"That's just how it is."

By Phil Plait | July 2, 2012 7:19 pm

Speaking of climate change, my pal Bill Nye doesn’t let a CNN anchor run over the facts.

"The two sides aren’t equal here." Love it.

Via Jason Major on Google+.

Comments (116)

  1. Thopter

    The National Forest Service should gather all the folks who think the fires here in CO are due to mismanagement and feel that the brush and dead trees should be cleared out to prevent fires, give them rakes and axes, and send them out to do the clearing.

  2. chief

    well yeah, giving a 50/50 say to both sides when 98% of scientists agree that global changes are in effect vs the 2 % of those trying to protect other interests by clouding the issues in whatever way they can. Doesn’t sound like good news fact checking to me.

    Yes you can do sustained clear cutting to help reduce the forests and the effects of the fire but this doesn’t help if the forests are so dry that they are almost acting like kindling and thus any burning now occuring is explosive in the tree to tree travel. I also suspect that the wind factor will be much more intense due to the hot to cold temperature variations.

  3. schmidt

    Mother nature or us the weather is changing and it is not hard to see unless there is some interest that some have that cause them to say it is not happening.

  4. Wzrd1

    @chief, but clear cutting vast amounts of forests DOES have a beneficial effect toward preventing fires.
    After all, lower the oxygen content of the global atmosphere, combustion is impossible.
    And no, you CANNOT do sustained clear cutting. One CAN do clear cutting and enhanced growing of plants in the place of forest, but eventually, that will be unsustainable. That is precisely like sustainable use of oil, coal or any OTHER resource with no restraint.
    Timber production for sustainable clear cutting for wood is true, but not in an ecological sense. Some oxygen production thingie and all.

    @Thopter, you are right. The US forestry service DOES think that massive overgrowth, due to excessive fire prevention, has caused the current issues. THAT IS SCIENCE. It was observed, studied, measured and quantified over 30 years, when the mere suggestion was previously considered heresy.
    The previous prevention of *ANY* fire caused overgrowth. In forests, the overgrowth created massive mats of combustible plant matter that also burns when a fire gets through our massive fire prevention service. Said mat then burns the bacteria from the soil, as well as normally fire tolerant plants root systems. Then, you have bare earth. Which erodes away.
    ALL of that is well documented over the past CENTURY.
    Recently, some heretic suggested that fires are normal and self-limiting. Numerous peer reviewed studies, complete with experimental burns were conducted.
    ONLY the populace and a few ill informed environmental groups fail to consider the REAL SCIENCE behind controlled burns preventing the mess that is the new norm today.
    Well, save for the tea party, who suggest that we evacuate anyplace near a river, stream, ocean, forest, great plain, ad absurdium until we’re ALL wedged into a small spot in the Nevada desert (considering their ridiculous in total suggestions of lands that should not be supported due to storm, tornado, hurricane, earthquake or flood. Of course, they fail to suggest shelter against the idiot…)

  5. Belfagor

    If there is a link between wildfires (either in numbers, intensity or acreage) and global warming, it needs to be demonstrated scientifically, with actual data. Pointing to a disaster while it is occurring to affix blame without evidence is the worst kind of emotional pandering, usually reserved for politicians. The data for global warming is about as irrefutable as science can get, but I have yet to see ANY data for the wildfire-global warming link. If the link is scientific, it should be discussed scientifically.

  6. Sunny D

    Bill Nye is not a nice man nor is he a scientist. After seeing him rudely question Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Apollo astronaut, sixth man on the moon) about his testimony that the Roswell incident was real (on Larry King Live) I have lost all respect for this man and will never listen to another word he says.

  7. Jorge P

    Just more trolling for climate change dollars. Papers need to be published, grants need to applied for. It’s a living, of a sort.

    And Bill Nye is no scientist. Bad example.

  8. Joesixpack

    So, Sunny D, because someone is a jerk, then they can’t be right if they say 2+2=4? That’s pretty silly, if you ask me.

    And he was rude to someone who claims that alien spacecraft landed at Roswell? Frankly I think people who persist in believing lies about Roswell don’t warrant a great deal of respect, regardless of how many Apollo missions that they’ve crewed.

    You seem to have taken the “Ad Homimem” to a new level. You give credence to accomplished men who believe in fairy tales, and you disregard the truth because you have a personal dislike of another’s manner.

  9. MadScientist

    @Sunny D: many of us scientists aren’t nice – especially not to other scientists and even more so with kooks. So what if Bill Nye’s not a scientist – that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. How about the kooks who say “global warming isn’t real” – how many of them are scientists? The most popular ones like Loud Monckton certainly aren’t scientists, and they’re not even right.

  10. kat wagner

    @Belfagor. Jeezo Pete! There already is a link between forest fires and global warming – less rain and snow in the mountains. The trees in the forests are stressed and cannot fight the pine bark beetle like when it was colder, as in minus 30 for a few weeks around here, anyway. A few months ago, the Dept. of Agriculture reworked the Zone map. Everybody’s warmer by a little bit at least. Are you listening to me? I also posted a few days ago – remember the Olympics in Canada, and all those red trees in their forests? Death due to pine bark beetle and warmer winters. It’s on record. And the Canadians used a whole bunch of those dead trees to build the beautiful stadium. Remember?

  11. Joesixpack

    Jeroge P, since you believe that climate change is a scheme for researchers to get grants, perhaps you should follow the dollars that flow from oil, coal, and natural gas profits. The money made by any one of these corporations dwarfs that of all the research grant money of all the universities and colleges in the world put together.

    Honestly, if you really think money is motive for lies, then you should look who has the most to gain by lying. It’s not climatologists, that’s for damned sure.

  12. kat wagner

    @Belfagor. Here you go. Here’s some science. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05528.html/ Especially read the part about “minus 30 temps for at least five days.”

  13. Febo

    He really should have address the idiocy of her comment “you’re the kooky one” by pointing out that he was not claiming that climate change is happening based on his own authority, but based on the analysis of evidence by climate scientists over the past few decades. Whether or not the fires in CO are a result of climate change says nothing about the fact that it is happening and that human beings are contributing to it, and that if it continues it will be bad for human society.

  14. Daniel J. Andrews

    Just because we aren’t nice doesn’t mean we are wrong. Get over it. ;-) (tongue-in-cheek for that last part). But “niceness” doesn’t equate to being right or wrong. The evidence does. By all accounts Newton was a rather despicable individual, but he sure was right about a number of things. (oops, MadScientist beat me to it).

    Belfagor said,

    The data for global warming is about as irrefutable as science can get, but I have yet to see ANY data for the wildfire-global warming link. If the link is scientific, it should be discussed scientifically.

    The links have been, and are being, discussed in the peer-reviewed journals, and for quite a while now. More than 40 years and much longer, no doubt, if you consider the predictions (e.g. earlier springs = more time for veg to dry out; earlier thunderstorms = earlier fires, and with increased dry base from early snowmelt, you get fiercer fires; also increased beetle kill as winters aren’t cold enough to kill them off and you have thousands of hectares of dead dry trees ready to burn–and dead spruce and needles burn extraordinarily scarily well in the case of spruce beetle kills in northern BC, Yukon and Alaska). There are many many links for different regions. Perhaps you’re looking for actual numbers and a significant correlation between fires and temperatures???

  15. Well said, Bill Nye. :-)

    Ecveryone please set aside the politics, look at the science and the figures and what the graphs are saying and where they’re trending.

    Here’s a couple of examples to read and contemplate :

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/06/25/duluth-storm-yet-another-postcard-from-the-future/

    &

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    The arctic sea ice is a particularly key “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) as I prefer to call it and is also a big feedback with albedo changing so that vastly more heat is absorbed than reflected.

    Plus watch :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9ob9WdbXx0&feature=related

    With renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough concisely and dramatically showing and explaining a graph showing that, yes, it is us who are doing this.

    In addition, check out the Co2 Now website linked to my name here – good graphs and figures there too albiet surprisingly they don’t seem to have been updated to the current month yet.

    This is what we’re seeing and measuring and the trend is why we should be worried.

  16. Gravee

    I saw Bill here in Boulder last week with a smoke cloud literally over shadowing a comparative climate conference. Record highs and dry weather equal high fire danger. And the neighborhood that burned in the springs wasn’t due to forest mismanagement. It was due to it being hot and dry.

  17. Patricia D.

    There are a lot of stupid people working at CNN. She’s certainly as bad as an others that were my reason for not watching CNN at ALL for a couple of decades now. She’s pretty bad – and suggest she need a good bitch-slapping for insulting this Science Icon. She knows nothing.

  18. Also in the now traditional reminder here :

    Please climate contrarians before you comment here check out :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    &

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=potholer54+climate+change&oq=Potholer&gs_l=youtube.1.0.35i39l2j0l8.30342.31855.0.34788.8.8.0.0.0.0.640.1544.3-1j0j2.3.0…0.0.a3zMIx9crBw

    Plus click on my name for the link to Peter Sinclair’s Climate Crocks youtube series.

    Seriously, check through all those before posting anything that will make you look foolish here because chances are your argument(s) has already been addressed and debunked on one – or even all – of those places.

  19. mudskipper

    FYI, if you want to see a better interview without the rude commentator, try this one from MSNBC:

    http://leanforward.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/02/12531453-bill-nye-the-science-guy-explains-the-colorado-wildfires?lite

    My apologies if someone already linked to this above. I didn’t read through the comments.

    I don’t recommend reading the comments… The stupid… it burns…

  20. shunt1

    Sixteen of the last seventeen years have been the hotest on record????

    That is such a false statement that I am pissing nails!

    Only if you are allowed to alter the historical records and falsify the data. What planet is he talking about, because it is not Earth.

    The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. The perfect temperature was not created on the day that you were born.

    Deal with it!

  21. Gordon

    The CNN reporter did not do an interview. Her job should be to get the most truthful information to the audience. She just picked a fight and played climate change denier. The sooner CNN leaves the planet the better.

  22. shunt1

    Can ANYONE show me temperature records from your home town that shows a temperature increase that is warmer for the last sixteen of the last seventeen years?

    ANYONE?

    You are correct Phil. The two sides are not equal.

    Show me the data from Boulder tht can prove to us that the last sixteen have been the warmest in the last seventeen years.

    I dare you!

  23. shunt1

    Anyone?

    This should be very simple to report the temperature records of your location for the last 17 years.

    Were the last 16 of 17 years the hotest on record for your location?

    True or false.

    A simple question…

    If you lie to me on something this simple and basic, how can I believe anything else that you say?

    Please do not use that “global” excuse. Now is your chance for ANYBODY to provide thier local temperature data. Anybody can show that their local temperature has been the warmest in the last 16 of 17 years of historical data.

  24. noen

    shunt1 said: “Can ANYONE show me temperature records from your home town that shows a temperature increase that is warmer for the last sixteen of the last seventeen years?”

    Yes I can. Check my previous comments. Winters are on average four degrees warmer in New York state than in the 70′s.

    “Show me the data from Boulder tht can prove to us that the last sixteen have been the warmest in the last seventeen years.”

    The Washington Post noted on Sunday that scientists had been warning for years that because of warming weather and severe droughts, Colorado’s “table was set” for monster wildfires like the ones currently sweeping through the state.

    Colorado’s table was set for monster fire

    No one predicted fires like the current ones, but years ago climate scientists warned state and federal officials that they could start seeing early springs, more hot and dry weather, and frequent and perhaps severe droughts, Doesken said.

    The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder was among the first to sound an alarm.

    Climate scientists there saw temperatures warming nationwide. Rain cycles changed from mild and prolonged to hard and short. During the longer dry spells, land was susceptible to burns, said Bob Henson, meteorologist and science writer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

    Colorado is in the middle of “a terrible dry period,” Henson said. The snowpack statewide was less than 3 percent of the normal level on June 1.about the time the fires started.

    With a warming climate, authorities are going to need to be more active in managing forests to limit wildfire damage, scientists say.

    You need to explain how CO2 is not a green house gas.

  25. noen

    Sunny D said: “Bill Nye is not a nice man nor is he a scientist. After seeing him rudely question Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Apollo astronaut, sixth man on the moon) about his testimony that the Roswell incident was real”

    Dr. Edgar Mitchell has no valid testimony of the Roswell incident because he was never there. Bill Nye was very patient in that video. It was the UFO cultists who were rude and did not allow him to speak uninterrupted. We know what happened at Roswell. It was a radar target information of which was classified due to the cold war. The principle “witness” that UFO cultists have was a known pathological liar. Others were actively delusional schizophrenics.

  26. shunt1

    Noen:

    Please locate and post the weather data at your location for the last 17 years…

    That should be very easy for you to do.

    Someone is not being honest and I am calling for the cards to be placed upon the table.

    Later;
    Steve

    P.S: Having worked at WSMR for 14 years, the scientists loved when a UFO researcher was invited to the Officer’s club for a presentation. Most of us had “beyond” Top Secret clearances and were just as curious about the subject as anyone else. Who knows what happened, but we are people just like anyone else and curious as any scientist should be.

  27. serenity

    shunt1: Here’s data for my home town: http://www.tutiempo.net/en/Climate/Uppsala/24580.htm

    Note how in the late 70s, the usual average temperature (the T column) appears to be around 4.8-5 C, while 6-7 C is the new average – except for 2010, that one year exception mentioned.

    Oops! Didn’t expect anyone to deliver, did you? Finding that data wasn’t very hard, and my city has only had <200k inhabitants during this time span…

  28. shunt1

    Nobody can provide data that will support Bill Nye’s statement?

    Perhaps it is time that we file a class action lawsuit against this individual for presenting false information.

    Just like drug companies passing the long process of FDA approval and then having thousands of private citizens join together into a class action lawsuit because they have been personally harmed.

    Prove to us that what Bill Nye said was correct!

  29. serenity

    Besides, isn’t that 17 years thing a global average? If so, you can’t disprove it by finding opposing LOCAL data; you can’t expect EVERY single city on earth to heat up exactly the same!

    shunt1: Stop spamming and wait for Phil to accept my comment and you’ll see my answer, with a link provided that shows a clear increase in average temperature in my city.

  30. solitha

    @shunt1

    Obviously you’re unacquainted with the concepts “on record” and “global”.

    “On record” means recorded. It doesn’t mean anytime within Earth’s history, but what we actually have observed and recorded data for.

    “Global” means average worldwide temperatures, not “from your hometown”.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globtemp.html

  31. shunt1

    If the data is correct, then anyone on Earth should be able to provide data from their location that will support the claim of the warmest 16 years.

    Can ANYONE on this Earth provide the data from their personal location that supports what Bill Nye stated?

    No spam my friend, just requesting a simple reality check!

    Or, are you afraid of reality?

  32. shunt1

    Serenity:

    Ok, when I can view the provided link of your city, and it does show that your local temperatures have been the highest ever for the last 16 of 17 years, then you will get my most sincere apology.

    My case is that nobody on Earth can provide data where their location has actually warmed beyond historical limits for the last 16 of 17 years.

    I kinda suspect that the data will not support you, but to be fair, I will wait for your reply.

    Please view the video from Bill Nye, so that you know exactly what I was so upset about.

  33. noen

    shunt1 said: “Please locate and post the weather data at your location for the last 17 years…”

    It’s in the previous thread but because it has a link is in moderation.

    “Nobody can provide data that will support Bill Nye’s statement?”

    Also posted but still in moderation.

    “anyone on Earth should be able to provide data from their location that will support the claim of the warmest 16 years.”

    No, it is not a prediction of global warming that everywhere on Earth will have the same experience.

  34. Kim

    @shunt1: I don’t have the weather history of my city, nor would it prove useful. The name is *global* warming because the average temperature of the whole globe is rising, but it may present itself differently in each region, including lower local average temperature. As Phil pointed in his previous post, we are already experiencing the kinds of changes that were predicted: drier weather, fiercer storms, larger floods…

    My own example is the “cashew rain”, that used to happen in the first week of August at my hometown after a dry period starting in June. It’s something recorded in the city’s culture, dating back for at least 200 years. I’ve seen it change while I still lived there, and if I’m not mistaken, last year they had an extra two weeks of dryness. It may not seem much, but its a desert-level dryness that force schools to close, raise wildfires incidences and respiratory problemas, and such that we soaked the floor before sleeping to raise the humidity in our room, just to find it dry the next morning.

    It’s just an anedocte, not a string of historical temperatures and humidity levels, but I’m sure everywhere there are similar tales on how the weather is changing quickly.

  35. shunt1

    @Kim:

    It can not be global is nobody can show their own location with the same trend. Difficult concept to understand, but eventually you will figure it out.

    @Noen:

    Switching over to our previous thread and will review your comments with interest. Most important to me, is to understand why you must have the Earth destroyed in your world view. I will honestly keep an open mind, since I simply do not understand.

  36. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (6) said:

    Bill Nye is not a nice man nor is he a scientist. After seeing him rudely question Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Apollo astronaut, sixth man on the moon) about his testimony that the Roswell incident was real (on Larry King Live) I have lost all respect for this man and will never listen to another word he says.

    Wasn’t Ed Mitchell the guy who got chucked out of the astronaut programme for conducting secret ESP “experiments” on the way to the moon?

    Being an astronaut does not make someone right about unrelated stuff.

  37. Nigel Depledge

    Jorge P (7) said:

    Just more trolling for climate change dollars. Papers need to be published, grants need to applied for. It’s a living, of a sort.

    And Bill Nye is no scientist.

    Quite obviously, neither are you.

    There’s far more money in GW-denial than in climatology research. Your speculation is unsupported, unjustifiable and defamatory. Were you intending to make a case, or are you just trolling?

  38. serenity

    shunt1: I said that Phil has to approve it, because it’s in the moderation queue.

    I’ll try to get around that, sorry about that Phil, but I’m sure we can agree that this link isn’t malicious: www tutiempo net/en/Climate/Uppsala/24580.htm

    Substitute dots for spaces, of course.
    And, again, that’s the FIRST link I found after looking for less than 15 seconds.

  39. Gunnar

    @Nigel Depledge:

    “There’s far more money in GW-denial than in climatology research. Your speculation is unsupported, unjustifiable and defamatory.”

    Exactly! What would lead any sane scientist to believe that he would get more or larger grants by concluding that AGW is a real and troubling phenomenon than by concluding the contrary?

    Besides that (contrary to what climate denialists insist), the issue of climate change is not really a liberal vs conservative issue (or shouldn’t be). Included among the 98% of climate researchers who affirm the truth of AGW are both conservatives and liberals, devoutly religious and non-religious. Richard Alley, for example, one of the foremost and most respected of those who recognize the reality of AGW is, IIRC, a political conservative.

    Finally, the insinuation that 97 to 98% of all scientists in this or any other field of science are all liars or incompetents is way beyond stupid, as well as defamatory!

  40. bassmanpete

    @shunt1, you’ve obviously loaded your mind with bulls— and everyone here has been pussyfooting around you because they don’t want to pull your trigger and get covered in the resulting s—storm. Why don’t you just go away and fertilise your veggie patch. As Kim said, we’re talking global averages; individual localities mean nothing on their own.

  41. Mike G

    Shunt, it’s only a difficult concept if your ideology depends on the belief that massive conspiracy abounds. If the hottest year on record averaged 25C in Las Cruces and Alamogordo but last year averaged 24 in Las Cruces and 27 in Alamogordo, if this year comes in at 27 for Las Cruces and 24 Alamogordo then the past 2 years will be the hottest on record for the region even if both years weren’t the 2 hottest for either city. Not a difficult concept at all.

  42. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (19) said:

    The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. The perfect temperature was not created on the day that you were born.

    Deal with it!

    This is typical climate-contrarian nonsense.

    Of course Earth has had warmer periods in the distant past. IIUC the Carboniferous and the Jurassic were both very much warmer than today.

    This is utterly irrelevant.

    What we have today that Earth has never had in the past is a human civilisation that is extremely vulnerable to such impacts of warming as changing rainfall patterns and rises in sea-level.

    Did you have a point that was germane to the discussion, or were you just trolling?

  43. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (21) said:

    Can ANYONE show me temperature records from your home town that shows a temperature increase that is warmer for the last sixteen of the last seventeen years?

    Ah. It is clear that you do not understand the meaning of the word “average”.

  44. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (22) said:

    Anyone?

    This should be very simple to report the temperature records of your location for the last 17 years.

    Were the last 16 of 17 years the hotest on record for your location?

    True or false.

    A simple question…

    Simple on the face of it, yes, but also irrelevant and meaningless.

    What is increasing is the global average temperature. I don’t know if the “16 out of the last 17 years” statement is accurate, but (IIUC) it is true that at least 9 of the last 12 or so years have had the highest average temperatures on record.

    If you lie to me on something this simple and basic, how can I believe anything else that you say?

    Erm, well you could judge each argument by its own merits, rather than make an ad hominem conclusion (IOW, if someone says one thing that is provably wrong you ignore every other point or argument they make irrespective of the validity of the statement).

    Please do not use that “global” excuse.

    It’s not an “excuse”. It’s the whole frakking point.

    If temps were increasing substantially in just one or two isolated places on Earth, nobody would care very much. Increasing global average temperature, OTOH, is something to get worried about.

    Now is your chance for ANYBODY to provide thier local temperature data. Anybody can show that their local temperature has been the warmest in the last 16 of 17 years of historical data.

    To what end?

    Even if someone could produce such data (and I’d be very surprised if anyone could, to be frank), how could it possibly make any current AGW-doubter suddenly accept AGW?

    Your challenge is meaningless and childish. Go away until you have learned something of value.

  45. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (27) said:

    If the data is correct, then anyone on Earth should be able to provide data from their location that will support the claim of the warmest 16 years.

    What utter bovine faecal matter.

    Of course we cannot expect every locality to reflect the average trend. Otherwise, we’d never need to take an average.

    Can ANYONE on this Earth provide the data from their personal location that supports what Bill Nye stated?

    No spam my friend, just requesting a simple reality check!

    Yes, it is spam. You posted about 7 or 8 comments in only 2 1/2 hours, in the middle of the night by, I assume, Phil’s local time zone. Most people only come here once a day if that, so you’ve hardly given anyone any opportunity to respond.

  46. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (28) said:

    My case is that nobody on Earth can provide data where their location has actually warmed beyond historical limits for the last 16 of 17 years.

    But you have made no effort to show why anyone should care.

  47. Wayne Bristol

    I like how she starts off by essentially saying “I searched google, and it said you were a silly man! explain yourself!”

    *eye roll*

  48. #32 Nigel:
    Yes, Mitchell was the one who conducted secret ESP “experiments” during Apollo 14. I don’t know whether he was thrown out of the astronaut corps, but when his commander, Alan Shepard, found out about it afterwards, he said he would have refused to have him on his crew, had he known in advance.

    #6 Sunny D:
    As others have already said, the fact that Mitchell was an astronaut does not automatically make him right on unrelated matters. I suspect that most of his fellow astronauts regard him as an embarrassment.
    Frankly, anyone who believes such ridiculous, unfounded drivel as the so-called “Roswell incident” doesn’t deserve any respect – even if he was an astronaut!
    Oh, and whether or not Bill Nye is a nice person ( and having met him, he seems a pretty decent guy to me ), is utterly irrlevant to the validity of his scientific arguments. As someone has already said, Sir Isaac Newton wasn’t a very nice individual. For that matter, some of my work colleagues don’t think I’m very nice – but none of them would suggest that I don’t know what I’m talking about with respect to doing my job!

  49. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (31) said:

    It can not be global is nobody can show their own location with the same trend. Difficult concept to understand, but eventually you will figure it out.

    Well, it is obviously too difficult a conccept for you to figure out.

    A global warming trend does not predict that any specific individual location will reflect the exact same trend all the time. Instead, it tells us something about the global aggregate behaviour of our atmosphere.

    Weather is complicated, and the data are very noisy. Taking a global average and annual averages smooths out some, but not all, of that noise. For example, imagine you divide the world’s cities into two groups, A and B. If cities in group A recorded record highs for 2000 but cities in group B recorded just-below average, and the opposite happened in 2001, and the two groups kept switching over the following (say) 10 years, then you’d still have an increasing trend in global average but no individual city would match that trend. And this is a trivial example that blows your contention out of the water.

    Seriously, you need to understand more about maths before you post anything else. Unless your next post is “sorry for being a dick”.

  50. Nigel Depledge

    @ Neil Haggath (43) -
    IIRC, NASA were pretty peeved at Mitchell, too. I was fairly sure they chucked him out, but cannot recall where I read that. I’ll need to check my books when I next have a spare quarter-hour.

  51. Shunt1 @ 24 and 25 wrote:

    P.S: Having worked at WSMR for 14 years…

    Noncom, or officer(if you were there 14 years, ask and answered)? What was your MOS?

    You might impress the un-informed with your specious credentials, but they mean nothing to me.
    FTR-My dad was the G2 for the 187th.

    Perhaps it is time that we file a class action lawsuit against this individual for presenting false information.

    Yeah… IANAL, but I think for tortious actions, first, one must have evidence that the respondent gained financially from his actions, and that the plaintiff suffered monetary loss.

    Put up or shut up loud mouth! How have you suffered financial hardship by, what is probably, hyperbole to counter-act the raving lunatics in the denialist camps?

  52. VinceRN

    Wow. Trolling really works. Even with smart people, though I guess he did have to work pretty hard for it, posting 8 comments to get 13 replies is probably not all that good a result in the trolling world. Sill, almost half the comments on this article contain his name, maybe that looks good in troll circles.

  53. ND

    shunt1,

    After reading your spam and other people’s responses, it becomes very clear to a lot of people that you do not understand what climatologists are actually talking about. You come across as a very desperate individual, spewing red herrings and straw man arguments. Please put some effort into understanding what climate change is about. It’s very infuriating when people try to counter with dishonest debating techniques.

  54. gamercow

    Please be aware of what shunt1 is: A completely myopic, self-centered, selfish troll. It is clearly apparent that he cares about no one but himself, his property, and those that live upon it. That is his prerogative, but it does not make him a good member of society, nor will it make him any more open to discussion. If a man is unwilling to do his part in even a local society(paying taxes), he certainly will not be interested in a global phenomenon. He is not interested in discussion, merely chest-beating rhetoric.

    In short, don’t feed the troll.

  55. noen

    Shunt1 said “It can not be global is nobody can show their own location with the same trend. Difficult concept to understand, but eventually you will figure it out.”

    All the information you need to understand global warming is freely available to you. You appear to have the time. Go, read, learn.

    “Most important to me, is to understand why you must have the Earth destroyed in your world view. I will honestly keep an open mind, since I simply do not understand.”

    I never said the Earth will be destroyed. However the affects of global warming will be a disaster to us humans because many millions of people will be displaced or die. That will have severe political implications that I think qualify as a disaster.

  56. Rich

    I hold a degree in Meteorology, which makes me a scientist, even though I never practiced professionally. Bill Nye may not have a degree in science, but he’s done more work in science in his career than I ever will. So much for that argument.

    shunt1, the data is out there. I’ve seen it. It exists. Go look it up yourself. You won’t be able to make much out of it, because there is so much of it. More than you can possibly comprehend. That’s why we have researchers who make it their entire career work to make sense of those numbers, based on scientific principles. You should try it sometime. But a warning: You won’t get rich doing it. Nobody ever has.

  57. Weak ego people who need to be right all the time tend to be wrong much more than average. It’s too bad they’re so profoundly stupid that they put their own needs and short sighted greed (or whatever) before what would ultimately be better for everyone – including the short-sighted.

    Humans don’t do anything for anyone other than themselves. No, I’m not willing to be the first to take myself out (that’s to whatever troll thinks he’s clever by suggesting it). But the fact remains, if we’re gone it’s a benefit to every other thing living on this planet (except maybe domesticated cats).

    On the flip side, if we kill of plankton every living thing is screwed. I know most of us understand that, but maybe if we can explain to some people who don’t understand but are willing to listen that the lower on the food chain something is, the more important it is, that maybe we’ll get some people who are willing to at least say we should take the safest path.

    Gamercow is correct about Shunt and their ilk. They’re only worth responding to if they’re speaking to people who don’t have a concrete viewpoint and are confused about what’s going on.

  58. Edgar Mitchell~wise see :

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

    &

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/04/22/edgar-mitchell-is-at-it-again-yawn/

    FWIW, Wiki says merely that :

    He [Mitchell] remained with NASA until 1972, when he retired from the Navy.

    That was a year or so after his Apollo14 flight which landed on the 5th of February 1971. I don’t think Mitchell was fired for his ESP experiment although I don’t think NASA knew at the time or were overjoyed on hearing about it later.

    I have the very highest respect for all the Apollo astronauts – but they’re not perfect and Edgar Mitchell, sadly clearly went a bit loopy in his later years.

    Slightly off topic but check out this link :

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/06/30/dc-storms-if-we-did-not-have-global-warming-we-wouldnt-see-this/

    To see NBC TV weatherman Doug Kammerer making a similar point to Bill Nye. Plenty of graphs and evidence on the blog hosting that too.

    Oh & Shunt1 I’ve answered your question on the other thread too but click on my name here for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology climate change front webpage which contains plenty of information links and data to answer that question and many more. My city if it helps is Adelaide.

  59. Sunny D

    #23 noen: I do not see how Bill Nye was “very patient” in the video when he interuppted Mitchell so much that even Larry King felt he needed to step in momentarily.

    #8 Joesixpack, #9 MadScientist: Global warming cannot be compared to 2+2=4. It is a vastly complex system. Also, “just because Bill Nye is a scientist doesn’t mean he’s not right” is not true. You must be a scientist to have any opinion worth listening to regarding global warming, let alone be able to understand it! Observe all the back-and-forth attacking on this page. Are people not arguing over small facts like temperature changes? It’s a very difficult issue to understand. I don’t know if anyone understands it.

    Anyway, I never wished to argue that Mitchell was right about an unrelated subject. That is his testimony so we’ll leave it at that. But it appears that people have been hypocritical in their statements: that because Mitchell was a “kook” for believing in ESP that he cannot be believed for the Roswell incident. And yet they say despite that Bill Nye was not a “nice man” (or a smart one, I should have rather said) who is also “not a scientist” that doesn’t mean that his statement about global warming should not be taken seriously.

    And yes, many scientists are “not nice.” But Bill Nye was rude and didn’t wait to listen carefully, let alone ask good questions, which is something most “not nice” scientists including Newton would do.

  60. Pat Myers

    Wow, forgive my language but what a colossal bitch. She really didn’t need to throw all that attitude at a respected scientist. It just shows how incredibly weak her position is that her first sentence was a personal attack. Good job, CNN. Try hiring adults next time.

  61. Jon C.

    “That wacky guy on TV who doesn’t know what he’s doing” I’m not really sure what show she was watching but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t Bill Nye the science guy, nor any other show on which I’ve seen him.

    For those wanting data: NASA has data. Right here: http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/index.cfm

  62. truthspeaker

    CNN has never been interested in responsible journalism. Their mission has always been to get ratings to they can sell advertising.

  63. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ Pat Myers :

    Wow, forgive my language but what a colossal bitch. She really didn’t need to throw all that attitude at a respected scientist. It just shows how incredibly weak her position is that her first sentence was a personal attack. Good job, CNN. Try hiring adults next time.

    I guess, in fairness, it may well be that she was reading a script and doesn’t actually think the words put in her mouth? Dunno. It did seem more like a Fox news type intro – although, again to be fair, I’ve never seen either Fox or CNN myself – being an Aussie and all. Not good however, certainly. Bill Nye deserved better respect.

    Off topic but curious, are you any relation of PZ “Pharnygula” Myers? (Sorry, bet you get that a lot.)

  64. Nigel Depledge

    Rich (56) said:

    I hold a degree in Meteorology, which makes me a scientist, even though I never practiced professionally.

    This is arguable.

    If your degree is a Bachelor’s it is unlikely that you would have had more than a snapshot of what science is.

    When I started my PhD, I thought I knew a thing or two. I was wrong. What I had was a grasp of the basics, but the actual process of science is very different from what one learns in an undergraduate degree.

  65. Good on you, Nye; way to throw that bimbo to the wall. No wonder CNN’s ratings are in the toilet. The only difference between them and Fox is that CNN does a really crappy job of pretending to not be Fox. At least Fox is honest about what they are and what they’re about.

    They’ve had a long history of this kind of crap. I watched the events in Egypt leading up to the fall of Hosni Mubarak on Al Jazeera back in February a year ago; one evening I took a break to run down to the kitchen for a sandwich and a beer, and stopped off at the bedroom where my wife had CNN’s coverage on. I knew US television news was inane and idiotic, but I never realized just how brain-dead it was until I spent most of a day watching Al Jazeera cover an event, then watched it on CNN. CNN’s supposed “pundits” didn’t even have anything remotely resembling a clue. Watching CNN’s coverage of the Egyptian Revolution was like watching it through the wrong end of a telescope.

    …and don’t even get me started about CNN’s grotesque Whitney Houston Deathgasm.

    Gotta give CNN credit for one thing, though; they were pioneers in the now-standard journalistic practice of having rainsuit-clad reporters doing stand-ups in the middle of a frickin’ hurricane.

  66. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (58) said:

    FWIW, Wiki says merely that :

    He [Mitchell] remained with NASA until 1972, when he retired from the Navy.

    That was a year or so after his Apollo14 flight which landed on the 5th of February 1971. I don’t think Mitchell was fired for his ESP experiment although I don’t think NASA knew at the time or were overjoyed on hearing about it later.

    I have the very highest respect for all the Apollo astronauts – but they’re not perfect and Edgar Mitchell, sadly clearly went a bit loopy in his later years.

    Well, there you go. I stand corrected.

  67. amphiox

    Sixteen of the last seventeen years have been the hotest on record????

    That is such a false statement that I am pissing nails!

    Not false at all. The link to the data has already been provided.

    The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. The perfect temperature was not created on the day that you were born.

    See, this would be a valid criticism if the statement had said “hottest years ever”, and had not included the “on record” qualifier. But guess what, the statement DOES include the “on record qualifier.

  68. noen

    Sunny D said: “I do not see how Bill Nye was “very patient” in the video when he interuppted Mitchell so much that even Larry King felt he needed to step in momentarily.”

    I don’t know which video you are talking about. There’s more than one on YouTube. In the one I’ve seen Bill Nye starts to speak and is immediately silenced by Larry King who is overly deferential to Mitchell. Who appears to me to have a victim attitude.

    A lot of UFO cultists along with Christian fundamentalists have this victim hood personality because their beliefs are so out of step with the larger culture they’ve become a laughing stock. Mitchell makes no credible claims in the videos of him that I’ve seen. All he does is pass along gossip that he’s heard and pretends it’s evidence.

    “Also, “just because Bill Nye is a scientist doesn’t mean he’s not right” is not true. “

    Actually it is a perfectly valid logical deduction. That Bill Nye is a scientists does not imply that he is wrong.

    “It’s a very difficult issue to understand.”

    Global warming is not difficult to understand at all. Heat from the sun strikes the Earth. Some gets absorbed but much is reflected into space. CO2 in the air traps and absorbs some of the infrared radiation that would otherwise be lost and holds it in the environment, warming the climate. The earth would be a frozen snowball if there were no CO2.

    This is eighth grade Earth science.

    “it appears that people have been hypocritical in their statements: that because Mitchell was a “kook” for believing in ESP that he cannot be believed for the Roswell incident.”

    That is not being hypocritical at all. The fact that Mitchell has false unscientific beliefs suggests he may hold equally irrational beliefs about other things.

    “But Bill Nye was rude and didn’t wait to listen carefully, let alone ask good questions”

    His questions were perfectly reasonable and exposed Mitchell for the quack he is. That is why he got upset. Because Bill Nye was rudely exposing his lies.

  69. Rich

    64 Nigel: Hey doc, thanks for explaining the context of my post for all those uneducated people out there who couldn’t figure it out the first time! You’re a really really smart guy!

  70. Joseph J Marcus

    Love Bill Nye. Also, Bow Ties are Cool.

    Just a little fun fodder.

  71. Pareidolius

    Back in my new age days, I worked for Whole Life Expo in California and we had ol’ Ed speak at a couple of our events. All I remember about him, besides that his worldview was utterly soaking in pseudoscientific woo, was that he was quite crabby and would snap at anyone who did not refer to him as DOCTOR Mitchell at all times.

  72. BCFD36

    I couldn’t wade through all the comments so someone may have already gone this route. Bill is right about being hot and very dry making the fires more common. However, the hot and dry does not make them more INTENSE. Hot and dry (fuel moisture) and low humidity (all of which Colorado has) make the fires START easier, and easier to maintain themselves. But it is the fuel load (the amount of grass/brush/timber/etc.) which makes the fires more intense. In the areas that haven’t been burned or have not had the undergrowth cleared, the fires are much more intense than they would normally be. It is common to see massive fires run up to an area that has either been managed or burned, and the fires just lay down. A good example is the “Old Fire” (if I remember correctly) in southern California a few years ago.

    Sometimes the fires need to burn. I’m not stating that about these particular fires because I don’t know the area, etc. But I have been on fires where I thought they should be allowed to continue for awhile to clear out the mess. Instead, we put them out.

    Dave Scruggs
    Captain, Boulder Creek Fire (Calif.)

  73. Sunny D

    @noen: You’re still attacking Ed Mitchell for his testimony. I’m not here to do that.
    I’m stating that I don’t think Bill Nye deserves credibility to speak on the topic of global warming (or anything really) because of the immaturity he displayed on Larry King Live.

    So you feel Bill Nye was exposing Ed Mitchell? He asked about Ed Mitchell’s testimony that “old-timers” told him that the Roswell incident was real. Just a testimony. Bill Nye felt that unless Ed Mitchell had been told deathbed confessions that he doesn’t have a good testimony. Which is debatable. But you don’t display professionalism by interuppting and asking a stupid question like “did you interview these people on their death bed?” to someone who is explaining their story.

    Bill Nye’s questions were not “perfectly reasonable.” In fact, nothing is “perfectly” reasonable! How does his question “expose” Mitchell? It is simply a testimony! You seem to be under the impression that it is okay to rudely attack someone who has a story to tell, ignoring all professionalism. Imagine if witnesses at trials were interuppted during their testimony! Who would look like the real fool?

    I meant to say this is hypocritical because of the following two conclusions:
    1. Bill Nye is not a scientist yet his opinion is of significance despite his lack of experience in the field of environmental science.
    2. Ed Mitchell has no credibility regarding the Roswell incident because he was “not there.” Also he’s a quack for believing in ESP.

    See the difference? It is hypocritical because someone chooses who they want to believe rather than who actually has credibility regarding the issue.

    Would Earth be a frozen snowball without CO2? No. Other gases would compensate, like water vapor: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=if-carbon-dioxide-makes-u. Yes, the Earth would be colder, but the greenhouse effect depends on many gases.

    Is this really eight-grade science? You sound almost arrogant. It is a theory regarding changing one variable in a system of millions of variables. How is this not complex?

    By your logic, doesn’t it make sense to kill all the “genetically unfit individuals” in the world’s population in order to make a stronger human population? (This “scientific movement” led to the Holocaust). Doesn’t it make sense kill all the wolves in order to increase the number of elk in an environment (this led to the Yellowstone National Park catastrophe)? You’re considering a simple answer to a complex problem.

    Here’s an interesting fact:
    “Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.”

    “At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present.”

    “CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans”

    Once again, it’s a complex matter.

  74. Ian

    shunt1 you’re the perfect definition of a troll. Knowing fully that most people don’t have quick access to such data nor do they have time to acquire it. This creates the illusion of a lack of evidence, yet no one owes you the time and effort

  75. Steve Metzler

    Sunny D (#74):

    These are standard denier PRATTs (Point Refuted A Thousand Times) that you regurgitate here at the end of your post:

    Here’s an interesting fact:
    “Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.”

    Firstly, the figure for mankind’s contribution of CO2 is more like 30 billion tons annually rather than 6. So the figures you quote (source?) are probably for C (carbon) alone rather than CO2. The atomic weight of C is 12, while CO2 is about 44. So the ratio is 44/12 = 3.67. So last year’s global emissions of C alone were about 30/3.67 = 8.17 billion tonnes of C. So your figures are also way out of date. In fact, I think they are from about 1996, because I remember the ~180 billion ton figure pertaining to the ocean and other sources from a diagramme I saw from that time period.

    But the important thing here is that before mankind came onto the scene, the carbon cycle was *in balance*. And we have upset that delicate balance. More on that below.

    “At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present.”

    Ah. My favourite denier CO2 canard. The fact is that for the past million years or so, CO2 has varied from ~180ppm in the depths of an ice age to ~280ppm between ice ages. Now, just in the past 250 years or so, we have brought that figure to ~390ppm – a staggering increase of 40%! So an increase of ~100ppm is enough to help bring us out of an ice age, yet you see no problem with us cranking up the volume, so to speak, another 100+ppm?!

    Even though it is a trace gas, its properties for blocking outgoing IR are well known/demonstrated. There used to be 4kg of CO2 above every square metre of the Earth’s surface. Now there are 6kg.

    “CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans”

    Not true at all! The excess CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere, and will remain there for 100′s if not 1000′s of years.

  76. noen

    Sunny D said: “Would Earth be a frozen snowball without CO2? No.”

    FROM YOUR LINK

    “This is known as the greenhouse effect and without it our planet’s surface would likely be frozen, like Mars.”

    “Is this really eight-grade science?”

    Yes, it is. The account I gave you and the one in your Scientific American link are at an elementary school level. It can of course be as complex as you like but that doesn’t invalidate the simpler presentations. However, we have to begin at the broadest and simplest level first and then build from that foundation.

    “By your logic, doesn’t it make sense to kill all the “genetically unfit individuals” in the world’s population in order to make a stronger human population?”

    I said NOTHING that would suggest such a thing. Anyone who even thought that such actions were “logical” or scientific doesn’t know jack squat about genetics. That you think it is only shows how deeply ignorant you really are.

    “only 6 billion tons are from human activity”

    Humans contribute 29 giga tons of CO2 compared to the 750 giga tons of CO2 in the natural carbon cycle. Which is indeed a small amount. However, because CO2 stays in the air for centuries it builds up over time. Human contributed CO2 upsets the balance of the carbon cycle and …… over time … has real effects on the climate.

    “CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere”

    Irrelevant. I could introduce into your room a very small amount of cyanide gas and I assure you that tiny amount would have a large effect on your well being.

    “CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled”

    Yes, it’s called the carbon cycle and is something I learned in 8th grade Earth science. But there is only so much CO2 the ocean and other carbon sinks can absorb. What is left, our contribution, stays and accumulates.

    “I don’t think Bill Nye deserves credibility to speak on the topic of global warming (or anything really) because of the immaturity he displayed on Larry King Live.”

    He did not interrupt Mitchel, he tried to speak up and was told by Larry to hold his question, which he did.

    “I meant to say this is hypocritical because of the following…….”

    I see no hypocrisy. “Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, comedian, television host, actor, mechanical engineer, and scientist.” So it seems he has the credentials as a science educator to educate the public on scientific issues. Ed Mitchell has no credibility to speak on the Roswell incident because he is not a witness and can only repeat rumors and gossip that people tell him. On their deathbed or not does not matter, it is still rumors he heard and is therefore hearsay and inadmissible in any court of law. The fact that he propagates rumors as if they are valid evidence disqualifies him in my opinion, as does believing in the pseudoscience of ESP.

  77. Messier Tidy Upper

    @66. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (58) said: FWIW, Wiki says merely that :
    “He [Mitchell] remained with NASA until 1972, when he retired from the Navy.”
    Well, there you go. I stand corrected.

    No worries, you’ve picked me up on the odd thing from time to time too. Its also just what wikipedia says and it could be that there was some “pushing” for his retirement but not as far as I know.

    @74. Sunny D :

    Here’s an interesting fact:
    “Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.”

    “At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present.”
    “CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans”
    Once again, it’s a complex matter.</I.

    What is your source for those interesting facts?

    Here’s another interesting fact only a few drops of LSD can make you perceptions of reality change very radically. A small quanity of snake venom can you make youextremely ill. Yes, carbon dioxide isn’t a major compoent of our atmsohere but the amount of it is still enough tohave a key role inour climate and increasing that amount by 40% or so 0-and ever growing is going to alter theatmosphere more than significantlyenough tohave major effects.

  78. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (59) said:

    But it appears that people have been hypocritical in their statements: that because Mitchell was a “kook” for believing in ESP that he cannot be believed for the Roswell incident.

    It’s not that he can’t be believed about Roswell per se (that would be an ad hominem), it’s more that he’s no use as an authority figure on the subject, or on any subject apart from the Apollo programme and whatever aspects of aviation are covered by his experience.

  79. Nigel Depledge

    @ Rich (69) -

    Huh?

    You claimed to be a scientist because of your degree. As I said in #64, that statement is arguable. Or perhaps outright wrong.

    What’s your problem, exactly?

    By way of comparison, the well-known creationist Jonathan Wells has a PhD in a biological science, but is most definitely not a scientist. Being a scientist isn’t about getting a qualification, it’s about what you do and how you do it.

  80. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (74) said:

    I’m stating that I don’t think Bill Nye deserves credibility to speak on the topic of global warming (or anything really) because of the immaturity he displayed on Larry King Live.

    This is an ad hominem.

    Just because he was, IYO, immature does not necessarily mean he did not have a good point.

  81. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (74) said:

    I meant to say this is hypocritical because of the following two conclusions:
    1. Bill Nye is not a scientist yet his opinion is of significance despite his lack of experience in the field of environmental science.
    2. Ed Mitchell has no credibility regarding the Roswell incident because he was “not there.” Also he’s a quack for believing in ESP.

    See the difference? It is hypocritical because someone chooses who they want to believe rather than who actually has credibility regarding the issue.

    Alternatively, this could be an irrelevant side issue, because the various arguments can be judged by their own merits and by their evidentiary support.

  82. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (74) said:

    Would Earth be a frozen snowball without CO2? No. Other gases would compensate, like water vapor: [URL omitted]. Yes, the Earth would be colder, but the greenhouse effect depends on many gases.

    I don’t buy this, your link to Scientific American notwithstanding.

    The Earth has – AFAWCT – undergone at least one period of global glaciation. Again, as far as we can tell, this was due to CO2 depletion. I believe that there is a credible candidate for the main process that drove this CO2 depletion at the time, but I don’t recall what it is.

    Water vapour as a greenhouse gas is an important component of the system, but it responds to many other factors, and drives nothing by itself. The reason for this is simple, if you think about it. Small increases in average temperature lead to increased amounts of water vapour in the atmosphere, and vice versa. Since water is ubiquitous on Earth’s surface (yes, even high deserts like the Atacama have water vapour in the air), it acts as an amplifier to other influences on climate. But, because the atmosphere is saturated with water vapour over most of the Earth’s surface most of the time, water vapour does not drive climate change.

  83. TheBlackCat

    “Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.”

    “At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present.”

    “CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans”

    What I find most ironic is that the third point directly refutes the first, if you think about it for half a second. If you think about the first, we should be hotter than Venus right now because of all the CO2 being pumped out over the last few billion years. On the other hand, if the recycled CO2 was far exceeding the output, then Earth should be much colder than it is.

    So there must have been some sort of balance between inputs and outputs prior to humans coming along. So it should have been roughly output=input, or input-output=0. So you start adding human contributions, and inputs-output+humans>0.

    This is basic middle school science and pre-algebra. But Sunny D hasn’t even thought of the most basic implications of what he/she is claiming. So yes, of course you can make something seem complicated by refusing to think about it for 10 seconds, but that doesn’t mean it is complicated.

    And anyone who has learned about toxins in middle school biology would know that small amounts of a substance can have large effects.

    So no, those points do not indicate its complicated to anyone past grade 7 or 8.

  84. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (74) said:

    Is this really eight-grade science? You sound almost arrogant. It is a theory regarding changing one variable in a system of millions of variables. How is this not complex?

    The basics that underpin the greenhouse effect are indeed simple. CO2 causes warming through the greenhouse effect. Therefore, changes in CO2 lead to changes in warming.

    It only gets complex when you start to drill into the fine detail of the system.

    By your logic, doesn’t it make sense to kill all the “genetically unfit individuals” in the world’s population in order to make a stronger human population? (This “scientific movement” led to the Holocaust).

    No, and no. While a scientific gloss was indeed put over Eugenics movements, science only tells us what is, not what ought to be done.

    In a similar way, the science of climatology tells us what effect human activities have had and are having on Earth’s climate, and what is likely to happen if we don’t change those activities. It doesn’t tell us what ought to be done about it.

    Doesn’t it make sense kill all the wolves in order to increase the number of elk in an environment (this led to the Yellowstone National Park catastrophe)? You’re considering a simple answer to a complex problem.

    Again, no. Science defines what the problem is, and may suggest some possible solutions.

    Your Yellowstone analogy falls down, because human activity was not causing an increase in wolves, and the depletion of wolves was not limited to some natural level that existed in equilibrium before humans got involved.

    Here’s an interesting fact:
    “Of the 186 billion tons of CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.”

    Citation needed.

    Last time I looked at actual figures on CO2 sources, human activity was equivalent to about 10 times the total output of all the volcanoes on Earth. Your figure of 6 billion tons / year sounds implausibly low.

    [Takes 2 minutes to look stuff up]

    . . . Yes. In 2009, human activities in the USA alone led to the emission of 5 billion tons of GHGs.

    “At 368 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present.”

    So what?

    That’s like saying that strychnine is insignificant if you get a dose of only 0.04 g/kg bodyweight, but you may find that it is rather significant.

    CO2 contributes about 10 – 20 % of the greenhouse effect from all GHGs including water vapour. This is a figure that matters.

    “CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans”

    Of course. This really is eighth-grade stuff. But the atmospheric concentration can only increase if CO2 is being added to the atmosphere faster than the carbon cycle can take it out, and this quite obviously is the current case. Therefore, the extra CO2 that human activities emit has overloaded the natural carbon cycle’s ability to remove CO2.

  85. Nigel Depledge

    Heh. Others have beat me to it in addressing Sunny D’s comment #74. Still, I like to think I add a certain flair . . .

  86. TheBlackCat

    @ Nigel:

    It only gets complex when you start to drill into the fine detail of the system.

    I would personally qualify this: it only gets complex when you start to drill into short time scales, effects in limited geographic areas, or small changes in CO2 levels.

    The principles are simple, and the overall effects are simple, it only gets complex when you want to look at very specific combination of factors at high accuracy.

    By comparison, it is easy to tell what is going to happen to a person if there is water around their ankles, and it is easy to tell what is going to happen when it is a meter (yard) above their head, but when it is right about mouth level things get more complicated (things like head angle, nasal congestion, wave height, etc. become important). That doesn’t make the general principles involved any more complex though, it just makes it more difficult to make very specific predictions.

  87. #76 Steve:
    PRATTs – I like it!!!! With your permission, I’ll use that term on my web site, and credit it to you.

  88. Steve Metzler

    88. Neil Haggath Says:

    #76 Steve:
    PRATTs – I like it!!!! With your permission, I’ll use that term on my web site, and credit it to you.

    Much as I’d like to, ‘fraid I can’t take any credit for coining that one. In fact, I think I first saw it being used by Messier Tidy Upper on an earlier AGW thread.

  89. TheBlackCat

    @ Steve Metzler: I see references to it Panda’s Thumb from 2007, a google hit from 2002, and it is in several online acronym databases. It is apparently a common internet debate term, originating with the evolution/creationism debates.

  90. Nigel Depledge

    @ TBC (87) -
    Yes, that’s a better way of putting it.

  91. James Evans

    Regarding Sunny D, Jorge P, et al, I think Sam Harris said it best: what kind of evidence can you present to people who do not respect evidence? They will not pay attention, probably will just scoff at any links given maybe without even reading them, and will continue to refuse to be educated.

    The Few, the Proud, the Insular.

  92. Steve Metzler

    92. James Evans Says:

    They will not pay attention, probably will just scoff at any links given maybe without even reading them, and will continue to refuse to be educated.

    There, FTFY :-) I gave a very relevant link in the last thread to an article on realclimate.org, that I can guarantee not one single AGW denier bothered to read. Because no one even commented on it. It explains how a small rise in average/regional temperatures (i.e. the dreaded ‘climate’) makes the chances of getting extreme highs (and lows, in some cases) much greater. I reproduce it here again for the lolz, this time with an obfuscated link so it doesn’t go straight into moderation:

    realclimate org/index.php/archives/2012/03/extremely-hot/

    They won’t read anything that you link to on an actual science site, because almost to a one they are convinced that scientists that helped bring us marvelous things like computers, SHARKS WITH LASERS!, and Cheez Whiz™ are all really smart people, but that every climatologist is either:

    a. Only in it for the grant money
    b. A total fraud/criminal
    c. So feeble-minded that they can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time
    d. All of the above, of course

    But anyway… the point Phil was trying to make in the previous thread was all about how a changing climate induces extremes. And all the AGW deniers wilfully missed the point.

  93. Tobin Dax

    @ Messier Tidy Upper

    Myers is a reasonably common name, for the record. Most of us related to a Myers are probably not related to PZ directly enough to see him at family functions. I’m probably related to PZ as closely as I’m related to Alan Bean (and his name’s a bit different than mine).

  94. Sunny D

    You guys did a good job of refuting what I said. And the link I provided was off of a comment and I regret providing it. The SA article does show that many other variables are involved.

    But I still hold my case. I was only trying to show that CO2 is a small constituent of a large complex system and we are arrogant to make assumptions about it. Changing it is not necessarily like introducing toxins into a body or taking LSD because those chemicals do not exist in the body originally. They are completely foreign chemicals. CO2 is not a foreign chemical to the Earth’s atmosphere, therefore this argument doesn’t hold.

    Yes, CO2 appears to have increased in Earth’s atmosphere. Yes, the world climate is “technically” getting warmer. But presuming that this is due solely to one variable (i.e. human interaction) is in my opinion is bad science (maybe I should start a blog). That’s all I’m saying.

    I agree there is all this data supporting that our Earth is warming but saying that A (increase in CO2 due to humans) causes B (climate change) is to ignore all the other possibilities. For example, perhaps the real driving force is the Earth’s natural cycle. Lest we not forget that there were warnings of an impending ice age several times over the 20th century.

    Most importantly,
    “In a similar way, the science of climatology tells us what effect human activities have had and are having on Earth’s climate, and what is likely to happen if we don’t change those activities. It doesn’t tell us what ought to be done about it.”

    Seriously, how do you guys italicize? Anyway, I’m fairly certain that we are taking measures of carbon taxes and researching alternative fuels. Not that this is a bad thing, it’s a good thing, but it is based on…get ready…misinterpretation of a complex system.

    I rest my case. Please don’t interrupt. Including Bill Nye. Nobody believes my testimony, anyway.

  95. Sunny D

    One more thing: I am not being ignorant of the data that you claim to throw in my face. I see it. It’s well researched and carefully analyzed. A lot of work has been put into this. But it is simplification. Not necessarily wrong. In fact it just shows trends. Nothing wrong with that. The climate system is beyond our comprehension but many fail to consider that. We can understand the parts but not the whole.

    We’ve all seen data showing that giving SSRIs to depressed patients makes them happier. So depression is due to a chemical imbalance of serotonin, simple idea. Complex system: the brain. Is it really that simple?

    Yet scientists have argued for over twenty years that this is truly due to the Placebo effect. In fact Placebos (ones that cause side effects themselves) have been shown to be as effective for minor/moderate depression. Not that this is completely analogous, but one can get the point.

  96. Nigel Deplege wrote @ 80:

    By way of comparison, the well-known creationist Jonathan Wells has a PhD in a biological science, but is most definitely not a scientist. Being a scientist isn’t about getting a qualification, it’s about what you do and how you do it.

    Glad you qualified your earlier response… as it appeared, to me, as elitist condescensionist horse puckey. Granted, most people don’t understand the scientific method, just as the acquisition of a doctor of philosophy doesn’t imply anything other than that the PhD has a very specific, and usually arcane, set of knowledge.

    I know several individuals, with undergraduate degrees, that are referred to by publishing university professors, as colleagues… one of the most knowledgeable vert nerds that I know is an engineer! Who da thunk it?

  97. TheBlackCat

    @Sunny D:

    But I still hold my case. I was only trying to show that CO2 is a small constituent of a large complex system and we are arrogant to make assumptions about it. Changing it is not necessarily like introducing toxins into a body or taking LSD because those chemicals do not exist in the body originally. They are completely foreign chemicals. CO2 is not a foreign chemical to the Earth’s atmosphere, therefore this argument doesn’t hold.

    Cyanide is naturally produced by the body. So is carbon monoxide. In fact they play a critical role in regulating sensitivity and activity levels in many cells. But even in what we would consider small levels in the air they are extremely lethal. So yes, the comparison most certainly does hold.

    Yes, CO2 appears to have increased in Earth’s atmosphere.

    There is no “appears”, it is an empirically-measured fact. It is the same way that it “appears” that children get bigger as they grow up. You just need to measure it. And we have, in great detail.

    Yes, the world climate is “technically” getting warmer.

    Why the “technically”? Why the scare quotes? You are just trying to cast doubt on another empirically-measured fact when you know all the evidence confirms it.

    But presuming that this is due solely to one variable (i.e. human interaction) is in my opinion is bad science (maybe I should start a blog). That’s all I’m saying.

    It is not an assumption! It is an extremely well-tested scientific principle. In the past the hypothesis that the world was warming led to many specific predictions about what exactly we would see, and what exactly we wouldn’t see, predictions that were radically different for other sources. These predictions have overwhelmingly been confirmed.

    There is no other known mechanism that can account for the specific behavior we have seen. Is it possible there is another mechanism? Maybe, but without specific mechanisms to test it is just more FUD to try to claim there is one.

    That is how science works. This isn’t a guess or an assumption. To claim it is means you haven’t even spent ten minutes reading even the most basic overview of global warming by actual global warming researchers (instead of denialists), since they all cover this.

    I agree there is all this data supporting that our Earth is warming but saying that A (increase in CO2 due to humans) causes B (climate change) is to ignore all the other possibilities.

    Wrong again. Scientists have not ignored all the other possibilities. They have looked at every single possibility and none of the other possibilities are able to account for what we have seen. Only a warming primarily due to human GHG emissions can do that.

    For example, perhaps the real driving force is the Earth’s natural cycle. Lest we not forget that there were warnings of an impending ice age several times over the 20th century.

    None of the cycles operate with the speed, magnitude, and time scale we have seen. The cycles that led to the ice ages last thousands of years or more. There are also much shorter cycles, operating on years to two decades.

    If there was such a cycle, we should see other, regular instances of this sort of warming in the recent past. There is no such pattern. Scientists have looked.

    Seriously, how do you guys italicize?

    html codes.

    Anyway, I’m fairly certain that we are taking measures of carbon taxes and researching alternative fuels. Not that this is a bad thing, it’s a good thing, but it is based on…get ready…misinterpretation of a complex system.

    How would you know? You don’t even know the first thing about the system, you don’t know the first thing about how scientists interpret that system, you don’t know the first thing about what they have and have not looked at, you have done absolutely zero research on the subject.

    All of the accusations and criticisms you have leveled at scientists are not only wrong, they are the exact opposite of the truth. Everything you have claimed scientists have ignored, they have actually studied in excruciating detail.

    All of this you would know if you even read a brief overview of global warming by actual global warming researchers. You obviously have not even bothered to do that much.

    So considering you know exceedingly close to zero about this subject, how can you possibly justify claiming that you know the subject better than people who have been working in it for decades?

    One more thing: I am not being ignorant of the data that you claim to throw in my face. I see it.

    That is a flat-out lie. If you had actually looked at the data, you would not have made such blatantly false claims.

    The climate system is beyond our comprehension but many fail to consider that. We can understand the parts but not the whole.

    Argument from ignorance. It is beyond your comprehension, but that is obvious because you know absolutely nothing about it. But just because you can’t understand something doesn’t mean nobody else can.

    Yet scientists have argued for over twenty years that this is truly due to the Placebo effect. In fact Placebos (ones that cause side effects themselves) have been shown to be as effective for minor/moderate depression. Not that this is completely analogous, but one can get the point.

    It isn’t even remotely similar. Systems that do not have psychology do not have problems with their psychology influencing their results.

    Every system is complex. By your logic, we can’t know anything about anything. Yet you single out one particular field of science for particular criticism, when if we applied this reasoning to all science then we should just throw away everything we claim to know. Do you have any idea how many variables detail the specific behavior of a cannon shot? Easily trillions of trillions of trillions. Yet that doesn’t mean we can’t aim one at our target.

  98. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (95) said:

    You guys did a good job of refuting what I said.

    Right, so you admit you were wrong now?

    [. . . ]

    But I still hold my case.

    Eh? When every line of argument you have used has been refuted and / or torn to shreds?

    In what universe is that reasonable?

    I was only trying to show that CO2 is a small constituent of a large complex system and we are arrogant to make assumptions about it.

    Fortunately, we have no need to make assumptions about it because we have the data.

    Changing it is not necessarily like introducing toxins into a body or taking LSD because those chemicals do not exist in the body originally.

    How do you know?

    Just ten molecules of strychnine (for instance) would be damn near undetectable, so you can never know you have none in your body to start with. What you meant perhaps was no detectable or no significant amount.

    However, the point you seem to have missed about those analogies is that different substances will have biological effects on a human at different relative proportions. In the case of strychnine, it doesn’t require much to have a significant effect.

    The same applies in atmospheric chemistry and physics.

    For example, there was vastly more ozone than there were CFCs in the stratosphere 20-odd years ago when we first noticed the ozone hole, but the CFCs had a significant impact on the amount of ozone because of the kind of chemistry they initiated.

    Similarly, CO2 is a vastly more powerful greenhouse gas than water vapour, so it doesn’t take much CO2 to have a significant impact. Add to this the fact that effects of CO2 are amplified by water vapour and, yes, an increase of 100 ppm in CO2 concentration can indeed affect the climate to the tune of (say) +2 °C.

    This point is fundamentally why your argument about CO2 being a tiny component of the atmosphere fails, and you appear either to have failed to grasp it or to be willfully ignoring it.

    They are completely foreign chemicals. CO2 is not a foreign chemical to the Earth’s atmosphere, therefore this argument doesn’t hold.

    You are quibbling over the detail of the analogy while missing the point. See above.

    Yes, CO2 appears to have increased in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Nope. Its concentration quite definitely has increased.

    Yes, the world climate is “technically” getting warmer.

    So what do you consider to be the difference between “technically” and actually?

    But presuming that this is due solely to one variable (i.e. human interaction) is in my opinion is bad science (maybe I should start a blog). That’s all I’m saying.

    No, it most certainly wasn’t all you were saying. You tried to claim that CO2 was insignificant.

    And you are assuming that the climatologists have assumed CO2 to be the only significant factor. If you bothered to do any basic research intyo the topic, you would know:

    1. That methane is almost as significant as CO2, and that other gases such as CFCs, HFCs and nitrogen oxides are also contributing.
    2. That various Earth scientists have sought natural explanations for the increase in CO2 etc. and failed to find any credible candidates.
    3. That various scientists have examined the effect of variable insolation and found that, if Earth’s climate depended only on insolation, we would have had a slight decrease of average global temps since the 1970s.
    4. That there is a perfectly credible mechanism for the greenhouse effect and for the role of CO2 in that effect.
    5. That the climate of Venus is only maintained at its incredibly high temperatures by the greenhouse effect (if Venus’s atmosphere were like Earth’s, then yes it would be hotter, but only by somewhere between 50 and 100 °C, not by the 400 °C that we find) of its very dense mainly-CO2 atmosphere.
    6. That the increase in atmospheric CO2 is almost entirely due to human activites, because the isotope ratios of the CO2 tell us that the extra comes from fossil sources.

    I mean, do you seriously think that no climatologist has ever considered the points you have raised?

    I agree there is all this data supporting that our Earth is warming but saying that A (increase in CO2 due to humans) causes B (climate change) is to ignore all the other possibilities.

    Again, do you seriously think people have not looked at alternatives?

    And this is completely aside from the prediction (made over 100 years ago, IIUC) that increasing atmospheric CO2 would cause climate warming.

    For example, perhaps the real driving force is the Earth’s natural cycle.

    This has been investigated and found to be inadequate.

    Lest we not forget that there were warnings of an impending ice age several times over the 20th century.

    But there was never any scientific consensus that an ice age was impending, and using a media storm from (for example) the 1970s like this does not strengthen your case.

    Most importantly,
    “In a similar way, the science of climatology tells us what effect human activities have had and are having on Earth’s climate, and what is likely to happen if we don’t change those activities. It doesn’t tell us what ought to be done about it.”

    Seriously, how do you guys italicize?

    Use “less than” and “greater than” symbols (sometimes called angle brackets) to enclose your html code, and use the tags i to switch on italics and /i to switch off.

    Anyway, I’m fairly certain that we are taking measures of carbon taxes and researching alternative fuels.

    Yes, and these are political, economic and engineering solutions to the problem. The science tells us what is happening, but it can’t tell us what to do about it. That requires human imagination, ingenuity and will (well, obviously, cutting CO2 emissions is pretty much a no-brainer, but look how poorly the Kyoto Protocol has fared).

    Not that this is a bad thing, it’s a good thing, but it is based on…get ready…misinterpretation of a complex system.

    You have no evidence to support this contention. The proposed solutions are based on humanity’s best understanding of a complex system that is built up from simple fundamental components that are themselves not hard to understand. And there are plenty of expert climatologists who, while not completely understanding every last nuance of the system, have been improving and refining their understanding of it over the last 30+ years.

    Are you going to try and claim that someone who has studied climatology for that length of time does not possess a better understanding of it than you yourself do?

    I rest my case. Please don’t interrupt. Including Bill Nye. Nobody believes my testimony, anyway.

    There’s a reason no-one believes you. Your arguments are illogical, unsupported and based on a whole slew of unjustifiable assumptions.

  99. TheBlackCat

    @Sunny D: If you think I am being too harsh, just look at this scenario.

    Lets say there is a doctor doing a surgery. Someone says they have studied surgery and wants to watch in on it (this wouldn’t happen in real life usually, but lets just run with it).

    Doctor: Alright, lets get started.
    Critic: Hey, why are you taking that person’s clothes off? You can’t do that to someone without permission!
    Doctor: I got permission. I discussed the procedure with the patient in great detail. Besides, I can’t do surgery with clothes in the way.
    Critic: Hey, stop putting that cloth over the person, he can’t see.
    Doctor: He can’t see because he is under anesthesia. This cloth helps keep the wound sterile.
    Critic: Sterile? If you want to keep it sterile you should have put something on it.
    Doctor: See that brown stuff? That’s iodine, it kills bacteria and destroys viruses that might be on the skin.
    Critic: You haven’t even thought about how you are going to cut the person, you obviously can’t do surgery without cutting.
    Doctor: Of course I considered it, I am holding a scalpel in my hand.
    Critic: What are you doing, you are going to hit that white thing! You should be over by that red thing.
    Doctor: That white thing is cartilage, I need to hit it because that is where the sports injury I am trying to repair is. The red thing is his muscle, I have no reason to hit it.
    Critic: There are an immeasurable number of blood vessels in cartilage, you can’t possibly avoid them. This surgery is impossible
    Doctor: Cartilage doesn’t have any blood vessels, and if there is any blood from other sources I have a nurse standing by to clean it up.
    Critic: I can’t stand this, you claim to be a surgeon but you don’t know anything. I have done a lot of research on the subject and you are just a quack. I am going to call the medical board and report you.

    This is how you sound. You ask questions that clearly demonstrate you don’t actually know anything about the subject, you accuse others of not considering things have considered, and you claim the subject is too complex without actually understanding anything about it.

  100. Nigel Depledge

    Solius (97) said:

    Glad you qualified your earlier response… as it appeared, to me, as elitist condescensionist horse puckey. Granted, most people don’t understand the scientific method, just as the acquisition of a doctor of philosophy doesn’t imply anything other than that the PhD has a very specific, and usually arcane, set of knowledge.

    Yeah, I reckon that just about anyone can get a PhD, if they don’t mind bashing their head against a brick wall for three years. Of course, being an insightful and ingenious experimenter (which I, sadly, am not) means you get a thinner brick wall.

  101. Gunnar

    @Nigel Depledge:

    I greatly appreciate and agree with your point that having a degree in science–even a PhD in a highly specialized field–does not, by itself, make one a scientist. But, would you also agree that the lack of a formally awarded degree in science does not necessarily preclude a sufficiently dedicated, but uncredentialed and intelligent individual from acquiring experience and knowledge that could enable such a one to make significant contributions to scientific knowledge and understanding?

    I realize, of course, that this would, at best, be exceedingly difficult and rare given the present state of human knowledge, and is becoming more so, but have we reached the point yet that it would be entirely impossible?

  102. Gunnar

    @Nigel Depledge;

    “However, the point you seem to have missed about those analogies is that different substances will have biological effects on a human at different relative proportions. In the case of strychnine, it doesn’t require much to have a significant effect.”

    Vitamins are a good example of that. They are absolutely essential for good health and even life in rather tiny quantities (which is why it took so long to discover them), but in the case of at least some vitamins, they are detrimental and actually poisonous in larger, but still small quantities. IIUC, in some cases, the difference between the quantity that is essential for health and the quantity that is poisonous is rather small.

    BTW, I rather suspect that you are not as lacking in ingenuity and insight as you seem to be implying! ;)

  103. Nigel Depledge

    Gunnar (102) said:

    I greatly appreciate and agree with your point that having a degree in science–even a PhD in a highly specialized field–does not, by itself, make one a scientist. But, would you also agree that the lack of a formally awarded degree in science does not necessarily preclude a sufficiently dedicated, but uncredentialed and intelligent individual from acquiring experience and knowledge that could enable such a one to make significant contributions to scientific knowledge and understanding?

    Well, kind-of.

    One of the best scientists I knew when I was doing my PhD did not have a PhD and was not a PhD student. For all I know he still does not have a PhD.

    Then there are some sciences where amateurs can contribute real science – of which astronomy is the best example.

    Then again, there are other sciences where you need at least some substantial amount of training to get to a point where you have access to the equipment to do new science. I imagine the LHC is an example here – I suspect that the 6000 scientists (can’t remember where this figure comes from) contains many PhD students, but the remainder will be qualified to PhD level and above.

  104. @94. Tobin Dax :

    @ Messier Tidy Upper – Myers is a reasonably common name, for the record. Most of us related to a Myers are probably not related to PZ directly enough to see him at family functions. I’m probably related to PZ as closely as I’m related to Alan Bean (and his name’s a bit different than mine).

    Fair enough. Just guessing and curious so figured I’d ask.

    So … are you related to Jadzia Dax from Star Trek Deep Space Nine by any chance? ;-)

  105. @ 95. Sunny D :

    Yes, CO2 appears to have has measurably increased in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Fixed It For You – see :

    http://co2now.org/

    Which tracks it monthly for y’all.

    Yes, the world climate is “technically” getting warmer.

    FITFY again. This has been and continues to be observed fact.

    I agree there is all this data supporting that our Earth is warming but saying that A (increase in CO2 due to humans) causes B (climate change) is to ignore all the other possibilities. For example, perhaps the real driving force is the Earth’s natural cycle.

    Watch this youtube clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq8_l6s89uY

    Seriously. Watch it twice or however often it takes. Yes, climatologists have considered natural processes and factors. No, its not them.

    Lest we not forget that there were warnings of an impending ice age several times over the 20th century.

    Also watch this clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB3S0fnOr0M&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=57&feature=plpp_video

    Seriously. No. That’s one of those PRATTS that gets constantly repeated and constantly debunked.

  106. ajollynerd

    Bill Nye is one of my favourite people in the world. I think he suffers a little from his “Bill Nye the Science Guy” persona in terms of mainstream credibility (not in my eyes, but in the eyes of the general, scientifically-illiterate population).

    I’d like to see Bill in a higher-profile position, maybe presidential science advisor or something, because the US leadership NEEDS a scientifically-literate person who can explain these issues (climate change and the importance of space exploration, for starters) to the ones who sign the cheques.

  107. @95. Sunny D. :

    Also click on my name in this comment (& the previous one too) for the “What We Know about Climate Change” clip by Greenman3610 which lays out a lot more of the scientific evidence and breifly overviews & summarises why the experts think as they do.

    The various climatologists – thouands of them – have spent many years, sometimes many decades studying and gathering data.

    We can now watch a ten minute youtube clip and get just a basic idea of what the HIRGO situation is and why we know things. We can look at websites such as Skeptical Science and Realclimate and even ask questions directly of some these people.

    Yes, climatology is complex just like physics and astronomy and computing – but it isn’t hard to follow some basic simplified overviews of the science and it isn’t hard to find more complicated detailed information if we’re really interested coming from people who really do know.

    If you really doubt they know, well you can actually check and directly ask (politely please!) and study and learn yourself but please do put the time in to understanding at least the basics before you (& others here) repeat canards that are as out of date as the idea of an iguandon having a horn on its nose. ‘K?

  108. @Messier Tidy Upper – July 5th, 2012 at 9:35 am :

    Um, sorry, make that the youtube clip linked to my name now or type :

    What We Know about Climate Change Greenman3610

    into Youtube search box.

    I messed up somehow and my last two comments have the wrong link in my name. D’oh! (Blushes.)

  109. Gunnar

    @Nigel Depledge #104 (9:09 am).

    Thanks for that reply to my comment at #102. What you said there pretty much confirms how I understand the situation–especially the part about astronomy being one of the fields where talented amateurs can often still make important contributions.

  110. Sunny D

    100. TheBlackCat Says: “bla bla bla”

    I can’t copy all that but it was a great analogy. It helped me see where I went wrong. Most people trust doctors that is why they don’t question all the knowledge and hard work that went into it. Perhaps my knowledge of past mishaps, such as eugenics, had led me to believe that these climatologists couldn’t be trusted either (I still don’t think Bill Nye should be a spokesperson for science, that will never change. In fact I regret turning this into a flame thread, I’m not sure how it happened. Definitely my misunderstandings clashing with a few of your analyses being rude and/or taken out of context). Based on what you all have stated repeatedly, the scientists can be trusted. Perhaps I was driven by the fear of science and politics mixing together again. I mean, there are(html? what?) possibilities of this happening, but judging by your statements, this is not the case.

    I hope this thread serves as future reference to those also disillusioned by the belief that climatologists don’t know what they’re doing. I think this is where most of the climate change denial comes from.
    I can’t believe the collective hours you guys put in refuting my comments, but someone should commend you for that. If it serves as future reference to others then it won’t be a waste of time.

  111. Steve Metzler

    Sunny D,

    Kudos to you for acknowledging that the efforts of these tireless souls (i.e. Nigel and TBC, with a little help from MTU) really can make a difference, especially to people like yourself – new to the debate, who are sitting on the fence, so to speak. Honestly, in the 3 years or so I have been actively participating in the AGW threads on various science blogs, I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who have come back to us and said something to the effect of: “thanks guys, that makes sense.” Like you did :-) Mostly, we just get ‘drive-bys’ :-(

    Happy 4th! (er… 5th, from a former NJ Yank, now living in Ireland for the past 27 years)

  112. Nigel Depledge wrote:

    Yeah, I reckon that just about anyone can get a PhD, if they don’t mind bashing their head against a brick wall for three years. Of course, being an insightful and ingenious experimenter (which I, sadly, am not) means you get a thinner brick wall.

    And, ergo, the old idiom: “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach”.

  113. Nigel Depledge

    Sunny D (111) said:

    I hope this thread serves as future reference to those also disillusioned by the belief that climatologists don’t know what they’re doing.

    I hope so, too, but I’m not entirely optimistic about it.

    I think this is where most of the climate change denial comes from.

    At least some of the denial is carefully crafted and disseminated by people employed by those industries with a vested interest in the status quo. Yes, I’m talking mainly fossil-fuel industries but also, to a lesser extent, industries such as cement production. IMO, most of the denialist talking-points derive from oil-funded “think tanks” such as the Heartland Institute, and are supplied to journalists and politicians as ammunition for counterattacks on the actual science as it is currently understood.

  114. Nigel Depledge

    @ Solius (113) -
    Quite possibly, although I think the idiom itself may be older than the current system for initiating scientists. However, that idiom feels insulting to teachers, because teaching is itself a skill.

  115. TheBlackCat

    @ Sunny D: Thank you very much. That was quite refreshing. As others have said, it is quite rare for those against AGW to change their mind these days, so it is nice to see it can still happen.

    Sorry for the delay, I hope you are still reading this. things were extraordinarily crazy for me at the end of last week.

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