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Settled Science
The Debate over Global Warming’s “Pause” Rages On
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  • DiogenesDespairs

    Climate will do what climate will do as it has for hundreds of millions of years. Meanwhile, it is wise to base decisions and policy on hard fact.

    Here are some crucial, verifiable facts – with citations – about human-generated carbon dioxide and its effect on global warming people need to know and understand. I recommend following the links in the citations; some of them are very educational. And please feel free to copy/paste this comment wherever you think it will do the most good.

    The fact is, there has been global warming, but the contribution of human-generated carbon dioxide is necessarily so minuscule as to be nearly undetectable. Here’s why:

    Carbon dioxide, considered the main vector for human-caused global warming, is some 0.038% of the atmosphere[1]- a trace gas. Water vapor varies from 0% to 4%[2], and should easily average 1% or more[3] near the Earth’s surface, where the greenhouse effect would be most important, and is about three times more effective[4] a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So water vapor is at least 25 times more prevalent and three times more effective; that makes it at least 75 times more important to the greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide[5]. The TOTAL contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect is therefore 0.013 or less. The total human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution has been estimated at about 25%[6]. So humans’ carbon dioxide greenhouse effect is a quarter of 0.013, works out to about 0.00325. Total warming of the Earth by the greenhouse effect is widely accepted as about 33 degrees Centigrade, raising average temperature to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. So the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is less than 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or under 0.1 degree Centigrade. Global warming over the last century is thought by many to be 0.6 to 0.8 degrees Centigrade.

    But that’s only the beginning. We’ve had global warming for more than 10,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age, and there is evidence temperatures were actually somewhat warmer 9,000 years ago and again 4,500 to 8,000 years ago than they are today[7]. Whatever caused that, it was not human activity. It was not all those power plants and factories and SUVs being operated by Stone Age cavemen while chipping arrowheads out of bits of flint. Whatever the cause was, it melted the glaciers that in North America once extended south to Long Island and parts of New York City[8] into virtually complete disappearance (except for a few mountain remnants). That’s one big greenhouse effect! If we are still having global warming – and I suppose we could presume we are, given this 10,000 year history – it seems highly likely that it is still the overwhelmingly primary cause of continued warming, rather than our piddling 0.00325 contribution to the greenhouse effect.

    Yet even that trend-continuation today needs to be proved. Evidence is that the Medieval Warm Period centered on the 1200s was somewhat warmer than we are now[9], and the climate was clearly colder in the Little Ice Age in the 1600s than it is now[10]. So we are within the range of normal up-and-down fluctuations without human greenhouse contributions that could be significant, or even measurable.

    The principal scientists arguing for human-caused global warming have been demonstrably disingenuous[11], and now you can see why. They have proved they should not be trusted.

    The idea that we should be spending hundreds of billions of dollars and hamstringing the economy of the entire world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is beyond ludicrous in light of the facts above; it is insane. Furthermore, it sucks attention and resources from seeking the other sources of warming and from coping with climate change and its effects in realistic ways. The true motivation underlying the global warming movement is almost certainly ideological and political in nature, and I predict that

    Anthropogenic Global Warming, as currently presented, will go down as the greatest fraud of all time. It makes Ponzi and Madoff look like pikers by comparison.

    [1] Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition

    by Michael Pidwirny Concentration varies slightly with the growing season in the northern hemisphere. HYPERLINK “http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html” http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html

    [2] ibid.

    [3] HALOE v2.0 Upper Tropospheric Water Vapor Climatology Claudette Ojo, Hampton University; et al.. HYPERLINK “http://vsgc.odu.edu/src/Conf09/UnderGrad%20Papers/Ojo%20-%20Paper.pdf” http://vsgc.odu.edu/src/Conf09/UnderGrad%20Papers/Ojo%20-%20Paper.pdf. See p. 4.The 0 – 4% range is widely accepted among most sources. This source is listed for its good discussion of the phenomena determining that range. An examination of a globe will show that tropical oceans (near high end of range) are far more extensive than the sum of the earth’s arctic and antarctic regions and tropical-zone deserts (all near the low end). Temperate zone oceans are far more extensive than temperate-zone desert. This author’s guess of an average of 2% or more seems plausible. I have used “1% or more” in an effort to err on the side of understatement.

    [4 NIST Chemistry Webbook, Please compare the IR absorption spectra of water and carbon dioxide. ] HYPERLINK “http://webbook.nist.gov/” http://webbook.nist.gov/

    [5] Three quarters of the atmosphere and virtually all water vapor are in the troposphere. Including all the atmosphere would change the ratios to about 20 times more prevalent and 60 times more effective. However, the greenhouse effect of high-altitude carbon dioxide on lower-altitude weather and the earth’s surface seems likely to be small if not nil.

    [6] National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. HYPERLINK “http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html. The estimated 90ppm increase in carbon dioxide, 30% above the base of 280 ppm, to a recent reading of 370 ppm, equates to just under 25% of present concentration, the relevant factor in estimating present contribution to the greenhouse effect.

    [7] Oak Ridge National Laboratory http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nerc130k.html

    [8] New York Nature – The nature and natural history of the New York City region. Betsy McCully http://www.newyorknature.net/IceAge.html

    [9] Global Warming: A Geological Perspective John P. Bluemle HYPERLINK “https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Newsletter/NL99W/PDF/globlwrmw99.pdf” http://www.azgs.az.gov/arizona_geology/archived_issues/Winter_1999.pdf This article, published by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, is drawn from a paper by the author in Environmental Geosciences, 1999, Volume 6, Number 2, pp. 63-75. Note particularly the chart on p.4.

    [10] Ibid.

    [11] Wikileaks: Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009 HYPERLINK “http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_emails,_data,_models,_1996-2009” http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_emails,_data,_models,_1996-2009.

    See also HYPERLINK “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html and

    HYPERLINK “http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html and, more diplomatically: HYPERLINK “http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html. Et al.

    ADDENDUM

    What initially troubled me was the aberrant behavior of the climate research unit at East Anglia University, which had been the main data source for AGW arguments. They initially refused (!) to reveal their algorithms and data on the grounds that they were proprietary(!!). They responded to critics with ad hominem attacks and efforts to block their publication in scientific journals. Now, as I am sure you know, this is not how one does honest science, in which you PUBLISH your data and methodology and invite critical comment to ferret out error or oversights. It took the now-famous Wikileaks “Climategate” to pry loose the data and expose their machinations. Yet despite the devastating blow these revelations should have to their credibility, the AGW “cause” has taken on a life of its own.

    Fundamentally, the argument seems to rest on a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc – after this, therefore because of this. We see a rise in temperature and a rise in (principally) carbon dioxide, and therefore conclude one must have caused the other. It does not necessarily follow at all. There can be other causes entirely behind both phenomena, and as you see above, almost certainly there are. Beyond that, I have encountered numerous assertions of fact that cannot add up given the physical properties of water vapor and carbon dioxide that go unchallenged. One-sided arguments proliferate and people arguing the other side are frequently denounced as being employed by business interests rather than rebutted on the merits.

    In sum, I have not come lightly to the conclusion that the AGW argument as it applies to carbon dioxide is largely untrue and certainly does not account for more than a very small, nearly negligible part of the phenomena we are seeing. The implications of widespread assertions of and belief in such an untruth are staggering, and potentially enormously destructive. It is unwise indeed to let oneself be stampeded in this matter, and stampede is clearly what many have been and are trying to induce.

    I can understand politicians behaving this way; a carbon tax or carbon trading regime would allow enormous revenues to fall into their hands. I can understand “Progressive” ideologues; it logically leads to enormous expansion of government power over industry, the economy, and the daily life of individuals, which they regard as a good thing. I understand the environmentalists; they want to shrink the size and impact on the environment of modern civilization. But responsible citizens need to put aside such considerations.

    • Arkeygeezer

      Probably the only way Thomas Karl of the National Centers for Environmental Information could get a grant to fund his strudy was to make sure that he based it on the settled science of carbon dioxide levels emitted by humans is the basis for all climate change.
      Grant money funds this junk science.

      • rpabate

        That is exactly what President Eisenhower warned about in his Farewell Address. All I ever heard growing up was beware the military-industrial complex. That is because even when I was growing up in the fifties and sixties the Liberal establishment controlled the message. Here is the part of Eisenhower’s Farewell Address that I was never told about.

        President Dwight D. Eisenhower’ Farewell Address to the Nation January 17, 1961

        “Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.”

        “In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.”

        “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old black-board there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.”

        “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

        Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

        It is this issue that principally motivated my vote for Trump, and the loathing I have developed for the Progressive Left as a result of this issue. We all know that the Progressive Left has started a redefinition of the English language to align it with their ideology. Marriage is no longer what it once was. The scientific method, likewise, has been redefined. To quote the late Stephen Schneider, a climate scientist:

        Stephen H. Schneider, October 1989 interview with Discover magazine

        “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

        Then there is the little understood political goal of the Progressive Left as regards to world political order, and the issue of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming the issue the Progressive Left has decided to use as a means of achieving that goal.

        Chrisitiana Figueres Former Executive Secretary of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”)

        “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

        Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

        Suggested reading:

        “The Rightful Place of Science: Science on the Verge”, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes Tempe, Arizona and Washington, D.C.

        It is important to understand that climate science is not the only science that has issues. The rightful place of science is to provide the evidence upon which policy decisions should be based. This has been reversed. Science is now being used to justify policy decision politicians have already decided to take. This has had the result that the science establishment is on the verge of a complete breakdown in trust by the informed electorate.

        “Truth Wars: The Politics of Climate Change, Military Intervention and Financial Crisis”, Peter Lee, Part I: Politics, Truth and Climate Change.

        “Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics and Politics of Climate Change”, Michael Hart.

        Great book by Michael Hart. An eye opener for the uninformed. Non-scientific but enough science to gain an appreciation of how it has been hijacked by the left.

        “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”, Alex Epstein.

        “Climate Change: The Facts”, Institute of Public Affairs, Melbourne, Australia

        I also recommend articles about medical and biomedical research by John Ioannides. You can start by Googling The Atlantic magazine article about Ioannides work: “Lies, Damn Lies and Medical Science”. I have a hard time thinking that what has taken place in this area of research has not also taken place in many other field of science, and most particularly climate research.

        Here is an example; just the tip of the iceberg:

        Caleb Rossiter article about just how poorly statistical analysis is understood in the climate sciences. Link:

        http://www.calebrossiter.com/Last%20Climate.html

  • Suzy Dixon

    I grew up with the “peak oil” lies. Not only did peak oil turn out to be false, but in fact it turned out to be completely wrong. And I remember the lies about climate change and warming in the 80s and 90s. Seems like millennials are just too young to know it was all lies and inaccuracies.

    • KremlinKryptonite

      Yes, these people still falling for the lies are incredibly naïve. On YouTube, I had one just tell me that the north pole ice caps and the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica are melting so the sea will rise! All I could do his face palm, and if you can’t figure out why then you don’t know how ice cubes work when they’re in water.

  • Andrew Allison

    This post, which begins with “The scientific evidence makes it clear that the basic science behind climate change and humanity’s role in it is well understood.” and ends with ” . . . climate science is not “settled,” not just because science itself is never over, but also because there’s still a lot we don’t know about the minutiae of our complex planet and its climate.” displays TAI’s utter confusion (or bias) regarding AGW. The data are to hand, and it’s clear that we know very little about the impact of atmospheric CO2 on climate: regardless of whether the pause is real or simply a radical decline in the rate of increase, the fact that CO2 has increased about 30% while the pause has been in effect is indisputable.

  • CaliforniaStark

    John Bates provides an explanation of his concerns on Dr. Judith Curry’s website: https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/04/climate-scientists-versus-climate-data/

    This is serious; the claim is not that data has been falsified, as has been properly indicated in the above article. The problem is the “adjustments” made to the data to reach questionable conclusions; the irregularity of the process; and failure to follow proper procedure. Its a politicization of science that is reminiscent of what took place in the former Soviet Union. It disgraces any legacy that the Obama presidency may claim regarding environmental issues – which in many ways seemed to resemble a monumental con job.

  • Kenneth Currie

    So, let’s be clear: we so-called “skeptics” are not “climate denialists.” The climate has been changing for eons, and it will continue to change. Our issue is with the hype over so-called global warming – a term those who now hype climate change abandoned because of the failure of their climate models – and man’s impact on changing climate.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Global Warming” is the Greatest Scientific Hoax in history. Pencil whipping the data, hiding data, excluding data, incestuous peer reviews, claims of “Settled Science”, renaming the easily falsifiable “Global Warming” to the unfalsifiable “Climate Change”, and other abuses of the Scientific Method are “NOT” Science.

    • rpabate

      SPOT ON!

  • FriendlyGoat

    Climate change and its causes are whatever Donald Trump says they are—–now and in the foreseeable future. At least, his is the only opinion which counts because at this time he has the biggest Tweeter on this subject or any subject. As a famous financial author once said about markets (and politics), “A trend in motion will remain in motion until it ends”.

  • Arkeygeezer

    “…..the fact that greenhouse gases raise surface temperatures, or that
    industrialized societies are major contributors of these GHGs—those
    fundamental components of climate science at this point are well
    understood……”

    The basic “understanding” that CO2 is a major component causing climate change, and that man-made CO2 emissions need to be aggressively taxed to prevent climate change is the major falsehood underpinning this whole controversy. There is no creditable proof of this.

    If you want to find man-made causes of climate change, why not look at radio waves?
    Since the 1880’s man has harnessed electricity.
    Man as used that to transmit electricity through the atmosphere.
    Wireless electricity travels by shaking up atmospheric molecules.
    When you jostle molecules, it creates heat.
    The exponential expansion of radio, radar, microwave, and lazer waves through the atmosphere world-wide creates a lot of heat and disruption of the atmosphere. This is not well understood, and nobody wants to finance a study of this effect.

  • BrianLOConnor

    Bates: “no data tampering, no data changing, nothing malicious. He added that “[i]t’s not trumped up data in any way shape or form,”

    I don’t think the issue is data-changing, whether or not Karl did anything malicious to intentionally mislead, or whether or not the data are trumped up. I believe inserting such issues into this debate is a red herring, which distracts from what issues really are (at least IMO).

    What I question is Karl’s failure to archive his data (so we have to assume the data is what it’s claim is); that he evidently used an unstable algorithm to analyze the data (the same sets evidently give different results when analyzed repeatedly) and, if I remember correctly, that he adjusted reliable data taken from buoys to accommodate unreliable data gathered by ships rather than the other way around. (Ships are a well-known source of heat that can bias sea sample temperatures up. Plus, the depth of the sample taken by ships is less consistent than samples taken by buoys. If you’re going to adjust, you adjust data known to be biased to be more in accord with data known to be reliable, rather than vice versa).

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