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Topic Title: If it ain't broke don't fix it
Topic Summary: Should engineers control the eco-system?
Created On: 25 April 2012 03:35 PM
Status: Post and Reply
Related E&T article: Should engineers control the eco-system?
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 16 August 2012 12:37 PM
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melanieosborne

Posts: 5
Joined: 24 July 2002

I do not discount what NASA and co say but also I do not discount what 'some bloke on a blog' says either.

You can find a 'bloke on a blog' to back up whatever position you like. You could even find a whole movement dedicated to proving the Earth is flat.
amillar's post on the scientific method was spot on. When even Bjorn Lomborg has stopped disputing the fact of man-made Climate Change, surely you must realise it's time to start thinking constructively about what we can all do to avert catastrophic Climate Change?
 16 August 2012 02:26 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: melanieosborne
Change, surely you must realise it's time to start thinking constructively about what we can all do to avert catastrophic Climate Change?

The constructive thinking started many years ago, maybe we need to take account of that.

Regards.
 16 August 2012 03:10 PM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 866
Joined: 19 July 2002

Currently a number of scientists and it would appear most journalists and politicians support (preach) the concept of manmade global warming. If you go back 30-40 years exactly the opposite was being preached, the next ice age was upon us! To quote Sir Fred Hoyle's book from 1981, Ice: How the New Ice Age will Come and How We Can Prevent It, the next (imminent) ice age would;

"...hopelessly compromise the future...This is why our modern generation must take action to avoid catastrophe, an ultimate catastrophe besides which the problems that concern people, media, and government from day to day are quite trivial."

At this time there were proposals to promote global warming to try and delay the next ice age by trying to store more heat in the oceans.

You could replace ice age with global warming and the statement is the same as many being preached today!

The evidence for the next ice age was probably even more compelling that that being put forward for manmade global warming. The was a regular cycle of ice ages over the last 400,000 years, we were approaching a temperature peak and so we were about to go down the other side. There were good explanations for the cyclic nature of the ice ages based on the small oscillations in the earths path around the sun (Milankovitch cycles).

I certainly agree that the climate is changing, has changed and will very likely continue to change. I don't however think that we are in a position to judge if mans actions are having an influence.

10,000 years ago where I live was under a glacier. Now I have to drive at least 100km to reach the end of this glacier so on average it has been receding at 10m per year. Some centuries it probably grow and others it receded much faster that 10m per year. Is it currently receding faster that average? Maybe. Is it receding at a rate outside the normal variation? Probably not.

I fully support a reduction in our consumption of non-renewable resources, fossil fuels and other raw materials. We certainly should take more care of our planet, but to try and base this on what may well be bad science will be counter productive. If as part of the natural variations the temperature falls for a number of years the large consumers are just going to say "Man made climate change, load of rubbish" and increase their consumption still more.

Best regards

Roger
 22 August 2012 04:06 PM
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melanieosborne

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Currently a number of scientists...

A number of scientists? How about the consensus view as stated in the IPCC Third Assessment report as endorsed by:

Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Bazil)
Royal Society of Canada
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academié des Sciences (France)
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
Indian National Science Academy
Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
Science Council of Japan
Russian Academy of Sciences
Royal Society (United Kingdom)
National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)
Australian Academy of Sciences
Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
Caribbean Academy of Sciences
Indonesian Academy of Sciences
Royal Irish Academy
Academy of Sciences Malaysia
Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
This report thoroughly referenced here. If you are not convinced by the IPCC and the National Scientific Institutions of the most scientifically advanced nations on Earth then maybe you don't understand the scientific method?
As for global cooling in the 1970s, that was never subject of the same level of scientific consensus, more like a few newspaper articles. We don't measure scientific certainty using newspaper articles and a book.

10,000 years ago where I live was under a glacier.

Nobody is denying that glaciers have advanced and receded over geological time. What is worrying is the rate that glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate over the last century.

You refer to 'what may well be bad science' in your post and go on to speculate about glacier retreat rates, concluding 'probably not'[due to man-made Climate Change]. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. "Probably not" does not constitute extraordinary evidence. I'm with the overwhelming majority of scientists, NASA and the IPCC.

Regards,

Mel
 22 August 2012 05:29 PM
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StewartTaylor

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Albert Einstein was unimpressed when Hitler had a hundred professors sign a letter stating that Einstein was wrong about relativity.

"If I had been wrong, one professor would have been enough."

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 22 August 2012 07:20 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
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Originally posted by: StewartTaylor

Albert Einstein was unimpressed when Hitler had a hundred professors sign a letter stating that Einstein was wrong about relativity.

"If I had been wrong, one professor would have been enough."


And if the internet was around in his time then Albert would have probably been 'some bloke on a blog'.

Regards.
 23 August 2012 01:44 PM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 866
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Dear Mel,

Do you read what you quote? You lambasted me for saying "a number of scientists" support man made climate change and then quote a paper on glaciers which says "Some scientists attribute this retreat to the Industrial Revolution; burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and affects our environment in ways we did not understand before"

The same paper also states, using Ötzi as an example (the museum is well worth a visit), that the ice in that area has returned to the level it was 5000 years ago. What caused it to recede that time? I doubt if it was due to man's activities.

The coming of the next ice age is also a little bit more than a book and a couple of newspaper articles, I suggest that you look at this website from the University of California.

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/vir...atechange2/01_1.shtml

We are clearly in the area of relatively rapid global warming that precedes another ice age as has happened cyclically during the last 400,000 years.

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/vir...oeckerandVanDonk.html

You also challenge me on my understanding of the scientific method. I certainly understand it, it requires in my words:

Observation of events
Determination of the cause of these events (not statistical or coincidental correlations)
Development of predictive models
Confirmation of predictions
Search for and challenge of confounding influences

I tend to start my challenges at the simplest level of things I can experience for myself, for example what has happened to my local glacier. Other examples of this are:

The temperature CO2 link:

When I was at school we had to carry out an experiment putting measured quantities of a yeast sugar mix into test tubes and sealing the tops with balloons. These tubes were then put into water baths at different temperatures and after a set time the size of the balloons was measured. Result, increasing temperature increases the rate of emission of CO2 from living organisms.
Challenge: If the global temperature is increased in some way there will be more CO2 generated increasing the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Is the CO2 driving the temperature or is the temperature driving the CO2?

Mathematical models:

The problem with mathematical models was highlighted to me by a college maths project that my daughter had to do a few years ago.
The background of the project was to develop an algorithm that could be used to control the times that street lighting was turned on and off through the year. They were given a table of the 'lighting up' times by week for a year from a city somewhere and a commercial graphing program. The students had to work out a formula without the graphing program and then use the program to produce a 'best fit' to the data set and see which gave the better result.

With a bit of understanding of the earth going round and orbiting the sun the students own formula was a SIN function with a few constants to get the correct values. The graphing program came up with a multiple order equation which fitted the data set very accurately but shot off to infinity outside of the range. The complicated equation actually fitted the data set slightly better than the SIN function but was completely meaningless as a predictor!

Challenge: How good is the model used to predict climate change? It will fit the current data set because that's what it's based on, but does it settle down to a regular pattern or fly off to infinity?

This gentlemen who is a quite respected scientist who has been involved in climate change work posted a similar view of complex mathematical models on another forum,

http://health.phys.iit.edu/arc...2012-July/036732.html

This was in response to a challenge to the forum by a supporter of man-made climate change. The rest of the tread is quite interesting.

Finally please do not assume meanings,

"You refer to 'what may well be bad science' in your post and go on to speculate about glacier retreat rates, concluding 'probably not'[due to man-made Climate Change]."
I am merely questioning if the current rates of retreat are outside the normal range of the last 10,000 years and as from your quote that the ice in the Ötztal alps has returned to the level it was at 5000 years ago I think that probably not is still a reasonable response.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This also applies to man-made climate change.

Remember read, observe, study, challenge don't just follow.

Best regards

Roger
 23 August 2012 03:01 PM
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steverichards

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Lets have a reminder of the scientific method.

You come up with a hypothesis, a way to test your hypothesis, then you test it.

If your test passes, the hypothesis stays in 'play', if your test fails, your hypothesis is wrong and needs changing, rewriting or scrapping.

You publish your results whether your test passes or fails.

You publish your data to allow others to try out your hypothesis, and they may develop and try other tests to try and 'break' your hypothesis.

Your hypothesis stands until someone can make it fail a valid test.

What you do not do is hide data, cherry pick data or perform invalid statistical transforms on data.

What you do not do is try and stop alternative views from being published.

What you do not do is try and get journal editors the sack.

What you do not do is try and thwart FOI requests.

What you do not do is keep referring to the discredited 'hockey stick graph' after faulty statistical methods are highlighted.

Please note, all of the dire predictions of warming come from computer simulations. ALL of the computer simulations have failed to predict the halt in warming of the last 10 - 15 years.

Therefore, ALL model outputs/predictions/warnings of doom are WORTHLESS.

This is science.

We need to return to the core foundations of science: observation, measurement and truth.

Please do not refer to 98% of all climate scientists believe the man is causing catastrophic climate change.

The 98% figure came from a survey of effectively 77 people, 75 who agreed with two simplistic questions. See here for more details:

Link removed/201...-scientists-consensus/

google "About that overwhelming 97-98% number of scientists that say there is a climate consensus" to find the reference above.

which refers to the original published paper.

There is some good work being conducted by climate scientist, but much appears to be second rate or worse.

A good measure of how well a discipline is policing itself is to see how many published papers are withdrawn (due to fraud or serious error).

In medical research it is hundreds per year.

In climate science, I am aware of one. Do correct me if I am wrong.

Edited: 24 August 2012 at 01:11 PM by steverichards
 23 August 2012 06:44 PM
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westonpa

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19348427

'The analysis revealed that 15,000-12,000 years ago, the Antarctic Peninsula experienced significant warming, becoming about 1C warmer than today.'

Of course this does not mean we humans are not having some impact on the climate, but the article does indicate that at least one scientist needs to be 'pressed' to conclude the current warming is human induced.....so convinced he is, even after studying all the data.

Regards.
 23 August 2012 07:45 PM
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diviner

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As I understand it, WHAT is happening is not unprecedented. HOW FAST it is happening, on the other hand, is, by quite a large margin.

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Ian Gordon, MIET CITP MBCS
 23 August 2012 08:53 PM
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steverichards

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Originally posted by: diviner

As I understand it, WHAT is happening is not unprecedented. HOW FAST it is happening, on the other hand, is, by quite a large margin.


I agree with your first sentence, but, which part of the last 10 to 15 years of flat temperature change, is changing quickly?

Yes, there has been a measurably slow warming over the last few decades but so what?

Each iteration of the calculations (first funded by Governments, then checked and corrected by the 'community) is reducing the rate of temperature rise.

To assume that the global average land temperature should remain constant defies belief.

Most people who are members of the IET will have an engineering background of sorts, to a greater or lesser extent, and will understand the concept of 'steady state' and how remote the occurrence of such a state is in nature.
 23 August 2012 10:44 PM
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diviner

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Actually, if an article in a recent "New Scientist", referring to research by a group of prominent climate change sceptics, is to be believed, there is strong evidence that the correct scale to talk about is not "the last 10 to 15 years" but "the last 200-plus years", and that the most probable cause of the change is indeed man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The same article refers to other research and modelling which also cannot explain the observed warming without including the human influence.

-------------------------
Ian Gordon, MIET CITP MBCS
 24 August 2012 01:55 AM
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robmercel

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The New Scientist article featuring the 'conversion' of the publicity seeking Muller is yet another example of climate change propaganda. Muller has been a catastrophic anthropogenic climate change alarmist for years:

"Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate." - Richard Muller, 2003
 24 August 2012 10:43 AM
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steverichards

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1) The magazine "New Scientist" is fully behind the "only CO2 causes warming" scare. True science is no longer a key ingredient within the pages of that magazine.

2) Look at our own Met office web site (or any other government funded climate website) and you will see that the temperature has stopped rising 10 - 15 years ago. The reality is that flat temperatures conflict with EVERY computer simulation which currently predict temperature rise to be accelerating. It literally does not add up. If this were physics research or any other serious academic endeavour, people would be sweating over whether they can hold onto their qualifications or freedom (in extremis)!

3) Your last paragraph, what does this mean? Someone has made (another) computer model, of all the variables that they include into their simulation, they include one for human created CO2. If they remove that variable, the model does not work. What a surprise. I have written computer simulations most of my working life, garbage in, garbage out.

4) I can only repeat, all computer simulations/models/programs call them what you wish, predict (because that is how they have been constructed) a temperature rise in conjunction with a measurable CO2 rise. But it has not happened. Meaning? The computer models are wrong.

5) An interesting paper, Watts et al (2012), based on the work of Leroy (1999), indicates how the positioning of weather monitoring stations has had a fundamental effect on average temperature trend. It looks like in the continental USA, there has been a spurious doubling of the temperature rise. Hopefully this work will be replicated around the globe and new temperature trends can be agreed upon. Looking at Watts et al (2012) and his previous works, this will have a major impact upon perceived global temperatures.
 23 November 2012 04:21 PM
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geoffbenn

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In short, my answer to the original question is "no". However, the way things are going we may end up with no choice.

I've responded in the new topic "Debate - Is climate change a man-made phenomenon?" to various points which have been made above.

We really must look at the big picture, and base our decisions on main-stream peer-reviewed science rather than pseudo science and mis-information that is pushed, at least in part, by the fossil fuel industry. If 500 climate scientists recommend urgent action to prevent catastrophe then we should take note, especially when reluctant oil producing nations agree to the 'conclusion'.

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
IET » Other and general engineering discussions » If it ain't broke don't fix it

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