back to article Massive study concludes: 'Global warming is real'

A massively thorough study – funded in part by a pair of US oil billionaires who are opponents of climate-disruption remediation – has come to the conclusion that the earth is, indeed, warming. In fact, it's warming just as much as more-limited studies conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, …

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      1. Sapient Fridge

        Nuclear fission might be a solution, if there was enough uranium. If you take the known reserves of uranium and work out how long it would power the world's electricity needs (ignoring non-electricity uses e.g. petrol for now) if other power sources were phased out then it comes out at about 12 years supply.

        Thorium and breeder reactors could possibly solve that problem, but breeder reactors are slow at producing fuel and not currently economical, and thorium reactors are unproven technology. In addition nuclear reactors take a long time to build, and have serious political and waste disposal issues.

    1. Oolons
      WTF?

      Not convinced

      Who ever said AGW was ever purely the 'A' part? In fact a large part of the argument has been the 'A' bit may trigger a large natural release of CO2/methane. Also a number of studies have said man made air borne soot has reduced warming.

      Then you proceed to contradict yourself - after saying 'I'm not disputing the fact that global warming is or isn't happening' .... You then say 'The worlds population is contributing to this "global warming" but in such a low percentage that it won't make the end result any different.'

      So you are not disputing that global warming is or is not happening but you personally 'know' that the worlds population IS contributing to this warming. Then somehow you also 'know' its so small that the end effect is nil - whatever the 'end' is :-)

      I agree we need more efficiency regardless of GW using limited resources efficiently always makes sense. But again there is a large amount of certainty in your assertion that battery cars are not the way forward, but most people make short journeys and we have a means of charging battery cars. Contrast that to hydrogen which is extremely dangerous stuff when not transported properly and anyway there is no distribution network available.

      Maybe we need you on the ITER project to kick some ass and get them to 'sort' it asap - those bloody lazy scientists obviously spend all day whining its too hot and need to get down to some serious work.

      But then your final comment makes it seem that you are a tin-foil hat wearing nutter as the 'boys' from the AGW or battery car brigade will come and sort you out if you are not anonymous. So maybe not the best person to lead us into a fusion future.

      1. Bullseyed

        Re: Oolons

        "So you are not disputing that global warming is or is not happening but you personally 'know' that the worlds population IS contributing to this warming. Then somehow you also 'know' its so small that the end effect is nil - whatever the 'end' is :-)"

        You either failed to comprehend his statements or chose to misinterpret them for your own agenda.

        Most people believe the Earth has gotten warmer. There is some dissent unto the degree (ie bad temperature readings because of cities) but for the most part it is agreed upon.

        This does not mean there is climate change. Climate is more than temperature and climate is not static. Climate naturally changes. "Climate change" refers to climate changing outside the bounds of the function, of which there is very little, if any evidence.

        Finally, is humanity contributing? Of course we are in the micro sense. The fact that you are here living and breathing generates body heat and CO2. If I killed you, it would reduce global warming. If you truly believe, would you let me kill you to stop global warming? Of course not, you'd argue (and rightfully so) that you contribute such a minuscule amount that the impact would be negligible. The question is at what point do those contributions add up to be enough?

        Based on the natural response triggers, it should never be possible for these contributions to add up to too much, unless we did something stupid like tried to boil off the world's oceans with nukes.

        1. Tom 13
          Devil

          Actually, if you kill me my rate of converting O2 into CO2 goes up,

          so you're spiking production instead of minimizing it. It has to do with the decomposition of the dead body.

          Not sure exactly what happens if you manage to kill all the people at the same time. I suppose it could cause a sudden spike in the CO2, which would cause substantial plant growth. That of course would be followed by substantially higher O2 production. But with fewer animals to convert the O2 back into CO2, would the plants eventually be poisoned by the O2 and actually finally destroy the planet?

        2. boustrephon
          Thumb Down

          Natural Response Triggers? .

          Natural Response Triggers? I don't think this means what you think it means. What DO you think it means? Then provide some evidence that they respond fast enough to counteract the destabilising effect of all the CO2 we have liberated so quickly.

    2. handle

      Straw man

      Who is saying that global warming is purely man made?

      How do you draw the conclusion that just because global warming isn't entirely man-made, the man-made effect must be "such a low percentage that it won't make the end result any different."? Have a taste of your own FUD.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: How do you know...

        It's a combination of high school physics, chemistry, geography, and history - you wouldn't comprehend it.

        Essentially any volcanic eruption releases thousands of times more CO2 than all of mankind contributes at its peak CO2 production. If the disruption the AWG crowd (who keep changing their name whenever they are proven wrong) claim, any of the major volcanic eruptions which happened in recorded history (Krakatoa, Mt. St. Helens, etc) should have triggered the massive melting events they predict. That hasn't happened, therefore they are wrong.

  1. jake Silver badge

    Get back to me ...

    When we are growing wine grapes between Hadrian's and Antonine's Walls.

    Me, I'm booking tickets for a Frost Fair on the Thames in 2040.

    Earth's climate changes. Humans have little (if anything) to do with it.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      That won't happen until the polar ice caps have completely melted. Until then, global warming will make the British Isles colder. At the moment, it is a lot warmer here than other places a similar distance north such as Moscow and Hudson Bay because of the gulf stream, which brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico. The cold water from the ice caps will push the gulf stream further south, meaning we will no longer be warmer than those places.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @jonathanb

        Assumes facts not in evidence.

        Read up on micro-climates. It'll do you a world of good.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      No-one said that the grapes grown by the Romans around Hadrian's Wall made wine that was any good, did they? You can grow grapes in cooler environments, it just takes longer.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 21:27

        Who said anything about "any good"? The Romans drank any old crap plonk ... it was a hell of a lot healthier than most water that was available at the time.

        My point is that nobody commercially grows wine grapes on the Scottish borders ... At least not to the best of my knowledge. I could be wrong. It's been know to happen.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Jake, re wine/grapes

          The Romans were a wine drinking culture, they needed to plant grapes all over the place to supply their wine. When they left the vines left with them - or at lest weren't maintained. The indiginous people were/are a beer drinking culture and have no need for grapes. There is no surprise that the isn't any commercial cultivation of grapes anywhere except the south of England as there is no need to try to cultivate them.

          Basically: The absence of grapes in the Scottish boarder region is not a reliable indicator to the non-existence of Global Warming, man-made or otherwise.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Actually, AC 14:03

            The Romans were a preserved water drinking culture. It's true that they preferred wine, but they did drink beer ... Preserving water by fermenting plant sugars is probably third behind farming and animal husbandry when it comes to what made us (somewhat) civilized.

            If the climate hadn't become colder, there would still be vineyards on the Scottish Borders. People like wine, so it only stands to reason. And I'll bet you a Guinea that grapes will be grown there again, should the climate trend that way. The soil is perfect for it ...

            I'm still planning on a Frost Fare vacation in London in 2040-ish, tho' :-)

      2. Equitas
        Paris Hilton

        Since when

        have gooseberries ceased to be a member of the ribes family?

        Paris, because even she ain't that dumb!

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Lee

        True. I have no proof. I do have an (educated) opinion.

        From my perspective, the whole "people are causing global warming" is hysteria brought on by the MassMedia[tm] ... who also have no proof.

        But at least it sells advertising, right?

      2. Giles Jones Gold badge

        If you disagree with their findings then educate yourself to their level and disprove their models and findings. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to.

        Unless you are a scientist in this field you are not qualified to discount their work.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The key issue is what fraction of the observed change is anthropomorphic. We don't shed much light on that"

    So, the world's temperature is changing. Err... we knew that. It was a bit warmer 4,000 years ago, and a lot colder 10,000 years ago.

    What extra knowledge has this study added to the canon?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The issue is the rate of change

      The faster the rate of change the more problems that will occur. If it takes 5,000 years to change 5 c then this will allow coral reefs, plants etc to change there ranges. If the change occurs in 100 years then this will cause problems.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Boffin

        Which has happened before.

        There are now indications that the ice sheets withdrew at a huge rate at the end of the last ice age. The same seems to happen at the start. Initially people thought ice ages centuries or even thousands of years to get started or to end, now people are looking at much shorter periods. It seems climate can flip faster than was thought before. Some mass extinctions might be linked to these rapid flips (in particular the megafauna extinction at the end of the ice age).

        I for one think it is good to have better data. By research standards not a huge amount of money was spent (one PhD position in our neck of the woods), and if we have better data, we have a better chance of understanding.

  3. Tringle

    The main problem with the hay making by the warmistas is that we 'deniers' have no problem with the planet getting warmer, or indeed colder. The climate changes; always has, always will, it is a chaotic system that will only reach equilibrium the day that all weather stops.

    The $64,000 question is not how much the average surface temperature is changing (a pretty useless metric btw even if it could be accurately established, like just about all averages) but how much is due to human activity.

    The media, and the Beeb is amongst the worst for this, make the bold leap that change just has to be due to human activity, even though that is impossible to establish.

    There is no doubt in my mind (as someone who used to build econometric and risk models for a living) that the 'proof' provided by climate models is utter BS. It is possible, of course, to build reasonably accurate models of environments where all the variables are known with some precision, but the climate, like economics, is not one of those environments.

    And, as a point of interest, Mr Watts has already remarked that that the first 30 years of the 'data' used in the one paper of this study that he had been asked to comment on are simply made up. So no change there then.

    1. Dagg
      Boffin

      Tringle - check this site

      http://www.csiro.au/greenhouse-gases/

      This provides an interesting look at CO2 levels including a comparison to pre-industrial concentrations. The levels mapped in human industrial activity is interesting.

    2. indulis
      Facepalm

      There are a LOT of deniers who have used "bad weather stations as proof"

      Climate change deniers have used, and continue to use, the "poorly sited" temperature stations as proof of a conspiracy (e.g. David Evans, Lord Monckton). So has Watts, it has been a foundation stone for "proving" that warming is not real (hence his continued protests- did you actually read this article?).

      This study is the first step of removing the foundation stones of the denier house of cards, one by one. It just adds to the weight existing science which had been done before.

      As far as the "climate has always changed", I think there are quite a few scientists who realise this, and whole fields of science that have investigated the reasons why the climate has changed in the past.. The factors are well understood. None are significant now. CO2 as the cause matches the observations well. There is no other known factor which could explain the observations. For a good summary, the PDF at skepticalscience . com has a summary of the various CO2 "fingerprints at the scene of the crime".

      So the unscientific deniers are left with saying "it is some unknown factor"- climate changing superheated pixies are as good a scientific explanation as an "unknown factor". "Unknown factor" is an expression of faith, not science.

  4. davcefai

    Only a first step.

    OK, so this "proves" that the earth has warmed up by 1 degree since 1950. Now the following questions need to be answered, just as rigorously:

    1. Will this trend continue and haw far will it go?

    2. Is the warming athropogenic? Or, possibly, what proportion of it is athropogenic?

    This is NOT a victory for the climate sensationalists, just a conclusion that the earth is, indeed, warming up.

  5. some-reg-reader
    Stop

    Global Warming is not in doubt

    What 'El Reg' failed to point out in this article, is that the issue of "global warming" by the likes of Anthony Watts was never in contention.

    The magnitude and causes are what skeptics question.

    Watts' openly admits that the Earth is warmer now than it was 100-150 years ago. [1].

    More notably, “man-made global warming” was not mentioned by BEST - and in their findings they point out explicitly that they didn’t address this issue. [2].

    [1]: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/21/best-what-i-agree-with-and-what-i-disagree-with-plus-a-call-for-additional-transparency-to-preven-pal-review/

    [2]: (last para) http://berkeleyearth.org/Resources/Berkeley_Earth_Summary_20_Oct.pdf

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      I think you are missing the point that lots of skeptics are indeed making the point that there is no warming, based on cherry picking figures.

  6. Craigness

    Another thing about Watts

    When the study was announced he said he would accept its results. "The method has promise".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz8Ve6KE-Us

  7. Identity
    Thumb Up

    Wow!

    The Reg actually published something that was not arrant denialism!

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  9. Jim Oase

    Show me the climate facts

    As Jefferson said.."Trust but verify".

    Few people today have seen a glacier, yet a few thousand years ago they covered a large part of Great Plains. I suspect the glaciers melted and left their imprint in the form of lakes and gouges behind. So I am concluding that over that period of time the earth has warmed. In the late 1960 through the 1970s we were told the earth was cooling. We had long winters in that era. Since then the earth stopped cooling according to recent studies. If not cooling and if every day is not exactly the same as yesterday, maybe we are warming again and more glaciers will melt.

    Are we to conclude that because the earth is warming now that the earths warming is caused by people being on the earth but when the earth warmed before the earth's warming was cause by people not being here on earth?

    Show me the climate facts

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      The facts and the evidence for them are freely available on university web sites around the world. NASA also have very, very good satellite data and studies available, you just have to go looking.

      As for there being warming in the past and warming now, yes you are correct, the issue is the amount of warming we're currently seeing and the speed at which that warming is happening.

  10. Vargs

    Puzzling headline -- doesn't match the story

    You don't seem to understand skeptics at all.

    Very few think that the world isn't currently in a warming period, they are skeptical as to the degree of its attribution to CO2. Skeptics often point to periods in human history when the world was cooler and warmer than it is now, and to prehistoric times when it was much warmer. Many skeptics are concerned that the line between science and anti-industrial environmental activism seems blurred and are suspicious of the confirmation bias that this may introduce into climate science and the temperature record. That's what these studies are set to address.

    The reports are clear that they have little bearing on the core CO2 debate, although the one on decadal temperature oscillations in the oceans points to it being a much smaller component of the recent temperature trend than is currently thought in the "settled" science.

    "Global Warming" is shorthand for the whole package of beliefs about industrialisation, fossil fuels and climate change. These reports address only a small part of this -- that relating to the instrumental data. Skeptics are not confounded.

    1. chris lively

      Agree

      The title of the story and the actual content are at odds with each other.

      Personally, I think most of the climate alarmists are quacks. However, I thoroughly agree that "change" has occurred. The global climate by definition, is always changing. Hotter some years, colder others. Sometimes the trends last for decades or even thousands of years.

      Regardless, the real debate has been on two things: How much has it been trending up and what has caused it? This report only partially answers the first question and does nothing for the second.

      The unfortunate thing is that until scientists can accurately explain previous upward and downward trends with a high degree of accuracy, then trying to explain the past 50 or 150 years is useless.

      I want to see the foundations spend money to answer the following questions: What caused the little ice age? What caused the glaciers to retreat to their current positions? Obviously both happened well before the current industrial age and therefore you can take "human carbon emissions" off the table.

      Once they thoroughly understand those events, then the next thing would be to apply that knowledge to today's world in order to predict the next 50 years. If the predictions are fairly accurate then we have something to work from in order to form legal policy, if needed. Otherwise this is so much FUD that this is a complete waste of time. In short, the scientists need to get to work while being OUT of the public spotlight. At this point there's nothing to see here and it's time for the non-scientist part of the world to move along.

      1. Tom 13

        Actually, even if they have that it might still all be useless.

        I have a friend who works on the computations from weather satellites. He's agnostic on the topic of AGW because that isn't what he works on, but he does have some concerns about what little he has heard about the climate prediction models. Chief among them is whether the equations underlying the models converge or are chaotic. If they are chaotic, no amount of data collection and analysis will get you to a reliable prediction model.

  11. peter_dtm
    FAIL

    FUD continues

    this is also part of the NOT YET peer reviewed paper

    Sceptical Berkeley Scientists Say, “Human Component Of Global Warming May Be Somewhat Overstated”

    It always seems to coma as a shock to those creating alarm about AGW that most skeptics actually know damn well that the world has been warming - what else do expect when we are still coming out of the Little Ice Age.

    In fact most skeptics know something the alarmists don't seem to understand

    The Climate changes.

    It always has; and always will. And not only that but in terms of past climate it is still on the cold side; and CO2 levels are still on the low side

    You want some FUD ? Well sometime in the next 10 000 years we are due to have another period if glaciation - I think you'll find that man emitted CO2 isn't going to make any difference to this potentially catastrophic event one way or the other - but compared to a couple of degrees of warming an Ice Age will definitely be orders of magnitude more damaging to Life on Earth.

  12. Nebulo
    FAIL

    Epic FAIL, and no messing

    I'm amazed that I'm still being invited to "Be the first to post a comment" well over twelve hours after this was posted. Is everyone still sleeping off a good Friday night?

    For a start, your subheading is wrong: "Climate skeptics dealt 'clear and rigorous' blow"? Hardly. A more accurate version would be "Climate alarmists' favourite straw bogeyman wheeled out yet again": virtually nobody in the sceptical community denies that overall, the earth's climate has warmed by about a degree over the last century and a half or so. All the "BEST" study has done is rework one of the existing temperature databases and confirm that it shows a slight increase.

    More telling is the quote you take from the paper by Muller himself: "The key issue is what fraction of the observed change is anthropomorphic. We don't shed much light on that." Precisely. It is the misattribution by alarmists of every bad thing to human influence which is exactly the issue which engenders scepticism, the more so when it is repeatedly backed by long-discredited pseudoscience.

    Remember the original "global warming" mantra? "Human greenhouse gas emissions are causing irreversible, catastrophic damage to the climate". Well, I've spent over three years now looking for any evidence at all that this might be the case, and I can report that (a) The climatic cycles are continuing very much as they always have done; (b) Nothing catastrophic appears to be happening; (c) IF there is any human "fingerprint" in the data, it is way, way below the noise. If anyone can point me to evidence (by which I mean proper, observational evidence, not "yet another" collection of pretty printouts from this or that failed model), please do so, as a friend has had hard cash on the table for some years now for anyone who can provide such proof, and I could use the money.

    That this halfbaked "study" has been splashed across the world's media has a lot more to do with the approaching IPCC AR5, to be worked on at Durban this Nov/Dec. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story! It's all true, and it's worse than we thought, and it's all evil humanity's fault! Codswallop.

    If you want to check just how disinterested an observer Richard Muller is, check out his site at www.mullerandassociates.com - where you will find such trademarked products as "GreenGov", advice to governments on how to minimise their evil CO2 emissions. As in everything related to climate "science", follow the money. Nothing to see here, move along please.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    And...

    that's why you never believe Conspirators/theorists. They always jump to the first conclusion without further study.

    Ie: Moon landing conspirators......they've been proven wrong 1 million times by now, even by Mythbusters.

  14. Reg T.
    Alert

    Perhaps it is a fact that

    there is warming. After one of the coldest winters and now with winter coming radically early, the claim seems facile. The climate change scientists deliberately ignore the influence of weather weaponry employed by the US and Russia. They ignore the Scalar EMP weaponry that precipitates earthquakes, the ongoing magnetic field ULF weaponry that flips El NIno and the like. They fail to mention the spraying of aerosols (contrails) into the atmosphere by governments which generate weather effects as a by -product of the primary HAARP activities directed to focused spots upon the earth, namely concentrated radio waves bounced of the ionosphere.

    Since the US Army has bragged that by 20xx they will be able to absolutely control the weather worldwide, scientists must accommodate such activity into their research, clearly delineating which climate changes are spontaneous and which are deliberately of a military nature.

    Otherwise, the scientists simply serve as pimps for a taxation scheme designed to impoverish most of the the world.

    One Al Gore, Jr. is enough!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Just how many tin foil hats do you own?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Gordon 10

        Not enough, obviously.

    2. James Loughner
      Stop

      You do know the difference between weather and climate don't you???

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Oolons
      Big Brother

      Nutty

      You get the best nutters on theregisters climate change stories forums.

      I for one welcome our 20xx overlords and their alien dating system.

  15. mraak
    Mushroom

    Humans

    I see human beings from 1800 to 1840 caused some big oscillations in earth temperature. Much more than say humans in 1940 - 1970 in the height of population and car explosion. What did they do in the early 1800 to our poor mother to make her sweat so much?

    1. Greg J Preece

      Um....

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

      OK, OK, not as big an impact as we should be having now, but while there were less of them, they didn't even *attempt* to lessen their impact on the environment, as the stained walls on this one Yorkshire street alone will attest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Its nothing to do with the industrial revolution - the graph starts at the close of the LIA.

        If they'd gone back a few more centuries it would look even more impressive....though would also be kind of difficult to explain for the man-made climate change bores.

      2. mraak
        Facepalm

        You really, seriously, honestly think that a world of population 1Bn and 0 cars, produced bigger havoc than 7bn with over 600.000.000 motor vehicles? Not to mention all the factories and rising China and India.

  16. JP19

    The findings so far provide validation for Phil Jones says the BBC

    The report confirms that Phil Jones's tree ring derived temperature records do not match recent temperature records from other sources. A mismatch he can't explain and best he ignored, at worst tried to conceal.

    It confirms his historical tree ring derived temperature records are unreliable and the BBC calls it validation - you couldn't make it up.

  17. Anonymous John

    "The key issue is what fraction of the observed change is anthropomorphic. We don't shed much light on that."

    That's the real point.

    1) CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and I accept we are increasing it. But..

    2) Water vapour is a more effective greenhouse gas.

    3) There are many other factors that affect the climate.

    I'm all in favour of reducing CO2 emissions but sceptical that it would make any difference.

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