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By Onar Åm | Aug 2, 2018 | Climate Change, Narrated News, Politics
How many times have you heard that “the science is settled”? There’s no need for a debate over the magnitude of manmade climate change. Move along. Nothing to see here. However, if the recent work of Lord Christopher Monckton has merit, the science is about to get very unsettled indeed. If he is right, all concerns about global warming can be scrapped.
An Elementary Error
Scientists make mistakes all the time. That’s why we have the peer review process to catch and fix them. Usually, peer review works quite well, removing most errors. The ones that remain are typically at the edge of human understanding. However, Monckton has identified what he claims is an error in the basic assumptions of climate physics, which if confirmed, is both stunning and embarrassing to the entire field of climate science.
The mistake is so elementary that a lay person with no training in science can easily understand the argument. Are you ready?
Suppose you are standing in a silent room talking into a microphone and in another room your voice is played through loudspeakers. A scientist can measure the volume of your voice in both rooms. He then finds out that the sound from the loudspeakers is five times louder than your natural voice. That’s because it has been amplified.
In climate science, such an amplification process is called a positive feedback. It is originally a term borrowed from electrical engineering but is crucially important to climate science. The term “feedback” occurs about 1000 times in the 2013 IPPC climate report.
Our CO2 emissions are like the voice in the example above, and the climate system is like the amplifier and loudspeaker. On its own, a CO2 doubling produces only about two degrees Fahrenheit, but many climate scientists claim that feedbacks can amplify it to ten degrees, a whopping factor of five.
That’s why feedbacks are so important. Without them, our CO2 emissions barely have a noticeable effect on the climate, but multiply it by five and we might have a problem.
But suppose now that you are standing in a noisy room instead, with the background sound ten times higher than your voice. If you now tried to amplify the signal by a factor of five you would explode the speakers and probably deafen the poor scientist conducting the experiment.
To achieve the same level of increase in volume as before, you now need to turn down the amplifier – a lot.
The Noisy Sun
In the climate, the sun plays the role of the noisy background. We are bathed in energy from the sun all the time and our CO2 emissions must compete with that signal.
However, climate scientists use a trick to “disappear” the sun in their feedback equations. They measure the solar input and, before amplifying the signal, they subtract the noisy background created by the sun. It’s a process not unlike those fancy headphones with active noise cancellation.
Since they remove the background noise, the scientists can amplify the signal much more.
Putting the Sun Back
“Not so fast!” says Monckton. The climate cannot tell the difference between the sun and manmade CO2 emissions. There is no magic subtraction mechanism in nature, so the feedbacks must act on the whole energy input, including the sun.
He argues that by putting the sun back into the equations, the feedbacks must be much smaller. In fact, rather than a factor of five, he has calculated the feedback to be only 13%, and can therefore be largely ignored.
Disturbance in The Force
The paper by Monckton and colleagues is currently in the process of being peer-reviewed, and it is creating a stir. Monckton claims that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia had called in a meeting of all 65 Doctors and Professors of the Environmental Sciences faculty and yelled to them:
Lord Christopher Monckton
“Monckton’s paper is a catastrophe for us. If the general public ever gets to hear of Monckton’s paper, there will be hell to pay.”
According to Monckton, one of the professors attending the meeting was his source for this quote.
The jury is still out on Monckton’s paper and claim. One thing is certain, however. Someone made an elementary error. Whether it is Lord Monckton or the climate science community remains to be determined. If Monckton is correct though, the finding will be a game changer in climate science."
AGW believer's worst nightmare. That quote is correct.
I don't know. Can I personally change whatever is happening on the climate scene? Ask a liberal.... yeah, right
If their research lead to a logical conclusion that indicated man-caused climate change, even if the links were fragile, they would be completely safe in doing so. And this idiot writer would have used their empirical data to refute Monckton. Alas, he didn't. Because he couldn't.
No surprise that the easily led crowd amongst our ranks would prove, once again, incapable of reading comprehension and individual, critical thought. So, like the obedient subjects they are, they simply applaud this hit piece and go about their day with good feelings.
I've got a whole pile of plastic straws and water bottles. Do you global warming whiners think I should toss 'em in the river, or burn 'em?
The "how smart thing" gets old in the academic world, but it's how things have been done since academia started. The assumption is that the audience does not know why they should be listening, thus evidence is provided to validate that. It happens less it seems in professional conferences, more in "pop" stuff like the article KS posted or talks done to non scientists. It's hard wired into a lot of scientists. They function on following evidence, thus use it to describe themselves.
It always feels a little self serving to me, but I get it. It's also good to note that while the guy who wrote KS article is a "scientist", by providing that info he's admitting that he's not a climatologist for example. He's someone who understands related fields well, and who know's how to read, write and assess scientific studies. Helps understand where he's coming from when you read his article - whether you think AGW is hooey, spot on or a bit of both.
Yes, you are.
"He clearly described that, when asked, every person quoted in the "hoax" presentation as having produced data affirming AGW is a hoax, refuted that point solidly. In other words, each of the points noted by Monkton that he tried to verify with the primary investigators - the scientists who did the studies - showed Monkton to be either wrong, or not reporting their results correctly. "
If I read the article correctly, Monckton used the information and data gathered and produced by the various researchers and used it to support his claims. the author, who clearly has an axe to grind with Monckton, got the various researchers to state that Monckton's assertions were not what they had publicly concluded. As I wrote above, the various researchers simply 'showed their work' and did not come to any conclusions counter to what Monckton claims.
IF their data did not clearly make the case for AGW, the political environment in the scientific community would not support them coming to a conclusion that indicates otherwise. To keep their funding going, they can never side against AGW.
So, what the researchers collectively told the author is that, "We didn't say that. Monckton is coming up with conclusions we didn't." They did not say (again, in this article) that their findings supported AGW. The author made that leap to discredit Monckton. That is how it is "not refuting." Zero details.
"The author was not trying to provide new or compelling evidence, he's clearly operating from the understanding that the climate seems to be warming overall and we have a role in that."
And therein lies the rub. An "understanding" isn't data. "Seems" is not evidence. And the monumental extrapolation to "...we have a role in that." is nothing but wishes and feelings.
If the Gaia worshipping crowd wants to win over the hearts and minds of "deniers", the onus is on them to provide actual proof. Massive changes to our culture, economy and way of life deserve real, empirical data proving their hypotheses. But, as we have known for some time, the AGW crowd routinely boosts their data in an effort to convince the populace to join them in crying, "The sky is falling!". I don't know how old you are, but the same crowd warned of us the impending ice age just 45 years ago or so. It never came and the sky didn't fall.
Guess what......some of us actually do pay attention to the facts. The truth means something to us. Your feelings and fears will not drive our behaviour. And it certainly won't drive us into accepting even more government control over our lives.
You'll need to show irrefutable facts before your position gets any respect.
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It was bad enough that you caused a mobilization of the Bigot Brigade this week, but NOW you got the AGW Weather Warriors all roiled up !!!!!!
How can you live with yourself ????
The climate is much different in the Midwest than what was experienced when growing up. I am a believer in climate change.
But, volcanic activity in the oceans, sun flares, solar system cycles yet not fully understood etc., would seem to have an exponentially greater impact on climate than human activities. Maybe that is more hope on my part, so I support further studies. Research fuels knowledge.
I do have concerns that money is playing a role in all of this. Also encouage a wiser use of our environmental resources. That is the direct result of growing up in Cleveland and witnessing the Cuyahoga River burn.
BTW, on the fishing thread, if it were not for Lake Erie being cleaned up, BB would not have caught those walleye. Very few back in my childhood.
I'd say the author in this case did have an axe, he is a researcher who just saw an epic fail, and was upset that people were using it to attempt to discredit a LOT of research. He got curious and investigated discovering his hunch was correct, and Monkton was not accurate. The #FakeNews here was Monkton.
I'll agree to disagree on the bigger picture of AGW.
If they are in fact multiplying the effect of just ONE factor, subtracting all other factors... that is manipulation of the facts to support the desired conclusion. That manipulation is also something several AGW researchers have been caught at not just once.... but multiple times. IMO that makes pretty much anything they say (that is NOT 100% open to peer review, like many refuse to do) very suspect.
They have had model after model fail, not just a bit off but epically fail...... so many times it's a joke. Yet NOW.....they tell us THIS TIME, they've nailed it.....
What is the issue with not checking into this? Trying to ignore it. What is the issue with ignoring so many other factors that very likely have a much greater influence on climate than carbon? (of which tons and tons of non-human caused gases and poisons are going into the atmosphere in fires across the country every day...... volcanoes pouring out sulfur, etc.)
There is an entire industry...... a quasi religion if you will.... all based on climate change being caused by mankind. Mankind bad. It HAS to be..... The guilt some feel for just existing.... as human, or white, or male, or American.... it's a mental illness...