Recently, there’s been plenty of gnawing of climateblogging teeth for the silliest of reason. Simply, Willis “Rooster Cogburn” Eschenbach took umbrage of Tallbloke and posted at WUWT what was later revealed an act in some kind of psychodrama (with plenty of censored comments – my own comment to the latter, including a “GET A LIFE” exhortation,
hasn’t has finally seen the light of day as yet).
Tallbloke has responded here and here. The end result has been that WUWT has apparently transmogrified into Climate Progress, after celebrating its 100M hit. Not sure how long I’ll hang around it, unless things change.
And the topic that has caused so much heating? If there is any gravitational explanation for the “greenhouse effect”. Cue millions of words written for nothing.
The actual problem as I see it is called “solutionizing”.
People tackle the problem of why bumblebees fly, some ideas are thrown around, those ideas are incomplete, so people come to the conclusion that since there is no solution to the problem, bumblebees don’t fly.
In the meanwhile, bumblebees fly. Back to square one.
In management circles, this is all pointed out as a fundamental error…the fact that you don’t have a solution doesn’t mean the problem is impossible to solve. It simply means you should concentrate on analysing the problem and in collecting more data, rather than immediately try to identify a solution.
For those harder in understanding, the observation is that independently from the composition of the atmosphere and the presence of a solid surface underneath it, every planetary atmosphere in the solar system has a “troposphere”, defined as the part where downward lapse rates are positive, i.e. temperatures increase as the distance from the top of the troposphere increase.
The same thing applies to any self-standing gas cloud anywhere in the universe. There is always a surface “below” which temperatures increase with pressure. Otherwise stars won’t ever ignite.
Now if this is because of whatever Hans has said, or N&Z, or it’s Tooth Fairies, that is not a question that will ever be answered in blogs (and especially, in their comment sections). But anybody stating that what the whole cosmos is alight by is “impossible”, they do have a problem telling truth from fantasy.
Some interesting ideas that are surfacing at Judith Curry’s “Cloud wars” blog post, leading to the conclusion that there might as well be no such a thing as a “pure” climate forcing.
A “pure” climate forcing (i.e. one that occurs only as a forcing to the climate system, not also as a feedback) is of course an independent input to the system. IOW it is an independent variable that will provide its “push” in a specific direction whatever the value of all other variables.
It sounds obvious (maybe not to the average Climate Believer) that a great deal of so-called forcings aren’t: clouds of course (both a forcing and a feedback, perhaps on different timescales); but also CO2 emissions (as noted by commenter Eric Ollivet), water vapor, and pretty much anything that happens in the atmosphere.
One is left with the influence of other planets, of volcanoes, and of course of the Sun. But are those true and “pure” forcings, really?
For example, who’s going to demonstrate that the atmosphere will respond predictably and progressively if the Sun input to it varies, and everything else remains equal? For all we know, the Sun could be a positive forcing up to a point, then negative, then positive again, or simply positive but by different amounts following a complex multi-step function that moves up and down, all according to the atmosphere’s initial status.
Every reduction and simplification seems poised to destroy our ability to understand the climate itself. We might be ending up trying to apply statistics and/or computer models simply to distract us from the underlying truth: perhaps, in climate science, the only good map IS the territory. And the only hope to understand the climate, is by considering it whole.
Recent entries from the Warmist camp:
- Genghis Khan was good regarding CO2 emissions, in particular due to his mass-killing attitude
- Nuclear war is good for global warming, as it reverses it for a while (no prob there, we can start a new war when needed)
- Exploding people including children is good for action against global warming/CO2 emissions/climate change
Who’s going to join the dots and push the appropriate nuclear button, for the good of the planet of course?
Yes it’s another old New York Times article, this time from July 12, 1953. Stories of unusual weather, retreating ice caps, extreme events (at the time it was tornadoes). Yada yada yada.
Couple of interesting details. Journalist Leonard Engel provides a list of past attributions to human activities:
Unusual weather inevitably stirs up speculation as to the cause, in part, no doubt, because we like to talk about the weather anyway. And prominent event coincident with the exceptional weather is apt to be blamed. Heavy rains during World War I were popularly attributed to artillery bombardments in France. During the Twenties and Thirties it was fashionably to lay abnormal weather (along with other odd occurrences) to changes in the sunspot cycle. Today the popular villains of freak weather are atom-bomb tests and the activities of rainmakers.
Engel mentions also greenhouse gases and in particular the concentration of CO2
In 1850 the air contained somewhat less than thirty parts of carbon dioxide per 1,000 parts of air. In the hundred years since, industrialized, urbanized man has poured unprecedented quantities of carbon dioxide out of home and factory chimneys […] As a result, there are now thirty-three parts of the gas per 1,000 in the atmosphere instead of thirty.
Assuming Engel was just victim of some conversion mistake, and he meant 330ppm, it is curious to note that the figure is somewhat off Keeling’s original 1955 value of 310ppm.
It’s all nice and dandy for “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” to mention a video with Isaac Asimov talking of the “greenhouse effect” as the “most interesting” scientific effect of 1988 (why, isnt’t that the year of the staged Hansen visit to the US Congress). It’s a different thing to forget what else The Good Doctor had to say, about science and everything. For example:
Science is uncertain. Theories are subject to revision; observations are open to a variety of interpretations, and scientists quarrel amongst themselves. This is disillusioning for those untrained in the scientific method, who thus turn to the rigid certainty of the Bible instead. There is something comfortable about a view that allows for no deviation and that spares you the painful necessity of having to think.
There is more, all of it blatantly incompatible with the mindset of consensus-obsessed AGWers:
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …’
Clarke’s First Law – Corollary: When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion—the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.
I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What does the scientist have to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity!
Italian newspaper “La Stampa” has just put online its 1867-today archive (yes, it IS in Italian). What better chance (well, for me at least…) to explore the evolution of “global cooling” thinking in the 1970s beyond the usual English-speaking newsmedia? With the added bonus of plenty of names and other key words to use as…keywords for further research.
Very briefly: in the 15 articles I have found so far:
- the popularity of scientists predicting an ice age is very clear up to the Feb 1979 meeting of the World Meteorological Organization
- “upcoming ice age” is the meme du jour up to 1985 at least
- there is a warmist slant in 1990 but strangely, the arguments of discussion are more or less the same still central to the debate in 2010
This collection strongly indicates that in Italy, like elsewhere, the average reader of newspapers would have had all the reasons to believe in a “global cooling consensus” for much of the 1970’s and even later.
Here’s the article list:
1. June 22, 1976 (n.145, p.14): “Entro cento anni avremo una era glaciale” – “Within a hundred years we’ll get an ice age” by Umberto Oddone
- Mentions Reid Bryson
- “not all scientists agree”
- a Cesare Emiliani from the University of Miami investigates 700,000 years of sea-shells Oxygen isotopes
- icebreaker “Glacier” gets “stuck in the Atlantic”
2. June 27, 1976 (n.150, p.9): “Tra ghiacci e siccita'” – “Between ice and drought” by Umberto Oddone
- Earth is “having a fever”
- Bryson again
- Cesare Emiliani and sea-shells analysis, again
3. Oct 19, 1976 (n.229, p.21): “Fra pochi anni inverni freddissimi – In Siberia spariranno i cereali?” – “Very cold winters within few years – will grains disappear from Siberia?” by Bruno Ghibaudi
- 30 years of cooling trend
- Not a new ice age but hard consequences expected for the USSR
- Mentions Prok Nikola Volkov, Director, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Leningrad
- Kara Sea temperature having dropped from -10C to -13C in 30 years
- Nearby polar seas, decreases of 1 or 2C
- Sea lanes to Murmansk and Arkangelsk closed by the ice in the early 1900’s, open in 1941-45, now 60% closed again
- Two teams of French scientists complete research in the Antarctic.
- Oxygen-isotope analysis indicates climate cycles, with a new cold peak in 3000AD and a warm peak in 9000AD
- Mentions human influence, possible apocalyptic consequences
- Recommends an international program to control climate
4. Feb 14, 1977 (n.29, p.3): “E’ giunta l’era glaciale” – “The ice age has come” by Alberto Rapisarda
- Bryson again. Must have been very popular.
5. Jan 3, 1978 (n.1, p.3): “Si torna all’era glaciale?” – “A return to the ice age?” by Umberto Oddone
- Mentions a new book “Climatologia” by Prof. Mario Pinna
- Suggests getting warm clothes ready, for a few decades or for thousands of years
6. Apr 14, 1978 – (n.85, p.15): “Aiuto, arriva l’era glaciale” – “Help, the ice age is coming” (unsigned article)
- “Many meteorologists” “convinced” about upcoming little ice age
- Climate for 90% of the time warmer than at present
- Causes of the cooling: disagreement
- According to Juri Izrael, Hydrometer Service Director for the USSR: deforestation, landscape changes
- According to James Hays of Columbia University and Nicholas Shackelton of Cambridge University: orbital changes
- Hurd Willett of MIT mentioned as expecting lower temps
- “Many meteorologists” of the opinion that “it’s all due to changes in the Sun”
7. Apr 27, 1978 (n.95, p.9): “Siamo alla soglia dell’era glaciale?” – “Are we on the edge of an ice age?” by Umberto Oddone
- Mentions “18 known American climatologists” and a series of articles on Die Welt
- North Polar ice cap increases from 1971 to 1978 by 12%
- Antarctic ice mass increase from 1966 to 1967 by 10%
- Global temperature down in 30 years by 0.5C
- Mentions Bryson expecting a return to the little ice age
- Mentions other climatologists as far more pessimist (“big” ice age) – work by the Impact Team headed by climatologist William Colby, former head of the CIA – “snowblitz”
- Mentions Dansgaard
- Mentions Calder as reporting the opinion of “not few” scientists
8. Jan 4, 1979 (n.3, p.4): “Sta per cominciare un’era glaciale – secondo meteorologi giapponesi” – “An ice age is coming – according to Japanese meteorologists” by press agency Ansa-Reuter
- Mentions Junkichi Nemoto – University of Saitama – saying a “little ice age” is already underway
- Mentions WMO conference in Feb 1979 in Geneva
9. Jan 9, 1979 (n.8, p.28): “Ma perche’ parlare di era glaciale?” – “And why all the talk of an ice age?” by Stefano Pavan
- Mentions climate wars
- Hubert Lamb, Alastair Woodroffe: snowblitz (snow accumulating by not completely melting by the end of the summer), 50cm/year
10. Feb 19, 1979 (n.48, p.3): “Cambia il nostro clima – Il mondo va verso una nuova era glaciale?” – “Our climate is changing – Is the world going towards an ice age?” by Fabio Galvano
- Mentions the WMO Conference in Geneva
- “400 climatologists” meeting to discuss how humanity can adapt to climate changes
- Conference President – Robert White
- Mentions some scientists as believing that Earth is moving towards an ice age
- Mentions most scientists as believing that Earth is getting warmer due to human activities
- Greenhouse effect from a sulphuric acid/ammonium sulphide “polar fog”
- Mentions Stephen Schneider as expecting 2C-3C of increase in the temperate zones in 2050, as CO2 concentrations double. Mentions William Kellogg as expecting another doubling by 2100, with +6C
- Mentions +20C at the Poles
- Mentions the Amazon turning into a Sahara (Harry Knowles)
- Geoengineering in the USSR proposed by climatologist Federov
11. Jan 20, 1982 (n.16): “Tranquilli, non e’ un’altra era glaciale” – “Keep cool, there’s no ice age coming” by James Wagner, National Weather Service
- No ice age
12. Apr 21, 1982 (n.25, p. 3): “Questo freddo di aprile farà’ scendere i ghiacciai?” – “This cold in April will expand the glaciers?” by Piero Bianucci
- Detailed temperature graph for the last 80,000 years
- Mentions winter 81-82 as colder than 77’s, considered “coldest in the century” by “American climatologist”
- Walter Orr Roberts and sun/drought link
- Mentions Stephen Schneider, according to whom the “turnaround year” from a warming trend to a cooling one was 1972, a year with drought in the USSR, floods in Pakistan, and a delayed start of the monsoon season.
- Mentions Lamb describing a “butterfly effect” on climate
13. Jan 30, 1985 (n.155, p. 2): “Dietro l’angolo c’e’ un’era glaciale?” – “Is there an ice age behind the corner?” by Stefano Pavan
- Nicholas Shackleton, Cambridge University – shells analysis indicates a descent into an ice age – for 5,000 years, an accumulation of 50cm/year – “snowblitz”
- Mentions Danish glaciologists as saying that summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere has come down, and it’s lower than when 90,000 years ago there was a sudden cooling episode
- Mentions Nigel Calder’s “The Weather Machine” with a long list of countries that would fall against the climate catastrophe
14. Oct 10, 1990 (n.436, p. 21): “Il clima cambia, ecco gli indizi” – “The climate changes, here’s the evidence” by Angelo Tartaglia
15. Oct 10, 1990 (n.436, p. 21): “I dati sono insufficienti” – “There is not enough data” by Stefano Pavan
- Both articles could have been written yesterday, including skeptics at the MIT and computer models at the UK’s Met Office
Mukul Devichand…try to remember this name (well, it helps if you’re Indian, Welsh, or both)…why? Because Mr Devichand’s “The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?” programme on Radio4 tonight has surely been the most shocking BBC documentary since Oct 18, 1922.
You see, Mukul “Scourge of Science” Devichand HAS QUESTIONED A COUPLE OF SCIENTISTS’ THEORY.
The shock! The horror!
Yes, you’ve read it correctly. Rather than recording the usual regurgitated press release in order to reaffirm how any scientist that happens to be near a microphone is always right and always will be, Mr Devichand has done his job, what should be the normal job for every self-respecting journalist at the BBC and elsewhere: he has put forward interesting, probing, challenging questions to the scientists at hand, making sure the listeners understood the limits of the proposed theory, and going as far as to suggest some of the criticisms could be warranted.
Have you ever heard of a more evil person? (yes, I have)
The programme had no qualms in discussing the policy implications of the proposed theory, and didn’t try to paint opponents as anti-Science people. Finally, there was an open admission that (esp. in matters of public policy) things will always be interpreted according to one’s “heart”.
Is this an example of things to come? I HEREBY EXPRESS MY SUPPORT FOR THE PROMOTION OF MR MUKUL DEVICHAND AS BBC CLIMATE NEWS SUPREMO.
Just think, how many Jos Abbesses are out there, lurking in wait of another chance to metaphorically beat a BBC employee to submission at the first sign of doubt…