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G M
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Posts: 15533

 « Reply #550 on: January 03, 2012, 01:56:10 PM »

Can we measure AGW?

Pretty sure we can.

Ok, let's see it.
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #551 on: January 03, 2012, 01:57:56 PM »

Can we make reliable predictions around it?

They haven't been the best so far.

Yeah, which is why the AGW cultists has been forced to engage in fraud.
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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #552 on: January 03, 2012, 02:01:09 PM »

Woof G.M,

So provide me with that theory that explains why you don't fall off the planet.  I want the ONE accepted theory that tells me what transpires between you and the planet earth which keeps you from falling off.  Gravity is a force.  Tell me why that force exists.  I was unable to Google-Fu that piece of information.  You are suggesting that you will have better luck so go for it.

Chuck
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #553 on: January 03, 2012, 02:16:47 PM »

Oh my! All sorts of "Theories of gravitation". Really hard to find.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_theories_of_gravitation

Scalar theories of gravitation

Scalar theories of gravitation are field theories of gravitation in which the gravitational field is described using a scalar field, which is required to satisfy some field equation.

Note: This article focuses on relativistic classical field theories of gravitation. The best known relativistic classical field theory of gravitation, general relativity, is a tensor theory, in which the gravitational interaction is described using a tensor field.

Contents
[hide]  1 Newtonian gravity
2 Nordström's theories of gravitation
3 Einstein's scalar theory
6 References

 Newtonian gravity

The prototypical scalar theory of gravitation is Newtonian gravitation. In this theory, the gravitational interaction is completely described by the potential Φ, which is required to satisfy the Poisson equation (with the mass density acting as the source of the field). To wit:

ΔΦ = 4πGρ, where
G is the gravitational constant and
ρ is the mass density.

This field theory formulation leads directly to the familiar law of universal gravitation, F = m1m2G / r2.

 Nordström's theories of gravitation

The first attempts to present a relativistic (classical) field theory of gravitation were also scalar theories. Gunnar Nordström created two such theories.

Nordström's first idea (1912) was to simply replace the divergence operator in the field equation of Newtonian gravity with the d'Alembertian operator . This gives the field equation
.
However, several theoretical difficulties with this theory quickly arose, and Nordström dropped it.

A year later, Nordström tried again, presenting the field equation
,
where T is the trace of the stress-energy tensor.

Solutions of Nordström's second theory are conformally flat Lorentzian spacetimes. That is, the metric tensor can be written as gμν = Aημν, where
ημν is the Minkowski metric, and
A is a scalar which is a function of position.

This suggestion signifies that the inertial mass should depend on the scalar field.

Nordström's second theory satisfies the weak equivalence principle. However:
The theory fails to predict any deflection of light passing near a massive body (contrary to observation)
The theory predicts an anomalous perihelion precession of Mercury, but this disagrees in both sign and magnitude with the observed anomalous precession (the part which cannot be explained using Newtonian gravitation).

Despite these disappointing results, Einstein's critiques of Nordström's second theory played an important role in his development of general relativity.

 Einstein's scalar theory

In 1913, Einstein (erroneously) concluded from his hole argument that general covariance was not viable. Inspired by Nordström's work, he proposed his own scalar theory. This theory employs a massless scalar field coupled to the stress-energy tensor, which is the sum of two terms. The first,

represents the stress-momentum-energy of the scalar field itself. The second represents the stress-momentum-energy of any matter which may be present:

where uμ is the velocity vector of an observer, or tangent vector to the world line of the observer. (Einstein made no attempt, in this theory, to take account of possible gravitational effects of the field energy of the electromagnetic field.)

Unfortunately, this theory is not diffeomorphism covariant. This is an important consistency condition, so Einstein dropped this theory in late 1914. Associating the scalar field with the metric leads to Einstein's later conclusions that the theory of gravitation he sought could not be a scalar theory. Indeed, the theory he finally arrived at in 1915, general relativity, is a tensor theory, not a scalar theory, with a 2-tensor, the metric, as the potential. Unlike his 1913 scalar theory, it is generally covariant, and it does take into account the field energy-momentum-stress of the electromagnetic field (or any other nongravitational field).

Kaluza–Klein theory involves the use of a scalar gravitational field in addition to the electromagnetic field potential Aμ in an attempt to create a five-dimensional unification of gravity and electromagnetism. Its generalization with a 5th variable component of the metric that leads to a variable gravitational constant was first given by Pascual Jordan [1].
Brans–Dicke theory is a scalar-tensor theory, not a scalar theory, meaning that it represents the gravitational interaction using both a scalar field and a tensor field. We mention it here because one of the field equations of this theory involves only the scalar field and the trace of the stress-energy tensor, as in Nordström's theory. Moreover, the Brans-Dicke theory is equal to the independently derived theory of Jordan (hence it is often referred to as the Jordan-Brans-Dicke or JBD theory). The Brans-Dicke theory couples a scalar field with the curvature of space-time and is self-consistent and, assuming appropriate values for a tunable constant, this theory has not been ruled out by observation. The Brans-Dicke theory is generally regarded as a leading competitor of general relativity, which is a pure tensor theory. However, the Brans-Dicke theory seems to need too high a parameter, which favours general relativity).
Zee combined the idea of the BD theory with the Higgs-Mechanism of Symmetry Breakdown for mass generation, which led to a scalar-tensor theory with Higgs field as scalar field, in which the scalar field is massive (short-ranged). An example of this theory was proposed by H. Dehnen and H. Frommert 1991, parting from the nature of Higgs field interacting gravitational- and Yukawa (long-ranged)-like with the particles that get mass through it (Int. J. of Theor. Phys. 29(4): 361, 1990).
The Watt-Misner theory (1999) is a recent example of a scalar theory of gravitation. It is not intended as a viable theory of gravitation (since, as Watt and Misner point out, it is not consistent with observation), but as a toy theory which can be useful in testing numerical relativity schemes. It also has pedagogical value.

Nordström's theory of gravitation
Watt–Misner theory of gravitation

 References
Goenner, Hubert F. M., "On the History of Unified Field Theories"; Living Rev. Relativity 7(2), 2004, lrr-2004-2. Retrieved August 10, 2005.
Ravndal, Finn (2004). "Scalar Gravitation and Extra Dimensions". arXiv:gr-qc/0405030 [gr-qc].
Watt, Keith, and Misner, Charles W. (1999). "Relativistic Scalar Gravity: A Laboratory for Numerical Relativity". arXiv:gr-qc/9910032 [gr-qc].
P. Jordan, Schwerkraft und Weltall, Vieweg (Braunschweig) 1955.
H. Dehnen and H. Frommert, "Scalar Gravity and Higgs Potential"; Int. J. of Theor. Phys. 29(4): 361, 1990.
H. Dehnen and H. Frommert, "Higgs-Field Gravity within the Standard Model"; Int. J. of Theor. Phys.30(7): 985, 1991.
H. Dehnen et al., "Higgs-Field and a New Scalar-Tensor Theory of Gravity"; Int. J. of Theor. Phys. 31(1): 109, 1992.
Brans (2005). "The roots of scalar-tensor theory: an approximate history". arXiv:gr-qc/0506063 [gr-qc].
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G M
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Posts: 15533

 « Reply #554 on: January 03, 2012, 02:19:42 PM »

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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #555 on: January 03, 2012, 02:34:55 PM »

Woof G.M.,

I'm sorry but those are not theories of gravitation despite what Wikipedia says.  They are mathematical relationships that tell you what gravity does.  They tell you nothing about why it exists and are simply more precise ways of dealing with gravity as defined by Newton's Law of Gravitation.  I'm not really interested in explaining the difference to you.

Chuck
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #556 on: January 03, 2012, 02:36:32 PM »

Wow. Amazing how they are all wrong and you are right.

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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #557 on: January 03, 2012, 02:43:54 PM »

Woof G.M.,

Actually I am.  Try to learn something.  If you have to postulate the existence of hypothetical particles that can't be detected, then perhaps your theory might need some work.  Yes?

From Wikipedia, your favorite source it seems:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graviton

Quote
In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton must be massless (because the gravitational force has unlimited range) and must have a spin of 2. This is because the source of gravitation is the stress-energy tensor, a second-rank tensor, compared to electromagnetism, the source of which is the four-current, a first-rank tensor. Additionally, it can be shown that any massless spin-2 field would be indistinguishable from gravitation, because a massless spin-2 field must couple to (interact with) the stress-energy tensor in the same way that the gravitational field does.[4] This result suggests that if a massless spin-2 particle is discovered, it must be the graviton, so that the only experimental verification needed for the graviton may simply be the discovery of a massless spin-2 particle.[5]

Chuck
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #558 on: January 03, 2012, 02:48:47 PM »

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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #559 on: January 03, 2012, 02:57:09 PM »

Woof G.M.,

You mean those theories that rely on the existence of an imaginary particle?  Those theories?  Again.  LOL.  It sure sounds like AGW rests on solid bedrock to me by comparison.  At least it doesn't require the existing of an imaginary particle.  Distraction?  Hardly.  This is rich.  I just love watching you hunt down things on the internet that you know ABSOLUTELY nothing about.  LOLOLOLOL

Chuck
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #560 on: January 03, 2012, 03:01:44 PM »

I know enough to see you've got nothing but fearmongering and fraud.
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #561 on: January 03, 2012, 03:05:21 PM »

So I've got a quick formula for you. Chuck B=fearmongering assclown.

 « Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 07:19:52 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #562 on: January 03, 2012, 03:08:17 PM »

Woof,

Yah.  And maybe a little science too.  Again, at least it doesn't require the postulate of an imaginary particle.  That's right up there with "God just willed it" which is probably just as accurate.  Funny that you now support theories that require the existence of an imaginary particle but can't support a theory that is based on measurable physical properties of various common compounds.  The worm has turned methinks.

Hehe.  And I have a theory for you.  Some government at some point attempted to teach you math and science and didn't get a lot of bang for their buck.

Chuck
 « Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 03:09:59 PM by Chuck B » Logged
G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #563 on: January 03, 2012, 03:11:08 PM »

Didn't do much for you either, since you can't seem to read the link that lists the papers written on the topic of "Gravitational Theory".

Click on the link, if that isn't too difficult for you.
 « Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 03:12:43 PM by G M » Logged
G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #564 on: January 03, 2012, 03:14:02 PM »

So Chuck, did somebody show you Al Gore's film on how global warming is going to kill all the polar bears and it made you sad?
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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #565 on: January 03, 2012, 03:15:21 PM »

Woof G.M.,

Thanks for CONTINUING to make my case.  How many competing theories are there?  You keep providing me with more ammo.  If there was a theory of gravity that we accepted, then you would provide me with that theory.  Instead you provide me with a whole smorgasbord of theories to describe the SAME phenomenon.  Again thank you for your hard work.  I couldn't have pulled together this exhaustive list of all the competing theories of gravitation without your help.  Read this again as needed.  THERE IS NO THEORY OF GRAVITY.

Chuck
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #566 on: January 03, 2012, 03:28:06 PM »

There are different theories of gravity, meaning plural. Do you grasp the difference between saying there is no theory of gravity vs. there are no theories of gravity?

ESL student?
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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #567 on: January 03, 2012, 04:16:07 PM »

Woof,

ROFL.  Imagine if I came to you with 47 different theories of AGW some of which required imaginary particles.  You would laugh in my face.  This might help you out.

When we reach this point we will have a Theory of Gravity.  Until that time, THERE IS NO THEORY OF GRAVITY in spite of the fact that some people and Wikipedia seem to use that nomenlature.

Chuck
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #568 on: January 03, 2012, 07:34:10 PM »

Still trying to distract from the lack of evidence for AGW?

If you've got evidence, let's see it.
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G M
Power User

Posts: 15533

 « Reply #569 on: January 03, 2012, 08:42:39 PM »

GLOBAL VIEW
NOVEMBER 29, 2011.

The Great Global Warming Fizzle The climate religion fades in spasms of anger and twitches of boredom. By BRET STEPHENS

How do religions die? Generally they don't, which probably explains why there's so little literature on the subject. Zoroastrianism, for instance, lost many of its sacred texts when Alexander sacked Persepolis in 330 B.C., and most Zoroastrians converted to Islam over 1,000 years ago. Yet today old Zoroaster still counts as many as 210,000 followers, including 11,000 in the U.S. Christopher Hitchens might say you can't kill what wasn't there to begin with.

Still, Zeus and Apollo are no longer with us, and neither are Odin and Thor. Among the secular gods, Marx is mostly dead and Freud is totally so. Something did away with them, and it's worth asking what.

.
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.

As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term "climate change" when thermometers don't oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other "deniers." And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.

This week, the conclave of global warming's cardinals are meeting in Durban, South Africa, for their 17th conference in as many years. The idea is to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire next year, and to require rich countries to pony up $100 billion a year to help poor countries cope with the alleged effects of climate change. This is said to be essential because in 2017 global warming becomes "catastrophic and irreversible," according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency. Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse. Namely, the financial apocalypse. The U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on to a new Kyoto. The Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does. The notion that rich (or formerly rich) countries are going to ship$100 billion every year to the Micronesias of the world is risible, especially after they've spent it all on Greece.

Cap and trade is a dead letter in the U.S. Even Europe is having second thoughts about carbon-reduction targets that are decimating the continent's heavy industries and cost an estimated $67 billion a year. "Green" technologies have all proved expensive, environmentally hazardous and wildly unpopular duds. All this has been enough to put the Durban political agenda on hold for the time being. But religions don't die, and often thrive, when put to the political sidelines. A religion, when not physically extinguished, only dies when it loses faith in itself. That's where the Climategate emails come in. First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the "hide the decline" emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place. But the real reason they mattered is that they introduced a note of caution into an enterprise whose motivating appeal resided in its increasingly frantic forecasts of catastrophe. Papers were withdrawn; source material re-examined. The Himalayan glaciers, it turned out, weren't going to melt in 30 years. Nobody can say for sure how high the seas are likely to rise—if much at all. Greenland isn't turning green. Florida isn't going anywhere. The reply global warming alarmists have made to these dislosures is that they did nothing to change the underlying science, and only improved it in particulars. So what to make of the U.N.'s latest supposedly authoritative report on extreme weather events, which is tinged with admissions of doubt and uncertainty? Oddly, the report has left climate activists stuttering with rage at what they call its "watered down" predictions. If nothing else, they understand that any belief system, particularly ones as young as global warming, cannot easily survive more than a few ounces of self-doubt. Meanwhile, the world marches on. On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm. Great religions are wise enough to avoid marking down the exact date when the world comes to an end. Not so for the foolish religions. Expect Mayan cosmology to take a hit to its reputation when the world doesn't end on Dec. 21, 2012. Expect likewise when global warming turns out to be neither catastrophic nor irreversible come 2017. And there is this: Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that's another way religions die. Write to bstephens@wsj.com  Logged Chuck B Newbie Posts: 42  « Reply #570 on: January 03, 2012, 08:46:03 PM » Woof G.M., Well let's see. This looks like the pathological science thread and not the burger king thread where you get everything your way. I know this because I asked you to tell me what you thought was incorrect about the global warming theory and you have yet to respond. I think that was 24 posts ago by my count. Now I already indicated that the underlying science indicated that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and where I come from that puts you a pretty long way toward having proof. The author of the article that was cited by Guro C. indicated that he firmly believed that AGW was occurring but that it wasn't going to change the temperature of the planet enough to worrry about. Obviously that man thought that the evidence was there that the planet was warming but wasn't concerned about the magnitude of the effects. I posted a graph earlier today that indicated that by several measures the temperature of the planet has increased by approximately one degree Fahrenheit while the output of the sun dropped slightly which indicates to me that AGW is at least a decent hypothesis for the increase in temperature. AGW has a background in science. The evidence indicates that temp increased while solar output fell. That puts the ball squarely in your court to provide me with an alternate hypothesis for the temperature increase. Chuck  Logged G M Power User Posts: 15533  « Reply #571 on: January 03, 2012, 09:02:26 PM » I know this because I asked you to tell me what you thought was incorrect about the global warming theory and you have yet to respond. No proof. No evidence. Climate changes. The planet gets hotter, then it gets cooler, then hotter, rinse, lather, repeat. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070705-antarctica-ice.html New Ice Core Reveals 800,000 Years of Climate History Kate Ravilious for National Geographic News July 5, 2007 Earth's polar temperature has swung wildly—by as much as 15 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit)—over the last 800,000 years, an Antarctic ice core has revealed. In 2004 scientists led by Jean Jouzel of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences (LSCE) in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, pulled up the final chunk of ice core from a drill hole in the center of Antarctica. At 3,260 meters (10,695 feet) long, drilling the ice core was a marathon effort in one of the most hostile and remote places on Earth. (See Antarctica map.) Although it is not the deepest Antarctic core (the 3,263-meter [10,705-foot] Vostok core holds this record), its compressed ice does provide the longest polar climate record, going back 800,000 years. Tracing the Temps Measuring deuterium, a form of the element hydrogen, enabled the team to piece together the temperature record in the ancient ice. The new climate record covers an additional cycle of glacial change, amounting to 11 cycles in total, lead author Jouzel said. Plugging the data from the entire core into an atmospheric model, the scientists were able to reconstruct a reliable temperature record for the past 800,000 years. In today's online journal Science, the team showed that the coldest period occurred around 20,000 years ago, during the last glacial maximum, when the ice sheets were at their peak. It was about 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than today. (Related: "Antarctica's Atmosphere Warming Dramatically, Study Finds" [March 30, 2006].) Meanwhile, the warmest period was during the last interglacial period, which is an interval of warmer global average temperature that separates ice ages. At that time, around 130,000 years ago, it was a balmy 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than today. Global Events Many of the changes seen in the core were global climate events. "We were able to correlate the record with changes seen in Greenland," study lead author Jouzel said. (Related: " Climate-Change Forecast? Ask the Antarctic Ice" [November 10, 2004].) The scientists plan to drill even deeper, hoping to push the Antarctic climate record back to one million years. "We are now turning toward other regions of Antarctica, where snow accumulation is even lower," Jouzel said. But some are skeptical that the ancient ice will have a tale to tell. "We're getting to a limit on how far ice cores can take us back," said Martin Siegert, a glaciologist at Edinburgh University. "There may be ice at one million years old, but will there be a real record in it?" Instead he suggests that sub-glacial lakes are likely to hold the key. "The lake-floor record starts where the ice core record finishes. It is time to look beneath the ice," he said.  Logged Crafty_Dog Administrator Power User Posts: 42494  « Reply #572 on: January 04, 2012, 12:27:47 AM » Chuck: What do you make of these? 1) http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1206.msg33590;topicseen#msg33590 Reply #12 by BBG: Cosmic Radiation and Warming 2) http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1845.msg38004;topicseen#msg38004 Reply #24 by BBG Solar Activity very low 3) http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1118.msg30901;topicseen#msg30901 Reply #182 by BBG Solar Flucutations Drive Earth's Climate Thanks, Marc  Logged Body-by-Guinness Guest  « Reply #573 on: January 04, 2012, 09:00:57 AM » Interesting podcast from a Walter Cronkite-type figure working for the BBC. Synonymous to Cronkite's "the Vietnam War is lost" moment, IMO: Friday, December 16, 2011 MICHAEL BUERK ON THE CLIMATE SUMMIT So why no debate on the assumptions behind the more apocalyptic forecasts? Example: the UN forecast 50 million climate refugees by 2010 – where are they? Agitator/Climate summit The latest so-called Climate Summit, that’s been taking place in Durban, hasn’t made many waves. It could be because global warming seems less daunting if you can no longer afford heating bills. It could also be that we’re getting fed up with the bogus certainties and quasi-religious tone of the great climate change non-debate. Now, I don’t know for certain that man’s activities are causing the planet to heat up. Nobody does. We simply cannot construct a theoretical model that can cope with all the variables. For what it’s worth, I think anthropogenic warming is taking place, and, anyway, it would be a good thing to stop chucking so much bad stuff into the atmosphere. What gets up my nose is being infantilized by governments, by the BBC, by the Guardian that there is no argument, that all scientists who aren’t cranks and charlatans are agreed on all this, that the consequences are uniformly negative, the issues beyond doubt and the steps to be taken beyond dispute. You’re not necessarily a crank to point out that global temperatures change a great deal anyway. A thousand years ago we had a Mediterranean climate in this country; 200 years ago we were skating every winter on the Thames. And actually there has been no significant rise in global temperatures for more than a decade now. We hear a lot about how the Arctic is shrinking, but scarcely anything about how the Antarctic is spreading, and the South Pole is getting colder. Droughts aren’t increasing. There are fewer of them, and less severe, than a hundred years ago. The number of hurricanes hasn’t changed, the number of cyclones and typhoons has actually fallen over the last 30 years. And so on. There may be answers, I think there probably are - to all these quibbles – I would like to hear them. I don’t want the media to make up my mind up for me. I don’t need to be told things by officialdom in all its forms, that are not true, or not the whole truth, for my own good. I resent the implication that the exercise of my reason is “inappropriate”, an act of generational selfishness, a heresy. I want a genuine debate about the assumptions behind the more apocalyptic forecasts. As recently as 2005, for instance, the UN said there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010. That was last year. OK – so where are they? I would like to hear a clash of informed opinion about what would actually be better if it got warmer as well as worse. Where do you see reported the extraordinary greening of the Sahel, and shrinking of the Sahara that’s been going on for 30 years now – the regeneration of vegetation across a huge, formerly arid swathe of dirt poor Africa. More warming means more rainfall. More CO2 means plants grow bigger, stronger, faster. I would like a real argument over climate change policy, if only to rid myself of the nagging feeling that sometimes it’s a really good excuse for banging up taxes and public-sector job creation. It’s not happening. It’s a secular issue but skepticism is heresy. They talk the language of science, but it is really a post-God religion that rejects relativist materialism. Its imperative is moral. It looks to a society where some choices are obviously, and universally held to be, better than others. A life where having what we want is not a right and nature puts constraints on the free play of desires. To reinvent, in short, a life where there is good and bad, right and wrong. As with all religions, whether the underlying narrative is true, has become beside the point. ends http://www.thefifthcolumn.co.uk/the-agitator/michael-buerk-on-the-climate-summit/  Logged DougMacG Power User Posts: 9476  « Reply #574 on: January 04, 2012, 10:42:16 AM » BBG, In the US, the climate refugee status is that people are still fleeing cold weather and choosing to live where it is warmer. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/12/21/us/census-districts.html If warming continues at this rate, Duluth harbor of Lake Superior will soon (50,000 years?) be the new San Diego and they will all come back, but for now they are still ice fishing on the world's largest freshwater lake: http://www.visitashland.com/recreation/fishing.php  Logged Body-by-Guinness Guest  « Reply #575 on: January 04, 2012, 11:50:46 AM » Yet we are supposed to spend trillions of dollars to remediate CO2 to a barely observable degree, Doug. Go figure. I've scanned some of the recent posts here and see the debate is certainly spirited, though producing more heat than light to my mind. There has been an analogy raised, however, that I feel lends some focus to the debate, specifically the science of gravitation v. climate science. Chuck is right that there are many theories that explain gravitation, though none that are experimentally verifiable. Whether you are a string theorist, more of a quantum kind of person, or look at things through Einstein's lens the strings, god particles, gluons, weak forces, whatever that have to be postulated to make one theory more or less fit can not be experimentally verified, much less replicated. The same applies to AGW. Do we have a data set for deep ocean current temperature fluctuations over a geologically significant period? Nope. Do we understand the CO2 absorption cycle of the water that covers three quarters of the planet? Nope. Are the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation well understood? Nope. Do we have geologically significant data sets that correlate the sun's cycles to climate fluctuations? Perhaps in some limited sense if proxies are used, but certainly not to a degree that the issue would be called settled in any other science. Bottom line there are a huge number of variables that we've barely begun to catalog, much less understand, and much much less have clean data sets for over a geologically significant period of time, that will all have to be replicated and verified before their impact on other barely understood variables can be studied and understood. To claim a settled science comprised of a single variable is the iron clad truth is silly, particularly in view of the less than settled nature of gravitation, a phenomenon we grapple with daily but still have no experimentally verifiable theory for.  Logged Chuck B Newbie Posts: 42  « Reply #576 on: January 04, 2012, 04:14:11 PM » Woof G.M., Quote No proof. No evidence. We simply don't use these words in the same manner. Not much more I can say than that. I'm curious. What do you think that my take on AGW is? I'm guessing that you would be wrong. @BBG, Quote Chuck is right that there are many theories that explain gravitation, though none that are experimentally verifiable. Actually many of them are experimentally verifiable but they fail to account for all instances and they fail to tell us what gravity is although they can tell us what it does. Accordingly many people do not consider them to be theories but rather are laws. Quote Do we understand the CO2 absorption cycle of the water that covers three quarters of the planet? But we can easily measure atmospheric concentrations of CO2 so this unit is only related to removal mechanisms but not instantaneous estimates of the heat trapping ability of the planet's atmosphere. Quote Do we have geologically significant data sets that correlate the sun's cycles to climate fluctuations? But we can measure solar energy striking the planet, we can determine the spectrum of light that strikes the planet and we can determine the spectrum of light that leaves the planet which puts us well on the way toward calculating energy accumulation. Quote Bottom line there are a huge number of variables that we've barely begun to catalog Anyone that ever claimed otherwise was a fool and I have met few people that would make such claims. Quote To claim a settled science comprised of a single variable is the iron clad truth is silly Perhaps it is a single variable, but the only way that energy enters or leaves this planet is as electromagnetic radiation so it seems rather important. Reviewing Guro C's articles. Chuck  « Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 04:17:45 PM by Chuck B » Logged Chuck B Newbie Posts: 42  « Reply #577 on: January 04, 2012, 04:55:06 PM » Woof Guro C., I believe I looked at the correct articles which were talking about cosmic rays increasing cloud formation and also solar activity. I couldn't get the vid to run, but a cloud chamber radiation detector uses the same principle so I don't doubt what they are saying. Sure. Clouds will likely reflect incoming light so increasing the number of them should decrease surface temperatures. So would increasing the amount of aerasol particulates. These are the things that may keep AGW from being a big deal, but it doesn't address AGW itself. The other article talks about solar output driving temperature changes. The chart that I have looked at shows solar output constant or decreasing over the period of the last 50 or so years as indicated by the Max Planck institute. At any rate, all discussions of AGW in my mind are overly concerned with actual temperature changes and not sufficiently concerned with the underlying science as I have indicated before. We all know that measuring temperature changes on the planet earth is difficult but the underlying science isn't. I haven't seen a good rebuttal of the underlying sciences because everyone has been too focused on temperatures themselves. Chuck  Logged Crafty_Dog Administrator Power User Posts: 42494  « Reply #578 on: January 04, 2012, 07:38:21 PM » The thing I was hoping to communicate with those articles was that the science is more diverse than your original post commenting on solar flares and related matters concerning sun fluctuations affecting the earth's average temperature. "At any rate, all discussions of AGW in my mind are overly concerned with actual temperature changes and not sufficiently concerned with the underlying science as I have indicated before. We all know that measuring temperature changes on the planet earth is difficult but the underlying science isn't. I haven't seen a good rebuttal of the underlying sciences because everyone has been too focused on temperatures themselves." I confess I'm having trouble with this. What I'm getting out of it is that the theory doesn't need confirmation with actual results "These are the things that may keep AGW from being a big deal, but it doesn't address AGW itself." Again I'm confused. IF AGW is swamped by other factors and thus is not a big deal, then why put our government, or worse yet, the UN in charge of the weather-- financed by the US taxpayer?!?  Logged Body-by-Guinness Guest  « Reply #579 on: January 04, 2012, 09:41:44 PM » @BBG, Quote Chuck is right that there are many theories that explain gravitation, though none that are experimentally verifiable. Actually many of them are experimentally verifiable but they fail to account for all instances and they fail to tell us what gravity is although they can tell us what it does. Accordingly many people do not consider them to be theories but rather are laws. Hmm, that's a mishmash of qualifications. Do we have experimentally verified gravitons that I missed? Moreover, you seem to be contradicting your original point "THAT THEIR IS NO THEORY OF GRAVITY." Which is it? Quote Do we understand the CO2 absorption cycle of the water that covers three quarters of the planet? Quote But we can easily measure atmospheric concentrations of CO2 so this unit is only related to removal mechanisms but not instantaneous estimates of the heat trapping ability of the planet's atmosphere. Easily measure the concentrations of CO2 in all bodies of water on the planet? I guess Alvin has been busy. Just when did this occur? Quote Do we have geologically significant data sets that correlate the sun's cycles to climate fluctuations? Quote But we can measure solar energy striking the planet, we can determine the spectrum of light that strikes the planet and we can determine the spectrum of light that leaves the planet which puts us well on the way toward calculating energy accumulation. Guess you missed the "geologically significant" part of the question. Quote Bottom line there are a huge number of variables that we've barely begun to catalog Quote Anyone that ever claimed otherwise was a fool and I have met few people that would make such claims. Well thank goodness then that whole "hockey stick" thing was some sort of grievous misunderstanding. Has Dr. Mann been informed? Quote To claim a settled science comprised of a single variable is the iron clad truth is silly. Perhaps it is a single variable, but the only way that energy enters or leaves this planet is as electromagnetic radiation so it seems rather important. And why isn't that single variable water vapor, methane, O3, volcanic sulfides, or myriad other possibilities? Methinks the doomstruck seized on a single variable, trumpeted it to the point they couldn't back away even when 50 million climate refugees failed to materialize, yet find themselves so invested in a simplistic explanation of a complex phenomena that they have little choice to double down on the bet.  « Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 12:56:14 PM by Body-by-Guinness » Logged Body-by-Guinness Guest  « Reply #580 on: January 05, 2012, 12:52:58 PM » Misfiled, perhaps, but a breath of fresh air compared to the panic mongering, non-falsifiable norm. I think if the most ardent of "environmentalists" were to get on board with this perspective they'd be far more likely to achieve their putative ends. Alas, I suspect many of them find the sky-is-falling approach more congruent with their political ends. http://reason.com/archives/2012/01/04/postenvironmentalism-and-technological-a Reason Magazine Postenvironmentalism and Technological Abundance A review of Love Your Monsters, a collection of essays on a new kind of environmentalism. Ronald Bailey | January 4, 2012 Environmentalists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus famously proclaimed The Death of Environmentalism in 2004. Now they're back with an ambitious new collection of essays titled Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene. Their goal is to dismantle the neo-Malthusian environmentalism of sacrifice and collapse and replace it with a new environmentalism that celebrates human creativity and technological abundance. Hooray! In their introductory essay, Shellenberger and Nordhaus make the case that technological progress and economic growth is the road to salvation, not the highway to ruin. They acknowledge that global warming may bring worsening disasters and disruptions in rainfall, snowmelts, and agriculture. However, they add, there is little evidence it will end civilization. “Even the most catastrophic United Nations scenarios predict rising economic growth. While wealthy environmentalists claim to be especially worried about the impact of global warming on the poor, it is rapid, not retarded, development that is most likely to protect the poor against natural disasters and agricultural losses.” As welcome as their conclusion is, it's not a novel insight. As it happens, a new report by the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website), Misled on Climate Change, [PDF] points out that the United Nations scenario in which humanity burns the most fossil fuels over the next century is also the one in which global wealth is greatest. In that scenario “by 2100 GDP per capita in poor countries will be double the U.S.’s 2006 level, even taking into account any negative impact of climate change.” For the record, current U.S. GDP per capita is$47,000. As the Reason report concludes, sustained economic growth over the next century “would not only address all of the current problems that might get worse in the future but would also enable humanity to address more effectively any other future problems it encounters, whether climate-related or otherwise.”

The title of the collection comes from French anthropologist Bruno Latour’s essay, "Love Your Monsters: Why We Must Care For Our Technologies As We Do Our Children." Latour argues the story of Frankenstein has been misinterpreted by modern environmentalists as a cautionary tale about the dangers of technological hubris. In fact, Latour correctly points out that Frankenstein’s creature only became a “monster” as a result of being rejected and abandoned by his creator. In a similar manner to Frankenstein, environmentalists reject many new and old technologies out of fear of their unintended consequences. Most parents love their children despite the inconveniences posed by the noxious emissions they discharge from time to time. Latour argues that we should similarly embrace and care for our technologies despite side effects like pollution. Through love and care, both children and technologies can be civilized in ways that ameliorate and reduce noxious consequences associated with them.

The next essay, "Conservation in the Anthropocene: Beyond Solitude and Fragility" is by three practicing conservationists, Peter Kareiva and Robert Lalasz at The Nature Conservancy, and Santa Clara University environmental scientist Michelle Marvier. Anthropocene is a proposed term to describe the current geological age in which humans are having a significant impact on the ecosphere. The essay begins by pointing out that “the worldwide number of protected areas has risen dramatically from under 10,000 in 1950 to over 100,000 by 2009.” This amounts to as much as 13 percent of the world’s land area, an area larger than all of South America. And yet deforestation and species extinction continue unabated.

The three urge environmentalists to drop “their idealized notions of nature, parks, and wilderness—ideas that have never been supported by good conservation science—and forge a more optimistic, human-friendly vision.” They cite evidence that local people are better at managing natural resources and landscapes than are the centralized government bureaucracies favored by most environmentalist organizations. They ask, “If there is no wilderness, if nature is resilient rather than fragile, and if people are actually part of nature and not the original sinners who caused our banishment from Eden, then what should be the new vision for conservation?” They answer that conservation must “embrace a priority that has been anathema to us for more than a hundred years: economic development for all [emphasis added].” Among other things, economic development means more people living in cities and fewer on the landscape; more productive crops grown on fewer acres; and cleaner technologies with fewer side effects. “Nature could be a garden—not a carefully manicured and rigid one, but a tangle of species and wildness amidst lands used for food production, mineral extraction, and urban life,” they argue.

Geographer Erle Ellis asserts in "Planet of No Return: Human Resilience on an Artificial Earth" that Malthusian environmentalism has gotten it completely wrong when it claims that there are limits to growth. Human social and technological ingenuity creates more resources over time. Ellis suggests, “As populations, consumption, and technological power advance at an exponential pace, industrial systems appear to be evolving in new directions that tend to reverse many of the environmental impacts caused by agriculture and prior human systems.” For example, more people are moving from the landscape into cities where they have better access to health care, education, incomes, housing, markets, transportation, and waste treatment. Agriculture productivity modernizes and intensifies potentially sparing more land for nature.

Next philosopher Mark Sagoff deconstructs ecological economics which asserted that the scope and scale of the human enterprise was overloading ecological systems and causing them to collapse. Ecological economists argued that there were such things as ecosystems in which organisms and physical resources were tightly bound and which evolved together as a community. Disturbing these tight linkages could result in a collapse of the whole system. Subsequent empirical research finds that plant and animal “communities” are a figment; plants and animals just show up and survive as best they can where they find themselves. There is no balance of nature to be upset. Of course, unintended consequences of technological and economic development must be dealt with, but there are no ultimate constraints on economic growth.

A devastating critique of Malthusian environmentalism is offered by Daniel Sarewitz in his essay "Liberalism’s Modest Proposal, Or the Tyranny of Scientific Rationality." He begins by citing Jonathan Swift’s famous satirical essay, "A Modest Proposal," in which Swift suggested that the problem of Irish famine might simply be dealt with by eating Irish babies. Sarewitz argues that Swift’s goal was to show that “pretty much any position, however repulsive, could be advanced on the back of rationality.” Sarewitz argues with regard to the problem of climate change modern environmentalists have adopted a form of scientific rationality in which the fact that burning fossil fuels to produce cheap energy harms the climate suggests that solution is to “make energy more expensive.” Sarewitz then points out that the access to cheap energy is, in fact, “a basic requirement for human development and dignity.” He adds, “This fact is so blindingly obvious that nearly any large developing country has treated the idea of a global agreement to raise the price of energy as a joke of Swiftean character. The difference being, of course, that it was not a joke.”

Sarewitz then identifies the political incoherence that lies at the heart of environmentalism. On the one hand, environmentalists want to avoid the risks of new technologies and on the other Malthusian hand they worry about declining stocks of natural resources. Consequently, environmentalists “find themselves, for reasons of risk, opposing new technologies that could help resolve issues of scarcity.” As an example of this political and scientific incoherence, Sarewitz cites the case of genetically enhanced crops which environmentalists oppose because of their alleged risks to human health although such crops would ameliorate environmentalist concerns about soil and water depletion, pesticide residues, and population growth. Sarewitz cuts through the current incoherence by rejecting the environmentalist scheme to raise energy prices by means of a global cap-and-trade regime on fossil fuels. Sarewitz instead argues for an intensive research effort aimed at developing cheap low-carbon energy sources.

The collection ends with an essay by engineer Siddhartha Shome, "The New India Versus the Global Greens Brahmins; The Surprising History of Tree Hugging." Shome details the history of the Chipko movement in the 1970s in which Himalayan village women literally hugged trees in forests near their homes in order to prevent outside loggers from cutting them down. This story was retold as an ecological tale in which the women were cast as protectors of nature. As Shome makes clear, the villagers intended to preserve their traditional forest rights from outsiders. The villagers wanted to maintain local control over resources, not create a nature preserve. Research shows that in fact local people tend to be better stewards of natural resources than centralized bureaucracies.

Malthusian environmentalists like to cite factoids like the average American child over the course of her lifetime will consume 35 times more resources than the average Indian child. Shome shows that villagers are now abandoning the countryside, flocking to India’s economically dynamic cities seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They have every intention that their children will catch up to American kids when it comes to material welfare. Instead of reconciling themselves to ascetic poverty as Mahatma Gandhi urged, Shome shows that India’s poor are following the lead of the father of India’s constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar. Ambedkar argued, “Machinery and modern civilization are thus indispensable for emancipating man from leading the life of a brute … The slogan of a democratic society must be machinery, and more machinery, civilization and more civilization.”

One big problem with the collection is that it fails to recognize the context that enabled the technological progress of the past two centuries to occur—the rise strong property rights and market economies. There simply has been no appreciable technological innovation in countries that do not have these institutions. In addition, Shellenberger and Nordhaus assert that many ecological problems—global warming, deforestation, and overfishing—are the unintended consequences of human technological success.

Obviously technology contributes to these predicaments, but the chief problem is that they (and nearly all other environmental problems) occur in open access commons. If there is no clear ownership of rights to a natural resource, the users of the resource will overexploit it. If they leave something behind, the next guy will simply take it. In general the best way to protect resources is to privatize them and put them into the market, but that’s a subject for another time.

It turns out that the “monsters” feared by environmentalists are largely figments of their cramped Malthusian imaginations. Sure, there are unintended consequences to technologies, but the solution is not to abandon them, but to improve them. The way to protect and preserve nature is to make humanity more prosperous. In the end, given its failure to understand both ecology and economics, one is left wondering what the purpose of environmentalism was supposed to be anyway?

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.
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Body-by-Guinness
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 « Reply #581 on: January 05, 2012, 01:33:16 PM »

2nd post:

Defund the IPCC Now
Posted on January 5, 2012 by Willis Eschenbach
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Well, I woke up to some bad news this morning. It turns out that the GAO, the US General Accounting Office, says US has been secretly hiding their funding of the IPCC for the last decade.

They were already told not to do that by the GAO. In the 2005 GAO report with the swingeing title of “Federal Reports on Climate Change Funding Should Be Clearer and More Complete”, the GAO said … well, basically what the title said. But noooo, those sneaky bureaucrats didn’t do that at all.

The latest 2011 GAO Report says the US government has not changed their ways. They have been clandestinely providing about half the operating funds for the IPCC for the last decade. In other words, the IPCC funding arrangements are of a piece with their “scientific” claims and their other actions—secretive, shabby, with a hidden agenda, and full of disinformation.

The report says that the State Department provided $19 million dollars to the IPCC. Thanks, guys. Foolish me, I hadn’t realized that paying for bureaucrats to go party in Cancun and Durban was part of the function of the United States Department of State. I also found out that the IPCC got$12.1 million dollars from the US Global Change Research Program. That one really angrifies my blood. The IPCC flat out states that they do not do a single scrap of scientific research … so why is the US Global Change Research Program giving them a dime, much less twelve million, that was supposed to go for research? I could use that for my research, for example …

The 2011 GAO report had some strong advice for the climate profiteers behind this secretive funding. They said:

“Congress and the public cannot consistently track federal climate change funding or spending over time,”

Oh, no, wait, that’s what the GAO said back in 2005. Unfortunately, they have no enforcement powers. What they said this time around was that the funding information:

“… was not available in budget documents or on the websites of the relevant federal agencies, and the agencies are generally not required to report this information to Congress.”

In other words … no change from 2005.

Congressfolk, you are not paying attention. These guys are taking money for research and using it to party in Durban and other nice places around the planet. And the US has been secretly funding them for a decade.

Can anyone name for me one valuable thing that the IPCC has done? Can anyone point to an accomplishment by the IPCC that justifies their existence? Because I can’t. They throw a good party, to be sure, their last global extravaganza had 10,000 guests … but as for advancing the climate discussion, they have done nothing but push it backwards.

And the next Assessment Report, AR5, will be even more meaningless than the last. This time, people are watching them refuse to require conflict-of-interest statements from the authors. This time, people are watching them appoint known serial scientific malfeasants to positions of power in the writing of the report. This time, people are keeping track of the petty machinations of the railroad engineer that’s running the show despite calls from his own supporters to step down.

As a result, the AR5 report from the IPCC has been pre-debunked. It will be published to no doubt great fanfare and sink like a stone, dragged down by the politicized, poorly summarized bad science and rewarmed NGO puff pieces that the IPCC is promoting as though they were real science.

Folks … can we call a long overdue halt to this IPCC parade of useless and even antiscientific actions? Can we stop the endless partying at taxpayer expense? Can we “trow da bums out” and get back to climate science?

I say DEFUND THE IPCC NOW!

w.

PS—The GAO report is available here. And all is not lost, at least one Congressman is working to defund the IPCC:

Wrapped into the many amendments recently passed by the House of Representatives — a total of $60 billion in spending cuts that the president called a “nonstarter” — was one by Republican Missouri Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer that would prohibit$13 million in taxpayer dollars from going to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the group whose occasional missteps have been the source of countless confrontations among climate scientists over the past year.

A congressional aide told FoxNews.com that he plans to pursue the bill — regardless of whether it is passed in the larger Republican budget.

“The congressman plans to continue his effort to stop taxpayer support of the IPCC and remains cautiously optimistic that the Senate will take the amendment,” said Keith Beardslee, a spokesman for the congressman. “Failing that, Blaine has reintroduced separate legislation he first introduced in the 111th Congress to halt funding to the IPCC.”

GO MISSOURI! GO LUETKEMEYER!!

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/05/defund-the-ipcc-now/
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G M
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 « Reply #582 on: January 05, 2012, 01:40:28 PM »

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Chuck B
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Posts: 42

 « Reply #583 on: January 05, 2012, 01:48:38 PM »

Woof Guro C.,

I can provide you with a wide variety of experiments that could prove or deny the existence of AGW but unfortunately they require that I construct new planets to my specifications and then carefully control the atmospheres of them.  Obviously I can't do that so I look closely at the mathematics and science instead.  There seems to be this idea that somehow scientific ideas are better if they can be experimentally verified.  It could simply be that we can construct the experiments to test some ideas due to scale and that other ideas should be rigorously tested mathematically and theoretically because we can't do the experiments.  That doesn't mean that tested hypotheses are necessarily better, but simply that they have been tested.

Quote
IF AGW is swamped by other factors and thus is not a big deal, then why put our government, or worse yet, the UN in charge of the weather-- financed by the US taxpayer?!?

Note that I never recommended that we do anything different  I said that I looked at the underlying data.  I didn't precisely say what I found.  I do however find that this discussion of how people come by very heartfelt opinionis on complex topics that they have not delved deeply into to be outstanding material for the Pathological Science thread.    I do believe that we should have an honest discussion about the risks and there has been a marked failure on both sides IMO.  If God giveth, God can take away.  If some other factor is swamping the effects of AGW, there is nothing that says it is eternal.

@BBG

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Do we have experimentally verified gravitons that I missed?

Einstein's Theory of Relativity (which is not a theory of gravitation) predicted bending of light which was later experimentally verified and also predicted the existence of black holes.  The LAWS of gravitation are experimentally verified probably many times every day.  There are a rather wide variety of experiments on gravitation that can be performed.  I also specifically said why they don't answer the questions required to become a Theory of Gravitation although there are many aspects of the theories that are out there that can be verified.  Perhaps I should use the word hypotheses but I was using the word that the authors of the "theories" used.

Quote
Easily measure the concentrations of CO2 in all bodies of water on the planet? I guess Alvin has been busy. Just when did this occur?

You are going to have to remind me what this has to do with changing the absorption of infrared light by the ATMOSPHERE.  I already said this governs some removal mechanisms in accordance with Henry's Law.  It also has bearing on the analysis of potential damage to ecological systems.

Quote
Well thank goodness then that whole "hockey stick" thing was some sort of grievous misunderstanding. Has Dr. Mann been informed?

You are going to have to remind me where one of them said that CO2 concentrations were the only factor that affected atmospheric temperatures.

Chuck
 « Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 02:00:32 PM by Chuck B » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
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 « Reply #584 on: January 05, 2012, 05:42:46 PM »

POSITIVE, adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

The AGW establishment should heed this piece, particularly the statistics end of things, as that is where many feel their errors lie. When you make a habit of teasing out data from proxies using suspect statistical methods, false positives are sure to ensue.

Publishing False Positives

Recently researchers published a paper in which their data show, with statistical significance, that listening to a song about old age (When I’m 64) actually made people younger – not just feel younger, but to rejuvenate to a younger age.  Of course, the claim lacks plausibility, and that was the point. Simmons, Nelson, and Simonsohn deliberately chose a hypothesis that was impossible in order to make a point: how easy it is to manipulate data in order to generate a false positive result.

In their paper Simmons et al  describe in detail what skeptical scientists have known and been saying for years, and what other research has also demonstrated, that researcher bias can have a profound influence on the outcome of a study. They are looking specifically at how data is collected and analyzed and showing that the choices the researcher make can influence the outcome. They referred to these choices as “researcher degrees of freedom;” choices, for example, about which variables to include, when to stop collecting data, which comparisons to make, and which statistical analyses to use.

Each of these choices may be innocent and reasonable, and the researchers can easily justify the choices they make. But when added together these degrees of freedom allow for researchers to extract statistical significance out of almost any data set. Simmons and his colleagues, in fact, found that using four common decisions about data (using two dependent variables, adding 10 more observations, controlling for gender, or dropping a condition from the test) would allow for false positive statistical significance at the p<0.05 level 60% of the time, and p<0.01 level 21% of the time.

This means that any paper published with a statistical significance of p<0.05  could be more likely to be a false positive than true positive.

Worse – this effect is not really researcher fraud. In most cases researchers could be honestly making necessary choices about data collection and analysis, and they could really believe they are making the correct choices, or at least reasonable choices. But their bias will influence those choices in ways that researchers may not be aware of. Further, researchers may simply be using the techniques that “work” – meaning they give the results the researcher wants.

Worse still – it is not necessary to disclose the information necessary to detect the effect of these choices on the outcome. All of these choices about the data can be excluded from the published study. There is therefore no way for a reviewer or reader of the article to know all the “degrees of freedom” the researchers had, what analyses they tried and rejected, how they decided when to stop collecting data, etc.

This is exactly why skeptics are  not impressed when, for example, ESP researchers publish papers with statistically significant but small ESP effects, such as the recent Bem papers in which he purports to show a retroactive or precognitive effect. This is as impossible as music rejuvenating listeners and skeptics properly treated it the same way – the result of subtle data manipulation til proven otherwise. Researcher bias is one of the reasons that plausibility needs to be considered in interpreting research.

Simmons, Nelson, and Simonsohn do not just describe and document the problem, they also discuss possible solutions. They list six things researchers can do, and four things journal editors can do, to reduce this problem. These steps mainly involve transparency – disclosing all the data collected (including any data excluded from the final analysis), making decisions about end points prior to any analysis, and showing the robustness of the results by showing what the results would have been had other data analysis decisions been made. Reviewers essentially make sure this was all done.

They also discuss other options that they feel would not be effective or practical. Disclosing all the raw data is certainly a good idea, but readers are unlikely to analyze the raw data on their own. They also don’t like replacing p-value analysis with a Bayesian analysis because they feel this would just increase the degrees of freedom. I am not sure I agree with them there – for example, they argue that a Bayesian analysis requires judgments about the prior probability, but it doesn’t. You can simply calculate the change in prior probability from the new data (essentially what a Bayesian approach is), without deciding what the prior probability was. It seems to me that Bayesian vs p-value both have the same problems of bias, so I agree it’s not a solution but I don’t feel it would be worse.

They also discuss the problem with replications. An exact replication would partially fix the problem, because then all of the decisions about data collection have already been made. But, they point out, prestigious journals rarely publish exact replications, and so there is little incentive for researchers to do this. Richard Wiseman encountered this problem when he tried to publish exact replications of Bem’s psi research.
Conclusion

Science is not only a self-corrective process, the methods of science itself are self-corrective. (So it’s self-corrective in its self-correctedness.)  Simmons and his colleagues have done a great service in this article, highlighting the problem of subtle researcher bias in handling data, and also being very specific in quantifying the effects of specific data decisions, and offering reasonable remedies. I essentially agree with their conclusions, and their discussion about the implications of this problem.

They hit the nail on the head when they write that the goal of science is to “discover and disseminate truth.”  We want to find out what is really true, not just verify our biases and desires. That is the skeptical outlook, and it is why we are so critical of papers purporting to demonstrate highly implausible claims with flimsy data. We require high levels of statistical significance, reasonable effect sizes, transparency in the data and statistical methods, and independent replication before we would conclude that a new phenomenon is likely to be true. This is the reasonable position, historically justified, in my opinion, because of the many false positives that were prematurely accepted in the past (and continue to be today).

Science works, but it’s hard. There are many ways in which errors and bias can creep into research and so researchers have to be vigilant, journal reviewers and editors have to be vigilant, and the scientific community needs to continue to self-examine and look for ways to make the process of science more reliable. Those institutions and professions that lack this rigorous self-critical and self-corrective culture and process are simply not truly scientific.

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/publishing-false-positives/
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Body-by-Guinness
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 « Reply #585 on: January 05, 2012, 06:54:30 PM »

@BBG

Quote
Do we have experimentally verified gravitons that I missed?

Quote
Einstein's Theory of Relativity (which is not a theory of gravitation) predicted bending of light which was later experimentally verified and also predicted the existence of black holes.  The LAWS of gravitation are experimentally verified probably many times every day.  There are a rather wide variety of experiments on gravitation that can be performed.  I also specifically said why they don't answer the questions required to become a Theory of Gravitation although there are many aspects of the theories that are out there that can be verified.  Perhaps I should use the word hypotheses but I was using the word that the authors of the "theories" used.

Uhm, okay I think I understand. Gravitons have nothing to do with gravity, and we are both discussing and not discussing whether there is a comprehensive, verifiable theory for the stuff that keeps us from floating around. I guess there is some sort of Schrödinger's cat--wave/particle--Zen koan--sister **slap** daughter aspect of this I'm somehow missing. Whups, that last example is from Chinatown and hence is perhaps not germane to this discussion.

Quote
Easily measure the concentrations of CO2 in all bodies of water on the planet? I guess Alvin has been busy. Just when did this occur?

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You are going to have to remind me what this has to do with changing the absorption of infrared light by the ATMOSPHERE.  I already said this governs some removal mechanisms in accordance with Henry's Law.  It also has bearing on the analysis of potential damage to ecological systems.

Sure thing. Proxies suggest there were times in the past when there were higher concentrations of of CO2 yet things were not warmer than they are now. They also suggest there were times in the past when concentrations were significantly lower yet things were warmer than they are now. 3/4s of the planet is covered by water which warehouses huge quantities CO2, yet we do not understand how CO2 exchanges between the two media, particularly over time. If we are going to hold a single variable accountable for some sort of coming conflagration we should likely understand that exchange mechanism, particularly as there hasn't been a linear relationship between CO2 and temp demonstrated in the geologic record. Or is there something in Henry's Law or the absorption of infrared that explains these anomalies?

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Well thank goodness then that whole "hockey stick" thing was some sort of grievous misunderstanding. Has Dr. Mann been informed?

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You are going to have to remind me where one of them said that CO2 concentrations were the only factor that affected atmospheric temperatures.

Whut? You want me to post that silly hockey stick graph with the temps and CO2 levels correlated over time, save for the Medieval Warming Period? Should I then recapitulate how Mann refused to release the source code he applied to his proxies until the Canadian statistician whose name eludes me at the moment backward engineered it, demonstrating processing errors along the way? Maybe I should Google "carbon dioxide & global warming" and then post the link so you can wade through the results yourself? Are you seriously going to argue that CO2 is not the single variable most AGW alarmists have seized on? If so I'm gonna have to ask if you are here to inform or obfuscate.
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Chuck B
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Posts: 42

 « Reply #586 on: January 06, 2012, 10:31:28 AM »

Woof BBG,

You seem fixated on these gravitons.  I'm not even convinced that they exist.  We currently believe that gravity is instantaneous which makes it faster than light.  If we have to postulate the existence of a particle that moves at instantaneous speeds, then I have a problem with that postulate.  If we assume that these particles don't actually move terribly much but exist as a sort of ether that can propagate a gravity wave, then we are still saying that they can propagate this wave at near instantaneous speeds which is something that we don't have the ability to account for.  I'm definitely allowing for the possibility that there is some completely different means by which gravity is propagated than a particle.

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If we are going to hold a single variable accountable for some sort of coming conflagration

I still know of no one that is doing this.

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3/4s of the planet is covered by water which warehouses huge quantities CO2, yet we do not understand how CO2 exchanges between the two media, particularly over time.

I have already said that the concentration of CO2 in water which exists as one of the carbonates has a significant effect on the concentration of CO2 in the atmopshere.  But that is largely irrelevant when I can simply go measure the atmospheric concentration of CO2.  It used to be off the top of my head 280 ppm in the early 1900s.  It is now again off the top of my head around 400.  The ocean did whatever it did during that time and the concentration came up.  These are facts.  The increase in concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere changed the manner in which the atmosphere absorbed infrared light.  This is also fact.  Perhaps it didn't change it much but it did change.  This is all independent of where the CO2 goes.

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You want me to post that silly hockey stick graph with the temps and CO2 levels correlated over time, save for the Medieval Warming Period?

Instead of posting someone's bad prediction, perhaps you could post a quotation by that person indicating that CO2 is the only factor governing the temperature of the planet.  Considering that water vapor is obviously the more significant greenhouse gas and that aerasol particulates have a large effect (which is also well known), I'm guessing you cannot find this quote.  If you can point me to a person that actually said that, then I will show you a fool.

Chuck
 « Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 11:02:42 AM by Chuck B » Logged
ccp
Power User

Posts: 7833

 « Reply #587 on: January 07, 2012, 09:14:56 AM »

The scientific proof from the left continues:

On Chris Hayes "Up" show this AM he is quoted as saying, "we now KNOW an earthquake in Ohio is caused by fracking".

Right away I know he could not possible "know" this so I look it up online and find a seismologist from Columbia has made a circumstancial link from "nearby" fracking" and a "rare" event in Ohio.  Obviously this is proof.  And a guy from 'Columbia' of course is objective:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-earthquake-ohiotre803022-20120103,0,6455763.story
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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #588 on: January 07, 2012, 01:53:21 PM »

Woof CCP,

The actual scientist in the article is a little more circumspect about the earthquake than you are giving him credit for.  It is KNOWN that fracking can cause minor earthquakes to occur.  Whether it can cause one that is 4.0 on the richter scale is not proven at this time to my knowledge but it doesn't mean it can't happen.  You realize of course that fracking actually doesn't cause earthquakes, but tectonic motion does, right?  Are you saying it is IMPOSSIBLE that fracking could be the trigger for an earthquake once the stored energy was already present?

Chuck
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Body-by-Guinness
Guest
 « Reply #589 on: January 07, 2012, 01:59:56 PM »

List of 250 Climategate 2.0 emails that are particularly interesting. I've been enjoying the various "when did trees stop functioning as thermometer" threads:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/06/250-plus-noteworthy-climategate-2-0-emails/
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Body-by-Guinness
Guest
 « Reply #590 on: January 07, 2012, 02:02:00 PM »

. . . but zombie parasite flies:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/01/03/zombie-fly-parasite-killing-honeybees/

Second post.
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Body-by-Guinness
Guest
 « Reply #591 on: January 07, 2012, 02:08:13 PM »

Quote of the day:

Newcastle did not beat Manchester United today, because the long term trend is for Manchester United to beat Newcastle.

Stephen Goddard, alluding to last night's footie results.

Have a hot date with my wife tonight so I'll join fray again later, I expect with several drinks in me.
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Body-by-Guinness
Guest
 « Reply #592 on: January 07, 2012, 02:12:04 PM »

Whups, one more:

Failing at Prediction, Succeeding at Bias

Date: January 6, 2012 | Author: Brian Trent

In Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, the future can be predicted through a new method known as psychohistory. It’s a concept that turns up quite a lot — not only in science-fiction but from every so-called analyst, expert, advisor, talking head, and pundit across the spectrum of armchair philosophers and industry insiders.

We’re not talking about psychics here, but good old fashioned datahounds. Surely this suggests a more effective compass to predicting trends, right? Isn’t there a science to extrapolation that is more effective than reading the pattern of coffee grinds at the bottom of your Turkish coffee? Economics and technology and politics are not like trying to divine how many angels can stand on pinheads, after all.

Michael Shermer has a fine and sobering article today in the Huffington Post on how economists and Nostradamus aren’t so different with their respective track records:

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At Skeptic magazine we routinely publish articles about the failed predictions of soothsayers, astrologers, tarot-card readers, palm-readers, and psychics of all stripes. But frankly scientists are not much better, especially in the social sciences where we depend on predictions of psychologists, sociologists, and most notably economists.

Shermer highlights the stealthy, insidious logical fallacy that is confirmation bias, as the gremlin in our would-be psychohistorical acumen:

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One of the smartest and most deeply read historians of the 20th century, Arnold Toynbee, was spectacularly wrong in his blockbuster A Study of History, in which he thought he had identified a challenge-and-response cyclical pattern that all civilizations follow: birth, growth, expansion, empire, and disintegration. Starting with Greece and Rome, Toynbee dug through the historical record to find confirmatory evidence for his theory (culminating in his call for America to rise to the challenge of its alleged mid-century moral decline). You would think he would have taken heed from his inspiration, the German historian Oswald Spengler, who erroneously predicted the “decline of the west” in the 1920s. But that’s not how the mind works.

Why did Toynbee believe his own theory in the teeth of contradictory evidence presented by other historians? Because of the confirmation bias, which our brains employ to reinforce what we already believe while ignoring disconfirming data.

It isn’t merely the flashy discredited utopias that earlier ages expected — like flying cars or airships or lunar bases by 1999. The world is an astonishingly complex place, while our brains are constantly trying to simplify it into a distinct and candy-coated set of variables that will result in a conclusion ready-to-fit on a poster or soundbyte.

Writes Shermer:

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Being deeply knowledgeable on one subject narrows one’s focus and increases confidence, but it also blurs dissenting views until they are no longer visible, thereby transforming data collection into bias confirmation and morphing self-deception into self-assurance.

http://theness.com/roguesgallery/index.php/general-science/failing-at-prediction-succeeding-at-bias/
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ccp
Power User

Posts: 7833

 « Reply #593 on: January 08, 2012, 09:52:03 AM »

Chuck,

I should have posted under the media thread.  I doubt fracking is causing *significant* shifts in tectonic plates.  Yes I agree scientists can evaluate for the possibility of more local release of "stored" up energy though.

But the main thrust of my points is that a MSNBC host presents a theory as though it is accepted fact.  And this is a problem.
And I have a hard time trusting anything that comes out of Columbia University knowing the politics of most of the staff.

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Chuck B
Newbie

Posts: 42

 « Reply #594 on: January 08, 2012, 11:02:26 AM »

Woof CCP,

Plates shift all the time.  I'm sure there is an active fault in the Youngstown, OH area.  I'm not saying that fracking caused the shift but rather that it could have led to the release of stored energy in the observed manner.

The "expert" made the claim that the epicenter of the earthquake was not at a level that is observed in the Youngstown area.  This would be an easily verified point considering that we closely track the epicenters of earthquakes.  In my opinion, this man made a point that could easily be proved or disproved through research yet you indicted his opinion based on the supposed politics of the university that he is from.  Rather unscientific IMO.

Chuck
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ccp
Power User

Posts: 7833

 « Reply #595 on: January 10, 2012, 02:21:20 PM »

Scientific American article from Nov 11 reviewing evidence for and against contamination of drinking water from fracking chemicals:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fracking-evolving-truth-natural-gas

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Crafty_Dog
Power User

Posts: 42494

 « Reply #596 on: January 10, 2012, 03:21:24 PM »

Excellent find CCP.

We search for Truth.  Lets keep an eye on this.
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Body-by-Guinness
Guest
 « Reply #597 on: January 11, 2012, 12:18:24 PM »

Scientists, Share Secrets or Lose Funding: Stodden and Arbesman

By Victoria Stodden and Samuel Arbesman Jan 9, 2012 7:00 PM ET 9 Comments Q

The Journal of Irreproducible Results, a science-humor magazine, is, sadly, no longer the only publication that can lay claim to its title. More and more published scientific studies are difficult or impossible to repeat.

It’s not that the experiments themselves are so flawed they can’t be redone to the same effect -- though this happens more than scientists would like. It’s that the data upon which the work is based, as well as the methods employed, are too often not published, leaving the science hidden.

Many people assume that scientists the world over freely exchange not only the results of their experiments but also the detailed data, statistical tools and computer instructions they employed to arrive at those results. This is the kind of information that other scientists need in order to replicate the studies. The truth is, open exchange of such information is not common, making verification of published findings all but impossible and creating a credibility crisis in computational science.

Federal agencies that fund scientific research are in a position to help fix this problem. They should require that all scientists whose studies they finance share the files that generated their published findings, the raw data and the computer instructions that carried out their analysis.

The ability to reproduce experiments is important not only for the advancement of pure science but also to address many science-based issues in the public sphere, from climate change to biotechnology.

Too Little Transparency

Consider, for example, a recent notorious incident in biomedical science. In 2006, researchers at Duke University seemed to have discovered relationships between lung cancer patients’ personal genetic signatures and their responsiveness to certain drugs. The scientists published their results in respected journals (the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine), but only part of the genetic signature data used in the studies was publicly available, and the computer codes used to generate the findings were never revealed. This is unfortunately typical for scientific publications.

The Duke research was considered such a breakthrough that other scientists quickly became interested in replicating it, but because so much information was unavailable, it took three years for them to uncover and publicize a number of very serious errors in the published reports. Eventually, those reports were retracted, and clinical trials based on the flawed results were canceled.

In response to this incident, the Institute of Medicine convened a committee to review what data should appropriately be revealed from genomics research that leads to clinical trials. This committee is due to release its report early this year.

Unfortunately, the research community rarely addresses the problem of reproducibility so directly. Inadequate sharing is common to all scientific domains that use computers in their research today (most of science), and it hampers transparency.

By making the underlying data and computer code conveniently available, scientists could open a new era of innovation and growth. In October, the White House released a memorandum titled “Accelerating Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Federal Research in Support of High-Growth Businesses,” which outlines ways for federal funding agencies to improve the rate of technology transfer from government-financed laboratories to the private business sector.

Technology Transfer

In this memo, President Barack Obama called on federal agencies to measure the rate of technology transfer. To this end, agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation should require that scientists who receive federal funds publish full results, including the data they are based on and all the computer steps taken to reach them. This could include providing links to Internet sites containing the data and codes required to replicate the published results.

Exceptions could be made when necessary -- some information might need to be kept confidential for national-security reasons, for example. But standard practice for scientific publication should be full transparency.

Leaving this up to the scientific community isn’t sufficient. Nor is relying on current federal rules. Grant guidelines from the NIH and the NSF instruct researchers to share with other investigators the data generated in the course of their work, but this isn’t enforced. The NIH demands that articles resulting from research it finances be made freely available within a year of publication. But even if this policy were extended to all government-financed studies, the data and computer codes needed to verify the findings would still remain inaccessible.
As Jon Claerbout, a professor emeritus of geophysics at Stanford University, has noted, scientific publication isn’t scholarship itself, but only the advertising of scholarship. The actual work -- the steps needed to reproduce the scientific finding -- must be shared.

Stricter requirements for transparency in publication would allow scientific findings to more quickly become fuel for innovation and help ensure that public policy is based on sound science.

(Victoria Stodden is an assistant professor of statistics at Columbia University. Samuel Arbesman is a senior scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The opinions expressed are their own.)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-10/scientists-share-secrets-or-lose-funding-stodden-and-arbesman.html
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Body-by-Guinness
Guest
 « Reply #598 on: January 11, 2012, 12:24:23 PM »

As someone intrigued by chaos theory, and in view of the fact that world-wide climate system are both chaotic and poorly understood, this piece resonated loudly for me:

No new strange attractors: strong evidence against both positive feedback and catastrophe
Posted on January 9, 2012 by Anthony Watts
This is a comment by Dr. Robert Brown on the What we don’t know about Earth’s energy flow post. I thought it was so insightful on the topic of climate stability being “pushed” by CO2 forcing that I’ve elevated it to a separate post. – Anthony

Is it fair to say that the two systems would oscillate within the same parameters but the probability of them being synchronized is nil?

Sadly, no, not over long times. The systems could be as different as a ferromagnet magnetized up and an “identical” ferromagnet magnetized down. Or in the case of the Earth, as different as Glacial Earth and Interglacial Earth. The point is that both of these latter possibilities can be “stable” states for exactly the same insolation, etc, because feedbacks in the global system can themselves reconfigure to make them stable.

If you look at the link to chaos theory I provided, and look at the figure that shows two loopy braids of lines, that provides an heuristic picture of the kind of possibilities available to coupled nonlinear differential systems.

A plot of the Lorenz attractor for values r = 28, σ = 10, b = 8/3 Image via Wikipedia

At the heart of each loop is something called a “strange attractor”, which is typically a limit point. The x and y axes are coordinates in a generalized (phase) space that represent the state of the system at any given time, x(t),y(t). The lines themselves are the trajectory of the system over time moving under the influence of the underlying dynamics. The point of the figure is that instead of their being a single “orbit” the way the earth orbits a regular attractor like the sun, the system oscillates around one attractor for a time, then the other, then both. Instead of nice closed orbits the orbits themselves are almost never the same.

Two trajectories that are started close to one another will usually start out, for a while, orbiting the attractors the same general way. But over time — often a remarkably short time — the two trajectories will diverge. One will flip over to the other attractor and the other won’t. After a remarkably short time, the two trajectories are almost completely decorrelated in that the knowledge of where one lies (in the general accessible phase space) provides one with no help at all in guessing the location of the other.

It’s only in this final sense that you are correct. Either system has to be found in the space of physically consistent states, states that are accessible via the differential process from the starting points. There is no guarantee that the trajectories will “fill phase space”. So in this sense they are both going to be found within the phase space accessible from the starting points. If those two starting points are close enough, they will probably sample very similar phase spaces, but there is no guarantee that they will be identical — especially if there are (many) more than two attractors, and if some simple parameter. In stat mech, with different assumptions, there is a theorem to that regard, but in the general case of open system dynamics in a chaotic system, IFAIK no.

If you are interested in this sort of thing (which can be fun to play with, actually) you can look up things like the “predator-prey differential equations”, e.g.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka%E2%80%93Volterra_equation

IIRC this is one of the simplest systems exhibiting an attractor and limit cycle, and illustrates many of the features of more complicated dynamical systems. The attractor/fixed point in this case is the population of e.g. foxes and rabbits that remains in perfect equilibrium from year to year. Note well that this equation is deterministic, but of course a real population — even being modelled — always has random (or at least, “unpredictable”) variations — a certain amount of noise — and is actually discretized and not continuous as one cannot have half a cheetah eating \pi baboons.

A better continuous “kind” of differential equation for describing systems like this with noise is something called a Langevin equation in physics — a system with “fast” microscopic degrees of freedom that one accounts for on average with a stochastic term, and slower degrees of freedom one integrates out like the predator prey equation. In physics it is a special limiting case of something called a generalized Master equation, which is the full integrodifferential description of a many body open quantum system and is really, really difficult. The general approach, however, is not inapplicable here — and is a presumed part of most of the simplified climate models. When you “smooth” the temperature by e.g. doing a running average, you are giving up information (the short time variation) and trying to reduce the complexity of the system by focussing on the slower time scale dynamics.

If the system really is simple — has a single attractor and is in a very regular oscillation around it where the “noise” one is smoothing out really is irrelevant and just adds small variation to a single trajectory — this is probably OK. If the system is multistable and has many locally stable points, or worse if some of the degrees of freedom are things like the Sun whose time evolution is completely outside of “the system” and whose future you cannot predict and whose effect you do not precisely know, so that the attractors themselves can be moving around as the system evolves locally — it is probably not OK.

The symptom of the latter kind of multistable system where it is probably not OK is a series of punctuated equilibria, visible in the smoothed data. The 30 year satellite data and SST data fairly clearly shows this kind of behavior.

One final very important point — systems that oscillate almost always have negative feedback. In fact, that is the fundamental thing that defines an oscillatory system — it has attractors in it. Attractors are themselves stable (equilibrium) points such that if the system is perturbed from them it is pulled back towards equilibrium, not pushed away from it. In the general case of attractors in high dimensional spaces, this leads to the (Poincare) cycles around the attractors visible in the predator-prey equations or the Chaos figure with two strange attractors, except that they can get very, very complicated (and difficult to visualize) in 3+ dimensional spaces (where I’m not talking about physical spaces, note well, but parametric “phase” spaces, state spaces). Within some neighborhood of an attractor there is generally a fair bit of local stability — trajectories in that neighborhood will oscillate tightly around the one attractor and will be relatively unlikely to switch over to other attractors. Hence glacial and interglacial periods tend to last a fairly long time (compared to all of the many shorter timescales available to the system.

Moving a single underlying external parameter — e.g. anthropogenic CO_2 concentration, Solar state, geomagnetic state — can be thought of as moving the fixed points of the multistable system. If we linearize, we can often guess at least the direction of the first order direction of the movement. For example, more CO_2, given the greenhouse effect, should increase heat trapping, hence increase average global temperature. The stable fixed point should thus move a bit up in the warming direction.

Nearly all of the argument “revolves” (in more ways than one:-) around two simple problems, and note that I’m presenting them in a very different way than usual:

a) Is this linear response assumption valid? This is not a trivial question. Increased CO_2 in a multistable system doesn’t just move the local attractor, it moves all the attractors, and not necessarily in simple linear ways in a really complicated system with many negative feedbacks (there by hypothesis all over the place because the system is dominated by attractors). In many systems, there are conservation principles at work (not necessarily known ones) that act as constraints so that moving one attractor up moves another one down or increases the “barrier height” between two attractors and hence deforms all of the limit cycles.

b) Is the response the order of the mean difference between attractors being predominantly sampled within the system already? If it is greater, then it is likely not just to move the current attractor but to kick the system over to a new attractor. And it may not be the attractor you expect, one on the warmer side of the previous one. More warming, as warmists state in more heuristic terms, can make the system oscillate more wildly and hence be both warmer at the warmest part of the oscillation and colder at the coldest part of the oscillation. If the new excursion of the oscillation is great enough, it can kick the system into oscillation around a new attractor altogether on either side of things.

Note that this latter statement is still oversimplified as it makes it sound like there are only two directions, warmer and cooler. But that is not true. There is warmer with morewater vapor in the atmosphere, warmer with less water vapor in the atmosphere, warmer with the sun active, warmer with the sun not active, warmer with sea ice increasing, warmer with sea ice decreasing, warmer with more clouds, warmer with less clouds, and the clouds in question can be day side or night side clouds, arctic or antarctic clouds, in the summer, fall, winter or spring, really month by month if not day by day, with feedbacks everywhere — tweaking any single aspect of this cycle affects all of the rest, and I haven’t even begun to list all of the important dimensions or note that there are really important time scales with nearly periodic oscillation of many of these drivers, or noted that the underlying dynamics takes place on a spinning globe that generates airflow vortices as standard operating procedure that have lifetimes ranging from days to decades.

I have argued in posts above that the punctuated quasi-equilibrium evident in the climate record makes it very likely that the answer to b) is yes. The anthropogenic CO_2 shifts the system by order of or more than the distance between attractors, simply because the system jumped around between attractors even during time periods when there was no anthropogenic CO_2. Furthermore, the excursion of the system as it wandered among the attractors was as great as it is today, and not qualitatively different.

This strongly suggests that while the the linear response assumption made in a) may be valid (per attractor) — or may not, but it will be a huge problem to prove it — the effect is less than the natural excursion, not greater than the natural excursion, and the negative feedback factors that make the multistable attractors (locally) attractive also act as negative feedback on the CO_2 induced shift!

The latter is the fluctuation-dissipation theorem, as I already noted in one thread or another (two tired of writing to go see if it was this one). In an open system in a locally stable phase, the oscillations (fluctuations) couple to the dissipation so that more fluctuation makes more dissipation — negative feedback. If this is not true, the locally stable phase is not stable.

This is a strong argument against catastrophe! The point is that given that CO_2 is making only small, slow, local shifts of the attractors compared to the large shifts of the system between the attractors, if there was a point where the system was likely to fall over to a much warmer stable point — the “catastrophe” threatened by the warmists — it almost certainly would have already done it, as the phase oscillations over the last ten thousand years have on numerous occasions made it as warm as it is right now.

The fact that this has not happened is actually enormously strong evidence against both positive feedback and catastrophe. Yes, anthropogenic CO_2 may have shifted all the attractor temperatures a bit higher, it may have made small rearrangements of the attractors, but there is no evidence that suggests that it is probably going to suddenly create at new attractor far outside of the normal range of variation already visible in the climate record. Is it impossible? Of course not. But it is not probable.

I’ll close with an analogy. When physicists were getting ready to test the first nuclear bomb, there was some concern expressed by the less gifted physicists present that in doing so they might “ignite the Earth’s atmosphere” or somehow turn the Earth into a Sun (note that this was before there was any understanding of fusion — the sun’s energy cycle was still not understood). I’ve read (far more recently) some concern that collisions at the LHC could have the same effect — create a mini-black hole or the like that swallows the Earth.

Both of these are silly fears (although offered up, note well, by real scientists, because they could see that these outcomes were possible, at least in principle) and here’s why.

The temperature and pressure created by the nuclear bomb is not unique! Although it is rare, asteroids fall to the earth, and when they do they create pressures and temperatures much higher than those produced by nuclear bombs. A very modest sized asteroid can release more energy in a few milliseconds than tens of thousands of times the total explosive energy of all of the man-made explosives, including nuclear bombs, on Earth! In a nutshell, if it could happen (with any reasonable probability), it already would have happened.

Ditto the fears associated with the LHC, or other “super” colliders. Sure, it generates collisions on the order of electron-teravolts, but this sort of energy in nuclear collisions is not unique! The Earth is constantly being bombarded by high energy particles given off by extremely energetic events like supernovae that happened long ago and far away. The energies of these cosmic rays are vastly greater than anything we will ever be able to produce in the laboratory until the laboratory in question contains a supernova. The most energetic cosmic ray ever observed (so far) was a (presumably) proton with the kinetic energy of a fastball-pitched baseball, a baseball travelling at some 150 kilometers per hour. Since we’ve seen one of these in a few decades of looking, we have to assume that they happen all the time — literally every second a cosmic ray of this sort of energy is hitting the Earth (BIG target) somewhere. If such a collision could create a black hole that destroyed planets with any significant probability, we would have been toast long, long ago.

Hence it is silly to fear the LHC or nuclear ignition. If either were probable, we wouldn’t be here to build an LHC or nuclear bomb.

It is not quite that silly to fear CAGW. The truth is that we haven’t been around long enough to know enough about the climate system to be able to tell what sorts of feedbacks and factors structure the multistable climate attractors, so one can create a number of doomsday scenarios — warming to a critical point that releases massive amounts of methane that heats things suddenly so that the ocean degasses all of its CO_2 and the ice caps melt and the oceans boil and suddenly there we are, Venus Earth with a mean temperature outside of 200 C. If we can imagine it and write it down, it must be possible, right? Science fiction novels galore explore just that sort of thing. Or movies proposing the opposite — the appearance of attractors that somehow instantly freeze the entire planet and bring about an ice age. Hey! It could happen!

But is it probable?

Here is where the argument above provides us with a great deal of comfort. There is little in the climate record to suggest the existence of another major stable state, another major attractor, well above the current warm phase attractor. Quite the opposite — the record over the last few tens of millions of years suggest that we are in the middle of a prolonged cooling phase of the planet, of the sort that has happened repeatedly over geological time, such that we are in the warm phase major attractor, and that there is literally nothing out there above it to go to. If there were, we would have gone there, instead, as local variations and oscillation around the many> minor warm phase attractors has repeatedly sampled conditions that would have been likely to cause a transition to occur if one was at all likely. At the very least, there would be a trace of it in the thermal record of the last million years or thereabouts, and there isn’t. We’re in one of the longest, warmest interglacials of the last five, although not at the warmest point of the current interglacial (the Holocene). If there were a still warmer attractor out there, the warmest point of the Holocene would have been likely to find it.

Since it manifestly did not, that suggests that the overall feedbacks are safely negative and all of the “catastrophe” hypotheses but one are relatively unlikely.

The one that should be worrisome? Catastrophic Global Cooling. We know that there is a cold phase major attractor some 5-10C cooler than current temperatures. Human civilization arose in the Holocene, and we have not yet advanced to where it can survive a cold phase transition back to glacial conditions, not without the death of 5 billion people and probable near-collapse of civilization. We know that this transition not only can occur, but will occur. We do not know when, why, or how to estimate its general probability. We do know that the LIA — a mere 400-500 years ago — was the coolest period in the entire Holocene post the Younger Dryas excursion; in general the Holocene appears to be cooling from its warmest period, and the twentieth century was a Grand Solar Maximum, the most active sun in 11,000 years, a maximum that is now clearly past.

IMO we are far more likely to be hanging out over an instability in which a complete transition to cold phase becomes uncomfortably likely than we are to be near a transition to a superwarm phase that there is no evidence of in the climate record. The probability is higher for two reasons. One is that unlike the superwarm phase, we know that the cold phase actually exists, and is a lot more stable than the warm phase. The “size” of the quasistable Poincare cycle oscillations around the cold phase major attractor is much larger than that around the warm phase attractors, and brief periods of warming often get squashed before turning into actual interglacials — that’s how stable they are.

The other is that we spend 90% of the time in glacial phase, only 10% in interglacial, and the Holocene is already one of the longer interglacials! There is dynamics on long timescales that we do not understand at work here. We have only the foggiest idea of what causes the (essentially chaotic) transition from warm phase to cold phase or vice versa — very crude ideas involving combinations of Milankovich cycles, the tipping of the ecliptic, the precession of the poles, orbital resonances, and stuff like that, but there is clearly a strong feedback within the climate cycle that enables cold phase “tipping”, probably related to albedo.

It could be something as simple as a quiet sun; the LIA-Maunder minimum suggests that we should actively fear a quiet sun, because something in the nonlinear differential system seems to favor colder attractors (still in the warm phase major attractor) during Maunder-type minima. One has to imagine that conversion to glaciation phase is more likely at the bottom of e.g. the LIA than at any other time, and the Holocene is probably living on borrowed time at this point, where a prolonged LIA-like interval could tip it over.

To be honest, even a LIA would be a disaster far greater than most of the warmist catastrophic imaginings. The population of the world is enormous compared to what it was in the last ice age, and a huge fraction of it lives and grows food on temperate zone land. Early frost and late spring could both reduce the available land and halve the number of crops grown on the land that survives, even before full blown glaciation. Cold (warm) phases are often associated with temperature/tropic droughts, as well, at least in parts of the world. IMO, the “rapid” onset of a LIA could kill a billion people as crops in Siberia and China and Canada and the northern US fail, and could easily destabilize the world’s tenuous political situation to where global war again becomes likely to add to our woes.

We may ultimately discover that AGW was our salvation — the CO_2 released by our jump to civilization may ameliorate or postpone the next LIA, it may block cold-phase excursion that could begin the next REAL ice age for decades or even a century. In the meantime, perhaps we can get our act together and figure out how to live together in a civilized world, not a few civilized countries where people are well off and all the rest where they are poor and more or less enslaved by a handful of tyrants or religious oligarchs.

Note well, this latter bit is itself “speculative fiction” — I don’t fully understand climate cycles either (it’s a hard problem). But at least there I can provide evidence for a lurking catastrophe in the actual climate record, so it is a lot less “fiction” than CAGW.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/09/strange-new-attractors-strong-evidence-against-both-positive-feedback-and-catastrophe/
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Body-by-Guinness
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 « Reply #599 on: January 11, 2012, 01:52:38 PM »

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You seem fixated on these gravitons.  I'm not even convinced that they exist.  We currently believe that gravity is instantaneous which makes it faster than light.  If we have to postulate the existence of a particle that moves at instantaneous speeds, then I have a problem with that postulate.  If we assume that these particles don't actually move terribly much but exist as a sort of ether that can propagate a gravity wave, then we are still saying that they can propagate this wave at near instantaneous speeds which is something that we don't have the ability to account for.  I'm definitely allowing for the possibility that there is some completely different means by which gravity is propagated than a particle.

I'm not fixated so much on gravitons as I am of your slippery method of debate. I came on scene noting a discussion you were involved in that "produced more heat than light." I snagged an analogy from that debate involving physics, where I had hoped to intimate much better minds than those shilling AGW had been working on fundamental questions of physics with far more rigor than that demonstrated by the AGW folks, for far longer, yet had not satisfactorily answered sundry fundamental question. I was hoping that would suggest that the high degree of confidence embraced by most on the AGW side of things might therefore be misplaced. My guess is that you are capable of grasping these sort of nuances, though it is not the ground on which you want to fight and so instead you have alternated back and forth between discussions of theory and discussions of laws, which lead me to allude to this movie scene:

As that may be, my point stands: this stuff is too complicated and too poorly studied with too few geologically significant data sets for newly minted scientists in a newly minted discipline with neo-Malthusian roots to have their pronouncements taken as gospel when far wiser and more rigorous scientists haven't done the same within their disciplines. Do favor us with another deconstruction of physics laws or theories or other minutia if you must, but understand it has no bearing on the argument I'm making.

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If we are going to hold a single variable accountable for some sort of coming conflagration

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I still know of no one that is doing this.

Well there's this fellow named Al Gore who made a move about it; perhaps you can look it up on IMDB. Day After Tomorrow, I think it was called. And then there is this organization called the IIPC that publishes doomstruck reports in which this is a major theme, though each version tends to get walked back a bit more than the previous. Perhaps you can google it.

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3/4s of the planet is covered by water which warehouses huge quantities CO2, yet we do not understand how CO2 exchanges between the two media, particularly over time.

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I have already said that the concentration of CO2 in water which exists as one of the carbonates has a significant effect on the concentration of CO2 in the atmopshere.  But that is largely irrelevant when I can simply go measure the atmospheric concentration of CO2.  It used to be off the top of my head 280 ppm in the early 1900s.  It is now again off the top of my head around 400.  The ocean did whatever it did during that time and the concentration came up.  These are facts.  The increase in concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere changed the manner in which the atmosphere absorbed infrared light.  This is also fact.  Perhaps it didn't change it much but it did change.  This is all independent of where the CO2 goes.

Uh huh. And then when it rains the H2O bonds with carbon on the way down, forming a mild form of carbonic acid that have others on your side of the argument lamenting ocean acidification. Despite the fact that water vapor is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 it is much less studied than CO2 the AGW folks fixate on, the carbonic acid cycle mentioned above is similarly poorly studied, though I read a report in the past week that some folks have noted as much as a 3.4 molar (IIRC) change in seawater through that acid cycle that the local fauna appeared to shrug off.

All the while AGW folk who are looking at the heat that has been predicted but not found are beginning to suspect surface waters are heat sinks as they need a plausible explanation for where the heat they predicted is. All of which ought to confirm my point that climate systems are too complex and poorly understood to state with any confidence that a single variable, atmospheric CO2, is responsible for warming.

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You want me to post that silly hockey stick graph with the temps and CO2 levels correlated over time, save for the Medieval Warming Period?

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Instead of posting someone's bad prediction, perhaps you could post a quotation by that person indicating that CO2 is the only factor governing the temperature of the planet.  Considering that water vapor is obviously the more significant greenhouse gas and that aerasol particulates have a large effect (which is also well known), I'm guessing you cannot find this quote.  If you can point me to a person that actually said that, then I will show you a fool.

That's pretty slick, how you transition back and forth using the term I've embraced, "variable," and the one you respond with when some gray area wiggle room is needed: "factor." Variable has a very specific meaning in a scientific context and in the context we are discussing I am quite comfortable saying that CO2 atmospheric concentrations are the variable AGW proponents have seized on while evangelizing about how we must end our wicked ways lest we are smote by global warming, climate change, or whatever the flavor of this week Scary Thing is. Heck, you've done so in this thread repeatedly. Factor is a far more nebulous terms and certainly includes other elements AGW folk bandy, often in terms of "forcing" elements that will cause glaciers to recede, poles to melt, hurricanes to intensify, whatever.

As that may be, I'm glad we agree that CO2 fetishism is foolish. Can we expect that realization to inform your future posts?

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