01 March 2015

A weird week

Between people denying that there is a correlation between CO2 and temperature and several other items, last week was just plain weird for me.  A few pieces of, I hope, some more general interest.

One is, of course, the reminder that CO2 is indeed correlated with temperature.  And, of course, since that original article is pushing 6 years old, I should make an update.  (Clue: The conclusions won't change much -- 6 years isn't large compared to the 50+ already used.)  But also the reminder that I really should write that note I've had in mind about just what correlation is.

Then there was the (different) anonymous also on twitter who seemed to think it was terrible that a comment was made equating people on 'the other side' were as bad or worse than the worst mass murderers.  I don't hold with such comments, and the blog in question was for a group that I'm a member of (National Center for Science Education.  But, by the time I saw the tweet from the anonymous the next morning the comment had been deleted.  I agree with the deletion -- if we are talking science, there's no need or point to equating others to mass murderers.  The anonymous was continuing to complain even after the comment was deleted, though.  Don't get that, nor the fact that a different (and higher profile) blog published a main article equating people in climate science to terrorists and mass murders, yet it (the anonymous) has no objection to that.  Nor, to be pragmatic, why it sent me the tweet rather than the owner of the blog.  I may wield awesome power, but that's mostly in my own mind -- not in every organization that I happen to be a member of.

In the midst of those, there was an idiot congressman (Grijalva, D-AZ) deciding to launch a fishing expedition on people, whose testimony he didn't like, got their funding from.  I'm all in favor of disclosure of all funding by people who testify to congress.  But not such selective application of the principle.As it stands, only government funding need be disclosed.  That strikes me as a problem  If you're happy with oil company funding not being disclosed, though, how happy are you that Greenpeace/Earth First!/... funding also doesn't need to be disclosed?  And vice versa if you're not fine with business disclosure.  For the same reasons, I also opposed the fishing expeditions of Joe Barton (R-TX) against Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (2005). 

I suppose there's a certain theatrical interest in what will follow now.  Republicans have officially decried (James Inhofe, R-OK, chair, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee) such fishing expeditions.  But Republican Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is pursuing his own fishing expedition against the National Science Foundation for funding proposals on, for instance, internet security and fraud detection.  Myself, I'm in favor of internet security and fraud detection. 

And then there's been the recent fishing expedition announced by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) against NASA for its temperature record analysis.  The analysis that agrees extremely well with results from NOAA, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the Berkeley effort at re-analyzing all data from ground zero and re-inventing all wheels, .... 

Oh well.  Then there were the llamas, and much to-do about someone's dress?  A weird week.

Next post will be about a couple more substantive, and constructive, aspects to the week.


Unknown said...

Hi Robert, a google search of co2 v temperature pulls up numerous graphs recording the variation in temperature back in history up to 400,000 years ago plotted against Atmospheric co2 concentrations.
Thing is, co2 appears to not only follow the temperature value, but also lags a little, which suggests co2 is responding to the temperature effects, not vice versa.
Considering, i beleive, natural causes, of which biological activity is a predominant proportion, far outwiegh our own contribution to the current co2 increases, is it not possible that co2 as we record it now is part of natural variability?
I'd be more then open to correction in my comments, i'm not a scientist and appreciate when researching on the net it is necessary to seperate the wheat from the chaff!

Robert Grumbine said...

Hi Yazzi,

I'm sorry I missed replying here. The thing is not so much the size of the sources and sinks, but their balance. The human source of CO2 is small compared to the total of all other sources. But you can't only look at income in your financial budget. Have to look at expenses as well (otherwise, I'd be a millionaire), for carbon this means the sinks.

Prior to the industrial revolution, the sources and sinks of carbon were in balance. Consequently, all of the increase in the atmosphere's CO2 levels has been due to human sources.

A source to dive in to for the balancing of sources and sinks, with citations to the original science as well, is http://grumbinescience.org/radix/climate/scq.CO2rise.html by Jan Schloerer. It's old, but the fact that humans are the source of the CO2 rise is old knowledge (much older than this article). Plus, Jan wrote it up well.