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Why the warming can’t be natural: harnessing butterflies for climate closure

Lecture on climate change - Science Literacy Week 2015

Prof. Shaun Lovejoy

Climate science has concentrated on proving the theory that the post-industrial warming is largely caused by human agency and last year, the International Panel on Climate Change upgraded its assessment of the theory from “likely” to “extremely likely”. Meanwhile, the skeptics have continued to tout their theory that the warming is simply a giant natural fluctuation. In order to end the scientific part of the debate - to reach “climate closure” - it is therefore necessary to demonstrate that the skeptics’ competing giant fluctuation theory has such a low probability that it can be confidently dismissed. We summarize a new and straightforward disproof that achieves this closure with 99.9% confidence so that the only viable explanation is anthropogenic.

I describe a scientific breakthrough that exploits the atmosphere’s extreme instability - the “butterfly effect” – the cause of a special type of randomness with a memory that is so enormous that we are still feeling the effects of century - old fluctuations. Randomness with elephantine memory not only leads to climate closure, it also leads to improved seasonal, annual and decadal forecasts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
45 minutes
Redpath Museum auditorium
Redpath Museum
Associated Branch: 
Science Literacy Week
Special Notes: 
Lecture by Prof. Shaun Lovejoy

Registrations are closed for this Library Workshop Session

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