Global Warming Concensus Broken

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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

And the above graph is the best one of all.
It sure is. Just goes to show you what can be done with the right filters. If you use a Butterworth filter of a high enough order you get that nice ringing at the end with everything coming before flattened out.

But it is good for frightening the rubes who don't know a Butterworth from a Bessel.

Trouble is the marks are wising up. Always a dangerous time. Pack your ermines.
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tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

Simon,

Glad to debate this with you - and I also know something about electronics models & their reliability.

There are two causes of model innacuracy. By analogy with electronics:

1) The known components may have values not as specified (component tolerances range from 0.1% to -50+100%).

2) The model itself, and underlying theory, may be incomplete. It may leave out parasitics, assume that op-amps are linear, etc.

Both of these problems cause model results to differ from reality, but the second is more problematic because it is by definition unknown, so you can't do senitivity analysis. (Actually you may be able to estimate errors, if for example you can bound the values of parasitic impedances, but normally this is not done).

As I understand it your concerns about GC models are of both types. You suspect the models may not be accurately modelling the physics (as made possible by tunable parameters) and you distrust the temperature data sets used to validate models.

I would need to look in great detail at all the assumptions behind a given set of tunable parameters, and also the data used to do the tuning, to come to an opinion about how safe is the result. One might hope and expect that this is what the scientists do. They may get the result wrong in which case other scientists are able to point this out.

Lack of accuracy in the past temperature record is not necessarily an impediment providing tunable parmeters are adjusted based on other data, not innacurate historical temperature record. I would expect that most tunable paramertes are adjusted based on non-temperature data. For example correlations between local temperature and average albedo, which can be got from modern satellites.

I have no direct evidence that there are not big holes, since I have not done this very detailed analysis myself (I guess I am capable of it but it would take a lot of time). Equally I have no direct evidence that there are holes.

My indirect evidence (which you could add to) is this. Suppose there is some set of parameters in a model which is unsafe. It is possible to show this, to put more realistic bounds on the values of said paraemetrs, and to determine either through analysis (preferably) or simulation worst case what is the effect of changing these parameters. So how about the people who are informed and feel strongly that the models are wrong getting on board and doing this. So far the debates I have seen on possible problems don't convince me the models are flakey. But I am willing to be convinced, and will debate flaws in the models with anyone who things they exist (I will enjoy doing this, whichever way they argument goes).

If the models are flakey I still have a concern. The anthropogenic change in CO2 level is unprecedented, and the physics certainly does not preclude CO2 having a significant effect on heat balance and therefore temperature. So I would want a good model to prove we were not doing something bad.

The real problem is this. Human civilisation has a habit of exhausting its natural resources (in the past, typically food and ecosystem) and then collapsing. It has happened again and again. Go to the Easter Islands.

I don't worry about this. It is human nature, it affects only pasts of the globe, civilisations recover. I would still (caring about my local bit) argue against the lemming-like suicidal behaviour if I recognised it.

Unfortunately now technology, which gives us many answers, has also scaled things up. The environmental limits we are hitting now, for the first time in human history, are global not local. CO2 very obviously so.

That makes the stakes higher.

best wishes, Tom

seedload
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Re: Temperature record

Post by seedload »

Maui posts this picture:

Image

... as a demonstration for AGW shown in tree ring studies. Now I ask, what happened between 915 AD and 1000 AD in the green plot? What happened between 1350 AD and 1410 AD in the orange plot? The blue plot shows it warmer in 1100AD than today, why is this significant? We already know Mann's 2003 multiproxy, plotted in red to be bogus. Why site it?

The point - the stuff you show actually supports the notion that todays warming is not unusual.

Image

Or how about this chart which includes only non tree ring proxies. Would the IPCC include this one? They used to include a study that showed the medieval warm period. They don't do that any more. Why?

Image

The combined air and ocean temperature record of the last 126 years (cyan) compared "model" runs of how temperatures should have behaved in this time.

The sophisticated model changes temperature by a random amount each year. The amplitude of the random change is based on the mean yearly temperature change from the actual record. A sin wave is added in to approximate the decadal oscilation. Author, me.

My point is that it is all in the noise. How can you present information that states that temperatures are going up in an unpresidented way if random changes in temperature can create the same amplitudes of change. This is a very difficult problem for climate science. In my opinion, there is no evidence that says that there is any statistically significant increase in temperature related to CO2 emissions.

Temperatures have gone up 0.6 degrees in ~125 years. The proxies that you present say that that is not unusual.

Prove that it is unusual. Someone. Somewhere. Prove it. Show that the temperature increase is actually unusual! Nope, instead we use "warmest on record" and "unpresidented" and "historic warming" and bogus expressions like that without any actual proof or even, IMO, evidence.

regards

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Tom,

The physics doesn't preclude heading into an ice age either if solar output is declining. So why aren't plans being made for that too?

My theory? You can tax CO2. You can't tax ice.

In any case I propose a demonstration project. California is big on stopping CO2 emissions. Let us cut them off from all outside electrical generation that emits CO2 and see how their economy fares. Because you know. It is what they want. I say give it to them.
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tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

djolds1 wrote: Only the most fundamental physical theories deserve near absolute certainty. Newtonianism, GR, QM. The derivative sciences have a nice track record of serious and consistent error. Consider genetics c.1990. Everyone "knew" that humans had 100,000 genes and near everything about human biology was determined by those base pairs. "We have certainty." But after the Human Genome Project? "Oops." Only 20,000 genes or so, protenomics plays a huge and unexplored role, and oh, btw, we're finding that some acquired traits are passed on. Weird.

tomclarke wrote:
It is not pretty. But consider this: how else - assuming for one moment that most of the scientists in this area are right - can decision-makers be appropriately informed?

Assuming that the apocalyptic claim is right is always the wrong response.
The scientists on the IPCC (= consensus) are not making the most apocalyptic claim. They are saying, here is a problem, these are the limits (worst case and best case) of what we think will happen if no action is taken to change exponential increase in world CO2 anthropogenic emissions.

The most apocalyptic claim would have us all emigrating to Mars now.

If you are implying that science can never inform us of likely future man-made disasters you are indeed a pessimist - I have a more sanguine view.

If you argue that human civilisation does not usually result in man-made ecological disasters I refer you to a pleasnt and short book on this subject, written by a historian, not as far as I know part of the AGC debate:

Ronald Wright - "A Short History of Progress".

Best wishes, Tom

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Tom,

Of course science can inform us. It used to inform us that the phlogiston theory was definitive.

It used to inform us that nuclear transmutation was impossible.

It also used to inform us up til a few months ago that Lamarckianism was totally and unequivocally bunk. It also used to inform us that without eugenics the lower orders would out breed the good people. And there were scientific papers and graphs and popular movements. Stuff in the news papers every day.

We have climate with variable inputs. Variable feed backs and all kinds of black magic (parameterizations). Unknown feedbacks. And a scanty and ill defined data sets. And you want to tell me that we can predict the results in a chaotic system 100 years in advance with that to work with? And you want to cut our energy supplies by 20% or 80% based on that pile? You want to condemn tens of millions of children and adults to certain death based on that?

Next you will tell me what we really need is Lebensraum. And Arbeit Macht Frei. And what we suffer from is an excess of untermenchen.

You will pardon me if I tell you I have seen this movie before in it has a very ugly ending. Just ask Pol Pot in what ever hell he now resides.
Last edited by MSimon on Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

On doom-sayers

One of the ironies, which I am reminded of by my reply to Duane above, is the following.
Suppose we have exponential population growth and increase in resource use. We know that at some time this must change, either dramatically, with a malthusian crash, or gradually, as the exponential hits limits.

It is difficult to say when a possible crash will come, and there will always be people who predict problems which are later solved by technology or science. Unfortunately by the time the real problem comes along sensible people have been predicting a crash for a long time, and they have been wrong. Humans, being simple creatures, look at recent history and reason from that that because previously the doomsayers were wrong now they must also be wrong.

Famous but perhaps silly case was the calculation that London would be 3' deep in horse manure sue to exponentially increasing traffic at end of 19th Century. Solved by the motorcar.

The stock market gives us a rich source of examples where exponential bubbles burst. Right until they burst there are well-informed people who point out the historical parallels, and how prices are unsustainable. The consensus says "no - it is different this time because of XYZ...". And by the time the bubble bursts no-one is believing the doomsayers because they have been proved wrong too many times in the past.

The same arguments apply to humanities ability to continue population growth and resource use. So far science & technology have given us solutions. In the case of the "green revolution" in agriculture some of these solutions are now seen to be short-term because high outputs from fossil-fuel derived fertiliser are not always susteinable. But I have no doubt better agriculture (guided by science and technology) can solve this one.

These solutions come at the expense of vast stored energy use - and we all would like new sources of energy hence interest in the polywell. But lack of food is at least a self-limiting problem. Changing the atmospheric composition significantly and irreverably may not be a problem, but if so it is quite different from previous predicted disasters.

Best wishes, Tom

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

MSimon wrote:Tom,

The physics doesn't preclude heading into an ice age either if solar output is declining. So why aren't plans being made for that too?

My theory? You can tax CO2. You can't tax ice.
There's no need for a conspiracy theory.

In the scientific community, what you most probably have is groupthink. The behavior of some leading pro-AGW personnel (Hansen, Santer, Mann) is deeply disturbing to the point of gross incompetence or fraud, but en masse its herd behavior.

As for the political boosters - they want to be righteous. Boomers on either side of the aisle are moralists by nature; its a generational trait. They've been trying to save the world since 1968, and method 1 imploded on 9 Nov 1989. Saving the Earth popped up a few years later, and strokes the ego just as much as perfect social justice. That's not conspiracy; its a frustrated generational cohort trying to achieve its dreams before they die.

Duane
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bcglorf
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warming

Post by bcglorf »


1) The principles behind the idea that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause the temperature of the Earth to rise is straightforward and not a stretch in any sense. (As far back as 1896 it was suggested that doubling Earth's atmospheric CO2 could cause a 5 degree C rise in temps). Without debating magnitude at this point, do you agree?


I'd absolutely agree on that point, I just bear in mind that places the magnitude somewhere in between 0 and infinity.


2) We are in fact adding CO2 to the atmosphere to the tune of a 50% increase since the industrial revolution. While I agree it cannot suggested with any kind of certainty that the Earth's temperature is outside of a typical range (yet), do you agree it appears very likely that we are outside of a normal range in terms of CO2?


I'd partially agree. There is lots of good evidence that CO2 has increased a great deal in the last 100 years, I have not seen any good evidence attributing it to human causes aside from the timing. Of the world's total annual CO2 production, mankind is still a very small contributor and I need something more convincing. I am still looking more closely at the related studies, temperature change seems the most important factor and I've been trying to follow that the most.


3) Since the industrial revolution (and I'm just focusing on the last 150 years), the temperature of the Earth has risen a significant amount (in the neighborhood of 1 degree celcius) Agree?


Agreed, but again with the caveat that we don't really know what kind of temperature change over that 150years is natural for lack of high-precision data outside the instrumental record which in climate time frames began with the industrial revolution.


4) There are no other factors that we currently know of that scientists agree correlate nearly as well to this rise in temperature as does CO2. Agree?


Here I disagree, I do not believe that the overall climate model is understood well enough to say that. We have a positive correlation, but the scale is completely unknown at this point.


If they did not match up well, I think it would be extremely hard to argue anything except that tree rings are, in fact, a poor proxy for measuring historical temperature.


That is EXACTLY what I am arguing. Tree-Rings are repeatedly cited as providing strong evidence that current warming is historically abnormal and thus human forcing is then a suspect in the warming. Of course, from all appearances, tree-ring data do not show abnormal temperature increases in the last 150 years. Briffa in the article I link notes that since 1940, tree ring proxy data matches the instrumental record poorly, the graph you refer to next has the instrumental-black line leaping off the chart while the actual tree ring data haven't followed suit, as Briffa has since observed and published a paper on.


Fortunately for the sake of your argument that tree rings show Earth's temperature within a "normal" range, in this graph you can see the tree ring proxy data closely following measured temperature up to the point it cuts out.


You aren't following my argument then. Luckily for us all, the tree ring data show the Earth's temperature within, as you observed, a "normal" range. That means that current warming looks like natural variation from the perspective of tree-ring data. And yet people still point to tree-rings and call it independent verification of historically unprecedented change, which is plainly false.

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Post by MSimon »

There's no need for a conspiracy theory.
No need for Al Gore either.
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tomclarke
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Post by tomclarke »

Duane,

I know a few scientists. Sure there are many who do groupthink But the good ones never do so. Maybe climate modelling is such a weird field that it only gets mediocre scientists invloved? Maybe scientific careers are so structured that good scientsists in this area never get promoted so are invisible?

This is not something like antigravity. I mean, suppose there is a decent scientific theory for antigravity device and noone believes it because it is too outlandish. (Actually weird gravity theories do get aired and discussed, and GR may in the end be modifies at non-quantum scales, though so far it looks unlikely).

But this is just one climate model against another. If the data is so doctored, or the models so tunable, there must be responsible people who will argue this, with their own model. Why do we not find this? In fact any one of the "out of the community" scientists picking holes could, if clever enough, do climate modelling themselves and make transparent in detail where are the dicey assumptions.

All I get is somone like Pielke saying: "My students did some modelling and the models had more than half a dozen tumable parameters".

We knew that. It is an issue - that maybe the parameters are fitted to bad data. But it is not denied by the modellers, who claim they are careful. it needs to be proved in detail, and if so it will be published. Where is the (detailed, not polemic) proof, so I can read it and see who is right?

best wishes, Tom

Maui
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Re: Temperature record

Post by Maui »

seedload wrote:Maui posts this picture as a demonstration for AGW shown in tree ring studies... The point - the stuff you show actually supports the notion that todays warming is not unusual.
Seeload, please read my post before responding. If you did so, you would have saved your breath by understanding that I am not trying to argue the Earth's temperature is currently "abnormal".
Image

The combined air and ocean temperature record of the last 126 years (cyan) compared "model" runs of how temperatures should have behaved in this time.

The sophisticated model changes temperature by a random amount each year. The amplitude of the random change is based on the mean yearly temperature change from the actual record. A sin wave is added in to approximate the decadal oscilation. Author, me.
"Author, you"? Please provide a source for the data-- you can't expect me to consider it otherwise.
In my opinion, there is no evidence that says that there is any statistically significant increase in temperature related to CO2 emissions. Temperatures have gone up 0.6 degrees in ~125 years. The proxies that you present say that that is not unusual.
It is unusual if the change that is happening now is not because of natural forces, but instead because of anthropologic forces. Getting pack to the post of mine that you didn't read:

1) It has long been "known" that adding CO2 to the atmosphere should, in theory raise temperatures.
2) We have added 50% more CO2 to the air than was there at the start of the industrial revolution.
3) The temperature has been rising over the same period.
4) Scientists have not agreen on any other factors that correlate as well to this long-term trend.
Prove that it is unusual. Someone. Somewhere. Prove it. Show that the temperature increase is actually unusual! Nope, instead we use "warmest on record" and "unpresidented" and "historic warming" and bogus expressions like that without any actual proof or even, IMO, evidence.
So you would tell your great grandchildren that you supported ignoring the issue because no one could prove the recent temperature rise was due to humans? Shouldn't the impetus be on the anti-AGW crowd to assure us there's nothing to worry about before we just ignore the issue?

If we know there's a very likely possibility that we are causing the Earth's temperature to rise and that it appears possible that over the course of a another 100 years or more this will cause large problems, why not start developing possible solutions (that will solve our energy problems to boot) and keep investigating AGW in the meantime? What is so wrong about that?

djolds1
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Post by djolds1 »

tomclarke wrote:
djolds1 wrote:Assuming that the apocalyptic claim is right is always the wrong response.
The scientists on the IPCC (= consensus) are not making the most apocalyptic claim. They are saying, here is a problem, these are the limits (worst case and best case) of what we think will happen if no action is taken to change exponential increase in world CO2 anthropogenic emissions.

The most apocalyptic claim would have us all emigrating to Mars now.

If you are implying that science can never inform us of likely future man-made disasters you are indeed a pessimist - I have a more sanguine view
I am saying that basing any policy decisions whatsoever on century-scale predictions coming from deepely and consistently flawed computer models is whacked.

Numbers can be made to say anything. Models that kick out the same output regardless of the data input (Mann) are incompetent verging on fraudulent. Models that introduce fudge factors to massively inflate the multiplier power of CO2 versus experimentally demonstrated values are fruadulent.

http://climateskeptic.typepad.com/.a/6a ... 6af970c-pi
Last edited by djolds1 on Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:59 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

> The real problem is this. Human civilisation has a habit of exhausting
> its natural resources (in the past, typically food and ecosystem)
> and then collapsing. It has happened again and again.
> Go to the Easter Islands.

This area particularly interests me and there seems such a lack of information, particularly on the dull admin side of day to day events on how such civilisations went down hill.

My impression is that because the majority is out for themselves, and don't cooperative for the greater good of all, that slowly piece by piece their world is destroyed until one day it collaspes.

> civilisations recover

But not to well, I cannot offhand think of any failed civilisation which recovered its lost knowledge and went back to being able to build pyramids..

I can quite easily imagine with so many people nowdays specialising in their jobs, that if our civilisation ended tomorrow, in 500 years time, we'd be lucky if we still knew how to write and do our sums, let alone build anything beyond a mud hut and use stone tools..

> The physics doesn't preclude heading into an ice age either if
> solar output is declining. So why aren't plans being made for that too?

A good point.


> The most apocalyptic claim would have us all emigrating to Mars now.

But what if there is global warming on Mars, won't we need to tell the aliens there that they need to all stop driving their cars and cut down on how much TV they watch... ;-)


> Famous but perhaps silly case was the calculation that London would
> be 3' deep in horse manure sue to exponentially increasing traffic
> at end of 19th Century. Solved by the motorcar.

Instead of our streets being paved in gold, they are covered in dog poo and chewing gum.. (I thought I had escaped at least the former by moving into my neighbourhood, but my neighours are now being westernised and getting doggies, and with our ability to sell off parks to build new homes on, less and less space to take them for walks..)

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

3) Since the industrial revolution (and I'm just focusing on the last 150 years), the temperature of the Earth has risen a significant amount (in the neighborhood of 1 degree celcius) Agree?
Yep. And solar output has risen an unprecedented amount in the last 150 years (1/2 of the 300 year solar cycle). Some solar scientist say it is the most solar output in 1,000 years. Others say 11,000 years. Rather lucky I say. Otherwise we would be freezing our a**es off and starving to death.

Have you seen any sunspots lately? Hasn't the new solar cycle already started? Where are the spots. The lack of spots is unprecedented. Don't you agree? I sure hope it is not a Dalton minimum. Or worse a Maunder. That would be bad. Don't you agree?

http://spaceweather.com/
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