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Earth Stats

Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty 869

An anonymous reader writes "A study out of McGill University sought to examine historical temperature data going back 500 years in order to determine the likelihood that global warming was caused by natural fluctuations in the earth's climate. The study concluded there was less than a 1% chance the warming could be attributed to simple fluctuations. 'The climate reconstructions take into account a variety of gauges found in nature, such as tree rings, ice cores, and lake sediments. And the fluctuation-analysis techniques make it possible to understand the temperature variations over wide ranges of time scales. For the industrial era, Lovejoy's analysis uses carbon-dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels as a proxy for all man-made climate influences – a simplification justified by the tight relationship between global economic activity and the emission of greenhouse gases and particulate pollution, he says. ... His study [also] predicts, with 95% confidence, that a doubling of carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere would cause the climate to warm by between 2.5 and 4.2 degrees Celsius. That range is more precise than – but in line with — the IPCC's prediction that temperatures would rise by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius if CO2 concentrations double.'"
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Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

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  • Deniers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:52AM (#46733679)

    And yet the climate change deniers will CLING to that 1% and continue to stick their ignorant heads in the sand and pretend that we aren't messing up our climate.

    • No, they don't accept that it's a 99%-1% problem. You guys sure like those numbers, don't you.
    • Re:Deniers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rally2xs ( 1093023 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @02:34PM (#46734837)

      Yeah? What's your solution? We absolutely, positively need petroleum right now in order to exist. Without it, we'd have to fall back to an 1800's agrarian existence, farming with horses and oxen, and OBTW we couldn't produce enough food for the vast majority of people to survive. We need modern farming methods for that, and that requires petroleum to fertilize it, petroleum to work the land, petroleum to move the food, and petroleum to heat homes and so forth.

      The only way to NOT use petroleum RIGHT NOW is to kill about 90% of the population, world-wide. Simply making things more efficient isn't going to work, we're already too close to our capabilities for that.

      The solution in the short term is to use the best methods to obtain petroleum based products, fracking, to keep costs down so we have enough research money to throw into things like geothermal electricity, battery technology, and geo-engineering solutions to removing CO2 from the atmosphere. That might have a chance. But simply complaining about those who are going about the business of making things better for us NOW is of absolutely no use whatsoever.

  • WRONG WRONG WRONG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:56AM (#46733711)

    The confidence levels in the data are 99%, not in the conclusion.

    PS - I believe in man driven global warming, I just hate sensationalized headlines.

  • My 2 cents (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you want to find the modern culprits of greenhouse gases, look to India and China, not the US. We've cut our emissions drastically over the past 20 years.

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )

      Which of course excuses Americans from changing anything, amirite?

    • Re:My 2 cents (Score:5, Informative)

      by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @02:17PM (#46734721)
      Really? Let's examine your claims.

      The US has seen a minor decrease in carbon emissions [] over the last 5 years or so, but this likely at least in part due to the financial crisis. There has been no long-term decrease over the "last 20 years", as you state, so the US isn't setting an example in cutting emissions. What matters, then, is total current emissions [], where the US second only to China. The US emitted 5.4 million tonnes in 2010. By comparison, India (one of the countries you single out) and the EU have combined emissions of 5.7 million tonnes. India and China have very much larger populations. The US emissions per capita for 2012 are 16.4 tonnes, whereas China's are 7.1 and India's a paltry 1.6. Clearly the US has a lot of work to do.

  • by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:03PM (#46733737)
    I don't get it, after reading the comments here, why is there so much resistance accept that man is causing climate change? Just thinking logically, it makes sense. We're taking carbon that's been buried for millions of years, and then burning it, on a huge scale. How can this not affect the climate? I actually hope that the climate skeptics are right.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's become a political litmus test. Just look at the names attributed to anyone who doesn't agree with you: denier, alarmist.

      There's no room for real science.

      • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:25PM (#46733897)

        "There's no room for real science."

        Ummm the real science has been done and it's overwhelmingly in the favor of climate change. The idea that "two sides" are equal is bullshit, the same way you wouldn't treat a creationist who believed the earth and life was 6000 years old on an equal level with evolution of life on earth.

        The idea that "both sides" deserve consideration is just fucking nonsense.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Because thinking that human activity can affect the environment is rubbish. And God. Also because the government is evil, taxes are evil and we are all controlled by the reptiloids behind the UN!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      "I don't get it, after reading the comments here, why is there so much resistance accept that man is causing climate change?"

      See the science on human reasoning: []

    • by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:24PM (#46733883)

      Because the debate has been politized by people with money on the line. They have a vested interest in claiming that global warming is not caused by humans, which is, as you point out, patently retarded. But there is another problem in addition to that: because the debate has been so politicized, sometimes the science gets sucked into the shit-slinging as well, and when that happens it leads to bad science, which is a legitimate concern. The problem with bad science is that it can be attacked by legitimate scientists, which the Oil Barons can then use to say "look! look! the science isn't settled! We're right!" even though the science very clearly is settled and they're not right at all.

      Basically the global warming 'debate' is such a clusterfuck because the pro-oil lobby can spin it any way they want because the public in general doesn't understand how the scientific process works. That's what leads to situations where there are 10,000 studies claiming anthropogenic global warming is real for every 2 studies that claim it isn't on the one hand, and the public at large thinking the debate isn't settled on the other.

    • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:25PM (#46733893)

      Because embracing anthropic climate change involves drastic controls on emissions, manufacturing, and energy generation (specifically coal) as well as being an excuse to raise a variety of taxes on an already strained economy. If something's going to hit them in the pocket people are going to want a lot of good reasons to pay up.

      Personally I reckon that human activity probably does play a reasonably large part in accelerating climate change that was happening anyway (although 99% sets off my bullshit meter given that we're in an interglacial period), or pushing it over the point where we won't return to the next ie age, but in order to address it we'd have to get developing titans like India and China to play along, and good luck with that.

      The best policy for the forward thinking nation is perhaps to simply prepare for flooding and adverse weather conditions.

    • The REALLY funny thing is humans have already altered the environment so drastically you'd think it would be gospel to think we are responsible for our own environment.

      Europe, for instance, used to be covered in old growth forest, with lots of animals, etc. We cut it all down, went to the new world and repeated. Just look at old paintings of America (like the hudson school) from the 1700s to see how it's changed.

      And we've done some pretty gnarly things. The romans, to discourage people from fighting them

  • Ahh, statistics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @12:06PM (#46733761) Journal

    Temperature goes up more or less linearly, and CO2 goes up more or less linearly. Thus they are well-correlated. There's not a lot of power to that correlation, as the article demonstrates itself by trying it with different lags (from 0 to 20 years -- would have been interesting if he'd tried negative lags); the data is too featureless to show anything interesting.

  • I've never understood the controversy...does anyone think that pollution isn't harmful?

    Our modern industrial society makes by-products of type and/or scale that **hurt nature**

    No one, absolutely no one, even the climate change "deniers" can contradict this fact.

    It's about government regulation...that's the only thing that keeps companies from unscrupulously disposing of their waste.

    Companies do not want regulation...that pretty much explains the entire "climate debate"

  • Folks, there is no doubt that man causes some degree of global warming. It may even be significant.

    But putting forward a very questionable "study" with little practical "science" and having almost nothing that can be repeated or validated does not help the cause of proving global warming. It harms it! With each one of these "studies" it makes me wonder why there isn't some expert who has proven the thesis, with so many interested "scientists".

    These news stories might be adequate for the masses, but definite

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @01:02PM (#46734187) Journal
    All these so called scientists, spend 4 years in bachelors degree, 2 more for masters and four or five years to get a PhD. Work for about 80K a year median wage. They create these scare mongering stories to gin up grant money, totally untrustworthy.

    On the other hand the media consultants employed by the billionaire owners of coal, oil, petroleum companies and investments in forestry products have absolutely no conflict of interest and they speak the original unvarnished truth.

    I mean, who would you trust? Some one who is smart enough to make millions of dollars working for billionaires? Or the fools who spend so much of time studying and ending up working for a pittance? If these so called scientists are so smart why aren't they billionaires and millionaires? Shows who is smart and who you should listen to.

  • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @01:11PM (#46734265)

    I wonder why this topic is so much discussed in the USA. In every other country climate change and the fact that we, humans, are causing it is accepted as a scientific fact. However, in the US, there is still a large fraction who doubt it or ignore it. And I am wondering why is that so?

    • A political religious right, and a faux news channel that has no interest in reporting actual news, and a "democracy" in which politicians cannot be elected without bribes from big business (colloquially known as "donations".)

  • Uh-huh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Saturday April 12, 2014 @01:53PM (#46734573) Homepage

    It was a 7 degree rise for ages: []

    Now that's the high end of the "prediction".

    In 2010 NASA said this:

    "8th December 2010 13:24 GMT - A group of top NASA and NOAA scientists say that current climate models predicting global warming are far too gloomy, and have failed to properly account for an important cooling factor which will come into play as CO2 levels rise."

    And "New NASA model: Doubled CO2 means just 1.64C warming
    'Important to get these things right', says scientist" []

    In 2011 it was "Discovered" trees eat CO2:

    Originally found at: []

    Forests soak up third of fossil fuel emissions: study
    By Marlowe Hood (AFP) – 5 days ago

    PARIS — Forests play a larger role in Earth's climate system than previously suspected for both the risks from deforestation and the potential gains from regrowth, a benchmark study released Thursday has shown.

    The study, published in Science, provides the most accurate measure so far of the amount of greenhouse gases absorbed from the atmosphere by tropical, temperate and boreal forests, researchers said.

    "This is the first complete and global evidence of the overwhelming role of forests in removing anthropogenic carbon dioxide," said co-author Josep Canadell, a scientist at CSIRO, Australia's national climate research centre in Canberra.

    "If you were to stop deforestation tomorrow, the world's established and regrowing forests would remove half of fossil fuel emissions," he told AFP, describing the findings as both "incredible" and "unexpected".

    Also odd how this guy in 2007 was able to predict this winter's 100-year record breaking cold from things the IPCC have nothing to do with climate: []

    Do the alarmists have an explanation for these?

  • by unimacs ( 597299 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @01:54PM (#46734591)
    People have made up their minds unfortunately. Changes in climate can easily be brushed off as natural variation. A few days of locally cold weather is enough to re-enforce a denier's belief that global warming is a farce.

    Over time the consequences will become increasingly hard to ignore and people will suffer. As is typical, the poor will suffer the worse. Ironically, many otherwise conservative organizations such as insurance companies will be willing accept global warming as fact because it gives them an excuse to raise their rates in coastal areas.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington