Plato described philosophical enquiry as like being deep in a cave and trying to interpret what was going on in the world outside by observing the flickering shadows on the cave wall. Nothing illustrates the truth of this more clearly than the climate change debate. ‘We are all entitled to an opinion’ it is said, but opinion without enquiry is not opinion, its an unsubstantiated assumption. One’s entitlement to an opinion is validated by enquiry.
For us non-scientists the bulk of our enquiry has to be informed (although not entirely) by the researches and investigations made by experts in the field we are interested in. Not having the appropriate scientific qualifications however, does not, and more importantly should not discourage any of us from thinking for ourselves. The consequences of an unquestioning acceptance of any dogma particularly scientific/political dogma can be terrible, eugenics and the holocaust spring to mind.
So how do we make sense of these shadows on the wall, particularly when there are so many and the majority are shadows of shadows i.e. scientific facts being misconstrued by politicians, advertisers, and other self-interested parties for their own ends. The scale of the propaganda and deceit surrounding climate change right now is unprecedented in our history and should give us all grave cause for concern.
Science can never be certain, certainly never ‘settled’ as the climate extremists would have us believe. Scientific analysis and peer review will arrive at a starting point to build scientific decisions, but will always be subject to change, every theory has either has been proved wrong, incomplete or had to be modified at some point.
The Ptolemaic system i.e. the sun and planets orbiting the earth was superseded by the Copernican solar system, which in turn was modified by Newton’s gravitational laws, which were superseded by general relativity, which has acquired further modification and a companion theory, Quantum Physics and so it will go on.
Very little science is simple and our climate is perhaps the most complex and chaotic system scientists have to investigate, the Earth’s orbit around the sun and its radiant power along with the Earth’s rotation are its principal drivers, ocean currents, jet streams and weather systems transmit the energy and clouds and water vapour are the main temperature drivers. The major gases in the atmosphere, nitrogen 78%, oxygen 21%, are supplemented in very much smaller proportions (collectively less than 1%) with trace gases, some of which absorb heat. These gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide, are referred to as 'greenhouse' gases, and therefore also play a role in climate.
Climate is always changing, – climate change is a fact (it could be sunny today and rainy tomorrow,) we don’t need scientists to tell us that, just look out the bloody window! We would not be here if that were not so, the early atmosphere of the earth was totally hostile to life, as we know it today. Bacteria that could tolerate that climate created oxygen, which eventually led to plants, which converted even more carbon dioxide into oxygen, which led to us.
For the last three billion years the planet has been subjected to five major ice ages, one actually covered the entire globe with ice for millions of years. These ice ages although each lasted for many millions of years, were separated by much greater spans of time when the Earth had no ice at all and for our world, that is the status quo, No Ice.
The present ‘Ice Age’ began approx 40,million years ago becoming more severe around 3 million years ago. During ice ages there are much shorter periods of warming called inter-glacials, these usually come along every 100,000 to 500,000 years or so and only last for between 10 and 20,000 years so very brief intervals of warmth within much longer cold periods.
We are 18, 000 years into an inter glacial period, so we are probably coming to the end of it. Inter-glacials have much variation within them so for example over the last 1,000 years there have been warm and cold periods. (See graph below)
This graph has long been established as the accepted account of temperatures over the last millennium, however despite this and the evidence of the historical record the IPCC promoted a new graph (produced by Michael Mann), which removed all the variation and produced an exaggerated amount of warming during the last few decades of the twentieth century.
Here we have the IPCC Hockey Stick top and the accepted graph below.
Comparing the hockey stick of Michael Mann as used by the IPCC with the accepted record you have to wonder why they are so different. The explanation is that the Hockey Stick is the product of a computer model, one that had algorithms built into it that only allowed data that supported the Hockey Stick shape to be retained. It was a very simple trick that even a bad magician would be ashamed of but very much the stuff of the IPCC. Two computer wizards Ross Mckitrick and Stehen Mcintyre despite being repeatedly refused access to the modelling data eventually found that 105 of 112 data sets he had used were incomplete, flawed or incorrect.
The computer model used by the IPCC and on which their apocalyptic predictions are based extrapolates climate changes 100 years into the future based on nothing more than a doubling of CO2; none of the other drivers are factored in and computer models are just like any other computing outcomes, = junk in junk out. For a theory to stand up it has to have good science in it as well. The validating criteria for any scientific theory are how well it stands up to testing or how accurately it can support or predict the consequences of its suppositions. We may not be scientists but we can look at some of the statements and predictions that have come out of the IPCC and Hadley Center based on this theory.
The Met Office (Hadley Center) currently has one of the most powerful computers in the world for climate modeling and they predicted the summer of 2009 would be dry and hot, it was cool and very wet. They also predicted that 2009/10 would be one of the warmest winters on record and it has been the coldest for decades!
The IPCC said that Polar Bear numbers were falling rapidly and predicted that their very existence was threatened by the melting of arctic ice. At present polar bear numbers are more or less at the maximum their habitat will sustain.
3. They predicted a severe worldwide increase in droughts, this not happening.
4. The IPCC predicted that Himalayan Glaciers would have melted away by 2035, this has quite comprehensively been shown to be impossible.
5. They claimed that Hurricanes were getting more frequent and violent as a consequence of climate change, this has been disproved and as if to confirm it the last few years have been relatively quiescent in respect of hurricanes.
6. They claim (quite rightly) that sea levels are rising, we are after all in an interglacial, (just 10,000 years ago the north sea was land) and this will not cease until we begin to move back into the next glaciation. However, they predict that it will rise by very much more than can be accounted for by glacial rebound, claiming that sea levels will rise by a metre or possibly much more during the next 100 years. This seems to have produced a panic among the AGW brigade and a rush to see who can come up with the most apocalyptic sea level rise scenario. Currently we have a range extending from the status quo, that is the natural interglacial rise we already have, to just the tops of the Cairngorms sticking out of the water.
I will try to cover this in more detail in a later blog for now I submit that this man
.∗ Prof Nils- Axel Morner the former head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University should know what is happening, he has spent his life measuring sea levels and has shown quite conclusively that sea levels around the Maldives (one of the areas the IPCC are always referring to) are not rising. He says that around the world at any one time, sea levels can be rising or falling but collectively they produce a flat line.
the proposed improvement of the human species by encouraging or permitting reproduction of only those individuals with genetic characteristics judged desirable. It has been regarded with disfavour since the Nazi period.
Anyone who believes in AGW without having taken a serious look at the evidence cannot convincingly argue that they have not been brainwashed. Can you?