Sunday, August 17, 2014

But Such a Humble Creature Such as Ourselves Could not Possibly affect the Earth, Right?

 From WUWT, 8-17 (emphasis added):
Those opinion leaders that Patrick meets with will realise, as Patrick has done himself, that virtually all climate change is natural and that mankind’s contribution is minimal; they will then be able to convey this to the public.
For how could man affect climate? Climate is energy. Greenhouse gases absorb and re radiate energy (heat) that would otherwise waft up into the upper atmosphere and space, thereby slowing increasing the energy balance of the earth.

Except for one thing: Man can't really affect the climate. Nor put people on the moon. Send Rovers to Mars. Spacecraft to Saturn, Jupiter, and beyond. Split Atoms, create bombs capable of in tandem destroying the earth many times over, explore the depths of the oceans miles below the surface, freeze matter to a near motionless state of near (or past?) 0 degrees kelvin, or probe the insides of atoms. (Other cool stuff, and pictures, here.)

We can't do that.

You see, our affect is "minimal." Sure, greenhouses make life on earth as we know it possible, and keep the earth around 55-60 degrees on average, instead of zero. Teeming with life, rather than a near lifeless frozen ball of rock hurtling through space. Raise those long term greenhouse gas up to levels probably not seen on earth in millions of years? Some seven billion plus people, collectively affecting the very atmosphere that traps and re radiates thermal radiation, ultimately driving climate on earth?

No big deal, for "virtually all climate change is natural, and mankind's contribution is minimal." Based upon very little.

That scientists strongly say otherwise?

A matter to likewise simply be dismissed: Science re directed by non scientists' superior knowledge, and scientists, attacked, and turned into "science scandals of the century."

Here's a Thought - Refutation of a Scientific Consensus is not just "I Disagree"

If you want to put up alternative theories you have to find some kind of credible evidence to support them … if you can’t do that you tend to resort to name-calling, calling global warming things like a religion or a cult or some kind of conspiracy.
Australia's "Chief Scientist," Ian Chubb. (Via The Guardian)

He has a point, doesn't he? (Chubb was responding to Tony Abbott business adviser Maurice Newman advising Australia and the world on Friday of the "perils" of "ignoring nature's warnings" or global cooling for which we are "ill prepared.")

Yet it's what's repeatedly missed on Climate Change refutation. (Though maybe something else besides true scientific analysis is driving climate change refutation):

Calling AGW a cult or religion isn't a reason why a radical increase to long term greenhouse gases - to levels not seen on earth in millions of years - would not lead to a similar major shift in climate. Particularly given that climate is ultimately a longer term response to energy changes: And a major increase in atmospheric thermal absorption and re radiation, constitutes a major change in long term energy. 

One of the major Climate Change refutation sites is run by a well known college science professor, Judith Curry, who always seems to write posts strongly slanted towards refuting climate science; although without basic analysis as to why basic climate science, on the issue of AGW - as opposed to the ongoing process of scientific correction and adjustment itself - is wrong.  

My question for Judith Curry - among others -, has still gone unanswered:
...Since it is so important for the diversity of scientific thought - ...and despite the clamor for diversity and challenge, [the fact that] this leading site, for laying out the myriad errors of climate change skepticism arguments, is nevertheless, among many similar ones, decried, denigrated, and dismissed as unworthy and worse – what, exactly, is the “contrarian” position?
Let’s discuss it, as a viable... theory for the idea that the climate [nevertheless won’t significantly shift,  as a result of our ongoing accumulation of increased atmospheric re radiation of energy capacity in response to geologically radical changes to our atmosphere’s long lived greenhouse gas concentrations to levels not seen on earth in at least several million years, and still rising fast]....
But first, please, tell me what it is.
Notice, again, no one answered what it was.

In part because CC refutation is not about saying why, based upon geophysics, the earth, for some odds reason, won't shift - or why it doesn't face a large threat of shifting. It is about taking the ongoing process of science itself, and using selected mistakes, corrections, adjustments downward, cherry picked, and often even misrepresented parts itself, as false refutation for the separate underlying theory itself.

That's not skepticism.  It's self reinforcing, selective goal oriented refutation itself - something very different from rigorous objective scientific examination, while serving the purpose of convincing itself it is not.

Just How Much of a Stretch is some Climate Change Denialism?

On Friday, Tony Abbot business adviser Maurice Newman published a piece in The Australian, warning that politicians were ignoring "nature's signs" of a major global cooling, "at our peril."

The Op-ed was craftily written. The problem was, it made things up, or grossly misrepresented them. And it appears that all the major assertions that it relies upon are false or misleading.

Even the scientist specifically relied upon for Newman's major newspaper published assertion, had this to say specifically about Newman's claim (that the current threat is global cooling due not to climate change, but to the fact that solar radiation - and not a massive increase in the very gases that absorb and re radiate hear - has been driving increasing warming):
[It] is, frankly, ludicrous.
Scientists who tend to understate, are not in the habit of calling things ludicrous.

But Newman in his piece had relied upon "leading British climate scientist Mike Lockwood," for his claim that it has been solar radiation (despite solar radiation actually decreasing the last few decades) and not a geologically radical multi million year increase to long term atmospheric greenhouse gas levels that was driving climate trends.

Lockwood not only disagreed - startling enough for a scientist whose work is used as a predominant part of a major op-eds argument - he rightly labeled it ludicrous.

But then, Climate Change refutation, rather than mere skepticism, is sometimes somewhat akin to a religion, convincing itself that it is science. Even often by projecting everything that disagrees with it, as religion, no matter how ridiculously.  (Notice also the question here was simply never answered.) It tends to reinforce itself, as like minds all take the ongoing process of scientific discovery itself - mistake, correction, debate, adjustment - for refutation of the underlying theory it seeks to refute.

The earth might cool. Who knows for sure. But the point is that the best, and overwhelming, assessment of science is that major (past) increases in greenhouse gases have been driving changes recently, pose a major threat of significant future change (on both overall patterns, and likely overall ambient heat upward), and the earth has been warming as well, significantly, even without taking into account the ocean and other signs which greatly amplify the picture.

Science aside, the greenhouse affect is major; and the theory that a geologically radical long term shift upward in these very same gases would not have a significant impact upon climate, would probably need some (let alone considerable) basis. But again, there has bee none, other than to argue with signs of corroboration of the basic CC theory, as refutation of climate change itself.

And a claim by a non scientist, relying upon scientists for the contrary notion - that Greenhouse gases don't matter, and so misconstruing the few scientists "relied upon" in the process so excessively that one is prompted to call the claims "ludicrous," is yet another exercise in trying to refute, by any means possible, for the sake of, refuting. Which is quite different from skepticism. It may be earnest, self sealing (and massive misinformation reinforcing) belief, but it is still very different from skepticism.

For example, on the super popular but climate change refutation site "Watt's Up With That," skeptical science author, textbook on climate science author, and book author John Cook is repeatedly called "a liar," and the site he founded repeatedly dismissed. It has to be for climate change refutation to continue it's approach not of skepticism, but of simply refuting climate change science, or anything that supports it:

For on Skeptical Science's home page, near the very top, it aptly, and it seems very correctly, points out:
Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticize any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming.
One could consider that there might be something to this, as well as the many points by multiple scientists and others, suggesting how a lot of climate change refutation is based upon a basic misconstruction of the issue, and a more objective analysis of what the issue itself is and is not; but that would get in the way of Climate Change refutation.

So John Cook, for example, among many others, is called a liar. And often by bizarre means and very thin standards, which if similarly applied to climate change refuters, would yield the same type of results, and far, far more of them, and often, far stronger.  Yet this allows John Cook, Skepticalscience, most climate scientists (Michael Mann, for instance), many others and the legitimate points to put the discussion back on the track of a rigorous, skeptical, rather than end result driven frame, to simply be disregarded - along with all points that refute climate change refutation, all points that support the basic theory of CC, and the idea that refutation is based upon "scientific analysis," to be adhered to.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another One of Nature's Signs - of Cooling?

A new study, published in this month's Journal of Geophysical Research, concludes that arctic sea ice snow cover has gone down dramatically since the 1950s - by about a third in the Western Hemisphere, and by about half, near Alaska.

The study is here.  Read more here and here.

Thankfully, the earth is going to cool, according to the business (interestingly, not "science") adviser to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday. So this pattern, along with increasing antarctic land ice sheet melt, increasing arctic ice sea ice loss, increasing arctic ice sheet melt, increasing permafrost temperatures, ocean temperature increases, at an exceedingly rapid rate, and a long term and fairly significant rapid upward trend in ambient atmospheric temperatures, should reverse itself, and we'll be facing a global cooling which - according to the Australian Business Adviser - politicians are ignoring the signs "from nature" on, at "their, and our, peril" (see update).

Not ignoring the signs of an increasing future shift in climate as one would expect to follow from an increase in long term atmospheric "heat trapping" greenhouse gases to levels not seen on earth in millions of years, and, as we've seen, the signs are starting to increasingly corroborate.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What if?

(2x updated below; 8-15-14, 8-18-14)

What if aliens from another planet invaded us in 2017, and we're not sufficiently prepared? (See first update below.)

More reasonably, what if scientists are right, and increases to long term "heat trapping" atmospheric greenhouse concentrations to levels not seen on earth in at least several million years, leads to severe future climate shifting in response?

Somewhere in between these two "what if" questions, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot's chief business adviser, Maurice Newman, in a piece in the Australian last Thursday (8-14), asked both "what if" the recent warming of earth is due to an increase in solar radiation, and we face a massive risk of major cooling. He also answered, claiming we face just such a threat, for which, he asserted, the world and its people, are ill prepared, and that politicians are ignoring "nature's signs," of, at "their, and our, peril."

So, two things, among many others, we are ill prepared for: Global cooling, and alien invasion.

Global cooling could occur. And the sun could be going into a lower solar activity phase. But it's hard to prepare for major cooling when all the science suggests the opposite; that the impact of atmospheric greenhouse gas changes dwarfs any impact of changes in solar radiation; and that if an extremely unusual and significantly long drop in solar radiation were to occur, it would be a good thing not a bad thing, to help partially offset the increasing impact of already geologically radical increases in long term atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

And it's also hard to prepare for when the basic fact that Newman bases his claim on, is incorrect - solar radiation has slightly gone down the past few decades, and yet the globe, also contrary to Newman's claims, has not cooled. At all:

13 of the 14 warmest years in modern history have all occurred in the last 14 years. The 2000s was the hottest decade on record. Permafrost (land, not air) temperatures have increased even more, as not just the air, but the earth, is heating. Polar ice sheets are indisputably melting, and there is strong evidence that it is also melting at a faster rate, with additional risk of further positive reinforcement from warmer water encroachment (video here). And, while with such record setting ambient air temperatures the world ocean should have cooled a little (by giving off more heat energy then they took in, to in turn keep air temperatures higher than the norm on average - the oceans have instead continued to warm, even, at an accelerating rate. All this, during a phase of now low solar activity.

And, of course, all this aside from also ignoring the fact that greenhouse gases absorb and re radiate thermal energy that would otherwise waft into the upper atmosphere and beyond, thus "insulating" the earth, and over time, warming it - and that the increases to the levels of these gases, in a geologic sense, has already been massive. Which Newman also doesn't "agree" with. Or accept.

Which seems a little like religion, veiled as skeptical science.

Yet speaking of religion, Newman considers sensible measures to slow down our rapid continued increases to our atmosphere's long term greenhouse gas concentrations, akin to
"Primitive civilisations offering up sacrifices to appease the gods."
Or, it could be that radically changing the long term nature of our atmosphere to a level ultimately incompatible with the general climate we have come to know and love (and more importantly, rely on), and then continuing to add to and amplify the same at geologically breakneck speed - all while proclaiming and believing we're not really changing anything until there is the proof of it having thus been wildly changed, after the fact - is the sacrifice to appease the Gods.

The Gods, of fossil fuels.  Based upon a belief system that our own destinies, industry, societal development, economy and growth is dependent upon purposefully engaging in practices that directly
harm our world - even though we have alternatives, and the ability to greatly learn and expand those alternatives - because for the moment, and without true competition that evens the business playing field between practices which cause great external harm, and those that do not - those more harmful practices, "cost less."

Update. 8-15-2014: Jason Box, a climatologist with over 70 outside reviewed publications germane to the topic of climate change, believes, as do many scientists who study the issue, that the threat of increasingly positive reinforcing climate change due to carbon release in the form of methane from melting ice and warming sea bed floors, is potentially extreme.

It's an "interesting" contrast; the professional climatologist who is super knowledgeable about the issue illustrating a widespread scientific concern about erupting methane heavily reinforcing an increasingly radical (and warming) climate change process, on the one hand, and a non scientist business adviser to the Australian President, who thinks, or claims, we are ignoring the risk of global cooling, "at our peril," based upon the anti science idea that it's always just the sun alone that drives everything. (Although his belief seems more centered on simply ignoring - or finding ways to dismiss or even reverse - the entire issue of greenhouse gas level increases.)

Climate Change in theory, short term anyway, could produce almost anything climate wise: And a movie starting Dennis Quaid entitled "The Day After Tomorrow" does dramatize (and fast forwards) massive glaciation - due not to a drop in solar radiation, which relative to our massive increase in greenhouse gases is wildly more far fetched, but to an abrupt climate change from sudden massive melt and a radical change in Atlantic currents suddenly bringing massively cooler temperatures far south.

How would that compare to the more mythical alien invasion idea, tossed about above to suggest that sounding an alarm bell about being "ill prepared" for global cooling under the current set of facts, was somewhere in between a pseudo reasonable speculation, and concern of ill prepareded-ness for "alien invasions"?

We could "in theory" prepare for major cooling if we knew it might happen. On the other hand, we probably couldn't for an alien invasion. (One might also surmise, other huge impediments aside, that if a civilization became advanced enough to leap galaxies, it might also be well past the need to "conquer" and "destroy," unless, of course, as Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson has wondered, there is some off chance they would simply view us in the same way we view, say, earthworms, and that higher evolution for massive intergalactic space travel wouldn't lead to treating advanced earthworms who are part of their own ecosystem, more respectfully.) And we don't prepare because the odds seem beyond ludicrous.

A serious freeze might have higher odds than something so ridiculous, but it would also likely not be anywhere as bad as an "alien invasion."And "The Day After Tomorrow" notwithstanding (again, based upon Climate Change - a massively unusual shift in something directly affecting the net energy balance of the earth, not solar radiation), it would come with some degree of warning.

Taking all that into account or not, and ironically enough given the opening rhetorical question of this post about alien invasions, Professor Matthew England's response upon hearing of Newman's claims, actually was:
Saying we aren't prepared for global cooling is like saying we aren't prepared for an alien invasion.
Yet it was the non science oriented Australian Prime Minister business adviser who in his Australian piece op ed article claiming we are "ill prepared" for global cooling as a way to "cool" off concern over increasing radical atmospheric change, who claimed - and somewhat ironically given the level of climate change "refutation" in the U.S. Congress, for example - that politicians have "made science a religion."

In other words, the idea of assessing our world as best as we are able - what science is - and assessing sensible strategy in response, is suddenly "religion." Logic that equally applied, would perhaps render all strategic assessment based upon objective, empirical data and basic science or observational analysis (which is in essence almost all risk assessment the world over),"religion."

But perhaps, again, what has really been turned into something more akin with religion, is coming up with ways to try and refute the basic idea of anthropogenic climate change, by any means or argument possible.  Including now, clinging to the mirror image alarmism of "not being prepared for cooling"; which, in his far fetched piece, Newman warns we ignore the signs "from nature" of, at our peril.(Presumably, Newman's not referring to the signs of increasing natural methane releases that have Box and so many others seemingly far more rightly concerned, but other "signs" which he doesn't actually reveal.)

Not signs of a warming world, which Newman, by this clever reversal into cooling "worry" tries to offset; but signs of cooling, because the sun might hit an unusual low spot in solar radiation. (As noted here, which is assessed as less likely than not; but again if it did, that would be great, because it would offset the process of climate change at least a little.)

The irony of this admonition of not heeding the signs of nature, at our peril, given all the signs, both subtle, and not so subtle, of increasing future climate change - likely toward more and not less volatility, and more overall heat, not less - probably couldn't have been better delivered in a work of satiric fiction. Yet it was delivered in The Australian as a very serious op-ed, by a business adviser to a major prime minister.

Of a country, and continent, no less, that just happens to be getting ransacked by increasing climate changes, drought, and heat.

Update 8-18-2-14:  Newman so severely misinterpreted the relevant basic science, that the very scientist Newman relied heavily upon for his Op-ed claim that the sun, not our activities and changes to the atmosphere, have been driving all climate responses - actually called such a claim "scientifically ludicrous," among a litany of mistakes and mis-characterizations with respect to almost all scientific assertions made in - again - the very much non satirical, but certainly ironic, piece.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Watts Up With Using U.S. Data, to Seemingly Refute GLOBAL Temperature Claim

According to the "Watts Up With That" home page, it is "the world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change."

But yet Watts Up with questioning global temperature extremes, then immediately assessing U.S. extremes instead:
According to the Northeastern University press release, using climate models and reanalysis datasets, the authors found that:
While global tem­per­a­ture is indeed increasing, so too is the vari­ability in tem­per­a­ture extremes. For instance, while each year’s average hottest and coldest tem­per­a­tures will likely rise, those aver­ages will also tend to fall within a wider range of poten­tial high and low tem­perate extremes than are cur­rently being observed.
But is there any evidence that this has been happening? We can check what’s been happening in the US, by using the US Climate Extremes Index, produced by NOAA.
It's perhaps inadvertent, but there's a major sleight of hand here:  "Is there any evidence that this has been happening?" -  with "this" being an increase in extreme temperatures around the entire earth - leads immediately to checking the contiguous U.S., which represents about one-fiftieth of the earth.  

We could check what is happening in the U.S., and even do so in an article initially focusing on a claim regarding global temperature extremes.  A non misleading way to do that would be "global extremes may be increasing, but in the much smaller surface of the contiguous U.S., it looks like they have not been."

This article, instead, overtly questioned whether temperature extremes have been increasing globally, and then seemed to "check" it by looking at temperature extremes data for a very small patch on that the globe that represents 1/50th of so of its surface.

The article also noted (emphasis added):
Of course, the US only accounts for 2% of the Earth’s surface... but it seems a sensible place to start
But 2% of the earth's surface is not a sensible place to start. When questioning a claim that the globe has experienced an increase in extreme temperatures, a sensible place to start, and finish, is on global temperatures. Not 1/50th of the globe. Yet this article started with that 1/50th, and stayed with it until the end.

Did any commenters happen to catch this? No, apparently. Many did jump all over the Climate Change is all but a hoax bandwagon, however. For instance: 
--"See, your mistake here is you used the real data. To get the right answer your supposed to use a model."
--"Someone should have presented this at Kodra’s dissertation defense." [Note, the original Northeastern dissertation paper that projected future temperature extremes, in part due to a record of globally - not U.S. - increasing extremes, was in part authored by Evan Kodra as part of his 2014 dissertation.]
--"May I remind you of the first rule of climate ‘science’ , where the models and reality differ in value it is reality which is in error. So you see no problem here"
--"I would love to comment, but I legally can’t; because The Nature conservancy persuaded me into signing into a gag easement……… so I lost my right to voice my opinion."
--"This is a good example of how easily empirical data clobbers the vaporous theories of the global warmers." [Note: It's particularly easy to clobber a claim when something entirely different than the claim itself is being clobbered.]

--"I am so sick of the Climate Conjecturologists.
“While global tem­per­a­ture is indeed increasing”? Not really.
“So too is the vari­ability in tem­per­a­ture extremes”? Apparently not.
“Each year’s average hottest and coldest tem­per­a­tures will likely rise”?
“Will likely rise”? When? After a lengthy hiatus? Or likely not?
“Those aver­ages will also tend to fall within a wider range than are cur­rently being observed”?
“Tend to”? What the heck is that supposed to mean? Either they will or they won’t."[Note, in some ways this is one of the better comments. It's earnest, and, aside from a few flagrant mistakes, captures the heart of why, along with of course a huge desire, there is so much misinformation supporting the idea that Climate Change is not a big deal, and why it is so easy to give such zealous attention to furthering that notion. And that is that the issue is not simple, it is not already "proven" in advance, there is an enormous lag (the most critical yet most misunderstood point), it is confusing, and that it imprecisely represents a range of outcomes, all of which are what happen when we conduct an enormous super long term global experiment of geologically radical proportion on the only earth globe we know: so there is no "control variable" earth, and nowhere near the advance precision both in climatic response, and in our ability to precisely outline in advance the direct path of any change, that Climate Change refuters or minimalists have come to expect.]

Here's another recent example, that goes through a lot of highfalutin and seemingly relevant (but largely misconfigured and not relevant) science analysis, and then, suddenly, and stunningly, concludes that the large recent increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide levels we've been measuring?

The same increases to levels not seen in at least two million years...the same increases, to now just over 400 parts per million, from the high 200s just a few hundred years ago, when from fairly precise ice core data we know that levels never exceeded the high 200s parts per million over the past eight hundred thousand years, the same levels that geologically have, "out of the blue" suddenly, after seemingly millions of years, just shot straight up, coincident with massive deforestation and, via fuel combustion, the rapid release into the atmosphere of carbon that had been slowly sequestered over many millions of years of non fully decomposed plant matter?

A one in ten thousand or one in one hundred thousand or so, and otherwise wildly inexplicable (notwithstanding a rather wildly inexplicable argument) and sheer coincidence between the sudden, massive net additions we've made, and the sudden rise after nearly a million years, and likely several million?

More, even:  For the conclusion was,
How can it be made clearer that CO2 is currently rising and varying for natural cause?
Not just that sudden, massive, multi million year CO2 increases essentially have little or nothing to do with the sudden, massive, decrease in world sinks of CO2 (deforestation), and sudden creation of long (fossil fuel) dormant emissions, but, "how could it be made clearer."

Anything - from the "world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change," the site that also according to its home page, of which Johnathan Moseley from The American Thinker asserts, "changed the world and is one of the most influential resources on global warming" - to refute man affected Climate Change, rather than objectively, consider it. And anything to not believe it.

How could it be made any clearer.