Explain the data with possibly ten different reasons or just one

10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change
[Via Skeptical Science]

The NOAA State of the Climate 2009 report is an excellent summary of the many lines of evidence that global warming is happening. Acknowledging the fact that the planet is warming leads to the all important question – what’s causing global warming? To answer this, here is a summary of the empirical evidence that answer this question. Many different observations find a distinct human fingerprint on climate change:

10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change

To get a closer look, click on the pic above to get a high-rez 1024×768 version (you’re all welcome to use this graphic in your Powerpoint presentations). Or to dig even deeper, here’s more info on each indicator (including links to the original data or peer-reviewed research):

  1. Humans are currently emitting around 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere (CDIAC). Of course, it could be coincidence that CO2 levels are rising so sharply at the same time so let’s look at more evidence that we’re responsible for the rise in CO2 levels.
  2. When we measure the type of carbon accumulating in the atmosphere, we observe more of the type of carbon that comes from fossil fuels (Manning 2006).
  3. This is corroborated by measurements of oxygen in the atmosphere. Oxygen levels are falling in line with the amount of carbon dioxide rising, just as you’d expect from fossil fuel burning which takes oxygen out of the air to create carbon dioxide (Manning 2006).
  4. Further independent evidence that humans are raising CO2 levels comes from measurements of carbon found in coral records going back several centuries. These find a recent sharp rise in the type of carbon that comes from fossil fuels (Pelejero 2005).
  5. So we know humans are raising CO2 levels. What’s the effect? Satellites measure less heat escaping out to space, at the particular wavelengths that CO2 absorbs heat, thus finding “direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect”. (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007).
  6. If less heat is escaping to space, where is it going? Back to the Earth’s surface. Surface measurements confirm this, observing more downward infrared radiation (Philipona 2004, Wang 2009). A closer look at the downward radiation finds more heat returning at CO2 wavelengths, leading to the conclusion that “this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.” (Evans 2006).
  7. If an increased greenhouse effect is causing global warming, we should see certain patterns in the warming. For example, the planet should warm faster at night than during the day. This is indeed being observed (Braganza 2004, Alexander 2006).
  8. Another distinctive pattern of greenhouse warming is cooling in the upper atmosphere, otherwise known as the stratosphere. This is exactly what’s happening (Jones 2003).
  9. With the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) warming and the upper atmosphere (the stratophere) cooling, another consequence is the boundary between the troposphere and stratophere, otherwise known as the tropopause, should rise as a consequence of greenhouse warming. This has been observed (Santer 2003).
  10. An even higher layer of the atmosphere, the ionosphere, is expected to cool and contract in response to greenhouse warming. This has been observed by satellites (Laštovi?ka 2006).

Science isn’t a house of cards, ready to topple if you remove one line of evidence. Instead, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. As the body of evidence builds, we get a clearer picture of what’s driving our climate. We now have many lines of evidence all pointing to a single, consistent answer – the main driver of global warming is rising carbon dioxide levels from our fossil fuel burning.


Numbers 1, 2 and 5 were the ones to really convince me that humans were the ones involved. The additional 7 all bolstered the human fingerprint on climate change. There are also more than just 10 but these are the easiest to discuss.

Many denialists will have to come up with multiple theories – perhaps 10 – to explain all these data, data that can be explained by scientists with one theory. As Feynman said:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.

The denialists continue to construct a Cargo Cult World yet here are 10 easy bits of data for them to deal with. Perhaps they can build something that will actually fly.

The best proposal that fits all the data is that human actions result in the warming of the earth.. Our continuing inactions will simply not help matters at all.

A single graphic demonstrating how scientists percieve climate change and the public

Visually depicting the disconnect between climate scientists, media and the public
[Via Skeptical Science]

Matthew Glover at Renegade Conservatory Guy has created a telling visual on the disconnect between the scientific consensus on global warming, how the media portray the science and subsequent public opinion:

As there’s plenty of detail, there’s also a PDF version of the graphic (the above graphic also links directly to the PDF). The PDF also includes hyperlinks to the peer-reviewed papers where Matthew got his figures. While the graphic is quite simple and clear in how it presents the data, there’s plenty of meat in there to chew over. Discuss…


Seems pretty clear that the media are doing an inadequate job explaining the facts as understood by scientists to the public. Almost makes one wonder why the media is doing such a bad job educating the public? Because at one time the Fourth Branch was almost an equal with the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of our government. Now it is as seemingly corrupt and uninterested in the needs of the public as the other three branches have become.

Sometimes I wish George Carlin was still alive and we could ask him if this is still his viewpoint – NSFW since it is George Carlin. It is not really very funny but not meant to be, I think.

One of the best presentations of climate change data in 10 minutes

Video: Everything you wanted to know about climate science in under 10 minutes
[Via Climate Progress]

James Powell, Executive Director, National Physical Science Consortium, has produced an excellent YouTube video summarizing the evidence for anthropogenic global warming

Powell is a former college and museum president. “President Reagan and later, President George H. W. Bush, both appointed Powell to the National Science Board, where he served for 12 years.”

Great for sending to any sceptics you may know:


Powell brings together a tremendous amount of the best figures showing the huge amount of data regarding climate change, all of it demonstrating a warmer world, one caused by humans.

He also makes the point that for this not to be the case, there must be several completely unknown processes that overturn the completely known processes that explain the data. There is just too much data from too many different places. It can not easily be simply denied. Believing in things for which there is no physical proof seems to be how many people approach climate change.

Denying the facts in order to foster make-believe will only result in a society which is completely unable to deal with the coming changes.

Starcraft II trials [Updated]

starcraft by ~deiby

My son has been looking forward to Starcraft II coming out. He was downloading the trial version yesterday. 7 GBytes!! It was not only taking forever but was preventing us from doing much also.

So, when he left last night to play indoor soccer, I stopped his download and left him an early birthday present – the full version of Starcraft that I was planning on giving him anyway in a couple of days.

Well, he was very excited but that excitement has turned into the sort of debacle that I have not had in quite a while – the game specifications are too powerful for his Macbook.

I had checked online and, even though his laptop is a few years old, It plays the other Blizzard game – World of Warcraft – okay. And I found lots of examples of the Starcraft II beta running on his model Macbook. So I thought there would be no problem.

But the final release does not support his laptop. It will load and he gets the audio but the video is just hosed. HIs laptop simply does not have the video performance.

So, I tried it on my wife’s Macbook, which is pretty much the same but with a slightly better – but still unsupported – video section. It runs. Not with all the bells and whistles but it runs.

Then I loaded it on my backup laptop – a 17 inch Macbook Pro which has a separate video card and lots of performance. It is about 3 years old but was top of the line then.

The sucker heats up like an oven but it works and he is busily playing it with a thick towel on his lap. Time to get a lap cooler with fans.

I guess his laptop may be getting to the end of its lifetime. Time to look at some refurbished Macs, I guess.

[UPDATE: I do not mean that I am looking at a new computer for my son because it won’t play a game. Usually, at least with Macs, you know when it has reached its end of day-to-day usage when it starts getting too slow to run up-to-date software. Games are just the first thing to pop up. Next, it will be something really important, like a video for a class or something.The laptop is almost 4 years old so I was expecting something like this. Just hoping it can make it maybe one more year. BUt Apple does have noce deals on refurbished machines.]

Do they really understand their business?

telephone by zigazou76

It’s even worse than it appears
[Via Doc Searls Weblog]

The Common Errors of Telecom CEOs, by Rudolf van der Berg, is required reading for anybody who cares about the future of the Internet, and whose hands it’s in.


These all hit things right on the head. The telecoms – at least in America – just do not seem to really understand their business model.

Or, more likely, they understand completely, as they control enough of the regulatory apparatus enough to make sure that they never really have to compete. That could explain why the US is so far behind much of the rest of the world in broadband communications.

We’d probably still be using the phone pictured above if they had their way.

Why I have waited

Apple looking into iOS 4 problems on iPhone 3G

[Via AppleInsider]

After numerous reports of problems, Apple is investigating the performance of the iPhone 3G when running iOS 4.


iOS4 puts some pretty heavy pressure on the hardware, hardware that is weaker on the iPhone 3G than 4. I heard about some problems with speed earlier to I have not updated the OS for my 3G, even though iTunes keeps reminding me.

I hope Apple does something. Then I might update.

Posted in Technology. Tags: . Comments Off

Messages to my mother Ia

I had a couple of followups to my message to my mom about deflation, since it seems to be on a lot of people’s mind. I sent these on to her also, so I’ll include them as an addendum to the previous post.


Has some numbers. Same upshot as me – only by boosting consumer confidence. This can really only be done by getting the people with jobs to spend money now. Which means they need to have jobs and feel comfortable that they will have one in the future.

Also, here is a great Forbes article about deflation that just came out:


He backs me up about the deflationary aspects of reducing government spending. The worst thing the government could do during deflation is to stop spending.

Lacy Hunt, in another article, talked about what we might do. He said we need a technological breakthrough. We broke the Deflation after the Civil War by a tremendous number of such (railroads, McCormick reapers, etc., telegraph). New technology might work if it can create jobs.

But normal companies just do not create enough jobs in deflationary periods.

Oh and he mentions something I am also coming around to. Just as the Republicans and Conservative Democrats are pushing cutting spending, which would be suicide during deflationary times, liberal Democrats want to allow the Bush tax cuts to go away. During normal times, I would be for this. Just as I would be for more responsible spending. You worry about debt during good times. Which is what we did in the 90s. The best economic times of the last 30 years. We actually had no deficit spending and reduced our government’s debt.

But during a deflation, any sort of tax raise of almost any kind will make things worse (see what I mean about solving deflation. Too much debt may be a problem but raising taxes or reducing spending will actually have no positive effect in deflationary times and would most likely be harmful.) So keeping the Bush tax cuts around for a while longer would be fine, as long as we do not also try to reduce spending.

The only thing worthwhile the government can do during deflation is to spend money creating jobs, not to simply stimulate the economy indirectly (as the guy said in the first article – the multiplier effect of a normal economy does not hold during deflation). They need to do anything to boost consumer confidence in order to break the deflationary cycle. Having a job is task number 1.

The party that solely focusses on jobs programs will be on the right track. But it will require some real education of the population. And it may require about faces of politicians (such as spending for NASA, etc.) which is never very likely.

I am not really very hopeful that we will actually do the right thing until after it is too late to prevent.These changes may not happen at all until our policies provoke real deflation. That is, America is much better dealing with emergencies after they have happened. There is still too much political capital on both sides to ignore the deflation warnings and keep pushing their current views, views from either party that will only make things worse.

That is why Krugman, and others, pushed so much last year for the stimulus program to not only be bigger but to really only focus on jobs, not lowering taxes. He may turn out to be very prescient but no one in politics really listened to him. The Dems used the money for Keynesian type stimulus and the Republicans got their tax cuts, and the final package was too small to stop what might be coming.

I’ve been hoping so much for the last year that Krugman was wrong, that he was a doomsayer and it would be okay. I have become more and more convinced that the political policies of both parties will drive us directly into the arms of deflation.

The key is doing anything and everything to create jobs directly, not relying on the invisible hand to do it. That will only happen when we return to economically normal times.

I also found a couple of recent articles – all from this week – that discuss deflation, stimulus and/or unemployment. Seems that it is on everyone’s minds.

Paul Krugman Permanently High Unemployment

Brad deLong David Altig Says That Our Cyclical Unemployment Has Started to Turn Structural

Mark Thoma The Cost of Convenient Optimism

NYT In Study, 2 Economists Say Intervention Helped Avert a 2nd Depression (without the stimulus, we would already be in a deflationary spiral)


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