite respectfully :

    “Ethan Siegel Makes Science Error – Then Evades Making Correction” http://cosmologyscience.com/cosblog/?p=1191

    So I ask you sincerely – how could one present that error to you so that you correct it – in reality ?

    Thank you,
    -David Dilworth

  88. #88 Chalman
    July 20, 2011

    77…..Coin tossing is not a complex chaotic system……When science can predict the movements of the stockmarket by using historical data and computer models I will accept anthropogenic global warming. The problem here is that there are so many variables that can be changed and altered. The computer models that climate scientists rely on are based upon so many assumptions that the data they accumulate is scientifically worthless. KInda like the computers that try and predict the stockmarket.
    As to your labeling me as a conspiracy theorist, I never said that this was a conscious decision I said it was a basic human reaction to reward based incentives. Look at how much public and private money is being poured into green energy science led by the federal government incentives and tell me there is no incentives for scientists to zealously advocate global warming.

  89. #89 John
    July 20, 2011

    Wow, after reading these comments, one thing is abundantly clear: Wow is a moron.

  90. #90 Albert Abbene
    July 20, 2011

    Wow! I was just reading Real Clear Science when I see, right in front of me, ETHAN SIEGEL. You taught my physics lab in Portland. You are awesome, and this is an impressive piece. Keep on trucking!

  91. #91 Rachelle
    July 20, 2011

    Composer 99 says to me:

    “If you expect people to take your specious claims regarding AGW seriously, you need to pony up the evidence.”

    Composer, what are my claims regarding AGW?

    I think I said that there is not as strong a consensus as the primary article claims…certainly not enough to close discussion and analysis.

    And I said that since 1998 there has been no warming and apparently some cooling. My source for that is the Pope of global warming, Phil Jones of the Hadley Climate Research Unit, in his testimony in Parliament. True, he has tried to back away from that in part since then, but others have confirmed the phenomenon. And just lately, the people committed to global warming have been trying to decide what has stalled the ‘inevitable’ global warming and kept things cool. Is it volcanoes? Is it Chinese use of coal? Or is it that the models are wrong?

    For a thread on a so-called ‘Science’ blog there seems to be very little in the way of healthy skepticism here. A lot of posts read more like declarations of faith in a religious tract.

    It is too early to declare the issue decided and brand everyone who doubts it a heretic. Shame on you.

    Put down your drumsticks, Composer, and try questioning self-proclaimed authorities.

  92. #92 Ethan Siegel
    July 20, 2011

    David,

    Your comment must have gotten caught in my spam filter, likely for too many links (more than one is too many). I did not know you had left one, and I have not been able to find it in there now. If it is more than a month old, it has been automatically deleted.

    But I read your follow-up articles over at your site, and although I believe you are honestly endeavoring to define the Big Bang for a general audience, you are adding to the confusion surrounding many of the details instead of clarifying them.

    If I mistakenly accused you of taking Jim Peebles out of context, I apologize for that. But if you did not take him out of context, then you have misunderstood a number of aspects about the Big Bang, which I hope my post that you refer to helps clarify.

  93. #93 David Dilworth
    July 20, 2011

    Hello Ethan,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I do appreciate you are trying to educate many about science and how you use eye-catching graphics.

    You wrote “If I mistakenly accused you of taking Jim Peebles out of context, I apologize for that.”

    So does this mean you are going to correct your original article by striking out the inaccurate statement about the context of Professor Peebles quote? (similar to how you corrected the article on fireworks)

    Thank you,
    -David

  94. #94 Ethan Siegel
    July 20, 2011

    David,

    Certainly, I don’t mind going back and making the edit.

    The larger issue at stake — for me, at any rate — is that you seem to imply that the Big Bang is “lacking” in some way because the IAU doesn’t have a standard definition of it. You can talk to any number of physical cosmologists — not just me or Jim Peebles — including many of the sometimes-commenters here: The Other Ethan, Rob Knop, etc., and you will discover that we all have the same definition of the Big Bang.

    In other words, if you were not taking Peebles’ quote out of context, you have used it to help make a point that I am certain he would not support.

    And yes, contrary to popular understanding — including yours and wikipedia’s — inflation came before the Big Bang. Not before a “singularity,” which the Big Bang is not, but before the Big Bang. If you want more information, ask. Don’t get mad at me in a series of posts that I don’t even know exist. (Even better, if you have a comment that gets caught in a spam filter, send an email; it’s not like it’s a secret.)

  95. #95 Ethan Siegel
    July 20, 2011

    Also, if you’re the David Dilworth at Stony Brook, say hi to Dean Barnett for me. He and I were in the trumpet section together of the all-city band in elementary school back in New York.

  96. #96 Billy Ruff'n
    July 20, 2011

    Re. Wow @ 64
    “So any conspiracy for AGW has to involve 150 years of science and every national weather service in the world in the last 50 years, many of them for much, much longer. For every station used around the world (thousands upon thousands of sites)”

    No, Wow, it doesn’t.

    You really should read up on how land temperatures are recorded, and site temperatures “adjusted” for various things, and averaged, gridded, grid anamolies calculated and then averaged over the globe, integrated with sea surface temperature, etc.

    The “conspiracy” (and I’m not saying there is one) would only have to involve the few people / institutions that “massage” and then publish the three primary temperature records. And, remember, you don’t have to massage in more than 0.6 deg C per century to prove the point you want to make.

    Surely there’s no “conspiracy”– but if good science is supposed to be replicable, just why was it that the UEA / Hadley CRU was so reluctant to release their raw data, code, etc?

  97. #97 Thomas Neil Neubert
    July 20, 2011

    We humans must manage planet Earth’s ecosystems; no other species will.

    We have begun to manage pollutants, ecosystems, endangered species.

    But there are many gaps and always trade-offs.

    And the decision makers (you and I: people individually and in corporations, governments, other organizations) have conflicting interests and conflicting incentives.

    The science of global climate change gives statistically valid historic data and trends about sea level, temperature, CO2 changes.

    But the predictions of global scientists, even though very consistent, are disputed. (I agree with the dire global warming predictions).

    But the necessary courses of action are not clear even among those who accept global warming scientists’ predictions.

    The task of managing the health of planet Earth’s ecosystems is too big to be done on a local level.

    The oceans are a global commons that must be protected just as precious as the local source of drinking water.

    Measures of air and water pollution, and local weather extremes are pretty tangible; because they are local.

    Whereas the measures of global warming are pretty abstract.

    An extreme local event like japan’s tsunami raised a wall of water 20 meters high in 1 minute; pretty tangible.

    Global warming may raise the sea levels 1 to 3 meters over 100 years; not so tangible.

    As well, demonstrating a causal relationship between an extreme local temperature event (e.g. record drought and heat wave) and global warming is not easy.

    The complexity of interrelated local issues (e.g. of responsibility, local burden, special interests, exceptions, lack of technology, timeframe, incentives, penalties, mandate and enforce) leads to general confusion and global inaction.

    Significant local action is difficult; because in the short term (decades) there is little local benefit (e.g. if country A enforces but country B, C…Z don’t.)

    Managing the health of planet earth’s ecosystems is like managing the health of your left foot. For your left foot to benefit; it must be part of a healthful body. Your left foot cannot afford to be indifferent to the plight of your left ventricle. Nor can your left ventricle be indifferent to the plight of your left foot. If a left foot is incapable of aerobic activity; the left ventricle is disadvantaged.

    The human body knows what its ancestor bodies learned eons ago. Evolution is not a dog eat dog world; winner take all world between the cells and organs of complex animal body. When a body part succeeds in a winner take all strategy; that body part and the whole animal lose. A body part with a winner take all strategy is known as a malignant tumor.

    The health of planet earth is no longer in the cells of bacteria and algae, the leaves of plants or bodies and minds of insects and fishes. The responsibility to manage planet earth and to govern its evolution is the human species alone for the foreseeable future. And yes, yes we are restricted to living in harmony with earth’s ecosystems.

    Unless of course the human species chooses to proves to be a tumor upon the ecosystems of planet earth; in which case we will go extinct or regress to the stone age.

    Then of course, the future health of planet earth will return to collective wisdom of cockroaches, algae and other non-human life forms.

    But if like I, you believe that the collective wisdom of human-kind can exceed that of mere plants and animals.

    Then as a responsible human being; I think you must take some responsibility for the health and continued well being of planet earth’s ecosystems; just as you take some responsibility for the health and well being of your children, family and friends.

  98. #98 zaybu
    July 20, 2011

    89 Wow, after reading these comments, one thing is abundantly clear: Wow is a moron.
    Posted by: John

    I would have to agree with you, John. Wow picked one point of my post he didn’t agree with, and then ignored the rest, which was about how people ignored experts when they simply did not do the legwork that experts have done in their field. I guess there’s no surprise there in case of wow.

  99. #99 Johnny Morgan
    July 20, 2011

    I grew up with this stuff as a background noise, then I got a little older and started to get a little concerned…the problem was that the groups calling for the ‘End of the World’ didn’t SOUND like scientists to me… they sounded more like religious leaders and that is a huge problem for AGW.

    The research is not open, climateaudit.org (M&M) HAVE published a paper that forced CRU/UAE to correct their findings and it was a pretty big difference.

    Last point… read the HARRY.README file, I work in IT and I completely and totally understand that poor poor DBA and the shit he had to go through to make their numbers work.

    The only thing that surprised me when ‘climategate’ (god I hate that term) broke was that no one talked about the HARRY.README file.

    Then there are issue with the data, they cannot reproduce the same numbers again, you CANNOT get access to the raw data (the data from China has mysteriously disappeared and we are supposed to swallow that their record keeping was perfect through the Culture Revolution and that they kept better records than the US did through out that time period?)

    There is something fishy on BOTH sides of the debate about the only thing that seems settle is the actual science…it’s the data that is the real problem and always has been. GIGO, learn from IT, we live by ‘Hope for Victory, Plan for Defeat’, Climate scientists need to learn this axiom.

    That being said, we absolutely need to get a handle on environmental issues, not because we are screwing the planet, but because we are screwing ourselves.

  100. #100 Josh
    July 20, 2011

    There’s a big difference between dark matter and AGW. Dark matter doesn’t have much effect on our daily lives if it exists or not but AGW and our response to it can have drastic implications for the way we live. It’s akin to telling folks that a dark matter ‘moon’ is going to pass near the earth and that you need 1/5 of their income to build rockets and spacecraft to deflect it with a gravitational slingshot maneuver to prevent extreme tides from swallowing entire nations. We haven’t been able to detect this moon directly, since it’s dark matter, but we have noticed an abnormal precession in the orbit of Mercury that can only be explained by this dark matter moon we call Vulcan…

    Once you hit that ‘1/5 of their income’ part, the burden of proof gets raised extremely high. It sounds like a scam, so extraordinary evidence will be required to silence people’s intestinal BS detectors.

    Two things can help here, more evidence (preferably empirical evidence that people can relate to), and a more cost effective solution. Evidence will pile up, and alternative energy sources will mature and become more useful and affordable, so eventually more people will come around.

  101. #101 Jim
    July 20, 2011

    Walter Russell Mead expressed a similar point to mine above in this blog:

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/06/27/the-failure-of-al-gore-part-deux/

    I’ll quote in part, “The green plan is a plan for a global constitution because the treaty will regulate economic production in every country on earth. This is a deeply intrusive concept; China, Nigeria, Myanmar, Iran and Vietnam will have to monitor and report on every factory, every farm, every truck and car, every generator and power plant in their territory. Many states do not now have and possibly never will have the ability to do this in a transparent and effective way. Many others will cheat, either for economic advantage or for reasons of national security. Many states do not want their own citizens to have this knowledge, much less the officials of hostile foreign powers.

    Moreover, there will have to be sanctions. After all, what happens if a country violates its treaty commitments? If nothing happens, the entire treaty system collapses of its own weight. But to work, enforcement will have to mean penalties greater than the advantages from cheating. Who will monitor output around the world, assess performance against commitments, levy penalties and fines — and then enforce those decisions when they are made?

    There are no real answers to these questions and can be none. No institutions exist with the power and resources to play these roles; the world’s jealous nation states will not consent to create them.

    The dream that the menace of global warming will cause humanity to overcome its ancient divisions and unite in a grand global coalition is sophomoric. Rising CO2 levels will not cause the world’s governments to accept and enforce international policing of the most intimate details of their economic lives. If the menace of nuclear war can’t create world government, the menace of global warming won’t do it either.”

    Folks, we need to start working on realistic solutions and quit trying to eliminate CO2 from modern life.

  102. #102 africangenesis
    July 21, 2011

    Ethan,

    Climate science is a multidisciplinary field. The result is that very few “climate scientists” have an informed opinion on AGW. Since the scientific issue is the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 forcing, to have an informed opinion you would have to be familiar with the model and model diagnostic literature and with the model independent attempts to estimate or calculate climate sensitivity. The direct effects of CO2 forcing would only result in warming of about 1 degree C with a CO2 doubling. This is less than natural variation, so the decades around the year 2100 might actually be cooler than today. High sensitivities require a net positive feedback to the CO2 forcing, there is some indication that net feedback may actually be negative.

  103. #103 africangenesis
    July 21, 2011

    Ethan,

    You really don’t have much excuse for not being an expert on evolution, it isn’t string theory. Just read Dawkin’s “The Selfish Gene” and “The Extended Phenotype”, both are very accessible and comprehensible.

    For a dive into the literature see my post on robustness here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AEvolution%2FArchive_39#Robustness

  104. #104 dg
    July 21, 2011

    “being wrong is erroneously associated with failure, when in fact being proved wrong should be celebrated, for it is elevating someone to a new level of awareness.” paulo coelho

  105. #105 OKThen
    July 21, 2011

    Not only might we be wrong sometimes; we must be wrong many times.

    Thomas Edison understood this principle. His team tested over 10,000 substances before finding a suitable filament for the light bulb. Edison said, “I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true.” To achieve success, Edison was strong enough to be wrong 99.99% of the time.

    We all know that the cost of technology keeps going down and the function of technology keeps going up.

    Moore’s law is not physics. It is a principle of human learning; that experience (as measured in learning from mistakes) leads to improvement.

    To grow a business from one customers to billions requires a willingness to make mistakes in theory and in execution; not once but millions of times.

    To improve a product, process or service; we must deliberately increase our rate of failure by introducing the instability of change. Instead of testing 1 light bulb filament per day; Edison’s team learned to fashion and test 10 or 100 filaments per day. Through failure both the research and the light bulb improved.

    The rules of an effective ant colony were learned hundreds of millions of years ago. In the ant eat dinosaur world of evolution; the ant has proved itself fittest and survived longest. But the price of the ant species’ survival is high. Each ant is doomed never to be wrong and never to learn. The collective knowledge of ant colony doesn’t change.

    The human existential problem is quite the opposite. Humans are doomed from our first to last breath to continuously be wrong and to continuously learn. To be continuously wrong is existential angst; to continuously learn is euphoria. Edison’s euphoria is captured in his remark, “I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.”

    Even if we are not an Edison, Archimedes or Einstein; we are still doomed to continuously learn and continuously be wrong in an average human kind of way; which is absolutely extraordinary from any other animal’s point of view.

    What other animal species has a member who has broken every bone in its body several times; while developing a unique skill over the course of thousands of life threatening experiences. Yet even Evel Knievel finally said, “But you come to a point in your life when you can’t pull the trigger anymore.”

    In every day life we learn from experience. In business we learn from systematic analysis of experience and decisions. In science we learn from a method of observation, hypothesis and experiment. Six sigma means something in business and in science.

    But some human learning still comes from literally or figuratively “pulling the trigger again and again.” Sometimes me just need to “buck up and face out fear.”

    On increasing scientific research, I think we need to “buck up.” On increasing carbon emissions, I think we need to “stop pulling the trigger.”

    When one decides to develop a scientific mind (whether amateur or a professional); one commits to a life time of hypothesizing, testing, learning and being wrong. Einstein had wrong hypotheses for many years before he got general relativity correct; he spent the last thrity years of his life being wrong about a unified theory of electromagnetism and gravity and he was wrong about quantum mechanics for his entire life.

    Being willing to be BOLDLY wrong is critically necessary to discover new science.

    There are no clear answers about when to “buck up” versus “stop pulling the trigger.” Churchill said “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

    Do we need to “buck up” and do much more scientific research?

    Regarding the environment of planet earth (e.g. decreasing CO2 emissions, protecting ecosystems and endangered species), is it a matter of “honor and good sense” that we collectively “stop pulling the trigger”?

    Yes, yes.

  106. #106 Composer99
    July 21, 2011

    Rachelle:

    Your suggestion that Phil Jones is the source of your claim:

    And I said that since 1998 there has been no warming and apparently some cooling. My source for that is the Pope of global warming, Phil Jones of the Hadley Climate Research Unit, in his testimony in Parliament. True, he has tried to back away from that in part since then, but others have confirmed the phenomenon. And just lately, the people committed to global warming have been trying to decide what has stalled the ‘inevitable’ global warming and kept things cool. Is it volcanoes? Is it Chinese use of coal? Or is it that the models are wrong?

    is, unless you can provide a link to support it, simply false, IMO to the point of being mendacious.

    See, for example here regarding oft-misinterpreted statements regarding Phil Jones, or here regarding warming ‘stopping’ in 1998.

    There are a lot of insinuations of conspiracy, fraud, magical or religious thinking, and other such rubbish on this thread (and no doubt the previous ones) made by so-called ‘skeptics’. What none of them has provided is references to the scientific literature adequately showing that the empirical evidence gathered thus far supporting AGW is wrong. When and if they can do this, then perhaps their allegations can be taken seriously.

  107. #107 Andy
    July 21, 2011

    Its a mistake to lump “global warming deniers” with those opposing certain fixes. The controversy is more in the future projections and economic fixes. I agree those that deny GW are wrong. But the computer based estimates of where GW is going deserve a much more skepticism and scrutiny by experts other than climatologists (such as stasticians and economists). Non-experts (and opportunists) like Al Gore mixing real science with fictional and alarmist portrayals of New York going under water have actually served to drive skepticism of the real science. the contraversy is around future projections of where GW is going and what (if anything) we should do about it, waying future and present costs and benefits. And one thing I note is that GW alarmists act more irritated that the “denialists” dissagree with them than people who truly believe unfixable disaster is imminent.Not every so-called response to GW is efficacious and some may do more harm than good.

  108. #108 Anonymous
    July 21, 2011

    The geocentric model was widely excepted by experts for hundreds of years! All theories should be excepted if the majority of the scientific community concurs?

  109. #109 africangenesis
    July 21, 2011

    @Andy,

    “But the computer based estimates of where GW is going deserve a much more skepticism and scrutiny by experts”

    Questioning the model projections is not mere skepticism there are many peer reviewed diagnostic publications documenting their correlated errors, such as that by Wentz in 2007 in the journal Science reporting that none of AR4 models reproduced more than one third to one half of the observed increase in precipitation associated with the warming. Andreas Roesch documented a correlated surface albedo bias in all the AR4 models that averaged over 3W/m^2 globally and annually averaged, i.e., comparable to the CO2 forcing, separately, Camp and Tung, and Lean, et al, showed that all the models under represented the amplitude of the signature of the solar cycle seen in the observations, separately Lindzen and Spencer find evidenced that the net cloud feedback in the tropics is negative, while all the models are correlated positive.

    Correlated error would be damning of the hopes that ensembles of models would cancel random errors if the systems were linear, of course, the climate system is nonlinear.

    The models just aren’t ready to provide insight into a problem as small in magnitude as the less than a watt/m^2 energy imbalance that Hansen estimates for the 1990s.

  110. #110 cp42
    July 21, 2011

    I am a skeptic of AGW. There are three items regarding this that truly disturb me:
    1. GW is real and I recognize it. I am highly skeptical that it’s caused by human activity. Climate impact analysis needs to be divided in macro and micro scales when deciding on the follow-up “what to do about it” question. This is rarely done because alarmist rhetoric drives policy, not rational thought and that’s a shame.
    2. Advocating the idea of consensus in science is a giant tipoff that you’re not dealing with a scientist. You’re dealing with an agenda. Science does not care about consensus in theories. Consensus can only be had when a theory become undeniable fact. To claim fact prematurely is an agenda, not science. Truly study and follow where the money is on these issues. It’s rather sickening. Here’s a hint: Multi-national corporations are just as likely to fund biased “research” in support of AGW as they to fund “research” against it. There are economic motivations available to companies of side (e.g. GE and it’s solar power interests)
    3. Finally the opinion of a Climatologist has a lot more bearing for example on this subject matter than does the opinion of the foremost Zoologist (included in the IPCC “consensus” citations). I find it annoying when numbers of generally labeled “scientists” find consensus on something without regard to their specialty. The OP did this with his own expertise but then assumes valid expertise of scientists cited in the IPCC study? Inconsistent.
    4. Finally the fundamental problem with taking opinions from scientific organizations as well is that they’re driven by agenda and money interests by virtue of being an organization. Simple truth is that discoveries on one side or another will inherently help the organization in question and others will hurt it. This forms the basis for bias.

    OP dismisses my concerns as an irrational conspiracy. OP needs to reevaluate his underlying assumptions. The number of scientists agreeing or disagreeing with a theory is irrelevant to scientific fact. What experts in the specific fields of interest are saying is what matters more… like the differing views between Dawkins and Spencer.

  111. #111 Rol
    July 21, 2011

    1. With all due respect, I don’t think it’s wise for you to assume that climate science and its attendant deniers and skeptics present the same, or even similar, scenarios to those of cosmological science and its skeptics/deniers.

    Besides which, we humans make snap judgments and fuzzy guesses about fields outside our expertise all the time. I don’t need to delve deeply into Scientology or Freudian analysis to come to the (untutored, to be sure) conclusion that they’re either totally or largely full of shit; others, having other experiences, may come to reasonably arrived at conclusions different from mine.

    2. Based on the broad (albeit superficial) literature I’ve read, I don’t think all or even most climate scientists are full of shit, but I do think they’re acolytes of a very young, largely unproven field of study, and that too many of them (but certainly not most) have been caught “sexing up” their findings or massaging their message to convince the unwashed to support a policy response that they or their patrons favor.

    3. Then again, all your basic points line up in a way that seeks helpfully to address a pet peeve of mine. I went to a classical liberal arts school and read a lot of philosophy and theology–so much that I can say that, while I’m not an expert, I know that it’s ignorant to dismiss these fields of inquiry out of hand. This is why it causes me no small amount of annoyance and distress to see people who are experts in one scientific field or another (or are pop-scientists, anyway) parroting anti-God lines of thinking that seemed stale even when we hashed them out in late-nite freshman dorm bull sessions (no, really, it’s not a cliche; we actually did this). But the fact that, say, Dawkins doesn’t seem inclined to educate himself makes me less inclined to ask it of others, or to tut-tut them for doing so.

  112. #112 bill
    July 22, 2011

    the fact that, say, Dawkins doesn’t seem inclined to educate himself makes me less inclined to ask it of others, or to tut-tut them for doing so.”

    WTF? Professor Dawkins does not dismiss the entire field of philosophy out of hand. He is critical of a particularly bad school of philosophical thought that is based on the existence of some magical overlord who really really loves us and wants everyone to be happy, if it were not for that darn devil.

    His public criticism is the result of his experiences and what he learned while serving as the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position he held from 1995-2008. Namely, religion inhibits the public understanding of science.

  113. #113 David Dilworth
    July 24, 2011

    ES: “Certainly, I don’t mind going back and making the edit.”

    DD: I appreciate and thank you for correcting your article. I’ve updated my own article to reflect the correction.

    ES: “The larger issue at stake — for me, at any rate — is that you seem to imply that the Big Bang is “lacking” in some way because the IAU doesn’t have a standard definition of it. You can talk to any number of physical cosmologists — not just me or Jim Peebles — including many of the sometimes-commenters here: The Other Ethan, Rob Knop, etc., and you will discover that we all have the same definition of the Big Bang.”

    DD: Because you seem to love learning and physics as much as I do — I believe there’s a learning opportunity for both of us here. Your critique entirely misses the most important point of my article – which is “ambiguity;” how currently Big Bang is too ambiguous to be a scientific hypothesis. (That ambiguity should be cured when a cosmologist answers the questions for a LCDM (Big Bang) model on the Physical Cosmology Hypothesis form. http://cosmologyscience.com/cosblog/?p=402 )

    DD: And I’m interested in learning specifically what you mean by claiming my website is “adding confusion” about Big Bang. If you can please point out any error I want to correct it asap.

    Thank you,
    David

  114. #114 mikmik
    July 24, 2011

    Johnny Morgan=There is something fishy on BOTH sides of the debate about the only thing that seems settle is the actual science…it’s the data that is the real problem and always has been. GIGO, learn from IT, we live by ‘Hope for Victory, Plan for Defeat’, Climate scientists need to learn this axiom.
    WTF are you talking about. People that aren’t climate scientists have to learn what garbage is because you said it, garbage in, garbage out. Forgive me not thinking that IT is the last word on knowledge, but if you’re any indication, you have no business going anywhere near a database, let alone telling others how they should handle and interpret their data.
    Hope for victory, but plan for defeat? You live your life by a trite epigram? In any event, victory would be that there is no global warming or that its effects aren’t calamitous. The defeat we’re facing is that GW is leading to devastation of society and life, untold billions of human deaths. WTF do you think we’re doing, if not planning for defeat. You deniers and stunted, self centered and immature personalities need to f**king plan for defeat, because if you are wrong(defeated) then you are dead, or your descendents are. So you better bloody well start doing something fast, because it ain’t gonna be a situation of standing around and shrugging your shoulders and saying, “Oops, guess we were wrong.”
    WoW, keep up the good work, my man.

  115. #115 africangenesis
    July 24, 2011

    @mikmik,

    You cite your fears in your post but not your evidence. As someone with an informed opinion on the AGW hypothesis, I know you have no model independent evidence of the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse forcing in this climate regime (i.e. during an interglacial and not crossing an ice age tipping point), and so you also have no evidence that the GHG effect will be larger than the natural variation. The direct effects of the GHGs can only explain about a third of the recent warming and would result in about 1 degree C of sensitivity. Anything more would require net positive feedback within the climate system, and the evidence is that the net feedback might actually be negative. I also know that the models have correlated errors much larger than the energy imbalance of interest. So your faith in the 200 or so climate scientists that are familiar with the relevant literature, is all you have to go on and their opinions will be much more mixed than the “consensus”, and those that continue to believe will mostly do so based upon faith in the models that they can justify, even though they will acknowledge the correlated errors larger than the energy imbalance.

    Why spout an opinion on a science blog if you are unable to address the evidence, I hope you can, I love evidence.

  116. #116 Wow
    July 25, 2011

    “As someone with an informed opinion on the AGW hypothesis, I know you have no model independent evidence of the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse forcing in this climate regime ”

    FALSE.

    Nominal GHG warming of the atmosphere: 0.8C.
    Nominal CO2 increase: 380 from 280ppm

    Change in temperature T = Sensitivity S x Ln(CO2/CO2base)

    S = 0.8/ln(380/290) = 0.8/0.27 = 2.96

  117. #117 Wow
    July 25, 2011

    “but I do think they’re acolytes of a very young, largely unproven field of study”

    Really? Climate science is young?

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

    Compared to, for example, The Atomic Theory of matter:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Rutherford

    At least 50 years younger!

    “Advocating the idea of consensus in science is a giant tipoff that you’re not dealing with a scientist.”

    What do you think “repeatability” means? It means that many scientists can look at the evidence and test the theory themselves. If they agree (cf consensus) that it is sound, then it’s accepted. If they disagree, then it’s rejected.

    Science IS consensus.

    “the fundamental problem with taking opinions from scientific organizations as well is that they’re driven by agenda and money interests by virtue of being an organization”

    Which money doesn’t change if climate science is persued or not: if it isn’t persued, then the grant money goes to other science which, oddly enough, gets the same scientific body the same money as before.

    The fundamental problem is that denialists insist that there’s a conspiracy to fleece people because they themselves are willing to lie to get money. They therefore don’t bother to see if their conspiracy holds water, and just accept it as fact when it’s merely projection.

  118. #118 africangenesis
    July 25, 2011

    @wow 116,

    That is hardly scientific evidence. For instance you are assuming that 0.8C is the nominal GHG warming of the atmosphere, which is, of course, why your equation doesn’t include any other forcing besides CO2. The attribution of that 0.8C is at issue.

  119. I think it’s silly to look for the causes of global warming. The reason may be the only one, because it is caused by human activity. People throughout the world should think about their lives and the lives of their children. Only then can the process of ozone ostavnovit globe of the Earth.

  120. #120 Wow
    July 25, 2011

    “That is hardly scientific evidence.”

    Because you say it isn’t?

    I guess F=ma isn’t science either, neither was this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler%27s_laws_of_planetary_motion

    because Kepler tried different shapes of orbit to find the explanation that fit the evidence?

    “For instance you are assuming that 0.8C is the nominal GHG warming of the atmosphere”

    No, I’m assuming that the climate is sensitive to changes in forcings. The CO2equivalent is the only forcing that’s increasing. If anything, it’s an underestimate of the sensitivity since we’re increasing aerosols and the sun is outputting 0.1% less energy in the recent years and still it’s warmer.

    If your hypothesis is that something else is doing it, then go ahead and tell us what it is scientifically, rather than just plain old denial.

    And you’re also conveniently forgetting that your earlier demand was:

    “I know you have no model independent evidence of the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse forcing in this climate regime ”

    That equation is evidence of the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse forcing in this climate regime.

    We also have the FACT that out of the 33C of warming all greenhouse effects have on the temperature of the earth, 24% comes from CO2 alone.

    That would indicate absent ANOTHER MODEL or EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY that sensitivity to climate is 4x the forcing of CO2.

    More evidence which I suppose you’re going to ignore by saying “it’s not science”.

    Rather convenient for you that you can ignore the science in models because you demand evidence not models, but when you’re given evidence, it’s not science because it doesn’t have a model.

    This is, of course, the denialist MO in a nutshell.

  121. #121 africangenesis
    July 25, 2011

    Wow,

    For most of recent warming aerosols were decreasing not increasing, the pacific decadal oscillation was in its positive (warm) phase, black carbon was increasing and solar activity was at a grand maximum for the last half of the century. All of these made contributions to the 0.8C, and they aren’t in the equation you are claiming is evidence.

  122. #122 Wow
    July 25, 2011

    “For most of recent warming aerosols were decreasing not increasing”

    Try some science.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/04/sulphur-pollution-china-coal-climate

    “solar activity was at a grand maximum for the last half of the century”

    Which is why we’re in one of the longest quiet periods?

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/11jul_solarcycleupdate/

    Pity you have no science, really.

  123. #123 africangenesis
    July 25, 2011

    Wow, the recent warming was in the 80s and 90s. Your article about china was about the last decade, the interesting solar minimum is solar cycle 24 and the transition to it from cycle 23, which occurred in the last 4 years and is ongoing.

  124. #124 Wow
    July 25, 2011

    Nope, the recent warming to the tune of 0.8C is:

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

    0.4 of those were in the time: 1880-1940. There was a bit of pollution produced by mechanisation around the 1940’s where pollution wasn’t considered a major problem, but that’s half the 0.8C change right there.

    Oopsie.

    You really haven’t got this “science” thing down right, have you.

    We’re in the coolest period for the sun for a hundred years.

    So that’s the same forcing as 100 years ago, where we’ve added 0.8C warming from other sources so far.

    Aerosols don’t hang around for more than a couple of years tops, so they don’t accumulate and you’d have to show that the level of aerosols today are significantly different from the turn of the century.

    If not, then the figure is valid.

    Evidence you asked for but are adamantly in denial about.

  125. #125 africangenesis
    July 25, 2011

    Wow,

    Yes that part of that 0.8C you were treating as if it was attributable to CO2 that occurred before 1940 is mostly attributed to natural variation, but you were so far off the mark, there wasn’t much point in correcting you on that.

    There is so much uncertainty in aerosols that they are the main reason that models with sensitivities from 2.5C to 6C can all “match” the 20th century climate. And you don’t get a mid-century cooling or the steep temperature rise of the 80s and 90s without them. There doesn’t appear to be any way to recover what the actual aerosol levels were. But the 40s through 70s were the age of leaded gasoline, open air atomic testing and acid rain. And they were also the negative phase of the PDO. Go figure.

  126. #126 Wow
    July 26, 2011

    And those natural variations are varying naturally now.

    Over 100 years ago the sun was as quiet as it is today.

    Variation in solar input then vs now: Nil.

    Over 100 years ago, the particulate pollution is as low as it is today.

    Variation in solar input then vs now: Nil.

    Volcanoes just as evident now as over 100 years ago.

    0.8C warmer.

    380ppm (90ppm extra).

    The maths is easy, but you have to have an open mind.

    However, you want to preclude models and want evidence but when evidence is given, you demand models of how the various factors have added to the change.

    A rather obvious attempt to exclude ANYTHING that disproves your hate of the science of climate.

    From the evidence we have, we get a 3-4 C when the natural log of CO2 increases by one.

    From the fact of us being here, we have H2O’s feedback being about 2.5x the forcing from CO2 and we have calculations that show CO2 increases the temperature of the atmosphere by 1.2C per doubling of CO2. That makes 3C per doubling.

    Models of the physics likewise show a best estimate of 3C per doubling of CO2.

    Paleoclimate data shows that the temperatures cannot be explained with a climate sensitivity of much less than 3C per doubling of CO2.

    You just hate the idea and therefore refuse it.

  127. #127 Wow
    July 26, 2011

    “There is so much uncertainty in aerosols that they are the main reason that models with sensitivities from 2.5C to 6C can all “match” the 20th century climate.”

    And that proves what about AGW? A 2.5C per doubling will see us at temperatures never seen in the holocene period and when land ice was almost entirely gone, sea levels 20m higher before the middle of the 22nd century, possibly by the beginning of it.

    Tell me, how long would it take to move New York, London and Tokyo to a new place 20m higher than it is now without disruption to the stock exchange and without requiring billions in new builds (i.e. natural lifecycle replacement)?

    If it’s more than 100 years, we’re going to have to spend billions each year moving these cities.

    And at 6C per doubling, we’re there in 50 years.

    So you think it’s fine to be buggered in 50-150 years.

    Well I guess that you just hope that it’s someone else paying the price of your greed, I expect.

  128. #128 africangenesis
    July 26, 2011

    @Wow,

    You got the 1.2C per CO2 doubling about right.

    Yes water vapor is a positive feedback to any warming, however, Wentz reported in 2007 in the journal science, that there was an increase in precipitation associated with the warming in the observations, and that all of the AR4 models reproduced less than one third to one half of the increase. So while the water vapor part of the feedback is positive, it is just one part of the water cycle and the water cycle as a whole may well be a negative feedback. This is correlated error in the models.

    Another positive feedback in the climate is the surface albedo feedback, the 90s were characterized by earlier spring snow melts in the high latitudes, resulting in more solar energy being absorbed rather than reflected. While all of the AR4 models had some of this positive feedback, none, none matched the amplitude seen in the observations. Andreas Roesch’s diagnostic subproject published in 2007 showed a correlated bias in the models. This bias averaged over 3 W/m^2 globally and annually averaged, which is more than 3 times the energy imbalance during the 90s reported by James Hansen, it is a figure comparable to the increase in CO2 forcing itself.

    These correlated errors in climate models that “match” the 20th century climate imply that there must be “compensating” errors and since the system is nonlinear there is no likelyhood that they will continue to compensate in the future. In fact as the model climates continue to warm, the spring snow melts will eventually catch up with the actual climate eventually adding the missing 3+W/m^2, doubling the effective forcing that the models will include in their future projections.

    There are numerous other model diagnostic studies, showing not just error, but correlated error.

    The high estimates of paleo climate sensitivity are based upon solar and aerosols not CO2, and they are only based on poorly understood estimates of solar radiative coupling to the climate. The current solar cycle should give us more information on solar variability and coupling to the climate.

    I love climate science, and eagerly await further research developments.

  129. #129 Wow
    July 26, 2011

    You mean a model, no actual evidence of that, africaangenesis?

    So, now that models are fine evidence, what about the 100x the number of papers that refute your one?

    And what happened about the “biggest single unknown” for sensitivity you said: aerosols? Kind of changing your tune a lot, aren’t you.

    You know, when we got from the no-GHG earth to the one 33C warmer today, we got more precipitation with all that extra water. More clouds too.

    With all that added in, we get 2.5x a feedback.

    “The high estimates of paleo climate sensitivity are based upon solar and aerosols not CO2″

    Liar.

    “I love climate science,”

    Liar.

    “and eagerly await further research developments.”

    Only if they can be twisted to say what you want.

  130. #130 Wow
    July 26, 2011

    Additionally, since latent heat merely moves the energy up a little and is, in any case, much lower than the radiant components from the surface, in what way does more precipitation mean the climate sensitivity is wrong?

    One old canard of the denialists was that with more water vapour, there’d be more clouds and clouds will cover the land and cool us.

    But if it’s raining out, then there aren’t so many clouds appearing.

    What, exactly (and why) are you implying with this “revelation”? That floods will be much worse than expected?

  131. #131 africangenesis
    July 26, 2011

    I doubt there are a 100 papers referencing Wentz or Roesch’s papers, much less refuting them. ANY papers refuting them would be interesting. I’d be happy to evaluate any you are aware of.

    Apparently, you don’t realize that just about every other part of the climate system is a negative feedback, either transporting heat either upward in the troposphere, or poleward to be radiated into space, cooling the tropics and the surface.

    The “old canard” about clouds is still alive. All of the AR4 models are correlated in having the net tropical cloud feedback be positive, while what model independent evidence there is indicates the net tropical cloud feedback may be negative.

    BTW, I’m not questioning the greenhouse gas forcing, just noting that whether the net feedbacks are positive or negative is still an open scientific issue, and there is no model independent evidence that the sensitivity to CO2 in the current climate is in the range the AR4 used for its projections. If the feedbacks are minimal or negative, then the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling is about 1.1C or less, which is less than natural variation. In that case, even though the climate 100 years from now will be biased slightly warmer, the actual decades may be cooler than today due to natural variation.

  132. #132 Wow
    July 26, 2011

    There are scores of papers that say that the climate sensitivity is higher than the median “best guess” point of 3C per doubling of CO2.

    There are hundreds out there on the subject of feedbacks and rainfall.

    And you pick one that, well, doesn’t really gainsay the sensitivity that you demanded evidence of.

    “Apparently, you don’t realize that just about every other part of the climate system is a negative feedback”

    Apparently you haven’t heard of Ice.

    Quite reflective stuff, ice.

    You also haven’t heard that clouds have a positive or negative feedback based on where the cloud happens.

    You also haven’t discovered that all those feedbacks are taken into account in the calculation given: 0.8C, 90ppm increase to 380ppm.

    That 0.8C already has the feedbacks fed in.

    “indicates the net tropical cloud feedback may be negative. ”

    Yup, you’re a cherry picker.

    1) Most of the earth isn’t tropical
    2) may be. Yes, may be positive too.

    But you hear what you like to hear and pick only those bits that you fond convenient.

    “BTW, I’m not questioning the greenhouse gas forcing”

    Who said you were?

    “just noting that whether the net feedbacks are positive or negative is still an open scientific issue”

    Only open to being 2x the CO2 up to 5x the CO2 effect. Which are ALL POSITIVE, and none of which are good for us.

    “and there is no model independent evidence that the sensitivity to CO2 in the current climate is in the range the AR4 used for its projections”

    Yup, you don’t read anything at all, do you.

    I’VE GIVEN TWO.

    0.8C/90ppm increase.
    24% of the 33C warming we have shows H2O’s feedback is 2.5x over CO2’s effect.

    None of them models.

    Both of them bracketing the IPCC range of 2-4.5C warming per doubling of CO2, with the 2C per doubling proven false by measurement so far (so without the long period feedbacks).

  133. #133 James
    July 26, 2011

    Wow, some people really missed the point of this article.

  134. #134 africangenesis
    July 26, 2011

    @wow,

    “There are scores of papers that say that the climate sensitivity is higher than the median “best guess” point of 3C per doubling of CO2″

    There are only a handful that are model independent, and I’ve read them, they deal with sensitivity to solar or aerosols and have high levels of uncertainty. CO2 attempts generally go to the paleo climate and cross climate mode change boundaries and don’t really control for confounding variables. What is relevant is what the sensitivity to CO2 in the current climate would be over the next century or two.

  135. #135 Wow
    July 26, 2011

    “There are only a handful that are model independent”

    You keep saying this. False.

    I’ve also given you two calculations that are model independent.

    “CO2 attempts generally go to the paleo climate and cross climate mode change boundaries and don’t really control for confounding variables.”

    False again.

    You know, when you work out the changes in temperatures vs the aerosol content (Volcanoes), TSI changes (Orbital paths and continental position) and Solar activity changes (proxied by isotopic signature changes), you get all relevant confounding changes.

    You haven’t read any papers on it, have you.

    You see that calculation has been done and it narrowed down the (then) IPCC range of sensitivities down from 2-6C per doubling to 2.5-4.5C per doubling. The best-guess estimate was still broadly the same: 3C per doubling.

    “What is relevant is what the sensitivity to CO2 in the current climate would be over the next century or two.”

    That’s about 3C per doubling, current estimation shows that it’s likely higher.

  136. #136 Composer99
    July 26, 2011

    Because it’s not like ice mass loss on large land ice sheets is accelerating or anything… what? Oh. It turns out it is. (It’s behind a paywall, but the money graphs are in today’s Skeptical Science article posted by Hansen & Sato).

    And it’s not like the ocean levels are rising or anything… what? Oh, turns out they still are, too.

  137. #137 africangenesis
    July 26, 2011

    @wow,

    “You know, when you work out the changes in temperatures vs the aerosol content (Volcanoes), TSI changes (Orbital paths and continental position) and Solar activity changes (proxied by isotopic signature changes), you get all relevant confounding changes.”

    Oh really, do you get the differences in vertical and horizontal distribution of forcings, with solar coupled more strongly to the stratosphere via UV both radiatively and chemically through generation of ozone and to the land surface and 10s of meters of the ocean mixing layer, and CO2 mainly to the troposphere, and aerosols both through absorption where they are located and radiatively changing the albedo and also blocking infrarad escape? In a nonlinear dynamic system these differences cannot be assumed not to matter;

    As Knutti and Heggerl state in their 2008 review article in Nature Geoscience:

    “The concept of radiative forcing is of rather limited use for forcings with strongly varying vertical or spatial distributions.”

    or this:

    “There is a difference in the sensitivity to radiative forcing for different forcing mechanisms, which has been phrased as their ‘efficacy'”

    I have heard of ice, it is part of the surface albedo feedback, see Roesch. Scambos, a co-author of “”Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast?” noted more model diagnostic issues “Because of this disparity, the shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections,” Uh-oh.

    The tropics may just be one part of the climate system, but it is the part where most of the solar energy enters the climate.

    @composer99, yes mass is being lost from the greenland ice sheet and sea level is rising, but it is an open question whether and how much these are accelerating. There are practical limits to how fast these can happen, for instance the greenland ice sheet melt must exist through glacial outlets, as Harper, principle investigator on a 2008 paper published in the journal Science noted:

    “For Greenland to deliver 2 meters of sea level to the ocean by 2100 requires that all of the ocean terminating outlet glaciers there move at rates about 40 times faster than they move today, or about three times faster than we have ever observed an outlet glacier move for extended periods, … Furthermore, this fast motion must start immediately and must be sustained until the end of the century. While we don’t claim that this is a physical impossibility, we believe that it’s extremely unlikely and not a good central working hypothesis for making predictions.”

    Hmmm, that was in 2008, when is it going to start?

  138. #138 Composer99
    July 26, 2011

    africangenesis: Links, please. I don’t think it’s too much to expect, when one goes to the effort of supplying links to papers, to expect the same in return.

  139. #139 africangenesis
    July 26, 2011

    @composer99,

    Obviously you have not tried to post a comment with links on this blog. I’m really fond of links and can often connect you with the full text, but this site is strangely restrictive for a science blog.

    Search on:

    wentz science
    scambos arctic
    knutti hegerl

    The only one that doesn’t pop up that easily on search is
    Harpers work, published in the Sep 5, 2008 issue of science

  140. #140 africangenesis
    July 26, 2011

    @composer99,

    Obviously you have not tried to post a comment with l**ks on this blog. I’m really fond of l**ks and can often connect you with the full text, but this site is strangely restrictive for a science blog. Ouch, it even rejected my first attempt at this, I think it doesn’t like the s-word, try:

    s***ch on:

    wentz science
    scambos arctic
    knutti hegerl

    The only one that doesn’t pop up that easily on search is
    Harpers work, published in the Sep 5, 2008 issue of science

    On this blog you might have to do a little of the ground work yourself.

  141. #141 Composer99
    July 27, 2011

    africangenesis:

    As far as I am aware, the standard number of links allowed on almost all Scienceblogs blogs is two (2), including the commenter’s URL field (if anything is entered there). Any more links than that automatically sends the comment to moderation. The blog I most regularly read, Respectful Insolence, sees commenters complaining about this phenomenon every so often (usually when their link-fest comments get held up).

    As you saw in my comment @136, I had no problem posting two links.

    Obviously, you have no idea what my comment history on Scienceblogs is.

  142. #142 Composer99
    July 27, 2011

    africangenesis:

    Your reference to Knutti & Hegerl 2008 appears to consist of a quote-mine.

    You focus on a quibble, while the authors point out, in the abstract:

    Various observations favour a climate sensitivity value of about 3 °C, with a likely range of about
    2–4.5 °C.
    [Emphasis mine.] However, the physics of the response and uncertainties in forcing lead to fundamental difficulties in ruling out higher values. The quest to determine climate sensitivity has now been going
    on for decades, with disturbingly little progress in narrowing the large uncertainty range. However,
    in the process, fascinating new insights into the climate system and into policy aspects regarding
    mitigation have been gained. The well-constrained lower limit of climate sensitivity and the transient
    rate of warming already provide useful information for policy makers. But the upper limit of climate
    sensitivity will be more difficult to quantify.
    [Emphasis mine.]

    and in the concluding remarks:

    Long-term stabilization targets depend on climate sensitivity and on carbon-cycle–climate feedbacks99. The uncertainty in both of these, if the past is indicative of the future, may not decrease quickly. However, the tight constraint on the lower limit of sensitivity indicates a need for strong and immediate mitigation efforts if the
    world decides that large climate change should be avoided (Figs 5 and 6).
    [Emphasis mine.] The uncertainty in short-term targets is quite small, and as scientists continue to narrow the estimates of the climate sensitivity, and as the feasibility of emission reductions is explored, long-term
    emission targets can be adjusted on the basis of future insight.

    Since the authors themselves posit a climate sensitivity identical to that demonstrated by Wow, I do not see how you can use their paper to make a case against the current state of climate science.

  143. #143 africangenesis
    July 27, 2011

    @composer99,

    I used the paper for a specific purpose for which it is appropriate. I have also read the papers that paper references, Knutti and Hegerl were conducting a review. You don’t find much model independent work cited, and the quotes that I “mined” disclose that model independent estimates based on volcanic aerosols and solar variation can’t be assumed to be relevant to forcings coupled quite differently to the climate, like CO2. While everyone familiar with nonlinear dynamics knows the information in the quotes I “mined”, you seldom find climate scientists disclosing that information in the literature, instead they blithely calculate climate sensitivity in terms of CO2 doubling as a simple mathmatical relation, as if the sensitivity to different forcings can be considered linearly equivilent.

    I’ll be happy to discuss any literature claiming a model independent estimate of sensitivity to CO2 relevant to the current climate whether it is in referenced in that paper or not. Note that the paper did not discuss the model diagnostic literature, or adjust their estimate range for any of the documented errors. Neither did the IPCC FAR.

  144. #144 Composer99
    July 27, 2011

    The Harper paper you refer to is Pfeffer et al 2008 “Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise”.

    Since it is behind a paywall all I can view is the abstract, which I will cite from here:

    We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 meters by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 meter. These roughly constrained scenarios provide a “most likely” starting point for refinements in sea-level forecasts that include ice flow dynamics.

    Now I come to think of it, why did you limit reference of ice mass loss to Greenland? Is land ice on Antarctica a big pile of chopped liver?

    And why would the 2008 paper supercede the 2009 paper which I referred to earlier?

    The abstract for Velicogna 2009 documents mass loss at Greenland & Antarctica as follows (cited from the abstract, all I have access to due to the paywall).

    On acceleration of ice melt:

    We find that during this time period the mass loss of the ice sheets is not a constant, but accelerating with time, i.e., that the GRACE observations are better represented by a quadratic trend than by a linear one, implying that the ice sheets contribution to sea level becomes larger with time.

    On Greenland ice melt:

    In Greenland, the mass loss increased from 137 Gt/yr in 2002–2003 to 286 Gt/yr in 2007–2009, i.e., an acceleration of −30 ± 11 Gt/yr2 in 2002–2009.

    On Antarctic ice melt:

    In Antarctica the mass loss increased from 104 Gt/yr in 2002–2006 to 246 Gt/yr in 2006–2009, i.e., an acceleration of −26 ± 14 Gt/yr2 in 2002–2009.

    As I noted above, this paper is discussed in an article by Hansen & Sato on Skeptical Science (including key graphs), which I will not link to here because I intend to include another link to a paper below and do not want to trip the automatic filter.

    The other paper I wish to link to is Overpeck & Weiss 2009.

    Overpeck & Weiss heavily cite Pfeffer et al 2008, in such a manner:

    Interestingly, the range of sea-level rise by 2100 projected
    by Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2) coincides remarkably well with a completely independent assessment of glaciological
    constraints published last year (0.8–2.0 m; ref. 3).

    The take-home point of the new work (2) and independent previous work (3) is that it would be wise to assume that
    global sea-level rise could significantly exceed 1 m by 2100 unless dramatic efforts are soon made to reduce global
    greenhouse gas emissions.

    Reference number (3) is the cite to Pfeffer et al.

    Another passage from Overpeck & Weiss I think it is worth drawing attention to is this:

    Most recently, gravity measurements observed from space have revealed that mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is accelerating with time and more closely approximates a quadratic trend than a linear one (7).

    The observed acceleration in the decline of polar ice sheet mass provides all the more reason to take the new results
    from Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2) seriously. Their work provides a significant update of previous work (8) and uses
    the relationship between observed past temperature and global sea level to project a sea-level rise of 0.75–1.90 m
    for the period 1990–2100.

    Here, reference number (7) is a cite to Velicogna 2009 which I have already linked to.

  145. #145 Composer99
    July 27, 2011

    Oh, I love this part, africangenesis:

    I have heard of ice, it is part of the surface albedo feedback, see Roesch. Scambos, a co-author of “”Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast?” noted more model diagnostic issues “Because of this disparity, the shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections,” Uh-oh.

    So, the climate models aren’t aggressive enough at projecting climate changes?

    Are we supposed to be reassured by this?

    (Incidentally, I have a comment in moderation.)

  146. #146 Composer99
    July 27, 2011

    africangenesis:

    With regards to your comment, you need to provide some citations to back up your assertions.

    I have done enough linking of your own references for you.

  147. #147 africangenesis
    July 27, 2011

    @composer99,

    It see that you are reassured by correlated error in the models when they lag the effects of warming seen in the observations. Doesn’t it bother you that the polar amplification in the observations is due to a lower albedo resulting in the absorption of more solar energy, while the climate models “match” the warming with some other heat source or with higher sensitivity? Will that something else go away when the models catch up with the climate in their projections? Or will the errors be additive?

    When I used a quote it was for the truth of something I know to be true, and am willing to defend. You mined the authors summary of literature, for the TRUTH of the sensitivity range, a range you don’t independently know to be true, and is dependent upon the models, in a paper that doesn’t discuss the correlated errors in the diagnostic literature. Note, the frequent references to ensembles in the paper in the linear type hope that they can decrease uncertainty.

    “And why would the 2008 paper supercede the 2009 paper which I referred to earlier?”

    Why would it have to? The 2009 paper is not reporting anything like the scenerio the 2008 paper said would be required. Do the authors claim a conflict, do they critically discuss and cite the 2008 paper? The 0.8–2.0m is a constraint range that required the large changes in ALL the glacial flow rates of magnitude larger than has been seen for even a 3 week period to even approach the constraints. Nothing close to the 0.8m is even happening today, and it would have to be happening today to be credible.

    Any acceleration in the Antarctic melting is not likely to be significant over the time frame of a couple of centuries, because even with the highest sensitivities and projected warming the main mass of Antarctica remains below freezing year round. The peninsula remains the most active.

  148. #148 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “Oh really, do you get the differences in vertical and horizontal distribution of forcings”

    You get those forcings for the globe.

    This is sufficient to find the GLOBAL picture.

    Idiot.

  149. #149 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “because even with the highest sensitivities and projected warming the main mass of Antarctica remains below freezing year round.”

    And anyone who knows ANYTHING about glaciers knows that one thing that will melt ice is PRESSURE.

    Guess what you get beneath 3km of ice?

    That’s right, PRESSURE.

    And that’s not the only way to lose ice for a glacier:

    http://planetsave.com/2011/07/26/detailed-look-at-ice-loss-following-antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse/

    Truly, you are one HELL of a Dunning.

  150. #150 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “I have heard of ice, it is part of the surface albedo feedback”

    NOW you have.

    But before you hadn’t, else why did you say this:

    “Apparently, you don’t realize that just about every other part of the climate system is a negative feedback”

    What’s happening is you’re making stuff up and quickly getting your bad information from denialist sites about what to so, with absolutely no desire for skepticism on your part over it.

  151. #151 Composer99
    July 27, 2011

    africangenesis:

    You have, in your comment #143, come close to alleging professional malfeasance on the part of climatologists without substantiating it as requested. It is, I agree, unreasonable to to do in a simple blog comment. So you could, perhaps, provide a link to an outside source which accurately represents the science.

    You have failed to grasp, or simply ignored, the significance of the satellite-observed acceleration in ice mass loss as described in Velicogna 2009 (the trend being best described, per Velicogna, as quadratic rather than linear) and have blindly re-asserted your original claim.

    You have, as I noted upthread, ignored the fact that models & projections consistently project less warming, ice melt, and sea level rise than is empirically measured down the road; instead I perceive you arguing that this feature is a reason to ignore or downplay the requirement for policy action.

    As such, I have little reason to find your attempt to justify an opposite conclusion from Knetti & Hegerl 2008 than the authors themselves make to be anything other than quote mining, as I suggested above.

  152. #152 africangenesis
    July 27, 2011

    @composer99,

    I just don’t think there is good evidence for an acceleration in ice loss, and the amounts are not significant anyway. The gravity technology is still being proven, consider this even later paper making corrections that are significant with respect to Antarctica. There isn’t a full revision of the data yet, but if you look at those plots it is difficult to see a trend at all, much less a quadratic one. With PDO having entered a negative phase, we’ll have to see what the gravity data show with a few more years of data:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/ch1771172m5020t6/fulltext.pdf

    The models don’t project less warming, they under represented the spring snow melt and the ice cap melt in their “match” of the 20th century climate. But the effect wasn’t missing, just less than it should be by a little over 3W/m^2 when globally and annually averaged.

    This is a reason to question their projections, because the effect will catch up as their climates warm in the various CO2 scenerios. The reason they will catch up, and not constantly be left behind the observations is that the early spring snow melts and lower snow cover extent effects are self limiting. The snow melts can get much earlier because as they progress earlier toward winter, the sun is lower in the sky, so the effect is reduced. Similarly as the snow cover extent gets less and less, it progresses to higher latitudes where the sun is also lower in the sky, so the models will eventually add that 3W/m^2 back into their projections, in addition to what ever increase in CO2 forcing there is in their scenarios. I call it “models gone wild”. The 3W/m^2 is comparable to the CO2 forcing increase and is more than 3 times the 0.75 to 0.8 W/m^2 energy imbalance Hansen reported for the 90s.

  153. #153 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “I just don’t think there is good evidence for an acceleration in ice loss”

    So you’re trying to pretend it is a fact rather than an opinion.

    Your OPINION on the evidence is worth zip.

    “The gravity technology is still being proven”

    Odd, though, all problems and uncertainties ALWAYS make it “No problem” for you.

    Rather one-sided of you.

    “The models don’t project less warming”

    Yes they do.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hansen-hit-a-home-run.html

    Given the CO2e production levels followed a little below one scenario that was closest, the actual result of the paper in 1981 underestimated the warming on the scenario of pollution increase that actually took place.

    “so the models will eventually add that 3W/m^2 back into their projections”

    You don’t know what’s in a model, do you?

    They don’t feed back results like that, they feed in the actual results of predicted activities outside the remit of a climate model. E.g. solar changes, actual volcanic eruptions, actual ice loss and so on.

    “the 0.75 to 0.8 W/m^2 energy imbalance Hansen reported for the 90s.”

    WHAT 0.75-0.8W/m^2 energy imbalance? This one:

    +++
    Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human-made greenhouse gases and aerosols, among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 watts per square meter more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space. This imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years. Implications include (i) the expectation of additional global warming of about 0.6°C without further change of atmospheric composition; (ii) the confirmation of the climate system’s lag in responding to forcings, implying the need for anticipatory actions to avoid any specified level of climate change; and (iii) the likelihood of acceleration of ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise.
    +++

    ?

    Doesn’t seem to indicate in any way that there’s some miracle cure that is going to make AGW go away.

    And from there, the forcings given are:

    Forcing agent* Forcing (W/m2)
    Greenhouse gases (GHGs) – –
    Well-mixed GHGs 2.75 –
    Ozone†‡ 0.24 –
    CH4-derived stratospheric H2O 0.06 –
    Total: GHGs 3.05 ± 0.4
    Solar irradiance 0.22 (×2)
    Land use -0.09 (×2)
    Snow albedo 0.14 (×2)
    Aerosols
    Volcanic aerosols 0.00 –
    Black carbon‡ 0.43 –
    Reflective tropospheric aerosols -1.05 –
    Aerosol indirect effect -0.77 –
    Total: aerosols – -1.39 ± 0.7
    Sum of individual forcings – 1.93
    All forcings at once – 1.80 ± 0.85

  154. #154 africangenesis
    July 27, 2011

    @wow,

    You are right, the energy imbalance figure should be 0.85W/m^2, that was the paper I had in mind, I was going based upon my recollection.

    As an exercise that demonstrates both the quality of Hansen’s work and the quality of the peer review in the field, perhaps you can try to find out the source of the 0.22 figure in this excerpt from that paper:

    “Solar irradiance is taken as increasing by 0.22 W/m2
    between 1880 and 2003, with an estimated uncertainty of a factor of 2 (9).”

    Hint, it isn’t in their own paper that they cite for the reference, and it also is significantly less than Lean’s figure for solar variation, which elsewhere they claim that have used in their models.

    All the uncertainties and errors and lack of evidence do tend to indicate the alarmist conclusions are unsupported.

  155. #155 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    Hint: nothing in that paper says that the IPCC estimate isn’t in accord with measurements.

    So, AGAIN and AGAIN your petulant claim: “I know you have no model independent evidence of the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse forcing in this climate regime ”

    Is a false one.

    Again.

    “the alarmist conclusions are unsupported.”

    Yes, alarmist conclusions like “It’s far too expensive to mitigate AGW!” or “It’s all a play for grant money!!” and my all-time weirdo favourite: “It’s a scam to institute a New World Communist Order!!!”.

    Yup, they’re all unsupported.

    Your claims of there being no problem with AGW is also unsupported. Merely blind faith and rapacious greed in blissful ignorance of the facts.

  156. #156 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “You are right, the energy imbalance figure should be 0.85W/m^2, that was the paper I had in mind”

    So, what’s the problem?

    The figures support EVIDENCE that is NOT A MODEL of a climate sensitivity of between 2.5 and 4.5 C per doubling of CO2.

    So your claim is, yet again, proven false and THIS TIME (since you continue to proclaim you knew of this paper), you’ve even admitted YOU KNEW you were lying!

    YOU have ADMITTED to LYING.

    Well done, you worm.

  157. #157 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “But the effect wasn’t missing, just less than it should be by a little over 3W/m^2 when globally and annually averaged.”

    Where in your linked PDF does your 3W/m^2 come from?

    Or did you draw it from some dark and nasty region?

  158. #158 africangenesis
    July 27, 2011

    Wow,

    The 3W/m^2 of surface albedo bias is from the Roesch paper, after applying 198W/m^2 downwelling radiation to his average globally and annually averaged surface bias:

    http://europa.agu.org/?view=article&uri=/journals/jd/jd0615/2005JD006473/2005JD006473.xml&t=roesch

    Here are some excerpts from the full text:

    “The mean annual surface albedo of the 15 AR4 models amounts to 0.140 with a standard deviation of 0.013. All AR4 models are slightly above the mean of PINKER (0.124) and ISCCP-FD (0.121).”

    “The annual mean surface albedo of the AR4 models is 0.140 with a standard deviation of 0.013. All climate models are slightly above the average derived from t he PINKER and ISCCP climatology. The participating models all capture the large-scale seasonal cycle of the surface albedo quite well. However, pronounced systematic biases are predicted in some areas. Highest differences between the models are found over snow-covered forested regions. The winter surface albedo of CNRM-CM3, averaged over the latitude zone from 50N-70N, is nearly 0.3 lower than in MIROC3.2 and INM-CM3.0. Comparisons with ground-based and remote-sensed data reveal that most AR4 models predict positive biases over primarily forested areas during the snow period. These substantial deviations are still far too high to meet the required accuracy of surface albedos in GCMs.”

  159. #159 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    “The 3W/m^2 of surface albedo bias is from the Roesch paper”

    From the paper YOU LINKED TO:

    > Snow albedo 0.14 (×2)

    NOTE: 0.14 is much less than 3.0

    What we were talking about when you spewed this pile of tripe out:

    “I have heard of ice, it is part of the surface albedo feedback”

    And that surface albedo is already in the models, so again you’re talking bollocks when you claim the models are wrong since:

    “so the models will eventually add that 3W/m^2 back into their projections”

    Yet when they do so, they get a correct prediction even the cruder models of 30 years ago:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hansen-hit-a-home-run.html

    You have NO EVIDENCE that the models are incorrect.

    You’re just a lying scumbag intent on reaping as much for yourself and the rest of the world can go hang, you vile and abhorrent boil on humanity’s backside.

  160. #160 africangenesis
    July 28, 2011

    Wow,

    0.14 is not in the units of watts.

    You are engaging in an ad hominem argument (that is name calling and stuff), which isn’t usually considered valid.

    We have barely touched on the evidence that the models are incorrect, however, they are also remarkable achievements, I hope they will start to be up to this task in two or three more generations of development. You won’t find the modeling community reacting as emotionally as you do to the diagnostic studies, they appreciate the hard work of these researchers even though they don’t trumpet the problems.

    BTW, a new publication argues that ice loss from Antarctica is 6 to 8 times less than previously estimated. This estimate is more consistent with the sea level rises that we are seeing, which resolves some of the puzzlement caused by earlier reports. I don’t know whether that loss is still “accelerating”. It may be.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/9k58637p80534284/

  161. #161 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    “0.14 is not in the units of watts.”

    Ah, the blinding flash of the obvious.

    Problem: never said it was, never implied it was.

    Since I compared it to the figure YOU have given that was also not in units of watts, your “clarification” can only have muddying the waters and obfuscation as the reason you said it.

    “You are engaging in an ad hominem argument”

    Please read a dictionary.

    “Your argument is wrong, you’re an idiot” is not ad hom.

    However, denialists never do seem to get that right, even while they’re engaging in ad homs all over the place.

    “We have barely touched on the evidence that the models are incorrect”

    Yes, because you haven’t any, but despite that don’t have a qualm about claiming they’re wrong.

    funny that.

    It’s like you’re arguing using false arguments and statements to attain a result you like, rather than finding out any truths.

    “a new publication argues that ice loss from Antarctica is 6 to 8 times less than previously estimated.”

    Really? It says this:

    Mass balance estimates for the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in more recent reports lie between approximately +50 to −250 Gt/year for 1992 to 2009.

    Two estimates from radar altimeter measurements of elevation change by European Remote-sensing Satellites (ERS) (+28 and −31 Gt/year) lie in the upper part, whereas estimates from the Input-minus-Output Method (IOM) and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) lie in the lower part (−40 to −246 Gt/year).

    Our preferred estimate for 1992–2001 is −47 Gt/year for West Antarctica, +16 Gt/year for East Antarctica, and −31 Gt/year overall

    Lets have a think.

    Is -31 within the range of IPCC estimates of +30 to -250?

    Oh, yes. It is.

  162. #162 africangenesis
    July 28, 2011

    Wow,

    You were comparing 3 W/m^2 globally and annually averaged to the 0.14 globally and annually averaged surface albedo.

    “lying scumbag” and “denialist” are ad hominem. Did you miss those in your reflection upon your posts?

    My apologies, I thought you had been following the antarctic ice discussion that utilized more recent results than the IPCC fourth assessment report. I should have directed my comments to composer99. If you follow that discussion, you will catch up.

  163. #163 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    From the paper (which you read but were obviously unable to comprehend)

    Forcing agent* Forcing (W/m2)

    Snow albedo 0.14 (×2)

    Yup, you’re a lying scumbag all right. You claim you read the paper and even when it’s copied out for you, you still can’t read it.

  164. #164 Angry Gamer
    July 28, 2011

    Yeah about that “scientists being wrong” thing

    New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hold In Global Warming Alarmism
    http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

    ok so here it is for all the sheeple that can’t understand what the scientist-shaman have been scaring us with for three decades.

    The central tenet of Global Warming is that atmospheric effects seen on Venus (high greenhouse gas concentration keeps heat in) is actually happening on Earth. This gives rise to TWO major ASSUMPTIONS about Earth Climate dynamics that really have not fundamentally been looked at.

    1) That the trace amounts of “greenhouse gases” (like CO2 – which is measured as 390 ppmv (0.039%) – oh what you didn’t know that CO2 was less than .1 percent?) found in Earth’s atmosphere actually cause similar heat trapping effects to Venus’ atmosphere.

    2) That the heat retention properties of Earth’s atmosphere can actually be modeled like a simple Thermodynamic System (e.g. like a closed loop steam engine).

    This latest data knocks BOTH ASSUMPTIONS on their EARS… like go back to the drawing board folks. Your models have been proven SILLY.

    From the article:
    “Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite
    contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.”

    contradict multiple assumptions

    “The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

    “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

    Yeah and as I said in my post above – > about our Thermometer coverage… where is it MOST sparse our oceans… FOLKS JUST BECAUSE IT’S 100+ degrees F outside the NY Times building DOES NOT MEAN WE HAVE Man Made GLOBAL Warming… I just means that the Lefty talking heads are creating too much hot air.

    To twist the knife a bit – best quote of the year…
    “When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.”

    Indeed how honest are the global warning alarmist clique going to be with data that refutes their assumptions??

    Are they going to
    A) Act like scientists and verify the data and incorporate it into their models moving science understanding forward…
    B) Ignore, argue, critique, stonewall, put head in sand and do everything possible to discredit any contradictory data.

    Why is my money on the option B…. Hmmm it all comes down to faith right. Prophet Gore cannot be wrong as the sheeple head to the volcano to toss in one more goat sacrifice – in the hopes of preventing predicted doom.

  165. #165 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    OK, lets look.

    Oh, dear. “Peer reviewed” is not that paper.

    And its author, Dr Roy Spencer has already been in trouble with getting satellite data wrong before:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAH_satellite_temperature_dataset#Corrections_made

    But the echo chamber DOES seem to be promoting this new publication by Roy.

    Please, how do you KNOW that the scientists here have it right where others have it wrong?

    Because you like Roy’s result?

    That’s not skepticism, is it.

  166. #166 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    “oh what you didn’t know that CO2 was less than .1 percent?)”

    Oh, well, maybe YOU didn’t know it, but the climate science has always known it.

    Did you know that H2O is less than 1% of the atmosphere?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth#Composition

    Yup, that “Biggest Greehnouse Gas” is 0.4% of the atmosphere.

    and you know what? The hotter the earth gets, the more H2O it’ll hold. So increasing CO2 by 30% will increase H2O equivalently.

    “the heat retention properties of Earth’s atmosphere can actually be modeled like a simple Thermodynamic System”

    Yup, it can. It’s part of the laws of thermodynamics.

    And according to Roy himself, you don’t need a complex model either:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/spencer_ocean.html

    and he still draws conclusions from it. Still, you didn’t complain then, did you. Why is that?

    Whatever the reason for your silence, it wasn’t skepticism.

  167. #167 africangenesis
    July 28, 2011

    wow,

    “Snow albedo 0.14 (×2)”

    perhaps you can give more context so that we can figure out what you are talking about, because I doubt that line is in the paper? The albedo of snow can be as high as 0.9. And it is the fraction of radiation reflected.

  168. #168 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    “perhaps you can give more context”

    I already did. Since your ignorance is, as Einstein suspected, infinite, I shall explain again with even more words.

    The figure 0.14 allied with the description “Snow albedo” comes from a table where the column under which the 0.14 was printed had the header “Focings (W/m^2)”.

    This in normal parlance of the tabulated form means that the figure 0.14 has units of W/m^2.

    This was even clearer in the original paper you claimed to have read, but obviously, you were lying again, since you seem not to have recognised the data from the table reproduced here on this blog.

  169. #169 africangenesis
    July 28, 2011

    Wow,

    “The figure 0.14 allied with the description “Snow albedo” comes from a table where the column under which the 0.14 was printed had the header “Focings (W/m^2)” ”

    What you describe is not in the paper.

  170. #170 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    Yes it is.

    I quoted it and you asserted that it was the paper you remembered.

    Here, again, is the paper YOU referred to:

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/education/master/radiation_and_climate_change/download/ChangeinRadiationbalance_2011_part1

    as the source of the claims about “the 0.75 to 0.8 W/m^2 energy imbalance Hansen reported for the 90s.”

    And which you stated
    “You are right, the energy imbalance figure should be 0.85W/m^2, that was the paper I had in mind, I was going based upon my recollection.”

    The other paper doesn’t mention ANYTHING about climate forcings, so there’s nowt there for you to claim:

    “0.14 is not in the units of watts.”

    ESPECIALLY when I quoted the text of the paper for you.

    On the “Evaluation of surface albedo and snow cover in AR4 coupled climate models” paper, the conclusion is that the models UNDER-REPORT snow cover loss. Since more extensive area loss means that the earth is less reflective, this would indicate that this paper is telling us that we have HIGHER sensitivity to climate forcings than the model ensemble mean.

    Yet here you are trying to say that the paper gives a COOLING???

  171. #171 Wow
    July 28, 2011

    Note also that paper doesn’t talk about forcings either. Where is a 3w/m^2 in that one, africaangenesis?

  172. #172 africangenesis
    July 28, 2011

    I see where you got that now. That 0.14 is not the figure in the Roesch paper. In the Roesch paper the 0.14 is the overall modeled albedo of the surface of the earth and is not specific to snow. In the Hansen paper, that 0.14W/m^2 represents what they see as the snow albedo contribution to the warming since 1880. Since it is positive, it indicates that they believe the change in the contribution of snow albedo was a warming one, i.e., there was less snow as you would expect in a warming. However, snow cover feedback is not usually expressed as a forcing like this. They must have not had the computing power to simulate the feedbacks and instead just parameterized it as if it were a forcing.

    As to your analysis, the Roesch paper is not telling us the climate has a higher sensitivity. You have to ask higher than what? The climate just has the correct sensitivity.

    The paper is a model diagnostic study, it is telling us that the models reflect more solar energy to space than the climate. The models in a sense are overheated to begin with since they match the 20th century climate temperature while missing some of the solar energy. A diagnostic such as this implies two errors, there is the heat that is erroneously missing, and there is the heat that replaced it that is coming from an erroneous mechanism. The missing solar energy amounts to over 3 W/m^2 globally and annually averaged. Whatever the models used to achieve their match despite this error probably has a similar magnitude, for instance, other parts of the model climate system may have a higher sensitivity to CO2 than it should. This higher sensitivity and the addition of the missing solar energy would both inflate the model projections of the future.

  173. #173 africangenesis
    July 28, 2011

    BTW, here is the link to the full text of that hansen paper.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

    I hadn’t read it in years, I forgot how bad it was. You won’t be able to find the source of the 0.22 solar figure.

  174. #174 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “I hadn’t read it in years”

    You hadn’t read it at all.

    “I forgot how bad it was.”

    Yup, it’s pretty bad for your cause.

    “You won’t be able to find the source of the 0.22 solar figure.”

    Well, you’ll have to check the referred papers. You know, that thing at the end that, unlike in denialist papers, list the papers that actually pertain to the contents of this paper as opposed to “Other readers may want to read the following…”.

  175. #175 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “In the Roesch paper the 0.14 is the overall modeled albedo of the surface of the earth and is not specific to snow”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo

    “The average overall albedo of Earth, its planetary albedo, is 30 to 35%, because of the covering by clouds, but varies widely locally across the surface, depending on the geological and environmental features.”

    So the Roesch paper has it quite wrong right from the get-go.

    Unless he wants us to believe the earth is all tarmac’d:

    Surface Typical albedo
    Fresh asphalt 0.04
    Worn asphalt 0.12
    Conifer forest (Summer) 0.08, 0.09 to 0.1

  176. #176 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “As to your analysis, the Roesch paper is not telling us the climate has a higher sensitivity. You have to ask higher than what?”

    Higher than the one given by the IPCC model mean, since the less snow there is, the more absorbtion is taking place and the higher the response to climate heating there is, and this paper is saying there’s more snow extent reduction than the IPCC model mean showed.

    Didn’t you know ANYTHING about climate models and albedo?

    “The climate just has the correct sensitivity.”

    Ah, a nonsense non-science statement, just what I expected from africaangenesis.

  177. #177 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    And I still want to know where, in the A. Roesch, 2006 paper there’s the figure you keep trotting out “3w/m^2″.

  178. #178 Wow
    July 29, 2011

    “However, snow cover feedback is not usually expressed as a forcing like this.”

    As the internet says: [citation needed].

    In what way IS a feedback forcing NOT expressed normally as W/m^2?

  179. #179 africangenesis
    July 30, 2011

    Wow,

    “Well, you’ll have to check the referred papers.”

    Yes, and specifically the one referenced for the figure. Which is this one. You won’t find it there:

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

  180. #180 Wow
    August 1, 2011

    Oh dear.

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/education/master/radiation_and_climate_change/download/ChangeinRadiationbalance_2011_part1

    Just because YOU can’t find it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If, that is, you even bothered to read. ‘cos it’s odd how you didn’t consider this any form of an issue until your other spurious complaints were shown invalid or fabricated.

    (note: still waiting for the 3W/m^2 in the A. Roesch, 2006 paper)

  181. #181 africangenesis
    August 3, 2011

    Wow,

    I pointed out the missing support for the 0.22 figure in 154 above, but I had noticed it and queried the authors about it years ago.

    The 3W/m^2 is calculated by applying the 198W/m^2 downwelling solar radiation to the average surface albedo error reported by Roesch.

  182. #182 Wow
    August 4, 2011

    You haven’t pointed out where you get your 3W/m^2.

    That you can’t despite having stated it indicates that you haven’t actually read the material you say you have.

    Given that lie, why should any of your other statements be true?

    “The 3W/m^2 is calculated by applying the 198W/m^2″

    192*0.14=3???

    Your maths fails hard.

  183. #183 africangenesis
    August 5, 2011

    0.14 is the model surface albedo, not the error in the surface albedo, to get the error you have to difference it with the observation derived surface albedo, as I clearly stated. I hope you read the peer review literature with more care than you take with your accusations and ad hominem attacks. If you weren’t so abrasive and sure of yourself, I would have been happy to lead you by the nose, but instead I’ll let you make a fool of yourself. See if you can figure it out … finally.

  184. #184 Wow
    August 6, 2011

    “0.14 is the model surface albedo, not the error in the surface albedo”

    Yes.

    So the power absorbed would be 192 * 0.14 != 3.

    So where did you get your 3W/m^2 from?

    You’re unable to answer, so you’re going “I said so clearly”. Yet you still can’t show what you used to get that 3W/m^2 from.

    It’s NOT the albedo and the surface LWR flux.

    So what is it?

  185. #185 africangenesis
    August 7, 2011

    Wow,

    I thought you’d be able to figure out the albedo error yourself, all the information was available, so here it is using the PINKER observations, it would be even higher using the ISCCP-FD:

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=+%280.14-0.124%29+times+198+watt%2Fm^2

  186. #186 Ethelyn
    August 7, 2011

    It is shocking that the majority of the world’s population dismiss the consensus of global warming, but we have to remember that it’s not in the interest of most of the major industries to allow the acceptance of global warming.

  187. #187 Wow
    August 8, 2011

    “all the information was available, so here it is using the PINKER observations”

    Hmm. So it WASN’T, as you said from the A Roesch, 2006 paper.

    And it WASN’T, as you said, from the albedo and the 192W/m^2.

    Why am I not surprised you were lying all along?

    So, now we have “where did the 0.124 come from?”.

    How many layers of deceit will we have to drill past to get to the truth?

  188. #188 africangenesis
    August 9, 2011

    For the 0.124 see comment 158 above.

  189. #189 Wow
    August 9, 2011

    “All AR4 models are slightly above the mean of PINKER (0.124) and ISCCP-FD (0.121)”

    However, those models have a different value for sensitivity and the effects of the other feedbacks.

    There’s no 3W/m^ missing and your assertions about where it came from have been incorrect.

  190. #190 africangenesis
    August 9, 2011

    Wow, those are published satellite based results, not models. Yes the models have different values for sensitivity and feedbacks than in the observed climate. That was sort of the point.

  191. #191 Wow
    August 9, 2011

    Those are also different from the figures that give the model output that you consider MUST (for unknown reasons, probably due to faith on your part) exist.

    The 3w/m^2 didn’t come from where you said it came from and where you want to use it doesn’t mean that there’s no Global warming.

    The ACTUAL warming rate is HIGHER than that predicted by the models.

    Your evidence shows that there’s extra melting.

    So YOU are saying that AGW is WORSE than the models.

  192. #192 africangenesis
    August 9, 2011

    What is this about “no global warming”? And no, the overall observed warming wasn’t higher than “predicted” in the models. The models “matched” the 20th century warming, which means they matched the global surface temperature trend. The models just compensated for being too cool during the spring snow melts by being too warm else, i.e., if the system were linear, we would hypothesize twice the 3W/m^2 error that has been documented. But it isn’t linear.

  193. #193 Wow
    August 9, 2011

    “And no, the overall observed warming wasn’t higher than “predicted” in the models.”

    Really.

    You’re DEFINITELY CERTAIN about that, despite all your protestations that you’ve kept up to date?

    100%, absolutely certain that you can’t have missed any information to the contrary? (you can guess that if you say yes I’m going to show you you’re wrong, can’t you).

    You are completely incoherent, aren’t you.

    So models are about right and AGW is about right and the models are about right seems to be what you’re saying now.

    Is that correct?

    If not, what do YOU believe is going on?

    Is the conclusion of the IPCC correct enough to make the policy decisions already recommended, or not?

  194. #194 africangenesis
    August 9, 2011

    Wow,

    Matching the 20th century global average temperature statistic doesn’t mean that the models were “right” or “correct enough to make the policy decisions already recommended”. As Roesch himself wrote, and you may have noticed:

    “These substantial deviations are still far too high to meet the required accuracy of surface albedos in GCMs”

    This was just one of many diagnostic subprojects, and there were others where the error was correlated, such as the result by Wentz in the journal Science that models under produced the increase in precipitation by more than half.

    Basically, all the diagnostic studies, and the substantial range of disagreement among the models themselves, show how wrong the models can be and still match a global temperature statistic.

  195. #195 Wow
    August 9, 2011

    Nope, they mean that they’ve been correct enough to make the policy decisions already recommended.

    Roech’s quote doesn’t say that the recommendations are wrong.

    You see, “reduce CO2 production” is a recommendation made. If the models are underestmating the effect as Roech says, then the recommendation becomes “reduce CO2 production”.

    The Roech quote says that the models are UNDERESTIMATING actual warming.

    Basically, the range of answers gained from models DOES NOT include a senario where “reduce CO2 production” is the wrong recommendation.

  196. #196 africangenesis
    August 10, 2011

    The models underestimate the effect, but still have it and will catch up in the future. But they are overestimating something else in order to match the warming, and in the future they will still have that too.

  197. #197 Wow
    August 11, 2011

    The models underestimate the effect therefore the situation is worse than the IPCC reports make out.

    Where did “they’re overestimating something else” come from?

    Your anus?

  198. #198 wishbone
    Adelaide
    April 29, 2014

    Well said, Ethan. Getting something wrong in science is just as important as getting something right. To know what something isn’t is as good as knowing what it is.

Current ye@r *