May 8, 2009

Whose Settled Where?

The mantra of settled science is so prevalent in the media and by AGW proponents, that it is basically an article of faith that the vast majority of of scientific studies support the "warmist" conclusions. I have no way of knowing what the percentages are, though I do know that an occasional study by a realist scientist slips over the wall that has been built by THE MOVEMENT that contradicts THE PARTY LINE.

However there are also plenty of studies out there by mainstream climate scientist, which seem to contradict each other. Or at the very least reach opposing conclusions which show just how unsettled the science is. Here is an example.

Earlier I posted how a particular scientists comments seemed to contradict his earlier studies or more accurately showed the hypocrisy of wanting it both ways on natural variability. The study done by a mainstream climate research organization (NOAA) Earth System Research Lab (ESRL) in Boulder, Colorado and published in the AGU was

Greenhouse gases likely drove near-record U.S. warmth in 2006

Here is the conclusion as summarized at Science Daily:
The results of the analysis showed that greenhouse gases produced warmth over the entire United States in the model projections, much like the warming pattern that was observed last year across the country.For a final check, the scientists compared the observed 2006 pattern of abnormal surface temperatures to the projected effects of greenhouse-gas warming and El Niño temperature responses.

The U.S. temperature pattern of widespread warming was completely inconsistent with the pattern expected from El Niño, but it closely matched the expected effects of greenhouse warming.“That attribution was not confirmed at the time,” says Hoerling. “Now we have the capability, on the spatial scale of the United States, to better distinguish natural climate variations from climate changes caused by humans.” The research was supported by NOAA's office of Global Programs.
Basically this group of scientist have used their models to determine that only greenhouse gasses could have been responsible for what they claim was unprecedented warming in 2006 in the United States.

The second study released by scientist from the Atmospheric Sciences Group, University of Wisconsin just a month prior was:

A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts

Here is the conclusion they reached directly from their study:

The above observational and modeling results suggest the following intrinsic mechanism of the climate system leading to major climate shifts. First, the major climate modes tend to synchronize at some coupling strength. When this synchronous state is followed by an increase in the coupling strength, the network’s synchronous state is destroyed and after that climate emerges in a new state. The whole event marks a significant shift in climate.
It is interesting to speculate on the climate shift after the 1970s event. The standard explanation for the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols [Mann and Emanuel, 2006]. However, comparison of the 2035 event in the 21st century simulation and the 1910s event in the observations with this event, suggests an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend.

Although they allow for the possibility of the warmer climate being superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend, they propose an alternative hypothesis for the warming climate regardless of the greenhouse gas emissions. In other words they don't need increased carbon dioxide levels to explain the warming climate.
Whereas the first study uses their modelling results to assert that only greenhouse gasses could explain the warming, the second study uses their modelling results to show that it could all be natural.

Remember both groups of scientist are using data and modelling to reach differing conclusions. The second study, being conscientious scientist or protecting funding allows for the possibility of greenhouse gasses being a contributor. The first study basically ignores the possibility of the second with all the typical arrogance of AGW proponents determines only GHG could explain the warming.

Regardless of the motives or the inclinations of either group, the two studies show how unsettled climate science truly is. What really puts a hitch in the get along of the AGW crowd, is the second group from Wisconsin now have come out with a study predicting a long term cooling trend-oops. UW-Milwaukee Study Could Realign Climate Change Theory


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