Skip to content
About these ads

Is it possible to debate climate change with true believers? See the replies to Thursday’s post. Comments welcomed!

5 February 2012

Summary: The comments in reply to the posts on the FM website often provide valuable information.  Sometimes new information and insights.  Sometimes revealing the tactics and thinking of factions in our society.  The posts about global warming produce especially interesting replies, showing how the lay true believers defend their faith.  Here we have some instructive and entertaining examples.  This is the third in a series; at the end are links to other chapters.

Contents

This post examines comments in reply to the previous chapter in this series: Good news! Global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now.

  1. Hoyticus asks an important question
  2. Pro-AGW comments often invent assertions which they can easily refute
  3.  Pro-AGW comments usually consider scientists to be authorities, unless they disagree with AGW orthodoxy. Then they’re cranks.
  4. Pro-AGW comments usually show little understanding of the scientific method
  5. Pro-AGW comments often display no signs of having read the skeptics’ work and have almost blind faith in computer models
  6.  Other chapters in this series
  7. For more information:  posts debating climate change issues

(1)  About debating climate change

Hoyticus posted a comment asking an important question:

How do you convince hardcore greens to read {articles like} this and reconsider their beliefs?

For a test we have the thousand or so comments to the 118 posts on the FM website about climate science.  No matter how mild the analysis, no matter how eminent the scientists quoted, the true believers reject anything casting doubt on their beliefs.  This suggests three possible theories.

  • Hundreds of dialogs using different methods of engagement have produced zero results.  The search continues for ways to get through to them. Please post your ideas in the comments!
  • We cannot usefully communicate with true believers — people with an idée fixe.  Of course these people exist on both sides.  Such as the solar enthusiasts on the skeptic sites, who believe in the dominant influence of solar variation on Earth’s climate on most time scales.
  • We cannot move those who profess to worry about global warming only as a means to change our social and economic systems.  Such as seen in Naomi Klein’s “Capitalism vs. the Climate“, The Nation, 28 November 2011. See replies by Andrew Revkin at the NYT and James Delingpole at the Daily Telegraph (Only a totalitarian New World Order can save us now), and JoNova (Naomi Klein’s crippling problem with numbers).

Summing up my experience,  in November 2008 I listed the 7 common rebuttals of warmistas (laypeople with religious-like belief in global warming).  We can see some of these at work in the comments to Friday’s post.

  1. Pro-AGW comments often invent assertions which they can easily refute.
  2. Pro-AGW comments often display no signs of having read the skeptics’ work.
  3. Pro-AGW comments usually show little understanding of the scientific method.
  4. Pro-AGW comments usually show little or no awareness of the authoritative reports on this issue.
  5. Pro-AGW comments usually consider scientists to be authorities, unless they disagree with AGW orthodoxy.  Then they’re cranks.
  6. Pro-AGW comments usually show little or no knowledge of the long struggle to force some climate scientists to release data and methods.
  7. They illustrate the pro-AGW faith in computer models.
  8. They illustrate the irrationality of the “precautionary principle” as commonly used.

(2)  Pro-AGW comments often invent assertions which they can easily refute

“The data you present simply does not suggest what you claim it does. The ‘leveling off’ you note is simply not inconsistent with a warming model, none of which claim warming is a simple, linear pathway.”

Several people gave this rebuttal, of the general type most frequently seen from warmistas on the FM website.  Quite daft, as the I made no claims about future temperatures.  As seen in the title: “Good news!  Global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now.”  The post gives a long quotes from the conclusions of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project about recent temperature trends, and shows graphs of the various long-term datasets.

(3)  Pro-AGW comments usually consider scientists to be authorities, unless they disagree with AGW orthodoxy.  Then they’re cranks.

“You interpret the fact that a trough is at the same level as a past peak as evidence of stabilization. It isn’t.  … That is why serious people look at longer term trends and do multiple comparison rather than cherry pick data. … You are cherry picking data. And cherry picking scholars.”

That post quoted (without comment):

  • one of the world’s top dozen climate scientists (James Hanson of NASA),
  • the science director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who runs one of the world’s most important climate data series
  • the conclusions of a major project, by a team of the world’s top experts, that just conducted a reanalysis of the land surface temperature data.

To true believers scientists such as these are authorities — not to be questioned — only when they agree with AGW dogma.  Disagreement means they’re not “serious people”, and dismissed without the need for rebuttal.  The comment about “cherry picking” scholars assumes by faith (without the need for proof) that there are others scholars who disagree.  Amen.

(4)  Pro-AGW comments usually show little understanding of the scientific method

“You are cherry picking data.”
— emailed rebuttal

“Lets not try and cherry pick data. Hansen has been very clear on warming. … What the writer here failed to say, is that 2011 was still the 11th warmest year on record – and it was the warmest La Nina Year ever recorded”
Peter Mizla

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
— Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

Science is to a large extent a recursive process: collecting data, applying it to theories, revising theories.  New data drives the process.  Applying new data is the opposite of cherry picking, especially when done so while showing the full dataset.

Cherry-picking .. is selecting statistics that support a particular thesis and drawing attention to those numbers, while ignoring other figures that might lead to a different conclusion. The amount of available data makes all the difference; the more numbers to choose among, the more certain one is to find some potentially useful “cherries, ” ripe for the picking.
More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues by Joel Best (Professor of Sociology, U DE), University of California Press (2004)

There was no cherry picking here.

(a)  The previous post (first chapter of this series) was What do we know about our past climate, and its causes?, which accurately described trend of the past two centuries:  “Earth has been warming since the early 19th century {due to} a combination of natural and anthropogenic causes — with the strength of anthropogenic factors increasing dramatically since WWII.”

(b)  For context the second post included four graphs, all showing the longer-term warming (from 1950, 1980, and two from 1978).

(c)  The scientists quoted carefully put recent trends in a larger context (links in the original post):

“Thus, although the current global warming graphs (Figs. 2, 3 and the upper part of Fig. 7) are suggestive of a slowdown in global warming, this apparent slowdown may largely disappear as a few more years of data are added.”
— James Hanson, NASA

“The world has warmed since the start of the current warming spell that started around 1980 and each decade has been warmer than the previous one.”
— David Whitehouse (former Science correspondence of the BBC, PhD Astrophysics from U Manchester, with the Global Warming Policy Foundation)

“Some people draw a line segment covering the period 1998 to 2010 and argue that we confirm no temperature change in that period. However, if you did that same exercise back in 1995, and drew a horizontal line through the data for 1980 to 1995, you might have falsely concluded that global warming had stopped back then. This exercise simply shows that the decadal fluctuations are too large to allow us to make decisive conclusions about long term trends based on close examination of periods as short as 13 to 15 years.”
— From the conclusions of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project

(5)  Pro-AGW comments often display no signs of having read the skeptics’ work and have almost blind faith in computer models

The following are excerpts from Peter Mizla‘s comment.  All of these topics have been extensively debated, even in the general media.  But true believers suffer from confirmation bias (see Wikipedia), necessary to protect their faith from contrary evidence and logic.

(a)  Melting sea ice

Mizla: “There could be 85% less ice in the arctic  by 2020 or even earlier in Late Summer-compared to 30 years ago.”

Arctic sea ice extent has decreased but Antarctic has not.  This suggests factors at work other than rising CO2, probably changing wind patterns and soot deposition. For more about this see:

(b)  Effects of rising CO2

Mizla: “Hansen has been very clear on warming. We are still 0.8 degrees C above the PI {preindustrial} era. C02 levels are nearing 400 ppm, the highest in early 20 million years. We still have lots of warming in the pipeline. … What it it be like in the early 2030s when we see the effects of C02 at 393 ppm? By then actual C02 will be near 450 ppm – and the ability to stop a 2 degree C rise from the PI era will be impossible.”

{Update} First, do people citing these number understand them? PPM means parts per million.  Today CO2 is 0.0387% of the atmosphere by volume.  That’s .000397 of the Earth’s atmosphere:  a tiny trace gas.  The projected increases are a high rate of growth but small in absolute terms.  The forecasted increase results largely from amplification through increased water vapor.

Second, a major uncertainty in the climate sciences concerns the effects of various factors.  Some natural, such as solar cycles.  Many anthropogenic, as described in “Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases“, Roger Pielke Sr et al, Eos, 10 November 2009:

{We shouldn’t} neglect the diversity of other, important first-order human climate forcings that also can have adverse effects on the climate system. … These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect

  • of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g., Rosenfeld et al., 2008],
  • the influence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway et al., 2004]), and
  • the role of changes in land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009].

Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005]. As with CO2, the lengths of time that they affect the climate are estimated to be on multidecadal time scales and longer.

Today’s models are built with the available data and theories, both still inadequate given the size and difficulty of the problem (hence their poor forecasting ability, both in time and on a regional level).  Before panicking we should remember that these alarming forecasts result from these lightly tested models, and that already some scientists’ forecasts to the general public (more extreme than they dare write in peer-reviewed articles) have proven false.  Here’s one of the too many examples:

(c)  Increased incidence and magnitude of extreme weather

Mizla: ” the extreme weather anomalies we are seeing today are from 25 years ago when CO2 was in the 360s.”

What extreme weather?  This has become a favorite narrative of the news media, since much of the world has only brief weather records — so new records are set daily, somewhere.  Most studies find few indications of increased incidence or magnitude of extreme weather.  For example, see these reports about hurricanes and global warming, tropical cyclone activity, and US tornado activity.

The most famous recent event attributed to global warming was the 2010 heat wave in Russia.  The major investigations found long-term climate trends had little or no effect.  See the NOAA investigation, and the comprehensive assessment published in the 19 March 2011 issue of Geophysical Research Letters (open version here).

Update:  another climate disruption myth — about the US blizzards in 2010

At the time the news media feeds us big guessing about the weather is climate change:narrative:  “We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change“, New York Times, 27 February 2010.  Years later scientists tell the true story (but we’re no longer listening): “Attribution of the Extreme U.S. East Coast Snowstorm Activity of 2010“, Siegfried Schubert, Journal of Climate, in press — Slides about the study here.

(6) Other chapters in this series

  1. What we know about our past climate, and its causes
  2. Good news!  Global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now.
  3. Is it possible to debate climate change with true believers? See the replies to Thursday’s post.  Comments welcomed!
  4. What can climate scientists tell about the drivers of future warming?
  5. What can climate scientists tell us about the drivers of future warming?  – part two of two
  6. The slow solar cycle is getting a lot of attention. What are its effect on us?
  7. What we’re learning about climate, and recommendations

(7)  For more information:  posts debating climate change issues

About these ads
26 Comments leave one →
  1. Grimgrin permalink
    5 February 2012 1:25 am

    We could ask exactly the same thing of you.

    1) Is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere changing?
    2) What interactions occur between atmospheric CO2, and infra red radiation reflected and emitted by the earth?
    3) How does changing the concentration of CO2 affect that interaction?

    None of these questions are about or ecology or economics or climate or anything else that’s fuzzy and open to debate. They are all physics, chemistry and math.

    You can cherry pick as many bad studies and measuring errors as you want then lard them over with as much rhetoric about global warming being a cult as you like, but until you can come up with a fundamentally different answer to these three questions than “Yes, it’s increasing; absorbs, and then re-emits in such a way as to trap a percentage of the emitted energy; and a a greater amount of energy will be trapped”, you’re saying exactly nothing relevant.

    Like

    • jonh permalink
      5 February 2012 3:00 am

      Did you read part 4 of this post?

      Physics, chemistry and math are open to debate,

      Like

    • 5 February 2012 3:11 am

      I see we have another person getting their information from the Sunday science section. Ignorance pretending to be understanding.

      (1) The interaction between CO2 and the earth’s temperature is not a simple matter. Co2 is a tiny tiny trace element in the air, and its increase produces only a tiny increase in the Earth’s termperature. The temperature rise results from the Co2-driven heat being amplified by an increase in the atomosphere’s water vapor content (a far more powerful greenhouse agent). The dynamics of that increase are complex and not well understood. To mention just one factor, increased water vapor produces more clouds — which block sunlight.

      (2) As the Eos article states, there are several other powerful dynamics at work. Some natural, such as volcanoes and the long cycles (eg, causing the first century of the current warming cycle). Some anthropogenic, such as aerosols. Aerosols are powerful when airborne — both as reflectors of sunlight and nuclei for cloulds and rain — and when depositied (eg, soot on ice). The action and interaction of these factors are not well understood.

      (3) The atmosphere holds only a tiny fraction of the heat held in the oceans. Again the dyanmics of the full sea-air heat flows are not well understood. For one example google “Trenberth missing heat”.

      This is why climate models are so large, and why there are so many of them. And why current results differ from forecasts (although not yet in a statistically significant degree), despite the expertise and effort put into their design. None of this would be true if things were as simple as Grimgrin implies.

      Conclusion

      The fascinating aspect of this is that this simple descriptino — climate 101 level, found from the intro of any textbook, encyclopedia, or Wikipedia — is unknown to Gringrin. And probably will remain unknown to Grimgrin ten minutes after reading this. Confirmation bias, as I said in this post.

      Like

    • TheAlchemist permalink
      5 February 2012 2:30 pm

      I run up against a related problem (working in the related field of pollution monitoring) regularly; how the public views models. The general public believes that the product of a modelling run is a window to the future and can somehow be shown to be a Truth. If somebody produces a model run that shows a new industrial facility is going to dump a load of awful stuff on their house, they wave it around like it’s proof of the end times.

      “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful. … Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful.
      Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces (1987), George EP Box and Norman R. Draper, pages 74 and 424

      But a second run, with slightly tweaked variables, produces a different outcome! Their home is no longer (unduly) affected! But of course the first run is the real one in their eyes, and even if the modellers disavow it as inferior it will be taken as Truth.

      But the scientists know the truth; models aren’t crystal balls. Models aren’t even a representation of reality. Models demonstrate probabilities, and are frequently wrong when compared with measurements even when well developed and fed with quality data, and it’s not clear that the picture presented to the general public is a well developed model fed with sufficient amounts of quality data. And even if they are, model runs aren’t destiny, they’re likelihoods based on an incomplete understanding of a inhumanly complex system.

      Does it mean they’re wrong? No. But it does mean that taking them as Truth is an act of faith, not knowledge.

      Like

    • 5 February 2012 4:58 pm

      Thanks for this valuable perspective from someone using models!

      For a background to such issues I recommend these two artilces:

      Like

    • Matt D. permalink
      5 February 2012 3:55 pm

      An off-topic aside: In the case of citizens whose homes are potentially threatened by pollution from a new development, I actually think it is completely rational for them to cautious and reactionary. The potential upside to them from allowing the new development is small, and the potential damage if it goes wrong is devastating. If there is even the smallest likelihood of a negative outcome, why would they care if a bunch of “scientists” came up with a “model” that says all is well? The scientists are outsiders just like the industrialists. Neither group has any heart-felt concern for the well-being of the citizens, and neither should be trusted.

      The fact that their initial alarm was based on a model later declared faulty is irrelevant. The only relevant fact is the possibility of disaster. Once demonstrated by the initial model result, it rightly took on a life of its own.

      The two operative dynamics in this case are risk-aversion and (dis-)trust.

      Like

    • Grimgrin permalink
      6 February 2012 8:46 am

      Actually I get my information about global warming from a Ph.D. oceanographer who’s class notes I sometimes proofread.

      We’re trapping more energy in a system. This is going to increase the equilibrium temperature of the system. The effects are complicated and still being studied, but the overall mechanism is actually pretty simple.

      Can you show me that somehow science is wrong about the physical properties of carbon dioxide, or wrong about it’s concentration in the atmosphere, or that every joule of energy trapped is offset by another one reflected by clouds and particulates?

      Because if you can’t then you have no business pretending I’m the one clinging ignorantly to a fixed idea.

      Like

    • 6 February 2012 3:11 pm

      (1) It’s does not matter HOW well-educated was the person who told you a bedtime story. What you said was too simplistic, hence not accurate. Nice appeal to authority, however. That’s the key part of telling any urban legend (“My uncle works at 3 Mile Island nuclear plant, and he tell’s me…”).

      (2) You are making the assertion — not I — that increasing one element of the atmosphere from .000397 of the Earth’s atmosphere to .0005 over 5 decades (perahps less) will have a large effect (rather than, for example, raising temperatures by 0.1%). Try giving an accurate description. Don’t forget to account for the feedback effects. In rebuttal all I have to do is show that your picture is inadequate, not explaining how a tiny rise in CO2 produces such a large change in temperature (btw — the mechanism is nothing like that of a greenhouse).

      (3) My point was that your crayon drawing bore no relationship to actual climate dynamics. Which are in fact VERY complex, which is why climate models are large and complex — and scientists debate the magnitude of co2’s effects. Giving us a false picture and raising an alarm tells us much about you, but nothing about the world.

      (4) Rather than giving a false picture, you might point to actual research. But warmista’s avoid a reality-based approach, as it forces them to acknowledge — or refuse to acknowledge — the debate among scientists about these things.

      Like

  2. 5 February 2012 10:40 am

    OK, then – given your understanding of the current state of scientific knowledge about AGW:
    a) what do you believe are the stakes, and
    b) what would you propose for public policy in countries of the developed world?

    Like

    • 5 February 2012 4:37 pm

      Oser, thank you for asking that important question!

      (1) The stakes were described in the summary to chapter one:

      Climate change has destroyed civilizations in the past, and might in the future. Fortunately we have technology. Unfortunately that requires time to develop and implement, therefore we need science to provide forecasts.

      (2) Public policy recommendations

      The recommendations advocated since 2008 on this website:

      • far more funding for alternative energy sources, including modest tax credits for implementation much more R&D, and
      • far larger public funding for climate science (much of the debate results from inadequate funding of unglamorous but essential data collection and processing systems)
      • more policy input to the climate sciences (which are largely public-funded).

      For details about the last 2 items see My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009:

      What would put the climate sciences on track to meet our public policy needs? Here’s my list of things that must be done, whatever the cost — although it would be trivial compared, for instance, to global military spending.

      1. Raise the standards when applying science research to public policy questions.
      2. Provide greater transparency of data and methods used in climate science research.
      3. Provide third party review of the data, analysis, and modeling is necessary.
      4. Improve the various global climate data collection and analysis systems (eg, satellite, radiosonde, and surface)
      5. Rationally apply the precautionary principle.

      Like

  3. 5 February 2012 12:04 pm

    “How do you convince hardcore greens to read {articles like} this and reconsider their beliefs?”

    You have about as much chance of getting a Jehovah’s Witness to reconsider their beliefs.

    Like

    • 5 February 2012 5:16 pm

      Sad but IMO true. Look at Grimgin’s comment. Previous comments show Grimgin to be intelligent and well-educated. Will we see a response to the above brief climate 101 lesson? If so, will it be anything other then a display of confirmation bias — with contrary information “erased” in order to prevent Cognitive dissonance.

      I dislike resorting to this psycho-babble, but I see no other way to describe this behavior.

      Like

  4. 5 February 2012 2:40 pm

    Everything may get more, stay the same or get less , and we really dont know , whether its economy , weather or disease . I think its a problem if planning concentrates on economic growth , global warming ,or the absence of a new infection . I will never forget at junior school, the end of a Maths lesson , one of us kids started to ask ” what if .. ” The teacher snapped “there is no what if.”
    Was it Gladwell ? the term pre-mortem . You design a wonderful project . Imagine x months /yrs on ; the project has failed . Why ?
    The other thing is that , if we are looking at Problem : Possible Global Warming Scenario , are we actually dealing with it ? The problem would hit equatorial , low lying and low rainfall areas most .The problem would be global IF we beleive all human lives are equally valuable . Maybe we need to do something about the importance of the UN .

    Like

  5. 5 February 2012 5:44 pm

    A generic reply to rebuttals to the post “Good news! Global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now.”

    I’ve received several well thought out rebuttals, explaining that temperatures have not stabilized. Or that insufficient time has passed to say they have stabilized. All state, in some form, that “you are wrong to believe that… ” This shows a mis-reading of the post.

    I quoted, without comment, a range of climate scientists who believe that global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now. They also state that this is consensus. This is impressive IMO as the scientists quoted include two mainstream scientists, a skeptic, and the Berkeley Earth Temperature project (experts specifically assembled to resolve this debate).

    Some people believe that they’re wrong. Which is fine, of course. Still, I am amazed at their self-esteem. So confidently to dismiss the conclusions of so many experts in their own field about something so basic as an evaluation of a simple time series. This is exactly the behavior I described as Pro-AGW comments usually consider scientists to be authorities, unless they disagree with AGW orthodoxy. Then they’re cranks.

    For more examples see High school science facts prove global warming! Skeptical scientists humiliated by this revelation!, 31 December 2008.

    Like

  6. 5 February 2012 5:59 pm

    I find the best approach to dealing with true believers is picking away indirectly. For example, it appears the computer models are always wrong: Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong“, David H. Freedman, website of Scientific American, 26 October 2011 — “Financial-risk models got us in trouble before the 2008 crash, and they’re almost sure to get us in trouble again”.

    Hence, computer generated climate models are also incorrect.
    .
    .
    FM Note: I added the full citation for the article.

    Like

    • 5 February 2012 6:54 pm

      Despite the catchy title, Freedman’s thesis is wrong.

      Economic models are often correct — despite the immature state of economic science, and that they’re modeling human dynamics which change over time. And models of the physical world — where the laws do not change — are very often correct. That’s why NASA can boost a craft into space and know exactly where it will be years from now.

      More accurately, there is a “space” in which we have good data and theory. Models drawn to predict those dynamics often work (not always. Models drawn where we have little accurate data and poorly tested theories make less accurate forecasts. They’re still useful for scientists (see Kuhn etc), but provide a weak foundation on which to design public policy.

      Like

    • 6 February 2012 6:21 pm

      Economics aside (which is not a science, but rather an ideology such as capitalism or Marxism, as far I am concerned), the interesting point of the article concerns geophysical models. Does one really want to base their society on a model?

      I’m going to disagree with the assertion that NASA will know exactly where a spacecraft will be years from now. The solution in those models is not exact. An exact solution is mathematically impossible as the satellite and Earth do not exist in a void, See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-body_problem. If one could produce an exact solution to a three body problem then the Nobel Prize is a sure thing. (A small margin of error is usually good enough, anyway. If one is within a few feet or even miles at that scale it is probably good enough.)

      A model of the sort employed by NASA uses an approximation method (which particular method I do not know). In quantum mechanics, which I did study (albeit 20 years ago), perturbation theory (mainly) is employed for anything more complicated than a hydrogen atom. The more complicated the system, the greater the approximation (and the less likely it will be the actual measured result). Climate, which is more complicated still and includes chaotic behavior besides, would be very difficult to get anywhere near the mark.. Its computer models are therefore even more susceptible to error, and even if not, the final result may not be anything close to the actual real work observation anyway.

      Like

  7. Whirlwind permalink
    5 February 2012 9:46 pm

    Suprised you didn’t mention Michael Mann in here and the whole Climate gate fiasco.

    Like

    • 5 February 2012 10:02 pm

      Mann was a bit player in the Climategate revelations. Pending litigation attempts to force Penn State to release his emails; which might prove interesting. The climategate emails and documents were from the UK’s Climate Research Unit, with Phil Jones in center stage.

      Like

  8. 6 February 2012 12:41 am

    Beleivers , Do what the Police do . Point out how your initiatives have succeeded ! The temperature has stabilised .

    Like

  9. Marvin permalink
    6 February 2012 5:30 am

    For a truly amazing survey of how interest groups have managed to quash scientific researchers is Michael Crichton’s lecture at Caltech : “Aliens Cause Global Warming” {7 January 2003}.

    Like

  10. 8 February 2012 2:16 pm

    Another rebutal (email by a reader):

    “{This post} was a dog whistle to climate change deniers — as indeed the FULL title of your post, which began with the words “Good News!” makes clear.”

    This is fasctinating, as are so many of the outraged protests about this post.

    (a) A pause in warming IS good news, quite obviously. This comment shows the thinking of a true believer. The facts are less important than the dogma. Warming appears to have paused — so they deny it. A pause in warming is a good thing — but they deny that to.

    (b) The “dog whistle” comment also shows the true believer’s belief that facts are deployed only as necessary to support dogma. When contrary to dogma they must be surpressed, lest these facts give comfort to heritics and infidels.

    These people are dangerous, hindering our ability to clearly see the world and adapt to its constant changes. We have science as a guide, but true believers (whatever their cause) will corrupt or destroy it if they can.

    Like

  11. themurr permalink
    13 February 2012 7:07 am

    Late to the party but had a thought. The answer of course is the answer to all sufficiently intractable problems; nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure. Also, on modeling climate, most systems including the solar system are unstable systems (though that one is over a long enough time scale that it’s stable for as long as we’re around). The whole point is there are methods for modeling things that account for where the models break down, finding where the bifurcation points are, that sort of thing (hurray nonlinear dynamics). In other words, climate is a combination of physics and chemistry and math and other sciences that are not intractable, as opposed to changing some people’s minds.

    Like

    • 13 February 2012 2:13 pm

      (1) Re: models

      This post is not discussing the science, but discussions among laymen. The former rolls along no matter what folly and ignornace dominates the layfolks. BUT the public discussion determines public policy, hence its importance.

      (2) You get the best of thread award for the Aliens quote.
      .

      Like

  12. 17 February 2012 9:48 pm

    I’m a meteorologist. It just shocks me how the talk of warming or non-warming focuses on small segments of the climate record; lately the period of 1998-2011 are in focus. Keep in mind that this is a very complex, not well understood system. There are multiple cycles superimposed on the one you are trying to analyze.

    Simply put 1998 was the most intense El Nino in recorded history. The year 2011 was mostly dominated by La Nina. That 2011 was still the 11th warming year in history speaks volumes to me!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,485 other followers

%d bloggers like this: