Climate science: the debate, the eventual solution, and the best cheap seats from which to watch the action.

Summary:  A look at the public’s view of the debate among climate scientists, and what it shows about us.

Debates among layman about technical matters say nothing about the actual issues — but reveal much about the state of the American public.  So it is with the debates about climate and economics.  Both reflect the history-changing insight by our ruling elites that Americans have become weak and foolish, easy subjects controlled by propaganda.  Our character and minds have weakened, so that even intelligent and educated Americans become subject to simple propaganda. 

This website has examined this dynamic in economics.  Such as how so many people have come to believe a false history (example here) and faux theory (i.e., that cutting taxes increases revenue).   Did we believe such foolish things in the 1950’s?  1960’s?  Nothing comes to mind.

The public debate about climate change has similar dynamics.  The professions consists of cutting edge science. 

  • Uncertain data about past and present trends.  Using a few long-term proxies measure past changes in temperature and precipitation.  Interpreting crude measures, such as ocean temperatures derived from bucketfuls of  seawater, to determine global temperatures.  Using weather stations designed to measure runway conditions to detect tiny long-term temperature changes. 
  • Immature models of global climate dynamics, with uncertain understanding about basic factors.  Such as the interrelationship of humidity, clouds, and how the resulting feedbacks increasing or decreasing temperature.
  • Almost unknown sciences for which there is provocative data but little knowledge of causal mechanisms.  Such as influence of solar and volcanic events on climate.

All of these issues are debated — and will ultimately be resolved — in the scientific literature (see a small sample of the literature on the FM reference page Science & climate – studies & reports).   The solution will probably come slowly due to gross underfunding of research.  Today climate science is a “garage” science, with individuals or small groups tackling questions requiring large teams of multi-disciplinary experts.  Eventually answers will emerge.  Either through new instruments, new theories, or the slow accumulation of data and analysis.

While we wait, it’s fun to watch greenies see lists of peer-reviewed articles debating fundamental climate science issues.  For them these articles don’t exist, and they can do nothing but change the subject.  To acknowledge the debate among scientists destroys the foundation for massive immediate public policy measures.  Odd that they often label as “deniers” those who are skeptical about the magnitude and causes of anthropogenic global warming, when so often they deny the simple fact that a debate among scientists exists about the global warming of the past two centuries.

For those interested in watching the real players at work, what’s a good cheap seat from which to watch the action?  I recommend the website of Roger Pielke, Sr.  It chronicles the battles on many fronts of the climate science debate (thought not all fronts; he does not discuss solar influences), mostly discussing new journal articles.   These will shock the green faithful, who are kept in ignorance of such heresy.  Here are some of his recent articles.

About hot issues

About clouds, the missing negative feedback in current climate models?

About soot and aerosols, the too often ignored climate drivers

About Roger Pielke Sr.

From his Wikipedia entry:

  • From 1971-1974 he worked as a research scientist at the NOAA Experimental Meteorology Lab
  • from 1974-1981 he was an associate professor at the U of Virginia,
  • from 1981–2006 was a professor at Colorado State U, from 1985–1988 was deputy of their Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere
  • from 1999-2006 was Colorado State Climatologist
  • Since 2005 he has served as Sr. Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at UC-Boulder and emeritus professor of the Dept of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State U.

Pielke has served as Chairman and Member of the American Meteorological Society Committee on Weather Forecasting and Analysis, as Chief Editor of Monthly Weather Review, was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 1982 and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2004, has served as Editor-in-Chief of the US National Science Report to the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, as Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and as Editor of Scientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere.

For more information

For a selection of articles showing the climate science debate see the FM reference page Science & climate – studies & reports.

FM posts about the sociology and politics of climate science:

  1. A look at the science and politics of global warming, 12 June 2008
  2. President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science, 7 August 2008
  3. “Aliens cause global warming”: wise words from the late Michael Crichton, 15 November 2008
  4. My “wish list” for the climate sciences in 2009, 2 January 2009
  5. Peer review of scientific work – another example of a flawed basis for public policy, 22 January 2009
  6. Science in action, a confused and often nasty debate among scientists, 5 February 2009
  7. Richard Feynmann, one of the 20th centuries greatest scientists, talks to us about climate science, 12 February 2009
  8. An opportunity to judge for yourself the adequacy of today’s climate science, 2 March 2009
  9. A note on the green religion, one of the growth industries in America, 17 March 2009
  10. An example of important climate change research hidden, lest it spoil the media’s narrative, 22 May 2009
  11. More attempts to control the climate science debate using smears and swarming, 19 October 2009
  12. An important letter sent to the President about the danger of climate change, 24 October 2009
  13. About those headlines of the past century about global cooling…, 2 November 2009 — Exaggeations on the other side.
  14. Important News, still breaking, about Climate Science propaganda, 21 November 2009
  15. A look at global warming written in a cooler and more skeptical time, giving us a better understanding of climate science, 23 November 2009
  16. Hot news about climate change. The picture rapidly changes as the curtains open on things long hidden., 25 January 2010
  17. An important step to take before we spend a trillion dollars to save the planet from global warming, 31 January 2010
  18. Quote of the day – hidden history for people who rely on the mainstream media for information, 12 February 2010
  19. The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010
  20. A real-time example of the birth and spread of climate propaganda, 9 March 2010
  21. Quote of the day: ‘you must spend a trillon dollars to fight global warming (sorry I lost the supporting data)’, 4 April 2010
  22. Apologies are due George Will, vindicated from charges that he is a climate criminal, 27 April 2010
  23. Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet, 24 May 2010
  24. Slowly more evidence emerges, and more scientists speak out about drivers of climate change, 26 May 2010
  25. “Most scientific papers are probably wrong” – New Scientist, 20 June 2010
  26. “Climate Change: what do we know about the IPCC?”, 27 June 2010

Afterword and contact info

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