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Global Warming Debunked? 1120

Posted by kdawson
from the concensus-or-what? dept.
limbicsystem writes, "I'm a scientist. I like Al Gore. I donate to the Sierra club, I bicycle everywhere and I eat granola. And I just read a very convincing article in the UK Telegraph that makes me think that the 'scientific consensus' on global warming is more than a little shaky. Now IANACS (I am not a climate scientist). And the Telegraph is notoriously reactionary. Can anyone out there go through this piece and tell me why it might be wrong? Because it seems to be solid, well researched, and somewhat damning of a host of authorities (the UN, the editors of Nature, the Canadian Government) who seem to have picked a side in the global warming debate without looking at the evidence." The author of the Telegraph piece is Christopher Monckton, a retired journalist and former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher.
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Global Warming Debunked?

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  • Song and Dance show (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:17PM (#16740137) Homepage Journal
    I think the biggest problem with the whole climate change debate, is that the common man can't easily do all the research to come to their own good conclusion. So they have to believe whoever in the media has the best song and dance show. This is the case with a lot of things though so there you go.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:17PM (#16740141) Homepage Journal
    The answer to global warming is *very* simple, and *very* well known. We just need to plant massive amounts of biomass to soak up all the excess carbon. We just need to turn the United States into a temperate rain forest- with enough variety to ensure tree survival and food production from the rain forest itself. Lock up that carbon in wood- and then use the wood to build houses- locking up the carbon for decades, maybe centuries...
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:24PM (#16740261) Homepage Journal
    This is the very first paragraph:

    " Last week, Gordon Brown and his chief economist both said global warming was the worst "market failure" ever. That loaded soundbite suggests that the "climate-change" scare is less about saving the planet than, in Jacques Chirac's chilling phrase, "creating world government". This week and next, I'll reveal how politicians, scientists and bureaucrats contrived a threat of Biblical floods, droughts, plagues, and extinctions worthier of St John the Divine than of science." [Emphasis mine]

    OK, so not only is the American right-wing co-opting Evangelical Christians and 'values voters' to take away our civil liberties and conduct mass surveillance on the American public, but now hippies, greenies, and environmental scientists are also going to take away our freedoms by reducing greenhouse emissions, raising vehicle fuel efficiency, and sequestering carbon!?

    Man, things are getting really weird when people on both sides of the aisle are starting to agree with Alex Jones.
  • Re:probably but (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bman08 (239376) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:25PM (#16740275)
    Without a control planet or two and a few billion years for testing, you're not going to get science that satisfies the flat earth crowd and their petrochemical bankrollers. Even then they're going to take cynical pokes at the methodology of the tests and a lot of smart people with good intentions are gonna be left scratching their heads. The fact is, these climate scientists are doing what they can with the information they have. It's not easily testable, let alone repeatable... so yeah, it's bad science in that sense I guess... but the guys who are most qualified seem to be in agreement and the rest of them seem to be bought-off cranks spitting noise to try to avoid doing anything while the froggy simmers.
  • by MetricT (128876) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:34PM (#16740447) Homepage
    Just from observing here in Tennessee, when I was young (30 years ago) I remember getting 4-5 good snows every winter. Now you're lucky if you see 1 good snow every other winter.

    Tennessee is right on the border between "gets a ton of snow" and "no snow at all". So small differences in temperature are exaggerated.

    The question is, is global warming man-made, or some sort of natural cycle, ala El Nino or something else we don't know about. I'd lean toward the latter.
  • by GeekDork (194851) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:37PM (#16740489)

    Without reading TFA:

    It doesn't matter whether man-made warming is real. It does get warmer, and the other riders of the apocalypse, namely storm, water and drought, are riding in in its wake. And oh, will they ever bring along the biblical set. With this in mind, it is our (as in mankind's) responsibility as a whole, to at least minimise our part in it, however small it may be. It is a fact that the enormous quantities of pollutants we release need to go somewhere, and that they do something, wherever they go. Those effects pose an incalculable risk to life on the planet.

    So, no matter what lobbyists from either side of the fence may say, ignoring the problem (which is pretty real) is, as always, not the way to go. Governments and individuals are denying the greenhouse effect on various pretenses, which may even be valid in some ways. But when looking at The Big Picture, everyone who has not taken the short bus with the leaky exhaust, will clearly see a not so pleasant future that we may avoid by doing something, but that will definitely make life a lot less pleasant in the forseeable future if ignored.

    I, personally, just hope that I will have a gun handy the day it gets too bad.

  • A world in denial (Score:4, Interesting)

    by supersnail (106701) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:39PM (#16740535)
    Every year the evidence for global warming gets more convincing.
    The scientific evidence just builds and builds.
    And when youve just gone through a summer in northern europe
    when the tempreture never went below 30c for 8 weeks who needs
    scientists.

    The really scary bit is this:
    The classic argument against global warming is that the climate
    has always varied wildly -- sometimes it gets warmer sometimes
    it gets colder, shit happens.
    However historians have been patiently examining all the cool
    spells and they all correlate to drop offs in human activity.
    The last really big dip in temperature happened just after the
    Black Death when approx. one third of humanity died.

  • Re:A JOURNALIST? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:39PM (#16740549) Homepage
    Excellent Ad Hominem attack.

    If only you had put that effort into attacking his arguments, I might have been persuaded.
  • When biomass dies, it either rots or is burnt.

    Yes, which then goes to feed more biomass- the idea is to match our logrithmic curve of carbon production with a logrithmic curve of biomass creation.

    As much as I'd like the answer to Global Warming to be as simple as planting a few trees, it really isn't. Tree planting has its place, but isn't nearly as effective as reduction in man-made CO2 levels.

    Actually, if you could just replace the area lost in the Brazilian rain forest in the last 3 years, you'd do more than 20 Kyoto Accords put together. Trees are *extremely* efficient in this, and some trees that we've found that grow here in America can survive up to 20 centuries if taken care of.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:49PM (#16740791) Homepage Journal
    I am not a scientist either and I used to rely on peer reviewed scientific journals. Yet sometime in the 80s they took a change for the worse. Suddenly it became apparent that making claims that always required further research were more important than coming up with sound judgement. I think computer modeling has opened a new door where self perpetuating studies and "sciences" can breed like rats. In a subject with very few absolutes (the weather) this is actually very easy. Throw out some sensational headlines through indirect sources; you never say so yourself but you just happened to be available for that interview; and you can generate up public interest. Make it threatening to the "children" and its nearly a lock.

    I guess what I am saying is that I sometimes find it hard to tell the difference between the newspapers and the "papers". The nice thing about science is that for the most part we can still have episodes where age-old knowledge, previously thought unassailable, gets debunked or futher enforced. The problem with "global warming" is that it in itself covers too many areas. Its far too easy to fit both the truth and the far fetched under that umbrella. Combine with many "authoritative" sounding names of groups that are nothing more special interest groups and confusion is easy. Its still a day where we most of us are confused we turn toward religion or science to find our way. I just don't want science to take on the same aura as religion. Some of it already has, and its not pretty.
  • Re:A JOURNALIST? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by klenwell (960296) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `llewnelk'> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:51PM (#16740839) Homepage Journal
    I only hope he's more accurate in his predictions about global warming than he was in his predictions about the difficulty of his Eternity Puzzle:

    In 1999, he created the eternity puzzle, a large dodecagon-shaped boardgame with 209 smaller irregularly shaped polygons. Offering a £1m prize and expecting the puzzle to be solved a few years later (when, hopefully, enough revenue from sales would have been raised), it was solved within 18 months. Although pleased the puzzle had been solved, Monckton was said to have been compelled to sell his £1.5m home, Crimonmogate, in Aberdeenshire, in June 2001, to cover the payout. However, the prize was in fact met by a combination of royalties and prize-indemnity insurance. The 36 room mansion was in the end sold and Monckton and his wife moved to a small estate on the banks of Loch Rannoch which they have painstakingly restored. A second puzzle, ETERNITY II, will be launched in 2007 with a $2 million prize for the first solver.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Monckton% 2C_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley [wikipedia.org]


  • Its the SUN stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anamanaman (97418) <`jc' `at' `comicjunkie.com'> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:54PM (#16740905)
    The Sun's temperature is not constant

    The ocean holds CO2 (when it rains, it get mixed into the ocean.. think soda)

    When the Sun's temperature increases, the ocean releases CO2

    Hence people think higher CO2 means higher temperatures, when the reverse is actually true.
  • by spencerogden (49254) <spencer@spencerogden.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:57PM (#16741005) Homepage
    Except that in this case, the general consensus is usually based on worst case projections and copious amounts of rounding up. For instance a 1% annual growth in atmospheric CO2 is commonly used in projections, like the Stern report. The problem is that the actual rate is more like 0.35%. Now maybe it will double in the next 50 years to 0.70%, but that is still far different from saying CO2 will grow at 1% from today on. It grossly exaggerates the CO2 concentrations we'll be looking at in 100 years.

    It's not really poking holes when you say, "How about we use average estimate instead of the doubling the worst case estimates". If you run the projections on average, or even plain worst case scenario numbers, you don't get a scary story. Even taking the UN's worst case scenario, you get a temp increase of like 7 c over the next 100 years, and that pretty much assumes that we make no progress in alternative energy, which seems pretty pessimistic.
  • by myth24601 (893486) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:57PM (#16741027)
    but surely there are a lot of corporations and oil companies and the like that would certainly like to see research stating, "nothing to see here, move along." I imagine there is some decent funding to be found in the private sector for this kind of research.


    Lots of problems with that.

    If you are take their funding and are proven right the controversy goes away which means there is no need to keep you around so you loose funding.

    What if your corperation decides to become "socially conscious" and get on the good side of environmentalists, you loose again (isn't that what BP is trying to do?).

    There is a lot more money to be had in grants form Government while companies want some return on investment.

    If you take corperate money you become an outcast and a "sellout"

    Your best bet is to take the money and tow the line till the funding runs out then claim new findings counter to what the evil corperation wanted and then seek government funding to sort it out.

  • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:00PM (#16741097)
    This was 1988. A large number of variables are undefined between then and 2000. Forcings, in this case, refer to carbon dixoide emissions. What the statement is saying is that because we cannot predict the economy for the next 12 years (or we'd be rich), what we will do is lay out a number of if... then scenarios, for what would happen with the climate if carbon dioxide went up, or if a volcano injected a bunch of sulphates into the air, cooling the earth down. Hansen, you see, was not an economist, or a volcanologist, so he stuck to what he could do. The graph was in ignorance of what the inputs to the equation would be, but based on what the models and calculations dictate.

    What should Hansen have done? Lie and pretend he could predict the future? When you don't have the numbers, the honest thing is to say that you don't have the numbers, but IF the numbers were X, which seems plausible, then blah.

    Throwing unattributed numbers around and using sciency words like TFA does is not doing actual honest science.
  • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:05PM (#16741221)
    Luckily, his references link gives a nice summary of his core arguments:
    His stances follow the sentence, my counters are bold

    ALL TEN of the propositions listed below must be proven true if the climate-change "consensus" is to be proven true False!!!!!. The first article considers the first six of the listed propositions and draws the conclusions shown. The second article will consider the remaining four propositions. Proposition Conclusion

    1. That the debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed. False Strawman, science rarely acheives 100% consensus
    2. That temperature has risen above millennial variability and is exceptional. Very unlikely I would say likely given recent studies which I don't believe he referenced (just the hockey stick stuff we have all heard about
    3. That changes in solar irradiance are an insignificant forcing mechanism. False Strawman, multiple factors could be at play without invalidating "greenhouse global warming"
    4. That the last century's increases in temperature are correctly measured.UnlikelyHe may have a point about the tree-ring heat/c02 correlation but multiple methods have been used I beleive.
    5. That greenhouse-gas increase is the main forcing agent of temperature.Not provenStrawman, multiple factors do not invalidate each other
    6. That temperature will rise far enough to do more harm than good. Very unlikelyWho knows, anyone saying likely/unlikely does not understand chaotic systems
    7. That continuing greenhouse-gas emissions will be very harmful to life.Unlikely Who knows, see above
    8. That proposed carbon-emission limits would make a definite difference. Very unlikely They would make a difference in carbon levels...
    9. That the environmental benefits of remediation will be cost-effective. Very unlikelyWhat does this have to do with the dabate on whether this is anthropomorphic or not?
    10. That taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course. False See above.
  • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:08PM (#16741275)
    Well, the iceless Arctic 'theory' is rather idiotic, if you think about it, because we have pretty direct evidence that it isn't true. I mean, unless you want to go tell a large number of polar scientists that the mid-low layers of their ice cores don't actually exist....
  • Wrong Questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spittoon (64395) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:09PM (#16741321) Homepage
    I posted this in the "Snowball Earth" thread, but it applies here too.

    At the moment the question seems to be "Are humans having a serious negative impact on the global climate?" This is used to reinforce the status quo, right? It's not our fault, what we're doing isn't the problem, so why bother changing what we're doing?

    Shouldn't the questions be:

    "Is the climate changing?"
    "Is it changing in a way that will benefit humanity?"
    "If not, how do we manufacture the change we desire?"

    These questions should be framed with the idea that the climate is changing and will eventually wipe life as we know it off the face of the Earth. Eventually, something will replace all that biodiversity. But mankind won't be around to see it, so it behooves us as a species to guarantee our own survival by making sure the climate changes in a manner that allows us to continue to thrive.
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:11PM (#16741371) Homepage
    What is the issue is is this a natural process, a man-made process or a combination?

    Why is that the issue? Are we looking to assign blame? Or should we be more interested in what to do about it? Cheaper to reduce it or cheaper to deal with the results? Or should we just ask more rhetorical questions? Anybody know for sure?
  • Re:So many lies. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:13PM (#16741407)
    > Stefan Boltzmann applies to a perfect blackbody. The Earth is not a perfect blackbody. In fact, not alot
    > of things are. Doesn't it seem wrong to say that energy exposure always raises temperature to the same
    > degree regardless of the object?

    I'm no chrome dome math/physics type but I do know how to read. So I'd say the difference between a perfect black body and reality is what explains the author's assertion that the 'correct' calue is with a different range. To quote the article, since actually reading it is too hard for the religious left.....

    "The bigger the value of lambda, the bigger the temperature increase the UN could predict. Using poor Ludwig Boltzmann's law, lambda's true value is just 0.22-0.3C per watt. In 2001, the UN effectively repealed the law, doubling lambda to 0.5C per watt. A recent paper by James Hansen says lambda should be 0.67, 0.75 or 1C: take your pick. Sir John Houghton, who chaired the UN's scientific assessment working group until recently, tells me it now puts lambda at 0.8C: that's 3C for a 3.7-watt doubling of airborne CO2. Most of the UN's computer models have used 1C. Stern implies 1.9C."
  • The funding argument (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cycoj (1010923) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:13PM (#16741423)
    When GW skeptics argue that scientists are deliberately producing results which indicate GW is happening and that they have an agenda I always ask myself "why?". The main argument brought forward is usually that you need to argue pro GW to receive funding. Now let's take a closer look at this argument. The biggest funding sources are usually government grants. Which government would provide the biggest research funding in the world, probably the US government. Now last time I looked the US government was, to put it mildly skeptical about GW. So why should they be trying to push a GW agenda? Then let's look at funding from outside the government. Who has the resources to fund large amount of fundamental research? Big cooperations, Now that is a group with a reputation of pushing environmental issues! . The argument of biased results because of the funding sources just does not stand up to a serious investigation.
  • Re:Your Premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:14PM (#16741435) Homepage
    It's not just that the article goes through several studies and papers pointing out poor methodology. Bad science is often done by mistakes and may sometimes slip through the peer review process. But this talks about UN claims and people actively trying to cover up information. FTA: "A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said: 'We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.' "

    To me this article isn't so much about whether global warming is occurring or not but how politics has gotten involved in this field and has affected the science that gets reported in places like the UN where policy decisions are made.
  • by DustoneGT (969310) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:16PM (#16741475)
    Here's my one big gripe that nobody can explain about global warming: If reducing greenhouse gases reduces global warming, shouldn't we be seeing reduced global warming since the 1970's when governments all over the world started efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Nobody has ever explained this one to me....[bueller]anyone? anyone?[/bueller]
  • Re:Your Premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:26PM (#16741705)

    To me this article isn't so much about whether global warming is occurring or not but how politics has gotten involved in this field and has affected the science that gets reported in places like the UN where policy decisions are made.

    I guess I have a different world view than you do. I assume all studies are motivated by politics or cash and from what I've experienced of the scientific fields, this is not far from the truth. Researchers outright lie all the time to get grant money or more corporate funding or both. The scientific method is designed to deal with this through peer review and repeatability. Unless a number of different researchers have all repeated the results of a particular experiment, it is very shaky, especially in certain fields. But that is part of what we're doing right now, exposing flaws in a given study so that the proper consensus on what is happening can be reached.

    FTA: "A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said: 'We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.' "

    I actually view this as less damning than other things I've seen. This could be interpreted as the medieval warm period is an anomaly that must be explained or whose statistical significance must be called into question based upon the rest of the results. I've seen instances of "add 10% to all these numbers to make them more dramatic" written on a sticky note in medical lab journals for cancer research. The comment is very suspicious, but the numbers are what is important.

  • Last I checked... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Krojack (575051) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:00PM (#16742577)

    global warming was still a theory...

    I for one do not believe it yet. How can I believe people that are using data that goes back 150 some years when the earth has been around for 4+ billion years. I still believe its the natural cycles of the earth mixed with the 11 year cycles of the sun and other various natural causes.

    There have even been warmer and colder times ON RECORD long before cars and coal power was around, pre 1900's. Someone want to explain what caused these? Did global warming exists back then?

    *puts up his flame shield*
  • by Maltheus (248271) on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:40PM (#16744443)
    Why is it I never find a reason to use mod points when I have them? And then the day after they run out, I see this. You're right on. There are powerful interests on both side and everyone has their facts. It's impossible to even come to a conclusion on global warming in this environment (pun not intended -- at first). I find that people who are certain that their side is right on this issue are simply politicizing the issue. It's the reason I put atheists in the same bucket as fundamental religious types. Some things are just too complicated to be understood by most humans. But that doesn't stop the people who are "certain" from making loud proclamations.
  • Anybody remember (Score:2, Interesting)

    by YetAnotherBob (988800) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:36AM (#16747765)
    The Danish statistician who a few years ago did an analysis of the 'evidence' and it came up bust. He started the project to provide statistical proof of Global Warming. The response in the 'popular' scientific circles was to call him names and ignore his evidence.

    Sadly, that is how both sides of this debate act. It isn't science, it's funding maneuvers.

    A great many of the organizations investigating the 'warming' were the same organizations that 20 years ago were 'conclusively proving' Global Cooling. (We were to be well into the next Ice Age by now, according to the green press in the 70's. Often the same person who as a new researcher in the '70's used climate evidence to prove Global Cooling is now using the same evidence to prove Global Cooling. This time he/she is a 'senior scientist'.

    It's clear that something is going on. Polar caps on both Earth and Mars are shrinking, by roughly the same percentage. In spite of all the doom sayers, sea level is not rising measurably. (Unchanged in the last 200 years, to within the margin of error.)

    You should remember that a lot of the organizations on both sides of this 'debate' have an agenda. If you don't know the agenda, you won't know the 'researcher' bias. Most of the conclusions that get reported in the popular press are unrealistic. Take the headline here on Slashdot a day or two ago that in 30 years there won't be anything living in the oceans. They got there by combining a few worrisome statistics in unrealistic ways, then pontificating on how we should all adopt their politics to avoid the 'problem'. They didn't have any real solutions to the real problems of pollution and overfishing (which are very real, and not something to worry about in 30 years. They happened over 30 years ago.)

    To solve these very real problems, we need real data, and then engineering analysis to create systems and policies that address the real root causes. I don't see that happening from either side of the debate.

    The best solution at present seems to be more study and analysis. We don't seem to know enough yet to really fix the problem. (We aren't really sure what the problem is.) We need to make changes, but those changes have to take into account real peoples needs. If we don't, the result will be like Kyoto. Lots of camera ops, a few minor efforts, a few major hold outs, and total world wide failure.

    I'm beginning to think that the real problem is politics. From all sides.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:50AM (#16747873)
    I didn't say anything about whether global warming exists or not, or whether we're to blame or not.

    What I said was that the assumed source of human caused global warming is carbon dioxide, which is not one of the pollutants that make noticeably unclean air. And if we're going to really reduce our carbon dioxide emissions your fresh vegetables are going to become more of a luxury. Cheap (and fresh) vegetables depend at the very least on mechanized farming (which produces carbon emissions) and in most cases some sort of transport (which produces carbon emissions).

    So liking fresh air is irrelevant to the topic of global warming and fresh vegetables are something we may well have to sacrifice if the worst predictions about global warming are true.
  • by Vintermann (400722) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:36AM (#16748733) Homepage
    "Well, if what the article submitter says is all factually correct, then there has been a large conspiracy to misinform and lie to the public about what is actually happening."
    I agree. However, I reason somewhat like this,

    A: What the submitter says is correct
    B: There has been a conspiracy.

    A -> B
    !B (I don't believe in large conspiracies involving the UN and the vast majority of all natural scientists)
    ---
    !A

    This article is BS, and the "wow, this was pretty convincing" is just a seller line. I've seen a lot more convincing articles. I've also seen this article aggressively sold elsewhere in a similar manner. You know, I never heard of any successful global conspiracies on the scale that would be needed to conceal that global warming isn't happening/isn't mostly increasing due to C02/isn't increasing mostly due to our emissions... but I've heard of many successful astroturf jobs. I've fought for attention with press releases myself, but some people take it ten steps longer, without necessarily being open about it.
  • Re:So many lies. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tbo (35008) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @03:45AM (#16748783) Journal
    Since posting the above, I went and read the detailed calculations in the supplementary material supplied by Monckton. It turns out the problem is more complicated. It sounds like the "conventional" definition of lambda is such that it should arguably include not only the direct response to a forcing, but also the indirect response occuring due to feedback from the original response (e.g., increased CO2 increases temperatures, which increase evaporation, which increases airborne H2O, which further increases the greenhouse effect).

    Monckton argues that his value of lambda, when combined with the standard estimates of greenhouse gas forcing, best explains the data from the past century, and that a high value of lambda results in double-counting of feedback effects. According to him, the conventional approach yields "retrodiction" of a temperature increase about three times larger than actually occurred, which is then explained away by most climatologists by claiming the ocean acts as a heat sink. I checked whether this is feasible, and it does seem to be; 100 years of 1 W / m^2 extra forcing would cause only about a 0.06 K increase in mean ocean temperature, which might well go undetected (anyone in oceanography have good data on this?). In short, I can't confirm or deny either hypothesis, although Monckton's is simpler.
  • Only one lie (Score:2, Interesting)

    by centdollarman (1000644) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @06:24AM (#16749593)
    Forest Fires account about 30% to CO2 emissions... Has anyone seen any of the scientists involved in global warming fire-fighting? Are there proposals for reducing forest fires? Nop. That's the whole lie... If forest fires could be reduced to half, it would do much more improvement than Kyoto!
  • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @09:46AM (#16750563)
    Since we are all stating credentials here, I am a mathematician.

    The problem with the calculations above is that is is based on the measurements of the Earth's albedo as a whole. It is somewhat plausible, then, that the calculation gives a somewhat reasonable result for some sort of whole-earth lambda, including some certain adjustments for the change in pressure as we increase altitude.

    However, this value is not relevant to GW study, because in GW we are not interested in an averaged temperature over all of the volume of the atmosphere, but an averaged temperature at sea level over the surface of the Earth - for example, a consequence of GW is that air temperature at certain levels in the atmosphere actually cools, and so a large factor in this is the movement of high temperature from high levels to low levels in the atmosphere, something that is cancelled out in your calculations. Stefan Boltzmann, which uses idealised surfaces, does not capture this effect.

    In fact, it is impossible to capture this effect without detailed measurements and modelling of how the atmosphere is structured. In this, the UN is fully correct in adjusting its estimates as measurements change and become more detailed, and Monckton incorrect in dismissing the details needed in this calculation.
  • by vsalmens (147539) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:46AM (#16751169)
    Hi,

    I browsed through the article. A couple of things I would like to see better backed up by scientific references.

    ISSUE 1: Viking farms

    Article: "There were Viking farms in Greenland: now they're under permafrost. "

    "Reference" linked from article: "Greenland in the Middle Ages: Eric the Red had named Greenland "Greenland" to encourage Danish
    settlers, because in his time south-western Greenland was indeed green. It was ice-free, and was extensively cultivated until c.1425 AD, when the farms were suddenly overrun by permafrost. The Viking agricultural settlements remain under permafrost to this day - a powerful indication that the Middle Ages were warmer than the present, and that there is little cause for alarm at the current melting of Greenland glaciers because they are very likely to have melted to more than their present extent during the mediaeval warm period."

    Permafrost or not, it seems that some vegetation does thrive in Greenland summer: http://www.narsaq.dk/green-00.html [narsaq.dk]

    A related article I found on the web: http://www.expressnews.ualberta.ca/article.cfm?id= 776 [ualberta.ca]
    According to this, the farms are indeed under permafrost. However, it seems the reason for failure of the farms was not frost, but sand blown over the farms. Which is naturally caused by runaway erosion, which I had understood the Vikings had caused themselves by chopping down everything resembling trees (as happened with Iceland). If there were forests before, losing them would also mean changing the local microclimates, exposing the farms to chilly winds, and thus triggering the local freezing?

    So to me it is not certain that global temperature change caused the freezing or non-freezing of the farmed areas. Somebody got harder facts?

    ISSUE 2: Polar bears and iceless Arctic

    Article: "There was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none."

    Reference linked from article: "In 1421 a Chinese Imperial Navy squadron sailed right round the Arctic and found no ice anywhere. It is possible that at that time there was less of an icecap at the North Pole than there is now, particularly in summer. Yet the polar bears survived. Though there has been much discussion of the supposed threat posed by the warmer Arctic, the polar bears are thriving in the current warm period. Eleven of the thirteen principal known families are prospering as never before."

    What does it mean "thriving as never before?" The Polar Bear Specialist Group has a table of the population status of 20 polar bear populations (http://pbsg.npolar.no/status-table.htm). Two populations are decreasing in numbers, and *additionally* "thinner bears, lower female reproductive rates, and reduced juvenile survival in the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population in Canada, which is at the southern edge of the species' range and the first to suffer impacts from global warming."

    Most of the populations are tagged "W - evidence global warming effects on sea ice or populations"

    The populations do not change in a few years time. "Polar bears rely almost entirely on the marine sea ice environment for their survival so that large scale changes in their habitat will impact the population (Derocher et al. 2004). Global climate change posses a substantial threat to the habitat of polar bears. Recent modeling of the trends for sea ice extent, thickness and timing of coverage predicts dramatic reductions in sea ice coverage over the next 50-100 years (Hassol 2004)." http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/2282 3/all [iucnredlist.org]

    I would be extremely surprised about the adaptivity of polar bears had they survived without polar sea ice during hundreds of years during the assumed iceless period, and then within hundreds of years fully retaken
  • by wahini (559380) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @01:20PM (#16753523)
    I am surprised more people aren't aware of Global Dimming which after recent long term research has been fully supported. The basic problem is that both Global Warming and Global Cooling are going on at the same time. As we all know Global Warming is caused by greenhouse gases. Global Dimming is caused by particulate pollution (soot, etc).
    In a nutshell they have found that in heavily polluted (particulates not CO2) areas, especially China and India, that particulates in the air downwind of these areas cause clouds to reflect 10 to 30 percent more sunlight back out into space than unpolluted clouds. This huge difference in reflectivity easily shows up in both satellite images and ground solar radiation measurements. 10 to 30 percent is a HUGE difference in solar radiation heating the earth and would have enormous consequences except that most of the earth isn't polluted to that extent (particulate wise) and a lot of areas at any given time have no clouds over them at all so no loss of sunlight is happening then.
    The particulate pollution causes clouds to be more reflective by causing larger water vapor droplets to form because they are larger than the dust and pollen these droplets normally form around. For some reason, larger water vapor droplets causes greater reflection of sunlight back into space.
    The increase in particulate pollution from growing third world countries far exceeds the decreases of the same in the US and Europe. As a result this global dimming has reduced the global temperature by about 1.3 degrees Celsius over 20 years. Of course Global Warming has increased the temperature even more than this over the same period of time, BUT, if Global Dimming weren't cooling the earth, Global Warming would have caused 1.3 degrees even more warming than it has and there wouldn't BE a debate about Global Warming.

    In the future as we clean up particulate pollution in these third world countries the cooling effect will disappear rapidly and global warming will seem to have accelerated dramatically. In actuality, we will just have lost one of our counterbalancing effects to Global Warming.

    Scientists have tended to ignore Global Dimming in the past because it was obvious the Earth was warming up not cooling down, but now extensive studies in the Indian Ocean have made it clear that it is happening, but it is not as strong as Global Warming. This only makes it clear that Global Warming is worse than we thought because it has to overcome this temporary global cooling effect of heavy particulate emissions (until we clean them up).
  • My favorite passage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _iris (92554) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @01:31PM (#16753719) Homepage
    "So to the scare. First, the UN implies that carbon dioxide ended the last four ice ages. It displays two 450,000-year graphs: a sawtooth curve of temperature and a sawtooth of airborne CO2 that's scaled to look similar. Usually, similar curves are superimposed for comparison. The UN didn't do that. If it had, the truth would have shown: the changes in temperature preceded the changes in CO2 levels."

    A "sawtooth" implies multiple rises and falls. That gives us a chicken and egg problem. Whether CO2 increases preceded temperature increases or the reverse is determined by which one rises first on the chart. The one to rise first is obviously determined by when the timeline starts. Until we can make the chart go back to the day God said "Let there be CO2", we can't really know which came first just from a chart.

    Personally I like the way that he criticizes the UN for not superimposing one graph over another while we fails to do the same.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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