Monday, March 1, 2010

Pulling It All Together

I frequently see warmists dismiss skeptics as not scientific or even hostile to science. In their universe it seems that if you disagree with them you are unscientific.

The ironic part of this is disagreement is the cornerstone of science. Because after you publish your results, others are supposed to verify your findings or find fault with them. The mantra "the science is settled" is in reality a political statement, not a scientific one. As Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

But let's look at what we know about the AGW theory. We know that AGW theory rests on the belief that warming is due to mankind and specifically mankind's use of fossil fuels which has increased the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The IPCC tells us this. But how did they come to that conclusion? I had no idea until I saw a slide presentation by Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT. Basically what the IPCC did was to use numerous climate models that showed natural variability could not account for the warming that was being experienced from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s. The problem with this is the models were not good representations of the actual climate but to make this conclusion you have to assume that they do accurately represent the climate.

As Dr. Lindzen stated that this "makes arguments in support of intelligent design sound rigorous by comparison. It constitutes a rejection of scientific logic, while widely put forward as being 'demanded' by science."

The IPCC's proof that mankind is causing global warming is inaccurate models that couldn't account for the warming so it had to be mankind's influence.

But if it isn't greenhouse gases what else could it possibly be? The other suspects include the sun (sunspot activity), cloud formation, cosmic rays, volcanic activity, deep ocean circulation, reductions in air pollution, and localized only heating caused by the Urban Heat Island Effect.

A second reason I find it difficult to worry about global warming also comes back to logic and common sense.

It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory — if you are looking for confirmations.

Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory — an event which would have refuted the theory.

Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

In an early post I showed how global warming seems to forbid nothing.

  • If you get more snow or less, that is compatible with AGW.
  • If you get more hurricanes or fewer that is compatible with AGW.
  • If glaciers are growing or shrinking, that is compatible with AGW.
  • If you have droughts or floods, both are compatible with AGW.
  • If you have warming or cooling (that's why they changed the name to climate change) it is compatible with AGW.

In short, nothing seems to disqualify AGW from being one of the causes of whatever calamity happens and this puts it into the category of being non-scientific.

Next up are the arguments scientific or political?

Back in 1989, future Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Working Group 2 (WG2) lead author Stephen Schneider disclosed several tricks of the trade to Discover magazine:

"To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest." Schneider said.

And when Climategate happened we saw much more of this.

In November 1996 Geoff Jenkins was head of climate change prediction at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, part of the United Kingdom’s Met(eorological) Office (national weather service). He wrote to Phil Jones:

  • " Remember all the fun we had last year over 1995 global temperatures, with the early release of information (via Australia), “inventing” the December monthly value, letters to Nature, etc., etc.? I think we should have a cunning plan about what to do this year, simply to avoid a lot of wasted time. "

Later in November 1996 Phil Jones wrote to Ray Bradley, Mike Mann, Malcolm Hughes, Keith Briffa, and Tim Osborn, regarding a diagram for a World Meteorological Organization Statement: and this is where we get the famous statement:

"I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline."

Jones revealed that Mann did not address this problem by making honest note of it in the paper that he and his co-authors pubished in Nature, but rather fraudulently substituted the real temperature data into the graphs, for the past twenty or forty years as required. This information would have greatly diminished the validity of Mann's study.

There are numerous other quotes from Climategate that show a disdain for the scientific method.

When you look at AGW science, feedback is the most important part of the AGW theory. They see the feedback (water vapor) as large and positive. But actual observation and measurement shows just the opposite.

Spencer et al. (2007) found a strong negative cirrus cloud feedback mechanism in the tropical troposphere. Instead of steadily building up as the tropical oceans warm, cirrus cloud cover suddenly contracts, allowing more OLR to escape. Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who directed the study, estimates that if this mechanism operates on decadal time scales, it would reduce model estimates of global warming by 75%.

Finally I find it ironic that warmist keep telling us the current lack of warming is only 12 years and therefore is too short a time to call it climate rather than weather. Yet the IPCC was created in 1988 after just 13 years of warming.

I will end with another Einstein quote. "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods."

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