Patterico's Pontifications

7/18/2008

Global Warming/Terrorism: A Real Problem/A Manufactured Issue (UPDATED)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:29 am



DailyTech.com reports:

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science. The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming “incontrovertible.”

In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,”There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.”

Does this mean anthropogenic global warming is a fraud? Of course not. It just means that those who tell you with supreme confidence that there is only one side to the issue are wrong.

I stand by my usual position that, while we shouldn’t crater our economy to respond to the possibility that we are causing global warming, we should treat the possibility seriously. First, pollution is ugly anyway; look at L.A.’s atmosphere. Second, if the danger is real, it’s a very significant danger.

I think there is an interesting parallel here with terrorism.

We don’t really know how likely it is that a group of terrorists are going to obtain and set off a nuclear bomb. People on either side like to pretend that they can tell you, but they really can’t. But if it happened, it would be catastrophic, so we should do everything within our power, within reason, to prevent it. Most conservatives agree, while most liberals tend to shrug off the issue as fearmongering by Republicans.

I feel the same about global warming.

We don’t really know how likely it is that we are throwing off the balance on our planet and causing it to become overheated. People on either side like to pretend that they can tell you, but they really can’t. But if it happens, it will be catastrophic, so we should do everything within our power, within reason, to prevent it. Most liberals agree, while most conservatives tend to shrug off the issue as fearmongering by Democrats.

Each of you is completely right. Your pet issue is the real danger, while the other side’s pet issue is a joke. Discuss.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey says only a subgroup has changed its mind. That sounds at odds with the DailyTech.com quote, but maybe I’m missing something. I’m off to work; you guys sort it out.

UPDATE x2: My apologies for having a day job! It’s taken me some time to get back to this. Further perusal seems to reveal that the DailyTech.com piece was just flatly wrong in its central assertion: that the group itself has reversed its stance. The piece now ends with this update:

After publication of this story, the APS responded with a statement that its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large.

I wonder how they got this so wrong. It appears they found the posting but didn’t realize that the group that made the posting was merely a subgroup of the main group. But I don’t think even that explains it.

Meanwhile, my initial update (popped up before I walked out the door) is, I think, also wrong, as the subgroup doesn’t seem to have changed its mind. It just differs from the conclusions of the main group — at least in the sense of recognizing that there is a debate out there. (That doesn’t mean it recognizes one side as credible, however.)

My bottom line remains the same: those who tell you with supreme confidence that there is only one side to the issue are wrong. Then again, supreme confidence is often a bad idea with science; the whole idea is to keep an open mind (but not so open that you’re ignoring the evidence).

I still think that the evidence is strong enough that we may as well take the threat seriously.

103 Responses to “Global Warming/Terrorism: A Real Problem/A Manufactured Issue (UPDATED)”

  1. There’s no strong evidence of Man-made global warming, but 9/11 happened.

    Also, the proposed solutions to terrorism don’t include taking command of the world’s economy.

    jrnev (bf276f)

  2. Where the parallel with terrorism breaks down is that while we can (pretty much) agree that it would be bad to have nukes go off in NYC, I’m not convinced that the net effects from global warming would be just as bad. Sure, there would be some negatives, but the alarmists seem to ignore or discount the positives.

    steve sturm (a0236e)

  3. “Each of you is completely right. Your pet issue is the real danger, while the other side’s pet issue is a joke.”

    Patterico – We can point to specific incidendents of terrorism and kill or imprison identified terrorists.

    Can the AGW alarmists point to specific evidence of manmade global warming and proven solutions? It’s a bumper sticker or unproven ideology.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  4. Yes, America is the prime villain in AGW and terrorism. All you warmongering neocons delight in raping the planet’s resources to further enrichen your corporate interests (channeling Levi and his posse).

    Is it not a fact that regardless of how much we attempt to lower American standards of living (and the fat cats like Gore won’t be lowering theirs, but rather getting fatter on carbon credit boodoggle), the unfettered growth amongst the 2 Billion or so Chinese and Indians (with a dot) will far exceed whatever sacrifices we make?
    And for something that is disputable even if Gore claims it is settled science? How does one reconcile that the planet has actually been cooling for past ten years and may be cooling for next ten? Time to get those controls and taxes in before gore and his knaves are shown to be buffoons? Isn’t it all about getting their hands on your pocketbooks and telling you just how to live? Dear Obanus thinks we need to learn Espanol, even though he doesn’t. He knows what is best for us, as does the Goracle.
    Meanwhile the likes of John Travolta can fly helter skelter all over the globe in their ever bigger private jets and the rest of the elite can pontificate and emulate the Breck Girl and algore.
    We truly need to listen to the UN. USA should pay to raise worldwide poverty levels. That should work out nicely- more bureaucrats in the mode of oil for food regime.
    Also let’s send more aid to the poor Palis in order that they can survive and buy more American flags, bombs and AK47s. And don’t forget that expensive oil that goes to sheiks who funnel it to fundamentalist terrorists. But Nancy says Bush is the huge failure? Nice Congressional energy plan there, Nancy.

    madmax333 (d95aa0)

  5. You guys are SOOOO behind the curve. Don’t you realize that we’re now back to Global Cooling! I remember the Coming Global Ice Age hysteria from 1972 (or thereabouts). When that didn’t happen, the Chicken Littles changed over to Global Warming. When that didn’t pan out, viola!, we’re back to Global Cooling!

    509th Bob (26b1e5)

  6. FROM THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY WEBSITE. Now after their retraction, understand their true motivation.

    American Physical Society Website
    History & Vision

    APS History

    The American Physical Society was founded on May 20, 1899, when 36 physicists gathered at Columbia University for that purpose.

    In more recent years, the activities of the Society have broadened considerably. Stimulated by the increase in Federal funding in the period after the second World War, and even more by the increased public involvement of scientists in the nineteen sixties, APS is active in public and governmental affairs, and in the international physics community. In addition, the Society conducts extensive programs in education, public outreach, and media relations.

    anonymous (8aba5f)

  7. max – It’s all linked don’t you see. The demorats won’t let us drill more oil domestically while they pursue their pie in the sky alternative universe energy projects, forcing us to continue purching oil from terrorist enabling foreign states, while at the same time passing laws permitting them to control more and more of our lives. Regulations over thermostats, driving habits, electricity usage, appliance design, building codes, etc., etc. They don’t want energy independence until their control over our lives is tighter and people like Al Gore have made more money. He already made several hundred million off this scam and that’s just a drop in the bucket for what can be skimmed going forward.

    As usual with the demorats, it’s all about power, control and money. Follow the money and you’ll find some really ugly shit. They can’t afford to let the global warming industry fail. Too many peoples’ livelihoods are at stake on it now even though the science has been proved to be cooked or nonexistent time and again.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  8. anonymous @7 – Can you tell us your point please?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  9. At last, someone with enough gravitas declares that Emperor Al Gore is wearing no clothes.

    Neo (cba5df)

  10. But wait, there’s more!

    I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.

    FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I’ve been following the global warming debate closely for years.

    When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.

    The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

    Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

    If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again.

    When the signature was found to be missing in 2007 (after the latest IPCC report), alarmists objected that maybe the readings of the radiosonde thermometers might not be accurate and maybe the hot spot was there but had gone undetected. Yet hundreds of radiosondes have given the same answer, so statistically it is not possible that they missed the hot spot.

    RTWT.

    Pablo (99243e)

  11. There’s no strong evidence of Man-made global warming,

    How can you possibly say this? What about Al Gore’s movie, computer models, the unprecedented increase in hurricanes, earth quakes, kidney stones, diabetes, homosexuality, bestiality, floods, droughts, forest fires, the unprecedented lack of hurricanes, growth of ice caps, melting of ice caps, hail, lack of hail, political wind storms and other flatulence? No strong evidence of global warming, indeed. You’re living in de Nile. (Must be an Egyptian.)

    quasimodo (edc74e)

  12. I’ll tell you the real problem: Global Stasis. The world temps are not changing. This, according to my new computer model, means that we have only 10 years before everything on Earth becomes so calm that even the wind stops blowing!

    As you know, most plants cannot live without a breeze, and it is an almost proven fact that animals become depressed when there is no wind. Some are even known to commit mass suicide, like lemmings!

    We’ve got to work together on this people. Let’s heat the Earth up a few degrees, or cool it down a few degrees before we all die!

    Kevin (834f0d)

  13. So the debate is open again? Good!

    When are they going to start the debate about the possible effects of global warming. Without the stupid hysterics please.
    The sea levels will not rise 23 feet, and all plants will do better with a higher CO2 level.

    Will the encroaching jungles absorb the moisture and CO2 and thus neutralize the warming effect and increase arable land? That gets my vote!

    Rignerd (852c37)

  14. First, pollution is ugly anyway; look at L.A.’s atmosphere.

    CO2 is not a pollutant. Also, it is not visible as a gas. CO2 is a gas that reflects infrared heat back towards earth—helping to keep Earth inhabitable along with other “greenhouse” gases. It is not a smog forming gas.

    Also, the LA Basin has been a hazy area predating the industrial revolution.

    pwilson (d63e2b)

  15. It’s a question of overreaction (Al Gore with his near-Biblical doom and gloom prophecies) versus denying the obvious (Rush with his ‘who are we with the hubris to think that we can ruin God’s creation?’). It’s a balancing act, between not giving in to group-think mentality and not turning a blind eye to what’s right in front of your face. There’s also the weighing of short-term and long-term concerns. How many children have died in Africa because the government banned the use of DDT to control malaria due to concerns over what spraying might have done to the environment?

    As Patterico quoted, global warming has been occurring since the start of the industrial revolution; therefore, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that one is the cause of the other. What’s shocking is to see so many scientists jump on that bandwagon. It certainly is tempting to lump them into the category of baby-boomer environmentalists who were looking for a touchstone from which they could launch their agenda. Going forward they found a spokesman in one of their own — age and viewpoint-wise — and their movement developed its own kinetic energy. It also wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that peer pressure brought many of their fellows on board. When you have the leadership of a prestigious and respected organization calling the evidence “incontrovertible” (reflected on the populist side of the movement by the statement “the debate is over”), even responsible scientists can display the all too-human quality of capitulation to the prevailing mood around them. It’s so much easier when someone else has already done all of the work and mental heavy lifting for you.

    The fact that most, if not all, of these same scientists are aware of historical climate studies, involving the analysis of ice core samples — physical evidence — that shows incontrovertible evidence of cycles of warming and cooling somehow gets lost or pushed to the side in the debate. It has already been revealed that some of the global warming proponents have been selectively including or excluding data based on what does or does not fit their climate change model. This brings up a question of ethics: Are they being responsible and conscientious, warning us of all the very real damage our progress is causing? or, Are they spinning the evidence in order to advance an agenda, and justifying the deception as being for our own good?

    What might be most telling are those proclamations that the evidence is “incontrovertible”. Good scientists test and retest and test again. They gather as much detailed data as is available, and where the data is incomplete they note that fact and temper their conclusions with that knowledge. They don’t state that their conclusions are 100% right when they know that they don’t have all the facts. Thirty years ago the scientific community announced that we were facing a period of cooling. They were wrong about that, as average temperatures have gone up since then. It’s a little hard to credit that over the past thirty years the methods and equipment technology employed has improved so much that now all of their measurements, and the conclusions drawn from them cannot or should not be disputed.

    Despite the tremendous leaps in technology, methodology, data gathering capability, and accumulated knowledge within the scientific community over the past 150 years, one thing remains constant: They don’t know everything, and they never will.

    ————————————————-

    The likelihood of a group of terrorists obtaining and setting off a nuclear bomb is hard to determine. What we do know is that they have talked about doing it, and based on the mindset that has informed their past actions, once obtained it’s hard to imagine them not using such a device. In fact we now have 15 years worth of evidence that they will use a bomb if they get one. They don’t care about retaliation or their image in the world. The knowledge to make it exists; the ability of terrorists to manufacture a device is questionable, their ability to obtain nuclear material even more so.

    Therefore, we must remain ever vigilant to ensure that they don’t develop the manufacturing technology, and that they don’t EVER obtain fissionable material. As for how much time, treasure, and manpower we expend in the effort to block them . . . good question. To a degree we must err on the side of assuming the worst: that they are actively seeking to obtain materials in order to construct a device, and that they are utilizing every resource they can spare in order to achieve that goal. However, if that project is on the back burner, and they are focusing their efforts in other areas, it could end up being a lot of effort ‘wasted’ in pursuit of a bogeyman. And that makes it vitally important that we know what they are doing, what they are planning.

    The common thread with global warming is the need to gather as much information as possible and to filter it through a clear lens; looking at, and dealing with, what is really there; not projecting a predetermined conclusion onto the actual results, while keeping in mind that there is always the possibility of the worst-case scenario playing out in the future.

    Icy Truth (ae62e7)

  16. Your pet issue is the real danger, while the other side’s pet issue is a joke.

    Well, you gotta look at the “facts” on the two issues. When one group lies and “adjusts” data and tries to silence people on the other side, I think that tells you quite a bit about the strength of their arguments. There are so many holes in the global warming story and bad behavior by the supporters that it’s hard to take anything they say seriously. Credibility matters.

    Terrorism has happened in the past. Some are plotting to do it again. Do many doubt the credibility of the Bush Administration on any subject? Oh yeh. But most people, Troofers aside, think that terrorists are real. It’s just a question of how to deal with them and who should be running the show.

    MamaAJ (788539)

  17. CO2 is not a pollutant. Also, it is not visible as a gas.

    — True. Patterico is thinking of CO, as in carbon monoxide, as in: L.A. has a bad case of mono.

    Icy Truth (ae62e7)

  18. A.
    ” Ed Morrissey says only a subgroup has changed its mind. That sounds at odds with the DailyTech.com quote, but maybe I’m missing something.”
    The APS’s official position is still the same, which does not mean that all of its members have ever agreed with it. Assuming for the sake of argument that APS’s positions are arrived at democratically, that still leaves a likelihood that a minority has a different (and in my opinion a correct) view.

    B.
    “First, pollution is ugly anyway; look at L.A.’s atmosphere.”
    Two points: pwilson (post #15) is correct; and I’ve been in LA (living just a bit southeast of its geographic center) for over 30 years, and today we can see LA’s atmosphere much less frequently than we could 30 years ago.

    Ira (28a423)

  19. #12 – quasimodo

    What about Al Gore’s movie[?]

    — You’re right! All of the coal burned in order to manufacture the prints of his movie and the DVDs, and to power the devices that show it; along with all of the trees killed in order to print copies of his books; not to mention his mansion that, even with all of its improvements and obtaining some of its energy from renewable resources, still consumes more energy in one month than most houses do in a year; it all adds up to quite a footprint . . . as deep or deeper than the one that ‘chunky’ makes walking around (oh, that’s right, he walks on water).

    Icy Truth (ae62e7)

  20. Patterico @ #6…
    It appears that the Telegraph is getting it’s feed from The Onion…

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  21. The scientific paper Morrissey mentions is of great interest, because it posits a testable alternative to AGW. But being properly skeptical, I have to ask whether the references to similar warming trends on Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and one of Neptune’s moons indicates what is going on in the entire solar system, or whether it’s just cherry-picking. Does anyone know the answer to this?

    Bradley J. Fikes (e339e4)

  22. It does appear that solar activity is increasing (Old Sol is in one of his moods again), and that planetary surface temps are rising at locations other than Mother Earth – unless you can explain how we are exporting our excess CO2 to Mars, etc.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  23. I never understood why people jump at every single article or news that global warming isn’t happening. I suppose even if it isn’t happening at the frightful levels Mr. Gore has proposed there are issues with pollution of water, earth and sky. Unlike the mall, someone doesn’t just clean it up for you. It will take thousands of years. For we who live but 100 that would be 10 lifetimes not counting nuclear waste.

    It is definitely time to start being cleaner and smarter with our use of the resources. George Carlin said: “The planet will be fine. It’s was here a long time before us and will be here long time after us. It is us who are in trouble. The earth will just shake us off like a bad case of fleas”

    I suppose if you don’t care about your children and their children you might as well just keep using it up till there is nothing left or we all just choke out.

    muffler (54df94)

  24. Everything, and I mean everything hinges on fair and honest people to call the AGW believers on their all-important language change.

    We’ve gone from global warming to climate change. This is an absolutely crucial point to hammer home. Again and again and again and again. The doomsayers simply cannot be allowed to move the goalposts. Yet to date, they are. We cannot allow this.

    There is no credible argument – none – that our climate doesn’t and won’t change. It patently has and will. But this is NATURAL. It’s as if the grant writers described the drinking of water as a global danger and the world bought it and spent many millions looking for a solution to this critical “problem.”

    For whatever reason, the earth cooled herself these past three years to the point she has the same temp she had in 1898. It is inarguable that man has polluted her in an exponential fashion since 1898. So, whatever the “problem” was, it was fixed/cured while man stood idly by.

    This AGW theory/madness must cease.

    Ed (59b337)

  25. I never understood why people jump at every single article or news that global warming isn’t happening. I suppose even if it isn’t happening at the frightful levels Mr. Gore has proposed there are issues with pollution of water, earth and sky.

    Those are two different issues and no one likes pollution. CO2 is not pollution. You exhale it. Plants “breathe” it in and give back oxygen. It’s in your Coke. Restricting carbon is not restricting pollution.

    Also, it’s not global warming anymore. It’s now the “climate change crisis”, mostly because we’re not warming these days but the impending crisis is too lucrative to be debunked.

    Pablo (99243e)

  26. I suppose if you don’t care about your children and their children you might as well just keep using it up till there is nothing left or we all just choke out.

    Yup. These people are evil Mother Gaia haters. And racists.

    JD (75f5c3)

  27. We’ve gone from global warming to climate change. This is an absolutely crucial point to hammer home. Again and again and again and again. The doomsayers simply cannot be allowed to move the goalposts. Yet to date, they are. We cannot allow this.

    Yup.

    It’s as if the grant writers described the drinking of water as a global danger and the world bought it and spent many millions looking for a solution to this critical “problem.”

    Dihydrogen Monoxide kills, Ed.

    Pablo (99243e)

  28. Suggestion: Don’t fall in.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  29. From the APS homepage:

    The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

    “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

    Ira (comment 19.A.) had it right.

    So what does this mean for the AGW debate? Well, the science is not influenced by APS position papers, but public policy may be.

    But what of your own reaction to the (inaccurate) news story? “It just means that those who tell you with supreme confidence that there is only one side to the issue are wrong.” I don’t guess you would now say: “those who tell you there are two sides to the issue are wrong”? Seems most of your readers would.

    Doug (5d0532)

  30. “But if it happened, it would be catastrophic, so we should do everything within our power, within reason, to prevent it. Most conservatives agree, while most liberals tend to shrug off the issue as fearmongering by Republicans.”

    I don’t think most liberals shrug it off – we just disagree about what “within reason” means. We’re all concerned about securing loose nukes, I hope.

    LYT (b67340)

  31. Patterico, you wrote,

    But if it happens, it will be catastrophic, so we should do everything within our power, within reason, to prevent it.

    That’s just not so. It might be catastrophic, if the most catastrophic projections (a/k/a “wild-ass guesses) come true. But some of what’s projected — especially by serial fabricators like Al Gore, who wants you to believe the Statute of Liberty will be submerged (yet continues to travel in multi-SUV convoys, with their engines and ACs left running while he collects six-figure fees for preaching lies) — is outside the range of what serious climate scientists are projecting as their worst-case scenarios. It’s entirely possible that global warming might be so gentle and so gradual that it’s really no big deal — and certainly not remotely comparable a danger as either loose nukes or plane-flying terrorists.

    Once you discount the “catastrophic” prediction, then the first part of “everything within our power, within reason” goes out the window too.

    What we’re left with is “within reason” to guard against something that may or may not be a real risk, and that may be anything from a mild to a catastrophic risk.

    Many proposed methods of combatting “global warming” is “within reason” even if global warming science is shaky and the risks may not be so great. Ending wasteful energy practices (see above, re Al Gore) is both ecologically virtuous and economically virtuous. Ditto clearing government impediments to the market’s development of more energy-efficient technologies and of both existing and alternative energy resources.

    It’s entirely possible to be a conservative, a Republican, a cost- and energy-conscious consumer, a responsible steward of the earth, a skeptic about man-made global warming theories, and an opponent of rash dislocations in our national or international economies brought about by “global warming” radicals.

    In fact, that’s how I would describe myself. And it’s how I would describe my favorite potential GOP Veep nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

    Beldar (30a5a0)

  32. The APS has not changed its position.

    The subgroup of the APS has not changed its position.

    The subgroup’s newsletter published two articles–neither peer reviewed–that took opposite sides on the issue.

    The article against global warming was published with the following caveat, “The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm

    Charles Giacometti (471a6c)

  33. The APS has not changed its position.

    I’m not surprised. It took the Catholic Church a few hundred years to acknowledge the facts, and the Gaians believe in AGW a great deal more than the Catholics believed in a geocentric universe.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  34. Thanks for the comment Chuck. Peer review has done wonders in the AGW process, hasn’t it. It brought us the hockey stick, Hansen’s continued use of manipulated data, and various other abuses of the scientific method and ethics. In fact, it has only when folks outside the “consensus” have been able to take a look at the information so tightly controlled by those insiders that the frauds have been exposed. Peer review my as, Chuck. It has been worth nothing in the field of Global Warming so far and now you are pinning your hopes on it?

    With respect to the Council of the APS, you’re talking about the ten or so folks at the top, not the entire Society. Any idea what their vote was Chuck? If the Society felt strongly enough to put out a press release about dissension within its ranks, isn’t that the important information? But thanks again, for a drive by turd drop Chuck.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  35. Indeed, as daleyrocks mentions, “peer review” – like many other fundamental principles of the scientific process – has taken a near mortal beating at the hands of deceitful AGW proponents. There are more examples beyond those that daleyrocks mentions, such as failures of the NSF and many journals to enforce their rules on archiving of data, Mann’s arrogant performance before Congress, circular citations in papers, and the manipulation of reports in the IPCC.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  36. Charles Giacometti (and others) are right, and I have updated the post. That’ll teach me to throw up a quick link before I walk out the door. Well, it probably won’t, but it will remind me, once again, to be appropriately skeptical of anything I haven’t fully and independently researched myself.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  37. Unless I am greatly mistaken, Monckton committed a howler in his article (which is not peer-reviewed, as has been pointed out).

    Monckton cites as evidence for solar system-wide warming that Pluto has been warming for the last 70 years. However, Pluto has an extremely eccentric 248 year orbit that greatly varies its distance from the sun. At perihelion, it is actually within the orbit of Neptune. Here is a map. As it so happens, Pluto was approaching perihelion during most of that time, which it reached in 1989. In Plutonian terms, it’s mid-summer. No wonder temps have been warming there.

    I don’t see any sign that Monckton addressed this issue in his article. If so, he committed a kindergarten error in reasoning.

    Yes, let’s see AGW vigorously challenged. That’s part of the scientific method. Folks like James Hansen are dangerous fanatics, unquestionably. But AGW skeptics who propose another cause likewise have the same obligation to subject their hypothesis to the same rigorous testing to rule out errors.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  38. Patterico,
    I wonder how they got this so wrong.

    I think the culprit is the blog post’s author, Michael Asher. He is something of a fanatic on disproving AGW, and does not even attempt to be fair and balanced. Beware of a writer with a hobby horse.

    Like you, I think AGW is real, but am open to evidence disproving it. The solar warming idea is one plausible idea. But from what I can see, it’s only being discussed as a political tactic, not as a scientific matter. Politicians are expected to distort and stack the deck. Scientists are supposed to lean over backward to consider evidence against their theory.

    I’d like to see a rigorous, peer-reviewed article on the solar warming hypothesis in a reputable scientific journal, that carefully considers the evidence for and against that hypothesis. Monckton’s article isn’t it. If anyone reading this knows of one, please let me know.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  39. “Yes, let’s see AGW vigorously challenged. That’s part of the scientific method.”

    Bradley – The lock I perceive the AGW alarmists have had on respectable academic and scietific journals in this country has prevented a large part of the discussion. Notorious drive by commenters such as Chuck who point out the lack of peer review on skeptical studies are actually pointing out how the system has been rigged against the publication of dissent against AGW in this country. Most of the skepticism to date has been published outside of the U.S., in Canada, Australia and Europe.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  40. monckton is challenging the disclaimer.

    chas (12a229)

  41. daleyrocks,
    I know that AGW skeptics are treated with something less than civility in the scientific community. James Hansen horrifies me. And I’m perfectly willing to accept research published outside this country.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  42. chas,
    The disclaimer is a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. Take it off and the point about Pluto I raised remains. It is a huge issue, since it concerns a fundamental assumption behind Monckton’s claim. If Monckton didn’t adjust his calculations for the expected warming of Pluto as it neared the sun, then his article didn’t receive a competent peer review. It would have been given an F by a high school astronomy teacher.

    However, if Monckton did take into account that Pluto was expected to warm, and found additional warming beyond that, occurring in sync with warming on Earth and other solar system objects, then his paper blows a huge hole in AGW.

    Either way this turns out, the answer will be interesting: Monckton has either totally discredited himself by making a kindergarten error in science or he has singlehandedly undermined the whole theory of AGW.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  43. I’m not surprised. It took the Catholic Church a few hundred years to acknowledge the facts, and the Gaians believe in AGW a great deal more than the Catholics believed in a geocentric universe.

    Comment by Drumwaster — 7/18/2008 @ 6:47 pm

    Ugh, not the old Galileo myth… please! One mess at a time!

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  44. #43 – but not only did monckton make that error but the APS did also by not catching it in their review process. kind of hurts their credibility also.

    chas (12a229)

  45. and their are others who have made that same mistake. not sure that it is as basic an error as you believe.

    chas (12a229)

  46. chas,
    Your point should have been addressed in Monckton’s article. If you can find it, so could he. But Monckton simply states that Pluto has warmed, and that supports solar warming. Nowhere does he discuss the effect of Pluto’s orbit on the amount of solar radiation it gets. From your link:

    David Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii who measured the size of Pluto in the late 1980s using a series of occultations and eclipses involving Pluto’s satellite, noted that even though Pluto was closest to the sun in 1989, a warming trend 13 years later shouldn’t be unexpected. “It takes time for materials to warm up and cool off, which is why the hottest part of the day on Earth is usually around 2 or 3 p.m. rather than local noon, when sunlight is the most intense,” Tholen said.

    Because Pluto’s year is equal to about 250 Earth years, 13 years after Pluto’s closest approach to the Sun is like 1:15 p.m. on Earth. “This warming trend on Pluto could easily last for another 13 years,” Tholen estimated.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  47. Monkton…
    But, does he mention the warming that NASA has reported on Mars, and (I believe) on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn? Those warmings would be difficult to explain away using orbital variances.
    Plus, the measured increases in Solar activity and subsequent increased radiation output.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  48. Another Drew,
    My point is that if Monckton made such a gross error about Pluto, his credibility on other points is gravely undermined. It demonstrates that Monckton didn’t subject his own proposal to the most basic critical thinking. That’s standard practice in politics, where the goal is not accuracy but to persuade. It is not acceptable in science.

    For the sake of argument, let’s accept there is warming on Mars, Jupiter and a few moons. The warming trends need to be at least roughly in sync with each other, and Earth, to support solar warming.

    Let’s then consider whether there are any potential holes in the solar warming theory. There are dozens of planets, moons, and other large objects in the solar system. Are there any which have remained stable in temperature, or have actually cooled? That has to be accounted for. What about Mercury? Is it getting hotter? Venus?

    Surveying all the solar system is an impractical task. But there are some reasonable scientifically acceptable shortcuts. One could randomly select representative samples of solar objects to measure, for example, such as the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. Because they don’t have atmospheres, asteroids should be easier to work with. If similarly-sized asteroids with similar composition show warming fluctuations that coincide with Earth’s, that is very strong evidence for the solar warming hypothesis.

    That’s the kind of stuff Monckton should have discussed in his article, but didn’t. It is standard practice in peer-reviewed scientific papers to spell out all potential sources of error, and show that they have been accounted for. That is what distinguishes a scientific paper from a political polemic.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  49. it doesnt seem to be such a gross error though. i think you’re a lone voice crying out in the wilderness on that point. i’m not saying you’re wrong i just dont agree that its as large an error and that that one little thread unravels the whole fabric of his article.

    chas (12a229)

  50. BJF…
    Though I cannot pinpoint where I have seen this, all of the info that I have seen seems to correlate to a simultaneous trend of planetary warming along with increased Solar surface activity. Also, there are the reports of neutral, or negative temp trends on Earth when not measuring areas containing urban heat-islands – ocean surface temps, intermediate altitude atmosphere temps, etc. Plus, although one ice-shelf in Antarctica is shrinking, the overall mass of ice on the continent is expanding, and thickening.
    What we have seems more to fit the constant change of global weather patterns, than any systematic warming trend.
    Someone please explain why Baghdad reported snow this last winter for the first time in 80-100 years? And, that icebreakers had to be used in the harbor at Reykjavik for the first time in decades?
    Anecdotes all, I realize. But, my admission is more than you’ll get from Gore or Hansen.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  51. I agree with Beldar #32. I also agree with those who note the difficulty of effectively combating global warming/climate change when we don’t understand the cause(s). Even if we did everything GW enthusiasts recommend, it might not work and economically it could force much of the world into the equivalent of an Amish lifestyle, or worse. Sometimes I think that’s what liberals and GW advocates want — a simpler lifestyle that protects them from having to deal with today’s complicated and dangerous world.

    DRJ (92ca6f)

  52. Another Drew:

    Someone please explain why Baghdad reported snow this last winter for the first time in 80-100 years?

    It’s Bush’s fault.

    DRJ (92ca6f)

  53. Another Drew,
    I have a low opinion of Gore and Hansen, as I have written. But that is a separate issue from the solar warming hypothesis. It is interesting because it is testable, and could discredit AGW, leaving Gore and Hansen with egg on their faces. (Can a Nobel Prize be rescinded?) I think it is worthy of serious examination.

    So let’s see researchers on all sides of the AGW issue collaborate on studies of solar warming. If it’s true, we can forget about carbon footprints, etc. If it’s not true, then we need to think harder about AGW.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  54. The warming trends need to be at least roughly in sync with each other, and Earth, to support solar warming.

    Not true. Mars is not only smaller than the Earth, it is farther away, which means that a smaller percentage of thermal radiation per square unit of measurement will be impacting those bodies.

    The fact that they are getting warmer in the first place, without any kind of manmade influence puts a HUGE hole in the AGW “global warming is man’s fault” claim.

    The data that shows that the earth is actually starting to cool off is also dangerous to their credibility, since pollution has not decreased by any significant amount (according to Kyoto adherents).

    Witness the change in terminology from “global warming” to “climate change”. Climates are SUPPOSED to change. That’s kind of the point. The climate will change in the time from just after sunset to just after midday, and then change again between just after midday to sunset. Climate changes in cycles of varying lengths.

    The historical data (even anecdotal) proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Earth has been both much warmer and much cooler than it is now, which means we are at the “average” area of the wave form. Why are we using the end of the last Mini Ice Age as the “norm”, and worrying about perfectly normal fluctuations in climate?

    I would start worrying about warming when it exceeds the historical maximums (say, when it’s too hot to grow grapes in Great Britain – something that England was once famous for, and something that they are just starting to become capable of again, although it’s still a bit cool) by more than a one-sigma value. (Just to eliminate statistical variations and “margin of error”.)

    Using airless asteroids as confirmation would tend to be a waste of time, since they are not equipped to measure atmospheric heat trapping, which is the major concern in AGW claims. Their black-body measurements would prove only that the sun is putting out more heat, which is something we can – and do – measure directly from here (link).

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  55. If indeed AGW was indeed adopted too hastily, without proper consideration of dissenting ideas, here is one potential reason. (emphasis mine)

    The Internet gives scientists and researchers instant access to an astonishing number of academic journals. So what is the impact of having such a wealth of information at their fingertips? The answer, according to new research released today in the journal Science, is surprising–scholars are actually citing fewer papers in their own work, and the papers they do cite tend to be more recent publications. This trend may be limiting the creation of new ideas and theories.

    James Evans is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, who focuses on the nature of scholarly research. During a lecture on the influence of private industry money on research, a student instead asked how the growth of the Internet has shaped science. “I didn’t have an immediate answer,” Evans said in an interview last week. . .

    When he reviewed the research on the Internet and science, Evans discovered that most of it focused on much faster and broader the Internet allows scholars to search for information, but not how the medium itself was impacting their work. “That’s where this idea came from. I wanted to know how electronic provision changed science, not how much better it made it,” he said. . .

    Does this phenomenon spell the end of the literature review? Evans doesn’t think so, but he does believe that it makes scholars and scientists more likely to come to a consensus and establish a conventional wisdom on a given topic faster. “Online access facilitates a convergence on what science is picked up and built upon in subsequent research.” The danger in this, he believes, is that if new productive ideas and theories aren’t picked up quickly by the research community, they may fade before their useful impact is evaluated. “It’s like new movies. If movies don’t get watched the first weekend, they’re dropped silently,” Evans said.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  56. That’s a really interesting article, Bradley, and I think it’s applicable to more than just science.

    DRJ (92ca6f)

  57. it makes scholars and scientists more likely to come to a consensus and establish a conventional wisdom on a given topic faster.

    But wouldn’t it make it easier to find contradicting evidence to a consensus?

    And I think that “scientific credibility by consensus” has been shot down time and again, as facts cannot be ignored forever. For instance, it was a “scientific consensus” that heavier-than-air craft simply could not fly, right up until the Wright Brothers actually did.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  58. Drumwaster,

    Not true. Mars is not only smaller than the Earth, it is farther away, which means that a smaller percentage of thermal radiation per square unit of measurement will be impacting those bodies.

    If you don’t have any requirement that the warming fluctuations take place more or less in sync, I don’t see how you have a theory that makes verifiable predictions as to when warming should take place. Do you have any suggestions on how this can be done?

    Without some way of predicting when an increase in solar radiation should show an effect, one could just cherry-pick among planets and moons to find ones that exhibit warming — and discard any contrary evidence.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  59. Drumwaster,
    But wouldn’t it make it easier to find contradicting evidence to a consensus?

    No, because a theory in debate is like lava from a volcano. Modifying a theory on which consensus has formed is like re-melting the rock. It can be done, but it takes much more energy than getting the form right in the first place.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  60. Thanks, DRJ. I’m starting some intensive science blogging, mostly but not exclusively aimed at San Diego life sciences. I’ve linked to the blog with my name on this post.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  61. I don’t see how you have a theory that makes verifiable predictions as to when warming should take place.

    I’m not predicting warming, I’m just pointing out that the heating only needs to take place at the same time, not according to a schedule. The temperature readings showing warming on Mars were taken at about the same time as the AGW scheme started picking up steam (after the Global Cooling movement was discredited).

    If by “in sync”, you mean “at the same time”, I will not argue, but if you mean “on schedule”, I would have to ask the Great Engineer who keeps things cranking to post the next cycle well in advance, so we can be ready for it.

    My only point is that if things are getting warmer here on earth, but nowhere else in the solar system, then maybe there is something to Anthropogenic Global Warming. But since the data shows that the rest of the system is also getting warmer, then maybe, just maybe, the common source of heat for the system would have more to do with it than what you or I do.

    And when the celebs and wannabe celebs start using it as a weapon for political purposes, while showing absolutely no concern about it themselves, then I am appropriately skeptical about the whole thing.

    They tried it with the Homeless, they tried it with Famine, they tried it with breast cancer and AIDS, and now they are worried about “going green” (while flying around the world just to have people take pictures of them standing on a carpet that costs more than an Ethiopian family of 4 needs to live on for a year).

    Besides, even if the globe is getting warmer, that will open up the growing fields in northern Canada and Siberia. What better way to alleviate hunger than by growing more food?

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  62. Concerning the sensible positions staked out by Patterico, Bradley J. Fikes, Beldar, and others, here is an article from the May 2008 Atlantic that itemizes the large savings that could be made by today’s technology, recapturing energy that is currently wasted by industrial processes. Excerpt:

    A 2005 report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that U.S. industry could profitably recycle enough waste energy—including steam, furnace gases, heat, and pressure—to reduce the country’s fossil-fuel use (and greenhouse-gas emissions) by nearly a fifth. A 2007 study by the Mc­Kinsey Global Institute sounded largely the same note; it concluded that domestic industry could use 19 percent less energy than it does today—and make more money as a result.

    Economists like to say that rational markets don’t “leave $100 bills on the ground,” but according to McKinsey’s figures, more than $50 billion floats into the air each year, unclaimed by American businesses. What’s more, the technologies required to save that money are, for the most part, not new or unproven or even particularly expensive. By and large, they’ve been around since the 19th century. The question is: Why aren’t we using them?

    The prospect of AGW adds to the desirability of implementing these technologies (and to providing public-policy carrots and sticks to hasten their arrival). But imports of > $100/bbl oil make this sort of conservation worthwhile in any case.

    AMac (3a4d9a)

  63. I also forgot to point out that “in sync” means “at the same time” not “to the same degree” Mars will be getting warmer at the same time as the earth (with about the light speed lag time taken into account) but not as much. Just like watching a bonfire. The distant observer and the observer that is standing much closer will see the fire flicker at the same time, but the closer one will be absorbing more warmth than the more distant one.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  64. DRJ…
    I think you’ve nailed it (#53). That is the unifying theory that prevails today.
    Plus, after reading a post by SDB, linked-to by the InstaPundit, I’m reminded that those accusing Big Oil of conspiring to suppress technology that threatens the predominance of petroleum, are (metaphorically) the same people that castigated Standard Oil in the past for suppressing the 100-mpg carburettor (for those of you who remember/know what that antique is).
    It would be nice if all of the Luddites would return to their caves, and curse the darkness in silence.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  65. Drumwaster,
    My only point is that if things are getting warmer here on earth, but nowhere else in the solar system, then maybe there is something to Anthropogenic Global Warming. But since the data shows that the rest of the system is also getting warmer, then maybe, just maybe, the common source of heat for the system would have more to do with it than what you or I do.

    I totally agree — if the data really do show what you say about the rest of the solar system getting warmer. But that is the very issue to be proved. We can’t just pick a few instances and assume they represent the entire solar system. We need a systematic study that sets the ground rules in advance and accounts for potential sources of error (such as Pluto’s recent perihelion).

    The kind of study I’m looking for follows Richard Feynman’s distinction between real science and what he called cargo-cult science.

    And the one feature Feynman noticed is missing from all cargo-cult science is what he calls “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to…a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it.”

    If such a solar warming study exists, I’d very much like to see it.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  66. Bradley – I’m having trouble following your point on Pluto. The only reference in Monckton’s piece (An abstract, admittedly) is a very passing reference early on with no explanation as follows:

    “nor the consequent surface “global warming” on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and even distant Pluto;”

    You seem to extrapolate that into a fatal flaw in his thinking. Do you have a link to the full paper or an explanation for how you draw your conclusion from that tiny reference? Are you looking to another Monckton piece?

    Perhaps I missed other references or explanations.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  67. BTW, for bitter, angry and delusional folks, you sure are nice. Especially compared to the pooflinging at Kevin Drum’s that Mike K. alerted me to.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  68. Bradley, with all due respect and I am sorry to repeat myself, but you are not equally incredulous of some of the questionable modeling data from the AGW people. I don’t mean to argue, but this is a subject on which you are not being equitable. You need to apply your own criteria to the AGW crew. Increasing carbon dioxide levels? Absolutely. But global temperatures? Be VERY careful there, since people keep comparing apples and oranges. Maybe there is good evidence of overall warming. Due to human intervention? Hmmm. That is a different question.

    My favorite bit is how the AGW proponents pooh pooh the recent decrease in global temperatures in the last year as being due to “complex interactions,” but have no trouble at all accepting quite extreme simplistically modeled predictions in the other direction. Look at how the predictions keep changing, but the take-home lesson is always the same.

    The recent warming on Pluto, which is continuing even as Pluto recedes from perihelion, is a good example. The newest idea is that precession has put the south pole of Pluto under more solar irradiation, hence more atmospheric thickening. The last I read was that there is a “complex greenhouse effect” in play, and that the global temperatures on Pluto will stay warmer than expected for a decade or two.

    Not that they know the details. It’s a model, again, without a great deal of background data.

    So—and I am sorry to repeat myself—the AGW folks all use computer models. They are predicting things in the future—like Al Gore’s huge sea level rises that keep getting downgraded. Look, I understand as a scientist that models need to be refined. But these folks run to the press with the models, and present the models and very scary conclusions as fact instead of what they are: guesses. Maybe they are right. Maybe not.

    If global warming is solely based on carbon dioxide levels, the models should be predictive into the past—and they are not. It’s maddening to watch the modelers be all dogmatic about their models looking toward 2100 AD, and then when confronted by historical data that confounds those predictions, fall back the “complex interactions” that they didn’t believe in previously.

    I trust the fellow at coyoteblog on this subject. Folks here may not have read his stuff, so here it a place to start:

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2007/09/table-of-conten.html

    I don’t trust computer models, unless they are confirmed to be predictive. I recommend folks interested in this debate go back and read over all the material about Nuclear Winter.

    This is very similar. This is primarily a political argument.

    And (hat tip to Coyoteblog) here is what is really going on in this debate in government:

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2008/02/in-case-you-tho.html

    Al Gore’s recent proposal is a great example.

    I recognize you don’t agree, and that is fine. But if you are going to accuse folks who doubt AGW of cherry picking, make sure that the proponents of AGW are not doing the same thing.

    Me, I remember this: if we are seriously proposing to alter the world economy, and impact developing nations, the darned models that generate all the scary stories that are driving the those proposals had better be predictive. And they aren’t.

    Yet.

    Until they are, we are just arguing ecopolitics, as usual. Development bad. Trees good.

    Look, I want less oil burning. More nuclear. What I want most are solar power satellites. The last thing won’t happen, and we will have to fight like crazy to get second to last thing to happen.

    In the final analysis, there are lots of better things to do with oil than burn it.

    This post got out of hand. Brevity appears not to be my strong suit.

    Eric Blair (02ec00)

  69. daleyrocks,
    I’ve only read the abstract, but the admittedly brief mention of Pluto caught my eye because it is so obviously questionable. Monckton mentioned it, so it’s fair game. If he really didn’t take into account that Pluto’s warming is to be expected by its orbit, how can I trust him on more complicated matters?

    I am not a scientist, just a science reporter. I don’t claim to understand all the science. So my shortcut is to first examine the claims I can understand. If there is any fundamental flaw, I can safely dismiss the entire study. Likewise, if I see that the researchers are not honest, I toss their study into the circular file.

    If Monckton addressed that point in the full article, I’ll retract my criticism.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  70. I found several good links by looking up “Solar Warming on Mars Jupiter“, such as this one from the Heartland Institute (from a NASA report), the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, Discover magazine, and from this Czech physicist.

    Hope this helps.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  71. Bradley – My point is that from that brief reference you can’t tell the reason for his inclusion of Pluto, whether it’s due to it’s orbit, a greenhouse effect continuing after it reached perihelion or what. I say at this point you’ve got absolutely no information to act like Henny Penny about his study in this thread.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  72. If he really didn’t take into account that Pluto’s warming is to be expected by its orbit, how can I trust him on more complicated matters?

    Pluto’s outbound passage of Neptune was in February ’99, was it not? If warming has still been going on while it is getting farther away (which it will until approximately 2115CE), wouldn’t that tend to eliminate your complaint about the warming being from its closer approach to the sun? When were these warming measurements taken?

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  73. Eric Blair,
    Bradley, with all due respect and I am sorry to repeat myself, but you are not equally incredulous of some of the questionable modeling data from the AGW people.

    One issue at a time, please. The subject here is the solar warming hypothesis. And I have repeatedly said if it is proven, all the AGW research is called into question. This hypothesis could be a Gordian knot to cut through all the debate and complications. Aren’t you interested in that?

    I freely admit I could be wrong in thinking AGW is correct. New information could show me I was mistaken. Can you do the same about your beliefs on the subject?

    The recent warming on Pluto, which is continuing even as Pluto recedes from perihelion, is a good example. The newest idea is that precession has put the south pole of Pluto under more solar irradiation, hence more atmospheric thickening. The last I read was that there is a “complex greenhouse effect” in play, and that the global temperatures on Pluto will stay warmer than expected for a decade or two.

    You may have missed my quote from a link provided by a solar warming supporter. This answers your point about Pluto:

    David Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii who measured the size of Pluto in the late 1980s using a series of occultations and eclipses involving Pluto’s satellite, noted that even though Pluto was closest to the sun in 1989, a warming trend 13 years later shouldn’t be unexpected. “It takes time for materials to warm up and cool off, which is why the hottest part of the day on Earth is usually around 2 or 3 p.m. rather than local noon, when sunlight is the most intense,” Tholen said.

    Because Pluto’s year is equal to about 250 Earth years, 13 years after Pluto’s closest approach to the Sun is like 1:15 p.m. on Earth. “This warming trend on Pluto could easily last for another 13 years,” Tholen estimated.

    This is nothing exotic here. It invokes a phenomenon we experience every day on Earth. It is plausible. The onus is on the solar warming supporters to account for this.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  74. daleyrocks,
    Bradley – My point is that from that brief reference you can’t tell the reason for his inclusion of Pluto, whether it’s due to it’s orbit, a greenhouse effect continuing after it reached perihelion or what. I say at this point you’ve got absolutely no information to act like Henny Penny about his study in this thread.

    Well, if Monckton has accounted for this issue, I expect to see someone refute me with a reference from the full study. That’s why I’m acting like Henny Penny, whatever that is. Show me where my assumption was wrong, with a reference to Monckton’s full paper, and I’ll retract my criticism.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  75. Drumwaster
    Pluto’s outbound passage of Neptune was in February ‘99, was it not? If warming has still been going on while it is getting farther away (which it will until approximately 2115CE), wouldn’t that tend to eliminate your complaint about the warming being from its closer approach to the sun? When were these warming measurements taken?.

    I refer you to my reply to Eric Blair. That Pluto would warm after reaching its closest approach to the sun in 1989 has a well-known analog in earthly weather patterns. The hottest time of the day is not noon, and the hottest part of the year is not the summer solstice. The onus is on the solar warming proponents to account for this with Pluto’s warming, if they wish to do proper science.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  76. Because Pluto’s year is equal to about 250 Earth years, 13 years after Pluto’s closest approach to the Sun is like 1:15 p.m. on Earth.

    Let’s play fair here. 13 years is roughly 1/20 of Pluto’s orbit, so 13 years after Pluto’s perihelion is roughly the equivalent of 2 1/2 weeks after Earth’s perihelion (which is in January, fwiw), and the warming should be roughly equivalent to that experienced by the Earth as of Groundhog Day…

    Anything greater than that would only be from one source.

    The “1:15pm” example is faulty, because the average temperature of the globe doesn’t change with time of day, only local temperatures do.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  77. You are also ignoring the evidence from Jupiter (the development of a new Red Spot), Mars (melting of polar ice caps), Saturn (several degrees warmer over the past few years), and all the rest.

    Instead you are focusing on the one minor error you think you have, and throwing out the entire chain of evidence that remains. That is like finding one cracked egg and throwing out the whole dozen.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  78. From Ace of Spades

    http://minx.cc/?post=268705
    Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

    If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again.

    Hazy (d671ab)

  79. Drumwaster,
    I take your point about the cycle in Pluto’s orbit. The general point still stands. And I am well aware that Earth’s closest approach to the sun is in January. The difference between the orbit of Earth and Pluto is the former is close to circular. The Earth’s axial tilt overshadows the small change in distance from the sun. But with Pluto’s orbit, the amount of solar radiation it receives changes much more than does the variation in Earth’s orbit.

    From the link: The eccentricity of Earth’s orbit is very small, so Earth’s orbit is nearly circular. Earth’s orbital eccentricity is less than 0.02. The orbit of Pluto is the most eccentric of any planet in our Solar System. Pluto’s orbital eccentricity is almost 0.25.

    Back to you:
    The “1:15pm” example is faulty, because the average temperature of the globe doesn’t change with time of day, only local temperatures do.

    The example illustrates how warming can continue even after the maximum exposure to the sun is reached. Seasons are another example. The first day of summer is generally not the hottest day of the year. That comes later, despite the sun giving less radiation to the hemisphere in question with each passing day.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  80. I gotta go Bradley, but Tholen is but one expert on the fascinating subject of Pluto’s atmosphere. There is a postulated “delay” in cooling due to perihelion solar heating as Pluto moves away from the sun–which is what he said and what I wrote in the first place. The “Greenhouse Effect” and an atmospheric heat sink that has been postulated acts as the delaying mechanism, just as it does on Earth in your 3 PM versus high noon example.

    I am quite familiar with occultation data in general, and as a space nut am very interested in the outer solar system. But climate modeling on Pluto is very similar to the nonsense from the days of Nuclear Winter: “postulate a spherical chicken.” Too many assumptions can ruin a good soup of a hypothesis.

    No one yet knows, and for the umpteenth time, climate is hypercomplex. Hopefully we will get probes out there to Pluto, for example, and look. Until then, I am very, very nervous about SWAG (scientific wild ass guessing). Increased solar irradiance? That is testable, and I haven’t seen data that convinces me yet. But I believe that anti-AGW folks bring up the odd climate changes on other planets to suggest that climate changes here do not always have simple explanations. Certainly not following computer models.

    As for be wedded to ideas not based in data, I hope you know me better than that: be a scientist is my job. Computer models should be very, very cautiously approached.

    Finally, you seem to have missed my point: you insist on a number of “complete” data sets necessary to prove a theory…yet you don’t insist on the same thing for AGW.

    Science is science, Bradley.

    Eric Blair (02ec00)

  81. Even if I don’t proofread as well as I should!

    Eric Blair (02ec00)

  82. Bradley – If you haven’t checked out the Senate Subcommittee for Environment and Public Works Minority Page as a source, you might find some interesting material there. Imhofe and his crew maintain an inventory of skeptical articles and reports, including peer reviewed studies, which might help you out.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  83. Drumwaster
    Instead you are focusing on the one minor error you think you have, and throwing out the entire chain of evidence that remains. That is like finding one cracked egg and throwing out the whole dozen.

    The error is easily spotted with a minimal amount of critical thinking. Why do you dismiss the error, if indeed the evidence is key? Consider whether you would be so dismissive of such an error in an article by an AGW supporter. That’s what I mean by leaning over backwards to consider contrary evidence. You have to admit that you could be wrong.

    I could be wrong myself, if Monckton did indeed account for Pluto’s orbit in his paper. Then the “minor” error wouldn’t be so. But so far, I’ve seen nothing to indicate that.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  84. daleyrocks,
    I’ll check out Imhofe’s site. Thank you for the reference.

    And thanks to everyone for being civil, unlike the nuthouse at Drum’s.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  85. Calling people names when you disagree is not a sign of maturity, let alone confidence (or knowledge).

    Eric Blair (02ec00)

  86. I did read the entire Monckton article after all. I mistook it for the abstract!

    And yes, Pluto gets but one mention, as an example of the bodies in the solar system undergoing warming. I quote the relevant section from a very long and convoluted sentence:

    . . .nor the consequent surface “global warming” on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and even distant Pluto . . .

    That’s it. Not even a footnote. So I await a more comprehensive report that systematically examines the solar warming hypothesis.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  87. Eric,
    Well, I’m going to do something non-computery. At any rate you all have given me some food for thought.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  88. the amount of solar radiation it receives changes much more than does the variation in Earth’s orbit.

    But radiation follows the inverse square law.

    Earth’s eccentricity means that there is only a variation of 3% in distance, which means a 12% range in radiation received. But that radiation is roughly 1/9 of 1% that of Earth at the orbit of Neptune and only about 1/3 of 1% at Uranus.

    There are also differences in surface albedo to be accounted for…

    What about the increases in temperature on all of the other planets? Should we assume that their temps went up due to AGW, given that we can’t prove that Pluto’s warming is due to solar warming, instead of the eccentricity of its orbit? (There being no previous orbits to compare it to, after all, given that it hasn’t yet completed a single full orbit since its discovery in 1930.)

    Earth is getting warmer.
    Mars is getting warmer.
    Jupiter is getting warmer.
    Jupiter’s moons are getting warmer.
    Saturn is getting warmer.
    Saturn’s moons are getting warmer.
    Uranus is getting warmer.
    Neptune is getting warmer.

    If you need to blame all that on man’s actions to the point where you will throw out an entire report because it also says that Pluto is getting warmer, I have no idea what I can do to convince you further.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  89. And thanks to everyone for being civil, unlike the nuthouse at Drum’s.

    I know you don’t mean me… 😉

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  90. “That’s it. Not even a footnote. So I await a more comprehensive report that systematically examines the solar warming hypothesis.”

    While calling his paper flawed on your own blog Bradley. Isn’t that called jumping to conclusions?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  91. daleyrocks,
    As it turns out, I jumped to the correct conclusion. The Monckton paper provided zero evidence for solar warming.

    Drumwaster,
    Thank you for the links.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  92. Bradley – It provided zero evidence for the Pluto error you described.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  93. The APS has not changed its position.

    The subgroup of the APS has not changed its position.

    The subgroup’s newsletter published two articles–neither peer reviewed–that took opposite sides on the issue.

    The article against global warming was published with the following caveat, “The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm

    Jonah Goldberg, over on The Corner, has a copy of the letter that Lord Monckton sent to the American Physical Society regarding the obnoxious notice that the APS added to his article in Physics and Society.

    Monckton’s Letter

    Assuming that Lord Monckton is correct, his article went through a fairly rigorous scientific peer review and was modified and extended to respond to the review comments.

    The note that the Council of the American Physical Society added was erroneous and defamatory. Whether it is actionable is something I can’t assess, but it really should be taken down as a matter of civility.

    GaryC (957115)

  94. There is no civility in the AGW debate, Gary, the advocates see themselves as in possession of divine revelation. Witness Hansen’s behavior linked above.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  95. Bradley J. Fikes:

    You may have missed my quote from a link provided by a solar warming supporter. This answers your point about Pluto:

    David Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii who measured the size of Pluto in the late 1980s using a series of occultations and eclipses involving Pluto’s satellite, noted that even though Pluto was closest to the sun in 1989, a warming trend 13 years later shouldn’t be unexpected. “It takes time for materials to warm up and cool off, which is why the hottest part of the day on Earth is usually around 2 or 3 p.m. rather than local noon, when sunlight is the most intense,” Tholen said.

    Because Pluto’s year is equal to about 250 Earth years, 13 years after Pluto’s closest approach to the Sun is like 1:15 p.m. on Earth. “This warming trend on Pluto could easily last for another 13 years,” Tholen estimated.

    This is nothing exotic here. It invokes a phenomenon we experience every day on Earth. It is plausible. The onus is on the solar warming supporters to account for this.

    In my opinion, this quote by David Tholen suffers from almost the same problem as the Monckton reference to warming on Pluto. The simple analogy that he makes to the earth’s atmosphere implies far too much about thermal mass and orbital thermal cycles that are not supported. Now it is certainly possible that he has done a detailed model that justifies this simplistic comment, but he needs to explain to even a nontechnical audience why his analogy is useful.

    GaryC (957115)

  96. AMac:

    Concerning the sensible positions staked out by Patterico, Bradley J. Fikes, Beldar, and others, here is an article from the May 2008 Atlantic that itemizes the large savings that could be made by today’s technology, recapturing energy that is currently wasted by industrial processes. Excerpt:
    A 2005 report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that U.S. industry could profitably recycle enough waste energy—including steam, furnace gases, heat, and pressure—to reduce the country’s fossil-fuel use (and greenhouse-gas emissions) by nearly a fifth. A 2007 study by the Mc Kinsey Global Institute sounded largely the same note; it concluded that domestic industry could use 19 percent less energy than it does today—and make more money as a result.
    Economists like to say that rational markets don’t “leave $100 bills on the ground,” but according to McKinsey’s figures, more than $50 billion floats into the air each year, unclaimed by American businesses. What’s more, the technologies required to save that money are, for the most part, not new or unproven or even particularly expensive. By and large, they’ve been around since the 19th century. The question is: Why aren’t we using them?

    The prospect of AGW adds to the desirability of implementing these technologies (and to providing public-policy carrots and sticks to hasten their arrival). But imports of > $100/bbl oil make this sort of conservation worthwhile in any case.

    Last week I read an analysis of two possible applications of the Peltier effect to increasing the performance of silicon photovoltaic solar cells.

    One approach was to use the thermal difference between the heated solar cells and a heat sink kept at air temperature to generate additional electrical power. At current prices for solar cells, thermoelectric coolers (TECs) based on the Peltier effect, and efficiencies, it was too expensive.

    The other approach used some of the electrical power generated by the solar cells to drive the TEC and cool the cells. By keeping the cells cooler, their efficiency went up significantly and the cost per additional watt of output power was about a third of the price of adding more solar cells.

    The toughest thing about comparing different approaches to future alternative energy sources is making sure that the analysis includes all of the costs, including manufacturing and disposal.

    GaryC (957115)

  97. One of the most frustrating aspects of the AGW debate is that the advocates seem to have abandoned the scientific method.

    For example, Phil Jones was asked to supply some fundamental data that was required to check one of his most significant papers. His response, “We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

    Science is the self-correcting approach to understanding the way the world works precisely because people try to “find something wrong with it.”

    GaryC (957115)

  98. The toughest thing about comparing different approaches to future alternative energy sources is making sure that the analysis includes all of the costs, including manufacturing and disposal.

    A-men, bruddah. Truer spokes were never whirred.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  99. Science is the self-correcting approach to understanding the way the world works precisely because people try to “find something wrong with it.”

    Science is the process of crash testing ideas: a scientist does not coddle an idea, or design tests to make it work. The scientist rams the idea into a brick wall head-on at 60mph, and knowledge is gained by examining the pieces. If the theory is solid, the pieces are from the wall.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  100. GaryC
    In my opinion, this quote by David Tholen suffers from almost the same problem as the Monckton reference to warming on Pluto. The simple analogy that he makes to the earth’s atmosphere implies far too much about thermal mass and orbital thermal cycles that are not supported. Now it is certainly possible that he has done a detailed model that justifies this simplistic comment, but he needs to explain to even a nontechnical audience why his analogy is useful.

    Tholen was simply making an earthly analogy to what could be occurring on Pluto. He did not claim to have done a detailed model. He pointed out the explanation was plausible.

    I think we can agree that a detailed model is needed if Pluto is to be included in the solar warming hypothesis. We need to quantify how much warming would ordinarily be expected in this phase of Pluto’s orbit, show it is warming more than that amount, and rule out any indigenous explanations.

    Drumwaster’s list of other planets that are warming is certainly suggestive. That makes the solar warming hypothesis plausible. Next, we need to compare the warming timelines against each other and Earth, to show there is a pattern. Then we match that pattern against solar activity to see what changes in the sun correlate with what changes in planetary temperatures.

    IOW, the data must be crash-tested and examined by skeptics the way the AGW proponents’ data much be examined by skeptics. If the solar warming hypothesis is correct, it will survive that handling and will convert some AGW proponents.

    Think of the great consequences if the solar warming hypothesis is true. We would have a tool to predict climate changes — whether for warming or cooling. No such tool exists today. It would make the discoverer a scientific superstar and probably a Nobel Prize. There is no better way to become a science legend than to overturn a well-established theory.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  101. er . . I meant “It would make the discoverer a scientific superstar and probably a Nobel Prize winner.”

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  102. Sorry for dredging up an old post like this; I’m always a bit late to the party.

    Bradley J Fikes and others mentioned several times the idea that increasing solar irradiance could explain any observed global warming. I thought you all might find it interesting that in the same issue of Physics & Society where the article was published that prompted Patterico’s original post, the APS also published an article entitled “A Tutorial on the Basic Physics of Climate Change”:
    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/

    The tutorial gives a clear description of the effects of solar variability compared to greenhouse gases.

    The intent of publishing both articles was to “kick off a debate” (see the editor’s comments). I guess they succeeded in that as well as in drumming up some publicity. Keep in mind as you read that both articles received the same amount of peer-review, which is to say: none. The reasons that only Monckton’s article has received any notable reaction is, I assume, obvious.

    You may also like this graph comparing global average temperature, atmospheric CO2, and sunspot activity since 1850 (a proxy for solar irradiance):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Temp-sunspot-co2.svg

    Doug (5d0532)


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