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the.bricoleur
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #90 on: 2007-04-08 05:40:45 »
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*YAWN*

. . . and yet their 'projections' all say that consistent warming should occur and  there had been a warming trend from the start of the temperature  'record' - and a consistent warming trend from about ~1970 - to the end of the 1990s.  Hence, a decade ago it was common  for AGW-promoters to proclaim the "warmest year on record" and the "warmest  3 years on record in the last decade".  Such claims were possible because  'high' values are inevitable at the end of a rising trend.

But such claims are not possible now.  Global  temperatures have not again reached the high they did in the El Nino year of  1998.  Indeed, the global temperature trend has been global cooling for the last nine years (which does not ‘fit’ with projections of consistent warming).

Also,  several recent studies (e.g. Krotov, 2001; Klyashtorin & Lyubushin, 2003;  Loehle, 2004; and Abdusamatov, 2006) suggest that we are entering a cooling  phase.

Question - how many more years of the world not warming do we need in order for the AGW theory to get a critical review? 

-iolo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #91 on: 2007-04-08 07:24:38 »
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Quote from: Iolo Morganwg on 2007-04-08 05:40:45   
Question - how many more years of the world not warming do we need in order for the AGW theory to get a critical review? 

[Blunderov] Hey there Iolo. What would be your recommendations for how to proceed? Business as usual?
Should all efforts towards emission control be abandoned as irrelevant?

Best Regards.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #92 on: 2007-04-12 12:57:30 »
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Quote from: Blunderov on 2007-04-08 07:24:38   


Quote from: Iolo Morganwg on 2007-04-08 05:40:45   
Question - how many more years of the world not warming do we need in order for the AGW theory to get a critical review? 

[Blunderov] Hey there Iolo. What would be your recommendations for how to proceed? Business as usual?
Should all efforts towards emission control be abandoned as irrelevant?

Best Regards.

hey Blunderov,

I think the AGW bandwagon has a way to go before it stops.  Until then we need to promote the important fact that climate varies.  It always has and it always will.  And Governments need to prepare for possible climate changes whether those changes have an anthropogenic or a natural cause.  Simply, the cause of the changes has little implication for appropriate policies needed to cope with the climate changes that can be anticipated.  And the climate changes that can be anticipated include all the changes that have occurred in the past:  not only the changes predicted by promoters of AGW.

Remember that the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.  Similar damaging measures will have no impetus if temperatures have still not risen by then.  But actions to gain a successor to 'Kyoto' are now underway.  Importantly, the promotion I suggest above gives Governments a way to 'hedge their bets' instead of imposing additional damaging measures that try - and fail - to constrain GHG emissions.  And the promotion gives Governments an 'exit strategy' in the event that they begin to recognise predicted AGW is not happening.  Hence, damaging measures such as 'Kyoto #2' become even less likely.

It is important to recognise that GHG emission controls are not irrelevant.  They have failed to constrain GHG emissions wherever they have been applied.  But constraining GHG emissions is not their primary purpose.  Their main purpose is to transfer wealth and industrial activity from developed to developing countries.  Indeed, this is why these controls are damaging.  The net result is a reduction to the total wealth of the world: I have genuine concern for the poor and want direct action to help the poor, and that needs money as a tool to help them.  But this main purpose of the controls means that some people, organisations and Governments will fight to maintain and extend the controls regardless of whether AGW is happening or not.

But, assuming the AGW-scare proves to have been an error, then we face serious problems.

All science - not only climate science - will have suffered serious discredit with the public and with politicians as a result of the scare.  This will need to be addressed because, for example, it will inhibit the flow of youngsters seeking careers in science and engineering (upon which our civilisation depends).

Furthermore, genuine environmental concerns will have been discredited.  The AGW-scare is a 'cry of wolf' too many.  This will also need to be addressed.

Governments - notably in the EU - have geared their tax, environment and energy policies to combating AGW.  Turning that around will take time and many will be hurt in the process.

Alternatively, of course, I could be wrong and AGW will turn out to be the catastrophe that Greenpeace and Al Gore proclaim. 

-iolo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #93 on: 2007-04-23 04:50:59 »
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[Blunderov] My opinion, admittedly as a layman, is that there appears to be more than enough evidence to suggest that AGW is very real.

(I could wish that the appended report was not so uncomfortably reminiscent of Mr. A Coulter's "How to Talk to a Liberal".)

3quarksdaily

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic
From Gristmill:

Below is a complete listing of the articles in "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic," a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

Stages of Denial,
Scientific Topics,
Types of Argument, and
Levels of Sophistication.
Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

Stages of Denial

There's nothing happening
Inadequate evidence
There is no evidence
One record year is not global warming
The temperature record is simply unreliable
One hundred years is not enough
Glaciers have always grown and receded
Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
Mauna Loa is a volcano
The scientists aren't even sure

Contradictory evidence
It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
Antarctic ice is growing
The satellites show cooling
What about mid-century cooling?
Global warming stopped in 1998
But the glaciers are not melting
Antarctic sea ice is increasing
Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
Sea level in the Arctic is falling
Some sites show cooling
Much more here.  [Thanks to David Wilder.]



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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #94 on: 2007-04-23 15:55:54 »
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Quote from: Blunderov on 2007-04-23 04:50:59   

[Blunderov](I could wish that the appended report was not so uncomfortably reminiscent of Mr. A Coulter's "How to Talk to a Liberal".)

Really? I have not read that but I now assume that speculative counter arguments are offered as though they were established facts by Coulter too.

-iolo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #95 on: 2007-04-24 04:04:14 »
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Quote from: Iolo Morganwg on 2007-04-23 15:55:54   

Really? I have not read that but I now assume that speculative counter arguments are offered as though they were established facts by Coulter too.

-iolo


[Blunderov] Well, there are facts and there are states of affairs. The facts are not in dispute although seemingly the state of affairs is.

But more and more facts are mounting up and even hardened climate skeptics like the disgraceful war criminal John Howard have found themselves constrained to concede that the sheer number of them do, in fact, amount to a state of affairs.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/042307EB.shtml


    Australia's Epic Drought: The Situation Is Grim
    By Kathy Marks
    The Independent UK

    Friday 20 April 2007

    Sydney - Australia has warned that it will have to switch off the water supply to the continent's food bowl unless heavy rains break an epic drought - heralding what could be the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation.

    The Murray-Darling basin in south-eastern Australia yields 40 per cent of the country's agricultural produce. But the two rivers that feed the region are so pitifully low that there will soon be only enough water for drinking supplies. Australia is in the grip of its worst drought on record, the victim of changing weather patterns attributed to global warming and a government that is only just starting to wake up to the severity of the position.

    The Prime Minister, John Howard, a hardened climate-change skeptic, delivered dire tidings to the nation's farmers yesterday. Unless there is significant rainfall in the next six to eight weeks, irrigation will be banned in the principal agricultural area. Crops such as rice, cotton and wine grapes will fail, citrus, olive and almond trees will die, along with livestock.

    A ban on irrigation, which would remain in place until May next year, spells possible ruin for thousands of farmers, already debt-laden and in despair after six straight years of drought.

    Lovers of the Australian landscape often cite the poet Dorothea Mackellar who in 1904 penned the classic lines: "I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains." But the land that was Mackellar's muse is now cracked and parched, and its mighty rivers have shrivelled to sluggish brown streams. With paddocks reduced to dust bowls, graziers have been forced to sell off sheep and cows at rock-bottom prices or buy in feed at great expense. Some have already given up, abandoning pastoral properties that have been in their families for generations. The rural suicide rate has soared.

    Mr Howard acknowledged that the measures are drastic. He said the prolonged dry spell was "unprecedentedly dangerous" for farmers, and for the economy as a whole. Releasing a new report on the state of the Murray and Darling, Mr Howard said: "It is a grim situation, and there is no point in pretending to Australia otherwise. We must all hope and pray there is rain."

    But prayer may not suffice, and many people are asking why crippling water shortages in the world's driest inhabited continent are only now being addressed with any sense of urgency.

    The causes of the current drought, which began in 2002 but has been felt most acutely over the past six months, are complex. But few scientists dispute the part played by climate change, which is making Australia hotter and drier.

    Environmentalists point to the increasing frequency and severity of drought-causing El Niño weather patterns, blamed on global warming. They also note Australia's role in poisoning the Earth's atmosphere. Australians are among the world's biggest per-capita energy consumers, and among the top producers of carbon dioxide emissions. Despite that, the country is one of only two industrialised nations - the United States being the other - that have refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto protocol. The governments argue that to do so would harm their economies.

    Until a few months ago, Mr Howard and his ministers pooh-poohed the climate-change doomsayers. The Prime Minister refused to meet Al Gore when he visited Australia to promote his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He was lukewarm about the landmark report by the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, which warned that large swaths of Australia's farming land would become unproductive if global temperatures rose by an average of four degrees.

    Faced with criticism from even conservative sections of the media, Mr Howard realised that he had misread the public mood - grave faux pas in an election year. Last month's report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted more frequent and intense bushfires, tropical cyclones, and catastrophic damage to the Great Barrier Reef. The report also said there would be up to 20 per cent more droughts by 2030. And it said the annual flow in the Murray-Darling basin was likely to fall by 10-25 per cent by 2050. The basin, the size of France and Spain combined, provides 85 per cent of the water used nationally for irrigation.

    While the government is determined to protect Australia's coal industry, the drought is expected to shave 1 per cent off annual growth this year. The farming sector of a country that once "rode the sheep's back" to prosperity is in desperate straits. With dams and reservoirs drying up, many cities and towns have been forced to introduce severe water restrictions.

    Mr Howard has softened his rhetoric of late, and says that he now broadly accepts the science behind climate change. He has tried to regain the political initiative, announcing measures including a plan to take over regulatory control of the Murray-Darling river system from state governments.

    He has declared nuclear power the way forward, and is even considering the merits of joining an international scheme to "trade" carbon dioxide emissions - an idea he opposed in the past.

    Mr Howard's conservative coalition will face an opposition Labour Party revitalised by a popular new leader, Kevin Rudd, and offering a climate change policy that appears to be more credible than his. Ben Fargher, the head of the National Farmers' Federation, said that if fruit and olive trees died, that could mean "five to six years of lost production". Food producers also warned of major food price rises.

    Mr Howard acknowledged that an irrigation ban would have a "potentially devastating" impact. But "this is very much in the lap of the gods", he said.

    How UN Warned Australia and New Zealand

    Excerpts from UN's IPCC report on the threat of global warming to Australia and New Zealand:

    "As a result of reduced precipitation and increased evaporation, water security problems are projected to intensify by 2030 in south and east Australia and, in New Zealand, in Northland and eastern regions."

"Significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur by 2020 in some ecologically rich sites, including the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's tropics. Other sites at risk include the Kakadu wetlands ... and the alpine areas of both countries."

"Ongoing coastal development and population growth in areas such as Cairns and south-east Queensland (Australia) and Northland to Bay of Plenty (New Zealand) are projected to exacerbate risks from sea-level rise and increases in the severity and frequency of storms and coastal flooding by 2050."

"Production from agriculture and forestry by 2030 is projected to decline over much of southern and eastern Australia, and over parts of eastern New Zealand, due to increases in droughts and fires."

"The region has substantial adaptive capacity due to well-developed economies and scientific and technical capabilities, but there are considerable constraints to implementation ... Natural systems have limited adaptive capacity."




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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #96 on: 2007-04-24 06:26:28 »
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Quote:
Well, there are facts and there are states of affairs. The facts are not in dispute although seemingly the state of affairs is.

At least we agree and allow me therefore to reiterate a previous post:

"Global  temperatures have not again reached the high they did in the El Nino year of  1998.  Indeed, the global temperature trend has been global cooling for the last nine years (which does not ‘fit’ with projections of consistent warming).

Also,  several recent studies (e.g. Krotov, 2001; Klyashtorin & Lyubushin, 2003;  Loehle, 2004; and Abdusamatov, 2006) suggest that we are entering a cooling  phase.

Question - how many more years of the world not warming do we need in order for the AGW theory to get a critical review?"



Quote:
But more and more facts are mounting up and even hardened climate skeptics like the disgraceful war criminal John Howard have found themselves constrained to concede that the sheer number of them do, in fact, amount to a state of affairs.

And yet there is the case of scientists who go the other way:

Hans Oerlemans, Dutch glaciologist, declined to contribute to IPCC 4AR.

a. Dr. John Everrett, NOAA NMFS Science Office - who was responsible for the first two Sections on Ocean Resources and Climate Change -
b. And Gary Sharp who drafted the majority of those two Report's text.
Both were simply disgusted with the hype and total lack of attention to historical realities that were 'selectively' stated and not argued.

George Taylor, state climatologist Oregon USA

Henk Tennekes, scientific director of the Royal Netherlands Meteorologic Institute.

Hans Labohm, economic expert of the Institute of Foreign affairs in the Netherlands

Dr. Paul Reiter, from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, world's most renown expert on tropical diseases that wrote that chapter and finally had to threaten the IPCC with legal actions to get his name deleted from the list of "2500 scientists."

Professor Nils-Axel Mörner (sea level expert) Stockholm University.

Professor Wibjörn Karle´n (natural geographer, research in temperature variations), Stockholm University.

Apologies but I grow bored making lists so will halt here ...

-iolo

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #97 on: 2007-04-25 08:28:28 »
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And the point being, i think, that Iolo ***can*** make lists of the handful of scientists who, along with other charming eccentricities (like tinfoil hats, odd socks and wearing their underwear outside their clothing), still assert that global climate change (sometimes referred to, usually by the increasingly strident, yet nevertheless ever diminishing, unconvinced, as "anthropocentric global warming," possibly in order to more readily slay their straw men; as beautifully set out by Blunderov's recently referenced "how to argue" site), is ***not*** happening.

The vast majority of climate scientists, far too many to list, appear to be in the opposite camp. Please note that when in field, the majority opinion, far from ad numerum, does matter in science. Indeed, it sometimes seems as if the ***only*** arguments left for the climate change deniers, are to: mischaracterize the subject; to suggest that the huge multidisciplinary International science team assembled to judge the validity of the claims is corruptly making decisions based on income considerations; or for the tinfoil wearing opposition to assert that the vast majority of climate related scientists are as delusional as Bush and McCain put together; despite the opinion of their peers.

Most importantly, as we have repeatedly seen here, denial means discounting oceans of multisourced, mutually consistent data (which is why I am no longer a skeptic). I'd be pleased to be ***proven*** wrong, but I haven't seen a scintilla of supportable evidence suggesting that that is the case - and every in-field scientist I know and respect regards the "denialists" as little more than an insignificant  minority arguing: from force of habit; from simple contrariness; or because they are paid to do so by fossil fuel interests, definitely without even the ability to make significant, let alone valid points, inside the appropriate forums. Which is possibly why they are so noisy outside of them.

Kindest Regards

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #98 on: 2007-04-27 06:51:29 »
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Quote from: Hermit on 2007-04-25 08:28:28   

And the point being, i think, that Iolo ***can*** make lists of the handful of scientists who, along with other charming eccentricities (like tinfoil hats, odd socks and wearing their underwear outside their clothing), still assert that global climate change (sometimes referred to, usually by the increasingly strident, yet nevertheless ever diminishing, unconvinced, as "anthropocentric global warming," possibly in order to more readily slay their straw men; as beautifully set out by Blunderov's recently referenced "how to argue" site), is ***not*** happening.

The vast majority of climate scientists, far too many to list, appear to be in the opposite camp. Please note that when in field, the majority opinion, far from ad numerum, does matter in science. Indeed, it sometimes seems as if the ***only*** arguments left for the climate change deniers, are to: mischaracterize the subject; to suggest that the huge multidisciplinary International science team assembled to judge the validity of the claims is corruptly making decisions based on income considerations; or for the tinfoil wearing opposition to assert that the vast majority of climate related scientists are as delusional as Bush and McCain put together; despite the opinion of their peers.

Most importantly, as we have repeatedly seen here, denial means discounting oceans of multisourced, mutually consistent data (which is why I am no longer a skeptic). I'd be pleased to be ***proven*** wrong, but I haven't seen a scintilla of supportable evidence suggesting that that is the case - and every in-field scientist I know and respect regards the "denialists" as little more than an insignificant  minority arguing: from force of habit; from simple contrariness; or because they are paid to do so by fossil fuel interests, definitely without even the ability to make significant, let alone valid points, inside the appropriate forums. Which is possibly why they are so noisy outside of them.

Kindest Regards

Hermit


LOL ... well said . . .  in a decidedly singular kinda way!

The only thing left for me to wonder is how many more years of no warming have to pass before you do become sceptical?

-iolo

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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #99 on: 2007-05-01 12:52:27 »
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[Blunderov] My conclusion, based on the evidence,



is that global warming is real and it is anthropogenic.

The only other thing it could be is the sun. Apparently it isn't.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6610125.stm

Arctic melt faster than forecast 
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website 

Arctic summer ice has been shrinking by about 9% per decade
Arctic ice is melting faster than computer models of climate calculate, according to a group of US researchers.

Since 1979, the Arctic has been losing summer ice at about 9% per decade, but models on average produce a melting rate less than half that figure.

The scientists suggest forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be too cautious.

The latest observations indicate that Arctic summers could be ice-free by the middle of the century.

"Somewhere in the second half of the century, it would happen," said Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado.

  The fact that all models show ice loss over the observed period and all project large ice losses into the future is a very strong message

Marika Holland
"Some computer models show periods of great sensitivity where the Arctic ice system collapses suddenly, and that trend may occur a bit earlier; that's the best guess, but exactly when it's hard to say," he told the BBC News website.

Dr Scambos co-authored the latest study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, with other scientists from NSIDC and from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), also in Boulder, Colorado.

They also calculate that about half, if not more, of the warming observed since 1979 originates in humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases.

Model perfection

There are measurements dating back about a century on the extent of Arctic ice, but satellite observations from 1979 onwards are generally thought to provide the most accurate dataset.

The new research involved analysing two periods, 1953-2006 and 1979-2006.

The real world looks to be changing faster than the models predict
Records show a shrinkage over the longer period of 7.8% per decade. When only the more recent period is analysed, the rate rises to 9.1% per decade.

For comparison, the researchers looked at a collection of 18 computer models used by the IPCC and other institutions for making projections of future climates.

Models are always verified against real-world data from the recent past to see how well their output mimics reality.

The collection scrutinised here calculated an average decline of only 2.5% per decade for 1953-2006, and 4.3% per decade since 1979 - both well short of the real-world observations.

"There are lessons here for the climate modelling community," acknowledged NCAR's Marika Holland.

"The rate of ice loss, and the location of ice loss - these are things that the models need to improve, and there are physical processes such as the release of methane from melting permafrost that the models don't include."

Constant picture

This is the third time in the last few months that studies have suggested the IPCC's latest major global climate analysis, the Fourth Assessment Report, is too conservative.

Air temperatures are rising with respect to the 1961-1990 average

In December, a German team published research suggesting that sea levels could rise by 50-140cm over the coming century. The IPCC, in February, gave a range of 28-43cm.

Then, also in February, came an analysis showing that temperature and sea level rises had been rising at or above the top end of IPCC projections since the panel's previous major assessment in 2001.

This is the opposite view from that put forward by many "climate sceptics", who view the whole field of computer modelling as deeply flawed, and the IPCC as an alarmist organisation.

Because of the way it works, the IPCC is bound to be conservative, as it assesses in considerable depth research already in the public domain. This process takes time, and means the panel's conclusions will always lag behind the latest publications.

Nevertheless, Marika Holland believes there is agreement on the major questions regarding Arctic ice; it is receding, and greenhouse gases of human origin are largely responsible.

"The fact that all models show ice loss over the observed period and all project large ice losses into the future is a very strong message," she said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Misunderstanding Global Warming: Alexander Cockburn versus Global Warming.

01 May 2007, 16:28:22

Review, analysis, and debunking, of Counterpunch article of April 28, 2007 by Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch editor, claiming that global warming due to human caused CO2 emissions is nonexistant.

Op Ed News link.

Misunderstanding Global Warming: Alexander Cockburn versus Reality.

By Mike Byron, PhD.

Introduction

I was astonished to read Alexander Cockburn’s essay in the April 28th online edition of Counterpunch entitled “Is Global Warming a Sin?” [i] Cockburn’s thesis is that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever linking anthropogenic (human caused) CO2 emissions with worldwide increases in mean temperature “global warming.” Comparing the proposed sale of carbon credits to alleviate future global warming to the medieval practice of the Catholic Church selling indulgences to cancel past sins, Cockburn asserts:

"There is still zero empirical evidence that anthropogenic production of CO2 is making any measurable contribution to the world's present warming trend. The greenhouse fearmongers rely entirely on unverified, crudely oversimplified computer models to finger mankind's sinful contribution. Devoid of any sustaining scientific basis, carbon trafficking is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed, just like the old indulgences, though at least the latter produced beautiful monuments." [ii]

Cockburn bases his conclusions upon the research of Dr. Martin Hertzberg whose conclusions he places above “all the counsels of Al Gore or the jeremiads of the IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change).” Fair enough, Cockburn wishes to disregard the careful, published, peer-reviewed, findings of essentially the entire global scientific community, in favor of the assertions of his favored climatologist. He can do that; however, we are not compelled follow his astounding leap of judgment. Fairness however, does require me to carefully evaluate and consider Hertzberg’s rival global warming hypothesis and its several assertions.
The Hertzberg-Cockburn Critique of Global Warming

What are these assertions of Hertzberg’s hypothesis? His argument is that temperature changes are driven by long-term changes in the amount of sunlight striking the Earth. These changes are caused by Milankovitch cycles, named for the Serbian scientist who first described them. Wikipedia defines these as follows:

"Milankovitch cycles are the collective effect of changes in the Earth's movements upon its climate, named after Serbian civil engineer and mathematician Milutin Milankovitch. The eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit vary in several patterns, resulting in 100,000 year ice age cycles of the Quaternary glaciation over the last few million years. The Earth's axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26,000 years. At the same time, the elliptical orbit rotates, more slowly, leading to a 22,000 year cycle in the equinoxes. In addition, the angle between Earth's rotational axis and the normal to the plane of its orbit changes from 21.5 degrees to 24.5 degrees and back again on a 41,000 year cycle. Presently, this angle is 23.44 degrees. The Milankovitch theory of climate change is not perfectly worked out; in particular, the largest observed response is at the 100,000 year timescale, but the forcing is apparently small at this scale, in regards to the ice ages. Various feedbacks (from carbon dioxide, or from ice sheet dynamics) are invoked to explain this discrepancy." [iii]

Simply put: the Earth’s orbit around the sun varies somewhat with respect to how circular its orbit is, the degree that is poles are tilted with respect to the plane of its orbit, and the position of its poles with respect to the far stars, which “wobbles” (precesses). These several variations occur regularly in cycles of about 22,000, 26,000, 41,000 and 100,000 years. Their composite effect is to vary the amount of sunlight striking the Earth’s surface.

Hertzberg’s assertion is that this process of variation in the strength of sunlight striking the Earth is what drives global climate change. The primary mechanism for this climate change does indeed involve CO2 release in to the atmosphere, according to this thesis. However, the causal order (which variable causes what effect) is reversed from what we would expect:

"Water covers 71 per cent of the surface of the planet. As compared to the atmosphere, there's at least a hundred times more CO2 in the oceans, dissolved as carbonate. As the postglacial thaw progresses the oceans warm up, and some of the dissolved carbon emits into the atmosphere, just like fizz in soda water taken out of the fridge. "So the greenhouse global warming theory has it ass backwards," Hertzberg concludes. "It is the warming of the earth that is causing the increase of carbon dioxide and not the reverse." He has recently had vivid confirmation of that conclusion. Several new papers show that for the last three quarter million years CO2 changes always lag global temperatures by 800 to 2,600 years." [iv]

More sunlight striking the Earth’s surface causes the planet’s oceans, which account for 71 percent of its surface, to heat up. Because the mass of the oceans is much greater than that of the air—about 100 times greater, in fact—there is a considerable lag before oceanic heating becomes sufficient to cause the oceans to release greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. In Hertzberg’s view, the CO2 is an effect and not a cause of global warming.

It is this natural process of variation in sunlight striking the planet, and not anthropogenic CO2 emissions, per Hertzberg, which accounts for the increasing amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. To “prove” this point, Cockburn asserts that CO2 emissions fell significantly due to the Great Depression, while temperatures continued to increase, thus “proving” that planet-wide temperature increase is independent of atmospheric CO2 levels.

Cockburn offers several purported examples from the historical record (the Little Ice Age) and the geological record (the Eocene Period) which supposedly further demonstrate the lack of a link between atmospheric CO2 levels and planetary temperature. He is clearly asserting that there is no causal relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and planetary temperature whatsoever. In other words planetary temperature is independent of CO2 levels in the atmosphere! Not now, not millions of years ago, never, have atmospheric CO2 increases caused temperature increases! That assertion left me stunned, I must admit.

What is the atmospheric component which actually accounts for greenhouse effects according to Hertzberg’s theory? Water vapor! Cockburn asserts that climate modeling by the world’s climate scientists (other apparently than Hertzberg) ignores the effects of water vapor: “And water is exactly that component of the earth's heat balance that the global warming computer models fail to account for.” [v]

Having discounted anthropogenic effects from having any significant effect whatsoever on the world’s climate, Cockburn then makes a vague reference to the Earth itself as being a cause of planetary warming, asserting: “…the human carbon footprint is of zero consequence amid these huge forces and volumes, and that's not even to mention the role of the giant reactor beneath our feet: the earth's increasingly hot molten core.” Whether the Earth’s allegedly “increasingly hot molten core” plays a role in Hertzberg’s global warming theory, or is just another a priori belief of Cockburn’s is not specified. I will therefore subsequently ignore this vague assertion until and unless Cockburn chooses to be more specific about it.

Hertzberg-Cockburn Critique of Global Warming Rebutted.

First of all, until very recently, human civilization has simply not been of sufficient magnitude to cause any significant effects whatsoever upon global climate and temperatures. Therefore, until very recently, natural forces were wholly responsible for changes in the Earth’s climate and its overall temperature. These natural forces were primarily changes in the amount of sunlight striking the planet due to the Milankovitch cycles. The long lag associated with increasing sunlight warming the Earth and the consequent heating of the oceans and frozen bogs (which release methane a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent that CO2) constitutes a kind of “thermal inertia.” However, as these positive (that is, amplifying) feedback loops kick in, including oceanic warming, ice melting (affecting the planet’s reflectivity) permafrost melting etc., the process of warming begins to accelerate.

So it is indeed true that across the geological history of our planet, that at first, planetary surface temperatures increase incrementally due to natural cycles--primarily due to Milankovitch cycles. This natural, external to our planet, warming then triggers greenhouse gas emissions. So far there is agreement between objective reality and Hertzberg’s thesis. However, these emissions themselves trigger additional planetary warming, which Hertzberg’s model disregards.

Eventually, falling levels of sunlight due to these natural cycles reverse the warming process. And that was how it was across countless millions of years, until fossil-fueled human civilization began to become a significant factor affecting the planetary climate in the past 100 or so years.

The primary fallacy in Hertzberg’s thesis is the argument that because natural cycles accounted for all global warming (and cooling) in past ages, it follows that this is still true, and therefore, human activity can be discounted. This fallacy rests upon the supposed lack of any causal relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature. If this is correct, then our carbon emissions are simply irrelevant to the global climate. Instead, it is asserted by Hertzberg-Cockburn that both planetary temperature and CO2 levels are caused by increasing solar radiation, which by heating the oceans, evaporates more water vapor into the atmosphere. This water vapor is purported to be the actual greenhouse gas, instead of CO2.

Yet CO2 unambiguously does cause heat to be trapped on planetary surfaces. Our nearest planetary neighbor, Venus, is about the same size and mass as the Earth. It is only about 25 million miles nearer to the sun than our planet. Originally, it is believed by planetary scientists to have been temperate with liquid water on its surface about 4 billion years ago. Yet, solar radiation on Venus eventually triggered a runaway greenhouse effect which has cloaked the planet in a dense blanket of CO2 which is about 100 times the thickness of our own atmosphere. The effect of all of this atmospheric CO2 is to make Venus’s present-day surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead! [vi] Such is the global warming power of CO2!

On Earth, the relationship of CO2 and temperature since the industrial revolution began is quite clear, as shown in the figure below:



Source: Whole-systems.org [vii]

What we need to understand is that with the onset of the Industrial Revolution something new and unprecedented occurred: anthropogenic CO2 releases compounding over a brief time interval triggered escalating temperature increases, along with overall climate change on a global scale. There is no thousand-year lag in this relationship, simply because the triggering agent is not gradually increasing levels of sunlight; rather, it is humans burning fossil fuels, thereby rapidly releasing carbon into the atmosphere. A thousand year lag is evidence of natural climate change. Rapid onset temperature increases are evidence of something unnatural at work: human civilization.

We know where all of this CO2 which suddenly appeared in or atmosphere comes from: it comes from the fossil fuels we’ve just burned for energy. Period. It is not caused by increasing levels of sunlight. As we shall see presently, these levels have actually been decreasing in recent decades!

We know the physics of CO2 with respect to its trapping heat in the atmosphere. It is the same on Earth as it is on Venus, because the laws of physics are universal. Contrary to Hertzberg’s assertion, climate models do indeed account for water vapor in the atmosphere. They may do this imperfectly, however this is a far cry from asserting that these models “fail to account for” this greenhouse gas.

As to the assertion that declines in the rate of CO2 emissions during the Great Depression did not cause corresponding temperature decreases, Cockburn fails to understand that CO2 concentrations are cumulative. Once released, the gas remains in the atmosphere for centuries—unlike water vapor, which quickly precipitates out of the atmosphere as rain or snow. Temperatures did not fall because, although there was a slowdown in atmospheric buildup of CO2, overall levels of CO2 in the atmosphere were still increasing.

Interestingly, the graph above seems to show a pause in temperature increases, just after the Depression induced slowdown of CO2 emissions. This relationship is what would be expected to be seen if CO2 levels did indeed directly affect temperatures. It certainly does not disprove a causal relationship, as Cockburn misguidedly asserts.

Finally, I would note that throughout recent decades, the amount of sunlight striking the Earth’s surface has actually been diminishing, not increasing, as Cockburn asserts. This process is called global dimming. [viii] It is also anthropogenic, as it is caused by atmospheric pollutants blocking sunlight from striking the Earth’s surface. If the Hertzberg-Cockburn theory were correct, it would follow logically that planetary temperatures would decrease due to global dimming, and not increase as they have done.

Empirical observation thus falsifies the Hertzberg-Cockburn theory. In fact, observation shows that nature behaves exactly as anticipated if the causal relationship of CO2 and temperature were both true and a major climate factor.

Conclusion

In summary, the Hertzberg-Cockburn thesis is falsified by empirical data. The Hertzberg-Cockburn thesis conflates natural and human-caused climate change, while ignoring the fact that this latter process has massively overridden all natural climatic factors. It has also ignored or conflated with natural cycles, anthropogenic factors which act to cool the planet such as pollution-caused global dimming.

Why has Alexander Cockburn made and publicized this unfounded assertion? I believe him to be a decent and honest man. I certainly do not believe that he is, for example, a paid disinformation agent, or something along those unsavory lines.

Rather, my take is that Cockburn is in denial. The magnitude of the problems facing humanity, and the consequent possible future of our civilization is so bleak, that it is far easier to deny this reality. Yet that is the worst possible course of action to take if humanity is to have a positive future. I encourage Mr. Cockburn, along with everyone else who feels similarly, to open your eyes.

I am the author of a recently released book which was written for just this purpose. It is entitled Infinity’s Rainbow: The Politics of Energy, Climate and Globalization. Several months ago I e-mailed Mr. Cockburn to inquire if he would like a copy. He responded that he would, so I sent him one. So in closing, I’d like to address a personal note to Mr. Cockburn: Please go back and read (or re-read) this book.


i From Papal Indulgences to Carbon Credits Is Global Warming a Sin? Counterpunch, April 28, 2007, http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn04282007.html
ii IBID
iii Wikipedia, The Free Online Encyclopedia, Milankovitch Cycles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
iv IBID #1 From Papal Indulgences to Carbon Credits Is Global Warming a Sin?
v IBID #1 From Papal Indulgences to Carbon Credits Is Global Warming a Sin?
vi Wikipedia, The Free Online Encyclopedia, Atmosphere of Venus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Venus
vii CO2 and Global Temperature Change, http://www.whole-systems.org/co2.html
viii Wikipedia, The Free Online Encyclopedia, Global Dimming, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming See also: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dimming_prog_summary.shtml

MichaelPByron.com

I have a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.  I teach all aspects of Political Science and Political Economy in local colleges in the San Diego area.  I have published a number of peer-reviewed professional papers, and have presented many papers at international conferences.  I have also written numerous newspaper opinion pieces.  I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Sociocybernetics.  I was the Democratic Party’s candidate for United States Congress in California’s 49th Congressional District in 2004. In 2002, I  ran as a write-in candidate upon discovering that the Republican incumbent, Darrell Issa, had no major-party challenger.

I am married to Ramona Byron, and we live in Oceanside, CA.  We are both Navy veterans.

Copyright © OpEdNews, 2002-2007








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the.bricoleur
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #100 on: 2007-05-01 14:27:51 »
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Quote from: Blunderov on 2007-05-01 12:52:27   

[Blunderov] My conclusion, based on the evidence,



is that global warming is real and it is anthropogenic.

The only other thing it could be is the sun. Apparently it isn't.

Blunderov, everybody acknowledges that rises in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere follow increased temperatures.  And falls in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere follow reduced temperatures.  An effect follows its cause (in the absence of a time machine).  So, the effect of carbon dioxide on the temperature is observed to be much smaller than other natural effects on the temperature both over geological times and in recent decades.  If the effect of the carbon dioxide had greatest effect on temperature then the other effects on temperature could not overwhelm it:  but the other effects are observed to have always overwhelmed it and to still overwhelm it.  If this were not so then the increasing CO2 in the air would prevent a fall in temperature because the CO2 follows the temperature and keeps increasing for some time after the temperature starts to fall.

Proponents of AGW say the effect of carbon dioxide is to enhance other effects on global temperature.  Perhaps so, but the important fact is that those other effects are observed to have always overwhelmed the effect of carbon dioxide, and they are observed to still overwhelm it.

Further, if rising CO2 in the air did significantly warm the atmosphere then a warming could never reverse to become a cooling (as is observed to happen both over geological and recent time scales).  The simple fact is that the reversals demonstrate beyond any doubt that other climate effects overwhelm the effect of CO2 warming (and I am not only referring to the anthropogenic % of CO2).

I conclude - observation, evidence, and mathematical proof are the stuff of science.  They are the test of conjecture.  In science, belief in a conjecture is not a reason to ignore observations and measurements.  When the observations and measurements do not agree with a conjecture then it is the conjecture that is disproved (n.b. not the observations and measurements).

-iolo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #101 on: 2007-05-01 18:32:47 »
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Quote from: Iolo Morganwg on 2007-05-01 14:27:51   
link=board=5;threadid=35570;start=90#160881 date=1178038347]...  If the effect of the carbon dioxide had greatest effect on temperature then the other effects on temperature could not overwhelm it:  but the other effects are observed to have always overwhelmed it and to still overwhelm it... 

[Blunderov]What, then, is causing GW? What are these 'other effects' please?

Why are there strange and alarming new fungi in my neighbourhood?

Why is winter so short?

Why is the light so polarised?

Why is it so damn HOT?
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #102 on: 2007-05-01 19:46:43 »
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source: UNEP


Certainly looks correlated to my eye.

Whether or not recent climate change is anthropogenic is an interesting academic question, but not really relevant. The real question is what should we do about climate change? Attempt to stop it or adapt to it? I'm rather skeptical that climate change can be stopped even if humans went back to stone age tech.
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #103 on: 2007-05-18 15:41:00 »
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Even a 15 year old can take on the AGW hypothesis ... and Al Gore to boot 

Ponder The Maunder

-iolo
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Re:The Flipping Point
« Reply #104 on: 2007-05-20 07:12:11 »
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A really nice popular summary of current comprehension of climate change at New Scientist with links to the sources and a very nice analysis and assessment section. Iolo, pay attention to the contradiction or qualification of most of your assertions both in the myth-busting section and in the permanent links, in particular reevaluation of the validity of "cooling trend" data.

Specific Myths addressed include:
  • Human CO2 emissions are too tiny to matter
  • We can't do anything about climate change
  • The 'hockey stick' graph has been proven wrong
  • Chaotic systems are not predictable
  • We can't trust computer models of climate
  • They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
  • It's been far warmer in the past, what's the big deal?
  • It's too cold where I live - warming will be great
  • Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans
  • It’s all down to cosmic rays
  • CO2 isn't the most important greenhouse gas
  • The lower atmosphere is cooling, not warming
  • Antarctica is getting cooler, not warmer, disproving global warming
  • The oceans are cooling
  • The cooling after 1940 shows CO2 does not cause warming
  • It was warmer during the Medieval period, with vineyards in England
  • We are simply recovering from the Little Ice Age
  • Warming will cause an ice age in Europe
  • Ice cores show CO2 increases lag behind temperature rises, disproving the link to global warming
  • Ice cores show CO2 rising as temperatures fell
  • Mars and Pluto are warming too
  • Many leading scientists question climate change
  • It's all a conspiracy
  • Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming
  • Higher CO2 levels will boost plant growth and food production
  • Polar bear numbers are increasing

Kindest Regards

Hermit
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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
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