Sunday, July 16, 2006


The Always Humorous Unreliapundit on Global Warming

Over the past few days, I've maintained a little one-sided debate with the man who calls himself "reliapundit" and posts at "The Astute Blogger." The debate topic was global warming. I first responded to a post of his from July 11th. In the original post, he was gleefully reporting on a petition of scientists that questioned global warming. Of course, this petition was the OISM petition from 8 years ago, but he reported it as if it were current news and not a discredited propaganda piece. When his petition was shown to be worthless and dated, he naturally apologized for putting up such a misleading story. Oh wait, that's not what happened. He ignored that and started to (weakly) argue why global warming was not correct. He had lots of previous posts on this topic, ranging from the standard party line to bizarre theories that he had come up with by misreading other blog posts and scientific reports. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Unreliapundit: "The EU's Plank Institute chief scientist for atmosperic scince suggested that the major cause of earthj's warm ups is THE SUN."
My response: I assume that you're referring here to the 2004 study performed by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research entitled "How Strongly Does the Sun Influence the Global Climate?" (of course, since you provide no link, it's hard to tell exactly what study you're referring to, but this seems like a good fit):
Max Planck Institute
Perhaps you'd like to consider the synopsis of that study on their website. It is, "Studies at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research reveal: solar activity affects the climate but plays only a minor role in the current global warming." To elaborate, they add, in the body of the report, "However, researchers at the MPS have shown that the Sun can be responsible for, at most, only a small part of the warming over the last 20-30 years. They took the measured and calculated variations in the solar brightness over the last 150 years and compared them to the temperature of the Earth. Although the changes in the two values tend to follow each other for roughly the first 120 years, the Earth’s temperature has risen dramatically in the last 30 years while the solar brightness has not appreciably increased in this time."

2. Unreliapundit:"there are MANY warmiong periods throughout history BEFORE indistrilaizaton. Before any man-made inputs"
My response: Obviously, this contention is true. I don't think that anyone is advocating that greenhouse gases are the ONLY factor that can cause global warming. The argument is that increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere do cause temperature increases, though those certainly could be mitgated or enhanced by other factors. As an analogy for your argument here, let's say that we take a bowl of water, put it outside, and track its temperature over time. We find through our measumements that it gets warmer during the day and cooler at night. We have established that there are "warming periods" and "cooling periods" for the water based on a natural cycle, similar to your claim above. Now, we take a hot-plate, heat the water, and observe a temperature increase. By your argument, we should discount the effect of the hot plate on temperature since we have already seen that the water temperature can rise and fall based on other factors and conclude that we're simply "AGAIN HAVING ONE OF TGHOSE WARM UPS" that we noted daily before the hot plate was in place.

3.Unreliapundit:"co2 hand man-made "greenhouse gases" has STEADILY increased since 1840 but temperatures have not"
My response:Perhaps you and I have different definitions of "steadily increased." For methane and CO2, there are basically bends in the graphs that change the slope of the increase at about 1950. Given the nature of industrialization and its spread around the globe, I think you'd be hard pressed to support that the percentage increases of greenhouse gases from 1840-1850 bore any resemblance to those from 1995-2005.

4. Unreliapundit: "Other research has suggested that vines tend to grow particularly fast in response to higher CO2 levels, and that vines are increasing in abundance all over the planet."
My response:First, let me point out that you’re conceding here that higher CO2 levels are in fact going up all over the planet. You then go on to claim that homeostasis will be reached because increased levels of CO2 will cause increased CO2 sequestration. But you provide no evidence that the percentage increase in plant growth and thus sequestration is the same as the CO2 increase. For example, let’s say that every 100% increase in CO2 caused a 5% increase in plant growth and an equal 5% increase in sequestration. This doesn’t give homeostasis, it gives a 5% slower increase in CO2 than you would have had without that effect. You say that there can be no crisis because of this, but that’s obviously untrue. The simple fact that you already conceded that CO2 levels are, in fact, rising all over the plant shows that homeostasis is not being reached.

5. Unreliapundit: "And then there's this FACT: As CO2 levels increased from 1940-1970, global temperatures DECLINED; this is DISPOSITIVE PROOF; increases in atmospheric CO2 cannot cause global warming."
My response:Wait, didn’t you just say that there have been eras of warming and cooling? Might those make it possible that a cooling trend in 1940-1970 depressed that greenhouse gasses might have otherwise had? Looking at the trend between 1900 and 2000, the warming is pretty pronounced. While there is a lull in the otherwise steady increase between 1940 and 1970, the percentage change during that time is clearly within the general parameters of the temperature record before the gases. What is different than before is the dramatic increase from 1900-2000 even with the 1940-1970 period taken into account. First you argue that fluctuations like this are common, then you argue that just this type of fluctuation could not possibly explain the 1940-1970 changes. Perhaps you should think more about which argument that you’d actually like to present before arguing against yourself in back-to-back paragraphs. Here’s the temperature graph again, in case you’ve forgotten:

6. Unreliapundit: "If this is true, then as the Amazon forest has been allowed to AGE, it has become less efficient at absorbing atmospheric CO2 - at CO2 uptake, and this means more CO2 stays in the atmosphere every year as a result. The increase of atmosphreric CO2 over the last 100 years might be a result of this - the aging of the Amazon - and NOT INDUSTRIALIZATION OR ANYTHING "MAN-MADE."
My response:Your assertion here is ludicrous on its face for two main reasons. 1) The original article merely points out that the forest has less capacity to absorb CO2. So, all this shows is that man-made increases in CO2 have one additional reason that they are an INCREASED factor in climate change. There is one factor that is not mitigating them as much as previously thought. Therefore, man-made release of CO2 is having an even greater effect than previously thought. 2) You claim that the Amazon "has been allowed to age" and is therefore "less efficient". But that's not what the article says at all. It isn't that something that man has done has changed the nature of the forest. It's just that the understanding of how old the trees in the forest were was not correct. When scientists calculated their true age, the result of their calculations didn't release a cloud of CO2. The Amazon trees have long been absorbing at this rate. It's just that the rate was misunderstood. There is nothing at all to suggest that "more trees are older now than ever". The age is just better understood now. What from the article makes you think that the trees are actually living longer now. This is typical of your style of argument. You read something and misunderstand it, but you resist and cry when someone points out what should have been totaly obvious in the first place.

7. Unreliapundit: "the ALPS fuchrissake were GREEN when attila crossed them! and he didnlt use no fucking SUV's you shithead!"
My response:I think that you might mean "when Hannibal crossed them" instead of "Attila." Not that I expect you to admit that you were wrong or anything.

8. Unreliapundit: "all the man-made gloabl warming jerks are brainwashed dupes of Leftism; they were brainwashed by marxist anti-industrial anti-capitlaist academmics since thew 1970's. I know: i was RAISED by themn abd grew up among them. by the people who founded earth day. commies. people who think that indusrtialization and capitalism are bad and that ludditism and protectionsm and socialism are good. BWAHAHAHAHA!
My response: None except, "WTF!?" This guy is completely off his rocker and needs to see a psychoanalyst about his relationship with his parents. He mentions them on his blog a lot and can't seem to get over them. His entire psyche appears to be a reaction/rebellion to his upbringing, as the above shows. It's kind of strange when the person you're debating on a scientific issue starts talking about his commie parents and their Marxist brainwashing and then goes on to accuse you of being off-topic.

Those are my favorites. There are plenty more nuggets in the original debate. Shortly after receiving his fifth or sixth consecutive rhetorical beatdown, unreliapundit decided to give up and start deleting my posts instead of responding. A true cut-and-runner if ever there was one. I reposted them all (for the moment) on his site, but I'll include the full text of the whole thread below in a separate post for posterity.

I swear that this guy is for real and that this is not a parody site of the right. He is actually this clueless, weak, and pathetic. Linkers to previous posts of Unreliapundit include Capt.'s Quarters, Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit, Powerline, RCP, Roger L. Simon, Michele Malkin, and The Corner.

A 221-Year Temperature History of the Southwest Coast of Greenland

Vinther, B.M., Andersen, K.K., Jones, P.D., Briffa, K.R. and Cappelen, J. 2006. Extending Greenland temperature records into the late eighteenth century. Journal of Geophysical Research 111: 10.1029/2005JD006810.

What was done
Combining early observational records from 13 locations along the southern and western coasts of Greenland, the authors extended the overall temperature history of the region - which stretches from approximately 60 to 73°N latitude - all the way back to AD 1784, adding temperatures for 74 complete winters and 52 complete summers to what was previously available to the public.

What was learned
In the words of the authors, "two distinct cold periods, following the 1809 'unidentified' volcanic eruption and the eruption of Tambora in 1815, [made] the 1810s the coldest decade on record." The warmest period, however, was not the last quarter century, when climate alarmists claim the earth experienced a warming that was unprecedented over the past two millennia. Rather, as Vinther et al. report, "the warmest year in the extended Greenland temperature record [was] 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s [were] the warmest decades." In fact, their newly-lengthened record reveals there has been no net warming of the region over the last 75 years!

What it means
With approximately half the study region located above the Arctic Circle (where CO2-induced global warming is suggested by climate models to be most evident and earliest expressed), one would expect to see southwestern coastal Greenland's air temperature responding vigorously to the 75-ppm increase in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration that has occurred since 1930, even if the models were only half-way correct. However, there has been no net change in air temperature there in response to the 25% increase in the air's CO2 content experienced over that period. And this is the region the world's climate alarmists refer to as a climatological canary in a coal mine??? If it is, real-world data suggest that the greenhouse effect of CO2 has been hugely overestimated.

Reviewed 28 June 2006


btw you little dopey piece of shit. i have a ba and an ma. my ma was earned in one and 1/2 years from one of the top 50 grad schools in the usa.

repeat: you are a dumb little shit. a dupe of jumk science and leftist propaganda.

wake up.
btw dumbass jhoe from austin;

while greenland had it warmest era from 1930-40, the globe was cooling.

stick that up your lefist crack and whine.

the truth is out there.
btw you little dopey piece of shit. i have a ba and an ma. my ma was earned in one and 1/2 years from one of the top 50 grad schools in the usa.

Sure you do. And I have 12 PhD's from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, Berkley, Cambridge, Eaton, Dartmouth, Duke, and Boston College. Pretending is fun, isn't it?

Claim whatever you wish about your education. Your only proof is your word, and, clearly, from your argument tactics (cheat and retreat, never defend lost points or admit you were wrong, delete posts with ideas that you can't deal with, etc.), your word is not to be trusted. You are simply intellectually dishonest. How could anyone possibly believe you have even finished high school, when the conclusions that you drew above from scientific papers were simply laughable? Regardless, the merit of these arguments is in the science, not in the messengers. I don't need to claim any particular expertise. My arguments speak for themselves. Your arguments speak for themselves too, just not very highly.

Now, onto your latest argument. Of course, I've already answered this exact point on your blog several times, but it somehow keeps getting deleted. Here's the way it goes:

First, go read the Vinther, et. al. paper, "A 221-Year Temperature History of the Southwest Coast of Greenland." Obviously, you haven't yet. Does it contain any of the "What it means" section that the article you linked to does? No, it doesn't. What does that mean. I'll explain it to you. It means that the scientists that performed the study didn't reach those conclusions. Further, it means that those conclusions were not peer-reviewed. They're simply the ramblings of an anonymous person on a blog, which hold approximately zero scientific weight.

But, let's take things a step further and see why those conclusions are not valid. There is a phenomenon known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). One thing Vinther said about this in another paper is, "large patterns of winter time precipitation and temperature anomalies can be explained by fluctuations in the NAO." In order to actually have a study that was meaningful from a global warming perspective, you must control for this variability. Is there a peer-reviewed study that does this and also specifically draws conclusions about global warming. There is indeed. Here's the abstract:

"General Circulation Models (GCMs) predict that the temperature changes in Greenland should proceed at a faster rate than the global temperature change. Until now there has been no confirmation that Greenland's long-term temperature changes are related to the global warming and that they proceed faster than the global temperature change. Using double correlations between the Greenland temperature records, North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index and global temperature change we find a region of Greenland that is not affected by the NAO. Using this region as an indicator of Greenland's temperature change that is related to global warming, we find that the ratio of the Greenland to global temperature change due to global warming is 2.2 in broad agreement with GCM predictions."

So, you present a paper about temperature with some unscientific conclusions tacked on by another blogger and I present a peer-reviewed study specifically geared to analyze the issue at hand, which clearly comes down on my side. The truth is out there. Indeed it is. It is a pity that you cannot see it.

So, let's see an actual response to this argument. You've dodged it five times on your blog already. Here, however, it will remain as another permanent example of your continued ignorance.
"while greenland had it warmest era from 1930-40, the globe was cooling."

As if I needed more than the above, you should also refer to this paper as another peer-reviewed study coming to exactly the same conclusion. Here's a pull-quote:

"The results of our observational and modelling analysis lead to the following conclusions. First, we theorize that the Artic warming in the 1920s/1930s and the subsequent cooling until about 1970 are due to natural fluctuations internal to the climate system. Second, we believe there are strong indications that neither the warming trend nor the decrease of the ice extent and volume over the last two decades can be explained by natural processes alone."
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