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Larry Moran defends The Faith

Sandwalk: Average Annual Global Temperatures and IDiots
Larry Moran Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.
Here's a chart of the average annual global temperature change over the past 150 years. I don't know about you, but to me there seems to be a bit of a trend.
The highest recorded temperature was in 1998 and last year the temperature was 0.08ー lower than the year before. Nobody with an IQ over 50 thinks that the temperature has to increase every single year in order to demonstrate global warming.
tmp.jpg
Speaking of IQ, the BBC "climate correspondent" just wrote an article for BBC News: What happened to global warming?.
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It's actually not quite as bad an article as it sounds. There's some interesting discussion about short-term trends and how to predict them. Unfortunately the author leaves the impression that global warming may not be caused by humans. In seven of the past eight years the global temperature has been higher than it has ever been except for 1998. Isn't that worth mentioning?
The interesting thing about this is that the exact quotation above is presented on Uncommon Descent (a creationist website) under the same scary title: What happened to global warming?. There's no additional information to put the headline into context.
Why is there a correlation between the rejection of evolution and the rejection of other scientific discoveries? Isn't it obvious? The IDiots are not in the business of promoting the scientific theory of Intelligent Design Creationism. Their goal is to discredit science and they'll try anything at all to advance that goal.

I hope Prof Moran is better at Biochemistry than he is at logic. I know it is slightly different on the left side of the pond but I don't see much correlation between creationist IDiots and Sceptics over here. Over here there is more of a correlation between people who reject faith based creationism and those who demand to see the evidence of Man Made Global Warming. But even if there is a 100% correlation over in Toronto it is not relevant as to whether it is unfortunate to question whether Global Warming is man made.

And his graph is one of the pieces of evidence that opens up that question. How does the pattern of that graph correlate to CO2 emissions? Very poorly. Others may argue it correlates better with sun spots or hem lines. Or maybe it is just a natural warming that is going on? Maybe the human influence on a natural process is only marginal?
The scientific position is to always be sceptical and question and reject faith led pronouncements.

Comments

"higher than it has ever been"

To say this, Moran must be a creationist himself. How else can you explain the "ever" in this sentence? It was probably substantially warmer during the last interglacial 100,000 years ago and was definitely a lot warmer before the land mass that is now Antarctica drifted over the south pole 20 million years ago, starting the ice age that we are now in.

Of course, we don't even have to go back that far to find warmer periods. Anyone with an interest in history will know that it was warmer in the Roman and Medieval periods than it is today. It is argued that these warm periods were not global but neither is the current warming, which is concentrated in Europe, Northern Russia and Northern China, the same areas with documented warming in the Medieval warm period.

Being an expert in one thing doesn't make you an expert in anything else; quite the contrary.

The main point of the BBC article, and the only part quoted on the creationist website, was that 1998 was the warmest year on record and annual global temperatures have not exceed that record for the past eleven years. This is the basis for questioning the overall warming trend.

It saddens me to see otherwise intelligent people misuse science in that way. It saddens me to see people here lending implicit support to such faulty reasoning, especially when they pretend to be skeptics.

Another common tactic of non-skeptics is to pick up on minor points and attack a strawman instead of addressing the main issue. Stupid people tend to do this when they don't have anything constructive to say about the real issue.

We see two examples here. One concentrates on CO2 emissions, which weren't part of the criticism. The criticism was of faulty logic in interpreting graphs.

The second attacks me for not knowing that the Earth was warmer in the past. This is, of course, a non sequitur, and it also turns out to be a lie. Anyone who isn't mentally deficient would read my sentence in the context of the graph I was discussing. Only stupid people with agendas would misinterpret it in a way that makes them looks silly.

Al Gore and J Hansen would call me a denier and call for my head.

They would be wrong. I do not doubt that there was warming over the last 100 or so years. But I would note there was also cooling. I even concede that CO2 may account for some warming, and that human output has at least a slight effect.

But I also recall that since the 1980s we have been told that humanity's CO2 output was the only driver worth looking at in detail, with perhaps human aerosols second. That there was no need or utility in looking at the Sun, ocean currents, or anything else - they were dismissed as static, only humans changed global climate.

Now it is admitted that there has been no warming for a decade. And that it will probably cool for another ten years, perhaps twenty. That an error of 20-30 years of 100 is just a minor blip. Because of things like ocean currents, which we were told could be ignored, the models which did not show any cooling (and still do not) are nonetheless correct.

Twenty per cent is a minor blip? Tell it to the tax authorities - "So I reported twenty per cent differently than the reality - it's just a blip."

With regard to the 'Medieval Warming', here is a video that analyzes that claim:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrKfz8NjEzU

The important point to keep in mind is that the original source for Medieval Warming used only local climate data (not worldwide as modern scientists do) and used only one source: tree rings.

As for the impact of CO2 and whether humans emit a significant amount:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPA-8A4zf2c

Get your heads out of the sand.

John A. says,

Now it is admitted that there has been no warming for a decade.

The graph certainly doesn't show that. Who "admits" that there has been no warming for a decade?

I may not be a professor, or even someone who knows much about the science of climatology but as a mining engineer I do know a lot about presenting data advantageously*.

Take look at People's Exhibit One - the graph. A casual glance (which is what most lay people would give it) would seem to infer that since the turn of the 20th Century global temmperatures have more than doubled. The title of the graph (Global Annual Temperature versus [the] 1961 to 1990 [average]); a scientist or engineer would understand what that meant but again lay people would probably read the first three words and draw their conclusions accordingly.

In actual fact it the graph shows that global temperatures have moved from about 0.5 degrees below the average to about 0.5 degrees above the average. We are not informed what this average is but a quick google reveals that the average global temperature is around 12 degrees. This gives a variance over 150 years of +/-4%. Much less dramatic, don't you think?

*One's first couple of monthly planning reviews with the mine manager tends to teach the newone skofbaas that essential survival skill.

Who "admits" that there has been no warming for a decade?

The UK's Met, for one. And the IPCC. GOOGLE may not be your friend...

It no longer seems to matter whether the planet is warming, nor whether any warming or cooling can accurately be described as "global".

The emphasis has shifted, not just terminologically, with the abandonment of the global warming scary monster and its substitution by the "climate change" scary monster.

It matters not whether the world is warming nor whether any warming is caused by naughty people trying to live in comfort. The mere fact that the climate is changing provides an excuse for any number of initiatives for the taking of wealth from the economically successful countries, laundering it through vast numbers of caring-and-sharing bodies (all of whom who take a cut so that they can continue flying at the front of the plane) and distributing the little that remains to such of the, as yet, unsuccessful people that the do-gooding carers-and-sharers deem worthy.

Were it proved to the satisfaction of anyone with more than half a brain that human activity has made no difference to global temperatures, the position would not change.

Indeed, it would not matter whether changes in climatic conditions are beneficial or detrimental to anyone. It's all a smokescreen. I can understand the desire to take measures to bring the poorest people of the world up to the standard of living the UK enjoyed in 1850 or later. The forced redistribution of wealth can never achieve this, however, because it is not sustainable. The only major beneficiaries will be the do-gooding in-betweeners who will milk it for every million dollars they possibly can.

Mr Moran, If you think the graph you site is credible scientific evidence you will be disappointed to hear that it isn't.

To my mind such evidence needs to be reproducible and for it to be reproducible it is important that the author hasn't 'lost' the raw data. Without the data it impossible for anyone to see whether the result is a genuine representation of the climate record or a piece of fraudulent political advocacy.

"We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."..... Prof Phil Jones the Director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)

As you will see from this graph showing global satellite temperature measurement....

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/uah_jun09.png

The actual temperature increase has been nothing like as marked, especially in the last 20 years when the supposedly 'unprecedented' warming is said to have occurred.

The contrast with jones' graph is staggering and the trend that was so easy for you to spot in the unreproducible chart is almost entirely absent in the scientific one.

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