It's not enough to bash in heads, you have to bash in minds
            

This is going to go straight to my head

It appears that I am more famous, and making a greater impact than I thought. In my last post, the infamous spin master Marc Morano (and based on his IP I am pretty sure it is him) stopped by to leave a comment.I don’t know whether to feel honoured that anti-science Senator Inhofe’s main spin master is commenting on my little dusty, insignificant corner of cyberspace, or feel sad that government employees spend their time trolling obscure and irrelevant blogs. Is this what deniers have been reduced to?

He tried to convince me that my claim that there is no debate on climate change within the scientific community, by posting one of his pathetic lists. Why pathetic?, Well because it is sad that he thinks that op-eds, blog posts and conservative think tanks that challenge climate change constitute debate within the scientific community. His rather long list consisted of a 3 whole peer-reviewed papers which didn’t even attempt two disprove climate change. One of them even fully accepted climate change and said that “its effects are already being seen“.

The effects of global warming over the coming decades will be modified by shorter-term climate variability. Finding ways to incorporate these variations will give us a better grip on what kind of climate change to expect.

Climate change is often viewed as a phenomenon that will develop in the coming century. But its effects are already being seen, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently projected that, even in the next 20 years, the global climate will warm by around 0.2 °C per decade

And it concludes that:

These three possible trends of winter temperature in northern Europe from 1996 to 2050 were simulated by a climate model using three different (but plausible) initial states. The choice of initial state crucially affects how natural climate variations evolve on a timescale of decades. But as we zoom out to longer timescales, the warming trend from greenhouse gases begins to dominate, and the initial state becomes less important.

That was from a paper in Nature, and it was Morano’s most credible link. Well I am convinced… convinced Morano has no clue what he is talking about, convinced Morano is the absolute epitome of the irrational anti-science denier I described in my post.

I stand by my claim that no debate on climate change is occurring within the scientific community, and will continue to stand by that claim until I see a debate in the peer-reviewed literature. If it doesn’t meet this minimum standard it simply isn’t part of the scientific debate. People like Morano chose to ignore this basic fact, because peer-reviewed research simply doesn’t support their position. Instead they deny deny DENY!

UPDATE: Marc Morano has posted more pathetic lists, and guess what they don’t come even remotely close to proving his point.

19 Responses to This is going to go straight to my head

  1. Marc Morano says:

    Dan,

    You again claim “no debate on climate change is occurring within the scientific community” and dismissed the entire report I posted. The report details and links to massive amounts of evidence of a debate.

    [The rest of this comment was deleted because it is a repetition of a previous post by the same author. Spamy behaviour will not be tolerated.]

  2. Dan, I can assure you there are quite a few climate scientists and general scientists who do not agree with the AGW hysteria. Over 30,000 scientists ( defined as those who hold degrees in science ) have signed a petition to the contrary, including over 9,000 with PhDs. That’s not an insignificant number. While all of these are not “climate scientists”, if you have a scientific background yourself, then you know the laws of physics are independent of polls and opinions and can easily be understood by most holding science degrees. Chemists and others can easily understand the Stefan-Boltzmann equation as well as a physicist.

    You do yourself or your reputation no favor by blocking Marc Morano’s comments from your blog. He is not a scientist, but he is an enormously powerful communicator with perhaps the world’s largest mailing list of climate scientists… which is how I learned of your blog at any rate. The current word making the rounds is that your blog deliberately suppresses contrary scientific opinion, making it relatively trivial and insignificant in the blogosphere.

    Never confuse “fame” with “notoriety” If you want to become a truly respected blogger, then you must allow freedom of dissent. To do otherwise will only lead to further trivialization of yourself and your opinions.

  3. ScruffyDan says:

    First of all Jim, I have not blocked Marc Morano from commenting here I just pointed out why his long list, isn’t nearly as impressive as it first appears.

    Secondly I find it highly amusing that you refer to that very dubious petition about climate change. Petitions are not science. But just in case you aren’t convinced here is a very though debunking of that nonsensical petition.

    Nature is quite unconcerned about what people sign on petitions, so it baffles me that folks who say they’re interested in the science turn to petitions to settle matters. I figure the best way to find out about it is to turn to folks who are studying the thing you’re interested in. If I’m interested in bridges, I should turn to a civil or mechanical engineer who is working on designing them, and not someone with the same degree who works on sanitation systems or aircraft engines, much less someone working on nuclear physics (interesting field, and bright folks, but … not much concerned with bridges)…

    Over half the signers are engineers, it turns out… So, let’s ask a different question (ignoring, for now, that there’s no more reason to believe that engineers know climatology any more than we’d assume climatologists know engineering). Is that number of engineers a large fraction of the field?…

    I figure the National Academy of Engineering would be a good place to look for figures on engineers.
    It noted a couple of things. One was, that about 75,000 engineers are graduating each year. Another is that 6% unemployment among engineers meant 120,000 engineers being unemployed. A little arithmetic shows us that this means there are about 2,000,000 engineers in the USA.

    We have two comparisons then, to the number of graduates, and to the total population. The latter is more meaningful. Even so, the number of engineering signers represents only about 20% of a single year’s graduates. This is not impressive. Compared to the total number of engineers, it represents about 0.8%. Fewer than 1 in 100 engineers has signed.

    Don’t take my word for those numbers, of course. Check it out yourself. The 2 million is suspisciously round. On the other hand, if something like 75,000 are graduating each year, it’s hard to see that 16,000 can be a large fraction of the total number of engineers. Let me know what better figures you find.

    Again with no special knowledge, let’s look at the medical folks. The project is including MD, DVM, and ‘medical science’ in their figures here. Again, my GP is a good doctor, but I wouldn’t presume that he is knowledgeable about the physics of turbulent transfer (an element of climate), any more than my turbulent transfer friend is the guy I’d expect to take care of my allergies… Which gives the current [number of doctors] (in 2005) figure at about 800,000. For veterinarians… [the number is] 62,000. This is missing a number of fields, since I couldn’t figure what all the project meant by ‘medical’ (maybe they’re including nursing degrees? Dentists? lab technicians?). If anything, then, my 862,000 total here is an underestimate. The percentage of possible signers in this category who did sign is … 0.3%. About 1 in 300. (If we add the 2.5 million registered nurses, that percentage gets very small indeed.)

    As a general reader with no knowledge of the underlying science, this just looks very bad to me.
    * The project and people citing it want me to believe that there is serious, large scale, scientific opposition to the science on climate.
    But:
    * Their ‘big’ number is grossly padded by people who have not studied climate science nor worked in it.
    * It isn’t a ‘big’ number. The fields they are including are huge. To be large, we’d have to be looking at well over 1 million signers (only 1 in 3 people the fields already named). Maybe you’d consider it large if only 1 in 10 signed. But that’s still more than 10 times the rate that actually did.
    * It strikes my general reader eye as strange that after listing that thus and so many PhDs signed the petition, and thus and so many climatologists signed, they don’t, on their list of signers, include what the field was for the PhD. Given the numbers, it’s actually possible that all the PhD signers were engineers. Not likely, but if we should be impressed by the doctorate, it’d be even more impressive if we could tell what it was in.

    I find it highly amusing that a supposed Atmospheric Physicist thinks that engineers and medical scientists are qualified to opine on the validity of climate change. As I have said several times before, expertise matters, not everyone’s option is equally valid. But just for fun lets take look at the reverse situation. Since you think that engineers and medical science folk are qualified in climate science would you object to a climate scientists building bridges, and conducting surgeries? I wouldn’t, and that is precisely why engineers and medical scientists are not qualified to opine on climate change. Their opinions are not part of the scientific debate and thus can safely be ignored.

    As I said: “I stand by my claim that no debate on climate change is occurring within the [relevant] scientific community, and will continue to stand by that claim until I see a debate in the peer-reviewed literature. If it doesn’t meet this minimum standard it simply isn’t part of the scientific debate.

    Surely an Atmospheric Physicist is aware of that fact. If you want to convince me of dissent within the scientific community, find me peer-reviewed papers that challenge the consensus on climate change.

  4. Dan, “Climate Science” is actually a vast collection of different disciplines, ranging across physics, chemistry, oceanography, meteorology, paleoclimatology, arctic studies, satellite technology, and a host of other subjects. Each person works on a piece of the puzzle. I’m fairly confident I could design a safe and functional bridge, admitting that it would be likely over-engineered and not likely to be cost effective. Engineers typically have a strong enough background to read and understand most of the elements of climate physics, and probably the average M.D. has a sufficiently strong chemistry background to wade through the basics. It’s not a subject like high energy particle physics which is known and understood by only a few.

    I came out of retirement by request of others, and began a study of the whole “global warming” situation beginning from a completely neutral fiducial point. The result of at least a thousand hours and many hundreds of peer-reviewed papers convinced me it wasn’t anything I should lose any sleep over. Others may respectfully disagree, but to date the only thing I have found supporting a pending global warming meltdown have been computer models which are no more than Tinker-Toys with which one can construct any outcome he choses. And to date, I am unable to find any actual empirical science that suggests CO2 is anywhere near the “pollutant” it is claimed to be. By my understanding of the basic atomic absorption physics, it appears that a doubling of the current atmospheric CO2 content could result at best in perhaps another degree of atmospheric warming, and balancing the pros and cons, the increased agricultural production afford by more, not less CO2 would actually benefit many millions in our ever growing human population.

  5. ScruffyDan says:

    Each person works on a piece of the puzzle.

    And what piece of the puzzle do the over 50% of engineers work on? I’ll trust climatologists over engineers any day on issues of climatology, just like I will trust engineers on matters regarding bridge building. As I said not everyone’s opinion is equally valid. The fact that you consistently argue the opposite is amusing. Take this example:

    imagine a child is diagnosed with cancer. Who are his parents going to take him to in order to determine the best course of treatment?

    Most people would take the child to a specialist. Not just someone with a PhD in a technical subject, but an actual medical doctor. And not just any medical doctor, but someone who was a specialist in cancer. And not just any specialist in cancer, but someone who was a specialist in pediatric cancer. And, if possible, not just any pediatric oncologist, but someone who specialized in that particular type of cancer.

    Expertise matters. Not everyone’s opinion is equally valid.

    Engineers may have the knowledge to understand the basics, but if what they say conflicts with what climatologists are saying, I know who I will believe.

    The result of at least a thousand hours and many hundreds of peer-reviewed papers convinced me it wasn’t anything I should lose any sleep over.

    Forgive me if I take the word of every relevant scientific society, the IPCC and the hundreds of peer-reviewed papers I have read over the word of a commenter on my blog. As I said not everyone’s opinion is equally valid.

    By my understanding of the basic atomic absorption physics, it appears that a doubling of the current atmospheric CO2 content could result at best in perhaps another degree of atmospheric warming

    [UPDATE: Jim Peden vastly underestimates climate sensitivity because he completely ignores all feedbacks. This alone is enough to completely shatter any credibility he may have had.]

    One of the papers Morano linked to came to a similar conclusion, this is what I wrote in response: “The first obvious realization of this is that this doesn’t in fact disprove climate change, it just predicts that it is happening slower than expected. Something the author fully admits. Secondly there are some serious criticisms of his methods because it produces climate lag times that are unrealistically low. Thirdly a recent paper in Nature shows that a climate sensitivity greater than 1.5 °C has probably been a robust feature of the Earth’s climate system over the past 420 million years. Thirdly the estimate is of the Charney sensitivity, which omits several important feedback effects, an estimate of the “earth system” sensitivity which includes those feedbacks would be far greater.”

    the increased agricultural production afford by more, not less CO2 would actually benefit many millions in our ever growing human population.

    And now you cross into my area of expertise. The relationship between increased CO2 and increased plant growth is anything but simple (especially when you take the science out of the lab and into the real world). Several CO2 enrichment studies have shown absolutely no increase in plant productivity, and this doesn’t even take into account the effects of decreased precipitation and increased rates of desertification on plant growth.

    And on a similar point don’t forget that the increase in CO2 is having a disastrous effect on coral reef ecosystems, which provide food for hundreds millions of people.

    Sorry Jim, but you don’t make a very convincing case.

  6. Dan, I’m not sure I even know what a “Climatologist” is. The guy that checks the rain gauge every morning might qualify in the technical sense, along with the guy that sticks a rod in the snow and measures the depth.

    Funny, I saw some underwater photos of CO2 bubbling up right next to some coral, and it was doing just fine. If I can re-locate the article I’ll send it to you. Might be an odd breed of coral, one which has adapted over time. Ocean ecology is definitely not in my line of expertise, I’ll have to bow to your knowledge on that topic. I learn from everyone, every day. Takes a lot of cooks to stir the climate pot, ay-yup.

  7. ScruffyDan says:

    Someone who publishes peer-reviewed research relating to climate would satisfy me. Someone with a climatology related degree who doesn’t publish peer-reviewed research (or hasn’t published in a long time) wouldn’t.

    I saw some underwater photos of CO2 bubbling up right next to some coral, and it was doing just fine.

    Bubbling CO2 shouldn’t be much of an issue for corral, the problem resides in dissolved CO2, which increases the acidity of the ocean.

  8. I read somewhere that the current average ph of the ocean is about 8.5, so it has a long way to go before it becomes acidic. Would a completely neutral 7.0 kill coral, or do they require a basic solution for optimum health?

  9. [...] “debate”. Climate change “debate”. “Debate” my [...]

  10. ScruffyDan says:

    I said more acidic, or in other words less basic. So assuming that the pH in the coral habitats is 8.5 then yes they would require a basic environment.

    I am not exactly sure what pH is required to kill coral prematurely (one of the papers claims that a change in pH of as little of 0.2 can have deleterious effect), and it probably varies by species. All I know is those looking at coral ecosystems are very concerned about the effects on coral ecosystems of dropping ocean pH due to dissolved CO2.

  11. Temperature Effects on Rice at Elevated CO2 Concentration
    J. T. BAKER L. H. ALLEN, JR and K. J. BOOTE

    Agronomy Department, University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
    United States Department of Agriculture Building 164, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA

    The continuing increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) and projections of possible future increases in global air temperatures have stimulated interest in the effects of these climate variables on agriculturally important food crops. This study was conducted to determine the effects of [CO2] and temperature on rice (Oryza sativa L., cv. IR–30). Rice plants were grown season-long in outdoor, naturally sunlit, controlled-environment, plant growth chambers in temperature regimes ranging from 25/18/21°C to 37/30/34°C (daytime dry bulb air temperature/night-time dry bulb air temperature/paddy water temperature)and [CO2] of 660 µmol CO2 mol1 air. An ambient chamber was maintained at a [CO2] of 330 µmol mol–1 and temperature regimes of 28/21/25°C. Carbon dioxide enrichment at 28/21/25°C increased both biomass accumulation and tillering and increased grain yield by 60%. In the 660 µmol mol–1 [CO2] treatment, grain yield decreased from 10.4 to 1.0 Mg ha–1 with increasing temperature from 28/21/25°C to the 37/30/34°C temperature treatment. Across this temperature range, the number of panicles plant–1 nearly doubled while the number of seeds panicle–1 declined sharply. These results indicate that while future increases in atmospheric [CO2] are likely to be beneficial to rice growth and yield, potentially large negative effects on rice yield are possible if air temperatures also rise.

  12. ScruffyDan says:

    As I said the link between plant productivity and CO2 is complex, if everything remains equal (which it wont) some plants will experience increased growth, but some will not. But the last sentence of that abstract caught my eye:

    potentially large negative effects on rice yield are possible if air temperatures also rise.

    As I said when taking into account the effect of CO2 as a whole the effects on plant productivity are far from certain.

  13. Yes, and if I were a climate “modeler”, then I could have left that last line out, leading you to think there were only positive benefits for rice from additional CO2. That’s the way most of the doom-and-gloom climate models work: omit or minimize effects which might lead to compensative cooling. I quoted the abstract in it’s entirety, which is what any honest scientist would have done.

    In this case, I don’t think rice is in much danger, as the 6-10 degree temperature rise predicted by the climate models is clearly not going to happen in this century, and the actual physics shows that doubling the current 385 ppm could only result in less than one more degree of additional warming at any rate. Just gotta love those exponential functions, which show that CO2 is pretty much all done doing it’s job at current levels.

  14. Talk about timely – AAAS in their journal SCIENCE leads off with an article on coral reefs this month. The authors cite a number of concerns, including acidification. This appears to be an extra bullet for your gun. Enjoy.

    HEADER
    The conservation status of coral reefs can be monitored by assessing the area covered by coral species over time. Carpenter et al. (p. 560, published online 10 July) have estimated that more than a third of the major reef-building coral species are at risk of dying out to the point at which reef viability is lost. The causes of this dismaying decline stem from local insults from physical damage, overfishing, pollution, and sedimentation. These factors, added to the physiological harm done to coral organisms and their symbionts by elevated sea surface temperature rise and water acidification induced by atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation, can mean that a reef loses viability and quickly turns into a mound of rubble.

  15. ScruffyDan says:

    Yes, and if I were a climate “modeler”, then I could have left that last line out, leading you to think there were only positive benefits for rice from additional CO2.

    And this is where your credibility really starts to suffer. I know that what gets reported in the media sometimes glosses over (or completely omits) the positive aspects of climate change, but that is mostly because the estimates of costs are far greater than the estimates of benefits and you can only fit so much into an 8 second sound byte. The media is no place for nuance. But actual published climate models spend a great deal of time on the assumptions made, and any potential weaknesses. And after they are published are subject to intense scrutiny. They explain (in the highest resolution allowed by the models) any effects, both positive and negative.

    I quoted the abstract in it’s entirety, which is what any honest scientist would have done.

    Yes that was honest of, you but then you follow it up with baseless (and frankly wrong) criticism of all climate molders and insist that they are nothing more than a bunch of dishonest scientists.

    In this case, I don’t think rice is in much danger, as the 6-10 degree temperature rise predicted by the climate models is clearly not going to happen in this century

    Where do those number come from? The IPCC came to this estimate for climate sensitivity “likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values.“. And while Hansen is predicting a “earth system” sensitivity of roughly 6°C there are many climatologists who disagree with that estimate. So forgive me if I don’t believe you ‘alarmist’ numbers.

    the actual physics shows that doubling the current 385 ppm could only result in less than one more degree of additional warming at any rate

    At the end of the day your argument boils down to ‘trust me I am an expert‘. But since you link to no peer-reviewed research, and your claims are contradicted by published research you don’t make a very convincing case. So forgive me if I take the word of the IPCC, James Hansen and a recent paper in Nature over your word, especially since the method used by another scientists who arrived at a similar conclusions was harshly criticized.

    But even more importantly the fact that you sate that you are just looking at the physics leads me to believe that you may have ignored many slow feedbacks such as the melting permafrost (and the accompanying release of vast quantities methane) [UPDATE: and after looking through your site I now know for certain that you excluded not just the slow feedbacks but even the fact feedbacks. No wonder you estimate of climate sensitivity was so low]. Failing to take such feedbacks into account would make your climate sensitivity values (which are already much lower than what is generally accepted) far lower than the ‘real’ climate sensitivity.

    Jim if you want to continue posting here, I suggest yo refrain from baseless attacks on entire scientific disciplines.

  16. Jim if you want to continue posting here, I suggest yo refrain from baseless attacks on entire scientific disciplines

    Golly, I’ve been waiting for that one… the last bastion of the AGW alarmists. When you’ve lost the argument, use censorship. Hansen’s models are the WORST of the bunch, but it’s clear you’re a religious convert, so I’m outa here.

  17. ScruffyDan says:

    Jim, you have not been censored (notice how your were able to post you claim of censorship), but if you make sweeping unsubstantiated claims against entire scientific disciplines, then your posts will be deleted. You need to back up your claims with something, you cannot simply expect me to trust everyone who comments on my blog.

    You claim that Hansen’s models are the worst of the bunch, but your argument rests on your own credibility since you provide absolutely no data to back up your claim. In fact in our entire little chat you have provided absolutely no data to back up any of your claims. And as a random blog commenter you really don’t have any credibility so your ‘ trust me‘ argument falls flat… again.

    but it’s clear you’re a religious convert, so I’m outa here.

    And I have been waiting for that one. It is the standard denier claim of religious fanaticism for anyone who decides to trust the overwhelming consensus in the scientific literature, over the few lone (non-peer-reviewed) voices coming from outside the scientific community. But why exactly am I a ‘religious convert‘? Is it because wild unsubstantiated claims are not enough to change my mind? Or is it because I trust published research over random commenters on my blog?

    Wild unsubstantiated claims (especially when they are contradicted by published research) are no way to win a debate. You need to give me something above and beyond your ‘trust me‘ argument to have even a chance at convincing me you are correct.

  18. [...] of the fight it began a couple of weeks ago back on July 24, 2008 when I read ScruffyDan’s This is going to go straight to my head but I only today read ScruffyDan’s Denier peer-review trickery knock out punch coup de [...]

  19. i cannot believe what i’m reading.
    I know Morano visited Bart Verheggen’s blog too, while that blog clearly still is in it’s startup phase. (http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/)

    Looks like someone doesn’t have anything ebter to do.

    Congratulations scruffydan with the attention you received ;-)

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