Saturday, 24 October 2015

Heads it's natural variations, tails it's global warming.

From The Washington Post:

“This modeled Antarctic sea ice decrease in the last three decades is at odds with observations, which show a small yet statistically significant increase in sea ice extent,” says the study, led by Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Elizabeth Barnes.

A recent study by Lorenzo Polvani and Karen Smith of Columbia University says the model-defying sea ice increase may just reflect natural variability.

If the increase in ice is due to natural variability, Zhang says, warming from manmade greenhouse gases should eventually overcome it and cause the ice to begin retreating.

4 comments:

Bayard said...

We used to turn to religion to try and assign cause and effect to random natural events, now it's science. As G.K.Chesterton said "When men stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing, they believe in anything".

The Stigler said...

Bayard,

It's not science that's the problem. It's politics. The people who tell us to trust the scientists on climate change are also the people who say we can't trust scientists who say that GM foods are safe.

And the science of climate change is very political because it's about state vs individual rights. It's the classic dividing line in politics. At what point does the state get you to do something. And there are people who would like that to be everything. After the Soviet Bloc collapsed and proved that state planning of industry doesn't work, they jumped on climate change as the new hope for more statism. The mantra was no longer that the Soviet Union worked better at producing more stuff for people, it was that producing more stuff for people was bad and the state must curtail it.

Me, I think there's some truth in it, but I'm getting the feeling that the models exaggerate the problem. And then the media/commentariat that are always looking for doomsday stories exaggerate the effect of that. But the science isn't like say, physics or maths where people are very much working around the weird edges of things. I don't even think climate science is as mature as economics.

Bayard said...

"I don't even think climate science is as mature as economics."

Well they both have the appearance of being as much a science of astrology, in that the "facts" only support the theories if you ignore everything that contradicts them.

Personally, I think it's more a need to believe in angels and demons, in good versus evil and that someone is in control. Religions, especially Christianity, do this very well. Global warming has its good guys in the "Greenies", who purportedly are on the side of the little people and its bad guys, the fossil fuel companies, who are purportedly on the side of the "1%". "Global warming" is not a natural phenomenon, the high priests of Big Green say, it's in our control, we can do something to stop the bad guys making it happen, if you will lend us your support and get the state to go on giving us lots of the lovely money they took from you.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, good point about GM food.

But I suppose that scientists who say is is safe to eat are Bad Scientists in the pay of the 1% etc (see Bayard's point).