Greenland seeing unprecedented melting

By Phil Plait | July 24, 2012 11:30 am

Last week, a huge chunk of ice broke off of Greenland’s Petermann glacier, an event called a "calving". The iceberg is now moving down the glacier’s fjord, as seen by NASA’s Terra Earth-observing satellite on July 21, 2012:

Note the scale. The iceberg is well over 100 square kilometers in size – about 50 square miles, or 30,000 acres. That’s larger than the island of Manhattan in New York City. An even larger iceberg broke off in 2010.

This image comes on the heels of an announcement that Greenland is seeing "unprecedented" melting. By July 12, 2012, as much as 97% of Greenland’s ice sheet had experienced some degree of melting. On July 8, just four days earlier, only 40% of the ice had experienced some melting:

[The map shows ice that has had some melting in red, and areas showing no melting in white. The left map is from July 8, the right from July 12.]

This does not mean that 97% of the Greenland ice sheet has melted away! The map shows all the places where at least some melting has occurred. Some of this melting is simply due to it being summer, and in some places there is evidence of a historic cycle of melting. But this widespread a melting has not happened in the 30 years satellites have been used to map the region. Normally, about half the ice on Greenland experiences some melting.

The culprit appears to be several waves of warm high-pressure ridges that have swept over Greenland, each stronger than the last, with the most recent one squatting over the island for about a week.

As always, it’s difficult to pin any specific weather event on global warming. But every day, the list of suspicious events grows longer. The Petermann calving happened much farther up the glacier than has occurred before. Waves of warm air over Greenland are unusual. And the weird weather we’ve been getting is consistent with what’s been predicted for a planet that’s warming up.

And while climate change deniers put up insulting billboards and compare climate scientists to child molesters, the Earth is getting warmer. While antiscience Congressmen write fallacy-laden op-eds and elected officials run witch hunts against scientists, the Earth is getting warmer.

We need serious people in charge, because it’s way, way past time to take this seriously.


Image credits: Terra picture: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team; Melting map: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory and Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI and Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory


Related Posts:

Huge glacier calves off Greenland
Enormous glacier calves in largest Arctic event seen in 48 years (with followups here and here)
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Mann responds to Rep. Barton
Five shots against global warming denialism

Comments (160)

  1. Bob

    Phil,

    I applaud your efforts to keep the issue of global warming in front of people. However, I think it’s important not to give the deniers(or ‘skeptics’, as they prefer to be called) any reason to question the validity of AGW by using inflated numbers or inaccurate conversions. In this post you state that the iceberg that calved from Petermann Glacier is approximately 100 square kilometers in area, and that this is about 50 square miles, or 30,000 acres. Being a former metrologist (is anyone ever a ‘former’ metrologist?), I feel it necessary to point out that 100 km2 is actually slightly less than 39 square miles, which works out to just under 25,000 acres. This is still a huge iceberg, but you can see that there is a significant difference between 39 and 50 square miles, and the difference between 25,000 and 30,000 makes the error look even larger – even though the difference is the same.

    Respecfully submitted,
    Bob

  2. Renee Marie Jones

    Palm trees could be growing along tropical beaches in Antarctica and the deniers would still claim that global warming is a hoax.

  3. Not to downplay the enormity of what is happening (or to get off–topic), but when I saw this article on /. last week, I wondered what you would think of it as a possible stop-gap solution to use until we can invent something cleaner than internal combustion.

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/07/20/0015222/plan-to-slow-global-warming-by-dumping-iron-sulphate-into-oceans

    Would doing that work? Or is it a pipe-dream? I honestly don’t know enough about the science behind it to say myself.

  4. Rob Carr

    I wonder if this is the result of significant figures? If we’re dealing with one or two sig figs and the original number was an intermediate result, the result might be slightly inflated when rounding.

    Bob’s right, of course, that using values that are accurate and consistent may help avoid spurious arguments.

  5. Bob (#1): The exact size isn’t given, but the quotes I’m seeing are half the size of the other berg which was about 100 sq miles. I usually use metric numbers first, and I didn’t want to be too exact, which is why I left it as “well over 100 sq km”.

  6. Denier

    @2. Renee Marie Jones Says:

    Palm trees could be growing along tropical beaches in Antarctica and the deniers would still claim that global warming is a hoax.

    Which would be scary… how?

    Seriously Renee, what makes you think that “the deniers” do not agree that the Earth is warming?

  7. DukeTG

    Congress: A serious house on serious earth.

    No..wait..that’s Arkham Asylum.

  8. col

    @Bob: besides, Phil’s an astronomer. Any distance less than a lightyear probably feels claustrophobic.

  9. Rob

    @6. There are (at least) two types of “deniers.” Those that question if there is a significant human impact on the warming trend and those who deny that there is a warming trend at all. The “debate” about hockey sticks is proof of the latter group and gives Renee every reason to recognize that there are deniers who don’t agree that the Earth is warming.

    As for why it would be scary: if there are palm trees growing on Antarctica it is unlikely that palm trees could survive in Hawai’i — or even in New York. In which case polar bears won’t be the only animals seeking new ranges.

  10. Dave

    @Denier,

    Are you serious? “Deniers” or “don’t-believe-the-mainstream-scientific-community-ers” or whatever term one wants to use — those people often throw the kitchen sink:
    1. The Earth isn’t warming up (protesting the hockey stick diagram, etc.)
    2. If the Earth is warming, it’s because of changes in the Sun etc., not because for anthropogenic reasons
    3. Anyway, a warmer Earth is a good thing (longer growing seasons, etc.)

  11. dcurt

    “Satellites see Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Melt”

    “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,”

    I guess I’m confused…is it “Unprecedented” or is it “right on time”?

  12. Denier

    @10. Dave Says:

    Are you serious? “Deniers” or “don’t-believe-the-mainstream-scientific-community-ers” or whatever term one wants to use — those people often throw the kitchen sink:

    Don’t label! “those people” are people. You know, just like you. Not a homogeneous group one can lump together and label. Now the science bit.

    1. The Earth isn’t warming up (protesting the hockey stick diagram, etc.)
    2. If the Earth is warming, it’s because of changes in the Sun etc., not because for anthropogenic reasons
    3. Anyway, a warmer Earth is a good thing (longer growing seasons, etc.)

    I’m glad that you agree with me.

  13. Dave

    @Denier

    Hah hah.

    I don’t agree with you, if you think those things.

    You’re right that labels are not necessary. What I’m saying is that there’s a large group of people, and I’m not looking to call names, but there’s a large group of people who argue all 3 things. Note that #1 and #2 are not mutually consistent. Well, I suppose the way I wrote #2 it is logically consistent with #1, but I’ve often heard from the same people who argue #1, essentially, “Of *course* the world is warming; everyone knows that. But it has nothing to do with human activity.” This is clearly inconsistent with the claim that the Earth isn’t warming up.

    In fact, you just suggested that you agree with all 3 of these. If you agree with #1, then you can answer your own question to Renee in comment 6 above.

  14. Keith Bowden

    Someone who walks can be called a walker.
    Someone who reads can be called a reader.
    Someone who sings can be called a singer.
    Someone who denies, therefore, can be called a denier.

  15. Dave

    Eh, Keith, I don’t see any great advantage in calling people by names that they don’t like. It serves to build animosity and distract the focus of the conversation. It’s rarely necessary to use a label for a group of people, and if people prefer that a certain label not be used to describe them I generally think it’s a good idea to acknowledge their desires.

  16. Mitch

    There is an earth warming cycle every 1500 years. there is nothing that can be done to stop it. There in effect, are also earth cooling events, … unstoppable. I just prefer to call it summer.

  17. Cairnos

    @3 Kelly

    The conclusions on trying this are still largely indeterminate and from only a small number of studies so I’m unprepared to comment on whether this would be a viable method of long term carbon sequestration, However…

    This would definately have an impact (and if used large scale which would be necessary , a HUGE impact) on the seas ecology at it’s very lowest level, and would at the very least cause follow on effects altering the entire marine food chain. This is an immensely complex system and messing at it’s most basic level with the equivilent of ‘give it a whack with a hammer and see what happens’ is unlikely to have any results that we or our children would appreciate. Also try googling for ‘Red Tide’ or ‘Harmful Algal Bloom’.

    In short, if ALL we were concerned about was getting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere this might potentially be worth a shot. However since it involves random tinkering with the primary life support system of the entire planet I would say not just no, but HECK no!

  18. Wzrd1

    Perhaps we SHOULD let the deep pocketed folks have their way and ignore human contributions to global climate.
    It would serve them right to lose their assets in NYC and the Cayman Islands, when they’re under water.
    Meanwhile, my S.E. Pennsylvania home will be quite the beachfront property!
    Meanwhile, my lawn is brown. We’re 20 inches below our normal annual rainfall and it’s not looking likely to get enough to make up for the deficit. Our winters over the past two years have been mild enough that my parsley, in its hanging basket outside and my shaded sage plants survived the past two winters.
    But, that is a local trend.
    Perhaps when Iowa is a desert people will then listen and believe.
    Nah, they’ll simply lift all smog regulations, so that the “shade” will help cool things down. While suffocating them…
    Yes, I’m pessimistic. However, I’m rarely pleasantly surprised. :/

    Hey, wait! I figured it out! If the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets all melt, that 10000 year old ice (and older), which is older than the 6000 year old Earth, hence is blasphemy, will be gone, hence, the blasphemy!
    Or something.

  19. Lindsay

    Just because someone doesn’t welcome everything they hear or read as the absolute truth, shouldn’t mean they are a “denier.” I think it is great that these so called “deniers” are there to let scientists know that we are watching and pointing out mistakes and generalizations. All I am hearing from all this bantering is that our planet would be better off without humanity, and it’s technologies that allow us to Twitter about it all day. I for one am a critical thinker not a skeptic, and I do not see that as a weakness but a strength.

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.” – Henry Louis Mencken

  20. Thameron

    The evidence supports the contention that the Earth is warming and that that warming is caused by human activity. The evidence does not support the contention that human beings will do anything about it until it is far far too late (which, you know, it may be already). So the smart people should stop trying to prevent or even slow down warming (which is pretty hopeless given human nature) and start working on mitigation strategies for what happens after the climate goes to hell.

    This is just the beginning of the fires, floods and pestilence. Try not to use all your frustration all at once.

  21. James Evans

    @#19

    I think it is great that these so called “deniers” are there to let scientists know that we are watching and pointing out mistakes and generalizations.

    Lindsay, it would be fantastic if deniers actually did this (i.e.: played fair, and challenged questionable science with solid science). Instead, they willfully distort legitimate climate research and therefore are the ones putting out, not pointing out, mistakes and generalizations.

  22. Denier wrote @6

    Which would be scary… how?

    In reference to palm trees on Antarctica.

    I responded, but apparently, it was determined as spam, so… pejorative responses are demanded for your insipidly vacuous comment. The last time trees grew on Antarctica, sea level was about 160 meters higher than today.

    Hence, my argument for not rebuilding New Orleans.

  23. bad Jim

    In yesterday’s climate change thread, it was amusing to see deniers posting old quotes from Richard Mueller expressing skepticism, despite the fact that his group recently carried out a massive review of the data which confirmed the scientific consensus. It’s clear that deniers don’t bother to keep up to date, but just cut-and-paste from their collection of golden oldies.

  24. Jess Tauber

    Denialists are Molesters of Worlds

  25. VinceRN

    Aside from the politics, debate and flame wars: I think it’s freaking amazing that we can do this. Take pictures from space and assess even quite small changes in kilometers thick ice sheets.

    Amazing.

    Also, @ Solius: There are a lot of good reasons for not rebuilding New Orleans. Someone needs to go back to the early 18th century and beat those French dudes about the head until they agree to go a little up river to start their settlement. What the ____ were they thinking?

  26. Mercury

    I like the last point in the post: “we need serious people in charge”.
    It seems like the Earth is facing a catastrophe on par with a direct asteroid impact because of anthropogenic global warming. Yet because of the complexity of the problem (and the relatively slow speed of impact), humans aren’t acting like we’re in any danger. All of our national leaders are failing, miserably. Yes, we need serious can-do people in charge.
    It’s time we all act. It’s time to shut down business as usual, stop living as if everything is normal. It’s not. If we saw an asteroid coming, we’d all get serious, very quickly. You can imagine how quickly things would change.
    All you aware of the dangers of global warming must take to the streets, across the globe, and force our governments to take this very seriously. We need to turn our backs on deniers – they are children, they believe in magic and angels and Santa Claus. Global warming is a serious problem for serious grown-ups.

  27. Andreas H

    I think with the denialists still beeing very active about AGW we have to be extra careful how we word our statements. Calling this “unprecedented” is not exactly truthful when the NASA article states the following:

    “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

    I realize that not only this blog post, but the NASA article have pretty much the same title, but I think we have to hold ourselves too higher standards or it will come back to bite us in the ass…

  28. bad Jim

    There is something very scary about Greenland’s glaciers melting. Glacial collapse is a non-linear process which is not at all well understood. It may well be that what we’re seeing now is just something that happens from time to time, but it could be the prelude to a global catastrophe.

    Maybe we’re just getting a bit more melt water runoff, or maybe the glaciers are rotting all the way through to the rock. Let’s hope it’s the former, but bear in mind that not only is the latter possible, eventually inevitable, but if it were to happen it might look just like this.

  29. @16. Mitch :

    There is an earth warming cycle every 1500 years. there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

    Please watch the Youtube clip linked in my name or found via searching ‘Climate Denial Crock of the Week – That 1500 Year Thing.’

    The 1500 year warming cycle idea is an old canard that confuses real but regional oscillations between the Arctic and Antartica with the global overheating phenomenon we’re experiencing today.

    As for stopping HIRGO (Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating) you are probably right sadly.

    Thermal inertia and climate feedbacks mean we’re inevitably going to see some major problems arising over our lifetimes and our childrens and their childrens and so on indefinitely into the future as the planetary temperature soars, ice disappears and seas rise.

    However, what we can do is slow the rate and acceleration of HIRGO and make it ultimately less catastrophic rather than more.

    Its like being in a car that’s off the road, out of control and about to hit a wall. We can choose to do nothing and hit at high speed writing the car off and possibly killing ourselves and those we love who are in the car with us or we can hit the brakes, turn the car ‘s orientation so it hits at a better angle and take some damage but less than we’d have had otherwise.

    The sooner we act to scrub off the speed / reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions the better.

  30. See :

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

    For a list of other climate canards that have been long debunked.

    Realclimate also has this :

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

    One-stop “linkfarm” to other resources and is an excellent, informative site where you can discuss the issues with actual climatologists.

    Plus there’s the excellent National Snow & Ice Data center with plenty more evidence that is kept updated here :

    http://nsidc.org/

    including graphs following the record decline of Arctic sea ice.

    I’d also very highly recommend potholer54’s very calm and informative youtube series on climate change which is linked to my name for this comment.

    Thees are, natch, just the start of the very numerous and good internet sources for valid information on the whole HIRGO issue.

    To all the Climate Contrarians – those who want to dispute what the Bad Astronomer and climate scientists ae saying – reading this :

    Please, really, don’t embarrass yourselves and do your research using thees and other sites before you post the same stale lines we’ve already refuted a thousand and one times here before.

  31. Infinite123Lifer

    Sometimes I think a:

    “They fought Wzrd1 and LOST” t-shirt would be cool. This is one of those times :)

    VinceRN said:

    “Aside from the politics, debate and flame wars:”

    wheres the MadMax in you! :)

    “I think it’s freaking amazing that we can do this. Take pictures from space and assess even quite small changes in kilometers thick ice sheets. Amazing.”

    Indeed, Amazing.

    —–
    @26 Andreas H

    Standards and armadillos: both things that can bite you in the arse.

  32. noen

    Bob the concern trolling denialist said: — “I applaud your efforts to keep the issue of global warming in front of people. However, I think it’s important not to give the deniers(or ‘skeptics’, as they prefer to be called) any reason to question the validity of AGW by using inflated numbers or inaccurate conversions. “

    Climate deniers are not skeptical of global warming any more than flat Earthers are skeptics of the round Earth “theory”.

    “Skepticism is the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.”


    Lindsay the very concerned denialist said: — “Just because someone doesn’t welcome everything they hear or read as the absolute truth, shouldn’t mean they are a “denier.””

    True, but just because someone rejects everything they read or hear doesn’t make them a skeptic. Science doesn’t do absolute truth. You need math for that.

    “All I am hearing from all this bantering is that our planet would be better off without humanity”

    I don’t know anyone who has ever said that. That sounds really extreme if you think the only options we have are denial of mass extinction.

    “I for one am a critical thinker not a skeptic”

    Actually you are neither. I see no evidence that you are capable of critical thinking OR skepticism.

    ““The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.””

    H.L. Menkin was not talking about science. He was talking about authoritarian rulers who almost always justify their brutality by claiming they are just trying to save their country or mankind. Anyway, this would be where you employ that critical thinking you admire. From the fact that some people mask their urge to rule with false claims of caring for humanity it does not follow that those who express a concern for humanity are secretly desiring to rule over others.


    Dave the third deeply concerned troll said: – “Eh, Keith, I don’t see any great advantage in calling people by names that they don’t like.”

    In social situations sure, you give people the benefit of the doubt. But in politics it is important to label people and movements accurately. If someone is being paid to spread deliberate propaganda in the media for the oil companies then I think it is best that they be identified as such. So maybe the better term would be “corporate shill” than denier. I’d be ok with that.


    The Denier of all deniers said: “Which would be scary… how? (Palm trees could be growing along tropical beaches in Antarctica)

    It would be scary because it would mean a 150ft rise in sea levels and 80% of humanity lives in coastal areas. Which would mean that about 5 and a half billion people would decide they needed to MOVE. The resulting chaos would collapse all democracies and put an end to our experiment we like to call “Civilization”.

  33. Nigel Depledge

    Renee Marie Jones (2) said:

    Palm trees could be growing along tropical beaches in Antarctica and the deniers would still claim that global warming is a hoax.

    Well, they did during the mediaevel warm period(TM), so what’s the worry?

    [/satire]

  34. Nigel Depledge

    Huh. I suck at Poes.

  35. Nigel Depledge

    Kelly (3) said:

    Would doing that work? Or is it a pipe-dream? I honestly don’t know enough about the science behind it to say myself.

    While it is true that there are areas of ocean where iron is the growth-limiting nutrient, and that supplements of ferrous sulphate will cause algal blooms, and that those algal blooms will absorb CO2 as they grow, what isn’t known (IIUC) is what will happen next.

    The algae will most probably die off as they deplete the ocean of some other nutrient (say, phsophorus, for instance). If they then sink to the bottom of the ocean, their subsequent anaerobic degradation by bacteria will release methane. If they remain near the surface, their degradation could well re-emit all the CO2 they just absorbed. So it is hard to see how such a scheme will contribute long-term to reduction in atmospheric GHGs.

    Of course, I’m no expert on this subject, so there could be something I have missed.

  36. Nigel Depledge

    Keith Bowden (14) said:

    Someone who walks can be called a walker.
    Someone who reads can be called a reader.
    Someone who sings can be called a singer.
    Someone who denies, therefore, can be called a denier.

    Yes. This.

  37. Nigel Depledge

    Dave (15) said:

    Eh, Keith, I don’t see any great advantage in calling people by names that they don’t like. It serves to build animosity and distract the focus of the conversation. It’s rarely necessary to use a label for a group of people, and if people prefer that a certain label not be used to describe them I generally think it’s a good idea to acknowledge their desires.

    Damn right, Dave, you sock it to ‘em!

    How dare you ever call me a reader because I read. I am not a number: I am a free man!*

    [/satire. Again]

    * Not actually true, because I live in the country with the world’s most closely-surveiled population, the UK.

  38. Nigel Depledge

    Mitch (16) said:

    There is an earth warming cycle every 1500 years. there is nothing that can be done to stop it. There in effect, are also earth cooling events, … unstoppable. I just prefer to call it summer.

    So what?

    Natural cycles have been investigated as a putative cause of the current rapid warming, and have been found not to be a significant factor.

    Do you seriously think that climatologists did not think of that?

  39. Nigel Depledge

    Lindsay (19) said:

    Just because someone doesn’t welcome everything they hear or read as the absolute truth, shouldn’t mean they are a “denier.”

    This is true, but not relevant.

    A denier is not a person who does not automatically accept everything they read. A denier is a person who denies the existence of a phenomenon despite the existence of overwhelming evidence.

    I think it is great that these so called “deniers” are there to let scientists know that we are watching and pointing out mistakes and generalizations.

    Which perhaps goes to show that you have been duped by the anti-AGW talking points, too.

    All I am hearing from all this bantering is that our planet would be better off without humanity, and it’s technologies that allow us to Twitter about it all day.

    Yeah, well, we’re here, so deal with that.

    I for one am a critical thinker not a skeptic,

    There’s a difference?

    Although the deniers try to claim that they are sceptics (or skeptics, if you are west of the Atlantic), they are not. A true sceptic changes his/her opinion when shown (by evidence and/or reasoned argument) to be wrong. The deniers’ talking-points have been refuted many times, and yet many of the deniers continue to deny that AGW is a real phenomenon.

    Thus, deniers are not sceptics.

    Scepticism is as close to synonymous with critical thinking as makes no real difference, so I don’t understand what distinction you are trying to make.

    and I do not see that as a weakness but a strength.

    Well, yes. What of it?

  40. Nigel Depledge

    Thameron (20) said:

    So the smart people should stop trying to prevent or even slow down warming (which is pretty hopeless given human nature) and start working on mitigation strategies for what happens after the climate goes to hell.

    Hey, guess what? We can do both.

    Limiting emissions of GHGs will limit the maximum amount of warming that our great-grandchildren get to observe. And, while many people are working on ways to limit GHG emissions, many other people are working on ways to mitigate the effects of GHG emissions.

  41. Thameron

    @ 38 Nigel –

    As far as I can see the efforts that have been made and the ones that are presently planned on being made are pretty pathetic compared to the problem of increasing population, increasing energy use and concomitant increase in GHG. There is a lot of sound and fury from those in the know that disaster is coming, but that disaster is too far away and too vague to move people so each day the coal and oil still burn and tomorrow more will burn. There are a couple of things that will stop those fires in the short term but they are typically titles of horror movies – Pandemic, Asteroid, Comet, Nuclear War. Barring the sudden massive truncation of the human population the die is cast and the experiment has begun. Phil and the others can talk until their hearts and lungs ache from it but it wont stop the coal fired boilers in China. The perfect storm of climate warming will proceed on schedule.

  42. Nigel Depledge

    Vince RN (25) said:

    Also, @ Solius: There are a lot of good reasons for not rebuilding New Orleans. Someone needs to go back to the early 18th century and beat those French dudes about the head until they agree to go a little up river to start their settlement. What the ____ were they thinking?

    Other kings said I was mad to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it anyway, just to show ‘em.

    It sank into the swamp. So I built another one.

    That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one.

    That burned down, fell over and then sank into the swamp; but the fourth one stayed up!

  43. Sheepish

    “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” said Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

    But..you know…….PANICOHNOES!!!

  44. Nigel Depledge

    @ Thameron (39) –
    Maybe so, but that’s not what I was addressing.

    Obviously, having two dozen different ways to limit GHG emissions means nothing if the international political will does not exist to implement some of those ways.

  45. Aputsiaq Blytmann

    Last time such a melting occured was in 1889.

    Read http://dartmouthigert.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/new-summit-melt-layer/

    Therefore you can hardly say, that it’s unprecedented.

    From the comments section of that link:

    “Yes, in Greenland there have been many deep ice core drilling projects which drilled ice to the bedrock. At Summit, the deep ice core (GISP2) reaches a depth of about 3km with the oldest ice being about 123,000 years old. Alley and Anandakrishnan’s paper looks at the ice just below the firn, and into the last 10,000 years. In the past 10,000 years (the Holocene), there is on average a melt layer every 150 years.”

    Don’t know if that particular information in the comment is true though.

  46. JMW

    @1 Bob and Phil:

    I’m both Canadian, and somewhat anal (my wife would snort and ask, “Somewhat?”). Both are important to what follows.

    I copied the picture of the calved iceberg, and made the best attempt I could at coming up with an estimate of its area in less than 15 minutes. I came up with
    118 square kilometres, which is equivalent to approximately
    45 square miles, which is equivalent to approximately
    29,000 acres

    The anal part of me is what led me to perform this exercise, while the Canadian part of me is satisfied at having arrived at a compromise number (in square miles) somewhere close to the mid-point between the figures the two of you gave.

  47. VinceRN @ 25 wrote:

    There are a lot of good reasons for not rebuilding New Orleans. Someone needs to go back to the early 18th century and beat those French dudes about the head until they agree to go a little up river to start their settlement. What the ____ were they thinking?

    Actually, the French built their settlement on the only high ground in the area. Remember, the French Quarter didn’t flood after the dikes failed. Too, that bend in the river was, strategically, a very good position for a battery.

    It was only by sheer incompetence that Farragut captured the city… a day of shame for all Southerners, but I digress.

  48. Thameron

    @Nigel

    Precisely. The political will does not exist to address the problem even if there was agreement that there was a problem (which there isn’t). Even if a miracle occurred and there was agreement that the problem existed and that something should be done about it that does not mean that there would be any agreement at all on what that something should be. Human co-operation typically happens at a scale well below species. So yeah there will be more and more mounting evidence of AGW, the deniers will continue to deny it, the international community will continue to not do a damn thing about it and the warming (and all its effects) will come. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

  49. Global warming denialists now say the SUN is to blame.
    Therefore, it’s the way GOD wants it to be.
    Therefore, to do anything to combat is would be a SIN!

    Meanwhile, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, during a recent speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, had THIS to say about global warming: “We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move… crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions.” He added that his company had set out to educate the “illiterate” public as to the facts, and move them away from the purveyors of “manufactured fear.”

    And YES, the human species IS pretty adaptable, thanks to our technology and ability to travel. The other species we share this planet with? Not so much. And those links in our ecological chain WILL begin to weaken and fail. But I’m sure Mr. Tillerson finds it reassuring that he won’t have to worry about it too much during HIS lifetime:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v700/PhatDajuan/NotMyProblem.jpg?t=1244030539

  50. And here we were worrying about sudden death from skies.
    *sigh*
    dammit I bought your book and read it!
    And now you say we are going to melt!

  51. PS When you are at the dutch North Sea coast look out for some very nice algae.
    Water is warm so they come up for some nice displays.
    w w w. nu.nl/wetenschap/2866611/zeevonk-zichtbaar-in-kustwater-zandvoort.html

  52. Bob

    noen (#32): I am NOT a denialist, and am unsure how you concluded that I am, since I made the point that denialists should not be given ammunition in the form of inaccurate figures.

  53. J. Bruni

    My personal method of knowing who are “the good guys” and who are “the bad guys”, and consequently what sources of information are reliable and which are not is simple: the Word of my spiritual Master, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which I solely know from a full decade of personal experiences (not merely reading a book or a watching a presentation, but living a series of personal experiences) that He is indeed an Avatar.

    He confirms that the so-called “global warming” is a fact, and it is caused mainly by the human activity, which from nuclear bombs to petrol-based fueled vehicles pollutes air, water, soil, indeed everything, everywhere, all the time. (Source: His discourses and Isaac Tigrett’s testimonials of conversations with Him)

    This is why I personally know that denying “global warming” is a mistake. “Deniers” can be well-intentioned, and may have interesting and intelligent arguments – but the fact is that “global warming” is not a hoax, but a very serious problem that we, humanity, are facing.

    I tend to believe that all sorts of “deniers” arguments are funded and sponsored by the main corporations causing “global warming”. But this is not something I know – but mere speculation.

    What I know for sure is that “global warming” is simply a natural reaction to the abuse we are doing to planet Earth. – I know a long list and I’ve done reading of several “deny” arguments; I have not ignored them; my conclusion is simple: they are not correct.

    While I admire the scientific approach, and other approaches, my certainty is based on the authority of the Word of One who knows. Thus, I am only humbly sharing my perspective, which may be useful for someone else. Thank you.

  54. uudale

    @32 noen:

    “…80% of humanity lives in coastal areas.”

    Where did you get this data? I’ve read various sources (UN reports, etc.) that say approximately 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 km of coastal areas.

  55. Aputsiaq Blytmann wrote:

    Last time such a melting occured was in 1889.

    dartmouthigert.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/new-summit-melt-layer/

    Therefore you can hardly say, that it’s unprecedented.

    Nothing in that link refers to anything about 1889, ergo, you are a liar.

  56. Gunnar

    @uudale:

    Only 40%? What a relief! Surely only 40% of the world’s population being forced to move because of rising sea levels is not sufficient cause for concern! Right?

  57. Aaron

    @Keith Bowden: Is someone who races called a racist?

  58. @dave (#15) – Compared to the epithets hurled Mann and Hansen and many others, ‘denier’ is tame. I agree with you that spurious name calling lessens the discussion. So why aren’t you going after people who actually use pejorative labels, like Anthony Watts or The National Review, instead of people who have done no more than to find an accurate label for those who deny the copious amount of evidence before them?

  59. VinceRN

    I think there is a lesson for skeptics in #53 J. Bruni’s post. Still not sure exactly what it means though…

    @47 Solius – See, lot’s of reasons, not just the sea level thing. But, had the French had the foresight to think that people might be staying there and that there settlement might grow they could have gone just a short distance up river and saved a lot of trouble for millions of people over the the last three centuries. (Sorry, it’s the one bigotry I cling to, if the French are involved it must be their fault)

    (Also Solius at 55 – That link does refer to 1889, says specifically that a similar melt occurred in 1889, and that that is the only other known melt layer. I’m not sure the post referred to is the least bit relevant, the fact that a melt occurred before doesn’t really mean that there is not global warming, nor does it mean that this melt 123 years later has to have the same cause. Blyttman’s post may not be relevant, but he(?) is not lying about the content of the post. The only valid point I can draw from Blytmann’s post here is that “unprecedented” might not be a great word to use given that the world is billions of years old and we only have really good data for a handful of decades worth of history.

  60. Ricardo

    I agree with #1(Bob) and #27(Andreas H). The facts support the scientific consensus on AGW/HIRGO, it isn’t necessary to dumb things down AND it is of paramount importance that we hold ourselves to higher standards. Those who think that this is just a matter or politics and/or world-conspiracy-led-by-evil-scientists are prone to cherry-picking, and that Greenland’s ice cover image is a HUGE cherry waiting to be picked.

    My point is: Although Phil was pretty clear about the meaning of the red areas (areas where SOME melting has occured), I just saw on TV a news reporter claiming that 97% of ALL the Greenland’s ice had melted. We know that the media and the average Joe are all about loose numbers and pretty graphics, not bothering to read and think properly, but this time I have to concede that the graphic’s color choice and presentation are misleading, probably unintentionally so. And we know it takes the absolutely no energy to go from “this graphic is misleading” to “those scientists on their ivory towers are trying to take my SUV and my guns, enslave my children and make us go back to the stone age”. We shouldn’t give them ANY bread crumbs to feed their delusion.

    #32(noen): Please keep your pants on. There is something called “constructive criticism”, it means that not everyone that says that your ideas, although right, can be better expressed is automatically your enemy. We have enough enemies already, there’s no need to spend energy attacking those who share the same general idea with you.

    #53 (J. Bruni)
    I assume that your heart is on the right place (that or my Poe’s detector is broken), but an argument from authority is the least thing we need right now…

  61. noen

    @ uudale said

    “…80% of humanity lives in coastal areas.”

    Where did you get this data?

    The wiki entry on Coastal hazards which I remembered from researching the North Carolina silliness.

    “Coastal hazards play a major role in today’s society because it is a part of human nature to live near or along the coast. 80% of people live near the coast. 1.2 billion people live within 100 km of the coast and it is on the rise”
    Adger, N., & Hughes, T. (2005). Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. science, 309


    Bob said:
    “noen (#32): I am NOT a denialist,”

    Sorry. I interpreted your remarks as concern trolling. Sorry if I made a mistake.

  62. Areis

    So the math shows a couple meters rise of the ocean level? Is it a couple of meters?

    And that will make property in Pennsylvania beach front property?

    I’m too dumb… would this happen in Louisiana or in the Netherlands?

    We should do all we can not to screw the planet we live in but if the root cause is not people breathing maybe we should look for solutions rather than name calling.

  63. Ricardo

    On my post above there are some words missing because they were between less-than and greater-than symbols. So where you read:

    “And we know it takes the absolutely no energy to…”, please read:

    “And we know it takes the -insert_label_here- absolutely no energy to…”.

  64. Spence_UK

    Good job Andy Revkin gets the “unprecedented” bit right:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/unprecedented-greenland-surface-melt-every-150-years/

    The headline to this blog post is nothing but alarmism.

  65. Aputsiaq Blytmann

    Forgot to add, I’m not denying anything. Just wanted to address the faulty headline.

  66. Nullius in Verba

    What’s the difference between climate and weather?

    How large an area of the Earth do you need to consider? How long a period of time?

    Because next time there’s a cold winter, we’ll want to check back with you…

    As always, it’s difficult to pin any specific weather event on global cooling. But every day, the list of suspicious events grows longer. Snow in the Sahara, and Saudi Arabia. Sudden frosts destroying crops. Antarctic sea ice trending upwards. And the weird weather we’ve been getting is consistent with what’s been predicted for a planet that’s stopped warming…

    But seriously, we go around this circle time after time. Warm weather events get linked to global warming alarm, and sceptics tell them it’s rubbish. It’s just weather and it’s happened before. So cold weather events get connected to the end of global warming by sceptics, to make the point, and alarmists tell them it’s rubbish. You can’t judge from short term events, 30 year trends, unscientific and deceptive, blah, blah, blah. So you think “Thank goodness! They’ve finally got the idea.” And then there’s warm weather again, and we’re off… “… weird weather suggestive of global warming … totally unprecedented since the last time it happened in 1889 … imminent catastrophe … nations to drown as the oceans rise … serious people in charge … marching two by two into the ark … global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers… blah blah.” They never. Ever. Learn.

    This is the moral equivalent of telling people they ought to get their kids vaccinated because you had an aunt who once got vaccinated and three days later her cold cleared up, which just goes to show. It works because of quantum.

    No matter how well intentioned, highlighting weather as ‘signs’ of climate change just hands the sceptics a big stick to hit you with. And if you do manage to persuade anyone that weather really *is* a sign of climate, it’ll turn round and bite you when there’s next a spell of cold weather and they all ask you whether it means global warming is over. (Which by your own logic, it does.) And the best bit is that as scientifically-minded advocates for scepticism and critical thinking, you should know better.

    But please, don’t let any of that stop you doing it again. And again.

  67. Menyambal

    Nullius in Verba Says:

    So cold weather events get connected to the end of global warming by sceptics, to make the point, and alarmists tell them it’s rubbish.

    Well, if you are only doing it to make the point, it is rubbish.

    And, as you said, it’s more properly called global climate disruption. “Global warming” is a bit simplified—the planet as a whole is warming, but not every bit is going to warm every day. As you say and you know.

    Your snarky superiority and condescension maybe is just to make a point, but it rings really hollow for you.

    As for “weather”, yeah, we know about that, clownshoes. I’m personally suffering through the hottest weather in years, but I know the last ten summers have been ever hotter. And, as I keep saying, I’ve got armadillos and roadrunners in my town, which was not the case when I was a wee lad.

    Most of the denier bullsquirt reminds me of the Fox News guy who was scoffing at the folks who said the ice on top of Mount Kilimanjaro was melting. In his best “case closed” Fox News snottiness, he sneered, “It isn’t melting, it’s sublimating.”

    By the way, Nullius in Verba, you who are so wise, and who scoffs at a “global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers”, show me some evidence that there is not a global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers, and prove to me that you are not a shill.

    Corporations have no moral restraints, they are motivated solely by profits, and they already have a large advertising budget. Why would they not fund deniers?

    BTW, they also run layers of corporations, so saying that you aren’t funded by an oil company isn’t going to help.

    And yes, the possibility that you aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean you haven’t been shilled. The moon-hoaxers, truthers, birthers and creationists have made that quite clear. You sound just like them and you are trolling just as hard.

  68. noen

    Nullius in Verba said: — “What’s the difference between climate and weather?”

    Time.

    “How large an area of the Earth do you need to consider? “

    There are such things as microclimates and they can be quite small. Basically a climate is the statistical state of the climate system.

    “Because next time there’s a cold winter, we’ll want to check back with you…”

    The statistical likely hood of a severely cold winter such as I recall in my youth is lower now than it was then. I can remember 90 consecutive days of below zero F temperature with frequent lows of -30° F. I can remember blizzards with winds of 40-50 mph and temps of -50° F and a wind chill of -80° F. I can remember needing to put your car in a garage, pull the battery and bring it in the house because if you didn’t the engine block would be frozen *solid* and there was no way you were moving until it thawed out.

    In *southern* Minnesota.

    We don’t have winters like that any more at all. I don’t need a goose down coat, wool mittens, a face mask and thermal socks any more. We routinely hit 85° F even 90° F in October. Sometimes we don’t get much snow accumulation until late December, and January and February are not the unending frozen experience they used to be.

    “This is the moral equivalent of telling people they ought to get their kids vaccinated because you had an aunt who once got vaccinated and three days later her cold cleared up, which just goes to show. It works because of quantum.”

    That’s not fair. The causal mechanism for global warming is a well understood, uncontroversial fact. Climatologists do not make false predictions comparable to someone claiming vaccinations will cure the common cold. A better comparison would be “Take these antibiotics and your chance of infection is significantly reduced”. Some people who take antibiotics still get infections. Most do not. Maybe you could point to any single person and say that maybe the antibiotics had no effect. Maybe they would have got better on their own. That could be true.

    It is an invalid argument to say that John took antibiotics but got an infection anyway therefore antibiotics do not prevent infections. The reason why is because it is invalid to argue from a particular case to a general conclusion. However it is not an invalid argument to say “everyone in my class took antibiotics and only a couple got infections, therefore the antibiotics prevented them getting an infection.” The reason why is because it IS valid to argue from a general case to a general conclusion if the causal mechanism is known.

    Which is what Bill Nye the science guy and other media science educators did recently. They did NOT argue from one weather event to conclude global warming was the cause. They pointed to an overall general pattern of wildfires and record heat waves which are indeed a direct prediction of climate change as being caused by our warming climate.

    Why?

    Because it’s true.

  69. TaffyDownUnder

    100sqKm I laugh at your Northern tiddly chunks of ice … down South, in Antarctica the Pine Island glacier is set to drop 900sqKm of ice into the drink.

    Also there’s a largeish rift valley buried under 1.5km of snow and ice
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18959399

  70. Menyambal

    But this widespread a melting has not happened in the 30 years satellites have been used to map the region.

    That’s the unprecendentedness, guys. The satellites haven’t seen anything like this before.

    The linked article does say that the ice cores show that such melting has happened before, and it’s nice that all the deniers suddenly trust those ice cores. The linked article also says that the melting isn’t taken as proof of anything, but that the scientists will keep an eye on whether it happens again.

    This article perhaps could have used a different headline, but only a fanatic would assume it meant to deceive. It linked back to the original article, for cripessake,.

    Are you denialists so rabid that you don’t read, and so closeminded that you assume everyone else is? You’ve got a bad case of projection going there, trolls.

  71. Menyambal

    TaffyDownUnder, thanks for that link.

    I could put it together with a couple of other things, and make a convincing-sounding denier delusional rant. But I’m not going to, unless some giant corporation gives me lots of money. I’ll just keep chuckling quietly that the deniers don’t see it.

  72. Menyambal

    I just saw a reference to the melting referred to in this posting on MSNBC. It was on the Rachel Maddow show, with her substitute in the chair. Do you want any more liberal than that?

    He could have been a bit more clear on what he said in the first part—it could have been understood that the entire icecap had melted away—but I knew what he meant, and only winced slightly. (See, I’m honest. He made an error.)

    But he then made it unmistakably clear that there had been precedent in 1889. He then quoted the scientists as saying that it was something to keep an eye on, not to take as evidence of anything (I am not quoting precisely).

    He then made a clear distinction between weather and climate, attributed some of what’s going on to a Niño cycle, and showed the data that shows long-term increased temperatures world-wide.

    Everything that the deniers complain about was absolutely not the case.

  73. Mark

    good lord, here we go again with the labels (deniers) led by our esteemed blogger himself, who seems to love to hear himself talk. boatload of real good numbers to support a skeptical viewpoint of whether or not the ‘climate’ of the planet is changing, how much, at what frequency. as climatologists know (but don’t seem to write anymore) a modification in climate is to be studied for a very long period of time. this is why its called climate. the climate has been changing, rocking back and forth since the earth and its atmosphere were formed. internal heating, the sun, where the earth is in its orbit, what angle the earth tilts, and a myriad of other factors that are next to impossible to model accurately (yes i know that some scientists think they have accurate models, but please spare me…they can’t tell me what the weather will be 10 days from now, let alone 100 years!!). god love them for trying though and the longer they work at it the better the possibilities are, but we (as a people) are very far away from any kind of accurate global climate predictor. there is some evidence out there that would seem to indicate a slight warming depending on which years you start your survey. statisticians for the most part have ruled most of this (given the previous fluctuations in the planets nominal temperature thru eons) as statistically insignificant. the problem not is intransigence by both sides, which doesn’t surprise me as its become a dangerous political game now. some scientists (like this blogger) now become advocates for one side of this story, and various characters forming a skeptical attitude are digging their heels in also. my view is that there is enough evidence to study further, but not enough to proclaim ‘the debate over’ and label people ‘deniers’. believe me folks, there is an entire subclass of scientists really working hard without any preconceived beliefs going in, in an effort to find the evidence supporting whatever it is that might be happening. this blogger doesn’t seem to grasp it, but his language hurts his ’cause’ more than he is apparently able to know. thats a shame, i have guys like him pegged to act better, to act like a scientist and stop issuing proclamations indicating a ‘belief system’. shame on any scientist really on either side of this question. humanity will pay for mistakes at this level.

  74. Hey Mark, ever heard of paragraphs?(Hint – press the ‘enter’ button occassionally, ‘k?) ;-)

    good lord, here we go again with the labels (deniers) led by our esteemed blogger himself, who seems to love to hear himself talk. boatload of real good numbers to support a skeptical viewpoint of whether or not the ‘climate’ of the planet is changing

    Climate gets scare quotes now? :roll:

    Yeah, climate, that thing with how we have these constant expected and predictable patterns of weather for given latitudes and locations. How y’know, its kind of cold at the south pole and kinda hot in the tropics usually. Yeesh. U 4 realz?

    as climatologists know (but don’t seem to write anymore) a modification in climate is to be studied for a very long period of time.

    Oh fer .. heard of capitalisation too? Tell me youre a Poe, please do! (Yes, I usually end up with a metric tonne of typos myself but still.)

    Very long period of time. How long is that specifically? Yes, we can put things in a broader perspective. In fact, please view the clip attached to my name here – ‘Climate Change isn’t it natural’ from potholer54.

    Yes climatologist know about timescales and yes, they know about, (d’uh!) climate change of various sorts both natural and artificial. You might want to, oh I dunno, listen to what they say?

    Unless *you* know better in which case you have to prove it By for instance showing some real peer-revieweed and scientifically published and reliable evidence and facts that prove your case. Winning yourself a Nobel prize or two in the process.

    the climate has been changing, rocking back and forth since the earth and its atmosphere were formed.

    That link in my name here. Watch it. Seriously. Yeesh. :roll:

  75. Part II @ 73. Mark :

    internal heating, the sun, where the earth is in its orbit, what angle the earth tilts, and a myriad of other factors that are next to impossible to model accurately (yes i know that some scientists think they have accurate models, but please spare me…they can’t tell me what the weather will be 10 days from now, let alone 100 years!!).

    New link in my name for this comment. See that – ‘This Year’s Model’ by Greenman3610 – too please. Really.

    Weather ain’t climate. There’s a bit of difference involving timescales and expectations and, yes, reliable predictablity. We can predict that the tropics will get hot days and plentyof rainfall, deserts will be dry and there’ll be blizzards at thepoles with snowfall not rain.

    If you don’t know the differece between weather and climate and you *do* seem to have these confused, well youmight want tolearn and thinkabitmore before you post here because, y’know, most of us reading here are pretty much on top of that.

    Let alone the people who have dedicated many decades of their lives to studying the climate issue and who do actually know what they’re talking about.

    god love them for trying though and the longer they work at it the better the possibilities are, but we (as a people) are very far away from any kind of accurate global climate predictor.

    That link now in my name. Again, really. View it and learn.

    As a people? What about what the experts who as previously noted have spent decades of their lives understanding what is going on climate~wise? They’re the ones we need to listen to because, well that whole decades of study and first hand experience thing.

    The people who haven’t done that? Who get their lack of comprehension from Fox news or suchlike? Them, not-so-much.

    Elitist? (Shrug) Yup. Unapologetically so. If you had to get someone to run for your life, would you choose the average person off the street or an Olympic sprinter or marathon runner?

    there is some evidence out there that would seem to indicate a slight warming depending on which years you start your survey. statisticians for the most part have ruled most of this (given the previous fluctuations in the planets nominal temperature thru eons) as statistically insignificant.

    They have have they? :roll:

    I don’t think so.

    Your source & evidence for that extraordinary claim would be, what?

    .. the problem not is intransigence by both sides, which doesn’t surprise me as its become a dangerous political game now.

    Politics. It ain’t scientific and it is a problem. Politicans are NOT experts in climate. Funny that. Maybe Definitely they should listen to those who are!

    (Fixed It For Me.)

    (given the previous fluctuations in the planets nominal temperature thru eons)

    Eons when humans and their works and impacts weren’t around. That link in my first repsone to you #74 Mark. Watch that.

    See there’s natural cliamte change over millennia and then there’s the artificial Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating climate change happening right now because we’re burning in centuries what nature took millions of years to produce. Do you know why they’re called fossil fuels and have any idea how rare fossils are and how long it takes to get fossils?

  76. ubikdood

    Ahhh, yes… Greenland melting. I’m sure it must be CO2’s fault.

    Meanwhile, you can wait for the resulting tsunami on this webcam :

    http://www.summitcamp.org/status/webcam/

    Regards

  77. Third installment of reply to #73 mark :

    ..some scientists (like this blogger) now become advocates for one side of this story,

    Why ever might that be, eh?

    Perhaps it might just possibly have to do with the fact that 97% or so of the practicing climate scientists are on one “side” based on the actual empirical evidence?

    Don’t believe me? Guess what, there’s a link in my name here – Skeptical Science: Is there a scientific consensus on global warming? webpage – that gives a source for why I think that. Your argument against that reality would be what and supported by what evidence now?

    ..my view is that there is enough evidence to study further, but not enough to proclaim ‘the debate over’ and label people ‘deniers’.

    Your view is based on what though? Climatologists such as Mike Mann, james Hansen and, heck, Svante Arrhenius back inthe 1900’s have done a lot of work to understand the issue and published their evidence and taken alot of measurements and crunched a lot of calculations.

    OTOH, you “Mark” have an opinion that is backed up by .. what? That you think perhaps justifies disregarding all the experts in the field have done and said because ..?

    believe me folks, there is an entire subclass of scientists really working hard without any preconceived beliefs going in, in an effort to find the evidence supporting whatever it is that might be happening. this blogger doesn’t seem to grasp it, ..

    “This blogger” Dr Phil Plait has provided plenty of information and links and evidence to support his case here. Click on the tabs, read the comments, follow his links and see for yourself.

    You, OTOH, not-so-much.

    but his language hurts his ’cause’ more than he is apparently able to know. thats a shame, i have guys like him pegged to act better, to act like a scientist and stop issuing proclamations indicating a ‘belief system’. shame on any scientist really on either side of this question. humanity will pay for mistakes at this level.

    That last line. Yup. We will.

    My brother has a (almost) two year old girl. What sortas world will she grow up to see?

    What will our legacy and future be?

  78. uudale

    @61 noen:

    Thanks for the info, I’ll check into it.

    @56 Gunnar:

    If only 10% of the world’s population were affected, that would still be a catastrophe. I was just questioning one’s person’s source because I had seen different data. 40% vs. 80% is a pretty large swing. Quite a leap to judgment you made there.

  79. Greenland melting – rivers upon the icesheet vanishing into the depths – seen here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F9FbdqGRsg&feature=player_embedded

    See what the non-ice-sheet situated rivers in Greenland have been up too – flowing super fast and wrecking machinery and bridges in their path :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SuJ1sFn_B0&feature=player_embedded

    The terrifying maths of HIRGO here :

    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/07/20/bill-mckibben-the-terrifying-new-math-of-climate-change/

    Evidence right before our eyes.

    Oh & the Bad Astronomer’s thread on ‘Climate change: the evidence’ posted back on the 26th of October 2010 at 7:00 AM and sourced back to NASA is linked to my name here as well.

  80. Mark

    @76

    so much to talk about i guess, my intention is not to win over one alarmist or denier at a time and my intention is not to impress by providing link after link supporting my, your, our case. suffice to say there are many links out there (and real research) which state the opposite of apparently the ‘close case’ of the warming. i can say ‘here’ and ‘here’ and ‘here’ too. i trust that anyone willing to spend the time to actually look into this will find quite a lot of the controversy themselves. you don’t need to be a climatologist to question Dr Mann and his graph, but you do have to be a statistician. Do most of the readers here understand that? do you all understand the word insignificant when talking about temperature and all its variability over hundreds of millions of years (perhaps billions?).

    another point i keep hearing that simply isn’t true if anyone bothered to delve into such things. this idea that the planets lifeforms are doomed with a temperature rise. life thrives in heat, life (for the most part) dies in cold. if some lifeforms die out as a result of some heating then undoubtedly there will be other lifeforms to replace it, as yet unevolved. how soft are we that we shudder at a temperature rise? after 4+ billion years why are we now entitled to the climate that the earth is displaying now? what makes anybody here think that huge climactic shifts wouldn’t occur naturally (as they have done) killing off large numbers of organisms? its just silly really and kind of gets into the humanist dogma that we can alter the climate of this place. man can do everything. mr plait himself alluded to it some some days back when he patted the human race on the back for discovering something (i can’t remember what it was, i don’t think it was the higgs boson, it was something else). i couldn’t help but laugh at his statement though because if the right things are in place and technology is curtailed as a result of draconian laws to curb development then discoveries like the very one he was talking about wouldn’t be possible because nobody would support large scientific projects simply because the money for it would dry up. i believe mr plait and some others are actually shooting themselves in the foot with their dogmatic positions. the statement i made at the very end of my last post alluded to this somewhat. for any lover of astronomy and scientific discovery such as myself, a race back to the stone age because of global warming fears will kill millions. sometimes mans good intentions lead to complete disaster (like the DDT issue—–millions are dead because we fear killing birds with a toxin that kills malaria—-its stunning really how things get to that stage, and entire continent has lost literally millions of people because of it. did we kill the guy/or gal that would have discovered the cure for cancer by saving a few birds? anyway, sort of off on a tangent there but I’ve made my point. be mindful of the slippery slope.

  81. Nigel Depledge

    @ J. Bruni (53) –
    Wow, that has got to be the best Poe ever!

  82. Nigel Depledge

    Aaron (57) said:

    @Keith Bowden: Is someone who races called a racist?

    Heehee!

    No, obviously, they’re a racer.

  83. noen

    @ Mark – “i can say ‘here’ and ‘here’ and ‘here’ too.”

    But you have not and in the past your arguments were false or misleading.

    “i trust that anyone willing to spend the time to actually look into this will find quite a lot of the controversy themselves.”

    I have. I have found that the controversy is bogus. The science is solid. Global warming is in fact happening right now and we are to blame. How bad it will be is more in question but it is very likely to have severe implications for everyone.

    “undoubtedly there will be other lifeforms to replace it, as yet unevolved”

    Perhaps but that would take millions of years. In the mean time around 50% of all species face extinction.

    “why are we now entitled to the climate that the earth is displaying now?”

    Why are we entitled to change it?

    “what makes anybody here think that huge climactic shifts wouldn’t occur naturally”

    They certainly did in the past but it was over periods of millions of years and not in a couple hundred.

    “its just silly really and kind of gets into the humanist dogma that we can alter the climate of this place”

    Well obviously we *can* alter the climate because we are in the process of doing that right now.

    “like the DDT issue—–millions are dead because we fear killing birds with a toxin that kills malaria”

    FALSE. Millions of people have not died *because* of the environmental regulations against the spraying of DDT. This is very typical. People who believe in pseudoscience like climate denial tend to believe in other demonstrably false ideas and conspiracy theories.

    “but I’ve made my point”

    And never before with such care and precision either.

  84. Steve Metzler

    80. Mark Says:

    do you all understand the word insignificant when talking about temperature and all its variability over hundreds of millions of years (perhaps billions?).

    Do *you* understand that we’ve only had this thing called ‘civilisation’ around for the past 10,000 years. What happened to the climate billions of years ago (when the Earth was a very different place), or even 10 million years ago, is largely irrelevant, except for gaining an understanding of what factors drive climate change. Right now, it is mankind that is largely driving climate change (this is proven beyond reasonable doubt), and the climate is changing at a rate unprecedented in the Earth’s history. At this moment, over 50% of the 48 contiguous U.S. states are in drought, some of it very severe. It will have a very bad effect on this year’s corn crop, which a good portion of the world is dependent on.

    what makes anybody here think that huge climactic shifts wouldn’t occur naturally (as they have done) killing off large numbers of organisms?

    They do occur naturally, but over the timescale of *thousands of years*, due to factors like extreme volcanic activity, or Milankovitch cycles. Nothing can explain such a sudden global rise in temps in just the 250 years or so since the start of the industrial revolution *except* mankind’s contribution of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Put it this way: 100 years ago there were 4 kilograms of CO2 above every square meter of the Earth’s surface. Now there are 6!

  85. Scott B

    I think I’ll accept the potential .5m rise in sea levels by 2100 in trade for continued access to the cheap energy fossil fuels provide us.

    It’s also way past time for the alarmists to take seriously the real human impact of raising the price of energy for all of humanity.

  86. Lee

    @55 Solius:
    The first paragraph of that link specifically mentions that date… ergo liar? Or maybe some other accusative statement such as non competence, whatever floats your boat.

  87. Scott B

    @62. Areis Just search Wikipedia for sea level rise and you will be given a good description of the topic this topic. I’ve blamed the IPCC for placing too high of confidence in many of their predictions and making too extreme of predictions, but sea level rise is one area they’ve done a decent job of cleaning up their act. They still trust models too much since they haven’t been able to demonstrate predictive skill, but it is the best of our knowledge at this time.

    In short, even under the worst of their scenarios of future CO2 emissions, they expect a .26 – .59m rise by 2100. To be fair they say some other factors that there’s great uncertainty around could move things above the maximum, but they don’t assign any number to that. I can’t find a map that shows the effects of this low of an increase, but here’s a site where you can at least see what a 1.0m rise would do around the world. Edit: ugh, URLs not allowed. Google “map of sea level rise” and click the second link which should be a Kansas Univ. edu site.

  88. tmac57

    Mark said:

    for any lover of astronomy and scientific discovery such as myself, a race back to the stone age because of global warming fears will kill millions.

    It’s the danger posed by unbridled release of Co2 by the burning of fossil fuels that threatens to send us back to the stone age. On the other hand smart introduction of renewable technology (a decidedly modern solution) can help people who are struggling right now (see the link below)

    http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2012/07/grameen-solar-success.html#more

    In one of the poorest countries on the planet a renewable energy service company is installing one thousand solar home systems – a day. Not in its capital or busy urban centers, but where 80 percent of the population lives – in rural Bangladesh.

  89. Keith Bowden

    @Aaron (57)
    Hahahahaahahaa! I like that.
    @Ricardo (60)
    Yay! Someone else using “HIRGO”! I’ll get this acronym/label in wide use yet. :)

  90. Nullius in Verba

    #67,

    “And, as you said, it’s more properly called global climate disruption.”

    I don’t think I said that, did I? What I would call it would be “predicted”. It is *predicted* that the climate will change detectably on a local level over the coming century, but up to now the change is still smaller than the local natural variability, and is thus lost in the noise from a detection point of view. You can only detect it (arguably) by averaging at a *continental* scale over *decades*. That – so far as I am aware – is the *mainstream* position. The sceptic position questions whether it is detectable at the global scale either.

    “Your snarky superiority and condescension maybe is just to make a point”

    Maybe so. What’s yours for?

    “Most of the denier bullsquirt reminds me of the Fox News guy who was scoffing at the folks who said the ice on top of Mount Kilimanjaro was melting.”

    Kilimanjaro is another good example of people ignorantly jumping to the conclusion that any instance of ice melting must be evidence of global warming. The mainstream scientific position is that the change is most likely due to local deforestation which has reduced humidity, increasing the rate of sublimation and decreasing precipitation. It has nothing to do with global warming. And it’s just one location, and so proves nothing. But idiots desperate for any evidence leap on it without a thought, and people who know better turn a blind eye, which is why a lot of people who don’t know much about climate science still haven’t caught up.

    “show me some evidence that there is not a global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers, and prove to me that you are not a shill.”

    Brilliant! And to think I thought I was going to get into trouble for hinting that you might be a conspiracy theorist, and it turns out that you are! Well done!

    #68,

    “The statistical likely hood of a severely cold winter such as I recall in my youth is lower now than it was then.”

    Here’s a climate quote from history.

    “A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their developement, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those overflowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now.”

    Sound familiar?

    While you’re at it, you might also like to check out temperatures in central England from 1695-1733, where the climate did the same sort of long-term shift – only bigger and faster.

    You may be right about the shift in local climate since your youth – I don’t know without looking at the records. But such shifts over 50 year periods are not that uncommon. They’ve happened before, and it’s not a big surprise to hear of them happening again. At a local level, about 1/3rd of places show a long-term cooling, and 2/3rds show long-term warming. The *global* average is warming, but the *local* picture is something entirely different.

    “That’s not fair. The causal mechanism for global warming is a well understood, uncontroversial fact”

    And it’s also a well-understood, uncontroversial fact that weather is not climate, and change can only be detected at a global scale. But you still get deniers denying it.

    My point was that even though vaccination science is good, you do it a disservice by using bogus arguments in its support. And likewise on the assumption that climate change is a serious threat for the future, you do it a disservice by using bogus and easily refuted arguments to try to persuade people to take it seriously. In the long run, that does more damage.

    And for such an uncontroversial fact, it’s amazing how many people don’t know how it works. And yet they still express absolute confidence in its truth and uncontroversiality. They have been told what “the scientific position” is, and have a stunningly absolute blind faith in what they’ve been told.

    “They did NOT argue from one weather event to conclude global warming was the cause. They pointed to an overall general pattern of wildfires and record heat waves which are indeed a direct prediction of climate change as being caused by our warming climate.”

    But the general pattern on heatwaves is that there were more in the 1930s and 1950s, and on wildfires that there were more before 1900 than after, and that they have been declining. Any trends have far more to do with developments in forest management practice than the weather.

    Nevertheless, I would agree that this is the *sort* of thing you people ought to be doing – not pointing to a week of warm weather in one small nation and asking people to ‘get serious’ on the basis of it.

  91. @35 Nigel Depledge: The algae will most probably die off as they deplete the ocean of some other nutrient (say, phsophorus, for instance). If they then sink to the bottom of the ocean, their subsequent anaerobic degradation by bacteria will release methane. If they remain near the surface, their degradation could well re-emit all the CO2 they just absorbed. So it is hard to see how such a scheme will contribute long-term to reduction in atmospheric GHGs.

    Aren’t limestones and shales essentially ancient carbon sinks created from the accumulated biomass of dead critters on the ocean floor? Even taking methane production into account, I was under the impression that sedimentation has always been the main sequestering process in the Earth’s carbon cycle?

    Not that I’m advocating the whole iron-dumping idea. Much as the geek in me loves the idea of taking control and using science to solve our problems, it obviously warrants much, MUCH more study.
    My big question would be “How much carbon is emitted by producing all that iron sulfate in the first place?” Apparently it takes heat and sulfuric acid to produce this stuff, and then there’s the mining of the raw materials and transportationg thereof.

  92. Sparticle

    I was just in a debate with a denier and he mentioned that scientists like Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, and even Phil, are all corrupted by “government money”. There’s so much wrong with that, I don’t have enough time or energy to type it all. I had to end it right there; it would have been masochistic of me not to.

  93. Gunnar

    @uudale #78.

    I did indeed make an unwarranted leap in judgment about you, and I humbly apologize. As you acknowledged, even 10% of the world’s population being forced out of their homes by sea level rise would be catastrophic.

  94. @Nullius in Verba: “[quote]show me some evidence that there is not a global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers, and prove to me that you are not a shill.”

    Brilliant! And to think I thought I was going to get into trouble for hinting that you might be a conspiracy theorist, and it turns out that you are! Well done!

    The funding of think tanks that attempt to discredit mainstream climate science is not a conspiracy theory. It’s not even an “open secret”. It’s a well-known fact. Hell, Google “Exxon funded” and see what comes up. Granted, calling a person in a forum a shill isn’t something I’d ever do personally, if only because there’s no way to prove or disprove the assertion. But fact remains that the only reason that there’s this huge “debate” in the United States about climate change is the metric f***tons of money that are being funneled into a huge network of astroturfing organizations, including PR firms that are known to hire “paid posters”.

  95. Nigel Depledge

    Menyambal (67) said:

    By the way, Nullius in Verba, you who are so wise, and who scoffs at a “global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers”, show me some evidence that there is not a global oil-funded conspiracy of deniers, and prove to me that you are not a shill.

    This is pretty much impossible, but as it happens the fossil-fuel funding of at least some of the anti-AGW nonsense has been proven.

  96. Nullius in Verba

    #94,

    Yeah. Yeah. Type “9/11 truth” into Google and see what comes up.

    Exxon spends around a couple of million a year on it, which is not a lot. Each $1m is the equivalent of about 25 people working full time for a US median salary of $40k. Given that overhead costs for any sort of operation will take much of that (i.e. a portion of the money is to pay the people who deliver the paper and fix the printers and so on) the actual number devoted to controlling global opinion is smaller still.

    There are no vast corrupting riches to be made opposing climate change activism. There’s a little bit of pocket money to help pay the bills of a few dozen. And they’re up against the likes of Greenpeace, the WWF, the EPA, the UN, the governments of most Western nations, scores of politicians, the renewable energy subsidy industry, insurance companies, the carbon offset scammers, and so on. The funding ratio is hundreds to one against them. One single campaigner donated more on one single advertising capaign than the sceptics got altogether over 10 years – Al Gore’s $300m advertising blitz. He even has his own TV channel! And there are plenty of advertising agencies and political think-tanks operating behind the scenes of climate activism.

    The truth is that the vast majority of the climate sceptics are amateurs, doing it for free in their spare time. The reason for the debate is that scientists and engineers who have worked in industry, where serious money rides on getting the science right, are used to more rigorous and less trusting standards than academia is, and they’ve poked around a bit in climate science and found serious problems. But they’re being resisted by the academic community, who have had a free ride for years and don’t like having their work checked (who does?), and the campaigners and vested interests whose reputations and fortunes now rest on the science retaining its absolute unquestionable trust. So rather than *fix* the problems, they try instead to deny that any exist.

    And as a result of that many further people, who don’t fully understand the deep science but who recognise corruption and the influence of politics when they see it, have also become sceptical.

    This idea that nobody should fund research that opposes the orthodoxy is a strange one. It’s not that they object to oil money or vested interests per se, since pro-AGW outfits like CRU are funded by them. But the idea seems to be that the other side has to match their funded research without any funding at all, since anyone funding such tainted research must be evil, and being funded by such evil people taints any unorthodox research done. Only strict orthodoxy can untaint it.

    So if sceptics are funded professionals, they’re paid shills; and if they’re unfunded amateurs working in their own time, they haven’t produced the depth of research that the paid, full-time scientists have. It’s a neat trap.

    But it’s also ad hominem fallacy and a conspiracy theory.

    It’s neither illegal nor immoral for people to pay their own money to people who disagree with you, as you seem to think, and the money isn’t the reason why they disagree anyway, as the unpaid vast majority shows. This “huge network” is entirely a figment of your own wild-eyed imaginations. But that’s not something many conspiracy theorist would be prepared to accept.

  97. Nigel Depledge

    Mark (73) said:

    good lord, here we go again with the labels (deniers)

    You have obviously not read some of the preceding comments. This has been dealt with. In the same way as those who walk are walkers, those who deny are deniers. Or is your English comprehension as bad as your typing?

    led by our esteemed blogger himself, who seems to love to hear himself talk.

    Er, he’s a blogger, blogging. If he talks while blogging, I certainly can’t hear it. Was someone forcing you to read Phil’s blog?

    boatload of real good numbers to support a skeptical viewpoint of whether or not the ‘climate’ of the planet is changing, how much, at what frequency.

    Eh? Frequency?

    That our climate is changing has been established to the satisfaction of the climate science community. They’ve moved on. They’re looking at the details of how various systems are responding, and they are refining their models on which all of our predictions are based.

    as climatologists know (but don’t seem to write anymore) a modification in climate is to be studied for a very long period of time.

    Yes, so what?

    They’ve looked into temperature proxies going back thousands of years.

    this is why its called climate. the climate has been changing, rocking back and forth since the earth and its atmosphere were formed.

    Of course it has.

    But that is not relevant to the current warming trend, for two reasons.

    1. Never before has there been a human civilisation that is so uniquely vulnerable to changes in climate (most especially rainfall patterns and mean sea level);
    2. Never before has the activity of a single species driven climate change with such rapidity.

    You may also note that, human concerns aside, all previous major changes in climate were accompanied by mass extinction events (especially the end-Permian extinction, that was, IIUC, driven by the Siberian Traps series of vast volcanic eruptions, and took about 500,000 years).

    internal heating, the sun, where the earth is in its orbit, what angle the earth tilts, and a myriad of other factors that are next to impossible to model accurately

    This is utter nonsense. Of course those factors can be modelled, and of course they have been investigated. None of these is able to account for the currently-observed warming trend. In fact, insolation has been decreasing for a couple of decades (I can’t recall the exact length of time, but it is relevant to, and destroys, the proposal that increased solar output has caused the current observed warming).

    (yes i know that some scientists think they have accurate models, but please spare me…they can’t tell me what the weather will be 10 days from now, let alone 100 years!!).

    You are conflating weather and climate. This is a rather boring denialist canard. Inaccuracy in weather prediction (which is actually less than you claim) does not equate to inaccuracy in climate prediction.

    god love them for trying though and the longer they work at it the better the possibilities are, but we (as a people) are very far away from any kind of accurate global climate predictor.

    And there is a difference between measuring what is happening now and what is predicted to happen. However, all of the credible models agree that the way we have changed the atmosphere will result in more warming than has been observed to date, even if GHG emissions were to cease today.

    there is some evidence out there that would seem to indicate a slight warming depending on which years you start your survey. statisticians for the most part have ruled most of this (given the previous fluctuations in the planets nominal temperature thru eons) as statistically insignificant.

    Citation needed.

    All the evidence I have seen shows a significant upswing in recent decades.

    In addition, proxies to temperature are all showing global warming. Of all the world’s glaciers, only one has grown in the last 20 years (and that’s because it is on the northern face of Mt St Helen’s, and did not exist prior to the dramatic eruption of that volcano in the late ‘80s). The volume of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing steadily. The proportion of Arctic sea ice that lasts more than a year has been decreasing steadily. Antarctica’s glaciers are all moving faster than they were when first measured (due to increased lubrication from meltwater). There are glaciers in the Alps that are several hundred metres shorter than they were 100-odd years ago. Sea levels have been rising. Greenland’s ice sheet is showing unusually widespread summer melting. And there’s plenty more evidence.

    the problem not is intransigence by both sides, which doesn’t surprise me as its become a dangerous political game now. some scientists (like this blogger) now become advocates for one side of this story, and various characters forming a skeptical attitude are digging their heels in also.

    Here’s a thought for you to consider:

    What if the climate scientists really do know more about this stuff than everyone else who hasn’t spent decades studying Earth’s climate?

    In that case, you have the situation where the science is right, the case is closed, and yet many people (no doubt at least partly funded by those with a substantial vested interest in the status quo) deny that there is a problem, or deny that human activities have caused it, or deny that there’s anything to be done to halt it.

    AFAICT, that is indeed the situation that pertains.

    my view is that there is enough evidence to study further, but not enough to proclaim ‘the debate over’ and label people ‘deniers’.

    Well, fortunately, your view doesn’t matter. Unless, of course, you claim to know more about Earth’s climate than the people who actually study the topic.

    believe me folks,

    Why should I? Or anyone else?

    You have made some dramatic claims about the current state of climate science, but you have backed up none of them with evidence.

    there is an entire subclass of scientists really working hard without any preconceived beliefs going in, in an effort to find the evidence supporting whatever it is that might be happening.

    These people do exist, but they are not a sub-class, they are climatologists.

    And what they are telling the rest of us is that AGW is a real phenomenon with implications of global proportions to human civilisation.

    this blogger doesn’t seem to grasp it, but his language hurts his ’cause’ more than he is apparently able to know. thats a shame, i have guys like him pegged to act better, to act like a scientist and stop issuing proclamations indicating a ‘belief system’. shame on any scientist really on either side of this question. humanity will pay for mistakes at this level.

    If you had established any credibility for yourself, I might consider that you have a point here. However, the consensus among climate scientists is that AGW is a real phenomenon. Other scientists have no need for what you call a “belief system”. The evidence is there to be seen by those who wish to see it. You have trotted out several empty claims and some tired old denialist canards.

    How about you go and learn what the actual climate scientists are saying about the Earth’s climate, rather than trusting that whichever pundits you follow will tell you the truth about the state of climate science?

  98. uudale

    @93 Gunnar,

    No problem. Honestly, when I saw noen’s figure of 80%, the first thing I thought of was, “That seems like an awful lot of people living by coastlines…”

    BTW, I’m not a climate change denier. The data proves it. Sometimes I just question the speculative catastrophic outcomes that some folks attribute to AGW without solid data behind it…

  99. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verba (96) said:

    There are no vast corrupting riches to be made opposing climate change activism. There’s a little bit of pocket money to help pay the bills of a few dozen. And they’re up against the likes of Greenpeace, the WWF, the EPA, the UN, the governments of most Western nations, scores of politicians, the renewable energy subsidy industry, insurance companies, the carbon offset scammers, and so on. The funding ratio is hundreds to one against them. One single campaigner donated more on one single advertising capaign than the sceptics got altogether over 10 years – Al Gore’s $300m advertising blitz. He even has his own TV channel! And there are plenty of advertising agencies and political think-tanks operating behind the scenes of climate activism.

    Wow, are you actually saying that environmental charities such as Greenpeace and the WWF have more money to spend than the oil companies???

    That’s an extraordinary claim. How about you back it up with some evidence?

    The truth is that the vast majority of the climate sceptics are amateurs, doing it for free in their spare time.

    Not so. The vast majoity of deniers are doing it for free, because they simply regurgitate the many-times-refuted talking points put out by self-styled “think tanks” such as the Heartland Institute.

    Come to think of it, IIRC, the Heartland Institute alone has been demonstrated to have received more funding from people who own large fossil-fuel interests than the kind of figures you’re talking about, although I can’t remember where I read this.

    The reason for the debate is that scientists and engineers who have worked in industry, where serious money rides on getting the science right, are used to more rigorous and less trusting standards than academia is,

    This is utter rubbish.

    Having worked in both academic and industrial science, I can tell you that the standards of evidence are different. Academic scientists will cerainly read more into a particular result than industrial ones, but industrial science does not often run the gauntlet of peer review. There is certainly more kudos to be won by an academic scientist in overturning what all of his / her colleagues assume to be right than in merely confirming it.

    and they’ve poked around a bit in climate science and found serious problems.

    Well, there’s your problem. No-one who “pokes around a bit” can really understand the state of an entire field of science, especially one as complex as climatology.

    Even assuming you are right here, where’s the support? Where are the papers published by these “scientists and engineers” that overturn the entire field of climate science?

    But they’re being resisted by the academic community,

    Citation needed.

    who have had a free ride for years

    This is a plain lie. Who told you it? Did you check their sources? Or did you belie your online handle and take their word for it?

    and don’t like having their work checked (who does?),

    This is just bovine faecal matter. Academic science is the one field of endeavour in the entire world where your work is always checked by your most bitter rivals. The process of peer review is rarely congenial, and often leads to deep divisions between members of a scientific community. The fact that there is a broad consensus in climatology regarding the reality of AGW is a signal to scientists everywhere else that the science itself is solid.

    and the campaigners and vested interests whose reputations and fortunes now rest on the science retaining its absolute unquestionable trust.

    Fortunes? Name some climate scientists who have got rich off the hoax you claim is being perpetrated. Obviously, you’ll need to back up any such accusation with evidence.

    So rather than *fix* the problems, they try instead to deny that any exist.

    This is what you are doing.

    Rather than fix what human activities have done to our climate, you are serving as a mouthpiece for the fossil-fuel industries, whose multi-billion-dollar annual profits rely on the continued consumption of coal, oil and gas.

    And as a result of that many further people, who don’t fully understand the deep science but who recognise corruption and the influence of politics when they see it, have also become sceptical.

    Yeah, the influence of corruption is obvious in your text, and in the utter lack of evidentiary support you are providing for your slanderous accusations.

    This idea that nobody should fund research that opposes the orthodoxy is a strange one. It’s not that they object to oil money or vested interests per se, since pro-AGW outfits like CRU are funded by them. But the idea seems to be that the other side has to match their funded research without any funding at all, since anyone funding such tainted research must be evil, and being funded by such evil people taints any unorthodox research done. Only strict orthodoxy can untaint it.

    This is just nonsensical.

    Any high-quality science can be funded by government grant systems.

    The science to find out what is happening to our climate has been done / is being done very much on the basis of government funding. The results are what they are, and the conclusion based on this evidence is inescapable – AGW is real.

    So if sceptics are funded professionals, they’re paid shills; and if they’re unfunded amateurs working in their own time, they haven’t produced the depth of research that the paid, full-time scientists have. It’s a neat trap.

    Not really.You said yourself that some “pro-AGW” folks receive oil funding, and these folks still find that AGW is real. A recent study, carried out by “climate sceptics” and funded accordingly, found that AGW is real. However, what is most telling is that the objections to the AGW conclusion have all been refuted by reference to the actual evidence.

    Twenty-five years ago, it was reasonable to doubt that AGW is real. Now, the data overwhelmingly support the conclusion that AGW is real, and it is no longer scepticism to doubt that conclusion. It is denial.

    But it’s also ad hominem fallacy and a conspiracy theory.

    You’re the one making up conspiracy theories here. Many of the anti-AGW crowd have been shown beyond any doubt to have been funded partly or mostly by fossil fuel interests.

    It’s neither illegal nor immoral for people to pay their own money to people who disagree with you,

    Well, it’s not illegal, but the comissionaing of PR campaigns to spread public doubt, and the oil-funding of politicians to raise anti-AGW talking-points (despite those points have been refuted many times already), are immoral.

    as you seem to think, and the money isn’t the reason why they disagree anyway, as the unpaid vast majority shows.

    No, there are (at least) two types of deniers. Those who have heard some of the anti-AGW talking points and repeat them, because they are attached to their unsustainable, profligate lifestyle and will live in a fantasy world rather than accept the guilt; and those who invent these talking points, who are almost certainly funded by the fossil-fuel industries.

    This “huge network” is entirely a figment of your own wild-eyed imaginations. But that’s not something many conspiracy theorist would be prepared to accept.

    Whereas your own imagination requires the existence of a global conspiracy of climate scientists, who collude to perpetuate the reality of AGW. So, if such a conspiracy exists, you must have at least some idea of who started it. And how did they recruit other scientists? And how do they keep dissenters quiet? Without answers to these questions, the scenario you paint is too fantastical to believe.

    OTOH, it requires no conspiracy to see that fosil-fuel profits are threatened by public acceptance of the AGW conclusion. Similarly, it requires no coordination for fossil fuel industries to fund organisations that publicise ant-AGW talking points. Likewise, it doesn’t take a change in the way things are done on DC for various congresscriters to speak out against climate science, even though their knowledge of the science is negligible.

  100. Nigel Depledge

    Joseph G (91) said:

    Aren’t limestones and shales essentially ancient carbon sinks created from the accumulated biomass of dead critters on the ocean floor?

    Yes, mainly diatoms, which I believe includes some algae.

    Even taking methane production into account, I was under the impression that sedimentation has always been the main sequestering process in the Earth’s carbon cycle?

    But these organisms that form limestone etc., have calcium carbonate exoskeletons, and it is the carbonate that sequesters carbon in the long term. The organic molecules in fast-growing algae don’t form carbonates, so the carbon is free to be released by bacteria feeding on the dead algae.

    Not that I’m advocating the whole iron-dumping idea. Much as the geek in me loves the idea of taking control and using science to solve our problems, it obviously warrants much, MUCH more study.

    Yeah, I think the studies done so far on this option indicate that it’s probably not a good idea, on the whole.

    My big question would be “How much carbon is emitted by producing all that iron sulfate in the first place?” Apparently it takes heat and sulfuric acid to produce this stuff, and then there’s the mining of the raw materials and transportationg thereof.

    Pertinent questions, to which I have no answers.

  101. Nigel Depledge

    Uudale (98) said:

    Sometimes I just question the speculative catastrophic outcomes that some folks attribute to AGW without solid data behind it…

    So which aspects of the predictions do you consider to be speculative, rather than solidly-grounded? And why?

  102. noen

    Nullius in Verba said: “My point was that even though vaccination science is good, you do it a disservice by using bogus arguments in its support. And likewise on the assumption that climate change is a serious threat for the future, you do it a disservice by using bogus and easily refuted arguments to try to persuade people to take it seriously. In the long run, that does more damage.”

    I did not use a bogus argument. I did not talk about vaccines. I used antibiotics for my example. I said that we can conclude that antibiotics are effective in one person’s case because the cause of infections is known. In the same sense we can also conclude that 40,000 record high temps, a severe drought and an increase in freq. and intensity of wildfires can be attributed to climate change because the cause of climate change is known.

    The denialist response is to claim we can never really know anything. That is better called Philosophical Skepticism and it is very different than scientific skepticism.

    Can a doctor ever diagnose his patient?

    The Philosophical Skeptic would say no but they don’t think knowledge of any kind is possible at all. The scientific skeptic would say that yes, we can rightly come to a likely conclusion based on a preponderance of evidence. Our diagnosis is not absolute knowledge, it is relative to the quality and nature of the evidence. The Doctor may well be right to be skeptical of any single symptom being definitive but after collecting more and more evidence the Doctor can issue a diagnosis with greater and greater confidence. After a certain point he is justified in reaching an official conclusion.

    This is correct and rational. It is not illegitimate to say that based on a preponderance of the evidence the “symptoms” (weather) we are experiencing can be reasonably attributed to global warming even though any single weather event cannot be absolutely connected to it. This is how most science works. Most science is not like the physics we are taught in school. We cannot always draw nearly absolute deductive conclusions based on equations. We draw reasonable conclusions based on statistical likelyhood.

    Denialists do not attack the evidence, they attack the possibility of scientific knowledge itself. They also tend to be conservative because the right wing in America has developed a culture of denial in reaction (hence they are called reactionaries) to modernism and feels frightened and under threat. Because the psychology of the extreme right is fear base they use motivated reasoning (rationalization) to undermine the scientific foundation of modern culture and thereby lessen their fears. If this account is true, and I can point to scientific studies to back up my claims, then we would also expect to see the same denial and rationalization at work among conservatives with other controversial issues….. and that is what we see.

    “The truth is that the vast majority of the climate sceptics are amateurs, doing it for free in their spare time.”

    That is because they are conservatives bent on denying reality because they feel frightened. There is no need to pay them because their motivation is not monetary, it’s fear and paranoia.

    “The reason for the debate is that scientists and engineers who have worked in industry, where serious money rides on getting the science right, are used to more rigorous and less trusting standards than academia is”

    FALSE. The reason for the debate is that powerful people have a vested financial interest in fulminating fear, uncertainty and doubt. The Koch brothers have invested vast amounts in climate denial. Climate denialists cannot get published in academic journals because their science is bad not because academia has a “free ride”.

    “So if sceptics are funded professionals, they’re paid shills”

    Yes, that is a valid conclusion based on a pattern of behavior. Someone who is paid to have an opinion has a vested interest in reaching a predetermined conclusion. Someone who has tenure and belongs to a culture where truth is held in high esteem does not.

    “But it’s also ad hominem fallacy and a conspiracy theory.”

    FALSE. It is not an ad hominem to conclude that someone who is paid to have an opinion and has a pattern of making false arguments in the past is wrong now. It is not a false conspiracy theory when the conspiracy is admitted, the co-conspirators known and the money trail public knowledge.

    “It’s neither illegal nor immoral for people to pay their own money to people who disagree with you”

    That is true but it doesn’t mean that you are actually innocent just because you paid your lawyer to defend you in court. He is paid to come up with the best argument he can but he can’t make you innocent.

    “This “huge network” is entirely a figment of your own wild-eyed imaginations.”

    No it isn’t. We have proof. We have admissions of guilt. We have documents, e-mails and papers.

    Nice troll though.

  103. Sean McCorkle

    Nullius:

    #90

    While you’re at it, you might also like to check out temperatures in central England from 1695-1733, where the climate did the same sort of long-term shift – only bigger and faster.

    According to the Wikipedia article on the Central England Temperature record, under the section “Data quality”, the reliability measurements before 1730 are drawn into question.

    #96

    The truth is that the vast majority of the climate sceptics are amateurs, doing it for free in their spare time.

    This, I believe.

    The reason for the debate is that scientists and engineers who have worked in industry, where serious money rides on getting the science right, are used to more rigorous and less trusting standards than academia is, and they’ve poked around a bit in climate science and found serious problems.

    The Dunning-Kruger effect is at play here. Its quite common for characters who’ve gone through some amount of education in one or more of the “hard” sciences (math-intensive fields, such as physics, engineering etc) to “poke around” as you say in a different field, in natural science, and immediately jump to erroneous conclusions without having done a full survey of the literature or otherwise studying much of the body of work in the field, failing to grasp the more important arguments which are made in the subject.

    Another common issue is failure to understand how the scientific process works, as your next words illustrate:

    But they’re being resisted by the academic community, who have had a free ride for years and don’t like having their work checked (who does?), and the campaigners and vested interests whose reputations and fortunes now rest on the science retaining its absolute unquestionable trust. So rather than *fix* the problems, they try instead to deny that any exist.

    Does “resisted by the academic community” mean (1) that climate scientists are colluding to prevent “skeptics” from publishing in the major peer-reviewed journals? or (2) that climate scientists aggressively rebut “skeptic” arguments?
    (I may misunderstand what you’re saying exactly)

    If you mean either of these, its a clear misunderstanding of the scientific process. Scientists don’t collude, they compete, they argue! They fight! When a scientists publishes their findings, they are going on record in perpetuity with their claims. The publication itself is a challenge, a gauntlet thrown down, that shouts “I CLAIM THIS IS CORRECT: PROVE ME WRONG! I DARE YOU, PROVE ME WRONG, <expletive deleted>!”. The fight starts AT PUBLICATION. The attacks on the work start after it appears in print, and can and do go on for years and years afterwards. If your work is easily refuted, you get a bloody nose fast, and your reputation suffers, so the onus is on the author(s) to get it right.

    The point of peer-review is to act as a pre-filter on the paper for the journal, to weed out weaker papers that reviewers believe won’t hold up under a minimum of scrutiny. But that is not the final arbiter on the work, if it passes review, not by any means. The real fight starts at publication.

    What typically happens when amateurs enter the boxing ring, is that their work is shredded almost immediately by the experts, those intimately familiar with all the ins-and-outs of the field. That’s what typically happens when amateur challengers compete against pros. They get their nose bloodied. When that happens they shouldn’t go home and cry about it, and claim that they were being treated unfairly.

    If a “skeptic” has an argument, an alternative hypothesis, let them present it, but don’t scream when it gets shot down. Instead, learn from the criticism, and if they still disagree, let them forge a better case to present again. That’s the way its done.

  104. Steve Metzler

    96. Nullius in Verba Says:

    The truth is that the vast majority of the climate sceptics are amateurs, doing it for free in their spare time. The reason for the debate is that scientists and engineers who have worked in industry, where serious money rides on getting the science right, are used to more rigorous and less trusting standards than academia is, and they’ve poked around a bit in climate science and found serious problems. But they’re being resisted by the academic community, who have had a free ride for years and don’t like having their work checked (who does?), and the campaigners and vested interests whose reputations and fortunes now rest on the science retaining its absolute unquestionable trust. So rather than *fix* the problems, they try instead to deny that any exist.

    That single paragraph tells you everything you need to know about why Nullius in Verba is here. To him/her, AGW is a conspiracy theory. The “serious problems” in climate science only exist in your mind, Nullius in Verba.

    Climate science works just like all other science: data is gathered, theories are formulated and tested. Papers are written, peer reviewed, and formal comments are submitted after publication. Yes, mistakes are made along the way. It’s a continuous process of improving our knowledge of the way the universe works. And it is the best way we know to do this. It has withstood the test of time.

    But because climate science brings us inconvenient conclusions that threaten the status quo, it is treated much differently than all other fields of science. Reviled, you would even say. Funny how that works, huh?

  105. Nigel Depledge

    Aw, MTU (74, 75 & 77) beat me to dissecting Mark’s comment #73.

    Still, I think I have fewer typos than MTU, so there.

  106. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Metzler (104) said:

    But because climate science brings us inconvenient conclusions that threaten the status quo, it is treated much differently than all other fields of science. Reviled, you would even say. Funny how that works, huh?

    Yeah, climatology seems to have been getting the same kind of rough ride that evolutionary biology gets in the US.

  107. uudale

    @101 Nigel:

    Rise in sea level, for one. I’ve seen figures from a couple of inches to several feet. It’s just that I had some questions about the outcomes, since it seemed to be based on trying to model what the climate would be years into the future.

    My first real introduction to GW was Al Gore’s movie. It’s been a view years since I saw it, I don’t remember too many details, but I do remember questioning how they arrived at some of the outcomes, especially if there were uncertainties and variables in trying to predict a future climate model. I understand the difficulties in trying to come up with an accurate model based on variables and uncertainties, it would tend to create a model that ranges from “not so bad” to “catastrophic”, but sometimes it seems a few folks take the “catastrophic” side just to make their point. And it’s sad that this issue has become so politicized.

    Please understand, I am not a denier. Just trying to gather information. Honestly, I only look into this issue rather peripherally, and there seems to be a lot of noise out there. I’m not a person who jumps to conclusions, and any information you have that would help me understand this better is certainly appreciated.

    Take care.

  108. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (102) said:

    The denialist response is to claim we can never really know anything. That is better called Philosophical Skepticism and it is very different than scientific skepticism.

    What you describe as philosophical scepticism is better known to me as logical positivism.

    It all started with Descartes, who eventually wound up with the conclusion cogito ergo sum, but that this is the only thing that can ever be known for sure.

    However, science makes the assumption that there exists a reality external to the self, and that there is a direct correlation between that external reality and one’s experience of that reality. We all make the same assumption every time we cross a busy street, or eat food.

    Maybe I’m just nitpicking. Who can say . . ?

  109. Nigel Depledge

    Uudale (107) said:

    Rise in sea level, for one. I’ve seen figures from a couple of inches to several feet. It’s just that I had some questions about the outcomes, since it seemed to be based on trying to model what the climate would be years into the future.

    Obviously, the figures you get depend on the source.

    IIUC, the climate models all predict a minimum of about +2 metres by 2100 compared to 2000 in the “business as usual” scenario. Many of those saying “hey, we’ve adapted before, we can adapt to this” will tend to dismiss the magnitude of the issue by understating the figures, so your best bet is probably the IPCC reports.

    My first real introduction to GW was Al Gore’s movie. It’s been a view years since I saw it, I don’t remember too many details, but I do remember questioning how they arrived at some of the outcomes, especially if there were uncertainties and variables in trying to predict a future climate model. I understand the difficulties in trying to come up with an accurate model based on variables and uncertainties, it would tend to create a model that ranges from “not so bad” to “catastrophic”, but sometimes it seems a few folks take the “catastrophic” side just to make their point. And it’s sad that this issue has become so politicized.

    My understanding is that each model is run hundreds of times, with slight tweaks to the assumptions about various parameters, to achieve a kind of “middle ground” prediction for each model. And there are hundreds of models.

    Many climatologists have criticised the IPCC reports for understating the case, but I do not think any climatologists have ever criticised the IPCC report for over-dramatising it. That accusation rests only with the deniers.

    Please understand, I am not a denier. Just trying to gather information. Honestly, I only look into this issue rather peripherally, and there seems to be a lot of noise out there. I’m not a person who jumps to conclusions, and any information you have that would help me understand this better is certainly appreciated.

    I find New Scientist a helpful source on this topic. Discussions of results such as this one about Greenland tend to explain what was found and what it means in terms that I can easily understand, but without too much dumbing down (the reason I gave up reading Scientific American was that it dumbed down the science too much for me). The NS reporters actually go and talk to (and quote from) the climate scientists who are doing the work and who understand the implications of their results, so there’s very little spin and only occasional over-dramatising.

    You could also follow some of the many links that MTU posts to YouTube. A lot of these are to videos where actual climate scientists are explaining what their results are and what they mean.

  110. uudale

    @Nigel,

    Thank you. Looks like some good stuff to start with.

  111. Nigel Depledge

    Mark (80) said:

    so much to talk about i guess, my intention is not to win over one alarmist or denier at a time and my intention is not to impress by providing link after link supporting my, your, our case.

    MTU does not provide those links to impress, but to support his case.

    suffice to say there are many links out there (and real research) which state the opposite of apparently the ‘close case’ of the warming. i can say ‘here’ and ‘here’ and ‘here’ too.

    Put up or shut up.

    If there are links to “real research” that refutes the AGW conclusion, let’s have those links.

    Otherwise you are expecting us to take your word for it.

    As I have stated in a previous comment, the only relevant evidence I have seen is that AGW is real. If you know of some evidence that says the opposite, I need to know about it too. BTW, if you are going to post links, please make sure they link to folks who are actually conducting real science, not just to political pundits and industry shills.

    i trust that anyone willing to spend the time to actually look into this will find quite a lot of the controversy themselves.

    It’s hard to cover everything, and a simple google search turns up a great deal of nonsense, simply because there is so much nonsense spouted by the denialists.

    you don’t need to be a climatologist to question Dr Mann and his graph, but you do have to be a statistician.

    Most climatologists are also, by necessity, statisticians. They deal with data that are pretty damn noisy. However, if you know of a genuine statistician who disputes the validity of Mann’s data, let’s here about it. Preferably with a reference to the primary literature in which that statistician rebutts Mann’s conclusions. After all, if the repudiation is genuine, it must have passed peer review, right?

    Do most of the readers here understand that? do you all understand the word insignificant when talking about temperature and all its variability over hundreds of millions of years (perhaps billions?).

    I do. Do you?

    Variation of global temperature over millions of years is insignificant – or, more precisely, irrelevant – in comparison to the existence of human civilisation (which has been around for 10,000 years, or thereabouts).

    What matters to us is that the relative climatic stability of the last 1000 years (very roughly) is ending, and all indications are that we have caused it to end. This would not be a problem, apart from the fact that we have built a civilisation that relies on climatic stability.

  112. Nigel Depledge

    Mark (80) said:

    another point i keep hearing that simply isn’t true if anyone bothered to delve into such things. this idea that the planets lifeforms are doomed with a temperature rise.

    Actually, the geologic record tells us that mass extinction events are typical when large changes of climate happen.

    So, it quite patently is true.

    life thrives in heat, life (for the most part) dies in cold.

    Well, this is largely wrong, but also over-simplified.

    Global climate changes are average temperatures, not individual hot or cold events. Most of the warming to date, for example, has been manifested as milder winters. So, in many places, the range of temperatures experienced by living things has become narrower, not wider.

    A consequence of this is that organisms’ habitats are moving. For some organisms, they can simply follow the climate that suits them. For others, this is impossible. It’s pretty hard for long-lived and slow-growing trees, for example, to migrate. And animals and plants that are adapted to tropical alpine habitats must move up-slope to follow their preferred climate, with the obvious implications arising from the reduced availability of land at higher altitide (mountains are smaller at the top than at the bottom).

    if some lifeforms die out as a result of some heating then undoubtedly there will be other lifeforms to replace it, as yet unevolved.

    So what? We will still have caused many unique life forms to cease to exist.

    how soft are we that we shudder at a temperature rise? after 4+ billion years why are we now entitled to the climate that the earth is displaying now?

    We’re not, but neither are we entitled to change it.

    Also, human civilisation is uniquely vulnerable to climate change because we are so much more populous than we have ever been before. For many people, as their farmland dries up or gets inundated with seawater, there is nowhere to migrate to.

    It is not softness to have compassion for that potential suffering that we have the power to avert.

    what makes anybody here think that huge climactic shifts wouldn’t occur naturally (as they have done) killing off large numbers of organisms?

    The current warming is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Even the end-Permian event took hundreds of thousands of years.

    its just silly really and kind of gets into the humanist dogma that we can alter the climate of this place.

    What is silly is people like you saying what amounts to “well, tough, I’m not going to care until it kills me”.

  113. Nullius in Verba

    #97,

    “In the same way as those who walk are walkers, those who deny are deniers. Or is your English comprehension as bad as your typing?”

    Thus, anyone who denies that there are statistical problems in climate science is a denier? Anyone who denies that homeopathy really, really works is a denier?

    Affirming any proposition denies its opposite, so everyone is a denier, and using the term in that sense would make it become meaningless. It can only be understood as part of a context, and the context here is intentionally offensive.

    “That our climate is changing has been established to the satisfaction of the climate science community. They’ve moved on.”

    Nobody disputes that climate changes. The question is whether it is changing more than it did before.

    “1. Never before has there been a human civilisation that is so uniquely vulnerable to changes in climate (most especially rainfall patterns and mean sea level);”

    That’s utter nonsense. Never before has there been a global civilisation as robust to changes in climate. In the past, if the weather failed we had a famine. Today if the weather fails you buy it from some place it didn’t.

    “You may also note that, human concerns aside, all previous major changes in climate were accompanied by mass extinction events”

    What mass extinctions are associated with the glacial/interglacial cycle?

    “You are conflating weather and climate. This is a rather boring denialist canard. Inaccuracy in weather prediction (which is actually less than you claim) does not equate to inaccuracy in climate prediction.”

    Climate prediction is weather prediction considered over a longer time period, and done with the same tools and techniques. Normally when you use a model to predict something in the long term, over periods you have no history of verified predictions for, you can only justify the model’s long-term performance by extrapolating its short term accuracy. If they’re not accurate in the short term, how can their long term predictions be validated?

    “However, all of the credible models agree”

    Credible to who? If a model didn’t predict the things you believe in, would you find it credible?

    “In addition, proxies to temperature are all showing global warming.”

    Only if you “hide the decline”.

    “Of all the world’s glaciers, only one has grown in the last 20 years”

    Rubbish. About 5% of them are advancing.

    “The volume of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing steadily.”

    Because of the wind. And the Antarctic ice has been growing steadily.

    “Antarctica’s glaciers are all moving faster than they were when first measured”

    Only on the Antarctic peninsula.

    “Here’s a thought for you to consider: What if the climate scientists really do know more about this stuff than everyone else who hasn’t spent decades studying Earth’s climate?”

    Here’s a thought for you to consider: What if climate scientists know less than they claim? What if their evidence is weaker than they claim?

  114. Nullius in Verba

    #99,

    “Wow, are you actually saying that environmental charities such as Greenpeace and the WWF have more money to spend than the oil companies???”

    No. I’m saying they spend more on climate change campaigning.

    “That’s an extraordinary claim. How about you back it up with some evidence?”

    Wow! Are you saying that the moon is made of green cheese?! How about you back your opinion up?

    “Not so. The vast majoity of deniers are doing it for free, because they simply regurgitate the many-times-refuted talking points put out by self-styled “think tanks” such as the Heartland Institute.”

    It’s actually the other way round. Heartland mostly regurgitates what the unpaid amateurs are doing. They provide conference and PR facilities, but generate very little content themselves.

    “Come to think of it, IIRC, the Heartland Institute alone has been demonstrated to have received more funding from people who own large fossil-fuel interests than the kind of figures you’re talking about, although I can’t remember where I read this.”

    I’m sure you can’t.
    It’s reported that from 1998 to 2005 they got $600k from Exxon. Their total revenue is about $6m/yr and about half of that is for other issues they campaign on.

    In comparison, the US government spend $16bn on climate research almost all of it to support the consensus. That’s a ratio of over 1000:1. In comparison, the Sierra club spends $30m on climate change and energy, the Union of Concerned Scientists spends $12m, Environment America $9m, Greenpeace USA $22m, Resource for the Future $10m, the World Wildlife Fund $22m, the Alliance for Climate protection $40m, and so on.

    In comparison, The Sierra Club took $25m from the Chesapeake Energy gas company to campaign against coal. That’s three times Heartland’s entire budget, from a single fossil fuel company, to campaign on climate change.

    The idea that a tiny outfit like Heartland can outspend the environmentalist Climate Change campaign is ridiculous.

    “Having worked in both academic and industrial science, I can tell you that the standards of evidence are different. Academic scientists will cerainly read more into a particular result than industrial ones, but industrial science does not often run the gauntlet of peer review.”

    Industrial science runs the gauntlet of auditors, who do things like actually checking the calculations. Peer review is far more cursory, especially if the reviewers chosen are inclined the same way.

    “No-one who “pokes around a bit” can really understand the state of an entire field of science, especially one as complex as climatology.”

    On the contrary, it’s very easy to find problems. Solving them is harder.

    “Even assuming you are right here, where’s the support? Where are the papers published by these “scientists and engineers” that overturn the entire field of climate science?”

    There’s a list of them, somewhere. But I can’t be bothered since you’ll just dismiss them anyway.

    “This is a plain lie. Who told you it? Did you check their sources? Or did you belie your online handle and take their word for it?”

    No. I checked for myself.

    “Academic science is the one field of endeavour in the entire world where your work is always checked by your most bitter rivals.”

    Really? That’s even worse, then, because that must mean that somebody *checked* Mann’s cross-validation r-squared statistics, that showed the reconstruction was uncorrelated with temperature, and passed it for publication anyway. That must mean that other researchers *knew* about the mislocated series, weird extrapolations, short-centering PCA, transcription errors, and all the rest of the junk, and passed it for publication anyway.

    I’ve downloaded Mann’s data, and there is *no way* that was ever checked by anyone else before publication.

    “There is certainly more kudos to be won by an academic scientist in overturning what all of his / her colleagues assume to be right than in merely confirming it.”

    Unless you get labelled as a “climate denier” before tenure, when your career is over.

    “The fact that there is a broad consensus in climatology regarding the reality of AGW is a signal to scientists everywhere else that the science itself is solid.”

    Yes, that’s how it works, isn’t it? You’ve heard there’s a consensus, so you don’t need to check the data. You follow the herd. And it never occurs to you that all the rest of the ‘consensus’ might all be doing exactly the same thing.

    “Not really.You said yourself that some “pro-AGW” folks receive oil funding, and these folks still find that AGW is real.”

    Of course AGW is real! That’s not the question!

    “and those who invent these talking points, who are almost certainly funded by the fossil-fuel industries”

    OK, let’s take the failure of Mann’s cross-validation statistics. Who invented that, and how much did the fossil fuel industry pay for it? Let’s see your evidence.

    “Whereas your own imagination requires the existence of a global conspiracy of climate scientists, who collude to perpetuate the reality of AGW.”

    No. All it requires is a culture of scientists prepared to assume that if a crowd of scientists all agree on something then somebody else must have already checked the numbers.

    “OTOH, it requires no conspiracy to see that fosil-fuel profits are threatened by public acceptance of the AGW conclusion.”

    On the contrary. Restrictions in supply lead to a rise in prices, and higher profits. Give them a legal monopoly, and they’ll be *very happy* to sell you half the oil at twice the price.

  115. Nullius in Verba

    #102,

    “I did not use a bogus argument.”

    I didn’t say you did.

    “The denialist response is to claim we can never really know anything.”

    On the contrary – we *can* know, but to do so we have to check and validate every aspect of the argument with much greater rigor and precision than most people realise, even some scientists. Climate science is an example of what Feynman called Cargo Cult science.

    “The Koch brothers have invested vast amounts in climate denial.”

    No they haven’t. They’ve spent around $20m over a period of about a decade, which is trivial.

    “Climate denialists cannot get published in academic journals because their science is bad not because academia has a “free ride”.”

    OK, then. Check out Climategate email 1054756929.txt where Cook is reviewing a sceptical paper and says “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”. In what way is this bad science?

    “FALSE. It is not an ad hominem to conclude that someone who is paid to have an opinion and has a pattern of making false arguments in the past is wrong now.”

    Actually, yes it is. Ad hominem is when it’s about the person making an argument rather than the content of the argument itself. Climate scientists are paid to have an opinion, and have a record of making false arguments in the past. But each individual argument has to be examined on its merits. We can’t say that just because CRU are funded by oil companies and environmentalists that their data can therefore be dismissed.

    “No it isn’t. We have proof. We have admissions of guilt. We have documents, e-mails and papers.”

    So do we!

  116. Infinite123Lifer

    @mark the drinking game MTU suggested was a different thread but nice to see you’ve had at it.
    _____

    Crappius in Verbatim your not even fooling me, and its not that hard. Green cheese, homeopathy? Wow.

  117. Nullius in Verba

    #103,

    “According to the Wikipedia article on the Central England Temperature record, under the section “Data quality”, the reliability measurements before 1730 are drawn into question.”

    Gosh! Really?! How convenient.

    ” Its quite common for characters who’ve gone through some amount of education in one or more of the “hard” sciences (math-intensive fields, such as physics, engineering etc) to “poke around” as you say in a different field, in natural science, and immediately jump to erroneous conclusions without having done a full survey of the literature or otherwise studying much of the body of work in the field, failing to grasp the more important arguments which are made in the subject.”

    Oh, do you mean quality arguments like: “What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have”?

    Or how about: “this does not mean that one could not improve a chronology by reducing the number of series used if the purpose of removing samples is to enhance a desired signal. The ability to pick and choose which samples to use is an advantage unique to dendroclimatology”?

    We’re not idiots. It’s not difficult stuff. It’s very obviously bad science.

    “If you mean either of these, its a clear misunderstanding of the scientific process. Scientists don’t collude, they compete, they argue! They fight!”

    They *should* do, you mean. But when we stand up and compete/argue/fight, you call us ‘deniers’ and dismiss what we say! Climate sceptics *are* the scientific process.

  118. Rift

    “Climate sceptics *are* the scientific process.”

    SNORT, cough, wheez

    Thanks for the laugh today Nullius, I needed it.

    Gawd, my sides hurt now.

    Denier, denier, denier

  119. Nullius in Verba

    #118,

    You’re very welcome.

    And may I say, it’s a pleasure to see such standards of mature, scientific argument marshalled in climate alarmism’s defence, as exemplified by your #118. With such remarkable intellects as your good self on the side of the climate scientists, the ultimate outcome of the debate can scarcely be in any doubt.

  120. James Evans

    @#117

    But when we stand up and compete/argue/fight, you call us ‘deniers’

    Nullius, that’s because you “stand up and compete/argue/fight” WITHOUT DOING A SHRED OF LEGITIMATE CLIMATE RESEARCH BEFOREHAND. Anyone can be a contrarian, and say “no, that’s not true” to whatever’s being analyzed and confirmed tens of thousands of times over without doing any of the hard scientific work the opposing side put in. Wow, amazingly helpful that. Thanks a lot for chiming in with repeated, lazy, unsupported negatives. Here’s one right back at ya: “No, sorry, you’re wrong, Nullius, whatever it is. And I’m not interested in doing any testable/reproducible work to prove you wrong either. Now, excuse me while I pat myself on the back for a job ‘well-done’ and call it ‘science.’”

    This is basically the same strategy creationists use when arguing against evolution.

    I go to church every Sunday for a few hours, and listen credulously to unproven interpretations of unverified scripture, so I am much more knowledgeable than evolutionary biologists who bust their asses 70+ hrs./week in the field/lab, and then get carved up by nitpicking review boards before gaining their hard-earned credentials.”

  121. Menyambal

    I’ve been away a bit, and just got read back up. Nigel Depledge, I really like your writing.

    Nullius in Verba said:

    My point was that even though vaccination science is good, you do it a disservice by using bogus arguments in its support. And likewise on the assumption that climate change is a serious threat for the future, you do it a disservice by using bogus and easily refuted arguments to try to persuade people to take it seriously. In the long run, that does more damage.

    Which you might consider your own self. You and the other deniers are putting up such a froth of bad work that I keep lumping you in with truthers, hoaxers and trolls.

    If you were a shill for the oil companies, they’d be getting ripped off.

    By the way, way back up there when I asked for proof you weren’t a shill, the issue was proof, not an assertion that you were a shill—the idea is that sometimes proof is tricky, but the possibility is there.

    You really do read poorly, yet you expect us to trust that you have read and comprehended the science. *snert*

    I looked up the term “Nullius in Verba”, and was reminded of the growing consensus that a person with a ‘nym that states a philosophical position is probably the opposite of whatever it is. (Mine ‘nym says I make chili sauce, but I really just eat the stuff—just to be clear.)

    Somebody said:

    its just silly really and kind of gets into the humanist dogma that we can alter the climate of this place.

    Erm, we’ve wiped out most of the wetlands in the eastern USA, dammed up rivers all over the western two-thirds, cleared incredible amounts of forests, radically altered animal populations, and are busy putting back CO2 that’s been sequestered since the Carboniferous, and put black asphalt all over the place.

    Jiminy Christmas, people, how little must you think of the human race that you think we can’t affect climate? Or is it that you just think so little, period?

    Nullius in Verba Says:

    Affirming any proposition denies its opposite, so everyone is a denier, and using the term in that sense would make it become meaningless. It can only be understood as part of a context, and the context here is intentionally offensive.

    No, it isn’t intentionally offensive. It’s the response to the hi-jacking of the term “skeptic”, and it is the simple definition of your position.

    If you are complaining about the term being used before for Holocaust deniers, there was probably no intended connection. I never heard anyone use the single word “deniers” regarding the Holocaust. You guys just get named by/on/for the internet, like the birthers, truthers and hoaxers. If I was to describe you to my mom, I’d use a longer term.

    But good job of trying for some martyr points.

    And, if the worst case predictions turn out to be understated, and nobody has done anything because of you, you’ll have killed more people than the Holocaust. So you might want to come up with a whole new identity for yourself.

    Never before has there been a global civilisation as robust to changes in climate. In the past, if the weather failed we had a famine. Today if the weather fails you buy it from some place it didn’t.

    That turns out to not be the case. And, as usual, you say just the wrong thing—“if the weather fails”—when we are talking about climate. If the climate fails, we’re boned.

    What mass extinctions are associated with the glacial/interglacial cycle?

    Mammoths, mastodons, sabretooths, horses and a buttload of other animals died out in North America at the end of the last glaciation. It may be that humans killed them, which just goes to show that humans can alter the place something fierce (and foolishly).

    Climate prediction is weather prediction considered over a longer time period, and done with the same tools and techniques. Normally when you use a model to predict something in the long term, over periods you have no history of verified predictions for, you can only justify the model’s long-term performance by extrapolating its short term accuracy. If they’re not accurate in the short term, how can their long term predictions be validated?

    Oh, for Bog’s sake. Climate prediction could be done FROM weather observations. If you think that paragraph made sense, there’s no talking to you.

    If a model didn’t predict the things you believe in, would you find it credible?

    It isn’t a matter of belief, no matter how things work in your head. I’d check and re-check my work, again, and possibly change my hypothesis—what you call beliefs.

    “Of all the world’s glaciers, only one has grown in the last 20 years”

    Rubbish. About 5% of them are advancing.

    Which doesn’t make the statement “rubbish”—it’s only off by 5%.

    But good job of rubbishing a nearly-true statement.

    And, for what it’s worth to you, a glacier that is running over meltwater instead of cold rocks will move faster, and perhaps advance further.

    “The volume of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing steadily.”

    Because of the wind.

    Because of the wind? Why is the wind different, and why is it having a different effect? Maybe the ice is thinner?

    And the Antarctic ice has been growing steadily.

    Because the Antarctic icecap is melting into the surrounding seawater, and the freshwater freezes more easily, maybe?

    “Antarctica’s glaciers are all moving faster than they were when first measured”

    Only on the Antarctic peninsula.

    Which is where the non-icecap glaciers are.

    Yes, that’s how it works, isn’t it? You’ve heard there’s a consensus, so you don’t need to check the data. You follow the herd. And it never occurs to you that all the rest of the ‘consensus’ might all be doing exactly the same thing.

    No, that isn’t how it works … in our world.

    Of course AGW is real! That’s not the question!

    Thanks, but then what is the question?

    Restrictions in supply lead to a rise in prices, and higher profits.

    You fail economics, too. Slight profits on large volume usually beat higher profits on smaller volume—especially for bulk commodities, like oil.

    Climate science is an example of what Feynman called Cargo Cult science.

    So you say, but that doesn’t make it true.

    I am well familiar with Feymann, thanks, and so are most scientists … even climate scientists.

    Deniers are examples of what the internet calls trolls.

  122. noen

    Nullius in Verba said: “On the contrary – we *can* know, but to do so we have to check and validate every aspect of the argument with much greater rigor and precision than most people realise, even some scientists. Climate science is an example of what Feynman called Cargo Cult science.”

    Oh I see, you think we know things by “rigor and precision”. What level of precision would one need to understand one is committing a post hoc fallacy? The answer is none because there is no level of “precision” that could reveal you are committing a fallacy. And are you seriously suggesting that in hundreds of published journal articles NO ONE picked up on a simple logical fallacy but that legions of high school drop outs did?

    “OK, then. Check out Climategate email 1054756929.txt where Cook is reviewing a sceptical paper and says “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”. In what way is this bad science?”

    Climate gate has been debunked and the scientists involved exonerated. Talking smak about a submitted paper that had the math correct, when I’d guess that most could not even mange that, isn’t bad science. It’s just bad behavior.

    “Actually, yes it is. Ad hominem is when it’s about the person making an argument rather than the content of the argument itself. “

    No I’m sorry, that’s not what an ad hom is. An ad hom is when you say “John beats his wife, therefore his paper on climate is false.” Which is quite different than “John is a paid shill and has a pattern of making false claims therefore it’s likely this claim is false” and is a valid conclusion.

    “But each individual argument has to be examined on its merits. We can’t say that just because CRU are funded by oil companies and environmentalists that their data can therefore be dismissed.”

    Do you have an example of valid scientific research that has been illegitimately dismissed? No? I didn’t think so.

    “We’re not idiots.”

    Actually you are. You’ve spent a great deal of time on these comments here and you have yet to make a single valid argument. You are intellectually dishonest and deeply ignorant of even basic reasoning. I can’t even discern a coherent line of reasoning on your part. You just have a laundry list of complaints which you trot out as needed. At times you appear to believe that global warming is real but won’t be that bad. Other times you appear to deny it is happening at all, or that man is responsible, or that it is happening but man is not responsible, or both, or neither. It all depends on whatever is useful to you at that moment.

    That the Earth is warming is an objective fact.
    That mankind is responsible for the majority of CO2 that is warming the planet is also an objective fact.
    That the most likely scenario will be harmful to human civilization is a fact.
    That we can no longer do anything to prevent the warming that will occur this century is another fact.

    All that is up for grabs is if we will make the warming that is already coming even worse and how we plan on adapting to that warming. Preventing people from knowing the full consequences of delay is immoral. Shame on you.

  123. @Nigel Depledge: But these organisms that form limestone etc., have calcium carbonate exoskeletons, and it is the carbonate that sequesters carbon in the long term. The organic molecules in fast-growing algae don’t form carbonates, so the carbon is free to be released by bacteria feeding on the dead algae.

    Ah, I see. Organism skeletons = sequestration; soft stuff, not so much?

    (to NIV) Wow, are you actually saying that environmental charities such as Greenpeace and the WWF have more money to spend than the oil companies???
    That’s an extraordinary claim. How about you back it up with some evidence?

    Thank you. I knew I should wait for you to show up rather than try to figure out how incredulously facepalm via text :)

  124. Nullius in Verba

    #120,

    “Nullius, that’s because you “stand up and compete/argue/fight” WITHOUT DOING A SHRED OF LEGITIMATE CLIMATE RESEARCH BEFOREHAND.”

    And what evidence do you have for that?

    “Which you might consider your own self. You and the other deniers are putting up such a froth of bad work that I keep lumping you in with truthers, hoaxers and trolls.”

    That’s OK. You guys do such a bad job of defending the ‘science’ that I put you in the same category as creationists and scientologists. You don’t understand what the argument is about. You’ve got all sorts of false beliefs about what climate scientists think or what we think. But you’ve got this sort of iron hard absolute faith the ‘science’ must be right, the scientists must be doing their jobs, and any evidence anyone puts up that doesn’t accord with your beliefs must be ‘out of context’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘bad’ in some undefined way.

    “By the way, way back up there when I asked for proof you weren’t a shill, the issue was proof, not an assertion that you were a shill—the idea is that sometimes proof is tricky, but the possibility is there.”

    I agree. But you’re misunderstanding the nature of my objection. I’m not demanding impossibly high levels of certainty – just the ordinary scientific level like has anyone checked the calculation? Or is the reconstruction of temperature correlated to temperature? Or did they get the desired signal by just cherrypicking the inputs that showed what they wanted? Or on being asked to review a paper that demonstrated how biased their methods were, and that even they had to agree the maths was correct, did they try to bury it?

    If you’re seriously telling me that you don’t think the reconstruction of a quantity needs to be correlated to that quantity, that you regard that as merely a ‘tricky’ proof, then I dread to think what *your* science is like. Is this sort of Cargo Cult attitude pervasive in academia now?

    “I looked up the term “Nullius in Verba”, and was reminded of the growing consensus that a person with a ‘nym that states a philosophical position is probably the opposite of whatever it is.”

    Where “growing consensus” means “me and all my friends thinks so”, I presume. Or do you have any survey results?

    “If you are complaining about the term being used before for Holocaust deniers, there was probably no intended connection.”

    So you don’t know?

    “And, if the worst case predictions turn out to be understated, and nobody has done anything because of you, you’ll have killed more people than the Holocaust.”

    The problem with the comparison is that you don’t know until afterwards which side you were on. At the time, the big threat facing the world was supposedly the Jewish threat, the government told people of the danger, and how the enemy conspired against the people of Germany in secret. A lot of people believed sincerely. After all, all the proper authorities – government, scientists, media figures – all agreed. It was the time when science supported the theory of eugenics, and the harsh action needed was sad but a necessity for the sake of the survival of the human race.

    And believe me, plenty of people over here have pointed out the parallels. The corresponding term to “denier” is “ecofascist”: one who believes that the state has the right and duty to regulate every aspect of people’s private lives for the sake of preserving the environment. Their aim is to return humanity to the golden age of subsistence farming in harmony with nature, to reduce the population and their use of resources to sustainable levels, and so on.

    It’s not somewhere I want the debate to go – Godwin’s law and all that – but it’s where you are when you use the term “denier”.

    “That turns out to not be the case.”

    Really? When was the last time you experienced a famine?

    “Mammoths, mastodons, sabretooths, horses and a buttload of other animals died out in North America at the end of the last glaciation.”

    And what about all the previous glaciations?

    “Which doesn’t make the statement “rubbish”—it’s only off by 5%.”

    That’s your idea of science, is it?

    There are over 130,000 listed glaciers in the world. And you guys think exactly one of them is expanding. That’s only a 650,000% error… close enough for climate science, eh?

    “And, for what it’s worth to you, a glacier that is running over meltwater instead of cold rocks will move faster, and perhaps advance further.”

    Yes, that’s one factor. Glaciers are best thought of a slow-moving rivers, and river flow is determined mostly by precipitation. Glacial flow is the result of the balance between snowfall in the accumulation zone, and flow rate. The lower extremity is determined by the balance between flow rate and the rate of melting when it enters warmer altitudes. Glacial retreat can be caused by warmer temperatures, but it can also be caused by reduced snowfall and by slower flow.

    Glaciers consist of two layers – the top is brittle ice, made up of fractured blocks, below the pressure exceeds the plastic limit and ice flows like a viscous liquid. Water flowing down moulins does so in the brittle layer – to what extent it penetrates the plastic layer is unknown. The meltwater lubrication theory was proposed when glaciologists pointed out that surface temperature differences of a few degrees would take centuries to penetrate to the glacier beds by conduction, and it was the temperature at the glacier bed that controlled flow rate. It’s an interesting hypothesis, and may be true, but I think it was more invented as a way to rescue a theory than because the evidence pointed in that direction.

    The general pattern of glacial retreat started around 1850, and has been pretty constant since.

    “Because of the wind? Why is the wind different, and why is it having a different effect? Maybe the ice is thinner?”

    The prevailing pattern of winds depends on the state of the Northern Annular Mode. When the winds blow in a certain direction, the pack ice is pushed south out of the Fram Strait into warmer latitudes.

    “Because the Antarctic icecap is melting into the surrounding seawater, and the freshwater freezes more easily, maybe?”

    Not enough to make that big a difference.

    The mainstream theory seems to be that the southern polar vortex keeps the south pole isolated from the rest of the world’s weather. They have suggested the ozone hole might play a role. But it has also been noted that past climate shifts tend to see-saw between warming/cooling at one pole and cooling/warming at the other.

    “Which is where the non-icecap glaciers are.”

    Why would that make a difference?

    “No, that isn’t how it works … in our world.”

    Then how else do you explain scientists asserting climate science to be correct without even knowing what the argument is about? Or any climate science?

    “You fail economics, too. Slight profits on large volume usually beat higher profits on smaller volume—especially for bulk commodities, like oil.”

    Only when you have competition. Normally, you only sell high price small volume if your production costs are high, because otherwise the competition with access to the same methods will undercut you. Reducing production costs enables you to lower prices and expand the market, but the increase from the expanded market only outweighs the decrease from the lower price because of the lower production cost – otherwise you would have cut prices before.

    But when you have a monopoly, you can charge high prices for low volume even though your production costs are low, because nobody else is allowed to sell at a lower price. The difference in production costs offsets the reduced market volume. That’s why prices are always higher under monopolies.

    “I am well familiar with Feymann, thanks, and so are most scientists … even climate scientists.”

    Then you’ll know the one about “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” Do you agree with it?

  125. Nullius in Verba

    #122,

    Picking up fallacies would be rigor rather than precision.

    “And are you seriously suggesting that in hundreds of published journal articles NO ONE picked up on a simple logical fallacy but that legions of high school drop outs did?”

    Not quite. I’m suggesting that in dozens of published journal articles no one in the academic community picked up on simple logical fallacies, but that qualified statisticians outside the community did, and explained it in such a way that even high-school dropouts could follow the argument and see that they were right.

    Again, it’s this argument from personal incredulity that gets in the way of serious examination of the issues. Nobody can believe the scientific publication process could possibly go so badly wrong, so nobody looks to check to see if it did. It’s standard argumentum ad verecundiam.

    “Climate gate has been debunked and the scientists involved exonerated.”

    And that’s your argument, is it?

    So if it’s been debunked, you’ll find it very easy to find the explanation for this example, won’t you? Just cite the page number from the enquiry where they explain it in detail.

    But of course you can’t, because it’s untrue. The enquiries were careful not to examine any such awkward questions, and simply asserted exoneration with no support. So that’s all you can do too.

    You tell me that sceptics can’t get published because their science is bad, so I offer you an example where the climate scientists themselves agreed the maths was correct and their own methods shown to be biased, lousy, horrible, etc., and you can see that they were desperately casting around for some excuse to block publication. And all you’ve got in response is bluster.

    You guys keep on telling me that if sceptics came up with anything, you’d pay attention, and potentially change your minds. So offered incontrovertible evidence that at least one sceptic *did* come up with something, what are you going to do about it?

    Do you have the principles you claim?

    “No I’m sorry, that’s not what an ad hom is.”

    Yes, it is what an ad hom is. Both of your examples are ad hominem. An example of a non-ad hominem argument would look like “John’s algorithm put one of the data series in upside down, which changed one of the primary conclusions” or “John used linear Delaunay triangulation to interpolate temperatures but reported them and the station counts contributing to them on a gridcell basis, rendering the station counts meaningless and the gridcell statistics questionable.”

    The fact that someone has made mistakes before is good reason to check their new arguments carefully, and not to simply take them on trust, but they cannot be rejected (even provisionally) on any basis other than their content. To do so is ad hominem.

    Humans are subject to fallacies because for everyday use they are quite often useful heuristics. Correlation *does* often imply causation, in practice. But they’re not *reliable*, and science is about reliability in reasoning.

    “Do you have an example of valid scientific research that has been illegitimately dismissed? No? I didn’t think so.”

    I just gave you one. “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”. Did you have any actual answer to that? No, I didn’t think so.

    “Actually you are. You’ve spent a great deal of time on these comments here and you have yet to make a single valid argument.”

    You mean, I haven’t made a single argument you’re prepared to accept, that can be fitted into your warped cultist worldview, yes?

    “I can’t even discern a coherent line of reasoning on your part.”

    I sympathise with your comprehension issues. I really do.

  126. James Evans

    “Nullius, that’s because you ‘stand up and compete/argue/fight’ WITHOUT DOING A SHRED OF LEGITIMATE CLIMATE RESEARCH BEFOREHAND.”

    And what evidence do you have for that?

    Uh, your link/source/science-free, unhelpful, contrarian responses in this very thread, ya think, maybe?

    One of my favorite bits of contrarian hooey from you so far…

    “The Koch brothers have invested vast amounts in climate denial.”

    No they haven’t. They’ve spent around $20m over a period of about a decade, which is trivial.

    That $20 million figure is just plain wrong, first off. It’s something more like $50-75 million invested by Chuckles and David to fund denial groups and lobbyists, but, regardless, even if it were $20 million, that is NOT a trivial amount, Nullius.

    You managed to be wrong TWICE in one instance of your contrarian Gish Gallop garbage. Bang up job of “standing up and competing/arguing/fighting” with “science” there, Nullius. Way to go.

    (Opposing View): “The Koch brothers spend a lot on climate change denial”…(Nullius): “No, they don’t, they only spend, let’s see, uh, I have it written down on a Post-It here somewhere…ah!….there it is! $20 million! Yeah, that’s it! And don’t call me contrarian! I am engaging in hard science to combat your Cargo Cultist belief in the ignorance of experts!”

    What a bunch of awful, useless CRAP.

  127. Nullius in Verba

    #126,

    “Uh, your link/source/science-free, unhelpful, contrarian responses in this very thread, ya think, maybe?”

    Links result in comments going into moderation. I’ve given sources several times, although not to everything (and neither does anyone else). And there’s been plenty of science, although it’s possible you don’t recognise it. I wasn’t particularly trying to be helpful, since I know it’s a waste of time (although if anyone had seemed interested I’d have been happy to provide more help). And just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

    And of course none of that has any bearing on whether I’ve done any research. What you mean is you’ve got absolutely no evidence for the statement, but it seems like a useful accusation to make as a way to make your dislike and disagreement seem more reasonable.

    Nor is it relevant. If people with no research experience are allowed to speak in support of the climate orthodoxy, then why should it be required of those speaking against? Unless your intent is to silence any opposition, of course.

    “That $20 million figure is just plain wrong, first off.”

    Agreed – the figure I had dimly recalled was the Greenpeace report that said $24.9m over 4 years. (which is $6.25m/yr, or about 150 people full-time equivalent) I don’t normally bother with reading the truther conspiracy theory crap, which is why I’m not totally up to date with it. I’ll make a note on a post-it note here, in case I should ever again be tempted.

    You don’t say what period the $50-75m is accumulated over, so I can’t interpret that. Of course, it’s still small change compared to Al’s $300m in one year, and all the rest, so the point still stands.

    “You managed to be wrong TWICE in one instance of your contrarian Gish Gallop garbage.”

    Once. Nobody’s perfect. And I’m still waaaay ahead of you guys on points. :-)

    Now, how about you answer one of the *substantive* science questions?

  128. James Evans

    Links result in comments going into moderation.

    You seem to be the only one commenting who has developed a squishy little bellyache over this. Several links have been provided successfully in this thread. Got another excuse?

    You don’t say what period the $50-75m is accumulated over

    Because it doesn’t matter. Conveniently selecting time periods that agree with your side of the argument is GARBAGE.

    Of course, it’s still small change compared to Al’s $300m in one year, and all the rest, so the point still stands.

    “All the rest.” LOL. Would Exxon, ConocoPhilips, Chevron, et al ad infinitum, represent “all the rest” for the Koch climate change denial side? Hmmm? Because Al Gore and “all the rest” from his side muster what amounts to a piddling duck fart in the opposing oil industry’s Category 5 funding cyclone.

    Now funding totals somehow magically boil down to a death match between Al Gore and the Koch brothers only. There’s only a nebulous “all the rest” from Al’s sidelines that can be considered additionally in the calculus. Rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiigggggghhhhhttttt.

    And lest we all forget, the Koch bros. # from Nullius’ previous comment turned out to be admitted crap, so we should trust this new guesstimate why exactly…?

    “You managed to be wrong TWICE in one instance of your contrarian Gish Gallop garbage.”

    Once.

    Twice. You were wrong about the amount AND wrong about the incorrect amount being trivial. 1 + 1 = 2.

    And I’m still waaaay ahead of you guys on points.

    Nullius, everyone here understands the Gish Gallop/shotgun approach to debating. We’ve seen it a thousand times. When you don’t have a minimum of strong arguments, you flood your opponent(s) with a million weak ones that once crushed individually can be rapidly supplemented by more feeble nonsense. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum. You’re not interesting/refreshing/something new we haven’t seen before. And you certainly aren’t “ahead” of anyone “on points,” whatever the hell that ultimately means.

    Now, how about you answer one of the *substantive* science questions?

    Now, there’s a good idea. Pick ONE, Nullius. One. Everyone’s had enough of the wearisome lukewarm flood from you. And it better be something actually *substantive*, and not more lying that Climategate inquiries “simply asserted exoneration with no support.” The assertions were stated with boatloads of explanation/support for why climate change deniers misinterpreted the leaked emails. The issue is OVER for everyone but you. Pick another one.

  129. Nullius in Verba

    #128,

    “You seem to be the only one commenting who has developed a squishy little bellyache over this.”

    Making stuff up again? I don’t have a “squishy little bellyache” over it. I was just saying why I didn’t bother with links.

    “Because it doesn’t matter. Conveniently selecting time periods that agree with your side of the argument is GARBAGE.”

    Making stuff up again? I haven’t proposed selecting any time periods – I was asking what time period *you* had selected.

    ” There’s only a nebulous “all the rest” from Al’s sidelines that can be considered additionally in the calculus.”

    Making stuff up again? Or did you not read the list I gave earlier? There was nothing “nebulous” about it – not that it matters, since the entire funding argument is an ad hominem fallacy anyway.

    “Twice. You were wrong about the amount AND wrong about the incorrect amount being trivial.”

    The amount *is* trivial. If you think you can brainwash an entire planet into buying their idea despite the combined efforts of the UN, governments, NGOs, media, and climate scientists with a few million, there are a few advertising agencies who would love to know how you did it.

    Al Gore spent $300m, and got zip for it.

    “Nullius, everyone here understands the Gish Gallop/shotgun approach to debating. We’ve seen it a thousand times.”

    Yeah. Me too. You’re not the first creationist/cultists I’ve debated.

    But the thing about the Gish Gallop is it is primarily a verbal technique. In text, with the time to go through the points individually and answer them, it can be turned around into a devastating counter – the technique known as ‘Fisking’.

    Although usually it’s sufficient to pick a representative sample to make the point, which is more or less what I was doing. Just pick two or three particularly instructive or interesting ones. You had a free choice.

    “Now, there’s a good idea. Pick ONE, Nullius. One.”

    OK. I’ll pick the sceptic’s paper Cook was reviewing, the one for which “the math appears to be correct theoretically”. Largely because it’s one of the less common ones and I’m curious to see how you’ll handle it.

    (And to save time, I know Cook was trying to see whether it affected the Tornetrask conclusion, but that can’t tell you if the method is valid, since you don’t know the ‘truth’ it’s trying to reconstruct.)

    If you can do it citing details of the investigation of this incident from the enquiries (you have boatloads to choose from), I’ll be doubly impressed.

  130. Linked to my name here is the newest video from Potholer54 which deals with the whole hockeystick graph and Medieval Warm Period issue very thoroughly and well.

    Well worth watching in full.

    3 Key points :

    1) The most famous (IPCC though they rarely declare that) MWP graph is actually a dubious schematic not an accurate measure.

    2) If it was our Sun to blame for the MWP then it ain’t our daytime star causing today’s global overheating.

    3) What’s good for Greenland may not be so good for the rest of us right now!

  131. Sean McCorkle

    Nullius #129

    OK. I’ll pick the sceptic’s paper Cook was reviewing, the one for which “the math appears to be correct theoretically”. Largely because it’s one of the less common ones and I’m curious to see how you’ll handle it.

    (And to save time, I know Cook was trying to see whether it affected the Tornetrask conclusion, but that can’t tell you if the method is valid, since you don’t know the ‘truth’ it’s trying to reconstruct.)

    And where can we find this work?

  132. Nullius in Verba

    #131,

    You tell me. The sceptic belief is that Cook and Co. blocked it’s publication. But a bunch of people here have been telling me climate scientists don’t do that, or wouldn’t do it if sceptics ever produced anything worth looking at, so no doubt you’ll be able to give me the reference, and tell me what the community did about it.

    Check the enquiries. There were ‘boatloads’ of explanations, apparently. I’m sure they must have covered it, mustn’t they?

  133. Sean McCorkle

    #132
    You tell me. The sceptic belief is that Cook and Co. blocked it’s publication. But a bunch of people here have been telling me climate scientists don’t do that,

    Kind of hard to evaluate the claim that a good quality paper was rejected for no-good reasons if we can’t see the paper. Hard to confirm if there’s been a murder if the body isn’t produced.

    If the authors believe they have an important message &emdash; an important work &emdash; then non-peer-review publication vehicles do exist and are in use: arXiv.org comes to mind, as well as simply posting on a web site. Both have come into vogue, useful for “establishment” scientists to float ideas that they feel might be “too far out” to get into a refereed journal.

    or wouldn’t do it if sceptics ever produced anything worth looking at, so no doubt you’ll be able to give me the reference, and tell me what the community did about it.

    Not sure if I follow that reasoning at all. If you’re trying to present an example of a perfectly good work that was blocked, why not provide some link to the work, and help get it more exposure?

    Look, I acknowledge that, in reality, the scientific system is not totally free of group-think suppression of radical ideas. I also acknowledge that it suffers from human foibles, fashions and trends, personalities, egos, misunderstandings, etc. But radical ideas can and do break through and catch on all the time, but only because strong cases are made for those ideas. As Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

    I also will acknowledge that the peer review process is imperfect, I don’t insist that something appear in a peer reviewed journal to be correct, and certainly don’t believe that something IS correct if it appears in a peer review journal. As I said before, the peer-review is a pre-screening (like qualifying rounds in sports competitions), and its only done by a very small number of reviewers. But I do argue that by presenting, the authors understand that their work will be scrutinized and examined, likely in brutal fashion. One needs a thick skin and a well-prepared case in that world.

  134. Nullius in Verba

    “Kind of hard to evaluate the claim that a good quality paper was rejected for no-good reasons if we can’t see the paper.”

    Ed Cook tells you the reasons. “…claims that the method of reconstruction that we use in dendroclimatology (reverse regression) is wrong, biased, lousy, horrible, etc.” “If published as is, this paper could really do some damage.” “…they do lots of monte carlo stuff that shows the superiority of their method and the deficiencies of our way of doing things”.

    “Hard to confirm if there’s been a murder if the body isn’t produced.”

    Hard to confirm there *hasn’t* been a murder if you haven’t looked at the body, as well. And yet the Climategate enquiries claim to have done so, so they must have got answers to these questions, right? Unless of course they’re lying.

    But in this case I’m not talking about the murder, I’m talking about climate scientists hiding the bodies. The fact the body is missing is the whole point. The fact the enquiries haven’t bothered to go look for it, even though they know who had it last, is also the point.

    We know from Ed’s email that he at least regarded the maths as correct, and the Monte Carlo trials are additional confirmation – it’s highly unlikely that a problem with the maths wouldn’t have been picked up when it was tested like this. And yet, his intention was to try and refute it, to dismiss it, to prevent it being published as is. He regarded a mathematically correct demonstration that methods used in the field were biased as “damage”, rather than thinking the continued use of those flawed methods being the damage.

    The main issue is his attitude.

    ” But I do argue that by presenting, the authors understand that their work will be scrutinized and examined, likely in brutal fashion.”

    That’s fine. Climate scientists by now understand that their work will get scrutinised and examined in the climate sceptic blogosphere, likely in brutal fashion. (Some people need a thicker skin, yes?) And if Ed had found maths errors in the paper, and said so, that would have been fair enough. But given that he *hadn’t* found any errors, why the hell was he *still* trying to stop it being published?!

    There’s brutal, and there’s unjust.

    But in the interests of moving things on (should anyone still want to play) I’ll add that if everyone will agree that there is no discussion/explanation in the enquiries, or indeed any evidence they ever inquired into the question, and thus no basis for claiming “exoneration” on the point, I’d be happy to tell you what paper sceptics think it was.

    Not that I’m expecting any of you to admit that, of course. I’m sure you’d prefer to get the official ‘enquiry’ word on it rather than take the word of sceptics. I wouldn’t want you to think I was being needlessly obstructive. But I would like to get the “it’s all been thoroughly examined by the enquiries” point settled first.

  135. Sean McCorkle

    Nullius,

    I want to add: you’re making good headway and rightly pointing out that people are commonly cherry picking or making generalization fallacies when individual events (i.e. hot spells) and individual examples (this glacier over here is receding)
    are offered as evidence for AGW by themselves.

    However, the reason I press the point raised at the end of #128 is that the best of the arguments against AGW appears to be that one or more researchers or works have made methodological errors. Well, okay, thats worth a look, but when scrutinized, these claims seem to either break down or amount to picayune numerical differences that don’t affect the conclusions. A scientific result can’t be tossed out simply on the basis of lack of rigor. I’m sure it could be argued that Edwin Hubble’s initial distanct-velocity correlation lacked rigor by today’s standards. But a work IS tossed out if the results are directly disconfirmed or contradicted by another independent measurement. For example, the Hubble Flow has since been confirmed many times. The end of the day, I don’t see any contradictory results placed out there which have survived cross examination themselves.

  136. Sean McCorkle

    #134
    Hard to confirm there *hasn’t* been a murder if you haven’t looked at the body, as well. And yet the Climategate enquiries claim to have done so, so they must have got answers to these questions, right? Unless of course they’re lying.

    But in this case I’m not talking about the murder, I’m talking about climate scientists hiding the bodies. The fact the body is missing is the whole point. The fact the enquiries haven’t bothered to go look for it, even though they know who had it last, is also the point.

    Okay this is a good illustration of overreaching conclusions with little evidence. Your case for collusion by the scientific community to suppress legitimate works which contradict AGW is resting on a stolen email?

    I don’t buy the email, by itself , so I ask if you have other corroborating evidence, because that claim is extraordinary, and thus requires extraordinary evidence.

    Hard to confirm there *hasn’t* been a murder if you haven’t looked at the body, as well. And yet the Climategate enquiries claim to have done so, so they must have got answers to these questions, right? Unless of course they’re lying.

    I don’t even buy that claim because you’re excluding a whole range of other possibilities.

    You’re claiming that paper P by author X was suppressed (where P and X are unknown) on the basis of this email.
    1)Do we know if P actually WAS rejected from the journal?
    1a) Reviewer’s criticisms are not always honored.
    2a) Did X afterwards resubmit and respond satisfactorily and thus get published?
    2) If outright rejected, do we know if at all X resubmitted to another journal which then did publish the work?
    3) If outright and broadly rejected, did X upload the work to arXiv? or a web site?
    4) And maybe the math’s actually WERE WRONG but Cook missed it at the time of the email, but it was later discovered! Maybe it deserved rejection.

    And we don’t even know X or P!

    That’s why extra, corroborating evidence is so important. Something like X standing up and identifying themselves and their work P. Without that, there’s just suspicion.

    The main issue is his attitude.

    I agree with that. Its a poor attitude to have.

  137. Nullius in Verba

    #135,

    “A scientific result can’t be tossed out simply on the basis of lack of rigor.”

    I guess that’s the philosophical difference between climate scientists and sceptics. Sceptics think it can.

    #136,

    They’re good questions. So why not check the Climategate enquiries and locate the answers? :-)

    That’s exactly what they were supposed to be inquiring for, after all.

  138. Sean McCorkle

    They’re good questions. So why not check the Climategate enquiries and locate the answers?

    Not my responsibility, since I’m not the one making the claim. I’m highly skeptical of the claim.

  139. Menyambal

    Nullius, you really are getting sillier.

    You want us to dig up a paper that the bad people are suppressing. You seem to think the author can’t simply print out another copy or e-mail it, or something.

    What you have done is to put your own paranoid twist on a few cherry-picked phrases—you interpret everything the way you want it to be. Oddly, the paper you want must be good because it has some Monte Carlo tricks in it, but the climate scientists must be wrong because they used tricks to fool people.

    The scientist say that the math seems good, but that doesn’t the inputs were correct. And they just say looks “theoretically” correct, and we know how much you hate theories.

    If the paper was any good, it would be rocking the world through other channels. Just because you interpret a private communication as something that you would say and mean, doesn’t mean it means what you think it means.

    You are doing other cranky stuff. A while back you got stroppy because somebody said all but one glaciers were melting, and you insisted that 5% were advancing, and that error wasn’t good science. I still don’t find that a substantial error, for a discussion on an astronomy blog, for Pete’s sakes. I say that to make it good science we’d have to define glacier, select a particular survey and agree on a measurement system.

    In addition, you and your buddies keep saying that we are ignoring weather variations. Well, in a giant frigging meltdown of the world’s glaciers, there are bound to be a few places going the other way, just due to local weather.

    See? You hold everyone else to your impossible standards of rigor, which vary at your whim, but your cognitive dissonance bothers you not a whit.

    By the way, an eminent denier just bailed out on you, according to the news. I didn’t bother to remember his name, but I did shake my head at his methods and reasons. As has been said, the leopard can’t change his shorts.

  140. Nullius in Verba

    #139,

    I had no particular desire for you to dig up the paper – I think Sean wanted to use it to be able to argue about whether it really was a good paper or not.

    But there are two fundamental arguments that have been repeatedly used here: if sceptics had anything, they’d publish and the climate scientists would take note, but since the climate scientists haven’t the sceptics can’t have anything. And that if there was anything in climategate the enquiries would have picked it up, yet the enquiries claim exoneration and therefore there’s nothing worth looking at in climategate.

    The point of the example was that even when a climate scientist thinks the sceptics are on to something, their response is to try to suppress it, and that despite the obvious questions this incident raises, none of the enquiries looked, dug up the details, or provided any explanations.

    It’s an attitude that I think if your caught a ‘creation scientist’ indulging in you’d regard as significant – how can we suppress this paper because the maths is good and it would really damage our position?

    But with such strong prior faith in the integrity of climate scientists, you’re indulging in what was called “Philosophical Skepticism” earlier in this thread, demanding ever higher standards of ‘extraordinary’ evidence.

    I know from experience that creationists and cultists are fundamentally unpersuadable. No matter what you provide, they’ll always demand more, or bend their argument into pretzels to find an interpretation acceptable to them. I just find that entertaining to watch; I’m not seriously attempting to persuade anyone.

    If by “eminent denier” you mean Richard Muller, he was never a sceptic. He was a believer who claimed to have been shocked by the behaviour revealed in Climategate, and who tried to fix the science. But he never doubted the AGW conclusion, and some of his subsequent behaviour trying to repair AGW’s authority has been dubious.

  141. Sean McCorkle

    #140
    I had no particular desire for you to dig up the paper

    Do you expect to be taken seriously with that kind of attitude?

    – I think Sean wanted to use it to be able to argue about whether it really was a good paper or not.

    And thats a bad thing? Are you saying that “skeptics” can’t tolerate any skepticism of their own claims?

    The point of the example was that even when a climate scientist thinks the sceptics are on to something, their response is to try to suppress it, and that despite the obvious questions this incident raises, none of the enquiries looked, dug up the details, or provided any explanations.

    So how exactly can a work be suppressed in this day and age? Rejection by journals happens all the time. Its not the end of the line for a work. Typically, the author will respond to reviewer criticisms, modify the work accordingly if they agree, or respond why they disagree and then resubmit. (There’s a positive side to criticism: the reviewers might actually be right and doing the authors a service). And, if after that, one journal still refuses, then there are others, and then after that other publication options as I said above.

  142. Nigel Depledge

    NUllius in verba (113) said:

    It can only be understood as part of a context, and the context here is intentionally offensive.

    What rubbish!

    The context of the term “denier” here is a factually-accurate label for people who deny the existence of AGW in the face of the overwhelming evidence that it is real. Whether they are offended by it or not is immaterial, and there is certainly no intention to offend.

  143. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verab (113) said:

    Nobody disputes that climate changes. The question is whether it is changing more than it did before.

    More than it did before what?

    Before humans existed, for example, there have been some extremely large, and wholly natural, changes in global climate.

    And this is entirely irrelevant to the present situation.

    Besides, there are indeed still some deniers who deny that the climate is changing now.

  144. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verba (113) said:

    “1. Never before has there been a human civilisation that is so uniquely vulnerable to changes in climate (most especially rainfall patterns and mean sea level);”

    That’s utter nonsense. Never before has there been a global civilisation as robust to changes in climate. In the past, if the weather failed we had a famine. Today if the weather fails you buy it from some place it didn’t.

    Yeah, right.

    First off, places like London, New York City, New Orleans and several other major cities, as well as large parts of Bangladesh, the Netherlands and at least half a dozen other countries, are vulnerable to rising sea levels, and the people who live there and farm there don’t have anywhere else to go, because everywhere else they might go is already populated.

    Second, when global changes in rainfall patterns render the regions that currently produce the most food into dust bowls, it is probable that there won’t be enough food to go around. Sure, rich folks can buy food from elsewhere, but food prices will soar and many people will not be able to obtain food from other places.

    Third, it’s not a question of the “weather” failing – your phrasing really trivialises the issue. It’s a question of where the rainfall will move to, what times of year it will fall, how much of it will fall in one go (as opposed to steady or repeated showers) and so on, all of which will make it substantially more difficult to grow enough food for everyone.

    So, while our civilisation is robust to changes in weather, it is vulnerable to changes in climate.

    And you seem not to grasp that difference. Or are you just trolling?

  145. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verba (113) said:

    “You are conflating weather and climate. This is a rather boring denialist canard. Inaccuracy in weather prediction (which is actually less than you claim) does not equate to inaccuracy in climate prediction.”

    Climate prediction is weather prediction considered over a longer time period, and done with the same tools and techniques.

    No, not really.

    Weather is intrinsically noisy, with potentially large differences between places that are relatively nearby, and over short periods of time.

    Climate is the general trend of weather patterns and behaviours. It is impossible for us to predict whether or not it will rain in London on the 20th of August 2112. And no-one is trying to do this. But it is not such a difficult thing (well, yes, it’s difficult, but it’s doable) to predict the general pattern of rainfall for the south of England in the 2110s.

    Normally when you use a model to predict something in the long term, over periods you have no history of verified predictions for, you can only justify the model’s long-term performance by extrapolating its short term accuracy. If they’re not accurate in the short term, how can their long term predictions be validated?

    The models are reasonably accurate in the short term (say, over the last 30 years).

  146. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verba (113) trolled:

    “Of all the world’s glaciers, only one has grown in the last 20 years”

    Rubbish. About 5% of them are advancing.

    Ooh, 5% have started advancing back again. Probably only because of the increased availability of meltwater to lubricate the movement of ice.

    “The volume of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing steadily.”

    Because of the wind.

    Wrong, it’s because of the temperature.

    They did have wind in the Arctic 30 years ago, too, you know.

    And the Antarctic ice has been growing steadily.

    Citation needed.

    “Antarctica’s glaciers are all moving faster than they were when first measured”

    Only on the Antarctic peninsula.

    Where do you get this from? The information I have seen was that all Antarctic glaciers whose speed had been measured were moving faster than when measurements began.

    “Here’s a thought for you to consider: What if the climate scientists really do know more about this stuff than everyone else who hasn’t spent decades studying Earth’s climate?”

    Here’s a thought for you to consider: What if climate scientists know less than they claim? What if their evidence is weaker than they claim?

    OK, so obviously you are incapable of considering the thought I proposed for you.

    Yes, I have considered that they might not understand as much as they claim to, and this does not stand up. The process of peer review is a harsh filter. Any data that are weak or inadequate will be filtered out, and only results that stand up to critical scrutiny get published. AFAICT, the published data indicate overwhelmingly that AGW is a real phenomenon.

  147. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verba (114) said:

    “Wow, are you actually saying that environmental charities such as Greenpeace and the WWF have more money to spend than the oil companies???”

    No. I’m saying they spend more on climate change campaigning.

    “That’s an extraordinary claim. How about you back it up with some evidence?”

    Wow! Are you saying that the moon is made of green cheese?! How about you back your opinion up?

    Heh. Obviously you are incapable.

    Therefore, your opinion is not worth any more of my time.

  148. Nigel Depledge

    Joseph G (123) said:

    @Nigel Depledge:

    But these organisms that form limestone etc., have calcium carbonate exoskeletons, and it is the carbonate that sequesters carbon in the long term. The organic molecules in fast-growing algae don’t form carbonates, so the carbon is free to be released by bacteria feeding on the dead algae.

    Ah, I see. Organism skeletons = sequestration; soft stuff, not so much?

    Hmmm, recently read some stuff that makes me think I over-simplified this earlier point.

    Diatoms, which are a class of algae, have silicaceous skeletons, so will always sink when they die. At least some algal blooms are composed largely of diatoms. So the carbon they absorb while growing will sink to the ocean floor. Few animals, these mainly being krill, eat diatoms, because diatoms have very tough cell walls.

    Apparently, if the ocean is deep enough, the diatoms’ squishy parts will persist for a significant number of years, because degradation is very slow at the low temperatures and high pressures found at extreme depths. So, there may be a possible means of sequestering CO2 by seeding the ocean with nutrients to encourage algal blooms. However, there is much about this idea that remains unknown.

    (to NIV)

    Wow, are you actually saying that environmental charities such as Greenpeace and the WWF have more money to spend than the oil companies???
    That’s an extraordinary claim. How about you back it up with some evidence?

    Thank you. I knew I should wait for you to show up rather than try to figure out how incredulously facepalm via text

    :-)

  149. Nullius in Verba

    #141,

    “Do you expect to be taken seriously with that kind of attitude?”

    I don’t expect to be taken seriously, period. I didn’t think I was talking to people with open minds, and I don’t think it matters what I say, people will always find some way to minimise or dismiss it, and maintain their existing beliefs. I’m not wasting time trying to persuade the unpersuadable. If you’re open-minded enough to take the question seriously, I’m sure you’d want to know for yourself if it’s true or not, and would be quite capable of finding out.

    Very definite opinions have been expressed that all of this was covered in the Climategate enquiries. So why ask an unreliable source like me, when you can look up exactly what the enquiries (with direct access to all the people involved) said about it? Surely, in order to be able to “exonerate” people, they must have asked these same questions, yes?

    A lot of people have taken such statements on trust, without requiring any evidence. What I was after was acknowledgement that there *is* no evidence of exoneration presented on the other side, so that we could re-examine whether this was really an “extraordinary claim”.

    How can it be extraordinary if there is no evidence to the contrary?

    “And thats a bad thing? Are you saying that “skeptics” can’t tolerate any skepticism of their own claims?”

    I didn’t say it was a bad thing. It’s a relevant question, in itself. But it’s liable to shift the conversation from Cook’s and Briffa’s behaviour to the technicalities of the estimation of transfer functions in reverse regression, and that’s bound to get bogged down. If you looked at the paper yourself, and couldn’t see anything wrong with it, would that get us anywhere? Wouldn’t you just say “I can’t tell. Case unproved. Status quo.”?

    And while estimation bias is certainly a worthy topic, the issue I was interested in was whether climate scientists did try to stop what they considered to be a valid sceptic paper being published, that this is the sort of thing that can happen, and that it is tolerated by the scientific community, to which I think the answer can already be said to be “yes” just from the email and the enquiries. If you’re saying you agree and you’d like to move to “so was the paper really any good?”, then we can do that.

    (It probably doesn’t help, but the story is the paper *was* rejected at the time, it’s unknown whether it was because of Cook’s hostile review or other reasons, but it was subsequently modified and uncontroversially accepted for publication in a different venue a few years later. I don’t have the original version Cook saw, just the final published paper. Finding definitive answers to such questions was what we needed an enquiry for.)

  150. Steve Metzler

    Well, the best thing to do is to shine a light on these things, so using two keywords from what Nullius had previously written, I Googled for:

    cook tornetrask review blocked

    figuring that would probably turn up some commentary about it on a climate change contrarian site. But it did better than that. The second link in the results takes you to an article on McIntyre’s site (climateaudit. Article is titled: “Climategatekeeping”), and he even links to what is supposedly an *original draft* of the paper:

    nber-nsf09.ucdavis.edu/program/papers/auffhammer.pdf

    Anyone here with enough stats fu to give a meaningful review of the paper?

    Nullius also said:

    but it was subsequently modified and uncontroversially accepted for publication in a different venue a few years later.

    Not according to McIntyre, it wasn’t:

    Six years later, it has still not been published in the peerreviewedlitchurchur.

    That was as of 16 Dec 2009.

  151. Steve Metzler

    Hey, wait a minute… this is right up tamino’s alley. I’ll see if he’s interested.

  152. James Evans

    @#129

    Making stuff up again? I don’t have a “squishy little bellyache” over it. I was just saying why I didn’t bother with links.

    And your excuse was worthless. Find a better one, or start linking like everyone else here who manages it without pouting.

    Making stuff up again? I haven’t proposed selecting any time periods

    Uh, these are your own words, Nullius…

    No they haven’t. They’ve spent around $20m over a period of about a decade

    And then you suggest (i.e.: propose) that I give (i.e.: select) a time period here to help you with your scary-profound interpretations…

    You don’t say what period the $50-75m is accumulated over, so I can’t interpret that.

    So, yeah, I’m afraid you ARE the one proposing the selection of time periods, Nullius, for whatever useless reason you wrongly think they’re helpful in the sidebar funding debate. See, you can’t be a contrarian with yourself, because that’s when the guys with the snug-fitting, white jackets show up and take you away. You understand?

    Making stuff up again? Or did you not read the list I gave earlier? There was nothing “nebulous” about it – not that it matters, since the entire funding argument is an ad hominem fallacy anyway.

    Your list included Western politicians and governments whose present economies require oil to support their populations, Nullius. The majority are NOT pitted against the very industry THEY RELY ON TO FUNCTION. Talk about making stuff up. But maybe you’re right to some extent, and “nebulous” was indeed the wrong word. Your “all the rest” comment was just plain demented in retrospect.

    And, sorry, but you don’t get to argue climate change funding numbers/particulars until you’re proven completely wrong about those same figures/points, and then suddenly retreat, dismissing the issue with a hand waving, holier-than-thou, “Meh, the whole thing is an ad hominem fallacy, anyway.”

    It doesn’t work that way. If it did, your own point about the UN, Greenpeace, the WWF, the CIA, the FBI, the KGB, the Free Masons, the local PTA, or whoever the hell else it was you threw in there as a supposed insurmountably-financed opponent for the oh so unfairly-beleaguered oil industry would turn out to be an “ad hominem fallacy” as well. It would cut both ways, Nullius, and your “no, these cultist guys have more money” response would be an ad hominem fallacy, also. Get it?

    You’re not the first creationist/cultists I’ve debated.

    Did you fail to use cogent arguments against all your other opponents, too? It’s an odd strategy.

    OK. I’ll pick the sceptic’s paper Cook was reviewing

    http://nber-nsf09.ucdavis.edu/program/papers/auffhammer.pdf

    So, that’s it, huh, Nullius? You’re given the chance to bring up one undeniable issue the “climate cultists” can’t refute, and you choose a paper written by two Berkely agricultural/resource economists and a Korean energy economist? Seriously? If your big, scary knockout punch was gonna be JUST ONE LONELY LITTLE OLE SOLITARY PAPER (that we’re to accept somehow magically negates the countless tens of thousands published on the subject since), do you think maybe you could find one where at least one climatologist penned his or her name on it?

    I don’t think I’m asking too much, since, in case you haven’t noticed, we are debating CLIMATE SCIENCE and climatologists tend to have some valuable input.

    One paper with no climatologists, and we have to scramble to answer its claims, when you dismiss out of hand a tidal wave of opposing literature… Rrrrrrrriiiiiiggggggghhhhhttttt.

    Last chance to save your skin here, Nullius. Try again, and I suggest you do a much better job this time.

  153. chris

    Steve, according to the authors on line CV: http://are.berkeley.edu/~auffhammer/Maximilian_Auffhammer/CV_files/cv_auffhammer.pdf

    .. the paper is under review at the Journal of the American Statistical Society (“revisions requested”). As of today it hasn’t yet appeared on-line in JASS.

    I suspect it’s not worth looking at it until it’s actually published.

    Nullius in Verba – style conspiracy theory is decidedly uninteresting. Anything that’s worth publishing can be published somewhere, and if the paper hasn’t found its way into print there are lots of possible reasons for this that don’t require conspiracies!

  154. Nigel Depledge

    Nullius in verba (149) said:

    I don’t expect to be taken seriously, period.

    Maybe if you actually backed up what you claim with evidence, then people would take you seriously.

    I didn’t think I was talking to people with open minds,

    This is your own prejudice talking.

    If you disagree with something I have posted in a comment, by all means feel free to prove me wrong. I might even learn something. However, if you never bother to refer to actual evidence and peer-reviewed science, then you have no case.

    and I don’t think it matters what I say, people will always find some way to minimise or dismiss it, and maintain their existing beliefs.

    Maybe so for a certain sector of posters here, but if you know of some real evidence that overturns everything that mainstream science says about AGW, then let’s hear it.

    I’m not wasting time trying to persuade the unpersuadable.

    Which, loosely translated, says: I can’t be bothered to support what I say by reference to evidence. Have you ever tried?

    If you’re open-minded enough to take the question seriously, I’m sure you’d want to know for yourself if it’s true or not, and would be quite capable of finding out.

    Taking a question seriously or not is not about being open-minded or not. It’s about being shown that there is a genuine issue to consider. Being open-minded isn’t simply the process of following up (at one’s own expense in time and effort) on any objection that someone raises, however trivial or poorly-argued it may be. Open-mindedness is the state of being prepared to change one’s mind when one is shown to have been wrong.

    If you feel that the arguments you make have merit, then any burden of proof that exists is yours. You make the claim, you back it up. If you cannot back it up, then it has no merit. If you can’t be bothered to back it up, then you shouldn’t make the argument in the first place.

  155. Sean McCorkle

    #149
    So why ask an unreliable source like me, when you can look up exactly what the enquiries (with direct access to all the people involved) said about it? Surely, in order to be able to “exonerate” people, they must have asked these same questions, yes?

    Again, you’re the one making the claim, and I’m the one skeptical about it. You’re asking me to collect the evidence to prove it?

    A lot of people have taken such statements on trust, without requiring any evidence. What I was after was acknowledgement that there *is* no evidence of exoneration presented on the other side, so that we could re-examine whether this was really an “extraordinary claim”.

    More importantly, there appears to be precious little evidence in favor of the claim.

    How can it be extraordinary if there is no evidence to the contrary?

    What makes this extraordinary is that you’re saying that a whole community (many thousands?) is somehow working together to suppress publication of unfavorable works — a community whose very nature is to be argumentative towards itself somehow rallies the wagons and prevents word of amateurs from getting out, by somehow policing, what, hundreds of journals? Myriads of web sites? Distribution by email? Laser printers and copiers?

    And this is all based on a few snippets of dialog from a few purloined emails, without evening having the full context of the conversation?

    And if the paper that Steve Metzler turned up in #150 is the work you’re referring to, then a crime hasn’t even been committed, because its on the web! Its published!

    The irony of this is that you’re claiming a conspiracy on the basis of a couple of questionable samples, without any consideration of any kind of background or null hypothesis (i.e. how do climate scientists treat their own in review, how often do their papers get rejected?) Yet you turn around and demand statistical “rigor” from climate papers!!!

  156. I’ve taken a look at the Auffhamer paper, and I note the following:

    The submission date on the paper that 152 links to is 2009. So this doesn’t fit the claim of 6 years. Perhaps they altered the paper enough to regard it as a new work, or perhaps they gave up on journal A and submitted in 2009 to journal B.

    I can’t say that I agree with the opening lines of the paper:

    “The relation between global climate change and increased emissions of greenhouse gases is at the center of the debate on global warming. To investigate this relationship, a solid knowledge of the variability and the trend, if any, in the natural climate system as a baseline for climate behavior is essential. Unfortunately long time series of direct instrumental measures of global or local climate variables are unavailable.”

    We could have zero knowledge of past climate change…no proxies whatsoever, and the underlying physics and the detective story that go along with it would be unaffected and our grounds for concern just as great. We know that CO2 works as a greenhouse gas. Without greenhouse gases in the atmosphere earth would be 33 C colder than it is at 260 ppm CO2. We’re on our way towards a doubling of that number, so significant warming would reasonably expected (subject of course to numerous testable hypotheses that would reduce the effect). We know what the sun is doing and we know what radiation is emitted back into space. We know these are out of balance in a way that says the earth must absorb energy and grow warmer into to restore an equilibrium between radiation received and radiation emitted. You simply don’t need past climate records to understand this. Past climate records provide tools to create understanding of climate sensitivity based on past forcings, but we also have contemporaneous, if not uncontroversial tools as evidenced by studies on short term cooling effects of Pinatubo, or say Lindzen’s or Spencer’s published attempts on the other side of the isle. (so much by the way for peer-reviewed papers directly addressing the real issues not being published).

    Then I also note a number of things Auffhamer et al don’t say.

    *The paper is completely about the accuracy of climate reconstructions based on tree rings.
    *It does not touch on other climate proxies. It doesn’t touch on whether the agreement of Briffa’s or other parties reconstructions based on trees agree more or less with other proxies not subject to the response and transfer functions that concern them with tree rings.

    “In this paper, we address issues unrelated to aggregation of multiple reconstructions and focus
    on reconstruction of climate at a single site using a single proxy time series.”

    In other words, it doesn’t touch on the general replicability of the hockey stick in subsequent work by Mann and many other authors. So it has a potential impact factor of zero on a question of almost no value.

    * It claims to produce a more accurate and more volatile temperature reconstruction from tree rings at a short time scale than Briffa’s method…. BUT the figures and data shown focus on the calibration periods and nothing appears that would say “the hypothesized medieval warm period” shows more clearly in our method, and was as warm as today (2009)”. (There are numerous conventions about ‘today’ in paleoclimatology and one of them is today=1950. Hence a lot of argumentation that falls apart when somone references a reconstruction, not understanding that it stops at 1950 and doesn’t refer to the following 62 years.)

    In other words, in terms of supporting any particular political agenda on either side of the fence, there’s no “there” there. It’s a strictly technical paper that could be disputed for all kinds of reasons to do with the basic underlying mathematics. {Note- I’m not commenting on those methods…I understand the point they are making about teasing climate data out of tree rings where multiple factors,(including autocorrelation with past summers makes this a complex statistical problem,) determine the measurement in any given year}…working backwards from that measure, absent the data on the other factors (rainfall, CO2 levels) makes the choice of function and method important to get right.

    But Auffhamer seems a straight up guy….asking him whether he’s perceived any political interference is certainly a legitimate approach. There are many documented cases of deniers listing references or circumstances that when investigated just don’t hold water. Aufhammer may or may not even know of his listing. Our information here is apparently only based on the speculative interpretation of one email. There is room for true skeptical inquiry here.

  157. James Evans

    We could have zero knowledge of past climate change…no proxies whatsoever, and the underlying physics and the detective story that go along with it would be unaffected and our grounds for concern just as great.

    Good point, Dave123. Also, if you look at the references, they’re mostly from the 1980’s and 1990’s. I obviously don’t know for sure, but I suspect one barrier to the paper’s publication is that paleoclimatic data and collection techniques have improved since the disputed ones were gathered.

    Even if I’m wrong about that, the larger issue at hand is that we have all been duped into revisiting Climategate emails and staring until we’re cross-eyed at one paper with no climatologists that can’t even find a publisher. Gosh, Nullius really has us cornered now, huh? We better pull the plug on Al Gore, the UN, the IPCC, and Western governments and politicians immediately, before this gets out to mainstream media outlets and our Cargo Cultist/creationist faith in the ignorance of experts is exposed! Or whatever the hell the screwball accusations in this thread amount to ultimately.

    What a bunch of crap. Every time you debate deniers, it is a waste of time. Their arguments always crumble into a pile of ill-conceived refuse.

    Every.

    Time.

  158. Patrick

    It is easy to refute Lindsay(#19) when she says this:
    “I think it is great that these so called “deniers” are there to let scientists know that we are watching and pointing out mistakes and generalizations.”

    If AGW deniers were just trying trying to be science watchdogs, we wouldn’t see them focusing only on AGW. AGW research probably represents less than 1/100th of 1% of all the hard science that is done. Why not point out mistakes and generalizations from biology? chemistry? astronomy? geology? Why don’t the physicists need to know that “we are watching”? If Deniers were actually concerned with promoting better science they wouldn’t focus on this one politically charged issue.

    In truth, there is much overblown rhetoric in many fields of science from PIs that would love to get some attention on their field. Many science news magazines regularly sensationalize claims to sell magazines. No one seems to be watching them. If deniers were actually doing that; calling BS when a press release or magazine goes too far, I would support them. But that is not what they do, they lie and manipulate to reject a scientific conclusion that is inconsistent with their ideology, so that they don’t have to re-examine or modify their ideology; and they ignore the overblown rhetoric in other scientific fields because that rhetoric doesn’t challenge their preconceived notions.

    This is not unlike the persecution of Galileo. There were a great many scientists who were making revolutionary contributions to science at the same time as Galileo(Vernier,Pascal, Torricelli, Vieta,Napier,Gunter, Fermat and many more) but Galileo was persecuted and imprisoned. Not persecuted because his ideas were revolutionary, but because his ideas happened to intersect with the preconceived notions of a politically powerful group. Nowadays, we mock, and deride the people who persecuted Galileo. With good reason; they represented the epitome of ignorance at that time. AGW Deniers, if they receive historical mention at all, will receive the same treatment by history.

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