Solving the controversy

Regarding Dave Winlow’s excellent letter “No hope of understanding” on the controversial subject of climate change (Engineering Dimensions, January/February 2018, p. 58), I noted his use of the expression “fake science.”

The original science was based on the amount of CO2 in geologically dated ice cores and the fact that human CO2 emissions are increasing. The controversy is whether global warming is solely due to human emissions. An engineering technique used some years ago by an old colleague, John S. Jones (a Rolls Royce expert, whose work he shared with me but for which he did not achieve public recognition to my knowledge), can provide the answer: Walter Shewhart (1891-1967) developed statistical process control charts to assign probable cause of quality problems and reduce wastage in the manufacture of products. The charts are essentially values of measured information that are analyzed statistically to expose changes (both permanent shifts and temporary aberrations) over time in any process.

If climatologists used this engineering technique to analyze global temperatures before and after the Industrial Revolution (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data is available for many global locations starting in the early 1700s), it would cover the period of zero human emissions then the commencement of human emissions—to solve the controversy scientifically.

Gordon Rogers, P.Eng., Toronto, ON