Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The Register)   New research reveals Himalayan glaciers may not be disappearing at all, probably because they're too difficult for would-be ice thieves to reach   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 69
    More: Spiffy, Greenland Ice Sheet, ice caps, glaciers, Himalayas, sea levels, sea-level rise, tide gauges, ocean waters  
•       •       •

1431 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Feb 2012 at 10:50 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



69 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-02-09 10:55:08 AM  
According to the new boffinry

English, motherfarker, do you speak it?
 
2012-02-09 11:04:05 AM  
TFA: If it accelerates massively as many climate scientists believe it will, sea level rise is probably the main reason to be concerned about climate change/global warming.

Epic fail.

Sea level rise has only been a major concern for people who don't understand how long it takes; which is to say, idiots. Drought and the resulting famine due to wildly erratic weather patterns is and has been the main reason to be concerned about climate change... at least for the short-term.
 
2012-02-09 11:09:35 AM  
www.badmovies.org

How was this not referenced out of the gate?
 
2012-02-09 11:11:37 AM  
These glaciers not melting is surely a conspiracy by the Teatards to bring down our glorious leader and annoint God-Emperess Palin the First to the throne.
 
2012-02-09 11:18:51 AM  
Science keeps giving itself black eyes these days.

I'm skeptical to the point where I view all the 'alarms' of climate change from scientists as just ploys to get more funding.

Climate change is real.. I have no doubt about that. The implications of said climate change and the ability of humans to reverse it still need a lot of CONSISTENT science over a period of years before I will ever loose my skepticism about those aspects of climate change.

One of these days I am going to have to compile a list of scientific flip-flops over the last 40 years.
 
2012-02-09 11:23:12 AM  

dwrash: Science keeps giving itself black eyes these days.

I'm skeptical to the point where I view all the 'alarms' of climate change from scientists as just ploys to get more funding.

Climate change is real.. I have no doubt about that. The implications of said climate change and the ability of humans to reverse it still need a lot of CONSISTENT science over a period of years before I will ever loose my skepticism about those aspects of climate change.

One of these days I am going to have to compile a list of scientific flip-flops over the last 40 years.


Someone in this thread doesn't understand how Science works.
 
2012-02-09 11:23:39 AM  
FTA: "The GRACE [Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites] results in this region really were a surprise..."

Once again, climate scientists are surprised when the world doesn't behave as their climate models and peer-rewiewed papers predict.
 
2012-02-09 11:27:36 AM  

GameSprocket: [www.badmovies.org image 500x250]

How was this not referenced out of the gate?


Any reason why he's balck? Yea, I wanted him to be perfect.
 
2012-02-09 11:31:51 AM  

GameSprocket: dwrash: Science keeps giving itself black eyes these days.

I'm skeptical to the point where I view all the 'alarms' of climate change from scientists as just ploys to get more funding.

Climate change is real.. I have no doubt about that. The implications of said climate change and the ability of humans to reverse it still need a lot of CONSISTENT science over a period of years before I will ever loose my skepticism about those aspects of climate change.

One of these days I am going to have to compile a list of scientific flip-flops over the last 40 years.

Someone in this thread doesn't understand how Science works.


I understand alright.. the problem is that things don't get peer reviewed and tested enough before they go public.
 
2012-02-09 11:33:31 AM  
To all the anti-global warming people out there:

I don't trust these climate scientists! This is obviously bullshiat!

See? It works both ways. If you didn't believe them when they were telling you about the bad stuff, you don't get to believe them when they tell you about the good stuff either.
 
2012-02-09 12:28:14 PM  

GameSprocket: Someone in this thread doesn't understand how Science works.


It is not so much the science that has us conerned. That will work itself out over time. What has me condcerned is the money grubbing 'researchers' that put junk out there to alarm the sheep and fill thier research coffers. Add that to the bafoons that use this research to push a political agenda and you have the recipe for disaster. Above all ellse, the scientific process needs to be transparent. That includes responding to FOIAs.
 
2012-02-09 12:30:27 PM  

GameSprocket: [www.badmovies.org image 500x250]

How was this not referenced out of the gate?


Kids don't study the classics anymore. It's certainly what I stopped in for. Thanks.
 
2012-02-09 12:30:34 PM  

dwrash: Science keeps giving itself black eyes these days.

I'm skeptical to the point where I view all the 'alarms' of climate change from scientists as just ploys to get more funding.

Climate change is real.. I have no doubt about that. The implications of said climate change and the ability of humans to reverse it still need a lot of CONSISTENT science over a period of years before I will ever loose my skepticism about those aspects of climate change.

One of these days I am going to have to compile a list of scientific flip-flops over the last 40 years.


Dammit. Science is NOT doctrine. Theories change with new every tidbit of experimentally reproducible fact. The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.
 
2012-02-09 12:42:20 PM  
Nothing about the climate change debate is science. It's all speculation mixed with some analysis and modeling.
 
2012-02-09 12:43:05 PM  
New research reveals Himalayan glaciers may not be disappearing at all, probably because they're too difficult for would-be ice thieves to reach

Uh, bullshiat.

TFPaper in question details that the GRACE satellites show that region losing ~4 Gigatonnes of ice each year during the period of 2003-2010.

That's less than other methods of measuring, such as mass balance loss computations, have found. But it's certainly not nothing.

There's two issues here:

First, it would be wonderful if this was actually true. That region is highly dependent on glaciers as a store for seasonal freshwater melt, and any good news for them is welcome.

Second, the total amount of sea level rise (SLR) we're experiencing is reasonably well constrained on interannual and longer timescales by several independent groups and measurement methods, but the apportioning of it to different sources is less so.

If one of the sources is found to be contributing less than previous estimates, that means something else is contributing more than previously believed. In this case, the obvious candidate is the thermal expansion component of SLR. In other words, the oceans may have warmed more than previously estimated by an amount equal to the glacial melt over-estimation.

That's not great news in the long run, as it implies a larger accumulated energy imbalance than is currently inferred from recent estimates that relied on the prior estimates of glacial meltwater contributions to SLR.

In any event, this is an interesting new paper, and it will be great to see whether its results can be confirmed or not by subsequent independent measurements and calculations.
 
2012-02-09 01:16:20 PM  
See-Ohh-Two, OMFG!

First, the 50 million climate refugees fail to materialize, and now this.
Many of these fear mongers should be relatively near retirement age by now. They should take the buy-outs, for the good of the world.
 
2012-02-09 01:17:54 PM  

make me some tea: The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.


And the fierce advocates of AGW who magically show up on fark climate threads.
 
2012-02-09 01:22:10 PM  

Lord Dimwit: See? It works both ways. If you didn't believe them when they were telling you about the bad stuff, you don't get to believe them when they tell you about the good stuff either.


50 Million Climate Refugees Fail to Materialize (new window)

How often can you cry wolf before people stop listening?
 
2012-02-09 01:22:46 PM  
The problem I have with Global Warming is not in the measurements, I am willing to accept all the measurements for what they are. The problem I have is with the extrapolations given all that we don't know. Here's a silly example: if I flip a coin 10 times and it comes up heads 6 times I could extrapolate that heads would come up 60/100, 600/1000 etc. assuming I knew nothing about probability this would be a good theory.
Similarly, extrapolating future climate from the current climate when we don't know the effects of the Suns activity, the effects of the El Nino/Nina fluctuations as well as other forces we may not even be aware of, seems to me not science but simply guesswork. Add to that the extremely short term measurments we are using ( in my example 10 flips) and you get what you have today, conflicing data and modeling.
 
2012-02-09 01:25:07 PM  

make me some tea: dwrash: Science keeps giving itself black eyes these days.

I'm skeptical to the point where I view all the 'alarms' of climate change from scientists as just ploys to get more funding.

Climate change is real.. I have no doubt about that. The implications of said climate change and the ability of humans to reverse it still need a lot of CONSISTENT science over a period of years before I will ever loose my skepticism about those aspects of climate change.

One of these days I am going to have to compile a list of scientific flip-flops over the last 40 years.

Dammit. Science is NOT doctrine. Theories change with new every tidbit of experimentally reproducible fact. The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.


If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.
 
2012-02-09 01:32:07 PM  

dwrash: If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.


Al Gore represents the political high-water mark of this religious-style lunacy. It will take an entire generation of scientists coming up and this present gang of zealots passing to better places an/or retiring before people take this seriously. AGW borders on a philosophical conspiracy.
And for what?
A little (or a lot of) money.

Entire careers have been made and built on AGW and AGW-related assistantships, endowments, and blah blah, not to mention the Wall Street angle, the carbon credits scam. It's really not funny any more and it's not the 1970s either, when a single Newsweek or Time cover could get people all lathered up.
 
2012-02-09 01:46:52 PM  

HotIgneous Intruder: make me some tea: The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.

And the fierce advocates of AGW who magically show up on fark climate threads.



Most of the fark variety are more into social reform than they are into climate. They have a rather naive vision of a future world and AGW is the vehicle that gets them to it.

The scam was always about making money, dismantling capitalism and creating a socialist world.
 
2012-02-09 01:50:57 PM  

dwrash: make me some tea: dwrash: Science keeps giving itself black eyes these days.

I'm skeptical to the point where I view all the 'alarms' of climate change from scientists as just ploys to get more funding.

Climate change is real.. I have no doubt about that. The implications of said climate change and the ability of humans to reverse it still need a lot of CONSISTENT science over a period of years before I will ever loose my skepticism about those aspects of climate change.

One of these days I am going to have to compile a list of scientific flip-flops over the last 40 years.

Dammit. Science is NOT doctrine. Theories change with new every tidbit of experimentally reproducible fact. The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.

If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.


Which is why policy needs to be completely disassociated with the science. Policy needs to be about conservation and the like. Things that people can see and understand in their own lives. Let the scientists debate the other stuff, it shouldn't even effect us. Pushing for proper trash sorting hasn't created national divisions. Pushing for emissions regulations because smog looks, smells, and tastes like shiat and clean drinking water is nice to have causes backlash not on the science, but on the cost, which is completely manageable from a political standpoint. etc

In the end these things help against the potential of AGW, but that's not and shouldn't be the point.
 
2012-02-09 01:59:28 PM  

chuckufarlie: HotIgneous Intruder: make me some tea: The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.

And the fierce advocates of AGW who magically show up on fark climate threads.


Most of the fark variety are more into social reform than they are into climate. They have a rather naive vision of a future world and AGW is the vehicle that gets them to it.

The scam was always about making money, dismantling capitalism and creating a socialist world.


...this has to be a joke.
 
2012-02-09 02:03:20 PM  

dwrash: If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.


When you're 90% sure of something, do you wait until you're completely 100% sure to act on it?
 
2012-02-09 02:12:59 PM  

HeadLever: What has me condcerned is the money grubbing 'researchers' that put junk out there to alarm the sheep and fill thier research coffers.


So you have no idea how the research grant submission/approval process works, nor do you understand how researchers get paid from these grants, but you are sure they are "money grubbing".

Well that's just great.
 
2012-02-09 02:14:01 PM  

Lord Dimwit: ...this has to be a joke.


It would be a joke if there weren't such brazenly useful idiots in the world.

/And there are.
 
2012-02-09 02:16:42 PM  
can i come out from under my bed now? and change my shorts?
 
2012-02-09 02:31:19 PM  

make me some tea: dwrash: If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.

When you're 90% sure of something, do you wait until you're completely 100% sure to act on it?


It depends.. I'm 100% sure there is climate change.. I am 0% sure that we can make meaningful changes that will effect global warming.

Especially, when the real issue is population growth.. which spurs industry and consumption.. specifically the carbon footprint/emissions of food production.
 
2012-02-09 02:43:01 PM  

dwrash: specifically the carbon footprint/emissions of food production.


Nope, sorry, try again. Food production has a small fraction of the impact of the transportation industry, and if you're convinced that transportation is all about food you're kidding yourself.
 
2012-02-09 02:44:26 PM  

dwrash: make me some tea: dwrash: If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.

When you're 90% sure of something, do you wait until you're completely 100% sure to act on it?

It depends.. I'm 100% sure there is climate change.. I am 0% sure that we can make meaningful changes that will effect global warming.

Especially, when the real issue is population growth.. which spurs industry and consumption.. specifically the carbon footprint/emissions of food production.


I agree about the population growth being Public Enemy #1. And yet there's very little discussion about that. I would like to see a whole lot more countries impose birthrate caps, but figuring out how to do that in a free society is gonna be like swimming up a waterfall.
 
2012-02-09 02:47:04 PM  

tcan: The problem I have with Global Warming is not in the measurements, I am willing to accept all the measurements for what they are. The problem I have is with the extrapolations given all that we don't know....

...Similarly, extrapolating future climate from the current climate


That's not how projections of the forced component of climate over time (i.e. what people are talking about when they talk about future climate change) are actually done. Rather than extrapolating from observations, they're actually made using physics-based general circulation models with dynamic atmosphere and ocean components.

Current observational data and paleoclimatic data are used to test the reasonableness of the model output as well as to constrain parameters that can't be explicitly modeled due to computational constraints. But the projections themselves are determined by the different potential emissions pathways we can end up taking in the future and the physics-based response of the model.

tcan: when we don't know the effects of the Suns activity, the effects of the El Nino/Nina fluctuations


What are you basing this claim on? That we don't know what their effects are now? That we don't know what their effects will be in the future? If the former, we have extensive observational data on these aspects of the system. If the latter, what do you believe their influence in determining the globally averaged surface temperature on multidecadal timescales is relative to enormous changes in greenhouse gases?

tcan: as well as other forces we may not even be aware of


This is interesting to me. You think that there are factors that significantly determine our planet's climate that we simply don't know exist? Can you give me even a hypothetical example of how that could be possible?

The difficulty here is not that I think we literally know everything there is to know about the climate system- far from it. Rather, we have been studying the climate system long enough, and have theoretical and observational descriptions of it that are coherent and comprehensive enough that the possibility that there is both something we don't know about AND that this something has a large influence on the climate for the purposes of discussing boundary values and general states is exceedingly unlikely to me.

tcan: seems to me not science but simply guesswork. Add to that the extremely short term measurments we are using ( in my example 10 flips) and you get what you have today, conflicing data and modeling.


What data and model conflicts do you believe exist?
 
2012-02-09 03:03:59 PM  

Jon Snow: tcan: The problem I have with Global Warming is not in the measurements, I am willing to accept all the measurements for what they are. The problem I have is with the extrapolations given all that we don't know....

...Similarly, extrapolating future climate from the current climate

That's not how projections of the forced component of climate over time (i.e. what people are talking about when they talk about future climate change) are actually done. Rather than extrapolating from observations, they're actually made using physics-based general circulation models with dynamic atmosphere and ocean components.

Current observational data and paleoclimatic data are used to test the reasonableness of the model output as well as to constrain parameters that can't be explicitly modeled due to computational constraints. But the projections themselves are determined by the different potential emissions pathways we can end up taking in the future and the physics-based response of the model.

tcan: when we don't know the effects of the Suns activity, the effects of the El Nino/Nina fluctuations

What are you basing this claim on? That we don't know what their effects are now? That we don't know what their effects will be in the future? If the former, we have extensive observational data on these aspects of the system. If the latter, what do you believe their influence in determining the globally averaged surface temperature on multidecadal timescales is relative to enormous changes in greenhouse gases?

tcan: as well as other forces we may not even be aware of

This is interesting to me. You think that there are factors that significantly determine our planet's climate that we simply don't know exist? Can you give me even a hypothetical example of how that could be possible?

The difficulty here is not that I think we literally know everything there is to know about the climate system- far from it. Rather, we have been studying the climate system long enough, and have theoret ...


And the winner for most extensive use of obfuscating jargon in a single paragraph is...Jon Snow
Other than that let me simply say that my post wasintended to point out that the amount of variables that exist and our limited time frames (years vs millenia) make future predictions dicey. Also it was not my intent to hint that there may be unseen forces we don't know about but rather to point out that we don't know enough about the effects of the ones we do.
 
2012-02-09 03:19:21 PM  
This is some 30 per cent lower than had been previously estimated.

So, 70% of what was originally estimated to be melting is actually melting? And we're still going to have a "this proves/disproves global warming" thread? You guys are ready to throw-down with the same tired arguments every time a squirrel farts.
 
2012-02-09 03:20:04 PM  

Jon Snow: What data and model conflicts do you believe exist?


Give it up, this one's a lost cause.
 
2012-02-09 03:28:39 PM  

tcan: my post wasintended to point out that the amount of variables that exist and our limited time frames (years vs millenia) make future predictions dicey.


There's a great deal of misconception about what it is we're actually trying to do when we talk about trying to project changes in the climate over time. We're not attempting to forecast the local weather in Chicago in the year 3000AD, or even in the year 2100AD. Weather prediction/forecasts are initial value problems. They aren't meaningful more than a few weeks out.

Rather, we're interested in changes to the boundary values of the system over long periods of time. What does doubling the amount of CO2 mean in terms of planetary energy balance, atmospheric circulation, surface temperature, precipitation, etc.?

The climate system is very, very complex, but it has large-scale features that are determined by a rather small number of factors which we understand very well in terms of the big picture. Climate projections are looking at what happens to the average of a dice pool over time as you start to add dice, or change the number of sides on the dice, etc., rather than trying to exactly predict individual results of any given roll.

Also, it's important to pick relevant timescales. In the same way that you may not want to look at changes in a given species' genetic code over timescales of millions of years or a day, if you're interested in what changes to GHG levels will do to the climate from a policy-relevant perspective, you want to focus on multidecadal to centennial timescales. Much shorter than that, and the "noise" of weather will obscure any signal, and much, much longer than that is beyond the scope of infrastructure planet and governmental activity in general. You also start to have to take into consideration changes in orbital forcing, movement of the continents (and thus changes to albedo, ocean circulation, etc.). We can do this, and do for looking at changes in paleoclimates over long periods of time, but again, this isn't considered relevant for policy.

tcan: Also it was not my intent to hint that there may be unseen forces we don't know about but rather to point out that we don't know enough about the effects of the ones we do.


And what are you basing that on?
 
2012-02-09 03:32:14 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: So, 70% of what was originally estimated to be melting is actually melting? And we're still going to have a "this proves/disproves global warming" thread? You guys are ready to throw-down with the same tired arguments every time a squirrel farts.


I think it's even more amusing that this kind of paper is accepted at face value while the same GRACE sats show rapidly accelerating GrIS, WAIS, and EAIS mass balance loss, those papers were poo-pooed as being unconfirmed, too short of a timescale to be relevant, etc.
 
2012-02-09 03:38:40 PM  

Jon Snow: I think it's even more amusing that this kind of paper is accepted at face value while the same GRACE sats show rapidly accelerating GrIS, WAIS, and EAIS mass balance loss, those papers were poo-pooed as being unconfirmed, too short of a timescale to be relevant, etc.


We're all victims of confirmation bias; the best you can do is simply be aware of it.
 
2012-02-09 03:47:01 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: So, 70% of what was originally estimated to be melting is actually melting? And we're still going to have a "this proves/disproves global warming" thread?


Why must you distill this down to singular bipolar wedge issue.
If you think this is why people have trouble with AGW, then you haven't been paying attention.

I haven't seen anyone claiming either disproof of global warming or that global warming doesn't exist. (If they have nobody, including me, pays any attention to them.) This isn't about "deniers" and "warmers."
 
2012-02-09 03:51:26 PM  

rdyb: Nope, sorry, try again. Food production has a small fraction of the impact of the transportation industry, and if you're convinced that transportation is all about food you're kidding yourself.


Seventy percent of all fossil fuels burned in the United States are used in vehicles of all kinds. Can't beat that liquid portability.

No humans ever had it so good...
 
2012-02-09 03:53:00 PM  
/Not including coal, of course.
//70 percent of petroleum, as in oil, right.
///durh.
 
2012-02-09 04:16:56 PM  

Jon Snow:
tcan: Also it was not my intent to hint that there may be unseen forces we don't know about but rather to point out that we don't know enough about the effects of the ones we do.

And what are you basing that on?

Pretty much every article I have read on Solar flare activity, El Nino/Nina effects, ocean currents, magnetic fields etc. Virtually all of these articles contain the phrase " effects of this phenomena are not completely understood" or words to that effect meaning they haven't a clue. I would be a lot happier with the predictions and modeling if they came with some caveats. It's the self assurance that bothers me, scientists should at least have the humility to say that predictions are only based on the best available data and could be entirely wrong if better data comes in or if they find their models are flawed. I am reminded of a phrase from a Douglas Adams book "what you see depends on on what you do" a way of pointing out that your occupation allows you to see things others don't but at the same time this can lead to tunnel vision or I suppose "confirmation bias" is the current popular term.

 
2012-02-09 04:34:39 PM  

chuckufarlie: HotIgneous Intruder: make me some tea: The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.

And the fierce advocates of AGW who magically show up on fark climate threads.


Most of the fark variety are more into social reform than they are into climate. They have a rather naive vision of a future world and AGW is the vehicle that gets them to it.

The scam was always about making money, dismantling capitalism and creating a socialist world.


Are the mods okay with you taking a check to shiat up threads, nicksteel?
 
2012-02-09 04:34:41 PM  

chuckufarlie: HotIgneous Intruder: make me some tea: The only ones claiming that scientists think they know it all are those who would try to manipulate people for political gain.

And the fierce advocates of AGW who magically show up on fark climate threads.


Most of the fark variety are more into social reform than they are into climate. They have a rather naive vision of a future world and AGW is the vehicle that gets them to it.

The scam was always about making money, dismantling capitalism and creating a socialist world.


This.
 
2012-02-09 04:34:58 PM  

tcan: Pretty much every article I have read on Solar flare activity, El Nino/Nina effects, ocean currents, magnetic fields etc.


i39.tinypic.com
"All of them. Every one that comes across my desk."

/Tinypic captcha = "age before beauty"
 
2012-02-09 04:38:16 PM  

dwrash: make me some tea: dwrash: If you are going to try and mold public policy based on these theories... it better be doctrine.

When you're 90% sure of something, do you wait until you're completely 100% sure to act on it?

It depends.. I'm 100% sure there is climate change.. I am 0% sure that we can make meaningful changes that will effect global warming.

Especially, when the real issue is population growth.. which spurs industry and consumption.. specifically the carbon footprint/emissions of food production.


We could always kill off a few billion Brown and Yellow Poor People. That would leave a more pristine world for the White Enviro-Elite middle class trust fund crowd.
 
2012-02-09 04:39:33 PM  

tcan: Pretty much every article I have read on Solar flare activity, El Nino/Nina effects, ocean currents, magnetic fields etc. Virtually all of these articles contain the phrase " effects of this phenomena are not completely understood" or words to that effect meaning they haven't a clue.


That's just silly. We don't "completely understand" anything if you want to be pedantic. That doesn't mean that we "haven't a clue". Example: we don't know the ultimate driver of ENSO (though we're narrowing down the suspects), but we understand its proximate drivers, and more importantly the magnitude of the impact it has on climate in the present, very well.

And more importantly, in terms of impact under future change, whether or not ENSO shifts more positive, negative, or does not change is small relative to the precipitation and temperature changes of a large change in GHGs. Similarly, the sun suddenly decides to go into another grand minimum, that will have an effect on climate an order of magnitude or more smaller than our future emissions trajectory.

There is a difference between knowledge that is incomplete and complete ignorance. I don't know why anyone would conflate the two.

There's also a difference between popular media accounts and science. A lot of crap on TV or in "news" magazines will try to imply that magnetic pole reversal has something to do with climate change, and there is essentially zero evidence for this in the paleo record.

tcan: I would be a lot happier with the predictions and modeling if they came with some caveats.


They do. Your ignorance of those caveats is not the same as their absence.

tcan: It's the self assurance that bothers me, scientists should at least have the humility to say that predictions are only based on the best available data and could be entirely wrong if better data comes in or if they find their models are flawed.


They do, with the exception that it's pointless to pretend that something might come along and 'disprove' the greenhouse effect or otherwise overturn our understanding of the physics underlying the issue. At that point, we'd have a lot more to worry about than climate change as the assumptions on which technological civilization exists will be wrong and could come crashing down around our ears at any moment.

Don't mistake confidence in results with a lack of humility.

tcan: I am reminded of a phrase from a Douglas Adams book "what you see depends on on what you do" a way of pointing out that your occupation allows you to see things others don't but at the same time this can lead to tunnel vision or I suppose "confirmation bias" is the current popular term.


Sure, confirmation bias is something that every group needs to watch out for. But the wonderful thing about interdisciplinary and internationally-relevant topics like climate change is that there's little room for it to survive for long. If and when a group's findings are potentially wrong, it doesn't take long for another group to come along and demonstrate that to be the case. That's the topic of TFA. Science is provisional, self-correcting, and iterative. But that doesn't mean we have to pretend that we don't know in broad strokes what would happen if we doubled CO2 or cranked the sun up by ~2%.

There are a tremendous number of unknowns in terms of climate change, but "skeptics" (not you necessarily) seem to be almost universally focused on things that aren't the significant ones. Do we know to the fluid mL how much ice is melting? No. Do we know that world-wide glacial mass balance is not only decreasing but that loss is accelerating? Yes. Do we know that in an increasingly warmer world that loss is going to keep going? Yes. Etc.
 
2012-02-09 07:09:15 PM  

Jon Snow: tcan: Pretty much every article I have read on Solar flare activity, El Nino/Nina effects, ocean currents, magnetic fields etc. Virtually all of these articles contain the phrase " effects of this phenomena are not completely understood" or words to that effect meaning they haven't a clue.

That's just silly. We don't "completely understand" anything if you want to be pedantic. That doesn't mean that we "haven't a clue". Example: we don't know the ultimate driver of ENSO (though we're narrowing down the suspects), but we understand its proximate drivers, and more importantly the magnitude of the impact it has on climate in the present, very well.

And more importantly, in terms of impact under future change, whether or not ENSO shifts more positive, negative, or does not change is small relative to the precipitation and temperature changes of a large change in GHGs. Similarly, the sun suddenly decides to go into another grand minimum, that will have an effect on climate an order of magnitude or more smaller than our future emissions trajectory.

There is a difference between knowledge that is incomplete and complete ignorance. I don't know why anyone would conflate the two.

There's also a difference between popular media accounts and science. A lot of crap on TV or in "news" magazines will try to imply that magnetic pole reversal has something to do with climate change, and there is essentially zero evidence for this in the paleo record.

tcan: I would be a lot happier with the predictions and modeling if they came with some caveats.

They do. Your ignorance of those caveats is not the same as their absence.

tcan: It's the self assurance that bothers me, scientists should at least have the humility to say that predictions are only based on the best available data and could be entirely wrong if better data comes in or if they find their models are flawed.

They do, with the exception that it's pointless to pretend that something might come along and 'disprove' the ...


Thanks for the serious discussion(no seriously) I'm not used to that on Fark. You made many excellent points without any personal attacks and I will have to think about my position. Kudos to you.
 
2012-02-09 07:57:37 PM  

Jon Snow: tcan: my post wasintended to point out that the amount of variables that exist and our limited time frames (years vs millenia) make future predictions dicey.

There's a great deal of misconception about what it is we're actually trying to do when we talk about trying to project changes in the climate over time. We're not attempting to forecast the local weather in Chicago in the year 3000AD, or even in the year 2100AD. Weather prediction/forecasts are initial value problems. They aren't meaningful more than a few weeks out.

Rather, we're interested in changes to the boundary values of the system over long periods of time. What does doubling the amount of CO2 mean in terms of planetary energy balance, atmospheric circulation, surface temperature, precipitation, etc.?

The climate system is very, very complex, but it has large-scale features that are determined by a rather small number of factors which we understand very well in terms of the big picture. Climate projections are looking at what happens to the average of a dice pool over time as you start to add dice, or change the number of sides on the dice, etc., rather than trying to exactly predict individual results of any given roll.

Also, it's important to pick relevant timescales. In the same way that you may not want to look at changes in a given species' genetic code over timescales of millions of years or a day, if you're interested in what changes to GHG levels will do to the climate from a policy-relevant perspective, you want to focus on multidecadal to centennial timescales. Much shorter than that, and the "noise" of weather will obscure any signal, and much, much longer than that is beyond the scope of infrastructure planet and governmental activity in general. You also start to have to take into consideration changes in orbital forcing, movement of the continents (and thus changes to albedo, ocean circulation, etc.). We can do this, and do for looking at changes in paleoclimates over long periods of ...


"The climate system is very, very complex, but it has large-scale features that are determined by a rather small number of factors which we understand very well in terms of the big picture."

Make up your mind, skippy. Is it complex or not. It cannot be complex and determined by a rather small number of factors.

But you never have been a deep thinker, have you?
 
2012-02-09 08:04:28 PM  

tcan: Thanks for the serious discussion


Thanks to you, too. Any time.

tcan: You made many excellent points without any personal attacks and I will have to think about my position.


That's wonderful to hear and all anyone can reasonably hope for. I only ask that you try your best to get your information about science from science-literate sources. If you don't read the primary scientific literature directly, try to get your hands on a decent recent textbook (from a neary university library, or you can get older, used editions very cheaply) in a relevant subject. You don't have to learn how to read FORTRAN and analyze the guts of a climate model's code, but at least try to see what the state of the science is as best you can, staying as close to the research itself as you can. The further away from it one gets, the greater the chances of poor or biased information.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion!
 
Displayed 50 of 69 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report