Print 31 comment(s) - last by TheEinstein.. on Jul 25 at 8:53 AM

Data suggests that unknown processes may be missing from prediction models.

If there's a topic that nearly everyone is familiar with this year, it's global warming. Advocates for this camp and that camp have been slinging mud and "facts" at each other at an increasing rate in the last few years as global awareness of the various theories behind it has risen. Though special purpose groups, scientists and Al Gore may not agree on what should be done, there are generally accepted numbers that climate researchers use to generate pictures of what kind of temperature the Earth will endure in the next century. Only, those numbers might be wrong.

A paper recently published in Nature Geoscience, authored by Gerald Dickens of Rice University, Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos of the University of California - Santa Cruz has found evidence that climatologist models may in fact be wrong. Their work concentrates on a well-known thermal event in Earth's past known as the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) and the records it left behind in the form of carbon deposits. Via core samples from all around the world, the PETM is one of the best documented events of its kind.

But what Dickens's team found in those PETM cores doesn't jive with the standard global warming model in use by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC model typically uses a 100% increase in atmospheric carbon as the threshold in their models, but when compared to the deposits from the PETM, in which atmospheric carbon levels only rose by about 70%, the current model fails to explain the dramatic temperature increase during that period.

How does the Dickens/Zeebe/Zacho team explain the 7 degrees Celsius jump in just 10,000 years? They can't. But they think their data suggests that there's some unaccounted process missing from the IPCC model. If they are correct, the IPCC models could be off by as much as 100% as far temperature goes when using the PETM event as a reference.

Global warming, whether it exists or not, whether it's man-made or not, will be a hot topic in the next few years, perhaps decades. While not every study done has substantial ground to stand on, there does seem to be much that scientists do not understand about the geological or environmental processes behind it. More data is needed, and perhaps groups like Dickens's will find it.

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RE: About time!
By Grabo on 7/16/2009 4:07:28 PM , Rating: -1

The author has slanted the article a little bit, obviously, though it sure isn't a masher masterpiece.

'Overly simplified' 'Gospel'.

Everyone, including climate scientists, knows models aren't entirely accurate, and if 'all climate models may be 100% wrong', what does the author wish to have said? That we can't trust any predictions and should 'live in the now?'

The 'gospel' and 'agw faith' thing is from what I've seen entirely American. It's irony defined too because those who express it condemn the 'faith' together with all the science, except one or two odd bits that they perceive to be 'proof' that 'the agw faith is really a tribute to David Hasselhoff' and throws it out the window. No one claimed to understand the climate fully, and if you listened too much to Al Gore and grew allergic then go sit in a concrete factory for a while.

We do know that atmospheric co2 is increasing, that the ice in the Arctic isn't on the rise, and that the average temperature is increasing. We know co2 is a greenhouse gas, we know we release it. Some preach caution, some preach 'we are but humans, we can't change the climate' / 'climate change is good for us' 'we can't stop it', or some other riffraff saying.

RE: About time!
By myocardia on 7/17/09, Rating: 0
RE: About time!
By 1078feba on 7/20/2009 3:00:27 PM , Rating: 3
Logic? Logic?

Are you trying to be funny?

Anthro GW has been the most emotional of arguments from it's outset.


It was only after watching this juggernaut gain a life of it's own that more level headed people asked if we couldn't just apply some brakes here and make sure that we know what it is we think we know.

Hey, guess what? Turns out we don't.

Logic, huh? I don't think that word means what you think it means.

RE: About time!
By robinthakur on 7/22/2009 9:23:31 AM , Rating: 1
That we can't trust any predictions and should 'live in the now?'

Yes this is exactly what we should be doing!! Let me lay my cards on the table
-I like and support the Obama Administration.
-I agree that pollution should be reduced for the tangible benefit of all and we should recycle more.
-I believe that fish stocks need urgent government backed action to ensure they do not collapse.
-I believe that rainforests/reefs should be saved where man has been directly responsible for their decline.
-BUT I do not believe for a micro-second that man influences the Earth's climate.

The anthropogenic climate change camp are beginning to steer government policy and that in itself is frightening, given that the computer models for climate futures are incomplete, innaccurate and therefore hold very little worth. It honestly tarnishes science, when the models and the science are manipulated to prove a foregone 'conclusion', especially when that conclusion has been proven to be wrong. The Earth's climate is cyclical, and from all I have read reacently, we are going through a cooling phase rather than a warming phase. Its not a scientific argument where people who oppose the mainstream articles based on their own scientific analysis are howled down and paraded around as social pariahs.

Its like when the medical profession weren't aware that bacteria causes stomach ulcers rather than stomach acid overproduction. The mainstream view was proved wrong by two scientists who dared to challenge the status quo.

It has become an emotive issue which governments have devoted billions of currency to 'tackling' and which employs thousands of specialist journalists and special interest groups all with an equal interest in the prophecy coming true. When I was growing up in the 80's everyone was terrifed of a new ice-age which would freeze us all to death, then it was global warming, and now its been renamed to 'climate change' as that's a good umbrella term which can go either way.

In fact, its a non issue which cannot be solved. The earth gets hotter and the earth sometimes gets colder. Throughout its history, forever and ever until the human race dies out. Mankind cannot effect it, in the same way that the dinosaurs couldn't. End of story and try and enjoy your life without worrying about things which you have zero control over.

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