Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is Global Warming For Real?

There's a fascinating blog article by the Sci Guy today about Roy Spencer, a noted global warming skeptic. As I've said before, global warming is something to be concerned about, but it a fresh breath of air to hear somebody question the prevailing wisdom that we're going to fry in the next century, and the oceans will swallow half the continents. Not so fast, Roy might say, a bunch of what is happening is a completely natural thing.

I appreciate being a skeptic about anything, since we have all these quasi-religions of group-think these days, fed like pap from the media. Let's start with the basics, that Roy thinks that we've only had good, reliable measurements of the Earth's surface temperature for about the last 7 or 8 years, with a couple of satellites for coverage. The old data cannot be extrapolated as to "mean global average temperature" because we didn't have satellites that could record temperatures covering entire swaths of the planet several times a day. Ouch, he's right on that one.

Then, over the last 7 or 8 years, his analysis can't find any global warming. This is to be expected because one really needs perhaps 20 or 50 years to really figure mean global warming. After talking about some technical mumbo-jumbo, Roy cuts to the chase: too many people are making money off global warming and it was one heckuva sales job. It takes several million dollars to create a slightly faulty model to predict future temperatures - but the naysayers might only get a thousand bucks or so for printing a skeptical argument in a professional paper or a few hundred for printing in a hack media outlet. So the people who get the millions of dollars have a vested interest in proving that their theory was right. You have to admit, Roy has a point here.

Ouch again!

So once more I have to rethink all this, although don't mistake that climate change can be a very, very serious thing to be feared. "All it takes is a 1 or 2 percent change in global cloudiness and you can get this warming and cooling for decades upon decades, for a century." Yep, he's right on target there.

11 comments:

Rob Nixon said...

From the number 1 sceptic...

Great read.

What is the link?

Rob Nixon said...

Another great read is the "Skeptical Environmentalist: The Real Sate of The World" and "Cool It; The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming by Bjorn Lomborg.

He is a statistician that admittedly bought everything that the greens fed him.

One day he bet a colleague that he could prove it all by using statistics and came to an entirely different conclusion than he thought he would find.

He addresses that ther are problems but not nearly as dire as some, Al Gore, might wnt you to believe.

By the way I am a Dolphin Hugger not a Tree Hugger! :)

Sam said...

Gosh Rob, I was expecting to hear from the "crazy uncles" and not an admitted environmentalist.

Oh and the link was underscored or in light blue font on my PC; look by the name "Sci Guy" and click. The link might pull you down the page so go up to the Tuesday one. Sci Guy is Eric, a real nice dude and helped out with IKE quite a bit.

Now Sci Guy didn't pull any shots at Roy the skeptic here. But the interesting thing is that I'm a modeler - not as sophisticated as climate change models but I know enough to get in trouble:

You can change an outcome by varying the model assumptions very easily. Especially with a model that tries to forecast anything more than 5 or at most 7 years.

Dig way deep in the Global Warming model and there is something called a "feed-back loop." Nobody knows what the heck that is except some crazy modelers noticed the numbers going nutty sometimes.

It makes sense in one situation, like melting permafrost would release more methane, a powerful greenhouse gas - so the warmer it got, the worse the situation would be, the more methane the hotter it would get.

The theory doesn't work in temperate or tropical zones, however. And then to consider that at the end of the day, the modelers say "there is a 90% chance we are right." As Roy correctly states, there is no way to prove or disprove this ... so it is complete, 100% BS.

Strangely, the climate modelers could not predict a major break-up of the Arctic sea ice, which is a big thing that does support at least natural causes or the added effects of our smokestack and tailpipe emissions. Ouch, another hard one for the modelers to explain.

I guess I could write a book, but thanks for the comments. I respect them very much. -sw

Anonymous said...

Global Warming is real but we all should be skeptical about FALSE solutions like ethanol. See fascinating video about the negative eefects of ethanol at:

http://tseday.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/the-ethanol-lie/

Abel

Sam said...

Thanks Abel I tend to put ethanol, "clean coal," and some other things in the looney bin anyway. I'm not so sure that nuclear is a great way to go although my engineer Dad says a few would be an OK idea - if we got a waste repository like Yucca Mountain working.

I don't know if you've heard of the Gist Blog but I post over there as well. My point is that we need a diversified energy plan that reduces as much as possible all the air pollution including greenhouse gases. I have also promoted better infrastructure such as electric transmission lines because we waste so much that way.

And I really like some of the marine energy sources that Rob and Surfrider like, such as offshore wind, tide, and wave turbines. -sam

~melissa said...

I am not sure about global warming. Throughout history our little pile of rocks, mud, and water has been covered by ocean, dried up....quite a few times. Currently our weather records go back, what, a hundred years or so????

But, with that said, the greenie comes out in me. What if I am wrong? what if global warming really exists? Reality is we are destroying this pile of rocks we call earth. reality is smog and pollution. With all the plastic we use, we are going to be known as the plastic people to the future generations.

We are a generation that wastes a lot. no matter what our opinion on global warming is, we need to do our part in cleaning up our little corner of the world.

I think I better get off my soapbox while I still can.

~melissa

Everett said...

Was just watching a program on the tube the other day about dino's. There were absolutely millions if not billions of those rascals breathing that O2 back then, farting, depositing piles of steaming "stuff" and wandering around in clouds of dust etc for MILLIONS of years! Does anyone think that they had anything to do with the onset/demise of the pleostiene(sp) era? As well as the one before or after? I think the whole think was a crock perpetrated just as Mr. Roy said. And look at Algore! The biggest perpetuator of the farce gets awarded a Nobel prize so he can go buy a great big assed boat to sail around on a Tenn. lake when he is not flying around in his $3-4 million jet or soaking up the cooled air in his energy gobbling "green" house. What a crock! Just my thoughts on the whole mess Sam. I'm not mad at anyone except the a**wipes that keep this thing going for there own PERSONAL gain!

Sam said...

Interesting dialogue ... Melissa about maybe that we've reached a "tipping point" and Everett saying that perhaps global warming is just another greedy, bubble market for personal gain.

I do read a bunch of stuff and biologists have found some interesting stuff that things are rapidly changing today. I don't deny the melting polar ice, the tropical plants and fish that are inching their way up north, and the changes in how the birds migrate. It's happening today.

But the whole game is something of a bet. It is now about the realities of what is happening to the climate and environment today, but what it would be 50 or 100 years into the future. In other words, we wont the there to witness it, and we're doing this for future generations. So there is a gamble - do nothing and it could be catastrophic, or spend trillions and maybe little will happen.

My crystal ball just isn't that good. One has to model, divine, predict, forecast, or somehow anticipate an outcome 50 or 100 years down the road. That's a tough sell, especially given the chances of war, disease, pestilence, ... and whatever the fourth Horseman of Death is. -sam

Anonymous said...

Mathematical proof that there is no "climate crisis" appears today in a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 10,000-strong American Physical Society, SPPI reports.
Christopher Monckton, who once advised Margaret Thatcher, demonstrates via 30 equations that computer models used by the UN's climate panel (IPCC) were pre-programmed with overstated values for the three variables whose product is "climate sensitivity" (temperature increase in response to greenhouse-gas increase), resulting in a 500-2000% overstatement of CO2's effect on temperature in the IPCC's latest climate assessment report, published in 2007.
Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered [http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/index.cfm] demonstrates that later this century a doubling of the concentration of CO2 compared with pre-industrial levels will increase global mean surface temperature not by the 6 °F predicted by the IPCC but, harmlessly, by little more than 1 °F.
The paper reveals the following:
• The IPCC's 2007 climate summary overstated CO2's impact on temperature by 500-2000%;
• CO2 enrichment will add little more than 1 °F (0.6 °C) to global mean surface temperature by 2100;
• Not one of the three key variables whose product is climate sensitivity can be measured directly;
• The IPCC's values for these key variables are taken from only four published papers, not 2,500;
• The IPCC's values for each of the three variables, and hence for climate sensitivity, are overstated;
• "Global warming" halted ten years ago, and surface temperature has been falling for seven years;
• Not one of the computer models relied upon by the IPCC predicted so long and rapid a cooling;
• The IPCC inserted a table into the scientists' draft, overstating the effect of ice-melt by 1000%;
• It was proved 50 years ago that predicting climate more than two weeks ahead is impossible;
• Mars, Jupiter, Neptune's largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth warmed;
• In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years

Lucinda said...

If you don't have any kids and never expect to....
If you don't give a rat's ass what happens to future generations -- or even current ones once you are dead and gone...
If you can justify in your own mind your own worthiness/willingness to use, abuse and waste more than your fair share of the world's resources...

Then go right ahead and keep betting the farm (and the planet it resides upon) on the hope that all those silly scientists/politicians who think we have a problem that we need to acknowledge and deal with are wrong and _you are right.

Sam said...

I'm with ya, Lucinda. I've been in the air quality business for over ten years now and all my clients want CO2 and greenhouse gas reductions, fuel savings (fuel = CO2 emissions), and less ozone and smog. At the very high levels of theory, I might still have some skeptical concerns, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything possible to get off combustion fuels and use renewables like wind power and solar. We certainly should do everything we can. -sam