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Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent Study

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the time-to-crank-the-AC dept.

Earth 967

chrb writes "The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project — an independent study of Earth's historical temperature record partly funded by climate skeptics, including the Koch brothers — has released preliminary results that show the same warming trend as previous research. Project leader and physics professor Richard Muller, of the University of California, has stated that he was 'surprised' at the close agreement, and it 'confirms that these studies were done carefully.' The study also found that warming in the temperature record was not caused by poor quality weather monitoring stations — thus rejecting a frequent claim of skeptics. Climate skeptic Stephen McIntyre has previously said 'anything that [Muller] does will be well done.'"

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Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37790568)

Because that's the real issue that most skeptics have been questioning of late. Anyone who isn't an idiot knows that the earth's climate is ALWAYS changing (and always has been). The real issue that people are talking about when they say "global warming" is the question of how much influence human activities have had on the normal warming/cooling cycles, if this is a negative influence, and, if so, what can humans do within reason to mitigate any negative influences. And *those* questions are a helluva lot harder to answer than "Has there been a general warming trend over the last 100 years?".

I'm not sure pure science is up to answering those questions. And it doesn't help that the issue has become hopelessly politicized--to the point where I've grown very skeptical of BOTH sides and their respective penchants for self-serving hyperbole and increasingly shrill fear-mongering.

Of course, there is also the question of DEGREE of warming, an issue where it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between mainstream science and Chicken Little fear-mongering. IIRC, initial models were showing a 1-2 degree increase over the next 100 years, something that clearly needs to be addressed but not something that's GOING TO KILL US ALL TOMORROW!!!!!. Somewhere along the way this kept getting more and more ramped-up to the point now where I hear advocates claiming that the entire east coast of the U.S. is going to be underwater by 2050. I can no longer tell where the truth begins and the humbug ends.

Of course, I'm going to be criticized here for even daring to question the accepted narrative.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790618)

To answer your questions, the warming we see is consistent with anthropogenic climate change models, it is going at a rate which requires remedial action within a century, and I have yet to see anyone outside of the lunatic internet fringe claim that climate change is going to kill us all off, Roland Emmerich style.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37790738)

It is consistent with a very small fraction of the largely useless and inaccurate models that have been generated over the past 15 years, the few ones that were cherry picked amount to "cooking the books" by knowing the answers. There, fixed that common misconception of yours.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790814)

Your hypothesis is that the world's best climate science researchers all spontaneously had strokes and started doing really bad research for no reason, that all pointed in the same direction? Or you prefer the conspiracy theory scenario?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (-1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37790852)

The worlds best have a very different opinion on the matter entirely. Your agenda-driven "climatologists" do not count as such.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790922)

So your idea of the best climate scientists is... people who aren't climate scientists? Who's your doctor, the postman?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (3, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 3 years ago | (#37791282)

Garbageman, actually. You wouldn't believe how many of those guys have PhDs at this point.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

arpad1 (458649) | about 3 years ago | (#37790916)

the hypothesis is that some number of climate scientists, noting which side their bread is buttered on, are quite capable of artfully, in some cases not so artfully, slanting the science. Can we at least agree that scientists are human and thus vulnerable to the same pressures that motive other human beings?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790964)

I would be very surprised if those human pressures pointed everyone in the field in the same direction.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (3, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 3 years ago | (#37791068)

Different scientists are funded by different institutions. You're telling me that all of these institutions, people, grant funders, etc. are slanted the same way?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (2)

Arlet (29997) | about 3 years ago | (#37791076)

If so, why don't you point us to the manipulation in the climate model source code that's been posted on the web ?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37791132)

There's more research - and money - in a controversy than a settled issue. A lot of climate scientists would be out of the job if all scepticism of global warming suddenly stopped and politicans stopped asking for more and more confirmation of the issue.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 years ago | (#37791238)

> Can we at least agree that scientists are human
> and thus vulnerable to the same pressures that motive
> other human beings?

Nope. Different humans are motivated by different things. Some of us live for sports, some of us live for money, some of us live for love, some of us live to build, some of us live to discover, some of us live to please, some of us live for power.

Research scientists in general did not choose their profession for its salary or its power. Most scientists would not falsify research for money. Virtue and integrity aside, they know if nobody can reproduce their results they're unlikely to have a long career.

Which side of the bread is buttered? (5, Informative)

wytcld (179112) | about 3 years ago | (#37791248)

The Berkeley study got $150,000 from the Koch brothers precisely because those who started it came largely from outside climate science, having established their considerable credentials in other sciences, and announced at the outset their skepticism about the standards of climate scientists. They expected they well might find - and the Koch brothers clearly hoped they would find - that the interpretations of the temperature records accepted by over 97% of current climate scientists were exaggerated and sloppy.

The Berkeley study leaders are now openly surprised that their conclusions - using more advanced statistical methods than have been employed previously - are within 2% of the mainstream climate science analyses. I'll bet good money they get no further funding from the Koch brothers going forward. The Kochs have many billions, and have been generous in funding the economics department at Florida State University, with strings attached to assure that department will support economic theories the Kochs agree with ("Austrian school" economics). Universities keenly court large donors. Had the Berkeley climate study likewise come to conclusions agreeing with the brothers' prejudices, that cash-strapped university could have anticipated generous funding to support a climatology institute going forward.

So which side of the bread is buttered? Were the genius scientists too stupid to see they just dropped the bread butter-side down? Why have they followed the science even when it drives away their funding?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Funny)

Swarley (1795754) | about 3 years ago | (#37790924)

As I sit in my electrically lit office, using my table top computation device, drinking water delivered from the ground after being treated with sanitizing chemicals to make it safe to drink, sitting in a chair composed of materials derived from multi-step chemical synthesis and processing, reading your electronically delivered tripe sent from hundreds of miles or more away, I can see how the misconception that science works could be so common. Thanks for informing me.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 3 years ago | (#37790950)

No, actually the models created are consistent with the warming trend observed by the modelers. The trend predated the models. It's important to remember which came first.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37791096)

As with all religions, the bullshit is usually inserted right at the beginning and thus corrupting everything else that is derived from that.

the warming we see is consistent with anthropogenic climate change models

There is no such thing as an "anthropogenic climate change model". Either you are working with real data or you are not. Therefore it should not be a surprise that a study that looks at real data correlates strongly with another study that looks at real data. The whole "anthropogenic" question is a side-issue and has nothing to do with real world data. It's more what that data implies. However the implication has not been proven. In fact the only real proof we are likely to see is when all our steps to correct our anthropogenic causes fail miserably - then we will know that we were not to blame.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37791172)

Either you are working with real data or you are not.

And how do you compare the real data to your hypothesis? Cross your fingers, close your eyes and click your heels together three times? Comparison to models is at the heart of all science, especially sciences that depend upon the analysis of large data sets.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

AdamJS (2466928) | about 3 years ago | (#37790620)

Dear gods! If it wasn't caused by man, then our actions would just end up making a better world for nothing! How horrible!

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790676)

Dear gods!
If it wasn't caused by man, then our actions would just end up making a better world for nothing!
How horrible!

A world with cleaner air, water, and land, sustainable clean energy sources, and solutions that preserve the environment for future generations?

Such a world would be horrible! I want nothing to do with such a hell!

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790710)

You know, people point to the second world war as a time when the Western world threw all its intellectual might into solving a single problem, and reaped enormous economic, social, and scientific benefits for decades after the war was over. Maybe this is our moment.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790970)

You know, people point to the second world war as a time when the Western world threw all its intellectual might into solving a single problem, and reaped enormous economic, social, and scientific benefits for decades after the war was over. Maybe this is our moment.

Yes! For one, let's start by getting rid of the internal combustion engine. If we can get the car driving public off of petroleum we could solve our oil dependence, geo-political problems, air pollution problems and boost our economy because we wouldn't have the drain of fuel expenses. And as a plus, the Harley guys wouldn't be able to ride around blasting our eardrums with their loud pipes!

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37791064)

Surely some gasoline should be kept around for aesthetic purposes. I once had the pleasure of tearing around in a hot rod at a classic car show and it was like getting my ass kicked by the greatest engineering human kind has ever accomplished. And when everyone else is on hybrids, it'll be even cooler.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37791242)

when the Western world threw all its intellectual might into solving a single problem

That is an insult to everyone who had a brain in the late 1930's to mid 1940's. The problems and solutions were myriad and they were being solved everywhere from the Russian steppes to German bunkers to Japanese trenches to Bletchley Park to the French countryside. There was more than just the bomb you know.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790834)

It will be nice all right but you won't be able to afford to live there. The current trend of everything costing more to save the environment will result in the need to be a billionaire to afford a house.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791088)

Everyone needs to own their own house on a few acres of land. And have two cars to drive to the store and work 50 miles away. That's the only possible way to live, and anything else is just Communism. Oh, and I want to grow corn to make ethanol because have you seen corn prices lately? Now where can I get some slaves to tend the fields?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | about 3 years ago | (#37790946)

depends on what those actions are. If we're trying to restore sustainability and natural systems, mucking around with it too forcefully or changing our activities too quickly could do substantial damage as well. The environment has somewhat adjusted to us, after all.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37791168)

Once again the end is not justified by the means. If shooting everyone you don't like made the world a better place, you think you would be justified in doing this? It is entirely possible to avoid deception and do things for the right reasons, and not trick people into doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Especially when you stand to personally profit from this, like Mr. Gore.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

imric (6240) | about 3 years ago | (#37790650)

Yup - since they can't 'deny' that it is happening at all anymore (thus absolving deniers of any need to do anything), now they assert that it's (some sort of a) a natural phenomena (deniers disagree as to which), that has to be wholly independent of our actions (thus absolving deniers of any need to do anything).

See a pattern here?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37790906)

Still, it's part of the way there. Even if you don't think it is due largely to atmospheric CO2 increases created by burning fossil fuels, if you admit it's real then you need to go to the next step of determining what are the likely outcomes.

And if you don't like those outcomes (basically, increased competition for decreasing resources which tends to trigger wars and such), you have to start thinking about how you can mitigate those outcomes.

Plenty of time left to keep the head in the sand, but it's getting warmer down there and a might more uncomfortable.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 3 years ago | (#37790954)

That pattern seems to closely resemble the one where it was called global warming, then we saw record snowfalls and cold snaps, and now it's called climate change.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791148)

Record snowfalls and cold snaps in only some parts of the world, and record breaking heat in others. Also, warmer winters usually mean more snow. If it's too cold, snow won't form.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 3 years ago | (#37791276)

Clue for you: It is still called "global warming" because, guess what? The globe is STILL warming. Get it?

Global warming is the mechanism. Climate change is the effect, INCLUDING record snowfalls (which are due to increased water vapor in the atmosphere from global warming) and cold snaps (which are due to altered polar oscillation/circulation patterns from global warming).

No one stopped calling it what it is, and the "climate change" terminolgy has been used just as long as the "global warming" terminology.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (2)

Zironic (1112127) | about 3 years ago | (#37791286)

It's called Global Warming because the -average- temperature goes up. Because of ignorant people like you that are unable to understand what global average means, they decided to use the term Climate Change instead.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791060)

Those are all legitimate burdens, though, if your goal is to say we must do something about it that's going to cost money and put us at an economic disadvantage with the rest of the world. You must prove that it's happening, prove that it's actually a bad thing, prove that Man is capable of doing something about it, and prove that the cost of doing something about it isn't greater than the cost of simply living with the consequences. The bar was set high to begin with. It's like inviting environmentalists and scientists into the business world... not surprising they don't like the rules.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 3 years ago | (#37791082)

ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37791202)

Lighten up, Francis.

No Hockey Stick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791098)

Notice that it abruptly cooled and the leveled out for about 30 years starting in the 40s and resumed the previous trend again the the 70s. Also note that if not for that little dip, there is pretty much a straight line from about the average in the 1800s to now.

So the temps have been going up a overall steady rate since 1800.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37791118)

And once they can no longer deny it is caused by man, they will assert that it's not a bad thing at all (thus absolving deniers of any need to do anything). Global warming just means more rain in the tropics and temperate weather in Canada and Russia. How could that be bad?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | about 3 years ago | (#37790688)

> Anyone who isn't an idiot knows that the earth's climate is ALWAYS changing (and always has been).

Also, earthquakes & tornadoes are totally not humanity's fault, so we shouldn't plan around them either.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

nickco3 (220146) | about 3 years ago | (#37790702)

The Economist estimates 2% of global GDP to meaningfully cut emissions. (By comparison, the recent round of bank rescues cost about 5%)

Nobody know what the cost of adjusting is, because we don't know what scale of the change will be. If the changes are less than 2 degrees, that's likely to be tolerable. ON the other hand, some of the worst case predictions are very, very bad for human civilisation.

This uncertainty is being used to encourage inaction when the opposite is true: any sensible approach to risk management would suggests taking reasonable action to avoid it.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 3 years ago | (#37790726)

It was probably caused by man.
By measuring temperatures in dumb-ass places, the BBC link in the article sums it up nicely with a picture of a weather station next to an airplane, and you could argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are natural, but you can't argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are representative for the earth surface in average.

A graph, is always a very shitty representation of reality.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

kent_eh (543303) | about 3 years ago | (#37790918)

Well, the percentage of the earth's surface that is black tarmac (and similar asphalt surfaces) has been increasing steadily since the beginning on the previous century....

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

lptport1 (640159) | about 3 years ago | (#37791272)

Up until now, I thought I was the only person who recognized that tarmac is not the new chlorophyll.

Thank you.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Informative)

cosmicaug (150534) | about 3 years ago | (#37791134)

It was probably caused by man.

By measuring temperatures in dumb-ass places, the BBC link in the article sums it up nicely with a picture of a weather station next to an airplane, and you could argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are natural, but you can't argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are representative for the earth surface in average.

Actually, the heat island effect was one of the things that this study was meant to address. The climate skeptic's contentions on this are basically threefold:
- Urban heat islands exist and they are warmer than they otherwise would be if urbanization had not happened (I don't think anyone disputes this).
- Urban heat islands exaggerate warming trends.
- Unlike TV weathermen, climate scientists are too stupid to realize that urban heat island effects could affect their data and too stupid to correct the data for it (even though it is quite likely that clever TV weathermen probably read about this effect in the climate science literature in the first place).

What this group has found on the matter, to their great surprise, is that not only doesn't the urban heat island effect not exaggerate warming trends, it actually dampens them a little bit. In other words, if you are not accounting for the urban heat island effect it makes the hockey stick less steep, rather than more steep.

Which is no great surprise to me because others have already looked at this due to the stink Anthony Watts was raising and found the same thing (though I would guess Watts probably doesn't talk about that too much).

Mod parent insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790744)

Exactly! That is what people always forget! The planet may be warming, but is it really because of us? Are we humans responsible for the rise in temperature? To put it another way - if it were not for us, would the planet still be getting hotter? Had we not invented the industrial revolution, would the planet be as warm as it is now? Perhaps if humans did not exist, the planet would be cooler? Or maybe if we existed but no-one had invented the industrial revolution, the world would be more temperate and the temperature would not have changed? These are all facts that should be considererd, and have been glossed over in the research.

Re:Mod parent insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790972)

These are all facts that should be considererd, and have been glossed over in the research.

Yes, you are the very first one to think of them!

I don't want to live on this planet anymore ...

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 3 years ago | (#37790776)

[Did it "confirm" it was caused by man?] Because that's the real issue that most skeptics have been questioning of late.

If the question of whether or not the warming is anthropogenic, then why the Climategate stink? The researchers involved in those studies (as referenced here) had no skin in the anthropogeny game, they were merely reporting on collected warming/cooling data. If self-proclaimed "skeptics" were not contentious about warming and instead only worried about the cause, there would not have been a scandal at all...

But there was.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#37791196)

Because a lot of the skeptics do want to say there is no warming trend. If they can do that, then they can say no change is needed. They are wrong to approach it as they do, whatever the reason. Scientific data is just that. If the data indicates the earth is warming, politics and scandal won't change that. Also, it makes good news which is pretty much the real reason it turned out to be so "huge" (it really wasn't.)

But as OP says, the cause of the warming is still not conclusively pinned down. Yes there is a correlation with atmospheric CO2 emissions, but correlation is only that. Whether that is really the cause, or whether it is just the Earth doing what it does... no one can really say. I firmly believe we should move away from fossil fuels for a large number of reasons in any case (whether or not AGW is happening), so for me the point is actually somewhat moot. It isn't for all the "green" companies, though, which receive massive funding from the government based on the premise of AGW.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Layzej (1976930) | about 3 years ago | (#37791218)

This study shows that the CRU team (who were the victims of the climategate hack) actually underestimated the warming. So instead of "hiding the decline" they were actually masking the warming. The red line on the following graph shows the CRU temperature reconstruction. http://www.berkeleyearth.org/images/Updated_Comparison_10.jpg [berkeleyearth.org]

This study confirms that NASA GISS results are more reliable.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (3, Informative)

Shisha (145964) | about 3 years ago | (#37790778)

It didn't "confirm" it was caused by man, as it didn't set out to and doesn't claim to.

Nevertheless the collected data seem to indicate a steady increase in temperature. This has coincided with increased emissions of CO2 (while many other factors remained constant, or more precisely didn't vary enough to allow anyone to claim correlation). This of course does not mean that it's _caused_ by the increased emissions of CO2.

But if my belly starts aching I look at what I ate that others didn't. And if I ate something that others didn't (say a dodgy kebab) and I feel bad and they don't then of course I can't claim I feel bad because of the kebab. But I'm sure not going to have the same kebab next time. I don't wait for a double blind study done on a statistically significant sample to confirm to within some statistical error that the kebab is indeed bad.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790856)

We have pretty simple models that predict that pumping CO2 into the atmosphere will cause the world to warm. We note that we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, and we note that the world is warming. The onus is now on skeptics to demonstrate conclusively that it's *not* because of our pumping CO2 up there.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37791040)

Are you saying that they must prove that ManBearPig does not exist?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790978)

Troll harder next time.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#37790980)

Because that's the real issue that most skeptics have been questioning of late.

We already know that we produce orders of magnitude more CO2 than volcanism, and that global CO2 levels are rising, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, what more do we need to know before we put an end to coal and oil consumption? Oil is too valuable to waste by burning it anyway. We can have all the pieces and still ignore the fact that there is a puzzle, let alone that we have everything we need to put it together.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Bardwick (696376) | about 3 years ago | (#37791254)

"What more do we need to know before we put an end to coal and oil consumption?" We need a suitable replacement that won't wreck the global economy. Other than that, I'm all for it.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 years ago | (#37790992)

Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? Because that's the real issue that most skeptics have been questioning of late.

Of late? Yes. That puts us on step 3.

The Republican 8 Phase Denial Plan
1) There's no such thing as global warming.
2) There's global warming, but the scientists are exaggerating. It's not significant.
3) There's significant global warming, but man doesn't cause it.
4) Man causes significant global warming, but it's not economically possible to tackle it.
5) We need to tackle global warming, so make the poor pay for it.
6) Global warming is bad for business. Why did the Democrats not tackle it earlier?
7) ????
8) Profit.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791054)

Because that's the real issue that most skeptics have been questioning of late.

No, it's not. It's one of the questions, but skeptics have taken a 'defense in depth' approach, along the lines of 'it isn't happening, and even if it is, its part of natural variation, and even if it isn't, then we aren't doing it, and even if we are, then we should not do anything about it'. There has been a chorus of accusations of bad science about the entire thing, claiming that change in climate is a hoax and is made up to bring in money for researchers.

Anyone who isn't an idiot knows that the earth's climate is ALWAYS changing (and always has been).

That's step 2 of the defense in depth: earth's climate changes so no big deal. However, the changes that have been observed are out of the range of natural variation. Current understanding is that these sorts of changes need to be driven by something (appearance of the isthmus of panama, for example), and the (overwhelming) evidence is that it's a change in the atmospheric concentrations of certain gases, and those gases are caused by humans burning fossil fuels.

The hyperbole and politicization is common to arguments about what to do about societal issues by all sides. The big difference between climate change and other issues is the politicization of the scientific process by the right. There has been a concerted, well-funded effort to discredit scientists, the data, and the evidence that is completely out of line and represents a new war against science itself.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 3 years ago | (#37791094)

Of course, I'm going to be criticized here for even daring to question the accepted narrative.

No, only for ignoring the overwhelming body of work that indicates that the current trend is antropogenic, as is typical of deniers. Because it is painful to admit this, deniers, like yourself, will cling fiercely to more attractive alternatives, regardless of their credibility. Is the question settled conculsivey? Of course not. Anyone who claims that it is does not understand and appreciate the rigors that make for good science. At the same time, anyone who pitches his tent in a camp that is built largely on wishful thinking (and funded by industries that stand to lose if we start to act responsibly) is probably a fool.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (1)

cpricejones (950353) | about 3 years ago | (#37791120)

I think the more reasonable concern is that crops will yield less over time due to climate change. Combine that with ever-growing population (+ a billion people every dozen years or so) and you have a real problem. Shortages of food lead to riots and further instability of governments that are already shaky. Of course, this wont happen soon but probably in the next 100 years unless some sort of technological breakthrough happens. People probably exaggerate the effects because the smaller effects over time are harder to recognize as being caused by climate change.

It's funny that you think scientists aren't up to answering trends over 100 years. There was a paper that came out in Science yesterday predicting temperatures back 800,000 years ( http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6054/347.abstract [sciencemag.org] ). It's the job of scientists to question these narratives, too, but it's also wise to look at all of the data.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791136)

So, since even you say it's going to be bad in 100 years: how many years *should* we put off doing anything?

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791194)

"to the point where I've grown very skeptical of BOTH sides"

You must be a writer for the mainstream media, then.

Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (2)

gothzilla (676407) | about 3 years ago | (#37791230)

It's actually rather simple to understand the real problem.

The earth's temperature changes on a large number of different cycles. The longest being hundreds of thousands of years long and the shortest is a few hours. It's easy to look for patterns in short cycles. We've got a hundred years or so of actual measured data, so it's not too hard to predict what the weather will be like tomorrow or the next day. When you have 100+ years of actual data, it's easy to spot changes in patterns that are days or maybe weeks long.

The problem is that you can't use 100+ years of actual data to know anything about a cycle that lasts hundreds of thousands of years. It's way too short a time period. The ONLY way anyone will know for a fact that humans have disrupted a hundred thousand year cycle is after, at the minimum, ten or twenty thousand years of actual recorded data.

Regardless, there's nothing wrong with continuing efforts to make things cleaner and more efficient and we've come a long way doing that. A few of the cities I've lived in are much cleaner now than they were 20 years ago, auto fuel efficiency has made huge strides, and wind/solar/whatever have come a long way too. We're doing good and will continue to make things better.

There really is nothing to worry about. It's impossible, literally, to know if we've affected the long climate cycle of hundreds of thousands of years. Anyone attempting to get an emotional reaction out of you over it is a scam artist, regardless of which direction they're trying to scam you. Conserve what you can, recycle what you can, and just do your best to be a good person. Life is good. Don't let the global warming deniers or the global warming denier deniers get you down. They're all after the same things, an ego boost, money, and/or power.

Even in principle (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790586)

There is no amount or type of evidence, even in principle, which would answer climate change sceptics. They will disavow the fundimental principles of science if that is what is necessary to protect their beliefs.

Re:Even in principle (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 3 years ago | (#37790686)

The hyperbole is exceptionally tasty this morning.

I Remember Reading About This in 2004 (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 3 years ago | (#37790592)

Why did it take them seven years [slashdot.org] (almost exactly to this date) to come to this conclusion?

Does Muller stand by this statement on Principle Component Analysis from 2004 [technologyreview.com] ?

In PCA and similar techniques, each of the (in this case, typically 70) different data sets have their averages subtracted (so they have a mean of zero), and then are multiplied by a number to make their average variation around that mean to be equal to one; in technical jargon, we say that each data set is normalized to zero mean and unit variance. In standard PCA, each data set is normalized over its complete data period; for key climate data sets that Mann used to create his hockey stick graph, this was the interval 1400-1980. But the computer program Mann used did not do that. Instead, it forced each data set to have zero mean for the time period 1902-1980, and to match the historical records for this interval. This is the time when the historical temperature is well known, so this procedure does guarantee the most accurate temperature scale. But it completely screws up PCA. PCA is mostly concerned with the data sets that have high variance, and the Mann normalization procedure tends to give very high variance to any data set with a hockey stick shape. (Such data sets have zero mean only over the 1902-1980 period, not over the longer 1400-1980 period.)

Re:I Remember Reading About This in 2004 (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790674)

Why did it take them seven years [slashdot.org] (almost exactly to this date) to come to this conclusion?

They were doing first-rate science on an enormous data set? Pulling off a major research project in less time than it takes to train two PhD students is pretty quick by any science's standards, regardless.

Re:I Remember Reading About This in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791050)

They were doing first-rate science on an enormous data set?

The complaints in regards to PCA should have been trivial to verify. They weren't doing first-rate science, they were trying to independently verify another researcher's work. Unless you're saying that they recollected the data, then they would be doing "first-rate science" and not simply trying to verify work.

Climate change caused by...us? (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 3 years ago | (#37790720)

No one disagrees that the earth's climate has warmed and cooled repeatedly over the last 100,000 years and beyond. Many disagree, however, about the extent of man's involvement in climate change. This sort of study is as if police were to report 'Yes a crime has occurred' when what people really want to know is 'who dunnit?'

Re:Climate change caused by...us? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790780)

Not true. A depressingly large part of the climate change denial community still insists it isn't happening at all, and hasn't moved onto "yes, but...".

Re:Climate change caused by...us? (3, Insightful)

Arlet (29997) | about 3 years ago | (#37790990)

True. A lot of climate deniers talk like this:

- It is not warming
- Even if it's warming, it's natural fluctuation
- Even if it's not natural fluctation, it's not due to CO2
- Even if it's due to CO2, human didn't cause it.
- Even if humans caused it, it's not bad.
- Even if it's bad, I don't want to act.

Re:Climate change caused by...us? (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | about 3 years ago | (#37790920)

You haven't met my Rush Limbaugh disciple in-laws!

He is frequently commanding them not to believe in climate change that it isn't really happening.

Only 20 year too late ... (1)

evanh (627108) | about 3 years ago | (#37790734)

... about sums it up.

yes, so peak WAS in 1998 (1, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37790790)

Things look different when not done by agenda-driven "climatologist". warmest year was 13 years ago, let's all have some retroactive panic

Re:yes, so peak WAS in 1998 (4, Informative)

Arlet (29997) | about 3 years ago | (#37790892)

who cares what some ass-clown at the bbc drew? (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37790982)

I looked at the graph in figure 1 of the article's pdf

Re:who cares what some ass-clown at the bbc drew? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37791262)

"Figure 1. Surveyed USHCN surface stations"? The pie chart?

Re:yes, so peak WAS in 1998 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791046)

No. 1998 was a local maximum [wikimedia.org] . The temperature, on average, has increased since then (e.g. the 5-year mean has been increasing pretty consistently).

Best of luck in your future trolling... but you should really come up with your own lies instead of just spreading the standard go-to falsehoods.

emphasis on 'preliminary' (1)

fche (36607) | about 3 years ago | (#37790838)

Re:emphasis on 'preliminary' (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37790882)

And when the papers pass peer review, he'll insist that they didn't meet one of his other criteria for acceptance. And so on and so on.

A real important thing to note... (2, Interesting)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | about 3 years ago | (#37790872)

A real important thing to note was that this was paid for privately- with a large chunk of that capital coming from Climate-change-deniers who wanted to prove that climate change wasn't happening.

Climate-change-deniers often say that government paid studies are fake because governments are encouraging the scientists to come back with fake positives to promote various policies... ... they can't say that anymore.

The debate of man's involvement will still go on- but STOP DENYING THE PROBLEM! Let's put that to bed now.

Re:A real important thing to note... (1)

ledow (319597) | about 3 years ago | (#37791086)

There is a BIG difference between "global warming", "climate change" and "synthetic climate change" (i.e. caused by man and wouldn't have happened if we weren't here). This is a study that on its own proves nothing, and (if confirmed by multiple independent sources and techniques) can only confirm the first term "warming".

At the moment, people want to do the equivalent of walking outside, seeing it's hotter than an hour ago and saying "We're all going to burn to death!" when, actually, they have no idea if it's summer, winter, where on the Earth (or not) they are, what time it is or anything else. In reality, the data we have means nothing and certainly *doesn't* indicate any sort of "climate change" that's out of the ordinary.

If you don't understand that, that's a shame.

I absolutely guarantee you 100% that the planet has been hotter than before, and will be again, and that the planet has been MUCH colder than this before, and will be again. The answer to the questions that people actually WANT to ask ("Are we causing the planet to heat up more than it would naturally?" and, if so, "Will this affect anything?") are hidden somewhere in that data and are not only elusive, but inconclusive and downright disappointing to climate-change-believers.

When I was in a restaurant in Corsica a few years ago, the waiter got talking to my father-in-law (a physicist) about science. In his broken English, he blamed the hot weather on people burning petrol in their cars because, and I quote, "It wasn't this hot last year". Our response and his adamant reaction led us to never eat in that place again.

Data is one thing. But the key to science is in the interpretation.

Re:A real important thing to note... (1)

SectionTwelve (2147638) | about 3 years ago | (#37791190)

There is a BIG difference between "global warming", "climate change" and "synthetic climate change" (i.e. caused by man and wouldn't have happened if we weren't here). This is a study that on its own proves nothing, and (if confirmed by multiple independent sources and techniques) can only confirm the first term "warming".

At the moment, people want to do the equivalent of walking outside, seeing it's hotter than an hour ago and saying "We're all going to burn to death!" when, actually, they have no idea if it's summer, winter, where on the Earth (or not) they are, what time it is or anything else. In reality, the data we have means nothing and certainly *doesn't* indicate any sort of "climate change" that's out of the ordinary.

If you don't understand that, that's a shame.

I absolutely guarantee you 100% that the planet has been hotter than before, and will be again, and that the planet has been MUCH colder than this before, and will be again. The answer to the questions that people actually WANT to ask ("Are we causing the planet to heat up more than it would naturally?" and, if so, "Will this affect anything?") are hidden somewhere in that data and are not only elusive, but inconclusive and downright disappointing to climate-change-believers.

When I was in a restaurant in Corsica a few years ago, the waiter got talking to my father-in-law (a physicist) about science. In his broken English, he blamed the hot weather on people burning petrol in their cars because, and I quote, "It wasn't this hot last year". Our response and his adamant reaction led us to never eat in that place again.

Data is one thing. But the key to science is in the interpretation.

This was beautifully put.

Re:A real important thing to note... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37791204)

Won't matter. Remember, Nixon had an independent commission study the issues surrounding marijuana (LaGuardia). They came back and recommended decriminalization. We're still fighting the war on drug users today. Right wingers are immune to science.

Convinced Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790886)

Very well I am convinced but I am still not going to sacrifice because of all the shit others have put me through. If no one was willing to help when I was being bullied nearly to killing myself, if no one was willing to help facilitate my social acceptance then I am absolutely not willing to help others in that regard.

Go ahead and reply with something to demonize me. Just like what Fox News would do, right?

Re:Convinced Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791000)

Kill yourself.

Re:Convinced Now (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 3 years ago | (#37791212)

Oh, please. Sore loser much?

You chose a side based on faulty premises and encountered resistance. Poor baby. Grow up, man up, accept you were wrong, and get busy doing the right thing for a change.

Once you mature a little bit, you'll likely find a mountain of acceptance from other mature individuals.

Re:Convinced Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791264)

It is less about choosing a side and more about reciprocation.

People treated me like shit. People allowed it to happen. Why should I have to sacrifice for them?

Once you mature a little bit, you'll likely find a mountain of acceptance from other mature individuals.

What you are really saying is "you have yours, so fuck the less fortunate."

Politics is the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37790902)

The problem is that there are so many political careers that hinge on Global Warming. Because of this there is also incredible amount of research funding that is allocated to prove Global Warming and if disproved the research funding will stop. What this all adds up to is a situation where neither side of the political isle will believe the results of the research produced by the other side.

Re:Politics is the problem... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37791028)

Because of this there is also incredible amount of research funding that is allocated to prove Global Warming and if disproved the research funding will stop.

This study would not have been funded if it was considered a settled issue. If there is doubt, there is research, which means more research money.

Re:Politics is the problem... (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 3 years ago | (#37791144)

Politics sure is the problem, when we see you parroting that ridiculous and insulting idea. This anti-science, pro-ignorance mindset that you fall victim to is very political in nature.

Not a peer reviewed study (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37791018)

This was a pr campaign by the warmest. Smoke and mirrors...

Scare quotes (1)

kooky45 (785515) | about 3 years ago | (#37791022)

Please God NO... it's bad enough seeing so-called news sites like the BBC peppered with scare quotes in headlines. Please don't start doing it here.

Slashdot is now aiding science-by-press-release? (0)

BMOC (2478408) | about 3 years ago | (#37791030)

These papers are not out of peer review yet, and /. wants to promote their preliminary results? remind me again, which side has an agenda, exactly?

Re:Slashdot is now aiding science-by-press-release (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 3 years ago | (#37791128)

Reporting on an event consisting of the release of preliminary results for a much-anticipated study that are clearly identified as preliminary results hardly needs to be agenda-driven. It's a news-worthy event. Just like the peer-review results of the study will be a news-worthy event.

Put your big, ugly bias back under your big, ugly hat. k?

Re:Slashdot is now aiding science-by-press-release (1)

BMOC (2478408) | about 3 years ago | (#37791266)

I'm sorry, calling for a proper scientific procedure, where papers are reviewed by experts before their conclusions are sent to the masses, is an "ugly" bias? I guess I didn't realize humanity had fallen so far. Perhaps I'll someday accept recently written white-papers as conclusive human knowledge someday, but it will be at the point of a gun by an oppressive government, I can tell you that. In the mean time, perhaps you can put your troll-gun away, accept that I have a point here, and acknowledge that research should go through all manner of due-diligence before being touted as "oh we've now confirmed something" in the media.

Finally. (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | about 3 years ago | (#37791032)

"But for Richard Muller, this free circulation also marks a return to how science should be done."

I've long been sceptical of 'man made global warming' because of the science involved. It didn't help that people would say, "Only university-trained scientists can understand the data", either. (Obviously an idiotic claim. Anyone with a brain can learn, and Universities are not a requirement for learning.)

But this is the moment I've been waiting for. Someone finally did the science openly and put all their cards on the table. They aren't hiding anything, including their funding sources. They even used new data that wasn't tainted and made sure to watch for the things sceptics have been critical of.

So, as a long-time AGW sceptic, I'm saying: Thank you for finally proving it.

Now if we can only find ways to counter or offset it that don't hurt the environment even more than we already are, we'll be in good shape.

Why so hard. (2)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#37791124)

Why is it so hard to accept that human actions can have consequences ?

A planetary biosphere which has evolved without homo sapiens sapiens' mega-scale industry and the innumerable effects it produces worldwide, is supposed to just take whatever you can dish out at it with your pollution, smokes, emissions, radiation, precisely because .......... why, really ?

it comes to me as if the people who are into this denial are moving with a centuries old understanding that thinks world is a biiig, biiig place. so that nothing can happen if 2-3 factories smoke here, a few people dump stuff in the sea somewhere. hey - guess what - people are doing it EVERYWHERE. and this planet actually is a small planet on the 3 orbit around a small sun in the outer rim of a galaxy called milky way. if you endlessly shit on it, it will get affected.

Science? (0)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | about 3 years ago | (#37791138)

When did data analysis become science? Science is about testing hypothesis with controlled experiments. Where's the control?

No so fast... (0)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 3 years ago | (#37791180)

http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/10/berkeley-earth-recalculates-global-mean.html [blogspot.com]

"It is not true that the Berkeley group has found relevant evidence for the core questions in the AGW debate

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature led by Richard Muller – a top Berkeley physics teacher and the PhD adviser of the fresh physics Nobel prize winner Saul Perlmutter, among others – has recalculated the evolution of the global mean temperature in the most recent two centuries or so, qualitatively confirmed the previous graphs, and got dishonestly reported in the media.

Some people including Marc Morano of Climate Depot were predicting that this outcome was the very point of the project. They were worried about the positive treatment that Richard Muller received at various places including this blog and they were proved right. Today, it really does look like all the people in the "BEST" project were just puppets used in a bigger, pre-planned propaganda game."

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