Climate deniers - Who are they? What do they believe

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by fogpipe, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I've never heard of the Beer-Lambert Law. I have a sometimes-vague layman's understanding of the others. (I don't see the relevance of several of them to the climate issue.) Do I think that any of them are wrong? No, not really. While I'm not up to speed on whatever evidence and scientific justification support these various principles, I'm prepared to accept all of them provisionally, on faith.

    I'm not in any position to follow the minute technical details whatever arguments are being made using these principles. Nor do I have access to the raw data-sets upon which the arguments are being applied. I'm certainly not in any position to critically evaluate the arguments so as to identify any errors or unjustified assumptions that might be present in them. (False assumptions are often unstated and implicit and not that easy to see, even for specialists.)

    Which leaves laypeople like myself in the position of either accepting or rejecting whatever the conclusions of the arguments are supposed to be, based largely on the strength of our faith in science and scientists.

    My point in this thread is that when an ostensibly scientific issue becomes as politicized as global warming has become, and when thoughtful dispassionate discussion of the issues turns into hysterical and frankly bizarre ad-hominem denunciations of what are perceived as evil heretics, one's faith in the objectivity and credibility of the process isn't enhanced.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That's fine - but you can always back that faith up with your own research.
    Again, that doesn't have to be the case. One of the reasons I think Maxwell's Equations adequately describe electromagnetics, for example, is that I have verified it literally hundreds of times. Once or twice I've seen something that looked wrong, that looked like Maxwell's Equations might not hold. In all cases I eventually discovered my mistake.
    A few notes:
    I am generally careful to define two kinds of rejection of climate change:
    1) Skeptics. These people have reasons to disbelieve parts of climate change science based on a differing understanding of the science. Often these people are scientists.
    2) Deniers. These are people with political reasons to deny everything about climate change. One of the characteristics of a denier is that his view on the science changes day by day. On Monday he might say that since there is more ice in the Antarctic this year, the planet is not warming. On Wednesday he might say that the planet is warming but it's a natural cycle. On Friday he might say that manmade CO2 influences climate but all the climate changes are a good thing, so why is Al Gore blah blah blah? On Saturday he might see a post on a blog somewhere and go back to claiming the Earth is not warming.

    Deniers often base their beliefs on magical thinking. They believe that if they deny climate change it won't happen, and that:
    -their political party will therefore win re-election
    -their stock portfolio will go up
    -they will not have to change their lifestyle
    -they will not have to feel guilty about their lifestyle
    -they will be able to quash things they don't like like wind power subsidies or net metering laws

    or some combination of the above.

    Over the years they have been discredited as non-scientific political operatives with a clear agenda - supporting the GOP and the oil/coal companies. So many of them have changed their tactics. Like the "intelligent designers" these deniers try to cloak their politics in a science-y disguise; they troll the Internet looking for studies that cast doubt on some aspect of climate change, then trumpet "THE SCIENCE ISN'T SETTLED!" Since they realize that some real scientists are skeptical of climate change, they say "I'm not a denier, I'm a skeptic just like those real scientists with real objections." Thus they hope that by co-opting the name some of that legitimacy will "rub off" on them.

    This is unfortunate because this means that many skeptics are really deniers, and thus some skeptics who truly have scientific questions about climate change are mistakenly labeled as deniers, since deniers are so good at masquerading as skeptics. Personally I try to keep a clear distinction between the two, but I sometimes get it wrong too.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    No they don't, they reinforce each other. Here they are again:
    1. Means that as the earth gets warmer, the total amount of energy emitted increases, as does, as I recall, the amount emitted in the long-wave raditation bands that greenhouse gasses absorb increases until a certain point where the earth emits more radiation in regions where the atmosphere is transparent. There is only one way of increasing the amount of outgoing radiation, and that is increasing the amount of incoming radiation (because the black-body law predicts the two are balanced). There are two ways of increasing the radiation received at the surface - increasing the amount of insolation, or increasing the amount of radiation emitted in all directions by the atmosphere.

    Earth achieves a balanced radiation budget -> Humans burn carbon which produces carbon dioxide -> Carbon dioxide produced by humans stays in the atmosphere until it is removed (mostly by the ocean) -> Increasing carbon dioxide levels increase the amount of longwave radiation stored by the atmosphere as thermal energy -> The thermal energy stays in green house gasses until it is transferred to non-greenhouse gasses or re-emitted -> energy absorbed by non-greenhouse gasses is stored until it is transfered back to greenhouse gasses -> Atmosphere warms -> long-wave radiation emitted by greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increases -> total radiation received by the earths surface increases -> Earths surface warms until the incoming matches the outgoing -> Earth acheives a balanced radiation budget.

    Perhaps you could explain to the rest of us where exactly they "negate/balance each other" rather than glibly dismissing it?

    Simple. We start with the milankovich cycles. Conservation of energy predicts that decreasing the amount of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere decreases the total amount of radiation received at the surface. Black body radiation predicts that decreasing the total amount of radiation received at the surface lowers the earths temperature and reduces the amount of radiation emitted by the surface. The beer-lambert law predicts that as the amount of incident radiation decreases, so must the amount of radiation absorbed. As the amount of radiation absorbed by the atmosphere decreases, so does its temperature. As the earth cools, its albedo starts to increase. As its albedo increases, blackbody radiation predicts that the proportion of radiation reflected increases and the amount of radiation emitted decreases. This effect also decreases the incident radiation seen by atmospheric carbon-dioxide with the same consequences as a result of the beer-lambert law.

    The observation is correct, the conclusion drawn from it is wrong. The conclusion you have drawn is flawed in that it completely ignores, for example, this:
    su·per·im·pose transitive verb \ˌsü-pər-im-ˈpōz\

    : to place or lay (something) over something else
    : to place or lay over or above something <superimposed images>

    Line breaks: super|im¦pose
    Pronunciation: /ˌsuːp(ə)rɪmˈpəʊz, ˌsjuː-/
    [with object]
    Place or lay (one thing) over another, typically so that both are still evident:

    What you're doing here is introducing (or at least trying to) the denier fallacy I alluded to in my previous post.

    Your conclusion is wrong because:
    The only thing implied by the current hiatus is that something is removing thermal energy from the atmosphere at approximately the same rate that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by 13% put it there, or, something has reduced the total amount of radiation reaching the earths surface by that amount. Yes, there are well known exceptions, for example turbid scattering, however, turbid scattering in the atmosphere is a consequence of aerosols and dust, which are a good way of reducing the incident radiation at the surface.

    The Beer-Lambert law was originally forumlated in 1729. In the 285 years since it was first formulated it has been tested millions of times by chemistry students around the world. Not just chemistry students - every time a commercial laboratory does a colourmetric test for an analyte, they're testing the beer-lambert law.

    By this I presume you mean that big glowy thing in the sky, the massive natural thermonuclear reactor which weighs more than the rest of the solar system combined. While yes, it's true that without the big massive glowy thing in the sky the temperature of the earth would be 3k, it's also true that the properties of the atmosphere raise the average temperature from something like -20 or -15, and the only way to correctly predict the temperature of the earth is to account for the heat energy absorbed and retained by the earth's atmosphere.

    But hey, if you don't think changing the composition of your bedding influences how warm it keeps you, then feel free to go camping in the arctic with a pair of cotton sheets to keep you warm, I'm sure everything will work out fine.
  8. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    The Beer Lambert Law, in a nutshell, describes how absorbing species absorb as a function of the concentration of those species and the path length of the light through those species. Absorption psectroscopy - for example, colourometric analytical techniques, work on this basis using a fixed path length. One of the things it means is that if I have a known species in solution absorbs at a specific wave-length, then with a few samples at known concentrations, I can measure the concentration in an unknown sample. The same principle works with gasses as well as liquids. It simply requires the production of a calibration curve.

    Does this help?
    If you have any specific questions, I'm more than willing to try and answer them.

    From that perspective I'm priveleged in that I've hads the opportunity to personally test them all.

    Understandably so.

    On the one hand it's a shame the issue became politicized the way it had, on the other hand it became politicized because a group of scientists in the late '60s and early '70s had sufficient evidence to convince - I think it was Nixon - that it was an important issue that needed to be dealt with at the level of the federal government.

    You may not understand the science of it, but researching the history of it is educational.
  9. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    you ignore
    5. The conservation of mass also predicts that every kilogram of carbondioxide put in the atmosphere stays in the atmosphere until it is removed (usually by natural processes)
    6. The conservation of energy predicts that energy stored by the atmosphere is retained by the atmosphere until it is released by the atmosphere in some form.

    The natural process to remove co2 have existed long before people and continue to exist today. We do not understand the carbon sinks in the usa let alone across the globe (as one example).

    Milankovich cycles are a piece and do not explain everything.

    Quote from following link:
    All in all, I don’t see a very convincing case for deep ocean sequestration of heat. And even if the heat from surface heating of the ocean did make it into the deep ocean, presumably the only way for this to happen involves mixing (rather than adiabatic processes), so it is very difficult to imagine how this heat could reappear at the surface in light of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    So if its not in the ocean and its not in the atmosphere where did it go?
    I am not debating the Beer-Lambert, the debate lies in how it works outside of the lab in the open. It did not predict the hiatus/slowdown (as it cannot). You keep throwing in these lab situations as though it applies to the natural world when clearly Beer-Lambert is lacking as applied to climate. I dont argue that co2 in a test tube acts as Arrhenius saw, nor do I deny Oxygen in its pure form burns. However, in the real world I dont worry about lighting a match outdoors because the oxygen content is not high enough to change the impact. And with the hiatus/slowdown it appears we have natural variation overwhelming this alleged anthro impact.
  10. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    I'm ignoring nothing.

    I'm well aware of that, in fact, that's part of my point.

    Didn't claim the did - in fact if you took the time to understand my posts before replying to them you'd realize this and might even have a chance of making a cogent response. As it is, so far you've failed so dismally you've left me almost nothing to respond to except to point out that so far all you've done is agree with me even though you seem to think you're disputing some point.

    I'm also well aware of the problems with considering the milankovich cycles as being the only driver of the earths climate (as well as some of their resolutions).

    Nothing to address here either - Curry's argument is, strictly speaking, and appeal to personal ignorance with a reference to the 2nd law of thermodynamics thrown in to make it sound convincing. Personally I can conceive of several ways it might occur, and several heat sinks that I don't know if they're accounted for - for example, the melting of ice and evaporation of water are both endothermic processes. Also, ENSO, as one example, periodicly brings cold water to the surface in places where it is not normally present.

    Then the debate is bogus and bordering on dishonesty for a number of reasons ranging from the fact that much (for example) IR spectrosocopy is conducted in open air - IE the atmosphere, and supports the assertion. More over, we've measured the changes of the absorption in the atmosphere both from the ground and from space, and guess what, they're behaving exactly as predicted.

    Either you're being dishonest, or you haven't understood what I've actualy said, because what I've said is that it doesn't have to because the anthropogenic forcing is superimposed on top of the natural cycles. The hiatus/slowdown is irrelevant to the predictions made by the Beer-Lambert law because it's a consequence of other factors in the system and the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis allows us to predict that slowdowns in the rate of warming will occur from time to time, and will continue occuring.

    No. What's lacking is your comprehension as to how the Beer-Lambert law applies in the environment, what it's role is in climate change (in spite of my best efforts to explain it to you in every day language), and what predictions it actually makes in relation to the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis.

    Oxygen doesn't burn, it allows things to burn. Moreover this, combined with this:

    Is a logical fallacy, it's an argumentum ad absurdum. You're essentially using a nonsensical analogy to ridicule the argument. More to the point, your analogy is a dishonest one because it requires ignoring context and moving goal posts.

    Yes... And?

    Have you finally understood my point? Remember what the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis actually is? That there is a warming trend superimposed on the natural cycles, not that the natural cycles are some how supplanted by this. When we look at the temperature record we see one or two similar hiatuses interspersed with periods of exaggerated warming. This is precisely what we expect to see when we have a monotonic linear increasing trend superimposed on a sinusoidal pattern. This current hiatus is nothing special. There are one or two similar hiatuses on the record (depending on how you count them). These lasted longer and had significant cooling trends. This one does not have a cooling trend, it has a slight warming trend that fails the test for significance at the 95% confidence level.

    My prediction, based on my observations is that this hiatus will continue for probably another 10-15 years, at which point we will enter a period of exaggerated warming comparable to the '80s, then, after aproximately 15-20 years of this warming the climate will enter another hiatus.
    joepistole likes this.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    One reason for the apparent hiatus probably has to do with heat stored in the ocean. Ocean currents do ensure mixing of surface waters and deep waters, but the process takes a long time. Warming in the Pacific Ocean, in particular, tends to go in cycles. At the moment, as I understand it, the western Pacific is warmer than the east, and the ocean as a whole is acting as a heat sink for the atmosphere. But that won't last forever. In a decade or two that heat will be dumped back into the atmosphere and then the atmospheric warming trend will get back on track according to its long-term observed trend.
    Trippy likes this.
  12. CptBork Valued Senior Member

    I believe all the fundamental physical principles Trippy lists are sound and tested to death. I do think however that there's room for at least a small amount of doubt insofar as those principles are applied to a complex system such as Earth with all the different variables involved. Earth isn't a uniform grey-body sphere, and the principles listed aren't the only processes involved in determining Earth's temperature nor the quantity of various gases in the atmosphere. When it comes to accuracy, precision and experimental verification, climate science doesn't even belong in the same universe as theories such as quantum electrodynamics and the classical electromagnetism that emerges from it.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    There's a lot to learn about the global climate. Not surprising, since it's an incredibly complex system. But there's also a lot of effort being put into working out what's going on.

    The basics are undeniable, though. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means a warmer planet. There's no doubt that atmospheric carbon dioxide is on the increase, and there's no doubt that the planet is warming. There's also no doubt that human beings are contributing to the current warming by pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in staggering quantities.
  14. CptBork Valued Senior Member

    And from what I learned in fluid dynamics when discussing climate modelling, we've only just gotten started- nowhere near enough computing power to model realistic systems on large scales.

    If carbon dioxide were the only gas in the atmosphere and there were no carbon sinks or sources other than consistent natural inputs and outputs plus human activity, I think you'd be almost certainly correct. But of course it's nowhere near that simple, and I'm not aware of any math theorem which says those extra details can't possibly make a substantial difference. Furthermore, you yourself have provided an attempted explanation for why there's been no apparent warming in the last 15 years, so I don't see how you reconcile that with your claim that there's no doubt that the Earth is warming, whether or not your hypothesis will ultimately stand up to experimental tests.

    I personally give the benefit of the doubt to mainstream climate scientists, but their predictions to date are nowhere near accurate enough to merit unquestioning faith. This is a whole different ballgame from talking about the properties of small collections of particles; you'd probably have an easier time mathematically modeling and simulating the complete biology and psychology of a cow. Based on the present difficulties and technical roadblocks encountered when attempting to model realistic ecosystems, I'd say there's enough room to remain skeptical without being labeled a meat-eating, woo-spewing Neanderthal.
  15. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    And that is one of the mistakes that has been made - once upon a time there were two apporaches to the problem, one was the grey-body approximation, which treats the atmosphere as a greybody layer at some altitiude, and the other was the CKD approach, which, as I understand it bins the spectral absorption lines and works with actual calibration curves. Even though the CKD approach was first used in the 80's by planetary scientists, climatologists insisted on using the grey-body approximation which leads (naturally) to some wrong predictions (I always assumed they used the CKD approach and was surprised to discover they didn't).

    The flip side is that, to my knowledge, no currently used model treats the earth as a uniform grey-body sphere. There's no need to when we have maps (and tables) of clear-sky albedo using a 2.5 degree grid.
  16. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Because the claims are about different time-scales - as i've pointed out several times now, where you have a monotonic linear increasing function added to a sinusoidal or pseudosinusoidal function, you get periods of hiatus or cooling interspersed with periods of exaggerating warming, depending on the relative strengths of the two functions to begin with. This is the kind of behaviour that we see in the temperature record and the current hiatus is hardly unique. The most distinguishing feature of this hiatus is the fact that even though it might fail a test for significance at the 95% level, the trend is positive, where previously it's been negative.
  17. CptBork Valued Senior Member

    It sounds fairly reasonable to me in principle, but to say that the hypothesis might fail a 95% confidence test means it's not established beyond any reasonable doubt. Furthermore, it can't be said with absolute confidence at this time that the recent lack of warming is due to natural sinusoidal cycles superimposed on human activity, especially when there are countless other potential causes (including the possibility that climate science is ignoring a hugely important factor somewhere).

    When attacking climate change skeptics and deniers, you can't pretend that this field has the same evidenciary authority as the Big Bang theory or evolution. Once again, they're not even in the same universe when it comes to making accurate, precise predictions, and predictive power is the only thing that gives authority to a theory.
  18. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    The hypothesis being tested, in this case, is whether or not any warming has occured over a specific period. The assertion that is made is that there has been no significant warming. for the last 15 years. When we test whether or not there has been any significant warming over the last 150 years, including the last 15, then as I recall that passes at least the 95% threshold, and I seem to recall it's also significant at the 99% level. Remember, we're discussing a short term trend versus a long term trend. Currently, if you plot the residuals based on the trend over the last 150 years, they're still positive and the current hiatus would have to continue for something like another 70 years (based on current trends) for the residuals to be <= 0.

    :shrugs: The data supports the existence of sinusoidal cycles of varying periods, and known causal mechanisms for them exist - the NAO, PDO, and ENSO, to name a few.

    On the one hand, I'm not sure if I agree with you, and on the other hand I've never actually made such a claim. The founding principles - Quantum mechanics, Conservation of mass and energy, the beer-lambert law, black-body radiation, are all as solid as the big bang theory. The grey areas arise in the theory because determing the fate of the heat energy once it has been stored in the atmosphere is where things start getting messy.
  19. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    As an aside - mostly for Milkweed's benefit, to illustrate the problem with cherry-picking.

    This is Fig 3. from Hansen et al, 1981:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Notice something important about the 'anomalous warming' in the '40s? What does it say to you about the Reykjavik data?
  20. CptBork Valued Senior Member

    I'm well aware of the "hockey stick" curve and I don't dispute that there's been a measurable increase in temperature over that last 1000 years that correlates fairly strongly with industrial activity (with a small number of outlying years). I'm only questioning the argument that the lack of a noticeable warming trend in the last 15 years is due to a climate cycle rather than possibly incorrect or incomplete assumptions about Earth's climate and humanity's impact.

    Data "supporting" something does not equal proof beyond any reasonable doubt. Sure there's strong evidence for various climate cycles which could be masking anthropogenic influences, but where's your proof that this is precisely what's happened in the last 15 years?

    But are you agreeing that the poorly understood "grey areas" may potentially include countless multitudes of scientific principles and effects other than the small number of specific principles you cite? Quantum mechanics isn't used to model Earth climate, just like General Relativity isn't used to plot spacecraft flight trajectories, that would be utterly ridiculous to even try. You look for macroscopic approximations to the quantum rules which end up yielding principles such as classical electrodynamics, statistical mechanics and so on, and those approximations are what you plug into the modeling. There are tons and tons of macroscopic consequences from QM besides mere conservation laws and thermal radiation.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
  21. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    While I did make assumptions that you would understand the analogy, I could have worded it better.




    Fuels Commonly Encountered in Surgery

    In/On Patient

    Hair (face, scalp, body)

    GI tract gases (mostly methane)

    So I dont burst into flames when lighting a match (and spontaneously releasing methane during the event) in the analogy used.

    As are the previous warmings. Nothing special. And this warming is not outside those boundries and it is JUST as LIKELY its Natural Warming.

    Natural Influences Slightly OUTSIDE his area of expertise?? Wonderful admission from a 'climate scientist'.

    It is truly unfortunate that the instrument temp record does not stretch back further to include the medieval, roman, and minoan warmings of the past so we could actually compare those alongside each other. Proxies exist but are limited in accuracy.

    Great. Do you have a link showing where you predicted such, say around 2009 (climategate) or is this a hindcast?

    Easterbrook (IPCC reviewer) on newest IPCC report:

    I dont claim to be a scientist but I do hold science to a higher standard especially when they make wild ass claims about 'unprecedented' anything. I personally dont give a shit if its a republican, democrat, christian, hindu, gun-toting red-neck, right wing, left wing etc making a point. I am willing to listen and explore what they say to see if maybe they have a point regardless of their personal beliefs/education/politics/favorite color blah blah blah. That is an effort to reduce confirmation bias and something you might want to explore a bit.

    Anyways, I tire of your condescending attitude. I need to ignore you as you disappoint me with your thinly veiled attacks on my questions/understanding of the issue.
  22. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    I wasn't specificly referring to the hockey-stick graph.

    There's a measurable one, it's just not staticticly significant at the 95% confidence level.

    You will seldom hgere me talking about prooving anything, only ever evidence for or data supporting - take from that what you will. The best I, personally, can do at this point is to point to where similar circumstances have arisen previously in the temperature record.

    Even weather comes basically down to the conservation of mass and energy, it's driven by the transfer of heat and mass from one location to the other. In principle the weather, and the climate are as trivially predictable as the tides. The difference is that the weather and the climate are sensitive to starting conditions, where the tides are not. The poorly understood grey areas don't involve new effects, but rather they involve things like the fate of heat energy, how it is used to do work and so on, as well as some of the follow on effects from that which lead to things like changes in the way carbon dioxide is absorbed in its natural cycles, changes in cloud composition and distirbution and so on and so forth. All of these effects, however, affect the same basic principles that I espoused. At the same time I'm fairly sure that I have written more complete lists somewhere. I've been having some of these conversations for so long my recollection is a little hazy.

    Right, but that's not actually the claim I made. Quantum mechanics is relevant because it correctly predicts (for example) the absorption bands of the roto-vibrational transitions of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gasses) - these being the bands that absorb the earths outgoing longwave blackbody radiation.

    True, however, that's not where quantum mechanics comes into climate change.
  23. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    All you've done here is compound your initial error without understanding what it was. You've also added a new error which makes your analogy less relevant than it was before. I understood your analogy in the first instance, I'm pointing out that I consider it deeply flawed and fallacious.

    A number of things make it significantly different, and you still have the basic physics to attend to - but as I said before, if you don't think that altering the composition of the bedding will change how warm it keeps you, I've got some cotton sheets you can take on an arctic expedition.

    More cherry picking and misrepresntation I see.

    Strangely, I almost find myself agreeing with you here.

    Have you tried finding anything more recent than a few days ago on this forum? There's an additional point that warrnats mentioning here. I have done a lot of research over time in addressing the posts of climate deniers, so it's entirely possible that I might not be able to point to a post as early as 2009 because - even if I could find a specific post from five years ago, the paralells between this 'hiatus' and previous ones might not have occured to me at that point. Also in 2009 i'm fairly sure I was more focused on the autocorrelation and tehe fact that the data set was too small.

    And yet so far everything you've had to say has been right-wing talking points and you've ignored substantial portions of the posts I have made in order to focus in on these talking points.

    My condescending attitude? This has the look and feel of a cop-out.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
    joepistole likes this.

Share This Page