Warming 1860s-2090s by guesstimates

The other day I posted this poll.

First there were mainly ‘IPCC’-answers. Then I asked for ‘skeptic’ guesstimates and they came … indeed. And the results looked like this a few hours ago (2014-02-05, 13:15 CET). Yes, it’s still a very small sample. (The x-axes are percentages, the numbers in the bars are absolute numbers for the bins.)


So what does that tell us?

Let’s start with the caveats. Of course there’s always a chance of trolling. Furthermore there is the danger that people don’t read the question and don’t give the ~230 year temperature change guesstimate but the 80 (from now) year or 130 (from 1960) year temperature change guess. And then there’s the chance that all 68 gave their best guess to the question posed. Further, as Paul Matthews noted on Twitter, the bins could have been differently (or better) chosen.

By the way, I didn’t poll. And I won’t. But to be fair, I think my guesstimate would very likely be in the 2.7 to 3.3K bin and there below or about 3K or rather unlikely at the upper end of the 2.1 to 2.7K bin.

And now, what may the numbers tell us under the assumption that all guesstimates are giving ~230 temperature change? I’ll necessarily simplify and I am going to use categories which some may dislike. I’m sorry (well dependent on who feels offended).

I would call all estimates from 2.1 to larger 4.5 IPCC-like. Which is, I probably should have included at least one more 0.6K bin. So called lukewarmers (either ‘there may be a problem’ or ‘there is likely not a problem’) possibly are everywhere between 0.3 to 2.7.

However I personally would exclude the 0.3 to 0.9 bin from that category since it basically is a no change and more likely cooling than warming from now on expecation. It would be interesting to see the reasoning behind these guesses. Similarly, the 0.9 to 1.5 bin may include a good proportion of “it is unlikely that we see more warming”. That is, the ‘cycle-researcher’ also may fall into this category.

What about the -0.3 to 0.3 bin? It implies a reversal of at least a major part of the warming that the observations suggest between the 1860s and today. And even colder? The reasoning would again be of interest for both categories.

In the end, I would summarise, a third or more of the respondents appear to think that there isn’t going to be warming from now on. I would interpret such a position as either stating that CO2 has basically no or only a very small impact on global mean temperatures or that the respondents think there are very strong counter-acting processes which so far haven’t been identified convincingly. As said, I’m interested in hearing these views. Again, all this assumes that all guesstimates were given as ~230 year temperature changes.

Of course, as the one commenter under the poll noted, we may encounter various big volcanic eruptions, the sun indeed may be weak (but see the relevant literature on that), we may try to engineer the climate, and other things could happen – like aggressive mitigation.

PS: For the current results see here and click on “view results”.


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