Saturday, February 27, 2016
The causality of CO2 and global warming
I have no idea who Adolf Stips is but I wish him well. He seems to have something to do with the EU and is clearly a keen Warmist but I can find no other information about him. I suspect he is Belgian. You would have to be Belgian to call your kid Adolf these days. Anyway, he appears to believe that mathematical methods can detect causality, which is amusing. I reproduce below the abstract of an article under his authorship which makes that claim. It is an article that does seem to have attracted some attention, as one would expect.
During my student days I took three full-year courses in analytical philosophy, meaning that I did a "major" in that subject. And that bore fruit in that I had a few articles on analytical philosophy topics published in the academic journals, one of which was well received. And among those articles was included a look at the topic of causality: What is cause?
For present purposes, however, I will stick with the minimalist approach of David Hume to that topic -- who -- as is well known -- specified temporal priority and constant conjunction as the sole nature of causation.
But Stips and his merry men note that temperature rises used to cause CO2 rises but they "flipped" recently so that CO2 rises now cause temperature rises. To a Humean and, in fact, anyone with half a brain, that would indicate no causal connection between the two. Constant conjunction is shown but not invariant temporal priority. So Stips is talking nonsense. How sad!
In addition to the abstract I reproduce below an excerpt from a plain English summary of the work in Phys.org. I have verified the accuracy of the summary in the original article but the summary is easier to follow.
The whole point of the Stips effort is to address the well-known fact that, in paleoclimatological history, temperature rises preceded CO2 rises, which blows Warmist theory out of the water, which asserts the opposite. Warmists normally ignore that but Stips has bravely taken it on and attempted to circumvent it.
I have zero interest in unravelling Stips's mathematics in order to isolate where his faulty assumptions lie but that he does make faulty assumptions is obvious
On the causal structure between CO2 and global temperature
Adolf Stips, Diego Macias, Clare Coughlan, Elisa Garcia-Gorriz & X. San Liang
We use a newly developed technique that is based on the information flow concept to investigate the causal structure between the global radiative forcing and the annual global mean surface temperature anomalies (GMTA) since 1850. Our study unambiguously shows one-way causality between the total Greenhouse Gases and GMTA. Specifically, it is confirmed that the former, especially CO2, are the main causal drivers of the recent warming. A significant but smaller information flow comes from aerosol direct and indirect forcing, and on short time periods, volcanic forcings. In contrast the causality contribution from natural forcings (solar irradiance and volcanic forcing) to the long term trend is not significant. The spatial explicit analysis reveals that the anthropogenic forcing fingerprint is significantly regionally varying in both hemispheres. On paleoclimate time scales, however, the cause-effect direction is reversed: temperature changes cause subsequent CO2/CH4 changes.
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21691 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep21691
An excerpt from the summary in Phys.org:
"The authors applied the same technique to analyse historical air temperatures and CO2/CH4 data from the past 800,000 years, available thanks to the 3,000 meter deep ice core drilled in Antarctica more than a decade ago, which offers scientists a clue on a time scale of 800 millennia. They found a causal relationship between temperature increase and rising CO2/CH4 levels, which is the exact opposite of the results for the last 150 years. This also confirms the validity of the technique, as it is well known from the ice core data that in historical times, increase of temperatures had been followed by higher CO2/CH4 emissions. The causality relationship appears to have started reversing around 5000 years ago. The analysis confirms this opposite trend for the last 150 years, when unprecedented amounts of CO2 started being pumped into the atmosphere in the industrial age"
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).