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Ken Fabian

Is doubt of climate science the right place to start?

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Your being selective. The ice cores are in greenland, so the best data will be there, while the greatest changes were there doesnt mean in wasnt very large elsewhere. edit. You will always get dramatic regional differences with climate change, if the IPCC more severe predictions are correct, we should expect more dramatic shift in certain regions over others.
I'm not, actually. I know from other sources that the changes in climate elsewhere, as a result of whatever happened in the North Atlantic, were much smaller and much slower (as one would expect from the global effects of a large but local phenomenon), and my intention was to point out to you that your source is apt to mislead you if not read carefully. You might come away with the impression that the climate of the entire planet has been naturally and historically subject to the kinds of dramatic fluctuation that Greenland and the North Atlantic experienced at the end of the last glaciation. That is not the case.

 

The current AGW, on the other hand, is global and does threaten the entire planet with such rapid and dramatic events - some of them semi-permanent changes, tipping points that haven't been crossed in many millions of years, some of them (hopefully unlikely) truly catastrophic. There are very few comparable precedents for this scale of such rapid and large change, - and they were all apparently catastrophic, from the point of view of the existing living beings.

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I'm not, actually. I know from other sources that the changes in climate elsewhere, as a result of whatever happened in the North Atlantic, were much smaller and much slower

 

The evidence I posted up contradicts you, with the exception that the term "much smaller" allows for a wide interpretation. The younder dryas was a period of climate change far more significant that climate change of the 20th century. I won't discuss it terms of potential future change as it's a comparison to 20th century and extinction rates that is relevant to the original point of contention.

Edited by tantalus

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The evidence I posted up contradicts you, with the exception that the term "much smaller" allows for a wide interpretation. The younder dryas was a period of climate change far more significant that climate change of the 20th century. I won't discuss it terms of potential future change as it's a comparison to 20th century and extinction rates that is relevant to the original point of contention.

 

You are misusing the information in the reference you listed, coming to conclusions beyond the certainty the references assert. A little bit of information is a dangerous thing.

 

Those of us with a science background have the skills to check the validity of the IPCC research/reports, and know that they are scientifically valid. Unfortunately, these skills come at minimum an undergraduate degree, but for most at the graduate level. This makes it easy for politically motivated groups to sway uninformed or misinformed people. When over half of Americans fail to learn algebra, statistics is way beyond their grasp.

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You are misusing the information in the reference you listed, coming to conclusions beyond the certainty the references assert. A little bit of information is a dangerous thing.

 

Those of us with a science background have the skills to check the validity of the IPCC research/reports, and know that they are scientifically valid. Unfortunately, these skills come at minimum an undergraduate degree, but for most at the graduate level. This makes it easy for politically motivated groups to sway uninformed or misinformed people. When over half of Americans fail to learn algebra, statistics is way beyond their grasp.

You'll need to be more specific.

 

Also please don't make assumptions about my education and use argument from authority.

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You'll need to be more specific.

 

Also please don't make assumptions about my education and use argument from authority.

 

I'm not making an assumption. You are making arguments beyond the scope of the research you are citing. That is fact. If you are educated to interpret or evaluate research, you are not following your training.

 

You have been provided several examples by others already of how you have misused this research to support your claim. Please address them.

 

The argument from authority is not what is happening here. No one is suggesting that an authority be accepted without question because of their authority. People, myself included, are saying we have looked at the reports, and see they have used appropriate methodology, and the conclusions are based within the scope of certainty that these methodologies support. Nothing unethical, or misleading is being promoted. This is good science.

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I'm not making an assumption. You are making arguments beyond the scope of the research you are citing. That is fact. If you are educated to interpret or evaluate research, you are not following your training.

 

You have been provided several examples by others already of how you have misused this research to support your claim. Please address them.

 

The argument from authority is not what is happening here. No one is suggesting that an authority be accepted without question because of their authority. People, myself included, are saying we have looked at the reports, and see they have used appropriate methodology, and the conclusions are based within the scope of certainty that these methodologies support. Nothing unethical, or misleading is being promoted. This is good science.

You made reference to having an undergraduate degree and how that provides you with the ability to assess the report I quoted, you offered no specific comment on what I quoted (this is argument from authority), you also implied that people are easily mislead when they do that have an education in science. You are clearly making assumptions about my education.

 

Why don't you re-quote what I failed to address since the latest point of discussion since post 68.

Edited by tantalus

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You made reference to having an undergraduate degree and how that provides you with the ability to assess the report I quoted, you offered no specific comment on what I quoted (this is argument from authority), you also implied that people are easily mislead when they do that have an education in science. You are clearly making assumptions about my education.

 

Why don't you re-quote what I failed to address since the latest point of discussion since post 68.

I made no reference to my own education, just the level of education in most fields where this set of skills is taught. I didn't say that people with a science education are misled. To the contrary, actually. People without a background in research are easily misled when research is misrepresented.

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I made no reference to my own education, just the level of education in most fields where this set of skills is taught. I didn't say that people with a science education are misled. To the contrary, actually. People without a background in research are easily misled when research is misrepresented.

 

"Those of us with a science background".

 

I forgot the word "not", as in I meant to say "when they do not have".

 

Why don't we get back on point. What did I fail to address in regard to 20th century climate change not being a key driver in extinction thus far, drivers of extinction generally, past abrupt climate change has been greater than 20th century change but failed to drive extinctions rates like other anthropogenic triggers (notably habitat loss) in the 20th century, the points of discussion since post 68.

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The evidence I posted up contradicts you,

No, it doesn't. Careful reading is important, because that article is deceptively written for some reason.

 

The younder dryas was a period of climate change far more significant that climate change of the 20th century.

No, it wasn't. Not globally. Globally, the changes were slower and smaller than the ones in progress now and predicted for the near future from AGW.

 

IIRC this exact issue - the global influence of the North Atlantic climate fluctuations at the end of the last glaciation - came up a couple of weeks ago on this forum, and I happened to have a reference handy. I've lost it. But if I get a minute I'll try to find it again - and of course, you could do some research yourself.

 

 

What did I fail to address in regard to 20th century climate change not being a key driver in extinction thus far, drivers of extinction generally, past abrupt climate change has been greater than 20th century change but failed to drive extinctions rates like other anthropogenic triggers (notably habitat loss) in the 20th century, the points of discussion since post 68.
There are several differences between past climate changes and this one, besides their being slower and smaller. One of them is that this is a rapid warming, rather than a cooling - in the past, warmings have been slower than coolings. Another is that this change is hitting organisms already vulnerable from habitat loss and degradation, the spread of diseases as well as competitive or predatory species, genetic bottlenecking due to fragmentation or reduction of breeding populations, and so forth.

 

But perhaps the most significant difference is that those rapid fluctuations you linked were over landscapes recently colonized in the first place. As you document, the region around Greenland is and has been subject to large and rapid changes in its climate fairly frequently, faster than evolution can track in macroscopic organisms, and so any species found there is either recently immigrated from a reserve population elsewhere or capable of handling the kinds of changes imposed. So extinctions would not be expected to be common. AGW, on the other hand, is imposing large and rapid changes on many areas that have been stable enough for long enough to have fostered evolutionary adaptation to the one climate regime in that place. Extinction is expected to be more common, in such circumstances.

Edited by overtone

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No, it doesn't. Careful reading is important, because that article is deceptively written for some reason.

 

No, it wasn't. Not globally. Globally, the changes were slower and smaller than the ones in progress now and predicted for the near future from AGW.

 

IIRC this exact issue - the global influence of the North Atlantic climate fluctuations at the end of the last glaciation - came up a couple of weeks ago on this forum, and I happened to have a reference handy. I've lost it. But if I get a minute I'll try to find it again - and of course, you could do some research yourself.

 

The first article is from the American institution of physics and refers to widespread agreement among american and european scientists of the event being more significant than anything mankind faced in the 20th century. I provided that quote on post 75. The article documents at length the slow building of evidence built on younger dryas over several devades.

 

The second link is a long report on abrupt climate change from a large committee of scientists that documents extensively the proxy evidence gathered thus far illustrating the global effects of which I posted several of, and indicates that the event was abrupt.


Merged post follows:

[/mp]

and of course, you could do some research yourself.

 

You should read through Chapter 2, from page 24. It's a very quick read.

http://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/4#24


Merged post follows:

 

... and predicted for the near future from AGW.

 

That's not strictly relevant to the point of contention

 

[mp]

the changes were slower and smaller than the ones in progress now and predicted for the near future from AGW.

 

It's seems important to point out that was especially abrupt about younger dryas was not its onset but its end.

Edited by tantalus

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You should read through Chapter 2, from page 24. It's a very quick read.

http://www.nap.edu/r...36/chapter/4#24

Ok, read. The following statement agrees with it completely, and is what I have found elsewhere: the global changes that track the dramatic fluctuations in the North Atlantic were much smaller, and much slower. You can see that in the map, you can read it in the prose if you are careful.

AGW is a global imposition of large, rapid, semi-permanent climate change. That is a different, more significant, and more dangerous circumstance.

btw: edited in some stuff above, in the earlier post

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Ok, read. The following statement agrees with it completely, and is what I have found elsewhere: the global changes that track the dramatic fluctuations in the North Atlantic were much smaller, and much slower. You can see that in the map, you can read it in the prose if you are careful.

AGW is a global imposition of large, rapid, semi-permanent climate change. That is a different, more significant, and more dangerous circumstance.

btw: edited in some stuff above, in the earlier post

 

Ya, I got the edit. no worries.

 

The context of the discussion is 20th century climate change, that is what I am comparing younger dryas too. They summarise it as a strong event with a global footprint that started rapid, but ended especially rapidly.

Edited by tantalus

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Willie71 @80 said -

 

No one is suggesting that an authority be accepted without question because of their authority.

 

 

Except perhaps me? Although I wouldn't state it quite like that; there are some caveats. Expert advice, professionally given by appropriate experts may be open to question but not by anyone and everyone. In some cases to fail to accept it can constitute professional negligence.

 

I think for most people there is no reasonable option but to accept appropriate expert advice. Not because authorities are beyond question, but because most people lack the necessary competencies for questioning to effectively to resolve doubts and distinguish between those with a sound basis and those arising from inadequate understanding. Accepting expert advice is a practical - and responsible - way to deal rationally with issues raised by 'authorities'.

 

Whilst it's certainly reasonable and for those within a professional field - even necessary - to question and confirm what's valid, I question the extent to which those outside it can question effectively without impeding their capacity to deal rationally and effectively with issues raised. And I question whether, when the issues raised are directly relevant to lives and economies, any 'right' let alone obligation exists for those in positions of trust and responsibility, who are required to make decisions relevant to those issues, lives and economies, to question appropriate expert advice from scientific 'authorities'. As I've said there is legal precedent and potential for legal actions over negligence for failure to pay attention to expert advice, but whilst it's not yet become explicit with respect to climate science, I think the ethical basis for legal precedents involving other kinds of expert advice is there.

 

From outside we can determine a lot - for example whether what one authority says is consistent with that of his/her peers or if there is ongoing uncertainty over specific issues and find what has stood up to repeated expert review and questioning. We can learn what is a matter of ongoing investigation and debate within a specialty and why. From outside it is even possible that real issues that are overlooked can be brought to light but unless it's addressed to those within it or with oversight, like professional publications or ethical and professional standards committees, boards of review or the like it's going to get intermixed with the mess that is political and partisan debate and influencing of public opinion.

 

To doubt the integrity of climate scientists, their methods and of the systems of oversight as a rule of thumb is likewise something that I think inappropriate for most people. Personally I think our institutions and practices of science have well and truly earned respect and trust. Because of the culture of keeping records and having those openly available, open to review any ongoing errors, misunderstandings and failures of standards will be difficult to sustain and therefore there is a sound basis for extending such trust. And I would be very surprise if Presidents and Prime Ministers and the like, who have often publicly exhibited their doubts and held partisan political positions on climate policy haven't asked, via the investigative authorities and powers at their disposal, if any entrenched misconducts or failures of professional standards, or conspiracies have been going on within our institutions and practices of science in order to expose them. And make ongoing political use of such evidence. I see plenty of accusations but I don't see little if any such evidence. On the contrary.

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The context of the discussion is 20th century climate change, that is what I am comparing younger dryas too. They summarise it as a strong event with a global footprint that started rapid, but ended especially rapidly.

It would have had to have been strong to have any global footprint at all, let alone the noticeable one it did have.

 

The global footprint is of course of a much smaller, slower change - as one would expect from distant places responding months and years later to events half way around the world.

 

The retreat of the glaciers from North America featured many large scale events capable of altering the weather or even changing the climate. At one point an icewater lake the size of Superior and Michigan combined drained to the bottom in a couple of days (an ice plug gave way) - that changed the weather for the entire eastern half of NA. At another point an ice plug gave and the entire icewater drainage of the glacial front was rerouted suddenly from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic - where it hit still a couple of degrees above zero, and floated out on top of the ocean chilling the entire air mass headed for northern Europe for hundreds of years. These things are bound to have showed up in the ice, in the rock.

Edited by overtone

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The context of the discussion is 20th century climate change, that is what I am comparing younger dryas too. They summarise it as a strong event with a global footprint that started rapid, but ended especially rapidly.

 

It’s not a fair comparison, to point at some “tipping point” at the end of this several thousand-year-long Younger-Dryas event, and then compare it with the 20th century; especially when the science describes the present and near future to be “in the early stages of a warming” (as considered by the consensus in 1991 “…in determining the evolution of climate on decadal to centennial time scales.”). That is from Oxford Monographs on Geology and Geophysics no.16; Paleoclimatology; Crowley & North; 1991; –p.257

 

Further on, in the section entitled “Regional Responses to a Greenhouse Warming,” they talk about how “the East Antarctic Ice Sheet could grow during the initial stages of a greenhouse warming.” That would be now and the coming decades, "during the initial stages," which they are talking about; that is, before the time when “much higher CO2 levels could tilt the mass balance of the ice sheet from accumulation to ablation." –p.258

===

 

I hope you’ll also note how this mention of East Antarctica is a specific “prediction” from the experts in 1991, which seems to be “coming true” so far. I’m sure you’ve heard the reports about how the ice is now growing in Antarctica (but only in East Antarctica). And I expect you've also heard from many clueless or motivated denialists, who have touted these recent reports as evidence supporting their views. Jokes on them, eh?

===

 

But about comparing different scales of events:

Sure, the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs created “more rapid” and “longer lasting” climate change, compared to what we are currently inflicting upon the earth system, but since a time long before some primates became bipedal, neither our species, nor the other species, have been forced to cope with such extreme and persistent and global change as we are currently introducing into the earth system.

 

Usually, radical changes to the climate are caused by one-time events, while all of the primary drivers creating climate will continue operating as usual. As long as the primary drivers continue on as usual, cycling around some long-term average, then the climate will eventually return to a point nearly the same as before the radical, one-time, change.

 

By changing the primary drivers, as significantly and continuously as we are now doing, we should expect to see significant, or extreme and persistent and global, change …and over “decadal to centennial time scales.”

 

So you should see why comparing the YD with AGW (or with the 20th century) doesn’t work well, if you look at the scale of those “rapid climate changes” from the past, and compare those with the scale of the projected consequence from AGW, which is described by the National Academy of Sciences as something “…that Earth has not experienced for more than 30 million years.” And, that will be still “in the early stages of a warming” event, where “by the end of this century,” we (or the next generation) can expect this unprecedented change.

 

~

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It’s not a fair comparison, to point at some “tipping point” at the end of this several thousand-year-long Younger-Dryas event, and then compare it with the 20th century; especially when the science describes the present and near future to be “in the early stages of a warming”

I was't trying to compare AGW future impacts to the younger Dryas. . Future climate change was outside the original point of contention. (if you re-read from post 67- you will get the context) If you want to assess effects of AGW on extinction and compare to the younger dryas, I agree the present time would be a fairly useless time to do it.

 

There wasnt rapid climate change that had a significant effect on species in the 20th century. Even the IPCC talk about about carbon forcing really having a measurable effect on surface temperatures until 1970-2000, and it's the feedbacks in the models (indirctly due to CO2) that produce the real changes moving later into this century, not the direct additional heat trapped by the co2.

Usually, radical changes to the climate are caused by one-time events, while all of the primary drivers creating climate will continue operating as usual. As long as the primary drivers continue on as usual, cycling around some long-term average, then the climate will eventually return to a point nearly the same as before the radical, one-time, change.

.

You'll need to offer a temporal scale to contextualize that point.

 

There are so many factors that influence the climate, on scales that range from weeks to presumably billion of years to talk of returning to an average point only makes any sense when you discuss a time period, and the shorter the better.

By changing the primary drivers, as significantly and continuously as we are now doing, we should expect to see significant, or extreme and persistent and global, change …and over “decadal to centennial time scales.”

 

That statement provides a lot of wiggle room, I would agree that we should expect the outcome to be within it, although it would be better to break into multiple statements.

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I don't mind debating some specifics of climate science, but when debating with people expressing mistrust in our institutions and practices of science and will not accept the advice from, for example, long running and respected organisations such US Academy of Sciences or Royal Society or World Meteorological Organisation or, dare I say it, the IPCC then I doubt there is much I could say that would persuade them. Whilst it's worthwhile to distinguish between the real, the perceived and the politically contrived grounds for doubt and attempt - as I and I'm sure others see it - to correct some of the more egregious misunderstandings and errors, it's not really what I wanted from this thread.

 

I've been repeating myself with respect to my views on the appropriateness of accepting the work of professional scientists who are working within our institutions and frameworks of science - in my opinion the unfairly maligned "appeals to authority", ie deferring by those who aren't such experts to those who are. My interest has been driven in large part by my concerns over long running inadequacies in responding to the science based understanding of climate and climate change - more usually climate politics than climate science. My view is that doubt/scepticism is widely misused and misapplied and contributes a lot to Doubt, Deny, Delay climate politics, by providing a sciency sounding justification for withholding commitment and obstructing policy appropriate to the science based knowledge and advice.

 

Given it's the road blocks at the intersections of science, politics and policy that I see as problematic for making emissions/energy/climate policy based on the science based advice I'm inclined towards taking the discussion beyond the scope of the 'hard science' section of the forum. Further discussing the use of doubt/scepticism as a tool of persuasion for undermining community trust in science, rather than as a scientific method that ought to reinforce it would take us into politics. If I understand correctly, as a relatively new participant here I would not be permitted to start a thread on climate politics in "Politics"?

Edited by Ken Fabian

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I don't mind debating some specifics of climate science, but when debating with people expressing mistrust in our institutions and practices of science and will not accept the advice from, for example, long running and respected organisations such US Academy of Sciences or Royal Society or World Meteorological Organisation or, dare I say it, the IPCC then I doubt there is much I could say that would persuade them. Whilst it's worthwhile to distinguish between the real, the perceived and the politically contrived grounds for doubt and attempt - as I and I'm sure others see it - to correct some of the more egregious misunderstandings and errors, it's not really what I wanted from this thread.

 

I've been repeating myself with respect to my views on the appropriateness of accepting the work of professional scientists who are working within our institutions and frameworks of science - in my opinion the unfairly maligned "appeals to authority", ie deferring by those who aren't such experts to those who are. My interest has been driven in large part by my concerns over long running inadequacies in responding to the science based understanding of climate and climate change - more usually climate politics than climate science. My view is that doubt/scepticism is widely misused and misapplied and contributes a lot to Doubt, Deny, Delay climate politics, by providing a sciency sounding justification for withholding commitment and obstructing policy appropriate to the science based knowledge and advice.

 

Given it's the road blocks at the intersections of science, politics and policy that I see as problematic for making emissions/energy/climate policy based on the science based advice I'm inclined towards taking the discussion beyond the scope of the 'hard science' section of the forum. Further discussing the use of doubt/scepticism as a tool of persuasion for undermining community trust in science, rather than as a scientific method that ought to reinforce it would take us into politics. If I understand correctly, as a relatively new participant here I would not be permitted to start a thread on climate politics in "Politics"?

I'm not a mod, but I think that would be an appropriate thread. The science is sound. It's the politics that are "uncertain."

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Was it 20 posts or 30 before you can start a Politics thread? I can't find where I read that, but I'm sure I saw it somewhere. I may wait and just join in appropriate threads as they come up.

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