Tuesday, June 29, 2010

American Physicist Joins Attack on Global Warming Theory

Another well-qualified voice is added to the growing dissent in debunking the discredited greenhouse gas theory

Dr. Charles R. Anderson makes his announcement on his website (June 28, 2010) in joining a growing band of professional scientists, international academics and climate experts prepared to put their reputations on the line and denounce the orthodox views held by an influential clique of discredited government climatologists.

The catalyst for the sudden willingness to speak out against the once widely accepted theory of global warming may be an impressive new online publication, ‘A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?’ by Dr. Martin Hertzberg, Alan Siddons and Hans Schreuder.

The controversial paper refutes the greenhouse effect (GHG) by showing that by properly testing the theory it can just as easily be ‘proven’ that the Moon also exhibits a greenhouse effect: a nonsense proposition that discredits the entire hypothesis.

NASA Refuses to Reveal Secret Data

Anderson writes, “Despite the fact that NASA scientists are among the foremost promoters of catastrophic global warming due to man's use of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions, NASA scientists have long known that the moon exhibits a warming effect which is similar to the effect which on Earth is said to be due to greenhouse gases.”

Like others who now dispute the GHG theory Anderson berates the secrecy that has kept so much of the data under wraps. NASA is currently facing court action for refusing to disclose its data to independent analysts seeking to check the validity of its global warming claims.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming and Peer Review

A note from an unusual Leftist below

A continuing theme of this blog is going to be the nature of peer review and how it is not at all the reliable source of information on alleged global warming that leftists think it is. There are many avenues to explore in connection with this issue, but for now I simply want to quote a statement from the Chronicle of Higher Education for June 18th of this year (page A80). The quote is from a piece entitled, “We Must Stop the Avalanche of Low-Quality Research,” by Mark Bauerlein, Mohamed Gad-El-Hak, Wayne Grody, Bill McKelvey, and Stanley W. Trimble. Here is the quote:

“Experts asked to evaluate manuscripts, results, and promotion files give them less-careful scrutiny or pass the burden along to other, less-competent peers. We all know busy professors who ask Ph.D. students to do their reviewing for them. Questionable work finds its way more easily through the review process and enters into the domain of knowledge.... Aspiring researchers are turned into publish-or-perish entrepreneurs, often becoming more less cynical about the higher ideals of the pursuit of knowledge. They fashion pathways to speedier publication, cutting corners on methodology and turning to politicking and fawning strategies for acceptance.

“Such outcomes run squarely against the goals of scientific inquiry. The surest guarantee of integrity, peer review, falls under a debilitating crush of findings, for peer review can handle only so much material without breaking down. More isn’t better. At some point, quality gives way to quantity.

“Academic publication has passed that point in most, if not all disciplines – in some fields by a long shot.”

This is from an article that has nothing to do with global warming or climate science. It is simply talking about the state of academic publication these days, and it finds that state far from ideal. It nevertheless bears on global warming because everyone who believes in global warming talks about how reliable the science behind it is, and to prove it is reliable they point to peer review. But why believe that peer review is reliable? This quotation suggests it is not.


Acknowledging Recent Natural Cooling

In a paper entitled "A strong bout of natural cooling in 2008," which was published in Geophysical Research Letters, Perlwitz et al. (2009) recount some interesting facts about which many climate alarmists would rather the public remained unaware, including the fact that there was, in Perlwitz et al.'s words, "a precipitous drop in North American temperature in 2008, commingled with a decade-long fall in global mean temperatures."

Perlwitz et al. begin their narrative by noting that there has been "a decade-long decline (1998-2007) in globally averaged temperatures from the record heat of 1998," citing Easterling and Wehner (2009). And in further describing this phenomenon, they say that U.S. temperatures in 2008 "not only declined from near-record warmth of prior years, but were in fact colder than the official 30-year reference climatology (-0.2°C versus the 1971-2000 mean) and further were the coldest since at least 1996."

With respect to the geographical origin of this "natural cooling," as they describe it, the five researchers point to "a widespread coolness of the tropical-wide oceans and the northeastern Pacific," focusing on the NiƱo 4 region, where they report that "anomalies of about -1.1°C suggest a condition colder than any in the instrumental record since 1871."

So, pushing the cause of the global and U.S. coolings that sparked their original interest back another link in the chain which -- in their estimation -- connects them with other more primary phenomena, they ask themselves what caused these latter anomalous and significant oceanic coolings?

Perlwitz et al. first discount volcanic eruptions, because they say "there were no significant volcanic events in the last few years." Secondly, they write that solar forcing "is also unlikely," because its radiative magnitude is considered to be too weak to elicit such a response. And these two castaway causes thus leave them with "coupled ocean-atmosphere-land variability" as what they consider to be the "most likely" cause of the anomalous coolings.

In regard to these three points, we agree with the first. With respect to Perlwitz et al.'s dismissal of solar forcing, however, we note that the jury is still out with respect to the interaction of the solar wind with the influx of cosmic rays to earth's atmosphere and their subsequent impact on cloud formation, which may yet prove to be substantial. And with respect to their final point, we note that the suite of real-world ocean-atmosphere-land interactions is highly complex and also not fully understood. Indeed, there may even be important phenomena operating within this realm of which the entire scientific community is ignorant. And some of those phenomena may well be strong enough to totally compensate for anthropogenic-induced increases in greenhouse gas emissions, so that other natural phenomena end up dictating the ever-changing state of earth's climate, as could well be what has been happening over the last decade or more.

In light of these considerations, therefore, as well as the substantial strength and longevity of the planet's current cooling phase, the path of wisdom would seem to us to be to wait and see what happens next, in the unfolding biogeophysical drama of earth's ever-changing climatic path to the future, before we undertake to attempt to change what we clearly do not fully comprehend.


New Study: CO2 only rose after ice age ended, not before; global wind-shift to blame

A global shift in winds is what led to the end of Earth’s last ice age— an event that ushered in a warmer climate and the birth of human civilization. It is believed that, in the geological blink of an eye, ice sheets in the northern hemisphere began to collapse and warming spread quickly to the south.

Most scientists say that the trigger, at least initially, was an orbital shift that caused more sunlight to fall across Earth's northern half. But they could not explain how the south dealt with the shift so fast.

And now a team of researchers looked for an answer towards a global shift in winds and proposed a chain of events that began with the melting of the large northern hemisphere ice sheets about 20,000 years ago.

The melting ice sheets reconfigured the planet's wind belts, pushing warm air and seawater south, and pulling carbon dioxide from the deep ocean into the atmosphere, allowing the planet to heat even further.

Their hypothesis makes use of climate data preserved in cave formations, polar ice cores and deep-sea sediments to describe how Earth finally thawed out. "This paper pulls together several recent studies to explain how warming triggered in the north moves to the south, ending an ice age," said study co-author Bob Anderson, a geochemist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

"Finally, we have a clear picture of the global teleconnections in Earth's climate system that are active across many time scales. These same linkages that brought the earth out of the last ice age are active today, and they will almost certainly play a role in future climate change as well,” he added.

"It's the great global warming of all time. We're trying to answer the puzzle: why does the Earth, when it appears so firmly in the grip of an ice age, start to warm?" said the study's lead author, George Denton, a glaciologist at the University of Maine.

Scientists have long suspected that carbon dioxide played a major role in the last ice age but have had trouble explaining the early warming in the southern hemisphere, where glaciers in Patagonia and New Zealand were melting before carbon dioxide levels rose significantly.

Some scientists suggest that a change in ocean currents, triggered by the freshening of the North Atlantic, caused this early warming.

But computer models using ocean circulation to explain the rapid warming in the south have been unable to recreate the large temperature jumps seen in the paleoclimate record.

Now, with the evidence for shifting southern hemisphere westerlies, the rapid warming is readily explained.

The study has been published in the journal Science.


BBC up to its old tricks

Let’s just remind ourselves, shall we, why the BBC is constitutionally incapable of reporting on global warming in a fair, balanced or indeed honest way. On 26 January 2006, the BBC’s not-notably-sceptical Environment Analyst Roger Harrabin organised a conference at BBC TV Centre called Climate Change – The Challenge To Broadcasting.

Perhaps it should really have been called The Challenge To Impartiality. It was co-hosted by the director of television Jana Bennett, the director of news Helen Boaden and held under the auspices of the BBC and two environmental lobby groups – The International Broadcasting Trust and the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme. The keynote speaker was the fanatically warmist ex-Royal Society President, Robert May, who proceded to assure the audience of around 30 key BBC staff and 30 invited guests, most of them environmental activists, that – as Bob Carter puts it in his superb Climate: The Counter Consensus – “the science supporting global warming was so certain that it was the BBC’s public duty to cease providing airtime to alternative viewpoints.” The BBC has been hideously biased in its coverage of AGW ever since.

Tonight’s Panorama is a case in point. Here is a blog by the programme’s producer Mike Rudin describing the piece of glib Warmist propaganda he is foisting on the licence-fee paying public this evening. See if you can spot the weaselry in this summing-up paragraph:
There is genuine uncertainty and disagreement about the exact scale and speed of human-induced global warming and crucially what we should do about it. But I was surprised to find how much agreement there is on the fundamental science.

Yep, what Rudin is trying to do is revive Al Gore’s discredited idea that there is a “Consensus” on global warming.

And here’s the cheaty way he goes about demonstrating it. He sends his reporter Tom Heap out to solicit the views of various “experts” with a chart called a Wall of Uncertainty.

(Top Gear may have its “Cool Wall”, but we have built a “Wall of Certainty” – Rudin confides to readers of his blog, showing this isn’t just a serious programme. It’s FUN too).

The expert panel is pretty evenly balanced. For the Warmists Professor Bob Watson, Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute. For the sceptics, Bjorn Lomborg and Professor John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. What Lomborg and Christy don’t appreciate until its far too late – ’twas ever thus with the BBC – is that the entire exercise is a total stitch up. They are there to give the illusion that all sides are being consulted. But note how loaded are the questions which they are asked:

“How certain are you that mankind is warming the climate?”

“How certain are you that C02 and the other things are greenhouse gases?”

“How certain are you that we are emitting more CO2 which is one of the greenhouse gases?”

Naturally the answer to all these questions, even from the most ardent sceptic Christy, is a “very.” That’s because there’s really no other honest answer to any of them.

But what does this prove? Absolutely nothing other than that on the subject of climate change, you’d be better off sticking your hand in a bag of amphetamine-injected rattlesnakes and hope not to be bitten than you would trusting the BBC.

This disgraceful programme – and you should be ashamed Jeremy Vine, for giving it your imprimatur by introducing such dross – quite deliberately misrepresents the sceptic position using a Straw Man argument, before drawing conclusions about the state of the AGW which are entirely dishonest. Here is what Rudin thinks the programme means:
Contrary to some of the newspaper headlines and blogs that suggest all global warming science is a con, they agreed that mankind is causing the planet to warm up.

Note that use of the straw man again. NOBODY believes that “all global warming science is a con.” NO ONE. Because if they did, when you think about it, that would mean discounting the expertise of climate scientists like Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, which obviously no climate sceptic is ever likely to do being as they are trusted, revered gurus of the climate realist movement.


Hockey Stick Science

From economist Eric Falkenstein

A.W. Mortford has a book out titled The Hockey Stick Illusion. It highlights how modern science is done (I read its 400+ pages in two days because it was fascinating). The main issues are not abstruse statistics, but rather detailed, parochial empirical issues.

Recent warming only seems alarming if recent temperatures are outside of normal historical fluctuations. As the medieval warming period when Vikings settled Greenland was obviously very warm, at least in Greenland, one might think that current temps are not that alarming. Thus, in 1998, when Michael E. Mann, Bradley and Hughes published a paper documenting that current temperatures are many standard deviations of their average since at least 1000 AD, it became the signature graph for the Global Warming Community.

Tree rings, or isotopic composition of ice cores (the ratio of 18O to 16O) and other things are related to temperature, and these are the types of things used to estimate temperature prior to 1880. As the 20th century temperature increase that has everyone worried is only 0.6 degree centigrade, one needs some serious precision to claim that temperatures in the past 1000 years did not vary above this level. There's no fundamental law that related tree rings or oxygen isotopes to temperature, these things just have an imprecise theory and some empirical support, but it's not calibrated like some calorimeter. To think you can know the temperature in 1100 with the kind of accuracy that Mann et al present is really absurd.

The problem is there are many temperature proxies, various tree rings, ice cores, all with different results (over 400 of them). Mann et al eventually used 112 (or 159) of them for their paper, which allows for a lot of cherry picking. Further, some series are truncated, some extrapolated, using seemingly innocuous phrases like "if records terminate slightly before the 1980 training interval, they are extended by persistence". That's one bizarre way to treat missing data. They also extrapolated certain time series that did not start or end at convenient times, all with a bias towards their end ('We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period' said one infamous email).

There's lots of fun data issues and rhetorical strategy presented in this book that highlights how real science is done. You have two sides with pretty strong end-views--global warming is unprecedented, or not--and while both claim to simply be interested in the objective truth, after 10+ years invested in one conclusion it defies credulity to think a researcher can address this question objectively any more. Basically, we have two sets of partisan scientists presenting their case, like paid lawyers.

As David Goodstein notes in his recent book On Fact and Fraud: Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science, a great quote from the great Richard Feynman: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself —and you are the easiest person to fool.... After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”

The winner of this debate will be those who fooled themselves the least. Like a financial economist rigging his backtest, this may generate a publication but in the long run the data are what they are, and its best to have the facts on your side because eventually the facts win. Very few are committing conscious fraud, but rather, fraud of the more common sort, that of where a seemingly innocuous inaccuracy saves tons of explanation in their mind.

As Oscar Wilde noted, education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. Big debates are usually not centered on not singular facts or theories, but their many observations, knowing which are relevant, which are not. Knowing how to weight correctly is mainly an exercise in meticulous research and wisdom, and it especially helps to have correct or at least popular a priori prejudices.



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