Why are Skeptics Ridiculed by Society?

Any discussion of our changing climate (aka weather) is by nature somewhat speculative.  I am only a little surprised when tomorrow’s weather is accurately predicted.  When weekly or monthly forecasts prove correct I am impressed.  I expect them to be wrong.

Soooo….answer me this.   Why are people who question the predictions of gloom and doom coming from the global climate community ridiculed by society?

News stories assuming that man caused global climate to change dramatically are everywhere.

  • Today’s paper touted February 2016 as the warmest ever in Alaska
  • Yesterday One news blamed the strong El Nino for floods in Peru
  • Yesterday the Anchorage Dispatch news featured a political cartoon of an argument between person touting global warming and a person noting that it had been warmer 2500 years ago.  The cartoon was drawn to make the skeptic look stupid.
  • Articles are here, there and everywhere calling 2015 the warmest in history for the earth.
  • On Sunday, it was reported that the Arctic Ice cap is at it’s lowest level in history and it stopped growing early this year.  ( A history that is only 40 years old)
  • A month or so ago, I read an article about the recent (last two years)  warmer than anticipated weather.   The article touted climate experts that said climate was again warming rapidly after a 15 year hiatus.  And that it was proof that the UN climate experts were right.

I could go on forever.

We are in the midst of a strong El Nino climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere.  It has been warmer in 2015 and early 2016 than in the recent past.  2016 is starting out a a bit warmer than 2015.  Interestingly, satellite data and land based temperature data disagree about 2015.  Satellite data is a tiny bit cooler than land based data.  It shows a 13 month  average that is still below the 1998 peak.  If the current El Nino pattern persists, 2016 could be warmer than 2015 or 1998.  Land based data already has 2015 higher than 1998.

https://i2.wp.com/www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_February_2016_v6.png

What happened 50 or 150 or 500 years ago?   How does the current El Nino compare to El Nino patterns in history?  We don’t know.   Study of El Nino is a relatively new science.   Our understanding of it began about 50 years ago as we began to collect better Ocean current and temperature data.  So how did El Nino events impact the climate in the dust bowl era?  Your guess is as good as mine!

Science is a guessing game.  Weather science is a big time guessing game.  And too many of the articles I have read assume Scientists are certain.  Doubters are the fools.  Carbon Dioxide is the culprit and  if we don’t keep it under under control, the world’s climate will  change dramatically.  And if we meet IPCC goals, everything will be just fine.

REALLY!?

How can we really know what is gong to happen to the world climate ecosystem in 50 or 100 or 500 years?   How can we guarantee a small change in a system that changes regularly regardless of what we do or do not do.

And people that have doubts are the bad guys?

I’m one of those guys.  I look at the science and I see lots of guessing.  Wild Ass Guessing.   I’m in favor of a cautious approach to greenhouse gas emissions. They might be bad.  Why take the risk.    But then again other things that Scientists aren’t paid to study are likely more important.  Global temperature changes don’t track particularly well to carbon dioxide levels.  It has been argued that carbon dioxide is a following rather than a leading indicator.

One thing is certain, we need to know more.   Lots more.   Something important is being missed or misunderstood.  I see a society that decided what the answer was in 1992 and UN Scientists and their many comrades have been trying to prove it ever since.

The level of confidence displayed by the scientists and the writers is wildly out of place with the science.  This specific science problem has many many variables.   Orbital variations, solar winds, sunspots and even the relative position of continents matter. Climate changes wildly without the assistance of man.  A change of 10 degrees C is common in a single 100,000 year long ice age cycle. It has been lots warmer and lots colder in the last 20,000 years. And in the climate game, 20,000 is a short time period.

It was warmer that it is today just 1000 years ago.  And skeptics are not stupid just because they have a contrary opinion or wonder what will happen when/if  it starts to get cold again.

Sometimes I think about a Mark Twain quotation or three.  All this has gone on before.

It’s not what we don’t know that gets us into trouble, it’s what we know for sure that just aint so.

and

Get your facts first, then you can distort them any way you please.

and finally

Facts are stubborn things, statistics are pliable.

It’s worth remembering that measuring the average temperature of the Earth is a difficult task full of guessing.  We have very few thermometers in the Southern Hemisphere (only 1 in Antarctica).  The Oceans that absorb heat better than land,  represent most of the Earth’s surface and are underrepresented in any current global climate temperature measurement.  Ocean probes drift with the currents and are not well distributed.  Adjustments are made to temperature measurements to compensate for these shortcomings. Global surface temperature is not a precisely known number.

Was 2015 the warmest ever? NO.  The warmest in the last 100 years?  Well maybe.  How about 100o years?  Unlikely.

Satellite data varies somewhat from surface data.  Satellite data says 2015 was a warm year and 2016 is starting out strong.  2016 might be just a bit warmer than 1998 (another El Nino year) but it might not (according to the Satellite data).  It’s a close call and the data on 2016 has a while to run.

Our collection of Satellite data began in the late 1970’s.  We know the world was warmer than average in the late 1930’s.  And our ability to measure temperature was less sophisticated then than it is today.  We have no idea what went on in Antarctica or in the Oceans back then.   We think it is warmer today than it was back then…but we are not certain.  We were guessing back then and we’re guessing today.

Have a nice day.

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