Answers to the House Committee on Cross-Validation Statistics

In a recent post, I showed that MBH had calculated cross-validation R2 statistics, but this information had been excluded from their summary of cross-validation statistics in their Supplementary Information here. We had surmised this in our original article, but had previously been unable to absolutely prove it. The House Committee requested information from M,B and H about whether they calculated the R2 and other cross-validation statistics. It’s interesting to look at their responses with this information in mind.

The question to all three was as follows: (question 7 to Mann, question 6 to the others):

7. Provide a detailed narrative explanation of these alleged errors and how these may affect the underlying conclusions of the work, including, but not limited to answers to the following questions:
c. Did you calculate the R2 statistic for the temperature reconstruction, particularly for the 15th Century proxy record calculations and what were the results?
d. What validation statistics did you calculate for the reconstruction prior to 1820, and what were the results?

Hughes does not provide a sequential answer to the questions sent to him by the House Committee. Instead, he writes a discursive letter, selectively replying to questions, but nowhere answering these questions.

Bradley does provide a sequential letter, but his response to his question 6 likewise does not answer either of these questions. Instead, he editorializes on journal review procedures and cites a realclimate posting. The cited realclimate post does not contain any information about whether MBH calculated the R2 and other cross-validation statistics. I’ve responded to the issues in this realclimate posting in posts Errors Matter #1, #2 , #3 and here, as well as elsewhere on this blog

So now to Mann. As usual, Mann is not short of verbiage. The answer to 7C essentially re-states a position previously put forward at realclimate here , in which Cook et al [2004] as well as Luterbacher et al [2004] were cited. I provided a reply to this here, noting ironically that Cook et al [2004] used an R2 statistic . Cook et al is not cited to the House Committee. So Mann’s down to one citation.

The Wilks’ citation is also interesting. If you look at equation 7.20 in Wilks, the RE statistic is necessarily lower than the R2 statistic if the series meet stationarity conditions required to establish a linear relationship. At most Wilks says that an R2 statistic is not sufficient (not that it is not necessary). If you watch Mann’s argument, he switches from sufficient conditions to necessary conditions with a conjurer’s skill. For example, he’ll find a text saying that an R2 statistic is not sufficient for statistical significance (a point with which I agree) and then say that this shows that an R2 statistic is not necessary for statistical significance — a point with which I disagree and which he’ll have a hard time finding any reputable statistical authority outside the climate science community to endorse. I’ll re-visit these issues on another occasion.

Here I want to focus on his answer to 7D (which is avoided by Bradley and Hughes), Mann says:

A(7D): The Committee asks “[w]hat validation statistics did you calculate for the reconstruction prior to 1820, and what were the results?” Our validation statistics were described in detail in a table provided in the supplementary information on Nature’s website accompanying our original nature article, Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S., Hughes, M.K., Global-Scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing Over the Past Six Centuries, Nature, 392, 779-787 (1998). These statistics remain on Nature’s website (see http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v392/n6678/suppinfo/392779a0.html) and on our own website. See ftp:holocene.evsc.virginia.edu/pub/Mannetal98.

First if you go to the Nature website http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v392/n6678/suppinfo/392779a0.html and follow the links, you will find that the statistics are deleted (I pointed this out a few months ago.) I continue to be blocked from Mann’s FTP site at UVA, but my recollection is that these statistics are not at this website. (I’ll verify and edit this point.) However, the statistics do still maintain a precarious existence at the original Umass FTP site : ftp://eclogite.geo.umass.edu/pub/mann/ONLINE-PREPRINTS/MultiProxy/stats-supp.html.

As I pointed out yesterday, the cross-validation R2 statistic is not included in this table, but was definitely calculated in Mann’s recently released source code, as was the Nino RE statistic (for which only the R2 statistic was reported). So Mann has given an incorrect and highly misleading answer to the House Commitee on a point that is not incidental, but at the heart of the matter. Mann sure seems to be playing with fire.


125 Comments

  1. John A
    Posted Jul 22, 2005 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    I’m not a politician, but if I was, and saw replies that either ducked direct questions or gave woolly answers to them, then I’d be tempted to ask them for a little face time to discuss this.

    The specific questions asked by the Committee demanded specific replies. I hope Mann, Bradley and Hughes have asbestos suits in the closet.

    There’s also the question of the “CENSORED” directories. Now what were they all about?

  2. JerryB
    Posted Jul 22, 2005 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    While some of the issues that Steve raises may be more technical than some readers can follow, the issues need to be raised for those readers who can follow them.

  3. per
    Posted Jul 22, 2005 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    George Galloway gave evidence to a US committee recently, and after taking a verbal pounding, one of the US lawmakers commented archly that Gorgeous George had given all his evidence in a forum where he would be subject to perjury laws if his testimony was inaccurate.

    I wonder if there are any onerous conditions when giving evidence to a house committee. It certainly strikes me that refusing to answer a question, or saying something that is demonstrably untrue, is liable to change the terms of an arcane mathematical argument into “lying to the House”. That latter charge is very easy to understand, and segues nicely into “cover-up”.

    yours
    per

  4. Reid B
    Posted Jul 22, 2005 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    per,

    Not answering questions from the House Subcommittee investigation can lead to Contempt of Congress charges. The offender can be jailed indefinitely until they start cooperating. Lying to the Subcommittee is a criminal felony.

    MBH can’t play their obstruction game with Congress. As a longtime sceptic I was overjoyed when I heard of Barton’s investigation.

  5. Doug L
    Posted Jul 22, 2005 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

    Speaking congress,
    here is the tip line for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for waste fraud and abuse. (This is Chairman Barton’s Committee, Unless you are in his district, you cannot email his office)

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/tipline.htm

    This is the email for the House Science Committee:

    Science@mail.house.gov

  6. James Lane
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    Yes, I noticed Mann’s switch from neccessary conditions to sufficient conditions on my first read of his response to Barton. To anyone that understands the statistics involved, it’s quite obvious.

    Essentially, he plays down the R2 stat by saying a high value isn’t sufficient to establish significance (true), but avoids the fact that a low (or zero) R2, as Steve has calculated, is a huge red flag.

    It’s impossible to believe that Mann doesn’t understand this.

    Hi, James. Nice to see you here. Another damning curiosity that makes Mann’s position even more tenuous is that he showed the R2 statistic for his Nino results, but he also calculated an RE statistic for his Nino results which he did not show. Also in other articles, where R2 statistics have been favorable to his case (e.g. Mann and Jones 2003), he has used R2 statistics. Did you notice Mann’s snide pedantic comment to the Committee that by “R2″ he presumed they meant “r2″? Cheers, Steve

  7. Doug L
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    Re #7 by James Lane:

    “It’s impossible to believe that Mann doesn’t understand this. ”

    This sounds like an inference of deliberate error. I wonder if that is appropriate to report to the waste fraud and abuse line mentioned in #6?

    Supposedly, there is another channel to reach the Committee on Energy and Commerce, this page has a form for four different input types:

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/feedback.htm

    I tried it recently, and received an error message. I reported to where the error message suggested. If it continues, perhaps someone should inform the people on the waste fraud and abuse line so they don’t become burdened by irrelevencies.

  8. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

    Considering that McIntyre and McKitrick’s past work has been fraught with elemental errors, one has to wonder about the credibility of this line of argument.

    No independent scientific group has found McIntyre and McKitrick’s claims to be valid. They seem to be unable to publish their work in credible scientific journals. Energy & Environment is not a peer reviewed scientific journal. Energy & Environment failed to peer review McIntyre and McKitrick’s paper, rushing it into print for political reasons. Finally, McIntyre and McKitrick’s work has been discredited by peer reviewed scientific analysis.

    Maybe the real reason McIntyre and McKitrick’s work hasn’t been published in a credible peer-reviewed journal is because Wahl and Amman are correct that McIntyre and McKitrick’s results are “without statistical and climatological merit.”

    Politicizing of data and source code requests has been a big hit with those who are politically motivated to do nothing about global warming. The leading recipient of oil industry campaign contributions in the US congress has picked up Climate Audit’s inquisition of a trio of climate scientists, and a single research paper, in some cases verbatim. Many are calling it a witch-hunt.

    Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are increasing rapidly in the atmosphere due to human activity. Increasing greenhouse gases are changing the radiation balance of the Earth and increasing average global temperatures. This is basic and undisputed physics that has been known for over a hundred years.

    Greenhouse warming is already causing unprecedented changes in glaciers, permafrost, ecosystems and the oceans. This is a conclusion of the science, based on the best available evidence, not merely a scare tactic of irresponsible scientists.

    Your analysis of MBH 98 is less about climate audit, and more about questioning the personal integrity of individual climate scientists. When we see your approach in the hands of Congressman Barton of Texas, we see your obsessive compulsion for what it is: a political exercise in smearing your opponents. If Climate Audit’s motives were purely scientific, you would be alarmed by the massive politicization of your work. The fact that you are largely silent about this abuse of your work for blatantly political purposes tells us where your true interests lie.

    The long history of false, disingenuous, and misleading claims generated by McIntyre and McKitrick makes one wonder if their obsessive attacks on the “hockey stick” are less about a search for truth, and more about character assassination.

    Maybe you should change the name of this website to “Climate Witchhunt.”

  9. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #9

    Oh dear.

    Considering that McIntyre and McKitrick’s past work has been fraught with elemental errors, one has to wonder about the credibility of this line of argument.

    Hmmm, let me guess. This is yet another reference to a minor mistake in a calculation in a paper by McKitrick and Michaels which used degrees instead of radians.

    The mistake was acknowledged, a Corrigendum and an impact assessment published, and a revised paper submitted in the very next issue.

    Will there be an explanation of what “elemental errors” Steve McIntyre has made?

    No independent scientific group has found McIntyre and McKitrick’s claims to be valid. They seem to be unable to publish their work in credible scientific journals. Energy & Environment is not a peer reviewed scientific journal. Energy & Environment failed to peer review McIntyre and McKitrick’s paper, rushing it into print for political reasons. Finally, McIntyre and McKitrick’s work has been discredited by peer reviewed scientific analysis.

    This is fascinating. Untrue of course. McIntyre and McKitrick’s main paper was published in “Geophysical Research Letters” and extensively peer-reviewed. The E&E article was also peer-reviewed.

    If you’d like to share where this “work has been discredited by peer reviewed scientific analysis”? This wouldn’t be a reference to some claims on a website would it?

    Maybe the real reason McIntyre and McKitrick’s work hasn’t been published in a credible peer-reviewed journal is because Wahl and Amman are correct that McIntyre and McKitrick’s results are “without statistical and climatological merit.”

    Ah yes, getting back to peer-reviewed in quality scientific journals, Wahl and Ammann’s paper was rejected. McIntyre and McKitrick’s results are entirely critical in nature since they show that Mann, Bradley and Hughes results are “without statistical and climatological merit”. Oh and they were published in Geophysical Reasearch Letters, which, unless I’m mistaken, is the same “credible peer-reviewed” journal that published Mann, Bradley and Hughes’ original work.

    I would carry on demolishing the rest of your intemperate and wholly misleading tirade, but I’ve got better things to do.

  10. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    Yes, John, the #9 screed is a wonderful example of someone posting here who has no idea of what the real issues are and who’s obviously not been here before. The only question is what in the world he thinks his post is for? (Other than letting off steam.) Any regular here is going to be profoundly unimpressed. Any visitor is going to see his softballs swatted out of the park and …. AHA! I get it, he’s actually a plant by you and Steve to discredit critics! {;’)}

  11. David H
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    Wow Michael!

    I can’t agree with what you say but I do defend your right to say it though perhaps not as much as Voltaire would. I suggest as an exercise that you send a similar denunciation of the authors of MBH98 to RealClimate and see if it gets published.

    There are many cases where people in the public eye have stubbornly refused to give honest answers to reasonable and pertinent questions. Only rarely is the refusal a noble act to “protect a lady” or to keep secret agents out of harms way. Often particularly with governments and politicians it is just to avoid embarrassment. However in many and probably most cases it is in the forlorn hope that their errors or wrongdoing will remain undiscovered. Quite often the agents of their downfall are not the most attractive people on the planet and in some case they pay a very high personal price. But without critics and whistle blowers we would soon all be in a totalitarian state.

    Perhaps Michael, you do not understand what the argument is about. A theory has ballooned to a prominence that is costing every human on the planet money that they use on other good causes or just to live a little better. If the theory is right I for one will make whatever sacrifice is needed. But I feel I have the right to have the theory proved before I start paying. What M&M have been asking for more than two years now should have involved Prof. Mann in little effort and is something any scientist in his position should have expected and planned for. If Prof. Mann had quietly co-operated he would very quickly have been proved right or wrong.

    If he had been proved right the growing band of sceptics would have been stopped in their tracks and who knows the world might have all signed up to Kyoto. If as many of us believe will happen he was proved to have been wrong the damage would have been less two years ago than it will now be.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Michael (Seward),

    1. please identify any “elemental errors” in my past work.
    2. Our work has been criticized in Internet publications. To date, no peer-reviewed article criticizing us has appeared in print. A submission by MBH to Climatic Change criticizing our first article was rejected. The Wahl & Ammann submission to GRL was rejected. This will change shortly since Rutherford, Mann, Bradley, Hughes et al [2005], which includes some derogatory comments about MM03 in passing, will be printed shortly. It was edited by Anrew Weaver, a known and vociferous opponent of our work, so this does not qualify as an independent valuation by any standard. It does not deal with any matters raised in MM05a,MM05b which built on our earlier article, thereby falling well short of full, true and plain disclosure standards.
    3. we have never “proposed” any climate reconstruction. This is acknowledged by Gavin Schmidt at realclimate (see the WSJ comments). We agree that reconstructions using MBH98 methododology lack “significance”. This includes reconstructions both with and without bristlecone pines.
    4. I have never expressed an opinion one way or the other on whether the current global warming is outside the bounds of natural variation or whether anthropogenic CO2 is making a material impact on global warming. I simply tested whether one important study could be verified. I did this for my own personal interest and with no expectation that anyone would be interested in the results. Some of the interest in the story has arisen from Mann’s behavior, as much as from any specific findings, and for that, he has only himself to blame.

  13. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    Your analysis of MBH 98 is less about climate audit, and more about questioning the personal integrity of individual climate scientists.

    That’s peculiar. Most people complain M&M’s analysis of MBH 98 is too complicated, too mathematically involved, and too statistical in nature for laypeople to understand. Are there hidden messages which question the “personal integrity of individual climate scientists” amongs the PCs, REs, r-squareds, etc, that you have decoded?

    The long history of false, disingenuous, and misleading claims generated by McIntyre and McKitrick makes one wonder if their obsessive attacks on the “hockey stick” are less about a search for truth, and more about character assassination.

    I think you’re confused. “Character assassination” seems to be the popular defense used by the hockey stick folks to respond to M&M’s critiques.

  14. Doug L
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    As a regular reader, I have to concur with the responses to #9. As author of number #8, I have to suppose that I helped provoke that laundry list of misinformation. Sigh.

  15. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    On a second look, it looks like some people are very, very nervous about this affair and where its going.

    And its not Steve McIntyre.

  16. hans kelp
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    re: #9

    “Maybe you should change the name of this website to “Climate Witchhunt.” ”

    Dear Michael Seward, as I understand your sentence, the logical conclusion must be that the zealots has started to consider Michael Mann a “Witch” !? In that case I suggest that you propose to the hockey team that they change the name of their website from “RealClimate” to “RealNuts” , because then that would certainly suit them the better!!

    Hans Kelp

  17. Reid B
    Posted Jul 23, 2005 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    Does anyone know if the NSF and IPCC have responded to the Barton letters?

  18. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 24, 2005 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre:

    To the extent that your work engages the global warming controversy in the peer-reviewed literature, I applaud your contribution to the scientific debate. Go at it. Give “em hell. This is how science makes progress.

    A politically motivated congressional hearing focused on single paper, implicitly ignoring a sea of scientific evidence, is not how science works.

    “I have never expressed an opinion one way or the other on whether the current global warming is outside the bounds of natural variation or whether anthropogenic CO2 is making a material impact on global warming. I simply tested whether one important study could be verified.” Steve McIntyre

    This is a clever strategy. What is your opinion on whether the current global warming is outside the bounds of natural variation? What is your opinion on whether anthropogenic CO2 is making a material impact on global warming? Do you not have an opinion, or is it simply that to express an intellectually honest and scientifically sound opinion would undermine your credibility with your anti-global warming fundamentalist followers?

    You comment in Energy & Environment, Volume 16, Number 1, January 2005, on the “need to recognize the limitations of journal peer review as a quality control standard when scientific studies are used for public policy.” Good point.

    Now how about the need to recognize the limitations of a politically motivated congressional inquisition as a forum for debating the technical merits of a single 7-year-old piece of research as a means of establishing public policy?

    Presumably you would prefer a politically motivated congressional inquisition to the limitations of journal peer review. Your apparent glee at the prospect of this congressional witch-hunt is implied by your silence in condemning this political abuse of science. My guess is that if congress had instead targeted Soon and Baliunas, your followers would suddenly see the outrage inherent in Barton’s strategy.

    Mr. Barton worked in the oil-and-gas industry before being elected to Congress. In the past decade, he has consistently ranked as one of the top five recipients of campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. Who better to carry your torch into the arena of public debate?

    Scientists have warned that global warming is expected to increase the incidence of flooding, droughts and the loss of crop and animals species. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are retreating, and Arctic ice is melting at an unprecedented rate. Direct measurements show sea temperature anomalies consistent with the physics of greenhouse warming. These conclusions are based on decades of intellectually honest and scientifically rigorous observations of the natural world. These conclusions are not merely the delusions of thousands of dishonest scientists motivated by a love of the Kyoto Protocol.

    Perhaps you are only motivated by personal interest, with no expectation that anyone would be interested in your results. But your work is being used by a group of politically motivated advocates; many with ties to the energy industry, who continue to deny a body of scientific research about the earth’s climate in order to promote the idea that global warming is no big deal. I wonder how you feel about that?

    Steve: Michael, focusing on one study (actually I’ve worked on most of the multiproxy studies) is not a matter of “clever strategy” – it’s just that you need to focus if you want to go to the bottom of things. As you can see, I try to do things in meticulous detail; I don’t have a department of grad students assisting me. The multiproxy studies interested me, they were within my technical capabilities and so I’ve looked at them. I’ve got work in hand on Jones et al [1998] which I’d like to publish, which might at least alleviate some of the criticisms of being mono-Mann-iacal.

    It never occurred to me that anyone would be interested in my views on infrared radiation or water vapor feedback. The problem now, because of the gotcha mentality that exists, is that if I start musing on topics where I’ve got some understanding but where I haven’t done detailed work, there’s a chance of making an injudicious error which will be used to discredit perfectly valid comments on the multiproxy studies, which I know intimately.

    However, I have been asked for my views on the question – what if Mann is wrong? what then? Rahmsdorff took a crack at this at realclimate. I agree with some of his comments and disagree with others; there’s probably something that I can write at a similar level without taking undue gotcha risks.

    As to seeing some more MBH98 code, of course I’m happy about that. I’ve tried to look at it for a long time. The current source code dump is still incomplete. I’m baffled as to why Mann didn’t get it all out at one go. His attempts at a “limited hang-out” – the old Nixon phrase won’t work.

    I also think that you and others are failing to see that Barton’s questions are for the most part related to disclosure and due diligence issues. IPCC protagonists huff and puff about this being the best process in the history of the world, but I’m not convinced that it is. Some commentators that I respect – Pielke and von Storch – both have endorsed the House Committee questioning the institutional process. Both are very wary of over-selling by many climate scientists. In my experience in other fields, over-selling usually backfires.

    But I’ve seen little evidence that paleoclimate scientists are doing anything other than continuing to play their hands very close to their chest. Briffa refuses to identify even the locations of his 387 sites; Esper has failed to archive the data used in his study; Crowley’s “misplaced” his original data and won’t try to find it; Wahl and Ammann intentionally haven’t disclosed the R2 of their MBH replication; Jacoby won’t archive the updated Gaspe series or the 26 northern series that didn’t have a hockey stick or give out the location of the Gaspe site; Jones won’t archive temperature station data in the CRU study; Thompson hasn’t archived key ice core data. In my opinion, as long as the broader climate science community acquiesces in this repugnant behavior, they are part of the problem. When NAS writes Barton, why don’t they write at the same time to Briffa, Esper, Crowley,Wahl, Ammann, Jacoby, Jones, Thompson etc. and tell them to get their acts in gear? There’s no way that they will be able to keep their data or calculations out of public archives; they might as well wrap their minds around this and get it done.

  19. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2005 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    Steve, do you think every science paper should be fine tooth combed to the extent you have (and will, I have no doubt) the MBH’s (and it seems others)? Well, I think you’ll say no, just the MBH’s matter. But, to answer whether the MBH’s really do matter you need to post you thoughts on what if the MBH’s are wrong, because unless their being wrong changes something it really doesn’t matter – even if all the recons are wrong.

    Looking at what’s happening to temperatures world wide, Arctic sea ice this summer, glaciers, the sats, some interesting posts on Prometheus about the relative none cost of Kyoto and the rest, I’d be interested to read it. I don’t think, even if all the recons are wrong, that global temperatures will suddenly take a downturn, or that the reasons for the warming will suddenly change. That, it seems to me, is the ultimate problem for all this business.

    I also wonder, since I too spend far to much time in front of a PC, how you manage to produce all you do here (after all, it is detailed stuff and you must take loads of care you don’t make mistakes trying to find mistakes…) post elsewhere and the rest. It must all take one man ages!

    Steve: If a paper is being relied on for major investments, yes. In most walks of life, due diligence is important and expensive (that’s what auditors, securities lawyers and some engineers do). It’s not just MBH; I just happen to write about what I know. Mann has also made this into a bit of a soap opera by saying untrue things and by disclosing as little as possible at each step. I felt confident that for something important, he’d ultimately have to disclose everything. He’s still holding some stuff back, but it will all come out.

    I’m working on some thoughts about “Rahmsdorff’s hypothesis” – what if Mann and the multiproxy guys are wrong? I want to be a little bit careful since I’m venturing a little outside my turf of multiproxy studies.

    It takes me lots of time, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve got a lot of stuff in inventory. If I had not started using R, I would not have got anything done. It is a wonderful language. I don’t make a lot of mistakes, because I’ve learned to be accurate and because I don’t try to go a bridge too far. And if I make a mistake, I try to deal with it as soon as possible, rather than worrying about trying to cover it up.

  20. David H
    Posted Jul 24, 2005 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    Peter

    I’ve wondered before how you fit in the farming. It might be interesting for some one to do a study looking at hit counters and doing surveys to work out how many man hours have been consumed and how much carbon emissions have been caused by the hockey stick controversy. They could work out what the saving would have been for us all if Prof. Mann had handed over the data and code when first asked.

    Are you opposed to our Freedom of Information Act? If someone proposes a new road cutting your farm in half or has a plan to close your kids schools and bus them to the next town don’t you want to go through the figures with a fine tooth comb? What would you say if they did not want you to see their sums? The current demands from the AGW lobby are going to be hugely more inconvenient for us all so why shouldn’t we go through every significant climate paper as thoroughly as MBH98? As for the argument you keep making that they are the experts, so far all the arguments seem to be with mathematics rather than climate.

  21. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 25, 2005 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    Steve, do you think every science paper should be fine tooth combed to the extent you have (and will, I have no doubt) the MBH’s (and it seems others)?

    Peter,

    As I have posted many times, the amount of “fine tooth combing” of my graduate research and that of my peers seemingly went beyond what was done with MBH – both in-house prior to submittal for publication and then again during journal review. And we’re talking relatively piddly research findings submitted to journals far below the status of Nature and which aren’t being used as an IPCC flagship. My experience with conference presentations was similar. The “5-minute Q&A session” after each presentation was more like a critique from attendees who would nit-pick the presenter to death.

    People can argue that climate scientists are in a different world than building contractors or mining prospectors, but what about the academic research world of environmental scientists and engineers that I am familiar with?

  22. David H
    Posted Jul 25, 2005 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    Peter,

    Just another thought. As a direct result of the Kyoto protocol (which some would say is a direct consequence of alarmist AGW theories supposedly corroborated by papers such as MBH98), you, I and every DIYer in the UK must now, by law, have some of their work inspected and approved.

    These inspections which cost at least £50 are not to ensure our health and safety or to be sure that we do not spoil the look of our neighbourhood but to be sure that we have fitted the most energy efficient windows or boilers. Just changing your hot water tank needs an inspection!

    If you and I have to have our sums and work checked why shouldn’t Prof. Mann.

    Some AGWers in the UK are seriously talking of introducing carbon rationing.

    Those of you in the US and other sane parts of the world should understand where all this is leading if Bush, Barton and Co do not bring a little reality into climate science.

  23. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 25, 2005 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre: Thanks for your comments. But I’m still wondering: 1.What is your opinion on whether the current global warming is outside the bounds of natural variation? 2.What is your opinion on whether anthropogenic CO2 is making a material impact on global warming?

    Steve: 1. In geological terms, the current warming is well within the bounds of natural variation. Look how warm the Eocene was. It’s cold relative to most of geological history. 2. I haven’t formed an opinion on this yet. What do you define as “material”? I’ve been re-examining IPCC TAR to see exactly how they argued this and I’m very disappointed with how they skim over what seem to be the most essential topics. I’m thinking about what I think is missing from their argument. I’m going to write something up on this.

  24. Ed Snack
    Posted Jul 25, 2005 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

    Michael Seward, you seem to have a singularly monocular vision on climate science. Why are those posters here who are interested in the data underlying the AGW debate be tarred with the fundamentalist brush, oddly enough many of use believe that label fits those with views like yours far better. We’re NOT simply believing what we are told, we’re looking to see how secure the underpinnings of those beliefs are.

    Why is it so bad that Rep Barton is involved ? It seems that only his intervention has brought about the release of more code from Michael Mann, code which seems (and let’s withhold judgement until this is elucidated) to further undermine the conclusions of MBH98 & 99. Politics, yes, but that is what Mann has being playing for years. If you want to claim science, try working out why science would be advanced by keeping important information on replication away from the public arena.

    Quote: “Direct measurements show sea temperature anomalies consistent with the physics of greenhouse warming”

    This typifies your problem, had you followed this paper up, you might find that the physics involved is far from settled, and the potential differences dwarf the measured effects. In other words, the conclusion is only correct if you chose a certain set of assumptions, and there is settled science on which assumptions are correct. So the paper is essentially a political statement.

    Quote “Perhaps you are only motivated by personal interest, with no expectation that anyone would be interested in your results. But your work is being used by a group of politically motivated advocates; many with ties to the energy industry, who continue to deny a body of scientific research about the earth’s climate in order to promote the idea that global warming is no big deal. I wonder how you feel about that?”

    I would offer you this “But your work is being used by a group of politically motivated advocates; many with ties to the conservation industry, who continue to deny a body of scientific research about the earth’s climate in order to promote the idea that global warming is a huge problem that demands that the world place almost unlimited power in their hands. I wonder how you feel about that?”

    Which is equally valid.

  25. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 26, 2005 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    “Some commentators that I respect – Pielke and von Storch – both have endorsed the House Committee questioning the institutional process.” Steve McIntyre

    I think you have made an elemental error here. As I read Pielke and von Storch’s comments, your characterization of their reaction to Barton’s letters is incomplete and misleading.

    Pielke asserts that some aspects of Barton’s inquiry are reasonable in principle, but follows this with a long comment under the heading UNREASONABLE:

    “Now what I really think of the E&C letters…. That this request is being made of one group of authors concerning one study out of thousands of studies and authors makes this clearly motivated not by fact-finding but by the politics of climate change … this is congressional meddling taken to a whole new level and has the potential to set a bad precedent for the future… the letters are primarily meant to embarrass and harass and the hearings, if they ever happen, could be seen as an abuse of power….focusing on individual scientists is a bad idea.”

    von Storch finds the letters to the IPCC and the NAS appropriate. But not so the letters to Mann and associates: “I consider Rep. Barton’s requests to the three scientists as inadequate and out-of-scale… the language used by Rep. Barton makes me perceiving this request as aggressive and on the verge of threatening.” Von Storch clearly expresses his uneasiness with Barton’s inquiry of Mann.

    Some commentators that you respect are echoing what I have said before: in the hands of congressman Barton, your fetish for portraying Michael Mann as a fraud has all the earmarks of a witch-hunt. For a man who prides himself on being punctiliously accurate, this mischaracterization of Pielke and von Storch”s documented opinions is very curious.

    Steve: I specifically said “institutional” process to distinguish that from their views on the individuals. The Pielke and von Storch editorials have been already discussed here; readers here will be familiar with the fact that the editorials support the institutional questions, but criticize the questions to the individuals. The sentence as it stands is correct and most readers will have already been familiar with the difference, but I probably should have made the distinction clearer in my short note. I disagree with Pielke and von Storch on the questions to individuals, since, in addition to being journal authors, they were IPCC authors and, especially in Mann’s case, in a conflict of interest situation in respect to reviewing his own work ( a conflict of interest which has been recognized as potentially problematic by these commentators). Additionally, Mann and Bradley have both testified/made speeches in Washington with a view to influencing Congress and are hardly virgins.

    I’ve never said that Mann was a “fraud”. If you look at everything that I’ve written, I think that you’ll find that I am – to use your phrase – “punctiliously accurate” in how I deal with this sensitive issue. I’ve simply said that his articles contain important misrepresentations. These are objective statements about the articles and happen to be true. I’ve never speculated as to whether the misrepresentations were fraudulent or not; that may ultimately be of interest to others, but it would be necessary to examine documents to which I don’t hav access. I think that the various learned societies and individuals may regret choosing this particular case as a poster child, but that’s their problem.

    On the misrepresentation of principal components procedures, I’ve even said that I thought there might have been a programming error and the misrepresentation might be totally innocent. In this instance, Mann has taken an approach that surprised me. Rather than saying that there might have been an error, Mann has insisted that the approach was intentional (and thus the original article contained a misrepresentation.)

  26. Michael Sewardwn to about 5
    Posted Jul 26, 2005 at 5:15 AM | Permalink

    Ed Snack says: “I would offer you this “But your work is being used by a group of politically motivated advocates; many with ties to the conservation industry, who continue to deny a body of scientific research about the earth’s climate in order to promote the idea that global warming is a huge problem that demands that the world place almost unlimited power in their hands. I wonder how you feel about that?”

    Thanks for your comments Ed.

    Scientists in the 1970’s predicted an imminent Ice Age, so naturally they must be making this global warming stuff up just to scare us. Surface warming is simply an artifact of the Urban Heat Island effect. Glaciers are melting naturally because we are coming out of an Ice Age. 17,000 scientists disagree with the global warming theory. Global warming is a doomsday scenario concocted by environmental extremists. Global warming will green the earth and benefit mankind. Solar cycles, undersea volcanic eruptions, meteors and comets, variations in Earth’s orbit, and cycles in the earth’s molten core are all causes of global warming. For all we know we should be worrying about a new Ice Age instead. The global-warming hypothesis is no longer tenable. Scientists have been able to test it carefully, and it does not hold up.

    These talking points did not originate out of the scientific research. PR firms and oil industry lobbyists, (such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Petroleum Institute, and the Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, ad nauseum) created these beliefs to promote a political agenda. These beliefs weren’t vetted in the scientific journals, but promoted in op-ed pages, talk shows, the popular press, and science fiction novels. They served the purpose of deceiving and misleading the public into believing that global warming is a hoax. Just ask Phillip Cooney.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas, warming the earth. Humans are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere faster than natural processes can absorb it. As a result, greenhouse gases have risen as much in the last 150 years as in the previous 10,000 years. (There’s a “hockey stick’ for you.) The earth is warming in a pattern consistent with our understanding of the physics of greenhouse gases. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are retreating, and Arctic ice is melting at an unprecedented rate. These conclusions did not originate with the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the NRDC, or the UCS. It is doubtful that the promotion of global warming fears by conservation groups actually drives the motivation of climate scientists (like Charles Keeling and Lonnie Thomson) to commit a massive fraud against the public. They lust after unlimited power? I just don’t find that reasoning credible. Respected and accomplished scientists base these conclusions on decades of intellectually honest and scientifically rigorous observations of the natural world.

    In spite of all the science the skeptics can muster, Steve McIntyre still hasn’t formed an opinion on the key question: is anthropogenic CO2 is making a material impact on global climate?

    I don’t think that climate scientists are demanding that the whole world place unlimited power in their hands. They are saying that global warming is a looming problem that has the potential to effect life as we know it. Do something.

    That’s how I feel about your comment. Thanks for asking, Ed.

    Steve: 15 years after taking Dunde ice cores, Thompson had still not archived any data and refused to send me any. Late last year, after persistent efforts, he archived decadal averages only. Same with Guliya and Dasupou. Phil Jones, equally “respected” has refused to archive his station data because he’s worked 25 years on it – why should he let people look at his data if their objective is to find fault with it. It’s stuff like this that drives me crazy. If their views are right, then they should have no trouble producing the data. I spent 80% of time fighting over data access and about 20% of my time actually being able to look at it – down to about 5% now that I have to feed the blog.

  27. Paul Gosling
    Posted Jul 26, 2005 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    Steve M (or anyone else)

    Sorry, but just to be picky, how do we know the Eocene was warmer? Do we have reliable proxies for temperature at this time, has the research indicating warmth in the Eocene been fully audited and replicated?

  28. Reid B
    Posted Jul 26, 2005 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Paul,

    Instead of questioning Eocene proxies why don’t you audit the work of Soon and Baliunas. If Soon and Baliunas are correct then Mann is wrong regardless of M&M findings.

    It is highly doubtful that Soon and Baliunas will stonewall and obfuscate the scientific community like Mann has.

    Mann’s “piltdown” hockey stick is not the consensus but a departure from it. Soon and Baliunas validates the consensus that existed before MBH-98.

  29. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 26, 2005 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Ed Snack says: “I would offer you this “But your work is being used by a group of politically motivated advocates; many with ties to the conservation industry, who continue to deny a body of scientific research about the earth’s climate in order to promote the idea that global warming is a huge problem that demands that the world place almost unlimited power in their hands. I wonder how you feel about that?”

    Thanks for your comments Ed.

    Scientists in the 1970’s predicted an imminent Ice Age, so naturally they must be making this global warming stuff up just to scare us. Surface warming is simply an artifact of the Urban Heat Island effect. Glaciers are melting naturally because we are coming out of an Ice Age. 17,000 scientists disagree with the global warming theory. Global warming is a doomsday scenario concocted by environmental extremists. Global warming will green the earth and benefit mankind. Solar cycles, undersea volcanic eruptions, meteors and comets, variations in Earth’s orbit, and cycles in the earth’s molten core are all causes of global warming. For all we know we should be worrying about a new Ice Age instead. The global-warming hypothesis is no longer tenable. Scientists have been able to test it carefully, and it does not hold up.

    These talking points did not originate out of the scientific research. PR firms and oil industry lobbyists, (such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Petroleum Institute, and the Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, ad nauseum) created these beliefs to promote a political agenda. These beliefs weren’t vetted in the scientific journals, but promoted in op-ed pages, talk shows, the popular press, and science fiction novels. They served the purpose of deceiving and misleading the public into believing that global warming is a hoax. Just ask Phillip Cooney.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas, warming the earth. Humans are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere faster than natural processes can absorb it. As a result, greenhouse gases have risen as much in the last 150 years as in the previous 10,000 years. (There’s a “hockey stick’ for you.) The earth is warming in a pattern consistent with our understanding of the physics of greenhouse gases. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are retreating, and Arctic ice is melting at an unprecedented rate. These conclusions did not originate with the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the NRDC, or the UCS. It is doubtful that the promotion of global warming fears by conservation groups actually drives the motivation of climate scientists (like Charles Keeling and Lonnie Thomson) to commit a massive fraud against the public. They lust after unlimited power? I just don’t find that reasoning credible. Respected and accomplished scientists base these conclusions on decades of intellectually honest and scientifically rigorous observations of the natural world.

    In spite of all the science the skeptics can muster, Steve McIntyre still hasn’t formed an opinion on the key question: is anthropogenic CO2 is making a material impact on global climate?
    I don’t think that climate scientists are demanding that the whole world place unlimited power in their hands. They are saying that global warming is a looming problem that has the potential to effect life as we know it. Do something.

    That’s how I feel about your comment. Thanks for asking, Ed.

  30. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 26, 2005 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    At least one of Soon and Baliunas’ works had very questionable methods, and they have occasionally been dodgy, too.

  31. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 27, 2005 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

    Ed Snack says: Quoting Michael Seward: “Direct measurements show sea temperature anomalies consistent with the physics of greenhouse warming”

    “This typifies your problem, had you followed this paper up, you might find that the physics involved is far from settled, and the potential differences dwarf the measured effects. In other words, the conclusion is only correct if you chose a certain set of assumptions, and there is settled science on which assumptions are correct. So the paper is essentially a political statement.”

    Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California describe the first clear evidence of human-produced warming in the world’s oceans. This research was published June 2005 in the peer-reviewed journal Science, not in the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal. You may not approve of their conclusions Ed, but to dismiss the research as “essentially a political statement” leaves me wondering about whom I should believe, you or the journal Science. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at the University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and graduate training in the world. The National Research Council has ranked Scripps first in faculty quality among oceanography programs nationwide. The scientific scope of the institution includes biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,300, and operates one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. The paper’s abstract notes: "A warming signal has penetrated into the world’s oceans over the past 40 years…The signal is complex, with a vertical structure that varies widely by ocean; it cannot be explained by natural internal climate variability or solar and volcanic forcing, (The authors) conclude it is of human origin, a conclusion robust to observational sampling…” Barton’s attack on Mann is politics. This paper is the science, showing ocean temperature anomolies consistant with greenhouse warming.

    Steve: Barton hasn’t “attacked” Mann. He asked Mann questions about disclosure, arising in part out of Mann being covered on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, saying that he would not disclose details of his algorithm (even though it had already been shown that he had misrepresented other details of his methods) and after NSF refused to intervene. I wonder what Scripps’ archiving of data and methodoogy is like.

    I haven’t seen the study yet; I’d be a little cautious about jumping to conclusions from a study where the ink is barely dry. My guess is that it wil have a lot of decent observational information, but that the attribution to specifically human origin will have very weak statistics. Other detection-attribution studies that I’ve seen are very weak.

    Peer review by Science will not include any detailed analysis of the data and methodology, so I wouldn’t rely very much on that as evidence of validity. It is a very limited form of due diligence, maybe as little as a couple of profs reading the article in the evening to see if it makes sense and writing a few sentences of support while their children are watching television.

  32. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 27, 2005 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

    Re#32,

    The press release I’ve seen doesn’t give any numbers http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/article_detail.cfm?article_num=666 , which is unfortunate. Have you seen any data results? I see they created a model and compared results to field measurements – I wonder how they modeled the 1976-1977 Pacific Decadal Oscillation shift?

    I do know that the Earth’s oceans increased in temp by 0.11 deg C from 1955-1996 according to a Sydney Levitus paper – in the top 10,000 feet of water. In the top 1,000 feet of water, no trend could be found by Levitus. Levitus used 5-yr averaging in his data analysis, which as other researcher pointed-out hid the 1976-1977 PDO shift. There was no net warming in the Pacific from 1955 to 1976, nor from 1977-1996…only a big jump in 1976-1977. So a 41-yr warming trend gets reduced to a 1-yr natural event and 40 yrs of nothing. How does that fit greenhouse theory? I wonder how this fits-in with the Scripps study.

    Another interesting study I am familiar with is mentioned here, also from Scripps http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2002/C/20025804.html
    “…Gille’s comparison revealed no significant temperature changes between the 1930s and the 1950s and the most rapid warming in the 1950s and 1960s. A 0.17-degree Celsius warming she found in the 700- to 1,100-meter depth range after 1950 is nearly double the global trend. Thus, the results imply that the mid-depth Southern Ocean has heated more rapidly than the global ocean as a whole…”

    So here’s an above-average heating portion of the ocean, and it warmed the fastest in the 50s and 60s. I find that interesting because the surface-based measurements show cooling during that time period and am not sure how that fits into greenhouse theory. Maybe it’s a lag from the surface warming we saw from 1900 (or earlier) to 1940…so did we see a cooling lag in the oceans, too, related to the cooling surface measurements of the 50s and 60s?

    Last but not least, more from Scripps…

    http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0500/et0500s9.html

    It does postulate some blame on anthropogenic greenhouse warming, but note:

    ‘…The current phase in the cycle suggests that a natural warming trend began a hundred years ago, picked up in the 1970s, and should continue over the next five centuries.

    “We have discovered an 1,800-year tidal cycle that appears to match with recent climate change,” said Charles Keeling, the study’s first author…The researchers suggest that strong oceanic tides drive changes in climate due to their ability to increase vertical mixing in the ocean…’

    In other words, there’s yet another “natural” reason why we have/can/will see warming. I wonder how well this is taken into account in our current climate models?

    Also interesting in the article, relating to MBH and portrayals of the Little Ice Age and Medival Warming Period as regional events but not global ones:

    “…The paper reports on the near coincidence of major tidal fluctuations with worldwide phenomena, including the Little Ice Age of 1400 AD to 1700 AD…”

  33. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 27, 2005 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Re#33

    Interesting stuff. I started discussing the ocean mixing stuff over on RealClimate a while ago and pulled back when I started reading a bit and realized just how complex the whole situation is. I hadn’t realized just how quick the mixing is in the surface layer, how much the depth of the surface layer varies nor how complex the currents are which result in mixing in lower layers. I do know enough about how the climate models are set up to realize that they’re not going to be able to model things accurately for the ocean any more than they are the cloud cover in the atmosphere. This means that both the short-term feedbacks on insolation and the long-term feedbacks on ocean mixing are going to be only approximations. As everyone else here says, the models are certainly useful in testing a given hypothesis, but to use them as a guide to major policy decisions is simply foolishness.

  34. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 27, 2005 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

    My point is simply that the Scripps paper is not political theater; it is science. Valid or not remains to be seen, but it is legitimate science. Jumping to conclusions about the validity of the paper is not my objective here. The conclusion I am jumping to is that Ed Snack is incorrect when he says, “the paper is essentially a political statement.”

    I see the skeptics have no compunction about jumping to conclusions about natural causes of the observed warming, instinctively preferring that explanation to the published science. If there are natural causes that better explain the evidence, I’m sure that Science or Nature will be anxious to see it. And if it does a better job of explaining the evidence, I’m sure that it will become the “consensus” explanation. Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research in the world. If you want to discredit the scientific legitimacy of their research, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

    It is reasonable to say that the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to changes in the earth’s climate, based on the science. This conclusion has been endorsed by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. It has been supported by most of the published scientific research concerning the question since the IPCC report was published in 2001. That’s a lot of science to deny.

    Barton’s attack, er, I mean Barton’s polite request for detailed documentation about the hundreds of studies on which Mann and company have worked, as well as a list of all their grants and awards in the area of climate and paleoclimate science, (which number 2,700 in the past 10 years) to be delivered in two weeks, is a poor strategy for clearing up the controversy about whether or not the current warming is outside the bounds of natural variation. It’s a great strategy for discrediting climate scientists by proxy.

    Barton’s work is political theater, plain and simple. I find it very instructive that you see science in Barton’s work, and politics in Barnett’s work.

  35. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 27, 2005 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    Re #35

    Good Heavens! Just how large is the Mann group? 270 grants and awards a year?! I think we should stop calling them the Hockey Team and call them the Hockey League!

  36. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 28, 2005 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    re # 35

    Michael

    wrt IPCC TAR
    IF CO2 emissions rise exponentially
    AND IF CO2 absorption will saturate
    AND IF climate sensitivity is larger than 1 degree/2xCO2
    THEN and only then temperature will rise dramatically

    That’s three if’s, all highly debatable.

    1) Future emission growth will occur mainly in China and India, both countries announced to increase their nuclear programme
    2) So far CO2 absorption is proportional to concentration, which means that the sink increases and not saturates.
    3) The strong cooling effect of aerosols is speculative, which makes high climate sensitivity for CO2 unlikely.

  37. James Lane
    Posted Jul 28, 2005 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to re-direct John Hunter’s attention (well, everyone’s actually) to the science.

    The most interesting revelation following Mann’s response to Barton (and coincident disclosure of the code) is that MBH98 actually calculated the R2 statistic for the medieval period (I take Steve’s word for this — my Fortran skills are long atrophied). Steve has reported that the R2 statistic for this interval in the M&M emulation is zero.

    Quite a while ago I accepted that MBH98’s reconstruction was effectively demolished by its evident sensitivity to the inclusion/exclusion of the controversial bristlecone pine series.

    The R2 issue, is, I think, more serious. Asked if he calculated the R2 statistic, Mann avoids the question, and argues that he prefers the RE stat, as R2 is not sufficient to establish significance. That’s true as far as it goes, but a low R2 stat is a huge red flag.

    Mann has stated that the MBH reconstruction is supported by cross-validation statistics, when evidently, in the case of R2, this is not correct. In my opinion, Mann is engaging in sharp practice.

    Steve: James, it’s always nice when you drop in. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Mann also engaged in sharp practice in respect to both not reporting the results of the CENSORED bristlecone calculations and claiming that his results were "robust" to the presence/absence of all dendroclimatic indicators when he knew that they were not robust to bristlecones. This particularly grates on me when I listen to his complaining about "throwing out" data. Wahl and Ammann at UCAR have been just as sharp with respect to their R2 statistic. They purport to disprove us, but they avoid reporting their R2 statistic as well. It’s hard not to think the worst of all these guys. Steve

  38. Michael Seward
    Posted Jul 29, 2005 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    Hans Erren :”IF CO2 emissions rise exponentially
    AND IF CO2 absorption will saturate
    AND IF climate sensitivity is larger than 1 degree/2xCO2
    THEN and only then temperature will rise dramatically
    That’s three if’s, all highly debatable.”

    I can see you have given this a lot of thought. Not being a climate scientist myself, I have to ask myself, who is more credible in this debate? On the one hand, we have the likes of Fred Singer, Michael Crichton, and Rush Limbaugh. On the other hand we have thousands of scientist in hundreds of academic and research institutions around the world finding consistent and compelling evidence of human influence on global biology, oceans, and the atmosphere.

    Singer says, “What matters are facts based on actual observations.” And yet Singer’s website is a catalogue of distortions and misrepresentation of the observed evidence. For example: “…since 1940, weather satellites, tree ring data, and corrected thermometer readings all agree that climate has not warmed–even though CO2 levels rose.” “The global climate has warmed over the last 100 years, but not appreciably over the last 50 years.” “Many scientists predict that sea level will drop if oceans warm” “There is a sure threat to human existence, however, and that is the near-certainty of a coming ice age. Geologists tell us that the present interglacial warm period will soon come to an end.”

    Fred Singer is predicting an imminent Ice Age!

    Singer, in accepting his Flat Earth Society Award tells us “there is no consensus within the scientific community about global warming.” And then “I believe that the climate is currently warming as a result of the increase of greenhouse gases… The greenhouse effect is real. However, the effect is minute, insignificant, and very difficult to detect”. Well, if Fred Singer believes that the climate is currently warming as a result of the increase of greenhouse gases, then there must be a consensus on that point.

    Singer reminds us “Remember: There was once a consensus that the sun revolves about the earth”. Yea, and now there is a consensus that the sun is the center of the solar system. That’s how science works.

    You can stand with the skeptics if you wish. I’ll stand over here with the great majority of the world’s climate scientists, and every professional organization and academic institution representing them. Global warming is real, it’s effects are already being felt, and there is reason to be concerned that expected massive increases in greenhouse gases are likely to threaten life on earth as we know it.

  39. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 29, 2005 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Michael,

    I do agree that there is global warming. However the difficulty of a closed loop feedback system is the identifiabilty problem. Just a correlation between temperature and CO2 is not proof of cause and effect.

    The summary of IPCC TAR brushed over this fundamental uncertainty in the attribution.

    Given straightforward physics the greenhouse effect is one degree for everydoubling of CO2. We don’t know about the sign of the feedbacks, there is speculation on both sides of either strong negative feedback or strong positive feedback.

    We also don’t have a clue how much CO2 will be emitted this century. The Kyoto protocol is entirely based on What-If, not on What-Will.

    see also http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=114#comment-351

  40. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 29, 2005 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    You can stand with the skeptics if you wish. I’ll stand over here with the great majority of the world’s climate scientists

    I’ll stand with whomsoever I think is right.

  41. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 29, 2005 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    You can stand with the skeptics if you wish. I’ll stand over here with the great majority of the world’s climate scientists, and every professional organization and academic institution representing them.

    How about standing by yourself with your own cognizance of the science as many of us do? At the very least, why polarize everything into two sides?

    Since when do academic institutions and professional organizations represent scientists? It’s the other way around.

    Regardless of who you choose to stand with (if anyone) and what is actually occurring with our local, regional, and global climates, why not address MBH’s errors, his reluctance to make things public, the issues with the proxies, etc? And what is there to hide if global warming is so obvious? If anything, putting the microscope on MBH should show everyone who is not on your side the truth, right? It should be vindication and conversion, right? No sweat!

    Singer, in accepting his Flat Earth Society Award tells us “there is no consensus within the scientific community about global warming.” And then “I believe that the climate is currently warming as a result of the increase of greenhouse gases… The greenhouse effect is real. However, the effect is minute, insignificant, and very difficult to detect”. Well, if Fred Singer believes that the climate is currently warming as a result of the increase of greenhouse gases, then there must be a consensus on that point.

    Yes, there is likely “a consensous on that point.” But not on magnitude, effects, catastrophic potential, etc. And just because Singer says he “believes” the climate is warming due to an increase of GHG doesn’t mean there’s a “consensus within the scientific community” about that point (unless you otherwise considered him the only skeptic on that point prior to his comment).

  42. Greg F
    Posted Jul 29, 2005 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    RE #39 Michael Seward quotes Fred Singer:

    “There is a sure threat to human existence, however, and that is the near-certainty of a coming ice age. Geologists tell us that the present interglacial warm period will soon come to an end.”

    Then Mr. Seward proclaims:

    Fred Singer is predicting an imminent Ice Age!

    At the very least learn to read Michael. Dr. Singers quote does not support your assertion as it clearly attributes the “prediction” to geologists. Not only did you fail to comprehend what Dr. Singer was saying, you demonstrated your ignorance of “the great majority of the world’s” geologist view on the subject.

    Astronomical Theory Offers New Explanation For Ice Age

    Despite the current relatively warm climate on Earth, regular recurring epochs of glaciation have dominated the planet for the past million years. Ten times, glaciers have advanced and then retreated with the duration of retreat (and corresponding warmth) frequently lasting not more than 10,000 years. The Earth has been in a warm period for about 10,000 years now.

  43. Posted Jul 31, 2005 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    My comment that “Fred Singer is predicting an imminent Ice Age!” was meant to be ironic.

    Ice ages come and go due to changes in the earth’s orbit, among other causes. Another Ice Age is inevitable. Yet skeptics have long asserted is that scientists in the 1970’s predicted an imminent Ice Age, so naturally they must be making this global warming stuff up just to scare us. Hence, the irony of Singer’s using the threat of an imminent Ice Age to argue that global warming is no big deal.

    Singer’s assertion that we should be worrying about an imminent Ice Age rather than global warming is a rhetorical gimmick. It is simply not known when the next Ice Age begins. We have no control over the tilt of the earth’s orbit and other forces that trigger Ice Ages. The idea that global warming is good because it will stave off an imminent Ice Age is ludicrous.

    Your link to an 8-year-old paper is hardly convincing. The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) report in the scientific journal Nature that the next ice age is 15,000 years away. Without human intervention a climate similar to the present one would extend well into the future, according to these scientists who have drilled an ice core in Antarctica that contains snowfall from the past 750,000 years.

    Some scientists argue that Global warming itself could bring on the next Ice Age. Global warming is melting the ice on Greenland and the Arctic icepack and flushing cold, fresh water down into the Greenland Sea from the north. Recent evidence shows that the high latitude oceans have freshened while the subtropics and tropics have become saltier. These possible changes can act to disrupt the overturning circulation and cause a rapid climate transition. If the Great Conveyor Belt, which includes the Gulf Stream, were to stop flowing as a result, the result would be sudden and dramatic. Within years winter would set in on the eastern half of North America and all of Europe and Siberia, and not disappear for millennia.

    Evidence for abrupt climate change is readily apparent in ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica. The Younger Dryas cooling of about 12,000 years ago began and ended within a decade, and for its 1000-year duration the North Atlantic region was about 5°C colder.

    Some scientists refute this view, explaining that global warming is unlikely to dramatically alter the North Atlantic Ocean circulation. They emphasize that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide lead to summer temperatures that do not allow glacier formation and growth. Whether or not a flooding of the northern Atlantic with fresh water from a melting north will reduce or even disrupt the overturning circulation is impossible to predict.

    But to say, as Singer does, that there is no need to worry about global warming because of an imminent Ice Age is simply nonsense. His comment illustrates the bankruptcy of credibility that the skeptics have created for themselves by promoting unsubstantiated and fanciful arguments in behalf of their agenda to undermine action against our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

    Steve: Michael, I urge you to look up Carl Wunsch on the the thermohaline conveyor. Wunsch points out, using elementary physics, that the sinking of the thermohaline solutions does not supply energy or “drive” the circulation, but that the circulation is is driven by winds and tides and not from sinking.

  44. Posted Jul 31, 2005 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Michael Jankowski:

    “Regardless of who you choose to stand with (if anyone) and what is actually occurring with our local, regional, and global climates, why not address MBH’s errors, his reluctance to make things public, the issues with the proxies, etc?”

    I criticize the skeptics, not for questioning MBH, but for engaging in a PR campaign in the public media to promote the idea that global warming is no big deal, based on alleged errors in MBH98, in spite of the sea of legitimate scientific evidence to the contrary.

    When Steven McIntyre publishes his criticisms of MBH in the scientific literature, he is doing the work of science. But when he endorses the ideologically motivated political theater of Congressman Barton, he is contaminating the debate with politics, and feeding the polarization of the global warming debate that you claim to deplore.

    Steve McIntyre’s crusade to have climate scientists disclose everything, and meticulously archive all data and source code, is a worthwhile debate. But his message is undermined by the political use of his work by the likes of Fred Singer, Patrick Michaels, The Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute, the Marshall Institute, Myron Ebell of CEI, etc. They can put out all the PR they want, but until they contribute to the scientific literature, rather than the op-eds of the nations papers and magazines, they are engaging in opinion management and public relations, not scientific research. They are welcome to their opinions, but their misrepresentation and distortion of the evidence for blatantly ideological purposes is irresponsible and deplorable.

    Many details about climate are not well understood. There should be continued research to provide a better understanding of climate dynamics. Archiving data and disclosing methods is a subject relevant to debate. But there is a scientific understanding based on what is known with a reasonable degree of confidence: human contributions to the climate are real, and the effects may be devastating. The balance of evidence is sufficient to justify deep concern for the future of life on earth.

    Scientists report evidence linking global warming to a major northward shift of North Sea fish. In the UK, thousands of puffin chicks have failed to hatch or have starved to death. The collapse is blamed on a two-degree increase in ocean temperatures in the last 20 years. This has forced sand eels, and the plankton they feed on, to move to cooler waters out of reach of nesting birds.

    A huge Greenland glacier has suddenly accelerated, dumping enormous quantities of ice and water into the North Atlantic Ocean. As many as one-fifth of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed. Scientist point to global warming, exacerbated by overfishing, coastal development and pollution. Spring is arriving on an average 9 days earlier than the average over the last 150 years. Siberian peat lands are melting, turning them from a carbon sink into a carbon source. And on and on and on…

    The effects are here now, giving good reason for reasonable people to be alarmed about the future prospects for life on earth. To claim otherwise, based on alleged errors by Michael Mann, is a simply a politicization of the global warming debate.

    Steve: Michael, my personal politics are not right-wing. I would have been very happy if institutions like the NSF or Nature had said – look, we’ve got a problem here and got people to archive their data and methods, without, so to speak, making a federal case out of it.

    You say that archiving data and methods is "subject to debate" . What’s to debate? Why didn’t the learned societies or the universities put some pressure on Mann when he was boasting to the Wall Street Journal that he would not be "intimidated" into disclosing his algorithm. Surely they could have seen that this was not only inconsistent with science, but a no-win situation. They should have stepped in long ago and Barton would not have had any interest. Why don’t they deal with Jacoby? with Lonnie Thompson? with Briffa? with Phil Jones?

  45. Greg F
    Posted Jul 31, 2005 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    My comment that “Fred Singer is predicting an imminent Ice Age!” was meant to be ironic.

    What is ironic is you don’t know that an “Ice Age” is a proper name while “ice age” is not. What you also don’t seem to realize is that the context of Singers comment makes it clear that he is talking about the next glaciation, not “Ice Age”.

    Ice Ages are intervals of time when large areas of the surface of the globe are covered with ice sheets (large continental glaciers).

    The term is used to describe time intervals on two very different scales. It describes long, generally cool intervals of Earth history (tens to hundreds of millions of years) during which glaciers waxed and waned. The term also describes shorter time periods (tens of thousands of years) during which glaciers were near their maximum extent. These shorter intervals are also known as “glaciations.”

    In addition, the term “Ice Age” is sometimes used to refer to the last major glaciation that occurred in North America and Eurasia. When used in this way, the first letters of both words are often capitalized. This is the way the term Ice Age is used in the Midwestern U.S. 16,000 Years Ago exhibit.

    Need I say more?

    Yet skeptics have long asserted is that scientists in the 1970’s predicted an imminent Ice Age, so naturally they must be making this global warming stuff up just to scare us.

    Your building a strawman. The reason “skeptics” point this out is to counter the ‘appeal to authority fallacy’ that proponents, like yourself, like to present as evidence.

    Singer’s assertion that we should be worrying about an imminent Ice Age rather than global warming is a rhetorical gimmick.

    The substitution of “Ice Age” for “ice age” is the only rhetorical gimmick being used here.

    Your link to an 8-year-old paper is hardly convincing.

    What does the age of a paper have to do with its validity?

    The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) report in the scientific journal Nature that the next ice age is 15,000 years away.

    Which is irrelevant since Singer was referring to glaciations.

  46. John A
    Posted Jul 31, 2005 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    Yet skeptics have long asserted is that scientists in the 1970’s predicted an imminent Ice Age

    It doesn’t matter who asserts it, it happens to be true.

  47. Posted Aug 1, 2005 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    “You say that archiving data and methods is "subject to debate”. What’s to debate?” Steve McIntyre

    I said: “Steve McIntyre’s crusade to have climate scientists disclose everything, and meticulously archive all data and source code, is a worthwhile debate…. Archiving data and disclosing methods is a subject relevant to debate.”

    I describe the debate as worthwhile and relevant, not “subject to debate”. I perceive a difference of opinion between you and the scientific establishment on the issue of disclosing data. I call that a debate. I see a debate when David Verardo sends you a letter stating: “Dr. Mann and his other US colleagues are under no obligation to provide you with any additional data beyond the extensive data sets they have already made available. He is not required to provide you with computer programs, codes, etc…. I would expect that you would respect the views of the US NSF on the issue of data access and intellectual property for US investigators.”

    Mann says he has “met every requirement of transparency and openness” in his research. You disagree. I am watching this debate with interest.

    I am fascinated to read that your personal politics are not right wing. My feeling is that much of the skeptic community is motivated by a strong distaste for government rules and regulations, consistent with a right wing political orthodoxy. Many are certain that climate scientists are in a blind rage to take away our cars, our jobs, and our way of life. Right wing think tanks, conservative politicians, and anti-environmental advocates alike have taken to your crusade with zeal once reserved for the Oregon Petition and the erstwhile satellite data.

    Unlike Fred Singer and Patrick Michaels, though, you have been good enough to make yourself available for comments, and I appreciate that. Thank you.

    Steve: If there’s a real problem, I’d be all in favor of doing something about it. I dislike being promoted (in the penny stock usage of the word), whether it’s about hockey sticks or WMD. Even if the cause is righteous, overselling usually backfires. I think that there is some very important verification to be done on the climate models to ensure that some systemic biases have not been introduced. I doubt that I’m the right person to try to do this, but it needs to be done by someone with a “skeptical” approach – “skeptical” in the traditional sense. Let’s ensure that the models don’t have the equivalent of defective O-rings. To do that, they need to be analyzed by someone who is not a fellow-traveller, but someone who is really probing for weaknesses and biases. The fact that the big GCMs can be simulated on their temperature projections [Wigley and Raper] by trivial models suggests to me that the pertinent assumptions are really pretty simple and can be unpacked in an intelligible way without the Wizard of Oz trappings of impenetrability and tera-ops.

  48. Posted Aug 1, 2005 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    What is ironic is you don’t know that an “Ice Age” is a proper name while “ice age” is not. What you also don’t seem to realize is that the context of Singers comment makes it clear that he is talking about the next glaciation, not “Ice Age”.

    I intended to thank you for correcting my appropriation of capitals in my usage of Ice Age, until I read the link you sent me to. It clearly uses the capital form, and says that “in addition”, Ice Age is used to refer to the last Ice Age specifically. “The term also describes shorter intervals … known as “glaciations.””

    So now I’m really confused. Singer says global warming is no big deal, but “There is a sure threat to human existence, however, and that is the near-certainty of a coming ice age.” According to you, it is clear that Singer is referring not to an ice age, but to “glaciation”. Therefore, recent evidence from ice cores that the next ice age is 15,000 years away is irrelevant. So then how is your preferred 1997 research relevant?

    Climate scientists cannot be trusted today because they believed in an imminent ice age 30 years ago. Yet the skeptics are now saying that the “near certainty of an ice age” is a “sure threat to human existence”. I thought the irony would be obvious.

    Your confusion is an illustration of my point: Singer’s propaganda is typical of the climate science deniers effort to confuse and mislead the public into believing that global warming is no big deal. The science regarding the cause and the timing of the next ice age has come a long way since your 1997 paper, but the date of the next ice age remains unknown. Singer’s allegation that the next ice age is certain to be a greater threat to mankind than global warming is a glaring oversimplification and misrepresentation of what we know about the next glaciation, ice age, or Ice Age. If Mann’s alleged errors have any relevance to the debate over global warming, then certainly the long history of climate skeptic errors that Singer’s website so nicely catalogs is relevant to the debate as well.

  49. Greg F
    Posted Aug 2, 2005 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    I intended to thank you for correcting my appropriation of capitals in my usage of Ice Age, until I read the link you sent me to.

    To bad you failed to comprehend it.

    It clearly uses the capital form, …

    Wrong, it clearly indicates there are two forms of the term. “Ice Age” and “ice age”. Why else would it specify the conditions for capitalization?

    When used in this way, the first letters of both words are often capitalized.

    Go back and read it again.

    According to you, it is clear that Singer is referring not to an ice age, but to “glaciation”.

    Correct, he did not capitalize “ice age” and it is consistant with the paper I referenced where it states:

    Despite the current relatively warm climate on Earth, regular recurring epochs of glaciation have dominated the planet for the past million years. Ten times, glaciers have advanced and then retreated with the duration of retreat (and corresponding warmth) frequently lasting not more than 10,000 years. The Earth has been in a warm period for about 10,000 years now.

    Michael Seward continues with:

    Therefore, recent evidence from ice cores that the next ice age is 15,000 years away is irrelevant.

    Considering your failure to understand the distinction with the term “ice age” and “Ice Age”, and what Dr. Singer is saying, I question your interpretation of “recent evidence”. Please provide a reference to your so called “recent evidence” in Nature. I have no intention of relying on your ideologically blinded interpretation.

    So then how is your preferred 1997 research relevant?

    Is Einstein’s theory, published decades ago, still relevant? Engaging in this type of logical fallacy over and over again is indicative of someone playing politics with the science.

  50. Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    Do you honestly believe that an imminent ice age is threatening mankind?

  51. Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    Do you honestly believe that an imminent ice age is threatening mankind, and global warming is no big deal?

    Okay Greg, I read it again. It still says Ice Age (note the caps) means periods when the earth is covered in glaciers, and ALSO shorter periods known as glaciations. In addition, Ice Age sometimes refers to most recent glaciation, when it is often (not always) capitalized. The next page on the site is entitled “Why do Ice Ages occur?” Note the capital letters, and the plural, referring to all ice ages, not just the most recent. Later in the article it says “During the current ice age…” notice there are no caps when referring to the current ice age. Ice Age, ice age, and glaciation are used interchangeably throughout the website you linked to. There is no evidence of the distinction that you have made. It may exist, but it is not in evidence in the reference you have cited.

    Wikipedia doesn’t capitalize ice age in either context, but the creationist web site answersingenisis does capitalize Ice Age in all cases. So I guess I’m in bad company.

    What are Ice Ages?

    Ice Ages are intervals of time when large areas of the surface of the globe are covered with ice sheets (large continental glaciers). The term (Ice Age) is used to describe time intervals on two very different scales. It describes long … intervals of Earth history…during which glaciers waxed and waned. The term also describes shorter time periods…These shorter intervals are also known as “glaciations.”

    In addition, the term “Ice Age” is sometimes used to refer to the last major glaciation that occurred in North America and Eurasia. When used in this way, the first letters of both words are often (not always) capitalized.

    Perhaps the reason you are harping on this is because you are unwilling or unable to address the point: the idea that a coming ice age is a certain threat to human existence is a glaring misrepresentation of the science. It is an example of the crackpot quality to some of the skeptic’s arguments. And it is a great irony, in light of repeated efforts to denigrate climate scientists for supposedly having believed in a coming ice age.

    How is it that climate scientists cannot be trusted because they believed in an coming ice age, yet when the skeptics say that the “near certainty of an ice age” is a “sure threat to human existence”, it’s just valid science?

    The reason why your 8-year-old research isn’t convincing isn’t because it’s 8 years old. It’s because it is irrelevant to the assertion Singer is making. It tells us nothing about the risk of an ice age relative to the risk of global warming. Citing this paper also misrepresents the degree of certainty about the date of the next ice age. This paper is only one small contribution to a huge body of work about ice ages. Quoting it as “proof” that Singer is making sense misrepresents the sheer number of explanations for the triggers of ice ages, and misses the enduring uncertainty about when the next ice age will occur.

    It is also true that much research has been done since the date of the Mueller and McDonald paper.

    “Scientists who drilled deep into Antarctic ice say the next Ice Age is thousands of years away — but global warming could be right around the corner. Scientists who have drilled 3 km into Antarctic ice to produce the oldest continuous climate record say the next ice age is at least another 15,000 years away.”

    Please provide a reference to your so called “recent evidence” in Nature. I have no intention of relying on your ideologically blinded interpretation.

    Don’t take my word for it. Google “EPICA”, also search on http://www.climateark.org


  52. Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    Do you honestly believe that the science indicates that the threat of a coming ice age is more certain than the threat of global warming?

  53. Greg F
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #51

    Michael,

    You continue to play politics with the issue. This is ironic since in post after post, without any evidence, you accuse the skeptics of politicizing the issue. I asked for the reference to the Nature paper that you have failed to provide. Either put up or shut up.

  54. Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    The reason why your 8-year-old research isn’t convincing isn’t because it’s 8 years old. It’s because it is irrelevant to the assertion Singer is making. It tells us nothing about the risk of an ice age relative to the risk of global warming. It doesn’t even predict an imminent ice age.

    Citing this one paper in support of Singer’s mistake misrepresents the sheer number of explanations for the triggers controlling ice ages. This paper is only one small contribution to a huge body of work about ice ages. Citing this paper also overlooks the degree of uncertainty about the date of the next ice age. The date of the next ice age is not known with any certainty. Singer is simply wrong that a coming ice age is more of a threat than global warming.

    It is also true that much research has been done since the date of the Mueller and McDonald paper.

    Please provide a reference to your so-called “recent evidence” in Nature. I have no intention of relying on your ideologically blinded interpretation.

    In 2004 “Scientists who have drilled 3 km into Antarctic ice to produce the oldest continuous climate record say the next ice age is at least another 15,000 years away.” Check out these links, Greg:

    http://www.esf.org/esf_article.php?activity=1&article=85&domain=3

    http://www.climateark.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=32497

    I am not saying your paper is wrong, and mine is right. I’m saying that your paper doesn’t prove that Singer’s comment makes sense. In fact, claiming that the threat of a coming ice age is more certain than the threat of global warming is not supported by the facts. The certainty of the threat of a coming ice age that Singer claims does not exist in the science.

    How is it that climate scientists cannot be trusted because they believed in an coming ice age, yet when the skeptics say that the “near certainty of an ice age” is a “sure threat to human existence”, it’s just valid science in your mind?

    Answer my question: Do you honestly believe that the evidence of an imminent ice age threatening mankind is more certain than the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that increasing levels in the atmosphere are warming the earth?

  55. Greg F
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Were going to step through this from the beginning Mr. Seward, just so there is no confusion. You first asserted:

    Post #39 Seward quotes Singer and comments:
    “What matters are facts based on actual observations.” And yet Singer’s website is a catalogue of distortions and misrepresentation of the observed evidence. For example: …

    Mr. Seward then followed with a laundry list of unsupported accusations. In my experience people, who use laundry lists do it to avoid detail. Their motivations are political. Trying to debunk laundry lists is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall, IOW he is “using a rhetorical gimmick”, something he accuses Dr. Singer of doing. Projection on Mr. Seward’s part? Maybe. Anyway I chose this one item to focus on.

    Post #39
    [Dr. Singer]“There is a sure threat to human existence, however, and that is the near-certainty of a coming ice age. Geologists tell us that the present interglacial warm period will soon come to an end.”

    [Mr. Seward] Fred Singer is predicting an imminent Ice Age!

    This, according to Mr. Seward is a “distortion and misrepresentation”. As I pointed out in a previous post, Dr Singer is not predicting anything, he was conveying what “Geologists tell us”. The “distortion and misrepresentation” is Mr. Seward’s. Mr. Seward then followed with this:

    Post #44
    “Singer’s assertion that we should be worrying about an imminent Ice Age rather than global warming is a rhetorical gimmick.”

    In this statement Mr. Seward accuse Dr. Singer of using “a rhetorical gimmick”. When pushed for a reference, to the evidence to support his assertion, Mr. Seward can’t even manage to come up with the peer-reviewed reference. All he manages to come up with is news article reporting on the research. (I find it highly improbable that Mr. Seward has ever read the actual paper). Then there is this item which Mr. Seward keeps repeating this as if repetition will somehow make it true.

    The reason why your 8-year-old research isn’t convincing isn’t because it’s 8 years old.

    To point out his failed logic I asked him: “Is Einstein’s theory, published decades ago, still relevant?” For obvious reasons he chose to ignored that question. But lets get to the meat of the matter here. Mr. Seward accused Dr. Singer of:

    1) distortions and misrepresentation
    2) using a rhetorical gimmick

    His only evidence was a paper published in 2004. This paper is irrelevant to Dr. Singer’s statement, unless of course, Dr. Singer is able to see into the future. Dr. Singer’s quote comes from a paper called Ten Things To Know About the Climate and Weather

    At the bottom of the page is this important piece of information:

    Copyright 2000 SEPP/Objective Science.

    So Mr. Seward, in his zeal to libel Dr. Singer, fails to notice his evidence published in 2004 was not available to Dr. Singer in 2000.

  56. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    Re: #53
    Michael, it is helpful to actually read a paper or abstract before relying on it too heavily to support your argument. Since neither of the links you posted were actually references to the paper, here is a link to an actual reference and the abstract: [scroll down to Publication 100]

    You claim that

    The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) report in the scientific journal Nature that the next ice age is 15,000 years away. Without human intervention a climate similar to the present one would extend well into the future, according to these scientists who have drilled an ice core in Antarctica that contains snowfall from the past 750,000 years.

    However, it is instructive to examine the actual text of the abstract (emphasis and underlining mine):

    …Here we report the recovery of a deep ice core from Dome C, Antarctica, that provides a climate record for the past 740,000 years. For the four most recent glacial cycles, the data agree well with the record from Vostok. The earlier period, between 740,000 and 430,000 years ago, was characterized by less pronounced warmth in interglacial periods in Antarctica, but a higher proportion of each cycle was spent in the warm mode. The transition from glacial to interglacial conditions about 430,000 years ago (Termination V) resembles the transition into the present interglacial period in terms of the magnitude of change in temperatures and greenhouse gases, but there are significant differences in the patterns of change. The interglacial stage following Termination V was exceptionally long”¢’‚¬?28,000 years compared to, for example, the 12,000 years recorded so far in the present interglacial period. Given the similarities between this earlier warmperiod and today, our results may imply that without human intervention, a climate similar to the present one would extend well into the future.

    I note that in your statement, you left off the underlined section, transforming the authors’ statement of possibility (“…may imply that…”) into a certainty (“…would extend…”). In the abstract even the authors state that there are significant differences (bold text) between the Termination V transition and the most recent transition; this would certainly reduce the former’s predictive value for the present period.
    Finally, as it is clear that we understand neither the cause nor mechanism of these transitions, you may wish to be somewhat less credulous of future newspaper reports claiming to predict their timing.

  57. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    Re: correction to #55
    It looks like my underlining didn’t take in the final version (altough it worked in the preview). The underlined section in the above abstract should have been the following:

    Given the similarities between this earlier warmperiod and today, our results may imply that

  58. Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Greg F and Armand MacMurray:

    You are both ignoring my point. Singer exaggerates the certainty of a coming ice age, and downplays the risk of global warming, in a way that distorts and misrepresents the science.

    The scientific uncertainty about global warming has been greatly exaggerated by the skeptics, and the reports of leading scientific organizations–including the National Academy of Sciences and the IPCC–accurately reflect the evidence presented in the scientific literature. The skeptics, like Fred Singer, are engaging in a PR campaign in the public media to promote their beliefs. The Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Marshall Institute (among many others) are not contributing to the scientific literature. They are engaging in opinion management and public relations for political purposes, not scientific research.

    Mr. Seward then followed with a laundry list of unsupported accusations. In my experience people, who use laundry lists do it to avoid detail. Their motivations are political.

    My motive is to keep my comments short. If you’d like me to go into excruciating detail, send me an email to reply to. This “laundry list” contains quotes from Singer’s website, not from the paper Greg cites. Singer has not deleted or corrected them, they remain on his website today, although the science has proven him wrong time and again.

    Accuse me of being ignorant and confused and politically motivated if you feel you have to, but at least do me the honor of answering these two specific questions:

    1.Are Singers assertions (quoted from his website) facts based on actual observations, or are they distortions and misrepresentations of current scientific knowledge?

    2.Do you honestly believe that the evidence of an imminent ice age threatening mankind is more certain than the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that increasing levels in the atmosphere are warming the earth?

  59. John A
    Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Do you honestly believe that the evidence of an imminent ice age threatening mankind is more certain than the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that increasing levels in the atmosphere are warming the earth?

    I’ll answer this.

    That CO2 is a greenhouse gas there is no doubt. The question should be whether CO2 is a significant greenhouse gas is a question no-one can answer. Why? Because the most significant (by a long way) greenhouse gas is water vapor and the influence of water vapor has both a positive and a negative feedback upon the atmosphere.

    CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere in the last century or so is both a natural and man-made phenomenon. Man-made CO2 is perhaps 3% of the total, the rest comes from natural sources.

    The most damning evidence of all is the one that AGW promoters pointedly ignore: that high resolution ice core measurements of carbon dioxide all show that carbon dioxide rises somewhere between six and ten centuries after temperature rise and continues after the temperatures have stopped rising or even begun to fall. In no ice core records at all does the rise in "greenhouse gases" precede temperature rise. NONE. NEVER.

    That carbon dioxide is rising now comes as no surprise from the ice core record. 800 to 1000 years ago, there was a very general warming called the Medieval Warm Period, a period in history that propagandists have been trying to delete, using such tools as the Mann Hockey Stick and similar devices.

    If carbon dioxide had such a dread greenhouse potential we would see it in those ice core records, but we never do. Instead we are fed a diet of deceit whereby the historical record is rewritten to conform to the political orthodoxy of the day using mathematical models whose validity is based solely upon the academic credentials of the modeler rather than the empirical record.

  60. Greg F
    Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    You are both ignoring my point.

    The problem with your point is your assuming facts not in evidence.

    Singer exaggerates the certainty of a coming ice age, and downplays the risk of global warming, in a way that distorts and misrepresents the science.

    Michael you have demonstrated in this thread that your knowledge of the subject is superficial at best. IOW your ignorant and therefore you opinion is of little value. As Armand points out in comment #56, what you purport the evidence to say, and what it real says, are two different things. You are the one who is provably distorting the science.

  61. Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Greg F;

    “IOW your ignorant and therefore you opinion is of little value…what you purport the evidence to say, and what it real says, are two different things… You are the one who is provably distorting the science.” (sic)

    Yea, I provably am. For a guy who wants to complain about capitalizing Ice Age, instead of answering my question, your spelling is pretty awful.

    Instead of engaging in an intelligible debate, you prefer to call me ignorant and superficial. And for the fourth time, you have refused to answer my question.

    Okay, we agree, I’m an idiot. Now that that’s out of the way, how about answering the question.

    Is the “laundry list” of Singer’s quotes an honest presentation of the current scientific understanding about global warming, or is it an example of a distortion and misrepresentation of the science?

  62. Greg F
    Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Yea, I provably am. For a guy who wants to complain about capitalizing Ice Age, instead of answering my question, your spelling is pretty awful.

    I readily admit I am spelling challenged! LMAO … I am curious, what word(s) have I spelled wrong? I have no problem admitting them if I am in error. You really should try it sometime.

    Instead of engaging in an intelligible debate, you prefer to call me ignorant and superficial.

    Actually that is your preferred technique. Try to remember what this conversation is about, it’s about your unsupported accusations of Dr. Singer. Your ability to comprehend what is written appears questionable. I didn’t say you were superficial, I said “your knowledge of the subject is superficial …”. Hopefully this time around you will comprehend the distinction. As far as ignorant is concerned, look up the definition in a dictionary. You were ignorant of the true contents of the evidence you presented because you relied on a slanted news article. It is ironic that your only attempt at providing proof was shown to be wrong. And now you have the gall to accuse me of not “engaging in an intelligible debate”. [roll eyes]

    And for the fourth time, you have refused to answer my question.

    A few things here Micheal

    1)The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim.

    2)Link to your sources, out of context quotes are far to easy to fabricate.

    3)When someone shows something you said is wrong, owe up to it.

    Is the “laundry list” of Singer’s quotes an honest presentation of the current scientific understanding about global warming, or is it an example of a distortion and misrepresentation of the science?

    See item one and two above. I am not your waterboy.

  63. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    Re: #58
    Sorry, John, but the CO2 timing delay issue isn’t really key to the current debate. It’s certainly plausible that in past warming events one or more causes would initiate warming and that others (such as increased CO2) could contribute to sustain and/or further increase temps, so that’s not evidence that adding CO2 (and/or other warming gases) won’t affect the temp; it just says that past temp rises were initiated by something other than CO2 increases.
    However, you do point out the important issues of (a) what are the sources of the various greenhouse gases and (b) what processes are involved that either increase their release or sequester them?

  64. Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    RE # 58
    I tend to disagree with you john,
    What is visible in the icecores is the change of the CO2 equilibrium (the soda boiling effect), approximately 10 ppm per degree.
    The antropogenic production is of the same magnitude as the net natural amplitude (approx 8 GtC/y)

    see:

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/sink.htm

    and

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/howmuch.htm

  65. Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    “The most damning evidence of all is the one that AGW promoters pointedly ignore: that high resolution ice core measurements of carbon dioxide all show that carbon dioxide rises somewhere between six and ten centuries after temperature rise and continues after the temperatures have stopped rising or even begun to fall. In no ice core records at all does the rise in “greenhouse gases” precede temperature rise. NONE. NEVER.” John A

    “IF CO2 emissions rise exponentially
    AND IF CO2 absorption will saturate
    AND IF climate sensitivity is larger than 1 degree/2xCO2
    THEN and only then temperature will rise dramatically
    That’s three if’s, all highly debatable.” Hans Erren

    When Dr. Keeling began measuring atmospheric CO2, most scientists did not think that emissions from human sources could have a measurable effect on the earth’s climate. It was thought that plants and the oceans would absorb nearly all human sources of carbon dioxide. Keeling proved that CO2 was increasing due to fossil fuel emissions, and that humans were the source. More recently, in 1996, Dr. Keeling showed that seasonal swings of carbon dioxide levels in the Northern Hemisphere were becoming larger, a sign that the growing season is beginning earlier because of global warming. We produce more CO2 than natural processes can absorb, and it is affecting the earth’s biology.

    Current levels of CO2 are unprecedented in the time that humans have existed on the earth. CO2 levels are higher than any time in the last 450,000 years.

    World energy consumption surged 4.3 per cent last year, the biggest percentage rise since 1984 and the largest volume increase ever, according to new figures from BP, the oil company. Burning fossil fuels at a faster rate also resulted in the largest absolute increase in carbon emissions, adding to atmospheric concentrations of CO2. The world faces a massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the future due to population growth, poor countries getting richer and the failure of wealthy countries to reduce greenhouse gases.

    Rising fossil fuel emissions decrease the Earth’s natural capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There is an inverse relationship between the rate at which carbon dioxide is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, and the capacity of land and ocean to absorb that carbon dioxide: the faster the emissions, the less effective the carbon sinks, creating an amplifying loop between the carbon and climate systems.

    Rising temperatures and thawing permafrost release large amounts of carbon from Arctic peatlands. Siberia’s peatlands store the most carbon of any of the world’s peatlands, and streams and rivers to the Arctic Ocean transport massive amounts of this carbon. Since the last ice age, northern peatlands have acted as a storehouse for carbon, but are expected to become carbon sources as a result of global warming.

    Whether or not it contributes to global warming, carbon dioxide is turning the oceans acidic. Corals and plankton are at risk of being destroyed by the rising acidity of the world’s oceans as the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the air. The burning of fossil fuels releases more than 25 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year. Roughly one third of that is absorbed by the oceans, where the gas undergoes chemical reactions that produce carbonic acid, disrupting the food chain. There is no way for us to remove this CO2 from the ocean. It will take many thousands of years for natural processes to remove it. Depending on the rate of fossil fuel burning, the pH of ocean water near the surface is expected to drop to 7.7 to 7.9 by 2100, lower than any time in the last 420,000 years

    Even if humans stop burning oil and coal tomorrow”¢’‚¬?not likely”¢’‚¬?we’ve already spewed enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to cause temperatures to warm and sea levels to rise for at least another century. Current CO2 emissions will contribute significantly to the climate change of future generations.

    This week, US researchers reported that global warming reduces the ability of plants to absorb CO2 during their normal growing season (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 102, p 10823). In other words, global warming will not create a greener world.

    “We are addicted to fossil-fuel burning like a smoker is addicted to nicotine.” Andrew Watson
    People who think that the “hockey stick” is the driving force behind the concern over global warming are missing a lot of research that”s been done since 1998. The research consistently finds evidence that the world is beginning to look a lot like one would expect if the global warming theory were correct.

  66. Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    re: #64
    Take a good look at this graph which displays observed global emissions and the SRES scenarios.

    Emission data: http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob.htm
    SRES scenario’s: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/521.htm

    And than tell me what the global co2 emission in twenty years will be.

  67. John A
    Posted Aug 6, 2005 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    Even if humans stop burning oil and coal tomorrow”¢’‚¬?not likely”¢’‚¬?we’ve already spewed enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to cause temperatures to warm and sea levels to rise for at least another century. Current CO2 emissions will contribute significantly to the climate change of future generations.

    And true to form Michael Seward ignores what I wrote and starts spewing worthless and incoherent rhetoric in place of fact.

    There is no evidence from any empirical source, that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause any climate change at all. Your whole argument is based upon a critical assumption that “rising greenhouse gases” must cause warming. You make the unstated assumption that the earth’s climate is a linear system, that as “greenhouse gases” rise and fall, so must the temperature, a result never found in any paleoclimatic record.

    It’s all about cause and effect. If greenhouse gases were a problem, why do we find periods in the last 10,000 years when the climate was warmer without them?

    Of course this neatly segues into the other famous fallacy which you committed:

    Current levels of CO2 are unprecedented in the time that humans have existed on the earth. CO2 levels are higher than any time in the last 450,000 years.

    Even if that were true, it does not follow that because carbon dioxide levels are higher therefore there is climatic change. The only place where greenhouse gases cause climate change is in climate models whose a priori assumptions make gross underestimates of natural variability, including solar variability, yet tiny changes in an insignificant trace gas in the atmosphere cause massive phantom “positive feedbacks” never seen in the last 600 million years, despite the fact during most of that time, the carbon dioxide level was many times higher than today’s “unprecedented” level.

    This inability to deal with or explain the natural variability of climate is being buried under a blizzard of climate modelling papers which cannot predict so much as the next El Nino, and are being used to rewrite the past in classic Orwellian style in order to change the present and make people fear the future.

    Then in a classic style reminiscent of religious cults and not a few dictatorships, the cry goes up that “the Earth is sick and we are responsible and we must repent of our evil capitalist ways” and embrace Soviet style control of the commanding heights of the world economy through punitive taxation and artificially created energy shortages that penalise the poor and the weaker parts of society, forment social dislocation and strife and best of all, have absolutely no measureable effect on climate whatsoever.

    The good news is that there’ll always be wood to make your beautiful furniture. The bad news is that no-one will be able to afford to pick it up.

  68. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    Re # 64

    World energy consumption surged 4.3 per cent last year, the biggest percentage rise since 1984 and the largest volume increase ever, according to new figures from BP, the oil company. Burning fossil fuels at a faster rate also resulted in the largest absolute increase in carbon emissions, adding to …

    Was plagiarized from an article in the Financial Times.

    World energy consumption surged 4.3 per cent last year, the biggest percentage rise since 1984 and the largest volume increase ever, according to new figures from BP, the oil company.

    Burning fossil fuels at a faster rate also resulted in the largest absolute increase in carbon emissions, adding to …

    Without the express written permission of the Financial Times this is a clear violation of copywrite law.

  69. Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    “And true to form Michael Seward ignores what I wrote and starts spewing worthless and incoherent rhetoric in place of fact.” John A

    John A:

    I spent a lot of time answering what you wrote. If that constitutes ignoring you, than I suppose what you really want is for me to agree with you. Sorry.

    Worthless and incoherent rhetoric? All these statements are supported by scientific research. None of these statements are merely my opinion; they are the conclusions of scientists studying the issue. They may or may not prove to be accurate, but they are hardly incoherent, and certainly not worthless, considering the importance of the debate.

    “There is no evidence from any empirical source that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause any climate change at all.”

    You may not believe the evidence, but to say it doesn’t exist denies reality.

    Charles Keeling’s evidence that Spring is coming later due to increasing CO2 is empirical evidence. The evidence that CO2 is warming the planet is well accepted by scientists. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and warm the planet. CO2 is a driving force in the network of feedbacks that make up the climate system. The Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun than it is emitting back into space due to an accumulation of fossil sources of greenhouse gasses building up in the atmosphere. The empirical evidence that this warming is changing the climate is abundant and consistent with the principles of physics.

    With temperatures climbing in parts of Antarctica in recent years, melt water is penetrating deeper and deeper into ice crevices, weakening immense frozen ice sheets that have existed since the ice age. As a result, huge glaciers in this and other areas of Antarctica are thinning. Ice shelves the size of American states are either disintegrating or retreating – all empirical evidence of global warming causing climate change.

    Scientists (Domack et al) report in the journal Nature recently that the giant Antarctic ice shelf Larsen B had existed for at least 10,000 years before disintegrating in 35 days in 2002. This event has been intensly studied by hundreds of scientists from around the world.

    The loss of the shelf is a sign that human activity is warming the world. “Our observation, that the modern collapse of (Larsen B) is a unique event within the Holocene, supports the hypothesis that the current warming trend in the north-western Weddell Sea has exceeded past warm episodes in both its magnitude and duration,” Professor Eugene Domack said.

    Onshore glaciers held back by the shelf are surging down to the sea up to eight times faster than before, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre.

    A British Antarctic Survey study earlier reported that 87 per cent of all 244 glaciers on the Peninsula had retreated. According to a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters, the discharge rate of three important glaciers still remaining on the peninsula accelerated eightfold just from 2000 to 2003. This is a rate unprecedented in the Holocene.

    Two University of Maine scientists studying the effects of climate change in the Arctic have discovered that glaciers in Greenland are moving at a rate of nearly 9 miles a year, making it one of the world’s fastest-moving glaciers. “It’s a bit alarming because the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are so large that it usually takes thousands of years for these types of changes to actually occur, not five or 10 years,” said Gordon Hamilton, a professor at the university’s Climate Change Institute. http://www.ume.maine.edu/iceage/

    This is not “worthless and incoherent rhetoric”. This is science from researchers from U of Maine, Hamilton College, Colgate University, University of New Hampshire, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, University of Barcelona and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Domack studies the paleohistory of the Larsen Ice Shelf. He has taken more than 100 scientists to Antarctica since 1987. Domack was a 2004 Guggenheim Fellow, a Joint Oceanographic Institutions 2000 Distinguished Lecturer and an invited speaker at over 20 international conferences including the 1999 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. The National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs funded his research.

    I may be incoherent, but the science is clear and compelling.

    (By the way, over the past 20 years, I’ve seen wood become more scarce, more expensive, and generally of a lower quality. Lumber from mature trees is becoming scarcer, while trees are being harvested from younger and smaller woodlots. Western Oaks are suffering from a blight imported on pallets from Asia. Butternut is suffering due to another blight. Old growth cherry has been virtually logged out of private lots, and the good wide heartwood boards are getting harder to find. Central American Mahogany is no longer on the market, and South American Mahogany is expected to become unavailable as well. African Bubinga is expected to be available for about five more years, before it too is logged out.)

  70. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    re #67

    While Michael should perhaps have mentioned his source, one doesn’t need express written permission to quote small portions of an article. But in any case, it looks like the FT is basically itself quoting a press release from BP, so where do you stop? Did BP produce the 4.3% figure itself or take if from some governmental organization? Etc.

  71. John A
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Rather than pedantically go through the whole lot, which would take hours, I’ll just pick up one set of statements:

    Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and warm the planet.

    Simplistically that would be correct if the Earth’s climate were a linear system. But the earth’s climate is not a linear system but is non-linear. Effects can happen in non-linear systems which have no cause, or cause cooling instead of warming. It is not possible to predict climate change and even the IPCC TAR admitted that.

    CO2 is a driving force in the network of feedbacks that make up the climate system.

    Only in climate models. In order to make the climate system even slightly comprehensible, climate models make extraordinary simplifications to produce any results at all. IN NO EMPIRICAL RESULT HAS CARBON DIOXIDE RISE CAUSED WARMING.

    The Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun than it is emitting back into space due to an accumulation of fossil sources of greenhouse gasses building up in the atmosphere.

    Again you conflate several claims. On the one hand, the Earth could be absorbing more, on the other, the Earth might be simply receiving more energy from the Sun. Such imbalances in the atmosphere/ocean system have been happening for 4 billion years, which is why we have climatic change at all. If the Earth’s climate were in balance we would not have weather, let alone climate to worry about.

    Carbon dioxide is rising, but so what? 97% of all carbon dioxide exchanged into the atmosphere is from natural sources. You make assumptions that our contribution even if the climate system was linear that would suggest that all or most of the increase in carbon dioxide is man-made. Those assumptions are not valid.

    The empirical evidence that this warming is changing the climate is abundant and consistent with the principles of physics.

    Only if those laws of physics permit travel backwards in time and the perfect prediction of chaotic systems. In other words, no chance.

    Claims are abundent. Evidence is really very thin.

  72. Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    “Take a good look at this graph which displays observed global emissions and the SRES scenarios… And than tell me what the global co2 emission in twenty years will be.” Hans Erren

    Nice graphs, Hans. Tell me what they say about CO2 levels in twenty years.

    “Energy demand is soaring as never before. It took 150 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil. The next trillion will be burned up in just thirty years. Rising living standards around the world are requiring increasing amounts of energy. In 25 years, the number of cars in the world will increase by 50%. Expectations are that in 20 years the world will consume 40% more oil than it does today.”

    This should give us a hint about where CO2 emissions will be in twenty years. This isn’t my opinion: This is “plagiarized” from an ad in the Wall Street Journal signed by the CEO of Chevron. He continues:

    “The world consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered. Many of the world’s oil and gas fields are maturing. Half of the world’s oil supplies lies in just five countries. And new energy discoveries are mainly occurring in places where resources are difficult to extract”¢’‚¬?physically, technically, economically, and politically.

    We can wait until a crisis forces us to do something. Or we can face up to the tough questions…Whatever actions we take, we must look not just to next year, but also to the next 50 years.”

    Even if you don’t believe the scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are changing the climate, there are plenty of compelling reasons to hope that the powers that be face up to the risks and dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels, rather than continue along the very dangerous path we are on.

    From your link: “Half of (fossil CO2) emissions have occurred since the mid 1970s. The 2002 global, fossil-fuel CO2 emission estimate … represents an all-time high and a 2% increase from 2001.”

    Sounds like an upward trend to me.

  73. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Re # 69

    While Michael should perhaps have mentioned his source, one doesn’t need express written permission to quote small portions of an article.

    I am not so sure he only quoted small portions. The link I provided only gives a small portion of the article, the whole article requires a paid subscription.

  74. Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    “Claims are abundent. Evidence is really very thin.” John A

    Evidence is: “any observable event which tends to prove or disprove a proposition; a thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment.

    Perhaps your definition of “evidence” is different than this. In 1996, Keeling showed that the amplitude of the Northern Hemispheric seasonal cycles in atmospheric carbon dioxide has been increasing, providing independent support for the conclusion that the growing season is beginning earlier in response to global warming. Clearly this is evidence that CO2 affects the climate.

    Research has provided evidence over the past few years is that the rate of 20th Century sea level rise is due to global warming. Only a quarter of measured sea level rise is due to expansion caused by warming of the oceans. Melting of the frozen fresh water in the earth’s glaciers and ice fields causes the balance of sea level rise. This is evidence in support of the proposition that rising levels of greenhouse gases are warming the earth and changing the climate.

    This is the conclusion of NASA satellite missions devoted to sea level research, including: the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE), which maps Earth’s gravitational field with precision and resolution,; the Ocean TOPography Experiment (TOPEX/Poseidon), a joint U.S./French satellite that uses radar to map the precise features of the oceans’ surface; Jason, which measures ocean height and monitors ocean circulation; and the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), whose primary purpose is to study the mass of polar ice sheets and their contributions to global sea level change.

    Research results by Rignot and partners, published in an October 2004 article in Science Magazine, further offer evidence that ice cover is shrinking much faster than thought, with over half of recent sea level rise due to the melting of ice from Greenland, West Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea, and mountain glaciers.

    The latest sea level research conducted by Dr. Steve Nerem, Associate Professor, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and his colleagues, published in a 2004 issue of Marine Geodesy Journal, has found that recent TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite observations show an average increase in global mean sea level is more than 50 percent greater than the average rate of the last 50 years.

    “Carbon dioxide is rising, but so what?”

    Glaciers and ice fields around the world are melting at a rate unprecedented in the historical record, sea levels are rising, greenhouse gases are hitting levels not seen since the human race evolved, fish are dying, fish diversity is plummeting due to overfishing, pollution and climate change, birds in Scotland, the Arabian Sea, and the US Pacific coast are starving because plankton have collapsed and their food has migrated out of range due to warming ocean waters, but so what.

    · “Reduced snowfall in the Himalayas, caused by global warming, is killing fish in the distant Arabian Sea, according to Joaquim Goes of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, United States. He adds that the phenomenon could also aggravate global climate change.”

    · “White-beaked dolphins, once the most common species of cetacean seen in Scottish waters, have almost disappeared from the west coast, it was revealed by Aberdeen University, the Scottish Agricultural College in Inverness and the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. It is the first time that climate change has been found to be directly linked to changes in the life of a whale or dolphin species.”
    · “The biggest colony of puffins in Britain has suffered a “disastrous” breeding season. the worst breeding year on record. The collapse is blamed on global warming and the disappearance from UK waters of the sand eel, the staple diet of many seabirds and a vital element in the marine food chain.”

    · “First it was the seabirds nesting too late and washing up dead on the beach. Then it was the fish, usually roiling in vast numbers, gone missing. No one is sure why it all happened. It may be merely unusual weather. But leading scientists at Oregon State University say the bizarre happenings match the sort of freak events expected from steadily rising sea temperatures, which increasingly appears tied to human-caused global warming.”

    “There is no evidence from any empirical source that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause any climate change at all.” James A

    Reporting in the Earth Science journal, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, researchers have discovered that Earth’s last great global warming period, 3 million years ago, may have been caused by levels of CO2 in the atmosphere similar to today’s. Their findings clearly demonstrate that studying past climates can provide evidence of the likely impact of greenhouse gas emissions on global warming.

    “On the one hand, the Earth could be absorbing more, on the other, the Earth might be simply receiving more energy from the Sun. Such imbalances in the atmosphere/ocean system have been happening for 4 billion years, which is why we have climatic change at all.” James A

    Scientists from NASA, Columbia University, New York, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. used satellites, data from buoys have concluded more energy is being absorbed from the sun than is emitted back to space, throwing the Earth’s energy “out of balance” and “warming the globe”. They confirmed the energy imbalance by using precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years.

    James A, you may not agree with the evidence, but to say it is very thin is not accurate.

  75. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    Re # 71

    This is “plagiarized” from an ad in the Wall Street Journal signed by the CEO of Chevron.

    Once again Mr. Seward engages in a rhetorical dance (I would love to see him try that with a lawyer). The distinction between fair use and plagiarism is quite clear (see second post by SPQR).

    What would be plagiarism as I would apply it in the courses I teach, is copying without attribution but the copying might be done in such as way as to not be infringement or to be fair use. Likewise, what might be copyright infringement – copying an entire work – isn’t plagiarism if the copy is properly cited.

  76. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Clearly this is evidence that CO2 affects the climate.

    [groan] The article Mr. Seward is plagiarizing is here. Some of the text that is copy/paste with the non-italicized words being ones he edited out:[/groan]

    The latest sea level research conducted by Dr. Steve Nerem, Associate Professor, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and his colleagues, published in a 2004 issue of Marine Geodesy Journal, has found that recent TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite observations show an average increase in global mean sea level of three millimeters a year from 1993-2005. This rate is more than 50 percent greater than the average rate of the last 50 years.

    The reason Mr. Seward doesn’t reference the article is the last paragraph.

    Now the challenge is to develop an even deeper understanding of what is responsible for sea level rise and to monitor for possible future changes. That’s where NASA’s satellites come in with global coverage, and ability to examine the many factors involved,” said Miller.

    The article says nothing about CO2 or GW, it is an attempt to quantify the contributors (melting ice, seawater expansion ect). It is the old correlation = causation fallacy. So Mr. Seward, who is quick to accuse others of distorting the science, gives himself a pass.

  77. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    The link in #75 doesn’t want to cooperate so you will have to copy/paste into your browser.

    http://www.hypography.com/sciencearticle.cfm?id=3278

  78. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    The World Glacier Monitoring Service’s report ‘Fluctuations of Glaciers’ states that “”The observed trend of increasingly negative mass balances is consistent with accelerated global warming.”

    “Due to the human impacts on the climate system (enhanced greenhouse effect), dramatic scenarios of future developments – including complete deglaciation of entire mountain ranges – must be taken into consideration,” the report says.

    “Such scenarios may lead far beyond the range of historical/holocene variability and most likely introduce processes (extent and rate of glacier vanishing, distance to equilibrium conditions) without precedence in the history of the earth.”

    The journal Nature has just published the results of intense study of the breakup of the Larson B ice shelf in Antarctica, providing further evidence that greenhouse gases are accelerating the natural warming that has taken place since the end of the last Ice Age.

    “The loss of the great Antarctic ice shelf Larsen B is firming as a milestone sign that human activity is warming the world.
    “Scientists disclosed yesterday that the shelf had existed for at least 10,000 years before disintegrating. Its rate of melting had accelerated in recent decades.

    “It is almost certainly a response to human-induced global warming, said Canadian geographer Robert Gilbert.”

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-08/qu-isd080305.php

    My statement that melting ice sheets and mountain glaciers are evidence of global warming is consistent with the science, not a distortion of the science.

  79. Greg F
    Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    The observed trend of increasingly negative mass balances is consistent with accelerated global warming.

    Correlation does not equal causation. Being “consistent with” is not “evidence of”. Once again Seward fails to link to what he is quoting. As shown in previous comments, Mr. Seward has a tendency to use selective quoting and editing to filter out inconvenient facts.

    Common statements like:

    almost certainly a response to human-induced global warming…

    And:

    Such scenarios may lead

    Are weasel words used to inject opinion while at the same time providing for plausible denial if future facts become inconvenient.

    FYI, Larson B was 3,250 square kilometers, or about 0.023% of the 14.2 million square km of the continent.

    My statement that melting ice sheets and mountain glaciers are evidence of global warming is consistent with the science, not a distortion of the science.

    The statement would be accurate if it said “melting ice sheets and mountain glaciers may be evidence of global warming’. The fact is Mr. Seward consistently misrepresents the science by this type of distortion.

  80. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Greg F:

    First you complain that “almost certainly” and “may lead” are just weasel words, and then you fault me for saying “are” instead of “may be”, saying the “weasel word” would be more accurate to use. I prefer not to use “weasel words”. I stand by my statement.

    The causation isn’t inferred soley by the correlation of global warming with melting glaciers, but by the consistency of the evidence with the theory of global warming across a broad body of research.

    The breakup of the Larson B ice shelf in Antarctica provides further evidence that greenhouse gases are accelerating the natural warming that has taken place since the end of the last Ice Age.What would you call this evidence of?

    “Being “consistent with” is not “evidence of”.”

    Consistent with means “being in agreement with”. Evidence means “A thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment”. If the observed trend is constant with global warming, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that this consistency is helpful in forming a judgment?

    “Once again Seward fails to link to what he is quoting.”

    You say: “Larson B was 3,250 square kilometers, or about 0.023% of the 14.2 million square km of the continent.” Where is your link? And what is your point?

    Instead of playing “gotcha” all the time, how about making an intelligent contribution to the debate. Tell us what you believe the research I’ve cited is evidence of?

  81. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Re: 79

    I’d say that the breakup of Larson B was evidence of localized warming.

    This localized warming is consistant with a change in ocean currents in the area.

    A change in ocean currents might be caused by Global Warming.

    Finally, some/many hold that Global Warming exists and is partially or largely caused by human activities including CO2 release.

    IOW, arrange the sureness of your statements to match the degree of certitude warrented by the facts.

    Now, why don’t you try this with, say, Mountain Glaciers to see if you’ve got the hang of it.

  82. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Michael Seward,

    You keep quoting examples of warming, and claim that this is proof of Antropogenic Global Warming, it is not proof, it is a prerequisite.

  83. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    Michael, thank you for your comments and your defense of your point of view. I disagree with it, but I am happy to see you making the arguments, and am glad that there is a forum where this goes on.

    I think you miss the point, however, when you say (#79):

    First you complain that “almost certainly” and “may lead” are just weasel words, and then you fault me for saying “are” instead of “may be”, saying the “weasel word” would be more accurate to use. I prefer not to use “weasel words”. I stand by my statement.

    Much “science” these days is not really science in my book, because of the weasel words. “Scientific” studies say something “might show” a connection with warming, they say that polar bears “may” go extinct, and the like. This is what Greg F. has pointed out.

    You, however, compound the error by your refusal to use the “weasel words” when you quote the studies. The study says “may be”, and you say “are”, thinking perhaps that you are taking some kind of strong, principled scientific stand by refusing to use weasel words.

    But with that change, you are then doing what the scientists have refused to do. They are not making that strong statement, they are in fact actively refusing to make that strong statement by resorting to the weasel words. To put this as plainly as I can, THE AUTHORS DON’T THINK “ARE” IS SCIENTIFICALLY DEFENSIBLE, THAT’S WHY THEY USE “MAY”.

    Thus, if you truly wish to avoid weasel words as you say, you should:

    a) avoid quoting “scientific” statements containing those words, because they are not science, they are speculation, and

    b) if you quote them, stop changing what the scientists said. If they didn’t say “are”, you are not quoting them, you are MISQUOTING them.

    This type of change, from “might be” and “could happen”, to “is” and “will happen”, is to be expected of journalists looking for sensational headlines. In this forum, however, it merely reveals a lack of scientific understanding, and does your cause no good.

    w.

    PS – I’ve tried to do what you are doing (espouse an opposing point of view, ask questions of the people on the site) three separate times at realclimate. They have refused to print a single word … does this tell you something about the debate?

    No, my posts weren’t aggro. No, I was not engaging in ad hominem attacks, or attacks of any kind. Simple scientific questions. At realclimate, they don’t want to even hear a whisper of an opposing point of view.

    Which I suppose allows them to continue the charade that the scientific issues are settled, after all, nobody’s questioning them …

  84. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Dave Dardinger,

    In the journal Nature Professor Eugene Domack, says that Larsen B’s meltdown was unprecedented since the last ice age.

    Canadian geographer Robert Gilbert described the meltdown of the Larson B ice shelf as “almost certainly a response to human-induced global warming.”

    You are entitled to your indefinite opinion. I understand that you are not sure if some, or many, “believe” in global warming, or whether the cause is partly or mostly by human activities. Your uncertainty is understandable. It’s very complex, and the future is unknown.

    However, most scientists agree that global warming is a real and growing threat. Melting ice sheets and mountain glaciers are evidence of global warming. Just characterizing it as “local warming” doesn’t reflect what the scientists who have studied the meltdown of the Larson B ice sheet are saying.

    Professor Domack says “the modern collapse of (Larsen B) is a unique event within the Holocene, (it) supports the hypothesis that the current warming trend in the north-western Weddell Sea has exceeded past warm episodes in both its magnitude and duration.”

    A multi-institutional, international effort combining various academic disciplines has examined the collapse of the Larson B. They attribute the recent collapse to the effects of climate warming in the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Domack’s paper provides evidence that the break-up of the ice shelf was caused by a combination of long-term thinning over thousands of years (natural variation coming out of the ice age) and short term increases in surface air temperature (global warming) that have exceeded the natural variation of the last 10,000 years. Describe it with doubt, if you like. It sounds like evidence of global warming to me.

  85. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    “You keep quoting examples of warming, and claim that this is proof of Antropogenic Global Warming, it is not proof, it is a prerequisite.” Hans Erren

    No Hans, I am not claiming that examples of warming are proof of AGW. I am claiming that they are EVIDENCE of AWG. The proof will come in 50 to 100 years, when the projections come true or not, as the case may be. The evidence is growing with each new scientific analysis of the global climate.

  86. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    Willis Eschenbach:
    Re: 82 Thanks for your comments, Willis.

    “avoid quoting “scientific” statements containing those words, because they are not science, they are speculation”

    I just disagree with this statement. There is plenty of legitimate science that quantifies the uncertainties, and yet has something relevant to say. If you limited science to only that which is known with absolute certainty, science would occupy a very tiny universe.

    “if you quote them, stop changing what the scientists said. If they didn’t say “are”, you are not quoting them, you are MISQUOTING them.”

    I’ve been accused of “misquoting” scientists, but the accusation is fabricated and spurious. Read what I have written. Any time I have made categorical statements, they are my opinion. Any quotes from scientists are in quotation marks verbatim.

  87. Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    re 84
    A warmer earth is not evidence that humans did it.

    Here is a good summary of the skepticism of fred singer which i endorse:

    http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/OceanHeatStorage.htm

  88. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    Re the Larsen Ice Shelf, let’s start with the abstract of the study

    Nature 436, 681-685 (4 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/nature03908

    Stability of the Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula during the Holocene epoch

    Eugene Domack, Diana Duran, Amy Leventer, Scott Ishman, Sarah Doane, Scott McCallum, David Amblas, Jim Ring, Robert Gilbert and Michael Prentice

    The stability of the Antarctic ice shelves in a warming climate has long been discussed, and the recent collapse of a significant part, over 12,500 km2 in area, of the Larsen ice shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula has led to a refocus toward the implications of ice shelf decay for the stability of Antarctica’s grounded ice. Some smaller Antarctic ice shelves have undergone periodic growth and decay over the past 11,000 yr, but these ice shelves are at the climatic limit of ice shelf viability and are therefore expected to respond rapidly to natural climate variability at century to millennial scales. Here we use records of diatoms, detrital material and geochemical parameters from six marine sediment cores in the vicinity of the Larsen ice shelf to demonstrate that the recent collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf is unprecedented during the Holocene. We infer from our oxygen isotope measurements in planktonic foraminifera that the Larsen B ice shelf has been thinning throughout the Holocene, and we suggest that the recent prolonged period of warming in the Antarctic Peninsula region, in combination with the long-term thinning, has led to collapse of the ice shelf.

    Does this prove that anthropogenic global warming melted the shelf? No, the authors don’t even begin to say that. They do “suggest” that “the recent prolonged period of warming”, along with the “long-term thinning”, is the cause of the collapse.

    OK. We have a suggestion that recent warming has helped the collapse.

    While I like suggestions, for you to say that their suggestion somehow the issue is solved and the case is closed is going much, much farther than the authors of the study have gone.

    But it’s worse than that. According to your submission, Professor Domack says that because “”the modern collapse of (Larsen B) is a unique event within the Holocene, (it) supports the hypothesis that the current warming trend in the north-western Weddell Sea has exceeded past warm episodes in both its magnitude and duration.”

    While we might all agree that the modern collapse of Larsen B is a “unique event”, the fact that it is unique proves nothing about anthropogenic global warming. A number of unique events have happened in the Holocene (including the formation of Larsen Ice Shelf A some 2 millennia ago), but their uniqueness does not mean that they are un-natural, unexpected, or human-caused. It does not even support the conclusion drawn by Prof. Domack, that the current warming trend is somehow unusual.

    This is because the Larsen B shelf has been thinning for tens of thousands of years. At some point, during a warmer period, it was bound to fail. But that proves nothing about the exact time that it fails, except that the thinning is still going on and that some periods are warmer than others.

    As with so many of these studies, it is critical to distinguish between what they have found, and what they say about what they have found. One is science, the other is informed speculation. For example, they say the “recent prolonged period of warming” … what “prolonged period” are they speaking of? 1976 – 1998? 1900-1945?

    w.

  89. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 8, 2005 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    Michael, you say that the accusations that you are “misquoting” scientists are fabricated and spurious, and ask us to look at what you have written. Here’s a sample of what you have written:

    The loss of the shelf is a sign that human activity is warming the world. “Our observation, that the modern collapse of (Larsen B) is a unique event within the Holocene, supports the hypothesis that the current warming trend in the north-western Weddell Sea has exceeded past warm episodes in both its magnitude and duration,” Professor Eugene Domack said.

    As you may (or may not ) have noticed:

    1) the scientists said that the recent warming has exceeded past episodes of warming, but

    2) you quote them in support of your claim human activity is warming the world, which they DID NOT SAY.

    The scientists did say that the shelf has been thinning for millennia, which would seem to indicate that the collapse of the ice shelf was a) natural and b) inevitable. Given that the collapse was inevitable, drawing conclusions about human influence on the process seems to be a bridge too far, and is certainly one that the Professor’s comment neither supports nor denies.

    Finally, the Professor’s claim itself does not stand up to examination. He says that there have been previous warm periods in the past, and that the glacier has been thinning for thousands of years. Assuming that both of these are true, we cannot draw the conclusion that this period is either warmer or longer than past warm periods. We can conclude only that this warming occurred at a time when, after thousands of years of thinning, the ice was thin enough to break. That proves nothing, I repeat NOTHING, about the temperature and duration of this warm period.

    w.

  90. Posted Aug 9, 2005 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

    Willis Eschenbach :

    Thank you for taking the time to read my post. You noticed, I hope, that I did not misquote professor Domack. I have expressed my opinion that the “unprecedented” nature of the melting of Larson B is helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment (i.e. “evidence”) that the loss of the shelf is a sign that human activity is warming the world.

    I welcome your disagreement with my opinion, but please notice that the accusation that I am misquoting scientists is a smear without basis in fact. My opinion is just that. The quote is verbatim. The fact that Greg F characterizes this as “misquoting scientists” only discredits Greg F’s credibility.

    This connection between the uniqueness of the melting, and human causes of climate change should be especially obvious to this group. The relentless pursuit of statistical and computer errors in MBH98 is premised on the idea that the current warming is NOT unique ((MWP), so therefore the current warming is within natural variation. Evidence showing the unique character of current warming, therefore, should likewise be evidence that current warming is outside the bounds of natural variability; giving weight to the hypothesis that human activity is warming the world.

    “The scientists did say that the shelf has been thinning for millennia, which would seem to indicate that the collapse of the ice shelf was a) natural and b) inevitable. Given that the collapse was inevitable, drawing conclusions about human influence on the process seems to be a bridge too far, and is certainly one that the Professor’s comment neither supports nor denies.”

    You are leaving out something here. Domack’s paper provides evidence that the break-up of the ice shelf was caused by a combination of natural variation coming out of the ice age, and short term surface air temperature increases (global warming) that have exceeded the natural variation of the last 10,000 years. Given that the collapse was unique in the past 10,000 years, and given that Domack has shown that global warming is implicated in the collapse, drawing the conclusion that the collapse of the Larson B was natural and evitable is a failure to cross the bridge that Domack has constructed using records of diatoms, detrital material and geochemical parameters from six marine sediment cores. Seeing this event as evidence of human effects on the climate is perfectly reasonable, in my opinion.

    I am not the only one to come to this conclusion. Canadian geographer Robert Gilbert described the meltdown of the Larson B ice shelf as “almost certainly a response to human-induced global warming.”

    You say, “the Professor’s claim itself does not stand up to examination”. That’s your opinion, and your welcome to it. But have you “misquoted” the professor by dismissing the validity of his conclusion?

  91. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 9, 2005 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    Michael Seward, sorry, I’m confused now.

    Given that the collapse was unique in the past 10,000 years, and given that Domack has shown that global warming is implicated in the collapse, drawing the conclusion that the collapse of the Larson B was natural and evitable is a failure to cross the bridge that Domack has constructed using records of diatoms, detrital material and geochemical parameters from six marine sediment cores.

    1. Is ‘evitable’ a typo for ‘inevitable’ ?
    2. Does the “crossing the bridge” stuff mean that you accept that Larson B is not evidence of AGW, but recommend we look at the diatoms etc., which are evidence ?

  92. Posted Aug 9, 2005 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Ffreddy:

    I understand your confusion. I could have spoken more clearly.

    Domack’s work illustrates for the first time that global warming, in addition to natural climate variability, is implicated in the collapse of the Lason B ice shelf. The collapse of the Larson B represents evidence of natural warming coming out of the ice age, as well as melting due to the greenhouse effect. Its recent collapse exceeds the limits of natural variability during the Holocene. The empirical evidence from the marine sediment cores implicates global warming in the collapse of hte ice shelf.

    “The most reasonable view is that the sea ice decline represents a combination of natural variability and the greenhouse effect, with the latter becoming increasingly evident in coming decades.”

  93. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 9, 2005 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    How can GLOBAL warming be seen in marine cores tied to one specific area? I can see that if we grant the existence of global warming, that might be used as one aspect of a local event. But given that we know that that specific area, near the the Antarctic penisula, has warmed much more than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere I don’t see how either can have much relationship except as part of a general statistical analysis.

  94. Ed Snack
    Posted Aug 10, 2005 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    Michael, have you considered the fact that around Antartica generally, and for some time, the extent of sea ice is increasing. This does not seem consistent with AGW, but is consistent with the notion that Antartica is cooling on average, even when the Antartic peninsula is included. This would tend, IMO, to imply that the peninsula warming is a localised effect only.

  95. Posted Aug 10, 2005 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    How can GLOBAL warming be seen in marine cores tied to one specific area? I can see that if we grant the existence of global warming, that might be used as one aspect of a local event. But given that we know that that specific area, near the Antarctic peninsula, has warmed much more than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere I don’t see how either can have much relationship except as part of a general statistical analysis.
    Comment by Dave Dardinger

    Dave Dardinger,
    That’s a reasonable question. The simple answer is that marine cores tied to one specific area tell us nothing specific about global warming. The innate complexity of the Antarctic defies simple explanations. Ice shelves have melted and grown back through the ages. The massive collapse of the Larson B can’t be blamed solely on global warming. Regional climate warming is at the heart of these changes.

    The peninsula is considered a sensitive, early indicator of global climate change because the average annual temperature there is close to the melting point. So a small increase in the average annual temperature causes more melting, with very dramatic results.

    When evidence from seabed sediments in the Prince Gustav Channel on the Antarctic Peninsula reveled that the ice shelf had disappeared at least once before since the last ice age, scientists at the time took that to mean that the collapse was within the scope of natural variability. At the time, scientists stopped short of blaming the collapse on global warming. “Thus, the present loss of ice shelves cannot be assumed to be a consequence of Man-made climate change…” British Antarctic Survey2002

    The marine sediment cores from the Larson B study, however, indicates the disintegration of Antarctica’s Larsen-B Ice Shelf was unprecedented since the last ice age. The uniqueness of the collapse suggests that this event is outside the scope of natural climate variability. This is one reason why someone might say “The disintegration of Larsen B is almost certainly a response to human-induced global warming,” says Robert Gilbert, a Canadian scientist on the team.

    Historically, ice sheets have always calved off icebergs. However, the Larson B melted at an astonishing rate. When it collapsed, the ice sheet lost 40% of its mass. It dumped more ice into the Southern Ocean than all of the previous half-century’s icebergs combined. The current rate of change on the Peninsula is much, much faster than any changes over the last thousands of years.

    The new study does not explicitly say that man-made global warming was responsible for the Larsen B’s demise. However, it blames the sudden collapse on the steep rise in the summer surface temperatures over the past several decades, a phenomenon is consistent with expectations from global warming .
    No one study can “prove” a connection between regional climate conditions and global warming. The evidence comes from a huge body of work telling a consistent story about a relentlessly warming world.

    Consider: Antarctica’s only two flowering plant species have spread considerably in the last few decades. Gentoo penguins have started to nest on the Peninsula in recent years, for the first time in history. Studies of the bones and remains found in abandoned colonies indicates that prior to 1950, no Gentoo penguins nested in these sites at all. . Adelie penguins are reducing in number and abandoning nesting sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. Adelies require pack ice for most of the year and feed almost exclusively on Krill. Recent studies have shown that krill in Antarctica have declined dramatically in recent years due to a fall in the amount of sea ice in the winter months. Krill numbers may have dropped by as much as 80% since the 1970’s, affecting the web of life in the Antarctic Ocean.

    Glaciers in Alaska and South America are shrinking faster now than 10 years ago, and two to three times faster than they did over the last century. Mountain glaciers in Europe, Asia and Africa also are contracting rapidly. Melting ice and warming waters have raised average sea levels worldwide by more than an inch since 1995. That’s twice as fast as the rate the oceans rose during the previous 50 years.

    The theory of global-warming predicts changes will happen most noticeably and most rapidly in the Polar Regions, that tropical glaciers will melt, and that animal species will be stressed and displaced. And that is exactly what we are seeing.There’s no doubt that the world has become warmer and the reason for this is the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of the burning of fossil fuels. The changes in the Antarctic fit the global warming theory like a glove.

  96. Posted Aug 10, 2005 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    “Michael, have you considered the fact that around Antartica generally, and for some time, the extent of sea ice is increasing. This does not seem consistent with AGW, but is consistent with the notion that Antartica is cooling on average, even when the Antartic peninsula is included. This would tend, IMO, to imply that the peninsula warming is a localised effect only.” Ed Snack

    That’s a good question. I’ve wondered about that myself.
    Certainly the Peninsula warming is a localized effect. But the theory of global warming doesn’t imply that warming will be manifest over all regions equally. In fact, large regional variations are consistent with the theory of global warming. This is because the greenhouse effect is only one element in a complex interplay of forcings and natural climate cycles that drive the global climate.

    Antarctica is a huge continent with complex and dynamic weather and climate patterns. The global warming component of the equation simply isn’t strong enough in the dynamic to be manifest in those regional areas experiencing cooling. According to what I’ve read, the thickening of Antarctic ice in certain regions results from complex internal dynamics of the ice itself, as well as warmer air temperatures. Recent research suggests that warmer temperatures from global warming may actually increase sea ice in the Antarctic Ocean.

    Studies showing that parts of Antarctica have been cooling have been presented in some media reports as evidence contradicting the theory of global warming. the San Diego Union-Tribune editoruialized that: “Scientific findings run counter to theory of global warming.” The editorial sarcastically asked: “Oh dear. What will the doomsayers say now? How will they explain away yet two more scientific studies that clearly contradict the global warming orthodoxy?”

    Many scientists feel that the cooling trend in parts of Antarctica doesn’t contradict the general warming trend in the global climate. Changing wind patterns, increased precipitation, and changes in ocean currents, themselves perhaps influenced by global warming, are causing regional cooling in parts of Antarctica. Two-thirds of the Antarctic continent has cooled in the last 35 years. But one-third of the continent has been warming (if you exclude the Antarctic Peninsula). And with the Peninsula included, only 58 percent of the continent is cooling.

    “Predicted increases in precipitation due to warmer air temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions may actually increase sea ice volume in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean.”
    This paper from a few weeks ago discusses the issue to some extent:

    http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0522.html

  97. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 10, 2005 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    So Michael, if growing ice can be a sign of global warming, and cooling in Antarctia can be a sign of global warming, as well, of course as localized warming being a sign of global warming and floods are a sign of global warming as well, of course as droughts being a sign of global warming and …. Well, just what COULDN’T be a sign of global warming?

    Now I’m a pretty religious guy, and I see God at work in many places where probably most here would say it’s just coincicence. But I know and accept that I’m seeing things through the eyes of faith in such cases. What’s your excuse?

  98. Posted Aug 11, 2005 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    Dave,

    What’s my excuse? Excuse for what?

    When it comes to understanding the mechanics of the natural world, I rely on the science, not the preacher. Since the Bible (or whichever book you place your faith in) has few things to say about Polar ice, climate sensitivity, solar forcings, the pH chemistry of seawater, the carbon cycle, tropical glaciers, the earth’s energy balance, the MWP, the LIA, carbon isotope ratios, etc., any advice you get from religion on these subjects must be a matter of interpretation and subjective point of view.

    Now, my opinion is my subjective point of view, but it is based on the best available science, not on my faith. My “excuse” is the evidence, and my faith is in the scientific enterprise.

  99. TCO
    Posted Aug 11, 2005 at 4:10 AM | Permalink

    Mike, you avoided his strongest point by responding only to his tease. I hate it when people argue by responding to the weakest points only. (from either side). It’s tendentious.

  100. John A
    Posted Aug 11, 2005 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    Re #97

    Michael, what Dave is trying to point out is that AGW appears to be unfalsifiable. If warming, cooling, increased rain, decreased rain, glacier advance, glacier retreat, increased tornados, decreased tornados, etc are all indications of AGW, then AGW is not a scientific theory at all but an article of religious faith.

    The principles of science include the proposition that theories should be falsifiable ie that it should be possible to construct an experiment that could show the theory wrong.

  101. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 11, 2005 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Michael,

    I see TCO and John A have already made good points concerning what I was getting at, and what you were avoiding. I’ll add one more thing. There’s a difference between an explanation and a rationalization. It’s not difficult to come up with many ‘explanations’ for any observed or imagined circumstance. Merely labeling them "the best available science" or "evidence" and claiming them as "the scientific enterprise" isn’t proof of anything. As John says, a necessary condition for something being scientific is that it be falsifiable, and that’s what AGW seems to be doing its best to avoid.

    And yes, TCO I was waving the bloody rag of ‘faith’ before Michael. It’s sad that that’s what mentioning religion is for so many these days, but it’s fun rhetorically to observe the reactions and serves to calibrate where it will be useful to goad someone in the future.

    Steve: Dave, no bloody rags or goading for the sake of goading please. This can easily become a flame war.

  102. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 11, 2005 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I think John H, Peter and Michael (maybe) are all trying to goad you. You’re pretty adept at avoiding their pinpricks, but it does take time. I think it’s more cost effective for you to continue your research and for others to call them out when they’re being obnoxious. Not in an downbeat or obnoxious way on our part, but one that’s ironic or even funny. Of course my humor sometimes flies right over other’s heads, but it’s usually there.

    “Bloody Rag and “goad”, were I think descriptive, but not designed to be offensive. The terms, of course, come from bullfighting, and the picture that should arise in your mind is of a bull wasting his strength attacking something not worthy of his attention. As a general tactic it’s perhaps not productive, but sometimes needed to draw the attention of the bull from a larger target.

    Note I’m setting myself up for obvious replies here, which self-depriation itself should show I’m not trying to start a flame war.

  103. Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 3:27 AM | Permalink

    “Mike, you avoided (Dave’s) strongest point by responding only to his tease. I hate it when people argue by responding to the weakest points only. (from either side). It’s tendentious.” TCO

    TCO:

    That’s an interesting point of view. I thought Dave’s argument that global warming explains everything was his weakest point.

    Perhaps you haven’t been following along, TCO, but Dave’s comment is an answer to my precious post, where I answer this question in great detail in response to a question by Ed Snack. I made my case as best I could, using a well-reasoned argument illustrated with the latest scientific research. I included a link to a June 2005 article in the AGU arguing, “Predicted increases in precipitation due to warmer air temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions may actually increase sea ice volume in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean. This finding from a new study … may be an indication that climate change processes may have varying impacts on different areas of the globe.”

    Dave makes a claim that global warming explains droughts, floods, warming, cooling. Dave hasn’t even made a point. He has simply asserted that global warming seems to be responsible for many disparate weather patterns. Dave offers no reasoning for his assertion; he gives us no scientific evidence to back up his “point”, and in the end relies on an argument about faith in God. If Dave’s final authority on the question of climate change is God, that’s pretty much the end of the debate. That’s a pretty strong point. I can’t argue with God.

    You can accuse me of being inarticulate, or even tendentious; but you haven’t been paying attention if you think I have avoided responding to Dave’s “strongest point”.

    “I see TCO and John A have already made good points concerning what I was getting at, and what you were avoiding.” Dave Dardinger

    Rather than avoiding this assertion, I answered it in previous posts using reason, argument and numerous examples from recent research. I’ve already said that the impacts of global warming are expected to vary tremendously in different regions, due to well-understood complexities of the climate. If this seems counterintuitive to you, fine. But to claim I was “avoiding” your point is disingenuous, to say the least. “bloody rag of faith…fun…useful to goad someone in the future…”? Wow.

  104. Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    “If warming, cooling, increased rain, decreased rain, glacier advance, glacier retreat, increased tornados, decreased tornados, etc are all indications of AGW, then AGW is not a scientific theory at all but an article of religious faith.
    The principles of science include the proposition that theories should be falsifiable is that it should be possible to construct an experiment that could show the theory wrong.” John A

    John A:

    The global warming theory is clearly falsifiable. Global warming theory makes predictions, and the failure of these predictions to come true would call the theory into question. Repeated successful testing of a theory’s predictions validates the theory. A theory is called into question when the observed evidence fails to be consistent with expectations arising from the theory.

    AWG is a scientific theory because it provides an explanation for the climate that is consistent with observable evidence. Religious faith, on the other hand, is a belief that does not rest on material evidence. Since AWG stands or falls on the material evidence, it is not religious faith.

    In common usage, a “theory” is a guess or a hunch that a person makes to explain something. In science, however, a theory is a “well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world”. The skeptics fault the climate scientists for failing to prove global warming. Theories can be disproved, but it is scientifically impossible to prove a theory correct. A theory can be disproved at any time.

    Finding other explanations for the observed warming would also invalidate (or modify) the global warming theory. (Hint to the skeptics: find a theory that better explains the evidence.) So far, attempts to find natural causes, such as solar activity, or cosmic rays, or urban heat islands, etc, have failed to adequately explain the changes we are seeing in the global climate.

    Here is Fred Singer telling the US Senate in 2000 that “the Earth’s climate has not warmed appreciably in the past two decades, and probably not since about 1940. The evidence is overwhelming:”

    http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSingerTestimony2000.html

    Also on his website: “But since 1940, weather satellites, tree ring data, and corrected thermometer readings all agree that climate has not warmed–even though CO2 levels rose.”

    http://www.sepp.org/faq.html

    Even skeptics now admit that Singer’s hypothesis is wrong. Singer’s claim that there has been no warming has been disproved by a preponderance of the evidence. Global warming theory is consistent with a preponderance of the evidence. We only need to wait and see if the predictions come true. If not, it will be disproved.

    Scientists know that adding CO2 to the atmosphere warms the planet. Most climate scientists agree that the observed warming over the last 50 years is attributable in large part to human activities, including anthropogenic increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, as well as natural causes. The global warming theory is endorsed by scientific organizations around the world, including the IPCC, the NAS, AAAS, the AGU, the AMS, and the National Academies of Science of the world’s largest countries.

    Critics of this consensus are doing their best to falsify this theory. They claim global warming will be beneficial. They complain of model uncertainties, and point to potential negative feedbacks. They call climate scientists “alarmist” and “scare-mongers” and mount a campaign of denial at every research paper that suggests evidence of global warming. Groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Marshall Institute, OISM, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change, (policy lobbying advocates) endorse these anti-AWG arguments. Former oil industry lobbyists have edited White House documents to exaggerate uncertainties, and eliminate references to evidence of global warming.

    But what the skeptics haven’t done is articulate a better theory to explain the climate evidence, one that convinces the majority of the scientific community. I for one hope they succeed. Because if they are wrong, there will be tough times ahead.

  105. TCO
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Mike, I’ve worked with a lot of modelers. I’m sure that the systems are complicated enough that you can make a case for GW causing ice sheet buildup or the reverse. To me, the most effective arguments are the overarching ones (temp rise over the last several decades, common-sense CO2 greenhouse gas effects). When someone on one side or the other starts citing a particular little peice of land having an issue (like the peninsula on Antarctica, BUT NOT THE REST OF THE CONTINENT) as evidence of GW, then I think they are reaching. I mean even the two major different competing models show reasonably different climactic patterns expected in the US. So I have a hard time placing much faith in areal-specific evidence (that is mixed) and is retrospective. And I think most GWers realize that even if the world is warming up, they don’t know enough to predict well, the areal distribution effects.

  106. TCO
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    I’ve worked with modelers in solid state physics, chemistry. You would be amazed how often they want to write a joint experimental/modeling paper, but want to see the experimental results (the conductivities or the crystallography or the neutron study or whatever) BEFORE they model. I usually push them to make a prediction–I don’t even mind if they are wrong so much. I feel like they will do better work if they take a stab at prediction and will learn to model the next problem better. But it’s not just one or two who want the answer before the prediction. It’s every one I’ve worked with. I don’t even mind if they do a tweaked model AFTER the experiments. But I do want them to take a prior stab at it. I find in this way, it at least has a chance to contribute to overall brainstorming. And sometimes it does, for instance if a feature pops up that one wouldn’t think of, etc.

  107. TCO
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Think of looking at, I mean.

  108. J. Sperry
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Since no one has commented on the spelling wars of #61-63, I’ll take a shot at it, at the risk of starting another fight.

    Greg used the word “provably” – as in able to be proven (the context was “provably distorting the science”). I assume Michael thought this was a misspelling of “probably” — as in maybe, which lessens the impact of the insult. I thought the same thing for a moment. (So, if I’m right, Michael’s reply of “Yea, I provably am” seems to be an attempt at sarcasm by using what he thought was the same misspelling.)

  109. Greg F
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    J. Sperry,

    LMAO … You are correct that the word “provably” was the word he thought I misspelled. He of course never responded when I asked what word he was refering to. Then again, Mr. Seward doesn’t ever seem to acknowledge his own mistakes. What is funny is in one of my following comments I did misspell the word “copyright” by spelling it “copywrite”. Everybody makes spelling mistakes from time to time, it’s no big deal. When someone has to resort to pointing out spelling mistakes it is a sign they are loosing the argument.

  110. TCO
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    Grammarian: one of the feeblest of flame warriors. (I’m a Big Dog myself, sans Me Too at the moment.)

  111. Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Greg F says:”…your knowledge of the subject is superficial at best. IOW your (sic) ignorant and therefore you (sic) opinion is of little value… what you purport the evidence to say, and what it real (sic) says, are two different things. You are the one who is provably distorting the science.”

    Greg:

    Arguments over spelling are a waste of time. I would never complain about your spelling, if you hadn’t insisted on ignoring my point in previous posts, and instead made a big deal about the spelling of Ice Age. TCO hates it when people argue by responding to the weakest points. It’s tendentious.

    You haven’t answered any of my questions to you, and you have the nerve to complain that I didn’t tell you what words you misspelled. You can’t figure that out for yourself, and I’m the one who is ignorant?

    “When someone has to resort to pointing out spelling mistakes it is a sign they are loosing the argument.” No kidding. Except of course, when I capitalize Ice Age. Then it’s a sign that my knowledge is superficial and I’m ignorant.

    How ignorant is it to link to a description that says, “Ice Ages (note the caps) are intervals of time when large areas of the surface of the globe are covered with ice sheets…In addition, the term “Ice Age” is sometimes used to refer to the last major glaciation that occurred in North America and Eurasia. When used in this way, the first letters of both words are often capitalized.”

    When your own source says Ice Ages are intervals of time when the globe is largely covered in ice, then you look like the one who doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    Actually, I agree with you that arguing over spelling is a sign of loosing the argument. That’s how I understand your focusing on the spelling of Ice Age. It was a ploy to avoid the issue: whether or not Singer’s assertions are accurate representation of the science.

    Your sole contribution to the debate has been to berate me, Greg. Prove that I’m distorting the science, if you think it is provable.

    Do you honestly believe that an imminent ice age is threatening mankind?

  112. TCO
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    Good boy, Mike.

  113. John Hekman
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    If this ISN’T a flame war, what exactly would it take to make it one?

  114. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    Pointing out to Michael Seward that you don’t “loose” an argument, you “lose” it, and that by repeating Greg’s typo, he is demonstrating his lack of self-confidence in his own ability to spell ?
    Unless he was being ironic, or post-modern, or something …

  115. Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    re 105

    Scientists know that adding CO2 to the atmosphere warms the planet.

    They don’t know. The debate is about how much. One side says dramatically, the other side says negligable. IMHO the latter side has stronger arguments.

    http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/OceanHeatStorage.htm

  116. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 12, 2005 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    Michael Seward, in your post #39, you quote Fred Singer as saying :

    “Geologists tell us that the present interglacial warm period will soon come to an end.”

    You then immediately recharacterise this as :

    Fred Singer is predicting an imminent Ice Age!

    You proceed to repeat your recharacterisation rather a lot.
    Personally, I am aware that geologists work on a differnt timescale to the rest of us, and when they say “soon”, they could be talking in millenia. In my opinion, your recharacterisation to “imminent”, without the geological context, is a deliberate distortion.
    Are we clear ?

  117. Posted Aug 13, 2005 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Comment by fFreddy : “Pointing out to Michael Seward that you don’t “loose” an argument, you “lose” it, and that by repeating Greg’s typo, he is demonstrating his lack of self-confidence in his own ability to spell ?”

    I am demonstrating that I quoted Greg’s comment verbatim, exactly as he wrote it. Period.

    How about resisting your compulsion to criticize my character, and instead comment on global warming? If that proves too difficult, speculate on my character flaws, and then say something of substance relevant to the debate.

    This is the only place I know of where I can have a debate with climate skeptics. Please don’t screw up this opportunity by arguing over spelling mistakes. It is a waste of time.

  118. Posted Aug 13, 2005 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    Comment by fFreddy: “In my opinion, your recharacterisation to “imminent”, without the geological context, is a deliberate distortion. Are we clear?”

    No, not really. The question I posed to Greg was this: are Singer’s quotes an honest presentation of the current scientific understanding about global warming, or are they an example of a distortion and misrepresentation of the science? I gave several examples, including Singer’s comment (still on his website) that the threat of an ice age is more certain (more imminent) than the threat of global warming. I have asked Greg if he believes this to be true, and he sent me a link to a paper from 1997 that implied that an ice age is imminent (ice ages occur every 10,000 years, it’s been 10,000 years since the last ice age, hence…).

    I informed Greg that more recent research indicates that the next ice age could be 15,000 years in the future, concluding that the date of the next ice age is not known with certainty. To claim, as I understand Singer’s statement, that the threat of an ice age is more certain (i.e. more imminent) than the threat from global warming (which is already discernable) is simply wrong.

    Do you think that the threat from the next ice age is more certain than the threat from global warming? If not, is this line of argument (which is common in climate skeptic circles) an honest reflection of the science? I’d be interested in your opinion.

  119. Posted Aug 13, 2005 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    I have tried to post a comment to TCO, but got a "word press error". Does anyone know how I can post this comment again without being mistaken for spam?

    Steve: Try again. We’ve been having some server problems as the site seems to be bumping against allotted memory. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  120. John A
    Posted Aug 13, 2005 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Michael, the “WordPress error” has nothing to do with the Spam Karma. It’s because Climate Audit is running out of its allotted disk space. I have deleted all of the collected spam from the database to give more time while Steve looks at options.

    It’s a consequence of the weblog’s popularity and not malice on our part towards any particular poster.

  121. Greg F
    Posted Aug 13, 2005 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Seward wrote:
    … and instead made a big deal about the spelling of Ice Age.

    Building another straw man Mr. Seward? It was not about your spelling, it was about the fact that the term “ice age” and “Ice Age” have different meanings, something you seem unable to grasp. Attempt this mischaracterization again and I will feel quite justified calling you a bold faced liar.

    Mr. Seward wrote:
    Arguments over spelling are a waste of time. I would never complain about your spelling, if you hadn’t insisted on ignoring my point in previous posts

    Your demand that I respond to “Singer’s quotes an honest presentation” is a ploy to shift the burden of proof. I feel no obligation to play your silly games. I will state this once again. The burden of proof is with you. You’re the one who made the claim:

    And yet Singer’s website is a catalogue of distortions and misrepresentation of the observed evidence.

    I refer you to comment # 63.

    Mr. Seward wrote:
    You haven’t answered any of my questions to you, and you have the nerve to complain that I didn’t tell you what words you misspelled.

    you just don’t get it. You made a claim that I misspelled a word. The burden of proof is with you. The questions you want me to answer are not based on any claim I have made, they are an attempt to shift the burden of proof from claims you made. Now either put up or shut up.

    Mr. Seward wrote:
    Your sole contribution to the debate has been to berate me, …

    You are a proven plagiarizer. You, without proof, have berated Dr. Singer as well as others. You even claim to quote me “verbatim” (see below) when you did not. Your moral compass is in serious need of adjustment.

    Mr. Seward wrote:
    Greg. Prove that I’m distorting the science, if you think it is provable.

    That has already been shown numerous times in this thread. Like a religious fanatic, facts that contradict a fanatics belief are ignored. Two examples. Comment # 77 where Mr. Seward didn’t cite the source, IOW he plagiarized and edited out relevant information that weakened his argument.

    Mr. Seward’s plagiarized comment:
    …has found that recent TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite observations show an average increase in global mean sea level is more than 50 percent greater than the average rate of the last 50 years.

    The article Seward plagiarized said:
    …has found that recent TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite observations show an average increase in global mean sea level of three millimeters a year from 1993-2005. This rate is more than 50 percent greater than the average rate of the last 50 years.

    Removing the text that is in bold is clear evidence of intentionally misrepresenting the science. Also, in comment # 57, where Armand showed clear distortion of the science on Mr. Seward’s part.

    And concering my misspelling of the word “loosing” when it should have been “losing”, and Mr. Seward’s subsequent repeat of my mistake.

    I am demonstrating that I quoted Greg’s comment verbatim, exactly as he wrote it. Period.

    Verbatim eh? “Exactly” as I wrote it? Looks like more Seward spin to me.

    I wrote:
    … it is a sign they are loosing the argument.

    Mr. Seward wrote:
    is a sign of loosing the argument.

    This guy is a troll.

  122. Posted Aug 14, 2005 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    TCO,

    Don’t you just hate it when someone answers the weakest argument? It’s just so tendentious.

    I’ve never worked with modelers in solid-state physics or chemistry. Your comments are true, I’m sure. But climate model results are the weakest argument for understanding climate dynamics. As a tool for analyzing the principles of climate dynamics, they are certainly more powerful than mere opinion. But no one is claiming that they are “proof” of global warming.

    Additionally, more than once, discrepancies between the observed trends and the models have been resolved in favor of the models, when errors in the data analysis of the observations became apparent. Maybe models are still being used in chemistry and physics because they have some utility, in spite of their flaws and uncertainties.

    Models aside, simple observation provides evidence of CO2’s effects on the environment. For example, levels of carbonic acid in the worlds’ oceans are increasing at a rate one hundred times faster than the world has seen for millions of years. Ocean acidification threatens photosynthetic plankton, which have shells of calcium carbonate. Increasing acidification interrupts their ability to grow, meaning they remove less carbon from the atmosphere. This conclusion does not rely on complex climate models. It relies on high school level chemistry. The cause is the ever-increasing level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the results will wreck havoc on marine eco-systems. And this change is effectively irreversible.

    The Antarctic Peninsula’s average annual temp is close to the melting point of ice. The continent of Antarctica is 35 C below the melting point of ice. The Peninsula is geographically dissimilar to the continent (subject to ocean currents, etc.) It stands to reason that warming would be evident on the Peninsula before it manifests on the Continent. Why would you expect melting on the Peninsula to occur simultaneously and homogeneously with melting on the Continent?

    A prediction of global warming theory is that the South Pole will warm and the ice will melt. But this is a chaotic process that will take place over decades and centuries. It is not something that is expected to happen in a homogenous manner over every geographic region at the same time.

    Further more, the collapse of a massive ice shelf is unprecedented since the last ice age. This is evidence from marine bed sediment cores that the current warming is outside of the bounds of natural variability.

    With more precipitation and deeper snow at the South Pole, the snow load on the sea ice becomes heavy enough that it suppresses the ice below sea level. This results in even more and even thicker sea ice when the snow refreezes as more ice. This is not a wild guess by a politically motivated ideologue, but a reasonable interpretation of recent satellite data by a NASA scientist that explains how ice shelves are melting in one region, while sea ice advances in other regions.

    The climate is a complex non-linear dynamic of numerous forces, moderated by feedbacks and delayed reactions, taking place on a background of inherent variability and natural climate cycles. It only stands to reason that the effects of global warming would be varied and disparate, and play out over time, simply because of the complex nature of the interactions.

    The manner in which global warming can play a role in the intensification of droughts and floods is not hard to fathom. Warming intensifies the hydrologic cycle. Warming increases evaporation, which increases precipitation. This means more flooding, but also more droughts. Droughts come about where the atmosphere is not favorable to rain or snow, and the evaporated moisture travels to other regions. The additional evaporation from the surface leads to a drying of the soil, and more severe and widespread droughts. Also, precipitation is more pronounced in the winter and spring, while drying is more pronounced in the summer. Hence, the mechanism by which global warming is responsible for an increasing intensity of droughts AND floods is well understood. What appears to be a contradiction to Dave is actually a well-understood phenomenon.

    Dave makes the assertion that he can’t believe global warming can be responsible for seemingly contradictory effects, like droughts AND floods. You call that a strong argument. But Dave offers no examples, no reasoning, and no research to back up his disbelief, instead relying on his faith in religion. I’d be interested on your opinion. What reasoning or evidence implies that global warming can’t be manifest disparately in different regions? Is it really plausible that global warming should manifest only one type of response, equally in every region, all at one time? Who believes this?

  123. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 14, 2005 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Seward, you are becoming incoherent.

  124. Posted Aug 16, 2005 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

    Freddy,

    It doesn’t surprise me that mainstream climate science looks “incoherent” to you. Looking back over your posts, I see that you have a special talent for insult and personal attack. It’s disappointing that you can’t seem to resist the compulsion to insult long enough to say something intelligent on the topic of global warming.

  125. TCO
    Posted Sep 21, 2005 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    The MBH responses to the Congressional questions remind me of something I saw onboard ship. CO was investigating a misoperation of the reactor and the question came up of the supervisor (quite a good one by the way) as to whether he had the written procedure out. Supervisor huffed and puffed about how he had not made an error (he hadn’t). But that was not the question. Question was if he had the book out or not.

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