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The elephant in the room consistently ignored by the Warministas

Breakthrough: American scientists have discovered a link between water vapour and the earth's temperature

Almost everything t that I have ever read about “climate change ” from those of the Warminista faith concentrate on Co2 and occasionally methane as the most important elements in our chaotic and multifaceted climate  when they go in to long diatribes about AGW (take a bow JM). But they are almost dismissive about the role of water vapour in the atmosphere. Yet the water vapours and the clouds they form are many times more important to keeping this planet habitable than the minuscule amounts (by proportion) of Co2 in our air. Which is why I found the report in the Daily Mail most interesting.

American researchers have discovered that the amount of water high in the atmosphere is far more influential on world temperatures than previously thought.

Although the findings do not challenge the theory of man-made global warming, they help explain why temperatures can rise and fall so dramatically from decade to decade.

The study, published in the journal Science, says a 10 per cent drop in humidity 10 miles above the Earth’s surface explains why global temperatures have been stable since the start of the century, despite the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

And a rise in water vapour in the 1980s and 90s may also explain why temperatures shot up so quickly in the previous two decades, they say.

Water vapour has long been recognised as an important greenhouse gas. Like methane and carbon dioxide, it absorbs heat from the sun that would otherwise be reflected back into space, keeping the planet warm.

However, most computer models that predict climate concentrate on the levels of water lower down in the atmosphere.

Dr Susan Solomon, of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said: ‘Current climate models do a remarkable job on water vapour near the surface.

‘But this is different — it’s a thin wedge of the upper atmosphere that packs a wallop from one decade to the next in a way we didn’t expect.’

Observations from weather balloons and satellites show that ‘stratospheric water vapour’ increased in the 1980s and 1990s and dropped after 2000.

The changes took place in a narrow altitude region of the atmosphere where they would have the biggest impact on climate.

Can’t wait to hear JM or PKD explain this new study in the light of their insistence that the factor to worry about is Co2 because if this study is right it reduces the role of anthropogenic Carbon dioxide to that of a bit player, and one who has no significant dialogue…

Maybe they need a new script……

Cheers Comrades

😉

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58 Comments

  1. Tessa Dick says:

    next, they will put a tax on breathing to reduce CO2

    we exhale CO2 — plants inhale CO2

    — and any CO2 that we create down here on the ground can NOT reach the higher atmosphere, where it might make a difference

  2. PKD says:

    Hey Iain, you forgot to highlight this bit of the article you pasted…

    Although the findings do not challenge the theory of man-made global warming,

    It’s ok no need to thanks me!
    BTW Nice one at misreprestning our positions. If only we really thought CO2 is the only major greenhouse gas to the ignorance of others like water vapour. But thats what you are claiming.

    Nice fantasy world you live in…

  3. JM says:

    Iain, water vapour is an accelerant of warming – it’s a feedback. That’s why people don’t pay much attention to it, CO2 is the trigger. (And the overall concentration of water vapour hasn’t changed anyway – what they’re talking about here is the concentration in a particular layer of the atmosphere)

    Further as PKD points out, the most the researchers are claiming is that it might explain the “apparent stability” or noise we’ve seen recently. That’s the most they are claiming for it.

    No comfort for you there I’m afraid.

  4. JM says:

    Actually Iain, I think what they’re saying is that the answer to Senator Fieldings constant bleat:

    If CO2 is going up, how come the Earth isn’t warming?

    might be their research which indicates:

    a 10% drop in stratospheric water vapour had a cooling effect

    Can we expect Senator Fielding to shut up now? Somehow I doubt it, denialists are impervious to logic.

  5. Iain Hall says:

    PKD

    The person who said “Although the findings do not challenge the theory of man-made global warming,” was not the author of the paper but a Warminista like yourself trying to make excuses why this information about the stratospheric water vapour should be ignored
    JM

    Iain, water vapour is an accelerant of warming – it’s a feedback. That’s why people don’t pay much attention to it, CO2 is the trigger. (And the overall concentration of water vapour hasn’t changed anyway – what they’re talking about here is the concentration in a particular layer of the atmosphere)

    Do you realise just what a crocK this is?
    I’ll get some pop corn myself while you try to explain just why we should ignore water vapour in any consideration of the climate dynamics. Because as far as I understand it the water vapour in the atmosphere does more to affect the thermal performance of the climate than Co2 or methane. Water vapour is by any measure the most significant “greenhouse gas”
    From Wiki:

    Main article: water vapor
    Increasing water vapor in the stratosphere at Boulder, Colorado.

    Water vapor accounts for the largest percentage of the greenhouse effect, between 36% and 66% for water vapor alone, and between 66% and 85% when factoring in clouds.[8] However, the warming due to the greenhouse effect of cloud cover is, at least in part, mitigated by the change in the Earth’s albedo. According to NASA, “The overall effect of all clouds together is that the Earth’s surface is cooler than it would be if the atmosphere had no clouds.” (cf. NASA Clouds and Radiation) Water vapor concentrations fluctuate regionally, but human activity does not significantly affect water vapor concentrations except at local scales, such as near irrigated fields. According to the Environmental Health Center of the National Safety Council, water vapor constitutes as much as 2% of the atmosphere.[31]

    The Clausius-Clapeyron relation establishes that air can hold more water vapor per unit volume when it warms. This and other basic principles indicate that warming associated with increased concentrations of the other greenhouse gases also will increase the concentration of water vapor.

    When a warming trend results in effects that induce further warming, the process is referred to as a “positive feedback”; this amplifies the original warming. When the warming trend results in effects that induce cooling, the process is referred to as a “negative feedback”; this reduces the original warming. Because water vapor is a greenhouse gas and because warm air can hold more water vapor than cooler air, the primary positive feedback involves water vapor. This positive feedback does not result in runaway global warming because it is offset by other processes that induce negative feedbacks, which stabilizes average global temperatures. The primary negative feedback is the effect of temperature on emission of infrared radiation: as the temperature of a body increases, the emitted radiation increases with the fourth power of its absolute temperature.[32]

    Other important considerations involve water vapor being the only greenhouse gas whose concentration is highly variable in space and time in the atmosphere and the only one that also exists in both liquid and solid phases, frequently changing to and from each of the three phases or existing in mixes. Such considerations include clouds themselves, air and water vapor density interactions when they are the same or different temperatures, the absorption and release of kinetic energy as water evaporates and condenses to and from vapor, and behaviors related to vapor partial pressure. For example, the release of latent heat by rain in the ITCZ drives atmospheric circulation, clouds vary atmospheric albedo levels, and the oceans provide evaporative cooling that modulates the greenhouse effect down from estimated 67 °C surface temperature.[5][33]

  6. JM says:

    Iain, from the 3rd paragraph of your Wiki quotation (I’ve bolded the important words so you can see them):


    When a warming trend results in effects that induce further warming, the process is referred to as a “positive feedback”; this amplifies the original warming. When the warming trend results in effects that induce cooling, the process is referred to as a “negative feedback”; this reduces the original warming. Because water vapor is a greenhouse gas and because warm air can hold more water vapor than cooler air, the primary positive feedback involves water vapor.

    Which is exactly what I said.

    And also what the writers of the paper are saying. They are saying that because there was 10% less water in the stratosphere in the 2000’s that the amplification effect wasn’t as strong, perhaps slowing the warming due to increased CO2. Perhaps.

    Which is also exactly what I said.

  7. JM says:

    And Iain you should have read the section Natural and anthropogenic on that wiki page.


    During the pre-industrial Holocene, concentrations of existing gases were roughly constant. In the industrial era, human activities have added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests.

    This includes water vapour being roughly constant, at least until the earth starts heating for some reason (like us adding CO2).

    Also from the Anthroprogenic Greenhouse Gases section (from the first paragraph):


    Natural sources of carbon dioxide are more than 20 times greater than sources due to human activity,[22] but over periods longer than a few years natural sources are closely balanced by natural sinks such as weathering of continental rocks and photosynthesis of carbon compounds by plants and marine plankton. As a result of this balance, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide remained between 260 and 280 parts per million for the 10,000 years between the end of the last glacial maximum and the start of the industrial era

    ie. until we started screwing up the balance everything trundled along pretty much unchanged for 1000’s of years. It was only once we started adding to the trace gas mix that the earth started to find a new hotter balance.

  8. JM says:

    Oh and while we’re on the subject, you might also like to have a look at this which is a statistical study (using techniques I don’t know much about but which I have been assured – berated more like – by a financial statistician are the “bees knees” when it comes to statistical analysis.)

    It looks at the empirical data of temperature rise against changes (if any) in the sun, CO2, methane and nitrous dioxide and concludes that CO2 is the leading cause and is responsible for about 3C per doubling of CO2.

    ie. Exactly in line with the IPCC (and everyone else).

    No underlying physics, no computer climate models, just pure statistics from purely empirical data.

    Perhaps the takeway from all this is:- water vapour doesn’t matter to AGW (much) because the concentration of water vapour hasn’t changed, only CO2 (and to a lesser extent methane) has.

    If something hasn’t changed – eg. water vapour – it can’t be having much of an effect.

  9. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    Your citation lost all credibility for me once I saw in its introduction that it was yet another computer modelling exercise. As i have pointed out to you before the problems with any computer model is summed up thus: Shit in = shit out.

    I cited the Wiki piece purely for its factoid that water vapour is responsible for 85% (when you include clouds) of the greenhouse effect. You seem to think that we should entirely ignore that in favour of the minuscule effect of a gas that is less than 1% of the atmosphere by volume.

    I am still waiting for you to answer my question about the “forcing effect of Co2 and why you give it the value that you do .

  10. JM says:

    Iain, it’s most definitely not a computer modelling exercise.

    It’s a computer driven statistics exercise – ie. purely empirical using nothing but empirical data, the sort of thing you like so much.

    You could term it statistical “modelling” (and statisticians do).

    But it is not climate modelling which is something completely different and the thing I thought all you denialists hate so much.

  11. JM says:

    “I am still waiting for you to answer my question about the “forcing effect of Co2 and why you give it the value that you do .”

    What question?

  12. Pkd says:

    Yes Iain – what kind of data do you rely on for your belief in the MWP?
    Statistical modelling perhaps???

  13. Iain Hall says:

    Actually PKD My belief in the MWP is based upon the archaeological and historical records with an absence of any statistical modelling at all.

  14. JM says:

    Iain: with an absence of any statistical modelling at all.

    Then you don’t understand what the term means. Without at least statistical models you don’t have any statistics at all.

    Just random numbers pulled out of thin air.

    You must as well draw a line through the data by eye. And you have no idea if the result is significant or not.

    Bollocks Iain. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

  15. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    I was answering PKDS’s question and you give me this crap?

  16. JM says:

    I telling you want is meant by “statistical model”. When you fit a line to some data points you are assuming that the thing you are trying to uncover is:-

    * straight, if you use a straight line
    * exponential, if you use an exponential line (appropriate for say population growth)
    * smooth, if you use something like a running mean
    * etc

    The line you use is your “model” (even if you don’t think about it that way). It’s inescapable. You can’t do a statistical analysis of any sort without it.

    So can you answer PKD’s question: how do you get your ideas about the MWP?

  17. Len says:

    You guys are trying to compare apples with oranges. A typical well meaning statistical mistake.

    Even in ice core samples, with a time scale of five thousand years, (even millions of years in some cases), are not conclusive, in their portrayal of historical weather patterns. That is why people such as myself, travel the stratosphere, sampling what’s up there. The science is less than a couple of decades old. Therefore, any deductions arrived from such data, cannot be used to heavily substantiate any theory. Why ? Simple really, as there is nothing to measure the data against. There can be no historical correlation possible, with any data. Lets get serious here people.

    Lets also face the fact, that global warming, in its infancy, was invented around 1900 (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html). There simply has not been the time frame needed, to come to any serious, believable conclusions as yet.

    Anything before the 80’s massive jump in scientific knowledge about the subject, is pure conjecture, and theory. My word, haven’t we seen some crackpot theories and glory hounds, over that time ? It was only then, when the equipment was invented to correctly sample the atmosphere. Even that equipment delivered results, that were difficult to ascertain any concrete patterns.

    I am perhaps one of the few that are not frightened off by the whack jobs, that think the world is coming to an end, due to excess carbon. We, everything on this planet, are carbon lifeforms. That signifies that perhaps, due to that mere fact, that carbon will be the majority particle on the planet ? Added to that, the atmosphere, is mostly comprised of nitrogen, 80 odd percent ? Where is that being portrayed in this debate ?

    The studies being seen now, are based on current, or even recent information gathered. I will agree, that the information, if portrayed incorrectly, can be incredibly frightening. That is the reason as to why it is being presented in this way ! It is certainly getting our attention ?

    To base any judgments on current data, with supposed historical conjecture, is narrow sighted, designed to “grandstand”, and downright shitty science. As the ability to collect accurate required data, has only been around for the last twenty or so years, any conclusions as to the historical effect of such conclusions, are only reliable over that period of time. Even ice core studies, completed from deep ice flows, cannot be compared with recent ice studies. The planet has gone through heating/cooling cycles ever since it was formed. Remember such phases, such as the Maunder Minimum ? The mini ice age in Europe etc. I see no one of these egg heads has done any reasoning as to the causes of those ? GW ? What a crock. This whole industry is a crock. I have phd’s running around here, sprouting all sorts of unbelievable rhetoric, and just laugh in their faces.

    Even though not a scientist, I have lived on this planet for long enough, to know that what we are experiencing, is a bloody sight more than AGW. There are too many factors involved here people. A lot of them are natural, and outside human control, or even ability to affect. These instances, or in fact really planetary cycles, have been occurring for millions of years, but unfortunately, no one has lived that long, for that research to be tabulated and any realistic/honest conclusion can possibly be reached.

    As the research is only twenty years old, here or there, conclusions that portray possible inflections beyond the next twenty or so years, are more than conjecture, they are fantasy. I have as much chance of winning the lottery, than those conclusions have of being confirmed after that period of time. A bit of common sense, and a scientists logic is needed here. An unemotional, third party observing results gathered. Not driven by research grants, not driven by government funding, nor politicians attempting to frighten their populations, so it can appear to the stupid, that they will step in and save us. Before someone comes up and says such an organisation exists, b*llsh*t. There is simply too much money involved, for the answer, that all conclusions coming from the fraternity should all be dismissed. At least for now. Give me a break. A bit of common sense is needed here. We all need to hit the books, so as we can confidently challenge these white coated wankers, when they come out with these whacked out theories.

    I apologise for the length.

  18. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    Are you off your meds or something?
    Your English has deteriorated, along with your ability to follow an argument.
    PKD asked me about the Medieval Warm Period and why I believe that it exited, I answered simply that the archaeological and historical facts support its existence, the bit about an absence of statistical modelling was a piece of simple sarcasm, As always you seek to patronise me and assume that I don’t understand what statistics or its elements are. Get a sense of humour and lighten up a bit. The debates here are a bit of fun (sometimes with a serious point to make though) I commend Len’s comment as a clear exposition of the problem with the alarmist position that you so vigorously prosecute. In essence we know lots about the climate now (but we need to know more) and bugger all about the climate then (and the further back the then is the less we know about it) so I reckon you need to go to your nearest fruiterer and take a good look at one of these and take note of how different it is from one of these.

  19. JM says:

    Iain, the historical evidence supports anecdotally the MWP, but how do you know the magnitude of the warming without statistical analysis of the archeological evidence?

  20. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    I was not asked to discriminate the magnitude of the MWP but if I believed that it has existed, for that I need no statistical analysis at all.

  21. JM says:

    Well without it, where’s your emipirical evidence? You don’t have any.

    And without it how can you draw comparisons with today? You can’t.

    Not quite a newsflash – Iain prefers baseless assertion to reason and fact.

  22. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    Are you alive?
    If you answer is yes does statistics play any part in your belief that you are alive?
    I am by the way drawing no comparisons between the MWP and the present, but its existence is not a baseless assertion, there is the evidence of the viability of agriculture in Greenland during the period and the historical records in Europe.
    Most amusing is your assertion that statistics are “reason and fact” They are neither.

  23. Len says:

    Evidence huh ? Neither do you JM ?

    The historical evidence surrounding the MWP, as you suggest, is anecdotal at best. We all know what happens to a story, once it passes more than three people ? It gets distorted, until eventually, it doesn’t even resemble the initial story. About the only thing you can be reasonably certain of is, the time frame of the samples involved. Carbon dating now is a trusted science. That I trust, anything else from these wankers, is pure conjecture.

    I think you are being a bit harsh, in criticising Iain of baseless assertion JM.

    I agree that MWP happened, along with a million other climate related disasters over the centuries. What I can’t stomach, is the unconfirmed, unprovable, and illogical so called cause for these events. The science is just not there yet, and anyone of these ……. comes out and says it is, is just blowing sunshine up your skirt.

    You’re grandstanding.

    It really appears as you are in panic mode here. You are like the “white coats” that run around this place. They are like chooks with their heads cut off. Every time we do a run, they get the data, and then run around for days, sprouting all sorts of whacked out theories. Every one of them as stars coming out of one eyeball, and dollar signs out of the other. The classic expression for this euphoria, I think was commonly called the “Eureka Moment” ?

  24. JM says:

    Iain, the question is simple.

    You’ve previously said you only believe in empirical evidence.
    But when faced with it, you deny it. I suggest because it defies your “gut feeling” (whether that is defined as emotional, ideological or simply that someone will take away your internal combustion engines).

    So, are you prepared to face facts or not?

  25. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    A discussion in this environment is a conversation . It is not a football match where one keeps score of every movement on the playing field, It is not a winner takes all situation.PKD has been commenting at my blog for longer than I have been on wordpress and I like to think that he gets it that this is for fun and that we can have some cheeky banter to and fro that can make us both chuckle.
    Face facts?
    I face facts everyday, like the fact that your belief in your prescription ( for global warming) Has a shakier foundation than the faith in a second coming of Jesus for any born again Christian that I could name.
    Facts like quantifying the sensitivity of the climate to Co2 that you continue to side step (define its value and explain why you give it that value) Still waiting.
    Facts like the importance of energy and water efficiency has nothing to do with placating Gaia or her prophets Al Gore et al, doing so has other more real benefits
    You are the one here making an emotional argument based almost entirely upon a sort of paganised version of good old Christian notions of original sin.

  26. Len says:

    JM
    No shakier than yours ?
    Face facts ? They are not facts, just unproven rhetoric.
    As of this time, they are merely hypotheses, nothing more. Until evidence is verified from many different reliable, independent sources, it will all remain conjecture, no matter how passionate your will is to prove otherwise.

  27. Len says:

    Just up on parliament question time,

    Y’Abbot just challenged Rudd to speak for half an hour, without interruption, on the facts of climate change/AGW.

    The Krudd ummed and arred, then the ABC in their wisdom chopped off the telecast to go to kids programming.

    The game is afoot Sherlock ?

  28. Iain Hall says:

    Damn the time delay because we have real rather than Esatz time up here in Queensland!

    Got it on at the present The opposition actually opposing oH that is a Joy!
    Brother Number One now claiming that the barrier reef is doomed !

  29. Iain Hall says:

    The game is afoot Sherlock ?

    Yes I think so but JM is no Moriarty!

  30. Len says:

    Last five minutes, as usual, is the important bit, enjoy !
    😉

  31. Iain Hall says:

    Yeah Just caught it, hilarious!
    The government hiding behind procedure to avoid debate,who would have expected that?
    🙄

  32. Iain Hall says:

    Jm might also like to expain(find excuses for even more skulduggery as reported in the Guardian

  33. Len says:

    Sort of reaffirms what was I saying above Iain ?
    (that’s if the eyes hadn’t glazed over before u got to that bit ?)

  34. JM says:

    Iain, you’ve just spent the latter part of this thread arguing that facts, statistics and clear records don’t matter; only historical anecdote.

    That’s entirely in line with your crusade of several years now to ignore all science on the matter.

    If the only basis of your argument that the MWP was warmer than now is a few bits of dusty old diaries saying “aiiiii, it bin touch warmish these last few yars; the swallows them bin flying right side up. Normalwise they bin flying backards in winter” ….

    Then you haven’t got much of an argument at all.

  35. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    Bollocks !
    All that I have said is that to answer PKD’s cheeky question is that Statistics are not required , and they aren’t.
    As i see it eyewitness accounts of the climate in particular places at finite dates has to be at least as good as examining sediment layers in some lake or bog, of trying to deduce the climate from the relative thickness of tree rings

    What precisely qualifies you to lecture me on my understanding of science?
    What exactly are your qualifications?
    and why do you post from a confirmed Proxy server?

  36. JM says:

    Iain: As i see it eyewitness accounts of the climate in particular places at finite dates has to be at least as good as examining sediment layers in some lake or bog, of trying to deduce the climate from the relative thickness of tree rings

    I take it that’s a championing of beard stroking then?

  37. Iain Hall says:

    JM

    I take it that’s a championing of beard stroking then?

    WTF does that mean?

    Oh and would you please answer the three questions in my previous comment.

  38. PKD says:

    Iain,
    JM is perfectly entitled to follow up questions I originally ask if he wants – I don’t mind. I’ve done following up his questions likewise anyway.

    In any case my 3 year old dismantled my modems power pack leaving my sans Internet for a while. Aah well, that’ll just come out of his pocket money too! So no probs with what you we’re doing JM – looks like you’ve had him on the ropes perfectly well on your own! 🙂

    So archaeological evidence is enough to indicate a worldwide medieval warming period is it Iain? Genius.

    One wonders then why you insist that only data from satelllites is sufficient for knowing the climate when a few bits of archaeological grain in Greenland is enough to sway you…

  39. PKD says:

    All that I have said is that to answer PKD’s cheeky question is that Statistics are not required , and they aren’t.

    I must admit I never expected your answer to be as bad as the confession I got.
    ‘Archeological evidence’ – that IS a classic!!! 🙂

  40. Iain Hall says:

    PKD
    JM is perfectly entitled to follow up questions I originally ask if he wants – I don’t mind. I’ve done following up his questions likewise anyway.

    Sure and I am just as entitled to point out to him that he is making too much,in the first instance of your flippant question, and in the second instances of my flippant response that statistics are irrelevant to the answer that I gave.

    In any case my 3 year old dismantled my modems power pack leaving my sans Internet for a while. Aah well, that’ll just come out of his pocket money too! So no probs with what you we’re doing JM – looks like you’ve had him on the ropes perfectly well on your own! 🙂

    In this house the biggest threat to our PC is beverages spilt onto the key board , in fact my son killed another key board about a week ago, thankfully my brother the computer tech is a source of many good second-hand keyboards

    So archaeological evidence is enough to indicate a worldwide medieval warming period is it Iain? Genius.

    When you can show me satellite data for Greenland for the period between 1000 and 1400 AD I will concede the point but it is clearly not that archaeology and historical sources can compare to satellite data but that it can very clearly compare to other Proxies

    One wonders then why you insist that only data from satellites is sufficient for knowing the climate when a few bits of archaeological grain in Greenland is enough to sway you…

    Actually Roger has a link to an example of how much can be learned about Paleo-climate data from archaeology in Greenland

  41. JM says:

    Iain: WTF does that mean?

    Apart from being an allusion to Toaf’s earlier comment, it means you’re rejecting any scientific evidence that doesn’t fit your preconceptions in favor of historical story telling.

    Historical story telling is all very well, but since it allows you to select which facts best fit and ignore all the rest I don’t think much of it as an approach to serious questions like this one.

    Re. Greenland. Yes the Norse did settle there for a while. On the western coast. Go and have a look where modern day settlements are, they’re on the western coast too.

    And the area is not ice covered today, any more than it was 800-1000 years ago.

    There’s a lot less to the Greenland was once green argument, even from a purely historical view.


    What precisely qualifies you to lecture me on my understanding of science?

    You’re running an opinion blog where you express your often mistaken opinions on science, and invite response. I can’t see why you should be getting upset when I do.


    What exactly are your qualifications?

    None of your business, but they are in science.


    and why do you post from a confirmed Proxy server?

    I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, but I hope you’re not going on some hacking and stalking exercise.

  42. Iain Hall says:

    JM

    Historical story telling is all very well, but since it allows you to select which facts best fit and ignore all the rest I don’t think much of it as an approach to serious questions like this one.

    Re. Greenland. Yes the Norse did settle there for a while. On the western coast. Go and have a look where modern day settlements are, they’re on the western coast too.

    And the area is not ice covered today, any more than it was 800-1000 years ago.

    Hmm that is not what the archaeology says about Viking settlement of Greenland at all

    There’s a lot less to the Greenland was once green argument, even from a purely historical view.

    I have never argued that “Greenland was once green” argument at all what I have said is that the Vikings were able to thrive there for several hundred years because the climate was just a little bit more conducive to settlement. read the link I put into my response to PKD

    You’re running an opinion blog where you express your often mistaken opinions on science, and invite response. I can’t see why you should be getting upset when I do.

    What exactly are your qualifications?

    None of your business, but they are in science.

    I make no secret about my formal science studies being limited to getting a high distinction in matriculation biology, yet you are being excessively coy about what your qualifications in the sciences you claim to know and understand. frankly I just can’t see why you should be so coy. But as you are I suspect that your qualifications are non existent.I am not even asking you to verify any qualification, just so say what they are. That is reasonable given the number of times that you have taken such a holier than thou attitude to what I write here.

    and why do you post from a confirmed Proxy server?

    I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, but I hope you’re not going on some hacking and stalking exercise.

    Hmm what a strange response JM, As most people know when you post a comment the IP address you post from is recorded and it can be checked Well I checked yours and it shows that you post via a proxy server which is usually used to hide identity and location. Experience has taught me that those who do this are often not what they claim to be. In fact using a proxy is one of the things that I consider as grounds to ban a commentator. I’m not banning you BTW but your style of argument and your evasiveness over some most reasonable questions about your qualifications. That said all I want to know is in just what area of science do you claim a qualification and what sort of qualification is it (a bachelor degree, masters or PHD ect) You can email your answer if you like.

  43. Len says:

    Hey Guys ?
    You are getting off the track here.
    I don’t think qualifications are the issue here. Again you guys are playing the “duck and cover” ploy.

    PKD and JM are googling all this ‘supposed’ evidence, in data form, and preaching from the pulpit, that we are all doomed, and that we should listen to their colleagues, who are going to save us all from the dreaded AGW ?

    Two words for you bull shit !

    PKD and JM, I applaud your passion, but, your evidence is lacking.
    I am no PhD, I am just an old flight jock. But, I have been on this planet long enough, and been around the equipment, a well as the fraternity for long enough, to know when I am being spoon fed/force fed, a whole heap of crap. I have also been around the block too many times, to be sucked in to take any note of a couple of white coats, sprouting the latest theory. I seem to remember a few years back, when a few in the fraternity, claimed, that research showed that immunisation caused more harm than good. Remember the hoohaa, and more importantly damage, that caused ?

    Again you guys, the data is not the problem. All the data we will ever need is out there, right now, in the world. The problem is not the data, but the whacked out, greed driven conclusions, that are coming from the greed driven, power hungry, incoherent fraternity that you so pray to, that is the problem.

    Nothing you guys have said, in this thread, or any other in the past for that matter, can alter the fact that the conclusions are not driven by true science, but, in fact are driven by greed. Yep, comes down to the good ol greenback.

    No honest consensus out there, and until that happens, the science fraternity, will lack credibility, and should be treated with healthy scepticism or out right ignored.

  44. JM says:

    Iain: I checked yours and it shows that you post via a proxy server which is usually used to hide identity and location

    Well not through any action of mine. As far as I’m concerned I’m just using a normal ISP, maybe they use a proxy. I think your interest in checking up is a touch prurient though.

    My qualifications are tertiary in science, ok? In any case I have more respect for arguments based on evidence than those stemming from authority – which is why I don’t talk about qualifications. They shouldn’t make any difference if you have the better evidence and reasoning.

    I don’t regard an argument based on history and archeology alone as being able to override an argument based on more solid measurements – which is what you’re arguing.

    I have said is that the Vikings were able to thrive there for several hundred years because the climate was just a little bit more conducive to settlement.

    What I was trying to point out is that arguments based solely on historical evidence are open to interpretation and dispute. For example, in this case I personally don’t read the accounts of the Viking experience in Greenland as “thriving”, but more like a long struggle and decline ending in the abandonment of the 2 settlements.

    And since those settlements are in the same area of Greenland that is ice-free today (and has never been under the Greenland icesheet which is around 400,000 years old), statements about conditions 1,000 years ago are also a bit questionable. On purely historical evidence all you can conclude is that they were somewhat similar to the way they’ve always been.

  45. Iain Hall says:

    JM

    Well not through any action of mine. As far as I’m concerned I’m just using a normal ISP, maybe they use a proxy. I think your interest in checking up is a touch prurient though.

    When you have had people trying the ‘gotcha” game on you a few times you may appreciate why I am so suspicious when it comes to people being what they claim to be. Its as simple as that.

    My qualifications are tertiary in science, ok? In any case I have more respect for arguments based on evidence than those stemming from authority – which is why I don’t talk about qualifications. They shouldn’t make any difference if you have the better evidence and reasoning.

    Well I agree with you about arguments from authority being poor compared arguments based upon the evidence but you have written many very patronising comments here over our discussions and that strikes me as being in the same league as any argument from authority, and it undermines the claim that you make here about preferencing evidence based argument.

    I don’t regard an argument based on history and archaeology alone as being able to override an argument based on more solid measurements – which is what you’re arguing.

    An argument about the climate at a particular place at a defined time based upon history and archaeology can have a data set that is at least as good as some proxies that you are happy to give so much credibility to. I am not trying to compare such information with contemporary weather data, The former would obviously be considerably less rich in information compared to the later . But proxies like tree rings or lake sediments are another matter because they take very small variation in something like the pollen count or the thickness of a sediment layer in the samples and infer a great deal from that snippet of information. Compare this to say to say journal entries about the harvests of a monastery(assuming it is in the same geographical area as the lake or bog sampled) or even first hand descriptions of the weather and which do you think would be a more accurate description of the climate for that place at the time in question? The first requires much by way of assumption and the second describes what actually happened. and that is the point that I am trying to make here.

    What I was trying to point out is that arguments based solely on historical evidence are open to interpretation and dispute. For example, in this case I personally don’t read the accounts of the Viking experience in Greenland as “thriving”, but more like a long struggle and decline ending in the abandonment of the 2 settlements.

    I think that you are judging life there with the eyes of the 21st century and our leisurely lifestyle I reckon that life then would have been hard , but it was hard everywhere at the time. But read the piece that I linked to because it does show that farms and settlements were over run by a growing ice sheet and the archaeology shows that it was preserved in the permafrost, which sort of undermines your suggestion that things have not changed since the fall of those colonies.

  46. JM says:

    Iain: you have written many very patronising comments here over our discussions

    C’mon, you give it out pretty good yourself, you’ve got to expect some in return.


    An argument …. based upon history and archaeology can have a data set that is at least as good as some proxies …

    … proxies like tree rings or lake sediments are another matter because they take very small variation in something like the pollen count or the thickness of a sediment layer in the samples and infer a great deal from that snippet of information.

    I can’t agree with this. For a given number of samples you can determine how significant your result is – it could be anywhere from complete nonsense to almost complete certainty – but the maths will tell you which is which.

    On the other hand, a single journal entry is only a single viewpoint of a single person and is colored by their perception. In many ways it is worse than a single measurement. The scope for erroneous conclusions is enormous.

    For example, I was reading elsewhere a few days ago that Ptolemy – a famous ancient astronomer – reported Sirius as being a red star. Sirius is a blue-white star. Other ancient observers such as the Chinese describe it accurately as white. Should we believe Ptolemy? Or did he just make an honest mistake? Or were the Chinese wrong – was Sirius actually red 2500 years ago?

    I really don’t think its valid to throw out measurement and statistics in favor of written accounts (which is what you’ve appeared to do in this thread). That’s why I trust observation and analysis much more than historical accounts.

    Historical accounts can

    a.) give you clues about where to look more closely
    b.) give you some confirmation that your measurement and analysis is on the right track

    but they can’t be the only thing.

  47. JM says:

    Len a couple of days ago: An unemotional, third party observing results gathered. Not driven by research grants, not driven by government funding,

    Who’s going to pay for it? You do this stuff for a living, do you want to work for free?

    The fact is the existing structures where universities, research institutes, and government bodies like the weather bureau do the research, is what we’ve got.

    And you’ll never get away from that.

    You have to rely on the personal integrity of the people doing the work (and the analysis); and most importantly on the free exchange and criticism that is involved in peer review, publication, counter-publication and replication of results; to ensure quality.

    And the emergence of consensus.

    And to pre-empt your questions

    “Do I think the existing structures reflect that?” – yes

    “Do I think the IPCC fairly summarized the existing consensus?” – yes

    There is nothing else available, and its the best of what we’ve got – warts and all.

  48. Iain Hall says:

    JM

    C’mon, you give it out pretty good yourself, you’ve got to expect some in return.

    Cheek and banter is one thing but being patronising is another thing entirely and you have done that many times and it is an impediment to friendly debate.

    I can’t agree with this. For a given number of samples you can determine how significant your result is – it could be anywhere from complete nonsense to almost complete certainty – but the maths will tell you which is which.

    No maths will only tell give you values for the variables that you consider to be indicators for the climatic conditions you are really interested in. Then you start making assumptions and ‘educated guesses ” as to what those indicators mean. A Len keeps telly us the data can be given to a number of people and they will all draw different conclusions from it even.

    On the other hand, a single journal entry is only a single viewpoint of a single person and is colored by their perception. In many ways it is worse than a single measurement. The scope for erroneous conclusions is enormous.

    But in my hypothetical I specifically mentioned a journal that recorded climate events over time, what made me think of that was the variations in the wheat prices during the “little ice-age” on this web page the accounting in that example is not recording teh climate but the price of grain is a very good indicator of what the growing conditions must have been like from year to year. I am not talking about single comments in the margins of some great tome but the day to day accounts like this recording conditions over time.

    For example, I was reading elsewhere a few days ago that Ptolemy – a famous ancient astronomer – reported Sirius as being a red star. Sirius is a blue-white star. Other ancient observers such as the Chinese describe it accurately as white. Should we believe Ptolemy? Or did he just make an honest mistake? Or were the Chinese wrong – was Sirius actually red 2500 years ago?

    They could both be right because things like the eruption of Versuvious could have changed the colour it appeared to be, or Ptolemy could have been colour blind, But iI do appreciate your point about the reliability of single sources

    I really don’t think its valid to throw out measurement and statistics in favour of written accounts (which is what you’ve appeared to do in this thread). That’s why I trust observation and analysis much more than historical accounts.

    But I’m not throwing them out JM I am just saying that with proxies (which have large margins for error) you are making big leaps of faith about precisely what you do have to measure and more importantly what that measurement actually means.
    compare that to something like the doomsday book and which do you think would give you a better picture of the state of English agriculture after 1066?
    Neither are perfect but its just not valid to dismiss historical sources when you are comparing them to any proxy because what you are actually measuring and calculating from are usually very small samples and no matetr how fancy your calculations may be your data set just has to be very limited to start with.

    but they can’t be the only thing.

    I have never said that they could JM but I still maintain that in some instances they can be a better indicator than proxies like tree rings

  49. Len says:

    JM

    Who’s going to pay for it?
    You do this stuff for a living, do you want to work for free?

    Hell no, the taxpayer pays for it, as the taxpayer pays for pretty much a substantial portion, of all serious research out there.
    Why ?
    Simple really.
    There is no serious money to be made in doing this research. No massive corporate profits to be made here. I do it, because I love to fly, and it makes me a good living for myself, my wife and my kids.

    In fact, if the research goes the way of the general consensus, it is going to cost business enormous sums, just to reverse the damage being done out there, including mine ? That is why the government pays for it. The government, whether right or wrong, is seen as the impartial authority. It has no money bottom line. Well, at least that was the reasoning behind the setting up of mobs like the CSIRO those many years ago ? Supposedly, the research is untainted. At least it is when it is collected here, and forwarded on. What happens to it after that, who knows. Depends on how some whacko portrays it ? There is no point in distorting data from my end. It would finish me overnight. As said, I have been doing this nigh on twenty years, and if I “bodgied” results, as mentioned, other collators, of the data, would find me out in a heartbeat. I have invested here, as previously stated, $100m in aircraft, a maintenance bill of over $300k a year for the planes, and another $100k just for the strip alone. So, there are big bickies involved here. As such, the governmental labs are investing even bigger bickies. Multiple millions of dollars. To keep them on the straight and narrow, and out of reach of any sort of interference, that is the reason as to why, for any serious research, in any matter of science, the studies, research, is done in multiple facilities, under different regional governments, to ensure that the data is not twisted. Research overlaps, and corruption of data can be found out very quickly. But, that doesn’t apply to conclusions coming from that data. That is an entirely different ball game altogether ? We all know that does happen, hell, the tobacco industry did it for decades, but that was closed shop. It was only until independent governmental/health studies were completed, that the shit really hit the fan in that industry ?

    The government/taxpayer pays, for example, all teacher salaries, all politicians salaries, and yet no where are these professions told how to do their jobs by these individual groups. They are all controlled by “governmental guidelines”, or accepted industry best practice ? No criticism is made of these or similar industrial constraints ?

    As I have said previously, I have been doing this for nigh on twenty years, and have invested over $100m in the process. I collect the data, without fervor, or favour, and as yet, have not been told to alter my data, to advantage one side of the argument or another. I wouldn’t do it anyway.

    The recommended method of this sort of interference, is achieved by simply ignoring one particular study, or package of data, in favour of another. Hell, it is not an isolated instance in science, it happens all the time ?

  50. JM says:

    Iain

    No maths will only tell give you values for the variables that you consider to be indicators for the climatic conditions you are really interested in

    Iain, maths will tell you whether your hypothesis (“model”) has any meaning or not.

    I specifically mentioned a journal that recorded climate events over time,

    Is the journal as accurate as (say) tree rings? A single persons perception versus measurements we can repeat?

    No.

    Trees are there every year, growing their rings completely independently of human perception. They are better witnesses than a scribe with an inkpot.

    the price of grain is a very good indicator of what the growing conditions must have been like from year to year.

    Are you being coached? Yes price is a good indicator. But you ignore demand which is fed by all the other conditions in the economy and pretend that only supply matters. You also gloss over the fact that price factors in vast numbers of other variables unrelated to climate.

    And your citation is to European prices in major population centers. Not prices in Greenland, which I’d suggest would have been more based on subsistence. Do you have records for the price of barley in the VIking settlements in Greenland?

    No.

    things like the eruption of Vesuvius could have changed the colour it appeared to be

    Are you even aware of the history you quote? Ptolemy was Egyptian, not Roman. More than just a few hundred kilometers away.

    And Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, while Ptolemy was born circa AD 90. Volcanic ash lasts in the atmosphere at most 2 years, I don’t think he would have been observing it during his majority circa AD 110. Further, since he had a long career I’d expect him to have noticed a momentary change in color of the brightest star in the sky for a brief period.

    No. I’ll put my money on inaccurate reporting, copying and transliteration of his works.

    proxies (which have large margins for error) you are making big leaps of faith about

    Not leaps of faith. Analysis of uncertainty. Analysis of error. Which are far smaller “leaps of faith” than relying on single (or even multiple) historical journals.

    something like the doomsday book and which do you think would give you a better picture of the state of English agriculture after 1066?

    Of the financial status of English agriculture and its ownership? No problem.

    Of the temperature of the country in 1066 … how much confidence?

    About zero.

  51. JM says:

    Len: There is no point in distorting data from my end. It would finish me overnight.

    Yes it would. I agree.

    So why do you believe that your users distort the data? Wouldn’t it finish them “overnight” as well?

  52. Len says:

    No, not necessarily.
    Conclusions, that are attained from raw data, are always open to conjecture, and point of view, and their credibility also depends on who the results are presented to, and what they really want those results to prove. If they are not what the instigators want to hear, funny how they quickly again get buried ?

    The tobacco industry, as I said, has/is been doing it for decades ? My opinion, and experience, has told me, that if a particular study, or tabulation, of stats is not what fits their golden hypotheses’ then they simply either bury it, or just ignore it. Rarely, do we find out about it. The theory that is presented, is viable enough, to even discerning eyes. It makes sense in other words. You can make a bunch of numbers say pretty much anything you want, if you can cross the t’s and dot the i’s ? As I mentioned above, the tobacco industry was successful in burying research, that tabulated the true dangers of their products for years ?

    What we find is, that when final formulation of conclusions, and suggestions are presented, this is done privately, and the distortion is often subtle. To reinforce this, what has happened with the research done many years ago, say with lead, uranium, salt erosion, etc, what happened to that research ? Where did it go ? Funny about that huh ?

  53. JM says:

    Len: As I mentioned above, the tobacco industry was successful in burying research,

    Not credibly. Their research was discredited early on. Tobacco was restricted gradually – from early on. And eventually they paid financial penalties when they eventually had no place to hide. Long after anyone sensible refused to listen to them.

    say with lead, uranium, salt erosion,

    I kinda think we fixed all of those, didn’t we? For example I’m sure I remember the Coalition taking various erosion and salt policies to elections over the last 15 years or so, am I wrong?

    Sort of like:- we have a problem, we need to fix it, and eventually even the most recalcitrant end up coming on board? Once they’ve been shown how the solution is really in their best interests.

    Kind of like an ETS really, isn’t it?

  54. Len says:

    I agree to a certain extent.

    With tobacco however, I don’t think it was a case of coming clean, I think they got sprung. Research started to appear from other sources, that caught that industry out. Similarly, with other “dangers” out there. Thanks to mobs like CSIRO, and other university labs, research is being done independently of private enterprise now. It is a big industry, I know, I’m part of it ? That is a good thing to be sure.

    It was not until the governments around the world, with the massive increase in cancer, started to set up major cancer specialist hospitals, and research, and that was pretty much the end of the tobacco lies for example. I was surprised as hell, with the government’s support for such research, considering that excise on tobacco, was one of the individual government’s, around the country, major cash cows ? I guess for them it was the lesser of the two evils. Either lose the massive excise income from tobacco, or inherit massive costs from health care in treating tobacco related disease ?

    You’re not wrong about the salt thing. But, I still think, schemes such the ETS, are merely lip service. The only serious work being done, as far as I know, on salt prevention, is being done by local organisations, with assistance from the individual state governments who supply the trees or salt bush ? A great idea, and a great start, but falls way short of what is required.

    Down south, the Tarkine, virtually given to Gunns to rape, pillage, and plunder, sort of negates any good that an ETS scheme a government could create ? Also, more tragic, is if, the Government down there, finally gets that pulp mill up and running, as Gunns wants, then the whole Tarkine is at risk, and God knows what all else ? Added to that, is the way that farmers, in rural areas, have mass-cleared their land, for cropping. They are now fortunately, starting to learn from their mistakes, but those mistakes have been costly. Massive erosion, soil degradation, and low crop yields after years of land abuse, are starting to bite them in the ass.

    Another addition to the foray is the Murray/Darling irrigation scheme. Whilst ever all the governments involved, that are supposed to be managing the river, are hell bent in listening to farmers, (probably just to buy their votes ?), that are not sustainable without emptying the Murray in the process, then again, lip service is all that will occur. I remember as a kid, with the parents, holidaying on the Murray. It was a massive river. You couldn’t swim in it, for fear the current would wash you away. Now, it is nothing more than a bloody creek. Ever seen the Mississippi ? Wow, just like that. The yanks can manage that successfully without draining it, why can’t we with the Murray. Bloody greed, that’s why ! It wasn’t that long ago, that I flew the entire length of the Murray, photographing it. It nearly brought tears to my eyes, at the lack of water in it. Never seen anything like it. I wonder what happened to those photos ? Never seen them published anywhere ?

    That is mostly why an ETS scheme will never work.

  55. JM says:

    Len, I agree with you about the Murray-Darling. But that’s an example of regulatory capture where special interests have captured the allocation mechanism to the point where there is no effective management of the resource.

    An ETS is a market based mechanism and while it contains a regulatory aspect, there is nothing that intrinsically prevents it from working.

    ETS’s have worked before and can work again.

  56. Len says:

    I, probably like anyone else interested in this subject, and for our kid’s sakes hope like hell that you’re right.
    As for me, knowing how the political two step works, I doubt it.
    😦

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