Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Climategate fallout, this time from the UK Guardian

Here's another story about (probably fraudulent, certainly unverifiable) data being used in a now-discredited story that forms one of the cornerstones of the rapidly-crumbling AGW edifice:

Chinese Urbanization Study | Climate Skeptic
Why it matters

The Guardian writes:

[I]t is important to keep this in perspective, however. This dramatic revision of the estimated impact of urbanisation on temperatures in China does not change the global picture of temperature trends. There is plenty of evidence of global warming, not least from oceans far from urban influences.

This is correct. Further, it is absurd to deny the world has warmed over the last 150 years as the little ice age of the 17th and 18th centuries was one of the coldest periods in thousands of years, and thus it is totally natural that we have seen warming in recovery from these frigid times.

But here is what it is important to understand: The real debate between skeptics and alarmists is not over whether the Earth has warmed over the last century or whether CO2 from man contributes incrementally to warming. The real debate is over whether the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 is high or low. Skeptics like me argue for low sensitivity, on the order of 0.5-1.0C per doubling once all feedbacks are taken in to account. Alarmists argue for numbers 3C and higher.

The problem alarmists have is that it is very, very difficult to reconcile past warming to high-sensitivity forecasts. It takes a lot of mathematical contortions, from time-delays to cooling aerosols to ignoring ocean cycles and natural recovery from the little ice age to make the numbers reconcile. Halving the actual historic warming by attributing the other half to measurement biases makes it even, uh, more impossible to reconcile high sensitivity models to actual history.

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