Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

Less is More vs Idiot (Global Warming)

Remember this - including the graph:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/01/30/while-temperatures-rise-denialists-reach-lower/

Turns out the graph doesn't depict that it was claimed to depict.

Here's the skeptic/denialist rebuttal:

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=5138
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 12:12pm
Yep.
Permalink Idiot 
February 1st, 2012 12:18pm
> Here's the skeptic/denialist rebuttal:

From what I read that is bullshit.

It reminds me of the way my grandfather got rid of a speeding ticket in 1920 by successfully arguing that a policeman couldn't have estimated his speed of 50 km/h with an accuracy of 60 km/h.
Permalink Attila 
February 1st, 2012 12:34pm
>From what I read that is bullshit.

What is bullshit?
Permalink df 
February 1st, 2012 1:10pm
Briggs says, "I don’t know... I’d be willing to bet..."

Sorry, it's not a rebuttal if it doesn't actually rebut.

Let's not get into whether or not Plait's article was gospel -- there are oodles of charts that show the same thing including the one linked by Idiot
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

and the 2000-year chart on that page is better still
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

Actually, the original image from Skeptical Science is more informative than the one Plait used. It's an animated gif so check it out
http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/SkepticsvRealistsv3.gif

My challenge to Idiot was for him to say he thinks the Earth is cooling or at least not warming. He couldn't bring himself to say that.

All the charts that use 30-plus--year periods show that the trend is upward. As I said in an earlier post, a staircase-like progression is to be expected.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 5:49pm
This excerpt is worth posting:

>> As Figure 1 [the gif I linked in my previous post] shows, over the last 37 years one can identify overlapping short windows of time when climate "skeptics" could have argued (and often did, i.e. here and here and here) that global warming had stopped.  And yet over the entire period question containing these six cooling trends, the underlying trend is one of rapid global warming (0.27°C per decade, according to the new Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature [BEST] dataset).  And while the global warming trend spans many decades, the longest cooling trend over this period is 10 years, which proves that each was caused by short-term noise dampening the long-term trend.

>> In short, those arguing that global warming has stopped are missing the forest for the trees, focusing on short-term noise while ignoring the long-term global warming signal.  Since the release of the BEST data which confirmed the global warming observed by all other global temperature measurements, climate "skeptics" have been scrambling for a way to continue denying that global warming is a problem, and focusing on the short-term noise has become their preferred go-to excuse.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/going-down-the-up-escalator-part-1.html
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 5:59pm
And remember, BEST was the group funded by the Koch brothers to properly examine all the data and thereby disprove global warming... except the proper examination ended up supporting the notion of global warming.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 6:04pm
Good thing the Koch Brothers also basically own Fox-News, so they have a "fair and balanced" news outlet to spin their "inconvenient truth".
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
February 1st, 2012 6:07pm
I have a friend who was born in 1979

I measured his height between 1979 and 1988, and noted it was increasing.

I measured his height between 1989 and 1997, and noted it was continuing to increase.

Plot these figures on a graph, and continuing the trend, I can see we are set for big trouble in the future. Eventually he will not fit in his bed, or even through his front door. One day, he'll need to live in a skyscraper and being all the food in the country!

Height denialists have claimed no statistically significant increases in height since 1998.

However, I rebut their arguments, as:

1. If you plot a graph from 1979 today, and calculate the best fit line, the slop is clearly positive.

2. If you compare the decades 1980-1990, 1990-2000, and 2000-2010, you will clearly see the decade 2000-2010 is the TALLEST DECADE on record!
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 6:30pm
Arguing by analogy is vulnerable to a poor choice of analogy. As you have done here, Moby. Stick to the climate data and see where it takes you.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 6:45pm
Change height to temperature and it is EXACTLY the argument being made in the WSJ and the rebuttal.

I don't pretend it covers the whole climate debate, or even all the issues in the original WSJ article or the rebuttal, but it does cover the argument about figures.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 6:48pm
There is a natural limit to height -- people grow to their height and then they stop growing.

This is not true of global temperature == poor choice of analogy.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 7:03pm
You're focusing on the detail of the analogy.  And you're using what you think you know about the underlying facts, to add read things into the figures, which aren't in the figures.

The point is "tallest decade" ever, or "hottest decade", don't rebut the possibility that the upward trend may have leveled off.

In the case, of height, you're assuming people stop growing over about 18. Usually that's true, but there are people who keep growing all their lives.  The way to test if my friend is or isn't such a person, is not a priori assumption, nor is it "tallest decade" ever - it's to look at the current trend.

Likewise, in the case of global warming, there is a widespread belief that CO2 + significant positive feedbacks will lead to continuing warming.  But there are scientists who think the feedbacks may be small or even negative after a tipping point.  The way to test if the warming will continue, is not a priori assumption, nor is it "hottest decade" ever - it's to look at the current trend.

And no I'm not saying that is an easy thing to do, but the bullshit rebuttal about "hottest decade" ever, is that, bullshit.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 7:28pm
I can agree with much of your last post. However, I cannot agree that a ten-year period proves anything regarding climate. So while I would agree that the last ten years have seen some sort of plateau of temperature, the decade does not prove that global warming has ceased or paused. Look at the last thirty years instead of the last ten and the trend is clearly upward. Twenty years from now, if global temperature remains in the region it has occupied for the last ten, then you will have a thirty-year period and then I will accept that something has happened. But that's twenty years away.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 7:46pm
Well that's a separate argument.

But "hottest decade ever" is a shameful and deceitful argument, especially when given as a supposed rebuttal to claims of no warming in the last decade*.  It's one that any mathematically competent person should be embarrassed to make - let alone supposed experts writing to national media.


*(actually more like last 13, or even 15 or 16 years - but that's incidental).
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 7:50pm
And on "the details of the analogy" -- that's why analogies fail, because the details don't align sufficiently well with the reality. My suggestion is to avoid analogies altogether when constructing an argument.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 7:51pm
I don't buy "hottest decade" either. I look at the trend (30-plus--year).
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 7:52pm
We don't have a 30 years trend of warming.

The warming trend is 1973-1998.  So 25 years.  Even that is helped by the fact that 73 was an exceptionally cold year.

From 1998-2011 we have level or even slight cooling. 13 years.

The only way to claim a 30 year trend, is to include the recent years as part of a big 1973- period.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 8:02pm
For the 30-year period from 2010 (roughly; choose your own "current year") back to 1980 (roughly), the trend is clearly upward.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 8:12pm
"Trend" does not mean "monotonic increasing" :)
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 8:14pm
It looks like both of you keep moving the goalposts :)
Permalink Send private email Rick from Nexus S 
February 1st, 2012 8:14pm
1980-2010 is cheating exactly, like my growing friend.

You have no evidence of any increase in the last 1/3 of your chosen period, just the assumption that the increase ought to be there.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 8:22pm
How so, Rick? What have I said that sounds different to something earlier?
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 8:22pm
i.e. > 1. If you plot a graph from 1979 [to] today, and calculate the best fit line, the slop[e] is clearly positive.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 8:24pm
Maybe you are not. I am not so sure. But it seems like you update N and M in "N years since Year M" to fit your preconceptions.
Permalink Send private email Rick from Nexus S 
February 1st, 2012 8:26pm
Moby, you must start at the current time and work backwards however far. That way you can't be accused of selectively choosing endpoints. The most current data point is what it is.

The fact that the last decade has seen relataively stable temperature is incorporated into the 30-year period in the form of a lower rate of increase for the period.

If for sake of discussion there is another ten years of the current global temperature then the trend for the 30-year period 2020 back to 1990 would be less than it was for 1980-2010. Noone is cheating.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 8:27pm
Rick, always 30 years for me. I grant I mentioned ten years in my question to Idiot. There was a reason for that but the reason was not that I believed ten year periods to be significant. If my doing that has caused you some confusion, I apologise; I can see how it could.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 8:31pm
So why is it always 30 years?

Anyway, it seems you conceded the WSJ-16's point that there is no statistical evidence of warming within the last 13 years.  I guess it's not such a travesty for it to be published after all?
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 1st, 2012 9:06pm
Maybe statistically trend changes every 15 years.
Permalink Send private email Rick from Nexus S 
February 1st, 2012 9:38pm
Moby, I assume you are familiar with superposition of waves? Climate is similar in the sense that there are multiple and conflicting factors that are "added together". For example, volcanic eruptions are known to have a cooling effect on temperatures. Suns spots and El Nino/La Nina also have known effects. Suns spots have a roughly eleven-year cycle. El Nino has a very very roughly five-year cycle. Eruptions are not cyclical. The seasons have an annual cycle.

These and other factors introduce variability to the extent that a ten-year period is too short a timeframe to deduce meaningful trends.

Thirty years is the accepted minimum timeframe for trends when it comes to climate so that is what I use.

Re WSJ-16, I most certainly do not accept a 13-year period as proving anything. I said this earlier in this thread (the post where I said I agree with much of one of your posts). The publication of their view is not "wrong" per se but their view is wrong. IMHO, of course.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 10:13pm
don't ask me why I said suns spots twice. poor proofing
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 10:14pm
No, scrub the IMHO. Their view is wrong. They can't use a 13-year period as a basis for an assertion regarding climate.
Permalink less is more 
February 1st, 2012 10:18pm
>These and other factors introduce variability to the extent that a ten-year period is too short a timeframe to deduce meaningful trends.

But what if there is a longer wavelength cycle creating the longer term trend you speak of?

That is the primary "skeptic" position: That there are a lot of inputs we simply don't understand.
Permalink df 
February 2nd, 2012 9:51am
> Moby, you must start at the current time and work backwards however far. That way you can't be accused of selectively choosing endpoints. The most current data point is what it is.

Except when you decide to cheat by choosing your beginning point, to find the answer you want.... hmmm, let me say, does 1920 or 1917 give me the answer I want? - said Phil Jones:

    date: Mon Jul 18 14:25:52 2005
    from: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
    subject: Re: Text and CQ stuff
    to: "Parker, David (Met Office)" <david.parker@metoffice.gov.uk>, Kevin Trenberth <trenbert@ucar.edu>

    Kevin,

    Even without smoothing it is possible to get a trend of nearer 0.75 if the trend starts around 1920 (especially if the cold year of 1917 is at the start). The periods chosen for Table 3.2.2 had some justification, so we need to be a little careful. As a schematic for CQ2 though, it will be a different way of showing the same data.


    I'll talk it over with David.

    Cheers
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 9:59am
The bottom line is that the climate change "debate" is moot. The climate is changing.

The question of whether humans are affecting the climate is also moot. We clearly are.

Will it matter if we stop doing X, or Y? That's moot: it might or might not. We can't know.

What we DO know is that pouring millions of tons of industrial pollutants into the ecosystem is a bad idea, whether or not we can fully quantify the effects down to the molecular level over the next thousand years.

So just stop it. Stop being assholes.
Permalink muppet 
February 2nd, 2012 10:01am
Tell that to an Indian or a Chinese person who is trying to pull himself out the same shithole, that the West was in 100 years ago - but without the benefit of cheap energy.

Everything is a balance.  We accept a certain level of risk -  including risk from pollution - because the alternatives are worse.

Cheap energy might be luxury you can willingly do without, but not everybody can - they need it for a decent life, or for economic development, or things like refrigerating electricity and food.

The question is how much and what types of pollution can accept?

If you paint the debate in absolutes, you're an idiot and an inhumane arse.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 10:47am
> refrigerating electricity and food.

refrigerating medicines and food.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 10:48am
Cheap energy is a distinct concept from using toxic materials in manufacturing, etc.
Permalink muppet 
February 2nd, 2012 10:49am
What the fuck does that have to do with how much warming has occurred, how much is going to occur, what appropriate levels of CO2 are?  You are deliberately conflating issues.

FWIW - we also accept the use of toxic materials in industry, again because there is no alternative, or the alternative is worse.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 11:15am
Everybody conflates the issue of global warming with polluting industry, that's almost the entire reason that the debate is mainstream and political rather than just being a thing hippies moan about and researchers study.

You're being deliberately disingenuous, which serves nobody.

The bottom line of the global warming debate is that people want to use it so further ecological agendas. Meanwhile, protecting the ecology of the planet is a no brainer concept that doesn't NEED the global warming debate to legitimize it.
Permalink muppet 
February 2nd, 2012 11:22am
True, but that doesn't mean we accept spewing those toxic chemicals into the environment, just because that happens to be the cheapest and simplist approach for the business.

Nor do we accept (forever) the businesses assertions that to do anything else would be "too expensive" and "cause his business to fold".  Those assertions are made early and often, but the history of environmentalism in the US demonstrates quite often that recycling hazardous chemicals results in cost savings for the business.

And as the history of anti-environmentalism in Russia and China demonstrates, sometimes a business so busily poisoning the environment really SHOULD fold, because the costs to the people and society around them are so high.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
February 2nd, 2012 11:24am
You are absolutely right. We must close the wind turbine, solar energy, low energy light bulb, and hybrid car since they all use toxic materials.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 12:14pm
You're not interested in a conversation, only in saying whatever you think is most inflammatory at any given point.  Whatever.
Permalink muppet 
February 2nd, 2012 12:16pm
> "The periods chosen for Table 3.2.2 had some justification, so we need to be a little careful."

Good quote. "We need to be a little careful" regarding intentionally changing starting point to be a cherry picked cold year shows not just his bad faith in contrast to scientific methodology, but indicates his desire to cover up the real reasons with bullshit explanations that seem justified.

CO2 is not a pollutant. Anyone claiming it is as insane as anyone saying that dihydrogen monoxide is a pollutant, unless they are joking around.

As far as the environment goes, it is fucked up badly because of moving all manufacturing to communist China where they have no enforced environmental laws.
Permalink Idiot 
February 2nd, 2012 12:16pm
> You're not interested in a conversation, only in saying whatever you think is most inflammatory

No I'm pointing our the absurdity of your position.

All the things I mentioned are notorious for their toxic material content and pollution created in their manufacture and disposal..

If you truly believe we must eliminate toxic materials, then you should want to eliminate these.

More realistically, I suspect you really believe that there are some things that you would prefer to keep, even if they involve toxic materials and pollution.  In which case, you've accepted the first half of my position - we need to decide on a case by case.

The second half of my position is that we need to decide in each case by evaluating evidence rather than emotion.... do you not accept that?  Despite your earlier assertion that we should just stop being assholes?
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 12:40pm
Hello?  "Recycle toxic materials", instead of "dump them in the rivers"?  What part of that says we can't use toxic materials?
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
February 2nd, 2012 1:41pm
Toxic materials escape during industrial, agricultural, societal processes. For example, remember "toxic" is a relative term.

Just to take on example, women eat contraceptive pills. Then they pee. They the chemicals in their pee contaminate the environment and affect wildlife.  What do we do? Capture their pee? And if so, do what with it?  Or do we ban the contraceptive pill, despite it's many beneficial effects to society and on women's life choices?

Or what about chemicals use on fertilizer, or pesticides used on crops?

In any case, I fail to see how any argument about toxic materials, somehow proves the case for drastic action on CO2 emission reduction. The basis for arguments to reduce CO2 emissions are founded on temperature changes, past, present, and predicted future, not the toxicity of CO2.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 2:12pm
Funny, I didn't think CO2 was a "toxic material".  When they put it in my soda, it makes bubbles.

So in the case of CO2, yes, saying "It's Toxic!" with little chicken-little birds running around is silly.  Having said that, if you DID put a carbon-tax on burning fossil fuels, then alternative fuels would have money to be developed, and a market to sell to.

Apparently, according to the latest State Of The Union, we're floating in Natural Gas in the US for the next 100 years, so it's no longer an issue.  Apparently.

I hate it when Obama does that.  "Free up drilling in the Gulf!" Obama: Oh, okay.  Next month: "Huge oil spill from drilling in the Gulf!"  Obama: Damn.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
February 2nd, 2012 2:34pm
EPA says CO2 is a dangerous pollutant.

http://blog.heritage.org/2009/12/07/epa-formally-declares-co2-a-dangerous-pollutant/

Good point about soda pop.
Permalink Idiot 
February 2nd, 2012 3:15pm
> Funny, I didn't think CO2 was a "toxic material".  When they put it in my soda, it makes bubbles.

What is in your soda is CO3H-/OH3+, in low concentration.

CO2 is deadly toxic when the concentration is more than a few percent in the air you breath.

It is an excellent gas to slaughter animals, and is used as such.
Permalink Attila 
February 2nd, 2012 4:08pm
> CO2 is deadly toxic when the concentration is more than a few percent in the air you breath.

Which is irrelevant to the debate about global warming. Because even if we burn all the fossil fuels right now, just for the hell of it, we won't approach those levels.
Permalink MobyDobie 
February 2nd, 2012 4:37pm
No one says it is relevant. Relax.
Permalink Send private email Rick from Nexus S 
February 2nd, 2012 5:17pm
>> But what if there is a longer wavelength cycle creating the longer term trend you speak of?

>> That is the primary "skeptic" position: That there are a lot of inputs we simply don't understand.

The field of science is constructed upon the notion of the existence of gaps in human knowledge, and the closing of those gaps. That's what science *is*, closing the gaps. Any of your "skeptics" who are unduly concerned that there are things that we don't understand are simply missing the point, I'm afraid.
Permalink less is more 
February 2nd, 2012 5:25pm
Moby, I honestly do not understand why you are obsessed with what someone says. Stick to the data and see where that leads you. As I have said before.

I don't know the context for what Jones said in that email and I will bet you don't either.

If in fact he has done something wrong, I won't defend him.
If in fact he has done something wrong, the scientific facts are *completely unaffected*.

Stick to the data. Make observations accurately. They are what they are. Explain observations. Predict new ones. That is science.
Permalink less is more 
February 2nd, 2012 5:31pm
We've already covered what the data says. We'd have finished after 1 post if that was all there was to say.

If you take the last 30 years, there's a warming trend - in the data - over the entire period.

If you take any period less than the last 13 years by themselves, there's no such trend - in the data.

Everything else is interpretation and/or politics.
Permalink MobyDoby 
February 2nd, 2012 5:44pm
Isn't the baseline the climate before industrialization?
Permalink Send private email Rick from Nexus S 
February 2nd, 2012 6:05pm
Depends what you count as industrialization.

Manmade CO2 only began rising significantly since about the  70s. 

Remember there's a lot more people, and they are a lot more industrialized now in last few decades, than any time before then.  A few guys tinkering with steam engines in England in 1750, doesn't count on a global scale.
Permalink MobyDoby 
February 2nd, 2012 6:16pm
We didn't have scientific instruments to take and keep the data before industrialization.  I don't think.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
February 3rd, 2012 10:15am
> We didn't have scientific instruments to take and keep the data before industrialization.  I don't think.

There are a lot of methods today to measure the composition of the atmosphere in the past.
Permalink Attila 
February 3rd, 2012 12:26pm
Like what? Ice cores and tree ring width? What does tree ring width in a given small region measure? Temperature? Rainfall? CO2 concentration? Solar intensity? Disease?
Permalink Idiot 
February 3rd, 2012 1:21pm
Ice cores are pretty direct.

But you can measure the past acidity of the oceans from fossils, and probably some other indirect measurements.
Permalink Attila 
February 3rd, 2012 4:12pm
Fossils?  Since the Industrial Revolution (say 1800)? 

Those be some really young fossils then.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
February 3rd, 2012 4:14pm

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