Monday, October 26, 2009

Global Ambiguity

The AP has a story out today to remind us that the earth is not, I repeat, not cooling. Except, that's not really what the AGW skeptics have been claiming. I have gone from "uncertain" to "skeptic" over the past five years, so I think I'm pretty well up on what the skeptics have been saying. While there has certainly been mention that we have had slight cooling since 1998, and I am willing to concede that the dip has been statistically unimportant, the main point has been that there has not been warming, as we were assured would happen. Could this flat line be a mere hiatus in the overall warming trend, and we are still in trouble, just not as fast as predicted? Absolutely.

Yet the observed evidence has been more than a decade of no warming. In the face of the catastrophic predictions, it would seem that the burden of proof has shifted to the AGW crowd. With the spectacular failures of McKibben's and Hansen's predictions, more responsible scientists, if they wish to convince us of the importance of atmospheric carbon reduction and sequestration, now have to overcome the exaggerations of their allies.

In an entirely different context today, I announced that sleight-of-hand was in itself a reason to reject legislative proposals. That is apposite here.


Gringo said...

Failed prophecies from the 1970s coming from Paul Erlich, the Club of Rome, and the Global Cooling crowd were precedent enough to be skeptical of AGW.

Al Gore had already enough of a track record as a self-righteous fool to immediately doubt anything he said.Moreover, I have forgotten more math and science than that blowhard ever learned.

Measurement anomalies, such as a formerly rural temperature sensor now part of an urban heat island, were another reason for skepticism. Moreover, trends were extrapolated from rather scanty data sets.

ELC said...

In an entirely different context today, I announced that sleight-of-hand was in itself a reason to reject legislative proposals. That is apposite here.

But that would eliminate about 90% of proposed legislation.........

Sounds good to me.

Der Hahn said...


Pick any two.

Larry Sheldon said...

A couple of declarations:

I am not a credentialed Scientist.

I am convinced that Man can and does affect climate and other aspects in the environment.

I am convinced that changes on the scale of volcanic eruptions, cosmic collisions, solar events, earthquakes and ice ages are beyond our ability to influence noticeably.

Given that, I am convinced that by definition the Earth has been "warming" since the bottom of the most recent ice age, and will continue to warm (at about the same rate, whether we are all successfully removed or not) until we turn the corner to head back down to the next ice-age bottom.

What causes that? Dunno.

Looks like the big contenders for credit are the tings like solar output (at several frequencies and in several modes), axial precession, and some other things that I don't understand well enough to name.

And quite a few that I don't think we know about yet.

Erin said...

*sigh* you all live in worlds where you have the leisure time to discuss the current theories on global warming and political involvement on the topic, and I am jealous.

In my world, I'm working to convince high school seniors that the world is NOT flat, even though "wait the maps are flat!" which explains why it's quicker to go to China from CA than from MA, even though China is allll the way over on the other side of the map--wow! These are the kids who tried to convince their history teacher that Iraq and Iran must be the same country since "duh, they both start with the same first three letters." Sarah's counter-argument that "Sarah" and "Saran-wrap" are not the same seemed to be somewhat effective.

At this point, who cares who's right with global warming. If these kids are our future, we're all screwed!

Gringo said...

Erin, what effect do NASA photos of earth have on them?

For all the edu-speak about "critical thinking" and the like,about not needing facts because you can always pick them up from the Internet, seems they might have benefited in their previous 11 years from assimilating a few more facts before they got to your classroom.

So much for another educational theory biting the dust.

Part of the problem with education is that every dimwit education professor or writer wants to reinvent the wheel and create the next big thing in education, throwing out all that has passed before. And it then the next new education fad comes along, only to be surpassed by the newest big theory that will NOW explain it all. No wonder teachers start rolling their eyes.

And you can blame my interminable sentences on the parts of my education completed before your students were born.

Erin said...

Gringo, you are right. Everyone thinks he is an expert because he went to school himself. And everyone wants to be the one to reinvent the educational wheel. We have a very young, shall we say ambitious, department head right now. Every month's department meeting is filled with "great new instructional strategies" he's found in his nifty educational journals. The veteran teachers roll their eyes, explain that that particular idea has been "discovered" about every five years in their 30 year tenure as teachers, they've tried it, seen its merits and shortcomings, and moved on.

Gringo said...

Erin, in light of our conversation, Maggie’s Farm had a good link on Hirsch and educational reform. In Taxachusetts, of all places.