Re: [asa] Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling--Reasons for doubt

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Mar 04 2008 - 12:05:27 EST

On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 10:39 PM, gordon brown <>

> On Tue, 4 Mar 2008, wrote:
> > A website I found with a videocam at the
> > North Pole had a statement of a researcher who said that a temperature
> > increase is not the cause of ice melt but a change in the prevailing
> winds,
> > bringing warm southerly winds across the ice cap. This is not mentioned
> by the GW
> > crowd.
> >
> Don't the warm southerly winds cause a temperature increase, and isn't
> a change in the prevailing winds an example of climate change?
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)
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My previous post may not have gone through because a graphic showing the
consistent melting in Greenland over the last thirty years was attached.

I guess the "prevailing winds" have been going on for thirty years.
Greenland has been consistently melting for such a period. The 2007 melt
exceeded the previous *maximum* melt by ten percent. This suggests not a
weather change but a climate change. Ice melt is not merely the effect of
temperature but also winds and possible more importantly the effects of
warming water around the coasts. This has been theorized by some as the
reason why the melt in Antarctica has been under-predicted since only the
effect of increased air temperature was taken into account. (The lubrication
effect is another not fully modeled effect.) Nevertheless, all of these
effects are ultimately caused by increased GHG. Since the albedo
dramatically decreases when ice melts this also adds a dangerous positive
feedback into the system (again not fully in the models because we don't
have relevant measured data). Another positive feedback is the release of
methane from the melting permafrost since methane is another -- even more
potent than CO2 -- greenhouse gas. Jack's point about methane makes no sense
because methane is more of a trace gas than CO2. The reason why so much
focus is on CO2 is for now CO2 is the largest climate forcing which is
measured by the logarithm of the amount of the GHG. Trace gases are more
dangerous because they can be more easily doubled. In a sense predicting
climate change is like predicting the economy because we have models and
uncertainties. To speak like the Fed Chief the risk of climate change is to
the upside.

For a more detailed look from true experts in the field (including the
effect of wind) can be found here:

Finally I like to speak to the issue of so-called "folk science" and the
ASA. What we have here is a classic example of picking one example that
confirms your pre-suppositions. This is different in the world we live in
with peer review and falsifiability, etc. My concern with this issue is not
on the science side because the denialist side is losing traction day by
day. My concern is with our witness as Christians. Largely as the result of
the warfare model evangelicals have sided with folk science because of the
"evils" of methodological naturalism. Add in the Biola school where "truth"
is reduced to the defense of the law of non-contradiction. Interestingly
enough, because of the evangelical attraction of folk science we have acted
like post-moderns with the "democratization" of knowledge and "teaching the
controversy". Ironically, secular science have been more aligned with
so-called absolute truth in that there is only one "right answer" and it is
the evidence which is outside of us that drives the right answer and not our
"beliefs". So, you get "science by vox populi" which to a folk scientist
feels comfortable and common sense but to a natural scientist is an utter
abomination. We understand that individual opinions of scientists do not
count but rather that which survives the rigors of peer review. It doesn't
matter what does an individual scientist says on a web cam. Rather, what is
the body of peer-reviewed studies point to. As we have discussed many times
before peer review isn't sufficient for good science but it is necessary.

Thus, evangelicals think they are defenders of absolute truth but in the
perception of outsiders are to quote PZ Meiers, liars for Jesus. Lay
evangelicals have no idea how utterly foolish we look. We defend the
indefensible; follow "leaders" who use dodgy methods such as cherry picking,
truncating, and re-labeling graphs; and then accuse the science that has
followed rigorous peer review as intellectually dishonest. This latter part
really burns me because unlike the law of non-contradiction not bearing
false witness is the warp and woof of truth-telling in Scripture. If we
really care about the truth then not imputing motives should be at the top
of our agenda.

Rich Blinne, Member ASA

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Received on Tue Mar 4 12:06:39 2008

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