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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shark Jumped

Inexplicably, Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Climate Change Climate Disruption Global Warming has been in hiatus for going on 15 years.

No, that's wrong, because, as Slate's Phil Plait insists, with all the usual insults, it is still happening. It's only the surface temperatures that have flatlined.

To those in the pixel staring audience who might have an eyebrow quizzically arched at this point, Dr. Plait (an actual scientist who has worked on satellite based astronomy) admonishes:

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the ongoing noise about global warming, then you’ve heard of the so-called pause. This is the idea that the planet hasn’t actually been warming for the past 15 years or so.

However, this is baloney. First off, the plot used by people who would deny the Earth is warming up (and that humans are behind it) only shows the temperature of the air over land and ocean. But our atmosphere (pardon the weird metaphor) doesn’t exist in a vacuum; the extra heat retained by our planet is also warming the oceans. In fact, most of that heat is going into deep ocean waters.

...

A new study shows that the temperatures over the past 15 years are still on the rise. The problem, say the authors, is that the global surface temperatures have been based on incomplete data, with some regions left out (most notably over Africa, the Arctic, and Antarctica).

Wait a minute. Can anyone see the galloping epistemological error here? Seriously, stop reading and think for a minute. In two paras, he has single handedly -- well okay, this is just the latest example, and the conveniently paywalled A New Study Says is piling on -- completely demolished the pretext for CAGW and its acronymically separated siblings.

The pretext for CAGW has been that climate models sufficiently ape the actual climate system so that it is possible to see how one variable, temperature, will vary with respect to another: CO2. Four assessment reports over the last twenty-five years have confidently, and with the help of sciency looking squiggly lines, predicted a relentless increase in surface temperatures along with CO2.

However, with the actual surface temperature observations on the verge of breaking through the model's lower bound, some 'splainin needs doing.

Enter heat going into deep ocean waters, and areas of sparse coverage biasing average temperatures downwards.

Okay, fine. Let's say both are true, despite the fact that the former reeks of handwaving and the latter more than a little too convenient.

Regardless, each demolishes every climate model used to create CAGW. Their central claim has been shown to be utterly wrong. Post hoc reasoning, rather than admitting this central fact, is a sign that even, or perhaps especially, scientists are indeed very religious people. And it isn't just the models that are left with conceptual sucking chest wounds. climate sensitivity is just as firmly based upon supposedly complete and correct climate models.

Scientifically speaking, then, the whole enterprise should be on the verge of being demoted from theory to hypothesis. When observations and models disagree, it is good to remember there is no such thing as a good theory that doesn't work in practice.

Here is Dr. Plaits penultimate paragraph:

I’ll note that this is one paper, and one result. I’m sure there will be legitimate debate over it in the climate-science community. And you can bet every last dollar you have that there will be illegitimate “debate” over it in the science-denial community. As I, and many others, have pointed out time and again, all they have is noise.

Sorry, doc, but I doubt you'd recognize science if it was a signed copy of "Fundamental Ideas and Problems of the Theory of Relativity" smacking you upside the head.

9 comments:

erp said...

Correctamundo!

Hey Skipper said...

I didn't notice until just now, but it required a New Study to show you why you needed to believe them instead of your lying eyes.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Your post readily illustrates (i) the perils of politicizing science and (ii) the crisis of confidence the relationship between science and society suffers today.

As for the first: you treat the topic here as you would in a political discussion, looking for contradictions and inconsistencies in the discourse. But at no moment you actually tries to understand and criticize the scientific contents. Did you read the guy's paper? Did you find factual and scientific errors on it?

See, I am not defending his findings or claims either. I am only pointing out to you how your approach - to treat science as politics - is doomed to fail to the extent science matters.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I don't see that. Before you even get to facts, you must have a logically consistent theory to explain those facts, or it's not science. Skipper is pointing out that global warmening, as described here, is not logically consistent because it treats data differently depending on which hypothesis is being discussed.

Hey Skipper said...

Did you read the guy's paper? Did you find factual and scientific errors on it?

It is conveniently hidden behind a paywall.

I am approaching this epistemologically, period.

Climate models have made a very specific claim: they understand the climate system well enough to show the system's behavior well out into the future in response to CO2.

Even if it turns out that the deep ocean is in fact causing the warming hiatus, then that specific, foundational claim is wrong.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

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Before you even get to facts, you must have a logically consistent theory to explain those facts, or it's not science
---
If by "facts" you mean data, that's completely false. You may very well collect data without a complete theory to explain that data behavior.

As it happens, the paper linked in Skipper's post is only a statistical analysis of the data collected so far, together with possible interpolations to take account of distribution bias.

There is no necessity at all of any underlying complete climate theory for that work to be valid. It is the contrary: you need this kind of work in order to establish a valid overarching theory.



Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


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It is conveniently hidden behind a paywall.
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I can obtain it and mail it to you, if that's a problem.


---
I am approaching this epistemologically, period.
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Is that a new way to state "I will criticize what I don't know and I don't care"?

Hey Skipper said...

I can obtain it and mail it to you, if that's a problem.

As far as the post goes, it isn't. However, IFF it is easy to do, then send it to jeffguinnatttttme.com

Is that a new way to state "I will criticize what I don't know and I don't care"?

Huh? The IPCC has issued scientific judgments that it was 90% (or, in the latest, 95%) sure that climate change is big, its bad, and it is coming to your neighborhood any day now.

If we take the deep ocean and under sampled regions claims as true, then the IPCC claims of certainty are rubbish. And since ECS and TCR are based upon the models, then the claim that they represent "science" is rubbish, as well. That doesn't mean they are wrong, but if they are right, it is only by accident.

As a matter of objective reality, the consequences of increased CO2 will be catastrophic, invisible, or something in between. But the climate "scientists" post hoc amendments rubbish their own pretenses to be able to distinguish horrible from nada.

erp said...

Skipper, what ever happened to acid rain? Remember when it was supposed to turn all the lakes and rivers into sulfuric acid, not to mention play havoc with the apple crop? I remember all the colorful graphs and scholarly papers, then they faded into the woodwork with nary an explanation that I recall.