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Yet more nonsense on global warming

January 24th, 2006

There’s no longer any serious debate among climate scientists about either the reality of global warming or about the fact that its substantially caused by human activity, but, as 500+ comments on my previous post on this topic show, neither the judgement of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, nor the evidence that led them to that judgement, has had much effect on the denialists[1].

And the Australian media are doing a terrible job in covering the issue. I’ve seen at least half a dozen pieces this year claiming that the whole issue is a fraud cooked up by left-wing greenies, and January isn’t over yet.

The latest is from Peter Walsh in the Oz. Walsh is still banging on about the satellite data, and the Medieval Warm Period, suggesting that his reading, if any, in the last few years has been confined to publications emanating from the right-wing parallel universe. But that hasn’t stopped the Australian from running him, and a string of others.

If an issue like genetically modified food, or the dangers of mobile phones was treated in this way, with alarmist cranks being given hectares of column space, most of those who sympathise with Walsh would be outraged and rightly so.

Walsh does make one valid point however, saying. “If your case is immaculate, why feed lies into it?” To which, I can only respond, “If the cap fits …”

fn1. At this point, the term “sceptic” is no longer remotely applicable. Only dogmatic commitment to a long-held position (or an ideological or financial motive for distorting the evidence) can explain continued rejection of the evidence.

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  1. Terje Petersen
    February 20th, 2006 at 23:55 | #1

    Instead of knocking the models and the modellers, Willis & co. should be supporting efforts to improve the models.

    You can actually do both. A good model will withstand the knocking of critics. And the knocking of critics will usually make a poor model better so long as the owners of the model are open to refinement.

    To requote your quote:-

    Indeed, in the absence of any convincing direct evidence, concern over an enhanced greenhouse effect is based almost entirely on model predictions, the credibility of which must be largely judged on the ability of the models to simulate the present observed climate and its variability on seasonal, decadal and longer time scales.

    I think you will also find that this is the exact point that Willis has been making all through this discussion.

  2. Ken Miles
    February 21st, 2006 at 16:54 | #2

    Willis,

    Because I’m in a rush, I’ll make this quick and concentrate on the science in your post rather than scoring cheap points about your reliance on solar models or obvious previous stalling.

    The problem is this: we don’t know why the climate is stable. We know that it is stable, but we don’t know why. This is shown by the fact that, despite the sun’s heating up by about 30% in the last couple of billion years, the temperature of the earth has not gone up by 30%. Why not? Clearly, there is a limiting mechanism of some kind that has kept the earth’s temperature from rising.

    Your totally wrong here. 30% change in the sun’s output, does not equal a 30% change in temperature. This is elementary physics. Here is a big hint: Stefen’s law.

    You’ve also missed a very important piece of the puzzle. When the sun’s output was considerably lower, GHG concentrations were considerable higher. So basically, a cool sun was compensated for via an enhanced greenhouse effect.

    Your calculations on the maximum effect of warming is equally flawed. You have neglected to account for time lags and aerosol cooling – both of which will push your maximum warming much higher.

    In the meantime, our (poor) evidence and our (poor) understanding of the climate indicates that a doubling of CO2 is unlikely to cause even one degree of temperature increase … be still, my beating heart …

    Try not to mistake your poor understanding of climate with the scientific communities reasonable understanding of climate.

  3. Ken Miles
    February 21st, 2006 at 17:02 | #3

    James,

    Nice bait and switch, but you’re going to have to make it less obvious than that.

    I thought that we were arguing over whether or not one could perform an attribution study without a climate model, not whether or not was complicated. Next time, I’d suggest more huff and puff and then maybe I won’t notice that you’ve changed the topic.

    Or are you asking us to belive that it’s as simple as:

    Forcing (A) + Forcing (B) – Forcing (C)…. = global temperature.

    Actually, performing a calculation which isn’t too dissimilar to this will give a reasonable result. Why? Because x heat from source A has a similar effect to x heat from source B.

  4. Doug Wiseman
    February 27th, 2006 at 07:15 | #4

    I just happened onto your blog while Googling to assist my daughter in a weather related school assignment. I’m no expert and certainly not a scientist, but I did happen to just check the NOAA temperature for Chicago for a January date from 1959 to present. The average temperature has risen steadily and is now 4 degrees warmer. You can check it yourself using their interactive tool for any major weather station. Sure seems like warming to me. You guys can argue the academic arguments. Bottom line is, simple observation seems to validate the global warming theory.

  5. Graeme Bird says:
    February 27th, 2006 at 11:52 | #5

    Yeah. Terrific isn’t it. Cold Chicago getting warmer. A good thing.

  6. Terje Petersen
    February 27th, 2006 at 22:13 | #6

    Bottom line is, simple observation seems to validate the global warming theory.

    In Sydney today it was a lot cooler than yesterday. So it would seem that simple observation seems to invalidate the global warming theory. Or is simple observation perhaps somewhat limited in its relevance?

  7. Steve Munn
    February 27th, 2006 at 22:39 | #7

    You are right Terje. Not a very wise comment at all from Mr Wiseman.

    By the way, has anyone seen slick Willie lately? I hope we haven’t frightened him off.

    I was beginning to enjoy seeing Willie hang himself with his own tongue.

  8. April 4th, 2006 at 21:23 | #8

    Awsome,Number one and too good can describe your website precisely.

  9. Simonjm
    May 3rd, 2006 at 09:33 | #9

    Global Warming Differences Resolved
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060502/ap_on_sc/warming_temperatures

    Would any of the skeptics like to comment?
    Do you have any more straws to cling to?

  10. Hank Roberts
    May 4th, 2006 at 12:46 | #10

    The whole paper is available online and worth reading chapter by chapter before commenting. Note chapter authorship varies.

    References here along with an honest assessment that led to a re-assessment by one of the more thoughtful people who’s been unconvinced until now.

    Slow down, read carefully, don’t gloat. Science is hard.

    http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2006/05/global_warming_3.shtml#commentsfo

  11. Simonjm
    May 5th, 2006 at 13:16 | #11

    Not so much gloating as mocking.

    Yes science is hard but is made harder by those who want to go against the evidence and those best qualified to do it.

    In the context overwhelming tide of evidence any respect that could be given to the AGW recalcitrants is long gone.

    Esp when individuals from sites like the one you have posted tend to think that humans aren’t having an adverse impact on the environment and want to muddy the water instead of looking for solutions.

  12. Timo
    October 5th, 2006 at 19:33 | #12

    As many studies, historical documents and proxies has shown, there is no evidence of so called man-made-global warming. Climate has changed and will change continuously.

    I strongly critizise claimings that there’d have not been e.g Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age (MBH98 and Hansen’s latest claims). Hundreds of proxies show that there indeed was both MWP and LIA. This current warm period is still far behind warm peaks of Holocene and still behind MWP.

    I’ll take one study as example.

    “The Usa basin experienced a climatic optimum during the early Holocene. The onset of the Holocene appears to be at least as warm as at present. The summer temperatures have been at least 2 ºC higher between 10 500 and 10 000 cal. yr BP and possibly even ca. 3-4 ºC higher between 10 000 and 6300 cal. yr BP. The gradual cooling from Mid-Holocene towards present culminated at 2900 – 2100 cal. yr BP, when the lowest temperatures are inferred in the area.

    The mean July temperatures in Finnish Lapland have been ca. 2.5 ºC higher during the maximum extent of pine, between 8300 and 4000 cal. yr BP. According to the pine forest line-climate model, mean July temperatures ca. 0.5 ºC higher than at present prevailed during the Medieval Warm Period in Finnish Lapland. ”

    Source: “Holocene changes in treelines and climate from Ural Mountains to Finnish Lapland

    Seija Kultti” (Part 6 : “CONCLUTIONS”)

  13. Timo
    October 5th, 2006 at 19:43 | #13

    Sun activity has been very strong during the last 45 years especially. However the latest news given by Nasa and also Russian Academy of Science are telling something very interesting. Take a look at this:

    “May 10, 2006: The Sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has slowed to a record-low crawl, according to research by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. “It’s off the bottom of the charts,” he says. “This has important repercussions for future solar activity.”

    The Great Conveyor Belt is a massive circulating current of fire (hot plasma) within the Sun. It has two branches, north and south, each taking about 40 years to perform one complete circuit. Researchers believe the turning of the belt controls the sunspot cycle, and that’s why the slowdown is important.

    “Normally, the conveyor belt moves about 1 meter per second—walking pace,” says Hathaway. “That’s how it has been since the late 19th century.” In recent years, however, the belt has decelerated to 0.75 m/s in the north and 0.35 m/s in the south. “We’ve never seen speeds so low.”

    According to theory and observation, the speed of the belt foretells the intensity of sunspot activity ~20 years in the future. A slow belt means lower solar activity; a fast belt means stronger activity. The reasons for this are explained in the Science@NASA story Solar Storm Warning.

    “The slowdown we see now means that Solar Cycle 25, peaking around the year 2022, could be one of the weakest in centuries,” says Hathaway.

    Very week Cycle 25 means cooling temperatures from about 2012-2016. And especially in 2020′s. Question is: doesn it means cooling period for next generation?

  14. kelly
    November 9th, 2006 at 16:09 | #14

    how many homes and what will be the satistics of bussiness in Waikiki if sea level rises 3.6 feet and 20 meteres?

  15. rs
    May 17th, 2007 at 07:17 | #15

    Major greenhouse gasses, and their percent of the effect, and their radiative forcing in W/m² .

    Natural only
    Water Vapour 36-70% None-Feedback *@
    Ozone 3-7% In troposphere .375 *

    Manmade also
    Carbon Dioxide 9-26% 1.46
    Methane 4-9% .48

    Others – trace effects due to low concentrations – Forcing over 100 years
    Nitrous Oxide ? 300 times CO2
    Sulfer hexafluoride ? 22,000 times
    Hydrofluorocarbons ? Little or none afaik
    Perfluorocarbos ? 6200-9200 times
    Chlorofluorocarbons ? 6000-9800/kg

    Atmospheric gases that are not GHGs as they neither absorb nor emit infrared
    Nitrogen
    Oxygen

    Atmospheric Materials (Aerosols) with forcing
    Sulphates -0.2 to -0.8
    Black Carbon +0.1 to +0.4

    @ Water in solid form (clouds) is a major part of the climate, but obviously not a gas. You’ll often see the above stated this way: Water 90% of the greenhouse effect, CO2 8% and “others” 2%

    * The IPCC doesn’t consider water vapor to be in its list because the IPCC only lists gasses relevant to radiative forcing that are anthropogenic. We have no direct control over it, and it’s not a forcing. It is however a greenhouse gas (by definition) because it contributes to the greenhouse effect, the major portion. They also don’t list ozone, because it’s not anthropognic (even though it has a forcing).

    So the correct way to state this is something like:

    “Carbon Dioxide is the greenhouse gas with the highest radiative forcing and is also anthropogenic.”

    “Water vapour is the greenhouse gas that takes up the most volume and contributes the most to the greenhouse effect. It is not anthropogenic nor a forcing.”

    “Ozone is a greenhouse gas with a forcing, but it is not anthropogenic.”

  16. Jeff L.
    April 4th, 2008 at 01:41 | #16

    Wow, 2008 has been a bad year for you guys!

    Artic ice is the thickest it has ever been.
    Most snow ever on the North American continent.
    2000 ocean buoys show declining ocean temps.
    Scientists has shown that global warming stopped 10 years ago.
    Dr. Roy Spence (a real global warming scientist) at Univ. Alabama theory’s about the cooling affect dominating are begining to get recognized.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23411799-7583,00.html

    Everyone knows the temperature is dominated by the SUN not SUVs!

  17. jquiggin
    April 4th, 2008 at 12:09 | #17

    Since you’re new, you get a free response on your first point Arctic could be ice-free in a year: scientist.

    Your score: 0 with no points deducted for misspellings

    Thanks for playing!

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