Has the AGW argument imploded?

posted at 12:05 pm on August 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Has new research disproven the theoretical models of anthropogenic global warming?  A new study by a European nuclear research group appears to show that the actual prime cause of temperature shifts in the Earth’s climate isn’t carbon dioxide at all, or even the broader range of “greenhouse gases,” but the large ball of fire in the center of the solar system.  Not that this study from CERN has attracted much attention in the media, at least not in the US — but at least Nature reported the results and the implications:

It sounds like a conspiracy theory: ‘cosmic rays’ from deep space might be creating clouds in Earth’s atmosphere and changing the climate. Yet an experiment at CERN, Europe’s high-energy physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, is finding tentative evidence for just that.

Er, it really doesn’t sound like a conspiracy theory.  The notion that the sun heats the planets is rather mundane, or at least it used to be before scientists started claiming that carbon dioxide would superheat the atmosphere.  In fact, AGW skeptics have long pointed to solar cycles as a much more likely explanation for the gradual but uneven warming seen over the last century or so.

To find out, Kirkby and his team are bringing the atmosphere down to Earth in an experiment called Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD). The team fills a custom-built chamber with ultrapure air and chemicals believed to seed clouds: water vapour, sulphur dioxide, ozone and ammonia. They then bombard the chamber with protons from the same accelerator that feeds the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle smasher. As the synthetic cosmic rays stream in, the group carefully samples the artificial atmosphere to see what effect the rays are having.

Early results seem to indicate that cosmic rays do cause a change. The high-energy protons seemed to enhance the production of nanometre-sized particles from the gaseous atmosphere by more than a factor of ten. But, Kirkby adds, those particles are far too small to serve as seeds for clouds. “At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it’s a very important first step,” he says.

Lawrence Solomon declares the science settled already in his column at the Financial Post.  He also notes that Kirby has a reason to downplay the results of the research, and it’s not because of scientific caution:

The science is now all-but-settled on global warming, convincing new evidence demonstrates, but Al Gore, the IPCC and other global warming doomsayers won’t be celebrating. The new findings point to cosmic rays and the sun — not human activities — as the dominant controller of climate on Earth. …

Nigel Calder, a former editor of The New Scientist who attended that 1996 conference, would not be cowed. Himself a physicist, Mr. Calder became convinced of the merits of the argument and a year later, following a lecture he gave at a CERN conference, so too did Jasper Kirkby, a CERN scientist in attendance. Mr. Kirkby then convinced the CERN bureaucracy of the theory’s importance and developed a plan to create a cloud chamber — he called it CLOUD, for “Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets.”

But Mr. Kirkby made the same tactical error that the Danes had — not realizing how politicized the global warming issue was, he candidly shared his views with the scientific community.

“The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” Mr. Kirkby told the scientific press in 1998, explaining that global warming may be part of a natural cycle in the Earth’s temperature.

The global warming establishment sprang into action, pressured the Western governments that control CERN, and almost immediately succeeded in suspending CLOUD. It took Mr. Kirkby almost a decade of negotiation with his superiors, and who knows how many compromises and unspoken commitments, to convince the CERN bureaucracy to allow the project to proceed. And years more to create the cloud chamber and convincingly validate the Danes’ groundbreaking theory.

Solomon says that CERN has “found the path to the Holy Grail of climate change,” although they seem intent on hiding the evidence of it.  Solomon links to a graph that Nature apparently didn’t publish, which shows the reaction from cosmic rays in the CLOUD chamber and the rapid creation of particles associated with cloud formation in the atmosphere:

The graph above does not appear in the print edition of Nature, but it does make showing at the back of the online supplementary material. The graph shows how cosmic rays promote the formation of clusters of molecules that can then grow and seed clouds in the real atmosphere.

At 03.45 am in a CLOUD experiment in Geneva, ultraviolet light began to create molecules in the cloud chamber, which approximates the air in the atmosphere. Jn above shows the neutral phase of the experiment, during which the CLOUD experiment electrically removed ions and molecular clusters. At 4.33 am, the CLOUD experiment stopped the electrical removal and allowed natural glalactic cosmic rays (Jgcr) to enter the chamber through the roof of the Geneva building, leading to a faster rate of cluster buildup.

Then, at  4.58 am, CLOUD also beamed charged pion particles (Jch) from an accelerator (these are equivalent to cosmic rays), the rate of cluster production took off, convincingly demonstrating the effect of cosmic rays on cluster growth.

British newspapers like the Register and the Telegraph have reported on the results from CERN, but it’s not received much attention from the American media.  Investors Business Daily wonders why all of those who proclaimed the supposedly “settled science” are now so quiet:

With the help of an eager media, they have spun a nearly believable tale of fright and insulated themselves well from the skeptics.

But their days are few. Truth keeps getting in the way of their indoctrination effort.

And it’s not just the CERN research creating a problem for them. They also need to explain why sea levels, like presidential approval numbers and consumer confidence, have fallen. According to NASA, the oceans are down a quarter of an inch this year compared to 2010.

Under the rules of climate change, sea levels, due to melting ice and water that expands as it warms, should be increasing in a way that we’re all supposed to believe is a threat. But NASA scientists say that El Nino and La Nina, weather cycles in the Pacific Ocean, have caused sea levels to fall.

The new CERN research is certainly promising.  I’d like to see more before we declare it a Holy Grail, however.  Scientific concepts require reproducibility for credibility, although it’s certainly true that AGW has been a glaring exception to the scientific method.  The first results of this research explain a lot of the failures of the AGW models, which relied on CO2 as a trigger for temperature increases with no correlation ever proven and no AGW climate model ever producing an accurate prediction.  Let’s stick to actual science rather than blind devotion to faith, which is all that AGW advocates have now to keep going.

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Well, there is only one possible conclusion, isn’t there?

The sun is racist.

perries on August 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM

But you just don’t understand, without Global Warming Gore has no relevance at all and would fade into the background. He just can’t stand that, besides he can’t think of a way to make money if the sun is doing it.

old war horse on August 31, 2011 at 1:55 PM

See what a little real science can do?

curved space on August 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM

I think they’ll switch to “sustainability” as their next cause.

They’ll try to get deeper into land-use policy and prevent individuals from building or developing property unless they also set up land trusts and reclamation funds.

And of course, block any use of oil they can.

Basically, anything the left can do to pile money/resources/time on the floor and set it ablaze.

Heaven forbid the far left actually provide a good, service or add value to a resource.

Jason Coleman on August 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM

This should drive the sex poodle into an explosive chakra release. Stand back! He’s going to blow! Run for your lives!

Mason on August 31, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Dear lord Mason, mental image!

perries on August 31, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Earth: 0.039% atmospheric CO2.

Result: Runaway global warming!

Mars: 95% atmospheric CO2.

Result: -63 degree C average temperature.

Beware of comparing apples and oranges. Mars is 52% farther from the sun than Earth, and only receives about 43% (=1 / 1.52^2) as much radiation from the sun as the Earth, so it should be colder.

Mars only has about 10.7% of the mass, and 38% of the gravity of the Earth, so that lighter molecules such as water vapor (molecular weight = 18), nitrogen (MW=28) and oxygen (MW=32) have long since escaped Mars’ atmosphere, leaving it extremely thin, but concentrated in heavy carbon dioxide (MW=44). Nitrogen and oxygen do not absorb infrared radiation, but the overwhelming majority of the heat-trapping effect of Earth’s atmosphere is due to water vapor, whose concentrations are 10 to 100 times greater than CO2.

Venus is of similar size, mass, and gravity to the Earth (90% of Earth’s gravity), but it receives 91% more solar radiation than Earth, so it is much hotter than Earth, too hot to allow condensation of liquid water. Venus’ atmosphere is also highly concentrated in CO2, but the major reason for its high temperature is its proximity to the Sun.

Steve Z on August 31, 2011 at 2:15 PM

For a good basis on what this all about read “The Chilling Stars” by Svensmark & Calder.

Choose_Freedom on August 31, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Penguin’s Umbrella ella ella a a a

Speakup on August 31, 2011 at 2:21 PM

And it’s not just the CERN research creating a problem for them. They also need to explain why sea levels, like presidential approval numbers and consumer confidence, have fallen. According to NASA, the oceans are down a quarter of an inch this year compared to 2010.

This could be a huge problem for global-warming alarmists. Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth(sic!)” portrayed the disastrous effects of sea levels rising by 20 feet (about 6 meters), and massive flooding due to melting icecaps would be the greatest danger from “global warming”, if it occurred.

Recent data from tidal gauges showed sea levels rising at a rate of about 2 millimeters per year (0.002 meters/yr), with a decreasing rate, meaning that it would take over 3,000 years for Gore’s disaster scenario to occur. Since the climate has cooled NATURALLY twice over the past 2,000 years (once after the Roman period circa AD 400, again after the Medieval Warm Period circa AD 1320, it would be reasonable to expect another natural cooling period during the next 3,000 years.

If NASA claims that “oceans are down a quarter of an inch” (about 6.3 millimeters) in one year, this would be a significant reversal–over 3 times the previous trend in the opposite direction!!!

It would be interesting to ask NASA what caused the drop in sea level: Thermal contraction due to a colder ocean? Evaporation and deposition of snow/ice on Antarctica and Greenland? Isostatic adjustments of the Earth’s crust (sinking of ocean floors relative to the continents?)

Steve Z on August 31, 2011 at 2:32 PM

The earth is in constant change and at times it shows very little while other times it’s big and powerful. Ask Al Gore why there is sedimentary rock layers in the mountains at thousands of feet above sea level.

mixplix on August 31, 2011 at 2:34 PM

The earth is in constant change and at times it shows very little while other times it’s big and powerful. Ask Al Gore why there is sedimentary rock layers in the mountains at thousands of feet above sea level.

mixplix on August 31, 2011 at 2:34 PM

They taught me in 5th grade, plate tectonics. Then again in 8th grade Earth Science. They had land masses floating all over the globe. Silly me seemed to make sense so I believed them. Those Shell fossils at the top of mountains sure were convincing!

IowaWoman on August 31, 2011 at 2:42 PM

I’d be curious to know if the scientists working on CLOUD noticed and discernible increase in CO2 levels during their experiment. Remember the hokey stick chart – when you actually zoom in – shows that CO2 levels increase following a raise in the temperature, not before.

If cosmic rays create molecules then perhaps they can also generate excess CO2, and if that’s the case we’re going to need a bigger catalytic converter.

smfoushee on August 31, 2011 at 3:04 PM

It always amazes me how these global warming scaremongers rail against any variation in climate, as if the weather we’re experiencing this year is all that it should ever be. The Earth’s climate must change, there is nothing static.
To try to keep something as small as a forest tract in the same state is an impossibility, how the heck do they think they can keep an entire planet that way?

smfic on August 31, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I can’t wait until all my liberal relatives and in-laws read about this in the local newspaper and hear about it on the evening news! And I can’t wait for their humble apologies for calling me a knuckle-dragging, anti-scientific tool for “big oil” for the last few years!!

Right? Right? … anyone – Bueller? Hello?

drunyan8315 on August 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

That other poster has a long history of remarkably rudeness, so I don’t extend him much courtesy.

Yes, your explanation of necessary but not sufficient is good. What is needed beyond an energy source is an organism that can exploit it. For example, plants use sunlight to synthesize carbohydrates which other animals feed on. Life (order) is a possible because of energy from an external source (thus we have an open system and the 2nd Law of Thermo is not violated). Evolution is a consequence or part of the process of life on Earth.

MJBrutus on August 31, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Ironic, considering you called me ‘too dumb.’

But, whatever.

The fact is, contrary to the simplistic claim often parroted by evolutionists like Isaak, any increase in organized complexity (i.e., decrease in entropy) invariably requires two additional factors besides an open system and an available energy supply. These are:

a “program” (information) to direct the growth in organized complexity

a mechanism for storing and converting the incoming energy.

The earth’s living systems have both of these essential elements. Each living organism’s DNA contains all the code (the “program” or “information”) needed to direct the process of building (or “organizing”) the organism up from seed or cell to a fully functional, mature specimen, complete with all the necessary instructions for maintaining and repairing each of its complex, organized, and integrated component systems. This process continues throughout the life of the organism, essentially building-up and maintaining the organism’s physical structure faster than natural processes (as governed by the 2nd law) can break it down.

Living systems also have the second essential component—their own built-in mechanisms for effectively converting and storing the incoming energy. Plants use photosynthesis to convert the sun’s energy into usable, storable forms (e.g., proteins), while animals use metabolism to further convert and use the stored, usable, energy from the organisms which compose their diets.

So we can see that living things do not in fact “violate” the 2nd law, nor are they excepted from or “irrelevant to” the 2nd law, but they actually have built-in programs (information) and energy conversion mechanisms that allow them to build up and maintain their physical structures in spite of the 2nd law’s effects (which ultimately do prevail, as each organism eventually deteriorates and dies). Every living organism itself is a highly complex and organized creation, able to live within the earth’s “open system” biosphere (the only place in the universe known to man that supports life), by means of a unique, inherent program (information, DNA), plus an inherent energy conversion & storage mechanism (photosynthesis, metabolism).

fossten on August 31, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I referred to this study a couple days ago, and there is another study I tipped Ed to in a similar vein.

Also please investigate the villages in Greenland and Northern Europe that recently emerged from the glacier. Consider, if you will (best Rod Serling immitation), these villages existed in warmer times BEFORE the glacier and um, 100 hundred foot houseboats and personal jet aircraft.

The other study mentions the idea of a possible ice age coming. Of course the AGW lunatic cultists will screech shrilly that even an ice age would be caused by AGW. Wait! they actually did. They made a movie about it too. One cannot reason with the insane.

dogsoldier on August 31, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Has the AGW argument imploded?

It was never about warming, it was about creating a crisis requiring massive new taxes and massive new federal government regulations on every aspect of every American’s life.

Oh, and it was also supposed to make Al Gore and many other top Democrats very very wealthy.

RJL on August 31, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Martha’s Vinyard, the Obama’s favorite vacation spot, are there still large vineyards or is it now too cool for vineyards to flourish?

RJL on August 31, 2011 at 4:15 PM

The one thing liberals didn’t learn in kindergarten is that the sun heats the Earth.

I’ve been shouting this for over 15 years now, since I was in grad school for atmospheric physics. You guys can guess, but you’ll never have any idea how utterly childish this theory (AGW) is.

DailyDanet on August 31, 2011 at 4:24 PM

When you come across a set of statements whose followers claim are accurate beyond questioning and when they will not tolerate debate and who want unlimited money and power over your life, you have not found a scientific theory, you’ve found a religion.

Fred 2 on August 31, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Steve Z on August 31, 2011 at 2:15 PM

The high temperatures on Venus are a result of the much higher pressure of its CO2 atmosphere than what is on the Earth or Mars.
The Gas Laws provide an adequate explanation of the differences.

chemman on August 31, 2011 at 6:05 PM

MJBrutus on August 31, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Plants use particular wave lengths of visible light coupled with elaborate chemical pathways to synthesize organic materials. Absent those coupled chemical pathways the energy provided by the sun is wasted. So it actually isn’t an open system.

chemman on August 31, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Everybody knows that Exxon funds CERN, so we can just ignore whatever they say…

redshirt on August 31, 2011 at 6:17 PM

chemman on August 31, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Of course it an open system. Energy from outside the system (the biosphere) is required.

MJBrutus on August 31, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Of course it an open system. Energy from outside the system (the biosphere) is required.

MJBrutus on August 31, 2011 at 7:16 PM

What if you change the parameters a little and look at the system as the entire solar system?

Oldnuke on August 31, 2011 at 7:40 PM

This will do nothing to quell the fervor of AGW true believers. They are not pushing their agenda to save the earth or the environment. They are doing it because they are statists who want to exert government control over every aspect of our lives.

Wingo on August 31, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Damn, and I was nearly finished my mud hut.

shaken on August 31, 2011 at 11:10 PM

A little late on this, aren’t you? This first emerged last week. The climate scientists are far from silent, having pointed out that CR nucleation was suspected to exist for a long time. But if it were the dominant process, we would see a very different pattern of temperatures of tracking solar cycles. We don’t see that pattern; at all. Skeptical Science, Bad Astronomy, Real Climate have all published rebuttals which mainly consist of revisiting the long-debunked cosmic-ray argument.

Hal_10000 on August 31, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Liberalism is an evil religion that manifests itself in numerous forms such as AGW. Most tenants of the faith advocate for the loss of various personal freedoms for all at some point to remedy the “problem”.

scotash on August 31, 2011 at 11:22 PM

The Sun? Really? Man am I glad. I’ve been losing sleep over what we did to Mars. You know, landing that solar powered rovers up there to run around all over the place heating up Mars with their little batteries. Now we know that any rise in temps on Mars, as well as Earth, was due to the Sun…

Gohawgs on August 31, 2011 at 11:52 PM

OMG! I told my kids that alien internal combustion engines in huge alien Chevrolets created supernovas. And GM on this planet knew about it. Even named a car for it.

And don’t think Cadillac named the Northstar engine by accident.

It won international engine of the year award at least twice. And the trophy has a flame!

IlikedAUH2O on September 1, 2011 at 1:01 AM

Bigger contributor to atmospheric CO2 than humans? Worms. So why isn’t there an WGW cult?

starboardhelm on September 1, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Wormypogenic Global Wiggling (WGW)

starboardhelm on September 1, 2011 at 2:02 AM

…. long-debunked cosmic-ray argument.

Hal_10000 on August 31, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Joking, right? See: Svensmark, Clouds. Never debunked. Only censored, defunded and suppressed. Real science crushed under the boot heels of political ideology, only to arise undefeated.

starboardhelm on September 1, 2011 at 2:08 AM

The first results of this research explain a lot of the failures of the AGW models, which relied on CO2 as a trigger for temperature increases with no correlation ever proven and no AGW climate model ever producing an accurate prediction.

Mr. Morrissey continues to show his lack of understanding of science (or even his deep duplicity) in declaring “no proof”. Proof (100% certainty) is not in the scientist’s vocabulary. “Proof” is what mathematicians use when all the variables and rules are already established and agreed upon, which is something that never happens in science (i.e., the real world).

Technically, he is correct that climate models have never produced an “accurate prediction”. But, then, neither has any other model produced by human brains. Yet, climate models become better by the day, along with weather forecasting models, material stress and strain models, aerodynamic models, etc. It’s called scientific progress.

As for the article in Nature, nowhere is there even a hint of discounting present theories of greenhouse gas effects in planetary warming. Rather the connections between the two are extremely well documented. But it is amusing that Morrissey attempts to use a non-scientific source ( a financial publication!), to review a scientific one.

Of course, the scientific article is interesting, and there is no doubt that the sun plays the most important role in climate change. Of course, this doesn’t mean that climate change can only occur as a result of solar cycles alone – something that climate scientists know perfectly well.

“The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” Mr. Kirkby told the scientific press in 1998,

Maybe, but the more relevant issue is what is causing the marked change in the average temperature of the earth in this century. And the culprit remains (with 90% certainty) man’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Has the AGW ‘argument’ imploded”? No. But it’s good to see that Mr. Morrissey concedes (implicitly) that we do have a warming problem.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Oldnuke on August 31, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Then you would have something close to a closed system. You’re right in that it is important to define what system we’re talking about. Since the topic was life on Earth, I took the planet and it’s biosphere to be the system under discussion.

MJBrutus on September 1, 2011 at 7:20 AM

And the culprit remains (with 90% certainty) man’s greenhouse gas emissions.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Would you please supply that data that supports the “with 90% certainty” statement.

At the same rime would you please supply the answer to the following.

Since you, oakland, accept the theory of anthropogenic global warming I have a simple question for you to address. The characteristic that defines a scientific theory is that it makes falsifiable or testable predictions. What, in your mind, would be the most reasonable and easily testable prediction that would falsify the theory of anthropogenic global warming, for you?

Yoop on September 1, 2011 at 7:24 AM

“The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” Mr. Kirkby told the scientific press in 1998,
Maybe, but the more relevant issue is what is causing the marked change in the average temperature of the earth in this century. And the culprit remains (with 90% certainty) man’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Has the AGW ‘argument’ imploded”? No. But it’s good to see that Mr. Morrissey concedes (implicitly) that we do have a warming problem.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Now that is funny right there. First, by last century, he clearly means the last 100 years, but even if not, AGW theory posits that man’s activity created the problem, which means industry between 1900 – 2000 would be by far the most “cause” rather than the last 10 years.

Or is the new argument that sure – the sun has increased the earth’s temp by a small, pretty irrelevent amount, just as it always has fluctuated over the millinium, but now, since 2000, man is really, really, really causing a spike!!!!! Of course, NASA has confirmed no warming in the last 10 years, so I guess man’s causation THIS CENTURY didn’t cause anything. Idiot.

More funny, the 90% figure you pulled out of your ass. there is no science to AGW, no actual tests, or experiments or anything else that fits the definition of science. it is nothing more than a socialist religion – you are a true believer and an idiot, nothing more.

Monkeytoe on September 1, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Yeah but those scientists at CERN are no better than racists and shouldn’t be listened to, according to Al. Or maybe he’d say they are racists and its practically a civil right to shut them up – though it’s a bit confusing these days when so many are supposed to be racists. One hiding behind every lynching tree I think the Congressional Black Caucus would say.

Chessplayer on September 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Yoop on September 1, 2011 at 7:24 AM

The “90% certainty” is not a datum. It is based on the consensus of those scientists that worked together in composing the IPCC.

What, in your mind, would be the most reasonable and easily testable prediction that would falsify the theory of anthropogenic global warming, for you?

“easy test-ability” is in the domain of simpletons.

However, as someone with a scientific background, you probably understand that “falsification” is as elusive as “proof” in scientific matters.

What we could do, I suppose, is to wait another half-century, spewing out greenhouse gases, unabated. Then, if we all perish because our food supply has been largely compromised by unpredictable and unfavorable climates, we will know that the consensus of scientists was correct. Are you willing to take that chance?

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 5:36 PM

you are a true believer and an idiot, nothing more.

Monkeytoe on September 1, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Wow! and I thought that those mealy liberals on HP had a corner on ad-hominems.

When one has no argument, indulge in name-calling.

The record, by the way, is pretty clear. The last ten years consists of nine record-setting years for the planet. It’s pretty difficult to maneuver around that stark fact.

In the future, if you want to exchange, drop the labelling and try thoughtful debate. I will never out-insult you; you’re too well practiced.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 5:39 PM

The “90% certainty” is not a datum. It is based on the consensus of those scientists that worked together in composing the IPCC.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 5:36 PM

That is just bizarre.

Consensus does NOT constitute certainty.

con·sen·sus (kən-sĕnsəs)
n.
1. An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole

cer·tain·ty (sûrtn-tē)

n. pl. cer·tain·ties
1. The fact, quality, or state of being certain: the certainty of death.

2. Something that is clearly established or assured

Yoop on September 1, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Consensus does NOT constitute certainty

Never said it did. I assume you understand the concept of confidence level.

Nothing in science is certain. That’s why there’s never proof of a hypothesis, but only levels of certainty.

When a strong consensus of experts declares that there is a 90% level of certainty (or, if you will, confidence) that humans are warming the planet, I listen.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Consensus does NOT constitute certainty

Never said it did. I assume you understand the concept of confidence level.

Nothing in science is certain. That’s why there’s never proof of a hypothesis, but only levels of certainty.

When a strong consensus of experts declares that there is a 90% level of certainty (or, if you will, confidence) that humans are warming the planet, I listen.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 6:27 PM

You obviously do not understand the application of “confidence level” in applied science.

Your use of the term “confidence level” is in the realm of what is called a non-standard application. In non-standard applications it is usually not possible to find or define rules for constructing confidence intervals that have the required properties. A useful interval is not defined as a ‘consensus of questionable experts’.

Allow me to exhibit a good example your flawed thinking. In the lead up to the predicted landfall of Hurricane Irene on New York 90% of the models indicated that Irene would be a strong Cat 1 or weak Cat 2 when landfall occurred on New York City. Also, better than 90% of the weather forecasters (experts) and weather reporters (experts) were giving the same forecasts. There was a 90% “consensus” in the models and a 90%+ consensus among the “expert” weather forecasters.

The models were 100% wrong.

The weather experts were 100% wrong.

So much for consensus and confidence levels when it concerns the science of weather forecasting and weather models.

Yoop on September 1, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Yoop on September 1, 2011 at 7:56 PM

The 90% (at least)confidence is related to the level of confidence that the present warming that we are seeing is due to activities of mankind. The consensus of the IPCC reporters determined that this was the appropriate level of confidence that they possessed at that time (at the time the report was written).

That warming is occurring is supported by massive amounts of data. And the present warming trend was forecast decades ago using much less sophisticated models than exist now.

So, there is at most a 10% chance that the present warming is attributable to something other than mankind’s activities.

The models will always be “100% wrong” because there isn’t enough data nor computing power nor basic knowldege to reach perfection in climate forecasting. However, we don’t discard models, or theories that are off by a small amount. We just build on what we have and modify by tweaking here and there. Scientific discovery is cumulative. This is something that denialists will never understand.

If you disagree with the 90% level of confidence, then take it up with the experts. I am not an expert, but trust that the bulk of them are competent at what they do.

If you have some other, more supportable rationale for the present warming, please share.

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 10:08 PM

The consensus of the IPCC reporters determined that this was the appropriate level of confidence that they possessed at that time (at the time the report was written).

oakland on September 1, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I have a 100% confidence that enough of the IPCC reporters fudged their data to fit predetermined conclusions that it invalidates their consensus. I base that confidence level upon the fact that it has been proven that they made inappropriate changes to basic historic data and discarded data that did not match their “consensus”. Their own admittances and their emails and model input prove the allegations.

The fact that you choose to deny or ignore the evidence of scientific malfeasance on the part of a significant number of “IPCC reporters” is your problem, not mine.

Yoop on September 2, 2011 at 2:04 AM

Just for the record, I believe that NASA’s explanation for the drop in sea levels this year is greater rainfall over land, due to El Nino/La Nina cycles.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/weather-cycles-cause-a-drop-in-global-sea-level-scientists-find/2011/08/25/gIQA6IeaeJ_story.html?hpid=z4

Me, I think it was due to Barak Obama’s nomination for the office of President of the United States by the Democratic Party, as he suggested in his speech. That was the moment. Hope and Change.

For me, the most relevant aspects of the CERN story are the temporarily-successful quashing of research into the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation and the more recent warnings that scientists involved in the research should not go public with their conclusions. Post-Normal Science demonstrates its power once again.
http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/03/post-normal-science-as-proof-for-global.html http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/03/what-is-post-normal-science.html

KarenT on September 2, 2011 at 7:55 AM

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