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Global Warming (in english)

29 Dicembre 2008 alle 16:07

I always enjoy reading the FOGLIO and probably agree with most of you out there on many issues. But regards Global Warming I think it is wise to AVOID thinking it is a fraud or wrong only because temperatures are cool/old and rain/snow is abundant. I do have an instinctive aversion (bias) for militant ecologists but I think it is wise to keep an open mind with regards to Global Warming and resist being blinded by preconceptions, ideology or superficiality. I am not an expert but I think everyone will agree that the correct language to describe and reason about these planetary problems is that of statistics, e.g. long term drifts and trends in average temperatures. But the concept of “average” does not suffice. A key concept in statistics is that of “distribution”: the values of an observable fluctuate and distribute themselves. The average is just one parameter that can be used to describe the shape of the distribution. One must avoid infantile states of stupor and expect, measure and try to account for fluctations. But then there is the profound and very serious methodological problem of evaluating systematic uncertainties (biases) that plague ALL raw data. How the data is collected and then processed might hide biases and it is the duty of every mature scientist to show he has eliminated known biases, quantified plausible ones and did his best to look for as of yet unknown ones. Last and not least one needs wisdom to acknowledge that there is the problem of harnessing preconceptions and political agendas that may more or less unconsciously lead to logical errors (circular and ideological reasoning). The immediate fact that this winter has been exceptionally wet and cold is NOT a good argument against Global Warming.

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