# Sceptic agrees global warming real.

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Trippy, Oct 30, 2011.

1. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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What's different, and why everyone from opinion columnists to cable TV 's satirical The Daily Show is paying attention is who is behind the study.

One-quarter of the US$600,000 (NZ$730,000) to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of sceptic groups and the conservative tea party movement. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions.

Muller's research team carefully examined two chief criticisms by sceptics. One is that weather stations are unreliable; the other is that cities, which create heat islands, were skewing the temperature analysis.

"The sceptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a sceptic two years ago," Muller said in a telephone interview. "And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias."

Muller said that he came into the study "with a proper scepticism," something scientists "should always have. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that there was not enough scepticism" before.
Source

Although I would say this to him: The rest of us were sceptical 50 years ago.

3. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Really?

Seems he hasn't really changed his spots.

Which I think is the main skeptical position, much more that the untenable contention that the globe isn't warming.

Arthur

5. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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Red Herring - I'll try and detail something more constructive later, when my mood improves.

7. ### The EsotericistGetting the message to GarciaValued Senior Member

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I guess I really don't understand this whole issue. Let's say the skeptics agree. . . that global climate is changing, and becoming more severe. Warming, whatever. And let's also say they agree that Carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere is also on the rise precipitously. Let's also assume the two are linked. (A fair assumption given the following graph.)

We know that with or with out civilization, CO2 amounts in the atmosphere have varied greatly, as have temperatures. A single volcanic eruption produces much more greenhouse gas in a year than all of the activities of man, so what gives? I just don't understand the elites snowjob.

Still unsure what evidence would ever link climate change to the activities of humans that can't be explained by nature? :shrug:

8. ### Michael歌舞伎Valued Senior Member

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So, to clarify, what did the study find? That the earth is warming AND this is due to human CO2 production?

9. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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Simple Harmonic Motion predicts how a mass on a spring behaves.
It has been known, for a long time, that atoms in molecules behave like balls on springs.
It has also been known, for a long time, that when a perfectly black object is heated, it emits light that follows a specific spectrum (black body radiation).
For as long as these things have been known, it has been known that the earth emits a lot of electromagnetic (thermal) radiation at approximately the same wavelengths that water and carbon dioxide absorb them, and that the reabsorption of this thermal radiation is sufficient to account for the anomalously warm average surface temperature that we enjoy today (and have always enjoyed).
It was Svante Arrhenius in 1896 that first predicted, having realized all of this, and pieced together the bits of the puzzle for himself, that:
if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.
And that:
"If the quantity of carbonic acid in the air should sink to one-half its present percentage, the temperature would fall by about 4°; a diminution to one-quarter would reduce the temperature by 8°. On the other hand, any doubling of the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air would raise the temperature of the earth's surface by 4°; and if the carbon dioxide were increased fourfold, the temperature would rise by 8°."
And that:
"Since, now, warm ages have alternated with glacial periods, even after man appeared on the earth, we have to ask ourselves: Is it probable that we shall in the coming geological ages be visited by a new ice period that will drive us from our temperate countries into the hotter climates of Africa? There does not appear to be much ground for such an apprehension. The enormous combustion of coal by our industrial establishments suffices to increase the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air to a perceptible degree."

To put it another way, there is only so much you can dick around with make up of the blanket that keeps you warm before you change the temperature it keeps you at.

10. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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The problem with that assumption is that in the years that graph covers, the rise in CO2 LAGS the rise in Temperature by about 800 years.

In essence the chart shows that the temperature warms first and that causes CO2 levels to rise.
More importantly the temp also plummets while the CO2 levels are at their highest.

The mechanism is not understood.

But it also isn't particularly helpful for our current situation since we weren't changing the landscape and burning fossil fuels wasn't happening back then either.

So, while your graph proves nothing about our current issues, it doesn't really indicate what you think it does either.

Arthur

11. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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Actually, I don't have much more to say then this - the study that the story in the OP refers to was on whether the observed warming trend was real, or whether it was a data artifact caused by things such as the Urban Heat Island Effect, or inaccurate weather stations. The conclusion that he came to is that the warming is real, it's not just a data artifact, the observed warming does actually exist, and it exists because the earth is actually warming.

In other words, he's dealt with the observation, which is what he set out to deal with, intending to look at causes and consequences of that observation as seperate studies, presumably at a later date.

So, suggesting that he's still saying the same thing about the effects, and that because that hasn't changed, that somehow indicates he hasn't changed his mind is, at best, misleading. He has, to put it simply, independantly confirmed the observation - and that in and of itself is not something to dismiss so lightly.

I will, however, grant that it appears that the press (and politicos) may have overstated his position in opposition to global warming. While I'll admit that the research that I have done trying to find a quote attributable to him, in which he denies that warming has occured (as would be implied by the headline in the article I linked to) - was far from comprehensive. I was unable to find such a quote attributable to him, in fact, the most outspoken thing I have been able to find directly attributable to him was his opposition to the 'hockey stick' graph, which he claims to have been wary of since it was published in 1999. Aside from that I've seen him critiscize what he percieves as a lack of openness and transparency in some of the research, however the whole time he has continually stated that his opinion is that carbondioxide may have a role to play.

So yeah, pointing out that his opinion on the significance of the effects is unchanged is a red herring because the work being discussed wasn't looking at that, it was looking at alternative explanations for the observed warming trend.

12. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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What it is, is nothing more, and nothing less than the independantly verified observation of the warming trend, that it is of the same, or similar magnitude as predicted by Mann et al, and that the observation is not simply some data artifact, sampling bias, systematic error, or computational error.

13. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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I believe Mann's studies deal primarily with temperature reconstructions of the past climate.

In addition, from what I can tell this new research had nothing to do with any predictions at all, only verification of the instrumental record.

14. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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What does this have to do with what I had to say?
Mann was involved in making some of the original predictions back in the '80s. He was involved directly in creating the hockey stick graph, and is perhaps one of the most publicly derided figures in the community. When I said 'Mann et al' I wasn't refering to a specific paper.

Which is precisely what I just got through explaining to you, is it not?

Obviously I'm aware of this, as indicated by the very next clause in the sentence that you seem to have taken exception to:
and that the observation is not simply some data artifact

In the context of the statement the observation (made by Mann, and others) is that a warming trend of X°C exists in the data, and the prediction is in essence, that it is real.

You seem to have grasped completely the wrong end of what I was saying (or at least trying to say).

15. ### nietzschefanThread KillerValued Senior Member

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Ok so global warming is real and it's ALL OUR FAULT!

Now what?

16. ### originIn a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect.Valued Senior Member

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I wanted to point out that the comment on volcanos is not correct. According to estimates the contribution of ALL volcanos on land and undersea produce 100 times less CO2 than mans activities.

Volcanos actually contribute to global cooling much more than global warming.

There are many neutral sources that have this info here is one.

17. ### originIn a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect.Valued Senior Member

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Well, this is not the popular opinion of we who accept the global warming data, but since I do not live near the ocean and I am tired of the damn cold winters where I live, I say sit back and enjoy the warmth.

18. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Again, no.
His papers did not contain any predictions and were indeed about Paleoclimatology. Specifically attempting to deduce the past climatic temperatures based on the widths of the growth rings of very old trees.

The "Hockey Stick" graph, which was prominently featured in the IPCC SPM was taking his work (going back over 1,000 years) and grafting it on to the modern instrumental record to make a dramatic visual statement about the climate.

His derision came because his flawed math and exclusion of important series that made the LWP go away, thus creating what appeared to be the straight handle of the Hockey Stick. After review the flaws were found and that is why you no longer see the original "Hockey stick" in the IPCC reports.

Again, I think the use of the word "prediction" is not appropriate:

would be though

(I don't know what the latter margin is since the papers haven't been published/reviewed).

Arthur

19. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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This goes back to differing opinions over the use of the word 'prediction'. Some people use retrodiction for the same reason you dislike my use of the word prediction, however, I can still make predictions about the global paleoclimate 5,000 years ago, and it's still grammatically correct to say so, even if for no other reason than it makes implicit predictions about observations that will be made in the future. For example (a non-specific example, you understand) he is making observations of tree rings in the past, observing that today those trees grow slower in cold climates than warm climates (at the same latitude), and then predicting that the climate was colder then than it is now, which also implies predictions about what others will find in future studies.

Yes, I'm aware of the history of the usage of the Hockey stick graph, thankyou.

My recollection is that the derision came about primarily because of two papers, the first paper suggested that the PCA as performed was flawed, the second suggested that the methodology used by Mann produced hockey sticks from monte carlo simulations that had no underlying trend.

Yes, you've made that quite clear.

Mann predicts that the climate in the past was cooler than it is now, Hansen predicts that this implied warming will continue.

20. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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PREDICT means "to foretell the future" and so use in relations to Mann's work about recreating the temperature record in the past is simply not a correct use of the term as no such predictions of what he would find were made by Mann in any of his papers.

Arthur

21. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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Yes, I'm aware of the dictionary definition of the word predict, thankyou, as should be self evident by the fact that I have tried, two or three times now, to communicate to you why I think my usage of the word is consistent with the dictionary definition.

At this point though, the conversation is tangential. Our disagreement is over my use of the word predict, and we seem to be in agreement on the main points.

Incidentally, I've seen at least one press source state that Mullers work also confirms the validity of the Hockey Stick - I didn't mention this earlier, because I haven't had the time to verify the claim.

22. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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Nah.

His work didn't go back nearly that far.

http://www.berkeleyearth.org/analysis.php

23. ### adoucetteCaca OccursValued Senior Member

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It would be if Mann had predicted what he would find, but Mann never did that in his paper that produced the Hockey Stick.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mann_99.html