I think you’re very charitable to say that he “make the mistake of confusing his temperature indices”. It seems to me much more likely that it was a deliberate attempt to deceive. The problem is that there are plenty of gullible people out there who are willing to fall for what he says, and some of them are quite high profile. Opinion pieces appeared in the UK national press following Lindzen’s presentation.
Personally I think that waiting for a correction is not going to be fruitful. If he should actually make one it will not be nearly as high profile as his original false claims, and no doubt plenty of so-called “sceptics” will parrot the original claims unabated. Couldn’t his claims be considered defamatory? Couldn’t one consider taking legal action to prevent him spreading such defamation?
[Response:Legal action against scientists in this sort of instance is wrong, no matter which ‘side’ it comes from. Nor is it likely to be successful, as Cuccinelli has been shown, again. Calls for ‘policing’ of science through the legal system is McCarthyism (McInytireism if you prefer), and we should not be condoning it. The scientific process may be too slow for the ideologues and the politicians, but it does work itself out eventually, as Carl Sagan so eloquently explained. Gavin has it right on here: this episode “has some lessons for how seriously one should take Lindzen’s comments”. That’s all.–eric]
I guess nothing in Gavin’s post should surprise anyone here. As the evidence that the deniers are just flat out wrong continues to mount, they have no choice but to resort to ever more ridiculous tactics.
I expect to see them continue this trend, right up until it becomes so patently absurd that they sound like a parody of themselves — think Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister claiming American troops weren’t in Baghdad when they were visible in the street right behind him.
I doubt that Lindzen will reply. For example, his “Adaptive Iris” hypothesis involved a supposed negative feedback due to tropical clouds. Lindzen claimed that this feedback would act to oppose any warming due to increasing greenhouse gases. However, like any real feedback process, this “Adaptive Iris” would also offset any forcing which would tend to cool the Earth. I’ve been curious to know exactly how this hypothetical negative feedback would have impacted the cooling which resulted in the Ice Ages which have dominated the Earth’s climate for the past 3 million years. Wouldn’t this negative feedback prevent the sort of cooling which is seen in the record? Did Lindzen ever provide such an explanation, or did he just keep on repeating his claim without mentioning this problem? Ignoring factual evidence which counters their claims would seem to be a common characteristic of the denialist camp to which Dr. Lindzen apparently belongs.
If not deliberate attempt to deceive, too biased to see the fallacy of his argument.. I would just say old age has crystallized a certain view to this fella, in a way that it biases his understanding and does not allow innovative new thinking. I’ve seen that happening in many disciplines. It takes a special kind of mind to stay productive and inquisitive for a _long_ period of time. Sad…What really gets my knickers crossed, is when these venerable geniuses of the past are still revered like they are the best thing after sliced bread…. I had an experience in my professional field a few years ago. Man…how sad, and how frustrating given the fact that in their prime they may have indeed been geniuses.
I’m quite sure you are right, Gavin. I’ve plotted the differences between the current land only data and the October 2008 land+ocean data (only because that is the year Lindzen mentioned) and after eyeballing the data points between my graph and his graph for a few minutes, I’m absolutely convinced that is what he did. It could have been one of the different land+ocean versions (I didn’t check them), but the differences would be essentially negligible for this discussion. It’s not easy to tell exactly what he did because he says that both versions are in the same text file on his graph, which isn’t right either.
If we compare the land+ocean(new) and land+ocean(2008) datasets, the maximum and minimum differences between the two are 0.03 and -0.03 C (anomaly), respectively, with most of the larger differences occurring before 1940. There’s also no trend in that difference. There’s a brief period in the late 1970s with similar variation to the early times, and the differences tend to be smallest between 1940-1970 (not sure why this would be the case). Clearly, this isn’t even close to the 0.2 C or so differences Lindzen implies.
Eric Swanson says: “I’ve been curious to know exactly how this hypothetical negative feedback would have impacted the cooling which resulted in the Ice Ages which have dominated the Earth’s climate for the past 3 million years. Wouldn’t this negative feedback prevent the sort of cooling which is seen in the record? Did Lindzen ever provide such an explanation, or did he just keep on repeating his claim without mentioning this problem?”
Well, he briefly talks about this in Lindzen and Choi 2011 but it is hard for me to really understand his explanation:
There have also been attempts to infer sensitivity from paleoclimate data (Hansen et al., 1993), but these are not really tests since the forcing is essentially unknown given major uncertainties in clouds, dust loading and other factors.
One final point needs to be made. Low sensitivity of global mean temperature anomaly to global scale forcing does not imply that major climate change cannot occur. The earth has, of course, experienced major cool periods such as those associated with ice ages and warm periods such as the Eocene (Crowley and North, 1991). As noted, however, in Lindzen (1993), these episodes were primarily associated with changes in the equator-to-pole temperature difference and spatially heterogeneous forcing.
Changes in global mean temperature were simply the residue of such changes and not the cause.
Recommended: use Google Image Search and see how that image has been spread. First copy I found is from late last month, ‘Bishop Hill’ blog. Someone reblogging that posted Lindzen’s invitation for anyone who wants a copy of his slides to email and ask for them.
Actually, there’s no contradiction for a hypothetical feedback to be positive in one forcing direction, and negative in another (or to differ in sign between two different base climate states altogether, regardless of the sign of the forcing). But I don’t know of any radiative feedback that operates like this. Moreover, Lindzen probably doesn’t believe that, because he thinks that IRIS could explain away the Faint Young Sun problem, an idea that is untenable (or an unwarranted conclusion) on multiple grounds (see Goldblatt and Zahnle for example).
His talk contained numerous other errors, including trying to get a meaningful climate sensitivity estimate while ignoring aerosols (and even saying they are just ‘fudge factors’) as well as the non-equilibrium state of the system. This is all elementary stuff, and even less likely to legitimately screw up than downloading two text files that look similar.
Why not compare the old met station data with the new met station data?
Is the new met station data warmer, or cooler? I don’t really care, since I’m sure there would be a legit reason if there was a difference…
Seems odd that Gavin would ignore this obvious comparison in the search for the truth regarding Lindzen’s mistake…
[Response: Not ignored, but not particularly relevant. The difference in the met station data is a little more over time (~0.07-0.08ºC/Century compared to 0.6-0.7ºC/Century overall trend- mainly related to the noisy pre-1900 data (trends in the difference post-1900 are ~0.03ºC/Century). Doesn’t look anything like Lindzen’s graph though. – gavin]
How does the university system treat tenured professors who make horrible mis-statements within their field of expertise, yet outside the structure of classical academic publication?
[Response:The tenure system exists precisely because Universities (like other bureaucracies) cannot be trusted to tell the difference between ‘horrible mis-statements’ (innocent or otherwise) and outright lies. MIT is in no position to ‘treat’ Lindzen in any formal way regarding his behavior, no matter how unseemly we may all agree it may be. We are all free to behave as idiots on our own time and even — as in Lindzen’s case — to get paid for it. We should celebrate this. There’s one thing that the libertarians and I can agree on.–eric]
A minor point to raise with regards to Lindzen’s “Briefing”. It was held in a rented meeting room at the House of Commons (not Lords). It was a free seminar by invitation and not a formal briefing to the Parliament…although the blogosphere seems to be beating the venue up to give Lindzen’s talk a credibility greater than its worth.
We are all free to behave as idiots on our own time and even — as in Lindzen’s case — to get paid for it. We should celebrate this.
Except if you’re Peter Gleick. That permutation of characters is an exception. Woe betide you (and tread carefully) if you have those letters and a space arranged in that combination as your name, for your treatment will be harsh and without mercy, particularly by the AGU. If your name is something else, say “Richard Lindzen” and you happen to be a Fellow of the AGU, you may “misrepresent” (aka “deceive”) as much as you like, ignoring the AGU’s “Vision Statement.”
While I agree that the insinuations from Lindzen are not helpful, it also appears you have made assumptions in response. My suspicion is that Lindzen made a mistake. So why not write to him and ask what he did and ask if you can reproduce his response here? I think such a gesture would go a long way towards returning to rational dialogue.
Let’s hazard a guess, based on the peculiar emphasis of CRCCA’s energy plan:
1. Cancel the Renewable Obligations, and all subsidies to wind turbines and solar energy.
2. Dash for shale gas. The UK must exploit these new resources. It has been estimated that the UK has 20 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. Build gas-fired capacity and more gas storage facilities for the medium term.
3. Tell the EU that we are unable to implement the Large Combustion Plant Directive, and that we will not close down our coal-fired power stations. Add that we will not entertain any fine or penalty for being in breach of the directive.
Amusing to look at CRCCA’s “About” page. Guess who’s there, as “Patron?” Why, it’s Heartland’s own Bob Carter yet again! He really gets around. In fact, he’s a bit shopworn, “burnt” as the saying goes when somebody becomes too recognizable to be any longer useful.
Trend change of 0.14 C per century is sure negligible, whatever data were used to calculate it. Even RSS data adjustments caused similar changes and nobody sees anything malicious on these. But that presentation has a lot of other points, too – and I don’t think this is event the most important one. If you mention just this one as wrong, should I understand it as that you agree that the rest is correct?
[Response:No of course not. We are just bored of repeating the same old explanations to the same old tired arguments. You can check here: skepitcalscience for more detail on what else is wrong with Lindzen’s presentation.–eric]
The protection of tenure aside, scientists are subject to the law. The implication in Lindzen’s testimony that NASA GISS has “manipulated” the data in a bad way, i.e., fraudulently, is an extra-scientific and legally “interesting” statement, AKA libel.
Libel law applies to everyone. Stefan Rahmstorf got bitten by it. Why should Lindzen get a free pass? Retract and apologize, or have the book thrown at you, I say. “Other cheek” days are long past.
That’s an interesting guess. On the other hand, I would guess that Lindzen was invited to speak in the UK and had his flight and accommodation paid for. Isn’t the whole point of this post to berate Lindzen for making an insinuation based on guesswork?
Nice sleuthing. Shame on Lindzen (same old, same old).
Did you use Wayback just to show that the data are out there and available for all to check? Or did you have to? If GISS doesn’t archive old versions of the product regularly, say once a year, wouldn’t it be a good idea?
Lindzen is not the only one to spin this. The stealth denial site climate4you has a risible but sciency-looking discussion of “temporal stability” in global temperature series, keeping up a running comparison of current time series with 2008 versions. It seems to suggest that improving our knowledge of past temperatures with new or better data is a sign of immaturity, and refers the reader to ClimateAudit rather than to GISS for an explanation of changes in GISTEMP.
(Incidentally, I get just a 0.001°C/century trend difference between current GISTEMP and climate4you’s archived version from May 2008, using the Jan-Dec annual means.)
I am amazed that somebody like Lindzen could think that such a graph was remotely correct – that he didn’t check to see why he got such a huge difference. Then again, when he was trying to defend an error- and misinformation-packed presentation by Chris Horner, he said “I thought it was a fine presentation.” I’ll never forget that. (Horner’s presentation even included this beauty from Ross McKitrick – with no explanation of what it really shows of course)
I think you really need to highlight the reality of this actually being a seminar which was held in a committee side-room to an audience that consisted of probably two MPs at the most.
. Skeptical Science also did a good critical review of it. It seems that the presentation has been re-used many times over the years.
Doug #21: “Would not this Lindzen misdirection mostly be a moot point anyway, given the Dr. Muller lead BEST study results?”
It would be if it was the temperatures that were actually what was at stake here. Regrettably, this is less about reasoned debate and more about attempts at character assassination by the (increasingly desperate) denialists. If the usual suspects can use this as a basis for proclaiming “climate scientists caught lying again” (or words to that effect), then it’s mission accomplished as far as they’re concerned. They’re not interested in what the temperature trend actually is.
Forgive me if this has already been said but, as I was there, all should note that Lindzen gave his talk in Committee Room 14 – to an audience that was supposedly meant to be mostly Parliamentarians but which was in fact mainly full of already-sceptical members of the public.
The entire talk was a disgrace. Either Lindzen is completely incompetent or he is being deeply disingenuous. There is no third option. What I fail to understand is why the mainstream media will not take this matter up; especially the Guardian newpaper that published the NAS-255 letter in May 2010 (which Lindzen – in an astonishing piece of hypocrisy – criticised).
Wow. That ‘mistake’ by Lindzen is… rather Moncktonesque in nature. No doubt we’ll keep seeing that bogus plot circulating through the denialosphere for years to come, no matter whether he retracts it or not. It’s the way the deniers roll.
When I say please join me I think people should, in order to make their own request for an explanation for Lindzen’s hypocrisy, obfuscation, and misdirection, by making use of the following combination of letters within their email client:
I have to agree with Martin Vermeer @23. Freedom to pursue science without interference does not extend to freedom to libel other scientists publicly and repeatedly. It is long past time to bring a suite of libel against the deniers, and those who fund the deniers. Given that the death threats that are now just part of normal working conditions for climate scientists are a consequence of those slanders, bringing the initiators of the slanders to court would seem to be a necessity just for the continued health and well being of working climate scientists.
I pointed out to you at Judith Curry’s blog that of all papers citing the Rondanelli and Lindzen paper (RL10) on the Faint Young Sun Paradox, Goldblatt and Zahnle 2011 (GZ11) is the only one that criticises it.
Lindzen should get some tough questions from the House of Commons, but if he doesn’t: serious climate scientists, please find out who listened to his talk and actively approach them with the right information. But explain it in a simpler way than above, because this is still too complicated, I’m afraid.
Yes, Bob Carter is another of those denialist who frequently appear in public claiming there’s no problem. But, Bob Carter has made mistakes along the way which are very similar to the one which Lindzen apparently made in this latest outpouring. For example, in a report Carter wrote in 2007, “Human-Caused Global Warming…”, he presents MSU satellite data from Christy and Spencer at UAH as “proof” that there’s no warming. Trouble is, he used the T2 series in Figure C2, (now called MT for middle troposphere), data which includes contamination from stratospheric temperatures, which results in a spurious cooling trend. Awareness of this problem has been around since Spencer & Christy first presented their analysis for the so-called Lower Troposphere Temperature (TLT) way back in 1992. Carter used this graph again in his Congressional testimony. Has Bob Carter ever admitted that he used the wrong data set? Has he formally written to the US Congress to admit this failure to understand the data? I doubt it…
It’s time to stop treating Lindzen politely, and assume that he is still a legitimate scientist. Like Patrick Michaels and Fred Singer, he abandoned that calling a long time ago.
The .14C chart leads propagandist Stephen Milloy’s Junk Science blog. It leaves the impression that this figure describes the temperature increase, not the anomaly.
Lindzen will never admit error. This is a man who has never retreated from disputing evidence that cigarettes cause cancer. He doesn’t need to be drummed out of academia, but more direct and public humiliation is called for. Then, let MIT keep living with this albatross. This episode should be a public lesson for universities who choose to employ bad and financially compromised scientists.
This is the sort of boneheaded mistake much more amateur blog contrarians would make. Lindzen has no such excuse, and if he lifted that from some other source it’s no better.
An assymetry definitely exists in standards applied to mainstream climate science versus contrarians. A mainstream scientist putting together false information in an effort to denigrate others would be thrown under a bus. Lindzen arguably gets rewarded.
#35 Kevin MkKinney: Agreed – If it cannot be deleted, I renounce my suggestion. However, unfortunately, I cannot now withdraw the email I sent over 300 people yesterday, which included RSL’s email address (although I did not make any suggestion as to what people should do with it!): All I did do, is ask them to read my email before deleting it and, then feel free to forward it or delete it as they saw fit. For the sake of clarity, the email to which I now refer was, in large part, derived from this comment on my blog, which I believe goes right to the heart of why this matter and this moment are so important: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/no-cause-for-alarm-you-cannot-be-serious/#comment-2178
I have seen probably >10 different articles on the net effect of post hoc data manipulations on the various sites I look after. Typically they are on Hansen’s adjustments.
Not withstanding this particular case, the meme is that the large majority of these adjustments to past data tend to increase the temperature trend, flatten out the 1940 – 1950 dip, etc. And from my view that appears to be accurate on the whole.
This would be a non-problem if the data manipulation would simply stop on past data. It has been stated that all these manipulations amount to almost no net change in the overall picture, which appears to be the case, so why submit yourself to this debate? Just use the raw data and move on.
If the claim is the data is being made “better” and it also happens to increase warming trends (subtly), the specter of confirmation bias comes into play. The skeptical reaction to the change also directly plays into their confirmation bias.
[Response: The problem with this is that if problems are left in – i.e. jumps that are due to station moves, equipment changes, TOBS, etc. scientists are accused of carelessness and ineptitude. The fact is that many corrections actually reduce the trend (UHI corrections for instance) – and I’m sure that criticism would follow if that were ignored. It is good nw and again to demonstrate that big picture effects do not depend greatly on these kinds of adjustments (and they don’t), but scientists have to proceed diligently in dealing with them – regardless of the effect on the trends. I find it amusing that the people complaining most vocally about GHCN adjustments (not ‘Hansen’ – though the personalisation of this is unsurprising), never complain about the Spencer and Christie MSU adjustments (nor demand their code to verify their correctness). The double standard is blatant, and no scientists are going to stop doing their best because of the hypocritical complaints from the partisans. The only response to that nonsense to is explain clearly (to those that will listen) what is being done and why. – gavin]
Thank you for exposing this. SkepticalScience has also exposed more egregious errors and misrepresentations made by Lindzen in his talk.
Surely Lindzen’s presentation, and the misrepresentation (without attribution) shown by you has to border on scientific misconduct? Additionally, I wonder if MIT has a clause that makes bringing the institution into disrepute an actionable academic offence?
There is another slide that I think ought to be exposed because it may also be a gross misrepresentation. It is the figure on the LHS of slides 13 and 14 (attributed to Grotch). The figure alleges to represent the “Deviations [anomaly] of annual mean temperature from long-term average”, the caption claims “data points averaged to obtain time record of global mean temperature”. As I understand it,
1) The header and caption are not consistent with each other.
2) There are clearly multiple data points for each time step.
3) There is no way that that annual (or even monthly) global temperature anomalies (as suggested by the header) could be as large as depicted in the graphic, and if the data were mean global anomalies there would obviously be only one data point per time step.
So what have they done? My suspicion is that they have plotted the monthly anomalies observed at individual met stations (we do not even know which data set they used) and then somehow averaged them to obtain a mean global anomaly (not the mean global temperature as suggested in the caption).
Lindzen then tries to use that suspicious graphic to suggest that the anomalies and increase in mean annual global temperature (it seems from HadCRUT) since ~1850 are insignificant because the increase is of similar magnitude to the anomalies shown in the Grotch figure.
If I have gotten this right, this is yet more shameless deception by Lindzen.
OK, anybody surprised? I realized Lindzen had left the reservation a long time ago when he used his closing arguments in a public debate to imply that other planets/moons in the solar system were warming and implying (though never saying) that it must be Mr. Sun causing the warming (which he now says ain’t happening). Anyone with even an iota of scientific training would appreciate that the particular celestial bodies he mentioned have energy balances and forcings so completely different from Earth that the mere idea was utter bunkum. However, Lindzen was not addressing a group of scientists. He was addressing the general public. His utterly stupid scientific misrepresentation was thus a brilliant–though dishonest–debating ploy.
In the years since, Lindzen has never failed to disappoint even as he fails to surprise. [edit – please stop]. I think we can agree on that.
The question I have is why? I mean I worked my tuckus off to become a scientist. I love it. To me, there is nothing cooler than struggling with a difficult problem and finally understanding it. Lindzen certainly knows that feeling–that joy. Having known that, why on Earth would you give it up? Has he really traded it for monetary gain? Or for the adulation of clambering idiots? Will he ever realize in that Faustian bargain that he has paid the ultimate price a scientist can ever pay?
HIS IDEOLOGY WILL PREVENT HIM FROM EVER UNDERSTANDING ANYTHING AGAIN?
#25 Lazarus I could email the Event Administrator but I am not in her good books at the moment for having conducted something of a Trojan Horse operation myself. Have a go at doing so yourself and, if she says the information is confidential (because you did not attend), I will try for you.
7 Mar 2012 at 6:24 AM I think you really need to highlight the reality of this actually being a seminar which was held in a committee side-room to an audience that consisted of probably two MPs at the most.
The most useful information coming out of the episode is the fact of Lindzen’s presentation being a commissioned act for the The Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act, an archetypal “grass roots” organization whose mission is that of preserving fossil fuel investments.
Keeping these investments safe requires constructing a demented public policy that does not does not include modernized energy sources and thus must not heed facts. Lindzen’s assistance with this work is in direct contravention to the AGU “vision statement,” although he is a Fellow of AGU.
Alex Harvey: I would guess that Lindzen was invited to speak in the UK and had his flight and accommodation paid for. Isn’t the whole point of this post to berate Lindzen for making an insinuation based on guesswork?
I’d guess that Lindzen’s giving away his time for free is very unlikely. What do you think?
We are all free to behave as idiots on our own time and even….
I agree with academic freedom and with what you say, but only to a point There are some things to be considered here.
Lindzen clearly announces his affiliation with MIT and the “Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate Massachusetts Institute of Technology” in his first slide, he also provides his MIT email address.
In doing so he is thus very clearly giving MIT ownership of his misrepresentations and errors and libelling of NASA, and MIT ought to be very concerned about that.
IMHO, this is not an example of him doing something on his own time and him stating his own (misguided) opinion. It is an exmaple of him abusing his tenure and status as an MIT professor to promulgate deception and even lies.
I say enough already.
[Response: The answer to bad information is better information. Lindzen is free to say whatever he likes, wherever he likes, and you and I are free to point out that he is misrepresenting the science. Other people can then judge whether to give his conclusions any credibility. Note that most of the people he is talking to are only looking to have their prejudices reinforced, and while that is quite interesting psychologically, it has very little to do with anything that actually matters. – gavin]
Don’t exagerate Lindzens talk at the Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament by implying it was in the House of Commons.
He didn’t do it in the House of Commons. Someone rented a conference room at the Palace of Westminster and sold tickets to the event. Unlike Hansen who was officially invited to address a select committee a few years ago, Lindzen was a sideshow (literally).
If we compare the URL for the 2008 data as provided at Real Climate with that for the current data, it is clear that Hayden’s claim to have got both sets of data from the same website literally cannot be true. The reason is that the 2008 website has as part of its address:
In contrast, the equivalent section of the address for the current data reads:
The change in address from tabledata to tabledata_v3 was presumably concurrent with the switch from GHCNv2 to GHCNv3 in December 2011.
The odd thing is that the address shown on the chart is indeed the current address. However, even a cursory check shows that he cannot have used both the Land Ocean Temperature Index of 2008 and of 2012. Further, he cannot have used the Surface Stations only data from 2008, for that would have generated a negative, not a positive sloping trend. Ergo, while he lists the correct current address he did not use the correct current address to obtain his data. It is difficult, therefore, to see how this can be explained by an accident.
“Affiliations & Funding: Dr. Lindzen has claimed in Newsweek and elsewhere that his funding comes exclusively from government sources, but he does not seem to include speaking fees and other personal compensation in this statement. Ross Gelbspan, who did some of the first reporting on climate skeptics’ links to industry, wrote in Harper’s Magazine in 1995: “[Lindzen] charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC.”
Dr. Lindzen is a member of the Advisory Council of the Annapolis Center for Science Based Public Policy, which has received large amounts of funding from ExxonMobil and smaller amounts from Daimler Chrysler, according to a review Exxon’s own financial documents and 990s from Daimler Chrysler’s Foundation. Lindzen is a also been a contributor to the Cato Institute, which has taken $90,000 from Exxon since 1998, according to the website Exxonsecrets.org and a review Exxon financial documents. He is also a contributor for the George C. Marshall Institute.
Why? Who can know, maybe something in his development made him a little mean. OTOH, out of the thousands of climate scientists in the world, he represents a surprisingly small fraction. You all seem to be a remarkably good bunch on the whole.
I would suggest that NASA GISS should direct a short, simple (less scientific) explanation of this (as well as any statements of indignation) to both the House of Commons as a whole (through the Secretary or whatever other functionary exists) as well as individually to each and every member of that body, clarifying the facts of the issue.
There’s no way this should be allowed to stand such that Lindzen’s testimony is what remains in their minds, while the truth of the matter is clear only to those who bother to pursue the truth.
If you look at the MIT catalog of spring semester courses in atmospheric science (Here), you’ll see that Lindzen is currently teaching no classes at all. I’ve watched the 12.3xx classes (climate dynamics & change) for a couple of years and noted that L. still taught graduate courses in his particular specialty (waves and tides), but had nothing to do with climate.
(I’m MIT BS & MS from old course XIX, before meteorology got thrown in with geology and astronomy.)
Gavin: Note that most of the people he is talking to are only looking to have their prejudices reinforced, and while that is quite interesting psychologically, it has very little to do with anything that actually matters.
Actually, there is a Tory backbench rebellion concerning energy and the environment that David Cameron & his deck officers are having a tough time containing. Lindzen’s presentation is part of a concerted push to regress the UK back in time with regard to energy policy; this effort is enjoying some success, thanks to the help of many little pushes including those of Lindzen (and such as Donald Trump, bizarrely enough).
If you’re in a boat leaking water through many holes, you have to pay attention to all the leaks. Lindzen is a relatively copious leak, so Lindzen does matter
Lindzen is absolutely trading on his connection with outfits such as MIT and AGU. To the extent that these concerns have stated policies concerning ethical behavior, he should be treated the same as every other member, arguably more so as his profile is so high.
Gavin replied to MapleLeaf: “Lindzen is free to say whatever he likes, wherever he likes, and you and I are free to point out that he is misrepresenting the science.”
Gavin, it appears to me that MapleLeaf and a previous commenter or two are not talking about Lindzen “misrepresenting the science” but rather about Lindzen accusing NASA of misrepresenting the science — in your words, “The claim being made is that NASA GISS has ‘manipulated’ (in a bad way) the data”.
This, I believe, is what MapleLeaf characterizes as “libel” — not Lindzen’s own erroneous and/or dishonest “misrepresentation”, but his apparent accusation that NASA is, in essence, faking the data.
Your replies have admirably expressed a commitment to academic freedom, which must allow Lindzen to freely express his views on the science.
But I don’t think you have really addressed MapleLeaf’s point, which is not about Lindzen’s views on the science, but rather about Lindzen’s apparent accusation of deliberate dishonesty by NASA.
#51 Response from Gavin (Schmidt?) Dear Gavin – is that you or another Gavin?
Either way, with respect, surely the charge of bringing MIT into disrepute is a fair one? I think every right-minded climate scientist in the USA should submit a complaint to MIT.
Not only has Lindzen spent the last decade or so whispering “there is no cause for alarm” in the ears of everyone from Dick Cheney downwards, he is endlessly cited as a legitimate expert by bogus, self-appointed, non-scientist, climate experts like Lord Monckton and James Delingpole. In so doing, the Merchants of Doubt do what they have always done; they have institutionalised “policy inaction” (Hansen).
Also, if you believe in real democracy, our political representatives will only act when the public demands they do so (i.e. if all the money that controls politics could be got rid of). Therefore, we simply cannot dismiss these “contrarians” and/or all the misguided journalists that do their bidding; and wait for the public to come on board. Will everybody please wake up? – That is never going to happen unless the Merchants of Doubt are silenced!.
So, I say it again, people need to see what Lindzen has now done as part of a pattern of behaviour of a group of people that goes back decades. He may be due to retire next year, and Dr S Fred Singer may be dead soon, but the Merchants of Doubt are not going to be defeated any other way than in the Courts and/or by being found guilty of professional misconduct and/or bringing their respective institutions into disrepute. Therefore, if we can have one person investigated and found guilty, that might just be enough to induce the collapse of the entire denialist house of cards.
If people want to see what I mean, please read this (i.e. from “It seems highly likely that Richard Lindzen is just telling you what you want to hear…”)
For the record, the video of Lindzen’s lecture can be found here in two parts. Lindzen’s discussion of this graph is in part I, starting 27:25 in.
“Now, with manipulation, one of the most curious ones is at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies …”
Lindzen’s email address is readily available from MIT, so it may do no great harm to reproduce it here, but I would still suggest removing it from #34. That sort of campaign doesn’t need a push from this blog.
And the murine fecal reference in Ray’s #47 has been deposited well outside the litterbox, and should be redacted.
Let’s try to find a charitable way to treat Richard Lindzen, one that finds him free of ethical transgressions:
— Richard Lindzen understands the science he’s speaking of but sincerely believes the public policy outcomes of heeding that science are so negative that he must misrepresent the science so as to help avoid those policies being enacted. Acting under moral suasion he is engaging in deception.
— Richard Lindzen understands the science he’s speaking of, understands the consequent requirement to beneficially adjust public policy to take heed of this science, but for reasons we cannot know chooses to misrepresent the science. He is engaging in deception for reasons apparently unconnected with moral compulsion.
— Richard Lindzen understands the science but is consistently careless, sloppy and inattentive when it comes to making presentations of that science, hence does not consider himself to be misrepresenting science even though he is conveying inaccurate information. He is innocent of deception.
— Richard Lindzen simply does not understand the science and thus does not consider himself to be engaging in “misrepresentation” though in fact he is conveying inaccurate information. He is innocent of deception.
— The vast majority of other actors in climate science are misrepresenting science and Richard Lindzen is not. He is innocent of deception.
#61 Yes, and has anyone else apart from me noticed that the most apalling piece of data manipulation to make a point out of nothing – a mismatched graph of Keeling Curve v Temp at 28:30 in the video – is/was missing from the PDF? Why is/was this?
Is it because it was a blatant piece of hypocrisy Lindzen knew third parties would spot; but which went un-noticed by an un-critical audience and left them all with the very strong impression that CO2 and temperature rise do not correlate?
Again I ask it, why is Lindzen not being censured for such blatant hypocrisy, obfuscation of relevant data, and misdirection of his audience; on at least 3 occasions since May 2010?
I think that in a generation or so people looking at the present will be unable to understand how scientists collectively were unable to deal with the scientists who spread lies about climate.
Were Woodrow Wilson alive today, would he be able to say “Politics within the climate science community is so polite precisely because so much is at stake”? Probably, sadly.
I recall a brief exchange I had with Andy Revkin some years back. I had asked how he could justify continuing to use Christy as a source despite the latter’s long record of errors, and he replied that it was because other scientists continued to treat Christy with respect. And still do, I might note. They might (and certainly do) mock him amongst themselves, but hardly ever in public, and he still gets invited to conferences and continues to publish (albeit in journals of decreasing prestige). So the Revkins of the world, who while having to admit that not all facts are equal remain committed to the idea that opinions about those facts can be considered so, sail on unimpeded. (For those who may think Revkin is just a blogger, be aware that he’s still considered to be very much the gold standard for climate coverage by other journos.)
I would hope that one or several professional climate scientists will write a letter (or better, do a presentation) to the House of Commons and rectify the errors that Lindzen has spread. This is a battle of perception which of course greatly affects policy. It is imperative that for every mistatement and error, that the truth at least gets a chance to see the light of day. I will not question Lindzen’s reasons for the misrepresentations– and indeed, doing so actually gets us further from the science. All scientists can (and should do) is make sure the truth as shown by the data and the science gets a fair shot at getting heard and seen, but that can be a very tall order in itself.
“Hayden’s claim to have got both sets of data from the same website literally cannot be true.”
So Hayden screwed up or misrepresented his source;
Junkscience copied Hayden’s piece without checking it, and
Lindzen used the same piece or a copy of the copy, also without checking.
Thank you Paul D. above for pointing out that Lindzen’s audience and venue wasn’t the British government — just a slide show in a rented meeting room in a government building, puffed up in the PR to fool people.
Seems like we just can’t believe any second hand report these days.
Thank you both for looking this stuff up in depth.
(PS, looking at the original post, both the corrected text (Commons replacing Lords) needs to be amended again — something like ‘rented room near …”?
And “Lords” at the bottom of the first image never got the first correction)
Martin Lack: “Again I ask it, why is Lindzen not being censured for such blatant hypocrisy, obfuscation of relevant data, and misdirection of his audience; on at least 3 occasions since May 2010?”
An excellent question. Lindzen is an AGU Fellow and his activities go straight to the core of AGU’s principles, recently restated:
AGU expects its members to adhere to the highest standards of scientific integrity in their research and in their interactions with colleagues and the public. Among the core values articulated in AGU’s Strategic Plan are ‘excellence and integrity in everything we do.’ The vast majority of scientists share and live by these values.”
Any AGU members reading this, particularly any who have recently expressed dismay and disappointment with the behavior of other AGU members?
Professional misconduct complaint against Professor Richard S. Lindzen Sent by me to MIT today:
I should appreciate some guidance about whether and how – as a non US citizen – I can make a formal complaint against Professor Richard S Lindzen for apparently repetitive hypocrisy, obfuscation and misdirection of several audiences, including the following:
1. At the Heartland Institute’s 4th International Climate Change Conference in May 2010;
2. In testimony to US House Subcommittee on Science and Technology hearing in November 2010; and most recently
3. At a meeting in Committee Room 14 of the Palace of Westminster (at which I was present) on 22 February 2012.
I have now sent Professor Lindzen 3 emails (on 23 and 25 February, and 5 March but, as yet I have had no explanation – let alone a satisfactory one – for the issues I have raised in my emails to him.
Transcripts of my 3 emails have been published on my blog as follows:
An open letter to Richard Lindzen (28 February 2012) – 1800 word email with questions from me.
Prof. Lindzen – try this instead! (29 February 2012) – Many of my questions re-formulated as 17 statements via which I invited Professor Lindzen to explain his position.
There is no cause for concern? You cannot be serious! (5 March 2012) – about 900 words – plus some very interesting comments from me and others.
If nothing else, Professor Lindzen’s repetitive divergence from – and ridicule of – the genuine scientific consensus regarding the nature, scale and urgency of the problem we face (i.e. anthropogenic climate disruption) and/or his invocation of conspiracy theory as a grounds for dismissing the validity and reliability of that consensus would appear to be in severe danger of damaging the international reputation of your highly-esteemed establishment.
Therefore, if I do not hear from you within 7 days, I shall forward this email to Suzanne Goldenberg (US Environmental Correspondent for the Guardian newspaper) suggesting that she publish it forthwith because, in the continuing absence of a satisfactory explanation from him, I am inclined to believe that Professor Lindzen is part of an organised campaign to downplay, deny and/or dismiss anthropogenic climate change being orchestrated by right-wing, ideologically-prejudiced Conservative Think Tanks (CTTs) such as the Heartland Institute and the CATO Institute. I have reached this conclusion, in no small part, as a result of my reading of research done by Peter Jacques et al., the findings of which may be summarised as follows:
In prefacing their research, Jacques et al. observed that:
“Since environmentalism is unique among social movements in its heavy reliance on scientific evidence to support its claims… it is not surprising that CTTs would launch a direct assault on environmental science by promoting environmental scepticism… (2008: 353).
Furthermore, based on their findings, they concluded that:
“Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism, organised by core actors within the conservative movement. Promoting scepticism is a key tactic of the anti-environmental counter-movement co-ordinated by CTTs…” (ibid: 364).
Jacques has also highlighted the central aim of CTTs as being to cause confusion and doubt amongst the general public, in order to prevent the creation of a popular mandate for change (i.e. achieved by using a tactic developed by the tobacco industry of countering supposedly “junk” science with their “sound” science), which he refers to as the “science trap” (2009: 148).
Based on the findings of the research published in 2008, Jacques therefore also concluded that environmental scepticism is a social counter-movement that uses CTTs to provide “political insulation for industry and ideology from public scrutiny”; and that this deliberate obfuscation stems from a realisation that “anti-environmentalism is an attitude that most citizens would consider a violation of the public interest” (2009: 169). However, Jacques does not blame the CTTs for the ecological crisis he feels we face, as they have merely exploited a dominant social paradigm; “because neoliberal globalism and its logic are protected from critique” (ibid: 119).
I therefore trust that I may hear from someone regarding this in the very near future.
Martin C. Lack. BSc (Geology), MSc (Hydrogeology), MA (Environmental Politics).
Author of the Lack of Environment blog – ‘On the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems….’
Jacques, P. et al. (2008), ‘The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism’, Environmental Politics, 17(3), pp.349-385.
Jacques, P. (2009), Environmental Skepticism: Ecology, Power and Public Life. Farnham: Ashgate.
In his testimony, Lindzen seems to also make the argument that the lack of changed summer temperatures in the Arctic is evidence that sea ice loss is largely export (wind) drive. The way he presents this argument is by showing surface air temperatures averaged over 80N apparently from the ERA-40 Renalysis. Now 80N is largely ice covered (sea ice and bits of the Greenland ice sheet) with very little open water. He is correct that the temperature is controlled by the radiative balance which includes a term for ice melt. Take the temperature of the water in a glass with ice in it. It won’t change until the ice is gone. This is the “crucial physics” he claims that are missing or ignoring. Maybe I just don’t get his argument but it sure sounds wrong. If he plotted the surface air or ocean temperatures over the areas where there is no ice, there would clearly be an increase over time. Though admittedly a cause and effect is more difficult to tease out.
I’ve seen this argument from him before (US congressional testimony), I would have hoped somebody pointed out the problem with his argument to him by now.
[Response: Actually it’s worse than that. He is using the data from the DMI server which is a blend of current analyses (i.e. the actual weather forecasts using T512) and the ERA-40 historical data without any adjustment for biases between systems. The ERA 40 model is significantly lower resolution and probably has less sophisticated (?) physics packages and it is well known that this can induce spurious non-climate trends. Using this for trend analysis is foolish. – gavin]
7 Mar 2012 at 3:03 PM It’s scary to see the reaction of certain people here.
Indeed it is. When an organization is motivated to revisit ethics only when it is scared of losing face, that’s a scary thing. On the other hand, seeking to avoid controversy by failing to consistently apply stated ethical goals is also scary. Not only is such fearful behavior scary in itself, it’s also deeply degrading to everybody associated with that organization. Where’s the “excellence” in cowardice?
I doubt you’ll get far with that complaint. You’re not complaining about something published in a peer reviewed science journal, but about simple misrepresentation to fool people for political or commercial purposes.
These aren’t illegal in the United States, and indeed our version\1 of the free market couldn’t function if they were proscribed.
These are called “puffery” — it’s a lovely intellectual conceit.
The “puffery” is stuff that a knowledgeable reader would recognize and not rely on, not be fooled by — by definition
The trick is, an uninformed reader _will_ be fooled by puffery.
There’s good academic research\2 done on this — the less the audience knows, the more susceptible they are.
That’s why we’re downgrading our educational program, to pump the economy.
That’s how we sell tobacco to minors and steal homes from widows.
I just wrote a piece on free speech the other day. My context was different but the message is the same. Free speech is one of the greatest liberties for those that can enjoy it. That does not mean that people won’t say silly or even ridiculous things.
The problem is not ‘free speech, it’s Lindzen (or Limbaugh in my article), or anyone else’s less informed, or even deplorable use of the right.
The fact that some are less informed or even ignorant is only a single issue. The underlying issues are more relevant; such as inadequate education and systemic corruption. Better to attack those issues than free speech.
Then the choice of venue for this particular presentation, and any repeat of “the” presentation or citing of points taken from it, are garden variety, “Lord” Moncktonian lily guilding, and almost surly to be included in repeat presentations or cites. Play bills including “as presented at Westminster” will vastly outnumber those with the more descriptive and informative, “a farce”.
In 2008 I downloaded a file of historical temperature data fromhttp://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt.
Today I downloaded the file from exactly that place, looking to put four more points onto a graph. WHOA! The temperatures were different.
Hmm. The difference is increasing in time at the rate of 0.14 ºC per century, and there is considerable scatter. See graph below. (Were there merely a change in reference period, the light would be horizontal and have no scatter.) Evidently, NASA-GISS is massaging data to increase perceived “global warming.”
Is he correct? Does 0.14 degrees per century matter? 
[Response: This description is not accurate – though it is conceivable that Hayden did not realise this. Given a choice between two possibilities a) that Hayden messed up, and b) that “NASA-GISS is massaging data”, it is clear which has the weight of evidence behind it. (Note how carefully worded that is so that you can reinforce your prejudices if you care to). – gavin]
Folks, can you please help me understand why subtracting the two data sets, and Lindzen seems to have done, would result in something that looks like the change in global temperature with time. Does this mean that there is a stronger global warming signal in the MET station index–perhaps because these are land-based data? Thanks.
[Response: Yes. The land temperatures are following the same basic path as the ocean temperatures but with a larger amplitude (i.e. T_land ~ 1.5 * T_ocean (roughly), thus the global mean will have a similar pattern to the land-only data (i.e. T_glob = 0.3*T_land + 0.7*T_ocean ~= (0.3 + 0.7/1.5) * T_land = 0.77 * T_land). i.e. the difference will be 0.23*T_land. GISTEMP Met is not really T_land though, but the principle is same. – gavin]
I recall reading that Lindzen has had factually erroneous slides publicly pointed out and corrected at presentations, eliciting his promise to correct them in future, only to show the exact same uncorrected slides at subsequent public presentations.
(Second try — server timeout on first try — if this is a duplicate, please delete it).
I have seen probably >10 different articles on the net effect of post hoc data manipulations on the various sites I look after. Typically they are on Hansen’s adjustments.
Not withstanding this particular case, the meme is that the large majority of these adjustments to past data tend to increase the temperature trend, flatten out the 1940 – 1950 dip, etc. And from my view that appears to be accurate on the whole.
Those “post-hoc adjustments” make almost no difference when you are computing global-scale results.
If you do the following, you will get results that look so much like the NASA/GISS land-temperature index that it’s just amazing.
Grab the raw GHCN data and metadata (i.e. the data-set that NASA does not own, control, or “manipulate”).
Write a program that where you do the following:
Compute 1951-1990 monthly baseline temps for all stations with enough data during that time period to get good estimates (your call here; results are *very* insensitive to the definition of “enough data”).
For each station, compute temperature anomalies for each year / month by subtracting the appropriate baseline temps. Average the monthly anomalies to produce annual anomalies for each station.
Divide up the Earth into 20deg x 20deg grid-cells (at the equator; adjust grid-cell longitudes to keep grid-cell areas approximately equal as you move north/south) — this approach, while crude, makes sure that the grid-cells stay big as you go n/s. Great big grid-cells are the lazy-man’s way of avoiding having to do stuff like grid-cell interpolation.
Average the annual anomalies together for all stations in each grid-cell. Then average your grid-cell anomalies together to get global-average annual anomalies.
Spit ‘em out in .csv (or whatever) formatting for easy Excel/OpenOffice plotting.
Compare with the NASA/GISS results and be amazed at what you when you run raw temperature data (no adjustments, manipulation — post-hoc or otherwise) through a very straightforward gridding/averaging procedure.
Then feel the shame of finding out that NASA’s results do not depend on data manipulation, and that you could have figured out this for yourself years ago if you would have bothered to do a little work.
#83 GSW – Come now, don’t be shy, tell us all what you mean. Or are you using such inanity (or is it “insanity”?) to obfuscate (yes, I do like the word) the fact that you cannot falsify my arguments, which are founded on facts and peer-reviewed literature (remember them?)…
“There has been a doubling of equivalent CO2 over the past 150 years.”
“This assertion is simply false. A doubling of CO2 corresponds to a 3.7 Watts per square meter (W/m2) radiative forcing. According to the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, the greenhouse gas (GHG) radiative forcing (compared to 1750) in 2010 was 2.81 W/m2 – only 76% of the way to doubled CO2-equivalent.”
Yeah, I guess. But what is the difference between 76% vs. 100% with regards to the logarithmic temperature response?
If its close enough to 0.9 deg C than I am happy to swallow this misinformation, given the error bars, etc..
#88 Given that I was criticised for posting RSL’s email address (despite it being widely known), I think that CV should be deleted as it shows his home address and telephone number (maybe not so widely known)… But just let me download it first, ROTFL!
This is not helping the cause.
If your only objection to Lindzen’s presentation is a single slide (a mere detail in his presentation) you might as well agree with his main conclusions.
The proper response is : wait and see, temperature increase will resume and that will prove positieve feedback.
When it will, the “right side” will win the debate, if it doesn’t, no ad hominem will help, the cause is lost.
(that is not a bad thing, cause in that case Lindzen would be right)
I don’t understand. It’s like you don’t trust the models.
It’s not a presidential campaign, to be won by smearing the opposition. It’s a multidecadal thing and the truth will prevail.
That’s not an expression of hope, it is a fact.
[edit – inflammatory rhetoric]
Let the global temperatures win the battle for you.
I’m not as familiar with the Arctic data as gavin, but your physics-based argument is correct. A lot of regions over the globe exhibit interesting seasonal structure- some might appear roughly sinusoidal, some might have a sharp wet season in association with the summer monsoon, but large regions of the Arctic tend to be pegged to near freezing during the summer owing to all that energy going into melting or evaporation. Mark Serreze has a good paper showing how the temperature manifestation of the ice-albedo feedback is actually weakest in summer, even though one might intuit it to be strongest.
What’s even more, “storms” and wind have always been part of the Arctic system. So if you see a trend in sea ice, then there needs to be some difference in the atmospheric circulation (or radiative forcing) between now and at least the beginning of the satellite era. Simply arguing that natural variability exists in the Arctic is not sufficient to make a positive or negative attribution.
Now there is little doubt that change in the phase and strength of large-scale climate oscillations (namely the Arctic Oscillation, AO) are important for the Arctic, and even large regional differences exist between regions (for example, there is strong multi-year ice decline in many regions but little trend in Canadian Arctic Archipelago multi-year ice owing to dynamic import from the Arctic Ocean). But no one has successfully argued that changes in greenhouse gases are irrelevant for these anomalies.
I have been discussing some of these issues with Lindzen over the past few days.
1. The “missing slide” has been inserted into the current version of the pdf. It is available to anyone that wants it.
2. CO2 has not quite “effectively doubled,” we are about 80% there.
3. The GISS slide is a mistake and will be corrected.
Martin, is there anything else you would like me to ask him?
Isotopious @92, the difference it makes to the temperature is approximately 25%. So how wide where Lindzen’s stated error bars, or do you just give out free passes to any denier crap that gets refuted?
“1. The “missing slide” has been inserted into the current version of the pdf. It is available to anyone that wants it.”
Good. But, as others have noted, that slide is highly misleading. Will that outstanding issue by addressed by LIndzen?
“2. CO2 has not quite “effectively doubled,” we are about 80% there.”
That is still wrong. The value is 76% and SkepticalScience has demonstrated more than once (they did it here as well) why Lindzen is wrong on this issue.
“3. The GISS slide is a mistake and will be corrected.”
Good. One would hope that all who attended that talk will be informed of the error. One would also hope, that Lindzen being an honorable man, would offer his sincere apologies to NASA, specifically Dr. Hansen and his team who oversee the GISTEMP product.
Maybe you can convince Lindzen to fix some of the other errors in his presentation as outlined by readers here and at SkepticalScience.
For example, others here have also noted issues with Lindzen showing the DMI data (valid for north of 80 degrees, so not representative of the Arctic) to claim that CO@ is not a big major climate driver. Those data are from the ECMWF reanalysis (ERA-40), so they are not observations. Also, it is known that the ERA-40 data have issues with representing temperatures over the Arctic, especially prior to 1997 (e.g., Screen and Simonds 2011, J. Climate). Regardless, to use the summer temperature data to conclude that “Judging from the behavior of summer temperatures, CO2 is not obviously a major player” is simply wrong. Screen and Simmonds (2010) find (using the superior ERA-Interim data) that,
In the Arctic, this greenhouse effect dominates during autumn, winter and spring (Fig. 3), in agreement with in situ observations. In summer, the shading effect dominates in the lower-latitude regions of the Arctic basin whereas north of 80 N the two competing effects approximately cancel out (Fig. 3c)
Lindzen’s talk is just one error after the other and misrepresentations when reviewed critically and skeptically as any good scientists will do.
Here’s one of the things that frustrates me no end. The IPCC made a couple of minor mistakes in a document hundreds (thousands?) of pages long, and it’s a scandal of epic proportions. And people keep talking about them. Lindzen makes a significant error (to be kind) in a presentation and it’s the error that will persist, and not the fact that he made the error, in the minds of many. What fun!
[Response: Not clear what point you are trying to make here, but Lindzen’s point is fundamentally flawed. Temperatures will respond to net forcing – not just CO2, or CO2-eq, and net forcing is around 1.7 W/m2 from the pre-industrial – that is under 50% of the forcing from 2xCO2, not 76%, nor 80% nor ‘almost’ a doubling. Claims that we should have reached equilibrium with that forcing are equally risible. Lindzen is effectively assuming zero heat capacity in the oceans and that aerosol forcing is 0 W/m2 with no uncertainty. The statements he makes on this have only rhetorical content – no science. – gavin]
“If you have been through that 58 page presentation and that is the only point you dispute.”
Really, that is what some people are honestly trying to take away form this? Had you been a true skeptic then you would have already identified the multiple errors, misrepresentations and distortions that Lindzen has repeatedly made as discussed multiple times here and elsewhere.
The particular error identified here happens to be especially egregious as he is falsely accusing others NASA of fudging the data, when the very graph he presented to try and make that fallacious statement does just that.
“….and net forcing is around 1.7 W/m2 from the pre-industrial – that is under 50% of the forcing from 2xCO2, not 76%, nor 80% nor ‘almost’ a doubling”
I agree with your inline comment. I just want to clarify my understanding of what SkepticalScience did. Above @ 110 I am referring to their calculation in the increase of of CO2 equivalent. Had Kosowski bothered to read the SkepticalScience post that I kinked to, he would have seen that that value was valid for 2010.
As I understand it, SkepticalScience calculated the radiative forcing for all GHGs over 1750 values (using the AGGI) data to try and reproduce/replicate Lindzen’s alleged value for CO2 equivalent. But even when they did that, they found that he had inflated the proportions. But that is just the start of the problems with Lindzen’s argument.
The slight of hand here is Lindzen trying to equate/conflate doubling of CO2 equivalent with doubling of CO2 that most people are familiar with (see his slide 4). The increase in radiative forcing from CO2 alone is only around 40% above preindustrial values the last time I looked.
SkepticalScience then go on to make the same observations that you make in your inline comment regarding the system not being in equilibrium and the role of aerosols, before demonstrating that the observed warming is consistent with the net observed anthropogenic forcing. SkS estimate that the net anthropogenic forcing since 1950 to be ~1.2 Wm-2 using data from Skeie et al. (2011), and in another post SkepticalScience use Skeie et al. (2011) to estimate the net anthropogenic forcing in 2010 to be 1.4 W m-2 above preindustrial.
So I agree with you that Lindzen’s argument is rich in rhetoric but void of science.
Schepper @ 96 and Woollard @109. Yours are the 2nd and 3rd attempts at the same question in thia relatively short thread. It was asked and answered upthread. Where did you all get that stupid idea? I wonder…
Mapleleaf and Hank and all.
You all need to take a step back and think about what is being said here. Yes, I am sceptical. I am sceptical of what you all say, and what Lindzen says, and what gets said on WUWT and what the governement says, and what the church says, even what my Mum says. I am sceptical (as a geophysicist) when someone publishes a graph that has the earths temperature flat for the last 2000 years when all of my working life I know this to be rubbish. I am sceptical of all of the “just about to” graphs that I have seen since primary school 40 years ago. We are just about to run out of oil, we are just about to get choked by pollution, we are just about to get a nuclear strike from (USSR, China, various former Russian states, Iraq, North Korea, Iran – tick the current bad guy) Or London is just about to get burried in horse dung (that one was a bit before my time). I am sceptical when we have BoM representatives talking about the “unprecendented” flooding that is almost as bad as 1974. I am sceptical when we have a palynologist who gets made Australian of the Year and then climate change commisioner and says drought is the new norm (looking like a bit of an idiot now)
Here you have an MIT atmospheric professor basically saying the whole global warming industry is a farce and you are concerned about little issues around the edge. 76%, Vs 80% Vs 100%.
Does the graph need to be corrected, absolutely.
Have there been many other people who have mislead in a simikar way (either side, I don’t care) absolutely
Do people care – absolutely not.
No matter what you say, the vast majority of western people think that you have been banging on about global warming for 30 years and nothing has changed.
– and please don’t come back at me about frequency of drought/floods/heatwaves/coldsnaps/snow/meteor showers/earthquakes/whatever, I am not an idiot
[Response: What exactly does ‘banging on about global warming’ and ‘nothing has changed’ mean? Two things have certainly changed 1) the CO2 concentration has gone up 2) the temperature has gone up. As far as I’m aware, meteor shower frequencies have not increased. ;) –eric]
If you are still in communication with Prof. Lindzen and he has no objection to answering questions I would like to ask:
– Why does he ignore the distinction between transient and equilibrium sensitivity, as pointed out by Gavin and others above? From reading his papers, I know that he believes that climate sensitivity is low, and in the case of low climate sensitivity, the system takes only a few years to equilibrate (e.g. Lindzen and Giannitsis 1998; Lindzen and Choi 2009; 2011). Thus, in the case of low climate sensitivity only, it is reasonable to disregard the transient vs equilibrium distinction on the centennial time scale. Of course, this is circular reasoning if he is arguing that climate sensitivity must be low – at least as I understand it.
– Having acknowledged the mistake re the GISS graphic, how does he intend to publicise the retraction? Simply updating the slide seems a bit inadequate.
[Response:I don’t understand how the timescale for equilibrium has anything to do with the sensitivity. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t follow that argument. Is that an argument Lindzen has actually made?–eric]
As Gavin noted in response to comment #112, Lindzen’s worst error (in my opinion, as it’s the basis for his entire argument and presentation) is the claim that we’ve reached a forcing equivalent to doubled CO2, and that this proves climate sensitivity is around 1°C for 2xCO2. There are so many errors in this argument:
1) Even only counting GHGs, we’re only 76% of the way to doubled CO2-eq, not 100%.
2) While the aerosol forcing is highly uncertain, it’s not zero.
3) The climate is not currently in equilibrium – there is an energy imbalance and thus unrealized warming.
For Lindzen to argue that the aerosol forcing and ocean thermal inertia are zero, with zero uncertainty (which is the entire basis of his argument and presentation), is simply ludicrous. I find it impossible to take him seriously when he makes such basic and yet dramatic errors. Lindzen is a smart guy, and these errors have been pointed out to him many times over the decades. Yet he continues to make this same obviously wrong argument – what does that say about him?
you have been banging on about global warming for 30 years and nothing has changed and please don’t come back at me about frequency of drought/floods/heatwaves/coldsnaps/snow/meteor showers/earthquakes/whatever, I am not an idiot
Well, let’s see, given that high temperature records (“heatwaves”) have been outnumbering low temperature records (“cold snaps”) the last couple of decades, and hadn’t been doing so previously, “nothing has changed” is a false statement on your part. And the last clause I’ve quoted is therefore debatable …
More evidence that you’re dedicated to your own opinion, not reality. You’re essentially saying that no amount of evidence will change your mind. Quite the geophysicist you must be … if you were educated before the later 1960s presumably you reject plate tectonics, too …
- Having acknowledged the mistake re the GISS graphic, how does he intend to publicise the retraction? Simply updating the slide seems a bit inadequate.
Not to be unfair or harsh on John, but doesn’t it seem a wee bit peculiar to transmitting these inquiries through an intermediary? How did John end up being recruited as Lindzen’s factotum? And if Lindzen suddenly retreats into sphinx-like silence, where does that leave John? “I -swear- I was talking to Lindzen, fellas!”
Where’s Lindzen? Crawl out from under your desk, wherever you are!
I think that Keith Woollard is saying in #116, “…banging on…”, that nothing catastrophic has happened or looked likely to happen soon. You only have to look at the dam levels in Australia to see evidence that supports his charge of “banging on” (google ‘Tim Flannery dam levels’). I don’t think he disputes Co2 concentrations have risen or the temperature has risen, I think he questions the catastrophic aspect (but please correct me if I am wrong).
There it can easily be observed that for Australia, 1974 is the wettest year on record, followed by 2011 and 2010 (in that order) and 2000. However, the BOM has not been commenting on wet conditions in Australia generally, but with respect explicitly to Queensland and Victoria, the locations (until now) of most of the flooding. Checking Eastern Australia (drop down menu at previously give site) shows 2010 to have been wetter than 1974 in Eastern Australia, and much wetter in both Victoria and Queensland.
In short, Woollard’s “skepticism” does not extend to even the simplest of fact checks. I also believe he needs to be more skeptical about his concluding statement.
Over one hundred comments and so far it largely looks as though our atavistic primate circuitry is paying due deference to Lindzen the Silverback, forcing us to tacitly ignore what we’ve just recently finished loudly insisting is proper comportment for scientists to imitate in order to avoid public humiliation, let alone preserve precious credibility.
Apparently the privilege of dung-flinging is reserved for upper caste members and avoiding les majeste trumps operational ethics considerations.
What threshold of distinction must one achieve to attain a fully autonomous reputation?
I think it is a well known fact that a system with low climate sensitivity is fast to equilibrate.
Hansen et al. 1985 (Climate response times: Dependence on climate sensitivity and ocean mixing. Science, 229, 857-859, doi:10.1126/science.229.4716.857) showed that the equilibration delay depends on the rate at which oceans warm and the strength of the atmospheric feedbacks.
If you are interested in the significance of this fact in Lindzen’s thinking, see Lindzen 1994 (Climate dynamics and global change, Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 26, 353-378; esp. section 5). There, Lindzen claims that “the fact that higher sensitivities are associated with longer delays leads to the disappointing result that the record of the past century (when effective CO2 increased by almost 50%) is broadly consistent with virtually any sensitivity” (recall again that this was nearly 20 years ago).
Anyway, he seems to be making a much stonger claim in the UK House of Commons address and thus my interest in asking the above question.
#96 Mike Schepper – “…your only objection to Lindzen’s presentation is a single slide…”
Wrong. Just about every single slide (certainly every single graph) was either incompetently-drafted or intentionally-misleading. There are no other options. As James Hansen has said, in Storms of my Grandchildren, Lindzen appears to behave like a lawyer presenting only information and argument favourable to his client, appears not to be seeking the truth – only a win for his client, and, as such, policy inaction appears to be the aim of those (like him) that dispute global warming.
(There is also the case of the missing slide @28:30 in the video)
If my complaint does not work, does not all of the above appear to be good grounds for a complaint by someone connected with MIT? Please feel free to adapt my wording above (#75).
I’m just an amateur but when Joe D’Aleo brought the issue of DMI arctic temperatures to the blogosphere (on WUWT) in 2009 it only took me about half an hour to suspect that the data prior to 2004 was at the very least worthy of being questioned. If I can spot this, why should Lindzen get a pass from the sceptics for it?
Comment by Steve Milesworthy — 8 Mar 2012 @ 4:33 AM
This bickering over 76% vs. 80% of the CO2 forcing is ridiculous, because as Gavin pointed out earlier, we are in fact less than 50% of the way there! Remember, we didn’t have a standing start from 0. It was ~280ppm pre-industrial. So:
394 – 280 = 114
Since mankind has to contribute another 280ppm to go to get to a doubling of 560ppm CO2 from pre-industial, our percent ‘accomplishment’ of this lofty goal is:
114/280 = 41%
So according to me, Lindzen in not even wrong on this. He’s intentionally trying to make things look better than they really are by including the pre-industrial concentration in the calculation. And people are obviously taking the bait!
[Response: Be careful here. All of this discussion is related to forcings, and 394 ppm is a forcing of 5.35*ln(394/280) = 1.8 W/m2, just under half 3.7W/m2 – the forcing from 2xCO2. – gavin]
Can all readers, even if you don’t look at any of my other posts on my blog, please read this one: Lindzengate – an update report (8 March 2012).
It could change the course of human history (or at least your response to it could)!
I think you know what my point was. Lindzen made a comment in his presentation about GHG forcing saying that there was an “doubling of equivalent CO2″ over the past 150 years. The response to this from the community was that people, including dana, could only come up with 76%. So I wanted to find out if he really meant a doubling or did he agree that it was 76ish. He agrees that as of the 3rd assessment report it was 76%, and now it is closer to 80%.
– You don’t care about science.
– You don’t care about reason.
– You don’t care about logic.
– You don’t care about being responsible.
A couple points you might want to consider:
– Lindzen and a few others are misleading people by presenting evidence out of context.
– 1.66 W/m2 (IPCC AR4) represents 845 trillion watts of energy. 1.8 w/m2 represents an increased forcing of 917 trillion watts of forcing. Keep in mind watts are per second.
All the things you are skeptical about are context issues. The media does get things wrong for various reasons, and they do love to make a scary headlines to sell ads.
I have a couple questions for you:
1. When you see the level of milk in the container in your refrigerator is getting low, are you skeptical that it is getting low?
2. When you see water boiling in a pot on your stove, are you skeptical that it is boiling?
In your last sentence you state “I am not an idiot”. Since you seem to indicate, and I agree, that we should all be skeptical about things until reasonably proven, do you also think I/we/everyone should be skeptical about your last statement?
You see, just because you don’t see something as an important issue does not mean it it is not an important issue.
Steve Metzler says:
8 Mar 2012 at 7:34 AM
Point taken, Gavin. OK, so we’re 49% of the way there. But that’s a *long way* from 80%!
I think you might find Lindzen is referring to the increase from ALL ghgs (e.g. including methane etc). He is is making the case that this increase is equivalent to 76% or 80% or whatever of a doubling of CO2. He is probably right.
[Response: I know full well what Lindzen is trying to say (and the misleading impression he wants to leave). The fact remains that only using greenhouse gases in this context is wrong – expectations of temperature rise depend crucially on the *net forcing* (incl aerosols) and the heat capacity of the oceans. Pretending these things are zero in order to make a rhetorical point is just wrong. It’s like adding up just your salary for the last year and expecting that number to be your total savings. – gavin]
#89 I am sorry to go on about this but, I am nothing if not fair. I have been criticised for inserting Lindzen’s email address (now removed), whereas you still have Lindzen’s CV viewable/downloadable here (with his home telephone number and address) how inconsistent is that? If you are not going to remove it, can you please explain to me why not?
All readers of this blog should take note of the fact that JohnK appeared on my blog about 6 weeks ago – pretending to be as sweet as pie and flattering me into thnking I could help him. Over a 4 week period he posted 108 comments on my blog (including one that was 800-words long) and, when I finally lost my patience with him and blacklisted his user ID, eamil and IP addresses, he set up another account and returned to my site to continue asking me questions, the replies to which he quite clearly had no intention of listening. I would therefore suggest you ask Lindzen to contact you direct and ban JohnK immediately. He is a time-waster.
I am never reassured when somebody feels the need to tell me that they are not an idiot as it is a very idiotic thing to say. Nonetheless KeothWoollard @117 does present some valid argument that is yet to be addressed here.
We do debate what is trivial stuff as far as ‘Jo Public’ is concerned. Is it 76% or 80%? (If my arithmetic isn’t faulty, I can make it 86%! Then the number means nothing on its own.) What is actually important is Lindzen “…saying the whole global warming industry is a farce.” Here KeithWoollard is correct as that is exactly what the man’s message is conveying.
But KeithWoollard then blots his copybook because he sees “either side” in the same light. This is wrong as the two ‘sides’ are not at all equivalent. A single grumpy old climatology professor saying (in fact banging on that) climate sensitivity is 0.5 deg C so there is nothing to worry about is in no way balanced by a similar grumpy old professor saying it is 7.5 deg C (allowing here for the fat tail) and that we have a great deal to worry about.
As for our debate here, simply pointing out Lindzen’s poor scholarship will never make Lindzen look stupid enough such that those who want to believe him will begin to doubt his words. Or for his promoters to think his words too worrying for public consumption. But that does not mean he should be allowed to say what he likes. Putting the academic boot in is better than standing by and doing nothing even if it is not wholly efficacious.
My own opinion is that there is a more promising approach to the matter. We should be questioning the man’s isolation, indeed his actual sanity. This is a man who believes a global conspiracy has engulfed climatology. Only by this means can he cope with the literature whose findings continually contradicts his own beliefs. He maybe has yet to mention the shape-shifting lizards but unless we are paying attention we may miss those precious occasions when he actually does.
To be fair, Lindzen discussed other forcings as well. That you disagree with his conclusions doesn’t make them misleading.
Further to your analogy, in determining one’s net savings, one could hardly exclude salary from the discussion.
[Response: No one is suggesting that salary/GHGs be excluded, but it is salary minus spending that determines saving, and making claims that imply that spending/aerosols are non-existent are misleading. It’s not a difficult point to grasp. – gavin]
Further it is very fair to explain that for the models to work, they must assume that something is present to cancel out/delay the warming that they would otherwise predict that is just not occurring.
[Response: Nonsense. Models should include all significant effects that can be quantified – they do not ‘assume that something is cancelling out’ the greenhouse gases. The separation into GHGs and everything else is a completely arbitrary distinction. For instance, how about saying that all the additional GHGs and aerosols cancel each other out, leaving only the CO2? That is just as valid as Lindzen’s claim, yet the impression left is very different. – gavin]
BTW, I just got “Cork” Hayden’s explanation/apology for the error he made on junkscience.com.
…you still have Lindzen’s CV viewable/downloadable here (with his home telephone number and address) how inconsistent is that? If you are not going to remove it, can you please explain to me why not?
Not to speak for the proprietors of RC, but I believe I’m the one who referenced Linden’s CV. This was for the purpose of settling whether Lindzen is a Fellow of the AGU in a way that will not promote further misunderstanding of that curious fact, not for the purpose of inviting contact with Lindzen. Surely you can tell the difference?
Badgering Lindzen in his own burrow would obviously be pointless and counterproductive, hence stupid. Don’t do it.
#103 JohnK and/or Prof. Lindzen appear to have overlooked the fact that re-inserting the “missing” into the PDF will (presumably) still not change the fact that it was very misleading. The Keeling Curve and Temperature did not appear to correlate over the short term. Big Deal!
If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this (now not missing) graph neither proves not disproves anything. Lindzen must know that. If he doesn’t know that he should not be at MIT.
People seem to keep forgetting that I was actually in the room and I quite literally could not believe what Lindzen was doing. I have never seen anything like it in my life before; it was absolutely disgraceful.
As Martin Lack implies, Lindzen really ought to be asked to choose what course he takes in life.
Lindzen should choose between continuing to uphold emphatically stated AGU core principles and thus remain a luminary Fellow of the organization, able to lean on its reputation in such places as his CV, or he might choose to be a person who communicates something that is carefully crafted to resemble science but is not and thus give up his connections with AGU.
Also as Martin implies, simply swapping slides is not sufficient reparation to restore Lindzen’s grace. In a perfect world he’d be asked to publicly and in a highly visible way walk back the mess he’s made in the minds of his audiences.
Not likely to happen because it appears the AGU is most attached to principle only when it is frightened but we can always harbor aspirations.
#148 dbostrom – Are you deliberately misundertanding me? Unlike JohnK, I have no intention of contacting Lindzen at home. My point relates to the inconsistent way in which personal data is treated here. Nothing else. If you want that CV to remain up, Lindzen’s home address and telephone number should be redacted.
However, Lindzen may also be including the ozone forcing. Considering that he’s trying to inflate the forcing as much as possible by considering positive forcings and ignoring negative forcings (like aerosols), I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s also including ozone.
Whether it’s 76% or 80% or 85%, or even 100% isn’t even the biggest issue. The more important issue is that Lindzen is neglecting the negative forcings, which biases his calculation not by 4% or 24%, but probably by more than 50%. It’s simply absurd that he continues to make this error.
I don’t think we disagree here. We must account for everything to get to the net, no dispute there.
I asked Lindzen about a specific point regarding what he meant by effective doubling, and he answered it. You said you didn’t know what the point was, and I explained it. I am not here to justify Lindzen. You wrote an article saying that he wasn’t comparing the data sets that he purported to, and I verified it. That supports most of what you said. My impression is that Lindzen used the slide from a colleague that wouldn’t mind that turned out to be erroneous. The error is being fixed, acknowledged, and apologized for.
[Response: We’ll see. Note that when scientists generally say ‘colleague’ they mean another working scientist, not someone with a advocacy newsletter. I wonder who the other ‘colleague’ was who sent him the Woodfortrees T & CO2 mash up? (a picture that implicitly assumes that climate sensitivity is between 8 and 9 deg C if the idea was that temperature and CO2 should line up, plus the same erroneous zero heat capacity assumption)…. – gavin]
Btw, what do each of the models use for aerosol forcing, or where can that be found?
[Response: The description for the CMIP3 models is in AR4, but for the new class of models being run for CMIP5, the situation is more complicated and more varied. Generally people are using supplied emission datasets of aerosols and aerosol precursors and calculating amounts and radiative effect as part of the transient calculation. The actual radiative forcing history is only worked out afterwards. See Koch et al, 2011 for some background. – gavin]
If you want that CV to remain up, Lindzen’s home address and telephone number should be redacted.
Martin, I don’t believe you’d contact Lindzen; my suggestion was directed to people prone to press “send” before thinking.
As to redacting the CV, it’s Lindzen’s own, hosted at MIT, most importantly is authoritative with regard to the matter of Lindzen’s attachment to the AGU.
For my part I think Lindzen’s particular instantiation details are relatively picayune in the grand scheme of things. Lindzen is significant as an exercise for thinking about how to optimize communications of science as a tool for constructing informed public policy as well as how to avoid corruption from within. Also there are lessons here about fairness and priorities when it comes to constructing ritual public humiliations.
John Kosowski is trying to play the same good cop bad cop game that Pat Michaels and his side kick Chip Knappenberger play.
Does Lindzen not have the integrity, courage and will to defend his own errors? That he is not willing to either defend or concede his own transgressions does him (and MIT)no favours whatsoever.
Personally, I am not interested in someone else who is allegedly in touch with Lindzen assuring us that Lindzen will set the record straight (although no promises of an apology to Hansen/NASA has yet been offered).
I find Lindzen’s deafening silence on this issue quite cowardly on his part. He is clearly not interested in debating the science or admitting error in the public eye. But I’d be happy for hiom to prove me wrong.
Nick Stokes was able to do the subtraction and replicate Lindzen’s figure. I recognize that most of the same information is contained in the second figure of this post (as Gavin pointed out to me), but it’s not a direct comparison, or “corrected replication”.
Correcting Lindzen: Current total GHG forcing ~3 watts/m^2. Current ocean heat uptake: about 0.5 watt/M^2. Aerosol effects: somewhere between 0.4 and 2.5 watts/M^2, with ~1.2 w/M^2 most probable (approximate AR4 uncertainty range, direct plus indirect effects). Net present forcing between: 3 – 0.5 – 0.4 = 2.1 watts/M^2 and 3 – 0.5 – 2.5 = 0.0 watt/M^2, with a most probable current forcing of 3 – 0.5 – 1.2 = 1.3 watts/M^2. If we assume present warming over pre-industrial is 0.8 C, that suggests a climate sensitivity (ignoring the uncertainty for land use) somewhere between ~1.41 C per doubling and infinite sensitivity, with the most probable sensitivity of ~2.28C per doubling. Absent better data on aerosol influences, an approximate lower bound and most probably value can be estimated, but no upper bound, so the analysis is maybe not terribly helpful.
Comment by Steve Fitzpatrick — 8 Mar 2012 @ 2:17 PM
How can a university such at MIT tolerate a student presenting such a graph during an exam? Will he get a passing mark even though the graph presented is false? If not, I don’t understand freedom of speech at Universities. its like the head of faculty of medicine claiming the human brain made of cheese to a Congressional panel. Freedom is great because we can express ourselves, showing if we are delusional, conspiring, expressing facts falsely or correctly, it is a means of accountability. An Institution allowing a professor to openly obfuscate the very foundations of science he is suppose to uphold with the most stringent standards, this institution is a bit confusing or is a place where freedom has no limits whatsoever,
then how are we suppose to learn when a teacher can present anything correct or incorrect within his speciality?
What Lindzen will do or not do has little to do with me. Wanting to get the facts right, I merely asked him some questions and passed on the answers. To Martin I offered to ask Linzen additional questions because he was seemingly having trouble getting his questions answered.
“you have an MIT atmospheric professor basically saying the whole global warming industry is a farce…”
No. You have an MIT professor saying that a group of scientists has committed fraud by cooking the books on their data – and presenting as evidence, a graph which is itself a damnable lie. And I don’t think he’s so stupid or careless to make this a mistake.
“banging on about global warming for 30 years and nothing has changed.”
Arctic summer sea ice not changed?
Glaciers not melting?
Greenland Ice Sheet not losing mass at an accelerating rate?
Antarctic Ice Sheet not losing mass?
Fossil fuel companies profits not up? Is “business as usual” what you mean by “nothing has changed”? Isn’t it the point to delay, deny, and keep the profits rolling in?
At #145 I advised the moderators that John Kosowski is not to be trusted. He asks questions only in order to go away and find something to dispute the answer given. He will bleed you dry. He is a time-waster. He should be blacklisted.
Further to MapleLeaf’s earlier remarks about the AGU Fellows list:
Arthur H Lachenbruch, Andrew A Lacis, Carlo E Laj, Devendra Lal, Kurt Lambeck, Cor G Langereis, Charles H Langmuir, Charles A Langston, Chester C Langway, Louis J Lanzerotti, Kristine M Larson, William K-M Lau, Thorne Lay, Jean-Louis Le Mouel, Judith Lean, James R Ledwell, William H K Lee, Martin A Lee, Cindy Lee, Steven J Lentz, Dennis P Lettenmaier, Alan R Levander, Anatoli L Levshin, Hiram Levy, Robert C Liebermann, Robert P Lin, Alan T Linde, Donald H Lindsley, Kuo-Nan Liou, Peter W Lipman, Jack J Lissauer, W. Timothy Liu, Zhengyu Liu, Philip Liu, Shaw Chen Liu, David B Lobell, David A Lockner, Jennifer A Logan, Ulrike Lohmann, David Loper, William Lotko, Daniel P Loucks, William Lowrie, Guenter W Lugmair, Janet G Luhmann, Hermann Luhr, Anthony Lui, Jonathan I Lunine, George W Luther, Bruce P Luyendyk, Larry R Lyons, William B Lyons, Robert L Lysak
Lindzen is indeed an AGU Fellow, class of 1969. Undoubtedly a correction to the list will be forthcoming once it’s pointed out to AGU that Lindzen is missing from the published list of Fellows. When that happens it’ll be a great time revisit the AGU ethics scenario.
As I remember from an earlier RC thread, the problem was that the aerosol forcing comes in the denominator with a negative sign.. exactly as Lindzen is doing, except that he avoids that problem by ignoring the aerosols. Ref. 1 did it better and produced a probability curve with a large range of possible outcomes. Ref. 2 has narrowed it down to a single estimate.
Hey guys, please take it easy on poor old academia. Several of you seem to have no idea about how seniority works in our more venerable institutions. Once a full professor gets a certain level of seniority his crimes have to be of the police type before he or she can be booted out. The only thing they can do is kick the guy upstairs and/or ignore him.
MIT is home to Kerry Emanual and other admirable scientists working on these issues, and has a terrific environmental science operation. It’s a varied place with its own eccentricities.
As moderators have pointed out, bashing the openness and variety of institutions of higher learning doesn’t work.
It would be nice if there were some way to bring taking liberties with the truth or complex relationships with reality to book before they become extreme, but it also provides shelter for people who do amazing things because of that same freedom.
By the way, lots of institutional CVs provide contact information (I found some at Cambridge the other day). Please restrain yourselves and don’t use it for polemics or dirty tricks. There’s enough of that from the other side.
Like Gavin S and Eric S, I am inclined to ascribe Lindzen’s mistake of mixing up LOTI and Met indices to incompetence (and perhaps not a little bias in failing to check his work when confronted with an inexplicably large difference between two versions of ostensibly the same data set).
But should he refuse to unequivocally withdraw the accusation against GISS, that would be a different matter.
[Response: Note that I have received a note from Lindzen apologising for the error (and I have passed it along to the people involved in GISTEMP). – gavin]
I am not so sure I like the sound of this academic freedom malarkey and/or undue deference to someone who seems to have spent much of the last 20 years defending the indefensible – and who is now accusing just about every other climate scientist on the planet (apart from Curry, Michaels, Spencer…) of being either deluded, deceitful or D-grade… The words kettle and black appear now to be coming into my mind.
“Did these folks agree to having you speak for them?”
Do you mean have they retained me to be their lawyer? I asked Lindzen some questions, and I posted the answers. Nothing too groundbreaking, but still answers. Why not just cut to the chase and get the answer rather than speculating about it for weeks?
So, no one is speaking on behalf of anyone.
Now, I bet any one of you, except Martin, could have asked the same question and received the answer. If a journalist were going to write the the above article, it would be pretty standard practice to do the same before going to press. But that is just, I guess, one way to do it.
# 171 Gavin – This is good. Can you please ask Lindzen why he feels the World does not deserve a straight answer – preferably with some defensible data and graphs to back it up – to the Climate Sensitivity question?
I am willing to accept that he may never answer the questions I raised in my over-long email (although I thought them all entirely legitimate – and would not have been necessary if his presentation had not been so misleading [for whatever reason]).
I feel like I am shooting the final scene in a modern-day re-envisioning of the Classic Clint Eastwood movie Dirty Harry; and I have to tell you – this ‘punk’ (i.e. for the avoidance of doubt – me) is feeling decidedly “unlucky”…
To say I do not trust Lindzen’s judgement on this would be the understatement of the Anthropocene era… and I believe we deserve an explanation.
Despite what many think of him here, Lindzen is at least a gentleman prepared to admit his mistakes.
A gentleman wouldn’t have tried to smear all of GISS in the first place when he knows full well such criticism is misplaced.
Admitting his mistakes has to happen in the same forum to mean anything. Criticizing in public and apologizing in private hardly makes everything right.
While his apology is nice, has he issued a retraction with the kind of publicity originally received? In terms of what’s important – influencing public perception – that’s much more important than a apology to those he libeled.
@60 Martin Lack: “Also, if you believe in real democracy…That is never going to happen unless the Merchants of Doubt are silenced!”
The irony is too rich. You start by evoking democracy and end by demanding that your enemies be silenced.
I really feel the need to add another voice to support Gavin and the other moderator’s wisdom in trying to quell the witch hunt against Linzen. As much as I deplore the way Linzen continually misleads the public and mis-states the science, demanding that MIT take action against him and making him into a criminal is outright thuggish, no better than the harassment against Hansen and his colleagues. Would the posters who advocate action against Linzen feel okay when the fake skeptics, claiming fraud on climate scientist’s part, demand they lose government funding and that they must turn over all their emails?
A litter perspective helps here. Rather than directing your anger at Linzen, why not direct it against the press, whose sole purpose, whose very reason for existence, consists of informing the public the difference between truth and falsehood, good science vs. bad science? There will always be quack scientists (even Kepler believed in the music of the spheres); the evil comes when political interests inflate these promulgate these views and inflate their importance.
Didn’t the President of the AGU ( Michael McPhaden) make the following statement recently when they let one of their members go ? :
The success of the scientific enterprise depends on intellectual rigor, truthfulness, and integrity on the part of everyone involved. The vast majority of scientists uphold these values every day in their work. That’s why opinion polls show that public trust in scientists is among the highest of all professions. Public trust is essential because it provides the foundation for society’s willingness to invest in scientific exploration and discovery. It is the responsibility of every scientist to safeguard that trust.
It would be one thing if Dick Lindzen had made one simple mistake, apologized and corrected it. That is not the case. He has a long track record of distortions and outright prevarications–his implication that because other celestial bodies show warming that anthropogenic CO2 cannot be the cause on Earth, numerous Wall Street Urinal editorials, testimony before Congress and so on. In these forums, he has leveled charges every bit as scurrilous and irresponsible as the current case.
Now were I to believe that these incidents are attributable to oversight, I would have to conclude that Dr. Lindzen has an extremely poor grasp not just of climate science, but of science in general. I would have to conclude that these events just happen to occur when he is addressing laymen rather than fellow scientists. I would have to believe that his role in the BBC ambush of Phil Jones was just an innocent misunderstanding.
I am not that naive, and Lindzen is not that stupid. I have no doubt that Dr. Lindzen is extremely sorry–sorry he got caught.
@183 “Are you thinking about editors as deciding what’s good and bad?”
I’m not sure of your point. Yes, I do believe the press has a responsibility to point out good vs. bad science. I don’t work as a scientist, let alone a climate scientist, yet I can easily discern when Linzen or Spencer make nonsensical statements. That is, I might need the help of blogs, but reporters are trained to use secondary sources, to pick up the phone and call Gavin or whoever. When 97% of climate scientists think different than Linzen, shouldn’t a reporter immediately become extremely suspicious when Linzen makes statements that would overturn a consensus, especially given his record? The public misconceptions doesn’t result because of a handful of bad scientists, but because the press trumpets their views.
I didn’t think my comment that controversial. It is known (see mediamatters.org, for example), that the news media gives a disproportionate amount of time to contrarians. I didn’t mean to turn this thread into another debate about the media’s role or what consists of the best action. I merely wanted to point out that if you plan to write letters an demand investigations, write to newspapers and demand hearings of congress. To go after scientists the way some have advocated here on these boards strikes me as censorship, justified by the worst excuse, that our side is right and the other side will cause mankind harm.
I wasn’t suggesting that L. was anything but a smoking r*tf*nk (I’m a hothead too), just that things being what they are, we’re stuck with it. Don’t want to make a cure that is worse than the disease.
I’m one of the ones that think Gleick was excusable if rash, while what Heartland gets away with is sickening (news just now; GM is reconsidering their support). Just defending my previous home from home (MIT) and freedom of speech mentioned by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
I agree there’s an argument that L. is setting the place on fire rather than preventing a panic, but things are what they are.
Martin Lack, you say you were in the room, poor you; your courage and determination are admirable. Not just sure it will work.
(way long ago this early am…)
“A population that is able to be misled on this point is a population that does not want to know, no matter how important it is to be well informed.
captcha: failed loginoi”
Ms Anderson seems to be defining terms lately, in very useful segments. Yesterday we gained “likewarmers” (“sure it’s warming but C02 is good for us”). Today, the “failed loginoi” as those willingly misled; especially pertinent lately, with all the recent rhetoric aping logic. Many of my Alaskan friends are in the first group, because shorter winters _is_ better – many of our irksome visitors here, the other ilk – Dan H would be king.
There’s power in words we use.
Do University faculties have a voice? Don’t they have the freedom to disagree or even condemn an action from a peer at the same school? More often than not an opportunist journalist or talk radio war monger elevate guys like Lindzen, citing and using the prestigious Institute and impeccable credentials as a very effective political battering ram. Often I read or heard this, the choice of not doing anything against erroneous science has huge consequences which are mostly devastating. I applaud RC for prompting this apology, I think it an example though of why MIT guys didn’t appear to make a fuss about this first, may be they did??? . Having one professor with media gravitas may easily drown out the real good work done there by others. I don’t understand why faculties, not only MIT, don’t action press releases with strong disagreements about one rogue professor when it is so obvious. I think it would help the media having no time to look much further. If serious about freedom of speech, why not speak?
Skepticism is only useful if you follow it up by seeking knowledge in an attempt to resolve the doubted claims. Sadly, you appear not to have done that, and in fact you seem to reject the whole enterprise of knowledge acquisition in this area. But worse, you unskeptically accept assertions that are demonstrably wrong, making your claim to skepticism itself rather dubious … and your reasoning causes me, like some others, to have my doubts about your last assertion. But regardless of whether that word applies to you personally, certainly much of what you wrote qualifies as idiotic … if you are capable of competent and intelligent reasoning, you would do well to display it rather than the opposite.
@Susan, #187 Jim Hansen’s TED video also here – http://youtu.be/fWInyaMWBY8 where I have been battling with the current resident sock troll ierig.
Some expert support in the comments would be useful occasionally!
Comment by Andy Lee Robinson — 9 Mar 2012 @ 12:40 AM
As much as I deplore the way Linzen continually misleads the public and mis-states the science, demanding that MIT take action against him and making him into a criminal is outright thuggish, no better than the harassment against Hansen and his colleagues.
We’re all of course free to say anything we like, but we have to understand that doing so may incur costs; freedom of speech is not always free as in “free beer.” For instance, if Lindzen is consistently performing in direct contravention to the stated objectives of the AGU of which we were so recently reminded, of course he is free to do so, but he ought not to expect that he’ll be welcome as an AGU member in good standing. If he’s allowed to duck that cost, he debases the AGU with their consent.
Which begs the question, what’s the reputation of a “scholarly society” worth? More or less than that of one person?
Here’s what Lindzen has recently said of fellow AGU members:
The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.
Because the quantity [of warming] we are speaking of is so small, and the error bars are so large, the quantity is easy to abuse in a variety of ways.
Obsessing on the details of this record [global temperature] is more akin to a spectator sport (or tea leaf reading) than a serious contributor to scientific efforts – at least so far.
Questionable data. (Climategate and involvement of all three centers tracking global average temperature anomaly.) This is a complicated ethical issue for several reasons.
[Martin] Rees and [Ralph] Cicerone [AGU Fellow] are saying that regardless of the evidence the answer is predetermined. If the government wants carbon control, that is the answer that the Academies will provide.
Lindzen repeatedly attacks the honesty of others. He’s quite careful to avoid connecting these accusations with specific individuals, but even as he does so he instead broadens his tarring brush to include essentially the entire scientific community. Meanwhile, how about his own integrity? Take a look at the Arctic/Antarctic ice portion of Lindzen’s presentation cited above in Gavin’s complaint. Could any person having reasonable familiarity with this topic conclude that Lindzen has crafted his material for the purpose of clear communications conveying the actual state of the Arctic, for instance? Here’s the pot calling the kettle black, except that the pot appears to be black iron and kettle something relatively stainless and shiny.
How in the world can AGU possibly continue to associate itself with this person? Is their reputation worth so little, despite insistence to the contrary?
The summary sentence completely misrepresents ‘climategate.’ This refers to the release of thousands of emails, commented code, etc. from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The land based instrumental temperature record was not the primary focus of the problems revealed in these documents. Rather, the explicit evidence of the manipulation of proxy records used in paleoclimate reconstructions, suppression of other viewpoints, manipulation of the IPCC process, and intimidation of journal editors were all evidence of serious breaches of ethics.
I found myself wondering if Lindzen was employing the word “manipulation” as seen in the graph above in the sense of “I am manipulating my pliers” or instead “I am massaging the evidence.”
Judging from the above quote it seems that when Lindzen says “manipulate” he’s not referring to simply moving something about; picking up a ball is not a “serious breach of ethics.”
Note that Lindzen was writing long after the final investigation of the various victims of the email hack cleared them of any scientific misconduct. Also note that Lindzen manages to convey a poor impression of the affected individuals even while artfully hedging his language so as to not actually accuse; Lindzen strings together a list of nasty verbs and then says they “were evidence of serious breaches of ethics,” thus stopping just short of an actual accusation. Crafty.
I was an attendee at the meeting. I am neither an oil company shill nor a “denier” of climate change but a curious member of the public who is still unconvinced by alarmism about CO2. I note that Prof. Lindzen has issued a very clear explanation and apology for his mistake. I find all ad hominem attacks on both/all sides of the climate debate deplorable, especially those on this site suggesting that Lindzen is suffering from dementia. His general arguments about the history of climate change and his standing as a well-respected scientist speak for themselves in my view. I wonder if you will publish it ?
Comment by Mr. G. Robertson — 9 Mar 2012 @ 4:40 AM
#180 Paul Tremblay –
You criticise me for seeking democracy by silencing dissent? I think you confuse dissent with deception. Here, I believe, James Hoggan can help you out: “Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
“There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.”
This is such a passionate comment thread, that I must be crazy for dipping my toe in, but here goes. No matter how bad is the professional work of a colleague, we in academia must be defenders of freedom of thought. That is the foundation of a university environment. No matter how hard it is to accept this, the current scientific consensus may be wrong. I don’t think it is, which is why I am leading an Extension effort on climate change. Furthermore, even as an outsider to climate scientist, the more carefully I study the work of skeptics, the less I value their professional opinion. However, we must defend the right of intellectuals to be wrong. Freedom of thought is the foundation of the academy.
That said, we must repeatedly challenge and refute those individuals, especially when they misrepresent the science. And we scientists must continue to challenge them forcefully in all fora but especially the fora that matter most: Peer-reviewed journals and scientific meetings. That is the foundation of our credibility, and most policymakers know that.
Much of the propaganda takes the form of highly publicised stunts which produce the illusion of coherence between inconsistent viewpoints. For example, the chairman at Lindzen’s lecture was Christopher Monckton ; to what extent do these two endorse each other’s arguments? The ‘chemical potentials’ of the two were initially quite different, but what will be the eventual outcome of this interaction? A common ‘chemical potential’ and mode of operating?
It is a bit old. Does it need to be up-dated more frequently? The arguments hardly change and go around cyclically, but the behaviour of some of the characters involved appears to be subject to longer term change * which might benefit from being recorded in one place.
By the way, there is no entry for Akasofu, who was involved in Channel 4’s Swindle (as far as I remember) and is the inspiration behind some of the recent WSJ op-ed and Michael Kelly’s support of it.
* Ageist remarks are not persuasive. Participation in a campaign is probably a stronger effect. Its like all the dipoles in a magnet compelling each other to point the same way.
I agree that academic freedom is paramount–I’ve said similar things myself. However, I wonder if you’d weight in on whether you would be concerned about a scientist with a pattern of intentionally misleading the public on the science?
Lindzen’s pronouncements to lay audiences differ profoundly from his presentations to technical audiences. The former are full of bogus science–egregious errors that Lindzen is fully aware are misleading if not downright prevarications.
I will defend any scientist’s right to voice a minority opinion–even in front of a lay audience. Presenting deliberately misleading information to a lay audience comes very close to scientific misconduct.
> Free speech does not include the right to deceive.
> Deception is not a point of view.
> And the right to disagree does not include a right
> to intentionally subvert the public awareness.”
He’s Canadian, and may be speaking for his country’s law — I don’t know.
None of those statements are correct for people in the USA.
If you believe you’re protected from deception and intentional subversion generally, you’d best look at your own state’s law — but don’t assume you can trust anything you’re told. Got a link in email? don’t click it. Got a phone call? Get a callback number then check that number to make sure it’s really for the party you want to call. Someone’s telling you hearsay, saying they’re speaking for someone else? “Trust, but verify.” — R. Reagan
Regrettably, since corporations became people under the US Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law, corporate PR departments no longer are constrained under ‘commercial speech’ rules. That’s very bad, because it’s impossible to verify most commercial advertising claims. See “puffery.”
No matter how bad is the professional work of a colleague, we in academia must be defenders of freedom of thought… we must defend the right of intellectuals to be wrong. Freedom of thought is the foundation of the academy.
What if what a person thinks is not what a person actually says? Is that something we’re obliged to defend? If you visit Andrew Dessler’s blog, you can see an exchange of thoughts indicating that Lindzen’s -thinking- capacity is perfectly good. Yet, if you view the presentation that is the subject of Gavin’s complaint, you’ll see Lindzen committing a chain of unlikely “mistakes,” these mistakes consistently appearing when he has an opportunity to speak to the broader public.
What if those frequently repeated “mistakes” that only appear when opportunities to steer public policy are available are actually imposing costs on society? Are we obliged to defend them?
Lindzen is free to say what he likes, as and when he feels the need to do so, regardless of its relationship to the truth and regardless of whether he’s leaving a path of destruction in his wake. But we’re told we must remain silent in the face of this, address him only his published literature. That’s an unworkable and tragic discrepancy.
Paul: Do you seriously suggest we establish boards to revoke tenure or otherwise censure tenured faculty?
Personally, my only suggestion is that we be consistent when we speak of the importance of integrity for scientists speaking the public.
AGU expects its members to adhere to the highest standards of scientific integrity in their research and in their interactions with colleagues and the public. Among the core values articulated in AGU’s Strategic Plan are ‘excellence and integrity in everything we do.’ The vast majority of scientists share and live by these values.
There’s essentially no doubt that Lindzen’s presentation described here as well as many other communications he’s performed need careful scrutiny by the AGU if the ideals they’ve pronounced are not a hollow charade, an act recently revived out of fear. Speaking so forcefully and yet doing nothing in the face of obvious, well-publicized transgressions is to lack integrity.
Looking beyond Lindzen and beyond this particular communications “challenge,” our public life is thoroughly infected with analogous situations. Virtually every time the vector of money bumps into inconvenient science, a “controversy” is created and then fed so as to arrest public policy. This is a form of cultural dementia that is degrading to us all and ought to be addressed in ways that are not totalitarian but are instead commensurate with our stated ideals. AGU serves as an example of an organization that by its silence on matters such as rotten science communication is lending support to corruption of the public square. They don’t have to say “be silent,” they only have to say “speak on your own dime, don’t involve us in your CV if your integrity as a science communicator is missing.”
And, AGU members, nobody else is going to look after your organization’s integrity except you. Give Lindzen your tacit permission to trash your reputation or not, it’s your choice to live with. Cathartic complaints are useless.
I agree with dbostrom. It’s one thing (and a very bad one, IMO) to use dirty tricks, coercion or repression in the face of ideas you don’t like; it’s quite another to demand some accountability from those who lie, intentionally and repeatedly, in important public discourse.
Which means pointing out forcefully and accurately where the falsehood lies. That’s what the present post did.
We may think differently about the rhetoric used (or not) in doing so. But I suspect that at the end of the day, it’s the accuracy and consistency and firmness that matter–not how much indignation we can muster, or the color of the prose we use to express it.
“And, AGU members, nobody else is going to look after your organization’s integrity except you. Give Lindzen your tacit permission to trash your reputation or not, it’s your choice to live with. Cathartic complaints are useless.”
This is being followed up on. There is a problem though, AGU only investigates transgressions made in direct association with AGU. That is:
“Because damage to the process of advancing the geophysical sciences is harmful to all who are engaged in this pursuit and therefore is harmful to the primary purposes of AGU, the Union will undertake investigation and appropriate action when an allegation of such misconduct is directly connected to an AGU activity”
Much as it would be tempting to challenge Lindzen’s tenure it can’t be recommended. Tenure exists to ensure academic freedom not, sometimes regrettably, factual accuracy. Once tenure challenges starts the Imhofes and Cuccinellis of the world are off to the races.
Currently in progress is the strongest Forbush decrease (about 15%) of the recent years http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu/~pyle/TheThPlot.gif
which will put the Svensmark’s cosmic rays hypothesis to a global test. In the British Isles and nearby Atlantic cloudiness levels are not perceptibly different to the forecast. The event may last 2-3 days, if the cloudiness doesn’t depart significantly from the forecast it’s a bad news for Svensmark.
Thanks for the link. I was just about to credit LIndzen for acknowledging an error and apologizing, but then I followed your link. Naive me thought that Lindzen would offer an unconditional and unequivocal apology.
Instead we get,
“This doesn’t alter the primary point of the discussion that a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science. The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias.
This makes no sense to me. Lindzen is the one guilty of “confirmation bias” here. Also, a “few tenths of a degree” was enough for him to accuse NASA of fuging the data, and now suddenly according to Lindzen “a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science”. Come on!
This degree of duplicity by him sickens me.
He still has to apologize for playing tricks with the Arctic sea ice data, the DMI data, net anthropogenic forcing numbers, claiming that current in the Arctic are not unprecedented, claiming that positive feedbacks in the climate system are “artifacts of the models”, cherry picking 1997 in the HadCRUT3 data to claim tat the warming has stopped, not to mention the litany of error in the open letters that he recently co-authored in the WSJ.
Louise: Lindzen has apologised – I wonder if this apology will be sent to each individual that attended the event?
A first step might be to contact the Telegraph, have them update the presentation (which as of now is unchanged), loudly publish a correction.
Next, Lindzen could explain how he managed to accidentally ignore so much information in his discussion of Arctic sea ice, have the Telegraph do -another- correction.
After that, Lindzen could contact ClimateDepot and have them deactivate this:
The summary sentence completely misrepresents ‘climategate.’ This refers to the release of thousands of emails, commented code, etc. from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The land based instrumental temperature record was not the primary focus of the problems revealed in these documents. Rather, the explicit evidence of the manipulation of proxy records used in paleoclimate reconstructions, suppression of other viewpoints, manipulation of the IPCC process, and intimidation of journal editors were all evidence of serious breaches of ethics. Muller’s findings hardly alters these findings.
Which is signed with Lindzen’s name, dated Oct. 23 2011, long after the individuals concerned were cleared of any scientific misconduct, republished on ClimateDepot with Lindzen’s express permission.
After that’s cleared up, Lindzen could contact WattsUpWithThat and ask them to remove his assertion that fellow AGU Fellow Ralph Cicerone is participating in an effort to cook scientific results so as to demonstrate a predicated result.
It’ll be a long walk back before the head of the trail is reached. Lots of rubbish to pick up along the way. Or, taking it according to Lindzen’s version, debris from many “errors.”
I guess it depends on whether “geophysics” is an AGU activity. A loophole exit, certainly, but leaving an ethical vacuum behind if it’s exploited.
The vacuum could be partially replenished if the AGU can come up with a coherent explanation of how wrongly explaining geophysics to a lay audience while sailing under the flag of the AGU is not directly connected to the AGU.
Heh. The parting shot from the link in Louse’s post:
Prof. Lindzen also stated:
“This doesn’t alter the primary point of the discussion that a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science. The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias.
Master of framing, he is. Wow. Confirmation bias much yourself? Et tu.
In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation. The Climatic Research Unit is hardly an obscure outpost; it supplies many of the authors for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the emails showed ample collusion with other prominent researchers in the United States and elsewhere.
The influence of CO2 is much smaller that the models have predicted. You then have two choices. The model is false or the model is right and something unknown makes up the difference. The modelers have unfortunately taken the second way and claim that aerosols make up the difference. But, as the IPCC says, we don’t know anything about aerosols. The current models are tuned. If there is a problem, then call it aerosol. That is a dishonorable way out.
I have been working for decades in this area. We were beginning to understand how things work, how the atmosphere and the climate really function. Then we were rolled over by the simplified claim that climate depends only on CO2. Thus every hope of finding out, for example, how ice ages work was destroyed.
After the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 for protecting the ozone layer, research support disappeared.
[search by GScholar produces 16,800 articles including “stratospheric ozone” published since 1987, 13,700 since 2000]
Andy Lee Robinson@~190
If you meant to imply I’m expert, not so, but in any case would avoid that kind of comment section. I’d suggest just making a pithy remark from time to time to disturb the flow and not investing much there (easier said than done, I know).
I am disturbed to see a resurgence of Monckton in the locations I frequent lately. After John Abraham’s polite and accurate sourcing, there was a lot of bluster from his fandom, but he faded away. I thought the whole thing was so embarrassing that even phony skeptics couldn’t stomach it. http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/
Deconvoluter indicates Monckton produced (in the movie sense) the Lindzen nonsense. Is there no depth of sewage too deep for them? Surely Dr. Lindzen knows this degrades him?
There must be a way to describe true qualification that isn’t quite so highfalutin’ (peer review doesn’t mean much to the guy on the street, and he or she is half persuaded it’s all a big boondoggle anyway, like influence peddling). RC had at least one excellent post on peer review that hit the nail on the head, and of course the regular guy is not RC’s audience in any case. However, delving into this, aside from the wonderful and passionate discussion about how phony skepticism gets away with everything but the truth is held to a very high standard (Heartland comes to mind too), there must be some neat phrasing that would describe real expertise, honest if sometimes acrimonious communication, and real broad interdisciplinary agreement. Consensus has also been staled by deliberate insult, as will any other verbiage that shows promise, but surely there’s something catchy about truth that could take hold?
I have been challenged not only by the science-engineering discussion (so ably lampooned by xkcd, not linked here) but a reminder that even within the field of physics t
“…a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science.”
It is Celsius he works in. “A few” is certainly more than one and likely more than two. So let’s take a conservative interpretation of what Lindzen considers to be “not of primary importance.” That would be in excess of 0.25 deg C “either way,” so that’s a difference greater than 0.5 deg C. And that is apparently not of primary importance to the science.
What “science” is Lindzen referring to? It surely cannot be climatology!
Thanks for the feedback. I admit I don’t have any insight on what to do if a scientist of repute repeatedly appears to misrepresent on such an important issue. I appreciate being able to “listen in” on your exchanges.
Richard Posner Is My New Hero | The Baseline Scenario
Feb 11, 2011 – In the example you gave of a URL, it is absolutely the case that the original text should be cited. URLs change, the World Wide Web is about 22 …
How to Do a Bibliography Citation for a Web Page | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com › Education
URLs change. The content itself may be reproduced from elsewhere without citation. Writers may not know how to appropriately source a material….
Essentials of Business Communication – …Mary Ellen Guffey, Richard Almonte – 2009 – Business & Economics – 529 pages
The MLA used to recommend the inclusion of URLs of Web sources in works-cited-list entries. However, URLs change frequently and may be of little value; …
Suggested Practices for Citing Internet Materials http://www.fastcase.com
Citing materials or links online is a tricky proposition, as URLs change, sites go offline and content is altered. The Judicial Conference has proposed a set of best …
Making waves: new serials landscapes in a sea of change :
9…North American Serials Interest Group. Conference, P. Michelle Fiander, Joseph C. Harmon – 2001 – Language Arts & Disciplines – 472 pages
Other frequently cited complaints related to URLs, specifically: changing URLs; no notification by the publisher when URLs change; …
All URL’s are clearly different. Further, the URL quoted on the graphic is the current LOTI URL. So Lindzen’s defence of Hayden does not hold water. Indeed, it does not even make sense. How could they have the same URL but direct you to diferent data?
In order for Hayden to have made his “error”, he at a minimum must have gone to GISTEMP, scrolled past the bolded heading “Combined Land-Surface Air and Sea-Surface Water Temperature Anomalies (Land-Ocean Temperature Index, LOTI)” and the four related links, and then clicked on the link immediately below the bolded heading “Means Based on Land-Surface Air Temperature Anomalies Only (Meteorological Station Data, dTs)”. In doing so he must have not noticed the prior heading and links which are clearly visible whenever the link for the meteorological stations is visible. Finally, he must have gone back to GISTEMP a second time and clicked on the correct link in order to copy and paste it to his graph, all the while not noticing that it was a completely different link to that which he first clicked on.
Such a sequence of events is possible, but unlikely. It is not, however possible for anybody who double checked, just as it is not possible for Lindzen to have not noticed the temperature differences in the hundredths of degrees rather than the tenths of degrees suggested by Hayden if he had bothered to check the table. At the very best, Lindzen and Hayden have made false and defamatory accusations based on nothing more than their negligence.
During the third week of February our global community of Earth and space scientists witnessed the shocking fall from grace of an accomplished AGU member who betrayed the principles of scientific integrity. In doing so he compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society, weakened the public’s trust in scientists, and produced fresh fuel for the unproductive and seemingly endless ideological firestorm surrounding the reality of the Earth’s changing climate.
I think McPhaden has this spot-on. Only off by one week…
How much longer is the AGU going to tolerate this scientist as a member ?
Would it help if we start making a list of verifiable violations of scientific integrity that Lindzen made in scientific papers and presentations to the public ?
Let me add Lindzen and Choi 2009 to the list, a paper that claimed (among other wild claims) a 0.5 C climate sensitivity from ERBE data.
This paper was promoted heavily on international news networks as “the end of the AGW scam” by Monckton, used in testimonies by Lindzen, which thus “produced fresh fuel for the unproductive and seemingly endless ideological firestorm surrounding the reality of the Earth’s changing climate”.
Trenberth et al 2010, clearly showed that Lindzen obtained the results by cherry-picking ERBE data, extrapolating conclusions and even counting black-body radiation as a ‘negative feedback’.
If you do research and you find a result completely at odds with findings from other scientists (some even using the same data as you) then won’t you at least do a sanity check and see if you maybe missed up your methods ?
Not doing so is scientific negligence, which gives you an F in a sophomore physics paper. But mistakes like that made by an accomplished scientist, published in a peer-reviewed respectable scientific journal paper is simply an unacceptable breach of scientific integrity.
And we did not even talk about the follow-up paper Lindzen and Choi 2011.
It’s time for the AGU to stand up to this scientist, who is making a mockery of climate science, betraying the very principles of scientific integrity over and again, and (as we see in this post by RC) does not hasitate to attempt to discredit the work of other scientists with false arguments.
The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters,and,after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.
The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.
The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.
The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.
“I’m sure he’ll be in tears all the way to the bank.” – 88
If there were laws against being paid to lie, then everyone working for the CATO institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and all of the other Conservative and Libertarian propaganda groups would be in prison.
If you wish to deprive Lindzen of profiting from lying then work to make him useless to those who employ him.
Comment by vendicar decarian — 9 Mar 2012 @ 9:52 PM
Good catch from Tom Curtis, I’d forgotten that Hayden’s original description was as quoted above — different URLs.
So Lindzen’s relied on a mistaken explanation — by Hayden — for how he created the erroneous graph.
> How could they have the same URL but direct you to diferent data?
URLs are pointers, not names of unchanging documents.
Last week the URL linked to what was there then; this week the URL links to what’s there now. If someone changed it, you get different contents.
ALSO remember — you have to clear your cache — shift key “reload” — or your browser may show you last week’s instead of retrieving current info.
See the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine for snapshots taken over time of URL contents — you can see how they change.
See your reference librarian for help using the tools.
If you knew how to use them last week — they’ve probably been improved (that is, changed) since then.
I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread. And in takes a lot to surprise me in climate change discussions. To sane observers, it is obvious that Lindzen believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided. That is the view shared by many of his colleagues who disagree with him. If I were Gavin or Eric I would be embarrassed by these comments from RealClimate’s readers and I suspect I would have refused to publish many of them. It’s frankly more hysterical than a typical day over at WUWT.
Page 2: The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such.
Page 3: infers uncertainty means we don’t know with out the context of the ‘actual’ levels of uncertainty aka confidence intervals.
– Further inference of “less than 1C.”
– Infers hyperbole “alarming”
Page 4: He is clearly ignoring sensitivity estimates and CI
Page 6: Pot meet kettle claims department.
Page 7: Pot meet kettle claims department.
Page 9: Interesting that in the previous pages he complained about argument form authority and here he is relying on it.
Page 10: He makes his own argument from authority.
Page 11: After highlighting natural variability in previous pages, he now infers that because temp. is flat in the short term, global warming is negligible, including uncertainties.
Page 12: GISS mistake.
Page 13: restatement of negligible.
Page 14: States CRU “figure stretched to fill graph.”
Page 15: Classic cherry pick.
Page 16: Another classic cherry pick with some facts out of context as icing on the cake.
Page 17: Casual reference that obsessing on details in climate science is “akin to a spectator sport (or tea leaf reading)”
Page 18: Disagrees that CO2 atmos. lifetime is hundreds of years.
Page 19: Setting up the straw man.
Page 20: Tearing down the straw man.
Page 21: Climategate: facts out of context and infers collusion of the climate science community to manipulate data.
Page 22, 23, 24: Tired old arguments and by the time he gets to page 24 things are getting whimsical. Infers conspiracy.
Page 25: Martin Rees, Ralph Cicerone letter
Page 26: attack the letter. No need to be alarmed.
Page 27: Lindzen abandons rationality and strongly infers conspiracy and collusion.
Page 28: Lindzen claims climate science is a “quasi-religious issue’
Page 29: Facts our of context
Page 31, 32, 33: Facts our of context (ignores ice mass loss)
Page 34, 35, 36, 37: Red Herrings and misdirections. Claims exceed science, so he is again making an argument from his own authority.
Page 38: Facts out of context.
Page 40-56 My guess is some science, some incomplete analysis.
Page 57: Faint young sun, infers Iris effect
Page 58: claims science has made mo progress in the last 20 years.
In summary, while he claims that all those folks doing climate science are wallowing in uncertainty and have no basis to make the claims as indicated by the science, he is “quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are no not the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.”
Alex Harvey: I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread.
Uh-oh, it’s the Tone Patrol!
Take a deep breath, don’t get all fluttery.
Lindzen is on record as delivering insulting accusations to a broad swathe of his colleagues, including accusing at least two other Fellows of the AGU of cooking their work, without actually showing any evidence for that.
And you’re worried about a bunch of punters on a blog comments thread being impolite by pointing this out?
Naturally you’re anxious. As a hood ornament for your ridiculous cause Lindzen’s offered unique cachet, a lifeline to some semblance of credibility. Unfortunately when you see his collected recent works displayed in the same exhibit as a coherent retrospective, he turns out to be bit of a mess, not actually reliable.
Don’t get mad at us. Lindzen is the person who has built a bomb under his reputation. Showing up on a stage with the absurd clown Christopher Monckton appears to have lit the fuse leading to his being blown up. Be mad at Lindzen for pushing his ideological issues a bit too far.
Re #234: “I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread. And in takes a lot to surprise me in climate change discussions. To sane observers, it is obvious that Lindzen believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided.”
Surprised? That seems odd, considering that you got put through a similar wringer within the last few months over at Stoat. But perhaps you’re just surprised a lot.
And then you assert that anyone who thinks Lindzen just might be intentionally making up some of these serial confabulations is actually insane?
#235 Whilst I am extremely grateful to John P. Reisman for taking the time to detail all of this so clearly, I am bound to indulge in a little bit of “I told you so”. For the benefit of those who may have skated-over any or all of my previous comments, with reference to the video of the Q&A session (very kindly posted by Repealtheact.org onto my Blog), let me explain:
1. I was there.
2. I saw the whole thing.
3. I could not believe what Lindzen was doing.
4. I blew my chance to ask a question by seeking to correct Lindzen’s obfuscation of the Milankovitch CO2/Temperature time lag; and why it is now the other way around for anthropogenic climate disruption.
5. I believe Lindzen deliberately interrupted to me to stop me talking.
6. I attempted to rebut his obfuscation and was silenced by Lord Monckton.
7. Lindzen can apologise and re-insert as many graphs as he likes; but he is merely digging himself an ever-bigger hole (IMHO).
8. Lindzen has even now re-inserted the “missing” graph of Keeling v Temp., the screenshot image of which I have on my blog along with the following caption: “If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this [not now] ‘missing’ graph neither proves nor disproves anything.”
9. This implies that Lindzen doesn’t even appreciate why it is so meaningless and misleading.
10. This is why I was so gobsmacked by the whole thing. It was either complete incompetence or transparently disingenuous.
For those not in the loop, the Cato Intitute has it’s own problems, The climate issue is just a by blow. best summarized by “Love of liberty should not imply a firm belief about the spectrum of CO2″, which makes this comment partially relevant.
…has the right to express his views under our University’s deep commitment to academic freedom. And, of course, no reasonable person would ever assume that he speaks for the University of Rochester.
I also have the right to express my views. I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.
a) Comes from the top
b) Is direct
c) Defends academic freedom
d) States how the original violated the principles of the university
e) Establishes the principles of the university.
An interesting word choice in ‘hysteria’, which apparently fits your meaning so well you use it twice.
The history of that word is dominated by power dynamics, with clear superiority and authority assumed by the one using the word. The most recent medical usage has been largely abandoned, but came from S Freud. He co-opted the concept as part of his psychoanalytic theory, to “scientifically” explain the ravings of women who imagined they had been abused by relatives (includes uterus-nasal sinus pathways treated with cocaine – don’t ask).
That theory evolved into great complexity, with ids, and egos and superegos, dream sequences, phallic cigars, etc. With very interesting direct relevance here, turns out Mr Freud invented the details of many/most of his published cases, to better fit his theory.
Given what we know about how adults treat children now, its very likely most of those women were, in fact, abused by relatives. Freud’s refusal to accept that reality not only enabled those monsters, but his mis-use of science continues to haunt us today, 150 years later.
If “many of his colleagues who disagree with him” think that Dr Lindzen “believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided”, they should join into this discussion, or one like it. Sincerity does not balance, or excuse, bad science. Quiet revision does not replace loud error.
The emotional tone here, that you react to with loaded label, is powered by frustration at the double standards currently in effect. Science holds truth as measurable facts, with verifiable significance; theories have to hold together over time. Pseudo-science allows theories to be judged by convenience, statistics are manipulative games, and truth is ‘whatever works to get us there’.
“Science” by that definition, must be a rare visitor to WUWT – I’ve seen only traces in my few ventures over, although the Dunning-Kruger forces are certainly strong. I can’t comment on a “typical day”.
Lindzen: “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope.”
OK, now maybe I’m being dense here, but how is the idea of continual unforced climate change congruent with Lindzen’ Iris hypothesis. Wouldn’t the latter lead to a sort of homeostasis, stabilizing temperatures?
Yes, there are hysterics, and yes, I find them embarrassing as well. One must, however, consider the provocation. Lindzen is more than simply misguided. He has a long track record of trying to swing lay opinion by misrepresenting science–even by outright prevarication.
Lindzen is not dumb. He knows that the climate dynamics/energy flow on planets like Jupiter and Neptune and on Saturnian moons–hell, even on Mars–are driven by processes entirely different from those that dominate Earth. And yet in front of lay audiences, he has repeatedly brought up these examples. He never mentions them in front of technical audiences, where such arguments would be met with laughter–only lay audiences.
Lindzen is not dumb. He knows that 11 years is way too short a time for drawing conclusions about climatic trends. And yet he helped the BBC reporters set up the ambush of Phil Jones during the climategate nontroversy with just such a meaningless question.
The use of red herrings in his Wall Street Urinal opinion pieces, in his Congressional testimony, in his public appearances and other editorials, are so high that it is amazing there are any red herring left for Roy Spencer. Lindzen is off the reservation. He stopped being a scientist a long time ago.
I do not share the opinions of those calling for him to be dismissed from MIT or ousted from AGU. These demonstrate an astounding naivete of how both science and academia work in my opinion.
Nonetheless, we must be honest. Dick Lindzen is a serial bullshitter. He is now not merely not a scientist. He is an anti-scientist, on the same level as the anti-vaxxers, tobacco shills and other purveyors of comforting lies to a gullible public. This is an EX-scientist!
You’ve been hiding your eyes from the substance of many comments here for fear you might learn something? Or it serves your purpose to pretend it’s not there?
Before you continue this selective blindness, please go through carefully, even if only the recent comments, for substantive identification of the many fudges and fakeries in the material. There’s a lot of it.
In addition, I suggest you go look at Abraham’s presentation (long, but totally courteous and full of information) without your blinkers (any part of it will do, as long as you actually look at the whole segment not skipping over the real science bits) and consider once again if Lord Monckton is to be trusted. http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/
You should know that the Lord subsequently went ballistic and threatened the university with the religious authorities (who apparently were unwilling to play with the suppression of academic freedom) for daring to present the truth in the face of his shenanigans.
This is the guy who set up the Lindzen complete with the atmospherics of using a room for rent in the houses of parliament.
Comparing the comment monitoring at WUWT, which does not allow substantive fact-mongering in its comment streams for long, with the patient attempts of people here to provide substance (in addition to some irritation – nobody said scientists aren’t irritable, especially in this arena with all the nastiness flying in all directions) is pure nonsense.
Comment by Susan Anderson — 10 Mar 2012 @ 11:33 AM
I’ve just read the main article, I have to agree with Ray (#245) were this one mistake you could put it down to a gaff that could be corrected by a letter of apology to the relevant select committee.
This isn’t one mistake – it’s a clear pattern that shows Lindzen is playing infantile games for his own personal agenda. Anyone seeking advice from him as an expert is going to get no advice – just misleading drivel.
The question is, will Lindzen have the honour to acknowledge this ‘mistake’ and write to apologise to the UK Parliament?
I do not share the opinions of those calling for him to be dismissed from MIT or ousted from AGU. These demonstrate an astounding naivete of how both science and academia work in my opinion.
It’s rare that I find myself disagreeing with Ray Ladbury but here’s an instance.
Tenure at MIT is beyond touching; the tenure system itself is not worth despoiling for the likes of Lindzen. This despite the fact that Lindzen’s preferred means of introducing himself before he proceeds to vandalize the minds of his audience is to call attention to his MIT connection, thus of course leveraging MIT’s reputation to open the helpless cognition of his listeners to better inflict damage.
However, the AGU is not a university. It’s a professional organization composed of individuals who have come together in a common cause, specifically that of shedding light on how Earth functions. More, AGU explicitly refers to its role in educating the public both for their own betterment and for the betterment of the human condition. There is no doubt Lindzen is not in companionship with these goals, and there is no important principle to be defended by allowing him to behave in a way that is diametrically opposed to AGU’s mission. Rather, the opposite pertains.
Again, Lindzen does not have to be silent. He simply has to choose between staying in company with the AGU, or continuing to go his own way, destructive as it is. He can stay in company be crafting his presentations so not to mislead, and by stopping his gratuitous insults against fellow AGU members.
Or, AGU could redo their stated aims and clearly stated expectations of their members.
If AGU simply ignores Lindzen, their pronouncements of expected behavior on the part of members and AGU’s role in society mean little. Are these worthy goals worth giving up for a single person?
The idea of an audience member being shushed by Christopher Monckton so that Lindzen can ignore a question is almost all the information needed to close a case. Lindzen should have fled the event in question the moment he understood he was to share a stage with Monckton.
By the way, the closest thing I’ve recently seen to hysteria in connection to AGU was AGU’s sweaty panic in distancing itself from Peter Gleick, thereby setting themselves up for uncomfortable scrutiny when it comes to the actions of other of their members, such as Richard Lindzen. Evaluated by the hastily constructed language they used in their fear-driven ritual humiliation of Gleick, Lindzen is far, far worse.
And we’re not supposed to notice that, and if we do we’re being “hysterical.”
I for one really take strong exception to the claim that there is hysteria (Harvey and Labdbury) and vitriol (Harvey only) on this thread, especially without citing examples, and especially when the definition is not being used appropriately. This is the definition of hysteria (Merriam-Webster):
1: a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions
2: behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess
I know this does not apply to Ray, but I have witnessed apologists for fake skeptics like Lindzen invoking this false claim of “hysteria” in a lame and transparent attempt to dismiss very valid critique and substantiated arguments against them. It is also the same technique used by male chauvinists to dismiss women’s objections to a wrong doing. Alex, is IMO, concern trolling.
The unwarranted comparison to WUWT is then made. Had this been WUWT, by now an orchestrated campaign would be underway to harass and badger Lindzen and his employer (MIT). Recall how fake skeptics ended up wasting everyone’s time at PSU in a unwarranted smear campaign against Dr. Mann? To the best of my knowledge, no such campaign has been engaged upon. To my knowledge only ONE person (Martin Lack) has files a complaint.
During the course of this discussion and subsequent actions by Lindzen yet more disturbing factors have come to light:
1) Lindzen was incapable of offering an unequivocal and sincere apology. In fact, he seemed to be suggesting in his apology that the team that manages GISTEMP is guilty of “confirmation bias”.
2) Lindzen has not apologized for the myriad of other gross and egregious misrepresentations and falsehoods and distortions made in his talk.
3) Is has emerged that Lindzen may be claiming to be an AGU fellow on his CV when the AGU does not list him as a fellow. This matter needs to be clarified.
To be clear, I fully support academic freedom, but I also understand that with that freedom comes a responsibility to pursue the truth and to be honest and true to the science. Lindzen is entitled to his opinions, but not his own facts. His behavior is not consistent with someone of his standing and his exceptionally poor behavior in public and using his affiliation with MIT for clout also brings MIT into disrepute.
Lindzen has enough experience and is schooled sufficiently in this particular discipline to know what is justifiable and what is right and wrong. I do not for one minute buy claims that he is, after all these years working in the field, simply “misguided”. He should know by now how to correctly display the Arctic sea-ice anomalies, for example, and how to scale the axes on graphics so as to appropriately display data and to facilitate meaningful interpretation of the data.
Lindzen’s is ideas on anthropogenic warming are firmly entrenched and have hardly changed since the late eighties despite ever mounting evidence to the contrary; that strikes me as incredibly close minded, especially for an academic.
So what do I suggest? I do not suggest an witch hunt. What I do suggest is that MIT think long and hard about how much they are willing to have their reputation tarnished by Lindzen accusing others (including his peers) of being part of conspiracies and engaging in scientific fraud.
As noted by Eli Rabett above, MIT should do something similar to what the brave president of the University of Rochester did. MIT would be remiss if they do not make it clear that while Lindzen is entitled to his opinions and academic freedoms, they do not endorse and support him attacking his peers, accusing them of fraud and engaging in conspiracies, for example. That he is free to speak his opinions, but not to affiliate himself with them when stating falsehoods or making accusations of deception etc., he can do that in a private capacity if he wishes. If MIT they happen to find reason to pursue this matter further, that is their decision.
Institutions like MIT and the AGU have rules for a reason and are permitted to sanction or discipline their employees if need be. Surely to goodness people here are not suggesting that we all (including them) turn a blind eye when there is just cause and evidence of wrong doing? Having tenure has benefits and entitlements, but it should not make one untouchable or unaccountable or beyond reproach by their employer.
He’s not honestly (free of deceit and untruthfulness) representing climate science in context (see my post #235 above).
one can of course play with the inference and usage of the word honest, but then that could also be dishonest, wouldn’t it.
Not honestly is easily dishonest.
Now, lying is an intentionally false statement. I doubt he is lying because he probably believes his own confirmation bias.
Of course this is typical of those with religious attitudes about a particular perspective. The hypocrisy noted in my post #235 is likely a forest/trees problem.
Professor Lindzen infers others are being religious about climate science when in fact the actual science indicates he is the one being religious. Pot meet kettle.
The gist comes to this: just because he is not looking at the relevant science that defeats his postion (such as Prof. Singer) does not mean he is correct about his assertions; it means he is making an argument from authority, which of course he accuses others of. That makes him a hypocrite whether he recognizes it or not.
Just to clarify, the bar to met for MIT tenure is fundamentally that of research productivity and research integrity. There’s no sign that Lindzen has failed to rise to that metric, quite the opposite.
AGU on the other hand explicitly refers to matters beyond simply conducting scientific research in a way commensurate with improving and maintaining the integrity of our understanding of Earth systems. AGU specifies how members must conduct themselves in their interactions with the public, and that’s where Lindzen is failing.
The best course might be for AGU to confine its activities to those of publishing journals and conducting meetings, stay out of the weeds of ethical judgement and decision making. It’s likely however that many members would disagree with such a course.
At the end of the day, AGU must meet its own specifications and standards and to the extent it does not, it fails itself and it fails the larger world.
#249 Chris R.
When you say “mistake” singular, which mistake are you now talking about? With John P. Reisman’s brilliant forensic analysis (#235) and my comments (#236), you have one hell of a lot of mistakes to choose from.
Very few of the people Lindzen spoke to in Committee Room 14 (mostly Repeal the Act rentamob, a few sceintifically-illiterate journalists and 2 or 3 economically-prejudiced MPs) would accept an apology if offered. They would almost certainly conclude that Lindzen had been duped by the CAGW/UN/WMO/IPCC/Watermelon conspiracy into changing his mind (as have Muller and now Nordhaus of course). However, this is pure fantasy because, as James Hansen has said, Lindzen is probably never going to voluntarily admit he is wrong on this.
So I think we can be sure there will be no comprehensive apology but, if there were to be one, it would not need to be to the UK Parliament (that Lindzen did not address); it would need to be to all those people who generally don’t trust experts but who have put him on a pedestal and idolised him as their (very convenient) “friendly” expert.
You could say that these are the people he has betrayed. Arguably, you could also say that h has betrayed us all because, ever since he bent the ear of VP Dick Cheney’s Task Force on Climate Change (in 2001 was it?), he has been extremely influential in delaying sensible changes to US energy policy for over a decade. Policy delay for over a decade. Sound familiar to anyone?
I wish I was there. It would have been fun to be interrupted by someone who uses terms like “bed-wetting moaning Minnies” if only to have the opportunity to shine light on the pseudo-intellectual arguments and hackery practiced religiously by Monckton.
Next, time someone tries to cut you off, just cut back in and say ‘Is there a reason for you cutting me off; are you afraid your argument won’t hold up to sound rebuttal’.
Then without hesitation, continue… and don’t stop when he tries to re-interrupt you.
Many above, from the perspective of the AGU, have likened Lindzen’s error with the lapse of ethical judgement of Gleick. The two are not comparable in any way.
Gleick by his own admission, at the very least, perpetrated a form of identity theft*. This is compounded by the fact he was chairman of their ethics task force!
Lindzen simply muddled up two similar datasets in a graph. We all agree that this should not happen, but even with the best intentions it does from time to time.
The GISS Y2K problem for example, a discontinuity was found in the GISS data in 2000. This was a result of the wrong dataset being copied from a backup server. Mistakes happen.
You can’t go around demanding that the AGU censure those involved everytime this happens.
[Response:I agree with you that the two situations are not the same, and also that people demanding ‘censure’ of Lindzen by AGU are wrong (and misinformed too, since AGU is in no position to do this; in Gleick’s case, he was actually *reprsenting* AGU, which Lindzen was neither doing nor claiming to be doing). I don’t agree with the ‘identity theft’ statement either, but that’s beside the point. On the other hand, the idea that the alleged Y2K ‘problem’ is some sort of counterexample to ‘innocent mistake’ of Lindzen’s, is completely off base. In both cases, what happened is that people (McIntyre in one case, Lindzen in another) accused GISS of ‘manipulating data’ to get a desired result. In fact, both McIntyre and Lindzen used careless (at best) manipulation of data wrongly to try to get *their* desired result — i.e. to convince their audiences that GISS can’t be trusted.–eric]
I think folks need to get off all the nefarious motivation analyses and accept the fact that the person is most likely simply undergoing what all of we human animals will in our 70’s, cognitive decline. On with the science please, the politics belongs elsewhere.
“In both cases, what happened is that people (McIntyre in one case, Lindzen in another) accused GISS of ‘manipulating data’ to get a desired result.”
And there are many, many other examples of this – see Exhibit Number 1, Watts in his glossy “surface temperature” brochure:
“Around 1990, NOAA began weeding out more than three-quarters of the climate measuring stations around the world. They may have been working under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It can be shown that they systematically and purposefully, country by country, removed higher-latitude, higher-altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler.”
this happens over and over again. Some contrarian finds something that they think looks suspicious, and number 1 accusation is “those climate scientists are lying!” when 99 percent of the time, it is that the contrarian in question doesn’t understand the science or the dataset, and 1 percent of the time it is an honest mistake based on automated algorithms which ends up having no effect on the big picture anyway.
GSW, The issue is NOT a slide with a boo boo on it. The issue is a long history of misrepresentation of science to lay audiences.
I am a firm believer in academic freedom. Lindzen is free to differ from the consensus–the scientific process welcomes that. He is free to be wrong. He is free to represent or misrepresent the science to his colleagues as he sees fit–the only consequence will be to his reputation.
The problem comes when Lindzen tries to score points with lay audiences by not merely misrepresenting the science but by advancing arguments he himself knows to be utter bullshit. That is simply flat wrong and bordering on scientific misconduct. No, I do not favor censure. I don’t see anybody in any position to censure. However, I am not so naive as to ignore that the current incident fits a pattern of behavior. As such, I put as much faith in Lindzen’s notpology as I do in Limbaugh’s.
Many above, from the perspective of the AGU, have likened Lindzen’s error with the lapse of ethical judgement of Gleick. The two are not comparable in any way.
Absolutely correct, but unfortunately it’s apparently an insurmountable intellectual obstacle to imagine a moral continuum from “Generic Angel” to “Generic Devil,” put AGU’s expectations on that line and then attempt to position Gleick and Lindzen somewhere in the spectrum from one end to another.
Simply put, one person was unspeakably rude, the other is helping to make impossible the future we’d prefer to experience.
Somebody here mentioned the word “naive.” Read Bok’s “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life” or be doomed to continue flailing ineffectually as we’re confronted with what we’re told is an existential threat to the future we’d like to see. Just as in the the case of a person who hasn’t bothered to do their homework on climate change and then unleashes personal opinions on the matter, popping off about ethics and morals without first doing at least a little bit of information gathering is a risky business.
But never mind. Obviously we’re doing everything correctly now, for after all Lindzen and Crew are enjoying zero success in their efforts to stall public policy, we’re well on our way back down to 350ppm. Demanding that folks improve their game, make hard choices about what company they wish to keep would be entirely pointless, and rude.
You appear to be ignoring anything inconvenient in any of the posts in response to your comments. Dr. Lindzen’s liberties with the truth are documented in detail, over and over again. If you are unable to see that, you need to go back to school and learn to read plain English.
Your demand that the specific people you name must go back and collate all this clarification and detail for you appears to my untutored eye to be tactics rather than substance. There is no need for this extensive information to be collected and collated for you personally just because you refuse to see it. Start at the beginning and read carefully.
If you are here to learn, that should take care of it. If you are here in pursuit of an agenda and are not interested in the information you claim to seek, then you should know that there are a lot of intelligent people here and you are the emperor without his clothes on.
Comment by Susan Anderson — 10 Mar 2012 @ 10:18 PM
If Lindzen is “dishonest” everyone ought to know about it.
I googled ‘Lindzen dishonesty’ and got quite a bit of solid evidence.
While I am not using the direct definition of dishonest as in: behaving or prone to behave in an untrustworthy or fraudulent way, I am using the English to clearly describe that Professor Lindzen is not representing ‘climate science’ honestly, as in: the quality and state of being true. In other words his representations of climate science are by definition dis-honest, simply because they do not contain nearly a high enough degree of ‘the quality and state of being true’ to pass muster, and his presentations rely on his beliefs rather than a strong evidentiary basis.
However, it is fair to say that though I don’t believe him to be fraudulent in his representations, because I think he ‘believes’ his own bias confirmation, the rest of the direct definition is applicable in the sense that his presentations are not trustworthy when weighed in the context of the relevant science in question.
Of course feel free to prove his assertions correct and thus prove me wrong. But your going to have to turn over a mountain of climate science and physics to do so, as well as the economic evidence. Of course I would also like to see Professor Lindzen prove me wrong as well. In other words, can you or he prove that his assertions and representations of facts out of context are supported by the science? I’m betting neither he, nor you, can prove me wrong.
Lindzen is not intentionally misrepresenting anything. To anyone with a clear head and a bit of knowledge about Lindzen, it is obvious that he is only expressing his sincerely held beliefs. If you read, for example, his 2007 paper ‘Taking Greenhouse Warming Seriously’ you’ll find he makes much the same argument about aerosol cancellation. And in his essay ‘Climate science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?’ he makes the same point about data adjustments:
That corrections to climate data should be called for, is not at all surprising, but that such corrections should always be in the ‘needed’ direction is exceedingly unlikely. Although the situation suggests overt dishonesty, it is entirely possible, in today’s scientific environment, that many scientists feel that it is the role of science to vindicate the greenhouse paradigm for climate change as well as the credibility of models.
So given his prejudices, it is not surprising that he jumps to conclusions. It may be unfortunate that he thinks this way – I tend to agree – but it is rather more concerning that a majority of RealClimate’s readers believe that thought-criminalisation is the necessary response. I wonder how long it will be before someone recommends that Lindzen be killed – perhaps burnt at a stake.
Lindzen is a great scientist; saying that he has a ‘solid background in climate dynamics’ (as Gavin did in this post) makes it sound as though his most important contribution was a textbook on atmospheric dynamics. In fact, Lindzen has single-handedly resolved a long list of fundamental problems in atmospheric science – from the quasi-biennial oscillation, to the semi-diurnal tide, to a theory about the superrotation of the Venusian atmosphere, to fundamental discoveries about gravity waves and tides, to cumulus convection, cloud microphysics, and a whole long list of other things that I don’t frankly understand. If you watch the literature for papers citing Lindzen, they still appear almost daily. Not many other climate scientists come close to Lindzen in achievement.
What I really look forward to is discussion of Lindzen and Choi 2011 and Rondanelli and Lindzen 2010 – the papers Lindzen has in the peer-reviewed literature that partly underpin his belief in low climate sensitivity. I don’t think that Andrew Dessler’s response to Lindzen/Choi was serious. Dessler misrepresents Lindzen’s argument so badly that it is not clear he even read the paper. Likewise, Rondanelli and Lindzen have shown that Goldblatt and Zahnle misunderstood the Rondanelli and Lindzen paper.
It is interesting that so much of this thread is devoted to Lindzen’s credibility and so little of it – as always – to Lindzen’s actual arguments.
[Response: your faith in the quality of the linden and choi rewrite is touching, but hardly conclusive. Try plotting the estimate of sensitivty their method produces for the known cases of specific climate models, and then estimate the ‘goodness of fit’ – all the numbers are in lindzen’s slides. Using these verification statistics estimate the error bars on their prediction from the real world data. It will be in interesting exercise, and perhaps after doing it you’ll have a better appreciation of why lindzen’s recent contributions to the literature are not front and center (even in his own discussions!). – gavin]
You can’t have it both ways – dishonest means dishonest. You say, He (Prof. Lindzen) is not representing ‘climate science’ honestly. Then, it is fair to say that though I don’t believe him to be fraudulent in his representations, because I think he ‘believes’ his own bias confirmation. Then, While I am not using the direct definition of dishonest as in: behaving or prone to behave in an untrustworthy or fraudulent way, I am using the English to clearly describe that Professor Lindzen is not representing ‘climate science’ honestly, as in: the quality and state of being true. In other words his representations of climate science are by definition dis-honest, simply because they do not contain nearly a high enough degree of ‘the quality and state of being true’ to pass muster, and his presentations rely on his beliefs rather than a strong evidentiary basis.
None of this makes any sense. I mean, it can’t even be parsed. Basically, you know he is not dishonest (apparently) but want to claim he is anyway. Right?
#258 John P. Reisman
Thanks for the advice but, I am not sure I will get another invitation from the retired Rev Philip Foster. He seems to have been remarkably forgiving of my review of his mad book on Amazon but I do not think anyone is going to thank him for inviting me to that meeting, let alone permit him to invite me to another one!
Yes it is, isn’t it? And one would have to be extra careful before even suggesting it, right? And make sure that any retraction of such a suggestion would be as high profile as the original suggestion, right?
So is Lindzen being dishonest or not? It’s an interesting question, but I don’t think that this can be resolved here to anyone’s satisfaction, without Lindzen telling us what he was thinking. So far, he has refused to show up.
The bigger question would be is Lindzen correct in his scientific analysis? The answer to that clearly appears to be no. He did not represent the GISS data correctly; therefore his interpretation of that data is not credible. He implied that the GISS manipulated the data inappropriately. By doing that, he angered colleagues (how could he expect otherwise?). In lieu of an apology, I don’t see how anyone has cause to complain if those whom he has falsely accused fail to treat him with the respect that his defenders here seem to feel he should be accorded.
If Lindzen keeps making these types of mistakes, and from those mistakes continues to imply scientific misconduct by others, his credibility will continue to decline, regardless of anything he has done in the past. What other outcome could possibly be expected?
And when this type of presentation mirrors that same type of accusations against scientists that are currently being parroted endlessly, without scientific support, by politicians backed by vastly wealthy vested interests (and since, by doing this, Lindzen is repeating the same type of behavior he exhibited years ago concerning tobacco usage, with spectacularly poor results), I really don’t see how his reputation can avoid serious erosion.
None of you can say I did not warn you. John Kosowski has wasted an entire month of my life. His is not seeking the truth, therefore he will never be satisfied when anybody gives it to him. His willful selective blindness is now, I think, plain for all to see. The only question that remains is why is he still able to contribute to this discussion forum? He is clearly incapable of taking on board any information that conflicts with his prejudice. This is self-evidently cognitive dissonance in action. Leon Festinger could have written a book about it. In fact, he did.
The good news is that the right are getting more and more shrill and more and more desperate in their messages to postpone action on AGW. We still have time to stop 2C (perhaps) and certainly time to avoid higher emissions but I still doubt we can do it on technology alone and need life style change and large scale effieiency gains to to mitigate CO2.
Everythng to play for politically still and the window of opportunity is diminishing. However still time to make 2C avoidable only not much time
Has he ever published this in the peer reviewed literature? I might have missed it. He certainly spends a lot of time repeating it to lay audiences in the form of ex cathedra pronouncements.
Infuriating as these tactics are, I am against the idea of a formal condemnation by an institution. Even if he is not censored, the fossil fuelists including RL may invent an imaginary action along these lines. They would appear to welcome the idea. Victimhood is yet another diversion.
It is always hard to settle the issue of intentionality. But it may be less important than the one of reliability and this event has thrown more light on that.
I’m not convinced that establishing whether or not Lindzen believes what he is presenting is the same as establishing whether or not he is being honest.
If he does believe what he is putting forward then he is not being honest with himself. Is this so much more forgivable than being deliberately dishonest with others? It is not as though he hasn’t had previous similar errors pointed out to him.
Craig Nazor @279
My dictionary gives the definition of “honest” in the prevailing modern sense as “Sincere, truthful candid; that will not lie, cheat or steal.”
So this talk of dishonesty is effective discussing whether or not Lindzen is a liar.
The start of Lindzen’s seminar pretty much gives the answer. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02148/RSL-HouseOfCommons_2148505a.pdf
“I wish to thank the Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act for the opportunity to present my views on the issue of climate change – or as it was once referred to: global warming. Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. ”
Lindzen is presenting his own view of the climate change debate. For a man who does not believe that AGW is a problem, can what he says (mistakes & selectivity included) be lying?
Of course, a beilef such as Lindzen’s is spectacularly difficult to square with the science. So Honest Dick has to come up with some ‘unconventional’ scientific mechanisms to achieve this. As he told his audience at the seminar “The arguments on which the catastrophic [climate] claims are made are extreemly weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest”
So Honest Dick is not a liar but he is quite happy to brand as liars those who disagree with his beliefs (or at least some of them some of the time).
In this big long thread I haven’t seen comment on why Lindzen was making pronouncements at Westminster. He had been invited by a bunch campaigning to raise enough signatures to get a debate in parliament on the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 (The group – http://repealtheact.org.uk/about ). Such petitions were introduced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown & the biggest petition by far back then was “We the undersigned call for the Prime Minister to resign.”
I believe the present government are obliged to debate petitions of a certain size but if this particular petition started to look like achieving even a small change, the coalition government would likely break asunder.
It is not that I have ‘faith’ in the Lindzen/Choi paper. It is just that their challenge has gone more or less unanswered now for nearly 10 months. Given the attention the first paper received, I find this odd.
For instance, you wrote on 8th Jan 2010:
… [Lindzen and Choi 2009] was not a nonsense paper – that is, it didn’t have completely obvious flaws that should have been caught by peer review … Even if it now turns out that the analysis was not robust, it was not that the analysis was not worth trying, and the work being done to re-examine these questions is a useful contribution to the literature – even if the conclusion is that this approach to the analysis is flawed.
Well, from what I can see – e.g. of the review of LC11 by reviewer #3 who Lindzen believed is V. Ramanathan – the approach to the analysis may not be flawed after all. Reviewer #3’s objections were not devastating, and Lindzen and Choi largely met that reviewer’s concerns, from what I can see, in their APJAS submission.
Reviewer #4, who is apparently Langley’s Patrick Minnis, went further and said,
Trying to understand the feedback of the Earth-atmosphere system to radiative forcings from observations has been going on for a long time and remains difficult. This paper continues in that vein and, as far as I am concerned, shows that observations and model calculations are different.
After requesting that the paper discuss why Trenberth et al. 2010 obtained different results using a similar method he says, “I am glad to see that this paper was redone … I would recommend it for publication after major revisions that address the main concern above ….”
Lately, one of the only papers to have cited LC11 is a paper by Chul E. Chung and Petri Räisänen, where Chung has co-authored a number of papers with Ramanathan. Chung and Räisänen find tentative empirical support for the Lindzen/Choi hypothesis. Otherwise, no one seems to want to discuss this paper.
Thus, Lindzen and Choi’s key points – that (1) simple regressions between outgoing radiation and surface temperature will exaggerate climate sensitivity; and (2) that the method of Lindzen and Choi applied to models finds positive feedbacks but finds negative feedbacks when applied to observations.
This is surely a critical issue that needs to be resolved. I note in the AR5 ZOD the solution was to ignore the LC11 paper. I don’t see how pretending the paper doesn’t exist is a satisfactory solution.
As far as your suggestions to convince myself that Lindzen/Choi are wrong, I am afraid I do not understand what you mean and, in any case, wouldn’t such a demonstration be useful to others?
[Response: L&C2011 is deservedly obscure. That you don’t understand why is unfortunate, but I do urge you to think more about it. Statistical models gain credibility in their verification in situations where the answer is known (but where that information is not used in the construction of the model). L&C provide results for their method using the CMIP3 models (which have known sensitivities). Their results (table 4) are negatively and insignificantly correlated with the correct answers and their error bars are pretty much floor to ceiling. Why anyone would think this is therefore a suitable method for deciding climate sensitivity in the real world is beyond me. I remain amused that the self-appointed defenders of statistical faith in the blogosphere have not examined this. – gavin]
The issue that bothers me–and which I’ve stressed repeatedly here–is not Lindzen’s dissent from the consensus, nor his self-delusion. Rather, it is is repeated use for lay audiences of arguments that he knows full well are pure unadulterated bullshit and advanced merely to score points with a denialist audience.
To claim that warming on Jupiter (for which there is scant evidence, by the way) in any way casts doubt on the greenhouse nature of warming here on Earth is utterly absurd. For one thing most of the energy driving climate on Jupiter is generated internally! The Sun provides only a fraction of the energy it would at Earth’s orbit. Lindzen must know this–and yet he uses it in front of a lay audience, never in front of a scientific audience, where it would be dismissed as the risible farce that it is.
This is at the very least disingenuous if not utterly dishonest, and he has been guilty of such lapses too often to attribute them to mere rhetorical enthusiasm. In terms of science, Lindzen is off the reservation.
Lindzen is not intentionally misrepresenting anything.
Didn’t you get zinged on that Deltoid thread for repeatedly making assertions that presume your ability to mind-read?
…but that such corrections should always be in the ‘needed’ direction is exceedingly unlikely.
And that implication right there is clearly false, as anyone who takes five minutes to look at the data can ascertain. I bet you can find a refutation on a blog in under 60 seconds via that fancy new lookup thingamajig the kids call, what is it, Teh Googel?
Lindzen certainly has the skills to do so. It is very difficult to escape the conclusion that he is either intentionally misleading a.k.a. dishonest under any definition of the word – or so severely incompetent that he fails at basic fact checking.
Alex Harvey, whether Lindzen has deliberately said things he knew not to be true, or whether he has just negligently said things which are not true, ie, said things which are not true having taken no reasonable measures to check on the accuracy of his claims, is a matter of moral indifference IMO. In either case, he has not regard for truthfulness.
Consequently we do not need to vex ourselves over his particular state of mind when he said that there is no such thing as settled science (thereby declaring by implication that geocentrism is still an open possibility in science); or when he said GISS was doctoring their temperature index; or when he presented a graph showing a lack of correlation between temperature and CO2 concentrations that would have required a climate sensitivity of 8 plus to show a correlation due to the shortness of the interval; or when he said it is still an open question in science as to whether the rise in CO2 concentration in the 20th century was anthropogenic (response to the first question in the Q&A session). In each instance a modicum of fact checking would have shown his claims to be false. That he does not bother with even that modicum means that the effort he is prepared to make to ensure his claims are true is zero!
“You don’t explain why there’s global warming on Mars, Jupiter,
Triton and Pluto.”
Fortunately someone quoted from the transcript; the links in the original post are now 404; the source was the BBC Radio 4 ‘Now Show’ (Mar 16 2007).
You can probably find a transcript or video online if you search a bit.
Deconvoluter: Infuriating as these tactics are, I am against the idea of a formal condemnation by an institution. Even if he is not censored, the fossil fuelists including RL may invent an imaginary action along these lines. They would appear to welcome the idea. Victimhood is yet another diversion.
If staying silent is guided by fear of what may happen, perhaps it would help to imagine what’s happened already while remaining silent. Yes, AGU might have to be brave, weather some slings and arrows, but eventually they’re going to have to address situations such as the one under discussion here or they really may as well stick strictly to publication of journals and conducting meetings, dissolve other activities such as the apparently mostly idle “ethics task force.”
AGU is perfectly, uniquely suited to address this. Lay members of the public can’t speak to the quality of Lindzen’s communications, government certainly should not, MIT is a poor fit. AGU is the society of professionals directly concerned with Lindzen’s field and AGU explicitly refers to “excellence and integrity” of member interactions with the public as part of its guiding principles.
The public needs guidance on this matter, desperately. If we’re believe what we’re told by such as the AGU about climate change, the few senior scientists willing for whatever reason to introduce confusion into the public square are acting squarely against the public interest.
Supposing you were a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and one of your colleagues– also a member of ASCE– was often found testifying to the public that bridges are seriously overbuilt, that the dead load of most bridges was guided by contractor financial interests rather than safety requirements. Worse, imagine that policymakers began adapting codes for bridge construction to fit the imaginary situation presented by the “misrepresentations.”
Would you expect ASCE to offer the public some guidance on this?
Wrong. I am not dissembling, I am doing my best to be precise. Based on the definitions of the words I have been using and yes, by parsing the definition of dishonest, as I am not accusing him of being fraudulent, the evidence is reasonably clear that he is being dishonest in that his arguments regarding climate science are not ‘free of untruthfulness’ or have sufficient quantities of ‘the quality or state of being true ‘ when weighed in relevant context.
If Lindzen and I ended up in court it would be relatively simple to show how his arguments are wrong, and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. None of the denialists really want to end up in court on this issue though, because they will lose; and thus endeth their parade. Monckton, Coleman, Heartland Institute, Singer, have threatened directly or by inference that they might take people to court, but as Singer learned in the Justin Lancaster case,
that’s not a good idea, because global warming wins when it goes to court. And now such a case would be very high profile, so no SLAPP suit would be able to prevent the truth from coming out.
And I hate it when children use such boorish argument style such as: You know I’m right. Right?
Well, since you are apparently intent on making a childish argument and playing games, let’s take it down to your level and play in the sandbox, or mud if you prefer:
“…it can’t even be parsed.”
I realize some try to be ironic. I’m guessing you are trying to be moronic? Right?
You do understand English. Right?
English is your second language? Right?
You are one of those pseudo-intellectual know-it-alls with an education that actually ‘think’ they know ‘everything’ because they went to school, thus based on ones own confirmation bias feels no need to base ones views on relevant facts but rather personal reality; nor do you have need to parse for context due to your intellectual superiority? Right?
See how irritating that is.
verb [ trans. ]
analyze (a sentence) into its parts and describe their syntactic roles.
• Computing analyze (a string or text) into logical syntactic components, typically in order to test conformability to a logical grammar.
• examine or analyze minutely : he has always been quick to parse his own problems in public.
Of course anyone can parse definitions for connotative value while giving due consideration to syntax… well maybe not you. Right?
What I did in my posts on this matter above was… er, um… oh yeah, parsing.
To quote Susan Anderson in #270 “If you are unable to see that, you need to go back to school and learn to read plain English.” Right?
Oh and to reiterate, yes, I’m saying Professor Lindzen is being dishonest about the climate science (as per definition), intentionally or not does not matter, in that the simple fact is that he is not being honest, by definition, in that his words on this matter do not contain sufficient quantities of the ‘quality or state of being true’ when weighed in the context of the relevant science and economics.
And let me reiterate and accentuate that last ‘point’ of the previous sentence: PERIOD
In English one may parse definitions in discourse with consideration of syntax, and no I’m not saying he is committing fraud. But I already explained that. You were to busy with your fingers in your ears singing nah nah nah nah nah nah, to hear. Right?
Most people in this thread are using English. You should try it sometime. Right?
BTW, I’m always happy to be corrected, but if your going to correct me, it would help if what you were saying was actually correct. Now I don’t think I can make this any more clear. If you have further questions about what I am saying, go back to school and get some more education in language and communication (specifically English).
You’re going to now go purchase a dictionary. Right?
No, probably not. So here:
free of deceit and untruthfulness;
noun ( pl. truths |troōðz; troōθs|)
the quality or state of being true
• (also the truth) that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
adjective ( truer , truest )
1 in accordance with fact or reality
2 accurate or exact
(of a person or statement) telling or expressing the truth; honest
saying or consisting of something that is false or incorrect
behaving or prone to behave in an untrustworthy or fraudulent way
Ref. Posts: #235, #255, #273
P.S. As pointed out by Lotharsson in #289, in Lindzen’s representations of climate science he is either dishonest (as in not free of untruthfulness, or not presenting the true facts using relevant science, in context) or incompetent. Right?
P.P.S. To prove me wrong all you have to do is prove Lindzen is representing climate science truly, honestly, correctly, factually, in context of all relevant information and with proper consideration of confidence intervals. Right?
Are you sure about that reference? I don’t know if you live you in the UK, but the Radio 4 “Now Show” is a comedy sketch programme. I’m unaware of gavin and richard earning extra money in their spare time as a sort of Laurel & Hardy comedy double act. Gavin is this true?
Most people think of “dishonesty” as something intentional, not inadvertent. Try this update:
– Richard Lindzen understands the science he’s speaking of but sincerely believes the public policy outcomes of heeding that science are so negative that he must misrepresent the science so as to help avoid those policies being enacted. Acting under moral suasion he is being dishonest.
– Richard Lindzen understands the science he’s speaking of, understands the consequent requirement to beneficially adjust public policy to take heed of this science, but for reasons we cannot know chooses to misrepresent the science. He is engaging in dishonesty for reasons apparently unconnected with moral compulsion.
– Richard Lindzen understands the science but is consistently careless, sloppy and inattentive when it comes to making presentations of that science, hence does not consider himself to be misrepresenting science even though he is conveying inaccurate information. He is innocent of dishonesty.
– Richard Lindzen simply does not understand the science and thus does not consider himself to be engaging in “misrepresentation” though in fact he is conveying inaccurate information. He is innocent of dishonesty.
– The vast majority of other actors in climate science are misrepresenting science and Richard Lindzen is not. He is innocent of dishonesty.
Would you expect ASCE to offer the public some guidance on this?
And what would the public say about ASCE later, when bridges began collapsing and killing people because it was easier and less frightening to remain silent earlier, when an ASCE member persuasively suggested there was insufficient certainty concerning the amount of steel necessary to build a bridge, that bridge design was guided by the desire of governments to impose more taxes and people disagreeing with this were dishonest?
We’re in the near vicinity of a defining moment concerning the broader utility of the AGU as a professional organization, its relevance to the public. Somebody up there needs to make up their minds about a course for the future.
Hats off to Peter Gleick and his ill-conceived act; advancing discussion about how scientists should engage in civics is long overdue.
It appears to me that, whatever may be said about Lindzen’s “views” on climate change and whether he sincerely “believes” what he is saying about the science and cannot therefore be called “dishonest” for expressing those “views”, Lindzen’s accusation that NASA GISS has been dishonest about the data is clearly dishonest — knowingly and deliberately so.
I don’t see how that can be disputed. And to my mind, Lindzen’s accusation that NASA GISS has deliberately “manipulated the data in a bad way” (as Gaving puts it) in order to fake an increasing temperature trend, is far more troubling than any “views” he may express about climate change as such.
It really plays to the worst of AGW denialism, the whole cesspool of cult-like conspiracy theories claiming that major scientific organizations are not “merely” all wrong, but are perpetrating a hoax for some nefarious purpose.
Deconvoluter’s point that it is not helpful to create the appearance of martyrdom, no matter how deserving the miscreant is, is worth a passing thought.
I’ve checked, and remind people that academic institutions do not fire senior professors and professional associations do not decommission fellows for anything short of crimes in the police sense. I’m surprised how many of you don’t know this.
I’m sorry people would like the world to be different, but there it is. Romney and Trump fire people, universities and professional bodies not so much, at least for those with seniority. It’s a mad bad dangerous world, and what an indisciplined bunch we are.
Susan, I suggest that we’re facing a novel situation here and that rigidly behaving as we’ve done in the past might no longer be sufficient.
In any case, AGU needn’t “decommission” anybody, yet. What the organization might do is to distance itself from Richard Lindzen’s activities in the public arena, explicitly remove its imprimatur from Lindzen’s extracurricular pursuits, just as it so recently did w/Peter Gleick.
“Dr. Richard Lindzen’s achievements as a geophysics researcher are beyond dispute, and Dr. Lindzen is of course free to express himself to the public as he wishes. However, AGU’s policy is to promote excellence and integrity in interactions of our members with the public. The public may wish to take into account that Dr. Lindzen’s communications efforts as a person seeking to shape public opinion about climate science are not in keeping with AGU’s ideals.”
Words to that effect, more or less. Not particularly harsh.
With hindsight, delicate and anachronistic interpretations of proper comportment might not seem as important as they do today. For instance, a costly lack of adequate flood preparations in central London because Dr. Lindzen was left perfectly free to say whatever he wished without any authoritative, sufficient high profile cautions against incorporating his thoughts into public policy might seem more important than being punctiliously careful of Dr. Lindzen’s feelings.
Whether stronger sanctions are attractive depends on where any person places Lindzen’s activities on the scale from “Generic Angel” to “Generic Devil.” As it stands now, nothing is happening. Existence at all is sometimes a marvelous virtue; the existence of even roughly internally consistent, coherent behavior on the part of AGU with regard to Lindzen would be welcome to those of us on the outside who are watching Lindzen attempt to steer public policy in the direction what we’re told is lunacy.
Regarding the response of professional organizations to transgressions short of criminal acts, Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s history is a very poor fit to this situation but nonetheless controverts your assertion regarding the range of possibilities.
Do I personally hold the opinion that Lindzen is being dishonest?
Yes, I do.
Will we get everyone in this discussion here to agree on this point? I seriously doubt it. Our freedom of speech here in America means that Lindzen has broken no laws, nor do I believe that he should somehow be “silenced.”
I won’t even try to guess how he has this rationalized in his own mind.
But I fail to see how his recent statements can do anything other than further damage his credibility among those capable of critical thinking. And I am increasingly angry at those who are trying to block decisive action to address AGCC through spurious attacks on scientists.
“Please accept my sincere apologies for misrepresenting NASA-GISS data. I downloaded temperature data from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt to make a graph in 2009. About a month ago, I went to the same file to get the more recent points and was surprised to find a considerably different data set. The formatting of the data set was the same, and I did not notice that the heading said that the data referred to meteorological stations only. As a consequence, I concluded incorrectly that NASA-GISS had manipulated the data. I am making every effort to correct my error.”
Lindzen: “It seems to me to have been an innocent error, given that the URL’s were the same…”
Can someone from GISS comment on this? They seem to be suggesting an error was made on the GISS server side that eventually made its way thru to their analysis, is this true?
[Response: No. This is not true. The met index has always been “Glb.Ts” and the land ocean index is “Glb.Ts+dSST” as far back as anyone can check (and the wayback machine confirms. I don’t doubt that Hayden thought he was downloading the same thing, but they did not, do not, and have never had, the same URLs. This was pointed out to lindzen and hayden. This has not so far been acknowledged by either. – gavin]
By the way, despite Lindzen’s “apology” the slide purporting to demonstrate Hansen’s data massaging is still displayed at the Telegraph, as touted by Repeal the Act, the sponsor of Monckton and Lindzen’s appearance.
Surely an honest, sincere apology would have included taking steps to remove the slide or perhaps amend the presentation to point out the “error” and include an apology?
“At a public meeting in the Commons, the climate scientist Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT made a number of declarations that unsettle the claim that global warming is backed by “settled science”.
How to explain the procession of eminent opinion leaders – some even in our own Royal Society – who advance the tenets of catastrophic global warming? “It is science in the service of politics,” he said.”
For the squeamish it’s worth noting that Richard Lindzen himself has no problem suggesting behavior modification for outfits such as the Royal Society.
For instance, acting as a member of the “Academic Advisory Council” of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lindzen provided a foreword to GWPF’s Nullius in Verba: The Royal Society and Climate Change in which the Royal Society is severely criticized for not behaving properly concerning climate change.
Lindzen revisits and elaborates previous offensive speculations in this foreword:
“… regardless of the science, the answer is predetermined. Is this simply ignorance or dishonesty? My guess is that Rees and Cicerone were only mindlessly repeating a script prepared by the environmental movement.”
There are other flings in there about other scientists, par for the course.
What is the AGU going to say when GWPF turns its attention to the AGU? Will the AGU ask Lindzen to decide if his future lies with GWPF or the AGU? Or would that be inappropriate? Presently there’s a concerted effort to roll back energy and climate policy legislation in the UK; this smearing effort by Lindzen and others is connected with that and it remains to be seen if we’ll ever see similarly attention-getting legislation here in the US so perhaps we’ll be “lucky” and not find out.
How’s the saying go? “You can run but you can’t hide?”
““… regardless of the science, the answer is predetermined. Is this simply ignorance or dishonesty? My guess is that Rees and Cicerone were only mindlessly repeating a script prepared by the environmental movement.””
Does he have a sense of irony? I hope that will teach him to mindlessly repeat a script prepared by the denier movement.
#310–“How’s the saying go? “You can run but you can’t hide?””
Treading perhaps perilously close to a Godwin’s Law infraction, I must say that I’m reminded a bit of another saying–Niemoller’s famous litany of apathy, which begins: “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out…”
I hasten to add that I’m not aware yet of anyone actually ‘coming for’ anyone in this sense. (Though Cuccinelli did ‘come with’ a sub poena.) Still, it’s well to consider what defamation of others simply for telling the truth might lead to–and what one might do about said defamation while there is still time to do something.
Ray: Lindzen uses the argument in his closing remarks
Let’s roll the tape, shall we?
Lindzen: You don’t explain why there’s global warming on Mars, Jupiter, Triton and Pluto. You don’t look at the ocean data and see, that whereas your boss Jim Hansen was saying that the heating of the ocean proved the flux that he needed for high sensitivity, that in the last year there’ve been two papers in the same journal, that point out that the original Levitus data’s wrong, that the ocean is cool, and that the new numbers would call for one-tenth the sensitivity that Hansen mentioned. If all this is so certain, why is the data changing, or is it a case when the data changes you ignore it and stick to the point.
The idea that I should satisfy myself privately that LC11 contains an obvious flaw is a bit ridiculous, I am sorry.
[Response: So am I. You seem engaged in the issue, and presumably you have read the paper. I would indeed like to think that people like you can think critically when pointed to a real issue. – gavin]
You are asking me to believe that the LC09 paper was so important that RealClimate needed to respond to it with three separate posts, as well as three responses in the peer reviewed literature, not to mention a response from Roy Spencer and Lubos Motl, who agreed that there were flaws. But now that Lindzen and Choi fixed all the known errors, had it reviewed by at least seven reviewers including probably V. Ramanathan, none of whom evidently spotted this error you are cryptically alluding to, you want me to accept that this is best left as an exercise for private citizens to learn about statistics. I’m sorry; I am sure this will satisfy many of your readers, but not me. That said, you do have a good point – perhaps Steve McIntyre has an equal duty to make some comment on the statistics in the paper. I will follow this up.
“I do not think it means what you think it means.”
As was pointed out to me, statute law jurisdictions can make whatever definitions they like for anything, including identity theft. Illinois has the bizarre definition that you can be in possession of someone’s name, and not have stolen their identity, but the moment you use that name to steal something of value, you have stolen their identity.
The problem for Heartland is that no identity theft has been committed under that law until they announce whose name was used in the “identity theft”. So far they have not been forthcoming with that name as far as I’m aware.
That Dr. Lindzen didn’t check his conclusions first with GISS indicates to me a level of unprofessionalism. The older I get, the more cautious I become with new interesting things I come up with. Often I find they are neither new or interesting.
More disheartening to me was Dr. Curry’s response to Lindzen’s presentation.
Also note that Dr. Lindzen thinks the GISS temperature adjustments all go one way. Blatently untrue.
Do you see how Lindzen has played people now? Even in his apology, he words it so you might make the conclusion that it is still GISS’s fault. His apology is a veiled attack. Forget that most people won’t follow up on his “apology”, he has made honest readers like yourself conclude that it’s the other guy’s fault. After injuring the public image of GISS, he uses his apology to make an insult (while still being wrong).
Comment by Unsettled Scientist — 11 Mar 2012 @ 11:34 PM
Further to my last comment I just learnt of a new paper published a few days ago that provides further support for Lindzen and Choi 2011:
Masters, T. 2012: On the determination of the global cloud feedback from satellite measurements, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 3, 73-90, doi:10.5194/esdd-3-73-2012
ABSTRACT: A detailed analysis is presented in order to determine the sensitivity of the estimated short-term cloud feedback to choices of temperature datasets, sources of top-ofatmosphere (TOA) radiative flux data, and temporal averaging. It is shown that the results 5 of a previous analysis, which suggested a likely positive value for the shortterm cloud feedback, depended upon combining radiative fluxes from satellite and reanalysis data when determining the cloud radiative forcing (CRF). These results are contradicted when ÉCRF is derived from NASA’s Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) all-sky and clear-sky measurements over the same period, resulting in a likely negative feedback. The differences between the radiative flux data sources are thus explored, along with the potential problems with each method. Overall, there is little correlation between the changes in the CRF and surface temperatures on these timescales, suggesting that the net effect of clouds varies during this time period quite apart from global temperature changes. Attempts to diagnose long-term cloud feedbacks in this manner are unlikely to be robust.
It looks like the deadline for comments on the paper closes in four days (March 16). :-)
Consider the services that Professor Richard Lindzen provides (the roles he fills).
1) Professor of meteorology at MIT; a life-long academic since 1960.
2) BFF to deniers since 1989 (see how his CV changes in 1989, page 14). A creator of straw men and red herrings, caster of aspersions, seeder of doubt; a world-class goat-getter. He’s also a kidder, a joker, a comedian.
Judging from comments here (and from the way I feel when I hear him speak), I’d say he got our goats, and how!
So what to do? Maybe treat him like Steven Colbert treats Bill O’Reilly — with deference and praise and hosannas! The guy is just funnin’ with us, yanking our chain. Could we just play along a little? I mean, his presentation was introduced by Lord Monckton himself — this is comedy gold!
Prof. Lindzen explains C02 to Australia’s Alan Jones, with excellence and integrity:
If C02 caused warming, how could human production of C02 be catastrophic, when nature produces what, 32 times as much as human beings; 97% of C02 in the world is naturally produced.
Well, yeah, you’re, you’re addressing the issue of how can one regard something essential to life as a pollutant, and, uh, I don’t know the answer to that, it seems absurd but on the other hand you can get many people to sign on to government control of uh, dihydrogen oxide, ah because they don’t know it’s water.
That’s it. I mean just taking the maths of it, I mean you’re, you’re an eminent scientist; is it true that the proportion of the Earth’s annual production of C02 is about 3% produced by human beings and 97% roughly produced by nature?
Well that’s correct, that’s correct; the (talkover) argument often is presented that the natural part is in balance and our contribution is imbalancing, unbalancing the system and so that’s leading to a rise. Uh, that’s an arguably possible situation but in point of fact there’s limited evidence of that and the merest uh misunderstanding of the 97% could easily overbalance man’s contribution but to be honest that is not an issue that is known at present and I would argue it’s not even the central issue.
So we’re talking about miniscula uh things here I mean Australia’s share if ah human beings the world over produce 3% and Australia’s share of production is say 1.5% Australia’s (talkover) pardon?
Ah, no I mean Australia, the, uh, Australia could sink into the sea without affecting the C02 balance significantly.
That’s it; Australia could sink into the sea without affecting the C02 balance significantly. My figures tell me we produce about 1 molecule in every 5.7 million molecules (interrupted)
Yeah, but I mean, you know you should really get of the wagon of C02 per se; I mean you know then there’s the question of even if man did contribute it and it did contribute to warming you have massive bait and switch operation going on
That’s of cooling.
No, bait and switch. Is that an expression that’s common in Australia?
Ok. What it means in the U.S. is you, uh, offer someone something or you tell them something and then you actually are peddling something else, you’re switching (interrupted)
Right. And what’s the something else?
So in this case what’s going on is, people are told that C02 is increasing and that’s true. They’re told the climate is changing and that’s true, it always changes. They’re told that if you add C02 that should contribute some warming and that’s true. And then they say therefore we should be greatly afraid and we must do something and uh the world is coming to an end. But there’s no connection between the trivially true statements and uh, the conclusions that are reached. And yet the conclusions that are crucial to the policy are treated as an afterthought, that once you’ve established, you know, ah, that the Earth, ah, exists then you must ah, go along with their policy. This is really rather ridiculous.
#278 Martin Vermeer. “And one would have to be extra careful before even suggesting it, right? [This is about suggesting that Lindzen might be accused of dishonesty (#266 John Kosowski refers)]. And make sure that any retraction of such a suggestion would be as high profile as the original suggestion, right?”
As far as I can see there has been no retraction here at all of the many accusations made on this blog that Lindzen was dishonest. At #323 you make a grudging acceptance that Lindzen has apologised for his mistake, “this time around he apologized (mutter, mutter)” but so far no “high profile” retraction. Where is it?
#321, Alex Harvey – I think you need to reread that passage. It doesn’t say what you’re suggesting it says. Masters et al. 2012 are arguing that the determination of cloud feedback factors from observations is highly sensitive to choice of datasets and methodology. Also that correlation between cloud changes and surface temperature over the short period where observations are available is not strong enough to draw strong conclusions either way.
In #275 and #287, Alex Harvey is fishing for an official response to Lindzen and Choi 2011.
Also, in the Q&A during the London meeting, the question was asked if Trenberth had responded to L&C 2011.
Lindzen and Choi 2009 was thoroughly debunked by Trenberth, Lindzen admitted the mistakes, and the 2011 which obtains the same extremely low “climate sensitivity” conclusions, using much the same data, albeit with a new method (“lead-and-lag”).
There was not much scientific response to the Lindzen and Choi 2011 paper, and PNAS rejected it.
But maybe that is why the paper still seems a very important piece of evidence of “low climate sensitivity” claimed by Lindzen and his supporters.
I looked at the “lead-and-lag” method, and it really loooks like Lindzen has made cherry-picking part of his algorithm now. His “lead-and-lag” method has a negative feedback bias, which would explain much of Lindzen’s ‘negative feedback’ claims. I posted my initial findings on several blogs. William Connolley found my analysis “interesting” and mentioned that the method reminded him of the Schwartz paper :
I think we are likely arguing semantics rather than substance.
To be clear how I see it. If Lindzen makes an incorrect statement that he knows is wrong, then he is a liar. If he makes a statement that he knows others say (& evidence says) is very wrong but which he truly believes is correct, it may be that this is solely due to his stupidity, it is certainly very unscientific not to make plain he is in an extreme position, a minority position, but if he believes what he says then he is definitely being honest.
And there’s a grey area, a very large one which those in denial will defend with less honesty, likely significantly less honesty. But in doing so, they are continuing to be honest with their beliefs.
An instance @326 & particularly Lindzen’s second statement. He is well out of the comfort zone here but he wants to give Jones the answer he is after because Lindzen agrees with the cause.
What should his answer have been? ‘”Well that’s not correct because it’s nearer 6% and if we’re talking net emissions it’s 220%. That’s right 220% because…”
Instead we get “Well that’s correct, hurrump, hurrump, lie, lie hurrump.” It was a dishonest answer unless you truly believe that AGW is a non-problem which dictates that it is better, it is more honest, to talk rubbish and make the odd unfortunate less-than-factual statement (ie to lie); that is better than presenting minuscule but inconvenient truths to Jones’s audience.
However, AGU’s policy is to promote excellence and integrity in interactions of our members with the public.
But how can it do more to achieve that objective? Peer review filters out some of the worst departures from excellence , but it is not aimed directly at members of the public or scientists in other specialties.
Consider what happened when the contrarians attacked Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth.” They appealed to a court in the UK chaired by a non-expert judge. There ought to be a more satisfactory way of deciding whether some educational material is accurately representing the state of research.
In exceptional circumstances, an institution might consider whether it could design a method for saying Educational lecture X,speech Y, documentary Z does (does not) correctly represent the research we have conducted in this subject. ‘Correctly represent’ would have to be defined generously enough to allow for simplification which has to used in short talks or in education.
There is another far worse example however, an outrageous stunt, which shows what we must be careful to avoid. The UK’s Institute of Physics was apparently hi-jacked by a sub-section of an Energy Sub-group (or something very similar) who then proceeded to petition the House of Commons about the CRU at the UEA in a way which falsely hinted at malpractice, possible by its own members. Unfortunately it came to be known in some quarters as the Submission by the Institute of Physics.
#286 MA Rodger says… “In this big long thread I haven’t seen comment on why Lindzen was making pronouncements at Westminster. He had been invited by a bunch campaigning to raise enough signatures to get a debate in parliament on the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008″
With all due respect, I am bound to say to you that have not been reading carefully enough because, from the first time I commented here, this is exactly what I have been trying to say…
Apart from my personal intervention (at 05m28s in video) in the proceedings, the entire event was the psychological equivalent of cold air trapped in the bottom of a valley on a calm day in winter; that is to say – it was a ‘reality inversion’!
It really is that simple; and it is simply a disgrace that a prominent climate sceintist should choose to get involved in the misdirection of public opinion – let alone repeatedly interfere in the political process in both the USA and in the UK – purely because, as James Hansen put it…
Does it perhaps bother you that PNAS ultimately rejected L&C’11? Does that maybe indicate to you that one should view the result with a little skepticism–I mean real skepticism, not the sort of selective credulity that seems to come naturally to you.
Or perhaps one could look at Lindzen’s use of utterly bogus arguments in front of lay audiences and wonder whether he might not advance equally bogus if less transparent arguments to his colleagues?
Or one could even actually read to paper you linked to–which basically says you get inconsistent results depending on which dataset you use if you adopt a method like that of L&C ’11.
Frankly, I’ve never seen a scholarly article refuting the birthers, moonlanding hoaxers or 9/11 truthers, but as these guys are all nutjobs, I don’t lose a lot of sleep worrying about it.
Simon, Simon, Simon, (#327), you’re a strange’un. Did they ever teach you reading between the lines? Did you miss that the only “high-profile accusation” we’re seen so far is the one by Lindzen against NASA GISS, now retracted (give or take a few grumbles)?
You write, “I would indeed like to think that people like you can think critically when pointed to a real issue”.
That depends on what you have pointed me to, and whether it is a real issue. You refer to table 4, and say that their results are “negatively and insignificantly correlated with the correct answers and their error bars are pretty much floor to ceiling” (your emphasis).
Having tried to understand what you are saying, and after reading the paper again, my feeling is that you have misunderstood the argument.
Here is what I get from tables 3 & 4. Using their eqs. (6) and (7) they have estimated the feedback factors (LW, SW and total) from the AMIP models forced by observed SSTs. They then make crude estimates of the climate sensitivity, but are fully aware that for systems dominated by positive feedbacks, the estimate will be quite inaccurate. I think the main point of table 4 is the range at 99% confidence, and not the actual estimate of climate sensitivity, and it should be read in conjuction with Fig. 11. For systems with negative feedbacks, which from their analysis is the actual climate system, the range is tightly constrained.
They write (p. 386):
All the sensitivities in IPCC AR4 are within the 90% confidence intervals of our sensitivity estimates. The agreement does not seem notable, but this is because, for positive feedbacks, sensitivity is strongly affected by small changes in f that are associated standard errors in Table 3. Consequently, the confidence intervals include “infinity”. This is seen in Fig. 11 in the pink region. It has, in fact, been suggested by Roe and Baker (2007), that this sensitivity of the climate sensitivity to uncertainty in the feedback factor is why there has been no change in the range of climate sensitivities indicated by GCMs since the 1979 Charney Report (1979). By contrast, in the green region, which corresponds to the observed feedback factors, sensitivity is much better constrained.
I do see the negative correlation, and don’t know what to make of it. Perhaps it would be interesting to find out what Prof. Lindzen thinks of it. It seems to be beside the point, but I am no expert.
[Response: If one assumes a priori that the system has a low sensitivity, then using a method that might only work in such a case is simply begging the question. If the method is unreliable if the sensitivity is higher (for which plentiful evidence exists), then its result regardless of the numerical value is just not going to be useful. Imagine a watch that only told the time accurately in the morning, but in the afternoon was unreliable and could give any time. Now, imagine that the watch said 9am. What time is it? – gavin]
#289, 321, 328, 329–FWIW, as this layman reads the paper–not just the abstract; the abstract doesn’t give enough context if you are not already familiar with the ‘state of play’–the take-away sentence WRT Lindzen and Choi should be the final one from the abstract:
Attempts to diagnose long-term cloud feedbacks in this manner are unlikely to be robust.
That may not support Dessler 2010, which is the main focus of Masters et al 2012, but nor does it support Lindzen and Choi.
Stoat is rather more explicit. But then, he’s Stoat. Gavin’s personal style would perhaps be a “duly noted”, ignoring the bull. The high road and all that
Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Mar 2012 @ 10:01 AM
#334 Martin Vermeer.
I read between the lines perfectly well Martin. I also read what you actually said which was about being “extra careful before even suggesting” accusing Lindzen of dishonesty. (Read #278 and #266 again if you doubt me).
You may not think publishing a libel here about Lindzen qualifies as being particularly “high profile” but some may think otherwise. To refresh memories, here are the words of just a few of those who may have libelled Dr Lindzen in this public forum:
#1 Rachel “much more likely that it was a deliberate attempt to deceive”
#227 Tom Curtis “Lindzen’s apology contains at least one clear falsehood”
#234 vendicar decarian “If Lindzen’s dishonesty is allowed to fade away…”
#254 MapleLeaf “Lindzen has not apologized for the myriad of other gross and egregious misrepresentations and falsehoods and distortions made in his talk”
#267 Ray Ladbury “advancing arguments he himself knows to be utter bullshit.”
#270 Susan Anderson “Dr. Lindzen’s liberties with the truth are documented in detail, over and over again”
#273 John P Reisman “As I stated clearly, He (Prof. Lindzen) is not representing ‘climate science’ honestly”
#274 dhogaza [“Where has he been dishonest?”] “Where he’s claimed that smoking (not just second-hand smoke, but cigarette smoking) is not a significant cause of health problems.”
#288 Ray Ladbury “at the very least disingenuous if not utterly dishonest”
#291 Tom Curtis “Another way of saying that is, he is dishonest.”
#294 John P Reisman “the evidence is reasonably clear that he is being dishonest”
#303 Craig Nazor “Do I personally hold the opinion that Lindzen is being dishonest? Yes, I do”
#312 Ray Ladbury “Lindzen uses the argument in his closing remarks–carefully placing it so that it couldn’t be rebutted for the baldfaced lie that it is”
#323 Martin Vermeer. “Like for Ray, this was also for me the realization that Lindzen had stopped caring about the truth, or appearing truthful.”
Comment by simon abingdon — 12 Mar 2012 @ 10:14 AM
…the only “high-profile accusation” we’re seen so far is the one by Lindzen against NASA GISS, now retracted (give or take a few grumbles)?
But not actually. The material for the public to read is still spread far and wide, including on the Telegraph website where it was posted after Lindzen’s most recent “misrepresentation.”
The thing is, it’s not as though Lindzen’s London appearance was the first time he’s been engaged in reaching into vulnerable minds to squish peoples’ perceptions into an intractable mess. Go look around; Lindzen is ubiquitous in this activity.
The Alan Jones interview (transcript of carbon cycle segment above) was broadcast pretty much to the entire east coast of Australia. For most of those listeners, that will have been the first time they heard anything about the carbon cycle at all. First mover takes the game in situations like this.
Again, a novel situation. Can anybody think of another example of such a senior scientist carrying so much credibility speaking so wrongly to so many about such an important topic?
We Won’t Be Fooled Again: Teaching Critical Thinking via Evaluation of Hoax and Historical Revisionist Websites in a Library Credit Course
Stephanie M. Mathsona & Michael G. Lorenzena
“At Central Michigan University, librarians teach multiple sections of an eight-week, one-credit research skills class to hundreds of undergraduate students each semester. While the main focus of the course is to teach students how to find, use, and properly cite library resources, librarians also address critical thinking skills by designing lessons to teach World Wide Web organization and how to analyze the information found via search engines….”
Parenthetically, it’s an error to apply here the notion of “retraction” as it applies in the matter of journal articles. Scientific publications are followed relatively closely by their target readers, retractions or admissions of error are conspicuous. That’s not the case when scientists interact with the public. Has the Telegraph corrected its coverage of Lindzen’s appearance? Would anybody notice if it did?
As the saying goes, “don’t be such a scientist”; this is the public mind we’re speaking of, not a colloquium. Practicing “excellence and integrity” in dealings with the public may be more challenging than doing stellar research, as we see in Lindzen’s case of the failed walkback.
May I ask you to be more specific in which defense you are making for Lindzen wrt his use of warming on celestial bodies other than Earth as a way of casting doubt on CO2 as a mechanism for warming here on planet Earth?
Is you contention that:
1)Lindzen is unaware of the profound differences in where, say, Earth and Jupiter or Triton or Pluto get the energy that drive their climates? Do you really think that Lindzen is that dumb?
2)That you truly believe that such a contention could have any sort of validity? If so, are you really that dumb?
Please do tell us, Simon. We’re fricking dying to know.
Alex Harvey wrote (#236): “I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread. And in takes a lot to surprise me in climate change discussions. To sane observers, it is obvious that Lindzen believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided. That is the view shared by many of his colleagues who disagree with him. If I were Gavin or Eric I would be embarrassed by these comments from RealClimate’s readers and I suspect I would have refused to publish many of them. It’s frankly more hysterical than a typical day over at WUWT.”
Yes, WUWT has calmed down somewhat in the past couple of years. It’s no more correct, but it’s less vitriolic. How much of that is due to self-restraint by the posters, and how much to moderation, is impossible to say. I remember the thread immediately following the passage of Waxman-Markey in the House. Vitriol to the max. If that thread is still on-line, you’ll find it’s been scrubbed pretty carefully. Sure wish I had kept a copy. (But Anthony’s fans would no doubt accuse me of making stuff up.)
To get to the crux of the matter, if Lindzen believes what he says in these public appearances, he has abandoned competence in science. If he doesn’t believe what he says, he is a sellout. No matter how you slice it, his output in essays, op-eds and speeches has for years been persistently misleading. You can call him stubborn and misguided if you like; that doesn’t excuse him, because he keeps pushing his incorrect views into the public eye. Journalists keep treating him as a credible authority. They are misguided to do so. I believe they should stop doing so.
Journalists keep treating him as a credible authority. They are misguided to do so. I believe they should stop doing so.
With no guidance Lindzen’s just another distinguished MIT professor, AGU Fellow, etc. To a journalist in a hurry his CV looks pretty much the same as that of Rafel Bras, to pick another example. Why would journalists stop seeking Lindzen out when they want a minority viewpoint? Who’s going to hold up the caution flag? Amateurs kvetching on blog comments threads are not up to the job; a journalist would be crazy to decide on such a basis.
Nothing wrong with Lindzen’s research, so MIT doesn’t figure into it. Who could be responsible? A deep mystery, though we have clues to a solution. The tricky part is keeping traditions alive while simultaneously acknowledging that priorities may make that difficult or impossible.
To refresh memories, here are the words of just a few of those who may have libelled Dr Lindzen in this public forum
Claiming libel against Lindzen has occurred would require good reason to believe that the statements you cited are inaccurate. Instead you firstly weaselled your libel claim via “may have” – and secondly (at least based on my potentially inaccurate memory) don’t seem to have demonstrated on this thread to date that the statements you have cited are in fact not accurate.
And given the amount of evidence piling up on this thread, and in any number of easily available analyses of many of Lindzen’s public statements, methinks you’ll find it quite difficult to demonstrate the inaccuracy of (many and perhaps all of) the statements you have cited (especially when read in context that you did not bother to quote).
I also note that you’re apparently not applying the same “standards” to Lindzen’s well-documented public statements in forums with far more public import than a science blog. I reckon Lindzen supporters should probably think thrice before throwing around accusations of libel.
Darkly dramatic words from Simon but I doubt Dr. Lindzen would appreciate digging into this matter of libel. Folks would be all too likely to misinterpret his past statements, leaving an improbable win as a Pyrrhic victory. Even acting out a Monckton-esque histrionic hissy fit would invite all sorts of counterproductive public scrutiny and speculation.
Simon, You seem not to have parsed the question I asked.
If we are to assume that Lindzen is not dishonest, then he must assume the argument about other celestial bodies is valid–despite their having utterly different climate systems and energetics than Earth. Jupiter gets about 3% of the solar radiation Earth does. Most of its energy is generated by slow gravitational collapse.
Is it your contention that this is so–and please justify this contention if you do indeed think so? We’d love to hear it.
Or is it your contention that Lindzen is so deluded that the thinks this is so, despite it being an utter load of dingo’s kidneys?
I cannot think of another alternative interpretation that would allow us to reach the conclusion that Lindzen is an honest man.
Lindzen: “I asked Howard to check how he arrived at this conclusion”
I would ask Dr. Lindzen why he so naively accepted Hayden’s informal analysis instead of taking a minute to ask this question prior to using the analysis. Surely, a significant conclusion, particularly one involving NASA nefariously manipulating data, might warrant a closer examination. It’s not as if he was citing a study in a scholarly journal.
Seems “confirmation bias” may be the appropriate conclusion.
“it has become standard in climate science that data in contradiction to alarmism is inevitably ‘corrected’ to bring it closer to alarming models. None of us would argue that this data is perfect, and the corrections are often plausible. What is implausible is that the ‘corrections’ should always bring the data closer to models.”
The recent incident is obviously not the first time Lindzen has implied widespread nefarious or biased manipulation among his colleagues, as he does in the first sentence quoted. What the recent incident indicates is that these sorts of statements have no basis. Are Christy and Spencer of UAH fame “alarmists” too? The big corrections in the record they manage, dwarfing the small surface record changes, have gone in the upward direction, more closely matching model expectations.
What to make of the conclusion? For the sake of argument, let’s say most data corrections did bring data closer to models. Lindzen’s conclusion carries with it a hard assumption that models are useless or very inaccurate. If a model is a reasonable representation, then one would expect model-data discrepancies to resolve with data more closely matching models. Lindzen doesn’t appear to want to consider this possibility…
Lindzen’s sort of a fascinating case; many layers.
Here’s a piece he wrote detailing his thinking about climate science, politics and ideology. It’s more informative about what and why Lindzen thinks than any other I’ve run across. Apologies if this is old information; new for me.
Lindzen also presents some fairly specific complaints of research misconduct on the part of various scientists. Geophysics turns out to be a riddled, smelly cheese of skullduggery. Maybe these have already been treated on RealClimate? See the section “Science in the Service of Politics”.
“Firstly, it is clear that Lindzen only signs up to the first point of the basic ‘consensus’ as outlined here previously, that the planet has indeed warmed significantly over the 20th century. While he accepts that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have increased due to human activities, and that this should warm the planet, he does not accept that it is necessarily an important component in the 20th century rise. His preferred option (by process of elimination) appears to be intrinsic variability, but he provides no support for this contention.”
The only difference between six years ago and today being that Lindzen no longer appears to agree the planet has warmed significantly, or possibly at at all depending on speech or radio appearance he’s doing. That and he’s mostly boxed into aerosols when he makes an attempt to treat this topic with a degree of rigor– which is never when he’s in front of the broader public.
Amazing to think how many minds he’s helped shape over the past six, twelve, eighteen years.
#354–“Ray, you still seem to cherish the hope that I might be able to answer your continuing stream of (admittedly very interesting) questions. But I’m afraid I’m not nearly well enough informed to do so.”
You’re really too funny, Simon–Ray has been asking if various things were “your contention.” And you say you don’t know?
Threats now! For shame if real. But I smell tactics.
“taking liberties with the truth” seems rather gentle to me. There is a vast quantity of specific information so for distraction our quasi (I can’t help thinking this is organized, but note I am not coming right out and saying so, hence “as if”) professional detractor chooses a few statements that seem like they might by an extreme stretch be libelous and emphasize them to point away from all the real material herein.
The most respect accrues to those who are specific and analyze and point to direct material, and there is a lot of that here.
Doug Bostrom, I’d hold your coat anyday. Great work!
I would ask Dr. Lindzen why he so naively accepted Hayden’s informal analysis instead of taking a minute to ask this question prior to using the analysis.
MarkB, to paraphrase something that was said of another scientist very very recently:
“After you’ve convinced people that you really are this gullible when you see a claim you like, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.“
Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Mar 2012 @ 12:56 AM
After all this, what are we naifs– those of us on the outside of professional scientific practice looking in– to make of Dr. Richard Lindzen?
As he traduces other senior figures in climate science such as James Hansen, accusing them of altering research results to fit ideological objectives, Dr. Lindzen himself is fairly nakedly ideological in his presentations to the public ear. We don’t really have to guess about his political philosophy because it’s thoroughly mixed with his discussions of climate science; indeed when listening to interviews such as those he’s done with Alan Jones Lindzen seems almost eager to move the conversation along to political matters.
We can see and hear for ourselves that Lindzen unquestionably colors his presentations of science to the lay public to fit his ideological perspective. The layperson who does not unwittingly swallow Lindzen’s pointedly truncated and unreliable descriptons of climate science is left wondering: if Lindzen’s publicly stated opinions on this topic are so selectively tilted, so tinged by his distrust of governance, what of his research?
Judging from his opinions as delivered to the public at large, Lindzen has cleaved almost entirely from the rest of his colleagues on this matter, gradually diverging until his picture of climate science has become more a matter of interpretation through a set of filters than a dispassionate examination, exactly the same behavior he claims to see almost universally practiced by his colleagues.
This schism has become so deep and dramatic that Lindzen has pushed some boundaries in a way notable to his colleagues. Earlier in this thread we heard a bit of discussion of the dramatic sequence of Lindzen & Choi 2009, Trenberth et al 2010 and Lindzen & Choi 2011. Lindzen complained bitterly about the handling of the 2011 paper by PNAS, leaving unresolved the question of whether PNAS would eventually have published this work as he chose to withdraw and then submit it to another journal, claiming that resubmitted papers are rarely accepted.
What with the later drama over the review process of the 2011 paper, it’s easy to overlook just how much of a stir the 2009 paper elicited.
In the dry language of Trenberth et al:
“…their selection of dates for the intervals (LC09’s Figure 1, and Figure 1 (top) here) is frequently not justifiable. This is evident if an objective method of identifying the intervals is employed, for example, to identify local minima and maxima exceeding 0.1°C in low‐pass filtered data (see Figure 1 (top)). For example, for the warming event in 1997/98, the warming declared by LC09 ceases in mid-1997 rather than at the obvious SST peak in Jan 1998. Also, the warming during the 1986/87 ENSO is assumed to begin in mid-1986 when it can alternatively be proposed that warming began in 1985. Warming is declared by LC09 to end in early 1993, well prior to the peak in SST in the middle of the year.
… As shown here, the approach taken by LC09 is flawed, and its results are seriously in error. LC09’s choice of dates has distorted their results and underscores the defective nature of their analysis.”
Between games, from the locker room, Trenberth expressed the situation more bluntly to a journalist:
‘In a telephone interview today, Dr. Trenberth told me that the flaws in the Lindzen-Choi paper “have all the appearance of the authors having contrived to get the answer they got.”’
That’s a serious problem, and goes a long way to explaining the desperation Lindzen felt to have the 2011 paper published. By employing those words Trenberth performed the scientist’s equivalent of dropping a glove in front of Lindzen. From Lindzen’s perspective, Trenberth delivered a powerful insult, one that absolutely could not go unchallenged. Lindzen did what he could to salvage the situation, choosing for whatever reason not to go the full distance with PNAS and submit a revision there after being invited to do so.
Presumably the paper eventually published nonetheless benefited from reviewer remarks gathered during the PNAS submission process. Lindzen considers that the 2011 paper resolves the issues found in the 2009 work:
We have corrected the approach of Lindzen and Choi (2009), based on all the criticisms made of the earlier work (Chung et al., 2010; Murphy, 2010; Trenberth et al., 2010). First of all, to improve the statistical significance of the results, we supplemented ERBE data with CERES data, filtered out data noise with 3-month smoothing, objectively chose the intervals based on the smoothed data, and provided confidence intervals for all sensitivity estimates. These constraints helped us to more accurately obtain climate feedback factors than with the original use of monthly data. Next, our new formulas for climate feedback and sensitivity reflect sharing of tropical feedback with the globe, so that the tropical region is now properly identified as an open system. Last, the feedback factors inferred from the atmospheric models are more consistent with IPCC-defined climate sensitivity than those from the coupled models. These results differ from what others like Trenberth et al. (2010), and Dessler (2010) obtain.
We in the bleachers are left largely to figure out for ourselves if there’s still a fully intact firewall between Lindzen the demagogue, the man who likens other climate scientists to eugenicists and Lindzen the scientist who became an AGU Fellow at a remarkably young age, for his virtuous research. Lindzen’s own careless remarks about scientific integrity may leave us mystified. What are we to believe?
But how did such a person come to this pass, that other scientists should speak of his work in terms so shocking? As early as 1992 Lindzen was expressing major discomfort with what he termed “hysteria” and indeed seems by then have adopted opinions on the topic of anthropogenic warming that he has not allowed to be changed since. Fully two decades of subsequent research leave him addressing essentially the same issues bothering him while there was still a Soviet Union.
What we find in common through all of these years– even as Lindzen continued to function as an IPCC collaborator– is a steady drumbeat of politics and ideology in his language and woven through his discussion the science of climate change. The 1992 article for Cato is stuffed with fear of acceptance of the need for C02 mitigation, leading Lindzen to speculate about regulatory apparatus that “would restrict individual freedom on an unprecedented scale” and “advocacy groups looking for profitable causes.” By 1992 Lindzen was fixated on this, willing to take to the public the message that virtually all modern science has been seized by a horde of carpetbaggers, going so far as to suggest that “…as ever greater numbers of individuals attach themselves to the warming problem, the pressures against solving the problem grow proportionally; an inordinate number of individuals and groups depend on the problem’s remaining.”
Even as a participant in IPCC and NAS reports on climate science, Lindzen has characterized the fruit of that work as propaganda weapons, tools to “bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens.” He simply can’t separate science from politics and ideology.
Lindzen’s mind was made up on this affair a long time ago and he appears unable to allow subsequent developments to infect his thinking, to the point that even his scientific work is beginning to smack of desperation, if Trenberth’s remarks are a guide.
Beyond ideology, there’s another more charitable way to look at all of this. Lindzen has spoken of research that he believes did not or could not happen, eliminated by what he saw as a rush to consensus on climate science. It does not require much effort to contradict these wistful remarks but as he said them we must presume there’s some sincerity in this thinking even as it is plainly wrong.
In sum a confusing spokesperson for climate science if ever there was one.
Simon, I do indeed understand the word parse, and your failure to do so is the only explanation I can come up with as to why you are unable to ascertain the meaning of and respond to what are after all fairly simple questions. The issue is how one could possibly conclude Lindzen was an honest man. I contended that for him to be honest, he must believe what he is saying in front of lay audiences (and scrupulously avoiding saying in front of experts). The contentions in question have to do with his contention that warming on the outer planets could have anything to do with warming here on Earth. To believe this, you must:
1)believe that there is some magical mechanism that causes the spheres to warm in synchrony, despite the fact that insolation doesn’t even play a significant role for Jupiter and is very weak for the others. Please specify said mechanism, and we’ll get a Nobel Prize together.
2)believe that Lindzen erroneously believes this, and is therefore a moron.
3)believe this yourself, in which case you are a moron.
4)I’d love to hear a fourth alternative.
Over to you, and please try to say something that at least rises to the level of “wrong”.
Your comment “The only difference between six years ago and today being that Lindzen no longer appears to agree the planet has warmed significantly, or possibly at at all…” prompted me to revisit the London seminar because there were indeed glaring symptoms of this that I had skimmed over. pdf of seminar here P13-14 Here Lindzen compares the spread of All Station Anomolies v. Average Global Anomoly. He does this just for the “wow” factor which is hardily scientific but Lindzen goes all Winston Smith & only presents temperatures 1851-1984. P35-36 Lindzen does a conjuring trick by shuffling the deck. The sequence of Artic temperatures he presents his audience is (filling in the gaps from here ) 2004, 2009, 1958, 2000, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1990. (His assertion that there is no trend is easily debunked as done by SkS.)
And finally, the real unscientific stuff. P15 & his thin red line. (The 93rd Highlanders will be spinning in their graves!)
Comparing Boston’s weather with global climate is saying that variations in global mean temp of +/-4 deg C is not a problem (still “nomal”) and +/-20 deg C would not be unprecidented. (Pretty sure my F -> C convertion is correct.)
In all this I now conclude Lindzen’s membership of the Global Village Idiot Club has been upgraded to Full Life Membership.
Before I continue, I’d like to say I do appreciate you taking the time to discuss the issue with me.
If one assumes a priori that the system has a low sensitivity, then using a method that might only work in such a case is simply begging the question. If the method is unreliable if the sensitivity is higher (for which plentiful evidence exists), then its result regardless of the numerical value is just not going to be useful. Imagine a watch that only told the time accurately in the morning, but in the afternoon was unreliable and could give any time. Now, imagine that the watch said 9am. What time is it?
I do not think this is a reasonable response or analogy.
1) The authors do not assume a priori that the system has a low sensitivity. Their method shows that the system is dominated by negative feedbacks and climate sensitivity is constrained at 99% confidence within the range of 0.5 – 1.3 K per doubling of CO2. You can be skeptical about their result, but I see no justification for claiming that their argument is circular.
[Response: They have a method that tells them it is 9am. When they’ve used the method at other times when we know it is the afternoon, their method gives completely wrong answers. How then do you know that they have 9am because it is actually 9am, or 9am because it is actually 2pm and they method is screwy? You can’t. Therefore, to conclude that it is actually 9am, you have to also assume that it is the morning, and thus their result can’t demonstrate on it’s own that it is morning. – gavin]
2) The complaint that their method fails to tightly constrain sensitivity for systems with a strong positive feedbacks looks to me a bit like a two-edged sword. The AR4 section 9.6.2 shows how well the other methods do. At 95% confidence, these are 2.1 – 8.9, 1.9 – 9.3, 2.2 – 9.2, 1.1 – infinity, 1.2 – 11.8, 1.2 – 8.6, 1.2 – 4.3, 1.9 – 4.7, 1.7 – 4.5, 1.5 – 6.2.
Of these, I guess that all employ models with positive feedbacks constrained in some way by data, with the exception of Forster and Gregory (2006), which presented a new method completely independent of models. For Forster and Gregory, the IPCC recalculated their range using a prior distribution as 1.2 – 14.2 K at 95% confidence. However, it appears that James Annan had shown that the upper bound is actually infinity – as with Lindzen and Choi. As for the others, I wonder if they really properly consider all sources of uncertainty?
[Response: The twentieth century is not a good target for constraining the high end of sensitivity because of the uncertainty in aerosol forcing, and I generally focus on the LGM for this (as in Annan and Hargreaves, 2006). – gavin]
It’s not obvious to me, therefore, that you can make this argument against Lindzen and Choi and at the same time say that the IPCC methods are fine.
[Response: Not sure what you are arguing – My claim is that L&C gives no information about sensitivity absent an assumption that sensitivity is low. This is not true for any of the other methods. – gavin]
3) The primary purpose of the Lindzen and Choi paper is not to measure climate sensitivity but to compare the feedback factors from observations with the models. The first point that reviewer #3 makes may be relevant here. I will quote the reviewer’s comment in full:
The authors state that their approach tests equilibrium climate sensitivity, and they also present tables comparing the present results to sensitivities (including equilibrium climate sensitivity) of various models. While their approach may indeed be a useful test of some aspects of climate response, I do not think it is correct to refer to it as a test of equilibrium climate sensitivity, and ‘apples and oranges’ comparisons are important to avoid. For example, not all feedback is tropical in the long term. It is well established that snow and ice retreat influence equilibrium climate sensitivity. Some studies suggest that this effect represents a substantial feedback in the total equilibrium climate sensitivity (see e.g. Hall, J. Clim, 2004 among many others). This important effect will not be captured with the analysis approach used here and is one example of a shortcoming that is important but not acknowledged. Further, in the longer term such factors as land/sea temperature contrasts, and gradients in temperature between low and high latititudes, etc. are also expected to change, which can be expected to change the distribution/frequency/optical properties of clouds and hence the long-term equilibrium climate sensitivity as compared to shorter term responses. Changes in cloudiness at middle and high latitudes are likely to make significant contributions to equilibrium climate sensitivity, and are not captured in the current approach. Again, these phenomena will not be captured using the present approach. The paper therefore should not refer to its approach as a test of equilibrium climate sensitivity, and should avoid presenting tabular comparisons that are not appropriate. The paper would benefit by being much clearer as to what it is testing, and what the limitations of those tests could be.
Personally, I would have been interested in more discussion on this point, so let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Lindzen and Choi are wrong to extrapolate the climate sensitivity from their method – as you seem to be saying and as reviewer #3 certainly says.
If so, they may still have demonstrated that whereas the atmospheric component of all the models are dominated by positive feedbacks, the actual atmosphere has negative feedbacks.
[Response: I disagree – they have not demonstrated that their method has any power to determine any specific parameter in the models or the real world. – gavin]
Gavin, I provide some leadership for Extension programming on climate change in the Univ. of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Being a scientist but not a climate scientist, I value the peer-reviewed literature immensely, as the keystone forum for scientific progress. Not that you have any free time, but putting your criticisms of LC11 into a peer-reviewed paper provides me with so much more weight in defending the existence of an Extension effort on climate change. I hope you will consider it. Thanks again for letting us non-experts listen in.
Further to Alex Harvey, 13 Mar 2012 at 7:53 AM, we could wish Lindzen and Choi had stuck with PNAS and assiduously responded to reviewer input there submitted their invited revision so all these issues could have been thrashed out. To my untrained eyes it appears that without doing so the conclusions of the 2011 paper ended up lacking important caveats as to its scope, and those conclusions considerably overreach what the paper can tell us.
Some kind of definitive workup on this for the ignorant (such as myself) would sure be helpful. At the end of the day it’s really not possible to proxy expertise but even so a distillation would be appreciated.
Further Alex: Is it really so absolute – one or the other?
Go to the source, don’t listen to what others say, read Lindzen’s collected works for the public square. For my part I don’t think it’s absolutely the case that he’s either ignorant or sold out; the evidence he’s provided us points more to passionate attachment to ideology.
Alex Harvey: “Am I the only person here who understands that humans are complex and tend to defy these sorts of simplistic explanations of their behaviour?”
Really, Alex. The dichotomy between honest and dishonest ain’t that subtle. A man who advances arguments he doesn’t believe is dishonest. If said man is a scientist possessed of special knowledge to ascertain that the arguments he is advancing are bullshit and he advances them in front of lay audiences, he is doubly dishonest. This isn’t subtle. It isn’t esoteric. An honest man does not act as Lindzen has. And since actions are all we have to judge him by, I would say that Diogenes would not be remiss in not spending much time with Dr. Lindzen.
In Lindzen’s case, I believe it is really so absolute. As noted here by dbostrom and by the late Stephen Schneider in Science as a Contact Sport, Lindzen was expressing this kind of contrarian view in 1992. He still does so today. In the interim the scientific case for AGW has gotten stronger, and the current effects more evident.
You have to look at the pattern of Lindzen’s behavior. Here’s my take on one op-ed (no longer online.) You can go here and scroll down to the fourth item: “A Climate of Fear: Lindzen (2006)”.
If you can give a third reason for this pattern of behavior, I’d love to hear it.
Now, there are contrarian scientists in many fields. Gil Levin, I believe, still thinks the consensus on the 1976 Viking missions’ discoveries on Mars is mistaken. Another example is the book The Big Splash in which Louis Frank argues forcefully that thousands of water comets hit Earth’s atmosphere every day — an untenable position since no artificial satellite has been affected. They are entitled to believe whatever they wish, but not to harangue the rest of the world with their beliefs.
Of course, they’re not haranguing the public these days. But Lindzen is. It grows tiresome. I don’t think the government, or MIT, or the AGU*, should stop him. I do wish the people giving him a forum, from the Wall Street Journal to Britain’s Guardian, would have the sagacity to point out the shortcomings of what he presents.
* The AGU might say something like this: “Dr. Lindzen has done groundbreaking research in the past, and earned his position as an AGU Fellow. He continues to publish research papers in reputable journals. However, his unsupported remarks in op-ed columns and public speeches questioning the integrity of other scientists’ work makes his own integrity questionable. In any case, his position does not reflect the position of the AGU.”
#362 Ray Ladbury. “The contentions in question have to do with his contention that warming on the outer planets could have anything to do with warming here on Earth”. Ray, the sun’s multidimensional influence extends throughout the solar system. May it not be reasonable to suppose that variations in solar output (perhaps involving effects hitherto unsuspected) cause all the planets to be affected (to a greater or lesser extent) contemporaneously? Who knows for sure? (By all means correct this ill-informed view).
Of course your four conditions were not meant to be taken seriously. 1) refers to magic, 2) and 3) involving non-sequiturs are plainly wrong but 4) is probably acceptable, though confusingly self-referential.
Comment by simon abingdon — 13 Mar 2012 @ 12:37 PM
Thanks for you hard work on this Gavin. Just for giggles and grins I reproduced your 2012 to 2006 comparison . I found the same “trend” of about .05 C/century that you did. On my first whack at it my software tool (xmgrace) produced numbers that looked like the sort of thing Lindzen was claiming. It was obvious to me that I had done something wrong since a 0.2C/century difference in the two data sets would stick out like a sore thumb if you plot them both together. (I rechecked my work a couple of times to make sure my answers were reproducible.) Maybe Lindzen did something similar and it didn’t occur to him to do a sanity check. Mistakes were made?
Based on the evidence it is reasonably clear Richard Lindzen is not representing ‘climate science’ honestly (in a truthful, fair, or honorable way). It’s not as if he does not have access to the papers that show his perspectives are not on solid ground. He may still use the excuse, such as S. Fred Singer, that as long as he does not acknowledge the ‘other’ relevant science (supposedly because he has not looked at that science), his perspective stands on his limited view. So he may be honest on that point, but it remains that his limited view is not an honest representation of the state of modern climate science on whole and in context.
He also tends to infer that climate scientists that think global warming is a serious problem are being alarmist, which infers they are misdirecting and providing the public with misinformation. In other words he is inferring they are being dishonest or as has been pointed out in this thread, even going further than that.
Some folks in the thread did not seem to like the way I used ‘words’. Of course, to each his own perspective. However, I have found that having a common framework for the meanings and usage of words, though potentially imprecise at times, gives us all a strong basis from which to attempt to communicate ideas.
So until the courts rule that words and their definitions should not be used to describe things, I think we should all use those words and their definitions.
And while it’s true that ‘words’ do have specific definitions, the rules of English usage are not so strict as to outlaw connotative usage and parsing of definitions to convey meaning and construct new ways to achieve greater precision.
Until the Supreme Court rules that we can not use English to describe things, and of course offers another means of communication that is better, then communication that is honest and fair, and hopefully not mean spirited, is and should be considered a very good way to communicate and discuss ideas.
I do think Lindzen believes what he says, but is what he says honest “free of deceit and untruthfulness;” I think not.
@373: Your solar idea is untestably vague, and suggests the nihilist view that mysterious unknowns explain earth’s climate better than testable (and tested!) theory.
If you really do want to find out what drives earth’s climate, please create a testable hypothesis, marshal the appropriate data to test it, do the applicable analysis, write a paper summarizing your method and results, and submit it for review at a reputable journal.
Or, if that’s too much work, just read the science — which extensively examines the question of solar influences on climate — with an open mind.
p13-14 The likely reason Lindzen uses a 24 year old graph is because as Lindzen says “No one’s done this (analysis) in 20 years.” Lindzen should have asked himself ‘Why hadn’t they?’ p15 The comparison between Boston’s daily max/min temperatures & global average temperature anomalies was introduced to the lay audience thus “But here’s something that’ll give you a little perspective on it.” and after explanation “Put in perspective of your regular experience.”
If that doesn’t make plain his message, his words following the messages on p17 which provided Some take away points of the global mean temperature anomaly record were “Say, at least so far, I mean if some day I see there are changes 20 times what I’ve seen so far, that would be certainly remarkable. But nothing so far looks that way.” This is 20 times ‘several tenths of a degree.’ In other words anything less than a 10-14 deg C rise in average global temperatures remains doubtfully remarkable!
Now I thought somebody said this Lindzen was a respected climatologist. Or is the important word here use of the word “was“
Earlier here I wondered about precedents for Lindzen et al v. The World. The relative scale of the problem may be different but it’s still worth reading Jeff Masters’ analysis of The Skeptics vs. The Ozone Hole for lessons from history with an eye to thinking about where Lindzen fits in the current picture. For me, the following passage was particularly redolent:
One CFC industry magazine stated in 1975, “The whole area of research grants and the competition among scientists to get them must be considered a factor in the politics of ozone” (Roan, 1985). A publication by the conservative think tank, The Cato Institute, argued that NASA’s 1992 warnings of a potential ozone hole opening up over the Northern Hemisphere “were exquisitely timed to bolster the agency’s budget requests” (Bailey, 1993)
Not so many years later, Lindzen could be found contributing to the Cato Institute with thoughts essentially identical except for selected nouns. He continues reciting the same ideas today.
Some people also still feel the same way about CFCs as did earlier ozone hole doubters. The rest of us are also mostly behaving the same way as we did decades ago. Conversely, PR mills financed by the fossil fuel industry do seem to have learned from the ozone affair; missing from Masters’ list are the plethora of synthetic “grass roots” support organizations for anachronistic behavior, an oversight that has been fully corrected during this iteration of “Yesterday v. Tomorrow.”
It seems an obvious form of hypocrisy. He accuses scientists and scientific organizations of not telling the truth and being alarmis (and I honestly don’t know if Gavin has every used the word ‘alarm’ 13 times in any of his presentations on the science), and then claims that his unfounded and even disproven ideas are truth, which to me is alarming, while claiming the … crowd is alarmist…
makes my head spin.
I just did a presentation recently and I don’t think I used the word even once. Although I think I will in the future, but only when talking about the denialists who use the word all the time.
John, I think that you’re basically a very nice guy. But some of the things you write are just bizarre.
In #372 you continue to give us your views on words:
“So until the courts rule that words and their definitions should not be used to describe things, I think we should all use those words and their definitions.
And while it’s true that ‘words’ do have specific definitions, the rules of English usage are not so strict as to outlaw connotative usage and parsing of definitions to convey meaning and construct new ways to achieve greater precision.
Until the Supreme Court rules that we can not use English to describe things, and of course offers another means of communication that is better, then communication that is honest and fair, and hopefully not mean spirited, is and should be considered a very good way to communicate and discuss ideas.”
Yes, let’s talk to each other using language John. Great idea.
Then in #379 you turn your attention to me, saying apropos an exchange between Ray Ladbury and myself:
“Is that why you have chosen a moniker or been named after a little know town?”
Actually in the UK it’s a very well-known town (on the Thames near Oxford) but why should you query my being “named after a little know[n] town” anyway? Would a city have been more acceptable? simon stockholm perhaps?
Lindzen accomplishes two things for his audiences:
1) He reassures them that burning unlimited amounts of coal and oil is okay;
2) He helps them feel superior to 97% of the climate science community (“I’m with Lindzen/Galileo, not those trivial alarmers”)
This makes debating him challenging. BUT, it is critical to point out that he is simply entertaining and pandering to his audiences, AND that even if the odds are 10 to 1 that he’s right, it still makes sense to decarbonize quickly and reap all the benefits.
The question is, “what’s effective?” We’ve been doing the same things for over 20 years now* and so far even though all the things you say are true C02 concentration (the final arbiter of success) says we’re failing, badly. Effort to ignite urgency under C02 mitigation are -less- effective than the entertaining and pandering antics of Monckton, Lindzen, etc.
What evidence of efficacy do we have to suggest the curve is going flatten and then level off at 450ppm, let alone -sink-? Should we do anything differently? What?**
*Where was the celebration of two decades of futility, by the way? I missed it?
Yes,, of course, it’s a joke on multiple levels of silliness. Look, I’m confident you’re probably, or possibly, a pretty nice guy too. But that’s not the point. The point is you can’t or won’t answer Rays questions. They were direct questions. But instead of answering you toss up more red herrings. You have avoided my questions in the past as well. That just means you like playing politics though, and in my mind shows that you have little integrity in such matters of open and honorable communication.
It doesn’t matter if you or I are nice guys really though. What matters is the plain pragmatic truth. We are discussing climate, and climate has everything to do with our economy and our food supply, and costs, and infrastructure, and capacity, etc. So your distractions and evasions are essentially non productive regarding building a stronger understanding of these important relationships. You are evasive of that truth and regularly, instead of answering questions, avoid answering by using distraction and evasion.
Speaking of Oxford (dictionary) look up the word irony. So why didn’t you choose the name simon oxford? Or simon london? Are you from Abingdon? Or did you just choose that moniker to sound academic?
I understand that Abingdon is much better known in the UK, and yes I know where Oxford and Abingdon is. I was once invited to get a masters degree at Oxford on the recommendation of Lord Parry, Baron of Walton. It was Jonas Salk that recommended I not go for reasons I need not mention here.
“Microbes -may- exist, we’re not really sure. Look in your chamberpot. Do you -see- any microbes? Why would you let Big Government tell you how and where to sit when you can’t even see what they’re talking about? It’s just plumbers and bureaucrats trying to tell you what to do.”
Simon Abingdon, you see here a collection of individuals who are extremely irritated with your insistence on not paying attention to science on a science blog. It was suggested repeatedly that you do so, but when you went back you did so in order to make a bunch of threats and sneers and ignore the subject matter again.
While I deplore offside attacks, you have done almost nothing but. It is not surprising that you are collecting such a random bunch of complaints.
It is so obvious that you are trying to change the subject. This is a science blog that gives you access to a number of top people in the field, so you are wasting the time of people who have better things to do. It seems increasingly likely that that is your intention.
You pretty much nailed it. simon abingdon has been exercising his free speech and abusing reason for quite some time in RC’s threads showing little respect for the questions posed to him/her (never confirmed a real name, so I still don’t know).
Some are simply too religious in their beliefs and relish being non-sensical while exercising their right to exemplify that ‘there are none so blind as those that choose not to see’. simon lavishes himself in a bath of nonsense almost every time before he attempts to make a point. Unfortunately he/she does not realize that the bath oils of false logic, non sequiturs, argument to emotion, and red herring salads that he/she uses, are actually quite repugnant to the rest of the people he pretends to engage with here in the thread.
Most of the regulars here enjoy the sweet smell of pragmatism over the repugnant odor of ignorance.
I’m not a climate scientist, but it seems to me that this data squabble misses the mark concerning Lindzen’s presentation. He accepts that temperature is rising. What he questions is the use of positive feedback in the climate models, saying that without feedback the impact of greenhouse gases is modest. He says that CO2 doubled in some two centuries, and temperature only rose 1 degree C, as would be expected without positive feedback. That’s where the attacks on Lindzen should be directed.
[Response: Discussing likely values of climate sensitivity is not an ‘attack’ on anyone. If you are interested, start here, or here – gavin]
First, as a layman I’m frustrated with the climate scientists’ reliance on models only they can understand. They seem to take a “trust the experts” position. The climate scientists should write versions of their models that can be understood by others. One question I like to ask climate scientists is how quickly an increase in CO2 results in higher temperatures. They just say “a long time” or something like that. If they cannot tell how quick the impact is, I’m a bit suspicioous. Maybe someone can respond to this post and tell me what the time lag is.
[Response: We have discussed simple models that you can learn a lot from (here for instance). As for time lags due to increases in CO2 (or any other forcing), this has been discussed in the literature – for instance in Hansen et al, 2011 – the key figure is here (figure 3). The bottom line is that there are some fast responses that get you 30% of the way to the new equilibrium within a few years, then slower responses that get you to 60% by 100 years, and then a long tail as the ocean slowly responds (~1000 years). – gavin]
In any event, this state of affairs, relaying on models that are black boxes to Lindzen’s audience, allows him creadiibly to cast suspicion on the idea of “positive feedback”.
[Response: Yes. Andy Dessler has a good video where he explains the observational evidence for positive feedbacks quite effectively. – gavin]
Second, Lindzen’s comparison of 100% change in CO2 to 1 degree change in temp looks suspicious. Comparing percent change to absolute change is comparing expodential change to linear change. CO2 trends indeed look exponential, but temperature change also does, but less obviously. A rough estimate based on trends since 1958 when Hawaii CO2 data started suggests that CO2 grew by about a quarter and temperature by roughly half a degree. That suggests 2 degees for a doubling of CO2, compared to Lindzen’s 1 degree taken over a longer time period. One would expect such a difference if Lindzen’s exponential/linear comparison is incorrect.
[Response: Fair point, but neglecting all the other forcings is probably a bigger error. – gavin]
They have a method that tells them it is 9am. When they’ve used the method at other times when we know it is the afternoon, their method gives completely wrong answers. How then do you know that they have 9am because it is actually 9am, or 9am because it is actually 2pm and they method is screwy? You can’t. Therefore, to conclude that it is actually 9am, you have to also assume that it is the morning, and thus their result can’t demonstrate on it’s own that it is morning.
Okay, but you are ignoring that for all 12 models – even at 99% confidence – not one of them includes the possibility that sensitivity could be as low as 0.7 K, which is the best estimate when the method is used on the observations. In other words, you are assuming that their 99% confidence error bars are wrong without offering any argument. Or in your analogy, you are not conceding that the accuracy of the watch at 2pm is known to rule out 9am.
I don’t think Lindzen and Choi is going to settle the matter of climate sensitivity – but they seem to have demonstrated quite vividly that “something” in the real world, a “something” that relates very closely to the atmospheric feedbacks in the tropics, is behaving completely differently to how it behaves in 12 IPCC models. It looks like reviewer #3 & #4 were both convinced of this much – as was Prof. Chou, and three reviewers at APJAS.
[Response: I’ve got no problem with models not being perfect in the tropics. Many of the models they considered had rather poor simulations of ENSO variability, and many of them suffer from the double ITCZ problem (in CMIP5, the former is better, the latter, not so much). Their method is very tied to a specific series of ENSO variability and a volcano, the variance you would get picking a different period of similar length with a different history is unknown (though they could have checked this with at least some of the models). But the bigger problem (which plagues all attempts to constrain sensitivity from the satellite data) is that you are looking at short term analogs for long term responses, and they aren’t necessarily the same (and in models they definitely aren’t). – gavin]
Paul Vincelli #366
And actually this counts for Alex Harvey also :
Is it really neccesary for climate scientists to publish a peer-reviewed paper on L&C’11 and show it’s flaws ? What about your own ability to investigate a scientific paper in an objective way ?
Suppose we are living in Jan.2010. Lindzen did not publish L&C’11 yet, and we only had L&C’09, and Trenberth did not yet publish his rebuttal on the paper yet, and Lindzen did not yet admit the fundamental mistakes he made.
This is the time that L&C’09 was promoted heavily on Fox News and other news networks as “the end of the AGW scam”, by our very own Lord Monckton.
At that point in time, would you believed Lindzen and Monckton and Fox News ?
Or would you be able to determine that Lindzen eliminated the Stefan Bolzmann radiation from his feedback formula, and that he extrapolated his conclusions, and cherry-picked the ERBE data to obtain the negative feedback he was looking for ?
If you did believe Lindzen and Monckton and Fox News at that time, then would you not be more cautious this time around, especially since Lindzen did not use different data in L&C’11 and there are strong indications that his (new) lead-and-lag method have a negative feedback bias and cherry-picking built-into the algorihm ?
As the saying goes : Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me
373 Simon speculates, “suppose that variations in solar output (perhaps involving effects hitherto unsuspected) cause all the planets to be affected (to a greater or lesser extent) contemporaneously?”
On Earth, there are lags, but for other planets, dwarfs, and moons, heating of the surface due to an increase in solar output is fairly instantaneous, and solar output has been declining for 54 years, so if you’re detecting warming since ~1960 on planets other than Earth, it wasn’t caused by the sun.
Also, the data is non-existent. According to Skeptical Science, Jupiter’s warming is a prediction while Mars’ is just two photographs ~20 years apart, analysed for albedo changes due to dust storms – i.e, which day was windier.
Surely Lindzen knew all this, but I think Lindzen’s moral compass is set by what he feels to be a larger Truth: that climate sensitivity is low and carbon mitigation attempts at this time would be disastrous. A misrepresentation? Most assuredly, but supposedly in the service of the greater good. A lie? Welll, he merely held up a common talking point. Pondered it, explored a possibility or two, and concluded with science’s handy and technically true “we just don’t know”. Lindzen can comfortably say he’s mostly not lying. (I think it’s an acquired skill.)
Motive is immaterial in discussions of honesty. If one is advancing arguments one knows to be false, one is lying even if one has the most simon pure of motives. Lindzen is certainly smart enough to know that the energetics of the outer planets bear no resemblance whatsoever to those of the inner planets. He is lying like a rug.
What is more, he is doing so only where it advances his standing with lay audiences, while scrupulously avoiding such arguments with colleagues and audiences who are more knowledgeable. This is more than lying. It borders on scientific misconduct.
I am a plant pathologist, not a climate scientist. I do pretty well in understanding and evaluating much of the climate-science literature, but some is frankly beyond me. That’s why you climate scientists are so important. I understand that LC2009 has been soundly refuted. No matter how kooky Lindzen acts in public, it sounds like LC2011 is a refereed paper that challenges an important aspect of the scientific understanding on global warming. If his scientific ideas are poor, then the paper should be challenged vigorously in the refereed literature. I understand that Dessler challenged its findings, but if there is more to say, I am encouraging you experts to do so. Please. Otherwise, what is an educator like me to say if a skeptic refers to LC2011?
T. Marvell: The climate scientists should write versions of their models that can be understood by others.
Not to be insulting, but that’s like asking somebody to do a version of “War and Peace” in the Russian language but in a way that may be read by people who don’t speak Russian, don’t know there was a 19th century and don’t know there were opposing forces in a great war in the early part of that century. Except it’s worse, because Tolstoy’s plot is easier to understand assuming you already do speak the necessary language and have the historical background to appreciate the story.
Scratch the surface of this stuff and the first thing you run into is a deeply rumpled and detailed surface of maths that is being employed in service of simulating aspects of physics which are themselves another complicated surface. These topologies become the warp and woof of yet another descriptive language, software, the three combining to do something useful.
These can’t really be simplified in a way that everybody may readily understand; it’s a problem of conservation of information wherein simplification fatally loses details needed to fully describe the system under scrutiny.
What to do, if you don’t speak the languages employed? At the end of the day, you place your faith in others. The difference with this kind of faith as opposed to spiritual faith is testability. Should you wish to devote enough effort you can actually pursue the justification for your faith to the last details, ending up at the bleeding edge of research if you please. First you need to learn some languages, then you can tackle the implications of those.
This matter of testable faith is why Lindzen’s directed presentations fail for those who doubt what he says; unlike the case of a revival tent preacher we may look under his presentation and see what’s really going on. The caveat is that significant effort must be applied to do so.
Science of Doom does a great job of explaining climate science topics from a “first principles” starting point. Even the admirably skilled pedagogy of SoD inevitably ends up ploughing into a myriad of interlocking, intellectually challenging details but it’s a great place to start if you want to test your faith in climate science.
Also very helpful is Skeptical Science, which offers various levels of treatment of climate science topics. Simplified levels leave you relying on faith but you can move upwards as you wish.
and then you start to realize that something is afoot.
Now add in the ESS of Lunt et al 2009 and the work that is built and refined from the Charney Sensitivity… Then, realize that peer review is not the end all be all but it is in fact peer response that counts…
Now, add in the fact that formal peer response is different than informal. Some peer reviewed papers never even get refuted simply because they are so off base that the community doesn’t even bother… and Trenberth already responded to LC2009… and someone probably will respond formally to LC2011.
Now, add to that that thousands of climate scientists agree this is an important issue and only a tiny fraction of climate scientists think it’s not (largely because they simply are not that good at climate science)…
Like I said, I’m no expert, but LC 2011 looks like they may have tried a different color of lipstick on the LC 2009 pig. So you can dress up a pig with fancy lace to distract people by cherry picking inappropriate time scales to use as your comp values, but that don’t change the fact that there’s still a pig under the dress.
BTW I wrote a pretty decent book that covers a lot of this type of stuff, and a lot more, and you might like it:
John, is there any chance you can exert your influence to get your book published for Kindle or another remunerative ebook format? We’re reached the “one in, one out” equilibrium in our household for 3-D, meatspace books, something that has caused me to reluctantly adopt the electronic mode where possible.
I’m trying to open a new field of study to compliment the work of others in meaningless science ;)
Might even start a new web site called:
working on it :)
Though I still love to write my own notes in the margins and love the feel of a real book.
[Response:Some years ago Rush Limbaugh went off on a tirade when he found out that federal grants were being awarded to study plant stress, not comprehending that stress in a broader biological context might actually mean something different than in a human psychology context.–Jim]
Only slightly off topic….but pertinent never-the-less. Have you a intimate knowledge of the changes IPCC are making in communicating the final summations of AR5? I have several reasons for asking this question. First, the report is due out next year & 2014, with newer and much more relevant information then prior additions AR3 and AR4. Regards, AR3-4 we have learned to ask deeper questions and how better to utilize newer findings, so no criticism intended. The intended focus for the newest report will have a much broader analysis of the impact of our evolving climate ecosphere. How the results will be communicated is of utmost importance. Here is the remote connection to your newest post; communication. The very nature of your post can be distilled into the essence of communication. You have pointed out without rancor the usage of erroneous data sets by Dr. Lindzen. The esteemed people who have commented on your assertion have in many ways furthered the knowledge or lack thereof …of the use of data in qualifying a hypothesis. As has been pointed out clearly motives or methods Dr. Lindzen used are a matter of discussion. But what if the most important elements of your message was spread with the effectiveness of say ….the social network title Kony 2012? What if a concerted effort was configured and pushed forward to advance your “James Hansen: Why I Must Speak Out About Climate Change”, http://www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change.html? Apologies to those before me, this lecture is worth repeating.
I will risk saying on this forum, if you Dr. Hansen or Eric or anyone commenting, we need a new tack. A method of uniquely demonstrating to those who will or cannot understand the urgency of addressing climate change must be found. Understanding the reasons for climate change is everything ….and nothing ….if we cannot convince those who do not or will not understand…so we make it as transparent as possible, we use the language of statistics in such a way that no misuse of them can be postulated, we have graphs …use them on tee-shirts…(sorry, banal example, but what the hell), anyone heard the newest climate change recipe? “Yes son, the Earth really does go around the Sun” My point ….what will it take for some of the smartest people I have had the pleasure of listening to on this blog, to go for a new direction? Clean…the very cleanest, easiest, eye-catching, fad-like, jingle like, way to make people take the blinders off and accept the data, predictions and stop climate change NOW!….
I read an interesting article ( will find it if anyone is looking for citation) on the time lines for the introduction of new theories and the general populations acceptance of those theories. What I came away with on that information is the time lag was in decades and even more for the more controversial of them. As the entire climate choir here knows, we do not have the ….time….for dalliance.
I gleefully read most of the available online documentation on climate change and find RC a treasure of intellect and frontier thinking but if I might be most bold to say…..the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change may be the most influential source for elucidating the conditions of our planet…a planet in great peril. It is the singular group representing the world regards our climate and the knowledge of how it works. The method(s) by which it will convey the newest findings in AR5 may be our best bet for data collection and presentation, hence, Dr. Hansen….I dare say you’ll mention ….the tee-shirt idea? Really people…..we have the finest organization coming on with some very important news and we have some of the best minds here contributing to that knowledge….as Joan Rivers has been known to say “Can we talk”?
Ray: “This is more than lying. It borders on scientific misconduct.”
Whether Lindzen successfully avoided telling a literal and deliberate lie in this case (as parsed by Lindzen’s lawyer), he was obviously trying to cloud the issue by introducing doubt via a supposition which is scientific garbage but might appear valid to a layman. From the little I’ve seen, this behaviour is a pattern.
Scientific misconduct? Just think about the hornet’s nest one would rile up by sanctioning the top skeptical scientist for postulating about standard skeptic talking points!
Well, why not? One beef I’ve heard here is that Lindzen feels free to advance arguments in laymen’s forums which he would not dare to bring up amongst scientists. Well, in the process of making a case to strip Lindzen of X support of Y organization, Lindzen’s litany of public arguments would be center stage, all to be dissected scientifically.
Glad to have brought some much-needed comic relief to this thread. Keep the plant puns coming! (But it may surprise you to learn that I am a member of the APS. No, not the American Physical Society…the other APS: The American Phytopathological Society.)
…Lindzen’s litany of public arguments would be center stage, all to be dissected scientifically.
It’s a long litany, would be embarrassing if it were all collected together and put in the hands of someone with a bent to making somebody eat their own words. Lindzen’s pretty complacent when talking to audiences that are susceptible, actually is reminiscent of Rumsfeld and the amusement he seemed to derive from dealing with the US Senate. Models are arbitrarily adjusted, use “fudge factors,” we can’t tell whether warming is due to El Nino, we can’t even tell if we’re contributing to climate change, etc. “Miles of tunnels stuffed with secret weapons” riffing, ignoring that the joke might not be so funny later when people found out someone was just yanking their chain.
The segment above talking about model fudge factors is just one of many similar appearances by Lindzen; I for one had no idea until this thread spurred me to look around.
Might add that although for some of us Lindzen seems comic or is just a scientific curiosity he’s helping to make public policy, today.
The UK is even now setting budget priorities we’ll learn about shortly; there’s a struggle over environment priorities versus growth and of course if you listen to Lindzen you’ll hear him drawing a line between those things. No coincidence he was just recently in London– he has the ear of at least a few people deciding these things.
Meanwhile in Australia there’s a presently an intense battle for the minds of the electorate, which is probably why so many of the recent media segments we see in this thread and which can be found on YouTube are from there. Alan Jones has a huge audience; lots of people will go to the polls thinking about what Lindzen has told them.
Here in the US he was busy during the C02 pricing fiasco a couple of years ago. Where legislation or policy are in flux we seem to find Lindzen shaping thought.
Is it important? We know for certain that what seem to be unimportant political edge-effects can have a disproportionate impact on public policy. Lindzen =will= to a greater or lesser extent shape policy, count on it.
Again, where’s the guidance from an authority that can speak to Lindzen’s reliability?
Ray: I’ve been vocal in saying that action by either MIT (beyond keeping him away from teaching climate related classes)…
Leaving the minor detail of explaining why without seeming to cast judgement or inadvertently convey any sense of disapproval. Possibly a message safest delivered in mime by a skilled figure skater, or a acrobatic allegory performed by Cirque du Soleil?
dbostrom, What you are ignoring in your arguments for censure is that science is essentially a functioning anarchy. There is no central authority. Tenure assures that outside of outright criminal fraud, he will continue to darken the halls of MIT until they remove him feet first. And ANYONE can join AGU, and once you are a fellow, you are a fellow.
Scientific authority among scientists derives from a scientist making useful contributions to the field and exercising good judgment over an extended period of time. In the public’s mind, it probably derives from the scientist catering to the prejudices of the public. People are stupid. They’ve always been stupid. They will always be stupid. The only way to counter this stupidity that I’ve discovered is science–and that includes those anarchic tendencies you decry.
“As far as I can see there has been no retraction here at all of the many accusations made on this blog that Lindzen was dishonest.” simon abingdon — 12 Mar 2012 @ 4:10 AM
Mea culpa – I haven’t been following this thread closely, and just spent the evening caching up. I would like to apologize for saying that Lindzen used “…a graph which is itself a damnable lie. And I don’t think he’s so stupid or careless to make this a mistake.” I was mistaken.
Ray, as you say: “People are stupid. They’ve always been stupid. They will always be stupid.”
Yes indeed, something that AGU had no hesitation in recently pointing out and deprecating in connection with a specific individual, an AGU member who misbehaved. True, the fellow was serving a role w/AGU that obviously had bearing on the situation. But really, is it so far-fetched that AGU should understand that members should truly practice what AGU preaches?
“Among the core values articulated in AGU’s Strategic Plan are ‘excellence and integrity in everything we do.’”
Which begs the question, “Who’s ‘we,’ Kim Sabe?” Just AGU officers? Is that what’s intended to be understood by AGU’s words?
Like I’ve suggested, AGU ought to stick to publishing papers and conducting meetings and be silent on other matters, or do they’ve promised. What’s so complicated about that?
Meanwhile, making a promise and then failing to keep it hardly flattering to AGU’s authority. Why should I care what they have to say about Gleick, for instance? AGU readily tolerates existentially threatening rot unless they’re frightened of being criticized by conservative inquisitors; should I respect the organization for that?
Down the road all this excuse-making is going to be thin stuff, laughably inadequate. “We had to respect the feelings of the people who were yanking the rug from under future generations.” “Traditions were very important to us, more than literally everything else.” “We can’t really explain what it was we were protecting, but trust us, it was more important than what you’re facing now.”
Or, (not to be personal but it’s the most proximate actual excuse I’ve heard) how about “And ANYONE can join AGU, and once you are a fellow, you are a fellow.” Exactly what principle are we all being marched to the wall for with that explanation?
Obviously we’re never going to agree on this but please try to remember: this is novel situation. Behaving exactly as we’re accustomed and would prefer is not working.
Ray Ladbury asks, “Who is talking about sanctions?”
Sorry, that’s too strong a word. A number of people have floated possible “statements of limited support”.
Ray also said, “His misconduct should certainly be noted and publicized.”
So you advocate [somebody] gathering the evidence and making the case, with your concern being the proper use of the results, be it for a web page, a signed statement by a group of scientists, or _____?
You obviously feel strongly about this, even to the point of calling Lindzen a no-wiggle-room flat-out serial liar. Especially in a functional anarchy, tasks often fall to individuals and groups who feel strongly. There are certainly a few regulars here who would gladly help dig up data. From what I’ve seen, that Hank guy can find anything.
Skeptical Science has a sort of a start in their Lindzen Illusion series. (Scroll down to “L”)
Well here’s a fine how-de-do. The AGU may in fact be attempting to address the Lindzen problem, perhaps while avoiding pain and risk. It’s a start, it’s better than nothing, it has the virtue of existence. Maybe I’ve been flapping my gums for nothing; I sure hope so.
Here’s the closest elliptical approach AGU makes to the matter, via a president’s comment on the Jan. 27 WSJ op-ed:
As we look at the ever-increasing attacks on those whose research has established the fact that climate change is real and human activity is most probably the cause, Moynihan’s sentiment still holds true. There are those who would want us to believe that climate change isn’t happening and that human activity isn’t playing a role, but unfortunately wishful thinking won’t make the facts disappear.
Attacking the character and motives of a scientist or organization because they stand behind a conclusion that is politically charged – that the Earth’s climate is out of balance and human activities are in all probability responsible for global warming – is counterproductive and short sighted. Likewise, we ignore the scientific evidence for climate change at our peril because it will have an impact on national security, the economy, our food supply, and many other areas that affect our health and well-being.
“Counterproductive and short sighted.” Real fighting words there, heh! AGU just can’t quite look Lindzen in the eye and say “Look to your record, choose to do better or don’t walk with us.” But this is a step in the right direction. A copy of AGU’s statement via certified USPS to Lindzen would convey exactly the right message. :-)
Dbostrom (398) says that for us non-experts there is little hope. The climate scientists cannot explain their models so that we can understand them. We just have to believe in their expertise. That’s not a realistic position. It won’t hold up given the huge array of interests and funding opposed to the forecasts that come out of the models.
Dbostrom says the key is testing, by which I assume is correctness of forecasting. Given the great variability in climate trends, it will take a long time before there is any reasonable consensus about whether a warming forecast is correct. If warming is indeed a serious threat, such proof may come too late to do much good.
A more useful way to test the models might be to test intermediate predictions, such as variation in regional temperature trends, effect on cloud cover, effect on statospheric water vapor, CO2 absorbing and out-gassing in the oceans, and so on, over periods of a few years. I doubt, however, that the various models agree on such things, and a large number of predictions would have to hold up before they can be said to support the models.
Lindzen’s speech at the House of Commons had many specific criticisms of the models, especially the assumptions behind them. Someone should write a point-by-point response and give it to the House of Commons. Not that it will have any influence there, but because the speech will be picked up by others.
Again, I disagee with the notion that non-experts (such a policy makers) should just accept what the experts say. I also don’t think that reliance on testing is a meaningful answer.
Paul Vincelli #397 Rob Dekker: I am a plant pathologist, not a climate scientist. I do pretty well in understanding and evaluating much of the climate-science literature, but some is frankly beyond me. That’s why you climate scientists are so important.
Just for the record : I am not a climate scientist either. I’m a computer scientist, and like you, I understand much of the climate-science literature, and some is beyond me too. However, Lindzen’s science is really not that difficult. In Lindzen and Choi 2009 for example, where his ERBE results shows about 4 W/m^2/K response to SST changes (similar to how a black-body responds), anyone with basic understanding of climate sensitivity would know that with that response the feedback factor should be zero. So when Lindzen claims a negative feedback in his conclusions, it’s pretty obvious that he made a mistake somewhere.
Back then (2009), being rather new in the climate science area, it took me two weeks (of my spare time) to find out exactly HOW he created that negative feedback out of nowhere, and let me tell you that I was at least as upset back then as other people are with the Lindzen’s unfounded allegations against the GISS record, the subject of this post.
Now, I sure do not expect every layman to spend that much time tracking down the core of the problem of a paper which presents results that are simply inconsistent with every other scientist’s report on the same data.
With the methods used in Lindzen and Choi 2009 now shown (by Trenberth and others) to be incorrect and cherry-picked and it’s conclusions extrapolated, and these mistakes admitted by Lindzen as being “embarrassing”, then would you not be a bit ‘skeptical’ that Lindzen and Choi 2011 not only claims the same conclusions as their first paper, but also claims that the method used by all other scientists is wrong ?
That was the nature of my question : Do you really need to see this paper rebutted in the peer-reviewed literature before you become at least a bit ‘skeptical’ or its results ?
I understand that Dessler challenged its findings, but if there is more to say, I am encouraging you experts to do so.
In my post #329, I am suggesting the same thing. I think it is important that papers by Lindzen (who is invited to speak as an expert in front of Congressional hearing) such as L&C 2011, even though they did not pass peer-review by PNAS, and were published in a relatively unknown Korean meteorological journal, do get addressed by climate scientists. If not in a peer-reviewed paper, then at least in a blog post on realclimate or skepticalscience, pointing out exactly WHY Lindzen gets results that are at odds with other climate scientists using the same satellite data.
Please. Otherwise, what is an educator like me to say if a skeptic refers to LC2011
Considering what you now know, maybe you should ask them to be skeptical ?
The fact is I have read the Lindzen and Choi 2011 paper, as well as the revier comments, the 2009 paper, all the published criticism, the unpublished Choi et al. 2011 submitted, the Lindzen and Choi 2010 submitted to JGR. Indeed I’ve read it several times. I am struck that it is an ingenious argument.
As alluded to above the truth is PNAS did not reject the LC11 paper. In fact the authors simply decided to publish it elsewhere. The story of what happened is given in by Lindzen here. It is true that an earlier incarnation was rejected by JGR, although it has been extensively revised in the APJAS submission. (The original Lindzen and Choi 2010 JGR submission is available here.)
I had a look at your comments at Stoat about the lead-and-lag method. I also have a few comments:
1) It has been known since Frankignoul (1999) that a lagged covariance method is needed to distinguish the atmospheric response from noise. If you scan the literature for papers citing this result you’ll find that Lindzen and Choi’s method is hardly new (Choi et al. 2011, submitted). I suggest, please read these other papers and consider your comments again. I think you are wrong.
2) You write,
Interestingly enough, [Lindzen] does not show what feedback parameter number he obtains for a system with no feedback or positive feedback, in which case the lead-lag-noise bias will be greatest.
I am not sure what you mean. In fact, Lindzen and Choi write,
Figure 7 shows the probability density functions of the estimated ΔFlux/ΔSST, and compares with the three true F values (1, 3.3, and 6 W m−2 K−1) that were specified for the model.
The no feedback case is 3.3 W m-2 K-1. 1 is positive feedback, and 6 is negative feedback. In Table 1 they show the feedback factors obtained for no feedback and positive feedback compared against the true values.
3) What you fail to discuss is why, even using Lindzen’s lead-and-lag method, imperfect as it is, all 12 IPCC models are found to be dominated by positive feedback factors, whereas the observed atmosphere appears to be dominated by negative feedbacks.
[Response: The issue is precisely that this method does not show this. Their simple model test cases (which can certainly be faulted because they aren’t using realistic noise structures for the forcing and don’t have any possibility of ENSO like variability in the frequency domain), show that regardless of the actual value of the feedback parameter their method is biased towards negative feedback. In the neutral case, would give a big negative feedback much more than half the time. – gavin]
Rob, in my own field of scientific investigation, there is one primary source of advancing scientific knowledge: Peer-reviewed research papers in refereed journals. Blog postings provide great insight, but I know of none that have any requirement for technical accuracy and soundness of logic. While peer-review is imperfect, it’s like democracy–flawed, but better than the alternatives. I am not saying I trust Lindzen’s writings. I am saying that rebuttals to a refereed paper that challenges a key aspect of the scientific consensus on global warming, will carry much more weight with other scientists if they are in refereed journals. I believe this is the case in any field of scientific investigation. Postings on RealClimate and Skeptical Science help me immensely to understand this subject. All I am doing is encouraging rebuttals by experts in the refereed literature. If I had the expertise, I would write one myself.
I appreciate your point about encouraging skeptics to be skeptical about claims by Lindzen and others. That’s an excellent idea. Maybe directly questioning why a skeptic puts so much faith in one “side” of this “debate” will do more to open their mind than any arguments I might present on the soundness of the science. Thanks for that.
“Maturity diagram showing net change since 17 May 2008 in the global monthly surface air temperature record prepared by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), USA. The net result of the adjustments made are becoming substantial, and adjustments since May 2006 occasionally exceeds 0.1oC. Before 1945 global temperatures are generally changed toward lower values, and toward higher values after 1945, resulting in a more pronounced 20th century warming (about 0.15oC) compared to the NCDC temperature record published in May 2008″.
I´d really appreciate if anybody competent could comment on this?
Comment by Christoffer Bugge Harder — 15 Mar 2012 @ 6:12 AM
T. Marvell @391 & @417
As a novice non-expert, it was not a good start for you here to hit out at models for being too complex.
Yes. Climatology does endure loud criticism for its models. Science can explain models at many differing levels of detail but not to the satisfaction of many climate deniers. It is not climatology that is unreasonable in this. It is the questioning (such as you own*) that asks for complex answers but then calls foul when a succinct answer is not instantly forthcoming.
*If your inability to “trust the experts” were extended beyond clomatology, you would be in grave danger of being diagnosed with paranoia.
Your comments here evoke many worthwhile questions (too many perhaps).
He is but an old cantankerous professor who singularly failed to live up to the promise of a remarkably successful early career. (See Wikipedia.) Today he continues to fight an acdemic ballte that was well and truly lost 20 years ago. (He’s likle some rusty old housecarl striding round Senlac Hill shouting that they can’t have lost coz there are no Normans in sight.)
If Lindzen’s position had the slightest scientific merit he would be pursuing the science not engaging with rabble-rousing politicians.
This can be done on the back of a fag packet as Lindzen does. The 20th century temp rise was 0.8 deg C. Lindzen says human forcings for that period equals that from a doubling of CO2 (which is very wrong). He then attributes all the warming to human forcing and pronounces sensitivity is less than 1.0 so net feedbacks are negative. This is complete tosh. From an alleged climatologist it is unforgivable!!
You do not need complex models to spot the error/lies.
2xCO2 gives an forcing of 3.7W/sq m, happily one figure Lindzen accepts. Not all 20th century warming was human-caused. So 0.8 becomes nearer 0.65 deg C rise. Total 20th century human-caused positive forcings (ie ignoring the negative forcings) are about 3.0W/sq m (see Skeie et al 2011, link below, for an account of 2000 forcings, positive & negative). Negative forcings are more difficult to quantify but 2.0W/sq m is the figure calculated although it could be lower. Negaive forcings below 1.0W/sq m starts to get much more unlikely. (Lindzen is saying this figure is zero).
So net forcing is not 3.7W/sq m. It is arguably 2.0 to 1.0W/sq m. Additionally there is residual imbalance in the climate system (warming in the pipeline) which is of the order of 0.5W/sq m, (another figure Liodzen sets at zero) a quantity which has to be again subtracted to give an ‘effective’ level of forcing 1.5 to 0.5W/sq m.
This yields a sensitivity range of (3.7/1.5)*0.65 = 1.6 to 4.8W/sq m. Contrary to Lindzen’s fake conclusions, sensitivity is high and feedback positive, and it could be very high.
This simple analysis is obviously very dependent on the input numbers but here these are reasoned inputs. Lindzen’s numbers are plain stupid.
I’m trying to understand something. Let’s say someone showed you a paper claiming sensitivity was 6 degrees per doubling. The paper was published in an obscure journal. It had been rejected by a prestigious journal prior to its publication in the obscure journal. The dataset used for the analysis was limited both in time and spatial extent. The dataset was also plagued by lots of corrections and difficult to understand. The analysis had to make lots of questionable assumptions and still led to somewhat inconclusive and unsatisfying results. Later you found out that the authors had tried several times to publish results based on the data, but these analyses were flawed. Even so, the prospect of 6 degrees of warming per doubling has severe consequences. Would you be alarmed?
So, where does your skepticism go when you read a paper like L&C11?
You seem to want science to be something it is not–indeed something that it can never be if it is to retain its current invaluable role as a source of reliable understanding of the physical world. To do this, it has to allow minority opinion–even irresponsible minority opinion from lying pondscum–precisely because it must admit that it could be wrong and the lying pondscum could inadvertently put us back on the right track even as they lie. The price of allowing everyone a say is that we have to elevate scientific consensus to the closest approximation of truth we have. Consensus is subtle. It takes into account the scientific evidence, but also scientific opinion (evidence based, of course), and here is where the reputations of lying pondscum come back to bite them. If one places one’s “agenda” above progress in understanding the field, one’s reputation will suffer. It doesn’t matter what one’s agenda might be–however selfish or altruistic–if one pushes an agenda, one’s influence decreases. I’ve watched the process work for over 30 years now–mostly in applied science, but occasionally at the forefront where Nobel Prizes are at stake. It’s messy, but it works.
So that is why it is imperative that policy be based on the scientific consensus. Moreover, it’s not as if the consensus is in any way subtle here. It’s not as if the halfway house established by the lukewarmers offers a compromise. They are just as wrong as the hardcore denialists, and probably more risibly so. Science provides us the tools to develop intelligent policies. What is lacking is the intelligence and the fortitude to take the tough medicine needed to preserve human civilization. All the pondscum do is provide a rationalization for rejecting intelligence. If they weren’t there the idjits would find others.
I don’t know how anyone can think that Lindzen can have any credibility given he argues that CFC’s aren’t harming the ozone layer. Also Is he still flogging the fallacy of how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking?
The man hasn’t got an ethical bone in his body. As an academic he has a duty to perform ethically. Shameful stuff.
MARodger (422) – My point is that the climate scientists have to do something different to get their point across (at least in the US) about global warming. I suspect I am far from alone in saying this. Their focus seems to be insular, focused too much on their community. For policy purposes they need to win over non-experts, against opposition from deep-pocket energy interests. To say there is a near consensus among climate scientists isn’t enough. There are plenty of historical examples of consensus in scientific communities turning out to be incorrect.
I don’t know enough to say what the climate scientists can do, but I gave a couple of ideas (391,417) – Try to explain the models so others can judge them, and try to get short-term predictions from the models, predictions that can be tested.
Cantankerous professor or not, Lindzen should be answered thoroughly. Failure to answer can be interpreted as inability to answer. Uncovering a few mistakes is not enough, by itself, to show that his other arguments are wrong.
I understand that it is reasonable to be skeptical that Lindzen and Choi have shown what they claim to have shown; their result overturns a lot of argument that the atmosphere is dominated by positive feedbacks. I will also be surprised if their papers settle this matter and ultimately shows that climate sensitivity is less than 1 K.
However, again, I do not see any justification for the claim that their argument is circular. It is obvious that their method has a bias, as you say, and as Rob Dekker says, and as the authors concede. (It is also obvious that the bias of Lindzen and Choi’s method is minor compared to the bias of Dessler 2010 and Forster and Gregory 2006.)
The problem for you is they used the same method on both the models and the observations. Your point would make a lot more sense if their method yielded the same result for the 12 models as it does with the observations – i.e. if it told us, incorrectly, that all 12 models were dominated by negative feedbacks.
Regarding ENSO, I am not sure that ENSO variability is relevant at all. Why? Because ENSO causes variability on the time frame of years (i.e. the period is ~ 4 years), whereas Lindzen and Choi look at fast feedbacks that operate on a scale of days or months.
[Response: Your last point is not correct. Changes in outgoing flux and SST associated with ENSO is very fast (exactly the monthly scale that L&C are looking at). The 3-7 year band is important for looking at the structure of the overall events and would show up if we had longer satellite products, but that is not the only thing associated with ENSO. For instance, one can clearly see the signature of the 1997/98 el nino, 2008 La nina etc in the ERBE/CERES data (as well as Pinatubo in 1991). – gavin]
T. Marvell: Dbostrom says the key is testing, by which I assume is correctness of forecasting.
I failed to communicate. What I’m saying is that unless you know the languages necessary to understand the work in question you’re stuck with untested belief– faith– as opposed to direct knowledge. If you do enough learning, you may be able to follow the science (and meta information, such as source code) behind the models so as to test whether your faith is well placed, whether there’s an apparent reason for them to fail that is truly unexplained by your own (non-pejorative!) ignorance. I was not referring to any judgement of model performance, more speaking to how you might know if they would or would not function as intended.
Without doing all the work necessary to know the virtues and foibles of models in detail sufficient to fully describe them, simply saying “I doubt the models work” is woefully insufficient. That by the way is what Lindzen is doing; taken at his own word in public and as published, he apparently doesn’t understand models in their entirety well enough to say exactly why they might not work.
Ray: To do this, it has to allow minority opinion–even irresponsible minority opinion from lying pondscum–precisely because it must admit that it could be wrong and the lying pondscum could inadvertently put us back on the right track even as they lie.
I fully understand this and again I’m failing to communicate. Let me try again.
When Lindzen thinks of a new approach and then goes on to describe his ideas sufficiently to be tested and published, that’s doing science. Whether his new thinking has gone past a respectable review process or not the fresh approach he elucidates should be accorded the distinctive respect you describe; “just shut up” is indeed the wrong response.
When Lindzen goes into the public square and delivers distorted and wrong descriptions of research conclusions without attempting to show why he’s right or how this research may be corrected, that’s not doing science and shouldn’t enjoy the special respect and open invitation for dissent accorded to sincerely intended scientific research.
Lindzen is a scientist and he is not a scientist, simultaneously. The behavior of one facet of Lindzen’s personality is easily distinguished from the behavior of the other. The fact of his being a scientist does not give Lindzen license to vandalize the public mind and it does not permit those who can tell the difference from one Lindzen and the other to stay silent at all costs. The scientist should be accorded respect, the other Lindzen should not.
I suggest that simply because somebody is correctly identified as a scientist does not magically erase their responsibility for what they say in the extra-scientific realm no matter how wrong, nor does it eliminate the responsibility of those who know better to clearly describe the value of any given person’s extra-curricular contribution to society at large.
As I belatedly discovered, I think AGU is able to draw this distinction; I don’t think AGU’s McPhaden was unaware of Lindzen’s name on the WSJ letter he so mildly criticized. What AGU said on this is unlikely to have any effect because Lindzen appears to have a hide like leather and cares little what others say or think of him but on the other hand it’s better than nothing at all.
Christoffer Bugge Harder @421
You ask for somebody competent. That probably rules me out, but…
I plotted Feb 2012 NCDC published data against data published June 2009 that happened to be lurking on the same spreadsheet. I get a similar plot to the one Humlum plots (the 4th “Temporal Stability…” graph in his ‘little’ essay at:- http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm#Estimates%20of%20recent%20global%20temperature%20change )
I must say he is a bit out of line plotting his graph as a bar chart rather than a squiggly line as a bar chart accentuates the average values when a graph is as cluttered as this.
The changes on my chart are roughly as follows (with no discernible difference when the data from Humlum’s link is plotted.)
From zero adjustment in 1880, temps are on average adjusted increasingly downwards, by 1900 down an average value -0.05 deg C. This adjustment then reduced, passing zero in the 1940s from when adjustments are increasingly upwards with average values of +0.03deg C mid 2000s whence they reduce to zero for 2009.
Lindzen’s mistake alleged an added 0.19 deg C additional net warming over the entire record. This adjustment has no net warming but 0.08 deg C re-allocated to 1900-2003 from earlier & later periods.
T. Marvell, #425. “The climate scientists…” So, in addition to doing science, in addition to blogs such as this one, in addition to advising NAS and IPCC, you would have them do…what?
“Try to explain the models…” This has been and continues to be done.
“try to get short-term predictions…” Hmm, there was a rather high-profile prediction in 1988 that’s been largely born out.
“inability to answer.” That’s rich. You’re aware, right, that it’s deniers like Lindzen who’ve offered no coherent alternative theory of how the climate operates — or made accurate short- or long term predictions?
In short, the onus at this point is on citizens and our representatives to separate fact from cash-fueled whimsy and formulate necessary policy actions.
Look, this has all been discussed pretty thoroughly here and else where. At some point the burden falls on the concerned citizen to suck it up and make an effort to separate the actual science from the sh*tstorm of intentional obfuscations generated by ideologues and nihilists.
If you educate yourself on the science as far as you are able and apply critical thinking skills to the “debate”, you will eventually see for yourself what’s already been laid out over the years in nauseating detail, that the denialist position rests on rhetoric, and that the people who are serious about the science will lead you deeper into the science. The question then becomes who are you going to rely on to give you advice, the blowhards or the the honest brokers of information?
Suck it up and break a sweat, or move on to something else.
It would seem that you are attributing your failure to understand evidence for climate change to the field–when in fact, you are the only person in a position to remedy this shortcoming.
It is certainly true that there are aspects of climate science that are subtle and difficult to understand. However, the basics are not that tough. What is more, one can demonstrate many of the characteristics we see in the changing climate with fairly simple models. Tamino has a two-level model that is purely algebraic and quite nicely illustrates many of the phenomena we see. There are plenty of other such efforts in the blogosphere–real science with simple models, as opposed to the fake science dished out by the denialist camp. It’s up to you to be sufficiently discerning and honest with yourself that you can tell the difference.
First of all, it seems that we all agree that the lead-lag method in L&C’11 has a negative feedback bias. Gavin and me also claim that the bias depends on the amount and characteristics of the ‘noise’ superimposed on the SST and radiation signals.
However, we do not yet know HOW BAD the bias can get when provided with realistic noise (ENSO style slow moving SST and high-frequency noise on radiation).
Second, Alex brought up the claim by L&C’11 that there is a positive-feedback bias in the method used in Dessler 2010 and Forster and Gregory 2006. I can’t see how that (simple regression) could have any bias at all, so I am skeptical about this claim by Lindzen.
And again, we have not quantified that claimed positive-feedback bias either.
Since Lindzen’s conclusions in L&C’11 rely to a large extent on these claims (that simple regression has a positive feedback bias, and that the negative feedback bias in lead-lag is minor), I think it is time for some engineering work :
We should build Lindzen’s model and see if we can reproduce his results. That I think is the only way to find out if Lindzen’s claims are correct, and if so, how dependent the feedbacks are on the (sort of) noise.
To reproduce Lindzen and Choi 2009, I write an ‘awk’ script, but to build a model and feed it with noise, do statistical tests on it, and present the results in a form we all understand would require something better. Does any of you have a suggestion on how to do that ?
By the way, Monckton is on another speaking tour, promoting Lindzen’s “1 C per doubling” and “the models are exaggerating the observed trend” argument once again. So maybe it is time that the ‘science’ on LC’11 is exposed clearly. Down to the last detail.
T Marvell “…for us non-experts there is little hope. The climate scientists cannot explain their models so that we can understand them. We just have to believe in their expertise. That’s not a realistic position. …”
What do we do if a relative or neighbour tells us they’re not happy with the advice they’ve been given by a doctor or a structural engineer, maybe their accountant or plumber?
We tell them they can get a second opinion – from another expert. Maybe we say we’ve heard of another expert who doesn’t charge as much, they could try them. Perhaps there’s a newer technique or process or material that would get the same benefit for lower cost or quicker performance.
What we don’t say is – go and work it out for yourself. Or get a relevant degree. The main thing is we always rely on expertise, but try to find the best expert you can. Some doctors and plumbers or engineers are better than others at describing the problem and the options. But they don’t usually give us the details of how to work the equations on cell function or stresses in foundations in certain soils or the regulations on sewerage connections in our district.
Experts are experts. It’s good to find one who explains things better than some others do. But we have to rely on them anyway. That’s what we need to tell our neighbours and relatives and other voters we’ve never met. Listen to the experts. Don’t try to second guess them unless you have real expertise of your own.
another historical example of the snobbery between rivals involves none other than Svante Arrhenius.
“About 1900, Arrhenius became involved in setting up the Nobel Institutes and the Nobel Prizes. He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1901. For the rest of his life, he would be a member of the Nobel Committee on Physics and a de facto member of the Nobel Committee on Chemistry. He used his positions to arrange prizes for his friends (Jacobus van’t Hoff, Wilhelm Ostwald, Theodore Richards) and to attempt to deny them to his enemies (Paul Ehrlich, Walther Nernst, Dmitri Mendeleev). In 1901 Arrhenius was elected to the Swedish Academy of Sciences, against strong opposition. In 1903 he became the first Swede to be awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.”
The rivalry between the different ‘teams’ is not new. It is centuries old.
I think its a good thing. Mendeleev (who predicted elements that hadn’t even been discovered yet) didn’t get a Nobel Prize. Interestingly however, Nobel did get an element, nobelium.
I’m not sure why you think it a good thing but Mendleyev’s work on comstructing the periodic table was not rewarded with a Nobel Prize mainly becaue he died in 1907 & the prize is not awarded postumously. He is not the only scientist awarded with death rather than a Nobel prize (e.g. Rosalind Franklin) which myself I do not see as a good/happy outcome.
Arrhenius helped to prevent Mendeleev from getting the Nobel prize for chemistry.
and Mendeleev founded the first Russian oil refinery!
These are the strongest arguments against global warming science which I have ever heard. You should have kept it quiet.
I think its a good thing Mendeleev (who predicted elements that hadn’t even been discovered yet)didn’t get a Nobel Prize.
It is off topic, but the significance of the phrase in brackets is in danger of being misunderstood. Isn’t it the case that most of Mendeleev’s numerous predictions had already been confirmed?
If we had posthumous Nobels , Mendeleev would deserve one, thus correcting for Arrhenius’s bad behaviour.
On the other hand for his ideas on GW, wouldn’t Arrhenius deserve a second Nobel prize in addition to the one he had already received for his work in physical chemistry? Perhaps the experts might comment? He appears to have made some good guesses e.g. that CO2 drives and water vapour follows, that there is a logarithmic relationship between forcing and concentration and that the relative humidity is roughly constant. Added to that he even made a quantitative estimate of GW starting from the very limited data available.
Basically, what Radge Havers @430 said: bone up a bit on the science, and give the contrarian sites a miss for a while. Spencer Weart’s Global Warming: A History site’s a good start. And here. And tamino’s place for some stats fu.
Models are not the best place for most of us to use as a starting point for understanding climatology. It’s like diving in at the deep end when you can’t even swim.
Putting aside the intricacies of models for a moment, have an objective look at what’s happening around you: a .9C surface temperature increase since the 50’s (a rate of increase that is unprecedented for millions of years, so far as we can determine!), all the heat being sucked up by the oceans, arctic destined to be ice free in summertime (in what, 10 yrs, 20 at most?), many species migrating further north the past few decades, spring comes earlier every year, increasing pine beetle infestations, more severe tropical storms, steady global increase in areas affected by drought, et. al. Nature is sending us plenty of signals that something is amiss. We would do well to heed these warnings.
People seem to think the Nobel is a be all and end all. It is a human institution. We go astray when we assign magical powers to human creations.
Scientists have infights and fashions just like everyone else.
In climate science we have a huge body of evidence from multiple lines over a long period of time, a small group of snipers with skilled PR help who don’t have much but make the most of it (and coincidentally help solidify the aforementioned evidence by providing questions that are solved/answered one by one), and consequences that are huge and universal.
This makes it important and unusual. Most scientists don’t have the weight of the future of civilization on their heads and can indulge in perfectionism and reductionism to the top of their bent. Climate scientists must work in the real world, and they are stuck with telling the exact truth which can be exploited by those willing to use any weapon to bring it down.
What is reprehensible about Lindzen is that he provides a rallying point for his stubborn resistance to mounting evidence. This happens a lot with aging scientists.
Thanks to Ladbury and Bostrom for a fascinating discussion, wonderful writing, and good points.
You may yourself feel happy writing garbage but I’m not sure it assists the clarity of your point which still remains less than pointy.
Of course there have been many feuding scientists through history – stealing each other’s work, disputing each others methods or each others theories.
Is that what we see today? Or is it more characterised by extra-scientific criticism of scientists & their work, as per the jolly old hockey stock curve.
OT–would be better on the Open Thread–but following up on Arrhenius/Mendeleev:
It’s worth noting that the grudge Arrhenius held against Mendeleev was the latter’s criticism of the theory of dissociation. Similarly, the ‘friends’ cited in #434 were perhaps better characterized as ‘fellow crusaders for ionic dissociation’ in this context; it wasn’t primarily personal, but scientific.
And it’s also worth remembering that Arrhenius had suffered a good deal of professional hardship due to his advocacy of dissociation: he was awarded the lowest possible degree of recognition on his Doctorate because the idea was unpalatable to his examiners, and struggled for years thereafter to achieve a satisfactory faculty position. He was only able to do so by working with others to advance the ideas he had put forward.
And of course, he was right, scientifically speaking.
Looking back, one wishes that he hadn’t lobbied against Mendeleev in 1906. But there was, emotionally speaking, good reason for Arrhenius’ bitter feelings.
For policy purposes they need to win over non-experts, against opposition from deep-pocket energy interests. To say there is a near consensus among climate scientists isn’t enough.
tmarvell@~425: In a nutshell, thanks
Lots of other good stuff in here. Excellent demonstration of how skilled denialists have become. A layperson would get dizzy trying to understand it all, and not knowing who’s lying or deluded. And that’s part of the problem – the best anti-science money can buy. Can you expect a well-meaning congressperson to sort it out? (and many of them don’t even have good intentions these days)
Comment by Susan Anderson — 16 Mar 2012 @ 10:28 AM
Rob Dekker, #432:
I agree that reproducing the LC11 result would be the logical place to start. If it helps, their code and data are available here. There are some notes here discussing various issues people had getting the code to work. I am not sure if anyone actually reproduced the whole thing.
Obviously, it would be nice to repeat this analysis using the CMIP5 models. I don’t know if that’s possible though.
Elsewhere you write,
Alex brought up the claim by L&C’11 that there is a positive-feedback bias in the method used in Dessler 2010 and Forster and Gregory 2006. I can’t see how that (simple regression) could have any bias at all, so I am skeptical about this claim by Lindzen. And again, we have not quantified that claimed positive-feedback bias either.
Again, you should look at Frankignoul (1999) and also in Google Scholar look at the 14 papers citing it. Frankignoul shows that a simple regression confuses cause and effect and leads to a large positive feedback bias. He recommends that a lagged covariance method is needed to estimate feedbacks from noisy data.
If an SST anomaly is prescribed as initial condition, the SAM [statistical atmospheric model, based on simple regression] reinforces it, even though there is no atmospheric feedback in the true model: the SAM confuses cause and effect. The use of low-passed data brings no improvement. … if q [stochastic forcing component] contributes strongly (n^2 >> 1), the artificial positive feedback can be as large as minus the true negative one. As discussed in [Frankignoul et al. 1998], the atmospheric feedback can be estimated from data, at least in the context of (2) [where the atmosphere contributes to the feedback], but by working with lagged covariances to separate cause and effect.
Not quite on topic but one way professional societies could help matters is with plain old money.
For instance, Michael Mann is still being hounded by the American Tradition Institute. UVA has expended hundreds of thousands of dollars battling similar cases such as Cuccinelli’s recently failed effort, sums beyond the reach of even well-founded groups such as AGU.
There is however another way AGU can help. Despite all the wasted taxpayer dollars burnt fending off legal assaults arguably intended only for the purpose of feeding controversy and introducing friction into the lives of researchers, victims of these lawsuits end up with significant “residual” expenses borne directly. ATI is also targeting James Hansen; while this suit is presumably also consuming lots of taxpayer dollars again it’s likely Hansen will be left holding the bag for some portion of the total financial entropy.
As Mann has pointed out, beyond the immediate effects on scientists drawn into these meta-struggles, gratuitous litigation of ATI’s style will have a corrosive effect on research down the road. There are lots of topics of investigation; why would a newly minted postdoc choose to replicate Mann’s experience of blundering into a life-altering experience for the worse?
Instilling the confidence that comes from knowing material support from colleagues will be readily available in a crisis would be a help. In Mann’s case AGU has admonished UVA to stay the course in protecting researchers from ATI. Support from behind is well and good, surely appreciated, but what about money?
It’s rather surprising that recognition of the need for researchers to weather personal financial storms arising from legitimate investigation did not come from AGU or APS or any of the alphabet soup of professional societies. It came down to a pair of individuals to start the Climate Science Defense Fund, which has been assisting Mann in defending himself. Not to detract from CSDF’s efforts one whit but rather to point out failure in other quarters, it is a dismally remarkable fact that in the approximately eight months since CSDF was founded it has raised about $25k. What this tells us is that a lot of actors who are long in words are astoundingly absent when it comes to doing more than talking. This appears to include AGU, though in fairness perhaps they’ve not been asked and have not noted the existence of CSDF.
In a perfect world AGU and its fellow societies would contribute to a general fund created for the same purpose as CSDF. Anti-science legal impediments to research are an increasing feature of our world, as exemplified by the appalling example of the belatedly released investigation into diesel emissions’ role in cancer.
It’s not a perfect world, but AGU could send some money in the direction of CSDF. If AGU has done so they don’t appear to have mentioned it.
Alex, #445. Thank you for providing the links to L&C’11 scipts and data.
Apart from the fact that I do not know IDL, if you want to reproduce scientific findings, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to actually USE the scripts written by that scientist. After all, if they made a coding mistake, that problem would be hidden for a long time.
Therfor, I strongly believe that the reproduction of scientific findings should be done WITHOUT using the software written by the original scientist. You have to write your own program.
On the other hand, having access to the program DOES help to formalize what that original scientist actually did.
Regarding the positive feedback in “simple regressions”, thank you for the Frankignoul paper. I’ll study it in detail, and assess how it applies.
Meanwhile, in a first attempt to set-up the software to reproduce the model, I found that Spencer and Braswell 2008 actually quantified that positive feedback (SUM(N*T)/SUM(T^2)).
However, with random noise N, that bias should zero out, except when the temperature T has an offset with zero. And incidentally, the only scatter-plot that L&C’11 present to “show” that “simple regression” has a positive feedback bias (which is figure 6(a)) indeed HAS an offset on T. While their own run does NOT show that offset. Mmmm.
Did you run that L&C software from climateaudit ? Did you reproduce figure 6(a)) ? And if so, do you know why there is an offset on T ? And what happens if you eliminate that offset ? Is there still a positive feedback bias ? Or did it disappear ?
407 dbostrom said, “The segment above talking about model fudge factors is just one of many similar appearances by Lindzen; I for one had no idea until this thread spurred me to look around.”
Neither did I, and that’s revealing. This post is the result of a personal attack. Lindzen, relying solely on unverified second-hand information, accused an entire department of ongoing, systematic fraud. This is not a unique incident. The Skeptical side’s arguments are not just permeated with personal attacks, they often rely on the existence of nefarious conspiracies. Here we have a scientist acting in a way which demands revelation for all the highest reasons, yet neither you nor I have seen a systematic deconstruction of Lindzen’s public portrayal of the science. Has anybody? Is the climate science community treating Lindzen’s abuse of science like an emeritus quirk?
The old professor who took a wrong turn 20 years ago and never looked back is a classic stereotype. They perform a useful purpose by exploring the corners nobody else is bothering with. Sometimes something great turns up. Eventually they die. Science handles them by more-or-less ignoring them while protecting their position through tenure. It’s a low-cost solution and nobody is hurt, depending on their students’ fates.
But, as you said, Lindzen isn’t just an old professor. He’s also a celebrity who influences global politics. Watch how Lindzen answers denialist “questions”. He tiptoes around the blatant errors and flawed assumptions which compose the heart of the question, perhaps correcting a bit here or there, but done so gently it feels more like adjustments, then enlarges the scope – “yes, you’re referring to …” , and finally narrows to a similar talking point of his own, leaving the denialist talking point not just alive, but enhanced by the transitional “yes”. No wonder he cleaned our side’s clock in the IQ2 debate.
Lindzen the scientist estimates that climate sensitivity is “0.7 K (with the confidence interval 0.5K – 1.3 K at 99% levels).” (Lindzen is nothing if not confident.) I’d be surprised if 1% of the population can counter or support that with anything other than, “My experts are better and/or more numerous than yours”. Refuting LC2011, though a necessary task, doesn’t answer that core assertion.
Perhaps it’s time to address it directly.
And I still find it amazing that this has seemingly not come to the web’s larger attention before. Now I want to learn about other Skeptical scientists.
Your advocacy of L&C11 might be more convincing if we did not have compelling evidence for significant positive feedback in the system–to wit, you wouldn’t have interglacial cycles driven by the feeble changes in insolation due to Milankovitch cycles without such feedback. You wouldn’t have 33 degrees of warming due to the preindustrial greenhouse effect without it. In fact, the only times you can get a low or negative feedback is by assuming a very short equilibration time–and how likely do you think it is that a planet equilibrates in a few years?
I find it astounding that you can ignore so much evidence while believing an analysis that doesn’t even reach any meaningful conclusions.
Unfortunately, that is the problem with anti-science: When you have no evidence favoring your side of the argument and tons of evidence favoring the other, the only recourse is to cast doubt on the entire process by portraying it–and all attached to it–as corrupt.
Scientific debates can get nasty enough, but because they must be based on facts, there is at least a hope they can be brought to a cordial conclusion. When you forsake evidence, all hope for cordiality is lost.
Jim Larsen @~44, well said. However, calling these guys skeptics gives real skepticism a bad name. You are right that the whole ballyhoo of them are questionable once one starts to look. (I’m one of the 99+% who cannot check exactly, but even for a layperson it’s easy to find the false joins and fossil fuel nexus support. There are also personal attacks and twisted attributions – if you do a good enough job they’ll come after you and you’ll see how they grab one phrase, change it and ignore the rest.) I think it important to explain what a real skeptic is and does each time you use their self-designated moniker.
Sometimes fake or phony skeptic isn’t enough, sometimes unskeptical skeptics, or “skeptic” (real skeptics question all sides), or something longer about accepting the minority insistence wholesale and question the vast majority of science over time …
It looks to me like you are well able to find what’s wrong with the likes of Happer, for example. Monckton has already been clarified by some excellent people, among whom Dr. Abraham is probably the best.
#453–Well-said, Susan. There is quite a lot of diagnosing that requires no more than some diligence and attentiveness to logic, context and consistency.
For me, a big question is, does the story I’m being told create confusion, or clarity?
For example, I recall an exposition ‘proving’ that re-emission of radiation by water would prevent its warming by sunlight. I was not able to critique the ‘sciency’ bits of the explanation; but I observed that the claim was at odds with everyday casual observation made by me–and many, many others, of course. I then asked myself: in what way does this proposed ‘absorption and re-emission’ differ from reflection? Answer: as described, none whatever. At this point I had two serious incoherencies–confusions by another name.
Clearly, this was a bogus screed, one which I need not waste time deconstructing in detail. The ‘scientific’ details were mere obfuscation–window dressing.
@421 Paul Vincelli: “I am saying that rebuttals to a refereed paper that challenges a key aspect of the scientific consensus on global warming, will carry much more weight with other scientists if they are in refereed journals.”
Fair enough, but the ‘need’ for rebuttal is in part based on the quality of the journal, is it not? Does every ‘outlier’ article in a fairly obscure publication require a rebuttal? The top tier climate scientists would be hard-pressed to find time to rebut those low-quality articles via a peer-reviewed article – that is the great value of science blogs, IMHO. As a scientist, but as someone who is not a climate expert, I would be doubtful of a few reports in obscure journals that claim to upset the consensus. If their case is really solid, why did they not appear in mainstream top-tier journals?
BTW, I am also a plant pathologist and can attest that lots of crap in low quality plant path journals is never rebutted – the top players know it is crap and just ignore it. As a scientist, I feel it is best to accept what the great majority of experts in other fields tell me, especially when large data sets are available and the issue has been a ‘hot topic’ for several years. They MIGHT be wrong, but their interpretation of current data is most often correct. In this particular case, I find that blogs such as Skeptical Science and Tamino produce excellent analyses that can help the non-experts interpret the data pretty well.
Just as a rough cut, what has raised a flag for me is a pattern that almost invariably occurs during the back-and-forth between working scientists and denialists in comment sections. It’s a realtime reflection of what goes on in the world of paid pundits and more or less goes like this:
Denialist makes assertion. Working scientist takes it apart with some care, logic, and cites– offering a bigger more detailed picture. Denialist tries a little harder. Working scientist takes it apart with some some care, logic, and cites– offering a bigger more detailed picture. And so it goes for a very short while.
Then what little debate there was starts to fall apart. The denialist Gish gallops and/or makes stock accusations and spouts irrelevant cliches about the history of science, and when he or she thinks everyone has lost the gist of the thread, circles back to the original assertion, changes the subject, or just disappears from the conversation.
You don’t have to be too scientifically literate or spend years on the subject to sense the gist of the problem. Teh Debate not a legitimate scientific controversy. It’s just a tawdry social attack on science.
OK, I’ve begun reading L&C 2011, and almost immediately I’ve got a question. In equations 1-4, ΔT would seem to describe earth’s Planck response, as viewed from space, to a given ΔQ _at earth’s effective radiating altitude_. In constructing eq. 5 from eq. 4, L&C replace ΔQ with ΔFlux (“the change in outgoing net radiative flux”), which is fine because the quantities mean the same thing. But then they replace ΔT on the left-hand side with ΔSST, the change in some observed tropical sea-surface temperature. But ΔSST is hardly the same thing as ΔT at earth’s effective radiating altitude.
L&C recognize this when they say, “Note that the natural forcing, ΔSST, that can be observed, is actually not the same as the equilibrium response temperature ΔT in Eq. (4)”, but they don’t, as far as I can tell, explain why they think it’s permissible to substitute ΔSST for ΔT in eq. 5.
you wouldn’t have interglacial cycles driven by the feeble changes in insolation due to Milankovitch cycles without such feedback. You wouldn’t have 33 degrees of warming due to the preindustrial greenhouse effect without it.
The second point is interesting but is it non-rigorous or just complicated? It would certainly involve a bit of theory. We should have to imagine that all of the CO2 were to be removed gradually (e.g. in a simple computer model) and calculate the reduction in water vapour (feedback) and increase in ice (ditto). No doubt these would have large positive values, so far untested. But we could also calculate the fall in temperature and compare it with the one estimated directly from Stefan Boltzmann. If the two estimates agreed then we should have corroborated the values of the feedbacks obtained from the simple model. One trouble could be that the feedbacks might not have a single value over such a large range of CO2. In that case the exercise would be hard to interpret.
I asked how long it takes CO2 changes to affect temp, and Gavin kindly gave me a good source (#391). I made an amateurish attept to the check this out using graphs in http://www.climate4you.com/index.htm. The only lag I could see is in the opposite direction – changes in temperature are followed a few months later by similar changes in CO2. The relationship seems very strong. Warmer water holds less gas. This must be a sizeable positive feedback, but I have not seen it publicized.
Important for global warming is to always take graphs which start
in the 19 century or earlier….better even in the 18 or 17 century….
The slowest in mind may clearly see global warming, and our Prof Rahmstorf made the good suggestion to do away with all short 30 WMO periods, better would be a compulsory minimum of 150 years when talking about warming, the
shorter ones are just the weather.
We know better the realclimate
You may be interested in the publication of Choi and Song 2012 which
appears to further analyse the feedback estimation procedure of Lindzen and
ABSTRACT: Simulated climate variables in a simple energy
balance model subject to linearly increasing external forcing (due to
increasing greenhouse gas emissions) and random internal forcings have been
studied for more accurate climate prediction. The numerical method for such
a system requires careful treatment of random forcings. Mathematical
analyses show that the effect of random forcings should be diminished in
the numerical integration method by the reciprocal of the root of the
integration time step 1 / sqr( delta t ), which we call an attenuator. Our
simulations consistently show that the attenuator desirably reduces
variances of simulated climate variables and eliminates overestimation of
the variances. However, the attenuator tends to bias the estimates of the
climate feedback parameter obtained from a simple regression analysis of
simulated variables toward unrealistically low values. This is because the
reduced random forcings amplify the negative effect of a warming trend due
to greenhouse emissions (when added to random forcing) on feedback
estimation. Without the attenuator, the estimated feedback is much more
accurate. The bias induced from the attenuator was largely resolved for the
feedback estimation by the methodology of Lindzen and Choi (Asia-Pacific J
Atmos Sci 47(4):377–390, 2011), which minimizes the negative effect of the
warming trends by isolating short (few months) segments of increasing and
decreasing temperature changes.
Choi, Y.-S. and H.-J. Song, 2012: On the numerical integration of a
randomly forced system: variation and feedback estimation, Theoretical and
Applied Climatology, DOI: 10.1007/s00704-012-0612-3.
t marvell @460
I’m not sure where you’re looking at climate4you (& this is getting off-topic) Frankly, as somebody who plays with graphs myself, I had to get off that site coz its style of graphical presentation is sickening. However, I think I know where you’re coming from on this one.
Superimposed onto the annual wobble of the Keeling curve is an ENSO induced wobble. Whether it is the result of temperature changes (longer growing seasons) or rainfall changes or some other effect I know not. What I can tell you is this is a correlation between wobbles not some unnoticed correlation between temperature and CO2. I don’t see graphing it is worth the candle.
Over the long-term, the rise in CO2 concentrations remains at c45% of total human emissions. That is the figure to watch if you are worried about CO2 feedbacks.
Meow, thanks for looking into L&C’11.
I think that Lindzen is still OK there (in eq.5), since T refers to actual surface temp (with feedbacks), and T0 refers to zero-feedback surface temp. But since he derives eq (5) from the equilibrium equation (eq (2)) he also needs to say something about the timeframes. And he does The latter cannot be observed since, for the short intervals considered, the system cannot be in equilibrium, and over the longer periods needed for equilibration of the whole climate system, ∆Flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) is restored to zero.
FYI, please check out Forster and Gregory, 2006, which uses the same data as L&C’11 (and L&C’09), and obtained positive feedback.
Please check L&C’09 which contains a blatant mathematical mistake (negative feedback concluded while their data shows almost exactly (no-feedback) black-body response).
And read Trenberth 2010, who points out how Lindzen is cherry-picking.
This will give you a feeling of how Lindzen works and hides his manipulations.
But as opposed to L&C’09, where the incorrect negative feedback stood out like a sore thumb, I think the trouble in L&C’11 is much deeper than that.
Alex, thanks for that abstract. I am not sure what to think of it. It seems that Choi recognizes that the AGW forcing (very slowly increasing forcing) poses an issue for “simple model” simulations such as the Spencer and Braswell model that Lindzen used. I believe that is true, since that forcing will create a T offset, which will incorrectly lead to a positive feedback bias (as Spencer and Braswell suggested, and which may have led to the T offset in figure 6) in the regressions.
If that is true, then that would suggest that the AGW forcing rate (which L&C’11 sets at 0.4 W/m^2/decade) indeed interferes with a fair assessement of feedback bias for the “simple regression” technique (one of Lindzen’s accusations against Forster and Gregory, 2006), and may let their own lead-lag method show much more ‘realistic’ than it actually is.
I think there is no way of knowing, unless we have the Spencer & Braswell simple model set up and can run some tests.
In that regard, let me repeat my questions from the last post : Did you run that L&C software from climateaudit ? Did you reproduce figure 6(a)) ? And if so, do you know why there is an offset on T ? And what happens if you eliminate that offset ? Is there still a positive feedback bias ? Or did it disappear ?
452 Susan Anderson said, “Jim Larsen @~44, well said. However, calling these guys skeptics gives real skepticism a bad name. You are right that the whole ballyhoo of them are questionable once one starts to look. ”
“Denialist” is a fighting word and “contrarian” felt more negative than I wanted to convey at the moment, so I settled on letting them pick their own word, but changed it into a name by capitalizing it. Like Democrats have no monopoly on democratic principles, Skeptics aren’t the only skeptical folks. The problem, of course, is that they seem to believe absolutely anything unless it supports AGW theory. They’re monoskeptical! Yes, I’m going to call them Monoskeptics from now on.
The whole lot are questionable, eh? This just screams to become a collaborative book.
Sure you’re not looking at the annual cycle in CO2? That would produce such a correlation with a few months inbetween. But the mechanisms are quite unrelated: for CO2 it’s the formation and destruction of biomass in the boreal forests over the annual cycle.
@457 “But this stuff may not be ignored by the regulatory agencies, in the absence of correction.”
Good point, but surely a regulatory agency would look at the balance of the data. The use of outlier publications would be mainly by politicians, but they would use it whether it was rebutted by another peer-review or not.
My point in this thread is simply this: If LC11 is flawed, that needs to be demonstrated in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. If there are flaws, submit a manuscript to a journal.
Blogs are great. However, in my experience on tenure and promotion committees, blog postings count for nothing when a committee is evaluating research productivity. Not even a little bit.
As far as I am aware, in all fields of science, peer-reviewed papers in refereed journals are the only primary source of scientific information.
[Response: This is mainly true. For instance, IPCC will only cite rebuttals (if it needs to) from the literature. But the decision to write up an official comment, or new work based on showing the flaws in previous work is very much a cost/benefit decision for any individual scientist (or group). Far more poor science is published than is generally acknowledged, and most of the time, this stuff just fades into obscurity without the need for a rebuttal. In politicised fields like climate, certain kinds of poor papers (ones that give answers that are pleasing to certain political segment) gain far more notoriety than they would otherwise receive (a few obvious ones would be L&C09, Soon and Baliunas (2003), Douglass et al (2007), Michaels and McKitrick etc). These are worth rebutting mainly because of the noise they generated rather than the importance of their conclusions. LC09 was more high profile than LC11 and generated more noise, and multiple rebuttals. It would generally fall to those previous rebutters (rebunkers?) to have a go again for LC11, but as far as I can tell, there was very little appetite to do so – mostly because even if the method was fine, their own results indicate that a) the method is unreliable, and b) biased low. Any rebuttal would simply make those points again, and so it doesn’t appear a particularly fruitful endeavour. You might think that the benefits outweigh the costs in specifically rebutting their analysis, but someone cabaple of doing this really needs to agree. Perhaps this is a good grad student project for someone? – gavin]
Comment by simon abingdon — 18 Mar 2012 @ 10:49 AM
@457 “Isn’t a lot of the crap actually “advocacy science” — intended to facilitate sale of some particular kind of herbicide or proprietary seed variety? ”
No most of the ‘crap’ is just poor quality work, nothing to do with advocacy – except the advocacy of one’s career. You don’t see that many pesticide or varietal trials published in peer-review journals any more in any case.
The regulatory agencies will generally rule based on the weight of the data – an outlier or two should not affect their rulings that much. The politicians on the other hand will certainly try to magnify the outlier if they find it has value to them (e.g. climate science denial); but they will do that whether the crap is rebutted or not.
While I was at it, I searched for more on this devastating lawsuit Monckton is going to launch any dayyear time now. Nothing yet… I’m sure he’s just distracted with his plans to clone Fox News in Australia.
The following is a letter from the Clerk of Parliaments to Christopher Monkton telling him off for claiming to be a member of the house of lords. When he testified to congress he tried this cheap trick to by stating he bought fraternal greetings from the Mother of Parliaments to the Congress. He’s a shyster of the highest order.
Dear Lord Monckton
My predecessor, Sir Michael Pownall, wrote to you on 21 July 2010, and again on 30 July 2010, asking that you cease claiming to be a Member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication. It has been drawn to my attention that you continue to make such claims.
In particular, I have listened to your recent interview with Mr Adam Spencer on Australian radio. In response to the direct question, whether or not you were a Member of the House of Lords, you said “Yes, but without the right to sit or vote”. You later repeated, “I am a Member of the House”.
I must repeat my predecessor’s statement that you are not and have never been a Member of the House of Lords. Your assertion that you are a Member, but without the right to sit or vote, is a contradiction in terms. No-one denies that you are, by virtue of your letters Patent, a Peer. That is an entirely separate issue to membership of the House. This is borne out by the recent judgment in Baron Mereworth v Ministry of Justice (Crown Office) where Mr Justice Lewison stated:
“In my judgment, the reference [in the House of Lords Act 1999] to ‘a member of the House of Lords’ is simply a reference to the right to sit and vote in that House … In a nutshell, membership of the House of Lords means the right to sit and vote in that House. It does not mean entitlement to the dignity of a peerage.”
I must therefore again ask that you desist from claiming to be a Member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication, and also that you desist from claiming to be a Member “without the right to sit or vote”.
I am publishing this letter on the parliamentary website so that anybody who wishes to check whether you are a Member of the House of Lords can view this official confirmation that you are not.
Gavin, with regard to your comment to Paul Vincelli. One way of altering the cost-benefit ratio would be to crowd-source the writing of the rebuttal. There are pleny of people who reads blogs such as RealCLimate who have useful scientific and/or statistical skills who could draft a comment paper, if it could be checked over (or co-authored) by an expert before it was submitted. This would be a more constructive use of our time than merely commenting on blogs.
Comment by Dikran Marsupial — 19 Mar 2012 @ 8:52 AM
#469 Paul Vincelli
I hope you’re reading enough of this blog to realize that rebutting advocacy science such as Lindzen’s work is simply a waste of time for the RealScience and scientists. because it’s more important to focus on relevance.
Lindzen is on the fringe and clearly doing advocacy science. He wil likely be less and less respected from a relevant science perspective.
If you really want to understand the relevant science then just stay close to the relevant papers and discussions. That actually is sufficient to get a good handle on climate science.
Not every piece of BS needs to be formally responded to and relevant scientists have little time for such games.
Maybe we have reached a point of respectful disagreement. Being one myself, I realize that publishing scientists are busy and can’t allocate time to all worthy projects. That’s why I responded to Gavin’s post @474 as I did.
If publishing scientists choose to allocate their precious time to their research projects instead of playing “whack-a-mole” with papers like LC11, I respect that completely. All I am saying is that a refereed paper from one of the world’s preeminent scientific skeptics (at least in the minds of other skeptics) should be challenged in the peer-reviewed literature, the primary source of scientific information, to the extent that a qualified person or group has time.
I thought Dikran Marsupial @476 had a productive suggestion.
Actually I think we are in general agreement. I also like the suggestion in #476. I also agree it would be great to have these argument to authority and advocacy papers addressed formally. But re-bunking the same old stuff or new flavors of the same old stuff is hard to commit too for busy scientists as you know.
So yes, it would help. And as those that can, can make time, they likely will, or wait until such tripe takes it’s proper place in the debate as it slips further into oblivion as relevant science plods forward on its methodical course.
I am a bit busy now so probably will be slow to respond.
I read the Choi and Song paper a couple of times. (I emailed Dr. Choi for a copy.) The authors are searching for a method that improves on both the simple regression and LC11 in accounting for non-feedback cloud variations. Unfortunately it appears that Choi and Song documents a failure to solve the problem using an “attenuator” function. The paper may shed some further light on their approach to the simple regression and the LC11 method though.
Regarding your questions:
Did you run that L&C software from climateaudit ? Did you reproduce figure 6(a)) ? And if so, do you know why there is an offset on T ? And what happens if you eliminate that offset ? Is there still a positive feedback bias ? Or did it disappear ?
No I haven’t attempted to reproduce anything. I can’t find any discussion of the offset. I do note in the code a comment that just say
; Lindzen and Choi (2011) used a zero y-intercept model (y=ax), but
; this program simply uses a common linear regression model (y=ax+b).
As far as the appropriateness of this choice I am not the right person to ask. I look forward to your comments on Frankignoul. I see a lot of compelling physically based arguments that the simple regression is quite inappropriate.
The question is this – Trenberth had plenty of time for publishing a rebuttal to the Spencer and Braswell 2011 paper that was published in a low impact journal. So when Lindzen and Monckton get up to promote the LC11 result, how can you criticise them for this? There is no known problem in the LC11 paper other than large uncertainty as acknowledged by the authors. The paper is ostensibly supported by other papers in the literature (Schwartz 2012; Masters 2012). How do you reasonably expect the public not to see this as Trenberth simply can’t find a flaw in it?
[Response: The public doesn’t have any idea who any of these people are, so their opinions are unlikely to be informed by what any single scientist they’ve never heard of has or hasn’t done. The idea that anything must be accepted as true because no-one has bothered to rebut it is logically absurd. – gavin]
About temperature changes preceeding CO2 changes (continuing my #460, and answering #463 and #466). I said there seems to be a strong positive association between temperature changes and CO2 changes a few months later. This suggests a strong positive feedback – more CO2, then higher temp, then more CO2. I disagree with #463 that this is off topic. Lindzen’s argument is that there is little or no net positive feedback. Off hand, that seems unlikely given the huge size of the temp-to-CO2 connection.
In #460 I said I got this from http://www.climate4you.com/. More secifically, it is under the “greenhouse gases” link, comparing 2 charts: ’12 month change of atmospheric CO2′ and the next chart ‘global terperature estimates. . .’. This is comparing yearly changes in CO2 with yearly changes in temperatures. Very roughly, a 0.5 increase in CO2 follows a 0.1 degree temp. change. A lagged association between change variables strongly suggests causation.
I agree with #463 that comparing graphs is tricky, but this association cries out.
To test it out more I did a Granger regression analysis with monthly data since 1958, regressing changes in CO2 on changes in SST with the latter lagged 1 to 60 months, controlling for such things as El Nino, Punatubo, and seasons. Sure enough there is a huge relationship – SST increases “cause” CO2 increases with lags of some 6-48 months (P lt .0001). A 0.1 degree increase in SST leads to roughly 1.5 more CO2 (a higher estimate than derived from the graphs partly because the graphs include land temperature. I found no such effect with land temperatures.)
This result seems obvious given the fact that warmer oceans, at least on the surface, cannot hold as much gas. Why don’t the models show that this conclusively indicates a positive feedback, and why doesn’t Lindzen mention it?
This is a bit off topic but since you keep asking I’ll have a go.
To infer climate sensitivity from climates of the past you need to know the forcing and cooling at the LGM.
My own doubts would be different and independent from Lindzen’s arguments but it is perhaps relevant to this thread to quote LC11 on the matter:
There have also been attempts to infer sensitivity from paleoclimate data (Hansen et al., 1993), but these are not really tests since the forcing is essentially unknown given major uncertainties in clouds, dust loading and other factors.
So Lindzen alludes to what he apparently sees as circular reasoning in the consensus.
In Köhler et al. 2010 QSR, one of the most recent and comprehensive treatments of LGM forcing, they write this of aerosols:
The physical understanding of the impact of aerosols (including dust) on climate for present day is very low (Ramanathan et al., 2001; Menon et al., 2002; Anderson et al., 2003; Bellouin et al., 2005; Forster et al., 2007; Kiehl, 2007). This lack of knowledge imposes also large uncertainties in the interpretation of dust for past climates (Claquin et al., 2003; Tegen, 2003; Schneider von Deimling et al., 2006a; Fischer et al., 2007b). Here, we focus only on the direct effect of aerosols and base our estimates on observations and modelling results concentrating on mineral dust in the atmosphere. We are aware that this view does not cover all effects which might need consideration, but our understanding of these additional effects is still incomplete and for paleo-applications too limited to come to quantitative conclusions.
The indirect effect, you will recall, is the one that accounts for the greatest uncertainty and the most cooling in the present climate.
[Response: Yep – but you can think of all of that as part of the feedback in more expanded definition of the climate system. Either way the idea that because this is difficult to estimate the forcing is ‘completely unknown’ is nonsense. I agree that Kohler et al (2010) is the best paper on this so far. – gavin]
What about clouds?
What do we know about the additional feedbacks of water vapour, lapse rate and clouds neglected so far? Variations in the cloud coverage might be important, but uncertainties for paleoclimates are high.
Next, Lindzen only points to uncertainty in the forcing – but what about uncertainty in the change in temperature? Estimation of change in temperature is outside of the scope of the Köhler et al. study; they simply follow Schneider von Deimling et al. 2006 and assume change in temperature is 5.8 K +/- uncertainty. Combining their forcing estimate with this temperature estimate they arrive at a best guess for equilibrium climate sensitivity of 2.4 K. They say their method rules out anything >6 K, but it fails to rule out low sensitivities.
However, the recent Schmittner et al. 2011 study carefully examined the change in temperature and they found the LGM cooling was likely to be considerably less. Oddly enough, they also found almost the same best guess of climate sensitivity (2.3 K instead of 2.4 K). But, if you combined Köhler’s forcing and Schmittner’s cooling you’d actually get a very low climate sensitivity – remembering that both Köhler and Schmitter already find significantly lower sensitivity than the IPCC.
To me, this is the real “arbitrariness” of the consensus position. With (1) a large uncertainty in temperature; (2) a large uncertainty in forcing; (3) known missing processes; (3) scientists who know what the “right answer” is and what the “wrong answer” is at the beginning of the study (i.e. anything outside of 2-4.5 K is going to be scrutinised carefully for error); (4) no effort to mitigate for the confirmation bias of the scientists; and (5) an answer at the end that doesn’t actually rule out the low sensitivities anyway.
The IPCC doesn’t use the paleoclimate arguments prominently, so I tend to regard it as something like an internet myth that the paleoclimate arguments rule out low sensitivities. Does anyone aside from James Hansen actually say this?
[Response: Yes. I have said it frequently. We discussed the Schmittner paper last year, and that result is likely to be an underestimate due to the small magnitude in the inferred cooling. That inference was related to the models lack of land/ocean constrasts and under-weighting of southern hemisphere data. You list of points is a significantly over-egged pudding though. The signal is very large at the LGM and it turns out that the real uncertainties in the temperatures and the forcings still allow for the signal to come through the noise. A sensitivity below 1ºC means both a large overestimate of the temperature change (which is very unlikely and even if true would imply a sensitivity of sea level/ice sheets to temperature changes that would be alarming), *and* a large underestimate of the forcings – which is hard to do given we know the GHG changes and so the error (by large factors) would have to be in the ice sheet or dust term. That is just really hard to square away. I do find it amusing though that you are accusing mainstream scientists of confirmation bias, while quoting from Lindzen, the erstwhile subject of this thread. – gavin]
Just because something is published doesn’t make it sound.
Just because something has not been rebutted does not make it sound.
Just because the public thinks something is sound does not make it sound.
Just because you think something is or is not sound does not make it sound.
Just because I might think something is sound does not make it sound.
Science determines confidence levels in what can be inferred or determined based on evidentiary lines and the more inputs and stronger the basis in physics and observation through the many critical eyes that pick it apart, the stronger the inference, hence the stronger the confidence interval.
I’ve noticed in my analysis that science is pretty good at figuring out what is, and what is not a good suspect in a particular case through the process of the scientific method. For example, Science is pretty sure at this point where they won’t find the Higgs Boson, so that gives a good clue (parameters) on the most likely places left to look. It’s the same with climate science too.
Gavin, Dikran Marsupial, Alex, John Reisman, Paul Vincelli, Meow,
Not sure where it may lead, but let me kick-off some “crowd sourcing” right here on a rebuttal to LC11.
As I mentioned before, LC11 not only claims low climate sensitivity, but it also claims that the “simple regression” methods used by other papers, such as Forster and Gregory 2006 and Dessler 2010, has a positive feedback bias.
(PS, Gavin, that accusation should at least affect the “cost-benefit” tradeoff, no?).
L&C11 uses the Spencer and Braswell 2010 “simple model” to “prove” their assertion a bit suspect, since even Spencer and Braswell’s quantification of that positive feedback bias should zero-out for a large number of samples.
To find out what was true of their claim, I implemented the Spencer and Braswell model today (it’s really a very simple model) in C++ and ran some experiments.
My first runs did not show any positive feedback bias for “simple regression” methods at all. The ‘observed’ F is very close to the real F, regardless of which F I choose, and I also could not reproduce the temperature “offset” seen in scatter plot (figure 6).
But then I inserted the +0.4 W/m^2/decade rate of ‘f’ (AGW forcing). That’s when the first real issue (apart from the already known negative feedback bias of the lead-lag method) with L&C11 showed up.
I could explain better with a separate post with graphs and such, but without that, for now, just hear me out :
Imagine a climate system in equilibrium. SST and TOA flux are constant, and in the Spencer and Braswell model that means both are 0. Now, imagine that at t=0 (starting time) we introduce a +0.4 W/m^2/decade increased forcing. Something like what a constant increase in CO2 can do. Of course, TOA flux goes down with that rate initially, but SST (being the integral of flux) will start to push back on that (amount and rate of push-back is determined by the real feedback factor F), and eventually TOA flux levels off at some negative amount, while SST is increasing at a constant rate.
If you plot this in a (x-axis) SST and (y-axis)TOA-flux graph (such as figure 6), you will be in the right-lower quadrant, which means that it gives the appearance of a ‘positive feedback’ bias (which, incidentally, also will show a positive ‘offset’ in T, since SST is increasing over time).
So, I think you feel it coming : because LC11 modeled a ‘sudden’ change in RATE of AGW climate forcing of +0.4 W/m^2/decade, the simple model shows an artificial “positive feedback” bias. How large is this bias ? Well, depends on the ‘feedback’ parameter F, but my “simple model” simulations show the following results, if we run the simulation for the full 1985-2009 (288 month) period. Here are the ‘end’ results (settings at t=288months) for each of the three LC11 ‘feedback’ parameter (F) settings :
What does this mean ? Well, the ‘slope (bias)’ means that any response to SST changes is suppressed by -0.922 W/m^2/K (for the F==1 case) which means that there is a ‘positive feedback’ bias in the model itself of some 1 W/m^2/K.
If you now look at figure 7 (A), you will see that LC11 indeed reports that the “simple regression” reports s slope 1 W/m^2/K below the “true” value. LC11 concludes that this is a “positive feedback bias” in the “simple regression” method, but in fact we now know that this is completely caused by the starting point of the +0.4 W/m^2/decade increase in GHG forcing, and NOT by the regression method.
And let me note that it is completely unrealistic to model GHG forcing to change from 0 trend to +0.4 W/m^2/decade trend in 1985. In reality, there was very little (if any) change in GHG forcing trend in 1985, so this “bias” is an artifact of the way that LC11 modeled GHG forcing changes.
Note that this also explains the temperature offset in scatter plot Figure 6 : The temperature is drifting to the right over the full 288 months, so it looks like there is small slope (high positive feedback) overall. However, in reality the dots on the left are from the ‘early’ samples, and the dots on the right are the ‘late’ samples, and if you know that, then the ‘slope’ of dots that are not far apart in time are actually much closer to the 6 W/m^2/K “true” slope in the model.
That’s the bias they blame on “simple regression” methods, but in fact is caused by their own modeling of GHG forcing.
What is the effect on this on the LC11 conclusions ?
Well, LC11 uses an artifact of their own unrealistic modeling to discredit other scientist’s findings, and this conclusion is now highly suspect.
But also, this positive feedback bias in the modeling makes the negative feedback in their own “lead-lag” method look “not so bad”, while in reality it is much more negatively biased than presented.
There must be more though : My first runs show that for large F, the ‘positive’ bias should be smaller than for the F=1 case. However, figure 7 suggests that higher F actually increases the bias.
I have not figured out where he got that from, but I’ll find out now that I have the model reproduced.
This is what I love about Lindzen’s papers : like a puzzle maker, he creates a challenge to find out all the mistakes he made.
Also, since Spencer and Bra swell also used this +0.4 W/m^2/decade GHG forcing rate, (and presumably also starting at t=0) I wonder how much that paper’s results are affected by this artifact…
Gavin, any comments ?
All three wobbles can be plotted on a single graph and if this is done it demonstrates that ENSO preceeds temperature wobbles by a few months & temperature preceeds rate of increases in CO2 wobbles also by a few months. So “…a lag of some 6(…) months” would not sound out of place. Your “(…)48 months” sounds bizarre. But then your 4th paragraph @482 looks like a trawl for corroborating answers, not analysis.
I am of the opinion that whatever you’ve found (even thuogh it is not clear to me what it is) is likely not what you think you’ve found.
this is a little off-topic but I hope it will anyway elicit a useful response either here or on a separate post.
I’m a professor of physics at a leading European University. I mention this not to establish any type of authority. Rather it should be taken to mean that I can grasp a fairly technical explanation if it is appropriately phrased for a scientist working in a different field.
I consider myself to be a sceptic of all research (including my own). However, there are certain areas of research in which working theories of nature have been established and can be relied upon to an extremely high degree to predict future experimental results. Examples include general and special relativity, and quantum mechanics. These theories gained acceptance because they passed “classic” scientific tests. They made predictions which would have allowed them to be falsified and discarded. And they passed these tests. We still test these theories today because we know they are not the “final word” and we hope that through any discrepancies with data we hope to learn more.
When it comes to climate science its difficult for me find the equivalent of, eg the general relativity tests of mercury’s perihelion or binary pulsar motion. Have there been any “classic” tests of climate models that would falsify the hypothesis of X degrees of warming within a specified long term time frame ? I ask this question since I’m more than fed up with hearing about a consensus. I don’t doubt that one exists but its not an argument that I would use to argue for the correctness of general relativity or quantum mechanics. Instead I would describe the numerous experimental tests which could have falsified these theories. Is there a series of experimental tests which could have falsified the climate models which presently imply drastic long term warming i.e. X degrees over y years or something similar whereby X and Y would have been defined at the time of the test and would correspond to dangerous long-term warming ? By “falsified” I mean that a paradigm shift would be needed rather than further model optimisation.
Your dedication to mischaracterization of the facts is laid bare in this comment for all to see. All they need do is look at the original materials. Your pals see chimeras everywhere when they choose to mislead and fear to look the truth straight the the face. I had heard of Jo Nova, but since I’ve seen the originals and now actually visited (ick) her acrobatic verbal distortion, it is no longer in question that reality is too blinding when it is important to make statements contrary to the facts.
Comment by Susan Anderson — 20 Mar 2012 @ 11:33 AM
Simon Abingdon, you got a very thorough answer from Kevin McKinney@~473 with links which I would suggest as background to my previous comment (if it comes through). Unfortunately, it was addressed to #471 and you are now moved to #470
Jim Larsen@~465, on the “book” it’s been done, it doesn’t go anywhere (Mooney, Oreskes, and a host of others, SkepticalScience, DeSmogBlog, etc.). I still think it important to make it clear each time the word skeptic is used what it actually means and why these guys are not. Perhaps just quotes: “skeptics”. I don’t think an initial cap functions the way you hoped it would. Ray Ladbury@~451 has the truth of it (like usual).
More neat stuff on Monckton will go to open thread.
Comment by Susan Anderson — 20 Mar 2012 @ 11:43 AM
Dave would be better off taking up his questions on the “Unforced variations” thread. Meanwhile, Rob Dekker’s 20 Mar 2012 at 2:50 AM post is most interesting, nicely explained, tractable even to the real idiots in the room. Sorry, John Reisman, you’re trumped in that department…
Rob, I think you might not have the S&B model implemented correctly, as the positive feedback bias using regressions against their model does NOT result from the GHG forcing applied (indeed, a stronger GHG forcing would actually eliminate the radiative noise contamination), and I suspect you may be getting this apparent bias because you are not subtracting the forcing (Q in FG06 terms) from the TOA flux (N in FG06) before regressing it against T. What you want is the radiative response with respective to T, which has the forcing removed from the TOA flux.
If you assume the simple energy balance and noise models of S&B, the “simple regression” methods of FG06 and Dessler indeed show a positive feedback bias, absent any GHG forcings, resulting from the correlation between X (the radiative noise) and T. Nobody (Forster, Murphy, Dessler, etc.) disputes this. However, what IS in dispute is whether the decorrelation time of X as used by S&B is realistic (because if the decorrelation time is shorter than the temperature response time the X and T parts will not be correlated), as well as the ratio of the radiative noise “forcing” versus the ocean “forcing”. Obviously, the effective ocean mixed layer has implications here, because it affects both the temperature response time and the inferred ocean “forcing” from SST.
I have not yet looked in depth at L&C11, but I suspect that the bias results from the same thing as in S&B. If so, any rebuttal of the alleged positive feedback bias would need to focus on determining a more accurate noise model, not your current track.
I’m not trying for humour. I asked for information on “experimental tests which could have falsified the climate models which presently imply drastic long term warming i.e. X degrees over Y years or something similar whereby X and Y would have been defined at the time of the test and would correspond to dangerous long-term warming”. Perhaps the use of the word “time” confused you. It is simply used in the sense that values X and Y would have been generally agreed upon prior to the measurement taking place i.e. no redefining what “success” means if the theories fail to match generally agreed criteria. This is rather standard experimental protocol when assessing the validity of predictions.
If you have a sensible answer to the question I’d very much like to hear it.
Out of curiosity, what is your research specialty? I am also a physicist.
As to falsifying tests of models, there are a variety of pieces of evidence that if not true would call the models in question:
1)A cessation of the warming trend over the long term (>30 years)
2)A lack of cooling in the stratosphere as the troposphere warms.
3)Drastically different response to impulse forcing, such as volcanic eruptions.
However, it is unlikely that the entire theory would be falsified, because it is exceedingly unlikely that the entire theory is wrong. In particular, it is very unlikely that any new theory will not have positive feedback–you just cannot explain Earth’s climate without it.
Of course, “a professor of physics at a leading
European University” knows how to address this
kind of question. You’ve taught stellar physics without
building your own star, remember? Did it blow up?
Got an idea why, if it did?
Same situation with planetary atmospheres.
That’s why I suggest asking a real question at John
You’ll get a reception appropriate to your actual
understanding, and the rest of us will enjoy watching.
As “a professor of physics at a leading European
University” you are no doubt well known to other physicists.
They’ll recognize you there.
Thanks for your note, and the link to your page where you discuss the scientific arguments made on this subject.
However, I am not even close to assessing the claims made by S&B on bias caused by dependent or independent noise in the modeling.
In fact, in my first experiments, I was just checking what LC11 has done.
Please check LC11 figure 6 (scatter plot), and notice the offset on T. That means that they found many more positive delta-T segments than negative delta-T segments.
Now, how could they have gotten that ?
I think they simply plotted T against TOA flux from their model run, rather than look at short-term segments as other researchers did.
What I’ve show in my first post on this, is that IF they indeed plotted T against TOA_flux for each of the 288 months of their run, then the feedback bias they inferred can be explained by the long-term drift (in SST and flux) that their AGW forcing they applied.
By the way, my model does correctly put Q behind the TOA flux estimate, but so far I did not even include any noise at all. I only just quantified the long-term drift (of the ‘center point’ for scatter plots) that their AGW forcing causes, which appears consistent with their T center-offset in figure 6 and their assessment of positive feedback bias in figure 7 A.
You mention that you wrote the S&B model in M.
Can you share that model with us ?
Or can you run it with 0 internal noise (Q=0) and just set f to +0.4W/decade ramp ?
And see what comes out for estimated feedback ?
I have made enough off-topic comments here so I’ll limit this response to a single point. I claimed that there is in climate science “no effort to mitigate for the confirmation bias of the scientists”. You responded:
I do find it amusing though that you are accusing mainstream scientists of confirmation bias, while quoting from Lindzen, the erstwhile subject of this thread.
Why would you regard my statement as an ‘accusation’? I don’t dispute that Lindzen is biased; I don’t think he does either. But why should it be an ‘accusation’ to suggest that his critics are also biased? It was perhaps first pointed out by Thomas Kuhn in The structure of scientific revolutions that scientists as humans necessarily suffer from confirmation bias. Psychologists have shown further that the bias is stronger when the topic is emotionally charged – such as the case with climate change science. Considering further the large uncertainty in both theory and observations it seems to me that climate science is perfectly set up so that the confirmation bias of scientists collectively could make a large difference to our understanding.
Barton Paul Levenson produced an interesting graph showing climate sensitivity estimates over time. (I note that he hasn’t plotted all estimates in the literature so it would be even more interesting if it was updated.) Anyhow, when he looked at it he saw climate science estimates converging over time on around 3 K per doubling CO2. When I look at it, however, I don’t see the convergence but I do see an odd step-wise jump from low to high estimates immediately following the Charney report in 1979. Perhaps like Kuhn’s gestalt we’ll all see what we expect to see when we look at this graph.
It has been recognised now by physicists that blind experimental design is required in order to protect the result from the bias of the experimenter. The same has long been recognised in psychology and medical research. You may be interested in Roodman, A. 2003 on Blind Analysis in Particle Physics.
Why would such experimental design be considered necessary in particle physics if it is not necessary in climate science?
We have to wonder, without Lindzen or Monckton, what would we be talking about here?
I dare say that Lindzen does not dwell on this comment section.
But since Lindzen is such an effective diversion and distraction – I would imagine that his handlers (funding foundations) are strategizing on precisely how he should to act.
Of course, I do not know this for sure, but if I heavily invested in a deliberately deceptive campaign of aggressive ignorance – especially one that enabled a trillion dollar industry that was afraid of the science, then I would expect shareholders would demand that teams of professionals engage in deep planning for optimal tactics.
Lindzen is earning his pay. He succeeds merely by drawing our attention to his actions.
Those who repose on prestigious chairs of physics do not always find climatology a subject they can understand, a point I feel well demonstrated here.
Indeed, not all science is like physics with its simple mathematical relationships. Physicists get the credit for showing we don’t live on a flat earth or in a heliocentric universe but physicists should be very thankful we live in a flat universe and not some warped (or even warping) Riemann-space.
Other sciences are not so lucky.
If you are familiar with the concept ‘climate sensitivity,’ you would perhaps be less bold with your enquiries about X degrees and Y time and your talk of “…rather standard experimental protocol.” Sensitivity is a scientific quantity whose value is of incredible importance for humanity yet the best we can say is “very likely” 1.5-4.5 deg C with a ‘fat tail’.
There is much that is well established within climatology although denialist commentators do a very good job muddying the waters. And there are climatologists like Lindzen involved in this muddying process. So when the likes of Lindzen breezily presents a meeting of wannabe movers & shakers that ‘climate sensitivity’ is so low it’s not worth bothering about, it is couched within propaganda and includes all the usual ingredients – cherry-picking, nonsense, conspiracy theory & flawed science.
My response to such denialism is to try to expose the lies and hypocracy that supports it because climatology is very very important.
“Professor Richard Lindzen – a climatologists who reckons his doubts on climate change would remain unless the oceans freeze over or the tropics become uninhabitable.” These are not the words Lindzen uses but it is definitely part of the message he gave in the Westminster meeting. (Why not watch the videos linked within this thread.)
So is Physics plagued by lunatics like Lindzen?
Your complain @488t is that you are “more than fed up with hearing about a consensus” within climate science. From a science like physics where the likes of the LHC is built with hardily a squeak of public complaint for the cost, perhaps physicists have some expertise you could share with us in how to silence the denialists & baying crowds and get the job done.
Alex Harvey, I must say that your assertion of a “step” to higher sensitivity estimates in 1979 requires a “creative” mind. What I see is that the estimates below about 1.5 and above about 5 are clearly outliers (some clearly motivated by ideology, others by systematic error.). What is more, excluding these outliers, there is a clear convergence–just what you would expect in a mature field like climate science.
As to your contentions regarding confirmation bias, do you really think it is a problem that is news to the climate science community? My doctoral research in the dark and distant past was in experimental particle physics. And yes, we were also aware of the issue. That is why we had more than one individual working on any one important analysis. There are a number of measures you can take. However, probably the most important counter measures to confirmation bias are inherent to the scientific process:
2)Sheep do not prosper in science.
This last is important. If you are a follower, you will never shape the consensus in your field. Those who do shape the field are innovative iconoclasts who have good judgment and powerful ideas. Do you have any idea how big a prize it would be to a scientist to make the climate crisis go away? To contend that there are no such innovators in climate science is to be wilfully blind. So, yes, your contention that climate science is especially plagued by confirmation bias is not just an insult, but an ignorant one at that.
You seem focused on the argument rather than the science. Either way, Gavin’s point is valid, you do at the least ‘infer’ an accusation in the woven fabric of your arguments.
And who, of whom indulges in the argument over the science, doesn’t trot out Khun at times like this. Right?
As to the general argument re physicists, there are many lines of evidence in climate science pointing to human causation.
A hypothetical: If the only way for you to prove a theory is to wait until it kills you, how productive is that to ‘your’ continued work in the future that no longer exists for you because you would be dead from the proof?
As to IPCC and paleo, of course they are looking at it strongly, keep reading.
As to: “(4) no effort to mitigate for the confirmation bias of the scientists; and”
You’re kidding, right?
As toP “(5) an answer at the end that doesn’t actually rule out the low sensitivities anyway.”
Since your seem to be a big believer in low sensitivity, just how to we get in an out of ice ages with such low sensitivities?
For those that are dictionary challenged such as…, Alex Harvey has made statements that someone has done something wrong. This is otherwise known as an accusation.
Alex doesn’t like Gavin’s usage of the word accusation because it makes Alex look bad.
Alex would likely prefer Gavin to use more ambiguous language when pointing out facts, while Alex prefers to make accusations that are not supportable by the relevant evidence; largely because Alex doesn’t know enough about what he is talking about to make an argument that stands on said relevant evidence.
Hope that helps clarify for those just following along.
MARodger (460) is, I find, essentially correct about ENSO. Regressions with monthly data show it has an extremely strong impact on SST in the same month and the following month, but not later. A one point increase in the ENSO index leads to a 0.1 incease in SST, both in the north and the south, over these two months. There is also a strong negative relationship between CO2 levels and ENSO – when CO2 goes up, the ENSO index goes down 3 to 4 months later. The relationship is with ENSO, not temperature as MARodger argues.
[Response: You have the causality backwards – and of course, applied to the trend in CO2 this is obviously incorrect. – gavin]
MARodger questons my regressions finding that higher SST leads to more CO2 in the atmosphere. I thought that relationship was obvious. The effect is indeed large, with SST increases accounting for roughly 10% of CO2 increases.
[Response: Not sure what ‘10%’ refers to, but if this is supposed to be relevant for the trend it implies a carbon cycle/climate sensitivity that is greater than that seen over the glacial cycles (~20 ppmv/deg C) – and even there it takes hundreds of years to manifest. – gavin]
A couple of scientists (e.g. 501) argued that the climate models do not stand up to traditional scientific methods of proof. They cannot be falsified. Several people responsed to the effect that one should not criticize the models without understanding them, which seems arrogent and defensive to me, a non-climate scientist. One does not have to understand the models to ask how they can be falsified in any reasonable time period. I doubt whether they can be, a least when they predict future temperatures. Temperature changes are so erratic that if predictions are met, it might be just due to chance.
[Response: This is certainly true in the short term (say < 10 years). But it is interesting that climate models themselves indicate that short term trends are unpredictable just from the external forcings. Thus if you want to test model predictions you need situations and/or timescales where the forced trend is detectable above the noise of the short-term variations. That will happen either for very strong forcings (big volcanic eruptions) or for longer term changes (the Holocene trends, the 20th Century, 20-30 years, the last glacial maximum, the 8.2kya event etc.) - gavin]
I don’t see how climate models can make short or medium term predictions when temperature changes are so dominated by El_Nino, and El_Nino is so erratic (as MARodger’s graphs show) and hard to predict over the time frames in the models.
Out of curiosity, do the climate models include the impact of SST on CO2 levels?
[Response: Yes. This is used in the carbon cycle class of models where you don’t know the CO2 level already but you can estimate emissions and is a significant part of the new CMIP5 simulations. (Note that for the historical period where we know CO2 concentration these models are used to constrain estimates of the emissions). – gavin]
The overarching concern here is that global warming theory has important policy considerations. Climate scientists, no matter what they think of the merit of their models, have to look outward and convince policy makers that the models are accurate. They cannot afford to be as insular as their comments suggest. If they are at all concerned with policy and the outside world, they cannot brush off critics like Lindzen as not worth the effort to respond. Policy makers are likely to be influenced by a MIT professor who is making unanswered points.
[Response: None of Lindzen’s points are ‘unanswered’. Arguments against a low sensitivity for instance, abound in the literature and in the assessments. – gavin]
Because policy is important, the models cannot be ignored just because they are not up to snuff scientifically. They will probably never be subject to falsification, so the climate scientists should look hard for alternate methods to judge the models in ways persuasive to policy-makers.
[Response: You have somewhat of a Popperian view of science that doesn’t really accord with how it actually works. All models are wrong – that is trivially true – but the issue is whether they can make skillful predictions. The answer is that they can. i.e. using models gives better information than just assuming persistence or extrapolating into the future. Improving that skill and quantifying how robust predictions are, and on what spatial and temporal scale is a useful activity – and one that most of the scientists involved are focused on. – gavin]
T. Marvell @517
We agree that ENSO wobbles cause SST wobbles. We disagree about SST-CO2 linkage, of which you say you “thought that relationship was obvious.” That’s a worry.
And @517 you propose a CO2-ENSO relationship that I find most bizarre. You say CO2 rises precede ENSO falls by 3-4 months!
Having linked to a pair of graphs @460 plotting these three variables ENSO, SST & CO2, the second of which illustrates the point of our agreement, I did find an old graph that may assist in the other relationships & have uploaded it onto a defunct website.
I cannot vouch for the synchronisity of the plots (the graph is old work-in-progress) but they do demonstrate quite well that the three wobbles do so pretty much in unison, big wobble matching big wobble. Thus surely puts your negative CO2-ENSO relationship in doubt.
Regarding the third relationship SST-CO2, I said no more @463 & @487 than CO2 wobbles were in some way the result of the ENSO/SST wobble. Plotted on the graph below is the ‘de-trended’ CO2 plot. The wobble thus has no net impact on long-term atmospheric CO2 levels.
OK. First, where are you getting this crap?
T. Marvell: “The overarching concern here is that global warming theory has important policy considerations.”
Allow me to introduce you to the logical fallacy called “argument from consequences,”. The consequences of a proposition have no bearing whatsoever on the truth of the proposition. Thus, if scientists have determined with high confidence (e.g. >90%) that humans are warming the fricking planet, then humans are most likely warming the fricking planet. This proposition was first posited 116 years ago and has generally been accepted for about 50 years. Anthropogenic causation is an inevitable consequence of the consensus theory of Earth’s climate. There is no rival theory that explains anywhere near as much of Earth’s history that would not also imply anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch.
Climate sceince is nowhere near as insular as you imply. The science has been vetted and explicitly endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences of the US and most comparable scientific bodies worldwide. There is not one dissenting voice. Likewise, nearly every one of the professional societies of scientists in related fields (physics, chemistry, meteorology, statistics…) has similarly examined and endorsed the science. Even the American Association of Petroleum Geologists–fricking petroleum geologists–was forced to drop its dissenting position. There is no scientific rationale for opposing the conclusion that we are warming the planet.
Now it appears to me that you as a layman are faced with a choice: Side with the overwhelming majority of climate experts and the overwhelming majority of the scientific community or go directly against them and side with a bunch of loons like Lord Ha Ha of Monkton and the occasional contrarian/shill scientist who has quit doing science. May you choose wisely.
Climate scientists, no matter what they think of the merit of their models, have to look outward and convince policy makers that the models are accurate. They cannot afford to be as insular as their comments suggest. If they are at all concerned with policy and the outside world, they cannot brush off critics like Lindzen as not worth the effort to respond. Policy makers are likely to be influenced by a MIT professor who is making unanswered points.
Tsk! O, those silly climate scientists sitting around in their ivory towers being all silly and stuff!
So we’re back to that. Again. Got that annoying tune stuck in our head have we?
That you are apparently unaware of the efforts of scientists to communicate the science (including the models), and that Lindzen has been dissected in fine detail over the years here and elsewhere, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened. Perhaps you can’t see through all the denialist noise.
On the remote possibility that you actually happen to be an expert in communicating to congress critters and lay audiences, then do your due diligence and then offer concrete suggestions on SPECIFIC INSTANCES of communications failure.
T. Marvell wrote: “Several people responsed to the effect that one should not criticize the models without understanding them, which seems arrogent and defensive to me, a non-climate scientist”
So when someone asks a question that clearly shows that they don’t understand what they are asking about, and in some cases clearly shows that they haven’t made any effort to understand what they are asking about, and they receive respectful and helpful responses encouraging them to learn more about the models, how they work, how they are developed and refined, and about the data sets against which the models are constantly compared, and then revisit their questions in the light of this understanding — you think that is “arrogant and defensive”?
The moderators of this site, and the scientifically-knowledgeable commenters, consistently demonstrate the patience of saints in their attempts to educate visitors about climate science, to explain the complexities of the science, and to answer sincere questions — and even blatantly insincere, belligerent and hostile questions — and for this, you call them “arrogant and defensive”?
Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Mar 2012 @ 10:55 AM
#517 T. Marvell
“A couple of scientists (e.g. 501) argued that the climate models do not stand up to traditional scientific methods of proof. They cannot be falsified.”
I don’t understand why people think the theory is not falsifiable.
– Arrhenius said it would warm, it did. That was falsifiable (granted the science was not mature then).
– Hansen/Manabe said it would warm and did a model that could have been falsified if it didn’t warm.
Just because it ‘did’ warm doesn’t mean that the predictions and models were not falsifiable. They were. It’s just that they proved to be generally correct. They would have been falsified if it ‘did not’ warm. Therefore, the model was falsifiable.
I’ll say it again. The early predictions and models were falsifiable. Hansen/Manabe were strong enough science to meet the criteria of ‘good science’ with a reasonable amount of the bugs worked out. The work was falsifiable over decades. Just because some people don’t like the results does not mean that the models were not falsifiable.
– Lab experiments with CO2 are falsifiable also.
– Lindzen’s ‘Iris Hypothesis’ was falsifiable and has been falsified.
There is falisifiability if you look. The old adage still applies that there are none so blind as those that choose not to see.
John P. Reisman wrote: “I don’t understand why people think the theory is not falsifiable.”
Because Fox News or Anthony Watts told them so. And of course they unquestioningly and absolutely believe whatever Fox News and Anthony Watts say, because they are “skeptics”.
Thus, they have no need to learn or understand anything about climate models before “criticizing” them, and to suggest that they should first learn something about climate models and temperature data sets is “arrogant and defensive”.
Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Mar 2012 @ 11:52 AM
Ah, okay. Right, I forgot. Sorry ;)
I suppose it’s not an argument to authority, so I guess it’s argument to Dunning/Kruger now.
I think the issue is as I expected. Technically, as I said and according to the FG06 method, the regressions should not be purely TOA flux against T_s, but for TOAFlux minus external forcing (WMGHG in this case) against T_s. Otherwise, the issue crops up that you mentioned in your original comment, where you get a bias if the only thing creating your temperature changes is that external WMGHG forcing.
However, I don’t believe this is what is creating the bias described in LC11, and shown in figure 6. The reason that is that for their model, the internal/ocean forcing used to create the monthly temperature fluctuations dwarfs the impact of the WMGHG forcing on those monthly Ts. If the LC11 model were simulating volcanic eruptions that had abrupt, external instantaneous forcings, then this external forcing would certainly need to be removed, but as it is their simple regression using TOAFlux rather than TOAFlux-external forcing is not strongly impacted by this (although I do think it would be good to correct this). You can confirm this by setting the WMGHG forcing to “0” in the model I linked to, and see that the bias is still present. Indeed, the simple model demonstration used to show this bias in the S&B11 paper does not include a GHG forcing at all.
The amount of bias is more sensitive to the other parameters of the model. For instance, the ratio of the internal radiative forcing to the ocean forcing, or the “smoothing months”/decorrelation time for the internal radiative forcing term. The noise model itself (which I’ve used from SB11, it is likely slightly different for LC11), which uses a low-pass filter for the internal radiative forcing, is also subject to question. Similarly, the effective mixed layer heat capacity has an impact. Finally, you’ll note that if you use a long enough time period for the model, and THEN properly remove the external forcing (during which time the WMGHG wins out, depending on the sensitivity), you can get an accurate diagnosis from the simple regression model, but this is not necessarily relevant given the limited amount of flux data we currently possess.
Anyhow, as I said, I think the 0.4 W/m^2/K GHG forcing aspect is largely irrelevant to the LC11 demonstration of bias, where the bigger point of contention for this topic is the noise model and parameters.
485 John said, “Just because the public thinks something is sound does not make it sound.”
True but irrelevant. Just like Monoskeptics railing against facts won’t change next decade’s weather, stating truths about relevance and merit won’t change the fact that in the minds of the relevant parties not refuting the currently dominant Monoskeptical paper is de facto admission that it’s indisputable.
Aside from BPL’s graph, I am not able to see where you disagree with anything I actually said.
I made a number of points and I would appreciate if you can say which if any of them you disagree with.
If you are aware that all humans have a tendency to confirmation bias, why do you think it is an ‘accusation’ to say this? Note that I did not say “climate science is especially plagued by confirmation bias”.
Do you agree with psychologists that confirmation bias is stronger when the topic is emotionally charged? For instance, Lindzen is evidently angry about some things (see Lindzen, 2008, ‘Climate science: is it currently designed to answer questions?’). Thus his confirmation bias is more likely to come into play (witness the avoidable mistake he made that is the subject of this thread). But surely you also must admit that climate science generally is an emotive topic, especially given that many believe we are headed to catastrophe. Do you agree?
Kuhn showed that during paradigm shifts even the raw data themselves change. His examples, though, were from fields where the data was much more certain than in climate science. Presumably you don’t dispute that climate science data is highly uncertain compared to other fields like physics and medicine; so why would you disagree that this should lead us to expect that the bias of scientists can come into play more easily? Do you contend that Kuhn was simply wrong for instance?
Finally, I showed that theoretical physicists lately see the need to manage the experimenter’s bias using blind experiment design. You can’t dispute this, I presume. Do you dispute that blind analysis has never been used in climate science? If not, why is it necessary in physics but not climate science? Maybe you contend that it isn’t necessary in physics and they are just being pedantic?
MARodger (518) – in your chart, shouldn’t red be temp and yellow CO2? I don’t think 12 month running averages help when studying short term relationships. It’s better to graph changes, yearly changes if the data are seasonal.
Troy, thanks for your response.
You may very well be right that the bias caused by (internal and/or external) noise creates a bias that is larger than the GHG bias that LC11 introduced.
And I readily agree that “known” forcing changes (such as GHG forcing) should be removed from from regressions run on actual observations (and from model runs too), or else an artificial bias would be introduced.
However, I am not sure if LC11 actually did that. In fact, all the evidence I see so far suggests that they did NON remove the GHG bias that I quantified. Otherwise, how can they get a residual (offset) in T in figure 6, and how come that the ‘bias’ they found in figure 7A happens to be of the same magnitude as the bias I found SHOULD be there if you put a sudden change ramp of GHG forcing at the start of the simulation ?
Thanks a lot for your R script !
I am unfamiliar with R, but will install the necessary tools and run some experiments.
For starters, I would like to reproduce bith run you suggest (noise with GHG forcing 0), and also the run that I suggest (0 noise and GHG forcing as LC11 dictates).
I do have one question on the core section of your model though :
(forgive me for re-formatting your code so it’s readable on this restricted HTML post) :
#run through each time step
for (mon in 2:modelLength)
forcing = S[mon] + N[mon] + WMGHG[mon]
T[mon] = (forcing+Cp/dt*T[mon-1])/(Cp/dt + lambda)
Feedback[mon] = lambda*T[mon]
TOAFlux[mon] = WMGHG[mon]+N[mon]-Feedback[mon]
Here, I see your integration of forcing into T, but I don’t see that the loop is closed.
Shouldn’t the ‘forcing’ depend on the temperature (or ‘Feedback’ or ‘TOAFlux’ ?
Or is there some way that R moves ‘TOAFlux’ back into variable N or so ?
T. Marvell @528
Concerning graph linked @518 –
Yellow is recognisably HadCRUT3 so that makes Yellow temperature. And thus Red is annual CO2 changes.
Concerning use of 12 month running averages – I would suggest that in this situation they provide a quick & understandable way of smooting data & thus appropriate to demonstrate that ENSO wobbles, temperature wobbles & CO2 annual increase wobbles all wobble in unison (with ‘small’ lags although I will not vouch for the syncronicity of the data on the graph presented) – that being the point at hand.
Alex Harvey wrote: ” … I did not say ‘climate science is especially plagued by confirmation bias’ …”
Oh, really? Here’s what you said, in comment #506 (emphasis added):
… there is in climate science “no effort to mitigate for the confirmation bias of the scientists” …
Psychologists have shown further that the bias is stronger when the topic is emotionally charged – such as the case with climate change science. Considering further the large uncertainty in both theory and observations it seems to me that climate science is perfectly set up so that the confirmation bias of scientists collectively could make a large difference to our understanding …
You said that confirmation bias “is stronger … with climate change science”.
You said that climate science is “perfectly set up” for confirmation bias to make “a large difference”.
And you asserted an absolute, blatant falsehood, that “there is in climate science no effort to mitigate for” confirmation bias.
But after claiming repeatedly that confirmation bias is “stronger” in climate science, that climate science is “perfectly set up” for confirmation bias, and that climate scientists have made “no effort to mitigate” confirmation bias, now you pretend that you “did not say” that climate science is “especially plagued by confirmation bias”.
With all due respect, sir, what you are doing is making wild, general, sweeping, unsupported accusations of confirmation bias on the part of thousands of scientists involved in climate research over many decades — along with blatantly, insultingly false claims that those scientists have made “no effort” to mitigate for that alleged bias — which you puff up with irrelevant and nonsensical hand-waving at Kuhn.
And what’s worse — when you are challenged on these assertions, you attempt to obfuscate what you actually said. Why? Because your original assertions are baseless and insupportable, and you know it.
Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Mar 2012 @ 10:02 AM
MARodger and T Marvell:
Clicking on MARodger reveals a wonderful compendium of visual aides to understanding. This is a terrific collection from a guy who’s used his expertise and taken infinite pains (well, not quite infinite if you are in the mood to quibble). Don’t knock it!
Comment by Susan Anderson — 23 Mar 2012 @ 10:26 AM
I agree that LC11 probably regressed Flux against T, rather than Flux-WMGHG against T. However, I’m not sure we’re on the same page, because the offset on T in Figure 6 is not evidence of this — for proper implementation of the FG06 regression method, you don’t remove the WMGHG forcing from its effect on T (indeed, this would be extremely complicated with timing offsets, ocean transport, etc.), so T would look the same either way in that graph. Rather, you remove the radiative anomaly due to WMGHG forcing from the TOA flux. So, evidence that this is not being removed would need to come in the form of an offset on that _Y_ axis, and over the 288 months should be around 0.5 W/m^2 offset (I can’t tell if this is the case from the graph). But it should then be clear why this offset, even if present, does not matter much: it is tiny compared to the Flux variations. Regarding why you get a similar bias to figure 7, I would suspect coincidence, as both issues would create a positive bias. Can you try plotting a graph similar to figure 6 for the simple regression? I would imagine that in your GHG only scenario, the Flux will not show the variability of the LC11 graph.
Regarding the model, the forcing should NOT depend on T. The radiative forcing for a doubling of CO2 is ~3.7 W/m^2, regardless of the temperature. As you can see in eq. 8 of LC11, Q(t) (or the forcing at time t) does not depend on T. The change in outgoing radiation (i.e., “Feedback” in the code), certainly DOES depend on T, as can be seen on that Feedback line. Similarly, the apparent TOA flux (what we measure) is a combination of all the radiative forcing/noise + the feedback term, as is set on that next line.
To add on to my last comment (23 Mar 2012 at 10:34 AM), regarding the “loop”, you’ll notice it is actually present within the T[mon] = line. The “lambda” (F in LC11) and “T[mon-1]” terms complete that feedback loop. If you simply replace the dSST term in LC11 eq. 8 with T[mon] – T[mon-1], and using lambda*T[mon-1] for the F*SST(t), then re-arrange to solve for T[mon], this is what you get. Obviously, this is a discrete form, but the monthly time-step is fine enough that it has little effect.
First, I would contend that humans have a tendency toward wishful thinking and in many cases magical thinking. Science is the appropriate countermeasure to this tendency. What that means is that we must try to weave ALL THE EVIDENCE into a single tapestry that has both PREDICTIVE AND EXPLANATORY power. Climate science fits very well into that paradigm. It has done a very good job at understanding an incredibly complicated system over much of its history, and it has had some impressive–in some cases astounding–predictive successes. Progress has been steady over a period of several decades–quite unlike a field undergoing a revolution.
The catch is that in order for all this data to make sense, there has to be positive feedback in the system. You simply cannot understand Earth’s climate without it. You can’t explain why we are not a ball of ice. You cannot explain how small changes in insolation result in glacial/interglacial cycles. You cannot explain how the climate responds to impulse forcings such as injection of aerosols by volcanic eruptions. And so on. Lindzen and the other “dissenters” offer no predictions. They offers no understanding. They offer questionable analyses of obscure datasets that even they don’t fully understand and claim they are invalidating understanding built over decades. They do nothing of the sort.
You suggest that climate science suffers from confirmation bias. Do you really think that thousands of climate scientists are such sheep that they would forego the opportunity to revolutionize their field? Do you realize the celebrity they would attain? I assure you that they realize it.
Look, Alex, science works. It works even when practiced by fallible humans. It capitalizes on human traits such as curiosity, ambition, stubbornness and the need to be valued by our peers to acheive reliable understanding of natural world. Climate science is no different from any other discipline other than it has stumbled into a beeshive of glibertarian assclams who wish to be left to their profession of [edit: easy] in peace.
In case the point is lost for not being bluntly restated, the scientific process itself has evolved precisely to mitigate against confirmation bias. This is perhaps more true of the hard physical sciences, which you can see for yourself (and unlike some other areas) haven’t been polluted by postmodernism. As for “…a beeshive of glibertarian assclams…” OK. For collectors, that one’s a keeper!
“…climate models do not stand up to traditional scientific methods of proof. They cannot be falsified.”
Sure they can.
Show that the infrared absorption spectra of polyatomic gases are significantly different from current scientific consensus.
Show that Clausius–Clapeyron is significantly different from current scientific consensus.
Show that TSI is increasing, driving temperatures up, or GCR decreasing, driving albedo down.
Climate models could have been falsified – they just haven’t been.
There are lots of components to climate models; better, or different, understanding of how most of them work won’t falsify the big picture, but may change the sensitivity. (It’s arguable that the sensitivity is higher than models indicate. We know that tundra, clathrate, and ice sheet collapse have nonlinearities that aren’t well understood; the loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic is faster than models predict, the collapse of Larsen Ice Shelf was a surprise, and misunderestimated nonlinearities of clathrate and permafrost melt carry low probability high impact positive sensitivity risk. Cloud cover trends are still uncertain, but apparently negative – ~0.04% per decade decrease globally 1954-2008; so far, no surprises. http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ignatius/CloudMap/Publications/WarrenEtal2007_CloudSurvey.pdf)
A smart scientist like Lindzen can tell which key parts being wrong would falsify the models. I thought of two, and I’m a college dropout.
IMHO, the fact that Lindzen’s only arguing for low sensitivity, and hasn’t proposed any fatal flaws in the models means he doesn’t think the models are fundamentally flawed. The only place left to hang his political hat is to exaggerate the model’s inaccuracy, rather than say they are wrong.
Ray Ladbury wrote: “Climate science is no different from any other discipline other than it has stumbled into a beeshive of glibertarian assclams …”
Unfortunately, climate science has “stumbled into” the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the history of the world, who can buy entire governments with their petty cash, not to mention major media organizations, and who are determined that a little thing such as the likely destruction of the Earth’s biosphere from continued business-as-usual consumption of their products is not going to stand in the way of the trillions of dollars in profit that they expect to reap from burning every last drop of oil and every last crumb of coal that can be ripped from the Earth’s crust.
Their “glibertarian” pseudo-ideology is just another propaganda tool, as bogus as the pseudo-science and pseudo-economics cranked out by their bought-and-paid-for “think tanks”.
As a non-climate scientist I find these facinating, and I have spend a lot of time browsing through them.
I couldn’t find a link to them on the realclimate.org home page. There should be one, and links to similar sites, even though there are already lots of links.
Again, from browsing the graphs, I think that the best way to compare trends visually is to compare yearly changes. That is, temperature should be, say, the December 2011 temperature less the December 2010 number. That takes out seasonal variations.
In post #517 I remarked that increased CO2 precedes a reduced ENSO index. Gavin and MARodger were highly skeptical. The effect exists, however, although it is not as strong as the ENSO-to-temp and temp-to-CO2 connections, which are extremely strong (post 517). This does not mean that CO2 has a negative “cause” with respect to El Nino, but there may be some third variable involved, such as arosols, that is associated with CO2 and that affects El Nino.
This is important because when I look at the association between CO2 and temperature, I find a lagged relationship in the “wrong” direction. More CO2 is followed by lower SST temperature. The “wrong sign” problem. But if the ENSO index is added to the analysis, that goes away.
Also this is important because it can be a short-term forecasting tool for the El Nino, provided the relationship is firmly established and the reason for it found.
All these relationships are based on monthly-time-series Granger analysis (Granger got the nobel prize in 2003). They can be easily replicated since climate scientists probably have both the data and regression programs readily available. The benefit of the Granger is that it provides good controls for factors not entered into the regression, although very short term relationships are not controlled.
The El-Nino-to-temp relationship is partly for the current year (although there is a large one-year-lagged relationship), so it might be partly an identity relationship, in that temperature factors into the ENSO index.