Global warming Information is Beautiful

By Phil Plait | December 17, 2009 9:18 am

infoisbeautiful_agwThe Information is Beautiful site is really wonderful; David McCandless presents information, well, beautifully, using graphics with accompanying text. It’s a great way to take complicated, contentious issues and simplify them, making them easier to understand.

This time, he’s taken on global warming, creating what to me looks like a well-balanced presentation, fairly representing the arguments. While this probably won’t change anyone’s minds on its own, it is a handy tool to show some of the arguments.

Tip o’ the ice core to my big sister Marci.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Science
MORE ABOUT: global warming

Comments (87)

Links to this Post

  1. The global warming debate summarised « Open Parachute | December 18, 2009
  1. Huron

    Some might look at that image and conclude that what we’re experiencing right now is part of a natural cycle.

  2. Nuke3d

    Only that it’s too soon and too high.

  3. @Huron: Even after reading the green “Consesus Conclusion” at the bottom? I thought that was particularly clear. Here, I’ll quote it since the image is particularly long and detailed:

    In a normal warming cycle, the sun heats the earth, the earth gets hotter. The oceans warm up, releasing huge amounts of CO2. This creates a greenhouse effect that makes warming much, much more intense.

    That’s why humanity’s release of CO2 is so perilous. We’re out of step with the natural cycle. And we haven’t even gotten to the stage where the oceans warm up.

    Does that make sense? If the oceans naturally warm up due to the next solar maximum, they will release *their* CO2 on top of ours and severely compound the warming.

    EDIT: Or maybe you just meant the thumbnail that Phil posted. That’s NOT the whole image, just a tiny piece. But yeah, if you look at the whole thing your criticism is noted on the “skeptic” side.

  4. Robert White

    So has Randi seen this yet?

  5. If it were natural, it would have peaked by now. Instead it seems to still be going up with no sign of slowing down. :(

  6. SLC

    I have posted comments about the opening of the Northwest Passage to shipping in the summer of 2009 for the first time since European explorers arrived in North America on several blog threads. Thus far, not a single denialists has come forward and presented a cogent argument as to why that doesn’t support the theory of global warming. I suspect that the shrimps will learn to whistle before a denialist steps up to the plate.

  7. Adrian Lopez

    @Huron,

    “Some might look at that image and conclude that what we’re experiencing right now is part of a natural cycle.”

    That graph may very well reflect the influence of natural CO2 levels on global temperatures, but if that’s the case then it’s also the case that additional CO2 due to human activity would have an effect. If the link between CO2 and global warming is real then it’s just a question of how much of an increase in CO2 — and therefore how much of an increase in global temperatures — is due to human activity.

    Thanks for playing, though.

  8. MarkP

    We do have accurate temperature records
    Distortion of temperature record is a very real phenomenon. But it’s one climate scientists are well aware of. Detailed filters are used to remove the effect from the records.

    Wow, that allays all of my fears of bad surface temp data.

    Wait, no it doesn’t.

  9. @MarkP,

    “Wow, that allays all of my fears of bad surface temp data. Wait, no it doesn’t.”

    Oceans can’t have radically different average temperatures over decades than would be picked up in coastal cities. Since oceans help drive temperatures and climates, what we see on land is related to what’s going on in the oceans. Hence the filters which normalize the data.

  10. @MarkP: So look through McCandless’ source spreadsheet and data archive? He posted that stuff below the image specifically so you could see why, as a layperson, he reached that conclusion.

    It’s also detailed on RealClimate, but as he notes, it’s jargon-laden and not the easiest to follow.

  11. @Robert White: Exactly what I was wondering. I didn’t know it was possible for me to lose that much respect for someone in that short a period of time until I read Randi’s blog post.

  12. Brandon

    Randi has posted a new entry on randi.org You should all check it out.

  13. Ken

    > My conclusion is “what a nightmare”…The data was often tucked away
    > on extremely ancient or byzantine websites…And even when I found
    > an answer, the answers were excessively jargonized or technical.

    And herein lies the basic problem. AGW skeptics go to look for data and can’t find it or make sense of it. When we ask for help and explanations we’re essentially told “its too complex, you wouldn’t understand”. So the skepticism is left unsatisfied.

    The biggest lesson I got from the Teachings of Randi is that when someone is unwilling or unable to explain why they think their position is right, it’s often a sign that it isn’t. Therefore when it comes to AGW, we smell a rat. (I think Randi might smell it too, or at least he’s recognizing that arguments and explanations being proffered in this discussion are woefully inadequate).

    When it comes to astronomy, Phil does an awesome job of picking apart the incomprehensible and explaining it in a way that makes sense to a haflway educated layman. I especially love explanations of “how we know what we know”. What the climatologists need is someone like him – a Bad Climatologist – to simmer down the research and present it in a way it *can* be understood.

    The AGW denialists are winning the argument hands-down (IMO) because they are offering “intuitively obvious” arguments while the AGW supporters are offering “it’s complex, you wouldn’t understand”.

    (In my own experience, trying to take a complex problem and teach it to a layman is an excellent way to realize maybe I didn’t understand it that well either … is that what the AGW supporters are afraid of?)

  14. Doc

    So basically, the only evidence that MarkP will accept as proof of global warming is the complete destruction of human civilization – anything else could be just false data from biased liberal scientist or a temporary natural fluctuation.

    MarkP – I can find a number of scientists who assert that perpetual motion machines, communication with the spirit world, space aliens from the planet Niburu, Facilitated Communication, Phrenology, Homeopathy, and Astrology are all real and provable, that the science on these matters is far from settled, that there is no real consensus on these matters, and that the members of the “scientific community” are colluding to silence opposing viewpoints. So you’re a supporter of these viewpoints as well?

    P’feh!

  15. Rick

    This is a pretty chart, but it’s flawed… I left a comment on his site, but the jist is this:

    The immediate impression of this infographic is that there is a debate with two legitimate, equal sides. This is simply untrue.

    Science is in the business of observation, theory, and refutation — not debate.

    If there are observations that refute the prevailing theories of global warming science, bring ‘em on. But debate on scientific theory (be it global warming, evolution, gravity…) is a silly waste of time.

    Elvis Costello said that, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do.” I’d add “debating about science” to that list.

  16. Harman Smith

    After reading this blog and some other blogs (and other websites where people can freely respond to AGW-related stuff), I have decided that AGW denialism is difficult to combat. I suppose a lot of people knew that already. But it’s difficult. I am tempted to say… that it has almost no use. The pattern I see is that these deniers come along and claim all sorts of things, wanting answers, only to disappear and never to be heard from again as soon as they get their answers (it is up in the air whether they accepted the answers or not). It is a tiresome affair (and they don’t get that either). It’s tiresome to explain the same thing, address the same nonsense, debunk the same argument over and over and over and over again. It’s not unlike the anti-vaccination, creation movements, and it doesn’t give me much hope. Far too many people will believe what they want, no matter what.

    Suppose in several years from now, the cause of autism is known. How will the (American-based) anti-vaccination movement respond? Will they apologize for spreading the nonsense that vaccines caused autism? Will they acknowledge that they were wrong all this time? Will they feel guilty? Of course not. Don’t be so stupid to ever think such a thing. They will simply say (I suspect word for word): “Autism is not caused by vaccines, but we had every right to think it was at the time”.

    We can repeat this supposition with AGW-deniers in place of anti-vaxxers. In decades from now, when large parts of the world will have been be devastated by rapid climate change, what will they say? What will the people who today say the earth is actually cooling, say then? I am talking about the hardcore deniers, not the (uninformed) AGW skeptics. Will they say they were wrong to think the things they thought and said, decades earlier, before they witnessed the things that so many of us warned about?

  17. Dan I.

    Phil;

    This is a really good graph, but unfortunately I think you have to ask:

    After the e-mail scandal can we trust the data being used to make the scientific arguments?

    I don’t doubt the conclusions given the evidence they are based on, but (and maybe this is just my lawyer mind working) I have to doubt the evidence now.

  18. Steve in Dublin

    @Adrian Lopez #7

    If the link between CO2 and global warming is real then it’s just a question of how much of an increase in CO2 — and therefore how much of an increase in global temperatures — is due to human activity.

    Thanks for playing, though.

    Sorry, but we can tell from the type of carbon we find in the atmospheric CO2 that the increase since the industrial age began is largely caused by man. The carbon isotopes in atmospheric carbon are found in different concentrations than in naturally occurring carbon, and it’s largely the type of carbon composition you get when you *burn fossil fuels*. There’s your ‘smoking gun’. Source:

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-7.1.html

    Arp! Next contestant.

  19. Phil, I am curious as to what, if any role sunspot activity plays in global climate? I have read different opinions on this, as far as low sunspot activity being linked to cooling temperatures. Is there an actual llink between sunspot activity and Earths climate and weather?

  20. DaveH

    After the e-mail scandal can we trust the data being used to make the scientific arguments?

    So far the “scandal” is that someone hacked into the CRU.

    There is no indication that any data was falsified. Nothing.

    All that effort to smear the scientists and the best they could come up with was the use of the word “trick”, which led to bizarre claims from journofails of the quality of Hannity that using the real temperatures to provide temperature data was “fraud”!

    http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?start=0&q=allintitle:+trick&hl=en&as_sdt=2001

  21. Daniel J. Andrews

    When we ask for help and explanations we’re essentially told “its too complex, you wouldn’t understand”. So the skepticism is left unsatisfied

    Strawman argument. That will seldom happen. People asking questions to learn will most of the time ask simple questions. You ask for help with these, and other people do their best to explain. They’ll determine if you have enough background to understand their explanation, and if you don’t, they’ll suggest some background reading if the explanation will require that background.

    Simple items are also easy to locate (usually). E.g. look up weather versus climate, a simple concept that columnists insist on getting wrong…and inadvertently embarrass themselves.

    There are numerous sources that are easy to understand too. David says realclimate.org is often complex and he is right (I’ve been studying this since 2005/6, and still some of RC’s post go above my head). But RC knows this so they have a link at the top called Start Here. That link is broken into sections for Beginner, Some Knowledge, Advanced Knowledge.

    Spencer Weart has an online book (and hard copy) called The Discovery of Global Warming. He takes you through the science history so you can learn how we know what we know. Well worth reading!

    Check out grist.org/article/series/skeptics/ for refutations of common arguments (e.g. look at Mauana Loa is a volcano, world CO2 measurements therefore wrong–the rebuttal of that is simple, elegant and easily understood by anyone with a grade school education).

    Even the fun global warming bingo scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/04/gwsbingo.php
    has links to answers which are readily understandable. Tim Lambert’s Deltoid site also worth exploring.

    Good summaries can be found on Peter Sinclair’s Crock of the Week youtube videos. Recommended viewing if you’re a beginner trying to learn more. Once you learn the easy material it is easier to build on it and learn more complex stuff.

    Dr. David Archer, University of Chicago, has put his climate lectures (for first year students with no science background) on video and they are available for free download. You get a one semester course in climate for absolutely free! geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html You get the physics of light, heat, energy and learn about blackbody radiation. You start from the beginning and build upon it.

    I also recommend Climatesight.org. It is written by a high school student who is an aspiring climatologist. She is learning and by reading her blog regularly, you can learn along with her. You get to share in her excitement of discovery. Incidentally, I didn’t realize she was a high school student based on her writings…I thought she was much older. Universities should start trying to recruit her for their programs.

    If you have a mathematical background, check out Open Mind by Tamino at tamino.wordpress.com/. Those who know their math will obtain some good information from this site even if they don’t understand anything else about climate.

    Desmogblog, Climate Progress, Only in it for the gold, are another nice trio that focus less on science and more on public policy, public relations, and track climate and political developments, lead players, funding sources–basically the people side of the debate.

    And once you know what information is available, it becomes easier to locate the information you wish to find. By learning the easy material you become aware of websites like Goddard Institute, NASA, Cryosphere Today, as well as a few of the science blogs that are dedicated to explaining the science behind global warming (and they will link to original or trustworthy sources so if you follow the links, you’re adding more knowledge to that “where do I look?” file that you keep in your head…or bookmarked on your computer).

    Trolls who are only interested in making sourceless pronouncements and demonstrating they lack the basic science to even understand what they’re talking about may sometimes be told “you won’t understand, its too complex”, but that is because the troll’s mind is closed and they think they do understand. Trying to educate them is a waste of time.

  22. Justin K

    What “tricks” were used in this graph I wonder? And when I say tricks, I am not talking about hookers or magicians, just the “tricks” the scientists use all the time. All GW graphs should now have a disclaimer with the “tricks” listed at the bottom.

  23. Daniel J. Andrews

    This is a really good graph, but unfortunately I think you have to ask:

    After the e-mail scandal can we trust the data being used to make the scientific arguments?

    I don’t doubt the conclusions given the evidence they are based on, but (and maybe this is just my lawyer mind working) I have to doubt the evidence now.

    The raw data is still available and can still be used by anyone to do their own analyses. CRU, GISS and NOAA all do their own analyses using different methods and they all come up with very similar results. Since 95% of this data is publicly available, and the other 5% is purchasable, then any other institution could also obtain this data and run their own analyses (e.g. any of the oil industry think-tanks could have done this).

    Yet it hasn’t been done. Why? They’ve had 3 decades in which to do it.

    Realclimate realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/are-the-cru-data-suspect-an-objective-assessment/ has an exercise using the data that most people could probably do just by following their steps (assuming you have Excel or some such program). If you have the background, give it a try and see what you come up with. It shows that even using subsets of data you still get an increase in temps. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but will do so on the weekend.

  24. Off Topic to Autism
    16. Harman Smith Says:

    Suppose in several years from now, the cause of autism is known. How will the (American-based) anti-vaccination movement respond? Will they apologize for spreading the nonsense that vaccines caused autism? Will they acknowledge that they were wrong all this time? Will they feel guilty? Of course not. Don’t be so stupid to ever think such a thing. They will simply say (I suspect word for word): “Autism is not caused by vaccines, but we had every right to think it was at the time”.

    The mention of Autism reminded me of browsing YouTube, and discovering a ‘channel’ for the University of North Carolina, specifically the video “Funding will help to find Possible genetic link to autism”. Naturally, there’s no ‘anti-vax’ presented as this is a group that knows what they’re talking about.
    link: [youtube/watch]?v=8kLQt1slCHE&feature=rec-rev-rn-3f-6-HM

    J/P=?

  25. Rick (#15): if only reality were that simple. Good scientists constantly debate, challenging each other’s interpretation of data and attempting to falsify each other’s theories. A good scientist does this to himself or herself. One you think you’ve seen something interesting, you do your best to figure out why it might not be real. Anyone who tells you some scientific finding must not be questioned isn’t a scientist.

    Global warming research in particular, because it is so important, must be held to a very high standard. If an evolutionary scientist makes a mistake that no one catches this year, someone will eventually and likely no one will be hurt. If a prominent global warming conclusion is incorrect it may do a great deal of harm. We may not act quickly enough or, conversely, we may act in the wrong way. However, the usual non-scientific global warming debate, about oil company conspiracies, carbon-tax conflicts of interest, who has the qualifications to contribute and name calling, aren’t very useful as far as the science is concerned.

    In the spirit of holding GW research to high standards, I have a few observations and questions about the data presented by Information is Beautiful (which, BTW, is a web site I frequently visit). I’d appreciate any calm, well reasoned, scientific observations anyone might like to contribute.

    1) The time lag. A lag between increasing CO2 and temperature is frequently mentioned, but I’ve never really seen good, quantitative evidence that there is an unexplained lag, nor good, quantitative evidence that there is no unexplained lag. The information is beautiful “scientific consensus” caption is just as fuzzy as the “skeptics” side.

    It would seem that a simple cross-correlation or phase correlation between the CO2 and temperature data would answer the question fairly well. Does anyone have a link to this? Do I have to do it myself?

    Also, ALL these graphs need error bars. Never trust a graph that doesn’t have error bars.

    2) The hockey stick. The overlaid data from different researchers in the rightmost figure is interesting. There seems to be not only a tremendous amount of variation within each dataset (which is to be expected) but also tremendous variation between data produced by different groups. Is this all due to the assumptions these researchers use, as the caption implies? Is there a proper analysis showing recent history is a statistically significant departure from the historical record, including the variation introduced by these assumptions?

    3) The shifted ice core data. I don’t know what the real situation is in this case, but the IIB “consensus” caption indicates that the data from this ice core was shifted in time. If true, this seems very, very sloppy. When you have an outlier in your data, if you can make a very good argument that that particular point is erroneous (and others aren’t), then you can REMOVE that data. You don’t shift it to agree with your theory, or even the rest of the data. Again, I don’t know if the data was actually shifted or not, but if it was, that’s a pretty serious problem.

    4) The hacked e-mails. Again, I don’t know the details, but some of the issues could really use some proper explanation. The tree ring data was considered inaccurate after 1960 because it disagreed with actual temperature measurements. What about before 1960? Does the tree ring data suddenly depart in 1960, or is it suspicious before that? Is there a good reason why whatever affects the tree ring data after 1960 would not affect it before?

    In general, I’m not impressed that climatology seems to think it’s okay for data, algorithms and other methods to be treated as proprietary information. Even if, for instance, the tree ring data manipulation is well justified, why was it a surprise? I am a working scientist in medical imaging. Although a lot of our data is from patients and must be kept confidential, we do our very best to release anything that can possibly be released. Certainly all algorithms and other data manipulation are fully detailed, so that the process can be freely duplicated by others.

  26. “My conclusion is “what a nightmare”. I was generally shocked and appalled by how difficult it was to source counter arguments. The data was often tucked away on extremely ancient or byzantine websites. The key counter arguments I often found, 16 scrolls down, on comment 342 on a far flung realclimate.org post from three years ago. And even when I found an answer, the answers were excessively jargonized or technical.”

    I couldn’t agree more, I’ve had similar experiences. Why is it that the AGW are so organized on this and the GW camp isn’t? Granted it is much easier to fabricate some mis-information than it is to provide a detailed rebuttal but many of these arguments aren’t new.

  27. Adrian Lopez

    @18 Steve in Dublin

    Sorry, but we can tell from the type of carbon we find in the atmospheric CO2 that the increase since the industrial age began is largely caused by man. The carbon isotopes in atmospheric carbon are found in different concentrations than in naturally occurring carbon, and it’s largely the type of carbon composition you get when you *burn fossil fuels*. There’s your ’smoking gun’. Arp! Next contestant.

    Why do you say “sorry” as if your response somehow contradicts anything I said? If indeed it is possible to measure the levels of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere, the question I posed — concerning how much of an increase in CO2 is due to human activity — may then be answered, and so may the question of how much of a temperature increase we owe to human activity.

    Perhaps you missed the fact that my question was merely a rhetorical device intended to address an obvious flaw in Huron’s supposition (#1) that if the graph in question shows warming is related to natural cycles then natural cycles might also explain what we see today?

  28. papabear

    @Harman Smith #16: I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how annoying the deniers are (or I.D., anti vax, etc.) it’s not them you are really helping. It’s the people who in the middle. Not to bring politics into it, but the analogy of an election works well. There are people who are always going to vote democrat or Republican no matter what…it’s the “moderates” who really decide the elections. Many of the conspiracy theorist have completely suspended reality in many cases and any evidence that doesn’t match their view is handwaved away as part of a cover-up or some other non-sense. If your making a clear argument backed up by facts most people will begin to understand and maybe learn something. If you talk about how hopelessly uninformed and lacking someone’s credibility is then the average reader looking for answers just quits paying attention.

    I occasionally browse the BAUT forum. Specifically their Conspiracy section and Against the mainstream sections, not because I buy any of the theories presented there though. It’s because I learn more by seeing those guys break down the theories at an elementary level than I do in other areas of the forum, where honestly the science is often over my head.

  29. MartinM

    The tree ring data was considered inaccurate after 1960 because it disagreed with actual temperature measurements. What about before 1960? Does the tree ring data suddenly depart in 1960, or is it suspicious before that? Is there a good reason why whatever affects the tree ring data after 1960 would not affect it before?

    Only tree-ring proxies at high latitudes diverge post-1960, and only some of those. The fact that the divergence is so recent is why the current position is that it’s likely anthropogenic in origin.

  30. Chris Winter

    Ken wrote: “The AGW denialists are winning the argument hands-down (IMO) because they are offering ‘intuitively obvious’ arguments while the AGW supporters are offering ‘it’s complex, you wouldn’t understand.’ “

    Are you speaking of your own experience? Because if not, I submit that this is far too much of a generalization. I will grant that you yourself may have gotten this sort of answer from AGW supporters. What’s not clear is whether it was really a polite substitute for “I’m out of patience with posting answers that don’t get listened to.” (I phrased that more politiely than I might have, and I have often felt the attitude it expresses.) Too many of those who question AGW are not genuinely interested in answers. As Harman Smith says (#16), it can be a tiresome affair. I try to remember what PapaBear said (#28): A clear, succinct answer helps the lurkers.

    “(In my own experience, trying to take a complex problem and teach it to a layman is an excellent way to realize maybe I didn’t understand it that well either… is that what the AGW supporters are afraid of?)”

    I agree that attempting to explain a thing is a good test of how well you understand that thing. Yet it is too glib to assume that failure to explain to your satisfaction reveals the thing being explained is false. Some people are just poor communicators. My own experience tells me that keen understanding of mechanical things often goes hand in hand with conversational clumsiness. You’ve been referred to some sources of clear explanations of aspects of AGW. I’ll add my own attempt:

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Digressions/AGW/AGW_Belief.html

  31. guthrie

    Robert Brown #25:

    Indeed, you won’t find any scientists who say shut up we’re right about global warming and dont dare question us. Rather the problem is that much of the questioning is either totally wrong in its premises to start with, such as denial of the basic physics of the greenhouse effect, or designed for political points scoring rather than actually clarifying things. So why waste time telling people stuff they should have learnt themselves before asking the question?

    Stuff about funding and oil companies aren’t science, that is correct, however you should recognise how AGW changes the gameplan for the global economy, therefore a lot of vested interests want to play politics rather than look at the science.

    Your point 1- I don’t understand which lag you are talking about. If you take the earth, double to CO2 in a day, then wait, of course you will see a lag before the temperature equilibrates again, in the order of many years. This is because it takes time for the various heatsinks to become saturated and so on. On the other hand in the paleoclimate record something like 800 years passed between the temperature increasing due to orbital changes and the CO2 rising because of either melted bog or plant activity or both, I can’t recall exactly what.

    Why do you think cross correlation between CO2 and temperature would show much at all? What time scale would you want to do it on? Are you aware of the numerous other factors affecting the climate, and how would you adjust to them? I vaguely recall reading something about just doing stats on temperature and Co2, but can’t recall where. In my opinion it is irrelevant anyway, because the real world comes first.

    Also, many of the scientific graphs have error bars. But if the scientists simplify things for the public, they get told off for making them too simply. If they don’t make them simple for the public, they get told off for being elitist and hard to understand.

    Point 3 – I have no idea what you mean.
    Point 4 – http://www.realclimate.org has the scientists side of the e-mails, you can take your pick as to which you believe. The tree ring proxy issue has been addressed at post #29.

    I’ve not worked in medical imaging, but it seems to be a substantially different field from physical sciences. I did a chemistry degree and masters, and the climatology world seems like any other normal physical sciences academic world. Because the worlds are different you are confused why they don’t seem to follow whatever wonderful way of working you have. The answers being history, culture and funding. A lot of climatology research has grown out of geology, oceanography, meteorology etc. Much of the data is private, in many cases because whoever gathered it wants to sell portions of it off for their personal gain or for fair remuneration for their work in gathering it over the last 50 years, take your pick which. It is worth noting that various journals have changed the way they do things over the last few years, so that they now demand data be archived along with the submitted paper. Things are changing.
    And NASA has most of its data and programs up on its website, so it isn’t as if you can’t get hold of enough information to do what you want with.
    Money wise, I don’t know how many people you have writing code for your machines, but as far as I can tell, most climatology stuff has to be written by amateurs, because thats all the funding stretches for, and oddly enough it works.

    Finally, duplicating algorithms doesn’t tell you anything useful. Duplicating the results using a completely different method does. I’m thinking thats the difference between science and engineering – the engineer wants a bridge that’ll work the same as 500 bridges beforehand. The scientist wants to know why the bridge works and so build several different ones and measures their properties.

  32. MarkP

    No, the evidence that would convince me is all the data opened, all the algorithms that process the data opened etc. If that were all open, and multiple people come to the same conclusion, I’d be convinced about the surface temp records.

    But as a software engineer who works on physics simulations, I know how hard it is to get these things right, and if it’s not open, it’s not right.

  33. JupiterIsBig

    #16 @harman smith
    ” Suppose in several years from now, the cause of autism is known. How will the (American-based) anti-vaccination movement respond? Will they apologize for spreading the nonsense that vaccines caused autism? Will they acknowledge that they were wrong all this time? Will they feel guilty? Of course not. Don’t be so stupid to ever think such a thing. They will simply say (I suspect word for word): “Autism is not caused by vaccines, but we had every right to think it was at the time”. ”
    I suspect it will be worse than that – they will blame the vaccines for something else – asthma, melanoma, anything to avoid admitting that they were wrong, misguided, crazy, etc.

    Re AGW: Australia’s ABC had an interview with Prof. Ian Plimer and a Science Journalist. This week. I was not impressed by Plimer. He pushed the journalist on not being a climate scientist, therefore implying that he is not qualified to comment, but Plimer is not a climate scientist either.
    And when the journalist has specific questions on specific data, Plimer did not attempt to answer it, even though he is a scientist and should understand the importance of the accuracy of one’s references.

    It really worries me that all of this talk will go nowhere until it’s way too late …

  34. MartinM

    No, the evidence that would convince me is all the data opened, all the algorithms that process the data opened etc. If that were all open, and multiple people come to the same conclusion, I’d be convinced about the surface temp records.

    Both the data and source code for GISTEMP are freely available. If you go here, you’ll note that GISTEMP and HadCRUT are in good agreement, as well as both satellite series. GISTEMP has also been independently replicated by the Clear Climate Code group.

  35. Dan I.

    @20 DaveH.

    I’m sorry but you are wrong about that. This was far more than simply the use of the word trick.

    Now granted, the vast majority of the emails were dry, mundane etc, and that there has clearly been massive misinterpretation of the word “trick” or “fudge” similarly to the way creationists like to trot out “evolution is just a theory.”

    But there were discussions about no longer submitting to certain journals based on their perceived activism. Now that may be valid, but I want some more accounting of that. There are definitely some concerning discussions in these emails. I’ll also note that NONE of these concerns were ever made public. The public never heard as far as know, about the debate. We were told there was near monolithic consensus in the scientific community…that no longer appears to be true.

    I do not doubt that global warming is real. I don’t really even doubt that humanity is at least partially responsible.

    I do however, have some concerns about the evidence now.

  36. MartinM

    But there were discussions about no longer submitting to certain journals based on their perceived activism.

    You’re referring to a case in which a journal editor gave a crap ‘sceptic’ paper a pass, causing several of his fellow editors to resign in protest.

  37. guthrie:

    “Because the worlds are different you are confused why they don’t seem to follow whatever wonderful way of working you have.”

    Couldn’t resist a little dig hey?

    In science you are supposed to report your results in such a way that they may be replicated. Not just in my field. In particular, since climatology has become such an important field, it is critical that the science be done properly, according to the scientific method. That is, the data, methods and results should be published and checked independently.

    Or are you suggesting that we should decide the fate of the planet based on the word of a small group of people, many of whom won’t share their data or specific methods because they’re “proprietary?”

  38. MartinM

    In science you are supposed to report your results in such a way that they may be replicated.

    That’s already done. See comment #34.

  39. DaveH

    But there were discussions about no longer submitting to certain journals based on their perceived activism. Now that may be valid

    It is. A journal builds up a reputation according to the papers that appear in it, and it loses that reputation in the same way. The community decides. This is true of any academic discipline, from physics to the “social sciences”.

    There are definitely some concerning discussions in these emails

    Nothing that brings the overwhelming worldwide consensus regarding AGW into any doubt.

    NONE of these concerns were ever made public
    Which concerns do you feel should have been made public?

    Or are you suggesting that we should decide the fate of the planet based on the word of a small group of people
    Yes. Experts.

    “Experts > truthiness”. Say it five times before breakfast.

    … many of whom won’t share their data or specific methods because they’re “proprietary?”

    Intellectual property is a difficult issue, but not really relevant, since there are plenty of data available to the public, eg http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ ,and lots of information
    in the form of the IPCC reports and at http://www.realclimate.org , not forgetting the hundreds of scientific papers that have been published all of which are, at the least, available on a pay basis, and generally free to anyone with a university library account (as long as your university subscribes to those journals/archives).

  40. Steve in Dublin

    Adrian #27, hi,

    Perhaps you missed the fact that my question was merely a rhetorical device intended to address an obvious flaw in Huron’s supposition (#1) that if the graph in question shows warming is related to natural cycles then natural cycles might also explain what we see today?

    At first I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but now I’m not so sure. Is this a ‘mind f#ck’ on your part? I really can’t ascertain from what you have written whether you’re an AGW denier or not. Please state your case with less rhetoric/more plain talk.

  41. GT

    He gets most of his information from RealClimate.org, a site that censors the least whiff of dissent from the party line. Such bias makes this effort little more than a PR poster. A lot more effort is needed to fairly represent the skeptical side.

  42. DaveH

    a site that censors the least whiff of dissent from the party line

    Another citizen who thinks reality has a liberal bias.

  43. Steve in Dublin

    @GT #41

    He gets most of his information from RealClimate.org

    Who gets most of his info from RealClimate.org? Please specify.

    @DaveH #42

    Another citizen who thinks reality has a liberal bias.

    Is that necessarily a bad thing? I prefer the ‘spin’, if you will, that reality has a scientific bias.

  44. Adrian Lopez

    @Steve in Dublin #40,

    I’m not a global warming denier, but I’m also not a scientist. I’m not qualified to judge the validity of the data being presented, but assuming it’s correct — and I have no reason to believe it isn’t — leads me to conclude that CO2 does have an effect on global warming and therefore human activity must also have an effect. Poster #1 suggested the graph might be interpreted as global warming being nothing more than the product of natural cycles, to which I responded that if natural variations in CO2 levels are responsible for global warming then man’s introduction of additional CO2 into the atmosphere must also result in global warming to some degree.

    The graph in question shows a strong relationship between CO2 levels and global temperatures. Unless CO2 levels are the result of warmer global temperatures rather than the other way around (a problematic claim, considering it leaves us without a cause for the variations in temperature), I must conclude that the graph shows quite convincingly a causal relationship between CO2 levels and global warming.

    I can’t make it any clearer than that. Others might, but I can’t.

    Perhaps you have allowed your own prejudices to color your interpretation of my previous posts?

  45. DaveH

    @Steve in Dublin,

    GT meant David McCandless, the guy who put the image together which is the subject of this blog entry.

    Re #42 – Don’t make me explain a joke. It’s painful.

    And the problem isn’t Andrea, but the filters at your end.

  46. DaveH

    Sorry, Adrian.

    urk.

  47. guthrie

    Robert Brown #37 – I oroiginally wrote it with one or two more digs, then cut them out, seems I missed one. Would you be bothered if I judged you on your lack of response to the other points I raised, and your (probably because of the time difference, I assume you are in the USA) lack of response to the perfectly good answers given by other posters to your concerns?

  48. Petrolonfire

    Sure this is real and not faked? Its not using data from the CRU is it? They haven’t “accidentally” mislabelled a sunspots graph as Co2 by “mistake” or something here? ;-)

    (*ducks & runs* ;-) )

  49. Petrolonfire

    Given what’s coming (or rather not coming) out of the Copenhagen talkfest, I think we’d all better really *hope* the Global Warming Skeptics are right! ;-)

    Because *if* what Al Gore, James Hansen and the other AGW believers are telling us is *really* true then we may as well bend over & kiss our backsides goodbye. :-(

    Perhaps its lucky and a huge relief to see in “climategate” good reason to take the Warmer’s claims and their supposedly rock-solid “science” with a fair sprinkling of salt?

    Honestly, I don’t quite know what to think now.

  50. Steve in Dublin

    @Adrian, DaveH,

    Thanks for taking the time to clarify things for me. I must have been having a ‘senior moment’ last night. Apologies for the confusion.

  51. ZERO

    Beautiful and nasty at the same time! Get ready for a new ice age!

  52. Harman Smith

    @papabear #28,

    I forgot about that. Thanks.

  53. Jim

    Good site, but I thought the original data had been scrubbed. News release about 2 weeks ago. Several other sources have said that the data cannot be recreated accuratly. There was not much research on GW till after the 50′s.

  54. DaveH

    I thought the original data had been scrubbed. News release about 2 weeks ago. Several other sources have said that the data cannot be recreated accuratly.

    Don’t know where you heard that but it’s nonsense.

    “There is considerable confidence that climate models provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and past climate changes.”

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-8.1.html

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

  55. Ruprecht

    @DaveH #20
    I’ve been reading through those hacked emails and I can assure you that there’s more than just the trick-quote. Here an anthology:

    “I also think people need to come to understand that the scientific uncertainties work both ways. We don’t understand cloud feedbacks. We don’t understand air-sea interactions. We don’t understand aerosol indirect effects. The list is long.”

    “His curve has been distributed as part of the Canadian government’s literature on why Canada supports Kyoto, and is said to have been influential in causing the “Kyoto Consensus” so it is certainly effective propaganda; but IT IS NOT SCIENCE.”

    “It is common to hear that man-made global warming represents the “consensus” of science, yet the use of hurricanes and cyclones as a marker of global warming represents a clear-cut case of the consensus being roundly ignored. Both the second and third IPCC assessments concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.”

    “I would tend to avoid the word ‘consensus’, since it is not a well defined concept.”

    “I would like to submit that the current climate models have such large errors in simulating the statistics of regional (climate) that we are not ready to provide policymakers a robust scientific basis for “action” at regional scale.”

    “It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.”

    “Now at least ice core records have some low frequencies to correct… not like your bloody trees that can not remember one century to the next.”

    “This gets to the issue that the “consensus” reports now are just the consensus of those who agree with the consensus.”

    “I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that.”

    “Hubert’s chapter has lots of detail, many figures which have lines with the phrase ‘analyst’s opinion’ – one of his favourite terms for things he made up.”
    (Hubert would be Herr Prof. Dr. Hubertus Fischer of the Climate and Environmental Physics Institute, Universiteit van Bern.)

    And what to think of the directory-structure the climate-data is stored in:
    http://img98.yfrog.com/i/climatedatacensored.gif/
    Another scientific trick? Looks like fraud to me.

    Maybe there is some human influence involved in the ongoing changes in earth’s climate. Could be, I’m not a scientist. But those emails aren’t really assuring to me.

  56. ND

    Ruprecht,

    Lovely, more quote mining even though quote mining is a discredited practice. Who are behind these quotes? What is the context?

    ““I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that.””

    What does that mean? It’s vague, no idea what the material is and where it ended up in the final analysis of things, even if it did get used?

    CRU is not the sole source of climate research and analysis.

  57. Chris Winter

    Ruprecht,

    Perhaps you could be more specific about what it is you don’t trust.

    I haven’t got the time to read through all those e-mails, but nothing I’ve read about them strikes me as damning. That includes what you quoted.

    Yes, the scientists discuss defective papers. They complain about frivolous FOI requests. They bad-mouth certain “skeptics” who have annoyed them. Some of this shows poor judgement. I tend to attribute it to frustration. The whole context is needed to understand their comments, and part of that consists of their experiences. No e-mails record that.

    They also discuss aspects of climate science they don’t understand. Why do you think this means they don’t understand any climate science? What would be the point of discussing the aspects they do understand?

    No scientist has ever said that every last bit of climate science is well understood. It’s only Denialists who insist that 100 percent understanding is needed before action is taken.

  58. Ruprecht

    @ND #57
    That’s not the point, ND. That list of quotes disproves DaveH’s assertion that “there is no indication that any data was falsified. Nothing”. If you click on the link I provided above you’ll see that there is reason to doubt that. DaveH’s other claim, that “all that effort to smear the scientists and the best they could come up with was the use of the word “trick” “, needs some adjustment too, I believe. Even I can come up with more than that by randomly opening some emails.

    To disprove DaveH’s points I didn’t need context nor names; but if you really want names and emails in extenso you can go check for yourself, over here:
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php

    To be fair: those emails don’t prove a conspiracy. I haven’t found any proof of that, nor do I believe in such a thing. I think there’s something else going on: peer-pressure forces scientists to adjust and sometimes invent data to make it more fit for publication in scientific-orthodox journals. It has happened before, you know…

  59. Ruprecht

    @ Chris Winter #58
    I didn’t say that “they don’t understand any climate science”. I hope they do understand at least something. But I don’t believe in the 99% consensus-story anymore, thereby basing myself upon those emails. And I agree with prof. J. Shukla (http://www.iges.org/people/shukla.html), who wrote, in one of those emails, and I quote again:

    To: IPCC-Sec
    Subject: Future of the IPCC:
    Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 16:46:33
    “It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.”

    I’m afraid it *is* conceivable that governments are willing to spend tax-payers zillions to prevent something we aren’t even sure is going to happen, only because some unreliable computer simulation says so.

  60. ND

    “there is no indication that any data was falsified. Nothing”

    That’s still true. When you pull quotes out of context, and also make them anonymous, it makes it hard to prove wrongdoing, in this case that data was baked and that it was used in the final presentations to the world (I’m not talking about FOI since I don’t know the legal stuff and can’t say if they broke the law by interference or not). You need to show a trail of work and data from start to finish to make the case. You also need a scientific background to make sense of stuff. Something way too many people are lacking on this subject, including myself.

    As for those directory names, again, it’s not clear. “Fixed”, like “trick”, could mean whatever you want it to mean. As for “Censored”, no idea. Sounds suspicious but no specifics on what that means.

    “peer-pressure forces scientists to adjust and sometimes invent data to make it more fit for publication in scientific-orthodox journals. It has happened before, you know…”

    Sure, that’s always a present danger in science and can’t be prevented 100% of the time.

    Edit: to be clear I take the following, “that any data was falsified” to mean that data was faked/baked/fudged and then presented to the world as accurate.

  61. DaveH

    That list of quotes disproves DaveH’s assertion that “there is no indication that any data was falsified. Nothing”.

    Uh. No.

    Using quotes from Hamlet I can insinuate that it’s a play about how gay monkey sex caused AIDS*

    If there were any indication that data were falsified, we would have been directed to the relevant published scientific paper containing the false data.

    Here’s one for a good skeptic’s handbook: The phrase “There’s no smoke without fire” is utter bollocks.

    * Note: It didn’t, in case you were thinking of running with that notion.

  62. DaveH

    some unreliable computer simulation

    Sigh.

    “There is considerable confidence that climate models provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and past climate changes.”

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-8.1.html

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

  63. Ruprect

    @ND #61 & DaveH #62
    Found another quote (I know, I know, cherry picking) but it proves my point:
    “I see my name on an abstract, by the way, that I have no recollection of ! I presume this has something in about instrumental global temps. This abstract isn’t in my CV!!!!! So your point (3) needs to document that we knew the diagram wasn’t any good, as well as how far back it goes. Knowing Hubert on some of his other ‘breakthroughs!’ it is clearly possible it goes back to Brooks ! [...] We also already knew that the Lamb UK record was flawed. We published a revision of this — but never in a mainstream journal because we did not want to offend Hubert.”
    Publish crap in mainstream journals, and the revisions in obscure ones. That will do the trick & you’re still scientifically correct.

  64. Ruprect

    …and the email goes on:

    “So part of the issue is where did Hubert get the century time scale changes in that diagram? The answer is, mainly from his own fertile imagination. For this he tried to synthesize both his flawed historical record for England (and records for Europe, equally flawed) and proxy data from many sources, again accepted uncritically.”

    But maybe, DaveH, you’re right, and this doesn’t mean a thing. In that case scientists write eachother meaningless emails. Nothing to worry about.

  65. Ruprect

    …and it goes on:

    “So part of the issue is where did Hubert get the century time scale changes in that diagram? The answer is, mainly from his own fertile imagination. For this he tried to synthesize both his flawed historical record for England (and records for Europe, equally flawed) and proxy data from many sources, again accepted uncritically.”

    But maybe, DaveH, you’re right, and this doesn’t mean a thing. In that case scientists write eachother meaningless emails. Nothing to worry about.

  66. Ruprecht

    @ND #61 & DaveH #62
    For some reason my last answer doesn’t come through, so I post it again, hoping it doesn’t result in a double post.
    Found another quote (I know, I know, cherry picking) but I hope it makes my point more clear:

    “I see my name on an abstract, by the way, that I have no recollection of ! I presume this has something in about instrumental global temps. This abstract isn’t in my CV!!!!! So your point (3) needs to document that we knew the diagram wasn’t any good, as well as how far back it goes. Knowing Hubert on some of his other ‘breakthroughs!’ it is clearly possible it goes back to Brooks ! [...] We also already knew that the Lamb UK record was flawed. We published a revision of this — but never in a mainstream journal because we did not want to offend Hubert.”

    Publish crap in mainstream journals, and the revisions in obscure ones. That will do the trick & you’re still scientifically correct. It goes on:

    “So part of the issue is where did Hubert get the century time scale changes in that diagram? The answer is, mainly from his own fertile imagination. For this he tried to synthesize both his flawed historical record for England (and records for Europe, equally flawed) and proxy data from many sources, again accepted uncritically.”

    I don’t believe you’re right, DaveH. For instance: I can’t insinuate that those emails are about a bunch of gay monkeys having sex & causing AIDS. You can’t just prove anything by merely quoting as you say; the basic material has to be there in the first place.

  67. chimp

    Im quite interested in some of the regulatory feedback mechanisms for how CO2 levels are balanced along with temperature. Anyone happen to know off hand what the effects of increases in atmospheric CO2 have on our old green friends?

    I seem to remember photosynthesis having a rate limiting step, being carboxylation via rubisco, an enzyme that is highly sensitive to levels of atmospheric CO2 / oxygen present. As far as I understood, plants attempted to maximise CO2 in their leaves for higher efficiency, O2 presence was generally inhibitory due to competition for an active site.

    Its a nice thought that maybe increased atmospheric CO2 will lead to increased global photosynthesis and carbon sinking, maybe enough to save our butts. Probably just wishful thinking though :(

  68. DaveH

    I don’t believe you’re right, DaveH.
    the basic material has to be there in the first place.

    Ruprecht said:

    “Maybe there is some human influence involved in the ongoing changes in earth’s climate.”

    “To be fair: those emails don’t prove a conspiracy”

    “those emails are about a bunch of gay monkeys having sex & causing AIDS”

    Quote-mining. Fun game. Load of bollocks.

    Give me some time, and I’ll see what I can do with Hamlet.

  69. Ruprecht

    @DaveH #69
    You actually believe that those emails in reality say something that differs entirely from what I quoted from them? By truncating the first part of some sentences? What do you want me to do then? Quote the entire email? They can be quite lengthy, you know…
    OK, I’ll check those links you gave me. It’s after midnight overhere, so don’t wait for my reply.

  70. DaveH

    What do you want me to do then?

    If there were any indication that data were falsified, we would have been directed to the relevant published scientific paper containing the false data.

    That. Or stop tattling.

  71. Chris Winter

    Ruprecht,

    In #60 you say you agree with Prof. Shukla but then state an opinion directly contradictory to his that you quoted from his e-mail. He says governments won’t believe the regional projections of the climate models they have; you suspect they might believe, and “spend tax-payers zillions.” So what is this e-mail evidence of?

  72. Chris Winter

    I’m not sure what to make of the e-mail you quote in #64 & #65. More context is needed. What I gather from what I see there is that the writer was afraid to publish a refutation of Hubert’s errors in a journal where Hubert might see it. The most likely reason is because Hubert was his boss, or held the purse strings for the organization. But this is just a guess on my part, because I don’t have enough material.

    It always comes back to this: Snippets don’t tell the whole story. I suggest we wait for the investigation to conclude.

  73. Chris Winter

    chimp (#68): As best I remember from my research a few months ago, you have it basically right. One other thing: There are two types of photosynthesis, and they respond differently to increasing concentrations of CO2. Also, both types are temperature-sensitive; past a certain point, photosynthesis slows down. The bottom line is that it is far from clear whether more CO2, or warmer climate, will be a net win for agriculture.

    I suggest you go here and then click the large #3 to get to the references.

    http://www.chris-winter.com/Digressions/AGW/AGW_Damage.html#DenArg03

  74. MartinM

    “So part of the issue is where did Hubert get the century time scale changes in that diagram? The answer is, mainly from his own fertile imagination. For this he tried to synthesize both his flawed historical record for England (and records for Europe, equally flawed) and proxy data from many sources, again accepted uncritically.”

    This quote appears nowhere on the website you linked; neither searching for ‘Hubert’ nor ‘fertile’ finds it.

    Hubert Lamb was the founder of CRU. He did groundbreaking work in historical climate reconstruction; IIRC, he was one of the first to propose the existence of a medieval warm period. And, as far as I can tell from a quick scan of the e-mails in question, that’s what this discussion is about. They’re talking about errors in old reconstructions which showed the MWP as a global phenomenon, whereas better, more recent reconstructions don’t show it, as it turned out to be regional.

  75. ND

    (pulling quotes out of context)–

    (putting them back in context)++

    Actually that ++ should be a “priceless”

    Ruprecht,

    Please put some context to the directory names. What do they exactly mean. Please show us which papers, analysis and presentations they impacted. You never actually explained what that image of the directory names imply, you just insinuating it. “See, it’s obvious”.

    To reiterate… “To disprove DaveH’s points I didn’t need context nor names”. Yes you do need it. Quote-mining is a discredited and dishonest practice.

  76. Steven Sullivan

    There are several blogs that attempt to make the science of ACC (anthropogenic climate change) accessible to the layman. One of the better ones is

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    It’s similar to ‘information is beautiful’ but more in-depth and comprehensive in its list of counterarguments to the most popular denialist talking points.

  77. MartinM

    You never actually explained what that image of the directory names imply, you just insinuating it. “See, it’s obvious”.

    To be fair, it is fairly obvious to anyone familiar with statistics; ‘censored’ is a technical term referring to observations whose values aren’t precisely known.

  78. Jar Jya Binks Killer

    62. DaveH Says:

    …. Using quotes from Hamlet I can insinuate that it’s a play about how gay monkey sex caused AIDS …

    Go on then! That I want to see! ;-)

  79. DaveH

    @79,

    Hamletgate – Is it a play about how gay monkey sex caused AIDS?

    “And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
    How these things came about: so shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts”

    “To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
    not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
    till he find it stopping a bung-hole?”

    “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast”

    “Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
    They were given me by Claudio; he received them”

    “Away, I do beseech you, both away:
    I’ll board him presently.”

    “You, as your business and desire shall point you;
    For every man has business and desire,
    Such as it is.”

    “Now, whether it be
    Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
    Of thinking too precisely on the event,
    A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom
    And ever three parts coward, I do not know”

    “Stew’d in corruption, honeying and making love
    Over the nasty sty”

    “In the gross and scope of my opinion,
    This bodes some strange eruption”

    “And for your rapier most especially,
    That he cried out, ‘twould be a sight indeed”

    “this ass now o’er-reaches”

    “I thank your lordship, it is very hot.”

    “You shall know I am set naked on
    your kingdom.”

    “If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for
    thy dowry”

    “The leperous distilment; whose effect
    Holds such an enmity with blood of man
    That swift as quicksilver it courses through
    The natural gates and alleys of the body,
    And with a sudden vigour doth posset
    And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
    The thin and wholesome blood.”

    “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
    of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
    borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
    abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
    it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
    not how oft. ”

    …Now, if you hadn’t read the play…

  80. ND

    DaveH++

    “…Now, if you hadn’t read the play…”

    And that’s probably the most important point in this.

  81. I enjoyed the piece over at Information is Beautiful, but like others have mentioned, it’s flawed in that it makes the debate look like there are two equally legitimate sides to the debate. Still, I’m all for any effort to make the data more easily understood.

    Thanks, Phil, for a great blog. I need to comment more often, but I’m a very loyal reader.

  82. Am I the only one that thinks that simplifying these incredibly complex data sets is a road that can lead to danger, a road that can lead to an argument of A + B = C when there are a ton of other factors not being considered?

  83. Pi-needles

    @80. DaveH : *Applause* Very well done indeed sir! :-)

  84. No doubt that the earth has natural co2 cycles. However, i think that this one is just a little too extreme to be considered part of a “natural” cycle.

  85. I would have to go with the statment that the data presented here is correct. That and many obvious facts we see every day leads me to conclude that CO2 does really have an effect on global warming. Why should the human activity be any different. I m sure it also has an effect.

  86. Oh, i forgot to say: in a normal warming cycle, the sun heats the earth, the earth gets hotter.

    The oceans warm up, releasing huge amounts of CO2. This creates a greenhouse effect that makes warming much, much more intense.

    Together with some other effects it causes the global warming.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »