“…Decreasing CO2 was the main cause of a cooling trend that began 50 million years ago, large scale glaciation occurring when CO2 fell to 425 +/- 75 ppm…”
The sceptic-deniers laughed and scoffed and said things to the effect that clearly there’s nothing to worry about that the current concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the air is over 390 parts per million – it won’t melt the polar ice caps.
What the sceptic-deniers haven’t understood, or pretend not to have understood, is that it is a combination of factors that caused major lasting glaciation on Earth. Yes, the level of Carbon Dioxide in the air is important. But the rate of change of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is a significant component.
If the levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere change rapidly, the heating or cooling effect is amplified, in effect. You have to take account of the relative change in levels of Carbon Dioxide, not just its level at any particular point in time.
As Dr Judith Curry has tried to communicate to me, the physical science of Climatology is full of deep complexity, with strong ranging on a number of processes.
Just to take a typical example – the Hurricane storm track in the Caribbean. Different years produce different levels of risk, and a constantly updated projection is needed as short-term relevant climatic factors shift.
But despite the likelihood of any particular Tropical Depression forming, the range of its strength and the eventual pathway, there is still a clearly identifiable track that storms take – that Stephen Schneider called “Hurricane Alley”.
This kind of “big picture” of regional and even global phenomena means that we can safely scale out from the inner workings of individual changes in air pressure, prevailing winds and humidity and take in the larger-scale, longer-term trends.
Statistical analysis of the raw data on Global Warming suffers from two major pitfalls :-
1. You are looking at the combined effects from several causative sources. Unless you have the means to distinguish the various factors, you cannot apply statistical techniques to the data and expect to get anything truly meaningful out. All that can be said, at best, is, “The Globe. Still Warming.”, as the warming trend over a long enough period of time has managed to stand out over the short-term variations.
2. Looking at the data purely by eye, some of the warming or cooling effects are clearly short-term, others longer-term; so picking a range of years/months/seasons at random, or according to some bias, is likely to distort the analysis. This is known as “cherry-picking”. The results of cherry-picking include the fallacious and discredited claim that, “Global Warming stopped in 1998”, or the much more crafty and misleading, “There has been no statistically significant Global Warming since 1998”.
Some researchers are content just to point to the overall effect of the raw data – global temperatures on land and at sea are rising sharply and the charts should be sufficient to understand the basic problem.
However, some people still contest that Global Warming is taking place, or that if it is, it isn’t serious. This then, is the cue to do an in-depth analysis into the known factors in global temperatures, and to attempt to “deduct” obvious short-term warming and cooling features in order to eyeball the underlying trends :-
Over at Science Mag, Richard A. Kerr is trying to tell us not to panic, everything’s going to be OK, really, with a “more balanced message”. The net effect on me, personally, is to be exceptionally, yet rationally, very concerned indeed :-
“Science 6 August 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5992, pp. 620 – 621 : DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5992.620 : NEWS FOCUS : CLIMATE CHANGE: ‘Arctic Armageddon’ Needs More Science, Less Hype : Richard A. Kerr : Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas 25 times [23 times, Richard] more potent than carbon dioxide, and the ongoing global warming driven by carbon dioxide will inevitably force it out of its frozen reservoirs and into the atmosphere to amplify the warming. Such an amplifying feedback may have operated in the past, with devastating effects. If the modern version is anything like past episodes, two scientists warned earlier this year, it could mean that “far from the Arctic, crops could fail and nations crumble.” Yet, with bubbles of methane streaming from the warming Arctic sea floor and deteriorating permafrost, many scientists are trying to send a more balanced message. The threat of global warming amplifying itself by triggering massive methane releases is real and may already be under way, providing plenty of fodder for scary headlines. But what researchers understand about the threat points to a less malevolent, more protracted process.”
Deliberately toning down a warning is something that piques my propaganda radar. This is a prime case of “hiding the incline”…
It’s been a bad month or so for ignominious ends in unusually hot and sticky conditions : drunk Russians drowning as they try to cool off from a once-in-a-thousand-year heatwave centred on Moscow; hundreds of Chinese swept away; a Darwin award surely going to the man who died whilst participating in the World Sauna Championships, thousands of Pakistanis snatched by flood waters, and then there’s poor Matthew Simmons, leader of the Peak Oilers, bursting his aorta in a private spa :-
“AUGUST 9, 2010 : Without Matt Simmons: Has Peak Oil, Well, Peaked? : By Michael Corkery : Matt Simmons, the maverick investment banker who championed the concept of peak oil, died of a heart attack in a hot tub in Maine. He was 67. Simmons is best known for raising the alarm, in books, in lectures, television interviews and to anyone who would listen, that the world’s oil reserves had peaked. The concept of “peak oil” wasn’t new when Simmons wrote Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, in 2005. In fact, peak oil was first posited by a geophysicist named M. King Hubbert in the 1950s who predicted that world oil supply would peak in 1995. But Simmons helped to being the theory to the mass media, after traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2003 to research that nation’s secretive data on oil reserves, or the amount of oil able to be pumped out of the ground. His book became an instant classic among conspiracy theorists…”
Hey ! Don’t disrespect the dead ! He made a very valid contribution to the world’s understanding that the Fossil Fuel free ride won’t last forever, and is, in fact, stopping short as I write…
Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-
The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.
The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.
Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.
Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.
Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-
“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”
“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”
At risk of tumbling after The Guardian newspaper journalists into a deep dark rabbit hole of possible intellectual compromise falls young Tim Holmes, who attended the Guardian’s “some parts of the debate have been edited out for legal reasons” Climategate event on 14th July 2010 :-
What on Earth were The Guardian thinking, inviting Steve McIntyre and Doug Keenan to share a platform with Professors Trevor Davies and Bob Waston at a public meeting ?
Don’t The Guardian know that the general public have had their views so seriously warped by the Climate Change sceptic-deniers that no serious, open discussion/debate would be possible ? All you seem to get from sceptic-deniers is hot-and-cold insults, sniping and over-detailed analysis of minuscule slithers of Science. Their position is rock-solid anti-Science, from my analysis. There is nothing to be gained from talking to them in my opinion.
“19. Judith Curry says: July 25, 2010 at 9:19 pm : …So if any of you have actually read as much as I have on this topic including Montford’s [Bishop Hill] book and the climateaudit threads particularly McIntyre’s most recent post, well then we might have something to talk about. Otherwise, we can just sit back and all be entertained by tribalistic wardances.”
“107. Judith Curry says: 23 July 2010 at 12:44 PM : Once more people have read the [Montford, Bishop Hill] book, and if Montford and McIntyre were welcomed to participate in the discussion, then I would be interested in participating in a more detailed discussion on this.”
Glad to see Professor Phil Jones is back at work and enrolling students for the autumn on the Climate Change MSc postgraduate degree programme at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) :-
This course would probably be useful for a number of mainstream media journalists to follow. Even if they don’t have an appropriate background in Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Environmental studies or similar, it could be of benefit to ameliorate their world view.
They could learn something from the lectures and coursework – that the Science of Climate Change is a serious and rigorous endeavour – unlike the apparently lax behaviour of their own profession over the last year or so.
Investigative journalism without the “investigation” part appears to be a mishmash of unverifiable facts and unfounded opinions. You need to know who is credible at the very least, and you can’t get that from following the vindictive views of public contrarians.
If you want to understand Climate Change, you need to study the Science, not just read denier-sceptic web logs or talk to Steve McIntyre, Benny Peiser, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts, Doug Keenan, Nigel Lawson or Christopher Monckton, and think that you have thereby become sufficiently informed.
“Climategate”-style attacks on Climate Change Scientists by negatively-motivated commentators are completely unacceptable. Media workers need to learn to identify those whose opinions they cannot trust.
A number of indignant inaccuracies and strident claims I will pass over, but here are a few I think I shall contest. Just to show that I do bother to read his work (even if I smirk about it most of the time).
Don’t believe that the globe is warming up ? Not even after scanning the available sources ? Well, that’s probably down to the failure of your public and private Media, who are, for the most part, seemingly institutionally incapable of telling the full unexpurgated facts :-
“19 June 2010 : Contrary to the impression you might have gained from the media, the global climate is NOT cooling. In fact, the last twelve months, June 2009 – May 2010, has been the hottest June-May period on record, in both the 31-year satellite record of lower atmosphere global temperature and the 131-year surface global temperature record. In both data series the last 12 months have been more than 0.4C hotter than the average temperature of the last two decades of the 20th century…”
And why just stop at the evidence from the temperatures ? Don’t believe the oceans are deteriorating ? Why not look at the full range of research ?
My summer reading includes a number of easy-read popular science volumes, including a thoughful, factful and scholarly work called “Merchants of Doubt” co-written by Naomi Oreskes, famous for her study of the contrast between Climate Change Science and the Media representation of it, startling figures that appear in Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” :-