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Author Topic: What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists  (Read 3428 times)

8hertz

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What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists
« on: September 25, 2013, 08:26:29 AM »
What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists

http://news.yahoo.com/95-certainty-warming-means-scientists-153904135.html

Associated Press SETH BORENSTEIN 19 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are about as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill.
They are as sure about climate change as they are about the age of the universe. They say they are more certain about climate change than they are that vitamins make you healthy or that dioxin in Superfund sites is dangerous.
They'll even put a number on how certain they are about climate change. But that number isn't 100 percent. It's 95 percent.
And for some non-scientists, that's just not good enough.
There's a mismatch between what scientists say about how certain they are and what the general public thinks the experts mean, specialists say.
That is an issue because this week, scientists from around the world have gathered in Stockholm for a meeting of a U.N. panel on climate change, and they will probably release a report saying it is "extremely likely" — which they define in footnotes as 95 percent certain — that humans are mostly to blame for temperatures that have climbed since 1951.
One climate scientist involved says the panel may even boost it in some places to "virtually certain" and 99 percent.
Some climate-change deniers have looked at 95 percent and scoffed. After all, most people wouldn't get on a plane that had only a 95 percent certainty of landing safely, risk experts say.
But in science, 95 percent certainty is often considered the gold standard for certainty.
"Uncertainty is inherent in every scientific judgment," said Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Thomas Burke. "Will the sun come up in the morning?" Scientists know the answer is yes, but they can't really say so with 100 percent certainty because there are so many factors out there that are not quite understood or under control.
George Gray, director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at George Washington University, said that demanding absolute proof on things such as climate doesn't make sense.
"There's a group of people who seem to think that when scientists say they are uncertain, we shouldn't do anything," said Gray, who was chief scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the George W. Bush administration. "That's crazy. We're uncertain and we buy insurance."
With the U.N. panel about to weigh in on the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of oil, coal and gas, The Associated Press asked scientists who specialize in climate, physics, epidemiology, public health, statistics and risk just what in science is more certain than human-caused climate change, what is about the same, and what is less.
They said gravity is a good example of something more certain than climate change. Climate change "is not as sure as if you drop a stone it will hit the Earth," Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer said. "It's not certain, but it's close."
Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss said the 95 percent quoted for climate change is equivalent to the current certainty among physicists that the universe is 13.8 billion years old.
The president of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone, and more than a dozen other scientists contacted by the AP said the 95 percent certainty regarding climate change is most similar to the confidence scientists have in the decades' worth of evidence that cigarettes are deadly.
"What is understood does not violate any mechanism that we understand about cancer," while "statistics confirm what we know about cancer," said Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist. Add to that a "very high consensus" among scientists about the harm of tobacco, and it sounds similar to the case for climate change, he said.
But even the best study can be nitpicked because nothing is perfect, and that's the strategy of both tobacco defenders and climate deniers, said Stanton Glantz, a medicine professor at the University of California, San Francisco and director of its tobacco control research center.
George Washington's Gray said the 95 percent number the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will probably adopt may not be realistic. In general, regardless of the field of research, experts tend to overestimate their confidence in their certainty, he said. Other experts said the 95 percent figure is too low.
Jeff Severinghaus, a geoscientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said that through the use of radioactive isotopes, scientists are more than 99 percent sure that much of the carbon in the air has human fingerprints on it. And because of basic physics, scientists are 99 percent certain that carbon traps heat in what is called the greenhouse effect.
But the role of nature and all sorts of other factors bring the number down to 95 percent when you want to say that the majority of the warming is human-caused, he said.
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R.R. Book

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Re: What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 07:38:50 AM »
It now seems that the theory of Global Warming may have been incorrect, because government officials, a number of expert climatologists and MSM have declared us to be entering a solar minimum that may last decades:

https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/news-articles/solar-minimum-is-coming

https://nextgrandminimum.com/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2014/01/21/miss-global-warming-yet-if-not-just-wait-and-you-might/#189b5c9251bd

https://www.vencoreweather.com/blog/2018/5/9/1150-am-solar-cycle-24-declining-even-more-quickly-than-forecast

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222537763_Solar_activity_and_solar_cycle

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/954841/ice-age-sun-nasa-noaa-space-weather-forecast-sunspot-solar-minimum-maximum

Yet some climatologists persist in interpreting the data to mean that Global Cooling possibly for the remainder of our lifetimes equates to Global Warming after all, because we will eventually pull out of the solar minimum.  While this author does not explicitly deny global cooling, he does balk at use by MSM of the phrase "mini-ice age."
https://skepticalscience.com/grand-solar-minimum-mini-ice-age-intermediate.htm

The Oppenheimer Ranch Project feels that doggedly pro-warming climatologists may not be speaking what they really think:
Quote
It is difficult to get a consensus climate scientist to understand something when his funding depends on his not understanding it.


The same narrator is also fond of saying, "Carbon dioxide is not a dangerous substance that causes global warming.  Carbon dioxide is a basic part of earth's habitat necessary for the survival of the plants that we depend upon."

Personally, I'm wondering if "greenhouse gasses" might be helpful in taking the sharp edge off of the extended cold that is predicted to be here for the long-term, perhaps blunting the effects enough to nudge our survival chances upward a bit.

Any thoughts?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=744ArT_C7as&t=505s
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 03:30:09 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 06:05:29 PM »
The same narrator is also fond of saying, "Carbon dioxide is not a dangerous substance that causes global warming.  Carbon dioxide is a basic part of earth's habitat necessary for the survival of the plants that we depend upon."

Personally, I'm wondering if "greenhouse gasses" might be helpful in taking the sharp edge off of the extended cold that is predicted to be here for the long-term, perhaps blunting the effects enough to nudge our survival chances upward a bit.

Any thoughts?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=744ArT_C7as&t=505s
The following reminds me of the recently deceased founder of The Weather Channel:
"Carbon dioxide is not a dangerous substance that causes global warming.  Carbon dioxide is a basic part of earth's habitat necessary for the survival of the plants that we depend upon."

But nobody is saying "carbon dioxide is a dangerous substance that causes global warming".  While it's true CO2 is a basic and necessary part of our atmosphere, it is the exponential rise in greenhouse gasses, in particular CO2 and CH4, since the beginning of the IR, that is alarming. 

Further, many people confuse weather with climate.  Climate involves millions, thousands and maybe hundreds of years.  Weather is what's happening now, this year, last year, etc., but people like to point to a particular weather anomaly to prove their point that an ice age is approaching or whatever.

It's complicated for sure, but when someone is fond of repeating that quote above, I would wonder what their real motive is.  After all, it is presumably  taught these days--even in grade school--about the need for CO2 by green vegetation--green plants "inhale" CO2 and "exhale" O2.  However, there is a rather narrow range of CO2 concentrations which are useful to today's plant life, and when those levels begin to rise to levels considerably higher than they were during that plant's evolution, then the plant can be compromised.

For example, the latest levels (in May, 2018) of atmospheric CO2 were around 412 ppm.  At the beginning of the IR, the atmospheric CO2 level was about 280 ppm.  Further for the past 800,000 years (before I.R.), the levels fluctuated from about 180 ppm during ice ages, to about 280 during warm interglacial periods.  So it is easy to see that 410 ppm is considerably higher than 180 or 280 ppm.  What is the problem?  Well, for one, those 180 and 280 ppm readings were relatively stable, and even with ups and down here and there, they remained at those levels for nearly a million years. 

What happens when atmospheric CO2 levels begin to rise exponentially?  One thing, seemingly minor, is that some plant life thrives on these higher levels, but the one that comes to mind is POISON IVY.  Yep, that is one plant that is doing GREAT with these new and rising CO2 levels.  What about our favorite foods?  One can search around a bit, and might just find that not all plants, and especially not those we need for survival, are going to benefit from constantly rising CO2 levels.

While within a given year, the levels show a cycle, with highs and lows, but the overall picture is that atmospheric carbon dioxide, as well as methane, levels continue to rise. 

Now that I've blathered on a bit, I'll check out those links! 

R.R. Book

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Re: What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 06:28:41 PM »
Thanks for input Ilinda - it comes at a time that I happen to have a very bad case of poison ivy!  :'(

 

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