Feeds

* Posts by Burb

91 posts • joined 13 Jul 2010

Page:

Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

Burb

Re: @Cipher - In the 1970s...

"Ahem, YES THEY WERE!!

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

There's more, I'll leave that for you to find..."

So why is that the only one that anyone ever mentions? A *magazine* article!

A minority of scientific papers were predicting an ice age in the 1970s. You could not be bothered even to cite one of those.

See here for a survey of 1970s papers: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1

11
2

Scientists warn of FOUR-FOOT sea level rise from GLACIER melt

Burb

Re: Evidence?

"Not sure where you are getting your facts from."

This, for example:

http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/~/media/shared/documents/policy/Climate%20Change%20Statement%20Addendum%202013%20Final.ashx

Note that when there have been relatively rapid changes, they have tended to be accompanied by large scale extinctions so the point remains that we want to avoid rapid change if possible.

7
1
Burb

Re: Evidence?

"Change is most certainly the norm."

However it has not been the norm during recent human history, during which agriculture and stable civilisations have been able to develop.

The current *rate* of change is not the norm, making adaptation very difficult for many plant and animal species.

That there has been change in the past is not a reason passively to accept damaging change now, given that we have realised that we are the cause of that change and have the ability to do something about it.

On much longer time scales there will indeed be large changes not initiated by us. *If* we survive long enough we might develop the technology to cope with them.

10
11
Burb

Re: New record set for Antarctic Ice today.

"I wonder how that squares with the news that Antarctica is melting...?"

The clue was near the beginning of the quote that you reproduced. Antarctic *sea* ice.

5
1

Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Burb

"It's a damn shame that Logitech stopped selling the Squeezeboxen."

I agree.

However, Squeezebox is not dead. The software is open source and there are various hardware solutions from smartphones to Raspberry Pi to new dedicated audiophile hardware that is under development (google communitysqueeze).

0
0

Sonos and I: How home media playback just gets SO FRUSTRATING

Burb

Re: F.Y. Logitech

And another one from me.

Note that Squeezebox is not dead by a long shot. The software is open source and there are various options for creating new players such as installing a player app on a smartphone (Squeezeplay + SqueezeCommander on Android, or iPeng on the iPhone). As suggested above, it is possible to get working a player based on a Raspberry Pi. However, probably the most interesting thing on the horizon is something called Community Squeeze, which is "a project to produce an audiophile quality Squeezebox compatible music player". This has made huge progress just in the last few months.

1
0

Boffins agree: YES we have had an atmospheric warming pause

Burb

Re: Oh dear - oh dear oh dear oh dear

@btrower

"I don't know enough to say for sure, but my hunch is that something similar to what is described in this paper will give much better predictions of future temperature and it is basically an elucidation and quantification of the null hypothesis that the climate will continue on as it has:

http://www.clim-past.net/9/447/2013/cp-9-447-2013.pdf"

All that paper does is fit curves. It uses Fourier analysis to show that temperature records over a particular period can be modelled reasonably well with 6 'cycles'. It does not propose any physical mechanism to explain what those putative cycles might be. The whole point about Fourier analysis is that you can take *any* function and break it into a sum of cycles!

0
0
Burb

Re: WHO CARES!

@btrower

"If you think about it, the CO2 we are supposedly polluting the atmosphere with had to come originally from the atmosphere"

Yes but we have dumped millions of years worth of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in about a century.

"...over ranges near where we are now CO2 concentrations are driven by temperature, not the other way around"

What is the mechanism for this? Where is the CO2 coming from?

"http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/last_400k_yrs.html

That shows that we are not at a peak, that we could easily be going up sharply without violating the null hypothesis that it is business as usual and that over ranges near where we are now CO2 concentrations are driven by temperature, not the other way around."

What you are missing is that there is good evidence that initial temperature rises in the past were driven by Milankovich cycles and that CO2 levels increased when the oceans heated sufficiently to start releasing CO2. This does not argue against CO2 as a greenhouse gas; the effect would have been to amplify the effect of the initial forcing. Indeed changes in insolation due to orbital variations would not alone have been sufficient to account for the temperature swings seen in the past.

"I do not expect that it has a whisper of a chance to cause anything approaching a runaway feedback loop."

Who is claiming this? Positive feedback does not imply runaway feedback.

"Re: Where is all the human CO2 going if it isn't causing the increase in CO2 level?

This is what I call the 'argument from ignorance' , characterized by the generic notion that because you cannot think of any other explanation, your explanation must somehow be correct."

Possibly, you might have a point if all that anyone had done was to think of a couple of things off the top of their head and write them on the back of an envelope. Whereas in fact, people have put a lot of effort into investigating and measuring sources and sinks of CO2. Plus there are various fingerprints that point towards the fossil fuel origin of increasing CO2 such as complementary reductions in O2 and changes in the ratio of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere.

0
1

Boffins find MEXICAN WAVE pattern in random climate wobbles

Burb

> > It looks very much like the Sun is not a dominant player in global warming.

> You do realise that *all* our daily energy comes from the Sun don't you?

> It single-handledly drives our entire climate.

> How can you make a statement that it is not a dominant player in anything to do with our climate?

Every time the relationship between the sun and climate change is discussed on these AGW stories, there is a posting like this one and it inevitably gets a majority of thumbs up. It makes me despair at the lack of capacity for logical thinking that many people seem to have.

Nobody is saying that the sun is not a dominant player with respect to the climate.

What they are saying is that IF, as most scientists believe, solar output is not going up THEN it can't be a driver for global warming.

And even though some people are arguing in comments above that maybe solar output has in fact gone up according to some criteria, that is an argument about the premise, not about the implication. It doesn't justify comments like skelband's.

1
0

US Republican enviro-vets: 'Climate change is real. DEAL WITH IT'

Burb

@Andreas Koch Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

"Lazy, are we? I'm not going to play Russell's teapot with you; there's lists of them about, google it."

Somehow I missed this reply yesterday. I think it was because I was looking out for a more substantial answer than you have been able to give.

No - I am not lazy. I have been looking for an answer to this question for about 3 years now and I haven't found a convincing answer to it. The very few names I am aware of on the 'sceptic' side who seem to be close to genuinely qualified scientists have been debunked too many times to be taken seriously any more (e.g. Lindzen, who has all but admitted that his 'iris earth' theory was wrong, or Spencer, who has a string of well-documented errors under his belt as well as having admitted that one of the motivations for his opinions is his evangelical Christian beliefs).

As for Freeman Dyson, his position is ambiguous as pointed out elsewhere, and I seem to recall that his statements have been of a very general nature and have revealed that he has not made much of an effort in getting up to speed on climate science.

7
3
Burb

"Just because a majority believes something does not automatically mean it is true."

True. I would expect that a majority of people in the USA, for example, do not believe that AGW is true.

The real question is the majority of whom, their credibility and their credentials. I am still waiting for a alternative consilient scientific theory that explains the evidence as well as the the current mainstream understanding of climate. Let me know if you can point me towards one.

9
4
Burb

Re: What I have yet to hear

"is the freaking 100's of scientists actually telling me what the correct temperature of the planet is, and at which point in time this was. On average, over the lifetime of Earth, temperatures will have been in the, for us, uninhabitable range."

Just because the temperature has in the past been outside the habitable range for human civilisation as we know it and, left to its own devices, will do so in future isn't an excuse for forcing temperatures outside that range now. Obviously on long time scales there will be natural variations that might make things very uncomfortable for us but if we can survive a few centuries and continue the sort of technological progress seen in the last 100 years or so maybe we would have the technology to do something about it by then.

10
3
Burb

Re: Utter tosh

" '[O]ur world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth's atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected."

Every single one of these claims is utter tosh..."

Why? Just because you say so?

21
9
Burb

Re: Utter tosh

"BTW Anonymous Coward (and I can understand why you want to remain anonymous!) 'Hundreds of credentialed climate scientists' is a figure taken from a widely discredited 'survey' of allegedly 12,000 scientists. Once you dig into the figures, you will find that a grand total of 65 actually agreed with that statement. (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10772757.htm)"

This is nonsense. The arguments being made in these 'discreditings' are like saying that biologists do not agree with the theory of evolution because they do not explicitly say so in every abstract of every paper that they publish.

Incidentally, there have been a few similar surveys over the years, with slightly differing methodologies, and they have all reached broadly the same conclusion. I am not aware of any surveys to the contrary, certainly nothing with any degree of rigour.

20
6
Burb

Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

"There are likewise other scientists who say the opposite or something in between, probably with the same credentials. So?"

So...

1. Tell me who they are.

2. Tell me what their credentials are.

3. Tell me what their theories are.

29
15

Climate-cooling effect 'stronger than volcanoes' is looking solid

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Global warming fingered as Superstorm Sandy supersizer

Burb

@speedjunky:

"What did I see in the Sunday Mail last night, an article with the headline,"Finally proof that there is NO global warming", it went on to state that the global temperatures are NOT rising, showed a nice pretty graph where the temperatures have levelled off for the past 15 years!!"

I'm pretty sure your post is meant to be a parody. Am I right?

0
0
Burb

Re: Scientific Terminology

"The problem with current 'peer-reviewed' climate science is that it is often fraudulent. An obvious example is the latest Marcott et al paper reviving the hockey-stick, which has just been shown to have passed peer-review as a PhD thesis without the hockey-stick graph ending, and then had that added later for publication."

Interesting. Where has this been shown?

0
1

Climate scientists link global warming to extreme weather

Burb

Re: "On record-breaking extremes"

I can't believe you just slagged off someone for posting a link to RealClimate and then had the nerve to link to Roy Spencer.

1
0
Burb

Re: Ice Age onset causes climate oscillations

"The article doesn't seem to address the ice growth in the Antarctic at all ...."

Perhaps one reason for this is that ice is not growing in the Antarctic.

0
1

BBC: What YOU spent on our lawyers in Secret Climate 28 debacle

Burb
WTF?

Re: Surprising....how?

"In reality, we have no real idea of rate of change over history."

"there is actually a great deal of evidence to suggest climate changes can and have occured very swiftly (as in a few years or even months) in the past"

?

0
0

Climate shocker: Carry on as we are until 2050, planet will be FINE

Burb
FAIL

So you start off by saying:

"We can expect the usual 'common purpose' CAGW alarmist trolls to completely ignore reports such as the one Lewis highlights."

Note that this report fully accepts AGW and is clear that something needs to be done about it. All it is saying is that according to its analysis climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the range of most likely values (which are derived from a number of inputs such as this one, so there is no inconsistency here). If true, this means we have a bit more of a breathing space than we thought we might have.

But then you say:

"so-called 'man-made climate change' (still no proof, at all, anywhere, from anyone)"

Which surely means that you think hat this report is complete rubbish like all of the other 'alarmist' research?

So why do you give it more credence?

'Fail' for complete and utter logic failure.

6
2
Burb

Re: I was in bed last night fantasizing away....

@Graham Dawson

Not this one again. A shift towards neutral from basic is acidifying.

Just like -2 is more positive than -3. It's a fairly simple concept.

4
1

Inside the new climate row as Mystic Met Office goes cool on warming

Burb

Re: @Burb

@AC "Your statements on needing a long enough interval make sense, but that is not the line toed by the climate politics. We have x days to save the earth is a regular feature."

You need a long enough interval if you want to see an unequivocal trend in temperatures that is obvious to the man in the street. There is plenty of other scientific evidence to indicate that something is happening now but the problem is that it is less accessible to most people. The reason for the 'x days' sort of thing is that the longer that action is delayed, the harder it is going to be to do something if and when the problem is finally accepted. Maybe you are right and it's all a giant scientific conspiracy - I'd be happy if it were! But my sceptical nature suggests to me that enough scientists know what they are talking about and are not making things up. I guess all we can do is wait and see.

BTW as far as politics is concerned, there is plenty of evidence of political funding of the 'sceptic' viewpoints and in general there is a history of interference by political think tanks in areas of scientific research that have a potential for giving rise to regulations on business activities.

0
0
Burb

Re: Will it ever end?

Strictly speaking, nothing in science can be proved. But leaving that aside, the matter of accounting for variability and extracting a trend from a noisy signal is not exactly uncharted territory. Standard statistical techniques can be used, just as they are used in many branches of science that you presumably don't complain about. What you can't expect to do is to perform a single run, or a few runs, of a *physical* model and expect to get an exact prediction from it. You can get rough trends which are subject to assumptions made about conditions that will apply in the future (such as volcanoes, solar output, ENSO activity etc.).

There are different approaches to statistical analysis. If you want to analyse the data as pure data without trying to understand the variations, you are going to need a longer time interval. On the other hand, if you look at the work that Forster and Rahmstorf have done, they use multiple regression to remove the known factors and are able to demonstrate an underlying trend now that is unchanged from before this supposed period of stalled temperatures.

Another fairly straightforward way to look at this is given by http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2012/04/about-the-lack-of-warming I would strongly recommend that you read this if you are genuinely interested in the questions you are asking. This is mainly considering the El Nino/La Nina effects, but the basic thing it shows is that the La Nina troughs are on an upward trend which is the same as the upward trend of El Nino peaks, which is the same as the upward trend of average temperatures. The reason things look like they have stalled in recent years is that La Ninas have dominated and there was a massive El Nino in 1998. You ask how long is long enough? Well, assuming these trends continue, at some point we are going to see El Nino years and those are going to be well above the 1998 peak and the troughs of future La Ninas are also generally going to be above that 1998 peak and still rising.

Final point related to this: the effects of La Nina, declining solar output, higher than expected aerosols all should be pointing towards *declining* energy input. I'm still waiting for an explanation as to why we aren't seeing that rather than seeing surface temperatures remaining at high levels, increasing ocean heat content, melting ice caps, etc.

0
0
Burb

Re: Will it ever end?

"It's relatively straightforward for them to prove their case: produce a climate model that can predict the global temperature to within reasonable error margins over a period of, say 15 years."

So how does one go about predicting such factors such as volcanoes, short term variations due to ENSO, changes in solar output, changes in aerosol concentration over the next 15 years?

Predictions of ENSO activity can't be made more than about a year in advance - if that - and yet it can dominate temperature variation in the short term (witness 1998 and recent La Nina years). However, because it is essentially energy sloshing back and forth between the sea and atmosphere, over the longer term it averages out.

0
0
Burb

Re: Global warming...

You are correct that weather is very difficult to predict but climate is less difficult. This might seem paradoxical but, roughly speaking, there are more opportunities for integration over time and space.

You make some rather vague assertions about 'other models' being denigrated. What are you referring to here?

0
0

UK climate expert warns of 3-5 degree warmer world by 2100

Burb

Re: Shirley not that meme again

> Wow, you just don't get how science works do you!

Yes I do actually. From the following it isn't clear that you do:

> You come up with a theory. Then you look at real world data (not models!) and see

> if that fits your theory. If the data fits it does *not* prove your theory is correct. It just

> means that it hasn't disproved it. If the data does not fit then it shows that your theory

> is flawed.

You seem to be a bit confused. No one is comparing models to theory. Models are part of the theory. Obviously real world data has to be measured and obviously nothing is provable in science. No one would argue with you about that, least of all me.

What it is possible to say is that if a scientific theory has predictive power, and can explain and pull together multiple lines of evidence then it is something to start taking seriously. Current understanding of climate and the role of CO2 has reached that level of acceptance in the scientific community.

The point that you are arguing is that the data does not fit predictions and that therefore disproves the theory. That is too simplistic. As has been attempted to explain to you, the temperature data from the last few years is not sufficient to disprove the predictions made. Once again: this is because of the natural variations in temperature that are superimposed on the warming trend. If you want to go purely with the measured data then you need to allow a sufficiently long period to average out the natural variations and see the underlying trend. As I explained in my earlier post, it is not even as if the natural variations are completely random - we do have a pretty good handle on some of the major causes and can explain what has been going on in the last few years.

> I have not rejected the CAGW theory, I am arguing that the data is making it look

> incredibly flaky. Even if the data had supported the theory (as it seemed to do in

> the 80s and 90s but doesn't appear to since) it wouldn't have proved it - i.e. the

> science was *never* settled.

The only data you have mentioned is atmospheric temperature data. As explained, we cannot draw conclusions from that yet. However, most heat is going into the ocean. It is the total energy balance that is important and that is in line with predictions. Melting arctic ice is in line with predictions (in fact predictions were conservative). Melting antarctic ice is in line with predictions.

> I do not need to come up with an alternative theory. Why would you even suggest that?

Multiple lines of evidence support the current theory. Contrary to popular belief the supporting evidence is not just models, though they are a part of it. If you are saying that it is wrong, the onus is on you to explain why and to provide a better explanation that fits the evidence. Pending that, scientists will stick with the current theory. That's how science works.

0
2
Burb

Re: Shirley not that meme again

"I don't need to fall back on any argument because this CAGW thing is not my theory. If temperatures had continued to increase in line with that theory then that would just mean that CAGW hasn't been disproved yet."

I'm wondering in that case what is your rationale for rejecting the theory, since the crux of your argument so far is that surface temperatures are not in line with predictions. You have pretty much said there that, if they had been, you would still reject it. So what is the basis for that? What is your alternative theory that has the same explanatory power?

0
2
Burb

Re: Shirley not that meme again

"I'm suggesting you can use any statistics you want (or just take a cursory glance at the graph). Either way, it isn't looking like temperatures are going up anywhere near the rate that climate doomsters have predicted from their models."

Historically, there have been short term variations in the temperature around a general trend. Those variations tend to be bigger than the trend. That's just the way it is and is the essence of why you can't look at a short period. You need enough data to be able to discern the signal from the noise. Where statistics comes in is being able to quantify what you can actually say based on the data that you have.

Another way you can look at it is physically and try to understand why the temperatures vary the way the do over short periods. For example, we know that there was a super El Nino in in 1997-98 which caused a temporary peak in temperatures. We also know that one of the strongest La Nina's recorded occurred in 2010-2011 and that that has a dampening effect on temperatures. We also know about the effect of volcanic activity. Attempts have been made to analyse temperature data by removing these known effects. These yield a consistent rate of warming. I know this won't convince you as it relies on statistical analysis but, even if you don't accept the details of the analysis, the ENSO effects effects over the last 15 years or so are indisputable. Do you not therefore accept that there is at least a plausible reason for the observed temperatures that is not inconsistent with an underlying increasing trend?

0
2
Burb
WTF?

Re: Shirley not that meme again

"> Eyeballing a graph will lead you astray.

Errrr... what is the point of drawing a graph in the first place if you're not supposed to look at it? That's gotta be your best comment so far. Made me laugh!"

That made *me* laugh! Are you being deliberately obtuse? Are you suggesting that modern statistics be done away with in favour of drawing graphs?

0
3
Burb

Re: Shirley not that meme again

"Can you not see the flat bit on the end? Starting to look a bit embarrassing when we've been promised ever increasing rates of temperature rise."

Can you not see that there was a bit of a steeper drop before that that has flattened out and looks like it might go up again?

Which is no more ridiculous than what you are saying. The point is that there is not enough data to say that the 'flat bit' is significant yet.

Given what we know about ENSO activity in the period we are talking about, it is in fact likely that we will start seeing an uptick before too long. I'm curious to know what argument you will fall back on if that happens.

1
3

Global warming still stalled since 1998, WMO Doha figures show

Burb

Re: "no warming since 1998"?

Badvok: which credible scientists' work refuting Anthropogenic Climate Change should New Scientist have been publishing?

3
3

Acid oceans DISSOLVING sea life

Burb

I agree with you that the title is incorrect, but it seems pretty reasonable to me that saying something is becoming less alkali is equivalent to saying it is becoming more acidic, in much the same way that it is correct to say that -2 is more positive than -3. It's a minor semantic argument that I have seen some people (not you) use to detract attention from the fact that a shift in pH is probably going to have negative consequences, whatever words you want to use to describe that shift.

I have read the story through a couple of times and I don't see anything about having our skins eaten away. The focus is very much on the impact on marine life. The title is the only issue.

6
0

AARGH! We're ALL DOOMED, bellows UN - right on schedule

Burb

Re: We need flash gordon brown

@AC: "What is annoying is they will say this until something does actually happen and then claim victory. E.g. the cry wolf story"

What is annoying is when people make up stuff that they think the scientists are saying without doing even a minimal amount of research. No one has said that we are all going to die tomorrow. The problem is that if we continue as we are and wait for the predicted changes to happen at the time that they are predicted to happen (which *isn't* tomorrow), it will be too late to do anything about it.

0
0

Climate NON-change: No increase in droughts since 1950, say boffins

Burb

Re: Extremes?

"

Better analogy:

View 1: "Benchtop cold fusion is real."

"

Why is that a better analogy? How many peer reviewed papers supporting cold fusion have been published?

1
1
Burb

@Anonymous Coward: isn't 'climate skeptic' the term that they use to describe themselves? Also, I have noticed that they tend to use the US spelling of sceptic even if they are British). Given that they get their knickers in a twist about being called deniers I'm not sure what the correct term should be.

1
1

SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!

Burb

Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

@AC "Do mobiles cause cancer? Does the MMR jab cause autism? What was the consensus?"

I think the overwhelming consensus was that they don't - certainly that was true of the MMR jab (I haven't followed the mobile issue TBH as I don't use one often enough to be worried). The problem is that these things get blown up in the media because of this 'two sides to the debate' argument, as if it were a political argument that needs each side to be given equal weight. This is what is happening with climate science. I am afraid I don't follow your 'argument'.

0
2
Burb

Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

@Chet Mannly "Galileo is one - maybe read up on him as but one example..."

Thanks for your patronising reply.

The Galileo example is a standard response to this. Interesting that nobody mentions many other people...

There are a number of problems with the Galileo example. First it was a different time, when religion was much more dominant and the scientific method was in its infancy. Second, there are many more examples of people proposing theories against the prevailing scientific consensus that turn out to not to hold water. Third, if *convincing* paradigm changing theories are proposed they do tend to get accepted (e.g. relativity was quite shocking at the time but it quickly became the new consensus). Fourth, theories of AGW have been around for a long time and have already been through the phase of having been disbelieved by the scientific community before the weight of evidence has led to their acceptance. Fifth, I am not aware of an alternative, consilient 'skeptical' theory that has the same explanatory power as current theories. Lindzen's theories might have been the nearest possibility at one point but they are now dead in the water. When you have a consilient theory that is not just cherry picked nit picking, then you can then start to talk about countering the consensus.

0
2
Burb

Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

@Dodgey Geezer "As I understand the situation, that's not the case. There are precious few whackos"

There is also precious little actual science coming out of the skeptical community. It is telling that you dredge up McIntyre, whose work showed up some minor errors in the original hockey stick analysis but contrary to popular belief did not refute it (it has been confirmed by many subsequent studies). Where are all these other scientists who have come up with alternative theories that explain the observed phenomena and have stood up to scrutiny? (BTW that rules out Lindzen and Spencer before you mention them.) Rather than science, the 'other side of the debate' is in reality mainly a rehashing of the same talking points and cherry picked 'problems'. It is dodgy think tanks who are generating this sort of stuff, some of whom have links to previous campaigns to oppose environmental protection and anti-tobacco legislation. The arguments being used now - such as that there are 'two sides' that need to be 'debated' - are classic tried and tested techniques. And people are falling for them again.

"the Big Oil lobbies are broadly in favour of being given subsidies to 'address climate change'."

Maybe they are - they are not going to say no to some extra money - but they know which side their bread is buttered on and are also funding a lot of the sources of 'skeptic' information.

0
5
Burb

Re: Impartiality about what?

@Dodgy Geezer "there is really no indication that human activity can alter the concentrations"

Yes there is. You get something like that completely wrong and yet you try to pass yourself off as some kind of expert on plants. The fact is that it's not as cut and dried as you imply - see for example this paper "Decade-long soil nitrogen constraint on the CO2 fertilization of plant biomass". Furthermore, if there is significant climate change over a relatively short period then the disruptive effects on agriculture may well outweigh any marginal benefit from extra CO2.

3
5
Burb

Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

@Christo "Science is not, and never should be about, consensus."

I keep seeing this comment in one form or another but no one really explains what they mean by it. Surely there has to be a strong element of consensus in science in order for a field to move on. Otherwise everyone would be arguing about the basics and not making any progress. That is not to say that occasionally someone might come along with something that disrupts the established viewpoint. But they have to explain the observed phenomena at least as well as any current theory and if it is convincing it tends to become the new consensus.

1
2

Boffins build program to HUNT DOWN CO2 polluters where they LIVE

Burb

Re: This is all you need to know

"AGW is only a theory and should not be accepted until it is proven"

You do realise that 'only a theory' is one of the standard arguments that creationists use against evolution? First of all, what do you mean by a theory? In casual usage, it means something like a hunch or a guess. In science it tends to mean something that is supported by a large body of research and evidence, that holds up to scrutiny and is accepted by most scientists. Second, you are never going to prove anything in science. All you can do is to find more and more evidence that supports the theory, including testing it against other possibilities that people come up with (which, relating to the topic in question, doesn't mean repeating the same old claims again and again).

What would it take for something to be proven to you? In many areas of science you are not going to get some nice neat summary that you can read in 10 minutes and be convinced by. Or at least you might, but it won't capture the detail of everything that underpins it. In reality, there are going to be areas that are less understood than others. Real data is going to be messy and need cleaning up. What tends to convince scientists is where there are multiple lines of evidence that can be brought together consistently so that they point in the same general direction. This is called 'consilience' (look it up on Wikipedia - it does a better job of explaining than I could here). In general the AGW theory is consilient: there are multiple lines of evidence that support the same conclusion. The point I tried make previously is that the sceptic arguments do not seem to try to put forward an alternative model for the physics of how the climate evolves. Instead they pick on individual areas to criticise which, in any case, can usually be rebutted individually but, more generally, they don't form part of a broader theory and body of evidence. Returning to where I started with this post, it's exactly the same tactic that creationists use.

0
0
Burb

Re: This is all you need to know

"CO2 levels are measured very accurately now; agreed? As is temperature?

Therefore, according to the IPCC, temperature should follow CO2. It doesn't!"

No you are missing the point that I made in my previous post. You can't look at temperature over a very short time span and simply say it's going up or down. This is because it is a noisy signal and affected by short term variations (such as El Nino etc.). So it's not simply a question of whether it is measured accurately. What you need to to is to look at the data over a long enough period to extract the signal from the noise. There are well understood techniques for doing this. One relatively simple approach is to take a rolling average of the data over a time period. This has the effect of smoothing out the short term ups and downs so that the long term trend is discernible.

Another approach is that it is actually possible to take the data from the time period in question and adjust it for known anomalies caused by such as El Nino and volcanoes and people have done that. The problem is that 'sceptics' would probably regard that as manipulating the data, even though the techniques in question are not out of the ordinary in science in general.

The point is that every study that has really looked properly at the data has detected a warming trend. The BEST study last year was initially supported by sceptics as it was expected to disprove warming but its basic finding was to support the previous studies.

"There are some very well qualified detractors listed there and if they can't agree what chance do we have?"

I agree - it's difficult. What you've got to remember though is that just because someone has a string of qualifications after their name, it does not necessarily mean that they know what they are talking about outside their area of expertise. This bloke Beck, for example, he was a biology teacher. Looking around the internet, it's easy to come away with the impression that there is a huge debate and lots of controversy. However, most of it is the same stuff repeated in different blogs. The amount of real scientific research underpinning the sceptical positions is quite small. People like Lindzen were reasonably well respected but his theories and predictions haven't stood the test of time and yet he is still feted on the sceptic sites. Ditto Roy Spencer, who has repeatedly been shown to be wrong.

Also, once you start to look into it you find that there are actually all sorts of different sceptical arguments and it is not possible to put them all together and come up with a coherent theory. For example, I've never seen a convincing sceptical argument that explains both how climate sensitivity is low and the Medieval Warming Period was a global phenomenon and yet those are both claims that a typical sceptic will try to make.

I'm no expert but, for me, the real sceptical position is to assume that there are no conspiracy theories that involve all climate scientists, all the major national science institutions, etc., and that the broad consensus on the science is there. On the other hand, there *is* past form for vested interests spreading misinformation to avoid environmental regulation etc. (e.g. see the tobacco industry and attempts to block control of CFCs). Very similar techniques are now being used by so called climate sceptics - spreading doubt about whether the science is solid, implying more controversy than there really is, repeating myths that have already been debunked, recruiting tame experts, and so on. Indeed it is not that hard to find links between organisations currently generating sceptical material on climate change and those fighting against CFC, acid rain and tobacco regulation in the past.

0
0
Burb

Re: This is all you need to know

Beck's website is such a hotch potch that I am not sure where this basic theory about global warming not following CO2 is. I found the link to this document: http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/literature/CO2-no-climate-driver.pdf . Is that what you meant?

His first point in there seems to be a variation on the standard 'no warming since 1998' argument, which relies on cherry picking the starting point, ignoring the impacts of El Nino and La Nina, and in general not recognising that 10 years is too short a time to separate signal from noise (unless some special effort is made to eliminate known anomalies). I'm not even sure where he got the data in his graph from because it doesn't seem to tie up with anything else I can find.

0
0
Burb

Re: This is all you need to know

Based on what you've just posted there, presumably you do agree with its contents though? If you don't agree with it, then why post it? As pointed out by NomNomNom, there are websites for all sorts of crazy nonsense out there and you wouldn't go around posting those and expect people to waste time refuting them.

Anyway since you asked, the claim that this guy made was that there was a huge increase in CO2 concentration in a very short time around the 1940s which after a few years suddenly dropped to its previous value. The amount of CO2 involved requires us to believe that there was a source of CO2 that is 1000 times greater than any known today. Not only that but that there was a sink that was able to absorb all of that CO2 over a similarly short time scale. Either that, or the measurements were wrong, which in fact is what most scientists think and for plausible reasons. For example, the end of the wild swing in CO2 happens to coincide with when accurate monitoring of CO2 started.

The ridiculous thing is that the people who unquestioningly accept this sort of nonsense have the nerve to call themselves sceptics.

0
0
Burb

Re: This is all you need to know

That website is making extraordinary claims. I was sceptical and it took me 5 minutes to find out why it is wrong. It's a shame you didn't make the effort to do the same before spreading nonsense around.

0
1

Polar sea ice could set ANOTHER record this year

Burb

Re: sorry but...

I looked into the stuff you mentioned about Skeptical Science. It looks like a bit of a storm in a teacup to me. They misquoted someone, acknowledged it, apologised and corrected it. I wonder how many times that happens on 'skeptic' sites? But isn't the real point that people do make this argument about Antarctica gaining ice (e.g. the current Reg article!) and that it is a spurious argument? The Shub Niggurath article seems to gloss over that.

As for the rest of your post, there's a lot of rhetoric there but little else. e.g.

"You just cannot have even a reasonable undergraduate literacy of science and believe all of the below:"

Care to elaborate?

"Like Lysenkoism, it must ultimately collapse because it is at odds with the empirical universe."

Care to explain why...??

"Despite many years of FOI requests and legal challenges, the worst of this data is still MIA, as far as I know."

As far as you know? So what exactly do you know? Exactly which data is still MIA?

1
2

Eco-nomics: Was Stern 'wrong for the right reasons' ... or just wrong?

Burb

Re: weird weather == expensive food

@btrower

I am aware of the Wegman report. It is interesting that you invoke conspiracy theories to pre-empt any criticism of it but you must at least be aware of some of the problematic issues with it which are a matter of 'public record', such as the plagiarism, the misappropriation of references, the bulking out of the bibliography with papers not even referred to in the text, etc. The fact is that the report is just a rehashing of the M&M papers. As you know, these did find some statistical errors in Mann's methods and nobody disputes these. However, when they were corrected, it did not substantially affect the results, which have also been validated by other methods subsequently. This is why I was interested when you said that the hockey stick had been "thoroughly and irrefutably discredited" because I thought surely you couldn't still mean those old M&M papers and I certainly didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to invoke Wegman!

BTW if anyone wants the gory details, there is a surgical demolition of the Wegman report at http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/strange-scholarship-v1-02.pdf. "Thoroughly and irrefutably discredited" indeed.

0
0
Burb

Re: weird weather == expensive food

@btrower

"The fact that [the 'hockey stick'] has been thoroughly and irrefutably discredited..."

That's quite a strong assertion. Could you provide some references to back it up please?

2
1

Page: