While I study….

While I learn about back radiation, the earth’s  energy balance (or lack thereof) and dig through the dozens of sites that explain these phenomena in various ways, here’s an article on statistics for your consideration:

“Why, Dr Briggs,” asks the earnest Student, “Why must we study all this gobbledegook about philosophy when it’s more important to learn all the neat methods of handling data? Why can’t we just get right to it like in all those other textbooks and classes?”

Read on:



On the list of stupid, irresponsible statements by a government official:

Wyoming has the highest per capita CO2 emissions.  Seriously, the government is so desperate to damage a state that produces oil, gas and coal that they use a ridiculous statistic like “per capita” usage?  How stupid do you have to be to not realize what a ruse this is–there is no way Wyoming, with a little over half a million people, creates more CO2 in actual volume, than California with over 30,5 million.  There is no wonder whatsoever why people have realized that so much of global warming is just lie after lie, deception after deception.  Why listen at all???

Scientific badger

Scientific badger

A bit of everything

First, this: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/26/weather-storms-hurricanes/5575663/
It seems that at least USA Today has realized that “extreme” weather is what we have always and always will (and which only mentioned “climate change”, i.e. global warming once)!

I was sidetracked in my writing by:


This looked like a huntsman spider, though since I unfortunately had to “dispatch” him (for hiding under my husband’s computer monitor!), it’s hard to tell.  The eyes tell all and his really don’t speak anymore!


Size of wolf spider Wolf spider attacking cockroach

This is a wolf spider.  I found him first by my washer and gave mashing him a run, but he was too quick and hiding in a corner.  At that time, I did not know what kind of spider he was. (We generally kill all spiders except at few orb-weavers that we find in the house.  It’s forbidden, however, to kill them outside, except black windows.)  Yesterday, I found him in the middle of the dining room, on the floor.  I snagged him with a jar and took more pictures, deducing he was indeed a wolf spider.  Last night, we tossed in a baby Cuban cockroach and he dined on it.  I probably won’t toss him outside for a while–it’s supposed to snow this weekend and get below zero.  (There’s a video of him wrestling the cockroach at: http://www.shutterfly.com/video/myVideos.sfly?fid=8742d57818ca111dc7e45aad1e0cdff4#D-52c2e2dae4b02ab6b1d800c2-530f593ce4537409d07f5ebf)

Once I had identified the spiders, etc, I decided to check my carbon footprint.  The result of my searches–carbon footprint calculators are as bogus as psychics.  Several wanted to know my income. What does my income have to do with my carbon footprint?  Then there were the sites that insisted my only choices for heating were electric or natural gas.  I filled out the questions on one site, finding out if everyone used what I do, we would need six earths.  However, when I forwarded to the next page, all of the instructions for reducing my carbon footprint I already do:  Car with high mileage for long trips, I get my water from a well, I keep my thermostat lower that apparently half the country does (based on news items about propane costs), compost, garden, grow trees, don’t water my yard (just the trees and garden), use natural bug control when possible, eat wild meat, use CFLs where appropriate, low-flush toilets, etc, etc.  I guess the part where the only way to stop global warming is to live in a hole in the ground and eat dirt may actually be true.  Seems there’s no way to please the carbon people.  I would also note that many sites were trying to sell carbon credits, so this is really about money.

Next, the high cost of propane.  Propane is not regulated as a utility so the dealer  you have can pretty much charge whatever he wants.  You cannot have a dealer fill another dealer’s tank.  Most of the time, you have minimum purchase amounts (mine will cost $800 next time I buy–200 gallon minimum, over $3.75 a gallon plus fees), and often dealers just dump high priced fuel in your tank and bill you without your knowing they were going to fill your tank  (I actually padlocked the tank once to keep them from filling it.)  What does this have to with global warming, you ask?  The alternative to propane is generally a wood stove.  Mine is from 1983, so it probably does not meet EPA standards.  Every morning now the neighborhood smells like a forest fire.  People are burning wood, rather than using propane.  My furnace is 96% efficient–my fireplace is not.  However, the cost of propane and the complete lack of care for customers (propane dealers know they own you and they don’t care if you like their service or not.  There are only two dealer where I live.  If I change, I have to get a new tank and wait for a refund from the old one.  Dealers often won’t quote you prices, so you have no idea if the move is worth it or not.)  So what we have here is a situation that our “Stop Global Warming” President ignores entirely while the amount of smoke in the air goes up and up as people drop the cleaner fuel.   All talk, as usual.  Right now, the option is to go to whatever fuel is cheaper and easier to obtain, no matter how dirty because you have one of two unregulated utilities (the other is fuel oil).

My class:

The first class on climate change was introductory—discussing what will eventually be covered. I was surprised to see a “hockey stick” graph, especially since Michael Mann’s lawsuit again Tim Bell was dismissed allegedly because Mann would not produce his data. (Note:  It appears the report of the lawsuit being dismissed was not true.  It remains true that Mann will not release his data, however.  Unless someone has a link to the data and wants to share?)  One would think a high quality university would shy away from such questionable data. It wasn’t Mann’s graph, which is good. Still, most temperature graphs I see now have a leveling of the gradient, not a hockey stick. More disappointing was how many of the graphs are old (going only to 2006 or before) and have no information on the source of the graph. Perhaps later on there will be more information.

I did find the brief discussion of the Milankovich cycles interesting. I have always been fascinated with the snowball earth period and its transition to today’s earth. Paleo climate is quite interesting.

I am hoping that later on they discuss the pause, the slowing, whatever one wants to refer to the flattening of the “hockey stick” blade. Perhaps when we get to models. I would like to know what is involved in the models. So far, there was one example, with CO2 and volcanoes, aerosols, volcanoes and ozone. A very, very simplistic model. Hopefully, they get better.

Going through the videos, I came up with a lot of questions. In researching, I found several items involving the Medieval Warming period and how warm it was and how global it was. It has always fascinated me that climate change science just wiped out two very important historical events: the Little Ice Age and The Medieval Warming period. I suppose that is not really that surprising in today’s culture. My understanding is that Columbus is now an evil conqueror who never should have disturbed the natives living a utopian existence on the continent. It’s amazing how easy it is to alter history to one’s politics. If history, why not science?

One interesting item was the definition of climate: “the statistics of weather”. Of course, the first thing that popped into my head was the book “How to lie with statistics”. Not what they were hoping for, I would guess……

This week is about the physics of climate change.  Maybe it will be better.

Disaster predictions from the believer’s side

Earlier in this blog, I posted https://watchingthewatchersofdeniers.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/follow-the-yellow-brick-road/. There were complaints that the piece was too dark and unrealistic. This seems unlikely, considering this believer’s current prognostications if we don’t do anything. It seems scary and dark are only allowed on the “righteous” side of the debate?


Here we have another promoting of fiction to sell climate change:

It seems only fair that the skeptics side be allowed to write their version of what climate change entails, be it a future of living in dire poverty with hundreds dead due to fuel poverty, land littered with wind turbines and wars over resources. Hey, it’s all about fiction, right????

Here we go again…

Seems WtD has tired of paranoia already and is back to posting fire photos. No need for science–just post scary photos. I have to wonder if skeptics gave up on science and we just had “dueling disaster photos” how that would work out. Hmmmm….

(I do have sympathy with anyone trying to follow a paranoia topic. Too much time on conspiracy theory websites is exhausting. However, I was hoping for more than the usual disaster snapshots.)

Then there’s Kerry saying climate skeptics are like members of the Flat Earth Society. Apparently, Mr. Kerry believes we are all too stupid to remember that his boss tried that and the president of the Flat Earth Society said he does believe in global warming. Or maybe Mr. Kerry is too stupid to remember?

Will the IPCC report help?

WtD is celebrating the release of the 5th IPCC report saying maybe this will wake people up. Honestly, it seems unlikely. Heading to the actual science section, I find:

“The models used to calculate the IPCC’s temperature projections agree on the direction of future global change, but the projected size of those changes cannot be precisely predicted. Future greenhouse gas (GHG) emission rates could take any one of many possible trajectories, and some underlying physical processes are not yet completely understood, making them difficult to model. Those uncertainties, combined with natural year-to-year climate variability, produce an ‘uncertainty range’ in temperature projections.”

“The final contribution to the uncertainty range comes from our imperfect knowledge of how the climate will respond to future anthropogenic emissions and land use change. Scientists principally use computer-based global climate models to estimate this response. A few dozen global climate models have been developed by different groups of scientists around the world. All models are built on the same physical principles, but some approximations are needed because the climate system is so complex. Different groups choose slightly different approximations to represent specific processes in the atmosphere, such as clouds. These choices produce differences in climate projections from different models. This contribution to the uncertainty range is described as ‘response uncertainty’ or ‘model uncertainty’.”

Now, it could just be me (actually, I did get a second opinion and said opinion was in agreement with mine) but what this seems to be saying is the IPCC models don’t take into account the many factors affecting climate accurately, natural factors are far more important than the last four reports stated but the IPCC is still 95% certain humans are driving climate. The CO2 will cause a .5 to 4.5 degree increase in the anomaly from the global mean temperature, of that they are certain (depending on which model one uses to get the prediction, of course). The only thing they seem certain of is the temperature will eventually start rising again, sometime. In a field that reports anomalies to a hundredth of a degree, the 4 degree uncertainty seems to be a case of “Ray’s rules of Precision”:
“Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe.”

A four degree range? Missing many of the factors in their models? Seems likely. 95% certainty? Of what? I suspect a good psychic could make predictions with such a broad range. (If the psychic understood the importance of climate change science, they would, of course, indicate warming.)

All of this is based on CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Yes, it is. One of many involved in climate change. The importance thereof is now called into question due to natural factors, inability to accurately model, etc. For all anyone knows, at some point a natural factor overcomes the CO2 and the temperature goes down again, remains stable or does actually increase. As for “climate change”, the climate is as it has been for years. Check the numbers yourself for floods, hurricanes, heat waves, etc. Or dig out that photo album if you’re old enough and see that today’s weather looks like what you saw in the past. Forget the models—look at the real world.

Going back to the oft presented “these are authorities” and would you treat you doctor with the same skepticism as those in climate science, I give you:
Mrs. Doe consults a physician about her symptoms—vague pain in her abdomen, lethargy, lack of appetite, occasional headaches.
Her doctor feeds the symptoms into his computer model and the computer reports Mrs. Doe has a 95% probability of a tiny cancer in her abdomen that can only be found with exploratory surgery. The one symptom missing is an elevated temperature of 102 or above. If her temperature reaches 102, surgery is imperative. If Mrs. Doe skips surgery and hits the 95% group, she will have 5 years to live, plus or minus 4 years. For the rest of her life, any fever over 102 requires surgery to search for the tiny cancer, until it is found or until she dies. Slight changes in symptoms are to be ignored. The risk is real, according to her physician.
Mrs. Doe’s son asks mom how the doctor got his model. How many people actually had the cancer, how many skipped the surgery and died? How many had surgery and something was found? How many surgeries before something was found? How many studies went into the model?
Mrs. Doe tells her son he is wrong to question the doctor and she will have surgery as many times as necessary. Doctors are experts, all doctors reportedly agree with her doctor (oncologists only, of course) and we must listen to the experts.

Anyone out there want to volunteer for a possible lifetime of exploratory surgery based on a model? Anyone willing to trust a doctor who tells you the only answer is repeated surgeries based on vague symptoms? How far can a doctor go before anyone questions? Climate scientists would tell you to follow the advise and get the surgery. Authorities know.

Youkipper (commenter here) suggested I take a course on climate change. I checked out his suggested class but it did not really meet my requirements. I did find a course that starts Feb. 19 from MIT (https://www.edx.org/course/mitx/mitx-12-340x-global-warming-science-1244) and signed up. I will write on what I learn from the course.

Scientific badger

Scientific badger