Global Warming Denialists: We Suck at Math Also!

 

"Not only do we misunderstand Science, we’re bad at math, too!"

>

So say the innumerates.

Every now and then, I venture over to other fields to see what the
debates look like. The most recent laugher was amongst the global
warming denialist crowd.

Why? In 2007, the average global temperatures dropped by 0.595 degrees
centigrade. This is a fact. The response from this group was to say (verbatim) "Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming."

Um, no. As the charts below reveal, it does nothing of the sort. 

As we say all the time with the Non-Farm Payroll (NFP), you
look at the overall trend, not any single data point. A monthly NFP of 10,000
does not guarantee a recession, nor does a single month of 200k
job gains guarantee an expansion. And neither monthly release eliminates the trend of
the prior 100 data points.

All data series have anomalies — large magnitude points that may be curious, or unusual. To claim that a "Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out
a century of warming" simply reveals a disturbing
statistical/mathematical incompetency that is rather embarrassing.

The 20 year and 130 year charts clearly explain what this quite clearly.

The shorter term chart shows a volatile series, with high magnitude aberrations to the upside (1998) as well as the downside (2008):

>>
Yeah! Global warming has been defeated! 
(1987-2008)
Hadcrutjan08_2

>

The longer term chart unequivocally reveal a long term trend, as the data points move from the lower left to the upper right

Boo! Global Warming Remains an Ongoing Trend (1880-2010)

Gissjan08

Sources: Watts Up With That?

>

If the above long term chart was a stock, would you short it?

Now, my own views on Global Warming are spectacularly conventional: Take 6 billion people, give them an industrial revolution; then for the next 2 centuries, have them burn all manner of carbon products. Its not too hard to imagine this activity might impact the system in which it takes place.

These aren’t the ravings of an enviro-nut. I am a big time energy consumer. I don’t lecture anyone about their energy consumption. Anytime someone offers me a ride on a private jet, I jump at it. Yes, I dislike SUVs — but that’s because they are ungainly, unsafe, handle poorly, and go-too-slow. I personally have way too many motorized vehicles, all but one of which skew towards high-horsepower, go-fast, poor-fuel economy end of the scale. Trust me when I tell you a 6 speed manual transmissions in a V12 is not about saving gasoline.

Another disclosure: I have been long oil for 5 years, and quite a few oil companies for much longer. I am not a shrinking violet when it comes to recognizing the ongoing demand for energy, and the role that carbon based products are likely to play over the next decade or longer. I have personally profited hugely from these oil positions.

But I am at heart someone who loves math and statistics, and who finds the abuse of the truth to be offensive. Anyone who claims that a high magnitude outlier within a volatile data series conclusively proves this or that — someone who chooses to ignore the broader data trend — is simply putting their own mathematical ignorance and innumeracy on display.

Your mileage may vary  . . .

UPDATE:  March 1, 2008: 1:45PM

Do not misunderstand my position: I am not advocating pro or con for any specific policy, nor am I arguing against nuclear power.

What I said above is the person who made the statement that the past 12 months average temperature decline has wiped out a century of global warming is a clueless innumerate.

I appreciate the many intelligent statements in comments. My beef is with the chart and the math, not the policy discussion.

>

Source:

4 sources say “globally cooler” in the past 12 months
Anthony Watts
Watts Up With That? 19 February 2008
http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/02/19/january-2008-4-sources-say-globally-cooler-in-the-past-12-months/

The Innumerate (mathematically illiterate):

Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling
Michael Asher
Daily Tech February 26, 2008 12:55 PM
http://www.dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Widescale+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm

Evidence of Global Cooling
Brit Hume
Fox News, Thursday, February 28, 2008
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,333328,00.html

Drudge

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. jZ commented on Mar 1

    What 6 speed V-12 do you have?

  2. John F. commented on Mar 1

    Barry, you’re always talking in riddles. Are you presenting your bad gas mileage and your recognition of this decade’s most bullet-proof investing theme as bona fides in the global warming debate? I love math and statistics too (and I think they love me back a little: you’re welcome to MY bona fides), my carbon footprint is smaller than John Edwards’ squash court, and I have an exceptional window into new developments in alternative energy. Does this give me special privilege to ridicule the countless silly anecdotes in favor of global warming hysteria, to point out the obvious gaping hole in the strong anthropogenic hypothesis, or to ridicule the (math and statistics-challenged) platitudes that masquerade as “solutions?”

    ~~~
    BR: No, as proof I am not the typical greenie anti-automobile activist.

  3. ken h commented on Mar 1

    I think you could argue both sides use funny math. I am much like you and have had a large footprint. I don’t argue that America would benfit from decreaing it. I just argue that the Global Warming scare tactic is bullshit.

    I did some research on it some months back and can look up some of it when I have more time. There were over 100 different scare tactics used in the last century from running out of coal to the ice age in the 70’s. What’s funny is that some of the ice age scientists have done a 180 in much of their research to now global warming. This stuff shuts up a global warming alamist in a second.

    The methane from cows farting has a much more adverse effect on the atmosphere than your 6 speed or all the 6 speed V12’s put together.

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe this direction is good for our country but don’t insult my intelligence. My family and I are involved in several projects in use of alternative energy and conervation. It’s an awsome field and we enjoy it.

  4. Ironman commented on Mar 1

    Barry – given your love of math and statistics, and your sense of humor, you really ought to see Tim Haab’s review and analysis of the same data over at Env-Econ.net. Warning: he uses the word “heteroskedasticity,” as if he actually knows what it means!…

    Also, here’s other weekend reading – at least until you get around to posting the weekend linkfest here, anyway! Scroll down to get to the really worthwhile stuff.

  5. Shane commented on Mar 1

    I don’t know . . . the earth has been spinning around for a long time and so has the sun. Based upon ice cores from Antarctica the earth has gone through multiple periods of hot and cold over 1000s of years. You had the little “ice age” in the 1600s where the Tims River froze over.

    I’m not saying that the earth isn’t rising in temperature, it probably is, but as all good financial advisers and traders know.

    Correlation is not causation.

    As an engineer I think about at all the variables that could be at work that are difficult to model. The output of the sun being #1 on the list.

    Shoot sunspots have a HUGE effect on radio activity (especially ham radio) and all we can really do is determine the sunspot cycle . . . we have no clue how many, of the power of them.

    The earth itself has its own cycle, its own temperature mechanisms. How much of an effect humans have on this, or if they have any effect at all should be the debate.

    Just rising temperatures tell us absolutely nothing except rising temperatures. It tells us nothing about the reasons why. And you can not correlate the industrial revolution, considering that temperatures really began to rise after the 1960s.

    Compare that to past extremely warm periods in the earth’s history (warmer than now) and we have no clue as to what is happening.

  6. Barry Ritholtz commented on Mar 1

    Note: both charts are from the same source . . .

  7. JMP commented on Mar 1

    Barry,

    I am normally with you on the poor analysis and interpretation of statistical data. I am a graduate level trained statistician with over 25 years industry experience. And while I don’t agree with all of your conclusions, I think that your approach is normally right: look at the data, look at the trend, look at the source of the data and biases that it might represent, and look at our knowledge about what might be causing the data to do what it is.

    I think a data point shouldn’t have too much sway, unless the other three can be dismissed. The measurement errors identified could impact the trend, but not as much as would fully validate the deniers. However, what about the beginning of the next Schwabe cycle that the Danes and Canadians have been talking about? That could do it. The German Max Plank Institute and many other academics from ‘green’ countries have studied this carefully. While correlation does not represent causation, the history is compelling.

    As with everything, don’t rely solely on a single data point, but don’t fully ignore it either.

    ~~~

    BR: Thanks for commenting — I appreciate the insights of trained professionals.

    To me, the 2008 data point spike down is about as significant as much as the 1987 spike up.

    What I know of periodicity and the Schwabe cycle: The sunspot activity Schwabe discovered fell into an 11 year solar cycle — and while that has had major impacts on shorter term trends (Solar activity and El-Niño signals, droughts, etc.) it fails to explain the long term chart’s trend.

  8. JBA commented on Mar 1

    “someone who chooses to ignore the broader data trend — is simply putting their own mathematical ignorance and innumeracy on display.”

    Trends are made up of individual data points, and we’ve all seen bad ticks in intraday charts. Here’s an example of bad ticks in temperature data that is not getting fixed.

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/how-not-to-measure-temperature-part-51/

    Urbanization and poor location give bad data. Bad data can get you a Nobel Prize if you hype it enough though!

  9. Ross commented on Mar 1

    Shane nailed it.

    I lump global warming caused by evil people nut cases in the same arena as Kudlow, the Fed, and both political parties.

    Global warming is caused by………go outside at noon. See that BIG YELLOW THING in the sky?

    Yes dears, BYT causes global warming.

  10. Aaron commented on Mar 1

    If the temp chart was a stock chart I WOULD try to short the next time it retraced the giant down candle which is just completing.

    You can tell that the man-made global warming premise is false because of the solutions being recommended– more taxes, more controls, less liberty… all these solutions, the burdens of which are unequally aimed at the West and the US.

    If global warming were a scientific fact, you’d think that the solutions proposed would be more technological rather than mostly social and propagandistic.

    For example, why isn’t nuclear power being embraced if CO2 emissions were a problem? Instead we get these bogus carbon offset schemes being promoted by people with financial interests in the programs.

  11. Walker commented on Mar 1

    What’s funny is that some of the ice age scientists have done a 180 in much of their research to now global warming. This stuff shuts up a global warming alamist in a second.

    Because science succeeded there. There were some theories, people did research, and they were shown to be false. Scientists are not magicians who get it right the first time. But contrary to the extreme skepticism being peddled by certain political groups, this does not mean that you should never believe anything a scientist says. All of scientific knowledge is a matter of likelihoods, not certainties.

    Global warming had the exact opposite path of the “ice age” research. In the 80s very few scientists believed in it. There was much uphill research on trying to get this accepted. Evolution is the only scientific theory that has gone through more rigorous scrutiny than this field. Yes, it is a theory, but so is gravity. The issue is how strong our belief is in that theory from years of battle-tested research.

    Now, that does not mean that the policies that some of these scientists suggest are the right one. I think this is where many scientists hurt their case. They mix policy recommendations (which are not scientific) with their scientific research. This is a problem, and the two clearly need to be separated. However, this does not excuse scientific illiterates from (falsely) attacking the science instead of the policies.

    See http://www.realclimate.org why the argument above as well as just about everything else coming out of the denialist camp does nothing to dispute decades of research on this topic.

  12. Aaron commented on Mar 1

    Global warming denialists? That’s not the language of science but of propaganda.

    That phrase attemmpts to evoke the idea of Holocaust denial and use that emotion to buttress what is supposed to be a scientific fact.

    If man made global warming were merely a scientific fact why do its supporters try to use the emotions of the Holocaust to shut up people who don’t agree with them?

  13. sunsetbeachguy commented on Mar 1

    Barry:

    Kudos for taking a contrary position to your readers.

    There are a number of good resources. The best one recently is Joe Romm’s Salon article.

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/02/27/global_warming_deniers/

    & underlying blog post.

    http://climateprogress.org/2008/02/11/how-do-we-really-know-humans-are-causing-global-warming/

    Lastly, a catalog of the dubious techniques deniers use to create FUD.

    http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics

    All exhaustively sourced…

  14. OhNoNotAgain commented on Mar 1

    “If global warming were a scientific fact,”

    Wow, way to not read Barry’s post at all. The information that we have regarding the increase in global temperatures establishes that global warming *is* a fact. You may wish to argue the cause, but it certainly does exist, and you putting an “if” at the beginning of your sentence does not change that.

    “you’d think that the solutions proposed would be more technological rather than mostly social and propagandistic.”

    Just spend some time watching the History Channel or the Discovery Science Channel and you’d learn enough to stop making ignorant blanket statements like that. For example, why would a big oil company spend tons of money in Canada in order to use geo-sequestration with one of their oil fields ? That sounds like a technical solution to me, and that’s one of thousands of major projects that are aimed at reducing carbon output. The beauty of many of these such projects is that they end up having financial benefits that end up recouping the initial investments many times over.

    “For example, why isn’t nuclear power being embraced if CO2 emissions were a problem?”

    Because nuclear power plants are God-awful expensive, take forever to bring on-line, and we end up trading one problem for another. Solutions to the issues that we face will not involve a single magic bullet, and the costs associated with the transition from carbon-based energy sources are so massive that it will be an up-front requirement that we don’t put ourselves in the same position again in a short period of time.

    “Instead we get these bogus carbon offset schemes being promoted by people with financial interests in the programs.”

    So, how would you propose that we limit the amount of carbon and other pollutants that we’re spewing into the atmosphere ? Or is it our God-given right to force our citizens to eat tainted fish and suffer horrible environmental disasters, all so that we don’t hurt the feelings of the poor, widdle stockholders ?

    The posts on this subject at economic-related blogs like this really depress the hell out of me. Seems like a bunch of folks would rather leave their kids and grandkids in a world of hurt than make a couple of dollars less. It’s this type of short-sighted thinking that will cause this country to devolve significantly during a very painful couple of decades or more. Luckily for us, we hopefully will see some changes for the better in the next few years as this type of thinking is shown the door.

  15. Rob Dawg commented on Mar 1

    Mr. R better you should stick with jazz recommendations on Friday nights. How could you have visited “Watts Up With That?” and seen any of the 52 and counting “How Not to Measure Temperature” series?

    In the interests of full disclosure you need to change your post. The second graph which you title: “Boo! Global Warming Remains an Ongoing Trend (1880-2010)” is actually credited: “NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Dr. James Hansen:” and is merely reproduced by Watts. Hansen has been caught lying (yes, lying not merely being wrong) several times recently we regular readers of Watts know how to treat Hansen generated graphitti.

    BTW, the issue wasn’t January but the last decade of falling temperatures with JJan merely confirming. Oh and 1998 was not an “anomaly.” 1934 was warmer still so you can at best call it a retest of a three quarter century trading range that failed to break out. I can think of anywhere between 6800 and 13,000 reasons why you might be wrong about global warming.

  16. sunsetbeachguy commented on Mar 1

    Why do the climate deniers fail to have any citations from any peer reviewed science journals?

    Hmm…

    Cote citation please.

  17. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 1

    35 years ago it was global cooling that was going to get us. Now the brainiacs think it will be warming although they can’t tell me what my weather will be in 2 weeks. I believe CARBON CREDITS are the ruse they are using to screw the average joe once again.

    There are prominent scientists that agree that we do see global warming, but who disagree with the conclusions of the Warmanistas as to why it is occuring. The Sun itself plays a major role, and the Earth itself cycles between warm and cold. This BS is a money maker for someone so follow the frigging money.

  18. Ross commented on Mar 1

    I just burn trees. They are carbon neutral.

    CO2 in, oxygen out. Oxygen in, CO2 out.

    Warmmmmmmm.

  19. Greg0658 commented on Mar 1

    Global Warming or Global Climate Change? GCC opens the debate abit for discussion. Thats what its all about. Talk of a better life tomorrow .. Or .. money in my pocket today?

    Have ya heard of the HoneyBee’s plight?

    The graph shows what we experienced here in Illinois. This last year was a extreme case for temperature fluctuations – tough on underground water systems, road surfaces and vegitation getting a fake out.

    New Energy Plays make sence on many levels except guaranteed instant money return.

    I’m not favoring a Wall Street scheme of carbon offsets – the financial industry has made a mess playing us against us.

    Its Time to Evolve this Money for Efforts Game.

  20. stormrunner commented on Mar 1

    just shut the stack scrubbers off and remove the trap oxidizers and catalytic convertors, the air bourne particulates reflect sun light, problem solved.

    Good luck though getting your Sharper Image Ionic Breeze purifiers.

  21. Winston Munn commented on Mar 1

    The Governmental Chain of Facts and Actions.

    independent scientist: average temperatures are rising > lobbyist: a warmer climate needs money to solve the problem > governmental agency: our policies and procedures manual doesn’t mention global warming. Try Congress. > Congressional committee: the lobbyists are correct that this needs more money > House of Reprsentatives: more money for study bill is passed > Senate: the problem cannot be solved without the help of the oil companies – oil companies investment tax relief rider attached. > President: With the help of the oil industry, we will uncover the truth about global warming. Signs bill. > Government agency: contract signed with idependenpt scientist > independent scientist: average temperatures are rising.

  22. edhopper commented on Mar 1

    Wow, I thought that only a few Limbaugh acolytes still don’t accept Global Climate Change (it’s not just warming folks, that’s why a big swings like the Jan. temps is predicted by the theory).
    Hey Barry, wait until you endorse evolution and call intelligent design pseudoscience.

    ~~~

    BR: Done: George Gilder: So THAT explains it

  23. lurker commented on Mar 1

    Two new bubbles: Alt. energy and commodities (food we grow) are PERHAPS climate related???? Also, we can argue as much as we want about carbon footprints but as long as China and India are hell bent on giving up bikes for cars and motorcycles and adopting our dreamy consumptive lifestyle we can’t stop shopping and driving fast enough. Or can we? Maybe $125 oil will do the trick for us? Telecommuting everyone? That’s my story and I am sticking with it….for now.

  24. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    The GISS plot you show is pure crap and Anothny Watts and climate aduti have shown. Hansen’s “adjustments” keeps on pushing past temps lower. Sattelite temps are the only ones to trust. The planet has not warmed in the past 10YRS!

  25. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 1

    Posted by: stormrunner | Mar 1, 2008 10:58:32 AM

    ___

    That’s so simple, I’m surprised a reputable scientist or scientific organization didn’t think of it.

  26. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    The GISS plot you show is pure crap and Anothny Watts and climate aduti have shown. Hansen’s “adjustments” keeps on pushing past temps lower. Sattelite temps are the only ones to trust. The planet has not warmed in the past 10YRS!

  27. Ross commented on Mar 1

    Butterfly over mount Fuji etc.

    People don’t like ANY change in Anything.

    Global warming? Embrace it. Disclosure, I live in Murmansk.

  28. Dave commented on Mar 1

    Climate models are notoriously bad, but the Economist discussed one that had outperformed others, and it was predicting cooling from Feb 2007 through 2009 before the upward trend continues.

  29. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 1

    Sattelite temps are the only ones to trust. The planet has not warmed in the past 10YRS!

    Posted by: Bob B | Mar 1, 2008 11:20:13 AM

    _______

    Show me your work on this. I’d like to know how you draw this conclusion.

  30. DavidB commented on Mar 1

    hey Ed,

    you boys figure out how life sprung from rocks yet?

    ROTFL!

  31. edhopper commented on Mar 1

    “hey Ed,

    you boys figure out how life sprung from rocks yet?”

    Yep, I knew there’d be at least one IDer around.

    And yes David, there are some very sound theories as to how life “sprang” from pre-organic molecules.

  32. Rob Dawg commented on Mar 1

    Dawg citation please.

    Google “warmest year 1934 1998” and take your pick. The official NASA release is in there somewhere. What you won’t find is much in the way of MSM coverage. What you will find is a lot of headline coverage from when 1998 was mistakenly awarded the dubious title. Asymetric news coverage is the only reason AGW is still even considered a viable climate theory.

    Google “Hansen Y2K error” and see where Hansen is caught lying and backpedalling.

  33. donna commented on Mar 1

    Cows wouldn’t be farting methane if we didn’t give them crap they aren’t supposed to eat. They’re designed to eat grass, and don’t fart methane if that’s what they eat.

    Global climate change is occurring. The reasons for it might be debatable, but everything we do affects our environment in some way. Letting people know and be aware of this is not a bad thing.

  34. zell commented on Mar 1

    Check out ClimateChangeDaily.com for an ongoing source of pro/con articles.
    Anyone realize that we are seeing a dearth of sunspots- like none. If this continues some are worrying that we are seeing the early stage of the Maunder effect which last go around ushered in the “little ice age.”

  35. Bob A commented on Mar 1

    looks like a screaming mad money buy high and pray sort of chart

  36. Ross commented on Mar 1

    Donna,
    Don’t tell that to a New Zealand sheep farmer. More methane per capita than any other country.

    Interesting story about a WWII English chicken farmer who adapted his truck to run on chicken methane. I think he got 1.5 miles per pound!

  37. bsneath commented on Mar 1

    Very good and rational discussions by the posters.

    Barry, as you very well know, ALL of us tend to filter out data that runs counter to our strongly held beliefs, particularly when we have a strong emotional attachment. Religious “faith” being a good example.

    I have worked in the public policy arena long enough to know that many policy makers hold strong convictions that we must change our lifestyles (cars & suburbs evil, light rail and urban density good). IMO, this is one of the primary reasons they have embraced the global warming theory and the “catastrophic consequences” that will ensue.

    The global warming debate is the perfect hobby for economist types: On one hand we are pumping vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the air, but on the other hand our actions may be minuscule relative to the natural dynamics of the sun, oceans etc. etc.

    Someone help me out with this math problem:

    Solar Cycles have led to an increase in brightness of 0.07% over the past 30 years. (wikipedia)

    During this time CO2 concentrations have increased about 15% from about 335 to 385 parts per million molecules.

    Expressed differently, CO2, as a percentage of the molecules in the atmosphere, has increased by 0.005%.

    So which is more relevant, that CO2 concentrations have increased at a rate 200 times greater than the sun’s brightness (.15/.007), or that the increase in the sun’s brightness was 14 times greater than the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere (.007/.00005)?

    Out of every 2,700 molecules in the atmosphere, there are 2,050 nitrogen, 550 oxygen, 26 H2O, 24 Argon and one (1) Carbon Dioxide.
    The worst-case scenarios are that, if man/woman continues to burn fossil fuels at an increasing rate, then in 100 years there will be two (2).

    Not scientific, but maybe it sheds some “light” on the relativity of solar radiation and greenhouse gases. (bad pun intended)

    Personally, I do not dismiss global warming as a possible result of human actions. However, I am very skeptical about the motivations behind the science and the catastrophic consequences.

    It has taken on a religion of its own!

  38. DavidB commented on Mar 1

    Hi Ed,

    I’m not and IDer. I’m a Creationist. I’m not ashamed of the One Who has the power to create and save my life. And no, you haven’t figured it out yet. You haven’t even come close. I’m reading the same propaganda you are from your side. Don’t be so dishonest

    And don’t worry, you won’t drag me into a battle on this one. There is a time and place for everything. Last post on the subject out of respect for the host. Just in case you think I’m chicken

  39. SteveC commented on Mar 1

    The discussion here misses the point. The evaluation of how we use our natural resources is a big deal to all of us as citizens and investors. I think we can all agree that energy independence is vital to our nation’s future. (I personally hate enriching our enemies while I fill my car). Sometimes it takes a issue like global climate change to cause us to re-evaluate and improve our technologies. Give the nation a cause, and we will prevail. I look forward to the day I can fill my gas tank with water, and have steam come out the exhaust. How can we come up with a better and cheaper way to heat or cool our homes? I’m sure we’ll figure that out as well.

  40. drey commented on Mar 1

    FACT: a seasonal, maritime passage across the polar icecap is now possible for the first time ever in recorded history (WTF, this will be a boon to the economy, right?)

    FACT: core samples taken from the south pole confirm that the ice of Antarctica is disappearing at an alarming rate.

    FACT: tropical diseases such as Malaria have been moving north to places where they’ve never been found before (like here).

    IMPRESSION: unusual climactic events (typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes) have been occurring with greater frequency and ferocity of late…

    You can debate about correlation vs. causation and raise as many red herrings as you want but does it occur to anyone that this is an issue we might actually want to get out in FRONT of for a change? The stakes are kind of high to be wrong, dontcha think?

    Frankly I expected better from this board – sickening.

  41. mikkel commented on Mar 1

    “That’s so simple, I’m surprised a reputable scientist or scientific organization didn’t think of it.
    Posted by: Marcus Aurelius | Mar 1, 2008 11:19:41 AM”

    They basically have .

    Anyway, I have to say that I am slightly surprised at the responses so far. Most of them use the exact same rhetorical tricks and thinking that bear market denialists have been using and properly mocked for.

  42. scorpio commented on Mar 1

    many of the global warming denialists seem to hail from places like Texas, where there’s lots of oil & gas, but also lots of UFO sightings. i’m not sure which is the more important predictor in this case…

  43. Ross commented on Mar 1

    Scorpio,

    Hold on there pardner. I hail from Hunt County and I for one ain’t seen a UFO. Well not for a couple of months or so.

    I’m reviving a bumper sticker from the 70’s.

    DRIVE 90 AND FREEZE A YANKEE IN THE DARK

  44. Francois commented on Mar 1

    “For example, why isn’t nuclear power being embraced if CO2 emissions were a problem?”

    Who said it hasn’t been embraced?? WHO?? Seen a chart of uranium price recently…as in the last 5 years?

    Even Greenpeace is seriously considering nuclear power as the best alternative to everything we have now in order to avoid more warming. Not that they falling over themselves to promote it but they’re getting realistic…contrary to quite a few denialists that posted here and now on this very board.

    “The sun causes global warming”…Fuck Me Plenty!

  45. bsneath commented on Mar 1

    Drey

    You strike me as a deeply religious person.

  46. JAN commented on Mar 1

    Among the scientifically educated, global warming is not hypothesis but fact.
    For the less educated you may check on the Alaskans with crumbling homes from melting permafrost.
    Science propounded by Bush, oil cos., et. al. is FUD, and debate a waste of time as would be with flat earth, epicycles and chupacabras.
    The train already left the station.

  47. Mark Hessel commented on Mar 1

    “Take 6 billion people, give them an industrial revolution;
    then for the next 2 centuries, have them burn all manner of
    carbon products. Its not too hard to imagine this
    activity might impact the system in which it takes place.”

    Take that a step further. Some estimates show that the
    world population will be over 9 billion by 2050.

    So what is the limit? What can this fragile ball of life, we
    call earth, sustain without thinking about the consequences
    of that impact.

    Talk about bubbles!

    Thanks for the post Barry. Common sense tells us we need
    to do more than just think.

  48. DonKei commented on Mar 1

    If you gotta call folks that are skeptical of your claims “denialists”, then it ain’t a science, it’s a religion.

    Being a grown-up, I’m skeptical of everything I see and hear, but I usually find that I’m never quite skeptical enough. I mean, AMBAC and MBIA insurance policies really are about as good as US Treasuries, n’cest pas? Isn’t that what the ratings agencies tell me, and they never lie, right?

    It is the essence of human hubris to think that a) we can predict the future temperature of the entire earth’s climate, and b) that our meager efforts can alter that outcome.

    If the guys selling this stuff weren’t climate scientists they would probably be investment bankers trying to claim that a CDO full of subprime mortgages really was as good as AMBAC’s ratings which are as good as the debt of the government that prints the money to pay it back.

    The earth has warmed and cooled many times over the millenium and we really don’t know why. All in all, if it is getting a bit warmer, then bully. We humans weren’t doing so well until the last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago.

  49. Graham P. Knopp commented on Mar 1

    Astronomers might refer to global warming as a “radiative transfer” problem, implying that as the atmosphere’s components are modified so is its overall energy budget. Essentially the opacity to solar radiation has increased so the atmosphere absorbs more of the sun’s energy. This is really unavoidable logic, and particular scientists, including astronomers, geophysicists, and meteorologists have been talking about global warming for more than 20 years…how strange that this is so hard to accept for some.

    That said, the recent cooling trend appears to be due to the current La Nina situation, typified by cooler Pacific waters. This makes sense in terms of my admittedly simplistic understanding of global warming dynamics.

    Here’s what I mean: Global warming happens more near the equator, since that are receives the sun’s energy more directly. A fraction of this energy goes directly into evaporating water. This warm, humid air moves north a la “Hadley Circulation”. When water vapor condenses, it releases heat energy (this chemical storage of energy powers thing like thunderstorms and hurricanes). This releases powers the westerly cyclones that pretty much create all of the weather that temperate climes receive. The westerly cyclones will become more severe with global warming. Precipitation will predictably increase in some areas in a tendency toward equilibrium.

    But the point is that the westerly cyclones are mixing tropical and arctic air masses, and so they will become more violent and the consequently the extremes in weather become broader.

    The connection to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)? This is a little too complex to describe adequately here, but it is connected to the strength of the westerlies, which can power cooling winds (the trades) that produce La Nina periods, as their absence can result in an El Nino situation. In my understanding global warming will make the differences more dramatic. AND, as we have seen, the El Nino/La Nina cycle has been occurring at an increased frequency in recent years.

  50. Ross commented on Mar 1

    Agree with whoever said that to the global warministas, it has become religion.

    We all know from childhood that you never argue politics or religion.

    Anyone else think that Hillory reminds them of Dick Nixon in drag?

  51. Dogwood commented on Mar 1

    Graham,

    Couple comments.

    One NASA satellites appear to indicate that the atmosphere is not warming as much as it should be given the greenhouse gas hypothesis. I’ll try to track down the info for you if I have time, it has been awhile since I reviewed it.

    Secondly, most of the warming is taking place at the surface, which is contrary to a greenhouse gas theory.

    Thirdly, the northern hemisphere is warming faster than the southern hemisphere. No one knows why.

    Fourth, most of the temperature sensors used in climate research were never designed for the purpose, therefore, they have huge margins of error, ranging from 1 to 5 degrees celsius. How can you detect a global warming signal of .7 degrees celsius when the margin of error of the instrumentation is larger than the signal?

    Finally, skeptics don’t deny the Earth is warming, especially since we’re not in an ice age, we just have serious doubts that man-made CO2 is the primary cause. And even if it was, slightly warmer temperatures historically have been a benefit to mankind.

    There are sound arguments for adopting cleaner energy alternatives, none of which require the catastrophic predictions made by the global warming alarmists.

    ClimateAudit.org is a great site for those interested in the statistical analysis problems of the data behind man-made global warming.

  52. daveNYC commented on Mar 1

    “Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming.”

    So they’re saying that the temperature in 2008 is lower than it was in 1908? I’m probably reading the graph wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    And what’s the deal? You get demographic data for some advertisers, then you put out a post on global warming? You aren’t chumming the waters to boost traffic are you?

  53. sunsetbeachguy commented on Mar 1

    AGW is religon just like science is a religon.

    You know that religon, that gave you sanitation, computers, medicine and vaccines.

    But feel free to doubt all of those and Cr@p in your garden.

  54. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Re Dave. Look at the 1st graph. Start at 1998 when Hansen and chicken littles say the Earth is the hottest ever (BTW 1934 was). The draw a line from 1998 through to 2008. You will see the temp decreasing over the last ten years.

  55. Bob Wahr commented on Mar 1

    “Expressed differently, CO2, as a percentage of the molecules in the atmosphere, has increased by 0.005%.”

    Innumeracy strikes again. You’re comparing CO2 as a percentage of molecules which have no effect on warming. You might as well compare it to M&Ms. It doesn’t matter how much more argon or nitrogen there is because neither has any effect!

    What you’re essentially saying is that a 0.010″ thick layer of black spray paint will have no effect on the amount of light that passes through a 2″ thick glass window, because the thickness of the paint is insignificant compared to that of the glass.

  56. odograph commented on Mar 1

    I think this poster revealed more than he intended:

    You can tell that the man-made global warming premise is false because of the solutions being recommended– more taxes, more controls, less liberty… all these solutions, the burdens of which are unequally aimed at the West and the US.

    We all have policy tools in our philosophical toolbox: markets, taxes, mandates, etc.

    Moderates, or those who simply look at the USA as it is, see a search for balance. We have a mixed system and that usually works pretty well. We have a mostly-market system.

    People at the political extremes tend to have favorite tools, and as a result see problems differently. It’s the old “to a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail” thing.

    It’s sad when a problem shows up which doesn’t match your favorite tool … but that shouldn’t really block you. A “special case” doesn’t mean your tool isn’t valuable in other (or even perhaps most) circumstances.

  57. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Also author of this blog–you suck at time too!!

    The second graph you show starts at 1880!! before CO2 started rising. Half of last centuries rise in temp occurred before CO2 started rising. The planet must have been psychic knowing man was multiply to 6B people and going to start burning fossil fuels.

    Again everyone look at the 1st graph. Earths temp has been FALLING! whilst CO2 continues to rise. hmmmm seems like a crisis to me–NOT

  58. bsneath commented on Mar 1

    Dogwood writes: “Finally, skeptics don’t deny the Earth is warming, especially since we’re not in an ice age, we just have serious doubts that man-made CO2 is the primary cause. And even if it was, slightly warmer temperatures historically have been a benefit to mankind.

    There are sound arguments for adopting cleaner energy alternatives, none of which require the catastrophic predictions made by the global warming alarmists.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. There are sound economic, national security and environmental (clean air) arguments for adopting energy alternatives and the technology is progressing to a point where many of these alternatives are becoming viable (with a little help from that pesky $100 a barrel problem).

    Am glad Barry clarified the purpose of his post. Agreed, the temp change in one year does not validate any change in trend.

    That being said, the cooler temps are consistent with the “solaristas” who for years have predicted that the Earth’s atmosphere would cool at the end of this decade when the solar sunspot cycle wound down.

    If global warming returns during a period of low sunspot activity then I will start talking in tongues, playing with snakes and praising the lords of global warming. Until then, I plan to keep an open mind about the matter.

    Either way, I am looking forward to the day when I can charge up my plug-in hybrid with the energy gathered from my roof top solar cells. In the meantime, I plan to stay long in my oil and natural gas stocks….. 1.3 billion Chinese and 1.1 billion Indians about to buy a car and live the middle class lifestyle…..

  59. mmsullivan commented on Mar 1

    Barry, I think this is an appropriate post. The need for honest statistical analysis is important to all of us getting our heads round big issues. Oil reserves would be another arena where data is abused liberally. CERA comes to mind.

    At any rate, I appreciate you posting on the issue. The cousins called climate change and energy will be dictating where the market moves. As daily reader I am all for more of these posts.

  60. Darkness commented on Mar 1

    >Trust me when I tell you a 6 speed manual transmissions in a V12 is not about saving gasoline.

    Um, you know, if you ever need your car taken to, uh, the car wash or something. Give me a call.

    And to the industrial revolution denialist above… ice core samples show co2 starting its rise in 1800. A rise that can’t be explained by fossil fuel use alone, true, but it can be explained if you take land use change into account (i.e., clearcutting and converting old forest into pasture). Western population exploded during the 1800s and trees were cleared en masse everywhere from Europe to New Zealand, not only losing the trees’ carbon absorption but also exposing millions of acres of half-decayed loam which would have leached large amounts of co2 and 20x more warming-potent methane, into the air.

    But the argument doesn’t matter because I don’t think there is anything to be done about it. Humans are just like any other animal, their group self interest is limited by their own self interest.

  61. Brian Fox commented on Mar 1

    All these posts amount to is shrill ranting which creates the illusion of doubt surrounding the current theory of climate change. If you have a unique perspective on climate change, gather a large amount of data, analyze the data, make a hypothesis that explains patterns in the data and then create an experiment or prediction that will validate your hypothesis. If your hypothesis holds up, allow your process to be recreated by other people or open up your line of reasoning to outside scrutiny. Submit your research to a peer reviewed journal. Then your opinion will be validated and it will be absorbed into the current understanding of climate change. But just posting to a message board doesn’t cut it. Neither does attacking people’s character who disagree with your unfounded claims.

    There is a large and growing body of research that points toward anthropogenic causes of climate change.

  62. Rob Dawg commented on Mar 1

    Mr. R,
    Do black swans eat red herrings?

  63. Darkness commented on Mar 1

    >Dave: The draw a line from 1998 through to 2008. You will see the temp decreasing over the last ten years.

    I feel like I’m beating a lame horse here, but a nice tie in to interest rates just leapt up at me here. As Dave points out, there is a decade-long downward trend in the temp numbers. That masks that the poles have been warming faster than the equator in that time, worrisomely for reasons no one is clear on. What’s interesting is what’s probably behind that drop. We have both a warming trend and a dimming trend going on. Global dimming gets only scant attention, but it’s fascinating stuff. The light from the sun is down to 70% in some places of what it used to be. Probably due to particulate pollution. Atmospheric particulates create a startlingly complex system of bouncing and trapping radiation between the layers of the atmosphere. So, one possibility is that warming is currently being held in check by dimming. Problem is, dimming cuts co2 absorption by plants. But if we reduce dirty burning and cut the particulates will we actually make warming worse, even if it’s a switch to nuclear and a cut in co2?

    This situation reminds me of the Fed’s current problem with trying to fight both inflation and recession with the same blunt tool when they are already backed up against the wall. That was my tie in. Really, I did have one.

  64. Barry Ritholtz commented on Mar 1

    1. Again, I have to reiterate: The issue is the use and abuse of charts and data.

    2. Further, I question anyone — on any issue — who cannot discuss it logically, reasonably, dispassionately.

    3. As to the use of the word “denialist:” Google it. The word is not reserved for only holocaust related issues. I did not use it in that context, and those who accuse others of me that, see #2.

  65. Papertiger commented on Mar 1

    My heating bill is lower in the summer. If by some miracle the winter were to become short sleeve weather and I am able to help it stay that way, I say hell yes.
    Here’s a picture to go along with the author’s set. http://aycu15.webshots.com/image/4254/2003253592012895950_rs.jpg
    It shows the climate over the last 500,000 years.
    Ignore the trends. Just pay attention to the peaks and notice how few of them there are.
    This planet is normally too cold for humanity as we know it to exist. All of human history and prehistory is balanced on that the peak at the end of the graph.
    The majority of the time polar bears rule the Earth.

  66. wunsacon commented on Mar 1

    >> It is the essence of human hubris to think that a) we can predict the future temperature of the entire earth’s climate, and b) that our meager efforts can alter that outcome.

    Your characterization of the concept that “humans can change their environment” as “hubris” is silly.

    Was it hubris to notice the ozone hole, cut CFC use, and observe the hole stabilize? Was it hubris to notice the concrete effect around cities? Is it hubris to notice the percentage of the world’s forest we cleared (with all that tree-bound carbon released to the atmosphere) since 1800? Is it hubris to track clouds of pollution from China across the Pacific to the US?

    Never been 6 billion people on the planet before. What does a species with no natural predators do to its environment? Surely, limits to growth will be reached (and, with effort and wise planning, overcome). Or are you saying there are never environmental limits to growth; that the laws of economics apply to other animals but not to humans?

    >> If the guys selling this stuff weren’t climate scientists they would probably be investment bankers trying to claim that a

    Not everyone is as unethical as your statement assumes. If they wanted to make money, they would become investment bankers or flip to the denialist side.

  67. jason commented on Mar 1

    Barry, you took a single quote from one asstart and used it to debase a whole group of credible scientists. Even among your cited sources, there is argument about your “laugher” quote. You don’t have to read any further than Anthony’s blog (they guy who compiled the data and your cite #1), to find:

    “I wish to state for the record, that this statement is not mine: “–a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years””

    The “deniers” aren’t denying the existence of a general global warming trend as your post suggests – only its cause. And if you are going to claim that all the “deniers” don’t understand the science of global warming, well you better have a much better analysis than your industrial revolution explanation.

    You are legendary when it comes to economics and the markets, but on this topic (global warming and its causes), I don’t think you’ve done your research. Your post comes off a little bit arrogant – kind of like a scientist telling you that bull market “deniers” don’t understand economics.

    I still love you tho.

  68. wunsacon commented on Mar 1

    People who think “if we can’t predict tomorrow’s weather, then we can’t predict trends over 100 years’ time” are confusing prediction difficulties for short term windows — confounded by noise — with long term trends.

  69. wunsacon commented on Mar 1

    >> What’s funny is that some of the ice age scientists have done a 180 in much of their research to now global warming.

    In the 70s, how many scientists pondered the question of an ice age? Like a handful. It never got close to being advanced as a consensus. There are zillions of studies every year, often coming to erroneous conclusions.

    Does discrediting Lamarck mean Darwin is “bad science”?

  70. wunsacon commented on Mar 1

    >> The “deniers” aren’t denying the existence of a general global warming trend as your post suggests – only its cause.

    Yes, now we’re in the “but second-hand smoke is harmless” phase of the discussion.

    I’ll accept that as some measure of progress.

  71. wunsacon commented on Mar 1

    For the record, I don’t drive a Prius or very fuel-efficient car. And I’m not going to until everyone else is forced to. I don’t intend to sacrifice my quality of life so that the next guy can trash the commons.

    (Just like Buffett citing low taxes-on-the-rich but not giving his money to the government. WhoTF are these people who say he should do what no other rich person is doing?)

    In fact, I just ate a delicious steak last nite. I hope the dead cow’s farts spread around the country by now. Enjoy.

  72. The Dirty Mac commented on Mar 1

    Nostradamus had this nailed:

    “At the 48th degree of the climacteric [in other words, latitude 48 in the Northern Hemisphere], at the end of Cancer [late July], so great is the drought, that fish in the sea, river and lake are boiled hectically. Southwest France in distress from fire in the sky.”

  73. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Rob Dawg—sea ice is no issue anymore–geee it’s not summer time in the arctic anymore for a while. The arctic sea ice is back to normal and the Antarctic ice is way above normal!!!

  74. Darkness commented on Mar 1

    Nostradamus. Oh man, I haven’t heard that name in years.

    Shoot, I can’t find the study now, but this researcher took various versions of the bible and took the fifth word (or something) on each page and wrote those out and presented them to people saying they were ancient prophecies and could they assign what historic event they pertained to. As I recall (dim recall) there were 10 “prophecies” and only 1 was unassignable.

    Nostradamus was just another spoiled rye eater. There were a lot of them back in the day.

  75. DonKei commented on Mar 1

    Wunascom,

    It is hubris to think that we humans can alter the entire earth’s climate, which is what I said. I didn’t say that we couldn’t alter bits and pieces of the earth’s environment. My heated/air conditioned house is evidence that we can alter its bits and pieces.

    One volcano–just one–has the power to alter the earth’s clmate–to oool it by several degrees, in fact. We humans haven’t anything close to that power.

    If you want to believe scientists aren’t human beings w/ all the human attributes that even investment bankers have, go right ahead. I prefer to base my analysis on separating facts from opinion, and I’m sorry, but there is no way any scientist anywhere can conclusively say w/ the information at hand that the earth’s climate will be warmer in the future, and it’s future warmth is caused by us. The systems are too complex, w/ too many “black swan” variables at play. But no scientist will ever admit that. It is just too humbling (and expensive in the way of lost research grants) to say, “Well, we just don’t know what the future might hold.”

    But, I hope you enjoyed your steak. It’s 70+ degrees here in my sunny southern city, and my grill also awaits me. Global warming, or no, a good steak and a decent wine…these are the things that make life worthwhile. The hell w/ the rest.

  76. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Sea ice back to normal as I said–Oh global warming —I’m soo scared—you twits

  77. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Oh in case you can;t read charts—look at the bottom most red chart for Jan-Feb 2008!!!!!!!!!

  78. Keith commented on Mar 1

    I don’t follow this blog very often, but have you at any time referred to the recent admission of scientific fraud by the IPCC as regards its now infamous ‘hockey stick’ charts. If you wish to preach trends and outliers, a review of the now corrected charts might be more informative. Recent several decades worth of temperature data continues to be discreditted. Thereby affecting your precious trend. Also the two charts you present are sadly incompatible.

  79. Dave commented on Mar 1

    Doesn’t anyone WANT the globe to warm? I do.

  80. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Yes–you mean the exuctive summary made up by 5 people over the objection of many scientists? Steve Mctrye file a freedom of information act and got that tidbit of info.

    Yes the Hockey stick is dead and the MWP is back–planet safe

  81. pkut commented on Mar 1

    When the earth is over 4 billion yrs old, a 100 yrs of data is just as meaningless as 1yr. it certainly isn’t a “trend”. It’s called noise. Global warming is merely a secular religion’s way of redistributing wealth. Even a cursory examination of the process finds in fraught with enormous holes. Is the earth really warming? I don’t know, but I don know that even today scientist argue about the temperature (is atmospheric or ground, etc). I also know that 100 yrs ago ol’ jessup certainly could consistently measure temperatures in an accurate manner to lend any strong conclusions being made. If co2 is the problem why hasn’t the earth’s temperature risen in the last decade? Why did a significant amount of warming take place before 1940 (in fact the huge increase in temps at the beginning of the century is why climate scientist thought we were heading into a mini ice age until the late 70’s/early 80’s). Moreover, c02 is at most 4% of greenhouse gases; could tiny changes in such a small contributor to overall greenhouse gas make that much of a difference? Btw, what’s the rate of co2 absorption in the oceans? No one knows which is why they make it up in their models. Speaking of which, to say current climate models are useless, would be an affront to things without use. if you want a good laugh, look at the results you get when you try and use these models to look back at known data (i.e. to run them with 1985 info). It’s beyond a joke. The only thing shown to correspond to temperature, shockingly, is solar activity (i.e. the output of the big ball of heat and energy in the sky).

    How you know its bs, is the fact that people are now hedging their bets and calling it “climate change” instead of global warming. That way they can it both ways

  82. Chester White commented on Mar 1

    I don’t feel like reading 85 comments, so maybe this is a repeat.

    Temperature readings from the 1880s cannot be compared to temperature readings from 2008 if we are trying to discern what is happening all over the world.

    The latter are more likely to be made in places that are warmer. This alone completely destroys the dataset.

    Pleanty of stuff on the Internet about this.

  83. VJ commented on Mar 1

    Ross,

    Global warming is caused by………go outside at noon. See that BIG YELLOW THING in the sky?

    You’re conflating weather with climate.

    ~~

    Aaron,

    why isn’t nuclear power being embraced if CO2 emissions were a problem?

    Because it doesn’t solve the problem, not to mention the multitude of downside risks.

    ~~

    Rob,

    Oh and 1998 was not an ‘anomaly.’ 1934 was warmer…

    * “Summer 2006 was the second warmest June-to-August period in the continental U.S. since records began in 1895 … The warmest northern-hemisphere summer and August occurred in 1998.”

    * “The persistence of the anomalous warmth in 2006 made this January-August period the warmest on record for the continental U.S., ECLIPSING the previous record of 1934.”

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2700.htm

    ~~

    SPECTRE,

    35 years ago it was global cooling that was going to get us.

    The earth is “cooling”, over a time period of the next 5,000 to 10,000 years. The earth is also warming, over a period of the next 20 to 200 years.

    ~~

    Bob,

    Sattelite temps are the only ones to trust. The planet has not warmed in the past 10YRS!

    Measuring surface temperatures from orbiting satellites is unreliable, as they are attempting to take readings through the Mesosphere, which has temperatures that decrease with height, sandwiched between the Thermosphere and the Stratosphere, both which quite counterintuitively have increasing temperatures with height.
    .

  84. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    Oh and 1998 was not an ‘anomaly.’ 1934 was warmer…”

    * “Summer 2006 was the second warmest June-to-August period in the continental U.S. since records began in 1895 … The warmest northern-hemisphere summer and August occurred in 1998.”

    * “The persistence of the anomalous warmth in 2006 made this January-August period the warmest on record for the continental U.S., ECLIPSING the previous record of 1934.”

    Sorry bucko—but you are wrong! and Hansen and his crew are now a laughing stock!

    Check out Anthony Watts and Climate Audit you will see as fast as they found Hansen’s errors did he readjust 1934 to no longer be the warmest.

    Tell me do you really trust the guy who measures warming to be the same guy who tries to fit his global warming programs to match his measurements? The AGW guys need to learn something about gauge R&R–they don;t know how to measure anything

  85. bsneath commented on Mar 1

    One observation that can be made from the chart is that global temps fell more last year than in any previous one year period during the past 128 years. No idea how significant this is, just an observation.

    Regarding the last comment, I have read that oftentimes temperature monitoring stations were located just outside of cities (for convenience), in rural locations so that their results would not be distorted by the “urban heat island” effect. As cities have grown, urbanization has encroached upon these stations and their results may be skewing the data. I do not know how significant this factor is, but it is an example of how we humans can mess with data to justify our positions. I suspect that those who strongly believe we have global warming with catastrophic consequences are far less concerned about this issue than are those of us who remain uncertain.

  86. bsneath commented on Mar 1

    Aaron,

    “why isn’t nuclear power being embraced if CO2 emissions were a problem?”

    Because it doesn’t solve the problem, not to mention the multitude of downside risks.

    VJ – this makes no sense at all. If nuclear has no CO2 emissions, then how does it not “solve the problem”?

    Please define “the problem” and provide a reasonable solution.

  87. odograph commented on Mar 1

    I believe AGW denial is fundamentally an anti-intellectual movement. The above thread reinforces that. There is appalling misunderstanding of what models predict, and the uncertainty acknowledged in those predictions.

    When the IPCC lists their four SRES scenario families they are not picking a single path for the future, or even a single temperature result for any of those paths … 1.4 – 6.4 °C (A1) ,,, 1.1 – 2.9 °C (A2) … etc.

    So above people repeat that it is “hubris” to pick a number, when no one has picked a number. What they’ve given us is shapes and scenarios that we can use to shape our future.

    When new data or better models arrive, we can refine our re-define our plans.

    The alternative is to do nothing, and take whatever we get, even if that’s bad.

    It is choosing a blindfold.

  88. ken h commented on Mar 1

    Brian,

    You take the time to bust our balls about unfounded claims and then propose good research without the citations? WTF?

    I love breaking down research articles, let me have some citations?

    Oh, Everybody concerned with Global Warming. I’m selling carbon credits, cheap. Let me know if your interested? C’mon, feel better about that big ass footprint. You know you got one!

    Remember one thing, going GREEN can have different meanings to different people!

  89. odograph commented on Mar 1

    Ken, I found these comments by Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Science, discussing global warming, to be very reasonable.

  90. Rob Dawg commented on Mar 1

    Rob,

    “Oh and 1998 was not an ‘anomaly.’ 1934 was warmer…”

    * “Summer 2006 was the second warmest June-to-August period in the continental U.S. since records began in 1895 … The warmest northern-hemisphere summer and August occurred in 1998.”

    * “The persistence of the anomalous warmth in 2006 made this January-August period the warmest on record for the continental U.S., ECLIPSING the previous record of 1934.”

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2700.htm

    Nope. Turns out Hansen jiggered his model over ‘adjusting’ post 2000 measures. You know we are talking about getting mad at people who are innumerate. the more closely the AGW data and methods get scrutinized the colder it gets. The more verifiably accurate the data and collection processes become the colder it gets. Near every improvement and correction has resulted in less AGW.

    You also have to wonder why a NASA employee tried to keep his software program a secret for so long. The AGW climate skeptics are now cynics.

  91. mrmanny commented on Mar 1

    Barry, I didnt take the time to read the GWD link to put the phrase in context but simply stating last year’s temp drop wiped out 100yrs of global warming is no different than saying a market crash wipes out 100 yrs of market gains … there is no implication of trend in that single statement. … ie predicting whether the market goes up or down after the crash.

    btw ..full disclosure .. i am a natural skeptic have sympathy with the GWD crowd.

  92. Ritchie commented on Mar 1

    Barry: “…there are still 5,000 people who continue to pay him for his “insights.””

    That would be the bottom 6-7% of the bell curve?

    Could someone make a bundle by doing the contrary of other faith-based investment advisors?

  93. Bob B commented on Mar 1

    odograph–it seems by 2010—none of the model predictions will be even close. A cold 2008 will take it off the charts—trying to fix something that ain’t broke is stupid

  94. globullwarming commented on Mar 1

    looking at atmosphere temperature over a 100 year period and attempting to come to a conclusion about global temperature trends is like looking at the stock market for one minute and coming to a conclusion about global stock trends. go back and show me data over 100k years or 1M years then we can make intelligent conclusions about global warming.

  95. Papertiger commented on Mar 1

    It’s sort of strange how the further you go back in time with some of those climate stations, the colder Hansen’s adjustments make them.
    Do you think a city in Peru with a population of 10,000, has seen it’s UHI effect decrease by 3 degrees since 1960?
    Hansen does.

    How did that work? It conjures images of a youthful Prof Hansen, hacking his way through the jungle with his machette, until he happens upon a sleepy village of Amazon Indians. He installs the climate station in the middle of the village by convincing the natives it is a powerful totem of the sky, which will protect them from inclement weather. Never suspecting that the Doc’s little sniffle will decimate the tribe which never before encountered a New Yorker, with his city born diseases, the tribe grows sick and dies off one by one, slowly adjusting away that nasty native UHI effect, until we are left with a pristeen weather station in the heart of South America.

    I’m giving him the benefit of a doubt here.

  96. Ritchie commented on Mar 1

    bsneath: “…then in 100 years there will be two (2)”

    You mean as in DOUBLE the co2? Doubling, which has to do with something by two, or halving, I think? What would happen if we doubled the nitrogen in the air? What would happen if we cut the oxygen to 275?
    Much difference? Do yah think? Why not cut out all the oxygen and eliminate forest fires?

  97. mndean commented on Mar 1

    Rob needs to understand that the 1934/1998 kerfluffle had nothing to do with the global warming record, just the record for the contiguous US. It was not manipulated, either. A data error was found and fixed, thus reducing the 1998 record into a statistical tie with 1934, which it was in anyway. Big deal, the US isn’t even a very large part of the world’s land mass, so the repair of the data error didn’t alter the global record at all. Guess which is the hottest year in the global record. Hint: it certainly wasn’t 1934. The rest of the “information” (such as it is) is of similar quality, and contains many denialist chestnuts. I’d rather trust the scientists who work at understanding our climate than the denialists who are usually in it for political or monetary reasons.

  98. Shane commented on Mar 2

    I am always astounded by the number of people who opine on this type of a subject, who are and are probably not engineers or scientists.

    Point 1) Scientists and engineers are humans and have agendas, whether its more funding or notoriety, they all have agendas

    Point 2) How many of you have ever built anything really complex? I’m not talking about putting together a bookshelf.
    How many of you have developed a speech synthesizer, analyzed sunspot activity, built antenna models, analyzed radio signals.

    Consider this . . . we put the Mars Rover on Mars and it broke down . . . why . . . b/c someone didn’t convert from feet to meters in the program code!!!

    We don’t have the know-how or technology to completely model (we can get some accurate results . . .but its not perfect) to model the human speech process, or to model the radiation effects off of an arbitrary piece of metal-we can estimate it but it’s not perfect.

    These are things which we have the tools for to readily analyze, simulate, test, design, and build systems for.

    Long-term models don’t mean jack if you can’t understand the inner workings of the model, it is just a guess. Just like Bohr’s atom was a guess at how atoms work (almost completely wrong).

    There is so much that we do not know, understand, or at this point can accurately model. Anyone who says the sun doesn’t factor into this is just not thinking correctly. Let’s just take away the sun and see what happens to earth.

    If you ask any good engineer or scientist a hard question, one of the best answer they will most likely give you back is “it depends”. Without an accurate underlying model you can make the model say anything you want it to say.

    We should absolutely have more research into this, but to put a stranglehold on our economy, go back to no cars, or drastically change our way of life while only studying this probably for 20-30 years! It just doesn’t make any sense. We should absolutely be good stewards, pick up trash, not be wasteful, etc, (shoot not that I’m an eco-freak but I try to use sidewalks walking across campus-I like grass-not grass with pathways in it).

    The main problem with global warming or “climate change” is that it is sooo politically charged, and b/c of that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to understand what is really going on . . . too much money . . .and too much power at stake.

  99. mddwave commented on Mar 2

    I would guess that January 2008 -0.595 delta C wasn’t predicted in the climate models used to predict global warming.

    One problem with this “normalized” average global condition is it is based upon high variation variable at various surface temperature locations around the globe. It reminds me of the average change in the mean sea level. After watching the ocean waves for six hours at a LA beach what does a mm average change really mean.

  100. wunsacon commented on Mar 2

    >> The main problem with global warming or “climate change” is that it is sooo politically charged, and b/c of that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to understand what is really going on . . . too much money . . .and too much power at stake.

    You go to war with the army equipment you have.

    You confront apparently time-sensitive issues with the data you have available.

    “Too much power is at stake”? You’re right. But, what you’re implying is that’s reason to choose one of the sides. Really??

    >> ooking at atmosphere temperature over a 100 year period and attempting to come to a conclusion about global temperature trends is like looking at the stock market for one minute and coming to a conclusion about global stock trends

    Bad analogy. One depends on human psychology. (See Soros’ reflexivity theory.) One does not.

    Playing “whack-a-mole” with global warming deniers is very frustrating. I read about 4 posts of nearly 100 and find serious errors in reasoning.

    That’s one reason my next car will be a gas guzzler. No use trying to make a difference when so many of you thinks AGW is a fraud.

  101. The Dirty Mac commented on Mar 2

    “That’s one reason my next car will be a gas guzzler. No use trying to make a difference when so many of you thinks AGW is a fraud.”

    The overwhelming majority of people will react to the price of fossil fuels regardless of noble or evil intentions. I use energy efficient light bulbs not because of my concern about AGW but because I got whacked with a big electric bill.

  102. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 2

    Barry, put this in your Global Warming Pipe and smoke it. LOL!

    Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling
    Michael Asher – February 26, 2008 12:55 PM

    dailytech.com/Temperature+Monitors+Report+Worldwide+Global+Cooling/article10866.htm

  103. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 2

    >> The “deniers” aren’t denying the existence of a general global warming trend as your post suggests – only its cause.

    Yes, now we’re in the “but second-hand smoke is harmless” phase of the discussion.

    I’ll accept that as some measure of progress.

    Posted by: wunsacon | Mar 1, 2008 5:47:18 PM

    It’s pure BS! They want to make a amrket for Carbon Credits so follow the freakin’ money.

  104. D. commented on Mar 2

    Right or wrong, global warming is the wrong issue.

    What is undeniable is the pollution and the destruction we are generating. Anybody who says that mankind is not impacting the environment is clueless. That’s waht we’ve been doing forever… adapting nature to our liking.

    The other reality is that it has gotten worse in the last 15 years. It’s not because our lawns are manicured that everything is right in nature. Those exotic wood floors you’re showing off? They came from that dilapidated rain forest in Indonesia or Brazil.

    We’re 6 billion and heading for 9B in 50 years. Look at the destruction we’ve realized in a mere 50 years with less than 2 billion middle class consumers. Imagine the deforestation if 2 more billion are added to that group.

    If I’m optimistic on the economy, the environment will be devastated.

    If I’m optimistc on the environment, the economy will be devastated.

    My conclusion. I just don’t think we can change the economy fast enough to save our planet. Why? Because of our inate attraction to what is scarce. As the state of our planet declines, scarcity will only get worse and poaching of any kind will only increase. The writing is on the wall, unless we are saved from ourselves, we will dilapidate our planet.

    And the world economy will do fine until Mother Nature crusahes us wither her thumb.

  105. Emmett commented on Mar 2

    “Past performance is no indicator of future results.” [in any random system]

    I’m still worried about killer bees…no: kudzu… no: fluoride in my water… wait: the military industrial complex… bird flu, SAR, AIDS, firestone tires, eboli virus…

    Not a denialist…. I’m a tired-of-this-crap-ist.

    confession: I like index funds.
    LOL

  106. odograph commented on Mar 2

    “Past performance is no indicator of future results.” [in any random system]

    The interesting thing is that models can be built up two ways: from basic chemistry and physics, or from past performance.

    Things like the motions of the planets, or the speed of a falling body, can be predicted from physics. They don’t need a historic time series, and they are not confused by crowd behavior (human choice).

    I think this is the big dividing line between modeling and prediction in science, and the sorts of modeling and prediction in the social sciences (and economics). In the latter models often take as their inputs measures of human choices and behaviors (prices, production levels, etc.)

    As I understand it GW models start with the physical system, and the performance of gases, liquids, solids, in the presence of solar radiation. What we want from a good physical model is a successful prediction of how temperature changes with changing CO2.

    I think we are getting that, or certainly better than a “blindfold.”

    It’s also interesting that when climatologists want to move from a CO2 level and a temperature prediction they need to bring in economic prediction. To know how temperature will change over 50 years, they need to know how the economy will run over 50 years. I think that is a little fuzzier than the basic science, but again to skip the attempt is to say that you’ll take whatever comes.

    Again, it is choosing a blindfold.

    I don’t choose the blindfold, and I think that broad swaths of scientific investigation are reinforcing AGW theory. The complaints these days are what I call “ankle-biters.” Even if it is true that X data series is a little off, it doesn’t change the big picture. There are many, many, data series. There are many disciplines reinforcing each other here.

    You know what you guys sound like? Someone who would say “Enron cooked its books, therefore the market is a failure.”

    You can find endless examples that don’t proove or disprove the broader case.

  107. wunsacon commented on Mar 2

    VJ, you are a friggin storehouse of knowledge. Hats off to you, bro.

  108. Greg0658 commented on Mar 2

    ALL the book cooking will get us
    thank the graven image
    best wishes to we the people

  109. ideogenetic commented on Mar 2

    The folks who say the sun causes global warming are correct.

    But that isn’t this issue!

    The issue is perhaps framed incorrectly, which confuses the public. The issue is global heat modulation. If the earth were unable to dissipate all the thermal energy it receives from the sun, the earth would melt. For aeons the earth has been in a thermal balance conducive to life. Now the most advanced form of life has upset that balance with their own energy consumption and waste gases, tipping the scale to the point where the earth is increasingly unable to dissipate thermal energy received from the sun.

    There is now a man-made thermal factor on top of any natural cycles. The Svensmark cosmic ray cooling thesis, for example, could be helping us in this period of solar minimum. But when the cycle turns back up, the earth won’t be able to dissipate the sun’s energy the way it has in the past and we could see a runaway greenhouse effect.

  110. diogenes commented on Mar 2

    “If the above long-term chart was a stock, would you short it?”

    This would be an example of where fundamental analysis has to be combined with technical analysis. Given that solar sunspot activity is expected to decrease to historic lows within 20 years, the odds suggest that we may actually DESIRE to maintain, or increase, GG emissions to offset the expected decrease in solar radiation. And the NASA folks have a very reliable long-term predicting indicator for future solar radiation:

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/10may_longrange.htm

    And since solar radiation is an externality over which we have absolutely no control, it cannot be ignored.

    Thus, I would seriously consider implementing a straddle once temperature levels perform a mid-line retracement to the upside..

    Diogenes

  111. stormrunner commented on Mar 2

    Yeah and if the methane trapped under the ocean floor suddenly escapes due to unforeseen events, who knows rogue magma flow caused by realignment of magnetic forces, we can’t reliabily forecast any inflection, warming cooling, inflation deflation. When Yellowstone Caldera last erupted 640,000 years ago it released 1,000 cubic kilometers of material, covering all of North America in up to two meters of debris. The periodicity of such events ~600K years

    Common sense dictates one keeps their house clean while attempting to provide those who would destroy us with as little in the way of resources as possible. The next revolution in science should be related to energy,specifically energy transformation approaching unity, regardless of the motivation but strangling a dying economy to get it done now, using the equivilent of the WMD arguement.

  112. odograph commented on Mar 2

    In discussions of the future people often pepper their speech with probability words: “the likely outcome,” or “we will certainly see,” or “the probable result.”

    Those are a bit galling when they really come from the gut, and not a sheet of calculations. For things like peak oil or pandemics better words would be: “I suspect,” or “I fear,” or “this risk is.”

    The IPCC folk, right or wrong, have at least been rigorous about this. They can show their math, and (importantly) how they arrived at their numerical uncertainty (the range of temperature outcomes).

    Tell me, when someone says:

    Given that solar sunspot activity is expected to decrease to historic lows within 20 years, the odds suggest that we may actually DESIRE to maintain, or increase, GG emissions to offset the expected decrease in solar radiation.

    Is there math to go with those “odds?”

  113. trc commented on Mar 2

    Barry-

    As a geologist of 35 years, let me give you a longer view than that of climatologists (or stock brokers). We are currently in an interglacial period that has lasted for about 10,000 years. And yes, its way warmer than the four major ice ages we had in the last two million years (remember when New York was under an ice sheet about 2,000 feet thick? It was in all the papers.) There was also a thing called the Little Ice Age that lasted from about 1300AD to 1850AD. If you recall, about half of Europe died during the black death, Islam almost conquered Europe, Vikings abandoned “Greenland” the Anasazi disappeard from the southwest US. Oh yeah, it was a great time!
    You might also want to poll people in Canada Scandanavia and Siberia and ask them what they think of global warming, I’ll bet they’re all for it. Yes, the Earth has been warming since 1850, and it is a good thing.
    Aren’t we feeding 6.7 billion people? You must remember we live on a dynamic planet, there is always global warming or global cooling, only a retarded lawyer politician micromanager like Al Gore would have the gall to think humans can micromanage the climate. After all, look at the great job governments have done managing everything else. As I am fond of telling my students, life is about power and control, not love and peace. If politicians can gain control over your lives using “global warming” to inact more laws, they will do it. The sad thing is the pathetic state of science education in this country, with the almost total lack of knowledge of science and technology by the general public, allows people like Gore to further their political agendas. For me, I’ll just sit back with the other geologists and wait a few million more years until we get some statistically significant data. Love your column.

    P.S. Google Milankovitch Cycles, read up on it, and you too will probably flush Al Gore and his slide show.

  114. odograph commented on Mar 2

    How old are you trc? Old enough to imagine yourself safely dead by mid-century? If so, sure, a few decades are as good as a million years.

    I’ll have to take good care of myself to see the mid-century, but I think I see real impacts now, and will see more before then.

    What is the value of coral reefs? If say half die out in our lifetimes do we calculate an economic impact or picture lost vacations?

    Sure, given another million years new reef species will evolve. That’s what “extinction events” are all about. That doesn’t mean extinction events are fun to watch.

    (In that they are like “creative destruction.” More fun in textbooks tha in your own life.)

  115. odograph commented on Mar 2

    BTW, as a geologist you must know that the odds of ocean acidification as a result of industrial C02 release are … non-zero.

  116. Trent commented on Mar 2

    “If the above long term chart was a stock, would you short it?”

    Depends – all the variability over 100 years is within a 100-basis point range. I have to think T-Bills would have done better for me over that time, unless I was highly leveraged.

    Long T-bills, short global warming, anyone?

  117. The Big Picture commented on Mar 2

    Reconciling Cold Weather and a Warming Climate

    Yesterday, I criticized those who made the claim that Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming in my usual understated and charming way. I have to admit that the responses surprised me. First, I had no idea so many pe…

  118. trc commented on Mar 2

    For all you Chicken Littles out there, and other doom and gloomers, here’s a little global warming research you can do. Google rising sea levels, Netherlands, Dutch, etc. and see how many scholarly articles (or even newspaper articles)come up. As you can see, there are thousan….. wait a minute, there’s virtually nothing. Hmmm, are the Dutch a bunch of morons, or aren’t they worried about sea level rising. Don’t they know Al Gore is worried about them drowning this year? Oh well, plenty of us smart Americans to live on what little land they have left after they all wash into the sea.

  119. nmewn commented on Mar 2

    Barry,
    Looks like you hit a hot button…LOL.

    I love reading your stuff…but methinks you should get away from the NE crowd for awhile.

    Link provides some interesting “proof” that there are statistics and damned statistics.
    http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/weather_stations/

    Rock on!

  120. James Hanley commented on Mar 2

    First time I’ve visited this blog. The author seems intelligent. About half his commenters seem to be brain-damaged ideologues. My sympathies.

  121. CB commented on Mar 3

    Barry,

    I completely agree with the inadequacy of using the “short-term” 20 year chart to look at something as perplexing as weather patterns, but at the same time, what makes your magic 130 year chart the pre-eminent period for analysis? Obviously, the start and end points are key in any chart when ascertaining trends. A 10 year (98-08) chart may well look like a cooling trend. I have seen analyses of temperature charts extrapolated back even further, hundreds of thousands of years via astronomy, geography, and archaeological data. These charts indicate that there have been many periods of warming AND cooling not unlike what we are seeing now, but with no discernable long-term trend – just cyclical movements.

    I guess what one needs to ask is: how long IS my investment horizon. Mine ain’t 130 years, and frankly, may not even be 10 years. This IS an investing oriented site, correct?

    If I were to take anything away from this post, it would be “SHORT NATURAL GAS in the near-term” – cold weather sucked up a lot of that excess supply…don’t wait for that to happen again.

  122. Nat commented on Mar 4

    Interesting thread, I am late to the party.

    Since I am not a climatologist, my opinions are based on who I trust. It seems to me the preponderance of reported evidence is best supported by those predicting global warming. YMMV. Glaciers are melting, the polar ice cap seems to be vanishing and Greenland now has a growing season. Species are moving northward. I figure the Maine lobster’s days are numbered.

    The point of all this is food and water. It is a poor trade off for the US if our midwest and southwest are no longer productive but Canada, Siberia and Greenland gain longer growing seasons. I live in central Texas and I suspect water will be a huge issue in the next 20 years. Water is perhaps the next oil.

    However, I doubt our society will change our behavior. We are not a particularly prudent species. The old saying goes: it is an ill wind that doesn’t blow someone some good. Global warming will benefit a significant number of people and that will be difficult to overcome. However, we are fairly clever and I think the next 10 years or so will see a significant effort at finding a magic bullet technological solution. We might get lucky.

    BTW, check out Wikipedia’s sea level rise chart:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise

    It is clear there are tipping points. Note the Meltwater Pulse 1A, a rise in sea level of about 120m about 14,000 years ago. I have read that we are about 80m short of max historical sea level.

    For those of you who are curious, Google James Lovelock. He is pro nuclear energy, but genuinely pessimistic about our future.

  123. VJ commented on Mar 4

    trc,

    are the Dutch a bunch of morons, or aren’t they worried about sea level rising

    You might want to check with the Federated States of Micronesia first, whose islands are disappearing beneath the rising sea levels.
    .

  124. Eric H commented on Mar 8

    If the above long term chart was a stock, would you short it?

    You mean, people actually make such decisions on the basis of the shape of the chart? And I thought Nassim Taleb was just exaggerating!

    No, if that were a stock, I’d try to find out if, for example, they just failed an audit or the founding CEO stepped down or they just lost a case on a critical patent. The solar argument may be in play here, but I think the random variation argument is stronger. However, if I had just lost a boatload of money on this after my analyst had just recommended a buy because it was going up-up-up, I might start wondering if he was incompetent or worse.

Read this next.

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