Climate Change - Yes or No

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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:32 pm

rg767 wrote:zzsstt even used a newspaper article form 1889 as data. funny. Isn't that the sort of stuff you were just saying we should avoid talking about?


Actually the quote from the 1889 newspaper was simply to demonstrate that Australia has aways suffered from "droughts and flooding rains". It seems to be the case that many people in Australia think that such conditions are new, and that they somehow prove or demonstrate that AGW is real. I simply intended to demonstrate that this is not the case, that in fact such conditions have always existed here and that the only thing that we don't have is "average conditions". In fact it is very rare that the average value for anything is also the normal value, yet these days we seem to think tha because we can calculate a numerical average then that average MUST be what we expect and any deviation from it suggests a problem. That is simply not the case. An average can be the numerical "centre" of a group of wildly differing numbers, and indeed may never actually appear as a value in the data in its own right.

To argue that things are getting "bit by bit more extreme" requires numercial proof. Looking at the BOM figures for my area does not show such a trend. The extremes for rainfall events, or temperature events are fairly evenly distributed across the recorded data. I picked a number of weather stations around rural Australia at random, and once again could discern no particular trend towards more extreme conditions. I have not, I admit, bothered to do the same thing for metro weather stations, simply because I do not believe we have anywhere near enough grasp on the heat island effect to make the correct adjustments, and indeed the raw data as published by the BOM does not allow for such effects and therefore cannot be used "as is".

Throughout my life I can remember drought years and rainy years, in Australia and in other countries. In my childhood I can remember having to save the "bathwater" to use to irrigate my mothers vegetable garden, and my father (as I mentioned previously) having to pull a sled to collect coal because snow had closed the roads and we had no other heating. I just wonder whether we have lost our ability to accept and deal with such things, so what was once simply part of life has now become a drama requiring counselling and government intervention? Is it getting worse, or are we becoming more sensitive?
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby rg767 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:49 pm

No I believe you.

I understand that anywhere there is land or sea that some fairly extreme events have been going on forever.

I am not going to argue that I have the numerical proof to hand though. I could find it, as I know where to look, but I have a job (sadly, perhaps).

I don't have a problem believing that the science shows a shift in extremes. A few metrics that keep coming to mind for me are glacier retreats and rainfall figures - WA is down to 30% of the long range rainfall. There are other ways of measuring this that are accurate that don't require constant measurement.

Queenslands floods were comprised of 5% more rainfall than the previous ever worst floods to my knowledge.

The other things that are changing that have never occurred before are venting of methane hydrates from permafrost - you can burn this stuff straight from a hole in the ground. These secondary effects are the ones that will make life more interesting.

I just don't have a lack of faith in the idea that a change in balance has occurred - its a fine balance, to which humanity has applied some very blunt instruments.

Urban heat island effect has been allowed for in measurements by the way - check out the article on Real Climate.

I suspect also that your memories of a much different life are correct for the day - I also suspect that the complexity, the ubiquity and cost of infrastructure of civilisation now is much more prone to damage by extreme weather events, but in my view that doesn't lessen the idea that they are getting worse.
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:04 am

Have you looked at the data or are you simply going by what you have been told?

Just out of interest, I picked a weather station in WA at random (Northampton), 48km from Geraldton, (picked by simply clicking on a map) and looked at the rainfall data. Yes, there is a trend towards decreasing rainfall, but it is not new. Plotting the data from 1882 to 1945 shows a decreasing trend of about the same magnitude (from simply visual inspection) as plotting from 1882 to 2010.

I then looked at the 30 year statistics for Geraldton, and found that the last 30 years rainfall had been about 13% lower than the the long term average, so once again a decreasing trend.

Repeating the excercise for another weather station (Midland) shows the same thing rainfall was declining from the 1880's onwards.

So once again we have a situation where the "symptom" seems to have been in evidence before the supposed cause. It is my understanding that the rate of CO2 production and fossil fuel usage has been massively increasing, and that the vast majority is relatively recent. Obviously man has always used fossil fuel to some degree, and usage has been continuously increasing since the industrial revolution. But looking at the Wiki graph of fossil fuel usage, prior to 1950 the usage was very small in comparison, yet the trend for rainfall decrease runs through this period of comparitively "minimal" fossil fuel use, and in fact starts at a time when the fossil fuel usage was tiny.

So now we have stable rainfall in one area, and decreasing rainfall starting before the supposed cause in another. That doesn't convince me of a cause/effect relationship!

One thing I did find interesting was the holes in the data. The BOM has been "checking" the data and removing any "errors" (a process based on retrospectively looking a the data and guessing if it's right). As a result it is quite hard to find a weather station with anywhere close to a full history! Geraldton has few records since 1990, for example.
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby rg767 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:06 am

No I am just regurgitating things people have told me :)

Your look at the data is interesting.

A couple of things, without much analysis at all:

* Changes should be skewed further along in time than the emissions - industrial revolution started when, 1750s- 1830s? The cause was in existence, but perhaps still small. I understand that you are also saying the change is tiny. But the change in rainfall is tiny early on too. Certainly by the 1880s, the industrial revolution was well on its way, and rainfall is decreasing;

* I don't have an issue with changes in climate being different in different areas. The climate varies from location to location;

* I like the idea that the data is being improved, but I strongly disagree with your assertion that it is being checked by guesswork. Thats a bit of a furphy;

You have determines that rainfall has definitely decreased, and this concurs with what the climate models show. If I had to make a concession to your argument about other factors, it would be to acknowledge the widespread deforestation in WA as a driver of reduced rainfall, but this was more likely to have been in effect starting in the early to mid 1900s when the most of this was 'achieved'.

What about glacier length? I think that should be a reasonable data set also. That would be an interesting comparison. If I have a chance, I will look for some data.
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:06 am

Glacier length, rainfall, temperature, changes in all these things can be measured. My most basic question however is not whether they are changing, but whether it is due to AGW.

I have looked at the rainfall data for a few sites in WA, and found it to be decreasing. The decrease was in existence from the 1880's through to the 1940's, a time before the massive increase in usage of fossil fuels when the usage was still quite small. Your argument then becomes
rg767 wrote:by the 1880s, the industrial revolution was well on its way
. This is also true, but to prove any link between the two facts we must prove that the rainfall was not falling before the industrial revolution and this is where the problems begin. We have no accurate records for those times. Indeed we have no accurate records for almost any of the criteria used as proof, we revert to extrapolation. Unfortunately extrapolation is prone to large amounts of interpretation, assumption and cyclic errors.

However, sticking to WA rainfall, the Wiki graph of carbon emission from fossil fuel use suggests that in 1850 fossil fuel usage was almost zero. By 1900 emsiions had grown to about 0.5 billion tonnes/year and by 1950 to about 1.5billion tonnes/year. A quick estimate of "area under the gaph" indicates that by 1950 we had produced perhaps 75 billion tonnes of carbon from fossil fuels. In the period between 1950 and 2005 the graphs indicates a usage of perhaps another 275 billion tonnes. On that basis it would surely be expected that any trend caused by the carbon from fossil fuels would have become 3.5 times bigger between 1950 and 2005. Do they? Certainly the WA rainfall numbers don't.

Now this is where it all becomes a Catch-22 situation. If it gets hotter it is because of AGW. But if it gets colder it is AGW. If the effect is linear it is AGW, or if non-linear it is also AGW. Extreme events that happen, or extreme events that don't happen, they are also AGW. If we start the analysis with the assumption that AGW is the cause of everything then it is inevitable that we will prove this to be the case!

Glacier length is another example. We are measuring glacier length and finding that it is shrinking. We assume that this must be due to global warming, and that in turn must be due to carbon emissions. But is it? When did the glaciers start to retreat? Have they done it before? Is there an increase in melt water (indicating an increasing rate of melt) or is the melt rate the same and the rate of growth reduced (perhaps indicating reduced rainfall/snowfall at top of the glacier). what is the time lag between a period of reduced rainfall at the top of the glacier and an reduction in growth at the end (i.e. was the reduced snowfall a recent event or 100's of years ago?). Given that the classical explanation of ice ages has always been that glaciers "roll over the countryside", is it not expected behavious for glaciers to extend and retact? Given that the so called "little ice age" extended through to the late 1800's (the Wiki grpah shows the temperature incrase after that event only commenced in about 1900) is it not fair to assume that a large ice mass may have extended during the "little ice age" and is now slowly adjusting back to normal? Interestingly the Wiki graph of the little ice age indicates that it is only in the very late 1900's that temperatures returned to the levels of the medieval warm period, so presumably a shrinking of the ice masses is perfectly in line with the temperature increase, and indeed the increase is only a return to pre "little ice age" values.

Of course all the data in that graph is extrapolated, and therefore.........

The "checking" of old data can only be done by guesswork, there is no other way. You can justify the guesswork with mathematics and probablilities but it is still only a guess. For example, the reason for removing an average value is that an individual component value is missing. That's fine, assuming that it is not the case, as has been reported, that the removed values are all in one direction, i.e. remove all the high temperatures and the overall average becomes lower which makes it appear that the current temeratures have increased comparitively. If the value is missing because it always has been (no measurement taken), then OK. But we seem to have gone beyond that and are "checking" the actual data, based on the likelihood of it being correct. That is guesswork. I have seen massive variations in temperatures, windspeed and rainfall across very small distances - I was once in a "storm" that brought down power lines and trees, gave 50mm of rain in about 8 minutes and yet was only about 400m in width. Had such a storm passed over a weather station it would have recorded radically different readings from other weather stations. 50 years later, that data wold not look "likely", and yet it was entirely accurate. Last year my personal weather station recorded more than twice my average rainfall, and in many rain events we recorded far more rain than one of our local BOM stations (5 to 10 times more), and often twice that of our other closest station. The year before we repeatedly saw far less than either of the offical sites. All those readings are correct, yet on paper they look so varied as to be highly unlikely. Historical checking of those figures would result in entirely accurate data being removed.
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby rg767 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:55 am

Again, you are choosing to stick to the idea that WA is the only data set available, and that nothing existed before the 1880s!

Your point :
his is also true, but to prove any link between the two facts we must prove that the rainfall was not falling before the industrial revolution and this is where the problems begin. We have no accurate records for those times. Indeed we have no accurate records for almost any of the criteria used as proof, we revert to extrapolation. Unfortunately extrapolation is prone to large amounts of interpretation, assumption and cyclic errors.


Is a bit disingenuous - you are ignoring the fact that a very significant change occurred. By 1850 fossil fuel usage wasnt zero. Simple. It was probably already n millions of tonnes, but because the emissions scenarios now are so huge it looks like nothing on the scale. This is scaling error.

Now this is where it all becomes a Catch-22 situation. If it gets hotter it is because of AGW. But if it gets colder it is AGW. If the effect is linear it is AGW, or if non-linear it is also AGW. Extreme events that happen, or extreme events that don't happen, they are also AGW. If we start the analysis with the assumption that AGW is the cause of everything then it is inevitable that we will prove this to be the case!



No the general trend is for change. Bt not every location will be the same as you have mentioned.

on Glaciers - the simple answer is that they are great to look t because their age is well known due to the composition of particulate matter in the ice - this is all measurable.

On checking data, you don't know, and you shouldn't guess yourself.

Why dont you check what it is they are doing?
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:10 pm

rg767 wrote:Again, you are choosing to stick to the idea that WA is the only data set available, and that nothing existed before the 1880s!


My point was that the data I looked at showed a trend commenced before the supposed cause of that trend. In the case of WA, I looked at all the data available for the radomly selected stations, so in fact there is nothing prior to that. Measured data from anywhere becomes more scarce and inaccurate with age (before the 1800's man wasn't generally interested in measuring stuff!), so we start to rely on extrapolated data with all it's issues.

rg767 wrote:Your point :
this is also true......


Is a bit disingenuous - you are ignoring the fact that a very significant change occurred. By 1850 fossil fuel usage wasnt zero. Simple. It was probably already n millions of tonnes, but because the emissions scenarios now are so huge it looks like nothing on the scale. This is scaling error.


Entirely, but the question is where do we draw the line? The natural production of CO2 is suggested to be vastly larger than mans poor attempt, even at current rates. Wiki claims "at least 20 times more", and the anti-AGW sites relate mans impact even lower (down to below 1%). Every time prehistoric (for want of a better term) man found a surface coal deposit and burnt it, he was using fossil fuels. From some perspectives, every time he burnt a piece of wood that he rescued from a swamp, or seaweed washed up on the beach he was burning "potential" fossil fuel. If we take Wiki's numbers as correct (!?) then our present 10 or so billion tonnes of carbon emissions per year equates to less than 5% of the total CO2 released on the planet. From those figures, the amounts of CO2 released prior to 1850 as a percentage of the whole are simply irrelevant (in 1850 say 0.05 billion tonnes per year, or 1/180 of the current amount, or about 0.028% of the total). I don't for one second believe that a change of 0.028% in the production of CO2 would have caused the start of a trend towards reduced rainfall! And if the trend existed at that time when mans impact was negligible, then why do we believe the trend was caused by it?

By the way, in 1800 the worlds population was estimated to be 1000 million people, now it is 7000 million. Assuming 0.03g/breath CO2, and an average 20 breaths/minute, each person is emitting about 0.3 tonnes CO2 per year. The increase of 6000 million people since 1800 therefore emits about 1.9 billion tonnes of CO2, which in fact is an additional 20% of the emission from fossil fuels.....

rg767 wrote:No the general trend is for change. But not every location will be the same as you have mentioned.


That is the very point I was making. "The trend is for change" is a lovely catch-all, it means that any and all changes can be attributed to AGW. My counterpoint would be to ask you to show me a significant period of time when change did not occur, either locally or globally. As there are no records (or even extrapolated data) that indicate any significant peiord where change did not occur, I regard that as a Catch-22.

rg767 wrote:on Glaciers - the simple answer is that they are great to look t because their age is well known due to the composition of particulate matter in the ice - this is all measurable.


You have not addressed my question about the current process being natural as an effect of the end of the little ice age. My other point would be that the age of the ice is very interesting, but is it relevant to anything? Logic would suggest that during the little ice age the glaciers would have reduced their melt rate, such that they would both extend their coverage (length), there would be potentially (though as it is dependent on snowfall it's not a certainty) be a faster rate of ice deposition at the top with perhaps a resulting increase in speed of movement (more weight at the top!), and also the reduced melt rate would result in the ice lasting longer and therefore the ice at the extremities may be relatively older (i.e. longer time from deposition to melt). After the little ice age, logic would suggest that the rate of melt would increase, the coverage would shrink and the age of the ice at the extremities would be less (less time from deposition to melt). It would also seem likely that there would be a time lag between the temperature incease after the little ice age and the melt, due to the relatively cold environment of the glaciers and the sheer bulk of the ice (more ice requires more energy to melt, so the system is self buffering to a degree). So, logically what I would expect to find now is that as the temperatures returned to "medieval warm period" levels, the glaciers would start to retreat, melting more quickly and possibly (depending on snowfall and "weight at the top") moving less quickly. Increased melt rates would expose younger ice (less time between deposition and melt). What have they actually found? I'd guess pretty much what I have just described? But if course it's because of global warming, not the cycle from medieval warm period to little ice age to current (which is much like the medieval warm period) temperatures... Maybe I should go and look and see!

rg767 wrote:On checking data, you don't know, and you shouldn't guess yourself.


The following is a statement from the BOM website.

BOM wrote:Data quality control processes, and some of the methods used to derive climate parameters (such as the calculation of clear and cloudy days), have changed since records were first kept by the Bureau of Meteorology. This means there may have been quality issues with the climate statistics (calculated from historical records).
We will soon finish reprocessing many of the data which are used to calculate the climate statistics. This will improve the quality of the statistical information provided to you. In the meantime, the statistics will be based on the same (updated) datasets as used previously. This will mean:

* You may find small differences when comparing the superseded (pre 2007) version of the climate statistics with the most recent. These changes are likely to be associated with the calculation process or the removal of unsuitable data.
* Some of the previously identified climate extremes may disappear in this new product. This is associated with data quality issues.
* Sites will no longer be listed where the original data are not available to verify the statistics. This involves about 120 sites which generally closed by the mid-1900s.

There is a delay, which varies with the type of element and sometimes the site as well, between when an observation is made and when the data have completed the quality control process. This delay is typically greatest for rainfall data. Therefore, recent data may not be included in the statistics for a particular site.


The concept of "removal of unsuitable data" is interesting, as is the concept that there is a delay for quality controlling recent data. If the rain gauge says "12.5mm", pray tell how that data can be quality controlled? Equally if the historical record says "12.5mm", then that was the reading on the day. Any processing after the event is spurious and questionable. Without a time machine to go back and remeasure, the only data available to us is that which is contained in the record. There simply is no way to quality control that data.

I also find it interesting that "Some of the previously identified climate extremes may disappear in this new product". One could suggest (if one was a conspiracy theorist!) that the removal of previous climate extremes would inevitably make our current variability look worse compared to past records, and given that "more variability" is the catch cry of the supporters of AGW, it might be easy to think that there were other motives for changing historical data..... ;)
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby Joey » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:33 am

rg767 wrote:Almost sorry I missed some of this.


No one else is sorry you missed anything , only sorry you are back.

rg767 wrote:zzsstt even used a newspaper article form 1889 as data

Sure he did but it was an example , what data have you provided at all in this discussion ?

rg767 wrote:I am saying that things are bit by bit getting more extreme as a result of it, and will continue to do so

Where is your proof ? and now you have proof of the future as well ?

rg767 wrote:Perhaps though, in time, so extreme that life on the planet becomes unsustainable. End of story
Can we see a picture your crystal ball please ?

rg767 wrote:and there are many precedents for civilisations wiping themselves out via their treatment of the environmental.

Really ? , certainly plenty of theories but no actual proof , no proof that any civilisation changed the environment to the detriment of their existence.

rg767 wrote:But I will leave it there. As I have mentioned, the only people that know how to argue this with any degree is certainty are probably not typing to one another here.

Exactly they are all out giving conferences and promoting Climate change , no doubt all making a few dollars !
To date you have not provided a shred of evidence supporting your "so called argument" .


rg767 wrote:No I believe you

Oxymoron

rg767 wrote:I am not going to argue that I have the numerical proof to hand though. I could find it, as I know where to look, but I have a job

Of course you don't , to date you have no proof of anything other than your opinion and a single link to the IPPC's website.

rg767 wrote:I don't have a problem believing that the science shows a shift in extremes
obviously you don't have a problem believing but where is your proof , discrediting everything zzsstt provides is not proof of anything other than your beliefs.

rg767 wrote:Queenslands floods were comprised of 5% more rainfall than the previous ever worst floods to my knowledge

Really ? where is your proof ?

rg767 wrote:I also suspect that the complexity, the ubiquity and cost of infrastructure of civilisation now is much more prone to damage by extreme weather events, but in my view that doesn't lessen the idea that they are getting worse.

In your view! were is the proof ?

rg767 wrote:on Glaciers - the simple answer is that they are great to look t because their age is well known due to the composition of particulate matter in the ice - this is all measurable.

On checking data, you don't know, and you shouldn't guess yourself.

Why dont you check what it is they are doing

You are the one that bought glacier length shortening into this discussion, now you expect zzsstt to come up with the evidence ?

rg767 wrote:Joey has put forward hardly an argument, but its frankly unsurprising. Yes you are entitled to reply, but it wont mean necessarily that you don't look like a goose. It doesn't mean that I will address your bile either.

Tracker said this, which I think is agreement with Joey's eloquent and knowledgeable words

Ok now lets have a look at the knowledge and Eloquence of a true goose!

Page 15 rg767 Wrote: "Perhaps everyone has lost interest in arguing about stuff made up by right wing nuts"

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "Your post is just more of the same accusation and innuendo. Where do you come up with this stuff?"

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "I know you haven't read it because your responses show an ignorance "

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "This is convenient, and lazy"

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "I'm the troll you people had to have!"

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "don't blame me for you making a reply. I guess you were happier when it was all one sided eh?"

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "I believe (and cant be bothered qualifying it) that around 50% of the practicing scientists in the world work in the military technology sector, meaning they are probably the most likely to have money to burn"

Page 16 rg767 Wrote: "Wasn't this you, trollmaster?"

Page 17 rg767 Wrote: " I actually don't know what the area of the land mass for example of Australia is, but its big"

Page 17 rg767 Wrote: "there is no such thing as cool or heat, they are subjective human terms only. There is only energy"

Page 17 rg767 Wrote: "Heating increases evaporation which increases the concentration of atmospheric water vapour"
( there is no such thing as heat haha )

Page 18 rg767 Wrote: "you have nothing new to offer aside from denial and sneaky, iterative argument"

Page 18 rg767 Wrote: "Scientitscarent in disagreement, you have just chosen to parrot this line"

Page 19 rg767 Wrote: "On famous scientists - this is borne of ignorance"

Page 21 rg767 Wrote: " you may not comprehend it, but all that does it count you out of a meaningful discussion"

Page 21 rg767 Wrote: "We have accidentally altered the climate to our disbenefit"

Page 21 rg767 Wrote: "Thats not skepticism, that's just denial, and it puts you in the company of big tobacco, et al."

Page 21 rg767 Wrote: "your post is extremely ignorant"

Page 22 rg767 Wrote: " the only people that know how to argue this with any degree is certainty are probably not typing to one another here."

Page 22 rg767 Wrote: "Joey demonstrated his anger and ignorance"

Page 22 rg767 Wrote: "it doesn't mean that I will address your bile either"

Page 22 rg767 Wrote: "*Believe that CFLs are out to get us.
It makes me wonder what else it is that you believe, or just don't know.
Let the obscenities begin"
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby zzsstt » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:11 pm

rg767 wrote:You have determines that rainfall has definitely decreased, and this concurs with what the climate models show.


I was just thinking about the point I was trying to make about "models", and how to explain the problems I see with such an approach in a clearer manner, to demonstrate the cyclic nature of the design. The comment above suddenly struck me as possibly a good example of the problem.

The models are designed on the basis of using the data to hand, together with some assumptions (or "rules" if you prefer that term). So, to simplify to the most basic form:

the data shows rainfall decreasing
the assumption is made that this is due to climate change
the assumption is made that climate change is due to increasing CO2
the model is designed based on the relationship; increasing CO2 = decreasing rainfall

We then look at the data and see rainfall is decreasing as CO2 increases ("this concurs with wat the climate models show"), and celebrate the fact that this agrees with the output from the model. But as the model was designed based on those very facts, it would be hard to envisage a scenario where the model didn't reflect back the facts and assumptions that it was fed with.

Now of course this is only a single data item, and there are many data items used in the models. However the same rules apply, if each data item is assumed to be changing because of increasing CO2, then the output of the model will always be that increasing CO2 has the assumed effect on that data item in the future.

So, we return to the basic problem, can a model designed using assumptions and measured data be taken as proof of the existence of a cause and effect relationship?

If I wrote a computer model comparing average Australian daytime temperatures with the number of characters in the months name, it would likely demonstate that there was a warming trend "linked" to the length of the months name - March/April/May/June/July are cooling, followed by warming periods August through to February. I could then compare that model to all the data on record for Australia, and I'm fairly sure that I could use the phrase "this concurs with what the model shows". But have I proven any cause/effect relationship?
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Re: Climate Change - Yes or No

Postby rg767 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:57 am

OK I really don't believe that you can build a model with the sorts of inherent bias you have hinted at.

There is a great explanation about how they are achieved in the 4th synthesis report. Its a bit more complex than you are suggesting.
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