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Errant Warming Logic


Errant Warming Logic30-08-2015 17:33
FriendOfOrion
☆☆☆☆☆
(9)
There is an intellectually errant argument being used in print and in lectures by the media and politicians alike to prove that the world is warming. How many times do we hear the statement "The hottest years on record have all been in this century". This is supposed to prove that there is a trend of global warming. Yes, the average world temperature rose 1 deg C from 1950 to 1997 and has since only risen slightly in the last 18 years. Of course the hottest years are likely to be in recent times because the average temperature has elevated. This is not proof that the world is warming, it is proof that the world has warmed! Lets look at it another way. If there was a swimming pool which had an average temperature of 18 Deg C and then the pool had solar heating installed which then gave it an average temperature of 24 deg C. If someone announced a year after the modification that in the last year the pool experienced its highest average temperatures, all this would prove is that the modification increased the pools average temperature. It certainly would not prove that the pool had a trend of warming. Also, we have not been keeping temperature records all that long so we are trying to make predictions over too short a time period. This is not necessarily deceitful, merely errant logic.
30-08-2015 18:47
climate scientist
★★☆☆☆
(257)
Hi FriendOfOrion

I agree that often the media mis-represent the scientific facts, and that this is very frustrating.

Determining whether the planet has warmed, is still warming, and will warm in the future is a very complicated task. Scientists from all over the world have been working on this problem for decades now. The IPCC 5th assessment report, chapter 2, particularly section 2.4 provides a very thorough summary of this work, and I would recommend that in particular you read box 'FAQ 2.1: How do we know the world has warmed?' (available here, btw: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter02_FINAL.pdf).

I'm afraid that your example of a swimming pool is very over-simplified. Chapter 2 of IPCC AR5 includes several tables that show the trends in warming calculated by different research groups/institutions over different time periods. We also have a good understanding of which areas in the world have been warming the fastest, and which areas have hardly warmed at all, or even cooled. To summarise, the analyses on global surface temperature change are very comprehensive, and stating when the warmest years have occurred is simply a way of trying to convey to science to people who do not have a scientific background in a way that they might remember.

Lastly, I would like to make a small correction to your statement regarding the warmest years. According to IPCC AR5 chapter 2: "all ten of the warmest years have occurred since 1997".
26-09-2015 02:05
IBdaMann
★★★★★
(3689)
climate scientist wrote:Determining whether the planet has warmed, is still warming, and will warm in the future is a very complicated task.

No, it's simply not possible. We don't have the hundreds of millions of evenly-spaced, synchronized thermometers at various altitudes that will allow an average measurement to be computed within any usable margin of error.

We don't have a dedicated constellation of synchronized satellites that can capture temperatures at different altitudes within any usable margin of error.

If we can't assess the average temperature of the earth, we can't assess if the average temperature of the earth is changing.
26-09-2015 03:47
Surface Detail
★★★★☆
(1673)
IBdaMann wrote:
climate scientist wrote:Determining whether the planet has warmed, is still warming, and will warm in the future is a very complicated task.

No, it's simply not possible. We don't have the hundreds of millions of evenly-spaced, synchronized thermometers at various altitudes that will allow an average measurement to be computed within any usable margin of error.

We don't have a dedicated constellation of synchronized satellites that can capture temperatures at different altitudes within any usable margin of error.

If we can't assess the average temperature of the earth, we can't assess if the average temperature of the earth is changing.

Oh dear, a logic glitch.

It is often possible to determine changes without being able to determine absolutes. If, for example, I were to walk 10 meters north-west, then I know I would be 10 meters further from London, despite having no precise idea what my absolute distance from London is. See?
26-09-2015 07:37
IBdaMann
★★★★★
(3689)
Surface Detail wrote:Oh dear, a logic glitch.

Please, please, please...oh Mother of Mercy, tell me he's not going to insist on butchering mathematics in the name of his religion!

Surface Detail wrote: It is often possible to determine changes without being able to determine absolutes.

You just said nothing, and you cleverly changed the subject from our inability to determine the earth's average global atmospheric temperature within any usable margin of error, and thus our inability to determine any change of the earth's average atmospheric temperature within any usable margin of error...

...to one of absolute measures vs. relative measures.

Stick with the topic of measuring the change in the earth's average global atmospheric temperature within a usable margin of error. Tell me how you think it can be done.

I'll tell you right now that you are going to run into problems when you can't get the margin of error for any measurements to fall within the margin of error for any calculated change. Your result will be something like the earth's atmospheric temperature changed over the last year 4.3degC +/- 5.2 degC +/- another 4.9 degC...and your announcement will be worthless.

But go ahead. Show me your manner of arriving at your answers and let's discuss your margin of error.


Global Warming: The preferred religion of the scientifically illiterate.

Ceist - I couldn't agree with you more. But when money and religion are involved, and there are people who value them above all else, then the lies begin. - trafn

You are completely misunderstanding their use of the word "accumulation"! - Climate Scientist.

The Stefan-Boltzman equation doesn't come up with the correct temperature if greenhouse gases are not considered - Hank

:*sigh* Not the "raw data" crap. - Leafsdude

IB STILL hasn't explained what Planck's Law means. Just more hand waving that it applies to everything and more asserting that the greenhouse effect 'violates' it.- Ceist




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