Sunday, March 15, 2015

Occam's Razor - A Double Edged Blade (part 2)

(. . . continued from previous post)

Looking again at our first graph, we see that there is nothing simple about temperature trends from 1880 to the present. It is only from 1910 through 1941 and the late 70s through 1998 that we see clear and unequivocal upward trends. Prior to 1910 the trend is downward. Between 1941 and 1950 the trend is downward. From 1950 through the late 70s there is little to no trend (slightly upward in this graph, but slightly downward in the CDN graph seen in the previous post). From 1998 to the present, the trend is, essentially, flat.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Occam's Razor - A Double Edged Blade

We've seen, from the previous post, that the physics of climate change, regardless of how sound each step in the process might seem, is far too complex to satisfy Occam's Razor. And while it might seem all too easy to brush off the Razor as though it didn't really matter, it actually does matter and cannot be ignored. To better understand why, let's consider a notorious example, the difference between the old Ptolemaic view of planetary motion and the currently accepted view, based on Copernicus, Kepler and Newton.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Occam's Razor and The Physics of Climate Change

I am not an expert, and that’s not going to change. I am not going to make myself an expert. What I do think I have is a better judgment, maybe because I have lived a bit longer, and maybe because I’ve done other things. 
Freeman Dyson

Is Occam's Razor really necessary to justify the assertion that CO2 emissions are responsible for "out of control" global warming? What about the physics behind this theory?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Climate Change and Occam's Razor

It's a deceptively simple principle, attributed to the 14th century philosopher, William of Occam: pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, “plurality should not be posited without necessity" -- usually mis-interpreted to mean that the simplest explanation of any phenomenon should always be preferred. This fails to take into consideration the important phrase, "sine necessitate." It is not just the simplest explanation, but the simplest explanation necessary to explain the phenomenon; i.e., the simplest explanation that accounts for all the evidence.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Climate Change Mess: Here's what happened . . .

How did we get into this mess? To quote the eminent detective, Adrian Monk: “Here’s what happened”:

Beginning in the early 80's, climate scientists noticed a very disturbing looking trend, in which atmospheric temperatures began to climb in tandem with atmospheric carbon associated with fossil fuel emissions that had already been steadily rising for some time. After a few years of this, it began to look very much like some sort of tipping point had been reached, in which the atmosphere was responding rather dramatically to the increased carbon levels. The correlation between the two seemed so clear, so dramatic and so dangerous that scientists became convinced not only that fossil fuels were causing the rapid increase in atmospheric warmth, but that the increase was so dangerous as to destabilize the planetary weather system generally.

As the end of the century approached, the correlation seemed so obvious, and the dangers so clear and so extreme, that anyone could be forgiven for simply assuming the “global warming” effect had to be produced by these anthropogenically induced CO2 emissions. Most climate scientists became convinced during that time, and they managed to convince a great many others, including many very powerful people in politics and the media. And since the remedy, drastic cutbacks in fossil fuel emissions, was so extreme, many of these people went way out on a limb with their concerns, precipitating a veritable firestorm of anxiety — since nothing less than sheer hysteria could be powerful enough to produce the necessary changes. In view of the picture as it presented itself at the time, an extreme response did seem both reasonable and responsible.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Are We Headed for Disaster?

While climate change has always been an important factor in the saga of life on Earth, over the last several years the phrase has become a slogan for a worldwide movement looking more and more like a classic doomsday cult. In the words of climatologist James Hansen, 
CO2 emissions must be reduced rapidly or young people in coming decades will face unacceptable consequences: continually retreating shorelines, shifting climate zones with extermination of many species, increasing occurrence of climate extremes with widespread disruption to food and water supplies, more severe droughts and heat waves, more damaging forest fires, stronger storms, and greater flooding. (from Iowa Roots: James Hansen Speaks Truth to Power.) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

California Drought Not Caused by Climate Change

This just in, from the LiveScience website: California Drought Linked to Natural Causes, Not Climate Change. Some excerpts:
Natural temperature swings in the ocean, not global warming, are driving California's extreme drought, according to a new government study. . . 
The report, Causes and Predictability of the 2011-14 California Drought, was released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and has not [yet] been published in a peer-reviewed journal. The study compares drought observations with 160 climate model simulations to tease out the most important factors controlling the drought. The researchers plan to submit the work to the Journal of Climate, Seager [the lead author] said.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Politics of Climate Change

Time to return to one of the principal themes of this blog: politics. And yes, climate change is heavily imbued with politics. If you're on the "left," you're for it; if you're on the "right," you're agin' it. How convenient. You don't even have to think about it, just ask yourself if you care about whether or not polar bears will be able to continue eating baby seals alive in the same abundant numbers as in the past. If you care, then "climate change is real." If not, then "climate change is a hoax perpetrated by greedy climate scientists eager for government handouts."
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