Climate Change and a Few Simple Questions

Rep Mike Nearman_thb

by Rep. Mike Nearman

I’m running for re-election to the statehouse, and I was at a League of Women’s Voters candidate forum the other night. One of their questions was, “What environmental programs would you implement to help Oregon do its part to stem the local impacts and the increasing pace of climate change?”

I answered by saying that I did not accept the premise of the question and that I wasn’t sure the planet is warming and even if it is, I’m not sure that humans can do anything about it, and even if we can, Oregon is kind of a small player, but if you wanted to cut greenhouse emissions, I think that the best thing to do would be to return federal lands to the state and let us manage them so that we have fewer acres burned.

For this I was booed.

I challenged the audience to provide me with annual average global temperatures as measured by satellites from outer space for the last 20 or so years. I’m skeptical of local temperature measuring because of human and instrumentation errors, as well as local climate effects.

That challenge produced this email conversation:

Dear Representative Nearman:

I was in the audience in Corvallis at the Thursday League of Women Voters meeting. Your response to a question about climate change was that you had never seen data supporting a change, and asked someone to prove it to you with a graph. I’m not going to do that because anyone who is curious about reported changes to world’s climate system would have sought that out himself. Since you have chosen not to do so, something from me will not change your mind. But as the years go by and the direct experience of weather changes becomes increasingly obvious, I expect even you will come to understand what is going on. It’s unfortunate that you don’t understand what is going on now because you are doing your constituents a disservice by being uninformed.

Thanks for coming to Corvallis to share your views.

[name redacted]

MS Atmospheric Sciences

Fair enough. I responded:

Thanks for your feedback.

I have sought that data. You saw me do it again last night. You’d think that the data that I asked for would be easy to get. You’d think that NASA would just put it in a graph and put it on the internet. You’d think that a person who has a Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science would have that data at their fingertips and could just give it to me.

Again, I want to see the average annual temperature of the planet as measured by satellites going back as far as data is available. NASA has a very flashy site, but I can’t find this data there:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

I asked for information and instead of information, I get chided for being uninformed by the same people who want me to act legislatively and yet refuse to provide me with the most basic data. Again. What am I to think when I repeatedly ask the scientific community for data and am constantly denied?

You’re a scientist. Let me ask you a question.

The scientific method requires that we come up with a theory and then test it through experimentation to prove it (or at least provide evidence) that it is right or wrong.

So, if we had a theory that bacon causes cancer, you can imagine some experiments would be like get a bunch of guys and give them a lot of bacon to eat and if they tend to get cancer more than the general population, we were right. Maybe it’s not ethical to do medical experiments, so maybe we use lab rats, or maybe we just observe guys who eat a lot of bacon voluntarily, but you get the idea.

Can you devise an experiment that would have a chance to prove (or provide evidence) that the theory of Climate Change is wrong?

–Mike

Now, climate change is not my issue, so I don’t have access to scholarly information. I can, and have, googled things, including this, without success. I don’t think I’m being lazy when someone – especially someone who claims to have academic credentials – confronts me on an issue that is important to them and I ask them for simple data.

But no. Again I get a lecture and the implication that I am lazy. And no data. He writes:

I would think that someone in the legislature would have the intelligence and initiative to find the information themselves, not wait for someone else to spoon feed them. There are MANY books, magazine articles, websites there if you would take the time to look. You’re not in session. Spend some time learning. Do your homework for Christ’s sake!

[name redacted]

I’m not going to get any data, nor even an acknowledgement of my question about the Scientific Method, so I’m not putting a lot of effort into further correspondence:

So, you don’t have it. Do you?

–Mike

ps. What about my challenge on the Scientific Method?

I got one last shot from him and had to endure the indignity of being compared to his in-laws:

I went through this same hopeless back-and-forth with my father-in-law and finally gave up. As I said in the first email it will become obvious to you eventually that climate change is happening. Until then there is nothing I could say that would change your mind.

[name redacted]

I’m glad he was civil, but I’m a little surprised and even more hurt that as an academic professional, he would refuse to provide data to back up his pet theory. As a taxpayer, I almost certainly subsidized his education. As a legislator, it’s hard for me to have respect for “go look it up yourself”.

I don’t know where he went to school, but I hope the Oregon educational establishments that I oversee as a member of the House Higher Education, Innovation and Workforce Development Committee aren’t producing arrogant, unhelpful and uncurious scientists, trained, it seems, only to badger elected officials with whom they disagree.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is still seeking this data. If you have it, send a link to rep.mikenearman@state.or.us.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Global Warming | 59 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Eric Blair

    I find your unwillingness to do your own research to be troublesome Mr. Nearman. Perhaps you are simply very poor at doing internet research. So, if you read this blog, allow me to present you with just such a graph. For future reference, I used Google images and the search: Average earth (global will work too) temperature graph. Or, you can always go to your local public library and ask a librarian to help you.

    Global Mean Surface Temperature

    • Leninsee Hear .

      Have you cleared your prescribe with Chuck Wiese, comrade?

      • Eric Blair

        LOL.. No.

        Mr. Nearman asked for evidence, and suggested a graph. I provided that. Do you find context to be a troubling concern that you simply do your best to ignore?

        • Leninsee Hear .

          Your ignorance of tectonic plate factor is slip sniding away-y-y-y, clEric Belller, snapAppell, too. .

          • Connie Kosuda

            one of the trolls appears.

          • Toke Kemo Thar

            Kosuda yourself an unabridged leaping hyena for the hyperbole attending the Blairings of a chicken lick-spittle egotistical kiss’n cussin’ left wing cocoa nut milk siphoned doff a D’Appell corpse.

    • MrBill

      Here’s something to think about. This chart shows predicted temperatures based on an average of 102 IPCC CMIP-5 models versus observed temperatures. As can be seen, predicted temperatures based on climate models are increasingly out of step with observed temperatures.

      Are temperatures increasing? Sure they are.

      Has this increase proved catastrophic to date? No.

      Will this increase prove catastrophic in the future? Probably not.

      Should we make policy based on predictions of climate models? Definitely not.

      • Eric Blair

        On what are you basing your assumption that those increases will not prove to be catastrophic?

        As for problems with climate modeling, I’ll direct you to this site. Skepticalscience.com

        “When corrected for the cooling and warming influences on Earth’s climate, the climate models demonstrate a remarkable agreement with recent surface temperature warming trend.”

        Yes, they are still learning how to make the models more precise. The bottom line is, however, the global surface temperatures continue to rise.

        • MrBill

          On what do you base your assumption that increases will be catastrophic? Climate models that haven’t even accounted for the present?

          What would a more accurate model show? Would it more closely reflect observed temperatures which only show a minor warming trend that’s within the limits of what’s happened in the past?

          • Eric Blair

            I actually never claimed that increases would be catastrophic. You, however, did claim that they won’t be. Nice attempt at trying to turn the conversation away from what you actually did say. Well, not even that nice of an attempt.

          • MrBill

            Sounds like we’re all in agreement and there’s nothing to worry about.

          • Eric Blair

            Not necessarily. And you have yet to answer the question. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to of course. But your circumventing it seems a little… I was going to say odd, but funny is closer.

          • Connie Kosuda

            if you are an idiot, sure / ‘no worries’

          • Connie Kosuda

            have you heard about, or read about, the melting / disappearing glaciers? kinda important.

          • MrBill

            Have you heard about increases in ice elsewhere? kinda important too.

          • Connie Kosuda

            ice in your bucket, yes?

          • MrBill

            And between your ears, no? Oh wait, that’s impossible. Ice sublimates in a vacuum.

          • Eric Blair

            It has been, overall, a net loss of ice. And by quite a margin. The problem I’ve seen with deniers is that they cherry pick data and don’t look at the big picture.

            That can be see with Mr. Nearman and his insistence on relaying on only Satellite data and discounting surface temperatures.

          • MrBill

            One would expect sea ice to rise and fall because the climate is dynamic and not static. Even if you don’t believe in AGW, you’d still expect it to do that.

            In the 40+ years that we have had satellite data available, there has been no significant trends.

          • DavidAppell

            “In the 40+ years that we have had satellite data available, there have been no significant trends.”

            Bullshit.

            Since NSIDC began measuring Arctic and Antarcdtic sea ice extent in 1970, global sea ice extent has been decreasing at trend of -30,600 square kilometers per year.

            You would know that if you could do anything other than cut and paste diagrams you don’t understand.

          • MrBill
          • DavidAppell

            No, that doesn’t agree with you.

            Why do you think a gain in Antarctic ice isn’t in accord with all the other evidence for manmade global warming?

          • DavidAppell

            The man who developed the first good climate model predicted that the Antarctic would, in the early stages, gain ice:

            Increased Antarctic sea ice with increasing CO2 and global warming was predicted over 20 years ago by Manabe et al 1991:
            http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/sm9101.pdf
            page 795.

          • MrBill

            Even people who don’t believe in AGW recognize that there’s kind of a see-saw behavior between Arctic and Antarctic ice. When one goes down the other goes up.

            Manabe’s predicting it as part of his model isn’t really proof if it was something that would have happened anyway. Similarly, if his model predicted the sun would rise the next day, and it did, it doesn’t make his model valid.

            The basic problem you’re still faced with is that climate models, like Manabe’s, have consistently failed to predict the present let alone the future. See the first graphic I posted. I don’t think you’ve gotten around that.

          • DavidAppell

            “Even people who don’t believe in AGW recognize that there’s kind of a see-saw behavior between Arctic and Antarctic ice.”

            Baloney.

            Arctic sea ice extent and volume has been decreasing since 1979, when systematic record keeping began.

            Antarctic sea ice extent has been generally increasing, though it’s decreased sharply in the last 1-2 years. By volume, Arctic sea ice is decreasing 10 times faster than Antarctic sea ice is increasing.

            Global sea ice extent has been decreasing since detailed records began in 1979, at a average rate of -30,600 km2/yr.

          • DavidAppell

            Our world is warming 30 times faster than when the world left its last ice age. The ocean is acidifying.

            Yeah, that’s a problem. Do you care one iota, Bill, about anyone but yourself?

      • DavidAppell

        Bill: This graph is nonsense, meant (exactly) to convince only deniers like you.

        Its author has never been confident enough to submit it to the peer reviewed literature. That’s troublesome in science.

        Here’s why:

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/05/comparing-models-to-the-satellite-datasets/

        • MrBill

          I missed this comment in the line of discussion. Interesting article, but I think the writer has some problems of his own. I assume you read it. He seems to focus on the following four things:

          Baselines
          It seems like this criticism has to do with picking an anomolously warm period as a starting point. But I think if this is where the satellite data begins, where else are you going to start to maximize the use of satellite data? Time and further measurement will sort that out.

          Inconsistent Smoothing
          There’s a criticism over going from 5-yr running averages to 3&4 year running averages at the end of the data set. It looks like there isn’t not enough data at the end to continue a 5 year running average. Hence going to shorter running averages. Granted it might have been more consistent to use shorter periods of time throughout, but I
          think this only affects a couple data points. Not a big deal.

          Model Spread
          This criticism seems to be over showing an average instead of 95% confidence limits. But even if the observed data falls within the 95% limits, it seems like the model predictions are still diverging from observed. Eventually observed data will fall outside the limits (if it hasn’t already).

          Structural Uncertainty in the Observations
          I think what he’s saying here is that just as there is uncertainty in the model output, there’s also uncertainty in the observed data and he is using data from other sources to estimate that uncertainty.

          Ultimately, I think what the writer is trying to do
          by showing uncertainty in the model results and in the observed data is to create some overlap between the two that would allow him to say that observed data fits within what the model predicts and that therefore the model accurately predicts the present.

          I suppose one could buy some time in hopes that the two will eventually line up better. But as things stand now, there is a growing disparity between model outputs and
          observed temperatures. I don’t think this overcomes that fact.

          • DavidAppell

            “Baselines
            It seems like this criticism has to do with picking an anomolously warm period as a starting point.”

            Oh Jeez…… The amount of warming we’ve had is independent of the baseline! You can pick any baseline you want — the math doesn’t care. The only important number is how much warming has occurred since the pre-industrial era.

          • MrBill

            That was my point too.

          • DavidAppell

            You claimed the choice of baseline influences results.

            It does not.

          • MrBill

            Maybe i misstated or you misunderstood.

            Your link was criticizing the use of the beginning of the satellite data as baseline. My response was that it’s as good a starting point as any.

            No, I don’t think the choice of baseline is particularly relevant.

          • DavidAppell

            Calculations of the amount of warming DO NOT DEPEND ON THE BASELINE CHOSEN.

            Period.

          • DavidAppell

            “Your link was criticizing the use of the beginning of the satellite data as baseline.”

            Baselines don’t start in a particular year.

            They typically consist of a 30-year period. The UAH satellite group takes their baseine as Jan 1981 – Dec 2010. NASA takes their baseline period as Jan 1951 – Dec 1980.

            Calculations of warming trends DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE BASELINE CHOSEN.

          • MrBill

            Dude, get a grip. You’re arguing over something we agree on. Maybe you should write a nasty letter Gavin Schmidt, the guy who wrote the piece you posted. Feel free to use all caps.

          • DavidAppell

            You kept going on about baselines.

            Climate results do not depend on what baseline is chosen.

    • Mike Nearman

      The graph that NASA has is of ground stations measuring temperature. This is problematic, because over time, local effects can skew the data. For instance, McNary Field in Salem is a measuring station, but it was about 10 years ago that Wal-Mart built a huge store right across the street and put a huge parking lot on what was grass. Surely this has a small but significant effect on local temperature.

      That’s why I ask for satellite data, which NASA does not have on their site.

      • Connie Kosuda

        mike / you are grasping at straws / please retire / stay home / have some cocoa.

      • DavidAppell

        Mike Nearman: NASA corrects for biases that can skew the data.

        Learn.

    • thevillageidiot

      Thank you EB for the link. unfortunately any of the graphs for a period of longer than approximately 200 to 250 years does not indicate anything outside the parameters of what might be considered “normal”.

      • Connie Kosuda

        didn’t bother to look, now, did ya.l

  • Bob Clark

    This Bill Nye, Mr Science guy, argues Deniers should be imprisoned. Of course, such nonsense, only should make us all the more skeptical of the Climate Change dogma coming from our mainstream government. So, Mr. Science wants to get rid of those who would test the theory of Climate Change; which is tantamount to saying, I want to do away with the scientific method. Mr Science guy is not unlike the priests who went after Flat earth skeptics.

    Of course, you know the science supporting Climate Change dogma is to a significant degree dubious, when the Kool Aide drinkers use the predictions of the various climate change models as their testing data rather than observed actual temperatures.

    • DavidAppell

      He’s talking about deniers like Exxon who matter, not you Bob. You are perfectly free to spout whatever nonsense you want.

      • BigWaveDave

        The deniers who belong in jail are those who pedal the tripe they call Climate Science these days. You know, the ones who deny physics and insist the Sun isn’t capable of warming the surface of the Earth.

        • DavidAppell

          When I wrote, “3. When EM radiation is absorbed by an object, does that object gain the radiation’s energy?”

          you answered “not necessarily.”

          So when doesn’t that happen?

  • mememine

    My grade 8 class is asking why climate science can say smoking causing cancer is real but can’t say a catastrophic crisis is as real as they agree smoking causes cancer.

    Even after 35 years of climate action delay and debate.
    Will it be too late when they finally do say it?
    What do I tell them?

    • Connie Kosuda

      please retire early / you should not be inflicting your ignorance on children of any age.

      • Sayona, the sooner D’betta

        Sake gotch ye, Tokyo prosie?

      • Donald Ho, Kosudaberra

        Tiny bubbles…
        Arising from the brine
        Make me feel Connie Kosuda’d
        Making surface air sublime

        Eh?

        Tiny bubbles surfacing all ovah (Earthly seas)
        Keynoting with feeling scientific meth-odds
        Air from your derriere, gasp (oracle nimrod)
        Will swill to the end of time, even ewe nabob,

        So shears to your golden moon
        And here’s to silver fish seen in your MASH wardee
        Abut moistly to a here’s a toast
        I’ll never let ewe Eva Peon on me

        Noir the other dippsy doodle insurgents ilk Blairing Appell flying saucers resembling kite flying buffalo chips.

        • Connie Kosuda

          ‘ho’ is right / nothing to be proud of.

          • How Arr Ya, Five Ho

            Ho, ho, ho!

            Bubba please, Con-me Sutra; at ‘lease’ trial to cool your fanatic jets’m ’til sager minds come to common sensor…lo, from below, revealing base outlets allowing undeniable cosmic truths to surface, virtually..

            To wit: I don’t liken to absorb’n sulfurous airs any more you, Kiddo.

            Instill, the facet of shifting tectonic plates opening over the ‘dours’ over Mother Earth’s oven, in essence burbling upward more hellish smell to seas above: Hello, afartz much more than Al Gore and his’n dairy-err Cowsills can recover over their Applied Piper succor-ism entittlements.

            Selah, Toots! .

  • guess who

    Interesting discussion But I have not seen anyone who is able to prove that the present climate change is not a continuation of change that has been going on since the earth first formed into a planet after all plant life fossilized from the period of dinosaurs wandering the earth present a much warmer earth with high co2 levels followed by numerous ice ages and warming trends but our climate change ” experts” write a computer program that predicts a scientific climate change over a small period of time and then alter the input data to fit their model to claim we are responsible for this period of change as predicted by their model which was engineered to satisfy their agenda.

    • Connie Kosuda

      don’t read much, then , do you.

      • guess who

        This from some one who is unable to read a statement for content and respond in a intelligent manner.

        • Connie Kosuda

          with practice, one day you may succeed!

          • guess who

            This from some one who is unable to read a statement for content and respond in a intelligent manner.

    • DavidAppell

      guess who: Climate changes when it’s forced to change. Our CO2 emission are a (strong) forcing agent.

  • Connie Kosuda

    you are not qualified to run for dog catcher, nor any other office. lazy intellect / lazy research / beholden to the ignorant , well-funded professional ‘climate change deniers’ – no thanks. do your own damn research.

  • DavidAppell

    Rep Mike: All the data you seek is readily available. Here are NASA’s graphs:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    This post makes you look like an absolute idiot.

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