The orthodox climate view demeans sceptics as deniers. They refuse to acknowledge that sceptical questions are valid. If they took a moment to examine them, they would find numerous points of doubt about the argument that human activities are about to ruin the planet. One such point is the claim that “it must be our greenhouse gas emissions because nothing else explains it.”
The trouble with that view is that it admits that not all factors have been explored, else the cause would have been discovered, so why conclude it is mankind and stop looking? The argument was reiterated a few days ago by John Abraham at The Guardian – echoed at Skeptical Science. Abraham then goes on about recent warming:
Despite this, people who deny the basic facts of climate change have tried to argue that the Earth is either not warming or is only slowly heating. Well that just isn’t true any more. The last three years are the nail in the coffin of the deniers of climate change. We have enough data this year to call 2016 the hottest year ever – and we have three months left.
Hiatus is dead
So he says they have tried to argue about something that “isn’t true any more,” so it was once true — what a strange, amateur argument. The last three years of temperature rise are hardly coffin nails in sceptic arguments, though there’s been slight warming. Abraham cites a paper from the middle of 2015 that claims to eliminate the hiatus. But, just to enrage knowledgeable sceptics, On the definition and identifiability of the alleged “hiatus” in global warming is by Lewandowsky, one James Risbey (I’ve not heard of him) and Oreskes. To remove the hiatus the paper uses funny maths while, weirdly, looking at dozens of papers together rather than examining discrete datasets. But along the way Lewandowsky et al. says:
In the public sphere, the claim that global warming has “stopped” has long been a contrarian talking point. After being confined to the media and internet blogs for some time, this contrarian framing eventually found entry into the scientific literature, which is now replete with articles that address a presumed recent “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming. The “hiatus” also featured as an accepted fact in the latest assessment report of the IPCC. Despite its widespread acceptance in the scientific community, there are reasons to be skeptical of the existence of the “hiatus”.
Which is quite clever, don’t you think? So the scientists wrote hundreds of papers analysing the great global temperature hiatus, not from their better judgement and interest in the subject, but because it was a “contrarian talking point.” So much for the independence and judgement of professional scientists, not to mention the foremost climate science organisation in the world, the IPCC. Forced into it, they were.
So Lewandowsky et al. are at odds with the orthodox scientific view, but nevertheless refer to those differing from them as themselves “contrarians”. Filthy contrarians — not like us. Lewandowsky et al. hint at errors in “the global surface temperature record,” suggesting that artifacts, when corrected, give “little evidence for a ‘hiatus’.” Somebody might like to follow that one up, I’m out of time.
So it must be humans because we can’t think of anything else
Is that good reasoning? Of course it isn’t. It’s the worst scientific reasoning imaginable, a simplistic approach to a highly complex situation—and what just happens to be the path of least work. Let’s clarify the steps required:
- Admit you don’t understand what’s causing the warming.
- In a vast, dynamic system containing numerous interlinked causes of warming, don’t investigate any of them, just pick the one you want.
- Announce dramatically (like King Canute) that you can actually fight the climate substantially and noticeably: you just have to reduce your emissions (which nobody had heard of) at an extremely high cost.
- Demand study grants to help you understand this new-fangled cause of warming which you’re certain will ruin the planet.
Give me a break
- The recent warming has been moderate and well within natural variation. It warmed faster than this in the late 19th century. Nothing to worry about.
- The warming record over the last three years is far too short to give cause for concern unless you’re a proper worry-wart. You might have noticed we’ve just had the largest El Nino ever recorded. It is unconnected with anthropogenic global warming, but it makes the global temperature go up! But the temperature has already gone right back down again, and it’s back where it was in late 2015. Note too, that each year has been a “record” by an insignificant few hundredths of a degree, which is no different from zero. So, scientifically, recent “record” years have been the same. But still the alarmists cry “record”. Unscientific bozos.
- So there’s a new paper on ocean heat content (Observed and simulated full-depth ocean heat-content changes for 1970–2005, by Cheng et al., including Trenberth (wow) and Abraham). They invent a new method of “observing” ocean heat content through the entire depth of the ocean. To do that they reanalyse bathythermograph records and spread sparse readings across more than four thousand kilometres of ocean. Genius. To check their new work they compare it with – ta-daa – climate model simulations. They find good agreement and suggest that past work underestimates ocean heat uptake. What a surprise.
In passing, I note in the paper some comments that could shake a facile confidence in scientific understanding. The authors refer to “large uncertainties … in OHC estimates which can confound our understanding of the changes in Earth’s energy imbalance…”
That must be the understatement of the year. We are completely ignorant of the temperature profile of almost all the ocean (we know somewhat more of the surface) so it is conceivable that we’re wrong (amazing!) about the amount of heat stored in the ocean. To illustrate, visualise this: each Argo float brings one thermometer to measure 97,000 square kilometres of ocean, or 357,000 cubic kilometres, about once a fortnight. [Basic data ex Wikipedia: 3739 Argo floats (as of yesterday) adrift on 361.9 million square kilometres of ocean totalling some 1.335 billion cubic kilometres.]
In passing, the paper comments:
The reasons why the models have large divergence are still an actively studied issue.
Well, it’s good they’re studying it. It could be that the models don’t match reality and, according to the AR5, most run too hot. If there was a single accurate and skilled climate model everyone would be using it – who would use the incorrect ones? If they run them all, they can’t have identified the correct one, can they? But they run them all, tell us the average is the truth and extort fortunes from the world’s taxpayers to mitigate the coming disaster.
I hope I’ve shown a few good reasons to question the climate models and be sceptical of the ever-worsening climate “forecasts” and the rising tempo of alarm. Only a few — there are many more. Not saying it’s wrong, guvnor, just asking questions that occurred to me about what you said.
The warmies cannot know the heat content of the ocean because we’re not taking enough readings, therefore I cannot accept it when they tell us we’ve been dangerously warming the ocean and the damn warming is going to get damn dangerous when my grandchildren have become damn grandparents! I think that’s damn reasonable thinking, and to be constantly called a damn denier gets my damn dander up!
I speak for millions when I say this: I don’t deny climate change, I don’t deny global warming and I don’t even deny anthropogenic global warming. However, I deny dangerous anthropogenic global warming (it’s a matter of magnitude).
My reasons for denying it are entirely plausible—what you might call plausible deniability.
– h/t Dennis N Horne