Bloomberg has a great article showing why climate change deniers have it all wrong when they argue that the observed global warming is explained by natural causes. It just isn’t. The article is What’s Really Warming the World? Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise.
Here are the main points and graphics which compare the observed changes in earth’s temperature with the changes expected from individual factors:
Changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun (blue line) have had a negligible effect on warming:
Changes in the sun’s temperature (orange line)have also had a negligible effect:
Volcanos influence the earth’s temperature, usually causing decreases,(red line) but cannot explain the observed warming:
Natural factors combined (earth’s orbit, sun temperature and volcanoes) (green line) cannot explain the observed warming:
Changes in land use, like deforestation, (light green line) actually have a cooling effect:
Ozone level changes (light blue line) have only a slight warming effect:
Aerosol pollution (purple line) has had a marked cooling effect:
Greenhouse gas concentration increases (green line) have had a marked warming effect – it is clearly the main factor responsible for global warming:
When all the human factors, ozone, land use, aerosols and greenhouse gases, are combined the models (blue line) show a good agreement with observed temperature changes (black line):
Natural and human factors combined
When all the natural and human factors are combined (red line) agreement between the modelling and observed earth temperatures is even better.
The Heartland Institute has produced a new propaganda poster on climate change. Here it is:
And this is what they say about it:
This poster presents clear and undeniable evidence that the debate is not over. Looking out from this poster are 58 real experts on the causes and consequences of climate change. Each of them refutes the existence of a “consensus of scientists” on the size of the human impact on climate, or whether it merits immediate action. Many of these experts say the threat is grossly exaggerated, often to advance a political agenda.
So they have raked up 58 “experts” – and how do they define “real experts?
Apparently their criteria is that they have spoken at one of the Heartland Institute’s climate denial conferences!
Sure they claim of these “real experts:”
“They include current and former professors of climatology, geology, environmental science, physics, and economics at leading universities around the world.”
But I have had a quick glance at the poster and at least 30 of these “real experts” really don’t have training or qualification in a field connected with climate. They include:
- Journalists like James Delingpole and Christopher Booker.
- Climate denial activists like Barry Brill, Christopher Monkton, Steve Gorham, Tom Harris and Joanne Nova.
- Right wing “think tank” executives and fellows like Robert J. Bradley Jr., E. Calvin Betsner, Dennis Avery,Ron Arnold, Paul Driessen, Myron Ebell, Indur Golklany, David W. Greutzer, Marlo Lewis, Marita Noon and James, M. Taylor.
- Politicians like Vaclav Klaus, George Christenen and Roger Helmer.
There are also a few meteorologists (mainly weather forecasters), astronauts and economists.
Followers of the climate change debate will also be familiar with the remaining few on these who do have academic qualifications in relevant fields – and maybe some publications. They are the usual contrarians and mavericks who seem to bast in the glory of the promotion they get from climate change deniers.
“Real expert” – come off it.
I think we have all become used to headlines like this – Earth Just Had Its Hottest September On Record. It’s all ho-hum to us. We just don’t notice any more – we don’t bother reading the articles.
This is the point made by Chris Mooney in his Washington Post article Climate records are breaking so often now, we’ve stopped paying attention.
But perhaps we should stop and notice something. How often do these headlines refer to “the coldest month on record?” Surely if this was just random variation, as the climate change deniers like to tell us, we should be seeing such headlines half the time. But we don’t. Doesn’t that tell us something?
We have random variation alright – but random variation on top of an increasing temperature trend. That is what we should worry about.
As Chris Mooney says:
“last September was the hottest of them all, out of 135 Septembers going back to 1880.The same was true for August 2014. And June of 2014. And May of 2014. What that means is that for each of these months, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature has never been higher, at least since we started recording these temperatures back in the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.”
“for 355 months now (up through September), “every month on this planet has been warmer than the 20th century average,” according to Jessica Blunden, a scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. ThePost’s own Philip Bump, then writing at Grist, pointed out numbers like these back in November 2012, when the streak was only 332 consecutive months–but since then, every month has just added to the total. And now, we’re just shy of 30 years of unbroken warmer-than-average months. The last month that actually was not warmer than the 20th century average, according to Blunden, was February of 1985. (It was merely average, she says.)”
On top of this:
“2014 appears reasonably likely to wind up the hottest year on record, in NOAA’s accounting. In fact, to tie that record, the remainder of the year merely has to be average for the 21st century.
In climate science circles, there’s already much discussion of the likelihood of 2014 setting a new record. Climate researchers are particularly struck by the fact that prior record years, like 1998 (now the 3rd warmest overall, according to NOAA) have often been El Nino years, which are hotter than average. But so far an official El Nino has not yet been proclaimed.
Thus, a new global average temperature record in 2014 would be all the more extraordinary. So will it happen? “As we watch daily temperature results come in, it’s becoming ever more likely,” says John Abraham, a climate scientist at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota who studies ocean warming and climate change. Abraham emphasizes, though, that there are several other global agencies besides NOAA (including our own NASA) that also track temperatures and they don’t always perfectly agree on the ranking of record years.”
I guess the climate change deniers will be yelling the news to the rooftops if one or more global agencies do not find 2014 to be another record year. Anything to cover up the underlying trend.
The US is a strange country. It has some great comedians (and some great scientists) but it also has some lousy politicians.
It’s a real mystery to me how the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology can have so many idiots on board.
These Congressmen Think They’re Smarter Than Scientists. Jon Stewart Disproves That Real Quick..
Jon Stewart would have made a great science teacher.
Posted in environment, Environment and Ecology, politics, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society, sea ice
Tagged climate change, global warming, global wobbling, Jon Stewart, SciBlogs
Michael Mann: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars – TAM 2013.
Have a look at this video for an excellent description of the history and science of climate change. It’s presented by one of the central figures.
Michael Mann has become a great popular science communicator – especially on climate science and the political attacks on science.
He was effectively forced into this public role by the political attacks on him He tells his story very well in his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. It’s a great read – highly recommended.
Read “Good faith” science – and its enemies for my review of Michael Mann’s book.
Ken Ring runs a business predicting the weather. Apparently in that sort of business, and with the clients he has, conflict with evidence-based science and scientists is good for business. So, it isn’t not surprising to find him trolling the internet debating issues from weather and climate change to earthquakes.
But his contribution to a recent debate on the NZ Skeptics Facebook page is a shocker. Here is his simple experiment proving that carbon dioxide does not influence climate and anthropogenic climate change is a fraud:
- “Christopher, no, CO2 does not affect temperature at all. A bottle of Coke won’t warm a room, but a warmer room will increase the pressure of CO2 in the bottle.
And just to dig the hole even deeper he adds:
- “Ok William, just shake the bottle of Coke in a cold room and then open it. See if it warms the room. Then shake one in a warm room and open it. Note the difference. James, there is hardly any CO2 in the atmosphere. Roughly 99% of all the CO2 in the world is in the ocean or in the ground. Tiny fact you may have overlooked.”
This guy is spouting a bunch of simple-minded anti-scientific rubbish. Not surprising in itself – he is actually opening a climate change denial conference in th US – one of the semi-annual get-togethers of climate change denialists organised by the Heartland Institute.
No – the surprise is that this guy, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), is a member of the House Science Committee, which oversees US federal policy on science and innovation. The House Science Committee!
Bloody hell! How does that happen. Here is someone whose standard of scientific understanding is no higher than some of the anti-science blog commenters we get here – and they are on the US House Science Committee.
Thanks to: US Congressman Opens Climate Change Denial Conference with Rant Against Water Fluoridation.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): Climate Change Debate.
This is the way to handle these debates – love to see it with creationism, vaccinations and fluoridation as well.
Thanks to Paryngula.
Posted in diversity, environment, evolution, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged climate change, creationism, fluoridation, fluoride, global warming, SciBlogs, vaccinations
It is a good article but a lousy headline. The December 7 issue of New Scientist has a cover head-line “Climate showdown: Is it time to stop worrying about global warming?“ That will create the wrong impression among those many people who get no further than headlines. And it certainly doesn’t convey the message of the article itself.
The article does acknowledge that “the average surface temperature of the planet seems to have increased far more slowly over [recent years] than it did over the precious decades.”
“This doesn’t mean that climate change has stopped, any more than the very rapid warming seen in the 1990s meant it had accelerated.”
The article a describes several reasons that help explain the current situation. To do this it stresses “it helps to think about heat energy rather than temperature.” In summary:
“In terms of heat. There are three possible reasons why the Earth’s surface temperature hasn’t increased much recently”
- Less heat arriving from the sun. “The sun’s heat output rises and falls in an 11-year cycle and measurements by spacecraft such as SOHO show it did dip particularly low recently.”
- Increased levels of sulphur aerosols in the atmosphere could have reflected more of the sun’s heat back into space. “Levels of sulphur dioxide have risen in the past decade, mainly due to lots of small volcanic eruptions.”
- More of the heat gained by the planet “ends up somewhere other than the lower atmosphere, whose temperature we focus on.”
Ocean – the main culprit
The article points out the most likely storage place for this heat is the ocean.
“Water covers more than 70% of the planet and the stuff has a huge capacity to absorb heat: around 3000 times as much energy is needed to warm a given volume of water by 1°C as is needed to warm the same volume of air.
“Observations show that a whopping 94% of the heat energy gained by the planet since 1971 has ended up in the oceans, with another 4% absorbed by land and ice. . . . So all the surface warming since 1971 is due to just 2 per cent of the heat. If just a little more heat than usual has been going into the oceans, it will have had only a slight effect on ocean surface temperatures, because of water’s huge capacity to absorb heat, but a large effect on atmospheric temperature. And several studies show that the oceans have indeed been soaking up even more heat than normal.”
The article goes on to suggest this is because there have been lots of La Niňas (which cause the Pacific to soak up heat – thus cooling the planet) lately but no major El Niňo (which extract heat from the Pacific to the atmosphere and warm the planet) for the past 15 years.
The graphic from the article illustrates where the heat has gone.
The whole process is obviously complicated and there are various opinions among climate scientists about the relative importance of the different processes distributing heat. There is even a suggestion “that soaring aerosol emissions from China may have contributed to the slowdown” of surface temperature increases. However:
“the mainstream view expressed in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is that about half of the surface slowdown is due to the oceans, and the other half due to the sun and extra volcanic aerosols.”
Posted in climate, environment, politics, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged El Niño–Southern Oscillation, global warming, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, La Niña, Pacific Ocean, SciBlogs