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Comments 1 to 50:

  1. 1934 - hottest year on record

    DarkMath, why the heck is only the U.S. "the" issue? It's only 2% of the freakin' globe. But at least for the contiguous 48 states, you are incorrect anyway according to NOAA.

  2. 1934 - hottest year on record

    The issue isn't how hot the U.S. was in the 1930s compared to other parts of the world. The issue is how hot U.S. temperatures NOW compared to the 1930s:

    During the 1930’s, more than 70% of the US reached 100F every year, but now less than 30% of the US typically reaches 100F:

  3. 2016 SkS Weekly News Roundup #35

    `Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’ by Robin McKie, Observer/Guardian, Aug 21, 2016

    FYI, climate scientists (Climate Feedback) judge the scientific credibility of this story to be low.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you Victor. Tomorrow, I will post a link to the Climate Feedback analysis on the SkS Facebook page.

  4. Historical documents reveal Arctic sea ice is disappearing at record speed


    Winter maximum Arctic sea ice growth is limited by the fact that there are two rather large land masses in the way: Russia+Scandinavia, and North America. Once winter is cold enough to fill the entire Arctic basin with sea ice, getting colder won't create much more ice. The small area where it does make a difference (between Greenland and Russia) doesn't make for as much year-to-year variation.

    If you're curious how winter climate influences things, then look at seasonal snow cover. Here is a link to a recent NOAA report on Arctic snow cover extent.

  5. Report Shows Whopping $8.8 Trillion Climate Tab Being Left for Next Generation

    Um...elect what climate champions? 

  6. 2016 SkS Weekly News Roundup #35

    'Toon of the week?

  7. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Tom Dayton:

    I'd modify Victor's "And it is important that a theory can be proven wrong, that it is falsifiable. If not, you did not describe the theory clear enough." I would make that "...can have the balance of evidence showing it wrong," rather than "proven." Always there are assumptions and uncertainties that come along with evidence both theoretical and observed, which prevent absolutely proving anything either true or false.

    Whether a theory can be proven wrong (is falsifiable) is a property of the theory. This does not depend on observations/experiments. This question only needs science and reasoning.

    The balance of the evidence comes into play for the much more subjective question whether a theory is falsified. I would argue that this is "subjective" during the transition periods between theories. during such a transition (paradigm)  change, subjective assessments of elegance, conciseness, trust in experiments, adding apples and oranges (theory A does X well, theory B does Y well) come into play.

    Once the dust settles, the weight of the evidence normally clearly points to one theory.

    It is interesting when a scientist thinks to have a research program that can challenge the current dominant paradigm. Those are the big names you'd like to listen to.

    A scientist who is not able to honestly acknowledge that current evidence supports the dominant paradigm is, however, likely a really bad scientist and also not likely to topple the paradigm. You have to know what you are fighting.

  8. Historical documents reveal Arctic sea ice is disappearing at record speed

    Why is the end-summer extent considered more critical than the end-March extent, and why isn't the end-March extent changing?  Are summer temps more affected?  Just wondering if there is a known explanation.

  9. TV Meteorologists Warm to Climate Science

    Moderators, is there a "fast-track" pathway for red-flagging spam ?

    Some bot-like poster has copy/pasted part of PluviAL's 18th August post, and embedded a link of some sort (in a 27th August post).

    Please delete my post here.

    Moderator Response:

    [TD] Spam deleted, thanks for the heads up. With moderators spread around the world usually one of us catches spam quickly.

  10. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Tom Curtis at 20

    Yes subjective does not mean irrational. I was being a bit rhetorical and wondering aloud.

    I also have no problem with climate sceptics provided they make rational arguments etc as you point out. Scepticism is important and it's important to avoid "group think".

    The trouble is those rational sceptics are thin on the ground. We have an army of liars and deceivers who have no conscience about what they say, and others that just can't seem to see reason. This is partly why I post a few comments, as to why I think sceptical arguments that I have seen so far don't make sense.

    I made much the same comment above on the earth being a sphere. Some things have such obvious proof / evidence we can accept them as proven for all practical purposes, even if strictly and philosophically nothing can be 100% proven.

    One of the issues for me with climate change is there is a vast amount of published science running to thousands of papers, so the only way to figure out where the weight of evidence really is requires assessing all that research. Theres no one defining paper or experiment etc.

    No one person can review all this no matter how clever they might be, and so we rely on the IPCC. In that sense consensus is important. It's maybe not ideal, but I just can't see what else we do. In fact the process is basically sound and this is why I get frustrated with criticism of the IPCC.

  11. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    nigelj @15, subjective but not irrational.  Specifically, while different scientists may place greater emphasis on different factors (elegance of the theory, experimental data etc), all scientists should be able to agree whether or not a particular experiment is favourable or unfavourable to a particular theory, and to a certain degree, which theory is more favoured by the evidence overall.  

    That said, there are many theories in which the support of the evidence is so overwhelming relative to competing theories that only a certain bloodiness of mind can jusfify holding onto one of the alternatives.  Even so, doing so is still rational provided you keep proper score.  Sometimes such bloodiness of mind pays of with a revision of the theory, or new and surprising evidence, throwing everything in a new light, and making the formerly moribund theory the consensus view.  On that score, I have no problem with scientists (professional or amateur) rejecting AGW, provided they do not also cherry pick data, employ bogus mathematics, and that they fairly acknowledge the weight of evidence against them; that is, provided they do not take the step from science to pseudoscience.  

    Further, there are some scientific theories so well supported by the evidence that rejection of them can only be considered irrational (the near sphericity of the Earth comes to mind).

    @19, consensus plays a peculiar role in science.  It is not, and never should be used as a basis of determining the correctness or otherwise of a theory.  However, the days a long past when any scientist can critically analyse all of science, or even all of chemistry, or biology, or physics etc.  Ergo, like it or not scientists must rely on theories, the evidence for which they are only superficially aware of.  In that situation, they can justifiably accept robust, consensus positions as foundations for further research.  If instead they want to reject the consensus position, they need to in fact become expert in the field whose consensus they reject (with the probable consequence that that is the field in which they research and publish) before using the alternate theory as the basis of their future work.

    In a similar role, in public policy the consensus position should always be accepted in that the implimenters of the policy will not become sufficiently expert to judge between the consensus position and its alternatives.

  12. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Tom Dayton @17

    "Science is judgement and decision making."

    Fair enough. Could't agree more actually.

    Ultimately its also a consensus of the views of scientists that are in agreement over things that are hard to sometimes transparently quantify.

    Scientific method is interesting and conventional definitions are fine by me. (observation, idea, experiment etc). However its hard to be precise about the "correct scientific method" beyond this and maybe we should not be too narrow in definitions.

    I liked some defintion somebody had "Science is about using your noodle and getting on with it"!

  13. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Well string theory is many peoples idea of something that isnt science yet because it isnt falsibable even in theory. However, it is actually constrained by observation (ie the vast bulk of physical experimentation) so in that sense I accept it as science. To my mind, science is logic constrained by observation.

  14. It's Pacific Decadal Oscillation

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Going out for ice cream: a first date with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation by Tom Di Liberto, NOAA, Aug 25, 2016

  15. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Yes, nigelj, it is indeed all rather subjective. That's science. Science is judgment and decision making.

  16. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Falsifiability is a good characteristic of a "scientific" theory, but absolutely not an absolutely necessary one. A common example is string theories, which traditionally have not been falsifiable even in principle. Proponents prefer to add "not falsifiable yet," because it seems reasonable to be optimistic about the potential to make them falsifiable. Support for that optimism comes from a team that recently claims at least one flavor of a string theory is potentially falsifiable. In contrast, the supernatural explanation "God did it" for everything is in principle not falsifiable, with no reason for thinking it ever could be falsified. Theories can be scientific and even valuable even if they are not falsifiable, if they rate high on other attributes of good scientific theory, such as fruitfulness, parsimony, and gut-level-explanatory-satisfying.

  17. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Tom Curtis @14

    I accept paragraph one. I also often comment for the wider readership on various subjects, rather than just to convince the person I'm replying to.

    Regarding the rest of your comments in paragraphs two and three, I accept one single experiment would not falsify a theory, as all experiments are based on theories regarding instruments and methods, of which we cannot be 100% certain.  But how many experiments would you need? It seems the same point applies over and over. One could argue we have 'enough' experiments,  and they have strong underlying theories, but all that is rather subjective.

  18. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    nigelj @12, first, I certainly had no intention to "talk down to you".  In everything I write at SkS, I am always aware that this is primarilly an educational cite, whose readership is much larger than the number of people who commentate, and who cannot be presumed to have a significant education in science, still less philosophy of science.  As a result I am inclined to go back to basics, to spell out things in small steps, and to link to sources of technical terms, even when I know that is not necessary for the person to whom I directly respond.  If that has, in this case, created an impression of condescension, I am sorry.

    That said, however, your response shows that you have not appreciated, or do not agree with my fundamental point.  Quoting Lakatos again, "There are no such things as crucial experiments".  No single experiment can ever falsify a theory by itself, still less a scientific research program.  That is because every experiment uses instruments that are presumed to operate in a particular way based on yet other theories, so that the "failure" of the experiment calls into question not just the one theory, but all theories involved in the design of the instruments.  An experiment, together with an assessment of the relative robustness of the theories under test and involved in understanding the instruments may lead to the dropping of a particular theory as falsified, but that assessment itself involves knowledge of the reliability of the different theories in other experiments, not to mention assessments of their relative cohesion and simplicity.

    One experiment may act as the final straw for a given scientist, or a large number of scientists; but if other scientists continue to espouse the theory, that does not thereby make them irrational.

  19. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    I'd modify Victor's "And it is important that a theory can be proven wrong, that it is falsifiable. If not, you did not describe the theory clear enough." I would make that "...can have the balance of evidence showing it wrong," rather than "proven." Always there are assumptions and uncertainties that come along with evidence both theoretical and observed, which prevent absolutely proving anything either true or false.

  20. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Tom Curtis @11

    Yes I agree that Einsteins "alleged" quote on experiments could be manipulated by climate deniers. However your point seems a little pedantic to me, as we are always going to get this sort of thing from deniers. For example it's well known that a theory can also be falsified by new information or discrepancies, and deniers can point at this as a general belief that any reputable scientist would subscribe to. Sadly denialists will try to find some so called new information, and missunderstand it or twist it. 

    And basically one experiment could falsify a theory, but it would have to be a convincing experiment replicated etc. The more compelling the theory the more convincing the experiment would have to be.

    I was really just making the point that deniers want 100% proof of climate change theory, when this is a strawman argument because 100% proof is impossible in any major theory of science. Proof belongs to mathematics.

    Please dont talk down to me about problems of observations. I mentioned the same thing in my post. Try to read past line one. 

    I'm also well aware that a complex but well established theory like climate change is not falsified by some problem with some specific aspect. Although the usual suspects would swear black and blue it is.

  21. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    nigelj @10, it matters because AGW deniers and other pseudoscientists latch on to the Einstein quote and insist that all the entire theory of AGW (or evolution, or the safety of vaccines) has been overthrown by their one preferred experiment that they are probably misinterpretting in any event.  

    Neither of the actual quotes from Einstein (@2 above) supports this sort of naive falsificationism.  It is possible from the second of the quotes that Einstein was a naive falsificationist, but that is not consistent with generally deep thinking about philosophy of science.  Certainly, Popper, who Einstein highly praised, was not a naive faslificationist, saying:

    "Every test of a theory, whether resulting in its corroboration or falsification, must stop at some basic statement or other which we decide to accept. If we do not come to any decision, and do not accept some basic statement or other, then the test will have led nowhere. But considered from a logical point of view, the situation is never such that it compels us to stop at this particular basic statement rather than at that, or else give up the test altogether. For any basic statement can again in its turn be subjected to tests, using as a touchstone any of the basic statements which can be deduced from it with the help of some theory, either the one under test, or another. This procedure has no natural end. Thus if the test is to lead us anywhere, nothing remains but to stop at some point or other and say that we are satisfied, for the time being."

    (See my discussion here.)

    This can be illustrated by Einstein's general theory of relativity, and his cosmological constant which he once described as his greatest mistake, but which is no being rehabilitated.  In essence, at the time Einstein formulated the general theory (1915), astronomers believed that the universe consisted of just one galaxy.  That theory was not disproved until 1923, by Erwin Hubble.  Because a single galaxy is necessarilly non-expanding, Einstein felt a need to modify his theory so that it predicted a non-expanding universe to fit the "observations" of the astronomers.

    It may be objected that the non-existence of other galaxies was itself a theory, not an observation, but that misses the point.  All observations are theories, if often simpler theories - unless we restrict the term to descriptions of the instensity and relative spacing of various colours, sounds, tastes, smells and sensations.  Even the "observation" that the pressure on my fingertips is caused by the cup I can see in my hand goes well beyond the strict data and represents the very often believed, but potentially wrong (at least from a logical point of view) theory of the existence of an external world.  Indeed, sometimes such "observations" are falsified in our own experience, as when we have a dream that accounts for a phenomenon in the dream, which upon waking we discover was a real phenomenon intruding into our sleeping mind.

    If that is getting too philosophical for you, Victor's example @9 well illustrates the point that "observations" are not just given.  They come with certain assumptions which themselves can be falsified.  In a similar vain, Eddington's famous observations that "confirmed" general relativity included observations from two instruments.  Those from one more closely matched the predictions of General Relativity, while those from the other more closely matched Newton's theory, as interpreted at the time.  The later were discarded as inferior, but clearly no simple falsification of Newton was involved.  To further complicate things, the discrepant observations were later (1979) reanalyzed as being more in agreement with General Relativity.

    Further, as Lakatos said, all new theories are born in a sea of anomalies (ie, of "observations" that contradict the theory but that are put aside in the short term in the hope that later analysis will clear them up).  Elsewhere he wrote:

    "In the distorting mirror of naive falsificationism, new theories which replace old refuted ones, are themselves born unrefuted. Therefore they do not believe that there is a relevant difference between anomalies and crucial counterevidence. For them, anomaly is a dishonest euphemism for counterevidence. But in actual history new theories are born refuted: they inherit many anomalies of the old theory. Moreover, frequently it is only the new theory which dramatically predicts that fact which will function as crucial counterevidence against its predecessor, while the ‘old’ anomalies may well stay on as ‘new’ anomalies."

    (Foot note 14.  It is highly recommended that you read the whole article.)

  22. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Does it even matter precisely what Einstein said? We all get the general theme of what he was saying, which is perfectly reasonable, namely that you can't be 100% certain about some theory, or 100% prove a theory. In fact proof really only applies to mathematics.

    Maybe one day we would have 100% certainty. However at "this stage" of human development we can't really be 100% for numerous different reasons. For example we can't be certain observations are always 100% correct, and we cant be 100% certain things like inductive logic would always produce the right answer.

    But we can be about 99% certain that various theories or laws are correct, at least in a certain range of definable conditions. For example we would have to be at least 99% certain of the theory of evolution.

    This is the best we can do, some level of certainty. Humanity either bases it's decisions on science and levels of certainty, or mysticism. Theres no other alternative.

    Sometimes we just have to accept some things are certain for all practical purposes. The world is 99.999% certain to be a sphere (or oblate spheroid whatever the correct shape is). It would only be flat if we were all living in some "Matrix" like the movie, and being deceived into thinking it was a sphere. Chances of this are not high. 

  23. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming


    "Even if Einstein didn't say "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong", is there still truth or value in the statement?"

    There is a core of truth in this. You cannot prove that a theory is right. Certainty is the realm of religion.

    And it is important that a theory can be proven wrong, that it is falsifiable. If not, you did not describe the theory clear enough.

    However, actually showing a theory to be wrong is normally not just "one experiment". Because one experiment always tests a multitude of theories. In case of the faster than light neutrinos, a theory that was tested was that the cable was attached well to the instrument. That turned out to be the theory that was refuted and not the theory that nothing can go faster than light.

  24. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Even if Einstein didn't say "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong", is there still truth or value in the statement?

  25. State of the Climate 2015: global warming and El Niño sent records tumbling

    nigelj @ 5

    Thanks for clarifying the issue for me

  26. One Planet Only Forever at 01:05 AM on 26 August 2016
    Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    In my previous comment I had not included another group that always needs "excuses". The fans of full freedom of everyone in Free Market Capitalism.

    The understanding and explanations of what is wrong with allowing everyone to be free to do as they please lead to requirements for the advancement of humanity that are contrary to the interests of many people who developed a taste for getting away with benefiting from activities that can be understood to be unacceptable, activities that all of humanity can not be allowed to develop to enjoy, activities that even a portion of humanity cannot continue to benefit from indefinitely on this amazing planet, activities that have to be fought over by people trying to be the ones who get to enjoy the most personal benefit, fighting that has to be "excused".

  27. One Planet Only Forever at 00:56 AM on 26 August 2016
    Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    "The main blog of the mitigation skeptical movement, WUWT, on the other hand is famous for calling trying to understand the reasons for discrepancies: "excuses""

    The use of the term "excuses" by the likes of WUWT can be "Understood and Explained".

    Many people who know they behave unacceptably "excuse" their behaviour by claiming everyone else is like them. If they did not have a way to "excuse" what they can understand is unjustified they would feel obliged to change their thinking, beliefs and behaviours.

    Of course, those who are guided by the pursuit of better understanding with an honourable objective, like “the advancement of humanity to a lasting better future for all”, are open to constantly changing their minds, but only when it is justified by the accumulated evidence (and since there is never likely to be evidence regarding spiritual matters they can maintain a scientific way of thinking while maintaining spiritual beliefs).

    As Einstein said "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

    So it is possible to "understand and explain" why the likes of WUWT resort to the term "excuses" rather than "explanations". And it is also possible to understand the high number of fundamentalist religious adherents who are in the habit of using “excuses” for their preferred beliefs. But that "understanding and explanation" does not "excuse" what they desire to believe and try to get away with doing.

  28. meher engineer at 16:34 PM on 25 August 2016
    Katharine Hayhoe on Climate and our Choices

    well said, DR Hayhoe. Have circulated the video widely.

  29. One Planet Only Forever at 14:28 PM on 25 August 2016
    Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    There are other things to keep in mind regarding Einstein quotes.

    "The Great Thoughts" compiled by George Seldes and published in 1985, includes the following footnote regarding the Einstein quotes included in it:

    "All quotes dated up to October 1954 were acknowledged and corrected by Dr. Einstein, who read the Mss. and replied: "Many things which go under my name are badly translated from German or are invented by other people." Among the paragraphs Dr. Einstein deleted, for example, was his supposed reply "There is no hitching-post in the Universe" to the request for a "one-line definition of the theory of relativity" made by a boat-train reporter the day he arrived in America (December 30, 1930)."

  30. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Over at Victor Venema's blog, the comment I liked best was the one that said:

    "As Einstein himself noted, "I never said half the crap they say I did on the Internet."

  31. Katharine Hayhoe on Climate and our Choices

    Dr. Hayhoe will also be interviewed highly publicly in September during the Texas Tribune "Tribfest", Sat., Sept. 24, 3 pm. Unfortunately, they named the session The Gospel of Climate, playing straight into the "climate change science is a religion" crowd ... no doubt a provocative title. On top of that, Dr. Hayhoe will be one of only two scientists/intellectuals (Dr. Webber from UT the other) in the whole field of speakers in the Energy and Environment sessions ... good luck!

  32. State of the Climate 2015: global warming and El Niño sent records tumbling

    Jonbo @ 4.

    Good article in your link. The PDO is swinging positive to a warming phase, and the AMO could be swinging to a cooling phase, all over the next decade or so. Remember neither of these drives global warming from greenhouse gases, and can only influence that trend to some extent.

    However the Pacific ocean is larger, so would be the dominant force globally and is entering a warming phase. We are heading for warming globally as a whole, but some north atlantic coastal areas could maybe cool or warm more slowly, or have associated dry periods.

  33. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    Also at my blog the main discussion was about the sources for the Einstein quotes. It does not matter much for the story, but I will be more careful next time.

  34. 2016 SkS Weekly News Roundup #34

    Reposting here Mary Ellen Harte's semi-weekly compilation of Climate Change and Green-Energy links in Huffington Post for interested parties.

  35. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    I have always been a bit suspicious of the quote, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong" often attributed to Einstein.  That quote espouses a naive falsificationism which is inconsistent with the subtle thought of Einstein on the philosophy of science.  It turns out the quote appears in none of Einstein's writtings, and though attributed to Einstein by several sources in print, none of those attributions specify at time, place or person to whom it was said.  Therefore, the quote must be considered dubious at best.

    Einstein has written similar things.  In "Induction and Deduction in Physics" he wrote:

    "A theory can thus be recognized as erroneous if there is a logical error in its deductions, or as inadequate if a fact is not in agreement with its consequences. But the truth of a theory can never be proven. For one never knows that even in the future no experience will be encountered which contradicts its consequences; and still other systems of thought are always conceivable which are capable of joining together the same given facts."

    And in an unpublished note he wrote:

    "The scientific theorist is not to be envied. For Nature, or more precisely experiment, is an inexorable and not very friendly judge of his work. It never says "Yes" to a theory. In the most favorable cases it says "Maybe," and in the great majority of cases simply "No." If an experiment agrees with a theory it means for the latter "Maybe," and if it does not agree it means "No." Probably every theory will someday experience its "No"—most theories, soon after conception."


  36. gorm raabo larsen at 07:03 AM on 25 August 2016
    Katharine Hayhoe on Climate and our Choices

    Thanks - Brief and Excellent !

  37. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    MA Rodger & Tom Curtis:

    Because Victor cannot abide by the SkS Comments Policy, he has relinquished his privilege of posting comments on this site. Therefore, please do no post any new responses to him.

    Thank you.

  38. at 06:42 AM on 25 August 2016
    There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    #121 MARodger:

    What Lovejoy's Figure 3a represents to me is how easily data can be distorted to support just about any theory, providing one is clever enough to adroitly juggle the statistics. And of course Lovejoy is not alone. I see this sort of distortion everywhere in the cli. sci. literature.

    For some examples see the following list

    It wouldn't be so bad if the various attempts reinforced one another or were even consistent with one another, but in most cases they are not. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It's not enough to pull a few rabbits out of a hat. The evidence must be there, it must be clear and it must be objective. While highly complex and even convoluted technical discussions are appropriate in a purely scientific paper, it should be possible to boil all that down into a clear and simple explanation that any educated person can understand. And no, simply reiterating over and over that "climate change is real" won't do. 

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Sloganeering snipped.

    [DB] This participant has recused themselves from further participation in this venue, finding the burden of complying with this venue's Comments Policy too onerous.

  39. at 06:17 AM on 25 August 2016
    IPCC admits global warming has paused

    #10 Tom Curtis: "Further, your argument against the temperature effect of CO2 is entirely statistical."

    I never said I rejected statistics. My point, in agreement with Fyfe's point, is that it is not always the best tool in all circumstances and can sometimes distort the physical reality behind the raw data. 

  40. State of the Climate 2015: global warming and El Niño sent records tumbling

    Thanks for the replies. I read the post article, which looks like we will experience warming from the PDO but then I read that we are entering a cooling period in the AMO. Whether these two effects will balance each other out regarding overall surface tempeature, I haven't a clue.

  41. Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    Old Sage: Your most recent comment was deleted itn its entirety because it violated a number of prohibitions set forth in the SkS Comments Policy

    You are now on the cusp of relinquishing your privilege of posting comments on this site.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Old sage needs to answer the question above. He instead asks questions readily answered in a text book and by people here (see Postive feedback = runaway greenhouse) but seems utterly incapable of understanding the answer. Answering how he understands the temperature of a surface to be determined is best way to sort out misunderstanding/misapplications of physics.

  42. at 01:39 AM on 25 August 2016
    There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    #130 MARodger. Thanks very much for going to all this trouble, MA. I won't respond in detail for the usual reason, so all I'll say at this point is:

    I see what Wolfe sees.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The discussion of scatter plots has now run its course. It's time to move on to other topics.

  43. Climate-related disasters raise conflict risk, study says


    What you are refering to is called CO2 fertilization, a stabilizing feedback. This stabilizing feedback, all else equal, should be large enough to counter emissions, given a healthy environment. But the environment is not healthy, and this stabilizing feedback is far too small to counteract fossil fuel emissions. Second factor often neglected is that leaves are not all created equal. While C4 plants (mostly grasses) represent only 3 % of species, they represent a disproportionately large % by more than an order of magnitude of photosynthesis due to higher efficiency. They also do better at lower atmospheric CO2 levels. Those same grasses while temporarily fixing more CO2 also have a mature phase with highly increased albedo. (amber waves of grain?) And the 4th factor is instead of producing a woody trunk, c4 grasses put 30% or more of those increased products of photosynthesis directly into the soil in what is called the "liquid carbon pathway". Not only is a higher rate of carbon fixed, but a much higher % is directed into the stable carbon pool as opposed to the labile carbon pool. This "greening" is actually part of a transition to lower efficiency plant species in some areas and part of the long slow process of desertification in some areas as well. (less soil carbon holds less water in the soil to hold plants over through a drought)

    So while you can claim that "seems to fly in the face" if you wish, but digging deeper into the highly nuanced interactions actually brings a different result.

  44. Climate-related disasters raise conflict risk, study says

    Speaking of envronmental degredataion, check out the recently created website:

    Sixteen years of change in the global human footprint 

    The human footprint map measures the cumulative impact of direct pressures on nature from human activities. It includes eight inputs:

    • the extent of built environments,
    • crop land,
    • pasture land,
    • human population density,
    • night-time lights,
    • railways,
    • roads, and
    • navigable waterways.
  45. These are the best arguments from the 3% of climate scientist 'skeptics.' Really.

    eljoris @13, any "current flow" in space is in the form of the passage of positive (typically protons or ionized helium nuclei) or negative particles (typically electrons).  As such, in the vicinity of the Earth, such currents are experienced as components of the solar wind, or galactic cosmic rays; and the energy of the "electrical current" is just part of the energy contributed by those sources.  Both have been quantified, with cosmic rays contributing approximately 0.0000032 W/m^2, and the solar wind contributing a relatively "massive" 0.00035 W/m^2.  These figures include the energy from the particles physical impact, along with that from any current they carry.  For comparison, the total anthropogenic forcing increased by about 1.8 W/m^2 from 1880 to 2010, ie, approximately 560,000 times the energy recieved from cosmic rays, and 5000 times the energy received from the solar wind.  Because these energy sources are so small relative to the normal forings (changes in solar output, volcanism, anthropogenic forcings) they are neglected by climate scientists.

    Cosmic rays may have a secondary effect in which they influence cloud albedo and cloud greenhouse effect.  Current evidence suggest that any such effect is small, but potentially much larger than any direct energy effect.  Climate scientists certainly pay attention to this possibility. 

  46. Naïve empiricism and what theory suggests about errors in observed global warming

    When theory and observations do not match, the theory can be wrong, the observations can be wrong and the comparison can be wrong. What is called observations is nearly always something that was computed from observations and also that computation can be imperfect. Only when we understand the reason, can we say what it was. 

    This is a really good comment and one the deniers don't get. All their hot air about the pause/hiatus and the "excuses" examining the internal variables that could result in such periods is a good example.


    All the best.

  47. These are the best arguments from the 3% of climate scientist 'skeptics.' Really.

    As a layman, and non native English speaker, I have a question for the well read to which I haven't yet found an answer on this site: The Earth with its magnetic field is a giant electric dynamo floating in the open electric environment of the solar system which is not separated from the electrical environment of the galaxy. Furthermore, the vacuum of space is a plasma filled environment with loose electrons and electric potentials do generate current flows over intergalactic distances. (This is not even controversial.)

    The physical parts of the Dynamo heat up depending on the intensity of this flux, and science does already know that voltage potentials in the sun-earth space vary with time. Wouldn't it be scientifically prudent to atleast send probes out to verify how this variable changes over time at various points in the solar system and outside of the solar system in our small branch of the galaxy? 

    Compared to this large potential for external forcing (pun intended), and various interacting cycles -which might depend on the relative position and movement of our earth within and through this field of electric potentials-, CO2 and for that matter all other earth based variables might just be overqualified and overweighted. 

    Is this potential mechanism actively being researched? I would like to know how climate science has refutiated that hypothesis because it just 'feels' like something you would need a well researched answer to, taking into account various cycles. Do they even keep an open mind to that possibility or just turn a blind eye to it? 

    Kind regards.

  48. There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    Concerning the bogus nature of the Danley Wolfe graphic introduced into this discussion by Victor Gauer (but on the wrong thread).

    May I introduce my own graphic of three panels that illustrates the bogus nature of Wolfe's analysis, my graphic linked here (usualy 2 clicks to 'download your attachment')

    The top panel reproduces Wolfe's data plot, LOTI (I actually use LOTI as published in May 2014 - what should have been the Wolfe data - it is very close to Wolfe's data and indestinguishable for the data most recent to May 2014) plotted against MLO CO2. Note Wolfe repeatedly says he uses GISTEMP Met Station data but he is obviously wrong. He uses LOTI but adds 14ºC to the values. He calls this "absolute" rather than an anomaly although it is simply the anomaly shifted by 14ºC so not the monthly "absolute" values.

    Added to the Wolfe data is the LOTI data for June 2014-to-date as published today. The annual CO2 cycle (unlike the annual LOTI cycle) remains as per Wolfe's plot. Its inclusion has no physical justification, just as retaining the annual LOTI cycle would have no physical justifictaion. Its inclusion is patently wrong.

    The central panel plots the same data but adds a trace using 12-month averages for MLO CO2 and a red trace that additionally uses the 12-month averages for temperature. As the rate of increase in CO2 has been rising over the decades, the red trace is effectively the LOTI time series but with the early years squished up and the later years stretched out. The ratio of most-squished:most-stretched is about 1:3. So conpared with the more normal time series plot of LOTI, this CO2-series plot will markedly eccentuate any slowdown in the LOTI record during the later years.

    The third panel introduces the trend lines drawn on by Wolfe (the black trace). The flat part of the trend for the later years is not calculated as Wolfe describes. Wolfe's "1998-2014" result can be reproduced (down to the "158 observations") using May 2014 published data and the period 4/2001-5/2014. The other flat trend for the earlier years is undescribed by Wolfe. Importantly, the sloping trend Wolfe shows joining the flat eary section to the flat later section cannot be the result of any analysis. It is probably drawn fancifully simply to connect the top and bottom flat trends. It is entirely bogus.

    The yellow trend is the OLS trend for Wolfe's data through the middle part of the data with the narrower yellow lines extending that trend to the ends of the data. The OLS trend for the entirety of Wolfe's data is represented by the white plot and is very little different from the full-length yellow trend plot. It is thus evidently bogus to attempt to argue that there are any periods either at the start or at the end of this data with significantly lower trends. Yet Wolfe does just that!!!

  49. at 14:19 PM on 24 August 2016
    There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    #127 P.S.

    Tom, if you go to the SkSc trend calculator, setting the start date to 1960, the end date to 2016, and the moving average to 0 — and select HadCrut4, you'll see a more up-to-date representation that's even closer to your scattergram.

  50. at 13:52 PM on 24 August 2016
    There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

    Tom's scatterplot

    Global warming 1960-2009

    (from this site

    #127  So, Tom, what you are saying is that the congruence I see between these two graphs is a meaningless optical illusion?

    One other thing. Your correltion of 0.857 covers the entire scattergram, which was not the point. The claim is that three different scattergrams are represented, the first showing little to no correlation, the middle showing significant correlation and the last also showing no significant correlation. That's what I see in both Wolfe's graph and yours. And if there's a problem assigning a statistically derived value to each of these because they're too short, then as I see that's a problem with the statistical methodology, not with our ability to evaluate the data per se.

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