Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Global warming - Three links.

The top two stories have some good research. However, they are either poorly written or deliberately deceptive on someone's part.  The third one is a fun read, but hyperbolic.

Article: Is the SUN driving climate change? Solar activity - 'and not just humans' - could be increasing global warming, study claims

I think that the general conclusion that the solar activity drives some climate change is obvious. The problem with this specific article is how badly it is written. For example, the following quote can be interpreted to say that ALL the climate change we have seen in the last century is driven solely by the sun, which is not what I think they found.
Dr Raimund Muscheler, lecturer in Quaternary Geology at Lund University and co-author of the study, told MailOnline that solar activity in the modern day was causing about 0.1 degrees of warming in the 11-year solar cycle.

'Bit it's quite debated how much it really contributed in the last 100 years, since solar activity increased a bit,' Dr Muscheler says.

'The long trend is debated, but most people don't think it's much more than 0.1 degrees.'

However, he warned that the sun was not the only factor in causing climate change.
"About 0.1 degrees of warming in the 11-year solar cycle." At nine cycles per century, that equals 0.9 degrees of warming per century, or almost all of the observed warming over the last century.

What I think that they mean is that 0.1 degree of the 1.0 degree of warming seen in the last century is due to increased solar activity.
'The study shows an unexpected link between solar activity and climate change,' Dr Muscheler said in a press release.

'It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level.
"Unexpected?" I hope this is a misquote, because it would be ludicrous to say that solar activity does not have link to climate. Either that, or they are saying that the link that they did find was an unexpected link over and above the expected link. Again, poorly written.  
'The study also shows that the various solar processes need to be included in climate models in order to better predict future global and regional climate change.'
In other words, the existing models are over-simplified and this missing factor is one reason why they have failed to predict "global and regional climate change." So, yes, I agree.

Article: Why global warming is taking a break
The average temperature on Earth has barely risen over the past 16 years. ETH researchers have now found out why. And they believe that global warming is likely to continue again soon.

Global warming is currently taking a break: whereas global temperatures rose drastically into the late 1990s, the global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 – surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions.
The models are based in hypotheses about how the atmosphere works, and, specifically, how the increasing levels of CO2 should increase global temperatures. The models have failed to correctly predict both the amounts of warming and how the atmosphere actually warms. These hypotheses have now been falsified, they are no longer valid, they are ex-hypotheses. [Insert Monty Pythonesque, dead parrot routine joke, here.] They need to be modified until they can reflect actual atmospheric conditions.

Two reasons are given for this failure.
#1 El Niño warmed the Earth

One of the important reasons is natural climate fluctuations, of which the weather phenomena El Niño and La Niña in the Pacific are the most important and well known. "1998 was a strong El Niño year, which is why it was so warm that year," says Knutti. In contrast, the counter-phenomenon La Niña has made the past few years cooler than they would otherwise have been.
So, no warming over the last 16 years. Last big warming event was the 1998 El Nino. Earth warms when there is an El Nino event. Therefore, I predict that no El Nino events have occurred since 1998, since these events cause warming. What? There have been El Nino events since 1998? Impossible!

Sorry, this is simply bad reasoning, or a poorly written article (see above). Maybe they are claiming that large La Nina events have countered small El Nino events, but that claim is not made, and I have not seen anyone make that claim.
#2 Longer solar cycles

According to the study, the second important reason for the warming hiatus is that solar irradiance has been weaker than predicted in the past few years. This is because the identified fluctuations in the intensity of solar irradiance are unusual at present: whereas the so-called sunspot cycles each lasted eleven years in the past, for unknown reasons the last period of weak solar irradiance lasted 13 years.
So, changes in solar activity responsible for changes in the climate? I have no issue with that conclusion.

"For unknown reasons." Yes, the global warming/climate change models have failed because they are over-simplified. Again, I agree.

Another reason is given for the hiatus:
Incomplete measured data

The discrepancy between the climate models and measured data over the past 16 years cannot solely be attributed to the fact that these models predict too much warming, says Knutti.
Why not? The models have predicted too much warming. That is why they failed. They were over-simplified. Fix them.
According to Knutti, measured data is likely to be too low, since the global average temperature is only estimated using values obtained from weather stations on the ground, and these do not exist everywhere on Earth. From satellite data, for example, scientists know that the Arctic region in particular has become warmer over the past years, but because there are no weather stations in that area, there are measurements that show strong upward fluctuations. As a result, the specified average temperature is too low.
Really? The same satellite data that they claim is showing increased warming in the polar regions is also showing less warming, overall. It is also showing less warming than the ground based weather station data shows. So global warming is not only lower than the models predict, but also lower than the weather station data is showing. So ALL of the actual data is wrong compared to what?
Last year, British and Canadian researchers proposed an alternative temperature curve with higher values, in which they incorporated estimated temperatures from satellite data for regions with no weather stations. If the model data is corrected downwards, as suggested by the ETH researchers, and the measurement data is corrected upwards, as suggested by the British and Canadian researchers, then the model and actual observations are very similar.
Ah, so you correct the best data there is, from the NASA satellites, by correcting it upwards, "then the model and 'actual observations' are very similar."

Of course.
Despite the warming hiatus, Knutti is convinced there is no reason to doubt either the existing calculations for the climate activity of greenhouse gases or the latest climate models. "Short-term climate fluctuations can easily be explained."
1. "No reason to doubt." The logical fallacy here is proof by assertion. It is coupled with an appeal to authority by the study's author. That is, he is appealing to his own authority. 

2. "Short-term climate fluctuations can easily be explained." Yes, but he failed to do that.

Article: Mann v Steyn: If This Trial Ever Goes Ahead Global Warming Is Toast

Compared to the other articles, this one is dessert; just plain fun to read.

Michael Mann, global warming scientist, is suing Mark Steyn and others for slander because of comments published in National Review Online.

I think the claim ("global warming is toast") is hyperbole. Michael Mann is refusing to be deposed. This refusal, alone, could force the judge to throw out his suit, or force the judge to give summary judgment. As the person who brought the suit, he has to answer questions under oath.

It is obvious that Michael Mann is hiding something. It is already known that the algorithms that produced the infamous "hockey stick" could generate a hockey stick diagram out of telephone numbers. (I exaggerate, but barely.) The hockey stick model of global warming during the Holocene has been repudiated by the most recent IPCC report, and other global warming scientists have distanced themselves from it.

Not noted here, but an "amici" brief has been filed in support of Mark Steyn by the ACLU and a large number of other organizations left, right, and center. They may not like Steyn's opinions, but they recognize that Mann's lawsuit, if successful, would create a huge chill in first amendment rights.

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