Special Report: Climate Change

Hamilton Joins 350.org Campaign on Climate Change

Send Your Message to Ottawa on Saturday, October 24: Hamilton Wants Action on Climate Change.

By Jen Dawson
Published October 21, 2009

I do cry at movies and the odd emotionally manipulative TV commercial. That may not be you, but I dare even the most hard hearted among us to go www.350.org and check out the amazing events that are taking place around the world this Saturday and not feel moved.

I want you to feel moved. Because it's going to take a lot of movement to send the message to governments across the globe that we want real action on climate change.

"350" is the parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric greenhouse gases that scientists believe is the safe upper limit to avoid global climate catastrophe.

We're at 387 ppm now.

A United Nations summary late last month warned of rapidly approaching tipping points that could flip the planet into an uncontrollable heating cycle. It noted that the growth in emission levels has increased steeply since 2000 - going from a 1.1 percent a year increase in the 1990s to a 3.5 percent annual jump since then.

That's higher than even the worst case scenario envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its report less than two years ago.

Canada may have signed the Kyoto protocol but we have failed to achieve our promised six percent cut in emissions from 1990 levels.

Instead, by the end of 2007 our country's greenhouse gas emission levels had risen by 26 percent, primarily because of industrial emissions like the rapid expansion of development in the Alberta tar sands.

To tackle climate change we need to move quickly and we need to act in unison, and 2009 will be an absolutely crucial year. This December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions.

The problem is, the treaty currently on the table doesn't meet the severity of the climate crisis. The global 350 events happening this Saturday, October 24 - 4,317 actions in 171 countries - are meant to focus attention on the issue and hold our leaders accountable to the latest climate science so we can start the global transformation we so desperately need.

Hamilton has added its voice to the global call for action, with an afternoon of events taking place at and near Gore Park downtown starting at noon this Saturday.

At 3:00 PM we'll march from Gore Park to the Federal Building on Bay St. in time to send our message to Stephen Harper at 3:50 p.m.

More details on the day's events can be found at www.hamilton350.com.

Now is the time to make some noise. Even criers like me will leave the hanky at home and instead lend our voice to the call for action. After all, this isn't a movie or trashy TV commercial. It's the future of our planet.

Jen Dawson is a local community activist and freelance writer. She is a volunteer with the Hamilton 350 Committee.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 09:19:45

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2009 at 09:52:21

Aaaaand in swoop the Denialists spreading the same tired brand of FUD.

There are a few good-faith scientific skeptics who are not yet entirely convinced by the robust, abundant empirical evidence of climate change from a wide variety of different approaches and sources and go against the overwhelming scientific consensus.

Denialists, in contrast, argue in bad faith. They use disinformation, fallacious reasoning, and personal attacks to sow uncertainty about climate change without actually confronting, let alone challenging, the evidence.

Instead of contributing to a better understanding of the issues, they employ and promote ignorance and irrationality in an effort to hinder and forestall what might be the most important public policy decisions in human history.

In the meantime, human societies continue our status quo policies of locking our capital into land use, transportation, manufacturing and energy use policies that exacerbate the problem. The global atmospheric concentration of GHG continues to increase, and the ultimate cost of reversing that trend gets higher and higher.

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By convinced skeptic (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 10:01:36

^^You forgot...and we continue getting closer to the point where it's too late to stop it by any means.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 14:04:48

Global Warming -> Climate change -> Forget we brought it up.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 15:37:26

Climate change unfortunately is very difficult for most people to accept. While the scientific evidence in favour of the theory that man-made greenhouse gases lead to temperature increases is overwhelming, the process to date has had little effect on our lives today. Plus there are so many other complexities that act on climate - some we understand, some we don't. That these other changes can at times overshadow the impact of GHG's makes it even more difficult for science to connect with the average person.

The most unfortunate thing is...the warming that is ALREADY in the pipeline is likely to have overwhelming effects on the generations that follow ours. Plus there is a realistic chance that positive feedbacks such as methane locked in the permafrost lead to even greater warming than the upper limit predicted by the IPCC. Despite the neocons' assertions to the contrary, the IPCC reports have been based on the most conservative research available, understating the problem so as not to cause political uphevals in developed countries.

How anyone can believe that hundreds of thousands of scientists, including every major scientific body or organization in the world, have managed to keep a massive conspiracy under wraps, with just a few (and largely unpublished in real peer-reviewed scientific journals) dissenters, absolutely defies logic.

As organizations like 350.org attest, continuing to add even more carbon to the atmosphere at a rate that is growing exponentially, is not a solution that helps anyone. We need to dramatically alter the way we live, and we will need to undertake dramatic actions to survive the changes that are to come. If we don't start making those changes today, then we just make it that much more difficult for our kids to adapt, and we reduce their chances of survival. What parent could honestly do that?

Even so, there are other things that will have more immediate effects than global warming, such as the continued decline of fish stocks. The environment is under attack on multiple fronts, which mean we need to do so much more than emitting less co2.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 17:34:29

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2009 at 18:05:27

Cargo cult science at its finest.

http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.h...

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By A Alchemist (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 20:23:03

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.


ABOOGABOOGABOOOGABOOGA!

Presto! Now the potion is ready. My perpetual motion machine will keep capitalism growing at a compound rate forever.

Now if I can only convince the environmentalists to believe me, it'll all come true.

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By Terra Nova (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 21:11:48

Thanks for the article about the 350! Lots of informative events on Saturday to enjoy!

I hope there is a terrific turnout!

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 21:33:01

I can't believe that you are stupid enough to compare quantum physics to a natural system that is bigger on a scale of trillions upon trillions times bigger. You're so ignorant about science that you can't even pick the right things to even begin to criticize a theory (which to clarify for you in advance is not a theory in the conceptual way a layperson thinks about the word. It's more like the theory of gravity).

And here is the actual person that the Drudge report picked up your climate cooling piece from http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/02/19/ja...

All those graphs show past anomalies of similar dips. One piece of data is not a trend. Get 10 or even 5 years showing a decrease and let me know then.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted October 22, 2009 at 22:31:31

I dare say that it would be nice if some applied the same level of scepticism to Chicago (or Calgary) school economics as they do to global warming.

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2009 at 23:04:29

I will be supporting this action. I hope it goes well and that the green movement gets a lot of good info out there to people.

But I have very little hope in the Copenhagen talks. You have to look realistically at who has the power. Climate change talks will prove successful if the ruling class decides green tech can spark a fresh cycle of profit and accumulation. The working classes will support it if it can create green jobs and clean, healthy communities.

From what I can glean from the papers and the radio, my impression is that large sectors of the European ruling classes see opportunity in a green tech revolution. In fact, it's well under way in Germany and Scandinavia. The Economist magazine definitely supports climate progress.

But the dominant sectors of the US ruling class consists of the military-industrial-petroleum-prison complex, which British finance is very bound up in. Canada and Australia are hopelessly bound up in the mentality of resource extraction. So the dominant sectors of most of the English speaking world stand to have some of their assets devalued by this change.

But even the talks produce major green-tech innovation and wise tax policy the world over, and profits start flowing from green tech, capitalism will eventually increase its eco-footprint and GHG emmissions. No matter how efficient, the economy can't grow forever. That's why an ecologically sustainable society has to be a planned economy. We anarchists propose a decentralized planned economy with participatory democracy for decision making.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 00:05:07

I am going to take my lttle nephew and niece to this event, it should be fun.

We must change how we do things. The politics of technology.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 08:08:22

Ryan >> Cargo cult science at its finest.

www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/scarewatch/really_cooling.pdf

JonC >> I can't believe that you are stupid enough to compare quantum physics to a natural system that is bigger on a scale of trillions upon trillions times bigger.

I can't believe you're stupid enough to call me stupid, considering you don't even know what GDP is.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 13:14:13

I was going to do some big diatribe about the crazier leading the crazy (although I will still point out that Monckton did once write a paper titled "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS" in which he advocated the quarantining of all carriers of HIV/AIDS). Or you can watch him be crazy on film, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stij8sUyb...
The quick dissection is that

a) Monckton is not a scientist, or a statistician. Which is fine, except he pretends that he is, which isn't fine. For example, in his M model of climate change he treats the Earth as a black body to predict radiative heat. If you don't know what that means, that's okay, neither does Monckton.

b) he selectively chooses four localized studies that match his viewpoint (in September he's down to three). He also at no point (that I ever came across) justifies his selections. Compare that to GISS, http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

c) (and this is my favourite) he resets the IPCC model, using the original 1990 predictive model (which has been updated 3 times since then, primarily to better incorporate the affect of aerosols) and sets the origin point to be the beginning of his regression model (which is nearly 0.2 above the actual measurements for that point in time). It's actually glorious in it's ridiculousness. He has the gall to reset their forecast and then to pick what is for all intents and purposes an arbitrary point to begin the forecast. In reality, even the decreases observed in Monckton's cherry-picked statistics still fit within the predictive capabilities of all the IPCC models, beyond the first iteration. What didn't fit was the massive over-heating observed in 1998 (see link in part d)

d) and probably most importantly, global prediction is for long term not year over year. Even UKmet (one of the three sources cited by Monckton) predicted in 2007 that the colder temperatures they were observing were due to relative deflating from 1998's El Nino seen here http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/promet... and that that would continue until 2010 when they predict a rapid increase in global temperatures, due to, you guessed it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEoHz56jW...

I guess in hindsight this still ended up more of a diatribe than a quick dissection. I guess the real quick dissection is that Monckton wouldn't know science if it bit him the ass and anyone that quotes him as a reputable source of information doesn't either.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 15:04:58

JonC >> global prediction is for long term not year over year.

Looking at this chart...

data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

... from NASA, it would appear that the Global Warming hysteria is based on a trend that began in 1980. I take it when you refer to the "long term", you mean more than 11 years, but less than thirty, is that right?

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14504

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 18:16:40

Wrong, but that's some excellent ignoring everything else that is wrong and making a stupid assumption about what I think, especially considering the graph you've presented shows a trend upwards for a century. I assume that you yield to all other aspects and yield that the information you've previously cited is horribly flawed. I'm not certain what the second link is supposed to be about. I do think it's funny that whoever put that piece together thinks there is a straight line heating resulting from the little ice age beginning at a temperature lower than anyone possibly believes the deviations in the little age were (it's showing an anomaly of -1.2 or so with the biggest I've seen modeled is about -0.8.

I'm also curious how he chose to place the 'trend' line since it clearly doesn't subdivide the blue and red sections. It's also amusing that the author shows absolutely no interest as to why this newly discovered oscillation exists. Or that he thinks a rebound in temperature would happen in a linear fashion. He must have attended the Smith school of statistics. Primarily, it doesn't and there is no reason to think that it does.

More interesting is his assertion that only directly observable data is useful in science, so I assume he doesn't believe in the fundamentals of geology, astrophysics or quantum mechanics in addition to climate records. Some real winning pieces you've accumulated here. How about this. Find some published scientific articles and get back to me. All these other links are musings at best. I like how this guy includes that he has a PhD and fails to mention it's in electrical engineering. Shit, he only ever published one paper in his life and that was two decades ago, and it certainly wasn't about climate change. He only gained interest in that after being employed by a think tank opposed to the idea that we have anything to do with it.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2009 at 22:32:46

JonC >> the graph you've presented shows a trend upwards for a century.

The NASA graph clearly shows that temperatures were below average from 1880 to 1940, average from 1940 to 1980 and above average from 1980 to the present day. Global Warming is based solely on this latest thirty year trend and even for the last ten years, it would appear that temperature increases are leveling off.

Global Warming scientists have done nothing more than taken a short term warming trend and extended it to ridiculous lengths. This is not science, it's left wing politics dressed up by appeals to authority.

I doubt you even believe this stuff yourself.

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted October 24, 2009 at 14:03:59

All I can say about the skeptics is I hope they're right. But I don't think it's prudent to assume they are. There is certainly a lot of peer reviewed studies that claim to confirm anthropogenic climate change.

A Smith: it's funny that you characterize the RTH people as "left-wing" for believing in climate change. The skeptical article you just cited was from globalresearch.ca. That website was started by Dr. Michel Chussodofsky, an ex-New Left Trotskyist who later started Global Research to fight US imperialism. So he's considerably to the left of the liberal urbanists (other than his 9/11 conspiracy line).

Another prominent left-wing climate skeptic is the anarchist U. of Ottawa physics prof, Denis Rancourt (better known for his dismissal for using radical pedagogy in class). Here is an article about his climate skepticism. It's in "The Dominion", a very reputable Canadian publication.

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/111...

Anyway, there are hundreds of reasons to demand fossil fuel conservation from the establishment. Emissions include all kinds of crap that poison poor and working class communities. Forced car dependence degrades our cities and imposes long commutes on us.

Capitalism is killing the planet.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 24, 2009 at 17:35:40

Again, since you didn't address any of the other points, I assume you again yield on all other points. Now to clarify your one objection.

Smith, I don't want to blow your mind, but on any graph showing anomaly from mean exactly half of the area will be above the mean and half the area below the mean. That is the definition of the term, you dimwit. If you go back another century, the mean will move, and so on. What's actually important about that graph is the rate of change, which far exceeds anything we've observed in the historical record.

The fact that you think that all climatologists do is extend trends into the future, again explains how little you know. If you actually care, you can research the science behind the theory at any number of sites. Which I believe. The models are a different beast all together. They're based on the best understanding of relationships between variables that we have at the time. We know there are several relationships affecting global temperature and the level of the relationship as well as their impact on each other. Here is an example of the complexity of feedback loops in just one factor, sea ice http://www.frontier.iarc.uaf.edu/~jwang/... As a better understanding of the relationships is developed, a better model is developed.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 24, 2009 at 17:36:16

LL >> The skeptical article you cited was from...an ex-New Left Trotskyist who later started Global Research to fight US imperialism.

Apparently, my enemy's enemy is my friend.

>> Capitalism is killing the planet.

This is a graph of poverty in India...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BPL_Data_GOI.png

This gives a good backdrop as to why India is now having more success in reducing poverty...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India

A small government which does nothing but protect private property rights is the best form of government. It rewards success, punishes failure and gives individuals the choice to whom and what causes they want to support. It's based on cooperation, not violence and it's produced 99.9% of the innovations we see in our lives today.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 04:16:34

JonC >> I assume you again yield on all other points.

"I guess in hindsight this still ended up more of a diatribe"

JonC >> Smith, I don't want to blow your mind, but on any graph showing anomaly from mean exactly half of the area will be above the mean and half the area below the mean.

It depends on the reference period. In this case, the graph's reference period is from 1901-2000, not from 1880-2008. I assumed the reference period went much farther back, but this fact doesn't make the case for Global Warming stronger, it makes it weaker.

www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/global-jan-dec-error-bar-pg.gif

Have you taken a look at the last two decades? If not, here are some numbers that suggest the climate is not suffering from run away heat build up as the experts have been declaring...

Annual Global Land/Ocean Temp Anomalies C

1990 0.3861
1991 0.3360
1992 0.2023
1993 0.2307
1994 0.2934
1995 0.4073
1996 0.2753
1997 0.4782
1998 0.5971
1999 0.4199
2000 0.3886
2001 0.5173
2002 0.5736
2003 0.5809
2004 0.5409
2005 0.6147
2006 0.5583
2007 0.5455
2008 0.4792


Since 1990, the temperature has gone from .3861 C above average (1901-2000) to .4792 C above average, an increase of 0.09 C.

www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/anomalies/index.html

Over 18 years, this was an average increase of .005172 C/year. If we assume that this trend will continue for the next 100 years, which is a big assumption, it would still only lead to a 0.5172 C increase in Global Temp's. Half a degree over a century.

And that 0.5172 C increase, assuming it even happens, is why we all need to radically change our behaviour? That's nonsense. Half a degree Celsius is going to destroy the planet, really?

>> We know there are several relationships affecting global temperature and the level of the relationship as well as their impact on each other.

If this is true, how can this statement be true as well?

>> As a better understanding of the relationships is developed, a better model is developed.

Good science is based on the ability to predict things, for example, the freezing point of water. On the other hand, bad science is unable to predict things accurately.

If climate scientists are so confident in knowing where the climate is heading, they should post their temperature anomaly predictions online? If their models are based on good science, they should be no more than 5% off each year, for at least five straight years.

If they did this and they were correct, this would strengthen the argument that they know what they're talking about. If they can't or won't, they should stop pretending like they can.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 14:00:47

If their models are based on good science, they should be no more than 5% off each year, for
at least five straight years.

There are two things there. 1) You don't know good science, I've shown that numerous times based on your vetting of sources that you believe. 2) Again, climate change models aren't predictive of year to year calculations. They are long term as the literature written about them makes abundantly clear. I will state that you have never once looked at the original report. Not even in passing. That is because you don't actually care about climate change or science. You only care about being an ass, for example continuing your linear interpretation, when even you looking at the data you present could pick any other two years over that period and get a different answer, even the cooling you latched onto before. Congratulations on keeping it linear.

We know there are several relationships affecting global temperature and the level of the relationship as well as their impact on each other.

If this is true, how can this statement be true as well?

As a better understanding of the relationships is developed, a better model is developed.

I begin to suspect that you were the guy that never took any science classes after grade ten. There are definitive correlations regarding things like CO2's ability to retain heat, and those things are reproducible to your imaginary standards of being able to measure when water freezes. CO2 predictable retains heat. It's so simple, that even you could run the experiment. Then things get increasingly tougher. You need to know how much CO2 changes. And fortunately there are measured records such as http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends... Fortunately, the relationship there is fairly straight forward, so even a scientific dullard such as yourself could see that there has been an increase in CO2 every year, and there are lots of stations, and they all show approximately the same data. We also know that anthropogenic sources of CO2 and other GHGs have been continually increasing since the industrial revolution. So the theory of AGW is that we've altered the composition of the atmosphere and that is causing warming. You can't argue with that. Well, you could, but you'd be making stuff up and well, your usual. So, you could argue with that, but scientists don't argue with that.
The major complications in modeling are that stored heat addition from increased GHG isn't the only thing that adds to the thermal budget, that there are natural sources of GHG, and that the entire system is a series of feedback loops where a change to a variable can have both positive and negative affects to itself or other variables through a number of pathways. So unlike your naivety in assuming a straight line to infinity based on two years data taken at your choice, it's actually a complex model, on a global scale that is improved upon as relationships are better understood. The key point to understand being that the only variable people have any deal of control over in the model is GHG emissions.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 16:27:29

JonC >> climate change models aren't predictive of year to year calculations. They are long term as the literature written about them makes abundantly clear.

Climate scientists should take things slow. Build climate models that CAN predict what the climate will be like 1-5 years out and then as these models prove their worth, extend them outward. That's how the real world works, people are give small jobs and as they prove their worth, they are given more responsibility. In the case of global warming scientists, they want to be given credit for predicting things which they have no track record of predicting.

I am not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially since politicians are their primary cheerleaders.

>> you don't actually care about climate change

That's your problem, you have too much invested in this theory to be objective.

>> I begin to suspect...The key point to understand being that the only variable people have any deal of control over in the model is GHG emissions.

Everything you said means nothing unless climate models can make accurate predictions. Not projections, but verifiable predictions.

Bottom line: If climate models can't predict, they should not be trusted.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 19:32:15

I'm not sure shy you think what you want is more important to the world than the long term affects of our actions. I did notice you didn't have anything to say about the underlying principles of the theory though. So I'll assume you are in agreement that human activities do have an affect on temperature. You can disagree about the degree of the affect (preferably based on research and not hyperbole).

Bottom line: You shouldn't bad mouth something that you've never actually examined. A good place to start with examining the model is http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report... As I said before, you don't actually care, so I doubt you'll even open the link, but there it is. I don't have anything in particular invested in the model, but it is frustrating, from a science perspective, to see idiots that have no idea what they are talking about think they deserve equal coverage. I also think it's laughable that you complain about politicians supporting the models, when you disapprove of it strictly on political grounds, as you've shown repeatedly that you have no interest in the actual science behind the model.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 19:57:14

LL: Thanks for the link, it was educational.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 21:52:29

JonC >> I did notice you didn't have anything to say about the underlying principles of the theory though

If the underlying principles surrounding greenhouse gases and temperature increases are so well understood, why can't climate models predict temperature anomalies with a high level of accuracy? Even just five years out. Can you answer that?

>> I'll assume you are in agreement that human activities do have an affect on temperature.

I would imagine everything has an effect on temperature. However, I don't believe humans can tinker with variables x, y and z and have it turn the planet into a dust bowl. In my lifetime, as the world has grown in population and economic output, the climate has been remarkably stable. Snow every winter, shorts every summer, some years hotter, others cooler. But nothing that would scream the world is ending.

>> it is frustrating, from a science perspective, to see idiots that have no idea what they are talking about think they deserve equal coverage.

I never said I understand how the climate works, G.W. experts did that. All I'm asking for is proof that this is indeed the case. Make some hard predictions, don't just throw out possible "scenarios" and let's see how accurate these climate models really are. If you have faith in the predictive power of climate models, why is this so difficult?

>> you've shown repeatedly that you have no interest in the actual science behind the model.

As soon as I here that climate models are making ACCURATE predictions, then I will get interested in the science behind Global Warming. Until that time, however, all the fancy sounding scientific terms and graphs mean absolutely nothing. It's like an investor with advanced charting applications who uses them to make losing trades. He may look like he knows what he's doing, but in reality, the fancy tools are useless. They produce sizzle, but no steak.

Don't fall into the trap of being impressed with people just because they have the right credentials or they say the right things. Use your brain, be skeptical and keep asking questions.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 25, 2009 at 22:13:21

for about the fourth time

theory /= model

Also, this is the funniest thing you could have written "Use your brain, be skeptical and keep asking questions." You can't even claim to be doing that yourself as you don't even care to learn the basic fundamentals of the science, all you do is piss and moan. You don't care about the time scale that changes occur over. You don't care about anything about yourself. A sad world you live in.

Here's the analogy that you may grasp. The weatherman can't tell you with any great degree of certainty how much it's going to rain tomorrow. But you can get a decent prediction of rainfall in the next year, and an even better prediction of precipitation over the next decade, and so on. The longer the time frame, the more accuracy you add to environmental models. That you think the opposite is bizarre. But again, you don't care to learn about things.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2009 at 00:30:15

JonC >> you don't even care to learn the basic fundamentals of the science

As soon as this "science" can produces predictable results, I will be interested. Until then, it's nothing more than guess work.

>> The weatherman can't tell you with any great degree of certainty how much it's going to rain tomorrow. But you can get a decent prediction of rainfall in the next year, and an even better prediction of precipitation over the next decade, and so on.

Why do you think this is?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 26, 2009 at 07:42:52

I know why. Let's cut to the chase, why do you think this is?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2009 at 14:16:48

JonC, I asked the question because I want to hear YOUR answer. Please, tell me why you think weathermen give more accurate rain total predictions when the time period being look at is long rather than short?

I am very interested in why you think this is?

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 26, 2009 at 15:18:53

I feel I need to jump in here, despite my better judgement, because there seems to be some confusion about basic aspects of the difference between climate and weather models and the difference between predicting averages and fluctuations.

In climate models one is attempting to predict the long term trends of climate normals, i.e. average rainfall, average temperature etc.

Predicting averages is much easier than predicting instantaneous values when the underlying systems is very complicated and prone to large fluctuations. Note that these are averages over time and space (i.e. over many years and over large land areas).

Weather prediction, on the other hand, attempts to predict instantaneous values (i.e. whether it will rain in Hamilton 48 hours from now). This is much more difficult because rainfall fluctuates enormously both in time and space (e.g. it might rain in Dundas, but not in Stoney Creek). This is why rainfall predictions are now accompanied with probabilities.

Both climate models and weather models assimilate data to keep them on track, and there are sophisticated mathematical models that ensure the data is assimilated into the models in the optimal way. Obviously, climate models must rely mostly on historic data, whereas weather models can be continuously updated. However, climate models can be tested using "post-diction", i.e. using them to predict past climate variation using historic data. By varying initial conditions and model parameters, one can estimate the degree of sensitivity of climate models: this is why a range of possible scenarios is always presented.

Finally, although weather fluctuates enormously from day to day and even from year to year, the averages defining the climate evolve much more slowly, which is why it is possible in principle to predict climate changes even when the underlying weather systems vary enormously.

To understand the basics of why the mean (or expected value) can be well defined even when the data has large fluctuations, google "law of large numbers". Even data with infinite variance can have a well-defined expected value, which can be estimated from the sample average.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2009 at 15:30:19

kevlahan >> Predicting averages is much easier than predicting instantaneous values when the underlying systems is very complicated

I agree.

>> although weather fluctuates enormously from day to day and even from year to year, the averages defining the climate evolve much more slowly,

I agree.



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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 27, 2009 at 15:23:24

JonC >> >> The weatherman can't tell you with any great degree of certainty how much it's going to rain tomorrow. But you can get a decent prediction of rainfall in the next year, and an even better prediction of precipitation over the next decade, and so on.

JonC, why is this? I'm still waiting for your answer.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 27, 2009 at 18:22:54

It was already covered quite well.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 29, 2009 at 15:33:54

JonC >> The weatherman can't tell you with any great degree of certainty how much it's going to rain tomorrow. But you can get a decent prediction of rainfall in the next year, and an even better prediction of precipitation over the next decade, and so on.

JonC, this is YOUR analogy, YOU should be able to defend it? If Global Warming models are better at predicting the long term, rather than the short term, please explain why this is?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 07:21:51

As I said here http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?... this is why http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?... and you agreed that this is correct http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?... Did you black out there or something.

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