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Throw your iPhone into the climate debate

Filed under: — rasmus @ 19 February 2010

Who says that the climate debate is not evolving? According to the daily newspaper the Guardian, a new application (‘app‘) has been written for iPhones that provides a list of climate dissidents’ arguments, and counter arguments based on more legitimate scientific substance. The app is developed by John Cook from ‘Skeptical Science‘. It’s apparently enough to have the climate dissidents up in arms – meaning that it’s likely to have some effect? Some dissidents are now thinking of writing their own app.

Here on RC, we have developed a wiki, to which I also would like to bring the reader’s attention. Furthermore, I want to remind the readers about other useful web sites, listed at our blog roll.


532 Responses to “Throw your iPhone into the climate debate”

  1. 201
    Molnar says:

    John (189):

    The divergence of some tree ring chronologies is hardly a secret – there is a ton of literature on this if you are interested –

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/papers-on-the-divergence-problem/

  2. 202
    John E. Pearson says:

    200: Edward Greisch says:

    “Persuasion requires more than just science for most people. How can RC deal with that?”

    Ed. I posted a remark on this a couple of days ago, suggesting that writing the science at a lower reading level is needed. As far as I know it was completely ignored, but I think it is nearly self-evident and that it is important to do. It is tough for scientists thoough because scientists are used to writing for scientists, not 9th grades which is a more appropriate level if one wants to reach the public.

  3. 203
    Edward Greisch says:

    Completely Fed Up and Jaime Frontero and RealClimate: We don’t have to and can’t convince everybody. We have to convince enough people to get strong legislation passed. Notice that I convinced only one person that time. Persuasion is a sub-discipline of psychology. RC needs to consult and bring on board some psychology professors who specialize in persuasion. Most people couldn’t pass freshman physics if their lives depended on it. Therefore, strictly teaching physics won’t work. But teaching simplified physics works if it is that knowledge that is lacking.

    First, figure out the denialist. Ask the psychology professor to do that. Then figure out the key to unlock the denialist’s brain. That also requires the psychology professor. Does the denialist feel that you are trying to take something away from him? Probably. What is it? Etc..

    RC, do you understand what I am saying? Don’t be narrow and single track. Work with the other people you need to get the job done. Do you need a writer of children’s books or a cartoonist in the group? A novelist? A diplomat? At this point, perfection may be less important than winning. But winning means getting the correct law passed, not winning the argument. Walk over to the psychology department and talk to whoever happens to be there. It would be a start.

  4. 204
    Tim Jones says:

    Re: 187 fred g says: 20 February 2010 at 7:40 PM
    One of the AGU speakers expresses the belief that the sun is heading into a Dalton-minimum like period, which was very cold. Thus, it is unlikely the global warming theory will get bailed out by a period of hot weather; rather it is more likely it will be definitively doused by continued cold temperatures. This will be a nice way to demonstrate that CO2 at .04% of the earth’s atmosphere in no way can trump solar influences on climate.”

    Temperatures this winter are already considerably higher than most.
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Jan_10.jpg

    Monthly Anomalies of Global Average Surface Temperature in January (1891 – 2010, preliminary value)
    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/products/gwp/temp/jan_wld.html
    Five Warmest Years (Anomalies)
    1st. 2007(+0.45°C), 2nd. 2002(+0.44°C), 3rd. 2010(+0.37°C), 4th. 1998(+0.36°C), 5th. 2005,2003(+0.31°C)

    Continued cold temperatures???

    NOAA: Warmest January in both satellite records
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/16/noaa-warmest-january-on-record-in-both-satellite-records/

    Looks to me like CO2 has already trumped solar. A grand solar minima negative forcing doesn’t mean that CO2 isn’t warming.
    I suppose how the public opinion is swayed with mendacious propaganda is another matter.

  5. 205

    John #189: the decline problem as others have noted has been studied extensively, e.g.

    Rosanne D’Arrigo, Rob Wilson, Beate Liepert, Paolo Cherubini, On the `Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes, Global and Planetary Change, Volume 60, Issues 3-4, February 2008, Pages 289-305

    The other important thing to be aware of is that tree ring studies are not the only way of reconstructing past temperature. Each method has different advantages and disadvantages and it we had to rely on only one, there would be a serious problem with accounting for the divergence problem. Tree ring reconstructions line up pretty well with other reconstructions, leading to the conclusion that something unusual happened over the last half century or so. Here’s a scholar search to get you started.

    Google scholar is your friend. Regular google mainly turns up denialist dross unless you are very careful about what you search for.

  6. 206
    John Phillips says:

    John (189), Proxy data is always uncertain. Unfortunately, the IPCC reports do not give statistically based confidence intervals. Based on the fact that we know they diverge for the much of the time that we actually have instrument measurements, I suspect the confidence intervals are way out there even for a 50% confidence level.

  7. 207
    Edward Greisch says:

    202 John E. Pearson: You are correct. But write for 9 or 8 year olds [4th or 3rd grade], not 9th grade. Then you have to make it look like it was written for adults. Yes, most adults need instruction at that level. You just can’t embarrass them by telling them so. And you have to repeat it enough times to make sure everybody hears it. Students in grade school should receive more than 10 minutes of instruction per week in science. Could somebody write a book on GW for grade school? How about a web based book so that it can be distributed for free? How do you get the schools to let you in the door? [Getting in the schoolhouse door is not so easy these days. Try running for the school board.]
    How do you make the same lesson acceptable to adults? It can’t be the same book unless you get the children to ask their parents to read it to them.

    The opposition of course hires advertising agencies and pays for advertisements and lobbyists and makes campaign contributions, alias bribes. I have received emails stating that they have also forged other peoples’ signatures on some letters and documents. Advertising agencies are psychological engineers. I guess that they must have figured out every possible way to destroy science and frustrate scientists. And they hacked those emails. We are doing amazingly well given such a rich and determined opposition, but not good enough.

    I think that you were heard, but advertising costs money. How can RealClimate do it? If we were the fossil fuel industry, we could hire people to write letters to editors. Some of us readers of RC could, and do, do that. It takes time. We can’t overwhelm the opposition when they own the newspapers and TV networks. So basic democracy and real freedom of speech for humans rather than corporations is also important to us.

    How about set up a foundation and ask wealthy people and other foundations for money?

  8. 208
    John Mashey says:

    re: #189 JOHN
    You might want to read Ray Bradley’s classic Paleoclimatology – reconstructing the Climates of the Quaternary, 1999. (600 pages, dense)

    Paleo-folk are fairly good at using statistical techniques to extract useful signals from old noisy data that is what it is, rather than being something that can be rerun in the lab. It is actually very interesting detective work.

  9. 209
    Craig Nazor says:

    About rising CO2 levels and plants – as you pointed out, different species (and groups) of plants will react in different ways to increased atmospheric CO2 levels. In a monoculture, the results might be fairly predictable. But in complex plant communities, changing CO2 levels will mean that there will be winners and losers, and the balance of populations will change. Such a change in the food producers of an ecosystem will cause a change in the balance of the consumers. The outcome of this would be extremely difficult to predict, and these effects would intensify as they rose up through the food chain.

    This is not an experiment I would like to see performed, if we can possibly help it!

  10. 210
    BFJ says:

    #4 John Cook says:
    I’ve been dismayed that the climate debate seems to have moved from science to attacking scientists and the IPCC.

    The basic charge is that scientists and the IPCC are sabotaging science, by practicing political advocacy and grant-farming in the name of science. Anyone truly interested in science would attack this.

  11. 211
    Steve Carson says:

    John E. Pearson said:

    “I posted a remark on this a couple of days ago, suggesting that writing the science at a lower reading level is needed.”

    Check out http://scienceofdoom.com

    John E. Pearson, I agree.

    The level of realclimate – and skepticalscience (which is what started this post) is at a different level. A level where saying “here’s 5 peer-reviewed scientific papers” is a major part of the argument. Not much use for many out there.

    Firstly – 99% of the population don’t have access to journals.

    Secondly – if they did, for the small percentage of papers that are somehow accessible, there is a pre-requisite of a) advanced science knowledge b) how this subject has been tackled since 1960 (or whatever) to understand the content of that particular paper

    Thirdly – 50% of the population are “skeptical” of the argument from scientific authority.

    Like it or hate it, that’s the world out there. If you want to convince people without the argument from authority..

  12. 212

    Tim Jones #204: good points but what fred g seems to be missing is that CO_2 driven warming is in addition to any natural variability. It is a frequent misconception promoted by the denial camp that the mainstream claims the increased greenhouse effect somehow prevents any natural variability. This argument is so clearly nonsensical that it seems pointless to refute it but I’ve seen it so often, it’s clearly something that should be hit on the head.

    If indeed the last few years were influenced by a cooling trend of the sun (as they should be: this is physics, not magic), why haven’t temperatures over the last few years headed down to the levels last seen when solar activity was this low nearly 100 years ago?

    There is no great defeat of climate science if the sun cools a tad and this slows warming. The fact that the sun has cooled slightly over the last solar cycle but temperatures have stayed at or near record highs is strong confirmation of the increased greenhouse effect, rather than the contrary. There is a short lag between solar variation and its effect on global temperatures; in the first part of the 20th century, the effect was very clear. In recent decades, the effect is overlaid on an upward trend in temperatures that has no correspondence with changes in solar irradiance. You can see this very clearly in the graph here.

  13. 213

    wilt: the “What else could it be?” argument in favour of the CO2 effect is not the most convincing one.

    BPL: And, in fact, no climate science ever made that argument.

  14. 214
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John Phillips, And what is your confidence in that confidence level?

    Jeez, irony really is dead!

  15. 215
    Completely Fed Up says:

    wilt “the “What else could it be?” argument in favour of the CO2 effect is not the most convincing one.”

    So how come you can’t answer it?

  16. 216
    Tim Jones says:

    Fooey. How does one make an active (text) link with this
    comment structure?

    [Response: standard html. < a href="http://etc" > link </a> - gavin]

  17. 217
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “206
    John Phillips says:
    21 February 2010 at 1:18 AM

    John (189), Proxy data is always uncertain. Unfortunately, the IPCC reports do not give statistically based confidence intervals.”

    Except they do.

    Specifically and with great attention to the validity.

  18. 218
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “151
    Septic Matthew says:
    20 February 2010 at 11:16 AM

    135, Completely Fed Up: wilt is just projecting.

    Everybody really ought to drop the faux psychoanalysis”

    “…and far too damaging when I want to project my failings on the scientists.”

    Captain Subtext thanks you for this opportunity to make your posts’ subtext clearer.

    PS it’s a well understood and recognised phenomena.

  19. 219
    flxible says:

    Steve Carson@211 – I’ll finish your last sentence: If you want to convince people without the argument from authority… – What’s needed isn’t a consulting psychologist or educator, but a persuader, as in PR.

    The “rabid” denialists don’t want an education and are likely incapable of understanding the “facts” anyway. The CBC series on advertising has been very instructive, get O’Rielly on board. [The series has no podcasts, but is available streaming online - not sure about outside Canada but CBC is on Serius 137]

  20. 220
    Tim Jones says:

    Re: 187 fred g says: 20 February 2010
    “This will be a nice way to demonstrate that CO2 at .04% of the earth’s atmosphere in no way can trump solar influences on climate.”

    Let’s turn Fed’s comment around and say the following two graphs demonstrate that for January 2010, at least, CO2 at .04% of the earth’s atmosphere easily trumps solar influences on climate.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/02/january-2010-global-tropospheric-temperature-map/

    Sunspot cycle 24: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif indicates similarities between 1998 and 2010.
    The prediction for the cycle is here: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml

    Although the current sunspot cycle is forecast to have lower amplitude and thereby less energy coming our way, the temperatures for the lower troposphere indicate a greater average warmth in 2010 than 1998.

    Considering that both the current El Niño as well as solar irradiance are weaker in 2010 than 1998, yet temperatures are higher, that no other forcing appears to dominate, the conclusion is inescapable that CO2 must be driving higher temperatures at this point and will continue to do so.

  21. 221
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Wilt, I don’t know of any scientist making an argument based on “What else could it be?” Indeed, warming due to anthropogenic CO2 is a 114 year old prediction by Svante Arrhenius! The fact that scientists are continually looking for alternative forcings and have not found any that match the signatures of the current warming. Indeed it is difficult to imagine a forcing other than a greenhouse mechanism that is supported by all the evidence.

    You look for “oscillations,” as if finding them in the absence of a periodic driver would explain anything. The thing is that the “anything but CO2″ approach is also not a particularly compelling story.

  22. 222
    H Hak says:

    re: Tom Dayton at 159.
    Thanks Tom .Very interesting. The articles/book you quote give a higher value than Gavin’s but the value of 0.09W/m2 remains insignificant.

  23. 223
    John Phillips says:

    217 Fedup,

    Maybe I should use “likely” or some other conviction based measure similar to what is used in the IPCC report?

  24. 224
    John E. Pearson says:

    211: Steve, is that your site? It seems pretty good but I can’t really tell if the level of the writing is low enough or not. My wife has free software that will estimate the “grade level” of a sample of writing. If you’re interested I’ll ask her where she got it. I don’t want to demean your effort but my personal feeling is that you need more pictures and fewer words. I think diagrams drawn with xfig (or whatever your favorite drawing tool is) are inadequate. I think that diagrams/drawings need to be in color and visually striking/appealing. You need an illustrator. The sorts of schematic illustrations that are found in the scientific literature are probably too abstract for the general public. That’s what I think anyway.

    A big problem is that folks like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc don’t need to understand anything to mock it effectively. I heard some guy on the radio one day ranting that now “they’re going to outlaw breathing”. It takes about two seconds to say “they’re going to outlaw breathing”. It takes minutes to explain why it’s nonsensical. There’s a fundamental asymmetry in the debate. It is FAR easier to babble nonsense than to intelligently debunk nonsense.

  25. 225
    H Hak says:

    re 220:
    To play the devils advocate: ” the conclusion is inescapable that CO2 must be driving higher temperatures at this point and will continue to do so”
    is an “argument from ignorance” and a logical fallacy. (I don’t mean this to sound condescending, it is a technical term used in logic). Basically because we can’t find or think of any other acceptable reason why the temps are rising, and CO2 correlates well, therefore it must be the CO2.
    Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not.
    Looking at the past temperature records from any of the proxies we NEVER see a constant, straight line.
    Maybe the MWP was only a local NH phenomenon, who knows. Vulcanoes, etc. had an effect, of course. Nevertheless my question is: are you sure that you can explain all those previous temp. fluctuations that were clearly independant of CO2 levels?
    No doubt Gavin and the others here have as much expertise as anyone. As Eduardo Zorita says on Klimazwiebel: there are cubic light years of knowledge that I as a layman in the field have no clue about.
    Yet personally I doubt that we can explain all of the – even relatively recent- past records with enough confidence. We weren’t there at the time and we haven’t studied the climate long enough to know.
    Does that mean for me let’s just wait and see?
    NO!!Even if say CO2 was not a main driver for climate change there are plenty of other reasons to limit our use of fossil fuels, recycle, reuse and live less wasteful. Do what you can in your personal life. And let’s support innovation.

  26. 226
    Septic Matthew says:

    218, Completely Fed Up: PS it’s a well understood and recognised phenomena.

    As much as the flat earth. It’s no more accurate or useful than Newton’s interpretation of the Revelation of St. John, but like that interpretation it is based on an analysis of myths, with factitious memories added in. According to the psychoanalytic school of thought, you are not qualified to assess the unconscious dynamics of others until you have spent 7 or 14 years in a disciplined and intense effort to understand your own, and then your assessments have to be based on disciplined and intense personal interaction.

  27. 227

    wilt (155): if solar forcing was important during 1910-1940 temperature increase it was certainly important during 1975-1998.

    BPL: Doesn’t follow. “High” isn’t the same as rising.

    % of variance in NASA GISS temperature anomalies accounted for by carbon dioxide, 1880-2008: 76%

    % accounted for by variations in sunlight: 2.5%

    Do the math.

  28. 228
    Kate7 says:

    Regarding IPCC – sea levels:

    “Another way of looking at what is going on is the tide gauge. Tide gauging is very complicated, because it gives different answers for wherever you are in the world. We have to rely on geology when we interpret it. So, for example, …the IPCC choose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and choose the record of one, which gives a 2.3 mm per year of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It’s the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which should not [be used].
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/

  29. 229
    wilt says:

    Ray Ladbury (#221)’Indeed, warming due to anthropogenic CO2 is a 114 year old prediction by Svante Arrhenius!’
    What kind of argument is that?! If I were to present a list here of things that have been predicted by someone 100 years ago or 1000 years ago or yesterday evening, you would be surprised, but would it make any difference at all for you or anyone else?! What matters is the evidence one can provide for a theory, and this evidence should be based on observations, experiments, and testable predictions, not just (conflicting) models or the words of a ‘prophet’(that is religion, not science). In this respect the AGW proponents have not been very convincing if you look at present day public support, 114 years after Arrhenius predictions!

  30. 230
    Mal Adapted says:

    The opposition of course hires advertising agencies and pays for advertisements and lobbyists and makes campaign contributions, alias bribes.

    Edward’s got it right. The opposition understands it takes money to make money. The denial industry’s money trail is abundantly documented, in books like Climate Cover-Up and The Heat is On, and websites like Sourcewatch and ExxonSecrets. It’s not hard to follow, because most of it is right out in the open. Corporate speech is protected after all, as the US Supreme Court just affirmed.

    On the science side, there’s no profit motive, despite the tu quoque calumny of the professional deniers. That’s working pretty well for them, obviously, because, BJF chimes in on queue:

    The basic charge is that scientists and the IPCC are sabotaging science, by practicing political advocacy and grant-farming in the name of science. Anyone truly interested in science would attack this.

    BJF, anyone truly interested in science would know enough about how science is done to understand how ridiculous those charges are! “Grant-farming” — what’s the evidence for this? There are hints and allegations. There’s nothing approaching the detailed accounting of the denier’s lies, even from the deniers themselves.

    Well, BJF, we’re waiting!

  31. 231
    Mal Adapted says:

    “BJF”: I mean “BFJ”, obviously. When, oh when, will RealClimate get comment preview?!

  32. 232
    Kate7 says:

    evidence of grant farming? The (appalling) list is at Pubmed when you search for climate change or global warming or just about any other semi-related topic.

  33. 233
    David B. Benson says:

    wilt (228) — At least read
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius#Greenhouse_effect
    and maybe then some readi8ng to see that it took about another 60 years to treat all the details. I recommend the history in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link in the science section of the sidebar.

  34. 234
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Wilt asks re my reference to Arrhenius: “What kind of argument is that?!”

    Well, for one thing it puts the lie to your claim that arguments for anthropogenic causation are based on “What else could it be?” For another, it shows that the basic science has been known a VERY long time.

    And as to judging science, I’ll take the peer-reviewed literature over opinion polls any day. This is science, not politics.

    Like I say, you want to talk evidence, I’m game. Maybe we can start with a consideration of how any mechanism other than a greenhouse one simultaneously warms the troposphere and cools the stratosphere. Chew on that one awhile.

  35. 235

    BFJ #210:

    The basic charge is that scientists and the IPCC are sabotaging science, by practicing political advocacy and grant-farming in the name of science. Anyone truly interested in science would attack this.

    They would if it’s happening. What’s your evidence? There have been numerous aggressive enquiries into climate science and climate scientists, none of which have turned up anything of significance. Let’s try this question for you while you have your moral outrage turned on. A retired academic publishes a book, using the name of two universities where he holds emeritus appointments to add legitimacy to the book. The book is quickly revealed to have over 100 errors with some that completely overturn the book’s central claims, including citing references that don’t say what the book uses them to support, and using unsourced apparently fabricated data. BFJ, do you think the two universities concerned would have severely damaged reputations if they failed to act against this person?

    wilt #228: the reference to Arrhenius is relevant because he discovered the logarithmic relationship between increasing CO_2 and temperature in the lab, and that relationship held good as a theoretical basis for it was discovered. The theoretical basis for the logarithmic relationship is the IR absorption spectrum of CO_2. This is no different from the development of any scientific theory. An observation is made that has a specific pattern. A theoretical model develops based on other more general theory that is testable across a wide variety of scenarios. The warming effect of CO_2 is extremely solid science. The need for models arises from applying this theory in a complex system with many other effects that may delay or speed the initial effect, and amplify the initial effect in varying degrees.

    wilt, if you want religion, try the cult of carbon that denies the very existence of a basic scientific theory behind greenhouse warming, despite no evidence to support their claims (the greenhouse effect is a constant, all variability is caused by the sun, greenhouse forcing is damped by clouds even though orbital forcing somehow magically is not, greenhouse warming violates the second law of thermodynamics …). In this world view, it doesn’t matter if you hold contradictory views or drop one argument as soon as it’s shown to be flawed and switch to another. Sounds mighty like creationism aka intelligent design to me.

  36. 236

    #225 H Hak

    Just because you lack knowledge and understanding does not mean an argument is a logical fallacy. Your claim that the statement you mention is an argument from ignorance; is actually an argument from ignorance.

    It’s important to parse reasonable hypothesis, theory, observations, and understanding in a meaningful/relevant manner.

    Is the earth flat? If yes, How do you know? Is the earth round? If yes, how do you know. Just because some wacky bunch of scientists say it is round? Oh my, argument form authority, or argument from ignorance? I mean, no one really knows right?

    And of course you present the classic straw-man. We don’t know everything so we don’t know anything.

    Your question

    are you sure that you can explain all those previous temp. fluctuations that were clearly independant of CO2 levels?

    is a red herring. If two people punch you in the face, it does not have to be for entirely the same reason.

    Please, look up the word ratiocination, apply, then post.

    PS Look up DO event.

    PPS In case I did not make my point above… just because you don’t understand something, does not mean someone else does not know more than you.

    PPPS You say we have not studied climate long enough to know??? Have you ever heard of paleo climate studies?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-know

    PPPPS If your going to play devils advocate, at least be familiar enough with the scope of knowledge on the playing field before you spout of nonsensical straw-man arguments that smell like red herrings.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  37. 237
    Tom Servo says:

    At one time some would call them “deniers.” The more generous called them “skeptics.” But now, increasingly, it appears that they can be called something else: sane.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/time_to_turn_up_the_heat_on_th.html

  38. 238
    Completely Fed Up says:

    226, got an actual argument, or are you gist going to go with repeating the same old tired unsupporte statements as if fact?

  39. 239
    Completely Fed Up says:

    225, no there is no argument from ignorance there, it’s the well known idea of the null hypothesis. also recognised as occam’s razor and used by sherlock holmes.

  40. 240
    Mal Adapted says:

    Kate7 and wilt, please have a look at this post on SkepticalScience.

  41. 241
    Tim Jones says:

    Re: 225 H Hak says: 21 February 2010 at 12:51 PM

    “To play the devils advocate: ” the conclusion is inescapable that CO2 must be driving higher temperatures at this point and will continue to do so” is an “argument from ignorance” and a logical fallacy.

    The whole sentence:
    “Considering that both the current El Niño as well as solar irradiance are weaker in 2010 than 1998, yet temperatures are higher, that no other forcing appears to dominate, the conclusion is inescapable that CO2 must be driving higher temperatures at this point and will continue to do so.”

    I think Occam’s Razor more adequately describes the assertion. The physics of atmospheric CO2 IS unsaid but grounds the assertion. The evidence of the quality of the other forcings means the the conclusion is inescapable.

    If I had written: “Global surface temperatures are understandable in the context of the physics of atmospheric CO2 and are just within the parameters of GCM projections as modified by observations by Solomon, et al, the current El Niño and the current low ebb in the sunspot cycle. Considering that both the current El Niño as well as solar irradiance are weaker in 2010 than in 1998, yet temperatures are higher, that no other forcing appears to dominate, the conclusion is inescapable that CO2 must be driving higher temperatures at this point and will continue to do so.”

    Would this meet muster?

    I produced evidence and a forecast based on the best available evidence. It wasn’t simply an assertion only true because it is based on lack of proof or evidence to the contrary.

    “The argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam “appeal to ignorance”, or negative evidence, is a logical fallacy in which it is claimed that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or is false only because it has not been proven true.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

    Scientific truth relies on the empirical evaluation of evidence, not on proof, per se. I think the distinction makes a difference.

  42. 242
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Someone wrote that we should correct each others errors. How about the following correction although it won’t affect any conclusions?

    Rer #220
    CO2 at 0.04% of the atmosphere i.e 400ppm refers (roughly) to the total amount of CO2, not the increase of it since 1750 as suggested by the comment.
    Since we are now in the realm of the total greenhouse effect we have to consider what would happen with all of the 400ppm removed. The consequent cooling would drive H2O to condense from the air and freeze from the oceans causing more cooling. In the end most of the H2O would be in ice and the Earth’s heat balance would
    lie between a snow ball and the Moon (which is bit darker).

    The final temperature can be estimated very roughly by (a) simple theory using the well tested Stefan Boltzmann equation and (b) by considering the temperature of the Moon (perhaps including data from a total eclipse as discussed near the beginning of Raypierre’s book which used to be on line) and perhaps (c) (??) by looking at the data from the snowball state in the past?

    Discussion.
    Finally why specify concentrations in that uninformative way? Yes parts per million has the advantage of being dimensionless but to me is seems like a rather non-physical measure. A better one might consist of the mean number of absorptions with CO2 which an infra-red photon would undergo before finally escaping from the atmosphere. That would be tricky because it would depend too much on wavelength and pressure. The standard way based on ppm has the disadvantage that it highlights the O2 and the N2 which don’t absorb infra-red at all, and play only a secondary role as a heat sink and as pressure adjusters. It is just one more cause for this mantra to be repeated.

    What would be wrong with specifying the partial densities of the CO2 and H2O instead ? That would be simple, and would avoid using the O2 and N2 as references. Of course it is too late to change and would raise accusations of spin by the anti-science lobby.

  43. 243
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re : previous message.
    It should have been average densities.

  44. 244
    Tim Jones says:

    Pathetic lede.

    Iceberg Ahead
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/233887
    “Climate scientists who play fast and loose with the facts are imperiling not just their profession but the planet.”
    By Fred Guterl | NEWSWEEK
    Published Feb 19, 2010
    From the magazine issue dated Mar 1, 2010

  45. 245

    Kate7 #228: this looks like the Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner conspiracy theory. Tell me where this is in the IPCC chapter on sea level rise. I also looked in TAR Chapter 11 and could find no mention of Hong Kong. In any case in recent years satellite altimetry is what’s providing the data; tide gauges are known to be problematic.

  46. 246
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Tom Servo proclaims climate scientists sane and then links to “the american thinker”. Oh, the irony is priceless!

  47. 247
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Oops, it’s denialists he declares sane. We already know climate scientists are crazy to put up with the abuse they take from the ignorant.

  48. 248
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Kate7@32, OK, so let me get this straight. It is your contention that any scientist who applies for a grant to study impacts of climate is “grant farming”. OK. No need to look further. You are a loon.

  49. 249
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Here’s something we might need clarification on: Why were climate scientists made to retract their study on sea rise of between 7cm & 82cm by 2100 from NATURE GEOSCIENCE? The authors weren’t sure if it was because they underestimated sea rise or overestimated it, but I can see how the denialists and the believers will jump on to spin it in opposite directions.

    See: http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=152355

  50. 250
    Didactylos says:

    Lynn, if you read the Guardian article, you will learn that the people who reported the errors were Vermeer and Rahmstorf – that’s Stefan Rahmstorf, one of the regular RC contributors.

    Vermeer and Rahmstorf’s own estimates of sea level rise are much higher – 0.75m to 1.9m by 2100.

    Now that the lower estimate by Siddal has been retracted, there is less to contradict all the other results that point to a higher sea level rise. As far as I understand it, Siddal’s paper was an outlier and conflicted with recent studies on sea level rise.

    This one doesn’t need spinning: this is a clear win for science, and RC in particular. Read what Stefan Rahmstorf and Martin Vermeer had to say about all this last August: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/ups-and-downs-of-sea-level-projections/

    This is a clear example of how blog science can sometimes be ahead of the published science – but it doesn’t mean anything until the published record is corrected. And it has been: Siddal’s paper has been retracted.

    You won’t hear deniers crowing about this event. Instead, they will quietly ignore the retraction, and in years to come, you will see them cheerfully citing Siddal et al (2009), without a shred of shame. See if I’m not right!


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