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Behind denial

Those who write about climate science fall into three groups: those who do the science and understand it, those who read the science and understand much of it, and those who do neither. Those who write denying the reality of climate change and global warming are in the third group. These three groups are of unequal size. The first is estimated at 30,000, the second is a small group; I am one of them. The third group you can count on your fingers. Yes, I know there are more than ten climate change deniers, but almost none of them have ever done any climate science. Instead they select individual small parts of the research of others that seem to them to be dubious, proclaim they have found the fatal flaw, and argue the whole science is rubbish, all the while styling themselves as true scientific skeptics.

It was this apparent division of the scientists into two camps that led me to investigate the published science in order to understand the problem, and which led me to write "A Short Introduction to Climate Change". This might seem from its title to be a text book, but it is not, it is a guide and an explanation to anyone who is interested. A review by John Abraham for The Guardian concludes " It is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about the climate—everyone from concerned citizens, to parents, grandparents, students, and teachers.  This is a book that is accessible and accurate.  It is hard to imagine this could have been done better." So if you are after more detail, find a copy!

Climate science is complex. Climate change is an equally complex part of the whole science. It involves among many other things the measurement and recording of local temperatures, then the collation and statistical analysis of these data. It involves measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It involves understanding the physics of how a gas absorbs heat and re-radiates it. It involves the connection between the winds and the waves, reflection and absorption of sunlight, humidity, and the behaviour of ocean currents just as some of the basics. To put today's climate into a historical perspective becomes the task of geologists, geographers, oceanographers, chemists, physicists, biologists and historians, all combining their particular skills and knowledge to unravel climates of the past. Just how many people are needed to properly document and interpret even a single aspect of climate is clear from the authorship list of this paper:

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Updated analyses of temperature and precipitation extreme indices since the beginning of the twentieth century: The HadEX2 dataset

4 March 2013

M. G. Donat , L. V. Alexander, H. Yang, I. Durre, R. Vose, R. J. H. Dunn, K. M. Willett, E. Aguilar, M. Brunet, J. Caesar, B. Hewitson, C. Jack, A. M. G. Klein Tank, A. C. Kruger, J. Marengo, T. C. Peterson, M. Renom, C. Oria Rojas, M. Rusticucci, J. Salinger, A. S. Elrayah, S. S. Sekele, A. K. Srivastava, B. Trewin, C. Villarroel, L. A. Vincent, P. Zhai, X. Zhang, S. Kitching

Those who deny climate science, who claim the scientific data is corrupted, that the scientists conspire to deceive the public and their funding agencies, must imagine that all those scientists, scattered around the world in many different institutions are acting dishonestly in unison, risking their reputations and their jobs, and that nobody is noticing.

The self-styled skeptics must also imagine in their arrogance that they can, without doing any research whatsoever, see fatal flaws in research results that none of the authors nor any of those who reviewed the papers pre-publication, nor any of the many others who read the paper were wise enough to see.

In the following links are some thoughts on how those self-styled skeptics operate in their efforts to undermine or prevent action on the real and present dangers of climate change.