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Paper questionably assumes no add'l feedback to warming will occur, drops last five years of ocean data

Markus Huber and Reto Knutti, researchers at the ETH Zurich's Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, earlier this month published an interesting research letter in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, entitled "Anthropogenic and natural warming inferred from changes in Earth’s energy balance".  This letter is significant, as it appears to be the first climatology work to try to extensively model warming from an energy balance perspective.  This represents a major step forward in trying to understand a model global warming.

Ultimately, the paper tries to assign a percent blame to mankind for the current warming.  However, there is good cause to debate the validity of these final conclusions, given some of the paper's rather naïve methodology.  It is here that the paper falls back on the mistakes of some of its predecessors in perhaps oversimplifying the system.

I. Mankind is Contributing to Warming the Earth

Whether it's one trillionth of a degree Celsius or one degree Celsius, there's one thing most scientific-minded observers of the warming debate can agree upon -- mankind is responsible for some part of the Earth's recent warming trend.

Basic physics tells us carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, as is methane.  Mankind has emitted a lot of carbon dioxide and methane in the last 100 years, and atmospheric monitoring has shown a discrete rise in levels of these greenhouse gases.

The greenhouse gases trap heat.  So mankind is clearly responsible for some quantifiable amount of the warming effect.

Energy balance
Global warming is symptomatic of either an excess incoming energy flow or an deficient outoging energy flow, thus the energy balance is a good means of examining warming.
[Image Source:]

The important questions are:
  1. How much of recent warming (%) is mankind responsible for?
  2. How far can the system go before reaching equilibrium?
It is here, though, that the logical "skeptic" and some climatologists diverge.  Some researchers claim that both of these questions have been, more or less, definitively answered.  Scientifically-grounded skeptics, on the other hand, argue that much of the current work has been simply in fitting weak models to data sets, leading to potentially misleading conclusions.

The new work, for its part, does do an admirable job pointing out some of the shortcomings of the current modeling approach.  The authors write:

The optimal fingerprint detection and attribution framework provides a rigorous, statistical method to quantify the contributions of different external forcings and internal variability to the observed climate changes. In essence, it is based on a regression of the observations onto model simulated patterns and relies on the spatio-temporal response patterns from different forcings being clearly distinct. The assumptions are that climate models simulate the spatial patterns reasonably well and that regional responses from different forcings can be scaled and combined linearly. The global energy budget is not necessarily conserved and observed changes in the energy budget are not considered. Previous studies showed that observed patterns of surface air temperature provide a constraint on the human contribution to the observed warming.

In other words, past studies have taken temperature observations, assumed that we know exactly how much temperature increase is caused per unit forcing (e.g. per unit CO2), and linearly combined forcings to find a model that fits current temperature rises.

Forcing inputs
The new work attempts to combine forcings linearly and assumes no additional feedback, much like past works. [Image Source: ETH Zurich]

II. Looking at the Energy Balance

The new work alters this approach slightly, by using the energy balance, rather than the temperature, as the target to fit to.  But ultimately its conclusions may be skewed by the fact that it, like its temperature-based predecessor, uses a simplistic approach in which inputs' contributions:
  1. Scale linearly
  2. Are additive
  3. Are of equal efficacy (from the paper: "We assume that all forcing agents have equal efficacy.")
This is a rather simplistic model, although the analysis was complex with "thousands of model simulations".

The paper's ultimate conclusion is that:

Our results show that it is extremely likely that at least 74% (±12%, 1σ) of the observed warming since 1950 was caused by radiative forcings, and less than 26% (12%) by unforced internal variability. Of the forced signal during that particular period, 102% (90-116%) is due to anthropogenic and 1% (-10 to 13%) due to natural forcing.

The authors conclude that man is responsible for 74 percent of warming.

Temperature trends
The paper shows that the model was fit well with recent historic temperatures.
[Image Source: ETH Zurich]

The blame
The paper claims that mankind is responsible for 74 percent of warming via greenhouse gases,once the offsetting contribution of aerosols is considered. [Image Source: ETH Zurich]

This is a fascinating conclusion, because if correct it provides a much more straightforward assignment of blame to mankind, using what appears to be a more scientifically sound methodology (i.e. the energy balance).

III. The Blame Game -- Maybe Not Quite So Accurate

Unfortunately there are some significant issues with the paper which cause its conclusions to be brought into question.  

One notable is the issue is whether the scaled forcings are truly of "equal efficacy".  It's quite possible that different forcings could operate fundamentally differently, given where they put their heat (e.g. atmosphere v. ocean, etc.).  Problematically, the paper's authors fail to provide much explanation of why they think this approach is truly valid.

Secondly the study's methodology section states that another potentially problematic assumption was made:

It is assumed that the feedbacks are constant over time and the forcing uncertainty can largely be captured by a time-independent scaling factor.

This gets back to question 2 of the big questions previously raised -- "How far can the system go before reaching equilibrium?"

The model essentially is assuming that the Earth is going to sit here warming, without any significant cooling counter-effect being produced.  Geological record, as well as scientific common sense would cast doubt on this notion.  To give on example, past warming has altered sea currents, leading to a net cooling trend.

Finally, the paper admits that something strange is going on heat balance-wise with the ocean:

Ocean heat uptake for 3,000m depth is also larger, but the model is only constrained using data to 700m depth. Furthermore, uncertainties in ocean heat uptake are large and differences between various reconstructions are significant. The near constant ocean temperature over the past five years are not simulated by the model and its causes remain unclear.

For some reason the ocean temperatures have flatlined.  But the papers ignore this data, opting to only use the data that indicates nice, homogenous warming.

Observation comparisons
The energy balance results are compared with observational data, but the researchers questionably neglect comparisons for the last five years of ocean data.
[Image Source: ETH Zurich]

Thus, at the end of the day while this paper makes some progress in adopting a more sensible metric for quantifying warming (energy balance) and uses some impressive simulation techniques (e.g. the neural network trained to performing the BERN2.5D model Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations), the uncertainty in its conclusions is likely understated.

Is mankind responsible for some amount of warming?  Certainly -- again, basic physics tells us this.  But is this warming permanent and linearly scaling with greenhouse gas emissions?  The answer there is far less certain.

It would be terrifically convenient to blindly accept the paper's conclusion and take it as dogma that mankind is responsible for 74 percent of warming.  Unfortunately taking a look at the paper's methodology from an analytical and scientific perspective reveals that doing so is likely folly.

The authors deserve praise for applying the energy balance and for providing explicit qualifications for some of the key assumptions and shortcomings of their work.  But the paper does not definitively pin what percent of warming mankind is to blame for. As The X Files states, "The truth is out there."

Hot summer day
[Image Source: Sustainable Blog]

It is important for politicians to bear this state of uncertainty in mind, when deciding on whether to adopt more costly means of "fighting" global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  Some methods like deploying nuclear energy or funding novel solar energy research represent lower cost, lower risk scenarios, in which mankind would still benefit in other ways, even if the warming threat proves overstated.  But when it comes to more extreme actions, such as adopting meat rationing or carbon credits (wealth redistribution) schemes, it seems a bit premature to resort to such expensive schemes given the lack of definitive understanding.

Source: ETH Zurich [PDF draft]

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DT Bias
By AwesomeDuck on 12/26/2011 1:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
While DT is not my premier source for natural science info, it kills me to see just how much bias so many of these "global warming" articles are written with. So researchers are full of shit and "skeptics" are the only logical ones? Much of the research I have been a part of myself has been to quantify just what implications warming has for the future of the global system, I have yet to encounter a researcher who runs around spouting blame at people. Most of them spend their time finding solutions or further studying the data. You know, the whole "no use crying over spilled milk" thing? Yeah, that.

RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/26/2011 2:03:52 PM , Rating: 4
My problem with AGW is not so much with the amount of warming claimied (although the projections seem to have a little high certainty for my liking), but with the kind of stuff you work on: the implications.

I just can't see why we should spend anything substantial to slow down AGW right now. This is how the math works out:

Consider spending $0.05/kWh extra (wind and solar are currently subsidized a lot more) for power to divert 1kg CO2/kWh from coal, so $1 trillion will prevent 20B tonnes. That's less than than one year of global CO2 emissions, which cause CO2 to rise 2ppm/yr, and according to the IPCC we'll get about 1 deg C warming from 100pm increase.

So that's $1 trillion for 0.02 deg C using IPCC numbers. Does that look like a worthy expenditure to you? If you want to help humanity, then how about we use 1/10th of that to build water pipes, schools, produce medicine, etc. for developing countries? For <1/10th the cost you'll save >10x the lives/suffering. Don't even get me started on the dumbass suggestions of wasting foreign aid to help those countries produce clean energy and slow development.

RE: DT Bias
By AssBall on 12/26/11, Rating: -1
RE: DT Bias
By Reclaimer77 on 12/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: DT Bias
By AssBall on 12/27/2011 2:44:02 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think you read it right Reclaimer. I pretty much said what you just said.

RE: DT Bias
By Reclaimer77 on 12/27/2011 5:10:13 PM , Rating: 1
My mistake lol. But it read like REALLY dripping sarcasm to me, so I went with it.

RE: DT Bias
By AssBall on 12/27/2011 9:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
Should have worded it a little better.

RE: DT Bias
By V-Money on 12/26/11, Rating: -1
RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/26/2011 3:30:50 PM , Rating: 4
You're looking at this backwards. You think population growth has to slow down before development can happen, when in fact it's the other way around. If you modernize developing countries, their population growth will slow down. It's been shown that educating women there reduces birth rates.

Look at your own link:
As technology improves, parents realize that having more children decreases rather than increases their standard of living. A dramatic example of this effect occurred in Thailand, where, as soon as parents realized that future economic status was linked to the secondary schooling (which is expensive in Thailand), the fertility rate dropped from about 6 to 2 in a decade!

If anything, you've just showed why it's a higher priority. You've also showed yourself to be a passively pro-genocide douche, but hey, the internet brings out the best in people...

RE: DT Bias
By V-Money on 12/26/2011 7:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
How do you figure, I said developing, not developed. Of course developed countries have a much lower birth rate, they also have a much lower death rate, but when the population stabilizes it does so at a higher level and the developed population typically lives at a higher standard therefore uses more of an ecological footprint.

Also, I never said I was pro genocide, I said I would rather it not get to that point. I would prefer that there wasn't a need for wars, but I'm a realist and I understand human nature, and with the population going the way it is, that's where I feel we are headed.

RE: DT Bias
By someguy123 on 12/27/2011 2:42:13 AM , Rating: 2
That's not being realistic. The poster above just provided you with the reality, which is that better educated, modernized populations have been shown to have sharp declines in birthrate.

Developing a higher ecological footprint in the meantime would just be growing pains. Having undeveloped areas continue to maintain would just lead to higher population density. If your idea is to balance population levels, what else are going to do? Police these people into never procreating?

RE: DT Bias
By ameriman on 12/28/2011 6:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
Responsible societies limit their birthrates to preserve resources, living room for their posterity

Then they are swamped by unchecked immigration by the irresponsible who continue to breed beyond their ability to provide for them

The irresponsible overwhelm the responsible... until so crowded, poverty stricken no one else wants to come.

RE: DT Bias
By SPOOFE on 12/26/2011 3:35:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ultimately it's a political issue. The last IPCC report said we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% in order to merely SLOW the current rate of warming. Now, I know there's not a linear relationship between CO2 emissions and energy generation, but it's close.

To slow warming, we essentially need to cut around 80% of our energy use. That's a huge cut to home usage, which means huge revenue generating systems (like entertainment, TV, Internet) take a massive hit; that's huge cuts to our ability to produce food, preserve food, and move food around, which means many many millions would starve; that's huge cuts to our hospitals and police, which means more deaths and turmoil...

Essentially, if we do what the IPCC says, billions of people will die. And people can't stomach that, so... global warming is a political issue.


RE: DT Bias
By SPOOFE on 12/26/2011 3:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
Just to be clear, I'm not saying I'm A-Okay with the situation. But I think it was Tip O'Neil that said "All politics is local."

RE: DT Bias
By Philippine Mango on 12/26/2011 6:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just because we need to cut our energy use, it doesn't mean there will be a significant decline in the quality of life. All it means is that people need to be less retarded with how they use their appliances, use more efficient electronics and better insulate their homes. Using a 6KWH clothes dryer to dry 3 shirts is not a good use of energy and neither is the vampire power associated with our electronics. A cable box uses around 40 watts of electricity 24/7 and with several TVs, that adds up to a tidy sum of money and wasted energy. Houses use an enormous amount of energy just keeping themselves cooled or heated and while there have been improvements in the last few decades, the majority of houses around today are from an era of cheap energy. It's the short sighted attitude of previous that is leading us into the mess we are in and why continuing that attitude is just making things worse. People use bad data in calculating the cost of efficiency improvements. For example, when people calculate the cost of electricity, they always use the lowest rate, in my area 12 cents per KWH. The problem is, most people do not pay that little but instead pay around $0.30+ per kwh. People also don't factor in inflation when calculating energy costs and use the last 40 years as an example of what has happened with the price of energy. Because of this, people today are still building houses that are energy inefficient because of deceptive, "optimistic" data.

One example is my neighbor who installed double pane windows in 1978. He was told it was a bad idea and it would take too long for it to pay for itself. Now, looking back, you can see that it has paid for itself far quicker than expected and he also enjoyed the benefit of a house with fewer temperature swings than had he stuck with the single pane windows back in '78.

RE: DT Bias
By chemist1 on 12/26/2011 8:15:59 PM , Rating: 3
Yes -- plus the inefficiency of electrical appliances is substantially magnified during months when we use air conditioning to cool our homes. For each additional KWH of energy an appliance uses, that's one additional KWH of thermal energy (=3412 BTU) that the A/C needs to remove from your home. But even relatively efficient A/C's (those with an SEER = 13) require 3.4 units of energy for each unit of thermal energy they remove. So that means that for each additional KWH consumed by an appliance, your total energy consumption goes up by 4.4 KWH when you are using your A/C. And this is not balanced out by what happens in the winter, when you are heating your house. Here, each additional KWH consumed by an appliance merely results in a 1 KWH reduction in how much energy you need to put into your heater. Further, here you are substituting (through the appliance) relatively expensive (and inefficient, because of the energy losses when generating electrical power) electrical heat for cheaper gas heat, assuming your home is heated with gas.

RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/27/2011 2:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
But even relatively efficient A/C's (those with an SEER = 13) require 3.4 units of energy for each unit of thermal energy they remove.
You got that backwards. SEER 13 is roughly equal to a COP of 3.4, and that means it takes 1J of electrical energy to remove 3.4J of heat.

SEER is BTU/Wh. Ideally, that means those 3412 BTU needs 3412/13=262Wh=0.262kWh of energy by your A/C.

But your point still stands. Reduce an appliance's usage by 1kWh, and your bill goes down more in the summer (1.3kWh).

RE: DT Bias
By chemist1 on 12/27/2011 11:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, yes I did (invert the numbers) :). Thanks for the correction.

RE: DT Bias
By V-Money on 12/26/2011 7:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
Now keep in mind I am playing both sides of the field, but in your argument
billions of people will die
, that seems a little crazy. Considering that if we all used the same energy per capita as India we would pretty much meet that goal and still be able to live. Of course, that's no life I would want to live.

On the flip side
Just because we need to cut our energy use, it doesn't mean there will be a significant decline in the quality of life.
that depends on who you are and how you live your life. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I am saying that most people would be unwilling to do it.

RE: DT Bias
By Reclaimer77 on 12/26/2011 10:28:22 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. And since when was the U.N a scientific authority? Global Warming is all politics and very little real science.

RE: DT Bias
By pburghdoom on 12/27/2011 9:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
Playing the devils advocate here, if we help 3rd world nations prosper it will only increase greenhouse gas emissions. Think China 20 -30 years ago to now.

RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/28/2011 1:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, and that illustrates the extreme immorality of putting too high of a value on combating AGW. It looks warm and fuzzy on the outside, as it basically is a form of foreign aid since western countries can brush off AGW as a nuisance while poor ones feel the effects more.

When you look at it more closely, though, it means we're robbing life-saving foreign aid on something 100x less useful than medicine, infrastructure, education, etc.

If you have any notion of equality (hell, in this world even thinking one western life is worth 10 African lives is a few orders of magnitude better than reality), you can't justify spending a penny on GHG reduction over development.

I don't know how any well educated advocate of action against AGW would also be hoping for third world development without mass population culling. I've got nothing against the scientists doing their job to uncover the truth one way or the other, but politicians are another story.

RE: DT Bias
By Lerianis on 12/29/2011 7:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, a better thing to do would be to spend that same 1 trillion on efficiency and better power usage. As the saying goes: "The best source for new power is efficiency!"

I found that out when I replaced an extremely old (20+ years) microwave that fizzled out with a new one recently, that was convection the same as the old one.

It cost me 400 dollars for the new convection microwave, however the power costs for the microwave went down substantially at idle and in usage.

Down to 1/100th of what the old one used at idle and 1/20th of what the old microwave used while being used as a microwave.

RE: DT Bias
By bug77 on 12/26/2011 2:35:42 PM , Rating: 1
Most of them spend their time finding solutions

Solutions to what? Earth has started warming "a little" before the industrial revolution. Even if we could nullify our carbon footprint entirely, the Earth would still be warming.

RE: DT Bias
By SPOOFE on 12/26/2011 3:39:24 PM , Rating: 1
Clearly we can force our Earth to be stagnant. Clearly, surely, obviously. Al Gore's beard told me.

It's funny to be called a "global warming denier" when I tell people that the planet has been warming and cooling for billions of years.

RE: DT Bias
By Shig on 12/26/2011 4:46:00 PM , Rating: 5
I'm just tired of the extremists. The far right saying we should do absolutely nothing and that fossil fuels are 100% fine, while the far left says the world is going to end if we don't run everything on renewables immediately.

Sensible americans realize we need both, yet Congress can't meet in the middle on anything then it just turns into a childish blame game and nothing changes while the problem is kicked on to the next guy.

A sensible plan would be to subsidize new power plants that are hybrids. (Gas + Wind, Gas + Solar, Geothermal + Wind, Geothermal + Solar, Coal + Wind, Coal + Solar etc.) CO2 emissions would go down, check, renewable use goes up, check, intermitantcy is addressed, check.

There's thousands more good ideas to economically decrease CO2 while creating jobs (or at least keeping employment steady) and keeping electricity costs in check, yet according to Congress we're going to burn alive in Global warming or plummet into economic ruin and scientists are all evil liars.

RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/26/2011 5:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
Your "hybrid" idea is what the environmentalists want, because that is the only way to use wind and solar. Geothermal is too insignificant, and coal can't be rapidly ramped up and down like that to fill in the blanks left by wind/solar, so natural gas is used.

Now, the US already has a lot of natural gas peaker plants (arguably too many) to make sure electricity is available 99.99% of the time, so we can build renewables without having to build more gas. The problem is that they are not very efficient, because they were designed to be low usage, and thus built with minimal construction cost.

Here's the thing, though: 1GW of wind at 35% capacity factor backed by 1GW of natural gas (the other 65%) costs more and produces more emissions than 1GW of nuclear.

RE: DT Bias
By Jedi2155 on 12/26/2011 6:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
While the majority of the peaker plants right now may not be the most efficient (~30% efficienc), new CCGT plants can reach 60% steady state efficiency, and I know some existing CCGT's in Southern California already have an efficiency of close to 50%.

Like most sensible people, I would prefer a mix of renewable's, nuclear, battery technology, and natural gas.

My ideal mix wold be Nuclear would form the base night time load. Batteries would be recharged during the night by Wind (Wind blows strongest at night), Solar provides generation during the day + natural gas/battery peaker plants to fill in the gaps.

RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/27/2011 12:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
There were two points I was trying to make:
1. CCGT is more expensive than peakers, which is why they are not used that way. You don't want to use all this capital to make an efficient plant and then only have it used 10% of the time. Similarly, the levelized cost you see for CCGT is assuming near 100% output, so a 65% usage scenario increases that cost.

2. If, instead, you want to use current peaker plants to fill in the gap (in which case wind/solar can be used without new gas construction), then we'll be using a lot of gas per kWh.

Here's a really interesting article I stumbled upon:
Some notes:
-consideres a new 58-61% efficient GE CCGT plant and augmenting it with wind
-"below 40% of rated output its efficiency decreases rapidly, as with all gas turbines."
-"CCGTs may have to temporarily operate as OCGTs, because their heat recovery steam generators, HRSGs, would be damaged by rapid cycling"
-"The wind turbine facility contributes just 12.2% to the total electrical production, but adds 44% to the capital cost"

RE: DT Bias
By Reclaimer77 on 12/27/2011 7:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
Any mix involving wind power is not "ideal", sorry. Have you actually looked into what a complete non-starter wind power is? It's NO solution and the cons far outweigh the pro's.

Also on the scale you're talking the amount of land needed to provide for that plan is, frankly, unsustainable if not untenable.

RE: DT Bias
By Jedi2155 on 12/28/2011 3:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
Wind is still preferable to coal for me, and on par with Hydro, but I'm particularly interested in Solar Thermal Plants. Solar PV is nice but I don't think it makes sense for industrial scale generation, but great for distributed generation especially at current prices. At my current electric rates, I could have a solar system pay back between 7-12 years.

RE: DT Bias
By Mint on 12/28/2011 2:11:37 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with distributed generation is that it even though it can pay you back, it costs everyone else.

Consider the case of everyone in the city having some solar generation. Sunshine is pretty well correlated across a city (globally so with day/night). That means the city now has very intermittent electricity needs from a power plant, so they either have to switch to rapidly ramping natural gas generation (much more expensive than coal/nuclear) or stick with baseline generation and dump the remaining energy, in which case they would have to raise prices.

A city could cut the kWh its needs by 20% with solar, but the power company filling in the blanks would charge 20% extra to make up for lost revenue, because its running costs haven't gone down (and probably rose). It's a rather perverse cycle, because the rising prices would only further encourage distributed PV.

Of course, this changes with energy storage, but we simply don't have any economical option outside of hydro if applicable. I really hope Isentropic's PHES works out.

RE: DT Bias
By aebiv on 12/27/2011 5:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you, I'd like to point out that the far right has never said any alternative energy sources are a bad idea. The vast majority of them don't want the Government picking and choosing which ones are "winners" and subsidizing those industries. (Think ethanol and Solyndra)

Give all the options equal footing in terms of taxes, permits and etc, and let the real solutions storm the market.

An example, how much about biodiesel have you heard in the news? Far too little, when it is a much more efficient and cost effective method than ethanol.

RE: DT Bias
By ameriman on 12/28/2011 8:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear power is the only clean, safe, reliable, cheap, scalable power source.
And Nuclear Power has never killed a single American civilian.. and new generation Nuclear reactors are passive safe.

However, Liberals have demonized/suppressed Nuclear Power for decades..
so we were forced to Coal, which kills 30,000 Americans/year from particulate and other pollution.

RE: DT Bias
By cactusdog on 12/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: DT Bias
By RivuxGamma on 12/28/2011 6:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, we're not very likely to get any data that's 100% BS-free. The issue is so polarized that about the only way to get accurate data is if aliens do it.

Global warming scam
By Mr772 on 12/26/2011 7:51:39 PM , Rating: 1
Global warming because of human activity is a scam. Look where the money goes from cap and trades or any other money spent on the global warming fight, then you can see this is all a wealth transfer scam. Ask your self who owns the carbon exchange's?? --> that's a good start for all you global warming suckers. Yes tempatures are rising but they are rising but it has nothing to do with human activity. Our planet is not the only planet in the solar system with rising temps.

RE: Global warming scam
By PaFromFL on 12/27/2011 8:19:11 AM , Rating: 2
Random Thoughts: But if there is no manmade problem, who will provide more grant money for studies and research centers?

Scandinavians have patiently waited 1000 years to farm Greenland again, and now the rest of the world wants to reduce global warming.

If the coastal cities flood, this is wonderful opportunity to build energy-efficient cities inland.

RE: Global warming scam
By Mint on 12/27/2011 1:23:40 PM , Rating: 3
I'm really sick and tired of these accusations of widespread corruption in the scientific community by skeptics and supporters alike.

Are you seriously using money as evidence of a scam? Is all research therefore a scam? All industry? Is charity a scam?

FYI, the solar output has been decreasing in the last few decades, and no, there is no more evidence to suggest that planets are warming than there is me disproving AGW by looking out the window and saying it looks colder than I remember 15 years ago.

RE: Global warming scam
By ameriman on 12/28/2011 8:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
You must admit that any Govt/UN funded scientist who announces measurements, analysis, models which refute Global Warming will be discredited, demonized, out of a job...

And that Govt/UN politicians/bureaucrats/scientists, environmental groups, international corporations have $trillions riding on AGW...

This is not science..

Sites for GW
By ThreatcoreNews on 12/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: Sites for GW
By TSS on 12/26/2011 6:51:30 PM , Rating: 1
I've got a better idea. Just ignore them alltogether and read the stories like a soap opera rather then science.

Computer models are incomplete. The data is corrupt by years of neglecting to fund the actual measuring part of the process in favor of models. The rise in temperature over the last 40 years or so fits well with the reduction in weather stations. I don't think anybody but the fanatics for whom faith is all that is required really knows what to believe anymore.

And then there's the actual weather. Last year the whole of november we had the same snow on the ground, didn't thaw once, it snowed often. This year we've had no snow and the hottest christmas in 40 years. Go figure.

So for me i'm going with a "wait and see" approach. I'll just ignore the studies, see what the weather actually does and draw my own short term conclusions from there. I don't even watch the weather report anymore, their only right 50% of the time anyway i think i can top that.

RE: Sites for GW
By boobo on 12/26/2011 9:41:59 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know if you realized it, but all those "many sources" that you recommend so that we can get all the "different shades" on the problem support almost the exact same position.

They look like good, informative sources but, if you're recommending them for the reasons of getting all the sides of the story, it's only fair that you should recommend good sites from all the sides of the story.

After all, there is a lot of bad science but also a lot of good science on both sides.

RE: Sites for GW
By Mint on 12/27/2011 10:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
drroyspencer is one of my favorite sites regarding climate analysis, so I took a look at some of your other links. is pure trash. You see propaganda where they ignore time scale when comparing with earth's history, they claim the greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics, put that tool Lord Monckton on a pedestal, etc.

Crock of BS!!
By ThreatcoreNews on 12/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: Crock of BS!!
By Mint on 12/26/2011 5:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
Right, because 5 degrees over a period of 5 million years can explain 0.5 degrees in 50 years...

There's a case to be made against action for AGW, but some of you skeptics are as braindead as the environuts.

RE: Crock of BS!!
By ThreatcoreNews on 12/26/2011 5:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, so you name call.

Global Warming
By cohetedor on 12/26/2011 1:33:44 PM , Rating: 3
I'll make it 75%, pull my finger.

By ThreatcoreNews on 12/26/2011 8:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
I would love to see some of these government funded follow the money 'studies' on a planet like Mars where the atmosphere is mainly CO2 - yet the planet is so cold.

Liberal mindsets self destruct. bzzz...pop....bzzzz...short...bzzzz...

By pityme on 12/26/2011 10:12:42 PM , Rating: 2
I look at the incoming Solar numbers from main chart verses the outgoing radidation and the infared incoming radiation and it seems the Earth is heating up without even solar radiation. So if the Sun disappears, Earth will not become Pluto and turn to ice? Silly EcoNazis, Trix are for kids. Your numbers do not add up in the chart verses the Solar System actual experience. But EcoNazi numbers are always correct and the Solar System and Astronomy, Physics, et al are Wrong! Sieg Hiel mein fehure EcoNazi, Sieg Hiel!

Can't be 74%
By geezer117 on 12/26/2011 11:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
Greenhouse effect can't be equal to or greater than the cumulative effect of all the other forces affecting global temperature. If that were not so, there could not be decades long periods of flat or declining temperatures during periods of rising CO2 levels, as we have seen twice over the last 70 years. So the greenhouse effect itself can't be more than 50% of total climate forcing.

Moreover, 50% to 75% of the greenhouse effect is water vapor, depending on how you count clouds. So the remaining greenhouse gases can't account for more than 25% of climate forcing, and probably no more than 13%.

Even moreover, manmade greenhouse gases are less than 20% of the total, so manmade greenhouse effect can't be more than 5% of the total climate forcing, and probably more like 2.5%.

The 74% number is purely political, like all the AGW nonsense.

Cloud Project at CERN
By robertf_CARY on 12/27/2011 12:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm reserving judgment until the "Cloud" Project is completed at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Sorry, but climate modeling on computers depends on too many assumptions made by human beings in programing the software. I'd rather we listen to scientists who do real science by testing hypotheses through experiments. Hmmm. I guess that makes me a idealogical, brainwashed, mind numbed conservative. But I'm ok with that.

By ThreatcoreNews on 12/27/2011 4:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
You have to first keep in mind that global temperatures are not measured today they way they were in the past. In addition, sensors used in the past are now amid rural areas which affect readings.

Basic physics, the Earth has a thermal budget. It takes more energy to cool that to warm. Now, take a look at the data from what we have of 30 years of satellite data and draw your own conclusion.

Here are two links from my weather and climate resource page: <-- Go to channel 14 in the troposphere. <-- GFS raw temp anomaly

WRONG Cause, WRONG solution
By mindless1 on 12/27/2011 8:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
People keep suggesting it is the trivial amount of CO2 we produce, and the answer is using less energy.

Global deforestation is the real problem. There would be a balance reached between foliage and CO2, one that has existed for (forever with life on earth?) far longer than our records span.

We can produce the CO2, but we cannot keep removing the carbon sinks. Even then, the global warming rate we caused either way would be unimportant relative to the ecosystem damage. We like to think we are self sustaining as a race but we do so only within the natural ecosystem, and we in the first world nations also prosper from exploiting those in 2nd/3rd worlds who do rely more on those ecosystems.

I don't believe the earth can...
By JonnyDough on 12/27/2011 9:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe that the earth can get so hot that life is unsustainable. We can only warm the earth to a certain point I think.

Firstly, the earth is 70% water, which evaporates more as the earth heats. Clouds are white, and reflect a lot of the sun's energy.

Secondly, when a rock heats up in a cold space - it cools.

Thirdly, as the earth heats up, magnetism drops. This means that the draw towards the sun may reverse and the earth will cease to slowly move towards it.

By ppardee on 12/28/2011 5:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
SO tired of seeing AGW stories, especially on a tech site. ANY level of critical thinking will see that the entire concept is flawed to the point where it cannot be considered credible.

It is a scam. Scientists are out for more funding. Politicians are out for more votes (and kickbacks). Businesses are out for more money. Heck, DT's out for more views! Since it is a scam, if you buy into it and aren't getting something out of it financially, you're the mark. Congrats.

By texbrazos on 12/29/2011 11:40:56 AM , Rating: 2
I think there is a fairly simple answer to all this. Cut the actual tangible pollution we put into the environment. Know harmful chemicals, such as that in gasoline, drilling chemicals, mercury products, and the like, and you will also take care of global warming. I am more concerned with all the crap in our drinking water, food chain, and air. I think if you take care of that you will also take care of global warming. You also get an added plus. America become 100% energy independent.

Oh really? 74% huh??
By shin0bi272 on 12/26/11, Rating: -1
RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By AssBall on 12/26/2011 12:47:58 PM , Rating: 3
I don't get how their solar energy line is so flat.

Here's my summary of global warming science: poor data + poor models + political bias = inconclusive.

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By V-Money on 12/26/2011 3:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get how their solar energy line is so flat.

So you admit you don't even understand what is going on...if you look at the data from incoming solar radiation reaching the earth's surface (we'll just say '84 to '09 since its easy to find the graph) it fluctuated between warming and cooling and the average is just above 0 due to active sunspots, meaning that it should be relatively flat-lined.

Here's my summary of global warming science: poor data + poor models + political bias = inconclusive.

After reading posts like this and the OP's statement, I honestly can't tell whose side you are on, because I don't feel strongly one way or another, but the vast amount of ignorance displayed by you clowns makes me want to fight GW just so I'm not on your side.

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By SPOOFE on 12/26/2011 3:45:15 PM , Rating: 2
I don't feel strongly one way or another, but the vast amount of ignorance displayed by you clowns makes me want to fight GW just so I'm not on your side.

On the other hand, clowns like him aren't advocating programs that would cost many billions of dollars, they're advocating better evidence before we even consider spending those billions of dollars.

Don't you want good evidence before spending billions of dollars?

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By V-Money on 12/26/2011 7:41:11 PM , Rating: 5
I never said I advocated spending billions of dollars for a cause with no evidence. With that said, his post didn't say "due to lack of evidence", it said
I don't get why the solar line is so flat
, inferring that he didn't understand the evidence.

On the other hand, clowns like him aren't advocating programs that would cost many billions of dollars
That's funny, I know lots of people who are completely against spending money on GW yet fully supported the Iraq war...

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By AssBall on 12/26/2011 3:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
And clowns like you think this is is a two sided black and white affair. Maybe it is a teensy bit more complicated than that.

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By V-Money on 12/26/2011 7:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
And clowns like you think this is is a two sided black and white affair.
Where did you get that notion from, just out of curiosity.

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By AssBall on 12/27/2011 2:46:32 AM , Rating: 2
we'll just say '84 to '09 since its easy to find the graph

The graph I was looking at went from 1780 to 2100. Not sure which one you thought I was talking about.

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By Natch on 12/27/2011 11:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
Just a quick it a public service message:

99% of all statistics are made up.

That is all.

RE: Oh really? 74% huh??
By ppardee on 12/28/2011 5:58:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're just making that up o.0

Oh... I see what you did there.

Here is the problem
By Tony Swash on 12/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: Here is the problem
By Mint on 12/27/2011 1:57:19 PM , Rating: 3
The problem with your debunk is that you cherry picked 1998.

It's just like the people who, a couple of years ago, said the earth was cooling in the last decade. Well yeah, that 1998 El Nino episode and 2007 cool spell did wonders for your cherry picked regression line.

Fast forward to 2011, and the exact same methodology - one decade trendline - results in a warming trend. I could take a positively sloped function linear function, add some neutral perturbations, and you'd see the same regions of positive and negative slopes. Therefore 10 year slopes are useless.

The unusual thing about 20th century warming isn't the absolute temperature, but rather the rate of temperature increase. It is possible that our temperature proxies of the past simply mix data from adjacent decades and are simply incapable of resolving short, rapid rises in temperature. However, as far as we can tell, the current rate of warming is unprecedented.

RE: Here is the problem
By Tony Swash on 12/27/2011 2:34:37 PM , Rating: 1
The problem with your debunk is that you cherry picked 1998.

It's just like the people who, a couple of years ago, said the earth was cooling in the last decade. Well yeah, that 1998 El Nino episode and 2007 cool spell did wonders for your cherry picked regression line.

Fast forward to 2011, and the exact same methodology - one decade trendline - results in a warming trend. I could take a positively sloped function linear function, add some neutral perturbations, and you'd see the same regions of positive and negative slopes. Therefore 10 year slopes are useless.

None of that addresses my actual point which was that the climate models predicted higher temperatures by now and those higher temperatures never materialised. A very substantial increase in CO2 has occurred and there has not been a year hotter than 1998 since 1998. The models said it would get warmer with higher CO2 - it didn't. To me that says we need to look at the models again. You say the models are OK even though they can't seemingly predict climate change.

The unusual thing about 20th century warming isn't the absolute temperature, but rather the rate of temperature increase. It is possible that our temperature proxies of the past simply mix data from adjacent decades and are simply incapable of resolving short, rapid rises in temperature. However, as far as we can tell, the current rate of warming is unprecedented.

There is absolutely nothing unusual about the rate of warming that occurred in the last two decades of the 20th century. Nothing. Similar rates of warming have occurred within recent history at various periods in the Holocene (our current climate period that started about 10,000 years ago) and this is clearly shown by the ice core reconstructions. Much of the Holocene was warmer than today. Nothing unusual has occurred with climate in the last 100 years. The most unusual event of the last 1000 years was the little ice age between 1550 AD and 1850 AD when the planet cooled to it's lowest point since the start of the Holocene and the end of the previous ice age. Since the end of the little ice age global temperatures have recovered in several distinct warming phases the last of which occurred in the last two decades of the 20th. That warming appears to have stopped over a decade ago.

With out reference to climate models there is nothing to indicate the need for any special forcing agent such as CO2. And those models got the prediction for the last decade very badly wrong.



RE: Here is the problem
By kraeper on 12/27/2011 3:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well that's weird. I actually just up-rated a Swash post. Maybe the world really is ending!

RE: Here is the problem
By Tony Swash on 12/27/2011 8:00:43 PM , Rating: 1
Well that's weird. I actually just up-rated a Swash post. Maybe the world really is ending!

Nah - it's just the Christmas spirit :)

By the way the links I posted are to a web site I set up relating to climate change. I started out agnostic on the whole thing and just thought that the science must be sound but it was such an important issue and the climate change bandwagon was so big that I thought I would try to have a look at the evidence for myself. I was shocked at what I found, how flimsy the science was, how rigorous were the efforts to suppress dissent. So I collected some of the evidence that had pushed me towards being sceptical and put it on a web site.

If the evidence changes then I will change my mind.

When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Sir?
John Maynard Keynes

RE: Here is the problem
By Dr of crap on 12/28/2011 12:54:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I have to agree with you on your points.

And why is it the climates scientists don't have any data to support the doomsday predictions?
That I don't understand. Why is it so vague?
And the problems of the past few years only make matters worse.

Of course we will not change anyones mind.
It's kind of like politics. If you be a Dem, all Reps are evil! and it's all their fault!

RE: Here is the problem
By Mint on 12/28/2011 12:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
It does address your point, and you repeated the fallacy:
A very substantial increase in CO2 has occurred and there has not been a year hotter than 1998 since 1998.

If you add noise to a baseline function, simply tracking the peaks does nothing to reveal that base function. Stop focusing on 1998. We're actually tracking fairly well to Hansen's 1988 prediction (his B scenario, which he called the most likely, and whose net forcing assumptions best matched what the earth received).

As for your links, I don't know where he got his data from. He points to a "Hockey stick" in the mid-1800's. He did the same cherry picking you did in choosing ranges. Here's what different reconstructions have found:

In any case, the real problem with AGW isn't in the science but rather in the politics. There is really no justification for taking action against it other than nuclear energy, as the benefits are too small for the cost. The biggest contributer to AGW is Greenpeace when they killed appetite for nuclear in the last 40 years, leaving fossil fuels as the only other choice.

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