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Discussion > Warming not warming

Missy - You clearly have strongly held views. Out of interest, may I ask what your involvement is? Interested bystander? UAE student? Retired physicist? WWF employee? ...? Just curious. You are (of course) not obliged to respond in any way.

Jun 15, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Oh I don't have such strong views really. But I do have some colleagues who argue about these things incessantly and so I have been exposed to the subject somewhat involuntarily. Occasionally I follow some of the crumbs unintentionally left for me, and so I ended up here. But it is true that I am naturally trusting and so tend towards the conventional view. To reject that means to mistrust many people I know and trust - people who I know are neither incompetent nor dishonest.

I don't, by the way, dismiss Dr Spencer or his graphs. I find them interesting and indeed a puzzle. But I have heard criticism of him for combining two differing data-sets and I wonder why he did so. What difference showing both sets of data makes is not something I know, but the criticism implies that a different impression would be given. So again I ask, why are scientists who hold a conventional view of climate change not persuaded by this graph? I can see that personal animosity might involved, but not for a whole profession. And I wont accept incompetence or dishonesty as an answer meant in good faith, so please do not offer such :-)

I would add that cutting CO2 seems insignificant as an ill put upon the 'common man' when compared to world wars, communism, poverty, famine and repression. But you clearly have different concerns (Turning Tide, 6:47PM).

Jun 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

"I would add that cutting CO2 seems insignificant as an ill put upon the 'common man' when compared to world wars, communism, poverty, famine and repression. But you clearly have different concerns (Turning Tide, 6:47PM)."

That's because nobody actually is cutting CO2. If we were to (be forced to) do so, then I'm pretty sure many of the other ills on your list would follow.

Jun 16, 2013 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide


Missy, I don't think I ever imagined that a single graph would change your view. I doubt that an afternoon's discussion would alter your views.

But I thought that it might illustrate why many of us find that the contradictions between reality and what "climate scientists" tell us is convincing evidence that there are some things seriously wrong with the field.

Jun 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Missy - "So again I ask, why are scientists who hold a conventional view of climate change not persuaded by this graph?"

Cowardice is another possibility.

1) have you looked at the graph(s) you are discussing?
2) do you know what a radiosonde is?
3) if your work was disproved by physical measurements do you think it would need some courage to admit it?

Re: " But it is true that I am naturally trusting and so tend towards the conventional view. "

What do you mean by the conventional view? Is this another reference to your beloved consensus?
What do you know of earlier "conventional" views of science which were completely overturned?

Do you think the earth is still flat? Do you think that the sun revolves around the earth? Do you think that science was wrong to revise it views on plate tectonics? Do you still think stomach ulcers are caused by stress?

The advance of knowledge inevitably involves the oveturning of some ideas which are widely held. The assurance of a consensus, meant as "lots of people say so", is meaningless. Many people pick up, accept and promote ideas without properly examining them - for example look at the coverage that many people gave to the plight of polar bears.

etc etc

Here's one start that pops up if you google "when science was wrong":

Explore for yourself - have fun :-)

PS - whilst you are reconsidering, see if you can put together an argument of your own that explains the relationship between CO2 emissions and the ills you see 'common man' facing:

"I would add that cutting CO2 seems insignificant as an ill put upon the 'common man' when compared to world wars, communism, poverty, famine and repression. But you clearly have different concerns"

Jun 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Cutting CO2 - when you consider that one of the most visible effects on UK CO2 emissions was the 2008 recessionand then catalogue all the things the UK has done so far to reduce CO2 on 1990 levels and then learn that when imports and exports are factored in then our CO2 footprint has actually gone up, tell us again that cutting CO2 is insignificant.

Climate scientists will never admit they're wrong, they'll just adjust the models to fit new observations.

Jun 16, 2013 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The link above is from a BBC led experiment that used cloud computing to run a climate model. It used the same sorts of parameters and assumptions that are used in other climate models. By 2006 the Central England Temperature moving average had peaked at a degree above normal so scientists knew what was already possible.

If one degree is as warm as it ever gets under increased CO2 then it could be about 2050 before observations dropped out of the 'least likely' range. Another 40 years before that model fails.

As it happens the CET has dropped right back and might even reach zero anomoly which would teeter of the edge of failing. However, the current view is that warming happens in fits and starts, which means even if it falls below 'least likely' it would have an unspecified period of grace before it was judged to have failed.

Additonally, since this is a UK model then there could be changes that could rewrite the warming rules for finite areas. Thus even localised cooling is possible under AGW theory.

With this kind of flexibility, how can these models ever be proved wrong in a useful timeframe? Scientists don't need to change their minds, they just have to retire before 2050.

Jun 16, 2013 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2 - warming, cooling, staying the same, wetter, drier, more extremes, less extremes, more snow, less snow etc etc - you name it, it is all consistent with the wonder theory of everything.

However, I'm pretty sure the theory goes that the troposphere should warm. That is why I think Dr Spencer's recent posts are so important as they show the discrepancy between modelled and recorded data for one variable that GW theory is unequivocal about.

See the section "Reconciliation with climate models" here:

Jun 17, 2013 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Missy - if you are still reading, a new thread has started at Judith Curry's blog discussing the known shortcomings of climate models. These are issues that have been raised previously by many knowledgeable critics but they are being revisited as a result of a just published paper from authors on the inside of the ipcc process:

A lot of technical issues there but you should get a feel for how far from reality the models are and the scale of the problem. Several contributors there are real experts contributing under their own names. If you take your time and check contributors' backgrounds you will start to see that "consensus" means nothing. Start with Judith Curry's own cv:

Jun 17, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Well it was unequivocal but now it's now so sure ;-) There's always an excuse why reality doesn't match the theory and climate science shouldn't be trusted for that reason alone.

The wind ate the troposphere hot spot.
The deep oceans ate the global warming.
The Antarctic sea ice is increasing because of cold meltwater from the continent.
The Antarctic land ice is decreasing... err increasing because of extra snow.... err decresing...
The high latitudes will warm fastest... except when they don't.
Sunspots have absolutely nothing to do with temperature... except maybe Europe.
Volcanic aerosols don't have that much effect... except when they're artifically holding the global temperature down... and that goes double for man made SO2.
The loss of Actic ice will act as a strong feedback because of open water... unless there's increased cloud.
AGW will overide even the cooling of a new ice age but natural decadal variability will be stronger still.

In other words - we're guessing.

Jun 17, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"Nullis in verba" is a nonsensical concept and so we are left with "who do we trust"? We can either trust the general consensus of climate science that AGW exists and is a problem."

So let's try a bit of Nullius in Verba shall we. You believe that 97% of climate scientists believe AGW exists and it will be a problem.

The 97% of climate scientists came from a masters treatise by Maggie Zimmerman.

She polled around 10,500 scientists.

Around 3,500 replied some of them not so politely to the notion that getting scientists to vote wasn't proof of science.

One can only assume she got the wrong answer because she finally used 77 scientists who identified themselves as climate scientist and had published in the last 6 months. I don't know whether this was an a priori decision, if it wasn't it invalidates the poll. Evidence suggests it wasn't because she sent the questions to 10,500 scientists, where it would have been easy enough to send to the climate science departments of the universities polled.

Her tutor, Peter Doran, as all good tutors do, put his name on the paper ahead of Maggie's and had it published in the peer review literature.

Anyone with the remotest knowledge of polls knows that to get a reasonable answer you need to poll at least 1000 people. 77 is nowhere near enough to decide what the whole climate science community believes.

Yet here we have you and others telling us that there is a consensus of 97% of climate scientist. For which there is no empirical proof. None whatsoever, just a poll by a young postgraduate, not skilled in the art of polling.

As for there will be a problem read this:

“ … In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

IPCC TAR, Section 14.2 “The Climate System”, page 774.

How do they know there will be problems, if, in their own words, they cannot predict future climate states?

Jun 17, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Interesting discussion folks and please stick around Missy and Charlie, a good debate always needs someone to challenge the ideas put forward (which is the problem with the pro-AGW blogs) .

Particularly liked TinyCo2's comment (Jun 15, 3:22 PM ) and this is hilarious:

For climate science, a failure to hit a barn door with a bulldozer doesn’t spur them to improve driving skills but to get a bigger barn door.

Exactly. That they can remain so confident having missed such ludicrously wide targets (an admission in itself of non-settled science) never ceases to amaze. What on earth would the debate be like if they had got some stuff right if only by chance.

When I first started looking into this 5 or so years ago the first thing I looked for was the rolling track record of forecasts to see how they were going. The fact that this was very hard to find (certainly without clarity about what was hindcast or adjusted) spoke volumes.

You can be sure that if they showed any skill they would be at the centre of the debate.

Jun 17, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Registered CommenterSimonW

> A little more searching tells me that the two satellite data-sets
> (one being his own) are strikingly different.

Are they _really_ strikingly dfferent?

0.03 is 3* 0.01, ie they could be described as strikingly different, but looking at the big picture they are both almost zero.

This is a warmist distraction to stop people looking at the big picture, ie that the measured values of what's actually happening is much much lower than the models predict.

Jun 17, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

"To reject that means to mistrust many people I know and trust - people who I know are neither incompetent nor dishonest."

Missy - Not holding the same opinion as someone is quite different from mistrusting them.

I think that the idea of the virgin birth is total nonsense but that in no way means I mistrust my girlfriend's mum, for whom it is the absolute truth.

Jun 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

I would be looking for a difference of at least 0.25 degree before I would even start using the word "different", let alone "strikingly different".
In the first place I don't believe it is practical in the real world (which is where I live; I can't answer for climatologists) to measure temperatures meaningfully to less than about 0.5, and secondly — as I have said before — I can get that much difference by moving a thermometer from one side of the kitchen window sill to the other.
It's all about presentation and how you draw the graphs and the use of anomalies rather than real temperatures allows for endless obfuscation.
As Steve McIntyre reminds us, keep your eye on the pea under the thimble.

Jun 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Oh, so many comments since I last looked! I'm sorry, but I don't have time to give a response to each of you, just a few interesting points.

Clearly many non climate scientists don't accept that such scientists have reached any consensus on the existence, causes and effects of climate change. That seems odd, a bit like a collection of laymen arguing that dentists don't have a consensus about fluorides. But anyway I assume that, if not a consensus, there must at least be a majority in agreement with the 'conventional' view of climate science (CO2 as a greenhouse gas, warming, etc). After all, if these were only minority views among climate scientists there would be little point in all this discussion, would there?

If my work were to be proved wrong by physical measurement, I would require no courage to admit it - I would have no choice (not banned yet, Jun 16, 10:20PM). What people seem to be saying however is that because models of climate around the equator correspond poorly to the processed results of satellite measurements, then all of climate science is wrong. That, to me, is to draw too broad a conclusion from what "proof" you have. If the data plotted is correct (but noting previous discussion on the point), it could be argued as strong proof that the models are wrong. But I expect that will surprise nobody, including the modellers. And it says nothing of all other aspects of climate change that rely upon observation and measurement.

Lastly, it is a norm of conversation to respond to statements in the sense in which they are offered. Responding just to the word "insignificant" when I said "insignificant ...compared to" (TinyCO2, Jun 16, 10:49PM) is not what I would consider an argument made in good faith.

Jun 17, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

@Missy "But anyway I assume that, if not a consensus, there must at least be a majority in agreement with the 'conventional' view of climate science (CO2 as a greenhouse gas, warming, etc). "

Most people who consider themselves climate sceptics are also in agreement on these points: you won't find many people attempting to argue that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas or that the global temperature hasn't risen over the past couple of centuries.

In that sense, the "consensus" is a trivial thing: what there isn't a consensus about is how severe the effects of continued unchecked emissions are likely to be and what (if anything) we ought to do about them.

Jun 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

Missy "I would add that cutting CO2 seems insignificant as an ill put upon the 'common man' when compared to world wars, communism, poverty, famine and repression." Jun 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Few people realise that significatly cutting CO2 would be as devastating as those things you list without a viable alternative and so far there isn't one. indeed hunger and oppression are already part of the mechanism for cutting CO2. Biofuels inflate the price of food. Expensive renewables help exacerbate fuel poverty. Jobs have been lost already in this country because of green taxes.

People like Al Gore feel that is ok to have a large carbon footprint so long as it's offset. Yay! A new way to disciminate against people.

I find those who are most dismissive of the hardships of cutting CO2 tend to be those who've never seriously tried it. As someone with a CO2 footprint of 3-4 tons I can assure you it's not easy. I have no faith that even those who believe in the consensus are likely to reach the two ton target, let alone the majority who try not to think about AGW at all.

Jun 17, 2013 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Goodbye Missy - still no idea what a radiosonde is but still able to bluster proudly on.

Just another know nothing, keystroke wasting troll, prattling on about things being offered in "good faith".

You were right about one thing though - there has been little point in this "discussion".

Jun 17, 2013 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet


On the Guardian, I'm called a "troll" (or was, until I was finally banished for good an' all) just because I was on the "other side" over there. I don't think we should stoop to the same depths here: disagreeing does not make someone a troll, nor does asking questions.

Jun 17, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

Whatever TT. If you'd read the comments I (and others) have exchanged with Missy, you'd realise I'm not calling her out for being a troll on either of the grounds you cite.

Jun 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I haven't got time to answer the last questions.

But here's a bunch of new ones for you to labour over responding to.

THAT'S what makes a troll.

Jun 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

I've read the whole thread, and have exchanged comments with Missy too.

Having been on the receiving end of accusations of trolling, I just don't like to see the term bandied about: it's too easy just to dismiss people on the other side of the debate as "trolls".

Anyway, if someone asks questions, receives answers, then says he/she hasn't got time to reply, the record of the exchange is there in black and white for anyone to read and they can draw their own conclusions.

Jun 17, 2013 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

Whatever TT.

Jun 17, 2013 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet


One again, I would ask you to reconsider your view of 'consensus'. As Turning Tide says, it's trivial. It's a hollow meme. You'll struggle to find any regular on this blog who would differ from all the main precepts of climate science. But issues remain:

1. Exaggeration of effects
2. Tampering with data
3. Wrong statistical methods
4. Politicisation
5. Corrupt publication and peer review process
6. Groupthink and the influence of green activism

These are real, identifiable issues, Missy, not opinions. They're well documented. So, while no-one is disputing the bedrock science (well, apart from mydogsgotnonose and he may even have a point), OUR consensus is that the net effect of climatology is misguided, exaggerated and blinkered. The politics have taken precedence over scientific process.

it's not a new phenomenon and it's not confined to this branch of science. What probably is unique, however, is the sheer scale and speed with which this infant science has influenced life, progress and politics globally.

Jun 18, 2013 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy