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Charles Flynn

An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore

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This was a notice in December not February.

 

Where is your evidence for your statement? I wish it was true!

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I'm not sure how much trust I'd place on Neil Calder to tell the world how science really works, given that his background is no more scientific than the majority of peope (he's an arts graduate who, although working within scientific establishments, has no more experience of the actual science or how science works than any average press spokesman).

 

This is borne out by the points he makes, some of which have already been discussed on here, and which can be boiled down to the following:

 

1. He draws a comparison between the certainty expressed in the report with Cockroft's certainty he'd managed to perfect nuclear fusion, managing to neglect the fact that Cockroft was one man - a consensus amongst such a large body of scientists is not equivalent, and not as likely to be mistaken as the conviction of one man and his research team.

 

2. He goes on to suggest that 10% uncertainty is wide enough to allow a latter day Galileo, Einstein (here we go again...) to burst through with a radical new theory, and that this is how science works.

 

Sorry Neil, that's how science worked in the 19th century/early 20th century and before. Science these days is not about huge breakthroughs, our level of scientific knowledge today is so comprehensive and operates on such a technical level that modern science is a far more subtle beast than that which preceded it, characterised by a process of continuous and finer refinement of the complexities (accompanied by the occassional technological breakthrough that allows this refinement to take place. The likelyhood that there will be some future Galileo or Einstein is slim to say the least.

 

In essence his argument is one based on a romantic, and incorrect, notion of science as it should be - a rebellious, revolutionary practice that upturns old notions and preconceptions - that implies that consensus is not to be trusted and consensus that tallies with government opinion must be a product of that government (we should note that for all the talk of government's sinister obsession with greenhouse gasses, this concept and obsession, if it can be called that, originated in the scientific community and how they advised government).

 

I'm not a scientist, and make no pretensions about understanding the pros and cons of the big argument. I am, in this instance, as educated as the average man who is bombarded by daily warnings of doom and, the louder they get, the more he tends to mistrust them and come to believe that someone, somewhere, has a hidden agenda about all of this.

 

Your reply to the Times article seemed to concentrate on the character and qualifications of the writer, rather than on the actual content. Was this not a case of 'shoot the messenger?'

Was he wrong to suggest that "Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases?"

Is it true, as he states, that "While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean." And, if so, does this not impact on the certainties of the scientists?

Is there something wrong in the logic of - " The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do?"

 

I'm not criticising your reply, nor am I questioning that you probably have a greater degree of knowledge on this subject than I have. I am simply, as I've said, one of the huge mass who make up the 'unconvinced.'

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honestly the greenhouse effect is serious science, not politics. It explains why venus is extremely hot and mars is extremely cold... and we should be very careful about its impact on earth.

 

How about facing up to the evidence, and discussing how the island can reduce its ghg emissions and adapt to future impacts?

Though little mentioned is the fact that scientists are seeing global warming on Mars, Jupiter and even Pluto - which even to non-scientists must suggest something additional is going on. I still think there is more to this than meets the eye.

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Possibly it is not mentioned as it is a load of baloney. I think the theory in respect of Pluto is based on two observations 14 years apart and if my "0" level physics does not fail me the orbital period is about 247 years. The theories posted in respect of Mars & Jupiter I think are similarly flawed but they are nice headlines for the "sceptics" to jump on and qote without doing much further enquiry. You are not Peter Karran are you?

 

These theories rely on the cause of the warming being the sun. Fine but the sun is carefully watched and measured and in at least 30 years its solar output has not increased. Strange that its output has not increased in 30 years whilst over the same period the temperature of the earth has increased measurably? That would almost make you think they are not related!

 

 

 

 

Though little mentioned is the fact that scientists are seeing global warming on Mars, Jupiter and even Pluto - which even to non-scientists must suggest something additional is going on. I still think there is more to this than meets the eye.

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the sun is carefully watched and measured and in at least 30 years its solar output has not increased. Strange that its output has not increased in 30 years whilst over the same period the temperature of the earth has increased measurably?

 

Your Source?

 

Strange because it is well known that the sun's output waxes and wanes in an 11 year cycle.

The Sunspot Cycle

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Albert, that is disengenuous in the extreme. Scientists are seeing changes in the climates of the planets as a result of their changing orbits and interactions with the sun. This is a scientific topic, but the link to climate change on earth is flawed. What is happening on earth cannot be explained by these cycles and it at varience to them: hence the increasing confidence [increasing from between 60% and 90% in 2001 to above 90% in the 2007 IPCC report] that the climate changes due to increasing CO2 levels are now noticeable.

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the sun is carefully watched and measured and in at least 30 years its solar output has not increased. Strange that its output has not increased in 30 years whilst over the same period the temperature of the earth has increased measurably?

 

Your Source?

 

Strange because it is well known that the sun's output waxes and wanes in an 11 year cycle.

The Sunspot Cycle

 

Your not comparing apples with apples. Solar output has not varied over the last 30 years - that's a scientific fact. Yes there are sunspot cycles and it is thought they have an influence on global temperatures - the mini-ice age linking in with the Maunder minimum is the most famous example.

 

Link

 

Regardless of any discussion about solar irradiance in past centuries, the sunspot record and neutron monitor data (which can be compared with radionuclide records) show that solar activity has not increased since the 1950s and is therefore unlikely to be able to explain the recent warming.

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The World Radiation Centre. See

 

http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/c...e/SolarConstant

 

In addition to the 11 year cycle there is also a 22 year cycle. On a logic basis if they were relevant then surely we would see matching cycles in respect of global temperatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the sun is carefully watched and measured and in at least 30 years its solar output has not increased. Strange that its output has not increased in 30 years whilst over the same period the temperature of the earth has increased measurably?

 

Your Source?

 

Strange because it is well known that the sun's output waxes and wanes in an 11 year cycle.

The Sunspot Cycle

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Your reply to the Times article seemed to concentrate on the character and qualifications of the writer, rather than on the actual content. Was this not a case of 'shoot the messenger?'

 

I think the qualifications of the author in this instance are relevant to a significant part of his argument, that being of what constitutes real science and how this differs from the conclusions drawn in and from the recent report. Simply put, there's little to suggest that he's in any position to assert what real science is and how it's performed.

 

Was he wrong to suggest that "Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases?"

I'd say that he was. Climate research is a vast subject, with researchers covering a whole breadth of subjects besides the issue greenhouse gasses. Simply looking at the research interests listed on various university departments focusing on environmental science and climatology shows not a politicised bias towards greenhouse gasses, but a diverse body of research into all facets of the environment and climate.

 

Is it true, as he states, that "While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean." And, if so, does this not impact on the certainties of the scientists?

 

According to NASA it's not true, and, given the resiliant stance of many in the U.S. government regarding climate change, it is hard to believe that NASA's conclusion has been influenced by its paymasters.

 

But even were it true, is it likely that scientists working in this field would simply not notice that growth rate of ice in the Antarctic? Not very likely. Scientists are by nature fairly cautious creatures, working in a business where dropping a clanger like ignoring a big growth of ice can ruin a professional's entire reputation and career.

 

Is there something wrong in the logic of - " The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do?"

I'd say there is something wrong with the lgic, in so much that it's questionable as to how legitimate it is to declare trends over a mere seven or eight year period constitute a hypothesis busting levelling off of global temperatures. A perhaps more serious measurement can be seen here. The author's use of data from 1999 without actually justifying his conclusion or making a case for how it fits in with the broader data is simply an example of the most blatant form of cherry picking there is.

 

I'm not criticising your reply, nor am I questioning that you probably have a greater degree of knowledge on this subject than I have. I am simply, as I've said, one of the huge mass who make up the 'unconvinced.'

 

As I'm not questioning your original post or your questions. As it happens, I probably don't have a greater degree of knowledge regarding climate change. I do however detect in the writings of Calder, and, despite all the talk of fighting so called pseudo-science, Albert, a certain manipulation of the public's lack of understanding of science to push their own agendas, specifically by crudely painting a large body of highly regarded scientists as political stooges or of being so inept that they regularly bungle data or are oblivious to phenomena.

 

In fact, I'm not really all that bothered if the climate change hypothesis turns out to be wrong - I am a cautious man and my support of the current hypothesis derives from it being the safest bet at present. What I do resent, however, is people like Calder donning an ill fitting cloak of authority and hurling scraps of data that does less to strengthen their arguments than it does discredit those, who actually have spent their lives investigating and trying to understand the various phenomena that inform their conclusions and hypotheses, in the opposite camp. That is pseudoscience.

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Thank you for taking the trouble to reply so comprehensively, Vinnie. I appreciate it. To be honest, I'm still not entirely convinced by any of the arguments - other than the unarguable fact that the climate is changing.

I've never been up to much at scientific subjects where answers can be correct or incorrect - I've always had a preference for the arts where it doesn't matter who's right or wrong as long as the debate is interesting! :)

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It must be daunting if you are studying for a degree with Climatology as one of your options - if there is no definitive answer.

 

However for anyone who is interested there is another showing of "An Inconvenient Truth" on Monday 19th February at 7.30 p.m. at the Palace Cinema. This is sponsored by the Arts Council -Arts/Science co-operating!

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It must be daunting if you are studying for a degree with Climatology as one of your options - if there is no definitive answer.

 

However for anyone who is interested there is another showing of "An Inconvenient Truth" on Monday 19th February at 7.30 p.m. at the Palace Cinema. This is sponsored by the Arts Council -Arts/Science co-operating!

Another sheep bible is born...and hey! ...so what if it is factors of X (times) 10 out?

 

I still say dump "An Inconvenient Truth" and go for something a lot more realistic and updated. If this was being shown to my kids I would withdraw them from the showing, even just for the simple reason that it does not even approach the scientific 'consensus' of the current IPCC February report represented as the 'current world approach'.

 

I'd want my kids seeing the truth - not some political-pseudo-science that is at least 18 months away even from the IPCC 'reality'.

 

Anyone pushing this movie is not a scientist - they are a disciple.

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Your not comparing apples with apples. Solar output has not varied over the last 30 years - that's a scientific fact. Yes there are sunspot cycles and it is thought they have an influence on global temperatures - the mini-ice age linking in with the Maunder minimum is the most famous example.

 

Link

 

Regardless of any discussion about solar irradiance in past centuries, the sunspot record and neutron monitor data (which can be compared with radionuclide records) show that solar activity has not increased since the 1950s and is therefore unlikely to be able to explain the recent warming.

That is simply not true. It depends on how you measure solar activity e.g. sunspots, higher emission of X-Rays etc. Sunspots are only one way of measuring solar output, X-Rays affect atmospheres in completely different ways e.g. ionisation of particles etc. creation of ionised layers etc.

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It depends on how you measure solar activity e.g. sunspots, higher emission of X-Rays etc. Sunspots are only one way of measuring solar output, X-Rays affect atmospheres in completely different ways e.g. ionisation of particles etc. creation of ionised layers etc.

 

This is true, but climatologists have already taken this into account in their measurements and models. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute concluded from their research that solar activity, including radiation in the form of X-Rays and so forth, does not even nearly provide an adequate account for current climate phenomena such as global warming.

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