back to article Big Climate's strange 'science'

I had to chuckle to myself reading a letter here at The Register, recently. "David Whitehouse - although a respected scientist - is still only one voice and his speciality is astrophysics not climate," wrote a reader. This is one of my greatest concerns about so called climate science. Climate science is a very, very new field …

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@anon cow (jerry) "I wuz a climate modeller"

OK then -- cite where, when, publications, qualifications, etc. Otherwise, how can I judge your claims?

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@Paul Smith et al

What's the harm in telling a lie to get people to change their ways?

That's the essence of what a few people have said here, asking what the harm would be if the AGW hypothesis is false, if it gets people to be more efficient. It's an issue of trust; if or when AGW is falsified, all these people who you convinced to tighten their belts in its name will decide that you were lying to their faces, and will in future be much less likely to listen when the call goes out. You do not, not ever, try to convince people with lies because they will cease to trust you.

Let me put it another way. So what if the dodgy dossier was a load of bollocks? It got Saddam out of the way, didn't it?

See the point now? You can't tell people lies to get them to do the right thing; when the lie is exposed they will assume that your right thing is wrong because they no longer trust you.

The world-wide agreements on AGW might well cause the west to take a hit in its standard of living but the biggest losers are, as always, the third world nations. They will be forced to stay in a state of poverty in order to preserve the current level of atmospheric CO2 whilst the big green proponents are still swanning around in their private jets. This position has been stated repeatedly and is proven by the reaction of various environmental groups to Indian's new teeny tiny and highly efficient car - which, incidentally, woud be winning all sorts of plaudits and awards if it had been manufactured in California. This whole scam ultimately results in making poor people poorer and preventing them from improving their lives. In the case of India it actually endangers lives; the car is aimed at people who would otherwise be teetering around on mopeds and getting squished. That's people who *will* die if Greenpeace get their way, as opposed to people who *might* die if they don't.

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Coat

Ah?

OK,

the article is someone having a rant but there are so many things wrong with it I can't help but respond.

First is the common non sequitur that as climate scientists are paid to study the climate then somehow they can't be trusted. When you need a plumber do you find an electrician? I mean surely the plumber is going to lie and get as much money as they can!

Is climatology really that new, it seems to be older than electronics but I guess Mr Atkinson would buy his computer (made from wood) from a carpenter as those sold state physicists must be liars.

Then rambling on about feedback systems and the extinction of the dinosaurs, but there are five known big extinction events all related to huge changes in climate. The Cretaceous–Tertiary event is the only known extinction caused by an impact and probably having the least to do with climate. So don't these show that climate is not always stable as do ice ages? 99% of species that have ever lived are extinct not just the dinosaurs, many of these were caused by wild climatic swings in Earth’s oh so stable climate. A climate that in the last 10,000 years has been unusually stable, till now.

This is a gem, "Ignoring the biggest effect on global warming - water vapour". So is Mr Atkinson truly saying that the scientists just totally forgot about water vapour? Ok ok I realise now that the article is a joke or some troll so I won't continue further.

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Anonymous Coward

A guide told me...

"Sea levels go up and down for many reasons - carbon dioxide not being one of them. "

Where is your evidence that CO2 doesn't affect sea levels? That the presumably low CO2 emissions of the Romans didn't stop sea level change doesn't logically lead to the conclusion that high CO2 emissions won't change sea level variation patterns (for good or bad). Especially when, as you make such an important point of it, you don't know the function of sea level variation and the place of CO2 within it.

BTW anybody who is saying "if our emissions only raise the total a small percentage then where's the harm" have maybe never heard of discontinuities in maths?

<Rant>How do people with such little grounding in maths and logic get into IT in the first place?</Rant><AwaitFlames>...

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@Paul Smith

"Lets assume for a minute that all the theories linking man's activites to climate change are wrong, and therefore their advice to reduce the CO2 we put into the atmosphere is also wrong. So what? Where is the harm?"

Wheres the harm? I'll tell you were the harm is: its the fact that this latest panic attack by the self loathing green masses (before GW it was the Ozone layer, before that Acid Rain - remember those?), is causing us to seriously consider ruining our coastine and country side with wind turbines; it is causing us to consider crazy and potentially dangeourous 'climate engineering' schemes to remove vast quantities of the evil 'pollutant' (sic) CO2 from the air when we don't really understand what effect interferance like this will have; it is causing us all to pay more 'green' taxes; and most insideously of all it is being used as a justification for holding back the development of the third world and telling them that they can not now enjoy the things that we have had for decades like cars, unlimited energy use etc. and the economic,social and quality of life benefits that come with it. All because of some dodgy computer models! (and yes they are dodgy because there is no way that they can take into account all the variables involved to the the degree of accuracy needed - apart from anything else we don't even know all the variables involved!).

Can someone tell me if these models even take into account that that more CO2 = more plant/tree growth = excess CO2 converted into plant matter = plant matter becomes oil again (in millions of years time)? I'm sure they do but I've never heard it mentioned.

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Not a geologist are you John?

So many errors, such a short article:

Firstly Ephesus lost its access to the sea because of the silting up of the Menderes River. Nothing to do with sea level change. It's actually one of the few places in the Eastern Med and Aegean where sea levels *aren't* a major factor - over much of Greece, recent massive changes in observed sea level are down to tectonic movements. Yet remove the tectonic movements and sea levels still change, so there is a climatic effect

You wrote: 'Yet, with the notable exception of the extinction of the dinosaurs, it seems life has happily trundled along through it all.'

You mean it's trundled happily along - APART from the repeated mass extinctions observed in the geological record; the biggest of which are: end Ordovician, late Devonian, end Permian, end Triassic, and end Cretaceous, some of which were much more serious than the one which killed off T-Rex and friends. There are also the PreCambrian Snowball Earth in the Proterozoic and the Oxygen Catastrophe in the PalaeoProterozoic.

Increased greenhouse gases the best explanation for the Palaeocene - Eocene Maximum; a relatively minor, recent mass extinction which did huge damage to oceanic diversity. It has also been proposed as the driver for the end Triassic extinction which saw something like 20 - 25% of species go to the wall.

Finally, you'll be glad to know, climate models DO include factors such as water vapour and they include climatic information from deep ocean oozes, O16/18 isotope ratios in shells, ice cores, lake sediments, tree rings... to help establish climate records going back hundreds of thousands of years.

It's also worth noting that climate scientists have been desperately trying to tighten up their models. Last year the Open University released a PC client to let everyday users help resolve some issues with the parameters in existing climate models. Users could download a model then their computer would change some of the parameters, run the model and transmit information back to the central server where it could be compared against historical records to see if the model became more accurate or less accurate. More information and download links here:

http://www.climateprediction.net/science/strategy.php

With so many mistakes, it kind of makes me wonder why you wrote the article?

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Typical "bad science" view

This is the view taken by the same chaps in the USA who doubt the human influence in climate change. The name they have for any studies which purport to show that the global climate is being affected by man, is "bad science". They call it "bad science" not because they're wrong, but because the extent of these effects is not known.

You've been conned by this point of view. Very, very few real scientists doubt man-made climate change, it's just that no accurate models exist to determine how bad or good it is! In reality, things *could* turn out to be much worse than the models predict, or maybe not nearly as bad. But the global scientific consensus is that the change is definitely occurring and that man has an undeniable impact on this.

Just because hard facts and figures have not been shown, tested, and proved, should not be an excuse to doubt the problem or ignore it entirely. Scientists only ever truly begin to understand any phenomenon *after* it has happened. What you are suggesting is that people ignore the problem until this understanding has been achieved. Do you not see the idiocy of this view?

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limestone ?!

The extinction events are presumed to be caused by major volcanic activity or comets, with climate as intermediary.

The aside about limestone is interesting, in that it appears to have been precipitated intermittently at the end of a period of warming climate, and as you point out, the binding effect is huge - which would be useful in our situation.

Has anyone an explanation for what triggers limestone precipitation, more plausible than Gaia or a quicklime comet?

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"To put it bluntly, they don't do it for the money"

Or more generally, if they were doing it for the money, they'd be doing something else.

Like IT.

:-)

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IT Angle

Climate change advocates hate facts

Have you noticed that as people get better informed and more skeptical that climate change advocates are getting more alarmists? There is a reason for that. In fact, $40 Billion reasons. And who would watch a news program if they said "there is nothing dramatic today"? And who would vote for a politician if he said "the whole system is fine the way it is now"?

Facts are Al Gore's worst nightmare. Why is that the Antarctic had more sea ice last year than it ever did on record? Why is that Johannesburg, South Africa had 50+ days of below normal temperature last year? Why did it snow in Baghdad for the first time since people can recall? And why did it snow with some accumulation in Jerusalem too? Why is that parts of the western US have had their coldest January on record?

And why does no one look at history? If you look at the history of the weather since we have accurate records, you can clearly see that our weather now is neither unusual nor unique. It happened before.

When you stop looking at hockey-stick charts which were proven to always produce a hockey stick no matter what numbers you put in, when you stop listening to people with a vested interest in getting money, ratings, or votes, when you stop being blind sheep, then you will see that climate change is the biggest money pit there is. Ask yourself this question: why do meteorologists, whose income is not dependent on finding or solving a problem, not believe in climate change?

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Mass Extinctions are common

"Geologists will quite happily explain how major climate changes in the Earth are a result of geological changes. Remember that more carbon is trapped in limestone than in either plant life or fossil fuels (or both put together for that matter). Ice ages and volcanic eruptions are all things that will unarguably change the climate. Yet, with the notable exception of the extinction of the dinosaurs, it seems life has happily trundled along through it all. We're the living proof."

There have been numerous mass extinctions and currently the favoured view is that the dinosaurs may be the only one that wasn't due to catastrophic sudden climate change.

Personally I don't walk across the road with my eyes shut because nobody can quantify the risk. I take safety measures because I can tell it isn't minimal. Climate change deserves the same approach.

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I agree.

Yes anonymous coward is bang on the nail with his most learned comments. Having just read this report and the cause of exactly why this creature is now missing presumed extinct we should all be worried, very worried.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/02/13/veteran-loch-ness-monster-hunter-gives-up-86908-20317853/

I used to be a man-made global warming denier but by seeing this article I have seen the error of my ways, Lord forgive me. To all those natural-global warming deniers out there I say repent, repent.

Oh sod that! It's all nonsense. Come on anonymous coward you drone on and on sucking up on the drip feed of media scare stories and pseudo scientific data like the first year schoolboy who does what the big boys tell him to do. You yourself are not a climatologist (the media studies of weather forecasting) but insist that what those scientists are saying is true. Then you pontificate from the luxury of a stale air room in front of your computer probably doing nothing to "save the world" anyway. Such hypocrisy.

Take five minutes out of your busy gaming schedule and find out some real facts. In fact I'll help you on your way.

http://nzclimatescience.net/

http://www.climate-skeptic.com/

http://bruderheim-rea.ca/warming10.htm

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Dead Vulture

Extremely wrong.

This entire article makes me chuckle.

It is full of assumptions, misconceptions and ignorance. I sincerely hope it was written as a sarcastic jest.

Most major climate events in the earth's history have caused mass extinctions. Sometimes over 80% of all life died out due to a change as small as 5 degrees (Celsius). The average temperature of earth has risen 0.5 degrees (Celsius) since 1961.

In past climate-related extinctions the dominant forms of life are the first to go. Humans might survive a global climate event, but society as we know it will be destroyed.

Please don't post ill-informed misinformation. Mass media influences how people react to world issues. One "optimistic" story such as this can cause thousands of people to believe that there is no issue, without even researching the issue further.

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Would you trust a software engineer to build a bridge?

The answer is emphatically yes! Of course I just happen to be a software engineer and I just happened to have built a bridge that could hold the weight if a tractor or more as it crossed an irrigation ditch line.

If you would have asked the question about "designing" of a bridge, maybe, maybe not. All Software Engineers should have taken a strengths and materials class as part of their core engineering curriculum. So they should know the basics.

And to another point... You trust non-software engineers to develop software, so why start complaining now about computer models made by engineers? ;-)

As to the article, the author does have a basic point. Why we can see that there is a climate change, how do we know that its man made? Monitoring has shown that there are shifts in the magnetic poles of the earth and that this has occurred before. This too could have a major influence on the weather patterns and global warming.

But that's not going to grab headlines and there's not a whole lot we could do to slow it or stop it from happening. (Unless you can pitch a theory that its man's fault that there is a shift....)

I think we all agree that spewing CO2 in to the air is not a good thing and if it takes a computer stimulated panic to force change, its not a bad thing.

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The Priesthood is getting nervous

Predictably, the comments here are divided into two categories: people who want to debate the subject, and people who want to attack the commenter (and/or El Reg) for airing a point of view they don't like. Eg,

"Really, what are this guy's credentials?"

"Nice to see someone whose specialism is climate science"

"Please, please, dear Register, stick to subjects you know something about"

"it's disappointing to find it in the Reg."

"the article is a joke or some troll so I won't continue further."

All of these avoid the subject discussed, and seek to close down discussion. To sum up the writer's conclusion: we have endured and survived climate change before (including one major ice age) and flourished – we are in a better position now to deal with change than ever before.

All of which is plain to anyone. No qualifications whatsoever are needed to reach such a conclusion, just a modicum of rationality.

I conclude that the Climate Priesthood is getting nervous, because their shock tactics don't work any more.

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Dead Vulture

We already trust software engineers...

to build much more than bridges. Think about that the next time you climb aboard a plane.

Just goes to show that an "IT Professional" is an oxymoron.

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@ Wade Burchette

"Why is that the Antarctic had more sea ice last year than it ever did on record? Why is that Johannesburg, South Africa had 50+ days of below normal temperature last year? Why did it snow in Baghdad for the first time since people can recall? And why did it snow with some accumulation in Jerusalem too? Why is that parts of the western US have had their coldest January on record?

And why does no one look at history? If you look at the history of the weather since we have accurate records, you can clearly see that our weather now is neither unusual nor unique. It happened before."

You realise that those two paragraphs directly contradict each other, right?

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Can I write rubbish for your magazine too?

The guy knows absolutely nothing so I'll stick to three points that demonstrate why he is ill-informed.

The author is aware of "positive feedbacks" but thinks water vapour is ignored. In fact, half to two-thirds of projected warming is related to positive feedbacks associated with water vapour.

If he is worried about the stability of systems with positive feedbacks he should note there is also a huge "negative feedback" in the system called black body radiation. The rate of energy loss by the earth is proportional to the 4th power of the temperature which keeps the climate relatively stable. This is basic physics.

No models predict "doomsday" scenarios - ie. runaway venus-like climate change, at least for the next half billion years. In the long run, life will survive and thrive with even the direst predictions of 6 degrees warming. Human civilisation and many current species will not cope so well.

Finally, many geologists, astrophysicists and engineers work in climate science.

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Boffin

Some facts

Carbon dioxide levels are higher than they have been for 500,000 years or so, since when there has been a succession of human extinctions in Britain.

The highest highest value of about 300 parts per million by volume (ppmv) dates from about 323,000 year ago, with around 280 ppmv being found during all interglacial periods.

Measurements at Mauna Loa show a 19.4% increase in the mean annual concentration, from 315.98ppmv of dry air in 1959 to 377.38 ppmv in 2004.

See:

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/vostok.htm

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-mlo.htm

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Chad H, you forgot:

Bush's Possibility 5: Jesus teleports believers to paradise.

Otherwise, hear hear !!

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Coat

Bulls**t

This kind of thing really drives me nuts. There are about 10 guys worldwide who are [i]scientists[/i] that don't accept man-induced climate change. There is an overwhelming body of evidence to show that there is. Current climate change is nothing like previous cycles of warming and cooling, it is off the charts.

People here are (mostly) smart, you guys can look up the info yourselves, but the scariest thing about climate change is that it is so complex that it is hard to model, and it is definitely non-linear. Like every other non-linear system known to science (there are a lot of them, and they are not new), climate change has a critical point on the curve. Once we cross that point there is no going back. At least not by simply reversing the mechanism that took us that far. Thats right, what I'm saying is that once the atmosphere warms enough, enough ice melts, etcetera than if we could sequester every molecule of CO2 it won't make a damn bit of difference, we couldn't get things to go backward.

Screw the coat, I'm headed for the bunker anyway....

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Go

5 extinction events

I would like to point out a simple fact to those who talk about the "5 extinction events". They all occurred without human involvement. Fact. Even if those events involved a large change in the climate, actually over geological time the climate has shown a stable, mean reverting nature, as would be expected by negative feedback systems. Just because the climate spiked over a period of say a few thousand or 10s of thousands of years doesn't mean the climate overall hasn't been stable. If positive feedback genuinely existed in the climate system, any of those major events would probably have been enough to turn the earth into a Venus. They didn't.

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Linux

@ Chad H.

Finally someone who gets it. You are spot on. Regardless of whether climate change is actually happening or not (or somewhere in between here and doomsday), it doesn't matter.

The thought of climate change is starting to result in actions which are positive for mankind, such as investment into renewable energy sources etc. If doomsday does or doesn't happen, at least we are doing something positive about it.

That said, I remember reading somewhere that every time mankind tries to keep a complex and volatile system static, they end up messing things up*. My worry is that our actions now trying to prevent climate change may knock it into the alternative direction that could ultimately lead to our demise (ice age anyone?).

For me, if out of all this we can create a safe renewable energy source, then I don't care about the media, the government, scientists or whoever profiting from the hysteria.

*I think it was to do with trees in an area of the states that native americans used to manage where "management" ended up doing more harm than good, but I can't for the life of me remember the whole story in enough detail to make it meaningful.

Linux Penguin - what are the odds of them being the dominant species on earth?

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Anonymous Coward

@Assume they are wrong/Paul Smith

Total/anthropo co2 I don't know but from memory and approximately (how you measure co2 & how you reckon its effect can give different figures) but just before the industrial revolution started CO2 was at 280 ppm (parts per million), it now stands around 380 ppm. It was commonly reported at 360 ppm when I first heard the figure, about 10 years ago roughly.

CO2 levels are rising but the #rate# of co2 rise is increasing.

I work in IT but I tend to keep my opinions to things I know about, like databases and development.

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Dead Wrong

One major extinction event? Ephesus harbour marooned by drop in water level in last 1800 years?

Is this guy crazy? Did he bother to check out these two assertions with anybody qualified in the field? Or just read a primer or even google?

There have been many extinctions. Water levels may rise and fall - but so does land in one of the most gelogical active areas (Google Ephesus & earthquake). Or was the usual explanation of silting by the local river also totally discounted.

Come on Reg you can do better than this. Modelling future climatic effects is at the limits (or maybe just beyond) our capabilities with current data. All the more reason to address the problem based on facts rather than fantasy.

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@ S Jones et al

take a few minutes and check this out: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/oreskes_on_the_american_denial.php#more

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two points

I'd suggest that politicians are a more self-interested bunch that climate scientists. Witness the desire for yet more dosh from the taxpayer to fund the self serving election process.

That climate change is occurring is indisputable. It has been changing for the last 4.5 Billion years. What we need to consider is: Do we want (or need?) to do anything about it to "protect" our "civilisations"? We don't know what will happen if the postulated rates of climate change continue in th near term but interpretations of historical data point to a range of, potentially, catastrophic consequences for our planet and thus "civilisations". If we - our politicians (Oh dear!) - want to "protect" prioritised aspects then we'd better start a bit of real root cause analysis and plan for brutal economic change. I could say "blx to that, I'll have another beer" - like a drunk in a bar - but that would be irresponsible. I'm not saying climateers are right or wrong but they would be a component of the analysis - if we want to execute it.

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IT Angle

Climate change model

In case anyone was wondering what the IT angle might be...

There are several (sic) climate change models around, but what does it take to create one? Is it just a mathematical approximation of environmental conditions of the globe, or attempts to have a subjective "quality" of weather?

In the case of any digital representation of an analog system (ie. computer model of the earth), you will need to determine the "resolution" of the digital representation. In the case of the earth, it has 510,072,000 km² surface area (wiki). If we wanted to take our resolution as "nodes" of triangles (sorry - graphics oriented here), we end up with 144270148.279 areas of triangles 3535.5339 m² in size. This was based off of the arbitrary decision of having equilatoral triangles 50m per side as a "node".

IMHO, each node would be a separate software "class", with properties for environmental conditions, and each side having an interface of methods for environmental effects of surrounding nodes (one for each "side") affecting the environment of the node. There would then be an interface for "energy pumping", which would be from the sun. While this could get complex very quickly, but focusing on the node itself and creating a generalized class that correctly conforms to meteorological data and effects, it should be fairly straightforward to create this software class "node".

Notice, I said "straightforward", I did not say "simple". I would expect that it could take several talented people a few months to design and develop such a piece of software, and then spend a like amount of time creating the surrounding framework that would erect and create the nodes for individual representations of the sections of the globe (initial values, etc). This framework would then throw in the energy constantly being applied to the system (sunlight) and let it run for a set simulated amount of time.

Again, this is a huge oversimplification, but should give everyone an idea of what is involved in simulating this. And, for those you playing at home thinking this is easy, you may have noticed that even this is only two dimensional.... :)

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Spot On

Everything in this letter is spot on.

Of course just because everything the climate scientists are saying is not very accurate doesn't mean we should burn through the earth's resources at an astounding rate (and nearly all of the astrophysists and geologists who have spoken out against climate science do add this addendum to what they are saying) ;)

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Pirate

@limestone ?!

Limestone comes in a variety of forms. The finest grained stuff is micrite which precipitates directly out as a mud which then gets solidified, although micrite is usually a cement in other rocks.

Then there’s oolitic limestone – ooids are little round bits that normally precipitate out onto grains and grow.

Chalk is technically bioclast – the remains of loads for bits from dead animals, but the plates are _really_ small, and chank is rather uniform so it gets a name to itself.

And then there’s general bioclast limestone which is made up of bigger bits of animals.

So some comes from corpses, and some from dissolved CO2 in the water.

The skull and crossbones, as they count as bioclasts.

Anonymous as big brother is now watching us here at "messy beast".

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Stop

[Citation Needed]

If that applies to any 'facts' you're going to spout, please shut up. No exceptions.

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RW
Paris Hilton

@ Jonathan McCulloch

"Climate change is a big money-spinner for the vested interests... and it's balls."

Uh . . . no. The big money involved is in areas like automobile manufacturing, the oil industry, and such. The climate change folks are very small minnows in a lake containing some very large—and voracious—fish.

Yes, absolutely right about vested interests, but just follow the money and you'll see which vested interests have theirs knickers in knots about climate change: those self-satisfied ones perfectly happy to assume life will always be just as it is now and damn the consequences of believing so. George Bush and his buddies in the oil industry exemplify this outlook.

Paris because...well, because it's nearly spring and I'm thinking of Paris in the springtime.

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Anonymous Coward

Dr Stephen Jones

Since you don't want me to attack the author of the aritcle, I'll attack your views.

Your selective quoting might impress the simpletons who believe in conspiracy theories amongst climate scientists, but it won't stand up to actual reading comprehension. The targets of your oh-so-clever out of context quotes all posted up facts which tend to refute the article's relevance and accuracy, and then pointed out that generally, in a *scientific* discussion, there's some requirement to actually deal with facts based on evidence rather than assertion of selected half-truths and fallacies.

So your refusal to address those facts as presented acts more surely to "close down discussion" than anyone who has presented arguments lethal to the case presented by Atkinson.

Your summing up is also facile beyond words and seeks to "close down discussion" on your own terms.

"...we have endured and survived climate change before (including one major ice age) and flourished – we are in a better position now to deal with change than ever before.

All of which is plain to anyone. No qualifications whatsoever are needed to reach such a conclusion, just a modicum of rationality."

We may have more technical capacity, but we (or at least our "civilisations") are orders of magnitude more vulnerable, perched as they are in at-risk areas and tied to resources, yet divorced from subsistence in a way that paleolithic hunter-gatherers were not... And you seem to forget that one species of human did die out in the last ice age maximum: Neanderthals.

Your conclusion:

"I conclude that the Climate Priesthood is getting nervous, because their shock tactics don't work any more."

shows your irrational underwear.

Anthropogenic CO2 19GT/yr

Volcanoes belch 0.6 GT/yr.

Most of the rest of the earth's production of CO2 is part of a cycle, so doesn't contribute to increasing levels in the atmosphere. Deep ice cores and mud cores seem to show that there has never been the rate of increase in CO2 we curerntly see in recent figures. This is a new thing.

Get your head out of the sand and stop magnifying the places where errors have been made (and later largely corrected) inot more significant slips on the road of knowledge than they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh and...

...will you please give over using 10 year old cavails about the science of golbal warming that have since been considered and included as factors in the models?

No, you won't.

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@AC

Seems to be alot of Anonymous Cowards out there trying to poke holes, so I'll post anonymously to patch them up.

Alot of folks seem to be missing the point RE previous climate change... The point John Atkinson was making is that life still goes on during these events, perhaps not human, dinosaur or wearwolf, but life still goes on. Aside from this, the previous climate changes happened - and we weren't even there to blame! Damn those dinosaurs and their 4x4s!!!

Looking at the small data set is on par with climate chance since 9am... Its got steadily hotter since then - we're doomed!! But if you look at yesterdays results, it goes back down again. Much like Ice Ages.

The romans grew vinyards in the south of England.

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Dont get it twisted

What I and many others object to is paying through the nose to be carbon neutral purely because of this hype from 'eco-fascists' (to quote an eco-fascist above)

I am all for saving the earths resources and being economical but I refuse to be ripped-off and told to change my lifestyle due to some crappy junk science.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Dr Stephen Jones

<<To sum up the writer's conclusion: we have endured and survived climate change before (including one major ice age) and flourished – we are in a better position now to deal with change than ever before.

All of which is plain to anyone. No qualifications whatsoever are needed to reach such a conclusion, just a modicum of rationality.

I conclude that the Climate Priesthood is getting nervous, because their shock tactics don't work any more.>>

It’s not about human “survival” stupid, it’s about human suffering. There weren’t 5 or 6 billion human souls on the planet during the last ice age. Now, any significant sea level change means mass displacement of huge populations. Any significant temperature change means famine on a scale that couldn’t have even been contemplated in biblical times.

The “deniers” are so effing smug. The people who will suffer least are those that are best able to buy their way out of the sh*t. Most readers of the Reg will still be immune to the effects of climate change when 100s of millions are already suffering.

Sure, the science is not ironclad. Anyone who knows anything about Chaos knows how difficult it is to predict the specific behaviour of complex systems. We’re talking about the balance of probabilities on the best available evidence.

I’ll tell you what should be plain to anyone: a socio-economic model predicated on infinite economic growth in a closed system with limited resources is doomed to fail, eventually. That is, of course, unless, we go forth and find new worlds to burn down. In which case, pray to the deity of your choice that you aren’t one of the ones left behind.

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New Mexico

John Atkinson, next time you're in New Mexico, let me buy ya a beer!

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S

Climate modelling vs. economy modelling

``At the moment, I don't see that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is strong enough to wreck our economies to try to change it.''

I am far from being a specialist in either area, but my impression is that economic models have a worse track record than climate models (a quick web search turns up http://ssrn.com/abstract=1030607, with the summarizing sentence ``Economic models are much less advanced [than climate models]''). It seems that one should take the uncertainty on both sides into account when weighting the possible outcomes.

Sebastian

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Blatant Bias

Take a look a this graph: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/climateexperiment/theresult/abouttheresults.shtml. Anyone can see that the model is exaggerating its predictions relative to the recent recorded temperatures. Yet, its results are taken at face value and we are expected to take scientists' fatwas with a knee-jerk... It's a sorry decade for science.

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Anonymous Coward

Man-Made Global Warming is BAD Science

Last year the resolution of the analysis of ice cores increased and it proved that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 LAGS warmer climates by 800 years (see http://www.mises.org/story/2571)!!! Yet, scientists, the media and politicos are merrily hush-hush about it while with much less evidence they quickly hopped in the gravy train of grants, hysteria and posing.

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Unhappy

Agree to a point.

I agree with the writer that the Global Warming(i am not using climate change because that is pure counter-spin word made to further confuse the issue)

Is one of the few things that is sensationalized and hyped to the ignorant masses way too much and with obvious and not so obvious agendas.

The only other topic that had so much BS published around it would be terrorism.

BUT:

The climate is changing and you have to only look at the number of Hurricanes and tropical storms hitting different areas and their impact.

We should not use the climate change as a driving factor to further research into renewable and sustainable energy sources. This should be done for long term benefits of cutting down fossil fuel use. If you live in a large city and have to spend half your summer wearing a face mask to prevent smog you understand the benefit of this.

Nuclear and solar being my favorites and the ones with the most promises i would hope get a good look as alternatives to fossil fuels.

If all the unused rooftops had solar panels even if they generated 1W per day it would be 1W less that we needed from the power plants. There should be more research done in energy storage this would help make many different renewable sources viable.

Governments should invest more into public transportation, Better infrastructure and road planing for big cities would cut down traffic congestion and it turn increase everyone fuel efficiency.

There is no magic button that is going to solve the energy problem pretty much every industrial country faces. There need to be lots of small changes targeting different areas to make an impact on the whole.

If this doesn't work we can always strap all the people going to gym's to dynamos and the problem should be solved. I mean they are working out anyway who would complain if they made some energy while doing it...

I'll crawl back under my rock now.

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When does a skeptic become a denier?

After studying global climate issues for hundreds of hours, I have come to two major conclusions:

1. The issue is treated by most as a lot more like religion than like science. People are very reluctant to look at evidence and instead cling to faith.

2. Even in matters of faith, there are few people who make the switch, and I am one of the few -- from accepter of AGW to skeptic.

I do not equate skeptic with denier. I am skeptical that CO2 increases will lead to catastrophic consequences. In some regards, Climate Science is over 100 years old, and I understand that in laboratory settings a doubling of CO2 leads to about a one degree increase in temperature. What is relatively new in Climate Science is the attempt to model positive feedbacks. Because CO2 impact is logarithmic, there is little impact of CO2 after doubling from pre-industrial areas. Our computer power now allows us to ATTEMPT to model feedbacks. In one regard, Climate Science is very new – the model results do not match observations. Those of faith conclude that the observations are wrong. Generous skeptics would give the modelers more time to improve their models.

Contrary to some pro-AGW beliefs, there is harm to constructing regulations based on what is not true. Yes, it is generally a good idea to do conservation and less polluting alternatives even if AGW is wrong. (By the way, this is what George Bush the First proposed in the early 1990s, and the liberals blasted him for it.) However, to call CO2 a pollutant or to be singled-minded on it is a mistake. Perhaps the most noticeable impact of Kyoto so far has been to shift industry to countries where there is less pollution control and then using more energy to transport products to developed countries. Also, there have been more than a few cases of threats, deceit and bribe in Europe on handling Kyoto numbers – it is hard to imagine that it would get better if the concept goes worldwide. Economies and the environment can / will be hurt by AGW proposals.

As far as naming scientists who do not accept AGW arguments, there are hundreds if not thousands of them. They are not getting quoted often in the media, and they are not getting much funding to study AGW, but if someone does not know who they are and what issues they raise, I wonder how much study that person has done on AGW.

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"The romans grew vinyards in the south of England."

And we're beginning to see vinyards in teeside.

PS England != World.

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Google and anonymous coward

Christ the poor tech guys at Google must be breaking a sweat right now as we speak. "Oh no not another man-made global warming question/affirmation from this guy".

Same ol same ol rebuttal tecnique often used by school children who leave their coursework till the last minute.

Listen here. There is not one, and I mean one, piece of evidence that man is making any significant change to the global climate. Sure, as anyone who lives in a city knows, the local climate is affected by his doing in terms of pollution and heat but it is utter arogance to suggest that man is having any real impact on the wider planet.

Google these if you dare.

The real reason mount Kilamanjaro is losing its icecap.

The hockey stick graph disproved.

The flat-lining of global temperatures since the year 2000.

Variations in tree ring data.

Where land based monitoring stations are sited (eg next to air conditioning exhausts)

The lead time of heat followed by carbon dioxide rather than the other way round which Saint Al Gore duped many of the gullible to follow his mental loony ideas.

Biofuels (you all probably know this by now it was in the news only last week)

That's only for starters and is merely a newbies guide to the path to enlightenment and the cure for self delusion in this aspect.

Just before the outbreak of world war 2 the recieved wisdom amongst scientists was that the practice of eugenics might be a very good thing (Google that too).

This belief was later dropped following the observations of what really happens when this idea was put into practice.

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Over 400 World Wide Prominent Scientists Dispute Man-Made Global Warming

Over 400 World Wide Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007. See http://tinyurl.com/2dv6nz

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Astronomers have Studied the Climate For Centuries

In fact, one of the longest records of weather conditions was started at the end of the 18th century at Armagh Observatory

You can download the scans from their site if you like

http://climate.arm.ac.uk/main.html

But I'll tell you that much of my astronomical research focussed on climate change and developing theories of how cosmic events (like killer asteroids) could be responsible for many rapid changes and associated mass extinctions.

So, it's not like a computer scientist designing a bridge, it's more like a computer scientist designing a computer. John, you should follow your own advice and leave climate science to people who actually have real experience.

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Flame

Hooray Oil!

So oil companies are bad, bad, bad, huh? As anyone can see at http://tinyurl.com/2gwh4k, while the price of crude has more than quadrupled in the last 5 years, the retail gas prices have merely doubled. All the while with oil companies posting profits for the first time in about a decade.

Say what you want, but while there aren't cost-efficient alternative fuels, anything other than oil is asinine.

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Well said

Well said. Consider also that if Climate Scientists were actually trained in statistics most of the current catastophism would never have happened. It is high time climate papers were peer reviewed by people with the correct real-world expertise.

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Dead Vulture

Coming out of an ice age?

Actually, there is some evidence that we should be at the beginning stages of entering an ice age, but that GW is putting a stop to it. This is good, however it is only the start of what is likely to be a major nightmare, in particular for northern Europe.

This denial of GW is interesting as it seems to being follow the stages of the Kubler-Ross grief cycle:

1. Denial - it ain't so!

2. Anger - dammed scientists/hippies/liberals!

3. Bargaining - I'll do X if it will make it go away!

4. Depression - oh god, were fscked!

5. Acceptance - ok, where do we go from here?

John Atkinson (and many of his commenting fanboiz) seem to be in stage 1, while many others are in stage 2. My hope is that we can quickly move to stage 5 and sort out GW.

The dead bird, because we are all likely dead ducks.

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