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Real world of climate: How scary?

Richard Black | 17:04 UK time, Friday, 14 January 2011

Earlier this week I posted on uncertainty in climate model projections, raising the question of whether lack of certainty made the future more or less "scary" - and what it should mean for policymaking.

As would have been expected, I guess, your responses varied greatly - from Maurizio Maurabito's

"Richard's words clearly undermine the mitigation side of climate change...there is not enough detail to know what is the impact going to be, where it is going to hit and when."

... to Stefane's question:

"What do those who are adamant on not even trying to accept the possibility that humans may have been damaging the environment and on a greater scale, the Earth really want to do?
 
"Most probably, in their opinion, we just should keep on polluting, killing and destroying everything that gets in the way?"

Artist's rendering of CO2 warning on roadsign

Still working without a time machine that can visit the future and tell us, there is another way of trying to evaluate climate impacts.

It consists of looking at what's happened in the Earth's past and attempting to calculate what that tells us about the future.

Especially for anyone who takes computer models to be GIGO-flop processors - Garbage In, Garbage Out - this should be an attractive option, depending as it does on real hard facts that can be taken from the real physical world around us (even if interpreting these facts is tricky – see below).

In this week's Science, Jeffrey Kiehl from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, US, reviews evidence from these "real past world" studies - and presents a vision scarier than the projections of computer models.

(Science lives behind a paywall, but Climate Progress has posted chunks of the article along with its references.)

As he outlines, if the atmospheric CO2 concentration keeps rising as it has, by the end of the century it could well have risen to around 1,000 parts per million - about four times the level before the Industrial Revolution.

Take the time machine back about 50 million years, and this was the norm - periods of high CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures than now [pdf link], leavened with cooler, lower CO2 interludes.

But how much warmer?

You can find a number of analyses concluding that typically, it was a few degrees warmer than now (I like the visual clarity of this Rob Rohde reconstruction).

But via calculations involving several recently-published papers, Jeff Kiehl sets out why temperatures could at times have been much hotter than that - a global mean 15C above the present, with concomitantly higher sea temperatures that would certainly challenge the life prospects for many current marine organisms.

As the author summarises things:

"Thus, if atmospheric CO2 reaches 1,000ppmv, then human civilization will face another world, one that the human species has never experienced in its history."

The reason why these large temperature rises could occur is, he explains, down to long-term feedback processes such as the melting of icecaps and vegetation changes, which materialise over centuries or millennia.

Desert plants

These aren't typically included in computer models, aiming as they generally do to project over a century or so at most.

As with computer models, interpreting palaeological evidence isn't straightforward.

For one thing, the Earth hasn't kept records perfectly tailored to our current research needs.

Secondly, and deriving from that imperfection, interpretations vary between scientists.

Thirdly, Planet Earth isn't exactly the same as it was 30 million years ago - partly because seven billion humans have done much to change it besides enhancing the greenhouse effect, such as reducing forest cover.

So deducing the future from the past wouldn't be straightforward, even if the dataset were perfect.

But as with the glacier projections I flagged up in the earlier post, what this analysis raises is a question of risk.

Our generation isn't looking at bequeathing our children or grandchildren a 15C warmer world - it'd be many generations after that down the line, if it comes at all.

But do we want to take that risk, when the real world evidence can be interpreted so as to project such an outcome - a true hothouse?

Or are we ok with that? Do the doubts in the interpretations mean we can sleep easy on a bed of business-as-usual?

Once more, over to you...

 

NB: as JaneBasingstoke points out below (hat tip), a technical issue meant the bottom half of this article and comments were not visible to IE users. That's fixed now. Apologies. RB

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  • 1. At 5:55pm on 14 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    There's a lot of wisdom in the old saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". It's an elementary bit of "game theory": no matter how attractive a goal may be, we have to factor in our own uncertainty about attaining it.

    Two birds may be twice as attractive as one bird, but if we can only be half as confident of catching them, then there isn't much to recommend dropping the one bird we already have. It isn't just the attractiveness of a goal that counts -- our confidence in achieving it has to be accounted for as well.

    The goal of avoiding catastrophic climatic change is very attractive, but we have to factor in many uncertainties -- about whether it really would be catastrophic, about whether we can be confident of avoiding it by limiting our own carbon emissions, and so on.

    The goal of avoiding negative growth is also attractive, because negative growth means famines. Even if avoiding all that is much less attractive than avoiding catastrophic climate change, we also have to factor in our uncertainty about both.

    So yes, our uncertainty must play a vital role in our deliberations. Alas, in the real world there are no numbers that can measure certainty or uncertainty.

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  • 2. At 6:05pm on 14 Jan 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Richard Black wrote:

    "Take the time machine back about 50 million years, and this was the norm - periods of high CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures than now , leavened with cooler, lower CO2 interludes."

    Maybe so but that does not imply that the heating was in any way caused by CO2!

    I've looked at some of the CO2/temperature models of the past and they just that - models. The data is not much more certain than the highly speculative (and in my view entirely wrong) models of the future.

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  • 3. At 6:31pm on 14 Jan 2011, Selti wrote:

    Instead of taking “time machine back about 50 million years”, I prefer to look at the measured global mean temperature (GMT) pattern for the last 130 years as shown below:

    http://bit.ly/cO94in

    It shows GMT is cyclic!

    And there is global cooling until 2030!

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  • 4. At 7:58pm on 14 Jan 2011, peevedoff wrote:

    Mother nature has her own plan and if you look she warns you it is coming.Its not about humans causing it although we certainly do enjoy destroying our local environments its about mother nature doing what she always does...change.She has her own clock just like we have the twenty four hour day and that is backed up totally by the ice samples going back millions of years.When it comes in whatever form it comes it comes very quickly and before we realise it or admit it its too late.Forget your models and just look.Use that direct contact that we all have with our earth. its called our sixth sense.Its natures warning system and if you tune in hard enough she will tell you that change is coming sooner than you think.We come from the earth,we are connected to the earth,we are not human beings we are EARTHLINGS......use your senses.

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  • 5. At 8:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Hi Richard.

    In case you're concerned about the break out of peace and quiet on this thread, it's a Microsoft Internet Explorer bug. The cut off point is between your
    "It consists of looking at what's happened in the Earth's past and attempting to calculate what that tells us about the future." [shows in Microsoft Internet Explorer]

    and your
    "Especially for anyone who takes computer models to be GIGO-flop processors - Garbage In, Garbage Out - this should be an attractive option, depending as it does on real hard facts that can be taken from the real physical world around us (even if interpreting these facts is tricky – see below)." [does not show in Microsoft Internet Exporer]

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  • 6. At 9:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Governments are the whores of big business and banking. Don't expect much change as the governments are owned by others. The "democratic" process has become a joke. The government will only do what is right when they think they are about to be thrown out. Not much hope for the future unless major changes in the process and who really makes the decisions and why. The people and their needs are tolerated but not a priority. Governments may be elected but they are also owned. Food shortages and soon water shortages around the world will begin reshaping things and everyone will wonder why. Like with the banks stealing everyone's money, the government stands out front and says that it is the fault of the borrower. Can't find a single example of power being given up willingly...most nations that are corrupt simply collapse. That is the future. Don't worry, someone else will take over, they too will be backed by the bankers.

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  • 7. At 10:15pm on 14 Jan 2011, Cynicalrealist wrote:

    Like many people I am becoming immune to the mantra of the Global Warmers, I accept the reality that climate is changing around the world, that glaciers are melting, temperatures are slowly rising and that man is partly to blame for for this, we cannot burn billions of tons of coal and billions of barrels of oil for this to have no effect, BUT the carbon debate is becoming a one trick pony, making carbon responsible for all of the 'future problems', and that controlling carbon will help prevent this from happening, whilst turning us away from the real issues which face the planet now, namely pollution and environmental destruction.
    As a planet we are now in an interglacial period similar to the Eemian of 130,000 years ago, surprise, surprise, most of Greenland, the North Polar ice cap and a very large part of the Antarctic ice cap melted, sea levels were significantly higher than today and no carbon burning humans in sight. On the down side we did not have humans destroying the environment on the massive scale we have today, forget about carbon, computer models and spin, concentrate on the real issues which need to be tackled now, something which Governments around the world could do so if they felt inclined, but perhaps lining there pockets is more important.

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  • 8. At 10:37pm on 14 Jan 2011, Stephen Ashworth wrote:

    Richard, your article raises the question of natural climate change. So please can I ask you: what is the natural climate change (if any) which current climate (terrestrial plus solar, obviously) models predict for the next 100 years? Are we still emerging from the Little Ice Age (so more warming expected) or are we about to descend into another similar cooling for a few centuries, or even approaching the next major ice age?

    Once the climate models are agreed on the natural background, then we can start to discuss the human perturbation which industrial pollution might have on that picture!

    Thanks.

    Stephen
    Oxford, UK

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  • 9. At 11:19pm on 14 Jan 2011, Pkthinks wrote:

    How Scary? ,well to a degree or 2(or 3,4,5,6,7,8)as much as you make it. '2500 Years of European Climate Variability and Human Susceptibility' has not quite the same impact as 'Roman rise and fall 'recorded in trees''
    I think the age of post Modern Science reflects the power of the Media to sell a popular political perspective on the science, but it is time for the media to challenge the spin not promote it.
    The past climate may seem to be a simple guide to the future just like the emphasis on decarbonisation is sold as a planet saving intervention but the truth is its not as simple as that.

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  • 10. At 00:57am on 15 Jan 2011, Cariboo wrote:

    George Carlin on Global Warming.

    It's George Carlin, he uses 4 letter superlatives, be warned. He does make a lot of sense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB0aFPXr4n4&feature=player_embedded

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  • 11. At 04:32am on 15 Jan 2011, b5happy wrote:


    Good on you, Richard.

    Thanks for standing up...

    Thanks for staying on your feet!

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  • 12. At 08:50am on 15 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    When is the past is a guide to the future?

    Warning: this is not a trick question, but it is "tricky" as it goes right to the heart of the matter. Another way of putting it is: When is induction a reliable form of inference?

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  • 13. At 11:33am on 15 Jan 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I have only just spotted this topic update. If you want to create your own time map in however much detail you want, refer to my instruction posting from the previous topic. It is only a prototype, but I am sure many of you could develop my prototype into something meaningful and useful. I could see MIT using such an idea to map all recorded events in time and place. I could see my prototype being developed into an ever expanding map reaching forwards and backwards into time, using infinite measurements of time and using measurable points in time. I do not have the skills, knowledge or technology to create my idea as a computer application or more, but I can visualize precisely how it could work and I am positive many of you here could too.
    I truly believe that past events can indicate future events (not exactly but) as recognizable, naturally occurring, pattern-forms.
    We, as humans, have so much creative potential, but we don't appear to be able to work together in creative synergy and that would be my one wish, that this could really happen.

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  • 14. At 3:05pm on 15 Jan 2011, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I know everyone has a right to an opinion, but do I find it uncomfortable to see references to poor spelling and grammar used as a put-down or cudgel. When language is used as a weapon, it is at that point, meaningful communication ceases. I too have problems with spelling and grammar and it is an issue I have to live with. Many of us did not have the luxury of private and exclusive education where language and literacy were key aspects of learning. Others also have the same problem for a range of reasons including disability. Let us all be tolerant and not go down the slippery slope of certain politicians, who chose to use language in rather an aggressive way to score points over others. I know some of you are only jesting but sometimes it can be very intimidating. I still love you all lots.

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  • 15. At 4:13pm on 15 Jan 2011, Kamboshigh wrote:

    What a total load of junk.

    Well at least we have a time machine included so we are safe to say that this is pure "science fiction"

    So the man published a paper claiming there will 1000ppm of CO2 by 2100, so what did he ask Mr.Spoke. Current rate of rise for total CO2 is under 2 ppm so 398 plus 180 (next 90 years at current output)is 570ppm.

    The best bit is referring this junk with a reference to Uncle Joe Romm as soon as you see this individual involved you know it is complete and utter rubbish.

    This is a nothing story (not science)totally devoid of any logic or reasoning, would have been better submitting it for a "booker" award for fiction

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  • 16. At 4:19pm on 15 Jan 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @Richard Black

    Richard,

    Before getting carried away with more scary climate nonsense, could I suggest you take a look at Jo Nova's post here:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/01/the-warmest-year-antidotes/

    Try following the links and then come back to the real "Real world of climate"

    /Mango

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  • 17. At 5:19pm on 15 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #13 wrote:

    I truly believe that past events can indicate future events (not exactly but) as recognizable, naturally occurring, pattern-forms.

    You are quite right that everything depends on whether or not the events in question are part of a regular pattern.

    Some past events are reliable guides to future events. For example, the Sun has risen every day from time immemorial. We can reliably infer that the Sun will keep rising every day indefinitely, because it's part of a regular pattern.

    But other past events are not at all reliable as a guide to future events. For example, the most famous German philosophers have names that begin with the letter H, and the most famous Irish philosophers have names that begin with the letter B. Does it follow that future German philosophers will tend to have names beginning with H, or that future Irish philosophers will tend to have names beginning with B? -- No, that's obviously just accidental coincidence.

    The question we always have to ask is: Are the events part of a regular pattern? The only way of telling whether they are is through testing -- in other words by making predictions and then seeing if these predictions come true as they would if they were part of a regular pattern.

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  • 18. At 6:30pm on 15 Jan 2011, melty wrote:

    Anderegg et al. 2010
    Richard Alley, 2009

    Together, worth more than 500 blog postings and associated user-contributed bs.

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  • 19. At 6:47pm on 15 Jan 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    Doesn't Jeffrey use computer models for the past, too?

    The key question was, is, and will be the relation between natural fluctuations and any signal of anthropogenic impact can be detected.

    We just can't go back and test in vivo.

    This is hypothetical and always will be.

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  • 20. At 6:55pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chris Bore wrote:

    I think the argument on what to do about climate change when its risk is uncertain is the same as with any other risk: make action proportionate and include other risks. That usually means taking account of the cost of each type of action and its benefit. Given a set of alternative choices, you estimate the cost of each choice (for example ther cost of taking some action to prevent a climate change effect that in the end would not anyway occur, or the cost of inaction that then causes the climate change effect). In a simple analysis you typically have four possibilities:

    1) no action, and the damage is due to the inaction
    2) no action and the damage does not occur anyway
    3) take action and the damage occurs anyway
    4) take action and it prevents the damage

    each is weighted by its total cost and its likelihood (risk).

    To be sensible this should also include other actions the same money might pay for - for example alleviating hunger or curing malaria.

    Thus you arrive at a set of costs, and can choose the optimum.

    This is called decision analysis, and it is not difficult. It is how you use estimates of cost and risk. It used to be taught in secondary school.

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  • 21. At 7:33pm on 15 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Chris Bore #20 wrote:

    This is called decision analysis, and it is not difficult. It is how you use estimates of cost and risk. It used to be taught in secondary school.

    The trouble is, we are fooling ourselves if we think we can have numerical estimates of "cost" or "likelihood" when we are dealing with ideas like "catastrophic climate change" or "catastrophic economic collapse".

    Numbers are fine if we are dealing with repeated regular events such as "drawing balls from an urn" (the classic example -- don't ask me why it's always an "urn"!) or getting a full house in poker. Those numbers measure relative frequency -- the proportion of balls that are white, say, or the proportion of poker hands that are a "full house".

    Catastrophic climate change and global famine are one-off events that we speculate about, wondering how unattractive they are be or how much we ought to believe they might actually happen. Numbers just don't apply to our own subjective wonderings about "how bad" or "how likely". It isn't that we don't know what the numbers are -- numbers just don't apply here because these are not quantities of any sort, and they differ from one individual to the next, and from one moment to the next.

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  • 22. At 8:22pm on 15 Jan 2011, Chris Bore wrote:

    bowmanthebard #21 wrote:

    The trouble is, we are fooling ourselves if we think we can have numerical estimates of "cost" or "likelihood" when we are dealing with ideas like "catastrophic climate change" or "catastrophic economic collapse".

    In which case surely we are not dealing with 'uncertainty' as in Richard's article, but with 'total overwhelming ignorance'?

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  • 23. At 8:31pm on 15 Jan 2011, GeoffWard wrote:

    Bowman, you are back in the groove!

    Like your comments to Sensiblegrannie, also.

    Her earlier posting on the matter was exactly as she says in this blog - to try and find the patterns in the historical record and to use the patterns to find most likely causations, then to see if the patterns and causation matrix could be used to examine the present and project to the near-future.

    [Thinks: PCA should help define the matrix and degree of forcing for each vector.
    Thinks 2: The time-span of the historical record is so small much will be missed. The geological record is of some help, but as usual you get the apples & pears problem.]

    I feel sure there must be a whole literature on this (some are 'easy, like El Ninõ), but I don't have references, or access to the scientific/technical repositories any longer - any help, anyone?

    Geoff.

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  • 24. At 8:50pm on 15 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @melty #18

    Always good to see Alley video clips.

    However I was having problems with your other link, is the following the correct link
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

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  • 25. At 9:06pm on 15 Jan 2011, GeoffWard wrote:

    I love this topic!

    "...But do we want to take that risk, when the real world evidence can be interpreted so as to project such an outcome - a true hot-house?"

    This is not the first time the global hothouse has been promulgated

    "Hothouse (Brian Aldiss, 1962; Hugo Award). Set in a far future Earth, where the earth has stopped rotating, the Sun has increased output, and plants are engaged in a constant frenzy of growth and decay, like a tropical forest enhanced a thousandfold; a few small groups of elvish humans still live on the edge of extinction, beneath the giant banyan tree that covers the day side of the earth". What this doesn't say is that human speciation splits the species into two distinctly different forms to match the new environmental circumstance........and .....

    I recommend this seminal work of environmental (SF) fiction from my youth. I use it as an antidote when I get bogged-down by the myopic frame of reference posters on this blog-site stay within.

    When I hear (again and again) the typical phrase "what legacy am I leaving my children?" I wonder at the paucity of vision -

    This (Now) is not the first Great Extinction, and it will not, hopefully, be the last, but this is OUR Extinction and we should be savouring every minute of it as it happens as we record it in real time. This opportunity has never come the way of intelligent beings on earth before, and we 'owe it' to our (evolutionary) ancestors to have the record straight.

    I hear it now, echoing down from the future "What on Earth made them sit on their haunches and watch it happen?"

    Geoff.

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  • 26. At 10:45pm on 15 Jan 2011, GeoffWard wrote:


    A timely posting, Richard.
    I have taken a day going through your main references/links and deep into the methane issue once more:

    I remain convinced that the rate of change is such that the positive feedbacks are swamping the negative feedbacks. If this is in fact a correct interpretation then the cusp has *probably* already been reached and the state-change is underway. We only have a vision of 'three score years and ten' (or, if you are a politician, four years); the change may be of the boiled frog variety for some of the world. For other parts it may be acute heat death.

    I was impressed by the compilation of cogent argument, and it made me wonder why the IPCC took such a conservative approach. I think the Oxford +4C conf in 2009 loosened some tongues. The compounding +ve feedbacks from (particularly) permafrost clathrate mobilisation would seem to make these Oxford projections of impact themselves positively conservative.

    We will return to this debate many times, but one thing is clear to me:

    Briefing of the politicians and leaders of the developed world will be MUCH more hard-headed (extreme) than they would *ever* reveal to the populous (Morgan Freeman announcing the end of the world and the American Way of Life was *fiction*).
    Either they have concluded that nothing can be done except move the deck-chairs - hence IPCC etc, or they are making individual plans for a chaotic future, or they just hope the science is wrong (after all, very few politicians have more than a GCSE in the 'three sciences' or an A level in Math).

    Scenarios based on previous geological/climatological carbon/temperature conditions would seem to make half the world's land surface uninhabitable to human beings (see Richard's link articles & their reference papers). Now what politician would hang his career on that statement?

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  • 27. At 11:28pm on 15 Jan 2011, Brunnen wrote:

    "Scenarios based on previous geological/climatological carbon/temperature conditions would seem to make half the world's land surface uninhabitable to human beings (see Richard's link articles & their reference papers). Now what politician would hang his career on that statement?"

    I can't think of any politician stupid enough to hang his career on this sort of computer generated guesswork.

    And if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't vote for him.

    We have enough credulous idiots in power as it is...

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  • 28. At 00:06am on 16 Jan 2011, rossglory wrote:

    this is the nub of the whole agw issue, risk......or more accurately perceived risk. humans are extremely good at spotting patterns, but almost universally, notoriously bad at judging risk from numbers.

    intuitively, a few degrees is the difference between a chilly day (2oC) and another chilly day (5oC) therefore the risk from 3oC of warming is perceived to be low.

    there is also the thorny issue of appeals to authority of which i am often accused. however, all views here on climate change are based on information that has not been gleaned from personally observed events or built from first principles and are therefore appeals to authority. what one has to judge is the risk that the source (authority) of your information is incompetent, mistaken or mendacious. many posts here amply display the human inability to judge risk accurately.

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  • 29. At 00:07am on 16 Jan 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #1 bowmanthebard

    "negative growth means famines"

    and positive growth means famines.

    let's try sustainability.

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  • 30. At 00:57am on 16 Jan 2011, Brunnen wrote:

    "many posts here amply display the human inability to judge risk accurately."

    Oh sweet, delicious irony.

    Coming from a warmist, you'll forgive me if I don't take your assessment of my ability to judge risk TOO seriously.

    Your lot would ruin the world economy, return the world to the middle ages and leave billions to starve, all in the name of reducing CO2.

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  • 31. At 04:03am on 16 Jan 2011, TJ wrote:

    Richard:

    Just love and admire your subtle change in choice of pictures. Your standard for years has been the parched and broken earth. Now we have semi arid beautiful plants. I'll take some wagers on how long it takes to get a snowy Victorian type Christmas scene. All to illustrate and reinforce AGW.

    BRILLIANT....... We are all convinced.

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  • 32. At 09:44am on 16 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Brunnen #27 wrote:

    computer generated guesswork

    I would argue that the trouble is it's not guesswork. Guesswork is at least honest and gets tested. We are not tempted to read too much detail into a mere guess. Computer-generated detail is more like reading tea leaves or listening to an oracle. The theory doesn't have to "stick its neck out" or get tested, the person who follows it doesn't have to use any imagination (he just swallows technical-sounding pronouncements whole) and because the whole thing is larded with numbers the gullible think it's all fabulously accurate.

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  • 33. At 11:52am on 16 Jan 2011, GeoffWard wrote:


    "Scenarios based on previous geological/climatological carbon/temperature conditions would seem to make half the world's land surface uninhabitable to human beings (see Richard's link articles & their reference papers). Now what politician would hang his career on that statement?" (GeoffWard 26)

    "I can't think of any politician stupid enough to hang his career on this sort of computer generated guesswork. And if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't vote for him. we have enough credulous idiots in power as it is..." (Brunnen 27)
    ..................
    OK Brunnen, you have responded to the 'fluff' in my posting - there is abundant evidence that politicians and bankers base policy on computer-generated outputs; sometimes politicians believe they know more than the economic cycle/boom-bust computer model outputs based on historical data, and claim they have 'removed the cycle and saved the world'! You take your information from where it is available, and package it and its interpretation in the best ways possible.

    My thesis is that if a message is *so bad*, no leader would present its true dimensions as bald government policy - remember the government nuclear war Protect and Survive documents that everybody got: "whatever happens, stay indoors under the stairs" (God help the oldies in bungalows!: see 'When the wind blows', 1986, short animation).

    Regarding my substantive point:

    Neither you nor anybody else seem keen to challenge my assertions (please re-read my posting @ #26) following my readings of the links, papers, and (good) postings within the sites Richard refered us to.
    Richard has expanded the debate fundimentally, and it should be generating much more than the old criticism of mathematical models.

    If you don't want to debate the conclusions and their uncertainty, lets take a "What if..." approach, and address the global accommodations that will be necessary over the next, say, 10, 50, 100, 200 years, if such outcomes are actually in train.

    Geoff.

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  • 34. At 12:12pm on 16 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    GeoffWard #33 wrote:

    there is abundant evidence that politicians and bankers base policy on computer-generated outputs

    And you think that's a sign that these things are trustworthy?!

    Psephology uses computer models and statistical extrapolation, but its predictions are "tested" every time there's a real election. The same applies to weather forecasting. Climatology is different -- it's almost wholly inductive, therefore almost wholly rubbish.

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  • 35. At 12:22pm on 16 Jan 2011, Paul Kerr wrote:

    Brunnen suggest the risks of a simplisitic and very expensive rush to mitigation may not help mankind and I have to agree.
    What history tells us is that scientists in their own field exagerate risk which makes a good story because its partly true and politicians then make you pay because they want to be seen to doing something.
    Lets accept there is an underlying warming trend and remember we are trying to quantify the risk of exponential warming.
    We need to observe exponential warming globally(post dating the prediciton) before it is proven no matter how good the prediction. But can we ignore the risk? No, but we must put it in context and it has become such a popular cause I would argue the relative risk is greatly exagerated
    Keep in mind the millions dying from other causes and the great global enviromental degradation which is much more obvious.Humans may be the greatest threat but not because of CO2!
    Decarbonisation of our lifestyle and energy needs is not possible in the timeframe commonly discussed and scientists should be honest about that.CO2 is not 100% responsible for warming in any case.

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  • 36. At 1:04pm on 16 Jan 2011, Peter317 wrote:

    @Chris Bore #20:

    1) no action, and the damage is due to the inaction
    2) no action and the damage does not occur anyway
    3) take action and the damage occurs anyway
    4) take action and it prevents the damage


    You left out two:

    5) no action and the damage could not have been prevented anyway
    6) take action and the damage does not occur anyway

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  • 37. At 1:13pm on 16 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @GeoffWard #33

    Sorry, are you saying that the sub prime crisis (or similar bubble burst recession) was predicted by computers and the prediction got ignored because "we can trade away risk"?

    :-S

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  • 38. At 4:10pm on 16 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Massive floods, unprecedented in human history, occurring simultaneously in many parts of the world.

    Withering harvests. Catastrophic persistent droughts. Loss and rapid decline of watersheds.

    Accelerating permafrost melt releasing vast amounts of methane into an already polluted atmosphere.

    Industrial accidents and reckless dumping of wastes and toxins into the landscape and waterways.

    Increasingly frequent extreme weather events causing loss of life and significant adverse impacts on property and livelihoods, as well as social stresses.

    For me, frankly, the "fifty million years ago" models are irrelevant, as indeed are models arguing from a position of 100 years ago, or even 40 years ago (even though 40 years ago I can remember).

    What I see with my own eyes and feel with my own skin is sufficiently convincing.

    Multiply number of new lives by number of new cars by number of disposable nappies used by number of paper products consumed by number of years lived is a sufficiently potent argument.

    It is sufficiently clear to me that most people under the age of 40 agree there is a need for mitigation, and that most of the people who object -- and drag the argument out into some interminable debate, akin to the futile debates in which "theists" are asked to "prove God" exists (or, conversely, "atheists" are asked to "prove God doesn't" exist) -- are predominantly 50+.

    There is an après moi le déluge dimension to the attitude of the older entrenched objectors to mitigation approaches. Many of them will simply not be around to have to address the situation a generation down the road.

    Consider what we have just now discovered about tobacco smoke. It turns out just several minutes of exposure are sufficient to cause mutations and harm. Just one cigarette can irreparably damage health.

    Did anyone who made a fortune selling tobacco consider, a few centuries ago, such proof would someday be available of their product's utter toxicity? Must we wait until, some years from now, someone proves that just as the slow, high-maintenance horse generated ultimately harmless waste, the fast, high-maintenance automobile -- even just a single one -- causes irreversible damage to the environment? One car, tiny damage. A trillion cars -- trucks, automobile factories, jet air planes, etc. etc. etc. -- a trillion or more times the damage?

    It is not necessary to construct a complex model to grasp that adding exhaust fumes into a closed system is going to make the available air less suitable for human health. An eight-year-old can demonstrate that with a jar, an exhaust pipe and a couple of cheap tubes.

    Just measure the composition of the air you inhale and there is all the evidence you need.

    So go head, objectors. Keep wasting our time. Keep refusing to allow us to show you a better way of living with no actual loss of quality of life. After all, it is only your children and grandchildren, and the children of your friends, who shall be paying the price of your intransigence -- with their own health.

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  • 39. At 5:13pm on 16 Jan 2011, PAWB46 wrote:

    If anyone relies on historical data rather than computer models, it is Piers Corbyn. He gets it right far more often than the Met Office computer and he thinks we are in for a really cold period. I hope he's wrong, because warming is better than cooling. The MWP was much better than the LIA.

    If the world gets much hotter, i.e. the oceans become warmer, then the atmospheric CO2 concentration is bound to be much higher - simple physics.

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  • 40. At 5:22pm on 16 Jan 2011, PAWB46 wrote:

    Maria:

    Ah, you're such a pessimist. Where are these unprecedented floods? Floods, droughts and famine have always happened. Or are you one of these people who have been taught, and now believe, that in the past the climate was in some wonderful, perfect, ideal state?

    You forget the worldly wisdom and experience that accrues when you are over 40, and you forget the poor education and propaganda that the under 40s get these days.

    You forget or do not understand, the wonders of science compared with your facile "there is all the evidence you need".

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  • 41. At 5:36pm on 16 Jan 2011, Paul Kerr wrote:

    Maria Ashot we obviously agree on many things and your passion for enviroment is a beacon amongst the petty arguments.
    But this debate is important and a global one, where does rising CO2 rank as one of the planets problems, and amongst all the other pollution and enviromental destruction how much time and money can we divert to this cause.
    Some of us are more sceptical than others about the singular importance of this pollutant and the likelihood of catastrophic warming.
    As for age, everyone wants a better world

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  • 42. At 7:01pm on 16 Jan 2011, GeoffWard wrote:


    "Re: @GeoffWard #33, Sorry, are you saying that the sub prime crisis (or similar bubble burst recession) was predicted by computers and the prediction got ignored because "we can trade away risk"?" (Jane.. 37)
    ........................
    Off topic, but:

    Now, *would* I say that!

    But it is worth saying that GB was briefed, was aware, lectured on it in the US etc, but signally refused to act on it within the UK via himself as PM, or via the CoE, BoE or the FSA; hoping that, when the inevitable storm broke, and because we were all in the same global boat, the 'global economy' would find a way out.

    Sometimes the size of the elephant in the room makes it too hard to see it or the room clearly ...I guess every country finds itself tethered to its own pet giant elephant. Virtual elephants are unlikely to be on the Red List any time in our lifetime.

    ...so, as I was saying, about climate change....hmmm, (thinks) "it might be a bit pertinent here too".

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  • 43. At 7:34pm on 16 Jan 2011, John Russell wrote:

    Bowmanthebard wrote: "Psephology uses computer models and statistical extrapolation, but its predictions are "tested" every time there's a real election. The same applies to weather forecasting. Climatology is different -- it's almost wholly inductive, therefore almost wholly rubbish."

    Are you saying that because climate scientists aren't able to test their models (well, not in the short term), then they shouldn't bother with them? What sort of scientific viewpoint is that? If you're saying that they should work on improving them, then I agree. But at what point will you be satisfied?

    Climate models become more and more detailed as time passes and computers become more powerful; and every additional level of complexity points in the same direction.

    Given that 1) almost all models show the same trend -- though to differing degrees; 2) that as time passes, evidence indicates that models, if anything, are underestimating the severity of climate change and 3) that Jeffrey Kiehl's research (which isn't the result of modelling) suggests a future worse than that predicted by models; then shouldn't we heed what's becoming more and more obvious with every passing month? There is a very high probability (exceeding 95%) that the Earth is on a rapidly warming trend, the likes of which it has not experienced since life first appeared.

    To ignore the accumulating evidence (including the models) is simply irresponsible.

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  • 44. At 7:50pm on 16 Jan 2011, Robert Lucien wrote:

    Richard, like many who believe climate change is a real danger I don't bother posting here much anymore, too much flak and to much work elsewhere. However my beliefs haven't changed much in the last year, and I still see environmental catastrophe as one of the most probable threats facing humanity in the next 100 to 500 years. Now I am a scientist and among other things I like to specialize in long term future extrapolations (mainly for Sci Fi).

    I am a skeptic of climate modeling - mainly because I see the systems as too large and complex, and to badly behaved (has a particular meaning in modeling). Global climate is full of potential hidden variables that cannot be predicted, even including possible 'self regulation' by the ecosystem itself.
    But the critical thing most people here keep missing is that the models are just as likely to under-predict as over-predict.
    I (like to) use a different kind of model myself, one derived from safety theory and from Strong AI (which I specialized in for over ten years). - We assign probabilities to different sets of circumstances, add up the positive and negative inputs and outcomes - and put all these together using basic statistical analysis to rate each solution. It is more a back of envelope method than a multi-billion dollar calculation but it is actually pretty good at choosing or guessing the best solutions.

    Anyway my model says that the probability of climate change interrelated with major global warming stands at about 50% either way over the next 100 years. From this its quite easy to compute that not acting is a much worse solution than acting. The costs of acting are relatively low, but the price of not acting is very high.

    These costs can be put in terms of money - 10 to 40 trillion to act, potential cost of not acting 100 trillion.

    In human terms if we do not do nothing and serious climate change happens the cost might be 4 to 7 billion human lives. However that must be put in context and with no further climate change at all climate is already set to kill 3 to 4 billion people over the next 100 years.
    These population numbers are pretty vague and come from general scientific publication and they probably only have a reliability of about 50% - but they will tend to scale together. The low reliability is because there are so many factors and variables.
    Then there are social factors, I don't consider ocean rise as a large factor but the tropical bands could become semi-uninhabitable creating a vast migration and increased pressure on all kinds of resources. War is very likely over resources like water, food, living space, arable land, mineral rights and so on.
    ----

    Another thing that is rarely considered in this context is the size of the human population and the pressure it is applying on the food web. In particular another extrapolation I made indicates a significant possibility of widespread even global food web collapse (a truly catastrophic worst case scenario).
    The thing we need to consider is Food web stress and climate change together. Firstly climate change substantially increases the possibility of food web collapse but also food web stress and its results could substantially damage climate. - In other words the two are likely to mutually reinforce (closing on us like a pair of jaws).
    Food web stress and climate change both already exist and both can be driven by some of the same factors. The two big factors in food web stress are size of alien population (us), and their average food and resource consumption. Human population is currently increasing by about 70 million per year, and the average wealth of the world is and has increased hugely. We also need to bear in mind that many current intensive farming methods reduce soil viability long term and most depend on high levels of fossil fuel and energy usage.

    Conclusions
    Its certainly not all bad and I generally think we will fight our way through, but the way to succeed is not to sit and wait for the events of the future to run us over but to act now and get off the road (to death). My own solutions are generally the high tech route - nuclear and advanced nuclear, closed cycle hyper industrial farming, electric or clean fuel cars planes and ships, atmosphere teraforming, active population control, non-market type resource distribution. Even at a cost of 40 trillion plus that is still cheap compared to allowing climate change to happen.

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  • 45. At 7:50pm on 16 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    PAWB46 #39 wrote:

    If anyone relies on historical data rather than computer models, it is Piers Corbyn.

    As far as I know Piers Corbyn has a guiding hypothesis -- that long-term weather and solar activity are linked in a lawlike way. He uses historical data in the sense that he looks at "what the weather was doing when the Sun was doing the same thing as it's doing now". The idea is to test the purported lawlike connection, and indeed it is tested -- by the success rate of his long-term weather predictions.

    Although I share his guiding hypothesis, I am not convinced personally of any great success rate there.

    AGW also has a guiding hypothesis -- that climate and CO2 levels are linked in a lawlike way. But as far as I can see, it does not use historical data to test the purported connection, because it never offers modest predictions (i.e. modest enough to be checked against honest observations). Instead, its interest in the past is motivated by the mystical (and mistaken) hope that the future will resemble the past in ways that are hidden from us but not from computers. If they are hidden from very big computers, its proponents say they should get even bigger, ultra-huge super-mega-colossal computers.

    This is pure folly in my opinion, fuelled by bad philosophy (assumptions about determinism, blind induction, wrong traditional ideas about knowledge, etc.). As sensiblegrannie observed recently, we can infer some aspects of the future from some aspects of the past -- as long as there is a pattern. But if there isn't a pattern, forget it.

    To illustrate this, imagine you are a flea hopping from one square to the next on a chessboard, halfway through a game. Obviously there are some patterns: each square is the same size, they are alternately black or white, and so on. But the chessmen you meet -- a knight here, a pawn there -- are not part of any pattern to be discerned by looking at the order of the squares you visit. If there is a pattern, it has to be seen from an entirely different perspective. Even if you spend an infinity of flea lifetimes hopping from one square to the next, from one game to the next, carefully recording the order in which you meet chessmen, you will discern only "coincidental" patterns. No amount of rigour here will get you anywhere.

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  • 46. At 8:11pm on 16 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    John Russell #43 wrote:

    Are you saying that because climate scientists aren't able to test their models (well, not in the short term), then they shouldn't bother with them?

    Yes -- an untested model is just rubbish. It's bound to be riddled with artifactual detail. They could make modest tests, but choose not to, because it's just a religious cult.

    What sort of scientific viewpoint is that?

    The sort of scientific viewpoint that insists on tests -- only a pseudoscientific viewpoint doesn't insist on tests.

    Climate models become more and more detailed as time passes and computers become more powerful

    Detail? You should be more concerned with reliability than detail. Detail is worse than worthless if it's just an amplification of garbage in a sample.

    (Wait -- scrap the word 'sample', as "proxies" aren't even samples!)

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  • 47. At 10:12pm on 16 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    PAWB46: "Where are the unprecedented floods?"

    Try Australia. Try Brazil. Sri Lanka. The Philippines. China. All today.

    Important districts of the US of A: just last week.

    Pakistan. Russia. Africa -- a few months ago. Europe, extensively, for a number of years in a row.

    Unprecedented.

    Actually, I am not a pessimist at all: that is why I advocate for mitigation, because I believe it might work. Or at least buy us time.

    Also, I am well over 40, born in 1957. I have the experience, and I have done the research.

    Human population today is higher than it has ever been: unprecedented. Just over a century ago -- four, five, six generations -- it was roughly one billion. And there were no automobiles being mass produced yet.

    The problem is fully intelligible using simple arithmetic. It has to do with the convergence of population, consumption and industrial production factors. That is really the long and short of it, in a nutshell.

    The pessimists are the ones who believe it is pointless even to try to save Civilisation from wasteful excess and a reluctance to innovate. All my side says is: let's make the effort and see where it gets us.

    rossglory: speaking of authorities, does the name KFatej Schipunow mean anything to you? His authoritative work, "The Biosphere" was published in 1983 by the Soviet Academy of Sciences -- in a profligate run of 500 copies. See if you can find one -- I am sure it exits in some translation somewhere, possibly in German...

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  • 48. At 10:33pm on 16 Jan 2011, Brunnen wrote:

    "So go head, objectors. Keep wasting our time. Keep refusing to allow us to show you a better way of living with no actual loss of quality of life. After all, it is only your children and grandchildren, and the children of your friends, who shall be paying the price of your intransigence -- with their own health."

    Hmm, the rhetoric is strong with this one.

    Thin on the ground when it comes to providing facts of any sort, but when science fails, the appeal to emotions was pretty inevitable.

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  • 49. At 10:38pm on 16 Jan 2011, Brunnen wrote:

    47. At 10:12pm on 16 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    PAWB46: "Where are the unprecedented floods?"

    Try Australia. Try Brazil. Sri Lanka. The Philippines. China. All today.


    Unprecedented.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    We have to travel far back into the distant past (1974) to find another flood in Queensland comparable to the current one. Go back to the 19th century and you'll find floods much worse than the current flood.

    Unprecedented indeed...

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  • 50. At 09:24am on 17 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Brunnen, No. 49: You may quibble about the scale of the present flood in Australia being less grave than the 1974 or the 19th century floods, but I would beg you to consider that the number of people that are affected, the kinds of infrastructure damage that ensue, the property losses and the impact on agriculture and mining are, in fact, considerably different -- even in Australia, even today.

    Recent floods in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Mexico, and certainly in Russia, have been absolutely without precedent. Growing population makes more people vulnerable to the effects of vast floods, and to the loss of food, services and jobs that result.

    For as long as the elites of this world, and the resourceful people, remain oblivious to the damage unthinking dumping of pollutants into our biosphere causes to the majority of humankind, we are going to be struggling to explain why we are taking an enormous risk by refusing to do the logical thing: improving our processes so that more people have easier lives, and a higher probability of managing the challenges around them.

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  • 51. At 10:24am on 17 Jan 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    In my honest opinion since approximately seven tenths of this planet's surface is covered by ocean and the oceans act as an enormous buffer for both temperature and CO2, should a tipping point occur, the effects will be dramatic and irreversible for a truly geological timescale.

    Since many of the recommendations for curbing CO2 emissions are also required for ensuring sustainable use of resources into the future, laissez-faire political objections to reputable scientific evidence that anthropogenic forcings have a significant effect on climate, are moot.

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  • 52. At 11:28am on 17 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    If we are honest none of us know what is happening, we do not know if it is getting warmer, colder or staying much the same, neither do we know what part, if any, CO2 has to play but we do know that these things are always grossly exaggerated and we do know that politics, funding, careers, professional pride, peer pressure etc all have a part to play plus the human appetite for dooms day cults.

    JaneBasingstoke (and WendyRainbow)

    I am not, as you suppose, someone who is very unhappy with the abuse (stress abuse) of biofuels, indeed I am enthusiastic about them, I used to run a Rover 600 diesel on vegetable oil which I bought wholesale in 40 litre drums (you have to have the correct type of fuel pump). I am also keen on other new energy sources (providing that they work) for reasons of energy security, so much of the world’s oil and gas is controlled by unsavoury despots.

    I do think that over-population is a big threat to all of us and I am frustrated that CO2 is hogging the lime light and diverting attention away from the real issue. In the near future those who do not exercise population restraint will threaten to overwhelm those who do which is why successful countries should assist less successful countries with population policies. On these blogs it is easy to get carried away and over state ones position, there are better ways of population control than food shortages.

    I try to be pleasant to environmentalists, many of them are well meaning, a bit like the ladies who knock my door every month and try to get me to believe in God. Unfortunately some environmentalists appear to be possessed with hatred, this is also true of some on the skeptic side.

    Richard

    How about an article exploring the pros and cons of moving away from oil, gas, coal etc but from the standpoint of someone who rejects climate change theory?

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  • 53. At 11:29am on 17 Jan 2011, Brunnen wrote:

    @maria

    Quibbling? No, I'm not quibbling, I'm flat out stating you are wrong, and an alarmist to boot.

    More people being affected by a flood is entirely irrelevant to the size of the flood. It just shows there are more people to be affected.

    The alarmism comes in from trying to states these floods are unprecedented. That's simply not true, there have been comparable and worse floods in all the areas you mentioned. It gets to the point of being laughable when someone tries to state that floods in Pakistan and Bangladesh during the monsoon season are somehow unprecedented.

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  • 54. At 11:33am on 17 Jan 2011, Brunnen wrote:

    Flooding in Bangladesh.

    "In the 19th century, six major floods were recorded in 1842, 1858, 1871, 1875, 1885 and 1892. Eighteen major floods occurred in the 20th century. Those of 1987, 1988 and 1955 were of catastrophic consequence. More recent floods include 2004 and 2010."

    Unprecedented?

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  • 55. At 2:32pm on 17 Jan 2011, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ Stephen # 8

    Suprised more people haven't picked up on this.

    Stephen, in short, they (climate scientists) have no idea how the natural cliamte works. None. They don't even know whether clouds are a positive or negative feedback (or both even!).

    As such, it is IMPOSSIBLE, to make any judgements on mans affect on climate- especially wrt co2.

    This get's glossed over quite a lot as it's a slight inconvenience to calling climate science a, you know, science, but it's as far as i'm aware- the current state of things.

    As such, all models on climate are, as richard points out, GIGO machines.

    @ Maria # 47

    Could you try to get more falsehoods in your next post? i'm running a book on it- thanks.

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  • 56. At 3:07pm on 17 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    Interesting article on the BBC about deep ocean trenches http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12183244

    Appears that these trenches may be swallowing up and sequestrating large amounts of CO2, good news for those who think that CO2 is a problem but not such good news for those who want CO2 to be a problem.

    We are only beginning to find out how much we do not know, how can we possibly model anything?

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  • 57. At 3:20pm on 17 Jan 2011, GeoffWard wrote:

    Nice to see Robert Lucien back for a brief visit.

    I agree with him, the BBC Earth Watch site has been 'let go' by a lot of (professional) scientists/environmentalists. I am finding much more scientifically potent sites available with better science in their postings, new emphases and new opinions.

    Perhaps this BBC site is becoming a halfway house for 'ordinary people' to find their feet in the various environmental arguments before moving on to more erudite sites.

    I shall stick with Richard because my approach has become more holistic and it gives me scope to express 'wider visions' and to debate the "What if ...?" questions.

    The problem for me is the paucity of posters who are willing to embrace this approach. It is a year or so since I had a sustained discussion with a group of like-minded environmentalists. And It is hard to reconcile my approach with the 'angels on the head of a pin' methodological criticisers.

    Richard's blog-postings usually produce a content split - one which usually rapidly departs from the blog-topic. Whilst of interest (to the masochist), the sustained debate on a topic by individuals with any sort of background in the topic is frequently conspicuous by its absence.

    The small group of posters remains small, and, considering the size of the BBC online audience, it is not engaging with new 'talent' who stick with the site.

    Pity.
    And something that Richard might like to think about.

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  • 58. At 3:43pm on 17 Jan 2011, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    GeoffWard @#57 said “Perhaps this BBC site is becoming a halfway house for 'ordinary people' to find their feet in the various environmental arguments before moving on to more erudite sites.”

    The BBC is also an excellent place to get your message across to these 'ordinary people' who are unlikely to visit the more erudite sites, but you have to get in the first four or five postings, only the dedicated few read this far.

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  • 59. At 3:45pm on 17 Jan 2011, SR wrote:

    Who says climate models aren't tested?

    They are tested against everything that is reliably available in the historic records. Their hindcasting ability continues to improve. The most recent crop of models hindcast past temperature very closely.

    Are we forgetting that the models are simply tools for expressing the laws of physics? If we had no computers but a spare million years, a mathematician/physicist could reach the same output with a pen and paper by just solving the equations governed by our current understanding of physical processes.

    The strong argument against models (i.e., they are useless) usually boils down to an accusation that the hindcasts are 'fudged' to fit the required trend. This is an accusation of fraud.

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  • 60. At 3:59pm on 17 Jan 2011, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 59.

    I for one say they're not tested.

    They're not validated or exposed to the same rigour as engineering models and get 'adjusted' rather than discarded once they fail.

    they do not follow the scientific process.

    Interesting you go on about the hindcasting- care to link a single model that can hindcast AND project? It's easy to hindcast with 'adjustments' unfortunatley you cannot do the same with projections- hence their abysmal record at them.

    Look SR this isn't new, it's only die-hards like Richard who still cling to the assertion that the models mean anything at all.

    Go to Climate Etc (Dr Judith Curry's blog) for a excellent discussions to why the models are effectivley, useless.

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  • 61. At 4:14pm on 17 Jan 2011, SR wrote:

    @60

    What is the difference between hindcasting and projecting?

    If you took the 2010 model back to 1970 and pressed 'go', it would predict the next 40 years accurately.

    Your argument, as I predicted, boils down to an accusation that the models are fudged. If anybody could prove to me that this is the case, I would be more sceptical too.

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  • 62. At 4:31pm on 17 Jan 2011, LabMunkey wrote:

    SR,

    It is common knowledge that adjustments for forcings are made in the models.

    It is also common knowledge that the adjustments are different from model to model.

    I'm not going to do your research for you- this has all been debated before.

    "If you took the 2010 model back to 1970 and pressed 'go', it would predict the next 40 years accurately"

    of course it would. seriously SR, how do you not get this? If we take that exact same model, and get it to predict the next 5 years, it will fail.

    Every climate model that i am aware of (and i've looked into this in some detail) fails 100% at predicting the future. Most don't even get close and are orders of magnitude out.

    SR have you actually looked into this or are you just repeating what you've heard verbatum?

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  • 63. At 5:09pm on 17 Jan 2011, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Something from somebody who actually knows what they talking about and puts the nail in the coffin of the models.

    http://thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/2229-richard-lindzen-a-case-against-precipitous-climate-action.html

    No attacks warmists just comment on what he says and why he might be wrong

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  • 64. At 6:52pm on 17 Jan 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    If we can't look into the future, we can look into the past.
    We now know that the biblical deluge story came from earlier sources - the writings of the Sumerian Civilization in Mesopotamia.
    In that story one god, Enlil, seeks Humankind’s demise; another god, Enki, seeks Humankind's survival.
    Enki was the Mesopotamian god of science, a great biologist who had genetically upgrading Homo erectus to Homo sapiens, which explains why no one can seem to find the so-called missing link.
    What did Enki tell "Noah" to take aboard the ship: the “Seed of Life,” the DNA of animals and crops - not the animals two by two.
    Modern science attributes the appearance - some 10,000 years ago - of certain animals (such as sheep, bovines) and plants (cereal crops) to Humankind's gradual “domestication”.
    The Sumerians credit these advancements to the so-called gods; actually citizens of a 12th planet called Nibiru.
    After the Deluge, a relenting Enlil joined Enki at a mountaintop lab to reconstitute the animals (starting with sheep) and crops (starting with wheat and barley) from the saved DNA.
    So, the seed preservation plan in Spitzbergen is not the first effort of biology to preserve earth’s life in case of catastrophe...Some of them recognize the similarity of their efforts to the Bible’s tale of Noah’s Ark. Few, if any, realize that the similarity is much more profound - that modem science is just beginning to catch up with ancient knowledge.
    Remember the immense catastrophe that befell the peoples and lands along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean when an underwater earthquake caused a "Tsunami" spread across thousands of miles of ocean waters, hit land & crushed all before it.
    Few if any of the journalists who used the phrase "biblical proportions" realized how appropriate the wording was; for some 13,000 years ago a huge tidal wave, a "Tsunami" overwhelmed the ancient lands, except the tidal wave rose not thirty feet but many thousands of feet.
    The Bible, in fact, treated it to be such a major story that it devoted three full chapters in Genesis. It is the record of the Deluge - the Great Flood - that overwhelmed the Earth and came close to wiping Humankind off the Earth.
    The ancient'gods' were aware of the looming calamity. Their leader, Enlil, saw it is an opportunity to get rid of Humankind; his brother Enki connived to save the "seed of Mankind" by instructing his faithful devotee, Utnapishtim (the biblical Noah) to build the submersible boat and save the 'SEED" of all that lives.
    The ancient gods were monitoring the buildup of the ice sheet over Antarctica; they anticipated that the next passage of their planet Nibiru near Earth would cause the ice sheet to slip and slide off the Antarctica continent, creating an immense tidal wave.
    The Sumerian, Akkadian and biblical texts all state that it was a tidal wave that caused the Great Flood. It was a tidal storm from the south, from Antarctica, that sent walls of water crushing over all the ancient lands. It took years to subside.
    If this account is true, and I suspect that it is because all cultures all over the world seems to have "flood" stories, how scary is this scenario should it repeat itself?

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  • 65. At 7:12pm on 17 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    SR #61 wrote:

    What is the difference between hindcasting and projecting?

    If you construct a hypothesis (or model) with the specific purpose of fitting some "data", it's ad hoc. Obviously, if it's made up specifically to fit something, it can't be wrong about that, but we have no reason to think it will be right about anything else.

    Contrast that with constructing a hypothesis, and then checking to see if what it says we will observe actually is observed. That's a genuine test, because the hypothesis can fail it. And if it doesn't fail it, we have a reason to think it's onto something real.

    Sometimes "data" is gathered prior to testing, but if it is in effect "unseen" when the hypothesis is constructed and checked, the hypothesis is literally making a prediction again (about what the "data" say).

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  • 66. At 8:13pm on 17 Jan 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #55 labmunkey

    "This get's glossed over quite a lot as it's a slight inconvenience to calling climate science a science"

    so it's not a science or it's a psudo science - nice little meme but nonsense.

    let me see:
    what is mass, oh we dont know (physics is not a science)
    what is dark energy, oh we don;t know (astronomy is not a science)
    how can we predict the reaction between two molecules, oh it's a quantum event so we can't (chemistry is not a science)
    how will this disease spread, oh we don't know (epidemiology is not a science)
    how will this gm strain behave in the wild, oh we don;t know (biochemistry is not a science)

    what is the matter with you lot?

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  • 67. At 8:43pm on 17 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    rossglory #66 wrote:

    what is the matter with you lot?

    We're all suffering from the disease of seeing a huge difference between the methods of physics, astronomy, chemistry, epidemiology and biochemistry on the one hand, and "climate science" on the other!

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  • 68. At 9:41pm on 17 Jan 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @67.. bowmanthebard

    On the contrary, many Contrarians are simply confusing political propaganda with reputable science, on the basis of conspiracy theory paranoia.. which is why they link to political blogs that cherry pick out of context scientific material, rather than the scientific commentary itself..
    WUWT is not a reputable, peer reviewed, scientific dialogue, it is a transparently political, faux 'news' echo chamber service, that panders to the tin foil hat contingent of neoconservative politics.

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  • 69. At 10:22pm on 17 Jan 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @56 '..Appears that these trenches may be swallowing up and sequestrating large amounts of CO2, good news for those who think that CO2 is a problem but not such good news for those who want CO2 to be a problem...' - Smiffie


    ..indeed.. however if the trenches are the key and they stop sequestering because their buffering capacity is exceeded, lots of bad news...

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