Monday, October 03, 2011

Email to an intelligent climate doubter

Since this missive is general & could be of use to others, here it is (slightly edited). One Q to ask doubters, gently: "What other sciences do you understand better than 97% of the experts in the field?"

("Pat" was not my correspondent's name)
Hello again Pat ...

If you'd like general perspective from scientists (the "diamond planet" guys) from outside the "climate debate" fray, try Diamond planets, climate change and the scientific method

Here's what I found out when I checked out the "Mars is warming" claim you'd heard (I checked by doing a science-aligned climate info search, at ; there are probably other such website aggregations to search, and definitely better ones, but it's the one I put together); came up with these:

Most concisely, "Mars is not warming globally." (from the Skeptical Science "arguments"(links + 1-liner responses) page)

Or detail, from the climate scientists' blog here:
"Globally, the mean temperature of the Martian atmosphere is particularly sensitive to the strength and duration of hemispheric dust storms ... to the extent it is sensible to speak of a mean temperature for Mars, the evidence is for significant cooling from the 1970′s, when Viking made measurements, compared to current temperatures. However, this is essentially due to large scale dust storms that were common back then, compared to a lower level of storminess now. The mean temperature on Mars, averaged over the Martian year can change by many degrees from year to year, depending on how active large scale dust storms are. ...[R]apid shrinkage of the South Polar Cap... trend ...continued... [but] The shrinkage of the Martian South Polar Cap is almost certainly a regional climate change, and is not any indication of global warming trends in the Martian atmosphere. Colaprete et al in Nature 2005 (subscription required) showed, using the Mars GCM, that the south polar climate is unstable due to the peculiar topography near the pole, and the current configuration is on the instability border; we therefore expect to see rapid changes in ice cover as the regional climate transits between the unstable states."
Pat, you strike me as an intelligent person, someone who wouldn't take kindly to being fooled - so you might consider whether news sources that suggest this "Mars is warming" (& thus that current Earth climate change is due to natural causes) thing, without bothering to check it out first with credible experts, have credibility on matters of science, or if they're just hoping to get their audience to engage in motivated reasoning.

Good talking to you -
(presuming that some variant of "Tikkun olam" is part of [church]'s fundamental philosophy, but I could be mistaken)
...which brings up a question: which religions do teach that we have no responsibility to others, and are free to let the place go to rack&ruin?

1 comment:

Anna Haynes said...

Related, Why Do Some People Learn Faster? -
"Education isn’t magic. Education is the wisdom wrung from failure. ... Why are some people so much more effective at learning from their mistakes? After all, everybody screws up. The important part is what happens next. Do we ignore the mistake, brushing it aside for the sake of our self-confidence? Or do we investigate the error, seeking to learn from the snafu? ..."