Climate Theory vs. Climate Data

This is a pretty amazing statement Justin Gillis in the New York Times.

This month, the world will get a new report from a United Nations panel about the science of climate change. Scientists will soon meet in Stockholm to put the finishing touches on the document, and behind the scenes, two big fights are brewing....

In the second case, we have mainstream science that says if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles, which is well on its way to happening, the long-term rise in the temperature of the earth will be at least 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but more likely above 5 degrees. We have outlier science that says the rise could come in well below 3 degrees.

In this case, the drafters of the report lowered the bottom end in a range of temperatures for how much the earth could warm, treating the outlier science as credible.

The interesting part is that "mainstream science" is based mainly on theory and climate models that over the last 20 years have not made accurate predictions (overestimating warming significantly).  "Outlier science" is in a lot of cases based on actual observations of temperatures along with other variables like infrared radiation returning to space.  The author, through his nomenclature, is essentially disparaging observational data that is petulantly refusing to match up to model predictions.  But of course skeptics are anti-science.


  1. Joe_Da:

    The MWP according the the climate scientists claim that the MWP warmth was regional and not global - basically confined to NW europe, greenland, the north atlantic and far northeastern north american. (approximately 1/16 of the globe maybe 1/8).

    This climate science conclusion is based on two parts 1) first the proxies, tree rings, ice cores etc that supposedly show the warmth only occurred in the nw europe, greenland, etc as stated above, 2) the second part of the conclusion is that there was an atlantic ossicilation (el nino/ la nina) that affected the gulf stream.

    My question being posed - has any one seen any credible studies that show that this atlantic oscilation is possible to have lasted 300+ years

  2. HenryBowman419:

    Well, what does one expect from a politician: well, one expects, as a minimum, lies. So-called journalists are supreme liars, as they do not have voters to check their lies. The "paper of record", The NY Times Pravda, does not worry about lying: it only worries that the Red Message is spread correctly.

  3. MingoV:

    It's too bad that all this anthropogenic global warming is melting Antarctica which will raise the sea level which will flood thousands of coastal cities. You can tell that's been happening because for the past 30+ years the Antarctic ice thickness has increased by approximately half an inch per year.

  4. Joe_Da:

    Careful with understating that sea level rise. All the climate science science studies show a projected sea level rise by the end of the century of 3-4feet - peer reviewed studies at that. Those peer reviewed studies are certainly more accurate than any empirical evidence. By the way, those climate model projections have been astonishingly accurate, all within the "noise level" of their predictions.
    Que all the science deniers who would believe that science should be based on empirical evidence.

  5. JKB:

    We must be poised for something earth-shattering to happen. Historically, when the academy has become resistant to reality, others, outside, have made great strides for mankind.

    Such as the invention of the steam engine:

    "Newcomen's religion had consequences greater than absence from a local census. Dissenters, including Baptists, Presbyterians, and others, were as a class, excluded from universities after 1660, an either apprenticed, or learned their science from dissenting academies."

    "At the same time that he chartered the world's first scientific society, Charles II had created an entire generation of dissenting intellectuals uncontrolled by his kingdom's ever more technophobic universities."
    p29, Rosen, Willam, 'The Most Powerful Idea in the World'

    And the academy is really resistant to reality on climate science with the Arctic ice 60% greater this year than the same time last year.

  6. kidmugsy:

    It's outlier science vs outright liar science.

    (I'm quoting "Dearieme" at Bishop Hill.)

  7. Otter:

    You forgot your /sarc tag.

  8. Nehemiah:

    Joe_Duh, It is unlikely that Atlantic oscilation was a defined term 300+ years ago.

    There is so much money in play and so many reputations at stake that we will be hearing about the eventual warming even as I'm shoveling snow off my Jamaican villa's driveway.

  9. Joe_Da:

    You may have misread my question. The warmists claim the MWP was regional, instead of global. This is based on the 90 or so worldwide proxies used in Mann's hockey stick, and subsequent recreations (not withstanding other proxies from the SH which show global MWP).

    With the conclusion of a regional MWP, the warmists had to have a scientific reason to explain warming that was confined to a small region of the planet. The warmists found the missing link in the 300+year Atlantic Oscilation. I have found only one study to support this conclusion.

    Expanding on my question - has anyone seen any additional studies that support the 300+ plus year atlantic oscillation or studies which dispute the mwp atlantic oscilation.
    The explanation of the cause of the regional MWP seems a little far fetched and/or a little too cute of an answer.

  10. Gil:

    Because carbon is a heavier than air gas so the people producing lots of CO2 will have the heat-trapping gas around them because it will take time for the CO2 to disperse from natural air currents? Even so the MWP was still not warmer than as per modern times rather it was warmer for that period.

  11. doubledee:

    is that little item your trump card on this discussion?

  12. doubledee:

    Gil, I don't think it's established that the MWP was not warmer than now; it may well have been. and plenty of studies support that it existed in regions all over the world, I believe.

  13. Joe_Da:

    I find it interesting that the NOAA and various advocacy groups such as skeptical science show that greenland is warmer today than during the mwp. (go to the skeptical science website for temp comparisons today vs mwp).

    The gisp2 ice cores show a definitive warmer climate during the mwp. Additionally farm buildings in greenland dating from the mwp are being exposed from the recently retreating ice. So we have both the ice core proxy and archeological evidence of a warmer mwp. where the climate science says it is cooler - who is correct.

  14. johncunningham:

    obviously you know nothing of Chinese govt records which show the same warming period. the mandarins kept copious records on planting dates, harvest dates, average yields, etc, which document the MWP>

  15. Joe_Da:

    John - Sorry for the confusion on my question. There are a lot of archeological records which the "climate proxies" dont reconcile back to, the chinese citrus cultivation 300 miles north of their present day range being just one of the archeological records. There are approximately 8-9 ice core proxies from antarctica, with temp reconstructions up to at least the early 1960's. 4 of which showed a warmer mwp, 2 that showed a slightly cooler MWP and 2 that were inconclusive. I agree that it is far more likely that the mwp was global.
    It is very difficult for the climate scientists to deny the warmth of the MWP in northern europe, greenland due to the extensive archeological and written records. It is far easier to make the scientific claim that the SH was cooler due to the lack of archeological records and fewer climate proxies.

    However, the climate scientists needed a scientific explanation of how only a small portion of the globe could have , so they came up with the atlantic oscilation to explain the warmth could be confined to a small portion of the globe.
    I find the climate scientists explanation for a 300 year atlantic oscilation to be less than plausible. I only found one study that supports the theory, with no studies refuting the conclusion. So my question was simply whether there were any additional studies supporting or contradicting the claim of a 300year atlantic oscilation