Convincing the climate-change skeptics

6 thoughts on “Convincing the climate-change skeptics”

  1. Satellite Aqua has shown no increase in global temps since 1998 and a cooling of the north Atlantic decadal oscillation and Pacific decadal oscillation, with a background of increased CO2.
    Cause and effect? I think not. The evidence suggests a negative feedback scenario, due to increased albedo associated with more clouds (atmosheric water vapour is 90% of ‘greenhouse gases’), rather than the positive feedback of increasing temperature. Aside from this evidence, those of the GW church would do well to remember that their’s is a hypothesis that remains to be falsified. Their dependence on linear, deterministic mathematical models to ‘prove’ a chaotic, non-linear stochastic system is ridiculous, unscientific and implausible. However, when this dreadful myth is linked to ‘feel-good’ save the world balderdash the mix is compelling to most invertebrates and non-believers alike; it furnishes a ready made religion with St AL leading the way. Fortunately, like most cults, intelligence and science eventually prevails, although I fear it will be at the cost of impoverishment and destitution to those least able to afford it.

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  2. John, do you have a graph or raw data from the aqua satellite to hand? I searched google and couldnt find “no increase in global temps since 1998 and a cooling of the north Atlantic decadal oscillation and Pacific decadal oscillation”. The Spencer paper published here http://www.weatherquestions.com/Spencer_07GRL.pdf is only 20 degrees either side of the equator, not global temps. Luke.

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  3. Desmond is copypasting from the stories about Spencer, exaggerating that very limited report to claim it’s a “global” finding — illustrating Holdren’s point quite well. This is how confusion spreads.

    Google: http://www.google.com/search?q=AQUA+satellite+data

    When you don’t find where the guy got his notion by searching on that kind of long quoted string from the claim, break it into pieces and eventually you’ll find the source. It’s almost always — as with this one — some blog PR site misstating the result of a scientific paper the person clearly hasn’t read.

    Then someone sees that, generalizes from it, and posts it like was done here. Easy beginner error.

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  4. Thanks for the comments. This type of respectful, science-based debate is exactly what we’d love to foster here. This is what I think:

    “Satellite Aqua has shown no increase in global temps since 1998”

    This is one of the most common memes of climate change deniers. The argument is based on the fact that global mean temps. have indeed been lower in the years since 1998 (scroll down to the temp. fig in the post below that combines data from GISS, HadCRU, RSS, and UAH). This short term blip is inaccurately depicted as a “global cooling”. To repeat what I said in a previous post:

    This graph essentially represents the state of our knowledge about recent anthropogenic climate change. The world is clearly warming, not cooling. Unless you spuriously compare the last 8 years with 1998. The first half of 2008 was relatively cool (but as noted by Andrew Revkin, 2008 was between the 7th and 12th warmest since meteorological record keeping began in 1880 and the 9 warmest years in the record have occurred since 1998). Nobody said that EVERY year is going to be progressively warmer. The argument is that over the next several decades and centuries we will see a general warming trend (but certainly not ever year or everywhere).

    Yes, 2000-2008 were not as warm as 1998 but they were a lot warmer than the 100+ previous years.

    “and a cooling of the north Atlantic decadal oscillation and Pacific decadal oscillation, with a background of increased CO2. Cause and effect? I think not.”

    I know of no climatologist that have made such a cause and effect link. The cause of this pattern was simple: the extremely intense El Nino of 98/99 (which many believe was a consequence of climate change). In the years following we went into a La Nina phase. Again, you can’t look at the year-to-year variability as a signal of any type of long-term climate change. The scale is simply wrong. When climatologist point out that the 9 warmest years in the record have occurred since 1998, the record goes back to the 1880s, not just back a decade or two.

    “The evidence suggests a negative feedback scenario, due to increased albedo associated with more clouds (atmosheric water vapour is 90% of ‘greenhouse gases’)”

    The evidence, sadly, does not support this. But I’d be thrilled if we did begin to see a negative feedback. However, my understanding of this hypothesis is that the proposed feedback mechanism would take decades or centuries to kick in and reverse the warming seen over the last decade. Also note that regardless, we are already committed to further ocean acidification, no matter what happens with air temperature. Moreover, the hypothesized feedback mechanisms ONLY APPLY TO TEMPERATURE (at least in the short term, in the really long term, one could envision increased CO2 stimulating greater C4 plant biomass which could begin to suck some of the CO2 out of the atmosphere). Moreover, what many of us are realizing is that temperature may have smaller impacts than decreased ocean pH.

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  5. A good summary from Hank Roberts above of how the denialists seize on small mercies to overstae cases. I have had a go at a more general version of this here http://www.blognow.com.au/mrpickwick/106026/Atlas_Shrieked.html.

    By the way, great site, which I was unaware of. I heard Ove speak at the RZSNSW conference recently (I was also a speaker) and was impressed by his analysis of what we need to do to communicate. Some of you might find my approaches here http://www.blognow.com.au/mrpickwick/Climate_change/ over a number of years, on various international blogs and in various newspapers of interest. it seems to me that turning the denialists into figures of fun may be the only way to counteract them.

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