A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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If there were any sharks left to jump

If there were any sharks left for Bob Carter to jump, he would have jumped them with this article on fellow climate ostrich Jennifer Marohasy's blog. Like most of the denialist campaign, he no longer even pretends to argue the science, (because of course every last word of the IPCC reports has been completely demolished so many times before, right?) merely verbally masterbates about what a buffoon Al Gore is, how the mindless flocks of human sheep tremble and how the oh-so-powerful and rich climate scientists manipulate all of us.

Nothing new or noteworthy, really. But the punchline is worth the multiple showers you'll want after reading it all, because he actually places Martin Durkin in the same company as "Charles Darwin, Wilhelm Roentgen, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Robin Warren-Barry Marshall and their like". Martin Durkin an Albert Einstein.

I kid you not!

More irrefutable proof that this man has nothing to say you could not fabricate.

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  • At July 12, 2007 4:32 AM, Blogger Gaurav said…

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  • At July 12, 2007 8:45 AM, Blogger Lloyd Flack said…

    We had "The Great Global Warming Swindle" on the ABC a few hours ago. Bob Carter was on the discussion panel afterwards. Spouted predictable rubbish including "No warming since 1998". The quality of the discussion afterwards was uneven and I'm not talking about the deniers. They were uniformly bad. Most of the studio audience didn't ask questions. Rather they just stood up on a soapbox. And I'm not just speaking about the denialists.

    Still I had to see it so I knew what people would be hearing and repeating. Durkin is an obvious example of someone who believes that since he can't separate his politics from his science, that nobody can.

  • At July 12, 2007 11:06 PM, Blogger nowhereman said…

    This is an interesting blog that I have been watching for a while. I am as you would call a denialist. I will say however that you do a much better job then most, as some might call "alarmists". (I do not usually use this word though when describing people) The reason I think this is that you seem to post some sources when you write. This is good as it promotes fact checking.

    I do not believe in global warming because there is an explicit lack of experimental data present, only observational. Hence all that this therory (which, technically speaking, couldn't even be called that without said experimental data) is based on is inductive reasoning. All science must use deductive reasoning to prove itself. (The difference between the two could be explained as a man watching different kinds of birds fly and eventually decide that all birds fly [inductive] and the famous gravitational lensing test done to prove Einstien's General Theroy of relativity (or was it special?)) Missing experimental data, this whole "Theroy" falls apart. Until this evidence is found, Homocentric Global Warming will always be a Hypothesis.

    So What I want is for you to prove me wrong. I want you to find me three peer edited and reveiwed papers with experimental data. No conjectures, no speculation, educated guesses (except for words like "this data would seem to support HGW" in which case it is mearly science speak for Booya). And it must also be Primary source documents, so no media clippings of "HGW proven by study from unnamed scientist."

    Why should I make this challenge? Because I am almost certain (I am never completly certain) that no such evidence exists. If it did then it would have been all over the news by now. I mearly want you to accept the fact that evidence could go either way here. It might be cyclical, might be Man Made. Only way to do that is to force you to prove me wrong, and let's face it. If you manage to scrounge up some eternally lost document like this then you would become the most famous blogger of all; the blogger who saved the world. You do not need to accept my challange, just understand that media lies... alot. (My blog is about the lieing media.) It is more than possible that the media is either lieing, blowing up the truth, or just plain wrong.

  • At July 16, 2007 2:17 AM, Blogger Lloyd Flack said…

    But climate science is an observational science, not an experimental one in the sense that you seem to looking for. Like astronomy or geology. We only have the one world and cannot do controlled experiments on it.

    The only experiments that we can make are uncontrolled and unintended ones, such as putting a huge carbon dioxide slug into the atmosphere. Otherwise we make observations that we believe might tell us what is happening and we do simulations to give us some idea of whether our proposed mechanisms will have results similar to what actually happens. Not ideal, but it's what we can do.

    Remember the uncertainty that we have concerns the behaviour of huge complicated systems with hordes of interactions. Laboratory experiments have given us things such as the properties of greenhouse gases. Science has to use whatever data can be obtained, not what we would like to obtain.

  • At July 16, 2007 9:04 AM, Blogger coby said…


    Lloyd is right, what you are asking for is simply not possible unless you can provide a few duplicate earth's (and a few very large time machines) upon which we can run some controlled experiments. Take a few copies and do not add CO2, take a few and add CO2, run them forward a century and then compare the resulting climates.

    That kind of thing can be done with GCM's though I have no doubt you are uninterested in any evidence derived from models. (Though computer models and experiments upon them impact science and technology and your life via myriad other scientific fields). This has in fact been done and there is no comprehensive climate model based on physical principles that can simulate the 20th century without anthropogenic forcings.

    Why don't you suggest to us just what kind of empirical experiment you would accept as convincing and we can then see if it has been done or is even possible?

    Also as Lloyd pointed out, there in fact are thousands of lab experiments that have been done, many very fundamental and long standing, that support all the smaller pieces of the huge puzzle that is the global climate system.

    Thanks for the comment, I look forward to your response.

  • At July 16, 2007 6:03 PM, Blogger nowhereman said…

    To both repliers,

    I did infact know that global warming theory is, infact, an observational science. I would however accept a climate prediction tool, provided that multiple predictions (5-10 on seperate similar models, due to the time scales involved though 3-5 would be sufficent) came true to very exacting scales (more that a 25% on chi square test). These models would have to take into account the sulfer cycle, carbon cycle, hydorlogical cycle, nitrogen cycle et all. It would also have to predict this data based on likely (not worst or best case scenerio although this wouldn't alone be bad nessesarily) man made pollutants. Finally It would also have to demonstrat an actual function that could guess, very accurately, the degree change per percentage of CO2 or CH4 change. These functions would also need to be good for explaining past ice ages. (the last one is a bit obvious I guess but also nessesary.

    Also, if you could give me a link to something the explains the CO2 temp lag well, and beliveable, then that would also help toward my belief. I know, tall order but I am an eternal skeptic.

  • At July 17, 2007 4:52 PM, Blogger coby said…

    There is still something you are not taking into consideration, depending on how you intend to apply your "true to very exacting scales" test, and that is the chaotic component of the climate system. Natural variability can not be predicted and while we can do multiple model runs to come up with the most likely value of a specific climate condition, what actually happens is only one instance of the possible futures. If you are only going to insist on the actual state of the climate falling within the range model prdictons stated were likely then I think we have already passed many of these tests. I also think that hindcasting is a perfectly good way of validating current models.

    Another practical limitation to the utility of demanding a model be proven on a decadal or multi-decadal test is that science and technology progresses much too quickly for this. GISS Model E from 30 years ago has done a good job, but the resemblance of today's version to that one is not enough to rest on so we would need to wait thirty more years, etc etc

    As for your cycle inclusion requests, while I agree it would be nice if the carbon cycle were included on a 100 year prediction, I don't think it is a show stopper for utility in informing policy. Care to elaborate? (Um, sulphur cycle?)

    But really, most of what you are challenging has already been met, have look at the IPCC report on the stat of this research.

    Check here for a debunking of the Lead vs Lag attack.

  • At July 22, 2007 6:15 PM, Anonymous stewart said…

    Personally, I figure if it's good enough for the National Science Academies of the G8 plus China, India, Australia, the EU, etc., it's good enough for me. If you want more detail, check elsewhere on Coby's website, Open Mind by Tamino, etc. Note how Tamino points out that CO2/Greenhouse theory makes testable predictions that have since been demonstrated, the strongest proof available in science.
    As for the argument that what you want is a reference to a single peer-reviewed article that slices, dices, bakes bread and washes windows, good luck. Science articles are fragmentary, focusing on one apect (or, more likely, one facet of one aspect) and taking the rest largely for granted. You can find it all in books (which aren't peer-reviewed, by definition). I can't think of a single article, in any area of science, which simultaneously demonstrates the 4 or 5 essential propositions of a field. I am aware, however, of people claiming that there is no such article thus demonstrates the field is illegitimate.
    If there is such an article in any field, I'm interested in knowing.

    Back to the topic; Carter probably had 2 versions of his article, one for a serious response from the scientific community ("See - they're threatened") and one from a dismissive response from a post-doc somewhere ("The big boys are afraid to come out and play, because we'd kill them"). It's all about spin, really. All of it. Really. Just as Durkin is.


  • At July 23, 2007 4:21 AM, Blogger Marion Delgado said…


    lloyd took the words out of my mouth, BUT

    What experiment was performed that convinced you continental drift was not just a wild-eyed hypothesis but a well-established theory?

  • At July 28, 2007 5:57 PM, Blogger Lloyd Flack said…

    Nowhereman asked for predictive models that were also useful for explaining past ice ages. They already are. The GCM models have a range of sensitivities to a doubling of CO2. This range is from 1.5 °C to 4.5°C with most likely value of about 3°C. Changes between glacials and interglacials require sensitivities of between 1.5°C and 6°C in agreement with these models. Thus we are getting a similar range of sensitivities by two different methods giving us increased faith in the models as an adequate approximation for our purposes. In science we place a lot of importance on getting similar results from different approaches.


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