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Global Warming: The Way Science Works.

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You may not realize it but we are getting a good lesson about the way science works, or at least should work. The lesson involves an independent study of planetary temperature data designed to examine some of the global warming skeptic's concerns about the nature of the data used in previous studies on climate change. The new study was conducted by a group of scientists involved in a project called BEST- the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study.

Some of the study's conclusions include the following:

  1. The heat island effect in urban areas is not biasing the estimates of land surface temperature.
  2. Poor quality weather stations are also not biasing the global estimates of land surface temperature.
  3. Adding more temperature data gives results that are consistent with those in previous studies.
  4. The best fit to to the data-(BEST did not use traditional climate models but a correlational approach) are a model that combines volcanic activity (the effect by the way is to cool climate) and carbon dioxide concentration. Variation in solar input is NOT an explanatory factor in current climate trends.

The BEST group has submitted their analysis and results for publication and what is really admirable have opened up their data sets and analytical methods to public scrutiny. The study by the way was funded in part by the Charles Koch foundation.

Now it easy to say well we knew a lot of this stuff from current work-but an important aspect of science is the confirmatory aspect of science- it's what should enable us to gain confidence in our ideas-while others fall by the way side as not tenable. I don't expect these results to convince every one and they may also be flawed in ways that aren't immediately obvious. But maybe they will nudge the scientific and political debate to where we can have a serious talk about how to deal with global warming.

The BEST Website is at http://berkeleyearth.org/

There is also an interesting commentary from the study's principle investigator who has changed his mind and global warming and it's causes based on the results of the study.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

Comments

Poptech 2 years, 4 months ago

Muller was never a skeptic,

http://www.populartechnology.net/2012/06/truth-about-richard-muller.html

"I was never a skeptic" - Richard Muller, 2011

"If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion - which he does, but he’s very effective at it - then let him fly any plane he wants." - Richard Muller, 2008

"There is a consensus that global warming is real. ...it’s going to get much, much worse." - Richard Muller, 2008

"Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate." - Richard Muller, 2003

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the insight. Of course maybe he is using a different definition of skeptic from what the media use. Read on to the paragraph after the one ypu partially quote:

Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate. I would love to believe that the results of Mann et al. are correct, and that the last few years have been the warmest in a millennium.

"Love to believe? My own words make me shudder. They trigger my scientist's instinct for caution. When a conclusion is attractive, I am tempted to lower my standards, to do shoddy work. But that is not the way to truth. When the conclusions are attractive, we must be extra cautious. "

You might also check out the NYTimes article where he takes quite a skeptical stance to the relationship between recent weather events and global warming.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

Paul, It's worth noting that the Muller article was published on the Op-Ed piece and was not a peer reviewed scientific paper. As such, neither it nor the BEST website are very good examples of how science works. There has been some relevant discussion of this here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/so-called-blockbuster-climate-change-studies-prove-little/2012/07/30/gJQAZZNMKX_blog.html

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Of course the Op-Ed piece is not peer reviewed. Plus according to Anthony Watts, the BEST papers have been though one peer review cycle. Here is the comments of one reviewer on Wattsupwiththat:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/why-the-best-papers-failed-to-pass-peer-review/

Presumably this is a situation where the papers were sent back to the BEST authors for revision. where One would hope that the BEST people are not trying to foist papers that don't pass peer review on the public.

Meanwhile of course Dr. Watts and his group are not above getting a little pre-peer review publicity either:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/

And over at RealClimate we find this reaction to the BEST papers: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/10/berkeley-earthquake-called-off/

"If the Berkeley results are newsworthy, it is only because Muller had been perceived as an outsider (driven in part by trash-talking about other scientists), and has taken money from the infamous Koch brothers. People acting against expectation (“Man bites dog”) is always better news than the converse, something that Muller’s PR effort has exploited to the max. It does take some integrity to admit getting the same answer as those they had criticized, despite their preconceptions and the preconceptions of their funders. "

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

I do find it a bit strange that the Journal of Geophysical Research would solicit a review from an economist - seems fishy. Also, it is generally considered really bad form for a referee to self identify and discuss the issues in a particular paper in public in the context of the ongoing (or completed for that matter) review process.

Also, preposting of a paper prior to the completion of the peer review process is rather common in physics - there is a very popular archive (arXiv.org) for this purpose.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

Muller has done something interesting. On the one hand, he has made public the research that his team has done prior to the normal vetting process. To some, that looks like a publicity stunt. On the other hand, research papers usually benefit from being thrashed by reviewers (prior to publication); so, one could also look at this as a sort of 'open' review, which, in theory, might result in the work being hammered into a very solid piece before it makes it into the permanent record.

I think Paul is correct in the main that, when faced with evidence, skeptics, and not deniers, will change their minds.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

Muller is one man, who, because he expressed doubts about human induced climate change, was a person denialists rallied around. The fact that he has come around to the consensus conclusion of the vast majority of climatologists is a mildly interesting historical footnote to the much, much larger issue of all of the changes that are occurring to our planet as a result of the release of those greenhouse gases: sea level rise, increased water vapor resulting in more flooding and extreme weather events, melting of glaciers and polar ice, ocean acidification and the concomitant stresses all of these things place on the planet's biodiversity, on human settlement patterns, on our economy, etc. It is time for us to expect more from our government officials in terms of both trying to limit the increases in emissions and in terms of preparing for the inevitable changes that are going to happen from the emissions already present in the atmosphere. The longer we wait, the higher price we pay.

This is the conversation that needs to be taking place.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

tsk, tsk...such a short memory you have, Liberty. We covered this ground already several months ago when you last trotted out that bad journalism article:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/mar/23/energy-priorities/#c1998338

Can't stop bad journalism from saying something that neither Gore nor the COP 15 paper he introduced said, but I can challenge you bringing that bad journalism article up over and over, especially since it has been pointed out to you that it's simply not true.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

Huh? Obviously you didn't re-read the COP 15 article I provided you, which says that the predictions indicate nearly ice-free Arctic summers "within this century, some within 30 years" instead of the journalistic misquote of 2014 you cite. This is the paper that your article cites, and I've pointed this out to you before. Clearly it is you that seems incapable of learning or providing real evidence to the contrary. I'm all ears--please give me a real source, please.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

You say "au contraire" but leave it at that, with nothing to back you up. I, in contrast, have given you a peer reviewed article that was the source for your 2009 article, written by experts in the field, which shows that there was no such "2014" statement. If you have evidence to the contrary that clearly shows that such a statement was made somewhere in the document, then by all means, produce your evidence.

Otherwise, you continue to excel at making blustery charges with nothing to back you up.

And concerning "climate hysteria videos from the 1990s and early 2000s," firstly, I stick to peer reviewed journal articles by established climatologists for my sources, and if you are truly interested in their predictions from that time frame, I would be happy to provide them for you. They will show: 1) predictions that on the whole are quite conservative which, with time, UNDERestimated the problems that face us; and 2) an ever-increasing consensus occurring in the community over that time that this is a real phenomenon and that it is being triggered by human activities that emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

Please let me know if you would like to see a sampling of these vetted, peer reviewed scientific papers.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

So you are presumably planting your tongue firmly in cheek, right? By saying that the climatological community has been very conservative in their conclusions, and that that the incoming data forces them to upgrade the severity of the problem, your conclusion is that they are lying and exaggerating because they undershot the severity of the problem???? It's actually exactly the opposite, of course. Scientists are always willing to revise their models based on the data, and the climatological community has had to upgrade the speed of melting of sea ice in the Arctic, they have had to upgrade their estimates of what the impacts across the board will be with a 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures, etc. If the data showed a DECREASE in the impacts of greenhouse gases on the planetary climate, sea acidity and levels, then they would also revise their models accordingly. Alas, this has not been needed.

So I'll throw out to you the same challenge I gave Liberty275 below: why not provide a single model and source that 1) provides an explanation that climate is either not changing or 2) provides a more convincing mechanism other than the greenhouse gases that account for all of the changes occurring in global temps, sea levels, sea ice, ocean acidification, extreme weather frequency, and land based ice sheets. Please note that the current climatological models that point the finger at greenhouse gases also incorporate the forcings and feedback mechanisms of solar irradiance, the Milankovich cycle, water vapor and volcanism.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

You really have an interesting twist on reality, I gotta admit. The AP story just misquoted the publicly available document that Al Gore introduced at COP 15, which I provided you a link to. The COP 15 paper never mentioned the Arctic being ice free in 5 years, rather it said that the latest projections indicate the possibility of a largely ice-free Arctic summer ""within this century, some within 30 years."

Your "lie and hoax" spin on this misquote is entirely yours. I refuse to publicly speculate on why you have such a hard time understanding this. I do know that this line of discussion is completely tangential to the real issues facing humanity over the certainty of climate change and since you seem incapable of answering my challenge to you to provide a more believable, credible theory than the one developed by the mainstream climatological community to explain the phenomena, then I will simply ask you what humanity should be developing in the next 50 or 100 years.

melott 2 years, 4 months ago

No. There is no concensus. This is one view. Did you see the word "may"?

Mike Ford 2 years, 4 months ago

listen as the hayseeds attack science (yawn).......

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

CO2 is likely not the major cause of the global warming trend over the last one hundred sixty years we have been able to take reasonably accurate measurements of so-called global average temperature. Even if carbon dioxide was the cause, there isn’t much we could do about it. Manmade CO2 accounts for a very tiny percentage of atmospheric CO2. (<.04%). There is a much stronger correlation between solar output and global temperatures.

The Ocean is the single biggest source of CO2 on planet Earth, because it has the largest biomass. The Oceans outgas 200 times more CO2 per year than humans do.

The Global Warming Scam artists say humans produce 6.5 billion tons of CO2 every year, but they never mention that the Earth's atmosphere weighs 6.9 Quadrillion tons. Do the Math, it takes one million billions to make one Quadrillion. Which mean's man's contribution to the 380ppm is less than 1ppm (Parts Per Million) in our atmosphere.

Water Vapor makes up 40,000ppm (Parts per million) in our atmosphere, where CO2 only makes up 380ppm, which means water vapor is more than 100 times the concentration in our atmosphere. And if you factor in the fact that water vapor has 7 absorption bands in the Infrared spectrum, and CO2 only has 3, and 2.5 of those 3 are being over run by water vapor absorption bands, leaving CO2 with only 1/2 of one absorption band as its only contribution to warming. This makes water vapor 270 times the greenhouse gas of what CO2 is. How come there is no attempt to remove water vapor from the Earth's atmosphere?

There is not a scientific consensus that man is the primary cause of global warming. A group of over 140 scientists and researchers recently gathered at the IPCC to sign a declaration stating that there is no convincing evidence to suggest that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity cause climate change and called upon world leaders to abandon all efforts to reduce emissions. Over 31,000 scientists have signed a petition stating that there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gases activity is causing global warming.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

Puh-leeze: why don't you include your sources so we can properly shoot them down? Here's a link to re-hash the rebuttal to your similar post back in April--let me know if I missed any: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/apr...

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

Becuase providing citations on this blog always devolves into a Red Herring debate about the relative merit of the sources. Read what I wrote and prove me wrong.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Sorry tbaker that doesn't cut it. Sources please?

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

I'll make it simple, t, since you seem so afraid to provide reliable sources for your assertions: why not provide a single model and source that 1) provides an explanation that climate is either not changing or 2) provides a more convincing mechanism other than the greenhouse gases that account for all of the changes occurring in global temps, sea levels, sea ice, ocean acidification, extreme weather frequency, and land based ice sheets. Please note that the climatological models that point the finger at greenhouse gases also incorporate the forcings and feedback mechanisms of solar irradiance, the Milankovich cycle, water vapor and volcanism.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

You know it would help if people didn't flat out make stuff up.

CO2 concentration has increased from about 310 ppm in 1960 to about 390 ppm today, this is an increase of 25% in 50 years, most of which is provably attributable to human sources by analyzing isotopic ratios and estimating the amount of fossil fuels being burned. A far cry from the <0.04% number that you make up with misleading mathematics - in that you are comparing the amount of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere with the total atmosphere, not with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere as you claim in your first paragraph.

Also, yes it is true that H2O is a largest contribution to the so-called greenhouse effect (the difference between the temperature of the Earth with and without atmosphere) - most analyses put it at about 60-70% of the total warming, with CO2, methane and a few others comprising the rest (not the 99% figure that you are using); however, its concentration is more or less fixed by its equilibrium with liquid surface water, therefore its contribution to climate change is only a second-order effect.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

CO2 at 390ppm is still a tiny insignificant fraction of what water vapor is, and as I have demonstrated, if greenhouse warming is what is supposedly causing global warming, then you need to find something other than CO2 to blame it on becuase CO2 concentrations are nothing even close to the levels needed to produce the effects the alarmists claim it is producing.Of course debunking CO2 as a cause for global warming is a diasater for the alarmists becuase regulating it is how you control human behavior, which is the real goal.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, but that is complete BS, that has been debunked time and time again. You haven't demonstrated anything but your lack of grasp of the current scientific literature. Again, yes it is true that water vapor is the largest contribution to the greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect, the Earth's temperature would average about -18ºC, as opposed to the +14ºC it is currently. That is a 32ºC difference. Most of that is due to water vapor. However, the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere is a constant depending on temperature because of liquid-vapor equilibrium. CO2 (and other gases, such as methane) are not controlled in similar ways (there is a CO2 equilibrium with ocean CO2, but that is a relatively slow process), so they are the only ones that can generate what we view as climate change to first order.

Either you are just incredibly ignorant of the science or willing to lie to support your political goals. Either one is not very flattering.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

Either you are just incredibly ignorant of the science or willing to lie to support your political goals. Either one is not very flattering.

Describing yourself.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

I made a legitimate attempt to rebut the issues in your last post. You made no attempt to argue the issues that I raised, just tried to change the subject with a shower of other issues that were not directly related to the points that I raised. Basically, you can't rebut them and just have to try to move on to other things and overwhelm people with basically intellectual spam. When I debate an issue like this - for example the falsehoods you raised in your previous post - I actually look into it myself and give you a non-plagiarized answer, which takes time. If you are not going to do the same, this is a waste of my time.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

Exactly what I have I lied about or got incorrectly in my post. I stated specifically the falsehoods in your post with specific scientific data. If you disagree, please elaborate in your own words, not simply by cutting and pasting.

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

Why should I care what a journalist, who is not a scientist, thinks about this?

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

If global warming is so true, why would the IPCC make up about half of their supporting data? http://www.ihatethemedia.com/

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

There are vastly more scientists that would disagree with the statement than those that are listed here, so if numbers were all that mattered, then the debate would be settled in my favor. However, science is not done by petition, so this is meaningless.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

So these guys who say it's all about solar cycles and the Earth really hasn't been getting warmer are wrong too? http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2012/solar-output-research

boltzmann 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think you must of read this. It hardly makes your case.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes and the 0.04% you cite is really the approximate total concentration of carbon dioxide in the the troposphere, NOT, the percentage of carbon dioxide due to human activity. Also your outgassing issue from the ocean is only part of the story since the oceans also take up carbon dioxide in a number of different ways. No one denies the importance of water vapor in the atmosphere but the magnitudes you cite are not the issue. What is the issue is effect of adding more carbon dioxide or other green house gas to the heat balance of the planet, not to mention other possible effects such as ocean acidification.

You might check out some of the resources over at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

or perhaps this site: http://www.climate.gov/#understandingClimate

Of course you won't since for what ever reason you have your mind made up that global warming is some sort of vast scam that has been operating perhaps since the middle part of the 19th century when people began to think about how our use of fossil fuels might effect climate. Here is an interesting article about this from 1959:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=carbon-dioxide-and-climate

Some of the explanations are a bit simplified but the comments about IR absorption by carbon dioxide vs water are worth reading. Do you really think that these issues have NOT been investigated before now?

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

"The Ocean is the single biggest source of CO2 on planet Earth, because it has the largest biomass. The Oceans outgas 200 times more CO2 per year than humans do."

Well, for starters, the amount of CO2 in the ocean is increasing. It is absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. There is well-understood chemistry that explains this. So, why you would believe that the extra CO2 in the air since the industrial revolution is a result of outgassing of the ocean?

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

Was that the petition that many of the signers said they had not in fact signed it?

Hudson Luce 2 years, 4 months ago

Arthur Robinson is hardly "a farmer in Oregon". Here's his credentials: PhD, Chemistry, University of California at San Diego. Founded Institute for Orthomolecular Chemistry with Linus Pauling. Arthur Robinson authored the Molecular Clocks: Deamidation of Asparaginyl and Glutaminyl Residues in Peptides and Proteins paper, Robinson, AB; McKerrow, JH; Cary, P (1970). "Controlled deamidation of peptides and proteins: an experimental hazard and a possible biological timer.". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 66 (3): 753–7, which includes a review of the scientific literature on deamidation. Robinson and coworkers formulated the amide molecular clock hypothesis in 1970.

That being said, he's still out to lunch on the topic of anthropogenic global warming, which is clearly outside of his field of expertise; his only paper on the subject was self-published in a non-peer-reviewed journal which he himself produces.

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

The deniers will keep denying no matter what proof is presented. Futile to argue.

We are fouling our earth with all sorts of pollution---can anyone deny that?

Even if there is doubt that global climate change is happening because of human input or we don't know what percentage is caused by humans, wouldn't it be better to try to clean things up now and live cleaner and more efficient lives, putting less stress on nonrenewable resources, than to wait until it might be too late?

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Now that is the interesting thing...what you suggest is prudence. And it helps that there are other sound reasons besides climate change to do the sorts of things you recommend.

Carmalee Winebrinner 2 years, 4 months ago

The deniers won't believe it until Florida and the island of Manhattan are underwater.

Hey, maybe that will get rid of our Wall Street problem!

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

So when flawed "proof" is offered to a group, and that group sees it for what it is, they are to called "Deniers?" What does that make the other group of people? What do we call people who put forth bogus science that doesn't even pass the common sense test. What do we call them?

What do we call someone who is all in favor of doing things in a cleaner, more environmentally friendly way becuase everyone they care about has to drink the water, breathe the air, and eat the food that comes from our Earth, but is not going to fall for a baseless hoax cleverly designed toincrease government control of our lives.

One of the founders of the Global Warming alarmism [James Lovelock] recently said; “Who knows? Everybody might be wrong. I may be wrong." He continued...”The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened,” Lovelock said. “The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time... it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising….”

All this came from an MSNBC article. Theres a citation for ya Doug County.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

You may or may not know that Lovelock, for better or worse, is an independent scientist who works with very little collaboration with the climatological community. His alarmist book was not ever accepted by very much of the mainstream climatological community for the same reason they don't accept the denialist camp pronouncements, which is that the data simply didn't justify the conclusions that were being put out. It is no surprise that he has since recanted, any more than anyone should be surprised that Muller is recanting his earlier scepticism.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Well you should read the article carefully. Lovelock is skeptical of his own previously made extreme predictions but note what he says:

Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”

He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role.

“It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age,” he said.

From my perspective that is a perfectly legitimate stance-he is absolutely right we don't understand the role of the oceans very well. I'd say his perspective isn't that much different than mine.

This of course does not get at your sources for the claims you made in your post. I reiterate:

Sources please.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

The study you mentioned in the article you cite concludes that since around 1980, the effects of solar output have become less important relative to the effects of human activity. Nothing new here.

There is a reasonable discussion of the role of solar output at: http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

and at:

http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html

Does solar output affect climate? Sure. Does it explain all or even most of the current bout of warming since 1980? Apparently not.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

How was it determined where the zero is and therefore what is anomalous.

All this globalwarmingclimatechangewhatever... and where are the hurricanes... in August. You'd figure all those warming seas would be spitting out lots of hurricanes.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Its August. The southeast should have been hit by one or two named storms by now.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

No, I mean where is the increase in general. We are supposed to be past the tipping point. The oceans are heating up. Why aren't we seeing more storms hitting the coasts? Year to year they come and go, but it doesn't seem we are seeing the FUD that global warming believes spread years ago.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 4 months ago

Once again, your sawed off shotgun approach to this discussion makes it hard to formulate any kind of intelligent response. Who said we passed what tipping point? I know of no self respecting climatologist who is saying that about methane release, about global temps, about acidification, or anything else that comes to mind. Are there potential tipping points out there to worry about? You bet there are. But with your broad brush statements, who knows which one you are referring to?

I think Paul's FAQ link answers many of your questions, but suffice it to say that El Nino typically increases wind shear across the Atlantic, which results in suppressed hurricane formation there. For more information, check out the following link: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensofaq.shtml#HURRICANES

Note how easy it is to copy and paste in a citation. You might consider trying it sometime.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Here is an FAQ about tropical storms and global warming from one of the experts in the field:

http://wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/anthro2.htm

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Good questions!

Maybe some one else has better answers for you:

Not sure where the hurricanes are. As for the zero point it looks like what is usually done is to average all the temperature records for your data set and then the anomalies represent deviations around that average. The idea is that if there is a trend toward increasing temperatures then as you move closer to the present then there ought to be more positive deviations closer to current time. If there is no trend then there ought to be roughly equal numbers of positive and negative anomalies.

There is a more detailed discussion here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cmb-faq/anomalies.php Looks like often anomalies are rescaled by the standard deviation of the data set around then mean temperature or whatever climate variable you are measuring: http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/dochelp/StatTutorial/Climatologies/ But I don't think this is done for many of the temperature graphs we see.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

That's a legitimate answer, but it then leads to the question "what is your dataset?" and why is you dataset not including every bit of the climate data we have access to through drilling ice cores and such. I can find datasets for 10,000 years and the graph above isn't really anomalous.

This is part of why I remain skeptical. I can choose a dataset that makes the above look flat.

Further, I also wonder what temperature should the world be? How many hurricanes should we have? Should it rain tomorrow? None of those can really be answered as there exist no absolute. At best, all the most ardent climate change believer can do is say "the climate is changing, we gotta stop (insert whatever they don't like here).

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Sure in fact we could go back to the Eocene maximum when things were much warmer than now (not recommended by the way..big snakes crocs etc) and include that. But what we are really interested are then temperatures that affect us NOW and what is causing the changes that we see NOW. Climate change after can have multiple causes operating on different time scales..right?

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

"But what we are really interested are then temperatures that affect us NOW and what is causing the changes that we see NOW. Climate change after can have multiple causes operating on different time scales..right?"

Climate change I suppose can be the result of any number of things. I'm still bothered by "But what we are really interested are then temperatures that affect us NOW". If it affects us one way or the other, how can we say that is good or bad? The climate wasn't made for humans, we evolved into it, and because of the way it has changed.

Also, your expert was interesting, but he isn't saying climate change is causing more hurricanes.

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

"If it affects us one way or the other, how can we say that is good or bad? The climate wasn't made for humans, we evolved into it, and because of the way it has changed."

Yes, we did, but that doesn't mean we can continue to adapt. Climate change may kill us off. Now if you consider that neutral, that's fine, but I rather consider humans being killed off a bad thing.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

Where the zero is does not really determine what is anomalous. Or rather, anomalous as you are using the word does not mean the same as anomaly. Anomalous as you are using it means what is unusual, but an anomaly, as used in temperature research, is just a difference from some baseline.

Let's say you take the average reading from some site over the lifetime of that site, and subtract that value from every reading at that site. You then have data that are the anomalies for that site. When you use anomalies in this way, you can do analysis between different sites without having to worry about site A being at a different latitude or altitude (and hence having a different mean temperature) from site B. This is useful because the results then become a function of changes over time rather than absolute readings.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Liberty,

I'm with verity on this one, given enough time we might be able to adapt to climate change but adaptation is costly whether we are talking about moving people from areas suceptible to flooding or modifying agricultural practices, or adaptation in an evolutionary sense. Our social and agricultural systens developed during a time of relatively stable and moderate climate. My undertanding is that it is the rapid change in the carbon dioide concentration and rapid climate change which is the issue rather than a particular temperature.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes. FWIW, my primary concern is that our agriculture is optimized for the climate that has existed for the last ~8,000 years. To me, a changing climate implies that our agricultural systems will become less optimized. That implies less food, or more expensive food. Population is rising rapidly, and it would be enough of a challenge to deal with increasing demand in a stable climate. I don't know what it will be like, but I'm thinking less food and more population is going to be unpleasant.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

I won't argue the philosophy of the two above posts. I'm a little more nihilistic, but I can appreciate your not being so.

As for more people and less food... Soylent Green can take care of that. :-)

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

"less food and more people is going to be unpleasant."

Award for understatement of the day.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

And...

The amount of energy Earth has received from the sun over the last 30 years has been level or slightly decreasing; meanwhile, the heat content of the planet has been increasing.

Is that what you wanted to tell us?

bendover61 2 years, 4 months ago

The graph is land temps. You missed 2/3 of the planet.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

The comparison is between other land temp records and Muller's. That is an apples-to-apples comparison. Comparing a land record to a land-ocean record would be an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Feel free to contact Dr Muller about creating a land-ocean record.

I think you will find that most people live on land and that is also where we grow most of our food.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 4 months ago

A short, technically oriented commentary on the recent activities of Muller and also Watts.

http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/much-ado-about-nothing/

George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

It is way past time to argue that the planet is not warming. It is time to argue about what to do about it. The imposition of selective political solutions without some overarching plan that states goals and establishes how meeting those goals will reverse/stop warming will remain very difficult to achieve. Until some sorts of goals are set that tie to remediation we will never be able to determine if we understand the problem well enough to be able to manage it in a politically acceptable way.

Politically it is a reach to ask people who have already taken a living expectation hit (2008) and who are going to be hit again to pay for previous largess (large and unsustainable debt) to now take another - perhaps one even more odious. It is another reach to color any such proposal with all dimensions of blame to support the expectations to be disproportionally met. I like the term confidence builders where not only do we set a goal (we have) but we specify what that goal will achieve. I can think of little more defeating of successful human corrective action than reaching a preset goal only to determine that nothing measurable has happened – except a number of people have been significantly impacted.

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

George,

Yes there are going to be costs and that presents a whole host of sticky problems For example economists generally seem to have a very different view of discounting future costs than many climate scientists have. Here is an interesting article that discusses this particular issue: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/59509/title/Math_Trek__Discounting_the_future_cost_of_climate_change

George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

Hi Paul,

I generally find all articles about future costs speculative at best. Whatever they are we must begin to pay them. Actually we have already made significant down payments. We have to manage those costs in ways that are perceived equitable by those participating (this is a Republic). To demand sacrifice without a means to identify the actual benefits of the sacrifice is a quick way to lose support. If the climate change advocates do not get it into their thick heads that continuing to argue about warming when a majority now accepts it is a waste. We need to argue about corrective actions and anticipated results. If we cannot then of course any road will get us there but whether anyone will join us along the way giving the pain with no visible gain. Gentlemen, the real work is still ahead!

Paul Decelles 2 years, 4 months ago

Except that there are plenty of politicians who don't get that we have a problem that needs attention regardless of party. Maybe if they thought the voters cared they would be forced to pay attention or lose their jobs.

George Lippencott 2 years, 4 months ago

Standing up and demanding more of spmeone's standard of living without clear statements of what that investment buys may be too much to ask of our current crop of politicans. Remember theyhave the unfunded promises to acount for already.

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