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Marshall Institute critiques Climate Science

The George C. Marshal Institute‘s 3rd edition of Climate Issues and Questions is a refreshing effort to provide a dispassionate evaluation of 29 major questions regarding the science of “climate change”, and to separate those from political agendas. Their method and effort is well worth considering in light of the current debate over origins of biological systems and of the universe. In particular, consider their examination of how “scientific consensus” is achieved (vs political hegemony by special interests). Their observation that climate science is relatively new parallels the current developments in origin theories. Note particularly the current explosion of knowledge about the genome and the incredible information rich complexity of biochemical processes. Compare that to the paucity of scientific hypotheses (let alone theories) that predict that knowledge and complexity. ——————————————-

Climate Issues & Questions

The debate over the state of climate science and what it tells us about past and future climate has been going on for twenty years. It is not close to resolution, in spite of assertions to the contrary. What is often referred to as a “consensus” is anything but. In many cases, this consensus represents the “expert judgment” of a handful of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) authors, which other researchers can and do disagree with. For many, especially those engaged in advocacy, the claim of consensus is a device used to advance their agenda.

Although humanity has been interested in climate since prehistoric times, climate science is, in fact, a relatively new field. It is only since the 1970s, when models were developed to connect atmospheric and oceanic climate processes, that scientists have had the tools to study climate as a system. Also, it is only since the 1970s that satellites have been available to provide global climate data. While the 1970s may seem like a long time ago, it is too short a period to provide a comprehensive understanding of the climate system, which includes processes, such as the 60-80 year North Atlantic Oscillation, that occur over many decades. It can also take many years to detect and correct errors in the climate data base, such as the recently announced correction of NASA’s surface temperature data for the U.S., and previous announcements of corrections to global satellite temperature data.

Concerns about either the potential impacts of climate change or the economic impact of ill-conceived policies result in some scientists entering the policy debate. Others, unfortunately, have entered the debate to advance political or economic agendas, gain funding for research, or enhance their personal reputations. To the extent that the debate is carried out in the public policy arena or media, the rigors of the scientific process are short-circuited.

This state of affairs creates misunderstandings and confusion over what we know about the climate system, past climate changes and their causes, human impacts on the climate system and how human activities may affect future climate. Policy needs are better served by clarity and accuracy.

See full 60 pg report Climate Issues and Questions

e.g. on Question 1:

Science is not a consensus activity. The accuracy of a scientific statement does not depend on the agreement of experts; it depends on verification, either through experimentation or observation.

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12 Responses to Marshall Institute critiques Climate Science

  1. None of this counts because GMI has received money from oil interests and politically conservative foundations. Only skeptics who are under the thumb of Big Science and universities may doubt Global Warming.

  2. As a side note:

    The stranglehold of consensus thinking has impeded much needed progress and light coming from other alternative avenues of research, now that, as the National Post has recently reported in divulging information from the NCDC: “the average temperature in January ‘was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.’”

    Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

    The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February.

    [...]

    China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century.

    [...]

    Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

    The article can be found at http://www.nationalpost.com/op.....?id=332289

  3. Additional sidenote.

    I wished to have gotten this from the major news outlets:

    Global Warming? New Data Shows Ice Is Back
    http://www.newsmax.com/newsfro.....73798.html

    Where are Fox and CNN when you need them?

  4. russ wrote:

    “None of this counts because GMI has received money from oil interests and politically conservative foundations.”

    russ, so are you one of those that believes that a scientist’s work could in fact be influenced by money, actually setting the tone and course of direction of his or her research?

    Would money pouring from the government or a particular foundation to advance, say, a theory based on darwinian principles, count as an example?

  5. It gets better, in today’s news.

    All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

    Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year time. For all sources, it’s the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.,

    Somebody try to tell me that Exxon has influenced all four of the major temperature tracking outlets.

    http://daskapitalism.blogspot.com/

  6. The quantitative change is dramatic. While the change is short term, it provides food for thought regarding dogmatic global warming.

    Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling

    All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

    Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year time. For all sources, it’s the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

    HadCRUT Global Temperature Anomaly 1988-2008

  7. I am cautious about this. The above is the most impressive measure, but the other graphs from other sources look even more like a short term fluctuation that could very well return to the generally rising pattern.

  8. russ: “None of this counts because GMI has received money from oil interests and politically conservative foundations. Only skeptics who are under the thumb of Big Science and universities may doubt Global Warming.”

    Surely russ is being ironic; I think the tone is a bit too arch to be serious.

  9. Here is the official UPDATE AND CAVEAT by Meteorologist Anthony Watts correcting how he was quoted.

    I wish to state for the record, that this statement is not mine: “–a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years”

    There has been no “erasure”. This is an anomaly with a large magnitude, and it coincides with other anecdotal weather evidence. It is curious, it is unusual, it is large, it is unexpected, but it does not “erase” anything. I suggested a correction to DailyTech and they have graciously complied.

  10. Back to the issues of ID vs Evolution Policy from the Marshall Institute Report Question 1 p 5:

    Green and Armstrong list five generalizations about forecasting that are particularly relevant to IPCC expert judgment:
    1. Unaided (by the knowledge of well-established forecasting principles) judgmental forecasts by experts have no value.
    2. Agreement among experts is weakly related to accuracy.
    3. Complex models (those involving nonlinearities and interactions) harm
    accuracy because their errors multiply.
    4. Given even modest uncertainty, predictions intervals are enormous.
    5. When there is uncertainty in forecasting, forecasts should be conservative.1
    The IPCC’s approach violates each of these generalizations.

    Green and Armstrong audited the IPCC AR4 chapter on climate models using Armstrong’s Forecasting Audit, which evaluates forecasting practices against 140 principles.2 The audit showed that IPCC violated seventy-two of the eighty-nine forecasting principles that could be valuated.

    Can these Forecasting Principles be helpful in developing an ID theory?

    See How to select a forecasting method. html or pdf
    Can they be applied to testing the Forecasting abilities of Evolution?

    Or is such Forecasting too speculative based on time projection with expert opinion compared to “hard” theories in natural science.

    I.e. how useful are current “predictions” of evolution?
    (Or are these primarily generated after the fact to bow to the reigning paradigm?)

    If an ID theory were as predictive as evolution would that be helpful?

    Or does it have to be more predictive?
    If so, how much more to overcome the “ho hum “inertia factor?

    It is easy to criticize. Can we now learn from this?

  11. DLH, you present an intriguing concept. In general, I think you are asking whether we can use the science of forecasting to demonstrate evolution’s ability or lack of it to follow the curves that the forecasting models would produce given the data — the nature of DNA, the ability to process mutations, etc.

  12. Yes
    Another thought:
    Can these forecasting methods be helpful in detecting the intervention of intelligent agents?

    e.g., cornering the silver market in the stock exchange.

    Anthropogenic CO2 emissions on climate.

    Testing the impact of focusing on mutations on the progress of scientific discovery.
    (e.g., is RM & NS paradigm a science starter or stopper?)

    Saltational changes in fossils and/or genomes. e.g.
    The Cambrian explosion.

    The fusion event distinguishing humans from other primates.

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