Thursday, January 03, 2008

Is there any weather inconsistent with the the scientific consensus on climate?

Following up on the Junk Science $125,000 challenge for anyone proving the AGW hypothesis, John Iierney has stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest by asking a deceptively simple question: are there any weather data proponents of AGW will recognize as invalidating their hypothesis?
See here and here.

What's interesting is both the hysteria embedded in the reaction to this question and that the central point of the question has been missed.

Weather and climate are not the same: but we only observe weather patterns in our day to day lives. So, either proponents of AGW have to stop using weather activities/extremes as indicators of climate change to promote fear and to validate their message, or they must be willing to acknowledge what activities/extremes of weather would be inconsistent with their hypothesis.

As the responses to this question indicate, while claiming weather is not climate, advocates of AGW will not identify any weather patterns or extremes that they would acknowledge as invalidating the AGW hypothesis. Weather extremes are routinely used as opportunities by AGW advocates to warn of impending doom should global warming measures not be taken. This is called having your cake and eating it too.

So where does that leave us? We have no knowledge of future climate. So any estimates, models or conjectures about future climate can not be disproved. Anything that is not open to disproof is not scientific, it is a statement of faith.

Well we do have the past climate record.

Yes, we do. And for many people that past record does not substantiate an AGW hypothesis as:
  • temperatures have been this warm previously
  • past periods of warming do not correlate with CO2 levels
  • past temperatures do correlate with sun spot activity
  • climate is a complex dynamic system with a large range of variables, many of them poorly understood
We do have a choice. Instead of seeking to control climate and people by imposing power over them, we can seek to empower people and focus on adaptation to change:
  • It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.