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Dr_Dave

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About Dr_Dave

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  1. Dr_Dave

    911

    I was interested enough to read some of the timeline. It is certainly comprehensive, and considerably better researched than most September 11th 2001 related content. One thing struck me though. The events as outlined, assuming they happened like this (I didn't follow up all of the references) could equally well be attributed to: 1) Individual incompetence (on the part of Corsi) 2) Bureaucratic limitation between agencies 3) Jurisdictional conflicts My question is: do you have any specific evidence that the failure to follow up the investigation was not due to the above reasons? I mean actual documentary evidence, not your personal interpretation of events. The official line is that 2) and 3) (with maybe a hint of 1) were to blame. From the bit that I've read, your "bottleneck" seems to be the interaction between Corsi and Bongardt. Are you implying that Corsi, an FBI agent, was solely responsible for allowing the attacks? Or do you have evidence that she was working with someone else? Finally: you have presumably contacted The Guardian, Der Spiegl or the NYT with this? How did they respond? When can we look forward to seeing it being made public?
  2. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    This is a truly remarkable and sobering film. Thanks for the recommendation. If anyone watches it - and you really should - put it full screen and 720p. Some of the cinematography is almost as mindblowing as the message.
  3. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Nope, the correct nomenclature is CO2. In denoting molecules, the superscript is reserved for the ionic charge. I know it's pedantic, but GCSE's have been failed on less!
  4. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Pedants r us, but CO2 not CO2
  5. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Sure. The graph shows you what a particular area's temperature "anomaly" is versus some baseline. "Anomaly" in this context really just means "difference" - the difference between the current temperature and the baseline. So the areas on that graph that you see coloured towards the red end of the colour range are hotter than this average. The areas towards the blue end, are colder. The first thing you notice, is that not all areas are warmer - Europe, as has been pointed out, is colder in this particular year. The worry comes when you sum over the whole world. So, how much does the global temperature average change. If it was just a question of natural variability between areas, you'd expect the sum on any given year to be more or less the same as the baseline - so hot areas would cancel out cold areas. Sure, there'd be noise on this, but if the temperature were stable, we'd more or less see a flat temperature graph (assuming no other factors). But what we do see is that the warm areas are ever so slightly more prevalent than the cool areas, hence a warming trend over years. That make sense?
  6. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Hmmm. You see, this is the point where the scientifically literate begin to behave somewhat uncivilly. In relation to precession and sun spots, you say "neither of these significant factors are ever usually mentioned". What exactly do you mean by this? Because both of these factors - as well as a number of other forcings - have been studied in great detail in the literature. Indeed, in this very thread, Chinahand and I have provided a number of links to papers and sites that discuss, extensively, the impact of sunspots and other factors. So to say that it is never mentioned by scientists is somewhat disingenuous. Perhaps you mean that these factors are not included in the attribution of warming factors? You're right. And this is because the vast body of work that has been done in this area finds that there is no current connection between the warming and these forcings. That isn't to say that sunspots or precession haven't had an effect in the past, quite the opposite. We know they have. It is simply that the current warming does not correlate with other factors. But it does correlate with one factor, and that is CO2.
  7. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    It's actually just a baseline, so it doesn't really matter. What is important is the relative strength of the anomaly. If you pick 1900-1940 for example, the current anomaly would look higher. If you picked 1980-now, it would look smaller. But the shape of the warming graph would be the same. Here is Nasa's explanation for it: ... which shows how arbitrary it is CFC aerosols, which wreck the ozone layer, were phased out in the 80s. But sulphate aerosols (caused by burning oil and gas), which cause acid rain, started to be limited around the 70s. They also have a short lifetime in the atmosphere, so their effect of their decline would tend to be felt quickly.
  8. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Nobody disputes that La Niña is the direct cause of the current flooding in Queensland. The question is whether the relative strength of these events is in any way affected by climate change. A quick literature review reveals a possible link of this kind, suggesting: and a more recent wider study: van Oldenborgh et al. 2005 which doesn't: So again, the picture isn't clear.
  9. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Has been shown that hurricanes have not raised or lower past any normal trend Absolutely, I was very careful to use the word "possibly" here, since the situation is unclear. The general thinking is that any increase in hurricane incidence caused by warming oceans will be offset by an increase in the wind shear gradient at higher altitudes caused by the warming. There is even a credible position that says that hurricane incidents will decrease somewhat as a consequence of warming (since wind shear tends to be the dominant factor). The uncertainty lies in how the warming will affect the strength of hurricanes that do occur. We've tended to measure an increase in the average strength in hurricanes over the last 15 or so years that correlates well with surface sea temperatures. So it's possible that we'll see a decline in the number, but an increase in the average power. But the picture is by no means certain - this is another of those genuine controversies that I've mentioned. See here for more.
  10. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    It is a good question. Certainly, deep in the heart of January, a couple of degrees of warming sounds like not such a bad thing! What is the worry then? If the earth has been hotter than this previously, then it's tempting to say that such warmings are a natural part of the planetary cycle and that the earth is perfectly capable of dealing with the change. And this is largely correct. When scientists talk of catastrophe, the natural assumption is that they're talking about end of the world scenarios, or at least the end of life on earth. But the effect of 2-6 degrees of warming wouldn't be this bad, and life (and humanity) will indeed go on. So why are we worried? Well, over the last 5000 years or so, we've had relatively stable global temperatures - we've had local variations, such as the medieval warming period that you mention, or the little ice age a few centuries ago, but globally the situation has largely remained constant. This has enabled us to develop a lifestyle suited to this climate. A significant number of our largest cities lie in coastal areas, for example. We've developed agriculture in regions relatively close to the tropics, and built cities that obtain their water from glaciers. We also have certain expectations of how many extreme weather events to expect, and where to expect them. The effect of 2-6 degrees of warming over the next hundred years is to disrupt much of this to a greater or lesser extent. Melting polar regions will cause a rise in sea levels, which puts coastal cities at risk - not just third world cities either. We will also see an increased desertification of currently farmable areas, leading to famine and ultimately migration. As glaciers retreat, we'll see cities losing water supplies, or, in the worst case of a melting of the Himalayan glaciers, the drying of a river system that covers a large part of SE Asia. In terms of weather events, high ocean temperatures tend to lead to increased evaporation from the surface of the sea, which causes increased precipitation and an increase in flash flood style events, and possibly hurricane class events. Remember the disruption caused by evacuating a city like New Orleans? I would expect to see that with increased regularity. For general ecology, it is seen that increased ocean temperature and CO2 levels cause the ocean to become slightly more acidic, with serious consequences for ocean life - we're already beginning to see bleaching of the coral reef around Australia. I've seen it myself, it's not pleasant. In fact, the ocean would seem to bear the brunt of warming, given its capacity to absorb heat - in context, the last time temperatures rose 6 degrees in a short period (okay, 20K years) something like 40-50% of the benthic biota died out. Will all of this happen? Well, this is one of the genuine controversies in climate science that I have spoken of, because no-one really knows the extent of the effects, largely because we don't know the extent of the warming to expect. 2 degrees would give minimal effects, 6 degrees would be pretty much that described above. This lack of certainty is often used as an argument for doing nothing. I think the important thing to bear in mind is the relatively short period we're talking about (100 years) for changes that normally take place over much longer timescales. We can (and indeed will) adapt to any changes that happen, this is not, by any means, the end of the human race. But ask yourself - do you really want your kids to live through a period where several hundred million people from equatorial regions migrate en masse northwards, or in which the extensive flooding of a major city of millions of people is an almost yearly event?
  11. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    I know you said don't get into the science on this, but it's worth a short clarification (and it may spur some debate about this issue). What you're referring to is how different datasets treat the relatively poor coverage at Arctic latitudes, above 80N. The GISS dataset, as you say, takes the temperature anomaly on the edge of the region and extrapolates the temperature based on this. Conversely, the HadCRUT3 data simply ignores this region altogether. The effect of the HadCRUT3 method is to effectively attribute the hemispherical average temperature anomaly to the Arctic, and to drag the global average temperature anomaly down, thus the appearance of less warming. To give you an idea of the numbers, the GISS method gives 2010 as being the hottest year on record, while the HadCRUT3 method places it 5th. So the difference isn't that great and both datasets support the warming trend. In the context of Chinahand's anomaly plot, most of the warming you see around Greenland is below 80N and can therefore be considered reliable. Now this kind of thing is not at all uncommon in science. There are times when you simply don't have the data and you need to make some "guesses" about what data is missing. The important thing is to be open about your assumptions (which both datasets are) and to be able to justify your assumptions, illustrating the uncertainty of your extrapolations with appropriate error bars. This extrapolation is of prime concern here because most models predict that most warming will occur in the Arctic latitudes, the area that is least measured. So which is the right method here? Well, in fact, both are wrong, probably. But one is less wrong than the other - in this case, the GISS analysis. This is because we can use external indicators to get an idea what is happening in the Arctic. Decreasing ice cover, combined with satellite IR measurements, strongly point to a substantial positive anomaly in these areas - so the average anomaly used by HadCRUT3 is almost certainly far too low, and indeed the GISS extrapolation is probably too low in these latitudes as well, though less so. I hope this makes some sense. I can well imagine that techniques like this would look like "cheating" to the layman, especially when you're led to believe that such methods are covered up.
  12. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    I know that it is unwise to pin individual events on wider trends. But I do wonder at what point you can take these individual events and attribute them to climate change with some degree of certainty - especially since increased precipitation is a predicted consequence of rising global temperatures.
  13. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    It's interesting to explore where the idealogical position comes from. Just to be clear, I don't necessarily think that "deniers" are being willfully dishonest - well, some probably are, but not the majority. I think that people who hold this view, from gazza to Monkton, really do believe what they argue. Further, I believe that they come upon these positions as a product of actual research. Sadly, it's research in the wrong place. While 70-90% of published science IS supportive of AGW, I would expect that 70-90% of Google hits for "global warming" support the skeptical view, and this discrepancy distorts things. It makes it appear that the skeptical position is stronger than it is. Unfortunately, there's no easy way around this - actual science IS complicated, and it also relatively inaccessible (requiring arcane services like ADS to find, or lying behind Nature paywalls). Interested laymen like gazza are simply not exposed to the bulk of relevant information, and the information that they are exposed to reinforces the attractive view that there is a cabal of greedy scientists, motivated by the pursuit of money or fame. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the graphs and information presented by posters like Chinahand make no impact whatsoever on the mind of the "denier". If they did, you wouldn't have such continued claims that we are in a period of cooling, given that the evidence we're not is one of the most simple to understand points of this whole debate, it requires you to simply look with your eyes. However, since the graphs come from scientists and data, they are perceived as being tainted so roundly ignored. Graphs that support the "denier" position are posted in response, but generally don't make the point intended and when such mistakes are pointed out, they too are ignored (such as gazza not even bothering to acknowledge his mistakes on the NASA CO2/plant life cooling paper or the current climate of Greenland). I suspect that Monkton is simply gazza writ large. A layman who doesn't have the ability to critically evaluate scientific information, but who has that very modern combination of paranoia, Google and a perceived right to a valid opinion. What they generally end up proving is the old adage "you're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts".
  14. Dr_Dave

    Global Warming

    Yes, you're right. It isn't objective language. The objective way of describing people who would normally be labelled "denier" is "ignorant", or less charitably, "stupid". Some of the arguments deployed by "deniers", some in this very thread, are so far from being "valid opinions" that they're funny (or would be if the stakes weren't so great). They display a lack of understanding, not just of climate science, but of basic science itself. In a less politicised field, they would simply be ignored. On the other side of the non-consensus opinion, you have what are usually called "skeptics". I don't really like this term either, because if they're doing real science, they are simply "scientists", regardless of the view they hold. And there are genuine scientists, doing actual science, who are skeptical of aspects of AGW. There's not many, but they do exist and they ask good, relevant questions. You posted a link to such a paper yourself - the one about cosmic rays. Sadly, not many "deniers" bother with these valid questions. If they did, threads like this might be worthwhile.
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