Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Humans responsible for 1/50th of recent warming

According to a new paper by Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) which was presented in the peer-received journal of Environmental Geology, they show that

[a]one percent increase in current solar radiation reaching the Earth’s body translates directly into approximately 0.86 K increase in the Earth’s global temperature.

They continue to show that the earth’s orbit about the sun changes over long periods of time resulting in up to 7.5°C modulation of the earth’s temperature and conclude that

The scope and extent of these processes are 4–5 orders of magnitude greater than the corresponding anthropogenic impacts on the Earth’s climate (such as heating and emission of the greenhouse gases).


the global warming observed during the latest 150 years is just a short episode in the geologic history. The current global warming is most likely a combined effect of increased solar and tectonic activities and cannot be attributed to the increased anthropogenic impact on the atmosphere. Humans may be responsible for less than 0.01°C (of approximately 0.56°C (1°F) total average atmospheric heating during the last century)

as far as what we should do about it, the conclude that:

Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climatic changes using restrictive regulations are condemned to failure, because the global natural forces are at least 4–5 orders of magnitude greater than available human controls.

And on Kyoto:

Thus, the Kyoto Protocol is a good example of how to achieve the minimum results with the maximum efforts (and sacrifices). Impact of available human controls will be negligible in comparison with the global forces of nature. Thus, the attempts to alter the occurring global climatic changes (and drastic measures prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol) have to be abandoned as meaningless and harmful

Wow, amazing. In such a stringent peer-reviewed scientific journal as well.


Count Iblis said...

They have ignored almost all of the physics of the greenhouse effect and tried to deduce everything from the geological record.

Their paper won't have much impact on climate science.

B.t.w. The publication of this paper in a peer reviewed journal proves you and RicS wrong that papers that are skeptical about global warming are rejected for the sole reason they are skeptical.

Dazza said...

Here's a link worth looking at:


The debate is not over...It hasn't even begun!

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Wow, people are still referencing this article! That's sad.

Did you read the article? Heck, even the references? Here's a hint. If you spread 200 years of human activity over a 4 billion year geological time scale, and then entirely ignore the "greenhouse effect" itself, human activity look pretty small.

Their argument seems to be that human activity is not warming the earth, but that solar radiation is. Well, DUH! That's the WHOLE POINT of the "greenhouse effect". We let out CO2, the sun's rays heat the earth and the CO2 traps the energy from the sun rather than releasing it, and this cycle increases the warming of the earth! No one ever said the CO2 ITSELF was hot!!! Did these guys think the theory was that the gas that comes out of our mouths when we exhale was scorchingly hot??? They've basically dismissed the effects of greenhouse gases by ignoring the very thing about greenhouse gases that makes them a problem. It's like sitting in your car on a hot day with all the windows rolled up and no air conditioning on and complaining that there's nothing you can do about the stiffling heat, because it's the sun heating up your car, and you can't stop the sun. Well, it's true, you can't stop the sun. But if you roll down the window, it'll get cooler. Idiots.

The time scale stuff they do is fun too. I wouldn't be able to live on my yearly salary if it was paid out to me in increments over 4 billion years, does that mean I'm not well-paid enough?

is the rebuttal published in the same journal a few months later, which concludes:

"It is astonishing that the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) (as well as Khilyuk and Chilingar 2004, for that matter) could pass the review process of a seemingly serious journal such as Environmental Geology. Such failures of this process, which is supposed to guarantee the quality of published literature, are likely to damage the reputation of this journal."

Why no alarm bells were raised by a paper on climate change written by petroleum geologists, citing the online Student edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, an online Fox News story, a bunch of Russian journals and a bunch of articles produced by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists is beyond me.

Still, many people DID read the article, which is good, as it's premise was debunked almost immediately.

Sad that it got through in the first place though.

wilson61 said...

All scientists agree that global warming can not be stopped or reversed, merely slowed down.
so where are all the parties plans on coping with the effects of gw??

Northern Canada will be 'the place to be'.
Will there be a stampede of Canadians & foreigners to the North?
Drought/disease resistant vegetation/crops. Protecting our food & water supply....

Where's the plan ??

Kevin said...

Wilson61: Where is the evidence that "All scientists agree that global warming can not be stopped or reversed, merely slowed down?"

Kevin said...

Count iblis: As opposed to physicists who ignore the geological record?

I would agree that the allegation that papers skeptical about global warming are rejected for the sole reason they are skeptical is dubious. However I think it's fair to say these papers and others that cast doubt on the claim that the science is "settled" receive little attention from the news media.

Count Iblis said...

Kevin, that's not true. In fact this particular paper was quoted in a newspaper, even though it was clear that it was completely flawed, as Lord Kitchener's Own pointed out above.

Out of the many hundreds of published papers the rare paper going against the consensus view has a far greater chance of making news headlines.

The science is indeed settled; there is no serious discussion in the scientific community about whether CO_2 emissions have a significant influence on climate.

The fact that you can find a few scientists who oppose the accepted view only proves that scientiists are free to disagree, i.e. that the consensus is not forced on them.

It doesn't prove that the issue itself is under serious discussion. Because then you would have far more than a few out of the many thousands of climate scientists disagreeing with the CO_2 induced climate change paradigm.

Kevin said...

Count, that this one article "was quoted in a newspaper" does not in any way challenge my assertion that these papers are much less likely to receive media attention than those supporting the illusory "consensus" view. You are generalizing from the exception.

Moreover, the suggestion that these papers are rare is nonsense and one only read TAR itself - the entire document, not merely the summary - to recognize that our understanding of the climate is far from complete.

If you were to maintain that CO2 emissions from all sources probably have some impact on the climate, I doubt anyone would disagree with you. If the claim, however, is that the forcing of anthropogenic CO2 emissions is known with precision, that claim would not even be remotely accurate.

Glib lines such as yours may be able to fool a reporter but they are harmless against a statistician.

Ninderthana said...

Count iblis,

Can I suggest that you go out and buy a very small hat.


Because you about to be forced to eat your own hat.

Global warmimg caused by C02 gaes emitted by human activity is about to be overwhelmed by natural changes.

The level of solar activity on the Sun has already started to die down. This is not a prediction it is actually happening now.

The strength of the Sun's polar magnetic field began diminishing significantly in 2000 and the speed meridional flow in the outer convetive layers of the Sun dropped to 1/3 its normal speed in 2006. Model of the sloar dynamo proposed by NASA solar physicist Prof. Hathaway and Prof. Dikpati show that these are the prcursor signals for a general collapse in the level of solar activity in cycle 25 (peaking in 2022/23) and possibly cycle 26 (peaking in 2033/34).

On every ocassion in the past when the level of solar activity has died down like this there has been world wide cooling of about 1 C
(as opposed to 0.3 C warming that will be produced by GW over the next thre decades).

So you better get you woolies out and a bg serving of humble pie.
It should start cooling in the late 2010's and be pretty cold by 2030.

Count Iblis said...

Kevin: "If the claim, however, is that the forcing of anthropogenic CO2 emissions is known with precision, that claim would not even be remotely accurate."

No one is making that claim. It is not known with much precision. What is known is that the CO_2 forcing is significant, but there can be a large error in here.

It's just like turning the heating on. To calculate exactly how long it will take for the temperature to reach 20°C in my room from first principles is an enormous tour de force.

You can simmplify matters by using empirical formulae that express the heat thransfer as some empirically determined convective heat transfer coefficient times the area of the radiator times the temperature difference of the heater with the ambient air.

But what is without doubt is that the 20 °C will be reached, if not in half an hour then pherhaps in an hour.

What would be nonsensical to say is that turning on the heating in the summer would not lead to temperature increases, because in the winter the heating stays on on full power and it is much colder.

That is the kind of argumentation used by Jonathan on this blog: ignoring all of the physics and just doing meaningless statistics.

Count Iblis said...


temperatures are expected to rise much more than 0.3°C. And the CO_2 we pump in the atmosphere will stay there for centuries while the solar magnetic activity (if it has any significant influence at al) will return to normal eventually.

Kevin said...

Count, in fact, that claim is made, though usually indirectly and as part of the more sweeping declaration that the science is “settled” or that GCM are first principal models. The latter assertion – which is utter nonsense - was made to me by a prominent climate scientist in a private correspondence, BTW.

What meaningful statistics is telling us is that the science cannot be settled if the warming estimated by the models from a doubling of CO2 ranges from 1.5C – 4.5C. If one does not understand that…

Jonathan Lowe said...

Count you are wrong once again:

"That is the kind of argumentation used by Jonathan on this blog: ignoring all of the physics and just doing meaningless statistics."

It is purely based on the statistics that people are saying that the world is warming up and that we are heading towards doom. It is statistics like the hockey stick graph, and others, all/most of which has been largely criticised and not carried out in a scientific proper statistical method.

It is only because of these discoveries from statistics that people have hypothesised why this is occurring, and physicists etc. are saying it is because CO2 is warming up the atmosphere and start making models to accurately define why this is based on the presumed increase of late.

Hence, the whole debate about global warming, is based on the proper statistical analysis of the data. If there were no statistically significant warming, then why should we be alarmed? And what if the statistical analysis of warming was all done not using standard statistical properties and analysis?

I’m afraid you have done yourself again count, you have told us once more about your naivety towards the scientific method if you consider the statistics “meaningless” because they are the single most important aspect.

Count Iblis said...

Kevin, the models are first principle models augmented by empirical constants.

The models make a wide range of predictions, but that has nothing to do with a fundamental uncertainty of whether CO_2 emissions will lead to warming or not.

Jonathan: "It is purely based on the statistics that people are saying that the world is warming up and that we are heading towards doom."

This is perhaps how the politics of Global Warming has played out, but the fact that scientist know for sure that the temperature will rise rapidly unless we dramatically cut back on CO_2 emissions has nothing to do with the observed warming trend. The observed warming trend is tiny compared to what is to come if we let CO_2 levels reach 0.06% or higher.

That prediction is NOT an extrapolation based on the observed trend at all. It is the result of calculation using models that are based on physics. These models are validated using observations of the climate record from ice cores and also of the recently observed warmming of the climate, but ultimately it is physics from (almost) first principles.

It may be true that scientist have made mistakes in statistical analysis of data. I recently read about a similar thing in astrophysics, where confidence intervals were systematically lower than they should be.

However, the statistics is only available until the present and you can only see the first tiny part of the increase in temperature. It is precisely because it is a very small trend till now, only 0.6 °C per century, that the results are sensitive to errors made in the analysis.

But this doesn't mean that just because this statistical analysis can be criticised, you don't expect warming if the CO_2 levels were to double to 0.06%!

Jonathan Lowe said...

Most of what you say is true there count, but

If there was no statistical evaluation of temperature, there would be no major analysis of climate change today.

If statistics found no increase in recent temperature there would be no case for alarm. No-one would even hypthesise a CO2 increase.

The only reason why this has been hypothesised because of statistical analysis that shows an increase in temperature.

What if the statistical analysis wrongly proved a decrease in temperature? Then we would have the same situation that we did in the 1970's, physicists proving why we are decreasing in temperature.

In this type of situation we prove if we are increasing or decreasing in temperature, and then we prove why this is so. We do not do it the other way around on first principles as you suggest. This is how science works.

I don't go out to prove that pigs could fly if they have wings, I firstly prove the possibility of pigs growing wings.

If the initial analysis of temperature is wrong, then all the physicists analysis is based on a wrong assumption.

As I said before, these statistics is far from “meaningless”. In fact they are the most important ingredient.

Kevin said...

The claim that the GCM are first principle models is sheer nonsense, Count. They are engineering code in which climate sensitive itself is an adjustable parameter.

The empirical relationship between CO2 concentrations and temperature from the ice core samples in actuality is all over the place. There IS no first prinicple that applies to climate. Not even "almost".

You also are invoking the familiar straw man argument that alleges skeptics believe CO2 emissions do not matter. This of course is false. The issues are that we do not know with much precision HOW MUCH they matter and that a significant restructuring of the world's economy DOES matter.

Sorry, you have no case.

Kevin said...

Can't type worth a damn. I mean "climate sensitivity" and "first principle" in my last post.

Count Iblis said...

Jonathan: "If the initial analysis of temperature is wrong, then all the physicists analysis is based on a wrong assumption."

That's not true. That's like finding faults in Galileo's experiments and then saying that we need to review the validity of Classical Mechancs.

There is a lot of evidence from a variety of independent sources that increasing CO_2 levels to more than 0.06% will have a significant impact on the global climate.

Kevin, they do include results from data analysis from ice core data in the models. But what's wrong with that? The theory predicts the existence of an effective model in which you have empirical constants that are just hard to calculate from fiirst principles, so you meaure them.

This is exactly as "first principle like" as almost all practical calculations that engineers do in real life problems. How do engineers calculate the heat transfer to pipes in a heat exchanger? They don't calculate the particular case at hand from first principles. They already know from the theory that the problem is effectively described by a heat thransfer coefficient which satisfoes certain scaling laws. So, they can use empirical data based on stabdardized experiments to calculate the effective consants they need to use.

In tis case it is nuc the same. You have a theory and some not so well known effective constants which you fit using measurements. You must show that the whole thing is consistent, i.e. that the results don't depend on using one data set instead of another etc. etc.

My point is that this is all rigorous science...

Kevin said...

Count, my central point continues to elude you. That point is that the science is not close to being settled. No one really knows what impact a doubling of CO2 atmospheric concentration would have on the climate. We only have ideas and rough estimates.

The methodological process you describe – which is also how I understand it - is neither rigorous nor science. Aerospace Engineering has real first principles. They also have test pilots.

Lacking a much better understanding of climate processes, any talk of Kyoto-like agreements should have been regarded as foolhardy and dangerous. Therein lies the real danger of “global warming.”

Count Iblis said...


of course, we are talking about rough estimates despite the huge efforts in trying to compute the effects. However, the estimates cannot be dismissed as not reliable.

You trap a lot of heat in the atmosphere and then the emperature will rise, by a few degrees. Wil it be 2 °C or 4 °C? Who knows? But the thing is that a temperature increase of more than 2 °C is regarded as potentially dangerous.

Politicians always have to deal with uncertainties. In this case there exists a reasoinable likelihood that not curbing CO_2 emissions could have disastrous effects.

Strangely the same politicians who defend going after Saddam's WMD and spending billions per week on this adventure are the strongest critics against averting potential problems caused by climate change.

Anonymous said...

"Wil[l] it be 2 °C or 4 °C? Who knows?"

or maybe even 0.2 degrees, who knows

Count Iblis said...

Well, the temperature has already increased by 0.6°C. It is extremely unlikely that temperatures will increase only by 2 °C if we make CO_2 levels higher.

This question should be left to the experts in climate science.

Kevin said...

Count, predictable comment about Bush (who I’ve never supported, BTW)…tellingly, Iraq is a very good example of the dangers of the Precautionary Principle.

The DDT Holocaust, which no responsible scientist or moral person can deny, is the most horrible example of the Precautionary Principle in action. And of how politicians cannot handle even certainties; that science was truly settled and the conclusion was that it posed no significant threat to man or the environment. Scores of millions died.

Since you are making my case very effectively for me, I’ll step aside and wish all a happy and healthy holiday season.