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Do not confuse Possibility with Probability


Is it possible to survive a 7 storey building fall? Sure its possible, but it is highly improbable.

So imagine my shock when despite 97% of climate scientists all saying that there is a strong 90%+ chance that the planet will warm, sea levels rise, and poles melt, people still doubt.

You see the doubters get angry. How dare these scientists cause alarm they say! How much will all this cost they say? Why should I pay they say? If we change our economy to a green one and find out it was all for naught, then would we not bring down the economy by a factor greater then the GFC! We could be facing a GDP drop of 30% or more! These doubters get very concerned about bank accounts. They refuse to act on the *chance* that the planet is not warming.

Well I hate to break this to you, but the planet IS warming. Even the skeptics see this. The debate is not on if the planet is warming or not, but what is the likely cause.

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? – Sherlock Holmes (The Sign of Four) by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Some of the debate is about elimination. Water vapour is a common held cornerstone of some in the debate. Problem is, physics is kind of against them.

You see, water vapour can only exist as a vapour if there is room for it to exist. That is as water vapour accumulates together too closely, it creates a liquid. That is the molecules of the gas have to be at a certain distance apart.

Being smart bastards, we have already worked out the volume of space in the atmosphere by extrapolating the distance from the earth to the top of the atmosphere and using simple trigonometry to work out the volume. That is if we know what volume of the space the earth it self displaces, then what is left has to be the volume of the atmosphere. You got to love a good pi.

Knowing this volume, and knowing the amount of distance water vapour needs to remain in vaporous form, it works out that water vapour is a constant at 4% of the atmosphere. That is no matter how much water vapour is made or put into the atmosphere, only 4% can continue to exist as a gas.

This does not discount the fact that it is a green house gas. But it does discount the theory that somehow it is the cause of the current warming. Note! I said cause. It is STILL a green house gas and therefore it will take any increase in heat and amplify it. But if it can only ever be at a constant volume, then logically, as there has been no increase in volume, it is NOT the CAUSE of the heating.

[addendum 2013]Oh! One more thing! How does water vapor get formed in the first place? Oh thats right! Evaporation. And a more warmer planet will make for more evaporation. More water vapor in the atmosphere means more precipitation as I pointed out re the concentration of water vapor. And more precipitation formation over warming seas means more storm formations

In the last eight years we have witnessed the formation of Katrina, Yasi, Sandy and now Haiyan. That is FOUR one in one hundred year events in less than a decade.[end addendum]

One other theory argues that cosmic rays that bombard the planet maybe influencing the production of aerosols or cloud cover. A recent paper in regards to the CERN CLOUD experiment has recently been published.

From what I can tell, the result is less encouraging to proponents of this theory. Although there was some effect, the changes were too small to categorically prove this theory. The author wishes for more tests to be conducted with one for pre industrial atmosperhic conditions to see if the rays are being influenced by the 30% increase in CO2.

Yes… CO2… again.

So here is what I do not get. The people that worry about the money are saying they dont believe in climate change. That there is a chance that is is not happening! Sure the odds are small, but there is a chance.

So what are the outcomes if we reduce emissions? Simple. The less emissions, the less warming. But will this happen overnight asks Andrew Bolt and others?

What will we get for our reduction? Well maybe nothing in the short term. What you WONT get is sharper rises in temperature. And yes. It may mean you have to make do with one car per family for a while. Woe is us!

Alternatively if we do nothing, then we don’t just risk the economy, but you also risk lives. Yes. There is a chance you can survive if you jump off a seven storey building.

The only problem is this. While proponents of climate change want to do something about the emissions and perhaps guide us from the 7th storey to the ground level, others like Andrew Bolt wants us all to test our luck based on his gut feelings and the possibility he is right as opposed to the probability he is wrong.

Go ahead and jump Andrew but don’t ask me to jump with you. And bags not cleaning the stain you leave behind.

A. Ghebranious  2011 (All Rights Reserved)

  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Here we go again.

  2. Just wanted to chime in and inform you that the search box doesn’t work as it used to… Maybe you should switch to another plugin

    • Yeah I know. Some of my first pieces I miss tagged and filed. Thats why I added the pieces by month thing although as I get a little more prolific then I thought I would be, that too is irksome. I will spend some time soon re tagging and filing the pieces but they kind of overlap. IE the Doppler Effect piece is more about politics then science and the Human Nature piece is more social commentary then a study of man through time 🙂

      Most of the time I just wake up and something wants to come out and I let it and then edit it a little so it sort of makes sense 🙂 The search they give you is a word press wide search which is… interesting lol

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I wanted to use your RSS Feed but it showing me some XML errors..

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