Today, Roger Pielke Senior has posted on his blog a response to the reply by Michael Schlesinger to his criticism of a post at Andy Revkin’s NYT blog.
Well, RP Sr’s response was concise and well said, but I have a few thoughts of my own. According to MS:
So, one set of raw temperature data, of needs be, and several different decisions about how to analyze these raw data, all lead to the same conclusion – the Earth’s near-surface temperature has warmed by about 0.9°C (1.6°F) during the past 150 years.
Really now! How did MS calculate that .9 estimate? Why no uncertainty estimate either? Go figure. Depending on what periods you are comparing you are gonna get different estimates of the amount of warming even from one data set. But only ONE covers a whole one hundred and fifty years. Eyeballing, it looks like more like .8, but that’s pretty close. Either way this is not exactly a large number-it’s a mere fraction of what some models predict in the next century. So “detection” if you accept the data as presented (there are serious potential problems with that) is:
closed, period, RPS or any other climate skeptic notwithstanding.
That’s a nice attitude for a scientist, by the way.
The next task is to attribute these detected changes in near-surface temperature to their causes, natural or not – us (and U.S.).
In case you had any doubts, the evil United States of America is responsible for Global Warming. Along with all other ills of the world. I just love leftist psuedo-intellectualism!
This can be done only with a climate model
One teensy problem. A climate model, no matter how simple or complex, is a hypothesis. One cannot test a hypothesis with another hypothesis. So MS’s statement is just wrong. The real only way to know what has caused the changes is to identify ALL relevant influences and figure out how they add up. Attribution in fact is determined not by what climate model you choose, for the most part, but rather by the forcings that are chosen. Depending on the forcings you use, the result will vary a little. The only problems are these: The actual forcings are not known with much certainty. Aerosols may cancel a little or nearly all CO2 warming. Moreover, there could easily be factors which are not included at all, because they aren’t know and/or understood fully (for natural, more than solar irradiance, which MS calls “sun”, and volcanoes could easily be involved). This makes for a great deal of uncertainty, especially when you consider that the GCMs do not contain realistic internal variability ( things like ENSO, AMO, PDO etc. are thought to be modes of climate variability, but even the best models can at best have ENSO-like variability and some a few others, none of which give the timing and magnitude quite right) and the EBM used by MS in the paper he mentions doesn’t contain it all. So all this makes attribution significantly uncertain. But MS leaves no room for any possibility that the current beliefs about attribution among his colleagues and himself are wrong:
Thus the case of the causes of the observed climate change is closed, period – RPS or any other climate skeptic notwithstanding.
I’m right, no question, shut the hell up. Real Scientist like.
What remains is to decide what to do about this, bury our collective heads in the sand and pretend that reality is otherwise, or take on the hard task before us of making the transition this century from the fossil-fuel age to the post fossil-fuel age.
And now MS displays his arrogant belief that he knows what our options are, and present us with a dilemma-no, rather, an ultimatum. No more fossil fuels or you’ll:
condemn billions of human beings, now and in the future, to death by climate.
Billions of climate deaths! Really? When? We have had almost a whole degree already and life expectancy keeps going up and death rates down-even when it comes to extreme weather. So not only would the current trend have to reverse dramatically, people will have to become more vulnerable to the same amount of warming than they have been. That seems extremely super impossible. So MS’s hyperbole is ludicrous.
The problem with MS’s ultimatum for humanity is our options are in fact more than just the two he proposes. The best choice in reality is just to let things run their course. We’ll transition to a post fossil fuel economy eventually-when it makes sense to do so. But right now, it doesn’t- Climate alarmists not withstanding.
And finally some idiotic pathos:
my 3 children and 6 grandchildren will be here to see whether or not we now behave in a responsible way to them and their progeny, and to our one-and-only planet.
Um, dude, you live in a first world country. Your kids are going to be fine, as are there kids. As John Stossel would say Give me a break! Jeez.