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back to article Is the earth getting warmer, or cooler?

A paper published in scientific journal Nature this week has reignited the debate about Global Warming, by predicting that the earth won't be getting any warmer until 2015. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences have factored in cyclical oceanic into their climate model, and produced a different forecast to the …

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This seems to be...

covered by one of yesterday's posts:

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please". Mark Twain

Earth gets warmer (people panic)

Earth gets cooler (people panic)

Earth gets warmer (people panic)

Earth gets cooler (people panic)

Surprise surprise!

Perhaps another of the great man's quotes might be appropriate here too;

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."

Hmmm.

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Very scientific analysis

So you took two pieces of data, specifically two orthogonal graphs; decided arbitrarily that one was wrong, and proceeded to distort it until it fitted closely the first one; ergo proving that it was doctored and at the same time reassuring the veracity of the first. Right.

I can do that. If I take an image of the moon, paint it a soft yellowish color, then change the aspect ration of the picture a little bit, and perhaps add a drop shadow for dramatic effect; I can prove that the moon is not really a sphere, but a flat disc, and is not made out of sand or stardust, but of cheese! Q.E.D.

-dZ.

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Eh?

"Few icebergs" doesn't equal the complete opening of the Northwest Passage for the first time in the recorded history of North America, which is what's imminent. Larsen B wasn't an isolated incident or an accident.

Generally, it's an article that would grace the pages of the Daily Express. Pointing out that NASA and co have been applying correction factors to their older numbers, with the clear implication that NASA have falsified the numbers with the correction factors, for example. The fact that people in the 1920s had no idea about heat islands etc. is then given as NASA's excuse for fiddling the figures.

Maybe sticking with IT would be easier. Suppose version 9.8.7 of WinStone had a known bug in it which caused it to overestimate by 2%. Then a competent tester would apply a 2% reduction to figures from that version or increase the results of previous tests by 2%, to ensure that all tests were working from a level playing field.

The problem we've got here is the same as the creationists' quote of "teach the controversy". The joke is that for people who actually work in the area, there *is* no controversy. For sure, there's plenty of debate about how much, how fast, and just plain how. But the only reports of controversy are from people who get some reward from reporting it, whether from vested interests funding them directly or simply by being paid for publishing. The latter is the biggest problem, for the same reason that misreporting on MMR vaccination to sell papers directly caused the current outbreak of those diseases.

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It doesn't matter...

The time for rational argument has long passed and the carbon cult holds sway. There are lots of good reasons for cutting back on the energy we use and getting as much as we can from renewable resources, but I'm not sure that atmospheric CO2 is one of them. Having people shout at me isn't going to convince me that it is.

Good stuff

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an excellent article

my thanks.

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Think of the children

Geesh, distorting scientific measurement results.

I always heard that we, for the sake of the children, should have less violance and Gore on TV. The reason for the latter is now obvious.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh really?

"Now back to the present. NASA temperatures for March 2008 indicate that it was the third warmest March in history, but satellite data sources RSS and UAH disagree. They show March as the second coldest ever in the southern hemisphere, and barely above average worldwide. "

And yet from http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/month/sa/archive/200803.adelaide.shtml

"Adelaide Metro in March 2008

Record Heat Wave!!!

Summary

15 consecutive days with a maximum temperature in excess of 35°C is the longest heat wave recorded at the South Australian Regional Office.

13 consecutive days with a maximum temperature in excess of 37.8°C (100°F) at the South Australian Regional Office, this surpasses the heat wave of January 1939. There were 8 days in January 1939 when the maximum temperature exceeded the 100°F mark but not consecutively.

Adelaide recorded its warmest minimum temperature for March of 30.2°C.

March 2008 average monthly temperature of 24.4°C is the 3rd warmest recorded at the South Australian Regional Office.

The average maximum temperatures, recorded in the metropolitan area, were about 4.5°C above the long-term average for the month, whilst the average minimum temperatures were between 2°C and 3°C above the long-term average."

So much for "second coldest ever in the Southern Hemisphere"

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3x2

alarming increase

<...>but perhaps future generations will be able to reduce the alarming increase in the number of climate alarms.<...>

If only. Like the wack job sporting a board predicting the end of the world, when it doesn't happen he doesn't go off to get a job and start a family he just gets a new board. Like all good religions when Global Warming doesn't happen you call it Climate Change and head back for the street

No doubt the 'clergy' will here shortly telling us everything is well within the predicted range or that the data comes from 'Big Oil'. Better yet that we shouldn't be allowed an opinion anyway. The truth is that we clearly have no agreement on what is happening right now never mind Fifty or a Hundred years into the future.

If the cooling goes on beyond 2015 we will no doubt start hearing calls for us to ramp up carbon emissions. Same crowd different board.

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Boffin

We do not have unlimited energy!

I can see this rapidly devolving into another "man made global warming is a myth!", "T'isnt!", "T'is!", "T'isnt!", "T'is so!!!" argument.

But what that completely fails to realise is that we are using more and more *energy* and we cannot keep doing that indefinitely.

So instead of putting efforts into arguing about/ reducing/ trading "carbon footprints", how about we just start using energy in a more efficient manner and, who knows, it could have an unexpected knock on effect on the climate...!

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Anonymous Coward

Shame on you Mr Goddard

Shame you didn't investigate the published reasons as to why the adjustments were made and criticise that, rather than assuming an agenda and producing what is effectively an ad hominem attack.

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Paris Hilton

Thermometer to close to big shiny rockets

Surely its obvious why the NASA data is hotter than everyone elses..

What do NASA do, send big ships into space on piles of flaming liquid, which is hot, so the local thermometer is recording higher temperatures...

QED...

Sorry couldn't resist making this comment.

Paris - cause she's got nice rockets.

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No Controversy...

"The joke is that for people who actually work in the area, there *is* no controversy"

Or would that be a 'vested interest' perhaps (like no climate change/global warming; no job)

Part of good science is to challenge the validity of data. This 'rotation' seems to challenge the validity of that data.

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Paris Hilton

Graham Bartlett

Ah yes, and of course the scietific community is completely free of bias. Let's see now. Who pays their salaries? How do you keep the money coming in for research? Best way, is to create a panic!! So, the people with the largest vested interest in proving mankind is influencing global temperatures (whether up or down) are the scientists!!

That's why there have been opposite panics for many years. Firstly, a new ice age is approaching. When it becomes patently obvious they were talking rubbish and it was simply some natural cycle, they changed it around. Again, the same happened, so they changed it around again. Then again. I'm sure you see the pattern. The only thing that remained constant was the funding from government due to the panic caused by scientists.

It may now be true that global temperatures are rising and it may even be true that humans are causing it. But, the scientific community has called wolf several times before and been wrong, so they're loosing credability!! I'm met a lot of scientists in my time and have used the Paris icon because most scientists know about as much about the real world as Paris does. They live in their own little spheres; especially physicists.

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Alert

Can someone explain this to me, please?

The Greenhouse Effect theory posits that carbon dioxide, methane and the like in the atmosphere reduces the amount of heat lost to space.

Satellites say the world is getting cooler. Are they saying this based on the amount of heat they are detecting escaping Earth's atmosphere?

Are we really saying that the Greenhouse Effect, less heat lost to space, is a myth because satellites are detecting... less heat lost to space?

Explanation very much appreciated.

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Linux

Familiar story?

Anybody remember the predicted effects of global nuclear war? One theory was that we would all freeze in a nuclear winter caused by dust in the atmosphere blocking out the sun. Or, we were all going to die because the ozone layer would be destroyed and we would all fry. My personal theory was that we were all going to die because where we had been standing was now an irradiated hole in the ground. But then what do I know?

Well, I know that the scientists thought for a long time that the earth was flat and that Gordon will use climate change as an excuse to raise taxes.

Penguin because they don't pay tax (yet).

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Who knows??

SInce they can't even forecast the weather for the next 24 hours correctly, how do they expect me to believe that they can get it right 50 years into the future.

I can forecast the weather for Monday though... It's a bank holiday, so it will rain.

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Stop

Re: Oh Really?

Righto, and of course Adelaide is the only place in the southern hemisphere so the RSS and UAH surveys, that looked at the whole of the southern hemisphere (That's more than just Adelaide btw), must be wrong.

@DZ-Jay: missing the point there huh, your example does it's best to ignore all of the scientific facts up until that point, and tries to prove that your, new, data is correct and anything previous is wrong. The article is looking at the weight of evidence and the fact that the published data has changed over time and is therefore a complete opposite to the example you give. Your scientific analysis skills need a little fine tuning.

Sure we should be looking at reducing our Carbon output and looking at ways to stop p**sing energy away, but I hate the fact that all of the "end of the world" cranks are now being listened to rather than pointed and laughed at, which is what used to happen.

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Hmmmmm

One statistician fighting another never impresses me. This is a troll article intended to set the pack baying.

Unfortunately, I can't resist....

If we are going to get into this then one point strikes me. Surely a long term trend (100 years) would be more useful to analyse than the last 10 years.

The trends in the first two graphs above agree on the long term trend.

<insert your favourite GW vs Conspiracy theory rant here>

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Selective data set

why select 1998 as the effective start point, I think the data for a couple of decades prior should be shown, this would make many comments nonsensical. 1997 was exceptionally warm, it was the year of a very strong El Nino effect. Interesting that, of the data shown is from the end of this year, skewing trends. If the available data going back was normalised you would still clearly see that the trend is to warm. Please use the full data sets and not pick and mix. You will find that the long term trend is still upwards. Anthropomorphic climate change is happening. 1/10 for science, 8/10 for misrepresentation of data.

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CRUT data

Why didn't the author use this graph from CRUT

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhshgl.gif

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And the list just gets longer...

Ice age's a comin...

Oil will run out in 2000....

Acid rain will kill all the forests...

GM crops will kill you...

The hole in the ozone layer's will kill you...

Pesticides will mean a Silent Spring...

Brent Spar contains hundreds of tons of toxins...

Which of these life threatening dramas came to pass? All in my life time, all false.

O

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Coat

@dervheid

should read

Earth gets warmer (government taxes more)

Earth gets cooler (Government taxes more)

Earth gets warmer (Government taxes more)

Earth gets cooler (Government taxes more)

Surprise surprise!

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Anonymous Coward

@Andrew Simmons

"I'm not going to waste my time reading the rest of the article when the first phrase used is so factually incorrect."

..in fact I'm going to stick my fingers in my ears and go WEEEEEEEEEEEE until it goes away..

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Coat

We all know about weather forecasting

Let's face it we all know about how accurate weather forecasting is. The chances that tomorrows weather will be what they say it is going are probably better than 50/50, but we all know it's not that much better.

Weather forecasts never agree.

Let's face looking at the Beeb's weather website this morning, the 5 day local forecast had big black clouds and rain, yet when you clicked on the 24hour tab, it showed fluffy white clouds in the morning, a sunny afternoon and a clear night. So what did the weather do this morning? Well I'm in England so of course it rained.

So we all know to take the weather forecast with a pinch of salt. They might, or might not, get this mornings forecast right. Tommorrow, well maybe. Next week? b****r all chance, they don't even really try. Next years? Anyones guess mate.

But now we find that they can't even forecast Yesterday's weather. Wow that really is an achievement.

Mine's the sou'wester & oil skins.

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Surely a long term trend

(100 years) would be more useful to analyse than the last 10 years

Maybe, but then you'd have to expand that approach and go back, say, 10 000 years, or maybe 100 000. Pity we don't have actual recorded data. All we can do is analyse some ice and tree cores and attempt to extrapolate data from those analyses, based on current recorded conditions. That allows us to theorise about historical data/trends, not prove them.

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Paris Hilton

Has an element of...

Bullshight just been exposed to the world? I've never believed the world was getting all that warmer at all. In fact, its been so much colder and wetter this year to previous years in the 2000 century, and then you look at 1987!?

Question your self, what about when the Romans were burning fire, and farting all the time? What about Adof Hitler wiped out the jewish people with fire (No offense intended!)? Surely that would have caused a rise in temperature?

What about the discovery of electricity? Where's the hot summers that would have caused?

Oo.. that brings me on to the fact a few years ago they were moaning about too much oxygen going to kill us all! If there was that much carbon, we wouldn't live, the plants would phuck off and die gracefully.

Its like smoking, they won't give you a real answer. Cancer = Nuke bombs tested in the air. Smoke = just a nasty irritation. You're more likely to die breathing car fumes.

Paris because she reminds me of the dumb asses in science who seem to make opinion as fact. They take one idea, make it fact, scare the rear injected poo out of people, and they just lap it up. Lets get real. I froze this winter and spring, didn't you?

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Coat

Great Article

I have an urge to slam the carbon cultists, especially the earlier posters who will never entertain the simple fact that they have been duped by the carbon clergy. But honestly I'm growing tired of beating that dead horse. "dervheid" sums it up quite nicely, but I will throw in a comment from the more pragmatic if less upstanding P.T. Barnum:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, and that's actually good enough."

Ayn Rand described the previous generation as "mankind haters" and their goal "the anti-industrial revolution". She observed they were bent on the extinction of their most hated of creatures: man himself. Sadly those "hippies" are now in power in the western governments. Expectedly most of their children are even more pathetic "whack jobs" (it's an industry term) one would expect for children raised by the state without parents.

There is something fundamentally wrong with these people's psyche. It is a potentially fatal weakness in our species that there are so many of them. It is a deplorable weakness in ourselves that we allow them to hold such massive power. Mr Pullman (golden compass fame) should move with them all to Greenland where they can frolic on the unspoiled white beaches (never mind it's snow not sand) until they all do their part to make the world a better, lower carbon, place by <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/21/philip_pullman_wartime_misery/">achiving the goal they all so desperately want.</a>

Well that's a pretty deep rant for a Friday. I guess I wasn't quite too tired to slam them a bit after all. Maybe Gen Z will be better. The boomers and Gen X were a bust and Gen Y isn't looking good either.

Oh well.... Last quote, ancient Chinese curse:

"May you live in interesting times".

Cheers!!

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@Onionman

Off the top of my head...

Acid rain will kill all the forests... -> Yes, until people realised this and started fitting FGD to heavily sulphur-emitting plant. So it didn't come to pass because *something was done about it*

GM crops will kill you... -> Not yet... Of course if something goes wrong it'll be really easy to stop the seeds spreading all over the place and contaminating normal farmland. Of course, not so much in Europe..

The hole in the ozone layer's will kill you... -> It certainly doesn't do you any good. Again, the agreement to ban CFCs dealt with that one, so, er, because *something was done about it*

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Coat

Read!

@ Andrew Simmons

Yeah, must be the right thing to do. Close my eyes and nothing will happen.

READ, you idiot! This is a very well crafted article that deals in facts, not speculation!

Mine is the furry coat.

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@Mad Mike

I suppose you're talking about the USA? In the UK scientists are funded by research councils and so this argument is completely false. Also, you may be interested to read into the peer review process...

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Global warming is TRUE

We've been griping about the warm weather ever since we lost the glaciers which used to cover the ground here... in north-central United States; causing these rediculous bodies of water we now call the Great Lakes.

Fact is... the loss of glaciers and ice burgs haven't started because of the industrial age... it has been going on since man began wondering away from Africa. When and if it stops... nobody knows.

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Alert

Reasearch Councils?

and they would get their funding from...?

That'd be the government?

That'd be our taxes?

That'd be independant?

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Go

Did You People READ This Before Posting?

Having read through the article and then the comments I have to wonder if other commentors actually read the article...

"why select 1998 as the effective start point" - Because this is the point that the two data sources diverge in their trends (para 3).

"Surely a long term trend (100 years) would be more useful to analyse than the last 10 years." - Yes, and for the two longest running data sources it was (from 1860 and 1880). The other two data sources have only been flying around in space for 30 years so it's not logical to use 100-year trends involving those sources. Yes, potentially 30 year trends could have been analysed but is all that data published/readily available to the author?

"the longest heat wave recorded at the South Australian Regional Office" - Or to put it another way "the longest heat wave recorded in 0.408% of the southern hemiphears surface area".

"Shame you didn't investigate the published reasons as to why the adjustments were made" - What, such as taking the affect of weather station location relative to their environment (the US have a habit of siting them 2m from air conditioning outlets - http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/weather_stations/)... that normally result in the station over, not under reading. So logically you correct and over-reading temperature station by increasing the temperature...

Personally I found this to be a well written piece that doesn't try to say global warming is real/made-up but reminds us not to take press reports as gospal but to question what we are told.

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Alert

Bad Maths

"That would be equivalent to flipping a penny 70 times and having it come up heads 55 times. It will never happen - one trillion to one odds (2 raised to the power 40.)"

Err... that result is precisely as likely as any other, or do you believe the penny has a memory? Clever penny.

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Flame

its a con

Global warming panic is a wonderful moneymaking exercise, look at all the "green taxes" and "green solutions"

Read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton, yeah its a fiction book but all info provided in the book is obtained from scientific sources and referenced.

Its a con! if people are afraid of something, i.e: terrorists or the end of the world thru global warming they are easier to control. People bang on about the arctic ice dissapearing but they dont tell you in another area of the arctic, ice is increasing. I hate this global warming scam, The climate goes up and down, why do you think greenland was called greenland - there was no ice there when it was disovered and the vikings had a jolly old time living there. in fact im going to go and burn a rainforest right now.

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Stop

More info on Dr. James Hansen of NASA

For those that call into question the accuracy of the article, let me tell you some information about Dr. Hansen. He obviously has the power and the will to manipulate data. Several years ago, Dr. Hansen said the Bush administration was censoring him. Here is the truth: At the time, he was given a lot of speeches. The Bush administration told him to do his job.

http://www.dailytech.com/US+Climate+Expert+Claims+NASA+Tried+To+Silence+Him/article510.htm

We later find out that Dr. Hansen was big time John Kerry supporter. He also received $720,000 from the Open Society Institute, an institute run by George Soros who tries to bribe, er influence, people like Dr. Hansen.

http://ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=275526219598836

Dr. Hansen also received money from Teresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of John Kerry.

One person, George Deutsch who obviously was influenced by the Bush administration, said Dr. Hansen exaggerated the threat of warming and tried to cast the Bush administration's response to it as inadequate.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E3DF153EF933A25751C0A9609C8B63

Dr. Hansen's models have already been proven wrong by Steve McIntyre. One of Dr. Hansen's graph had a Y2K error.

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1868

So, with all these facts, who wants to believe Dr. James Hansen? You can if you want. But knowing his history, I trust little from NASA when it comes to the weather.

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Re: Very scientific analysis

>>> So you took two pieces of data, specifically two orthogonal graphs; decided arbitrarily that one was wrong, and proceeded to distort it until it fitted closely the first one; ergo proving that it was doctored and at the same time reassuring the veracity of the first. Right.

He did more than that: He selected two specific samples from the available data that made his point of view more believable.

>>> I can do that. If I take an image of the moon, paint it a soft yellowish color, then change the aspect ration of the picture a little bit, and perhaps add a drop shadow for dramatic effect; I can prove that the moon is not really a sphere, but a flat disc, and is not made out of sand or stardust, but of cheese! Q.E.D.

Chances are, a good number of people would believe you. Just look at the comments here. These people believe there can't be any global warming because summers in Europe have lately been rather mild. Now try to tell them that that's because the Gulf Stream, which so far made Brighton such a lovely place in the summer, is cooling down due to the melting icebergs and that the cooler European summers actually are a sign of an Earth that globally is warming up.

If cause and effect take more than two stops on their way, many people won't be able or willing to follow.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Oh Really?

"Righto, and of course Adelaide is the only place in the southern hemisphere so the RSS and UAH surveys, that looked at the whole of the southern hemisphere (That's more than just Adelaide btw), must be wrong."

That is a valid observation. I should have looked at the rest of the continent, instead of just Adelaide:

"Averaged over Australia, maximum temperatures for the month were 0.79°C above the 1961−90 average (16th highest on record). Maxima were 3−5°C above average over an area covering most of South Australia south of the Indian-Pacific railway line, Victoria west of Melbourne, and the far south-east of Western Australia. Most of this area experienced its warmest March of the post−1950 period. Outside this area, it was 1°C or more above normal over the remainder of Victoria, almost all of Tasmania and South Australia, the southern and western inland of New South Wales, and most of interior and south-western Western Australia."

Sorry, I don't have the info for Africa or South America.

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Stop

People are easier to control.

Spot On!

In the past, when the peasants were less educated, religion sufficed as a means of keeping them in line (be a good boy/girl in this miserable existance, then enjoy the life everlasting)

But there are way fewer people for whom this approach will work. New 'religion' required.

Voila!

Climate Change / Global warming / Carbon Culture.

Misinformation. Fear. Panic. Spanish Inquisition!

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Linux

End of the World

Is a changing climate going to destroy the world? No. It might destroy humans and lots of other things but it isn't going to destroy the world.

So it seems to me that since so many hardcore greenies seem to hate people, then the correct thing for them to do would be to try and accelerate climate change - therefore killing all the people they don't like!

Genius, Nobel here I come.

P.S. Not sure where you guys live, or if you have trees and plants around you, but if you've been going outside much during the past five or six years you should have noticed how much sooner everything was blooming and seen all the new plants/flowers that keep moving north each spring. Not sure if climate change is man made or not, but I do know that the plants are blooming sooner and migrating (haha) - which tells me a lot more than some satellite data compiled by people who don't go outside.

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Boffin

A record?

Climate change has managed to go from theory to "fact" to dogma in just 10 years.

This at least must be a record.

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Flame

Science versus fiction

The global warming: SCIENCE or FICTION?

Scientists reached a wide consensus that it's SCIENCE! There are reasons why Dr. Hansen and colleagues renormalize the temperature measurements -- and no, it's not just to make global warming look more dramatic, but rather to remove systematic errors. There is that whole "peer review" thing going on to assure this is properly done.

Others, including Mr. Goddard, thinks it is FICTION. No peer review for this particular article, but there are valid issues with global warming even in the reviewed scientific literature.

So, what to believe?

Be a scientist, observe yourself. My personal data: Swiss glaciers vanishing (been there, seen it happen), interesting insects making it from Italy across the alps to formerly colder climates, many winters in central Europe without snow. I think global warming is real and out to get you! Then there is stuff I didn't see, but still believe, e.g. the melting of the polar icecaps.

Mr. Goddart, sorry about it, but you are not trustworthy and your article is SCIENCE FICTION. Try peer review next time to avoid blusters like this one.

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Next!

The Earth's magnetic field is collapsing. We are all going to die in x years!

"But the only reports of controversy are from people who get some reward from reporting it, whether from vested interests funding them directly or simply by being paid for publishing."

Yes. Its obvious. Headlines of "The weather is fine, don't worry about it" sell a lot of newpapers (damn those greedy bastards!). I better run out and get mine now, to beat the rush. I also will read the article of "Man safely crosses street", with great interest

P.S.

Let the water out of your bathtub. Y2K is over.

Gotta go.. need to watch that Discovery program on the worlds most dormant, micro volcanoes.

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Even worse maths

The appeal to probability against the likelihood of the changes to the graph seems rather poorly thought out, and even more poorly argued.

The odds of flipping a coin 70 times and getting 55 heads would actually be (unless probability has changed in the many years since I did GCSE maths):

Combinatorial (55, 70) / 2^70

or about 1 in 1.6 million, so about 6 orders of magnitude more likely than claimed. Not sure where the 2^40 figure came from. However, this all relies on each result being independent. The keyword appears in the article itself, 'systematic', and therefore the changes are not independent and the probability cannot be calculated in this way. In fact we can draw no conclusion at all from this argument without fully understanding what changes were made to the graph and why.

The probability argument is therefore moot. This sort of poor, superficially attractive, but completely worthless argument is unfortunately common on both sides of the 'debate'. A more interesting question is why the different data sets do not agree, but the writer already knows the answer to that without needing to consider it: NASA bias of course!

Come on Reg, we expect better.

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Linux

Refreshing read

"the person in charge of the temperature data is the eminent Dr. James Hansen - Al Gore's science advisor"

Quelle surprise!

How ironic that the only thing Dubya might have got right is our (lack of a) contribution towards climate change.

IIRC, the ice age cycle is about 10000 years and the next one is just overdue...

Tux, as he will outlast us all.

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Anonymous Coward

An then you had to spoil it all by saying something stupid like..

That really was an interesting article.

You managed to steer away from the sorts of absolutes that mark evangelists on both sides of the climate change argument.

You presented the sort of facts that highlight what a vexing issue climate modeling is and how hard it is to draw a solid line under any modeled prediction and paint it as irrefutable truth.

You perhaps neglected to elaborate on the possible legitimate reasons to reassess historic measurements in a manner that wouldnt have a random impact - applying standardizing techniques to adjust for limitations of instrumentation, for example - but then it is open for others with more detailed facts to make those arguments (or not, if the facts dont exist)

But then you had to dump that stinker. It doesnt matter one iota that the 1920's saw climate change predictions that didnt pan out. This is not the boy who cried wolf. This is not some kid setting off the school fire alarms at 2pm every Friday. There is no form, no pattern of behaviour. There is no Ancient and Honorable Guild Of Scientists whose sole charter is to "keep this wheeze going as long as we can".

Ignorant apathy is not one bit better than ignorant alarmism and it may be worse. Alarmism may find you out on the street in your underpants while firemen douse the charred crumpet in your toaster, but apathy may leave you toasted in bed with a charred crumpet in her underpants.

Perhaps instead of the knee-jerk contempt, and as an alternative to blind panic, we can encourage a little prudent alarm with a dose of critical thought?

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Anonymous Coward

Dismayed (more by comments than article!)

I am dismayed that some readers appear to genuinely believe that scientists have a vested financial interest in pushing climate change and creating a panic. The simple truth is that climate change scientists' most fervent hope is to be wrong about climate change. Unfortunately, climate change science does not stand or fall on Mr Goddard's temperature data sets. The best scientific consensus about climate change has been derived from a large, peer-reviewed, and well-debated set of science. Readers can look at the Summary for Policymakers in the IPCC 4th Report for details. Further to that, some important current climate science (that at the time of the compilation of the 4th report was in its early stages from a scientific dilligence perspective) was not included in the IPCC assessment. This later science, taken at a whole, would seem to imply that the IPCC 4th assessment was a very conservative assessment, and that the likelihood that it is much worse is at least as likely. Readers are invited to refer to the bibliography below for an overview of this newer science.

Brumfiel, G., Academy affirms hockey-stick graph. Nature, 2006. 441: p. 1032-1033.

Schiermeier, Q., No solar hiding place for greenhouse sceptics. Nature, 2007. 448.

IPCC, Summary for Policymakers. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, 2007(AR4).

Rahmstorf, S., A Semi-Empirical Approach to Projecting Future Sea-Level Rise. Science, 2007. 315.

Rahmstorf, S., et al., Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections, in Sciencexpress. 2007. p. 1-2.

Raupach, M.R., et al., Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). 2007. p. 727-728.

Kerr, R.A., Polutant Hazes Extend Their Climate-Changing Reach. Science, 2007. 315: p. 1217.

Reay, D., et al., Spring-time for sinks. Nature, 2007. 446.

Shine, K.P. and W.T. Sturges, CO2 Is Not the Only Gas. Science, 2007. 315: p. 1804-1805.

Walker, G., A world melting from the top down. Nature, 2007. 446: p. 718-721.

Kerr, R.A., Pushing the Scary Side Of Global Warming. Science, 2007. 316: p. 1412-1415.

Hansen, J., A Slippery Slope: How much Global Warming constitutes "dangerous anthropogenic interference"? Climate Change, 2005. 68: p. 269-279.

Hansen, J., et al., Earth's Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications. Science, 2005. 308: p. 1431-1435.

Hansen, J., et al., Climate change and trace gases. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society, 2007. 365: p. 1925-1954.

Vaughan, D.G. and R. Arthern, Why Is It Hard to Predict the Future of Ice Sheets? Science, 2007. 315.

Shepherd, A. and D. Wingham, Recent Sea-Level Contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. Science, 2007. 315: p. 1529-1532.

Roe, G.H. and M.B. Baker, Why Is Climate Sensitivity So Unpredictable? Science, 2007. 318: p. 629-632.

Canadell, J., et al., Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), 2007. 104(47).

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Gates Halo

Thanks for the feedback

I appreciate the suggestion to have Dr. Hansen explain the changes in the US temperature graph. It would be an excellent follow up.

There is no question that the world has been warming for the last 100, 250, and 15,000 year periods. It is a matter of degree. Much of the discussion over the last few years has been centered around the steep slope upwards from 1980-1998, It appears that the trend from 1998-2015 is in the opposite direction - which has a large impact on the long term slope.

The long-term trend is falling below even the most conservative IPCC estimates. Should we be terrified about a 1C increase over 100 years? I'm not a climate scientist and can't answer that. I am a veteran engineer and geologist, and have noticed some possible irregularities in the NASA data - which was the motivation for this article.

BTW - The poster who thinks that a 55/15 split is as likely as any other combination might want to steer clear of Las Vegas.

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To late

OK, so science doesn't know everything - in fact, a scientist will never use the term 'know' as an absolute term anyway. So, what are we to think?

The thing is, the current level of understanding we have of our atmosphere predicts that we should experience global warming as a result of all the greenhouse gases we produce. If we don't, its because our understanding is flawed. This is possible. But what if it is? Do we just give up on predicting atmospheric changes as a result of human activity? Or do we assume that humans can't have any influence on our planet?

The sensible thing to do is assume that a) we are changing the atmosphere, b) we don't exactly know how and c) producing loads of CO2 is likely to make the globe warmer. Now we get into the nitty-gritty - exactly what effect are we having? We don't know. How do we find out? Do more research.

It is unreasonable for scientists to think we know everything, but then scientists generally don't. The people who like definite answers are campaigners, politicians, industry folk and journalists, which is a big problem because when the scientists say 'uh-oh, we may have a problem here' the response from the people making the mess is 'show us facts'. When the scientists are unable to do so, the politicians and industrialists just ignore them.

This is why we're now at this horrible stage - if the worst case scenario is true, then if we don't act in the next couple of years in a really big way, we're scr*wed. However, it is still possible (but not probable) that we are not heading for a big problem. If the policy makers had taken this serously twenty years ago we would probably have a good enough understanding of our atmosphere to say whether we need to make all those emmissions cuts. But they didn't, and so we don't know for sure.

Being pragmatic, we have to now accept that climate change of some sort is probably happening, and that we have to make pre-emptive changes before we know for sure just how bad the damage will be. Genuine scientific debate is important, but only if we accept that it is now to late to wait for the scientists to produce a cast iron set of theories and predictions to base our plans on.

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