Placeholder for GW/CC 'How I got here' thread

[Edited January 2 2019 -- to remove or replace dead visual-links]

Long ago Jonathan and I got some good traction out of a tangle of issues related to Global Warming slash Climate Change.  I think we are slated to renew or refresh our earlier exchanges.  I am going to poke in links to some he-said/he-saids from a few different threads at different times. One feature of the updated software is an automated 'sampling' of a link posted raw.  See below. 

So this blog entry will be kind of administrative-technical while being built and edited. I haven't figured out if Jonathan and I should impose some 'rules' going in, so your comment may be subject to arbitrary deletion before the field is ready for play. Fan notes included.

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Adam, see what you think of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, especially the revealing map-based representations of opinion. You can drill and zoom down to state, county, district level to track data across a number of survey questions, where some of the answers are surprising. On some measures at least, the thing it is not found only in the UK, Quebec, Canada: Here's a snapshot of several maps which do not always show an expected Red State/Blue State pattern;

[images updated January 2 2019; click and go images]

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[Deleted image-link]

Edited  by william.scherk

 

Plug my How To Get Where I Got book of books, Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming. Insert link to Amazon, Library link, and to the intro chapter of Weart's companion website to the book. Make sure you include a link to Ellen's mention of a book review. 

Bob Kolker's June 3 comment is a good hinge. What do we (J and I) think we know about the mechanism Bob sketches? What can we 'stipulate' or what can we agree on, for the sake of argument?

On 6/3/2016 at 9:31 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

CO2 does  slow down the radiation of energy in the infra-red bandwith.  The question is to what degree  given that there are other systems that tend to diffuse and disperse heat (such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Nino, along with convection and the Coriolis Effect that moves warm are to the polar regions).  The scientific fact is that CO2 tends to absorb radiated energy in the infra red range.  That is NOT fabricated.  That is a matter of experimental fact. 

Please see http://scied.ucar.edu/carbon-dioxide-absorbs-and-re-emits-infrared-radiation

The issue is to what extent is the CO2 load of the atmosphere is slowing down heat radiation into space, when such absorbing or radiation occurs along with other heat dispersing processes.   

No denies that putting a blanket on, when it is cold slows down the rate at which one's body radiates heat.  Air is a poor heat conductor and the blanket traps air.  Also the blanket is warmed and radiates half its heat back to the source.  This produces a net slowing down of heat loss.  Heat loss still occurs (Second Law of Thermodynamics in operation)  but the rate of loss is affected. 

Tyndol and Arhenius  established the heat absorbing properties of CO2  in the late 19 th and early 20 th century.  Subsequent work has show the absorbtion to be the case and has measured it even more accurately than Tyndol and Arhenius. 

 

 

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Hey, Billy this should excite you -- new and refurbished croakings of doom, fresh methods of conjuring up combinations of crises to arrive at extra-scary scare predictions, which of course include Climate Doom™ and population explosions (Yay, Ehrlich might make a comeback!):

Scientists fear end to Mankind not 'decades away' but ‘much sooner’

 

OUR CIVILISATION is doing pretty well – but how long do we have left?

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/760048/civilisation-collapse-when-end-of-the-world

-----

J

[WSS: Edited to make the URL 'live']

Edited by william.scherk

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Btw, has anyone else noticed this thread being glitchy? Depending on the device I use, it can be real mess, and often needs to reload. Too many scary maps and motion graphics?

J

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On 2/23/2019 at 3:00 PM, william.scherk said:

Tony Heller was tasked by Scott Adams ...

"Climate *SCIENCE* Challenge."  How did Tony Heller do (and more intriguingly, will Tony Heller tolerate any dissent at his blog?)?

It's just so adorable that you're suddenly concerned about someone tolerating dissent in regard to the Climate Doom™ issue.

Hahahaha!

J

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Hey, Billy this should excite you

"Bring Me THE SCIENCE!" -- not mind-reading of an excito-meter.

The tabloid article at the UK Star gave no links to any of the material noted, not even giving the title and/or venue/journal the studies appeared in. So, that is not "The Science" that you and I and other readers may wish to examine, Jonathan.

Please report back if you track down the items ... and I will shoot five bucks to the OL fund.

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On 2/22/2019 at 6:55 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
On 2/22/2019 at 5:19 PM, william.scherk said:

I recommend Spencer Weart's book (and AIP-affiliated website) "The Discovery of Global Warming" for those who sincerely want to have "The Science" brought to them, since it serves as a simple on-ramp to the very first stirrings of the AGWA beast in scientific literature.

It is not thrilling in the way a swashbuckler might be, but it will help anyone answer excellent 'beginner' questions such as "Where did all this nonsense first start -- what kind of 'sciencey' papers were published by whom, and where can I find them to look over myself?"  Or, "I hear talk talk talk about Tyndall. Did Tyndall do "The Science" or was he full of shit?"  Or, "Stop bringing up names and roll a trolley full of journal articles tabbed for the exact place "The Science" was published. Start with that fucking Leftwing grifter Arrhenius.  What the fuck did he ever do for "The Science?"  Or, better yet: "What is the foundation for the misunderstanding of  'extra' COemissions being responsible for more 'heat' in the atmospheric 'envelope'?  Which early works of grifter 'science' served as the bottom-most structure of the entire filthy and corrupt edifice of climatology?"

William,

Wow. A strong attitude.

Maybe it will convert me overnight. Can you try to add a tad more intimidation in the tone? Who knows? It might work. 

"What do you want me to do, call you a boy-fucker?"

Tone Patrol missed this itemized list:

  • those of your way of thinking, sleaze, scientists and administrators
  • promoting the end of times
  • power grab has been breathtaking in its amateurishness
  • do I see you, or people who think like you, slamming the dishonest assholes?
  • scientist who promotes AGW cannot be trusted
  • Al Gore is a clown and jerk
  • You just keep arguing
  • blast the idiots who abused their authority and good name
  • ostracizing them
  • Only after that can you have skeptics listen
  • huge mess of manipulation
  • "that guy" was a dishonest prick
  • filling his pockets
  • intimidating honest scientists
  • staging a power grab
  • not OK to ignore "that guy."
  • sleazy folks
  • Throw the bums off the team and I, for one, will start listening to other options
  • nobody believes people who tolerate and welcome scientists and administrators who sell-out their integrity on their team.
  • one of the main reasons for their skepticism is the sleaze on your side.
  • get rid of the sleazy folks.
  • Get pissed
  • sleaze. From nobody. Especially from folks on your side.
  • assholes betrayed you,
  • ignore it like you have been doing
  • you and those who think like you
  • You are afraid of the sleazy folks on your side come after you like you know they will
  • you keep dwelling in this alternate universe driven by end of times panic
  • contaminated
  • sheer greed
  • money and power
  • clear foundation is that lying and sleazy behavior to persuade people to save the planet from an ecological Apocalypse is virtue

-- in case no one figured out why I "amped up" my quoted material above, it was to spoof the kind of raging histrionics Jonathan sometimes allows himself.  Goose. Gander. Ox. Gore.

Remove the 'tone' and what remains is the point I've made repeatedly:  if you want a better understanding of "The Science," then re-discovering for yourself the work of the early scientists is a good thing.  Knowing how pioneers laid the basis for today's understanding of CO₂ ... is to the benefit of discussion. Even if you (dear reader) hold to a 'dismissive' position on the reality/danger of emissions of CO₂ ... you will come to a better-informed position about a dreadful unnamed "Them."

sks_climatesciencetimeline_p1_1820_1930_

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

"Bring Me THE SCIENCE!" -- not mind-reading of an excito-meter.

Clam thyself, Billy!

Was I wrong? Did it not excite you? It seemed to be exactly the kind of thrill that's right up your leg.

 

1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

The tabloid article at the UK Star gave no links to any of the material noted, not even giving the title and/or venue/journal the studies appeared in. So, that is not "The Science" that you and I and other readers may wish to examine, Jonathan.

Please report back if you track down the items ... and I will shoot five bucks to the OL fund.

Oh, so now you like the scientific method, while also mocking it at the same time?

J

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20 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

Remove the 'tone' and what remains is the point I've made repeatedly:  if you want a better understanding of "The Science," then re-discovering for yourself the work of the early scientists is a good thing.  Knowing how pioneers laid the basis for today's understanding of CO₂ ... is to the benefit of discussion.

Been there, done that, Billy. I've been following the issue for decades. I've seen all of the tactics that you're using many times in the past, including the 1984-style-rewriting-history ploy that has become very popular again recently -- the "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, see, here's a document from long ago which shows that Oceania was at war with Eastasia back then, therefore it has always been."

And still we wait while you stall and distract, and mock the term "The Science."

Once again, as I've asked many times:

"I ask to be able to review the science and to evaluate the success or failure of its predictions. Give me all of the information. What was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what were the start and finish dates of the experiment, what is the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record?"

You don't have answers to all of these questions. That's the game: Answer only some of them some of the time, and hope that no one notices the bits that have been skipped, dodged, altered, fudged.

J

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4 hours ago, william.scherk said:

"What do you want me to do, call you a boy-fucker?"

William,

What goes on between you and others on OL does not go on with me. Them's the rules.

So please tone it down when we interact.

Our dueling thing is--and always has been--banter. Let's keep it that way.

Thanks.

4 hours ago, william.scherk said:

-- in case no one figured out why I "amped up" my quoted material above, it was to spoof...

Everybody figured that out. Everybodys know it. 

I'm surprised you don't realize it.

You have been spoofing and looking down your nose at OL people for so many years, maybe you've convinced yourself that OL people are so retarded, they don't see the obvious.

But people see and have seen for ages...

Some OL people got real sick of it and now it is what it is. So I'm letting it play out.

Some things kill by going boom and others kill by cancer stealth. There are no sinless saints in this kerfuffle, especially not you (your style of killing is by cancer), but all involved are good people underneath, so I think things will work out on their own.

(Granted, that wasn't banter just now, but I want you to know I see it all, not just what you want me to see, or not what you think my limits of retarded mental abilities let me see. I see it all. Frankly, it's boring, but all are OL regulars and, to me, that means flexibility, so I let it run. Now back to our regularly scheduled program :) ...)

Michael

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23 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Was I wrong? Did it not excite you? It seemed to be exactly the kind of thrill that's right up your leg.

It irritated me, for the plain reasons I gave above -- there was no link to the two 'studies.'  In other words, there was no way to check 'the information,' at least in that story.  I might assume that you dug a bit deeper to find the actual pieces noted.

23 hours ago, Jonathan said:

"I ask to be able to review the science and to evaluate the success or failure of its predictions. Give me all of the information.

Give us all the information you found after you have done some homework finding "the science."  Or make your request rich in particulars.

Quote

What was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what were the start and finish dates of the experiment, what is the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record?"

Do you want me to give you (and other readers) my impression or plain-language precis of one or more of the Arrhenius, Tyndall, Fourier pioneering studies/research? 

If I  were a reference librarian or indentured servant, Jonathan, I might be more inclined to do something for you that you seem unable to do for yourself. We are probably both relatively unmoved by bad faith, histrionics and posturing. As for particulars ... 

Quote

You don't have answers to all of these questions.

I need you to narrow it down. You want, it appears (though I may be mistaken), to become acquainted with foundational science first; you want to examine for yourself the methods, conclusions -- and I think most likely want to become acquainted with the contemporary disputes and refining of say Arrhenius's methods.

A guy has to start somewhere. As it stands, nobody has much idea of what in particular would be a useful starting point in your education ...

 

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17 hours ago, william.scherk said:

It irritated me, for the plain reasons I gave above -- there was no link to the two 'studies.'  In other words, there was no way to check 'the information,' at least in that story.  I might assume that you dug a bit deeper to find the actual pieces noted.

Give us all the information you found after you have done some homework finding "the science."  Or make your request rich in particulars.

Do you want me to give you (and other readers) my impression or plain-language precis of one or more of the Arrhenius, Tyndall, Fourier pioneering studies/research? 

If I  were a reference librarian or indentured servant, Jonathan, I might be more inclined to do something for you that you seem unable to do for yourself. We are probably both relatively unmoved by bad faith, histrionics and posturing. As for particulars ... 

I need you to narrow it down. You want, it appears (though I may be mistaken), to become acquainted with foundational science first; you want to examine for yourself the methods, conclusions -- and I think most likely want to become acquainted with the contemporary disputes and refining of say Arrhenius's methods.

A guy has to start somewhere. As it stands, nobody has much idea of what in particular would be a useful starting point in your education ...

 

Um, Billy, don't interpret or spin my words. Read them. Understand them. I'm saying exactly what I mean.

As I wrote:

"I ask to be able to review the science and to evaluate the success or failure of its predictions. Give me all of the information. What was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what were the start and finish dates of the experiment, what is the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record?"

Provide the above, and then also demonstrate that it is reliably repeatable.

And, no, I'm not being lazy in not excusing you from the burden of proof.

You're doing what I call the Doubly Irrational Maneuver.

Why does everyone pull the same illogical shit when they can't back up their position? Heh.

From way back in 2013 (and I've reference this post many times since then):

Quote

 

...I find it very fascinating. It's a specific act of posing as a genius: When caught in an irrational, incoherent position and challenged to explain it, one offers no substance, but just acts as if one is being bothered with personal requests to do others' thinking for them.

It's kind of a doubly irrational misidentification of how the burden of proof works. Rational people understand that they have the burden of supporting their assertions with evidence and logic. Irrational people think that they can make assertions and that others then have the burden of refuting them with evidence and logic. Well, these doubly irrational poseurs act as if they believe that when they make an assertion, it is their opponents' burden to help them support it with evidence and logic!

It's like this:

Doubly Irrational Person: My theory is that X is true.

Rational Person: Then prove that X is true.

Doubly Irrational Person: I'm not going to do your thinking and your homework for you!!!

Somehow we are being lazy and shirking our burdens by not proving his assertions!

 

Billy, I'm disappointed that you'd resort to Apey's ploy.

Um, do you understand why the scientific method needs to be followed? Do you understand the fact that, regardless of how well-informed someone's hypothesis night be, there are always unknowns that might affect the system and the experiment? Each year we hear about new discoveries that scientists had no clue about, and new technologies that are improving our ability to track and model various phenomena which previously had been impossible. And yet there are still many things that we don't know, and many known phenomena that we are nowhere near to being able to isolate as not having significant effects. That's especially true in the realm of climatology.

Show me the repeatable, successful predictions. Identify specifically what was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what the start and finish dates of the experiment were, provide the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record.

Nothing else is relevant. Pissing and moaning won't change that reality.

J

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23 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I need you to narrow it down. You want, it appears (though I may be mistaken), to become acquainted with foundational science first; you want to examine for yourself the methods, conclusions -- and I think most likely want to become acquainted with the contemporary disputes and refining of say Arrhenius's methods.

A guy has to start somewhere. As it stands, nobody has much idea of what in particular would be a useful starting point in your education ...

  

Yeah, I don't know how to bridge the communication gap here.

I'm not asking to be educated. I'm not asking for you to determine what you'll need to teach me, what holes in my knowledge you need to show me how to fill, what learning disabilities you'll need to detect in me and remedy, etc. I'm not asking you to guide me and nurture me. I'm not in need of anything like this: "Let's see, hmmm, do you know what molecules are? You've heard of those? Okay, well, that's wonderful, and maybe we can move along a little faster in your education than I had anticipated. Energy? Have you ever heard of that? Tell me what you think the term 'energy' means, and that might help me in gauging where I should start in your little education..."

The resolution being debated in the world today is that significant global warming is currently happening, that it is caused primarily, if not completely, by human activities, that it is very dangerous, and perhaps even catastrophic.

I'm not asking to see 'the science' which led people to hypothesize the above.

Here's a colloquial version of the hypothesis as you seem to want me to learn it:

"Scientist X discovered in 1904 that Y causes badness in certain amounts under certain conditions, therefore it logically follows that, since mankind is producing piles of Y, mankind is responsible for the levels of badness that we've adjusted our raw data to report, and The Doom™ is imminent."

Such statements are not the end of science, but the beginning. They are the point where testing happens via a very well-defined, controlled method which conforms to the questions that I've repeatedly asked, and which is open to review and is inviting and welcoming of criticism. I'm asking to see 'the science' which puts the hypothesis to the test, and succeeds reliably and repeatedly. I'm asking for open access to all of the information. What was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what were the start and finish dates of the experiment, what are the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record?

J

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Yay! We're going to "defeat climate change."

Yeah. We're going to control climate. We're not just going to impose massive hardships and restrictions to make a tiny one percent dent. No, we're going to somehow achieve stasis, whether Mother Nature wants us to or not. We're going to tax, regulate, and punish people until the temperature is always the same forever.

Jay Inslee: Washington governor to run on climate change

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee shakes hands with people in the crowd after speaking at a rally during the March for Science at Cal Anderson Park on April 22, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.Image copyrightKAREN DUCEY/GETTY IMAGES Image captionGovernor Inslee after speaking at a rally during the March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Seattle, Washington

Washington State's Democratic Governor Jay Inslee has announced his 2020 bid for the US presidential nomination, joining a lengthy list of contenders.

Mr Inslee, 68, will make climate change his number one issue, calling it "the most urgent challenge of our time" in his first campaign video.

He is the first governor to throw his hat into the ring, joining 12 other Democrats, including six senators.

The two-term governor has been a fierce critic of President Donald Trump.

"I'm running for president because I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation's number one priority," Mr Inslee says in the video, released on Friday.

Mr Inslee's mid-term elections campaign ran on the platform of creating new energy jobs - his 2020 campaign video echoed the same, tying "defeating climate change" with transforming the economy.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47418955

 

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Billy, I'm curious if you've ever critically investigated weather instrument shelters. Do you feel that you have a handle on that subject?

I find it interesting that some scientists, who believe in The Doom and preach it, have expressed the opinion that the methods that were primarily used ten years ago are now considered unreliable, and even junk. Stone Age crap.

Yet the predictions of The Doom from back then are still revered. We should have listened to the warnings! And, even though the screen system used prior to that were even worse, trust us, it was settled science as far back as the seventies, which had pre-Stone Age sub-crap.

Do you have a take on the issue?

Thoughts or feelings about homogenisation of stations?

And I'm asking what you think, not what Scott Adams or some twitter alarmist whom you like thinks. Not looking for a document dump, but a genuine response.

J

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14 hours ago, william.scherk said:

What are you trying to say, Billy?

Are you trying to suggest that I'm being silly, tee hee hee, in characterizing leftists as presenting the issue as imminent Doom?

Or what?

J

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Check this out below: yet another Climate Doom™ alarmist whose actions don't match her words.

Are there any who practice what they preach? I don't know of any. I've never heard of any prominent climate scientists or activists who have a smaller carbon footprint than I do. Usually, their footprints are multiple times that of mine.

Do you know of any, Billy? Has anyone else here ever heard of a climate scientist or activist who claims to hold the belief of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change and who also behaves consistently with that stated belief?

J

---

Gas-guzzling car rides expose AOC’s hypocrisy amid Green New Deal pledge

March 2, 2019 | 7:32pm | Updated 

 
Enlarge Image
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAFP/Getty Images

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to save the planet with her Green New Deal, but she keeps tripping over her own giant carbon footprint.

“We’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,’ ” the progressive darling said in January, speaking of herself and her fellow millennials. “And, like, this is the war; this is our World War II.”

https://nypost.com/2019/03/02/gas-guzzling-car-rides-expose-aocs-hypocrisy-amid-green-new-deal-pledge/

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16 hours ago, william.scherk said:

From the National Academies Press ...

natAcademiesCCreportChapter5.png

 

16 hours ago, william.scherk said:

From the National Academies Press ...

natAcademiesCCreportChapter5.png

Yay! Very exciting, Billy. Steps must be taken. And then, later, further steps will have to be taken. We're going to need rules and controls and especially punishments. The ancients had in right. We need to return to the sacrifices.

Isn't it just thrilling?

 

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Flirt'n' wit' 'zaster -- flashback croakings of The Doom:

https://apnews.com/bd45c372caf118ec99964ea547880cd0

U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked

PETER JAMES SPIELMANNJune 29, 1989
 
 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. 

 

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ″eco- refugees,′ ′ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP...

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14 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Are there any conclusions about anything repeatable other than conclusions?

:evil:  :) 

Michael

They really don't seem to grasp the differences between the concepts "hypothesis," "prediction," and "conclusion."

 

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A chapter, a chapter, my kingdom for a chapter. "Give me the information."  Give it to me now. 

Quote

Climate science, like all science, is a process of collective learning that proceeds through the accumulation of data; the formulation, testing, and refinement of hypotheses; the construction of theories and models to synthesize understanding and generate new predictions; and the testing of hypotheses, theories, and models through experiments or other observations. Scientific knowledge builds over time as theories are refined and expanded and as new observations and data confirm or refute the predictions of current theories and models. Confidence in a theory grows if it survives this rigorous testing process, if multiple lines of evidence lead to the same conclusion, or if competing explanations can be ruled out.

 

In the case of climate science, this process of learning extends back more than 150 years, to mid-19th-century attempts to explain what caused the ice ages, which had only recently been discovered. Several hypotheses were proposed to explain how thick blankets of ice could have once covered much of the Northern Hemisphere, including changes in solar radiation, atmospheric composition, the placement of mountain ranges, and volcanic activity. These and other ideas were tested and debated by the scientific community, eventually leading to an understanding (discussed in detail in Chapter 6) that ice ages are initiated by small recurring variations in Earth’s orbit around the Sun. This early scientific interest in climate eventually led scientists working in the late 19th century to recognize that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs have a profound effect on the Earth’s temperature. A Swedish scientist named Svante Arrhenius was the first to hypothesize that the burning of fossil fuels, which releases CO2, would eventually lead to global warming. This was the beginning of a more than

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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction: Science for Understanding and Responding to Climate Change." National Research Council. 2010. Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12782.
 

100-year history of ever more careful measurements and calculations to pin down exactly how GHG emissions and other factors influence Earth’s climate (Weart, 2008).

 

Progress in scientific understanding, of course, does not proceed in a simple straight line. For example, calculations performed during the first decades of the 20th century, before the behavior of GHGs in the atmosphere was understood in detail, suggested that the amount of warming from elevated CO2 levels would be small. More precise experiments and observations in the mid-20th century showed that this was not the case, and that increases in CO2 or other GHGs could indeed cause significant warming. Similarly, a scientific debate in the 1970s briefly considered the possibility that human emissions of aerosols—small particles that reflect sunlight back to space—might lead to a long-term cooling of the Earth’s surface. Although prominently reported in a few news magazines at the time, this speculation did not gain widespread scientific acceptance and was soon overtaken by new evidence and refined calculations showing that warming from emissions of CO2 and other GHGs represented a larger long-term effect on climate.

 

Thus, scientists have understood for a long time that the basic principles of chemistry and physics predict that burning fossil fuels will lead to increases in the Earth’s average surface temperature. Decades of observations and research have tested, refined, and extended that understanding, for example, by identifying other factors that influence climate, such as changes in land use, and by identifying modes of natural variability that modulate the long-term warming trend. Detailed process studies and models of the climate system have also allowed scientists to project future climate changes. These projections are based on scenarios of future GHG emissions from energy use and other human activities, each of which represents a different set of choices that societies around the world might make. Finally, research across a broad range of scientific disciplines has improved our understanding of how the climate system interacts with other environmental systems and with human systems, including water resources, agricultural systems, ecosystems, and built environments.

Uncertainty in Scientific Knowledge

From a philosophical perspective, science never proves anything—in the manner that mathematics or other formal logical systems prove things—because science is fundamentally based on observations. Any scientific theory is thus, in principle, subject to being refined or overturned by new observations. In practical terms, however, scientific uncertainties are not all the same. Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observa-

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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction: Science for Understanding and Responding to Climate Change." National Research Council. 2010. Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12782.
 

tions and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities. In other cases, particularly for matters that are at the leading edge of active research, uncertainties may be substantial and important. In these cases, care must be taken not to draw stronger conclusions than warranted by the available evidence.

 

The characterization of uncertainty is thus an important part of the scientific enterprise. In some areas of inquiry, uncertainties can be quantified through a long sequence of repeated observations, trials, or model runs. For other areas, including many aspects of climate change research, precise quantification of uncertainty is not always possible due to the complexity or uniqueness of the system being studied. In these cases, researchers adopt various approaches to subjectively but rigorously assess their degree of confidence in particular results or theories, given available observations, analyses, and model results. These approaches include estimated uncertainty ranges (or error bars) for measured quantities and the estimated likelihood of a particular result having arisen by chance rather than as a result of the theory or phenomenon being tested. These scientific characterizations of uncertainty can be misunderstood, however, because for many people “uncertainty” means that little or nothing is known, whereas in scientific parlance uncertainty is a way of describing how precisely or how confidently something is known. To reduce such misunderstandings, scientists have developed explicit techniques for conveying the precision in a particular result or the confidence in a particular theory or conclusion to policy makers (see Box 1.1).

 

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7 hours ago, Jonathan said:

They really don't seem to grasp the differences between the concepts "hypothesis," "prediction," and "conclusion."

Jonathan,

It's funny. When you ask for repeatable scientific results re Climate Change, you always get blah blah blah and they never use the term "repeatable results." 

It's like going into a small eatery and saying, "Do you have an ice cream cone?"

And the person says, "Here's some tasty steamed octopus."

You ask, "What about an ice cream cone?"

The person says, "Look at these green beans and mashed potatoes. How big a portion do you want?"

"But I want an ice cream cone."

"Well, you've come to the right place. Our mac and cheese is amazing."

"Don't you have ice cream cones?"

"Only stupid people think we don't have hamburgers."

"You really don't have ice cream cones?"

"True believer idiot. The dinner rolls are right in front of you. God, some people..." He throws a stack of menus in your face--ones that do not list ice cream cones...

And on it goes. It's amazing to watch.

:) 

Michael

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A glimpse of the jetstream, animated from Earth.nullschool.net. Click the animation to go to the site -- there are many options available to visualize various weather and wind conditions in the troposphere and stratosphere, as well as options to zoom and rotate points of view of the Earth. 

 earthNullJetstreamMarch5OPT.gif

-- from the same folks' Youtube video channel:

 

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