Climate Change Contrarians - claims examined

This is not an everything goes forum, but rather a place to ask questions and request help for developing your ideas.

Re: Climate change

Postby TheVat on February 9th, 2020, 11:45 am 

Doogles, my assessment of data summarized by IPCC is not based on faith. You used that word, but it doesn't characterize my position. Regarding...


When farming can start again in Greenland, we'll know that we are back to a world that the people of that time seemed to handle all right. ...


Warming, at that time, in a world with a few hundred million people, was a different event, and lacking in comparables to our present world. To mention but one difference, the tropics are now home to two billion (?) people, and already experiencing stark effects of drought, deluge, and loss of arable land. Also, the global warming was far less at that time - the Medieval Warming Period was localized in a few northern locations.

A 2009 study by Michael E. Mann et al., examining spatial patterns of surface temperatures shown in multi-proxy reconstructions finds that the Medieval Warm Period, shows "warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally." Mann et Al also found other areas actually a bit cooler than normal, again pointing to a regional effect and not GW.

"Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly" by Mann, Zhang, and Rutherford, in Science 326 (5957), p. 1256-60, is a helpful paper.

Again, I am disappointed at the way you do not contextualize facts, and make unwarranted implications that the current rapid warming is something we'll "handle all right. "
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Re: Climate change

Postby TheVat on February 9th, 2020, 11:49 am 

Ah, parallel postings. Thanks, David. Farming in Greenland or far northern Canada has become a popular talking point with some of the fossil fuel industry boosters, I've noticed. Hopefully we can probe its weaknesses in an informative way.
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Re: Climate change

Postby davidm on February 9th, 2020, 12:08 pm 

Below is one model of what the world might look like at 4c warming. Note that most of it is now uninhabitable by humans, and that Greenland is still mostly covered in ice!

Now I don’t know whether this model is accurate. The point I wish to make is about the utter hubris of techno-optimism implicit in the model. Sure, most of the world will be uninhabitable, but in the few remaining green areas, we’ll have densely packed, high-rise cities! We’ll have windmills, geothermal, solar panels in all the vast deserts, including the uninhabitable desert of what was once the U.S! So cheer up, everyone — it won’t be so bad! (Even though we STILL won’t be able to farm in most of Greenland, except along the coast.)

In reality, of course, if things get this bad, then high-tech civilization will completely collapse after a mass human die-off, and the few remaining survivors in the negligible green belts will be back to subsistence farming, or a hunter-gatherer life style.
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Re: Climate change

Postby Serpent on February 9th, 2020, 12:53 pm 

doogles » February 9th, 2020, 5:04 am wrote:But you posted two links without briefly mentioning the points I should focus on in those links. The first went to a United Nations Population Fund home page which contained a few pictures and the other to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights without any indication as to what you wished me to note in that Declaration.

What drives population increase? Poverty, inequality, insecurity, ignorance, high infant mortality and political oppression. Just fix those - most particularly the subjugation of women - and religion loses its power to intimidate; people demand the right to self-determination and reproductive freedom.
I mentioned all of these factors earlier. The UN has several international agencies to deal with the health and welfare of women, mothers, babies and children. I linked to show that this is so, not to give you an in-depth explanation of what each one has done over the decades.

Once again you've put words into my mouth with "Why do you want to pile all international problems on that one little panel?"

It's the sort of discussion that I imagine that an organisation such as the IPCC should be having and then making recommendations upon.

Once again, that's not their job.

I suggested that since the UN set up the IPCC, there was no reason why they should not set up another Intergovernmental Panel on Population Control.

They have. https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/theme/policy/index.asp

I see you claim that Malthus also said "don't marry until you can afford to; then curb your enthusiasm." Do you really believe that to be a practical solution, considering the power of the sex drive in humans as well as other animals?

I was paraphrasing. Obviously, now, I wish I hadn't mentioned the poor guy. Once again, that was in 1800 when options were considerably more limited than they are now. I brought him simply to illustrate that the topic is not exactly brand new, and I did say that recommendations have been made since that time. However, one of the things that does reliably and observably happen when the standard of living in a society improves is that people marry later and have fewer children. Yes, even the almighty sex drive becomes more manageable when you're not cold, angry and scared all the time. So, he'd got hold of the right end of the stick, only at an inopportune moment in history.

It's a pity they can't be more objective and less emotive about the science.

You still don't get it, do you? That's is positively phlegmatic in the face of our real situation.

When farming can start again in Greenland, we'll know that we are back to a world that the people of that time seemed to handle all right.

It never stopped. They raise sheep. Longer summer will mean more sheep, and some local vegetables - but then again, not if it's accompanied by drought. Even if Greenland becomes a paradise, how many Mexicans can it support?
See, the areas that might benefit - barring permafrost collapse and coastal flooding - are sparsely populated by laconic, isolated northern communities. The areas that are rapidly becoming uninhabitable are densely populated by gregarious southern peoples.
How do you envision the new distribution of lands and food supplies working?

I have no sensible comments, except:
All experimental science - even CERN - is only a miniature representation of how matter and energy work in the universe. Each of these wee models indicate something about those interactions, but cannot accurately represent the whole. You can extrapolate, project, scale up the model, and guesstimate.
We don't have any spare planets to experiment on.
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Re: Climate change

Postby doogles on February 10th, 2020, 6:07 am 

TheVat, thank you for the comments. You say "Again, I am disappointed at the way you do not contextualize facts, and make unwarranted implications that the current rapid warming is something we'll "handle all right. "

I'm not sure what you mean by "I am disappointed at the way you do not contextualise texts." Could you please elaborate on what you mean by that? Whatever it is, I will attempt to correct that apparent failing on my part.

Re making unwarranted implications that the current rapid warming is something we'll "handle all right", I made some flippant comments a couple of posts back when I said -- "Just on the lighter side (I know you'll have a laugh), these people have recently provided an article in a peer-reviewed Journal called Astrophysics and Space Science -- Singh and Bhargawa (2019; https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 019-3500-9) in Prediction of declining solar activity trends during solar cycles 25 and 26 and indication of other solar minimum, predict sunspot activity from 2021 till 2041 that will result in cooling as severe as the Maunder minimum.

Cheers. Enjoy the global warming while it's here. But if you really feel an inner drive to do something, then start advocating for Solar Radiation Management via bioengineering of clouds. Any knowledge we can obtain to control clouds quantitatively will be invaluable for the survival of our species in the future. Also campaign for the IPCC to address population-growth control, not just because population-increases correlate with increasing temperatures, but because of the myriad reasons outlined in my earlier post."


Please delete those paragraphs from your mind if you interpret them as meaning "She'll be right mate"

The mixed science I'm reading about the LIA suggests that a large percentage of the changes in climate, sea levels etc over the last 100 years, has to be credited to some extent with a return to normal from the LIA. Glaciers form in Ice Ages. Sooner or later they have to melt, temperatures have to rise to some extent, and the sea level must rise. I cannot see where that is abnormal. It's a matter of how much of the change is new and how much is due to recovery, but it's common sense to attribute some to recovery.

But I am convinced that the rate of warming since 1980 has been faster than usual. I'm also convinced that the IPCC should have organised an evaluation of the effect of their proposals to date, because I've seen no results on the board.

I believe that they have to do an evaluation and a re-assessment of their results to date, and develop Plans B and C. Rather than advocate sitting on our hands, I've worked my butt off obtaining scientific references suggesting that they, or a new Intergovernmental Panel on Population, could DO MORE in the way of cloud and population control. (Serpent has just drawn my attention to the existence of a UN Committee on Population. I've had a quick look and I will comment in my reply to him)

So far, you are the only member of the forum who seems to be able to see some value in cloud engineering, but the only comments I've received about Population Growth control is that it's in the too-hard basket.

You said that "Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly" by Mann, Zhang, and Rutherford, in Science 326 (5957), p. 1256-60, is a helpful paper." How many other papers did you study? Mann's paper was just one of many I looked at, re the LIA. In my post on the matter, I referred broadly to a Google Scholar site listing dozens of papers so that readers could have a look for themselves at ALL of the papers I had based my statements upon. I've included his view of the LIA in my general comments about it. His guesstimate of the degree of cooling was at the bottom end at 0.6 degrees C, whereas others went through ranges of 1 to 2 degrees C (including the IPCC). I studied his view in context with all of the others. You should have noted TheVat, that I generally cite multiple references on most issues so that I keep the thrust of my arguments in context.

My disappointment here is that I get very few comments on the science itself. I get most comments about the way I say things. That's okay; I expect flak. But nobody has commented on the good news articles I've presented in the past, nor on the recent multiple research outcomes suggesting that our corals are resilient in spite of rising sea levels, bleaching, storm damage, or volcanic upheavals. It's interesting to me that members of this forum don't appear to take in the good news.
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Re: Climate change

Postby doogles on February 10th, 2020, 6:09 am 

davidm, that scenario for 4 degree C temperature rise is depressing. Don't you think it's all the more reason why we need Plans B and C?
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Re: Climate change

Postby doogles on February 10th, 2020, 6:23 am 

Serpent, thanks for the comments. Once again I agree again about the factors you itemised relating to high birth rates. But don't you think we need to do something about it, especially considering the relationship between population increase and increasing global temperatures? I keep saying that we need think tanks to clearly identify such factors and to attempt to identify practical solutions for them. We have to be constructive rather than put things into the 'too hard' basket. I've been in many 'think tanks' in my life, and I know you'll be surprised to hear that I realise I do not have all the answers. But what intrigues me at these 'think tanks' is how often a contributor can say something that's not the best solution in its own right, but which triggers off associated good ideas in others.

As a matter of fact, while I was walking up the local hill this morning, one thought crossed my mind as a starter. If international funds could be found, why not pay a bonus to couples in developing countries for each year they don't have children?

Just a thought!

You commented "You still don't get it, do you? That's is positively phlegmatic in the face of our real situation." Serpent, you sound as if you would like me to start panicking and running around in circles shouting "Climate Emergency, Climate Catastrophe, Climate Extinction: the End is Nigh!!!!" I don't see where being emotive helps in any shape or form in problem solving. We need objective and constructive inputs, which has always been my aim in this thread.

I thank you for that reference to the UN Committee. I was totally unaware of it. I followed the link headed 'Population Policies' and found this -- "The 2019 revision of the World Population Policies focuses on policies and programmes related to international migration. It provides an overview of Government policies to govern regular migration and to address irregular migration, and it reviews an array of policy measures related to migrants’ rights, including access to services, as well as policies to foster the integration of migrants into host societies. It also examines policy measures to maximise the development impacts of migration and to support diasporas. The World Population Policies 2019 data and publications present Government responses to the module on international migration (module III) of the United Nations Twelfth Inquiry among Governments on Population and Development." As you can see, none of that has anything to do with population control.

I couldn't find any Terms of Reference, so could only form an impression as to what they are about. My impression is that their main task is to keep up with the dynamic world statistics on population changes and to keep governments in touch with such data. If you look at the following, like me, you may get the impression after looking at Items 80 and 82 below, that they actually promote government-assisted breeding. The use of the term 'sustainable development' here, seems to mean the ability to keep breeding and have all of the means to do so, made available.

Under the heading of Review and appraisal of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and its contribution to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they present their (IX). Conclusions and recommendations:.
"78. Governments should plan for the opportunities and challenges associated with trends in fertility, mortality and migration, which will affect the size and age structure of future populations in ways that may boost or hinder the achievement of inclusive sustainable development. 79. Governments should consider adopting policies and implementing programmes to support universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including family planning, in accordance with the goals and objectives of the Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 80. Governments should support the realization of reproductive desires by all couples, including those with fewer children than desired, by ensuring access to parental leave, child benefits, tax credits and childcare, emphasizing measures to help parents balance work and family obligations over several years. 81. While improved access to education has significantly advanced the goals and objectives of the Programme of Action, further improvements in completion rates and education quality are needed. 82. Because reduced fertility is associated with increased spending per child on health and education, policies to expand access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including family planning, and policies to improve education quality and coverage reinforce each other, amplifying the potential gains from the demographic dividend and supporting a virtuous cycle of development. 83. Improvements in health status, nutrition, sanitation and access to safe water must be sustained to attain the relevant goals and objectives of the Programme of Action and the relevant Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. ... " there is more.

But they are a 'dead loss' to my mind as far as being a promoter of slowing-down population growth is concerned. We need a body to promote the science of population and Climate Change and capable of organising subtle methods of encouraging a slow-down in population growth.
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Re: Climate change

Postby Serpent on February 10th, 2020, 10:35 am 

doogles » February 10th, 2020, 5:23 am wrote:But don't you think we need to do something about it,

Yes, we have thought that before https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9285280.
Thinking's tanked already. We've identified and suggested till we're blue in the face; we've argued, debated, written and campaigned. Now, it's up to the arms manufacturers.
As a matter of fact, while I was walking up the local hill this morning, one thought crossed my mind as a starter. If international funds could be found, why not pay a bonus to couples in developing countries for each year they don't have children?

India, c. 1976: any man coming in for a vasectomy gets a transistor radio. Shrieks of outrage heard around the world.
, you sound as if you would like me to start panicking and running around in circles shouting

I don't want you to do anything. I merely pointed out that the IPCC report isn't "emotional" in the circumstances. I've done my panicking. I'll be dead before the worst of it hits, and I'm pretty much done weeping for the dolphins and zebras. Now I'm just sitting here, quietly resigned.
We need objective and constructive inputs,

I have none. Sorry.
But they are a 'dead loss' to my mind as far as being a promoter of slowing-down population growth is concerned. We need a body to promote the science of population and Climate Change and capable of organising subtle methods of encouraging a slow-down in population growth.

I just mentioned that other people have thought of this problem before. They didn't solve it. Maybe you will.
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Re: Climate change

Postby doogles on February 23rd, 2020, 6:17 am 

Since I last posted in this thread, I had a look at a Sceptics' site. I had doubts about some of the so-called science being espoused. One item claimed that although near-surface temperatures were showing an increase, those from satellites had not gone up since 1998. While looking for the raw data on this, I came across the work of Roy W Spencer.

This site -- https://www.drroyspencer.com/about/RoyW -- provides some of his working biography. "Spencer received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Before becoming a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming. Dr. Spencer’s research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE. He has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service. Not even Exxon-Mobil."

He has some interesting comments on Climate Change that are outside the IPCC square.

On this site -- https://www.drroyspencer.com/global-war ... r-manmade/ -- he claims "Believe it or not, very little research has ever been funded to search for natural mechanisms of warming … it has simply been assumed that global warming is man-made. This assumption is rather easy for scientists since we do not have enough accurate global data for a long enough period of time to see whether there are natural warming mechanisms at work.
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that the only way they can get their computerized climate models to produce the observed warming is with anthropogenic (human-caused) pollution. But they’re not going to find something if they don’t search for it. More than one scientist has asked me, “What else COULD it be?” Well, the answer to that takes a little digging… and as I show, one doesn’t have to dig very far. ...
You would think that we’d know the Earth’s ‘climate sensitivity’ by now, but it has been surprisingly difficult to determine. How atmospheric processes like clouds and precipitation systems respond to warming is critical, as they are either amplifying the warming, or reducing it. This website currently concentrates on the response of clouds to warming, an issue which I am now convinced the scientific community has totally misinterpreted when they have measured natural, year-to-year fluctuations in the climate system. As a result of that confusion, they have the mistaken belief that climate sensitivity is high, when in fact the satellite evidence suggests climate sensitivity is low."


In this paper, Spencer et al (2007; https://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content ... _07GRL.pdf) in Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations -- concluded "Our measured sensitivity of total (Short Wave + Long Wave) cloud radiative forcing to tropospheric temperature is -6.1 W m-2 K-1. (This equals 1/6.1 = 0.16 degrees C/Wm-2 -- my calculation). ... Since these intraseasonal oscillations represent a dominant mode of convective variability in the tropical troposphere, their behavior should be considered when testing the convective and cloud parameterizations in climate models that are used to predict global warming."

This figure for the sensitivity of cloud radiative forcing is in the same range of of the figures for surface temperature sensitivity over land masses of approximately 0.15 degrees C per Wm-2 that Idso was coming up with, in my last set of posts (in 8 experiments). Spencer's figures are for cloud radiative forcing. It may be stretching the comparisons a little, but in effect, if the radiative forcing of 300 ppm carbon dioxide at the surface equates to 1.6 Wm-2, then a doubling of this to 3.2 Wm-2 equates to a near-surface rise in temperature of 3.2 multiplied by 0.16, which equals approximately 0.5 degrees C. Like Idso's work, this figure of Spencer's was based on actual measurements of the radiative forcing and the atmospheric temperature using satellite measurement and not modelling, paleaontological data or Industrial era figures.

By the way, I found that the satellite-determined temperatures measured the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere and converted these into temperature-equivalents; they are correlated independently of near-surface temperature. The graphs were very similar however to the near-surface ground readings, and could not be taken IMO to indicate whether the temperatures were going to continue to go up or down in the future. But the January 2020 graph certainly does not support the common Sceptics' statement that there has been no warming since 1998.

If you need to question this scientist's credentials, have another look at his work-related biography.

I've just had a look at his web site. He is right up there with his view of Climate Change-- "Last week (17.2.2020) I was privileged to present an invited talk (PDF here) to the Winter Roundtable of the the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute in Pasadena, CA. The PPI meeting includes about 120 senior asset managers representing about $25 Trillion in investments. Their focus is on long-term investing with many managing the retirement funds of private sector and state employees. They had originally intended the climate change session to be a debate, but after numerous inquiries were unable to find anyone who was willing to oppose me."
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Re: Climate change

Postby TheVat on February 23rd, 2020, 11:20 am 

You're kidding. HIS biography is an objective source? Dr. Spencer is on the board of directors of the George C. Marshall Institute, a right-wing conservative think tank (which has received nearly a million dollars from Exxon Mobil). He is listed as an expert for the Heartland Institute, a libertarian pro-oil American think tank. Pretty much everything he's said publicly has been debunked, based on actual measurements of temp and radiative forcing. He infamously lied outright when he said the last ten years had actually seen cooling, when the last decade (at the time he made the statement, 2000-2009) was the hottest on record. He's outright denied multiple lines of evidence for positive feedback, to the extent that reputable scientists view him as a crank.

I have bad news, and I'm sorry to do this, but I will not accept further posts citing people with a pro-oil pro-right-wing connection and a clear failure to maintain scientific objectivity. And I certainly will not accept overt liars, which Spencer is. Science must remain apolitical and firmly wedded to truth.
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Re: Climate change

Postby TheVat on February 23rd, 2020, 2:26 pm 

https://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/05 ... er-bullet/

Roy Spencer has come up with yet another “silver bullet” to show that climate sensitivity is lower than IPCC estimates. I.e., he fits a simple 1-box climate model to the net flux of heat into the upper 700 m of the ocean, and infers a climate sensitivity of only about 1 °C (2x CO2). There are several flaws in his methods–inconsistent initial conditions, failure to use the appropriate data, and failure to account for ocean heating deeper than 700 m. (He fixed the last one in an update.) All of these flaws pushed his model to produce a lower climate sensitivity estimate. When the flaws are corrected, the model estimates climate sensitivities of at least 3 °C, which is the IPCC’s central estimate. ... while Spencer’s latest effort doesn’t really do any damage to the consensus position, it turns out that it does directly contradict the work he promoted in The Great Global Warming Blunder....


Here's the thing. We can keep going in this same tedious circle, with a new oil/coal industry shill being dragged out, the same bias and cherry-picking and "silver bullet" mindset being exposed, the same unfounded conspiracy theories being treated as if they had equal standing, the same complaints that anyone who agrees with a consensus of data-supported peer-reviewed researchers is agent of some stifling orthodoxy, yatta yatta yatta, or we could get on with constructive problem solving on the present and worsening effects of climate change.
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Re: Climate change

Postby Serpent on February 23rd, 2020, 2:40 pm 

And now for something completely depressing...
Did I say Germany and Japan were in the forefront of climate change mitigation?
Well, I take it back. https://lfpress.com/opinion/columnists/dyer-japan-germanys-anti-nuke-pro-coal-power-policies-defy-reasonSorry, sorry.
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Re: Climate change

Postby doogles on February 24th, 2020, 6:14 am 

That's a shame, TheVat! Quite naively, I accepted this fellow's biography at face value. I see where Wikipedia says he is a member of the CO2 Coalition, a member of a group of 55 scientists who believe that carbon dioxide plays a minor role in Climate Change.

I see that a number of his papers, like the one I used above for Climate Sensitivity, have been accepted by Geophysical Research Letters, which is a peer-reviewed Journal. Has this paper been questioned? Did the Editor and the reviewing peers make an error in accepting it for publication? What is going on? I'm not familiar with all this intrigue about 'climate change' personalities.

I looked at the link you provided (starting with https://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/05 ... er-bullet/). It had everything to do with one paper only, one that Spencer had published on ocean warming and climate sensitivity. And it confirmed that Spencer had acknowledged that he had made an error and that he had corrected it. I've seen no criticism of the above paper on Climate Sensitivity associated with Measured Cloud radiative forcing and temperatures. I tried to follow a couple of the links to Climate Sensitivity papers by Hansen in the trail of that link, but on both occasions, the site recorded something like 'no such site'.

This is a new experience in life for me. I've always been an independent thinker. I am not a member of any group of any kind. I was looking at the science as published and accepted by other scientists (peer-reviewed) and all of a sudden, I'm being told that such science is not acceptable to this forum, because there are 'questions' about the associations of the author publishing it.

As I've said many times, my opinion of the original science (by Hansen that 'global warming' is occurring), is that it was poorly based. He did not ensure that the worldwide weather stations whose data he used, had provided anything like homogeneous data over the century. He just went ahead and did the statistics before announcing he had detected 'global warming'. He then dogmatically stated that carbon dioxide was the cause, without repeating the work of Tyndall from the 1860s. He was the person who suggested that the UN should set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and it's now history that the IPCC appears to have assumed that Hansen was correct. As we know, it took a weatherman and 600 volunteers to check on the homogeneity of the weather stations, and in spite of appeals for more basic experimentation to be conducted in other areas, the most basic of science has not been conducted.

This applies to Climate Sensitivity as well. The IPCC uses what amounts to proxy data and modelling to produce a Climate Sensitivity factor and when two other scientists use real life experiments to produce Climate Sensitivity figures that are a fraction of those used by the IPCC, the latter being in a peer-reviewed Journal, I'm told that the science is unacceptable because of the associations, NOT THE SCIENCE, of the authors.

I'll leave it at that without discussing any more of the science, but I would like to reproduce the atmospheric temperature graph of Spencer's up to January 2020, because it negates the sceptics' proposition that the satellite record does not show a warming since 1998, and puts the current 'warming belief' (not necessarily carbon dioxide sensitivity) back on track. It was the pursuit of checking the sceptics' statement that "warming had not occurred since 1998" that brought me into contact with this graph by Roy Spencer. IPCC supporters should be pleased with this work of Spencer's. How could a biased scientist possibly produce a graph confirming 'global warming'?
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Re: Climate change

Postby TheVat on February 24th, 2020, 2:09 pm 

https://www.facingsouth.org/2011/09/cli ... -ties.html

First, though, some background on the controversial paper, which is under fire not for taking a minority position but for failing to adequately consider the scientific arguments of the majority.

In July, Spencer and his ESSC colleague William D. "Danny" Braswell had a paper [pdf] published in the geography journal Remote Sensing that looked at the effect of clouds on global warming. Spencer has long argued that Earth's climate is insensitive to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and that most warming can be attributed to natural variations in cloud cover. Unlike most comparable studies, Spencer's latest paper found that variations in clouds appeared to be more a cause of warming than an effect and concluded that clouds' role "remains an unsolved problem."

The paper soon made headlines, with Forbes reporting that "New NASA data blow gaping hole in global warming alarmism" and Fox News asking, "Does NASA data show global warming lost in space?" That coverage was guided by press statements put out by the University of Alabama and Spencer himself that made dramatic claims about the study's findings.

But the paper immediately came under criticism from other climate scientists, who among other things pointed out that attempting to refute a large and growing body of scientific insights into global warming with one satellite data set is impossible. Writing for the climate science blog RealClimate, Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Climate Analysis Section pointed to the paper's flaws and concluded:

...t is evident that this paper did not get an adequate peer review. It should not have been published. ... The bottom line is that there is NO merit whatsoever in this paper.

Soon after, the journal's editor-in-chief -- Vienna University of Technology professor Wolfgang Wagner -- resigned and apologized, saying the paper was not vetted properly:

[i]From a purely formal point of view, there were no errors with the review process. But, as the case presents itself now, the editorial team unintentionally selected three reviewers who probably share some climate sceptic notions of the authors. This selection by itself does not mean that the review process for this paper was wrong....

The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers. In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal.


This wasn't the first time other scientists found serious problems with the work of Spencer and his ESSC colleagues, as Trenberth detailed in another article he wrote about the controversy with John Abraham and Peter Gleick at The Daily Climate:

Their errors date to the mid-1990s, when their satellite temperature record reportedly showed the lower atmosphere was cooling. As obvious and serious errors in that analysis were made public, Spencer and [current ESSC Director John] Christy were forced to revise their work several times and, not surprisingly, their findings agree better with those of other scientists around the world: the atmosphere is warming.

Over the years, Spencer and Christy developed a reputation for making serial mistakes that other scientists have been forced to uncover. Last Thursday, for instance, the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres published a study led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientist Ben Santer. Their findings showed that Christy erred in claiming that recent atmospheric temperature trends are not replicated in models.

This trend continues: On Tuesday the journal Geophysical Research Letters will publish a peer-reviewed study by Texas A&M University atmospheric scientist Andrew Dessler that undermines Spencer's arguments about the role of clouds in the Earth's energy budget.


As the article notes, Spencer and Christy have a habit of serial mistakes, and both are, to my great lack of surprise, linked with political and pro-industrial groups.
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Climate Change Contrarians - claims examined

Postby TheVat on March 4th, 2020, 2:44 pm 

This is a new thread, in Personal Theories, for many of the posts that veered onto this topic in the older Climate Change thread.

A few things to be aware of:

If a climate contrarian claim is not responded to here, i.e. goes unchallenged in any way, this does not indicate endorsement of the the claim (or the quality of evidence and data analysis behind it) by SPCF or its members.

Any alliance with the fossil fuel industry, be it monetary contribution, former employment, board membership on a political think tank that promotes fossil fuels, or membership in a political coalition that promotes fossil fuels, is rightly considered to be a factor of bias and one that undermines good science. At least 97% of the world climatologists and atmospheric chemists/physicists reject attempts to form such connections, as a matter of professional integrity. The management of this website believe such integrity is of vital importance in doing good science.

We don't require "citation dumps" here, or massively long quotations, but your posts should reflect that you've looked at a broadly representative body of peer-reviewed research and should offer at least a small sampling from it. Also, please do not respond to criticism of the contrarian science with accusatory language, e.g. insisting that any professional (or forum member) who supports the IPCC findings on anthropogenic global warming is part of a conspiracy or is somehow stunted by "orthodoxy." Thank you.
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Re: Climate Change Contrarians - claims examined

Postby doogles on March 22nd, 2020, 4:50 pm 

I have some literature to discuss. I scanned a number of papers in Google Scholar under the heading of CLIMATE SENSITIVITY FACTORS and limited the dates of search to 2019 and 2020.

I get an error message when I submit the whole article.
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