Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Gibberish on Climate Change

Of one thing we can be certain on reading most of the corporo-media, especially its most reactionary inbreds: most of the information will have to be thoroughly vetted and cross-checked against objective and reliable sources because it can't be trusted as is. This is particularly true in the realm of climate science, or global warming. (For example, check out the recent cartoon shown which purports to show a caterwauling Earth pitching a fit at being "fed" too much oil and gas. The actual fact is that the Earth's human population is the entity at risk, not the planet!)

But since my last climate science blog even more gibberish and codswallop has been pumped out and published. It seems sometimes that there's a special source of dreck and effluent that has no natural limits. One wonders who exactly the nabobs are that are responsible for churning out this crap day after day.

Some recent examples:

A professor of physics at Princeton, Will Happer (Hapless? ), has claimed that "the contemporary climate crusade has much in common with medieval crusades".One wonders here what the guy was drinking to be able to write such codswallop. One only has to peruse the serious climate journals and article, such as those published by the American Geophysical Union:

to see he's talking trash. For example, not too long ago I did an extensive blog on the latest climate science news and how it didn't bode well:

I cited a paper, Volcanic Versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide in the journal Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union( Vol. 92, No. 24, June 14, 2011, p. 201).The essential data of the paper was shown in the accompanying graph (see link), for which the dots show a time series of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide CO2 multiplier (ACM) calculated from time series data on anthopogenic CO2 emission rates. The time series data disclosed that the projected anthropogenic CO2 emission rate of 35 gigatons per year is 135 times greater than the 0.26 gigatons per year emission rate for volcanoes, plumes etc. This ratio of 135:1 (anthropogenic to volcanic CO2) is what defines the anthropogenic multiplier, an index of anthropogenic CO2's dominance over volcanic inputs.

In other words, the usual red herring of "volcanoes" as generating more natural CO2 than the man-made version is shot down.

Far from being any kind of "crusade", the findings rest on the firm scientific practice of testing theory against observations. These observations give a glaring warning sign that if we don't alter our behavior we are in trouble. Moreover, as noted some time ago, as alarming as one might think these findings are, they may very well be understating the danger, according to Daniel Schrag, professor of geochemistry and director of the Laboratory for Geochemical Oceanography at Harvard. For example one component of understating or under-estimation of warming may be on account of the "global dimming' effect that's concealed up to one-third of the warming since 1990. Now, as particulate pollutants in the atmosphere diminish, that concealment is abating, and warming is enhancing.

Schrag has also noted, contrary to widespread media interpretations, that the IPCC is by nature a conservative organization. The breadth that gives its findings weight – 3,000 scientists, reviewers, and government officials were involved in drafting the reports – means that consensus had to be reached across broad points of view, including those from countries whose economies are based on oil production.

"This is inevitably a conservative view," Schrag has said. "This isn't something coming from Greenpeace."

Schrag points out that the IPCC's projections are just that – projections. Humankind is conducting a gigantic experiment to see what happens when you rapidly increase carbon dioxide to levels not seen for 40 million years. And no one knows the outcome, he said.

But when those like Happer refer to climate science consensus as a "crusade" they contribute to the agnotology whereby serious science issues and concerns become steamrolled by obfuscation to preserve an unsustainable economic system.

Then there was the "cosmic ray blarney" that got interjected into the ongoing unnecessary debate, when experiments conducted at CERN purportedly showed that the latest "natural culprit" for warming may be cosmic rays. This also I skewered in a blog:

Observing that unstated by the corporo-media was the gnarly and complicating fact that the presence of certain atmospheric pollutants, such as H2So4 (which can incept "acid rain"- which appears when water molecules in the atmosphere react with sulphur dioxide or SO2), repressed needed cloud formation (via seeding) by up to 1/1000 and hence the role of cosmic rays as the warming agent. Thus did the CERN researchers advise caution. However, it seems most news -media reports left this angle totally out.

Of course, in the same blog, I also lacerated Happer, the Princeton physicist, noting John Eddy's work and that of others (e.g. P.E. Damon) showing that from the advent of the Industrial Age the natural C14/C12 isotope ratio in the troposphere had begun to decline, disclosing the greater effects of anthropogenic causes- including the burning of low radiocarbon fossil fuels- coal and oil- and the systematic burning off of the world’s forests - and the mitigation of cosmic ray intensities in relation. (Eddy, J,. The New Solar Physics, p. 17).

More recently, a Donald K. Forbes (WSJ, Sept. 27), has insisted "the source for global atmospheric temperature readings are radiometers" aboard NASA remote sensing satellites, when in actual fact they are obtained from Microwave sounding Units (MSUs) aboard NOAA polar orbiting satellites.

The same Forbes also makes the specious claim (widely circulated among climate skeptic forums and circles, by the way) that "recorded histories of lower atmospheric global temperatures do not support the theory of anthropogenic warming". Here, the natural year-to-year variability of the lower atmospheric temperatures is ignored, and at the same time the evidence that there is an unmistakable underlying warming signal superimposed on the variability.

But this notion appears to have been interjected into the memo-sphere, much like the ignorant notion that there's been "global cooling" since 1998! This gross error is based on a misinterpretation of the statistical data appearing in the journal Nature – in a paper written by Dr. Noel Keenlyside et al. Instead of lazily taking shortcuts, skeptics could have retrieved the ACTUAL paper from Nature! They could have studied the paper's key figure, the one that looks at past and (forecast) future global temperatures, "Hindcast/forecast decadal variations in global mean temperature, as compared with observations and standard climate model projections".

The first thing they’d have noted about the figure -- indeed, one major source of confusion -- is that each point represents a ten-year centered mean. That is, each point represents the average temperature of the decade starting 5 years before that point and ending 5 years after that point. Thus, the statistics for potential “cooling” could not possibly have been justifiably extrapolated beyond 1998 + 5 = 2003. Yet imbeciles all over the place have insisted it is ongoing.

Second, the skeptics would have spotted the red line in the Nature publication and – if bright enough – beheld that it was the the actual global temperature data from the U.K.'s Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research. They ought to have asked: Why does the red line stop in 1998 and not 2007? Again, it’s a running 10-year mean, and the authors use data from a Hadley paper that ends around 2003, In effect, they can't do a ten-year centered mean after 1998!

Lazy deniers, however, had parlayed this simple statistical peculiarity of the data into believing that global warming factually STOPPED in 1998!

Third, at least one genius denier might have spotted the black line in the Figure, which was actually one of the IPCC scenario projections, labelled 'A1B.' It denotes a relatively high-CO2-growth model -- but actual carbon emissions since 2000 have wildly outpaced it. A further check by skeptics of the solid green line - the "hindcast" of the authors – e.g. how well their model compared to actual data (and the A1B scenario) could also be done. The lazy morons would have seen that, if extended (in dashes) through 2010 and finally to 2025, it JOINED up with A1B!

Finally, getting back to the issue of seeming conflicts between the MSU obtained data and that from remote sensing satellites, at least one physicist (Raymon L. Orbach, WSJ, Oct. 12) has correctly observed the conflict disappears once one uses a long enough time average to reduce annual variabilities. For example, Benjamin Santer et al have shown a time span of at least 17 years is needed to detect overall trends for warming. Thus, adopting this, a consistent warming trend is observed from January 1980, to December, 2010 of 0.152 C per decade. (e.g. 0.27 F per decade)

Of course, the inverse error (or deliberate use of an artificial filter) can also hide warming. The most notorious case for this emerged some years ago, in a paper by Harvard astronomers Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas. In this case, their choice of 50-year data periods, increments neatly eliminated all anthropogenic signals when IPCC scientists had already disclosed that anthropogenic warming appears at 30 -year levels. In effect, Baliunas and Soon employed what we call a 'selective effects filter' to remove the data they preferred not to have to deal with. Or rather, which serves their agenda and that of their corporate benefactors.

See also:

The primary message in all this, is that unless one is familiar with the details of climate science at some level, he will most likely fall prey to the agnotology agenda that has contaminated most news organs or sources. In addition, the skeptics are well aware that glossing over fine details and using assorted statistical tricks (such as I have described) they'll be able to bamboozle the average citizen, no matter how well read he or she thinks they might be. This is again why double checking is crucial, as well as knowing which sites to go to for the genuine science. Those include the AGU site I earlier linked, as well as Real Climate:

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