Thursday, October 23, 2008

Researchers find arctic may have had less ice 6000-7000 years ago

In addition to the recent posts below indicating that the basic science might have reached a tipping point in disclaiming AGW theory, here is an excellent post from Anthony Watts highlighting field work from Norway indicating that fluctuating levels of Arctic sea ice are far from a new or rare phenomenon. Indeed:
  • The arctic may have periodically been nearly ice free in recent geologic history, after the last ice age. It is clear from this that we don't really know as much as some think they do about climatic and ice cycles of our planet.
  • Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free.
  • The climate in the northern regions has never been milder since the last Ice Age than it was about 6000-7000 years ago.
The research team qualify their findings with the caveat that: "Changes that took place 6000-7000 years ago were controlled by other climatic forces than those which seem to dominate today".

So, the questions that arise from both this and other evidence of past periods of climate warming would be:
  • what factors were the "drivers" of past climate shifts? and are they not now still driving contemporary climate changes? (e.g. sun spot activity, PDO, ocean/atmospheric interactions) and,
  • what happened to the basic atmospheric physics of the planet to transform carbon dioxide from a trace gas with no connection to climate shifts, to a trace gas that "drives" global warming?
Absent of clear, physically valid explanations to these two questions, data such as those for changing patterns of Arctic sea ice would seem to suggest that climate changes naturally over time, mainly due to natural forces and processes and that whatever the human modification of climate (both in the past 100 years, now and in the near future) it is but a minor variation, for which the human species has shown a tremendous capacity for adjustment and adaptation: see air conditioning, home heating, housing, development....

On a more philosophical note: why is it environmentalists who ascribe to science as their means for explanation and understanding, are so vehemently opposed to change, when all of science confirms that adaptation to dynamic change is the very basis for continued evolution?

The world is not static. It is not balanced. It is a dynamic, complex pattern of constant change and adjustment: it is only ideological dogma that wishes to define and control vibrancy and replace it with stasis.

Monday, October 20, 2008

PDO and Clouds

The latest study from Roy Spencer concerns the influence of clouds, and their interaction with oceans, as drivers of climate change.  He concludes:

  • The evidence continues to mount that the IPCC models are too sensitive (produce too much global warming). If climate sensitivity is indeed considerably less than the IPCC claims it to be, then increasing CO2 alone can not explain recent global warming. The evidence presented here suggests that most of that warming might well have been caused by cloud changes associated with a natural mode of climate variability: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
  • I am posting this information in advance of publication because of its potential importance to pending EPA regulations or congressional legislation which assume that carbon dioxide is a major driver of climate change. Since the news media now refuses to report on peer-reviewed scientific articles which contradict the views of the IPCC, Al Gore, and James Hansen, I am forced to bypass them entirely.
  • We need to consider the very real possibility that atmospheric carbon dioxide - which is necessary for life on Earth and of which there is precious little - might well be like the innocent bystander who has been unjustly accused of a crime based upon little more than circumstantial evidence.

As noted by Lorne Gunter, there has been a resurgence in articles rejecting AGW dogma.  Blissfully, real scientists are not content to merely discredit false assumptions, explanations and orthodoxy: they also suggest alternative explanations that do accord with the facts and empirical evidence.

The Silence of the Lambs

Time to check in with the ongoing pursuit for scientific integrity over at Climate Audit, where the latest series of posts here, here and here, illustrate the persistence of basic scientific problems within the climate data that all proponents rely upon for promotion and proselytization of the accepted AGW dogma.

What has remained constant is the vigilance of Climate Audit in screening out the basics of climate reconstruction proxy studies and their meaning.  What has remained equally as intransigent, apparently, is the resistance within the principal field of dendro-chronology to any procedural adjustments that address the central constraints on the validity of the data produced by such proxy temperature studies.

What has changed, however, is the audience.  Where once Climate Audit was a solo effort of one man, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit has developed into a community of interest, of informed contribution and much greater awareness than its initial stages.  Subsequently, the postings and comments at Climate Audit reveal a depth and quality of understanding of issues, the nuances of procedure and of the language of the dominant science that it is auditing. Moreover, other commentators from other fields  are cognizant of what is being discussed and recognize that glib appeals to intellectual authority are not a sufficient defence for silence when scientific integrity has been, and continues to be, sacrificed on a alter of ideological correctness and career advancement.

The issue in its simplest form is this:

  • can flaws in scientific methodology be overlooked if the results are consistent with "known consensus"?
Or should the focus be on:
  • science as a means of understanding is dependent upon the integrity its methodology: results are only as valid as the methodology used to create them 
  • consensus is an ideological construct suited to politics but inappropriate within science
  • science should be a tool for enlightenment, not an instrument of authoritarianism

Monday, October 13, 2008

Climate Orthodoxy, Elitism and Authoritarianism

Well, just as you think things get get any worse, they do.  As this excellent post from the good folks over at Climate Resistance documents, green politics has become both mainstream not only in its seeming acceptability but also in its ascendency to a position of presumptive authority and reflected political power:
  • The problem is simply that there is no opposition allowed into this process, either to question the science, or the way the science informs the policy decision, nor to ask whether emissions reductions is the best solution in terms of the interests of the UK population, or throughout the world.
  • The principal basis of climate change alarmism has always been that positive feedback mechanisms will produce 'runaway climate change'. As the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), to which the UK is committed, says, lack of understanding should not be used as a reason not to act. This embodiment of the precautionary principal means that, regardless of the state of knowledge in an area of climate science, the response is the same. It makes no difference how much is understood. The effect of new research emerging since the 2000 RCEP recommendation therefore ought to make no difference to policy. What matters is the 'what if…', not the 'what'.
  • This voodoo science ritual is being used to arm politicians with something that they desperately lack: direction. The climate change aristocracy now sit and dictate what the terms, values, and principles of UK politics ought to be. And as their influence increases no doubt, so do their cash returns. While their influence extends, so the opportunities to challenge environmentalism through the political process diminishes. Now all a politician has to do to answer critics of environmental policy is say that an 'independent' committee has produced its findings.
  • Politics: available in any colour, as long as it's green.
In other jurisdictions, variations on the same theme are being played out. An orthodoxy is asserted, an elite uses the political system to assert its power to enforce that orthodoxy and an authoritarian dogma becomes a political, economic and philosophical cross that society is told it must bear.
At first, I resented being classified as a denier, preferring the more accurate description of myself as an independent thinking skeptic, wary of any dogma, any enforced consensus, certainly a climate realist and pragmatic environmentalist concerned with true integration of economy, society and environment and the implementation of effective sustainability and development.  But, increasingly, I see commitment to these ideas does indeed make me a denier -- a denier of authoritarianism, of politicized science, of elitism and of precautionary economics, environmental determinism and  social engineering.
I believe in the capability of each human being and the capacity of human communities to derive sensible futures of prosperity and tolerance for all.  In the past, this belief was called idealism, perhaps even utopianism. Guided by a  dynamist perspective and libertarianism, this is an ideology of long lineage and recognition. 
Apparently, today, it is now no longer simply an ideology of independence and freedom: it is now a denial of officially sanctioned authority, the pre-eminent dogma of scientific certainty and truth, environmentalism.  The magisterium has issued its edicts and us minions must comply or suffer the consequences.
Blissfully, history shows us that all authoritarian regimes suffer the same consequence: because they arise out of an abuse of power and they depend upon continued abuse to sustain their power, ultimately they suffer collapse and implosion because the abuse of power contains an inherent contradiction -- it is simply not sustainable. 
At the very heart of the notion of sustainability is the building of capacity and an ability to engage and benefit from change.  Merely abusing power to avert attention and assert that change is bad neither prevents change from occurring nor does it inoculate society from harm.  Assertive dogma and authoritative power merely preclude societies from developing the necessary capacity to profit from the coming change.
There is no standing still.  We either learn, adapt to change and prosper, or we assert that change is bad, build power empires to rail against the night and flounder into irrelevancy.  Label that anyway you want.

Monday, October 06, 2008

How about some science to go along with your cereal?

A nice change of blogging diet today, with this latest post from Sandy over at Junkfood Science.  Her post summarizes the latest, definitive study on sugar and diet in children which concluded that:

  • On the whole, the present study does not support the common view that the quality of carbohydrate may be implicated in the current obesity epidemic in childhood. At least among healthy young children eating 6 times/day, carbohydrate quality does not appear to be relevant to their body-composition development between ages 2 and 7 years, whether cross-sectionally, prospectively, or concurrently.
Or in simple terms, the hysteria and dogma around childhood obesity and the evils of sugar are exactly that: hysteria and dogma, not substantiated by the science.  As Sandy writes:
  • The results of this study were not unexpected. This study only adds to the body of the soundest evidence which, for some fifty years, has continued to demonstrate that sugars in any form do not lead to obesity or chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancers. The scientific literature also shows that “healthy eating” for kids does not necessarily mean low-sugar or high-fiber.
Later she contrasts the cited science with the statements emanating from vested interest groups, including Consumer Reports. 
Often, I am asked who are people to believe when they are reading? Who do they trust?  The corollary question is, how do I distinguish ideology from science?  This post, and the obesity myth in general, are a great illustration of who and what to believe and how to distinguish "truth" from dogma.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dogma or science?

What distinguishes science from religion as an ideology is the adherence of science to the standard of empirical evidence to validate its key constructs and contentions.

Here is the latest summation of satellite temperature data from 1979 to the present. What the data show is significant cooling, so much so that all the previous warming of the past 100 years has been supplanted. Moreover:

  • Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, in spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.
Those who claim that climate change is a fact, a scientific certainty, a facing yet another crisis in their adherence to green, ideological dogma, rather than the principles of scientific enquiry.

Incidentally, NASA just published a report indicating that the past year has seen the fewest sunpots and low solar wind activity. Perhaps this is a stronger, alternative scientific explanation for climate change as a pre-dominantly natural phenomenon.