Where Did the Warming Go?
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  • ojfl

    Unfortunately climate science has become less of science and more about a religious quest.

  • I first learned about AGW in 1988 in an eco course. For weeks we learned how complex these systems were, but when we studied AGW suddenly it was simple. More C02 inevitably meant a predictable amount of warming! I didn’t totally dismiss the theory for many years, but that shell game always stayed with me.

    • Kavanna

      Smart — you noticed the BS early on.

      The Earth’s climate isn’t a greenhouse to begin with, and the “greenhouse effect” isn’t how greenhouses work anyway.

      The whole thing is a disaster of runaway bad metaphors and creaky models that don’t represent the full theory of climate (which is far too hard to solve) and keep getting discredited.

  • Jim Luebke

    To practice science is to make nature (not the journal!) the ultimate arbiter.

    If your theoretical results don’t match with nature, no matter how beautiful the theory, you have to throw it away. Catastrophic Global Warming goes into this category.

    The problem here is the use of stochastic computer models. Introduce a heavy dependence on statistics, and you introduce uncertainty, and a load of modeling artifacts (like the one that led to the infamous fraud known as the Hockey Stick.)

    Bluntly, those models don’t merit the confidence we would need to make drastic changes to our economy that would cost us and our descendants tens of trillions of dollars and a great deal of their quality of life.

    There are limits to our scientific tools, and thus to science itself. Some scientists are too proud to hear it, but that’s the plain truth.

  • Now that these climate models have been largely debunked let’s turn to the economic ones which, if anything, are even hokier. Employing integral and differential calculus — indeed, even employing equal signs in algebraic equations — is an abuse of mathematics in the name of science. The law of diminishing returns implies convexity, nothing more, and that’s all ye need to know.

    • Jim Luebke

      Luke, they’re using a stochastic model in the first place because the problem itself doesn’t lend itself to analytic solutions. If you could use something as simple, elegant, and precise differential calculus, the results would be far more deterministic.

      As for economic models, is there any question that grave damage was done by the “quants” whose models did not reflect reality? The entire mortgage mess can be laid at their feet, frankly.

  • Andrew Allison

    ” . . . the earth’s temperature isn’t rising as quickly as the climate scientists’ best models predicted it would.” is incorrect. The data are perfectly clear: the earth’s temperature peaked in 1997 and has been drifting DOWN since then.

  • rheddles

    We have come a long way in our ability to scientifically explain the workings of the natural world.

    Hubris. We have no idea how far we have to go. Back in the old days we had an expression one no longer hears, Everybody like to talk about the weather but nobody can do anything about it. Still true.

  • Ralph Tacoma

    There is a correlation between CO2 and temperature, but the critical point that is never stated by the “warmists” is that Co2 concentration lags the temperature rise. Which indicates that the temperature causes the increase in CO2 concentration.
    That is entirely consistent with the fact that the oceans are vast stores of dissolved CO2 and as their temperature rises, they would release CO2 into the atmosphere.

    The simplest explanation that fits the known facts is, most likely, the most accurate one.

  • Charles R Harris

    Certainly not that we can once again burn carbon into the atmosphere with reckless abandon.

    I don’t see how you get there. If the sensitivity is ~1.6 C, the temperature rise is nothing to worry about, while the benefit to plants of recycling sequestered carbon is indisputable. And I think a small rise of temperature would also be a good thing. It’s not like CO2 levels haven’t been much higher in geologic time.

    Reminds me of the ozone thing. There the problem was always the reaction rates, sort of the analogue of the CO2 temperature sensitivity. They too kept going down. IIRC, the first correction for Cl was about a factor of 70, which is why Fl became the popular villain. But Fl never had the rate needed, hence the theory that the reaction was enhanced on ice particle surfaces. But then again key rate in the catalytic cycle was measured, about 2005 I think, and found to be a factor of 10 less than previously thought. So it goes when science is driven by the ambition to save the world rather than understand it.

    • Corlyss Drinkard

      Agree. To believe that CO2, human-generated or naturally-occurring, is to buy into the magical thinking that a single cause as remote as an earth-bound gas has anything to do with the temperature cycles experienced over thousands of years. To me, real global warming as a phenomenon is snowball earth reviving into a large life form habitat, not occasional blips that as yet have not been related to any sun activity.

  • This has ceased to be a science long ago and has become a faith based initiative and when does the faithful care about mathematical models ?

  • Isaac Ohel

    “Low lying fruit” by definition get picked and eaten without too much planning. “Plan for the worst” will and should include some pain. Unfortunately, so far it’s hard to find a plan that makes sense.

  • Corlyss Drinkard

    “Theories for the pause include that deep oceans have taken up more heat with the result that the surface is cooler than expected, that industrial pollution in Asia or clouds are blocking the sun, or that greenhouse gases trap less heat than previously believed. […]”
    Again, no mention of the sun’s role, or sunspots, or the fact that it’s 11 yr. cycle is late.

  • Charle Starnes

    I would like to follow on to Charles Harris’ point.

    “So what should we take away from this collective admission that the science is not settled, but stumped? Certainly not that we can once
    again burn carbon into the atmosphere with reckless abandon. Climate change is a long-term trend, and some positive correlation between greenhouse gas levels and temperature is well established at this point.”

    There are two clear assertions in the quote. I’m fairly familiar with the to and fro on the issue. Everyone makes assertions. These two are essential to your piece.

    Can you provide evidence – a simple defense – for your claims? Would you (please!)?

    I ask because no one ever seems to do this. I greatly appreciate the sobriety of via meadia, and don’t think you would see this as a frivolous request.

    For such a clear assertion, a defense with evidence should be ready at hand. If not, the assertions should have been tagged by your editing process and handled differently, no?

    • Jim Luebke

      For an example of what we believe is runaway global warming, see the planet Venus. Nasty atmosphere, and hotter than Mercury, which is closer to the sun.

      Evidence that Earth has some level of Greenhouse Effect is from a simple thermodynamic calculation. You take the sun’s incoming energy (factoring in Earth’s albedo, of course), and calculate what the average temperature the Earth would have to be for its blackbody curve to re-radiate that energy back into space, to maintain steady-state. What you’ll find is that Earth’s measured average surface temperature is several degrees higher than this value.

      That’s simple, elegant math. Like a lever, or an inclined plane.

      Stochastic models are not simple. They are Rube Goldberg contraptions. They have to be, to try to account for everything they try to account for, and for all the interactions of every little piece. That’s a huge number of moving parts, and as often as not they work to cross-purposes.

      Maybe the models will become refined enough to provide accurate predictions, maybe not… weather is famous for being a problem “sensitive to initial conditions”, or in other words chaotic. Perhaps we’ll get a handle on chaos, even.

      We’re not there yet.

      • Dear physicist, I suggest you spend a few months reading Lubos Motl’s blog to see why you might be mistaken — not about the basic physics, but how bad it is likely to be.

        • Jim Luebke

          What we’re talking about here is an off-chance that the stochastic models are accurate, vs. the certainty of “de-industrialization” of the US for the foreseable future.

          At least at that point, we wouldn’t have the problem of too many immigrants coming here for jobs. Mexico might have a problem with the 80% of Americans who are “non-supervisory” mobbing the borders to get to industrial jobs in Mexico, though.

          Does anyone still think that Solyndra will employ them all?

  • Brilliant analysis. But do not expect to move the faithful. They have invested too much into that wrong idea. As the dust settles and the madness ends and common sense reasserts itself (which has started to happen), future generations will look back and wonder why an entire generation of otherwise smart men suddenly experienced a collective loss of sanity and went out on a wild green unicorn chase.

    • DiogenesDespairs

      Thank you for your compliment. My purpose was not to reach the “faithful.” It was to reach the reasonable. I believe the “faithful” are mostly being faithful to private agendas, or are duped. The duped, we may be able to reach.

  • Kavanna

    As a physical system, it’s unlikely that “climate” will ever be solved in a dynamical sense. It’s too complex, being the supreme case of a “chaotic” system (in the technical sense). In such a fluid system, chaos manifests itself as turbulence.

    Then there’s the discontinuous change of water phase (liquid, vapor, ice) going on all the time, all over the place, another issue to solve properly.

    In place of the real — but unsolvably complex — theory of climate, a large, well-funded climate establishment has used simplified models and tried to circumvent the problems with more and more computer power. This can’t work. The problem can’t be simulated dynamically on a computer within the lifetime of the universe.

    It’s worse than many think: the climate modelers, when pressed to confirm that warming is happening, use illegitimate concepts like a “global temperature average” or illegitimate maneuvers like updating this year’s model with last year’s weather, defeating the whole point of making predictions. This isn’t science.

    Basic research is needed to get to the bottom of whether “climate” even makes sense and how to define it. This has been stymied by the hysteria.

  • Kavanna

    The warming is actually trapped in my basement. That’s right, “heat trapping” is here :0 😀

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