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Discussion > Now they're saying what we were saying..

..are we still wrong?

Of course, I refer to 'natural variations'. Solar, ocean cycles, all that sort of thing. Time was when sceptics mentioned them, we were poh-poohed by the great and good. Now they are relying on them to explain observations, are we still wrong?

(I ignore their reliance on infinitely-flexible aerosols and heat in the deep ocean. I don't recall ever seeing those pushed by a sceptic.)

Oct 4, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

When you start tweaking the variables in a model at one end so they fit, you discover that it’s made the other end wrong. There comes a point where it would be easier to start from scratch. What might be convenient to say in an interview or report, might not be so easy to shoehorn into models where CO2 has been the almost sole generator of late 20th century warming. That’s the oft repeated claim – almost all of the warming in the 80s and 90s was due to CO2. That would mean that the positive phases of the oceans, El Ninos and high solar activity didn’t have a role and/or that those states were the norm and reduced values are abnormal. It even rules out the possibility that some of the 80s and 90s warming was the result of reduced western SOX and NOX during the same period. Personally I suspect a tranche of European warming was the result of less smog/fog and I bet the US was the same. Such an effect might have a wider impact than even UHI as fog generating pollution can spread far and wide.

Even using the idea that the deep oceans have absorbed the heat, opens room for the question ‘if they can absorb a decade of rapid warming, can they also throw out decades of slowly stored natural warming and create spikes like we’ve seen?’ But no, I don’t think the deep ocean theory washes either.

They’ve always glossed over the models’ appearance when comparing the things to reality. The theory was that it didn’t matter about the fine detail, it was the long term trend that matters. They’ve also claimed that models can hindcast to broadly match proxy records. Well which temperature records and which proxy reconstructions do they match? Because as we know, GISS and HadCRUT bring out new versions (cooling the past and warming the present) and there’s a big difference between Mann’s Hockey Stick and other, perhaps more accurate versions. The whole science is continuously changing and shifting.

Like all bad software (eg NHS) when the basic design is wrong, it doesn’t matter how many extras you bolt on, it will never run properly.

But to answer your question - Yes, sceptics will always be wrong.

Oct 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

This is actually quite common in academia. I've seen several examples. It goes like this.

Clique: "x=y"
Outsider: "have you considered that maybe x=z"?
Clique: "x=y"
Outsider: "Is it not possible that x=z"?
Clique: "x=y"
Clique: "x=z, as we have always said".

Oct 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Yes, rhoda, we will always be wrong.

For me, the funny side of the debate lies in the claims that "we can't get the models to simulate the data without using CO2" [this being the proffered explanation/justification for alarming numbers]. Why? Because:

Now, I've some amount of experience in chemistry and biochemical modelling: molecular mechanics, ab-initio quantum mechanical calculations, things in between, and other techniques. I've even made some real molecules to test how good my calculations were. I still have a program to do the same on my laptop. It cost me well over $1000 of my own money. Heck, even some of my best friends as a graduate student were modellers.... :) And I gained further insights from professors, seminars etc.


So when I hear a modeller saying they are effectively unable to get a complex model to either make it, or to fake it, then I think I'm either listening to a liar, or someone who isn't a very good modeller. They could if they wanted to enough. And it would take an 'outsider' eons to be able to determine how they did it.

The third possibility, of course, is that it takes too much CPU resources by the standards they choose to set themselves, so they need a new, more expensive, computer before they can properly answer your question........

Oct 5, 2013 at 2:15 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Rhoda, who is "we"? The range of opinion that opposes the IPCC and climate science is broad and internally inconsistent, so to answer your question ("..are we still wrong?") you have to define what "we" really believe.

Oct 12, 2013 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Sceptics who always emphasised the magnitude and unknownness of non-CO2 influences on temperature.That is 'we' in this case. Of course we the entire sceptic category as self-defined are an eclectic crew. And we do not have a unified position, or want one. Well, some want one..

Oct 12, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Actually I think one of the things sceptics do all agree on is that climate is hugely more complicated than has been portrayed by the climate band wagon and it was highly unlikely that scientists could predict the future on the pitifully short climate data we have and they might never be able given the high level of chaos involved. Being fixated on CO2 doesn't help.

Oct 12, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The "magnitude and unknownness of non-CO2 influences on temperature"? The effects of CO2 are quite well known. To emphasise or concentrate of other things whose magnitude and influence are unknown is odd. That's like having heart disease and being preoccupied with the risk that you might some day get cancer.

Oct 12, 2013 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

You seem to have missed the premise of the post. If CO2 is all the reason there is, we WILL be wrong. The question is what the experts will say if they turn out to have given too great a role to CO2 in comparison with other effects. I suggest they will NOT say 'You were right all along, sceptics!'.

Oct 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Chandra
The whole point is that the effects of CO2 are not well known.
Haven't you read any of the posts on the subject — here and elsewhere — over the last couple of years? There are a dozen different views on precisely what the effects of CO2 are within the earth's climate system.
Yes, there is a pretty fair measure of agreement about the effects of CO2 in laboratory conditions — stable pressure, stable temperature, stable atmosphere — but precious little on what happens out in the real world. And if you insist on treating the earth as a black body in a vacuum ...

Oct 12, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Sorry about that, people.
I was called away on urgent business before I had a chance to run a check. I don't usually shout that loud; it gives me a sore throat!

Oct 12, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike jackson, the behaviour of CO2 is indeed very well known. Even the Bishop accepts it, if I understand him correctly.

Rhoda, saying "You were right all along, sceptics!" would be nonsense whatever the outcome. As I think I said before, sceptics don't appear to have a definable and agreed position that they can claim to be right about. On anyone claiming that CO2 is the only influence on climate, that seems like a straw-man.

Oct 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra
Have you tried reading what I actually wrote?
As for CO2 being the only influence on climate, I know that is not true and rhoda knows it's not true. If you also know it's not true then perhaps you could explain it to your friends who are impoverishing the UK and many other countries on the excuse that we have to reduce "carbon emissions" by which they mean CO2 emissions, because of the damage that CO2 is doing to the climate.
The whole AGW scam — wind farms, solar power, opposition to coal, gas, fracking, the whole shooting match — is predicated on the need to reduce CO2 — nothing else!

Oct 13, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, there is no serious disagreement about CO2 effects in the real atmosphere.

What evidence do you have that my "friends" are impoverishing the UK?

Oct 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra, instead of interminable questions and ground-shifting on every thread, how about you telling us what the indisputed effects of CO2 on climate are? With numbers relative to the effects of ocean cycles, the sun, whatever else you think has a bearing.

Oct 13, 2013 at 4:59 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Chandra is a troll.

It is quite obvious that people like Ed Davey are impoverishing the UK.

Suppose there are two local taxi firms on which people rely for their personal transport. The first uses old bangers, is unreliable and does not turn up when ordered but charges several multiples of the market fare (Wind). The second uses modern, well-maintained vehicles, almost always turns up when ordered and charges a market rate (Coal, gas, nuclear or high-head hydro).

Which firm would you use?

Ed Davey forces us to use the old banger firm which harms both our individual prosperity and stops the efficient firms from prospering. QED!

Oct 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

I have noticed that Chandra is very interested in insulating housing...perhaps he has an interest in an insulating company. However, the stark reality is that retro-fitted insulation is going to have a miminal impact on fuel usage for heating...especially in listed buildings. And perhaps he can explain why, if the characteristics of CO2 are well-understood, the latest IPCC report still reports a huge range for that bogus concept they call "sensitivity"?

Oct 13, 2013 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Rhoda, everyone knows that without feedback, doubling CO2 will result in a rise in average temps by around a degree C. With feedback, probably more - how much more is the only question in doubt.

Mike Post, you have just regurgitated a comic book characterization of energy policy but have "proved" nothing. You need to present evidence that shows a particular policy (and that policy alone) has drastically reduced UK economic activity in order to claim it "impoverishes". As in most areas of economics you will fail because you can never run two different polices simultaneously. There are good reasons that economics is a "social" science, not a real one.

Oct 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

.... there is no serious disagreement about CO2 effects in the real atmosphere.

Oct 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM Chandra

Well you might say that there is widespread agreement on computations 'radiative forcing' due to CO2. But that is based on unverified computer modelling studies, despite apparently being taken as established fact.

It's a long way from a real understanding of the actual effects based on physical measurements in the atmosphere.

Oct 13, 2013 at 8:52 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Hi Chandra
When you say -

Mike Jackson, there is no serious disagreement about CO2 effects in the real atmosphere
Oct 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM | Chandra

who do you get this info from ?
say it's from Scients in UK,USA,EU countries, what do the rest of the world have to say ?

Oct 13, 2013 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

Dougieh, is there a significant scientific body anywhere in the world that dissents?

Oct 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra please answer the questions rather than asking them, you seem so ill informed and it would give some authenticity to you if you could explain your case.

For the avoidance of doubt I believe you're a forte who hasn't the slightest knowledge of science outside of being able to parrot other people without understanding the science. Prove me wrong by all means and i'll apologise profusely.

Oct 13, 2013 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

no comment yet from Chandra on the huge range reported by the IPCC on the possible "sensitivity" to CO2....surely, either the effects are well understood or they are not.

Oct 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

You don't like questions? Ok here's the thing:

There no significant scientific body anywhere in the world that dissents from what I said.

Oct 14, 2013 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra
So what does that prove? That you must be right? I don't think so.

Oct 14, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson