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Climate Change

What if the sun got stuck?

We’re heading into a new [little] ice age!”. This meme is a favourite of the denialosphere, I suppose because it is considered by them to be the ultimate counter to global warming. An inactive sun is fingered as the potential culprit in this alternative-universe prognostication hypothesis. But just how likely is such solar-driven cooling? What if the sun really did shut off its 11-year sunspot cycle for some reason, and move into a new extended (multi-decadal) period of low activity like was observed during the Maunder Minimum – would this be sufficient to offset the warming induced by an increased build-up of long-lived greenhouse gases from recent human industrial output and land use change?

The basic answer (“no, an inactive sun will not cause an ice age“) is actually remarkably easy to demonstrate. Jim Hansen did this recently in his occasional blog. This ‘trip report’ (printable PDF) covers a wide range of topics – why coal is the climate lynchpin, what industrial nations are (not) doing, what palaeoclimate tells us about climate sensitivity, and the prospects for fourth-generation nuclear power – and is worth reading for all of these gems. But given the prevalance with which the ice age meme appears in non-greenhouse theorist Op-Eds these days, I’ll reproduce his section on solar forcing here in full:

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Figure 4. Seasonal-mean global and low-latitude surface temperature, based on an update of the analysis of Hansen et al. (J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23947, 2001).
Figure 4. Seasonal-mean global and low-latitude surface temperature, based on an update of the analysis of Hansen et al. (J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23947, 2001).

Temperature and Solar Data (extract from Hansen 2008: Trip Report, p11-14)

Figure 4 updates global and low latitude temperature at seasonal resolution. Red rectangles, blue semi-circles and green triangles at the bottom of the plot show the timing of El Ninos, La Ninas and large volcanic eruptions. Oscillation from El Ninos to La Ninas is the main cause of the big fluctuations of low latitude temperature. These fluctuations are also apparent, albeit muted, in the global mean temperature change.

The most recent few seasons (Figure 4) have been cool relative to the previous five years, on average ~0.25°C cooler. If one takes the recent peak (early 2007) and recent low point (early 2008), the change is about -0.5°C. This drop is the source of recent contrarian assertions that all global warming of the past century has been lost and the world is now headed into an ice age. Figure 4 reveals that it is silly to use a peak and valley as an indication of the trend. Peak to valley drops and rises of 0.3-0.5°C in seasonal mean temperature anomalies are common (Figure 4), usually associated with ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) fluctuations.

The recent La Nina was strong, but tropical temperatures in mid-2008 have returned nearly to ENSO neutral conditions and global temperature is heading back to the high level of the past few years. The low temperatures in the first half of 2008 lead us to estimate that the mean 2008 global temperature will be perhaps in the range about 10th to 15th warmest year in our record.

A majority of the critical e-mails asserted emphatically that global temperature change is due mainly to solar changes, not human-made effects. They also state or imply that, because of ongoing solar changes, the Earth is entering a long-term cooling period (following the warming of the past 30 years, which they presume to be due to increases of solar energy). One e-mail virtually shouted: “THE SUN IS GOING OUT!”

Figure 5. Comparison of the sun at solar minimum (right side, July 2008) and at solar maximum (left, August 2002) as seen in extreme ultraviolet light from SOHO (Solar Heliospheric Observatory). Active regions during solar maximum are producing a number of solar storms. The sun in 2008 is quiet, with no active regions, part of the normal 11-year solar cycle.
Figure 5. Comparison of the sun at solar minimum (right side, July 2008) and at solar maximum (left, August 2002) as seen in extreme ultraviolet light from SOHO (Solar Heliospheric Observatory). Active regions during solar maximum are producing a number of solar storms. The sun in 2008 is quiet, with no active regions, part of the normal 11-year solar cycle.

Images from SOHO (Figure 5) might be the basis for that conclusion. The sun is inactive at the present, at a minimum of the normal ~11 year solar cycle. The solar cycle has a measureable effect on the amount of solar energy received by Earth (Figure 6). The amplitude of solar cycle variations is about 1 W/m2 at the Earth’s distance from the sun, a bit less than 0.1% of the ~1365 W/m2 of energy passing through an area oriented perpendicular to the Earth-sun direction.

The Earth absorbs ~235 W/m2, of solar energy, averaged over the Earth’s surface. So climate forcing due to change from solar minimum to solar maximum is about ¼ W/m2. If equilibrium climate sensitivity is 3°C for doubled CO2 (¾°C per W/m2), the expected equilibrium response to this solar forcing is ~0.2°C. However, because of the ocean’s thermal inertia less than half of the equilibrium response would be expected for a cyclic forcing with ~11 year period. Thus the expected global-mean transient response to the solar cycle is less than or approximately 0.1°C.

Is there some way that the small variations of energy coming from the sun could be amplified, so that the ‘solar exponents’ are actually correct and the sun is driving our climate changes? There are indirect effects of solar variability, e.g., solar radiation varies most at ultraviolet wavelengths that affect ozone. Indeed, empirical data on ozone change with the solar cycle and climate model studies indicate that induced ozone changes amplify the direct solar forcing (J. Geophys. Res. 102, 6831, 1997; ibid 106, 77193, 2001), but the amplification is by a factor of one-third or less.

Other mechanisms to amplify the solar forcing have been hypothesized, such as induced changes of atmospheric condensation nuclei and thus changes of cloud cover. However, if such mechanisms were effective, then an 11-year signal should appear in temperature observations (Figure 4). In fact a very weak solar signal in global temperature has been found by many investigators, but only of the magnitude (~0.1°C or less) expected due to the direct solar forcing. So the sun is only a minor contributor to the temperature fluctuations in Figure 4.

The possibility remains that the sun could be an important cause of climate change on longer time scales. (The source of nuclear energy at the sun’s core is essentially continuous, in fact increasing at a rate of about 1% in 100 million years, which is a negligible rate of change for our purposes. But the photosphere, the upper layers of the sun, can slightly impede or speed the emission of energy as the strength of magnetic fields fluctuates.) Perhaps the normal solar cycle evidenced in Figure 6 is about to be interrupted. Sunspots seemed to nearly disappear for a long period in the 17th century, which may have contributed (along with volcanic eruptions) to the “little ice age”. And the current solar minimum is already longer than the previous two (Figure 6). Perhaps the e-mailer who shouted “THE SUN IS GOING OUT!” is correct!

//www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant)
Figure 6. Solar irradiance from composite of several satellite-measured time series based on Frohlich & Lean (1998; http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant)

Fortunately, we can compare quantitatively the climate forcing due to the sun (if its irradiance does not recover from its present minimum) and the forcing due to human-made greenhouse gases. Solar irradiance seems to be slightly less at its current minimum than in earlier minima (Figure 6), but, at most, the decrease from the mean irradiance of recent decades is ~0.1% yielding a climate forcing of about -0.2 W/m2. The current rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is ~2 ppm/year, yielding an annual increase of climate forcing of about +0.03 W/m2 per year.

Thus if the sun remains “out”, i.e., stuck for a long period in the current solar minimum, it can offset only about 7 years of CO2 increase. The human-made greenhouse gas climate forcing is now relentlessly, monotonically, increasing at a rate that overwhelms variability of natural climate forcings. Unforced variability of global temperature is great, as shown in Figure 4, but the global temperature trend on decadal and longer time scales is now determined by the larger human-made climate forcing. Speculation that we may have entered a solar-driven long-term cooling trend must be dismissed as a pipe-dream.

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Another good read which explains the solar cycle is this news feature from NASA, which shows that there is nothing particularly remarkable about the current solar cycle, and so there is no reasonable expectation that we are heading into a new Maunder Minimum anyway.

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By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

239 replies on “What if the sun got stuck?”

Barry one can only hope that science blogs like this will eventually be heard above the contrarian din. I coudn’t agree more with some of the comments in the previous posting in response to Carter. The mainstream scientific community does need an organized, co-ordinated, dare I say political response to snake oil merchants like Bob Carter. I do have two questions. In the above posting you give the atmospheric CO2 increase as 2ppm per year. I have seen figures anywhere between 2 and 3ppm. What is the accurate figure? Also the hottest year 1998, 2005 keeps cropping up. Which is it? Keep up the good work.

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Richard: A useful way to plot the CO2 data from NOAA is here:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2

Or for a zoom of the last few years:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:2006

In short, CO2 accumulation varies from year to year, but the average over the last 10 years has been 2 to 3 ppm.

1998 is the hottest year according to the HadCRUT analysis, 2005 is the hottest according to GISTEMP. But when you scale them for the proper baselines, the differences are trivial:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/mean:12/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/rss/mean:12

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Prof. Brook,
There is about +0.1°C in GISS temperature for 2005 compared to HadCRUT : http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:0.04/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset/mean:12

0.1°C difference is NOT trivial, it’s about 15% of the total warming for the 20th century ! Your opinion is that’s trivial but declaring 2005 has been the hottest year using such small and uncertain difference is far from trivial in the context of the heated AGW debate.

BTW, I find it rather strange that Dr Hansen continues to use the surface temperature while it has plenty of such problems (e.g. stations maintenance, adjustment algorithms, trends difference between 1200km and 250km interpolation…) instead of using satellite temperatures. A NASA agency which shuns satellite data which give temperatures of where the GHG effect is supposed to take place (ie the troposphere), how ironic!

Besides, it’s a known fact the Earth was cooling during 1940-1975 which led to the global cooling scare in the 70s. But Hansen’s Figure 4 temperature shows no cooling until 1980! Obviously another problem with the GISS dataset (the GISS is notorious for changing its PAST temperatures without notice, there is clear evidence of such data tampering in the web archive, for example http://pichuile.free.fr/images/gistemp_adjust2.png ).

Hansen bases his explanations on his OWN dataset and avoid other independent data. This is a clear case of conflict of interests and the risks of confirmation biais and circular reasonning are high, considering his AGW activism. Good science must avoid such situation.

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Good material, thanks …

BUT

Following are some observations on why numerous people seem to get confused, and why some thought might be given to a slightly different way of presenting things, akin to my version of the bathtub analogy.

Observation: suppose we had accurate, trustworthy measurements of Ocean Heat Content over the last million years, or even last 15,000, or 2,000, or even last 100. Would it be easier to convince people AGW was real?
Sure: just graph that.

I think we would present this very differently.

Unlike *temperature* measurements, which have all sorts of noise, OHC is much more obviously related to Earth’s energy imbalance, in whichever direction. I.e., there is no such thing as conservation of temperature measurements, but there is conservation of energy.

The pedagological problem is that many presentations start with temperature time series, and then work back into what’s going on underneath.

Unfortunately (some of this comes from managing cognitive psychologists and later working at Silicon Graphics, where visual artifacts were of interest):

a) Human eyes are drawn to extremes, edges, noise.

b) Humans tend to think of trends as drawing a straight line from some point to the endpoint. We don’t automatically compute regressions.

c) Hence, people seeing a noisy time-series whose variance is higher than the trend tend to notice the *noise*, not the trend.

As a result, whereas people see the Keeling Curve of CO2, the trend is obvious, many people react to the temperature curve by thinking “wow, temperature really varies”.

d) Denialists often use this by juxtaposing a slice of a Keeling curve next to a jiggly temperature trend.

e) One can *say* that X-years is really needed for meaningful results for climate … but many people don’t internalize that very well, because it isn’t instantly obvious to people where X comes from.

IDEA:
I wonder how it would work to use a different order

OHC & energy imbalance
OHC & heat exchange with atmosphere, i.e., energy-conserving *oscillations* that however jiggle surface-temperature around
Long-term, medium-term, and short-term forcings

and THEN look at the resulting temperature records

I.e., FIRST explain the energy-conserving issues, i.e., things for which there are relatively low-noise long-term trends based on energy imbalance.

THEN, show the sources of noise

THEN show the resulting temperature curves

Barry: if that’s at all interesting, and you’re so inclined, send me a PPT of that one talk of yours, I think I could reorder some slides, add just a few, and send it back, and that would probably communicate better what I’m thinking about. I never really know on these things until I hack slides to see.

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(Mashey#5) This sounds like a really good way to explain noise/signal
stuff to non-scientists, but I’m not sure the data is up to
the task. The world OHC graph in:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5461/2225

isn’t as smooth as you (certainly me!) appear to expect.

The reasons look like being technical (ie. surveying OHC, even just
for the top 300m, is no easy task). See

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/308/5727/1431

for more detail. More recent data is better and looks like you it
would serve your purpose, but skeptics will happily pick on early sketchy data to muddy the waters.

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Gjrussell:

Yes, good cites. I get Science.

“Observation: suppose we had accurate, trustworthy measurements of Ocean Heat Content over the last million years, or even last 15,000, or 2,000, or even last 100. Would it be easier to convince people AGW was real?
Sure: just graph that.”

My “suppose” was a counterfactual, but I guess I didn’t make that clear enough. and my wife came and said time for dinner, so I left off the piece that should have said, somewhere:

But, we don’t have such data, we don’t even have it for the last 5 years, although we’re getting better measurements, but even what we have is new and will take a while to really calibrate well. The oceans are big.

We know how OHC works (because the amount of change in a year seems fairly bounded), but many of the measurements we have are of noisy surface/atmospheric temperatures instead, in places where we can measure them, or have the records. That’s why we don’t get excited about short-term fluctuations.

I sometimes cite the old high school football advice to defensive players: “Ignore head fakes. Watch his belt buckle.”

Maybe, make an analogy with glaciers, which do the smoothing for us. Swiss glacier site shows this well. I’d bet that the air temperature measured anywhere near Grosser Aletsch jiggles all over the place, whereas it’s length changes relatively smoothly, and shorter ones tend to jiggle more than longer ones.

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Demesure @3: You get the same answer re: solar forcing and temperature no matter which metric you use. Plus you scaled the temperature incorrectly – the one you link to does not have the same baseline so the comparison is not meaningful. There are month to month differences but taken over the 30 year period since the satellite records because, the average differences are indeed trivial (~0.01C). But this doesn’t suit your purpose so you ignore this.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/mean:12/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/rss/mean:12

Mashey @5: I hold the same view of the cognitive psychology of graphs and statistical outliers – I generally use the ocean heat content graph in my talks directly after the air temp IPCC graph – emphasising that this where the real story lies. Anyway, send me your email address and I’ll send you my standard PPT to play around with. I like the glacier analogy.

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If and when the Gulf Stream collapses and the North Atlantic, western Europe and NE America drop several degrees C (as occurred as a result of ice melt flow into the North Atlantic in the Youngest dryas – 12.9 – 11.7 kyr) – those who promote the use of the atmosphere as open sewrage for carbon gases are probably going to celebrate “global cooling”
This, in addition to arguments such as:
GW is due to warming of the Earth core and mantle …
GW is related to warming of Mars and Venus …
They will never run out of arguments, identifying small errors in calculations and projections.

And when advanced global warming becomes undeniable, they will accuse climate scientist and environmentalists for causing it!

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Andrew (post 9) – you mention Mars and Venus… I have been asked by colleagues how can it be CO2 when the other planets are warming too?? I have no idea to be honest… but I do tell them that if they are going to use the fact that they don;t trust our understanding of our own climate to deny AGW then I’m damn well not going to let them pretend we know enough about some other planet’s climate to debunk AGW…

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And when advanced global warming becomes undeniable, they will accuse climate scientist and environmentalists for causing it!

Or they will say that the climate scientists were at fault for not being better at arguing that CO2 causes the warming. This will be part of the blame-shifting process.

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dhogaza Says:
14 September 2008 at 8.10

…which led to the global cooling scare in the 70s

“Bingo! We have a loser!”

Yep – someone else who doesn’t get it.

We are all losers. Whether there be warming. Or not.

The rich get richer and the poor get to stay poor. Or the ecosystem crashes.

You are either rich, intend to become rich or a loser. Comments like yours are what helps drive people to the other side. Unhelpful and it adds nothing. Sneering is cheap.

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As it was the seventies there are hardly any extant references to the massive push to scare the public with incoming, unstoppable cooling. I was there and remember it well. TV, radio, magazines and newspapers all jumped in. This was just after Paul Ehrlich was proclaimed the new messiah by the same scaremongers.

Speaking of cold…

http://news.yahoo.com/story//afp/20080905/lf_afp/switzerlandarchaeologyclimatewarming

I cannot help but wonder how 4 periods of human traversal of said pass could have occurred without 4 warmings at least equal to this that has uncovered it once more.

The folks that attempt corellation of minima with either warm or cold are missing the point. Solar insolation variations (or spots) are not the key to climate. Almost as many (recorded) minima express warmth as the others do cold. We live in an electro-magnetic system not a nuclear-gravitic one. Proving it is proving difficult ;-)

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Demesure, it’s been pointed out to you and I will point out to you again, that the calculated warming of the two major satellite analyses differ by 20-25%. The satellite analyses of the lower troposphere are entirely synthetic — there is no satellite “channel” that measures those altitudes — and they depend on all kinds of assumptions and adjustments. Yet you still maintain that they are somehow superior to the surface record. One only needs to look at the evolution of the UAH analysis, still the odd man out, to know that those assumptions are an order of magnitude greater than any adjustments done by Hansen or Jones.

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As it’s apparently not obvious, Henry, FYI Demesure has a long, long history of making disingenuous denialist comments. Interestingly you found his nonsensical attack on GISS and Hansen to be unworthy of comment. One wonders why.

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“As it was the seventies there are hardly any extant references to the massive push to scare the public with incoming, unstoppable cooling. I was there and remember it well.”

Well, that certainly answers the question I posed above. While it’s probably fair to say that it would be difficult to do a thorough search of the print media for evidence of such a scare, that is not at all the case as regards the scientific literature. In fact, it’s been done (and see here). I suppose it’s possible that that there was a mass media scare even though the science was headed in a different direction, but there’s no evidence for such a thing and Occam’s Razor would seem to suggest other explanations.

Oh, yes: I was around for the ’70s as well and remember no such “massive push” (or even a minor one). Memory is a funny thing, though.

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Henry Galt, you are trying to mix up a single local (European) observation of an archaeological find, at around the time of the Holocene insolation maximum, with successive bouts of global warming exceeding the present? I don’t get your logic.

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Dear Henry Galt, thank you for informing us that TV, radio, magazines and newspapers like to do sensational reporting. We are already aware of this. Could you please point us to scientific papers in this subject as this is our main interest.

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I came across your website while looking for information about global warming. I neither work for an oil company nor do I care whether global warming is taking place, or whether man is responsible. Information seems hard to come by in the climate world. I now know what a “meme” is and have learned the new word, “denialosphere”. I think I came across an attempt at wit – the substitution of “hypothesis” for “alternative universe prognostication”. Don’t you and your friends understand that acting like smug sixth-formers does your cause no good. Believe it or not, some of us are just intellectually curious, and not interested in the quasi-religious war which is now going on. What certainly doesn’t do your cause any good is the use of the words “denial” or “denier” in association with global warming. I don’t know if you are aware that, in the UK, calling someone a denier immediately brings to mind the phrase “holocaust denier”. You’ve probably seen programmes about the holocaust on the History Channel and so can imagine that equating a difference of opinion on computer modelling of the climate to the gassing of 6 million Jews might be offensive to some people. I am not Jewish and it doesn’t offend me. It only irritates me. You all irritate me so much.

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Jonathan Bagley, I think you protest too much.

I usually prefer the term “non-greenhouse theorist” but do slip into the vernacular, I’ll admit. But when you flat out refuse to acknowledge scientific evidence in the form of the published scientific literature – or attempt to refute it on equal terms – you are denying the theoretical, empirical and experimental foundation of science. So the term fits.

For more discussion on this, I suggest you head over to here:
http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/

This site looks at the broader issue, beyond global warming.

But other regular commenters on this site have ridden rough shod over this rocky internet terrain for far longer than I, and can probably add an even more jaded perspective on your critique.

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Barry, your shrill and insulting reply is an ample demonstration of why those of us who not on one side or the other, but just attempting to make some sense of all the information pro and con start to feel some sympathy for your fellow scientists on the other side of the arguement regardless of the strength of their arguments.

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It irritates me, as someone who has lost family in the Holocaust, that the Freudian concept of denial should be deemed unmentionable because of the intellectual laziness of the J. Bagleys of this world

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Jonathan @22… As a fellow non-core-scientist on the matter, but merely an interested bystander, I’d love you to share all of the websites that the “non-greenhouse theorists” use to spread their message that are more moderate and balanced than this site… as I must admit the bloggers on those sites are more like a pack of humgry wolves baying for the “alarmists” blood compared to the pleasant banter on this site.

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Mike Trumper:

your shrill and insulting reply is an ample demonstration

Dear Mike, please point out the exact parts of Barry’s reply that are shrill and that are insulting. I am having trouble identifying them.

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Mike Trumper.

“Shrill”? “Insulting”?

I am also curious to know which other blogs you read, and I would certainly like to compare your list to that of Bobbos on this and subsequent posts at Deltoid.

Your accusation of nastiness on Barry’s part, one which I too look forward to being properly detailed by you, is a theme which seems to be doing the rounds this week, and I can’t help but wonder if it represents a concerted campaign rather than simple coincidence.

If I was a nastier person I might suspect that you are a troll…

Jonathan Bagley.

As MattB notes, the concept of denialism does not have a mandatory, but sometimes invisible, ‘holocaust’ attached to the front. It is mendacious of you to conflate the recognition of genuine denialist psychology regarding AGW, or indeed any other issue, with Nazi antisemitism.

I doubt that you have done so innocently, especially as I have not yet seen any Jewish lobby complain. However I have seen many climate denialists use the technique in an attempt to denigrate the science that they oppose, and especially to attempt to besmirch the reputations of those who call the denialists on their ideology.

What makes you different to these people?

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Jonathon Bagley @22
Obviously I am a much more suspicious and nastier person than BernardJ. I am sure you are a troll. Unless of course you are a totally naive new blogger and have not yet visited the blogs in the “non-greenhouse theorist” camps. If you want vitriol, anger, spite, malice and ignorance (not just of the science)head over there – try Jennifer Mahorasy, Andrew Bolt ot Graeme Bird’s sites – if you are naive and innocent you will well and truly be converted to sites like this one – once you have “tasted”the other side of the debate.Just a thought – maybe you are Graeme Bird!!

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One only needs to look at the evolution of the UAH analysis, still the odd man out, to know that those assumptions are an order of magnitude greater than any adjustments done by Hansen or Jones.

@15 cce,
Please, show your numbers and your “order of magnitude”. Otherwise, you’re just handwaving with a cheap claim. You know that’s a cheap claim because Jones has NEVER published the raw data and the adjustment methods of his “global” temperature, so you CAN’T know the magnitude of adjustments for HadCRUT.

BTW, I find it strange that you imply satelitte temperatures might be much more “adjusted” than surface temperatures: both GISS and HadCRU temperatures for the seas – 2/3 of the planet’s surface! – are based on HadReyn sea surface temperature (SST).
But what is HadReyn made of ? Bingo, mostly of satellite temperatures after 1982 (see here : http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadisst/ ) because it’s far better than the previous methods like measuring ships’ water intake’s or even wood bucket’s temperature.

Hence, global surface temperatures are in fact dependent (2/3) of satellite temperatures. So you can’t dismiss on one hand satelittes then claim on the other hand surface temperatures are better. Suck or blow but you can’t do both.

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Oh, yes: I was around for the ’70s as well and remember no such “massive push” (or even a minor one). Memory is a funny thing, though.

@18
Yep Steve, there is a name for this selective memory: denialism. ;)

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@8
Prof Brook,
I was scaling the Woodfortree graph to compare GISST to HadCRUT for the two years your were talking about in #2: 1998 to 2005. The question was why the record was in 2005 for GISS and in 1998 for HadCRUT. And the response is that there is a 0.1°C difference between the 2 sources for those 2 years, far from a “trivial” discrepancy.

Your “same” baseline shifting is irrelevant, since it’s NOT the same baseline (Woodfortrees’s values are anomalies, based on different ref. periods for GISS and HadCRU).

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Only if it’s deliberately incorrect or ignores the facts, Demesure @33. What are your facts for this assertion?

I don’t know what your point is about satellites @32. You are correct that GISS and HadCRU use satellites for SST. So?

Yes, there are differences between GISS and HadCRU in various years, because they have different ‘global’ coverages. Look at the 1998 in the GISS temp fig given in this post – it is massive in the tropics and mild in the north. HadCRU and satellites don’t measure the far north, which was particularly warm that year (record Arctic sea ice melt prior to 2007).

But taken over the full 30 year period, these deviations smooth out and the differences are trivial.

A 5 year smooth of the previously cited plot shows this – indeed, it shows if anything that if there is one anomaly, it UAH.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:60/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/mean:60/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/mean:60/plot/uah/mean:60/plot/rss/mean:60

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This article knocks down a strawman by ignoring the proposed amplifying mechanism for sunspot influence on climate.

The solar energy decrease for low sunspot periods is, indeed, insufficient. But, the lowered solar magnetic field permits more changed space particles to strike the atmosphere, stimulating cloud formation, raising the albedo of the earth–thereby reflecting more of the sun’s energy into space.

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Barry, This solar minimum is the most watched in history and has solar physicists guessing. There is talk of previous theories being discarded as this minimum unfolds.
As you are well aware there is more to this than solar irradiance and there are many (peer reviewed, as this important to you ) papers out there showing a definite correlation between solar activity and cycle length with global temperature.
Maybe it would be wise to wait and see what unfolds as this minimum drags on. Hopefully we will be able to increase our understanding of how this effects our climate and correlates with the theory as regards CO2. Nothing is settled yet.

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I’ve thought that borehole temperatures, like Ocean Heat Content, make a more comprehensible measure of longer term temperature change for the layperson than surface temperature series, but an admittedly quick websearch didn’t come up with much recent data in the kind of format that a layperson could make sense of. Borehole temperatures don’t seem to get much prominence in the debates on climate change – is there some reason why not?

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Dear Dr. Brook. You begin with the favorite denialist meme “We’re heading into a new [little] ice age!”. Could you give us just a couple of references with this quote so that we might be able to identify the denialists? Thank you.

Yes, I was kidding. The exact quote is to be found only as a straw man quote on “alarmist” sites. Too bad you fell for it, too.

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First sentence of Bob Carter Op-Ed, The Courier Mail newspaper, last week:

“NATURAL climate changes include warmings, coolings and more abrupt steps represented by the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977. Meanwhile, lurking in the background lies the threat of visitation of another Little Ice Age”

https://bravenewclimate.com/2008/09/12/spot-the-recycled-denial-v-–-prof-bob-carter/

Suggest you read the rest of the blog, Matti Virtanen.

There was also this, by Phil Chapman in the Australian newspaper a few months ago:

It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850….On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027…We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades…All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead….

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23583376-7583,00.html

And so on.

Other non-greenhouse theorist websites absolutely lapped this one up. So don’t give me rot that this is a straw man. Or are to be understand that we should believe nothing that the non-greenhouse theorists claim – are all their theories straw men, designed to make fun of the science?

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Ken Fabos @38:

Borehole temperatures require some calibration, like any proxy. But they were included in the most recent NH temperature reconstruction and give a good match to other proxies (two different bias corrections). The nature of the is that they tend to average out the kinks we know as short term weather and so operate more like a running average.

You can access the new paper here – it is open access:
http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13252

See figure 3.

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Elwin9 @36:

If it is straw man, it is the non-greenhouse theorist’s pet one, as noted above.

Also, the theorised cloud based -ve feedbacks haven’t been observed – it was a data error:
http://cce.890m.com/?page_id=19 (see section starting: “Uncooperative Cloud Cover”)

The Cce link above also cover’s Mike’s query @37 – the correlation between the solar cycle/cosmic rays and temperature falls apart over various parts of the 400 year data set, including the last 30 years.

Incidentally, that NASA press release was written by solar physicists.

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Barry Brook says,
Slamdunk – debate what – solar forcing in w/m2?

That and other issues dealing with the major cause of what little global warming there has been over the past 130 years. I think there should be far more public debate among the “experts.” Rarely does the MSM present the science of the “skeptics.”

The only publicized debate on GW was in NYC March 2007. Since then, many challenges have been issued by the skeptics to debate.

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“The Cce link above also cover’s Mike’s query @37 – the correlation between the solar cycle/cosmic rays and temperature falls apart over various parts of the 400 year data set, including the last 30 years.”

That was no query but a statement. Cosmic rays are possibly a part of the puzzle but there is much that is not known including reliable data on cloud cover. Also see http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/lassen1.html.

The relatively small increased temperatures of the last half century or so are really not remarkable in the historical context unless you view them via the (now discredited ) hockey stick graph. It is quite possible that this increase is due to natural forcing including solar. We shall find out the truth in due course but until then it may be wise not to burn your academic boat, so to speak.

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“Incidentally, that NASA press release was written by solar physicists.”
Indeed and Hathaway wisely refrains from making any statement other than the current minimum is not unprecedented.

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For both mike & slamdunk:

I’m interested in understanding how people form opinions about this. Since you have strong ones, maybe you’d consider answering my standard set of questions:

0) When you say “AGW theory”, what’s your definition? Do you mean what the IPCC AR4 says, or something else?

1) Can you perhaps list the top (5-10?) holes you find in the AR4? I.e., which section #s / page #s do you find wrong or unconvincing? Since this is about science and scientists, the “Chicken Little press” is irrelevant.

2) Just to understand the information base you’re using:

a) Do you attend lectures by real climate scientists? (I know this is not easy everywhere). Maybe we’ve heard some in common, so can have a rational discussion about what they say.

If none, have you found useful videos on the Web by scientists?

b) Do you have (or have had) personal contact & discussion of this topic with real scientists? (I.e., like Nobel physicists, in US, members of National Academy of Scientists, in UK, Royal Society; Presidents, Deans of Science, Department heads, professors in relevant areas in strong research universities? Senior researchers at national research labs (in US, like NCAR, NOAA, GISS, GFDL, in UK Hadley, in Oz CSIRO, etc. Editors of peer-reviewed scientific journals?)

c) Are you a member of any relevant scientific societies?

d) Do you subscribe to any scientific journals?

e) Do you read any primary research literature in the field?

f) Have you read any books on this besides the IPCC AR4? [Certainly if one only reads one, that’s the one.]

g) Do you (or have you) participated in peer-review as an author, reviewer, or editor?

h) Can you say anything about your background in physics and statistics?

3) Back to 1), is there some modest set of “worrisome issues about AGW”, which if laid to rest, would convince you that AGW (as defined by the IPCC) is real and a problem? Can you list them?

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Demesure,

I ask you again to look at the differences between RSS and UAH. This will help you:

You consider a 0.1 degree difference to be “a lot” by singling out periods of time where HadCRUT and GISTEMP diverge, even though over the past 30 years, these differences cancel each other out. In contrast, UAH is systematically lower than the others, which has now accumulated to about 0.1 degree. The so-called GISTEMP “Y2K error” represented about a 0.003 degree upward bias from 2000 through mid 2007, or 1/30th the difference between RSS and UAH.

From January 1979 to December 2007, the difference in the trend between HadCRUT3v and GISTEMP is only 0.002 degrees per decade. This despite different homogenization methods, different SST data, and different interpolation methods. The difference between RSS and UAH is 0.04 degrees per decade, or 20 times larger.

The UAH analysis, of course, has been signifcantly revised upward. Correcting a sign error in the diurnal adjustment increased the trend to July 2005 by 40%. Subsequent revisions have increased the trend for the SAME months (i.e. to July 2005) another 10%.

The lower satellite measurements are synthetic. Each is “one big adjustment.” They are pulled out of measurements stitched together from multiple instruments. A comparison between 4 analyses of the “mid troposphere” (which are influenced by the stratosphere) is here.
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/12/31/msu/

Or you can just look at the differences graphically:

The differences are large enough to drive a truck through.

One other point. HadCRUT does not use any satellite data. It uses ship and buoy data exclusively. GISTEMP uses the HadISST data since 1982 (calibrated with buoys), which has nothing to do with the MSU tropospheric data. It’s also worth noting that in the Thompson paper documenting the problem with mid century cooling, he also notes another discrepency in the last decade which appears to show a cooling bias introduced with the transition to more buoys. After this is corrected, I bet it will affect HadCRUT more than GISTEMP (assuming it affects GISTEMP at all).

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Hello John,

In NYC, on Mar. 2007, three AGW scientists, by their own admission, lost a highly publicized debate with three “skeptics.” Since then, there have been none. Several challenges have gone out to Al Gore and other AGW supporters but none seem to want debate.

I think it’s curious that IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri won’t produce the evidence showing how human induced CO2 drives global temperature, as requested by several international scientists, on Apr. 14, 2008. I would think he would have responded by now since it is so obvious that human CO2 is raising temperatures to the point of environmental disaster. Surely such evidence must be at his fingertips.

Also, I wonder why IPCC Co-lead author Jonathan Overpeck told Prof. David Deming that the medieval warm period had to be “gotten rid of” from the temperature reconstructions other scientists were working on over a thousand year period. Why would they want to do that?

Thirdly, Chris Monckton, Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer believe the IPCC has overstated the effect of CO2 on climate sensitivity. So far, the IPCC has not responded to these claims.

Because of these things, I think somewhere, somehow, there ought to be a series of publicized debates sponsored by the general media so people can hear both sides. As it is, you rarely hear anything from the “skeptic” side. What do you think?

I am not a scientist and know very little about the science of so called man made global warming. So I am not able to answer your questions. I’m more concerned why people in high places don’t answer questions, get rid of the MWP and overstate the effects of CO2.

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John Mashey,
From what you have written you seem to have an obsession with anyone who takes a contrary position to the IPCC and what you call consensus. Consensus is not science, it is a position supported by a majority ( perhaps ) but does not mean that the said position is correct or valid. I will address your post tomorrow as it is late.

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I’ve won debates before despite clearly being wrong… all it does is show that three blokes “won” a debate… I’d guess that nerdy scientists are the LAST people I’d expect to win a high profile public “debate”.

Look at post 49… “hockey stick” “MWP” and some suggested conspiracy… that is exactly what wins a debate! Versus the scientist (please let me just summarise these 25 or so peer reviewed journals, and oh yes I have this rather interesting graph if you have a few moments).

Why in gods name would the IPCC respond to non-peer reviewed science?? It is an endless loop of researching and discrediting rubbish that is simply not the IPCC’s job. They will do their next report whenever they are scheduled to I guess, and they will incorporate all valid developments in the science. They are unlikely to take notice of a few blokes who reckon stuff.

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Mike: merely an interest, derived in part from managing cognitive psychologists for a few years, in understanding how people learn, and how people come to believe things strongly.

Slamdunk:
You say:
“I am not a scientist and know very little about the science of so called man made global warming. So I am not able to answer your questions.”

You surely *could* answer one question: where do you get your information? You don’t need to be a scientist to name your sources. You named a specific set of people, most of whom are not household names. How have you learned whatever you know about climate science?

Note: science isn’t done by debates, I’m afraid.

BOTH: you both have strong opinions, I’m just trying to understand where they come from.

Sometimes, by understanding where someone is, it is easier to recommend something to read that they might actually find useful. many people have helped me in this way, and although I rate my climate expertise at ~2 on a scale of 10, perhaps I can be helpful as well.

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Incidentally, since debates are in the air, my employer’s environmental officer is a skeptic, and had invited David Evans to give a talk here as part of a “sustainability seminar”. I proposed we made it a debate with some mainstream greenhouse theorists, and I recruited some good local academics etc… but the debate was denied. I was stil armed with questions but in the end the whole thing got canned for reasons other than the debate. The debate would have been great.

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Apparently Barry is having a debate with Ian Plimer at the Sceptics Society meeting in Adelaide in October. Barry – can you supply thr full details? Will a podcast be available?

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Slamdunk.

I am not a scientist and know very little about the science of so called man made global warming. So I am not able to answer your questions.

This is the point.

Non-acquaintance with the intricacies of the science, and with the scientific process in general, render lay people vulnerable both to not understanding the points that climate scientists make, and to not understanding the non-validity of the arguements that the denialists make. This is not to say that lay people do not have a contribution to make – after all, John by his own admission ‘lay’ with respect to climate science – but to do so does requires a serious and concerted effort on the part of the lay person, to establish a solid and organised foundational understanding of the disciplines which are to be engaged.

Mike.

John Mashey,
From what you have written you seem to have an obsession with anyone who takes a contrary position to the IPCC and what you call consensus. Consensus is not science, it is a position supported by a majority ( perhaps ) but does not mean that the said position is correct or valid.

Actually, Mike, John is properly calling to account anyone who contradicts a solid scientific consensus, without properly laying the groundwork for any such contradiction. Your ‘consensus is not science’ phrase is a strawman: of course consensus alone is not science, but when a powerful consensus in science occurs after the vigorous process of review of the science and a challenge of it by peers, then such science is to be seriously considered. The science has come before the consensus, and your phraseology is a distortion of the process, and a distraction.

I look forward though to your more detailed response though, especially as your initial one simply reinforces the necessity of John’s questioning of your background and motivation.

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One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to sniff out questionable statements and behavior.

Why get rid of the WMP if it is so clear that CO2 drives temperatures?

Why hide secret computer equations (Mann, Wahl, Ammann et al) used to arrive at questionable data?

Why say the “science is settled” when the APS has opened up debate on the dynamics of CO2 on climate sensitivity?

Why refuse to respond to reputable scientists who ask for “clear and graphic” proof that CO2 drives temperature?

Why overstate the effects of CO2 on climate sensitivity?

Why scare people with a 20′ rise in ocean levels and polar bear extinction when they are doing just fine?

If it is so clear that CO2 drives temperature, why say, “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” (Timothy Wirth, Undersecretary of Global Issues)

or…

“No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits… Climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.” (CHRISTINE STEWART – Former Canadian Minister of the Environment)

It doesn’t matter where I get my information from concerning the above. Answers to the questions are all that is needed.

Look at what people say and do as much as the science they present.

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One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to sniff out questionable statements and behavior.

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to be sucked into believing that what someone is asserting is “information”.

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Re: debating sceptics, as I noted here:

https://bravenewclimate.com/2008/09/01/spot-the-recycled-denial-iii-–-prof-ian-plimer/

“This is also timely because Ian and I will be having a back-and-forth debate (22 min each side, 2 turns each) on day two of the upcoming Skeptics National Convention 2008 on 12 October 2008, to be held at the Norwood Concert Hall, Adelaide. We’ll then be fielding audience questions for 45 min. It should be interesting!”

Link to the convention is here:
http://www.skepticssa.org.au/conf08.html

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Slamdunk.

Your response, with its misleading and distorting questions supplied by the denialosphere, simply proves my points at #56 above.

Contrary to your claim, it matters very much where you get your questions from, and also how you frame them; especially so if they’re from unreliable sources. Even so, the answers to your duplicitous questions are freely available in the pubic domain, as long as you understand clearly the broader foundation of the science compared with the misrepresentation of the denialists.

The answers are not however the ones that you would have people believe with your attempts to lead them. You are trolling, and you are definitely not doing a good job of hiding your non-acquaintance with real science.

It is apparent that you did not reply to John Mashey simply because you cannot, as you yourself admitted. But if you cannot answer John’s basic questions, you do not have the minimum understanding required to ask, as you do, the questions challenging the integrity of the science. All the more so because such questions are, as I noted, calculated to mislead.

Of course, if you can come up with such a bevvy of questions you must have some impression of the answers (your obvious non-familiarity with the science notwithstanding) and you should be upfront in supplying them. Reference sources too, please.

And because you obviously anticipate certain answers, you will of course be ready to supply the refutation of the AGW proponents’ answers that you will no doubt disagree with. Also with referenced sources.

Come on, I’m calling you out. Explain yourself and your questions.

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“One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to be sucked into believing that what someone is asserting is “information”.”

Chris, Slamdunk is asking a series of mostly valid questions and you could do better than fob them off with contempt. If you cannot answer them perhaps it is better not to reply at all.

“Actually, Mike, John is properly calling to account anyone who contradicts a solid scientific consensus, without properly laying the groundwork for any such contradiction. Your ‘consensus is not science’ phrase is a strawman: ”

Is that so Bernard? What John is actually trying to do is intimidate his “perceived” opponents into believing that without his ” or the equivalent of” credentials that said opponents view does not carry weight. Saying that, he knows nothing about me and until I choose otherwise it will remain so but he holds no illusion about his own importance i notice.

I call into question your assertion of a “solid” scientific consensus. It is no such thing and this is clearly evident if you take the trouble to properly study IPCC AR4.

My motivation in initially responding to this posting was the fact that the author was, in my opinion, jumping the gun before all facts were known as is the habit of those afflicted with climate change hysteria. I pointed out, and I stand by my assertion, that the real effect (if any) of solar activity on our climate will become evident as we progress through what is an unusually deep minimum in modern times.

The principle motivation for my interest in climate change (aka global warming) is the future of my family and loved ones).
As such I have been actively looking at the evidence from both sides of the debate for the past 10 years and read/study as much as I can access. Yes I do understand the math. As such I have not always held a skeptical viewpoint but as new evidence comes to the fore and various manipulations of the facts have emerged one has to start questioning the status quo. If one does not question one is just a follower, contributes nothing and is in effect worthless. Convincing me is easy, show me real and honest evidence that is verifiable and not the virtual reality of computer models with incomplete data input. We do not have sufficient knowledge or accumulated data as yet of this very complex field of research to say without doubt that AGW is real.

Want to discuss and analyse the science on an intellectual and honest basis? Ready and waiting.

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Sigh. Neither Mike nor slamdunk seem to actually want to answer a simple set of questions (#47) intended to be courteous.

I don’t know why Mike starts talking about “credentials” and intimidation.
I suppose someone who was credential-sensitive might interpret:

“h) Can you say anything about your background in physics and statistics?”

as a demand for credentials, but it’s not intended that way. “background” was as general as possible on purpose. I didn’t ask for degrees or formal courses.

These questions have no right answers, but it is interesting that some people simply won’t answer them, even as a self-assessment. Most of these things, with the possible exception of g) (peer review participation, which tends to be limited to some professions) are activities that can be done at some level or other by people with good high school educations. Some people study physics and statistics in high school, some don’t. World-class people do give lectures, and people can look for them, especially if they’ve been studying the topic for 10 years.

In any case, see the discussion at Deltoid, How to learn about science, which some have found useful on this overall topic, and which does have some useful sources for people who do want to learn.

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Why overstate the effects of CO2 on climate sensitivity?

Slamdunk, when will you quit beating your wife?

(I do hope you get the point)

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John, with respect, I find your attitude “politely” arrogant and quite frankly insulting. Your self importance is manifest.

Now I am very aware that as new evidence and embarrassing manipulation comes to light that those who are closed to new ideas and theory tend to cling on for dear life to their beloved dogma. Are you one of those?

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Bernard,
“Your response, with its misleading and distorting questions supplied by the denialosphere, simply proves my points at #56 above.”
What exactly is the (denialosphere)? In the classroom or during a lecture a valid question is deserving of an answer not an insult, if it is indeed your intention to educate that is.. There is no separate world of deniers and adherents but a group of folk seeking the truth — or is this the new inquisition? — blasphemy

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Barry Brook Said:
18 September 2008 at 0.33

Slamdunk @57, regarding “Why refuse to respond to reputable scientists who ask for “clear and graphic” proof that CO2 drives temperature?” and other such statements, I strongly suggest you read this excellent new piece by Spencer Weart from APS, on exactly this issue:

I found nothing that would support the notion that those in possession of truth, like clear and graphic” evidence of CO2 driving temperatures, should not provide it when asked by contemporaries. Are the scientists making that request inferior to those of the IPCC?

For some peculiar reason, the perception is that only IPCC scientists wear halos. And there weren’t “thousands,” rather six or seven hundred.

My position is the fair and balanced treatment of evidence. From its inception, the IPCC determined it would only accept science that supports human induced global warming.

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Bernard J. said

“Come on, I’m calling you out. Explain yourself and your questions.”

I don’t have to explain myself or the questions. They are really quite simple.

Quit stalling with meaningless rhetoric. Are you afraid to answer them?

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dhogaza
18 September 2008 at 1.39

Why overstate the effects of CO2 on climate sensitivity?

Slamdunk, when will you quit beating your wife?

(I do hope you get the point)

Monckton, Spencer Lindzen and others claim the IPCC has overstated CO2 effects on climate. Let’s see how the debate proceeds on this.

Dr. Spencer works with some NASA scientists on the issue of climate sensitivity and feedback. He believes there is strong evidence that supports negative feedback. There are at least two IPCC scientists (Forester/Held) who think
he raises legitimate issues. His paper on it will be published in Journal of Climate this November. I’m sure it will stir up the bees. But that’s what science is all about. Be skeptical. Do research. Leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of truth.

Spencer says that if the feedback is proven to be negative, it pretty much delivers a KO for human induced global warming.

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Slamdunk @67: You obviously didn’t read that piece. Or didn’t understand it, but I thought it was clear enough. Or you are simply trolling, which is what I now suspect. I trust others who link to it will “get it”.

In short, the simple “proof” you seek is utterly illusory, as it would be for 95% of scientific problems. Your misunderstanding of how science operates is clear enough, and I appreciate why it is so given what you say of your background. But you are grossly arrogant to think that just because YOU don’t understand some physics or geochemistry or modelling, or are not convinced by multiple lines of evidence, that it axiomatically must be false or at least dubious.

I guess we also throw relativity, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism etc. out of the door, or would you care to explain the simple proof for these that has you convinced that they are so?

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The empirical skeptic seeks only answers to try and determine the most rational answer to a given problem. Insult does your stance no favour or engender confidence in your opinions.

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Slamdunk, Barry is correct when he says that there is no simple proof for some of your questions inasmuch as this proof does not exist. The CO2 connection along with positive feedback that the present stance/issue hinges on is theory only.

Yes we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that levels have been rising along with global temperature (until recently anyhow) but that is it. Nothing else can be shown to be true even though it may be the case, at least in part. Reams of calculation, computer models and IPCC reports have provided only probabilities.

I do believe that we will however achieve a much better understanding and demonstration of the mechanisms involved although this process is being hampered by politicking, self interest and dogmatism to a level that surprises many.

Some of your other questions will not be answered here because they are frankly an embarrassment to any researcher with integrity.

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Barry Brook Said:
18 September 2008 at 8.19

But you are grossly arrogant to think that just because YOU don’t understand some physics or geochemistry or modelling, or are not convinced by multiple lines of evidence, that it axiomatically must be false or at least dubious.

This isn’t about me understanding physics or geochemistry. Nowhere did that article explain why the IPCC Chairman should not respond to a legitimate question about CO2 driving temperature. Pachauri could have at least acknowledged the letter with some kind of courtousy or explanation.

The closest thing I read that addressed my point was this:

“But it would do little good to present a copy of the Manabe-Wetherald paper to a senior engineer who demands a proof that global warming is a problem.”

Did you take this as an example why Pachauri should not be required to respond to their letter?

If not, please direct my attention to the sentence(s) that deal specifically with my point.
Thank you.

If you want to comment on why an IPCC lead author would tell a professor that they had to get rid of the MWP, I’m all ears.

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mike Says:
18 September 2008 at 9.28

Slamdunk, Barry is correct when he says that there is no simple proof for some of your questions in asmuch as this proof does not exist.

The CO2 connection along with positive feedback that the present stance/issue hinges on is theory only.

Yes we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that levels have been rising along with global temperature (until recently anyhow) but that is it.

Nothing else can be shown to be true even though it may be the case, at least in part. Reams of calculation, computer models and IPCC reports have provided only probabilities.

All the current evidence points away from

I do believe that we will however achieve a much better understanding and demonstration of the mechanisms involved although this process is being hampered by politicking, self interest and dogmatism to a level that surprises many.

Some of your other questions will not be answered here because they are frankly an embarrassment to any researcher with integrity.

SLAM: Right. This is the point I’m trying to make. Al Gore and the media bombard citizens with a global warming that has reached crisis proportions and we are the guilty ones. Now, pay up sucker! (carbon tax)

Gore pontificates 20′ rise in oceans and polar bear extinctions, Mann intentionally omits the MWP, IPCC Lead Author tells Deming they have to “get rid of” it, IPCC overstates climate sensitivity, IPCC Chief purposely ignores legitimate questions, IPCC determined it would reject any science not compatible with AGW even before it was founded, and the list goes on. John McClean has done an outstanding job of exposing the IPCC – http://mclean.ch/climate/IPCC.htm

These things in my view show a lack of ethics and integrity. When they are breached, it tells me something other than a small rise in global temperatures is brewing.

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Slamdunk – layman to layman – this “get rid of the MWP” issue… well to me it is like people who panic and in doing so implicate themselves in a crime. THe old chestnut – boyfried finds girlfried dead, knife sticking out… he knows it was not him, but he knows he was seen arguing with her late the night before, and that he was drunk… so he runs away and tells people he was not there, but he gives her one last kiss… but the cops find a footprint, saliva trace, fingerprints… whoopsie…

The MWP does not change the science about what is happening today, but some scientist realises it could be used aginst the good science and thinks alound “if only that damn MWP wasn’t there.” The sniff of foul play and a cover up then ends up doing more damage than had they just said “one anomoly is that at present some data suggests it was warmer in the MWP, but there is a lot of uncertainty in that.”

Lastly – I can’t imagine any scientific field where someone hasn’t fudged something somewhere along the way thinking they may get away with it… when they don;t get away with it and get sprung does it necessarily mean that the whole field of science is fundamentally flawed.

But SD – there are far more holes in all those arguments you refer to in the last para of 75, and on balance a real sceptic would not refer to them because they are at least more flawed than the current AGW consensus. For example you references to “overstates sensitivity” well as far as I’m concerned that has been torn to shreds.

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For those people, like myself, just looking for scientific answers and bemused by bloggers like Slamdunk and Mike, I suggest you apply my criteria. When they quote scientists who disgree with AGW e.g. John McLean, David Evans, Chris Moncton, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer etc check them out on Google or on sites like http://www.desmogblog.com (on their research database)or on this blog under the “Spot the recycled denial” series helpful links. Make up your own mind about their authority on the subject and their agendas, including who supports them.Often right wing think tanks, gas, oil and mining companies I have found. I think you will find it will help you to decide whose advice to rely upon.

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“One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to be sucked into believing that what someone is asserting is “information”.”

Chris, Slamdunk is asking a series of mostly valid questions

No, they are presumptous questions that are based on contentious assumptions at best. They are not based on “information” at all. Anyone who thinks it is information is credulous by definition. I’m sorry if the truth hurts but it’s not my fault if someone is being credulous.

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When they quote scientists who disgree with AGW e.g. John McLean, David Evans, Chris Moncton,

You don’t need to do much science to be called a “scientist” these days.

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Slumdank.

Enough faffing round.

Answer your own questions for us (with references), and demolish the scientific consensus on AGW.

Mike.

As I have told other denialists, John Mashey once asked me several questions too. In my case it was about why I found it necessary to continually engage trolls, and although I was defensive for an instant, I understood his querie in the spirit that it was intended, and I gave my explanation. You need to get over yourself and understand the very same thing, and also to realise that perhaps you’ve been caught out by someone who has more than half a clue about the science and psychology behind both sides of the debate.

One thing you need to understand is that whilst you might fool uninformed third parties, and reinforce the ideological prejudices of your denialist compadres, you are exposing your obvious bias and/or ignorance to anyone who has a modicum of scientific understanding and objectivity.

Dodging John’s legitimate questions only reinforces this.

Of course, as an alternative you could always answer SD’s loaded questions yourself and prove to one and all your superior scientific understanding.

Once again – enough faffing around. The rest of us are waiting for you to make a substantive point.

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MattB Says:
18 September 2008 at 12.07

MATT: The MWP does not change the science about what is happening today, but some scientist realises it could be used against the good science and thinks aloud “if only that damn MWP wasn’t there.”

SLAM: Hello Matt. Yes, it’s one thing to say you wished something wasn’t there, but had to acknowledge it was, than saying you have to get rid of it and go ahead and do it. With Mann et al it was intentional so their hockey stick could be used to show a false temperature construction where they could say the sharp rise in temperature at the end of it was caused by human induced CO2. To me, it suggests there was a concern of something other than a small rise in global temperatures. It was deceptive and showed a total lack of integrity. The goal is something else.

MATT: The sniff of foul play and a cover up then ends up doing more damage than had they just said “one anomoly is that at present some data suggests it was warmer in the MWP, but there is a lot of uncertainty in that.”

SLAM:Right. Honesty was far from their thinking.

MATT: Lastly – I can’t imagine any scientific field where someone hasn’t fudged something somewhere along the way thinking they may get away with it… when they don;t get away with it and get sprung does it necessarily mean that the whole field of science is fundamentally flawed.

SLAM: No, of course not. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, but when dirt is found it needs to be exposed and washed away.

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perps Says:
18 September 2008 at 16.30

For those people, like myself, just looking for scientific answers and bemused by bloggers like Slamdunk and Mike,

SLAM: Hello Perps. You will notice that my questions mostly deal with ethics and integrity. Do you agree that Mann et al were unethical by purposely omitting the MWP?

PERPS: I suggest you apply my criteria. When they quote scientists who disgree with AGW e.g. John McLean, David Evans, Chris Monckton, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer etc check them out on Google or on sites like http://www.desmogblog.com (on their research database)or on this blog under the “Spot the recycled denial” series helpful links.

It’s always easy to find someone who agrees with our positions. This is why debating the science is often a fruitless affair. What can’t be disputed is the unethical behavior displayed by some. The intentional false construction of temperatures in the hockey stick tells me there is a concern much greater than the small rise in global temperatures.

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Bernard J. Says:
18 September 2008 at 19.52

Slumdank.

Enough faffing round.

SLAM: Talk to Mann, Wahl, Ammann, Gore and Pachauri about “faffing.”

Benrad: Answer your own questions for us (with references), and demolish the scientific consensus on AGW.

SLAM: Before I show references, let me ask you this. Numerically, how many IPCC scientists do you think believe that human induced CO2 is the major cause of a 0.07C rise in global temperatures which have brought the planet to the threshold of climate crisis?

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Slamdunk, get your facts right before continuing on with this pointless sniping. Where did you pull 0.07C from?

Also, show me the evidence for the Overpeck claim you espouse. And how did Mann et al get through the latest round of peer review in PNAS if they “fudged the data”?

Or is it all just one big conspiracy in your mind?

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ARE YOU A HOT HEAD OR A COOLER HEAD?

[Slamdunk, please post as a link, not the whole article – that is not appropriate for a comments section of a blog]

Article from the other side of Debate Daily.

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Bernard – There is a world of difference between a denialist and a skeptic, look it up. Neither am I a troll, trying to fool anyone, do have more than half a clue, am certainly not ignorant, do not lack objectivity, have not been caught out by anyone and am not ideologically biased, at least as far as this subject is concerned. But there you go – you can carry on slagging if that’s what floats you boat.

I will state my case once more. I an not a denialist but a skeptic. My stance and leaning is dependent on the evidence available and at this juncture I find that on balance the theory regarding CO2 and feedback does not adequately explain this centuries climate phenomena or the events in our historical climate . Until more convincing evidence comes to the fore I will carry on looking at and studying other ongoing research to see if more plausible (to me) alternatives present themselves.

Perps @ 77 Sad really to just dismiss other folks work because of perceived credentials and funding sources. Very scientific method really. Sort of reminds me of the Nazis trying to discredit Einstein’s work because he was Jewish – Judische physik. Not I am not trying to compare anyone with that amazing gentleman. Would it not make more sense to critique the work first?

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No Mike… those people Perps listed have had their work dissected on numerous occasions… the links to the funding probably just explains why they keep on repeating the same old stuff as loud as they can hoping someone picks up on it.

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Mike @87

So it is OK for you to dismiss and discredit the 90% of scientists whose work demonstrates that AGW is real but not OK for us to do the same to the 10% contrarian scientists – don’t think so! As Matt says @88 – their work has been critiqued and found wanting many times over.
Slamdunk @ 83

Agreed -it is much easier to find scientists and peer reviewed papers which agree with AGW, as they constitute the majority, than those who don’t. There is a distinct paucity of those who disagree. So if you can come up with one of the sceptical scientists who doesn’t have at least one of the agendas I listed I would love to know his/her name and the relevant papers they have published. As to ethics surely it is unethical of the non-greenhouse theorists not to clearly state their affiliations.
Regarding those old chestnuts, the MWP and the Hockey stick your statements and assertions on these matters have been rebutted many times on this blog and elsewhere (see Barry’s links). But perhaps these explanations will not convince you – or are you just saying “Nah, nah, can’t hear you” again and again. Asking the same questions many times and not taking notice of the answers is trolling. Guess you are both guilty despite your protestations to the contrary. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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Mike.

I know very well the difference between a sceptic and a denialist. I made a comment on this just several days ago.

Contrary to what you appear to apprehend, the very large majority of real scientists (including climatologists) are practising sceptics, and especially so when reviewing each other’s work. If you had any scientific experience to speak of you’d be familiar with the bear-pit that is the competitive aspect of science, and that leads to the friendly (and often not-so-friendly) rivalry where there is intense scrutiny to find the tiniest errors in colleagues’ work. Such sceptical scrutiny is patently apparent in instances such as Mann vs M&M, but more generally it is integral to all practise of science.

That you claim to have spent a decade reading the science, and then came to a different conclusion to the thousands of experts who have greater training and professional experience in climate science than you, does not automatically make you a sceptic in the scientific sense. In fact it would imply the opposite, and John Mashey’s observation at #70 is called to mind.

The scientific consensus, even after sceptical consideration, is at odds with your conclusions. Now why should we believe you over the expert consensus?

Why indeed should we believe what is a small group of scientists who dispute the consensus, when so much of their evidence has been tested and found wanting, and most especially when many of them have been shown to have conflicts of interest, or documentable and concerning errors of judgement on particular matters?

And finally why should we believe the much larger group of denialists (who are very much not sceptics in the analytical sense) who, for vested interest and embarrassingly ideological reasons, are subjectively predisposed to supporting the non-AGW model?

If you have</i arrived at a truly sceptical dismissal of the AGW case, you should be easily able to submit a precis outlining your points of refutation and the solid evidence that supports it. If you are unable to proffer a succint case for defence against those with whom you disagree, then perhaps your ‘scepticism’ is in fact something else…

So, “state your case”.

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Matt – links and papers on those dissections please. Those accessible via. Cambridge or Oxford libraries are accessible to me.

Perps -“So it is OK for you to dismiss and discredit the 90% of scientists whose work demonstrates that AGW is real but not OK for us to do the same to the 10% contrarian scientists – don’t think so!”

At what point did I discredit and dismiss? I stated that I believed that the research, so far, in my opinion ,has not adequately explained the phenomena. Additional research and positive findings may well enforce existing theories, but until then I remain skeptical(not dismissive). I have all the time in the world for those who research and draw conclusions from that research, it does not follow that they are necessarily right or wrong however. We have much to learn and all efforts are contributory. True consensus will manifest itself when we can demonstrate and predict with a reasonable level of ( or even any) accuracy the ability for which is at present glaringly absent.

“So if you can come up with one of the sceptical scientists who doesn’t have at least one of the agendas I listed I would love to know his/her name and the relevant papers they have published. ”

Now I will give this much away, I have studied amongst other things Psychology at varsity level, and that was a cracker. Nicely done or pure ignorance. Lets dissect that little beauty. I give you names and therefore admit that some have an agenda or I retain my self respect and respect for fellow researchers and come under further flack from you because I supposedly cannot name any. Grow up.

bernard–“Contrary to what you appear to apprehend, the very large majority of real scientists (including climatologists) are practising sceptics, and especially so when reviewing each other’s work.”
Yes I am well aware of this and picking apart someones research is a part of the process, of course it is. But that does not necessarily make it gospel even if it stands up to scrutiny does it?. There is still much that is not known and much to be learned.

“That you claim to have spent a decade reading the science, and then came to a different conclusion to the thousands of experts who have greater training and professional experience in climate science than you”
Really? At what point did I say that I had come to a different conclusion? I have not come to a different conclusion, I am skeptical of the current ( apparently) consensual position. There is a huge difference.

“The scientific consensus, even after sceptical consideration, is at odds with your conclusions. Now why should we believe you over the expert consensus?”

I question the term scientific consensus and don’t know really what you are on about. What is this conclusion that I am supposed to have reached. I have done no such thing and neither did I imply that you should believe me.

“Why indeed should we believe what is a small group of scientists who dispute the consensus, when so much of their evidence has been tested and found wanting,”

Some certainly but not all and it cuts both ways. I choose to ignore the pathetic “agenda” comment. It does your argument no favours and again cuts both ways.

“And finally why should we believe the much larger group of denialists (who are very much not sceptics in the analytical sense) who, for vested interest and embarrassingly ideological reasons, are subjectively predisposed to supporting the non-AGW model?”

Who exactly is asking you to believe these folk? As an observation though, there are those with a vested interest on both sides of the debate are there not.

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Barry Brook Says:
18 September 2008 at 22.30

Slamdunk, get your facts right before continuing on with this pointless sniping. Where did you pull 0.07C from?

SLAM: Hi Barry. Sorry, my error. Should be 0.7C plus or minus.

BAR: Also, show me the evidence for the Overpeck claim you espouse.

SLAM: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1131 Also, Prof. David Deming testified to this before Congress:
http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=266543

BAR: And how did Mann et al get through the latest round of peer review in PNAS if they “fudged the data”?

SLAM: Even though the hockey stick has been debunked, they continue to use it, peer review or no peer review. My only point is that Mann et al purposely omitted the MWP from their temperature reconstruction in 1995. Why would they omit something that important for temperature evidence over the past thousand years?

BAR: Or is it all just one big conspiracy in your mind?

What I think isn’t important. Why do you think Mann et al didn’t record the MWP?

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What I think isn’t important. Why do you think Mann et al didn’t record the MWP?

Because the proxy data doesn’t support its being anything other than a *regional* phenomena. There’s no data supporting its being a *global* phenomena.

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Slamdunk Says:
18 September 2008 at 22.38

ARE YOU A HOT HEAD OR A COOLER HEAD?

[Slamdunk, please post as a link, not the whole article – that is not appropriate for a comments section of a blog]

Thanks. Good advice:)

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dhogaza Says:
19 September 2008 at 6.13

What I think isn’t important. Why do you think Mann et al didn’t record the MWP?

Because the proxy data doesn’t support its being anything other than a *regional* phenomena. There’s no data supporting its being a *global* phenomena.

SLAM: You’re right. The hockey stick applies to the northern hemisphere. But that doesn’t explain why they intentionally omitted the MWP.

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Slamdunk @92: The Climate Audit link you provide is just heresay (McIntyre simply states it is Overpeck, without any justification). The Dunning senate testimony never mentions Overpeck. So I repeat, where is your evidence that Jonathan Overpeck ever said this?

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Barry Brook Says:
19 September 2008 at 8.57

Slamdunk @92: The Climate Audit link you provide is just heresay (McIntyre simply states it is Overpeck, without any justification). The Deming senate testimony never mentions Overpeck. So I repeat, where is your evidence that Jonathan Overpeck ever said this?

Climate Audit is not a third rate operation and don’t operate on hearsay. During his testimony, Deming was not asked who it was that sent him the email about getting rid of the MWP. He only identified him as a major climate researcher. It would have been improper for him to volunteer it unsolicited.

Even if it wasn’t Overpeck, it was someone else. If Deming made up the story, he would have been guilty of giving false testimony before Congress.

Also, Overpeck knows that his name has been associated with getting rid of the WMP. All he has to do is deny it. Why hasn’t he? (I Bet Deming has that email tucked away)

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I have not come to a different conclusion, I am skeptical of the current ( apparently) consensual position. There is a huge difference.

If scepticism of the consensus amongst >90% of scientistsis not ‘a different conclusion’, it is at least sufficiently at variance that your quibble is a semantic antic. “[H]uge” is rather an exaggeration, at the least.

In fact, the whole statement smells a lot like distraction to me.

What is this conclusion that I am supposed to have reached. I have done no such thing…

What’s the go with your spate of semantic hair-splitting? You claim ‘scepticicm’ of the scientific consensus, therefore you have implicitly established for yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, a conclusion.

Deal with it.

and neither did I imply that you should believe me.

having previously said:

Now I am very aware that as new evidence and embarrassing manipulation comes to light that those who are closed to new ideas and theory tend to cling on for dear life to their beloved dogma.

See, to me this suggests that not only have you arrived at a conclusion that is at odds with the scientific concensus (which apparently you do not understand as a ‘term’), but that you expect ‘us’ to believe you. After all, if you think that our ‘consensus’ is in error, that it is dogma, and that it is is manipulation to be overturned by ‘new ideas and theory’, then any reasonable person would expect that a consequent implication of your argument is that ‘we’, who are apparently in error, should believe you.

Why bother saying anything at all if such is not the case?

Of course, as someone else who has completed a number of university courses in psychology (the advantage of doing a broad-based science degree as well as 4 post-graduate qualifications in education and science) I can see the irony of your comments to John at #65, and most especially in terms of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

I choose to ignore the pathetic “agenda” comment

As semantic pedantry seems to be the order of the day, I will note that I did not use the term ‘agenda’, that I did not specifically ascribe an ‘agenda’ or anything similar specifically to you, and that more generally the strong ‘agenda’-driven bias of much of the Denialist movement is undeniable and hence reference to such is hardly ‘pathetic’.

But as you are ignoring this I suppose that I am simply speaking to myself.

When all is said and done though, I am still wondering what this evidence is that has led you to diverge from the consensus that AGW is indeed a demonstrable phenomenon.

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Mike @ 91
Sorry Mike – but being a 62 year old retired librarian I have already “grown up”. I have also had a lot of experience of research and people with “agendas” – and psychologically speaking you have now convinced me of yours.

“I give you names and admit that some have agendas”

Sorry Mike you can’t get away with that. I asked for just ONE with none of the agendas I listed – not that you list all of them – “SOME of whom may have agendas” – ergo SOME must not have agendas SO give me the name of ONE or SOME of those that don’t have any ulterior motive behind their denialist science. What is ignorant about that? Therefore it must be a case of “nicely done”!

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Slamdunk @97: “Even if it wasn’t Overpeck, it was someone else. If Deming made up the story, he would have been guilty of giving false testimony before Congress.

Also, Overpeck knows that his name has been associated with getting rid of the WMP. All he has to do is deny it. Why hasn’t he? (I Bet Deming has that email tucked away)”

Oh, so suddenly you’re not so sure it was Overpeck. Right, got it. Instead your belief that it must have been Overpeck was based on the fact that he didn’t say anything. Powerful evidence indeed.

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