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Warming and cooling may indeed by cyclical –like everything else. Trouble is, Man has stuck his oar in and stirred the waters. You don’t mention greenhouse gases.

CO2 is about 30% higher than at any time, and methane 130% higher than at any time; and the rates of increase are absolutely exceptional: for CO2, 200 times faster than at any time in the last 650,000 years (based on ice-core samples).

CO2 and CH4 are greenhouse gases.
In the Arctic ocean, Summer sea ice is now forecasted to completely disappear in the summer months sometime between 2013 and 2040 -- something which hasn't happened for over a million years.

Coral reefs are dying due to CO2 acidification of the seas.

Is this all just phoney scaremongering?
I am no Eckhart Tolle, I cannot laugh at it.

CO2 is about 30% higher than at any time, and methane 130% higher than at any time; and the rates of increase are absolutely exceptional

And yet global temperatures have been stable since 2000 and are now declining ... which goes a long way toward proving that CO2 does not cause temperature increases.

CO2 and CH4 are greenhouse gases.

They are called "greenhouse gases" by climate alarmists, but the data indicate that they do not, in fact, cause any appreciable greenhouse-like warming. We can call CO2 and methane "underwear-eating gases" if we like, but this would not prove that they do, in fact, eat our underwear.

Is this all just phoney scaremongering?

Yes, I believe it is. YMMV.

Incidentally, skeptics still talk about a case of fraud discovered at J.B. Rhine's lab roughly fifty years ago, and use it as a reason to dismiss all of Rhine's results (even though Rhine himself discovered the fraud and publicized it). Yet some of these same skeptics seem more than willing to overlook the apparent fraud committed by James Hansen as recently as last month. Something of a double standard, isn't it?

It is a very complicated problem. Multiple factors can affect climate, and we don't really know how they interact. Human production of CO2 may increase temprature. A decrease in solar activity may decrease temperature.

If both are happening at the same time will the temperature go up or down? Maybe temperatures will go up less than the CO2 models predict because of decreased solar activity. Maybe they will go down less than the solar models predict because of increased CO2. Maybe some time in the future it will go way up because of CO2 and increased solar activity. Maybe some day the ice age that is currently in remission will resume.

The effects of warming and cooling may be counterintuitive. There is a theory that if the ice caps melt from global warming, the flow into the atlantic ocean will stop the gulf stream resulting in colder temperatures in northern latitudes possibly triggering an ice age.

Unfortunately there is too much politicization and polarization of the issue and this interferes with the ability of scientists to freely explore the problem.

This is also a good example that shows you shold be skeptical of what you learn from the news media.

"In the Arctic ocean, Summer sea ice is now forecasted to completely disappear in the summer months sometime between 2013 and 2040 -- something which hasn't happened for over a million years."

I believe the recent ice melting was due mostly to some sort of oscillation in the heat of currents in the Pacific that flow through the Bering Strait. And this sort of melting may not be unprecedented. According to one factoid I read recently somewhere, explorers in the 1600s who were looking for the Northwest passage found that the seas around Labrador were freer of ice than they are today.

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I don't think Hansen committed conscious fraud. He would have known that "deniers" would have looked over his numbers and caught him at it, so it would have been too risky to attempt. Rather, I think it actually happened the way NASA said it did: it a clerical error that wasn't double-checked. But, crucially, it wasn't double-checked because the error leaned in the direction that Hansen wanted. If the error had leaned the other way, and shown outlandish cooling, Hansen/NASA would have looked for a mistake in the numbers before publishing them.
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PS: Let's say there's a substantial clerical error every two years, or ten over the past 20 years. Assume, as is likely, that half are Too Hot errors (like this recent one) and half are Too Cool errors. It's likely that any Too Cool errors would have added up to a final number that would have seemed anomalous to Hansen/NASA. (Just as the recent Hot October figure seemed anomalous in light of reports of lots of snowstorms, etc.) Therefore, those errors would have been caught before publication, because the figures would have been double-checked.

But what about the five Too Hot errors? In light of what's just happened, isn't it likely that they wouldn't have been caught, and that therefore there's been a systematic upside bias to NASA's numbers?

MP, if you suspect a conspiracy, you need to hypothesize what’s behind it. Do you think all this comes about because scientists are trying to protect their jobs? Or is it something more sinister?

I know nothing about Hansen, but I find it extremely hard to believe that someone like James Lovelock is either misled or deliberately leading us up the garden path. He’s nobody’s fool.

CO2 is about 30% higher than at any time False. The cited paper shows 2000ppm, others show even higher concentrations in the past record

In the Arctic ocean, Summer sea ice is now forecasted to completely disappear in the summer months sometime between 2013 and 2040 -- something which hasn't happened for over a million years.

Nonsense. The world has been slowly warming since the last ice age. We know from England, J.H., et al., 2008.A millennial-scale record of Arctic Ocean sea ice variability and the demise of the Ellesmere Island ice shelves. that the Ellesmere ice shelf (which melted due to the current warming) was also absent 5,500 years ago. Thus the current melting is not unprecedented. Today, the Viking graveyard at Hvalsey is under permafrost. The Vikings could not bury their dead in permafrost. So the permafrost was not there during the mediaeval warm period.

The extent of the Artic ice sheet has only been measured by satellites for 40 years. The extent today is close to its ten year average. We are always told by climate alarmists that the difference between climate and weather is temporal. Long term trends outweigh one season anomalies. Yet one bad season in 2007 apparently provides the exception that can be used in evidence. Moreover the evidence is unequivocal that Antarctic ice thickness has increased despite losses around the peninsula.

The error by Hansen et al shows selection bias. Reporting only the dramatic fall of 2007 but not the dramatic recovery of 2008 shows selection bias. Reporting only the loss of the Larsen B shelf but not the increase in Antarctic ice sheets is selection bias.

Do you think all this comes about because scientists are trying to protect their jobs? Or is it something more sinister?

I think it mainly has to do with ego. People who've prognosticated a warming crisis have put their reputations on the line and cannot back down without loss of face. They are married to their theory and will look for evidence to support it, while overlooking or rationalizing away evidence that undermines it (just as skeptics accuse "paranormalists" of doing). Also, it is human nature to want to be important. If the biggest crisis facing the world is a climate crisis, then climate scientists become very important.

In addition, the whole issue has been politicized. A great deal of government grant money is involved, as well as political influence. And yes, I think there is a conspiracy in this sense: some people strongly dislike industrialization and will look for any pretext to stop it. You sometimes hear global warming alarmists say that even if CO2 turns out to be a nonissue, we should still follow the Kyoto Protocols because it's morally/ecologically proper to reduce consumption.

So it's a perfect storm of ego, politics, and ideology.

Or so I see it.

Anon:

OK, so my use of the word “ever” was not strictly accurate! It may well be that CO2 was high 60 million years ago. Maybe there were more active volcanoes then. Humans weren’t even a twinkle in Earth's eye. I was going by ice core research, which goes back half a million years.

As for the Antarctic, apart from Larsen B, the Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Wordie, Muller, and the Jones Ice Shelf collapses also suggest unprecedented warming in this region of Antarctica. The Amundsen Sea Embayment ice is thinning and The Wilkins ice shelf is said to be hanging on by a thread. Snowfall has increased in Antarctica, because snow falls when the air is warmer (it used to be too cold to snow so much).

As for the Arctic –tell it to the polar bears.

Business as usual till 2020? I just hope it’s not too late by then.

I'm an agnostic when it comes to the causes of warming but as far as warming itself goes I can't ignore what I know from my business contacts, which includes a fair amount of floodplain and glacial monitoring in Northern Europe and the UK. These folks are focused on business, period, not theory, and melting glaciers create business opportunities for them.

(The idea that much more monitoring is required is positively received by businesses involved with monitoring. How could this be otherwise?)

I'm somewhat familiar with the clunky scientific equipment used for carbon monitoring, too (Infrared Analyzers called NDIRs), knowing that in some ways mass produced sensor technology has surpassed it in terms of cost, networkability, ease-of-use, and so on.

There's no immediate indication of warming in my primary physical reality (I live north of Boston on the ocean) but I have a hard time believing that photos of vastly shrunken Himalayan glaciers as shown on NOVA (the PBS science show) or other examples have been faked.

I suppose the only way to really know for sure is to launch an expedition and see with my own eyes.

Is anyone up for some hot air balloon travel?

Bill I.

There may well be real science behind global warming...

But the alarmism that is propigated in media that is passed off as GW 'science' is anything but scientific.

Real science tries to take data and derives conclusions from it.

GW Alarmism starts with the conclusion, and attempts to make the data fit.

Real science is supposed to be dispassionate and detached. GW Alarmism is anything but.

Anytime the data appears to fit, it is yelled from the rooftops, and generates hundreds of scary headlines.

Anytime the data doesn't fit, well you hear silence mostly.

A good example is this October data. 2008 has been drastically cooler overall than recent years. But you didn't see many headlines about that, not until the October data showed remarkable warming (that didn't really exist)

What's behind it? Several things I think. The biggest proponents have alot of prestige and money at stake. Because of that, these people will be among the last to admit if they were wrong.

But apart from that, many people seem to hold as an article of faith, that humans are screwing up the planet. They just 'know' it. This colors their perception. So if AGW was ever to be debunked beyond a shadow of a doubt, these people would simply gravitate to some new theory.

Also GW Alarmists are playing a shell game. The question of global warming has several components:

1) Is the planet warming? (Yes, or at least was until recently)
2) Are humans the primary culprit? (still debated)
3) What should the response be, if any? (Kyoto-like answers being the favorite among GW alarmists)

So the shell game is, there IS a consensus on #1. But the GW alarmists will argue that the consensus therefore applies to all 3 points, and you are a dangerous denier if you don't agree.

What this debate shows me is that when scientific debates become excessively polarised, it becomes almost impossible to discern the truth. Something similar has obviously happened with the debate about paranormal phenomena, and maybe about the concept of natural selection.

Here in the UK, we have had a cool, wet summer and autumn. Obviously this is just one data point, but in recent years, whenever we have had a hot spell, an expert has been rolled out to tell us it is all due to global warming!

The real problem is that the science in this area depends entirely on computer models, which get debugged until they say what everyone expects.

However, even if global warming is not true, perhaps it can bring home to people that an ever growing industrial base is ultimately unsustainable.

LOl, I think its safe to post in comments providing you resolve not to read them later. Something, I very pleased I held to after I posted in the Obama thread.
Thank you for an interesting post.
Incompetent or fraud? Hard to say. Certainly it is rare to find a proponent of global warming who approaches the issue with the same detachment as they would say, the mating habits of the African fruit fly. Instead what you see are political, social and too, religious beliefs, wedding themselves to what should be a scientific issue. Question the theory of MMGW and you are questioning an individuals positions on all these other beliefs. Beliefs which, not surprisingly, they are heavily invested in.
Perhaps in the end, we should use history as guide, that being, the side that has to resort to character assassination, death threats and denunciations of evil and denier, is probably not the side you want to be on.

I once tried to understand this stuff but it was really more complicated than I had time to invest, so I trust what I am told is the overwhelming scientific consensus on the issue. And the opening of the Northwest Passage and the collapse of Ant-arctic ice shelves, which we can see, helps to make the point. And from what I understand, it isn't one thing but several independent lines of evidence that point to global warming.

Now having said that, my life has not changed much nor do I plan to do anything different in the future. I've been trying to get off the grid for 15 years, before the global warming bandwagon came around for pickups. And I'm going to continue in my quest to live that lifestyle that it is my wish to live, and it has nothing to do with whether or not global warming is real. Personally, I just think its a more saavy way to live.

While updating my site I noticed that Skeptic just published an article on this very issue, the issue of global warming and consensus. Here it is:

http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/08-11-12.html

When trying to decide on a controversial issue, if you don't have enough experitse to make a decision, one thing you can do is to try to assess the reliability of the judgement of the proponents and opponents. If one side seems to have a lot of unreliable members you might assume they are on the wrong side of the issue. One sign of unreliability is cognitive dissonance. If one side seems to be constantly resorting to ridicule, overreactions, and inflamatory rhetoric, their opinion is questionable.

Applying this to global warming would seem to indicate the skeptics are more reliable in their judgements. Applying it to belief in the paranormal would seem to indicate the believers are more reliable.

Obviously this matter isn't an open-and-shut case for either side. Each side has facts or arguments that can't be easily dismissed. So I'm not saying that the "insisters" are all wrong. The main reason I'm strongly inclined to disbelieve them is the notorious occasions on which they've "cut corners" to make their case look better. For instance, the way the UN's report misrepresented the views of contributors a few years back, and the "hockey stick" scandal.

What this subterfuge reminds me of is the attempt twenty-some years ago to push the idea that everyone was at risk from AIDS and to demonize persons who disagreed. It was a similar attempt to manufacture the appearance of a scientific consensus by the anointed, and to demonize the opposition as benighted.

So here are two more motives I ascribe to the insisters, to add to MP's list:

1. The crusader mentality. Eric Hoffer wrote that intellectuals can't live, mentally, at "room temperature." They have to be inflamed about something: pointing fingers, etc.

2. Scientism. GW has been endorsed by the scientific consensus, or just about. According to the scientistic attitude ("science, and only science, can speak with authority about truth"), the deniers haven't published their articles in a peer reviewed journal, so what they have to say doesn't count. (I recently read an exceptionally snooty and lengthy article based on this reasoning.) It will be a glorious refutation of this staple of scofticism if GW goes bust, because the scientific and political establishment's herd mentality and blinkered perceptions will be made plain, along with the scientific method's shortcomings in dealing with situations outside the purview of lab science.

The Farmer's almanac predicts record cold this winter, based (I suspect) on the wooliness of this spring's caterpillars. I'm delighted to see that October is fulfilling that prediction, and look forward to even more extreme results in Nov. and Dec. If they make 2008's temperature drop sharply, it'll be great to watch the insisters twist in the wind--particularly because such a decline would tend to confirm the hypothesis of the Danish scientists (whom insisters have tried to dismiss) that a low level of sunspots indirectly causes a temperature decrease. (Because more cosmic rays get through, which indirectly causes more cloud formation.)

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Yes, there was a recent period of warming for about three decades, but it ended around the year 2000, and since then temperatures have been stable or even declining.
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Sigh, no. There is a difference between data points and trends. Once in a time unusual hot or cold years happen, but they say *absolutely* nothing about the trend.
You must smooth out the data curve to look what the trend is actually doing. That means that you can recognize a trend only a few years later. If you look at both GISS and HadCRU, the *smoothed* temperature increased steadily until 2005 and is now leveling out; 2008 will be an unusual cold year.

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The warming and cooling of the planet is cyclical and has been going on for thousands of years.
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But never before we had a so sharp increase of the CO2 levels before. While the level of CO2 and the temperatures have been possibly higher in the Medieaval Warm Period and surely higher in the Holocene Optimum and during the dinosaur era, the last two happened over geological timeframes
and probably with much higher (ceasing) volcanic activity.
Solar activity does not pump CO2 in the air (at least not directly).

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[Hansen incompetent or a fraud]
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Cardinal error of skeptics or believers: It is totally irrelevant for the question itself if there is a warming trend if the researchers blunder.
If I want to measure voltage in a wire, but I cannot cope with an oscilloscope and someone proves that I could have only measured bullshit, *it is still a open question how much voltage the wire actually has* ! The best a skeptic can say that the claim is unproven and arguments based on it are now invalid.

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They are called "greenhouse gases" by climate alarmists, but the data indicate that they do not, in fact, cause any appreciable greenhouse-like warming.
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Do you really want to persist on this statement ?! Hint: Google for "natural greenhouse effect" "surface temperature earth"

My own stance:
This theme is emotionally loaded because there are two types of person who correlate strongly with denial or belief. The denialists are typically cornucopians, believing in virtually unlimited ressources and fear that any restrictions will tamper
economic growth, they will lose their jobs
and their comfortable life. The believers are typically malthusians who will expect that sooner or later common resources will deplete and that the deniers are short-sighted and infected with wishful thinking.

As Steve McIntyre was attacked heavily by the "skeptic" community, I asked in a comment what wrong and persistent claims McIntyre are purporting. They couldn't come up with *one*.
This I found intriguing and I visited ClimateAudit. Steve seems to be trustworthy, but he was badly treated by Mann and so he is following his personal vendetta against Mann. While his site is full of warming deniers, Steve curiously himself does not take a stance as denier (at least I haven't found one). Yes, he is criticizing, but that is his very right.

While visiting the site and talking with other meteorologists I know, I concluded that it is a formidable task for a scientist
to tackle the question because so many things are interdependent. Water vapor e.g. is a strong greenhouse gas, but condensed vapor (=clouds) increase the amount of energy reflected back. Burning fossile energies not only increase CO2 levels, but also the amount of soot which reduce the amount of sunlight. Proxies (tree rings, O18) etc. which are used to deduce historical temperatures have shown to be unreliable in the near past ("divergence problem").
But all in all I am confident that the problem does exist. The temperature readings in the high north are strikingly anomalous.

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But apart from that, many people seem to hold as an article of faith, that humans are screwing up the planet.
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Well, we in fact do. Perhaps less in future,
but we pretty mess him up. What exactly do you think happens with the garbage we all produce daily ? For a beginning look for "Great Pacific Garbage Patch".

They are called "greenhouse gases" by climate alarmists, but the data indicate that they do not, in fact, cause any appreciable greenhouse-like warming.
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Do you really want to persist on this statement ?!

There's no doubt that "greenhouse gases," in isolation, will raise surface temperatures. The problem is, the climate is a complex system and no part of it is in isolation. And when the system as a whole is considered, the role of "greenhouse gases" becomes considerably more ambiguous.

For instance, here's a passage from a Web page on global warming and clouds:

Rising global temperatures are expected to cause greater evaporation of water vapor into the atmosphere, primarily from the oceans. On one hand, we know that water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, so an increase in water vapor might be expected to produce yet more warming through an enhanced greenhouse effect.... On the other hand, more water vapor in the air is likely to cause more clouds to form. The presence of clouds dramatically increases Earth's overall albedo, reflecting a lot of the incoming sunlight back into space. Increased cloudiness would be expected to further reduce the amount of sunlight reaching our planet's surface, thus providing a net cooling effect. Thus an increase in water vapor, and hence cloudiness, might actually serve as a "self correcting" mechanism (or "negative feedback loop") that would "put the brakes on" global warming; or possibly induce a period of "global cooling".

Which of these two effects will "win out"? Scientists are not entirely certain ...

Translation of the last sentence: Scientists have absolutely no idea.

So when climate alarmists say that increasing greenhouse gases must lead to increasing temperatures, they are oversimplifying. And since the current data show that temperatures have been stable and are now declining even as CO2 emissions continue to rise, it appears there is not even any clear correlation (let alone causal relationship) between manmade greenhouse gases and planetary temperatures.

I'd never heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch! Yet it's twice the size of Texas - I couldn't believe it.

(Perhaps I shouldn't believe it -what do you think? -maybe the photos are doctored and the text all propaganda created by people who don't like industry).

Solution:
A solar powered ship works continuously in daylight hours to pick up all the Pacific plastic and take it to a power station on Hawaii as fuel. Sounds like one for Richard Branson. Never let it be said that I'm not full of entrepreneurial ideas.

[The resulting CO2 would of course also help since it is a useful global coolant ;-) ]

======================
"Cardinal error of skeptics or believers: It is totally irrelevant for the question itself if there is a warming trend if the researchers blunder."

Ordinarily that is true, but not quite in this case. That's because this wasn't a completely innocent error. Rather, NASA was willfully uncritical about putting out a "startling" result. (See the second paragraph of the story in the Telegraph, which mentioned that NASA's result was startling because there were strong preliminary observations and measurements from the US & Europe indicating a cold October.)

This in turn suggests that if the NASA observers are so uncritical about erroneous results they desire, they have been following this pattern in the past: i.e., not double-checking anomalously Hot results, only anomalously Cool ones. Therefore (as I wrote above), it's possible that "there's been a systematic upside bias to [all] NASA's numbers."

An article worth checking on on this topic is http://www.slate.com/id/2197130/pagenum/all>The Columbia Journalism Review's Division Over Dissent, in which Ron Rosenbaum explores whether journalists are objective in their treatment of this topic. An excellent link Rosenbaum provides is http://climatedebatedaily.com/>Climate Debate Daily, which does illustrate that the debate is far from over, despite claims to the contrary from policy wonks.

The concluding observation Rosenbaum makes is worth repeating. In his criticism of a piece in the Columbia rag, he writes:

. . . the argument over the green consensus does matter: If the green alarmists are right, we will have to turn our civilization inside out virtually overnight to save ourselves. One would like to know this is based on good, well-tested science, not mere "consensus."

Skepticism is particularly important and particularly worth attention from journalists. Especially considering the abysmal record green journalists have on the ethanol fiasco.

Here we should give the CJR reporter credit where due: She does include perhaps the single most important question that such an article could ask, one I haven't heard asked by most mainstream enviro-cheerleader media:

[W]here were the skeptical scientists, politicians and journalists earlier, when ethanol was first being promoted in Congress?

Indeed I don't remember reading a lot of "dissent" on the idea. Shouldn't it have occurred to someone green that taking acreage once capable of producing food on a planet with hundreds of millions of starving people and using it to lower the carbon footprint of your SUV might end up causing the deaths of those who lack food or the means to pay the soaring prices of ethanol-induced shortage?

I think it's time for "green reporters," the new self-promoting subprofession, to take responsibility for the ethanol fiasco. Go back into their files and show us the stories they wrote that carry a hint that there might be a downside to taking food out of the mouths of the hungry. Those who fail the test—who didn't speak out, even on "talk radio, cable TV or local news"—shouldn't be so skeptical about skeptics.

I'd suggest they all be assigned to read the CJR editorial about protecting dissent and the danger of "narrowing the borders" of what is permissible. The problem is, as Freeman Dyson, one of the great scientists of our age, put it in a recent issue of the New York Review of Books, environmentalism can become a religion, and religions always seek to silence or marginalize heretics. CJR has been an invaluable voice in defending that aspect of the First Amendment dealing with the freedom of the press; it should be vigilant about the other aspect that forbids the establishment of a religion.

Whenever did anyone welcome change to comfortable habits? One way of looking at this is to presume that humans always need to get in a lather in order to change the status quo. A lather can be a good thing. Eventually the oil and gas will run out, and it would be useful to be in a position not to have to retool at the last minute. It would also be useful not to be dependant on the Middle East.

I recently read that photovoltaic use has doubled every year for the last 10 years. If Moore’s Law applies to this in a similar way to the way it does to computing power, it will only take another 7 doublings to make solar power world dominant. I imagine the same kind of equation might apply to Wind power. Once we humans get going, we’re formidable. It’s just that we’re lazy primates who need to condition ourselves to new habits (yes, it’s always a habit: just a question of which).

Oil, coal and gas are clearly there for us to use. We just need to have a bit of faith and try, whenever we are feeling generous, to change our habits slightly and act for the greater good. Many of us have already started: low energy light bulbs, switch off instead of using standby, recycle instead of garbage…the list is longer than we often realise. We’re getting better. One day humans will be so habitually good, we won’t even know we’re being good: we’ll just think we’re being sensible and normal.

At that point, we’ll study history and shake our heads sadly at the poor primitives of the early 21st century who hadn’t yet got into good habits.

MP: "The warming and cooling of the planet is cyclical and has been going on for thousands of years."
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Thorsten: "But never before we had a so sharp increase of the CO2 levels before.

But didn't the sharp increase in CO2 occur in the last half of the century, but most of the warming in the first half? I'm fuzzy on this, but there seems to be no fairly close fit between CO2 levels and temperatures since 1900--which there ought to be if AGW is true.

I recently read that photovoltaic use has doubled every year for the last 10 years. If Moore’s Law applies to this in a similar way to the way it does to computing power, it will only take another 7 doublings to make solar power world dominant.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this to happen. Solar power use may be doubling annually, but this is probably analogous to the growth rate of a newly established town. In the first few years the growth rate can be staggering, because it starts from a base of zero (or close to zero). But after a while the growth rate levels off.

For instance, Podunkville (founded 2005) may have experienced a rate of growth of 100% a year, but that's because it started with a population of 100. It grew from 100 to 200 to 400 to 800 ... Boosters say if it keeps growing at this rate, it won't be long before Podunkville has a bigger population than Los Angeles!

In reality, Podunkville will never be as big as L.A. Its spectacular rate of growth is deceptive. It's much easier to grow from 400 to 800 than to grow from 4 million to 8 million.

That's not to say solar power may not be a crucial energy source eventually. But will it be the dominant energy source in only seven years? Don't bet on it.

When you tell people they have to do something, that's a good way of getting the opposite response.

Me, I'm intrigued by the possibilities. We may have a future that is free of centralized power production, which cannot be hacked or attacked, and where each home or building might be it's own energy independent homestead, free of the ups and downs of a fossil fuel economy.

Are there are encouraging developments in solar tech: lower cost per watt ratios, a patent for printing out solar cells on inkjet printers, and a breakthrough cell that apparently converts %100 solar to electrical energy.

And with the amazing and evolving 3D printing technology, every home might eventually also be a mini factory that produces its own goods. Imagine downloading goods and printing them out!

The economy of the future may be unrecognizable. And with decentralized power production, it certainly seems that it would be more stable.

Paragraph #3: "Are" = "And."


---Roger Knights-----------
But didn't the sharp increase in CO2 occur in the last half of the century, but most of the warming in the first half?
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No, the sharp increase of CO2 begins with the industrial revolution in 1850 with 280 ppm (now 390 ppm). Cosmic rays produce the radioactive C14 in the atmosphere which will be constantly renewed in living organisms. When they die, C14 decays and only C13 remains. Now fossil fuels have due to their age only C13 left and their massive use diluted the atmosphere so that the ratio of C14/C13 decreased. There is pretty much evidence that the CO2 increase has exclusively human causes. You can see it
here:

http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

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I'm fuzzy on this, but there seems to be no fairly close fit between CO2 levels and temperatures since 1900--which there ought to be if AGW is true.
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Which brings us back to Michaels remark:
-----Michael-------
They are called "greenhouse gases" by climate alarmists, but the data indicate that they do not, in fact, cause any appreciable greenhouse-like warming.
[Corrected later:]
There's no doubt that "greenhouse gases," in isolation, will raise surface temperatures.
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Thank you. But stated without further explanation it sounds like a full denial

----------Michael---------
The problem is, the climate is a complex system and no part of it is in isolation.
Which of these two effects will "win out"? Scientists are not entirely certain ...

Translation of the last sentence: Scientists have absolutely no idea.
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That is a cruel interpretation (shame on you!), but unfortunately accurate. Back to Rogers question: Indeed the temperature didn't follow for quite a while the increasing CO2 trend. It is also clear that much of our produced CO2 does not end in the atmosphere, but in still mostly unknown sinks. So the correlation of CO2 and temperature is in fact not straightforward.

I suppose the main reason is the biosphere of the Earth which contains several unknown parameters. Oxygen is very reactive (iron rusts) and would therefore vanish if not steadily produced and only life is able to do this. Also earth had several extreme catastrophes and still the earth is a habitable planet, so there seems to be a system of interactions which holds the biosphere stable.

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MP: "Yes, there was a recent period of warming for about three decades, but it ended around the year 2000, and since then temperatures have been stable or even declining."
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Thorsten: "Sigh, no. There is a difference between data points and trends. Once in a time unusual hot or cold years happen, but they say *absolutely* nothing about the trend.
You must smooth out the data curve to look what the trend is actually doing. That means that you can recognize a trend only a few years later. If you look at both GISS and HadCRU, the *smoothed* temperature increased steadily until 2005 and is now leveling out; 2008 will be an unusual cold year."

There is a correlation between rising temperatures and CO2, but the fit isn't tight enough to indicate causation. I made this point in describing the temperature pattern in the 20th century in my post above. As for this century, the average temperature for the years from 2000 on has barely risen, and the temperature level for the past three years has been below that of 2000. (I'm going by my memory so I may be a bit off.)

The overall trend depends on where your first and last data points. For instance, if temperatures have declined over the past eight years, from start to finish (including the forecast low temperatures for 2008), doesn't that indicate a cooling trend, with the slight rise in the beginning being a mere blip? If you want to say that the past eight years are a mere blip within the context of the past 30 or so, then that invites the response that the past 40-odd years can be interpreted, with equal justice, as a mere blip within the past 100--a period in which the temperature has not risen significantly. (According to what I think I recall.)

Finally, the fact that temperatures have leveled off during the past eight years isn't a mere mere one- or two-year anomaly. It's significant because it's rather unlikely to have happened under the AGW hypothesis.

=======================
MP: "Yes, there was a recent period of warming for about three decades, but it ended around the year 2000, and since then temperatures have been stable or even declining."
---------

Thorsten: "Sigh, no. There is a difference between data points and trends. Once in a time unusual hot or cold years happen, but they say *absolutely* nothing about the trend.
You must smooth out the data curve to look what the trend is actually doing. That means that you can recognize a trend only a few years later. If you look at both GISS and HadCRU, the *smoothed* temperature increased steadily until 2005 and is now leveling out; 2008 will be an unusual cold year."

There is a correlation between rising temperatures and CO2, but the fit isn't tight enough to indicate causation. I made this point in describing the temperature pattern in the 20th century in my post above. As for this century, the average temperature for the years from 2000 on has barely risen, and the temperature level for the past three years has been below that of 2000. (I'm going by my memory so I may be a bit off.)

The overall trend depends on where your first and last data points. For instance, if temperatures have declined over the past eight years, from start to finish (including the forecast low temperatures for 2008), doesn't that indicate a cooling trend, with the slight rise in the beginning being a mere blip? If you want to say that the past eight years are a mere blip within the context of the past 30 or so, then that invites the response that the past 40-odd years can be interpreted, with equal justice, as a mere blip within the past 100--a period in which the temperature has not risen significantly. (According to what I think I recall.)

Finally, the fact that temperatures have leveled off during the past eight years isn't a mere mere one- or two-year anomaly. It's significant because it's rather unlikely to have happened under the AGW hypothesis.

Damn this system for my double-post! My post didn't appear after I hit the "post" button, so I hit it again. Sorry for wasting the space.

"Finally, the fact that temperatures have leveled off during the past eight years isn't a mere mere one- or two-year anomaly. It's significant because it's rather unlikely to have happened under the AGW hypothesis."

As I understand it, the Sun has been going through a quiet patch. When it picks up again, so will the graph.

That's not to say solar power may not be a crucial energy source eventually. But will it be the dominant energy source in only seven years? Don't bet on it.

Point taken, MP. Would you accept 3 doublings of Solar, 3 doublings of Wind power?

Wouldn't you think that after missing the ozone hole because very low ozone levels were treated as mistakes and filled in from neighbouring values, that NASA would be really cautious and keep a log of all such data manipulations, and routinely apply software to look for large numbers of such corrections bunched in space or time.

-------Roger----------
Finally, the fact that temperatures have leveled off during the past eight years isn't a mere mere one- or two-year anomaly.
----------------------
Which fact ?! Did you check the data in question ? Here the GISS data:

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

Year Smoothed

1994 .24 .24
1995 .38 .29
1996 .30 .38
1997 .40 .39
1998 .57 .38
1999 .33 .42
2000 .33 .45
2001 .48 .45
2002 .56 .48
2003 .55 .54
2004 .49 .55
2005 .62 .55
2006 .54 *
2007 .57 *

Where do you see a *level-off* of the past eight years ?! It is continually rising in the smoothed version !

I have also calculated a 3-year smoothed version beginning with 1995:
0,31
0,36
0,42
0,43
0,41
0,38
0,46
0,53
0,53
0,55
0,55
0,58

With the exception of 2000/2001 still continual rising !
With the same amount of certainty GW skeptics can say that global warming stopped 1983 and 1993 because the smoothed version temporarily stopped there.
What GW deniers (not skeptics !) do is arbitrarily cherry-picking the 1998 spike,
compare all values behind that and say, hooray, no increase till 2005. It is exactly the same bullshit if I as scientist choose 1966 as begin of my timescale because it is convieninently cold so all people see a continally rising curve to prove my point of steady global warming.

Thanks for that calculation from 1995, Thorsten. It's rather impressive. Of course, still a small sample overall, but indicative.

On the other hand, here's a chart showing that nearly all the temperature increases since 1979 have disappeared in the last few years. (The chart is linked to this skeptical article.)

-------------------------------
On the other hand, here's a chart showing that nearly all the temperature increases since 1979 have disappeared in the last few years. (The chart is linked to this skeptical article.)
--------------------------
I have glimpsed over the article from Lorne Gunter. Triumphally touting that Douglass and Christy have given a "devastating blow",
I downloaded the papers in question.

Douglass,Christy & Singer:A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model
predictions.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/117857349/abstract

Douglass, Christy: Limits on CO2 Climate Forcing from Recent Temperature Data of Earth.

http://arxiv.org/abs/0809.0581

As it must be that article because it was according to Gunter published last month and the paper has accepted August 2008, I scanned the article and the given quote

"variations in global temperatures since 1978 ... cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide."

DOES NOT EXIST.
You see this "The global trend line" in the image below ? Well, it seems that Andrew Barr of the National Post took a pencil and drawed it himself because there is no such line present in the original data.

http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm (third graph from above).

Remark:
You can see the temperature drop which occurs after 2005 (HadCRUT) or 2006 (GISS,NCDC).

So what are Christy and Douglass saying ? Very interesting things. In the first paper they compared the model predictions of the troposhere temperatures with the actual data and concluded that the models must be faulty. In the second paper they compared the temperature data with the CO2 levels and concluded that while CO2 has an measurable effect, it cannot be claimed that *most* of the temperature rise as claimed by the IPCC is caused by carbon dioxide. Either there must be unknown factors or the effect is cancelled by e.g. cloud formation.

Addition:
It must be divided between "surface" data
and "troposhere" data. "Surface" data is that what I calculated: the temperature measured in 2m (7 feet) altitude. "Surface"
are prominent (GISS, HadCRUT) and mostly used and cited for the public.

Troposphere temperatures are measured in several kilometres altitude by weather ballons etc. Gunter used troposphere data without realizing that they are different datasets and cannot be interchanged.

I've been away from this thread for awhile, and it will take me a while to respond to the recent posts just above. First, let me paste a link I've got in my clipboard to a September PDF article by Christopher Monckton, "Hockey Stick? What Hockey Stick?":
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/monckton/monckton_what_hockey_stick.pdf

Here's a link to another Cooler-Head article on the hockey stick:
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/ten-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-global-warming-hockey-stick/

=====================
---Roger Knights-----------
"But didn't the sharp increase in CO2 occur in the last half of the century, but most of the warming in the first half?"
---------------

Thorsten: "No, the sharp increase of CO2 begins with the industrial revolution in 1850 with 280 ppm (now 390 ppm). Cosmic rays produce the radioactive C14 in the atmosphere which will be constantly renewed in living organisms. When they die, C14 decays and only C13 remains. Now fossil fuels have due to their age only C13 left and their massive use diluted the atmosphere so that the ratio of C14/C13 decreased. There is pretty much evidence that the CO2 increase has exclusively human causes. You can see it
here:"

http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

But that's irrelevant, because nowhere did I deny that the recent increase in CO2 was man-made (that word being the non-PC term for the hard-to-spell anthropogenic). I was just claiming that there wasn't a tight temporal fit between increases in CO2 (from whatever cause) and temperature increase.

Anyway, FWIW, when I went to the link provided, I jumped quickly to the "Conclusion" section, which stated:

"Thus we may conclude: All observed evidence from measurements all over the earth show with overwhelming evidence that humans are causing the bulk of the increase of CO2 into the atmosphere.

"But... That humans are the cause of the recent increase of CO2 doesn't tell anything about the influence of increased CO2 on temperature!"
*************

I've spent much of my online time in the past few days dipping my toe into the Cooler Heads "Watts Up With That" site, at http://wattsupwiththat.com/

My previous acquaintance with this issue had been extremely casual and my posts above based on fuzzy recollections. I'm very impressed with the level of discussion on the WUWT site, and stupefied at the technical complexity and the numerous facets of this matter. I'll do some more research and get back to Thorsten on his more recent posts, which I've barely glanced at.

Thorsten:

Here's a quote by Eddy Aruda extracted from the comment stream in response to a Christopher Booker article in The Telegraph (UK) recently, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/3982101/2008-was-the-year-man-made-global-warming-was-disproved.html

"The IPCC recognizes four sources for temperature data. Three of them, University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), The Hadley Research Center in England (HARCUT3) and the Remote Sensing Station at Santa Rosa, California (RSS) all show that the world's average temperature peaked in 1997 and declined gently until two years ago when it declined dramatically and it is continuing to do so. The two links below should be a good start. The first contains access to UAH and RSS data and the second to HARCUT3 data.

http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html#UAH%20MSU
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

"The fourth is the one you cited. That comes from James Hansen, an avid believer in anthropogenic global warming. Jim is an astronomer, not a climatologist. Ironically, he works for NASA and uses unreliable land based temperatures(see Watts up with that! [at http://wattsupwiththat.com -- Hansen and warmers deny that there's any "urban heat island" effect elevating the temperatures at their weather stations, which is very implausible on a prima facie basis -- RK] instead of highly accurate and much more reliable weather balloon and satellite date. He has been forced to restate his top ten warmest years list after a Y2K error was discovered in his calculations. In fact, the warmest year occurred in the 1930's. He works hand in hand with Michael Mann, the author of the now thoroughly discredited hockey stick graph."

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