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The Climate Change debate

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The Climate Change debate

Old 16th Feb 2009, 08:38
  #1521 (permalink)  
 
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Where Should I Start?

You make a couple of legitimate points which are then overshadowed by several moot ones and numerous erroneous claims and assertions. For starters I cited numerous reputable sources with different areas of specialization and a broad spectrum of data types and sources. I am not claiming that every finding has equal weight or that next year the world is ending from warming, but rather the amount of quality data and observations indicate that AGW is a real phenomenon and that it is already having serious consequences and if left unchecked poses very serious threats for the future. I am not an "alarmist," but I follow the data, numbers, physics, chemistry and ecological findings to just name a few areas. Sometime tomorrow I will just post the actual technical data, the chemistry and raw physics, it is more straightforward and clear. Also less words, I am going to cut down on my word counts and just show the cause/effect and data.
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 10:22
  #1522 (permalink)  
 
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You make a couple of legitimate points which are then overshadowed by several moot ones and numerous erroneous claims and assertions. For starters I cited numerous reputable sources with different areas of specialization and a broad spectrum of data types and sources. I am not claiming that every finding has equal weight or that next year the world is ending from warming, but rather the amount of quality data and observations indicate that AGW is a real phenomenon and that it is already having serious consequences and if left unchecked poses very serious threats for the future. I am not an "alarmist," but I follow the data, numbers, physics, chemistry and ecological findings to just name a few areas. Sometime tomorrow I will just post the actual technical data, the chemistry and raw physics, it is more straightforward and clear. Also less words, I am going to cut down on my word counts and just show the cause/effect and data.
jcbmack, i for one look foward to the reduced word counts.....and some REAL proof, if it is to be had
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 11:08
  #1523 (permalink)  
 
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The IPCC must just love forums like this - IT KEEPS THEM ALL IN A JOB!!
Lets face reality here, the IPCC and all their clingers on are the major beneficiaries of this debate, and they obviously love to keep it going.
Who knows, maybe some of the posters here have jobs that depend on the IPCC AGW wheel turning.
My two bob's worth (gleaned from exhaustive empirical, anecdotal and moot point evidence over a long period of time)---------------
1 The earth may currently be cooling or heating (nobody really knows).
2 The earth has always either been cooling or heating (everyone agrees).
3 The earth is mainly heated by the SUN (anyone disagree?).
4 Anything we do to try and modify this cooling or heating is no more than a piss in the ocean.
5 We should sack those whose lives become enriched by trying to make ours a misery.
6 Dinosaurs died out because the earths climate changed, but i've heard nobody accusing those bastards of wrecking our planet - like we are all being accused of whenever we turn on a light bulb! So who was responsible in those days (maybe there was too much dinosaur farting which severely upset the methane content in the troposphere).

Maybe the dinosaurs had nothing more to do with it than us.

Get on with life and the HELL with AGW.

(lying low now for incoming)
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 13:50
  #1524 (permalink)  

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Whoa jcbmack, Spencer, Christy, Linzen et al already disproved?

Absolutely untrue...plain, unreconstructed BS in fact.

CO2 leads Temperature?

Been a VERY long time since that was stated out loud. Even the pro AGWers accept that Temperature leads CO2 and as a result suggest positive feedbacks enhance CO2s effects.

CO2's greenhouse effect is not logarithmic?

Two of the most un-contentious bits of physics in the whole GW debate and you just blow them off?

Climate is predictable and weather is chaotic...well you better tell the IPCC!

Well I guess you have to to sustain a pro AGW argument...I mean when the most basic facts don't support the argument want to do?

Lets look at the CO2 v Temperature thing because its the fundamental foundation of the entire debate.

If > atmospheric CO2 leads to > Temperature what was the trigger through the regular glaciations and inter-glacials that preceded the Industrial Revolution and what triggered the reverses?

Seeing as how these climate variations preceded mankind's existence let alone use of fossil fuels by between 100s of 1000s and millions of years they must be natural. Can we agree on that?

In 20 years of listening to the AGW doom and gloom narrative I cannot recollect one single plausible cause being suggested...it was just stated over and over. And if there was a plausible reason why hasn't it been proved through testing? It should be common knowledge by now.

HOWEVER if Temperature leads CO2, as was discovered 15+ years ago when they got better resolutions on the ice cores and other proxies, then you are able to postulate a reasonable hypothesis on why and test that.

So lets formulate a testing regime.

It is well known that the worlds oceans are MASSIVE repositories of CO2...VAST amounts...about 93% of CO2 resides in the oceans.

It is well known that solar out put varies and that the orbital physics of the earth vary on very predictable time scales. The Malenkovic cycle is one example.

It is well understood that cold oceans 'take up' more CO2 than warm oceans.

So what would happen if solar activity increased?

Well oceans take a long time to react to increased levels of solar activity...they are slow to warm up and slow to cool down...sea breezes on hot days (and lasting well into the evening) being the obvious example we are all familiar with.

Clever people worked out what signature solar variability leaves in our biosphere, went looking for it and found it.

A testable hypothesis on Temperature variation v CO2 variation that makes sense of the various proxy data for temperature and CO2 on millennial time scales preceding man.

Last I read there was an 85% correlation between solar activity and temperature variation leading to CO2 variation...as opposed to a 35% correlation between CO2 variation and temperature variation.

Which horse would you put your money on at the track...the one that wins 35% of the time?

Then along comes man and starts burning carbon for energy...first wood, then coal, oil, natural gas...notice the de-carbonising we have been doing as technology got better...think we'll still be using fossil fuels the way we have been in 50 years time?

Lets ignore for a second the ENORMOUS benefits mankind has enjoyed as a result of our technologies based around carbon based fuels...lets ignore that our life spans are triple what they were a few hundred years ago and that people don't suffer all the maladies they suffered from in the past because they didn't have refrigeration etc. Lets forget everyone of us over 30, including the SGFs (Simpering Greeny Feckwits) would actually be dead if not for carbon based fuels and clever people inventing stuff. Too lets ignore that even those SGFs that chose to ape the lifestyle of the middle ages and swoon over the possibility of FORCING the rest of us to live that way too can only do so safely BECAUSE of the backstop of modernity. IF they would JUST TRULY live the way people were forced to live 100s of years ago they would either be dead at 35 or have come to their senses and moved back into mainstream life...either option is fine by me...but they want it both ways.

No lets just concentrate on the shit we've been pouring into the biosphere for 150 years. Turns out we have increased atmospheric CO2 about 35% in that 150 years...mostly the last 60. For a whole 1000 years before the Industrial revolution CO2 was stableish in the vicinity of 280ppm and now its nore like 350ppm Point out that 1000 years is a meaningless number in the history of the planet and CO2 was vastly higher before that...and the SGFs get that glazed over look.

Turns out CO2 IS a greenhouse gas and DOES cause a little warming..physics TELLS us about a degree C for a doubling of CO2 over pre industrial levels of 280ppm...despite jcbmacks baseless protestations above.

Well shit...1degC? That is like moving from Mackay to Townsville to live...who cares right?

Well no, because it turns out a little warming from CO2 causes more water vapor and that is a BIG DEAL...much, MUCH more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2...if we were to remove all the water vapor the world would cool approx 30C!!...no this could be big...or not. Turns out that not all the extra water vapor remains as vapor...lots becomes cloud...you remember cloud jcbmack...the thing the GCMs CANNOT model. Linzen et al and Spencer et al have shown conclusively that cloud is a MAJOR NEGATIVE feedback. More cloud also means more rain...ever heard of evaporative air conditioning...lived by the sea? always cooler than inland.

And that is just from evaporation...Svensson et al has shown in lab experiments that galactic winds influences cloud formation too....and solar magnetic activity influences the strength of the galactic wind.

So there are at least a couple of climate inputs that GCMs DO NOT accurately model that are strong negative feebacks...GCMs dont model El Nino either and we are in a major El nino the last year or so and the world is cooling, droughts are ending and summers are cooler and shorter/winters are colder longer just lately....again.

And I have barely touched on accurate predictions...like the cool spell we are having now..made by solar physicists who correlate sun spots and temperature...a cool spell - possibly even a trend like the 50s,60 and 70s - or if we are unlucky more akin to the Maunder Minimum, that the IPCC and their GCMs never even HINTED at.

So when the Romans were enjoying wine made from grape vines in northern England 2000 years ago was that climate their fault? What about the people of medieval times when it was again several degrees warmer than now...their fault? The Norse people when they farmed areas of southern Greenland for 100s of years before it got cold again...their fault?

I think not. Now if it eventuates, via whatever mechanisms both natural and anthropogenic, that the world is indeed 2 or 3 degrees warmer in 2100 than now...about the average for the IPCC GCM guesses and near as damn it the same as the Roman and Medieval warm periods..will that be a disaster?

Well it wasn't last several times around...and the times before those when it was 5-7 degrees warmer...it was an ecological BOON period...the Polar Bears loved it and Greenland/Antartica/Artic DID NOT MELT.

The Environmentalist doom narrative is manmade CO2 will cause DISASTROUS Global warming and does not stand up to the least testing.

Despite 50 billion $ spent in research NO-ONE knows what man's contribution to climate is (ref jcbmacks links above - among numerous) and they cannot find the signature/fingerprint that EVERY GCM suggests MUST be there...a hotspot over the equator in the upper atmospshere...because it is NOT THERE.
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 19:50
  #1525 (permalink)  
 
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it is already having serious consequences
jcbmack, this is where you and all the other Climate profiteers come unstuck. Despite the vigourous marketing of the IPCC and other organisations with an agenda..there are NO examples of evidence that cannot be attributed to natural phenomena. Small variations in our lifetime is not evidence of coming catastrophy..climate variation has happened before and will go on happening!
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Old 16th Feb 2009, 23:21
  #1526 (permalink)  
 
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Chuck, it isn't just El Nino/La Nina that drives Aus climate. Indian Ocean plays a big part as well. La Nina is certainly being felt in the north of the continent.
This time last year the Agri commentators were bemoaning the collapse of the wet around the Barkley. Massive destocking, comments abounded about the effects of Global Warming and we now have a flood of biblical proportions....AGWers argue the weather will be more extreme(hedge bet!)

If the prediction is correct we are heading for a good snow season this year. That prediction is based on Indian Ocean input.

Green practices just put billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere in a matter of days. How many cars do we need to put off the road now to balance that equation? Bob Brown tried to take the high ground in the Senate and got laughed out of town. Their days are numbered!

Swan is doubting his new environmental trading scheme is the correct thing to impliment. Economic climate may well have forced a rethink. However, if it is so good for the environment and our futures, why stop?
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Old 17th Feb 2009, 09:05
  #1527 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Chimbu - like I said
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 04:41
  #1528 (permalink)  
 
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Blah Blah Blah

Denialists always come up with the same tired excuses, rationals, distorted data, ad hoc statements and strawman fallacies. What a trip. I do think Hansen's calculations too high, but he is not the only expert monitoring climate trends and deviations from temperature averages. If the models were the only source of information I could understand skepticism, but with proxy data, satellite data, C12/C13 ratio analysis, tree ring analysis, recreations of paleo-climate, oceanic changes in ph, CO2 absorption and emissions by the oceans, the actual properties of CO2 where a lot of radiation is absorbed bedfore it is emitted, changes in mean global temperatures following increased CO2 and CH4 levels in the atomosphere, the melting ice caps and thinner ice sheets there can be no real doubt about it. You denialists, gentlemen are the ones who provide no strong evidence or factual and validated data.
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 05:45
  #1529 (permalink)  
 
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Blah Blah Blah

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Denialists always come up with the same tired excuses, rationals, distorted data, ad hoc statements and strawman fallacies. What a trip. I do think Hansen's calculations too high, but he is not the only expert monitoring climate trends and deviations from temperature averages. If the models were the only source of information I could understand skepticism, but with proxy data, satellite data, C12/C13 ratio analysis, tree ring analysis, recreations of paleo-climate, oceanic changes in ph, CO2 absorption and emissions by the oceans, the actual properties of CO2 where a lot of radiation is absorbed bedfore it is emitted, changes in mean global temperatures following increased CO2 and CH4 levels in the atomosphere, the melting ice caps and thinner ice sheets there can be no real doubt about it. You denialists, gentlemen are the ones who provide no strong evidence or factual and validated data.
Funny that, I could use the same argument to describe you guys. A lot of "Stuff" you say was actually used by Mann et al to doctor up his temp history graphs to come up with the infamous hockey stick...much the same as the refuted 07 graph that attempted to produce a similar result to show Mann was correct. Random numbers produce the same results in Mann's calculations. Carl Wunch was brow beaten by his buddies to denounce the "Swindle" When you study his uploaded papers he expresses a distaste for those who use data to prove something that has no relation to the data. Oceans have a memory of temp changes and atmospheric conditions that lag as much as 200 years according to Carl, yet his data is used as real time. Go figure.

I can only go by what is on the net. I was also part of the oil industry straight after school...with the memory ringing in my head that during the oil shocks of the seventies we were going to have dwindling supplies by 1990. Shame of it, in four years we did the ground work for Bodella Sth, Eromanga, parts of Jackson, a field in from Yaraka that hasn't come online yet, Another one straight west of Windorah, numerous extra fields around Silver Springs in the Surat Basin as well as my crew did work on the land exploration work for the extent of the NW shelf as well as down around Warrnambool. NW shelf is world standard and the inland Q fields are nothing to be sneezed at for Aus sized fields. Papers tell me there are more fields opening in Bass strait as well as prospects in the bight. Gotta laugh about coal seem gas (methane) no one even thought about this WASTE PRODUCT gas and now there is so much of it in the east Surat Basin it is a serious power source that could finally force a shift in population growth away from the Noosa-Coolangatta Megalopolis axis.

So sorry mate, a couple of graphs, some sycophant scientists backed by a hoard of bureaucrats and a slick powerpoint display are not enough to convince me about climate prediction....it wasn't that long ago plate tectonics was unknown...funny how Gore used that very argument to somehow swing people to the legitimacy of his own argument.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 06:19
  #1530 (permalink)  
 
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I have never been able to predict the future.......... but I just can now!

I can tell in 20 years when I look back at this thread...... I am gonna laugh my ar$e off at the gullible folk like jcbmack

J
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 08:47
  #1531 (permalink)  
 
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Global Warming Petition Project


Purpose of Petition

The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.

Publicists at the United Nations, Mr. Al Gore, and their supporters frequently claim that only a few “skeptics” remain – skeptics who are still unconvinced about the existence of a catastrophic human-caused global warming emergency.

It is evident that 31,072 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,021 PhDs, are not "a few." Moreover, from the clear and strong petition statement that they have signed, it is evident that these 31,072 American scientists are not “skeptics.”

These scientists are instead convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily and counterproductively damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 10:48
  #1532 (permalink)  
 
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Gippsland Victoria -

Via The Church of England Messenger, Febuary 1851,

Darkness in Gippsland

Among the effects of those terrible fires which will make the 6th of Febuary memorable in the annals of this colony, was one of which very little notice has been taken, and which is perhaps almost unknown to the public generally, but excited the greatest awe, and even terror, in the minds of many who witnessed it. We allude to a total darkness which overspread the whole of Gippsland, and literally changed day into night. This darkness, according to the accounts which we have received of it, began to be perceived about one o'clock in the afternoon, and gradually increased untill it became so intense as to hide from sight even the nearest objects...

..Throughout the remainder of the day it continued perfectly dark...

.. for the smoke - which, carried by the north winds from burning forests on the ranges over the plains below, totally intercepted the sun's light - was so high as scarcely to be perceived by the smell, and to produce none of that suffocating sensation which might have been expected...

.. suggested to many the thought that the end of the world was at hand.

From the same journal -

Some of the Gippsland aborigines..... accounted for the physical phenomenom in a very very matter of fact way, by sagely wagging their curly heads and declaring that "bright fellow (pointing to the sun) had got the blight in his eye"


Soooooo, the original inhabitants of Oz were unconcerned about the fires

....seen it all before i guess.


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Old 19th Feb 2009, 21:31
  #1533 (permalink)  
 
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The end is nigh -

...In the 1970s, "a major cooling of the planet" was "widely considered inevitable" because it was "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950" (New York Times, May 21, 1975). Although some disputed that the "cooling trend" could result in "a return to another ice age" (the Times, Sept. 14, 1975), others anticipated "a full-blown 10,000-year ice age" involving "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation" (Science News, March 1, 1975, and Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976, respectively). The "continued rapid cooling of the Earth" (Global Ecology, 1971) meant that "a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery" (International Wildlife, July 1975). "The world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973). Because of "ominous signs" that "the Earth's climate seems to be cooling down," meteorologists were "almost unanimous" that "the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century," perhaps triggering catastrophic famines (Newsweek cover story, "The Cooling World," April 28, 1975). Armadillos were fleeing south from Nebraska, heat-seeking snails were retreating from Central European forests, the North Atlantic was "cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool," glaciers had "begun to advance" and "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter" (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974).


Full article via - washingtonpost.com
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 23:11
  #1534 (permalink)  
 
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Wanderers, being patronising is not the way to go. I didn't go to college but I'm quite sure many here did and referring to them as 'uneducated' implies a certain sense of superiority on your part. This is an undesirable trait in a scientist methinks. Dangerous even. Unfortunately in the whole climate change debate being talked down to by scientists and their acolytes is becoming increasinly common. Is it any wonder that people are becoming more skeptical?

Uneducated I may be but intelligent I am and I deduce that the isotopes you refer to are specifically related to burning of fossil fuels. Which is fine but perhaps you could come down off your high horse and explain to us proles if all of the increased CO2 is human produced or merely a proportion of the whole?

You see it is unarguable that man is has produced more CO2 over the years. That's a given. The argument actually relates to the effect it has had. There are those who claim increased CO2 is as a result of warming not the cause. What the Keeling curve proves is that there is an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. That's undeniable. That we are in a period of climate change, however subtle is undeniable. The argument really is about the vehicle of change. Has the Co2 we released caused climate change, which in turn has released more 'natural' CO2? Or has natural climate change released CO2 to be joined by our friendly teenage isotopes?

Believe the science you might say but it's not the science that bothers me but the conclusions and extrapolations based on the science. Here is an example of an extrapolation that always raises my radar. From the Scripps website.

Scripps CO2 Program - Keeling Curve Lessons

Notice how high the final peaks are? The 'business as usual graph' is particularly misleading. One tick on the chart is 10,000 years and it assumes continuous use of fossil fuels well into the future, centuries. Is that science or hype? There is no possible way we'll be using fossil fuels that far into future.

The other chart represent CO2 rising over 400,000 years. The 2007 figure is based on Mauna Loa observations over 48 years. Each tick on the chart represent 10,000 years again. Are we to assume that the ice cores have been tested at 50 year intervals? Can we be sure the ice cores represent an accurate summation of the CO2 in the atmoshpere at Mauna Loa going back 400,000 years? For example can you take a more recent ice core, say 1960 and match that to observed levels at Mauna Loa in 1960?

Perhaps I can be accused of sophistry, uneducated as I am but it is tough for me to understand things sometimes. Particularly discrepancies, paradoxes and inconsistencies.

Incidentally, your model metaphor is misleading. I've seen model Spitfires for example that at first glance looks like a Spitfire, until you start to compare it to the real thing. Scaled up it would never fly. It's similar with climate models. Few of them fly in the real world, climate models have suffered from an inability to resemble reality as it is today. Mostly they are like models produced by aircraft designers, conceptual models that bear a certain resemblence to the final product or more likely the desired result. Models are simply an 'if'.

This maybe a pilot's website but this forum most assuredly isn't. Some quite intelligent and astute people here.

Last edited by corsair; 20th Feb 2009 at 12:48.
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 23:41
  #1535 (permalink)  
 
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Corsair

Wanderers2

I sincerely hope that reply is unintelligent enough for you.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 01:56
  #1536 (permalink)  
 
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Wanderers 2

Modelling used to build bridges and planes is based upon solid physics and engineering principles which are specific, clear, tested millions of times and have repeatability.

Modelling of climate and weather has not been governed by such principles and has not proved to be either reliable or accurate. To compare these two in the same breath is misleading.

You claim to be a scientist but are ignoring the fundamental meaning of science.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 02:33
  #1537 (permalink)  
airfoilmod
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Mauna Loa

Not a scientist. Wanderers2, why is Mauna Loa a testing proxy for CO2?

It is a (very) active volcano, has been throughout the previous century, and is paired with another one to the Southeast that is building the new Hawaiian island. Volcanos produce beaucoup Carbon, explain?
 
Old 20th Feb 2009, 06:49
  #1538 (permalink)  
 
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As a veteren computer programmer (I hit 20 years in May). I have through out the years been learining to not accept things on face value. Research is the key and not to jump to conclusions.

I try when able to to apply this in all walks of life, whether it be the gf moaning at me, economic melt down or global warming - when your armed with the facts and the history you can make a much better and more educated view than when just reacting to the here and now.

So. This global warming thing - yes it does appear the current trend. But in history have we seen this trend before - yes we have. Do we believe that man made emissions are causing this - yes we do - why we believe this is probably more a guilt than any substantive fact.

Up until a few years ago was it believed that saturated methane in water from algae was possible - no we did not. Did a whole valley in alska get wiped out due to this phenomena - yes they did.

We can carry on by saying has the gulf stream ever changed before - yes it has. As we look more and more at the facts there is a correlation in history and with nature with events that are happening now.

Whilst I dont want to p#ss on anyones bonfire in relation to the fact the climate is changing and man has something to do with it - we also have to remember that the climate is a state machine thats constantly changing of its own accord.

Mother nature is the most powerful entity known to man, and if you observe it - it has the wonderful property of equilibrium - it works by itself to correct whats wrong to be right. As areas of the globe gets hotter, the sea evaporates to produce clouds to cool it down. There are many areas of nature that compensate for the conditions.

Some thinking in the academic circles say we contribute less than 5% to the current conditions, some think alot more. Should we ignore this no, but should we panic about it also the answer is no.

But when we look at what is causing the issues, natural phenomenon accounts for the larger part - yet we want to reduce mans input. My question to the so called experts are if natural phenomenom are the major contributors then why are we trying to counter mother natures goals.

Models as corsair put are great - they model what we know, they chart what we know very pretty in some instances. Dont be a fool the key is in what we know. I have been involved in charting and modelling for the chicago board of trade - but I am not a millionaire - trends are trends, but life is life.

We can chart what has happened to our hearts content and make predictions upon the future but nature has randomanilty built in. Only a fool would say that because we know what happened before we know the future - just look at sports betting.

We as a race are learning and at the moment we are learning the most rapidly in our history. Yet we dont know all the parameters to say we dont need to learn anymore. Not a single person on this planet can explain the weather phenomenons that are happening or why - we cant even forecast 2 days ahead accurately let alone 50 - 100 years.

We can say from history the climate has changed from 20 years ago, but we can also say its not that dissimilar to 100 years ago where we had another warm spot.

I think the hardest thing in modern life is for the so called scientists to accept that this planet is an ever evolving planet which means change on a constant basis - I would place money on in a few years time the climate changes for the worse that to be blamed on humans - where in actual fact its just nature maintaining the equilibrium.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 09:02
  #1539 (permalink)  
Stercus Accidit
 
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You can't believe the model

Amid all the hand-wringing about financial systems in meltdown mode, the subject of modeling hasn’t gotten a lot of notice. Banks and other financial institutions employed legions of Ph.D. mathematicians and statistics specialists to model the risks those firms were assuming under a variety of scenarios.
The point was to avoid taking on obligations that could put the company under.
Judging by the calamity we are now living through, one would have to say those models failed miserably. They did so despite the best efforts of numerous professionals, all highly paid and with a lot of intellectual horsepower, employed specifically to head off such catastrophes.

What went wrong with the modeling? That’s a subject of keen interest to engineers who must model the behavior and risks of their own complicated systems. Insights about problems with the mathematics behind financial systems come from Huybert Groenendaal, whose Ph.D. is in modeling the spread of diseases. Groenendaal is a partner and senior risk analyst with Vose Consulting LLC in Boulder, a firm that works with a wide variety of banks and other companies trying to mitigate risks.

“In risk modeling, you use a lot of statistics because you want to learn from the past,” says Groenendaal. “That’s good if the past is like the future, but in that sense you could be getting a false sense of security.”
That sense of security plays directly into what happened with banks and financial instruments based on mortgages. “It gets back to the use of historical data,” says Groenendaal. “One critical assumption people had to make was that the past could predict the future. I believe in the case of mortgage products, there was too much faith in the idea that past trends would hold.”

Therein lies a lesson. “In our experience, people have excessive confidence in their historical data. That problem isn’t unique to the financial area,” says Groenendaal. “You must be cynical and open to the idea that this time, the world could change. When we work with people on models, we warn them that models are just tools. You have to think about the assumptions you make. Models can help you make better decisions, but you must remain skeptical.”
Did the quantitative analysts who came up with ineffective financial models lose their jobs in the aftermath? Groenendaal just laughs at this idea. “I have a feeling they will do fine. If you are a bank and you fire your whole risk-analysis department, I don’t think that would be viewed positively,” he says.

Interestingly enough, Groenendaal suggests skepticism is also in order for an equally controversial area of modeling: climate change.
“Climate change is similar to financial markets in that you can’t run experiments with it as you might when you are formulating theories in physics. That means your skepticism should go up,” he says.
We might add there is one other similarity he didn’t mention: It is doubtful anyone was ever fired for screwing up a climate model.
Capt.KAOS is offline  
Old 20th Feb 2009, 10:26
  #1540 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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The problem is the time perspective, to me 100 years is a really long time, 10,000 years isn't possible to put into a meaningful context, it just becomes a number and our planet is how old now? For the planet it's not even a second in the grand scheme of things. So we humans now have the technology to measure and collect all sorts of data that we previously didn't, and we get to peek at a tiny window into our planet's past. We then take that little peek, mush it around in what we hope are useful computer simulations and treat the results like gospel. If we had a way to zoom out further and see the picture from where it matters and makes sense we'd most likely see that this zoomed-in hyped-up portion that we're focusing on makes no difference. The planet !"#% changes every second we live on it, it has been doing so ever since the big bang or whatever got it started. Only pompous creatures like man could be so bold as to suggest that we are driving the climate. The planet will do what the planet will do and it will steamroll over us critters in the process without braking stride. If you want to go "green" to improve air quality in cities, fine. Make cars with renewable energy, fine. All well to invent things that can drive the economy and improve lives but for f*cks sake do it for those reasons at least, not because we're all about to die in some CO2 haze. That sort of mentality will lead to poor judgment and leave us wide open to the people who will play us all for fools.

The saddest thing about this whole thing is that people are actually cynical enough to try and capitalize on this situation. Fear-mongering for financial and political gain is running rampant and don't even get me started on this new crop of "climatologists" who all of a sudden are coming out of the woodwork to claim research grants spouting all sorts of nonsense. Maybe it's good to be skeptic if the researchers are depending on the fear they're spreading to keep the money coming. Then we have these gems in the media who love to keep the fear going to sell more papers and ads, what a community service that is. All hail the new God, slay the non-believers. Religions are based on fear, this is no different. Give Gore a finger to rotate on
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