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Norwegian Study: Global Warming Less Severe Than Feared 468

Posted by timothy
from the don't-question-your-questions dept.
Numerous news outlets are reporting the findings of a study from the Research Council of Norway — a government agency — which concludes that (in Bloomberg's version) "After the planet's average surface temperature rose through the 1990s, the increase has almost leveled off at the level of 2000, while ocean water temperature has also stabilized." The New York Times' Dot Earth blog offers some reasons to be skeptical of the findings.
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Norwegian Study: Global Warming Less Severe Than Feared

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:42AM (#42707095)

    It's real! Panic!

    Even if it's not real, the world will be a better place if you panic!

    Frankly, I don't give a crap what the world will be like for my great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren. If they're too slow to get out of the way of a 500 year long rising tide, screw em.

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      Let me guess - republican?
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:59AM (#42707175) Journal

    For god's sake, it's just one more piece of analysis. If true, it will be followed up on, if not, it will be followed up on with corrections.

  • Nature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:07AM (#42707223)

    A peer reviewed study that doesn't quite jive with the prevailing line of thinking appears in the prestigious journal Nature.

    But don't worry, some blogger says it may not be correct. Alarmist Rejoice!

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmai l . c om> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:11AM (#42707241) Homepage

    the 'reasons to be skeptical' weren't by a journalist and had a bit more meat than "doesn't *quite* fit the received wisdom and thus is fodder for the deniers".

  • Poor summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Layzej (1976930) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:20AM (#42707279)

    This study finds warming at the low end of the IPCC projections. Other studies find warming at the high end of IPCC projections. There is uncertainty, and that why the IPCC publishes a range - but this study is not outside the published range. If this study is right then we will be committed to 2C of warming by 2050. We are trying to stay below 2C to avoid hitting some of the more worrisome tipping points and impacts.

    Hopefully this study is right. If so then there is a chance that we can get off of carbon based fuels before we hit the tipping points. I wouldn't bet my kid's future on this one study though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387)

      If so then there is a chance that we can get off of carbon based fuels before we hit the tipping points.

      Which of course is making the assumption that there even is a tipping point, which isn't clear.

      • Re:Poor summary (Score:5, Informative)

        by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:12PM (#42708573)

        Tipping point is typically considered to be the point when waters get warm enough for methane emissions increase from sediment becomes self-sustaining. We have significant evidence from excavations that suggests that once methane saturation in the air reaches certain point, it will become a self-sustained and very fast paced acceleration.

        This is known because we can assess methane content from excavating ground layers. In other words, we know that this has happened in the past, several times. We also know that sediment contains high amounts of methane that is currently not being released into atmosphere in significant amounts and we know that warming water on top of that sediment will cause these emissions to increase rapidly.

      • I would regard an extinction level event to ocean acidification as a tipping point, and based on the geological record we seem on track for that.
  • Ten years is too short time for any conclusion.

  • As if it matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by segfault_0 (181690) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:31AM (#42707349)

    Not like we have world or national governance that can do anything about it.

    The US government can't make a budget or run a money system of their own creation -- yet you think they can absorb science, understand it, and react to it in an effective fashion?

    Such things only exist so that there can be sides for people to join and so there can be issues to argue about.

    And we should all piss our pants if someone publishes that its slightly higher or slightly lower than expected? Laughable.. argue on children.

  • by Burz (138833) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @12:14PM (#42707617) Journal

    due to solar and (lack of) el nino cycles coinciding. Its quite temporary and we're already coming out of it.

    • by djKing (1970)

      I'd love to see a source for that prediction.

    • Except for the El Nino conditions in 2006. And in 2009. Other than that we haven't seen El Nino conditions. Of course 2007 saw a strong La Nina event.
  • by Xyrus (755017) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @12:25PM (#42707693) Journal

    It's doubtful their study will hold up to scrutiny. After reading the actual study, they're using a simple climate model to feed a Baeysian statistical model to generate their results, which fails to take into account numerous factors. This seems exceptionally weak, especially since a few years of data can drastically alter the results. For example, if the last ten years had a few strong El Ninos that gave a warming signal stronger than the expected signal, their model could be made to show warming beyond even the worst IPCC projections. And if you applied their methodology to a decade where some slight cooling took place (like the late 60's to early 70's), it would appear that by this time we would be well on our way to an ice age by now. That's an incredibly wide error margin, and more than enough to cast doubts on their results.

  • And yet ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @12:25PM (#42707699)

    the paper makes no challenge to the proposition that GW is occurring and is indeed anthropogenic, only that it us perhaps somewhat less severe than other recent estimates indicate.

    So why again are the climate change deniers crowing in "vindication?"

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      And why are the climate change alarmists vilifying this study?

      Because both groups are driven by political agendas and personal beliefs that are largely unconcerned with science or figuring out what is actually going to happen or how best to fix it.

  • GLOBAL BAKING, which seems to be more to the point.

  • Look at the data (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:11PM (#42708569)

    Until recently I believed the human-induced global warning narrative. On closer inspection of the data there are several aspects that need to be examined:

    • * is the World is warmer than it has been for the last two thousand years?
    • * is the warning of the last three hundreds years (which is undeniable) human induced?
    • * why are scientists who use the Scientific Method and go against the narrative being vilified? and
    • * global climate models

    Global temperature increase data: The data shows that global warming is correct at least since the 17th Century (when there was a 'mini-ice age', possibly due to volcanic activity). This is undeniable. However, if you go back to data from two thousand years ago it appears that the climate is actually cooler than it was two thousand years ago. Please look at the data (and note that the trend is a very slight cooling over 2000 years):
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-climate-northern-europe-reconstructed-years.html [phys.org]

    Human induced warming: The narrative given to us is that human activity in the form of burning fossil fuels has caused the supposed warming. If this was the case then we would examine the data and expect to see a carbon dioxide rise (CO2) from humans burning fossil fuels and then the temperature would rise as a result. In fact we see the opposite, we see that the CO2 rise *follows* the temperature rise, not precedes it. This means there is something wrong with the narrative that human-induced CO2 emission is causing global warming because the data does not support this. Here's the data
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/23/new-research-in-antarctica-shows-co2-follows-temperature-by-a-few-hundred-years-at-most/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

    Global warming models: Much of the global warming information is based on 'extrapolations' (projections) of short-term trends. Looking over the last hundred or two hundred years and projecting will result in temperature rise estimates that are alarming. Looking at the long-term data results in projections that are far less alarming (which this Slashdot thread is talking about; and I am also trying to inform you about). The other thing about models is that they are iterative and are subject to all sorts of instabilities. From what I know some of the models also were rather crude in the fact they didn't take into account many significant effects, like the eccentricity of our orbit etc, which results in periodic changes in solar radiation levels. Having a model is always better than no model - but that doesn't mean the model you have corresponds to reality, it only corresponds to our best guess. I know, as a astrophysicist turned IT guy used to make scientific models all the time - they are tricky beasts and most people (even those graduate students making them) don't always understand their limitations very well.

    Vilification of scientists: scientists who where skeptical of the data are being vilified. Their careers are being destroyed and they are ridiculed for saying, "Hey, the data suggests something else than the human-induced global warming narrative" despite this being not only consistent with, but *required by* the Scientific Method. These scientists are labelled by the media as "climate change deniers" when in fact they agree with recent climate warming, disagree that human-released CO2 as the primary agent for the warming, and disagree that the climate has gotten warmer over the last two thousand years. All of these positions are supported by the data (as far as I can see). The media is especially bad at mocking the scientists who "don't follow the (Liberal) Party Line" despite the courage of those scientists to not cave in (which would be easier) and follow the scientific evidence as they see it. The US mainstream media

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If these are the questions that you're asking now that you don't believe the "global warming narrative," you clearly didn't have a very thoughtful basis for your original belief either, if you're indeed being truthful about your personal conversion, which I must say that I found doubtful. Honestly, I would have expected a heck of a lot more thought out of an astrophysicist.

      What is of concern is not prehistoric change and long-term trends. There are many ways to influence a physical system and the concern

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by riverat1 (1048260)

      Responding to your points:

      Global temperature increase data: Don't make the mistake of extrapolating the results of one study from Lapland to the whole globe. Unless you can present corroborating evidence from reasonably globally spread sites it's more about local conditions than global conditions.

      Human induced warming: Of course there is nothing "supposed" about the warming. It has been measured. Where is your evidence that CO2 rise has to follow the rise in temperature? If that it true then where is

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:37PM (#42708759) Journal

    Why to be skeptical of the findings?

    The main reason they doubt it is because it contradicts quasi-religous dogma.

  • This study doesn't say anything about the "severity" of the phenomenon but is a statistical modelling of the sensitivity of the surface temperature to the concentration of co2. In other words, the rate of the warming. However, it is written : "When the researchers at CICERO and the Norwegian Computing Center applied their model and statistics to analyse temperature readings from the air and ocean for the period ending in 2000, they found that climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration will most likely be 3.7C, which is somewhat higher than the IPCC prognosis. But the researchers were surprised when they entered temperatures and other data from the decade 2000-2010 into the model; climate sensitivity was greatly reduced to a “mere” 1.9C." That doesn't look to be a very solid model ...

  • my fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:50PM (#42708855) Homepage Journal

    sunspot activity indicates we're in for some global cooling

    which will counteract the obvious global warming our CO2 output is producing

    so the debate will get shattered

    then, in a decade or two when sunspot activity picks up, the temperature and violence of the atmosphere will shoot back up, and we'll be totally caught by surprise

  • You mean a climate study (that is critical of aaalll the other scientists in the world who have been screaming things have, thanks to VERY recent evidence in the last few years not to mention last year which saw huge droughts, storms, and heat (Australia had to come up with a new colour for their frickin'
      weather map it was so hot), gotten far, far worse), from the Norway who's entire economy derives from oil?

    What a co-inky-dink.

  • by fullmetal55 (698310) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @03:22PM (#42709069)

    the problem with climate study in general is there are literally millions of possible variables to affect global climate. are there things we can do to prevent it? possibly, it's also entirely possible that there is nothing we can do to stop it. it all depends on the variables a study takes into account. I'm not a denier, and I do think there are things we should be doing to lessen our impact on the environment. Climate change is a very new science, there are a lot of factors we don't know about, and new factors come into play in each new study. It's still science, proving and disproving hypotheses is the foundation of the scientific method. Shutting down the findings of a study because you don't believe in it is as short-sighted and self-serving as creationists denying the evidence of evolution.

    I actually like seeing more studies being done on this, rather than just towing the party line...

    frankly...

    the more studies the better.

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