A Warming Planet Can Mean More Snow

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | February 15, 2010 11:31 am

Many people are confused about the relationship between weather and climate, and Jeff Masters did a nice job of explaining the difference today on NPR’s Morning Edition:

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, with the Web site Weather Underground, says it’s average temperatures — not snowfall — that really measure climate change.

“Because if it’s cold enough to snow, you will get snow,” Masters says. “We still have winter even if temperatures have warmed on average, oh, about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 100 years.”

Masters say that 1 degree average warming is not enough to eliminate winter. Or storms.

A storm is part of what scientists classify as weather. Weather is largely influenced by local conditions and changes week to week. It’s fickle — fraught with wild ups and downs.

Climate is the long-term trend of atmospheric conditions across large regions, even the whole planet. Changes in climate are slow and measured in decades, not weeks.

Go listen to the full clip by Christopher Joyce here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Global Warming, Media and Science

Comments (217)

  1. Sean McCorkle

    good story on NPR – glad its getting some press attention at least.

    I have to remind my students thats its only winter in the northern hemisphere. While we’ve been getting extra snow, the Sun has been busy baking South America and Australia, enough so to raise the global average temperature to make this past January the hottest on record.

  2. bilbo

    I think of the extreme weather cherry-picks as just a basic lack of statistical knowledge. The average weight of people in your state might be increasing through the roof, but if you find a whole city full of thin people in that state, it’s mindless to say “AHA! People aren’t getting fatter; they’re getting thinner!” Maybe that’s a bad example.

    Also, does anyone else notice that most skeptics will readily admit that the Earth is warming now, but that it’s just not due to humans? So, isn’t holding that opinion and bandying around snow events as proof that the Earth is not getting warmer at the same time about the most contradictory thing you’ve ever heard?

    Yes.

  3. Sean McCorkle

    whoops – that was a 2009 article for australia – apologies for the screw-up.
    They’re also experiencing a heat wave this year again too.

  4. Sean McCorkle

    … and btw I don’t mean to imply that just South America and Australia are bringing up the average, which is affected by the southern hemisphere and equatorial regions an other hotter-than-usual areas.

  5. Busiturtle

    Why can we not all agree that the metric of “average temperature” is meaningless and that it is especially meaningless to report an average global temperature?

    It is far more useful to consider changes in the recorded low and high temperature in each region of interest. By doing this advocates of AGW would avoid making fools of themselves trying to explain how the cold snap sweeping the south-east United States is further evidence of global warming.

    There is no global climate so why do global warming advocates talk as if there is one?

    No serious person can back a methodology that allows AGW to both cause and impede snowfall – you might as well substitute GOD for AGW. Yet here we have Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network advancing this theory. To Mr. Tidwell and any others I simply ask: Is the occurrence of snow in Florida a symptom of global warming? If the answer is yes does this not contradict the claim that global warming will lead to the massive melting of glaciers? How can global warming be blamed for causing glaciers to melt in Greenland but be credited for causing water to freeze in Florida?

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.warming0214,0,3544880.story

  6. The housekeeping thread has been closed with this cryptic announcement:

    Due to the nature of incoming comments, we have decided to close this thread.
    SK & CM

    Not a word of explanation about what is objectionable. How about telling us what you didn’t like?

  7. bilbo

    Busiturtle,

    To Mr. Tidwell and any others I simply ask: Is the occurrence of snow in Florida a symptom of global warming? If the answer is yes does this not contradict the claim that global warming will lead to the massive melting of glaciers? How can global warming be blamed for causing glaciers to melt in Greenland but be credited for causing water to freeze in Florida?

    One of the fundamental scientific components of climate change is that warming temperatures across much of the planet change weather patterns. Climate and weather are not the exact same phenomena. Thus, changes in weather patterns (some areas being wetter/dryer – or, some areas getting more/less precip during summer OR winter than normal) isn’t anything that difficult to grasp. Also, we already know from observed data that warming(natural or otherwise) is taking place at stronger intensities/rates near polar regions than in others places. That’s not a secret, nor is it something coming out of a fancy model. Climate change does not take place in a homogeneous intensity/rate worldwide. Never has, never will. So – glaciers can very much still be melting while some changes in weather patterns can kick storms into regions where they normally wouldn’t occur. I think fingering Florida snow as a consequence of global warming is about as boneheaded as saying that it disproves it, though.

    Why can we not all agree that the metric of “average temperature” is meaningless and that it is especially meaningless to report an average global temperature?

    It is far more useful to consider changes in the recorded low and high temperature in each region of interest.

    Climate scientists already agree with you, Busiturtle. The metric of interest in many climate studies is just as you put it, not average temperature. (And, by the way, they support AGW, too.)

    By doing this advocates of AGW would avoid making fools of themselves trying to explain how the cold snap sweeping the south-east United States is further evidence of global warming.

    I haven’t seen too many of the actual, bona fide climate scientists calling the last few weeks’ snow events one way or the other. In fact, they have been pretty cautious about it, as they should be.

  8. @6 Bradley,

    Regarding what’s objectionable, I refer you to our comments policy.

  9. Philip Jr.

    Not a word of explanation about what is objectionable. How about telling us what you didn’t like?

    Several of us were beginning to take it down the tired old New Atheist/accommodationist road, Bradley, and as a result some things were starting to trend into the personal realm again. I have no idea what was coming down the pipe, but my bet was that it probably had to do with that topic.

    The housekeeping thread was probably no place for that to begin with. Off-topic and personal stuff is two strikes against the comment policy, anyway. (Which reminds me – I’m off-topic. Back to climate change and weather patterns!)

  10. Sean McCorkle

    Busiturtle@5

    I think global (spatial) and temporal averages of temperature are meaningful when doing total energy budget analysis (reflected/trapped/radiated energy for the whole planet.)

    How can global warming be blamed for causing glaciers to melt in Greenland but be credited for causing
    water to freeze in Florida?

    for example: florida gets a cold winter, but later that summer Greenland gets a record heat wave.

  11. Philip Jr.

    How can global warming be blamed for causing glaciers to melt in Greenland but be credited for causing
    water to freeze in Florida?

    for example: florida gets a cold winter, but later that summer Greenland gets a record heat wave.

    Also: it’s summer in the southern hemisphere when it’s winter in the northern hemisphere (and vice versa). Winter still happens, even if global temperatures are rising.

  12. Busiturtle

    McCorkle@10

    What factors contributed to the medieval warming period and how is that climate change different than what is being observed today?

    And to bilbo@7

    Is not that statement that warmer temperatures induce climate change circular reasoning?

  13. bilbo

    Is not that statement that warmer temperatures induce climate change circular reasoning?

    To use a similar climatological analogy, Busiturtle, your statement above is akin to saying that claiming that warmer/cooler ocean waters during El Nino/La Nina events can cause changes in weather patterns is circular reasoning. Warmer temperatures = change. Some places temporarily heat up/dry out, other places cool off/get wetter.

    Feedbacks are a fundamental component of climatology, Busiturtle – not circular logic. It’s simple cause and effect.

  14. Milton C.

    Is not that statement that warmer temperatures induce climate change circular reasoning?

    Warmer temperatures don’t just “induce” climate change – they’re part of the definition of climate change. As bilbo said earlier, the whole globe isn’t warming evenly. Some regions experience warming in a greater intensity than others. These temperature differences set up pressure gradients that then induce fronts to serve as storm tracks and foci for precipitation development. That’s just simple meteorology/climatology 101.

    This is nothing personal, Busiturtle, but I seriously recommend that you pick up a basic climatology book and/or take a class on it at your local university. That’s not meant to be a personal shot across your bow. You just seem kind-of in the dark about some basic concepts.

  15. Busiturtle

    Surely there is a climatic feedback mechanism. Why are we to suppose that in the 21st century this feedback loop is unstable whereas in all previous millennium climate change has been stable?

  16. Thank you, Philip Jr., for that explanation. I can see why a religious war among atheists would be problematic :-)

    And back to the topic, this Nature interview with Phil Jones is worth pondering. Jones admits to a lack of care with Chinese weather station records.

    He now acknowledges that “the stations probably did move”, and that the subsequent loss of the data was sloppy. “It’s not acceptable,” says Jones. “[It's] not best practice.”

    Jones says that he did not know that the weather stations’ locations were questionable when they were included in the paper, but as the study’s lead author he acknowledges his responsibility for ensuring the quality of the data. So will he submit a correction to Nature? “I will give that some thought. It’s worthy of consideration,” he says.

    “The science still holds up” though, he adds. A follow-up study verified the original conclusions for the Chinese data for the period 1954–1983, showing that the precise location of weather stations was unimportant. “They are trying to pick out minor things in the data and blow them out of all proportion,” says Jones of his critics.

    And that follow-up study? It was performed by a team including Jones. Some truly independent verification is appropriate here.

  17. bilbo

    Surely there is a climatic feedback mechanism

    There are multiple climate feedback mechanisms that climate scientists study. Many of them. Like Milton said, pick up a book or enroll in a class about this. You’ll be surprised at what you don’t know (and surprised at what scientists do know that you’re claiming they don’t), despite reading a lot of blogs about climate change.

  18. Adeist

    We live on a planet that varies from -90C in Antarctica to +50C in the African desert, that can easily vary 10-40C from summer to winter, day to night, sunny to cloudy. A temperature change of 0.8C wouldn’t even register for most people on the “brrr!”-scale. It can barely be detected by the vast network of instruments and a considerable amount of data processing.

    Global warming can only be detected (if at all) at a continental scale over a period of many decades. So far, it is simply *not detectable* at any local scale within the timespan of the weather. Locally, there have been many warm and cool periods lasting for many decades – the MWP and the LIA being only the most famous. The Arctic was warmer in the 1940s. Any signal is buried in the noise.

    Which is the fundamental problem, because a certain group of people have spent the last couple of decades telling the public that the signs are everywhere, and every hot summer, every big hurricane, every early spring, every drought, every flood, every melting iceberg and shortening glacier, they’ve all been blamed on Global Warming. If you tell the public, over and over again, that *weather is climate*, then you can hardly blame them when they believe it, can you?

    It is true that most of the scientists have not done so, and have said when asked that hot summers don’t prove anything. But allowing it to happen is why we’ve got a problem now.

  19. bilbo

    Bradley:

    Throw out Jones’ study. Throw out the whole thing. Chunk it in the trash can, throw in a match or two, and watch it burn.

    What changes about our scientific knowledge of climate change?

    Nothing. Not until someone provides some contrary data, at least – AND deems the follow-up incorrect, too.

  20. Sean McCorkle

    Busiturtle@12 – was the medieval warm period a global phenomena or local to Europe/North Atlantic?

  21. Busiturtle

    bilbo@17

    In regards to the greater knowledge possessed by climate scientists I will only offer this:

    I am not the one surprised or disappointed by the lack of a hockey stick in the global temperature charts.

    I fully accept there are many scientists who understand the climactic forces far better than I ever will. I would be surprised if there are any climate scientists who can forecast future climate observations better than your regular class of fifth graders.

  22. bilbo

    Which is the fundamental problem, because a certain group of people have spent the last couple of decades telling the public that the signs are everywhere, and every hot summer, every big hurricane, every early spring, every drought, every flood, every melting iceberg and shortening glacier, they’ve all been blamed on Global Warming. If you tell the public, over and over again, that *weather is climate*, then you can hardly blame them when they believe it, can you?

    Just to entertain the opposite sentiment, let’s reverse that statement:

    “Which is the fundamental problem, because a certain group of people have spent the last couple of decades telling the public that the signs are everywhere, and every cold winter, locally heavy snowstorm, short-term cold snap, or a single glacier expanding while 100 retract has all been called evidence that global warming is a lie. If you tell the public, over and over again, that *weather is climate*, then you can hardly blame them when they believe it, can you?”

    No. No you cannot. That’s why we need to listen to those scientists you’re talking about that rise above the misconceptions and hyperbole, Adeist. And what do they say?

    AGW is happening. It’s real, it’s our fault, and we’re in trouble if we don’t act. Some places in the world, in fact, are already feeling the effects.

  23. Busiturtle

    McCorkle@20:

    I already stated my belief climate is a local phenomenon. Surely anyone who lives in New England understands there is a vast difference between the climate experienced on the coast and the one observed in the northern interior.

  24. bilbo

    I already stated my belief climate is a local phenomenon. Surely anyone who lives in New England understands there is a vast difference between the climate experienced on the coast and the one observed in the northern interior.

    And someone could equally say that you’re characterization of climate is too small-scale, because the climate of New England is vastly different than the overall climate of the Northeast.

    And someone could then equally say that this characterization of climate is too small-scale, because the climate of the Northeast is vastly different from the rest of eastern North America.

    And then someone could equally say that this characterization of climate is too small-scale, because the climate of eastern North America is vastly different from the rest of North America.

    And then someone could equally say that this characterization of climate is too small-scale because the climate of North America is vastly different from the rest of the world.

    And then someone could equally claim that global climate patterns matter.

    You’ve hit upon the age-old scientific question of scale, Busiturtle. But you’re missing the point: just because things are different at different scales doesn’t mean that either one of those scales is irrelevant. If we’re talking about global climate change, global scale matters. If we were talking about New England climate change, your scale would be more relevant – but we’d still have to look at global patterns and those fro other scales, because New England doesn’t exist in a vacuum (does it?)

    Again – you’re snagging on a fundamental misunderstanding of science. All personal shots aside, pick up a book, take a class, watch some Bill Nye the Science Guy. Then we can have a scientifically-sound discussion on this.

  25. Sean McCorkle

    Busiturtle@22
    The reason I ask is, if it were a relatively local phenomena, plausible explanations might include long term (centuries or so) shifts in things like wind patterns and ocean currents (while relatively short term, el nino causes huge changes), maybe regional snow coverage (affecting albedo). I emphasize that I speculate here.
    Given a certain amount of global energy (i.e. heat), long term redistributional shifts don’t seem that hard to explain.

  26. bilbo,
    No, let’s not throw out Jones’ study. Let’s get independent verification as to its accuracy. Let’s do the same with the Medieval Warm Period question. I don’t think you’d want to throw that one out, right?

  27. Philip Jr.

    I already stated my belief climate is a local phenomenon. Surely anyone who lives in New England understands there is a vast difference between the climate experienced on the coast and the one observed in the northern interior.

    …and differences in coastal New England are partially driven by ocean currents, which are driven by temperature and salinity gradients, which are influenced by temperatures thousands of miles away and at a global scale. Hence, why global climate patterns matter to little old New England.

    Same thing with storm tracks. Storms that hit New England and help shape differences from local climate form over other parts of the continent and track the jet stream. Changes that happen at a global scale can influence the position of the jet stream, alter the storm tracks, and change local climate. Thus, large-scale global climate patterns matter – very much – to local ones. (Other small-scale factors are also acting at the same time, which enhances the variability we see in global and local climate.)

    Scale matters in science. This is foundational stuff.

  28. bilbo

    I apologize – it seems like you’re taking my hypothetical literally. I only meant to highlight that Jones’ study isn’t the only evidence out there on this topic.

    Of course I’m all for some independent verification. If both the original study and the independent follow-up are done correctly, that would only verify the results if they match. Everyone wins.

    I’m just cautioning against discrediting Jones’ study off of suspicion and without something concrete. That’s as dangerous, in my opinion, as taking it as the Gospel Truth.

  29. No worries, bilbo. I like this New and Improved format.

  30. Julie

    Scale matters in science. This is foundational stuff.

    Again – you’re snagging on a fundamental misunderstanding of science. All personal shots aside, pick up a book, take a class, watch some Bill Nye the Science Guy. Then we can have a scientifically-sound discussion on this.

    This is the old skeptic-believer knowledge gap rearing its ugly head. It happens on almost every thread but never gets any credit. A skeptic (Busiturtle) is trying to make points that discredit climate science, when in actuality, those points have already been addressed by climate scientists and, in some cases (like the scale issue and feedbacks) are some pretty fundamental considerations in science (not just climate science) that Busiturtle seems a little in the dark about.

    I think that Phil Jones said it best in his recent Q & A: “I’d be happy if as many people actually read our papers as did our emails.” I think if this were the case, about half of skeptic arguments would cease to exist…because they’re based in misinformation.

  31. Busiturtle

    I find this statement on Wikipedia extremely interesting. Is it wrong? If not does it not suggest that global warming is the expected phenomenon as long as the current ice age unwinds?

    The end of the last glacial period was about 12,500 years ago, while the end of the last ice age may not yet have come: little evidence points to a stop of the glacial-interglacial cycle of the last million years.

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

  32. Nathan

    I think The biggest problem for me with the Global Warming movement is that it feels too much like all the rest of “The sky is falling!” movements I’ve seen crop up in the turn of the millenium. I don’t doubt everything the scientists say, but sometimes, I can’t really believe them either. Too much noise, as Adeist said. Are we contributing? Sure, we are, and there’s things we can do. But I’m pretty sure, in my heart, that if we did everything right, and went to a completely zero-impact lifestyle (impossible, mind you), we’d still be watching the earth warm up. Its just time.

    That’s not to say we should just throw up our hands. I am, actually a big proponent of responsible living. Don’t waste resources, recycle, use clean energy, etc. But I am because I don’t want to kill myself, or breathe air that tastes and smells like a garbage heap. So, first, I would say, stop with the oblique blame game. Mankind is not solely responsible for global warming, and we can’t single-handedly fix it. Its not a good way to go about getting things done. All this time we spend arguing with each other over who started it and who’s going to fix it, is less time we don’t have to get on with the business of trying to adapt to, and overcome the challenges we are going to have to face.

  33. Philip Jr.

    I find this statement on Wikipedia extremely interesting. Is it wrong? If not does it not suggest that global warming is the expected phenomenon as long as the current ice age unwinds?

    What happened to your argument about scale, Busiturtle? What caused us to suddenly switch on a very small dime to a completely different topic?

    I really don’t want to accuse you of using a topic change as an evasion tactic, but that’s honestly what this looks like.

  34. Philip Jr.

    I think The biggest problem for me with the Global Warming movement is that it feels too much like all the rest of “The sky is falling!” movements I’ve seen crop up in the turn of the millenium

    I’m a full-on believer Nathan, and I’m sick of the movement-based AGW crowd myself, too. I liked a Phil Jones quote from Bradley’s link at the now-defunct housekeeping thread where someone asked Phil Jones what he thought about some “sky is falling” claims and he responded by pointing out that those in the actual business of climate science don’t believe most of them. I think the movement dimension of climate change is really doing the science a disservice by blowing some very important and dire truths out of proportion by distorting them with hyperbole.

    But that doesn’t change the science itself. It’s a perception flaw, not a truth flaw.

  35. Busiturtle

    philip:

    The essential fact is that climate conditions on the earth have been been ever changing and we humans happen to live during a very hospitable time in the earth’s history. For what appear to be personal motivations for power and profit a certain segment of the population has latched onto the notion that man is the cause of climate change and that only by adopting austere measures can man avoid catastrophe.

    It is this latter argument that fails the smell test. There is every reason to support the scientific effort to understand the natural processes the govern the earth and its ecology. There is also every reason to be suspect of those who propose policies based on an exaggeration if not complete misstatement of known facts.

  36. Philip Jr.

    The essential fact is that climate conditions on the earth have been been ever changing and we humans happen to live during a very hospitable time in the earth’s history

    I can’t think of a single climate scientist who would deny as much.

    For what appear to be personal motivations for power and profit a certain segment of the population has latched onto the notion that man is the cause of climate change and that only by adopting austere measures can man avoid catastrophe.

    Alright. Now here we have what’s called an assertion without evidence. So, I’ll ask you the same thing I asked kim (and got called some horrible names for): can you provide us with the evidence that leads you to believe that the last couple of decades of climate change research, spanning multiple nations, hundreds of researchers, and thousands of indepndent papers were written “for what appear to be personal motivations for power and profit” and are “an exaggeration if not complete misstatement of known facts?” By evidence I do not mean blog/news article links/more statements made without facts behind them; I specifically mean numbers, datasets, the names and types analyses used to look at them, what the results of those analyses were, and what conclusions they reach

    I don’t think that’s too much to ask, seeing as how (i) we’re dealing with science here, (ii) statements mean nothing in science until firmly backed by evidence, and (iii) you honestly just through out some pretty damning accusations about a very large body of science. I think asking for evidence – scientifically-sound noncircumstantial evidence – to back your assertions up is needed, wouldn’t you?

    Lastly, you’ve just changed topics quickly and dramatically in your last two posts instead of following up on discussion points, Busiturtle, closing your last one with some very familiar politically and anti-intellectually motivated tlaking points. This usually signals that you trying to drag this to the now familiar climate denialist stalling pattern in order to try and kill discussion. Stick to the topic, or I’m done discussing with you. I won’t have a discussion with someone who changes topics every time I make a relevant point. That’s what happened in our last thread, and you saw what happened there (and, I hope, that’s not why you’re trying to get us in the stalling pattern).

  37. bilbo

    philip:

    The essential fact is that climate conditions on the earth have been been ever changing and we humans happen to live during a very hospitable time in the earth’s history. For what appear to be personal motivations for power and profit a certain segment of the population has latched onto the notion that man is the cause of climate change and that only by adopting austere measures can man avoid catastrophe.

    It is this latter argument that fails the smell test. There is every reason to support the scientific effort to understand the natural processes the govern the earth and its ecology. There is also every reason to be suspect of those who propose policies based on an exaggeration if not complete misstatement of known facts.

    …and the white flag (a.k.a. another topic change/fallback statements about conspiracy) comes out.

    You were really doing an excellent job over the last 30 to 40 posts, Philip Jr: levelheaded, nonconfrontational, rational, great points, the whole shebang. It’s too bad to see the old discussion-killer talking points get dragged up again. That’s a shame.

    Why do the skeptics never let us get past a single rebuttal to their points before quickly changing topics? Not all of you do, but it’s very much the majority.

  38. Politics is the big killer of rational discourse, on all sides. In politics, evasion and name-calling are standard. AGW is the most heavily politicized issue I’ve ever seen, including embryonic stem cell research.

    And yes, there are skeptics who simply reject AGW out of hand, and that is hardly scientific. Some make obviously false arguments and won’t retract obvious errors. Ian Plimer has said volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities. As far as I can tell, that is grossly false, by orders of magnitude. It really bothers me that someone so widely quoted as a skeptic is making such an unsupported claim.

  39. Busiturtle

    What motivated Al Gore to produce an environment film containing 11 documented inaccuracies?

    If Mr. Gore truly believed the earth was in the balance why did he not drastically decrease his environmental footprint? Is it because he enjoyed the good things of life more than he cared about the earth? Or is it because he really did not take his catastrophic predictions seriously because there was no scientific basis for them?

    How many inaccuracies in the IPCC report must there be for the AGW community to recognize its integrity was contaminated by politics?

  40. Milton C.

    Lastly, you’ve just changed topics quickly and dramatically in your last two posts instead of following up on discussion points, Busiturtle, closing your last one with some very familiar politically and anti-intellectually motivated tlaking points. This usually signals that you trying to drag this to the now familiar climate denialist stalling pattern in order to try and kill discussion.

    That’s certainly what I’ve noticed in my past discussions with all types of skeptics: once the talking points with political and social undertones come out, you’re done having a rational discussion. You’re opponent has decided to quash discussion by cutting and running and putting the emotion-generating statements out to try and throw you off topic. It certainly is a stalling pattern: either a sign of confusion, indirect surrender, or both. It’s really akin to “OK, you got me. But I still don’t trust it.”

    Bilbo is correct, Philip: you’ve done a great job here, dispatching misconceptions incredibly effectively. Too bad it appears to have ended.

    We could use more levelheadedness like yours.

  41. bilbo

    you’ve just changed topics quickly and dramatically in your last two posts instead of following up on discussion points, Busiturtle, closing your last one with some very familiar politically and anti-intellectually motivated tlaking points. This usually signals that you trying to drag this to the now familiar climate denialist stalling pattern in order to try and kill discussion.

    Politics is the big killer of rational discourse, on all sides. In politics, evasion and name-calling are standard.

    And yes, there are skeptics who simply reject AGW out of hand, and that is hardly scientific.

    And, seeing comment #39, the circle is complete. So much for discourse – the politics foundation shows its useless head.

  42. Busiturtle

    “Scale matters in science. This is foundational stuff.”

    What foundational stuff are we referring to? Is it the claim that incremental changes in atmospheric CO2 injections will produce cataclysmic climate change? That is a theory not yet proven.

    How about the foundational stuff that Phil Jones himself does not believe the science is settled.

  43. bilbo

    Too late, Busiturtle. You threw up the white flag 7 posts ago by pulling out the eavasion and stalling games.

  44. Ian

    Does anyone have a view on this article from yesterday’s Sunday Times?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece

  45. Ian,
    John Christy’s claims about a spurious warming trend based on stations being located where there’s land development are the most interesting to me, because they’re based on published research. Roger Pielke, Sr., points to changes in land use as a cause of warming that could be mistaken for greenhouse forcing.

    Since the article didn’t link to the Christy papers, I’m going to see if I can find them myself.

  46. Adeist

    bilbo, #22

    I agree with your first – that was tried in the 70s with the global cooling scare. Nowadays, sceptics mostly talk about cold weather in an ironic and humorous sense – if I’m talking to anyone who seems to really believe it, I’ll usually try to correct them.

    But your last bit just contradicted everything we had just agreed on.

    “Some places in the world, in fact, are already feeling the effects.”

    No! On any local scale, the signal is lost in the noise. Those effects people notice are just noise, like the turn of the Tarot cards, that you can interpret any way you like. You can’t just pick some bits as ‘effects already being felt’ and others as ‘random weather of no significance’, depending on whether it suits the argument.

    Why has there been no significant warming for the past 10+ years? Because even on a global scale, ‘random’ internal variation is of a comparable size to the signal being sought. So if averaging all the data we’ve got can barely detect it, a far noisier smaller subset is going to be a lot worse.

    That message “Some places in the world, in fact, are already feeling the effects.” is *exactly* what I was talking about, that’s got us all into this tangle in the first place. That’s why when some people ‘feel the effects’ of 20 inches of snow, they figure that must be a sign of something too.

  47. JJ

    Breaking news…a leading climate scientist admits the world hasn’t been warming in 15 years. Along with others scientists casting doubt on “global warming”, and before people start mindless ranting against Fox, yes Fox News is a real news source. The only shows that are not news on Fox are Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/15/world-warming-say-scientists/?test=latestnews

  48. ehmoran

    No to get off topic here,

    However, I was accused of “defrauding the government” for posting during work hours. No one considered the fact that maybe I was on vacation, at lunch, or I no longer worked for the organization. Those individuals were more concerned about shutting me up. Is that protection of Free Speech and the Republic Way? I would fight with my life to protect your freedoms to speak your opinion in opposition to mine. Would you do the same. Is that how civilization progresses, decisions concluded through appropriate and constructive conversation?

    If those involved would have realized by remembering or through further research that during a previous session I mentioned that I worked for myself, the matter would never would have reached that irreversible point.

    ASSUMPTIONS are an inherent danger behind accusations and speaking without the proper facts. That was part of the point. Nevertheless, I was politely asked by Officials not to continue the discussion and I politely reciprocated. And to this end, I will. However, I’ve also been requested by several to continue posting what I feel to be important information for those attempting to reach appropriate educated results and decisions.

    Nevertheless, several on this site caused many heartaches for many innocent individuals costing the American Taxpayer much. If we could have had constructive, respectful discourse, the matter never would have gone to that irreversible point.

    Thank you all for previous comments.

  49. Cheyenne

    That’s a pretty stunning article.

  50. ehmoran

    Moderators, you can post that comment or your HouseKeeping post…..

  51. bilbo

    “Some places in the world, in fact, are already feeling the effects.”

    No! On any local scale, the signal is lost in the noise. Those effects people notice are just noise, like the turn of the Tarot cards, that you can interpret any way you like.

    Adeist:

    Broad-scale glacier melt over several decades, forcing people to relocate to find new water sources, is something you can “interpret any way you like?”

    Really?

    And do you have some convincing “evidence” that this is all noise? Your claim sounds a lot like the ones Busiturtle was bandying about earlier and failed to provide evidence for after Philip (very kindly) asked for it.

  52. bilbo,
    Broad-scale glacier melt over several decades, forcing people to relocate to find new water sources, is something you can “interpret any way you like?”

    Where is this happening, or will happen? I’d like to know which examples you’ve got in mind.

  53. Adeist

    Bilbo,

    The current broad scale glacial melt started in about 1850, some time before significant CO2 emissions had built up, so it’s more than “several decades”. Some glaciers are shortening, but some are lengthening. If I point to one of the lengthening ones, and claim it’s because of ‘global cooling’, that would be ridiculous, right? So if I point to one of the shortening ones, I might be able to say global warming has contributed by some amount to its shortening, but I can’t say its shortening is a sign of global warming. Because even in a world without global warming, many glaciers will expand and many others will contract, and I can’t tell which would be which.

    In any case, glaciers are affected by many different complex factors, of which warming is only one possibility. Precipitation, winds (for ablation), and humidity (for sublimation) may be significant, too.

    And of course people have relocated to find water for all of human history. Since glaciers cover a small proportion of the river’s watershed/catchment area, and a corresponding proportion of the total precipitation, they’re not actually all that important for water supply outside the local area immediately downstream. And of course at the moment, while they’re still shrinking, it means there’s temporarily *more* water available from the melt, so anyone moving to find water isn’t doing so because of generally-melting glaciers. Maybe in 2035, eh?

    If you want evidence, I recommend downloading the full HadCRUT3 gridded monthly temperature anomaly dataset, and instead of calculating global averages and graphing it, plot it *all* out. Then you will be able to see the rise in the context of the level of ‘noise’. It would be even better to plot the actual daily min/max temperatures, rather than just the anomaly, to get an even better idea of how much it is changing the climate, but I don’t know where that data is.

  54. Dallas

    See this for some real science supporting a totally different basis than the CO2 Model…

    http://ks.water.usgs.gov/waterdata/climate/AGUPoster2007c.pdf

    Thanks,
    Dallas

  55. Philip Jr.

    When I first saw that Fox News link, it got me interested, because the headline and discussion made it sound like some big-name AGW supporter had turned or something.

    Then I saw that the scientists involved were Christy and McKittrick.

    These guys are a couple of the big, long-time “liberal conspiracy” denialists that put out about one press release a year that FNC runs with where they claim to have “solved” the issue of climate change, and it always boils down to not be as big of an issue as they make it out to be. I remember John Christy once claming in an essay that the entire science of climate change was a plot hatched by Democrats in a double-secret meeting in a cave somewhere during the Clinton Era (I’m exaggerating, but not much.)

    Also, when Watts posts here he often sounds like bilbo, ehmoran and friends did on last week’s thread.

    Nevertheless, you can’t use reputation alone to argue against something, so they could be onto something. But, there’s something that sounds fishy about their claim. Follow my logic:

    (1) Let’s pretend that the steady warming trend seen in the temp. record really is due to the placement of temp. stations near mechanical equipment, as they claim.

    (2) That would mean that the signal we’ve been seeing is due to the machines and not nature…

    (3) …which would mean that somebody has been ramping the itensity of all these different kinds of machines up over the past few years – steadily and everywhere, at once, alllllllll together – to produce a nice, smooth warming trend. Does anyone besides me not want to call BS on that just based off of simple logic? I’d like to see some hard numbers and stats. results that show conclusively that these machines are the main, statistically significant influence on the temp. readings at these stations, and not just photos and supposition.

    I’d also like to see a lot more data, including reanalyses of these datasets correcting for the effect of placement/an explanation of why the other independent surface records show similar trends without the placement issues/etc. before anyone makes a hard conclusion yay or nay here.

    Given the Christy and McKittrick Circus Show from past years, I’m very tempted to tread on thin ice on this one…

  56. bilbo

    Adeist:

    I believe you’re interpreting my argument to be something that it’s not.

    I don’t think that glacier melt OR retreat can be taken as evidence for/against AGW without some other type of corroborating data. It’s correlation without causation on this topic, otherwise.

    I interpreted your “No!!!” response to me earlier to mean the equivalent of “No! The Earth is not warming/glaciers are not melting/etc.” But then you just made the opposite claim.

    So, in essence, I think both of us got what the other was arguing about crisscrossed. Does that make sense?

  57. Philip Jr.

    Ed,

    I’ve always been incredibly skeptical of the claims about climate change (natural or otherwise) making marked changes in the hurricane record. We simply just don’t have the robust datasets we do in other areas, so there’s just too much uncertainty there to me.

    Anyway, there’s something weird with what this guy did. The article says he useda simple z-test (just looks at differences between groups) to test for differences between hurricanes in 1946-2009 and 1999-2009. Why choose such specific years as cutoff dates? You’re a scientist, so I’m sure you know that whenever you make such a move in any field, it’s gotta be justified with some kind of reasoning. Did this guy give any reasoning for it? Is it something about the dataset? Is it just a convenient set of intervals that don’t show a difference, while others do? I genuinely want to know, because here’s another debunking study with some seemingly fishy characteristics…

  58. bilbo

    I was just thinking the same thing, Philip. If you use arbitrary groupings to perform a categorical test instead of a (typically much more robust) continuous one (like a GLM or regression) when the data are suited to the latter by the nature in which they were collected, you need solid justification.

    Is there really no “trend” here, or is there just no difference between two seemingly arbitrary groups of years. This is kind of basic stats. 101 here, and the article isn’t clear on it at all….

  59. ehmoran

    Philip Jr and bilbo,

    I would have recommended non-parametrics for the analysis (and for many other data analyses), like maybe a non-parametric Mann-Kendall Trend (SEN) test would have been better in this case, and like Philip Jr. states, not selecting specific data. However, I’m truly not a “Career Statistician”.

    I feel you can give reasons for outliers, but they should be included in any analysis, or, if in extreme cases, explained why not used. In other words, hide nothing, explain ignorance, and accept humility.

  60. bilbo

    Yep, ehmoran – we finally agree on something. The data don’t appear to have equal variances by the test I used after downloading them, making the t-test not a safe choice at all. To get more power, I would personally transform the data and, if that corrected for the violated assumption, use a GLMM or something to test for trends rather than differences between arbitrarily-defined groups.

    I think the guy who did this knows that his methods wouldn’t fly under peer-review, though. When you go to his PDF, he says that his results are “unpublishable” in the scientific realm.

  61. ehmoran

    I know you don’t need preaching, but I try to teach:

    Don’t tell the data what you want to see, let the data tell you what it’s saying!

    See http://www.geology.und.edu/gerla/gge487_488_494/chamberlin1890science.pdf

  62. Chris Mooney

    Just a note to say that we are monitoring this thread closely to ensure that it complies with the comments policy, and we are willing to ban folks, if necessary, to that end.
    Chris and Sheril

  63. ehmoran

    bibbo,

    Just run a non-parametric Mann-Kendall Trend and look at Sen’s Slope.

    That’s the simplest, then your not worried about populations, normal distributions, outliers, etc.

    Let me know what Stats Program you used………

  64. ehmoran

    bilbo,

    “his results are “unpublishable” in the scientific realm”

    Exactly!!!!!

  65. ehmoran

    Chris Mooney,

    Good call.

    But it looks like nothing but Professional adults here……

  66. Busiturtle

    It appears to me that there is a deliberate confusion by AGW advocates of what climate science data suggests. Despite all the hyperbole the climate people experience today is little different than the climate previous generations experienced. Sure there are melting glaciers in some locals. There are also regions where melting that was once thought permanent has reversed. Some winters may be more mild while others, such as the one this year on the east coast US, have been colder.

    At the end of the day only one thing matters: Would changes in industrial CO2 emissions have any measurable impact on the climate and would the cost of implementing those changes realize a net benefit to mankind?

    All claims of catastrophic climate change are worthless unless one can provide a remedy that is worth the cost of trying it. Saying, as Al Gore does, that “a climate crisis is unfolding before our eyes” is no different than the preachers of old warning of the apocalypse. The remedy offered by the preacher was unproven and so is the one proffered by Al Gore.

    Where is the proof that altering industrial CO2 emissions will reverse current climactic trends and in a positive way? What experiment demonstrates this theory? Who has independently verified this experiment?

    Without evidence that changes in CO2 emissions will yield measurable benefits one can only conclude that AGW science is a solution in search of problem.

  67. ehmoran

    Here’s the first internet availability of an AGU2007 Poster publication showing natural processes responsible for global temperature variability.

    http://www.gsaaj.org/jou.php?journal-archive

    Part 1 and 2: Magnetic Intensity and Global Temperatures: A Strong Correlation

  68. bilbo

    Really, turtle? More fallback on Al Gore?

  69. Disappointed

    So global warming can explain absence of snow AND lots of snow?? Is there anything that global warming cannot explain?! Wow!

  70. ehmoran

    biblo,

    leave it alone, maintain your professionalism…….

  71. bilbo

    At the end of the day only one thing matters: Would changes in industrial CO2 emissions have any measurable impact on the climate and would the cost of implementing those changes realize a net benefit to mankind?

    …but three hours ago the only thing that mattered was that climate didn’t matter? Why such rapid changes, Busiturtle?

  72. bilbo

    Calling out the old Al Gore canard isn’t being unprofessional. It’s a fallback. I’m not attaching nasty names to it, etc. – so no big deal.

  73. ehmoran

    biblo,

    Good, just maintain…..

  74. ehmoran

    bilbo,

    In a past discussion with a good friend, we concluded that many individuals don’t understand the line between politics and science. Unfortunately, Al Gore and others (both sides of the fence) don’t know this or they ignore this simple fact.

    We as upcoming scientists must guard ourselves against this collusion of thoughts, but be able to identify it.

    But, that’s just my opinion

  75. Busiturtle

    Another climate preacher, Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT:

    We do not have the luxury of waiting for scientific certainty, which will never come, nor does it do anyone any good to assassinate science, the messenger.

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/02/15/climate_changes_are_proven_fact/

    Yes, professor, climate changes and yes, professor, there is no known cure. It is this very uncertainty that suggests we all take a deep breath and consider the real costs to mankind and the earth before we sacrifice economic prosperity in the wasteful and environmentally damaging pursuit of faulty, half-baked, green energy concepts and policies.

  76. ehmoran

    biblo,

    What were your Mann-Kendall slope results?

  77. ehmoran

    biblo,

    What would be an interesting study concerning that data set would be to runMann-Kendall Trend on the second moment slope values.

    Start out with enough data (like 20 to 30 years) to get significance in Sen’s Slope then incrementally add yearly data points. After computing all years data, Run Mann-Kendall Trend on the slope values for incrementally added years. See what Sen’s Slope is on the Sen’s Slope data.

    (Might not have explained that right?)

  78. Busiturtle

    The environmental and economic blight of dead windfarms

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/wind_energys_ghosts_1.html

    “The ghosts of Kamaoa are not alone in warning us. Five other abandoned wind sites dot the Hawaiian Isles — but it is in California where the impact of past mandates and subsidies is felt most strongly. Thousands of abandoned wind turbines littered the landscape of wind energy’s California “big three” locations — Altamont Pass, Tehachapi, and San Gorgonio — considered among the world’s best wind sites.”

  79. The Playboy Scientist

    When do think that the new ice age will start?

  80. The Playboy Scientist
  81. bilbo

    What would be an interesting study concerning that data set would be to runMann-Kendall Trend on the second moment slope values.

    Precisely. Which begs the question yet again:

    Why did skeptic dude choose a weak test and a very sketchy grouping system to find this “amazing” result in the hurricane data? It doesn’t add up if he’s trying to be a rigorous scientist….

  82. Philip Jr.

    bilbo and Ed:

    I really don’t care one way or another with hurricanes/climate change (see my previous post for why), but there are some fundamental errors that both of you ar missing in what this guy has done. The problem with looking at climatic data with something as simple as a t-test is that you’re ignoring the context of your system. Climate is complex, as any scientist knows, and it’s shaped by many different variables (yes, including CO2). So, it’s appropriate to account for confounding variables when you’re analyzing climate data, just as it is any any other scientific field. (Unless something magical changes the way we’re supposed to view climate to exclude it from basic rules of statistics, as the guy in question here seems to be doing.)

    With the hurricane data, it makes sense to control for the effect of El Nino/La Nina cycles as a confounding variable messing with the signal…because we know that these cycles can cause temporary deviations from long-term trends in hurricanes. This is just one factor among several others that you’d need to correct for analyzing the data….which is why running a quick and dirty t-test on it (or just analyzing the raw data for yourself in Excel) doesn’t make scientific sense: you simply need the rest of the data to effectively perform a real, effective analysis on this dataset.

    That’s why I think (like the hobbit said) this guy calls his results “unpublishable”. He knows that his methods are weak and aren’t based on good mathematical principles, and so he knows it wouldn’t stand the test of peer-review (because good scientists in any field could see through all of these glaring holes). So, instead, it makes good fodder to show to skeptics who aren’t familiar with basic stats. and just don’t know any better. It’s sexy to them.

    Again – here’s the scientist/skeptic basic knowledge gap someone mentioned earlier in a different context.

  83. bilbo

    In a past discussion with a good friend, we concluded that many individuals don’t understand the line between politics and science. Unfortunately, Al Gore and others (both sides of the fence) don’t know this or they ignore this simple fact.

    We as upcoming scientists must guard ourselves against this collusion of thoughts, but be able to identify it.

    I agree, although I’m sure the reasons each of us use to reach this conclusion are mirror images of one another.

    I personally see no problem with politics and science mixing, especially in a world where some scientific problems are also becoming very important societal ones. Politics is going to be necessary to address some of these problems (not just climate change) in order to really fix them, and so trying to keep science and politics from interacting is a bit naive, in my opinion.

    What I think we need to get away from, however, is pointing out that politicians on the opposide side of the aisle from our persuasions support/reject a scientific issue and using that as the primary reason to declare why the science is right/wrong (see: what Busiturtle has been doing in this thread). That makes no logical sense, and it really has no bearing on the value or validity of the science; it’s just an excuse to let personal prejudices guide opinion-making. (and yes, this runs both ways.)

    My .02

  84. ehmoran

    bilbo,

    Excellent point, well received and taken.

    But as scientists, we need to stay away from letting politics interfere with our purpose.

    In my opinion, we’re here to provide sound information so politicians can make good societal decisions based on our professionalism. However, we need to call them out when they miss the point or confound our results.

    When taking about Science, I do try my hardest to leave my personal ideology and political persuasion out of the formula.

  85. ehmoran

    I’d love to able to be with the “in-crowd” on AGW, but I haven’t been convinced that that’s what’s happening.

    Most people love to be accepted by the mainstream, but, unfortunately, I must maintain and keep site of my principles and only allow the facts to alter my view and opinion.

  86. ehmoran

    Here’s one big issue I have will all this.

    I wrote a Senior thesis in high-school back in the late 70′ comparing Nuclear Power to other energy sources, the paper concluded, with some slight exceptions, that Nuclear Power was the most efficient and safest fuel (except for the 10,000 year half life of something that when exposed to gives your kids two heads).

    The teacher did not agree with me, plainly stated that and gave me an F for the contents.

    Now, as you can see, the Environmental movement and Far Left are in significant favor of Nuclear Power.

    Think about what that high school teacher did to my psyche and come to find out I was in touch with the far distant needs of society.

    The same can be said about FDR. He built Dams to help increase jobs. Many love FDR and kiss his feet. But now those same individuals want to tear down those dams. But no mention of his environmentally destruction actions and no name calling like many do when politicians of today make decisions that prove to be not such a good idea……..

  87. moptop

    Punchbowl’s gone warmies. The way I know is that I don’t even feel the need to argue about it anymore. Good luck convincing people that freezing weather in Florida is due to GLOBAL WARMING…

    What the IPCC report says is not that extreme events will increase in number, but that extreme cold events will decrease in number and extreme warm events will increase in number. I am not even going to bother to give you a link. It is all in the AR4.

    One aside for Philip Jr before I move on: Just because a scientist writes a word, doesn’t mean it is the final truth, because, in that world, there could be no disagreements among scientists. Understanding science therefore is not about simple reading comprehension, as you seem to think, based on your comments, but on critical thinking, which you rule out as a province of the scientific laity. Without critical thinking, I guess you have to accept the last study published as true, based on the scientists can never make mistakes rule.

  88. ehmoran

    moptop,

    Critical thinking: Well said…..

  89. JJ

    “the Environmental movement and Far Left are in significant favor of Nuclear Power. ”

    I feel the need to correct the record here. The far left and environmentalists were actually against nuclear power for the last 30 years. Those on the right have been pushing the idea of nuclear power for the last 10 years or so in light of the global warming debate. Only recently, within months, did the left finally agree to seek out nuclear power and lift the bans on offshore drilling as means to reach energy independence. The poll below is hardly scientific, but it gives a generally idea of nuclear support over the years from a reputable source.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/117025/support-nuclear-energy-inches-new-high.aspx

  90. ehmoran

    JJ,

    Good comment, but that wasn’t quite the point…

  91. Adeist

    Bilbo, #57

    “I interpreted your “No!!!” response to me earlier to mean the equivalent of “No! The Earth is not warming/glaciers are not melting/etc.” But then you just made the opposite claim.”

    I’m happy to clarify. Yes, the world is on average warming. Yes, a majority of the glaciers are shrinking.

    Hope that helps.

  92. ehmoran

    Adeist,

    Didn’t want to go there, however:

    Glaciers are always melt, that’s why they call it Basal Water. Just depends on the rate of melting……..

  93. Philip Jr.

    Just because a scientist writes a word, doesn’t mean it is the final truth, because, in that world, there could be no disagreements among scientists. Understanding science therefore is not about simple reading comprehension, as you seem to think, based on your comments, but on critical thinking, which you rule out as a province of the scientific laity. Without critical thinking, I guess you have to accept the last study published as true, based on the scientists can never make mistakes rule

    Interesting to see you take my words that way, moptop. Because that’s not what I think at all.

    Disagreement is actually a huge part of science. Read some Thomas Kuhn, for example. Read some actual peer-reviewed articles in any field (even ***gasp!*** climate science!!!). You’ll find that disagreement is rampant – in fact, disagreement is part of the fuel for scientific advancement. For example, people may disagree over the relative strength of different mechanisms of evolution. But that doesn’t mean that evolution isn’t well supported by evidence, or that we should treat the theory as weak. Same goes for climate science. If a paper comes out showing some flaws in Bob’s 1979 Arctic Weather Station Dataset, it doesn’t disprove the entire body of that science. If climate scientists disagree over the role of the albedo feedback loop produced by CO2 inputs and forest growth, that doesn’t mean that all of climate science is wrong. Thinking that way is a BIG skeptic hang-up, though, and it fuels a lot of skepticism that wouldn’t exist if people would just simply read up on how science works.

    And the same thing holds true for your assumption that, because I accept the science of climate change, I take every word of a scientific paper as the irrefutable Word of God. It’s not. As I said, disagreement fuels scientific advancement. That’s why it so utterly shocking that no reputed climate scientist can find a scientifically-substantiable body of evidence refuting AGW (not blog-motivated half-science done in Excel in your basement). And believe me – they’re looking. Can you imagine the wildly successful career you could have by doing such a thing? It would be astounding! Grant money out the wazoo, press attention, book deals – the works. If scientists are motivated by greed, as I’ve seen you claim on here, why pass it up?

  94. ehmoran

    Philip Jr.,

    Also, most science philosophers, like Aristotle, Bacon, Kant, Locke, and many others, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, on and on, encourage that.

    Well, maybe not Copernicus, he paid the ultimate price for disagreement….

  95. Busiturtle

    Philip Jr,

    When you you claim there is no body of evidence refuting AGW you conveniently ignore the growing body of evidence that suggests previously ignored factors have a much greater climate impact than had been assumed. For example there have been peer reviewed papers proposing that (a) the majority of Himalayan glacier melt is due to aerosols and (b) changes in atmospheric water vapor are much greater than previously modeled.

    The growing body of evidence suggests that AGW theory is an oversimplified and overhyped view of the earth’s climactic trends.

  96. moptop

    “If scientists are motivated by greed, as I’ve seen you claim on here,” – Philip Jr to me

    Really? I said that? Where?

    What I am referring to in my aside is your tendency to quote little extraneous blurbs in studies that have not been supported by the study itself, for example, and use them as “proofs”, with a delicious “let that be a lesson to you” added to the end.

    For example, you spent a great many posts berating a certain poster for not proving the contention that clouds were not understood. I provided a link to the AR4 that pointed out that clouds were poorly understood. You said I took this out of context because elsewhere, it was claimed that these flaws were not important. Nowhere does it say in AR4 that in fact they do understand clouds. Some scientist said it didn’t matter, and you accepted their word without further proof.

    Another case is that the claim is made that the “unanimity” of model projections validates them. Is there some rigorous logical or mathematical proof of such an assertion? No. It is perfectly possible, even likely, that systematic errors exist in the models. I will then point out to you that this is a serious flaw in the models. Your response will be “read the [whatever it is that I am using as a source] the answer is in there,” without the slightest hint of what the answer might be. In other words, you have absolute faith that the objection has been answered, and are, conveniently, under no obligation to set me straight on this point.

    I actually would be interested to know where my thinking went wrong. If there was an argument in there that refuted me, I didn’t buy it. The normal course of a debate would be for you to identify the refutation that appeared wherever, and explain to me I was right. Instead, what I get is “let that be a lesson to you” when I attempt to draw you out on some point or other.

    Can you explain that? Because you claim to understand that scientists disagree, but then act as if their word, whether substantiated by rigorous rules of logic and evidence, or just a gut feel that clouds don’t matter, or that we shouldn’t interpret the fact that polar bears survived earlier warm periods as evidence that polar bears can survive warm periods, are unquestionable.

  97. moptop

    Sorry, the post in moderation has a phrase “and explain to me I was right,” which should have read “explain to me where I was wrong.”

  98. Adeist

    ehmoran, #94

    Agreed. That’s why I changed the wording slightly.

  99. Philip Jr.
    That’s why it so utterly shocking that no reputed climate scientist can find a scientifically-substantiable body of evidence refuting AGW (not blog-motivated half-science done in Excel in your basement).

    The onus is on proponents to show AGW is happening, not on skeptics to refute it. And the status of the Medieval Warm Period is perhaps the biggest question left unanswered by the AGW theorists.

  100. ehmoran

    Bradley J. Fikes,

    Check out comment #69

  101. Thanks, ehmoran.

    And there’s also Svensmark’s research, which if validated provides an alternative explanation for warming.

  102. Sorbet

    Bradley, what status of the Medieval Warm Period? Even if it was global (and there is still controversy about this), how does one period disprove an entire framework based on independent data from multiple sources? I have always been lukewarm about the MWP since global data about it are so scarce so as to make it a relative non-issue, one which neither supports nor disproves warming.

  103. JJ

    Sorry about that ehmoran, I see your point now, I failed to reread the previous posts and subsequently misinterpreted that post.

  104. Sorbet,
    If the MWP was as warm as today, or even warmer, then recent warmth was not unprecedented. And since we had no industrial CO2 emissions then, it contradicts the association between warmth and human CO2 production. So more information about the MWP might falsify AGW’s basic assumptions.

    Since data are scarce as to the MWP’s reach, the obvious answer is to do more research.

  105. Philip Jr.

    The onus is on proponents to show AGW is happening, not on skeptics to refute it.

    …and science proceeds via falsification, not confirmation, Bradley. Which is why if reputable evidence exists to disprove the main body of AGW theory, any scientist would be an absolute rockstar if they published such information on it. Which really says a lot, seeing as how most “analyses” done by skeptics are mostly sketchy, back-alley type investigations that lack scientific rigor, and to date no body of actual scientific evidence counter to AGW exists to place the slightest bit of scientific doubt on the theory. (See, for example, the earlier discussion about hurricanes where some of you touted that guy’s analysis as proof to refute AGW but, upon closer inspection, the guy who performed the actual analysis even admitted for himself that his work was full of mathematical flaws and logical holes that wouldn’t ever get it approved as rigorous science). And that’s actually my only problem with climate skeptics/denialists/whatever you’d like to label them: the “proof” they display to try and refute climate science most often simply can’t be elevated to the level of science because of all of these giant logical/methodological flaws that don’t even approach the basic criteria for a scientific investigation. Why should we treat those kinds of suppositions as equal to (or as the debunking proof of) actual science? There’s simply not a good reason.

    P.S. – I’d honestly LOVE to see more skeptics make the onus on scientists to provide evidence rather than viewing themselves as infallible universal debunkers of any and everything that comes out of the field, no matter how trivial it is in nature. On this point, we both agree.

  106. Philip Jr.

    …and to date no body of actual scientific evidence counter to AGW exists to place the slightest bit of scientific doubt on the theory…

    ***EDIT***

    I’m not claiming that there’s no contradiction or controversy in climate science (because there is). But the evidence for AGW is far, far overwhelmingly against anything to the contrary, and in science we proceed with the side backed by the most evidence. That’s just how science works, in climate science, medical science, particle physics, etc. etc. etc. When there’s the great disparity between “for” and “against” like there is in climate science regarding AGW, the scientific position is a no-brainer. That doesn’t mean that contradictory evidence can’t/shouldn’t be looked for, but it means that we follow the evidence in science first, and always tentatively. That tentative nature fades as more evidence increases, and we’re in this phase now with AGW and have been for years. The media often paints different (and sometimes contradictory) pictures on either side of the spectrum.

  107. Philip Jr.
    The extent of the MWP could falsify AGW’s assumptions. We don’t know enough about it yet to say one way or another. So there, I’ve placed the onus on scientists to provide evidence.

    The research by Svensmark on cosmic rays and clouds provides another explanation, with research being published on it. This has not been falsified.

  108. I have two replies in moderation, no idea why.

  109. ehmoran

    Bradley J. Fikes,

    Someday I’ll fully publish the report, but I’m not sure the world is ready yet. One reason I never let the study and poster out. Somewhat like Newton waiting till he was 80, or near death, to release gravity.

    AGW Scientists said the same thing about my study: “Prove you’re right, if not, go away…… (Among other expletives).

    So the statement goes both ways when advantageous.

    I guess you could label as a “Natural Process Climator” (NPC).

  110. ehmoran

    Bradley J. Fikes,

    “Natural Process Climator” (NPC): something like an “Evolutionists”. Maybe that’s what’s happening?

    But let’s not open that wound……

  111. ehmoran

    Looking at the the majority of comments, this is how we debate issues. A little emotion, good, but respect, excellent!

  112. moptop

    “But the evidence for AGW is far, far overwhelmingly against anything to the contrary, and in science we proceed with the side backed by the most evidence.” – Philip Jr

    This is called argument from ignorance. Sorry, it just is, same as the climate models argue from ignorance. Phil Jones just admitted that he cannot validate the climate data against which the models are “validated.” You can say that the vast majority of the data is out there, but what if you and I were business partners, and you thought I was embezzling, would it be acceptable for me to provide you with 80% of the records, then tell you that I had given you the vast majority?

    If I were crossing the border to Canada, and they asked me if I had a gun, and I had one in my glovebox but said I didn’t and they thought I did, do you think the border guards would agree to search everywhere but in the glovebox if I asked them nicely?

    The fact is that there are trillions of dollars at stake. Up to now the hockey stick has been defended here as a scientific fact, when in fact, it is unsubstantiated, as Dr Jones admits and as was obvious to just about anybody with any post secondary mathematics. The surface temp records were hailed as beyond doubt, when in fact, there is doubt, and Jones has lost the data that he claims backs him up. We are now into a he said she said with trillions at stake. Not good enough. It will be years before this is known, because that is how long it will take to validate and review the surface temperature record. Good think warming seems to have stopped in 1995, as so many skeptics have claimed for so long.

  113. ehmoran

    One thing I failed to mention:

    “Dynamic Equilibrium” of natural systems…….

    A term much used in groundwater and other places

  114. Adeist

    “Which is why if reputable evidence exists to disprove the main body of AGW theory, any scientist would be an absolute rockstar if they published such information on it.”

    Here’s what one scientist said:
    “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”.

    Why would anyone want to dismiss something that was correct? What was it correct about? And was its author treated here as being a potential “rockstar”?

    I would agree that any such scientist *ought* to be. But that’s the hypothesis under test, here. We can’t assume it.

  115. Philip Jr.

    “But the evidence for AGW is far, far overwhelmingly against anything to the contrary, and in science we proceed with the side backed by the most evidence.” – Philip Jr

    This is called argument from ignorance…You can say that the vast majority of the data is out there, but what if you and I were business partners, and you thought I was embezzling, would it be acceptable for me to provide you with 80% of the records, then tell you that I had given you the vast majority?

    … The fact is that there are trillions of dollars at stake.”

    Well then, welcome to the wonderful world of science denial, my friend!!! I say that with all sincerity, because the old canard about “we might have a lot of the data but we don’t have all that could possibly exist, so I’ll choose the opinion that the existing data are wrong” is the very cornerstone of science denial.

    Let me ask you this, moptop, just to see if you’re applying this standard selectively to fit some sort of predisposed prejudice about climate science or if you really apply this standard objectively and consistently. Here it comes:

    We’ve got a lot of data showing the proof of evolution. A lot of it. Climate change isn’t at the same level of proof but isn’t far behind, honestly. BUT…there are also some glaring holes in the fossil record that leave us with missing data that fully shows proof of the validity of the theory of evolution. And we’ve built our modern medical system’s foundation upon this theory of evolution, putting, literally to use your words, “trillions of dollars at stake.”

    So, why do I see you standing on the rooftop, ranting and raving and making assertions about climate change but not about evolution (or a lot of our cancer treatments, theories of physics, etc. etc. etc.) which all show identical evidentiary holes but also are identically accepted by the scientific community, moptop? In science, we do not apply selective logical standards to different issues – we apply them to all issues concurrently and objectively. Which, ultimately, highlights that you’re not only not using scientific standards to evaluate the evidence for climate change – you’re selectively applying standards to a given topic a posteriori (after the fact) after you’ve made up your mind on the issue for other reasons.

    In other words, you’re not letting the evidence serve as the primary crtierion for your evaluation – you’re using it as a secondary, filtered standard to fit an existing confirmation bias. Otherwise, why are we not seeing you hold similar positions on scientific topics that show the same evidentiary holes as climate change? (I genuinely would like an answer that really addresses this question.)

    Also, just to nitpick for a moment, you’ve applied the argument from ignorance to me incorrectly, and you’re only illustrating half of its application. I’ll address how you falsely applied it to me first:

    I said earlier: “When there’s the great disparity between “for” and “against” like there is in climate science regarding AGW, the scientific position is a no-brainer. That doesn’t mean that contradictory evidence can’t/shouldn’t be looked for, but it means that we follow the evidence in science first, and always tentatively. That tentative nature fades as more evidence increases, and we’re in this phase now with AGW and have been for years. ”

    The word tentatively is crucial there, and you conveniently overlooked it. I’m not saying that AGW is true simply because there’s no evidence not supporting it (that would be the correct application of your logical fallacy du jour). Instead, I’m saying that the majority of evidence points us to AGW, and we hold that opinion in science tentatively, never excluding the fact that evidence may later prove our conclusion false. That’s not the argument from ignorance; that’s the scientific method, moptop. But you tried.

    Now, to the part of the argument from ignorance you ignored. Consider the following example of this common logical fallacy:

    “Something is currently unexplained or insufficiently understood or explained, so it is not (or must not be) true.”

    You have claimed throughout this thread and others that we don’t have enough evidence to support AGW yet, so therefore it is not true. Thus, you’ve engaged in the argument from ignorance. It’s a common mistake of many skeptics, and again – I urge you to go read up on some philosophy of science to make this and the above topics much, much, much clearer for you.

  116. bilbo

    Philip Jr.: “When there’s the great disparity between “for” and “against” like there is in climate science regarding AGW, the scientific position is a no-brainer. That doesn’t mean that contradictory evidence can’t/shouldn’t be looked for, but it means that we follow the evidence in science first, and always tentatively. That tentative nature fades as more evidence increases, and we’re in this phase now with AGW and have been for years.”

    moptop: “This is called argument from ignorance…”

    Umm….Philip’s is actually one of the most cogent and concise descrptions of the scientific method I’ve read in a while moptop. You just called how science has operated since the 1700s a logical fallacy, you know?

    The fact is that there are trillions of dollars at stake

    This is the Argument From It-might-Cost-A-Lot-So-I-Deny-It. Sorry if that seems snippy. But that’s just how it is.

  117. Philip Jr.

    The extent of the MWP could falsify AGW’s assumptions. We don’t know enough about it yet to say one way or another.

    To use moptop’s “argument from ignorance” argument, that’s the argument from ignorance exemplified.

    There might be some fossil evidence that’s dug up a century from now that totally falsifies some assumptions of evolution. But that doesn’t mean that this uncertainty is just cause to throw out or distrust the theory of evolution. You just claimed as much using a logical analogue.

    To be brutally honest, that’s about as unscientific as it gets. We always hold the possibility in science that evidence may turn up to falsify a hypothesis one day, yes – but we never elevate that possibility to the level of the existing evidence. As I told moptop and Busiturtle, go read some philosophy of science, Bradley. You’ve kind-of got some things backwards here.

  118. Adeist

    “This is called argument from ignorance.”

    I’m not sure you’ve got this quite right. Argument from ignorance is using the lack of any known alternatives to infer the hypothesised case. But what you seem to be arguing is one of censored evidence – that incomplete or unvalidated evidence has less weight. If evidence is edited or its sampling biased to remove contrary indications, the weight in favour or against cannot be relied upon.

  119. John M

    bilbo wrote (#116):

    moptop: “This is called argument from ignorance…”

    Umm….Philip’s is actually one of the most cogent and concise descrptions of the scientific method I’ve read in a while moptop. You just called how science has operated since the 1700s a logical fallacy, you know?

    But, scientists are well known for “searching for their keys under the streetlights”–or doing what is methodologically cheap, doing something they can get funding for, or what can bring positive results in time for tenure review. In my field (social science) there are millions of wonderful ideas that can’t be tested for ethical reasons. Every field of scientific inquiry goes through wrongheaded fads–and the fads won’t be recognized as such until the time is ripe. Witness the sad history of the theory of continental drift.

    The recent IPCC/ClimateGate events brought about the end of the first era of AGW theory (in the Popperian/sociological context). The science was obviously not settled and Phil Jones’ recent interview put the final nail in that coffin. We are now entering a second era where it is *politically safe* for a serious scientist to challenge the climate establishment and generate variant models. This will no doubt result in a far better understanding of climate 10-20 years from now. No one has any idea what the theoretical changes will be, but there are bound to be significant revisions. Just playing the odds here.

  120. bilbo,
    This is the Argument From It-might-Cost-A-Lot-So-I-Deny-It. Sorry if that seems snippy. But that’s just how it is.

    I think it’s reasonable to ask for higher levels of verification of a theory before remodeling the global economy after it. That’s what happens in any other branch of life when money is involved.

  121. bilbo

    …but science isn’t “any other branch of life.” Evidence is what matters in science, not whether or not the implications of the science are convenient to our wallet. If your problem with climate change stems from the cost of implementing it as policy, attack the policymakers, not the scientists. Doing the reverse is a massive strawman.

  122. Milton C.

    think it’s reasonable to ask for higher levels of verification of a theory before remodeling the global economy after it. That’s what happens in any other branch of life when money is involved.

    Then your quarrel is with the policy makers, Bradley. Not the scientists. Attacking policy by trying to discredit the science is going at things all backwards.

  123. bilbo,
    Here’s a concrete example of what I alluded to in my last comment. The current RDA of Vitamin D is being challenged by many of the top Vitamin D researchers, who say those recommendations understate the need by an order of magnitude. You can read more at the Vitamin D Council.

    I’m pretty much convinced by what I’ve read, from many researchers pursuing multiple lines of evidence, and don’t need much convincing to up my own Vitamin D intake. That’s because the cost is modest (free if you get out in the sun), and the health benefits are significant. But if someone tried to sell me on a diet that required me to buy specific types of food, at great expense, I’d be far more skeptical.

  124. Sao Paul

    Then your quarrel is with the policy makers, Bradley. Not the scientists. Attacking policy by trying to discredit the science is going at things all backwards.

    That is exactly my problem with climate denialism. Most of the skeptics I know have absolutely no background knowledge of the very science they’re trying so hard to discredit. They do it out of purely political means, hoping that, if they kill the science, the policy they’re worried about will never have a chance to manifest itself. We’ve seen it with DDT, ozone depletion, tobacco, and now climate science. It’s the same old trick, just a different dog.

  125. Milton C
    Then your quarrel is with the policy makers, Bradley. Not the scientists. Attacking policy by trying to discredit the science is going at things all backwards.

    Before you even get to policy, you’ve got to have the science. And while the Medieval Warm Period is an open question, we don’t know if there’s any need for AGW in the first place.

  126. Philip Jr.

    moptop-

    I’ve got a response to you that’s floating around in moderation-world inexplicably.

  127. Milton C.

    Before you even get to policy, you’ve got to have the science. And while the Medieval Warm Period is an open question, we don’t know if there’s any need for AGW in the first place.

    Until we can thoroughly reconstruct the Tree of Life and understand human evolution (we’re not even close to both) does that make the application of evolutionary theory to modern medicine “an open question?” Because we’re applying billions – of not trillions – of dollars (many of them taxpayer dollars) to it.

    That’s a logical analog that’s almost identical, part and parcel, to your argument. Why don’t we see you yelling about it, too?

  128. Milton C.
    If you don’t have an answer, it’s okay to say so, instead of evoking a specious analogy.

    Evolution works, as science and technology. Evolutionary theory helps us develop better drugs and predict microbial mutations to fight drug resistance. We don’t need the ancestral tree of life to gain those results.

    For your analogy to be apt, climate science would have to show similar accuracy in long-range forecasting.

  129. Sao Paul

    Until we can thoroughly reconstruct the Tree of Life and understand human evolution (we’re not even close to both) does that make the application of evolutionary theory to modern medicine “an open question?” Because we’re applying billions – of not trillions – of dollars (many of them taxpayer dollars) to it.

    That’s a logical analog that’s almost identical, part and parcel, to your argument. Why don’t we see you yelling about it, too?

    That is an excellent point. We arguably know less about human evolution than we do climate change, yet we’re altering our entire scientific framework of medicine over it and funnelling SICK amounts of money at it to change policy.

    Where are the climate skeptics on this one?

    Nowhere, that’s where. The evidence concerns are just that: concern trolling used as a selective, pseudoscientific means to a purely political end. (If that offends anyone, it’s not directed at any individuals, just the movement).

  130. Sao Paul

    Evolution works, but we don’t know much about human evolution, Bradley. But we’re changing policy by assuming that we do. That’s exactly like your MWP argument. I mean, dead-on exact.

  131. Philip Jr.

    Milton C.
    If you don’t have an answer, it’s okay to say so, instead of evoking a specious analogy.

    Evolution works, as science and technology. Evolutionary theory helps us develop better drugs and predict microbial mutations to fight drug resistance. We don’t need the ancestral tree of life to gain those results.

    For your analogy to be apt, climate science would have to show similar accuracy in long-range forecasting.

    On the contrary, Bradley, Milton’s analogy is very good. Almost exactly like your MWP claim, we might fill in the (many) existing gaps on human evolution and find that they way we’ve assumed it to work, spending tons of money and implementing policy on it, is wrong.

    Why do we not see all of these objective observers concerned about evidence all over this one? I argue it’s because climate change is politicized, and the concern over evidence is just thinly-veiled political games. (But if there’s some bold proof to change me, I’m open).

  132. Philip Jr.

    moptop, my earlier response are finalllllllly out of moderation. Feel free to check them out (#117 and so forth)

  133. Here’s an essay I wrote for Darwin’s 200th

    Antibiotic resistance is an example of evolution in action, said Dr. Stephen Baird, a professor of clinical pathology at UCSD Medical Center who lives in Solana Beach. By overusing antibiotics, doctors have encouraged development of antibiotic-resistant microbes, said Baird.

    That example is one a reason why it’s important for the public to understand evolution, said Baird, who popularizes evolution and other scientific themes as a singer in the Galapagos Mountain Boys. Information on the group and its CDs can be found at http://www.scientificgospel.com.

    In addition, an entire sub-sector of biotechnology has arisen from developing drugs according to Darwinian principles. The British naturalist has even inspired applications outside of biology, such as the field of evolutionary computation.

  134. Milton C.

    For the record, I didn’t accuse you of not getting evolution, Bradley. I was just pointing out some glaring selectivity on standards of evidence.

    The supposed objectivity is simply not.

  135. Philip Jr.

    There might be some fossil evidence that’s dug up a century from now that totally falsifies some assumptions of evolution. But that doesn’t mean that this uncertainty is just cause to throw out or distrust the theory of evolution. You just claimed as much using a logical analogue.

    Wrong. I pointed out how a fundamental assumption of AGW could be falsified. We are expected to believe there is some anomalous warmth that humans are causing. But there is evidence of warmth in much of the Northern Hemisphere that may rival or exceed that of modern times. That cries out for research. If the MWP was as warm, then there is no anomaly for AGW to explain.

    To be brutally honest, that’s about as unscientific as it gets. We always hold the possibility in science that evidence may turn up to falsify a hypothesis one day, yes – but we never elevate that possibility to the level of the existing evidence. As I told moptop and Busiturtle, go read some philosophy of science, Bradley. You’ve kind-of got some things backwards here.

    Sorry, you’re confusing a major question to be resolved — whether the warmth was anomalous — with some hypothetical. As Jones said, there is evidence of warmth in Europe and Asia and parts of North America, but the paleoclimatic records in the Southern Hemisphere are lacking. That suggest we need more research on that question.

  136. Milton C.
    For the record, I didn’t accuse you of not getting evolution, Bradley. I was just pointing out some glaring selectivity on standards of evidence.

    Thank you for that clarification. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the MWP and the applicability of your analogy.

  137. ehmoran

    But evolution seems not to expressed as science but more as a means or tool to refute the existence of a supreme being not in body or a being of much higher intelligence than mere mortals…..

  138. Milton C.

    But evolution seems not to expressed as science but more as a means or tool to refute the existence of a supreme being not in body or a being of much higher intelligence than mere mortals…..

    required reading

  139. Milton C.

    Thank you for that clarification. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the MWP and the applicability of your analogy.

    Sorry my original post implied otherwise.

  140. ehmoran
    But evolution seems not to expressed as science but more as a means or tool to refute the existence of a supreme being not in body or a being of much higher intelligence than mere mortals…..

    As an atheist, I don’t need evolution to refute a supreme being, for the burden of evidence is on those proposing such a being — just as it is with those proposing AGW :-)

  141. Milton C.
    No worries. Perhaps skeptics and those who accept AGW theory are evolving …. at least here.

  142. ehmoran

    Milton C.

    I’m not going to read all that.

    I understand what’s going on out there. I might have fallen off the turnip truck, but not yesterday.

    That’s their state of mind and maybe unawareness. But the likely reactions from creationists comes from a defensive persepective, the same as evolutionists.

    All those fail to see the BEAUTY behind the scenes…..

    I believe it’s the comfortable box which many try not to leave……

  143. ehmoran

    Bradley J. Fikes,

    Well, I fully respect that view. But I also have had extreme personal experiences that won’t allow me to think otherwise.

    “It’s a sin to lie, but it’s an abomination to lie to yourself!”

  144. ehmoran

    Gentlemen and women,

    You know when you involved in discussions with intelligent people when that conversation ends with God.

    Like many believe it will…….

  145. ehmoran,
    I likewise respect your view. I have many close relatives who are religious, including a few creationists. Interesting family gatherings, but friendly, not hostile.

  146. ehmoran

    Bradley J. Fikes

    Isn’t that part of the beauty of the human family?

  147. Milton C.

    If the MWP was as warm, then there is no anomaly for AGW to explain….As Jones said, there is evidence of warmth in Europe and Asia and parts of North America, but the paleoclimatic records in the Southern Hemisphere are lacking. That suggest we need more research on that question.

    That definitely does suggest that more research is needed. No argument there. But it doesn’t logically follow that if the MWP was as warm, that CO2 is not the major driver of climate presently – not clearly and in full. There are multiple logical alternative hypotheses that would need to be explained/falsified (a la the good old scientific method) before we could make assertaions about the reltivity of the MWP to the present. That’s where I think most of the skeptics lose it.

    Jumping to conclusions about present-day climate change without falsifying those hypotheses is just as foolish/illogical as claiming that the MWP is totally irrelevant just because we lack evidence.

  148. Philip Jr.

    Milton C. @ 149 has a good point. For argument’s sake, let’s assume that we find evidence that MWP was as warm worldwide, as Bradley’s hunch suggests. Does that falsify current thought about AGW? Not necessarily. In addition to Bradley’s hunch (“there would be no anomaly for AGW to explain”), there could be multiple other, equally-plausible alternative hypotheses: temporal shifts in mechanisms, relative strengths in feedback loops, the entire presence/absence of individual feedback loops altogether, density-dependent changes in climate forcings, etc. A scientist would need to examine these, systematically falsify some of them, and then reach a conclusion on the implications of the MWP.

    A skeptic, however, would likely assume only one alternative hypothesis and follow it to its seemingly-logical conclusion. But that’s not being scientific. That’s the difference between how climate skeptics and scientists think, and that’s why we all so often disagree. The philosophical foundation of the science is just missing (or weak) for some.

  149. ehmoran

    Milton C.,

    I’ve got some time, would you like to discuss this on an economic standpoint, assuming that CO2 is the culprit?

  150. ehmoran

    Let’s discuss economically, assuming CO2 is the culprit….

  151. Milton C.

    The economics of the issue is a whole different can of worms altogether, ehmoran. For some (not meaning you necessarily), it’s the foundation for their denial of science, which is a shame.

  152. ehmoran

    Philip Jr.,

    But I’m a skeptic, which, of course, you know….

    I like the statements in this paper.

    Did you peruse http://www.geology.und.edu/gerla/gge487_488_494/chamberlin1890science.pdf

  153. ehmoran

    #153.

    I know!!!! I really didn’t want to go there in this session…..

  154. ehmoran

    Milton C.,

    I kind of hate to say this, however (snicker, snicker) when it all comes down to it, economics will be the end concern.

    You know, we dragged ourselves out of the caves and have advanced where we are now. We really don’t want to go back their.

    I grew up in real rural America, I was responsible for the weekend operation of a 165 cow dairy farm at age 16. We raised our own food and if the crops failed, it was a very hungry winter. Many of those today that push these movements don’t understand that way of life. Yeh, it’s fun to have a garden, but when you have to depend on that for food, it becomes tiring real, real fast.

    I feel that many want to push us back to that life. Experience is a blessing. They don’t realize if civilization is pushed backed that far, that there are no stores to by food during the winter when the crops fail. And believe me, crops do and will fail.

    With what’s happening right now with the Global economies, when the hard crash occurs, and the evidence points to that reality more than to the other, those people higher on the food chain will only be able to maintain their lifestyle just a little longer than the rest of us slobs.

  155. Busiturtle

    If the AGW crowd gets its way some future generation of humans will pause in wonderment that previous generations left to them such a bounty of carbon based energy. I guess it is the least we can do since we will also be sticking them with the bill for all the debts all the nations and citizens of the world have racked up.

  156. Milton C.

    I certainly don’t want to go back to some backwards, agrarian lifestyle, ehmoran….but neither do I think most environmentalists do, either. I, for one, would simply like to see a little less take and a little more give when it comes to things like pollution (air, land, water), wise-use of natural resources, and some innovation that can reach some of the same goals our society has that break the incredible friction to creativity that many are pushing for the sake of short-term economic gain. I understand my view might be more moderate than some (or most) on my “side,” but there’s no doubt we can make some very productive changes with regards to climate change (and other issues) without blowing ourselves back to the early 19th century. It think that (fix climate change and ruin society or just “live with it”) is a bit of a false dilemma.

  157. ehmoran

    Busiturtle,

    Point taken. The Debt will be our undoing and eventual downfall…….

    I guess that’s part of our irresponsibility, and what a shame. But I think we’re all to blame. Many kind of let this creep up on our backsides and mow us over.

  158. bilbo

    Wow. Am I really seeing this? Are ehmoran and The Turtle finally admitting that allllllll of the distrust about climate science espoused here over the last few months boils down to the fact that they think it’s going to leave an inconvenient debt to future generations?

    I can see how that might motivate one to campaign hard and hyperbolically against a scientific issue…no matter how backed by evidence and inconvenient facts it may be.

  159. ehmoran

    Milton C.,

    I agree fully with you except about climate change. I don’t believe we can do anything about it, although I’m quite sure the Military (oh, conspiracy) is trying. Someday we’ll have coffee and I tell you more from personal experience. That study I did was downloaded many times by the AirForce, Army, and Navy, along with another model I created. Anyway I ramble.

    Remember what we did to the Mississippi when we tried to control flooding, we made it worse. Look what we did to cause the Dust Storms of the 30′s. That was purely our fault as Scientists because the lay farmer listened to the genius Scientists about how to properly grow crops. And don’t forget about those FDR dams…

    I just believe that Climate mainly is driven naturally, some human involvement but maybe from a Chaos Theory type stance. We need to understand Climate Change so we can help more people live better lives.

    But, that’s my opinion…..

  160. Busiturtle

    Milton C.

    CO2 is the sticking point. There is simply no way man made CO2 emission levels are going to be reversed, let alone reset back to 19th century levels.

    Now I believe this is a good thing since the fact that CO2 levels will not decline yet life in earth will only improve should be very strong evidence that AGW theory is bogus.

    The problem is that in their haste to do something CAP & TAX policies will be adopted resulting in greater levels of taxation, lower economic growth and still no net reduction in CO2 emissions.

  161. ehmoran

    bilbo,

    You blew that out of context. I do study other things rather than focusing on Natural Science. I do have a slightly bigger comfort box than many.

    The final end is for the betterment of Humanity, right?

    If not, the greed for knowledge, understanding, and seeking the truth….

    You’re out of line with me on this one.

  162. Philip Jr.
    For argument’s sake, let’s assume that we find evidence that MWP was as warm worldwide, as Bradley’s hunch suggests. Does that falsify current thought about AGW? Not necessarily. In addition to Bradley’s hunch (”there would be no anomaly for AGW to explain”), there could be multiple other, equally-plausible alternative hypotheses: temporal shifts in mechanisms, relative strengths in feedback loops, the entire presence/absence of individual feedback loops altogether, density-dependent changes in climate forcings, etc. A scientist would need to examine these, systematically falsify some of them, and then reach a conclusion on the implications of the MWP.

    Yes, you can always change the theory to reflect the new evidence, and then challenge people to refute it. This can be done endlessly with any theory. But on what basis would this be done for AGW, besides a desire to preserve the theory? If the MWP was as warm as the present, there’d be nothing for AGW to explain in terms of human intervention into climate. In that event, I think it would be more parsimonious to discard the theory and search for natural causes.

    Of course, if this revised AGW theory proved more useful in predicting climate change, then you’d really have something.

  163. ehmoran

    biblo,

    As I said: Experience is a blessing (or a curse).

    If you would like to give up your current lifestyle to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, let me know, I can set you up with the staring point. Then come back in 5 years and let me know what you think. I like a warm house using piped natural gas, not cutting cord wood all summer to stay warm in the winter, how about chipping ice then hauling your drinking water a mile or so…. Been there, done that, YOU?

    So, in the end, it’s all about your economy too, in the end, whether or not you realize that. Let me know what you did when you a teenager, and we’ll compare sizes……

  164. ehmoran

    That’s having the ability to see the Forest through the trees…..

    Most are specialist, some need to remain generalist to see the big picture.

    Let me point you back to comment #88 as an example of the ending results of this failure….

  165. Philip Jr.

    Pardon the cut, but both ehmoran/Busiturtle AND bilbo are being a bit hyperbolic.

    I’ve never understood this whole “it’s just too expensive to trust” argument. Let’s assume AGW is all the more alarmist people in our midst say it is. Not acting is suicide. Let’s assume AGW doesn’t exist – at all. The actions we’d take for AGW will have some great impacts in spite of this, anyway (unless someone’s claiming that fossil fuel emissions are harmless, which is mindnumbingly ignorant).

    The hard facts of the matter are that one day, like it or not, we’re gonna run out of fossil fuels. Done. Finished. Kaput. If we just say “oh, it’s too expensive” about diversifying how we look at energy until we reach that point, the cost will no doubt be more out of control than the most liberal AGW-mitigation efforts….because we’ll be forced to squeeze decades of innovation into months. That will not be fun, cheap, easy, or safe…and I don’t think forseeing wars breaking out over natural resources is too crazy of a prediction. I personally don’t want to saddle my grandchildren or greatgrandchildren with that kind of debt (financial, physical, societal, and emotional) just as much as I don’t want to saddle them with similar debts that diversifying how we look at energy will ultimately cost. We’re in a tough spot, folks – screwed if we do, screwed if we don’t. Stalling won’t make the reality go away.

    The economic reality of climate change is very real, however. It makes no sense to ignore it. I argue for more of a moderate approach to dealing with climate change so we can try to balance the benefits we need to our ecosystems just as much as we can the debt we’ll build. How? I don’t know. That’s the tough question – but it needs asking. Doesn’t it?

  166. Philip Jr.
    I’ve a reply in moderation – as others have said here, it seems to happen for no reason.

  167. ehmoran

    bilbo,

    Do you have, or have you thought about your retirement?

    Would you and your family be able to survive for one year without outside assistance if the crap really hit the fan?

    The old saw says: Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

    This is why I try to understand as much as I can, because this day likely is coming, and likely shortly…..

    Someday we also could have coffee and talk about much……

  168. Busiturtle

    Truthfully I get a chuckle whenever bilbo makes claims on behalf of others. He had me surrendering, whatever that means, back on post 11 or so! Kind of reminded me of a Monty Python skit.

    No bilbo, it is not the fault of climate science that the nations of the world are addicted to deficit spending.

    But since you asked bilbo there is no doubt that the willingness of many climate scientists to partner with progressives in the pursuit of political goals causes many to wonder how impartial they are. Now before you leap to another conclusion about what I am saying here please consider this simple question:

    If climate scientists were only concerned with science and there was no interest in political goals how much attention would their work receive?

  169. ehmoran

    Philip Jr.,

    Oil Peak, many reputable scientists believe oil is self- and/or regenerating, but you don’t hear that much. Additionally, we have more CLEAN natural gas than we know what to do with.

    But, I don’t believe Climate Change is Human. But I believe you don’t pee in the same water you or your children drink. But check out Maslow’s Hierarchy, this is how societies, if not, civilization progress.

    Nevertheless, to your productive point, the only way the Global economies will pick up substantially, will be with a major break through in Energy Technology that will make the World more efficient and productive. Not wind, solar, or geothermal, nuclear, etc.

    As a recent example, that’s somewhat the same thing the Dot.Com era did for the World, efficiencies and economy of scales

  170. bilbo

    ehmoran:

    No offense, but I hardly think that writing a grade-school term paper when you were a teenager on nuclear power makes you an expert on global energy policy. That frankly sounds a little silly, because by that logic I’m a Shakespearean scholar. To each his own.

    In terms of the following statement:

    “If you would like to give up your current lifestyle to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, let me know, I can set you up with the staring point. Then come back in 5 years and let me know what you think. I like a warm house using piped natural gas, not cutting cord wood all summer to stay warm in the winter, how about chipping ice then hauling your drinking water a mile or so…. Been there, done that, YOU?”

    Did anyone say that’s what we’ve gotta do to “fix” AGW? I’ve never heard anyone say that, frankly…outside of some of the more scaremongering skeptics. As someone else said: pretending that we have two choices – business as usual or go back to the 1800s – is a terrible, terrible false dilemma. And, as much as you and Busiturtle protest when I say it, I think that’s really what’s fueling much of the skeptic fire deep down – this irrational fear that scientists/environmentalists/communist-babyeating-liberals for whatever reason (that’s never really provided) want to alter our society to some utopian, My Side of the Mountain scenario…and have thus initiated and perpetrated a three decades long conspiracy that has somehow been so effective that they’ve been able to rope in all of the major nations in the world and fabricate extraordinarilty complex independent datasets that show the same statistical trends. That sounds off the handle, but I’m not exaggerating – that sentiment is expressed quite often here by the skeptic crowd, especially when they’re backed into a corner about providing evidence. It’s already been brought up a couple of times in this thread already. (don’t get mad; i’m just reiterating what I and have to deal with here).

    With regards to Busiturtle’s worries about Cap n’ Trade – we’ve already used Cap n’ Trade in the past with similar “invisible” emissions. The worries and predictions from the Right were the same: worldwide economic destruction, millions jobless, nations collapsing into lawlessness under the weight of massive debt. It’s been three decades, though, and none of that happened. Industry actually flourished under the plan. (altohugh I’ll admit the current proposals are more nuanced)

    CO2 levels will definitely not be “reversed” by mitigation efforts. Continued inputs will only be slowed. Basic chemistry tells us that CO2 doesn’t just magically disappear from the atmosphere. But if we wait to act on energy policy until we run out of fossil fuels (ignoring if AGW exists or doesn’t altogether!!) we’re putting ourselves in a terrible place. The friction against action because of monetary fears is bar-none the motivating factor behind climate skepticism, and what’s so terrible is that it has absolutely no roots in the science. It’s just politics, the same as every major environmental issue of the last four decades has been. The skeptic side has been on the incorrect end every single time in the past as far the “truth” of the science. I honestly see the same story and players this time around. I might be wrong, of course, but I’ve been waiting 15 years, and the tired old science denial patterns are playing out like clockwork. It’s like Groundhog Day.

  171. ehmoran

    bilbo,

    You missed the point of that example…..

  172. Philip Jr.

    If climate scientists were only concerned with science and there was no interest in political goals how much attention would their work receive?

    If there were climate scientists getting elected to political positions, that point might be relevant. As it is, though, that whole post was trending into the “scientists are in a conspiracy with liberal politicians- head for the hills!!” craziness that drags debates into stalling patterns again. Let’s stick to what can be proven, Busiturtle. I won’t say that you’re pals with Rush Limbaugh if you won’t claim that I’m in bed with Barney Frank.

    To Busiturtle and ehmoran specifically: unless you guys just want to end this thread altogether, I’d suggest backing off the personal shots at the hobbit (or anyone else). Chris and Sheril are watching this thread like a hawk (hence the long moderation delays), and I get the feeling they’re not above just shutting it down if the personal nature of the comments gets going again.

    Back on track: I think the argument that global warming is bad because liberals are in favor of it is perhaps the weakest of all skeptic arguments. It’s unsubstantiable, not logically based, and not productive in any sense except to try to get people elected and unecessarily polarize a valid scientific issue. (And ehmoran, I do agree that we need advances in how we look at energy. Resting on our laurels and relying on fossil fuels is a strategy that dooms us to irrelevancy, AGW excluded.)

  173. Busiturtle

    Philip Jr.,

    If hydrocarbons became scarce their price would inevitably rise. Consumers would have a strong incentive to adopt alternative solutions and innovators would have a strong incentive of providing them.

    The problem with trying to artificially promote alternative energies is too many bad solutions get subsidized.

    Why not let the market work? Look at what free markets have done with every other technology where we continue to see innovation and superior products constantly replacing inferior ones all the while prices decline and a greater number of people are able to benefit.

  174. bilbo

    I know, I know….the point of those examples are to get environmentalists angry and implicitly call them hypocrites. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, though…and as I said, we have more choices than “do nothing or go live out of a sheepskin tent.” When debates like this one get polarized and tied to something as personal as politics, though, both sides foster that kind of false dilemma.

  175. ehmoran

    biblo,

    “Did anyone say that’s what we’ve gotta do to “fix” AGW?”

    Then what are you saying?

    “My Side of the Mountain scenario”.

    But that’s why everyone keeps reminding me about cigarettes. Why else are they so worried about my health, (I mean I appreciate it, however, they think its wrong for them so they remind me of their intelligence of the matter) they want me to change to something they perceive as ideal. I think I know the pitfalls to smoking, that’s my choice, I don’t do it around others, I help support the economy, and when I’m ready to keel over, I’ll find a grizzly bear.

  176. ehmoran

    biblo,

    “the point of those examples are to get environmentalists angry”

    No, you missed it again, the point is that many people fall into the herd making preconceive judgments based on the mass opinion without looking at the consequences and continue on the point while not considering others and/or taking down a whole lot of other good people.

    This is not a blame game here, we’re all responsible for this.

  177. ehmoran

    They’re getting ready to shut us down biblo……

  178. ehmoran

    Busiturtle,

    And that’s the beauty of a perfectly Free Market System, which few truly understand. But, then again, no reference point.

    Just wished the world could experience this once!

  179. Philip Jr.

    Why not let the market work?

    That would be a wonderful suggestion…but the fact of the matter is that the fossil fuel industries (that control the energy market) have heavily invested themselves in guerilla warfare against any and all suggestions about changing how we think about energy. I know that makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist myself, but look at the facts: almost every climate skeptic group is very heavily underwritten by fossil fuel companies (a fact). Almost all politicians who serve as figureheads of climate skepticism are heavily funded by fossil fuel interests (a fact). Many presidents of climate skeptic thinktanks are, not too unpredictably, former CEOs of fossil fuel companies (a fact). Petitions written a few years ago and sponsored by fossil fuel interests actually had plagiarized names of scientists on them saying that prominent climate scientists didn’t support the science of AGW (a fact that was a HUGE media blow-up). And all of those groups are trying to link alt. energy folks to the evil conspiracy they’ve invented through a mass PR campaign meant to stifle innovation.

    As long as “the market” plays guerrilla warfae with public opinion, hopes that we can just rely on the market to work itself out are a little too idealistic. Here’s another example:

    Bob, a local grocier, has discovered ways to make much more delicious pastries in a much more healthy way than Publix supermarkets and at much cheaper prices. People love Bob’s pastries – the benefits are clear. But is that alone going to make Bob replace Publix supermarkets in the pastry market? Of course not. It especially won’t happen if Publix labels Bob as a child molester and engages in various smear campaigns about his character once he gets successful. That’s a silly and simplified analogy, of course, but it applies to energy policy, too: is a group with $15 million to startup a wind farm going to oust Exxon just by way of “the market,” even if they provide cleaner energy to consumers at much lower prices? No – not with a guerrilla campaign going where the false idea is fostered that all environmentalists and alternative energy entrepreneurs are in league with a global conspiracy of lying communist polticians and scientists out to send us back to the 1800s. Saying that it’s as simple as letting “the market” handle it in light of this hard and dirty reality is just naive.

  180. ehmoran

    177. bilbo,

    You missed the point again…..

  181. bilbo

    Then what are you saying?

    That’s already been discussed a LOT earlier in the thread.

    But that’s why everyone keeps reminding me about cigarettes. Why else are they so worried about my health, (I mean I appreciate it, however, they think its wrong for them so they remind me of their intelligence of the matter) they want me to change to something they perceive as ideal. I think I know the pitfalls to smoking, that’s my choice, I don’t do it around others, I help support the economy, and when I’m ready to keel over, I’ll find a grizzly bear.

    When you smoke a cigarette, the risks are overwhlemingly going to affect you and not others. When you burn fossil fuels, dump sludge into a lake, etc. the risks and harm are spread across many different recipients/people, making the cigarette analogy irrelevant here.

    Again, I can already see this trending to “the government is trying to tell me how to use energy, and I don’t like government” land. (That’s exactly what your last post was all about, right?) The passion that is coming out from you and Busiturtle as soon as we mentioned money and government is very telling – where was this when we were talking about just science?

    I’ll say it again: the motivations behind the skepticism that visits this blog is solely based in ultraconservative politics, with science concerns as a secondary charade. The simple passion and anger that boils from you guys with the former is the proof in the pudding!

  182. ehmoran

    While we have Sweden and others living in luxury on Socialism and Cap and Trade, (which has been a complete failure, the Economists), they’re still feeding off of American Capitalism, same with the EU, and such…

    Many forget that Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, etc. are Socialistic. These entitlements are what’s dragging us down the rabbit whole. We’ve been in failure mode since the mid 60′s.

    This is a prime example of the failure of Socialism…

  183. Busiturtle

    Here is the political issue front and center (the EPA ruling that greenhouse gases endanger human life): http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1661844120100216

    On the surface this classification makes no sense. Are we to presume a bureaucracy is going to ensure the atmosphere exhibits the proper concentration of life promoting elements? How do they know what levels are appropriate? In the earth’s history CO2 levels have been much higher and they have been much lower. Who decided that the levels of 1903 are the ideal?

    I have a gas stove in my kitchen. Does the EPA need to send a bureaucrat to my home to make sure my stove is not producing too much CO2? Where does the mindless meddling end? And it is mindless meddling because the developing world is not going to care one bit what the EPA dictates to the United States and its citizens.

  184. Julie

    gillt said something a couple of threads ago (I think on the deleted one) that you can determine the roots of someone’s skepticism based on how their emotions change when you shift from just talking about science to politics and economics.

    ehmoran and Busiturtle were fairly calm and objective during the earlier science discussion in this thread, but now – all of a sudden – they’re getting snippy and wildly passionate and in liberal-bashing mode and making some frankly absurd claims about the motivations behind environmentalism and climate science.

    I don’t want to sound snippy myself, but you can’t ignore the split personality action going on here. Politics and economics – not science – seem to be the root behind these guys’ distrust of science. And that’s just not correct or justified, no matter how you cut it.

  185. Milton C.

    Again, the concerted efforts to link science to evil socialism and “entitlements” and people who want us to live off the land and give up treasured creature comforts are the proof here, people:

    The skepticism we’re dealing with here is just another manifestation of anti-intellectualism. Science doesn’t matter to these guys – it’s just a means to a political end.

    (I say that in the most non-personal way possible, fellas. You guys made a quick switch from a levelheaded discussion of science to some out-there rambling about everything being liberals’ fault. I can’t help but make my obsevations in light of that.)

    What happened to the guys who just wanted to discuss objectively and keep political pretenses out of it? All of a sudden, I feel like I’m watching an episode of Sean Hannity. Liberals must be responsible for the stomach virus I’ve got…

  186. Sao Paul

    *sigh*

    I was enjoying this thread until it became “forget about everything we’ve talked about; this is all liberals’ fault” amateur hour (again).

    All that kind of stuff does is just make people like Philip Jr. and Milton and bilbo seem like the more levelheaded (and correct) ones here.

    I’m out – this thread has lost its utility when we start trying to link science to socialism.

  187. ehmoran

    Nothing will ever be fixed and/or cured with Solar, Wind, BioFuel, Nuclear, etc. But turning the Sky green to protect us from the Sun is wrong.

    The Global economy and pollution, and the prosperous growth of humanity will only be cured with a major break through in Energy Technology.

    Remember another old saw: The poor will always be with you…..

    That’s economics and reality, unfortunately. It’s up to us to help them learn how to live better. Something about a fish and fishing…..

  188. ehmoran

    Sao Paul,

    But cap and trade is Socialism, like Sweden. That’s not the solution.

  189. Philip Jr.

    I’m out – this thread has lost its utility when we start trying to link science to socialism.

    I agree. We’re in crazy land now. There’s no sense debating with people who automatically link you to perceived evils that cause are trouble with the world. I’m out too until we can move back to Adult Mode.

  190. Thomas H.

    Are we to presume a bureaucracy is going to ensure the atmosphere exhibits the proper concentration of life promoting elements?

    You already have, for decades – and it looks like you don’t even know it. (If you can’t figure that one out, go look things up.)

    And what’s more, your life has been just peachy the whole time it’s been going on.

  191. What happened to the guys who just wanted to discuss objectively and keep political pretenses out of it?

    Politics is boiling under the surface of science, on both sides. All it takes is for one person to introduce the subject, and the discussion turns toward entropy.

  192. Thomas H.

    These posts are just brilliant. I mean that. So I want to bump them again:

    “For argument’s sake, let’s assume that we find evidence that MWP was as warm worldwide, as Bradley’s hunch suggests. Does that falsify current thought about AGW? Not necessarily. In addition to Bradley’s hunch (”there would be no anomaly for AGW to explain”), there could be multiple other, equally-plausible alternative hypotheses: temporal shifts in mechanisms, relative strengths in feedback loops, the entire presence/absence of individual feedback loops altogether, density-dependent changes in climate forcings, etc. A scientist would need to examine these, systematically falsify some of them, and then reach a conclusion on the implications of the MWP.

    A skeptic, however, would likely assume only one alternative hypothesis and follow it to its seemingly-logical conclusion. But that’s not being scientific. That’s the difference between how climate skeptics and scientists think, and that’s why we all so often disagree. The philosophical foundation of the science is just missing (or weak) for some.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    There might be some fossil evidence that’s dug up a century from now that totally falsifies some assumptions of evolution. But that doesn’t mean that this uncertainty is just cause to throw out or distrust the theory of evolution. You just claimed as much using a logical analogue.

    To be brutally honest, that’s about as unscientific as it gets. We always hold the possibility in science that evidence may turn up to falsify a hypothesis one day, yes – but we never elevate that possibility to the level of the existing evidence.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    …and science proceeds via falsification, not confirmation, Bradley. Which is why if reputable evidence exists to disprove the main body of AGW theory, any scientist would be an absolute rockstar if they published such information on it. Which really says a lot, seeing as how most “analyses” done by skeptics are mostly sketchy, back-alley type investigations that lack scientific rigor, and to date no body of actual scientific evidence counter to AGW exists to place the slightest bit of scientific doubt on the theory. (See, for example, the earlier discussion about hurricanes where some of you touted that guy’s analysis as proof to refute AGW but, upon closer inspection, the guy who performed the actual analysis even admitted for himself that his work was full of mathematical flaws and logical holes that wouldn’t ever get it approved as rigorous science). And that’s actually my only problem with climate skeptics/denialists/whatever you’d like to label them: the “proof” they display to try and refute climate science most often simply can’t be elevated to the level of science because of all of these giant logical/methodological flaws that don’t even approach the basic criteria for a scientific investigation. Why should we treat those kinds of suppositions as equal to (or as the debunking proof of) actual science? There’s simply not a good reason.
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I’m not claiming that there’s no contradiction or controversy in climate science (because there is). But the evidence for AGW is far, far overwhelmingly against anything to the contrary, and in science we proceed with the side backed by the most evidence. That’s just how science works, in climate science, medical science, particle physics, etc. etc. etc. When there’s the great disparity between “for” and “against” like there is in climate science regarding AGW, the scientific position is a no-brainer. That doesn’t mean that contradictory evidence can’t/shouldn’t be looked for, but it means that we follow the evidence in science first, and always tentatively. That tentative nature fades as more evidence increases, and we’re in this phase now with AGW and have been for years. The media often paints different (and sometimes contradictory) pictures on either side of the spectrum.

    Game, set, match: Philip Jr. Game over. No other posts have even come close.

  193. ehmoran

    Because Bureaucratic Governments never cure anything. But guess what, we as the people are the government, so it comes down to personal responsibility, not empowering some bureaucratic to make up our minds for us.

    Regulation is control and eliminates competition in favor of the selected few. Cap and Trade will do just that. Like FDR regulating opium trade, since that’s where he made the family fortune……

    But you see, now I discuss something other than science, and you make me a hypocrite. As I said, many don’t know that line that separates politics, religion, wealth and fame from science.

    So I should keep my opinions to myself?

  194. ehmoran

    Bradley J. Fikes,

    Yeh, it end out much better discussing God, doesn’t it?

  195. Thomas H.

    But you see, now I discuss something other than science, and you make me a hypocrite

    No, not a hypocrite. You’re just poisoning the well.

    I don’t blame people like Philip for not wanting to engage someone who tries to poison the debate before it even begins. Let’s keep the logical fallacies on the backburner. If we have good arguments, we shouldn’t need to use sneaky debate tactics to get them across, right?

  196. Busiturtle

    bilbo et all,

    It is a tangled web that has been weaved for if AGW theory is incorrect and climate feedback is self correcting and the climate patters are cyclical than the EPA has no standing. But many people, including those fully invested in the climate profiteering business, want the EPA to have standing.

    So who are are the impartial arbitrators and by what standard can their independence be measured?

  197. ehmoran

    My profession is to help people understand the Natural World so they may live better lives, that included the understanding of philosophy, economics, spirituality, experiences I’ve gone through to help them avoid my mistakes, my education.

    And with the world the way it is, help people know, understand, and identify when someone is pulling the wool over their eyes.

    Remember what good science did in the 30′s. Espoused Scientific Facts resulted in the incineration of nearly 5 million people……

  198. ehmoran

    Thomas H.,

    A misconception: (as you may see) I’m not a professional debater, never was, never want to be.

    Others went down the road to follow, but, likely, some knowledge will be gained with good results.

    An optimist is someone who thinks today are our best days, and a pessimist would agree with that.

  199. bilbo

    “Hey guys! I just want to have a mature, objective discussion about science! But, let’s get a couple of things about of the way first:

    (i) Scientists are for climate change, and so are liberals. And liberals are socialists, and socialists are responsible for all the evils in the world. Scientists are buddies with socialists.

    and (ii): science was responsible for the Holocaust. (see: “Remember what good science did in the 30’s. Espoused Scientific Facts resulted in the incineration of nearly 5 million people”)

    Now, let’s have that objective discussion about science!”

    We’re done here, ehmoran. You just committed debate suicide.

  200. ehmoran

    biblo,

    “(i) Scientists are for climate change, and so are liberals. And liberals are socialists, and socialists are responsible for all the evils in the world. Scientists are buddies with socialists.”

    You missed the point again.

    I follow the Markets and Economics closely. I have a note book with those who to believe and those not to believe. I just didn’t realize that I should have started at the back of the book with those to listen to,

  201. Thomas H.

    Sigh.

    Time to block further comments, Chris and Sheril. ehmoran’s trying realllllly hard to take it to the No-No Zone. Again.

  202. Busiturtle

    I disagree with ehmoran’s generalizations and do not find them productive

  203. Julie

    My profession is to help people understand the Natural World so they may live better lives, that included the understanding of philosophy, economics, spirituality, experiences I’ve gone through to help them avoid my mistakes, my education.

    Remember what good science did in the 30’s. Espoused Scientific Facts resulted in the incineration of nearly 5 million people……

    No, you’re just trying to link your opponents to genocidal mass murderers. That’s a massive debate cop-out….and, as a pretty blatant ad hominem, a direct violation of the comments policy.

    We’re already treading on some very, very thin ice here. I wouldn’t try to tempt the fates.

  204. Seminatrix

    Remember what good science did in the 30’s. Espoused Scientific Facts resulted in the incineration of nearly 5 million people……

    How exactly did this morph into a National Tea Party rally?

  205. ehmoran

    Busiturtle and all,

    Well, when your bellies are touching your backbones, then you’ll realize…….. but it may be too late by then.

    No one will be protected. All the info and history is out there and history surely repeats itself, unless stopped, and usually, by just a few. That’s a given.

    Remember Greece, California, Peru, Brazil, the Lost Decade of Japan, etc., etc.

    Good Luck

  206. Busiturtle

    Hopefully back on topic: This is what concerns me:

    There appears to be several different standards of science. For example, with physics there is a well established protocol that demands theory be backed by repeatable and independently reproducible experimental results. By this protocol one is able to claim the phenomenon is governed by law. The consequence being that society is able to embrace the scientific discovery with confidence. The telegraph, telephone and television, E=mc2, the transistor, computers, communication satellites and so on. The operation of each of these discoveries was not based on hope or hypothesis but on the harnessing of a theoretically demonstrated and experimentally verified physical law.

    Then there are the life sciences. Here the standard is a well regulated (FDA) process whereby medical treatments are proposed and the outcomes analyzed. In the case of drug therapies the science demands that observations be conducted as double blind tests so as to not allow the bias of the observers to contaminate the results. The successful outcome of life science research being the discovery of a treatment that demonstrates a high probability of being efficacious with a low probability of harmful side-effects.

    Earth science has a whole different standard. One reason may be that geophysical processes take so much longer to play out. As a consequence models play a significant role in both the building of theory and in the validation. Another twist is that engineering plays a more prevalent role. By this I mean that the outcome of a geoscience discovery is usually the engineering of a work-around (ie earthquake resistant buildings or horizontal drilling) and not the manipulation of the phenomenon itself. An inescapable aspect of engineering being that the economic benefits of the implementation are compared against the costs.

    It appears to me that global warming science is trying to take a geophysical observation and treat it as a physical law but climate scientists do not want to live up to the standard demanded of physics research. If the phenomenon of AGW is to qualify as a physical law there must be reproducible and independently verified experiments proving this. Yet even the leading global scientist confess uncertainty that this can ever be done. What we have are models and datasets that that advocates of AGW have prepared themselves (no double blind protections whatsoever)

    If AGW was treated as an engineering problem than we, as a society, could have an honest debate of the costs and benefits of a solution. By treating AGW as a law this debate has been shortchanged. We are left in a no mans land where proponents are defending unsustainable claims, opponents are distrustful and lawyers, rather than scientists, will have the final say.

  207. ehmoran

    Busiturtle,

    Very, very well said…..

  208. ehmoran

    One problem I see is that we actually know very little about Planet processes. We have nearly 100 years of fairly accurate but sparse data.

    That equates to about, what, lets go back to the Jurassic, 1.5 e-6 knowledge of Earths Climatic patterns and cycles.

    Not sure if that grade would give you an F in College. You surely wouldn’t pass Engineering by retaining that amount of knowledge taught to you.

    And in Engineering, a profession on a completely higher level than Natural Science, the cost-benefit analysis with those numbers would demand much more additional understanding of the system.

    A lot of people on this Earth are depending on a proper decision, meaning, their lives will depend on this.

    Nevertheless, a warmer globe would increase growing degree days and advance agriculture to the northern zones. All would increase food production which, I believe, is our biggest problem, though very little stated.

  209. ehmoran

    One thing is certain. The Earth will repair from whatever man could do, even with a Nuclear Holocaust, whether were here of not. Always does.

    Our main concern is each other. But from blog events, I’m not sure that’s possible……

    And I’m not sure whether the Earth really cares. Look at Katrina, 1904 SF, 1964 Anchorage, Earth pretty much did as she pleased?

    But in our arrogance, we’ll continue to try to CONTROL nature, as many do to each other…..

  210. ehmoran

    One of the reasons behind catastrophic event anomalies is not so much that the intensities are increasing, but that we have more people living in dangerous areas. This, however, is rarely point out.

    When told to “get the heck out”, what happens, people stay and refuse to believe the unacceptable. And if the worst occurs, “the Government will bail us out” or its their fault. Gotta blame someone….

  211. ehmoran

    And, while all these Climate guys (and many others) are getting big grants to do what, lose data, sit in offices and thorough insults at and demean others?

    How many wells or desalination plants would be constructed to help feed those starving kids in Africa?

    Think our priorities have gone somewhat eschew?

    So, I don’t really buy the statement: “We need to be concerned about the NEXT generation”.

    Who’s next generation?

  212. moptop

    Pilip Jr and Bilbo,

    There is an old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Make of that what you will, but obtuseness at some point loses its charm.

  213. Chris Mooney

    This thread seems long enough to me. There will be another on global warming soon.
    CM

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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

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