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Settled Science & the Climate of Doubt

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posted on May, 10 2013 @ 09:59 PM
"In open societies where both scientists and the general public are equipped with critical skills and the tools of inquiry, not least enabled by the information revolution provided through the Internet, the ethos of science as open, questioning, critical and anti-dogmatic should and can be defended also by the public at large.

Efforts to make people bow uncritically to the authority of a dogmatic representation of Science, seems largely to produce ridicule, opposition and inaction, and ultimately undermines the legitimacy and role of both science and politics in open democracies."

The above quote is taken from a report that "outlines the main positions and debates surrounding the literally hot topic of man-made global warming." The study's publisher is SINTEF, by its own admission, Scandinavia largest independent research organisation. It would be up to debate, if the lines of argumentation and the conclusions drawn in the report itself can be considered valid, balanced or unbiased.

However, it is the main premise, descirbing "the ethos of science as open, questioning, critical and anti-dogmatic" that should serve as the basic guideline for any approach taken to understand the reality of climate change.

Quite a number of people ,scientist or not, who are convinced that the increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are the main cause for global warming and that the results of this climate change pose an existential threat for humanity, will most likely argue that the seemingly organized scepticism is sponsored by an 'Industry of Denial' and to question the seriousness of the situation is irresponsible, reckless and deeply immoral.

If you believe the science is settled, beyond any shadow of doubt, then this thread is probably not for you.

Open Questions

A good place to start would certaily be the question if a slowdown in global warming in the last 15 years did indeed take place and if it did, what would be the possible implications in broader terms.

And, what does it mean in particular when the measured and estimated data becomes more statistically signifiant, with regards to Climate sensitivity.

The first part of the questions is rather easily answered by the following article, which features some of the more prominent Climate Scientists in the field.

Global warming has slowed down, but for the Scientists this is only just because...

Which leads directly to the second part of the question concerning the significance and any possible implications.

[In order to avoid the notoriously occurring "out of context quoting", which so often distorts statements and facts, i will only post the preface (but some excerpts in the next section below) and would ask you to read the full article.]

W(h)ither or not

Is the past 10 to 15 years — which have seen little net change in the average surface temperature of the Earth despite ever-larger carbon dioxide emissions — an indication that climate change will not be as bad as previously projected? That the atmosphere is less sensitive to carbon dioxide than many scientists have concluded based on their understanding of the scientific evidence? That the warnings from those in-the-know are overblown and the world can keep burning fossil fuels?

Where'd the heat go?

One of the few simple aspects of the Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory is also its fundamental basis and it is summarized with the term Climate sensitivity.

Climate sensitivity is a measure of how responsive the temperature of the climate system is to a change in the radiative forcing of the system.

This pattern (statisticians call it a "right-skewed distribution") suggests that if carbon dioxide concentrations double, the probability of very large increases in temperature is greater than the probability of very small increases.


In essence, radiative forcing is an imbalance in the earth climate system between incoming and outgoing radiation. According to the theory, this imbalance is resulting in an accumulation of energy that leads to increasing surface air temperatures proportional to the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

If however, surface temperatures are not rising in proportion with greenhouse gas concentrations, the question for a possible cause of the divergence becomes ever more valid.

Provoked Scientists

The hunt for this missing energy, and the search for the mechanisms, both natural and artificial, that caused the temperature hiatus are, in many ways, a window into climate science itself. Beneath the sheen of consensus stating that human emissions are forcing warmer temperatures -- a notion no scientist interviewed for this story doubts -- there are deep uncertainties of how quickly this rise will occur, and how much air pollution has so far prevented this warming. Many question whether energy is missing at all.

The possibilty that the model-based calculated sensitivity of the climate system to increasing CO2 levels has been significantly overestimated is one of the core issues of the climate change debate.

“Why would anyone seriously question greenhouse gases? They absolutely have a radiative effect, and no serious scientist thinks climate sensitivity could be much lower than 2 degrees Celsius based on the balance of the evidence.”

Raymond Pierrehumbert

(It should be noted that climate science physics do simply not allow for a (climate sensitivity) downward revision considerably lower than 2 degrees Celsius, without calling the entire theory into question.)

The main focus is therefore on the hypothesis that the missing energy surplus can be found in the deep oceans. As discussed in the article above, several recent studies (one co-authored by K. Trenberth) seem to confirm the analysis that an increased ocean heat uptake correlates with the temperature pause of the last one and a half decades.

But in spite of having found a possible correlation, this hypothesis is still not a theory because it lacks an explanatory mechanism, relies on incomplete data and is in some cases inconsistent with observation.

But meteorologist Roger Pielke Sr. of the University of Colorado in Boulder says he would like to understand why more heat is going into the deep ocean. “Until we understand how this fundamental shift in the climate system occurred,” says Pielke, “and if this change in vertical heat transfer really happened, and is not just due to the different areal coverage and data quality in the earlier years, we have a large gap in our understanding of the climate system.”

see next post
edit on 10-5-2013 by talklikeapirat because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 10 2013 @ 10:02 PM

More on the heat

Other possible explanation are also being considered and Ben Santer rightfully notes:

“there are multiple, not mutually exclusive interpretations of modeled versus observed differences, and claiming that there is only one explanation is not scientifically accurate.”

But for the purpose of this thread deep ocean warming is singled out, because contrary to the notion that other factors would provide an equally valid explanation for the missing heat, the theory of anthropogenic CO2 as the main driver for the global climate stands and falls with the ability to conclusively confirm the hypothesis.

A different angle

A self-imposed policy of the thread is to use as little material from purely sceptical research blogs as possible, but i have to make an exception for the following link. Bob Tisdale's study of the ocean heat content data is simply outstanding, it contains literally almost everything there is to know about measurement processes, data collection, adjustments etc. It's a very long and comprehensive study, but it's worth to take a look at it.

Stacked Up Data?

Of course, proponents of carbon dioxide-driven global warming point to the increase in ocean heat content as proof of mankind’s contribution, but the data shows little to no anthropogenic component when the data are broken down into logical subsets. This will once again be presented—but this time at the end of the post. There are lots of other topics to discuss before then.

Meanwhile - What's the Sun doing?

To keep this part brief, i will mention only a few short things.
The next IPCC assessment report will most likely reaffirm the minor role of variations in solar activity on climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (TAR) concluded that the measured magnitude of recent solar variation is much smaller than the amplification effect due to greenhouse gases but acknowledges in the same report that there is a low level of scientific understanding with respect to solar variation.


The research of Cornelius de Jager, a dutch astronomer, is rarely mentioned in discussions about the various cycles of the Sun and its effects on the global climate, but his contributions could turn out to be highly significant in future debates.

Sun & Climate

We discuss the heliospheric drivers of Sun-climate interaction and find that the low-latitude magnetic regions contribute most to tropospheric temperatures but that also the influences of the - so far always neglected - polar activity is significant. (...) The tops and lows last for periods of the order of the Gleissberg cycle. One of these is the recet period of global warming, which, from this point of view is not an exceptional period.

Solar forcing

Therefore,studies based on a supposed unique global variation of temperature or pressure variations, to be characterized by one uniqueT(time)-curve, valid for the whole Earth’s surface, are likely to fail. Reliable material, observational as well as theoretical, is now available for allowing one to search for the solar signal in the observed terrestrial temperature distribution in latitude, longitude and height.

Never during the past ten or eleven millennia has the Sun been as active in ejecting magnetised plasma as during the second half of the twentieth century.

Solar variability shows six well determined quasiperiodicities. Their lengths and amplitudes vary with time. Other periods mentioned in literature may appear to be harmonics of these main periods or they may originate in the terrestrial ocean-climate system. Predicting solar activity is intrinsically not possible but there are some weak indications that solar activity may slightly decrease in coming decades.

On a final note.

In the spirit of quote at the beginning of the thread, critical questions should be encouraged instead of dismissed as already been answered or condemed as immmoral, even more so if the stakes are as high as we are led to believe. Honest sceptical inquiry should be the name of the game.

posted on May, 10 2013 @ 10:04 PM
If you really think about it its kinda scary

posted on May, 10 2013 @ 10:37 PM
Very good thread with lots of evidence. I'll have to read it tomorrow though because my eyes are tired. I tried to find a conclusion or summary so I could see what you are showing. Guess I'll have to read the whole thing tomorrow AM. S&F for the work.

posted on May, 10 2013 @ 10:38 PM
Posting to read later as it's late.

However, skimming over quickly what you've posted so far, looks like it will be a good read, with good questions asked.

posted on May, 10 2013 @ 11:11 PM
reply to post by talklikeapirat

Very well put together thread, thanks for sharing it.

It has always struck me as odd that all these global warming or climate change models use such a short history of climate data.

Yes our technology can give us a general idea of what the climate was for a given period i.e. Jurassic, Anthropocene...
But detailed data has only been around for a few hundred years. Given the inherently fluid nature of the Earths climate, it seems irresponsible to cherry pick such a small sample to represent billions of years of information.

posted on May, 11 2013 @ 06:52 AM
reply to post by watchitburn

Agreed, my main reservations have always been based around the facts that there was never enough hard science put into the whole thing, and it has been for the most part all model based.

Computer models are flawed, even with all the facts, we don't even know what all the criteria are yet, not to mention their places in the system.

The science has never "been settled", some just claim as much, and attempt to crucify anyone that would dare to question its methods, or conclusions.

This appears as it may be a good actual intelectual coversation on this subject, I await in rapt anticipation what others have to say.

Star for you, SnF for you. Too op, very well done!

posted on May, 11 2013 @ 07:34 AM
Very good thread OP.

It always bothers me when things are said in a absolute way when it comes to science. Certain things can be said with certain attitude of being absolute (such as water does boil at 212 deg F at sea level, and light does travel at a certain speed in a vacuum) because those things can be repeatedly verified and peer reviewed over and over.

However, more often than not, when we learn or discover things using science, it makes for having to ask even more questions. Some times whole ideas or theories get thrown completely out and replaced with new ones.

Anyone that says: "They (the climate scientists) have it all figured out and this is how it is and how it's going to be." needs to stop and think for a minute. If you took any one of those scientist and pinned them down, while in many cases they will defend their data and models will (or should) tell you that they don't have all the answers nor do they have it "all figured out."

I have no doubt that us humans can in fact change the world's climate. Detonate all the nuclear weapons we have, an there certainly will be climate change globally (along with many other things happening).

While I'm unsure if our CO and CO2 emissions are enough to affect our climate on a global scale, I will say that I certainly agree that removing so much of our rain forests down in South America certainly should be having an effect on our oxygen cycle and CO2 absorbing ability.

I base this on the simple idea (and it is simple) that humans amount of emissions for CO2 into the air pales compared to what the Earth itself can release through volcanic activity.
However, we humans are able to remove vast tracts of land that help absorb that CO2 and have been for many decades now.

That for me is true AGW Climate Change. It won't mater if we completely stopped emitting green house gasses, because the Earth itself will keep on doing it, and we keep removing that which absorbs it and turns it into oxygen.

I think that is one area that we really fail in. AGW Climate people seem to want all humans to stop emitting CO2. The problem however is that even if we did do this, we're still removing the Earth's ability to absorb it, and on a much bigger scale than we are producing it.

posted on May, 11 2013 @ 01:56 PM
When putting out a fire a co2 extinguisher can be used. Earth is warm so co is up (get it), I mean think about the larger picture.

posted on May, 11 2013 @ 03:08 PM
Climate change is one of those topics that really should be approached with common sense especially where policy is concerned and I hate how government, particularly in the UK and the EU have literally stated that "the debate is over". If that's the case then why are there still so many questions concerning it (even within the scientific community); many of which cannot even be answered? For example the OP hits the nail on the head where the IPCC themselves admit to their lack scientific understanding regarding climatic effects of solar variance but quickly dismisses it and suggests it probably doesn't make any difference because of course the science is already settled; it's co2!

I don't know if anyone here has dabbled in programming but in order to influence an outcome/result you must have the ability to insert all variables with correct values. If this doesn't happen then you will always get the wrong result, or an error; which in this case is the same thing. When you consider the lack of understanding of solar variance as well as the lack of an understanding for the mechanisms involved for heat transfer from the atmosphere into the ocean, how on earth can they output a correct/accurate prediction when they do not even have access to all of the variables?

The BBC have even closed the doors for any public forum regarding any article that is posted about climate change (of which there is one new article at least every other day). Without public forum and allowing people to question the science, it is tantamount to brain washing and this alone raises suspicion for any sceptical mind. I think the way they approach this with a communication black out is an outrage, but I suspect it'll go full circle and backfire as more and more people want to engage in the topic and are being blocked.

edit on 11-5-2013 by lioninthenorth because: (no reason given)

edit on 11-5-2013 by lioninthenorth because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 08:27 AM
Thank you all for your input.

The intent was more to have a balanced discussion rather than to incite controversy.
I had a feeling the thread woudn't really take off, but your replies are at least proof that it is possible to have a civil debate about the topic.

reply to post by eriktheawful

It always bothers me when things are said in a absolute way when it comes to science.

I feel the same way.

Dealing in absolutes is inherently anti-science (a paradox?), some great minds in history would repeatedly remind us of this fact.

reply to post by AL BOLK

When putting out a fire a co2 extinguisher can be used. Earth is warm so co is up (get it), I mean think about the larger picture.

You should write a paper on this, you might even get it published. I have encountered some crazy stuff in peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Possible impact of global warming on cabbage root fly (Delia radicum) activity in the UK).
So why not, "CO2 as natural cooling agent in periods of global warming". I would read it.



There are arguably not many other fields of science that have such a profound impact on our perception. Thousands of articles, news reports and scientific studies have alerted us to the reality that we are already experiencing the severe weather effects of man made climate change.

What happens if we apply the same standards that should be the basis of all science and test the perception against reality?

I have chosen, increased hurricane activity, as an example, this can be done with each individual effect attributed to global warming, to fid out if it has any scientific merit (increasing flood rates, sea level rise, ocean acidification etc.).

Hurricane activity

NOAA attributes this increased activity to natural occurring cycles in tropical climate patterns near the equator. These cycles, called “the tropical multi-decadal signal,” typically last several decades (20 to 30 years or even longer). As a result, the North Atlantic experiences alternating decades long (20 to 30 year periods or even longer) of above normal or below normal hurricane seasons.

NOAA research shows that the tropical multi-decadal signal is causing the increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995, and is not related to greenhouse warming.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 08:48 AM
Note about CO2 Fire Extinguishers:

To have fire, you must have 3 things: Fuel, Heat and Air. Remove any one of those and the fire will go out.

CO2 is a non-flammable gas, unlike O2, oxygen, which is very flammable.

When you discharge a CO2 fire extinguisher to the base of a fire, the fire goes out for 2 reasons:

1) You are displacing the oxygen, a flammable gas, with CO2 a non-flammable gas, and so are removing the "Air" part of the Fire Triangle.

2) When you discharge CO2 from a fire extinguisher, remember it's under a lot of pressure, and is now suddenly expanding. Any gas, when it suddenly expands like that will exhibit a cooling effect. This is due to the "work" that the CO2 gas molecules are doing to suddenly expand. The opposite is true: if you compress a gas, it will cause it to heat up.

So keep that in mind: the only reason CO2 cools a fire is because it is rapidly expanding. In our atmosphere it's not doing that.
However, it IS displacing Oxygen, which while good for putting out a fire, is not a good thing for living organisms like us that need Oxygen to survive.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 09:14 AM

Settled Science & the Climate of Doubt

*NOTE: The following is an opinion of one person. This person is not a scientist nor is he connected by the hip to any political faction. In sum, it's just a dime's worth of observation on a subject that, like the common cold, seems to have no cure.

Settled Science?

At the very base foundation of this theory of climate change is the CO2 that is being pumped into the atmosphere by way of the burning of what we know as 'fossil fuels'. This term really has no bearing except as an identifier of energy sources that, when consumed, release large amounts of carbon dioxide.

The next layer-base is in locating the total mass of this gas that has been artificially added to our atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age with the advent of coal burning, leading up to and then including the beginning of our current age of oil.

One more step up is in figuring out how much CO2 has been absorbed into the natural cycle by things like the planet's vegetation that breathes this stuff and the oceans absorption, as mentioned in the OP.

The last level is in determine exactly how much of this gas now exists in our atmosphere vs. whatever figure one chooses to apply as its natural state... which gets a bit ticklish because the Earth's ever-changing biosphere doesn't have a hard fix to be found. Using samples taken from ice cores and ancient living-and-tree fossils, we can get some close approximation... which is basically like viewing a few pieces to a jigsaw puzzle that has a million yet to be located.

Considering the thoroughly incomplete complexity of this unfulfilled equation... what's the average human being to do? Common sense says that all that carbon dioxide has to go somewhere and how could it NOT have some degree of effect?

Climate of Doubt -

Most people had either heard very little-to-nothing at all regarding global warming when the movie/documentary, 'An Inconvenient Truth' arrived in 2006. Pack within this video, a lot of basic answers are offered in terms that the average Joe or Jane can pretty much get a grip on. It really was very well done.

That said, however, this flick also spotlighted a very controversial political figure as its host and narrator. In fact, within the first few minutes of this movie, Albert Gore advertises himself as, basically, the guy who was elected president in 2000 but that lost the election.

Right away, whatever value this video had for educating the public on the subject of climate change, was forever lost. Instead of being presented by a person of science without the politics of division, the nation was immediately split on the subject almost exactly down left-right, red-blue, Republican-Democrat lines.

It has only gotten worse since then.

The subject of global warming has become so muddied in the political cesspool, that finding anything that one can call reliable is today, almost impossible. For every study that says one thing, another comes out to say the opposite. The result is that this topic is not about saving our planet from what may or may not be imminent danger... but about which side of the great political divide one falls.

Kind of a shame that this whole affair wasn't handled with more integrity from the get-go. Giving this subject to Mr. Gore was a huge mistake. It should have been left to science alone to present.

Anyway, same as with the 'settled science', what we're left with here is a narrow trench that runs down through the no-man's land of the political battle lines; common sense. Unfortunately, at this point, that common sense tells you that you can't trust anyone from either camp to present facts that haven't been cooked with other ingredients.

It's a mess.

edit on 12-5-2013 by redoubt because: addendum

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 09:58 AM
I have never seen it this cold this late in spring. Calling for rain/snow showers tonight, and yep that blue band is snow at 10:30 EST. I think the last time it was this low was back in 1921/4.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 10:00 AM
Excellent thread, although I wonder how much of the information will be lost on those who simply refuse to examine the research.

The information presented hinges on the dynamic interaction of CO2 absorption spectra versus planetary black-body radiation frequency. The absorption frequency of CO2, in the range which most closely coincides with the Earth's emissions, is quite narrow. It is the same frequency range that allows CO2 to be used as a medium of lasers, necessarily narrow for that to happen. Typical AGW calculations are based on the premise that the greenhouse effect of CO2 remains stable as the temperature (and thus the emitted planetary radiation) varies, when in actuality the greenhouse effect of CO2 changes quite substantially as the frequency of the emissions varies with temperature.

In simpler terms, as the planet warms, the frequency of the heat emitted rises according to λ(max) = b/T and f = λc, and CO2 has less and less effect because the frequency absorbed by the CO2 does not change. CO2 loses its greenhouse effect. If the planet were to cool, the opposite would be true: the frequency of the blackbody emissions would decrease and the CO2 greenhouse effect would increase.

Carbon dioxide is a temperature regulator, a thermostat if you will, for the planet's average temperature. The more CO2 we have, the more effective this thermostat becomes. Far from being a toxic intruder in our atmosphere, reasonable CO2 levels are in part responsible for the planet being habitable.


posted on May, 12 2013 @ 10:51 AM
reply to post by TheRedneck

Excellent explanation.

This would deserve its own thread. Non-linear wavenumber shift is one of key aspects to understand the climatic effects of CO2 and other atmospheric gases.

I'm glad you've posted this, but really you should think about writing a thread on the topic.

posted on May, 12 2013 @ 11:08 AM
reply to post by talklikeapirat

I disagree.... this topic deserves its own book. I actually am working toward writing one; if and when I do, I'll make a thread about the high points.


posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 10:27 PM

Originally posted by watchitburn
reply to post by talklikeapirat

Very well put together thread, thanks for sharing it.

It has always struck me as odd that all these global warming or climate change models use such a short history of climate data.

Yes our technology can give us a general idea of what the climate was for a given period i.e. Jurassic, Anthropocene...
But detailed data has only been around for a few hundred years. Given the inherently fluid nature of the Earths climate, it seems irresponsible to cherry pick such a small sample to represent billions of years of information.

i suggest yourself and anyone else who has little to no idea at ll how the data is collected and used for climate projections do some reading up to understand why their is so much uncertainty and speculation about possible scenarios. There is a huge range of soucred for data, most of it is correlated with other forms of data searching for significant events that can be correlated from one geographical location to another. The best constant variable we have is Delta oxygen and carbon 13-14 ratios is speleothems and stalagmites/stalagtites. The we use carbon concentrations in benthic fossils and marine sediment, dendrochronology, ice core data from Greenland and compared to ice core data from Antartica. You can use these variables on a global scale and a regional scale to try to reconstruct temperatures at different environments such as depths in the water column or cave or arctic environments, or coastal areas, you can use isotopic ratios to infer temperature and rainfall and also fresh vs salt water and ice balance. Its all very complex, hence the uncertainty in the models.

The probelm is the system is so highly dynamic that one small change can have no effect or can start a chain reaction that leads to a massive shift in regional climate, such as the eventual influx of a huge volume of freezing fresh water into warm ocean water.

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