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Earth Science

BEST Study Finds Temperature Changes Explained by GHG Emissions and Volcanoes 355

riverat1 writes "The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature studies latest release finds that land surface temperature changes since 1750 are nearly completely explained by increases in greenhouse gases and large volcanic eruptions. They also said that including solar forcing did not significantly improve the fit. Unlike the other major temperature records BEST used nearly all available temperature records instead of just a representative sample. Yet to come is an analysis that includes ocean temperatures."
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BEST Study Finds Temperature Changes Explained by GHG Emissions and Volcanoes

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  • Predictions? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @04:07AM (#42644955)

    Uh-huh, big whoop. We've had heaps of models that fit the historical data - that's the easy part. It's all there, you can tweak your model as you like until it fits the historicals just right. The value of a model isn't in how well it fits the historical data, but how well it predicts future data.

    So crank a prediction or two out of this puppy and get back to us in a decade.

  • by Endovior ( 2450520 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @04:34AM (#42645057)
    So... what do you think we should do about it? We need some form of energy to keep running society. The default option is coal. You can try playing around with wind and solar, sure. I say 'play around' because the fact that you can't make money on them is an indicator of the deeper issue: they aren't efficient enough to actually run society. As such, attempts to use them wind up eating up a bunch of money and resources, and not meeting the actual needs of society, and so we fall back on the default option, coal. Geography permitting, you can use hydroelectric and geothermal, but it doesn't always permit. Also, even when it does, some people get pissy about dams 'destroying natural habitats' and similar bull; result being that the plants don't get built, and so we fall back on the default option, coal. Nuclear would be the best option; we know how to build efficient Thorium reactors, and we can put them anywhere, and we know how to keep them safe, and we know how to properly dispose of the spent fuel... but it's like there's some switch inside people's heads that makes them turn into frothing idiots when nuclear power gets mentioned, and so we can't actually build nuclear plants, nor places to safely store the spent fuel, and so we fall back on the default option, coal. When enough people fall back on coal, price fluctuations get it competing with natural gas and such, but it's basically the same thing; more burnt hydrocarbons, more CO2 in the atmosphere. If that was actually something you cared about minimizing, you'd get behind energy sources that actually produce the way we need them to produce, instead of producing the way you'd like them to produce.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @04:42AM (#42645083) Homepage

    Every major industrial force on the planet will continue as they are so long as their quartlerly reports show 'growth.' It's a system we can't change or undo. The major industrial forces will not allow it to change. They can't see or don't believe in a future that exists beyond the next year. When was the last time you heard "5 year plan"? And they are playing chicken with the future of humanity whether they realize it or not. Whoever hesitates or turns back will 'lose' as market forces will crush anyone into insignificance who isn't pushing forward.

    They don't "lead" the markets let alone control them. With such short vision, how can they? The market is still in the hands of the consumer... sheeple consumers mostly. If anyone has been paying attention to the increase in guns and ammo and especially the market effect the government's billions in ammunition purchases, then it should be pretty clear. This gun control talk and scarcity of supply isn't only causing a rise in prices, it's causing a rise in interest. People who had no interest in buying guns and ammo are now interested.

    Consumers can shape the next quarter. And the quarters to follow. Keep buying green. Keep buying things that do as little harm as possible. *I* don't make a difference. *You* don't make a difference. But *we* do. Talk to people, but don't argue or preach. Short, simple statements and move on. They won't think you're a crazy person if you don't come off that way.

    If you're thinking about moving, I would consider moving away from major weather areas... you know, like the coasts, or places where mountains have significant impact. That's what all this climate change is about anyway--the weather, the redistribution of water, the content of the air and what it does with the sun's energy. Take up a hobby like gardening. It could be useful. (Just don't grow things indoors too much... UV lamps attact cops.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @04:51AM (#42645107)

    Global Climate Change (which I believe in) proponents should publish a model, with a margin of error, and STOP CHANGING IT and agree that they will go away and start over if they are wrong, Instead, as each new bit of data comes in, they modify the "model" to better match the new data on a regular basis. Come on -- predict, and cast in concrete, the average tropospheric temperature from 2013 to 2018, with a low margin of error, and "lock it in". Cancel most "global climate change" funding, conferences, papers etc. for the next five years. If the prediction holds five years from now, then it has creds, else it's back to starting over.

    Faith is cast in concrete and chiseled in stone. Science is more of a wiki page.

  • Re:Not credible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @05:19AM (#42645237)

    Scientists use a subset of temperature stations to exclude bad ones, denialists cry: "They ignored the other stations because it didn't fit their desired outcome".

    Scientists use all available data. Denialists cry: "They didn't exclude the bad ones, so the results are unreliable".

    Science cannot win against politics and that is all denial is - politics, it has no scientific basis or support, no evidence whatsoever in it's favour, all it has is a very large, well-funded and heavily-subsidized incumbent industry that is quite desperate to prevent the rise of any competition - especially competition that is far more efficient and cheaper to consumers over the medium term.

  • by Dodgy G33za ( 1669772 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @05:34AM (#42645291)

    I fail to see how a crappy Murdoch rag could be responsible for global warming.

    Despite what you say, many people DO deny global warming, and just like the creationists they change their arguments when they are on a loser. Perhaps you would care to postulate as to why thousands of experts in their field are wrong, and posit an alternative theory as to why the CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere is not following the laws of thermodynamics and heating us up like a frog on a barbie.

    What I don't get is how a fair proportion of posters on this site, who must be mostly tech savvy, can leave their thinking shoes in the cupboard. Maybe it is because it is a predominately US site and you seem to be more right wing than Hitler over there. I don't think many of you get that Obama is actually right of centre compared with the free world, and your country is run as a corpocracy with your politicians doing the bidding of their sponsors rather than their electorates.

  • What do you mean "deny climate change"? People don't general deny it; people deny the attribution.

    Actually, the progression is "there is no warming", "there is some warming, but it's natural", "there is some warming, its anthropogenic, but it's good", "there is some warming, its anthropogenic, it's bad, but there is nothing we can do", "there is some warming, its anthropogenic, it's bad, but it's to expensive to do something", and then back to "there was some warming, but it has stopped". Different deniers are not always in sync - some cling to "there is no warming" when others have already reached the "its to expensive" stage.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@@@got...net> on Monday January 21, 2013 @05:56AM (#42645387) Journal

    Australia still burned down in December. We've had more fires, worse droughts, bigger storms, worse heat waves, more floods and unheard of winter storms all predicted by climate change models. At what point do you finally concede? When the planet is the twin of Venus? Physical reality first, ideology second. You can nit pick all day long, but y'all are picking nits. You're complaining about issues that impact the 5th or 6th places after the decimal point in the analysis results, while ignoring the whole numbers. That would indicate y'all are less deniers and more in denial. Sorry that climate change is messing with your "Atlas Shrugged" world view but we need to come up with smarter answers. By the way, if the Germans make solar work, then from this day forward, we all get to call bull shit on those folks who've been stone walling renewables, just because Chevron can't figure out a way to create an artificial sun shortage to jack up prices.

  • Re:Predictions? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yndrd1984 ( 730475 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @06:24AM (#42645471)

    Instead, as each new bit of data comes in, they modify the "model" to better match the new data on a regular basis.

    But changing one's models to fit empirical data is the basic philosophy underpinning ... um ... that thing they're doing.

  • Re:Predictions? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @06:35AM (#42645519)
    Except you have no theory to back your polynomial theoretically. Unlike you, the people who make climate models have a rather convincing theoretical backing for their polynomials.
  • by KeensMustard ( 655606 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @07:07AM (#42645617)
    But responses to this very topic belie this statement:

    Here is a guy claiming that Global Warming doesn't exist: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3395415&cid=42645177 [slashdot.org]

    Here is a guy claiming that it is real but probably a good thing, he can't wait for more of it: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3395415&cid=42645015 [slashdot.org]

    Read any denialist website and you'll soon see that they hold several contradictory assertions to be simultaneously true. Why then, would we accept that any of these assertions are true?

    So what is your definition of "logically sound"? It sounds like it's equivalent to "the most plausible at any given time that doesn't involve admitting that we must take action to mitigate climate change" Qualifying what is allowed to be real doesn't sound like accepting reality - reality is not negotiating with us for a mutually acceptable outcome.

    Oh, and one final thing. If you want to know whether or not feedbacks are negative, neutral or positive, read just about any denialist website. They'll tell you that in the climate record, there are instances where CO2 has lagged a climate change. What does this mean? What it really means is that climate sensitivity is positive. These people are disproving themselves and they don't even realise it. Ironic, no?

  • Re:Predictions? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @08:08AM (#42645797) Homepage

    Climate models are grounded in physics. The models have many parameters, but these are not free - their possible range is constrained by experimental data. A good model manages to reproduce past climate while staying as close to the best estimates of these parameters as possible (and most of them have already shown themselves good at predicting future climate, to some degree).

    predict, and cast in concrete, the average tropospheric temperature from 2013 to 2018, with a low margin of error, and "lock it in". Cancel most "global climate change" funding, conferences, papers etc. for the next five years. If the prediction holds five years from now, then it has creds, else it's back to starting over.

    You are in cloud-cuckoo land. Unfortunately, this idea that climate scientists should throw away all their work and "start over" isn't rare, nor is it your own.

  • OK, so just stick with the "it's too expensive" rebuttal.

    What do you do about global warming if it's too expensive to 'fix'? Honest question. No, I'm not saying "just ignore it", I'm saying: come up with a real goddamn solution, or at least a path which is tenable without punishing first adopters or shoving government totalitarian enforcement down peoples' throats. (No, it isn't worth living or saving the planet if we all live as eco-slaves.)

    I don't think that it's too expensive to do anything. Significant expense is coming down anyways - in the form of direct effects of climate change, of increasing fossil fuel prices, and of social unrest. We can opt to handle the expense in a controlled, gradual manner, or we can wait until the midwestern corn belt turns into a dust bowl again, New Orleans vanishes behind a massive sea wall, and refugees from Bangladesh destabilise India. A simple way of changing to a less carbon-intensive economy is to introduce a gradually and reliably increasing tax on carbon emission - e.g. collected internally for fossil fuel at the point of production or importation, and at the border for products coming from states that do not have a similar policy. This can be done in a revenue-neutral way, by lowering existing taxes, or by distributing the income to the population similar to e.g. Alberta's so-called Prosperity Bonus [wikipedia.org]. Even if you follow the Stern Review [wikipedia.org], the suggested tax rate of US$ 30 per ton of carbon amounts to less than 10 cent per gallon - noticeable, but hardly debilitating.

  • Re:Predictions? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:58AM (#42646359)
    This crap again? Of course it's falsifiable. The models used today are different to those from a few years ago as more information is gathered. Those less precise models have been proved false and replaced with more correct ones - so it's already passed that test many times.

    Sorry kid, you are just going to have to think for yourself here instead of regurgitating bullshit from some denialist playbook written by a thinktank that put a low rent philosophy undergraduate student on as an intern. I'm sure you are far more capable of coming up with something that proves intelligence from your own mind instead of parroting this shit like an imbecile.
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:07AM (#42646419) Homepage

    So let's have more climate treaties, more inconsistent taxation, and move more production to China !

    What does China/other developing economies use for energy for that production ?

    Almost exclusively coal, which is pretty much the worst method of producing energy, environmentally speaking. Also, transporting those produced goods to the west is not exactly environmentally friendly either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:35AM (#42646659)

    One could also point out that the temperature changes predicted by the "scientific consensus" at the UN's IPCC had both predictions and 95% intervals. Guess what ?

    Those predictions were wrong, we're outside of the 95% confidence intervals for both IPCC FAR and the first AR. Depending on the month we are either at the very bottom, or below, the 95% interval for the second AR. Futher studies did not stop the alarmism, but apparently the IPCC got the message and stopped including predictions in their most recent assessment report, an act that would draw accusations of outright fraud for any group of scientists, except of course in this case.

    What do we do with theories that make predictions and those predictions turn out to be wrong ? Oh wait, this is a climate study, never mind. We have long since decided what to do. Also, if we base policy, like the Kyoto protocol, on predictions that are now known to be wrong, then we repeal it, right ? Nope. You see, more recent results "prove" that we were right in the first prediction. That those results are more recent results, of course, imply that there is much, much less data to test their correctness ... an exercise nobody felt was even necessary. (but don't worry, there is more irrelevant data to test them against. The only -valid- way to test predictions, of course, is to test them against measurements that were unknown at the time of the study, otherwise everybody will simply completely overfit the data, leading to invalid results ... but in climate studies, this is not done)

    How do they actually arrive at those 95% predictions ? Well, the method is as follows. You take existing studies, which are extremely non-linear models with between thousands and millions of free and fixed variables (like values for cloud cover, temperature, wind speed, forcing, ... for every square kilometer on the earth). You take one of the fixed variables (temperature), massively average it across the globe within one study, and you ... and I'm not kidding here ... average it across the different studies.

    Why anyone bothers arguing that this is even remotely correct ... is beyond me. The excuse for doing this is that they do not have the resources to do better. Which is sad, really, but that does not excuse using known catastrophically wrong models because they're the best ones that fit in your desk calculator.

    You might think they try to figure out what makes all these studies different, decide on what's best, physically the most plausible, ... that sort of thing. Then one might decide what is the best method, and run that. You'd be wrong, they ... average them.

    The problem is that by selecting the studies you average, it is possible to arrive at any result, assuming there are enough insane studies (and this article illustrates, no problems there).

    I have even played with one model myself, and of course it confirmed what I thought in the first place : adding a random factor centered around 0 to the windspeed at t=0 (which does not alter the energy balance of the earth, so it should have zero effect) ... changed the prediction by massive amounts. I got the result that it would cool by 35 degrees with one random seed, others gave 5 or 2 or whatever results. The answer "well, you have to pick it well". Right ... that, it turns out, is nothing more than accepted practice, and I got that from 3 different phd students working on it. What ... the ... fuck ... ?

    The "scientific consensus" is essentially hand-picked by a number of scientists, who can get any result they want, and therefore the only thing the IPCC predictions illustrate, is what the IPCC wants it to be. And nothing more.

    It should be treated as such.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:43AM (#42646743) Homepage

    Ok, and how do you talk your way out of this one. Since 1990 there have been various studies on the climate. The scientific consensus in 1990 was that the temperatures on earth would rise by 0.2 degrees per decade. The scientific consensus on climate in 2000 was that it would rise by 0.18 degrees per decade. The scientific consensus in 2005 was that it would rise 0.23 degrees per decade.

    The reality ? http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=global+climate+studies+last+20+years [wolframalpha.com]

    Now we can go through the motions if you like, but looking at that graph, is it so hard to believe that we're below every 95% certainty interval for temperature prediction made at least 5 years ago (5 years, because there was an IPCC assessment report in 2007).

    Can you just remind me, because I seem to have trouble remembering my philosophy of science class. What does one do with theories whose predictions (which means measurements made AFTER publication) provide completely wrong ? And, given that climate theory has failed the only test that matters for science, accurate predictions, can you please explain to me why anyone believes it ? Please note that saying "others know better than you" is wrong, as made obvious by these "95% certain" predictions the "others" you speak of made.

  • Re:Koch Brothers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by berashith ( 222128 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:03AM (#42646953)

    I agree with this exactly. The problem I have is the frequency that anyone who raises a question is labeled as a denier. There are a lot of good points that get glossed over because the points are being addressed to a non-existent group identity with a large helping of name calling. There are many different beliefs that dont swear by AGW, and some of which are loony tune deniers, and some are pointing out scientific questioning.

    I like to read through all of these comments, replacing "denialist" or "denier" with "poo-poo head", then again with "person" . The arguments can be vastly different this way.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @02:41PM (#42649339) Homepage

    So what's your point?

    Yes - the stuff China is doing is bad. And by consuming their products, we enable them. And we are bad.

    As a civilization - we need to all stop figuratively flicking our cigarette butts out the window. And by "all", I mean "all". I know that that sounds pretty awful and totalitarian, and the implications are staggering. But if we don't consider that, and continue on our present course - don't kid yourselves - we're not going to "ride this out" or "cope and adapt". It's going to get pretty god damn ugly here in about 20-30 years. It's probably already too late.

  • Re:Koch Brothers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @03:06PM (#42649621) Homepage Journal

    Almost everyone of those who "raise questions" just regurgitate stuff they've sucked up on internet messageboards, frequently debunked falsehoods that are still recirculated ad nauseam just because those people (look, I called them people, not denialists!) don't really care about facts. I notice that you don't mention any one of those "good points" you pretend to refer to, glossing over them yourself while blaming your strawman of the very same.

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