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« Jack Murtha should apologize to the Marines | Main | Michael Crichton: Buy Bjorn Lomborg’s ‘Cool It’ »

August 10, 2007

Comments

George

There is virtually no valid peer review of this global warming "science." Steve McIntyre has documented this all too well on his blog at http://www.climateaudit.org. First he analyzed and devastated the Mann study which gave us the infamous global warming hocky stick. He continues to scrutinize more studies. Even when he is on review committees which require source data to be available, he can't get it. The runaround they give him is almost comical but it really is a tragedy.

Dr. James Hansen who runs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is most responsible for these bad data that you point to in this blog entry. He has made it official GISS policy that they will not release its temperature aggregation and adjustment methodologies. He refused to cooperate with the McIntyre investigation. This is the same man who accused the Bush administration of trying to censor his views on climate change. Does this sound like a man who should be in charge of a taxpayer funded organization designed discover the science of the global climate? He should be fired.

This example of Wizard of Oz science from NASA (you are not allowed to see behind the curtain) is only the tip of the iceberg. Another part of the iceberg which McIntyre is working on and has yet to reach the mainstream media is the quality of the weather stations used to measure the earth's temperature. He has been attempting to identify, often with much difficulty, the stations used in each particular study. With the help of blog readers and other blogs, pictures of the stations are coming in. Some are right next to air conditioners; others are in the middle of a parking lot. This kind of science barely qualifies for a high school science fair.

George

Check out the image here. It is an example of one of those temperature sensors that is found the U.S. to be warmer in the last decade.

Christopher Taylor

The research is valid and correct, but it is for the United States only.

And yeah, a lot of the world's temperature stations are right next to heat sources. Curious how they keep recording greater and greater temperatures as a result.

Kevin

"I wonder what explains the 1930s heat wave."

The sun. It's temperamental. The sooner we get used to this, the sooner we can stop wasting money trying to tell it how hot to make us.

Kevin

Hey, did this blog finally realize that humans have nothing to do with global warming since I've been on sabbatical?

If so, you guys make me happy.

Nicholas

Let's not be TOO premature/confident, Kevin.

I don't think there's very strong evidence to prove that CO2 is responsible for what warming may have occurred. But I also don't think there's much evidence to disprove that theory. The evidence they have on the pro-side is surprisingly flimsy when you get right to do it, but absence of proof is not proof of absence.

Clearly the temperature records are very suspect. People like Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts are working hard to keep the guys who collect and maintain the data honest. They have a long way to go because these guys still refuse to share their data and methods properly. But with more attention like this, that may be solved.

I sure hope so. Openness is part of science and they should recognize that.

jj mollo

I think this is an example of very healthy science. Somebody finds evidence that discredits your evidence, so then you come back with better evidence. I have no doubt that a lot of these sensors are not properly maintained or evaluated. This is evidence counter to the Global Warming hypothesis, and it's a good thing that people do this kind of work. It will make the climatologists a lot more careful.

Some years ago somebody came up with proof that NASAs satellites were all giving wrong numbers for temperature. It caused a huge panic in the remote sensing field and it was a year before it all got straightened out and NASA came up with a way to correct their measurements. The point is that scientists are subject to evidence. It's not just a conspiracy.

I'm personally still convinced that Global Warming is a real thing and very dangerous. I would certainly love to see evidence that it wasn't, but I don't expect that there will be a lot of that forthcoming.

Freeman Dyson, by the way, is a GW skeptic. He is right that we aren't doing a very good job yet at measuring things. People can't decide whether trees are helping or hurting. Some people think that Asian smog is reflecting solar heat, other people think it is trapping it. Popular Science has suggested that we could completely reverse the anticipated course of GW by painting all our roofs white. I tried that on my porch, by the way. It seems to be a little cooler this summer, but I never measured so I don't know for sure.

Basically there is more we don't know than what we know, but I certainly think there's enough reason already to be worried.

Estimates of the age of the universe are an example of how science gets close to the truth. In 1750, they thought that 6000 years was a good estimate. By 1850 scientist thought it might well be infinite. Lord Kelvin changed his own estimate half a dozen times, ending up with 10-30 thousand years based on the idea that the sun was chemical. By 1960 it was 15-18 billion years based on the Big Bang theory. Recently it was lowered to 12-15 billion based on new evidence. I don't know what it is now, but I'm pretty sure it's in the multi-billion range. Maybe someday we'll know it as accurately as we can measure gravity. People will be arguing over decimal points rather than orders of magnitude.

GlobalWarming estimates are going to be swinging back and forth as the argument proceeds. Evidence and counter-evidence will appear, but the argument isn't going away until we can quantify the answer a lot better than we are now able to do.

Frank Warner

The part of this episode that is not good science is that NASA keeps its temperature recording (that is, adjusting) methodology secret.

McIntyre had to reverse engineer everything even to begin his evaluation of NASA's numbers. And even he is not 100 percent sure he figured out NASA's formula.

Didn't we all (even Nicholas, when he was in the U.S.) pay for NASA's work? Why don't we all get to see it?

How did Dr. James Hansen, famous victim, make us the victims?

Christopher Taylor

ACtually there's good hard science that shows that increased CO2 levels come from heat, not the other way around - although it's likely reciprocal. And there's also good hard science showing that the sun is the culprit in warming and cooling trends. Hardly surprising, since it's why we have any heat at all.

Frank Warner

Don’t forget this study, which concluded the recent global warming wasn’t caused by increased solar activity.

Kevin

The problem is that if a 'climatologist' (as soft of a science as psychology imo, so I had to '' it) says we're gonna die from global warming, he makes money. If he says things are probably ok, he goes broke, or at least has to find a side job.

Imagine if you were studying something and found that if you reported the truth, there would no longer be any need for you to keep your job. would you report it? There doesn't seem to be a way to change this situation.

"Let's not be TOO premature/confident, Kevin." - Nicholas

While I agree with your other statements, I completely disagree with this one. By all means, let's be as premature as possible! We've got a lot of time to make up for.

jj, thanks for painting your porch white. We've had a (until this week) fantastically cool summer here in Louisiana. I'm giving the credit to you. :)

Also, everyone please note that the name of the 'science' is climatology, not climatonomy. Predictions made by them should be regarded with as much confidence as those made by astrology experts (not astronomy experts though. They're smart and can be trusted). Heh.

Kevin

Another reason to be confident that global warming is not caused by man is that environmentalists suffer from what's known as the Carter effect. Whenever an environmentalist (or Jimmy Carter) speaks, you can be reasonably certain that the exact opposite is in fact the truth.

Therefore, we now know that without humans, the world would be even hotter than it is today!

Carl

And don't forget the other studies that say "global warming" is caused by solar activities.

The scientists can't get their stories or data straight and come to a concensus. A discussion of the "facts" won't come to a conclusion anywhere or anytime soon because all of these eggheads just don't really know what all the facts are.

Carl

Paralyzing Fog of Uncertainty on Climate
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DebraJSaunders/2007/08/11/paralyzing_fog_of_uncertainty_on_climate

Nicholas

Yes I was indeed a US tax payer (both federal and California) for a while. There's some arrangement where you can be a resident alien and pay taxes at home but it wasn't a very appealing option so I didn't take it. Some share of my earnings went to NASA. But really, we're all in this together, and they should be open about it because it's the best way to discover the truth.

Frank Warner

I didn't mean to make you show us your tax returns, Nicholas. But thanks for paying Uncle Sam!

And yes, we're all in this boiling pot together. Hey, it must be winter in Australia. How's global warming affecting you there?

jj mollo

I have posted this chart from the Max Planck Institute before. It is a little different from the US numbers, but you can see from the chart that there was a bulge in solar irradiance during the 30's, though slightly shifted to the right. Still it could explain the high temperatures in the US. My personal feeling is that this had something to do with the Dust Bowl, which was a major environmental disaster in the US until remedial action was taken.

There are a number of places you can look besides Max Planck, however, to see results that say irradiance does not explain the recent temperature rises.

Wikipedia has an entry that shows various possible sources of global warming. Solar seems relatively flat, though there is a discernable hump in the '30s on the chart.

jj mollo

Deltoid has a nice comparison showing the difference between the old measures and the corrected measures.

Christopher Taylor

I should also suggest that people check out the various articles on the internet that show the pictures and locations of weather testing stations used for temperature data. Far too many of them are very close to heat sources such as streets, parking lots, exhaust fans, and so on.

How many would it take to mess up the readings of temperatures overall?

Christopher Taylor

Incidentally solar brightness is irrelevant to the activity being discussed. Sun spots are what is in question - they indicate and accompany increased cosmic ray activity - and those increased almost exactly in time and pattern with heating in the last century.

Just something to consider, it makes sense of how 5 other bodies in the solar system were also experiencing warming.

jj mollo

What are those five bodies. I only heard about Mars and Pluto. Mars is supposedly heating from dust storms. Pluto from orbital issues.

It makes sense to me that if irradiance is not changing then half of the bodies in the solar system are going to be getting hotter and half are going to be getting cooler. Please be aware, however, that we have not been monitoring these bodies as well or as long as the Earth.

Regarding the quality of weather stations. It doesn't matter unless the quality changes, and it can be controlled statistically unless they all change at once. It's always more important to measure the error than it is to reduce it. Statistics makes up for a lot of noise.

And we're not just measuring by the weather stations. We can visually measure polar ice melting and sea-ice melting and glacier recession. We can measure surface temperature by satellites. We can measure tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures by means of weather baloons, planes and satellites. We can measure permafrost melting by land surveys and geological phenomena like land corrugation. CO2 concentrations are measured directly with extreme accuracy. Borehole analysis and sediment chemistry give us temperature from the past as do fossil census studies in sediments. CO2 history can be derived the same way and from captured air bubbles in ice. Historical sea levels can be determined from fossils, sediment and even human artifacts, energy audits show the direction of change. And climate modeling based on physics pulls it all together.

Every scientific approach to climate measurement is fraught with problems and open to challenges. I think these challenges should be made as vigorously as possible, but the challenges should not be oversold either. All of the methods used have been pointing in the same direction. They corroborate one another. The message in the science, IMO, is clearly leaning toward a GW problem caused by greenhouse gases, in turn caused by human activity. And the cost of miscalculating rests on those who say there is nothing to worry about.

Christopher Taylor

Sure, we're not using only weather stations. But we are using them and many are not giving us reliable information. How much difference does that make? It's skewing the data.

Here's the other bodies:

Jupiter
Neptune
Jupiter's Moons

There are arguments made by some that each of these are warming at the same time for completely separate and unrelated reasons as the earth.

And then there's reason, Occam's Razor, and science.

I'm serious, what makes more sense: all this is happening at the same time - as has happened in the past - but only earth is caused this time by human activity... or there's another cause that's affecting all the other planets. Like in the past.

Seriously?

Frank Warner

But if sun spots are down, shouldn't Jupiter and Neptune be cooling a bit?

As I've said, I'd love to see an 8-hour debate on this. All day, scientists stuck in a hotel arguing, and some impartial mathematicians judging.

Kevin

There are arguments made by some that each of these are warming at the same time for completely separate and unrelated reasons as the earth.

I bet we agree that there is a reason that some are making such an argument. Blame Humanity First. Being diametrically opposed to that philosophy (nice D&D reference, huh?), it seems Occam's razor says they are probably related. Statistical analysis suggests that if so many planetary bodies are heating up, many must be cooling down if the sun has not changed it's output.

It's indeed possible that the planet's changing temperatures are unrelated, but as they say in England, it's not bloody likely.

jj mollo

As I read the article on Jupiter, it is saying that storms are changing and merging. It is predicting that a climate wall will form to separate the poles from the equator, at which time the temperature near the equator will rise up to 10 degrees F, while the poles will cool, presumably in proportion to keep the total energy roughly constant. It remains to be seen what is going to happen there.

Hey, I'm just reading the article you pointed to.

Nobody responded to my suggestion that at any given time half of the bodies in the solar system can be expected to be getting warmer, and half cooler.

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