Author Topic: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers  (Read 1880 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3262
  • mooh
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2017, 10:27:50 AM »
I watched the two videos and it did show that Watts Up With That predicted the change in Arctic ice incorrectly, as it has dropped over time - however, I don't think Watts Up With That is alone in making poor predictions - as the Watts Up With That website is essentially commentary on articles and climate related ideas that they feel to be incorrect. To be fair we would have to compile a list of articles and see which ones turn out to be obviously false - the problem then becomes one of who is the objective arbiter as both sides accuse each other of cherry picking the data, for instance in 2014 the ice in Antarctica reached a maximum which was not likely predicted by many sites that view AGW as singularly grave danger.
https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum

Having previously spent years in this debate trying to figure out what's what, I guarantee you that these two sides are not remotely equal. Watts continually steps far outside of the consensus to repeat claims that have already been debunked. He creates misleading impressions based on cherry picked data (and I will go as far as to say that he does it on purpose; nobody is wrong that often in one direction by mistake). He cherry picks from the peer reviewed literature, and highlights a fringe position and pretends that it is mainstream. He holds contradictory beliefs, like "humans are too insignificant to alter the climate" and "we're greening the planet", or "we need more research" but "we should stop wasting money on climate change research". His blog features major climate change deniers who are at best fringe climate scientists and quite often not actually practicing climate scientists at all and treats them like authorities. He publishes highly flawed work, and often does so in known denier outlets like The Heartland Institute. In spite of saying he would accept the BEST study results before they were published, he just kept peddling the same crap after it had become abundantly clear that that study showed him to be incorrect. He's an ideologue who is just manufacturing doubt. In short, he shows all the signs of denialism.

EDIT: It might be worth pointing out that Watts puts out so much nonsense that there is an entire blog dedicated just to dealing with his schtick.

By contrast, skepticalscience.com sticks pretty close to the consensus position of the IPCC and the subsequent peer reviewed literature, counters arguments from people who venture far outside the mainstream by referencing the peer reviewed literature, will change their position when that literature changes position, and frequently has guest posts by mainstream climate scientists.

for instance in 2014 the ice in Antarctica reached a maximum which was not likely predicted by many sites that view AGW as singularly grave danger.
https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum

It's not that surprising since Antarctic sea ice has been showing a small overall increase for years (which, for the record, is three times smaller than the loss in the Arctic):



They cover this from time to time; from 2013, 2010, a general introduction from 2010, updated in 2015, 2009, an introduction to antarctic ice from 2009... And, of course, this year.


I also had a look at the NASA blog post about phytoplankton, again I am much more hopeful and some of the ideas of Iron being made bioavailable in acidic conditions would apparently fertilise the ocean. The science behind the phytoplankton bloom seems solid and would be another mechanism to slow down CO2 build up (I'm not sure how this has been incorporated into the models):
http://search.proquest.com/openview/07bad47cdd5e0d811600841713524b91/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=40569
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v446/n7139/abs/nature05700.html
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-010-9799-4?LI=true
From realclimate (a blog run by several well respected practicing climate scientists, several of whom have been on the IPCC):

Quote
I would put ocean fertilization on the avoid list, along with planting trees. It’s too hard to pin down the actual amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by your actions. It’s also not a long-term solution, since the ocean leaks. Humankind would have to keep fertilizing the ocean indefinitely in order to preserve the claimed CO2 drawdown. If you’re concerned about climate change, build a windmill. Ocean fertilization does not seem to me suitable to be the basis for a reliable financial commodity, or a practical tool for geo-engineering climate.

Bio-feedback is definitely important, and phytoplankton is a substantial player. But again, uncertainty is not our friend here:

Quote
One of the important impacts of marine phytoplankton on climate systems is the geophysical feedback by which chlorophyll and the related pigments in phytoplankton absorb solar radiation and then change sea surface temperature. Yet such biogeophysical impact is still not considered in many climate projections by state-of-the-art climate models, nor is its impact on the future climate quantified. This study shows that, by conducting global warming simulations with and without an active marine ecosystem model, the biogeophysical effect of future phytoplankton changes amplifies Arctic warming by 20%. Given the close linkage between the Arctic and global climate, the biologically enhanced Arctic warming can significantly modify future estimates of global climate change, and therefore it needs to be considered as a possible future scenario.
(emphasis mine)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434777/

and

Quote
The data show the total chlorophyll in the ocean of all the phytoplankton types combined together. In previous work, they had observed that in the Northern Hemisphere, total chlorophyll was declining – but they didn't know what types of phytoplankton were declining or why.

[...]

According to the model, the diatom declines are due to the uppermost layer of ocean water, called the mixed layer, becoming shallower. Taking into account seasonal variation, it shallowed by 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) over the 15-year study period.

The mixed layer is at the surface where waves and currents continually churn, drawing up nutrients from a deeper layer of water below. The upper section, or sometimes the whole mixed layer depending on how deep it is, receives sunlight. Together, these are the conditions that promote phytoplankton growth. But a shallower mixed layer has less volume, and thus can hold fewer nutrients, than a deeper mixed layer.

"The phytoplankton can run out of nutrients," said Rousseaux, which is what they observed in the nutrient levels essential to diatoms reported by the model. Why the mixed layer shallowed is still uncertain. One possibility is changes in winds, which cause some of the churning, she said.

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2343/study-shows-oceanic-phytoplankton-declines-in-northern-hemisphere/

More importantly: If you don't like it when climate scientists warn about tipping points with uncertain distributions, or skewed climate sensitivity distributions that imply potentially huge risks, because they don't provide robust or strongly constrained probability estimates, why are you willing to take a huge gamble based on a hunch that a poorly understood biofeedback mechanism will solve the problem for us, even though you have no probability estimates for this either?

Quote
More erratic weather patterns will put stress on plants (including many food crops). Animals that have little room left for adaptation (like those living on mountains or in lakes that can't easily migrate) may go extinct. Many animal species are at risk of extinction. The IPCC AR4 notes that "There is medium confidence that ~20–30% of known plant and animal species are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5 °C to 2.5 °C over 1980–1999". Of course, ecological systems have similar chaotic aspects as the climate itself does, so who knows what the downstream effects of that could be.

In AR5 there is no scenario (other than the wildly unrealistic RCP8.5) that exceeds 2.5*C under any circumstance until 2100 so the chance of exceeding the 2.5*C average appears to be small (again as there is no probability of the outcomes mentioned anywhere in the report that is all supposition).

Why pick the top of the range here and not the middle, or better yet, the full 95% uncertainty range? Only RCP2.6 (which is easily as "unrealistic" as RCP8.5 given the current course we're on) is "likely" to remain below 2oC, and ranges from 0.3-1.7oC. RCP4.5 ranges from 1.1-2.6oC and is "likely to exceed 1.5oC above 1850-1900 values. The others are "likely to exceed 2oC". RCP6.0 ranges from 1.4-3.1oC. And, even though it is meant to delineate a worst case scenario, apparently IPCC experts do not consider the RCP8.5 scenario, which ranges from 2.6-4.8oC "wildly unrealistic". It corresponds to "a so-called ‘baseline’ scenario that does not include any specific climate mitigation target", and was based largely on this paper, which specifically tried to establish realistic upper and lower bound scenarios based on an assessment of the upper and lower quartiles of scenarios in the peer reviewed literature. You can find an extensive introduction to the RCPs here.

Quote
It's true that a lot of the impacts are highly uncertain, but the uncertainty goes both ways; that is, it could be much better, but it could also be much, much worse than we've anticipated. Unfortunately, the probability distribution for climate sensitivity is asymmetric, in such a way that there is a higher risk of it turning out higher than we think than there is of it turning out lower than we think (i.e., a fatter tail towards higher sensitivity than towards lower sensitivity).
In short, it's a huge gamble to take, considering that the costs of mitigation are currently really not that draconian (yet).

When these probabilities are unknown I don't know how the distribution could be known to be asymettric or having fat tails - there are a number of scenarios that would lower climate change sensitivity (such as the stomata reduction due to CO2 and the acidic induced iron fertilisation of the oceans - as well as many other known or unknown processes). It is possible that the probability distribution is in fact asymmetric favouring the climate being less sensitive. 

You keep saying the probabilities are unknown. Climate scientists, on the other hand, have made numerous attempts to quantify estimates of climate sensitivity and, whether you like it or not, those estimates show fatter tails towards more warming than towards less warming. The IPCC AR5 devotes various sections to this across multiple chapters. These estimates are based on a large number of short-to-medium term observations, laboratory experiments, and modelling runs, as well as on a very wide range of palaeoclimate data and even some astronomical observations. There can be a thousand unknown negative feedbacks, but they would have to be very small (or offset by a similarly sized positive feedback) to be compatible with this data, and the palaeo data in particular (EDIT: and also with models that are forced with known forcings and faithfully reproduce past temperature records, which you would expect to diverge if there were some large feedbacks unaccounted for). Yeah, there are some feedback processes that could reduce sensitivity, but there are just as many processes that could increase it (like ice-albedo feedback, methane clathrates and other processes that increase methane release like melting peat bogs and increased decomposition of organic matter stored in permafrost, forest drying, water vapor, and, although this was once held up as a likely negative feedback by contrarians like Lindzen, it looks increasingly like cloud feedback will be net positive as well).
And keep in mind that the current rise in CO2 is extremely rapid by geological standards, which will likely have implications for the ability of ecosystems to adapt (and may thus lead to things like greater forest dieoff - which is itself a predicted positive feedback because it releases previously captured CO2 - and more extinctions).


EDIT:

Here's a couple of graphs showing various estimates of climate sensitivity:


Ranges and best estimates of ECS based on different lines of evidence, replicated from figure 1 of Box 12.2 in AR5. Unlabeled ranges refer to studies cited in AR4. Bars show 5-95% uncertainty ranges with the best estimates marked by dots. Dashed lines give alternative estimates within one study. The grey shaded range marks the likely 1.5°C to 4.5°C range as reported in AR5, and the grey solid line the extremely unlikely less than 1°C, the grey dashed line the very unlikely greater than 6°C.


Distributions and ranges for climate sensitivity from different lines of evidence. The circle indicates the most likely value. The thin colored bars indicate very likely value (more than 90% probability). The thicker colored bars indicate likely values (more than 66% probability). Dashed lines indicate no robust constraint on an upper bound. The IPCC likely range (2 to 4.5°C) is indicated by the vertical light blue bar.


IPCC climate sensitivity estimates from observational evidence and climate models.


(Background material from the AR4.)


Cumulative distribution functions of ECS. Thick red lines and areas indicate sample ranges for start, end and intermediary points of the cumulative distribution functions based on the IPCC AR4 ECS synthesizing statements. The shaded grey area bounded by a thick black line represents the envelope of all 10,000 randomly drawn ECS distributions (thin black lines) that are in line with these AR4 ECS statements. Thin orange lines are illustrative Bayesian ECS distributions14, 18, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 (more details are provided in Supplementary Table S4). Note that not all curves of this illustrative set are equally credible and that the IPCC synthesizing statements were based on additional lines of evidence, some of them tending to suggest a higher most likely value compared with the illustrative set of Bayesian literature PDFs shown here. The thick yellow line is this study’s representative distribution based on the IPCC AR4 ECS synthesizing statements. b, Corresponding PDFs. Note that although the horizontal axis is truncated at 10 °C, the randomly drawn distributions were not constrained to values below 10 °C.

As you can see, the mean hovers somewhere between 2 and 3oC for a doubling of CO2 relative to pre-industrial levels, but the distributions tend to be asymmetric,with a fatter/longer tail in the higher sensitivity direction.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 09:35:54 PM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline Sawyer

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2017, 11:32:01 AM »
I watched the two videos and it did show that Watts Up With That predicted the change in Arctic ice incorrectly, as it has dropped over time - however, I don't think Watts Up With That is alone in making poor predictions - as the Watts Up With That website is essentially commentary on articles and climate related ideas that they feel to be incorrect. To be fair we would have to compile a list of articles and see which ones turn out to be obviously false - the problem then becomes one of who is the objective arbiter as both sides accuse each other of cherry picking the data, for instance in 2014 the ice in Antarctica reached a maximum which was not likely predicted by many sites that view AGW as singularly grave danger.
https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum

Having previously spent years in this debate trying to figure out what's what, I guarantee you that these two sides are not remotely equal. Watts continually steps far outside of the consensus to repeat claims that have already been debunked. He creates misleading impressions based on cherry picked data (and I will go as far as to say that he does it on purpose; nobody is wrong that often in one direction by mistake). He cherry picks from the peer reviewed literature, and highlights a fringe position and pretends that it is mainstream. He holds contradictory beliefs, like "humans are too insignificant to alter the climate" and "we're greening the planet", or "we need more research" but "we should stop wasting money on climate change research". His blog features major climate change deniers who are at best fringe climate scientists and quite often not actually practicing climate scientists at all and treats them like authorities. He publishes highly flawed work, and often does so in known denier outlets like The Heartland Institute. In spite of saying he would accept the BEST study results before they were published, he just kept peddling the same crap after it had become abundantly clear that that study showed him to be incorrect. He's an ideologue who is just manufacturing doubt. In short, he shows all the signs of denialism.
*snip*

Yeah ... this thread is going exactly where I thought it would go.  PDB is probably posting links to Watt's in good faith, but the mere act of using it as a starting point to learn about any question in climatology automatically leads to more confusion rather than understanding.  This is why I think it's silly to even bother talking about the detailed scientific questions unless everyone is on the same page about how to get reasonable information about climatology.  *Some* of the mainstream sources of information about global warming are biased, flawed, incomplete.  100% of the contrarian sources are utter garbage.  I mean that literally - I have searched long and hard for a resource that offers serious critique of climatology research that isn't ultimately driven by blatant anti-intellectualism or fringe right-wing politics.  Haven't found one yet.  If I truly had serious concerns about the consensus around global warming (which I personally do not), I would be even more pissed off about this than I already am, because it would mean there was not a single source of information on the planet that I could trust to inform me about this topic. 

PDB if you have hundreds of hours to burn, you can go look through some of the stuff FX and Will used to post on the GW subforums.  Unfortunately some of my favorite trainwrecks of threads were lost in a forum wipe, but there's still very good illustrations of what I am referring to.  FX in particular was very good at taking topics that might be interesting to a novice and distorting them to paint t the entire discipline of climatology as a giant question mark.  To most of us on this forum it was a glaring example of false balance, and pulling information from websites like Watts was a key component in spreading misinformation.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3262
  • mooh
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2017, 12:51:46 PM »
I watched the two videos and it did show that Watts Up With That predicted the change in Arctic ice incorrectly, as it has dropped over time - however, I don't think Watts Up With That is alone in making poor predictions - as the Watts Up With That website is essentially commentary on articles and climate related ideas that they feel to be incorrect. To be fair we would have to compile a list of articles and see which ones turn out to be obviously false - the problem then becomes one of who is the objective arbiter as both sides accuse each other of cherry picking the data, for instance in 2014 the ice in Antarctica reached a maximum which was not likely predicted by many sites that view AGW as singularly grave danger.
https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum

Having previously spent years in this debate trying to figure out what's what, I guarantee you that these two sides are not remotely equal. Watts continually steps far outside of the consensus to repeat claims that have already been debunked. He creates misleading impressions based on cherry picked data (and I will go as far as to say that he does it on purpose; nobody is wrong that often in one direction by mistake). He cherry picks from the peer reviewed literature, and highlights a fringe position and pretends that it is mainstream. He holds contradictory beliefs, like "humans are too insignificant to alter the climate" and "we're greening the planet", or "we need more research" but "we should stop wasting money on climate change research". His blog features major climate change deniers who are at best fringe climate scientists and quite often not actually practicing climate scientists at all and treats them like authorities. He publishes highly flawed work, and often does so in known denier outlets like The Heartland Institute. In spite of saying he would accept the BEST study results before they were published, he just kept peddling the same crap after it had become abundantly clear that that study showed him to be incorrect. He's an ideologue who is just manufacturing doubt. In short, he shows all the signs of denialism.
*snip*

Yeah ... this thread is going exactly where I thought it would go.  PDB is probably posting links to Watt's in good faith, but the mere act of using it as a starting point to learn about any question in climatology automatically leads to more confusion rather than understanding.  This is why I think it's silly to even bother talking about the detailed scientific questions unless everyone is on the same page about how to get reasonable information about climatology.  *Some* of the mainstream sources of information about global warming are biased, flawed, incomplete.  100% of the contrarian sources are utter garbage.  I mean that literally - I have searched long and hard for a resource that offers serious critique of climatology research that isn't ultimately driven by blatant anti-intellectualism or fringe right-wing politics.  Haven't found one yet.  If I truly had serious concerns about the consensus around global warming (which I personally do not), I would be even more pissed off about this than I already am, because it would mean there was not a single source of information on the planet that I could trust to inform me about this topic. 

Yeah... Even the few actual working lukewarm climate scientists like Lindzen, Christy, Spencer and even Curry are often disappointing to read. I really tried to give those people the benefit of the doubt, but it gets harder and harder to view them as anything more than the Michael Behes of climate science. Just as an example, check out Lindzen's bizarre anomalous climate sensitivity estimate in the first graph in my edit above. It's literally the only one for which the mean falls outside the limits of 1-6oC, and it has a miniscule uncertainty range even though his argument has largely been based on cloud feedback, which has been one of the largest sources of uncertainty. It's like they managed to capture his bias in graph form.

PDB if you have hundreds of hours to burn, you can go look through some of the stuff FX and Will used to post on the GW subforums.  Unfortunately some of my favorite trainwrecks of threads were lost in a forum wipe, but there's still very good illustrations of what I am referring to.  FX in particular was very good at taking topics that might be interesting to a novice and distorting them to paint t the entire discipline of climatology as a giant question mark.  To most of us on this forum it was a glaring example of false balance, and pulling information from websites like Watts was a key component in spreading misinformation.

Ah yes, the global warming ghetto. Good times. I lost my shit there several times after dozens of hours of back and forth with Will. I don't know if it will help or hurt to read through those, though.

I think this may be one of the most difficult scientific debates for any layman to get into because there is so much junk out there, and it's so politicized. I recommend trying to forget what you think you know about the subject, and read the IPCC summaries carefully, keeping in mind that that represents the average view of 2500 scientists based on 30000 papers (submitted prior to July 31st 2012), and requiring the signature of all participating countries (including both fossil fuel producing nations and islands on the verge of sinking into the ocean - you can decide for yourself who is likely to have the biggest influence, if any). It also doesn't hurt to take a basic climatology or climate change course for background.
Then, once you have a firm grasp on the basics, go back and read through some of Watts and Ridley's posts, and some skepticalscience and realclimate ones, and see which ones are more in line with climate science. FWIW, I did this after initially becoming interested in the climate debate after reading a book on paleoclimatology by a Dutch geologist. Pissed me off realizing that I'd been bamboozled. Totally worth the years I spent reading climate science and not finishing my MSc thesis. }|:op
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 01:18:13 PM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline Pdb88

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 837
  • Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2017, 08:05:06 AM »
There is a lot of information posted by werecow that I will continue to look at over the next few days.

It's interesting to find out why different people become interested in climate change research and the back-story sounds quite interesting but I'm not too familiar with this blog (I was recommended by a friend to read some threads here about AGW and was puzzled why the subforum seemed to be empty - was there an extreme weather event that affected the servers recently?  :laugh:)

There often seems to be a lumping together of climate change skeptics (deniers or denialists) with those that are denying evolution or some religious fundamentalists but in my experience there appears to be little crossover; perhaps some of the same personality traits to oppose a clear majority would be present in both groups. My experience has been the opposite, many of the advocates for AGW seem to be atheists that have replaced the concept of a deity with the environment which is what made me more skeptical of the consensus and suspicious of ulterior motives.

Due to the extreme politicised nature of this issue it leads to a greater polarisation as is seen in politics (between those heartless libertarians/conservatives that prize individual rights above the environment and on the other side the dreaded watermelons - green on the outside and red on the inside) - e.g. there were allusions earlier in the thread to the White House and a lack of understanding of AGW rather than a change of focus. I was reading on another thread mentioning PZ Myers saying how skeptics are "scientific racists" - it's this attitude that makes people suspicious of the models - as there is the noble lie of those that are already convinced of a fact to somehow change the world in a way that corresponds to their beliefs. I presume that the majority of people involved in scientific research pursue it because they have some connection to the subject; I initially become skeptical of expert consensus when I read about Stephen Gould's "Mismeaure of Man" who manufactured data in an attempt to make the world a better place - hearing about Michael Mann and his attempts to sue people saying he misrepresented the hockey stick graph brought to mind the same situation.

My statement about the lack of known probability distributions was from the IPCC executive summary - they were referring to outcomes of their scenarios rather than running the model multiple times and seeing the results (obviously there is no other source of information so hence the distribution is unknown). In particular I was referring to processes that relate to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (the global greening and acidified iron fertilisation) which I suppose would not affect the sensitivity of the climate due to doubling of CO2 but in effect would mean that more CO2 emissions would not lead to temperature increase - perhaps I was being imprecise with my language, however, the real issue is how human caused CO2 will affect the climate and the fact that there is a process from emissions to residing in the atmosphere (the known and unknown processes) or from the effects of being in the atmosphere to the climate are immaterial. In any situation where there is no reasonable upper bound and a fairly clear lower bound (zero) the distributions will look like the models - this is the same expected outcome of entering a lottery multiple times - so in that sense I suppose entering a lottery has fat tails. The graphs posted were still showing probabilities of their own models which may or may not correspond to reality; if there was a clear agreement between different models it would possible for the IPCC to publish some probability of each of their scenarios, which they have chosen not to do.

 
My main points were how does the expected cost of AGW relate to the current and future costs of mitigation and what is the current evidence of these negative events occurring now (although attribution in complex systems will always be difficult). The push of climate change above all else (and the current estimates of loss of world GDP to be close to 2%) would require a significant tail end risk ( and given the state of evidence this is still an open question. The areas of uncertainty include: 1) human caused CO2 emissions, 2) how much of that CO2 will stay in the atmosphere, 3) the temperature change of that CO2 on the climate, 4) the climate effects of that increase in temperature, 5) the effects of the climate change on the biosphere; and yet somehow those that question the seriousness of the outcome of that chain of events are somehow lumped in with young earth creationists.

Perhaps much of the confusion between those that are strongly concerned about AGW and those that shrug if off is the value attached to the (carbon fueled) development since the industrial revolution and the faith one has in the government to counteract these changes as opposed to the free market to determine a solution. There is a threshold value that every person has about the significance of AGW, a point at which the only moral action would be to devote as many resources to mitigating the problem as possible and it seems that the threshold value has been split down the political divide; if the climate change models move in one direction or if anthropogenic CO2 moves in a particular direction perhaps there will be a change in the equilibrium of thoughts on AGW and then a more fruitful dialogue between left and right will occur - this puts me in mind of a Nietzsche quote about Christianity:
 
Quote
The everyday Christian. -- If the Christian dogmas of a revengeful God, universal sinfulness, election by divine grace and the danger of eternal damnation were true, it would be a sign of weak-mindedness and lack of character not to become a priest, apostle or hermit and, in fear and trembling, to work solely on one's own salvation; it would be senseless to lose sight of ones eternal advantage for the sake of temporal comfort. If we may assume that these things are at any rate believed true, then the everyday Christian cuts a miserable figure; he is a man who really cannot count to three, and who precisely on account of his spiritual imbecility does not deserve to be punished so harshly as Christianity promises to punish him.
-  Nietzsche Human, all too Human
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 09:55:43 AM by Pdb88 »
Truth. - No one now dies of fatal truths: there are too many antidotes to them.

Offline 2397

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 964
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2017, 10:09:58 AM »
Nietzsche gets it exactly the wrong way around. Cowering in fear is not a sign of strength.

Anyone who honestly believes in the Biblical God and the God of eternal punishment has to be opposed to this greatest of all possible evils, and encourage the same in others. Rather than make it their mission to promote and empower God, their efforts should go towards eliminating God.

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3262
  • mooh
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2017, 02:47:06 PM »
There often seems to be a lumping together of climate change skeptics (deniers or denialists) with those that are denying evolution or some religious fundamentalists but in my experience there appears to be little crossover; perhaps some of the same personality traits to oppose a clear majority would be present in both groups.
There is some overlap, mostly because both of these are mainly right-wing issues; climate change denial comes mostly from free market ideologues who are paranoid about government intervention, and support for ID comes mostly from conservative Christians. But mostly I think the comparison is made because they use very similar tactics.

My experience has been the opposite, many of the advocates for AGW seem to be atheists that have replaced the concept of a deity with the environment which is what made me more skeptical of the consensus and suspicious of ulterior motives.

There is some of that, for sure, and I think that's very unfortunate, as it's damaging to the credibility of legitimate concerns over climate change.

However, in my experience, the denialist side is much more blatant in their anti-science attacks. They're also better organized. They mostly rely on a loosely connected PR network of think tanks (not unlike the Discovery Institute, but with a libertarian focus) that generate their own 'research' (which they tend to publish in fringe journals with loose publication standards or on their own sites), and pump out misinformation to a large number of blogs and internet fora that all echo each other, to try to create the false impression that there is still a debate going on in the scientific community. They tend to rely on dubious fringe publications (most of which are self-published or published by related think tanks), and cherry picked information from the literature. By default, you should always assume that they are telling you half truths. The goal is to generate a fake grass roots movement that way ("astroturf activism"), and create doubt and confusion, thus delaying political action. The number of publishing, working climate scientists working with them is very small, which is why you tend to see the same few supposed skeptical experts over and over in interviews.

Earth science historian Naomi Oreskes (together with Erik Conway) has documented the origins of these think tanks in her book Merchants Of Doubt (she focuses particularly on the George C. Marshall Institute, but there are dozens of similar ones now - the most prominent of these today may be the Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute). Here's a lecture based on that book:



Basically, this started out as a small group of physicists (Frederick Seitz and Fred Singer are often mentioned) with strong anti-socialist tendencies who wanted to promote the Star Wars defense program in the face of a consensus of expert opinion that it was a bad idea. Oreskes calls them "free market fundamentalists". Later the same groups turned their attention to other topics that required some degree of government intervention (which they view as creeping socialism), such as on smoking, CFCs and the ozone layer, acid rain, and DDT, and now climate change (about all of which, as you can see, places like the GMI and Heartland still continue to pump out misinformation and activism).
They also receive some funding from large corporations with a stake in the game, like Exxon and Phillip Morris, so it's hard to say whether it's purely ideologically driven.

Of course, not all contrarians are related to these think tanks, but many of them are, and they are a large part of the reason why climate change denialism have been so successful, particularly during the Bush years.

hearing about Michael Mann and his attempts to sue people saying he misrepresented the hockey stick graph brought to mind the same situation.

Well, do you understand that there has been a long concerted effort to silence and bully Michael Mann and his colleagues because people don't like the conclusions one can draw from their studies, right? Mann was harassed for years by deniers who tried to paint him as a quack on the basis of nothing whatsoever for political motives. They tried to ruin his career, his personal reputation, and his standing in the scientific community, and they continue to do so even after he has been exonerated by multiple independent investigations into his professional conduct (which involved, among other things, the leaked stolen CRU emails which were trotted out by deniers as evidence of a giant evil conspiracy of climate scientists). Even though the central conclusions to his work have been confirmed over and over again, they still pretend that he is some evil quack who somehow nefariously manipulated his data (climateaudit is especially at fault here). It's an absolute scandal that these people think they can bully scientists into submission whenever they don't like their conclusions.

That reminds me of a brief email exchange I had with Ben Santer after the climategate scandal broke. He's been in a similar position to Mann. Unfortunately he was understandably very reluctant to talk about McIntyre (of climateaudit fame) via email. I highly recommend the lecture that prompted me to email him, on the history of the UAH satellite data controversy and his experience with climate change contrarians after he and his colleagues addressed a heavily flawed paper. McIntyre then "audited" their response. It's really informative, it addresses a central historical technical issue within the scientific climate change debate, and it shows you how easy it is to get lost in the technical details of a scientific debate. Even though he's pretty calm, you can definitely tell how frustrated Santer is:

« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 09:28:13 PM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline Pdb88

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 837
  • Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2017, 08:26:26 AM »
Looking through the Climatic Change article about RCP8.5 seems to indicate that it is an extremely unlikely scenario for a number of reasons, mainly the idea that coal will be responsible for almost 10 times the amount of energy consumed in 2100 compared to 2000 is absurd, is there any estimate of this scenario occurring? I would be surprised if this were even a 1 in 10,000 likelihood.



Nuclear energy could easily solve much of the shortfall, or any number of technological advances over the course of this century.


The most disheartening aspect of this entire discussion is the motives ascribed to the other side - it appears that everyone is either politically deluded or bought off although everyone protests to be on the side of angels; the more we demonise the other side and shut down debate the more this occurs - this polarisation that is occurring throughout society is eroding trust and cohesion.

After having a cursory view of climate change skeptics the common thread appears to be faith in innovation to overcome the possible issues associated with increased carbon emissions (a faith I also hold); I suppose this belief would negate the horror of even relatively high percentages of catastrophic events occurring, however, even the most hardcore free market acolyte there would be some threshold value that would get them to support action. 

When we look at the actual chance of these negative events occurring we have at least 4 parts in the chain:
1) chance of humans actually exceeding some purported level (say double the 2000 levels - 10% or 20%? - this is where the libertarian view would be most divergent due to a greater expected technological increase than any of the IPCC scenarios; will it be like the miniaturisation of electronics in the last 50 years or will it be like air travel over the last 50 years (stagnation)?)
2) the way the atmosphere reacts to these emissions (the IPCC climate sensitivity appears to be referring to atmospheric concentration of CO2 rather than emissions so the posted sensitivity graphs by werecow do not take into account known processes about how the environment reacts to emissions (e.g. the 14% increase in greening from the title of this thread - this would be an obvious dampening effect)
3) the temperature change due to this new concentration in the atmosphere (likely between 2oC and 4oC with less than 50% chance of it exceeding 3oC:
)
4) the extreme events affecting the biosphere (let's say there is a 50% chance)

If each of those events has a 50% chance then the likelihood of the worst outcomes would be 1/16 whereas if any of the events are significantly less the actual likelihood may be much less than 1% ; I've noticed on skepticalscience & other debunking sites there is a dismissal of "moving the goalposts" meaning that the arguments relying on multiple events are dismissed although this is central if we are concerned about a multistep outcome - if there is a low chance in any of those steps that would be sufficient to question global accords to limit Co2 at the expense of GDP growth.


Looking at the current state of affairs there has not been any documented increase in extreme weather events yet there have already been hundreds of billions of dollars spent on subsidies and other programs to cut emissions and the deaths associated with food price spikes in the developing world (~200,000 people http://www.jpands.org/vol16no1/goklany.pdf). Right now it is almost undeniable that the costs associated with AGW mitigation exceed the actual AGW effects, the open question is when (and if) this occurs yet any criticism of global or national movements to cut carbon emissions is seen as a fringe opinion.

The evidence and predictions that I am aware of does not seem to be worth cutting world GDP by close to 2% by 2050 (although this likely is right skewed as well due to stifling of possible extreme technological change). Given the enormous efforts expended on this "the great moral challenge of our generation" according the Australian ex-prime-minister Kevin Rudd the real danger may be the costs associated with abatement.
Truth. - No one now dies of fatal truths: there are too many antidotes to them.

Offline Sawyer

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2017, 07:54:11 PM »
I'm going to sound like a broken record again without offering any real science - stay the hell away from JPANDS/AAPS.  It is a collection of washed up doctors that explicitly promote right wing politics, and is even less interested in climate science than Anthony Watts.  Again, I'm sorry I cannot offer any alternative source of serious critique of mainstream climate research, but it's not my fault that such a source literally does not exist.  If you just want critiques of biofuels themselves, surely there are hundreds of more reliable places you can go.

Potential emotional conflict of interest - I despise AAPS more than any other organization on the planet.   >:D

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3262
  • mooh
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2017, 09:23:30 AM »
Looking through the Climatic Change article about RCP8.5 seems to indicate that it is an extremely unlikely scenario for a number of reasons, mainly the idea that coal will be responsible for almost 10 times the amount of energy consumed in 2100 compared to 2000 is absurd, is there any estimate of this scenario occurring? I would be surprised if this were even a 1 in 10,000 likelihood.



Nuclear energy could easily solve much of the shortfall, or any number of technological advances over the course of this century.

RCP8.5 is supposed to be at the upper margins of what could happen. When you do a risk assessment, the edge cases are important. So, the economists and social scientists did several literature studies that looked at the projections in the literature. RCP8.5 is an aggregate of the high-end studies in the literature, so that it represents an upper bound to emissions. If RCP8.5 had been a really likely scenario, then it wouldn't be an upper bound (if these scenarios were more or less normally distributed, the scenario has to have a 2.5% or less chance of being exceeded if it is to be on the boundary of the two-tailed 95% certainty range). For the same reason, RCP2.5 is extremely likely to be an underestimate.

As for the coal thing, it has some basis in the literature, under the assumption that many 3rd world nations will remain poor, but their populations will continue to grow, and their energy demands will continue to increase, so that they will choose coal, it being the cheapest option available to them. That is a bleak vision of the future, but I don't think you can just dismiss it as easily as you're doing.

However, the more important part of the equation is the CO2 equivalent (the 8.5 stands for the forcing in W/m2). It's less important where it comes from - though with the caveat that soot and aerosols are of some importance as short term drivers of climate change - soot as a warming factor due to decreased albedo directly and because of its influence on heating up and melting ice cover, aerosols as a cooling factor due to increased albedo, with historical temperature trends suggesting that the latter is stronger than the former (but of course, it depends on the amount we emit of each).

RCP8.5 is referred to as a business as usual scenario for a reason; it's basically what you get if things go on as they have up until now, with rapid population growth (taking the high end of the U.N. forecasts), rapid increase in energy use, and relatively little effort to invest in alternative energy sources and other ways of curtailing climate change. To avoid it, changes have to be made. If we want to evaluate where we're currently headed, then we need to look at emission rates. Here is what our emission rates currently look like compared to these RCPs, up to 2014 (from nature climate change):


Does this look like RCP8.5 is currently the most unrealistic scenario? I would say no. I would say it would be good to make an active effort to prevent us from heading further in the wrong direction. You may say "the free market will solve this for us", but I don't have that kind of confidence in the free market, especially while china is opening one coal power plant per week, which are likely to operate for decades to come.

Quote
The most disheartening aspect of this entire discussion is the motives ascribed to the other side - it appears that everyone is either politically deluded or bought off although everyone protests to be on the side of angels; the more we demonise the other side and shut down debate the more this occurs - this polarisation that is occurring throughout society is eroding trust and cohesion.
Well, it's a highly politicized debate. However, we know that the strategy of the denialism movement is to actively try to increase debate and polarization to stifle action (we know this because these are many of the same people who used that strategy to defend the tobacco industry). The systematic complete dishonesty of the denialism movement is very well documented, up to the point of there now existing a meticulous historical analysis of its roots in various other denialism movements. Yes, there is some distortion on the other side as well, but they are nowhere near equal, and you don't get to equivocate the two sides just because you happen to like their conclusions more.

Quote
After having a cursory view of climate change skeptics the common thread appears to be faith in innovation to overcome the possible issues associated with increased carbon emissions (a faith I also hold); I suppose this belief would negate the horror of even relatively high percentages of catastrophic events occurring, however, even the most hardcore free market acolyte there would be some threshold value that would get them to support action.

Given the extremes of human irrationality that skeptics are confronted with every day, I see no reason to expect that. Remember, many of these people are still arguing that DDT, acid rain, CFCs and tobacco are unfairly maligned.

Quote
When we look at the actual chance of these negative events occurring we have at least 4 parts in the chain:
1) chance of humans actually exceeding some purported level (say double the 2000 levels - 10% or 20%? - this is where the libertarian view would be most divergent due to a greater expected technological increase than any of the IPCC scenarios; will it be like the miniaturisation of electronics in the last 50 years or will it be like air travel over the last 50 years (stagnation)?)

Double the 2000 levels would mean roughly 700-750ppm of CO2, which would put us in the RCP6.0 range (used the Dutch version of this graph because the English is unreadable with dark theme due to a lack of background color):



From what I've read that's a disastrous scenario. 10% or even 5% chance of that scenario is a huge risk to take imho.

Quote
2) the way the atmosphere reacts to these emissions (the IPCC climate sensitivity appears to be referring to atmospheric concentration of CO2 rather than emissions so the posted sensitivity graphs by werecow do not take into account known processes about how the environment reacts to emissions (e.g. the 14% increase in greening from the title of this thread - this would be an obvious dampening effect)

Equilibrium climate sensitivity is an estimate of the increase in temperature you get (at the new equilibrium) when you double CO2 concentrations. The uncertainty for the forcing due to CO2 alone is extremely small, because we can measure a near exact curve in a lab. The uncertainty and asymmetry are the result of the various feedback processes, like greening, ocean uptake, ice albedo feedback, cloud feedback, and so on, and uncertainty in measurements, so those are all included in that estimate. It basically represents the full knowledge we have of the climate system in one number, i.e.: what you would get on average if you ran a large set of state-of-the-art models and just doubled CO2, without changing anything else. [EDIT: Though not all estimates are derived from models, see next post.] It's a useful approximation for doing off-the-cuff calculations with (though it doesn't tell you much about things like regional variability and the frequency and intensity of extremes, except that they all tend to be higher for higher sensitivity values because there is more energy in the system).

Quote
Looking at the current state of affairs there has not been any documented increase in extreme weather events

I guess that's what the blogs you've read tell you. Compare this extremely unnuanced statement to what is in the AR5 technical summary:
Quote
Several new attribution studies have found a detectable anthropogenic influence in the observed increased frequency of warm days and nights and decreased frequency of cold days and nights. Since the AR4 and SREX, there is new evidence for detection of human influence on extremely warm daytime temperature and there is new evidence that the influence of anthropogenic forcing may be detected separately from the influence of natural forcing at global scales and in some continental and sub-continental regions. This strengthens the conclusions from both AR4 and SREX, and it is now very likely that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to the observed changes in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes on the global scale since the mid-20th century. It is likely that human influence has significantly increased the probability of occurrence of heat waves in some locations. See TFE.9 and TFE.9, Table 1 for a summary of the assessment of extreme weather and climate events. {10.6}

Since the AR4, there is some new limited direct evidence for an anthropogenic influence on extreme precipitation, including a formal detection and attribution study and indirect evidence that extreme precipitation would be expected to have increased given the evidence of anthropogenic influence on various aspects of the global hydrological cycle and high confidence that the intensity of extreme precipitation events will increase with warming, at a rate well exceeding that of the mean precipitation. In land regions where observational coverage is sufficient for assessment, there is medium confidence that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to a global-scale intensification of heavy precipitation over the second half of the 20th century. {7.6, 10.6}

[summary on hurricanes, see below for more detail]

Although the AR4 concluded that it is more likely than not that anthropogenic influence has contributed to an increased risk of drought in the second half of the 20th century, an updated assessment of the observational evidence indicates that the AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in hydrological droughts since the 1970s are no longer supported. Owing to the low confidence in observed large-scale trends in dryness combined with difficulties in distinguishing decadal-scale variability in drought from long-term climate change, there is now low confidence in the attribution of changes in drought over global land since the mid-20th century to human influence. {2.6, 10.6}

I suspect you may have been subjected to a slightly distorted definition of "extreme weather events", so let me also quote some stuff from chapter 10.6:
Quote
AR4 concluded that ‘anthropogenic factors more likely than not have contributed to an increase in tropical cyclone intensity’ (Hegerl et al., 2007b). Evidence that supports this assessment was the strong correlation between the Power Dissipation Index (PDI, an index of the destructiveness of tropical cyclones) and tropical Atlantic SSTs (Emanuel, 2005; Elsner, 2006) and the association between Atlantic warming and the increase in GMST (Mann and Emanuel, 2006; Trenberth and Shea, 2006). Observations suggest an increase globally in the intensities of the strongest tropical cyclones (Elsner et al., 2008) but it is difficult to attribute such changes to particular causes (Knutson et al., 2010).

The US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP; Kunkel et al., 2008) discussed human contributions to recent hurricane activity based on a two-step attribution approach. They concluded merely that it is very likely (Knutson et al., 2010) that human-induced increase in GHGs has contributed to the increase in SSTs in the hurricane formation regions and that over the past 50 years there has been a strong statistical connection between tropical Atlantic SSTs and Atlantic hurricane activity as measured by the PDI. Knutson et al. (2010), assessed that ‘...it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes.’ Seneviratne et al. (2012) concurred with this finding. Section 14.6.1 gives a detailed account of past and future changes in tropical cyclones. This section assesses causes of observed changes. Studies that directly attribute tropical cyclone activity changes to anthropogenic GHG emission are lacking. Among many factors that may affect tropical cyclone activity, tropical SSTs have increased and this increase has been attributed at least in part to anthropogenic forcing (Gillett et al., 2008a). However, there are diverse views on the connection between tropical cyclone activity and SST (see Section 14.6.1 for details). Strong correlation between the PDI and tropical Atlantic SSTs (Emanuel, 2005; Elsner, 2006) would suggest an anthropogenic influence on tropical cyclone activity. However, recent studies also suggest that regional potential intensity correlates with the difference between regional SSTs and spatially averaged SSTs in the tropics (Vecchi and Soden, 2007; Xie et al., 2010; Ramsay and Sobel, 2011) and projections are uncertain on whether the relative SST will increase over the 21st century under GHG forcing (Vecchi et al., 2008; Xie et al., 2010; Villarini and Vecchi, 2012, 2013). Analyses of CMIP5 simulations suggest that while PDI over the North Atlantic is projected to increase towards late 21st century no detectable change in PDI should be present in the 20th century (Villarini and Vecchi, 2013) . On the other hand, Emanuel et al. (2013) point out that while GCM hindcasts indeed predict little change over the 20th century, downscaling driving by reanalysis data that incorporate historical observations are in much better accord with observations and do indicate a late 20th century increase.

Some recent studies suggest that the reduction in the aerosol forcing (both anthropogenic and natural) over the Atlantic since the 1970s may have contributed to the increase in tropical cyclone activity in the region (see Section 14.6.1 for details), and similarly that aerosols may have acted to reduce tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic in earlier years when aerosol forcing was increasing (Villarini and Vecchi, 2013). However, there are different views on the relative contribution of aerosols and decadal natural variability of the climate system to the observed changes in Atlantic tropical cyclone activity among these studies.

So hurricanes have probably become stronger, and North Atlantic hurricanes have probably increased in frequency due to lower aerosol forcing, but we can't really tell if the global increase (particularly in frequency) we've seen is attributable to human forcing, because there's lots of internal variability (which models suggest won't be overcome for some time).

Tornadoes are even trickier.

Quote
Climate change has been proposed as contributing to changes in tornado statistics (5, 20). Climate model projections indicate that CAPE, one of the factors in our environmental proxy, will increase in a warmer climate leading to more frequent environments favorable to severe thunderstorms in the U.S. (14, 15). However, the proxy trends here are not due to increasing CAPE but instead due to trends in storm relative helicity, a quantity related to vertical wind shear which was previously identified as a factor in increased year-to-year variability of U.S. tornado numbers (11). Therefore  we  cannot  at  present  associate  the  observed  changes in our environmental proxy, and by extension the changes in tornado outbreak statistics, with previously identified features of a warmer climate. This conclusion is, of course, subject to revision by the discovery of other implications of a warmer climate for severe thunderstorm environments.

So they found increased tornado activity (specifically, more outbreaks and more tornadoes per outbreak), but the cause does not seem to be the cause predicted from models. Does that mean that this was not due to climate change? Well, we don't know. It may well be that the limited resolution of the models is preventing us from seeing some important patterns. On the other hand, maybe some other factor is causing the increase in tornado activity. But you can't say "there hasn't been an increase in tornadoes due to global warming yet"; all you can say is "there seems to be an increase, but we don't know exactly why".

In general, while it is relatively easy to detect changes in the frequency of certain events, it is very difficult to attribute them to human activity. Much of this is due to the fact that these are by definition rare events, and so there is a lot of uncertainty associated with them, which makes it difficult to separate long term trends from natural variability. That typically requires decades of observations. Climate change deniers make use of this uncertainty to argue that "see, nothing is happening" but the most you can really say is that it is difficult to attribute some of the changes we have been seeing to human activity.

Quote
The evidence and predictions that I am aware of does not seem to be worth cutting world GDP by close to 2% by 2050 (although this likely is right skewed as well due to stifling of possible extreme technological change). Given the enormous efforts expended on this "the great moral challenge of our generation" according the Australian ex-prime-minister Kevin Rudd the real danger may be the costs associated with abatement.

I frankly don't give a damn what Kevin Rudd thinks. Scientists and economists have done many analyses and the emerging consensus is that we should curtail warming to below 2oC, because mitigation is cheaper than adaptation would be if we exceed that number. If you don't like that conclusion, that's your choice, but you're going against the scientific mainstream.

Here is what economist William D. Nordhaus had to say to the "skeptics" who distorted his work:
Quote
The group of sixteen scientists argues that we should avoid alarm about climate change. I am equally concerned by those who allege that we will incur economic catastrophes if we take steps to slow climate change. The claim that cap-and-trade legislation or carbon taxes would be ruinous or disastrous to our societies does not stand up to serious economic analysis.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 10:28:14 AM by werecow »
Mooohn!

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3262
  • mooh
Re: Matt Ridley, Global Greening & Ranga Myneni: lukewarmers
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2017, 09:47:08 AM »
Oh, and remember that climate sensitivity estimates are constrained not just by first principles and models, but also by direct observations and palaeodata, which are basically immune to our lack of knowledge about certain specific feedback processes (because all feedback processes and drivers are incorporated as hidden variables). So you can't say "models don't include component x, therefore climate sensitivity is low" without somehow explaining those observations. That's exactly why Lindzen's massive negative cloud feedback has been considered extremely unlikely by most other climatologists, for example.

(Of course, some feedback processes won't occur under some circumstances (you can't have ice albedo feedback if there is no ice before or after the change in climate). But these are as likely to be positive as they are negative, and will probably average out over multiple estimates taken from different climate regimes.)
Mooohn!

 

personate-rain