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Lindzen vs Rahmstorf: an exchange

PDF file (Lindzen's article; Rahmstorf's semi-reply; Lindzen's response)

This exchange is kind of interesting because both participants are highly regarded figures in climatology and they approach the problems as physicists.

Funny or scary interruption: two days ago, I wrote that I was hoping that Al Gore and the alarmists wouldn't try to realize their goal about the "consensus" by explosives directed against New York's Times Square. Today, a small explosion rocked Times Square. Witnesses from the Marriott Marquis hotel described their perceptions.
Still, you can see that that quantitative and rational evaluation of reality has its limits in the case of the climatic hot head (Stefan Rahmstorf). On the other hand, the climatic cool head (Richard Lindzen) is able to estimate the likelihood of various models scientifically even if the conclusions look sensitive politically.

He knows how to use Occam's razor and how to compare the likelihoods of contrived explanations with many assumptions (an effect is strong; it is masked at many places where we could observe it; etc.) and natural explanations without any excessively special assumptions.

Sometimes, the bias is far too obvious. For example, whenever Rahmstorf talks about the natural effects influencing the climate, he says that they are "masking" the man-made global warming. Such a language trick is equivalent to an unjustified, propagandistic assumption about the sign of an effect and it is very clear that once he formulates a hypothetical explanation in this way, it can't be studied scientifically because its very essence is a dogma. In reality, many of these effects can have - and probably do have - the opposite sign than Rahmstorf implicitly assumes (including the total feedback of the clouds or the regulating effect of the oceans).
Commercial: John Tierney of the New York Times wrote a rather deep and comprehensive analysis of the financial and other motives of scientists and people around science, including government officials and corporations
Rahmstorf, a former general relativist, is not quite stupid but some of his comments are sort of incredible. For example, he argues that the consistency of a model with the historical data shouldn't affect our confidence in these models. He offers a lot of minor technical errors, for example arguing that there was no El Nino in 2005 (although an El Nino episode ended in JFM 2005); that AGW used to be outlandish decades ago (compare with the 1958 movie we discussed recently).

Rahmstorf also makes a typically layperson's mistake when he thinks that the climate sensitivity can be measured "directly" without having any theory or model in mind. Incredibly, he seems to be using "fingerprints" as evidence for the greenhouse theory of the climate, even though the theoretical fingerprints clearly disagree with the reality.

Richard Lindzen also doesn't buy Rahmstorf's bizarre comparison of climate science with general relativity (and their trustworthiness, including an identification of relativistic crackpots with climate realists), emphasizing how troubled Einstein was because of a single parameter (the cosmological constant) while the consensus climatologists don't seem to care about dozens of important yet unverified adjustable parameters, fudge factors, and other arbitrary assumptions in their models.

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reader JoeBlough said...

I say if Mars and Neptune have been hotter and brighter while the Earth has been hotter, it is NOT because of our CO2 emissions. It scares me that the majority of people in our society know nothing of the evidence that shows past Co2 levels increasing after teperature rise, not before. Therefore Co2 production is caused by The Earth warming not the other way around. Last fall I heard that scientists noted a great decrease in sun spots/ solar activity. I told my friends that if this were true we would be in for a cold winter..... Is it true that this was the coldest winter for the northern hemisphere in 100 years?... thats what I heard.... But I am no scientist. I can see, however, that the Global warming enthusiasts (who are scientists) continue to refuse debate on the issue. They are either stubborn, stupid, or both.. I don't care how many years they went to school.

reader Makoto said...

So if we're on the downward slope of a solar max, and the sun isn't putting out like it did in 2000, how can we say that the Sun is keeping temperatures up lately? There's a heck of a lot of snow, but that's just a cold front bringing the snow to ground rather rain. It disappoints me to stumble accidentally on a cool blogger site that doesn't get more commentin'. I, for one, believe that hoopla about anthropogenic warmins. cheers.

reader Tom Moriarty said...

In Rahmstorf's paper that expresses his part of this exchange, he shows a plot of CO2 vs. time amd temperature vs. time. This is the same data that Gore uses. Both of them leave out the insolation vs. time that was a part of their original source (Petit, et. al., Climate and Atmospheric History of the Past 420,000 Years from the Vostok Ice Core, Antarctica, Nature 399, June 1999, p429-36).

When insolation vs. time is taken into account. a very different story is told, as can be seen at the following two links:

Best Regards,
Tom Moriarty

reader Baba McKensey said...

The neglected factor.
There appears to be a large CO2 sink in North America. It may be large enough to absorb all of the CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels in Canada and the US. These articles come from Science magazine.

reader Baba McKensey said...

Global warming is bogus and the alarmists are dangerous to society. We need to stop the politicians from passing laws regulating greenhouse gases.

This comes from Lars Kamel's paper which was translated into English:

One argument which the alarmists use to back their claims, is that data from boreholes in the Antarctic ice show that temperature and CO2 correlate very well. What they don't tell the public, however, is that correlation does not prove causation. And, in fact, the cause is precisely the opposite of what the alarmist would like you to belive. In the past couple of years, new and better analysis of the Antarctic ice data, giving a better time resolution, have shown that first temperature rises, and then carbon dioxide levels increase. It is the temperature increase which causes the increase in carbon dioxide and not the other way around. The extra CO2 could at most add a little extra warming to what is going on, but not even that is certain.

reader Baba McKensey said...

Rahmstorf was a general relativist? Check out this web page I put together questioning SR and GR.

I started another page which critisizes the global warming alarmists.