Dueling Hypotheses

The Trenberth article contains so many glaring errors and biased assumptions, it’s hard to know where to start.

First of all, the difference between theory and hypothesis:

The problem is not with dueling hypotheses, it is with dueling theories regarding the processes resulting in observed global warming. One theory states: Observed global warming is the result of human greenhouse gas emissions. Another theory states: Observed global warming is not caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, but is a result of natural geophysical processes.

The statement, “Global warming is the result of human greenhouse gas emissions” is not an hypothesis, it is a proposition, or at best, a simple theory. A theory is an explanation of process based on a body of observation.

Hypotheses, on the other hand, are predictive “if…then” statements used to test a small subset of a theory as an adequate explanation of observations, thus either strengthening or weakening the theory. The results of an individual hypothesis never disprove a theory. A theory can only be weakened and eventually replaced by the accumulation of a body of evidence that contradicts the theories explanation of observations, and the formulation of a new theory that provides a more adequate explanation.

We can test the theory of anthropogenic global warming with the hypothesis: If observed global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, then we should find a positive correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise. This is weak test of the theory, since, if we find such a positive correlation, we merely confirm the existing theory. No new information is gained. If we fail to find the positive causal correlation, it may be because we just have not looked hard enough yet, or haven’t looked in the right places. The truth is still out there!

The null hypothesis would be stated as: If observed global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, then we should not find a negative correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise. This is a much stronger test of the hypothesis, since it only takes one instance of negative correlation to negate the hypothesis and weaken the theory as an explanation of observations.

This is the process of Science, the Hypothetico-deductive Method of Theory Confirmation.

Secondly, Trenberth repeatedly fails to make a distinction between Global Warming and Anthropogenic Global Warming. There is no question that the average global surface temperature of the Earth has been increasing steadily over the past 20,000 years or so, else, we would still be skirting glaciers on our daily commute. The question is: What is the contribution of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to this warming, and, what effect will reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gases have on this on-going global warming, if any?

Since we do not yet fully understand the natural geophysical processes that result in observed climate variations over geologic time periods, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for us to fully understand the contribution to global climate variation resulting from anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Wild predictions of future catastrophic weather events are simply science fiction prognostications with as much scientific validity as a Star Wars movie.

The periodic reports by the IPCC are not scientific documents, they are produced to give policy-makers estimations of the relevant probabilities of various climate scenarios, as an aid in preparation of national and international policies dealing with climate variation. These statements of probability have been inflated by the world press and by politicians anxious to make a name (and fortune) for themselves. Probability has been turned on its head into certainty and is being used by all manner of organizations and individuals to forward their individual agendae. Hyperinflated scare stories of sea level rise, catastrophic flooding, heat waves and droughts have been used to justify continued human growth and development in the face of dwindling natural resources and increasing air, water and soil pollution, all in the name of environmental justice.

At some point, increasing evidence of negative correlations between global average atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global average surface temperature will falsify the null hypothesis and greatly reduce the adequacy of the anthropogenic global warming theory as an explanation of observed global average surface temperature increase. Environmental organizations, politicians and science policy organizations will find they’ve hitched their wagons to a black hole. Their unceasing drum-beat for Anthropogenic Global Warming will ultimately discredit their otherwise worthwhile and necessary programs to reduce human pollution as a result of unrestricted human population and economic growth.

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About Michael A. Lewis, Ph.D.

archaeologist, anarchist, anthropologist
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137 Responses to Dueling Hypotheses

  1. Dave says:

    That about sums it up!

  2. Mindert Eiting says:

    ‘… then we should not find a negative correlation..’. I don’t see why this is a stronger prediction as it only says that we should find a zero or positive correlation (or regression). The point is that correlation results from a compound of millions of factors including perhaps a CO2 forcing. A more fruitful question would be how strong the CO2 forcing is, compared with all the others (natural variability). Call it the strength of a signal. Consider the following answer. Non-zero strength implies that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is false. Since the latter is true, CO2 forcing must be zero. This is quite simplistic of course, but you may understand what I mean.

  3. fredj says:

    “At some point, increasing evidence of negative correlations between global average atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global average surface temperature will falsify the null hypothesis and greatly reduce the adequacy of the anthropogenic global warming theory as an explanation of observed global average surface temperature increase”.

    There have been negative correlations of increasing CO2 with average annual global temperatures within recent decades but this has not convinced the AGW believers nor the policy makers. How many years of negative correlations will be needed to make them see sense?

  4. polistra says:

    “The null hypothesis would be stated as: If observed global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, then we should not find a negative correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise.”

    This is obviously wrong. A strong negative correlation tends to favor causation just as much as a strong positive correlation. (Neither proves, but both would lead us to favor the causation.)

    In this case the fact that disproves the attempted hypothesis is not a correlation as such, but a time-shift. Over the millenia, CO2 and temperature have some correlations, but in the periods where we can see the correlation, CO2 is the lagging variable.

    Phase and frequency are relevant here, correlation is not.

  5. KnR says:

    ‘Their unceasing drum-beat for Anthropogenic Global Warming will ultimately discredit their otherwise worthwhile and necessary programs to reduce human pollution as a result of unrestricted human population and economic growth.’

    And that is the reason that some people are so concerned about the miss-handling and miss-use of AGW, and oddly why some will defend the theory until death. As all eco-issue have become linked to AGW in the public mind , through the deliberate actions of WWF Greenpeace etc, should AGW fall the real danger is it takes everything else with it. After all why would you trust the same people and organisation on anything after they were caught out massively lying over AGW?

    Most people experiences of this issues has been the hectoring they been getting, the diet of doom they been feed and increases prices they had to pay, in its name.
    And they will not forget that in a hurry.

  6. Katherine says:

    Hyperinflated scare stories of sea level rise, catastrophic flooding, heat waves and droughts have been used to justify continued human growth and development in the face of dwindling natural resources and increasing air, water and soil pollution, all in the name of environmental justice.

    For some reason, I got the impression that the scare stories were being used to justify de-industrialization and de-development, not continued human growth and development. And while I won’t argue that air, water and soil pollution occur, I don’t think adding CO2 (the GHG Villain of the Decade) to the atmosphere counts as increasing air pollution.

  7. John Marshall says:

    Sounds to me that Dr. Trenberth is trying to cover his own back without actually acknowledging his crass errors in his theories. Theories they will remain.

  8. Peter O'Brien says:

    This comment may be off target here but I’m asking WUWT contributors to help me clarify my thoughts.
    I’m sure this has been debated before but I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so please correct me where necessary.
    What’s been occupying my mind, lately, is human contribution to global warming. I’m a CAGW sceptic. I do accept a human contribution, but, on balance, I don’t believe it’s significant.
    When I first started to seriously investigate something that seemed counter-intuitive to me, I came across the IPCC AR4 Summary for Policy Makers. It showed a number of very impressive ‘hockey stick’ graphs (at that stage I hadn’t yet learned the significance of the term ‘hockey stick’!), showing CO2 and temperature growth.
    One day, in my Internet perambulations, I noticed another ‘hockey stick’ graph. This was one graph that I believed. It showed human population growth, and looked remarkably like the IPCC graphs – indeed you could superimpose it seamlessly. What it showed is that, in 1950, world population was 1.5 billion people. Today, we are nearly 7 billion – more than FOUR times in ONLY SIXTY years.
    We sceptics talk a lot about Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI) – primarily as an artefact that is used to correct a highly artificial metric called ‘Annual Global Average Temperature’ (an artefact in itself). We talk about the reflective effect of tarmac and so on.
    But it seems to me that UHI is more than that. UHI has a reflective component and a generative component.
    If we talk about the temperature at the surface of the Earth, we needed to consider four things:
    Heat incoming from the Sun,
    Heat reflected from the Earth’s surface and associated feedbacks,
    Heat emanating from the Earth’s core, and
    Heat being generated at the surface.
    Accepting that all animals (human and otherwise) are in a closed CO2 atmospheric loop, and ignoring the ‘greenhouse effect’, we need to consider that what sets us apart as humans – indeed the essence of our humanity – is that, as opposed to animals that adapt to their environment, we change our environment to suit ourselves. This means, at the most basic level, that we do things to keep ourselves warm – we burn stuff and generate heat. As we advance we burn more stuff to make our food more palatable. Then we generate more heat to make things, like musical instruments, that we don’t really need for basic survival. Now we have automobiles and aircraft and TV to make our lives even more enjoyable. They all generate heat.
    THAT’S A LOT OF HEAT!
    Is it being considered in the IPCC models?

  9. Girma says:

    Michael Lewis

    “We can test the theory of anthropogenic global warming with the hypothesis: If observed global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, then we should find a positive correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise.”

    Let us do that!

    As shown in the following data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre:

    http://bit.ly/gIkojx

    1) Average consumption of fossil fuel per year from 1910 to 1940 was about 1 Billion metric tones

    2) Average consumption of fossil fuel per year from 1970 to 2000 was about 5 Billion metric tones (an increase by 5-times compared to the period from 1910 to 1940)

    b) As shown in the following data from the Climate Research Unit:

    http://bit.ly/bUZsBe

    1) Increase in global mean temperature from 1910 to 1940 was about 0.45 deg C

    2) Increase in global mean temperature from 1970 to 2000 was about 0.45 deg C (no increase compared to the period from 1910 to 1940)

    From the results above, the increase in human use of fossil fuels by 5-times has resulted in no change in the global mean temperature.

    As a result, the data contradicts the theory of man-made global warming.

  10. robertvdl says:

    IF if if if . The question is , would it be so bad for our Earth to be warmer than today when we know that in the past Earth nearly always has been warmer than today. I can´t imagine cooler would be better.

    Robert

  11. robertvdl says:

    “After all why would you trust the same people and organisation on anything after they were caught out massively lying over AGW? ”

    KnR
    January 16, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Because they are in power. Look at the economic crisis .The people that didn´t see it coming now tell us what to do to get out of it. You trust them? But don´t protest because then YOU get arrested not the real criminals.

  12. JER0ME says:

    Hyperinflated scare stories of sea level rise, catastrophic flooding, heat waves and droughts have been used to justify continued human growth and development in the face of dwindling natural resources and increasing air, water and soil pollution, all in the name of environmental justice.

    I think there should be some kind of negative in there. Something like “… have been used to justify halting human growth …”

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong, though.

  13. Mike Haseler says:

    First I think your distinction between theory and hypothesis (whilst in common use) is a bit like that between climate and weather — there is no real difference other than one or others tends to be used to cover phenomena in one or other area in a continuous range. Likewise theory and hypothesis really mean the same thing, but theory is used in a broader way than hypothesis.

    Still, this is an interesting article, because I’m right this moment struggling with the same lack of rigour in the area of “experimental” archaeology. The problems I have are:

    - many use “experiment” interchangeably with “try out” as in “experiment with a recipe”. The idea of controls, testability etc. are not even considered.
    - many archaeological “experiments” are neither intended to be scientific nor would they provide the same useful information if they were conducted that way. A good example is the way an archaeologist learnt to form glass vases and by learning the process they could determine that some features suggested as being an artistic choice by the ancients, were actually a natural limit to what could be achieved practically.
    - if archaeologists did use the “beyond all reasonable doubt” test of science, then most of history would consist of statements of this or that artefact having been discovered and no concept of how they were actually used less what society looked like.
    - finally, how can you apply the “scientific method” to history? History isn’t repeatable, and therefore is not testable – and often there is a very limited number of artefacts which cannot simply be destroyed for “science”.

    So, I have some sympathy with the climate “scientists” because in many ways they suffer from the same problems of archaeologists, (although archaeologists are honest and don’t call themselves “scientists”)

    - How do you conduct an “experiment” on the atmosphere to test whether CO2 leads to warming.
    -How do you have a control?
    -How do you make use of historic data from the past in “experiments” which cannot be repeated and where there is huge doubt about the validity of the measurements.

    The two share a very common theme, both archaeology and climate science struggle to be more rigorous in their approach and desperately wish to be “scientific” whilst simultaneously dealing with data/experiments which cannot be conducted in a scientific way due to the historic nature of data and the limited scope for meaningful testing of their hypothesis.

    There other common theme is that neither climate scientists nor “experimental” archaeologists seem to have a clue about even the basics of the scientific method.

  14. Mike Haseler says:

    Sorry — should have added that both archaeologists and climate scientists are being pushed to provide information “beyond the facts”. They both have a public pushing them to go further than the scientific method allows. It’s quite understandable why, but in both cases scientific rigour is sacrificed to allow some kind of answer (aka speculation) … except of course climate “scientists” claim their speculation is science!

  15. Bob Barker says:

    Katherine says:
    January 16, 2011 at 3:35 am

    I concur with Katherine’s question and comment.

    Politicians (and scientists?) should be careful what they classify as pollutants, especially if they intend to take action. Already the path to global warming mitigation is strewn with unintended consequences. Forcing inappropriate applications of natural gas, ethanol, CO2 sequestration, windmills, solar panels are producing negative consequences which overshadow any measureable positive result.

  16. RichieP says:

    JER0ME says:
    January 16, 2011 at 4:51 am
    “‘.. used to justify continued human growth and development in the face of dwindling natural resources ‘
    I think there should be some kind of negative in there. Something like “… have been used to justify halting human growth …””

    Yes, it does read as if there’s a word missing here, especially since the whole scam is designed to reduce growth and development, vilifying it rather than justifying it.

  17. Brad says:

    This is so extreme that it may finally be seen as such by other scientists, they may finally see that the Emperor has no clothes…time will tell.

  18. Spen says:

    A negative correlation between temperature and C02 concentration would not definitely rule out AGW. It could mean that the onset of natural cooling mechanisms masked the AGW effect. The corollary is that in periods of natural warming any greenhouse effect would amplify the effect.

    The stumbling block with determing the temperature effect attibutable to AGW is we do not know what the temperatures would have been had we not produced CO2 or hadn’t decimated the world’s forests. Model’s are not proof as they can be tweeked to represent the known historical conditions.

  19. W Abbott says:

    “…Their unceasing drum-beat for Anthropogenic Global Warming will ultimately discredit their otherwise worthwhile and necessary programs to reduce human pollution as a result of unrestricted human population and economic growth. “

    I hate to pick at your last sentence Professor Lewis. Your post is most helpful explaining the difference between hypothesis and theory. But…

    World population has grown at an unprecedented rate for the last 400 years. During that time pollution has been declining not increasing; in both absolute and per capita terms. Human control of natural destructive forces, such as fire and erosion, combined with an unceasing improvements in efficiencies of controlled combustion and in the handling and discharge of human generated waste streams – its really hard to argue that the world is “more” polluted today than 50 or 100 or 200 yeas ago. Yes, I know, only anthropogenic pollution counts. Uncontrolled wild fires don’t pollute and are not destructive.

    But look at just the anthropic-environment. Our urban and rural environments are dramatically cleaner and continually cleaner, worldwide. The long correlation between our cleaner environment and growth is unmistakable. If these “necessary and worthwhile programs” you advocate are aimed at reducing population/economic growth. I hope they are discredited. The sooner the better.

    If you mean the simple rules that have been in place for a long, long time; that you can’t dump your refuse in the commons. Don’t you worry – there is vigorous support for that type of regulation worldwide – and support and enforcement will only increase if population expands and more of us are showing up to use the commons.

  20. We already have a negative correlation, about 15 years so far of no statistically significant rise in global temperatures while CO2 concentrations continue to climb. If the next three decades resemble the predictions of Joe Bastardi & Piers Corbyn, temperatures will decline (Bastardi says to 1970s levels), while CO2 continues its relentless climb. We shall then have quite a window of negative correlation!

    Will it be enough?

  21. John R T says:

    Katherine, JERoME, and Bob Barker offer a correction.

    With that correction, I agree with this useful critique.

  22. Curiousgeorge says:

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

  23. Jimbo says:

    Hyperinflated scare stories of sea level rise, catastrophic flooding, heat waves and droughts have been used to justify continued human growth and development in the face of dwindling natural resources and increasing air, water and soil pollution, all in the name of environmental justice.

    I there a typo somwhere?

  24. Khwarizmi says:

    Hyperinflated scare stories of sea level rise, catastrophic flooding, heat waves and droughts have been used to justify continued human growth and development in the face of dwindling natural resources and increasing air, water and soil pollution, all in the name of environmental justice.

    Specifically, what resources are dwindling?

    ============
    We Must Preserve The Earth’s Dwindling Resources For My Five Children
    By Brenda Melford
    June 28, 2006

    As we move into the 21st century, it is our responsibility to think of the future of the earth—not for ourselves, but for those who will inherit what my husband and I leave behind when we’re gone.
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/we-must-preserve-the-earths-dwindling-resources-fo,11239/
    ============
    :-)

    The growing abundance of natural resources (Paul Ehrlich loses $1000 on a famous bet.)

  25. AJStrata says:

    While technically true, I think calling AGW a ‘theory’ gives it way too much credibility. And in fact, the previous theories surrounding the existence of Roman and Medieval Warming periods that IPCC ‘scientists’ attempted to debunk with shoddy tree ring data. In fact the recent divergence from the reality of modern temperature records proves the tree ring analysis was shoddy and ripe with uncertainty, therefore the IPCC hypothesis that the Roman and Medieval Warming Periods were lesser than today’s warm period were weak and proven wrong.

    Moreover, the IPCC and others did hypothesize that CO2 increases would lead to a myriad of results. One of which was a .3°C increase in global warming per decade – a hypothesis which has never come to pass. The others were sea level rises, increased hurricanes, droughts and the loss of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035.

    The fact is as you stated it – the Earth has been warming for many millennium, and recently for centuries since the Little Ice Age. What has the IPCC proven?

    Nothing except they don’t have the data and mathematical analysis to make any claims whatsoever. What we have learned since Climategate is the uncertainty in their past, current and future temperature records and analysis results dwarfs the claimed decadal and century rises. We know there is no way to determine a global average temperature index within a fraction of a degree even today, with the world surrounded by temperature sensors of various types and quality. The idea that the record of global temperature in 1850 is .15°C less accurate than today is mind boggling naive. I would suggest that kind of claim would require a person to return their PhD due to credibility abuse.

    If the current definitions of theory, hypothesis and simply wild eyed concept allow what the IPCC passes off as being tested and credible, then science needs to take back science and begin raising the bar back up again. The entire domain of global warming ‘science’ as applied by the IPCC and Al Gore is an affront to real scientific investigation and methods. Hiding a divergence in the data that proves a key proxy is incapable of accurately reflecting even local temps, let alone global ones seems to be a clear case of fraud in my book – and NASA’s.

    If that hidden data was engineering data predicting the strength of Shuttle tile or foam to hits by ice chunks, and it was later found out that someone covered up the portion of the data that showed in certain flight regimes there could be catastrophic damage, they would be fired and up on criminal charges.

    Since the data hidden by Mann, CRU, Jones, Briffa, et al was about the dangers of CO2 to humanity, it seems the potential impact on the world’s entire population verses a crew of 7 people would make the fraud even worse. But no – no one is looking at the cover up which created the Hockey Stick, which was supposedly proof there has NEVER been warming like this ever before.

    We now know all those claims to be false, since Mann, CRU and the IPCC have all had to walk them back in the face of real analysis and the discovery of the cover up of diverging tree ring data. Yet here we have the desperate AGW Klingons still peddling false and misleading claims. When will society hold them to the same standard as a TV commercial? When will society investigate these charlatans – after another 30 years of disproved hypotheses?

    The US Congress has an opportunity to correct this mess through fair and balanced and educational hearings. A lot of them. To bring the populace up to speed on the complexity of climate and the falsifying of data will take a long time.

    But it will be time well spent.

  26. Curiousgeorge says:

    @ Mike Haseler says:
    January 16, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Perhaps you would find this useful. This is a on-line preprint, the full book is available thru Amazon ( where else :) ):

    PROBABILITY THEORY:
    THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE
    by
    E. T. Jaynes (deceased )
    Wayman Crow Professor of Physics
    Washington University
    St. Louis, MO 63130, U.S.A.

    http://omega.albany.edu:8008/JaynesBook.html

  27. Olen says:

    Some are looking at the precession of the earth’s rotational axis and how it results in changes in the earth’s climate. That of course along with the sun and moon would be difficult to tax and a poor reason to turn corn into fuel and drive electric cars.

    If you ask me and no one has, it seems instead of predicting global disaster from climate which they can’t prove we should be thankful that we live in a time of relative good weather and take advantage of it. Of course you could not tax good weather to save the planet. Then at some time if and when there is proof of impending climate disaster the problem can be look at with calm deliberation rather than hysterical fanaticism.

    By hysterical fanaticism I am referring to politicians who are willing to destroy our economy and way of life based on claims not proven. Don’t get me wrong, research in climate is important and should continue but with the wheat separated from the chaff.

    As complex as weather and climate are nailing it to one thing such as CO2 resulting from man and the modern world seems to be a bit too convenient and too easy to tax.

  28. Suzanne says:

    There are other equally relevant null hypothesis in the AGW debate such as “High cosmic rays does not cause increased low cloudiness in the tropics” or “Rising CO2 in the atmosphere is not amplified by positive feedbacks. These null hypothesis are actually currently being tested. Also the statement “There is no question that the average global surface temperature of the Earth has been increasing steadily over the past 20,000 years or so, else, we would still be skirting glaciers on our daily commute.” is rather simplistic. The Greenland ice cores and multiple paleoclimatologic records show a slow, irregular cooling since the Holocene Optimum about 5,000 th 2,500 BC with good evidence that the “Minoan” Warm period”, Roman Warm Period, and Medieval Warm Period were warmer than the present. Some time in the future we may well be skirting glaciers.

  29. Ian L. McQueen says:

    Picky, picky, time…..

    “agendae” is a “false plural”. “Agenda” is already plural, the plural of “agendum”. There is more information than you really want to know about this at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/agendum

    I was remote from being a scholar in Latin, but some things stick in my mind.

    IanM

  30. James Barker says:

    Just a thought, but rather than trying to measure our possible contribution to GW in a percentage of CO2 concentration, compared to an unknown natural CO2 concentration, is there a way of estimating the human contribution in terms of waste heat generated, compared to natural heat generators? If all of human society in the last several thousand years could only generate the equivalent heat of say one volcano, then the entire argument would seem to be over. Am I just looking at the problem simplistically?

  31. James Sexton says:

    Peter O’Brien says:
    January 16, 2011 at 4:22 am

    “One day, in my Internet perambulations, I noticed another ‘hockey stick’ graph. This was one graph that I believed. It showed human population growth, and looked remarkably like the IPCC graphs – indeed you could superimpose it seamlessly. What it showed is that, in 1950, world population was 1.5 billion people. Today, we are nearly 7 billion – more than FOUR times in ONLY SIXTY years.”
    ========================================================

    Peter, I can’t help you with what direct effect our heat generation has on the global temps, but I think its rather transient and insignificant. A better perspective might be, in terms of global population, to understand that if we placed everybody in the world shoulder to shoulder, we’d all fit in the state of Texas with room left over. It is every bit as relevant as graphing CO2 in ppm.

    Peter, you’ve ambled across the pertinent graph in the whole CAGW discussion. You can indeed superimpose population graphs with hockeystick temp graphs. This isn’t accidental. From Ehrlich to Mann, the message is the same. Indeed, before Ehrlich, Malthus. And a litany of other characters before and aft. The underlying recurrent theme is that humanity is destructive and evil and harms the rest of the world. That, instead of being part of nature, we are an aberration of nature. Further, the solutions to the humanity difficulty is always destructive and harmful to humanity. It is always to control and regulate the very nature of mankind that is seen as a remedy for these perceived difficulties.

    Indeed, a recent speaker inadvertently let the cat out of the bag when he stated, “But there’s another kind of doubt that doesn’t rely on the vagaries of Mother Nature. It is manufactured by man, specifically by a small group of influential libertarians in the U.S. who have led a decades-long ideological fight, first against the communists and then the health community and now environmentalism.”

    They are all cut from the same cloth. They all seek the same thing. This is why your graphs are identical.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/Climate+change+deniers+skilfully+fuel+doubt/4114099/story.html

  32. Mike Haseler says:

    Curiousgeorge says: @ Mike Haseler says:

    Perhaps you would find this useful. This is a on-line preprint, the full book is available thru Amazon ( where else :) ):

    PROBABILITY THEORY:
    THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE

    Curiousgeorge, thanks, but that’s just a tad too simplistic for the problem I’m looking at. What you’ve got to consider is that there are many ways to derive knowledge or truth. When you have a problem suitable for the scientific method, then clearly the scientific method is to be recommended, but if the problem has more nebulous information and particularly when you need to use your experience as a human, you clearly have to use methodology from other areas such as the social “sciences” and/or politics. Take for example relationships — do you really think an approach of insisting on null hypothesis regarding your spouses new hair is going to “solve” the problem of a marriage?

    Where many people make a mistake (and climate “scientists” are notable for this) is to assume that science is ALWAYS the answer.

    Now there are subjects like archaeology, economics and perhaps social “sciences” which are close enough to real science to use many of the ideas of science to derive data etc., but are far enough into the more nebulous areas to have to combine the scientific technique with other tools for assessing validity of ideas – and that is my problem, how to meaningful combine the two without do the climate “science” trick of pretending to be science without doing real science.

    The problem I highlighted were areas like climate “science” and “experimental” archaeology which make some kind of claim to be “scientific” without fully endorsing the scientific method. All too often what you find is people calling what they do “science” — but when you check (as e.g. Trenberth reversal of the null hypothesis), you find they call what they do “science” but really they pay no head to the accepted methodology.

    Perhaps, what we need is to divide climate “science” into different areas: Climate measurement – the scientific measurement of climate; “climate forecasting” – the use of models to forecast climate – and the testing of the validity of models by their ability to forecast, and climate “policy” – which would be a less rigorous subject which allowed people to express their non-scientific views using the standards of politics and other akin subjects and would be an ideal place for people like Trenberth.

  33. Mats Bengtsson says:

    The article states:
    “The null hypothesis would be stated as: If observed global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, then we should not find a negative correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise. This is a much stronger test of the hypothesis, since it only takes one instance of negative correlation to negate the hypothesis and weaken the theory as an explanation of observations.”

    That is not the null hypothesis. But it could be a theory weakening evidence. It does not even differentiate between coordination and cause. My alarm clock rings every day close to the rise of the sun. There is a correlation that can be found. But the alarm clock is not the cause of the sun rising. There is a huge difference between correlation and causes.

    — Mats —

  34. jrwakefield says:

    Since one of the hypothesis of AGW is more heat waves, does this mean that the theory has been weakened?

    http://cdnsurfacetemps.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/more-heat-waves-expected/

  35. pat says:

    Dramatic Ocean Circulation Changes Caused a Colder Europe in the Past

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110114155336.htm

    “Dr Thornalley said: “These insights highlight just how dynamic and sensitive ocean circulation can be. Whilst the circulation of the modern ocean is probably much more stable than it was at the end of the last Ice Age, and therefore much less likely to undergo such dramatic changes, it is important that we keep developing our understanding of the climate system and how it responds when given a push.”

    I suppose that is the cookie thrown to the Warmists. But the story confirms otherwise.

  36. Mike Smith says:

    “… as a result of unrestricted human population and economic growth. ”

    Surely you do not mean to say that these things should be restricted.

  37. Excuse me for nit picking but the earth has not “been continuously warming for the last 20,000 years”. We had a very sharp warming ca 12,000 years ago, a sudden cooling (the Younger Dryas) and then a renewed warming to a max. ca 8000 years ago, and then a long cooling trend. COOLING for 8,000 or so years, punctuated with shorter warming/cooling cycles.
    If we compare the Holocene with the Eemian (the previous interglacial), we see that the Younger Dryas event blew a hole in what might have been an earlier and higher warming peak. Warming early, and then a long cooling until things tip into the next glacial period.

  38. Smokey says:

    While I agree over all with the article, there is some confusion regarding the terms “theory” and “hypothesis.”

    In general, a theory makes testable predictions, as in the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a testable conjecture. This article explains the diferences between a law, a theory, a hypothesis and a conjecture.

    Also, Mats Bengtsson is right. There is some confusion regarding the null hypothesis. The definition of a null hypothesis is “the statistical hypothesis that states that there are no differences between observed and expected data.”

    In another thread, Richard Courtney gave a good example of the null hypothesis, and why it is relevant:

    A scientist has to work within the scientific method. He/she does not have the luxury of changing the method because of any personal desire. And part of the scientific method is an acceptance of the nature and importance of the null hypothesis in any investigation.

    The null hypothesis is that in the absence of evidence of a change then it has to be assumed there has been no change.

    So, in the case of AGW, it has to be assumed that climate behaviour has not changed from previous climate behaviour unless and until there is evidence that climate behaviour has changed.

    There can be no compromise with this.

    The null hypothesis in AGW is that climate behaviour has not changed as a result of the anthropogenic emission of GHGs (i.e. following the industrial revolution) and it is the ONLY scientific assumption because there is no evidence – none, zilch, not any – evidence of such a change. If such evidence were produced then the null hypothesis would be disproved and there could be investigation of what caused the change. But unless and until such evidence exists there is not – and there cannot be – any scientific purpose in investigating the cause (perhaps AGW or something else) of a change which is not known to exist.

    Trenberth’s problem is that the planet’s temperature, the rate of change, trends, etc., are all well within the same parameters that existed throughout the Holocene.

    CO2 is like a placebo: some folks truly believe that it makes a difference – but there is no measurable difference compared to the climate prior to the industrial revolution. All the CO2 that has been added amounts to .o1% of the atmosphere. It’s not surprising that there has been no detectable difference with such a minuscule change.

    A common thread in the catastrophic AGW crowd is that they ignore the scientific method. Since Trenberth cannot falsify the null hypothesis, he now proposes to replace it with his own alternate hypothesis. But since there can be many alternate hypotheses to the null, Trenberth is simply engaging in scientific charlatanism.

  39. PJP says:

    @Peter O’Brien

    I have had similar thoughts.

    If you just think about the amount of electrical energy delivered every second of every day, a fraction of that goes into doing some form of work, moving something from here to there, shuffling electrons around inside computers etc. But the vast majority ends up as heat. Also consider that the generators themselves are only 50% (or so efficient), and an equal amount of heat is generated there (that’s why they have those huge cooling towers), then thee is the 30% or so “lost” in transmission … lost being a euphemism for turned into heat.

    Then we can start thinking about transport. Again, only a tiny proportion of the energy used goes into moving lumps of matter from A to B.

    Then there is the biological component. Every human being on the planet consumes food. The processing of the food generates heat. Ever notice how warm a room gets when filled with people and there is no AC?

    If someone had access to all the relevant data, I think we would find that heat islands are not just caused by the roads and buildings holding the day’s heat, but by the huge amounts of energy dumped into them by electricity, vehicles and people.

  40. Roger Otip says:

    The null hypothesis would be stated as: If observed global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, then we should not find a negative correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise.

    This would only be the case if one were suggesting that the warming over the past century were solely caused by human activity, but no one is suggesting that. The IPCC said most of the warming over the last 50 years is very likely due to human activity. There are of course other drivers of our planet’s climate, and these have been studied at length by climate scientists. They recognize that human activity (greenhouse gas emissions + changes in land use such as deforestation) is one of a number of drivers of temperature, though most climate scientists are of the opinion that human activity is the main driver of the recent warming due to the preponderance of evidence supporting this view.

  41. Roger Otip says:

    James Barker

    Just a thought, but rather than trying to measure our possible contribution to GW in a percentage of CO2 concentration, compared to an unknown natural CO2 concentration, is there a way of estimating the human contribution in terms of waste heat generated, compared to natural heat generators?

    It’s not our direct production of heat that’s the problem, rather it’s our production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane. Through estimates of the ratiative forcings of these compounds we can calculate the warming effect of our emissions.

  42. Curiousgeorge says:

    @ Mike Haseler says:
    January 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Mike, in the context of your post, Jaynes book may not be suitable re your area of interest, but I’d hardly call his work simplistic. Are you familiar with his work?

  43. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:

    A nice summation of the position apart from the last paragraph which is, in itself, an opinion, not an argument.

  44. dp says:

    Mark Haseler sed :
    “- if archaeologists did use the “beyond all reasonable doubt” test of science, then most of history would consist of statements of this or that artefact having been discovered and no concept of how they were actually used less what society looked like.”

    I would expect sociologists and anthropologists, not archeologists, to explain such things as what purpose has the red box and iron implements therein that was found in an underground chamber next to an apparently self-propelled chain-driven two-wheeled vehicle.

    I expect archeologists to map the locations of the findings and endeavor to place them on an historical timeline, and to associate them with other similar finds. Is that a wrong notion?

    I have similar old world views of climate science and climate scientists. They should tell us, in unbiased clarity, what they know, not what they believe, not what their models predict, and let society’s elected representatives work out a response.

  45. Roger Otip says:

    John Johnston

    about 15 years so far of no statistically significant rise in global temperatures while CO2 concentrations continue to climb.

    You appear to be misunderstanding Phil Jones’s use of the term “statistical significance”.

  46. In my essay “The Art of Controversy” (http://retreadresources.com/blog/?p=670) just posted on 15th I talk about Art Schopenhaur’s 19th century essay call The Art of Controversy. In it he list 38 ways or tricks (his words) to win an argument. We have all seen them before and many were learned in debating and speech perpetration course work. It is the art of sophistry and propaganda. We should not be the least bit surprised when an advocate for any side of any argument uses these techniques almost all going back to the invention of discourse. It is interesting to notice that believers seem not to notice when facts or reality is obfuscated, while nonbelievers pick every subtle point.

    The only true test is does the speaker remain true to his philosophical principals? Given the principals underlying the philosophy of science are being decimated, this fellow fails the test.

  47. R. Gates says:

    Interesting post, and it seems readers would do well to keep the these terms in mind:

    Conjecture, Hypothesis, Theory, Model:

    Conjecture: Simply an educated “guess” about the something. The key word is EDUCATED. It means the person or persons has the background of experience, education, and knowledge to make the conjecture. Many famous conjectures were based on intuition, and turned out to be true.

    Example: You CONJECTURE that your two new work associates, Bill and Sue, who are both single and like to ski, will end up dating.

    Hypothesis: An explanation of observable events based on measurement and data.

    Example: You see Bill & Sue (from the example above) at a bar in a dark corner laughing and having drinks and you make the HYPOTHESIS that they are dating.

    Theory: A explanation of a general phenomenon that has been throughly tested through observation, experiement and analysis and is ususally accepted by the majority of experts.

    Example: You see Bill & Sue kissing passionately in the parking lot and then she gives him and quick swat on the butt before winking and getting into her car and driving away so you THEORIZE that they are likely dating. You discuss this with other co-workers and they add their similar observations to yours and so the THEORY that Bill and Sue are dating is created. One co-worker had never seen the two of them together in a romantic way and disagrees with your THEORY.

    Model: A mathemetical or physical construct that represents the dynamics of some phenomenon or group of phenomenon. Models are based on established prinicipals, laws and observations. Models of non-chaotic systems will tend to be more reliable and accurate than models of chaotic systems, or systems existing on the edge of chaos, such as the climate. Models are constantly being refined with new observations.

    Example: One could create a mathmatical MODEL of Bill and Sue’s relationship, giving various values to variables such as attractiveness to each other, common interests, values, etc. and predict the liklihood that they would get together and how their relationship might progress. Similar kinds of MODELS actually exist, and are the basis of such web services such as match.com and eharmony.com.

    In general, a CONJECTURE can become a HYPOTHESIS, which can then become a THEORY. MODELS are independent of all of these and can exist at any stage, but tend to come in at the hypothesis stage and develop and change constantly.

    Let’s look at the history of the AGW Theory (at least some could argue it is now a theory)

    ______
    1859 – Tyndall first CONJECTURES that changes in GHG’s could bring about climate change.

    1896 – Arrhenius CONJECTURES that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 could warm the planet and publishes the first calculation for this effect.

    1897 – Chamberlin produces the first MODEL for global carbon exchange

    1938 – Callendar, using collected DATA, makes the first HYPOTHESIS that AGW is underway and is being caused by CO2.

    1956 – Phillips produces the first computer MODEL of the global atmosphere.

    1956 – Plass uses a MODEL to calculate that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will have signficant effects on the radiation balance.

    1958 – Keeling makes the first modern direct measurement of CO2 in the atmosphere at 315 ppm and begins making regular readings.

    1963 – It is first CONJECTURED that feedback with water vapor could make the climate much more sensitive to CO2 increases.

    1965 – Lorentz et. al., first CONJECTURE that the climate, being a chaotic system, could be subject to sudden shifts.

    1967 – Manabe and Wetherald make a mathematical MODEL that doubling CO2 would raise world temperatures a couple of degrees.

    1969 – Budyko and Sellers present MODELS of catastrophic ice-albedo feedbacks.

    1975 – Manabe et. al. produce complex computer MODELS which show a temperature rise of several degrees for doubled CO2.

    1979 – US National Academy of Sciences report finds the CONJECTURE that doubling CO2 will bring 1.5-4.5°C global warming to be highly credible.

    1981 – Several scientists CONJECTURE that the greenhouse warming “signal” should be visible by about the year 2000.

    1985 – Ramanathan and collaborators CONJECTURE that global warming may come twice as fast as expected, from rise of methane and other trace greenhouse gases.

    1990 -First IPCC report makes the HYPOTHESIS that the world has been warming from CO2 and future warming seems likely.

    1995 -Second IPCC report detects “signature” of human-caused greenhouse effect warming, declares and THEORIZES that serious warming is likely in the coming century.

    2001 -Third IPCC report states that anthropogenic global warming, unprecedented since end of last ice age, is “very likely,” and THEORIZES possible severe surprises.

    2002 -Studies find surprisingly strong “global dimming,” due to pollution, has retarded arrival of greenhouse warming, but dimming is now decreasing.

    2007 -Fourth IPCC report warns that serious effects of warming have become evident; cost of reducing emissions would be far less than the damage they will cause.

    2007 – Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and Arctic Ocean sea-ice cover found to be shrinking faster than expected.

    2009 – Many experts warn that global warming is arriving at a faster and more dangerous pace than anticipated just a few years earlier.

    2009 – Level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 385 ppm.

    2009 – End of the warmest decade on record.

    2010 – Tied for warmest year on record, and is wettest year on record globally. Atmospheric water vapor continues to rise (a far more potent GH gas) as first conjectured to be a result of increased CO2 in 1963.

    It would seem that the AGW conjecture first became a hypothesis in about the 1930′s and probably sometime in the 1990′s made the transition to become a theory. As such, as Trenberth clearly points out, the burden of proof would be on competing theories to explain the body of global climate phenomenon that AGW Theory does. A competing theory or theories would have to at the minimum explain the combined and simultaneous occurances of:

    * Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)
    * Increasing ocean heat content
    * Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)
    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    * Melting permafrost
    * Acclerations in the hydrologcial cycle
    * Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels
    * Increasing ocean acidity

    Many competing hypothesis are out there, but they are mostly incomplete, and don’t explain the simultaneous occurance of all these phenomenon as the AGW Theory and related models do. It will be interesting to see if any ever can, and if one should arrise, and be accepted by a large body of qualified scientists then it would become a competing theory to AGW. I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

  48. rbateman says:

    AGW assumes that increasing CO2 increases temperature and is responsible for the majority of the 20th Century warming.
    That assumption fails the observed archeological record.
    Anybody want to buy shares in a Lemon scheme?

  49. Roger Otip says:

    robertvdl

    The question is , would it be so bad for our Earth to be warmer than today when we know that in the past Earth nearly always has been warmer than today.

    Throughout human history the earth’s climate has been pretty stable. When temperatures were a lot hotter than they are now, that’s when dinosaurs ruled the earth and the only mammals were small rodents.

    You also need to consider the rate at which the planet is warming. A gradual change, as most past climate changes have been, would give us and other species time to adapt to the new conditions, but the current rate of warming is, when compared with previous changes, very rapid, such that if we experience warming of more than a couple of degrees C before the end of this century the major adadptations our societies would have to make, particularly the agricultural sector, would be extremely difficult and would likely result in food shortages in some regions, particularly teh equatorial regions where subsistance farming is common.

    For more info see the Skeptical Science page on this and the IPCC’s Working Group 2 report, Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

  50. Smokey says:

    R Gates,

    You obviously didn’t read this article explaining the differences between Conjecture, Hypothesis, Theory and Law. If you did read it, retaining what you read was like water sliding off a duck’s back.

    You replaced “Law” with “Model” [Conjecture, Hypothesis, Theory, Model]. I suppose in your world that makes sense. In the real world, it is nonsense.

    Your rambling misrepresentations are simply alarmist spin. A few examples: first, AGW was proposed as one alternate hypothesis to the null hypothesis. Now, you attempt to make it a theory. But AGW cannot make accurate predictions – one of the hallmarks of a theory; for example the Theory of Relativity, which makes numerous accurate predictions.

    AGW [and the ridiculous CAGW] cannot be defined as theories. CAGW is nothing more than a failed conjecture, with no empirical, testable evidence to support it. The predictions it made have failed.

    Models, upon which your conjectures depend, predicted the tropospheric hot spot as the “fingerprint” of AGW. The models were wrong. They failed to accurately predict.

    Next, you mistakenly make the assumptions: “2009 – End of the warmest decade on record.” And: “2010 – Tied for warmest year on record…”

    Nonsense.

    Finally, it is no surprise that you implicitly agree with Trenberth that his CO2=CAGW conjecture should replace the null hypothesis. Your post shows desperation on Trenberth’s part, and a misuse of scientific terms on your part.

    Spin, spin, spin.

  51. Roger Otip says:

    R. Gates

    Decreasing stratospheric temperatures

    This would seem to be the fingerprint of an enhanced greenhouse effect and so would be a toughie for any hypothesis that denies there is such an effect, and it surely falsifies any hypothesis postulating that the warming is down to the sun since then you would expect to observe stratospheric warming, not cooling.

  52. ShrNfr says:

    Foo on foil. Epee forever.

  53. Smokey says:

    Roger Otip says:

    “…the current rate of warming is, when compared with previous changes, very rapid, such that if we experience warming of more than a couple of degrees C before the end of this century…”

    Rapid warming [+27°F in a decade] has happened before. [Got more charts if you want them.]

  54. D. King says:

    “Their unceasing drum-beat for Anthropogenic Global Warming will ultimately discredit their otherwise worthwhile and necessary programs to reduce human pollution as a result of unrestricted human population and economic growth.”

    “otherwise worthwhile” ?

    That statement is as scary as any forecasted catastrophes.

    We know, as evidenced in Europe and the U.S., that economic growth reduces populations without having to restrict/control human reproduction through government edict. Additionally, these reduced populations pollute less. Compare the West to the East . Playing Mr. Wizard by flipping levers and pushing buttons in an attempt to direct humanity is a Fool’s errand and leads to idiotic constructs in thought like this:

  55. Roger Otip says:

    Smokey

    AGW cannot make accurate predictions

    Untrue. The theory predicts that human emissions of greenhouse gases will have a warming effect on the planet. This has been observed. The anthropogenic warming signal is clear above the noise of natural variation.

    The theory predicts that we should observe a cooling in the stratosphere. This has been observed.

    The theory predicts that we should see a reduction in outgoing radiation at the wavelengths that CO2 and methane absorb energy. This has been observed and measured.

    The theory predicts an increase in ocean heat content. This has been observed.

  56. Roger Otip says:

    Smokey

    you mistakenly make the assumptions: “2009 – End of the warmest decade on record.” And: “2010 – Tied for warmest year on record…”

    Nonsense.

    You linked to a blog. Do you have any links to peer-reviewed science that back up your assertion that the last decade was not the warmest decade ever recorded, something upon which all of the major global temperature records (satellite and surface) are in agreement?

  57. Mike Haseler says:

    dp says: “I expect archeologists to map the locations of the findings and endeavor to place them on an historical timeline, and to associate them with other similar finds. Is that a wrong notion?

    Having spent most of the day on the “theory of archaeology” I’ve not come across anyone who doesn’t think that archaeology isn’t primarily about the people and society of the past. Even a group led by Binford in the 1960s who coined a term called “scientific archaeology” or processualism, thought archaeology was “anthropology of nothing”.

    Worse still, it is proving very difficult to pin down what they mean by “science” e.g. one website states: “In archaeology and the social sciences more generally, the term “theory” has a greater diversity of meanings than is usual in the natural sciences and the philosophy of science. Usually it means any kind of discourse that is abstract”.
    (Theory In Archaeology – Theory as Abstract Discourse, Theory as Explanatory Structure, The Postmodern Challenge http://www.jrank.org/history/pages/6562/Theory-In-Archaeology.html)

    The interesting thing is I’m beginning to here the same terms and criticisms of the climate science community. E.g. I read here someone criticising the climategate people for being “post modernist”

    “Skeptical postmodernists have challenged modern theory and nearly all of the key foundational assumptions that underlie research programs in archaeology. This critique follows from their rejection of modern views of truth, objectivity, a materialist reality, reason, history, and science, among many other concepts that are integral components of modern inquiry.

    Now, if you begin to realise that this idea of “most modernism” or “laise-faire science” as it might better be called, came via the social sciences and movements such as “feminist archaeology” and “Marxist archaeology”, and you realise the left-wing “anti-nuclear” philosophy of the climategate scientists, it seems to me I’m beginning to know where this rot in science that allows people like Trenberth to spout the rubbish they do came from.

  58. Roger Otip says:

    rbateman

    AGW assumes that increasing CO2 increases temperature

    True, all other things being equal (which they never are in practice of course).

    and is responsible for the majority of the 20th Century warming.

    False. Where did you get that idea? The theory simply states that human activity (our emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, from agriculature and from changes in land use such as deforestation) will have a warming effect on our planet’s climate.

  59. David Ball says:

    Smokey, it is of no use presenting Otip and Gates with anything. They do not read what you post. That much is clear. A civil debate is useless. They aren’t smart enough to wrap their head around anything other than Co2 has caused dramatic and extreme weather (NOT) and look at the paleo record (not just the parts that suit them and what didn’t suit them they tried to change, i.e. hockey stick ). The possibility that there might be another explanation is lost on them, investing their limited capacity on a losing horse. Now Trenberth, who is playing a devious game by pretending to be disconnected from the scam and appear neutral yet is right at the heart of it all, is trying to apply “post-normal science” to climate because he cannot defend his position!! Thankfully the general public is refusing to drink the kool-aid, but will it be enough to stop this civilization killing juggernaut?

  60. Smokey says:

    Roger Otip claims that:

    Ocean heat content is rising.

    No, it’s not. That assumption has been thoroughly debunked.

    And AGW is not a “theory.” It is an unproven hypothesis. AGW “theory” can’t make accurate predictions about ocean heat content. And the link by Roger Otip says:

    A warming signal… is well simulated by two anthropogenically forced climate models. We conclude that it is of human origin, a conclusion robust……& etc.

    The ARGO buoys are empirical evidence, as opposed to climate models, which are not evidence They are programmed by people who get more taxpayer funds when they report something that supports the AGW hypothesis. In this case, real world evidence trumps their AGW models.

    And despite the arm-waving, AGW models cannot make accurate predictions. The Greenhouse Model Scorecard shows models made one right prediction out of 32 attempts.

    It appears that Roger is turning into the Barrie Harrop of WUWT.☺

  61. Roger Otip says:

    D. King

    We know, as evidenced in Europe and the U.S., that economic growth reduces populations without having to restrict/control human reproduction through government edict.

    Education is an equally important factor, particularly the education of women, as evidenced by the state of Kerala in India:

    A steadily aging population [...] and low birthrate [...] make Kerala one of the few regions in the developing world to have undergone the “demographic transition” characteristic of such developed nations as Canada, Japan, and Norway.

  62. David Ball says:

    Roger Otip says:
    January 16, 2011 at 11:57 am
    This post clearly shows the blinders that Otip has on. He is completely ignoring so much important climate information, it is laughable. Why waste any breath on someone who has gone so far down the wrong road, he cannot hear anyone any more. Using only the modern record to base his weak ass conjecture on. Fail.

  63. Roger Otip says:

    Smokey

    Ocean heat content is rising.

    No, it’s not. That assumption has been thoroughly debunked.

    Have you read Robust warming of the global upper ocean by Lyman et al (2010)?

  64. Roger Otip says:

    Smokey

    It appears that Roger is turning into the Barrie Harrop of WUWT.

    Please try to avoid personal name calling and stick to the issues.

  65. R. Gates says:

    Otto,

    My advise: Don’t bother with Smokey too much. In his mind, he can only be right. For example, he said:

    “But AGW cannot make accurate predictions.”

    Of which I outlined several that AGW Theory made and have proven accurate and any competing theory would have to predict the same occurances and explain the dynamics behind them. AGW Theory does all this, and accurately, and it drives the skeptics nuts…as you can see.

  66. rw says:

    I’m willing to conjecture that R. Gates is in for some pretty rough sledding over the coming year …

  67. David Ball says:

    What are you talking about Gates? You guys (all of you alarmists) have been predicting runaway greenhouse warming and catastrophic weather (hurricanes as an example hahahahaha) and now you’re still trying to claim that model predictions have been accurate? The northern hemisphere is covered in effing snow!!! Have you stopped taking your meds again? A shotgun at 50 paces is bound to hit something. How many model runs have been done? I have never seen such spinning. It is an insult.

  68. sky says:

    polistra says:
    January 16, 2011 at 3:22 am

    “Phase and frequency are relevant here, correlation is not.”

    Actually, the coherence–which is the cross-spectral analog of correlation–matters very profoundly along with the cross-spectral phase. And this is precisely where the CO2-regulated theory of global temperatures fall apart. At quasi-centennial scales the coherence simply isn’t there, wheras at geological time scales the CO2 signal significantly lags that of temperature when the proxy data are examined closely. The charlatanism of compressing the time scale of both series so that the multi-century lag is concealed and only the coherent variation (due to oceanic outgassing) is evident stands out as the hallmark of pseudoscientific AGW alarmists.

  69. Smokey says:

    Roger Otip says:

    “You linked to a blog.”

    No, I linked to a chart derived from empirical evidence. The blog was simply the messenger. Recall the adage: “When you can’t argue the facts, attack the source.”

    And I would have though you’d take it as a compliment being compared with Barrie Harrop. There are close similarities.

    Next, you ask:

    “Have you read Robust warming of the global upper ocean by Lyman et al (2010)?”

    Sorry, no. I’m allergic to the word “robust.”☺ Anyway, I see you’re responding to the ARGO deep sea network with something about the “upper ocean.” Apple/Orange.

    R Gates,

    Still clinging to your conjectures and models? The model scorecard shows how pathetic model predictions are. Because GCMs can’t predict accurately, AGW cannot be a theory. And for lack of any redeeming science, CAGW has been reduced to a conjecture; an opinion.

    BTW – who is “Otto?”

  70. David Ball says:

    The GAT has been warming since the little ice age (in fits and starts since the last ice age really). To show that the oceans have been warming does little to back up the leap that the warming oceans is due to Co2. Take your blinders off Otto.

  71. Roger Otip says:

    Anyone going to tackle this one?

    The theory predicts that we should see a reduction in outgoing radiation at the wavelengths that CO2 and methane absorb energy. This has been observed and measured.

  72. Mark T says:

    What predictions has AGW theory made that are not already explained by the null? Really, R. Gates, I question your sanity. As for your list:

    * Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)
    Global sea ice has remained fairly constant, if not increasing. Even IF you could somehow wiggle the numbers in your favor, it would not be a surprise since we have warmed since the end of the little ice age. In fact, it is rather baffling that global ice is not dropping.

    * Increasing ocean heat content
    Not according to those that are measuring it.

    * Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)
    Uh, it has been flat for more than a decade, and furthermore, the hypothesis is that this is correlated to CO2. The correlation is really poor so there’s not much of a victory here.

    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    Looks pretty flat the last 15 years to me and nobody seems to know understand why this would be an expected consequence of GHG warming anyway. This is seemingly something people like you postulate after the fact in order to get something in the win column anyway. “Hey, look, [something is happening], let’s say it is the result of AGW and then claim we predicted this!”

    * Melting permafrost
    That’s a prediction from simply being warmer, not of AGW.

    * Acclerations in the hydrologcial cycle
    What?

    * Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels
    Again, a function of warmth, not a specific AGW prediction. Duh.

    * Increasing ocean acidity
    The ocean is basic and will always be basic, therefore it cannot be more acidic, only less basic. This is also a direct consequence of increased CO2, not AGW hypotheses. Duh.

    Try coming up with some real predictions based on a real hypothesis, Gates. Do you even understand how that works? For example, AGW will result in X degrees C of warming in the coming decade. Any time we pin you Einsteins down to real predictions based on your actual theories/hypotheses (conjectures,) the results make you look very bad.

    Mark

  73. Roger Otip says:

    Smokey

    I would have though you’d take it as a compliment being compared with Barrie Harrop

    Please stick to the issues and try to avoid any personal attacks or name calling, even if you genuinely believe the subject may take it as a compliment.

  74. Tom T says:

    R Gates, merely writing the word “theory” in all capital letters doesn’t make something a theory. You have provided no proof that any of the items you claim are theories are really legitimate theories.

  75. jrwakefield says:

    The IPCC said most of the warming over the last 50 years is very likely due to human activity.

    What an oxymoronic double-speak statement. The words “likely” and “most” have no meaning in science That’s like saying at least half of climate change is likely not attributable to human emissions of CO2. Both mean nothing with out numbers that are not pulled out of the air.

    Hell, even polsters back up their claims with the words “19 times out of 20″ when refering to their doubious stats. What’s the IPCC’s definintion of “most” and “likely”?

  76. Mark T says:

    Note, too, that the IPCC actually attached numbers to the terms “likely” et al. without any exposition of where those numbers came from. In other words, they guessed.

    Mark

  77. Graeme W says:

    * Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)
    * Increasing ocean heat content
    * Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)
    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    * Melting permafrost
    * Acclerations in the hydrologcial cycle
    * Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels
    * Increasing ocean acidity

    It would seem to me that, apart from the last item, all of these are symptoms of a warming world. Since it’s generally accepted that the world has been warming (since the Little Ice Age, or, going back to the original post, since the last ice age), then the hypothesis that what we’re seeing is part of natural cycles would explain all of the above apart from the last item.

    Where things get critical is in the actual numbers. To be precise, we need to know what is the amount of current warming from natural cycles, and what is the amount of warming due to human activity. That’s where AGW seems to be weakest.

    Roger Otip says:
    January 16, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Smokey

    AGW cannot make accurate predictions

    Untrue. The theory predicts that human emissions of greenhouse gases will have a warming effect on the planet. This has been observed. The anthropogenic warming signal is clear above the noise of natural variation.

    I wasn’t aware of this last point. Can you please provide some links to where this has been shown? I haven’t been able to find anything along these lines.

  78. Hoser says:

    The objective of science is to create useful tools. For example, we don’t like being at the mercy of Nature, so it is useful to be able to predict what Nature will do.

    A theory is a model of reality. We use a theory to be able to predict the behavior of a system under certain conditions. Since theories are models, they are always “wrong”. Eventually, they are replaced by a more accurate theory as the need arises. Graviation is a good example. Ptolemy-> Newton-> Einstein.

    Many years ago chemist Glenn Seaborg (UC Berkeley) told us, “some theories are too good to be true and others are too true to be good”. The point is, you use what you need at the appropriate level of accuracy. I don’t think you need to use relativistic quantum mechanics to say whether it will rain tomorrow or not.

    You don’t have to prove your theory is “right”. It is always wrong in fact. But is it useful? Can it predict system behavior within a range of parameter values? GCMs have no demonstrated predictive value. By that measure, they are no good at all – scientifically. However, they do have a lot of political value.

  79. jrwakefield says:

    Throughout human history the earth’s climate has been pretty stable.

    That’s false. Most of the major oil fields can be shown to be from periods of “global warming”. Plus throughout the past 500my glacial periods like we are in now were rare.

    When temperatures were a lot hotter than they are now, that’s when dinosaurs ruled the earth and the only mammals were small rodents.

    The last great global warmer period, 55mya, is when the major mammalian clades emerged all around the same period.

  80. Theo Goodwin says:

    Mike Haseler writes:

    “- if archaeologists did use the “beyond all reasonable doubt” test of science, then most of history would consist of statements of this or that artefact having been discovered and no concept of how they were actually used less what society looked like.”

    And what is wrong with that? I find that to be very interesting science. Of course, you must face the temptation to explain what they were doing with that beautiful phallic shaped object and you are off into sociology, psychology, you name it. Also, there are great rewards. If you write popular books and do not claim that they are science, or strict science, no one should complain. From what you have said, you pulled back from the edge long ago, you defeated the temptation of hubris, and you are doing ever so well. Kudos to you.

    By contrast, the Warmista have gone over to the side of hubris.

  81. Smokey says:

    Roger Otip,

    Can’t you find something more recent? That paper is eleven years out of date.

    No one is arguing against radiative physics. But the magnitude of the effect is much smaller than you want to accept. Prof Richard Lindzen says sensitivity is <1°C. Anything under 1°C is a non-problem, in fact it is a net benefit to the biosphere, as is more CO2.

    And from your 2001 link:

    “But this relationship is complicated by several feedback processes—most importantly the hydrological cycle—that are not well understood”

    Pointless to tackle a conjecture that isn’t well understood. [And as pointed out before, AGW not a 'theory', as has been explained to you with several citations. Words matter – unless you're Humpty Dumpty.]

  82. R. Gates says:

    Mark T says:
    January 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm
    What predictions has AGW theory made that are not already explained by the null? Really, R. Gates, I question your sanity. As for your list:

    * Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)
    Global sea ice has remained fairly constant, if not increasing. Even IF you could somehow wiggle the numbers in your favor, it would not be a surprise since we have warmed since the end of the little ice age. In fact, it is rather baffling that global ice is not dropping.

    * Increasing ocean heat content
    Not according to those that are measuring it.

    * Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)
    Uh, it has been flat for more than a decade, and furthermore, the hypothesis is that this is correlated to CO2. The correlation is really poor so there’s not much of a victory here.

    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    Looks pretty flat the last 15 years to me and nobody seems to know understand why this would be an expected consequence of GHG warming anyway. This is seemingly something people like you postulate after the fact in order to get something in the win column anyway. “Hey, look, [something is happening], let’s say it is the result of AGW and then claim we predicted this!”

    * Melting permafrost
    That’s a prediction from simply being warmer, not of AGW.

    * Acclerations in the hydrologcial cycle
    What?

    * Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels
    Again, a function of warmth, not a specific AGW prediction. Duh.

    * Increasing ocean acidity
    The ocean is basic and will always be basic, therefore it cannot be more acidic, only less basic. This is also a direct consequence of increased CO2, not AGW hypotheses. Duh.

    Try coming up with some real predictions based on a real hypothesis, Gates. Do you even understand how that works? For example, AGW will result in X degrees C of warming in the coming decade. Any time we pin you Einsteins down to real predictions based on your actual theories/hypotheses (conjectures,) the results make you look very bad.

    Mark

    ______
    You and others are welcome to provide an alternative theory that describes the existence of all the phenomenon in question. You are simply wrong on every one of your responses, and the data are quite clear on that. If you go back to my original post, and look at the important dates, one date and one name in particular should stand out to you, and that is 1965 and Lorentz. The combination of chaos theory and climate models. I suggest you go and read this:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/chaos.htm

    And then perhaps we can discuss why, even though AGW Theory might be correct about the general nature of what it happening, (i.e. warming stratosphere, melting sea ice, etc.) it is impossible to predict specifics as there are tipping points that are quite unpredictable with systems undergoing change at the edge of chaos. Any truly intelligent discussion of the possible accuracy of AGW without a dicussion of chaos theory is pretty meaningless.

    I all respect to those who have developed the AGW Theory over the years, I’m amazed how many things it has gotten correct so far considering they are dealing with a system undergoing change on the edge of chaos.

  83. Theo Goodwin says:

    Mike Haseler gave me an idea. If James Hansen were to write a popular book about the future of Earth, it would most likely be so over the top, so uber-Boschian (Hieronymus), that the surrealists would hail it as another curtain removed, another leap forward for surrealism.

  84. Tim Clark says:

    Roger Otip says:
    January 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    Anyone going to tackle this one?

    Why don’t you pay the $32.00 for us.

  85. Theo Goodwin says:

    The closest thing to a hypothesis that Warmista have produced is: “Increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by humans will cause an increase in atmospheric temperatures and, in turn, that will cause an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere and, in turn, those clouds will cause increased temperatures in the atmosphere.” The latter part, about what clouds cause, is the “forcing” beyond what is caused by CO2 alone. This so-called hypothesis must be restated in a rigorous form that embodies some measurement regime. That has not been done. Then the hypothesis can be tested against observations in nature. Of course, as time passes, if the hypothesis is not always and everywhere falsified then it will have a record of confirmations and can be taken seriously. At this time, no such record exists for this hypothesis. Actually, the first step should be to create a new temperature measurement regime that is acceptable to all parties to the debate. After some years of refinement, this hypothesis might lead the way to the climate science that the Warmista believe they have in hand today.

    As regards chaos theory, it is a total Red Herring in this debate. Everything is a chaotic system. Introduce the wrong tiny little germ cell into a human body and the result can be chaotic destruction of that body and the particular path of destruction can be totally unpredictable. The fire in my fireplace is a chaotic system. Introduce too much fuel and the house burns down; introduce the wrong fuel and the neighborhood burns down. Everything is a chaotic system.

  86. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Thank you, Michael. Thanks VERY much.

    I’ve printed (and will copy with all appropriate credit to you being the source, here on Watts Up, too) and will distribute your article to folks who ‘need a refresher’ on the
    Scientific Method and how Truth is dealt with ‘after’ it is – purportedly – observed.

    I find it’s often beneficial to ‘blow the smoke away’ (forgive the pun, as I especially enjoy cigar smoke) every once in a while – to see an issue for ‘what it is’ and then – of course – thus being best able to more easily decipher exactly what went wrong and where.

    You did that for me with crisp & ‘simply succinct’ words – so, this ‘s’cientist and fellow thinker, applauds you for your effort.

    *While I do NOT subscribe to any benefit in ‘cloning’… I do ask that all of you ‘clear thinkers’ make certain ‘somehow’ to – in some manner – ‘reproduce’ yourselves in the lives of others… so that clear and glorious thought may continue to go on with the least amount of ‘stumbling’ as is possible… so that it may best be able to remain unencumbered/unfettered in the years to come…

    For, I am concerned that ‘clear rational thought’ is being demeaned by political and psychological ‘s’cience within the Field of the Sciences ~ and Truth is what is at stake.

    C.L. Thorpe

  87. Theo Goodwin says:

    Hoser says:
    January 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I understand your drift and you are on the right path. However, a theory (a collection of hypotheses deserving an honorific) and a model are far from the same. A model is a set of equations that specifies one or more sets of ordered pairs (n-tuples) and each set of ordered pairs is what is called an interpretation of the model. In simplest terms, a model specifies the relationships between the inputs and outputs of a computer run.

    By contrast, a theory is a set of statements in English, or some natural language, that specifies an infinity of observation conditionals, statements such as “If it is a raven then it is black.” The statements of the theory, hypotheses, actually describe some regularity in nature and are true or else false. Models are neither true nor false.

    The clearest account of hypotheses and scientific method for a beginner is in Thomas Kuhn’s Copernican Revolution, which was written before he decided that no statements are true or false. You want to read the parts about the transition from Copernicus to Kepler and about the contributions of Galileo and Newton. If that is a bit much, Google Kepler’s Laws and there are many good accounts of them on the internet.

  88. Mark T says:

    You and others are welcome to provide an alternative theory that describes the existence of all the phenomenon in question.

    Uh, I did that. Actually, the burden of proof is on you to connect these “phenomenon” (should be phenomena, but you knew that, correct?) to AGW, not natural occurrences. I also noted that most of your “predictions” have absolutely nothing to do with AGW but are simply facts of either warming or an increase of CO2. You can read, right?

    Let’s be real, are you really trying to say that AGW is why there is more CO2 in the ocean not just “rising CO2 in the atmosphere?” Are you really trying to say that the only way ice can melt is because of AGW, not just “it got warmer?” Are you really THAT clueless?

    Mark

  89. HAS says:

    Going back to the original post I think it is making it all a bit complicated.

    A hypothesis is tentative, a theory is more deeply grounded, but I can hypotheses that a theory is correct.

    The IPCC hypothesis (and I think we do agree this is a hypothesis) is that “man made GHGs caused the majority of the recent warming of the globe”. If this were incorporated into a theory one would change the language a bit to reflect its less tentative nature, but I think hypotheses build to theories (which is after all why we bother doing this).

    Now if you look at what I have characteristic as the IPCC hypothesis I think it is totally well behaved as a testable/falsifiable hypothesis provided we have a measure of “causality”. As I’ve commented elsewhere on this blog this is where the issue lies, not whether it is a hypothesis or theory.

    (I note in passing that the “if … then” construction used by Micheal Lewis in the original post doesn’t form part of the hypothesis, it applies at the meta (scientific method) level. “[There exists] a positive correlation between the amount and rate of greenhouse gas production and global average temperature rise.” is the hypothesis. The antecedent isn’t required. If we falsify this we increase the support for the alternate hypothesis.)

    Anyway in practice it probably matters little what exact terms we use, because we end up in the same place. A need to unpick what “causality” means in an empirically testable sense. This leads to a series of sub-hypotheses that each need to be demonstrated (Wikipedia on causality took me back to the good old days of learning what Hume had to say etc).

    For these reasons I’d welcome with open arms the suggestion that Dr T is talking about AGW being a hypothesis and put real effort into helping identify the series of empirically testable sub-hypotheses that lead to being able to test it.

    Only good can come from it IMHO.

  90. Mark T says:

    You are simply wrong on every one of your responses, and the data are quite clear on that.

    How am I wrong on any one of my responses? Seriously.

    The data are not clear on anything related to cause, btw, nor can they be. Data are just numbers, i.e., rate of ice melting, rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere, etc. Data have nothing to do with causality so I’m not sure what you are attempting to imply that the data are clear on. They do not tell you why ice is melting or why CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere and/or oceans.

    I’m pretty certain you do not understand what it is you just stated, nor do you understand what I wrote.

    Mark

  91. Mark T says:

    I all respect to those who have developed the AGW Theory over the years

    Of course you do, just like cultists respect what their leaders have done for their cult. Those Heaven’s Gate folks really respected their leader, in fact.

    I’m amazed how many things it has gotten correct so far considering they are dealing with a system undergoing change on the edge of chaos.

    So, in other words, it does not take anything to amaze you?

    Seriously, I don’t think you have a grasp of what the actual predictions of AGW theory are, or, for that matter, what a prediction based on hypothesis consists of. Each of your “predictions,” except one, is a consequence of processes related to the whole AGW issue, but not tied to it, i.e., they are not predictions of AGW, they are predictions (nay, consequences) of basic physics (or common sense.)

    Mark

  92. Peter O'Brien says:

    James Sexton says:
    January 16, 2011 at 8:19 am

    James, thank you for your response to my comment. Just to make myself clear, I am not trying to vilify humans. Or to, in any way, imply that I accept the ‘hockey stick’ temperature graphs. It just seems to me that the heat we generate is a NET addition to atmospheric temperature and would be a more likely anthropogenic contribution to any putative ‘global warming’ than CO2 emissions.

  93. Mark T says:

    Everything is a chaotic system. Introduce the wrong tiny little germ cell into a human body and the result can be chaotic destruction of that body and the particular path of destruction can be totally unpredictable.

    Being chaotic with the introduction of a perturbance though normally existing within the bounds of a stable equilibrium state, e.g., the body is not falling apart, is completely different than the chaotic climate system argument. In the latter, chaos rules its pseudo-equlibrium state, which is far different than your example of the body and a germ. In the latter, it is difficult to predict what will happen tomorrow, and harder still to predict what will happen farther into the future. It is easy to predict, from a position of statistics, how long a person will live given just a few starting conditions. Similarly, the odds of picking up that harmful little germ are not difficult to derive using frequentist statistics.

    Mark

  94. Theo Goodwin says:

    Mark T writes:

    “It is easy to predict, from a position of statistics, how long a person will live given just a few starting conditions. Similarly, the odds of picking up that harmful little germ are not difficult to derive using frequentist statistics.”

    You are assuming that the germ has been encountered before.

  95. Mike Haseler says:

    Finally, I’m beginning to understand how someone like Trenberth could possibly call himself a scientist and come out with the nonsense he does. It seems that there has been a movement called “post-modernism” which objects to the concept that science derives truth by using the scientific method or to quote:

    The science wars were a series of intellectual battles in the 1990s, between scientific realists and postmodernist critics, about the nature of scientific theory. The postmodernists questioned scientific objectivity, and undertook a wide-ranging critique of the scientific method and of scientific knowledge,…The scientific realists countered that objective scientific knowledge is real, and accused postmodernist critics of having little understanding of the science they were criticising.

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

    As post-modernism was particularly endemic in the left-of-centre and politically active groups at a key time in the formation of the global warming scare, it seems pretty clear to be the present “climate war” is not so much a struggle about the interpretation of climate data, but much more fundamental: a struggle about the nature of science and the application of the scientific method.

    Because they hold a very loose interpretation of science based on these post-modernist philosophies, they simply don’t understand us when we insist that the scientific method is key to science, and that is why no matter how ridiculous they look in our eyes, such criticism that they are not following the scientific method is shrugged off them like water off a ducks back, because they simply don’t believe the scientific method is important!

  96. robertvdl says:

    A True Inquiry Into Climate & Weather (2/2): The Plot Thickens
    by Kim Greenhouse on November 14, 2009

    Astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and climatologist Dr. David Legates (University of Delaware) brief us on key scientific data that cannot be overlooked or dismissed.
    http://itsrainmakingtime.com/2009/climate-part2/

    maybe some of the people responding should listen.

  97. R. Gates says:

    Mark T says:

    R. Gates said: “You are simply wrong on every one of your responses, and the data are quite clear on that.”

    How am I wrong on any one of my responses? Seriously.

    _____
    * Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)
    Global sea ice has remained fairly constant, if not increasing. WRONG. Global Sea ice has displayed a slow decline as the Arctic component has been falling more rapidly (year-to-year) than the Antarctic has been rising. Currently, they are both below normal, and hence the global sea ice is far below normal. See: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    * Increasing ocean heat content. Not according to those that are measuring it.WRONG. As measured since the mid-70′s, OHC has increased greatly. See http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

    * Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)
    Uh, it has been flat for more than a decade, and furthermore, the hypothesis is that this is correlated to CO2. The correlation is really poor so there’s not much of a victory here. WRONG. I said decade to decade. 2000-2009 was the warmest on record. No one ever said CO2 should correlate every single year with temperatures and it wouldn’t as there is too many other short term forcings going on.

    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    Looks pretty flat the last 15 years to me and nobody seems to know understand why this would be an expected consequence of GHG warming anyway. This is seemingly something people like you postulate after the fact in order to get something in the win column anyway. “Hey, look, [something is happening], let’s say it is the result of AGW and then claim we predicted this!” WRONG. Strato temps have fallen in general during this time period and the physics as to why is clearly understood as more GHG reflect more LW back to the surface and prevent it from warming the stratosphere.

    * Melting permafrost
    That’s a prediction from simply being warmer, not of AGW. WRONG and a big DUH to you. If x causes y and y causes z, then x causes z indirectly, and so z can be predicted from the existence of x.

    * Acclerations in the hydrologcial cycle
    What?
    Yeah, I thought so. Might want to research this a bit (a BIG bit), beginning with this introduction:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/10/global-warming-river-flows-oceans-climate-disruption.html

    * Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels
    Again, a function of warmth, not a specific AGW prediction. WRONG. See comment on permafrost above and also refer to the article on the acceleration of the hydrological cycle.

    * Increasing ocean acidity
    The ocean is basic and will always be basic, therefore it cannot be more acidic, only less basic. This is also a direct consequence of increased CO2, not AGW hypotheses. You have a point here, sort of. Though increased levels of acidity may affect plankton, which do seem to affect the climate, so it could be an x causes y causes z event. See: http://www.seaturtle.org/PDF/Hays_2005_TrendEcolEvol.pdf

  98. Smokey says:

    R. Gates says:

    “You are simply wrong on every one of your responses, and the data are quite clear on that.”

    R. Gates wrote that in response to Mark T asking him: What predictions has AGW theory made that are not already explained by the null? Gates responded with a list of putative “predictions.”

    So let’s see if, as Gates claims, Mark was “simply wrong” in each and every one of his responses. Folks here can make up their own mind on Gates’ ‘predictions’, and whether Mark T is “wrong” on every response.

    Predictions & responses:

    Gates: “Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)”

    Mark’s response: Global sea ice has remained fairly constant, if not increasing. Even IF you could somehow wiggle the numbers in your favor, it would not be a surprise since we have warmed since the end of the little ice age. In fact, it is rather baffling that global ice is not dropping. Right? Or wrong?

    Gates: “Increasing ocean heat content”

    Mark: Not according to those that are measuring it. Right? Or wrong?

    Gates: “Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)”

    Mark: Uh, it has been flat for more than a decade, and furthermore, the hypothesis is that this is correlated to CO2. The correlation is really poor so there’s not much of a victory here. Right? Or wrong?

    Gates’ assertion: “Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)”

    Mark’s response: Looks pretty flat the last 15 years to me, and nobody seems to understand why this would be an expected consequence of GHG warming anyway. This is seemingly something people like you postulate after the fact, in order to get something in the win column anyway. “Hey, look, [something is happening], let’s say it is the result of AGW and then claim we predicted this!” Right? Or wrong?

    Gates’ assertion: “Melting permafrost”

    Mark’s response: That’s a prediction from simply being warmer, not of AGW. Right? Or wrong?

    Gates’ assertion: “Acclerations (sic) in the hydrologcial cycle”

    Mark’s response: “What?” [According to R., that is "wrong."☺]

    Gates’ assertion: “Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels”

    Mark’s response: Again, a function of warmth, not a specific AGW prediction. Duh. Right? Or wrong?

    Gates’ response: “Increasing ocean acidity”

    Mark’s reply: The ocean is basic and will always be basic, therefore it cannot be more acidic, only less basic. This is also a direct consequence of increased CO2, not AGW hypotheses. Duh. Right? Or wrong?

    Mr Gates likes to announce that he is “25% skeptic.” That is simply doublethink; George Orwell’s term for holding two contradictory ideas at the same time, AKA: cognitive dissonance. The way Gates deals with his cognitive dissonance is to tell anyone disagreeing with him that they are “wrong.” That’s how True Believers handle their CD.

  99. Nonoy Oplas says:

    I also read that theory and data must conform with each other always. If they contradict each other, data must prevail, theory must give way and revert back to being a mere hypothesis to be subbjected to another round of tests.

  100. Mark T says:

    Theo Goodwin says:
    January 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    You are assuming that the germ has been encountered before.

    No, not at all, but I think you are missing the point. What the germ is, or does, is immaterial to the point.

    Mark

  101. Theo Goodwin says:

    Mike Haseler says:
    January 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    “Finally, I’m beginning to understand how someone like Trenberth could possibly call himself a scientist and come out with the nonsense he does. It seems that there has been a movement called “post-modernism” which objects to the concept that science derives truth by using the scientific method or to quote:”

    Extremely well-written. I have lived and worked with these people for more than forty years. Some of them do not understand science or scientific method but many of them had the same training that I did. In the case of the latter, to a man they have made a Marxist turn and insist on describing and analyzing science from the point of view of a human value system. By far the most popular value system among these people is Marxism. And many people have succumbed to Marxism without knowing it. Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions is thoroughly Marxist because of its fundamental postulate that our systems of belief, especially science, act as causes which override our attempts to act as neutral observers as we perceive the world, converse with others, or judge our hypotheses. In other words, it invites the propagandist to take over science education. Post-modernists believe that the fundamental role for the scientist is activist. If permitted, they will take over science, through its funding agencies, and they will dictate what is accepted science.

  102. Mark T says:

    Smokey: only one of those is actually a “prediction” of AGW theory (whatever that is.) The stratospheric temperature one would fall under that banner, if anybody could actually find out where that prediction was made. Willis had a post back in April where he requested a citation that did not seem to elicit a response. Apparently it is a prediction, but nobody actually predicted it.

    As for the rest, they are better described as inputs to the theory, i.e., the world is warming, CO2 is rising in the atmosphere and the oceans, ice is melting, etc., are all data points, not predictions. A prediction is “if this then that” and predictions should preferably be somewhat (if not completely) unique to a given theory from which they were made. It does not do any good to say that ice will melt as a result of AGW when simply being warmer will do that – you want your predictions to be isolated enough that the only reason it has happened is because of your theory.

    Gates does not understand that. I wonder, too, how many climate scientists understand this (or do they assume they can be so weak on this point because the general populace, those like Gates, do not?)

    Mark

  103. David Ball says:

    “When danger reared it’s ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled” -Eric Idle

  104. I’m with you up to “… otherwise worthwhile and necessary programs to reduce human pollution as a result of unrestricted human population and economic growth.”

    Has it occurred to you that perhaps this narrative is itself a product of gross exaggeration and misstatement for ideological reasons, as are the catastrophe predictions of AGW alarmists?

  105. R. Gates says:

    Mark T says:
    January 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm
    Smokey: only one of those is actually a “prediction” of AGW theory (whatever that is.) The stratospheric temperature one would fall under that banner, if anybody could actually find out where that prediction was made. Willis had a post back in April where he requested a citation that did not seem to elicit a response. Apparently it is a prediction, but nobody actually predicted it.

    ________
    Here’s an excellent article from 1974 that cover many of the “predictions” made by a GCM of the era when factoring in the effects of increased CO2. including the cooling of the stratosphere:

    http://tiny.cc/kp29t

    All along of course, GCM’s have made it clear of the uncertainties, but the general direction of stratospheric temps was quite clear (i.e. down), and as we all know, that is exactly what has been occurring:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2009-time-series/stratosphere

    The simple physics behind this is not a mystery…increase the concentration of GHG’s, the transmission of LW radiation to the stratosphere slows and thus the stratosphere cools.

  106. anne says:

    Peter O’Brien, sorry to have to agree but it’s true, you are not the sharpest tool in the box, realists have seen this sort of ‘I am a denier stuff before’ to cover for someone who is really an alarmist. You know and I know that the all AGW scam is based on exactly what you claim to have been thinking about, what humans do to contribute to warming the planet!! So let me get this straight, what are you proposing? That we all freeze, well here in UK a lot of us are as we cannot afford our heating bills due to levy’s foisted upon us in the name of AGW, we cannot afford to drive as petrol is now almost £7 a gallon (in fact our police patrol’s cannot afford to use their patrol cars), we can barely afford food, a loaf of bread not costs £1.30. Of course this does not affect the elite’s, just the middle classes who are working for a living. You may get your wish, but be careful what you wish for!!

  107. LightRain says:

    Nice try. What you’re saying is somewhat useful with AGW; but they don’t use that term anymore. Try coming up with a rebuttal to Climate Change or Climate Disruption. Those terms don’t need to be in exact lock step with CO2. They keep changing the rules so we can’t hit a moving target, now everything is caused by increasing CO2. Until CO2 stops rising for a few years and climate change keeps on coming we’re doomed!

  108. Mike Haseler says:

    Theo Goodwin says: “If permitted, they will take over science, through its funding agencies, and they will dictate what is accepted science.

    Well said!

  109. Rabe says:

    Peter O’Brien,
    It just seems to me that the heat we generate is a NET addition to atmospheric temperature and would be a more likely anthropogenic contribution to any putative ‘global warming’ than CO2 emissions.

    yes and no, the additional heat leaves the earth on the same day it is generated. And it is minor. Oh, sorry, you may have calculated the difference, what was your number?

  110. Peter O'Brien says:

    anne says:
    January 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Anne,
    you miss my point entirely. I am not proposing the we humans discard our standard of living in order to alleviate some putative global warming. Certainly we can do some things better in order to use a finite resource more wisely. That’s just technological advance. But it doesn’t include taxing carbon (as our government here in Australia is proposing), closing down coal fired power stations or wasting billions on futile solar and wind power generation.
    My point is – it seems to me anyway – that the heat we generate, which is a natural and inevitable (and indeed desirable) result of human development, is a more likely contributor to global warming (whatever it may be) than CO2 emissions. I believe that whatever warming has already occurred is part of the natural cycle and, in the main, beneficial.
    I am certainly not an ‘alarmist in denier’s clothing’!

  111. Roger Otip says:

    Graeme W

    * Declining sea ice (seasonal and decade to decade)
    * Increasing ocean heat content
    * Increasing atmosphereic temperatures (decade to decade)
    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    * Melting permafrost
    * Acclerations in the hydrologcial cycle
    * Increasing atmospheric water vapor levels
    * Increasing ocean acidity

    It would seem to me that, apart from the last item, all of these are symptoms of a warming world.

    Decreasing stratospheric temperatures are a sign of warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. If the warming were due to a change in solar irradiance one would expect the stratosphere to warm.

  112. Roger Otip says:

    jrwakefield

    The IPCC said most of the warming over the last 50 years is very likely due to human activity.

    What an oxymoronic double-speak statement. The words “likely” and “most” have no meaning in science

    Most simply means more than 50 percent and by very likely the IPCC means with more than 90 percent certainty.

  113. Keith Battye says:

    All of the stuff we burnt including nuclear and renewables gave out heat at the rate of 1/2000 th of the solar energy falling on Earth.

  114. Roger Otip says:

    Mark T

    * Decreasing stratospheric temperatures (decade to decade)
    Looks pretty flat the last 15 years to me and nobody seems to know understand why this would be an expected consequence of GHG warming anyway.

    See Global Change in the Upper Atmosphere by Laštovička et al 2006:

    The upper atmosphere is cooling and contracting as a result of rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

    The reason, as I understand it, is that an enhanced greenhouse effect results in more radiation being trapped in the lower atmosphere. This radiation would otherwise pass through the stratosphere, thus warming the stratosphere, so any reduction in this radiation can be expected to result in stratospheric cooling.

    On the other hand, if global warming were caused by an increase in solar irradiance, there would be more radiation passing through the stratosphere (as there would be more radiation coming from the sun) and so one would expect the stratosphere to warm.

    The fact that stratospheric cooling is what has been observed is strong evidence that the current warming is the result of an enhanced greenhouse effect.

  115. Roger Otip says:

    Mark T

    AGW will result in X degrees C of warming in the coming decade

    Such a projection will of course have a number of caveats as the temperature rise will depend not only on the rate of human emissions over that period but also on various natural forcings such as variations in solar irradiance and major volcanic eruptions. However, James Hansen famously made a projection in 1988. This was in fact three projections, based on three different emissions scenarios. For the scenario that best matches our actual emissions the projected temperature rise comes within 5 percent of the observed temperature rise. See this page on Real Climate for a more detailed analysis.

  116. Mike Haseler says:

    Roger Otip says:

    >Most simply means more than 50 percent and by very likely the IPCC means with more than 90 percent certainty.

    And tell me pray where that “90%” figure comes from. I seem to recall the only place I could trace that figure to was some kind of opinion poll amongst climate “scientists”.

    The simple truth is that if you look at the data scientifically, the reported rise is well within the normal global temperature noise signal and so there is clearly and unambiguously less than 50% confidence that external forcing has caused a majority of the change.

    90% from an opinion poll, when real statistics will give much less than 50% — the IPCC are living in a land of post-modernist make believe not science!

  117. David Ball says:

    “The fact that stratospheric cooling is what has been observed is strong evidence that the current warming is the result of an enhanced greenhouse effect.” Again, a giant leap of faith that there is no other possible cause.

  118. Roger Otip says:

    “…by very likely the IPCC means with more than 90 percent certainty.”

    And tell me pray where that “90%” figure comes from.

    The IPCC report footnotes set out various definitions they use within the report. Their degrees of certainty are given as follows:

    virtually certain – more than 99%
    extremely likely – more than 95%
    very likely – more than 90%
    likely – more than 60%
    more likely than not – more than 50%
    unlikely – less than 33%
    very unlikely – less than 10%
    extremely unlikely – less than 5%

  119. Roger Otip says:

    if you look at the data scientifically, the reported rise is well within the normal global temperature noise signal

    The warming signal in the temperature rise over the last three decades is above the 95% statistical significance level meaning there is less than 5% chance that it is simply the result of natural variation.

  120. R. Gates says:

    Roger Otip says:
    January 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

    if you look at the data scientifically, the reported rise is well within the normal global temperature noise signal

    The warming signal in the temperature rise over the last three decades is above the 95% statistical significance level meaning there is less than 5% chance that it is simply the result of natural variation.
    ______
    Roger, you are correct but I suspect there are very few on this blog who will listen. Even if all the sea ice on both poles melted and Greenland and Antarctica melted, and the sea levels rose by 50 feet, you’d get some who’d say it was just a recovery from the last interglacial or some such nonsense.

  121. Richard S Courtney says:

    R Gates:

    Your posts on WUWT keep demonstrating that you really, really do not understand how science works. For example, the post of yours at January 17, 2011 at 8:36 am says;

    “Even if all the sea ice on both poles melted and Greenland and Antarctica melted, and the sea levels rose by 50 feet, you’d get some who’d say it was just a recovery from the last interglacial or some such nonsense.”

    Firstly, none of those things can happen within millenia because the laws of physics do not allow it.

    Secondly, if they were to happen then none of those happenings would – of itself – be evidence of its cause.

    The Earth is warming and there is substantial evidence that it has been warming for about 300 years. It is a fact that the cold era from which that warming is happening is called the Little Ice Age (LIA).

    Nobody knows why the LIA happened and nobody knows why the Earth has been warming from it for about 300 years. But until about 1940 (i.e. until 70 years ago) the anthropogenic emissions were too small for them to have had any effect on the warming for that effect to be discernible.

    So, the problem for people who want to assert that the anthropogenic emissions are contributing to the warming is that they need to show the warming after 1940 differs from the warming before 1940. And they cannot. Indeed, the warming in the twentieth century occured in two periods: i.e. 1910 to 1940 and 1970 to 2000. Those periods have the same rate of warming as far as anubody can tell, and there has been no discernible warming of the globe since the twentieth century.

    I hope that helps. You still have much to learn before you have grasped the basics of these matters, but the info. I have given you here is a start.

    Richard

  122. R. Gates says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    R Gates:

    Your posts on WUWT keep demonstrating that you really, really do not understand how science works.
    _____
    What I understand is that if I believe that it is more likely than not that AGW is happening, then I obviously don’t understand the science. How could it be otherwise in your world-view? These assertions that I “really really do not understand how science works” amount to nothing less than an ad hominem attack on me. I understand the science well enough to have formed an honest and educated opinion on the subject. I have stated quite clearly a list real world measurable effects that are likely attributable to AGW. Until someone offers a competing theory to AGW, that completely explains the simultaneous occurrence of all these effects, then, for the time being, AGW is the best we’ve got. And when I hear people saying, “but that effect is from warming, not from the CO2,” then of course I realize that there is indeed a big gulf between the “warmists” and the skeptics…

  123. Richard S Courtney says:

    R Gates:

    At January 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm you assert:

    “I have stated quite clearly a list real world measurable effects that are likely attributable to AGW. Until someone offers a competing theory to AGW, that completely explains the simultaneous occurrence of all these effects, then, for the time being, AGW is the best we’ve got.”

    No! That is twaddle!

    Each of your “realworld measurable effects” is covered by the null hypothesis. Therefore, according to the scientific method, the null hypothesis is the “best we’ve got”. Until you can disprove the null hypothesis there is no reason to even consider the AGW conjecture.

    I keep explaining this to you (as I did in the post you have answered in your post that I quote). And pointing out your deliberate ignorance of it despite repeated and various explanations is NOT an “adhominem attack”: it is simply a fact.

    Richard

  124. Roger Otip says:

    R. Gates

    The warming signal in the temperature rise over the last three decades is above the 95% statistical significance level meaning there is less than 5% chance that it is simply the result of natural variation.
    ______
    Roger, you are correct but I suspect there are very few on this blog who will listen. Even if all the sea ice on both poles melted and Greenland and Antarctica melted, and the sea levels rose by 50 feet, you’d get some who’d say it was just a recovery from the last interglacial or some such nonsense.

    It seems these self-proclaimed skeptics are not very skeptical when it comes to their own pet hypotheses.

    REPLY: Ditto http://www.legjoints.com/ClimateChangeDenial/

  125. Roger Otip says:

    Direct observations find that CO2 is rising sharply due to human activity. Satellite and surface measurements find less energy is escaping to space at CO2 absorption wavelengths. Ocean and surface temperature measurements find the planet continues to accumulate heat. This gives a line of empirical evidence that human CO2 emissions are causing global warming.
    Skeptical Science

  126. R. Gates says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    R Gates:

    At January 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm you assert:

    “I have stated quite clearly a list real world measurable effects that are likely attributable to AGW. Until someone offers a competing theory to AGW, that completely explains the simultaneous occurrence of all these effects, then, for the time being, AGW is the best we’ve got.”

    No! That is twaddle!

    Each of your “realworld measurable effects” is covered by the null hypothesis. Therefore, according to the scientific method, the null hypothesis is the “best we’ve got”. Until you can disprove the null hypothesis there is no reason to even consider the AGW conjecture.

    I keep explaining this to you (as I did in the post you have answered in your post that I quote). And pointing out your deliberate ignorance of it despite repeated and various explanations is NOT an “adhominem attack”: it is simply a fact.

    Richard
    _____
    Richard, first, the years of AGW being a “conjecture” have long ago passed us by. Sometime in the 1990′s it certainly became a full and honest “Theory”. This causes AGW skeptics no small amount of heart ache as they now need to have an alternative theory that explains the major trends in the climate that AGW Theory does.

    What is difficult for honest AGW skeptics to understand is that AGW Theory is dealing with a system (i.e. the climate) that exists on the edge of chaos and that can never be described in detail and has far too many inputs and variable for a complete and exact description. A very good analogy is this. If you see a rain cloud forming on the horizon, and know the rain usually comes from that direction, and then see lighting and hear thunder, you might make a good case that it is going to rain. You might even see the rain falling a mile a way and headed your direction. Now, tell me exactly where the first raindrop will fall on your car window. No amount of computing power could ever predict that, just as no amount of computing power could ever predict exactly when the Arctic will be ice free in summer, but the trend has been predicted and within a range, we can be pretty certain it will happen. And that trend has been predicted by all the GCM’s when considering the 40% growth in CO2 since the 1700′s and its continued growth. We know the Arctic will be ice free BECAUSE OF INCREASING GREEN HOUSE GASES, just as we know from the analogy above, that the first rain drop will fall on the window…we just don’t know exactly when, and never can when dealing with a complex and chaotic system.

  127. R. Gates says:

    Roger Otip says:
    January 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Direct observations find that CO2 is rising sharply due to human activity. Satellite and surface measurements find less energy is escaping to space at CO2 absorption wavelengths. Ocean and surface temperature measurements find the planet continues to accumulate heat. This gives a line of empirical evidence that human CO2 emissions are causing global warming.

    _____
    Again Roger, I think you’re assuming far more interest to your honest attempts than may be warranted…but carry on!

  128. Roger Otip says:

    “The warming signal in the temperature rise over the last three decades is above the 95% statistical significance level meaning there is less than 5% chance that it is simply the result of natural variation.”

    No mate. It means that there is less than 5% chance that there has been no warming, that’s all. It say’s nothing about the cause itself. There are cyclical natural variations with periods much longer than three decades – orders of magnitude more. Like, for instance, cycles of solar activity.

  129. Mats Bengtsson says:

    The below is a good key to why there is so much confusion when interpreting statistics:

    “John Johnston says:
    January 18, 2011 at 12:25 am
    Roger Otip says:

    “The warming signal in the temperature rise over the last three decades is above the 95% statistical significance level meaning there is less than 5% chance that it is simply the result of natural variation.”

    No mate. It means that there is less than 5% chance that there has been no warming, that’s all. It say’s nothing about the cause itself. There are cyclical natural variations with periods much longer than three decades – orders of magnitude more. Like, for instance, cycles of solar activity.”

    As John Johnston points out, what some like to see as an evidence of human activity, is only a statement of difference. To that can be added that the warming when compared to beginning of 1900 is almost the same as saying the warming compared to end of 1800. Going by what was tought in school, this is almost same as saying that it is warmer now than it was at the end of little ice age.

    Well, if we compare to the end of little ice age, and do not consider us in a new ice age, it would be expected that it is wamer outside of an ice age than inside an ice age. That fact alone has very little to do with a conclusion on human activity effects.

    — Mats —

  130. Richard S Courtney says:

    R. Gates:

    Your post at January 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm yet again demonstrates your deliberate ignorance in that you refuse to face reality and cling to your unsubstantiated beliefs instead.

    I ask everybody to read it before reading anything else you write.

    Your illogical rants are annoying to those of us who prefer science to superstition.

    |Richard

  131. LeClimatique says:

    Is it ok if this article is translated to dutch and possible put online at climategate.nl?

    [Reply: This question should be put in Tips & Notes, where Anthony will be sure to see it. ~dbs, mod.]

  132. R. Gates says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 18, 2011 at 1:12 am
    R. Gates:

    Your post at January 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm yet again demonstrates your deliberate ignorance in that you refuse to face reality and cling to your unsubstantiated beliefs instead.

    I ask everybody to read it before reading anything else you write.

    Your illogical rants are annoying to those of us who prefer science to superstition.

    |Richard
    ______
    You are welcome to your opinion, and likewise, I to mine. My confidence that AGW is likely occurring is firmly based in science, but of course, skeptics can’t (or won’t) accept that science, and would rather make this into a politcal and even personal battle. Regardless, your ad hominems on me do get a bit tiring…

  133. Robert Lund says:

    I find Trendberth to be spot on. I am not a climate scientist but I frequently publish tempertaure trend articles in AMS journals. It is so true that the researchers keep on researching and the deniers keep on bloggin’ (and not publishing). It is so true that the media has been misled. Blogs like this one do a lot of disservice on the whole, slowing the dissemination of information and legitimate science. Sure there is crap in our field, but in the end, who cares what Steve McIntyre’s or Al Gore’s opinion is? I don’t. It is only through the careful statistical analyses of data, which includes error margins, that conclusions should be made. And by in large, those doing careful analyses of the records conclude that the Earth has recently been warming. Anyone looking at the Paleo record and how CO_2 and tempertaures have historically moved in tandem is very hard pressed to discount that the warming is man-induced. While I’m not invested in the outcome, you will need to present data and rigorious analyses to convince me otherwise….not blog comments.

  134. D. J. Hawkins says:

    ShrNfr says:
    January 16, 2011 at 11:48 am
    Foo on foil. Epee forever.

    Real men use sabers!

    On a more serious note, thank you R. Gates for the timeline on Global Warming theory development, quibbles on “theory” and “hypothesis” not withstanding. Perhaps I’ve missed this point previously, but it seems that the warming record from real thermometers as presented elswhere here hasn’t shown much, if any, acceleration in the later part of the last century, as might be expected if CO2 were a significant driver. Can you suggest a citation?

  135. R. Gates says:

    D. J. Hawkins says:
    January 18, 2011 at 11:38 am
    ShrNfr says:
    January 16, 2011 at 11:48 am
    Foo on foil. Epee forever.

    Real men use sabers!

    On a more serious note, thank you R. Gates for the timeline on Global Warming theory development, quibbles on “theory” and “hypothesis” not withstanding. Perhaps I’ve missed this point previously, but it seems that the warming record from real thermometers as presented elswhere here hasn’t shown much, if any, acceleration in the later part of the last century, as might be expected if CO2 were a significant driver. Can you suggest a citation?
    _____
    Now of course, by use of the word “real” in speaking about thermometers, or how, in general, temperatures are taken from around the globe, we of course can get into a huge discussion of these issues, but I actually am one who thinks that looking at general trends, gistemp works just fine, and I especially feel that when looking at difference between lattitudes around the globe, giss data works well. I know that this has been dicussed much here on WUWT, and many here might disagree, but I think this series of graphs:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.B.lrg.gif

    Are very interesting, and tell us an interesting story about temps and the warming of the polar regions (especially the N. Pole). As shown in every GCM, the poles are to warm first, and this is exactly the case, with the N. Pole always to warm first and more severely at first than the S. Pole for very specific reasons that are shown by the GCM’s– namely, the huge hink sink that is the S. Ocean, and the fact that the S. Pole is covered by thousands of feet of ice, whereas the N. Pole is an ocean covered by maybe 10 feet(at the maximum) of sea ice. This represents a huge thermodynamic difference between these two regions. But, back to the point, within the bounds of naturally variability, temperatures continue to rise. 2010 is legitimately tied for the warmest year ever and was the wettest year ever (also in line with GCM models as the hydrological cycle accelerates).

    What I personally look at is decade-to-decade averages, and not year to year. Will 2010-2019 be warmer than 2000-2009? Here is how I see this dyanamic shaping up to determine if this is the case. The players are:

    1) The Solar Cycle
    2) GHG forcing (including here both CO2 as well as the added water vapor from warming)
    3) The AMO & PDO
    4) Timing of the ENSO cycle

    How quiet will the sun get and what will that mean to total solar irradiance, galactic cosmic rays, cloud cover, etc? Will the AMO and PDO both turn to their cold phases at the same time? How low will the Arctic Sea ice cover get and what does that mean for the extra watts/m2 in warming of that region? Will another El Nino hit about the same time as the Solar Max 24 event (no matter how weak)? In the middle of this is of course the issue of the long-term warming from the 40% rise in CO2 since the 1700′s.

    This is a very exciting time to be studying all this IMO, as we are going to see first hand some very interesting dyanamics going on the next few years. Many AGW skeptics believe that there is no way that anthropogenic GHG’s could be changing the nature of either the ENSO cycle nor the PDO or AMO. I also am skeptical of this, but I would not go so far as to say there is “no way” that AGW could affect these longer-term ocean cycles. I think in the next few years, we’ll begin to get some answers about this, and really see how much stronger the solar cycle is or isn’t versus the force of AGW. Very exciting stuff!

  136. Roger Otip says:

    John Johnston

    “The warming signal in the temperature rise over the last three decades is above the 95% statistical significance level meaning there is less than 5% chance that it is simply the result of natural variation.”

    No mate. It means that there is less than 5% chance that there has been no warming, that’s all. It say’s nothing about the cause itself.

    Perhaps rather than natural variation it would have been clearer if I’d said random variation. The statistical significance is about testing whether there is an actual warming trend, and you’re quite right in saying it’s not making any comment about the cause of this trend, just whether or not there is a trend. But it’s not correct to say that it means “there is less than 5% chance that there has been no warming”, rather one should say “there is less than 5% chance that the observed warming is not part of a warming trend”. For instance, you could look at 2 years, 1998 and 1999, and draw a trend line between those two years, which of course would be a cooling trend since 1998 was a very warm year whilst 1999 was a significantly less warm year. But, being only two years, this trend line would have an extremely low level of statistical significance, but that wouldn’t mean that 1999 might actually have been warmer than 1998, but it would mean that the cooling from 1998 to 1999 was not part of any trend that one might expect to continue, it was just an exceptionally warm year followed by a less warm year.

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