Saturday, January 29, 2011

Misc update (climate)

Picture credit: NASA

Previous blog entries related to climate:
Climate denial - Jun 5th, 2010
More on climate - Jan 31st, 2010
Climate change and doubt - Jan 24th, 2010
Meet Dr. Rajendra Pachuri - Jan 23rd, 2010
We wuz wrong - Jan 23rd, 2010
Saving the day... - Dec 20th, 2009
Skimmed milk masquerades as cream - Dec 17, 2009

Earlier blog entries argued that shoddy reporting combined with the complexity of the science made it difficult, nay, make that quasi impossible, for an informed and discerning layperson to have an independent understanding of climate science. Also that occasional reporting of additional theories and or data sometimes seemingly at odds with the consensus position, can and do muddy the waters... One such example is the role of solar activity...

For example, from an earlier blog entry we had : "Another example would be from this finding, Sunshine speeded 1940s Swiss glacier melt: scientists, which seems to indicate that in this specific case solar radiation at one point might have been a better explanation for melting of the glaciers in the Alps than temperature... Note: this disagrees with the thrust of the consensus position that it is carbon dioxide levels (worsened by human activity) and the associated higher temperatures that are the main reason for the loss of glaciers rather than solar radiation (natural i.e. no human intervention)."

Now, an article, 'Cosmic rays contribute 40 p.c. to global warming: study', reports that a scientific paper released by the Indian Environment Ministry says that solar activity has a much larger effect than previously thought.... "A key belief of climate science theology — that a reduction in carbon emissions will take care of the bulk of global warming — has been questioned in a scientific paper released by the Environment Ministry on Monday. Physicist and the former ISRO chairman, U.R. Rao, has calculated that cosmic rays — which, unlike carbon emissions, cannot be controlled by human activity — have a much larger impact on climate change than The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims. In fact, the contribution of decreasing cosmic ray activity to climate change is almost 40 per cent, argues Dr. Rao in a paper which has been accepted for publication in Current Science, the preeminent Indian science journal. The IPCC model, on the other hand, says that the contribution of carbon emissions is over 90 per cent"

So, what is one to believe? Is the IPCC focus on greenhouse gasses greatly overstated? Or is this new study too "convenient" for the Indian government ("... the “unidimensional focus” on carbon emissions by most Western countries put additional pressure on countries like India in international climate negotiations ..." and "... If human activity cannot influence such a significant cause of climate change as cosmic rays, it could change the kind of pressure put on countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions ...")?

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