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September 07, 2011

Good Article on the CLOUD Test

An important theme running through it is that many did not want to even perform a test which might cast doubt on AGW.

Given a chance to do some science, and let science answer questions rather than "the consensus," it was preferred that science STFU and let the consensus speak.

But while the cosmic-ray theory has been ridiculed from the start by those who subscribe to the anthropogenic-warming theory, both Mr. Kirkby and Mr. Svensmark hold that human activity is contributing to climate change. All they question is its importance relative to other, natural factors.

It should be noted that this position isn't really debatable -- carbon dioxide is provably a (weak) greenhouse gas. More carbon dioxide should lead to some increased temperature.

But how much? Carbon dioxide is a very weak greenhouse gas. All of the claims of out-of-control global warming rely non on the well-defined (slight) properties of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, but on speculative "feedback" mechanisms of the earth's hydrosphere, all of which will careen dangerously towards weather anarchy if CO2 levels change the slightest. And it's here that "science" pretty much stops and "sophisticated computer modeling" begins.

Those who demand we base conclusions on empirical evidence ("the science is settled!") must confess how little empirical evidence they have, and how much of their evidence is completely non-empirical.

A computer model, created with all of the unproven runaway-feedback assumptions global warming is based on, is as non-empirical as you can get.

You know what's empirical? Blasting a cloud chamber with cosmic rays to see how they effect the earth's cloud cover. But oddly enough, no one really wanted to test this out.

Through several more years of "careful, quantitative measurement" at CERN, Mr. Kirkby predicts he and his team will "definitively answer the question of whether or not cosmic rays have a climatically significant effect on clouds." His old ally Mr. Svensmark feels he's already answered that question, and he guesses that CERN's initial results "could have been achieved eight to 10 years ago, if the project had been approved and financed."

Nah, let's not run a genuine scientific test; let's keep running the same computer models, and then screaming that models based on the same assumptions keep "confirming" each other.

The biggest milestone in last month's publication may be not the content but the source, which will be a lot harder to ignore than Mr. Svensmark and his small Danish institute.

Any regrets, now that CERN's particle accelerator is spinning without him? "No. It's been both a blessing and the opposite," says Mr. Svensmark. "I had this field more or less to myself for years—that would never have happened in other areas of science, such as particle physics. But this has been something that most climate scientists would not be associated with. I remember another researcher saying to me years ago that the only thing he could say about cosmic rays and climate was it that it was a really bad career move."

The science may not be settled, but all betrayals of the One True Cause will be settled.

On that point, Mr. Kirkby—whose organization is controlled by not one but 20 governments—really does not want to discuss politics at all: "I'm an experimental particle physicist, okay? That somehow nature may have decided to connect the high-energy physics of the cosmos with the earth's atmosphere—that's what nature may have done, not what I've done."

Notice how defensive he is.

Why is a scientist made to feel so threatened for conducting an experiment?

Last month's findings don't herald the end of a debate, but the resumption of one. That is, if the politicians purporting to legislate based on science will allow it.

And they won't.

Dangerous Precedent? WalrusRex is worried:

We can't base our political/economic theories on evidence. If truth were to gain a foothold in politics, where would it end?

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posted by Ace at 11:46 AM

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