Second $10,000 Challenge Submission

I received the second challenge to my $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge. As usual, I quote the submission verbatim:

Dr. Keating…

I respectfully submit the findings of Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier. Here is an article that summarizes the research…

http://www.cfact.org/2014/06/17/scientist-reveals-inconvenient-truth-to-alarmists/

Here is his interview on why, “Our society is fundamentally dishonest.” Translated from German to English by Google Translator…

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.derbund.ch%2Fwissen%2Fnatur%2FUnsere-Gesellschaft-ist-grundsaetzlich-unehrlich%2Fstory%2F24948853&edit-text=

Additional questions for you to answer.

1. Can you explain why the Rhone glacier has been ice-free for 5,800 of the last 10,000 years, according to Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s research?

2. Can you explain why the Rhone glacier was ice-free before human industrial influence? Which is the very period of time that global-warming alarmist’s point to as the proverbial smoking gun to prove their point.

I am not submitting these findings for a prize. I ask only that YOU refute Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s work with an absolute certainty in this matter. If you can’t, as I suspect you won’t be able, then concede this, there is NO definitive right or wrong in this case and PUBLICLY accept that your OPINION may not be the correct one. I reverse your challenge, I don’t want your money, I want you to take out a full-page ad in either the NY Times or LA Times admitting that you lost this challenge.

 RESPONSE:

Let me summarize the article and what is claimed to be proof against man made global warming. Dr. Christian Schluchter (sorry, I can’t do the umlats in his name) found some wood at the base of a glacier. The wood is dated as being 4000 years old and is believed to be left over from before the glacier covered the area. Glaciers move things, but also sometimes just cover things up and leave them in place. Either way, this wood shows that somewhere that is currently covered with the glacier was ice free 4000 years ago.  The article is also filled with all sorts of innuendo that has nothing to do with the science involved. If Dr. Schluchter became ‘a target of scorn,’ as the article states, it was probably because he was taking old news and trying to make the case that it was some new major discovery. This would be kind of like someone saying they discovered gravity and then being convinced they were targeted because no one was listening.

I would like to say I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not even a little disappointed. I am more likely to take out the ad you mentioned to proclaim that deniers have failed to prove their point. Your submission fails the scientific method proof standard (why is that so hard when the deniers all claim it is simple?). Here are the issues with your submission.

There is most certainly a right answer and science is not an opinion. You accept it and understand it, or you reject it. A common characteristic of deniers is the way they reject science. Its unfortunate. We could be spending our time and effort addressing this problem if it wasn’t for people like you.

Failure #1: The article you reference is something of an embarrassment – for the author not for scientists. Take a look at this plot to see why:

This is a plot showing global temperature and CO2 levels for the last 800,000 years (today is on  the left). The most obvious thing that just jumps right out is that there has been variation in the climate. Dr. Schluchter’s discovery probably didn’t make any news because that is something that is well known. Climate changes over time and there are natural cycles.

The reason this is a failure is because no one, not in this article or anywhere else, has ever shown a connection between natural cycles and what is being observed today. What deniers are doing is saying there are natural cycles, therefore it is a foregone conclusion that today’s warming trend is a natural cycle. This is a false argument and there is even a name for it. It is called the fallacy of four terms. This is the argument made about cycles by deniers:

There were warm periods in the past.
We are in a warm period today.
Warm periods in the past were naturally occurring cycles.
Therefore, today’s warm period is a naturally occurring cycle.

The problem with this argument is that there nothing that says naturally occurring cycles are the the only way a warm period can exist. No connection is demonstrated between naturally occurring cycles and today’s warming trend. Let me put in a way that makes it more obvious.

Pneumonia kills people.
Gunshot wounds kill people.
Pneumonia is a naturally occurring disease.
Therefore, gunshot wounds are a naturally occurring disease.

Again, there is no connection between the first and the second. There are other ways for people to die than just pneumonia.

Here is the real problem with the claims made in this article: We are in a naturally occurring cool cycle, not a warm one. All warming (above the average) in the current trend is man made and it would be much worse if not for the natural cooling cycle.

To directly answer your two questions, I do not refute any of Dr. Schluchter’s work, just any conclusion that this shows global warming is not real. The reason why this particular glacial area (and many others) was ice free at some point in the past is because the climate changes in a natural manner. This fact does not detract at all from the data that shows we have changed the climate today with our emissions.

Now, if you, or Dr. Schluchter, or anyone else, could show that today’s warming trend is a result of natural cycles, then that would be news.

Until then, this proof is shown to be false. In fact, it doesn’t even satisfy the requirements of the $1000 challenge, either.

Don’t feel too bad. This is the most common argument made by deniers today. It really shows just how little homework they do. They simply pick out some inflammatory article on the web and take it as proof of their beliefs without checking up on it. It sounds good, therefore it must be good. Funny how that works because that is, itself, a false argument.

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69 thoughts on “Second $10,000 Challenge Submission

  1. Not true. This is the debate and skeptical questioning deniers always demand. Scientists put out their findings then we all discuss it (even argue about it). Over time we can build a picture of what is going on, what ever topic we are talking about.

    As for the cost (and casualties) of climate change today, take a look at the report on this study:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/sep/26/climate-change-damaging-global-economy

    Could they be off in their estimates? Sure could. But, they could be too low just as easily as they could be too high. Either way, what we see is that hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year and the world economy is taking a big hit from climate change and it is happening right now, not at some point in future.

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  2. thatgo916,

    That “there are many factors to our climate and how it warms and cools” is not exactly news to climate scientists – and by that I mean the very same ones who have arrived at the consensus about current anthropogenic global warming. This is climate science 101, and you would know that if you would only take the time to acquaint yourself with the subject before assuming you're an instant expert and an informed critic of the parts you can't/won't accept or understand. This particular study has absolutely nothing to say about why the planet is warming today. Any of the scientists who wrote it would tell you that.

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  3. There is no correlation between CO2 levels and temperature even though CO2 levels have been up to 18 times higher than today. Veizer and Shaviv conclude that 75% of the temperature variability in the last half-billion years is explained by cosmic ray changes as we move in and out of galactic spiral arms. You are teaching a lie.

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  4. Change to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has no significant effect on temperature anyway.

    CO2 increase from 1800 to 2001 was 89.5 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now (through May, 2014) increased since 2001 by 27.51 ppmv (an amount equal to 30.7% of the increase that took place from 1800 to 2001) (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; May, 2014, 398.64 ppmv).

    The average global temperature trend since 2001 is flat (average of 5 reporting agencies http://endofgw.blogspot.com/). Graphs through 2013 have been added.

    No amount of spin can rationalize that the temperature increase to 2001 was caused by a CO2 increase of 89.5 ppmv but that 27.51 ppmv additional CO2 increase had no effect on the average global temperature trend after 2001.

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  5. By your own statement (see below) no one has been able to prove that AGW is valid.

    However, it has been demonstrated (http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com/) that CO2 change has had no significant effect on average global temperature for all of recorded history.

    It has been demonstrated that CO2 change has no significant effect on average global temperature.

    It has NOT been proven (or demonstrated) that AGW exists.

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  6. Dan,

    You're overlooking other important reservoirs for the heat imbalance caused by the greenhouse effect: notably, the oceans and the cryosphere (ice and snow). I've seen Christopher already address this elsewhere on the blog, as have climate scientists in general in numerous articles and papers. You would have an argument if there was no evidence that heat has still been accumulating at the more or less expected rate in the system as a whole.

    I'm not a scientist, but as a science writer I've given a detailed, accessible and hyperlinked reckoning over here: http://www.aquarianonline.com/a-cold-winter-in-a-still-warming-world/ The piece starts with a different hook, so if you're in a hurry you can scroll down about halfway to “Something similar has been happening with the recent so-called “pause” in global warming.”

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  7. Nothing new at this site.
    Anyone paying attention knows that atmospheric CO2 is increasing and CO2 is a ghg. But, since 2001, CO2 has increased by 30% of the increase 1800-2001 while the surface temperature trend has remained flat.

    That and corroborating data going back much further demonstrate that change to the level of atmospheric CO2 has no significant effect on average global temperature. NASA's assertion that CO2 increase is responsible for Global Warming is wrong.

    Going along to get along might preserve a NASA job for a while but eventually (I think it has already) nature will make a misguided assertion untenable.

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  8. You'll find more on this site, i.e. the latest IPCC report on the physical science: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf

    See “TS.3.2 Radiative Forcing from Greenhouse Gases,” p. 53

    As to your argument that a brief pause in the surface air temperature warming trend disproves AGW, see “Box TS.3 | Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years” on p. 61. Also see http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47 and any long-term graph of the instrumental record. The current “pause” is a baby compared to the one during the mid-20th century.

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  9. Syd – Thanks for the link.

    Coefficient of determination, R2= 0.9049 means that 90.49% of the measured average global temperatures since before 1900 are explained by the equation. Everything not explicitly considered (may have been overlooked?), including the things you mentioned, must find room in the unexplained 9.5%. Also, the correlation uses measurements back to before 1900.

    Climate Science’s fixation on CO2 as the cause of GW has resulted in epic fail. http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/06/still-epic-fail-73-climate-models-vs-measurements-running-5-year-means/
    Their Global Climate Models that they have so heavily relied on are magnificently complex but fundamentally flawed as described at http://consensusmistakes.blogspot.com

    The NASA climate guys have become notorious for cooking the books on US temperature measurements (which doesn’t matter much because the US covers less than 2% of the surface of the planet). But this puts their explanation of where the heat is going in question.

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  10. But have you read the link or the ones to AR5 I posted above?

    I'm looking at your blog with the correlation (http://agwunveiled.blogspot.ca/). First off, someone much more sophisticated than me needs to critique it. If it's as earth-shattering as you say it is, you must submit it for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and get in line for a Nobel prize. Even if you feel the game is rigged, there are some anti-AGW journals that should be delighted to publish it. That said, a few initial observations:

    Why is your graph of the sunspot number trend (#2 of 5) so different than what's suggested by this “no agenda” (if you will) graph: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn ?

    Second, as you know, correlation doesn't equal causation. More importantly, how does your claim of >90% correlation jibe with the satellite record since ~1979 of total solar irradiance – seen here: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/pmod/plot/pmod/trend – which clearly has been on a downtrend while the planet's surface temperature has spiked: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1979/plot/wti/trend/from:1979 ?

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  11. Here's another graph with a trend line of that long-term sunspot record: http://www.climate4you.com/Sun.htm#Sunspot activity since 1700. Again, there's a seemingly falsifying (for your hypothesis) breakdown of any meaningful correlation precisely when it should be strongest. If there were a correlation, you would have to (and perhaps you have somewhere in your paper) show how the very minute changes in solar forcing during this period are sufficient to explain the long-term warming trend compared to the increasingly powerful net positive anthropogenic forcings.

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  12. Note that the paper is nearly 2 years old (the Arctic ice area has fully recovered), and was written by people anxious to extract from American prosperity (which is declining thanks to Progressives).

    Nasty weather is natural. It is happening someplace all the time, and always has. Vivid graphics on TV make it look ominous and omnipresent but it is not getting worse. Some mistakenly blame humans for it. There is evidence that the Incas even made human sacrifices to try to prevent it.

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  13. Okay, in fairness, here's the long-term linear trend for the entire reconstruction period available in the woodfortrees database: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/plot/sidc-ssn/trend

    Clearly sunspot numbers have risen during this period, and there's an interesting correlation between the ups and downs of the temperature record, just as there is with the AMO (except the AMO oscillates with a flat trend line: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-amo/plot/esrl-amo/trend). I'm in over my head, but is it possible — and I'm addressing this to Christopher, too — that sunspots/TSI have, independently of the increasingly strong and more powerful (in watts per square metre — see “Radiative forcing of climate between 1750 and 2011” on page 54 here: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf) anthropogenic forcings, been modulating the waxing anthropogenic warming trend? TSI/sunspots are a direct forcing, like GHGs. The AMO is just internal variability. How it all might add together is beyond me at the moment. TSI fluctuations cause AMO temps fluctuations, perhaps?

    Here's a much longer term analysis of the sunspot record and global temps: http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/07/why-i-am-still-skeptical-about-sunspots-and-temperature/ The correlation seems even weaker than since the 1700s.

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  14. We're not even close to partial Arctic sea ice recovery: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/plot/nsidc-seaice-n/trend

    The most recent annual low is still lower than any prior to ~2005. The most recent high looks to be lower than any high before ~2004. What we have is a slight and relatively insignificant (noise) upward fluctuation within a long-term trend that has seen Arctic sea ice extent shrink about 45% since the 1950s/60s following a relatively flat or very gradually declining period (on average) dating back to ~1875, according to the datasets reviewed for the IPCC's latest report (see http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf, figure on p. 38).

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  15. From a previous post….

    ''The existence of past cycles is not proof. You are assuming there is only one cause of a trend, and that isn't even true in the historical record.''

    Why wouldn't the reverse be true….because there is warming now, it is man made and not natural?

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  16. You call this proof of C02 as being the “primary driver behind climate change and always has been”?
    Firstly, not every warmer agrees with you on CO being the driver. I can find many sites that will disagree with you on that. Here is one…

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/co2-lag

    And here is a statement from there…..

    One of the things people noticed after Al Gores movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is that in the natural cycle CO2 lags behind warming. This is actually true.

    Secondly, there is a scenario when C02 leads temperatures. If you look at the ice core sample data, you will see a time when C02 rise is leading a temperature change. It is on every ice core sample that I have viewed. I'm sure that you'll be able to find those charts…I'm just not gonna do the heavy lifting for you but here is a start.

    Anyhow, if you follow the time that temperatures start to rise, you will seen that C02 rose afterwards. C02 continues to rise, lets say, parallel to the rise in temperatures though it lagging.
    The time that the C02 continues to rise is after temperatures begin to recede. It make it look as if C02 is rising above temperatures. However, Temperatures actually drop before the C02 drops. In essence, it still lags behind. Please look closely at a ice sample chart.

    I know that this does not prove that we are cooling and I probably can't prove that no more than C02 rise is proof, when it lags a temperature rise, that temperatures will rise. However, with proof (ice core data) that C02 continues to rise when temperatures start to decline and with the current pause (or drop) of a increase of temperatures for the past 15 to 20 years, we could actually be witnessing the beginning of cooling phase as many ''coolers'' are stating.

    Proof of is is not something I can do but I don't think that you presented proof C02 leads temperature rise nor that we are continuing a warming trend. I think that I may have presented data that provides logic that a rise in C02 means we are continuing a warming trend.

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  17. You call this proof of C02 as being the “primary driver behind climate change and always has been”?
    Firstly, not every warmer agrees with you on CO being the driver. I can find many sites that will disagree with you on that. Here is one…

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/co2-lag

    And here is a statement from there…..

    One of the things people noticed after Al Gores movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is that in the natural cycle CO2 lags behind warming. This is actually true.

    Secondly, there is a scenario when C02 leads temperatures. If you look at the ice core sample data, you will see a time when C02 rise is leading a temperature change. It is on every ice core sample that I have viewed. I'm sure that you'll be able to find those charts…I'm just not gonna do the heavy lifting for you but here is a start.

    Anyhow, if you follow the time that temperatures start to rise, you will seen that C02 rose afterwards. C02 continues to rise, lets say, parallel to the rise in temperatures though it lagging.
    The time that the C02 continues to rise is after temperatures begin to recede. It make it look as if C02 is rising above temperatures. However, Temperatures actually drop before the C02 drops. In essence, it still lags behind. Please look closely at a ice sample chart.

    I know that this does not prove that we are cooling and I probably can't prove that no more than C02 rise is proof, when it lags a temperature rise, that temperatures will rise. However, with proof (ice core data) that C02 continues to rise when temperatures start to decline and with the current pause (or drop) of a increase of temperatures for the past 15 to 20 years, we could actually be witnessing the beginning of cooling phase as many ''coolers'' are stating.

    Proof of is is not something I can do but I don't think that you presented proof C02 leads temperature rise nor that we are continuing a warming trend. I think that I may have presented data that provides logic that a rise in C02 means we are continuing a warming trend.

    Like

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