Global Warming Fails to Convince

I happened to read an article at Real Clear Science An Inconvenient Truth About ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Eric Merkley & Dominik Stecula August 18, 2017. The article itself is of middling interest, mainly being a lament that Al Gore became the leading promoter of public awareness about the dangers of global warming. The authors contend that Republicans were predetermined to reject claims from such a high-profile liberal Democrat.

It is not new nor interesting to hear warmists diss skeptics as simplistic right-wingers having a knee jerk reaction to global warming claims. But reading the comment thread was illuminating and undercut the presumptions of the article. Instead of pointing to all the leftist knee jerkers swearing allegiance to climatism, posts by several scientists made comments hitting the credibility problem at its core.

Two comments reprinted below deserve a wide audience for expressing what many think but have not expressed so clearly.

@Gabe Kesseru

I spent an entire career in applied sciences and know the difference between true science and lesser areas of study. Climatology is one of the latter. It is mostly a field of historical trend analysis trying desperately to be a field of trend prediction (and doing very poorly at that).

Climatologists have done themselves a disservice by calling themselves scientists, since by doing so we expect them to use the scientific method. The use of scientific method will always be impossible in climatology, since the most important step in the SM is experimentation to prove the hypothesis. And experimentation is impossible when we can’t perform a laboratory equivalent of the earth’s climate over centuries in a laboratory experiment.

Secondarily, science requires that we gather data to laboratory accuracy levels which again is impossible with haphazard worldwide thermometer measurements originally meant to measure weather at casual levels of accuracy and casual levels of repeatability.

@Dan Ashley · Northcentral University

Dan Ashley here. PhD statistics, PhD Business.

I am not a climate, environment, geology, weather, or physics expert. However, I am an expert on statistics. So, I recognize bad statistical analysis when I see it. There are quite a few problems with the use of statistics within the global warming debate. The use of Gaussian statistics is the first error. In his first movie Gore used a linear regression of CO2 and temperature. If he had done the same regression using the number of zoos in the world, or the worldwide use of atomic energy, or sunspots, he would have the same result. A linear regression by itself proves nothing.

The theory that CO2 is a greenhouse gas has been proven correct in a small greenhouse only. As a matter of fact, plants like higher CO2 and it is frequently pumped into greenhouses because of that. There has never been a definitive experiment regarding CO2, at or near the concentrations in our atmosphere. This theory actually has much less statistical support than the conspiracy theories regarding JFK’s assassination.

Gaussian statistics REQUIRE the events being published to be both independent and random. The temperatures experienced in one part of the world are dependent on temperatures in other locales. The readings are not independent. A better statistical method would be Mandlebroten (fractal). Mandlebroten statistics are not merely “fat tailed” statistics.

A more problematic issue with the data is that it has been adjusted. Data adjustments are frequently needed –for example, if a measuring device fails. However 100% of the data adjustments used are in favor of proving global warming. 100%. Not 100% minus one adjustment. Not nearly 100%. 100% –that is ALL– of the adjustments were in one direction only. Any student that put data like that in a PHD dissertation would never receive a doctoral degree.

One study published showed parts of the Earth where warming was occuring faster than other parts of the globe. The study claimed to be of data solely from satellites. The study identified several areas (Gambia for one) which have greater warming than other areas. Unfortunately, in three of those areas there have been no climate satellite observations for years.

The statements that claim “less arctic ice in recorded history” are equally spurious. We started gathering data on that in 1957 with the first satellite fly overs. On this issue “recorded history” is a very short time period.

Some geologist friends told me that a significant amount of Earth’s heat comes from the hot Earth’s core. They further stated that they do not know what percentage of heat that is. They do know it is probably over 20% and probably less than 70%. Whereas either of those extremes seems unlikely to me, remember that I am not a geologist.

As to rising oceans, that should be measured accurately. Measuring it with a stick stuck in the sand is inappropriate. Geologists tell me that the land is shifting and moving. Measuring it against the gravitational center of the Earth is the only accurate way. However, we do not know how to do that. As a matter of fact, we don’t know precisely where the gravitational center of the Earth is. (Any physicists around that want to explain the two body and the three body problem as it relates to the Earth, Moon, and Sun, please do so.

So, according to climate scientists the world is warming up. They may be correct, they may be incorrect. However, they have been unable to support their thesis via the use of statistics.

I personally see no reason to disassemble the world’s economic systems over an unproven, and somewhat implausible theory.

Summary

The scientific claims made in Gore’s movies do not stand up to scrutiny.  Changing the salesman is not going to make the pitch any more believable.

See also

Reasoning About Climate

Big Al’s Sequel Flawed at its Core

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7 comments

  1. Frederick Colbourne · August 20

    It’s much worse. Climate data is generally not detrended before analysis. Dr Jamal Munchi has reported the effect of this in his paper, The spuriousness of correlations between cumulative values, J Munshi – 2016
    Abstract: Monte Carlo simulation shows that cumulative values of unrelated variables have a
    tendency to show spurious correlations. The results have important implications for the
    theory of anthropogenic global warming because empirical support for the theory that links …
    Dr Munshi publishes also on his SSRN author page

    To get high correlations with random datasets, all you have to do is cumulate the data.

    http://ssrn.com/author=2220942

    Like

    • Ron Clutz · August 20

      Here’s Munshi’s money quote:

      “The results show that when Δx is always positive, the spurious correlations tend to be larger and more common. As the bias for positive changes in Δy is increased to 2% and higher, almost perfect positive correlations between cumulative values are quickly attained even though the correlations between Δx and Δy remain at zero. These results indicate that the there is a greater probability of spurious correlations between cumulative values when Δx is always positive and a greater certainty that correlations between cumulative values do not contain useful information about the relationship between Δx and Δy.”

      Ashley made the same point above by saying temperatures correlate just as well with number of zoos or use of atomic energy as with CO2.

      Like

  2. Hifast · August 20

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

    Like

  3. Ron Clutz · August 20

    Frederick, thanks for the comment and the links. Let me note that Jamal is addressing spurious correlation between two time series, GMT and fossil fuel emissions. I have posts here showing the correlation is poor. Jamal goes further to say it is unreal.
    The issue in the above post is different. Temperature datasets, in addition to several flaws and uncertainties, are not random nor independent. Temperature readings are auto-correlated day to day, and because of horizontal convection are influenced by each other. Thus Gaussian requirements are not met and any such analysis is bogus.

    Like

  4. joekano76 · August 21

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.

    Like

  5. Bob Webster · August 24

    Your current post (Subject) is spot on and I was particularly struck by the words of Gabe Kesseru:

    I spent an entire career in applied sciences and know the difference between true science and lesser areas of study. Climatology is one of the latter. It is mostly a field of historical trend analysis trying desperately to be a field of trend prediction (and doing very poorly at that).

    Climatologists have done themselves a disservice by calling themselves scientists, since by doing so we expect them to use the scientific method. The use of scientific method will always be impossible in climatology, since the most important step in the SM is experimentation to prove the hypothesis. And experimentation is impossible when we can’t perform a laboratory equivalent of the earth’s climate over centuries in a laboratory experiment.

    Secondarily, science requires that we gather data to laboratory accuracy levels which again is impossible with haphazard worldwide thermometer measurements originally meant to measure weather at casual levels of accuracy and casual levels of repeatability.

    A life-long interest in meteorology/climatology (began at age 13 with a subscription at age 14 to the US Daily Weather Maps put out by the old US Weather Bureau), astronomy, geology, etc., led me to a BS in Mathematics (Virginia Tech) and a career as an analyst for the US Navy and US Army (DoD employee) working with the development and analysis of new concepts and improved designs for weapons and munitions. Retired 20 years, I’ve kept a strong interest in science and the words of Kesseru could, with slight background modification, been written by me!

    I am about to conclude an extensive analysis of US government datasets estimating global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (all sources for anthropogenic emissions and the global atmospheric carbon dioxide totals — that is, those deemed “acceptable”) and global estimates of temperature (land, ocean, land+ocean) going back to the 19th century.

    This approach deliberately avoids getting involved with the unscientific mythology of “back radiation warming”. I wanted to us “official” government data to coupled with some real science (what we really know about CO2 emissions recycle time, aka, “residency” in the atmosphere vs. the science fiction created by the IPCC to support it’s charter mission to find a human causation for climate change).

    I’ve confirmed work of others that climate change PRECEDES changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, making a strong case for the claim that over shorter term (years to tens of thousands of years) climate controls atmospheric carbon dioxide, not the other way around. On the tens of millions of years timeframe, there are clearly other much stronger forces affecting climate and limiting Earth’s climate to a specific roughly 10˚C temperature range… which is what reasonable scientists would expect from nature.

    Glad I found your material.

    Best,

    Bob Webster 2881 St. Barts Square Vero Beach, FL 32967 (772) 299-4422

    “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience … well, that comes from poor judgment.” — A. A. Milne

    “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.” — Anonymous

    “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered, than answers that can’t be questioned.” — Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, Physicist

    “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” — Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, Physicist

    “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” — Milton Friedman

    >

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