Occam’s Razor and Climate Change

The simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Professor Keven Trenberth once campaigned for the scientific world to accept the alarmist view of climate change as the “null hypothesis”, the baseline theory against which all other theories must be measured.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/03/trenberth-null-and-void/
The reason Trenberth faced an uphill battle to have his view accepted, and ultimately failed, is that the simplest explanation of contemporary climate change does not involve Anthropogenic CO2.

As Professor Phil Jones of the CRU once admitted in an interview with the BBC, the instrumental record contains periods of warming which are statistically indistinguishable from the 1990s warming – periods of warming which cannot have been driven by anthropogenic CO2, because they occurred before humans had made a significant changes to global CO2 levels.

Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years, at a similar rate to the 24 year period of warming which occurred between 1975 and 1998. There was simply not enough anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere to have driven the 1860s warming, so it must have been driven by natural variation.

warming_periods
So how does Occam’s Razor apply to this observation? 

According to the definition in Wikipedia, the principle of Occam’s Razor states “that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.”

From Wikipedia, the reason why Occam’s razor is important:

“To understand why, consider that, for each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there is always an infinite number of possible, more complex, and ultimately incorrect alternatives. This is so because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypothesis. Ad hoc hypotheses are justifications that prevent theories from being falsified. Even other empirical criteria like consilience can never truly eliminate such explanations as competition. Each true explanation, then, may have had many alternatives that were simpler and false, but also an infinite number of alternatives that were more complex and false. However, if an alternate ad hoc hypothesis were indeed justifiable, its implicit conclusions would be empirically verifiable. On a commonly accepted repeatability principle, these alternate theories have never been observed and continue to not be observed. In addition, we do not say an explanation is true if it has not withstood this principle.

Put another way, any new, and even more complex theory can still possibly be true. For example: If an individual makes supernatural claims that Leprechauns were responsible for breaking a vase, the simpler explanation would be that he is mistaken, but ongoing ad hoc justifications (e.g. “And, that’s not me on film, they tampered with that too”) successfully prevent outright falsification. This endless supply of elaborate competing explanations, called saving hypotheses, cannot be ruled out—but by using Occam’s Razor.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam’s_razor

In other words, if we reject the principle of Occam’s Razor, we open the door to accepting theories of arbitrary, ultimately infinite complexity. A theory created by researchers who do not accept the principle of Occam’s Razor cannot be falsified, because the theory can always be tweaked in arbitrary ways to avoid falsification.

So why does applying the principle of Occam’s Razor force us to reject the theory that anthropogenic CO2 is the main driver of contemporary climate change? The reason is that nature has produced periods of warming similar to the recent warming, without any significant contribution from Anthropogenic CO2.

So we have two competing hypothesis for what is driving contemporary climate change:-

1. Observed natural variation, which has produced periods of warming statistically indistinguishable from the warming which ended in 1998.

2. Observed natural variation + an unproven assumption that Anthropogenic CO2 is now the main driver of Climate Change.

Clearly the second hypothesis fails the test of Occam’s Razor. In the absence of compelling evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has overridden natural variation, we have to accept hypothesis 1 – that observed climate change is the result of natural variation.

The climate is not hotter than it was in the past, periods such as the Holocene Optimum, or looking further back, the Eemian Interglacial. The warming which ended in 1998 was not faster, or of significantly longer duration, than similar natural warmings which occurred in the recent past.

Nothing about the current climate is outside the bounds of climatic conditions which could reasonably be produced by natural variation – therefore, according to the rules of science, we have to reject hypothesis which unnecessarily embrace additional unproven assumptions, unless or until such assumptions can be tested and verified, in a way which falsifies the theory that natural variation is still in the driver’s seat.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Climate_change, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

200 Responses to Occam’s Razor and Climate Change

  1. Martin says:

    From the article that Eric Worrall linked to:

    D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

    “When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.”

    And instead of cooling from 1975-1998 we saw warming, which was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 seeing that natural influences during that period had a cooling effect!

  2. AKSURVEYOR says:

    @ Martin
    Ha ha ha, you just proved his point about occams razor ‘However, if an alternate ad hoc hypothesis were indeed justifiable, its implicit conclusions would be empirically verifiable.’

  3. HG54 says:

    Occams razor doesn’t apply to climate science. For example, in a stunning example of convoluted eco-logic Joeri Rogelj et al[1] argues that the more complicated and uncertain the science becomes, the more urgently we need to take drastic action to reduce emissions.

    “In conclusion, in light of the large uncertainties that still exist, the lack of consensus across different studies and lines of evidence, and the weak constraint that the observations provide, we argue that the possibility of lower values for ECS and TCR does not reduce the urgency for climate mitigation. On the contrary, a risk-averse strategy points to more ambitious reductions compared to what countries presented so far.”

    Objections overruled. Simples.

    [1] http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/3/031003/article

  4. Konrad says:

    Trenberth demanding that the null-hypothesis be reversed in the case of the unproven radiative global warming hypothesis was one of those “how low can they go?” moments in climate “science”. But there have been so, so many…A veritable litany of shame.

  5. Ben D says:

    Martin says: at 12:28 am
    And instead of cooling from 1975-1998 we saw warming, which was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 seeing that natural influences during that period had a cooling effect!
    —————————————————–
    So the natural non-anthropogenic CO2 had a cooling effect?

  6. Perry says:

    And yet since 1998, even with the increase of CO2 continuing, there has been no significant increase in warming. Just because someone wrote that warming from 1975-1998 was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 does not make it so. Give it another 10 winters like the most recent, the citizens USA & Canada may have voted with their feet.

  7. Village Idiot says:

    Martin:

    You’ve entirely missed the point of the good Professors piece. Bringing stuff like data, facts and physical laws into the mix, just making it more complex.

    Let me try to again explain the simple beauty of the argument:

    It’s been as hot or hotter as it is now during the last millions of years (without human emissions) therefore humans have no influence on climate now.

    Try a bit harder. It’s really just a matter of faith ;-)

  8. Old'un says:

    Martin at 12.28 am
    – I am so relieved to learn that there are only two natural influences that could possibly affect global temperature. That makes everything so much simpler!

    Great post Eric Worral – thank you

  9. Clearly caused? On what planet? Not this one, which has thousands of natural influences…

  10. dragineez says:

    Uh, a non-scientist neophyte here, but I just haven’t bought into the entire idea that’s there is any such thing as a “global average temperature”. When discussing glowball warming with those that have never really examined the issue I always point out the fallacy of averaging things that are not measured. The entire point of this post is to accede to the warmunists that nonsensical arithmetic masturbation has meaning.

    Well, that’s my take on it anyway.

  11. Ben says:

    Martin says 12:28 am:

    “And instead of cooling from 1975-1998 we saw warming, which was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 seeing that natural influences during that period had a cooling effect!”

    Yes and you insist that Leprechauns did in fact tamper with the film.

    Natural influences include ALL natural influences, including uncertain influences, and possibly unknowns influences, as well as poorly understood natural influences. Natural influences did it then, and could be doing it now and that is the simplest explanation.

    It seems to me that you have reinforced the point of the blog, and the need for Occam’s Razor as an important tool in science. Otherwise you will need to prove that the influences you name are completely understood in their entirety, that they are the only natural factors that have any influence, and that when combined they do indeed influence the climate in the direction you claim, without any other influences on the climate other than Anthropogenic CO2. I suspect that nature is much bigger and less understood than you think.

  12. Henry Clark says:

    Presentations against the “null hypothesis” tend to, in subtle implicit steps:

    Step 1) focus on a stated fingerprint of human influence

    Step 2) then spin around to act like it was responsible for all of around 0.6 degrees Celsius net warming over the past century compared to a cold part (the early 20th century), rather than how even total average temperature rise (let alone that from human influence alone) was far less, if any, compared to the late 1930s in non-rewritten data

    Step 3) then spin around to pretend it will cause an order of magnitude more (several degrees) this century

    But, while misrepresenting the history of natural forcings versus temperature is possible in text and in “adjusted”-data plots, otherwise a dominant influence of natural albedo change is blatant and fits history: from the MWP & LIA, to the warmth in the mid 20th century, to the 1960s-1970s global cooling scare, to the later global warming scare, and the subsequent “pause.” That can be seen in my usual http://tinyurl.com/nbnh7hq illustration.

  13. Mindert Eiting says:

    Interesting to see the significances in the table. You throw a coin and look for series of heads-only. And yes, those series are ‘significant’. Should we believe that the coin became biased in those short series or should we conclude that some statistical principles are violated?

  14. Steve Case says:

    Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years,
    Hmmm, I’d say from 1850 to 1878, and who knows before 1850?

    But then:
    The 33 year period from 1878 – 1911 -0.6C° of cooling CO2 up  5 ppm
    The 33 year period from 1911 – 1944   0.7C° of warming CO2 up 15 ppm
    The 33 year period from 1944 – 1977 -0.4C° of cooling CO2 up 30 ppm
    The 33 year period from 1977 – 2010   0.8C° of warming CO2 up 60 ppm

    I’d say there’s a pattern in all of that, and it’s not CO2.

  15. michel says:

    What’s really needed is to establish the distribution of warming episodes and absolute temps, and then see if we are one or two sds north of the mean. Or if its not a normal distribution, where we are. Anyone know any study like that?

  16. son of mulder says:

    Occam’s Razor states “that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.”

    So then test the hypothesis ie make a prediction and check if it works out correctly. To predict one needs models, the models didn’t prove correct on the hiatus, the tropospheric hot spot etc.
    Ergo hypothesis wrong.

  17. Henry Clark says:

    Additional note:

    Unfortunately naive or careless in regard to temperature data source selection like many (most?) article writers, the article’s table incorrectly depicts 1975-2009 as if about the same rate of temperature rise as 1975-1998, so, while the source is not mentioned, it must be some extra fudged data published by the CAGW movement.

    However, for instance, RSS satellite-measured global temperature went as follows since the satellites started returning data in 1979:

    1979-1998 trend = +0.082 K/decade (warming)*

    1998-now trend = -0.050 K/decade (cooling)**

    Contrast to the article’s table!

    If reading the article’s table alone, someone might assume (slightly different year start and endpoints or not) that the trend over both periods was 0.16 K/decade warming (way off).

    This is, of course, repetitive if anyone has read enough of my comments over the months. But wrongness continues, so…

    While my illustration is “cherry picking” 1998 in a way, the late 1990s were the turning point (for the reasons suggested in my usual http://tinyurl.com/nbnh7hq link, which are also why the mild cooling rate will become more later this decade).

    * http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1979/to:1998/plot/rss/from:1979/to:1998/trend

    ** (referring to 2014 up to now: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/plot/rss/from:1998/trend )

  18. ConfusedPhoton says:

    Ben D

    If you were a climate “scientist” you would know that you have good CO2 and you have evil (fossil fuel produced) CO2. The evil CO2 leads to thermageddon, simples!

    So cooling and warming are not inconsistent with AGW!

  19. Eric Worrall says:

    Martin

    And instead of cooling from 1975-1998 we saw warming, which was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 seeing that natural influences during that period had a cooling effect!

    The conclusion that natural forcings should have produced a cooling effect from 1975 – 1998 implies the assumption that climate scientists have successfully catalogued all significant natural forcings, and correctly determined the magnitude of their impact on global temperature.

    Considering that climate scientists can’t even pin down climate sensitivity to CO2 to a reasonably tight range of values, I am skeptical that understanding of other forcings is adequate to draw such a conclusion.

  20. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Steve
    That pattern is PDO index. Roughly 30-year cycle matching the above warming and cooling periods. Roy Spencer studied this correlation and said 75% of 20th century temperature trend can be explained by PDO.

  21. markstoval says:

    Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years,
    Hmmm, I’d say from 1850 to 1878, and who knows before 1850?

    But then:
    The 33 year period from 1878 – 1911 -0.6C° of cooling CO2 up 5 ppm
    The 33 year period from 1911 – 1944 0.7C° of warming CO2 up 15 ppm
    The 33 year period from 1944 – 1977 -0.4C° of cooling CO2 up 30 ppm
    The 33 year period from 1977 – 2010 0.8C° of warming CO2 up 60 ppm

    I’d say there’s a pattern in all of that, and it’s not CO2.

    Why, if natural cycles theories were not in such disrupt I would say you have noticed a recurring natural cycle and that might be a some sort of a clue that might lead towards the physical cause of the cycle if we studied the matter.

    Or it could just be the evil, magic molecule CO2 up to its old tricks. Did you know the magic bullet of Nov. 1963 was made of CO2?

  22. Roy says:

    Have supporters of the consensus ever claimed that natural variation is properly understood? If not their claim that the science is settled was clearly bogus from the start – and they knew it.

    On the other hand, if they really do think that natural variation is understood have they published an explanation of it anywhere on the web that could be understood by a lay person?

  23. KNR says:

    Trenberths’ need to demand that the null-hypothesis be reversed, was a reflection of facts increasingly going against his claims and that his arguments were so weak they could not stand up to any good review. Its was the equivalent of child answering the question why did they eat all the sweets by loudly shouting ‘because’
    Any other area of science this approach would have been usual , but in climate ‘science’ its says much about the area that is was normal stuff that hardly got noticed.

    I am increasingly of the view that if I wanted a nice easy PHD , climate ‘science’ is the way to go , as they seem to accept any old rubbish as long it offers unquestioning support to ‘the cause’

  24. Frederick Davies says:

    Great (and more importantly, clear) post.

    FD

  25. Mindert Eiting says:

    Michael at 1.52 am. Do you mean this? Take a temperature record of many years. Randomly select with a computer program series of adjacent years of any length. Compute the slope of linear regression in those series. Make a plot of series length on the x-axis and slope on the y-axis. You will get a scatter in the size of a big triangle. In very short series you will have many extreme positive and negative slopes. In very long series the slopes will centre about zero. You can draw 95 and 99 percent confidence zones. If temperature series did not contain auto-correlation the sampling distribution of regression slopes would suffice.

  26. lgl says:

    Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?

  27. Henry Clark says:

    Clicking on the link* of Eric Worrall (the author of this article, in his name in his prior comment), he writes that those “who wrote the emails have been officially cleared of wrongdoing” and describes as “real scientists” involved with how “our tax money is spent in the pursuit of greater knowledge” while having http://www.realclimate.org as the prime suggested reading there.

    More than a bit over the top.

    *
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/climategate/id386480628

    Hmmm. The choice of temperature data in the article’s graphic (see my prior comment at 1:58am slightly up on this page) wasn’t necessarily a coincidence.

    This reminds me of another recent WUWT article submitter, e.g. the exchange with username RichardLH in and after http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/16/crowdsourcing-a-full-kernel-cascaded-triple-running-mean-low-pass-filter-no-seriously/#comment-1591709 .

  28. David, UK says:

    Martin says:
    March 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    From the article that Eric Worrall linked to:

    D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

    “When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.”

    And instead of cooling from 1975-1998 we saw warming, which was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 seeing that natural influences during that period had a cooling effect!

    Yeah, the old logical fallacy that supposes that in order for a heat source to cause a body to warm, said heat source must be continually increased. And yet even a child knows that if a pot is simmering away on a low flame, and then the flame is turned up in a single step, the pot will gain heat over some period of time afterwards, as it seeks equilibrium. The flame is “about flat over this period” and yet the pot continues to warm. Get it? If you do then you understand more than most climate scientists.

  29. Eric Worrall says:

    Henry Clark

    Clicking on the link* of Eric Worrall (the author of this article, in his name in his prior comment), he writes that those “who wrote the emails have been officially cleared of wrongdoing” and describes as “real scientists” involved with how “our tax money is spent in the pursuit of greater knowledge” while having http://www.realclimate.org as the prime suggested reading there.

    What are you saying? Are you suggesting I am some kind of climate 5th columnist, contributing to WUWT on a regular basis and publishing an app full of climategate emails and “intriguing” links as part of a secret mission to help the cause of climate alarmism?

  30. cedarhill says:

    Facts are not a deterrent in the warmist political campaign. After all, how many Americans under the age of 30 are not aware the Earth circles the Sun? Regardless, facts and logic are still fun things.

  31. hunter says:

    Trenberth was using sciencey stuff to keep the political class on board and keep the trough full for himself and his pals.
    He should have known he was just arm waving. No one could be so stupid as to think reversing the null hypothesis would work over a reasonable period of time in science. Religion, yes- you have to reverse the null. Science, no.

  32. Konrad says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am
    “Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?”
    —————————————–
    Solar activity.

    Climastrologists claim that because TSI varies so little between solar cycles it can not possibly be the cause.

    But climastrologist do not understand how the sun heats the oceans. Due to the mis-application of blackbody calculations to transparent materials they claim a temperature for the oceans of -18C in the absence of DWLWIR. This figure is provably incorrect. The number they were looking for is +80C in the absence of atmospheric cooling. The reason is that solar SW and UV penetrates to depth in transparent water and heating is cumulative due the the slow speed of non-radiative energy return to the surface.

    While TSI only varies ~0.1% (after the solar record has been thoroughly stamped flat), it is the higher frequencies that vary most. Great variation is evident in solar UV. Some claims indicate an increase of 6% or greater since the little ice age.

    And the strength of solar UV-A at 50m depth is still in the order of 10 w/m2. 50m is below the thermocline where energy can more easily accumulate over time.

  33. RichardLH says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am

    “Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?”

    That the temperatures followed this, apparently repeating, natural ‘cycle’.

    http://climatedatablog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/hadcrut-giss-rss-and-uah-global-annual-anomalies-aligned-1979-2013-with-gaussian-low-pass-and-savitzky-golay-15-year-filters1.png

    The other ‘choice’ is that somehow Volcanos, SO2 and CO2 came together in just the ‘right’ timing and magnitude with zero lag to provide exactly the same curve.

  34. Merrick says:

    And, Village Idiot, the CO2 concentration *now* is so much higher than the mean 1975-1998 value and the cooling forcings conjectured are *not* as prevalent as during the 1975-1998 period, but that’s not “data and evidence” in the same manner you declare for t75-1998 period? Thermometers, qou basis?

    Damn editor. Auto correcting my typing then deleting characters I’m not trying to delete again. Sorry if that last sentence or so is a bit garbled in a couple places.

  35. AlecM says:

    No truly professional engineer or physicist agrees with the central premise of the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’, the assumption that the Earth’s surface emits to the atmosphere net real IR energy as if it were a black body in radiative equilibrium with absolute zero.

    This juvenile mistake, predicting three times intrinsic CO2 warming, is from incorrect physics taught in Meteorology and Climate Science. It is our era’s equivalent of the 18th Century’s ‘Phlogiston’, also debunked when real scientists did real experiments. The analogy is apposite because Phlogiston was supposed to be a 5th Greek Humour, emitted from heated bodies!

    However, there is too much investment in politics and careers for the principal researchers to back down despite recent work by John Christy showing that 102 of the latest climate models predict three times too high warming: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/john-christy-climate-models-overcook.html

    3 times too high folks: if the cap fits, Climate Alchemy, wear it……….:o)

    PS the real AGW in the 1980s and 1990s was probably the aerosols from Asian industrialisation reducing cloud albedo, hence the heating of the oceans. That effect saturated about year 2000. The hiatus is probably because the atmosphere self-regulated the intrinsic CO2 effect, an evolving story I will relate at another time.

  36. Merrick says:

    Thermometers. Quo Vadis?

  37. johnmarshall says:

    I go along with that. Good post many thanks.

  38. lgl says:

    RichardLH

    Thanks, but the ~60 yrs cycle does not explain the 1880-1998 rise (~120yrs*2 ?)

  39. walker808 says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am
    Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?

    There has been a slow rise in temperature since the end of the Little Ice Age in the nineteenth century. Climate changes , that is the nature of the beast.

  40. RichardLH says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 4:35 am

    “Thanks, but the ~60 yrs cycle does not explain the 1880-1998 rise (~120yrs*2 ?)”

    Indeed. First you would need to remove that shorter term ‘cycle’ from the observed figures and look at the residuals.

    http://climatedatablog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/hadcrut-15-year-ctrm-and-75-year-s-g-curves.png

    The greater than 75 years trend when you do so is too short, as yet, to call for any ‘cycle’ that may be present, all we have for sure is the rising edge of some longer term function.

    The only clue that I can see is that the current shorter term ~60 years ‘cycle’ is, if it is indeed a ‘cycle’, ending too early to suggest that the underlying trend is still continuing upwards. It too may well be flattening off.

    The observed data is also consistent with the longer term function also being driven by natural factors, rather than having to rely on co-incidental Volcanos, SO2 and CO2.

  41. lgl says:

    Ok, so the ‘simplest explanation’ is some unexplained natural variation.

  42. joshuah says:

    Don’t look now but with the new February data NCDC says 2014 is not even on pace to be a “top 10″ year. With every month that goes by the alarmist’s call to The Pause (TM) gets more complex, and Occam’s call gets louder…

  43. Harry Passfield says:

    markstoval says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:11 am

    “Or it could just be the evil, magic molecule CO2 up to its old tricks. Did you know the magic bullet of Nov. 1963 was made of CO2?”

    Ahh, Mark, that’ll be the same magic molecule that managed to make the flag flutter on the moon landing! ;-)

  44. RichardLH says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 5:18 am

    “Ok, so the ‘simplest explanation’ is some unexplained natural variation.”

    Occam’s razor would say that, yes. If you look at the available data, there are natural variations which are of smaller/similar magnitude. From everything above Annual and upwards. At 2, 3, 4 and 12 years below 15 years and on to ~60 years as well. Why would it need some other explanations for the longer series?

  45. Steve Case says:

    Dr. Strangelove said at 2:06 am
    … That pattern is PDO index. Roughly 30-year cycle matching the above warming and cooling periods. Roy Spencer studied this correlation and said 75% of 20th century temperature trend can be explained by PDO.
    And it needs to be stated more often. Repetition is a technique that works.

  46. Village Idiot says:

    @ lgl
    You’ve got it in a nutshell. What we are best at here in the Village is sniping at climate scientists and their explanations – not necessary to explain anything ourselves

  47. lgl says:

    Richard

    It wouldn’t, but natural variation is just a description, not an explanation imo. You have to explain how.

  48. Kristian says:

    Konrad says, March 22, 2014 at 3:13 am:

    “lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am
    “Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?”
    —————————————–
    Solar activity.”

    Konrad,

    lgl has been presented with this answer a multitude of times. He still ignores it. You can see it in the way he chooses to give his reply to RichardLH only, not to you. Deep down inside he knows your answer is the correct one. That’s why he systematically avoids addressing it. “No! It’s the CO2 what done it! It has to be!”

    On a slightly different note, the ‘solar pond’ shows us pretty well how quickly and efficiently solar heat stores up in water that is not allowed to convectively/conductively cool. In reality the cooling of course happens at the surface and primarily through evaporation, but the principle stands. Thermal radiation alone could not adequately cool the oceans being heated by the sun. Not until they got really hot, close to boiling.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pond

  49. Kirk c says:

    Lgl: It wouldn’t, but natural variation is just a description, not an explanation imo. You have to explain how.

    It is an explanation….. but you forgot the original question.
    Q: “Why is there warming in the late twentieth century”?
    A: it’s part of a long term natural variability.

    Q: what causes the natural variability?
    A: Not sure exactly. But we can rule out short term human causes ..so keep looking.

  50. Tom in Florida says:

    Occam’s Razor does NOT say “The simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation”.
    The principle states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”
    Two different concepts.
    The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is:
    “when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”
    Simple example:
    1 + 1 = 2, there is no need to say (5-4) + (6-5) = 2
    Both are correct but the first is the simpler one and better to use.

    Occam’s Razor is often used incorrectly by those who do not understand it or by those who know better and are trying to justify something that isn’t true. Incorrect usage of the principle immediately sets off my sceptic alarm.

  51. Greg says:

    LGL, it’s not Richard’s fault it remains unexplained, go speak to the those who have blown the billions of public money doing activism instead of science.

    Science advances by observation, analysis, hypothesis. Because of the last three decades been largely wasted, we are still at step 2 on this this one. That does not count as a rebuttal of the observation of an obvious pattern, that requires explanation.

    All we have for our money so far is : temperature has been generally rising for 300 years. CO2 has been significant for 60 years. Therefore, most of the warming of the latter half of the 20th c. is due to human emissions.

    That also is just a description, not an explanation imo.

    It’s so pathetic it defies parody.

  52. Bill Illis says:

    Temperatures in February 1878 were exactly the same as February 2014.

  53. Greg says:

    Tom says:”Occam’s Razor is often used incorrectly by those who do not understand it or by those who know better and are trying to justify something that isn’t true. ”

    Indeed.

  54. Bill_W says:

    Cyclical leprechauns. That is all.

  55. JohnWho says:

    Bill Illis says:

    March 22, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Temperatures in February 1878 were exactly the same as February 2014.

    Assuming you aren’t using satellite data (grin), again using the latest month and going back as far as possible to show a flat trend, it appears there is some more research to be done.

    Have our CO2 emissions helped get us back to 1878 temps?

    Just wondering.

  56. Alberta Slim says:

    The Warmists/Alarmists have made Occam’s Razor into Gillette’s Razor with 5 blades and flex head. It’ll do anything you want…… ;^D

  57. Richard M says:

    You can look at the long term temperature in relation to the PDO by mapping linear PDO phases against the data.

    http://tinyurl.com/kzmzd8y

    As is pretty obvious the trend flips for each change in the phase of the PDO. This is another way of looking at the ~60 year cycle. Many will argue the residual warming is due mainly to biased adjustments. Probably somewhat true, but there’s another explanation as well.

    The PDO releases heat unevenly during its two distinct phases. During its positive phase it is far more likely to release energy to the atmosphere than during its negative phase. The heat itself comes from solar variations over time. The warming won’t necessarily line up with the Sun’s cycles because the heat is buffered in the oceans and released more strongly during +PDO phases.

    The Solar + PDO view explains the warming and cooling cycles since 1850. The warming of the early 20th century combined a +PDO with a more active Sun. Even though the Sun was still quite active in the 1950s the PDO has already changed modes. The extra energy wasn’t released until the PDO became positive in the 1970-2000s.

    What we should see in the next 20 years with the -PDO and weak Sun is cooling.

  58. Russ Steele says:

    Reblogged this on Sierra Foothill Commentary and commented:
    The problem is that our political leaders in Sacramento do not believe in Occam’s Razor, only in the myth of anthropogenic warming.

  59. RichardLH says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 5:43 am

    “Richard: It wouldn’t, but natural variation is just a description, not an explanation imo. You have to explain how.”

    Hmm. Well as that is just one of the whole series of natural variability, then, unless the others can also be explained, I am not sure how and why you would single out just that one.

    Or can you explain the 2, 3, 4, 12 and 60 years ones?

  60. Occam was a 14th c Christian scientist, an era populated by geniuses who built modern math and sciences, yet we are told this was a ‘dark age’, even though we still use ‘laws’ developed during this time [see impetus, average velocity, gravity etc]. I would say that today is the ‘dark age’ when something as insidious, stupid and non-scientific as globlaoneywarming is ‘consensus’. Reminds me of abiogenesis, a ‘law’ which was ‘consensus’ for 2100 years and still believed in by evolutionists…..whoops.

  61. RichardLH says:

    Tom in Florida says:
    March 22, 2014 at 6:24 am

    “Occam’s Razor is often used incorrectly by those who do not understand it or by those who know better and are trying to justify something that isn’t true. Incorrect usage of the principle immediately sets off my sceptic alarm.”

    So there is acknowledged natural variability in 2, 3, 5, 12 and ~60 year ‘cycles’ but the greater than 75 years rise is definitely down to CO2?

    What would you conclude is the Occam’s Razor statement for that?

  62. Chip Javert says:

    michel says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:52 am
    What’s really needed is to establish the distribution of warming episodes and absolute temps, and then see if we are one or two sds north of the mean. Or if its not a normal distribution, where we are. Anyone know any study like that?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Well, gee Michel, how far back in time do you want to do this analysis? 35 years (the satellite record era)? 135 years (the thermometer era)? Longer than 135 years – the cherry-picked tree-ring/Weegie-board era?

    If warming/cooling episodes are approximately 30 years long and you assume moderately useful statistical analysis generally requires a minimum of 30 data points, you’re dealing with a minimum of roughly 900-1000 years of cherry-picked tree-ring/Weegie-board data.

    The 3 biggest problems I see with the analysis are:
    (1) the last 1000 years of existing data and its accuracy are highly suspect;
    (2) most “climate scientists” (some of whom even have degrees in science) could care less about actual data;
    (3) at no point in time has anybody comprehensively defined the underlying atmospheric physics in a way that can be tested with real, actual data.

    All the above not withstanding, I’m sure somebody could punch you up a model that would spit this out in no time at all.

  63. GregK says:

    Occam’s Razor is not necessarily the shortest way to the truth.
    It is much more pragmatic.
    It means that If competing hypotheses are equally valid you should use the simplest one because it is the simplest.
    Using the simplest hypothesis is tidier….and is probably, but not necessarily, more correct

  64. Tom in Florida says:

    RichardLH says:
    March 22, 2014 at 6:58 am

    re: Tom in Florida says:
    March 22, 2014 at 6:24 am
    “Occam’s Razor is often used incorrectly by those who do not understand it or by those who know better and are trying to justify something that isn’t true. Incorrect usage of the principle immediately sets off my sceptic alarm.”

    So there is acknowledged natural variability in 2, 3, 5, 12 and ~60 year ‘cycles’ but the greater than 75 years rise is definitely down to CO2?
    What would you conclude is the Occam’s Razor statement for that?
    ========================================================================
    I wasn’t making a comment on the article but rather a general comment about the incorrect use of Occam’s Razor, to wit: “The simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation” at the start of the article. Just one of my many pet peeves.

  65. Steve Keohane says:

    lgl says: March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am

    Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?

    It is: We don’t know.

  66. Jeff Patterson says:

    The null hypothesis is that anthropogenic C02, comprising an negligible .0017% of the atmosphere, has a negligible effect on the earth’s climate. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, especially when the proposed mitigation is de-industrialization (ever notice that progressives are anti-progress?) and a massive lowering of civilization’s standard of living. The claim that the flattening of global temperature for the past decade and a half is due to “natural variation” (as Trenberth remarked, a fancy term for “we don’t know”) is actually a counter-argument to the AWG hypothesis. A natural forcing strong enough to temporarily reduce the trend in place since at least the 1850s is also strong enough to explain the enhanced trend during the warming scare of 80’s and early 90’s. Science must refute this simple, natural explanation with proof of human attribution without relying on climate models which have proved themselves to be without predictive power.

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am
    “Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?”

    Solar insolation and ocean dynamics. The ocean is a massive heat storage reservoir, an obvious fact that seems to have been lost on climatologists until recently recognized while floundering about in search of the “missing heat”. As such, the amount of energy contained in the ocean is sensitive not just to the TSI, but to asymmetry in the TSI. If more heat is added in the warming part of the cycle than is released in the cooling part, the next cycle starts from a higher baseline. Taking this integrative effect in to account and adding in the observed AMO/PDO variations accounts for 94% of the observational record. (see this plot and it’s derivation here.

  67. Magma says:

    Of course Occam’s Razor cuts both ways. Thousands of independent scientific researchers, multiple lines of physical evidence past and present, and simple physics understood for a century and a half vs. a relative handful of cranks egged on by ideologues and funded by a few companies with strong vested financial interests.

    Watch that blade, lads. It’s sharp.

  68. rgbatduke says:

    Occam’s Razor isn’t an absolute rule of reason, because sometimes the actual explanation is, in fact, the more complex of two hypotheses. That is, nature itself is not obligated to be “simple”.

    The correct (mathematical) way to approach this is from the point of view of Bayesian statistics. The advantage of a simple hypothesis is that it has fewer Bayesian priors. This means that it is (usually) more probable because the Bayesian priors occur in conjunction — if every assumption underlying a hypothesis comes with a probability of being wrong and only one assumption has to be wrong to make the hypothesis untrue, then fewer assumptions (all with an equal chance of being wrong) is better than more assumptions.

    However, all assumptions do not have an equal chance of being wrong. A hypothesis that depended on, say, the correctness of Newton’s Law of gravitation for simple macroscopic objects in non-relativistic context and one other 50-50 assumption is not automatically less likely than a competing hypothesis that depends on only one 50-50 assumption, because the law of gravitation is probably correct out in the 0.9999….. range.

    Bayesian scientific reasoning (as explained in Jaynes’ classic work Probability Theory, the Logic of Science) deals with Occam’s razor not in verbal terms involving leprechauns, but in terms of using incoming data to recompute the prior probabilities. Even if we truly believed strongly in gravity as a prior probability close to unity, evidence is capable of causing us to reduce that probability as experimental data inconsistent with the theory accumulates, and eventually falsify (in the sense of “make very very improbable”) not just the hypothesis in question, but its prior assumptions.

    The classic example of this is you are given an electronic coin flip program that uses a perfect (by assumption) random number generator to produce random 0’s and 1’s with some unknown probability. You use that generator to drive a game, perform a computation, or just do some counting that requires 0’s and 1’s to occur randomly with equal probability. The game/counting is your hypothesis — “If the generator produces 0’s and 1’s with equal probability, then in the long run my counts will be distributed according to a binomial distribution with p = 0.5″. The assumption is clearly evident.

    Bayesian reasoning gives you a way of starting with a prior assumption of probability of p = 0.5 and effectively weight it with the strength of your belief that it is true, and then gradually modify it as you generate a string of 0’s and 1’s in such a way that it converges on the frequentist definition of probability in the limit of infinite trials but differs in the beginning where one has a strong bias towards an unbiased coin flip, as it were. Maximum entropy rocks and posterior probability computation rocks as well.

    A second objection to the assertion that no-CO_2 hypotheses are “simpler” than CO_2 hypotheses is that a data with a known, clearly evident degree of complexity has to be explained by a hypothesis at least sufficient of producing that degree of complexity. It obviously cannot be explained by a theory that cannot produce that degree of complexity, but there is nothing like a uniqueness theorem or minimum complexity theorem for general scientific hypotheses.

    For example, if one’s data exhibit curvature, one cannot use a hypothesis that only produces a linear response to explain it. One has to have a theory at LEAST complex enough to produce/predict data with curvature, a quadratic theory or higher. But one cannot easily specify that a quadratic theory is better than an exponential theory in spite of the fact that quadratic specifies only three terms in a Taylor series where an exponential specifies an infinite number of terms. Lots of physical phenomena are exponential. Or sinusoidal, ditto. So Occam’s Razor cannot be naively applied.

    In the particular case of climate science, nobody (sane) would claim that CO_2 concentration is likely to have zero effect on the climate, because a lot of physics with prior probability (determined by independent theory and experiment) very, very close to unity suggests that it will. The problem is, in fact, the opposite one to the one the top article suggests. CO_2 increase should produce a locally linear (globally logarithmic) response in terms of average temperature from some very simple physics. This is the simplest possible a priori assumption, one that ignores everything else BUT CO_2 and its direct effect on the climate. This is why, in fact, climate scientists hold so adamantly to their conclusions about anthropogenic global warming.

    However, the climate is not simple, and not linear. The big question is, how well does the available data support the (very strongly held, initially) prior assumption of a simple linear independent effect for CO_2?

    That’s what the data above pertain to. They suggest that the explanation for the 1983-1998 temperature increase is not CO_2 not because it isn’t a simple explanation, but because as the data clearly indicate that the problem has more complexity, that the climate is a function of more than one thing, and that the other things are capable of producing effects as large as the one attributed to CO_2 in the particular set of years indicated in circumstances where CO_2 is not a possible explanatory factor.

    That is, we need a more complex theory, not a simpler one!

    A vastly more complex theory, because we know (again, based on sound, strongly believed prior assumptions) that the climate is determined by the solution to a dynamical system we can conceptually define at the microscopic level but that is almost incomprehensibly complex at the macroscopic level — a set of coupled Navier-Stokes systems driven by a highly erratic set of forcings and with multiple coupled energy reservoirs with an array of pertinent time constants. Frankly, the notion that the system is linearizable in a single parameter, or a single parameter plus simple feedbacks, is and always has been absurd. We actually know the physics here, and it is not at all simple! It is arguably the most complex problem we’ve ever tried to solve. Occam’s Razor is the exact opposite of the thing needed, but our attempts to date to solve the physics problem in GCMs have met with empirical failure at almost every level it is possible to fail at. The best that can be said of them is that they produce something that looks like climate evolution, while having almost zero predictive value. It isn’t even clear that the existing models aren’t divergent where the climate is empirically enormously stable (or rather, broadly bistable or multistable with two primary attractors, a warm phase interglacial and cold phase glacial in the current orbital-geological configuration).

    So sorry, I appreciate what you are trying to say and agree that the data call into question the assertion that CO_2 is solely or even mostly responsible for the single 15 year long stretch of warming visible in the latter half of the 20th century, but rejecting the CO_2 hypothesis isn’t a matter of Occam’s Razor, it is a matter of the data suggesting that the solution is a lot more complex than CO_2 alone can explain.

    rgb

  69. lgl says:

    Richard

    Or can you explain the 2, 3, 4, 12 and 60 years ones?

    The ~3 and ~60 is ENSO, more or less trade winds, upwelling of cold water and more or less clouds in the tropics. I haven’t heard about a 12 years cycle, where do you have that from?

  70. bw says:

    As already stated, Occam’s razor is a statistical generality. It does not apply to any specific problem. Occam’s razor will not reveal the location of lost aircraft. That does not mean that it is useless, such as the behavior of criminals being analyzed by detectives. Engineering uses “simpler” solutions to problems all the time.
    As for “natural variations” being the cause of changes in atmospheric CO2, there are some people who know that the atmosphere is of biological origin. The atmosphere has evolved, and continues to evolve as a part of the global biogeochemical carbon cycle.
    Atmospheric CO2 follows biological respiration at all time scales, with some lags due to pool sizes, ocean turnover, etc.
    On longer time scales, abiotic factors also apply, such as plate tectonic changes to ocean currents and milankovich oscillations of global orbit. There may be some solar magnetic influences on biology along, etc.
    Fossil fuel burning has increased the global carbon cycle by about 3 percent, which is beneficial to the ecosystems and has zero effect on Earth’s temperature.

  71. David L. Hagen says:

    Erric
    Good effort. Please refine.
    Define your terms.
    “Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years” Wikipedia
    “Climate change” is being used as an equivocation for “majority anthropogenic driven global warming”.
    “Climate change” was politically redefined by the UNFCCC as

    2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

    State simple hypotheses:
    As stated, the hypothesis begs the question:
    2. Observed natural variation + an unproven assumption that Anthropogenic CO2 is now the main driver of Climate Change.
    Rephrase as:
    1. Natural variation is the main driver of climate change with minor anthropogenic affects.
    2. Anthropogenic CO2 is the main driver of climate change on minor natural variation.

    Recommend referring to Einstein’s Razor

    Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler

  72. Kristian says:

    rgbatduke says, March 22, 2014 at 7:42 am:

    “In the particular case of climate science, nobody (sane) would claim that CO_2 concentration is likely to have zero effect on the climate, because a lot of physics with prior probability (determined by independent theory and experiment) very, very close to unity suggests that it will.”

    Wow. That’s quite an (implicit) accusation! So you actually have to be ‘insane’ to claim that ‘CO_2 concentration is likely to have zero effect on the climate’?!

  73. Jeff Patterson says:

    Magma says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:34 am
    Of course Occam’s Razor cuts both ways. Thousands of independent scientific researchers, multiple lines of physical evidence past and present, and simple physics understood for a century and a half.

    Perhaps you’d be kind enough to point me to the evidence which clearly demonstrates the attribution of the observed warming to human activity and does not rely on computer models to do so. I’d be most interested in seeing it.

  74. Jeff Patterson says:

    GregK says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:07 am
    Occam’s Razor is not necessarily the shortest way to the truth.
    It is much more pragmatic.
    It means that If competing hypotheses are equally valid you should use the simplest one because it is the simplest.
    Using the simplest hypothesis is tidier….and is probably, but not necessarily, more correct

    In science There is no Truth, only a (hopefully) ever improving model of reality. Occam’s Razor is itself a model of reality based on an empirical observation of the scientific process. History has shown that the overturning of scientific consensus often results in a new theory that is simpler and more elegant than the old. This observation is the motivating impetus for the belief that the current Standard Model in physics is incomplete and will eventually be overturned by a more elegant “theory of everything”.

  75. Mickey Reno says:

    Like the scientific bedrock philosophy of falsification, Occam’s Razor says more about incorrectness than it does about correctness. We rule out unnecessary complexity because it makes our experimentation simpler. IF some facet of that complexity becomes an absolute requirement to explain a thing, we accept it tentatively, awaiting that single instance that falsifies it forever. A long period of non-falsification increases our confidence.

    Geologic history “proves” that the Earth undergoes very large natural variation. Major periods of natural cooling and warming prove that Earth is at a very low risk of a Venusian-style warm tipping point. Facts that rule over all else: a biosphere that eats carbon dioxide; water vapor that coalesces into clouds that reflect sunlight cause rain; ice cores that show higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations after climatic warming, not before. If one says these things are not true or that they are overwhelmed by human emissions of CO2 you need some very compelling evidence. Correlates that do not imply causation are not compelling. Already falsified computer models are not compelling. The burden of proof, is, as Carl Sagen once said, enormous.

  76. John West says:

    Leprechauns tampered with that too

    Conspiracy theorists commonly disregard Occam’s razor in order to keep the “theory” alive by adding more and more complexity to the theory. Consider the original “CO2 contributed warming theory” compared to the “CO2 control knob to CO2 induced feedbacks and net confounding processes and “forcings” that have conspired to produce the observed GAST and undoubtedly dangerous future warming theory” of today. CAGW is a conspiracy theory.

  77. lgl says:

    Jeff Patterson

    I agree the integrative effect is important but I don’t quite see how that will supply the necessary energy without some amplifier. NPI/NAO or other could perhaps do the trick through changing the cloud cover.

  78. hunter says:

    Skeptics don’t have to explain how.
    Skeptics only have to point out it isn’t what is claimed in the theory.
    It isn’t a CO2 control knob, if we are to believe the data.

  79. Arno Arrak says:

    I certainly agree that Occam’s razor is most likely the best choice if available. But something you said about temperature bothers me: “Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years, at a similar rate to the 24 year period of warming which occurred between 1975 and 1998.” There was no global warming between 1975 and 1998 and there is no similarity. There was an eighteen year stretch of of ENSO oscillation between 1979 and 1997, followed by the super El Nino of 1998. The super El Nino does not count as part of global warming since it is a once a century occurrence. The mean temperature between 1979 and 1997 stayed the same despite the fact that there were five El Ninos in this time slot. In this respect that eighteen year stretch is similar to the twenty-first century hiatus-pause. But the warming shown in the eighties and nineties by land-based temperature curves is phony. I found that out doing research for my book “What Warming?” and even put a warming about it in the preface. Two years later the big three of temperature – GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and NCDC – decided they did not want to show this warming any more. Retroactively they changed their data to parallel that from satellites which do not show this warming. It was done secretly and no explanation was offered. As to the original cause of this fake I suspect the dirty hand of Hansen in there. He had the opportunity at GISS and the motive because he had told the Senate that 1988 was peak greenhouse warming year. It happens to be just an ordinary El Nino, not any warming peak that proves the existence of greenhouse warming as he claimed.

  80. Richard Ilfeld says:

    Occam’s Razor tell me that the is no difference between “Climate Science” and a religious cult. Thou believeist, or thou does not. If thou believeist, thou shalt find evidence everywhere, else not. I just wish the warmists wouldn’t measure temperatures the way my grandfather keeps his golf score.

  81. Jeff Patterson says:

    rgbatduke says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

    A well reasoned and well written response.
    You say “The correct (mathematical) way to approach this is from the point of view of Bayesian statistics”. I’m not so sure. The underlying dynamics are chaotic. The current notion that the resulting variance averages out over time is itself a belief who probability is no better than 50-50. If thta assumption falls, the whole edifice crumbles.

  82. richard says:

    my usual off topic comment!

    noticing this a lot, the comments on climate topics are becoming very cynical.

    just read http://www.rtcc.org/2014/03/20/climate-adaptation-facing-funding-crisis-warn-un-officials/

    the comments are a treat,

  83. Ian says:

    rgbatduke
    So nice to see you back again.
    Thank you for such a clear analysis.

  84. Jeff Patterson says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 8:13 am
    Jeff Patterson

    I agree the integrative effect is important but I don’t quite see how that will supply the necessary energy without some amplifier. NPI/NAO or other could perhaps do the trick through changing the cloud cover.

    No is amplification required as long as the net effect is zero over time. Think of it in terms of an interference pattern, where a lagged, passive response is added to a cyclical forcing. Sometimes they will add constructively and sometimes destructively because both the forcing and the lag are themselves changing over time.

  85. Col Mosby says:

    Do not allow the argument to become one in which the issue becomes one of none versus some AGW, which is what a test of the null hypothesis would be. To my knowledge, not a single skeptic of any stature believes that humans aren’t having some effect on global temperatures. The only
    issue should be “How much effect,” both till now, and into the future. Remember, studies that demonstrate “statistically significant effects” (and thereby reject the null hypothesis) simply have shown a non-zero effect, which may or may not be of a significant size or anything to worry about. The phrase “statistically significant” has led to more misunderstanding of results than anything else. To my mind, the issue of whether a given study is able to reject the null hypothesis is relatively unimportant, athough the inability to reject obviously still means a lot. Instead, the issue should be whether positive results can reject a hypothesis of effects of a specified and agreed-to benign magnitude.
    Another mistake is to assume that carbon emissions have a bright future, which many studies accept without thinking. It’s obvious to me that several technological trends make that assumption a false one – electric cars, which will arrive just as soon as a practical battery shows up, and
    advanced nuclear power technologies, which are already being constructed, to include Gen3+, fast reactors, and possibly Thorium reactors down the road, as well as SMR (small nuclear reactors). Once again, as has happened so often in the past, activists are getting way ahead
    of technology and making things worse by their hysterical and brainless behavior. At this point, climate science has become totally corrupted because of their rush to save humanity.

  86. “Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years, at a similar rate to the 24 year period of warming which occurred between 1975 and 1998. There was simply not enough anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere to have driven the 1860s warming, so it must have been driven by natural variation.”

    To be clear here, there “was simply not enough anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere to have driven” the “1910 – 1940″ warming either, this is why the IPCC only claims to be;

    “95% certain that humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950sBBC

    If you look at Global CO2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuels and;

    EPA – Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy – Click the pic to view at source

    Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuels

    Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center – Click the pic to view at source

    and Cumulative Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuels,

    Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center – Click the pic to view at source

    you can see that Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions did not become potentially consequential until approximately 1950.

  87. Ghandi says:

    Call me a pig, but after the brutal winter we’ve experienced here in Ohio, I was hoping global warming was real and not just a convenient ruse to redistribute global wealth. Silly me…

  88. Bill Taylor says:

    to me it is akin to someone telling me that the last deposit into my back account on the 3rd of this month came from someplace other than SS, see the direct deposit has been in effect since i started getting it and has been there every month so i see nothing different now than any other month, but some try to say NO it wasnt SS this time it was co2 that caused that deposit!

    we have seen NOTHING unusual in the temperature record so no need to hunt for anything unusual since the climate is doing what it has always done.

  89. Bruce Cobb says:

    Since the ever-morphing, goalpost-moving conjecture of manmade warming/climate change has never made it past the conjecture stage, there isn’t even any contest between it and the null hypothesis, which is that climate change is natural. The idea that we are somehow warming the planet with our CO2 simply isn’t borne out by reality. It is a nonsense, Occam’s or not.

  90. richard says:

    Harvard University-
    http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/djj/book/bookchap7.html

    Examination of the long-term temperature record in Figure 7-2 may instill some skepticism, however. Direct measurements of temperature in Europe date back about 300 years, and a combination of various proxies can provide a reliable thermometer extending back 150,000 years. From Figure 7-2 (second panel from top), we see that the warming observed over the past century is actually the continuation of a longer-term trend which began in about 1700 AD, before anthropogenic inputs of greenhouse gases became appreciable. This longer-term trend is thought to be caused by natural fluctuations in solar activity. Going back further in time we find that the surface temperature of the Earth has gone through large natural swings over the past 10,000 years, with temperatures occasionally higher than present ( Figure 7-2 , second panel from bottom). Again, fluctuations in solar activity may be responsible. Extending the record back to 150,000 years ( Figure 7-2 , bottom panel) reveals the succession of glacial and interglacial climates driven by periodic fluctuations in the orbit and inclination of the Earth relative to the Sun. From consideration of Figure 7-2 alone, it would be hard to view the warming over the past 100 years as anything more than a natural fluctuation!

  91. Mark T says:

    Magma says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Thousands of independent scientific researchers,

    a) your understanding of the term “independent” may need some revisitation.
    b) “consensus” arguments don’t really mean much to legitimate scientists anyway.

    multiple lines of physical evidence past and present,

    a) Again, revisit the independence argument above.
    b) Just as much evidence offering a contrary view.
    c) Most of the evidence, in either direction, can be interpreted rather broadly to mean just about anything.

    simple physics understood for a century and a half

    a) The “simple” physics is by no means simple. Generally speaking, people that make this claim have very little background in physics. Indeed, part of the atmospheric problem is on the list of Millenium Problems, and it is unknown whether a solution can exist.
    b) Much of the early work, a century and a half ago, has already been proven bogus, so stating that it has been “understood for a century and a half” is quite a stretch.

    vs. a relative handful of cranks egged on by ideologues and funded by a few companies with strong vested financial interests.

    a) So there are no ideologues researching, promoting, or otherwise supporting the anthropogenic viewpoint? Surely you jest…
    b) Which companies, oil? Newsflash: oil companies are the ones that fund AGW research.
    c) You don’t think governments have a strong vested financial interest?
    d) Given your previous fallacies, the argumentum ad hominem here is not surprising. You couldn’t resist, could you?

    Watch that blade, lads. It’s sharp.

    Unlike your wit.

    Mark

  92. Mark T says:

    I should add, GE, at one point the world’s largest company (may still be), supplies many (if not a majority) of the wind turbines in use in the US, probably world-wide. If that isn’t a vested financial interest, then there is no such thing.

    Indeed, Magma, your ignorance is the only thing astounding in your post.

    Mark

  93. Re: Occam’s razor

    In the context of Dr. Ball’s article, the topic of Occam’s razor is apt for a GCM is a generator of non-falsifiable, ad hoc hypotheses regarding the numerical value of the global temperature thus being a example of an Occam’s razor violator.

  94. wbrozek says:

    Henry Clark says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:58 am
    1998-now trend = -0.050 K/decade (cooling)**
    Contrast to the article’s table!

    The article said nothing about 1998 to now. It said:
    1975-2009 35 years and 0.161 which was significant.

    This was from the interview with Phil Jones so it would have been based on Hadcrut3 at that time.

  95. bubbagyro says:

    Occam’s Razor is, in this context, futile to apply.

    The reason: the system is too complex to analyze. More variables than equations to relate the variables. By definition, insoluble.

    Nevertheless, the burden of proof remains clearly on the shoulders of the expositors of the hypothesis, namely the warm-earthers. Just as the flat-earthers posited that the earth was flat, and most (the consensus) believed it, the “hypothesis” remained until it was falsified. That did not prevent hundreds of years of lost exploration and advances. I think we are in a similar position today.

    The warm-earther must provide the proof, not the other way around. We are still waiting…

  96. Ronaldo says:

    richard says:

    March 22, 2014 at 9:18 am
    Well said. The post below gives a rather nice summary of Global temperature variations over a range of geological periods. CO2 does not get a look in.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/25/when-did-global-warming-begin/#more-102114

  97. Eric Worrall says:

    Tom in Florida
    Occam’s Razor does NOT say “The simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation”.
    The principle states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”

    Occam’s Razor is often used incorrectly by those who do not understand it or by those who know better and are trying to justify something that isn’t true. Incorrect usage of the principle immediately sets off my sceptic alarm.

    Why shouldn’t entities be multiplied unnecessarily? Perhaps because as you add more and more unnecessary, untested assumptions, the probability that your assumption laden explanation is the correct explanation drops dramatically?

  98. RichardLH says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

    “Richard: Or can you explain the 2, 3, 4, 12 and 60 years ones?
    The ~3 and ~60 is ENSO, more or less trade winds, upwelling of cold water and more or less clouds in the tropics. I haven’t heard about a 12 years cycle, where do you have that from”

    Depends on what natural cycles you can pick out of these. Given that they ALL could be as they are all well below the required greater than 75 years ‘slope’ that CO2 generates.

    http://climatedatablog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/uah-tropics.png

    http://climatedatablog.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/hadcrut-giss-rss-and-uah-global-annual-anomalies-aligned-1979-2013-with-gaussian-low-pass-and-savitzky-golay-15-year-filters1.png

  99. Eric Worrall says:

    rgbatduke

    Occam’s Razor isn’t an absolute rule of reason, because sometimes the actual explanation is, in fact, the more complex of two hypotheses. That is, nature itself is not obligated to be “simple”.

    That’s what the data above pertain to. They suggest that the explanation for the 1983-1998 temperature increase is not CO_2 not because it isn’t a simple explanation, but because as the data clearly indicate that the problem has more complexity, that the climate is a function of more than one thing, and that the other things are capable of producing effects as large as the one attributed to CO_2 in the particular set of years indicated in circumstances where CO_2 is not a possible explanatory factor.

    That is, we need a more complex theory, not a simpler one!

    Ultimately yes, if your goal is to be able to predict future climate. My purpose was much simpler – to demonstrate that the alarmist view of AGW doesn’t pass the bullsh*t test – there is nothing about current climatic variation which is sufficiently different to observed past variation such that it is necessary to add a new assumption to explain it.

    …We actually know the physics here, and it is not at all simple! It is arguably the most complex problem we’ve ever tried to solve. Occam’s Razor is the exact opposite of the thing needed, but our attempts to date to solve the physics problem in GCMs have met with empirical failure at almost every level it is possible to fail at. The best that can be said of them is that they produce something that looks like climate evolution, while having almost zero predictive value. It isn’t even clear that the existing models aren’t divergent where the climate is empirically enormously stable (or rather, broadly bistable or multistable with two primary attractors, a warm phase interglacial and cold phase glacial in the current orbital-geological configuration). …

    Occam’s Razor does not preclude adopting a better theory if the evidence supports it – quite the opposite! Einstein’s theory is more complex than Newton’s clockwork universe, but the justification for the more complex Einstein theory is that it does a better job of predicting and explaining complex phenomena, such as the orbit of Mercury, and the fact that the measured speed of light never varies, regardless of your motion relative to the source.

    My argument is that natural variation + CO2 does not do a better job of explaining global climate than natural variation alone, therefore at this point in time the addition of the CO2 assumption is unjustified.

    I am *not* suggesting that work should cease on theories which include an assumption that CO2 is an important influence, I am suggesting that the balance of evidence does not currently support the addition of a CO2 term as being necessary to explain observations.

    So sorry, I appreciate what you are trying to say and agree that the data call into question the assertion that CO_2 is solely or even mostly responsible for the single 15 year long stretch of warming visible in the latter half of the 20th century, but rejecting the CO_2 hypothesis isn’t a matter of Occam’s Razor, it is a matter of the data suggesting that the solution is a lot more complex than CO_2 alone can explain.

    A general model which can predict climate, even if such a thing is possible, will certainly be a lot more complex than a black box theory called “natural variation”. However, my question was not about whether a successful climate theory of everything would include CO2 (IMO it almost certainly would). My question was, does any climate observation currently justify the addition of an untested assumption that CO2 is having a significant influence? The answer, for now, has to be no.

  100. John Day says:

    But remember that Occam’s Razor is a model selection tool for deciding between two equally feasible theories, not a model validation tool for proving correctness.

    The converse of Occam is:
    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” – H. L. Mencken

    Simply apply Einstein’s Dictum to mediate between these two:
    “Man soll die Dinge so einfach machen wie möglich – aber nicht einfacher.” (Make everything as simple as possible, but not too simple!)
    :-|

  101. Eric Worrall says:

    John Day
    But remember that Occam’s Razor is a model selection tool for deciding between two equally feasible theories, not a model validation tool for proving correctness.

    Yes – but in the absence of compelling evidence that the more complex theory is a better explanation for observed phenomena, the more complex theory must be rejected.

    Einstein’s more complex theory was accepted, because it provided an explanation for observed phenomena which Newton’s theory could not explain. For example, Einstein’s theory correctly predicted the orbital discrepancies of the planet Mercury, and provided an explanation of why the measured speed of light was always constant, regardless of the motion of the observer relative to the source of light.

    My argument is that adding an assumption that CO2 is a significant influence does not improve our understanding of climate in a similar sense to the way that adding Einstein’s assumption that space and time was mutable improved our understanding of the universe.

  102. Mac the Knife says:

    lgl says:
    March 22, 2014 at 5:43 am
    Richard It wouldn’t, but natural variation is just a description, not an explanation imo. You have to explain how.

    lgl,
    We don’t have to explain. The null hypothesis holds. If you need conjecture, go ask the village idiots that profess to be climatologists.

  103. Steve Reddish says:

    Mindert Eiting says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:10 am
    “Interesting to see the significances in the table. You throw a coin and look for series of heads-only.”

    Mindert, for your analogy to even be considered it has to be possible to throw even 21 (the shortest series in the essay) heads in a row. Please start now and let us know when you succeed in throwing 21 heads in a row. While making that attempt, entertain the thought that it was nature that produced 21 years of rising temps, not Eric.

    SR

  104. milodonharlani says:

    John Day says:
    March 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

    You’ve mistranslated Einstein. “Einfacher” means not “too simple”, but “simpler” or “more simple”, implying than need be.

  105. phlogiston says:

    Martin on March 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    From the article that Eric Worrall linked to:D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

    Its good to see that you grasp the point of Occam’s razor – that a politically correct pseudo science narrative needs to be as complex as possible to stop deniars – who we can accuse Putin-like with no basis in reality of being oil funded – from ever refuting our lucrative theory. Only you dont quite make your argument complex enough. You bring in volcanoes and the sun – but could have gone much further. How about ENSO, PDO and AMO oscillations? How about all the multitudinous categories of airborne pollution particle sizes and chemical types all competing against each other – some warming, some cooling, so we can fine tune our retrospective climate models in infinite ways to mimic recent climate history? How about the bipolar seesaw and fluctuations in transhemispheric heat piracy? How about chaotic intrinsic variation (requiring no external forcing) present in every atmosphericamd oceanic system?

    You made a good start but you have a long way to go. Nevwr settle for one causal link when a hundred will do. Most of all guard against the danger of any real world truth polluting your pristine political climate science.

  106. John Day says:

    @Eric Worrall

    Yes – but in the absence of compelling evidence that the more complex theory is a better explanation for observed phenomena, the more complex theory must be rejected.

    I don’t buy your must be rejected. So Einstein made his theory more complex to account for relativistic effects, but we don’t “reject” Newton’s theory. It was all we needed to get our astronauts to the Moon and back safely. Both theories are useful, and both are “as simple as possible” in their respective realms.
    :-|

  107. milodonharlani says:

    Martin says:
    March 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    All solar influences were not flat over the period 1977-98. Solar magnetic field strength & UV radiation delivered to the top of the atmosphere were not flat. Besides which, surely you must realize that there are more multidecadal, centennial & millennial climatic “forcings” than just volcanoes & the variable sun. On longer time frames, orbital mechanics strongly affect climate change on the scales of 10,000 & 100,000 years, & plate tectonics on millions & tens of millions years. Some evidence exists for galactic effects on the scales of hundreds of millions & billions of years.

    Climate science should be gathering data & experimenting in an effort to find presently unknown influences on natural climatic variation rather than making the unjustified assumption that CO2 is primarily responsible for whatever global temperature increase may have actually been observed since the 1970s, if any, & to try to analyze the relative importance of all possible such “forcings”.

    Clearly, CO2 variations from whatever source are not very important above a certain low level, since recent experience is not very different, if at all, from past multidecadal warmings under lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Indeed, it was hotter earlier in the Holocene & during prior interglacials, without benefit of higher levels of this life-giving trace gas. Multidecadal, centennial, millennial scale & longer term fluctuations all show that CO2 is an effect rather than a primary cause of climate change.

  108. John Day says:

    milodonharlani says:
    You’ve mistranslated Einstein. “Einfacher” means not “too simple”, but “simpler” or “more simple”, implying than need be.

    I paraphrased the German. Don’t we all agree that a theory that is “more simple than need be” is “too simple”?

  109. milodonharlani says:

    John Day says:
    March 22, 2014 at 11:57 am

    The problem with a theory that fails or has limits isn’t that it’s too simple, but that it can be shown false or restricted without a further wrinkle, as in the case of Einstein’s improvement on Newton. Maybe a distinction without a difference, but why not just translate the statement literally, using “simpler” rather than “too simple”, especially as the comparative ending -er is the same in both languages?

  110. John Day says:

    @milodonharlani
    >why not just translate the statement literally…?

    Because it needed Occam’s Razor: :-]
    “more simple than need be” ==> “too simple”

  111. chuckarama says:

    WIth an IPPC agreement of +95% amongst the scientists that matter, and a few of the ones that don’t but were able to be calculated in, I wonder why Trenberth and company don’t float their Null Hypothesis flip again? With consensus solidly on their side, as we’re told over and over again, they must surely feel the science will stand on it’s own now. It might be interesting to see how many papers get published that dare suggest CO2 is not necessarily the main driver of climate. Given the number that get published about that already I suspect the new null hypothesis will quickly be nullified. Everyone can have a good laugh and we can finally get past all this and on to the matters of real climate – not video game climate.

  112. DanMet'al says:

    rgbatduke says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:42 am

    “Occam’s Razor isn’t an absolute rule of reason, because sometimes the actual explanation is, in fact, the more complex of two hypotheses. That is, nature itself is not obligated to be “simple”.”

    Thank you Prof. Brown; your explication of Occam’s Razor using Bayesian reasoning is very well-argued, expressed clearly, and provides a viewpoint that is “something that I can believe in”! One question though. . . when you write: “Bayesian scientific reasoning . . . deals with Occam’s razor not in verbal terms . . . , but in terms of using incoming data to recompute the prior probabilities.” Shouldn’t the end of this sentence read “. . . posterior probabilities”?

    BTW, your post gave me reason to find and scan through Jaynes’ book that I had downloaded ~15 years ago and selectively read in support of a specific project. Relooking at it this afternoon, I see there’s much more to learn that I missed (or have forgotten). . . and fortunately, now that I’m retired I have the time. A great book, others may find it both interesting, stimulating, and a valuable resource.

    Thanks, for another great post.

    Dan Backman

  113. MarkW says:

    Martin, can you point to the factors that led to the 1860 to 1881 warming?
    If not, then how do you know that the two you list are the only possible factors?
    Village Idiot, quit living up to your name.

  114. MarkW says:

    Magma says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:34 am
    ——
    What multiple lines of evidence?

    Whenever someone has to scream that the other side has to be ignored because they are associated with people I hate, you know that they have already lost the argument.

  115. milodonharlani says:

    John Day says:
    March 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Except that “than need be” is implied by “simpler” without adding the extra words, so in this case less is sufficient, if not more.

  116. MarkW says:

    Jeff Patterson says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:53 am
    —-
    To some people, correlation must be causation.
    It’s gotten warmer.
    CO2 has increased.
    Therefore CO2 caused the warming.

  117. milodonharlani says:

    MarkW says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    To summarize & speculate:

    c. 1850 to 1880: warmer; CO2 up
    c. 1880 to 1910: cooler; CO2 up
    c. 1910 to 1940: warmer; CO2 up
    c. 1940 to 1970: cooler; CO2 up
    c. 1970 to 2000: warmer; CO2 up
    c. 2000 to 2030: probably cooler; CO2 probably up.
    c. 2030 to 2060: probably warmer; CO2 possibly down.

  118. RACookPE1978 says:

    milodonharlani says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm (replying to)

    MarkW says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    To summarize & speculate:

    c. 1850 to 1880: warmer; CO2 up
    c. 1880 to 1910: cooler; CO2 up
    c. 1910 to 1940: warmer; CO2 up
    c. 1940 to 1970: cooler; CO2 up
    c. 1970 to 2000: warmer; CO2 up
    c. 2000 to 2030: probably cooler; CO2 probably up.
    c. 2030 to 2060: probably warmer; CO2 possibly down.

    ???????????
    a. 0450 to 0950: temps now colder, but warming up, CO2 steady
    a. 0950 to 1650: temps now warmer, but cooling down, CO2 steady
    b. 1650 to 1850: temperatures now colder, but getting warmer; CO2 steady
    c. 1850 to 1880: warmer; CO2 steady
    c. 1880 to 1910: cooler; CO2 steady
    c. 1910 to 1940: warmer; CO2 rose slightly
    c. 1940 to 1975: cooler; CO2 up steadily
    c. 1975 to 1998: warmer; CO2 up steadily
    c. 1998 to 2015: steady; CO2 up steadily.
    d. 2015 to 2030: Temps steady or slightly cooler; CO2 up steadily.
    d. 2030 to 2060: temps slightly cooler or steady; CO2 up steadily.

    The unknown about “d.” 2015-2060 is simple.

    Is the 2000-2010 Modern Warming Period yet one more “pause” in the regular 60-78 year cycle as we rise up from the Little Ice Age low and previous Medieval Warming Period high? That is, will 2060-2070 be the actual “peak” of the Modern Warming Period, or will it also be just another small cyclical “bump” ?

    Or is 2000-2010 the “peak” of the Modern Warming Period, and we now face 400 years of declining temperatures into the next Modern Ice Age?

  119. John Day says:

    @milodinharlani
    >Except that “than need be” is implied by “simpler” without adding the extra words,

    Actually that’s not true for German or English. The -er comparative adjective form does not per se express the notion of exceeding necessity. That is an assumption.

    Einstein implored us, hyperbolically, to make things “as simple as _possible_”, suggesting no _further_ simplification would be possible. But if a further simplification were possible (“simpler”), then it would _not_ necessarily violate Occam’s notion of necessity, unless further qualified (“too simple”).

    Just saying, rhetorically.
    :-]

  120. milodonharlani says:

    John Day says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    It’s not the comparative ending that implies “than need be”, but the logic of the statement.

  121. milodonharlani says:

    RACookPE1978 says:
    March 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    IMO, the Modern Warming Period from the mid-19th century has a century or more to go, unless as we near the next glacial phase the centennial-scale fluctuations (dare I say Bond Cycles without incurring Dr. S.’ disapproval?) become not only colder (as has been the case since the Minoan WP), but shorter in duration.

    If human activity indeed be the major cause of the CO2 gain from ~285 to ~400 ppm since c. 1850, then the concentration could fall later in this decade, with more reliance on natural gas (fracked & un-), possibly nuclear if the world can get over its Fukushima-induced fission phobia, & alternate energy sources when economical, plus greater efficiency & conservation. Should the world cool, that too would tend to reduce CO2 levels after some lag.

  122. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/16/a-view-of-science-worth-reflecting-upon/#comment-1477973

    Mike M says: November 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    …and then … CO2, (or something to do with more CO2 such as NPP), ‘somehow’ drives temperature back down. Simply making an observation of the data (again, as I am aware of it).

    Allan:

    Sorry Mike – Occam says hokum.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

    There is no need for your complex hypo.

    The change in temperature is natural, and CO2 just follows it – up AND down.

  123. milodonharlani says:

    Which doesn’t respond to your question as to whether c. 2000 was the peak of this WP. It might have been, although IMO it actually wasn’t warmer than the 1930s peak. Insofar as the reconstructed records go, WP peaks seem to occur fairly early, with the Medieval WP apparently hitting its high around AD 1000. It’s a little too neat (or millennial) to say the peaks were 1000 BC “Minoan” (not a good name), BC/AD Roman, AD 1000 Medieval & 2000 Modern.

  124. John Day says:

    @milodonharlani
    > It’s not the comparative ending that implies
    > “than need be”, but the logic of the statement.

    If Einstein had said “Make everything as simple as needed, but no simpler” then I would agree with you. “Man soll die Dinge so einfach machen wie noetig – aber nicht einfacher”

    But the phrase he used, “make simple as possible” (einfach machen wie moeglich), does not convey the notion of minimally required simplicity. So, (are we allowed to criticize Einstein?) he should have made this notion of ‘necessity’ more clear by saying “too simple” instead of “simpler”.

    Hence the motive for my paraphrasing: “Man soll die Dinge so einfach machen wie moeglich – aber nicht zu einfach”

    IMHO!

  125. milodonharlani says:

    John Day says:
    March 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Yes, you’re not only allowed but should be encouraged, IMHO, to criticize Einstein & any other scientist for his or her work & the precision of language (& math) used to describe his or her methods & findings.

  126. rgbatduke says:

    Wow. That’s quite an (implicit) accusation! So you actually have to be ‘insane’ to claim that ‘CO_2 concentration is likely to have zero effect on the climate’?!

    In comparison to an otherwise identical atmosphere with no CO_2 at all? I think so. The radiative coupling of CO_2 in the LWIR bands that dominate Earth temperature radiation is an established fact. The absorption and re-emission of thermally emitted LWIR energy from CO_2 in its absorptive bands by the atmosphere is a direct observational fact, verified by numerous TOA and BOA spectrographs.

    What is at issue is two things. One is the marginal effect of additional CO_2 once the atmosphere is well past the point where it is effectively optically opaque in the CO_2 bands with a comparatively short mean free path for optical photons in those bands (compared, especially, to the distance from the Earth’s surface to the heights where the atmosphere becomes exponentially transparent to the radiation). The second is the coupled effect of nonlinear stuff in the atmosphere to that marginal effect — positive and negative feedbacks. It is IMO moderately unlikely that the negative feedback from what is almost certainly going to be a positive partial derivative of global temperature with respect to CO_2 concentration is going to completely cancel the positive contribution or override it with all other things equal on average although the Earth is a chaotic nonlinear system and is capable of being kicked out of orbit around a warm phase attractor by at least some trajectories created by transient positive gain from CO_2. It is certainly possible that marginal changes of CO_2 concentration could for some comparatively short periods of time have no discernible effect on the climate because of lucky cancellations, but it is not certainly not “likely”.

    To put it yet another way, AR5 persists in wanting to attribute over half of the latter 20th century warming to CO_2 with “high confidence” in spite of having no defensible quantitative basis for making any claim of confidence for any particular fraction of warming. I agree — and I think most people who understand the radiation physics agree — that CO_2 has had some effect (whether or not it is “anthropogenic” or the largest effect humans have hand on the climate). I agree that the effect is probably relative warming, but the probability here is lower — there are plausible arguments that suggest that natural feedbacks cancel the bulk of any direct warming — and it is very difficult indeed to know how to partition any climate shift into CO_2 linked change and everything else, because change is strongly coupled and because we have no method to predict what the temperature would have been outside today if there had been no increase in CO_2.

    At the moment, AR5 and increasing numbers of papers are dropping the most likely effect by the end of the century to be no more than 2.5 C, and a surprising number are down now to under 2 C total warming (simply because there hasn’t been any warming at all in the 21st century). The longer it stubbornly refuses to warm, the lower CO_2 linked climate sensitivity should be, in Bayesian terms.

    rgb

    I

  127. Konrad says:

    Kristian says:
    March 22, 2014 at 5:57 am
    ———————————
    Kristian,
    yes it is the simplest explanation, but it is not just lgl who will reject it, but every lukewarmer as well.

    While empirical experiment shows cumulative SW/UV heating of water results in equilibrium temperatures 98C higher than blackbody calcs, empirical results must be rejected as this would indicate the net effect of the atmosphere over the oceans is cooling.

    The gospel of the Church of Radiative Climatology is very clear on this, without DWLWIR the oceans would freeze. To challenge the dogma of the climastrologists by claiming that atmospheric cooling is preventing the oceans rising to over 80C you would need to invent some truly bizarre cooling mechanism. Something like vaporising the top 100mm of the oceans into the atmosphere to vastly increase radiative cooling area. However extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence….

    Hey what are those white things in the sky? What are they made of and where did they come from?

    Sarc/

  128. Konrad says:

    Jeff Patterson says:
    March 22, 2014 at 7:33 am
    “As such, the amount of energy contained in the ocean is sensitive not just to the TSI, but to asymmetry in the TSI.”
    —————————–
    With regard to asymmetry in TSI and its effect on ocean temperatures I would recommend this marine biology related paper –
    http://www.biblioteca.uma.es/bbldoc/tesisuma/1663844x.pdf

    Figure 3.(d) has plots showing power of the higher solar frequencies compared to ocean depth in w/m2. These are the frequencies that vary most between solar cycles. UV-A is shown as still providing 10 w/m2 at a depth of 50m.

  129. Jimbo says:

    The heat went into the deep oceans, snowfalls are no more, more cold and snow does not contradict CAGW but re-enforces it etc. etc. Just what would it take to be able to throw the main claims of the IPCC regarding the global surface temperature warming since 1950? I throw this question out as a challenge for everyone.

  130. milodonharlani says:

    Jimbo says:
    March 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    IMO, nothing.

    If the world warmed with CO2 going down, some other human activity would be blamed. If it cooled with CO2 going up (as is actually happening), then excuses will be made, such as otherwise it would have cooled even more & the heating threat will return with a vengeance, or people are causing the dangerous cooling, too. And of course the past temperature “record” is almost endlessly fungible to an extent that satellite-era observations are not. The past is a construct, as under Communism.

    As an anti-scientific religious faith, CACA is not falsifiable. Just as Christianity changed when Jesus did not return in the 1st or 2nd centuries, which early adherents expected, CACA or its latest transmogrification will adjust (so to speak).

  131. milodonharlani says:

    rgbatduke says:
    March 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    IMO the GC models will remain worse than worthless until based upon actual observations of the water vapor feedback response to changes in CO2 levels, & upon realistic cloud assumptions, among other needed improvements.

    Does anyone know how high latitude water vapor has responded to the alleged increase in globally well mixed CO2 from 280 ppm in the 19th century to ~400 ppm in the 21st? If an extra CO2 molecule (up to five from four during the next 50 years) per 10,000 dry air molecules over a polar region raises its spring or fall high temperature from 31.9 to 32.1 degrees F, then the water vapor feedback there might be positive, thanks to an increase from, say, four to five H2O molecules in the same volume of dry air. But maybe not. Release of the extra molecule from surface ice might have a cooling effect. I don’t know but would like to.

    How about low latitudes? The same increase in CO2 in an environment with 400 water vapor molecules per 10,000 of dry air instead of four arguably might have a cooling instead of a warming effect, ie a negative feedback. Again, I’d like to know, but suspect that climate modelers don’t have the observational data upon which to model such feedbacks. Instead, they make GIGO assumptions.

    A science in its infancy needs more & better observations & less unjustified certainty based upon obviously blatantly failed model predictions.

  132. clazy says:

    Occam’s razor does not tell us anything about what is true. It tells us the most efficient way to look for what is true. The fewer assumptions, the simpler the experiment required to test those assumptions. Also, assumptions that cannot be tested are useless. Experiment tells us what is true — at least to the extent that we are able to identify the variables involved.

  133. Eric Worrall says:

    John Day
    I don’t buy your must be rejected. So Einstein made his theory more complex to account for relativistic effects, but we don’t “reject” Newton’s theory. It was all we needed to get our astronauts to the Moon and back safely. Both theories are useful, and both are “as simple as possible” in their respective realms.
    :-|

    The difference is Einstein’s theory created a better explanation of observed phenomena. Adding an assumption that CO2 dominates natural forcings does not create a better explanation of observed climate change.

    Newton’s theory does a perfectly adequate job where you and the observer are in a similar frame of reference (e.g. throwing a baseball to your buddy), but at the time Einstein proposed his theory, there were several niggling examples of physical observations which Newton’s theory could not explain, such as the failure of Newtonian calculations to correctly predict the orbit of the planet Mercury.

    My argument RE climate is that there is nothing unprecedented or unique about current climatic conditions which requires new assumptions be added to the theory that natural variation is driving climate change. Current climatic conditions are not warmer than the past, and the rate of warming is not faster than warming events which have occurred in the very recent past.

    Therefore, unlike the situation which gave rise to Einstein’s theories, in which there was compelling evidence Newton’s theories weren’t the complete picture, there are no compelling discrepancies between observations and theory, which requires the addition of new assumptions to create a better theory of climate.

  134. Eric Worrall says:

    clazy
    Occam’s razor does not tell us anything about what is true. It tells us the most efficient way to look for what is true. The fewer assumptions, the simpler the experiment required to test those assumptions. Also, assumptions that cannot be tested are useless. Experiment tells us what is true — at least to the extent that we are able to identify the variables involved.

    Exactly my point. The last paragraph of my post was:-

    “Nothing about the current climate is outside the bounds of climatic conditions which could reasonably be produced by natural variation – therefore, according to the rules of science, we have to reject hypothesis which unnecessarily embrace additional unproven assumptions, unless or until such assumptions can be tested and verified, in a way which falsifies the theory that natural variation is still in the driver’s seat.”

    I am not ruling out the possibility that CO2 will be demonstrated to have a significant influence on climate at some point in the future. What I am saying is there no compelling reason to accept such a theory now, based on current observations, because current climate is not unprecedented in any measurable way – it is not warmer now than the peak of past warnings, and recent periods of warming are not measurably different to past warming events, when CO2 cannot have been the driver of said past warming.

  135. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Occam’s Razor is not an answer. It is a challenge.

  136. climateace says:

    The fallacy here is that CO2 impacts can never be demonstrated because there will always be something be some climate/ocean chemistry variation that was hotter, colder, wetter, drier in the geological record.

    The logic is false because this fallacy is combined with several other false assumptions to create a circular argument designed to reverse the burden of proof.

    The whole is then clothed in some false scientific ‘respectability’ using a inverted reference to Occam’s Razor.

    It turns the burden of proof upside down. We know by theory and experiment that CO2 acts as a heat trapping gas.

    We know that global radiation in is greater than radiation out.

    We know that the global ice mass balance is dropping. We know that most of the world’s glaciers are reducing in depth and moving uphill. We know that the earth’s oceans are gaining heat. We know that thousands upon thousands of terrestrial and marine species are changing their range and are also changing their phenology. We know that global sea levels are rising. In other words, all the things you would expect with increased heat are occurring.

    (And puhlease don’t give me atmospheric-temperatures-are-steady meme as if it is terribly significant in the global heat budget).

    Of course, CO2 forcing is on top of natural drivers, so we are getting, as we would expect, some ups and downs there and there.

    Knowing from laboratory experiments that CO2 is a heat-trapping gas, what Occam’s Razor really means in this case is that you would have to demonstrate that the current climate variations are driven solely by natural drivers.

    You can’t.

    It is why Skeptic Memers are forced to keep talking about things like it has all happened before, it is undersea volcanoes, it is cosmic rays, it is natural cycles, it is clouds and the like without ever being able to demonstrate that their meming delivers anything like a global ‘natural’ heat budget unamplified by CO2 forcings.

  137. bushbunny says:

    Let’s face it, rather than blame third world governments for the treatment of their citizens they are happy to blame us, diverting attention and creating hate towards industrial countries. Most famines are caused by faulty mono cropping, and soil degradation or political upheavals. Of course their are genuine crop failures due to drought and then we provide aid. The illegal asylum seekers we are handling at the moment, many are economic refugees, looking for a new and easier life in Australia. Not genuine refugees. When they are turned back you should have heard the response. One had already been rejected and sort to enter illegally. He was furious and sent threats that were televised, ‘Remember 9/ll we will kill Tony Abbott’

    I knew years ago when Al Gore got the Nobel prize for peace, I was disgusted. I saw all the other opportunists get on the gravy train, but my studies had always suggested that we could head for another ice age, that would be more dramatic on human kind. It is pollution created around large areas of population and we can clear that all up easily. Ban all motor vehicles that use petrol or oil, and planes, electricity plants (?) and humans from these areas. Stop polluting our water sources with fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. Become Vegan. Now that would not change the weather but it is a good start (sarc). But it would be a leveler with third world countries.

  138. Eric Worrall says:

    climateace
    The fallacy here is that CO2 impacts can never be demonstrated because there will always be something be some climate/ocean chemistry variation that was hotter, colder, wetter, drier in the geological record.

    It turns the burden of proof upside down. We know by theory and experiment that CO2 acts as a heat trapping gas.

    Yes, but this does not say anything about how much impact CO2 has on climate.

    We know that global radiation in is greater than radiation out.

    Wrong, the measured radiation imbalance is impossibly large, so the value is “tweaked” to bring it inline with models. Not really a measurement then, is it?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/30/accuracy-precision-and-one-watt-per-square-metre/

    We know that the global ice mass balance is dropping. We know that most of the world’s glaciers are reducing in depth and moving uphill. We know that the earth’s oceans are gaining heat. We know that thousands upon thousands of terrestrial and marine species are changing their range and are also changing their phenology. We know that global sea levels are rising. In other words, all the things you would expect with increased heat are occurring.

    The fact the world is warming is not evidence that CO2 is driving the warming.

    Of course, CO2 forcing is on top of natural drivers, so we are getting, as we would expect, some ups and downs there and there.

    Knowing from laboratory experiments that CO2 is a heat-trapping gas, what Occam’s Razor really means in this case is that you would have to demonstrate that the current climate variations are driven solely by natural drivers.

    No, if you want to claim there has been a regime change, that CO2 now dominates climate change, you have to show something has changed – that there is a CO2 “fingerprint” has made some kind of difference to climate metrics, which is unlikely to be due to natural variation.

    You can’t.

    Nothing about the warming which ended in 1998 is any different to warming periods which occurred earlier in the instrumental record, during periods which could not have been driven by CO2 forcing – there was simply not enough anthropogenic CO2 to produce the earlier warmings.

    If you insist that the 1998 warming was due to CO2, then the burden of proof is on you to show that whatever the natural warming mechanism was which produced similar warmings in the past, was not responsible.

    It is why Skeptic Memers are forced to keep talking about things like it has all happened before, it is undersea volcanoes, it is cosmic rays, it is natural cycles, it is clouds and the like without ever being able to demonstrate that their meming delivers anything like a global ‘natural’ heat budget unamplified by CO2 forcings.

    Let me know when you have some evidence to support your hypothesis.

  139. Leo Smith says:

    Sad that once again Occams Razor is dragged into play as if it had something to say about truth or otherwise.

    William of Ockahm and his contemporaries understood something that we have forgotten.Theories are not facts. Theories are not, never have been and never will be ‘true’ in the way that ‘facts’ are true. They are explanatory constructions with predictive power. Their quality lies in their predictive power only. If reality conforms to prediction, the theory is good.
    What Ockham was saying is that if two theories are equally good at predicting the future, but one is more complex than the other, it makes no sense to use the complex one. Nowhere did he ever say that this makes the theory into a fact.

    The classical example is Galieo’s and Copernicus’ ellipses with the sun as a major point, rather than the epicycles of the Greeks. You can get there with epicycles, but the math is a lot simpler with elliptical orbits. All you are doing is effecting a transformation between co-ordinate bases from anthropcentric to heliocentric – a fact that the Church understood and Galileo did not.

    His insistence on the truth content of his theories was what got him into trouble, and rightly so.
    Unfortunately the stupidity persists today with people casually talking about ‘scientific truths’ as if the term had meaning: It does not, it never did and it never can.

    What we have is a hierarchy of knowledge from raw perceptions, that we assemble into ‘facts’ using metaphysically agreed cordinate systems. That is, we agree that the flash of perception before our eyes actually is the ‘fact’ of a ‘bird’ ‘flying’ ‘through’ the ‘air’. Until and unless that process of culturally accepted reification of perceptions into objects in space-time can take place we have no ‘facts’..

    So facts are in themselves unknowable, but are rendered known by the processes of the mind into an array of what is termed ‘phenomena’. Facts are phenomenal truths, couched in terms of the metaphysics of the day. But facts themselves are already one step removed from the perceptions that lead to their being accepted.

    What theories about facts then are, are descriptions of the flow of events: we preseuppose that everything that happens is ’caused’ by the total set of all the phenomena that preceded it. If we are lucky we can find phenomena whose behaviour is overwhelmingly related to a very few things that preceded it, and we can then arrive at mathematical or generic descriptions of the sort ‘event A always CAUSES event B’.

    But these descriptions are two steps removed from reality. They are neither the perceptions themselves nor ar they the crystallization of perceptions into phenomena, they are abstractions… they are stories about the things we make our mental worlds out of, the things themsleves only being our way of talking about our perceptions..And that is the point that Wiliam of Ockham understood. When making up stories, to explain phenomena, keep the stories simple. They are still stories, they have no inherent truth content, nor were they ever meant to have: their value never lay in their truth, but in their UTILITY.

    And that is why in the end we discard the myths of anthropogenic clinmate change, not because they are complex – we are already aware that they are in fact almost certainly not nearly complex enough – but becaiuse they have no utility. They utterly fail to produce any reliable predictions of the future state of climate.

    What prompted Karl Popper to write his treatise on the philosphy of science, was an alarming suspicion that a lot of what people were claiming was science, was in fact metaphysics. Arbitrary constructions with no basis in fact and no predictive power whatsoever. To believe in the ‘truth’ of science is to fall into a pit that lays one open to attack by such as the creationsts and the warmists: They quite rightly point out that science has no handle on the truth, and that truth is ultimately a matter of personal belief and opinion where theories arre concerned. To cry ‘scientific fact’ is no defense againts them. Neither is Occams razor.

    What is defense, is to make the simple point that if we can agree on the facts – facts being the actual measurable phenomena – that, say the world warmed by X degrees between such and such dates, then we are as SCIENTISTS duty bound not only to construct a theory that fits those facts, but one that predicts to better than random chance, where the climate will go next.

    Such a theory has no truth content as such, but if it proiduces a useful result that conforms to measurable phenomena, it is a USEFUL theory.

    However the IPCC theories have produced no such predictions: they have utterly FAILED to predict even vaguely the changes in climate in the last 20 years.

    That alone is enough to condemn them to to the dustbin of history. Worse, we have been told that the precautionary principle is one we must follow ‘always hold on tight to nurse for fear of something even worse’. WE must destroy a world economy IN CASE it’s doing something bad.

    If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything is the creed. If you can’t predict what might happen, don’t do anything. And yet it can be shown logoically that in the absence of certain knowledge, all possible decisions must have equal weight. WE may end up far worse off trying to stop CO2 emiissions than to continue. Nothing anywhere gives us any actual reason to make any particular decision.

    So we attack AGW entirely from the philsophical point: NOT usiong Occams Razor, but using Poppers criteria for a good theory. Simple or complex, if it doesn’t do predictions its a rubbish theory. AGW is a rubbish theory. If those who uphold it even if its admittedly rubbish ‘in case’ it might be true, are listened to, carefully, then they too are guilty of unscientific behaviour. We should burn carbon ‘in case’ stopping it produces some far more probable effects like the collapse of western civilization…

    There is a profound need when tackling these faith based pseudo scientists to understand and correct our own philsophical shortcomings: this article is bad because it makes no real case against AGW, in fact it gives further ammunition to its protagonists. It behoves us to understand the philosophy and metaphysics behind science, or we are truly no better than those who use emotional arguments to justify illogical actions and promote fake science that we cannot distinguish from real science. IN short we need the philoosphers badly here.

    AGW fails not becaise its too complex, but because it fails to predict: to remedy that we may well have to introduce far far MORE complexity. Occam did NOT say ‘simple is true’ he said something much more akin to ‘entities should not be introduced beyind necessity’ meaning that once you get to a decent theory that works, stop. Don’t embroider it with unneeded decoratons. But the key fact is ‘necessity’. Necessity to Occam was that the theory WORKED. If we apply Occam to AGW theory it tells us immediately that necessity forces us to introduce MORE to it in order to make it work at all. First get a theory that works THEN apply Occam to refine it.
    Don’t throw it out beacause its complex. Stuff IS complex.

    So please, if you want to introduce philosophy, take the trouble to understand the philosophy, or end up with egg on your face. Occam is no way a refutation of AGW, quite the reverse. Occam shows us if anything that AGW theory is far too simple. Necessity forces us to add more to it. That doesnt make it ‘wrong’ . What makes it wrong is the simple fact of its total inability to predict climate change in the last 18 years. CO2 cannot have zero effect on the climate, that much is certain, but what we need to know and AGW has totally failed to tell us, is how much.

    And by focussing solely on Carbon dioxicde, we may have missed somethimg that is far more relevant. In fact its patently obvious that we have. We HAVE seen as yet unexplained climate change, this decade/ the last 50 years/ and the last 5,000 years,We still have no explanation for the broad global variations in climate since man first appeared on the planet and before. We have SOME idea, but nothing like a complete picture: what we do know is that it wasnt all or even mostly driven by carbon dioxide.

  140. bushbunny says:

    climatease, where did you go to school, or university? Clouds trap heat reflected from the earth. That is why frost doesn’t form if it is overcast, and temperatures drop dramatically at night in desert areas. The ice caps are not melting, sea ice does come and go, and undersea volcanoes and ocean currents do control with other variables our climates. Non of these can be controlled by humans. Pollution can be controlled though, but it costs money. And if you research water vapor is the biggest component of Greenhouse gases. We can not control the weather and that is what kills us, not CO2, plus volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes and cyclones, just to name a few. Then there is the bubonic plagues, small pox, Spanish flu, AIDs that kills or has killed millions, plus wars of course. But what has CO2 got to do with this? Be interested in your answer. Just remember 75% of our air we breathe is nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 3 % CO2, and 1% is trace gases. So we are nitrogen junkies eh?
    Depends on your education, political views and life’s experience to spot a con. I am an environmentalist, but I am not a Vegan or vegetarian, but I lean towards free range meat etc., non GM vegetables etc., and have a Diploma in Organic Agricultural production (Australia). Plus two degrees majoring in Archaeology and palaeoanthropology and Ancient history. Sustainability is very important, and this does not include solar or wind power. It is growing our food for starters and combating life saving diseases. Plus trying to combat extreme weather events.

  141. bushbunny says:

    Climatease, Data collection may not be factual or representing an open ended argument. And theories are hypothesis or hypotheses that have been proven by experiment. If you place a thermometer next to a fire, it will increase, but place it outside it will reduce. So what, a twit knows this! If by chance you could remove 3% of our Greenhouse gases, (CO2) it would kill all living creatures on this earth, as we are carbon based organisms. We know that. Pollution is a different scenario. Polluted water is one of the primary vectors for most deadly water born diseases. Unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition lowers one resistance against disease and course some fatal conditions. SMOG dispatched thousands of Londoners in the 50s, And poisonous gases killed millions in concentration camps during the WWII. (So we object being labeled Holocaust deniers and Nazis) as most will accept climate change happens, but it is the causation factor or factors we challenge, from which some have financially benefited and still do.

  142. …to be sure temp rises are driven by the Sun, whats interesting is that CO2 levels will rise as a consequence. The Modern Maximum which began around 1900 heated the Earth but ended around the year 2000 so CO2 levels could drop below 400ppm now that the New Minimum has begun.

  143. climateace says:

    bushbunny

    Where I went to school or the nature of your formal qualifications or whether you are an environmentalist are totally irrelevant.

    Physics theory says that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations will add heat to the globe.

    Laboratory experiments confirm the Greenhouse effect of CO2.

    Satellites measure more radiation entering the globe than leaving it.

    Measurements of the oceans demonstrate that the earth is gaining heat.

    Global sea level height is increasing.

    Global ice mass balance is decreasing.

    Permafrost is retreating.

    Thousands of species are changing their range and/or their phenology.

    Of course there are natural variations, natural drivers and natural oscillations forcing climate.

    But natural variations can no no longer carry the sole explanation for climate variations.

    Applying Occams Razor, the simplest answer is natural variations plus CO2 greenhouse effect.

    In response, Skeptic Memers need to demonstrate that current climate trends are not due to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations on top of natural variations, but to something else.

    This is exactly the reverse of Worrall’s position, above.

  144. climateace says:

    L Smith

    The true utility of AGW is that it alters a suite of global risk proposition. The fact problem is by how much, when, for how long, where and who will wear the consequences, good and bad.

    There is no utility in sticking the head in the sand and the bum in the air.

    There is no utility at all in ignoring the actual and/or potential consequences of CO2-forced changes to ocean chemistry, ocean heat and ocean currents.

    Nor is there any utility at all in steadfastly ignoring possible consequences of range and phenology variations of thousands of species, including pathogens and other pests.

    For a single example of the devastating consequences of a single range extension of single species, check out Dutch Elm Disease.

  145. Eric Worrall says:

    climateace
    But natural variations can no no longer carry the sole explanation for climate variations.

    Why not?

    As I pointed out, there is no metric of current climatic conditions which is significantly different to past climatic conditions.

    Global temperature is not warmer today than it was in the past.

    The most recent warming, which ended in 1998, is almost identical to the warming which occurred between 1860 – 1880, well before the atmosphere contained significant anthropogenic CO2.

    So we have proof that natural variation can produce warmer temperatures, and similar periods of warming to the alleged anthropogenic warming.

    Where is your evidence that we are seeing anything other than natural variation?

  146. DavidCage says:

    Martin says:
    March 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    From the article that Eric Worrall linked to:

    D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre…..

    Surely this is assuming right at the start that the changes were not geological or biological ones. This is the problem with all climate studies that they assume the changes are the ones they can make research grants from. Anyone with eyes can see that looking at the NASA sea anomaly data there are huge five degree plus anomaly local heat sources dotted around the world with particular emphasis on the areas where warming is greatest. Thermodynamics laws preclude any global cause for higher temperatures barring a giant heat pipe taking sea water from the equator to the poles.
    Money needs to be transferred from atmospheric studies to the two other possible causes and also include historical departments to look for examples of climate information in reliable historical documents. In short they would receive a 75% cut in their budgets if the job of climate studies is to be done in a balanced way.

  147. Eric Worrall says:

    climateace
    But natural variations can no no longer carry the sole explanation for climate variations.

    Why not? What is unique or different about current climatic conditions, which requires an assumption that CO2 is significantly influencing global climate?

  148. bushbunny says:

    Climatease: If you feel my academic qualifications have no bearing on my judgements of AGW protesters like you, then you are way off the mark. But troll if you like, I don’t care but I know my judgements are supported through not only learned science but also on paleaoclimatology. As
    soon as I knew Michael Mann was basing his argument on dendrochronolgy (study of tree rings) I knew he could not be right in his hypothesis and hockey stick. Tree rings indicate the growth of the tree. And there are times when a tree doesn’t grow well, because of environmental causes, one being lack of rain. If the tree rings are close together, the tree has a normal annual growth.This is good for the tree and it has nothing to do with Co2 increasing, the tree does this itself. But the primary reasons for this growth are not an increase of CO2 as the tree will normally transpire this anyway. It is because the conditions for this tree were favorable for its growth. I can’t understand you don’t agree with this? And then connect it with CO2 that is a natural transpiration of a tree or plant.

    Years ago, hospitals would pull out flowers from wards, because they feared it would increase C02 in the wards. They have stopped that now.

    Cheers

    Patricia from Oz

  149. bushbunny says:

    Eric Worrell but you and me are talking to those who wish to disagree with science per say.
    The nitrogen content in the air also helps plants to grow. But rain does encourage all plants to grow. I keep bonsai, and I know that a bit of natural rain does them more good than if I just water them with pure rain water. Thunderstorm bring down gases and this helps too.

  150. Eric Worrall says:

    He he :-). Bushbunny, there is a hilarious Climategate email in which one of Michael Mann’s pen pals describes a science experiment conducted by his kid which falsifies the use of tree rings as global temperature proxies.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=0682.txt

    “Also, stationarity is the key. Let me tell you a story. A few years back, my son Eirik did a tree ring science fair project using trees behind NCAR. He found that widths correlated with both temp and precip. However, temp and precip also correlate. There is much other evidence that it is precip that is the driver, and that the temp/width correlation arises via the temp/precip correlation. Interestingly, the temp correlations are much more ephemeral, so the complexities conspire to make this linkage nonstationary.”

  151. Patrick says:

    “bushbunny says:

    March 23, 2014 at 1:17 am”

    Indeed, YAD061.

  152. Patrick says:

    “Eric Worrall says:

    March 23, 2014 at 12:15 am

    climateace

    Where is your evidence that we are seeing anything other than natural variation?”

    Climateace (LOL) beleives what the BoM and CSIRO models tell “him”. “He”, as clearly demonstrated over the last several months, has no grasp on reality.

  153. Patrick says:

    “bushbunny says:

    March 23, 2014 at 1:17 am”

    I have read several post by you recently about DNA and genetics etc, I agree. And also, you appear to be very learned in that space. Is that due to your African experience?

  154. Joe Born says:

    rgbatduke: “CO_2 increase should produce a locally linear (globally logarithmic) response in terms of average temperature from some very simple physics.”

    Presumably a great number of people who refer to a “logarithmic” response of temperature to concentration know what they mean, but maybe I have company in not knowing what the meaning is. Specifically, if the concentration approached zero, a logarithmic relationship would suggest implausible cold.

    Perhaps someone give a rough derivation of that logarithmic relationship?

  155. tom says:

    bushbunny says:
    March 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm
    “Just remember 75% of our air we breathe is nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 3 % CO2, and 1% is trace gases.”

    bushbunny, I can’t believe you believe that!!
    By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.

    3% co2 would suffocate you.

  156. tom says:

    bushbunny says:
    March 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm
    “Just remember 75% of our air we breathe is nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 3 % CO2, and 1% is trace gases.”

    bushbunny, I can’t believe you believe that!!
    By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.

    3% co2 would suffocate you.

  157. Patrick says:

    “tom says:

    March 23, 2014 at 4:09 am

    3% co2 would suffocate you.”

    Given CO2 is heavier than usual air, anything that can displace O2, or lighter than CO2, will result in same. So what is your point?

  158. tkonerman says:

    Patrick says:
    March 23, 2014 at 4:12 am
    So what is your point?

    My point was to enlighten bushbunny to her error.
    I used to work in dry ice distribution so I appreciate the fact that c02 so heavy. It made it possible to slice hundreds of blocks of dry ice on a bandsaw and to shovel thousands of pounds of pellets from 3000 lb. containers to 300 lb. containers.

  159. Since the Holocene Optimum the earth’s climate has been on a slow glide path down to the next Ice Age. Each warming peak has been lower and the world has benefited from its slight thaw from the recent little ice age. Our sun was its most active in the past 8000 years during cycles 21-23 and it warmed and now is cycle 24 it is its least active in 170 years and it has cooled sine 2002. I do fear the coming cycle 25’s potential crop failures. Solar variations of solar wind, UV and Cosmic Rays cloud formation variation by Forbush effect are my favorite suspects.

  160. I agree entirely with Worrall’s piece. For a simple, transparent forecast of the timing and amount of the coming cooling based on the obvious 60 and 1000 year quasi- periodicities in the temperature data and the use of the neutron count as the best proxy for trends in solar “activity”
    see several posts at
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com
    The abandonment of the Ockham’s Razor principle is the fundamental error which vitiates and invalidates establishment climate science.

  161. Barry Wells says:

    The near identical temperature rises for the periods 1910 – 1940 and 1976 – 1998 are interesting in that they allow us to reference the loadings on the planet from what are apparently two completely different sources.
    I understand that most if not all opinion / science is quite happy to ascribe the 1910 – 1940 warming to natural causes, this being the case, if the 1976 – 1998 rise is ascribed to human CO2 pollution we must consider carefully what we are actually saying.
    When we say that CO2 caused the warming of the second half of the 20th century we are saying that the output of our global society (co2) resulting from the uncoordinated and unforeseen day to day activities of 5 to 7,000,000,000 people on earth, their various inventions, the computer, the jet aeroplane, the car, types of heating and cooling systems in their buildings, the economic up turns and down turns, the wars, the collapse or rise whole nations ( Russia – China – India) all resulted in a CO2 output (Forcing factor) that exactly or near as damn it exactly matched the natural forcing factor that resulted in the 1910 – 1940 temperature rise !!!!!!!.
    Personally I would find it easier to believe in miracles than to believe that we exactly matched the forcing factors in the 1976 – 1998 heating period to that which drove the 1910 – 1940 heating period. ( heat in = temp signal out.)

    If someone could explain how this was achieved and /or what guiding hand controlled the late 20th century events to bring about this immensely impressive control process I would be forever grateful.

    At present I am more inclined to believe that the ultimate answer really is 42

  162. This thread is a fun read, except for the usual sprinkling of insults, which are tiresome.

    However, real data observations tend to trump theory, however well-established.

    For anyone who thinks he/she understands the science under discussion, even a little bit, please ponder the following, excerpted from an earlier post:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/06/more-reax-to-lewis-and-crok-what-the-ipcc-knew-but-didnt-tell-us/#comment-1584866

    Excerpt:
    Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of recent scientific research aimed at gaining a better understanding of what the climate sensitivity [ECS] may be. We have detailed much of this research in our ongoing series of articles highlighting new findings on the topic. Collectively, the new research indicates an ECS value a bit below 2°C.

    My comment:

    “A bit below 2°C” is still much too high.

    If [incremental] ECS exists at all, it is below 1°C and probably below 0.2°C.

    And [incremental] ECS may not exist at all in the practical sense, since atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature at all measured time scales, and the future cannot cause the past.

    Alternatively, as Richard Courtney said some years ago, “Show me your time machine.”

    Regards to all, Allan

  163. Ralph Kramdon says:

    “which was clearly caused by Anthropogenic CO2 seeing that natural influences during that period had a cooling effect!” This makes about as much sense as saying, “because a twig was broken it was clearly caused by a bigfoot”.

  164. rgbatduke says:

    Satellites measure more radiation entering the globe than leaving it.

    Citations, please? While I agree that satellites measure TOA spectra locally with great accuracy, and that satellites with specialized IR sensors measure e.g. tropospheric temperatures, it is my understanding that we have neither the coverage nor the precision to measure a global radiation imbalance. If you have specific papers that assert otherwise, I’d very much like to read them.

    I believe you mean that GCMs predict that more radiation is entering the globe than leaving it.

    As for the rest of your list, I agree with quite a lot of it, but:

    * Global warming has been going on since the Little Ice Age, which was approximately the coldest single stretch of the Holocene in over 9000 years, all the way back to the end of the Younger Dryas.

    * We do not know why the Medieval Warm Period (comparable in warmth to today within the precision of the temperature estimates) occurred or ended. We do not know why the LIA began or ended. We do know why the Earth’s temperature erratically recovered over roughly two and a half centuries. What we do know is that the thermal pattern of recovery did not change character from the first half of the 20th century, when anthropogenic CO_2 was clearly irrelevant, to the second half, when it is clearly relevant. In other words, the natural variation of the climate is clearly capable of explaining 100% of our climate observations without the inclusion of CO_2 at all.

    * Our understanding of CO_2 forcing in a dynamical nonlinear system is unbelievably poor. Our implementation of “micro”scopic computational solutions to the coupled Navier-Stokes system that is the climate sucks — it is difficult to list all of its — really their, as there are many GCMs — inadequacies. As a consequence there is quite a long list of places where the GCMs are failing to predict the actual climate. The statistical treatment of the GCM results in selling catastrophe in the ARs is shameful and inexcusable. The deviation of the GCMs from the actual climate has gotten so large that the entire Box 9.2 in AR5 is apologia for “The Hiatus” — the simple fact that the climate system deviated from the simple exponential growth rate of temperature all of the climate models agree on almost from the minute that they were released, that the climate models fail to reproduce any of the climate record outside of the reference interval (training set) used to “validate” them, that individually the most of the climate models would fail a simple hypothesis test based on their perturbed parameter ensemble results and yet are still included in the indefensible and statistically meaningless MultiModel Ensemble mean that is used to convince both politicians and the public that there is an emergency that is worth spending trillions of dollars and tens or hundreds of millions of human lives to solve.

    Because make no mistake about this — every dollar diverted towards studying, measuring, computing the climate comes from money that could be spent studying, measuring, or computing other things with a higher marginal rate of return on the investment. Every dollar spent treating CO_2 as a “pollutant” that is forcing the Earth towards an inevitable catastrophe comes at the expense of other ways to spend that dollar that might (just for example) feed the hungry, heal the sick, build energy wealth in developing countries, develop global education, bring about world peace, or just simply stay in our pockets to make us wealthier and more comfortable and more secure in our quotidian existences. Every year several million people die because of energy poverty, perhaps 3/4 of them children. If we diverted one tenth of what is being wasted every year demonizing Carbon Dioxide without sufficient evidence that it is, in fact, a demon, we could easily cut that number by 90% or more. If we diverted another tenth to curing global poverty (I’m talking ten billion dollar ANNUAL chunks here — serious money) we would be making huge inroads there as well. In a decade we could reshape the entire global economy in positive ways.

    So sadly, I have to reject your statement that the onus of proof is on skeptics to show that CO_2 is harmless. The null hypothesis here is that CO_2, an essential part of the biological cycle of life, is harmless. At this precise moment, there is almost no actual data that by itself suggest otherwise. All there is is failing general circulation models that were built and tuned by people that already were convinced of the conclusion they were supposed to test and predict, initialized across the single 15 year interval in the latter half of the 20th century when significant warming occurred, that utterly fail to hindcast the late 19th century cooling or early 20th century warming that almost precisely matches the late 20th century warming, right down to the flat turnover at the end. The models also fail in detail to predict tropospheric warming, global rainfall variation or distribution, and much more. Chapter 8 in AR5 details many of their individual and collective failures while taking care to couch them in language that obscures the problem.

    Right now the fundamental problem with climate science, which is pretty much entirely the GCMs as we still have a horrendously sparse and trouble plagued system of measuring the current climate (a.k.a. weather) on a sufficiently precise global basis to be able to say with any certainty what the global climate state of the planet is right now, is that all of its claims of ongoing disaster are failing. Seriously. Get this one straight. Not one single claim made by Hansen (who admittedly has made some entirely egregious claims in public venues in his time) has come true. Not a single GCM has predicted the last 15+ years of the evolution of the climate — they haven’t even come close. The absolute closest that any part of the world has come to “disaster” is that the Arctic has reduced sea ice, much as it did back in the 1930’s (where of course it could not be as fully documented as it is today). At the same time, however, the Antarctic has record setting levels of sea ice (again with the problem that the “record” involved is even more paltry in its extent as the Antarctic is still largely terra incognita). There has been no statistically resolvable change in the frequency or violence of storms, and even the IPCC is hastily backpedalling on any assertion otherwise as they recognize that this is a petard they might well be hoist upon. One in a long list. There is no discernible warming, and hasn’t been for an interval as long as the entire interval of warming in the late 20th century, which almost all occurred between 1983 and 1998. Sea level is rising — at almost exactly the rate it has been rising across the entire instrumental record, an entirely non-catastrophic 2-3 mm/year, order of a foot a century. This rate of SLR is not unprecedented — it is clearly visible in multiple segments of the instrumental record over decades where CO_2 was not an issue. Glaciers are retreating — just as they have been since the end of their period of growth during the LIA, which many of us would consider a fortuitous thing as living in the glacial era of an ice age sucks, and the advent of the next round of Pliestocene glaciation (or just a small LIA bobble) would very likely directly kill several billion people and precipitate numerous wars on a timescale of decades.

    The most likely venue for some sort of catastrophe is not even thermal — it is chemical. Changes in the pH of the ocean are at least moderately alarming, and very likely are linked to increases in atmospheric CO_2. Most of the life of the ocean can very likely cope with the gradual decrease in pH (it has in the past) and it is not yet clear how the ocean itself will respond to the change in terms of increased biological activity or sequestration processes but there are very likely niches that will be affected. Catastrophically affected? Hard to say.

    rgb

  165. Aeronomer says:

    Don’t mean to nitpick but…a better statement of Occam’s Razor is “The preferred explanation is the one with the fewest number of assumptions that still explains all observations.” This is not always the ‘simplest’ explanation. We should seek simplicity and distrust it.

  166. rgbatduke says on March 23, 2014 at 8:11 am
    “The null hypothesis here is that CO2, an essential part of the biological cycle of life, is harmless.”

    Agreed as stated, but furthermore:

    Earth is CO2–deficient at this time and additional CO2 (from whatever source) is beneficial.

  167. rgbatduke says:

    The classical example is Galieo’s and Copernicus’ ellipses with the sun as a major point, rather than the epicycles of the Greeks. You can get there with epicycles, but the math is a lot simpler with elliptical orbits. All you are doing is effecting a transformation between co-ordinate bases from anthropcentric to heliocentric – a fact that the Church understood and Galileo did not.

    His insistence on the truth content of his theories was what got him into trouble, and rightly so.

    While I agree with much of what you say, this particular part of your otherwise admirable essay is piffle. You should stick with the “classical example” part of the assertion. Ptolemy’s model as you say worked. It nevertheless suffered from several problems, only one of which was causality per se. The bigger problem was that it was impossible to build a meaningful causal model from the explanatory model. It was basically an amplification of Plato’s “ideal” causal mechanisms, motion in invisible spheres that formed some sort of firmament, but every time a new observation was made — e.g. moons of Jupiter — a new set of “spheres” and epicycles had to be added to what was supposedly (as always with philosophers) a “perfect” system. Ptolemy’s model fails multiple tests for knowledge in the modern sense and is an excellent example of the dangers of creating unfounded mathematical models of physical phenomena. There I think we agree.

    However, you do Galileo a serious disservice when you allege that Galileo had no reason to think that his (really the Copernican) model was superior to Ptolemy’s geocentric epicycle model. Note that neither of them was a theory as that would have to wait for confirmatory evidence from the observations of Brahe and mathematical treatment of Kepler and and explanatory physical model that required the invention of physics itself by — Galileo and Newton (and various others).

    Note that Galileo had already made personal observations that deduced the existence of the gravitational force, had determined that the gravitational force was proportional to the mass, and that it produced identical acceleration of distinct masses (all from observations of the oscillations of candelabra in a library as their candles burned down, timed with his own pulse). He lacked only two things needed to complete the invention of physics well before Newton — Descartes’ analytic geometry (that formed the basis of calculus) and the work of Brahe and Kepler that was proceeding in the background even as his persecution by the church proceeded and ultimately made the entire argument moot long before Newton. There is no reason at all to imagine that he did not understand gravitation well enough to have postulated that it was the cause of heliocentric orbits, although he was of course unable to prove this.

    What Galileo might have achieved, or published, if it were not for the inquisition prosecuted by Cardinal Saint Bellarmine and his subsequent muzzling under house arrest, a broken man, we will never know. What we do know is Bellarmine’s agenda, as it is beautifully preserved in his letter to Galileo. Basically, the church’s official position was that the Earth was the center because the Bible Says So, and any demonstration to the contrary was a demonstration of the fallibility of not only the Bible, but every one of the supposedly divinely inspired saints and holy fathers that agreed with the mistake!

    It was, in other words, a conceptual clash that opened the door to disbelief. If the Bible is fallible in one place, why is it infallible somewhere else? If our belief that it is divinely inspired truth fails in one place where we can actually check it, how can we trust it elsewhere where it cannot be so easily checked? Bellarmine was right to fear Galileo’s assertions. They were the beginning of the ongoing end of hegemony of the Catholic Church as a dominant political force in Europe and the world. It forced the church to successively narrow its assertions of infallibility to where they are now so narrow that they can never again be falsified by evidence — they are pure statements of myth and magic or events that supposedly occurred in the remote past and were documented decades to centuries later that no one can ever test.

    There is nothing, in other words, noble about the Church’s stance in this. Under no circumstances is it a good thing to use direct force and the threat of mortal sanction to interdict the honest assertion of or search for the most reasonable set of personal beliefs. The Church wasn’t defending “truth” — it was defending its position of political and economic power, a position that it had only because it had established itself as the sole judge of metaphysical and physical truth via a document true, as Bellarmine noted ad litteram, not as some sort of metaphor, a document that could be contradicted only at the cost of losing the entire game, yielding all of this authority and power, for the rest of human history.

    There are frightening parallels between this entire controversy and the modern controversy over the climate. The GCMs have taken on the role of the Bible — CAGW is the prediction of the infallible “physics based” models, a kind of punishment for the sin of being wealthy and enjoying the many benefits of electricity and easy, cheap transportation. The prescription of the church of CAGW for the sins of mankind is a return to austerity, a time when individual per capita consumption of energy was a tiny fraction of what it is today, simply because there are no plausible substitutes capable of providing sufficient energy to maintain the standard of living across the globe (let alone improve it) that are currently technologically feasible. That or a massive human die-off, which some warmists have shockingly enough actually asserted as a good thing (as long as the die-off doesn’t include them, of course, but so far being a warmist doesn’t seem to involve giving up driving or airplane flight or electric lights or heat or the internet or imported clothing or modern medicine serviced by all kinds of electrical equipment dispensing drugs synthesized with mined raw materials and energy or the right to have children. At least not involve them giving these things up.

    rgb

  168. NotAGolfer says:

    We should also take the razor to the complex assumptions used to justify the many homogenization and adjustments that build the warming trend from raw data that doesn’t support it.

  169. MarkB says:

    How exactly would one test and potentially falsify the theory that “Natural Variability” explains recent climate?

  170. milodonharlani says:

    Joe Born says:
    March 23, 2014 at 3:33 am

    The logarithmic response of global T to increased atmospheric CO2 means that most of the warming effect occurs in the first 100 ppm. Each subsequent doubling raises the temperature less & less, with diminishing returns. A doubling from “preindustrial” 280 ppm to 560 would produce warming of about 1.2 degree C (& maybe less in nature than in the lab), without assuming feedback effects not in evidence.

    As MIT’s Dr. Lindzen has explained, adding more CO2 beyond the minimum required for life is like painting a white wall with more white paint. The degree of whitening of the wall diminishes with each extra coat.

  171. milodonharlani says:

    Leo Smith says:
    March 22, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    You’ve got Galileo & Copernicus wrong, hence your erroneous conclusion about the Church.

    Neither Galileo nor Copernicus argued for elliptical orbits. That was Kepler, who discovered the elliptical orbit of Mars by analyzing Tycho’s naked eye observations. Both Galileo & Copernicus still believed in perfectly circular orbits, as of course did the Church, relying upon Ptolemy. The Copernican system as formulated by him thus still required epicycles. Where Galileo & Copernicus were right & the Church wrong was in saying that the earth moved, rotating & wobbling on its axis while revolving around the sun, contrary to the stationary earth advocated by the Church, based upon the Bible.

  172. Joe Born says:

    milodonharlani: “The logarithmic response of global T to increased atmospheric CO2 means that most of the warming effect occurs in the first 100 ppm. Each subsequent doubling raises the temperature less & less, with diminishing returns.”

    Thanks for the response. But, limited as my mathematics is, I do know what is meant by “logarithmic.” What I don’t know is how it was arrived at in this case, particularly since the logarithm of zero is negative infinity. I admit I’m no scientist, but my guess is that eliminating all CO2 would not give us a temperature below absolute zero, and no one thinks it would, so there must be some nuances I’ve missed in what they mean by a “logarithmic” relationship.

  173. milodonharlani says:

    Joe Born says:
    March 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Maybe this will help illustrate what is meant by a logarithmic relationship:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/

  174. Tom in Florida says:

    rgbatduke says:
    March 23, 2014 at 8:54 am
    =============================================================================
    Let us not forget Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake by the church for his beliefs.

  175. Joe Born says:

    milodonharlani: Thanks again, but I believe you’ve missed my point.

    I know what those links you furnished say the relationship is, but, for instance, the relationship of “Forcing = 2.94 log_2(CO2) +233.6″ given in one of those links yields an implausible result for a concentration of zero. It’s not clear to me that there’s any empirical reason for preferring that relationship over, say, an exponential one such as (dT/dr = exp(-a*r)), where T is average temperature, r is CO2 concentration, and a is proportionality constant. The latter relationship gives a more plausible result near zero concentration, although unlike a logarithmic relationship it does not grow without bound as concentration increases indefinitely.

    That’s why I originally asked for a derivation: there must be a theoretical reason for preferring logarithms. I’d be interested in knowing what it is.

  176. milodonharlani says:

    Joe Born says:
    March 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    The relationship is not theoretical. It is experimental. That is, a fact.

  177. bushbunny says:

    No I have no African background, the nearest I came to Africa was a visit to Cairo in1962. I’m English 100% with a little sprinkling of Irish

  178. milodonharlani says:

    Tom in Florida says:
    March 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Bruno was not burned for his astronomical but his theological beliefs.

  179. milodonharlani says:

    bushbunny says:
    March 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    We are all Africans under the skin.

    Humans are African animals which have achieved a worldwide distribution.

  180. bushbunny says:

    Milo the out of Africa ideology has some objectors. It would not be feasible for any black Africans to come into an ice bound Northern Europe. Their dark skin is a result of their natural environment, but it doesn’t mean that they were dark skinned then as they are now, they could have been more Latin coloured who were skilled fishers and also they were used to hunting big game, like elephants. Something must have attracted them to move. They do appear 40,000 years ago and Southern Europe was not affected too badly by glaciers, and most of the animals were around the pastures and trees. Yet they could have crossed over the Gibraltar land bridge or walked across the Mediterranean that was in parts a swamp or dry land. Parts of Africa that are now desert were once a green veldt with lots of wildlife and rock paintings. Even Chinese DNA only goes back to 70,000 years, and that was when the Toba eruption is likely to have occurred so they might have come from Africa too. But we are now separated into three races with branches from each, and believe it or not Caucasians have Australian Aborigines and sub continent Indians (some) in their group.

  181. Rick Cina says:

    According to the raw HadCRUT data that Phil Jones used to refer to the 1910 to 1940 warming in his BBC interview, there was more than +0.15 C warming per decade during those 31 years. If we only look at 1910 as the starting point (- 0.496 C), and 1940 as the ending point (+0.018 C), we get +0.514 C of warming between those two years. That’s +0.166 C of warming between 1910 and 1940 in particular, which is more than the +0.15 C that Phil Jones indicated, and more than the 1975-2009 rate of warming (+0.161 per decade) as well.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/time_series/HadCRUT.4.2.0.0.annual_ns_avg.txt

    1909 -0.536
    1910 -0.496
    1911 -0.554

    1940 0.018
    1941 0.018

    But if we use 1911 as the starting point (- 0.554 C) instead of 1910, and 1940 again as the ending point (+0.018 C), we get +0.572 C of warming between 1911 and 1940, which is +0.191 per decade (30 years even), easily outpacing the +0.161 C of warming between 1975 and 2009.

    There’s probably a good reason why Phil Jones decided to make 1910 his starting point instead of 1911.

    Just think what would have happened had he used the 1944 HadCRUT raw global temperature as his ending point. Global mean temperatures in 1944 were +0.150 C (!).

  182. bushbunny says:

    Well my mum always said the summers were warmer when she was a gal, born in 1908, and from the 1940s it was very rainy and 1947 was the coldest winter they had experienced until 1963 when a similar cold winter froze the Thames at Windsor. She blamed the atom bombs. At least she wasn’t blaming coal because we burned coal lite.

  183. HenryP says:

    @Rick Cina

    the problem I have with data older then 1940

    a) can you show any certifcate from before 1940 that a thermometer was re-calibrated?
    b) compared to now, where recording is done automatically, almost every second of the day, recordings had to be done by people at various times of the day, usually only 4 times.
    c) accuracy of thermometers has much improved over the past three decades (thermo couples).

    My point is that, if you compare with too far back in the past, you are simply not comparing apples with apples but apples with pears.
    It would be best is to do what I have done,
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/22/occams-razor-and-climate-change/#comment-1596807
    and chose the maxima as the most stable proxy for incoming energy
    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/
    Maxima would not be affected too much by a/b and there are (some) good records going down to 1942.
    Scroll down in the quoted link to see the curve for the speed of warming/cooling of Anchorage, Alaska.
    Hence, I know what the natural underlying distribution is,
    and you can see it happening already
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2015/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2015/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2015/plot/rss/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2015/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2002/trend
    Global cooling is here to stay, until about 2040

  184. Scottar says:

    I don’t doubt the claim here but referencing data claims is important in science debates. Just the Facts gave sources.

  185. Joe Born says:

    milodonharlani: “The relationship is not theoretical. It is experimental. That is, a fact.”

    I’m afraid we’ve reached an impasse. I appreciate your attempt, but I have been unable to dispel my reservations about the proposition that there’s experimental evidence for that equation’s applying at a CO2 concentration of zero.

    Again, though, thanks for playing.

  186. HenryP says:

    @Joe Born
    I also doubt if that theoretical relationship is true.
    They all got stuck at the closed box experiments performed by scientists 100 years ago which “proved” that more CO2 caused (some) warming.
    But likewise, I can also prove that CO2 causes cooling.
    Namely, the absorption of CO2 in a certain area in the UV spectrum, is what makes us identify its presence on other planets. If it deflects energy, it cools the atmosphere….
    Try and understand what I am saying here.
    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2011/08/11/the-greenhouse-effect-and-the-principle-of-re-radiation-11-aug-2011/

  187. Eric Worrall says:

    tom
    3% co2 would suffocate you.

    Interestingly, air which contains 3% CO2 probably wouldn’t suffocate you.

    Normal exhaled air contains around 4-5% CO2 (40,000 – 50,000 PPM).

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

    Since people who stop breathing, who receive life saving mouth to mouth resuscitation, can be revived after receiving air which contains up to 5% CO2, the human body can clearly cope with and benefit from air which contains quite high levels of CO2, even people with a compromised respiratory system..

    Anthony Watts did a post on this issue a while ago.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/17/claim-co2-makes-you-stupid-as-a-submariner-that-question/

  188. MarkB says:

    Joe Born says:
    March 24, 2014 at 5:38 am

    milodonharlani: “The relationship is not theoretical. It is experimental. That is, a fact.”

    I’m afraid we’ve reached an impasse. I appreciate your attempt, but I have been unable to dispel my reservations about the proposition that there’s experimental evidence for that equation’s applying at a CO2 concentration of zero.

    There is a derivation (of sorts) at the link below. As I read it, the logarithmic relationship to forcing holds when there is sufficient atmospheric CO2 to be “optically thick”. At very low concentration, the relationship becomes linear which implies that one doesn’t get a negative forcing at zero concentration.

    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=C01598DDB65913EBBB7779C4DE3748E8?doi=10.1.1.140.6342&rep=rep1&type=pdf

  189. Tom in Florida says:

    milodonharlani says:
    March 23, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    “Bruno was not burned for his astronomical but his theological beliefs.”

    While that was the “official” version, it stemmed from his writings that the Earth revolved around the Sun, that stars were other suns and that Earth was not the most important creation of God, as God created an infinite universe. It was demanded he abandon these beliefs and recant them but he did not so he was declared a heretic. Actually quite a good example of a higher authority using religion to cover up the introduction of a competing theory in order to prevent the actual study of that theory just in case it turned out to prove their religious doctrine wrong. Very similar to the modern authorities who deem AGW skeptics as heretics and d*niers.

  190. HenryP says:

    Tom in Florida says
    (quoting some or other document saying that Bruno had said:)
    that Earth was not the most important creation of God, as God created an infinite universe.
    Henry says
    That statement, whoever made it, cannot be proven. It stands to reason that God created the whole of the universe just so earth and man could exist and perhaps everything is revolving around earth
    God is us and we are in God
    hence the birth of God into His own creation
    I explained that here
    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/03/01/where-is-your-faith/
    and the intricacy of the weather (to get the temperature on earth just right) is just an example

  191. Joe Born says:

    MarkB: Thanks a lot. That’s what I was looking for.

  192. HenryP says:

    @Eric Worral & others

    It was proven that CO2 is not a poison.
    Tests with rabbits showed that even at 65% CO2 they would survive, provided that oxygen was kept at 21% (mixed in)
    CO2 is added to green houses in Holland to get bigger tomatoes
    People who want to kill themselves by inhaling the exhaust of their cars, eventually die of asphyxiation – i.e. a lack of oxygen.

  193. Trevor says:

    Martin:

    Your entire argument hinges on two volcanic eruptions during the 1975-1998 period, one of which (El Chichon), by the way, is not considered “major” (VEI >= 6). So you have just ONE major volcanic eruption. But the period 1910-1940, with essentially the same warming as 1975-1998, also had a major volcanic eruption, Novarupta, which ejected nearly three times as much ash as Pinatubo. So, since solar influence was also “about flat” during this period, one “might have expected cooling” during this period too, even more so than between 1975 and 1998. And yet, it warmed .15C/decade, virtually the same as the latter period. Without any significant anthropogenic carbon emissions. So that puts us right back on the edge of Occam’s razor. If natural variation can not only cause warming, but cause enough warming to overcome a major volcanic eruption, and still cause 0.15C warming per decade, as it clearly did in the 1910-1940 period, then natural variation is the most reasonable explanation for the more recent warming. Bazinga!

    (By the way, a more complete analysis would sum the entire ejecta of all volcanic eruptions in the to periods, but you didn’t bother with that, so I won’t either. It would also quantify the “about flat” solar influence, as well as more than just “only these two natural influences”.)

  194. milodonharlani says:

    Tom in Florida says:
    March 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I couldn’t agree more about the modern Inquisition enforcing CACA orthodoxy, but Bruno’s cosmological heresies constituted just one of the many charges against him. In his 1993 book on Bruno’s trial, historian Luigi Firpo lists these charges leveled against the friar by the Roman Inquisition:

    1) holding opinions contrary to Catholic faith & speaking against it & its ministers;

    2) holding opinions contrary to Catholic faith about the Trinity, divinity of Christ & Incarnation;

    3) holding opinions contrary to Catholic faith pertaining to Jesus as Christ;

    4) holding opinions contrary to Catholic faith regarding the virginity of Mary, mother of Jesus;

    5) holding opinions contrary to Catholic faith about both Transubstantiation & Mass;

    6) claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds & their eternity;

    7) believing in metempsychosis & in the transmigration of human souls into brutes, &

    8) dealing in magic & divination.

    Bruno had probably seen many of the stars invisible to the naked eye while in England, using Leonard Digges’ “perspective glass”, a predecessor to the telescope.

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Shakespeare_and_the_Dawn_of_Modern_Scien.html?id=EqEe1D1ZgesC

  195. Tom in Florida says:

    HenryP says:
    March 24, 2014 at 8:55 am
    re: Tom in Florida says
    (quoting some or other document saying that Bruno had said:)
    that Earth was not the most important creation of God, as God created an infinite universe.

    Henry says
    That statement, whoever made it, cannot be proven
    =============================================================================
    The discussion was not about what is or isn’t true, it was about what Bruno believed and what he wrote. Those are the things that got him in trouble.

    As milodonharlani shows ( March 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm), there were many charges against Bruno but that belief really must have pissed off the Pope. And as everyone alive at that time knew, nothing good happens when you piss off the Pope.

  196. vic g gallus says:

    A suggestion for a simple explanation of Occam’s Razor. Its not the same as “keep it simple, stupid” but there are fewer simple explanations with the least number of assumptions. Eliminate them first before adding more complexity.

  197. bushbunny says:

    Henry the VIII got away with it. But of course so called Papists were plotting against Elizabeth II.
    And religion has always been a point of discussion and really we have the extreme fanatics in all religions. Whereas the majority of people are law abiding and not involved. But saying humans are changing the weather is without foundation, when there are so many external forces that control the weather and climate (seasonal changes) it is laughable this argument has got so nasty. As if we were still in the middle ages.

Comments are closed.