RealClimate logo


More than 500 people misunderstand climate change

Filed under: — rasmus @ 16 October 2019

A consensus is usually established when one explanation is more convincing than alternative accounts, convincing the majority. This is also true in science. However, science-based knowledge is also our best description of our world because it is built on testing hypotheses that are independently reexamined by colleagues.

It is also typical that there are a few stubborn people who think they know better than the rest. When it comes to climate science, there is a small group of people who refuse to acknowledge the facts that have convinced almost the entire scientific community. Most of these contrarians are not even scientists.

But there are also about 500 scholars who recently have come forward and signed a declaration at odds with the scientific consensus,  claiming “there is no climate emergency”. They represent a tiny fraction of the scholar community dismissing man-made climate change –  by comparison, there is about 20,000 participants on the annual meetings of the American Geophysical Union.

A press conferences has been scheduled on Friday October 18th in Brussels, Rome and Oslo in order to promote the declaration. The intention behind the declaration is to influence the EU and the UN.

Most of the academics who signed the petition have no or little experience within climate research (check Google Scholar). Some of the signatures also have connections with political think tanks.

The message of the declaration is the same that the contrarians have repeated over and over again – but repeating it doesn’t make it more true.

I and some colleagues have examined the most common contrarian papers on climate change and have found that all of them were based on flawed methods/analysis (see previous post Let’s learn from mistakes). Some of the people who signed this petition have demonstrated their incompetence – the proof is in the papers that I and my colleagues reexamined in that study.

We cannot expect every scientist to have the same understanding, especially when it comes to scientific disciplines other than those in which they have professional experience. When they dismiss evidence on matters in an unfamiliar discipline without a convincing explanation, then they demonstrate a lack of respect for both science and the wider public.

They obviously don’t care whether people get true facts of false ideas. Below, I’ll try to explain why their arguments still do not convince.

The following statement is misleading:

“The geological archive reveals that Earth’s climate has varied as long as the planet has existed, with natural cold and warm phases. The Little Ice Age ended as recently as 1850. Therefore, it is no surprise that we now are experiencing a period of warming. Only very few peer-reviewed papers even go so far as to say that recent warming is chiefly anthropogenic”

It is true that Earth’s climate has changed over the past, but such changes have had specific physical causes, which are reasonably well understood. 

There have been changes in the shape of the continents, formation of mountain ranges, changes in atmospheric composition, changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun (the Milankovitch cycles), changes in the sun, volcanic activity, and changes in ocean currents, all of which have influenced Earth’s climate. 

As for the “Little Ice Age”, it was very different to the present global warming. It had a more regional character and was not as synchronised on a global scale as the ongoing climate change. 

The scientific documentation of past changes in climate is one of the ways that we know that that the climate is sensitive to changed conditions. The Earth has never been as closely monitored as today, especially with the help of satellites and advanced modern instruments, giving unprecedented amounts of high-quality data. 

This monitoring shows that the conditions that caused climate change in the past are absent today, except for the increases in greenhouse gases. The IPCC reports provide lists of peer reviewed papers on the global warming. 

The following statement is incorrect:

“The world has warmed at less than half the originally-predicted rate, and at less than half the rate to be expected on the basis of net anthropogenic forcing and radiative imbalance. It tells us that we are far from understanding climate change.”

Indeed, comparisons between simulated and observed global mean surface temperatures indicate a good correspondence.  

I can believe that the people who signed the petition don’t understand climate change, but they should speak for themselves. The rest of the science community has a fairly good understanding. 

The fact that we can write computer code based on the fundamental laws of physics that is able to reproduce phenomena we observe on Earth, indicates that we do understand the climate system. See the description of climate models on both Carbonbrief.org and TED.com.  

The following statement is incorrect

“Climate models have many shortcomings and are not remotely plausible as policy tools. Moreover, they most likely exaggerate the effect of greenhouse gases such as CO2. In addition, they ignore the fact that enriching the atmosphere with CO2 is beneficial.”

The scientific knowledge underpinning climate policies is established both from observations as well as the laws of physics and climate models. 

The global climate models share common description of the atmosphere with weather forecast models used on a daily basis to provide operational weather warnings. 

All climate models have been evaluated and tested, and they do reproduce the observed global warming as seen with the observations. 

The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing. Their physical properties can be established accurately through lab studies.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas which is a byproduct from the consumption of fossil energy, and the increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentrations represents approximately 40% of the total amount produced from the exploitation of fossil fuels. 

The CO2 bears a fingerprint that connects the increased amount to coal, oil and gas, in terms of the isotopes carbon-13 and carbon-14, as well as the comparable concentrations of oxygen and nitrogen and ocean acidification.  

The climate models reproduce the observed sensitivity, as shown in Benestad and Schmidt (2009) and the figure below.

Fig 2 from Benestad & Schmidt (2014)

Observed 〈T〉 and “all” (thick curves), together with predictions based on equation (1) (open circles) and linear multiple regression models in equation (2) using all known forcings as input (solid circles). Source: Benestad & Schmidt (2009).

The following statement is irrelevant:

“CO2 is not a pollutant. It is essential to all life on Earth. Photosynthesis is a blessing. More CO2 is beneficial for nature, greening the Earth: additional CO2 in the air has promoted growth in global plant biomass. It is also good for agriculture, increasing the yields of crops worldwide”

Water too is essential to all life on Earth. Too much is not good, such as flooding or drowning.

The following statement is incorrect:

“There is no statistical evidence that global warming is intensifying hurricanes, floods, droughts and such like natural disasters, or making them more frequent. However, CO2-mitigation measures are as damaging as they are costly. For instance, wind turbines kill birds and insects, and palm-oil plantations destroy the biodiversity of the rainforests.”

CO2 has an indirect effect on extreme weather conditions through increasing the greenhouse effect and changing Earth’s hydrological cycle. It is well-established that increased surface temperatures lead to increased evaporation and water vapour in the atmosphere. 

Water vapour is the main fuel for weather phenomena such as storms and rainfall. Global warming is also accompanied by changes to the large-scale circulation pattern, such as the Hadley cell, affecting both extreme rainfall in the tropics and drought conditions in the sub-tropics. 

The observed number of record-breaking temperatures and rainfall provide statistical evidence for the weather becoming more extreme. One example is the increased probability of heavy precipitation.

The following statement is misguided:

“There is no climate emergency. Therefore, there is no cause for panic and alarm. We strongly oppose the harmful and unrealistic net-zero CO2 policy proposed for 2050. If better approaches emerge, we will have ample time to reflect and adapt. The aim of international policy should be to provide reliable and affordable energy at all times, and throughout the world.”

There is ample evidence of changing risks connected to weather, with more heatwaves and more extreme rainfall. 

The global mean sea-level is rising and coral reefs are dying. Glaciers providing predictable water supply are melting, such as in the Himalayas. The consequences for ecosystems and agriculture are dire. 

The insurance sector is already affected, and the consequences from climate change will increasingly disrupt new sectors such as agriculture, water management, transport, tourism, and trade. 

There will be regions where people no longer will be able to reside and there will be increased levels of migration and conflicts connected to climate change.

Rather than pushing a petition, the contrarians should present scientific evidence for their view. If such evidence exists, it needs to be transparent so that others can reexamine it and get swayed by the information. So far, the typical contrarians (and one of the signatures) have preferred not to disclose their work.

There have already been some reactions to this petition, e.g. on Climatefeedback.org. It was also preceded by a similar Italian “pro-fake-news” petition (signed by more or less the same Italian contrarians as this version) that prompted a response from Italian scientists.

The claims presented in the petition signed by 500 contrarians is the strongest case the contrarians can muster against climate science. In other words, the best shot from the majority of world’s supposedly prominent academics known to have an alternative opinion (i.e. the majority of a tiny minority).

Obviously, there is not much convincing evidence against anthropogenic climate change.

–>

References

  1. R.E. Benestad, and G.A. Schmidt, "Solar trends and global warming", Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 114, 2009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008JD011639

205 Responses to “More than 500 people misunderstand climate change”

  1. 101
    nigelj says:

    Dan DaSilva @78
    “It is possible (and very likely) to make working hindcasting models that are orthodox, appropriate, sensible, inaccurate, and incorrect.”

    Obviously its possible, although very unlikely. So prove it. You have made this claim before several times, but you have never proven it and shown your work. You are either too lazy to even try, or haven’t got the skills, or have tried and failed! Let me know which.

    So far you are just wasting everyones time with blather which is why we get seriously p****d off with you people. Saying something could be wrong is obvious, and not a useful contribution to discussion no matter how much spin you dress it up with.

  2. 102
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @83 true and it goes further. The few climate sceptics that might be at least half genuine no doubt end up talking to public relations companies who school them in the arts of deceit and spin, and make damn sure the sceptics never convince themselves not to be sceptics. The lobby groups want to keep their own gravy train going. Sort of incestuous.

  3. 103
    Dan DaSilva says:

    ramus: “The global climate models share common description of the atmosphere with weather forecast models used on a daily basis to provide operational weather warnings.”

    We all see firsthand how inaccurate weather forecast models are when forecasting more than a few days out. Even tomorrow’s weather comes with a disclaimer such as “80% chance of rain”. This is true even with modern advantage of radar.

  4. 104
    Dan DaSilva says:

    91 Mal Adapted
    “aggressive denial of AGW like DDS’

    Hello Mal,
    I agree with AGW. I believe your brain can not accept that but let me repeat: “I agree with AGW”. Not that my opinion on the matter is worth a rat’s behind but just in case you can read and comprehend plain English here it is again: “I agree with AGW”.

  5. 105
    Keith Woollard says:

    Seeing no-one (especially Rasmus) tried to defend his clear error I pointed out in my #53, I will try another. And this time I will quote the entire section, I did this last time but Al@85 wants me to quote it each time.
    Begin quote
    The following statement is incorrect:

    “There is no statistical evidence that global warming is intensifying hurricanes, floods, droughts and such like natural disasters, or making them more frequent. However, CO2-mitigation measures are as damaging as they are costly. For instance, wind turbines kill birds and insects, and palm-oil plantations destroy the biodiversity of the rainforests.”

    CO2 has an indirect effect on extreme weather conditions through increasing the greenhouse effect and changing Earth’s hydrological cycle. It is well-established that increased surface temperatures lead to increased evaporation and water vapour in the atmosphere.

    Water vapour is the main fuel for weather phenomena such as storms and rainfall. Global warming is also accompanied by changes to the large-scale circulation pattern, such as the Hadley cell, affecting both extreme rainfall in the tropics and drought conditions in the sub-tropics.

    The observed number of record-breaking temperatures and rainfall provide statistical evidence for the weather becoming more extreme. One example is the increased probability of heavy precipitation.
    Endquote
    Again, Rasmus answers the wrong question and says the letter is therefore wrong. Again rubbish. The letter says (again I quote)
    intensifying hurricanes, floods, droughts, and such like natural disasters, or making them more frequent
    endquote
    Rasmus counters with quote
    record-breaking temperatures and rainfall
    endquote
    These are not counter arguments and the letter is not incorrect. The reason Rasmus could not argue the main point of the statement in the letter is because the statement is factually correct.

    And Al@85 – no, past climate changes are NOT reasonably well understood. If they were reasonably well understood we could say when the current interglacial will end. Or we could say what caused the thousands of transgression and regression sequences we see in the stratigraphic record.

  6. 106
    Dan DaSilva says:

    88 Hello, Al Bundy
    Quote from you “Prove that you are as pure as snow by analyzing Mockton skeptically”

    I have criticized Monckton in WUWT and he was not too happy about it as evidenced in his reply to me. It was an article where he “PROVED” the CS was very low using linear control theory by assuming temperature was stable in 1850 (or thereabout). I wrote a critical reply and misspelled his name (I think I called him Mockington).

    Really though that proves nothing. I much prefer to be skeptical of CAGW as it fits my own political bias. So, therefore, I am not “pure” by any means nor am I especially knowledgable on the subject unlike the authors of this blog.

  7. 107

    DDS 82: unsubstantiated catastrophic AGW.

    BPL: What’s unsubstantiated about it? Does civilization have to actually collapse before you concede that there’s a real danger?

  8. 108
    MA Rodger says:

    Lars-Erik Svahn @96,
    You ask if there is “research saying there are other probable explanations of the increase of the global mean temperature (1±0.2 °C) compared to the mean temperature 1850-1900.” The absence (or obscurity) of such research is probably why denialists spend so long bashing out ridiculous arguments – the petition featured in the OP being one example of such argument.

    I think you could say that there once was an argument that clouds when assessed properly (and there is enough complexity in such assessment to give room to such speculation, clouds being the “last bastion for dissenters” according to this 2012 NYT article): such assessment would/will allegedly show that Climate Sensitivity is apparently low and thus AGW not such a threat.
    But that doesn’t of itself provide ‘another probable explanation’. It can only argue that the warming 1850-to-date is not 100% AGW.

    Theoretical direct causes of warming invoked by denialists but which are not entirely barmy would perhaps include cosmic rays but that hasn’t stood up to investigation. Giving the theory its best shot, Sloan & Wolfendale (2013) conclude it could only ever be a minor effect and there is no/little more recent research that stands even a cursory examination.

    The other likely suspect has also been a litte quiet of late. That is the giant natural wobble theories. The Wyatt Unified Wave Theory (WUWT) promoted by Judy Curry (eg Wyatt & Curry (2013) [Full paper HERE] seems to have lost momentum, perhaps because it predicted NH temperatures would be crashing down by now, but also because it is difficult to see how the melting-out of the Laptev Sea could have such an inpact on NH temperature.
    And take away such speculative climate interconnectivity leaves the grand theory as nought but curve-fitting.

    Of course, if you are relaxed about how incredible a theory has to be, there is plenty of utter nonsense published in journals that purport to be peer-reviewed. But my advise would be not to give them the time of day for fear tarnishing your own reputation.

  9. 109
    Dan DaSilva says:

    “BPL: What’s unsubstantiated about it? Does civilization have to actually collapse before you concede that there’s a real danger?”

    Hello Barton, I have to concede that if the reason for the collapse was proven to be AGW that would indeed be an extremely solid data point.

  10. 110
    Esko Karinen says:

    The reason why the science is not settled, is that CO2 in itself hasn’t got power to change the climate. Doubling will not effect more than 1 degree Celsius warming, according to IPCC, and there are calculations to not more than 0.25 degrees.

    The real problem is the feedback. There is no real consensus on feedbacks. Feedback can even turn to negative, if water vapour turns into clouds.

    The gap between real world CC and the theory of CO2 causing it, is filled with feedbacks. Sorry to say, but the evidence is weak, as there are multitude of better explanations of global warming.

    That is why AGW is a very weak theory and IPCC´s only task is to prove that AGW is the main cause to warming. Really in science it is bad practise first to decide the reason and then try to prove it.

  11. 111
    Dan DaSilva says:

    101 nigelj
    “So prove it. You have made this claim before several times, but you have never proven it and shown your work”

    Hello nigelj,
    I am retired and like the grandkids. This RealClimate job is just part-time gig payed for by the Free Enterprise Institute. I hope I never said I could to make a working model or even a good attempt at a bad model. What I could do in my coding days was make a curve fit program/model given random data inputs, but alas I do not even work for money anymore so doing it for nothing has no appeal.

    Sorry for the bad humor but I can not help myself. That Free Enterprise Institute line was a JOKE.

  12. 112
    Dan DaSilva says:

    83 Al Bundy
    “AB: Total goop. Why on Earth would contrarians destroy their money-grubbing system? Their work is currently enriching themselves and destroying the biosphere so all you’re doing is spouting a Loser’s Lament.”

    Dear Al Bundy, please give me some tips on how to profit. I am doing this for nothing. How stupid is that?

  13. 113
    Dan DaSilva says:

    100

    Dear Kalle Anka,

    Like we used to say to in the olds days “before I could not spell engeener now I are one”

  14. 114
    Dan DaSilva says:

    108 MA Rodgers
    Dear MA Rodgers,Quote ” clouds being the “last bastion for dissenters” “. When climate science busts that bastion (if it ever does) it will have a better start at understanding AGW. But listening to the above-attached arcticle you would never know it was even a speedbump.

  15. 115
    nigelj says:

    Keith Woollard @105 I think you are right to the extent that the article didn’t answer the denialists claims about extreme weather all that well, but the denialists are at least partly wrong in claiming there’s no good evidence that extreme weather events have increased in frequency and intensity. The IPCC summary for policy makers says (essentially) that there is good confidence that heatwaves are increasing in frequency and intensity. I accept that there’s no good evidence that floods have increased, but it could just be lack of good quality data.

    I also came across this study below yesterday (open access) which demonstrates that the numbers of category 4 and 5 hurricanes have increased in number, although the numbers of category 1-3 hurricanes have decreased in number. But most of the damage comes form category 4-5 hurricanes.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-013-1713-0

  16. 116
    nigelj says:

    MAR @108, regarding alternative theories on whats causing our recent global warming, there is also the silly adiabatic bicycle pump theory. I couldn’t find the exact paper I had seen on this, but this one below gives the general gist of things. Perhaps you thought it too out there and silly to mention:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251469795_Adiabatic_Theory_of_the_Greenhouse_Effect

  17. 117
    zebra says:

    #79 Dan DaSilva,

    You said earlier that you wanted to have a scientific discussion (at a layman’s level, without too much math, OK). But when I offered you the opportunity to do exactly that, you ran away.

    My only condition was the one I have been touting lately, which is that before people can disagree, we have to establish what we do agree about. You met that condition; you said we agree that increasing CO2 causes the energy in the climate system to increase. Excellent, that’s exactly what I meant; it is a starting point.

    Now, you just have to explain what you disagree about… why do you keep saying the models are wrong? That’s what it means to have a scientific discussion, at whatever level, right… both “sides” have to state their reasoning?

  18. 118
    Al Bundy says:

    Adam Lea: I thought that from the late 19th century to early 20th century, the warming was mostly natural. From early to mid 20th century, the warming had both natural and anthropogenic contributions, and from the mid 20th century onward, it is pretty much all anthropogenic. Is this an underestimate of the anthropogenic component?

    AB: You haven’t inserted the numbers. What if the mid 20th century onward warmed even though natural factors were pointed coolward? There have been some RC posts on this. IIRC a couple of years ago the numbers being passed around suggested that the planet would have cooled slightly over the last hundred years or so sans us. Not sure what the calculations would be today, but I’m confident it’s a quibble. “It’s all us” is accurate enough.

  19. 119
    Al Bundy says:

    DDS: I much prefer to be skeptical of CAGW as it fits my own political bias. So, therefore, I am not “pure” by any means nor am I especially knowledgable on the subject unlike the authors of this blog.

    AB: I’m impressed. It’s an interesting type of honesty/honor you’ve got. Loyalty to tribe is a strong motivator.

    Folks, he’s come clean. He’s here to spout politically-derived goop.

    And please stop spouting that disproven trope, that not responding to goop lets it “win” or whatever. The OP tries to mitigate the effect by preceeding the goopy quotes with “The following is goop” warning labels but the inconvenient truth is that repeating false statements empowers the falsehood.

    So if you’re too weak to roll your eyes and scroll down (like I often am), how about not quoting the goop? Just speak the truth as if you just happened to decide to say, “Hurricanes intensities have done X over the last Y years” for absolutely no significant reason at all. When asked if you said that because of what DDS said, respond, “Dan who?”.

  20. 120
    Al Bundy says:

    The current interglacial’s end is well known: Never, unless humanity goes extinct or chooses to Go Glacial. Dr. James Hanson (IIRC) calculated that a single factory can produce enough GHGs (the more powerful ones like refrigeration gasses) to prevent glaciation indefinitely.

  21. 121
    Susan Anderson says:

    nigelgj@51
    “You deplore people responding to the fakery in one of the comments, yet seem comfortable with the main article responding to the fakery in this signed petition of sceptics and peoples efforts to expose F Singer’s fakery. Do you not see the contradiction?

    “Leaving nonsense unchallenged gives it life.”

    I was commenting on the comments, not on the main article. It’s the repetitive and continuous responses, over and over and over, that I find distracting. I don’t disagree with you. And “deplore” is not an accurate characterization of what I tried to say.

    I consider RealClimate to be a beacon of sanity in a crazy world, but its comment section is sometimes crammed with less useful material.

    The Singer bullying continues to outrage, and I thought it might be a useful reminder that this nastiness has very deep roots. It also provides a data point of outright criminal behavior that underpins the fake skeptic universe.

    If we treat these arguments on their merits, we sometimes give them more weight and power in the no-holds-barred fight for planetary honesty and survival.

    Best wishes to ye!

  22. 122
    Al Bundy says:

    Or how about this technique?

    DDS: snipped

    AB: The current interglacial’s end is well known: Never, unless humanity goes extinct or chooses to Go Glacial. Dr. James Hanson (IIRC) calculated that a single factory can produce enough GHGs (the more powerful ones like refrigeration gasses) to prevent glaciation indefinitely.

  23. 123
    JimV says:

    Some commenter several pages back made the odd claim that termites produce 10x more CO2 annually than humans. I googled this and it does seem to be a widespread claim. Nevertheless, I persisted until I found actual references, as follows:

    Lars P. November 22, 2018 at 8:30 am
    There is a link in the link provided to a science article here:
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/218/4572/563?sid=ecbb2a97-081d-494f-a327-9aaacab08a5f
    Abstract

    “Termites may emit large quantities of methane, carbon dioxide, and molecular hydrogen into the atmosphere. Global annual emissions calculated from laboratory measurements could reach 1.5 x 10**14 grams of methane and 5 x 10**16 grams of carbon dioxide.”

    Bellman November 22, 2018 at 8:40 am
    Only mentioned in the comments. That Science article is from 1982, it gives an estimated value of CO2 from termites that is less than twice current rate of human emissions. It was quickly dismissed as exaggerating termite emissions, possibly by a factor of 10.

    Bellman November 22, 2018 at 8:52 am
    Also, note that the iceagenow article also says,

    It is thought “There are 2,600 different species of termites, and it is estimated that there are at least a million billion individual termites on Earth, that they emit two and four percent of the global carbon dioxide and methane budget, respectively

    -both mediated directly or indirectly by their microbes.

    That’s directly contradicting the 10x claim. This probably comes from this paper

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/96GB01893

    which puts annual termite output as 3.5 Gt, not much more than a tenth of annual human emissions.

  24. 124
    Dan DaSilva says:

    15 Gary King
    “A recent study on why some people fall for conspiracy theories.”

    Hello Gary King,
    Ask anybody if they believe in conspiracy theories, they never do. It is always the other guy who belives conspiracy theories. The ones who did the study they know they do not believe in conspiracy theories. I know I don’t and I bet you don’t either.

  25. 125
    Gerald Browning says:

    Very few (if any) of climate modelers are experts in the mathematics of partial differential equations and numerical analysis. The basic assumption
    of the numerical approximation of derivatives is that the continuum solution of the pde is differentiable so that the numerical approximation of a derivative of the continuum solution can be expanded in a Taylor series. But the forcing in climate models mimics discontinuities in the continuum solution (because of switches
    in the parameterizations and columnar forcing), so the numerical approximations are not accurate (Browning, Hack, and Swarztrauber 1979). As a result large amounts of energy is injected into the smallest scales of the models and this normally would cause the model to blow up in a very short period of time. To overcome this problem, the modelers use an unrealistically large amount of dissipation. In effect this means that the modelera are modeling a fluid that is closer to molasses than air.
    Drawing any conslusions from a mistake this grievous in such a model is
    completely unwarranted.

    Jerry

  26. 126

    EK 110: The real problem is the feedback. There is no real consensus on feedbacks. Feedback can even turn to negative, if water vapour turns into clouds.

    BPL: Google “Clausius-Clapeyron relation.” Also see Clement, A.C., Burgman R., and J.R. Norris 2009. “Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback.” Science 325, 460-464.

    EK: The gap between real world CC and the theory of CO2 causing it, is filled with feedbacks. Sorry to say, but the evidence is weak, as there are multitude of better explanations of global warming.

    BPL: Name one.

  27. 127
    Al Bundy says:

    DDS: Dear Al Bundy, please give me some tips on how to profit. I am doing this for nothing. How stupid is that?

    AB: You’re profiting because you’re having fun. It’s like having a lifetime theater pass. It’s pretty stupid to treat reality like a movie when you’re cheering for Thanos (or is it pretending he doesn’t exist?).

    By the way, the Trickle Down theory of profit is clear: profit is shared between rich and poor. The rich get to laugh at the poor while scarfing up money. The poor get to feel that glorious adrenaline and whatnot rush while being enraged by lies.

  28. 128
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Hello Al Bundy,

    A man without bias is a man who does not think.

  29. 129
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Quotes from the introduction of Reference 1 of the article:
    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2007 assessed that the change in solar radiative forcing (henceforth referred to as “solar forcing”) over the interval 1750–2005 was likely to be in the range 0.12–0.30Wm−2, compared to the total net anthropogenic forcing 1.7Wm−2 (0.6–2.4Wm−2 [Solomon et al., 2007]).”

    “However, detection and attribution of climate change-related to long‐term solar variability remains a contentious subject, with vastly different estimates appearing in the literature for the 20th century and for more recent decades”

    Somone please explain how climate models are accurate and yet that amount of uncertainty exists in the scientific community. I am capable of learning so please explain this. This is an honest quest for knowledge as well as a challenge.

  30. 130
    Dan DaSilva says:

    119 Al Bundy
    Dear Al,
    The most effective action against a disingenuous person or a troll is to ignore them. Sorry but that will have to dictate our future interactions.

  31. 131
    Mal Adapted says:

    DDS:

    William, glad to provide some humor to mankinds otherwise bleak existence made bleaker by unsubstantiated catastrophic AGW.

    DDS:

    I much prefer to be skeptical of CAGW as it fits my own political bias.

    AGW has already been catastrophic for 100’s of thousands to millions of people around the world. Do you consider those numbers unsubstantiated? Do you believe the actual number of people affected is zero? As BPL asked you, how bad does AGW have to get before it’s catastrophic enough for you? Must you lose your own home, livelihood or life to a biblical weather disaster?

    DDS:

    I agree with AGW. I believe your brain can not accept that but let me repeat: “I agree with AGW”.

    You can say that without restraint, but you’re a denier nevertheless. If you do “agree with” AGW, you’re at best a lukewarmer, a species of denier. You deny that catastrophe is in the eyes of the victims, first and foremost. That’s as good as admitting you don’t care about other people’s suffering. I believe your brain cannot accept that, unfortunately for the rest of us. Everything you post is in support of it, and it’s never anything but self-serving nonsense. I’m hardly a saint, but I’m not blind to the mounting tragedy of the climate Commons. I agree with Al Bundy: “an interesting type of honesty/honor you’ve got. Loyalty to tribe is a strong motivator.” If you did actually agree with AGW, you’d have nothing to say here. Since you insist on saying silly things anyway, accept that we’re going to belabor you.

  32. 132

    Gerald Browning said:

    “To overcome this problem, the modelers use an unrealistically large amount of dissipation. In effect this means that the modelera are modeling a fluid that is closer to molasses than air.”

    It’s not all atmospheric modeling, as much of the dynamic behavior arises from the ocean, with recent papers suggesting more forcing from tidal factors

    Lin, J. & Qian, T. Switch Between El Nino and La Nina is Caused by Subsurface Ocean Waves Likely Driven by Lunar Tidal Forcing. Sci Rep 9, 1–10 (2019).

    and less from wind as that is apparently exaggerated as a forcing :

    Liu, Y., Jing, Z. & Wu, L. Wind Power on Oceanic Near‐Inertial Oscillations in the Global Ocean Estimated From Surface Drifters. Geophysical Research Letters 46, 2647–2653 (2019).

    Numerical Models Overestimate Near-Inertial Wind Power Input

  33. 133
    BrettnCalgary says:

    JimV @ 123
    Whatever termites do is part of the natural carbon cycle, and is not releasing sequestered carbon from millions of years ago.

  34. 134
    Al Bundy says:

    JimV,

    Thanks, that was interesting. See, I had it wrong. I thought he was saying termites burp out ten times as much methane as humanity farts. :-)

  35. 135
    nigelj says:

    Esko Karinen @110 says “The reason why the science is not settled, is that CO2 in itself hasn’t got power to change the climate. Doubling will not effect more than 1 degree Celsius warming, according to IPCC, and there are calculations to not more than 0.25 degrees.”

    Just out of curiosity, exactly how much warming in degrees c do you think is required to say “we have changed the climate” and why have you picked that number exactly?

  36. 136
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @122

    “Or how about this technique?”

    “DDS: snipped”

    “AB: The current interglacial’s end is well known: Never, unless humanity goes extinct……”

    Amusing except it may not be necessary to do this. In depth psychological research has found quoting the denialist claim right at the top of a response makes no difference to how people react (sorry I cant find the paper I came across its a few years back). In other words it doesn’t give the claim any unintended validity. I would say clarity and simplicity works best in the end, ie state the claim being made and then dissect said claim, otherwise people get awfully confused.

    Good technical point about preventing an ice age. Some studies suggest we have already warmed the atmosphere more than enough to prevent the next ice age:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/13/fossil-fuel-burning-postponing-next-ice-age

  37. 137
    Ignorant Guy says:

    At # 123 JimV commented on CO2 emissions by termites.

    Regardless of how munch carbon termites emit to the atmosphere they don’t obtain it by digging up fossil carbon. They don’t mine coal. They don’t drill after oil. All their carbon is from renewable sources.

  38. 138
    Susan Anderson says:

    RealClimate Monitors.

    Would it be time to deploy the Borehole? Seems to me there’s more nonsense (and responses to same, somewhat repetitive) than sense in these comments. That’s sad in this wonderful community, imho.

  39. 139
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Keith Woolard,
    Oh the strawmanity!

    First, the past climate of the planet is pretty well understood. Certainly, the broad outlines in terms of Milankovitch cycles, etc. are well understood. Even the go-to straw man of warming in the 1st third of the 20th century can be understood to a great extent in terms of 1)anthropogenic CO2, 2) reduced volcanic activity during that period, and 3) slight increases in total solar irradiance during that period. Tamino has had some posts on this

    Second, even if we could not explain warming at some point in the distant past, long before we were able to measure every energy input to the climate, that is irrelevant to the current situation where the planet bristles with measurement devices and satellites are buzzing about it like flies.

    Sorry, Keith, but you are grasping at straws.

  40. 140
    dhogaza says:

    Gerald Browning says …

    “…the numerical approximations are not accurate (Browning, Hack, and Swarztrauber 1979)”.

    Assuming you’re right (and I’m not going to bother to look), this paper is commenting on some sort of modeling 40 years ago, before GCMs were developed. Which means that they never evaluated anything close to a modern climate model, nor knew the qualifications of the vast majority of current researches in climate science.

  41. 141
    Keith Woollard says:

    Rae@139,
    You can call it a strawwman – but it was Rasmus who attacked it incorrectly. If Rasmus had chosen to say the past is irrelevant then we would not be having this conversation. Rasmus chose to say that “such changes have had specific physical causes, which are reasonably well understood”
    That statement is blatantly in error.

  42. 142
    jgnfld says:

    @128 DDS…

    Re. “A man without bias is a man who does not think.”

    Methinks you misunderstand the whole cognitive purpose of bias which is to allow one NOT to think. See “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Kahneman to help your understanding.

  43. 143
    jgnfld says:

    @129 DDS: “Somone (sic) please explain how climate models are accurate and yet that amount of uncertainty exists in the scientific community.”

    By what set of criteria do you judge the CI’s to have too great an uncertainty? What expertise have you attained that allows us to have any faith in the validity of your judgments? Given the chaotic nature of the climate and of the models which reflect climate, what is the level of uncertainty you would judge to be sufficient to make conclusions from? What is the minimum possible uncertainty theoretically even possible given the role of chaotic variables and factors at work? Cite why your criteria make sense.

    Does the fact that no one can predict the position of a compound pendulum–also a chaotic phenomenon–without model error after some number of steps in time mean that Newton’s Laws are disproven?

  44. 144
    Romain says:

    Ray Ladbury,

    Oh the oxymoronanity!!!
    “the broad outlines in terms of Milankovitch cycles, etc. are well understood.”

  45. 145
    Al Bundy says:

    DDS: A man without bias is a man who does not think.

    AB: Morons embrace their bias, MEN (and WOMEN) search for their biases with intent to destroy.

    DDS: Dear Al,
    The most effective action against a disingenuous person or a troll is to ignore them. Sorry but that will have to dictate our future interactions.

    AB: Morons pretend that they’re doing something for reasons that simply don’t apply. You’re here to get off. Me too. So your lame attempt to put some higher motivation on your actions is doomed to fail. As if you will comply with your call for effective action. As if you will destroy the very reason you’re here.

    DDS: I am capable of learning so please explain this.

    AB: Horse’s asses are capable of drinking but it is a waste of time to lead them to water – unless one’s goal is to laugh at the GOPper
    ________

    Susan Anderson,

    When a system is poorly designed, goop happens. I tried to get folks interested in fixing the problem but apparently lifting a pinky in order to make things far better is too big an ask. (kinda like climate change) Why should the mods have to clean up our mess?

  46. 146
    nigelj says:

    KW says “Rasmus chose to say that “such changes (paleoclimatology) have had specific physical causes, which are reasonably well understood” “That statement is blatantly in error.”

    This depends on how reasonably well understood is defined. This is a difficult thing to define but lets put it at 7 / 10 on a scale from not understood to perfect knowledge.

    Now there’s a lot of research on milankovich cycles, past climate and relationship to geological events and solar events, and an understanding of cause and effect yet there are gaps and uncertainties in this. Reasonably well understoood may be pushing it. I think it would be accurate to say we have a moderate understanding, maybe 6 / 10 on a scale.

    KW is clearly wrong to say its poorly understood given the level of knowledge that is documented. Poorly understood would be about 2 / 10.

  47. 147
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @145 says “Why should the mods have to clean up our mess?”

    Come on Al it’s their job. We shouldnt need a police force either, but we do.

    You are getting all idealistic on me. I know because you remind me of myself a few years ago before I got realstic (or possibly bitter and twisted….) Your bias is your tendency to over embrace idealism, a bias that seems to have slipped through your usually reliable bias detector.

    And yes morons (ie literally a very low IQ) dont recognise they even have a bias, but morons dont usually end up in positions of influence ( the occasional politiican excepted, cough couigh) so it doesn’t matter too much. Its the deliberate stupidity thats the most troubling.

  48. 148
    MA Rodger says:

    Keith Woolland @141,
    You object to the following passage in the OP:-

    The following statement is misleading:-

    “The geological archive reveals that Earth’s climate has varied as long as the planet has existed, with natural cold and warm phases. The Little Ice Age ended as recently as 1850. Therefore, it is no surprise that we now are experiencing a period of warming. Only very few peer-reviewed papers even go so far as to say that recent warming is chiefly anthropogenic”

    It is true that Earth’s climate has changed over the past, but such changes have had specific physical causes, which are reasonably well understood.

    You go so far as to say “That statement is blatantly in error.” But are you talking about the same thing as the quote you object to?
    I note @53 upthread you set out your objection by saying “Absolute rubbish! We have theories on what caused the more recent extinction events but these theories vary widely. We don’t even know how many extinction events there have been.” This, I would suggest, strnongly suggests you are not addressing the quote in the OP but your own interpretation of the quote, and it is your interpretation which is wrong.
    The OP is not saying that the climatic changes of the past are all “reasonably well understood.” It is saying that past climatic changes will have specific physical causes and it is these “specific physical causes which are reasonably well understood.” The OP continues by listing some of these “physical changes” and describing the true nature of the LIA.
    On the other hand, the swivel-eyed denialists that endorse the misleading statement are actually saying that past climate went HOT-COLD-HOT-COLD due to natural-&-apparently-unexplained reasons and that after the COLD of the LIA we will naturally have HOT which is their crazy interpretation of why we have seen the “recent warming.” Now if you were to describe such swivel-eyed nonsense as “Absolute rubbish!” you would be on the right track.

  49. 149
    zebra says:

    #145 Al Bundy and #143 jgnfld,

    AB, the whole point for these people is to get a response, but never give a response. That’s the game for them.

    Note how DDS ran away when I politely tried to engage in a dialogue, where I asked him to explain his reasoning. And my ‘model’ predicts that he will evade jgnfld’s spot-on questions as well.

    The problem in having “us” clean up the mess is that “they” understand how difficult it is for people who know stuff to restrain themselves from demonstrating that they know stuff.

    The solution I offered previously is almost certain to work, but probably impossible to implement. Instead of being the students who reflexively raise their hands to “give the answer”, “we” should be the oral exam committee members, and “they” should first be required to demonstrate their undergraduate credentials by agreeing to certain basic principles.

    (My earlier examples were “does increasing CO2 increase the energy in the climate system?” and “is there a vast conspiracy of scientists making up data?”. Answering stuff like that up front.)

    So then, once they establish that they are not complete loons, they must “defend their thesis”. Otherwise, they are completely ignored, and boreholed if they keep repeating the same boring memes.

    But as I said, I don’t know how you keep “us” people from responding, given the whole column-inch addiction problem.

  50. 150
    Mal Adapted says:

    DDS:

    57 Mal Adapted
    Thanks for the response however when I made those comments I was hoping to spark a science-based discussion at a layman’s level. That the monkey/ankle comment was funny and gives me hope that you may indeed have the mental resources for a fruitful discussion if your default response mode can be redirected.

    As DDS’s ‘discussions’ always involve his antagonistic denial of consiliently justified knowledge, I for one will no longer engage him directly. Henceforth I shall refer to him in the third person, if at all. When I do, my response mode will be “savage glee”.

Leave a Reply

Comment policy. Please note that if your comment repeats a point you have already made, or is abusive, or is the nth comment you have posted in a very short amount of time, please reflect on the whether you are using your time online to maximum efficiency. Thanks.