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Climate "skeptics" vs climate scientists in a nutshell

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Possibly the best attempt I've ever seen at this sort of thing:

 

climateskeptics.gif

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Best by what measure? It is is poor representation of the skeptics argument. It cherry picks the skeptical response on many of these points and it does not address the better arguments from studies indicating recent measured and estimated climate warming trends have causes other than from human caused green house gases. It also often uses cherry picked derived data sets to represent the trends being described.

 

I doubt many if even any skeptics were consulted to articulate the arguments attributed to the skeptical viewpoint.

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I don't really have time to get drawn into a long drawn out back and forth on this sort of thing again, but I'll at least take a crack at this post.

 

Best by what measure?

 

That was stated in the OP: "best attempt I've ever seen"

 

It is is poor representation of the skeptics argument. It cherry picks the skeptical response on many of these points

 

As someone who has spent many, many years on these forums debating these same tired points over and over again, I assure you it's a fairly accurate representation of the "skeptics" position.

 

it does not address the better arguments from studies indicating recent measured and estimated climate warming trends have causes other than from human caused green house gases

 

When you make claims like "arguments from studies", it's typically appropriate to cite said studies. That said, the scientific position is that there are radiative forcings other than anthropogenic greenhouse gases which are also responsible for the overall warming trend. It's just that those radiative forcings happen to be much less significant.

 

It also often uses cherry picked derived data sets to represent the trends being described

 

You sure like to bandy around the term "cherry pick". Again, when you make a claim like this it would be good for you to pick a specific data set they included and make an argument as to why you believe it is cherry picked.

 

I doubt many if even any skeptics were consulted to articulate the arguments attributed to the skeptical viewpoint.

 

No, however no climate scientists in favor of the consensus position were consulted either:

 

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

 

I researched this subject in a very particular way. I deliberately chose not speak directly to any climate experts or leading scientists in the field. I used only publicly available web sources.

 

Why? Because I wanted to simulate what it's like for people trying to learn about climate change online.

 

My conclusion is “what a nightmare”. I was generally shocked and appalled by how difficult it was to source counter arguments. The data was often tucked away on extremely ancient or byzantine websites. The key counter arguments I often found, 16 scrolls down, on comment 342 on a far flung realclimate.org post from three years ago. And even when I found an answer, the answers were excessively jargonized or technical.

Edited by bascule

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What it ultimately comes down to is that there are other reasons to reduce fossil-fuel dependency and the types of energy-uses that have become institutionalized as a result of high fossil-fuel availability in the last century or so. A sail-driven ship is better than one driven by combustion because it is a fuel-independent vehicle. Bicycles are more efficient than motor vehicles in light of their ratio of power to speed. The only reason that these technologies are considered inferior is because of their size (relatively small) and speed (relatively slow). Ultimately, however, these technologies are like the tortoise racing against the hare. Fossil-fuel combustion has made its show of power and now it is going to slowly sputter to a halt to sit and watch the slower but more efficient technologies ease by into the more distant future.

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I don't really have time to get drawn into a long drawn out back and forth on this sort of thing again, but I'll at least take a crack at this post.

 

That was stated in the OP: "best attempt I've ever seen"

 

So it is an opinion from a warmist. the picture is becoming clearer.

 

As someone who has spent many, many years on these forums debating these same tired points over and over again, I assure you it's a fairly accurate representation of the "skeptics" position.

 

You choose to judge the skeptic position based on tired argument from web forums over recent research. Good plan.

 

When you make claims like "arguments from studies", it's typically appropriate to cite said studies. That said, the scientific position is that there are radiative forcings other than anthropogenic greenhouse gases which are also responsible for the overall warming trend. It's just that those radiative forcings happen to be much less significant.

 

If only the earth's energy budget were so easy, and yet it is not. This article summarizes a number of recent papers to show that the all but about 0.2C of the warming trend from 1950 onward is attributed to causes other than GHG.

 

This paper looks at long term natural patterns in ocean oscillations and identifies natural causal factors. It corroborates the 0.2 C number from the other summary and from it one can identify a 0.4 C from the mid 1800's forward but increases in sun total energy flux accounts for over 0.2 of that 0.4 leaving less than 0.2 attributable to GHG since 1850.

 

You sure like to bandy around the term "cherry pick". Again, when you make a claim like this it would be good for you to pick a specific data set they included and make an argument as to why you believe it is cherry picked.

 

Actually it is the author of the summary you linked that seems to like cherries. The reconstructed hockey stick is a good example. This paper provides some insight into why it and the revised one is little more than a statistical mirage.

 

No, however no climate scientists in favor of the consensus position were consulted either:

 

That's a joke. RealClimate.com is a who's who of the warmist science movement. The writer has a very clear bias and does precious little to hide it. It is difficult for a warminst to represent the skeptic just as it is difficult for a skeptic to fairly represent the warmists argument.

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Cypress, how about you go and remake the "skeptic" side.

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The summary position:

Studies of historical proxies have established that the earth’s climate is not fixed. It has been both warmer and cooler in the recent past than the temperatures experienced during the period of past 200 years. There are numerous causes for climate variations. Changes in GHG concentrations are some of perhaps hundreds of influencers to climate changes. Climate science is unable to accurately predict the influence human sourced GHG may have on future climate. Models that fail to incorporate natural factors which historically drove past climate variation cannot be expected to accurately predict future climate variations. Several natural variations and data artifacts account for a majority of the warming trend that has occurred from 1850 – 2010 leaving substantially less warming to assign to human causes. It is not credible at this juncture to believe that human sourced GHG will drive future climate warming in the range of 2-6 degrees.

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Several natural variations and data artifacts account for a majority of the warming trend that has occurred from 1850 – 2010 leaving substantially less warming to assign to human causes.

 

I seem to recall you made this claim in another thread and then had to backtrack because you couldn't defend it.

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/51175-natural-global-warming/

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I sometimes think it's worthwhile to step back and look at things in perspective.

 

data3-gisp2-icecore.gif

 

The top graph is the O18 from GISP2, taken from the NOAA site. (The page concerns D-O events.) O18 of course being a proxy for temperature.

 

Now if you could zoom in the graph, the entire current debate is about the top 1/3 of the very last uptick on the right hand side. (And that includes the "Hockey Stick".)

 

Perspective, anyone?

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I sometimes think it's worthwhile to step back and look at things in perspective.

That historical perspective argument is a bit of a red herring. Using the same argument one could point to the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, the Channeled Scablands, and other areas as signs of the futility of modern farming practices aimed to minimize erosion. Bad farming practices that resulted in the loss of a few inches or feet of topsoil pale in comparison to nature's ability to tear down entire mountain ranges.

 

We still employ those modern erosion control farming practices because failing to do so leads to big problems for us.

 

One thing that that historical perspective does show is that eventually we will need to undertake efforts to mitigate those huge natural variations in climate. Given our current level of technology we currently could do nothing to forestall one of those huge climate shifts that we know have taken place in the past. Fortunately we have thousands, possibly tens of thousands of years before the next ice age hits. Until then, the concern is with the much smaller variations, natural and manmade, in climate we are seeing now and what impacts those changes may have on modern human society.

Edited by D H

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In the graph above, how many of those arguments were started by the Scientific community, and how many by the populist movement of climate skeptics? The Skeptics always have the initiative. Every discussion is initiated by them, on a topic of their choice. Logically, it sounds like they are right, and the global warming theory is wrong. And the skeptics have easy picking, since the theory has some uncertainty (logically)... and attacking uncertainty is easy... defending it is difficult (especially if you have to defend it using a one liner).

 

It has become politics, rather than science.

 

I wrote about this in the thread regarding Sarah Palin's possible candidacy in 2012. And rather than writing the same again, I will just link to it. It applies here too. The key to getting what you want is populism. Facts do not matter.

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/52572-stopping-sarah-palin/page__view__findpost__p__570911

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I seem to recall you made this claim in another thread and then had to backtrack because you couldn't defend it.

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/51175-natural-global-warming/

 

Hmm, the claim in that thread appears to be intact, though some of the causes have been attributed to data errors and artifacts as opposed to "natural causes". The discussion remains unfininished.

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That historical perspective argument is a bit of a red herring.

 

Not a red herring DH, just an incomplete thought. The thought I had while posting was with respect to claims that such and such was "unprecedented". That the rise in temps was somehow out of the ordinary. It's not. The temp change in the last 150 years is well within natural parameters and is orders of magnitude lower than the most abrupt changes measured in the last 12,000 years. I just forgot to put in the bit about "unprecedented". :embarass:

 

The thing is that perspective changes statements. Take the one from AR4; "It is highly likely that temps in the 20th Century are warmer than any time in the last 500 years", or words to that effect. Sounds very profound and worthy of a bit of worry, doesn't it? Until you step back and realise that the last 500 years were the "Little Ice Age". Which makes it as profound as declaring in the middle of summer "It's warmer now than any time in the last 9 months". Well, DUH!

 

I have a real problem with advertising/sales techniques being used to "sell" science. Statements of fact are being used as if they have predictive abilities when they don't. Let's take another example; "The first decade of the 21st Century is the warmest in recorded history". The statement is almost certainly true, but so what? If (Thor forbid) the temps dropped and we went back to a full blown Ice Age, guess what? The first decade of the 21st Century would still be the warmest in recorded history.

 

A final point. We hit people hard down in "Speculations" for moving the goal posts, or changing their definitions to suit their arguments. Yet we've gone from "Global Warming" to "Climate Change" to "Climate Disruption" without a comment. If you follow it at all, note that since the Arctic ice has failed to disappear as predicted, the talk is no longer about "area", we're concerned about "volume" now. Something which is much harder to measure because it depends on estimates of ice thickness. What was the definition of "pseudo science" again?

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Cypress, how about you go and remake the "skeptic" side.

 

The summary position:

Studies of historical proxies have established that the earth’s climate is not fixed. It has been both warmer and cooler in the recent past than the temperatures experienced during the period of past 200 years. There are numerous causes for climate variations. Changes in GHG concentrations are some of perhaps hundreds of influencers to climate changes. Climate science is unable to accurately predict the influence human sourced GHG may have on future climate. Models that fail to incorporate natural factors which historically drove past climate variation cannot be expected to accurately predict future climate variations. Several natural variations and data artifacts account for a majority of the warming trend that has occurred from 1850 – 2010 leaving substantially less warming to assign to human causes. It is not credible at this juncture to believe that human sourced GHG will drive future climate warming in the range of 2-6 degrees.

 

So you have no response to this?

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Studies of historical proxies have established that the earth’s climate is not fixed. It has been both warmer and cooler in the recent past than the temperatures experienced during the period of past 200 years.

 

Yes, the earth has had a varied climate, but in the totality of Earth's history humans have only been around for an infinitesimal amount of time. The types of climates that are hospitable to humans and can afford a population of over 6 billion humans access to adequate water for drinking and cultivating crops is extremely limited.

 

There are numerous causes for climate variations.

 

Yes, there are!

 

Climate_Change_Attribution.png

 

(yes this graph is a bit dated, I only throw it out there in response to strawman claims that modern climate science purports one radiative forcing)

 

Changes in GHG concentrations are some of perhaps hundreds of influencers to climate changes.

 

Not all climate forcing are equal. All significant radiative forcings need to be studied and accounted for in a proper model of the climate system. That's exactly what climate scientists are doing.

 

Climate science is unable to accurately predict the influence human sourced GHG may have on future climate.

 

Yes, that's true, but largely because the amount of AGGs humans will emit into the atmosphere in the future is hard to predict. Perhaps humanity will create practical fusion reactors which completely mitigate the need for any other power source. Perhaps future physics will give us new ways of producing energy we can't even conceive of now. Models now use present trends of carbon consumption to extrapolate the future. Of course this is inaccurate, because no model can account for human innovation that might drastically reduce the emission of AGGs in the future.

 

Models that fail to incorporate natural factors which historically drove past climate variation cannot be expected to accurately predict future climate variations.

 

Fortunately modern GCMs incorporate as many factors as known to modern climate science as are deemed significant enough to incorporate into the model. They work very well:

 

tbXwRP0CQNA

 

"Climate skeptics" don't have any models or any actual alternative theories, they just try to poke holes at modern climate science

Edited by bascule

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Yes, the earth has had a varied climate, but in the totality of Earth's history humans have only been around for an infinitesimal amount of time. The types of climates that are hospitable to humans and can afford a population of over 6 billion humans access to adequate water for drinking and cultivating crops is extremely limited.

 

I don't see your point. Are you suggesting the observation is wrong? since historically natural forces have resulted in climate variations greater than what we presently observe should we not take natural causation as the null hypothesis?

 

 

Yes, there are!

 

Climate_Change_Attribution.png

 

(yes this graph is a bit dated, I only throw it out there in response to strawman claims that modern climate science purports one radiative forcing)

 

I don't think it is wise to use a climate model to attempt to demonstrate natural causal factors that the model does not include in its physics engine.

 

Not all climate forcing are equal. All significant radiative forcings need to be studied and accounted for in a proper model of the climate system. That's exactly what climate scientists are doing.

 

Models do a poor job of establishing causal factors because the output is too heavily influenced by the biases and beliefs of the designers. There are better ways of identifying causation.

 

Yes, that's true, but largely because the amount of AGGs humans will emit into the atmosphere in the future is hard to predict.

 

No, it is true because climate scientists have been unable to construct an accurate global energy balance and are presently unable to determine the feedback effects of CGHG.

 

Perhaps humanity will create practical fusion reactors which completely mitigate the need for any other power source. Perhaps future physics will give us new ways of producing energy we can't even conceive of now. Models now use present trends of carbon consumption to extrapolate the future. Of course this is inaccurate, because no model can account for human innovation that might drastically reduce the emission of AGGs in the future.

 

These are red herrings.

 

 

 

Fortunately modern GCMs incorporate as many factors as known to modern climate science as are deemed significant enough to incorporate into the model. They work very well:

 

False. Climate scientists are aware of long term ocean oscillations and yet they are not incorporated into the models at this time.

 

"Climate skeptics" don't have any models or any actual alternative theories, they just try to poke holes at modern climate science

 

False on both accounts. Here is another paper (I offered two others above) that offers an alternative theory and a model.

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I don't think it is wise to use a climate model to attempt to demonstrate natural causal factors that the model does not include in its physics engine.

 

Models do a poor job of establishing causal factors because the output is too heavily influenced by the biases and beliefs of the designers. There are better ways of identifying causation.

 

No, it is true because climate scientists have been unable to construct an accurate global energy balance and are presently unable to determine the feedback effects of CGHG.

 

False. Climate scientists are aware of long term ocean oscillations and yet they are not incorporated into the models at this time.

 

"In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible." - IPCC Third Assessment Report

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Models do a poor job of establishing causal factors because the output is too heavily influenced by the biases and beliefs of the designers. There are better ways of identifying causation.

 

Yes, clearly the standard model of particle physics is influenced by the biases and beliefs of its designers

 

No, it is true because climate scientists have been unable to construct an accurate global energy balance

 

What? GCMs are designed for the purpose of identifying radiative imbalances. That's like saying physicists are unable to construct a model of what particles do.

 

Climate scientists are aware of long term ocean oscillations and yet they are not incorporated into the models at this time.

 

You've got things backwards here, but you're half right. Things like the PDO aren't "incorporated" into the model, but rather, if a model is truly skillful a multi-decadal climate simulation should reproduce it. At the present time they don't, which yes, indicates an error in the model. That doesn't invalidate the model itself or undermine its usefulness.

 

 

When I say "model", I'm talking about something similar to a GCM. There are many, many GCMs and they all give similar results. Where are the "skeptic" GCMs, or for that matter, any GCMs that give dissimilar results to other GCMs:

 

reconstructed_temperature.jpg

Edited by bascule

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"In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible." - IPCC Third Assessment Report

 

Yes, this seems to be another way of acknowledging that since the climate's causal factors are not understood, we cannot accurately predict future patterns and thus the alarmists predictions of warmer temperatures of 2-6 degrees C are not credible.

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You've got things backwards here, but you're half right. Things like the PDO aren't "incorporated" into the model, but rather, if a model is truly skillful a multi-decadal climate simulation should reproduce it. At the present time they don't, which yes, indicates an error in the model. That doesn't invalidate the model itself or undermine its usefulness.

To a degree it might. One of the problems I have is with the assumption that climate reacts only to external forcings. Which is why during calibration runs without external forcings you expect the models not to produce a long term temperature trend.

 

The thing is that the assumption is demonstrably false. Even without any changes CO2, Solar radiation, Cosmic rays, etc the climate will still change. I think that this is a Catch 22 for modellers in that if the assumption is changed, then calibration runs will go all over the place and the signal of external forcings will be lost which ruins the usefulness of the model. However if the assumption is kept the RF of an external forcing is easier to detect, but it's relative to an "unreal" baseline and also isn't much use.

 

To use the most extreme example I can think of to illustrate. Approximately 55 million years ago a major change to Earths Oceanic Circulation occurred. North and South America joined and blocked the Atlantic currents from flowing into the Pacific. This was a major change in energy distribution around the planet. The change in internal distribution caused regional changes in climate. One might argue, "But those were regional changes" which is true, but if all regions change then it is planetary climate change as well, occurring without any change in external forcings. It is simply not possible for one region to undergo a major climate shift without effecting the surrounding regions.

 

It's something I've wondered about and can't find much at all in the literature. Bascule I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

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Bascule, you failed to answer my question to you regarding the null hypothesis.

 

Yes, clearly the standard model of particle physics is influenced by the biases and beliefs of its designers

 

Not sure why you felt it necessary to bring in a red herring argument regarding particle physics when we are discussing climate models.

 

What? GCMs are designed for the purpose of identifying radiative imbalances. That's like saying physicists are unable to construct a model of what particles do.

 

GCM's have been modified for the purpose of confirming what the designers presuppose about radiative forcing, just one aspect of the energy budget without incorporating other known causal channels. Then they pretend they are on to something significant all the while still unable to account for the overall energy budget.

 

This is another logical fallacy. It is not like saying physicists are unable to construct a model of what particles do because physicists have been able deconstruct the fundamentals of kinetic motion to successfully account for the overall energy budget in particle kinetics. Climate science have thus far not been so successful.

 

You've got things backwards here, but you're half right. Things like the PDO aren't "incorporated" into the model, but rather, if a model is truly skillful a multi-decadal climate simulation should reproduce it. At the present time they don't, which yes, indicates an error in the model. That doesn't invalidate the model itself or undermine its usefulness.

 

That you say I am half right and have things backwards are opinions you hold that cannot be demonstrated until the models are free of these errors. I can't think of a better way to describe a model that fails to reproduce actual behavior than to say it is invalid.

 

When I say "model", I'm talking about something similar to a GCM. There are many, many GCMs and they all give similar results.

 

Models that use similar assumptions generally produce similar results.

 

Where are the "skeptic" GCMs, or for that matter, any GCMs that give dissimilar results to other GCMs:

 

reconstructed_temperature.jpg

 

You err when you place temperature proxies in the same category as GCM's. Thus far, there has not been a funding source identified to allow a group of skeptics to construct a proper Global Circulation Model. Furthermore it is likely not possible since it is currently not possible to develop a proper energy budget.

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To a degree it might. One of the problems I have is with the assumption that climate reacts only to external forcings.

 

To my knowledge GCMs incorporate a lot of modeling of the relationships between air, water, and ice. That said I don't know offhand how good of a job they do at modeling large systemic changes where ocean currents are redirected, for example the Medieval Warm Period. It would not surprise me if those sort of things were model inputs in paleoclimactic reconstructions.

 

Bascule, you failed to answer my question to you regarding the null hypothesis.

 

The null hypothesis being that man has no effect on the climate system? Semi-skillful reconstruction of the historical climate necessarily includes anthropgenic forcings. Excluding them does not lead to a successful reconstruction.

 

GCM's have been modified for the purpose of confirming what the designers presuppose about radiative forcing

 

What you patronizingly refer to as the "designers presupposing" radiative forcings is typically known in science as a "hypothesis"

 

just one aspect of the energy budget without incorporating other known causal channels. Then they pretend they are on to something significant all the while still unable to account for the overall energy budget.

 

They have a model of it, albeit an inaccurate one. The radiative imbalances are model inputs, to be certain, and they don't compute to an "energy budget", but they can compare the model outputs to satellite data and see if they sync up, and see if the radiative imbalances as predicted by the model measure empirical satellite data. And for the most part, they do! I actually worked with two climate research groups, one measuring sea surface temperatures via satellite and another which was comparing the empirical SST measurements to their GCM outputs. And believe it or not, for the most part they match up!

 

That you say I am half right and have things backwards are opinions you hold that cannot be demonstrated until the models are free of these errors. I can't think of a better way to describe a model that fails to reproduce actual behavior than to say it is invalid.

 

No model is "free of errors". That's what makes it a model. Models aren't perfect. The standard model isn't perfect. It's a simplification of a complex underlying system based on the best available evidence. The standard model cannot explain what particles will do under relativistic conditions. Does that make it wrong, or not useful? No, it just means that relativity hasn't yet been incorporated into our picture of quantum mechanics. And please don't bandy around the term "red herring" when I make analogies to quantum mechanics. Both climate science and quantum mechanics work off of models which are incomplete pictures of the physical systems they are trying to model. Just because the picture is incomplete does not undermine the usefulness of the models these sciences have respectively created.

 

Thus far, there has not been a funding source identified to allow a group of skeptics to construct a proper Global Circulation Model. Furthermore it is likely not possible since it is currently not possible to develop a proper energy budget.

 

Excuses excuses. There are many people with a lot of money who would like to see real scientific evidence that the scientific perspective on climate change is wrong. The energy lobby has a vested interest in undermining the scientific consensus and the money to put forth towards true science which undermines the consensus viewpoint on climate change, much like the cigarette lobby had a lot of money to fund scientific research into how cigarettes don't cause lung cancer. However, in the case of climate change they haven't even managed to do that. As a complex nonlinear dynamical system, if you are able to reproduce the historical record based on temperature proxies, that pretty much tells you you're on to something.

 

That said, I'm done with this thread. My time is valuable and I can't really spend it forum whoring and explaining climate science 101 to people over and over again. My suggestion is to truly research the issue, abandon your confirmation bias that climate scientists are wrong and truly dig into the scientific case for anthropogenically-forced climate change.

Edited by bascule

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Polar caps of Mars Melting

 

The Martians appear to be having the same problem. This suggests man-made global warming is worse that expected and appears to heating the solar system.

Edited by pioneer

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Polar caps of Mars Melting

 

The Martians appear to be having the same problem. This suggests man-made global warming is worse that expected and appears to heating the solar system.

Your post is a wonderful illustration of how the climate skeptics influence the public: a statement which is partially true is used to make a point. It costs more time to debunk the skeptics point - although it is possible.

 

The post says: Mars is heating up, so the sun is the cause, so climate change on earth is not true.

The science says: Martian climate is primarily driven by dust and albedo and there is little empirical evidence that Mars is showing long term warming.

 

The skeptic will now respond by finding a random data point to back up the claim

The science then responds with a shitload of datapoints, which are making the point, but by now everybody believes that Mars is heating up.

Edited by CaptainPanic

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