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Settled Science
Climate “Quirk” Protecting US from Hurricanes
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  • SLEcoman

    “We can also understand that’s in our best interest to mitigate these emissions” is an example of liberal/progressive lines that are thrown out as if they are patently obvious. Since increasing CO2 concentrations have been linked to the overall increase in the world’s biomass over the last several decades and human population/longevity and biomass have historically increased when the earth was warmer and decreased when the world is colder, it far from patently obvious that reducing emissions of a gas, CO2, that aids plant growth and increases global temperatures is a good thing.

    The “we can also understand…” sentence also implies that the optimal global temperature and CO2 concentration was in 1880-1890. On what basis is that true?

    • Disappeared4x

      I was already thinking of the 1883 Krakatoa volcano eruption impact on local and global climate, before seeing your comment.

      While I can not see what you see “The “we can also understand…” sentence also implies that the optimal global temperature and CO2 concentration was in 1880-1890.”, you did choose the right decade:

      “… In the year following the 1883 Krakatoa eruption, average Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 °C (2.2 °F).[10] Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years, and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.[10]

      [[10] a b Bradley, Raymond S.; ‘The Explosive Volcanic Eruption Signal in Northern Hemisphere Temperature Records’; Climatic Change; 12 (1988) pp. 221–243 citation from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1883_eruption_of_Krakatoa

      • SLEcoman

        Since human CO2 emissions didn’t really start to be significant until 1880, the current climate warming narrative is that the earth has warmed 0.8-0-.9 C since 1890 at the same time CO2 concentrations increased from circa 290 ppm to ~400 ppm today. The global warming narrative is that global warming is bad. Thus, the implication is that the global temperatures and CO2 concentrations were optimal in the 1880-1890 time frame.

        • Disappeared4x

          Thanks for all of your comments on the current climate narrative. There is logic to 1880-1890 as a baseline, except for the dramatic disruption of temperatures after 1883 Krakatoa, four years of volcanic winter. I expect another volcano eruption much more risk to global climate. https://www.britannica.com/science/volcanic-winter

    • Pait

      I don’t think that the concept of “the optimal global temperature” makes much sense. Plant and animal life adapt to changing environments, as do humans; but the adaptation is slow, and the disruptions from change can do a lot of harm to the economy. Not to talk about disappearance of species and disruptions to whole human communities and states, which are harder to predict and evaluate.

    • LarryD

      I could post various graphs of reconstruction of the CO2 level, some going back 600 million years. But the bottom line is, there is no normal level, CO2 has varied over a wide range of levels, some times exceeding Hansen’s “tipping point” by a thousand ppm, making this whole fracas over CO2 ridiculous.

      CO2 is a necessary nutrient for plants, if the level goes too low, plants die. And if plants die, then animals follow. If fact, being conservative about the CO2 reconstructions still leads to the conclusion that current levels are unusually low, and plants would thrive better at higher levels.

      A lot of people seem to be unaware that the paleoclimatic record shows Earth to have at least three climactic modes: Hothouse, with no glaciation at all, the higher latitudes are temperate, no arctic zones at all; icehouse, widespread glaciation; inter-glacial, which is where we are today. And the shifts between these modes can happen in much shorter time frames than the geologic. Life has been through the whole gamut, many times. Adaptions are already evolved, just needing the right environmental stimulus to bring to expression.

  • Andrew Allison

    “At the most macro level, we can understand that humans are emitting greenhouse gases at an unprecedented pace, that these gases are trapping more of the sun’s radiation in our atmosphere, and that this is resulting in generally rising surface temperatures.” is simply not true. The fact is that temperature has NOT increased significantly for almost 20 years despite an enormous increase in atmospheric CO2. Furthermore, as Pielke point out, there’d been NO increase in extreme weather events. What has increased is their cost, due to there being more things to break, which has nothing to do with climate. This latest development in so-called “climate science” is simply an effort to explain away the fact that hurricane activity is at historic lows. Why is it that TAI acknowledges that the science is far from settled but writes as though it is?

    • Jim__L

      CO2 is an extremely weak greenhouse gas.

      • Pait

        Whether CO2 is a weak or strong greenhouse gas compared with other gases is not really relevant. What matters is the extra amount of each greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, multiplied by their power of trapping heat, now and in the future with respect to the baseline to which our economy and the animal and and vegetable species around is have become used to.

        In terms of its increased concentration and resulting power to trap heat, CO2 is the most important component. Other gases might have a bigger effect, if they were present in sufficiently increased concentrations.

        • Jim__L

          CO2, in the concentrations found in the atmosphere now, or likely in the future, is not a significant greenhouse gas.

          • Pait

            This is just plain false. Water and CO2 are the most important greenhouse gases.

            They are now, have been for ages, and will continue to be, no matter what we do to their concentration.

        • Jess Axen

          Where industry once belched a wide range of combustion products and other atmospheric pollutants from smokestacks in cities across the land, they now emit mostly water vapor.

          • Pait

            Water vapor and CO2, yes. Much less harmful that what we had before the EPA, and the Clean Air Act and its predecessors. Sound, carefully discussed, and well enforced government regulations have made this country – and many others! – much cleaner, safer, and more productive than what they would have been without them.

          • Jess Axen

            Rather than pat yourself on the back for policies you had nothing to do with, I had hoped you’d get the point that we have completely changed the profile of our industrial and urban emissions, with a marked shift toward water vapor. If what we were putting into the air before had an effect, do you not agree that pumping more water vapor, by far the most effective ghg, into the air can have an effect?

          • Pait

            Of course I had nothing to do, I wasn’t even born when the regulations started. This is of course not relevant with regard to the desirability of the regulations. You probably benefit from flying on airplanes without much clue of how their automatic controls are designed.

            I am not sure about the increase in water vapor – while it is true that thanks to regulations that forced industries to use less polluting technologies there are fewer products in the air that cause immediate harm to humans, that doesn’t mean more steam is released. Maybe not; steam locomotives are out of fashion, and generating electricity also probably releases less steam than it used to with old coal plants.

            I also don’t know if steam emissions change the greenhouse equation – vapor is shorter-lived than CO2, and a lot of water in the form of gas comes from natural evaporation.

            From the above, I do recognize that the line of reasoning leading to your question makes little sense.

    • Pait

      You are mistaken about global temperatures not increasing in the last 20 years. A nice graph is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_temperature
      with more graphs and data in the Wikipedia article.

      Of course I expect that you will revise your opinions which were based on faulty data after checking that the real facts don’t support the previous conclusion. That would be logical, and improve your credibility for future discussions.

      • SLEcoman

        On the other hand, the UAH satellite temperature record shows that that global temperatures in 2016 are the same as they were 1998. http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

        • Pait

          That’s not the data that NASA itself has.

          Of course you could assign yourself as the arbiter between the data obtained by thousands of scientists and the opinion of one former scientist. Why would you think anyone would follow your choice must forever remain a mystery.

          https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/2016temperature.png

          • SLEcoman

            Actually there is quite a bit of controversy regarding the adjustments to measured temperature data by NOAA and GISS. http://manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2017/1/4/the-greatest-scientific-fraud-of-all-time-part-xi

          • Pait

            Since you already appointed yourself as arbiter between thousands of scientists and a couple of plucky billionaires and lawyers set out to change science for their own benefit, and chose the latter with your authority that is superior to massive amounts of data, there is little point continuing the dialogue.

            You can spend your credibility whichever way you prefer, and obtain it whichever way you can.

          • Andrew Allison

            Laughable.

          • Pait

            Right, you and him get to pick the measurements you like, and the ones you don’t. Great.

          • Andrew Allison

            NASA’s data is manufactured to maintain the narrative. They keep making adjustments to the ground based data (much of which is invented) which lower historical temperatures.

          • Pait

            Right, thousands of scientists are lying, and only you know the truth.

          • Andrew Allison
          • Pait

            Since you and your sources are so much superior to the knowledge of all other scientists together, would you care to let me know if P=NP? I have always wanted to know that but I fear that a counterexample to what most computer scientists belief – without absolute proof, so it must be another of those liberal academic conspiracies – will not come in the next hundred years….

          • Andrew Allison

            “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams

            Fact: your statement regarding thousands of, let alone all other, scientists is demonstrably false.
            Fact: last year, despite a very strong El Nino, was only the second hottest on NOAAs demonstrably manipulated (https://realclimatescience.com/2016/11/noaa-adjustments-correlate-exactly-to-their-confirmation-bias/)ground-based record .
            Fact: temperatures decline after an El Nino (I fearlessly predict that 2017 will be even cooler than 2016, making the duration of the hiatus 19-years).
            Fact: the (unmanipulated) satellite record shows no statistically significant increase since 1998 (1998 was also an El Nino year, but if you want to adjust for El Nino, it must be done consistently, i.e. reduce the 2016 temperature as well).
            Fact: atmospheric CO2 has increased 11% since 1998
            Fact: there’s no such thing as settled science (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-myth-of-settled-science/2014/02/20/c1f8d994-9a75-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html?utm_term=.3ca4973d2e4b).
            Fact: in denying the above facts, you’re doing exactly what you claim AGW skeptics, who unlike deniers do not question the rise in temperature but its cause, are doing.

          • Pait

            I understand that you knowledge of climate science is unique and unparalleled. Please, please show me that P=NP!

          • Pait

            2016 was indeed only the 2nd warmest year on record for the United States. It was the warmest year on record for the world as a whole.

            I suppose that would gain the US a year in the race to revert warming….. if climate change respected country borders.

  • Jim__L

    Third — let’s acknowledge that what we’re looking at here is a chaotic system, which by nature foils science’s traditional attempts to model nature, making “climate science” an iffy proposition at best.

    You ALMOST got there. So close…

    Climate is weather too, JH.

    • Pait

      It seems you have a popular-science acquaintance with the term “chaos” which you deploy to reinforce preconceived notions. Your notions are incorrect. No, chaos does not foil science’s attempts to model nature.

      The effect of chaos is to make precise long-time prediction very difficult. That doesn’t mean that approximate, quantitative prediction using scientific tools is impossible. It also doesn’t mean that everything about the future of a chaotic system remains hidden. And it doesn’t mean that short term prediction is impossible – weather forecast is a good example of short term prediction of complex systems.

      • Fat_Man

        Jim is right. Climkate models are worthless junk.

      • Jim__L

        Pait, I’ve made a living doing scientific modeling. It doesn’t work anywhere near as well as you think, even for well-understood phenomena.

        • Pait

          Perhaps you have. Anonymous appeals to authority carry little weight.

          The fact remain that short-term weather forecast works reasonably well, despite the experience to the contrary that you claim to have.

  • https://adividedworld.disq.us Charles Thorington

    While it is true CO2 molecules absorb thermal radiation, there are only a few energy transitions for CO2 that will absorb photons at thermal wavelengths (4 if I remember correctly), and the lifetime of the excited states is long compared to the time it takes for unabsorbed photons to traverse a large part of the troposphere. This means CO2 molecules become saturated with infrared photons and can not absorb more until one of the excited states decays, allowing all passing infrared photons to fly by. This is the probable explanation for why human CO2 emissions seem to do so little atmospheric heating.

    For a completely different model of global warming that does not involve man, see Solar Wind, Cosmic Rays and Clouds: The Determinants of Global Warming. This model explains not only global warming, but also pauses in global warming as well, something that AGW can not at all explain. Also, see Global Warming Teaches Humility for why all sides of the argument should remain humble about their knowledge.

    • Pait

      The phenomenon is quite a bit more complicated than what you describe. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Since the science can be said to be “not fully developed” forever (because no science is ever “fully developed”), a great number of people are settling for “who knows?—-who cares?” The main factor contributing to this outlook—–except among the very young—–is “ah, I’ll be dead before very much happens”. Sooo, it will be left to our descendants to evaluate whether this era was wise or not wise.

    • Anthony

      I cautiously and hesitatingly write to this issue (climate change) as I don’t know enough specifically (from scientific standing). But commonsense tells anyone who is not influenced by denialists that our planet’s climate has been effected by human behavior. Equally (permit me to say), there is a flourishing counternarrative of denialism and skepticism (much of it funded by fossil fuel industries and undergirded by think tanks – Cato, Heritage, AEI, et al [fertile ground for “unsettled science” if you will]).

      • FriendlyGoat

        Indeed. The deniers just won. After they get the tax cuts, business-practice deregulation and corporate-leaning judges they really wanted all along (and for which they employed SO MANY inappropriate hot buttons), the question is whether some of them will suddenly become more “balanced” on climate issues. The main one which matters at all is Trump himself. I am betting we do not get out of his first term without him saying, “Well, yeah, sure, climate change is a concern on which we have to have world action.”

        • JR1123581321

          TAx-cuts are coming? That is wonderful news indeed. Because I’m taxed enough already.
          I will take the other side of that bet. I bet he is going to kill the Paris accord first and then do nothing the rest of his term. Let’s see who is right.

        • Anthony

          Something I remembered from a decade ago political battle: memo to political GOP candidates (2002): should the public come to believe the scientific issues are settled, there views about global warming will change accordingly. “Therefore, you need to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”

          On the other hand, you are implying once President Trump receives the real information, he changes (here’s hoping you’re right). Similarly, your allusion to rent seekers (regulation resisters) and their role is important to debate as the biggest dangers continue to lie over the horizon – record temperatures, extreme weather, disappearing ice sheets (not to mention those dangers we can’t see). So, “yeah, sure, climate change is a concern….” Let’s hope your advice is taken.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks for kind words—-but—-unfortunately we lost. As an aside, here is a piece from NYT with a slice of insight on why we lost.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/opinion/why-rural-america-voted-for-trump.html?partner=msft_msn&_r=0

          • Anthony

            Losing (as you know), FG, comes with being in the game! I’ll read your link and get back to you – meanwhile, remember losses happen, such does not mean you’re done.

          • Pait

            The comment by Fat_Man in the thread above is quite extraordinary. I don’t think I’d read something quite like that since Galileo’s brush with the inquisition. It makes it clear that any attempt at rational argument with him and the rest of his crowd is completely useless.

          • Anthony

            Sorry for delay (I have been unable to access TAI) but I just went into a Disqus subscribed website. Now, the general respondents here not only lean right of center but opt to characterize those who come to different assessments of science, politics, government, etcetera as unAmerican (foreign even). But, Pait, both your experience and erudite background allows you to distinguish inanity, bilge, drivel, self-serving slant, and downright irascibility from substance argument – you have much to contribute and as I shared with FG, the audience is bigger than regular respondents.

          • Anthony

            Read your link. Two main takeaways: 1) we live in different philosophical worlds (which is not a novel interpretation); 2) reconciliation seems a long way off (it doesn’t have to be with more societal honesty). Also (recognizing author’s focus), this a country of 320 million plus and here’s companion perspective to your religious aspect – herrenvolk democracy perhaps: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/01/democrats_don_t_have_a_religion_problem.html

            Still as you infer (by link), we have a fractious society, no doubt about it. A lot of social angst. And repairing our frayed social fabric (a lot of old wounds and new ones too) is an enormous task – but from where I sit a very important one. We got to play the long-game, FG, not the Dem/Rep game. For this purpose (for the children’s sake), we need realistic historically grounded, vigorous, fact-filled reasoned debates that reflect the diversity (this is a country of 320 million plus) of our values and American priorities – while acknowledging both life’s uncertainties and complications. Ideas, ideas, respect, action.

          • Pait

            The intellectual anomie of the arguments made in the other thread is impressive. I don’t think I had been duly exposed to it. I’ll refrain from further commenting there, and write here that it’s better to let trolls have the last word…..

          • Anthony

            As I just shared, you have much to provide (experience, knowledge, intellect, insight, comparative objectivity, and most importantly, humanity. Your departure (and comment self-editing [though understood] detracts from the public well of knowledge and rewards the narrow, discriminating, vindictive, and myopic. You, sir, give this site a much needed counter-voice to the world beyond tribalism. But, yes, the opposition is relentless (and I am sure you have better venues to subject both your thoughts and ideas – the real last word is yours).

          • Pait

            Thanks!

            I just meant that the thread above was getting out of hand. It was enough to learn how some people argue, but there’s nothing more to learn from continuing it.

          • Anthony

            O.K. and you’re welcome. Also, are you having trouble loading TAI (I have been unable to get site)?

          • Pait

            Yes, couldn’t get to it directly. I accessed the conversation through Disqus.

          • Anthony

            Thanks, Pait. Site must be undergoing some technical housekeeping (puts the addicted out of use for a while).

  • Pait

    The fact that there is significant uncertainty is well-understood by scientists, although apparently it confuses ideological activists and opinion merchants such as the climate deniers.

    Uncertainty should always be grounds for more caution, not for recklessness. In the case of climate, for fewer emissions, not for fewer controls on emissions. When in doubt, avoid big risks, is something that should be understood without the need for extensive scientific training.

    • SLEcoman

      There is more than one way to look at the precautionary principle. One view would be, since the science is uncertain and the latest estimate by IPCC is that there <5% chance of catastrophic global warming by 2100 and the IPCC has downgraded its temperature forecasts and risk assessments when each new assessment comes out, the most reasonable thing to do is very little.

      I would also point out that, when assessing policy options, one has to look at the likelihood of public policy options actually achieving the desired outcomes. A strategy of trying to control GHG emissions through a global treaty is doomed to fail because the World does not have the international institutions needed to enforce such a treaty. The UN’s sterling record of halting genocide, nuclear proliferation, slavery and human trafficking, religious persecution, and piracy on the high seas (sarcasm hand raised), which are EASY compared to controlling GHG emissions, should make it obvious that a global GHG emission control treaty is doomed to fail.

      It should also be pointed out that, in addition to being incompetent and impotent, the UN is also racked with corruption. Remember the $40 billion Iraq Oil for Food Program? $2 billion in food to the Iraqi people, $1 billion to the UN for administrative costs, and $37 billion missing.

      The various scandals and corruption in the EU’s GHG emission trading scheme (ETS) indicates that even the EU, which is a comparatively very strong international institution, cannot prevent theft by organized crime, tax evasion, and fraud (much of it through UN approved bogus Certified Emission Reduction projects located in China and India).

      Thus, it should be apparent that environmentalist’s current strategy of preventing CAGW by controlling GHG emissions though an international treaty is destined to fail. Continuing with the current strategy is distressingly similar to well-meaning liberals during the 1930's, who outlawed war (i.e. Kellogg-Briand Treaty) and agreed to disarmament treaties (Washington Naval Treaty). Retrospectively, we not only realize the obvious futility of these international efforts, but many historians now believe these well-meaning, but remarkably naive, efforts actually contributed to the start of WWII. Western democracies failed to re-build and modernize their military forces as Germany, Italy, and Japan expanded their military and developed new weapons, believing that pieces of paper and moral suasion would stop a Hitler, Mussolini, or Tojo. These despots were much more cold-eyed; they saw the failure by western democracies to rebuild their defenses as an opportunity.

      Similarly, unilateral GHG emission reductions by the US will not only be ineffective, but will also likely be counter-productive as industry migrates to countries that do not have GHG emissions regulations (e.g. China, India, etc.). The economic benefits to these countries of having the developed countries enact GHG emissions controls while they do nothing makes it less likely they will actually agree to reducing GHG emissions.

      • Disappeared4x

        Substituting ‘vote up’ for your (sarcasm hand raised) regarding the UN’s ‘sterling record’ – good list!
        We need a way to vote for who will be the new U.S. ambassador to Mauritania, dubbed “Slavery’s last stronghold”, by CNN, so it must be true.

      • Pait

        It seems to me that you are mixing several unrelated issues, and drawing your conclusion on climate science with basis on your opinions about the Kellogg-Briand treaty and the Iraq oil for food program.

        It is not possible to make any sense out of this line of reasoning.

        • SLEcoman

          I am not using Kellogg-Briand or the Oil for food program to draw a conclusion on climate science. I’m using it to attack the solution proposed by climate scientists. Just because someone is a climate scientist doesn’t make one an expert on the realities of international treaties and relations. Coming up with solutions that have no chance of actually working but make the people proposing the solutions feel good about themselves is an exercise in mental masturbation.

          I believe there is a parallel between progressives saying we must sign climate treaties that have no chance of working, and the liberals who felt so good about the Kellogg-Briand and the Washington Naval Disarmament treaties that were signed after WWI.

          • Pait

            Still making no sense. And now you are in contradiction with what you wrote in the other thread, challenging the science itself. And your intellectual basis is that you drop references to completely unrelated events.

    • Fat_Man

      I deny that the so-called called climate record is a reliable record. I deny that the true record of the weather (as opposed to the ones cooked up by so-called “scientists”) supports a claim that the weather is measurably warmer now than it was in the first half of the 20th Century. I deny that climate models are anything other than mathematical masturbation. I deny that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has any ill effect on any biological system. I deny that the so called climate scientists are honest men. I deny that so called climate scientists have engaged in anything other than fear mongering. I deny that polar bears are in any danger from warmer weather in the arctic. I deny that sea levels are rising faster than they have in the recent past. I deny that so called “tropical” diseases have any causal relation with warmer weather.

      I affirm that the whole miserable theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming was created and advanced for the sole purpose of scarring people into surrendering their freedom, their property, and their prosperity to a global socialist government. I affirm that a warmer world is a happier, healthier, and more prosperous world. I affirm that CO2 is absolutely necessary for the existence of life on earth, and that we, and all other living things, are better off at 400 ppm than we were at 280 ppm. I affirm that it is more likely that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to the end of the Little Ice Age than it is due to human activity. I affirm that humanity would be far better off by the aggressive exploration of fossil fuel energy resources to bring prosperity to Africa and Asia, than it would be by any change in the general climate.

      • Pait

        Meaning – whenever facts or science is inconvenient for your personal ideological preferences, you deny the facts and replace the work of thousand of scientists with your preferred conclusions.

        I shall take that into account as a indicator concerning the reliability of your reasoning on other subjects as well. Goodbye.

        • Fat_Man

          “Climate science is not science and “climate scientists” are not scientists. Judith Curry, former chairman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, resigned from her tenured position and posted the following:

          “Why did I resign my tenured faculty position? …

          “The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists. …

          “A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc. …

          “Personal opinions about the science and political opinions about policies that are sort of related to your research expertise are just that – personal and political opinions. Selling such opinions as contributing to a scientific consensus is very much worse than a joke. …”

          https://judithcurry.com/2017/01/03/jc-in-transition/

          Piat wrote: “I shall take that into account as a indicator concerning the reliability of your reasoning on other subjects as well.”

          I lost interest in the good opinion of doctrinaire leftists like Piat back in the Carter Administration. I don’t need them and don’t think they have anything worthwhile to say. So Piat, be gone with you, and your little dog too.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Mark Twain observed,

    “Everybody Talks About the Weather, But Nobody Does Anything About It.”

    …… but governments around the world who want to tax and regulate it !!

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