Reasons to be a Global Warming Skeptic

[Note: Charlie Martin of the PJ Tattler graciously agrees to have this reprinted here. While he's taken a bit of artistic license with some claims, such as the "big oil coupon" claim, the gist of it sums up well, but could use some tweaking on details, which I'm sure WUWT readers will enjoy providing. For example, McIntyre and McKittricks' criticism of the hockey stick math didn't include full spectrum random numbers, but was red noise.  - Anthony]

(I ended up writing this as a lengthy answer to someone on Google+ — might as well let the world see it.)
Here’s what I’ve said so far:

“There are few skeptics (I can’t think of any, and I’ve been reporting on this for two solid years and an interested bystander for several years before that) who don’t believe there has been significant warming since the Little Ice Age, or that humans contribute to it, or that additional CO2 or other greenhouse gases aren’t probably part of that contribution.”

Unless one is arguing that humans are the only cause of global warming — in which case I’d have to point to that big glowing thing in the sky during the daytime — what I said explicitly includes a human contribution and even a greenhouse gas contribution.

Now, the IPCC AR4 model is rather stronger than that: it insists that anthropogenic, greenhouse-gas forced warming is the dominant — so dominant that it leads the unthoughtful to turn it into “only” — cause of global warming.  For conciseness, call that the AGW model.  Reasons I don’t find that hypotheses convincing include:

(1) from the start, it has depended on very sensitive statistical techniques to tease a signal out of an overall warming that has been going on for 500 years. Refer back to the famous “hockey stick” charts and then look for one with actual error bars: even in the papers making the strongest arguments for the AGW hypothesis have very wide error ranges — so wide that the AGW component barely exceeds the limits of the technique.

(2) the specific methods used for some of the dominant studies turn out to be mathematically flawed.  in particular, the methods of Mann _et al_ turn out to present a clear hockey stick no matter what the input data is, including pure random numbers.

A method that detects a signal when there is no signal is necessarily suspect.  At best.

Other examples of questionable parts of these results include:

  • the methods used to select data points in the GCHN data sets — examined carefully, it turns out that the selected points used to compute GAST and regional temps are, to a *very* high probability, the points from the raw data set that lead to the most warming.  Carefully read, the descriptions of the analysis even say that’s a selection criterion: they’re selecting data points that fit the models well — but then testing the models by how well they fit the data.
  • actual site locations turn out to very commonly have poor site placement and site changes that would add significant warming.  This warming has not been appropriately compensated for. [Note: GHCN3 does handle site changes better, Charlie is probably not aware of it since it is relatively new- Anthony]
  • odd ad hoc methods to fit together paleoclimate data and actual temperature measurement, including the famous “hide the decline” patching, and contrariwise the exclusion of recent tree ring data that suggests tree rings may not be as strongly correlated with temperature as we think.  The explanations for those exclusions end up looking very ad hoc in themselves.

(3) There is actually extensive literature showing anthropogenic components that are not driven by greenhouse gases.  These results have been excluded from the IPCC, often in very questionable ways (cf Roger Pielke Sr’s removal from the IPCC editorial board.)

(4) The predictions of further warming are necessarily based on models.  Now, it happens I did my PhD work on Federally funded modeling, from which I developed the NBSR Law (named after the group for which I worked): All modeling efforts will inevitably converge on the result most likely to lead to further funding.

Anyone with a unbiased eye who looks into it will find any number of people who have found that a model that predicts more warming gets funded; a model that predicts relatively less warming gets less funding. Pre-tenure researchers in particular are warned away from results that don’t fit orthodoxy.

(5) The models themselves turn out not to be very predictive.  Grossly, you could look at Jim Hansen’s prediction from the 80′s that Manhattan Island would be awash by the 2000′s.  More technically, there were a number of models that predicted pretty significant warming, and in fact an increased warming rate, increased 2nd derivative, in the span 1990-2010.  In fact, the warming was much smaller than predicted, and the second derivative appears even to have turned negative.

These models are often revised so that after the fact that predict what really happened.  This isn’t very satisfactory.

In the mean time, actual observation, as eg with Dick Lindzen’s recent paper, simply isn’t fitting the models very well.  As Granddaddy used to say “if the bird book and the bird disagree, believe the bird.”

(6) It’s unclear how the AGW hypothesis can be falsified in its current form.  Certainly, anecdotally, there are people who predict that unusual warm spells are a sign of global warming, as are unusual cold spells.  Should we have a period of unusually small variation, there are people who have suggested that as an effect of global warming.  And in any case, simply observing warming doesn’t allow one to infer the truth of AGW as a hypothesis.

(7) The arguments against the skeptics turn out to be unscientific, and often unprofessional, in the extreme.

These range from the common — “the consensus is” — to the ad hominem, and even to outright attempts to suppress free inquiry.

“The consensus is” neglects the fact that science isn’t decided by consensus, not permanently at least.  (At one time, the consensus was that fire involved a special elemental substance called phlogiston; at another, it was that atoms were indivisible and unchangeable; not so long ago, it was that light was a wave in a literally ethereal substance called the “luminiferous aether.” If consensus precluded further testing, we would still believe those today.)

The ad hominems include the way that anyone who ever received so much at a 10 cents off gas coupon from a service station is accused of being in the pay of Big Oil.  Sometimes, the ad hominems are frank lies, but they get out into the AGW enthusiast community and are treated as truth.

And, well, anyone who read the ClimateGate files knows about actual attempts to suppress certain authors and papers.  Perhaps it’s not fair to call it “conspiracy”, but the fact is that there is clear and unequivocal evidence of collusion and bullying on authors, reporters, and journal editorial boards.

If the AGW arguments are that strong, they don’t need collusion and bullying.

So, this is a very long piece considering I’m not getting paid to write it; let me summarize.

First of all, what *I* said wasn’t what you supposed I’d said. It would be worth considering what else you _think_ you’ve read recently for other cases.

Second, to the extent that I have a position, as I said, I think warming is unequivocal, a human contribution very probable, and the magnitude of that contribution in the face of feedbacks and homeostasis currently unknown and on the very edge of what we can actually measure.

And third, I don’t think the AGW enthusiasts consider the costs and benefits of AGW amelioration versus the other possibilities. If preventing a sea level rise of one meter means dooming future generations in the Third World to sickness, hunger, and darkness, it’s not worth it.

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101 Responses to Reasons to be a Global Warming Skeptic

  1. Nick says:

    The models themselves turn out not to be very predictive.

    This is the crucial part.

    Science is theory – predict – test – accept/reject.

    Now for GW, its failed the prediction and test, and it needs to be rejected as a consequence.

    theory – model – test against known data, is flawed because it introduces a bias. You only accept the models that work, and models that are just curve fitting algorithms pass this test. Us them for prediction and it goes wrong. Just like a lot of banking models.

    One difference with GW, is that the proof is a statistical proof, not an absolute yes / no. However given the failures of the models to predict to a high level of confidence, they are bust.

  2. (8) the arguments for AGW mitigation inevitably get hijacked by people who want to find a reason to implement a socialistic top-down command-and-control anti-growth anti-free-speech vision of society, the same people that find a reason to demonstrate against all practical sources of energy, from tar sands to coal.

  3. John W says:

    Nice summary!
    One possible edit:
    “These models are often revised so that after the fact that predict what really happened.”
    Should the second that be they?

  4. Joe says:

    Very good essay. I will distribute it liberally… which is exactly the opposite of what a liberal would do. :)

  5. NetDr says:

    NetDr’s Law #1 is that a studies likelihood of being funded is directly proportional to it’s reinforcing the current orthodoxy.

    A partial list of things caused by global warming
    Acne, Afghan poppies destroyed, African holocaust, aged deaths, poppies more potent, Africa devastated, Africa in conflict, African aid threatened, aggressive weeds, Air France crash, air pockets, air pressure changes, airport farewells virtual, airport malaria, Agulhas current, Alaskan towns slowly destroyed, Al Qaeda and Taliban Being Helped, allergy increase, allergy season longer, alligators in the Thames, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, animals shrink, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra lost, Arctic warming (not), a rose by any other name smells of nothing, asteroid strike risk, asthma, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, Baghdad snow, Bahrain under water, bananas grow, barbarisation, bats decline, beer and bread prices to soar, beer better, beer worse, beetle infestation,

    Plus 1,000 more.

    If the study didn’t reinforce CAGW would it have been done in the first place. Having obtained funding what is the chance the study would conclude that the effect was nonexistent.?

    Get real !

  6. Jeremy says:

    First of all, what *I* said wasn’t what you supposed I’d said. It would be worth considering what else you _think_ you’ve read recently for other cases.

    ^^ This paragraph is confusing to me. Do you mean “IF what *I* said…” ?

    These models are often revised so that after the fact that predict what really happened. This isn’t very satisfactory.

    Do you mean “..so that after the fact THEY predict…” ??

    It seems mostly a fair summary of proper thinking on the matter. At this point I don’t discourage anyone from trying to convince the believers in human induced CO2 cataclysm that they’re following a dogma, but I never expect results either. Once sufficient numbers of people have suspended disbelief, you can’t simply re-instill critical thought with words. Just as human gospels won’t go away until aliens land on earth, CAGW wont go away until either a generation dies off or the world turns significantly colder (and even then, they may just claim that the ocean circulation was a tipping point that warming caused cooling, or some other nonsense.).

  7. mkelly says:

    From NIPCC: “New evidence shows the Medieval Warm Period was real, global and warmer than the present, while CO2 was 28% lower.”

    From WikI: “In the present interglacial, the Holocene, the climatic optimum occurred during the Subboreal (5 to 2.5 ka BP, which corresponds to 3000 BC-500 BC) and Atlanticum (9 to 5 ka, which corresponds to roughly 7000 BC-3000 BC). Our current climatic phase following this climatic optimum is still within the same interglacial (the Holocene). This warm period was followed by a gradual decline until about 2,000 years ago, with another warm period until the Little Ice Age (1250-1850).”

    http://web.me.com/uriarte/Earths_Climate/6._The_Eemian.html
    From the above: “The name given to the penultimate interglacial era in Europe comes from the Eem river valley in Holland, where sediments from that epoch were found containing warm-weather fauna fossils and pollen from leafy trees. It is believed that at the height of that interglacial epoch, global temperatures were between 1º C and 2º C warmer than today.”

    It was warmer for hundreds if not thousands of years before SUV caused AGW and we cannot explain the cause. For me this alone is reason enough to be a skeptic. There are other reasons but this can do for now.

  8. DirkH says:

    “The ad hominems include the way that anyone who ever received so much at a 10 cents off gas coupon from a service station is accused of being in the pay of Big Oil.”

    That’s not correct. Every skeptic gets accused of being in the pay of Big Oil; it doesn’t matter whether you ever visited a gas station.

    Furthermore, the CRU received funding from BP. This has never been reported by the BBC, so the warmists don’t know it, but they also never bothered to check whether the warmist institutes are in the pay of Big Oil, which they are, because Big Oil needs AGW to get rid of Big Coal.

  9. Mark Wilson says:

    I would add more emphasis to the fact that while it is clear that the earth has warmed, the actual magnitude of that warming is far from clear. Anthony’s work with the first the US ground based temperature network and now the international network has shown that this network is a mess. Trying to determine current temperatures with this network is problematic. Trying to compare current temperatures to past temperatures is near to impossible because all of the changes to this network, many not properly documented, if they were documented at all.

    Throw in inadequate coverage for most of the world, especially the oceans.

    Throw in disagreement on the size of UHI and how much it has changed over the last 100 years and you get another system who’s error bars are signifacantly greater than the signal that they claim to be seeing.

  10. Brandon Caswell says:

    I can’t help but think of all the balanced and well reasoned articles and essays I have read over the years about AGW. There has been thousands. But if a in-your-face “peer reviewed” article that completely undercuts a main component of AGW can’t change anything in the debate, what hope does a well-reasoned essay have? It keeps coming back to the saying:

    ” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place.”

    It has reached the point of absurd. But what can they do now? Their careers are tied to this wagon. Do you really think Mann, Jones, Hansen, and Gavin would ever be fully trusted again once this charade collapses? They put themselves in the position that they now have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

  11. NetDr says:

    Alarmists claim:

    Sure warming is minor but warming in the last 1/2 of the twentieth century accelerated.

    There is little doubt that there has been a slight warming since records began at the end of the little Ice age. [about 1/2 ° C per 100 years] There is also little doubt that solar influences are responsible for some if not all of the warming. This warming is of interest to climatologists only.

    http://sidc.oma.be/html/wolfaml.html

    The recent CERN data suggests the effect is more than previously thought.

    The supposed acceleration in warming in the last 1/2 of the twentieth century all took place from 1978 to 1998, before that there was cooling and after that it was flat. Unfortunately for the CO2 mafia the period from 1978 to 1998 was dominated by more El Nino’s than La Nina’s and a positive PDO. These related facts entirely explain the 1978 to 1998 warming with no CO2 required.

    http://processtrends.com/images/RClimate_NINO_34_latest.png
    PDO vs CRUTEMP 1940 to present

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1940/to:2012/scale:5/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1940/to:2012/mean:12

    When the PDO is positive temperatures go up and when it is negative they go down. So the the PDO is the 1′st derivative of temperature.

    Since 1998 there has been trivial warming if any despite tons of CO2 so the alarmists have to posit cooling from aerosols to offset the warming which obviously isn’t happening. This is convenient since the amount and effect of aerosols is one of the great unknowns of climate science so who can prove them wrong ?

    The observed 1/2 ° C per century warming is superimposed with a 60 year sinusoid which causes the alarmists to predict Ice ages and warming catastrophes neither of which are justified.

    To me the climate can be easily explained by the processes outlined above and no CO2 is needed.

  12. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    So, does saying that there is “probably” a human component to warming really make sense? If it is essentially immeasurable, is it not just empty speculation? Or, if there is a demonstrable human component, what is its cause? Surely an immeasurable thermal effect of a trace gas cannot be ascribed as the only cause of something we cannot measure? That is as bad as a science could be to make a fuss about it.

  13. JohnInSoCal says:

    This is concise. That’s useful to me because I’m not a great debater. My circle of friends are 75% physics (training – not career), and the remainder engineering (plus one pure mathematician). We all work in aerospace. Yet somehow we are (widely) split on the degree of anthropogenic warming – 65% low to immeasurable, 35% highly probable.
    – Curiously, only some of the physicists accept AGW. Rationale: consensus.
    – None of the engineers accept it – they require the predictability element. (If it isn’t a reliable
    predictor, it can’t be used in engineering without inevitable law suit.)
    – The mathematician has problems with the statistics, the quality of the underlying numbers, and
    with the ease of model forcing, and rejects it.

    This is a strange world.

  14. Günther Kirschbaum says:

    Now, the IPCC AR4 model is rather stronger than that

    I stopped reading after this. What a way to disqualify yourself. I would bet this person hasn’t read one line from the latest IPCC report, and informs himself in a very narrow corner of the Internet that confirms his confirmation bias instantly.

    REPLY: Heh, “I stopped reading after this.” + “confirms his confirmation bias instantly.” = FAIL

  15. John Whitman says:

    Charlie Martin,

    Great article. I enjoy seeing the words of independent thinkers (a.k.a. skeptics) spreading across cultures and societies.

    Here is a suggestion of another reason to be a skeptic:

    (8) There is no ‘a priori’ reason not to skeptically question all science. Especially there is no premise that requires us to exempt from skepticism any science that is politically embedded into a quasi-government body such at the UN’s IPCC. With the IPCC we must greatly escalate skepticism for the most important reason of all; the protection of trust in science per se. Trust in science is eroding due to the IPCC process. For me that is the most important reason to be a penultimate skeptic wrt IPCC’s CAGW by CO2.

    Take care.

    John

  16. Willie S. says:

    Jim Hansen’s prediction, made in an interview with a journalist named Bob Reiss in 1988, was that, given a doubling in the amount of atmospheric CO2, within 40 years the West Side Highway would probably be under water. When he made this prediction, he added that he didn’t know how prone the West Side Highway is to flooding (i.e. to that extent, he couldn’t say for sure).

    To say that Hansen predicted that Manhattan would be flooded by 2008 is, for lack of a kinder word, a lie.

  17. Nuke Nemesis says:

    The reasons to be a believer are:

    1) It’s warmed
    2) CO2 has increased
    3) CO2 is a greenhouse gas
    4) The warming is due to increases in CO2
    5) Man burns fossil fuels, which release CO2 into the atmosphere
    6) Nature naturally balances the carbon cycle, so any increases in CO2 must be due to human activities
    7) Therefore, humans cause global warming!

    Really, that’s all they got. A few facts (#1, #2, #3 and #5) with three statements of belief which have not been shown to be true.

  18. omnologos says:

    JohnInSoCal – in the last 8 years I have found among technically inclined people in the City of London only two persons that would qualify as AGWers of the Franny Armstrong variety.

    Basically anybody that has ever developed, tested and especially supported computer code understands its limitations (and potential for bugs). I suspect in Academia the support experience is lacking.

  19. Roger Knights says:

    Willie S. says:
    September 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Jim Hansen’s prediction, made in an interview with a journalist named Bob Reiss in 1988, was that, given a doubling in the amount of atmospheric CO2, within 40 years the West Side Highway would probably be under water. When he made this prediction, he added that he didn’t know how prone the West Side Highway is to flooding (i.e. to that extent, he couldn’t say for sure).

    To say that Hansen predicted that Manhattan would be flooded by 2008 is, for lack of a kinder word, a lie.

    Not really, because it was only fairly recently that Bob Reiss revised his initial claim, which was that Hansen had said 20 years. Here’s a link to a WUWT thread on the topic:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/20/friday-funny-hansens-book-of-horrors/
    And here’s a quote from it, which should make you wonder about who’s lying:

    James Sexton says:
    March 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    lol, now, I know you’re gonna find this hard to believe, so, please place your drink out of the proximity of your keyboard and ‘puter. But, after 10 years of silence from both Hansen and Reiss, and oddly enough after the expiration of the dire prediction, Hansen now says, (and apparently Reiss) that Reiss misremembered the conversation. Reiss says now, that he didn’t have his notes with him during the Salon interview, and that it really was in 40 years with the caveat of doubling CO2. Now, how a writer would pose such details in the way the questioned was quoted, ……well, you make the call. It was quite an interview to do in such detail without the aid of notes, apparently this being the one and only failing of his otherwise steel-trap like mind. I understand the 40/doubling is in Reiss’ book, but I’m not gonna read it.

    http://climateclash.com/2011/01/27/james-hansen-singing-in-the-rain/

  20. Roger Knights says:

    Oops–Here’s the true link to the WUWT thread on Hansen’s West Side Highway prediction: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/22/a-little-known-but-failed-20-year-old-climate-change-prediction-by-dr-james-hansen/

  21. Jean Parisot says:

    In the comments there: “1) most studies have confirmed that the hockey stick is physically real,” ? Where is that kool aid coming from?

  22. Rob Potter says:

    Nicely argued piece (the gas coupons bit is quite easily excused as poetic license and is used somewhat tongue-in-cheek anyway). I particularly liked how the issue of consensus is handled:

    “If consensus precluded further testing, we would still believe those [incorrect theories] today.”

    This is highly relevant to people in my field of (molecular) biology where we not only see “consensus” opinions dropped quite quickly in light of new evidence, but an open relish to test consensual positions when new tools come along.

    Satellite data, remote sensing of sea water temperatures – even pretty CLOUD chambers at CERN – these are all tools which (should) have been used with glee by “climate scientists” to challenge the consensus and make a name for themselves. Instead, the dead hand of conformity has descended and squashed out any desire to question. Sad times.

  23. Julian in Wales says:

    This is an important reference article for me because I am not a scientist. I often go on to comment sections in the MSM where I do my civic duty and have fights with the AGW crowd. It is really helpful to have the main arguments well mapped out. This article becomes my castle, as long as I stay inside the confines of this castle I can defeat all-comers, even when they are better qualified than I am.

    People like me come to this blog for information, often we go away confused because our science is not up to it, so it is really important that we are given proper guidance about where the boundaries of the case against CAGW are. Thank you Anthony.

    BTW It would be really helpful to have a little section on your blog where the bones of main arguments against AGW are put down with links

  24. RockyRoad says:

    Günther Kirschbaum says:
    September 1, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Now, the IPCC AR4 model is rather stronger than that

    I stopped reading after this. What a way to disqualify yourself. I would bet this person hasn’t read one line from the latest IPCC report, and informs himself in a very narrow corner of the Internet that confirms his confirmation bias instantly.

    So you’re saying WUWT is “a very narrow corner of the internet”? And where do you find yourself? In the cracks?

  25. Nuke Nemesis says:

    The gas coupon thing is an understatement. Just disagreeing with the bogus consensus is enough to be branded a stooge for big oil.

  26. Julian in Wales says:

    I should add another big argument against the CAGW advocatees is that they tolerate corruption, and do not weed out their bad apples. It is always a good angle because it goes to the foundations of theri belief system.

  27. Lady Life Grows says:

    I had an interesting thing happen to me last night. I was chatting live on the web with a highly intelligent friend from Central Europe about AGW. I said I was skeptical there even was any warming, because the data has been messed up. I mentioned that a Danish scientist had asked for raw temperature data–and got it because he was a believer. Then he found that some weather stations were being eliminated from the data as unreliable–usually the ones with the coldest temperatures.

    Where did you learn that? from Fox News? he asked

    “From an International Scientific Conference on Global Warming.” I replied.

    (I had heard it from the scientist himself, presenting at Heartland Institutes’s Conference in Chicago, June 2010).

  28. Willie S. says:

    So Dr. Hansen is not to be taken as the authority on what he himself said — but instead, a journalist, who was not reporting on any of Hansen’s scientific studies, but was simply relaying an off the cuff conjecture that Hansen had made in response to the reporter’s prompting him for a vivid illustration of what global warming might bring.

    James Sexton says: ” I understand the 40/doubling is in Reiss’ book, but I’m not gonna read it.” Indeed.

  29. DirkH says:

    Willie S. says:
    September 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm
    “So Dr. Hansen is not to be taken as the authority on what he himself said — but instead, a journalist, who was not reporting on any of Hansen’s scientific studies, ”

    Willie, why did Hansen not complain about being misquoted before the expiration date of the failed prediction? You surely have a convincing, logical and striking explanation; I’d love to hear it.

  30. Jay Davis says:

    My reason for being a skeptic is very simple – no AGW adherent has been able to coherently explain to me why the glaciers retreated so rapidly 10 – 12 thousand years ago without the help of mankind.

  31. Magnus says:

    To joe: being liberal has nothing to do with agw belief or willingness to distribute. Maybe a deceiving correlation exists in the us, but as you probably agree: correlation does not equal causation.

  32. Hey, thanks guys.

    Anthony’s right that this has some literary license; it wasn’t written for a formal publication, it’s a blog comment gone horribly horribly wrong. But it’s gotten enough approbation that I think it’s going to be rewritten as a more formal article or even a small book, and so any and all comment are exceedingly appreciated.

    Some comments and answers:

    Guenther: I stopped reading after this. What a way to disqualify yourself. I would bet this person hasn’t read one line from the latest IPCC report, and informs himself in a very narrow corner of the Internet that confirms his confirmation bias instantly.

    You’d lose.

    So, tell me: is it your contention that the IPCC AR4 report as released does not say that there has been warming, that the warming is dominantly driven by CO2 (and other greenhouse gas) increases, and that those increases are themselves anthropogenic, thus concluding that the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is confirmed?

    Have you read it?

    Willie S: You might want to look up the word “lie”, as it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    To say that Hansen predicted that Manhattan would be flooded by 2008 is, for lack of a kinder word, a lie.

    As Roger above pointed out before I got to it, this was responsibly reported; since the last time I saw the discussion, the change from 20 to 40 years was noted. As Anthony’s revised article notes, the actual behavior of sea level is inconsistent with Hansen’s 40 year prediction too.

    Jeremy: You’re right, those paragraphs were, in a word, infelicitous. They kinda sorta made sense in the context of the conversation and I think you’ve correctly inferred what I meant.

    Here’s a bleg: Jeff Id wrote me about the data selection issue. I remember it clearly coming up when I was covering Climategate heavily, and saw several papers looking at the sites selected for several regions. In particular, I think it was Queensland in Australia, and locally here in Colorado, Coal Creek Canyon maybe.

    So far I haven’t been able to track them down, so if this sparks someone’s recollection, I’d sure love to hear. you can reach me through chasrmartin AT gmail.

  33. NetDr says:

    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it. ” Voltaire
    .
    CO2 causes
    Volcanoes [No joke, just after the Iceland volcano there were peer reviewed studies
    linking it to global warming]
    Earthquakes [Same thing after the Japan earthquake]
    More snow
    Less snow
    Heat waves
    Intense cold
    ( ICS) Irritable Climate Syndrome
    Floods
    Droughts
    More extreme weather
    Less extreme weather
    Melting ice
    Freezing water
    More hurricanes
    Fewer hurricanes
    More cloud
    Fewer clouds
    Stratospheric warming
    Stratospheric cooling
    etc. etc. ad nauseum.
    The science is settled.

    He who predicts everything predicts nothing !
    .
    No matter what happens your Horoscope seems to have predicted it just like climate alarmism.

    The inability of the alarmists to eliminate ay possible change as not being cause by Global Warming [even when there has been no warming for 13 years] tells me it is a case of ASTROLOGY not actual science.

  34. Ah, a couple more points: Anthony’s exactly right, it was red noise rather than completely pure random numbers; again, this didn’t start out to be a very formal document. Feel free to correct that Anthony; it certainly doesn’t change the conclusion, which is that a method which shows signal when there is only noise is not very skillful.

    One of the site things I was looking for was Richard Keen, viz http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/coal-creek-redux/

    I need to give him a call I think. I’m still looking for other examples.

  35. Roger Knights says:

    Julian in Wales says:
    September 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    BTW It would be really helpful to have a little section on your blog where the bones of main arguments against AGW are put down with links

    Absolutely! But it should be a big section, because there are 100 points in dispute. We need a grant. (Where’s Big Oil when you need it?)

  36. James Sexton says:

    Wow, so I pop by and see myself being quoted. Very nice….. but from 5-6 months ago! Very wild… And kinda inflating……. :-)

    Willie S. says:
    September 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    So Dr. Hansen is not to be taken as the authority on what he himself said — but instead, a journalist, who was not reporting on any of Hansen’s scientific studies, …………..
    =============================================================

    Willie, the Salon interview had been widely circulated throughout the internet for several years, cussed and discussed in just about every manner possible. I suppose, it only makes sense to try and pretend that both Hansen and Reiss were unaware of the …….ehem, …misinterpretation, but, that’s tantamount to saying both Hansen and Reiss are obliviots. And, the assertion is laughable. A best selling author is unaware of what he stated in an interview? Or what the article stated? lol, you can buy what he’s selling, but I don’t think it reasonable to ask anyone else to buy that. Or what about the camera chasing, microphone grabbing, headline seeking, histrionic, big Jim. Are we to believe he wasn’t aware of what was being stated? He was literally blogging that he didn’t know what was stated on the internet …… and in print. If you believe that, then you also must believe that he isn’t very well tuned to reality.

    Of course, none of that changes the premise. Willie, most of us are old enough to have heard the constant drone that the boogy-man, CO2, is coming to getcha! For nearly 30 years now!! Guess what? It hasn’t happened. And, it is even less believable now than when first posited. Because, we’ve had 30 years of observation to know the none of the dire prognostications have come to fruition.

    Its hype, hand-waving, and bluster. Nothing more.

    I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m late for a continuing study of the calculus and trigonometry of spheres on a plane.

    James

  37. RoHa says:

    “that big glowing thing in the sky during the daytime

    It’s not so big. I can cover it just by holding up my hand.

  38. Anne says:

    My own abstract to this article:
    http://www.ecoequity.org/docs/TheGDRsFramework.pdf
    1. The system is a closed one
    2. The pie is finite
    3. The developed world is responsible for all of the underdeveloped worlds’ woes
    4. The outcomes must be balanced, with the developed world paying and/or undeveloping
    5. The few who will manage this effort will skim a little off of the top of the wealth transfer for their “service” to humankind and the planet

    Did I miss anything. other than a real solution to the underdeveloped worlds’ problems?

  39. Anne says:

    My own abstract to this article:
    http://www.ecoequity.org/docs/TheGDRsFramework.pdf
    1. The system is a closed one
    2. The pie is finite
    3. The developed world is responsible for all of the underdeveloped world’s’woes
    4. The outcomes must be balanced, with the developed world paying and/or undeveloping
    5. The few who will manage this effort will skim a little off of the top of the wealth transfer for their “service” to humankind and the planet

    Did I miss anything, other than a real solution to the underdeveloped world’s problems?

  40. Anne says:

    i give up. We all need editors.
    I will say that I have been reading this blog since November, 2009 and was an AGW adopter prior. I have algore’s DVD! I couldn’t believe the skeptics, based solely upon anecdotal information i read.
    Reading the source code for the hockey stick graph ON THIS BLOG finally convinced me that we have been “had.” Observing how the environmental movement was overtaken by once antagonistic movements, morphing it into the environmental “justice” movement, alerted me to how good movements can get usurped, redirected, overtaken, though willingly for absolution, perhaps. AGW is another example of ulterior motives mining an environmental concern.
    Demonstrated by how far algore has fallen…

  41. Anne says:

    turning RoHa’s comment into haiku:

    that big glowing thing
    i want it to be man’s fault
    i’m bigger than that

  42. John W says:

    More reasons NOT to be a [CA] global warming skeptic:
    8) You’re IRA is heavily invested in CARBON CREDITS.
    9) You work for an alternative energy/carbon sequestration/”green” company.
    10) You idolize the Hockey Team.
    11) You like to jump on bandwagons.
    12) You’ve publicly vouched for the veracity of the evidence for CAGW.
    13) You freak out when someone tells you they accidentally put dihydrogen monoxide in your drink.
    14) You think the government should be in control of everything.
    15) You suffer from first world guilt.
    16) You live in a “threatened country” that might receive climate aid from the first world.

    Disclaimer: Not intended to be an exhaustive list.

  43. Anne says:

    this works a little better to avoid the unintended meanings behind phrases and get RoHa’s point across of perspective, or lack, thereof, of the AGW folks:

    that big glowing thing
    i want it to be man’s fault
    i’m bigger than it

  44. Phil's Dad says:

    Mr Martin saves the best for last.

    “And third, I don’t think the AGW enthusiasts consider the costs and benefits of AGW amelioration versus the other possibilities. If preventing a sea level rise of one meter means dooming future generations in the Third World to sickness, hunger, and darkness, it’s not worth it.”

    This is what really matters in the debate, that the “cure” as currently proposed is far, far worse than the disease. The wrong policy will kill (is killing) just as surely as weather.

  45. rbateman says:

    The models failed miserably to predict, and the worst possible gaffe imaginable was committed when “Global Warming causes Global Cooling” was trotted out.
    That was the turning point, as untold millions roared with laughter (they’re still snickering).
    It was bad, plus the whole world watched in awe as the goalpost was moved from the endzone to the bonfire.

  46. rbateman says:

    The Green Energy cure for ‘AGW’ suffers from a core malady:
    No matter how many coats of Green Paint are applied to a perpetual motion machine, the useable output will always be less than the consumable input.

  47. Another good reason to remain skeptical is that alarmists seemingly think nothing of jumping from one scare to another if the first one dissipates. So since hurricanes and sea ice don’t cooperate and polar bears thrive, it’s now walruses in Alaska. And yes, they’ve been spotted dead from airplanes yada yada yada…

  48. Bigred (Victoria, Australia) says:

    Jeremy (via Charlie Martin): I think the temperature data paper you’re chasing about Australia referred not to Queensland, but Darwin. Anthony posted it in Dec 2009:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/20/darwin-zero-before-and-after/

  49. eco-geek says:

    Why is it that most AGW sceptics believe in AGW?
    Why is it that the MSM potrays AGW sceptics as not believing in AGW?
    The difference in views can be put down in the main to climate sensitivity BUT this is never explained in the MSM although it gets some coverage on sceptic websites in a non-explicit kind of way.
    Me? I believe that CO2 causes global cooling but I get no coverage anywhere – except for the baco-foil….

  50. John Marshall says:

    My arguments against the theory of Greenhouse warming is that there are violations of the laws of thermodynamics, the heat predicted in the upper troposphere cannot be found and the heating is not necessary for maintenance of the surface average (?) temperature of 15C. Adiabatic compression works as well and actually happens in fact.

  51. eco-geek says:

    After my last post I paid a visit to Morano’s Climate Depot and found a very interesting link:
    http://climate-change-theory.com/

    I reproduce a paragraph (b) which supports my coolist position:

    b) That, because nitrogen and oxygen do not radiate much heat themselves at atmospheric temperatures, then the heat they do acquire by conduction from the surface must be transferred also by molecular collision to greenhouse gas molecules. These GHG molecules can emit IR radiation and so, indirectly, they cool 98% of all atmospheric molecules.

    Imagine that the Earth’s atmosphere were made simply of oxygen and nitrogen and no other greenhouse gasses. Because oxygen and nitrogen are less effective radiators than the so called greenhouse gasses the mean temperature of the atmosphere would have to be much warmer in order for the radiative energy output of the atmosphere to space to equal that of the incoming solar radiation. If we add a single molecule of CO2 this would pick up energy from oxygen and nitrogen through thermal collisions and radiate more effectively thus increasing the radiative output of the atmosphere to space. Add a million, a billion and then a trillion more and the radiative output will increase thus cooling the atmosphere until a new thermal equilibrium is reached at lower mean climate temperatures. The rule is: more greenhouse gasses equals more radiative output and thus lower mean global temperatures. The simple and logical extension of this to climate sensitivity (largely through water vapour) is that climate sensitivity is negative.

    While I realise this idea is heresy on a supposed AGW sceptic website where the majority of contributors actually endore the AGW position albeit with a belief in a lower climate sensitivity, I do hope you will consider the coolist position and be prepared toreview your AGW credentials!

  52. eco-geek says:

    If you are prepared to consider the possibility that oxygen and nitrogen are less effective greenhouse gasses than CO2 and water vapor you must in consequence accept the concommitant paradigm shift and see the electronic emission gasses as cooling gases without which the planet would be much warmer. You will then become a coolist like me and see the paradigm you currently endorse i.e. that AGW is real as a false one. As it is the AGW scam survives not inspite of AGW sceptics but because of them!

    Get cool!

  53. Brian H says:

    Philbert’s Daddy;
    Correction: far more surely than weather. Fuel poverty starvation trumps direct and indirect weather deaths by at least an order of magnitude. But global fuel poverty is the prescription.

    Here’s a quote from the tortuously titled Greenhouse Development Rights Framework report linked by Annie above:

    To be clear, this does not mean that the countries in which poor people live are not required to cut their emissions, but rather that the global consuming class – both within these countries and especially in the industrialized countries – are the ones who must pay.

    To aid in calculating how much, the RCI (Responsibility and Capacity Index) is touted as the brilliant new billing guideline.

  54. Brian H says:

    Correction: quoted by Anne, not Annie. Totally different gal, my mistake.

    ;p

  55. Brian H says:

    I wish I believed in strong AGW. We’re gonna need it when the ice sheets start to march again, tomorrow or the day after. But we should give it our best shot; at least the world’s flora will love us. Which is a VERY good thing.

  56. tallbloke says:

    eco-geek says:
    September 2, 2011 at 3:31 am

    If you are prepared to consider the possibility that oxygen and nitrogen are less effective greenhouse gasses than CO2 and water vapor you must in consequence accept the concommitant paradigm shift and see the electronic emission gasses as cooling gases without which the planet would be much warmer.

    As I understand it the theory is that without greenhouse gases the radiation to space would be from the Earth’s surface itself rather than from the cloud tops at 5km.

    This would be at a lower temperature than we have on the surface due to the insulating effect of water vapour and co2.

  57. Ammonite says:

    Nuke Nemesis says: September 1, 2011 at 10:22 am
    The reasons to be a believer are: 1) It’s warmed 2) CO2 has increased 3) CO2 is a greenhouse gas … 5) Man burns fossil fuels, which release CO2 into the atmosphere … Really, that’s all they got.

    Hi Nuke. You neglect to mention the pattern of the warming. Night > day, winter > summer, polar > equitorial. What mechanisms can you think of that could be responsible for this? Also, consider reading Knutti and Hegerl 2008 (http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf) on the ten differing approaches used to estimate climate sensitivity, their strengths, weaknesses and results. Are you sure “that’s all they got”?

  58. Ammonite says:

    Jay Davis says: September 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm
    My reason for being a skeptic is very simple – no AGW adherent has been able to coherently explain to me why the glaciers retreated so rapidly 10 – 12 thousand years ago without the help of mankind.

    Hi Jay. Have you looked up orbital forcing and Milankovitch cycles?

  59. sceptical says:

    “There are few skeptics (I can’t think of any, and I’ve been reporting on this for two solid years and an interested bystander for several years before that) who don’t believe there has been significant warming since the Little Ice Age, or that humans contribute to it, or that additional CO2 or other greenhouse gases aren’t probably part of that contribution.”

    You should spend some time reading the WUWT comments. Perhaps what you are saying is people who claim no significant warming since the LIA or that humans have not contributed to this warming or that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas are not skeptics but something else (if only there was another term which could describe these non-skeptics).

  60. Kevin MacDonald says:

    Charlie Martin says:

    “There are few skeptics (I can’t think of any, and I’ve been reporting on this for two solid years and an interested bystander for several years before that) who don’t believe there has been significant warming since the Little Ice Age, or that humans contribute to it, or that additional CO2 or other greenhouse gases aren’t probably part of that contribution.”

    it seems abundantly clear that the recent temperature rise is not caused by the rise in CO2 levels.

    The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that many authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism

    we know that carbon dioxide definitely did not cause the recent warming

    There is absolutely no rational basis for the claim that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are causing or have caused global warming

    The 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use since 1940 has had no noticeable effect on atmospheric temperature or on the trend in glacier length

    It is pretty easy to find contrarians who dispute the greeenhouse effect and any human contribution to it.

  61. eco-geek says:

    tallbloke,

    The simplistic warmist model you describe is one from erroneous elementary school textbooks. If in the absence of GHGs the surface of the earth radiated energy directly into space then we would be walking around in pools of liquid gas. In fact most heat from the surface (>80%) is taken up by the atmosphere by conduction, convection and latent heat of evaporation of water. Try turning on your central heating then holding the flat of your palm 18″ away from the vertical face of a radiator (where radiative effects dominate) then do the same with the flat of your palm facing down 18″ above the radiator (where conductive, convective effects dominate). Which warms your hand the most? The term “radiator” is a misnomer as most heat leaves the radiator through convection. It is really a convection heater.

    So with a simple oxygen, nitrogen atmosphere the heat content must be radiated away into space but as these gasses are not effective radiators the temperature of the atmosphere would have to increase until the radiative equilibrium was reached. With the introduction of GHGs such as H2O CO2 and methane which radiate well, the temperature of the atmosphere will fall to a lower equilibrium value. GHGs cause global cooling. The link in my second post suggests that 98% of radiative heat loss is due to GHGs.

    Note the reason that the tiny amounts of CO2 that have appeared in the atmosphere of late (due to global warming caused by higher levels of solar activity) have not resulted in much observable cooling. This is because:

    1) Solar effects dominate (magnetic field strength, solar wind, cosmic ray decreases (less cloud cover) increased coupling of solar flare lateral currents into the oceans via the coupling of helio/geo magnetic fields etc.)
    2) Climate sensitivity produces negative feedback. As CO2 levels produce cooling due to increased radiative loss the cooling reduces the net evaporation from the oceans so the radiative loss due to water vapour is correspondingly reduced thus the cooling effect of additional CO2 in the atmosphere is largely negated by the warming effect of reduced water vapour content in the atmosphere.

    In brief, although CO2 emissions do produce global cooling the amount is extremely small and likely to be even less than the reduction of solar irradiance at the Earth’s surface due to the initial interception of this radiation by the additional CO2 which only acts on very small fraction of the solar BB spectrum well down the IR end.

    So while I am a coolist I conceed that cooling caused by CO2 is in practice embarassingly small.

  62. mkelly says:

    eco-geek says:
    September 2, 2011 at 12:56 am
    Me? I believe that CO2 causes global cooling but I get no coverage anywhere – except for the baco-foil….

    Eco-geek I have stated many times here and elsewhere that all gases disspate heat. O2 and N2 via conduction with terra firma and CO2 via a way you mention. Without this dissipation property of gases our lives could not exist as they do.

  63. John W says:

    Eco-geek
    I agree that CO2 can cause local cooling in the manner you describe (translational motion transfered by collision to a GHG that may radiate it), but I have to disagree with:

    “So with a simple oxygen, nitrogen atmosphere the heat content must be radiated away into space but as these gasses are not effective radiators the temperature of the atmosphere would have to increase until the radiative equilibrium was reached.”

    No, the radiative equilibrium would be with the surface, not the atmosphere. Without GHG’s (including water vapor) and clouds (water) the “atmospheric window” would be 100% and there would be no greenhouse effect. [However, If Ozone (3 oxygens) is still present in your hypothetical Oxygen Hydrogen atmosphere it would maintain a greenhouse effect of some magnitude depending on it's concentration.]

  64. John W says:

    That’s hypothetical Oxygen Nitrogen atmosphere. LOL. Why aren’t these things visable before posting.

  65. Kevin, maybe that paragraph is a little too concise or something. I guess first of all I should have said “serious skeptics”. As to the other points, well, we know there has been warming — that’s how we know there was a Little Ice Age. We’re pretty darn sure that there’s a greenhouse effect — that’s gone past in these comments; if there weren’t, the temperature on Earth would be dramatically colder. I do’t remember the black-body equilibrium temperature exactly, but foggily recall it as -30C, something like 250 kelvin. Given those two points, and the assumption that humans are contributing something to CO2 level, it follows necessarily that humans are making some anthropogenic contribution.

    What you can’t conclude is the magnitude of that contribution.

  66. Kevin MacDonald says:

    Charlie Martin says:

    “Kevin, maybe that paragraph is a little too concise or something.”

    In truth, the whole article suffers from a lack of precision.

    Charlie Martin says:

    “Unless one is arguing that humans are the only cause of global warming — in which case I’d have to point to that big glowing thing in the sky during the daytime — what I said explicitly includes a human contribution and even a greenhouse gas contribution.

    Simply pointing out the existence Sol does not demonstrate anything in itself and those who dismiss it as major contributor to recent changes in the climate do so with good reason. There is a significant body of work looking at the sun’s contribution to recent warming (see, for example; http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0901/0901.0515v1.pdf, here and here) and it is unlikely that it is a primary contributor to it.

    Charlie Martin says:

    “it [the AR4 model] has depended on very sensitive statistical techniques to tease a signal out of an overall warming”

    The IPCC case is not dependent on modelling or statistics, there is a wealth of physical observations: we know that CO² concentrations are increasing in the atmosphere; isotopic analysis confirms that this increase in anthropogenic in origin; spectral analysis tells us that CO² and; satellite and ground observations show that the absorption and emission spectra of the atmosphere is changing in those wavelengths where CO² absorbs and emits. These are actual measurable, physical phenomena that underpin the AGW theory.

    Charlie Martin says:

    Anyone with a unbiased eye who looks into it will find any number of people who have found that a model that predicts more warming gets funded; a model that predicts relatively less warming gets less funding. Pre-tenure researchers in particular are warned away from results that don’t fit orthodoxy.I don’t know if this is true, but even if it is it could simply be because those models that fit orthodoxy are more accurate. This would be easy enough to demonstrate with hindcasting comparisons. Are you aware of any such studies or is this just a specious assertion?

    Charlie Martin says:

    “It’s unclear how the AGW hypothesis can be falsified”

    No its not. The AGW theory has a latitudinal, atmospheric, seasonal and diurnal fingerprint that differentiate it from solar warming.

  67. Smokey says:

    Kevin MacDonald says:

    “The AGW theory…”

    AGW is not a theory.

  68. Let me add another reason from the Climategate emails – the software implementation of the mathematical/physical models is inadequate. HARRY_README.TXT. Anyone with a STEM background can look at that file and read an engineer desperately trying (and failing) to recreate previously published data, “playing” with things until they “look right”, finding straight-up falsifications (“fudge factor”). And of course, for that data set, only some intermediate, already partially processed data was available, with the original untouched data completely gone missing.

  69. chasrmartin says:

    <i?Simply pointing out the existence Sol does not demonstrate anything in itself and those who dismiss it as major contributor to recent changes in the climate do so with good reason.

    Kevin, you’re being silly, and confounding “warming” with anthropogenic warming in the bargain. With no Sun, no amount of anthropogenic CO2 would make a lot of difference.

    The IPCC case is not dependent on modelling or statistics, there is a wealth of physical observations: we know that CO² concentrations are increasing in the atmosphere; isotopic analysis confirms that this increase in anthropogenic in origin; spectral analysis tells us that CO² and; satellite and ground observations show that the absorption and emission spectra of the atmosphere is changing in those wavelengths where CO² absorbs and emits. These are actual measurable, physical phenomena that underpin the AGW theory.

    Kevin, are you at all familiar with how this stuff is done? First of all, you’re point about the case not depending on statistics or modeling is simply wrong — the data you’re mentioning are inherently statistical. CO2 concentration varies from place to place, and over time; the increase — which I don’t question — can only be measured by applying statistical techniques to a large collection of actual measurements. On the other end, measurements of radiativity themselves use instruments with significant measurement error; statistical techniques are used to estimate the “real” values and eliminate measurement error. And the IPCC’s estimates of expected future warming are necessarily the product of modeling.

    I don’t know if this is true, but even if it is it could simply be because those models that fit orthodoxy are more accurate. This would be easy enough to demonstrate with hindcasting comparisons. Are you aware of any such studies or is this just a specious assertion?

    You’re right: it could be. That doesn’t mean it is. I’m personally aware of the difficulties that Roger Pielke Sr has had since the anathema was pronounced; I’ve met younger scientists who told me of being told flat out that experiments that questioned any point of the AGW hypothesis would mean the end of their scientific careers. And anyone who read the Climategate emails can find examples of collusive interference with some hypotheses or experiments being published.

    “It’s unclear how the AGW hypothesis can be falsified”

    No its not.

    Yes it is. If it were clear, well, the fact is that several of the items you mention haven’t behaved according to the original predictions would have already served as a falsification.

  70. chasrmartin says:

    Smokey, AGW is indeed a theory.

  71. Smokey says:

    chasrmartin,

    AGW does not fit the scientific definition of a theory. A theory as at least one nontrivial validating datum, and is generally able to make consistent, accurate predictions. AGW has no testable, replicable validating data per the scientiffic method, and numerous predictions based on the AGW hypothesis have been routinely falsified. Therefore AGW is not a theory. It is at most a hypothesis, or even a conjecture.

  72. otter17 says:

    >> “The models themselves turn out not to be very predictive. Grossly, you could look at Jim Hansen’s prediction from the 80′s that Manhattan Island would be awash by the 2000′s.”

    Models are able to hindcast and have predicted the short term cooling effects of volcanoes like Mt. Pinatubo. Also, the Hansen prediction you cite is bunk.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Examining-Hansens-prediction-about-the-West-Side-Highway.html

    Opinion pieces… everybody’s got one.

  73. chasrmartin says:

    Smokey, some guy’s blog post isn’t sufficient support for a somewhat idiosyncratic definition, and note that his four candidate elements of his hierarchy aaren’t supported by citation: they’re his own attempt at definition. Several parts of the definition are in fact self-refuting, eg, his assertion of Newtonian mechanics as a “law”, which he defies as “4. A law is a theory that has received validation in all possible ramifications, and to known levels of accuracy.” In fact, Newtonian mechanics is a good approximation, but is not consistent with actual observation within the limits of current measurements: we can, for example, observe relativistic time dilatation with accurate clocks in ordinary life.

    A little wider reading in philosophy of science and formal logic would be of use here. Let me recommend Popper’s Logik der Forschuung; if you don’t do German, try the English Logic of Scientific Discovery, or read his autobiography, which discusses his theory in more popular terms.

  74. Beale says:

    Mr. Martin says”There are few skeptics … who don’t believe there has been significant warming since the Little Ice Age …”. Actually, it’s the AGW believers, or some of them, who deny this on the ground that there was no Little Ice Age.

  75. HenryP says:

    Reading the replies here
    I must just give a word of caution.
    I have been investigating this thing for nearly 2 years now and I have finally come to the conclusion that CO2 may be the cause of some warming,
    but in a much different way than I had expected to find!
    I am hoping you will try and understand my findings.

    Make a print out of all my all tables here:

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming

    Look carefully at the tables quoted above and take some time to study them. You can easily figure it all out for yourself:

    I took the measurements from terrestrial weather stations, randomly chosen, that are standing on land but more biased near to the sea or oceans (since 70% of earth is covered with water) to get a good sample,

    Note that

    1) first the so-called ” global warming” is not global at all.
    In the SH (Southern Hemisphere) there is almost no warming. Clearly, you can see a big difference in the results between NH and SH?

    But now, how can that be? We know from real science and experiments that the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is distributed everywhere exactly the same. So, if the GHG CO2 were to be blamed, should not the warming be exactly the same everywhere in the world?

    So, we conclude it never was the increase in green house gases that caused any extra warming.

    2) If you look in Argentina (where there was considerable de-forestation) you find severe cooling. If you look at Norway (where there is much increased forestry) you find warming.
    3) the fact that SH has little landmass and that the NH has a lot of landmass is an another indicator that should give a clue.
    4) we also know that there have been reports, e.g. most recently from the Helsinki university, that there has been much increased vegetation in the past decades, especially in the NH…..

    …..Did you figure it out?

    The extra bit of warming (that, which some scientists have identified as being on top of that which is natural) is caused by …… more vegetation!!!

    Part of my new “problem” is that this extra vegetation is caused by man wanting forests, trees and gardens, but could also be caused by the increase in carbon dioxide that we put up in the air – plants and trees need both carbon dioxide and warmth to grow – we know the carbon dioxide is acting as a fertilizer and accelerator for growth :

    for more proof that earth is greening especially in the northern hemisphere, look here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/the-earths-biosphere-is-booming-data-suggests-that-co2-is-the-cause-part-2/

    II am not sure but I think I am the only one who actually has found some strong circumstantial evidence (from measurements) that the extra vegetation is trapping some of the extra natural heat coming to earth, especially in the NH.

    Some might argue my sample is still small (15 stations)
    I am saying it is big enough (for me), but I agree more stations would be better.
    This must become somebody’s job, especially at the universities?
    (you can show the horse where to find the water, but you cannot make him drink)

    If it is proven that my findings are true,
    we have to tell the greenies (& AGW believers) that some of the warming is their own fault.
    They wanted more green and trees.

    Now, how about that?

  76. Gary Pearse says:

    Just one thing is enough for me: If CAGW is so robust that only flat earthers would deny it, why must the proponents bully, lie, deny FOI requests for data, insult, threaten, cook the books, push out propaganda tracts, slay strawmen, worry about aliens punishing earth for denying CAGW, coerce editors from publishing contrary papers, ….. In the past there were numerous gatherings of doomsayers with placards saying the end of the world is drawing nigh (next tuesday). They were prepared to let the evidence speak for itself (so far they have had to disband dejectedly after the appointed time had past) and didn’t feel the need to bully the rest of us to believe in their shtick. Why is it so important for these folks to get a band of flat earthers, and those who haven’t learned opposing thumbs techniques to accept their stuff. If the vast majority of scientists believe in this doomsday scenario and nearly all governments are all in, what’s the point of such expenditure of effort and pain to get unanimity. This bespeaks frailty and uncertainty, not robustness.

  77. Bart says:

    otter17 says:
    September 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

    “Models are able to hindcast…”

    The ability to hindcast is necessary for an hypothesis to be accepted as true, but it is not sufficient.

  78. Bart says:

    Kevin MacDonald says:
    September 3, 2011 at 1:55 am

    “isotopic analysis confirms that this increase in anthropogenic in origin”

    Not according to Salby.

  79. Richard S Courtney says:

    Kevin MacDonald:

    At September 3, 2011 at 1:55 am you say;
    “The AGW theory has a latitudinal, atmospheric, seasonal and diurnal fingerprint that differentiate it from solar warming.”

    Yes, see Fig 9.1 on page 675 of the IPCC AR4 at
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf

    The unique fingerprint of of the AGW hypothesis (n.b. possibly AGW conjecture but certainly not AGW theory) is the big red blob in Figure 9.1 (c) for “well mixed greenhouse gases” and is known as the ‘hot spot’.

    Independent measurements from radiosondes mounted on weather balloons (since 1958) and from microwave sounding units mounted on orbital satelites (since 1979) each show the ‘hot spot’ is missing.

    No ‘hot spot’ means no AGW. Case closed.

    Richard

  80. Smokey says:

    chasrmartin,

    AGW is not a theory.

    To become a theory, a hypothesis must be tested, verified and finally accepted as true after repeated failed attempts at falsification. AGW lacks testability, and there is no empirical, falsifiable evidence of its existence. None. Further, all AGW-based models have been falsified. Not one GCM predicted the past decade and a half of flat to declining temperatures. In any other area of the hard sciences, that failure rate would cause the AGW hypothesis to be abandoned – at least to the extent of claiming a large temperature rise as a result of the ≈40% increase in CO2, which has not happened, as was repeatedly predicted.

    There are conjectures based on radiative physics [and I happen to think that CO2 provides some minor warming]. But there is no testable evidence validating AGW, therefore AGW cannot be a scientific theory.

    Your casual dismisal of the definitions of hypothesis vs theory vs law is wrong [and your reference to Popper – whom I have read – in German, is simply a pompous appeal to authority]. Popper’s emphasis is on falsification and testability. If you accept Popper’s rules, then you cannot successfully argue that AGW is a theory [or even true science for that matter].

    Here is another site that explains the difference between a scientific theory and an unproven hypothesis such as AGW. It says essentially the same thing as the first link I posted. AGW is not a theory because it cannot make consistent, reliable or accurate predictions, which a theory does, eg: the Theory of Relativity, which has never been falsified.

    Finally, you are incorrect regarding Newton’s laws, eg: his Laws of Motion. They are accepted as laws even though science has progressed and become more accurate. But Newton’s laws still hold true; they have been tested and remain unfalsified, and engineers use them every day.

    The correct use of scientific terms is essential to clear thinking. Unfortunately, the alarmists pushing the AGW hypothesis corrupt the language for their own purposes, trying to alter the meaning of the null hypothesis, changing the rigorous scientific method into “post normal science,” and other rhetorical hijacking of scientific terms. That is not science, it is pseudo-science. For the latest post on these language-corrupting charlatans, see here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/03/redefining-the-scientific-method-because-climate-change-science-is-special

  81. chasrmartin says:

    Smokey, you’re using an idiosyncratic definition of “theory” that has a much more constraining definition than anyone else uses. You’re welcome to do so but I don’t feel constrained by that.

    Go have a look at some of the common devfinitions and get back to me: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=define%3A+theory#hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=theory&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=F2ZiTsnILoPSiALP0bHACg&ved=0CCIQkQ4&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.&fp=17d332deb5615e0d&biw=1348&bih=994

    Similarly you’re mistaken about Newton’s Laws: they’re a good approximation that is certainly useful to engineers, but they’re not completely correct. The missing term of v^2/c^2 simply disappears at low velocities so it’s not observable.

  82. Smokey says:

    chasrmartin says:

    “…you’re using an idiosyncratic definition of “theory” that has a much more constraining definition than anyone else uses.”

    ‘Than anyone else uses’?? That tells me all I need to know: your mind is made up and closed tight. Go ahead, believe that AGW is a scientific “theory”, when of course it is not.

    I’ve provided detailed, independent citations [ie: 'anyone else'] showing beyond any doubt that to be a scientific theory, AGW must be testable and falsifiable, and it must make accurate, consistent predictions. AGW can do none of those things, therefore it is an evidence-free belief system; a conjecture, possibly a hypothesis. Wake me when AGW is testable and falsifiable, which it must be to be a scientific theory. By your own source – Karl Popper – AGW is not even science. Go argue with the people who explained the definition of a scientific theory, hypothesis and law, if you don’t like their definitions. I would rather accept real scientists’ definitions, than the opinions of lunatics or believers in “post-normal science”.

    And of course, your googlism covers the gamut of non-science, which is what you’re purveying. You can have a “theory” that ghosts exist. But it’s only a “theory” in your own mind. In the real world, it’s a conjecture. As is AGW – and the even more risible and repeatedly falsified ‘catastrophic AGW’ [CAGW] wild-eyed conjecture that started the whole climate alarmism scam.

    This isn’t the censoring blog realclimate, or Skeptical Pseudo-Science, where they lap up anti-science terms like AGW “theory.” The is the internet’s “Best Science” site, where there is no censorship, so you can call a cat a cow and believe it. As for me, I’m moving on. You get the last word because I’m not arguing with someone who can’t accept the plain fact that AGW is not a scientific theory, and it never was.

  83. chasrmartin says:

    Smokey, you’re just being a ninny.One citation of one guy doesn’t make a “beyond any doubt” assertion, and a collection of many examples of a definition of “theory” suffices to show that your definition, with its added constraints, is indiosyncratic. No one is asserting that AGW is scientifically “proven” under Popper’s criteria — I said the opposite, that the AGW hypothesis (by the way, most sources consider “hypothesis” a synonym or near-synonym for “theory”) doesn’t appear to be falsifiable and so isn’t scientifically supportable.

    And no one is trying to censor you, least of all me — I don’t even have the keys to the site, I couldn’t if I wanted to.

    I’m just pointing out that you’re wrong.

  84. Bart says:

    chasrmartin says:
    September 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    “Similarly you’re mistaken about Newton’s Laws: they’re a good approximation that is certainly useful to engineers, but they’re not completely correct.”

    No. They are completely correct within an instantaneous rest frame. Special Relativity is concerned with determining the transformation law (Lorentz Transformation) between successive rest frames. Relativistic mechanics follows from there.

  85. chasrmartin says:

    No. They are completely correct within an instantaneous rest frame.

    Thereby reducing what you’re saying to what I said from the start.

  86. Bart says:

    “Thereby reducing what you’re saying to what I said from the start.”

    Wha… huh? That’s not even… Oh, forget about it. I’m not sure why this argument merits so much space in this thread anyway. My $0.02: Smokey is right as to the general interpretation of the terminology in a scientific setting. And, that is all I care to say on the matter.

  87. chasrmartin says:

    Look back at what I said: that Newtonian mechanics was a good approximation but broke down as v^2/c^2 gets larger. In an instantaneous rest frame, v^2/c^2 = 0.

  88. Bart says:

    “v” relative to what? You are being very sloppy. This is why you got it wrong.

  89. Smokey says:

    Bart says:

    “Smokey is right as to the general interpretation of the terminology in a scientific setting.”

    As usual, Bart is correct. Right about the ” ‘v’ relative to what?”, too.

  90. chasrmartin says:

    You know guys, you’re absolutely right: I’m not using theory consistently with your definition.

  91. Bart says:

    Sorry, CM. I recognize we are more or less on the same side. I just always get a burr under my saddle when I see people claim that Einstein overturned Newton. He didn’t. He extended Newton. But, Newton’s laws are still the foundation. That is why they are, indeed, laws.

  92. chasrmartin says:

    No worries, Bart. We’re vehemently saying the same thing: Newton is a good approximation that only fails under what we would consider unusual conditions. The difference between the approximations is a term sqrt(1-v^2/c^2) which turns out in our usual conditions to be very very close to 1, so it disappears. Smokey’s source said that laws are everywhere true, and then cites classical Newton as an example; we know that classical Newton as stated is only true under special conditions, so it fails the “everywhere true” criterion. The article Smokey cited falls over on several other similar cases: it states as dogma things that are either incorrect or controversial. I don’t think the resulting definitions are very useful for reasons I’d be happy to expound upon at length in another venue, but if he wants to use those definitions I’m fine with it. Under those definitions, he’s probably right that the conventional AGW idea is not a theory.

  93. Bart says:

    “We’re vehemently saying the same thing:”

    No, we really aren’t. Newton’s laws are “everywhere true”. And, “everywhen true”. If you wish to make physical calculations from the point of view of a preferred observer, you need more. But, that does not make the laws less universal. It does not reduce them from laws to suggestions. They are laws.

  94. chasrmartin says:

    Bart, we’re saying that Newton’s statement is incomplete. F=ma isn’t the same as F=γ(v)a. From the standpoint of mathematical logic, you were quite precise in saying that relativistic mechanics represents an extension of Newtonian mechanics; the system of relativistic mechanics extends — or includes — all of Newtonian mechanics, and thereby provides a better correspondence with observations in experiments in which relative velocities differ by a large quantity with the predictions of Newtonian mechanics.

  95. chasrmartin says:

    Damn I wish Anthony had preview. F=mγ(v)a.

    REPLY: So do I, I’m hosted on wordpress.com and they don’t allow that plugin

    Anthony

  96. Brian H says:

    The CA Assistant script for the FF Greasemonkey add-on provides Preview, plus B, I, [link], quote, superscript, subscript, <, strikeout, Underline, sourcecode, La Tex code, and [image] icons. The last few aren’t implemented, but the rest are.

  97. Brian H says:

    Actually, it seems that superscript, subscript, and underline are also not implemented. The first 2 show up in Preview, but don’t actually display in the post.

  98. Kevin MacDonald says:

    chasrmartin says:
    September 3, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “Kevin, you’re being silly, and confounding “warming” with anthropogenic warming in the bargain. With no Sun, no amount of anthropogenic CO2 would make a lot of difference.”

    This is something of a strawman, I accept that the sun is the source of the energy within the earth’s climate system, but it does not follow that it is responsible for the movement of that energy within the system. My point stands; Simply pointing out the existence Sol does not demonstrate anything in itself.

    chasrmartin says:
    September 3, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “Kevin, are you at all familiar with how this stuff is done? First of all, you’re point about the case not depending on statistics or modeling is simply wrong — the data you’re mentioning are inherently statistical. CO2 concentration varies from place to place, and over time; the increase — which I don’t question — can only be measured by applying statistical techniques to a large collection of actual measurements. On the other end, measurements of radiativity themselves use instruments with significant measurement error; statistical techniques are used to estimate the “real” values and eliminate measurement error. And the IPCC’s estimates of expected future warming are necessarily the product of modeling”.

    If the collating of observations and measurements is the problem then the article should be titled “Reasons to be a Science Skeptic”, because all scientific disciplines do this.

    chasrmartin says:
    September 3, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “You’re right: it could be. That doesn’t mean it is.”

    I’m not saying it is, merely that either conclusion is worthless without supporting evidence.

    chasrmartin says:
    September 3, 2011 at 9:32 am

    “Yes it is. If it were clear, well, the fact is that several of the items you mention haven’t behaved according to the original predictions would have already served as a falsification.”

    Many of the predictions made by AGW theory are coming to fruition, eg; the diurnal warming pattern and faster warming in the arctic.

  99. Richard S Courtney says:

    Kevin MacDonald:

    I see you have not replied to my post at September 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm that refuted one of your assertions.
    But, at September 5, 2011 at 5:58 am you address several points by chasrmartin and conclude that post by saying;

    “Many of the predictions made by AGW theory are coming to fruition, eg; the diurnal warming pattern and faster warming in the arctic.”

    AGW is a hypothesis at best. It is certainly NOT a theory.

    A conjecture, hypothesis or theory can be disproved by a single item it gets wrong. It is not proved by innumerable things it gets right.
    So, please explain:
    1.
    Lack of faster warming in the Antarctic (the AGW hypothesis predicts fastest warming near the poles, both of them).
    2.
    The missing ‘hot spot’ that IPCC AR4 says is the ‘fingerprint’ of warming from “well mixed greenhouse gases” (see my post above at September 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm).
    3.
    The missing “committed warming” that IPCC AR4 predicted from the AGW hypothesis.
    4.
    Trenberth’s “missing heat”.

    Any one of those alone is damning of the AGW hypothesis (and there are other things the hypothesis gets wrong, too). And when called on one of them you have already failed to answer.

    Richard

  100. Bart says:

    “Many of the predictions made by AGW theory are coming to fruition.”

    And, my horoscope today was remarkably felicitous.

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