Re: [asa] AGW discussion

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Tue Dec 01 2009 - 10:18:10 EST


The various data sets that you refer to coherently indicate that
something like global warming is occuring, i.e., we have some
understanding of what global warming would look like and we find that
those expectations are indicated.

However, it seems to me that the data you refer to says little about
causation. At best, it is associative, e.g., higher atmospheric CO2 is
associated with global warming.

Am I wrong? Timing would be important here, but not conclusive.
For example, it could be that cause X is not recorded in the historical
data, but that rising CO2 precedes, receding glaciers. In this case, X
may be the "real" cause of global warming and the CO2 precedes the glacial
melt just because the time scale for glacial effects are longer than CO2

In any case, I had thought the main issue unde discussion was not whether
global warming is taking place, but rather the mechanism. Is this



On Mon, 30 Nov 2009, Randy
Isaac wrote:

> You are right that another category of skepticism is doubt of original data.
> But it's easy to by cynical and simply make loud claims that the data are
> unreliable. And stolen emails taken out of context make it easier to shout it
> from the mountaintops. As far as I can tell, no one has actually been able to
> identify any significant error in the data. I'm still looking.
> But, let me repeat what I've been trying to say over and over. The case for
> anthropogenic global warming does not rest on just one set of data from one
> source. I previously outlined another line of investigation which is totally
> independent of the data in question. There are many others. It's like the age
> of the earth. When you have so many different ways of measuring it and they
> all agree, quantitatively or qualitatively, then one anomalous datapoint will
> be considered an outlier. Likewise, in AGW, there's no point in getting
> worked up about one group and its data. The jury is still out about what did
> or didn't happen. But whatever it did, the data in question are not the sole
> argument for AGW and it doesn't change much.
> Permit me to speculate a little. Let's assume that we totally ignore all
> global surface temperature measurements. We still have the atmospheric CO2
> measurements and we have the C-13 measurements so we know where it comes
> from. We know from past history that this will lead to warming. Now we ask
> whether that warming has begun. We have proxy data from ocean measurements in
> the coral reefs and we have oceanic acidity levels and sea level increases.
> We have global glacier thickness levels that are plummeting. We have
> satellite gravity measurements of polar ice volume. We have field data of
> species migration habits. And on and on and on. No, the surface temperature
> data aren't the only game in town. There's a panoply of data from all
> sources. And, oh by the way, the surface temperature data are consistent
> with all the above and with no evidence yet for any fraudulent manipulation
> of data, there's not much room for a skeptic. But I can still hope. Please
> find something that will console me.
> Randy
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "John Walley" <>
> Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 2:55 PM
> To: "Randy Isaac" <>; <>
> Subject: Re: [asa] AGW discussion
>> Randy,
>> Would you not consider the issue of interpreting the original data one of
>> your categories below? Is everyone satisfied that the original adjustments
>> were accurate and warranted? How can we ever resolve this conclusively if
>> we no longer have that data?
>> John
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Randy Isaac <>
>> To:
>> Sent: Mon, November 30, 2009 2:44:10 PM
>> Subject: Re: [asa] AGW discussion
>> I'm not quite sure why it would be helpful to start yet another blogsite or
>> debate site on this topic. The experts in the field have posted pretty well
>> everything on the topic and I don't know what we would add to the dialog.
>> Virtually everything we have to say has been said in one way or another.
>> has many key contributors to the field weighing in and
>> addressing questions. In fact, it is worth following their contribution to
>> the email issue at
>> Then there is which seriously considers the top 74
>> skeptical arguments on global warming at
>> I previously provided the link to the 2007 conference which has a
>> tremendous amount of information. The overview talks say it all.
>> I don't think we have anything else to add. Any data or information that
>> counters this are most welcome. The problem is that most arguments from
>> skeptics make one of the following categories of misunderstanding:
>> 1. Focusing on a subset, spatially or temporally, of the global trend data.
>> (I.e. focusing on the last decade or just Greenland)
>> 2. Speculating on amplification effects of solar activity
>> 3. Misunderstanding the role and validity of models in climate research
>> 4. Confusing surface vs atmospheric vs deep ocean thermal attributes
>> We would all be thrilled to hear of any data that demonstrates there isn't,
>> or won't be, a problem, or of any analysis of data that alleviates the
>> problem.
>> But right now I don't see that a forum of this type would generate any
>> valuable addition to the field. If people do not believe the experts in the
>> websites above, then why would they believe us when we repeat that
>> information?
>> Randy
>> --------------------------------------------------
>> From: "Dave Wallace" <>
>> Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 11:18 AM
>> Cc: <>
>> Subject: [asa] AGW discussion
>>> Rich, Terry, Randy, Ted
>>> I would like to propose a discussion of the AGW science between:
>>> -Glenn Morton, a former member of this list, taking the con. He accepted
>>> AGW in the past but is now skeptical.
>>> -Randy and Rich taking the pro side, we have heard some of their positions
>>> recently on the list.
>>> To my mind in order to have a reasonable discussion the ability to show
>>> graphs, tables, pictures etc is essential, so I suggest we use one of the
>>> blogging services on the web that supports such. All posts and comments
>>> would be moderated prior to posting and would be limited to say 1 a day
>>> plus minor clarifications from each side. Only comments from the
>>> moderators or the three participants would be allowed on the blog. List
>>> members with questions could send them to the list and the moderators or
>>> participants could decide whether to take them up or not. Moderators
>>> would be Ted and Terry although I think David Opderbeck would be good if
>>> we could get him.
>>> I should point out to people that both Glenn and Rich, at one point did
>>> not accept an evolutionary origin for life and now do. Thus if enough
>>> data is thrown at them they have in the past changed their positions.
>>> Dave W
>>> ps I copied Glenn and while I did not run this particular proposal past
>>> him, I think he would be willing. Glenn's GW web side is:
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Received on Tue Dec 1 10:19:02 2009

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