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News BBC on tipping point?

  1. Dec 15, 2009 #1
    I missed it, but this is already from October, some time before climate gate.

    What happened to global warming?

    I get infraction points whenever I say that, regardless in what form.

    and the conclusion:

    Well you can read this kind of things anywhere, but as far as I know, it's the first time that the BBC left the 'partyline'. Tipping point?
     
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  3. Dec 15, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    But the groupthink skeptics and conspiracy theorists will go on. Of course the press loves headlines.
     
  4. Dec 15, 2009 #3

    mheslep

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    I'd say its a CYA point on their part. If we see another five years of flat or declining temperatures they'd be seen as ridiculously partisan looking back.
     
  5. Dec 15, 2009 #4
    I was just about to post that little tidbit but you beat me too it. We really need to stop tossing these 'groupthink' insults around. It seems kind of childish and doesn't address any problems it just pushes them to the side.

    We have to recognize that groupthink can only be understood clearly AFTER the fact when all facts are known. We can't sit here saying 'blah blah is groupthinking' when we can't see the entire situation from an outside perspective yet. (I do not think we will be able to make a comment on 'groupthink' for many years from now.)
     
  6. Dec 15, 2009 #5

    sylas

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    It certainly is well below the usual standard for the BBC; but not so surprising when you see who wrote it. Paul Hudson is not representative of the usually higher standards of BBC science reporting. It's not a "tipping" point, but an outlier point; a significant drop in standards.

    I'm not kidding, by the way. The standard of this article is appalling; more like what you'd expect in the something like the Telegraph. Follow the regular BBC reporting and you can see no sign of a "tipping point". There are a couple of other oddities in this very strange article.

    Cheers -- sylas
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  7. Dec 15, 2009 #6

    lisab

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    I disagree. Look at some of the characteristics of groupthink:

    1. Incomplete survey of alternatives
    2. Incomplete survey of objectives
    3. Failure to examine risks of preferred choice
    4. Failure to reappraise initially rejected alternatives
    5. Poor information search
    6. Selective bias in processing information at hand
    7. Failure to work out contingency plans (Janis, 1982)

    (http://www.anthonyhempell.com/papers/groupthink/" [Broken])

    If a group is aware of the phenomenon and is actively trying to avoid it, there are definite methods to do so.
     
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  8. Dec 15, 2009 #7
    Ok, I meant to say the term being used towards 'new sciences' such as climate science. The research is still being done and models are still being run. Constantly it's in flux, on BOTH sides. So to just accuse one side of 'groupthink' even though they are just doing their job and what they believe in is wrong. It can just as easily be applied to the opposing side, why? because this is a new science.

    I don't exactly think I'm making sense right here and I'm trying to think of a better way to explain myself but it's hard. lol
     
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  9. Dec 16, 2009 #8
    This thread went astray quickly despite Sylas' attempt to keep it on track, however since "We really need to stop tossing these 'groupthink' insults around", maybe some remarks about it.

    I don't think it's that easy. Groupthink is not about being right or wrong, it's just an element of social behavior, characterized by doing anything to enhance the bonds between members, and one of those is creating stereotypes, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend and I like to have friends, so we must make enemies, be it 'global warming' as a phenomenon or greedy 'deniers' who are obviously bribed by the oil companies. So if you find yourself doing that, you may wonder why. Also notice that Janis talks about victims of groupthink, not villains of groupthink. It is just so human.

    Anyway, to judge if there is groupthink going around in the climate business, perhaps google foi2009.zip (the CRU 'hack' - or maybe the CRU wistle blow) and you will find a plethora of places where you can download this file. Then go to the email folder and open the file 0880476729.txt and read it carefully. I don't think that this has got the attention already in the blogosphere but I think it's one of the most important relevations, not in the last place for the staff here.

    I'll quote two parts from this classic (1997) of Tom Wigley in response to a group of scientists, whom appealed for urgent action immediately:

    That's the reason for my signature.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  10. Dec 18, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    There you will see dicussions of data that was carefully considered by the IPCC, including the effort to match data points with trends, which makes this whole thread just more nonsense.

    In spite of the fact that you have been corrected countless times, you insist on coming back time after time with the same old nonsense.
     
  11. Dec 18, 2009 #10

    mheslep

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    Setting the wider discussion aside for moment, that http://www.tuxwerx.com/Climategate/mail/0880476729.txt" [Broken] is the Tom Wigley letter strongly condemning the actions of "The Eleven". If any action could ever be condemned for unscientific consensus building, Wigley points one out in detail here.
     
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  12. Dec 18, 2009 #11

    Evo

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    Please post the well known acknowledged reports on Hudson that back this up. Stating a personal opinion as fact is a violation of our Guidelines. You can say, "it's just my opinion" and you can say why it's your opinion, but making accusations and demeaning remarks against people, dismissing them becuase they don't support your viewpoint is not the way to discuss issues here.

    Ok, "you" don't like the article because you disagree. Perhaps his article is full of blatant errors, then point them out.

    When you make a post which only points out your dislike for a person and/or their views, you drag the level of discussion down. I see you doing this periodically and I know that you are capable of better posts.
     
  13. Dec 18, 2009 #12
    Meanwhile, about the apparent errors in the article, we have to guess, but it's probably about whether or not the warming is stagnating.

    So why not let the experts explain, http://www.tuxwerx.com/Climategate/mail/1255352257.txt [Broken] for instance:

    So what was that about shooting the messenger and groupthink?
     
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  14. Dec 18, 2009 #13

    sylas

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    Yes, that is a part of it, but only a part.

    I shall answer Evo's question in a bit more detail; but in the meantime, you appear to have misunderstood what Kevin Trenberth was saying. There's nothing there at all to back up Hudson's misunderstandings of trends.

    Trenberth is complaining about the lack of adequate instruments to measure Earth's energy balance. If you read the actual email, you can see that he is talking about this paper:
    • Trenberth, K (2009) http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final2.pdf [Broken], in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1 pp 19–27.

    The paper starts out as follows (with my emphasis in bold):
    The global mean temperature in 2008 was the lowest since about 2000 (Figure 1). Given that there is continual heating of the planet, referred to as radiative forcing, by accelerating increases of carbon dioxide (Figure 1) and other greenhouses due to human activities, why is the temperature not continuing to go up? The stock answer is that natural variability plays a key role [1] and there was a major La Nina event early in 2008 that led to the month of January having the lowest anomaly in global temperature since 2000. While this is true, it is an incomplete explanation. In particular, what are the physical processes? From an energy standpoint, there should be an explanation that accounts for where the radiative forcing has gone. Was it compensated for temporarily by changes in clouds or aerosols, or other changes in atmospheric circulation that allowed more radiation to escape to space? Was it because a lot of heat went into melting Arctic sea ice or parts of Greenland and Antarctica, and other glaciers? Was it because the heat was buried in the ocean and sequestered, perhaps well below the surface? Was it because the La Nina led to a change in tropical ocean currents and rearranged the configuration of ocean heat? Perhaps all of these things are going on? But surely we have an adequate system to track whether this is the case or not, do we not?

    Well, it seems that the answer is no, we do not. But we should! Given that global warming is unequivocally happening[2] and there has so far been a failure to outline, let alone implement, global plans to mitigate the warming, then adapting to the climate change is an imperative.

    That is, the travesty is simply the lack of measurement of critical aspects of energy balance. Things like being able to measure energy flux into the ocean -- particularly the deep ocean. Things like measuring albedo, or longwave emission from the top of the atmosphere. Trenberth is, of course, in no doubt that the short term drop in temperature in 2008 is a local short term effect. There's no question (for Trenberth, or indeed virtually all scientists working actively in this area) that there is a continuing ongoing warming effect, all the time. The issue is having adequate resources and instruments to measure how the energy is distributed within the complex climate system.

    I think you probably disagree with Trenberth's actual opinions as he would express them himself. That is, of course, your prerogative. I'm just cautioning you against confused misreadings of the emails to support the notion that global warming has somehow stopped whenever your get a short term fall in temperature. You may think this; that's up to you. But Trenberth does not.

    Cheers -- sylas
     
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  15. Dec 18, 2009 #14
    You guys might have missed it when i posted this tidbit from slashdot a couple of days ago.

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/09...as-Manipulated

    Science: Russians Claim More Climate Data Was Manipulated

    "On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) claimed that the Hadley Center for Climate Change had probably tampered with Russian-climate data. The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations. The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley CRU survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century."
     
  16. Dec 18, 2009 #15
    Well everybody can observe what he said to his collegues more or less in confidence off the record

    has two elements:
    1- he acknowlegdes that there is a lack of warming
    2 - we can't account for it

    But sure enough (from Sylas link)

    Well, for some this may have some resemblance with newspeak from 1984.

    Also that quote is referencing the 4th assesment report IPCC (which is not peer reviewed - given that the authors could ignore any peer comments that they chose to).

    So the statement that global warming is happenings regardless whether it warms or not, appears to remove global warming from the scientific principles, it is not falsifiable.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  17. Dec 18, 2009 #16

    sylas

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    How quickly we back off from citing Trenberth as an expert.... sigh.

    The science is perfectly falsifiable in the usual scientific sense of the word. It is not falsifiable in the sense of anyone who doesn't like the conclusions should be able to show that they are false.

    This isn't really complicated to understand. The fact is... there are natural variations. El Nino/La Nina is an obvious one. With an El Nino year you get higher global temperatures, and with a La Nina year you get lower ones. Trenberth is basically saying it is a travesty that they don't have the instruments to track exactly where energy flows and how in these short term variations.

    One of the consequences of this kind of natural variation is that you can't expect to discover trend over a short period of time. It's not that hard to determine how long it takes to falsify the trend, given the measured natural variation we see going on. It turns out to be at least 15 years (2σ confidence). (In line with some recent posts on probability calculations... the proof is trivial and left as an exercise for the reader. :wink: Actually, this might be a good thread topic sometime.) You can get a trend with regression. Estimating the confidence limits on trend is a bit tricky as there is a significant amount of autocorrelation in the time series, but that's a statistical detail that can be addressed. The upshot is, you CAN falsify warming; but not with eleven years of data. That works both ways, you can't prove warming with eleven years of data either.

    Now if you look at fifteen years you see warming. That means the trend over that time is real, in the sense of being statistically significant. If you look at eleven years you actually see warming as well -- despite with some folks seem to think -- but this is not statistically significant. It means that the underlying trend might have stopped or might have accelerated; but that the trend is obscured by short term variation. Eleven years is not enough to show a warming trend, or to show that warming has stopped, or even slowed down as it turns out!

    But note that warming is not simply based on correlations and statistics! The physics of the increasing forcing is well established. As well as surface measurements, there are measurements of the heat flowing into the ocean... that too, is global warming; in fact it is a better guide than surface temperatures except only that we can't measure it as well. If we measure a statistically significant cooling trend, that would falsify the global warming hypothesis. There's nothing in principle preventing us from doing that... except the awkward detail that there IS NO cooling trend. Only short term up and down variations, pretty much as there have been all along the strong warming trend of the last 40 years.

    Trying to read Trenberth as contradicting himself is just not paying enough attention to a legitimate expert or learning about the systems he describes. It is particularly naive to take stolen emails which were written for an audience of other experts who don't need this kind of trivial detailed hammered home at every point, as if they are disagreeing with what Trenberth says plainly in his published work. His email is arguing forcefully for the same thing as his paper.

    Cheers -- sylas
     
  18. Dec 18, 2009 #17
    I don't know, science is about analysis of observations and making predictions, regardless of how sound the hypothesis might seem.

    So there was http://dir.salon.com/books/int/2001/10/23/weather/index.html [Broken]

    Well at least he was right about the traffic.
     
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  19. Dec 18, 2009 #18

    mheslep

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    I've seen this take on Trenberth's email before, and don't want to let it pass again, so I'm jumping in here -
    This is not my reading of Trenbert's email or paper. Your use of the terms 'instrument' and 'measure' implying the problem is a lack of a mechanical adroitness. No doubt Trenberth would like better instrumentation, as does every physical scientist, but he is allowing for a more a fundamental problem. The query "do we have an adequate system?" in the paper is not just a call for better sea gauges. It also allows there may be some gap in the understanding of the climate system. Some part of it may be unknown or misunderstood.
    Simply? A failure to get the energy balance right is crucial to the predictions. A trillion words must have been set down in discussions of the global energy balance. There's nothing to be sanguine about here, just the opposite.

    This contradicts statements in the paper. Yes if heat was somehow absorbed an ocean sink or melting ice, examples he gives, then the recent lack of temperature rise would be temporary. However he also allows:

    (Trenberth 2009)
    Was it compensated for temporarily by changes in clouds or aerosols, or other changes in atmospheric circulation that allowed more radiation to escape to space?
    [highlights mine]

    If the (excess) heat can escape to space now via some misunderstood mechanism it may (or may not) continue to do so.

    I've missed it if anyone in this thread attempted to say global warming stopped over the long term. The OP BBC piece phrase was "For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase", Andre used the term "stagnate", and Trenberth leaves it as an open question:
    (Trenberth 2009) last paragraph:

    A climate information system that firstly determines what
    is taking place
    and then establishes why is better able to
    provide a sound basis for predictions and which can
    answer important questions such as ‘Has global warming
    really slowed or not?’
    [highlights mine]
     
  20. Dec 18, 2009 #19

    Redbelly98

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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  21. Dec 18, 2009 #20

    Evo

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    Your graph does show 1998 as the hottest, which is what he claims. One abnormally hot year means nothing. We have only had a steady unbroken decrease in global temperatures since 2005, still not long enough to make any claims of a permanent reversal, but he doesn't claim that either. He only claims that we have not had a hotter year since 1998, which is correct, as your graph shows.

    Do you find an actual error in anything he said?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
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