Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why Dana1981 hasn't proved climate disruption

Dana1981 is a 29-year-old Prius driver and the owner of several other alternative vehicles who has mistakingly received a bachelor degree in astrophysics and a master degree in physics, so he or she became a self-described environmental scientist who is "passionate" about the climate hysteria.

Clearly, such people shouldn't be admitted as college students because they're incapable of rational thinking. The presence of people like him dramatically cripples the intellectual atmospheres at the world's universities. Below, we will demonstrate this point in quite some detail.

In his text for Skeptical Science and Climate Progress, he crisply demonstrates why the believers in a climate threat are analogous to the Islamic fundamentalists:
How we know recent global warming is not natural
As the title indicates, Chicken Little Dana1981 is convinced that his text contains a proof of man-made global warming. Instead, it contains a few kilobytes of excretions of a brain in the middle of its decay. Dana1981 addresses the text to two people that he must believe are the only climate skeptics in the world - Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer. The existence of the remaining 4+ billion skeptics in the world, including tens of thousands of science PhDs, is being denied.

But let's begin with the actual content...

First, Dana1981 claims that Roy Spencer's challenge
“Show me one peer-reviewed paper that has ruled out natural, internal climate cycles as the cause of most of the recent warming in the thermometer record.”
"is problematic for a few reasons". What are those reasons, except for the fact that it's an inconvenient truth for Dana1981 that no such paper exists?
Firstly, the fact that research has not ruled out a hypothesis does not mean the hypothesis necessarily has any validity. 
Wow. Oh, really? One may show that a hypothesis has no validity without ruling it out? One would think that this statement is tautologically invalid. Sorry, you can't really falsify a hypothesis without falsifying it.
For example, there have been no peer-reviewed papers ruling out leprechauns as the cause of most of the recent global warming, either. 
Climate hacks must have missed it - they "accidentally" manage to miss all proofs that their proclamations are lies - but as I have demonstrated, there has been a peer-reviewed paper that has ruled out not just leprechauns but all sprites as the primary driver of the climate change. More seriously, it is preposterous to compare leprechauns to the clouds, solar activity, volcanoes, ocean cycles, and cosmic rays because all these phenomena - except for leprechauns - have been driving the Earth's climate for 4.7 billion years and are still doing so.

Only a complete lunatic who hasn't seen the blue skies since the moment when he was confined in a psychiatric asylum (or a global warming-promoting organization) may think that e.g. cloud patterns are as unimportant for the climate as the leprechauns. Dana1981 continues:
But perhaps more importantly, our understanding that humans are causing global warming is not based on just one scientific study, but rather a very wide range of scientific evidence.
Well, an important difference between a religion followed by ill-informed people - such as global warming - and science is that in science, a single robust argument or observation cannot be replaced by a ton of garbage, propaganda, emotions, and lies. That's why Roy Spencer has asked about one relevant paper rather than a thousand of irrelevant papers that are claimed to contain the "right message" in the form of homeopathic drugs (or, more typically, in the form of the political preferences of the authors).

Fine, so what is the "very wide range of evidence", as Dana1981 pompously calls this ton of junk?
For example, scientists have measured the amount of heat being re-directed back towards the Earth’s surface due to the increased greenhouse effect.
That's right. The "redirected" (and absorbed and re-emitted!) heat is subtracted from the outgoing heat. The outgoing heat was measured e.g. by the ERBE experiment and the relationship of this heat flux with the temperature increase was studied by Lindzen and Choi (2009). The resulting sensitivity coming from this paper was 0.5 °C, and even when various conceivable mutations of the methods have been tried later, the sensitivity remained well below 2 °C.

So this "line of evidence" hasn't worked for Dana 1981, has it?
The problem with this position is that there are many lines of evidence that the planet will warm between 2 and 4.5 degrees Celsius (°C) if the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere doubles.
Well, the only problem is that all these "lines of evidence" are broken, and we will see about 10 more examples. There's no scientific evidence whatsoever that the climate sensitivity exceeds 2 °C and Dana 1981 must know that because if he knew about such a paper, he would tell us what the paper (or calculation) is and where it has been published.

OK, what are the other "lines of evidence" that global warming is man-made and climate sensitivity exceeds 2 °C?
For example, some scientists have studied the climate response to recent large volcanic eruptions, which can have a measurable impact on global temperatures.
This is really cute. Volcanic eruptions are not man-made and their effect - which may influence the global temperature by half a degree (almost equal to the whole 20th century warming) for five years, like Mr Pinatubo did in 1991 - is, on the contrary, a proof that the natural drivers are essential to understand the climate and the climate change.

Moreover, the dominant influence of the volcanoes has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. Sulfuric gases, which are the key players emitted by the volcanoes, combine with water in the stratosphere, create sulfuric acid droplets, and they reflect or scatter a part of the solar radiation back to the outer space, thus cooling the troposphere.

Those effects have nothing to do with the mankind and with carbon dioxide, and because they occur at a different place of the atmosphere, they're not useful to quantify the strength of the greenhouse effect, either.

So this line of evidence has also been a complete failure, hasn't it? Let's go on.
Other studies have examined how the global temperature has changed in response to changes in solar activity. 
Well, that's right. Search for solar-activity and climate on Google Scholar. The first paper that shows up, one in Science by Friis-Christensen and Lassen from 1991, shows that Northern Hemisphere land air temperature has been closely correlated with the 11-year sunspot cycle in the last 130 years. This paper has 585 citations.

Another paper, by Judith Lean, Juerg Beer, and Raymond Bradley from Geophysical Research Letters 1995 - it has 639 citations now - looked at the Maunder Minimum and related effects and concluded that just the solar forcing is responsible for about 1/2 of the warming since 1860; the relevant correlation coefficient was found to be 0.86, very high. The rest - 0.27 °C or so - could have been caused by many other things.

I could go on and on and on. This line of evidence has spoken against man-made global warming as well, hasn't it?
Some other research has compared CO2 and global temperature changes over the past thousand years, and tens of thousands of years, and hundreds of thousands of years, and even millions of years ago.
That's right. The Roman Empire has included green Alps - probably warmer than the present - without any CO2.

I could give detailed references again but it's well-known that at the time scale of tens of thousands of years, the changes are dominated by the Milankovitch cycles, i.e. irregularities of the orbital cycles. The theory has been fixed by Roe so that it works really well now. At the time scale of a million of years, the climate has apparently switched its regimes qualitatively: the glaciation cycles only existed in the recent millions of years. CO2 is not the cause.

When it comes to tens of millions of years, even continental drift becomes important. Shaviv and Veizer have argued that an impressive correlation suggests that the cosmic rays were the primary drivers as seen from those very long-time data as well.

No influence of carbon dioxide changes has been shown to be dominant in any of those time scales, despite the fact that the temperature changes in this history have been much larger than the temperature changes in the 20th century. So this line of evidence has destroyed Dana1981 as well, hasn't it?
We can even compare how the temperature has changed over the past century to human-caused atmospheric CO2 changes. In every case we arrive at this same climate sensitivity range of 2 to 4.5°C, and the most likely value is 3°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2.
Even when we assume that the whole change of the global mean temperature in the HadCRUT3 record from 1850 is due to the rising CO2, and many papers above - and hundreds of others - argue that it's not the case and other effects have positively contributed to the temperature - regression implies that the climate sensitivity equals 1.66 °C. This is a totally straightforward calculation and the statement that it gives a sensitivity in the 2-4.5 °C interval is refuted.

Moreover, it is statistically impossible for a large number of "lines of evidence" to end up with this strikingly imprecise value of the climate sensitivity. If the sensitivity were in this window, an increasing number of measurements (and their improving quality) would inevitably reduce the error margin. Moreover, one method to determine the right value would almost certainly be much more accurate than others and it would make its competitors redundant and useless.

The reason why tens of billions of dollars were not enough to reduce the error in the estimate of the climate sensitivity well below 100% is that the right value is not in this interval. The mathematical mechanism explaining the proposition in the previous sentence was crisply articulated by Lindzen and Choi.
If we take the lower end of this range, even a 2°C climate sensitivity would mean that humans have been responsible for more than half of the global warming over the past century. 
This is complete nonsense. If the sensitivity were as high as 2 °C, the human contribution to the 20th century warming would have to be about 150-200 percent of the observed value, and the other contributions would have to be opposite in sign.
So in order for Spencer and Lindzen to be right, all of these different lines of evidence which are in agreement with the likely range of climate sensitivity would all have to be somehow wrong, and all biased high.  Not an impossibility, but certainly not a likely scenario, either.
Just to remind you what we have discussed so far, all of the "lines of evidence" that Dana1981 has enumerated show that his proposition about the high climate CO2 sensitivity is incorrect.
There are also many “fingerprints” of human-caused global warming.
That's right. Unfortunately, once again, they show that most of the "global warming" couldn't have been caused by CO2.

This fingerprint clearly disagrees: the observed dependence of the warming trend on the latitude and altitude is totally different than one predicted by the greenhouse-dominated models (which predict the hot spot in the middle, among other wrong features).
For example, as the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere have been warming, the upper atmosphere has been cooling.
Well, the graph above shows that the dependence on the altitude is totally wrong and this discrepancy itself is enough to falsify the greenhouse models of the recent warming. This point was discussed in detail e.g. in the (peer-reviewed blah blah) paper by Douglass, Christy, Pearson, and Singer. The CO2 models are wrong once again.

By the way, in the comment section, Dana1981 claims that "all models" have to suffer from the wrong "tropical tropospheric hot spot" prediction because of some vapor argument. That's obviously wrong. Richard Lindzen's iris hypothesis and thermostat models analyze the very same H2O to conclude that the tropical troposphere temperatures remain unusually constant - which matches the observations. It't just not true that there is any "tie" here: Lindzen's models win, the CO2 models are excluded by this test.
There are not many mechanisms which can explain these observations, but they are precisely what we would expect to see from human-caused global warming.
This is bullshit, too. A vast majority of forcings actually produces the opposite temperature changes in the troposphere and the stratosphere (the example of clouds will be discussed below).

So their being opposite has no specific implications for the CO2 model. However, the comparison of the (mid) troposphere with the near-surface temperatures is an issue that has something to say about the CO2 hypothesis, and this line of evidence also shows that the idea of CO2 as a dominant driver doesn't agree with the observations.
As the concentration of greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere increases, they effectively trap more and more heat in this lower layer, causing it to warm and causing the layers above to cool.
But this sentence is not a verified fingerprint. It's just a parroted proclamation from the global warming religion - a hypothesis that has been falsified about 10 times in the text above. It has been demonstrated that the effect above, whether it looks attractive or not, is not sufficient - and maybe not even necessary - to explain most of the climate change in the real world.
Another human “fingerprint” is the higher rate of warming at night than during the day.
Except that this fingerprint works in the wrong, opposite direction, too: it also shows that the CO2 model is wrong. The observed nighttime temperatures have experienced a higher warming trend than the daytime temperatures. But the greenhouse model predicts exactly the opposite. The Earth emits more thermal radiation during the day because it's somewhat warmer during the day. So the increased greenhouse effect - which prevents a part of the outgoing thermal radiation to get to the outer space - also has a greater warming influence during the day.

John Cook, while arguing that this "fingerprint" has the right sign, made the breathtakingly stupid mistake of assuming that the Earth's thermal radiation is turned off during the day and it only turns on at night. Holy crap! ;-) The stupidity of these green people exceeds the wildest imagination. At any rate, they're clearly just looking for sentences that look like confirmations of whatever belief they hold dear: they don't care that all these confirmations and justifications are as absurd as Cook's assumption that the "Earth doesn't thermally radiate at noon." Those people are hopelessly misled.
However, [Spencer's cloud cover change] hypothesis cannot explain the “fingerprints” describe above.
It explains some of them - and unlike the CO2 model, it doesn't produce any obvious contradictions. In particular, the changing cloud-cover theory explains why there's no "hot spot" 10 km above the equator.
A decrease in cloud cover would not cause the upper atmosphere to cool. 
Of course that it would. The upper atmosphere is warm partly because the solar radiation may be absorbed not only when it arrives from the Sun but also after it's reflected from the clouds. If some clouds disappear, the radiation that is scattered back to the upper atmosphere decreases as well, and the upper atmosphere cools. As I mentioned, the opposite signs for the troposphere and stratosphere are pretty universal for almost all climate drivers.
Nor would it cause nights to warm faster than days – quite the opposite. Cloud reflectivity only plays a significant role during the day when being bombarded by sunlight.
This argument is based on two oversimplified assumptions, namely that clouds always have a cooling effect, and that cloud formation has been changing uniformly throughout the day and night. In reality, clouds also cause some greenhouse effect (and warming) and the change of the patterns may be correlated with the daytime or nighttime. I don't claim to have a test of all fingerprints and I don't claim that one theory or another has passed all of them but the oversimplified proclamation above is surely not enough to falsify the model.

Dana1981 and all of his soulmates clearly use double standards for the falsification and verification of claims that they like and those that they don't like. But without scientific integrity, you can't get anywhere in the real science - although you may get to the very top at the environmental movement.
Dr. Spencer also suggested in his blog post that the “null hypothesis” should be that global warming is caused by natural factors.  A null hypothesis is basically the default assumption which a scientific study sets out to disprove.  It’s true that until recently, global warming (and cooling) has been caused by natural factors.  However, even natural climate changes must have a physical mechanism causing them.
And they surely have - and our theory already makes a lot of sense. However, it's not guaranteed that science immediately understands everything. It doesn't. If a theory that MN causes some change remains incomplete, it's not a proof that the right theory has to be XY which seems totally incompatible with the evidence. It's still more likely that the right explanation is MN.
Scientists have investigated these natural mechanisms (the Sun, volcanoes, the Earth’s orbital cycles, etc.), and they simply cannot explain the global warming over the past century.
This is just bullshit. Just the solar paper by Lean et al. has showed that 1/2 of the overall warming could be caused by the solar forcing itself. Other papers show that the rest of the overall change may be caused by many other natural factors. And when it comes to the detailed year-to-year variations, it's pretty clear that they're explained predominantly by natural factors as well - because the CO2 forcing looks like a simple monotonic function while the temperature graph surely looks complicated.

We don't understand the climate perfectly and changes of the temperature by +-0.5 °C per century remain beyond our precision and abilities.
Spencer’s new hypothesis – that some unknown mechanism is causing cloud cover to change, which in turn is driving global temperatures – is a new idea with very little supporting evidence.
The evidence is actually at least as robust as the evidence for the CO2 model. But more importantly, Spencer's model hasn't been falsified in the same sharp way as the greenhouse-dominated model have been falsified.
Conversely, our understanding that human greenhouse gas emissions are driving global temperatures has a proverbial mountain of supporting evidence.
Too bad that every single "line of evidence" that Dana1981 has offered was a negative one.
Skeptics like Spencer and Lindzen believe that the default assumption should be one which requires that a very large body of scientific evidence is wrong. 
It doesn't "require": it "implies". And it is not a large body of scientific evidence; instead, it is a large body of pseudoscientific gibberish that has largely replaced scientific research since the time when Prius-driving idiots began to spread the hysteria and steal billions of dollars from the taxpayers for their bogus research.

But even if there were a large body of really scientific, honestly written papers, they may still be wrong and it's enough to find one simple argument or observation to prove that thousands of papers are wrong. The climate charlatans such as Dana1981 don't understand these basic facts about science.
The only alternative hypothesis they have put forth cannot explain the many empirically-observed “fingerprints” which are consistent with human-caused global warming.
Again, all the fingerprints have spoken against the CO2-dominated model and against the high CO2 climate sensitivity. And it's not true that "they" (skeptics) have proposed just one and "only" alternative hypothesis.
Although Spencer’s unspecified “natural internal cycle” hypothesis has not been explicitly disproved, there is a very low likelihood that it is correct. 
No, likelihood can't be defined as the degree to which an idea is convenient for biased and dishonest green activists. In science, likelihood has to be calculated or estimated by rational arguments. And Dana1981 hasn't provided us with a glimpse of evidence supporting the bold assertion above. In fact, it turned out that all the evidence was speaking against his claims. This often happens in science: for example, John Bell wanted to disprove the probabilistic quantum mechanics and show that there had to be hidden variables. Instead, the theorem he found had exactly the opposite consequences. The final arguments is what matters in science; the prejudices of "passionate" crooks don't.
For this reason, we should operate under the assumption that humans are causing dangerous global warming – an assumption which is supported by a very large body of evidence – until the skeptics can provide solid reason to believe that this scientific theory is wrong.
No, we shouldn't. No honest person should. Operating under an assumption that has been showed incorrect contradicts the basics of the scientific method. One could work with a "working hypothesis" that the bold proposition above is correct. But when he is scientist, he must abandon this working hypothesis once it is proved wrong.

And that's the memo.


  1. Don't be too hard on the young fella. I don't think he means any harm. He's just gotten a bit too fanatic about this green stuff.
    He was commenting for awhile at NTZ, but I had to boot him out for 48 hours after he had a puberty fit.Since then he hasn't returned.
    Do you think he has any of them photo gallery prints as posters in his bedroom? :)

  2. Are we sure that this wasn't written by a tongue-in-cheek sceptic to embarrass the warmists?

  3. Regarding the article by Lindzen and Choi (2009), you seem to know about more recent work noting flaws in LC09:

    "The resulting sensitivity coming from this paper was 0.5 °C, and even when various conceivable mutations of the methods have been tried later, the sensitivity remained well below 2 °C"

    See the following paper.

    These authors note: "As shown here, the approach taken by LC09 is flawed, and its results are seriously in error." And they calculate a sensitivity of 2.3K.

    They go on to conclude:
    "However, it is not appropriate to use only tropical SSTs and TOA radiation for feedback analysis as the trans- ports into the extratropics are substantial. Any feedback analysis must also recognize changes in ocean heat storage and atmospheric energy transport into and out of the tropics which are especially large during ENSO events. While the tropics are important in climate sensitivity, values of the latter based on only tropical results are misleading."

    Why cite LC09, when the work is found to be inadequate and misleading?

    Regarding Dana1981, I understand you deleted his comments from your blog:

    Why delete his comments?

    Best regards,

  4. Dear Don, the reason why I delete some comments is that they are repetitive spam containing nothing new, useful, or true, written by trolls who just want to spread garbage all over the Internet and who show no plans to actually become rational, and a good reason why your paper is to be ignored is that it was written by a person who doesn't have any scientific integrity, and his collaborators.

  5. Lubos, there are probably 2**9 Dana's out there, now you only have (2**9)-1 to go.

    Meaning, there's no point in "debunking" any of them. The probability of one of them saying something meaningful is about 1/(2**9), so I don't think it's a good use of your time.

  6. Dear Brian, I agree with your point.

    Well, if there were 512 such Danas, I would be ready to defeat each of them in the same indisputable way as I did with Dana1981.

    However, the number of such folks is higher, and moreover, the victory doesn't mean anything because he will go elsewhere and spread the same lies about the climate, the particular points, as well as the staggering defeat he has experienced.

    Those people have no integrity and they're way too numerous, so indeed, a peer-like debate with them doesn't make much sense.


  7. Dear Lubos,
    Thanks for posting my comment. I appreciate it and your willingness to respond. Everybody has lots of stuff going on in their lives.
    Regarding the paper I cited, the authors may well have no scientific integrity, in which case it would presumably be straightforward to point out the errors in the paper. I would be interested in your analysis.
    Best regards,