Exhibit K: The Scientific Method is Ignored, The Null is not Rejected
Classical science is done through the “Scientific Method.” An observation is made, a hypothesis is formed, experiments are designed, data is collected, the data is analyzed and the hypothesis is either accepted or rejected. In most fields of science the “null hypothesis” is the status quo or the accepted explanation. If in that rare case the null hypothesis is in fact rejected, the research is published and others will rush to “replicate” the experiments to validate the findings. True science is based upon skepticism and the “belief in the ignorance of experts.” Science progresses through falcification, over-turning the apple cart, proving the experts wrong, angering one’s “peers” and defying the “consensus.” Classical science is not done by sheeple following the herd, agreeing with the consensus and being welcomed, accepted and celebrated by like-minded “peers.” Real science is done by proclaiming that “the earth is not flat dammit, and I’m going to prove it, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” How then would the scientific method be applied to the field of climate science? An observation is made that both temperatures and CO2 have been increasing since the dawn of the industrial age. A hypothesis is made that man-made CO2 must be causing the increase in temperatures, the commonly accepted/status quo belief is that climate change is natural. Experiments would be designed and data would be collected and then analyzed. For this exhibit we will ignore the design experiments part because the field of climate science doesn’t rely on experiments, it is almost completely dependent upon data samples and computer models. The primary sources of data are proxy temperature and CO2 records collected from ice cores. To reject the hypothesis that climate change is natural would require demonstrating that during the period when man has been producing CO2 (the past 150 and 50 years) the temperature variation is statistically different from the previous 12,000 years of the Holocene.
- Using the scientific method and applying it to the available ice core data, the null hypothesis that climate change is natural IS NOT REJECTED. Here is the data for Al Gore’s chart. Because of the nature of ice core data, the ice core data must be combined with other data sets to bring it up to the present. BTW, this is an experiment that should be run in every high-school science class and presented in science fairs. It is the perfect lesson plan to teach an application of the scientific method.
- The relevant data is the temperature and CO2 data for the “Holocene.” Download any ice core data set and test the hypothesis yourself. I have yet to find a single ice core data set that shows the temperature variation over the past 150 and/or 50 years is statistically different from the previous 12 to 15,000 years of the Holocene. Note, you have to use surface temperatures for the most recent 150/50 years, so unfortunately it is an apples and oranges situation with instrumental data being compared to proxy data. Not perfect, but the best we can do.
- There have been many previous temperature peaks during the Holocene, all of which reached temperatures above today’s level. The Minoan, Roman and Medieval warming periods were all warmer than today. Archaeological evidence of a warmer past are Roman vineyards in Northern England and the Vikings inhabited and farmed Greenland.
- I have yet to find a single ice core data set demonstrating that current temperatures are at a peak for the Holocene. It is important to note that when NASA/NOAA, the Main Stream Media or Al Gore report that “we are experiencing the hottest year on record,” they are referring only to the past 156 years of instrumental records, not the ice core data or the entire Holocene. Those data set begin right when an unusually cold period called the “Little Ice Age” was ending. Much of the warming since 1860 is nothing more than the earth rebounding from an unusually cold period. Additionally, the rate of sea level increase would have been expected to slow or even reverse during the Little Ice Age, so an acceleration of the rate of change in sea levels is not unusual and would be expected as the earth returns to normal temperatures.