Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Crap Alberta Government Survey Of Alberta "Rock Scientists" On Climate Change

Given the abuse that James Annan and Fergus Brown took as a result of their good-faith attempt to survey honest-to-god climate scientists (including from me here), zero weight can be given to this ghastly survey of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (esp. given the state of some of the questions, but see below for more on that):

Virtually all respondents (99.4%) agree that the climate is changing. There is also general agreement that the climate is changing both regionally and globally (78.7% agree) and that it may result in both warming and cooling (83.0% agree). There is less agreement as to the magnitude of the change:65.7% believe that there are changes to both the average and variability of the climate, 20.2% believe that there are changes to the average state, and 14.1% believe that there are changes to the variability. There is also disagreement as to the timescale: 55.3% believe that there are both long and short term effects, 28.8% believe there are long term effects, and 11.6% believe that there are short term effects.

There is even less agreement as to the cause: 27.4% believe it is caused by primarily natural factors (natural variation, volcanoes, sunspots, lithosphere motions, etc.), 25.7% believe it is caused by primarily human factors (burning fossil fuels, changing land use, enhanced water evaporation due to irrigation), and 45.2% believe that climate change is caused by both human and natural factors.


The highest disagreement (68% disagree) with statement “the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled”. It is somewhat reassuring that 66% of respondents do not feel pressured by their peers to take a certain stance on climate change and 59% do not feel like that must base their professional work on factors other their solid scientific principles.

Note that the first couple of sentences in the first paragraph are so vague as to be meaningless. This is what you get when you ask your members to choose between the following assertions:

1) Our climate is not presently changing
2) Our climate is changing.

The Consensus that there is no consensus is similarly crap, since the survey does not make clear whether the respondents are disagreeing with the contention that the cause, or extent, or time scale, or magnitude of climate change is "settled" (or some combination.

And there is interesting data collected but not shared in the document above, such as do APEGGA members think Canada should uphold its Kyoto commitments?

The members of APEGGA have been ill-served by their association. In fact, it looks like they got suckered by the Alberta Environment Ministry (Alberta Environment), which designed the survey. Designed it to give the results they were looking for, no doubt.


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Anonymous said...

In case it hasn't been pointed out to you, this group of scientists knows better than most other groups of scientists, exactly what they are talking about in the field of paleoclimatology. This is what they do. They get paid to understand what the climate was in various points in time because you need to know that to find oil - period. A false ideology will not earn you any money. Faking it won't pay the rent. Believing in something which has no basis in scientific fact will waste millions of dollars and get you fired pretty quickly.

But don't take their word for it, because they earn their money from the oil industry. Who, by the way, make ultimately their money from every single Canadian.

Ti-Guy said...

Believing in something which has no basis in scientific fact will waste millions of dollars and get you fired pretty quickly.

In the long-term, yes. In the short-term, not so much.

A lot of the science underpinning oil exploration and how it is generating wealth (which it does, spectacularly) is speculative and in the short-term, is really of interest to people benefiting directly from it. And who would that be?

Anonymous said...

S. K. Solanki1 Contact Information and N. A. Krivova1
(1) Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Str. 2, D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany

Received: 26 August 2005 Accepted: 21 December 2005 Published online: 29 December 2006
Abstract The global variability of the Sun of relevance for planetary climates has been directly measured for the past few decades. For longer stretches of time models are required. Semi-empirical models can now accurately reproduce the measured records of solar total and spectral irradiance, as well as of the magnetic flux. They can also provide reconstructions of these quantities on longer time scales. Here a summary is given of some of the modelling efforts and of the results achieved so far.

John Mashey said...

Most geologists and geophysicists are *not* paleoclimatologists. The former do *not* generally get paid to understand the climate N years ago.

They get paid to:

- locate fossil fuels, using knowledge of geology, seismic data gathering.

- do reservoir modeling to figure out the best places to drill, and to model expected extractions, need for CO2 or water injection, etc, etc.

- these days, using high-performance computing clusters with good 3D visualization, sometimes in special auditoriums with multiple projectors run by $M graphics supercomputers.

Speaking as someone who helped sell ~$500M of supercomputers to senior petroleum engineers, visiting Calgary, San Ramon, Denver, Houston, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Dhahran, Perth, China, and a few I've forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure which is worse; your cynicism, your ignorance, or your blind faith in your religion.

Believe it or not, the science isn't settled, there's no concrete evidence CO2 is the culprit, and Kyoto is a massive social money sucking scheme. Those are the facts. Anything else is pure fantasy.

Marion Delgado said...

(a) please, please ignore the denialist trolls

(b) Big city lib, this is how the process should work. Of COURSE their studies are bunk. Just as Stalinism produced Lysenkoism, our brand of market authoritarians produce this stuff. In any event, Fergus makes a good-faith start, it's not entirely up to snuff, since WE have to follow REAL standards, as well we should, Tim Lambert et al. bring up that it can't get published, people comment that it - like virtually all first efforts in a given direction - could stand improvement. When that happens, we have on record already that reasonably robust if imperfect surveys were refused so we put more pressure on, etc.

Anonymous said...

bcl, why don't you just come out and say that comments you don't agree with will be censored, and be done with it? At least have the guts to have your words match your actions. I know it's tough for a liberal to do.

Anonymous said...

Geologists can tell you the petrogenesis of various stratum, which will include the environmental conditions for the sedimentary deposits. It's good to know if this is a lacustrine or marine wetland, a sand desert, a coral reef, a deep ocean basin, etc. It's helpful to understand if the fossils in those sediments reflect a warm weather environment or a cool one. Which environmental scenario would produce hydrocarbon traps, and where on the continent are they and why?

Where as you AGW troofers are Arts majors, philosophy dropouts, and unemployed communists.