Monday, October 22, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 8: A Tale of Two Graphs

I will set before you two different graphs representing the relation between CO2 levels and global temperatures: number 1:

Global temperature vs. CO2 concentration

[added 12-22-18]: Since the graph presented above tells us little about 21st century temperatures, I've decided to add this one, which represents the so-called "hiatus" from 1998 through 2015 much more clearly. (The spike we see for 2016 is due to an especially strong El Nino and does not reflect long-term temperature trends):

number 2:

(from a blog post titled  Does CO2 correlate with temperature? by one Robert Grumbine.)

When I "eyeball" the first graph it seems evident, as I've contended in the past, that there is NO correlation between CO2 levels and global temps. during the entire 100 year period between 1880 and 1980. Nor do I see any sign of correlation between  1998 and the present. I DO see a correlation between ca. 1980 and 1998, but that represents only 20 years out of the last 138.

Graph number 2, a scattergram in which CO2 levels are plotted directly against temperatures, presents a radically different picture, where the two appear to be very strongly correlated. How is this possible?

(According to Grumbine "It's awfully hard to look at this and say that there's no correlation between CO2 and temperature.")

I scratched my head over this for some time before I realized that the two graphs represent more or less the same relationship, only presented in very different ways. Only when we attach dates to that second graph does it become possible to see that both are essentially the same, only with the time scale distorted in the second. After all, while graph no. 2 is a scattergram and graph no. 1 is not, essentially the same set of temperature data is represented in the vertical axis of both. For example, the year 1940, when temperatures peaked after a long increase, corresponds roughly with a CO2 level of 310 parts per million, as represented in graph no. 2, which shows temperature peaking at the same point; the year 1980, when temperatures began to rise dramatically, corresponds roughly with a CO2 level of 335 ppm. where the temperature begins to rise in graph no. 2 as well.

No sooner do we begin to recognize the relationship between the two graphs does it become apparent that there is in fact NO correlation in graph no. 2 until it gets close to the 335 level, around 1980. Similarly, we see no correlation after 370 ppm, the level reached around 1998, the beginning of the well-known "hiatus," as represented in graph no. 1.

The reason graph no. 2 appears to depict a correlation is due to the time distortion produced by the fact that CO2 levels shot up so rapidly from ca. 1980 to ca. 1998. [Correction: the previous phrase should read: "temperatures shot up so rapidly from ca. 1980 to ca. 1998."] Thus, unlike graph no. 1, which presents a more or less accurate picture of climate history since 1880, graph no. 2 distorts that history to emphasize the relatively brief 20 year period when both CO2 levels and temperatures were increasing at the same time.

When both graphs are examined critically it becomes clear that there is no evidence whatsoever of a correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures, aside from the brief 20 year period at the end of the previous century, which all but rules out the possibility of a causal relationship, thus placing the entire human-caused "climate change" meme in serious doubt. 

Anyone following the analysis presented above should better understand why I'm so skeptical when it comes to the excessive reliance on statistical methodologies when attempting to evaluate scientific evidence. As a wise man once said, "If you torture the data long enough it will confess to anything."

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 7: The Climate Science Mystique

When I was in high school some of my favorite classes were science classes: biology, general science, physics, chemistry, etc. And I did really well in all of them. As far as math is concerned, I aced every single class, with a perfect score in each final exam, including the NY State Regents exams. If I hadn't fallen in love head over heels with music, I might well have decided to become a scientist of some sort: a physicist, mathematician, biologist, chemist, astronomer, etc. It never would have occurred to me in a million years, however, to become a climate scientist -- that was simply off my radar. Nor can I imagine any young person of my generation with both a serious interest in science and a real aptitude for it hankering to pursue a career in climate science. Maybe it's just me, but the prospect of doing that sort of research just seems too utterly boring for words.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 6: Let Me Count the Ways

This post is going to be very simple, but also, I'm afraid, rather devastating. What follows is a list of some of the most serious problems with the mainstream "climate change" paradigm and some of the many attempts to shore it up. I won't attempt to argue any of these points in any detail, as they have already been argued at length either on this blog or elsewhere, but simply present them in as succinct a manner as possible.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 5:Still more "saving hypotheses"

Still more "saving hypotheses" on  the part of true believers.

But first a brief summary of claims I've already debunked:

1. The mid-twentieth century hiatus in global temperatures can be explained by the cooling efffect of industrial aerosols (see the second post in this series).

2. Sea level rise isn't correlated with CO2 emissions, because, according to blogger CCHolley, it's "highly variable about the mean level due to the hydrological cycle," and besides "sea level rise correlating to temperatures has nothing to do with the cause of the temperature rise," and besides "perfect correlation to temperature would not be expected because ice will not stop melting just because warming stopped, it takes time for the ice to reach thermal equilibrium. . ." -- none of which has the slightest bearing on  the fact that it's impossible to claim a cause-effect relation if no correlation exists, for whatever reason (see also the third post in this series.)

3. Evidence that sea level rise has actually declined over the last several years can be explained by the cooling effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, which masked the expected accelaration (see the previous post in this series).

Now for some more examples:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 4:Yet another "saving hypothesis"

Despite a significant amount of evidence that would appear to contradict the prevailing theory of "anthropomorphic global warming" (AGW), many activists either dismiss it as "lies" or attempt to explain it away with "saving hypotheses" of the sort we've already encountered in previous posts. I'll be providing several examples of such attempts to explain away the evidence, but since I've been discussing the topic of sea level rise, let's begin with a further consideration of that issue.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 3: Sea Level

Violations of Occam's Razor, along the lines examined already in my previous post, are in fact rather common in the "scientific" literature supporting the so-called "consensus" view of climate change. The following excerpt from the previously quoted Wikipedia article on  Occam's Razor states the issue quite succinctly:
[F]or each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there is always an infinite number of possible and more complex alternatives, because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified . . . (
The widely accepted notion that sulfur dioxide aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels were responsible for the mid-20th century hiatus in global warming (see previous post) is only one of many similar examples I could provide. In this post, I will focus on a more fundamental issue, that of sea level rise.

Here's what I wrote on this topic in a recent post on the RealClimate blog:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change - part 2

As I stated in my response on the RealClimate blog, the apparently very reasonable argument presented by CCHolley (see my previous post) raises epistemological issues that call for additional discussion  and analysis. Epistemology, of course, is the philosophy of knowledge and the means by which we may attain  it. While it is sometimes contrasted with metaphysics, if we take the literal meaning of metaphysics, i.e., that which is "prior to physics," into account then  epistemology can be seen as a branch of metaphysics. It's not difficult to see that science must be grounded in certain basic principles that cannot themselves be subject to the usual sort of scientific testing, but must be accepted as "prior" to any type of scientific investigation. Among these, for example, is the employment of simple two-valued logic in the evaluation of any claim. Another example would be Occam's Razor, to which I'll be referring presently.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change

Haven't posted anything here in a long time, so please forgive the sudden intrusion. I'm here now because I've decided to use this blog as a venue for freely and fully sharing my thoughts on  the extremely controversial topic of climate change without having to worry over whether or not I'm taking up too much bandwidth on someone else's forum. For the last few years I've been posting comments from time to time on the RealClimate blog, a gathering, for the most part, of hard line "climate change" advocates, who usually find me extremely irritating, but can't resist responding to my posts nevertheless. Typically I will post some thought or quote some source that they object to; they will offer what I often consider rather lame responses, so I feel obligated to set them straight, which in turn prompts more responses from them and so it goes until everyone gets either bored or annoyed or frustrated and either I wind up backing off or my posts start getting exiled to their "Bore Hole" (don't ask).

I recently decided that there was no longer any point in continuing a prolonged debate that was going nowhere and promised to cease and desist from further responses on that topic. After making that decision, however, I noticed that one of my most persistent critics had actually posted what appeared to be a sensible response to an objection of mine, grounded in a basic principle of Occam's Razor -- specifically that certain "explanations" offered by certain climate scientists to account for evidence that, on  its face, appeared to falsify their theory, could be understood as what has been called "saving hypotheses," i.e., attempts to save a failing theory by pointing to additional factors that make everything "come out  right." As I see it, the interjection of such factors violates Occam's Razor by introducing unnecessary complications for the sole purpose of rescuing an hypothesis that would otherwise be inconsistent with the evidence.

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