Friday, September 18, 2015

Seepage, impacts of a chimera - Lewandowsky, Risbey, Oreskes study

Stephan Lewandowsky together with James Risbey and Naomi Oreskes published a new study looking at how the contrarian PR campaign has influenced the way serious climate science was being done.  Here's the abstract followed by some more information regarding the pause and a previous "Seepage" study.

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 2015 

The “Pause” in Global Warming: Turning a Routine Fluctuation into a Problem for Science

Stephan Lewandowsky
University of Bristol and University of Western Australia
James S. Risbey
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania
Naomi Oreskes
Harvard University

Contrarian discourse about a “pause” in global warming has found traction in climate science even though there is little evidence for anything but a fluctuation in the warming rate similar to earlier deviations from a longer-term trend.

There has been much recent published research about a putative “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming. We show that there are frequent fluctuations in the rate of warming around a longer-term warming trend, and that there is no evidence that identifies the recent period as unique or particularly unusual. In confirmation, we show that the notion of a “pause” in warming is considered to be misleading in a blind expert test. 

Nonetheless, the most recent fluctuation about the longer-term trend has been regarded by many as an explanatory challenge that climate science must resolve. 

This departs from long-standing practice, insofar as scientists have long recognized that the climate fluctuates, that linear increases in CO2 do not produce linear trends in global warming, and that 15-year (or shorter) periods are not diagnostic of long-term trends. 

We suggest that the repetition of the “warming has paused” message by contrarians was adopted by the scientific community in its problem-solving and answer-seeking role and has led to undue focus on, and mislabeling of, a recent fluctuation. We present an alternative framing that could have avoided inadvertently reinforcing a misleading claim.

My two bits worth.

The Republican "global warming hiatus" argument was irrational and irritating from the get-go because it deliberately obscured the difference between "global surface" temperatures and "global" temperatures which include our Oceans.

Worse it ignored the basic physical reality unfolding upon our planet. It's our Earth's atmospheric insulation doing the heavy lifting on this global warming thing!

The troposphere, oceans, and Earth under our atmospheric lid is huge and complex, heat is absorbed and moved around in a myriad of ways. It's no surprise that scientists don't have a perfect inventory of where every joule of heat is going.

What matters is how greenhouse gases are retaining heat, and that process scientists do understand. Thoroughly! It does not turn on and off and the "global warming hiatus" was an illusion from day one!

The question everyone should have been asking was: "Where did the surface heat go?" The answer turns out to be obvious, a combination of oceans, and difficulties in deducing the "average" global surface temperature in the first place.  
Some previous posts dealing with another Lewandowsky paper:


Stephen Lewandowsky is a scientist, he sees the world through well trained eyes and is guided by an exacting rigor I could never come close to.  I bring it up because I know that he's not pleased with my loose interpretation of "Seepage" and that I take it well beyond anything he's written.

But the thing is, I've been down here at street level watching the deliberate serial misrepresentation of serious science for decades now.  It's been a thug's con job, while professional educated scientists went about their business believing the truth will prevail.  Unfortunately it hasn't worked out that way.  

So, while I have great respect for scientific rigor, I also understand that sometimes the more we focus on details, the blinder we get to the image or important lesson. 

I believe there is a place for the following observations of various incidents where the bullying Republican/libertarian attack on science produced profound warping of the scientific process and their ability to disseminate important information that the public has a right to understand.  I believe such actions fit right into the "Seepage" profile.




Instigators of "seepage" more Bush Administration suppression of climate science

About that "hiatus"
Global warming 'hiatus' never happened, Stanford scientists say 
By Ker Than - Stanford Report, September 17, 2015 
A new study reveals that the evidence for a recent pause in the rate of global warming lacks a sound statistical basis. The finding highlights the importance of using appropriate statistical techniques and should improve confidence in climate model projections.  Studies had suggested that global warming slowed or paused since 1998. More thorough research shows the global warming “hiatus” likely never happened.

The following short history of our developing understanding was gathered from a search, since they are about the best online library of climate studies geared towards the intelligent layperson.  I know contrarians demonize these folks to no end, but considering none these self-certain prosecutors has had the intellectual fortitude to debate their convictions over here, I've learned to appreciate they are all about hating and rejecting rational information sources - learning and change is their enemy.  The better the source, the more venom they spew.

Posted on 8 June 2015 by dana1981

Posted on 5 June 2015 by John Abraham

Posted on 26 May 2015 by Kevin C

Posted on 9 April 2015 by Graham Readfearn

Posted on 5 March 2015 by John Abraham

Posted on 5 February 2015 by Roz Pidcock at Carbon Brief

Posted on 27 October 2014 by Richard Allan

Posted on 10 December 2013 by dana1981

Posted on 18 October 2013 by dana1981

Posted on 6 September 2013 by greenman3610

Posted on 24 June 2013 by Rob Painting

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Kevin Trenberth

Posted on 13 May 2013 by dana1981

Posted on 26 January 2012 by Rob Painting

Posted on 15 October 2011 by Rob Painting

Posted on 2 October 2011 by Rob Painting

NASA-GISS Science Briefs

CO2: The Thermostat that Controls Earth's Temperature


Something to consider, how we got here:

Merchants of Doubt
Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

The troubling story of how a cadre of influential scientists have clouded public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda.

The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on public health, environmental science, and other issues affecting the quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers. 

In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era. 

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