RealClimate

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Good one!

    =:-)

    Comment by Radge Havers — 24 May 2013 @ 6:05 PM

  2. On the radio right now! A big Talk of the Nation program on the climate debate.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 May 2013 @ 6:27 PM

  3. All right, it was This American Life, not TOTN.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 May 2013 @ 6:58 PM

  4. The never-ending ‘No’ show!

    Comment by Nick — 24 May 2013 @ 7:29 PM

  5. How alienating !

    Comment by Russell — 24 May 2013 @ 8:30 PM

  6. A week of climate change programming:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/495/hot-in-my-backyard

    Since NPR’s cancelled This American Life, perhaps they’ll go out using up all the news they’ve got.

    [Response: Do you have a link for that? I can't find any such announcement. - gavin]

    A year ago, this prediction:
    “… Programming choices could fall victim and become the dictum of the politcal sponsors of whom they mustn’t run afoul….”
    http://www.a2politico.com/2012/05/coming-soon-to-public-broadcasting-political-reporting-funded-by-the-koch-bros/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 May 2013 @ 12:02 AM

  7. A similar cartoon could have been made of economic models vs skeptic models before 2007. See the overconfidence effect here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overconfidence_effect.

    For an Economics mea culpa see here http://www.ifw-members.ifw-kiel.de/publications/the-financial-crisis-and-the-systemic-failure-of-academic-economics/KWP_1489_ColanderetalFinancial%20Crisis.pdf

    Comment by AntonyIndia — 25 May 2013 @ 1:40 AM

  8. There is no need for “skeptic models”. Climate models contradict each-other sufficiently.

    Comment by Balazs — 25 May 2013 @ 1:48 AM

  9. I emailed tamino to find out what’s up. Waiting to hear from him. If anyone finds out anything, please let me know.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 May 2013 @ 7:12 AM

  10. Balazs How many of the climate models that contradict each-other sufficiently suggest that anthropgenic carbon emissions under the “business as usual” scenario won’t lead to substantial increases in global mean surface temperature over the next century? While they won’t agree exactly, they seem to be in good agreement on the issue that really matters.

    A skeptic climate model would be a much better argument than a rhetorical one-liner.

    Comment by Dikran Marsupial — 25 May 2013 @ 9:17 AM

  11. And unsurprisingly, from the irony challenged cheap seats, we once more hear the baleful, inarticulate cries of “you suck!”

    Comment by Radge Havers — 25 May 2013 @ 9:38 AM

  12. Has anyone ever seen a “skeptic model”? Or a “skeptic paleoclimate reconstruction” for that matter? Or a “skeptic prediction” of the temperature in 2050?

    Doesn’t this crowd just snipe at other people’s work, and if anyone makes a positive contribution, they get voted off the island, like Richard Muller was?

    Comment by toby — 25 May 2013 @ 10:07 AM

  13. I often hear “skeptics” complain that GCMs can be programmed/calibrated to say anything that the modellers want. The fact that no climate skeptic scientist has constructed a GCM that shows that increasing carbon dioxide will not result in substantial increases in surface temperatures is fairly good evidence that the models cannot be programmed to say what the modellers want.

    Comment by Dikran Marsupial — 25 May 2013 @ 10:35 AM

  14. > NPR
    my mistake, sorry Gavin, thanks for questioning it.
    NPR cancelled Talk of the Nation, the Monday-to-Thursday call-in show.

    This American Life continues; they did the climate program.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 May 2013 @ 10:51 AM

  15. I’m afraid this will probably remain an inside joke. The “skeptic” view is that AGW is patently a fantasy and therefore needs no robust refutation. This is based on talking points which, among other things, serve as intellectual shortcuts. Explanations of why this is fallacious will be tuned out precisely because they tend to be somewhat long and demanding, if not tedious, and have the superficial appearance of being rationalizations.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 25 May 2013 @ 10:57 AM

  16. toby, to be fair, sniping at other peoples work *is* quite a valuable part of science.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/05/introducing-pubpeer-com/

    Comment by Dikran Marsupial — 25 May 2013 @ 10:59 AM

  17. re Tamino: Barton Paul Levenson

    as noted here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/05/unforced-variations-may-2013/comment-page-9/#comment-340323

    “I asked a mutual acquaintance who said:

    “working on fighting the proposed East West Corridor project that is supposed to bisect the town with a highway and utility/pipeline corridor that would destroy the town and most of central Maine from Calais to Coburn Gore. A bunch of us have been tasked by the town selectmen to come up with a moratorium proposal as well as strategies to educate the public on the implications of the the project.”

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 25 May 2013 @ 11:26 AM

  18. Re: Hank, #6 – NPR’s Talk of the Nattion is to be discontinued, not This American Life.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 25 May 2013 @ 12:32 PM

  19. A better contest seems to be Climate Models v Observed Temperature Change.

    It looks like Observed Temperature Change is ahead on points. See for example Otto et al.

    Comment by AndyL — 25 May 2013 @ 12:43 PM

  20. Balacz says:

    “There is no need for “skeptic models”. Climate models contradict each-other sufficiently.”

    This is not true. There is essentially one consensus climate model, which builds on all of physics to arrive at some common understanding. Any deviation from physics is treated seriously.

    On the other hand, there are dozens and dozens of skeptic models that are entirely contradictory. For instance, I keep track of the skeptical models that get paraded on the Climate Etc blog. Last count I had tabulated 70 somewhat regular commenters that will pitch their own version of climate science theories. These vary all over the map, from suggesting that excess CO2 is non-man-made, to suggesting that the heat of combustion of fossil fuels contribute to all the warming, to a governor-like mechanism for climate. And it gets worse from there.

    Periodically I will ask the “denizens” of Climate Etc to pick one of the 70 theories to rally around. I suggest that only one of these can be correct. The response is always crickets, of course. That is why Jill Archer’s cartoon shown above is so telling. No one will step up to the plate or enter the boxing ring when it counts.

    In reality, I think most skeptics are followers of Coast2Coast AM, larrikins, pranksters, etc and they are in it for the comfort of belonging to a clique, as Michael Shermer has described in his works on pseudo-science and skepticism.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 25 May 2013 @ 1:20 PM

  21. AntonyIndia betrays his ignorance of economics as well as climate science. Actually, there were plenty of economists saying the economic progress of the mid 2000s was a house of cards. Hell, even I could see that it wasn’t sustainable back in 1998.

    In contrast, climate science is well founded, with a long (>100 year) history of successful predictions.

    And maybe what Balazs says is true…in the imaginary world where he spends his time.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 May 2013 @ 1:55 PM

  22. NASA does not seem to think there is a skeptics model:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Iris/iris3.php

    Perhaps clouds are the skeptics last bastion:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/science/earth/clouds-effect-on-climate-change-is-last-bastion-for-dissenters.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    but, if clouds are the biggest source of uncertainty about net forcing, then they need to be understood.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 25 May 2013 @ 4:03 PM

  23. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/science/earth/clouds-effect-on-climate-change-is-last-bastion-for-dissenters.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Comment by Tom Adams — 25 May 2013 @ 4:04 PM

  24. AndyL – We haven’t invented time machines yet, so how do you think Otto et al managed to get temperature observations from the mid/late 19th century?

    Comment by Rob Painting — 25 May 2013 @ 5:41 PM

  25. As Paul Samuelson* once noted, economic models predicted nine of the last five recessions.

    *Nobel Prize in Economics, National Medal of Science

    Comment by observer — 25 May 2013 @ 6:09 PM

  26. ” fighting the proposed East West Corridor project that is supposed to bisect the town with a highway and utility/pipeline corridor that would destroy the town and most of central Maine from Calais to Coburn Gore.”

    Either you believe any development equals total destruction, or that’s a massive exaggeration which only weakens your case. My guess is that the supposed destruction is actually a minor temporary inconvenience which will result in better roads. Much better would be to just tell the truth – ya hate tar sands and will use any excuse, valid or not, to stop it.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 25 May 2013 @ 6:38 PM

  27. Everyone, without exception, has a worldview, or many fragments of one. These are models which include models of everything or everyone, within our consciousness and much outside it – the great unknown attributed to dieties and demons. We tend to go to extremes to protect our worldviews, regard our own as reality, comparing everything to it – often not having the detachment to recognise that what we debate are models, subject to development.

    Climate lies mostly outside individual perception, unlike weather. Climate scientists, as with other sciences, build a group consciousness whereby we collectively become aware of climate. There is much talk of consensus as though everyone is signing up to an agreement. I tend to think of it more as an expression of a group consciousness drawn from a huge variety of observations, observers, thinkers, sciences, actively researched, dynamically growing.

    Comment by Noel Fuller — 25 May 2013 @ 7:48 PM

  28. Rob Painting says: “how do you think Otto et al managed to get temperature observations from the mid/late 19th century?”
    I don’t understand your point. Without checking, I imagine they used thermometers plus maybe some proxies. What does this have to do with the accuracy of the climate models?

    Comment by AndyL — 26 May 2013 @ 2:27 AM

  29. Jim, I think you missed one of the central points. The “road” is a minor point; the pipeline right-of-way connects eastern Canada with ports in eastern Maine. IE, it’s a route out for the tar sands bitumen.

    There’s no question that installing a major highway to a formerly remote town will change it irrevocably. Yes, it’s a better road. Yes, it will permanently change all the towns that it passes through.

    Not particularly relevant to Tamino’s objections is the fact that Cianbro, a private company that wants to build this road/pipeline, managed to get a study for the highway funded by the public.

    Comment by David Miller — 26 May 2013 @ 8:46 AM

  30. 25:

    I sat next to Samuelson on an airplane once , and impute the occasinal suckiness of his modeling to his having spent most of the flight trying to solve an integral on a cocktail napkin instead of looking out the window at the clouds.

    Comment by Russell — 26 May 2013 @ 3:10 PM

  31. David M said, “The “road” is a minor point; the pipeline right-of-way connects eastern Canada with ports in eastern Maine. IE, it’s a route out for the tar sands bitumen.”

    I think we’re saying the same thing. If the pipeline were slated for drinking water, you could find some anti-development folks, but it wouldn’t be a big deal. Towns will grow, property values will go up. No big deal, except that the product making it all possible is satanic.

    Comment by Jim Larsen — 26 May 2013 @ 9:27 PM

  32. AndyL @ 28 – the analysis in Otto et al is based, in part, on climate models. The necessary observations for the 1860-1879 period simply do not exist. Models are also used to estimate the climate forcing.

    If you accept the validity of the results from Otto et al, one assumes you also accept that models are indeed extremely useful tools.

    Comment by Rob Painting — 27 May 2013 @ 3:02 AM

  33. What a totally stupid and juvenile article. This type of thing does nothing to advance the case for AGW which is genuine and needs to be fully investigated.

    This simply gives the skeptics and their supporters amunition.

    [Response: Lighten up, it's just a cartoon. - gavin]

    Comment by John Benton — 27 May 2013 @ 9:28 AM

  34. The problem is they don’t believe model’s

    Comment by Lorne50 — 27 May 2013 @ 5:30 PM

  35. https://lh3.ggpht.com/-IrgeSvyEWQo/UY6CEPbd7RI/AAAAAAAAGrg/fL1rf8yfBKM/s1600/cartoon_titanic_deck_chair_franchise.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 May 2013 @ 6:07 PM

  36. The distinction between special effects and technicolor GCM outputs is more often honored in the breach than the observance .

    Comment by Russell — 27 May 2013 @ 9:21 PM

  37. Balazs #8 is the guy shouting out in the cartoon… thanks Balazs, for rubbing it in ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 May 2013 @ 3:37 AM

  38. John Benton,
    Actually, the cartoon makes a very important point. If you don’t have a model, you aren’t doing science. Climate scientists are doing science–successful science in a difficult field. Denialists are playing Calvinball.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 May 2013 @ 4:49 AM

  39. @ 5, 30, 36 David Archer’s fairly penetrating cartoon posted here effectively dissects the notion of skeptic via a stark reality and a satirical portrayal of behavior. It has vital signs of a sense of humor, and it makes you think. It’s a compact little lesson.

    The website you front for and turn clicks for (you’ve linked it five times on this thread) is very impressed with itself. It thinks it’s satire. But it doesn’t rise that high: it is merely an exercise in narcissism. It has nothing to say and wastes my time. That’s as good as it can do, or else that’s exactly what it seeks to do: by saying nothing, to distract.

    Comment by patrick — 28 May 2013 @ 5:18 AM

  40. Could someone explain the cartoon? I guess the Climate Models are represented by the fighter in the ring? That would mean that the Skeptic Model consists of disputing the the Climate Model conception of clouds?

    But that does not seem to describe the situation. The Skeptics Model concerning clouds has clouds providing negative feedback to cancel out the positive feedbacks.
    And, they are trying to climb into the ring. They try to get their stuff published in peer reviewed journals with mixed results and try to convince other climate scientists with little or no result.

    Also, the cartoon seems to conflate models and scientific debate. If I have it right, clouds are the greatest source of uncertainty in the models even without the skeptics. But isn’t there more to the scientific debate than the estimation of cloud feedback in the models?

    Note that even if the skeptics are full of it, reducing model uncertainty is important to anyone who needs to take the cost/benefit of greenhouse gas emissions seriously.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 28 May 2013 @ 8:20 AM

  41. Um. In the spirit of the cartoon, I’d like to suggest that the best way to show up someone else’s humor is to, you know, counter with sharper humor, not to chime in with yet more cries of (essentially) “you suck.”

    Comment by Radge Havers — 28 May 2013 @ 8:54 AM

  42. Tom Adams, “Cloud feedback is negative” is NOT a scientific model. You have to provide a mechanism whereby some cloud types are augmented and some suppressed. You would also have to figure out how you get 33 degrees of greenhouse warming pre-industrial in a system with negative feedback.

    There is no self-consistent “skeptic” position that rises above the whine, “It’s not our fault!”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 May 2013 @ 9:56 AM

  43. “I guess the Climate Models are represented by the fighter in the ring? That would mean that the Skeptic Model consists of disputing the the Climate Model conception of clouds?”

    No. There *are* no “Skeptic models.” (Well, not exactly, anyway–there are some incomplete ones, like the “Infrared Iris” and the “GCR hypothesis.” But there is no big picture “skeptic” alternative, partly because skeptic memes tend to be deeply inconsistent.) Hence there is no other fighter actually in the ring.

    “But that does not seem to describe the situation. The Skeptics Model concerning clouds has clouds providing negative feedback to cancel out the positive feedbacks. And, they are trying to climb into the ring. They try to get their stuff published in peer reviewed journals with mixed results and try to convince other climate scientists with little or no result.

    That’s a model–or ‘pre-model,’ since it’s an hypothesis affecting just part of the big picture–put forward by *some* skeptics. The highest profile was perhaps the “Misdiagnosis” paper by Spencer & Braswell. It hasn’t been highly cited, considering:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2009&q=spencer+braswell&hl=en&as_sdt=0,11

    That generally means the paper hasn’t generated much in the way of fruitful research questions.

    Also, the cartoon seems to conflate models and scientific debate. If I have it right, clouds are the greatest source of uncertainty in the models even without the skeptics. But isn’t there more to the scientific debate than the estimation of cloud feedback in the models?

    If you don’t have some sort of model–ie., a way of making testable ‘predictions’–you aren’t doing science. IOW, models are in reality central to ‘scientific debate’–the cartoon reflects that. But it’s not a ‘conflation.’ Of course, “models” needs to be understood in a general sense–it doesn’t just refer to GCMs.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 May 2013 @ 9:57 AM

  44. “But isn’t there more to the scientific debate than the estimation of cloud feedback in the models?”

    Sure. But a cartoon punchline can’t be expected to detail a whole field. As you say, ‘clouds’ is a leading point, hence a logical representative for whatever point may be under ‘debate.’

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 May 2013 @ 10:01 AM

  45. Jim Larsen, #31

    Yes, well said. We’re in violent agreement :)

    Comment by David Miller — 28 May 2013 @ 2:24 PM

  46. > there is no other fighter actually in the ring.

    Exactly. And the watching crowd is loaded with individuals with an exc3ess of self-esteem, each sure that yes, of course, if he were to deign to step into the ring he could beat this Climate Model with no problem, in fact they’re so sure that none of them cares to bother. Instead they just heckle.

    What the cartoon needs, if the Archers want to make it an animated GIF, is a plethora of balloons popping in one after the another, sometimes overlapping. “It’s the Iron Sun!” “It’s the Local Bubble!” “It’s the barycentric alignment!” ….

    Funny how they never get into arguing with each other, though their kibitzes are mutually contradictory.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 May 2013 @ 6:47 PM

  47. Radge Havers #41, I am reminded of the quip that if you are pursued by a lion, you don’t have to run faster than the lion, just faster than the next guy… similarly, your model doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than the competition (if any) ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 May 2013 @ 3:40 AM

  48. >”Funny how they never get into arguing with each other, though their kibitzes are mutually contradictory.”

    Yes–ABC: Anything But Carbon.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 May 2013 @ 8:19 AM

  49. Martin Vermeer,
    Your comment @47 raises what I think is an interesting conundrum in science. As long as there are competing models, it is fairly straightforward to select the best. However, when there is a single, consensus model–be it evolution or the current consensus climate model–you cannot say how good the model is in absolute terms. This leads to all sorts of nonsense from anti-science idjits, who always claim that “the model” is on the verge of collapse.

    All this demonstrates is how ignorant the idjits are of how science works. Science is not simply empirical inquiry, but rather theoretically guided empirical inquiry. You need a theory to tell you what the interesting questions are, just as you need experiment to test the validity of the understandings provided by your model. If “the model” were indeed on the verge of collapse, it would have lots of competition from other models proposing other interesting questions. What we see instead is either thinly veiled religion posing as science in the case of evolution or dozens of mutually inconsistent and poorly worked out mini-models in the case of climate science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 May 2013 @ 8:28 AM

  50. #43 and #44 McKinney. Good posts, can’t argue strongly against any of your points. Iris is the model I had in mind, but perhaps it’s on life support from the more open minded among climate scientist at best.

    Is the scientific debate all about the insides of models? There is perhaps the issue of how much models depend on Bayesian estimates instead direct frequentist calculations of uncertainty. but I don’t know how much and I am not sure that is science in the sense that there is a good scientific response to that kind of skepticism.

    #42 Landbury “Cloud feedback is negative is NOT a scientific model”

    Rebutal: All the models have it in there. There is uncertainty about it and different opinions that (in my opinion) should not be shouted down that way. Folks at NASA seems to have minds open enough to consider it a scientific model:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Iris/iris3.php

    Cloud negative feedbacks is respectible, even if some of the other opinions of its chief advocates are not. Lindzen actually calls most of his allies “nutty” for rejecting CO2 forcing:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/science/earth/clouds-effect-on-climate-change-is-last-bastion-for-dissenters.html?pagewanted=all

    #41 Havers. Are you saying I showed up the humor? if so, thanks but I did not intend as much.

    Mine was not the best way, you say? But science is easier than horseshoes or thermonuclear war in that a sufficient argument need not be even close to the best.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 29 May 2013 @ 1:42 PM

  51. Tom @ 50
    I hadn’t seen your post when I commented @ 41, which may have been in moderation. For the record, I can sympathize with people who may occasionally need help parsing a punch line. We’ve probably all been there at one time or another. Keep working at it.

    And just for whatever it’s worth, a constructive critique whether of humor or science, ought to have an understanding of the big picture and a good sense of the relative functions, proportions, importances, not to mention the nature of the interconnectedness of all the working parts. Watching denialists trying to do science is like watching the three stooges trying to hang wallpaper.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 29 May 2013 @ 10:56 PM

  52. > earthobservatory
    That’s a really very old page, I think I recall reading it maybe a decade ago; is there a date anywhere on the article?

    The author’s anticipation of new satellite data — illustrated with an image from the MODIS — has this caption: “New data products from NASA’s most recent satellites will help scientists resolve the controversy surrounding the Iris Hypothesis. … February 2002 … MODIS”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 May 2013 @ 11:17 PM

  53. Tom Adams, #50–

    Thanks.

    I’m not sure I really understand you here:

    “Is the scientific debate all about the insides of models? There is perhaps the issue of how much models depend on Bayesian estimates instead direct frequentist calculations of uncertainty. but I don’t know how much and I am not sure that is science in the sense that there is a good scientific response to that kind of skepticism.”

    My thoughts–FWIW–are:

    1) On ‘insides of models’: No, scientific investigation (I prefer that to ‘debate’) ranges well beyond modeling. A great deal of work is being done on the empirical side of things, with innovations of all sorts in measurement–both direct and proxy. And even on the modeling side, there is more than just GCMs in play–energy balance models, for instance, are important area as well.

    And this isn’t a new development: the scope and importance of past efforts in data collection are massively under-appreciated generally. (That’s one thing that contributes to the ‘ivory tower modelers’ meme that one encounters from time to time.) As a partial antidote, I wrote on the history of that endeavor–partially and incompletely, to be sure:

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Fire-From-Heaven-Climate-Science-And-The-Element-Of-Life-Part-One-Fire-By-Day

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Fire-From-Heaven-Climate-Science-And-The-Element-Of-Life-Part-Two-The-Cloud-By-Night

    And a tribute to what I nominate as the first GW paper, in which downwelling IR was observed–in 1811!:

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Global-Warming-Science-In-The-Age-Of-Washington-And-Jefferson-William-Charles-Wells

    2) On ‘Bayesian versus frequentist uncertainty’: This isn’t a strength of mine, so I won’t comment in depth. But this is the most confusing sentence for me. Partly it’s because I perceive statistical analysis as entirely extrinsic to climate models, which ‘contain’ physics, essentially. But maybe you mean ‘models’ more generally? That still raises questions for me, because then the point refers to such structurally different models as to become unlikely on the face of it.

    Moreover, there’s been no shortage of purely frequentist statistical analysis–see, for example, the foofaraw around Dr. Phil Jones’s ‘no statistically significant warming since 1995.’ OK, that didn’t follow directly from an actual paper, but I’d bet my eyeteeth that you won’t have to look long to find papers using the standard 95% confidence level.

    Heck, let’s try it:

    http://140.208.31.101/cms-filesystem-action/user_files/gav/publications/dvc_12_walker_cmip5.pdf

    Elapsed time: 51 seconds… It’s only a partial ‘win’, though, because, though it uses a frequentist test, it refers to a 1-sigma standard, not 2–so 90%, not the 95% I was looking for. But you get my point. (And farther down in the search, there’s ‘winners’):

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2013&q=global+warming+95%25+confidence+level&hl=en&as_sdt=0,11

    Clearly there’s no shortage of frequentist statistics in use in mainstream climate science, so color me confused WRT your point here.

    3) On ‘that kind of skepticism’: My confusion on point 2 bleeds over into this point, because I’m not sure what ‘that’ kind means, exactly. But if it denotes a narrowly-focused technical quibbling which ignores the big picture, then I’d agree that that’s probably not science, but ‘debating’–in the sense of a rhetorical competitive activity. (Yes, I was on the team back in high school…)

    Debating in that sense is not, of course, about discovering truth: it’s about winning, regardless of pretty much anything substantive. It follows, I think, from the adversarial system used in law–which suggests why I rather dislike the term ‘scientific debate.’ Though scientists like winning as much as anybody else (and maybe more than some), a truly ‘scientific’ debate should formally not be all about winning–or rather, ‘winning’ should ultimately be about getting at the truth, not point-scoring. The ‘D-word’ rather obscures that notion, I think. But we’re stuck with it, so I should probably stop kvetching about it.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 May 2013 @ 9:11 AM

  54. Tom Adams – Lindzens 2001 “Iris” hypothesis, of negative IR feedbacks from clouds, was very interesting.
    It was also essentially disproven within a year, with multiple papers indicating that the iris effect was grossly overestimated by Lindzen, and potentially gives positive feedback rather than negative (if it exists at all). There’s a good overview and timeline at http://www.skepticalscience.com/infrared-iris-never-bloomed.html if you are interested.

    That particular hypothesis, like many in the “negative feedback” category, didn’t make it past round 1 in the ring.

    Comment by KR — 30 May 2013 @ 10:52 AM

  55. Dana N. did a comparison between models a few years ago over at Skeptical Science, including some inferred models of sceptics.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/comparing-global-temperature-predictions.html

    There is a failure in the general population to understand that every scientific theory is a model, an approximation of reality, whether it is air resistance, commonly used equations for gravitational acceleration, or chemical equilibrium. So, when you ask them what is their favorite climate model, they fail to understand that ‘nothing’ is not a valid answer. That would be the equivalent of claiming that we know absolutely nothing about thermodynamics, physics, or chemistry, but they generally don’t get that.

    Comment by Chris G — 30 May 2013 @ 12:48 PM

  56. Ray Ladbury – Tom Adams,
    I parse what was said as Ray stating that the position, ‘clouds are a negative feedback’ is not a model in the sense that it is not quantified in any way. Without some quantification of what changes to expect in clouds (and why) and quantification of how that will affect the energy balance of the system, it can not be incorporated in a model. In addition, not all clouds are created equal; some forms provide negative feedback, and some positive. So, while the statement itself is comprehensible, it has no meaning without the context of how/why and how much.

    Essentially, the cartoon is saying that lots of people have cast dispersion on climate models, but on one has put forth a model (theory) which can compete with a modern GCM including the radiative forcing of CO2.

    Comment by Chris G — 30 May 2013 @ 6:13 PM

  57. @20 (WebHubTelescope), Could you give a pointer to your tabulation of contrarian “models”? This would be a convenient reference.

    (Apologies, somehow my original comment went into the wrong thread.)

    Comment by Raymond Arritt — 31 May 2013 @ 2:38 PM

  58. Raymond Arritt asked:

    “@20 (WebHubTelescope), Could you give a pointer to your tabulation of contrarian “models”? This would be a convenient reference.”

    I spend most of my time battling over at Climate Etc, and this is the list I came up with:
    http://tinyurl.com/ClimateClowns

    I use it to track the bogus models and recurring lies that the CE deniers traffic in and also to track what sockpuppet names they use.

    I would also suggest that you go to SourceWatch and DeSmogBlog for the big-name deniers they keep in their research database.

    What I find astounding is the number of alternate theories on just Climate Etc. Their are also parallel universes of deniers on the other blogs such as WUWT. There are too many to keep up with and yet not one will step in to the ring as the number one contender.

    Comment by WebHubTelescope — 31 May 2013 @ 7:23 PM

  59. @56 “I parse what was said as Ray stating that the position, ‘clouds are a negative feedback’ is not a model in the sense that it is not quantified in any way. Without some quantification of what changes to expect in clouds (and why) and quantification of how that will affect the energy balance of the system, it can not be incorporated in a model.”

    According to this:

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/presentations/climate_model_clouds.pdf

    Clouds are quantifiable the quantities are incorporated into the models, but in a relatively crude manner (as averages over a grid element) because clouds are more fine grained than the model grids that can be supported with current technology.

    In order to cancel out the positive forcing, the skeptics have to exaggerate the negative forcing of clouds beyond plausibility. They have had no luck with in terms of impacting the consensus.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 5 Jun 2013 @ 7:05 AM

  60. @59 Tom Adams,
    Sure, I’m not saying that they can not be quantified; I’m just saying that without quantification, they can not be part of a model; or rather, while I agree, that is what I believe Ray is saying.
    As you point out, when they are quantified, afaik, they generally don’t produce the results that the skeptics desire. And, an inherently self-stabilizing climate (Lindzen iris effect), seems at odds with the paleoclimate record, which shows wide variation in climate states.

    Comment by Chris G — 6 Jun 2013 @ 10:06 PM

  61. Stalagmites Provide New View of Abrupt Climate Events Over 100,000 Years
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130606154403.htm
    My. Pacific Warm Pool responds rather differently than the North Atlantic.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Jun 2013 @ 10:19 PM

  62. Re Clouds

    The ability of clouds to reflect sunlight back into space and so help to cool the Earth appears to have been over-estimated, researchers say, in a study especially significant for major polluters.

    LONDON, 17 May – Extra cloud cover caused by emissions of industrial pollutants is known to reduce the effects of global warming, but its impact in reducing temperatures has been over-estimated in the climate models, new research has found.

    http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/tag/china/

    Comment by prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2013 @ 3:55 AM

  63. Direct link Clouds ‘cool Earth less than thought’ http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/05/clouds-cool-earth-less-than-thought/

    Comment by prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2013 @ 3:56 AM

  64. Here’s the cite for the study prokaryotes mentions about clouds. The blog stories point to:
    http://www.mpg.de/7248507/sulfate-aerosol-clouds-climate
    which cites the journal article as:
    Enhanced role of transition metal ion catalysis during in-cloud oxidation of SO2
    Science, 10 May 2013; doi: 10.1126/science.1230911

    Note the blog and news stories claim “cool Earth less” but the researcher quoted at mpg.de says that’s an assumption. This is about adding another chemical pathway to the models, once it’s quantified, which it hasn’t been:

    “… Eliza Harris assumes that the models have overestimated the climate cooling effect of sulfate aerosols. So far it is not quantifiable to what degree Harris’ discovery will impact climate prognoses. However, future models should consider the TMI catalysis reaction as an important pathway for the oxidation of sulfur dioxide …”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jun 2013 @ 10:34 AM

  65. Ray Ladbury @21 – actually, the economic profession pretty broadly failed when it came to meaningful predictions of what happened in the mid-late 2000s. Yes, there were some who were able to identify the housing bubble and predict the bad consequences of it, but those were actually a minority of heterodox economists ( Jamie Galbraith has a nice run-down of who they were). Even many mainstream economists who identified the bubble in 2005 did not anticipate how bad the breaking of the bubble would be. And the problem is entirely related to the models that were used – the bulk of mainstream macro-economists use some form of DSGE (Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium) models, which had a rather dismal track record of forecasting the 2008 recession. Even the New Keynesian Smets-Wouters DSGE models which are considered some of the best have very low forecast success for even the next quarter.

    The error that denialists make is to compare the DSGE models that economists use with the climate models climatologists use, because they differ on several fundimental points. The biggest difference is the fact that climate models are built up from known physics derived from decades of experimental evidence. DSGE models, on the other hand, usually start with the premise that the economy consists of rational far-sighted forwarding-looking agents, largely homogenious expectations (or at most 2 differing expectations, like Krugman’s “patient” vs “impatient” investors), and rapid clearing of markets. The models are built on priors that make it easier to mathmatically model a scenario, not on any actual research on how real human economics actors behave. And while that is changing a little, it tends to take the form of adding an economic “friction” taken from behavioral econ and adding it to the rational expectation priors.

    Climate models differ from the dominant economic models because they start from the premise of evidence, which is lacking in most economic models.

    More on the flaws of DSGE – http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/what-can-you-do-with-dsge-model.html

    Comment by Ragweed — 10 Jun 2013 @ 12:30 PM

  66. Thanks David Benson (stalagmites) @~61. That’s very interesting.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 11 Jun 2013 @ 12:25 PM

  67. One of the best websites I’ve seen lately!

    Comment by Causes Of Global Warming — 16 Jun 2013 @ 6:00 AM

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Close this window.

0.401 Powered by WordPress