Posts Tagged ‘AGW’
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 7, 2014
If you live in North America, then no doubt you’re aware of the so-called polar vortex which has come down from the Arctic to freeze the hell out of the continent. And, just as surely as the temperatures started to drop, global warming deniers began to shout about how this supposedly proves that global warming isn’t real.
Okay, so you see here’s the thing… it’s called *global* warming because the whole globe, on average, is getting warmer. Saying that a cold snap disproves global warming is like saying that the IRS no longer exists because you got a tax refund once.
See all that red? Yeah, that’s where the climate is getting warmer. And notice how there’s more red than blue? [image source]
I’ve blogged about this very topic before, namely that “climate” isn’t the same thing as “weather”, but seeing as how the deniers are once again spouting their nonsense, it bears repeating…
… The primary flaw in this argument is good ol’ fashioned cherry-picking of data: the “coolers” are choosing to focus only upon data which supports their claims, while ignoring the vast amount of data which points in exactly the opposite direction. By focusing on just the weather reports over the last couple of weeks, or for only a certain part of the planet, they leave out the fact that climate is a phenomenon which is global in nature and that climate science is concerned with long term trends. Essentially, they are confusing weather with climate. Climate experts recently made this point in an Associated Press article which has been widely circulated.
Bottom line: when taking all of the data into account, both concerning the timeline as well as the Earth as a whole, there is a clear warming trend. …
There are some other really good articles about this latest confusion regarding how the polar vortex fits into the broader picture of global warming. For your reference, I’ll suggest two of them:
This article is really good because it goes through some of the basics about global warming and climate change in general, and then it emphasizes the importance of temperature trends and statistical analysis of the data. My favorite part is as follows:
… Global warming isn’t expected to abolish winters in the U.S. anytime soon. Right now, climate experts are worried about a 2°C to 4°C rise in global average temperatures by the end of the century. That would create all sorts of disruptive changes. But those few degrees aren’t enough to completely undo the larger swings in temperature we see each year between summer and winter in many parts of the world.
Indeed, many climate models suggest that we’ll still see record cold snaps in the United States as the planet heats up. They’ll just become much less frequent over time — while record heat waves will become increasingly common. See this paper in Geophysical Research Letters from 2009: Over the past decade, it notes, the U.S. has experienced about two daily record high temperatures for every record low. If the planet keeps heating up, that ratio will shift to 20:1 by mid-century. There will still be record lows in many areas. They’ll just be rarer. …
This is a humorous and informative post from my skeptical colleague Greg Laden wherein he lays out just how it’s possible for global warming to actually account for the polar vortex phenomenon:
… The apparent contrast between extreme cold and global warming is actually an illusion. If we look at the local weather in many parts of the US we see a giant blob of cold “Arctic air” moving south to engulf our humble hamlets and cities, as though the Arctic Coldness that we know is sitting on the top of our planet, like a giant frosty hat, is growing in size. How can such a thing happen with global warming?
Actually, if you think about it, how can such a thing happen at all? Imagine a somewhat different scenario. Imagine the giant global hulu-hoop of warmth we know of as the tropics suddenly expanding in size to engulf the United States, Europe, Asia, and in the south, southern South America, southern Africa, Australia, etc. for a week or so, then contract back to where it came from. How could that happen? Where would all the heat necessary for that to happen come from? That seems to be a violation of some basic laws of physics. Now, cold is not a thing — it is the absence of heat — but the same problem emerges when we imagine the giant frosty hat of arctic air simply getting many hundreds of percent larger, enough to engulf the temperate regions of the planet. As easy as it might be to imagine such a thing given the images we see on regional weather maps, it is in fact not possible. The physics simply does not work that way.
What is happening instead is the cold air mass that usually sits up on the Arctic during the northern Winter has moved, drooped, shifted, gone off center, to engulf part of the temperate region. Here in the Twin Cities, it is about 8 below zero F as I write this. If I go north towards the famous locality of International Falls (famous for its cold temperature readings often mentioned on the national news) it will in fact be colder. If I go even farther north, at some point it will start to get warm again, as we leave the giant blob of cold air that has engulfed us. In fact, it is relatively warm up on the North Pole right now. Alaska and Europe are relatively warm as well.
The graphic above from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts shows what is happening. The Polar Vortex, a huge system of swirling air that normally contains the polar cold air has shifted so it is not sitting right on the pole as it usually does. We are not seeing an expansion of cold, an ice age, or an anti-global warming phenomenon. We are seeing the usual cold polar air taking an excursion. …
Of course, I don’t expect any of this to phase the hardcore global warming deniers, because they’re off in a fantasy world of their own. No doubt that next time winter strikes the northern hemisphere, they’ll be back spouting this nonsense once again; it’s just plain sad and predictable. I almost feel sorry for them. I mean, how can you not feel sorry for them when this moron is one of their primary spokesmen?
Posted in global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, anthropogenic global warming, arctic, carbon emissions, cherry picking, climate change, conservative, coolers, denial, deniers, Donald Trump, global cooling, global warming, GW, hoax, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, liberal, myth, polar, politics, pseudoscience, skeptic, skepticism, Trump, vortex, winter | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 19, 2012
In a welcome development, the state of California has taken climate science deniers head on. At the website of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, there is a link titled “Climate Change: Just the Facts”. The thing which makes this such a welcome development isn’t that the California governor, Jerry Brown, is promoting the science of climate change and global warming, but this website also takes on the climate science deniers and their claims directly. Take a look and encourage your state government to act in a like manner:
Climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to California’s economy, environment, and to public health. California’s groundbreaking efforts are helping reduce greenhouse gases emissions, which are warming the planet. The state is also taking action to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change, including the increased likelihood of both flooding and drought.
While California is taking action, some of those who oppose the move to renewable energy and cleaner transportation have mischaracterized the science of climate change in an effort to create artificial uncertainty about the existence and causes of climate change.
The fact is that on the key issues, the science is clear: climate change is real and happening now; human-made greenhouse gas emissions are affecting our planet; and we need to take action. Just as we reached a point where we stopped debating whether cigarette smoke causes cancer, we need to end the climate change debate and focus on how to solve the problem.
We have compiled the key facts about climate science, the expert consensus, and some of the common arguments from and responses to those who spread doubt and confusion to prevent action:
Posted in global warming denial, politics | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, California, climate change, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, denialism, denier, Earth, global warming, governor, GW, hoax, hockey stick, Jerry Brown, policy, politics, science, skeptic, solar, Sun, temperature | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 17, 2012
As many of you know, one of the best pro-science groups out there is the National Center for Science Education; they specialize in defending the teaching of evolutionary science while simultaneously battling attempts by creationists to push their non-scientific ideas into the public schools. However, in recent months the NCSE has brought its expertise into a new fight: the climate science wars. Many climate science deniers employ the same kinds of tactics in their denial of global warming as creationists apply in their denial of evolution, and the NCSE decided it was time to start exposing these pseudo-scientific tactics. So, to help facilitate this process, I wanted to share with you a talk by NCSE’s climate expert Mark McCaffrey wherein he dissects climate change denial; the use of doubt, delay, and denial; myths and misperceptions deniers push, and more…
Posted in creationism, education, global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, climate change, creationism, delay, denial, denialism, denier, doubt, education, educators, Eugenie Scott, evolution, Genie Scott, global warming, GW, ID, intelligent design, Mark McCaffrey, misperceptions, National Center for Science Education, NCSE, public, schools, science, skeptical, skeptics, teachers, teaching | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 19, 2012
There was some very welcome news this week on the science education front: the National Center for Science Education, long associated with the strong defense of evolutionary science curricula in public schools, is now joining the cause of defending climate science from the deniers. This statement from the NCSE illustrates why they’ve taken this important step…
NCSE has long focused upon defending and promoting the teaching of evolution and the nature of science. Why are we now adding climate change to this list?
Although both evolution and climate change are accepted by the scientific community, both topics remain controversial among the public. As a result, teachers trying to teach evolution and/or climate change too often face opposition in their communities. Such opposition is based on ideology, not science, although the ideologies differ: religious ideologies in the case of evolution, economic and political ideologies in the case of climate change. In both cases, the result is that teachers are pressured to downplay these topics, misrepresent them as scientifically controversial, and air supposedly scientifically credible alternatives to them.
There are parallels, then, in the ways these two scientific topics are viewed by the general public, in the reasons for the widespread rejection of them by a substantial portion of the public, and in what happens when teachers try, responsibly, to teach them. So we decided to do what we can to help. …
In true NCSE fashion, they provide a page of resources for teachers, scientists, parents, and concerned citizens to help with the promotion of good climate science education while also battling back against the climate science deniers. Check it out and pass it along…
Posted in creationism, education, global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, climate change, creationism, denial, denialism, denier, education, educators, Eugenie Scott, evolution, Genie Scott, global warming, GW, ID, intelligent design, National Center for Science Education, NCSE, public, schools, science, teachers, teaching | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 16, 2012
I recently listened to an episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast titled “The Debunking Handbook” which dealt with the question of how to most effectively go about “debunking” various myths, pseudosciences, and misconceptions. The general thrust of the episode, which I highly recommend, is that most of us who call ourselves skeptics don’t really do that good of a job of communicating our debunking in a successful manner. In fact, many skeptics actually make the problem worse by inadvertently reinforcing the bunk they are trying to debunk!
Needless to say, this kind of thing is right up my alley, and I think it is well worth your while to take heed of the advice given in “The Debunking Handbook”…
Posted on 27 November 2011 by John Cook, Stephan Lewandowsky
The Debunking Handbook, a guide to debunking misinformation, is now freely available to download. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, there’s no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of myths. The Debunking Handbook boils the research down into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation.
The Handbook explores the surprising fact that debunking myths can sometimes reinforce the myth in peoples’ minds. Communicators need to be aware of the various backfire effects and how to avoid them, such as:
Posted in psychology, skeptical community | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, anthropogenic global warming, backfire effect, bunk, climate change, debunk, debunker, debunking, Debunking Handbook, denial, deniers, global warming, GW, John Cook, misconception, misinformation, myths, podcast, Point of Inquiry, pseudoscience, psychology, science, skeptic, skeptical, Skeptical Science | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 24, 2011
[**Update (10-30-11): It seems the deniers have already started to respond to this news. One interesting response is apparently to accuse Prof Richard Muller, the skeptical physicist behind the Berkeley Earth Project, of a Climategate-like scandal (I guess the deniers now view him as a “traitor”): http://news.yahoo.com/skeptic-finds-now-agrees-global-warming-real-142616605.html ]
In a bit of news which kind of goes into the “truth is stranger than fiction” category, I wanted to share with you all the latest in the ongoing drama that is the “Climategate” fiasco. (If you need to get up to speed on the whole “Climategate” thing, just see some of my earlier blog posts here, here, and here)
To date, there have been multiple investigations into the allegations that the worldwide community of climate scientists is somehow conspiring to cover up “the truth” that global warming is really just a hoax, and all of these investigations have shown the exact opposite. However, in true conspiracy theorist fashion, many ideologically-driven climate change deniers (I refuse to call them “skeptics”, because they are not skeptical in the positive sense of that word) have clung to the idea that somehow there is a vast plan on the part of scientists all over the planet to deceive the rest of us into believing that the Earth is warming and that humans are contributing significantly to it.
As such, it seems that there was an effort by many of these deniers to prop up their conspiracy theory by performing their own independent analysis of the climate data. However, in an interesting twist, it seems that upon completing their analysis, the researchers tapped by the deniers actually concluded the opposite of what they had hoped: global warming is indeed real! It’s all outlined in this recent BBC article…
The Earth’s surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the “Climategate” affair has concluded.
The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and Nasa.
The project received funds from sources that back organisations lobbying against action on climate change. …
That’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? The climate change deniers decide that all the science on the topic isn’t trustworthy, so they hire a group of their own investigators to look at the data, and they end up getting exactly the same conclusions as has been stated for years by the international climate science community. It gets better…
… The project was established by University of California physics professor Richard Muller, who was concerned by claims that established teams of climate researchers had not been entirely open with their data.
He gathered a team of 10 scientists, mostly physicists, including such luminaries as Saul Perlmutter, winner of this year’s Nobel Physics Prize for research showing the Universe’s expansion is accelerating.
Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.
“I was deeply concerned that the group [at UEA] had concealed discordant data,” Prof Muller told BBC News.
“Science is best done when the problems with the analysis are candidly shared.”
The group’s work also examined claims from “sceptical” bloggers that temperature data from weather stations did not show a true global warming trend.
The claim was that many stations have registered warming because they are located in or near cities, and those cities have been growing – the urban heat island effect.
The Berkeley group found about 40,000 weather stations around the world whose output has been recorded and stored in digital form.
It developed a new way of analysing the data to plot the global temperature trend over land since 1800.
What came out was a graph remarkably similar to those produced by the world’s three most important and established groups, whose work had been decried as unreliable and shoddy in climate sceptic circles. [emphasis added]
In fact, below is a copy of that graph: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, Berkeley Earth Project, Britain, climate change, Climate Research Institute, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, CRU, denialism, denier, Earth, emails, global warming, GW, hacked, hacking, hide the decline, hoax, hockey stick, House of Commons, investigation, Koch, Koch brothers, Muller, Phil Jones, Prof Muller, Richard Muller, science, skeptic, solar, Sun, temperature, trick, UK, United Kingdom, University of East Anglia | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on May 28, 2011
You may know that one of the most common arguments used by creationists as they attempt to push their fundamentalist religious beliefs in the public schools is the “teach the controversy” strategy. In this argument, creationists claim there is some kind of scientific “controversy” about the theory of evolution, as if scientists are in disagreement about the theory when in fact quite the opposite is true – there is broad acceptance of evolution among biologists. This style of argumentation is widely recognized for what it is: an attempt to delegitimize science in the public schools because of a rigidly held ideology.
Now it seems that recently there is another kind of anti-scientific ideology rearing its ugly head which is trying to use the same kind of “teach the controversy” approach: climate change denial. And the use of “teach the controversy” in regards to climate change and global warming has now gone beyond mere rhetoric, because the climate change denialists are now pushing this tactic in public schools in the United States…
A school board in California has attracted headlines over the past few days for voting unanimously that a new environmental science class starting this autumn must include “multiple perspectives” on the science of global warming.
Four board members of the Los Alamitos Unified School District voted to list the class – which was taught to 15,000 public school students across California in 2008-09 (pdf of class description) – as a “controversial topic”, meaning the teacher must explain to the board annually how opposing views are to be taught.
Echoing similar efforts at school boards in other US states, the move has been criticised by some commentators. One parent of a pupil at Los Alamitos Unified School told the Orange County Register: “There is consensus in the field that we have global warming happening, it is getting warmer and it is related to what we are doing to the planet. That is not in dispute in the scientific community. It is in dispute in the political community. This is a science class. Teach science.” …
The writer of this article sat down to interview the architect of this anti-scientific move, Dr. Jeffrey Barke, and the conversation is very revealing. I’ll include key excerpts below (the interviewer’s questions & comments are bolded and Dr. Barke’s follow) and follow them up with my comments.
What’s been the feedback since this news was first reported?
The feedback has been primarily from left-wing blogs and zealots who believe that to suggest there is a point of view to be discussed that is different to the dogma of global warming is, in and of itself, controversial. Our perspective simply was we had asked the teachers to present a balanced perspective to the children as it relates to a new course that we brought forward called Advanced Placement in Environmental Science. And this class is one that is most commonly offered at the universities, but some high schools offer it as well.
So, after reviewing the syllabus, we found a lot of information about global warming and man-caused effects on the environment etc. Our worry was the kids would be presented simply with one perspective and we wanted to make sure they had a balanced view so we simply updated a policy we already have on the books regarding controversial issues. It simply asks that when a class is taught containing potentially controversial issues that we ask the teacher not to get the kids to believe in a particular perspective or point of view, but simply that the teachers present both sides of the equation in a fair-and-balanced manner.
Ah, the “teach all views” argument. The problem is that, in science, not all views are equal. Science is not a process driven by simply expressing your point of view and then arguing over it, like in a high school debate. In science, the most accepted views are those which are supported by experimental and observational evidence which can be explained by well-understood theories. The opinion of the scientist (or in this case, the school board member) doesn’t really matter. For example, read more here about how the climate science community is strongly in support of the consensus that global warming is happening and is heavily influenced by human activity. When so many climate science experts are in such strong agreement, then it is a pretty fair bet the science is settled and there is no “alternate viewpoint” with any validity to present.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in education, global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, Bjorn Lomborg, California, climate change, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, creationism, denialism, denier, Dr Jeffrey Barke, Earth, education, global warming, GW, Ian Plimer, International Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, school board, schools, science, skeptic, solar, Sun, teach all views, teach the controversy, temperature, United States | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 5, 2011
In the latest update from the Climate Science Wars, it has been shown – once again and for the fourth time – through an independent investigation that climate scientists did NOT manipulate data on global warming, as some global warming denialists & conspiracy theorists have claimed.
In the now infamous Climategate fiasco, it was claimed that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit had manipulated and even fabricated data to make human-caused global warming seem real or worse than it really was. Of course, we now know that such claims on the part of the deniers & conspiracy mongers are nothing more than so much hot air. However, what many people don’t know is that these anti-science ideologues did not just level their charges at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit; they also attempted to smear climate scientists working for the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But now, just as with Climategate, a detailed, independent investigation has shown that there is no evidence of scientific fraud, manipulation, or fabrication regarding the climate data…
An inquiry by a federal watchdog agency found no evidence that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manipulated climate data to buttress the evidence in support of global warming, officials said on Thursday.
The inquiry, by the Commerce Department’s inspector general, focused on e-mail messages between climate scientists that were stolen and circulated on the Internet in late 2009 (NOAA is part of the Commerce Department). Some of the e-mails involved scientists from NOAA.
Climate change skeptics contended that the correspondence showed that scientists were manipulating or withholding information to advance the theory that the earth is warming as a result of human activity.
In a report dated Feb. 18 and circulated by the Obama administration on Thursday, the inspector general said, “We did not find any evidence that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data.”
Nor did the report fault Jane Lubchenco, NOAA’s top official, for testifying to Congress that the correspondence did not undermine climate science. …
Of course, that won’t stop the ideologues from pursuing their politically or ideologically-driven agenda to misrepresent the science…
… The inquiry into NOAA’s conduct was requested last May by Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who has challenged the science underlying human-induced climate change. Mr. Inhofe was acting in response to the controversy over the e-mail messages, which were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, a major hub of climate research.
Mr. Inhofe asked the inspector general of the Commerce Department to investigate how NOAA scientists responded internally to the leaked e-mails. Of 1,073 messages, 289 were exchanges with NOAA scientists. …
… NOAA welcomed the report, saying that it emphasized the soundness of its scientific procedures and the peer review process. “None of the investigations have found any evidence to question the ethics of our scientists or raise doubts about NOAA’s understanding of climate change science,” Mary Glackin, the agency’s deputy undersecretary for operations, said in a statement.
But Mr. Inhofe said the report was far from a clean bill of health for the agency and that contrary to its executive summary, showed that the scientists “engaged in data manipulation.” [emphasis added]
So, because the independent investigation showed that there was NO EVIDENCE of inappropriate data manipulation, Senator Inhofe says that it showed there WAS evidence of such manipulation. Excuse me?!! What’s next, Senator: Are you going to claim day is night or that up is down? What kind of Bizzarro World is this guy living in?
The reaction of Senator Inhofe and other climate change deniers clearly shows the frustration in dealing with people who do not allow evidence & the scientific process to guide their thinking. They come up with a conclusion first, and then disregard any evidence to the contrary – even going so far as to publicly state the exact opposite of what the evidence actually shows, as the Senator so stupidly did above. They, sadly, have deluded themselves into thinking that the universe will somehow – magically – change itself to adhere to what they think it should be like, instead of see the world as it really is on its own terms. These people revel in their ignorance, it seems.
The irony here is that the people claiming that the climate science data are manipulated are themselves the ones guilty of manipulation. It would be a pretty good joke if it weren’t so true & if the potential consequences weren’t so serious.
Posted in global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, Britain, climate change, Climate Research Institute, Climategate, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, cover up, CRU, denialism, denier, Earth, emails, global warming, GW, hacked, hacking, hide the decline, hoax, hockey stick, House of Commons, Inhofe, International Panel on Climate Change, investigation, IPCC, London, Michael Mann, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Oklahoma, Phil Jones, Republicans, Royal Society, science, Senator, skeptic, solar, Sun, temperature, trick, UK, United Kingdom, United States, University of East Anglia | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 26, 2010
I was listening recently to a Point of Inquiry podcast, where host Chris Mooney interviews John Abraham & Scott Mandia concerning the a new initiative called the Climate Rapid Response Team. I felt it worth passing along, so here ’tis…
November 19, 2010
Host: Chris Mooney
For the community of scientists who study the Earth’s climate, these are bewildering times.
They’ve seen wave upon wave of political attacks. They’re getting accustomed to a public that grows more skeptical of their conclusions even as scientists grow more confident in them.
No wonder there’s much frustration out there in the climate science world—and now, a group of researchers have organized to do something about it. Their initiative is called the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, and it pledges to organize dozens of researchers to help set the record straight. …
Posted in global warming denial | Tagged: AGW, anthropogenic, anthropogenic global warming, Chris Mooney, climate, climate change, Climate Change Rapid Response, denial, denialism, environment, global warming, GW, John Abraham, media, outreach, podcast, Point of Inquiry, public, scientists, Scott Mandia, skeptic, skepticism, weather | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 30, 2010
The answer is YES! That’s because when you compare the tactics employed by climate-change deniers to those employed by creationists, they are practically identical. Eugenie Scott, the director of the NCSE, elaborates in more detail…
Please consider supporting the NCSE and their important work. They are a valuable resource, one with whom I have consulted (and helped others consult) on numerous occasions. Their experience in matters such as these is invaluable, so if you have any questions and/or concerns, contact them.
Posted in creationism, education, global warming denial, skeptical community | Tagged: AGW, Al Gore, anthropogenic, climate change, climate science, creationists, denialism, deniers, education, Eugenie Scott, global warming, GW, National Center for Science Education, NCSE, public school, science, teachers, teaching | Leave a Comment »