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scientific method

Man-made climate change evidence flakier

The Australian gives us this precious piece, reprinted from The Times:

Man-made climate change evidence stronger: study

EVIDENCE that human activity is causing global warming is much stronger than previously stated and is found in all parts of the world, according to a study that attempts to refute claims from sceptics.

I'll get to the bit that shows this "study" for what it really is in just a mo', but in passing, I note that real scientific work doesn't have an agenda, it attempts to find the truth. Yes, scientists do set up "devil's advocate" experiments in which they attempt to disprove theories, but the purpose is to test the strength of the theory: if it passes, it gains credibility. Or, of course, if it fails, it is disconfirmed. But one shouldn't set up 'studies' whose goal and methodology is designed to confirm what you already claim; science is tested by passing hard tests, not by being confirmed in 'studies' designed to be helpful. Moving on...

The "fingerprints" of human influence on the climate can be detected not just in rising temperatures but in the saltiness of the oceans, rising humidity, changes in rainfall and the shrinking of Arctic Sea ice at the rate of 600,000sq km a decade.

Now let's just stop and think for a moment about this, and let's overlook the detail that Arctic sea ice has risen every year since 2007, because I just can't get my eyes off that "saltiness of the oceans" bit. For all intents and purposes the amount of water on Earth is constant. Yes, meteorites may deliver some, and some may be broken up by radiation in the atmosphere, some hydrogen atoms escape the Earth's gravity, and so on. But compared with the total quantity of water, these changes are, on the scale of hundreds or even thousands of years, minuscule. So much for two countries' erstwhile best newspapers.

Scientists don't hide evidence

The news of the digital break-in at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) is now all over the blogosphere. The climate realists are finding lots of what looks like seriously incriminating evidence of malfeasance, whilst the climate alarmists are scurrying around putting fingers in holes in the dyke.

For now I just want to make a brief observation about one of the most controversial passages:

Global Warming: The Science is Simple

In a previous post on,I used the example of a chappie called Fred to show you why the absence of an atmospheric hotspot is, all by itself, a complete disproof of the hypothesis of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (AGW). For those who came in late, the entire basis for the AGW claim is that certain unverified, and now falsified, computer models predict a lot of warming over the coming 100 years. It is shocking, but true, that there is no actual evidence whatsoever for this idea; it is computer models alone, and those models are basically no more than coded guesswork. And what do these models predict?

They predict that the world is heated by the appearance of a 'hotspot' in the atmosphere above the equator.

Predicted atmospheric temperature changes from a model,showing hotspot in atmosphere above the tropicsModel predicts air above the tropics heats up. from the NIPCC Report p. 107
But the reality is that this hotspot has failed to develop:

Global Warming: You can't verify climate models with more suppositions

Over on the newsgroups, folk are discussing a rather sad article from ScienceDaily, called "Apparent Problem With Global Warming Climate Models Resolved".

Apparently the folk at ScienceDaily, as well as a large fraction of the general public, need some basic lessons in how real science, the science that increases our understanding and helps us make sense of the world, works. Here's a textbook example of how not to do it:

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