Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Moral Logic vs Scientific Accuracy

One of the deep problems with morality is that, when people think it is on their side, they sometimes abandon the truth.

History is, of course, rife with examples of those who broke with truth in light of what they perceived as a higher moral cause. You have to wonder if that's not the case with today's environmentalism. David Roberts is the most current example.

In a recent post on Grist, he tries to explain his position on "the moral logic of climate communication" (whatever the heck that means) with a loose analogy to a sick patient who is dying, but feels alright at the moment. He sets the very conditions he needs for his argument to prevail.

Roberts writes:
"Scientific accuracy is a virtue. But affective impact and moral resonance are also virtues. We cannot say things we know are false about climate change, but we also cannot, in good conscience, be indifferent to whether our words have any effect. Both moral obligations have a claim on us and, contra the scolds, narrow scientific accuracy is not a trump card in every tough case."
The operative word here is, of course, the "but" that begins the second sentence. He goes on:
"All those involved in communicating climate should take a hand in claiming the storm (Sandy) for that narrative. It is, ultimately, immoral not to."
And then his last sentence gives away the game:
"...narrow scientific accuracy is not a trump card in every tough case."
Look: scientific accuracy is all we have. The entire case for manmade climate change rests on it. Because it is not obvious that man is causing climate change. There is no pollution visible in the sky, no rivers catching on fire. The argument -- the only argument -- is scientific, based on the absorption spectrum of carbon dioxide, robotic measurements of ocean temperatures, the analysis of historical proxies, and the intelligence to connect them all.

Abandoning science now -- even in part -- is to abandon what has got you this far. And I don't think people are that stupid and gullible -- even the ones who (pretend they) don't accept the science.

And what Roberts' is advocating for is abandoning science -- that is is "immoral" not to...stretch the truth. Immoral not to lie.

To me this is an obviously lost position, that I simply can't fathom, or accept.

How does Roberts get to that point? Because his defense essentially boils down to this:
"Humanity is at stake."
Of course, if that truly were the case, it's hard to argue for any limitations at all. If your village is about to be overrun by powerful Vandals, with 100% certainty, all your women and children to be killed, your death certain, what action, what lie, what atrocity isn't justified on your part?

But it's very convenient to take that point of view -- who can possibly argue against you if that's the case? You have shut the door on the argument from your side, and locked it. You have claimed the high ground, de facto, no questions invited, and none tolerated.

But this is a serious logical mistake on Roberts' part. It is far, far from clear that climate change puts humanity "at stake" -- viz., threatens its very existence, viz. means the human species will cease to exist.

He has not, in fact, taken the high ground -- he is just trying to shout louder from his hill.

Climate change is a story just getting started, and there are many paths it can take. Certainly it is an extremely difficult problem. Clearly there is the potential for some to suffer more than they otherwise would in the absence of climate change. (But there are those will gain benefits, too.)

But very smart people realize this problem and are working on it. Some are seriously considering geoengineering, whether it's taking carbon dioxide out of the air or reducing the amount of sunlight that hits earth. Lots of well-meaning people are working on mitigation, on adaptation, on struggling with the deep issues of governance.

And I think people are coming around. Maybe it was Sandy, with all its doubts and uncertainties. Maybe it was the US heat wave this spring, and the Moscow heat wave of 2010. Maybe it's all the scientists who are putting their necks on the line, and all their opponents who seem, any more, to only worm their way along the low road.

Heck, Grover Norquist just uttered the words "carbon" and "tax" in succession. OK, he quickly backtracked -- but then, he's a political animal who survives by the moment. He would never have done this much even a month ago. The wheel is turning.

And these people who are working on the issue -- they are not abandoning truth along the way, or even stretching it. Roberts wants them to abandon the truth for the sake of their (his?) cause. That cannot, and has never, won anything in the long run. It just makes you a liar.

And how can you stand on that?


  1. Well said; bravo.

  2. I've had a closer look at David Robert's post.

    I disagree with David Appell that "scientific accuracy is all we have". Here's what I mean by that.

    Accuracy is something we MUST have, and must maintain, without compromise. David Robert's point, I think, is that there's more than being accurate only.

    The idea is not to give up accuracy for the sake of some moral imperative. I don't think he's suggesting that, anywhere.

    When explaining climate, we have no hope of explaining everything we know with complete accuracy; that takes years of study to get. But we can be accurate with what we do explain, and we must (we have no choice in this) take into account more than accuracy alone for choosing what to explain. We can't explain everything, so we inevitably make choices.

    David's example of a doctor, a disease, and an episode of sickness, was a good one.

    The doctor needs to communicate with accuracy to the patient. There should be no lies, no inaccuracy, no concealment, in that communication.

    There is MORE involved than only the accuracy of the communication, however.

    It's entirely accurate, according to our best information and available knowledge, that storms like Sandy are going to be more frequent along the USA Eastern seaboard in this coming century than they were in the last century. That's one relevant aspect to the changes taking place in climate as the planet continues to heat up.

    That's just a fact -- in so far as we uncover facts using science.

    It's also an important fact; important for people, residents, policy makers, governments etc to know and understand and deal with.

    Now the importance of facts is not in itself an objective "fact"! Deciding what matters is subjective.

    I'm not going to argue importance. I'm going to take for granted that we agree it is important to people that storms like this are more likely now than they were in past. I'm also taking for granted that this is indeed a fact; something we know to good confidence about how climate is changing.

    Given this importance, there is an imperative -- a perfectly reasonable imperative -- to take the storm as an opportunity for accurate communication about the fact that a part of the cost of climate change is the cost of dealing with more of these events than has been seen in the past.

    And that is not any kind of compromise with accuracy at all.

    1. But no intelligent and informed person would agree with Sylas that there is any evidence in the real world to suggest that storms such as Sandy are more likely to occur now than in the past. Far worse storms occurred in the historical post, and most likely far worse storms occurred before humans were around to record them in history.

      Bald assertions and sheer verbiage do not pass the Feynman test, Sylas.

  3. sylas: 'It's entirely accurate, according to our best information and available knowledge, that storms like Sandy are going to be more frequent along the USA Eastern seaboard in this coming century than they were in the last century.'

    Is it?

  4. According to the IPCC, hurricanes should become fewer in number, but might gain a few % in strength, especially the major hurricanes; Cat 3 and up.

    Sandy was a weak Cat 1 at best. These types of storms should become fewer in number, if we listen to IPCC. This is the projection.

    Empirically? There has not been a CAT 3 or greater make landfall for over 200 days, which is the longest in the historical record.

    Lastly, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index (ACE), shows that globally, there has been a reduction in the index, over the last 30 years.

  5. The previous post should read: "US landfall", to be concise.

  6. It also should read "for over 2500 days"...


  7. "Look: scientific accuracy is all we have."

    No - you obviously have ad hominem as well.

    "even the ones who (pretend they) don't accept the science."

    "and all their opponents who seem, any more, to only worm their way along the low road."

    You're no better than Roberts.

  8. I think Appell is erecting a strawman version of Roberts' argument in order to take issue with it. Roberts isn't saying to abandon truth. He's saying that scientific rigor and objectivity is not the only factor in determining the moral obligations that communicators have when communicating the risks of climate change to the general public.

    I think this is where there's an important distinction that neither author is really giving its due, between actual scientists operating within the realm of scientific investigation, and science communicators (in the media, in the blogosphere, etc.). We still need scientists who are scrupulously objective doing the actual science. But we also need science communicators who understand the science, but who also understand the implications of the competing frames in which that information is presented to the public.

  9. Thanks for all the responses to my comment... it is a legitimate challenge to my post above (#2) to question whether or not it is a reasonably confirmed that a hotter planet will see increased frequency of large storms and storm surges in the Eastern seaboard of the USA.

    That is a premise of my post. I stand by the remarks as I have posted them above. It was not just off the top of my head. On the other hand, I do acknowledge this is a more subtle question than the more straightforward fact that global warming is real and driven mainly by an increasing greenhouse effect in our atmosphere.

    My position is:

    (1) increasing sea level is now solidly confirmed. The IPCC 4AR projected 18 to 59 cm by 2100; but that is now generally recognized as significantly too low. Look for greater sea level rise projected in the 5AR, though still with a large uncertainty range. A range of 70cm to 180cm is about in the ballpark for mainstream projections. I'm not proposing to argue that point here, but simply put it on the record. This does not impact storms directly, but it does mean storm surges will be more damaging as time goes by.

    (2) research at present does not give strong support to an increasing frequency in Atlantic hurricanes. Research does strongly suggest that warmer sea surface temperatures will increase the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes, and this is the primary basis of my earlier comments.

    (3) even if you do not agree with me that the conclusion of increased intensity is strongly supported by available evidence, I hold that policy makers would be delinquent in their responsibilities not to take account of the warning that impacts such as were seen with Sandy are likely to become more frequent than they were last century. These are not warnings from a small cadre of activists. It is a fair summary of the general direction in research on the subject, across the board.

    (4) Sandy is legitimately an instance of the kind of event that is expected to become more frequent, according to substantial body of scientific research on the matter.

  10. sylas, +1 for defending your assertions but -2 for everything after the first clause in (3).

    (1)-(2): 'I was wrong.'

    (3)-(4): 'No, I wasn't.'

  11. Vinny, I have no idea what you are trying to say, sorry. You apparently think something I said was "wrong", which is your prerogative.

    I have no problem with saying "I was wrong" when I do actually want to retract a claim made in error. But that isn't the case here, yet. How you managed to get that from my latest comment is a total mystery. Nothing in my (1)-(2) is conflicting with my earlier post.

    Try again. I'm happy to talk this through further.

  12. Ooops! I meant to say that I agree with David on this one.

    The idea that the "End Justifies the Means" has no place in science.

  13. sylas, you first acknowledged the truth of the reported premise of your comment (science says that CC will bring more storms like Sandy to the US NE), then you acknowledged that science doesn't say this, then you said say it anyway.

  14. Vinny, science indicates, with reasonable but not total confidence, that the USA is likely to have more destructive storm events in this century than in the last.

    That is not because of more storms, but because of bigger and stronger storms. OK?

    That, is storms "like Sandy" will be more frequent, because a larger proportion of storms will be beefed up in magnitude.

    There is nothing in my comments that matches your reading. Go back. Try again. It's not that hard.

    I don't mind if you disagree with me or make a coherent criticism of my claims. But so far you are simply making comments that don't correspond to any of my posts at all.

  15. sylas,
    Storm severity falls as average global temperature rises. No matter what you may have read elsewhere, polar temperatures rise about three times faster than temperatures on the equator. Thus when global temperatures are rising, temperature gradients vs. latitude are falling, reducing the severity of storms.

    Historical records confirm that storms were much more severe during the "Little Ice Age" than they are today.

    If you doubt me I will be happy to provide you with more detailed information.

  16. sylas,
    While you are quite correct when you say that sea level is rising, this has been going on for thousands of years; nothing unusual is going on. You might want to look beyond AR4.

    To its credit, this blog has published drafts prepared by the IPCC's AR5 "Working Group 1" chapter 3 (Oceans). The findings will be published in September 2013 but the information is already available.

    If you don't have time to read the whole thing here is a link to a summary:

  17. sylas,
    Hurricanes are nothing new. Sandy was not in the same class as Hazel and several earlier storms:

    "The 1821 Norfolk and Long Island hurricane battered the New Jersey coast with winds estimated at 135 mph (Category 3), much stronger that those of Sandy (Category 1). Manhattan Island was flooded to Canal Street and this occurred at low tide. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel struck the Carolinas with 140 mph winds (Category 4). Hazel continued north along the U.S. Atlantic coast, through New York State and into Canada. Deaths from Hazel totaled 95 in the U.S. and 81 in Canada. More than 80 tropical or subtropical cyclones have hit the state of New York since the 1600s."

    Here is a link to the New York hurricanes going back to the 17th century:

    Sandy was different even though it was much less severe than several earlier hurricanes because you were able to watch it on TELEVISION.

  18. bahamamamma, thanks for the three substantive comments. I appreciate the comments, though I will be robust in response.

    (1) Atlantic hurricanes are formed as low pressure regions develop in warm tropical and subtropical seas. (See What causes hurricanes for a summary.)

    In your first comment, you note the fact that the Arctic is heating up much faster than the rest of the planet, which is quite true. But then you propose that a reduced temperature gradient implies falling storm severity. As a comment on Atlantic hurricanes, that's complete nonsense.

    The impacts that follow from our planet heating up will vary from region to region. Sorting out the impact on storms of a hotter planet is difficult; but in general, we expect MORE severe storms over much of the planet, and the subtropical Atlantic in particular.

    (2) Your next comment was on sea level. This point is far more straightforward. The current sea-level rise is much greater than what has existed over recent millenia, and it will remain so as the planet continues to heat up.

    You did agree that sea levels are rising. Quantify that: the rate at present is over 3mm/year, and increasing. If maintained for 2000 years, that rate would correspond to a change of 6 to 7 meters; we've certainly seen nothing like that kind of rise even in the last six thousand years. So your rider: "this has been going on for thousands of years; nothing unusual is going on", is trivally false.

    What you really need to ask is whether the present rate of increase part of normal fluctuations up and down? Or is it the new normal for coming centuries? The answer is: it is the latter. A lot of work is being done on attribution, and the contributions from ice melt and run-off, and from thermal expansion in the ocean, are quite definite. The planet is heating up, and that brings sea level rise. What is going to change in the next IPCC report, amonsg other things, is that the underestimates of the AR4 will be corrected to come into line with existing research.

    Your link was not to a "summary" of the forthcoming IPCC report at all. It was to someone commenting on the zero-order drafts, and doing so very badly indeed.

    (3) Your comment on hurricanes concludes: "Sandy was different even though it was much less severe than several earlier hurricanes because you were able to watch it on TELEVISION."

    This is a non-sequitur. There have been large and damaging storms in the past. What's new is not that such storms exist. It is that the Atlantic storms generally are likely to be larger and more destructive, as the planet heats up. Individual comparisons miss this point. The critical issue is: are we likely to see such big storms like Sandy or Hazel more often? The indications are: yes.

    As a secondary point, even though comparisons of individual storms are moot. We miss the most significant aspect of Sandy when we only compare wind speeds. Sandy was a lower category hurricane; but what made it especially destructive was its massive size. This really was a super-storm, and it would have been a super-storm regardless of television coverage.

  19. "Sorting out the impact on storms of a hotter planet is difficult; but in general, we expect MORE severe storms over much of the planet, and the subtropical Atlantic in particular."

    This is not supported by AGW science. MORE severe storms meme was invented and is not based on science.

    Quite the opposite. AGW predicts warming poles and reduced temp gradient, thus less severe storms.

  20. I am dubious of the argument that warming poles and a reduced temp gradient means thus less severe storms. Storms are chaotic, born of local conditions of the ocean and atmosphere. Also, Ryan Maue shows a trend in North Atlantic tropical storms and major hurricanes that runs counter to that argument:

  21. David,
    Ryan Maue is one of the people who pointed out that Al Gore was wrong when he linked the flurry of hurricanes hitting the USA circa 2005 to CAGW. The declining frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones since 2005 appears to support his position.

    Steeper temperature gradients have a more noticeable effect on the severity of storms in the mid and high latitudes than they do in the tropics. If you want to know what this meant during the "Little Ice Age" listen to historians:

    Some of the worst storms are not tropical cyclones:

  22. sylas,
    I guess you did not read this:

  23. sylas,
    For the "Big Picture" on rising oceans you might want to look at this before you claim that the rate of sea level rise is "Accelerating":

  24. bahamamamma, you guessed incorrectly. I read the zero order drafts ages ago when David Appell first released them. I'm a long time follower and fan of this site. (I am undecided on whether releasing those drafts was appropriate, but I accept David's sincerity and good will in releasing them.)

    I was pointing out that your EARLIER link, which you described as a summary of those drafts, was no such thing.


    Sea level rise *is* accelerating, to well above what we have seen through the last several thousand years.

    You are now linking to pictures going all the way back to the last ice age! This is another non-sequitur and distraction from really basic observations of what is occurring in the present.

    The image you link shows a rise of roughly 100m in sea level from about 14ky ago, and extending over some 7000 years as we came out of the ice age. The rate was not uniform, but it averages out to a ball park figure of 14mm/year on that time span.

    Then, over the last 6000 years or so, the rise flattened out, rising perhaps 2 or 3 meters over that time; an average of less than half a mm per year.

    Over the recent century, the rate of sea level rise has accelerated substantially again, to over 3mm/year, and increasing.

    The science on this is much more straightforward than storm projections.

    The acceleration we observe in sea level rise is real, is significant, and is occurring because the planet is heating up. That rise will continue and increase as this century continues, and will persist for centuries after that.

  25. "I am dubious of the argument that warming poles and a reduced temp gradient means thus less severe storms. Storms are chaotic, born of local conditions of the ocean and atmosphere. Also, Ryan Maue shows a trend in North Atlantic tropical storms and major hurricanes that runs counter to that argument:"

    You can be dubious if you like but AGW theory predicts (poles warming faster than tropics, thus reduced temp gradients).

    Has there been AGW warming in the last 50 yrs? Everyone says so.

    What is the world wide trend for severe storms (hurricanes et al)? No increase.

    QED. No physical theory AND no evidence in support of AGW leading to more severe storms.

  26. Yes, warming means an increased temperature gradient. What I am dubious about is that this increase, which is small on a local (per-latitude) basis where storms form, is not very important in the creation of storms compared to local chaos created by changes in ocean currents and atmospheric patterns (both dependent dependent on local geography), and especially changes in the hydrological cycle, since it is the heat of condensation from condensing water vapor that gives storms their energy. AGW is significantly altering the hydrological cycle -- global humidity has increased something like 4% in the last 30 years -- and my suspicion is that that is a far more important factor than an increased temperature gradient (which, again, is small in a local area where a storm would form).

  27. David,
    You have it backwards. Warming reduces the temperature gradients because the poles warm three times faster than the tropics.

    What we are talking about is the "Meridional Temperature Gradient" that affects the severity of storms.

    The following paper may help you and perhaps "sylas" too:

  28. CharlesH,
    You seem like a pretty rational guy so I am a little disappointed with this statement:

    "Has there been AGW warming in the last 50 yrs? Everyone says so."

    Everyone I have spoken to agrees that humankind has contributed to "Global Warming". The question is whether the warming we have produced can be safely ignored or will the consequences be "Catastrophic"? Where do you stand on that question?

    In my opinion we have a long way to go before warming becomes a problem for mammals (creatures like us). The current dominance of mammals was established during Eocene that was the warmest time in the past 100 million years.

    During the Eocene there was no permanent ice at either pole. Trees were growing in Antarctica and Alligators were roaming Spitzbergen. Polar oceans were about 12 Kelvin warmer than today while equatorial sea surface temperatures were ~35 Centigrade.

    This does not sound like a "Catastrophe" to me.

  29. sylas,
    We agree that sea levels are rising. We disagree on the issue of "Acceleration". IMHO we should welcome all the "Acceleration" we can get.

    For every atoll in the Pacific that is overwhelmed there will be 10,000 times more land becoming productive at high latitudes.

    Given enough "Global Warming" Canada may become inhabitable.

    If you want something to worry about, falling sea levels are a much greater threat than rising ones.

  30. sylas,
    At the peak of the last glacial (~20,000 years ago) the Laurentide glacier dominated North America. Where New York city is today the ice was over one mile thick.

    When the climate warmed continental ice began to melt so sea levels rose by about four feet per century until 8,000 years ago. After that the rate of rise slowed as there was not much continental ice left to melt.

    Over the last 5,000 years the rate of sea level rise has averaged about one foot per century as it is today.

    How much continental ice is left? About 30 million cubic kilometers or 30 Giga-tonnes. This ice is melting at the prodigious rate of ~300 Giga-tonnes per year. See:

    At the present rate it will take at least 10,000 years to melt all the continental ice.

    Will Earth enjoy another PETM (Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum) with ice free poles? Not likely given that we are in an Ice Age characterized by lengthy glacial periods.

  31. You're right, polar warming reduces the temperature gradient. But either way my suspicion is changes in the hydrological cycle are more important, but I haven't studied it much. Two papers I want to read when I get a chance are

    Trenberth, K. E., C. A. Davis and J. Fasullo, 2007: Water and energy budgets of hurricanes: Case studies of Ivan and Katrina . J. Geophys. Res., 112, D23106, doi:10.1029/2006JD008303.

    Trenberth, K. E., and J. Fasullo, 2007: Water and energy budgets of hurricanes and implications for climate change. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D23107, doi:10.1029/2006JD008304.

  32. Sea level rise in the last 5,000 years has certainly *not* average one foot per century:

    It's been about 1 meter in that time, or less than 1 mm/yr, as sylas wrote.

  33. There is also a significant acceleration in the melting of glaciers:

    Kaser, G., J. G. Cogley, M. B. Dyurgerov, M. F. Meier, and A. Ohmura (2006), Mass balance of glaciers and ice caps: Consensus estimates for 1961–2004, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L19501, doi:10.1029/2006GL027511.

  34. The Kaser paper I just cited finds a glacial mass loss of

    1961-1990: -219 kg/m2/year
    1991-2004: -420 kg/m2/yr
    2001-2004: -510 kg/m2/yr

    and an acceleration since 1975 of about -11 kg/m2/yr2. That means the loss rate will about double by the end of the century, to about -900 kg/m2/yr (all else being equal).

  35. bahamamamma, your comments on sea-level and the role of temperature gradients to the Arctic are at this point merely silly, and I'm not going to bother with those further; they detract from serious criticisms that can be made of my claims.

    David, thanks for joining in!

    The sea-level matter may be useful for clearing the air a bit, and helping any readers get up to speed with basic background. Current sea-level rise is accelerating and this is one of the things which is quite definite as a known impact of global warming.

    I am pretty sure you are right about the importance of the hydrological cycle; particularly for the storms we are speaking of here.

    The issue which really is subject to question (IMO) is whether or not I am correct in declaring that we can expect with reasonable confidence an increase in the damage from Atlantic hurricanes as the planet heats up.

    It would be good to see a focus on that, rather than the sea-level distraction!

  36. David,
    That graph you cite was included in one of the links I provided in an earlier comment. It shows sea level rising less than 3 meters in the last 5,000 years or ~2 inches/century. My apologies for being overly alarmist by suggesting one foot/century.

    You will note that the nice black line is drawn through a series of measurements that cover a wide range. Measuring sea level is a tricky business.

    According to Robert A. Ricklis, nothing of note has happened since 1,000 B.C. What climate alarmists see as accelerating sea level rise is just a minor fluctuation of no great significance.

    To get some perspective I recommend:


  37. sylas,
    "The issue which really is subject to question (IMO) is whether or not I am correct in declaring that we can expect with reasonable confidence an increase in the damage from Atlantic hurricanes as the planet heats up."

    Most of us agree that Ryan Maue knows a great deal about hurricanes. He and Roger Pielke have provided ample evidence showing that Al Gore was wrong to link the incidence of Atlantic hurricanes to "Global Warming". You are just regurgitating Al's nonsense.

    You say the "planet heats up". I guess that will depend on the period of time you choose. Over the last 15 years temperatures have been falling:

  38. That graph does not show 3 meters of sea level rise in 5000 years, it shows about 1 meter.

    That's an average of 0.2 mm/yr.

  39. sylas,
    "bahamamamma, your comments on sea-level and the role of temperature gradients to the Arctic are at this point merely silly, "

    I guess that MIT paper was a little too technical for you. If you refuse to read the whole paper at least read this:

    "Because baroclinicity depends on both the meridional temperature gradient and the static
    stability, the effect of climate change on baroclinicity (and therefore storm tracks) is complicated.
    Stronger warming in the high latitude regions (due to effects such as the ice-albedo feedback)
    means that there may be a reduced meridional temperature gradient. This would reduce baroclinicity
    and seemingly decrease the number of storms (Yin, 2005; Bengtsson et al., 2006)."

  40. David,
    As I pointed out, the error bars are large. Your number may be on the low side but it does not affect my argument.

    At a more detailed level I found the Ricklis presentation useful. One of the failings of AR5 WG1 Chapter 3 (Oceans) is its lack of "Perspective".

    Seen in the context of the last 5,000 years the present changes in sea level are minor fluctuations. You can't paint a scary picture without picking your time period carefully while ignoring everything outside it.

    Thank you for providing one of the few places that parties on both sides of the CAGW debate can exchange views without intrusive "Moderation".

    Thank you "sylas" for being a "Good Sport". Please don't take my ribbing about your lack of scientific comprehension too seriously.

  41. Sea level rise isn't a "fluctuation" -- it is cause-and-effect.

    And the error bars on the sea level figure are fairly small, especially over the last couple of thousand years. In any case the rise is nothing at all like today's rise, which is the equivalent of 15 meters in 5000 years. There simply is no comparison.

  42. bahamamamma says: Thank you "sylas" for being a "Good Sport". Please don't take my ribbing about your lack of scientific comprehension too seriously.

    No problem, bahamamamma. I assure you, I don't take it seriously at all. Your "guesses" on what I have read have been consistently wrong every single time, but that's not my problem nor does it bother me.

    And by the way, Roy Spencer's data for the lower atmosphere (which is the best correspondence to Earth's surface temperature) shows ongoing warming on the 15 year trend. That time span has trend substantially impacted by short term variation, so it's not actually a reliable guide to the underlying trends in climate, but hey. Roy's data has a warming trend of about 0.5C/century over the last 15 years.

    We are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to distract this into good old head-in-the-sand denial of warming altogether!

  43. David,
    I hope you are right about sea levels rising by 15 meters over the next 5,000 years, That would imply temperatures much higher than today. Even the IPCC admits that warming of up to 3 Kelvin will benefit food production.

    Much more likely, sea levels will fall signalling the onset of a new glacial period. That will be something to worry about.

  44. sylas,
    Head in the sand is having more faith in "Climate Models" than observations.

    While the satellites (UAH and RSS) show no warming over the last 15 years they only cover the last 43 years and that is much too short a period to draw conclusions about climate trends,

    The IPCC likes to look at global temperatures over longer periods so here is a link that starts at the IPCC's favourite date (1850):

    You will note that the temperature increase is ~0.9 Kelvin over 162 years. How long do you think it will take to add another 3 Kelvin to enter the IPCC's "Danger Zone"?

  45. Reality is stranger than one's wildest imagination. Can any of you believe this?

  46. Have you ever wondered whether the Great pyramid at Giza was built by slaves or by inspired citizens?

    I believe it was the latter; governments can motivate the "Masses" to achieve great things, In modern times, JFK's and subsequent administrations inspired the USA to put a "Man on the Moon".

    Pyramids and space exploration are heroic projects that can only be judged in retrospect.

    Governments around the world have been very effective in motivating citizens to "Save the Planet" by reducing CO2 emissions.

    We need to ask how our "Solutions" will be viewed by our ancestors. Will solar panels and windmills be seen as the modern equivalent of Pyramids or as something useful?

  47. baha: My claim of 15 meters in 5000 years is simply an extrapolation of the current trend, not a prediction. (At BAU, it will be more than that by then.)

  48. baha @ 11/16/12 11:19 pm:
    You wrote:
    "Hurricanes are nothing new."

    So your argument is, unless each and every future hurricane is of unprecedented magnitude, they cannot ever provide evidence of climate change?