Home > AGW, Catastrophism, Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Science, Skepticism > The Current State Of AGW Science

The Current State Of AGW Science

Whilst blog posts are quite visible for whomever wants to read them, very good comments are more often than not lost unless they appear near the top of the heap. One example is the following extract from note #16 written by commenter Max (“manacker”) at Harmless Sky’s BBC impartiality review post, and IMNSHO one of the best summary of the current state of AGW science:

[…] The scientific method involves four steps geared towards finding truth (with the role of models an important part of steps 2 and 3 below):

  1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
  2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena – usually in the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
  3. Use of the hypothesis to quantitatively predict the results of new observations (or the existence of other related phenomena).
  4. Gathering of empirical evidence and/or performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments, in order to validate the hypothesis, including seeking out data to falsify the hypothesis and scientifically refuting all falsification attempts.

How has this process been followed for AGW?

  1. Warming and other symptoms have been observed. – DONE
  2. CO2 has been hypothesized to explain this warming. – DONE
  3. Models have been created based on the hypothesis and model simulations have estimated strongly positive feedbacks leading to forecasts of major future warming. – DONE
  4. The validation step has not yet been performed; in fact, the empirical data that have been recently observed have demonstrated (1) that the net overall feedbacks are likely to be neutral to negative, and (2) that our planet has not warmed recently despite increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, thereby falsifying the hypothesis that AGW is a major driver of our climate and, thus, represents a serious future threat; furthermore, these falsifications have not yet been refuted scientifically.

Until the validation step is successfully concluded, the “dangerous AGW” premise as promoted by IPCC remains an “uncorroborated hypothesis” in the scientific sense. If the above-mentioned recently observed falsifications cannot be scientifically refuted, it may even become a “falsified hypothesis”.

So the flaw of the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis is not that several scientific organizations have rejected it, it is simply that it has not yet been confirmed by empirical evidence from actual physical observation or experimentation, nor has it successfully withstood falsification attempts, i.e. it has not been validated following the “scientific method” (and has thus not yet become “reliable scientific knowledge”).

And this is a “fatal flaw” (and there certainly is no sound scientific basis for wrecking the global economy with draconian carbon taxes and caps as long as this “fatal flaw” has not been resolved using the scientific method). […]

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  1. 2010/11/25 at 02:09

    “Denilaists are the effective equivalent of alarmists who politicise and hijack the science. They are more interested in making emotive attacks and coming up with non-science arguments why pretending of course to be sceptics all along.”

    You are too funny. The description you give of “denialist” fits very well for many who have continued to present on the the most extreme of virtual scenarios to the public. There are many scientists in these ranks. Denialist is a pejorative term ascribed to those who did not agree with the AGW party line. The word was select precisely because of its highly charged association with denial of such things as the Holocaust. But feel free to twist in any way you wish.

    As for whether or not the Tans piece was peer reviewed by the IPCC, I find the suggestion that the IPCC is the sole body a demonstration of ignorance of the peer review process and the IPCC’s role. The IPCC is not a body which performs peer review. It alleges, however, to use peer reviewed papers in order to formulate its various reports. The revelations of late, however, reveal that even this is not the case. You might do well to actually read how those final documents are actually written. It has little to do with science. They are written, according to the IPCC rules which are online for anyone to view, by government bureaucrats in order to “insure consistency of policy.”

    It’s really tiresome discussing this with someone who has faith and very little knowledge.

    • PKD
      2010/11/25 at 11:21

      Wow – what a round about way of admitting the IPCC hasn’t accepted Tans alternate theory. Much easier to construct an answer attacking the entire conduct of the IPCC than to talk about the need for Tann’s own work to be peer reviewed just like anyone else’s.

      And I see you are still resorting to emotive smearing laden throughout your rey which I take as a clear sign of your lack of sincerity to really talk about the science. That I think is the clear difference between you and Omni – even if I disagree with 80% of what he writes at least he’s polite and civil about it. You just can’t resist making little personal attacks just because someone disagrees with you.

      Goodbye Frank.

  2. 2010/11/23 at 17:08

    “Are you saying there is no such thing as an AGW denialist?”

    That is a meaningless title. Just what is it that is being denied? The science of AGW? If so, what is the difference between being skeptical of the science, and, thus critiquing it, or denying the science. Seems to be a rather loose title that does not serve to progress scientific discussion.

    You keep yammering about the acidification of the oceans. Yet, there are many questions as to exactly how that whole process works. Like all things concerning our environment, and especially our climate, the matter is complex.
    Since you want references, though you’ve failed to provide any, here you go.

    Title: On the control of glacial-interglacial atmospheric CO2 variations by the Southern Hemisphere westerlies

    Authors: M. d’Orgeville, W. P. Sijp, M. H. England, and K. J. Meissner: Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

    Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL045261, 2010 http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010GL045261

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/acidification_co2.pdf

    • PKD
      2010/11/24 at 02:15

      Are you really telling me you’ve been following AGW since Kyoto and don’t know the meaning of the term denialist?

      Ok, let me explain it to you Frank. Sceptics are people you do not agree with AGW theory on purely science grounds. For sceptics it is simply enough for the science to be wrong.

      Denilaists are the effective equivalent of alarmists who politicise and hijack the science. They are more interested in making emotive attacks and coming up with non-science arguments why pretending of course to be sceptics all along. No one will ever admit to being a denialist in the same way noone admits to being an alarmist – but we all know they are out there!

      Now I’ll wager you don’t deny alarmists exist (I don’t ether) so hopefully you should get the concept of denialist?

      I will in any case give you the benefit of the doubt and accept you are a sceptic interested in only the science for now…although your repeated emotive attacks (‘yammering’, being a ‘hoot’ etc etc) isn’t a great start, and is getting a bit tiresome to be blunt – stick to the science ok? Thanks.

    • PKD
      2010/11/24 at 02:23

      Oh and as to the science, I see you have linked an article incorporating Pieter Tans’ 2009 study, that indicates that acidification will continue for a time before reversing back to near current level.

      Obviously Tans is disagreeing with the IPCC prediction (as graphically shown on page 4 of the report you’ve linked to) of a pH drop between ~0.4 and 0.5.

      Do you know if IPCC have peer reviewed and accepted Tans model in lieu of their own predictions?

  3. 2010/11/23 at 07:24

    PKD –

    The thing is not to paint a broad generalisation just because it’s a govt based panel as you appear to be doing. You need to treat it on a case by case basis.

    Whilst you could successfully argue the IPCC should be lifting it’s game in places, to suggest it’s completely stiching up the case for AGW would be a very long bow.

    Tsk tsk…the thing is NOT to pain a broad generalisation indeed. For example, by avoiding attribution to others of statement like “to suggest it’s completely stiching up the case for AGW“. I do not think I have ever written anything of the sort.

    • PKD
      2010/11/24 at 02:06

      Tsk, tsk yourself I think.

      While you did not say the words”“to suggest it’s completely stiching up the case for AGW“ its a pretty good summary of what you were suggesting of the IPCC when you said…

      “with an interGOVERNMENTAL panel in the room, science-only discourses are just as meaningless as politics-only ones.”

      …And I believe a casual reading of your blogs archives will unearth similar attacks on the science credentials of the IPCC.

      Otherwise, happy for you to clarify what you really meant if you don’t really think the IPCC is stitching up the case for AGW on political grounds!

      If you are not suggesting the IPCC is stictching

      • 2010/11/27 at 16:40

        > its a pretty good summary

        As I said elsewhere recently, I have no time for exegesis. If I do not say some words, I do not say those words. Please find attacks on the science credentials of the IPCC on this site rather than suggest them…I have even spent some words defending the fact that its words are (usually) quite balanced to the point of being all-comprehensive.

        The IPCC is not stitching up any case for AGW. The issue is that when scientists meet policymakers, all sorts of funny stuff happen, as listed at length in Roger Pielke Jr’s “The Climate Fix” (I have another article about it from years ago, written by an AGW believer…hopefully I’ll be able to blog about it soon).

        Scientists overeager to be helpful stretch the science, just like policymakers overeager to be at the forefront of action opt for badly-thought-out policies, all of that without any one of them being dishonest, or worse, a conspirator.

      • PKD
        2010/11/29 at 21:25

        Thanks Omni – I think I get what you were on about with the inter-govermental comment. It wasn’t really clear before so thanks for the explanation!

      • 2010/11/29 at 22:56

        No prob PKD – btw..Pielke Jr’s book makes for uncomfortable reading, regarding the IPCC. I guess if they were all like him I’d be an AGWer myself 😎 , therefore am not surprised he’s picked up some flak.

  4. 2010/11/22 at 18:14

    “I do not think the issue is so much if AGW is falsified or not, as long as we do not agree if it is falsifiable or not .”

    AMEN.

    “Both are quite important concepts in science, or perhaps you think it’s ok to have something without any potential rational explanation…which would be called faith I believe!”

    If you understood the objections to AGW theory, you would understand that those objections have nothing to do with faith.

    • PKD
      2010/11/22 at 21:21

      I certainly get the objections of the genuine sceptics out there who try and stick to the science.
      Sadly they are outnumbered by denialists who don’t give a jot about the science as they view AGW as politicised beat- up by corrupt scientists after research dollars, greenies intent on destroying the industrial world, etc etc.
      Which are you I wonder Frank, genuine sceptic, or disingenuous denialist?

      • 2010/11/22 at 21:41

        Come on PKD… with an interGOVERNMENTAL panel in the room, science-only discourses are just as meaningless as politics-only ones. So your “genuine” filter can’t work as simply as you stated

      • 2010/11/23 at 01:41

        PKD you are a hoot. You put down lots of words and say very little other than the boilerplate AGW talking points.

        Am I a skeptic? I would say that is a fair description. I’ve followed this issue since Kyoto was signed and read a great many papers and discussions on both sides. (Omnologos is perfectly correct in pointing out the political nature of the IPCC and its pronouncements.) The AGW theory does not explain the climate very well at all. In fact the variation in temperature over the last 100 years is most certainly within the norm for temperature variation. But then that would take much more space to explain to you than we have here.

        As for the term denialist, I find it interesting that you choose to even use that term. It’s a hot button, pejorative label, not unlike racist or sexist, that the global warming crowd loves to use. It is, in the end meaningless. The term disingenuous denialist is unique. I have no idea what it means and really don’t care. If it makes you feel better to use it, go ahead. When you wish to engage in a substantive discussion of the merits of your argument, we can do so.

      • PKD
        2010/11/23 at 02:17

        Possibly, though I should point out Corporate based panels have a chequered history too – vested interests clouded for years the scientific research into tobacco usage. But that’s not to say all such panels are bad – govt or private based.

        The thing is not to paint a broad generalisation just because it’s a govt based panel as you appear to be doing. You need to treat it on a case by case basis.

        Whilst you could successfully argue the IPCC should be lifting it’s game in places, to suggest it’s completely stiching up the case for AGW would be a very long bow. Not that I would
        expect this will stop you from trying to draw it! 🙂

    • PKD
      2010/11/23 at 07:11

      Wow Frank – if you ever actually say anything salient about the science then sure we might get to debate it.

      Interesting though to see you get so defensive about the word denier, but I suspect you are probably happy to use the word alarmist when it suits.

      Are you saying there is no such thing as an AGW denialist?

      • 2010/11/23 at 07:20

        PKD – what is “alarmist” historically linked to?

      • PKD
        2010/11/23 at 11:49

        Oh, I am sure you can offer me your own opinion on that – but I find alarmists as much of a pain of a butt as denialists – they’re just as opposite ends of the spectrum thats all…

  5. 2010/11/22 at 02:10

    “Surely that would be obvious – provide a better scientific theory that explains the warming trend better than AGW as per the scientific method described here.”

    Did you not read the fundamentals of scientific methodology so succinctly outlined above? Your statement reflects a fundamental, and purposeful, twisting of scientific methodology. What matters is that the theory is falsifiable and has or has not been tested and falsified, not whether there is a competing theory.

    • PKD
      2010/11/22 at 10:30

      Not only is AGW far from being falsified or disproven Frank (despite Omni’s fantasy claim that a few years of non-warm somehow disproves AGW science) we are also far from a completing theory that explains the observed warming better than AGW.

      Both are quite important concepts in science, or perhaps you think it’s ok to have something without any potential rational explanation…which would be called faith I believe! 😉

      [note from maurizio: I have edited what I believed where the typos..please let me know if I did it wrong]

      • 2010/11/22 at 11:11

        I do not think the issue is so much if AGW is falsified or not, as long as we do not agree if it is falsifiable or not 😉

      • PKD
        2010/11/22 at 14:15

        Yes, right on the fixes, like i said long day…tx!

  6. Malcolm Shykles
    2010/11/20 at 09:52

    PDK

    “The ocean is the major storage of carbon dioxide and because the solubility of gases in water decreases with the rise of temperature, heating of the ocean causes the emission of a large volume of gases into the atmosphere.”

    http://www.gao.spb.ru/english/astrometr/index1_eng.html

    • PKD
      2010/11/21 at 10:02

      So you deny the oceans are currently acidifying as their CO2 content levels increase then Malcolm?

      Hmmm….

      • Malcolm Shykles
        2010/11/21 at 11:53

        As volcanism is a continuous activity under the sea bed and has been active for quite awhile (there is a volcanic vent nicknamed Champagne because it’s output contains liquid carbon dioxide) it is reasonable to assume that the Oceans are quite well saturated with it. If this is concern to you then research it. I am happy to take the Russian view.

      • PKD
        2010/11/23 at 11:52

        Wow – evasivness if ever I saw it – c’mon Malcolm, are the oceans currently viewed as being a net CO2 sink (and therefore acidifying), or as a CO2 producer…as you seem to be claiming. References please?

  7. tadchem
    2010/11/19 at 16:44

    I salute Max for his excellent summary of the scientific method. Contrary to populist belief, ‘science’ is not a body of lore accumulated by experts called ‘scientists’, but rather a method of inquiry that systematically develops knowledge by experimentally ‘interrogating’ the observable universe. The empirical validation requirement (step 4) is what distinguishes science from pure mathematical logic, from theology, and from pure computational methods.
    The empirical universe never lies, but it often takes a trained experimentalist to understand what it is saying.

  8. PKD
    2010/11/19 at 12:00

    our planet has not warmed recently despite increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, thereby falsifying the hypothesis that AGW is a major driver of our climate

    Utterly false. No where in AGW science does it say the earth will keep warming constantly in a linear fashion to CO2. If it did, AGW models would be predicting much more than the 1-4 degress increase in acerage climate temperatures. I.e even though the CO2 levels will increase by an order of magnitude the average tempature will by increasing by a much smaller few %.

    But yes, CO2 will be the major driver for that temperature rise…but no, nowhere does it say average tempetatures will rise every year, a long straw you seem to be grasping out that invalidates your own argument…

    • 2010/11/19 at 12:53

      Kindly let us know what evidence you would accept that will falsify your AGW hypothesis. Unless you are prepared to do that, carping at someone else’s falsification criteria is disingenuous. Are we all supposed to ‘believe’ hypotheses that have not even been ‘confirmed’ even to extent of trillions of dollars that could be a complete waste, when the AGW proponents haven’t even provided a falsification criterion? AGW proponents have been making the most alarmist, and in my opinion stupid and irrational, predictions and projections for so many years that it is only a matter of time before these unrealized ‘confirmations’ will be seen to be completely non-confirmatory of the hypothesis; then we will be looking round for the falsification criteria you haven’t set yourselves, and when we don’t find them we shall be obliged to push you into the pit of your own making.

      • PKD
        2010/11/20 at 01:53

        Surely that would be obvious – provide a better scientific theory that explains the warming trend better than AGW as per the scientific method described here.

        Unless you are prepared to do that, carping at someone else’s falsification criteria is disingenuous.

        If anything is disenginious I’d argue its the authors own falsification claim that a few years without warming disproves AGW. Thats just asinine.

        AGW proponents have been making the most alarmist, and in my opinion stupid and irrational,

        Funny, thats exactly what I’d say about the authors falsification claim.

    • Malcolm Shykles
      2010/11/19 at 13:23

      If carbonated water is heated the dissolved CO2 is liberated. As the oceans warm then CO2 is released. CO2 is not the driver – it is the result of warming oceans.

      The warming oceans in turn are due to changes in currents and to the T.S.I.

      http://www.gao.spb.ru/english/astrometr/index1_eng.html

      How many Space Stations do we need to get the point over?

      • PKD
        2010/11/20 at 01:57

        One would have thought that the increasing CO2 levels in the ocean (Resulting in its acidification) despite the waters warming up would tell you something is wrong with your theory there Malcolm. Bottom line is the oceans are absorbing more CO2 than predicted, certainly more than they are releasing.

        You are right on one thing CO2 is not the driver, mans actions are.
        CO2 (and methane) are the by-products. I stand corrected there – thanks.

  9. Malcolm Shykles
    2010/11/18 at 16:01

    3. Models have been created based on the hypothesis and model simulations have estimated strongly positive feedbacks leading to forecasts of major future warming. – DONE

    Are you referring to Mathematical models or Physical Models?
    A physical model I tried showed that the effect was totally overwhelmed by convection currents.

    The phenomena recognised over 100 years ago only takes place below cloud, thereby there is no frost on cloudy days.

    Project Astrometria finally put the lid on the whole idea.

    http://www.gao.spb.ru/english/astrometr/index1_eng.html

  1. 2010/11/18 at 22:46

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