Image source: The Quantum Theory of Climate Denial

Scientists try to replicate findings that dispute climate change: they fail

A group used statistical tools to replicate the findings of 38 papers that refute man-made climate change. There’s a 97% consensus among experts that the climate is being altered by man-made activities, and only 2-3% of published papers refute this established hypothesis. Instead, they cite anything from solar cycles, to ocean currents to the motion of the planets to explain for the rapid rate with which surface and ocean temperatures have risen over the past 100 years (unheard of in a geological timeline). Since there is no one single hypothesis proposed to explain global warming, but a myriad, this in itself should make us feel skeptical of papers refuting climate change. Indeed, when the researchers analyzed some of the most cited contrarian climate change papers — by other scientists or in the media — they found these were riddled with methodological errors and not one one of them stood to scrutiny.

Image source: The Quantum Theory of Climate Denial

Image source: The Quantum Theory of Climate Denial

The study was authored by  Rasmus Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland, and John Cook. They devised an analytical tool using the R programming language replicate and test the results and methods used in these studies.

Most papers failed because they cherry picked their data. Writing for The Guardian, Nuccitelli cites as an example a paper published in 2011 by Humlum et al. that found lunar and solar cycles can be identified as sources of global warming. The simulated data proved to be accurate in their stated reference frame (4,000 years), but became useless when the  6,000 years’ worth of earlier data they threw out was considered. Missing contextual information or ignoring information altogether is a common theme among climate-change denial papers.

Next up was curve fitting — constructing a curve that has the best fit to a series of data points, possibly subject to constraints. The constructed curve will reflect reality if the constraints are solid, or in other words if these are rooted in real-world physics. One paper, for instance, found global warming was due to orbital cycles of Jupiter and Saturn. The curve they made however was based on poor physics. This was the case with other studies whose findings were based on “false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics,” as the authors write in the study abstract.

“You may have noticed another characteristic of contrarian climate research – there is no cohesive, consistent alternative theory to human-caused global warming. Some blame global warming on the sun, others on orbital cycles of other planets, others on ocean cycles, and so on. There is a 97% expert consensus on a cohesive theory that’s overwhelmingly supported by the scientific evidence, but the 2–3% of papers that reject that consensus are all over the map, even contradicting each other. The one thing they seem to have in common is methodological flaws like cherry picking, curve fitting, ignoring inconvenient data, and disregarding known physics,” Nuccitelli wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian.

“If any of the contrarians were a modern-day Galileo, he would present a theory that’s supported by the scientific evidence and that’s not based on methodological errors. Such a sound theory would convince scientific experts, and a consensus would begin to form. Instead, as our paper shows, the contrarians have presented a variety of contradictory alternatives based on methodological flaws, which therefore have failed to convince scientific experts,” she added.

16 thoughts on “Scientists try to replicate findings that dispute climate change: they fail

  1. Professor

    HAARP and Doppler radar towers using millions or billions of watts of electricity to heat up areas of the atmosphere, oceans, and whole continents to alter the jet stream, cause earthquakes, draught areas where food production is most plentiful and create storms to shut down cities for political reasons. Weather weapons, Geoengineering, earthquake weapon,,,
    These are just 3 places to start looking, but none were mentioned in this article,, no wonder you can’t figure it out. Open your eyes and look at the facts. It’s all about control and money.

  2. NiCuCo

    It is the greatest conspiracy in the history of Man. Hundreds of scientific organizations, tens of thousands of papers, all wrong. All those scientists with their magic decoder rings and secret handshakes, going to hidden meetings to plan what doctored data to use next.

    Or, maybe it is just another branch of science which started in the 19th Century, with the work of Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius, before there was HAARP, the UN, the NWO, the EPA, chemtrails, Obama, Gore, Agenda 21, the Moon landing hoax and those who are after our precious bodily fluids.

  3. Pingback: Alabama's State Climatologist debunks claims that 2015 was the 'hottest year …

  4. Wayne

    The earth is roughly 5 billion years old and they want you to believe that looking at a 100 years of data along with their models is a predicter. LMAO. Also, one thing they do know is the earth goes through a global ice age roughly.every 11000 years going back a couple hundred thousand years. Will this end now? Me thinkS not.

  5. Dave

    While I accept this now, I was slow to come around because my concern has been that so much grant money, so many scientific papers, and the whole of Environmental science seemed biased by the study of climate- nearly every ecological study, every nature program, every kids science project is focused on the impact- like you can’t study anything else today in environmental science.

    The temperature data is very confusing and I still have a hard time getting statistical significance out of 100 years of data when looking at 4 billion years of history and us still coming out of the last ice age only a few thousand years ago..
    But the CO2 data is much more convincing. That is what finally got to me.

    I still worry about scientists not challenging their own assumptions.

  6. Tibi Puiu

    Dave, scientists do look at the bigger picture across millions of years. There’s temperature data for millions of years back — not 100 years! These come from ice cores, fossil shells, trees etc etc. The reason why you hear about it everywhere it’s because it’s freaking important. What part about the temperature data do you find confusing? I’ll be glad to help.

  7. Dave

    Just that temperature data is subject to a lot of impacts fron other things, not necessarily long term climate related.
    (Like heat islands in cities, etc) Not so much that I’m confused it’s just that it is complex. And subject to manipulation by applying correcting factors, etc. Like I said the co2 data is more convincing.

    I’m quite familiar with the ice core work, a friend of mine was doing that in the Arctic and Antarctic in the 90s.

    The other concern I have is that the economic impact of some types of regulation to prevent carbon emissions could slow economic growth to the point that post-carbon energy technology and global warming solutions (carbon capture, etc) remain too expensive to solve the problem.

    I think economic growth could solve this problem, but many environmentalists tend to be socialist in thinking and socialism is relatively stagnant in generating economic growth.

    if nuclear power was not killed off by the environmental movement in many places we would have a few more decades to deal with carbon than we do now, although arguably some different problems.

  8. gmarmot

    There’s a big difference between previous climate change, and what’s happening now. Previously, other than huge catastrophes like a massive volcano exploding (such as Yellowstone) or an asteroid striking (end of the Cretaceous), change that you mention in the past did NOT occur quickly (as in 100 years). Now it is, and there is only one reasonable explanation: human caused.
    Personally, I do not beleive that we will address the issue adequately anyways. For me, I doubt that I’ll be around to see some of the huge problems that will occur. I’m just sad to know that we are so technologically advanced, but so backward as to be unable to control our population.

  9. Tibi Puiu

    It is very complex and models are from being accurate. What’s clear: global warming is happening and caused by humans. What’s uncertain: the extent and consequences (how bad it will be).

    Concerning economic growth, think of it the other way: the untampared economic growth the world has seen so far (under a business scenario that says growth to infinity) has been made on borrowed time and resources. It’s time to pay back. Moreover, there is reason to believe that CO2 emissions can be curbed drastically without any ‘sacrifice’ being made in the long term. How? Technology.

    A transition by 2050 to almost 100% renewable energy is possible and likely at economic growth (new industries and jobs, though other die — the balance is positive).

    This can be possible only in a proper environment: that is tax carbon under a revenue neutral system.

    You don’t have to be a communist to be a socialist. Just look at Bernie Sanders :)

  10. Dave

    Oh don’t get me started on Sanders. His heart is in the right place but he doesn’t understand economic growth.

    The revenue neutral carbon tax might make sense. Usually goverments spend (waste) tax dollars on short sighted policy ideas that turn into disasters, and the increased taxes hurt growth.

    I do believe in nearly infinite growth, as can be seen is the case if you look back in time over the past 200 years in any place. The wealth of today would be inconceivable even 30 years ago. Technology and growth can make possible solutions we can’t even imagine to our problems.

    But if we restrict technological development and economic growth through short sighted tax and spend policy, it will hurt our chances at getting out of the mess…

  11. Brian

    Here’s my simple evidence for fossils burning caused climate change.

    World heat content is up. Tracking CO2 and GHG since 1960.

    Don’t confuse temperature with heat content.

    The mass of the pole ice is decreasing. That’s why the Temperature has not fully tracked air GHG.

    “Extent” doesn’t matter, it’s the volume and that’s going down at both poles of the last 10 years.

    Fossil use emits 300 times all the volcanoes in the world combined. could be as much as 460 times.

    CO2 is the highest in 15 million years, enough to cause sick building syndrome outside. Remember that urban areas have higher CO2 than average, and even suburban areas go over the average daily. occupants of a building will start to complain of pain, fatigue etc… when the CO2 goes over 500-600 ppm. Humans evolved with CO2 never going over 300ppm. Oxygen levels are falling twice as fast. We have destroyed fresh air.

    Humans are poisoning the air and water and changing the climate.

    But climate change or not, fossils and nuclear are welfare queens sustained now only by gov largess and protection. Solar, wind, ecars and waste to fuels are all now cheaper when you strip away all the gov breaks. They are forever, recyclable clean, safe, zero land, carbon negative, low water use and many times our global energy needs even with 12B people.

  12. Brian

    It’s plausible. The military created invisible planes and people didn’t believe that (stealth) and have worked on weather modification before. I’ve studied plasma and there no reason a system that can ionize and heat the air in the ionosphere could change the properties significantly. Plasma increase the viscosity of the air. In fact plasma have been used to make vacuum windows from nothing but ionized air.

    They claim they have succeeded in controlling the ionosphere.
    Here’s a defense hearing talking about it. The Darpa person was very evasive on what goals they had accomplished.

    The ionosphere is easier to ionize and heat, since it is already conductive. I don’t know if they could ionize air near the jet stream or if they need to, to deflect the jet stream. The jet stream 16km and ionosphere 80 to 1000 km are far apart vertically.

    I’m guessing other nations have satellites that would see any modification of the jet stream, but would they tell anybody? Who knows.

    We end of having only speculation.

    The hardest part to believe is that our gov is modifying the weather and the rest of the world is cooperating in keeping it secret.

    As usual, the conspiracy theories have spiraled out of control. Doesn’t mean there isn’t something to it.

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