BPSDB NB: Nov 10, World Science Day for Peace and Development
Rachel Pike: The science behind a climate headline
In 4 minutes, atmospheric chemist Rachel Pike provides a glimpse of the massive scientific effort behind the bold headlines on climate change, with her team — one of thousands who contributed.
Many of the more idiotic climate change Denier Fables grossly misrepresent the vast scale and scope of the science and scientific evidence underlying what we know about climate change. Let’s have a look at some of those fables and how they compare to reality.
“The IPCC scientists blah blah …”
If ever there were a confession that the person making this claim knows absolutely nothing about climate science:
“The IPCC does not itself commission or conduct research, but analyzes and weighs findings by scientists in many nations.
IPCC report has only blah blah authors
- 450 lead authors from 130 countries
- 800 contributing authors (links to their work)
- 2500 expert reviewers
Scientists blah blah FUNDING blah blah
This claim is idiotic in so many ways that it will take multiple posts to expose all of the false assumptions and ignorance that would allow someone to believe it, but some of them include:
- There are relatively few scientists involved;
- The scientists are from the US or only a few agencies/countries;
- The science is new (since climate change started getting funding as a field);
Of course reality is somewhat different. Thanks to Jim Prall we have is a list of the 2907 most frequently cited authors of climate research with links to their work (10s of thousands of papers). That’s just the work with direct relevance to climate change.
Grumbine describes 6 tiers of scientific endeavour that support climate reserch
Brave New Climate also discusses the breadth of climate studies; here is a partial list which Barry gives:
Mathematics, Statistics and Computational analysis: Applied mathematics, Mathematical modelling, Computer science, Numerical modelling, Bayesian inference, Mathematical statistics, Time series analysis
To get a sense of the scope, have a look at part of of Buchdahl’s excellent Global Warming Student Guide. Below is the table of contents for just Section 3 of the Guide.
3. Empirical Study of the Climate 3.1. Introduction
3.2. Climate Construction from Instrumental Data
3.2.1. Measurement of Climate Elements
188.8.131.52. Measurement of Temperature
184.108.40.206. Measurement of Rainfall
220.127.116.11. Measurement of Humidity
18.104.22.168. Measurement of Wind
3.2.3. Statistical Analysis of Instrumental Records
3.3. Palaeoclimate Reconstruction from Proxy Data
3.3.1. Historical Records
3.3.2. Ice Cores
22.214.171.124. Stable Isotope Analysis
126.96.36.199. Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Ice Cores
188.8.131.52. Dating Ice Cores
3.3.4. Ocean Sediments
184.108.40.206. Palaeoclimatic Reconstruction from Biogenic Material
220.127.116.11. Palaeoclimatic Reconstruction from Terrigenous Material
3.3.5. Terrestrial Sediments
18.104.22.168. Periglacial Features
22.214.171.124. Glacier Fluctuations
126.96.36.199. Lake-Level Fluctuations
3.3.6. Pollen Analysis
3.3.7. Sedimentary Rock
Global warming blah blah just based on computer models
I think that one’s been dealt with, no?
Global warming blah blah in the ’70s blah blah
The basic global warming science is almost 200 yrs old. The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, CO2 identified as one of the gases causing it by John Tyndall in 1859, and it was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.
See also these timelines for other notable discoveries and events in the long history of climate change science:
and this wonderful series from Doc Snow
or some popular press stories about the evolving science:
Related, see Google Timeline reveals triumph of denialism for analysis of climate in the popular press over the decades.
New study blah blah
As discussed before, one of the favourite recurring Denier memes is that ‘New Study disproves/overturns/undermines global warming / climate change science/models/theory!“ (New study, climate Deniers are “fundamentally wrong”)
Never mind that:
- they repeat this meme every few weeks with a completely different study;
- none of the Deniers seem to even remotely understand the study they refer to;
- none of the studies ever turn out to say what the Deniers believe/claim;
- the fact that it is “new” means it should be treated with caution since review by the entire scientific community can lead to:
- discovery of subtle errors that the authors and reviewers missed;
- a way of understanding the data different from how the authors had;
- the probability that a single study could overturn the thousands upon thousands of studies that support our understanding of climate change is remote in the extreme
This one has been discussed in more detail:
The idea that this incredible mass of scientific evidence would be somehow overthrown by a single study, much less the Three Stooges misunderstanding their own work, a Potty Peer ranting about delusional conspiracies, or Anthony Watts doodling on a climate plot, simply defies belief.
“Since 1982, spring in East Asia (defined here as the eastern third of China and the Korean Peninsula) has been warming at a rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade.” Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Comments that are not relevant to the post that they appear under or the evolving discussion will simply be deleted, as will links to Denier spam known to be scientific gibberish