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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A global temperature conundrum: Cooling or warming climate?

Here is a quote from an article I found in “Science News” that was evidently published in “Earth and Climate.

“When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Zhengyu Liu knew that was going to be a problem.”

I have been unable to find a copy of the original IPCC report but I have seen NO reports on the IPCC report that even hint at the conundrum described in the article.  I think the article is fairly balanced and in the end it tends to indicate 3 things I agree with:

1.  The earth is warming
2.  Hunankind is a contributing factor to warming
3.  The science is not settled


  1. Just to be clear, the only conundrum proposed in this article is about seemingly conflicting data ***pre human influence*** and "...does not, the authors emphasize, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century."

    As such, I'm not sure what implication you mean to be taken from your #3. If you mean that trying to trace 10,000 years of climate data is complicated and difficult scientific task, ok. If you mean for it to dilute in any way your #2, then I think you are misusing the article. If anything, the article is a case for making your #2 much stronger. I.e... whatever trend the earth was on for the past many thousand years, we've managed to spike the hell out of it in less than 100.

    "Yet, the bio- and geo-thermometers used last year in a study in the journal Science suggest a period of global cooling beginning about 7,000 years ago and continuing until humans began to leave a mark, the so-called "hockey stick" on the current climate model graph, which reflects a profound global warming trend."

  2. In the Dallas Ft. Worth area we once had a weatherman who always said “If your computer model says it is raining step outside and look before you make a forecast”. Direct observation is a very powerful factor in reaching a conclusion. Here is a quote from the article.

    "Data from observation says global cooling. The physical model says it has to be warming."

    And yet I think, on balance, the science points to warming and Humankind as a contributor. My number 3 (The science is not settled) simply means that my number 1 & 2 are based on the science as it exists today. If the science changes or gains focus I will reconsider my position.

    One of the reasons I paused to reference this article on the blog is that I am often accused of being a “denier” simply because I often state I believe the science is not settled. The article is replete with quotes that indicate the science is far from settled.

    WRT – “We’ve managed to spike the hell out of it in less than 100” This is specific to an anthropogenic cause of global warming. As number 2 suggest I think “we” have contributed. As for what % of warming in the last 100 years is due to mankind’s activities and what specific activities are the major culprits, that is another area where I think the “science is not settled”. It gets worse. In my opinion some of the suggestions (based on the settled science crowd’s opinion) for what “we” should do to reduce the anthropogenic influence on warming border on ridiculous, but that, little Adam, is another story.

  3. You certainly seem over-eager for the article to say something it does not. It actually goes out of it's way to disabuse the reader of exactly the kind of misappropriation you advance. Yet you persist. I wonder why that is.

    Your position hides behind the easy and fallacious argument that because not ALL of climate science is settled, so then none of it is. It's like arguing that if there were some decline in the bison population before European arrival, then the hockey stick spike toward extinction aligning with westward expansion might be a coincidence.

    Agreed that the questions of how best to act in response to climate change are a separate and important debate, but safe to say, I think, that going out of your way to cherry-pick/massage information away from it's true context and toward your desired outcome is not a productive way to get anywhere in that debate.

    1. The title of the article contains the word “conundrum” and I have twice stated I think the globe is warming and that humankind is a contributor.

      What do you think the article says?

  4. Have y'all looked at the global warming "hockey stick" lately?

    1. Can you provide a link that shows the hockey stick that we might view as a neutral reputable site?