logo Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
2019-08-20 22:40:39 CoV Wiki
Learn more about the Church of Virus
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Open for business: The CoV Store!

  Church of Virus BBS
  General
  Science & Technology

  The Flipping Point
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 21 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
   Author  Topic: The Flipping Point  (Read 71519 times)
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.96
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
The Flipping Point
« on: 2006-05-26 10:45:59 »
Reply with quote

Source: SciAm

May 22, 2006
      
The Flipping Point
      
How the evidence for anthropogenic global warming has converged to cause this environmental skeptic to make a cognitive flip
      
By Michael Shermer
      
In 2001 Cambridge University Press published Bjørn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which I thought was a perfect debate topic for the Skeptics Society public lecture series at the California Institute of Technology. The problem was that all the top environmental organizations refused to participate. "There is no debate," one spokesperson told me. "We don't want to dignify that book," another said. One leading environmentalist warned me that my reputation would be irreparably harmed if I went through with it. So of course I did.

My experience is symptomatic of deep problems that have long plagued the environmental movement. Activists who vandalize Hummer dealerships and destroy logging equipment are criminal ecoterrorists. Environmental groups who cry doom and gloom to keep donations flowing only hurt their credibility. As an undergraduate in the 1970s, I learned (and believed) that by the 1990s overpopulation would lead to worldwide starvation and the exhaustion of key minerals, metals and oil, predictions that failed utterly. Politics polluted the science and made me an environmental skeptic.

Nevertheless, data trump politics, and a convergence of evidence from numerous sources has led me to make a cognitive switch on the subject of anthropogenic global warming. My attention was piqued on February 8 when 86 leading evangelical Christians--the last cohort I expected to get on the environmental bandwagon--issued the Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for "national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions" in carbon emissions.

Then I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, Calif., where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the recent documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth. The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance.

Reducing our CO2 emissions by 70 percent by 2050 will not be enough.

Four books eventually brought me to the flipping point. Archaeologist Brian Fagan's The Long Summer (Basic, 2004) explicates how civilization is the gift of a temporary period of mild climate. Geographer Jared Diamond's Collapse (Penguin Group, 2005) demonstrates how natural and human-caused environmental catastrophes led to the collapse of civilizations. Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006) is a page-turning account of her journeys around the world with environmental scientists who are documenting species extinction and climate change unmistakably linked to human action. And biologist Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006) reveals how he went from being a skeptical environmentalist to a believing activist as incontrovertible data linking the increase of carbon dioxide to global warming accumulated in the past decade.

It is a matter of the Goldilocks phenomenon. In the last ice age, CO2 levels were 180 parts per million (ppm)--too cold. Between the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, levels rose to 280 ppm--just right. Today levels are at 380 ppm and are projected to reach 450 to 550 by the end of the century--too warm. Like a kettle of water that transforms from liquid to steam when it changes from 99 to 100 degrees Celsius, the environment itself is about to make a CO2-driven flip.

According to Flannery, even if we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050, average global temperatures will increase between two and nine degrees by 2100. This rise could lead to the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which the March 24 issue of Science reports is already shrinking at a rate of 224 ±41 cubic kilometers a year, double the rate measured in 1996 (Los Angeles uses one cubic kilometer of water a year). If it and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt, sea levels will rise five to 10 meters, displacing half a billion inhabitants.

Because of the complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable. No longer. It is time to flip from skepticism to activism.
Report to moderator   Logged
Ophis
Adept
***

Posts: 176
Reputation: 7.42
Rate Ophis





View Profile E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #1 on: 2006-05-26 18:26:19 »
Reply with quote

I'm at a point where I don't know how I could be convinced by either side of the debate.  Environmental research is so politicized that I don't trust most interpretations of the data that I've seen.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time needed to acquire the skills and to do the kind of data mining and analysis that would be necessary to convince me on either position. 

So my opinion on the matter has remained the same for a couple of years:

- Timeframe and location are important when talking about whether temperature is increasing or decreasing

- Man-made impact on the planet's temperature are very hard to measure since they rely on very complex (and fragile) models with numerous assumptions

- There are an unknown number of factors (other than human activity) that could explain temperature changes

Report to moderator   Logged
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4263
Reputation: 8.67
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #2 on: 2006-05-30 22:09:45 »
Reply with quote

[Ophis] I'm at a point where I don't know how I could be convinced by either side of the debate.  Environmental research is so politicized that I don't trust most interpretations of the data that I've seen.

[Hermit] I used to have that problem too. Having done some digging, sufficient at least to turn up oodles of claims that flew in the face of reports which seemed to have serious bodies and bodies of incontrovertible evidence behind them, has lead me decide that the problem lies more with the "conservative" perspective which is now apparently quoting science fiction authors (like Crichton - see Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion) rather than scientists in the appropriate fields.

George Monbiot wrote a rather nice deconstruction of the claim that "Glaciers are growing" (one of the many assertions which supposedly 'contradicts' the scientific consensus) on this last year which explains the mechanisms of delusion so well that I think that I'll let him speak for himself. You may notice that he shares my mistrust of New Scientist (to some extent at least) despite my enjoyment of TLW. Three non-peer reviewed journals that are often taken as authoritative (and perhaps may once have been better) are New Scientist, Scientific American and above all, Popular Science. All three but especially the last should always be checked with at least  wikipedia and google before accepting their versions of events. While suggesting sources, I found http://www.realclimate.org/ to be very accessible, and in-field academics whose opinion I respect tell me that they are doing a credible job of conveying a complicated subject to a world which is way to quick to reject bad news. And the news is apparently far worse than many of the earlier really bad predictions we are desperately trying to ignore.

Source: Monbiot.com
Authors: George Monbiot
Dated: 2005-05-11

Junk Science in climate change, science

Climate change denial, as David Bellamy’s claims show, is based on pure hocus pocus

For the past three weeks, a set of figures has been working a hole in my mind. On April 16th, New Scientist published a letter from the famous botanist David Bellamy. Many of the world’s glaciers, he claimed, “are not shrinking but in fact are growing. ... 555 of all the 625 glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland, have been growing since 1980.”(1) His letter was instantly taken up by climate change deniers. And it began to worry me. What if Bellamy was right?

He is a scientist, formerly a senior lecturer at the University of Durham. He knows, in other words, that you cannot credibly cite data unless it is well-sourced. Could it be that one of the main lines of evidence of the impacts of global warming – the retreat of the world’s glaciers – was wrong?

The question could scarcely be more important. If man-made climate change is happening, as the great majority of the world’s climatologists claim, it could destroy the conditions which allow human beings to remain on the planet. The effort to cut greenhouse gases must come before everything else. This won’t happen unless we can be confident that the science is right. Because Bellamy is president of the Conservation Foundation, the Wildlife Trusts, Plantlife International and the British Naturalists’ Association, his statements carry a great deal of weight. When, for example, I challenged the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders over climate change, its spokesman cited Bellamy’s position as a reason for remaining sceptical.(2)

So last week I telephoned the World Glacier Monitoring Service and read out Bellamy’s letter. I don’t think the response would have been published in Nature, but it had the scientific virtue of clarity. “This is complete bullshit.”(3) A few hours later, they sent me an email.

“Despite his scientific reputation, he makes all the mistakes that are possible”. He had cited data which was simply false, failed to provide references, completely misunderstood the scientific context and neglected current scientific literature.(4) The latest studies show unequivocally that most of the world’s glaciers are retreating.(5)

But I still couldn’t put the question out of my mind. The figures Bellamy cited must have come from somewhere. I emailed him to ask for his source. After several requests, he replied to me at the end of last week. The data, he said, came from a website called www.iceagenow.com.

Iceagenow.com was constructed by a man called Robert W. Felix to promote his self-published book about “the coming ice age”. It claims that sea levels are falling, not rising; that the Asian tsunami was caused by the “ice age cycle”; and that “underwater volcanic activity – not human activity – is heating the seas”.

Is Felix a climatologist, a vulcanologist, or an oceanographer? Er, none of the above. His biography describes him as a “former architect”.(6) His website is so bonkers that I thought at first it was a spoof. Sadly, he appears to believe what he says. But there indeed was all the material Bellamy cited in his letter, including the figures – or something resembling the figures – he quoted. “Since 1980, there has been an advance of more than 55% of the 625 mountain glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring group in Zurich.”(7) The source, which Bellamy also cited in his email to me, was given as “the latest issue of 21st Century Science and Technology”.

21st Century Science and Technology? It sounds impressive, until you discover that it is published by Lyndon Larouche. Lyndon Larouche is the American demagogue who in 1989 received a 15-year sentence for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax code violations.(8 ) He has claimed that the British royal family is running an international drugs syndicate,(9) that Henry Kissinger is a communist agent,(10) that the British government is controlled by Jewish bankers,(11) and that modern science is a conspiracy against human potential.(12)

It wasn’t hard to find out that this is one of his vehicles: Larouche is named on the front page of the magazine’s website, and the edition Bellamy cites contains an article beginning with the words “We in LaRouche’s Youth Movement find ourselves in combat with an old enemy that destroys human beings … it is empiricism.”(13)

Oh well, at least there is a source for Bellamy’s figures. But where did 21st Century Science and Technology get them from? It doesn’t say. But I think we can make an informed guess, for the same data can be found all over the internet. They were first published online by Professor Fred Singer, one of the very few climate change deniers who has a vaguely relevant qualification (he is, or was, an environmental scientist). He posted them on his website www.sepp.org, and they were then reproduced by the appropriately named junkscience.com, by the Cooler Heads Coalition, the National Center for Public Policy Research and countless others.(14) They have even found their way into the Washington Post.(15) They are constantly quoted as evidence that manmade climate change is not happening. But where did they come from? Singer cites half a source: “a paper published in Science in 1989”.(16) Well, the paper might be 16 years old, but at least, and at last, there is one. Surely?

I went through every edition of Science published in 1989, both manually and electronically. Not only did it contain nothing resembling those figures; throughout that year there was no paper published in this journal about glacial advance or retreat.

So it wasn’t looking too good for Bellamy, or Singer, or any of the deniers who have cited these figures. But there was still one mystery to clear up. While Bellamy’s source claimed that 55% of 625 glaciers are advancing, Bellamy claimed that 555 of them – or 89% – are advancing. This figure appears to exist nowhere else. But on the standard English keyboard, 5 and % occupy the same key. If you try to hit %, but fail to press shift, you get 555, instead of 55%. This is the only explanation I can produce for his figure. When I challenged him, he admitted that there had been “a glitch of the electronics”.(17)

So, in Bellamy’s poor typing, we have the basis for a whole new front in the war against climate science. The 555 figure is now being cited as definitive evidence that global warming is a “fraud”, a “scam”, a “lie”. I phoned New Scientist to ask if he had requested a correction. He had not been in touch.(18 )

It is hard to convey just how selective you have to be to dismiss the evidence for climate change. You must climb over a mountain of evidence to pick up a crumb: a crumb which then disintegrates in your palm. You must ignore an entire canon of science, the statements of the world’s most eminent scientific institutions, and thousands of papers published in the foremost scientific journals. You must, if you are David Bellamy, embrace instead the claims of an eccentric former architect, which are based on what appears to be a non-existent data set. And you must do all this while calling yourself a scientist.

www.monbiot.com

References:

1. David Bellamy, 16th April 2005. Glaciers are cool. New Scientist, issue 2495.

2. Conversation with Nigel Wonnacott, press officer at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 2nd July 2004. This part of the conversation is reproduced at http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2004/08/19/correspondence-with-david-bellamy/

3. Conversation with Dr Frank Paul, WGMS, 5th May 2005.

4. Email from Dr Frank Paul, WGMS, 5th May 2005.

5. He cited Frank Paul etc al, 12th November 2004. Rapid Disintegration of Alpine Glaciers Observed with Satellite Data. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 31, L21402; and WGMS, 1998. Fluctuations of Glaciers 1990-1995 Vol. VII. http://www.wgms.ch/fog/fog7.pdf. A fuller list of recent publications on glacial movements and mass balance is available at http://www.wgms.ch/literature.html

6. http://www.coasttocoastam.com/guests/225.html

7. http://www.iceagenow.com/Growing_Glaciers.htm

8. Eg Terry Kirby, 21st July 2004. The Cult and the Candidate. The Independent; Chip Bertlet, 20th December 1990. http://www.skepticfiles.org/socialis/woo_left.htm

9. eg Roger Boyes, 7th November 2003. Blame the Jews. The Times; David Bamford, 30th July 1987, Turkish Officials Carpeted. The Guardian; Michael White, 3rd May 1986. Will the Democrats wear this Whig? The Guardian.

10. Francis Wheen, 21st August 1996. Branded: Lord Rees-Mogg, international terrorist. The Guardian.

11. Extract from Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, 2000. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort
Guilford Press, New York, republsihed at http://www.publiceye.org/larouche/synthesis.html

12. This is the constant theme of 21st Century Science and Technology.

13. http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202004/Spring2004/ScienceYouth.pdf

14. http://www.junkscience.com/nov98/moore.htm; http://www.globalwarming.org/article.php?uid=296; http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA218.html etc

15. John K. Carlise, 17th November 1998. Global Warming: Watch the Glaciers. The Washington Post.

16. http://www.sepp.org/controv/glaciers.html

17. Email from David Bellamy – Bellamyca@aol.com – 5th May 2005.

18. Conversation with Mike Holderness, deputy letters editor, 5th May 2005.
« Last Edit: 2006-05-30 22:11:21 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
Blunderov
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 3160
Reputation: 8.94
Rate Blunderov



"We think in generalities, we live in details"

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #3 on: 2006-05-31 04:00:17 »
Reply with quote

[Blunderov] Thanks for this splendid post. Frightening how quickly a false fact can become established and how much effort is required to debunk it.

The Politburo thanks you also. She intends to give the article to her students as an example of how research should be approached.

Best Regards.
Report to moderator   Logged
the.bricoleur
Adept
***

Posts: 341
Reputation: 7.46
Rate the.bricoleur



making sense of change
  
View Profile E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #4 on: 2006-05-31 11:41:36 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: David Lucifer on 2006-05-26 10:45:59   

Source: SciAm

May 22, 2006
     
The Flipping Point
     
How the evidence for anthropogenic global warming has converged to cause this environmental skeptic to make a cognitive flip
     
By Michael Shermer
     
I am all for ‘cognitive flips’ but this one from Mr Shermer disappoints, for now.

SNIP


Quote:
The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance.

I wonder what his reaction would have been if shown photographs of an advancing glacier?

More on this later.

SNIP


Quote:
Four books eventually brought me to the flipping point. Archaeologist Brian Fagan's The Long Summer (Basic, 2004) explicates how civilization is the gift of a temporary period of mild climate. Geographer Jared Diamond's Collapse (Penguin Group, 2005) demonstrates how natural and human-caused environmental catastrophes led to the collapse of civilizations. Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006) is a page-turning account of her journeys around the world with environmental scientists who are documenting species extinction and climate change unmistakably linked to human action. And biologist Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006) reveals how he went from being a skeptical environmentalist to a believing activist as incontrovertible data linking the increase of carbon dioxide to global warming accumulated in the past decade.

An archeologist, a geographer, a journalist and a biologist. I only mention this in light of the Monbiot article posted by Hermit where ‘qualifications’ seem important. “... one of the very few climate change deniers who has a vaguely relevant qualification ...”

SNIP


Quote:
According to Flannery, even if we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050, average global temperatures will increase between two and nine degrees by 2100. This rise could lead to the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which the March 24 issue of Science reports is already shrinking at a rate of 224 ±41 cubic kilometers a year, double the rate measured in 1996 (Los Angeles uses one cubic kilometer of water a year). If it and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt, sea levels will rise five to 10 meters, displacing half a billion inhabitants.

Before commenting on melting glaciers I would like to direct attention to the following letter regarding Tim Flannery and Polar Bears (this one is for Hermit as I know he has a thing for them ).

---------------------------------------
Silly to predict their demise

(May 01, 2006)  Toronto Star (Dr. Mitchell Taylor)

SOURCE: Arctic Net

Startling conclusion to say they will disappear within 25 years and surprise to many researchers

Last stand of our wild polar bears

Tim Flannery is one of Australia's best-known scientists and authors. That doesn't mean what he says is correct or accurate. That was clearly demonstrated when he recently ventured into the subject of climate change and polar bears. Climate change is threatening to drive polar bears into extinction within 25 years, according to Flannery. That is a startling conclusion and certainly is a surprising revelation to the polar bear researchers who work here and to the people who live here. We really had no idea.

The evidence for climate change effects on polar bears described by Flannery is incorrect. He says polar bears typically gave birth to triplets, but now they usually have just one cub. That is wrong.

All research and traditional knowledge shows that triplets, though they do occur, are very infrequent and are by no means typical. Polar bears generally have two cubs — sometimes three and sometimes one. He says the bears' weaning time has risen to 18 months from 12. That is wrong. The weaning period has not changed. Polar bears worldwide have a three-year reproduction cycle, except for one part of Hudson Bay for a period in the mid-1980s when the cycle was shorter.

One polar bear population (western Hudson Bay) has declined since the 1980s and the reproductive success of females in that area seems to have decreased. We are not certain why, but it appears that ecological conditions in the mid-1980s were exceptionally good.

Climate change is having an effect on the west Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.

It is noteworthy that the neighbouring population of southern Hudson Bay does not appear to have declined, and another southern population (Davis Strait) may actually be over-abundant.

I understand that people who do not live in the north generally have difficulty grasping the concept of too many polar bears in an area. People who live here have a pretty good grasp of what that is like to have too many polar bears around.

This complexity is why so many people find the truth less entertaining than a good story. It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about climate change, but it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria.

Dr. Mitchell Taylor, Polar Bear Biologist, Department of the Environment, Government of Nunavut, Igloolik, Nunavut
--------------------------------------

-------------

The following addresses the equation of anthropogenic global warming = melting glaciers = rising sea levels = disaster and doom for all mankind.

Referring to the IPCC TAR, Table 11.14 – it gives an indication of the contributions of glaciers to sea level (SL) rise, and for that there are many positive estimates. It is this net effect to which they conclude that collectively, glaciers worldwide are receding.

The IPCC has many positive estimates of the contribution of glaciers to SL rise. Unfortunately, these estimates have been made, to quote from the IPCC, from "AOGCM experiments following the IS92a scenario", which does not lend them much credence right from the start. But setting aside their dubious provenance for the moment, this claim faces four very large problems.

The first is that there is no data that I am aware of indicating any recent acceleration in historical rates of mean sea level (MSL) rise. In fact, the opposite is true ... An important finding of Mitchell et. al. (1) is that the Pacific does not exhibit any change in the historical rate of MSL rise. The advantage of the asymptotic analysis method used by Mitchell is that it would show any recent increase in the rate of MSL rise, such as that predicted to occur with increasing temperatures. However, it shows no such change.

To quote from the Mitchell et. al. study, "It will be acknowledged, nevertheless that visually at least, and at this stage, there is no clear evidence for an acceleration in sea level trends over the course of the last century. Personnel familiar with sea level work were cautious to accept the findings of the early numerical climate models, which triggered much of the anxiety among coastal dwellers over the last two decades. These models forecast rapidly accelerating sea level trends. The hard facts of sea level observations identified here, serve to confirm a more moderate view of sea level trends." In other words, there is no evidence that in the Pacific the rate of MSL rise has changed from the historical norm. This lack of change in the historical rate of MSL rise is further confirmed by a recent study (2) of the sea levels in New Zealand, which concludes "There continues to be no evidence of any acceleration in relative sea levels over the record period."

Here is a graphic showing some of the longest-term sea level records that we have, from the PSMSL (Permanent Service for the Mean Sea Level). As you can see, none of these records shows any recent increase above the historical rate of MSL rise, and some, like Bombay and Sydney, show that the rate has decreased.



The IPCC TAR agrees that there has been no rise in the rate of increase of MSL, saying "The tide gauge data for the 20th century show no significant acceleration (e.g., Douglas, 1992)."

SOURCE: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/428.htm

If, as the IPCC claim, the contribution from glaciers is large enough to be visible in the record, we should have seen some acceleration from the claimed increase in glacier melt over the 20th century.

The second problem is that the range of estimates of the contribution of glacier melt to sea level rise is so wide as to make them unusable. The estimates range from 10 mm per century (so small as to be undistinguishable from noise) to 230 mm per century (20% larger than the largest rise in the chart above!). Surely this wide range precludes us from using this as evidence that the glaciers are melting.

Third, these estimates of the contribution of glacier melt to sea level rise are not based on data. In other words, they did not come from scientists saying, "the glaciers have shrunk this much, so that much water has been added to the ocean." They come from AOGCMs, which are scientists saying "If we had so many glaciers in 1900, and the temperature went up this much, that much water would melt from the glaciers into the ocean." Because they are not based on data but on an assumption that glaciers are melting, using them to support your argument that glaciers are melting is circular.

Fourth, these same AOGCMs, when given the conditions of 1900, utterly fail to reproduce even the gross attributes of the temperature swings of the 20th century (rising until 1930, falling until 1970, rising since then). Why should we place even the smallest credence in what they have to say about glacier melting?

The IPCC, by the way, gets out of the problem of the lack of acceleration in the 20th century rise in MSL in their usual ingenious way ... they say that the rate of change of MSL is actually dropping (3), and this is being compensated for by the glacial melt. Bad scientists, no cookies ...     

------------------------
REFERENCES

1) Mitchell, W., Chittleborough, J., Ronai, B., and Lennon, G. W., Sea Level Rise in Australia and the Pacific, Australian National Tidal Facility (NTF), http://www.ntf.flinders.edu.au/TEXT/CONF/cook2000/papers/Mitchell2.pdf

2) Hannah, J., 2004. An updated analysis of long-term sea level change in New Zealand, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31,  February 12, 2004 http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0403/2003GL019166/2003GL019166.pdf 

3) To quote from the IPCC, "If the terrestrial storage terms have a negative sum (Section 11.2.5), they may offset some of the acceleration in recent decades." ...
SOURCE: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/428.htm 

----------------------------------------------------------------

I would like to direct attention to this study:

Kaser, Georg, Douglas R. Hardy, Thomas Mölg, Raymond S. Bradley and  Tharsis M. Hyera, 2004. Modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro as evidence of climate change: observations and facts. International Journal of Climatology Vol. 24, No 3, pp. 329-339, March 2, 2004. (http://www.geo.umass.edu/faculty/bradley/kaser2004.pdf)

Abstract

In recent years, Kilimanjaro and its vanishing glaciers have become an icon of global warming, attracting broad interest. In this paper, a synopsis of (a) field observations made by the authors and (b) climatic data as reported in the literature (proxy and long-term instrumental data) is presented to develop a new concept for investigating the retreat of Kilimanjaro's glaciers, based on the physical understanding of glacier-climate interactions. The concept considers the peculiarities of the mountain and implies that climatological processes other than air temperature control the ice recession in a direct manner. A drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century and the ensuing drier climatic conditions are likely forcing glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro. Future investigations using the concept as a governing hypothesis will require research at different climatological scales.


6. CONCLUSIONS AND DIRECTION FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

Under present climate conditions, glaciers on Kibo continue to retreat, and it appears likely that by mid-century the plateau glaciers will disappear from the mountain for the first time in over 11000 years. Still, there are several open questions to be answered in future investigations. How and when has the glaciation reached a maximum extent, of which today’s remnants are the matter of both scientific and public concern?

How did local convection on the mountain slopes and regional advection work, in order to allow sufficient moisture transport to the summit of Kibo for the formation of glaciers? How did the East African or even the large-scale vertical structure of the tropical troposphere differ? Has the Indian Ocean played a role different from today? How different was the atmospheric circulation over East Africa, and was this only a regional peculiarity? To find a way in this complex web of questions, future research must span different scales: from the microscale when detecting the processes at the glacier–atmosphere interface, to the mesoscale when simulating the circulation on the mountain slopes and over East Africa, and can even reach the global scale when providing information that can be considered in general circulation climate models. Such research is currently in progress as a collaborative effort between Innsbruck and Massachusetts universities, using the concept presented here as a working hypothesis.


Two studies within this collaborative project have been conducted in the meantime (Molg et al., 2003b; Molg and Hardy, 2004) and provide a first detailed support for the microscale part of the hypothesis derived in this article. Molg et al. (2003b) illustrate that solar-radiation-driven melting controls vertical ice wall retreat, given the generally dry climate with a lack of accumulation on glaciers. Their results verify the concept for ice wall retreat depicted in Figure 4. Further, Molg and Hardy (2004) show that mass loss on the summit horizontal glacier surfaces is mainly due to sublimation i.e. turbulent latent heat flux, and is little affected by air temperature through the turbulent sensible heat flux - both aspects that support the interpretations made in the first item of Section 4. However, validation and verification of the entire hypothesis presented in this paper will require additional meteorological measurements and experiments, and mesoscale modelling of atmospheric dynamics over Kilimanjaro.

See also:

Rignot, Eric et al., 2003. Contribution of the Patagonia Icefields of South America to Sea Level Rise. Science Vol. 302, No 5644, pp. 434-437, October 17, 2003

Digital elevation models of the Northern and Southern Patagonia Icefields of South America generated from the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission were compared with earlier cartography to estimate the volume change of the largest 63 glaciers. During the period 1968/1975–2000, these glaciers lost ice at a rate equivalent to a sea level rise of 0.042 +- 0.002 millimeters per year. In the more recent years 1995–2000, average ice thinning rates have more than doubled to an equivalent sea level rise of 0.105 +- 0.011 millimeters per year. The glaciers are thinning more quickly than can be explained by warmer air temperatures and decreased precipitation, and their contribution to sea level per unit area is larger than that of Alaska glaciers.

----------------------------

Well, it seems that glaciers retreat and melt on their own, despite short-time climate temperature fluctuations, and as one climatologist stated, “glaciers are not thermometers.”

These new studies, among others, confirm that neither Kilimanjaro – nor other glaciers – are the alleged icons of anthropogenic global warming.


------------------------------

Comments on Greenland.

I’ll start by referencing an article from Nature – Greenland's climate: A rising tide by Quirin Schiermeier in Nature Vol. 428, No 6979, pp. 114-115, March 11, 2004. (http://www.clivar.org/recent/nat_greenl.htm - this is not from the Nature website, page would not load when I attempted to access it.)

The above article turned out to be, besides political ambitions, advance publicity for the study by Gregory, Jonathan M., Philippe Huybrechts and Sarah C.B. Raper, 2004. Threatened Loss of the Greenland ice-sheet. Nature Vol. 428, No 6983, p. 616, April 8, 2004

The Greenland ice-sheet would melt faster in a warmer climate and is likely to be eliminated — except for residual glaciers in the mountains — if the annual average temperature in Greenland increases by more than about 3 °C. This could raise the global average sea-level by 7 metres over a period of 1,000 years or more. We show here that concentrations of greenhouse gases will probably have reached levels before the year 2100 that are sufficient to raise the temperature past this warming threshold.

---------------------------

A very relevant observation to the melting of the Greenland ice cap, that needs to be made, is that temperature should not be confused with energy.

Out of curiosity I made the simple calculation of how much energy would be needed to melt polar ice so as to raise the level of the world's oceans by 130 metres. It turned out to be 13.2x10^25 joules. On that basis, to melt the Greenland ice cap and raise the sea level another seven metres would require 0.7x10^25 joules. Kevin Trenberth and colleagues have calculated that the average export of heat from the tropics to polar regions in order to balance radiation globally is 5 PetaWatts, or 1.6x10^23 joules to each polar region. That gives an idea of the scale of imbalance of what is required against what is available, and hence the stability of the Greenland ice sheet.

Another calculation suggests that the energy necessary to melt Arctic sea ice is about 9.2x10^22 joules - a much more plausible proposition, especially as the surface temperature of the sub-Arctic margins is above 0°C each summer.

In addition to the sheer magnitude of energy needed to melt the Greenland ice (unless it all slipped into the sea at once and took energy out of the ocean) there are a number of other issues to be considered.

Alley, R. et al (1993) Nature, 362,527-529 suggest that the rise in Central Greenland temperature from the Younger Dryas to the Holocene optimum was about 15°C but interestingly the annual snow accumulation increased from 0.05 to about 0.3 m ice/year. That might go some way to explaining the stability of the ice mass. Note summer temperatures are still well below 0°C, except on coastal margins.

I would also draw attention to IPCC TAR Fig 2.10 (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig2-10.htm), which in a stylised way portrays the seasonal and spatial temperature trends over the 1976-2000 period of 'surface global warming'. Notice the changing seasonal trends in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. In particular, the Baffin Bay-Greenland and Alaska-Siberia Peninsular regions experienced cooling during the winter and to some extent also in autumn and spring. However equatorward over the middle to high latitudes of the North American, European and Asian continents are the regions that experienced maximum warming.

Now, look at the classical three cell circulation model of the atmosphere that transports energy polewards, and is most developed over the winter months - The tropical Hadley Cell, the middle to high latitude Indirect Cell, and the Direct Cell over the polar region. Already Chen, J et al (2002) Science 295, 838-841 have identified a strengthening of the Hadley Cells during the period 1985-2000. I think we could anticipate a strengthening of the Indirect Cell and Direct Cell also as all these cells cooperate dynamically to transport excess tropical energy poleward, especially in winter. A strengthening of the Indirect Cell would be observed as poleward advection of heat at the surface (an increased mean Southerly component of the surface wind over the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere) while a strengthening of the Direct Cell would be observed as cold air advection at the surface (an increased Northerly component of the surface wind over sub-Arctic regions).

Of course, superimposed on the mean circulation is the effect of changes to the standing waves, including strengthening of the Icelandic and Aleutian troughs that would accentuate the cooling in the Baffin Bay-West Greenland and Siberian Peninsula and West Alaska regions. The winter temperature trends are consistent with a strengthening of the atmospheric circulation.

Note that despite the winter cooling, overall there is a warming trend over the sub-Arctic region -- see IPCC TAR Figure 2.9 for the 1976-2000 period (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig2-9.htm).

To my mind, the surface global warming signature that we observe is one that is very closely identified with circulation changes and those changes are being directly driven by slight changes in tropical sea surface temperature (SST), such as the abrupt change of 1976-77. The recent changes are consistent with internal variability of the climate system linked to variations in ocean circulation, not anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

See this recent study for more:

Chylek, Petr, Jason E. Box, Glen Lesins, 2004. Global Warming and the Greenland Ice Sheet. Climatic Change Vol. 63, No1-2, pp. 201-221, March 2004

The Greenland coastal temperatures have followed the early 20th century global warming trend. Since 1940, however, the Greenland coastal stations data have undergone predominantly a cooling trend. At the summit of the Greenland ice sheet the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2 °C per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987. This suggests that the Greenland ice sheet and coastal regions are not following the current global warming trend. A considerable and rapid warming over all of coastal Greenland occurred in the 1920s when the average annual surface air temperature rose between 2 and 4 °C in less than ten years (at some stations the increase in winter temperature was as high as 6 °C). This rapid warming, at a time when the change in anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases was well below the current level, suggests a high natural variability in the regional climate. High anticorrelations (r = -0.84 to -0.93) between the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) index and Greenland temperature time series suggest a physical connection between these processes. Therefore, the future changes in the NAO and Northern Annular Mode may be of critical consequence to the future temperature forcing of the Greenland ice sheet melt rates.

-------------

The study, Threatened Loss of the Greenland ice-sheet. states that air temperatures in SE Greenland have increased by 3 C over the last 20 years. Correct. It does not state that temperatures fell by 4 C over the previous 40 years and rose by 3.5 C the 20 years before that - result 1982 (towards a minimum) was colder than 1922 and 2002 (towards a maximum) was colder than 1932. 1983 was the coldest year since 1899 (1910 is not accurate since there are three 999.9 records). It is all there on the Angmagssalik station record courtesy of NASA GISS.

There is also a map showing ice melt having increased from 1992 to 2002. Again thanks to NASA GISS  it can be seen e.g. at Godthab that 1992 was one of the coldest years in the 125 year record beaten by only 8 other years. After 1992 the temperature could only go up and more ice melt. Recent Godthab temperatures in this time of unprecedented global warming in Greenland are still lower than those for a number of years in the 1930s and 40s, and this after an enormous increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

I chose these two stations for the length of their records.

Research of this quality would be laughed out of court in any proper scientific discipline. Published in The Beano would be more appropriate.

Quod erat non demonstrandum.

------------


Quote from: Hermit on 2006-05-30 22:09:45   
While suggesting sources, I found http://www.realclimate.org/ to be very accessible, and in-field academics whose opinion I respect tell me that they are doing a credible job of conveying a complicated subject to a world which is way to quick to reject bad news.


One of the primary contributors to this site is Michael Mann, and anybody who had followed his ‘hockeystick’ know him as a data-hiding, methodology-changing, record falsifying, arrogant excuse for a real scientist. His "research" has been worthless in establishing anything, and his insistence that no one needs to reveal the data and methods used in scientific papers has set the field of climate science back by decades.

As an example see the data merging trick and mathematical errors used here - More on the Arctic - read the following: Lamb on the Northeast Atlantic.

As an aside I strongly suggest that both links are read in their entirety, including all the comments, if for nothing more than to learn how RealClimate censor the debate on their site.

Thank you.
Report to moderator   Logged
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4263
Reputation: 8.67
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #5 on: 2006-05-31 18:58:13 »
Reply with quote

[Hermit 3.0.1] As usual an impressive response by Iolo Morganwg. My thanks.

[Hermit 3.0.2] On the other hand, this response appears to create more of a controversy than I think can be justified by a recourse to the scientific community. I'll try to make this quick as I'm operating out-of-field and out-of-time.

[Hermit 3.0.3] I'm going to ignore the posters below and tag sentences with the original author in the hope of reducing the volume of analysis. Given the scale of this beast, I'm also going to run the risk of being accused of pick and snippery by truncating the  post (indicated with <...>). 

[Hermit 3.0.4] I'll number my questions and comment for ease in responding. I am using the format [Round Number].[Issue Number].[Sub Issue]. If this goes to another round, could I ask Iolo Morganwg or anyone else responding to do the same? The next round would be 4.x.


<...>
[Michael Shermer 1.1] How the evidence for anthropogenic global warming has converged to cause this environmental skeptic to make a cognitive flip

[Iolo Morganwg 2.1] I am all for ‘cognitive flips’ but this one from Mr Shermer disappoints, for now.

[Hermit 3.1] I too appreciate "cognitive flips", as well as the value of reserved arguments coupled with "rhetorical sniping" - but such sniping does need to be justified later or it does cheapen the quality of the argument. I was not persuaded that the revisitation of why Morganwg was disappointed was suficient to persuade me of the merit of his disappointment.

[Michael Shermer 1.2] The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.2] I wonder what his reaction would have been if shown photographs of an advancing glacier?

[Hermit 3.2.1] [Shermer 1.2] speaks of "disappearance of glaciers around the world" where [Morganwg 2.2] speaks of "an advancing glacier." These two cases are far from possessing evidential equivalence. As Morganwg was free to select the response set, I suggest that this may be an instance of "cherry-picking by inference."

[Hermit 3.2.2] Taking the "World Glacier Monitoring Service" as a suitable peer-acknowledged (as both the climate change and the climate change deniers have quoted - or misquoted - them) data source, together with the source data referenced at National Snow and Ice Data Center. 1999, updated 2005. World glacier inventory. World Glacier Monitoring Service and National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology. Boulder, CO. Digital media, at http://www.wgms.ch/mbb/mb04/sum04.html we find the following data:
Quote:
Continuous mass balance statistics are calculated based on the 30 glaciers in 9 mountain ranges. Data are now available for the years 1980-2004.


[Hermit 3.2.3] Results of the extreme and mean values for the year 2003/2004 have been calculated based on these 30 glaciers:




Description2003/2004
Mean specific (annual) net balance-725 mm w.e.
Standard deviation905 mm w.e.
Minimum value-2820 mm w.e.
Maximum value550 mm w.e.
Positive balances20%

[Hermit 3.2.4] And a persuasive graph: Cumulative mean net balance continuously measured for the period 1980 to 2004 on 30 glaciers in 9 mountain ranges.



[Hermit 3.2.5] Also well worth re-evaluating your opinion based on Monbiot's reference 5:

[Monbiot] 5. He cited Frank Paul [Hermit: Affil wgms]  etc al, 12th November 2004. Rapid Disintegration of Alpine Glaciers Observed with Satellite Data. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 31, L21402; and WGMS, 1998. Fluctuations of Glaciers 1990-1995 Vol. VII. http://www.wgms.ch/fog/fog7.pdf. A fuller list of recent publications on glacial movements and mass balance is available at http://www.wgms.ch/literature.html

<..>

[Michael Shermer 1.3] Four books eventually brought me to the flipping point. Archaeologist Brian Fagan's The Long Summer (Basic, 2004) explicates how civilization is the gift of a temporary period of mild climate. Geographer Jared Diamond's Collapse (Penguin Group, 2005) demonstrates how natural and human-caused environmental catastrophes led to the collapse of civilizations. Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006) is a page-turning account of her journeys around the world with environmental scientists who are documenting species extinction and climate change unmistakably linked to human action. And biologist Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006) reveals how he went from being a skeptical environmentalist to a believing activist as incontrovertible data linking the increase of carbon dioxide to global warming accumulated in the past decade.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.3] An archeologist, a geographer, a journalist and a biologist. I only mention this in light of the Monbiot article posted by Hermit where ‘qualifications’ seem important. “... one of the very few climate change deniers who has a vaguely relevant qualification ...”

[Hermit 3.3] I didn't mean to say (and I don't think that Monbiot implied) that people from other disciplines could not bring valuable contributory evidence to the table. Particularly in their fields of expertise. I would merely caution that one should evaluate anyone's assertions in the light of their expertise - which is often, but not always, best evaluated by their peers. While I'm not familiar with most of these particular works, and would hesitate to call Diamond's speculation "evidence" (although it does, perhaps, contain a little), some of the issues raised here are familiar ground to me. For example my familiarity with post renaissance through modern history and literature along with my increasing awareness of species threats through prey and environmental shifts contributed to my perceiving that I too needed to reevaluate my previous positions. A perception which received a massive boost when a friend mentioned that he was engaged in flying low-level "bomb runs" over the Arctic to provide geomagnetic and seismic information to assist in locating test bores for the Russians and Norwegians who are busily searching for oil in areas which have long been inaccessible due to the ice pack. The remarkable news last November that the Russians had been able to sail a research ship to the North Pole without the use of an ice breaker was a clenching datum.
So, like Shermer, I reevaluated my positions:
  • That while climate change is normal, global warming is unproven.
  • That while some current climate change may be anthropogenic, that this was not sufficiently proven to compel acceptance.
A relatively short literature survey, discussion with colleagues and evaluation of source credibilities has forced me to weyken that both instances are now sufficiently proven to compel my acceptance.

<..>

[Iolo Morganwg 2.4] Before commenting on melting glaciers I would like to direct attention to the following letter regarding Tim Flannery and Polar Bears (this one is for Hermit as I know he has a thing for them ).

[Mitchell Taylor 2.4.1] Silly to predict their demise
[Mitchell Taylor 2.4.1] Startling conclusion to say they will disappear within 25 years and surprise to many researchers
[Mitchell Taylor 2.4.1] Last stand of our wild polar bears
[Mitchell Taylor 2.4.1] Tim Flannery is one of Australia's best-known scientists and authors. That doesn't mean what he says is correct or accurate. That was clearly demonstrated when he recently ventured into the subject of climate change and polar bears. Climate change is threatening to drive polar bears into extinction within 25 years, according to Flannery. That is a startling conclusion and certainly is a surprising revelation to the polar bear researchers who work here and to the people who live here. We really had no idea.

[Hermit 3.4.1] In fact, I would suggest, no matter who Tim Flannery is and what he is right or wrong about, that this is a misrepresentation of the concern - more commonly known as a strawman and often indicative of a fallacious argument. Let me cite what is AFAIK, the source of the concern, a report, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) published by the University of Cambridge, by the Arctic Council, which lead in turn to the IUCN-World Conservation Union adding the Polar Bear to the "red list", i.e. threatened rather than the  endangered species list. A not entirely subtle difference from the implications of the newspaper article cited by Morganwg. As the IUCN put it,
Quote:
Because global warming is affecting some of the coldest places on Earth, the polar bear, Ursus maritimus, is at greater risk of extinction this year. Previously listed by IUCN as a conservation dependent species, the polar bear moves into the threatened categories and has been classified as Vulnerable.

In polar regions, summer sea ice is expected to decrease by 50-100 percent over the next 50-100 years. Polar bears are dependent upon Arctic ice-floes for hunting seals and highly specialized for life in the Arctic marine environment, so they are predicted to suffer more than a 30 percent population decline in the next 45 years.


[Hermit 3.4.2] Finding arguments with a particular articulation might be easier than persuading the consensus, but it is the consensus position, right or wrong, which must be addressed to have validity. My understanding is that a very large number of separate fields - from space based gravitational and side-scan millimeter radar to very accurate sonic, geomagnetic and seismic analysis have all come to similar conclusions - which the simple unprotected hull of a research vessel illustrated in a way I find extremely compelling. The Arctic ice is no longer the obstacle it once was. Which means that it is not as strong, or it is thinner, or that there is less of it, or some combination of the above.

[Hermit 3.4.3] Right?

[Hermit 3.5] Now comes a horrible mess established by Shermer which I'd like to dissect a little if I may, despite the fact that much to my astonishment, I seem to be in the position of having to defend Shermer (in his absence) to a greater or lesser extent.

[Shermer 1.5.1] According to Flannery, even if we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050, average global temperatures will increase between two and nine degrees by 2100.

[Hermit 3.5.1] Presumably cited from a model. Current thinking seems to be that most of the models are optimistic. Note that even two degrees would be very bad news for most of the world, even if we didn't have a simultaneous energy emergency. But we do.

[Shermer 1.5.2] This rise could lead to the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which the March 24 issue of Science reports is already shrinking at a rate of 224 ±41 cubic kilometers a year, double the rate measured in 1996 (Los Angeles uses one cubic kilometer of water a year).

[Hermit 3.5.2] Notice the hard factual data about the current situation, coupled with an unrelated factoid about LA which is probably to provide scale), coupled with some speculation about the future which may or may not be accurate. But. The solid fact cannot be escaped. And that fact is that a quarter of a million year old, 10,000 foot high icecube is melting. And when something that has grown for 250,000 years starts to shrink, then it is fairly safe to assume that something has changed.

[Hermit 3.5.3] Right?

[Shermer 1.5.4] If it and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt, sea levels will rise five to 10 meters, displacing half a billion inhabitants.

[Hermit 3.5.4] Again a conditional model, but I don't think it is arguable. If it happens, then x m3 of ice will melt, establishing y m3 of water. So much water added to the worlds oceans will result in the levels rising by z cm. So if the prerequisite happens, the consequent will probably happen too. And, as an aside, Greenland will rise from the water due to the reduction in pressure on the mantle (This is happening and has been monitored. The ability to monitor crustal uplift using space based instruments is now well confirmed as we have tracked the changes in gravitational acceleration over time at a few defined locations, while performing distance analysis to targets located at the same locations, allowing very accurate surface profiling and volume measurements) while the ocean around Greenland is actually receding due to the reduction in the very significant gravitational attraction exerted on the oceans and seas near the pole by the icecap. Which will, to an extent, tend to counter the local rise in sea levels.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.6] The following addresses the equation of anthropogenic global warming = melting glaciers = rising sea levels = disaster and doom for all mankind.

[Hermit 3.6] What seems to follow appears to be an unsourced work full of dubious assertions that would take significant analysis to refute. Notice that the claim is not that "Sea Levels are not Rising" - which would be false. On the supplied data they rose an average of nearly half a meter (0m44) during the last century. Merely that the rate of increase didn't rise as fast as expected. "Why not" would be a really good question? Not only have 80% of the glaciers shrunk, but mountain icecaps have diminished and groundwater reserves are massively depleted while run-off has also increased. All this water must have gone somewhere. If Morganwg is arguing that it has all flown into the atmosphere, then the rate of thermal rise is likely to accelerate even more, as water vapor is an even more significant "greenhouse gas" than CO2. It would take a lot of research I don't have time for right now to examine current theories on this but I make a strong suggestion this is not the case in [Hermit 3.8.1] infra.

<..>

[Iolo Morganwg 2.7] The second problem is that the range of estimates of the contribution of glacier melt to sea level rise is so wide as to make them unusable. The estimates range from 10 mm per century (so small as to be undistinguishable from noise) to 230 mm per century (20% larger than the largest rise in the chart above!). Surely this wide range precludes us from using this as evidence that the glaciers are melting.

[Hermit 3.7] Measuring sea levels is really hard. The sea does not stay still. Short and long term effects cause local and global perturbations. Averaging is extremely tricky. The earth also moves. Which means that terrestrial measurements lack an appropriate reference. See also [Hermit 3.8.1] infra. Nonetheless, now that we have accurate surface height radar and absolute gravimeters (both of which are sensitive enough to detect submerged submarines from orbit) flown in stable configurations, the accumulating data on sea and mantle movements is extremely accurate and hopefully the powers that be will eventually make the data more generally available for analysis.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.8.1] Third, these estimates of the contribution of glacier melt to sea level rise are not based on data. In other words, they did not come from scientists saying, "the glaciers have shrunk this much, so that much water has been added to the ocean." They come from AOGCMs, which are scientists saying "If we had so many glaciers in 1900, and the temperature went up this much, that much water would melt from the glaciers into the ocean."

[Hermit 3.8.1] This is because the problem is really, really hard, and raw, high quality data is not generally available. Clearly there are issues with a measurement system that does not detect the known increase in water levels due to ground water depletion and deforestation - both of which can be readily calculated to reasonable precision from satellite ranging data. Which suggests to me not that there have not been increases in sea level, but that the measurement and analysis methodologies generally used are not sufficiently noise free to extract meaningful data. This is rapidly changing. Certainly there are no theoretical obstacles to building side-scan radar or laser interferometer systems capable of scanning and averaging individual wavelets over sea scaled areas to produce absolute water movement volumes over any period of time at meaningful resolutions. Given the sensitivity of submarine tracking data, this is unlikely to be generally available anytime soon in unfiltered form, but I can't see any reason why aggregate information should not become available in the future. Which will provide supplementary evidence, but I don't think that this confirmation is required to sustain the primary assertion. Sea levels are rising and even at the bottom of the projected range, this rise is problematic for humans most of whom still live on coastal plains.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.8.2] Because they are not based on data but on an assumption that glaciers are melting, using them to support your argument that glaciers are melting is circular.

[Hermit 3.8.2] I'm not sure who Morganwg is speaking to - or if indeed, he is speaking rather than quoting. As I didn't make this argument I don't think that the onus is on me to support it. We know that glaciers are melting because of a multitude of observations - including absolute measurements by means of gravimeter surveys, so the hypothesised argument is not just circular but completely unnecessary. This is a far more devastating criticism IMO.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.8.3] Fourth, these same AOGCMs, when given the conditions of 1900, utterly fail to reproduce even the gross attributes of the temperature swings of the 20th century (rising until 1930, falling until 1970, rising since then). Why should we place even the smallest credence in what they have to say about glacier melting?

[Hermit 3.8.3] I would need to see raw data together with the programs and analysis to accept any claim of such breathtaking breadth. Which "AOGCMs"? Are there others?  Who tested each and every one of them? Who validated the results of these tests? Why has this information not been published in peer reviewed journals? Why does this claim conflict with direct measurements? Given all these issues, "why should we place even the smallest credence in what they have to say about glacier melting?"

[Iolo Morganwg 2.8.4] The IPCC, by the way, gets out of the problem of the lack of acceleration in the 20th century rise in MSL in their usual ingenious way ... they say that the rate of change of MSL is actually dropping (3), and this is being compensated for by the glacial melt. Bad scientists, no cookies ...   

<..>

[Iolo Morganwg 2.8.5] To quote from the IPCC, "If the terrestrial storage terms have a negative sum (Section 11.2.5), they may offset some of the acceleration in recent decades." ... SOURCE: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/428.htm

[Hermit 3.8.4] Hmmm? Going directly to the quotation, I see a conditional clause. If x, then y. Simply asserting things about this statement does not affirm or deny either the conditional or the consequent. Neither does a slew of innuendo. Bad logic, no cookies.

<..>

[Iolo Morganwg 2.9] I would like to direct attention to this study:

[Hermit 3.9] Why? I'm familiar with the study, and don't disagree with the conclusion that a lack of precipitation means that the ice cap on Kilimanjaro cannot replace moisture which evaporates from it. Given that the icecap on Kilimanjaro is yet another ancient phenomenon which is currently vanishing, how exactly does it advance a "denial" agenda? Particularly when the one clear "denial" related hypothesis (cf [Molg and Hardy (2004) 2.9.1] infra) is quite correctly marked as requiring additional study.

[Molg and Hardy (2004) 2.9.1] show that mass loss on the summit horizontal glacier surfaces is mainly due to sublimation i.e. turbulent latent heat flux, and is little affected by air temperature through the turbulent sensible heat flux - both aspects that support the interpretations made in the first item of Section 4. However, validation and verification of the entire hypothesis presented in this paper will require additional meteorological measurements and experiments, and mesoscale modelling of atmospheric dynamics over Kilimanjaro.

<..>

[Iolo Morganwg 2.9.1] Rignot, Eric et al., 2003. Contribution of the Patagonia Icefields of South America to Sea Level Rise. Science Vol. 302, No 5644, pp. 434-437, October 17, 2003

[Iolo Morganwg 2.9.2] Digital elevation models of the Northern and Southern Patagonia Icefields of South America generated from the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission were compared with earlier cartography to estimate the volume change of the largest 63 glaciers. During the period 1968/1975–2000, these glaciers lost ice at a rate equivalent to a sea level rise of 0.042 +- 0.002 millimeters per year.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.9.3] In the more recent years 1995–2000, average ice thinning rates have more than doubled to an equivalent sea level rise of 0.105 +- 0.011 millimeters per year. The glaciers are thinning more quickly than can be explained by warmer air temperatures and decreased precipitation, and their contribution to sea level per unit area is larger than that of Alaska glaciers.

[Hermit 3.9.4] I've not checked this assertion, and am not sure why Morganwg quoted it here. I'm certainly not competent to compare Patagonian snow melt with Alaskan glaciers without a lot of research - but as neither Morganwg nor I have raised Patagonian snow melt before, I'm hard pressed to imagine the relevance (but see [Hermit 3.9.8] infra).

[Iolo Morganwg 2.9.5] Well, it seems that glaciers retreat and melt on their own, despite short-time climate temperature fluctuations, and as one climatologist stated, “glaciers are not thermometers.”

[Hermit 3.9.6] And who said that they didn't, or that they were thermometers?

[Iolo Morganwg 2.9.7] These new studies, among others, confirm that neither Kilimanjaro – nor other glaciers – are the alleged icons of anthropogenic global warming.

[Hermit 3.9.8] Ah. So this is the supposed relevance. I see. So 80% of the glaciers are losing mass at an escalating rate. In Greenland a two mile high, 250,000 year old ice-cube is dissolving down the drain. Kilimanjaro and Patagonia are apparently losing their ancient icecaps in some complicated process which might be explained by a tentative hypothesis requiring additional research to sustain. And in conclusion we are to assume that the entire model of "anthropogenic global warming" as Morganwg put it, is dependent on the defense of these alleged "icons".

[Hermit 3.9.9] When exactly did the climatic consensus make the announcement that this was all that is sustaining their many often conflicting models? I think I must have missed the announcement. If that isn't what sustains the models, then how on earth can an alternative untested hypothesis even raise doubts about them - let alone invalidate them?

[Hermit 3.9.10] I don't think so.

[Hermit 3.10.1] I'm going to call a halt here - I have other issues to deal with as well, and this has taken most of a day so far. But I can't resist observing one or two last little issues.

[Iolo Morganwg 2.10.2] A very relevant observation to the melting of the Greenland ice cap, that needs to be made, is that temperature should not be confused with energy.

[Hermit 3.10.2] As any handy-dandy high-school physics student should be able to tell you, temperature is actually a direct measurement of the energy level of a system. It takes a precisely known amount of work to raise the energy level of a given mass of a given substance by a specific temperature (Carnot/Kelvin/Joule/Boyle)*. Indeed, "a measure proportional to the average translational kinetic energy associated with the disordered microscopic motion of atoms and molecules" is the very definition of "temperature" today.

Regards

Hermit


*And a given mass of a given substance at a given temperature will also gain (or lose, or both) heat (energy) to (or from, or both) the environment at very precisely known rates which are dependent on the thermal conductivity of the substance, the interface to the environment and the differential temperature (Helmholtz/Boltzmann).

PS the RealClimate site offers a fairly good set of "factoids" on the mythical "hockey stick" arguments. Look on the key on the right, particularly here Myth vs. Fact Regarding the "Hockey Stick" and here Dummies guide to the latest “Hockey Stick” controversy. I fear that Iolo Morganwg is making the same mistake as the American press appears to be doing far to frequently these days (has anybody else noticed this or is it just me?), and imagining that disagreeing is synonymous with rebuttal.

PPS There is a subtle difference between arrogance and defending a theory which sometimes is missed by bystanders unfamiliar with masticating carcharhinoids.
« Last Edit: 2006-06-08 15:20:02 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4263
Reputation: 8.67
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #6 on: 2006-06-03 08:49:55 »
Reply with quote

On with the Debunking of the Deniers

Swift Boating the Planet

Source: NY Times
Authors: Paul Krugman
Dated: 2006-05-29

[Hermit: Emphasis mine]

A brief segment in "An Inconvenient Truth" shows Senator Al Gore questioning James Hansen, a climatologist at NASA, during a 1989 hearing. But the movie doesn't give you much context, or tell you what happened to Dr. Hansen later.

And that's a story worth telling, for two reasons. It's a good illustration of the way interest groups can create the appearance of doubt even when the facts are clear and cloud the reputations of people who should be regarded as heroes. And it's a warning for Mr. Gore and others who hope to turn global warming into a real political issue: you're going to have to get tougher, because the other side doesn't play by any known rules.

Dr. Hansen was one of the first climate scientists to say publicly that global warming was under way. In 1988, he made headlines with Senate testimony in which he declared that "the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now." When he testified again the following year, officials in the first Bush administration altered his prepared statement to downplay the threat. Mr. Gore's movie shows the moment when the administration's tampering was revealed.

In 1988, Dr. Hansen was well out in front of his scientific colleagues, but over the years that followed he was vindicated by a growing body of evidence. By rights, Dr. Hansen should have been universally acclaimed for both his prescience and his courage.

But soon after Dr. Hansen's 1988 testimony, energy companies began a campaign to create doubt about global warming, in spite of the increasingly overwhelming evidence. And in the late 1990's, climate skeptics began a smear campaign against Dr. Hansen himself.

Leading the charge was Patrick Michaels, a professor at the University of Virginia who has received substantial financial support from the energy industry. In Senate testimony, and then in numerous presentations, Dr. Michaels claimed that the actual pace of global warming was falling far short of Dr. Hansen's predictions. As evidence, he presented a chart supposedly taken from a 1988 paper written by Dr. Hansen and others, which showed a curve of rising temperatures considerably steeper than the trend that has actually taken place.

In fact, the chart Dr. Michaels showed was a fraud — that is, it wasn't what Dr. Hansen actually predicted. The original paper showed a range of possibilities, and the actual rise in temperature has fallen squarely in the middle of that range. So how did Dr. Michaels make it seem as if Dr. Hansen's prediction was wildly off? Why, he erased all the lower curves, leaving only the curve that the original paper described as being "on the high side of reality."


The experts at www.realclimate.org, the go-to site for climate science, suggest that the smears against Dr. Hansen "might be viewed by some as a positive sign, indicative of just how intellectually bankrupt the contrarian movement has become." But I think they're misreading the situation. In fact, the smears have been around for a long time, and Dr. Hansen has been trying to correct the record for years. Yet the claim that Dr. Hansen vastly overpredicted global warming has remained in circulation, and has become a staple of climate change skeptics, from Michael Crichton to Robert Novak.

There's a concise way to describe what happened to Dr. Hansen: he was Swift-boated.

John Kerry, a genuine war hero, didn't realize that he could successfully be portrayed as a coward. And it seems to me that Dr. Hansen, whose predictions about global warming have proved remarkably accurate, didn't believe that he could successfully be portrayed as an unreliable exaggerator. His first response to Dr. Michaels, in January 1999, was astonishingly diffident. He pointed out that Dr. Michaels misrepresented his work, but rather than denouncing the fraud involved, he offered a rather plaintive appeal for better behavior.

Even now, Dr. Hansen seems reluctant to say the obvious. "Is this treading close to scientific fraud?" he recently asked about Dr. Michaels's smear. The answer is no: it isn't "treading close," it's fraud pure and simple.

Now, Dr. Hansen isn't running for office. But Mr. Gore might be, and even if he isn't, he hopes to promote global warming as a political issue. And if he wants to do that, he and those on his side will have to learn to call liars what they are.
Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
Blunderov
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 3160
Reputation: 8.94
Rate Blunderov



"We think in generalities, we live in details"

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #7 on: 2006-06-04 13:32:54 »
Reply with quote

[Blunderov] Some more circumstantial evidence.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/06/04/global-warming-expanding-_n_22159.html

"The Independent Online Edition"

Widening tropics 'will drive deserts into Europe'

Alarming new satellite evidence of the effects of global warming comes as forecasters predict more severe hurricanes
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 04 June 2006

The world's tropical zones are growing, threatening to drive the world's great deserts into southern Europe and other heavily populated areas, alarming new research suggests.

The study - based on satellite measurements over the past quarter of a century - shows that the tropics have widened by 140 miles since 1979. Scientists suspect that global warming is to blame.

Up to now the most startling evidence that the world is heating up has come from the poles where ice sheets have disintegrated, sea ice shrunk, and glaciers started racing towards the sea. But new research published in the journal Science suggests that equally dramatic changes are under way in the hottest parts of the planet.

"It's a big deal," says Professor Thomas Reicher of the University of Utah, one of the authors of the study. "The movement has taken place over both hemispheres, indicating that the tropics have been widening. This may be a totally new aspect of climate change."

Professor Reicher and colleagues at the University of Washington and Lanzhou University in China found that the giant jet streams 30,000-50,000 feet up in the atmosphere have shifted towards the poles, in the first direct satellite evidence that global warming is affecting the worldwide circulation of air.

These vast rivers of air - often hundreds of miles wide - meander from west toeast, pushing weather across the globe and marking the boundary between tropical and temperate regions to both the north and south of the Equator.

The research found that the air currents have moved about one degree latitude - equivalent to 70 miles - towards the North and South Poles, making a total widening of 140 miles.

"The jet streams mark the edge of the tropics. So, if they are moving poleward, that means that the tropics are getting wider," says Professor John Wallace, of the University of Washington.

The famous lines on the atlas marking the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn will remain at 23.5 degrees north and south, because these mark the limits of where the sun is directly overhead at some point during the year - the official measurement of the tropics. But the study suggests that they will become irrelevant as boundaries of the tropical climatic zones.

It shows that the areas just outside the tropics, at around 30 degrees north and south - running through China, North India, the Middle East, North Africa, Florida and the US Gulf Coast, and through Australia, Southern Africa and Argentina - are warming particularly fast.

The zones immediately outside the tropics are often very dry - containing many of the world's great deserts - and these are also expected to move towards the poles as part of the tropical shift.

The scientists believe that this may explain the recent droughts in southern Europe and the south-western United States. They say that if the process continues it could move the deserts into heavily populated areas, with devastating results.

They are unable to prove that the shift is being caused by global warming, though they believe it is a likely explanation; another possible factor is the depletion of the world's ozone layer.

But the evidence that global warming is causing more severe hurricanes grew stronger last week as the annual season for them opened.

Forecasters are predicting another torrid year with some 16 named tropical storms, 10 of them hurricanes. Four are expected to hit the United States. There is estimated to be a one in three chance that New Orleans will be hit again, and insurers as far north as New York are reluctant to provide cover for the storm damage.

Two new studies last week confirmed research which indicated that rising sea temperatures, caused by global warming, are increasing the strength of hurricanes. On Wednesday Jeb Bush - the Governor of Florida and the brother of the President - met some of the scientists who had conducted the research, saying that he found their information "compelling".
Report to moderator   Logged
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4263
Reputation: 8.67
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #8 on: 2006-06-05 20:24:08 »
Reply with quote

Climate chaos: Bush's climate of fear

Source: BBC
Authors: Hilary Andersson
Dated: 2006-06-01

A US government whistleblower tells Panorama how scientific reports about global warming have been systematically changed and suppressed.

Some of America's leading climate scientists claim to Panorama that they have been censored and gagged by the administration.

One of them believes the publication of his report, which catalogues the unprecedented rate of ice melt in the Arctic, was delayed as Americans prepared to vote in 2004.

The scientists claim that when Bush came to power in 2000 his administration selected advice which argued that global warming was not a result of human activities and that the phenomenon could be natural.

But one of the people who suggested the president adopt that position explains to Panorama how he has changed his point of view: "It's now 2006. I think most people would conclude that there is global warming taking place and that the behaviour of humans is affecting the climate. I am not the administration. What they want to do is their business. it has nothing to do with what I believe."

Panorama's reporter Hilary Andersson visits some of the first refugees of global warming who come from an island in Arctic Alaska which has been inhabited for 4,000 years ago but is now melting into the sea.

In the last six years most industrialised nations have cut greenhouse gas emissions but under Bush America's emissions have increased by an average of one per cent a year.

The administration is now spending money to establish cleaner ways of burning coal and to cut emissions but is still reluctant to risk damaging the American fuel industries.

But some scientists say this will take too long. One of them tells Panorama how he was told NASA would have to approve everything he planned to write and say publicly about the effects of global warming.

Another scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tells Panorama he had research which established global warming could increase the intensity of hurricanes. He was due to give an interview about his work but claims he was gagged.

Three weeks later in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina killed at least 1,200 people in New Orleans and was recorded as one of the strongest Atlantic storms. But the NOAA website said unusual hurricane activity is not related to global warming.

Panorama learns that some scientists are afraid that what they see as a cover up will leave it too late for the US to have any hope of controlling climate changes brought about by global warming.
"I told the world I thought the Kyoto deal was a lousy deal for America. It meant that we had to cut emissions below 1990 levels which would have meant I would have presided over massive lay offs and economic destruction." [President George W Bush - Global Idiot]







"Energy is central to our economy. If you're going to make energy policy you need to talk to the energy industry." [James Connaughton - Bush's senior adviser on the environment]







"For five or 10 years the public has not been fully informed. We were not taking the initial steps that need to be taken. If we continue down this path we're going to be past a point at which we can avoid really large climate changes." [Jim Hansen - US climate scientist]







"If the report had come out it would have been a very strong piece in the presidential election in the US." [Bob Corell - Author of Arctic Assessment Report]







"If they could suppress it they would. If they couldn't they would ignore it. If they could edit it they would edit it." [Former government official]
Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
the.bricoleur
Adept
***

Posts: 341
Reputation: 7.46
Rate the.bricoleur



making sense of change
  
View Profile E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #9 on: 2006-06-06 05:21:49 »
Reply with quote

Greetings Hermit,

Thank you for an exceptional reply.

This is just a short note to inform you, and other readers, that my reply to the science is forthcoming – hopefully within the week. Please excuse the lag between my replies but I do as time permits.

However, I will take this opportunity to set something straight. I am not a “climate change denier” or a “denier” – if you need to label my position as something then it would be apt to use ‘anthropogenic global warming sceptic.’
You see, I do not ‘deny’ that the climate is changing, but I am sceptical of the claim that the anthropogenic contribution to CO2 is the primary factor driving climate change. Therefore, if you are going to continue with the use of “denier” or “climate change denier” I will assume that you are not addressing my arguments or me. 

Also, regarding the RealClimate website – the links you supply are irrelevant as they do not address the ‘myth’ of which I speak. In short, the Mann et. al.'s hockey stick has never been replicated, as Michael Mann has consistently refused to make his data and methods public (despite being paid by your tax dollars). I, and others, have tried to post these questions to the site and they do not get published. Continuing in this vein, all climate models predict tropospheric air temperature increasing with altitude, and the fact is that tropospheric air temperature decreases with altitude. Given that the models cannot replicate today, how can we trust them to predict tomorrow? And again this question has been submitted but not published. Thus IMHO, a cursory glance shows that RealClimate publish (1) people saying gosh, Mr. Gavin, you and your friends are superb, wonderful human beings who have made the world's best climate web site, and (2) cream puff questions about the climate.

This kind of Florida voting, where the only votes that count are votes in their favour, leaves a distinct air of distrust.

Kind regards,
iolo



Report to moderator   Logged
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4263
Reputation: 8.67
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #10 on: 2006-06-06 10:03:22 »
Reply with quote

Thank-you for the update. I look forward to your response. I well understand the constraints of time.

I'm sorry to have appeared to have attempted to mischaracterize your position, it was of course unintentional. My understanding is that you were "denying warming" per se, and by implication, the "anthropogenic contribution to CO2" (as causative to "global warming") is irrelevant to your argument? Am I incorrect in this articulation?

I certainly took the longest time to accept that the "anthropogenic contribution to CO2" was a major player (and still accept that other factors are significant players (e.g. methane, pcbs and particularly solar output) and even accept that it may yet be shown that something other than anthropogenic contributions are playing a major role in climate change). On the other hand, I think that to reject the fact that CO2 levels are massively correlated to climate change, or that climate change is tending towards large-scale warming would be, at this point, to attempt to sustain the unsupportable.

I weyken that there is very strongly persuasive evidence for unusually high and persistent temperature increase in the well documented species threats to long-established (documented through the fossil record) species (e.g polar bears, tits and mosquito distribution). Clear evidence of correlation is available in the form of quantitative analysis of ice cores which show that atmospheric CO2 is undoubtedly at the highest level in 250ky, and also in radiological oceanographic sediment bed analysis providing strong indications that CO2 levels are at their highest in point in at least 1 million years and possibly 12My. I regard the latter as slightly less direct than the ice core evidence, but the fact that the analysis of ice cores and sediment beds agree on the last 250 ky makes it probable that the interpretation for the longer periods is on the mark.

In my opinion, supporting evidence that the environmental shift is "anthropogenic" comes in the form of the well documented rapid warming matching Hanson's models and the growing consensus by climatologists, oceanographers etc.

My understanding is that realclimate asserts independence from reliance exclusively on Mann, concurs that Mann may not be the whole story, and allows that Mann may contain errors of interpretation. The ability to perform peer review, coupled with the extensive footnotes to Mann, Bradley, Hughes's 98 paper and the Corrigendum (Nature 392, 779–787 (1998)) suggests to me that the data is available, and unless your challenge is to the entire peer-review structure (which I hope it isn't) I am not quite sure how your argument on the lack of data is sustained?  My understanding of realclimate.org's position is that they have so frequently responded to certain classes of questions as to make it unnecessary to keep responding to them. It may be that your communication with them is being discarded along with the bathwater as you clearly disagree with them when they assert that they have been responsive on this issue. And perhaps they feel that you should be dealing with Mann, rather than realclimate? Perhaps it would be helpful to examine exactly what your disagreement is. It seems to me that you at least, and possibly they too, may well be speaking past each other. In formulating your response, please refer also to the (brief) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=16 and (somewhat longer) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=11.

Regards

Hermit
Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
Blunderov
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 3160
Reputation: 8.94
Rate Blunderov



"We think in generalities, we live in details"

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #11 on: 2006-06-06 15:51:35 »
Reply with quote

[Blunderov] It seems intuitive that human activity must have some effect on the climate. Scientific consensus seems to be that human activity is the main factor in global warming. Hopefully this consensus is not dependent on the infamous hockey stick. Or maybe I should hope that it IS.

Best regards.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER:
The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
Naomi Oreskes*
Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States, frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, while discussing a major U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the risks of climate change, then-EPA administrator Christine Whitman argued, "As [the report] went through review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change" (1). Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.

The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" [p. 21 in (4)].

IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise" [p. 1 in (5)]. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: "The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue" [p. 3 in (5)].

Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (.

The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies' members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords "climate change" (9).

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.

This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.

The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it.

Many details about climate interactions are not well understood, and there are ample grounds for continued research to provide a better basis for understanding climate dynamics. The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.

References and Notes


A. C. Revkin, K. Q. Seelye, New York Times, 19 June 2003, A1.
S. van den Hove, M. Le Menestrel, H.-C. de Bettignies, Climate Policy 2 (1), 3 (2003).
See www.ipcc.ch/about/about.htm.
J. J. McCarthy et al., Eds., Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2001).
National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Science of Climate Change, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2001).
American Meteorological Society, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 84, 508 (2003).
American Geophysical Union, Eos 84 (51), 574 (2003).
See www.ourplanet.com/aaas/pages/atmos02.html.
The first year for which the database consistently published abstracts was 1993. Some abstracts were deleted from our analysis because, although the authors had put "climate change" in their key words, the paper was not about climate change.
This essay is excerpted from the 2004 George Sarton Memorial Lecture, "Consensus in science: How do we know we're not wrong," presented at the AAAS meeting on 13 February 2004. I am grateful to AAAS and the History of Science Society for their support of this lectureship; to my research assistants S. Luis and G. Law; and to D. C. Agnew, K. Belitz, J. R. Fleming, M. T. Greene, H. Leifert, and R. C. J. Somerville for helpful discussions.
10.1126/science.1103618

The author is in the Department of History and Science Studies Program, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. E-mail: noreskes@ucsd.edu

PPS. Found this also:

http://www.globalwarmingissues.com/v2/evidence.asp?ID=45&view=details&Article=The+Hockey+Stick+is+History&cat=Climate%20change%20science

Nature headline: Past climate comes into focus, but warm forecast stays put
Quirin Schiermeier
Nature,
10 February 2005
The full material is available at ww.nature.com (for payment)

Nature reported that, "Fluctuations in global temperature during the past millennium may have been larger and more frequent than previously thought, says a fresh analysis of the climate record. The analysis is likely to reignite a long-standing controversy over the cause and extent of natural climate variability, scientists say, although the unprecedented nature of global warming since the mid-1980s remains unquestioned. The study was conducted by Anders Moberg of Stockholm University, Sweden, and his team.

"According to an earlier study, which produced the widely cited 'hockey stick' graph [often called the Mann graph], average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium were relatively stable until the late nineteenth century, when they began to increase sharply. In 2001, this assessment was used to underpin the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the scientific branch of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But the Moberg study, which is published just as the Kyoto Protocol comes into effect (see 'Kyoto decks itself for celebration'), suggests that notable climate changes have occurred throughout the recent past. If such natural fluctuations continue in the future, they may "amplify or attenuate anthropogenic climate change significantly", the authors conclude. ...... Many researchers do agree that historic climate changes may have been underestimated. But the exceptionally strong warming trend since the mid-1980s cannot be explained by natural variability alone, they maintain.

"Moberg's reconstruction will help to put the record straight in one of the most contested issues in palaeoclimatology," says Hans von Storch, a climate modeller at the GKSS research centre in Geesthacht, Germany. "But it does not weaken in any way the hypothesis that recent observed warming is a result mainly of human
activity."

Nature went on to say that Moberg's work does not contradict the 2001 IPCC conclusion that "the increase in temperature in the twentieth century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years." Nature suggested that climate change scpetics will try to take comfort from the way the IPCC used the "Hockey Stick" and iconic simplicity and has been found wanting.
.
However, Nature suggested that the problem with the Hockey Stick ought to me little difference to the GW debate. It reported that Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate researcher at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany, suggested that even if the hockey-stick curve were to be completely wrong - and even if all model simulations of the past millennium were fundamentally wrong - it would hardly touch ideas about the cause of observed climate change in the twentieth century. Amongst other things, Nature quoted him as saying, "......It would be naive to conclude that the observed twentieth-century warming must have a natural cause just because previous warming events have had one."

Meanwhile, reported Nature: "Mann concedes that it is plausible that past temperature variations may have been larger than thought - although he insists that Moberg's reconstruction is not free of methodological and statistical problems. He says the issue deserves further investigation and must not be overshadowed by political issues. 'The contrarians would have us believe that the entire argument of anthropogenic climate change rests on our hockey-stick construction,' he says. 'But in fact some of the most compelling evidence has absolutely nothing to do with it, and has been around much longer than our curve.'"

ends story 2

References to the scientific publiications behind this story.
For the "Mann" or "Hockey Stick" theory: Mann, M. E., Bradley, R. S. & Hughes, M. K. Nature 392, 779?787 (1998).
For one of the critiques of the "Hockey Stick": Von Storch, H. et al. Science 306, 679?682 (2004).
For another critiique of the "Hockey Stick": McIntyre, S. & McKitrick, R. Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:2004GL012750 (in the press); pre-publication version at http://www.climate2003.com/pdfs/2004GL012750.pdf
« Last Edit: 2006-06-06 16:08:18 by Blunderov » Report to moderator   Logged
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4263
Reputation: 8.67
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #12 on: 2006-06-06 17:35:58 »
Reply with quote

Dear Fellow Reprobate

Once again you pull through magnificently with a really useful, informative and timely contribution.

My thanks

Hermit
Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
Walter Watts
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1571
Reputation: 8.93
Rate Walter Watts



Just when I thought I was out-they pull me back in

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #13 on: 2006-06-28 19:09:15 »
Reply with quote

I just don't think there need be any further debate on this subject.

Oprah said today she can "feel" that something "strange" is going on with mother ship earth.





WW
Report to moderator   Logged

Walter Watts
Tulsa Network Solutions, Inc.


No one gets to see the Wizard! Not nobody! Not no how!
Blunderov
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 3160
Reputation: 8.94
Rate Blunderov



"We think in generalities, we live in details"

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #14 on: 2006-06-29 04:11:27 »
Reply with quote

[Blunderov] Hey there WW. Long time. Nice to hear from you again. How's the grandling? Must be getting quite growed up already.

Oprah drives me nuts mostly but she is sometimes quite sound. And she does occasionally raise issues that the establishment would rather have quietly submerge. Like New Orleans. And Rumsfeld's previously lovey-dovey relationship with Saddam Hussein. All things considered she is a relatively "good thing" I suppose.

http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:6BxzClgT7D4J:www.people.virginia.edu/~cah2k/tdweb.pdf+null+hypothesis+game+theory&hl=en&gl=za&ct=clnk&cd=9

invites consideration in respect of global warming. My very imperfect understanding of all this is that the perceived "penalty" (consequences of GW) is not yet great enough to reduce the "claim" (denial of human contribution to GW). If my conclusion is correct, the way forward seems clear; heavy emphasis should be placed on the human consequences that are very likely to attend continued inaction. Al Gore's recent documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", although I have not seen it yet, seems, from what I have read, to have done sterling service in this regard.

Here is some solid game theory in respect of Global Warming that even I can well understand.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-seaver/the-poker-players-guide-_b_23935.html

The Poker Player's Guide to Climate Change
READ MORE: Google, 2006, New York Times, Global Warming
Friday, the National Academies (the nation's leading scientific body) released a study that dug into source data for graphs like the following:

<graphic of famous hockey stick graph>

The study's getting attention because graphs like this are Exhibit A in the argument that temperatures have spiked in the past few decades. The National Academies' conclusions boil down to this:

The temperature line is correct (based on data currently available).

The band around the line (i.e. uncertainty) gets thicker as you back in time, especially before 1600 and again before 900 - because we have less data and the data we have is less reliable.

We need to keep working to get better data - especially before 900.

In other words, no news - not to the scientific community, anyway. Needless to say, Sen. Inhofe (OK-R) and his cabal have tried to spin this study as proof that global warming is a "hoax."

There are plenty of reasons why Inhofe's claim is absurd and this whole issue is a red herring. RealClimate does a terrific job of explaining why, much of which the press has picked up (NYT, WSJ, the Huffington Post. But there's an important point that coverage seems to have missed: this study is basically a reminder of uncertainty (i.e. the band around the line) and, as our inner poker player knows, when stakes are high (i.e. the whole planet), uncertainty isn't our friend, it's our enemy. The pre-1850 band extends up - and down. When more data comes in, the comparison's as likely to make our situation look worse as it is better.

So is uncertainty an excuse for inaction, as Inhofe would argue? Let's see ... You're driving up a mountain with the cliff's edge ten feet to the right, drifting towards the edge. Scenario 1: it's daytime. Scenario 2: it's dark and foggy, the edge may be 20 feet away - or inches. How, Senator Inhofe, is Scenario 2 an argument to keep drifting to the right?

For me, that's a takeaway from this study that's missing in the press coverage:


Science's best estimate remains unchanged: the cliff's edge is probably ten feet to the right (and we're drifting to the right).

It's dark and foggy, so let's be extra cautious. The edge could be twenty feet away - or inches (turn left, now).

Let's do more work to get better visibility on the cliff's edge (but with stakes this high, uncertainty isn't an excuse for inaction; we can't afford to keep drifting while we figure it out).

One more thing. We expect idiocy from Sen. Inhofe. But it's sad when a thoughtful journalist like Antonio Regalado (WSJ) plays into Sen. Inhofe's hands. Let's compare two articles - Regalado's and Andrew C. Revkin's (NYT).

NYT Headline: "Panel Supports a Controversial Report on Global Warming"

WSJ Headline: "Panel Study Fails to Settle Debate on Past Climates"

NYT lead: "An influential and controversial paper asserting that recent warming in the Northern Hemisphere was probably unrivaled for 1,000 years was endorsed Thursday, with a few reservations, by a panel convened by the nation's pre-eminent scientific body."

WSJ lead: "An expert panel called on to resolve a politically charged scientific debate said that the key conclusion of a widely cited study of past temperatures is "plausible" but not proved."

Regalado then gives plenty of airtime to Sen. Inhofe and other skeptics, who - wrongly - spin this report as a triumph, and he doesn't point out the absurdities of their claim. He also makes liberal use of the "hockey stick" reference - using it six times (the NYT uses the phrase twice, by comparison). To the WSJ's audience, used to looking at financial projections, "hockey stick" is code for "dubious."

Innocuous case of glass half-full versus half-empty? Not when the glass is a red herring and the real issue is a cliff's edge. Regalado should know better than to take a sip while the car keeps drifting, for a bunch of reasons. Not the least of which is that anyone writing for a financial journal should think in terms of uncertainty vs. size of the stakes. If he doesn't think that way, I'd love to get him across a poker table. But I sure wouldn't want him chauffeuring me up a mountain on a foggy night.

Report to moderator   Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 21 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
Jump to:


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Church of Virus BBS | Powered by YaBB SE
© 2001-2002, YaBB SE Dev Team. All Rights Reserved.

Please support the CoV.
Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS! RSS feed