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Is there a case against human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed literature? Part 3

Posted on 15 December 2011 by Jim Powell

Part 1 in this series introduced a database of global warming skeptics and the number of peer-reviewed papers each has published. Part 2 examined the “takeaways” from these papers. To generate these lists we identified some 120 global warming skeptics, searched the Web of Science for their peer-reviewed papers, then read the abstracts and sometimes the entire paper to flag those that denied or attempted to cast substantial doubt on human-caused global warming. (This study differs from the one by Oreskes (2004) who did not count papers that "cast substantial doubt.")

We have now sorted the papers by argument and by year. The list sorted by argument has links to the rebuttals, allowing these conclusions:

  1. The principal claim of each of these arguments has been thoroughly rebutted in the scientific literature, as summarized on SkS here

  2. Some of the arguments that rank highly by popularity are conspicuous by their absence among the skeptic papers ranked by SkS. None argues that (1) climate’s changed before, (4) there is no consensus, (8) animals and plants can adapt, (9) it hasn’t warmed since 1998, (10) ice age predicted in the 70s, (11) Antarctica is gaining ice, or (12) CO2 lags temperature. Global warming skeptics continue to make these arguments at every opportunity, but demonstrably it is not possible to back up any of them with evidence that will pass peer-review. Until there is such evidence, there is no reason anyone should pay attention to these unsupported and misleading claims.

To reiterate the principal conclusions of this series:

  • 70% of the global warming skeptics identified, including some of the most outspoken, have no scientific publications that deny or cast substantial doubt on global warming.
  • None of the papers provides the “killer argument,” the one devastating fact that would falsify human-caused global warming. Each skeptic argument has been debunked in other peer-reviewed papers.

  • The skeptics have no plausible theory to explain the observed global warming.

  • Even though the evidence for human-caused global warming and the scientific consensus have grown stronger, no skeptic who wrote in the first half of the 1990s has recanted. To be a climate skeptic is to remain a skeptic.

The answer to the question of this series is resounding no: there is no case against human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed literature.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 66:

  1. There are many skeptical, peer-reviewed papers that you have left out. An example is:

    A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions David H. Douglass, John R. Christy, Benjamin D. Pearson, S. Fred Singer Int. J. Climatol. (2007) DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651. DOI: 10.1260/095830509787689277.

    This paper led to a dramatic (and entertaining) clash with RealClimate:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/

    and a published reply by Santer, et al:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.1756/abstract

    If you look at all of Douglass's 20 or so publications on climate, you will see the theme of skepticism toward human-caused global warming.

    If you want to list all the skeptic's papers, you need to look more carefully.
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    Response:

    [dana1981] You misunderstand the purpose of the search, which is to identify papers which reject man-made global warming.  Papers which dispute some relatively minor aspect, like the rate of warming of the tropical troposphere in your first example, do not make a case for rejecting man-made warming.

  2. Your third bullet is much to weak. Skeptics MUST both explain the observed warming AND explain why CO2 from human caused emissions is NOT causing the warming - as science says it must, overwhelmingly.

    Not only has no skeptic satisfied your weak bullet point, but none have touched either half of the complete rebuttal to climate science. And, of course, they never will.
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  3. Doesn't your conclusion depend on which side has the burden of proof?

    I thought that AGW was a hypothesis.

    I thought that the data was consistent with the hypothesis.

    However, I also thought that the data was also consistent with other hypotheses, and that we did not have enough data to rule out one or the other yet.

    We don't even know with any certainty yet was the climate sensitivity number is.

    Therefore, I thought that we did not yet have enough data to definitely say that AGW was correct.

    So your conclusion is only correct if skeptics have the burden of disproving the AGW hypothesis.

    My understanding is that skeptics do not bear the burden of proof.

    I thought the null hypothesis was natural variability, not AGW.

    The scientists who advocate human-caused global warming bear the burden of proof (I think).

    This warming which has occurred from 1850 to the present, could still just be a coincidence and correlated with the increased CO2 emissions, but not necessarily caused by them.

    Therefore, your conclusion is premature (in my opinion).
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    Response:

    [dana1981] Incorrect.  AGW is a robust scientific theory which has withstood decades of scientific scrutiny, not a hypothesis.

  4. @Richard Arrett #3

    "This warming which has occurred from 1850 to the present, could still just be a coincidence..."

    Could it? I think then you need to explain how the a massive increase in CO2 hasn't caused the planet to warm. You're denying the accepted physics of the greenhouse effect -- so you need to provide a convincing alternative explanation.
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  5. Hi -

    It would be useful to get the following simple numbers:

    59 skeptic papers are listed... since when? And 59 of how many climate change papers (ie, what was the pool of candidates?)

    How many authors are uniquely identified in the 59 papers? How many authors are uniquely identified in the pool of candidates?

    This data would give some sense of consensus

    DrYew
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  6. Richard Arrett:
    "Therefore, your conclusion is premature (in my opinion)."

    Which part of the stated conclusion do you find premature?
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  7. 1, Roger Gram,

    How does the paper you supplied in any way affect the content of this post? Which bullet point in part 2 does it contradict?

    In particular, however, this particular paper attempt to make a case (one not broadly accepted) for one narrow area of inconsistency in the models, but then leaps to the grand conclusion that because of this supposed inconsistency, the models are entirely suspect and therefore the entire theory of AGW is suspect.

    You can't see the fallacy in this?
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  8. 3, Richard Arrett,

    We know definitively that climate is not changing due to natural variability.

    We have narrowed climate sensitivity down to a small enough range, with enough redundant confirmation, that we are fairly confident in what it is going to mean going forward.

    At this point, the strength of the science is so overwhelmingly strong that the burden does fall on the "skeptics" (a laughable moniker) to provide some evidence that somehow, somewhere, there is something solidly wrong with current theory.

    This entire series of posts shows that despite how desperately some people would like to do that, how many of them there are, how well funded they are, and how much time they have put into the effort, none of them have come remotely close to even denting the mainstream science, let alone damaging it.

    Doesn't that tell you something?
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  9. Sphaerica, #7: Part of Roger's point is that Jim's database doesn't include a bunch of papers by "skeptics," including that one. That Douglass paper clearly suggests that the climate isn't warming because the analysis erroneously concludes that there's no evidence for tropical tropospheric warming, so why wasn't it included in the analysis?

    It's a fair question, and one I have as well, even though I tend to agree with the analysis' conclusions. If Jim's methodology failed to catch this paper, then there's some fair questions that need to be asked about why, and whether the methodology might be inadvertently biasing the results of the study.
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  10. Richard - AGW is not so much an "hypothesis" but a result from our current theory of climate. It could be wrong but you have to explain what is wrong with known physics first. (For instance, why does measured increased radiation from the atmosphere not cause warming).

    Climate sensitivity is know with considerable certainty to lie between 2 and 5, with a most likely value around 3. Even low end is cause for concern.

    No scientific theory is even "known to be correct". That doesnt stop us using incomplete theories like gravity for sending rockets to mars.

    Before you can claim natural variability is responsible you need a credible theory for some natural variability. None has been found. By contrast, normal climate physics has no trouble explaining current observation.

    So, as far as policy is concerned, would you bet on what is well established in science? or the hope that some magic source of variability will be found to let us off the hook? Which do you think is prudent practise? Would let a strange mole continue to grow because your Dr is uncertain whether it is cancerous or not?
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  11. 7 Sphaerica,

    You seem to think that I'm defending the Douglass-Christy-Singer paper. But I'm not. Rather, I'm puzzled that a paper that claims to show that the models are wrong (and was trumpeted and celebrated in right wing and denialosphere sites) would not be included in a database of skeptical peer-reviewed papers. Your characterizing this paper as highlighting "one narrow area of inconsistency in the models" was clearly not shared by mainstream climate scientists. The reaction at the time by Ben Santer and RealClimate was one of surprise and alarm that such a paper could pass peer review and be published. There followed an intense effort to quickly rebut this paper, both on-line, and in the scientific literature.

    I applaud the work of Skeptical Science, and the effort to develop this database. However, I think the database is quite incomplete.
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  12. #4 John Russell

    Again - this all depends on who has the burden of proof.

    It has been warmer in the past than it is currently, and CO2 was at around 280 ppm.

    It has been colder in the past than it is currently, and CO2 was at around 280 ppm.

    So, given that natural variability is the null hypothesis, don't you have the burden of showing why the current warming is due to CO2 and not to whatever caused prior warming spikes (while CO2 was at 280 ppm)?

    But to take a stab at answering your question, perhaps aerosols are an opposing forcing which are counteracting CO2.
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  13. #6 Utahn:

    The part which requires that skeptics have the burden of disproving AGW.
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  14. angliss, Roger Gram,

    Do you think it might have been possible to simply post a comment saying "Hey, you missed one, what about the Douglass 2007 paper?" rather than:

    (a) Implying that Jim didn't try hard enough
    "If you want to list all the skeptic's papers, you need to look more carefully. "
    or

    (b) Implying that his entire method of locating papers was perhaps biased towards getting some sort of desired result
    "questions that need to be asked about why, and whether the methodology might be inadvertently biasing the results of the study"


    Hint: I'm sure Jim would gladly add this paper, and any others you find, to the list.

    I'd further point out that in part 1, Jim explicitly gave reasons for not including Klotzbach et al. (2009), which appears in many ways to be similar to the Douglas paper.

    Once again, maybe a simple question along the lines of "did you consider this?" would have served better than veiled (whether purposeful or not) implications of impropriety and deceit?

    Consider Jim's comment here, on part 1, which ends with the statement:
    I welcome suggestions for papers I missed, as Troy has done.
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  15. angliss (#9), that's simply incorrect. Nowhere in Douglass et al (2008) is it suggested "that the climate isn't warming because the analysis erroneously concludes that there's no evidence for tropical tropospheric warming". It's very easy to establish that fact - one simply has to read the paper! You seem to be arguing on the basis of an easily-established false premise.

    Douglass et al are very clear that they are addressing something rather specific. Santer et al (2005) determined that apparent differences in modeled and measured temperatures in the altitude-dependence of temperature trends in the tropical zone during the satellite era is not an indication that there is fundamental discrepency between models and measurements since the uncertainty in the latter overlaps with the variance in the models. Douglass et al's reanalysis purported to show that the uncertainties are actually sufficiently small that a strong statement about fundamental discrepencies in models and measurements in this subset of tropsopheric data can be made.

    Of course Douglass et al's analysis was pathetically flawed. But that's not the point. In the context of this thread, Douglass et al's analysis has nothing to say about whether the climate is warming or not, nor the origins of warming. In fact Douglass et al state completely explicitly that the climate is warming (see their Table 1) since they accept the very marked surface warming trends that are well established.
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  16. Sphaerica, #8:

    We don't actually know that.

    We know from physics that we should experience around 1.2C by 2100 from the direct effects of CO2 warming. However, what is in question is the amount of indirect feedback.

    There are lots of theories and projections - but no actual observations.

    So until we can actually measure temperature and/or sea level when 2100 rolls around, we don't actually know what the climate sensitivity number will be.

    It may be 3C or it may be 1C - we just don't know.
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  17. @12- "It has been" warmer/cooler "in the past when CO2 was 280 ppm".

    A. There is no such thing as "natural variability" in the sense that things move around with no recourse to a physical explanation....which is what I hear whenever someone on the "skeptic" side uses that phrase...unless they mean "it's too complicated for me to figure out, so you can't understand it either".

    B. Your statement is pointless unless you also hold all other variables constant... insolation, albedo etc. And you need to be clear on whether this is a stable or transient condition. Do you have that information?

    C. And for SkS you really ought to cite the dates, and the papers providing the temperature and CO2 information and other control information. Anything else just isn't up to standard.

    D. I submit that this data has been developed, presented in peer reviewed papers, and summarized and presented here on SkS. That in sum your statement that it has been warmer and or colder at 280 ppm, and implying that all other things are equal is in fact false because it has been shown all other things aren't equal.

    E. And if you have been immersed in this discussion through sites providing direct access to peer-reviewed literature...such as SkS and RealClimate you'd have to say that given the data on the table, for a skeptic to make a case they must refute it. The ball is in their court, the burden of proof is on them.
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  18. scaddenp #10:

    You have the burden of proof wrong.

    I don't have to provide an alternative to natural variability because that is the null hypothesis.

    What caused the warming spike around 1100 AD?

    What caused the warming spike around 3000 BC?

    The CO2 data (ice cores) tells us it couldn't have been caused by CO2 - because CO2 was constant at around 280 ppm for during both of those temperature spikes.

    That is why the null hypothesis is natural variability.

    That is why you have the burden of showing that the warming spike we are currently in is due to CO2 and not the other causes (whatever caused the warming in 1100 AD or 3000 BC).
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  19. Dave123 @17:

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on who has the burden of proof.

    Personally, I plan on measuring the average global temperature at 2100, and the sea level rise at 2100.

    Then we will have actual observations which we can use to determine the climate sensitivity.

    If CS turns out to be 1.3C - that will imply there is no indirect amplification feedback.

    If CS turns out to be 3C or higher - you are right.

    If CS turns out to be 2C or lower - skeptics are right.
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  20. We've got lots of actual observations Richard (#16). For example, the earth has warmed by around 0.8-0.9 oC since the middle of the 19th century, while [CO2] has risen from around 286 ppm then to 389 ppm now. A climate sensitivity of 2 oC should then give an equilibrium warming of:

    ln(389/286)*2/ln(2) = 0.87 oC

    We know that we haven’t had the full warming from this enhancement of greenhouse gases, since it takes the earth many decades to come to equilibrium with the current forcing resulting from raised greenhouse gases. Likewise we know that a significant part of the warming from this enhancement of greenhouse gas levels has been offset by manmade atmospheric aerosols. On the other hand some of the warming is due to non-CO2 sources (man-made methane, nitrous oxides, tropospheric ozone, black carbon). Non greenhouse gas contributions to this warming (solar, volcanic) are known to be small. Overall, it’s rather unlikely, given the warming since the mid-19th century, that climate sensitivity is less than 2 oC. This is expanded on in more detail in Knutti and Hegerl, in Murphy et al. (2009), in Rind and Lean, 2008, in Hansen et al (2005), etc. etc.

    So the evidence simply doesn't support a climate sensitivity that is below 2 oC. The evidence in fact supports a climate sensitivity of around 3 oC at maximum (evidence-based) likelihood. It's silly to make arguments based on the premise of ignorance! In science we assess hypotheses on the basis of the evidence.
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  21. @16. So what you're saying Richard is that you can't take initial boundary conditions in say 1970, run a suite of models through 2010 that show good correspondence to the real temperature trends and use the climate sensitivity coming out of that?

    That you can't use paleoclimate data to calculate prior climate sensitivity and apply those estimates to present conditions?

    What is "knowing" to you anyhow? You've got an unstated premise/bias in there that needs to be laid out. Do words like 95% confidence mean anything to you?

    Are there other areas of knowledge where calculations are done that you also require waiting for? I keep thinking of the mention of a mole on your skin in another post. The individual variability of cancer progression is large...so why should you trust the past clinical data and progression models?
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  22. Richard...what **global** warming spike at 1100 AD? I'm only aware of regional high temperatures smeared out over a couple of hundred years. For that matter, all the hockey sticks I'm seeing for **global** temperatures don't show anything at 3000 BC either.

    ps... I'm sure not going to be around in 2100. Nor are my children likely to be. If I had grandchildren right now, it wouldn't be a good bet either. How do you plan to be around in 2100?
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  23. Sphaerica (#14) - Odd, I thought I had specifically suggested to Jim that he add Douglass et al 2008 and got no response. I'm not trying to imply that Jim did anything on purpose, but rather point out that he may have accidentally filtered out papers like Douglass et al 2008 because of the way he designed his search parameters.

    FWIW, I'm not using "bias" in the colloquial sense here - I'm using it as I would in my day job as an EE: bias is a detectable and correctable error independent from random processes like noise. I apologize for not making that clearer in my initial post.

    Chris (#15) - I have read the paper, although admittedly not recently. On a quick skim of it, however, I found this in the summary:
    (The use of tropical tropospheric temperature trends as a metric for this test is important, as this region represents the CEL and provides a clear signature of the trajectory of the climate system under enhanced greenhouse forcing.) On the whole, the evidence indicates that model trends in the troposphere are very likely inconsistent with observations that indicate that, since 1979, there is no significant long-term amplification factor relative to the surface. If these results continue to be supported, then future projections of temperature change, as depicted in the present suite of climate models, are likely too high.
    Also:
    The last 25 years constitute a period of more complete and accurate observations and more realistic modelling efforts. Yet the models are seen to disagree with the observations. We suggest, therefore, that projections of future climate based on these models be viewed with much caution.

    IMO, this meets Jim's criteria as described in his first post.

    Regardless, I am sorry for not suggesting this paper's inclusion it back on Post 1, as doing so might have avoided any unpleasantness.
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  24. Richard (#18) says "I don't have to provide an alternative to natural variability because that is the null hypothesis."

    oh dear... choose a scientifically-deficient "null hypothesis" and bob's your uncle - you can then simply reject everything that we know! However, the "null hypothesis" isn't the hypothesis based on completely discarding all our knowledge.

    In fact if one takes your "hypothesis" that warming since the mid 19th century (say) is due to "natural variability", then you have chosen a hypothesis that simply doesn't accord with the scientific evidence base.
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  25. O.K. fair enough angliss. I guess this shows the rather subjective nature of the choices associated with these analyses!

    I read Jim Powell's top "article" to be a consideration of skeptic papers involving a "case against human-caused global warming", and "that denied or attempted to cast substantial doubt on human-caused global warming". You stated above that Douglass et al (2008) "suggested that the climate isn't warming....", which would (if true) certainly accord with Jim's criteria.

    However you now say (and I agree) that Douglass et al are actually suggesting that their (atrociously flawed!) analysis indicates it's not going to warm in the future as much as model projections suggest. Does that accord with Jim's criteria of "a case against human-caused global warming" etc? Debatable methinks. But it's a subjective consideration!
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  26. Richard Arrett @ 19 - "If CS turns out to be 1.3C - that will imply there is no indirect amplification feedback."

    How exactly is that supposed to work given that we know that the Earth was both much warmer and cooler in the past? If, as the fake-skeptics claim, the Earth is so insensitive, why has the Earth's climate changed so much over long timescales? And why is there such a strong relationship between CO2 and global temperature? (see below)



    See that's the problem with fake-skeptics, their ideas are negated by observations, and don't make any sense. And worse yet, they continually contradict themselves. One minute the 'climate is always changing', the next 'climate sensitivity is low.'

    Why is it now, when humans are pumping vast quantities of a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, that some never before observed, and inexplicable in terms of the physics, low sensitivity is supposed to ride to our rescue?

    That is why fake-skeptics are summarily dismissed by the scientific community. We need to focus on facts, not wishful thinking and self contradictory fake-skeptics.
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  27. 14 Sphaerica,

    --"maybe a simple question along the lines of 'did you consider this?'"

    Actually, I raised such a question in response to the Part 2 post.

    "...veiled...implications of impropriety and deceit"

    You might re-read the comments and re-examine your thinking that led to these bitter words.
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  28. >You have the burden of proof wrong.

    No. This is science not law. What science is about is finding the model that best explains observation.

    >I don't have to provide an alternative to natural >variability because that is the null hypothesis.

    All variation in climate has causes. We have an excellent model of natural forcing changes that have caused climate change in the past. We can also see that these natural forcings should be cooling the climate if any when in fact we are warming. (see here. In fact, read the report so you actually know what the science says.


    "That is why you have the burden of showing that the warming spike we are currently in is due to CO2 and not the other causes (whatever caused the warming in 1100 AD or 3000 BC)."

    Our current climate theory has no problem accounting for these past warming event (did you know that?), but struggles to explain current warming without anthropogenic factors. Policy has to be informed by theory that works.
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  29. Chris @20:

    I don't understand your reasoning.

    Are you not double counting the .8 - .9C?

    On the one hand we have warmed .8 to .9C, but you then add the .87C equilibrium warming on top of that "since it takes the earth many decades to come to equilibrium with the current forcing resulting from raised greenhouse gases".

    So - what caused the .8 - .9 C warming since 1850, if not natural variability.

    Is it not possible that we are at equilibrium warming, and that it just happened much faster than you assume is possible. Therefore the .87C is the .8 - .9C of warming since 1850.

    What that means is that we will only experience 1.3C of direct warming due to C02 by 2100 - and there is no indirect amplification feedback additional warming.

    Isn't that also consistent with the evidence?
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  30. Rob Painting @26:

    I thought that CO2 followed temperature by around 700 years.

    It seems to me that the ice core data shows that as the temperature rises, that temperature rise causes the CO2 to rise.

    Based on past evidence therefore, the natural warming which may have occurred since 1850 could be the cause of the higher CO2 levels.
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  31. Dave123 #23:

    Only if you have as many Earth's as people have moles.

    To bad we only have one data point.
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  32. Sorry - I meant Dave123 #21.
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  33. Richard, You are almost correct. Given all the natural processes, initial CO2 response _USED_ to be to temperature. Feedbacks and other mechanisms muddle the waters after the initial response.

    Since the industrial revolution, unnatural causes (humans burning fossil fuels and emitting CO2/CH4 through farming and herding) have caused CO2 to lead this cycle by causing temperature rise.

    There is no evidence anywhere in the empirical and computational data that there is a "natural" forcing in play that causes the current warming.

    Search SKS and you will find multiple references, articles, explanations supporting what I just explained.
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  34. Richard Arrett - no amount of scrambling and 'blimp-pointing' will hide the rather humongous self-contradiction of the fake-skeptics. One can't trundle out 'low sensitvity' and 'the climates always changing' and expect to be taken seriously.

    Can you explain to me how both these memes can be true? With reference to the relevant peer-reviewed literature would be nice. Otherwise it's just an assertion, like say......"Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came to my house for dinner last night"
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  35. Richard, please see the detailed explanation on Co2 lags temperature. (In short CO2 is both feedback (which further amplifies warming) and a forcing). This article is about whether there is a case against AGW in the peer-reviewed literature. It is best to discuss in the appropriate place (see the Arguments button on the top left.) If you dont, moderators will delete your posts for being off-topic.

    "So - what caused the .8 - .9 C warming since 1850, if not natural variability."

    GHGs mostly - (see here for actual breakdown) -it just takes time for full amount of warming to be realised but warming is immediate. If you want to argue for natural causes, then tell us what the natural forcing over that period was.

    Also, we can tell that the increased CO2 in atmosphere is not from warming - it has isotope signature of fossil fuel, not the signature you see in the ice bubbles.

    I strongly recommend you look over the arguments list to fix some misconceptions.
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  36. Richard@31...

    You are clearly setting up strawman standards for things.

    There is a vast amount of medical evidence that people are unique and that statistical studies are inadequate for treating individuals....they predict population outcomes, not individuals. That's why we treat people with 5%$ odds or 1% odds or hopeless cases: because each individual is a cohort of 1. So no different that the earth. So much for "only one earth".

    But beyond that, you seem to think that there is something out there overriding the basic physics of the system. You seem to be operating in ignorance of all the work that has been done to exclude alternative possibilities...and even in a court of law, when we've ruled everything else out...the burden falls on skeptics to provide alternative hypotheses....not just imagine that there might be some.

    It's positively insulting to the people who've put this site together for you to suggest that warming has caused the CO2 levels to increase: You demonstrate you are seriously uninformed and uninterested in informing yourself.

    Prowl around this site- you'll find the explanations and original papers showing that the origins of atmospheric CO2 increases come from fossil fuel burning. You'll need to show where else CO2 could be coming from if NOT fossil fuels. You'll need to refute the mass balance requirement, once you read what that bit of logic is. Not to mention that once you hypothesize that the earth has warmed from something other than CO2 since 1850 you have assumed the burden of providing a physical mechanism for said warming. But that's why the burden is on the so-called skeptics.

    But then, were you denying warming has taken place?
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  37. Richard, I am not a scientist, but I flatter myself that I am a true sceptic who forms a view based on evidence, not opinion. I read and understand as much as I can, but there is a great deal which is inaccessible to me because I don't know the math, or physics, or chemistry, or whatever. When I strike that problem, I have to decide whether the reported results are plausible and often that involves me deciding if previous results from the same source have been plausible.

    The problem with the climate denier camp is that they are not offering me any plausible alternative to the science I have been able to digest. If you want to convince people like me, you need to do more than say "I do not need to come up with an alternative theory": on the contrary, for people like me, you need to come up with a weight of plausible evidence demonstrating where the AGW evidence is flawed.
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  38. Richard Arrett - I would take other posters comments even a bit further.

    The theory (not hypothesis) of forcings and climate change fully explains current conditions and changes within acknowledged uncertainties - uncertainties which are constantly reducing with ongoing research.

    "Skeptical" hypotheses fail to explain the data, and tend to add up to kettle logic: a mass of contradictory partial explanations, a logical fallacy at best, deception or self-delusion at worst. They certainly do not represent a functional description of the world around us, a useful handle on what is happening, let alone a description of what influences are present (or accessible to us). As such they are, quite frankly, a waste of time.
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    Response:

    [DB] Fixed link.

  39. #13 Richard Arrett

    "The part which requires that skeptics have the burden of disproving AGW."

    I guess I still don't see that part of the conclusion, can you quote from the post what suggests skeptics have the burden of proof?
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  40. Utahn @39:

    "None of the papers provides the “killer argument,” the one devastating fact that would falsify human-caused global warming."

    This was the portion of the post which suggested that skeptics have the burden of proof (we have to "falsify" the human-caused global warming theory).
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  41. Richard Arrett - "This was the portion of the post which suggested that skeptics have the burden of proof (we have to "falsify" the human-caused global warming theory). "

    Given that the vast preponderance of the data supports human influences on global warming, yes. To quote Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." And refuting the great mass of data supporting the consensus view is a very extraordinary claim indeed...
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  42. Dave123 @36:

    "It's positively insulting to the people who've put this site together for you to suggest that warming has caused the CO2 levels to increase"

    The data show that CO2 lags temperature.

    I thought one of the arguments for increased GHG's was that as the permafrost melted, it released methane gas.

    Is it insulting to suggest that this argument supports the notion that increased warming can cause GHG's to increase?

    I wonder if increasing temperature increases the risk of wildfires, leading to additional CO2 being put into the atmosphere?

    I doubt the people that run this blog find my mild mannered dialog as insulting as you do - but perhaps they will chime in and let me know.
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    Response:

    [DB] "I doubt the people that run this blog find my mild mannered dialog as insulting as you do - but perhaps they will chime in and let me know."

    Can we all dial back the emotions a bit?

    "The data show that CO2 lags temperature."

    You have been pointed out as to the fallacy of this position.  Use the Search function.  Read, learn more.  Comment/question after.  Repeat as necessary.

    "I thought one of the arguments for increased GHG's was that as the permafrost melted, it released methane gas.

    Is it insulting to suggest that this argument supports the notion that increased warming can cause GHG's to increase?"

    It is well-understood that under non-anthropogenically-forced conditions, CO2 is generally a feedback.  Similarly, it is well-understood that under today's injection of long-sequestered fossil-fuel derived GHGs that CO2 is now acting like a forcing.  And will continue to do so for decades after all fossil fuel emissions cease.

    And yes, CO2 forcings raising temperatures also cause feedbacks which release even more greenhouse gases.  Hence the imperative to cease with the hand-waving of delay and act.

  43. 30, 42, Richard Arrett,

    Concerning CO2, temperature, and the transition from a glacial to an interglacial period, please see my recent post here.

    That should clarify for you what you are misunderstanding about the way the components of the system interact.
    0 0
  44. Richard Arrett#40: "This was the portion of the post which suggested that skeptics have ... to "falsify" the human-caused global warming theory."

    Apparently you do not have the data/facts/science to do this, so you're playing the 'argue the argument' card.

    #42: "data show that CO2 lags temperature. "

    Old news. Things have changed: somebody's putting a lot of CO2 into the air, which wasn't there back in those days. What was a feedback is now a forcing, according to physics.

    "suggest that this argument supports the notion that increased warming can cause GHG's to increase?"

    No, its chicken and egg boring. See: CO2 is the biggest control knob. Use the Search function, read and learn.

    But this thread was about a case in the peer-reviewed literature against AGW. Got any worth talking about?
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  45. KR @41:

    So I take it that you agree with me that the post in general, and the portion I quoted in particular do put the burden of proof onto the skeptic?

    You seem to agree that the burden does belong on the skeptic anyway (which I disagree with).

    By the way - the great mass of data you refer to merely show that it has warmed - not what has caused the warming.

    What caused the warming from 1700 to 1850?

    Whatever it was, it was not the rise in CO2 level - right?

    For that matter, it has been warming since 12,000 years ago. Sea level has risen 120 meters since then. What caused that warming?

    How do you know that what caused that warming isn't continuing to cause the latest .8C rise?
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    Response:

    [DB] Those who respond to these various, unsupported assertions...please take it to a more appropriate thread than here.  This is OT here.

  46. Richard Arrett - Find a respective thread to which your assertion relates, and post there. My fault for responding and not ensuring this was done earlier.
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  47. Richard Arrett@45, I am a sceptic and I am not afraid of pointing to the evidence which supports my agreement with the AGW theory. The fact that we are both posting here at SkS means we both have access to a large amount of suitable information.

    In fact, I would hazard a guess that the truly sceptical (ie those who follow the evidence, not the loudest voice) who post here have been pointing to the evidence very clearly since the site opened.

    If you are a sceptic, you must have access to evidence. I ask again for you to produce the evidence that there is a case against AGW in the peer-reviewed literature, as I am not so far impressed by your apparent evasion of the subject.

    If you want to change minds, it is better to appeal to their intelligence than their credulity.
    0 0
  48. Richard:

    natural variability...is the null hypothesis."

    I may be going out on a limb here, but I don't think the term "null hypothesis" is inclusive of mysterious undetected forces that contradict demonstrable facts about how the world works, which seems to be what the "skeptical" definition of natural variability amounts to these days.
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  49. "This was the portion of the post which suggested that skeptics have the burden of proof (we have to 'falsify' the human-caused global warming theory)."

    Saying that no paper falsifies AGW is a statement of fact. The author is just reviewing what he claims to show, that despite what you might think by reading on the blogs, no paper falsifies AGW theory. How does that suggest "the burden of proof" is unfairly on skeptics?

    I agree with a comment upthread that this isn't a court of law, people are just trying to sort out whether bloggy claims about AGW not being real are supported by the peer reviewed literature. I don't see how pointing out that they're not is placing some unfair burden on one side..
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  50. If you want to put up a position in the face of all established science (specifically, how could you increase GHG levels without causing warming), then that is an extraordinary claim. You can only propose natural cause if you can show us a natural cause. In science you must have evidence and that is what the skeptic position is lacking. For a skeptic position to credible, it needs two things:

    1/ A natural forcing to explain current warming.
    2/ A mechanism to negative greenhouse gas warming.

    Discussing a null hypothesis makes no sense in face of actual warming. Something has to cause it.

    To postulate a low sensitivity in the face of both theoretical and empirical data requires demonstrating the existence of a negative forcing. That is the position of Lindzen, Spenser. Just not succeeding so far.
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