Sunday, October 23, 2011


Climate Change Case Conceded by Skeptics' Study

The debate over climate change has attracted all kinds of conflict and bad temper. 9 out of 10 climate scientists claim the case that human activity is filling up the atmosphere with carbon dioxide which absorbs heat and therefore causing an eventual catastrophe for the planet. Skeptics have claimed this is not true and is the work of: Europeans trying to impede the expansion of the US economy; the conspiracy of a group of scientists who have created a 'climate change' industry for their own benefit; or the deluded ramblings professional Cassandras. My view has tended to be that if 9 out of ten consultants say I have serious heart disease, I am likely to have heart disease.

However, a group of skeptics, have done the sums themselves and come up with the answer that, indeed, we do, after all, have something to worry about. Not that anyone much seems to want to worry, or even care if the planet microwaves its surface into something resembling that of the Moon.

The Berkeley Earth project compiled more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s from 15 sources around the world and found that the average global land temperature has risen by around 1C since the mid-1950s.

This figure agrees with the estimate arrived at by major groups that maintain official records on the world's climate, including Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), and the Met Office's Hadley Centre, with the University of East Anglia, in the UK.

So all that railing and shouting by the skeptics against these respected bodies, now looks a little otiose and terribly ill informed.

The team, which includes Saul Perlmutter, joint winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate, has submitted four papers to the journal Geophysical Research Letters that describe their work to date.

So it seems the scientists have not yet received the imprimatur of peer review by other experts in the field, but, I would have thought, Nobel Prize winners tend not to publish duff research. Richard Mulller, head of the study says:

"We have looked at these issues in a straightforward, transparent way, and based on that, I would expect legitimate sceptics to feel their issues have been addressed,"

Has that calmed the naysayers and skeptics? You thought right: take a lookhere and take a look take a look at our esteemed(but clearly factually incorrect-see linked article) former Chancellor's views here.

Haha so nine out of ten climate scientists say there is a link(!). They wouldn't have a lot of reason for their existence if they did not say this. Nothing worth arguing about in this post, it's just the usual old myopic drivel...
And, may I say, the same myopic drivelous comment that I've come to expect from a dyed in the wool naysayer and, I daresay, disciple of Nigel Lawson.
I think the problem is less what they (climate scientists and to a lesser degree, also the sceptics) say than the highly aggressive way in which they say it - and the ways they sometimes seem to suspend their critical faculties in order to do so (UEA emails, anyone)?

For myself, I no longer have the slightest doubt that the earth is warming, or that the only realistic explanation left on the table is ACC - all others have simply had some fatal flaw exposed over time that rules them out. I do not have the least idea of what the consequences will be. And of course, even the best models can only be informed guesses, given the number of variables involved.

Yet almost never do I hear it put that simply. To hear some of the debates on both sides, you'd think they were talking about particularly obscure points of the truth or otherwise of the Gospels from an American Bible-belt perspective up against Richard Dawkins (their equivalent on the other side). And of course, that means that both sides start howling ad hominem abuse at each other, rather than looking at the real problems, which get lost in the noise. So it seems more like a political debate than a scientific one.

It was behaviour like this that turned me off science in the 1990s and it leads me to keep it at arms' length now. Which is rather sad.
Well said. I confess to have contributed to a lowering of the tone myself but sometimes you just have to.
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