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Unforced Variations: March 2012

Filed under: — group @ 1 March 2012

This month’s open thread – for appetizers we have: William Nordhaus’s extremely impressive debunking in the NY Review of Books of the WSJ 16 letter and public polling on the issue of climate change. Over to you…


617 Responses to “Unforced Variations: March 2012”

  1. 401
    Killian says:

    Agree with this assessment of Archer’s article on methane. Bottom water above 0C… kilometer-wide seeps… parabolic decline curves… Precautionary principle. Yup.

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/rebuttal-imminent-collapse-of-arctic.html

  2. 402
    Hank Roberts says:

    My local NOAA weather page, at the moment, reports that because two models used give rather different longrange results, the forecast is:

    “… A COMPROMISE BETWEEN THE TWO. GIVEN THIS UNCERTAINTY…THE PRECIPITATION FORECAST RELIES UPON CLIMATOLOGY. DANG”

    Dunno if that’s the writer’s initials or an expletive …

  3. 403
    Dan H. says:

    Wayne,
    Did you correctly predict that the 2011-2012 winter would be the 2nd coldest of the 21st century? Your blog seems to state otherwise, claiming that it would be much warmer. While winter is not officially over yet, the only major index that does not rank 2012 the 2nd coldest of the 21st century is RSS, which places it first. Although early indications from March, would bump 2012 closer to the middle of the pack. You may also want to read up on blocking patterns concerning the record warmth and cold.

    I agree with those above who claim that this is just weather, not climate. I contend that people should not point to the recent extreme warmth as evidence of global warming any more than they should point to the extreme cold of February as proof against. The same can be said in statements about the recovery of Arctic sea ice (Rattus).

  4. 404
    Owen says:

    This is an open question for anyone. NOAA has posted a 1955-present time series for ocean heat content in the 0-2000 m zone (see http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/basin_data.html). Does anyone know how they did OHC for the pre-ARGO era (1955 to ~2003)? Did they simply assume it was equal to the OHC in the 0-700 m zone? Or model it in some way?
    Thanks.

    [Response: I’m not sure what they actually did – but it isn’t that there wasn’t any information on 700-2000m ocean temperatures, rather it is that the information is sparse in space and time. Whether that information is enough to suggest significant global anomalies (with respect to the 0-700m OHC) in the earlier period will depend very much on the details. – gavin]

  5. 405

    403. That’s one way to frame it. Another way, according to GISS, is that the past Dec-Feb stretch is the 13 warmest for the NH and the 14th warmest globally since 1880.

    Dan H. has a gift for putting lipstick on a pig.

  6. 406
    Hank Roberts says:

    > those above who claim …
    > just weather
    > not climate

    Dan H. misstates advice (do the math, wait for the science, do the work of attribution):
    – inserting words “just” and “not”
    – attributing the misstatements to others
    – pretending he’s agreeing with others
    – rebunking his talking point.

    Textbook quality debate, isn’t it?

  7. 407
    SecularAnimist says:

    Are the moderators keeping Dan H. around as, like, some sort of pet?

  8. 408
    SecularAnimist says:

    Jim Larsen wrote: “For natural resources, quality generally means concentration. Solar and wind are diffuse and intermittent, which makes them low quality.”

    I think that’s wrong-headed thinking of exactly the sort that created the problem we face today.

    I’d point out that humanity has always depended on what you call a “low quality” energy source for all of our food — which is solar energy transformed into chemical energy by photosynthesis.

    However, if you are really in love with concentrated energy sources that require energy to be distributed over long distances and wide areas to get it to users, then I give you — solar and wind energy.

    Because concentrating solar thermal power plants on only five percent of the USA’s desert lands could generate more electricity than the entire country uses. And the same is true of the wind energy resources of only four midwestern states.

    And those energy resources have “qualities” that fossil fuels lack — such as being inexhaustible and non-polluting.

  9. 409
    Dan H. says:

    Walter,
    My point was that those claiming the recent warmth is unprecedented need to put those number in perspective.

    Yes, the globe has warmed. Yes, it is still warming. Hence, we are more likely to see record high temperatures today than a century ago. However, the overall rate of warming has not changed since 1880. While periods of increased and decreased warming exist over the 132-year period, the linear rate is still ~0.6C/century, and the most recent monthly GISS values fall right on the linear trend (the linear trend value for the Feb. 2012 temperature anomaly is +0.38C, while the last two months have been +0.35 and +0.40C.)

    The average GISS anomaly for the DJF period over the past 30 years is +0.39C, while the most recent DJF stretch is +0.40C. Over the most recent 30 years, this past winter was the 14th warmest and the 17th coldest.

  10. 410

    403 Dan H I predicted a very warm and wet winter, as opposed to major Met organizations pointing the opposite direction, it is not an easy thing to go against everyone except, over the years the Major Met outfits regularly fail, especially those which preclude AGW. Numerically it is easy to always say it will be top ten, again this is based on other factors. RSS has trouble in the lower latitudes, the Arctic Upper air warmed a great deal because also there was more ozone, a trace gas much more a trace than CO2. Have you noticed NASA GISS all time Arctic highs?

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2012&month_last=2&sat=4&sst=1&type=anoms&mean_gen=02&year1=2012&year2=2012&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg

    Your blocking pattern always happens , except this time the jet stream is way NORTH because its warmer up here, welcome to the surreal world…

  11. 411
    dbostrom says:

    While winter is not officially over yet, the only major index that does not rank 2012 the 2nd coldest of the 21st century is RSS, which places it first.

    Winter in the broader context:

    –The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the December–February period was 0.41°C (0.74°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F), making it the 17th warmest such period on record and the coolest December–February since 2008.

    –The December–February worldwide land surface temperature was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average, the 20th warmest such period on record. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.33°C (0.59°F) above the 20th century average and was the 15th warmest such period on record.

    –The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–February period was 0.37°C (0.67°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F), making it the 20th warmest such period on record.

    –The January–February worldwide land surface temperature was 0.43°C (0.77°:F) above the 20th century average, the 33rd warmest such period on record. The global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 0.34°C (0.61°F) above the 20th century average and was the 14th warmest such period on record.

  12. 412

    the linear rate is still ~0.6C/century

    You are quite the fool aren’t you.

    Why should we continue to respond to your nonsense, Dan?

    In fact, why are you even allowed to post this nonsense here over and over?

    It’s obvious to everyone that your goal is only to misinform.

  13. 413
    dbostrom says:

    Owen if you’re wondering about instrumentation, see XBT as described by NOAA. More at Wikipedia.

  14. 414
    Hank Roberts says:

    “… over the past 130 [years], the phenology of 10 bee species from northeastern North America has advanced by a mean of 10.4 ± 1.3 [days]. Most of this advance has taken place since 1970, paralleling global temperature increases….”

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

    Climate-associated phenological advances in bee pollinators and bee-pollinated plants

    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/51/20645.short

  15. 415
    Radge Havers says:

    Ron R. @ 385

    Or incidentally self-destructive, perhaps something akin to moral panic?

    A moral panic is the intensity of feeling expressed in a population about an issue that appears to threaten the social order. According to Stanley Cohen, author of Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972) and credited as creator of the term, a moral panic occurs when “[a] condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.” Those who start the panic when they fear a threat to prevailing social or cultural values are known by researchers as “moral entrepreneurs,” while people who supposedly threaten the social order have been described as “folk devils.”

    reCAPTCHA: egoation ascents,

  16. 416

    409. Well, this is inconsistent if not contradictory to your post 403. “…this is just weather, not climate” contrasted with “…we are more likely to see record high temperatures today than a century ago.”

    Knowing the denialist tendencey to cherry pick, it would be incredibly boring to engage more deeply with you on the rate of change issue, so I’ll simply point out that according to the NAS, “about 1.0 °F (0.6 °C) of this warming occurring over just the past three decades.”

    –America’s Climate Choices, The National Academies Press. 2011. p. 15.

  17. 417
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Secular Animist: “I’d point out that humanity has always depended on what you call a “low quality” energy source for all of our food — which is solar energy transformed into chemical energy by photosynthesis.”

    Well, yes and no. Yes, photosynthesis felies on a diffuse energy source (sunlight). However, modern agriculture is very dependent on fossil fuels–consuming nearly 1 calorie of fossil fuel in the field per food calorie produced–and over 3 calories per food calorie delivered. This is just for “locally” produced food. Well traveled food is correspondingly energy intensive.

    The relative increase in food security the world experienced from the 40s through the ~80s, was partially attributable to the energy input from fossil fuels. It led to a more relaible food supply short term, but at great environmental cost.

  18. 418
    J Bowers says:

    HADCRUT latest revision demotes 1998 to third warmest year, and 2010 to warmest. BBC LINK (AGU link behind a paywall)

  19. 419

    “However, the overall rate of warming has not changed since 1880.”

    Maybe–if you define a linear trend over the whole period, in which case the point is tautological.

    Back in the real world, changes of sign extending over up to a couple of decades would be considered “changes in the rate of warming.”

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201001-201012.gif

  20. 420
    MARodger says:

    SecularAnimist @407
    Your comment about the land required to provide all US energy requirements reminds me of a quip made a few years back. (Dramatised from a report from ‘Environment American’, an organisation I am not familiar.)
    “If 10,000 sq miles of Texas was given over to solar thermal it would supply the total US energy requirement”, the green campaigner quips.
    “Rediculous!” replies the opponent. “Do you know how big an area 10,000 square miles is?”
    “That I do,” retorts the green campaigner. “It’s pretty much the area of US land that’s been so far stripped bare by open-cast coal mining.”

  21. 421
    Hank Roberts says:

    > why … allowed to post this nonsense here over and over?

    Just guessing, I’d guess our hosts are aware this is polished, professional-grade bunking that people need to recognize is done.

    Not guessing whether he’s getting paid or just a very good volunteer, I dunno about that, but his work is certainly up there with the paying positions.

    I first saw this in 1966 at college, where the Biology Dep’t had brought in a young postdoc researcher to speak about his work on bird eggs and DDT. Du Pont was chasing biology speakers around with a smooth gray-haired friendly uncle guy, routinely asking for equal time in college forums, and got it.

    At the end of what had become framed as a public debate, the Du Pont guy got a rousing ovation from the oh-so-liberal college student audience.

    At our dinner table that evening, the biologist was still as upset and shaky as the Du Pont guy had gotten him to be in his public appearance, saying over and over “He was lying! he was just lying!!”

    He hadn’t had practice with this kind of stuff.

    We need the practice.

    Dan H. gets to polish his you know what.
    We get to learn to recognize you know what.

    You know what?

  22. 422

    411 SG Bolstrom, I am observing a particular trend unlike the recent past, whereas the Arctic air profiles are leaning more adiabatically during winter, this means a whole lot of confusion with respect to temperature trends, namely the high Upper Air should cool as the surface warms, and the reverse, the Upper air warms when heat from the lower atmosphere is transferred upwards. There is great value in GT’s but they are not a complete picture of what is going on. I would complement the GT’s with a super computer addition, which would be upper air profile trends averaged out from most stations per region. Then a better understanding of climate would be seen. A sign of winter dying would be the disappearance of boundary layers.

  23. 423

    418. J Bowers, does this mean the warming hasn’t stopped?

  24. 424
    Paul S says:

    Dan H – However, the overall rate of warming has not changed since 1880. While periods of increased and decreased warming exist over the 132-year period, the linear rate is still ~0.6C/century

    If you plot a linear trend it will give you an unchanging rate of increase. This is simply the definition of ‘linear’. The rate of warming ‘has not changed since 1880′ and ‘is still ~0.6C/century’ because you’ve chosen to plot a linear trend through the data and that’s the slope of it. There is no significance to this information whatsoever. It’s a tautology.

    In 1980 the linear rate was ‘still’ 0.4C/century. In 2000 the linear rate was ‘still’ 0.5C/Century. In ten years time will you be here to say that the linear rate of warming has not changed from ~0.7C/century since 1880?

  25. 425
    Dan H. says:

    Kevin,
    Yes, I did mention that there were periods of increased and decreased warming in the real world. Three periods of increased warming; ~1850-1880 (+0.09C/decade), 1910-1940 (+0.16), and 1970-2000 (+0.18), and interspersed with periods of decreased warming; ~1880-1910 (-0.02), 1940-1970 (-0.02), and 2000- (-0.02). Granted, we cannot say that the remaining two decades will continue on the recent trend.

    While Walter is correct in saying that 0.6C of warming occurred over three decades, it would also be correct to say that 0.4C of warming occurred over the past six decades. Choosing neither the high end (1970-2000) nor the low end (2000-present) adequately depicts the whole truth, yet that does not prevent those from using either timeframe in order to bolster their own case.

  26. 426
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan,

    It has been shown to you over and over again that the best fit for the global temperature trend is not linear (I can provide links). Stating a “linear rate” makes no sense. The results from such an analysis are worthless at projecting future temperatures. Your “estimate” is therefore misleading to someone who is unaware of that information. (Fortunately, I doubt think that many here fit that category.) Your “perspective” appears to me to be a twisted faux-educational equivalent of “let the buyer beware.”

  27. 427
    dhogaza says:

    Hank:

    I first saw this in 1966 at college, where the Biology Dep’t had brought in a young postdoc researcher to speak about his work on bird eggs and DDT. Du Pont was chasing biology speakers around with a smooth gray-haired friendly uncle guy, routinely asking for equal time in college forums, and got it.

    A bit OT but you started it :)

    Oregon’s recently taken the bald eagle of the state endangered list (it’s been off the national list for awhile). At one point down to about 400 nesting pairs in the lower 48, there are now about 570 in Oregon alone.

    I’m sure the gray-haired friendly uncle guy would claim “it’s the sun, stupid!” or somesuch …

  28. 428
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter,
    Dan is a “lukewarmer”. It is a point of pride with them that they only deny SOME of the science.

  29. 429
    Hank Roberts says:

    And ya know, they never quit fooling people — look at these search results:
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=DDT+eggshell+1966

    How myths can kill – Eco-Imperialism – Green Power. Black Death …
    DDT never caused eggshell thinning and or bald eagle deaths by Steven Milloy … would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs, according to a 1966 … http://www.eco-imperialism.com/content/article.php3?​id=209

    Facts versus fears – DDT – D. W. Brooks Site
    Additionally, the evidence regarding the effect of DDT on eggshell … the decline of peregrine falcons in Britain had ended in 1966 even though DDT …
    dwb4.unl.edu/…/CHEM869ELinks/www.altgreen.com.au/Chemicals/​ddt.html

    100 things you should know about DDT
    Experiments associating DDT with egg shell thinning involve doses much higher than … [Stickel, L. 1966. Bald eagle-pesticide relationships. Trans 31st N Amer …
    http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Environment/​ddt_​100.htm

    DDT induces a Decrease in Eggshell Calcium. JOEL BITMAN, HELENE C. CECIL, SUSAN J. HARRIS & GEORGE F … Walker, C. H., J. Appl. Ecol., Suppl., 3, 213 (1966… http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v224/n5214/abs/​224044a0.html

    Bald Eagle-DDT Myth Still Flying High | Fox News
    Jul 06, 2006 · … adversely affect eagles or their eggs,” according to a 1966 … other feeding studies on caged birds indicate that DDT isn’t associated with egg shell … http://www.foxnews.com/story/​0,2933,202447,00.html

    Eco-Imperialism – Articles -How myths can kill
    DDT never caused eggshell thinning and or bald eagle deaths by Steven Milloy … would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs, according to a 1966 … http://www.eco-imperialism.com/content/printview.php3?​id=209

    The Ban of DDT: Science That Wasn’t. « What The Crap?
    Jul 03, 2007 · Egg-shell thinning. DDT was alleged to have thinned bird egg shells. Many … The decline in British peregrine falcons ended by 1966, though DDT was as …
    whatthecrap.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/​the-ban-of-ddt-science-that-wasnt

    Ecological Knowledge and Environmental Problem-Solving: Concepts …
    Eggshell thinning also was caused by food-chain accumulations of DDE, which was … Sladen, W. J. L., C. M. Menzie, and W. L. Reichel. 1966. DDT residues in Adelie … http://www.nap.edu/books/0309036453/html/​358.html

    Eggshell Thickness in Pheasants Given Dieldrin

    1966. Up- take of p,p’-DDT and its post-mortem break- down in the avian … A relationship between DDT in the diet and eggshell thickness in birds of prey has … pubstorage.sdstate.edu/wfs/19-W.pdf · PDF file
    SPECULATION ON DDT AND ALTERED OSPREY MIGRATIONS

    The fact that species from several avian orders exhibit the thin eggshell syndrome … Atlantic Naturalist, 19:15-27. 1966. DDT residues in the eggs of the Osprey in the … elibrary.unm.edu/sora/jrr/v004n04/​p00120-p00124.pdf · PDF file

    ——

    Yes, that’s “Bing” not Google Scholar. That’s what most people see.
    Mostly lies, with a couple of science cites, on the first results page.

  30. 430
    Jim Larsen says:

    408 SA,

    I failed to communicate. I started my analysis with a caveat, that I was excluding externalities, while also saying that externalities could dwarf all other considerations. I noted that you probably included them. Excluding externalities and such factors as renewability, solar and wind are fair sources of energy, and will probably mature into wonderful ones. Adding in externalities and renewability, I agree with you. Fossil fuels are poisonous. How quickly we should wean off them is debatable, but we’ve got to do it soon.

    So, excluding externalities and renewability, how do you rate current commercially available solar? Wind?

  31. 431
    dbostrom says:

    As previously mentioned Monckton is a large in the US once more. He’s appearing before the California state legislature. What? How? Why? Words fail.

  32. 432
    SecularAnimist says:

    Jim Larsen wrote: “how do you rate current commercially available solar?”

    Not sure what you mean by “rate” and “commercially available solar” covers a lot of territory from 5 KW residential rooftop installations to gigawatt-class utility-scale power plants (both PV and thermal) — but the cost of electricity from rooftop PV is approaching parity with the retail cost of grid electricity, and that’s the point at which distributed PV will explode like cell phones and personal computers did. And of course utilities all over the country are investing in larger-scale solar power plants.

    The scalability of solar energy technology is indeed one of its best “qualities” — along with the ubiquity and inexhaustibility of the energy source.

    I think it’s entirely possible that within a much shorter time frame than most people imagine possible, the overwhelming majority of the electricity consumed in the USA will be generated at the point of use, and large, centralized power plants will be a much less important part of the mix than they are today.

  33. 433
    Dan H. says:

    Craig,
    Exactly! As I pointed to you previously, a sinusoidal curve superimposed on a linear trend is best. In the long run, the linear trend still exists, it just oscillates over ~30-year intervals.

  34. 434

    #425. “…0.6C of warming occurred over three decades.” I didn’t pick that time span, Dan H. did in 409.

    There’s already been robust discussion here regarding the reliability of 10-year, 17-year and 30-year spans. Dan H. will have a hard time finding a comparable 30-year period to the most recent one.

  35. 435
    dhogaza says:

    Hank:

    the decline of peregrine falcons in Britain had ended in 1966 even though DDT

    This is cute and relevant because it’s very much like the “polar bears have increased in the last decades so global warming can’t be a threat to their future” argument.

    Polar bears have increased because regulated hunts have replaced wanton killing in much of their range.

    The UK government systematically killed peregrines in WWII to protect carrier pigeons. For a very long time, gamekeepers used to wantonly shoot peregrine falcons and other raptors that prey on grouse and the like in the UK. Indiscriminate and indeed they’d seek out nests and destroy eggs, etc.

    In 1954 most raptors gained full protection by law.

    Connect the dots :)

  36. 436
    Dan H. says:

    Walter,
    As mentioned previously, the 1910-1940 time period was similar to the 1970-2000 (0.16C/decade compared to 0.18C/decade based on GISS data). Not so hard really.

    Ray,
    I do not object to that term, as it does seem to be applicable. I feel your second statement is inaccurate. It is not a question of denial, but rather disagreement concerning the feedback loops. This is not really surprising, as it constitutes the greatest area of uncertainty.

  37. 437
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Dan H.: “In the long run, the linear trend still exists, it just oscillates over ~30-year intervals.”

    And you’ve analyzed this periodicity over precisely how many complete periods?

    Time for my usual example again, Dan–and apologies to those who are getting tired of it.

    Dan, what is the periodicity and amplitude of the following series of (x,y) pairs:

    1,2
    2,7
    3,1
    4,8
    5,2
    6,8
    7,1
    8,8
    9,2
    10,8

    Is this series periodic? NO. The y values are the digits of the base of Napierian logarithms, while the x values are thier ordinal position. Therefore it cannot be periodic. So unless you have a buttload of data or you have a periodic driver known to be operating, you do not have a periodic series. You have bupkes.

  38. 438
    Craig Nazor says:

    Dan said:

    “Exactly!”

    Well, I’m glad that we finally both agree that your analysis is worthless for projecting future temperatures.

    That’s an example of what I call a Dan H assumption.

    A Fourier analysis would show that global temperature averages over the past 200 years would EXACTLY MATCH the sum of a finite number of sign waves far more accurately than your “sinusoidal curve superimposed on a linear trend.” So why not just assume that there are a conveniently appropriate number of “sinusoidal” forcings that are fortuitously giving us the observed results? That would be a far better match than your analysis – oh, yeah, and equally as meaningless.

    We know, from the fossil record, that temperature trends are not linear. We also know something about the strong relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature. But in your analysis, you ASSUME that the temperature trend is linear and not strongly associated with atmospheric CO2, and then ASSUME that there is some completely unexplained periodic forcing that is operating in conjunction with that assumed trend to yield the specific results that you want to see.

    That is feeble logic, and damn strong denial. But, hey, Dan, we go back a long way, and anything less would be substantially out of character!

  39. 439
    sidd says:

    Are there any moderated blogs on climate that require/demand a modicum of math and science knowledge as a prerequisite to participation? e.g. passing a test that asks to find the stationary points for a simple polynomial ? Or small problem based on newtonian laws of motion ? Instead of a glorified OCR ? Reading enough of a comment from the innumerate or worse yet, the illiterate, before deciding to skip is very tedious.

    I do admit that our gracious hosts do a good job of weeding out the loonies.

    I suppose the ultimate answer is to limit oneself to the peer reviewed literature.

    sidd

  40. 440
    dhogaza says:

    So why not just assume that there are a conveniently appropriate number of “sinusoidal” forcings that are fortuitously giving us the observed results? That would be a far better match than your analysis – oh, yeah, and equally as meaningless.

    Meaningless? C’mon, an infinite number of sky fairies can dance on the head of a pin. Just when did science disprove that sky fairies dance on pins?

    Dan H will continue to assert – correctly – that it is impossible to disprove the sky fairy hypothesis …

  41. 441
    David B. Benson says:

    Hank Roberts @402 — I think Dang is a name of oriental origin.

  42. 442
    Dan says:

    New Russian data from the Arctic makes 2010 the warmest year on record:
    http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/news/international-news/123326-history-of-climate-change-re-written-with-release-of-russian-data.html

    And of course none of the denialists who claimed that warming peaked in 1998 or that warming has leveled out make a peep about being wrong…again.

    Sadly, none of the mainstream media will likely pick up on this news.

  43. 443
    Dan H. says:

    dhogaza,
    Is that the same sky fairy that is consuming the excess CO2 that is being pumped into the atmosphere?

    Craig,
    Why do you ASSUME that the temperature is following a particular trend? It would be better to analyze the data, and determine the appropriate trend. That has been a problem lately; too few people are actually using data in their anaylses.

  44. 444

    “Dan H will continue to assert – correctly – that it is impossible to disprove the sky fairy hypothesis …”

    In between pointing out that hypotheses must be falsifiable. Or was that someone else?

  45. 445
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Dan H.,
    I am glad to hear you are not in denial of the science. Now, perhaps you can explain to us how you get 33 degrees of greenhouse warming over blackbody temperatures without significant contributions from positive feedback. And perhaps you can explain how tiny changes in insolation in the course of Milankovitch cycles give rise to glacial/interglacial cycles without significant positive feedback. Then there are the excursions due to volcanic eruptions–that’s another tough one if don’t believe in positive feedback.

    The consensus theory of Earth’s climate explains all of these phenomena and much more. I look forward to your attempt.

  46. 446
    Jeff Rubinoff says:

    For your entertainment, I’d like to give you a short break and a long passage of Hume. It might sound eerily familiar. From the Discourses Concerning Natural Religion:

    There is indeed a kind of brutish and ignorant scepticism…which gives the vulgar a general prejudice against what they do not easily understand, and makes them reject every principle which requires elaborate reasoning to prove and establish it. This species of scepticism is fatal to knowledge, not to religion; since we find, that those who make greatest profession of it, give often their assent, not only to the great truths of Theism and natural theology, but even to the most absurd tenets which a traditional superstition has recommended to them. They firmly believe in witches, though they will not believe nor attend to the most simple proposition of Euclid.

  47. 447
    Jeff Rubinoff says:

    Hume continues, and these two quotes IMO contrast “fake sceptics” and scientific scepticism perfectly:

    But the refined and philosophical sceptics fall into an inconsistence of an opposite nature. They push their researches into the most abstruse corners of science; and their assent attends them in every step, proportioned to the evidence which they meet with. They are even obliged to acknowledge, that the most abstruse and remote objects are those
    which are best explained by philosophy. Light is in reality anatomised. The true system of the heavenly bodies is discovered and ascertained. But the nourishment of bodies by food is still an inexplicable mystery. The cohesion of the parts of matter is still incomprehensible. These sceptics, therefore, are obliged, in every question, to consider each particular evidence apart, and proportion their assent to the precise degree of evidence which occurs. This is their practice in all natural, mathematical, moral, and political science.

    Note also that since Hume wrote that, the “nourishment of bodies by food” is no longer at all mysterious, and we’re not doing too badly on “the cohesion of the parts of matter,” either. (This is also assuming that the voice of “Cleanthes” is meant to reflect Hume’s own views, which I think is very likely.)

  48. 448
    J Bowers says:

    @ 423 Walter Pierce. Hmmm, not sure.

    Melting Alaska permafrost prompts landfill concerns

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  50. 450
    Susan Anderson says:

    Wonderful new take on Monckton who is all geared up to do more harm (the anti-physician – “first, do harm”).

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/prat-watch-4-foundation-and-empire/


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