Talk:Global warming/Archive 40

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Archive 35 Archive 38 Archive 39 Archive 40 Archive 41 Archive 42 Archive 45

Global Warming Causes Earthquakes

You guys sound so skeptical.  :)

  • Look, MSNBC is even reporting it Don't let the fact that CBS News and the AP have backtracked stop you. MSNBC is considered a credible news source, is it not?
  • Here is another paper from the same scientist: where we learn that the Earth might actually explode because of global warming. Who knew?

Even so, my addition is sourced according to Wikipedia standards (see WP:RS). I think you should let it stand.

--GoRight (talk) 22:06, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

That's "Scientist", and no and WP:POINT. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:15, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
My bad on the capitalization, no offense intended. I'll have to remember to put the double quotes around it, though, when discussing Global Warming "Scientists". Thanks for the recommendation.  :) Even so, my addition does meet Wikipedia standards, WP:RS, so it seems unfair to impugn my intentions as being WP:POINT. I am just being WP:BOLD and you should be WP:AGF.

See the section "Scholarship" of RS:

Many Wikipedia articles rely upon source material created by scientists, scholars, and researchers. Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history, medicine and science, although some material may be outdated by more recent research, or controversial in the sense that there are alternative theories. Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used in these areas, particularly if they are respected mainstream publications. Wikipedia articles should strive to cover all major and significant-minority scholarly interpretations on topics for which scholarly sources exist, and all major and significant-minority views that have been published in other reliable sources. The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context. Where there is disagreement between sources, their views should be clearly attributed in the text.

  • Material that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable; this means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals.
  • Items that are signed are preferable to unsigned articles.
  • The scholarly credentials of a source can be established by verifying the degree to which the source has entered mainstream academic discourse, for example by checking the number of scholarly citations it has received in google scholar or other citation indexes.
  • In science, single studies are usually considered tentative evidence that can change in the light of further scientific research. How reliable a single study is considered depends on the field, with studies relating to very complex and not entirely-understood fields, such as medicine, being less definitive. If single studies in such fields are used, care should be taken to respect their limits, and not to give undue weight to their results. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews, which combine the results of multiple studies, are preferred (where they exist).

Count Iblis (talk) 23:09, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

OK, so we have "Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used in these areas, particularly if they are respected mainstream publications." MSNBC is a respected mainstream publication, is it not? --GoRight (talk) 23:23, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, we had to decide for this and many other wiki articles on scientific topics that non-academic sources are notoriously unreliable when they make statements about science, particularly when there are very few peer reviewed sources that confirm such statements. And, as you should know, Global Warming is a special case. The Wall Street Journal is a very reliable source on almost everything, except on Global Warming. :)
This is an example of me keeping a newspaper article out of the special relativity article
For a start, the newspaper account on the research as completely flawed. Including the preprint of the research article would have been possible, but then we needed to discuss the actual physics in the article and violate the usual rules on Original Research.
So, in general (not just in case of this global warming article), I don't think we should allow non-peer reviewed sources when they report on a new scientific result that as of yet has very few peer reviewed sources. Count Iblis (talk) 23:45, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I'll let this drop at this point so as not to disrupt the article needlessly. It is not like this was a major point in the whole debate, but it certainly is relevant, if true. --GoRight (talk) 00:17, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I seriously doubt if the Nu journal could ever be considered a reliable source. Frankly i'm surprised that any newspaper would publish such a thing, but i guess it was a slow newsday. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:59, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I obviously agree and I, personally, remain skeptical of the purported causal effects presented in the paper. But given the alarmist nature of the AGW proponents a claim of AGW causing earthquakes seemed like it would be uncontroversial, and indeed welcomed. So when I saw the article was reported in a respected mainstream publication I immediately thought of the more prominent group of AGW contributors here at Wikipedia. Just trying to help. :) --GoRight (talk) 00:17, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you read up on WP:DE, and WP:SOAP. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:03, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Why would you suggest that? Regardless of my motives it was a legitimate entry on this page sourced from a WP:RS. I was clearly adhering to Wikipedia standards when I made the entry. The fact that I have decided not to continue a futile fight with the Connolley Gang doesn't diminish that in any way. I simply don't have the numbers required to over-rule your group's coordinated censorship of the GW pages because of WP:3RR. --GoRight (talk) 02:27, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
I can only speculate on your motives. But if you seriously try to push this MSNBC and "NuJournal" articles as reliable sources, you are terminally stupid. If not, you are violating WP:POINT. Either way, stop it. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:21, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
I have already dropped it above, something I am sure you are completely aware of. You are the one who seems bent on continuing this conversation. Either way, please don't misrepresent my position. I have never asserted that the "NuJournal" was WP:RS, I only asserted that MSNBC is WP:RS and it is, regardless of your self-serving opinion. --GoRight (talk) 09:20, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Hi. I'm not a regular participant here, but I can't see why global warming can't cause earthquakes. Melting shifts the ice, such as with the glacial rebound, and can stretch the Earth's crust. Are there any scientific publications about this, though? Thanks. ~AH1(TCU) 01:09, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
It does cause seismic activity on Greenland, so called ice or glacial quakes [1]. But i doubt if there is enough ice-melt to have any significant impact on the crust yet. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:27, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

MSNBC is little better than Fox News these days, its just Fox for moderates. Titanium Dragon (talk) 19:57, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

There is no basis for excluding credible reliable sources like MSNBC or the Wall St Journal, regardless of whther they are academically peer-revewed or not. Doing so will greatly harm this article. --Steve, Sm8900 (talk) 19:12, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
That it appeared in MSNBC or the WSJ isn't the reason that its being removed. It's because it raises the red flag, and that subsequent examination of the source (the "scientist") shows us, that it is indeed fringe view appearing in a non-reliable "scientific journal". And that apparently the MSNBC brought the article, because it was a really slow news-day (i hope ;). May i suggest that you check the talk-page, and the discussions before reverting, and repeating an argument? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:43, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this material is fringe. Do the editors trying to add this really believe that it's serious or are they trying to make a point? Oren0 (talk) 20:08, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Clearly, GoRight tried to make a point by trying to edit this into this article. And perhaps it isn't that bad that he tried to do that. He genuinly believes that the scientific consensus on global warming is not a result of good science, that critics are systematically ignored and that this consensus is driven by alarmism combined with the desire to implement left wing liberal policies.
So, he thought some fringe article about earthquakes would easily make it into this article because of the alarmist conclusions. But he failed and perhaps he will now reconsider his ideas about climate science. Count Iblis (talk) 20:40, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
LOL. You hardly know me so don't try to represent my positions, please. I still maintain that my addition met wikipedia standards and thus is, in fact, a legitimate edit. I simply lack the incentive to actually waste time fighting the Connolley gang over it. I knew that they would object despite it being properly sourced, as is evident from the commentary above. I am well aware that Wikipedia standards mean very little when the material supports a POV other than their own.
As for my views on climate change regarding the validity of the science being espoused by the alarmists, it is not the raw data that I question ... only their conclusions and the obvious political motivations that drive them. When it is all said and done the temperature will do whatever it is going to do and then the story will be told. --GoRight (talk) 22:25, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
I still maintain that my addition met wikipedia standards and thus is, in fact, a legitimate edit. - Reality disagrees Raul654 (talk) 23:19, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Maybe in your alt-reality but in the real world the edit met the standards. --GoRight (talk) 23:36, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
The arbcom says that for scientific articles (read: this one) sources should be textbooks or peer reviewed articles. Your edit included a hypothesis pushed by one fringe scientist published in a non-peer reviewed source. So no matter how many times you say your edits have abided by Wikipedia policy, it doesn't make it so. If you continue to push this nonsense, the next stop is going to be the administators' noticeboard. Have a nice day. Raul654 (talk) 23:45, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Meh. If this is true (the arcom bit) it hasn't made its way into the officially documented policies, as we have seen above ... no matter how many times you repeat it. And what am I pushing? I have already agreed to drop it as you no doubt know. All I am doing now is keeping the record straight against the continuing onslaught of false accusations such as yours. --GoRight (talk) 00:25, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I have started a requests for comments on GoRight's behavior at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/GoRight Raul654 (talk) 21:06, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


Concerning this, I left out "mean" because I gather that global temperature is already a mean. Hmm, but maybe you (ubersciencenerd) are referring to a mean of means (of that averaged quantity that is global temperature over different points in time.) Brusegadi (talk) 02:44, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Point taken. I suppose readers can assume that without additional words. I at first found "global temperature" to be somewhat misleading, but I see the validity of it now. UberScienceNerd Talk Contributions 01:42, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

SRES vs. Peak Oil

There is quite a buzz surrounding what is usually summarised as Peak Oil these days. The concept was earlier mostly discussed by the tin-foil hat crowd, but now seems to be a recognised and tangible fact. I guess peak coal is an equally important concept. Does SRES take these into consideration? If not, has there been or is there any research on this? I'd say this should be a quite important question, both when it comes to warming estimates and future energy supply. (Sorry if it's already been discussed here). Narssarssuaq (talk) 17:31, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

The SRES scenarios incorporate a range of what they describe as "resource availability", but it is not a strong constraint on the possible futures described in SRES in large part because in the late 90s there wasn't a lot of agreement about when resource limitations would start to matter. Dragons flight (talk) 18:15, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Would the (supposed) increased knowledge today influence anything in the article to a noteworthy degree? Should it be mentioned at all? In that case, does anyone know any citations we could use? By the way, a rather academic site on oil production, demand and prices seems to be []. Although one-sided, it refers to empirical knowledge to back up claims. Maybe it can be of some help. Narssarssuaq (talk) 18:41, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
I expect improved knowledge will influence the range of projected scenarios, but I don't know of any places where this has been discussed in detail. I expect that SRES will be updated before the next IPCC report though (although such an update may still be well in our future). Dragons flight (talk) 01:50, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I hope someone with a thorough overview of literature and current research can look into this, because the article will probably be requested to contain something about this pretty soon. Narssarssuaq (talk) 11:05, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Further reading: request

Request addition of more currrent available sound material. Case in point:

Australia - Garnaut Climate Change Review

Draft report released 4 July 2008 -

Also available more accessibly here -

 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 4 July 2008 (UTC) 

Misleading graph

Recent increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The monthly CO2 measurements display small seasonal oscillations in an overall yearly uptrend; each year's maximum is reached during the Northern Hemisphere's late spring, and declines during the Northern Hemisphere growing season as plants remove some CO2 from the atmosphere[graph is misleading].

I tagged this graph with a "graph is misleading" tag because its Y origin should be at 0 in order to avoid sensationalizing the data trend. See Wikipedia:Don't draw misleading graphs. Whoever drew this graph instead put the Y origin just below the low point, which causes the upward curve to be greatly exaggerated, which misleads the reader. The Y origin ought to be at 0. Certainly a less exciting data slope, but less misleading.

The temperature graphs, by contrast, don't have this obvious error, since 0 degrees is an arbitrary number. Parts per million, though, ought to have its origin at 0. There is an argument that 0 is silly - what if the planet has never had 0 parts per million? That argument fails here because the rise in parts per million is about 20%, whereas the graph visually states that there's about a 1300% rise. Tempshill (talk) 20:10, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm, you are doing OR, since its your take versus published material. Google Keeling curve. I think those are the years for which the measurments were taken. Also, its relative, I have never seen business cycles graphed in the context of hundreds of years, you would lose what you are trying to observe.Brusegadi (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I concur with Brusegadi - I'm pretty sure the Keeling curve is never plotted from 0. Raul654 (talk) 20:23, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Interesting essay there. From Wikipedia:Don't draw misleading graphs: "However, one should also avoid insisting on a misleading '0'. For example, when plotting the temperature history of Boston, it makes no sense to start the plot at 0 K, since 0 K is far removed from physically obtainable values and will only obscure the actual range of variation." Seems this issue is already covered in the essay Tempshill cited. MastCell Talk 20:35, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
These are all interesting inferences, however, from a geological standpoint, this is a vanishingly small period of time. Given the earth is 4.5 billion years old, this graph could qualify as statistically useless. There's no context. What if this CO2 level is still lower than what existed at the height of any glacial maximum? The graph gives a gnat's breath amount of data in the lifespan of the planet. I'm hardly a global warming denialist, but this graph, from a scientific point of view, is kind of useless. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:42, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
We don't (and frankly can't) expect every plot to be complete in itself. Presumably if you are showing such data you are also discussing its context. Dragons flight (talk) 21:46, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Orangemarlin. I also recognize the point being made by MastCell. So why not set the temperature scale to the known historical limits. I am not suggesting that we use this exact graph, but here is a graph showing the limits ( as being 280ppm up to >5000ppm. Surely on a known scale that large this graph must be considered misleading since it clearly exaggerates the level of increase as compared to historical knowns. --GoRight (talk) 22:17, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
You have an interesting definition of "history". CO2 has been extremely stable during historical times up until 1850 or so. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:20, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't know, mine seems to agree with the opening sentence of the Wikipedia entry on history, specifically "History is the study of the past, particularly the written record of the human race, but more generally including scientific and archaeological discoveries about the past." Regardless of the term you wish to describe it by, do you dispute scientific legitimacy of the levels cited as having actually been attained throughout the history of the planet? --GoRight (talk) 22:39, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • The context of the graph is what is important. In addition to the fact that it was done by Keeling. Finally, I gather that the magnitude of the change is not as important as the lags of the series. The last time CO2 spiked up so fast, bad things happened. Orangemarlin's point is good, but it boils down to how ergodic the series is. When we forecast economic downturns we hardly care about what went on 50, 20, 10 years ago. So, despite the fact that the earth is "old", to statistically judge if something 'weird' is happening, the 50 most recent observations may suffice. Brusegadi (talk) 22:46, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • (ec)Oh, I have no more than the usual scepticism about these past CO2 limits (which means I accept them provisionally while keeping in mind the error bars - our own Image:Phanerozoic Carbon Dioxide.png is quite good). I dispute the scientific legitimacy of including them in a diagram that shows the anthropogenic CO2 increase, which happens on a completely different time scale. If you talk about millions and billions of year, the complete biology and geology of the planet changes - indeed, even the sun evolves significantly over those time scales. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:54, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I can accept the argument about the context of the graph being AGW specific, so time scales outside of human existence wouldn't apply. I don't think that this graph is actually misleading to anyone smart enough to actually interpret the graph, which would no doubt include most of the contributors to this article, I am less confident of that fact with respect to the general readership of Wikipedia.
So, if the intent of the graph is to show the CO2 increases due to human activities, is the reader intended to assume that this graph is showing increases solely attributable to human causes? If so, is that in fact what the graph shows or should it also provide a separate line showing the human caused effects for comparison purposes? --GoRight (talk) 23:18, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
If you roughly double the increase shown you get the human-casued component. Do you have a point? William M. Connolley (talk) 23:23, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
My point, actually the original commenter's point, is that the graph is misleading. I should have thought that obvious.
Stephan asserts that the purpose of the graph, or at least the context of the graph, is AGW specific. So, is it your contention that the curve shown in this graph represents solely human caused increases (i.e. that no portion of the curve shown is caused by natural forces, such as volcanoes to cite one example)?
If this curve represents the cumulative effect of both natural causes AND human causes this should be made clear, and if possible the relative proportions should be called out. It would seem relevant to a discussion of overall CO2 increases that we understand the human caused increases in relation to the natural ones, would it not, given a stated context of AGW? Based on your comment it appears that you are assuming that humans are responsible for 100% of the increase shown. Is that correct? If so, I assume that you have some evidence to back that up? --GoRight (talk) 00:02, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Crickets, Mr. Connolley? --GoRight (talk) 06:56, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but in the US a decent education does not come for free. The graph makes no claim about the source of the increase, so there is no onus to provide a reference there. But the topic is entirely uncontroversial, and references are easily available, some only two clicks away. So please stop wasting our time with trivialities and do your own research. Thanks. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:33, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
If you follow the links to GHG, and the section natural and anthro, you'll find the assertion that the inc is anthro, and a ref thereunto. As I said, humans are responsible for 200% of the increase, not 100%. We could make all this more explicit, but Human activity since the industrial revolution has increased the concentration of various greenhouse gases seems fairly explicit already. I'm unsure as to whether you are ignorant of all this, and would like to learn, or igrnorant, and would like to push your ignorance into the article. Your recent edits suggest the latter William M. Connolley (talk) 09:49, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:RFCU is over there. If you want a private conversation, may I suggest you use a private medium? Your contributions here are free for all to comment on. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:46, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Heh. If WP:RFCU had any chance of being effective you would have been exposed long ago I am sure. WP:RFCU would be easy enough for a knowledgable user to evade. There are only so many ways that two accounts can be correlated, all of which are easily defeated. IMHO WP:MEAT (minus any derogatory implications) is a much more likely scenario, although I am certainly not accusing you of actually being such (in case there was any doubt).  :) --GoRight (talk) 01:58, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Carbon dioxide changes during the last 400,000 years.
I have no idea when it was removed, but the chart shown at right used to also appear in this article, and could provide additional context. Dragons flight (talk) 22:56, 20 June 2008 (UTC) has most of the info you are looking for GoRight. As William said, there is no real debate over the origins of atmospheric CO2 emissions, as its easily confirmed by isotope ratios. (talk) 04:51, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with this graph.

  1. The axes are properly labelled and chosen. The data starts in 1960, so it should start there; the concentration starts at around 300, so the Y-axis starting around there is not unreasonable, given that it only goes up. You could also present it as % increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration WRT 1960s level and get a graph which looks the same.
  2. The graph covers a relevant time period.
  3. That other graph shows CO2 over a very long time span, and thus doesn't really show the increase in modern times well at all because of how short modern times are from a geological standpoint. Titanium Dragon (talk) 19:54, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
    File:Sémhur draft1.svg
    Same graph as the first above, with a zero Y origin.
Titanium Dragon, to restate my original point, the reason the graph is misleading is because to the eye, it shows a rise in ppm of about 1300%, and not the 20% borne out by the data. If I could go down the hall and grab Edward Tufte then he would agree with me and settle the argument, but I can't. Tempshill (talk) 17:45, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

If you want, I can do a graph with a zero Y origin. Sémhur 14:50, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I think this is an improvement, personally, though I suspect that in order to be more relevant, it should probably cover a greater time span. Tempshill (talk) 17:45, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree, it would be better. But I don't know if data before 1958 exists. Sémhur 18:19, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
The Keeling data only exists for the period shown in the graph. Older measurements are sporadic and unreliable. For long periods, we use e.g. ice core data, but both the accuracy and, in particular, the temporal resolution are much worse. I somewhat prefer the original graph. Zero is not a realistic value (we don't plot climate tables in Kelvin, either). The original graph shows the development of CO2 in a much better resolution. Everybody can read the labels to understand the values. The new plot is somewhat better at showing the increasing slope of the plot, but it is much worse at showing the annual variation - which gives an important visual clue about the quality of the data. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:59, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your last sentence except I would change to "somewhat" to "far". Would it fix your concerns if the inset annual-variance graph were made larger? Tempshill (talk) 20:39, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I think it is silly to plot this data with all that white space, especially since 0 is not a historically or physically relevant value. I know Tufte's opinion (which Tempshill mentions above), but I generally believe that slavish adherence to that view makes data like this more difficult to understand (rather than less) because it inevitably obscures the physically & historically important variations. I also think it is bad (in an OR / POV sense) to think that Wikipedia knows "better" how to display the Keeling Curve than the many examples produced by other organizations [2]. The plot axis is labeled in a way that is legible even in thumbnail, and in my opinion that is the natural thing to do here rather than sticking in a lot of empty space. Dragons flight (talk) 22:10, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Agree with you. This is getting ridiculous guys! The fact is that this is how the graph is presented in reliable sources. It would be like demanding that gdp graphs on the article of the business cycle were made to include hundreds of years. Brusegadi (talk) 03:17, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, then the 'reliable sources' are drawing graphs that are misleading to the eye. This is not a surprise; 'reliable sources' draw terribly misleading graphs all the time; look at the Wall Street Journal, which usually puts the origin just beneath the current data, presumably to inject excitement with a sharp up-curve.
What if this graph were re-plotted as a plus-and-minus percentage graph over the previous data? I wouldn't object to that. Tempshill (talk) 16:43, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
What about a simple statement on the note asserting the % change? You could say x% from year n to year m. But first, why 0? MastCell makes a good point above that 0 is not necessarily the right base value (using the essay you cite.) I think its fine as it is, because it is a heavily referenced graph intended to show recent increments. Brusegadi (talk) 03:52, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Further discussion on the natural vs. anthropogenic sources clarification.

In response to User:Count Iblis on my RFC talk page, here are a few additional questions:

  1. Does the concentration of CO2 shown in the graph represent an equilibrium point relative to ALL sources and ALL sinks for CO2?
  2. Do there exist natural sources of CO2 in the atmosphere? Do there exist natural processes which result in a net increase in CO2 in the atmosphere (a.k.a. natural CO2 sources)?
  3. Does the graph in question make any attempt to adjust for those natural sources such that it can be properly said that the graph represents the effects of only anthropogenic sources, as is clearly implied by the paragraph immediately adjacent to the graph which begins with "Human activity since the industrial revolution has increased the concentration of various greenhouse gases ..."?
  4. We know (from your own sources) that humans have emitted enough CO2 to account for 200% of the observed increase, so obviously there are CO2 sinks at play here. Is it your position that these CO2 sinks only operate on CO2 increases from anthropogenic sources? If so, please provide some justification for this position as I see none.
  5. Assuming that the CO2 sinks are NOT selective, does the CO2 concentration shown in the graph not represent the net effects of changes in ALL sources and ALL sinks over time?

--GoRight (talk) 20:51, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

The graph is the Keeling curve. Both the label and the linked article describe it clearly. It shows the concentration of CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa. I don't think your second question is what you want to ask. There are some sources of CO2 "in the atmosphere", namely the oxidization of precursors like CO and methane. They are are natural in as far as the the precursors are. The graph, as explained multiple times, shows the measured concentration of CO2. No one claimed that the graph shows the effect of "only anthropogenic sources" - as should be obvious from the caption that describes the natural seasonal cycle superimposed on the increase. The increase shown by the graph is indeed purely due to human sources, and is moderated by an increase in sinks. Unfortunately, these sinks have limited capacity (about half goes into the ocean, where the surface layer will become saturated) and negative impacts (see ocean acidification). CO2 sinks work effectively the same for natural and anthropogenic CO2 (there are some very slight preferences for certain isotopes in some sinks, and CO2 from different sources has different isotopic composition). As for your last leading question: May I remind you that your edit read "Recent increases, from both natural and man-made sources,..."? The increase is indeed attributed only to anthropogenic sources. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:55, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
The graph, as explained multiple times, shows the measured concentration of CO2. Yes, I know, and this is exactly the point. It does not differentiate between natural and man-made sources of CO2. If there are both natural and man-made sources of CO2, the rise in the figure presented is the net result of ALL sources of CO2, not just the man made ones. By the time the CO2 arrives on Mauna Loa their measurements do not know the source. So it is fair to say that the net change as measured there is a function of ALL sources and sinks, not just anthropogenic ones as suggested by being presented in a section which says "Human activity since the industrial revolution has increased the concentration of various greenhouse gases ...". Why you object to making this implicit fact explicit for the reader eludes me.
I don't believe the graph caption is at all misleading as it stands. If there is a problem in the accompanying text, then that should be dealt with, but the graph does not have to state that it is the result of both natural and non-natural sources - that fact is implicit. ATren (talk) 18:30, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Carbon History and Flux Rev.png
You are looking for the information at right. Before the onset of anthropogenic forcing there were only minor natural fluctuations in the atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, anthropogenic emissions have drove CO2 concentrations unnaturally higher since ~1875. In response to higher atmospheric concentrations some natural sinks also increased their drawdown. Hence the net change is less than would be anticipated from looking at anthropogenic factors alone. Nonetheless, the change that has occured was entirely triggered by the anthropogenic effects. Dragons flight (talk) 03:26, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Weasel Words and Ambiguous Vagueness

A part of the introduction is unclear in that it leaves it to the reader to guess at what is meant and quantitatively so by "overwhelming majority". Does this mean over 50%, 80%, 98%? I don't know and it is presumed upon the reader to simply accept this assertion without any data or qualification and for them to guess at what percentage this implies. Whilst references are included the characterisation is open to interpretation by a varied readership some of whom will interpret overwhelming to mean greater than 50%. The percentage when stated explicitly places the data in a qualitative range framework. Also "overwhelming" may be interpreted as dominance. A better formulation would "over n% of climate scientists" where n is the supported percentage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Theo Pardilla (talkcontribs) 02:43, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

No. I not aware that you can speak of percentages when it comes to this matters. So, good luck finding a source that words this matter that way. There are many sources, however, that use the word 'majority' or the word 'consensus' (not to imply that these terms are equivalent) and the above was chosen because it can be attributed to one of the most prestigious scientific societies in the world. Brusegadi (talk) 03:27, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Whilst these sources may very well use the word 'majority' or the word 'consensus' a better source for a percentage value would arise from a peer reviewed survey that asks the scientists directly in a standard way rather than interprets their work. Whilst i agree that the word 'majority' or the word 'consensus' is correct and that the scientific respectability of the source is not disputed it still leaves it open to the guesswork of the reader to determine what the percentage is. For a scientific article this seems rather vague. Its fair enough to say "While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with some findings of the IPCC,[8] the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC's main conclusions.[9][10]" but once again the accuarcy and dare i say strength of this statement would be enhanced by having a numeric component. Perhaps you can tell me what figure you would apply 50%, 80%, 98% or another number? i guess it would be over 95% but whos to say? Maybe these surveys dont exist in the required form however we wont know with accuracy until its available for study. I will keep a lookout for such.Theo Pardilla (talk) 05:21, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
I am confident that no survey exists that directly polls the opinions of scientists on the issue of global warming in a way that is widely accepted as reasonable by the scientific community. (The few times direct surveys have been tried, the results were heavily disupted.) Hence, we are often reduced to repeating qualitative statements about the perceptions of "consensus" issued by major scientific organizations, which hopefully are able to credibly convey the state of affairs in the scientific community. I also would prefer something more concrete and direct, but it simply doesn't exist. Dragons flight (talk) 05:39, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, That seems a fair appraisal.
After further consideration it seems to me that the majority of climate scientists believe that the IPCCC findings are understated given the very conservative process and the direction in which new scientific studies are trending. Therefore it seems a mischaracterisation to simply say overwhelming majority agree when in a sense they disagree because its too conservative. Or perhaps i can put this another way, of 100% of climate scientists 2% believe that its overstated and 29% believe its about right and 69% believe its understated. To frame the direction of agreement to the limited range of a perception by scientists of (overstatement <> about right) excludes opinion of scientists that believe IPCCC is underestimating, and is therefore inaccurate at least.Theo Pardilla (talk) 01:25, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
That may be true but only because you are framing it from a point perspective. So if a scientist believes the the increment in temperature to be 2 degrees and the IPCC says one degree then he disagrees. But if we change this to the scientist believes a two degree increment will take place and the IPCC believes that an increment of at least 1 degree will take place then we are fine. I have not read the entire report, but I do know that it has been judged to be overly conservative. So, my perception is that it is the lowest common denominator. I believe that Bill Gates has billions, so if someone asks me if he has $1,000.00 I would say yes. It might be a bad example, but I hope it transmits my idea. Brusegadi (talk) 04:33, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Time to update the temperature chart

We should update the chart with the latest temperature numbers (which reflect the recent cooling trend). (talk) 01:38, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

What temperatures should be used? Mid-tropospheric? Here is one rossnixon 02:03, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
The main chart is up to 2005 or 2006. Clicking on the image will take you to the image page, which in turn links to the most recent HadCRUT data. Adding one or two years will not significantly alter the graph, so I don't think it's worth the effort. But try for yourself. The graph from icecap does not look like anything I have ever seen. It seems to be unsourced, too. Compare our Image:Satellite Temperatures.png, which covers the same data in more detail and gives the sources. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:34, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
In fact the main chart at the top of the page is all the way up to 2007, and since it uses yearly averages and we haven't completed 2008 yet, it obviously can't be much more up to date than it already is. -- Leland McInnes (talk) 11:42, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
What is this chart based on?
Icecap chart seems to be based on rossnixon 02:32, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Wow! The first half of this year was as cold as 1984-85. Is this solely due to La Nina? (talk) 06:17, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
FYI, anyone who really wants to do this right should be looking at the lower troposphere, rather than the middle troposphere which is at an altitude of 4-7 km. Dragons flight (talk) 06:26, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Icecap chart seems to be based on - Ross, that is a table of uncommented numbers, not a useful source. I dug around the web site a bit, and from the readme file it looks like those are Christy's data, but I could not find a clear description of it anywhere. Do you have a source that a) describes the data and b) links it to the image? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:57, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
BTW: Image:Satellite Temperatures.png is not correct either. The graphs are correct, but the line symbolizing the trend is wrong. We might correct that one, too. ––Bender235 (talk) 11:58, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
There is not one line, there are three, one for the surface trend, one for Christy (et al)'s interpretation of the MSUs, and Schabel et al's different interpretation. Which of the trend lines do you disagree with? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:19, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Global warming controversy and the CBSNews article

I added the link to Global warming controversy to the top in order to adress the accusations puslished at the CBSNews website:

Basically that opinion accuses us of being doomsday leftists and "global-warming alarmists". Although I agree that a single opinion must not influence our proceedings I felt that that small edit could show readers that we are impartial. ⇨ EconomistBR ⇦ Talk 09:54, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

We don't edit to appease idiots. And saying it is from CBS News is rather misleading; it is an OPINION column which is actually from the National Review Online, which is, and I quote: "America's Premier Site for Conservative News, Analysis, and Opinion." The fact that he was unable to cite any articles in his article which actually supported his opinion says something about its value, and why his edits were reverted on Wikipedia. Titanium Dragon (talk) 10:04, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
How is that misleading? Are you "rather" retarded? How can you say something like that?
The CBSNews website picked that opinion piece and posted on the top of their opinion page it is still there look:
That opinion was PUBLISHED at the CBS News website, PUBLISHED!
Aren't you bothered that thousands of people are reading that?
Oh I called the guy an idiot and problem solved.
⇨ EconomistBR ⇦ Talk 18:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't call Lawrence Solomon an idiot; he's a global warming skeptic. I don't see the problem with adding a link to global warming controversy to this article; on the other hand, looking at the article I see that it already goes further than that, including a section called "Social and political debate" which has a "main" link to global warming controversy and several other articles on the debate. --Jenny 10:37, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
...and its also linked from "there is ongoing political and public debate" in the lead. Solomon is an incorrigible hack writer. He will probably complain about a leftist conspiracy even if we turn this into Conservapedia. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
This isn't the place to denigrate parties in the global warming debate. The fact is that complaints that the controversy is downplayed or censored are poorly founded. That fact doesn't depend on the credibility of the person claiming otherwise. --Jenny 13:33, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I just thought about doing some damage control, I wanted to address some of the criticism.
But I guess self-confidence here is so high that any criticism can just be ignored and brushed aside.
⇨ EconomistBR ⇦ Talk 18:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Stephan, don't you realize that when you derisively mock the other side of the debate, you yourself turn this place into Conservapedia? ATren (talk) 18:25, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I "derisively mock" Solomon in his capacity as a (bad) journalist, not as a Wikipedian. The man has a track record of misrepresentation, and I feel free to point that out. I'm all for open debate. Conservapedia blocks even slightly divergent opinions. How is that remotely comparable? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:32, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I wish to formally object to your personal attacks on a fellow wikipedian. Please try to WP:AGF and be WP:CIV and remember WP:NPA which as we all know too well can get you blocked ... well at least some of us. --GoRight (talk) 00:30, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
As discussed elsewhere, becoming a Wikipedian does not protect an otherwise public person from legitimate criticism. The point stands. Claiming e.g. that Nigel Weiss is a denier requires an unusual degree of carelessness. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:03, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Er... OK. We don't need to worry about what op-ed columnists from the National Review think about Wikipedia's coverage of global warming. Since their official line disagrees with the scientific assessment, they will likely disagree with any accurate representation of the scientific assessment. People will read the op-ed and either find it reinforces their preexisting beliefs on the topic, or they will discard it as an uninformed polemic. Name-calling isn't necessary. Global warming controversy is adequately linked. Next content issue? MastCell Talk 19:42, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Next issue? Adding this NRO article to the mentioned in the media section at the top of the page.Jaimaster (talk) 01:54, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Why exactly should it go there? It doesn't mention this article. Its already added to the Oreskes,Singer and Connolley articles - which are mentioned. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 02:39, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Are you serious..?Jaimaster (talk) 04:53, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, i am serious. Otherwise we have to link every article that touches upon the subject of climate change/global warming in the media section above. The article mentions 3 specific articles - in those 3 specific articles a mention has been added to the media section. But the article doesn't mention this one. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:04, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
The article is about wiki coverage of Global Warming. This article is naturally the focal point of wiki coverage of Global Warming. Your logic that every article that ever mentioned global warming would have to be linked is ludicrous, do they all mention wiki? Wiki's coverage of global warming has been mentioned in the media in this article, and not linking it as such is excluding commentry because you disagree with it, nothing more. Jaimaster (talk) 02:14, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

The page already had a link to climate change controversy where it was appropriate. I don't see why there is an issue. Solomon doesn't even bother citing his sources in his article, and I actually LOOKED at Naomi's article (both of them, actually) to see what they were. Titanium Dragon (talk) 23:07, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Updating Graphics

Just out of curiousity, when will the graphics be updated up to present? There are various graphics now, like this one that show current temperatures dropping. Whoever generated the uploaded graphics, can they be updated with the GISS, UAH, and HadCrut data points? I'm not saying that the graphic to which I just provided a link is definitive, but multiple sources are showing that the temp numbers are declining. It is now 2008, we should have graphics that move beyond 2004. SunSw0rd (talk) 15:48, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

We just had this discussion. If you look two paragraphs above or bother to read the image description page you will see that the global mean surface temperature chart at the beginning of the article is up to date, 2007 that is. Splette :) How's my driving? 16:15, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
While global mean surface is uptodate at 2007 the graphical depiction of warming 1995-2004 mean temps just below it is obviously not. It is a good picture of course to show how warming is not universal, or evenly distributed but it would be one that could be updated. I dont even understand the description of how the image was created to begin to think of how to update it. -- (talk) 16:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Well actually -- I am not sure that even the first image is accurately up to date. If that image is clicked, going to the image page and looking at the text it says "Data set HadCRUT3 was used". A link is provided. But if one then follows that link to the HadCRUT site it shows several graphs. Look very closely at the values in the first graphic, from which the wikipedia graphic appears to be derived. You can see a clear error bias in the wikipedia graphic compared to the HadCRUT graphic. For example, the last red bar (2007) for HadCRUT is right at 0.4. But the wikipedia image blue dot for 2007 is clearly above 0.4. Also, looking at 2005 (hottest year since 1998) HadCRUT clearly shows it as less than 0.5 but the wikipedia image is clearly greater than 0.5.
But even further looking closely at the multiple HadCRUT images the trend lines are moving downwards (see 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graphs at the Met Office site). Clearly 2008 is going to continue that trend.
Now referencing the image called "Reconstructed Temperature" showing time back for past 2000 years and labeling "Medieval Warm Period" -- realize the vast majority of the lines end in the 1960's or 1980's. The black line alone goes to 2004 and again is CRUT data. But following the link to that site once can see the CRUT data is up to date through May of 2008. Actually I would suggest dropping the black line though because all of the other lines are, as it says, temperature reconstructions, while the black line alone is satellite data. Therefore we are comparing apples to oranges. But if the black line is to be retained, it should at least be brought up to date. SunSw0rd (talk) 18:02, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I uploaded one a couple months ago. My complaint was that the 5 year average isn;'t published data, it's made up by the graphic artist. I used the HadCRut3 smoothed data that is provided by HadCrut3. i think it's as recent as march. The objection was that it wasn't vector graphics. --DHeyward (talk) 19:23, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

The first graph includes all yearly averages including 2007. It says so in the edit history of the picture or you can count the blue dots yourself. Why the second image shows data only between 1995-2004 I don't know, but I guess that figure is less meaningful than the timelines. Dragons flight has created it, so he would know... Splette :) How's my driving? 00:49, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Right the first graph does go to 2007 as I said but -- when going to the original HadCRUT graphic the wiki graph is inaccurate as I pointed out. As in -- the blue dots for 2005-2007 in the wikipedia graphic are higher (warmer) than in the HadCRUT graphic. SunSw0rd (talk) 13:54, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Is there a good reason vector graphics need no tbe used, I like the DHeyward version. It feels much the same, its "pretty" and uses the same filter on smoothing.......-- (talk) 14:09, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia editors not familar with this page will keep trying to replace .png images with apparently equivalent .svg images because of the image use policy. It makes sense to make any new graphics in .svg formats to conform with the policy. I don't care about which "average" line is used, so DHeyward's image would be fine with me with the following changes: 1) image saved as .svg 2) black dotted line at y-axis 0 (instead of current yellow line with hashes) 3) larger y axis numbers (drop the last 0 to make more room), preferably larger x axis numbers 4) no edge black spots (see center left for an example) 5) no dots next to the markers for y-axis numbers 0.2 and 0.4 6) thicker lines between annual averages, and the line should be smooth. DHeyward, what graphics program did you use? Could you just save the image as a .svg file? - Enuja (talk) 21:56, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I just used excel. I updated it. Still not svg as I don't think excel will do svg. As far as I know, svg image creation of data is very tedious and requires programs that are more geared towards graphics artists than scientists. I tried it with an open source tool and it was too painful. --DHeyward (talk) 08:43, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

I've said things like this before without my plans really panning out, but I have some vacation time planned at the start of August. One of the things I am hoping to do then is revisit as many of the older images as I can (e.g. those showing ~2005 data) and get them updated, so hopefully that part of the argument will die down. Dragons flight (talk) 22:06, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Make sure you automate and keep your tools around. I'm expecting to see a modest revision in the standard temperature series some time in the next year or so as a result of Thompson 2008 Smptq (talk) 22:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I now have an SVG version. Comments? --DHeyward (talk) 09:51, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm. The thumbnail displays grossly oversized fonts. Of the full image, I got a short glimpse, and then my browser crashed (reproducibly). "Not ready for prime time", I'd say ;-). Have you tried gnuplot? That does have an svg terminal type. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 11:37, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I saw that. Didn't crash my browser though. The PNG version is identical but not svg. --DHeyward (talk) 16:24, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
G.png that is currently being used in the article, at the size that is being used.
DHeyward's new .svg image; hopefully everyone can see it here, the size that the current image is in the article, and discuss it.
Not quite ready for the prime time, but certainly getting there! I've downloaded it, and started messing with the text. The y-axis label and general graph label are waaaaay too big, not fitting on the graph when I look at the image with Safari and having the letters all run into each other when viewing the image with Inkscape. The y-axis labels should still be bigger, and the grid in the graph should be larger/bolder so that it is visible in the thumbnail. Other than that, 1910 and 1917 are unfilled circles, the top and left borders (b/t graph and grey) are strange and messy, and the dashed line for 1890 doesn't go all the way down to the x-axis. When the size of the label on the graph is finalized, some fixing of dashed lines in that area will probably be necessary. Personally, I really think that the bold marks on the x and y axes are helpful, and should be added. It's really cool that you're willing to do this work; thanks so much, and I think you will have an article-ready version soon! - Enuja (talk) 20:27, 12 July 2008 (UTC)


I would think wildfires would be an important mention in this article. If you go to the Wildfire page, it somewhat talks about the atmospheric effects of wildfires. During an Indonesian fire, 1/3rd of all the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere for that year was from that one fire according to the article. -- (talk) 17:36, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Do you know of any papers on global warming that discuss the effects of wildfires? Kaldari (talk) 18:36, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
There was an article in Nature I believe. ScienceApe (talk) 22:34, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Deforestation is already mentioned a couple of places. Narssarssuaq (talk) 12:48, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

"considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion"

The term "considerable presence with the scientific community" may be a reasonable statement to appear somewhere on the Global Warming page: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:12, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

The APS has issued a statement indicating that their official position remains unchanged:
APS Climate Change Statement
APS Position Remains Unchanged
The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:
"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."
An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum." This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.
Until the APS changes their official position, this does not merit inclusion. Smptq (talk) 17:34, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Would you provide the link for this? -- I have a feeling it's gonna come in handy in the near future. (talk) 18:17, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
It is posted at at the moment[3]. Smptq (talk) 18:23, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Conflict over NPOV in the introductory paragraphs

There seems to be a minor edit war over the wording in the introduction, and I apologize if my edit(s) sparked it. However, there are a few things that, in my opinion (and that of Slym Gym, although William M. Connolley, Raul654, etc. appear to disagree), should be slightly modified for the purposes of neutrality. Specifically, the phrase "overwhelming majority" seems to have the intent of leaving the impression that nearly all scientists agree with the IPCC. This implied message contradicts some of the statistics cited in Climate change denial, such as:

A 2007 Newsweek poll found 42% believed scientists disagree "a lot" that "human activities are a major cause of global warming."

Both removing the word "overwhelming" and attributing it to the Royal Society have been met with opposition. May I have the opinion of a third party on this matter? Thank you. With all due respect to those who believe that anthropogenic global warming is an absolute truth, that there is complete consensus, that the debate is over,
UberScienceNerd Talk Contributions 01:38, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

There is no contradiction. What you are citing is a poll of the general public about their perceptions of what scientists' think, that's not at all the same as what scientists themselves think. You are right though, the intent of the current wording is to convey that nearly all scientists agree. Dragons flight (talk) 01:47, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the rapid response. I apparently overlooked the meaning of the word "believed", which in this context meant "of the general public responded". --UberScienceNerd Talk Contributions 01:53, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
This, however, is based on the works of scientists. --UberScienceNerd Talk Contributions 03:11, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Read this. May I suggest that you also read the work cited by the dailytech. I think he (the author of the original study) did something sketchy. Can you see it (when you read it)? Brusegadi (talk) 04:04, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
This is kinda weird. For some reason, Oreskes doesn't point out the mistakes Schulte may have or may have not made, she just says that Schulte has to be wrong because he published in “a known contrarian journal” (Energy and Environment), and because he's a medical researcher. To me, that doesn't sound convincing at all. ––Bender235 (talk) 11:47, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
This article provides something of an overview. Regardless, as has been stated numerous times before, E&E is not a peer reviewed journal or a reliable source. (talk) 15:16, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Probably true, but if Energy and Environment isn't a reliable source because it's not peer-reviewed, then what is RealClimate and why is it used as a source on Wikipedia? ––Bender235 (talk) 15:28, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps if you read through the many discussions here in the archives - we do not have to rehash? But a fast answer is E&E is not a reliable source, while Realclimate passes that bar. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:06, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
That is what we call “applying double standards”, isn't it? ––Bender235 (talk) 22:22, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
No, that's what we call applying reasonable standards. You might want to compare the opinion of the scientific community to both venues... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:28, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Comparing the "opinion of the scientific community"? How? Has there been an opinion survey on that? Fact is: E&E is a non-peer-review journal and thus not a reliable source. But it's also a fact that RealClimate is a blog, with no peer review either. So we shouldn't count it as a reliable source as well. But I guess you kinda bought into that idea of "good science" and "bad science", huh? ––Bender235 (talk) 10:09, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, my distinction is "science" and "no science". I've looked at a couple of articles in E&E, and found most of them crap. I looked up E&E, and found that even some of the authors now consider it crap and that even the editor in chief admits that her political agenda determines what gets published. I've read some articles on RC, and found them well-references, without obvious errors, and written by acknowledged experts. I looked them up and found favorable opinions in Science (journal) and Nature (journal). WP:SPS says "Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications". As far as I can tell, RC qualifies.--Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:52, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Let's just avoid using real climate as a source, despite the fact that many things posted there make lots of sense. Let's stick to things that fit clear categories of or are widely agreed to be reliable sources. There is nothing wrong with reading real climate and grabbing reliable sources from there to use here, or even with using it to make arguments/figure things out on the talk page. But I really think we shouldn't cite it on the article page. - Enuja (talk) 23:26, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
@Enuja: ACK.
@Stephan Schulz: I don't share your biased point of view. Not that I'm saying E&E is a high quality journal, but is often times just polemic commentary. We should avoid using RealClimate as a source, just as we should avoid E&E. ––Bender235 (talk) 23:56, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Building on Stephan Schulz's point, another advantage of using realclimate is that it is easily accessible. For most readers if you cite an article in a journal they will not have access to it or they will not understand it. So, I think of realclimate as a survey of the literature at times, which is useful. Brusegadi (talk) 01:09, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Got to disagree with this one. Sources should be used to verify text, not incorporated as additional reading. Therefore they should be the best available source, which in most cases in science topics are peer-reviewed journals. The average reader should not have to understand the source, that is what the text in Wikipedia is there for. They only need the source to verify what is in Wikipedia is accurate, if they feel so inclined. OTOH there is nothing wrong to referring to other publications in a "further reading" section or similar. --Michael Johnson (talk) 01:24, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
I am not very familiar with climate journals. It sometimes feels (in other disciplines) as if papers are doing their own thing and citing them is like citing one person. Whereas surveys carry much more weight. I understand your point, and I agree with it, but I have to wonder how we can convey broad acceptance of an idea by citing an individual paper? Brusegadi (talk) 04:24, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

(unindent, but this is still a reply to Brusegadi) Use review articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and use the IPCC. - Enuja (talk) 21:46, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

I second that. ––Bender235 (talk) 22:26, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Energy & Environment rejected Schulte's paper [4]. That in itself is fascinating given that E&E has consistently provided a forum for publishing the work of climate change sceptics. [5] Dragons flight (talk) 15:40, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
They rejected it originally, but if I understand correctly they published it later more or less unchanged: Schulte, Klaus-Martin, "Scientific Consensus on Climate Change? " E&E 19.2, 2008, pp. 281-286(6) N p holmes (talk) 15:01, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
I see. Go figure. Dragons flight (talk) 18:20, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Correct. It was rejected in September of 2007, but then published by ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT in VOLUME 19 No. 2 2008 see here SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE?
As it happens, it is quite common for a paper initially submitted to be rejected for various reasons, usually for minor changes. Once those are made then a paper is then accepted. That appears to be the case here. SunSw0rd (talk) 15:27, 16 July 2008 (UTC) is quite common for a paper to not be printed in the first submitted draft, but rather to be conditionally accepted, and to circle between authors, editors, and reviewers for a while. But rejection is usually final. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:34, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
It really depends on the journal. Some reject and encourage re-submission. But normal peer-reviewed journal behaviors are quite irrelevant in this case, as Energy & Environment isn't a peer-reviewed journal. - Enuja (talk) 16:58, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
As pointed out elsewhere in this section, E&E is considered a peer-reviewed journal. And if you want some external evidence of that factoid, please see FNI Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals. Then search on "Energy & Engineering". You will find four listings between 2001 and 2007. SunSw0rd (talk) 13:45, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
So, it's this journal with an impact factor indistingushable from '0' that can be found in only 25 libraries worldwide? And who is doing the peer review there? The publisher herself and her husband who 'has a Ph.D. degree in Physics'? Seems to me this journal hardly deseves the label 'peer-reviewed'... Splette :) How's my driving? 15:12, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

(unident) Excuse me for pointing out what will likely be an unpopular fact, but a fact none the less, and that is that the debate over whether a consensus exists or not is NOT a debate over a scientific theory. As such the pseudo-science argument in favor of only peer reviewed sources goes out the window. Whether a consensus exists or not is a political and not a scientific, topic.

On the issue of whether E&E is a reliable source, the fact that they print material that many of you disagree with is not germane to that discussion. Any claims made by you that you personally have read the material and consider it to be crap is totally irrelevant as those points are purely WP:OR on your part and have no place in this discussion. Since this issue is not a science issue only the issue of E&E being WP:RS and WP:V are germane here.

The burden of proof rests with those making the charge. If you believe that E&E is NOT WP:RS find a WP:RS that makes that claim to back up your position and please leave your personal opinions at the door. Thus far I have seen only WP:OR above to suggest that E&E is not WP:RS. It is clearly WP:V so that, at least, should not be controversial here.

Do those opposed to E&E being considered a WP:RS have anything to offer up on that account other than their own personal opinions and WP:OR? --GoRight (talk) 19:55, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Have you ever read Energy and Environment and the sources therein? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:18, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Not in general, but I did read this one. I found it to be quite straightforward and to the point. Oreskes' reaction listed above refutes claims that aren't even made in the article ... she has thus thrashed a straw army. But again, neither your nor my opinions on the quality of the material are germane. What is germane is WP:RS and WP:V which seem to apply as far as I can see (personal opinions aside, of course).
I see from the wikipedia article Energy and Environment that the journal does, in fact, appear to be peer reviewed: "The journal's peer-review process has at times been criticised for publishing substandard papers ..." Charges of having printed a substandard (a term coined by the wikiauthor) article here or there are hardly grounds for rejecting them as WP:RS. For example, one of the articles listed as having complained about E&E, [6], includes the following regarding Climate Research's own peer review process: "When von Storch, who was then the journal’s editor, read Mann’s critique, he recalls that he realized his journal should never have accepted the study. “If it would have been properly reviewed, it would have been rejected on the basis of methodological flaws,” von Storch admits." So I guess substandard material makes it through even in the best of journals at times.
So if E&E is actually peer reviewed then I see even less of a valid rationale for rejecting it. Just because they focus on contrarian material does not mean that they are not WP:RS. --GoRight (talk) 20:55, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I expected you to read our article on E&E, and the sources cited there. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:02, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
NP. I don't know what the contrast on your screen is like, but on mine the visual difference between the black text and the slightly purplish text of a link is nearly indistinguishable to me ... especially when reading quickly. So I didn't notice that you had provided a link there ... or as Raul would say ... I didn't even bother to read it. At any rate, the answer is yes, I read them ... except for the ones regarding number of citations and libraries and such as I don't much care on those points (because they are not a determining factor in being WP:RS).
As you can see from my reply, those same sources can be used in both directions so they seem rather moot. Bottom line is that the journal is peer reviewed, according to our article, and it specializes to some extent in contrarian views. This latter point is not a disqualifying attribute, although given your viewpoints on the topic I can see why you would consider that as evidence of being non-WP:RS but it isn't really. It's just your opinion which is not germane in making that determination, being peer reviewed is. --GoRight (talk) 21:49, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
This wiki article on global warming and most other wiki articles on scientific topics use pretty much the same standards for reliable sources as articles published in the top journals like Science and Nature use. So, basically we don't care about what WP:RS says or doesn't say. If what we do agrees with WP:RS, then that means that WP:RS is a good scientific standard. If not, then that means that WP:RS is not compatible with the standard scientific definition of a reliable source. Count Iblis (talk) 22:06, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
You can try to assert this position as often as you like but wikipolicy is what it is, and like it or not it IS the controlling policy. Even the arbcom decision Raul relies upon only mentions scientific theories in the context of requiring peer reviewed journals. Whether or not there is a "consensus" is not a scientific question, not even close. But we don't even need to settle that here since E&E IS a peer reviewed journal, or are you now asserting that you also get to cherry pick which peer reviewed journals are going to be accepted? --GoRight (talk) 07:58, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
This seems sufficiently disingenuous to mean I wonder whether the conversation should continue. Anyway, I thought the issue with E&E was declared POV rather than peer reviewed per sae? Scienitific journals do not generally have declared religious or political standpoints. --BozMo talk 08:09, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I see GoRight's point here. Whether E&E is reliable for its scientific opinions and whether it's reliable for its political ones are different. Whether or not a consensus exists is not a matter to be decided by scientific peer review. I also find Count Iblis' idea above that "we don't care what WP:RS says" and that basically the authors of this article can decide what they please regarding the reliability of sources to be contrary both to logic and policy. Who is "we" here and who gave "them" the right to say what sources do and don't belong on this page irrespective of policy? WP:IAR doesn't mean "do what you want." Oren0 (talk) 08:18, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I think there is also an issue that the number of serious editors on this article exceeds the number of editors across Wikipedia who have spent a lot of time recently reworking the policies. If RS starts conflicting with what is a no-brainer in terms of article quality indeed the policy has the problem. Most people kind of work on the version of WP:RS from a few years ago in their head and perhaps more of us should go there and ensure that rot doesn't set in. On the "don't care" I think there is an issue that the endless repetion of arguments (not just on sources but the "I have just discovered a flaw in global warming no one else had thought of ones etc.) is tiring so people get a bit causal about how they dismiss them. That looks like WP:OWN etc but really its just a "that one has been properly explained several times somewhere in the archives and I have better things to do than go through it again. On balance people here seem very patient. --BozMo talk 08:28, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
(ec^3): Of course we pick and choose which allegedly peer-reviewed sources we use. Why on earth would you accept something like the Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal (claims to be peer-reviewed) or the Journal of Creation (claims to be peer-reviewed) as sources on biology and evolution? "Peer reviewed" in a proper scientific sense, with qualified, neutral peers and an editor who based his decision on the referee reports, leads to reasonably reliable sources. Going through the motions but publishing politically correct dreck just distinguishes an advanced propaganda outlet from a more primitive one. The difference shows in the reception by the scientific community - and that has widely rejected E&E, as can be seen from the fact that nearly no library stocks it, that some of the authors regret ever publishing there, that it is not carried by the ISI web of science, that there are actual publications criticizing the journal as a whole (as opposed to the occasional slip-up), and that nearly all papers published there are essentially ignored. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
A few counter points:
  • ""Peer reviewed" in a proper scientific sense, with qualified, neutral peers and an editor who based his decision on the referee reports, leads to reasonably reliable sources." - We have no evidence to suggest that this has not occurred except for a stated intent to provide an outlet for contrarian views which it has been alleged are systematically denied acceptance by the sources you cite. In that sense those sources are being equally biased in their selection process. Again, contrarian viewpoint is not a litmus test for being considered bad science. Trying to make it one is merely a form of ad hominem attack.
  • It really depends on how serious you think the contrarians are. You point above can easily be applied to Intelligent design - Evolution, a context in which the contrarians would be considered, by most, as wackos. So this really boils down to how serious we think the contrarians in GW are, and debating this point will most likely produce no fruits. Brusegadi (talk) 21:44, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  • "Going through the motions but publishing politically correct dreck just distinguishes an advanced propaganda outlet from a more primitive one." - A charge which springs from your own POV more than anywhere else. In many ways the reverse can also be said about the bias of the sources you favor.
  • "... reception by the scientific community - and that has widely rejected E&E ..." - Given that the publication is focusing on contrarian viewpoints why would you find this surprising when your definition of "scientific community" is primarily made up of IPCC backers, and selectively so?
  • Same as the first point. Same could be said of the ID-Evolution and it becomes too hard to argue productively. Brusegadi (talk) 21:44, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  • "... as can be seen from the fact that nearly no library stocks it ..." - Are you actually saying that the librarians who make the subscription decisions are the arbiters of what the scientific community accepts or rejects? Because that is what you statement implies.
  • The content carried by departmental libraries is mostly decided by departmental faculty. For example, any econ department should have a subscription to the American Economic Review, considered the best journal by many. Brusegadi (talk) 21:44, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  • "... that some of the authors regret ever publishing there ..." - You are attempting to mislead people with this statement. The rationale for their regret was the lack of visibility their papers received based on their being included in E&E, and NOT anything to do with the quality of the science published there. In fact, the authors you rely upon for making this statement are, in fact, well respected and have publications in the sources that you favor already. Is the quality of their science in the article they published in E&E automatically substandard simply because it was E&E who published it?
  • "... that it is not carried by the ISI web of science, that there are actual publications criticizing the journal as a whole (as opposed to the occasional slip-up), and that nearly all papers published there are essentially ignored." - This is the same issue as expressed above. You know perfectly well that the IPCC backers are not going to reference contrarian material, so your argument is ideologically biased and flawed as it pertains to the quality of the science published in E&E. You are, in effect, simply stating that the science there is "bad science" simply because it is "contrarian science" without even evaluating it on its merits.
--GoRight (talk) 20:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Meaningless edit break

(remove indent) I second the importance of being carried by the ISI web of science as a signal of good quality. Brusegadi (talk) 13:18, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't dispute this as being a legitimate sign of good quality. The question is, is it to be made a litmus test of acceptability? I would not favor such a litmus test, obviously. The question is whether you intend to simply exclude scholarly written papers by individuals with appropriate scientific credentials just because they happen to hold a view contrary to yours. The procedural maneuvers here appear very much to be to simply use policy as a barrier to inclusion of dissenting material and now, when even that barrier is being breached you simply move the goal posts, yet again (i.e. wikipolicy becomes local consensus on peer reviewed material now becomes local consensus on only majority favored peer review sources). Is it just me or does that look like a trend with a certain agenda attached (regardless of whether that agenda has been consciously applied or not)?
So is it the consensus here that anyone who publishes in E&E is, by implication, a charlatan and a crackpot and their science thus tainted? Does that include any of the scientists listed at [7] who might have published in E&E as well? --GoRight (talk) 20:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I third this. Quite some time ago, I discovered for myself that Energy and Environment didn't appear to be a normal peer-reviewed journal; here's the diff [8], where it's archived and here's the relevant part of my post:

I'm not having a lot of luck with the journal "Energy and Environment." This website [9] does not read like the website of a peer-reviewed basic science journal, and the journal doesn't appear to have a publisher; the link to abstracts goes to a self-publishing bussiness. If you follow that link and glance at the titles, a trend becomes instantly obvious; this appears to be a self-published climate change skeptic journal. So I'm not going to pay $18 to read the article. I can find other publications by C. Loehle that are in genuine peer-reviewed literature, but ISI's combined database search does not appear to include "Energy and Environment." So, I can't evaluate the article, but the source is suspect.

However, I don't think ISI should be the one-and-only arbiter of journal-ness. How widely read it is (which is somewhat equal to how many libraries carry it), and how it is viewed in the relevant field are also good markers. We really can't just take a journal's word; I could find some friends, write things, pass them around to my friends, pay a self-publishing business to publish it, and call myself the editor of a peer-reviewed journal. That wouldn't make the stuff I published fit to go into a wikipedia article. And I don't think we should be using Energy & Environment as a source. - Enuja (talk) 19:01, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I guess I might as well drop it at this point unless some other editors find merit in my points. This seems like an excessive amount of effort to simply strike the word "overwhelming" from the summary which is where this all began ... although I also think some inclusion of the criticisms of Oreskes (perhaps even on other pages) is warranted. We all know that there is ample criticism out there, and it has thus far been kept out purely on procedural grounds. This particular article meets the established criteria for inclusion, albeit in a minimalist fashion, and yet we are seeking still further procedural grounds to exclude it. --GoRight (talk) 20:16, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I was previously unable to read "Scientific Consensus on Climate Change?" by Schulte, publised in Energy & Environment in 2008; now that SunSw0rd has provided a link to a reprint, I've read the article. The purpose of Schulte's article is to see whether clinically problematic fear of current direct human health effects is supported in the literature. That's a strange question to ask, as of course the global climate change literature is not at an overwhelming consensus that humans are currently experiencing serious negative health outcomes due to global warming. It is very odd that, which such an aim, Schulte explicitly proposes to carry out an update of Oreskes 2004. Oreskes' general question was Is there a scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming exists? and the methodology was to see if published abstracts accepted or rejected the satement "Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" (a quote from IPCC 2001). Oreskes found that 75% of the papers from her search implicitly or explicitly endorsed this quote and that the remaining 25% did not address it. Schulte found that 45% of (this newer set of) abstracts explicitly or implicitly supported this statement, and six percent explicitly or implicitly rejected the consensus, leaving a whopping 48% that don't address the consensus. So, if I accept Schulte's reading of the literature completely uncritically, the major change is that papers about global climate change now address sub-sets of the question and not the question of whether or not anthropogenic global warming exists. Interesting, but not really relevant to a consensus, except implying that if the major question isn't worth addressing, it's probably settled. Schulte found that, of 275 articles that address the question, 206 (75%) implicitly endorse the consensus, 38 (14%) explicitly endorse the consensus, 25 (9%) implicitly reject the consensus and 6 (2%) explicitly reject the consensus. This is the paper touted as saying that the new literature doesn't support the reality of anthropogentic global warming? Oreskes said that the literature was unanimous, Schulte's data seems to say that it's just overwhelming (89% endorse, 11% reject), not unanimous. The phrase in dispute is about scientists, not the literature, but assuming that scientists are people who publish in the literature, and that they share the opinions of the abstracts they publish, the data from Schulte 2008 appears to support that scientists overwhelmingly endorse the consensus, if they address it.
The six dissenting papers (I think; the grammar is a bit confusing), according to Schlute, are ...

Cao, M. K., Yu, G. R., Liu, J. Y., and Li, K. R., Multi-scale observation and cross-scale

mechanistic modeling on terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycle. Science in China Series D- Earth Sciences, 2005, 48, 17–32.

Gerhard, L. C., Climate change: Conflict of observational science, theory, and politics. Aapg Bulletin, 2004, 88(9), 1211–1220.

Leiserowitz, A. A., American risk perceptions: Is climate change dangerous? Risk Analysis, 2005, 25(6), 1433–1442.

Lai, C. C. A., Dietrich, D. E., and Bowman, M. J., Global warming and the mining of oceanic methane hydrate. Topics in Catalysis, 2005, 32(3–4), 95–99.

Shaviv, N. J., On climate response to changes in the cosmic ray flux and radiative budget. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2005, 110(A08105).

Zhen-Shan, L. and Xian, S., Multi-scale analysis of global temperature changes and trend of a drop in temperature in the next 20 years. Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 2007, 95(1–2), 115–121.

- Enuja (talk) 21:50, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I am unclear if you are making a point here or not, please clarify.
Let's avoid all of the slight of hand number games and keep things very simple:
  • Oreskes found that between 1993 and 2003 75% of the articles assessed explictly or implicitly supported the consensus view. Shulte found that between 2004 and 2007 this number had dropped to just 45%.
  • Oreskes found that between 1993 and 2003 0% of the articles assessed explicitly or implicitly rejected the consensus view. Shulte found that between 2004 and 2007 this number had risen to 6%.
  • Oreskes found that between 1993 and 2003 25% of the articles assessed were neutral with respect to the consensus view (i.e. neither supported nor rejected it). Shulte found that between 2004 and 2007 this number had risen to 49%.
So to recap here, (1) the percentage of explicit or implicit support for the consensus view fell significantly, (2) the percentage of explicit or implicit rejections of the consensus view rose significantly, and (3) the percentage taking no position either way rose significantly. I find it hard to see this as a trend suggesting increasing support for the consensus view over time.
More specifically, a figure of 75% support for the consensus view might justify the use of the "overwhelming" qualifier but a figure of only 45% clearly does not. Am I missing something here? --GoRight (talk) 23:44, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, my primary point was to put, on this talk page, an analysis of the text of Shulte 2008 (not where it's published, just the text itself) as a source to use in this article when discussing scientific consensus about global climate change.
You say that the articles not implicitly or explicitly rejecting or accepting the consensus view are therefore "neutral" to the consensus view. To make this a bit more concrete, I just did an ISI search on global climate change, looking for abstracts that don't say one way or another. I found "A two-parameter climate elasticity of streamflow index to assess climate change effects on annual streamflow" whose abstract is
"This study extends the single parameter precipitation elasticity of streamflow index into a two parameter climate elasticity index, as a function of both precipitation and temperature, in order to assess climatic effects on annual streamflow. Application of the proposed index to two basins indicates that the single parameter precipitation elasticity index may give a general relationship between precipitation and streamflow in some cases, but that it cannot reflect the complicated non-linear relationship among streamflow, precipitation and temperature. For example, for the Spokane River basin the climate elasticity of streamflow index varies from 2.4 to 0.2, for a precipitation increase of 20%, as temperature varies from 1 degrees C lower to 1.8 degrees C higher than the long term mean. Thus a 20% precipitation increase may result in a streamflow increase of 48% if the temperature is 1 degrees C lower but only a 4% increase if the temperature is 1.8 degrees C higher than the long-term mean. The proposed method can be applied to other basins to assess potential climate change effects on annual streamflow. The results of the two case studies can inform planning of long-term basin water management strategies taking into account global change scenarios."
Reading Shulte 2008, it looks like there is a larger percentage of peer reviewed abstracts like this one in the 2004-2007 than in the 1993-2003 period. That's your point #3. This, in of itself, does not mean a declining consensus about the reality of anthropogenic global warming. This is why I used the number of abstracts that did mention the consensus view when analyzing Shulte's results. I didn't mean to do any "slight of hand number games"; hopefully, you should get the same results I do if you try to analyze the results yourself.
Since Oreskes found complete consensus, yes, the presence of a little bit of disagreement "reduces" the amount of agreement. But there is only one way that can go; when you start at 100%, you definitionally can't get any more agreement. Whenever you have a 0% or 100% of anything, you have to be really concerned about sample size bias; the fact that it's "changed" doesn't necessarily mean anything. As Shulte says, there is now a lot more global warming literature. A small percentage of it is skeptical. Even it if didn't "start" from 100%, focusing on the differences between two paper-abstract analysis studies done by two different people (even if they had the same biases, which we know they don't) is a really, really poor methodology. How do we know any two people would classify an abstract the same way? We don't. Instead, we should look at results of Shulte 2008 itself, and see what it says. That's part of what I did above, and 89% supporting the consensus sounds pretty overwhelming to me. - Enuja (talk) 01:47, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
You are, of course, creating an apples to oranges comparison, however, by ignoring the neutral abstracts. It is not our job to conduct WP:OR on the numbers found in the published papers, but merely to report the results found therein. This is exactly what I have done in an apples to apples comparison. Even if you wish to quibble with my points 2 and 3, which are apples to apples with Oreskes findings, you seem to have ignored the most obvious result which was a reduction from 75% support to 45% support for the consensus view among all of the abstracts analyzed. Given the number of papers involved in both samples I seriously doubt that this result is NOT statistically significant, and it obviously does demonstrate a reduction of support for the consensus view between the two samples. --GoRight (talk) 02:33, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
We shouldn't put our own original research on article pages. We absolutely must try to fully understand all of the sources we use; blindly accepting the conclusions of any paper is not the right a way to read it, much less cite it in any context, including Wikipedia. First, you do your best to understand a paper, and if it makes sense, is relevant, and is the best source you can find, you use it. We can do simple arithmetic with published sources (as long as any reader can easily follow it) and put that into the article, but I'm not suggesting that we do so in this case. I'm arguing that nothing from Shulte 2008 should go on any article pages.
I did not make any apple-to-orange comparisons; Oreskes says 100% of the abstracts that address the consensus endorse it while Shulte says that 89% of the abstracts that address consensus endorse it and Oreskes found that 25% did not address the consensus while Shulte found that 48% did not address the consensus. Both of these are "apple-to-apple comparisons" in that they both claim to be done by the same methodology, but both of these comparisons are apple-to-orange comparisons in that the methodology is very sensitive to interpretation of abstracts. It is not obvious to me that either a reduction from 100% to 89% would be statistically significant nor that an decrease in papers addressing the consensus would constitute a "decrease" in consensus. - Enuja (talk) 03:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I wish to return to this point, "We shouldn't put our own original research on article pages. We absolutely must try to fully understand all of the sources we use; blindly accepting the conclusions of any paper is not the right a way to read it, much less cite it in any context, including Wikipedia.", for a moment. I believe that you are actually incorrect on this point for the following reasons:
  1. The clear intent of wikipolicies such as WP:V, WP:RS, WP:UNDUE, and WP:OR is that the encyclopedia should be representative of the views found in the 3rd party sources in rough proportion to their relative frequency in the literature. The intent is that we, as wikieditors, are basically passive elements in the process who simply transcribe what we see in as WP:NPOV a way as possible.
  2. Conducting WP:OR behind the scenes as you are doing here and using that WP:OR to introduce a selection bias on what gets reported puts that WP:OR into the articles just as much as if it had been reported directly. The clear intent of the wikipolicies is to present all of the views fairly and in rough proportion to their weight in the literature ... an intent that is being thwarted here by behind the scenes WP:OR, at least IMHO.
Per WP:V the goal is not truth, it is verifiability. This WP:OR is inherently about pushing a particular view of "the truth" and in so doing ignoring the obvious WP:V of Shulte. --GoRight (talk) 12:48, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
"... nor that an decrease in papers addressing the consensus would constitute a "decrease" in consensus." - Well, if a change in the value of a metric is not meaningful then I would have to argue that the metric itself must be meaningless relative to its stated purpose. So if your assertion is correct, then we can only assume that the Oreskes finding is meaningless as an assessment of consensus to begin with. Right? --GoRight (talk) 03:50, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
You cannot determine how many people agree with a consensus by how many people talk about whether or not there is a consensus. Staying silent about a subject does not reveal what your opinion about a subject is. The percentage of papers on the topic of "global climate change" that say nothing about whether the earth has warmed recently or not says nothing about what those authors believe about whether or not the earth has warmed recently. (Except maybe that it's not controversial enough to address). This fact does not effect the value of Oreskes' report that 100% of the papers addressing the question supported the consensus. - Enuja (talk) 04:43, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I guess I am confused by what your real position is, then. In either my interpretation of the study results, or yours, the metric for determining the level of consensus appears to be "the percentage of published papers that either explicitly or implicitly support the consensus view". Is this not the case? In my interpretation of the results, this implies in a decrease of the metric from 75% to 45%, and by yours it represents a decrease from 100% to 89% (leaving the statistical significance thereof aside for the moment). Is this correct? Yet you assert "... nor that an decrease in papers addressing the consensus would constitute a "decrease" in consensus.". But if a decrease in the metric being used does not represent a change in the asserted "level of consensus" then how can you make the claim that the original value has any meaning? Obviously the metric is fatally flawed as a metric, right? Your assertion amounts, in effect, to saying that there is no correlation between the percentage of papers published that support the consensus view and the actual level of consensus, and if this is true then Oreskes finding is likewise meaningless. What am I missing here?
On the issue of "(Except maybe that it's not controversial enough to address)", there is, of course, another equally, if not more, reasonable interpretation of the facts. Namely, that the issue is so controversial and the science so unresolved as to not justify taking a stand either way. Also, note that there will remain under either interpretation a certain percentage that fall into categories, such as Oreskes remaining 25%, which were focused on methods and/or paleoclimate results that don't even address the topic of anthropogenic warming either way. --GoRight (talk) 12:34, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
P.S. Just as an FYI to clean up the discussion a tad, I think your 51% should actually be 100% - 45% - 6% = 49% if I understand your computation correctly ... not that this difference is significant to your argument. --GoRight (talk) 03:54, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Opps. I did get it backwards. Thanks for catching that. I'm editing the numbers above to clarify the issue (to 48% because of rounding if you use the raw numbers). - Enuja (talk) 04:43, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

(indent out) A general word on the neutrality assessment of the abstract of a paper: It is in that part of the methodology that comparisons across the papers may be most misleading. What is a neutral paper? Also note that one paper was written much later when the interest could have shifted too much more specific problems. Perhaps some of the neutral papers as judged by Schulte were asking questions that are so specific in nature that untrained individuals cannot see the direct relation to the topic at hand. Perhaps a paper on a calibration technique that is seemingly unrelated, I dont know, but that is why I would rather be careful with the comparisons. There is also the additional point that as consensus gets stronger, there is a lower chance of having it explicitly mentioned, partly due to the increased "specification" that will occur in the research process. Brusegadi (talk) 13:31, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

In all fairness I can understand your concern about two different people making neutrality assessments. But your (collective) reaction appears to be to simply accept Oreskes assessment as accurate and to dismiss Schulte out of hand. Can you at least acknowledge how that can appear to be a bit self-serving on your part given the results obtained in each study?
You (collectively) appear to be arguing that Oreskes should be accepted on face value and thus included but seem unwilling to do the same for Schulte and hence his results are excluded. I, on the other hand, am arguing that both should be accepted on face value and presented neutrally to allow the reader to asses for themselves what the differences actually mean. We are not here to do the thinking for the reader, but rather to report the relevant material in a neutral manner. Which of these two approaches is more in line with WP:NPOV in your opinion? --GoRight (talk) 14:10, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
"There is also the additional point that as consensus gets stronger, there is a lower chance of having it explicitly mentioned, partly due to the increased "specification" that will occur in the research process." - As I point out above, this is certainly one possibility. But it is also possible that the consensus is declining rather than increasing as you suggest. If we simply accept the metric set forth by Oreskes (i.e. that the percentage of papers published that explicitly or implicitly support the consensus view is an indicator of the level of consensus) and accept Schulte's results on face value then it seems fair to say that by that metric the level of consensus appears to be declining as per the discussions above. This is true regardless of whether you include the neutral articles or not. Do you disagree?
On the other hand, if you (collectively) now wish to assert that the Oreskes metric is flawed and thus the Schulte results are thus meaningless, does that not then also call into question the validity Oreskes' claim of there being a consensus in the first place since that assertion rests on a flawed metric? --GoRight (talk) 14:28, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Another meaningless edit break

Assume, for Argument's Sake, that GoRight is (as his name suggest :)), right, and that the majority isn't "overwhelming". Let's say that we have a significant minority let's say 5% or more of the climate scientists who disagree on substantial points, not just minor details, on the basic IPCC conclusions. Then we cannot write this global warmning article in the way it is written now. I'm not referring to the word "overwhelming", but rather about what is covered in the article.

Compare e.g. the case of dark matter. In that case there is relatively small minority of astrophysicists who work on alternative models in which no dark matter is needed. That minority is perhaps just a few percent of the people who work on that field. But this already generates a lot of papers, conference proceeding etc. etc. The wiki article on dark matter mentions this. It actually get's a disproportionately large amount of space, because some of these theories are more difficult to explain and there are quite a few of them so simply listing them takes up space.

So, I would sugest to GoRight to either drop his objection about the word "overwhelming" or to take it serious himself and think through all the consequences of that. We would be happy to delete the word "overwhelming" if GoRight can come up with a record of publications in the leading journals on climate science that shows that there indeed does exist a (small) subfield of alternative theories besides the already mentioned "solar variation", that comprises of a few percent or more of all climate scientists. Count Iblis (talk) 14:26, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I actually agree with you on the implications of there being a small minority of (legitimately scientifically oriented) skeptics. I actually gave up on the issue of striking "overwhelming" quite a while back unless other editors found merit with my arguments, and indeed I have not made any attempt strike it from the article itself. But given that there are on-going responses to my points I see no reason not to continue to engage in the discussion here on the talk page in hopes of gaining the support that I seek. Is that a problem?
On the issue of being skeptical of the current IPCC view, there may be some alternative theories which are analogous to your dark matter example, and I shall give that point some thought and research. The most notable such theory is the Solar Variation theory and as you point out it is, to your collective credit, already included.
I disagree, however, that one has to posit alternative theories to be skeptical of the IPCC claims. Indeed, many of the statements found on the list of skeptical scientists are not so much positing alternative theory's as merely expressing disagreement with the extent of the scope being attributed to the current one's by the IPCC. For example, no one seriously doubts that man is producing greenhouse gases and in so doing is having SOME effect on their concentrations in the atmosphere. Similarly, no one seriously doubts that to the extent these gases produce a greenhouse effect they are, in fact, contributing to the current warming trend. The disagreement is in relation to the extent that these human influences are the primary drivers of the current warming or merely noise in comparison to natural causes such as solar variation. This is not a trivial point when it comes to setting policies that affect social and economic priorities, and thus it remains important to make these concerns adn disagreements explicit within the articles in a WP:NPOV manner even if those concerns are not positing new theories, at least IMHO. --GoRight (talk) 15:00, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
When you say that

The disagreement is in relation to the extent that these human influences are the primary drivers of the current warming or merely noise in comparison to natural causes such as solar variation.

then you actually prove my point. Because if it were true that there is some sizeable fraction of the climate scientits who think that CO2 emisions are not the primary drivers of the rcently observed climate change, then that would have to be apparent from the record of published papers, otherwise such opinions are irrelevant as far as the science on global warming is concerned and that is what this article is all about.
Note that this article has to be written based on what can be found in the relevant peer reviewed papers. Here "relevant" means that the climate scientists themselves actually use these papers for their own research, which is nit true for papers published in some journal set up to give skeptics a voice like E&E, because such journals have an impact factor of almost zero, they are only cited by Sen. Inhofe. Count Iblis (talk) 13:29, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

I say give it a brief sentence, noting that Oreskes (sp?) responded, and be done with it. It is not the end of the world; most likely it is not going to change anyone's mind. All the study "refuting Oreskes" shows is that scientists are explicitly talking about anthropogenic global warming as much as Oreskes implies -- which I frankly would not find that surprising, but it also doesn't really say much about the science. II | (t - c) 12:43, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Newspaper sources vs. peer-reviewed literature

I'm jumping into this with some degree of trepidation, but I think this is worth commentary. I've not had a chance to examine this thoroughly, but I've noticed that in some sections that claims made by newspaper articles appear side-by-side with results of peer-reviewed scientific publications. See for example, the last two paragraphs of the section "Attributed and expected effects."

Additional anticipated effects include sea level rise of 110 to 770 millimeters (0.36 to 2.5 ft) between 1990 and 2100,[82] repercussions to agriculture, possible slowing of the thermohaline circulation, reductions in the ozone layer, increased intensity (but less frequent)[83] of hurricanes and extreme weather events, lowering of ocean pH, and the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. One study predicts 18% to 35% of a sample of 1,103 animal and plant species would be extinct by 2050, based on future climate projections.[84] However, few mechanistic studies have documented extinctions due to recent climate change[85] and one study suggests that projected rates of extinction are uncertain.[86]

Global warming is expected to increase the potential geographic range and virulence of tropical diseases.[87] Climate change could cause a major increase in insect-borne diseases such as malaria throughout Europe, North America and North Asia.[88]

The effects detailed in the first paragraph are suggested by articles in journals like Nature, BioSciences, etc. The sources for the second paragraph are CBS News and MeriNews. The CBS News article appears to be an interview with the authors of a study published in Science, while MeriNews appears to be an outlet for "citizen journalism," and I would therefore question its reliability as a source in this matter. In the case of the CBS article, I would think that the study itself should be used as a reference, rather than the author's unpublished (in a scientific sense) comments to the Associated Press.

I'm not making any changes to the article itself at this point, but I'd be interested on others' thoughts on the matter.

J. Langton (talk) 14:46, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Sound like a fair point William M. Connolley (talk) 21:32, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

temperature fluctuation

there used to be a graph in this article on the increased fulctuation of tempurature, which really is the issue moreso then increase in temperature, despite the name. this increase was more then ten times as extreme as that of global average temperature. why is it taken off?· Lygophile has spoken 17:42, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

sorry guys, i'm a bit dumb. the graph on temperature anamolies is still there X_X· Lygophile has spoken 17:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

It is odd how the pages change. This is a very dynamic site.

The article entitled Global Warming was headed by an explanation which was "It is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases warm a planet's lower atmosphere and surface." . When I started this discussion thread on Wednesday July 16, this statement headed the article.

Many web sites, including the one in Wikipedia, are devoted to this topic and have used infrared radiation as the basis for Global Warming theories. I have often taken umbrage with this statement only because, as a thermographer, I have taken notice of My Radiating Environmentand with the exception of localized conditions mainly due to condensation and sublimation, have never seen the sky warmer than the Earth. This is the reason I started this discussion.

On reviewing the article today Friday July 18, any evidence of this statement in the Global Warming article has been removed. I must have hit a nerve somewhere.

Perhaps who ever did this would like to leave an explanation for their actions.

I have had problems with the idea of man made climate change since the early 1980's. At that time, a prominent Canadian Genetisist postulated that the cold winters we were experiencing at the time might lead to a new ice age. Funny how things have changed in 20 years.

As a result of this change, I no longer see the need for continuing this thread of discussion. I want to thank you all for your input. It has been very interesting. BillHotflashhome (talk) 19:32, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I think you are a bit confused. All the history of this page is available at the history tab at the top of the page. No recent version has started with a statement on infrared radiation, and as far as I can make out, neither has any old version. However, the section titled Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere did start and still does start with a statement similar to the one you cite. It is factually correct, of course. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:44, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

"Social and political debate"

Why is the wikilink "Global warming controversy" only under the section "Social and political debate", since the article "Global warming controversy" contains a large section on the "Controversy concerning the science", which deals with the scientific opinion on climat change? Perhaps the section "Social and political debate" could be renamed "Social, political and scientific debate" to take the scientific perspective into account. --Phenylalanine (talk) 20:22, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

The controversy regarding the science is not a scientific controversy at all, i.e. it is not a controversy that exists within the realms of the peer reviewed journals. It exists mainly on right wing blogs, in newspapers editorials were people attack the science. Shielded from the peer review, they make the case directly to the lay people who are unqualified to judge the arguments. Count Iblis (talk) 21:03, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
There are plenty of peer reviewed articles that disagree with the conclusions or extent put forward in the wiki Global Warming page. Do you want us to fill this page with links? It can be arranged. I support changing the section title.Jaimaster (talk) 05:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Do you want us to fill this page with links? - yes, please. To save time, bring a few of the best ones first. Believe it or not, we aim to include all reliably sourced positions with their due weight. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 06:45, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Ergo, I shouldnt waste my time as per weight you will ignore them, thus there is no scientific debate? :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaimaster (talkcontribs) 01:32, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, so far your list is of comparable length, but infinitely higher quality than most skeptic ones ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:13, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I do wonder if, in some sense, restricting "reliably-sourced" scientific criticism to peer-reviewed journals is overly restrictive. If -- and I think this is true regardless of the subject -- Dr. X, an expert in some field Y publishes Z in Monthly Y Review or some such, and then Dr. A, equally expert in Y, uses some other avenue, say a blog at or, etc., to raise substantive scientific criticism of Z, Dr. A's comments should be considered reliably sourced, and notable, although not given the same weight as they would if they were also published in Monthly Y Review. Along similiar lines, if Dr. A gave a talk at, say, the annual meeting of the American Y Society -- and there doesn't seem to be much peer-review to give a talk or prepare a poster -- where he claimed not-Z, that would certainly be "scientific" controversy as opposed to political or some other kind of controversy. Bascially, I'm just saying that absence of criticism of a particular scientific theory from peer-reviewed journal does not constitute prima facie evidence of absence of scientific controversy -- it's a necessary but not a sufficient condition. In this case, the very fact of the existence of a "back-and-forth" on scientific issues between RealClimate and ClimateSci belies the notion that the science is "settled."

I suppose it comes down to what aspect of AGW are we arguing about. The central claim that Earth has warmed and that humans are partially responsible seems to be nearly universally accepted. The scientific "controversy" -- perhaps uncertainty is a better word here -- exists in the details: extent of future warming, sea level rise, effects on extreme weather events, regional changes, etc. As I understand it, there is as yet no scientific consensus on these issues, as is pretty clearly demonstrated in the wide range of predictions for, say, increase in global average temperature presented in the IPCC report. The scientific debate over these issues doesn't seem to be adequately represented in either this article or Global Warming controversy. I wonder perhaps if those who feel that wikipedia's treatment of global warming is "skewed" might be mollified by increasing the amount of discussion of the scientific issues that are still unresolved.

Having written all this, I really should try to dig up sources and propose some specific changes. Unfortunately, between work and trying to clean up some of the exoplanet articles (which is the field where I actually know what I'm talking about!) it'll be a while before I can get around to it. So, all I'm going to do for now is ramble on here on the talk page.

J. Langton (talk) 14:55, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

CO2 ...

... comprises some 0.037% of the atmosphere. I know that there is small clique here of those wedded to the currently fashionable view that that CO2 is causing global warming but it would nice if there was some mention of this fact somewhere in this biased article. 20 years from now no-one will even remember this strange idea of CO2 causing global warming anymore than they recall the headlines that screamed "New Ice Age Coming" 30 years ago. Still it would be agreeable if Wiki was ahead of the game.  SmokeyTheCat  •TALK• 20:14, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

The point of this article and the cause of Global Warming ITSELF is because the concentrations of greenhouse gases (such as CO2)in our atmosphere are increasing gotcheeze5793 (talk) 21:08, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
The article already includes a graph showing the CO2 concentration, and how it has changed over time. Smptq (talk) 20:26, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

20 years from now no-one will even remember this strange idea of CO2 causing global warming anymore than they recall the headlines that screamed "New Ice Age Coming" 30 years ago

Well, you seem to remember those headlines very well, it seems  :) Count Iblis (talk) 21:58, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Steven. I was looking all over for that quote but I could not find it. I guess my work here is not quite yet finished. BillHotflashhome (talk) 22:36, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

If you want to change minds here, you're going to need to cite peer-reviewed scientific literature, rather than your own original research Smptq (talk) 22:52, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

The first graph is 8 years out of date.

Temperatures have dropped since then, so it gives a completely misleading idea that temperatures have risen and will continue to climb.

Getting the temperature record graph up to date is important. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

That graph is up to date as of 2007. 2008 data will not be available before 2008 is over. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:06, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Article in need of sanity

Regulars here may be interested in The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud which is badly in need of sanity. Check the edit history William M. Connolley (talk) 21:27, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Please explain how this is at all relevant to this article (Global Warming) or I will delete it again, as per TPG. All I see is a call to arms to a page where you feel your own POV is not being adequately supported.Jaimaster (talk) 08:00, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Its a posting relevant to improving the encyclopedia. Encouraging contributions from a wider pool of editors who may be interested is generally encouraged, rather than small-scale edit warring. Notice that were you to take your own rules literally, you would have to delete your own message. Notice also that while I said the article needed improving (I would hardly have raised it otherwise) I haven't said how I think it should be improved or whats wrong with it, so your allegations os issuing a call to arms to help push your POV are unjustified and impolite William M. Connolley (talk) 08:08, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
So you agree that this entire topic is in no way related to the Global Warming page, thus does not belong on Talk:Global Warming? (Of course I would delete my own posts. They are part of the topic, after all. My rules? Nay. Wiki's rules, FYI).
Regarding my labelling of your comment "a call to arms" - First, you imply the current rendition of that article is insane. Second, the author of the book is a direct critic of yours. Third, Your views on the subject matter at hand are emphatic and opposite of the views the book puts forward. Fourth, you are involved in what reads as a fairly uncivil dispute over the content of the article. Fifth, you appear to be involved in a revert war. Finally, you are here asking "regulars" to "help". I do not think that calling that a "call to arms" is at all unjustified.Jaimaster (talk) 08:38, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, calm down. Jaimaster, I can see your point about the claim that the article is "in need of some sanity": it does look like a call to arms. However, it will only serve to attract people on both sides of the debate. Would you rather people who are interested in Global Warming not know about the other article? If it hadn't been for this posting, I would not have known about it, and I find it an interesting topic and worth watching. As for deleting "per TPG" as "irrelevant", that's wikilawyering. The posting might not specifically be directed at improving this article, but it's definitely directed at improving Wikipedia. It's not like someone was talking about his dog getting hot in summer due to global warming. That I would also delete. --Slashme (talk) 08:45, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Koutsoyiannis et al.

There's a new paper out criticizing the reliability of GCM models as predictive climate tools. I've not had a change to read through it thoroughly, but it looks interesting, and certainly relevant to this topic. The full text is available here:

I would suggest that a brief mention (on the order of a sentence or two) in this article would be appropriate, with perhaps longer discussion in the Global warming controversy article.

As always, I won't make any changes until people have had a chance to respond here.

J. Langton (talk) 20:22, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

There isn't "a new paper" out. Its not finished (the deadline for discussion is 1 feb 2009). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:18, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to have to disagree here. It's already been through the peer-review process; it's been accepted as a "Rapid Communication" to Hydrological Sciences. Without being particularly familiar with this journal, I can only guess that this is pretty much the equivalent of a Letter. The fact that the topic of the paper is still "open for discussion" and that the authors intend to continue to update this work does not detract from the fact that it has undergone peer review and has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. As such, it clearly satisfies WP:RS, and it is clearly worth mentioning in this article, although not at any great length.
J. Langton (talk) 22:08, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I think this could be mentioned here. The paper concludes that climate models are not accurate on points that are not relevant for global climate prediction, so it is a technical issue specific to climate models. I'm not an expert in this field, so I don't know if the conclusions of the paper are difficult to reconcile with other results. Count Iblis (talk) 22:26, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Strange, others have cited the study as essentially garbage canning GCMs usefulness for climate change prediction entirely. Jaimaster (talk) 09:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
The article itself doesn't make that statement, i.e. it doesn't show that because the GCMs don't perform well on the local level it must necessarily be the case that its predictions for the average global temperature are false. Even if it were to contain an opinion of the authors along these lines, then that would have to be balanced against other peer reviewed articles that have investigated this issue and arrived at a different conclusion. Count Iblis (talk) 13:17, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
First, I'm not sure that I'm aware of other studies that show long-term GCM accuracy at the local level. (They could well be out there; maybe I've just missed them.) Secondly (and I know this is true in models of exoplanetary atmospheres; I don't see a reason why it wouldn't apply to Earth GCMs as well), it's much easier to get the global mean correct than it is to get local accuracy, because local errors are diluted when you take the average. So only looking at global mean quantities is a considerably lower hurdle. However, significant deviations at a scale larger than a few grid points falsify the model, thereby rendering the conclusions regarding the behavior of globally-averaged quantities highly suspect.
Now, have the authors actually shown significant local variation? There might be a couple ways around it: if, for example, a model predicts some variation X at point A, and measurements show some completely different variation Y at point A, but it turns out that the model predicts Y at some point B close to A, then your model's still on solid ground. So the results would be more convincing if they were looking at local variations in the context of an overall global map. Even still, the paper clearly undercuts current models, and I'd be pretty wary of dismissing its results as "not relevant for global climate prediction." Especially when so many of the actions proposed to mitigate AGW are based on its local effects. J. Langton (talk) 15:35, 31 July 2008 (UTC)