Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: Slim to none

17

An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth’s climate, according to a new study.

An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth's climate, according to a new study by McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.

The study, published online April 6 in the journalClimate Dynamics, represents a new approach to the question of whether global warming in the industrial era has been caused largely by man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Rather than using complex computer models to estimate the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, Lovejoy examines historical data to assess the competing hypothesis: that warming over the past century is due to natural long-term variations in temperature.

"This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers," Lovejoy says. "Their two most convincing arguments – that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong – are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it."

Lovejoy's study applies statistical methodology to determine the probability that global warming since 1880 is due to natural variability. His conclusion: the natural-warming hypothesis may be ruled out "with confidence levels great than 99%, and most likely greater than 99.9%."

To assess the natural variability before much human interference, the new study uses "multi-proxy climate reconstructions" developed by scientists in recent years to estimate historical temperatures, as well as fluctuation-analysis techniques from nonlinear geophysics. The climate reconstructions take into account a variety of gauges found in nature, such as tree rings, ice cores, and lake sediments. And the fluctuation-analysis techniques make it possible to understand the temperature variations over wide ranges of time scales.

Written By: Science Daily
continue to source article at sciencedaily.com

17 COMMENTS

  1. Humans have massively sped up the amount of warming on our globe, which was previously not a runaway train…..especially in the last 65 years…our burning of ever larger amounts of energy not only increases heat in greater proportions but chemical pollutants…from concrete and aluminium production especially…
    Any Nuclear energy created by humans and released on our planet never goes away -
    Vast amounts of heat have accumulated already that storms are more common and more ferocious, droughts are more severe, oceans are rising and major floods are a regular event.
    The surface of the poles is melting and could lead to a quickening of the melt and then its Aquarius for us….

  2. Climate change happens. In the permian it created a desert world, the carboniferous was warm and oxygen rich as was the eocene. Then there are the various ice ages.
    We have three choices:

    Do Nothing

    Do Something Positive

    Do something Negative

    It seems a no brainer to me. Doing something positive may be too little too late but hope over despair and/or suicide? As I said – no brainer.

  3. I think it’s unfortunate that even many scientists are reluctant to draw what seems to me to be the obvious connection between all the extreme weather we are experiencing and climate change. It’s not something where I really try to dig into the science the way I try to on other topics, for one thing it’s just too damn depressing, but from what I do know I think that increased hurricanes, floods, etc. are all predicted from climate change. The problem is that you can never say about any specific weather event “that hurricane was caused by climate change”. It reminds me of the tobacco => cancer issue. For any one individual you can’t say for sure that smoking caused their cancer but clearly smoking makes you far more likely to get cancer and (from what I know) climate change makes extreme weather far more probable. But when I can stand to listen to the mainstream news it seems they almost never draw connections between the third or fourth “storm of the century” that now seem to occur almost every year and climate change.

    • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      mainstream news

      Try the Weather Channel. They just went back to, wait for it, reporting about weather!

      A certain weatherman from a morning show recently signed up. Pretty sure it’s because he wants to do serious reporting (climate change). Local weatherman always acts goofy on air – however, he is well informed of CC.

      CC seems to be a paradox; it is real, affecting everything on Earth, yet at the same time, damn difficult to relate to – too big and impersonal.

  4. I can say sadly I won’t be around when the stuff really hits the fan. I won’t be sad not to be here but that I will be looking at the narrowing of civilization in my last twenty or so years.
    Resources will be for the rich to plunder. Food will be at an unaffordable level. Crime in the cities will be dramatic.
    And now for the lighter side of the news…………..

  5. WHAT CAN we say about “climate deniers”… those who willfully keep on the blinders and scoff at the notion that anything industrial-technological age humans have done could not have influenced or caused a pattern of global warming, which will likely have dire consequences?

    WHAT COULD possibly motivate those will very meager (or utterly lacking) scientific credentials in this particular field of study to pontificate so boldly… and to flatly reject a consensus of scientists who do their best to present the most plausible explanation of the data, based on the most recent computer models?

    WHAT IS motivating such hubris?

    WHAT COULD be the harm in taking some reasonable steps to limit green-house gases and taking better care of our environment… the CommonWealth which sustains us all?

    WHAT EXACTLY is so irksome to ‘deniers’ regarding the notions of conservation… sustainability… and stewardship of the environment?

    COULD THERE possibly be a connection with their religious faith… the bizarre notion of ‘end times’ and ‘the rapture’… the delusion that it’s all unfolding according to some god’s plan and that scientific inquiry has no business meddling in such realms?

    • In reply to #8 by Spin-oza:

      COULD THERE possibly be a connection with their religious faith… the bizarre notion of ‘end times’ and ‘the rapture’… the delusion that it’s all unfolding according to some god’s plan and that scientific inquiry has no business meddling in such realms?

      IMO the short answer is no. Or rather, I think that being a certain kind of delusional Christian is highly correlated with being a climate change denier but so is being a white anglo-saxon and I don’t think either being white or being Christian are the main causes. IMO the main cause is a related delusional dogmatic belief system called free market worship.

      I want to differentiate between actual free market capitalism because I like the free market and some of my best friends are entrepreneurs and some of the most fun I’ve had with my pants on has been working in or with startups trying to exploit the free market to create more innovation and wealth. So while I agree with a lot of the ideas of the left I don’t agree with the denigration of business or the idea that all CEO’s and people who make it to the executive level are all evil bastards.

      But having said that there is a belief system — I think it comes close to almost being a religion — in the US that the free market is the solution to every problem the world has ever known and that if something is associated with a corporation it must be good and if it’s in any way meant to help the general public it is evil. It is a dogmatic irrational belief system that is demonstrably irrational, and as irrational as the God delusion. The “free market” that is worshiped includes massive subsidies to huge corporations such as Exxon. The idea that the free market works for privatizing services in the public interest can be shown to be false by mountains of data on services such as the military, healthcare, and education.

      BTW, the military is one example of an attempt at privatization that is under reported. The US “outsources” a lot of functions for our “defense”. The logistical support for the military for example is a huge infrastructure, larger in itself than most world governments or major corporations and much of the work that used to be done by the DOD is now done by contractors at half the productivity with ten times the cost.

      Sorry, seem to be rambling this morning. My point is that it’s primarily this worship of the free market that causes people to engage in self delusion, very much text book examples of what Trivers describes, about climate change. Christianity usually goes along with this free market delusion but there are a LOT of people who work very hard to do something about climate change that are Christians as well.

      • In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #8 by Spin-oza:

        COULD THERE possibly be a connection with their religious faith… the bizarre notion of ‘end times’ and ‘the rapture’… the delusion that it’s all unfolding according to some god’s plan and that scientific inquiry has no business meddling in such realms?

        IMO the short…

        Well Crimson Dog… there is definitely a link with a large fraction of “Christians”… (those driving SUV’s to their mega-church-social-clubs)… to the belief that their god “materially blesses” them in proportion to their faith. Delusions about direct material reward for “tithing”, akin to investment yields.

        Their god has provided this world, with all it’s Natural resources for their unfettered use (and abuse – “drill baby drill”), and environmental concerns are merely the cries of the faithless, not trusting god’s plan… not believing in the hereafter.
        The “worship of corporations” is a result of this moral cover… as a symbol and means to their elevated status… their just deserts.

        The warnings about the limits of resource development… and the dire consequences that may follow predictably fall on deaf ears because they come from the secular realm of science. TO the faith based, it’s an affront, like the notion of birth control/population growth concerns vs. biblical “be fruitful and multiply”… or teaching evolution vs. biblical creationism.

        Further, it is now common for corporations to promote their “green” endeavors if they see it as good business, which it increasingly is.. or those running the board of directors are tuned to real environmental concerns. Corporations with “the long view” know stewardship of resources and maintaining a clean and stable environment is… not only good for all, but good for business.

        • In reply to #16 by Spin-oza:

          Further, it is now common for corporations to promote their “green” endeavors if they see it as good business, which it increasingly is.. or those running the board of directors are tuned to real environmental concerns. Corporations with “the long view” know stewardship of resources and maintaining a clean and stable environment is… not only good for all, but good for business.

          Most of that stuff is just PR. I used to be in charge of a lab and one thing I made sure of was that we all followed all the recycling rules that our fairly progressive big company had in place. We had recycling for several different categories, cans went one place, non soiled paper in another, etc. Then one night when I was the last person there I happened to watch the cleaning people. To my horror they took all our very carefully separated trash and dumped each container into the same larger garbage can with all the other non recyclable waste. It turned out our building just wouldn’t follow the recycling guidelines so all the stuff we were doing was pointless.

          I’m not saying that happens all the time, actually I just kind of like telling the story because it shows how the devil can be in the details but my real point is, and I feel the same about environmentalists who moan about consumers who have a few bad habits, this kind of incremental stuff while still worth doing is trivial compared to issues like the fact that the US has a pathetic infrastructure for public transportation compared to Europe or that we still get so much of our energy from fossil fuels or that we don’t have better tax incentives for green alternatives or that we have refused to take leadership on Kyoto or other international agreements or (one more) that we actually GIVE TAX INCENTIVES to oil and gas companies to look for oil. That last one really gets me. It’s like the government giving me a tax break for ogling pretty women.

  6. As for the cost of replacing obsolete polluting industries, the denial can be even more irrational!

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/cameron-finally-challenges-tory-climate-change-deniers

    Against the advice of the climate change select commitee, Cameron refused to include a 2030 decarbonisation target in the energy bill, despite an estimated saving of £958 to £1,724 for each household and the potential creation of up to 48,000 new jobs.

  7. In addition to the mountains of evidence already available, the on-going monitoring of details continues to assist in planning the changes ahead!

    The European Union’s new Sentinel-1a radar satellite has returned its first images of Earth. – Launched on 3 April, the spacecraft is part of a fleet of orbiting sensors that will go up over the next few years to monitor the state of the planet – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27049659.

    Its maiden pictures depict Brussels, flooding in Namibia and one of the mightiest ice features on Earth – Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica.

    The images give a flavour of the sort of work Sentinel-1a will be doing.

    Radar data is particularly useful for urban planning purposes, for making maps following natural disasters, and for monitoring remote locations such as polar ice fields.

    The sample of images released by the European Space Agency (Esa) is just a taster. The satellite’s imager will require further calibration before full operational service can begin in about three months’ time.

    • In reply to #12 by Hydrochloric12:

      The problem that is ignored by one side is that regardless of the cause, the current climate trends pose substantial threats, whether or not they’re man-made or entirely natural.

      They certainly do, but unless the causes are understood, and action taken based on understanding these, human actions can grossly escalate the problems and overwhelm and potential solutions.

      It is therefore essential to deal with the man-made aspects quickly and effectively, otherwise we are simply treating the symptoms without resolving the causes. – many of which are well known and well understood.

Leave a Reply