Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Having it both ways

The last few years we've been getting warnings that Global Warming is reducing snowfall, which will be catastrophic for our economy...

Now we're told that the heavy snows that have paralyzed both Europe and the US are the result of Global warming- "these ‘snowpocalypses’ that have been going through DC and other extreme weather events are precisely what climate scientists have been predicting, fearing and anticipating because of global warming."

Sound familiar? Al Gore et al predicted that 2006 would be a disastrous year for hurricanes- 15 named storms, 9 or 10 being hurricane strength, 3 or 4 or those being major. What happened in 2006? Number of named storms: 9. Number of category 4 or 5: 0. (By the way, another nil hurricane season ended a couple months ago) Then, in April 2007, a new study came out: Global warming may sap hurricanes

Of course, it's not Global Warming anymore, it's Climate Change, I'm told. The Global Warming cause weather to become more extreme, both ways. Hmm... doesn't seem to click with NOAA's hurricane statistics; they show the period from 1900-1950 to be almost twice as bad as 1950-now: number of major storms, 1900-1950: 42; number of major storms 1950-2000: 28. By the way, the 1900 Galveston Texas hurricane was just a little bit more severe than Katrina, killing 12,000 people.

But never mind all that; the science is exact: CO2 causes Global Warming. Unless, of course, Global Warming causes the CO2, which the actual data seems to show , and Al Gore admits. But then, he has a scientific explanation: that was in the past.

This is all beginning to sound like Christian Apologetics... Global Warming causes droughts, and it causes increased precipitation... Global Warming causes more frequent, more violent hurricanes, and it reduces their numbers and intensity... it causes blizzards and bare mountains... it causes, and is caused by, CO2... Falsifiability? Know ye that all things work for the greater glory of the IPCC... (except for the parts about the melting glaciers , which were based on a student paper that used a skiing magazine as source material and a WWF letter, or the parts about crops being cut in half in Africa in only ten years, which were never peer reviewed, or obvious mistakes like claiming that half of Holland is below sea level.)

We keep telling creationists that the problem with their theory is that it can't be used; since we have no way of knowing the nature of or timing of miracles, we can't use creation theory to predict experimental results. Global Warming theories, however, do predict results- mutually exclusive ones. But they have a better answer for this knock than the creationists: their theories predict that weather will become unpredictable; therefore, by getting it wrong they are actually fulfilling their predictions!

Coming soon, but not next, an in-depth look at the controversies of the last couple of years without my tongue in my cheek.


Steve Caldwell said...

Joel -- I don't know if we should focus on the freakishly cold and snowy winter weather in DC and ignore the freakishly warm and non-snowy winter weather in Vancouver that affecting the 2010 Winter Olympics.

One can always find a statistical outlier that appears to refute a long-term trend.

Instead of focusing on Al Gore's comments, I would suggest looking at the peer-reviewed scientific literature in its totality and what this says about climate change and increased CO2 levels:

Joel Monka said...

It is fair for one side to use freakish occurrences when the other side had also used freakish occurrences to make predictions- especially specific predictions, such as the number of and intensity of hurricanes to come, or the lack of snow causing agriculture failures.

As to the CO2, did you look at the link I referred to, with its links to peer reviewed articles about CO2? You don't actually even need those articles, though; look at the graphs in Al's book and you can see yourself that more often than not the rise in CO2 follows the rise in temperature. To most laymen, the claim that A causes B would imply that A occurred before B. Now there may well be some mechanism that reverses the logical order, but if so, no one has put it forward.

As to the scientific consensus, there's an underlying assumption to peer reviews that may not be valid here: the assumption that the data being reviewed is accurate. Those tens of thousands of "scientists"* didn't do original research; they merely checked the math. If the numbers are wrong, the answers will be wrong, even if everyone agrees the formula is correct. This is something I will be dealing with in my longer, more serious look.

*Only a very tiny minority of the scientists in the consensus are meteorologists or climatologists. A scientist operating outside of his or her specialty is merely an educated layman, and can't be taken as an authority. Witness how Nobel Prize winning inventor of the transistor Dr. Shockley "proved" mathematically that blacks are mentally inferior to whites.

Crystal said...

Thanks for your thoughts Joel. I too have issues with the supposed "science" of "climate change".

And seriously? Wikipedia? Surely one could spend a minute or two and find something that wasn't put together by a few people who likely wouldn't even recognize decent research if it whacked them on the head.