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Friday, September 2, 2011

The Sky is Falling Said the Man With His Head in the Sand

So I'm working the overnight shift and I've been using part of my time twittering with a green Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) advocate in the UK who took exception to yesterday's post on the CERN CLOUD experiment.  I know I shouldn't, but hey, what the heck - I didn't have anything better going on?

As per usual, he first attempted to posit that maybe I'm arguing from an ideological basis rather than scientific.  If you know me, you know that's not the case.  I'm a natural skeptic and given that weather modeling is the classic example for Chaos Theory, it's a pretty high bar to clear for me on any climate model.  I want to see a theory that is testable and/or repeatable today, yesterday and tomorrow. 

Rather than offer me such a theory, he asked for me to produce one.  I'm not a climatologist and I'm not trying to push a theory.  All I am asking is for those who advocate AGW to make their case by putting in place a testable theory.  That's how science works.  Create a hypothesis, run experiments to see if the data fits; try to punch holes in your assumptions.

A scientific theory should be as sturdy as a house.  Any cracks in the foundation will spell doom.  Test, test and retest some more.  Probe any weaknesses in your hypothesis.  It must be able to withstand scrutiny and questioning from others.

But the AGW theory has been built very differently.  A hypothesis was created to explain a noticeable short term increase in temperature.  When the existing data did not conform to the hypothesis, it wasn't scrapped.  It was simply reshaped, but the basic claim, that humans are dramatically changing our climate, was never changed.  At no point has the model ever been able to make accurate predictions. 

The math is so contorted that it is now amusing.  Have you ever played one of those silly games where you take your age, do some mathematical calculations, only to end up with a predetermined answer?  Professor Mann's "hockey stick" graph showing a large recent increase in global temperature was surely based on similar equations.  Put any random numbers into it and you'd get the same hockey stick shaped graph.

I believe that the CERN CLOUD experiment is important because I would expect the large yellow ball of fire at the center of our solar system to play a large part in our climate and any changes taking place in it.  The initial IPCC AR1 model did not agree.  Each new model has gradually given the sun a bigger place in climate change, but only based on irradiance.  Thanks to Jasper Kirby, we now know that galactic cosmic radiation also plays a part.  The new data will force future models to add a whole new aspect to the solar effect.

Why is that important?  Because the greater the solar effect, the lesser the internal CO2 effect.  Bringing CO2 Climate Sensitivity down is paramount to creating a more realistic climate model.  Some AGW advocates are pushing a change of up to 4.0K with c=1.5, which is far from reality given the cooling that took place up to 1978 when CO2 emissions were still experiencing a massive increase during that time.  Lindzen-Choi-2011 gives a much more realistic number of 0.6, but even that may be too high in light of the new data.

The real question is this - how can we say the science is settled, when there are still so many unanswered questions?  Yes, the climate is changing.  But it is constantly changing - it's not static.  We are still learning the how and the why.  In truth, we may never know all that there is to know about our climate.

Of course, rather than offer any answers, my Twitter buddy kept questioning me.  That's not science - that's avoidance.  While he and his ilk attempt to scare you into believing that the air you breath is killing our planet, I find a much a greater danger in people who are so blind to what they don't know.

I know I don't have all the answers.  That's why I'm not afraid to continue looking.

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