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NASA Earth Science

New NASA Data Casts Doubt On Global Warming Models 954

Posted by timothy
from the but-scientists-love-models dept.
bonch writes "Satellite data from NASA covering 2000 through 2011 cast doubt on current computer models predicting global warming, according to a new study. The data shows that much less heat is retained by carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere than is assumed in current models. 'There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans,' said Dr. Roy Spencer, a co-author of the study and research scientist at the University of Alabama." Note: the press release about the study is somewhat less over the top.
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New NASA Data Casts Doubt On Global Warming Models

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  • Dr. Roy Spencer... (Score:1, Informative)

    by ravenspear (756059) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @07:46PM (#36915382)

    ...is a proponent of intelligent design and rejects evolution.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/roy-spencer-on-intelligent-design/ [uncommondescent.com]

    nuff said

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2011 @07:50PM (#36915430)

    A few notes about TFA:
    1) The data comes from satellites put into space by NASA, but NASA is in no way involved in this study.
    2) If this study actually significantly contradicts our knowledge of global heating, why has it been published in Remote Sensing, and not a more reputable journal?
    3) They only interviewed the guy from the University of Alabama who lead the study
    4) The author works for The Heartland Institute
    5) They seem to have replaced the words "accurate" and "accepted by the scientific community" with "alarmist"
    6) Source on UN's involvement? Seems like they threw that one in just to go for the "UN = bad" reaction that a lot of people have

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2011 @07:51PM (#36915458)

    Dr Roy Spencer is a creationist. A proponent of intelligent design.

    His work has been largely criticized in the peer review literature.

  • Beware the source (Score:2, Informative)

    by red_dragon (1761) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @07:52PM (#36915472) Homepage

    FTA:

    James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

    Re. Heartland:

    About us:
    Heartland's mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Such solutions include parental choice in education, choice and personal responsibility in health care, market-based approaches to environmental protection, privatization of public services, and deregulation in areas where property rights and markets do a better job than government bureaucracies.

    In other words, Heartland is a mouthpiece for the Tea Party.

  • the actual paper (Score:4, Informative)

    by AxemRed (755470) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @07:53PM (#36915478)
    The guy who wrote this article is a little biased. The original paper is available online for those who want to see what it really has to say.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/pdf [mdpi.com]
  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @08:00PM (#36915582)

    Anyone who is inclined to give a lot of weight to this "alarmist" press release should first read this [realclimate.org], on a previous paper from Roy Spencer. Note this

    what he gets through peer-review is far less threatening to the mainstream picture of anthropogenic global warming than you’d think from the spin he puts on it in press releases, presentations and the blogosphere.

    Now, also read the paper [mdpi.com], and note this

    It is concluded that atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in satellite radiative budget observations.

    Hmm, doesn't sound like the press release or the Forbes article much, does it ?

    Use the above and your judgement to figure out just how much weight to give the above.

  • by Graymalkin (13732) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @08:07PM (#36915668)

    The author of this fine piece is a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute [wikipedia.org], a libertarian think tank that seems to think global warming is some sort of fairy tale. This is the same group that worked with Phillip Morris to deny the link between second hand smoke and lung cancer. It would be fantastic for Forbes, Yahoo!, or maybe even Timothy make some effort to mention that this is essentially an OpEd posing as a news report. Instead we get this bullshit that's going to pull in the teenage libertarian "See global warming is made up!" short bus riders.

    Slashdot: News for nerds, some of our editors are actually retarded.

  • by Xyrus (755017) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @08:58PM (#36916250) Journal

    The paper doesn't do anything close to what the summary suggests, nor what either story suggests. The submitter is basically trolling it up.

    The paper is available for all to read here: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/pdf [mdpi.com]

    Basically, they are talking about lack of model sensitivity for non-radiative feedback, which is something that was already known. The models on a MONTHLY basis don't go high enough on the maximums and don't go low enough on the minimums (and there is a lag). Or in other words, the models get the general predictions right (warmer temperatures) but don't capture shorter term variability as well (heat waves, cold snaps).

    Of course, it's already well known that climate models don't capture short term variability very well. However, this paper helps quantify that and provides some insights on how to better improve that aspect of modeling.

    Or if you don't want to read the whole paper just skip to the conclusions sections, which mention nothing about invalidating global warming or the science thereof.

    How that gets translated into "New Study Trashes Global Warming" is beyond me.

  • Re:Follow the data! (Score:2, Informative)

    by lessthan (977374) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @09:11PM (#36916380)

    Great post, but so? It is getting warmer. There is data supporting this statement. Warmer has several negative effects that we don't want. Shouldn't we work towards cooler? Since carbon dioxide has been demonstrated to help retain heat, shouldn't part of the solution be to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere? Then, if the heating is found to be unrelated and the world begins to cool, perhaps that would be the appropriate time to go back to releasing the CO2?

    Do a list with the three possibilities:
    1. earth warming by itself, not going to stop
    2. earth warming with help from CO2
    3. earth warming, but in the future will cool by itself
    #1 means we're screwed no matter what we do. #2 means we're screwed only if we do nothing. #3 means we're fine, no matter what. #2 is the swing vote here. Do we want a 2/3 chance of warming or cooling? (If we are going to ignore the models completely.)

  • by uncadonna (85026) <mtobis AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 28, 2011 @09:18PM (#36916430) Homepage Journal
    Prof Bickmore of BYU has been working hard at debunking Spencer's endless efforts to find nothing where there is something (after all, an easier task than the other way around). The latest is here [wordpress.com], and a catalog of Bickmore's readings of Spencer is here [wordpress.com].

    Here's more: Climate Change Debunked? Not So Fast [livescience.com]

    The paper was mostly unnoticed in the public sphere until the Forbes blogger declared it "extremely important."

    Dessler, the A&M climatologist said that he doubted the research would shift the political debate around global warming.

    "It makes the skeptics feel good, it irritates the mainstream climate science community, but by this point, the debate over climate policy has nothing to do with science," Dessler said. "It's essentially a debate over the role of government," surrounding issues of freedom versus regulation.

    Spencer himself is up front about the politics surrounding his work. In July, he wrote on his blog that his job "has helped save our economy from the economic ravages of out-of-control environmental extremism," and said he viewed his role as protecting "the interests of the taxpayer."

    Slashdot editors, please try to remember that a single paper normally doesn't overturn scientific understanding, and try to avoid habitual hype sources. Thanks.

  • by spinkham (56603) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @09:32PM (#36916554)

    Yes, they have. [wordpress.com]

    Basically, he is using a simplified model from other climate scientists, and uses inputs that seem to be chosen to get the result he wants, not based on any evidence.

  • Re:Follow the data! (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday July 29, 2011 @12:00AM (#36917560) Journal

    Input, in this case was the collected data from weather stations, satellites, ice cores, tree rings, etc.

    The historical weather record is not used as input it is used to test the model via hind-casting. The inputs to the models are things such as the strength of gravity, the composition of the atmosphere, the absorption spectra of GHG's, the shape of the Earth's geode, etc. The 'logic" is the laws of physics and chemistry. The algothim that brings them together is called finite element analysis and is used on everything from designing casts for engine blocks to building bridges for them to drive across.

    As for TFA, the author of the paper, Roy Spencer [wikipedia.org], is a creationist quack who has expanded his quackery into AGW, his claims on anything scientific should be taken with a truckload of salt.

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