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Thread: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

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    Student Heretic's Avatar
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    Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    Or...

    Why It's Not a Massive Government Conspiracy

    or...

    How to Not Look Like an Idiot in an Online AGW Debate



    Let's begins.



    The infamous IPCC, the largest peer reviewed study ever done:
    Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
    Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
    Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change



    The "Conspirators"
    NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies
    the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    the National Academy of Sciences
    the Environmental Protection Agency
    the American Geophysical Union
    the American Institute of Physics
    the National Center for Atmospheric Research
    the American Meteorological Society
    the National Research Council
    the US Geological Survey
    the US Dept of Agriculture
    the vast majority of peer review
    as well as independent research
    the Pentagon
    the White House
    Scientific American
    Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M[
    the American Physical Society

    But that's not all. A far more comprehensive and exhaustive list can be found here.



    Debunking Skeptic Arguments
    IPCC FAQ
    How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic
    Climate Change: A Guide for the Perplexed
    Climate scepticism: The top 10
    Skeptical science
    Scientific skepticism is a healthy thing. Scientists should always challenge themselves to expand their knowledge, improve their understanding and refine their theories. Yet this isn't what happens in global warming skepticism. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports anthropogenic global warming and yet eagerly, even blindly embrace any argument, op-ed piece, blog or study that refutes global warming.


    General Info
    A Tutorial on the Basic Physics of Climate Change
    Instant Expert: Climate Change
    The Physical Science behind Climate Change
    Special Report: Climate Change
    Climate Change Verdict: Science Debate Ends, Solution Debate Begins
    Fiddling While the Planet Burns
    The Climate of Man
    University of California, Berkeley: LS 70B Physical Science - Global Warming
    University of Arizona: Global Climate Change: A Series of 7 Lectures Exploring Our World and Ourselves
    The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?
    A Hyperlinked History of Climate Change Science
    What is peer review?
    The Falsifiability Question
    So attacks on climate change as if it were a "theory" make very little sense. Greenhouse gas accumulation is a fact. Radiative properties of greenhouse gases are factual. The climate is not going to stay the same. It can't stay the same. Staying the same would violate physics; specifically it would violate the law of energy conservation. Something has to change.

    The simplest consequence is that the surface will warm up. That this is indeed most of what happens is validated pretty much in observations, in paleodata, in theory and in simulation. Further, all those lines of evidence converge pretty much about how much warming: about 2.5 C to 3C for each doubling of CO2. (It's logarithmic in total CO2, not in emitted CO2, guys, by the way.) There's no single line of reasoning for this. There are multiple lines of evidence.

    MIT Courseware
    Climate Physics and Chemistry
    Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy

    National Geographic Magazine
    What Is Global Warming?
    Global Warming: How Hot? How Soon?
    Global Warming Fast Facts
    Effects of Global Warming



    The “Skeptics”
    Unravelling the skeptics
    Who are the denialists?
    ExxonSecrets | Greenpeace USA
    Climate science: Sceptical about bias
    Dimming the Sun: The Producer’s Story

    In fact, only three factors determine the planet's energy balance: the sun's output, the Earth's reflectivity, or albedo, and the thermal properties of the atmosphere, which are affected by the level of certain trace gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor. Reduced to its essentials, the greenhouse effect is a problem in 19th-century classical physics, and the basic theory was worked out with pencil and paper in the 1890s. To say that increasing CO2 levels leads to more heat trapped in the atmosphere is really no more scientifically controversial than saying you'll feel warmer if you put on a sweater.
    Convincing the skeptics

    First, they have not come up with any plausible alternative culprit for the disruption of global climate that is being observed, for example, a culprit other than the greenhouse-gas buildups in the atmosphere that have been measured and tied beyond doubt to human activities. (The argument that variations in the sun's output might be responsible fails a number of elementary scientific tests.)

    Second, having not succeeded in finding an alternative, they haven't even tried to do what would be logically necessary if they had one, which is to explain how it can be that everything modern science tells us about the interactions of greenhouse gases with energy flow in the atmosphere is wrong.
    Climate-Change Skeptics Revisited

    As my original reference to “the venerable tradition of skepticism” indicates, I am in fact well aware of its valuable and indeed fundamental role in the practice of science. Skeptical views, clearly stated and soundly based, tend to promote healthy re-examination of premises, additional ways to test hypotheses and theories, and refinement of explanations and arguments. And it does happen from time to time – although less often than most casual observers suppose – that views initially held only by skeptics end up overturning and replacing what had been the “mainstream” view.

    Appreciation for this positive role of scientific skepticism, however, should not lead to uncritical embrace of the deplorable practices characterizing what much of has been masquerading as appropriate skepticism in the climate-science domain. These practices include refusal to acknowledge the existence of large bodies of relevant evidence (such as the proposition that there is no basis for implicating carbon dioxide in the global-average temperature increases observed over the past century); the relentless recycling of arguments in public forums that have long since been persuasively discredited in the scientific literature (such as the attribution of the observed global temperature trends to urban-heat island effects or artifacts of statistical method); the pernicious suggestion that not knowing everything about a phenomenon (such as the role of cloudiness in a warming world) is the same as knowing nothing about it; and the attribution of the views of thousands of members of the mainstream climate-science community to “mass hysteria” or deliberate propagation of a “hoax”.


    Videos:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_RmlioNaomi
    YouTube - Newsnight: CO2,they call it life,we call it a greenhouse gas
    YouTube - Royal Society says to CEI: Cease and desist your lies!
    The Denial Machine
    Great Teachers: Translation, Replication and Credibility of Research Findings


    Class dismissed.

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett

  2. #2
    Student Heretic's Avatar
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    Extra Credit

    Australian journalist Tony Jones interviews producer Martin Durkin as part of a panel discussion examining the biased and deliberately misleading documentary, the Great Global Warming Swindle, that is being heralded here as valid science. The first two parts are the actual interview. It's just absolutely amazing watching this guy stutter and stammer as he searches for answers trying to justify his use of cherry-picked data decades old to make his argument. It's really a shame we don't have this kind of confrontation in American journalism.

    Part 3 is great. It's always interesting to watch these skeptics in action... Unable to offer any reasonable criticisms on global warming, skeptic Michael Duffy immediately launches into a tirade on Stern and Gore, asking why the host of this segment doesn't level the same scrutiny on them. Well, Duffy, Stern wrote an economic report on the economic impacts of global warming using IPCC statistics and reports, the same ones used in Gore's movie. If you wanted an open forum for criticism and scrutiny on global warming theory... this was it. Sorry you missed your chance.

    Part 4 I think is my favorite. Bob Carter justifies Durkin's poor science and deliberate cherry-picking by saying, "Well I use charts that are 50 years old!" Yes, Bob, you do. Using out of date charts and figures is the only way you could possibly believe global warming stopped in 1998. You have to ignore all data since.

    Part 5 starts out with Professor David Karoly correcting Ray Evans reliance on Spencer and Christy's broken temperature records. I just feel sorry for Ray Evans after watching his half cocked rant that the Mann's "hockey stick" was a fraud.

    In Part 6, Robyn Williams reiterates what I have said here; Mann's "hockey stick" has been validated time and time again. Those who simply maintain otherwise are simply trying to fool people, or are seriously delusional. Bob Carter lays into the host for questioning the credentials of the various skeptics. Interesting argument, considering that Carter and the rest of his ilk are usually unable to make an argument without slamming Gore, Stern, the IPCC, or any other supporter, along with citing conspiracy theories, or some form of mass stupidity. How funny is his rant about questioning science given that he spends his time writing op-eds as opposed to peer reviewed articles where his aforementioned scientific discussion would take place?

    There's not a whole lot in Part 7, though Nikki Williams explains the clear distinction between the science of global warming and the effects of the policies established to fight it. As I've said before, the discussion should be what to do, not is it happening.

    Anyway, here's the vids:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6
    Part 7

    But there's more:

    The great global warming swindle?
    The film argues that the earth's climate is always changing, and that rapid warmings and coolings took place long before the burning of fossil fuels. Well yes, the climate changes, what is unusual about this one is the rapidity and likely future size. There have been rapid changes before, but those were before human civilisation, so its not clear they were relevant. What next: The earths crust was once molten, so clearly anything less that 3000K is quite safe?

    The film features an impressive roll-call of experts. Aha! Argument from authority. Excellent: then IPCC clearly wins, as it has far more than the 9 experts these people claim.


    Swindled!
    On Thursday the 8th, the UK TV Channel 4 aired a programme titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle". We were hoping for important revelations and final proof that we have all been hornswoggled by the climate Illuminati, but it just repeated the usual specious claims we hear all the time. We feel swindled. Indeed we are not the only ones: Carl Wunsch (who was a surprise addition to the cast) was apparently misled into thinking this was going to be a balanced look at the issues (the producers have a history of doing this), but who found himself put into a very different context indeed.


    Quote Originally Posted by [url=http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/swindled/#comment-27434]Carl Wunsch[/url], one of the scientists in the documentary
    What we now have is an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which there is not even a gesture toward balance or explanation of why many of the extended inferences drawn in the film are not widely accepted by the scientific community. There are so many examples, it's hard to know where to begin, so I will cite only one: a speaker asserts, as is true, that carbon dioxide is only a small fraction of the atmospheric mass. The viewer is left to infer that means it couldn't really matter. But even a beginning meteorology student could tell you that the relative masses of gases are irrelevant to their effects on radiative balance. A director not intending to produce pure propaganda would have tried to eliminate that piece of disinformation.

    An example where my own discussion was grossly distorted by context: I am shown explaining that a warming ocean could expel more carbon dioxide than it absorbs -- thus exacerbating the greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere and hence worrisome. It was used in the film, through its context, to imply that CO2 is all natural, coming from the ocean, and that therefore the human element is irrelevant. This use of my remarks, which are literally what I said, comes close to fraud.

    ...

    I have some experience in dealing with TV and print reporters and do understand something of the ways in which one can be misquoted, quoted out of context, or otherwise misinterpreted. Some of that is inevitable in the press of time or space or in discussions of complicated issues. Never before, however, have I had an experience like this one. My appearance in the "Global Warming Swindle" is deeply embarrasing, and my professional reputation has been damaged. I was duped---an uncomfortable position in which to be.


    Insert “swindle” joke here.
    On Thursday night, Channel 4 broadcast what it described as a “controversial documentary”. It was essentially the same rather elderly climate denialist arguments that have been seen many times before - and assessed, and refuted - but packaged up with a bit of drama, as if they were new and unheard of.

    That wasn’t the only problem with it.
    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett

  3. #3
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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    That pretty much sums it all up.

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    Golden Beaver

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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    Awesome stuff, Heretic. Lots to read. I hope the skeptics take notice.
    On George Zimmerman:
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrilla View Post
    I see him as a good guy.... then and now.

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    Student Heretic's Avatar
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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    I figured it was necessary. With BmanMcfly's blind regurgitation of arguments from TGGWS along with some equally uninformed exchanges with other skeptics, I figured we were in dire need of a "Basics of Climate Science" resource.

    It provides a great starting point for anyone interested in the science as well as preventing skeptics from attempting to use this argument again:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    I don't have blind faith in anyone, especially 'scientists' that are political and love the limelight as so many that hawk GW do. This is especially true after seeing convincing proof that they could be wrong and knowing the cost to society if they are wrong. Their secretive nature and unwillingness to share the data they use to make their pronouncements makes me less willing to believe them. If they are correct, what do they fear?
    ...which was just mind numbingly absurd.

    I don't know if it will help much, however. I do not believe these "skeptics" got to where they're at based on an honest evaluation of the evidence.
    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett

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    Golden Beaver

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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Heretic View Post
    I don't know if it will help much, however. I do not believe these "skeptics" got to where they're at based on an honest evaluation of the evidence.
    Agreed. They just time-and-time again regurgitate talking points, no matter how many times they've been proven wrong. In fact, some are still arguing that the planet has not warmed at all. A fav of Gill's is "there has been a cooling period since 1998." No matter how many times I've proven him wrong, he still plays that card.

    You're right, they cannot possibly be subjective as the evidence for Global Warming is getting stronger all of the time.
    On George Zimmerman:
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrilla View Post
    I see him as a good guy.... then and now.

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    Student Heretic's Avatar
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    Another interesting link

    I just stumbled upon this, but it's damningly relevant.

    Words' worth?

    Lastly, my all-time least favorite word: Believe.

    Everywhere I look, I see statements like "Scientists believe that the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago," and it drives me up the wall. Scientists infer that the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, based on their reliance on data and logic. We have physical evidence (lead isotope ratios from three different radiogenic systems, measured in Earth rocks and in meteorites) that all suggest the solar system's solid-state clock started counting 4.5 billion years ago. Because we've never observed anything other than the steady, statistical decline of radioactive parent isotopes to produce daughter isotopes, we assume that the past worked in the same way as today (actualism/"uniformitarianism") and that these empirical measurements have meaning. We logically deduce that the Earth is the implied age, but we don't "believe" it.

    Similarly, I get apoplectic when students ask me "Do you believe in global warming?" No, I don't believe it; I'm convinced of it on the basis of (a) physical evidence (data) and (b) logical inference from that data. To spell it out:

    1. CO2 absorbs infrared radiation.
    2. Infrared radiation is reflected upwards from the surface of the Earth.
    3. CO2 is produced by the burning of coal, oil, natural gas, wood, ethanol, and biodiesel.
    4. We burn a lot of these carbon-rich fuels by oxidizing them.
    5. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are measurably increasing.
    6. Oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere are measurably decreasing.
    7. Globally, average temperatures are observed to be increasing.
    8. Therefore, based on #1-7, the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is causing the increase in temperature.

    There's nothing there to believe in. It just is. Fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, fact, and a logical inference that stems from those facts.

    Ditto for the theory of evolution by natural selection. It's not something I believe in; it's something I'm convinced of because it's logically coherent and supported by reams of data gathered over 150 years of hypothesis-testing.

    If there is one thing that scientists believe in, it's that the universe makes sense. Our starting assumption is that the physical world operates according to unchanging laws which may be deduced if we're clever enough. On the other hand, if the universe is mercurial in its physical laws, then science doesn't have a chance of figuring things out because the laws that apply on Tuesday will be different from the laws that apply on Wednesday. It should go without saying that, as far as we can tell, this is not the case. The universe does behave in a consistent and predictable manner, insofar as we can tell. Ergo, science is an appropriate way to go about elucidating its structure and properties. No belief necessary.
    This is why I've stated that "skeptics" need to come up with more than "it's just [insert cause other than CO2]". They have to demonstrate why, for the first time in history, a significant increase in greenhouse gases are not having an effect on global temperatures because there's no physical reason they shouldn't be.
    MDM likes this.
    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett

  8. #8
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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleground View Post
    Agreed. They just time-and-time again regurgitate talking points, no matter how many times they've been proven wrong. In fact, some are still arguing that the planet has not warmed at all. A fav of Gill's is "there has been a cooling period since 1998." No matter how many times I've proven him wrong, he still plays that card.

    You're right, they cannot possibly be subjective as the evidence for Global Warming is getting stronger all of the time.
    Let me know when you are able to prove it has gotten warmer in the past 5 years. You certainly haven't come close yet.

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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    Here's a temperature graph for you to comment on:







    Yep, looks like they're rising to me. I have more if you have trouble understanding this one.

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    Student Heretic's Avatar
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    Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming 101

    Quote Originally Posted by me View Post
    The scientists at Hadley respond to the "we're cooling" nonsense here.

    The global climate is currently being influenced by the cold phase of this oscillation, known as La Niña (see Expert speaks on La Niña). The current La Niña began to develop in early 2007, having a significant cooling effect on the global average temperature. Despite this, 2007 was one of the ten warmest years since global records began in 1850 with a temperature some 0.4 °C above average. Indeed, the years 2001-2007 recorded an average of 0.44 °C above the 1961-90 average, which is 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the years 1991-2000

    Another way of looking at the warming trend is that 1999 was a similar year to 2007 as far as the cooling effects of La Niña are concerned. The global temperature in 1999 was 0.26 °C above the 1961-90 average, whereas 2007 was 0.37 °C above this average - 0.11 °C warmer than 1999.
    'Course, I'm sure they're being forced to say that, lest Al Gore eat their children.
    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. -- Dr. Albert Bartlett

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