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1. Friday round-ups are a good idea – hope there’s more to come.
Keep up the good work,
Ben

Comment by Ben Austin — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:07 AM

2. Also an interesting paper in Science about potential low-level clouds providing positive feedback
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5939/460

Lindzen looks like he’s going to be publishing a paper soon in GRL showing why the models are inconsistent with ERBE data and that there’s a negative feedback. Get ready!

Comment by Chris Colose — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:11 AM

3. When I saw the headline, I wondered if this posting would engage those 50 contrarian physicists’ appeal to the American Physical Society, given that this week they published a letter in Nature criticizing what they call climate alarmism. RC wrote some weeks ago that “recently there has been more of a sense that the issues being discussed … have a bit of a groundhog day quality to them. The same nonsense, the same logical fallacies, the same confusions – all seem to be endlessly repeated.” Forgive me if the 50 have already been dealt with in an earlier RC posting that I’m just too dense to spot, but if indeed RC is ignoring the 50, is it maybe on those groundhog grounds? I’m asking because my own sense, FWIW, is that these 50 are being perceived outside the scientific community as speaking pretty authoritatively. Thanks.

Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:24 AM

4. Perhaps this was a shot, not at climate change but rather, at the reliability of peer-reviewed papers. By destroying this paper as being “rubbish”, doubt is also cast on all the peer-reviewed papers supporting human induced climate change.

For the general public, this may make peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed papers of equal weight (both being unreliable).

[Response: We have always said that peer-review is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a study or idea to be valid. There have been many, many papers in the ‘proper’ literature that were very poor and have been wildly criticised in subsequent comments and other papers. However, peer-review does tend to reduce the number of ‘rubbish’ papers that the community needs to deal with. It will always be thus. – gavin]

Comment by Greg — 24 Jul 2009 @ 12:15 PM

5. A round-up is an OK place to have a look at a paper by Nordell and Gervet called “Global energy accumulation and net heat emission” which appeared in a new journal called the International Journal of Climate Change. http://www.inderscience.com/storage/f611227114109835.pdf

It had come up in comments on a NYT editorial recently as well as on this list http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/science-at-the-bleeding-edge/#comment-131078

It’s premise is that we must ignore incoming solar energy as the energy source that allows global warming and look instead to the heat we generate from burning fossil fuels, rather blithely saying “solar energy input does not cause any
warming over the year as long as the planet is in thermal balance.” They then notice a coincidence between the total energy produced by using fossil fuels and the heat stored in the air, water and earth as a result of warming and say that this then is the explanation of warming, not greenhouse gases.

We see immediately that the authors have difficulty with physical concepts if we simply look at their conclusions. They state that the heat accumulated as a result of the finite heat capacity of the air, water and earth is underestimated in their study and so to is the heat produced by human activity so that the difference (their so-called missing heat) must be overestimated. However, this is obviously wrong since more heat stored would increase the “missing heat” just the opposite of what they conclude.

This theme is present also in the meat of their argument. They consider it to be a common notion that the energy we produce is ultimately radiated to space but argue that this happens only rarely when a source is hot (street lighting?) but otherwise is mixed to the surrounding temperature and retained. They do not seem to understand is that it is heat at the surrounding (better word blocked by spam filter) temperature that is lost to space, rapidly, and that it is radiation from the Sun which replenishes that loss. Thus, contrary to their statement, one does want to compare heat we generate from fossil energy use with incoming solar energy. Upon comparison, it is seen that our energy use in negligible.

Their core confusion seems to be in the idea of “retaining” heat. They go to some (sloppy) effort to calculate the extra heat in the earth system owing to warming using the heat capacity of the ground, oceans and air and treating ice melting as an effective heat capacity. But this holding of heat, the existence of a heat capacity, is not what is warming the surface. The surface is warming because heat can’t escape as readily owning to the chemical change in the atmosphere from introducing more greenhouse gases. Heat is being retained in the way a blanket retains heat, not in the way a thermal bath holds heat. It is being impeded in its flow. The manner of storage, while having an effect on how quickly we reach a new equilibrium temperature, is not important to the fact that the temperature is changing.

Since they have misunderstood the problem, the numerical coincidence that they find between total fossil energy use, and heat capacity filled so far is merely that. Our energy use cannot account for the increase in surface temperature and thus can’t drive the storage of heat. There is no causation without the chemical effect on the atmosphere.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 Jul 2009 @ 12:18 PM

6. One has to wonder about JGR’s peer review process. I personally think that having such lax standards hurts the reputation of peer review in general. If several studies like these can be published, one might question if there’s a signficant difference between peer-reviewed science and blog material?

Reputable scientific journals should not simply be a place where any clearly poor arguments are printed. The review process should be able to catch the obvious mistakes. What happened here?

Comment by MarkB — 24 Jul 2009 @ 12:19 PM

7. All these trends are just so pesky. After all the shouting, the data just keeps on heading in the wrong direction for us all, regardless of whether we’ve got feet anchored to the ground or dancing on moonbeams. That’s why we see a multitude of painfully contorted attempts to undermine trends, each and every one.

“They’re -all- wrong! It’s a coincidental failure of multiple disciplines!”

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2009 @ 12:28 PM

8. From the paper:

“The sequence of the lagged relationship indicates that ENSO is driving temperature rather than the reverse.”

Atmospheric temperature driving El Nino? That’s a straw man argument, since people generally think of ocean temps, SSTs and thermocline depths, as being more important issues in ENSO.

To review, normal tropical Pacific conditions mean that warm water has been pushed east by tropical trades winds and strong upwelling exists off the Peruvian coast, driving oceanic productivity. This is also the physical source of the SOI index, since the east-west SST gradient also produces a pressure gradient, and hence, winds, i.e. the Walker Circulation.

The first signals of a developing El Nino are dropping trade winds and warming eastern Pacific surface waters. However, the ocean-atmosphere interaction is where the energy exchange occurs, and that exchange of oceanic thermal energy is what affects global climate outside of the immediate tropical Pacific Basin region during El Ninos and La Ninas:

The interplay between SST, the Walker Circulation, and thermocline depth is responsible for the development of the two ENSO extremes. This interplay constitutes a positive feedback, the Bjerknes feedback, which underlies the rapid growth of initial perturbations.

Latif & Keenlyside 2008 “El Niño/Southern Oscillation response to global warming”
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/12/05/0710860105.full.pdf

Thus, the researchers would have had to have looked at comprehensive records of ocean temperatures, not just tropospheric temperature.

For more on ENSO, see

ENSO as an Integrating Concept in Earth Science, McPhaden et al. 2006

With respect to global temperature trends, the increase in ocean temperatures is a global phenomenon, as noted in the same review:

Decadal warming trends in tropical ocean temperatures, possibly related to global warming, contributed to this bleaching by elevating background temperatures on which El Niño SST anomalies were superimposed.

Speaking of which:

“Warmest seas on record
Ben Cubby Environment Reporter
July 25, 2009, SMH

FOR as long as people have taken the temperature of the seas they have never been so warm. Global ocean surface temperatures for June were the highest since records began, in 1880, breaking the record set in 2005, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration of the United States says.

as well as:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32105317/ns/us_news-environment/

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Warm ocean temperatures predicted to persist through October in the Caribbean and the central Gulf of Mexico could mean the loss of huge swaths of corals across those regions, U.S. scientists warned Wednesday.

Pretty hard to blame that entirely on ‘natural ENSO fluctuations’ – what you really have is a gradually increasing temperature trend plus natural variability.

Comment by Ike Solem — 24 Jul 2009 @ 12:53 PM

9. I seem to recall that Roy Spencer did something vaguely similar by looking at a regresison analysis between detrended Mauna Loa CO2 data and detrended temperature data to suggest that the long term increase in CO2 is due to ocean degassing

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/

“Could the long-term increase in El Nino conditions observed in recent decades (and whatever change in the carbon budget of the ocean that entails) be more responsible for increasing CO2 concentrations than mankind? At this point, I think that question is a valid one.”

similarly in Svensmark and Friis-Christensen’s reply to Lockwood and Fröhlich–The persistent role of the Sun in climate forcing, the note the impressive negative correllation between cosmic ray flux and trophospheric air temperatures AFTER removal od confusions due to El Nino volcanoes and ALSO A LINEAR TREND.

It seems to me that in both cases if a correllation is only visible after detrending the data it is a good indication the mechanism isn’t responsible for the long term trend, but is a good indication that it is a minor modulating factor. But perhaps I am missing something subtle?

Comment by Gavin (no not that one) — 24 Jul 2009 @ 1:12 PM

10. Mark (6):

The peer review process is stressed. There is an enormous number of manuscripts sent in to each of an enormous number of journals each year. There are only so many reviewers, and at 2 or 3 per paper, it cannot possibly be a perfect system. Some crap will make it through. Peer review doesn’t end when something gets published–it continues in subsequent comments and articles. The public really needs to understand this.

Steven(3):

I don’t know who “the 50″ are but the correspondence (not Letter, that’s what research articles are called) to which you refer is absolutely nothing new. Fred Singer is the first signatory. That should tell you everything.

Comment by Jim Bouldin — 24 Jul 2009 @ 1:21 PM

11. Greg 24 Jul 2009 at 12:15 pm

And Gavin’s remark.

I don’t think the general public has a clear notion of peer review, not enough that this paper is going to have any impact on their estimation of the reliability of the process. That’s not a slam on the general public, by the way; there’s no reason they’d be exposed to the subject sufficiently to understand its benefits.

The peer review process produces YAT, or Yet Another Trend, pointing in the direction of greater confidence in the utility of stacking more findings on earlier results. That’s a strong signal, too. The chances of building a faulty brick into the structure of a discipline thus wasting subsequent efforts (and careers) are much reduced by peer review.

I think it’s also easy to overlook how the workings of peer review forces continuous reexamination of earlier work. By scrutinizing recent work in light of older findings, earlier specious results become easier to identify and at the same time new avenues of improvement to old work are illuminated.

The net result of peer review is undeniably better self-consistency in our state of awareness.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2009 @ 1:24 PM

12. I’m pleased to see the quick response on RC, and pleased to have been able to contribute to it. (You misspelled ‘Michael’, by the way.)

[Response: Fixed. sorry about that. – gavin]

On the other hand I’m very disappointed to see this nonsense pass review at JGR. I’d like to ask the editors and readers how appropriate feedback might reach the editors of JGR.

This paper should be withdrawn.

Comment by Michael Tobis — 24 Jul 2009 @ 1:38 PM

13. George Will has published yet another in his series of mis-information today in the Houston Chronicle.

I called him a “liar” in an email to a friend and was chastized for doing so. So I changed my claim to “writing incorrect information that he should have checked out.”

Was I too hasty in so recanting? I really want to give George Will the benefit of the doubt!

Burgy

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:01 PM

14. Burgy:

You might find this helpful.

Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:15 PM

15. Burgy, you wouldn’t be intending to claim that ‘Realclimate” says someone is a liar, would you? What you get here is opinions of guys on blogs, mostly. Please don’t assume that what you read in comments is endorsed by the people who run the site. Most of us are just readers here.

And you can find out opinions to answer your question by using Google. Try:

Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:19 PM

16. Michael (12):

Write a Comment to JGR Atmospheres. It’s a good way to help improve peer review and not enough people are doing it:

Policy on Comments and Replies

AGU journals will consider for publication Comments on papers that have previously appeared in the journal. The Editor of the journal determines whether a Comment meets the standards for publication and may elect to decline a Comment without further consideration or require revisions before further consideration. If the Editor decides to go forward with consideration of a Comment, a Reply by the author of the paper commented upon will also be considered for publication. Both Comments and Replies will be refereed to ensure that

1. the Comment addresses significant aspects of the original paper without becoming essentially a new paper;
2. the Reply responds directly to the Comment without becoming evasive; and
3. the tone of each is appropriate for a scientific journal.

Comment by Jim Bouldin — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:21 PM

17. Interesting. The coherence between CO2 variations and global temperature was described nearly 20 years ago, and the connection to ENSO was made in subsequent papers. I notice that McLean et al 2009 dont reference either of these two papers:

C. Kuo, C. Lindberg, and D. J. Thomson, “Coherence established
between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature,”
Nature, vol. 343, pp. 709–714, 1990,

Dettinger, M.D., and Ghil, M., 1998, Seasonal and interannual variations of atmospheric CO 2 concentrations and climate: Tellus 50B, 1-24.

And yes, the temperatures lead CO2 variations. This doesnt mean that a secular increase in CO2 isnt responsible for the secular warming. It means that, if ENSO warms the surface ocean at the peak of the cycle, dissolved CO2 will come out of it, or CO-uptake will occur less quickly, depending on where you are.

Comment by Jeffrey Park — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:32 PM

18. Burgy, (#13, 7/24/09) I vote for “writing incorrect information that he should have checked out.” It’s attention-getting, in a charmingly clumsy sort of way. And accurate on the face of it.

Comment by Kevin McKinney — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:34 PM

19. re:chris colose 24/7 “low level cloud feedback”.As per israel desalination systems where warm saline water meets cold nonsaline water cloud is produced which condenses into the cold water i.e.positive low level cloud feedback.But this is in closed system pacific is not closed system and has three separate wind systems .Cloud will be produced where cold meets warm and will condense in n orth pacific wind system[positive feed back]but some cloud will go into the mid pacific wind system where it will not condense but build up[negative low level cloud feedback]has any work been done on this?

Comment by donald moore — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 PM

20. Re: #10

“Peer review doesn’t end when something gets published–it continues in subsequent comments and articles. The public really needs to understand this.”

And such was the case with Schwartz and Chylek et al lower estimates on climate sensitivity.

http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/comment_on_schwartz.pdf

http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/4/1319/2008/cpd-4-1319-2008.pdf

The comment on Schwartz lead to a substantial upward adjustment to his estimate on his part. The errors with Chylek & Lohmann are pretty clear.

Looking at the abstract on the McLean paper, I’m wondering what’s so contentious. It seems worded a bit cleverly as to seem reasonable (ENSO is correlated with temperature variability – yeah we knew that). The recent statements by one or more of the authors are what seem really nutty.

Comment by MarkB — 24 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 PM

21. Re: No. 5 – Chris Dudley

Eric Chaisson did some calculations that showed a worldwide massive expansion of geo thermal energy and nuclear energy would cause about 3 degrees warming.

However Chaisson clearly shows the difference between the massive input from the Sun compared with our tiny energy input. The problem he sees is the massive increase of energy use continuing (increasing 10 fold by the end of the century).

http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/eric/reprints/eos__agu_transactions_chaisson_8_july_08.pdf

Comment by Paul — 24 Jul 2009 @ 3:03 PM

22. Burgy (# 13): As Joe Romm says, “If George Will quotes a lie, it’s still a lie”

http://www.grist.org/article/memo-to-post-if-george-will-quotes-a-lie-its-still-a-lie/

Comment by Rick Brown — 24 Jul 2009 @ 3:13 PM

23. re: #16 Jim

So, to take a constructive action, will one or more, but not too many people (preferably AGU members), post their intent here to write such? *Somebody* should do this, to address it at the source once and for all. It’s already been blog-refuted quite adequately.

Comment by John Mashey — 24 Jul 2009 @ 3:22 PM

24. B*****t gets occasionally published in the respectable scientific journals. Tough luck. That is also the way science makes progress.

Comment by Petro — 24 Jul 2009 @ 3:42 PM

25. Re #5 Chris,

http://westerstrand.blogspot.com/2008/09/its-that-time-of-year.html

Now are new journals always desperate for attention?
http://www.inderscience.com/storage/f271231014611958.pdf

So I guess my classes will be about this… again… just when I thought I could just ignore it!

Comment by Magnus Westerstrand — 24 Jul 2009 @ 7:44 PM

26. Gavin #4:
> have been wildly criticised
That’s just… wild… thanks for the unintentional humour ;-)

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 8:17 PM

27. Chris Dudley #5:

Great minds think alike… I too noticed this paper after a denialist troll at deltoid linked to a petroleum rag mentioning it in a positive light.

My judgment on it after reading it was the same as yours. This one is even worse than the McLean et al. thingy, but then the journal is a new startup as yet without any reputation to lose.

On Tamino’s blog there is some discussion on it in the latest Open Thread. Einstein was right: the supply of human stupidity is infinite.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 8:29 PM

28. Magnus, poor you… I commiserate.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Jul 2009 @ 8:37 PM

29. Magnus Westerstrand 24 Jul 2009 at 7:44 pm

“International Journal of Private Law”

Recently published”

“Why We Must Reach the Front Door Before the Next Car Passes the Yard”

and

“The Sugar Goes on the Cereal After the Milk”

(which stimulated a protracted and increasingly bitter stream of published correspondence between the author and a dissenter, ending in the launch of another publication, “The International Journal of In What Order to Assemble Bowls of Cereal”)

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jul 2009 @ 8:44 PM

30. Makes you wonder who the reviewers were and what the backlog for the editors was.

Comment by Jeff — 24 Jul 2009 @ 9:28 PM

31. I also another of the “cosmic rays are the cause” one in Sciencedaily. I was sure it was one of bogus denialsphere journals, and didn’t want to needlessly raise my blood pressure. But the abstract claims lightning was the mechanism.

Comment by Thomas — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:00 PM

32. And over at ClimateProgress Joe Romm has taken the results of the Science paper and run with it. As I don’t have access to the Science paper (I’ve only read the sciencedaily version), I didn’t want to jump in ( I like to correct misinformation -or simply reading too much into tentative data, whatever way the claim points). In any case his claim is that the article claims the only GCM which agrees with there observations has a Charney sensitivity of 4.4C. The way he says it gives the distinct impression that this new higher value is validated -and I strongly suspect the results are preliminary and tentative. Perhaps someone a bit better informed than I about the science than I should jump over there and prevent this from getting out of hand.

Comment by Thomas — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:14 PM

33. 15.Hank Roberts: “Please don’t assume that what you read in comments is endorsed by the people who run the site.”

I think you can assume however that a large number of polite, on-topic, and rational comments submitted here that are disliked by the people who run the site will not appear.

Comment by Steve Reynolds — 24 Jul 2009 @ 10:41 PM

34. Paul (#21),

Thanks for the link. That senario has been part of SiFi plots for a while now. I seem to remember planets with radiator fins or some such. I find three problems with the paper. First, assuming albedo won’t change if we are consuming 4% of solar input is probably wrong. At that huge scale of consumption, there will be effects. Second, the US is beginning to sabilize energy consumption so it is hard to see, if there is a per capita limit to energy use somewhere around our current use, how growth in consumption would be maintained at 2% for several centuries. Third, there is a lot of worry about inefficiency in power use and production, but it is not important to the discussion since all of the power use, except for street lights and TV and FM broadcasts, gets turned into heat on the surface of the Earth. Only a little bit escapes to space in the optical or radio. So, efficient or inefficienct, it all turns to heat.

Additionally, I would not consider solar driven tides to be solar energy.

But, this paper does not seem to have the very deep conceptual flaws that the other paper has.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 24 Jul 2009 @ 11:48 PM

35. It wasn’t that long back that Gavin quoted Richard Feynman on the risks of using the last data point. No doubt there will be a rebuttal of the JGR paper but you can bet Carter et al. will continue to quote it as the last word.

Comment by Philip Machanick — 25 Jul 2009 @ 12:18 AM

36. Gavin (the other one) says:

Roy Spencer did something vaguely similar by looking at a regresison analysis between detrended Mauna Loa CO2 data and detrended temperature data to suggest that the long term increase in CO2 is due to ocean degassing

We know the new CO2 is coming primarily from fossil fuel burning by its radioisotope signature. We also know that the oceans are presently a net sink for CO2, not a net source. Spencer simply has the direction of causality reversed.

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:08 AM

37. For more information about The Nordell paper look here:
http://westerstrand.blogspot.com/2008/09/its-that-time-of-year.html

You have to teach a course with this guy? I think we need to give you a nice group hug …

Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2009 @ 7:57 AM

38. Re: (4), (6) and other comments on peer-review:

In discussions with nonscience audiences, I frequently refer to peer-review as a relatively low bar, where colleagues check for obvious errors. Viewing it as a high bar, passing forward only perfect measurements and analyses, is a mistake which completely misunderstands the process, implying that scrutiny then stops. But of course, just the opposite is true: Once published, work is then exposed to the broader scientific community for more intense and probing scrutiny.

Comment by robert davies — 25 Jul 2009 @ 8:02 AM

39. The text and signatories of Singer’s latest offering, petitioning the American Physical Society for a revised statement on climate change, is here:

http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/open_letter.html

Quoting in part:

“…measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th-21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today.”

Having reviewed most of those records personally, and having reviewed the analyses of so many sincere and talented scientists, I’m simply at a loss to understand this statement. It’s simply laughable — or would be, were it not so bizarre.

Comment by robert davies — 25 Jul 2009 @ 8:38 AM

40. Magnus (#25),

Thanks for the link to your blog. I could not read the second link and I think that my link to the paper is not working as well. A link in this form seems to work: http://www.inderscience.com/filter.php?aid=27100 but I don’t know how to get to the same form for your link.

You’ll see that the paper is newer than the one you criticized and avoids radiative transfer arguments. I think it would be worth a new blog entry or an update. I’ve only hit the gross errors. There are likely to be more.

When you see him again, I hope you’ll mention that thermal pollution is already affecting the reliability of power generation and would be worth studying for that reason.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 25 Jul 2009 @ 9:22 AM

41. Thomas (#32), I have left this comment at ClimateProgress concerning the recent Science paper on low-level cloud feedback, which I already think is being over-hyped. You also cannot get a top-down estimate of climate sensitivity from this study. Also, more on Lindzen.

…..

“I would take great care in not overselling the results of this paper. The paper provides reasonable evidence that low-level cloud feedback is positive in the Northeast Pacific (only about 115° to 145°W, 15° to 25°N) on decadal timescales. Evaluating long-term information about trends in cloud cover is very dicey right now (see Amato Evan, Heidinger, and Vimont 2007 on ISCCP data for instance), and the paper only applies to a relatively small area of the globe. What’s more, many arguments for cloud feedback (either negative or positive) focus on high clouds which influence the OLR, while this paper focuses on low clouds which influence the albedo more than other kinds.

So while independent lines of evidence may favor a positive cloud feedback (and certainly a sensitivity within the IPCC 2007 limits), this particular paper is not really a suitable reference for net positive cloud feedback on global and long-term timescales in a climate change situation, but rather is a good building block upon which further research needs to be conducted. Evaluating this cloud feedback from one model that is an outlier in this regard is not ideal either.

As far as Lindzen, I’d prefer if general comments on that paper were reserved until it’s actually published. The comments made by Lindzen at Watts Up With That uses outdated data which I discuss in detail at my website (linked above by MarkB), however the pre-print of his new GRL article to be submitted uses the more up-to-date non scanner Edition 3 data, yet the results still do not match with the comparison done by Wong et al 2006, who analyze both net radiation and ocean heat storage between models and observations. I do not believe that Lindzen applied the rev1 corrections which reduce the OLR relative to Edition3 (see Table 1 in Wong et al.) and thus may bring Lindzen’s figure 1 closer to models time series. It doesn’t effect the net however. I’ll probably look at this in more detail and correspond with authors of ERBE data in the near future, but I do not believe his analysis is going to get far in demonstrating a negative feedback.

Chris

Comment by Chris Colose — 25 Jul 2009 @ 10:57 AM

42. In #33, one Steve Reynolds writes: “I think you can assume however that a large number of polite, on-topic, and rational comments submitted here that are disliked by the people who run the site will not appear.”

I guess I don’t assume that, Steve. I think your statement is rudely dismissive of the site owners. It tells more about you than anything else.

When I began posting on RealClimate.org, I did so as a skeptic, politely. Never was a post of mine erased. A friend of mime then posted, also a skeptic, posted very impolitely. His posts are also still in place to gaze upon.

I am still a skeptic — I think the AGW case has been proven only to the 95% level — IOW there is still a 5% chance the IPCC is getting it — or most of it — wrong. BTW, that’s just about what the IPCC says, too!

And thanks to several who answered my query on George Will’s abusmal columnn. I did check out the recommended links; there were others. George should stick to baseball!

Burgy

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 25 Jul 2009 @ 11:31 AM

43. I tink I just coined a new word — “abusmal.” Sure do miss the “preview function.

jb

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 25 Jul 2009 @ 11:32 AM

44. Chris, thanks for the link, it’s good to see the full text.

It seems to fall apart right at the beginning:

“… Another common idea is that the net heat emissions would be emitted to space. This is partly true only in some rare cases when net heat is emitted at a high temperature.”

Uh. Citation needed. Is he assuming the planet doesn’t radiate in the infrared except from point sources hotter than the surroundings?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Jul 2009 @ 12:15 PM

45. Burgy #42:

I am still a skeptic — I think the AGW case has been proven only to the 95% level — IOW there is still a 5% chance the IPCC is getting it — or most of it — wrong. BTW, that’s just about what the IPCC says, too!

Burgy товарищ,

I know for a fact that you are way too pessimistic there (and your interpretation of the IPCC position not quite correct)… but even if you were right, if historically we had ignored threats proven real to less than 100%, we’d likely be having this discussion in Russian :-)

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Jul 2009 @ 1:09 PM

46. George should stick to baseball!

Newsflash to Burgy, he ain’t that good on baseball, either :)

Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2009 @ 1:51 PM

47. 42.John (Burgy) Burgeson: “I guess I don’t assume that, Steve. I think your statement is rudely dismissive of the site owners. It tells more about you than anything else.”

Since it does not match your personal experience and you seem unaware of the experience of many others, I guess you cannot assume that. You might be well served to check the facts before casting aspersions on me though. I have personally had many comments ‘moderated’ away (maybe some for good reason, but most not, IMO).

Comment by Steve Reynolds — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:11 PM

48. And compared to 4Kelvin, 200+Kelvin is pretty darn hot…

Comment by Mark — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:19 PM

49. robert #39: there may be several reasons for that statement

1) (My first option) is that it is written to be dismissed. Then they can play the Gallileo card. “We’re being suppressed”. After all, it still shows “there’s questions about whether AGW is real”

2) (Less likely) it is written to delay. That’s all. Get several senators of the right mind putting pressure and they may HAVE to go through the information. And failing that could still give option #1 a go…

3) (Least likely) They do not care. Think of all the stupid lawsuits and especially the “unique” interpretation of law by SCO solicitors. The solicitors must have KNOWN they were dumb as dishwater ideas, but they were getting paid enough not to care. Even if their professional reputation was shot, they would be able to find plenty of customers for their brand of work.

Comment by Mark — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:24 PM

50. Pet peeve I suppose: In the Friday round up OP, let’s not misattribute work of McLean to McClean. Honor where honor is due, complete and unadulterated ;>)

Comment by Sekerob — 25 Jul 2009 @ 3:28 PM

51. Steve Reynolds 24 Jul 2009 at 10:41 pm

That safe harbor of “it’s a conspiracy” or “they’re corrupt” is always available if your ideas are bankrupt and you have no other recourse.

Of course when that accusation is incorrect you’re committing a mild form of slander. Did you notice that RC’s proprietors permitted you to recklessly trash them? You just got a free shot at your own credibility and hit your target square. Congratulations!

If I were running RC I’d maintain a public /dev/null area where deleted or edited posts are preserved in their entirety, for all to see, with poster attributions. At the same time, from my perspective as a member of the peanut gallery who has occasionally gone a little too far in my responses, I’d have cause to be unhappy with such a feature.

A matter of “be careful what you wish for”.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jul 2009 @ 4:05 PM

52. The McLean, et al paper reminds me of some thoughts occasioned by the Monckton APS/FPS fiasco last summer. The FPS newsletter still has Letters arguing about positions on climate change. If one reads the FPS Newsletters from July 2008 through July 2009, without knowing the internal story, it easily might not be clear how wrong the Monckton article was and how thoroughly refuted it was elsewhere.

The same effect reoccurs as in Best of the worst @ Rabett. It might be useful to peruse those articles, and assess the extent to which they are refuted *at the publishing journal* as opposed to elsewhere.

We know real junk sometimes slips through, and eliminating 100% of them is pretty hard, and probably not a good tradeoff. In the “old days” of monthly/quarterly journals, often with publication lag times of many months, one could expect to see:

a) A bad article in issue N.

b) In N+1, or maybe N+2 (depending on lag), a letter or two complaining, with a reply. A letter column is a fairly constrained format for serious rebuttals.

c) Then, maybe 1-2 years later, if someone wants to bother, a real article appears refuting the first article.

Meanwhile, now, the article may well have been refuted thoroughly, within a day of publication, as tamino has done with the McLean article… But if someone gets directed to such an article, and isn’t familiar with all this:

a) It may take much work to track down the comments and evaluate them.

b) There is no discussion thread attached to the article. Letter constraints really hamper serious discussion, just as they do in LettersToEditor in newspapers.

c)Even though, with electronic publication, the articles are often online anyway.

Traditional scientific publishing timescales and mechanisms sometimes still seem overly geared to paper.

Here’s a wish I’ve had more than once. Maybe someone has someone has better ideas, and maybe some journals do this already…

1) Given that articles (or lat least abstracts) are posted online anyway

2) And given that real review always requires much more input from the community than can possbily be provided by an editorial board or peer-reviewers

3) I often wish for an article/abstract to have a public, tightly-moderated blog thread attached, i.e., requiring comments of “letter” caliber, replies from authors, further comments, etc. Hence, if an article gets instantly refuted, that would be clear.

Summary: I don’t want to bypass normal science processes, but it seems like we should be able to do a little better using electronic mechanisms that already exist.

Comment by John Mashey — 25 Jul 2009 @ 4:09 PM

53. 43 JB. John, I rather like ‘abusmal’. Abysmal + Abusive to one’s intellect + Amusing in a bitter/sad/tiresome sort of way. I can think of a lot of posts that can be used to describe: “An abusmal posting by …!!” Nice one! Print it! And avoid it!
Nigel

Comment by Nigel Williams — 25 Jul 2009 @ 7:00 PM

54. Wow. Inflammatory headlines and treatment, fascinating photos.

“Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.

“These are one-metre resolution images, which give you a big picture of the summertime Arctic,” said Thorsten Markus of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. “This is the main reason why we are so thrilled about it. One-metre resolution is the dimension that’s been missing.

The latest revelations have triggered warnings from scientists that they no longer have the funds to keep a comprehensive track of climate change. Last week the head of the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Professor Jane Lubchenco, warned that the gathering of satellite data – crucial to predicting future climate changes – was now at “great risk” because America’s ageing satellite fleet was not being replaced.

“Our primary focus is maintaining the continuity of climate observations, and those are at great risk right now because we don’t have the resources to have satellites at the ready and taking the kinds of information that we need,” said Lubchenco, who was appointed by Obama. “We are playing catch-up.”

Even before her warning, scientists were saying that America, the world’s scientific superpower, was virtually blinding itself to climate change by cutting funds to the environmental satellite programmes run by the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Nasa. A report by the National Academy of Sciences this year warned that the environmental satellite network was at risk of collapse.”

The rest of the story:

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jul 2009 @ 7:02 PM

55. Thanks for the support, I will be in the mountains for a week… but will take up the Nordell thing again after that.

Comment by Magnus Westerstrand — 25 Jul 2009 @ 7:07 PM

56. From J. D McLean, C.R. de Freitas, R.M. Carter
25/7/09

The paper by McLean et al (JGR, 2009) does not analyse trends in mean global temperature (MGT); rather, it examines the extent to which ENSO accounts for variation in MGT.

The research concludes that MGT has for the last 50 years fallen and risen in close accord with the SOI of 5–7 months earlier and shows the potential of natural mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation.

It is evident in this paper that ENSO (ocean-atmosphere heat exchange) is the primary driver of MGT (i.e. El Ninos cause global warming and La Ninas cause global cooling). The reason given is Hadley circulation (which affects convection, clouds etc) linked to changes in sea surface temperature (ocean heat supply) and the Walker Circulation (i.e. ENSO). These processes might be significant factors in affecting net solar heating as well as the transfer of heat from Earth to space.

Since so much of the criticism in the blogosphrere to date is about the failure of the McLean et al paper to detect trends, which was not the aim of the paper, these critics may be interested in a research paper that does.

Compo and Sardeshmukh (Climate Dynamics, 32:33-342, 2009) state: “Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land.”

Further regarding trends, the warming trend from 1965 to 2000 is the same as the pre-CO2 warming trend of 1900-1940. It is clear from this the climate models promoted by the IPCC have been tuned to extra warmth associated with ENSO as is apparent in the Mclean et al paper.

P.S. Personally I am offended, but accept it as a sign of your diligence, that in your opening sentence you fail to spell my surname correctly. Of course the incorrect spelling would have implications for your Search utility, would it not?

[Response: We’re happy to be corrected on our spelling. One presumes that you have no more serious points to make. Since no-one was in ignorance of the impact of ENSO on the global temperatures (and haven’t been for decades), I’m a little puzzled as to why you think that is the relevant point of contention. Rather, you should be looking to your own press releases and the throwaway lines about trends in your paper. I take it you will be publicly contradicting your co-author’s statements? (PS. the C+S paper you cite has nothing to say about attribution because they built in the trend in the SST to start with). – gavin]

Comment by John McLean — 25 Jul 2009 @ 7:15 PM

57. Re 33: I bluntly disagree with most of what is said on RC. Yet, RC has let me post. I rant off topic and fail to cite references, but they still do not lock me out. RC is patient and courteous beyond all reason.

Comment by Aaron Lewis — 25 Jul 2009 @ 9:16 PM

58. Burgy, I like it. Abysmal abuse in one word.

Comment by Dave Werth — 25 Jul 2009 @ 11:01 PM

59. Since it does not match your personal experience and you seem unaware of the experience of many others, I guess you cannot assume that. You might be well served to check the facts before casting aspersions on me though. I have personally had many comments ‘moderated’ away (maybe some for good reason, but most not, IMO).

Oh, gosh, cry us a river …

Then provide us with evidence.

That would include evidence that you’ve been censored for trying to post something sensible, rather that tired old denialist crap.

Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jul 2009 @ 11:44 PM

60. Re: #56: Well, there we have it. The principal author has just stated unequivocally that the paper in question

“…DOES NOT ANALYSE TRENDS IN MEAN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE.”

Comment by robert davies — 26 Jul 2009 @ 12:18 AM

61. …and also de Freitas is spelled wrong…

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 1:09 AM

62. John Mashey #52,

I seem to remember that somne EGU Copernicus publications, like Annales Geophysicae, work that way.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Jul 2009 @ 1:15 AM

63. Hank (#44),

You ask if they think the only radiation from the Earth to space is from warmer parts of the Earth.

I’m not clear on this from reading the paper. But, I think, since they want to store up the energy historically produced from fossil fuels, they may be thinking that the energy can hide once it is at the surrounding temperature. They presume that the channel of energy flow out of the Earth is completely clogged with solar energy, perhaps, so that the energy from fossil fuels is trapped because it can’t squeeze past the solar energy. I don’t know.

But, even granting such a thing, it is pretty trivial to show that the warmer Earth will radiate away all of the energy ever derived from fossil fuels in less than a year once we allow the temperature to increase as must be done to allow the fossil energy to attempt to account for warming. So, fossil fuel use has no chance of maintaining the higher temperature and we are faced with reductio ad absurdum.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Jul 2009 @ 1:25 AM

64. Burgy, maybe the 5% chance of being wrong is “we’re wrong: it’s much worse than we thought”.

Ever considered that?

Or is the ONLY WAY “wrong” can go is in your favour?

Comment by Mark — 26 Jul 2009 @ 3:56 AM

65. Gavin in response to 56 says:
“(PS. the C+S paper you cite has nothing to say about attribution because they built in the trend in the SST to start with).”

And someone else already did the attribution:
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035984.shtml

Comment by gp2 — 26 Jul 2009 @ 3:57 AM

66. Dear John McLean, regarding your comment (#56).

“the warming trend from 1965 to 2000 is the same as the pre-CO2 warming trend of 1900-1940.”

I was shocked in your reply that you cherry picked a couple of time series from the past. Why not use 1880-1920 as your ‘pre-CO2′ for example?

As a side note, your statement doesn’t even appear true (i.e. warming from 1900-40 looks about 0.25K, while 1965-2000 looks about 0.45K [1]).

Real Climate: How do you know this was written by the people who wrote the paper? Arguments like the ones in comment #56 look like the same that get trotted out on the comments pages of AGW-skeptic blogs.

[1] on wikipedia (sorry not bothered looking for a stronger ref)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png

Comment by Mike Smith — 26 Jul 2009 @ 6:25 AM

67. FWIW, very similar “climb down” as in #56 appears in the comments of WUWT, attributed to De Freitas.

Comment by bigcitylib — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:14 AM

68. For those here who are not aware, the authors of this paper made comments in a press release that claim that their paper accounts for most of the warming trend of the 20th century.

“‘The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Niño conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Niña conditions less likely’ says corresponding author de Freitas.”

“‘When climate models failed to retrospectively produce the temperatures since 1950 the modellers added some estimated influences of carbon dioxide to make up the shortfall,’ says McLean.”

“Bob Carter, one of four scientists who has recently questioned the justification for the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme, says that this paper has significant consequences for public climate policy.
‘The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.’
‘Our paper confirms what many scientists already know: which is that no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation, and that, irrespective of the severity of the cuts proposed, ETS (emission trading scheme) will exert no measurable effect on future climate.'”

Comment by Wiman — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:29 AM

69. It’s beyond obvious that GHGs contribute to Earth’s temps. If there were none, we’d be a rock warmed only by the Sun. If there were more, we’d be hot like Venus. The energy contribution of each trace gas can be calculated from elemental physics and summed. That energy goes somewhere. Where does it go if it doesn’t warm the oceans and atmosphere?

Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:47 AM

70. RealClimate,

You seem to have deleted the comment by one of theo paper’s authors, McLean, in which he stated unequivocally that the paper was not about trends.

[Response: No we didn’t, but I’m playing with paged comments, and so it may no longer be on the page you were looking at. – gavin]

Comment by robert davies — 26 Jul 2009 @ 9:51 AM

71. 51.Doug Bostrom: “Of course when that accusation is incorrect you’re committing a mild form of slander. Did you notice that RC’s proprietors permitted you to recklessly trash them?”

It is interesting what does and does not get through moderation. By definition, it is not possible to have a fair discussion of that topic here.

Care to suggest a neutral site? I find rankexploits to be pretty fair.

Comment by Steve Reynolds — 26 Jul 2009 @ 10:07 AM

72. John McLean #56:
[quote]Further regarding trends, the warming trend from 1965 to 2000 is the same as the pre-CO2 warming trend of 1900-1940.[/quote]

What is this based on? Hadcrut3 shows a 50% higher trend fom 1965-2000 (1.650/decade vs 1.065/decade).

Comment by CL — 26 Jul 2009 @ 10:38 AM

73. Go see Andy Revkin, folks:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/a-postcard-from-the-pleistocene/

“… the Kolyma in eastern Siberia. It is the largest river in the world that is completely underlain by permafrost. The region, like most of the Arctic, has seen substantial warming, and the expedition, among other things, is aiming to measure how much carbon dioxide and methane could be liberated if the permafrost thaws in a big way. About 30 researchers and students from the United States and Russia are traveling the river on a barge. I invited them to send a “postcard” to Dot Earth. Thomas Lin of our Web unit set up the slide show above with audio provided by Andy Bunn of and photographs taken by Chris Linder.Below you can read a note from Andy Bunn, who teaches at Western Washington University, including impressions of several student participants. If you have questions for the team, post them here and he and the students will reply ….”

(Clickable links at the original page)

Very wonderful job by Andy Revkin to make this interaction available.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2009 @ 11:02 AM

74. Those of us who read forget that many don’t. Phil Plait has a good blog post on podcasts worth, er, reading:

Lots of clickable links there both to professionally done skeptic podcasts and to a site making it easier for amateurs to do theirs.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Jul 2009 @ 11:14 AM

75. Since the derivative of a linear function is a constant, I wonder why this paper chose this methodology. If the authors weren’t looking to establish a trend as stated in comment #56, then they only affirmed what was already known about ENSO and global mean temperatures.

Comment by Lawrence Brown — 26 Jul 2009 @ 12:39 PM

76. Steve Reynolds, we hear a lot of calumnies against RC mods, but I’ve seen little evidence to support this claim. I have found one case in which the charge is provably unfounded; RC has the post in its entirety, but Landshape never removed the accusation of censorship.

Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Jul 2009 @ 1:17 PM

77. I really like the look of the “paged” comments in the link you provided, Gavin. It would be nice if this format were implemented. I take it that preview is gone for good? That was a nice feature to make sure that hyperlinks and HTML tags were implemented properly. On the other hand, having no Captcha is nice.

Comment by Jeff — 26 Jul 2009 @ 1:30 PM

78. The “links” bar on the right-hand side of the page is now nearer the middle of the page and obscures much of the text of the post.

Comment by tamino — 26 Jul 2009 @ 4:14 PM

79. Gavin, using Safari, the brown box on the right side of the window has migrated left to cover some of the blog text. It does work OK in Firefox, though.

[Response: I’ll look into it, thanks – gavin]

Comment by Jim Eaton — 26 Jul 2009 @ 6:14 PM

80. RE Steve Reynolds past comments:

“Even the IPCC has doubts about cost/benefit of mitigation at any CO2 level” – Steve Reynolds quote.

I doubt that’s the IPCC view, just Steve’s respinning effort. However, let’s consider the question:

The cost of eliminating fossil fuel combustion as an energy source is equivalent to the cost of building similar-scale global renewable energy projects, which would then replace fossil fuels entirely.

For example, the Desertec Africa solar project, when completed, is estimated to cost $500 billion – less than the$700 billion Wall Street bailout, perhaps 1/2 the cost of the Iraq war and oilfield occupation, and comparable to the estimated value of the global fossil fuel infrastructure ($10-15 trillion?). It is expected to supply 20% of European electricity demand. The costs are indeed high – so what about the benefits? The baseline benefits include energy independence, which helps with food production and associated costs, and reduced fossil CO2 emissions and associated pollution, which helps maintain the stability of the overall ecosystem features, water and temperature being the most critical. This kind of large-scale economic activity generates jobs as well as providing an energy base for all other economic activity – and it is also ecologically rational. The best hope now is to hit the lower range of possible global warming outcomes, as we’re already over the edge and in a state of thermal disequilibrium that will continue for another 50 years or so, at the very least. Steve, I suppose if you are in the employ of a fossil fuel magnate, or reliant on such cash flows, then the cost-benefit analysis looks different, at least if you refuse to look further into the future than next quarter’s returns. Just to help convince you that there really is a problem , here is the latest data release from spy satellites on polar ice cover: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/26/climate-change-obama-administration And how about that Central Texas drought? Is it just La Nina, as the fossil fuel PR machine has been claiming for many months? Or is it now due to El Nino? Or maybe the global-warming associated expansion of tropical circulation, in conjunction with rising land temperatures and decreasing soil moisture in continental interiors, as generally predicted by climate models? The Sahara was also a green paradise at one point, with surface water, greenery, and human habitation – 6,000 years ago or so. It gradually dried out over the course of several thousand years. We seem to be inducing similar-scale changes on the scale of a century or so – don’t you think that is just a little sobering? Comment by Ike Solem — 26 Jul 2009 @ 6:26 PM 81. P.S. for a discussion of how El Nino affects CO2, from ΜcPhaden 2006 ENSO as an integrating concept in earth sciences: “Year-to-year variability in global atmospheric carbon concentrations is dominated by the ENSO cycle. The equatorial Pacific is the largest natural oceanic source of carbon to the atmosphere, outgassing about 1 billion metric tons of carbon in the form of CO2 per year. The source of this carbon is the equatorial upwelling which brings water rich in inorganic carbon from the interior ocean to the surface.” “During El Niño, equatorial upwelling is suppressed in the eastern and central Pacific, significantly reducing the supply of CO2 to the surface. As a result, the global increase in atmospheric CO2, which is primarily driven by anthropogenic sources, notably slows down during the early stages of an El Niño. However, during the later stages of an El Niño, global CO2 concentrations rise sharply, reflecting the delayed response of the terrestrial biosphere to El Niño-induced changes in weather patterns. Thus, during the pre-industrial era, ENSO would have resulted in global-scale CO2 fluctuations around a mean – what you now see is global scale CO2 fluctuations superimposed on an increasing trend, just as with ENSO-related temperature variations. Comment by Ike Solem — 26 Jul 2009 @ 6:27 PM 82. #79 This is a function of screen size in Safari 4.0.2 (ie on a big screen it sits well on screen, but as you close the window down the brown box migrates with it while the blog text stays fixed), so the script needs to be set as a proportion rather than fixed size? Comment by David Horton — 26 Jul 2009 @ 6:30 PM 83. A New Zealand Parliamentary Select Committee is currently reviewing an Emissions Trading Scheme. The following is cut and pasted from the submission by John McLean. (Submissions are public). [begin cut and paste from McLean] 3. The IPCC’s evidence is very weak (a) “temperatures have risen” – is certainly not true for the last 10 years, despite the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during that time (b) “the temperature increase correlates with increases in carbon dioxide” – but correlation is not proof of causation (e.g. there’s a strong correlation between autumn leaves fall from trees shortly after children return to school, but there’s no direct link) (c) “not internal variability” – denies any possible solar forces (but NASA continues to discover forces that it says might influence our climate), or forces such as the El Nino- Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which are poorly understood. (d) “patterns of warming are not consistent with models” – but meteorologists and climatologists can’t agree if a proposed key component of heat distribution, the midlatitude Ferrel Cell circulation, even exists, so is it included in the models or not? (e) “climate models need to include a human influence to be accurate” – but including alternatives such as global population, urban population and the influences of the unpredictable ENS0 would likely have produced very similar results. (f) and scattered through the IPCC report we find many instances of “estimate”, “understanding”, “reconstruction”, “simulation” and “model”, which are all terms that reflect uncertainty about the accuracy and validity of the IPCC’s claims. [end cut and paste from McLean] ’nuff said Comment by Doug Mackie — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:37 PM 84. Re: Jeff @ 77 If you click on the post title (rather than the comments pop-up link) the comments are currently in paged format. Re: tamino @ 78 I agree that having a “newest posts” link would be helpful, but it’s not acutally necessary to click “newer posts” n times to get to the (n + 1)th page — just change the URL directly. (It’s easy enough to see which number should be changed to jump to your desired page.) Also, I’d like to add my vote to the “bring back post preview” crowd. Comment by JBL — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:41 PM 85. A New Zealand Parliamentary Select Committee is currently reviewing an Emissions Trading Scheme. The following is cut and pasted from the submission by Bob Carter. [begin cut and paste from Carter] • Global temperature warmed slightly in the late 2oth century and has been cooling since 2002; neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude. • Humans have an effect on local climate, but, despite the expenditure of over US$50 billion looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured; therefore, it must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.

• Global average temperature has declined since 1998, at the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 5%. This is a direct test of the dangerous warming greenhouse hypothesis, which it fails.

• We live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth’s geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world; no substantive evidence exists that modern rates of environmental change (e.g., ice volume; sea-level) lie outside historic natural bounds.

• Cutting C02 emissions, be it in New Zealand or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric C02cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of C02 since pre-industrial time.

[end cut and paste from Carter]

makes ya fink, dunnit?
I read all the submissions but I often had to take a break and wash the stupid off.

Comment by Doug Mackie — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:48 PM

86. In Firefox, your right-hand beige margin overlaps the main text, making it unreadable.

Comment by Lab Lemming — 26 Jul 2009 @ 7:59 PM

87. Re #83

“correlation is not proof of causation” – and yet McLean is happy to use correlation between ENSO and temperature as proof of causation due to ENSO.

LOL. You can’t make this stuff up!

Comment by CTG — 26 Jul 2009 @ 8:38 PM

88. Well, it looks like the latest “Client Denial Crock of the Week” youtube video has become a casualty of an Anthony Watts DMCA takedown action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcxVwEfq4bM [edit for shorter link]

[Response: I find this quite amusing since Watts regularly uses images for his posts with no attribution or permission. Maybe someone should look into that… – gavin]

Comment by caerbannog — 26 Jul 2009 @ 10:55 PM

89. 80Ike Solem: “RE Steve Reynolds past comments:

“Even the IPCC has doubts about cost/benefit of mitigation at any CO2 level” – Steve Reynolds quote.
I doubt that’s the IPCC view, just Steve’s respinning effort.”

From the IPCC SPM page 22:

“Limited and early analytical results from integrated analyses
of the costs and benefits of mitigation indicate that they
are broadly comparable in magnitude, but do not as yet permit
an unambiguous determination of an emissions pathway or
stabilisation level where benefits exceed costs. {5.7}”

Ike: “We seem to be inducing similar-scale [Sahara] changes on the scale of a century or so – don’t you think that is just a little sobering?”

One prediction I’ve seen is that warming is likely to re-green the Sahara.

But yes, I am very concerned about the long term effects of AGW and do think we should start doing some of the lowest cost mitigation now. However, most everything being seriously considered by politicians almost certainly has unfavorable cost-benefit characteristics.

Comment by Steve Reynolds — 26 Jul 2009 @ 11:09 PM

90. I agree that having a “newest posts” link would be helpful, but it’s not acutally necessary to click “newer posts” n times to get to the (n + 1)th page — just change the URL directly. (It’s easy enough to see which number should be changed to jump to your desired page.)

Yeah, like that’s going to pass usability standards. That’s known as an excuse, not a cure.

And what’s so hard about getting the “recent” stuff back up on the right-hand panel?

[Response: The issue is excessive CPU usage associated with our site. We’ve been trying a number of things to bring that down (including upgrading the software, our theme, the design, content delivery, caching, compression etc.). Changing everything has created some incompatibilities and still has not really solved the problem. Since this is only a part time effort, it is taking longer to deal with than one would like. Sorry about that, but we would request a little more patience. – gavin]

Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jul 2009 @ 11:43 PM

91. “correlation is not proof of causation” – and yet McLean is happy to use correlation between ENSO and temperature as proof of causation due to ENSO.

No, worse, correlation between ENSO and temperature divergence from trend.

Leaving the trend all alone there, shouting … “I’m a trend! I’m a trend! You’ve forgotten me!”

Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jul 2009 @ 11:45 PM

92. Steve Reynolds 26 July 2009 at 10:07 AM

“It is interesting what does and does not get through moderation. By definition, it is not possible to have a fair discussion of that topic here.”

By definition, we can’t know if your claim of mistreatment has any foundation. To me, in the face of contrary evidence accusations of cogent arguments being thrust into the bit bucket ring a bit hollow, smell of being conveniently not subject to test. I’ve heard a number of claims to the effect that posts are unfairly moderated, yet I see plenty of evidence that much utter c–p is allowed to leak onto the site’s discussion threads.

“Care to suggest a neutral site? I find rankexploits to be pretty fair.”

Then go there, though why you’d be asking me for a suggestion is a mystery. You may be looking for pistols at dawn or some other entertaining melodrama but I’m not.

Rankexploits appears to be the climate science equivalent of Joyce’s “Ulysses”, except with an even lousier SNR. Teasing useful information out of the fractal noise on that site should keep anybody occupied for endless hours, possibly happily. If you’re so inclined, enjoy it while remaining safely insulated from poisoning the rest of the world with the degrading side effects of the denial hobby.

Compared to RC, rankexploits seems more suited to the sporting life. Conversely, this site gives every appearance of being about actual climate science, being run as it is by practicing, published scientists engaged in the field who actually care enough to spend some of their time with us punters. When RC is invaded by factually challenged dilettantes who insist that everybody adopt their hobby, everybody has to sniff the glue of self-deception whether we want to be intoxicated or not.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2009 @ 12:19 AM

93. re #78, #79, css bug, to me it appears independent of safari (3.2.1) vs firefox (3.0.12) but dependent on window width.

[Response: Indeed! Thanks. – gavin]

Comment by Michael Tobis — 27 Jul 2009 @ 12:43 AM

94. If this is too OT, feel free to delete or respond by email. My post at Deltoid:

OK, Greenman3610’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week is my favorite series on Youtube (He or AronRa). Well his last video “Watts up with Watts?” just got DMCA’ed by Watts.

From Youtube: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Anthony Watts Surfacestations.org”

Watts was asked about fair use on his site, replying with:

” I don’t care to discuss my reasons here as they are private and unrelated to this discussion. Google agreed that complaint was valid and removed the video. – Anthony”

Ha, well don’t make a compliant that is publically announced by Google. Also, as anyone familiar with the DMCA problems on YT knows, they remove videos after all complaints. That doesn’t imply agreement.

In the vid, Greenman talked about Watts’ “publication” “Is the US Surface temperature reliable?” while showing the cover picture. Let’s hope Greenman files a counter complaint. It was a great video about the publication and Watts prefered publication outlet, the Heartland Institute.

Comment by He Flips — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:24 AM

95. Barton Paul Levenson #36 says:

“We know the new CO2 is coming primarily from fossil fuel burning by its radioisotope signature.”

No. We do not. We know that it is coming from a biogenic origin (therefore the depletion of delta 13C). That does not mean ipso facto that it is anthropogenic in origin. There are natural sources of CO2 that can have a similarly depleted isotopic signature such as plants, animals and plankton.

[Response: “radioisotope” means 14C – and fossil fuels have none (unlike other sources of biogenic carbon. – gavin]

Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:52 AM

96. CTG, they are denying AGW is real. They do not want or need a consistent theory since they have no theory except one that AGW is wrong.

So whatever message says “AGW is wrong” is accepted. If that later turns out to harm that message, it is forgotten.

Comment by Mark — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:39 AM

97. “• Global temperature warmed slightly in the late 2oth century and has been cooling since 2002″

But if that were true, then adding up the last 10 years and taking an average would be giving a colder average than taking the 10 years before that. After all, the previous 10 years includes 1998, the warmest year, whilst the last 10 years only includes 1999, 2000 and 2001 as the only ones, according to Bob, are not cooling.

But the difference is about 0.2C per decade.

Compared to the PETM, even, this is fast.

Comment by Mark — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:45 AM

98. “• Humans have an effect on local climate, but, despite the expenditure of over US$50 billion looking for it since 1990″ Compared to the$30Bn spent on oil subsidy each year, $7Bn on subsidies for nuclear,$11Bn on coal and similar on gas, EACH YEAR, $50Bn over 20 years is peanuts. Comment by Mark — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:48 AM 99. “(a) “temperatures have risen” – is certainly not true for the last 10 years, despite the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during that time” How about a counter: Despite reduced solar activity and an extreme El Nino/La Nina sequence, currently reducing the energy available to heat the atmosphere, temperatures have not gone down significantly over the last 10 years. Comment by Mark — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:50 AM 100. Regarding McLean et al’s paper, Dr. Grumbine shows the response function to illustrate that, even taking into account just the variability, the filtering inflates the correlation: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-not-to-analyze-climate-data.html Cheers. Comment by Curious — 27 Jul 2009 @ 6:38 AM 101. Hey All, Just a bit curious. Recently I have been trying to understand the basis of the estimated 7% of re-emission of insolation in regards to specific heat flow in the Earth’s Surface Energy budget. Looking over the Internet I have found a few papers such as Tian, Zhang, Ramanathan 2001 and MacPhaden, Hayes 1991 that begin to offer a little insight. However, when I look over the recent Shell, Somerville 2005 I see something that concerns me. In their model, at the time, it appears to not include several important parameters. Though I understand the RC concerns over the most recent paper, an idea appears to be forming and I was hoping to get some independent insight. Generally, my concern is related to how well we understand the specific heat flow in the atmosphere. If as has been recently suggested (About 2005/06) there was a discussion regarding the reduction in the thickness of the Stratospheric region and an expansion of the Tropospheric region. Has anyone attempted to establish a measurement data base for Specific Heat flow? If we look seriously at the Jet Stream latitude meander and the equatorial insolation/ground station indicators, it appears to me, when studying the cloud movement of the temperate zone, that the down burst leg at 35 Deg. of the Hadley Cell used in most models seems a misnomer. Looking further it would appear that the Jet Stream may be a very good indicator of the variation of the Hadley Cells heat conduit and the polar inflow on the return flow. In short, the N/S variation of the Jet may be driven by the specific heat flow between 0 and 70 Deg. N/S. If this were true, I wonder how much the current models take into account the Jet Stream deviation and the assumed value for Specific Heat? Part of this question extends to trying to understand how much the surface oscillation features are in essence large scale eddies of the specific heat flow. This then leads to the next question; If the specific heat flow does invoke these eddies and there is a recent indication that there has been more stable barometric eddies erupting in the temperate zone, does this then suggest that there has been a change in the latitudinal specific heat flow, which can also be tied to the altitude of the Tropopause/Stratosphere interface? Of course this then would appear to lead to the next question. how much of global warming could be tied into these large scale weather patterns? Which then leads to the next question of what percentage of the added fossil fuel CO2 results in the change in the specific heat flow we are seeing and can a correlation be established between the various participants and the latitudinal specific heat flow? Cheers! Dave Cooke Comment by L. David Cooke — 27 Jul 2009 @ 6:42 AM 102. Gavin, Paged comments may not be needed but if they are, a link to the end of the discussion would be good. To see one new post in “Two Degrees” I needed to click through eight pages. [Response: Good point! (should be better now) – gavin] Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 Jul 2009 @ 7:14 AM 103. 92Doug Bostrom: “To me, in the face of contrary evidence accusations of cogent arguments being thrust into the bit bucket ring a bit hollow, smell of being conveniently not subject to test. …Then go there, though why you’d be asking me for a suggestion is a mystery.” I guess you misunderstood the point. If you are interested in discussing evidence or testing this hypothesis, we need to discuss elsewhere. You apparently don’t like my suggestion of an alternative site, so you need to suggest one (if you have interest in evidence). Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2009 @ 9:20 AM 104. Gavin, (if you’re there) The right hand bar is still covering parts of the main blog. It’s not as far left as it was yesterday, but it still blocks about 25% of the text. I’m using Firefox. Comment by Abi — 27 Jul 2009 @ 9:43 AM 105. Steve Reynolds 27 July 2009 at 9:20 AM How dogged you are. “If you are interested in discussing evidence or testing this hypothesis, we need to discuss elsewhere.” You’ve failed to establish the former assertion though I’m sure at this point everybody is favor of the latter suggestion. “We” being the “you” of “us”. “You apparently don’t like my suggestion of an alternative site, so you need to suggest one (if you have interest in evidence).” I didn’t ask for a suggestion. You’re the hobbyist whose little train does not run on these rails. Pack it up and go elsewhere if you’re unhappy. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2009 @ 10:12 AM 106. Just FYI, in case you’ve missed it, in 800 by 600 the sidebar is firmly planted in the middle of the screen. Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 27 Jul 2009 @ 10:54 AM 107. Response to my previous post: [Response: “radioisotope” means 14C – and fossil fuels have none (unlike other sources of biogenic carbon. – gavin] My apologies I should have paid closer attention. I should have noticed BPL said radioisotopes rather than stable isotopes. Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:16 AM 108. Although, I understand that GCRs also play a role in changes in atmospheric 14C. Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:20 AM 109. I have been reading and rereading this post and the comments, but still find the whole thing strangely puzzling. It seems to me that any good first year calculus student should be able to quickly find the fatal flaw in the methodology as a way of explaining temperature change (as opposed to temperature variability, since it discards any secular component). So I thought they were being really clever by making a valid correlation of SOI with temperature variability, then subtly changing the language to temperature variation. Many people, including journalists, would conflate temperature variation and temperature change, with no further effort required on the part of the authors. It looked like an example of: “If you can’t convince them with facts, then dazzle them with footwork.” But then they claim in the press release that it actually explains temperature change, and they do so with no apparent embarrassment. Unless I am really missing something it seems incomprehensible that anyone in the scientific community would take this paper seriously. Comment by Ron Taylor — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:31 AM 110. RE #3 and those 50 contrarian physicists worried about climate alarmism, I say they should keep their noses to their frictionless pucks gliding across their frictionless surfaces, and let us social scientists worry about human behavior connected with climate change. I’m keeping vigil at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Lowes, I have yet to see any shopping cart collisions near the compact fluorescent bulb shelves, or any killer stampedes there. But I’ll let you all know the minute I spot any climate alarmism, so we can start heading for those 60s bomb shelters. As for el nino causing the warming…..I have a reverse theory that global warming causes increased el ninos. It used to be when I was a kid 5+ decades ago, they used to talk about el ninos coming about every 7 years, and now they’re talking every 3 to 5 years. Of course, after all the water is boiled out of the oceans, we might not be able to prove that conclusively. Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:41 AM 111. A reply to several: “Martin Vermeer says: 25 July 2009 at 1:09 PM Burgy товарищ, I know for a fact that you are way too pessimistic there (and your interpretation of the IPCC position not quite correct)… but even if you were right, if historically we had ignored threats proven real to less than 100%, we’d likely be having this discussion in Russian :-)” No disagreement from me, my friend. But I am puzzled how my interpretation of the IPCC reports might be incorrect. Can you enlarge on that? 46dhogaza says: 25 July 2009 at 1:51 PM George should stick to baseball! Newsflash to Burgy, he ain’t that good on baseball, either :)” OK, I’ll bite. Baseball is a consuming pastime with me and friend wife. Where has Mr. Will gone wrong? I really want to know. My email (since this is way off topic is Hossradbourne@gmail.com. 47Steve Reynolds says: 25 July 2009 at 3:11 PM Since it does not match your personal experience” But it does, my friend! and you seem unaware of the experience of many others, I guess you cannot assume that. I did though. I see lots of gorp appear here. If I were moderator, I’d maybe be more severe! You might be well served to check the facts before casting aspersions on me though. I have personally had many comments ‘moderated’ away (maybe some for good reason, but most not, IMO). I have no way to test the veracity of your statement. You may be right. But the data does not support the claim. Burgy Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:56 AM 112. Lynn, I appreciate your comment about El Ninos (105). When I read a comment suggesting that the warming is caused by increased El Ninos, my immediate question is: So just where did the increased heat of those El Ninos come from? El Ninos do not produce heat energy, they only redistribute it. Comment by Ron Taylor — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:56 AM 113. Richard Steckis #107 – I wouldn’t worry, the original blog article by Roy Spencer contained more than enough evidence to show that the long term rise was anthropogenic anyway (a plot showing that the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 was generally only half the level of anthropogenic emissions), directly refuting the conclusion! The Svensmark and Friis-Christensen example I noted seems less clear cut, I would be interested in the views of someone who knows the issues better than I do! It does seem to be a minor theme in such papers (detrending two datasets and making an assertion regading the trend based on an observed correlation in the residuals), there being at least three such instances. Can anyone give an example of a warmist using the same methodology? Comment by Gavin (no not that one) — 27 Jul 2009 @ 12:06 PM 114. Steve, use teh google. You’ll find every complaint anyone ever made about being “censored” at RC posted somewhere. It won’t take you long to read them, look up the context, and see for yourself. Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2009 @ 12:24 PM 115. OK, I’ll bite. Baseball is a consuming pastime with me and friend wife. Where has Mr. Will gone wrong? I really want to know. OK, it’s really off-topic, but I’ll just post one little thing for you to think about, Burgy: He loves the DH. That’s enough for me! :) Comment by dhogaza — 27 Jul 2009 @ 12:53 PM 116. Mark says: 26 July 2009 at 3:56 AM “Burgy, maybe the 5% chance of being wrong is “we’re wrong: it’s much worse than we thought”. Ever considered that? Or is the ONLY WAY “wrong” can go is in your favour?” AS I read the IPCC reports, the 5% seemed to be be that the reports might be overstating future warming. Perhaps I read them wrong. In any event, your closing sentence is way off the mark (sic). except in the narrow sense that if the IPCC IS found to have overstatd the problem, we will all be the better for it. Based on the feeble, often incorrect and sometimes lying articles written by most anti-AGW people (not all), the case AGAINST AGW is incredibly weak. Were I to argue against the IPCC thesis, I would focus on the climate models as being inconclusive. Even this argument is weak, but it is the only one that might carry the day for the denialists. They would have to come up with their own climate model(s) as rebuttals, of course. Searching the net, I find none at this point. OK dhogaza. I am not enthused with the DH either. But I think I understand those who are. I cannot fault Will on that score. Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:14 PM 117. Burgy #111: No disagreement from me, my friend. But I am puzzled how my interpretation of the IPCC reports might be incorrect. Can you enlarge on that? Long story… not completely incorrect, but oversimplified. The SPM of AR4 WG1 tells the story. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf Page 3 red text: this is about the confidence IPCC has that theory actually predicts significant anthropogenic forcing between 1750 and today. Page 10 red text: this is about the confidence IPCC has that anthropogenic increase in global mean temperatures (since 1950) actually shows up in the observations. Two different things, but note that both refer to what has already happened. If you want to get an idea of their confidence in what is going to happen, look at Table SPM.2 page 8, rightmost column. What we are seeing today, and what theory predicts for today, is just a foretaste… global temps didn’t come out of the noise until end last century. There is a lot more that can be said, but you get the idea. The 90% figure refers to various pieces, not the whole puzzle. A story for illustration: Someone is arrested suspected of murder. The murder weapon is found in his home, he has a criminal record, a motive and no alibi. And then there is this smudged fingerprint found at the scene, which experts say is his with 90% confidence. What do you think a jury would find? What if you were on the jury? BTW you mis-characterise yourself as a sceptic — except in the sense in which every scientist is a sceptic :-) Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:19 PM 118. Re: technical issues 1)In some browsers, one finds the ‘Style’ menu under the ‘View’ menu. Selecting ‘No Style’ makes the block obscuring the text go away 2)How much CPU, memory, disk and bandwidth is needed for this site ? I have some access to these resources and would be glad to help. Comment by sidd — 27 Jul 2009 @ 1:36 PM 119. Conspiracy-minded anti-physics hobbyists brew up their own “birther” plot, launch it on Slashdot: http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/07/27/0520216/Temperature-Data-Wants-To-Be-Free Slashdot, forever young… Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jul 2009 @ 2:57 PM 120. Re Ron #109: ” It seems to me that any good first year calculus student should be able to quickly find the fatal flaw in the methodology as a way of explaining temperature change (as opposed to temperature variability……” I certainly agree. Tamino has cleared away the smoke from their argument in “Open Mind”.(The link in the main post). Also:”It looked like an example of: “If you can’t convince them with facts, then dazzle them with footwork.” The way I heard was ‘If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance,then baffle them with your B—S—.’ Comment by Lawrence Brown — 27 Jul 2009 @ 3:20 PM 121. Regarding the McLean et al paper, it’s worth pointing out that you could replace “Southern Oscillation” and “tropopsheric” with “tilt in the Earth’s axis relative to the Sun” and “hemispheric” and pretty much say the say thing. Then Bob Carter would say to the media: “The close relationship between the Earth’s tilt relative to the Sun and hemispheric mean temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions.” Comment by MarkB — 27 Jul 2009 @ 3:30 PM 122. Lynn Vincentnathan in comment 110 offers sarcasm about those 50 contrarian physicists. Thing is, now the 50 have a letter in Nature, a forum with worldwide reach for conveying messages not only beyond the climate-science cognoscenti who mingle here at RC, but beyond science itself. (It was Nature’s endorsing editorial that originally boosted RC to prominence.) And 50 is a lot to pass off as outliers, especially when the group includes only physicists, including physicists of some stature, and does not include the usual science administrator who reads the Wall Street Journal plus a biologist who watches Fox plus some adamant guy who once read a book about meteorology and works for a high-tech company. That’s why I’m wondering what serious response, if any, climate scientists might be preparing — and why RC is silent. The 50 physicists’ open letter to the American Physical Society appears at http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/open_letter.html . If I understand this situation right — and I’m ready to be corrected if I don’t — this presents a challenge that will require a lot more than sarcasm. Thanks. [Response: The APS has more than enough expertise to see through this letter. As for a letter to Nature – is this what you are referring to? That is not an editorial or an article and does not imply any support of Nature for their point of view. In fact their only statement is simply to call Nature’s coverage ‘alarmist’ with no specifics that would allow independent consideration of their claim – which of course is probably the point. It seems that Singer et al consider any discussion of possible future climate change ‘alarmist’ almost by definition. – gavin] Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 27 Jul 2009 @ 3:53 PM 123. Site instructions: To the comments complaining about the side bar placement, I can move it out of the way, simply by enlarging the window. This works both in Safari and Firefox. [Response: I’ll have this fixed as soon as I can get round to it, but this works in the meantime. – gavin] Comment by Paul Klemencic — 27 Jul 2009 @ 4:06 PM 124. Re: #122, Steven, There are around 50,000 APS members. A letter with 50 signatures from this organization (0.1%) isn’t particularly notable. 500 wouldn’t be all that surprising either. Even among published climatologists, a few percent doubt the significant human impact. http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf Among the 50 in this list, there are several of the usual contrarians that show up on nearly every skeptic list (Singer, Scafetta, West, Douglass) along with many others of uncertain credentials with regards to climate science. Example: Andrew Kaldor Distinguished Scientific Advisor Manager of Breakthrough Research ExxonMobil Corporation (retired) Fellow AAAS, Member ACS Comment by MarkB — 27 Jul 2009 @ 4:10 PM 125. 111.Burgy: “I have no way to test the veracity of your statement. You may be right. But the data does not support the claim.” Is this the data and logic you are using? data: ‘some comments questioning RC viewpoints make it through moderation’ implies the conclusion: ‘all (or even most) good comments questioning RC viewpoints make it through moderation’ If so, your logic is faulty. 114Hank Roberts: “…google. You’ll find every complaint anyone ever made about being “censored” at RC posted somewhere. It won’t take you long to read them, look up the context, and see for yourself.” I have done that. Some complaints are valid; some are not. I also have my personal experience with being censored. If either of you wants to discuss evidence, suggest a way to do that elsewhere. Comment by Steve Reynolds — 27 Jul 2009 @ 6:57 PM 126. “…20th-21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent…” like the Arctic summer sea ice, Larsen & Wilkins ice shelves, or Kilimanjaro glaciers will return to their former glory anytime soon. …the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today,” like the PETM and its associate mass extinctions. there is extensive literature that examines the beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide…” like lower nutrition levels in forage, C3 weeds outgrowing C4 crops, coral no longer able to make reefs, and plankton unable to make shells. “… a variety of natural processes… can account for variations in the Earth’s climate…” if you think a paper like McLean et al is about the trend, or get the fundamental physics wrong like Gerlich and Tscheuschner, or if the fluctuation in GCRs actually had more than a 2 % effect on cloud cover, or any of a number of other debunked denialist “causes” other than anthropogenic greenhouse gases. I wonder what most physicists, instead of a college dropout like me, think of this “Open Letter to the APS”? Comment by Brian Dodge — 27 Jul 2009 @ 7:15 PM 127. Steven Corneliussen, The letter is written by the same wingnuts who have always espouse this sort of messy product of normal biological function. Getting a letter to the editor published in Nature carries no more political weight in the scientific community than getting one published in the Debuque Puppy Trainer. These guys are merely sciestutes–they’ll say anything you pay them to. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jul 2009 @ 7:20 PM 128. Gavin, there have been several potentially embarrassing comments now by one Steve Reynolds on censorship here on RC. Surely you understand the importance of presenting a consistent story to the outside world? What do you think Mr Gore is paying you for? You should have zapped those comments as soon as they came up. Instead I see you tinkering with sidebars… please keep your eyes on the ball! [Response: Curiously enough, I have more interesting things to deal with. – gavin] Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jul 2009 @ 8:28 PM 129. #79 “[U]sing Safari, the brown box on the right side of the window has migrated left to cover some of the blog text. It does work OK in Firefox, though.” Using Firefox on OSX, perhaps. I’m using Firefox on Linux and the box obscures the text at least until I reduce text size. In general as I increase font size the box migrates to the left. Comment by James Killen — 27 Jul 2009 @ 9:01 PM 130. And this paper is atrocious because…why? Comment by Tom P — 27 Jul 2009 @ 9:15 PM 131. #130 “And this paper is atrocious because…why?” Because they took the temp record, bandpass filtered it to attenuate the low frequency component (climate) and the higher frequency component (daily, seasonal) and enhanced (gain > 1 in that band) the ENSO frequency amplitude (3-7 years) then took this ENSO enriched “temperature record” and found that it had a higher than previously reported coorelation with the ENSO related SOI index, and they then further asserted that there didn’t seem to be much left over that needed explaining in the attenuated low frequency region (climate). LOL! Comment by C. L. — 27 Jul 2009 @ 10:20 PM 132. Gavin, is there a way to search for keywords the old way in the top search box (i.e., results show up as a list of all comments and author who said the key phrase exactly)? [Response: No. The site search should find the phrase if you know it, but you will need to find the actual comment on the page it returns. The old way was a rather laborious scan through the entire database and was one of things impacting performance. As we get back on track, I might add an advanced search feature that allows you to scan through the comments as before. – gavin] Comment by Chris Colose — 27 Jul 2009 @ 10:43 PM 133. Biofilm again: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/science/28ocea.html “… Scientists are now discovering that the top hundredth-inch of the ocean is somewhat like a sheet of jelly. And this odd habitat, thinner than a human hair, is home to an unusual menagerie of microbes. “It’s really a distinct ecosystem of its own,” said Oliver Wurl, of Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences. This so-called sea-surface microlayer is important, scientists say, in part because it influences the chemistry of the ocean and the atmosphere. “One of the most significant things that happens on our planet is the transport of gases in and out of the ocean,” said Michael Cunliffe, a marine biologist at the University of Warwick in England. The ocean stores a large fraction of the global-warming gases we produce; at the microlayer, the gases are pulled down….” “It’s the ocean breathing through its skin,” Dr. Cunliffe said…. Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jul 2009 @ 11:38 PM 134. C. L. 27 July 2009 at 10:20 PM “And this paper is atrocious because…why?” http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/old-news/ http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/07/surprising-conclusions-from.html Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 12:59 AM 135. Phlogiston enthusiasts betrayed by Ra? Guardian piece seems like a classic example of research over-touted by the press, as recently discussed by RC. For sure this tease is wrong: “New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Niño southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics” Now the tout: “The world faces record-breaking temperatures as the sun’s activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted for the next five years, according to a study. The hottest year on record was 1998, and the relatively cool years since have led to some global warming sceptics claiming that temperatures have levelled off or started to decline. But new research firmly rejects that argument. The research, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, was carried out by Judith Lean, of the US Naval Research Laboratory, and David Rind, of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The work is the first to assess the combined impact on global temperature of four factors: human influences such as CO2 and aerosol emissions; heating from the sun; volcanic activity and the El Niño southern oscillation, the phenomenon by which the Pacific Ocean flips between warmer and cooler states every few years. The analysis shows the relative stability in global temperatures in the last seven years is explained primarily by the decline in incoming sunlight associated with the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle, together with a lack of strong El Niño events. These trends have masked the warming caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gases. As solar activity picks up again in the coming years, the research suggests, temperatures will shoot up at 150% of the rate predicted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Lean and Rind’s research also sheds light on the extreme average temperature in 1998. The paper confirms that the temperature spike that year was caused primarily by a very strong El Niño episode. A future episode could be expected to create a spike of equivalent magnitude on top of an even higher baseline, thus shattering the 1998 record The rest of the story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/27/world-warming-faster-study Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:45 AM 136. Paul Klemencic @ 123. Thanks for the tip. It works for me. It makes the text quite small, but I can live with this. Comment by Abi — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:28 AM 137. Re the letter from 50 APS members in Nature. It’s behind a subscription wall. Can someone post it here on RC, please. First of all,I would like to read it. Secondly, if it is not in a public arena, the more crazy and paranoid commentators will say that Nature are hiding it from the public as it is so explosive. Comment by Theo Hopkins — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:31 AM 138. re 129: I run linux and firefox. No problem. version 3.0.5 Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:39 AM 139. “I read the IPCC reports, the 5% seemed to be be that the reports might be overstating future warming. Perhaps I read them wrong. In any event, your closing sentence is way off the mark (sic).” Nope. Your wording indicates that you would consider “wrong” to be “therefore the denialists are right”. Yet there’s a good deal better than 5% chance that it would be worse than expected (it is already tracking at the top edge of the projections which are, by their nature, conservative in their statements). In which case, the IPCC report would be wrong AND SO WOULD THE DENIALISTS. But that was left out of your comment, wasn’t it… Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:46 AM 140. Hi, I’ve just recently found this site, I’m finding it rather useful. I’m rather ashamed of this report being authored by fellow countrymen. I would also like to point out a recent book published here by Ian Wishart called ‘Air Con’. I have not yet had the opportunity to read it myself but the author’s pedigree speaks for itself. Simply put, he is a fundamentalist right-wingnut that appears to have built data sources to support his ideological position. I’m curious to know if any here know of it. Here is somewhere to get an idea of it’s content; http://hot-topic.co.nz/quirk-strangeness-not-much-charm/ Comment by Alan — 28 Jul 2009 @ 5:58 AM 141. Concerning the 50 contrarian physicists: Thanks, Gavin Schmidt, for the RC response appended at 122, thanks MarkB for 124 (and for the link to that informative, brief paper about quantifying the consensus), and thanks Ray Ladbury for comment 127. However, I don’t believe that any of you are engaging my actual question. Ray Ladbury declares that the letter in Nature from a delegation of six of the 50 contrarians carries no “political weight in the scientific community.” But I’m not asking about that kind of weight. Instead I’m asking, based on what I see among friends outside science, about the contrarians’ potential influence among the public worldwide. Gavin, yes, as I said in comment 3, I’m talking about the letter in last Thursday’s Nature, and yes, of course, a mere letter isn’t an article or an editorial. But letters in Nature get read around the world anyway, including by people outside science. I was once bashed for a letter in Nature by a columnist at the South China Morning Post. Gavin, you say moreover that in the Nature letter the contrarians’ “only statement is simply to call Nature’s coverage ‘alarmist.'” Only statement? In fact the Nature letter’s six signers say quite a bit more than that. They say they “are among more than 50 current and former members” of the American Physical Society “who have signed an open letter to the APS Council this month, calling for a reconsideration of its November 2007 policy statement on climate change.” Then they point readers to those materials: “(see open letter at http://tinyurl.com/lg266u; APS statement at http://tinyurl.com/56zqxr).” Then the delegation of six of the 50 say that the open letter to APS “proposes an alternative statement, which the signatories believe to be a more accurate representation of the current scientific evidence. It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas, to help prevent subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue. On 1 May 2009, the APS Council decided to review its current statement via a high-level subcommittee of respected senior scientists. We applaud this decision. It is the first such reappraisal by a major scientific professional society that we are aware of, and we hope it will lead to meaningful change that reflects a more balanced view of climate-change issues.” Gavin, that’s a lot more than just an indictment of Nature’s climate coverage. MarkB joins Gavin and Ray Ladbury in emphasizing the 50 contrarians’ lack of credibility among scientists who are well informed about climate. But again, I already know what scientists think. Despite MarkB’s solid point about 50 being only a tiny fraction of 50,000, and despite that hilarious Exxon example that he found among the list of 50 names, I’m asking about these 50 contrarians because my own sense, FWIW, is that they’ll be perceived outside the scientific community as speaking pretty authoritatively. If they do get perceived that way, it seems to me that it’ll be a mistake simply to ignore or disdain them, even if that’s what they deserve. Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:08 AM 142. Oops, here is the actual review, sorry. http://hot-topic.co.nz/somethin%E2%80%99-stupid/ [hope that comes out ok] Comment by Alan — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:16 AM 143. Mark #139, I suggest to pick your enemies carefully; Burgy is not the enemy. And rants may be fun to write, but they make tiresome reading. Your point about two-sided vs. one-sided confidence bounds may have validity; I didn’t read the SPM with that in mind — but you could do so carefully, and summarize your findings here. That would be a useful contribution. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:57 AM 144. Eh, the “comments pop-up” link still gives an old-style un-paged comment list from which it is impossible to successfully post (or preview). The new paged format looks great! Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:04 AM 145. Steve Reynolds July 2009 at 6:57 PM –Still– muttering about your selection as a uniquely special subject of abuse by RC’s proprietors? In sum, you claim to have some sort of “evidence” (of what you do not specify) but it’s being suppressed here at RC. If you have this mysterious “evidence” and it’s sufficiently important that you feel compelled to “discuss” it, and at the same time you are convinced that you cannot find a fair hearing on RC, why are you wasting your time pursuing the issue here? Why are you not exposing your “evidence” at one of the sites you prefer? Not to put too fine a point on it, you give every appearance of fabricating a grievance. Whether you genuinely believe in that grievance is a private matter for you, though it does not seem that any answer to that particular question will redound to your credit. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 9:31 AM 146. Tamino says: “A valid way to estimate the impact of el Nino on global temperature is to use multiple regression on actual data rather than on estimates of time derivatives. One can include the impact of volcanoes, el Nino, solar changes, and greenhouse gases. When one does so, it’s clear that without the influence of man-made climate forcing it’s just not possible to explain the trend in global temperature.” And “the link they give is to mid-troposphere UAH data” The 30 year trend in the UAH mid-troposphere data is virtually zero. Are we to conclude, therefore, that without “the influence of man-made climate forcing” the “natural” trend would be strongly negative at about minus 3 degrees Centigrade per century? [Response: The MT data has a very significant contribution from the stratosphere (which is cooling) and so is not expected to be rising very substantially. This is the whole reason why MSU-LT and the Fu and Johnson approaches were developed. – gavin] Comment by Fred Staples — 28 Jul 2009 @ 9:41 AM 147. Steven T. Corneliussen 28 July 2009 at 6:08 AM These signatories are a glorified version of our very own Steve Reynolds. They rely on vague accusations of corruption as a substitute for a meaningful contribution to science or public policy. They cannot produce any evidence of their claims, so instead they’re polluting discourse with asinine distractions. Ironically, these people are being gifted from the very establishment they attack with prominent public space to make their unfounded charges, belying their assertions of suppression even while being given a free pass on the little matter of evidence supporting their hypothesis. Nature and APS are making a serious mistake in entertaining these signatories with print space without first demanding and receiving factual information to back up their claims. Neither organization is in the habit of supporting unfounded “results”, yet they are according print space to indictments of multiple disciplines with a charge of corruption. I’m not sure who are more ridiculous, the signatories or the organizations witlessly supporting them. All that being said, –every– time folks such as those appearing in Nature appear, they should be hammered with demands for evidence of their accusations. The signatories’ and their like will then control their own credibility, to their detriment. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:17 AM 148. Nobody seems to have remarked on John McLean’s claim that 1900-1940 was “pre-CO2″. While the recorded warming during that period cannot be completely attributed to the CO2 increase during the period, I find it continually annoying that people seem to think CO2 increase is only a phenomenon of the late 20th century – by 1940 CO2 was already at 310 ppm up from a pre-industrial 280 or so. Comment by Arthur Smith — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:31 AM 149. I think Ron Taylor’s account (#109) pretty much says all that needs to be said about the McLean et al paper. Comment by Michael Tobis — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:44 AM 150. The open letter to NATURE may be seen at http://www.openletter-globalwarming.info/Site/open_letter.html and there is a link to the 50 people who signed it and an opportunity to add your own name to that list. Some on that list I recognize as credible people. Among these are my friend and ASA colleague Moorad Alexanian Professor of Physics and Physical Oceanography University of North Carolina Wilmington Others I recognize but have not personally met include: Laurence I. Gould Professor of Physics University of Hartford Member Executive Board of the New England Section of the APS Chairman (2004), New England Section APS Frank J. Tipler Professor of Mathematical Physics Tulane University Still in all — the letter reminds me of certain anti-evolution letters written 20 or 30 years ago by the Institute for Creation Research. Only the nouns have been changed. (Aside to Mark — I really don’t understand your recent post chiding me for something I don’t think I ever said) Burgy Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:10 AM 151. Fred states: “The 30 year trend in the UAH mid-troposphere data is virtually zero.” Uh, no. The end value of the 30 year graph is a single month and that is at 0 distance from the zero value. This does not mean that the trend is zero. Just that the last month is 0. A trend requires more than one month. Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:24 AM 152. re: #150 John Burgeson Can you explain more as to why you think those people have credibility on climate science? [Physics is a big tent: trapeze artists may think they are also lion tamers, but usually they are not.] “Our mission is to develop a scientifically credible view of earth history consistent with scripture, …” Moorad wrote The crucifix confronting Dracula, applauding Sarah Palin for her great efforts, including: His C.V. there lists a number of interesting publications, especially since 1999. “achieving the goals of smaller government, energy independence, national security, and freedom.” Or, read <a href="http://origins.swau.edu/who/moorad/debate.pdf&quot; for letter to Physics Today. ("the claims made by those advocating evolutionary theory can never really be falsified"). Laurence Gould is a big proponent of Viscount Monckton, Essex+McKitrick, etc, and was discussed during the APS/FPS fiasco last summer. His peer-reviewed publication record, such as it is, doesn’t include any climate science. Frank Tipler is a cosmologist authoring “The Physics of Immortality”, “The Physics of Christianity”. Google Scholar finds many papers, but none on climate that I could see. John: *these* are the 3 you picked that seemed credible? Comment by John Mashey — 28 Jul 2009 @ 12:49 PM 153. “(Aside to Mark — I really don’t understand your recent post chiding me for something I don’t think I ever said) Burgy” It was what you didn’t say. Current meme du juour for denialism is “The IPCC think they are wrong! They say they only have 90% confidence!”. And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong”. Quite possibly because NONE of the denialist papers are given confidence levels, ergo there’s a 10% chance IPCC is wrong and 0% chance denialists are wrong. And you have some friends who deny AGW for VERY POOR REASONS. As in “no reasoning behind their reasons”. Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 12:49 PM 154. #122, My solution for any person or scientist siding with the contrarian point of view from now on is to come up with their own estimate on what will happen with GT’s and or Arctic ice over the next few years. Given that contrarians are so confident about the null effects from greenhouse gases, they should accurately forecast at the very least : Arctic sea ice volume or mass predictions, or GT’s. I have learned that statements from anyone not versed in climate, however well educated are meaningless, their words having more political weight than scientific merit. Like I do, put words in writing and predict what happens based on your understanding of the systems, after say , a few year, look back, and assure by your accuracy. I’ve never read chaps like Singer, Lindzen, Pielke and others being right about this subject or making any accurate prediction. But during the short lifetime of RC, Arctic sea ice is vanishing faster, temperatures kept rising, correcty foreseen by quiet IPCC experts, who had at least got the warming trend direction right, while all that contrarian bluster achieved nothing. Contrarian words should be transmitted with the caveat that they can’t predict anything, or even worse they fear to predict anything scientifically, but are capable of demolishing proponents like political pundits…. The Climate hall of fame belongs to those who have successfully seen what has happened, contrarians enjoy staying in the minor leagues batting .000 with prediction hits, but get the same attention from the media. Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 12:52 PM 155. Re: #141 Steven writes: “I’m asking about these 50 contrarians because my own sense, FWIW, is that they’ll be perceived outside the scientific community as speaking pretty authoritatively.” Perceptions can be deceiving. There’s also the Oregon Petition, the Inhofe 700 list, or the Cato Institute advertisement (among others), all with overlap and all which attempt to create the perception that the lists are “authoritative”. “If they do get perceived that way, it seems to me that it’ll be a mistake simply to ignore or disdain them, even if that’s what they deserve.” Who’s ignoring them? I acknowledge there’s a very small fraction of the scientific community that denies global warming. It’s important to note both their relative size within the scientific community and their credentials on climate science. These are folks making a public political statement. They shouldn’t be immune to basic scrutiny of their credentials and representation. Comment by MarkB — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:03 PM 156. Mark: And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong. Burgy has never said that AGW is wrong. Why the false accusations? Why do you think falsely accusing someone of beliefs they don’t hold is a positive contribution to the discussion? Comment by dhogaza — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:22 PM 157. “Mark: And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong. Burgy has never said that AGW is wrong.” And reread the entire post, dhog. “Current meme du juour for denialism is “The IPCC think they are wrong! They say they only have 90% confidence!”. And let that lead you to “AGW is therefore wrong”.” Think you took “you” as meaning “Burgy” not “the indefinite article, third person pronoun” or whatever. As in “you can see the red sky…” doesn’t mean YOU can see it, just that it can be seen. Comment by Mark — 28 Jul 2009 @ 1:46 PM 158. Gavin, you comment (146) that the 30 year satellite data for the mid-troposphere has been contaminated by the cooling stratosphere, eliminating any warming trend (0.4 degrees C per century, Mark (151), not significantly different from zero). The Hadley Centre radio-sonde data for the lower stratosphere shows a fall of 1.0 degrees centigrade from 1958 to 1971, with a volcanic eruption in 1964. Thereafter there are three distinct periods of level temperatures separated by the two volcanic eruptions marked on the chart. The El Chichon eruption in 1983 was associated (I hesitate to say caused) a fall of about 0.5 degrees C. The Pinatubo eruption in 1993 was accompanied by a further fall of about 0.7 degrees. Thereafter, from 1995 to date (14 years), lower stratosphere temperatures have been constant. In contrast, the mid-troposphere data reacted to the 1998 El Nino peak, increased sharply from 1999 to 2001, and did not fall back until 2007 It is, in my opinion, more plausible to assume that the mid-troposphere data is what it appears to be, however difficult that is for “the higher is colder” AGW theory. [Response: You can assume what you like. Doesn’t make it true. – gavin] I fully accept the old Physics maxim that, if the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts. There are limits to this, however. Comment by Fred Staples — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:13 PM 159. Frank Tipler, no matter how credible his introductory modern physics textbooks may be, is also interested in such speculative subjects like ‘Physics of Christianity’. Crackpots Are Everywhere We’ve even got one headed for the NIH directorship. Nothing wrong with speculation as long as its backed up by a significant body of evidence to extrapolate. For instance, I speculate that exomoons exist. Frank Tipler speculates a significant body of planetary and climate science isn’t relevant to planetary evolution. Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:16 PM 160. Mark (151), I have often suggested that readers should look at the temperature charts (Google “Global Warming at a Glance”) before rushing to respond to these posts. Look at the scales. It is very instructive to mark an anomaly of 2 degrees on the charts, look at the variations to date, and ask yourself if you believe temperatures will be fluctuating about that mark 50 years from now on a “business as usual” scenario. Comment by Fred Staples — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:21 PM 161. MarkB 28 July 2009 at 1:03 PM “These are folks making a public political statement. They shouldn’t be immune to basic scrutiny of their credentials and representation.” How about something even more basic? The common thread to all of these campaigns is their reliance on innuendo, implications and even explicit accusations of malfeasance and corruption leveled at broad swathes of the scientific community. How about this, from the Nature letter: “It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas, to help prevent subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue.” Read that carefully, and use your thesaurus. These guys are allowed to assert– unchallenged thus establishing a beachhead in the record– that a real and significant problem of corruption both scientific and financial is steering reported findings regarding our climate. The fields reporting on climate-related findings supporting AGW include everything from biology to glaciology to oceanography, many points in between, returning nearly to the beginning of the alphabet with botany. Enormous numbers of researchers in all these fields are being painted with a broad, nasty brush of slander, with the cooperation of respectable journals and scientific organizations. Why, for instance, does Nature suspend all the normal rules of their publishing operation and allow such mendacious fiction to appear in their pages? Why? Where is the factual basis of the signatories’ claims? Why are they allowed to trash so many fields without offering a shred of evidence? Can they point to specific cases? Can they show a significant distortion of the scientific record inspired by corruption, theft? Standards need to be improved, that’s for certain, but the authors of the Nature article need to look in the mirror for where to begin. Meanwhile, professional publications need to contain their guileless credulity and begin consistently applying their publication standards, demanding evidence wherever new claims are made. Individual scientists need to be begin calling out individual accusers, focusing on humiliating them so badly when they fail to produce evidence of their charges that they’ll think twice about risking their reputations by repetition of this trashtalk. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:47 PM 162. Mark — Perhaps I wrote with less clarity than I might have — your assessment is 180 degrees out of phase with what I meant to say. Let it drop. Thanks, dhogaza. I think Mark is misreading you, too. On the credibility of the three people I mentioned. Here I was definitely less than clear. I have interacted with Moorad a number of times over the years; his theological views are largely at odds with my own but when he speaks as a physicist, I have found him worth listening to. No — that does not mean I agree with his climate scientist position, which I suspect is not thought out well. On Tipler — I enjoyed his books; good reading. Made me think, whether or not I agreed with him. On Gould — I had him confused with Stephen J Gould. Then I remembered that great man is no longer with us. In general, I find the letter distressing. Particularly that it appeared in NATURE. It is garbage of the worst kind — the kind some folks will pick up and wave under rational person’s noses. Burgy Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 2:59 PM 163. Mark wrote: “Current meme du juour for denialism is ‘The IPCC think they are wrong! They say they only have 90% confidence!’.” Actually, the hot new denialist meme that all the Ditto-Heads seem to be simultaneously posting on every blog they can find, is that all the climate scientists in the world have been bribed to promote the great global warming hoax by General Electric, to boost GE’s sales of wind turbines. The theory that the world’s climate scientists were all conspiring to make Al Gore the Evil Liberal Dictator Of The World seems to be passe. In both cases, only the heroic and altruistic underdogs at ExxonMobil, with their commitment to True Science, stand between humanity and the jackboot of the global warming oppressors. Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jul 2009 @ 3:11 PM 164. Doug Bostrom (147), so are you all in favor of discipline journals, including the specialized peer-reviewed publications, editing, censoring, and in fact rejecting all treatises that do not conform to the current accepted dogma? While some sound like a stretch, all of the statements in the “paper” are judgment assessments. What type and level of evidence should be hammered out the writer(s) to allow their assessments (accusations??) in print? Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:03 PM 165. Thank you John Mashey, for looking those people up. Among much else. Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:15 PM 166. Nobody seems to have remarked on John McLean’s claim that 1900-1940 was “pre-CO2″. – Arthur Smith Maybe not here, but the same nonsense was posted over at Tamino’s and received characteristically short shrift And for your information, 1900-1940 is not “pre-CO2″; although CO2 concentrations are much higher later in the century, the period 1900-1940 represents significantly higher CO2 concentration than pre-industrial. Is this more dishonesty — or did you really not know that? Comment by pjclarke — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:31 PM 167. Re: #160 Doug, Good points and I guess I’m used to the conspiracy/corruption charges from contrarian types. It is ironic that a letter co-authored by Fred Singer (among others), states: “It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas” Really? http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=S._Fred_Singer#Affiliations I tend to agree that when these sorts of innuendos are made, expressing “disdain” for the person making the accusations is quite appropriate. ” and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue.” This is rhetoric – attempting to paint the scientific community as rigid or close-minded because they reject bad arguments of theirs that aren’t much more scientifically robust than claiming the Earth is flat. Doug:”Can they point to specific cases? Can they show a significant distortion of the scientific record inspired by corruption, theft?” No, but they can repeat the same unsupported claims endlessly, which they know is effective at convincing the public. Comment by MarkB — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:42 PM 168. RodB, rejecting nonsense is what peer review is all about. Imagine if this same group of luminaries had penned a letter decrying the theory of gravitation as the result of political and financial agendas. Gravitation, you see, is not the result of space-time curvature, but rather the influence of, whatever, cosmic rays or something. But definitely not space-time curvature; cosmologists who defend the space-time hoax are intolerant of other theories and probably corrupt. Comment by Jim Galasyn — 28 Jul 2009 @ 4:58 PM 169. Steven T. Corneliussen: (I’ve been collecting data for some time on the question “Why do people, especially scientists, go off into anti-science?”) I’ll soon post a serious analysis of the people on that petition, but meanwhile, it seems plausible that your path might have crossed Ronald Sundelin’s. Can you offer any insight as to why he’d sign this? Comment by John Mashey — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:00 PM 170. Rod B 28 July 2009 at 4:03 PM [cognitive short-circuit attempting to insert/splice unproven assumptions about general conduct of science redacted] No, grasshopper, I am in favor of demanding that claims, accusations, assertions of whatever type not be accorded respect or resonance or placement in our cognitive processes unless they’re accompanied by prima facie evidence or some sort of plausible explanation that can be actually be tested. To the extent claims are more outlandish, the more onerous the burden of proof should become. Sound familiar? “While some sound like a stretch, all of the statements in the “paper” are judgment assessments.” Judgment assessments, eh? You think these guys were able to take “judgment assessments” to their PhD committees and then saunter away with a degree? For those of them that actually have an advanced degree, they’re =perfectly= familiar with what constitutes an argument for an assertion. They don’t have any actual argument to support their claims, so we’re treated to untestable generalized slander. If you can’t tell the difference between “judgment assessments” and research with useful findings, it’s no wonder you’re sucking this stuff up. “What type and level of evidence should be hammered out the writer(s) to allow their assessments (accusations??) in print?” How about some actual evidence for what sounds like wild conjecture? For instance, a finding of scientific misconduct related to what they’re talking about? A showing that somebody purposely arranged their research agenda and findings for the specific purpose of personal enrichment? Some recorded communications between politicians and scientists that could be interpreted as a conspiracy? Failing any basis for their complaint, these self-appointed shambolical inquisitors’ reputations should be stained ten times as badly as they would blot the reputations of entire fields of inquiry. These people are a creeping rot. While degrading the public estimation of science with their particular agenda in mind, their degradation of public trust won’t be confined to the borders of the particular arena of dispute. We can’t afford this sort of cultural dementia, it’s too destructive. MarkB 28 July 2009 at 4:42 PM “…they can repeat the same unsupported claims endlessly, which they know is effective at convincing the public.” Yes, and so they shall, until it is demonstrated to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that making such claims without evidence is equally or more destructive to their reputations as is attempting to publish crap research. They’re publishing crap and have not even done any research. That should be fully accounted for. I suspect a lot of these folks are way past being productive, emeritus fossils looking for a thrill and less protective of their credibility, but that does not mean they should be allowed a free ride. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:07 PM 171. > gravity … definitely not space-time curvature … Irony is _still_ dead. One of the classics: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512 “… Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence is pushing them down …. Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein’s ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.” Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:43 PM 172. Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jul 2009 @ 6:48 PM 173. 145Doug Bostrom: “… why are you wasting your time pursuing the issue here?” Good question; no one here seems interested in looking at evidence that has not been filtered through RC moderation. So please stop bringing it up unless you want to suggest an alternate location for discussion. Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2009 @ 7:21 PM 174. Steve Reynolds, #173, I would be interested in what you believe to be credible “evidence that has not been filtered through RC Moderation.” Please post links and please be very specific regarding what evidence in the link is credible. Also, I don’t want to go to any more sites where citations to published scientific research are not provided. Steve Comment by Steve Fish — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:31 PM 175. Re 154 by Wayne D.: “My solution for any person or scientist siding with the contrarian point of view from now on is to come up with their own estimate on what will happen with GT’s and or Arctic ice over the next few years.” Great idea!But most of those with their heads in the sand don’t propose anything, or make projections, they only deny. Since nothings happening,(in their bizzaro world)then nothing needs to be done. The status quo is just fine. Comment by Lawrence Brown — 28 Jul 2009 @ 8:41 PM 176. 174Steve Fish: “I would be interested in what you believe to be credible “evidence that has not been filtered through RC Moderation.” Please post links and please be very specific regarding what evidence in the link is credible.” I can’t post links here; we have to go to another site. I suggested rankexploits before. Let me know if that is OK. Comment by Steve Reynolds — 28 Jul 2009 @ 9:30 PM 177. Carter’s support for EG Beck: (RC had a couple of posts, look for them). More from Carter’s submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee considering an ETS: (*) More support for decadal fluctuations of carbon dioxide comes from the compilation and summary of 90000 historical atmospheric analyses back to the mid 19th century by Beck (2007). In the reference list Beck is cited as “in review”, and as those that have read the “published” version of Beck will see in the acknowledgements: “I am especially indepted to Prof. Dr. Arthur Roersch, Dr. Hans Jelbring, Andre Bijkerk and Prof. Dr. Bob Carter for helpful discussions, Prof. Dr. Arthur Roersch, Dr. Hans Jelbring for helping to produce a condensed draft and Prof. Dr. Arthur Roersch and Prof. Dr. Bob Carter for their linguistic support.” (*) first round. The ETS Bill passed but after an election the new govt currently has it under review. Carter made submissions both times. Comment by Doug Mackie — 28 Jul 2009 @ 9:36 PM 178. Steve, really? You mean you are physically incapable of posting links here? Comment by Jim Galasyn — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:50 PM 179. Doug Bostrom (170), you just eliminated most, probably all, papers touting AGW that were published between early 1900s or before up to maybe 1970s, and tons of other science papers. Way to go. One good example for the drill (and admittedly some others are not quite as good) in the “open letter” says, “…measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th or 21st century temperature changes are neither exceptional nor persistent.” If you don’t think that is an analytical judgment, then you do not comprehend the words exceptional and persistent. You got another think coming. In any case how on Earth is this or any other of their statements “slanderous?” There are zero personal attacks. (Besides the term is libelous.) What does presenting to PhD committees have to do with anything? Given your last three paragraphs, you could have been a big hit in the (real) Inquisition. Comment by Rod B — 28 Jul 2009 @ 10:56 PM 180. #175, I agree Lawrence, but if we in return, reply to any of their news articles directly to the journalist or editor, citing that they are mere talking heads devoid of being able to predict anything (an important aspect in climate science, its biggest value, is the capacity to predict from knowledge), the press might, eventually, ask them whether they have done something in the field worth printing, an accomplishment, a track record of being more right than wrong. We tend to blame the oil companies for their obvious lobbying efforts, they have the right to lobby, we have the duty to point out that their scientists have empty portfolios, and flaunt their credentials as a business card, while hiding their field batting record by playing political games. Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:10 PM 181. Steve Reynolds 28 July 2009 at 7:21 PM “So please stop bringing it up…” What am I supposed to say now? I’m really sorry I suggested you were being suppressed? Sorry, no can do. You’ve got yourself all tied up in knots. Now, what was that important evidence you were speaking of? Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Jul 2009 @ 11:20 PM 182. Steve Reynolds (#173), There is a comment policy at Real Climate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/comment-policy/ If you feel that your comments have not been subject to that policy, then your best bet would be to no longer comment. I’ve done that at a site that doesn’t follow its stated policy. It is a waste of time to mess with a dishonest site as well as a matter of personal integrity not to participate. Comment by Chris Dudley — 29 Jul 2009 @ 12:31 AM 183. “Mark — Perhaps I wrote with less clarity than I might have — your assessment is 180 degrees out of phase with what I meant to say” That is quite possibly true. Hence the discussion. Now you know you were less clear in what you said than you thought, you can take better care. And like I said, the wording could be how you’ve heard it from some of your friends who don’t know what’s going on but DO know it’s not AGW. In which case, look closely at yourself to see if you’re taking their words on unthinkingly just because you’re immersed in them. Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:56 AM 184. “I fully accept the old Physics maxim that, if the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts.” I suppose that’s how YOU do science, Fred. It isn’t how real science is done. When the facts don’t agree to the theory 1) the theory is wrong in some way 2) you didn’t make the experiment test the right way #1 could mean “wrong with no way to fix” as in the luminiferous aether after the Michelson Morely test (you did do science history of this at school?). Or it could be “wrong because it doesn’t fit there” as in Newton and Mercury’s orbit or Ideal Gas under high pressure/density regimes. As you can see “doesn’t fit” may actually come up in the theory too. #2 could be if the LHC doesn’t find a Higgs Boson. The theory still has an option if it’s at the top end of the theory. Or the theory that the Sun is made of Iron (after all, the sun has a magnetic field…). Finding the Plasma state of matter fixed that one. Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:03 AM 185. “Actually, the hot new denialist meme that all the Ditto-Heads seem to be simultaneously posting on every blog they can find …” That’s actually a variation on an old one. Just a new spin on it. The old one had worn out since people started looking at Heartland Institute and their “research papers” on how cancer is A-OK… so it became necessary to change the vector slightly. Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:05 AM 186. Mark is right. The temperature trend in UAH data is +0.127 K/decade, which is not even close to zero. It’s statistically significant, too. More here: http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:09 AM 187. To the Editors of Nature, The undersigned are concerned that coverage of the gravitation issue has been one-sided and not in keeping with good scientific standards. We call on Nature to be more open-minded on this issue, and we further propose that a non-partisan institute be set up, free of political or financial agendas, to objectively assess whether gravitation is from so-called space warping, or is actually, as several studies in peer-reviewed journals show, from solar influence and other sources of natural variation. It is not right that alternative viewpoints on an issue this important be suppressed. The good name of science demands it. -Burton Paul Livingston, Dept. of Science Fiction, Worldwrights University -S. Fred Flintstone, Dept. of Paleoanthropology, Bedrock University -Willie Soon Begone, Dept. of Solar Astrophysics, George Harrison University -Frequent Tipler, Dept. of Ethanol, Exxon-Mobile Institute for Biofuels and Drill, Baby, Drill -Christopher Munchhausen, Third Viscount Benchpress, Sitting in an English Garden, Waiting for the Sun -Sun Ahllshowallofyou, Dept. of Cosmic Influence, Banzai University of Alaska -Roy Dispenser, Dept. of Satellite Instrumentation and Remedial Arithmetic, University of Alabama at Habakkuk It’s 4:30 AM. I haven’t quite woken up yet. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:29 AM 188. in #164 in his old tired way Rod B mixes up cops and criminals again: > the current accepted dogma which is “evidence-based science”. Count yourself and your loved ones lucky your President understands it even if you don’t. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:27 AM 189. “I can’t post links here; we have to go to another site.” Eh, exciting! All cloak-and-dagger stuff. Strange that he can post that he can’t post here when it so very much easier just to make his posts disappear without trace… Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:32 AM 190. Further to Secular at #163, another new string to their bow is the report that$79Bn (worldwide, I assume) is spent on Climate Research over the last 20 years yet there’s no “Empirical Evidence” for AGW.

Forgetting that the evidence is most clearly in one sattelite that looks at the earth through a narrowband IR camera and has seen the earth cool at these wavelengths, showing that greenhouse gas concentrations increase is having the effect AGW proposes, the other problem is that this figure is little more than half the subsidy given in the US *alone* over that same period.

Yet we still do not have electricity “so cheap it isn’t worth metering”.

Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:36 AM

191. John Mashey in comment 169, discerning that I’d likely know the accelerator physicist Ron Sundelin — as indeed I have, since 1985 — asked if I could offer any insight into his signing of the 50 APS contrarians’ petition. In fact I cannot, and moreover, I’ve only seen him once since he retired several years ago from Jefferson Lab. I doubt very much that he’s importing political or other biases. Please let me know (Corneliussen at JLab dot org) if I you’d like me to help get you into contact. My strong guess is that he’d be glad to discuss his view with you. (And thanks. I had failed to notice his name on the list.)

Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 29 Jul 2009 @ 6:15 AM

192. 190 should have read “little more than half that given to NUCLEAR as subsidies over that period in the US alone”.

Or something similar that fits grammatically…

Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 7:58 AM

193. Mark,
Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong. It is merely a measure of the amount of what the amount of evidence we have to date allows us to claim.

Example: We are told that an opaque jar contains both black and white balls. We draw 22 balls (with replacement) they are all black. This allows us to draw the conclusion that with 90% confidence, 90% or more of the balls are black. We are now given the opportunity to bet a substantial pile of money that the next ball drawn will be white. Do we accept 9:1 odds? No. How about 20:1. Probably not, since we have no evidence that there are ANY white balls in the jar at all. This is very like the situation wrt climate change. Our evidence is sufficent to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet–that does not correspond to a 10% chance that we are not, since there is no convincing evidence favoring this proposition.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:23 AM

194. “Mark,
Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong.”

I know. I was quoting denialist “appreciation”.

Like doctors saying “you’ve probably got prostate cancer”. AFAIK, NOBODY has ever said “well, wait until you’re certain before you cut me!”.

Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:09 AM

195. > black balls, white balls, and “well, wait” before surgery

Watchful waiting is a recommended procedure, in fact, and based on exactly this kind of statistical evidence about outcomes.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:21 AM

196. We went to war in Iraq on Cheney’s hidden maxim of a 1% chance that they had WMDs. Eventual financial cost: over 1 trillion. To date deaths: over 1,000,000. Is there a > 1% chance that we’ll experience a world-wide, civilization-throttling increase in global temps and associate climate changes? You betcha. A 5C change in temps would make Iraq look like a walk in the park. Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:36 AM 197. Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong. It’s quite possible that there are no exomoons at all, and that our solar system is absolutely unique in the entire universe as being the only system containing moons. Therefore, given this distinct possibility, we should refrain from criticizing astrophysicists who deny the existence of exomoons, and give them equal, fair and balanced treatment in both the media and the literature. Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:47 AM 198. Rod B 28 July 2009 at 10:56 PM “…you just eliminated most, probably all, papers touting AGW that were published between early 1900s or before up to maybe 1970s, and tons of other science papers.” Did I really? You should explain in detail how you think that is the case. “One good example for the drill (and admittedly some others are not quite as good)…” How about some actual good examples? Are there any? And is the choice of poor examples reflective of ignorance, or desperation? ‘…“open letter” says, “…measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th or 21st century temperature changes are neither exceptional nor persistent.”’ Oh, -so- damning. They’ve selected a particular indicator in isolation, describing it in a way strongly suggestive of lack of understanding or plain old obfuscation and are touting that as evidence of malfeasance and corruption, ignoring a vast number of findings congruent with AGW. That’s a good example? That’s not persuasive, it only makes me more contemptuous. “If you don’t think that is an analytical judgment, then you do not comprehend the words exceptional and persistent. You got another think coming.” Have they published their “analytical judgments” in the form of refereed papers? Are they publishing alternative explanations to correct the problems they “judge” are infecting research? No. And guess what? Wild-eyed claims of suppression won’t provide an escape hatch. Any and all “suppressed” work can be published at will these days, and given the nature of this controversy would swiftly find a receptive audience if it had any merit. Unless of course you believe the global cabal of corrupt scientists is censoring the Internet? By the way, what “think do I got coming”? “In any case how on Earth is this or any other of their statements “slanderous?” There are zero personal attacks. (Besides the term is libelous.)” There are zero personal attacks because they have no actual evidence to support their claim that scientific research is being corrupted by graft. Now go look up the definition of “slander”  “What does presenting to PhD committees have to do with anything?” Surely you’re not that obtuse. As you hopefully know, many of the authors of this and other letters are familiar with how a professional scientist presents findings, beginning at the PhD level if not a little earlier. When you make a claim, you are expected to present a rigorous argument as nearly airtight as possible in support of your assertions. In failing to present any evidence whatsoever of their accusations of corruption, these people have not done that and are enjoying thereby a double-standard, demanding that others do a better job than can they. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:50 AM 199. BPL (comment 187), that was extremely funny! Comment by Jeff — 29 Jul 2009 @ 9:57 AM 200. Martin Vermeer, decent point but your ignoring the possibility of evidence morphing into dogma, which has been done by some in climate science. Dogma need not be made out of whole cloth to be dogma. A simple extension of evidence (even good solid evidence) into absolute truth — which many do while protesting loudly that they don’t — accompanied by an absolute intolerance of anyone or anything that deviates, even in the most remote, slightest, or insignificant sense, describes dogma and a goodly portion of AGWers. Do Doug B’s words in 170 sound like they’re defending evidence or dogma? (not singling Doug out — he’s just one of many, but recent.) Your cops and criminals comment is another example. I asked Doug a simple objective question (which he answered in the affirmative), and also made a simple declarative statement that all (except maybe one as it turns out) of the assertions in the open letter are judgmental, meaning interpretative of hard data. Which they are; and even though that doesn’t say one iota of their statements being correct or even anywhere near, your “dogma” can not permit my statement. For the record, I’m feeling decidedly unlucky over what my president understands, including (but not limited to) climate science. Barton PL, I enjoyed your 187; very clever! Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:16 AM 201. Re 180. I hope you’re right, Wayne. It wouldn’t do any harm to have the press hold the deniers’ feet to the fire more often, and could do a lot of good. Their strategy to mostly throw beanballs would then be revealed. Comment by Lawrence Brown — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:18 AM 202. #187: Yeah this should get wider circulation. BTW it’s space-time warping (although perhaps a little misrepresentation makes it more convincing-looking) Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:33 AM 203. Jeffrey Davis (196), a picky OT correction. [edit – no more on Iraq please] Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:40 AM 204. Ray #193 If only 90% of the balls were black you’d be extremely lucky (only a 10% chance) to draw black 22 times in a row (0.9^22 = ~0.1). To have a 90% chance of doing so you’d need 99.5% of the balls to be black (0.995^22 = ~0.9). But since your number 22 comes out of the blue it’s hard to see what relevance there is to the assertion that “Our evidence is sufficient to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet”. How has this percentage been calculated? Is there some correspondence between AGW theory and your example? Comment by simon abingdon — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:41 AM 205. Steve Reynolds #176. I was unable to access rankexploits.com because of 404 Not Found and internal errors. As a scientist (retired) I find any accusations of censoreship or suppression of science by scientists to be both exceptional and very important to substantiate. Please try to post your information again here or elsewhere if this doesn’t work (it is not necessary to make an active link, although a little primer here or a link to one would be helpful). There are many non-experts who use this site for accurate information on climate science findings and we all need to be able to trust this source. I have to say that my previous attempts to verify accusations of suppression of science by the climate science community have not been fruitful, but I am trying to be vigilant. Steve Comment by Steve Fish — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:43 AM 206. Martin Vermeer, decent point but your ignoring the possibility of evidence morphing into dogma, which has been done by some in climate science. Huh. Welcome to Planet Reality. The real, non-invented problem is the certainty of made-up “evidence” morphing into dogma! There’s your criminals turned cops… Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:46 AM 207. 182Chris Dudley: “There is a comment policy at Real Climate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/comment-policy/ If you feel that your comments have not been subject to that policy, then your best bet would be to no longer comment…” Actually, I think RC does follow its comment policy, although in a very biased way. For example this item: 3.Only comments that are germane to the post will be approved. Comments that contain links to inappropriate, irrelevant or commercial sites may be deleted. It seems that most sites that present informed, thoughtful, and rational disagreement with RC are considered ‘inappropriate’, and comments linking them are deleted. Often links are allowed to much less informed and rational postings. I won’t speculate on the reason. For Jim Galasyn: “You mean you are physically incapable of posting links here?” Yes. I am certainly physically capable of submitting comments with those links, but if they are deleted, they are never posted. Another item: 5.No flames, profanity, ad hominen comments, or you said/he said type arguments are allowed. This includes comments that (explicitly or implicitly) impugn the motives of others, or which otherwise seek to personalize matters under discussion. I think this is a good policy, and is well enforced if the target is on the AGW side. However, from comments I’ve seen, if the target is perceived to be on the other side, ‘ad hominen comments, … impugn the motives of others’ are very much allowed. Comment by Steve Reynolds — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:00 AM 208. The 50 signatories: In the spirit of playing the ball, not the man (though I note there has been no mention of NAS members Agnew, Austin, [Nobelist] Giaever, and Happer – it will be interesting to see who signs on moving forward) perhaps someone would like to dispassionately take on the text itself: “Greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, accompany human industrial and agricultural activity. While substantial concern has been expressed that emissions may cause significant climate change, measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th – 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today. In addition, there is an extensive scientific literature that examines beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide for both plants and animals. Studies of a variety of natural processes, including ocean cycles and solar variability, indicate that they can account for variations in the Earths climate on the time scale of decades and centuries. Current climate models appear insufficiently reliable to properly account for natural and anthropogenic contributions to past climate change, much less project future climate. The APS supports an objective scientific effort to understand the effects of all processes natural and human — on the Earths climate and the biospheres response to climate change, and promotes technological options for meeting challenges of future climate changes, regardless of cause.” Comment by wmanny — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:16 AM 209. R. Pielke Jr has made some comments on the soon to be released NOAA paper The State of the Climate in 2008. From what I have read from the report his comments appear fair. Am I missing something? Comment by stevec — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:27 AM 210. RE Singer & “many periods warmer than today” (#39)… And what happened during those periods, like the end-Permian, when 95% of life on earth died. It’s amazing that a scientist familiar with geology & geological time scales would not consider that it just might eventually get hotter than now, that there might be delay time between GHG emissions and the over all warming of this big, beautiful earth. Even housewives understand a watched pot never boils….meaning it takes a very long time to heat up a big pot of water. Maybe Singer ought to get into the kitchen more often. He might learn some science. Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:31 AM 211. Rod B., can you support your champions with some evidence? Can you point to specific cases of corruption, or censorship, or dogmatic thinking? Why are these signatories not required to do any research, perform any science, before making suggestions about engineering our way out of a problem that has not been established as actually existing? Where is the evidence of the problem? Where are the papers that were not published? Where are the grant proposals that demonstrate a pattern of deceit? Waffle on a about judgments, gut feelings, whatever you prefer, but at the end of the day you’re committing the same error of which you so enthusiastically accuse the scientific community. Your particular dogma is that a fundamental problem of incompetence and corruption has captured multiple disciplines and is leading us down the path of perdition. Your dogma if you prefer to call it that is inferior because it has no supporting evidence. You and yours can’t produce this evidence, perhaps because it does not exist, maybe because you’re really not interested in knowing the facts, or possibly for some other unfathomable reason. Yet we’re supposed to take it on faith that we should ignite a major upheaval in the established process of doing science and in particular how climate research is being performed. Regarding the “non-partisan” body suggested by the signatories, can you propose a specific mechanism less susceptible to corruption than either the IPCC or the established scientific publishing arena? And before making remarks about the existing system, remember you have to produce -evidence- behind whatever assertions you’re tempted to make. How would the members of the “non-partisan” body be chosen? Would we include inferior scientists simply because they held a contrary position to the mainstream of research output? Would we need to lower the bar of acceptability for their work? And for that matter, what exactly does “non-partisan” mean? What factions are we speaking of? Have we even established that such factions exist? Can you identify them? Again the entire premise behind the Nature letter is that a serious problem is in need of correction, but we’ve not been shown a scintilla of evidence to support that claim. On that basis we’re supposed to accord these people respect and follow their faith wherever it may lead. Not likely. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:59 AM 212. “I asked Doug a simple objective question (which he answered in the affirmative), and also made a simple declarative statement that all (except maybe one as it turns out) of the assertions in the open letter are judgmental, meaning interpretative of hard data. Which they are; and even though that doesn’t say one iota of their statements being correct or even anywhere near, your “dogma” can not permit my statement.” And you assiduously avoid the main point of what you’re forcing me to repeat, which is that some evidence of incompetence or corruption is a necessary requirement for these people to have any credibility. How exactly is it “dogma” to ask, for instance, how 2+2=5? Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2009 @ 12:03 PM 213. One Question asked three ways: When we see “surprising” ice melt somewhere, does that mean some body of air is cooler than predicted (under conservation of energy); or, that more heat came into the system than projected by the models? Likewise, when we find sea water that is warmer than expected, does that mean that somewhere we should find air temperatures that are cooler than expected? Are we certain that the models correctly estimate the partitioning /equilibrium of heat between air, water, and ice? Perhaps, at current air temperatures, more heat is going into ice and water faster than the models estimate? Comment by Aaron Lewis — 29 Jul 2009 @ 12:30 PM 214. #201, Lawrence, wait till the next article, of whatever gem a contrarian says… Might as well start! Comment by Wayne Davidson — 29 Jul 2009 @ 1:01 PM 215. Oh! Lynn! Watched pots certainly do boil [smiley face]. With science and knowledge of the parameters you can calculate within seconds when a pot will boil. The open letter never claimed that hotter global temperatures wouldn’t cause problems. One could infer something different from their words, and they might have surreptitiously hoped for this, but they didn’t claim it. Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:04 PM 216. For the record, I’m feeling decidedly unlucky over what my president understands, including (but not limited to) climate science. Obama is like Jesus: cares for you even though you don’t believe in him :-) Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:19 PM 217. “Ray #193 If only 90% of the balls were black you’d be extremely lucky (only a 10% chance) to draw black 22 times in a row (0.9^22 = ~0.1). To have a 90% chance of doing so you’d need 99.5% of the balls to be black (0.995^22 = ~0.9). … Comment by simon abingdon” Nope, you’re assuming there that the chance of a black ball there is known. Currently, for the ball-puller (ooh-er missus!) this is not. Therefore if 90% of the balls pulled are black, you cannot yet say that 90% of the balls are black. There is a confidence limit on that figure. Now, if you’ve taken 20 of the 22 balls out and 18 of them are black, you KNOW that you can’t have anything less 2 white balls in the bag originally out of 22 (91%) and you can’t have anything more than 4 white balls in the bag (81%). But what if you’ve taken 20 out of a bag of unknown (but vastly more than the number you’ve taken out) size? That is where you have your CONFIDENCE LIMIT. 90% +/- what? Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:38 PM 218. 205Steve Fish: “I was unable to access rankexploits.com because of 404 Not Found and internal errors.” Try this: http://rankexploits.com/musings/ Maybe the moderator will surprise me and let the link through. Comment by Steve Reynolds — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:50 PM 219. Doug Bostrom (208, 209): Who are my champions that you want me to support?? You don’t have the faintest idea who my champions are. Are you claiming the signatories have done no research, science or publishing in climate science? Or did you find a few who hadn’t and that’s close enough? “Waffle on a about judgments…” Though that was the crux of my assertion that, other than loud rants (erudite to be sure), you didn’t (and can’t) refute. “Your particular dogma is that a fundamental problem of incompetence and corruption has captured multiple disciplines and is leading us down the path of perdition.” Huh? Where on earth did you pull that from? (don’t answer literally; this is a family blog). I (nor the open letter for that matter) never said anything about incompetence and corruptness. I can’t conceive of a nonpartisan body if nonpartisan refers to science. If you’re referring to the statement, “It requests that an objective scientific process be established, devoid of political or financial agendas”, I don’t see how anyone can object to such an ideal. It does have a problem IMO that, like you I take it, I can’t envision such an ideal as a pragmatic reality. The current climate science community as a whole and (possibly…) the IPCC might be the least susceptible to corruption, though not free of susceptibility to corruption. Both are susceptible to some degree to bad science, the IPCC far more than the field at large because it’s primarily a political body. Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 2:52 PM 220. Mark #214 “We draw 22 balls (with replacement)” RTFQ Comment by simon abingdon — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:15 PM 221. “Are we certain that the models correctly estimate the partitioning /equilibrium of heat between air, water, and ice? Perhaps, at current air temperatures, more heat is going into ice and water faster than the models estimate?” Perhaps they are. But then that would be seen in the spread of ensemble runs where some have the right physics in it to show this and some don’t. Then again, most likely they aren’t. Since you don’t have a theory about how this could happen, this isn’t yet even in the hypothesis realm. Merely WAGing. Still, what would happen in the physics we DO know about if any one of them were so? Ice: melt quicker. We can spot that. Water: well deep ocean isn’t currently in equilibrium with the CO2 content at the moment and as water warms, we get less temperature NOW but more CO2 later. This doesn’t sound good. Then again, that just means we must reduce CO2 ***now*** rather than later, so that when the ocean does burp, we’re already reducing the CO2 out there and hopefully we can avoid an alarming shift in CO2 to new and more worrying regimes. But we don’t have a good model of that yet and the discrepancy in energy terms isn’t huge. Yet. But the models will include anything that pans out. It’s what climate scientists DO for their money. Plotting to take over the world is merely a hobby… ;-) Comment by Mark — 29 Jul 2009 @ 3:27 PM 222. To the IPCC guidelines on uncertainties and away from Ray’s example, see: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4_UncertaintyGuidanceNote.pdf Comment by wmanny — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:28 PM 223. Aaron, the climate scientists may want to answer some of your question; I’ll just flag that knowing the details matters enormously, but takes much longer than knowing the overall result. Biology’s just starting to be considered, e.g. http://www.sciencecodex.com/the_ocean_mixes_up_sea_life_but_the_sea_lifes_mixes_back But we’ve known for a long time that biology is involved over long time spans, e.g. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=plankton+greenhouse If you’re looking for good reading, there’s plenty. If you’re looking for someone to say everything is known, or an excuse to say that since we don’t know everything we can’t be sure about anything, you won’t find that in the science journals. Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:49 PM 224. Mclean did not use proper methodology and his assumptions on “pre-inductrial,” CO2 is incorrect and he fails to keep in mind the logarhythmic relationship btw CO2 levels and warming effects. He correctly discusses some effects of ENSO, but all of this has been known for a long time; even proposed more than 3 decades ago before more evidence was uncovered to support such myriad of variability factors; (thermohaline, ENSO, Milankovitch cyles, convection, advection, etc…) Comment by Jacob Mack — 29 Jul 2009 @ 4:51 PM 225. Oboy. I mentioned this in an earlier comment. Worth a quote and a nod to the modelers (what’s Dr. Le Quere been doing lately?) This is quotable (good job by some press report writer I guess, although not entirely new as suggested in the first paragraph, there have been other reports in previous years): http://www.sciencecodex.com/the_ocean_mixes_up_sea_life_but_the_sea_lifes_mixes_back —-excerpt follows—– Posted On: July 29, 2009 – 7:10pm “The perspective we usually take is how the ocean–by its currents, temperature, and chemistry–is affecting animals,” says John Dabiri, a Caltech bioengineer who, along with graduate student Kakani Katija, discovered the new mechanism. “But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important, how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment.” Dabiri’s and Katija’s findings show this inverse to be true, and are published in the journal Nature…. After a series of calculations, Dabiri and Katija were able to estimate the impact of this biogenic ocean mixing. “There are enough of these animals in the ocean,” Dabiri says, “that the global power input from this process is as much as a trillion watts of energy, comparable to that of wind forcing and tidal forcing.” While these numbers are estimates, they are likely to be conservative estimates, Dabiri says. “They were based on the fluid transport induced by individual animals swimming in isolation.” Dabiri says the next major question is how these effects can be incorporated into computer models of global ocean circulation. Such models are important for simulations of global climate change scenarios…. —– And, no, just because this isn’t in the models doesn’t mean the models are wrong. The models know mixing happens. Some of the details about how that happens have thus far been left as an exercise for the scientists, which they’re beginning to fill in Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jul 2009 @ 5:07 PM 226. Tried posting via the comments popup => server error, so let’s see if this works from the main page. #154 Wayne Davidson: “My solution for any person or scientist siding with the contrarian point of view”… That’s the whole problem, isn’t it? “Siding with a point of view” is not science, it’s ideology or religion. I for one (and I don’t doubt this of any real scientist) would be ecstatic if the dire predictions of the mainstream were falsified in favour of a much less dire outcome. My worry is that this one-sided attack on the science is forcing scientists on the defensive wrt exploring even more dire outcomes, for fear of the being labelled “alarmist”. Anyone who has read the real scientific literature will know that the error bars go both ways, and those are the unknowns we know enough about to include in the models. The science of predicting tipping points is much less certain as far as I can determine. But I agree with your central point. These people are unable to predict anything useful; it’s all hindcasting with careful cherry picking and data massaging. That’s of course the irony of their position. They demand that the mainstream predict with greater precision than is really needed to make decisions, but somehow find it acceptable that they can’t predict with enough precision to make any kind of sense. There’s a simple lesson in this, in how to be a negative contrarian: imagine everything the mainstream could do wrong, make those mistakes yourself, then incorrectly accuse the other side of those very mistakes to distract attention from the inadequacies of your own position. Worked for tobacco can’t be bad for you, worked for HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, works for climate change inactivism. Sadly some people are impervious to logic, e.g. see the comment at my blog by one Greig, a frequent online commentator in Australia, in which he says “I disagree that simply because a hypothesis does not attempt to predict the future, that it is necessarily weak”. And this is someone relatively well informed who seems to have a science or engineering background. Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Jul 2009 @ 5:43 PM 227. John Mashey (52): I believe you have raised an important issue John and made some very good points, as usual. It is one that has been on my mind recently also. I can’t necessarily speak to how general of a problem it is, but I do believe the system for commenting on published articles is faulty and needs to be overhauled, at least for some societies’ journals. To clarify, we are talking about peer-reviewed Comments–and responses by the original authors–not simple correspondences to the journal (like a letter to a newspaper). First, some journals, not sure how many, do not even accept Comments at all. If you disagree with a particular article’s findings, you have no recourse but to submit a new paper presenting your evidence. Such a paper will, as you note, generally take a year or two to see daylight, longer if you have to collect/obtain/assemble/error check some new data or do some time-consuming new analyses. Very poor turnaround time, and a generally poor policy. One cannot help but wonder if some journals don’t want to have to admit that they may have published some bad science (even if that will in fact become apparent eventually). Second, even for those that do allow same, you will notice that there are not very many Comments published, compared to the number of articles published. That means that (1) either the science is very good, (2) bad science is not being responded to, or (3) countering viewpoints are being expressed in new articles (or perhaps now, blogs). Or some combination thereof. The putative purpose for allowing Comments to be published is to provide a short, directed and quick response to the particular propositions of a paper, to obviate any long delay in presenting alternative views. But it doesn’t always work this way. For instance, almost a year ago, I submitted a Comment regarding a paper* that came out in Geophysical Res. Letters (GRL) im June ’08. It was a highly flawed paper, but controversial, and so received quite a bit of popular press** as a “revolutionary” finding. To make a long story short, it’s been over a year now, and though finally accepted, the thing is still some (unknown) time from being published. There were some quite suspicious circumstances involved along the way and I had to make a fairly big stink about it, to keep it from being rejected (or accepted in a form unacceptable to me). And I had a very strong set of counter-arguments coming from several angles. It was far more time consuming, aggravating and cumbersome than it had any need or right to be. I also can’t help but wonder how it would have proceeded if a well known ecologist (Tom Swetnam, Jerry Franklin) had written the same thing, rather than a nobody like me. If the kind of experience I had is even marginally common, journals will have nothing to say as criticisms of papers appearing in them are increasingly taken to task in blogs, personal websites etc. They really need to create a forum for quick turn-around, well-reviewed, criticisms of published work. There’s no excuse for not doing so. * Fellows and Goulden, 2008. Has fire suppression reduced the amount of carbon stored in western U.S. forests? Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L12404, doi:10.1029/2008GL033965. Comment by Jim Bouldin — 29 Jul 2009 @ 5:55 PM 228. #224 Philip, I agree, but we must take sides, however the contrarians are creating a false debate, which requires to take sides, and at least reject their propaganda, as it is truly a political stance that they take, rather than a scientific one. The true debate, backed by the correct majority, is how fast this warming is happening and how bad it will be in the next years, decades, because of AGW. The real focus should be there. But that doesn’t stop me from exposing contrarians as mouth pieces for inanity. I rather think that they, unwittingly, bring out the debate to the fore, and they should consider that all their attempts bring out what is best about science, raising the reality of now; sea ice melting, glaciers retreating, GT’s going up again and again is a necessary thing to broadcast, the more often the better. Crediting those who brought out the correct GT forecasts done in the past, is not done enough, the credibility of those being correct is the true reason why contrarians bark on the wrong tree, they cant compete with good science… “I disagree that simply because a hypothesis does not attempt to predict the future, that it is necessarily weak” Is the contrarian modus operandi; climate science is weak, it cant predict anything, anyones theory is as good as as anyone else. Therefore the false debate. The reply is “put up (a prediction) and stand by it or you are a nobody in this field. Comment by Wayne Davidson — 29 Jul 2009 @ 7:37 PM 229. Martin, but as the book says, in the very final analysis I’ll be thrown under the bus! Comment by Rod B — 29 Jul 2009 @ 7:59 PM 230. Simon Abingdon, the appropriate statistical model in this case is binomial statistics. You can show this in Excel–look at the probability of 22 straight successes, varying the probability of success until the probability dips below 10%. Or, you can look at reliability tables for sampling. Keep in mind that confidence is not really a probability as such. [Response: Actually, for any possible fraction of white balls (p = [0,1]), you can calculate the probability of getting 22 black balls (with replacement) as (1-p)^22, which will range from 1 to infinitesimally small. You can then calculate the probability that the next ball is W|p as (1-p)^22/ int_0^1{ (1-p)^22 dp} from Bayes theorem (assuming a uniform prior). i.e. P(W|p) = 23*(1-p)^22. The expected value of P(W) is then (I think) just the int_0^1{ P(W|p)*p dp} = 1/24 or just over 4%. (can someone confirm I got that right?). – gavin] Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:09 PM 231. Steve: Surprise! Comment by Jim Galasyn — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:24 PM 232. Jim Bouldin 29 July 2009 at 5:55 PM Playing devil’s advocate, I suppose staffing even at GRL is sparse, and reviewers capable of dealing usefully with particular comments are probably in even shorter supply. My SO is an editor and reviewer both, depending on the journal, and I spend significant portions of my soothing budget helping her stay calm about the demands on valuable time resulting from her commitment. (For the uninitiated, it’s probably helpful to understand that reviewers receive no compensation for this picky and highly charged work, receiving as their only recompense irritable emails from editors demanding to know when reviews will be received. Scientists filling editorial slots also get practically nothing, in return for vastly more aggravation). Imagine the converse, with poor damping compared to what you see now. Then you’d probably have people like myself and Rod B. sticking our oars in the water, generating a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, etc., except in the case of professional journals our “contributions” would be actively destructive to progress. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2009 @ 8:31 PM 233. Rod B 29 July 2009 at 2:52 PM See if you can read this, and understand. I’ll try my best to be clear. “Are you claiming the signatories have done no research, science or publishing in climate science? ” No, I’m saying that by demanding a non-partisan oversight organization to supervise climate-related research, which they further demand be free from financial and political considerations, the signatories of the letter to which I am referring (that in Nature) are by implication expecting us to –understand and agree that the current system is corrupt–. They have not demonstrated that the current system is corrupt. They show no evidence of corruption, only what appear to be gut feelings. They are not being scientific about constructing their argument, though ironically they’re not only attacking science but are in fact in some cases themselves scientists. Would you like me to express this yet another way? Assuming I have made myself clear, do you agree with the letter writers that the current system is substantially corrupt? Regarding the dogma to which you appear to subscribe, it’s suggestive by your staunch defense of the ragtag group of contrarians and their unproven assumptions about climate-related research that you too adhere to the notion that something really stinks about the current climate related scientific community. You and they give the appearance of believing this corruption to be so threatening that it requires essentially a revolution in the scientific community in order to correct the situation. If you don’t agree that something is wrong with the current scientific community in the way the letter writers imply, without evidence, all you need do is say so and any further basis of disagreement for this particular discussion is done as far as I’m concerned. Do you agree with the implied charge made by the Nature letter authors? Is the current climate related scientific community so corrupt that we need a wholesale reconstruction of how climate research is performed? Comment by Doug Bostrom — 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:52 PM 234. re: #162 Burgy re: Moorad Alexanian (thank goodness, Googleable!) Since you know him, please help me with my research (into where anti-science comes from, especially in those few scientists who do it, and especially why certain physicists do this. My current category list may be missing something.) 1) From examining his C.V., I find: a) A bunch of publications in peer-reviewed journals on two-photon interactions, Raman scattering, quantum optics, etc; certainly worthy areas. I.e., he seems a decently-published physicist, although I’m certainly unqualified to assess his contributions, other than what I can see from Google Scholar. b) No peer-reviewed climate-science publications (or any others I could find). He seems to have signed the OISM petition, so this isn’t new. 2) Most scientists I know are conservative in what they say, and especially decline to comment strongly on scientific disciplines far away from their own field(s), or ones they have at least spent some serious time studying. 3) The piece he signed in essence erases (see “agnotology”) the last 20-30 years science, not in his own area, but in another for which it’s hard to find evidence of expertise. Again, you know how big a field physics is… 4) Might you ask him, most politely: a) Does he realize 3)? He is basically asserting the total incompetence of an entire other field that seems rather far away from his own. b) If so, does he have specific science to basically reject the work of large number of scientists? Is there some reason he believes their work to be of low-quality, in general? Has he seriously studied up? What are his sources? c) Can he say how he learned about this petition and decided to sign up? d) He is in UNCW department of Physics and Physical Oceanography. Does he talk to the folks who do the latter? (Might you know if there some “issue” here between Atomic Physics and Marine Sciences @ UNCW? I ask since some of the most intense politics I’ve ever seen were inside university departments.) e) And finally, suppose a bunch of (for example) atmospheric physicists petitioned the APS to essentially erase his last 20-30 years’ research from human knowledge. How would he feel about that? f) As you know, reputation matters in science. Do you think this enhances his reputation as a scientist or not? Comment by John Mashey — 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:21 PM 235. Re #225 Oboy. I mentioned this in an earlier comment. Worth a quote and a nod to the modelers (what’s Dr. Le Quere been doing lately?) This is quotable (good job by some press report writer I guess, although not entirely new as suggested in the first paragraph, there have been other reports in previous years): http://www.sciencecodex.com/the_ocean_mixes_up_sea_life_but_the_sea_lifes_mixes_back —-excerpt follows—– Posted On: July 29, 2009 – 7:10pm “The perspective we usually take is how the ocean–by its currents, temperature, and chemistry–is affecting animals,” says John Dabiri, a Caltech bioengineer who, along with graduate student Kakani Katija, discovered the new mechanism. “But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important, how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment.” Good to see one of my former students doing well. :) Comment by Phil. Felton — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:01 AM 236. re: #232 Doug Anyone who’s done any of this knows how much work it is … but do you really mean that scientific publishing should not take *any* advantage of modern technology? It already takes work to select letters to the editor … but a letter is a poor vehicle in comparison with an article, and it is just plain silly for refutations of dumb articles to take a year or two, and it lowers the quality of information collected together. Sites that are tightly-moderated don’t collect junk, because random babblers stop trying. Comment by John Mashey — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:11 AM 237. re: #191 Steven T. Corneliussen Thanks, I may take you up on your kind offer later on, but I have a lot of work to do on this first. Comment by John Mashey — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:55 AM 238. #230 Gavin: > (assuming a uniform prior). But that’s the twist, innit? In real life there’s likely to be a spike at p = 0. Just like real-life coins have a spike at (or around) p = 0.5. I can confirm your integral… substitute q = 1 – p and integrate the terms separately. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Jul 2009 @ 1:48 AM 239. [Response: Actually, for any possible fraction of white balls (p = [0,1]), you can calculate the probability of getting 22 black balls (with replacement) as (1-p)^22, which will range from 1 to infinitesimally small. You can then calculate the probability that the next ball is W|p as (1-p)^22/ int_0^1{ (1-p)^22 dp} from Bayes theorem (assuming a uniform prior). i.e. P(W|p) = 23*(1-p)^22. The expected value of P(W) is then (I think) just the int_0^1{ P(W|p)*p dp} = 1/24 or just over 4%. (can someone confirm I got that right?). – gavin] yes, that seems right. Using a beta conjugate prior (with alpha = 1 and beta = 1 so it is uniform), then the posterior distribution for the probability of success in a Bernoulli trial after witnessing no successes (s=0) and f=22 failures is p(q|s,f) = (q^s(1-q)^f)/B(s+1,f+1). Then the desired probability is obtained by marginalising over p(q|s,f), i.e. p(w) = \int p(w|q)p(q|s,f)dq = E_p(q){q} = 0.0411. Bit early in the morning for maths for me, so I can’t guarantee that is correct, and also I didn’t read the original question, so it may be the right answer to the wrong question! Comment by Gavin (no not that one) — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:54 AM 240. Going back to Ray #184 “Actually, 90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong. It is merely a measure of the amount of what the amount of evidence we have to date allows us to claim” and #230 “Keep in mind that confidence is not really a probability as such” and leaving aside for now calculation of the odds against drawing 22 black balls in a row, does a statement such as “I have 50% confidence that the next coin toss will be heads” make any sense? If not please provide me with a definition of the word “confidence” (as a quantitative measure) so as to give me some idea of what your assertion “Our evidence is sufficient to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet” can possibly mean. Thanks. Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:07 AM 241. Gavin @230: Yes, I think that is right. The thing is, though, for the case stated, we have zero evidence that there are ANY white balls–just as we have zero evidence favoring the proposition that a)the globe isn’t warming; or b)that CO2 isn’t behind that warming. What binomial treatment gives that the Bayesian treatment doesn’t is the confidence–though the Bayesian treatment does produce likely intervals. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:11 AM 242. Rod B., evidence does not become dogma. Evidence is what you use to avoid belief becoming dogma. That is an example of the fuzzy, imprecise, reactive and contrarian thinking that prevents you from understanding scientific inference. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:13 AM 243. Actually, Mark (184)not all Physicists are earnest. One of the very few original lab reports which I looked up was Millikan’s famous oil drop experiment. He was measuring the charge of an electron, and he knew the answer. In the margin of his notes, beside a correct result, he wrote “good one, Publish” Comment by Fred Staples — 30 Jul 2009 @ 6:29 AM 244. Ray #234: The posterior distribution of p(q|s,f) is sharply peaked at zero, and while we indeed have no direct evidence that any white balls exist, that doesn’t mean the available evidence suggests that it is safe to assert that there are no white balls, it depends on your prior beliefs, which are at least explicitly stated in the Bayesian formulation. That conclusion is equally applicable to the evidence for a lack of warming, if the Polya urn was a suitable model in the first place. BTW, arguably a credible interval is more useful than a confidence interval, but lets not go there! ;o) Comment by Gavin (no not that one) — 30 Jul 2009 @ 6:32 AM 245. Simon #240: I would take “Our evidence is sufficient to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet” to suggest that the evidence constrains the value of the actual long term trend to be non-negative. In other words, the “confidence” is the probability that the value of the trend lies in a particular interval, without specifying its exact value. For the Polya urn example, the posterior distribution for q (the probility of drawing a white ball in a single trial) has a Beta distribution that is sharply peaked at zero (i.e. the maximum a-posteriori prediction is that there are no white balls in the urn). The expected probability is given by marginalising over the posterior and is 1/24, as Gavin (the real one) demonstrated. However we can also have a credible interval which tells us the values for q are plausible given the evidence. The narrowest interval would start at zero and widen until it covered 95% of the area under the p.d.f. at a value Q). We could then say that we were 95% confident that the probability of drawing a white ball is less than Q. HTH Comment by Gavin (no not that one) — 30 Jul 2009 @ 6:52 AM 246. …please provide me with a definition of the word “confidence” (as a quantitative measure) so as to give me some idea of what your assertion “Our evidence is sufficient to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet” can possibly mean. Yes, source of frequent puzzlement. What it means is that, if we had at our disposal 10 “test Earths”, otherwise similar in properties, but lacking the increase in greenhouse gases; then one of these would be expected (i.e., a 10% probability) to nevertheless display similar temperature increases as we are seeing on our home planet. This is the frequentist definition. Problem with it being of course that we only have the one Earth we are actually experimenting on. But in the modelling universe, one can actually build such an ‘ensemble’. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:28 AM 247. Re: the extended whine about censorship: I am an ardent AGW awareness activist and downright giddy when slapping denialists upside their heads. Yet, I’ve had messages not published here. Rest assured, if your post was not published, it didn’t deserve to be or was eaten by the Ghost in the Machine. By the same token, I have been banned from posting at Watts up. Call a spade a spade and that’s what you get. Go figure. Now kindly be quiet. Comment by ccpo — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:29 AM 248. Simon Abingdon, One would more likely state that the probability of a coin toss coming up heads is 50%. Confidence has to do with how well you know that probability. How wrong could it be? How often could the evidence used to derive the probability conspire to make you draw the wrong conclusion? Deriving a confidence level implies a statistical model. In the sense that the IPCC is using confidence, it is probably a Bayesian approach. Again, though, think of our problem with the jar: Our evidence only allows us to state that fewer than 10% of the balls are white with 90% confidence. We have no evidence that there are ANY white balls, and indeed we’d be foolish to bet the next ball would be white, regardless of the odds given. In a binomial sampling experiment, we can never establish that there are no white balls with 100% confidence. At some point, though, (and 90% is usually a pretty good level) the smart money knows how to bet. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:31 AM 249. “One of the very few original lab reports which I looked up was Millikan’s famous oil drop experiment. Comment by Fred Staples ” Uh, that’s not dishonesty as Plimer et al put it when talking of the IPCC et al. It IS an example of how if you know the answer you can get a wrong answer, though. The original value produced in the original experiment was wrong. Each subsequent trial to find it got a slightly different answer, but closer and closer each time to the right answer. How? Because they “knew” that the number should be “about” what they’d been told, they discarded data or didn’t publish at all if they had a figure wildly different from what others had. This doesn’t apply too well to AGW (and is, in any case, part of that “1-10% probability we have it wrong” thing, hence acknowledged: if you think you have something that realises that chance, prove it). It does apply quite well to denialists. They ignore any evidence that doesn’t say AGW is false. But if that self same data turns up something that can be spun or mutilated into saying it, suddenly the data is reliable. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:48 AM 250. “If not please provide me with a definition of the word “confidence” (as a quantitative measure) so as to give me some idea of what your assertion “Our evidence is sufficient to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet” can possibly mean. Comment by simon abingdon ” It is possible that the earth will be struck by a ELE asteroid before we get to 2050. It is possible that we will flip into another stable regime where there would be a massive change of climate well outside the range possible in this regime (see: Venus). It is possible that the Sun will go extremely active, irradiating the earth and causing much more warming that CO2 can manage on its own. It is possible that the Sun will go extremely quiet, reducing the irradiation of the earth and plunging us into a new climate. It is possible that we will meet an interstellar race who help us out of a hole (or enslave us to work in their sugar mines…). It’s possible that something we don’t know will change the whole game. If you don’t know what that is, then you can’t rely on it doing anything in particular: that would require knowing what it is. And there could be millions of things we don’t know about. The chance of any one of them happening is astronomically small. It isn’t 0% likely for any of these, though. So you can’t say “100%”. So say “90+%”. PS ask your actuaries about hedge bets and residual risk. They deal with the same “one in a million unforeseen chance”. They don’t have a model for it, but they work with it. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 8:02 AM 251. John Mashey 7/09, 11:21 PM John, Since you believe that reputation matters, what’s your take on the four NAS signers, including the Nobel laureate Giaever? More generally, do you believe we need to listen to any physicists at all (Dyson probably the most notable example this year) if they are not actively publishing in the climate field? By extension, should we even care what APS thinks about AGW one way or the other? Walter Comment by wmanny — 30 Jul 2009 @ 8:38 AM 252. Martin #246 I’ll try again. Ray #193 says “90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong”. Therefore 90% confidence does not equate to a 90% chance of being right. What then is the relationship (if any) between probability and confidence expressed as a percentage (not confidence interval or confidence limit, just plain “confidence”)? To repeat, am I wrong to equate confidence with probability by saying (for example) that my confidence is 50% that the next coin toss will come down heads? Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 8:42 AM 253. “More generally, do you believe we need to listen to any physicists at all (Dyson probably the most notable example this year) if they are not actively publishing in the climate field?” Ah, the lovely summer straw! Listen to them. No problem. But if you have an expert on one side and a non-expert on the other, unless you’re going to investigate on your own, take the experts advice. Just because there are no lawyers on slashdot, does that mean you shouldn’t listen to their advice when you’re in legal trouble? Citizens Advice have no legal professionals on their team, but you should listen to their advice. But if you already have a lawyer, listen to their advice and follow it if you just want to take advice. NOTE: a lawyer is quite often wrong too. They often tell you to settle because you haven’t got much chance of winning. When in fact there is a large chance of winning. But if you want to ignore the lawyers advice, you had better get some work done in understanding law first. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:00 AM 254. Fred, you’re once again trying the “founder” notion — yes, Millikan was a founder. Yes, his value was wrong. Yes, it was a good paper, by the criteria of scientific papers. It led other researchers to publish good work, and over time, the science improved. Science isn’t a religion. There’s no original foundation on which everything else is based, that can be tipped or cracked to collapse all built on it. Science is not like the mighty oak or towering redwood, a single great idea pointing in a clear direction. Science is like kudzu, the work is done at the growing edge, and it grows wherever the conditions are better, and the “direction” is something we decide on after the fact. But you know this. Old scientists are like old kudzu, part of the mass but not holding up what’s happening now. Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:34 AM 255. Oh, for any kids writing papers, the Millikan story is worth understanding — it makes the point clearly that early work leads to later work, and early work isn’t valued because it’s perfect but because it leads to interesting work later. You know how to look this stuff up by now — or your librarian can help you with it. Here’s a start: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=millikan+oil+drop+measurements+replication+convergence http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=millikan+oil+drop+measurements+replication+convergence Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:39 AM 256. “Therefore 90% confidence does not equate to a 90% chance of being right. Comment by simon abingdon ” The IPCC report isn’t saying just “CO2 is the main cause of warming”. It’s saying “the rate of warming is between 2 and 4.5C per doubling”. Now, lets say the rate of warming was 4.6. Are the IPCC wrong? In saying that CO2 is a major cause: no. In saying that CO2 doubling will produce a 2-4.5C warming? Yes. What is the chance that the warming is outside 2-4.5? Maybe 1%. Maybe 10%. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:01 AM 257. John Mashey 30 July 2009 at 12:11 AM I think it would indeed be crazy not to exploit modern technologies as much as possible! Just the availability of abstracts online (leaving aside the battle over embargo of full articles) has been so beneficial to everybody. I’ll hazard a guess that extensive casual access to journals that might not be in the local university library roster translates directly into better science. This is also to the benefit of the general public as well; think of how the discussion here is promoted and bettered by that means. I’d say that support for low latency online discussion would require tight access controls, if discussion were not to degrade to, say, the level found here, which is generally of remarkable quality but nonetheless attracts its fair share of crackpots and folks insufficiently informed (me, for instance) to make useful contribution to particular areas of scientific inquiry. Open access means relatively intensive work for a moderator; Gavin for instance has an incredibly sure eye but he’s doing much more work than is strictly necessary or desirable for the purpose of advancing any given path of investigation. Yet some mechanism would need to be in place to handle authentication of participants beyond simply a roster of print subscribers or membership lists of the professional bodies associated with the journal’s field of coverage. It’s often the case that cross-disciplinary communications are beneficial, AGW itself being an excellent example. Such a vehicle would require another form of reviewer as well, somebody reasonably well versed in a given field yet with a schedule permitting frequent moderation duty. Come to think of it, maybe this could become some kind of socializing service for grad students to perform. Perhaps I’m exaggerating that requirement; if access control is well handled then moderation might not require much expertise. Forward-thinking journals ought to be laying tracks to run these systems, but at least some little amount of resources will be necessary. Seems to me the access control is the biggest nut to crack. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:01 AM 258. “To repeat, am I wrong to equate confidence with probability by saying (for example) that my confidence is 50% that the next coin toss will come down heads? Comment by simon abingdon” No. But the IPCC report isn’t that. Your coin-tossing is more like you have tossed it 10 times and got 4:6 heads:tails. What is your confidence that the chance of the next coin being thrown as a head is 40%? 90%? Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:02 AM 259. Doug Bostrom (233), Partially disagreeing with you in the first of your post, I think the signatories are claiming the current science is partially incorrect; they are not making a claim of corruption (in the normal common accepted meaning of that term.) IMO the current situation is somewhat incorrect — “somewhat” being a bit less than “partially” in my arcane mind. I do not think it “really stinks” — not even close to. Nor do I think a revolution is in order to fix the current problems — again not even close to. I don’t think the signatories are saying that either and I agree with what they say according to my interpretation. If your interpretation is correct (and I don’t think it is even close…, but…) then I do not agree with them. Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:08 AM 260. Ray (242), I did not say evidence becomes dogma. I said evidence can become (be turned into) dogma — and sometimes does. Dogma is not necessarily religious in nature; it can be an inflexible principle or set of principles laid down in any group by some authority. If you think nobody has ever taken a bit (or alot) of evidence and turned it into dogma, you need to get out more. ;-) If you’re interested in why I think much of climate science has morphed into dogma, ask — though it will probably just make you mad. Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:40 AM 261. Mark, pretty good (250). Except I think they’ll eat us, not enslave us; clearly not help us. Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 10:51 AM 262. Simon Abingdon, Confidence is inherently connected to intervals–in this case, probably those of climate sensitivity. A sensitivity above 2 degrees per doubling equates to anthropogenic causation. The evidence is sufficient to establish that at the 90% CL–that doesn’t mean there is any evidence to the contrary. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:08 AM 263. To John Mashey: In #234 you asked me some questions about Moorad. I will forward them to him and suggested he might see fit to respond here. Burgy Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:10 AM 264. Walter Manny, If you listen to what Dyson says, it is clear that 1)he is out of his depth when discussing climate; and 2)he is a technological optimist who believes we’ll be saved by our inventiveness. I would also contend that while Dyson is a smart guy, he has little understanding of how technology progresses. It takes time, and thanks to 20 years of delay, we’ve already spent all the time we had to spend. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:11 AM 265. #251 Wmanny. “what’s your take on the four NAS signers, including the Nobel laureate Giaever? More generally, do you believe we need to listen to any physicists at all (Dyson probably the most notable example this year) if they are not actively publishing in the climate field? ” THey are good scientists ignorant about climate science. Unless they predicted something which has transpired they are inconsequential people in this field merely speculating. Dyson, as far as I know, predicted square trees, but has not made a prediction based on his understanding of climate. I never read Einstein making comments on brain surgery. If these NAS scientists are right about climate, then they must contribute to its understanding by passing the ultimate peer test, not from a school, nor a journal, the ultimate peer in this science is the future. Not trying to forecast it, is a sign of ignorance in this domain. Most modellers, I dare say, are fearless, succeed and fail with computer projections. They have earned my respect and admiration. Most contrarians, coward and fear the future. Comment by Wayne Davidson — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:25 AM 266. “I think the signatories are claiming the current science is partially incorrect; ” OK, so which bits are they saying is partially incorrect and where’s their proof? And why isn’t the current system working on an partially incorrect results? Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:30 AM 267. Mark #258 I read your post a few times but couldn’t make sense of it. The point I have been trying to make is that ascribing a numerical value to “confidence” is spurious. Where are the calculations that enable Ray to say “Our evidence is sufficient to claim 90% confidence that we are warming the planet”? The use of a figure suggests a rigour of derivation that just isn’t there. I’ve asked for a definition of “confidence” but no-one has come up with one; only hand-waving. BTW you may be amused to google “astronomically small” (#250). Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:35 AM 268. Rod B 30 July 2009 at 10:08 AM Fair enough. Perhaps it hinges on how picky (neurotic?) one (me, for instance) is about the implied content of the letter in question. To me it smacks of an indictment but it’s possible the authors did not intend it quite that way. Understand, you’re treating with a person who can become quite passionate about such things as the exact optimal way to load a dishwasher. In this case I’m inclined to become highly incensed with the mere suggestion that a plurality or significant minority of authors from multiple disciplines producing articles related to the AGW phenomenon are incompetent or motivated by something other than a search for improved awareness. Perhaps the authors are too focused on the pure physics component, ignoring the rather large body of indirect evidence from other disciplines lending support to the interpretation and prediction direct physical processes contributing to climate change? In any case they’re jumping the gun by suggesting a response to a problem they can’t show as factual. I only wish they’d apply the same scrupulous attention to detail and proof in this matter that they would in their core professional activities. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:35 AM 269. Having dealt with the 50 APS Society members who wrote to Nature, what is your take on the American Chemical Society who are threatening to throw out their editor for being too partisan in his support for AGW? Do you think there is any risk of the samr thing happening on Realclimate? Comment by David Watt — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:54 AM 270. I’ve been updating my list of climate authors and signers of statements about climate – I was nearly caught up, but now here comes another declaration! My big project recently has been to collect stats on how many papers each author or signer has published that mentions the word “climate” – a useful proxy for being involved in climate research, I’d venture. Anyway, after a few keystrokes in linux with sed and tr, I’ve got a text file list of the signers from their declaration website (currently showing 61 names “as of July 22″). Of these, linux “comm -12″ tells me at least 13 already showed up in my list as signers of prior skeptics’ statements. I’ll need a bit of time to process the rest of the names. For now, you can see the publication status of the 13 already listed in my table of climate skeptic declaration signers. This table is sorted by number of Google Scholar matches on the word “climate” for each author. Quick summary: of the 13 past signers I’ve got listed already, only Singer (110), Knox (23) and Douglass (16) are in double digits for the number of GS papers mentioning “climate.” Next comes Battaglia with 5. The rest have zero to two: Cohen: 2 Friedman: 2 Giaever: 0 Happer: 1 Hayden: 0 Monce: 0 Sheahen: 1 Stilbs: 1 Tipler: 2 (Sheahen signed the Cato letter to Obama, except they mis-spelled his last name!) So while many of the names on this new open letter have impressive credentials in whatever area of physics they have worked in, the selection I’ve seen before have next to no publication record *on climate*. This is consistent with the larger list of climate skeptic signers, for which the median number of papers mentioning ‘climate’ is … two. Comment by Jim Prall — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:54 AM 271. Simon Abingdon says, “The use of a figure suggests a rigour of derivation that just isn’t there. I’ve asked for a definition of “confidence” but no-one has come up with one; only hand-waving.” WRONG! Confidence is well defined in statistics–whether the statistics be frequentist or Bayesian. In point of fact there are many ways we could establish more than 90% confidence in the conclusions of climate science wrt anthropogenic causation. First would be to look at the confidence intervals for climate sensitivity. All lines of evidence favor a value around 3 degrees per doubling, and most confidence intervals drop like a shot when you get around 2 degrees. We can look at the various GCM–none of which produces anything remotely Earthlike with a sensitivity below 2 degrees per doubling–23 samples, 23 successes… And so on. The fact of the matter is that the 90% confidence level for the conclusions is in my opinion conservative, precisely because there are no alternate theories out there that come close to explaining even a tiny fraction of the observations/evidence. To contend otherwise is simply ignorant. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:00 PM 272. #252 Simon: To repeat, am I wrong to equate confidence with probability by saying (for example) that my confidence is 50% that the next coin toss will come down heads? The problem here, Simon, is that you are using here “confidence” and (subjective) “probability” as synonyms. You may do so casually, don’t sweat it, but scientific usage, as in “confidence interval” etc., is quite different. It is related to probability in the sense that confidence or significance level is one minus the probability that an observed result could have been produced by mere chance, in the absence of the phenomenon hypothesised. It relates specifically to hypothesis testing. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:09 PM 273. “Mark #258 I read your post a few times but couldn’t make sense of it. The point I have been trying to make is that ascribing a numerical value to “confidence” is spurious. ” And I answered it. Toss a coin 10 times. 4 heads. 6 tails. Is the coin loaded or not? Answer. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:14 PM 274. “I said evidence can become (be turned into) dogma — and sometimes does.” [citation needed] Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:16 PM 275. simon abingdon (#252), Confidence intervals do result from an understanding or probability but they are a little more complex than your example that you have 50% confidence that the next coin toss will be heads. After a series of trials, you may construct confidence intervals on the likelihood that the coin is unbiased with statements like I have confidence greater than 90% that the coin is unbiased within 2% (in 10,000 tosses it is unlikely to give 5,400 heads or higher). And, this is why we are hearing the statement that 90% confidence does not mean 10% of the opposite. The coin may be perfectly unbiased. You just have not studied it enough to know that. Confidence statements are statements about how well you have studied the problem and they may improve with further study. With more trials you may be able to say that you have 95% confidence that the coin is unbiased within 2% or tighten the 2% limit to 1% or less. So, confidence intervals are about the state of our knowledge as well as the state the the object of our knowledge. The climate up to 2007 is the climate up to 2007 but with more detailed simulations, we may understand better how it was changing. We may end up saying that at least 80% of the warming up to 2007 is human induced with 99.9% confidence as some point since our hindsight can be improved. 90% is not a stopping point, it can be improve upon. Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:20 PM 276. Oh, boy, another firebrand hurled on the roof by the Guardian’s Monbiot! “One of the allegations made repeatedly by climate change deniers is that they are being censored. There’s just one problem with this claim: they have yet to produce a single valid example. On the other hand, there are hundreds of examples of direct attempts to censor climate scientists. Where, on the other hand, is a single verifiable instance of a climate denier being silenced by the authorities? They have yet to produce one. But it suits them to cry wolf. They love to imagine that they are important enough to censor. The claim chimes with their paranoid invocation of a great conspiracy – involving most of the world’s scientists, most of the world’s governments, most of the world’s media and a few hundred million others – to suppress the truth about global warming. Now we have another marvellous instance of this hypocrisy. Anthony Watts spends much of his time maligning climate scientists and environmentalists on his blog Wattsupwiththat. But while he can dole it out, he can’t take it. As Kevin Grandia of desmogblog shows, Watts has just used US copyright laws to take down a YouTube video which exposes his claims. Grandia has since reposted the video (see above) so you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about.” The rest of the story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/jul/30/climate-change-deniers-monbiot Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:28 PM 277. RodB (#215 re #210), you didn’t seem to grasp my point. I was speaking about the long time it takes for an application of a mechanism that causes or traps heat to actually produce enough heat to be perceptible when applied to something really large, like a big pot of water, or the earth. I think it’s probably easier for us housewives to understand this than scientists, at least those 50 physicists, and also for us to understand that if GHGs are emitted and if they do act as a heat-trapping mechanism (which is what most scientists say about the natural greenhouse effect and about AGW), then it would not be surprising at all that it takes some time to heat up our atmosphere and the oceans enough to be perceptible. Even if everything else were equal (and we know there are other factors enhancing and suppressing this heating process, like ENSO and solar cycles, etc) there would still be some time delay before things get really hot. So I’m not very surprised that climate has not heated up enough to kill off, say, half of life on earth….but I wouldn’t want to keep stoking the fires just because that hasn’t happened yet. Eventually even the watched pot does boil, as you say. My suggestion for those 50 physicists is to take their eyes off the pot, get back to whatever work they do, then come back in a few years or a decade or two, and see if there’s been any perceptible (by them) warming — unexplainable by other non-AGW factors like el ninos, solar irradiation cycles, and cosmic rays. For them at least, the watched pot never boils; and that’s because they just don’t know how to look at it the way real climate scientists look at it, who can see those teeny tiny bubbles on the pot’s bottom and know the pot will eventually get to a rip roaring boil if we don’t take away the heat-trapping mechanism. You’ve got to be as smart as a housewife to understand this. Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:31 PM 278. Rod B wrote: “If you’re interested in why I think much of climate science has morphed into dogma, ask — though it will probably just make you mad.” Interested in WHY you think something has happened, when you have offered NO evidence that it has actually happened, despite repeated requests for such evidence? Well, I’m about as interested in that as I would be in hearing your opinions about “why” NASA faked the 1969 Moon landing. And somehow I suspect that both opinions would have something to do with “liberals” and “big government”. At this point you are not making me “mad”, you are making me laugh. Comment by SecularAnimist — 30 Jul 2009 @ 12:54 PM 279. To Simon, Ray, Chris and others chiming in on confidence levels via examples such as marbles and coins, I would refer you once again to the IPCC guidelines which are, after all, more pertinent to the subject of climate research, in the hope that you can clarify what the IPCC intended to convey to the public. I doubt that the guideline authors had the arcana of Bayesian and Neyman-Pearson usages of the term “confidence” in mind, but perhaps they did. In any event, In Table 3, we see: Very High confidence – At least 9 out of 10 chance of being correct High confidence – About 8 out of 10 chance, etc. In Table 4, it’s: Virtually certain > 99% probability of occurrence Very likely > 90% probability Likely > 66% probability, etc. For those of us who do not have the background to understand the science line by line, a complete read of the report, or merely the Summary for Policymakers, is an exercise in trying to sort out what is significant about all the ‘High’s and ‘Very Likely’s. It would appear that the IPCC is using “confidence” to indicate probability, and for example implying if not stating that Very High Confidence refers to a 1 out of 10 chance of a well defined outcome not having occurred or occurring in the future. Perhaps the authors have subsequently made it clear that they do actually intend the strict, statistician’s interpretation – I have no idea. http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4_UncertaintyGuidanceNote.pdf Comment by wmanny — 30 Jul 2009 @ 1:31 PM 280. John Mashey (#234) – I’ve also been in touch with Bob Austin as a friend and colleague to try to figure out where he’s coming from – do you mind if I send an adapted version of your list of questions to him (or perhaps you have a list you’d like to ask specific to his background in biological physics)? So far he hasn’t found the time to respond to any of my questions about specific science claims he’s made that I find lacking (mainly in a critique of a NAS analysis), so I’m not sure we’ll get much out of him being antagonistic about it. But he’s been friendly enough otherwise. Comment by Arthur Smith — 30 Jul 2009 @ 1:41 PM 281. You know folks, it equally frightens me when people over and under-state AGW and potential future consequences. Comment by Jacob Mack — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:12 PM 282. Re: #270, Thanks, Jim Prall. Your site that lists climate scientists is very useful. I often see climate contrarians cite some petition of “prominent” scientists or what not, then often go on to claim the IPCC contributors are politicians or have few credentials. Your site is an excellent resource to completely refute such claims, rather than having to painstakingly do research on each scientist. It’s also a useful site in putting a human face on scientists. Many view the scientific consensus on global warming as coming from elite academies and organizations or buried among the scientific literature, helping feed the false notion that scientists are aloof and the consensus on global warming is a product of a few “political” elites in various organizations. Your site helps dispel such notions and provides an opportunity for anyone interested to examine the work and credentials of any climate scientist and in many cases, allows them to contact them with questions. While ideally this would disarm those who believe global warming is a vast government conspiracy, I think those in this camp would probably not have the patience or inclination to spend much time on your site. There are those who still want to believe in the Easter Bunny. Comment by MarkB — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:28 PM 283. David Watt 30 July 2009 at 11:54 AM “Having dealt with the 50 APS Society members who wrote to Nature, what is your take on the American Chemical Society who are threatening to throw out their editor for being too partisan in his support for AGW?” Is he partisan? Do you think he is? How so? Are the governors of ACS proposing to fire him, as opposed to “dozens of letter writers”? Here’s the editorial: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/editor/87/8725editor.html Here are the letters: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/letters/87/8730letters.html They seem to be a mixed bag, I think you’re exaggerating the situation just a wee bit. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:32 PM 284. Mark #273 I have done as you asked, tossed a coin 10 times and (satisfyingly) got your predicted result. No the coin is not loaded, although your question probably is. I am very confident indeed that I have never handled a loaded coin. I would be foolish to put a figure on it because I could have no way of justifying it. Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:37 PM 285. Chris Dudley #275 Thank you for your clear and helpful explanation. But I am still troubled by “And, this is why we are hearing the statement that 90% confidence does not mean 10% of the opposite” But, so long as confidence remains at “only” 90%, does that not leave the the door open for the opposite to be true with 10% confidence? The 90% confidence in AGW has to coexist with a 10% chance of it being found to be false, otherwise the confidence in it would be greater. Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 2:53 PM 286. Years ago I was in court as witness to a traffic accident when the following memorable exchange took place: Defendant: 50% of what the constable says is lies. Magistrate: And what about the other 50%? Defendant: Some of that’s lies as well. Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 3:08 PM 287. Simon, no, you’re not getting it. It’s a Statistics 101 thing, and it really does change how you view what you know, once it clicks. Robert Grumbine’s site might be a good place to ask, or Tamino’s. It really is an issue that could deserve a whole website — if any statisticians are up for teaching the basics to all who might want to come learn. There’s a well reviewed introduction to statistics here, in comic format: http://www.larrygonick.com/html/pub/books/sci7.html Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2009 @ 3:53 PM 288. Hank #287 Thanks for the advice and link which I appreciate. I will soon apply myself to diligent study. Two questions for now: (1) In the light of #279 do you think the IPCC themselves “get it”? (2) Can you help my simple understanding by saying something useful about the “missing” 10% when a 90% confidence is claimed? Comment by simon abingdon — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:25 PM 289. David Watt writes: David Watt: “what is your take on the American Chemical Society who are threatening to throw out their editor for being too partisan in his support for AGW?” I didn’t realize parents of subscribers to a magazine who write a letter had the ability to “throw out” an editor of that magazine. “I happened to be browsing through my daughter’s June 8 issue of C&EN…” or those who agree with the editor… “The more people try to trivialize global warming, the more we and our descendants will suffer the results, some of which have already been quantified (for example, glacier melting and polar ice disappearing).” Comment by MarkB — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:30 PM 290. David Watt (269) says, “…Do you think there is any risk of the same thing happening on Realclimate?” As a resident skeptic, I’ll cast a vote: I certainly hope not. But more significant there isn’t anyone or anything who has the where-with-all to do that, other than the moderators themselves (who unlike the members of ACS own RC hook, line, and sinker) which is an inane idea — until maybe one day they get tired and say fug it (a takeoff from a very old Timothy Leary (??) song ;-) ) Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:45 PM 291. Ray (271), I’ll briefly weigh in. You still didn’t answer the question. The question was about a credible mathematical derivation for the number associated with confidence level. You still described a simple judgment call — looking at all of the evidence and subjectively concluding with a high level of personal confidence that it must be highly correct. Or maybe I misread your post… Comment by Rod B — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:53 PM 292. Simon 1) yes 2) no; it really takes a little bit of study to get an idea of what a confidence interval means. I’d say work on understanding the difference between a one-tail and a two-tail test, and why you need more observations for the latter than the former to have the same confidence in the results. That was what made this click for me, long ago. Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2009 @ 4:59 PM 293. PS, confidence in statistics has to do with specific observations made over time (how many, over how much time, and how much they vary). The IPCC policy summary is not talking about any _one_ study and not reporting on a statistical analysis they did. They’re a review organization — charged with reading all the research and summing up. This ought to be obvious. I’d recommend not paying much attention to anyone who’s trying to confuse you about what the IPCC is saying. Look at any annual review publication in any field for similar assessments of the state of the work. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=%22Annual+Review%22 Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:09 PM 294. Rod, There was a recent NYT article in which Norman Mailer was reported to have used ‘fug’ in “The Naked and the Dead” to get around the Supreme Court. Fuggin’ worked, too. Now to get it past the commentators… Walter Comment by wmanny — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:20 PM 295. I notice a paper by Siddall et al., Nature Geoscience, 26 July 2009.Their model predicts between 7 and 82 cm of sea level rise by 2100. Equilibrium sea level rise is expressed as having an inverse sinh relationship to temperature change over the last 22KYr, and instantaneous sea level rise is governed by a constant, tau, which gives a best fit result between 2.4 and 3.4 Kyr. Can this 3KYr timescale to be reconciled with Andrill data indicating WAIS collapse on the timescale of 1KYr ? They point out that the albedo, altitude, and isostatic rebound feedbacks accelerate deglagiation. They fit the data over 22KYr before present. Could it be as Hansen argues, they are modelling the external forcing timescales rather than the internal timescales for ice sheet disintegration ? Or is there something like the Weertman instability shortening the timescale for WAIS collapse in the Andrill data, which is not present in the periods they model? I hope the moderators forgive me if I post this on the both the sea ice thread and this one. Comment by sidd — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:33 PM 296. Hank, since I’m the one who keeps referring to the IPCC in an attempt to get us away from coins and such, I assume you are referring to me when you mention “anyone who’s trying to confuse you.” If not, never mind, but my intent is just the opposite, actually – I am trying to get to the question about how the IPCC intended its confidence levels and likelihoods to be interpreted, either in the Policymaker summary or in the chapters themselves. My interpretation is that they are not using the strict statistical version of “confidence”, but I am no expert, only a math teacher, and so I am asking. Assuming you have read through the Guidance piece, what is your take? I find it Very Likely if not Virtually Certain that you have one. Walter Comment by wmanny — 30 Jul 2009 @ 5:34 PM 297. simon abingdon (#285), Yes, the door is open to the statement being incorrect and the chance of that being the case could be as large as 10% given present knowledge. But the irreducible uncertainty, where future knowledge ends, may arrive at showing the possibility that the statement is incorrect is very much less than 10%. That is why it is safer not to try to turn those statements around without plenty of explanation. Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 Jul 2009 @ 6:14 PM 298. Cross-posted at Tamino’s Open Mind and Deltoid as well … Here is my take on McLean et al. and associated PR campaign. http://deepclimate.org/2009/07/30/is-enso-responsible-for-recent-global-warming-no/ Here is the summary: * The McLean, de Freitas and Carter paper presented unsubstantiated conclusions that are contradicted by a cursory analysis of the very data presented. * There is widespread agreement among climate scientists that this paper should not have passed review and should not have been accepted for publication. * The authors actively participated in a deceptive public relations campaign that trumpeted and exaggerated the paper’s claims, a campaign that even substituted a press release headline for the true title of the paper. * The authors permitted an egregious breach of copyright in the dissemination of the paper in its published form at the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition website. What more is needed to prod the AGU and the Journal of Geophysical Research to do the right thing? The paper should be withdrawn, and the editor responsible disciplined. Now. In explanation of the third point (for those who won’t wade through the whole post): http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/icsc-july-26-short-2.jpg That’s right – according to the International Climate Science Coalition website, the title of the paper was – wait for it: “Nature not Man responsible for recent global warming”. Well, that’s one way to sneak a preferred title past reviewers. Comment by Deep Climate — 30 Jul 2009 @ 6:36 PM 299. “(2) Can you help my simple understanding by saying something useful about the “missing” 10% when a 90% confidence is claimed? Comment by simon abingdon” Apparently nobody can help. Maybe a therapist. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:06 PM 300. “I am very confident indeed that I have never handled a loaded coin. I would be foolish to put a figure on it because I could have no way of justifying it. Comment by simon abingdon” Then you have no clue about statistics. And there are plenty of adult learning colleges where you can find out. There you will find enlightenment. If you look for it. Comment by Mark — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:08 PM 301. David Watt wrote:”Having dealt with the 50 APS Society members who wrote to Nature, what is your take on the American Chemical Society who are threatening to throw out their editor for being too partisan in his support for AGW? Do you think there is any risk of the samr thing happening on Realclimate?” There is not even a risk of it occuring in the American Chemical Society. The letter writers all suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. It also demonstrates that there is not so much a problem with science education as with an attitude that truthiness (look it up) is better than becoming expert if you wish to argue against established science. Comment by t_p_hamilton — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:14 PM 302. Steve Reynolds #218. I checked out the Rank Exploits Blackboard link (same one I tried previously) and found your posts regarding censorship. You referred to a discussion on the Air Vent (tAV) as a worst case example entitled- “tAV to RealClimate, you can’t get there from here.” Several posters complained that posts on RC didn’t get through. These folks claimed that their posts were relatively simple and polite, and the discussion there was relatively low key so I have no reason to doubt them. On the other hand, some of their posts did get through and they, and examples of what didn’t, were so innocuous that I don’t see any reason to think RC would care, much less prevent them from appearing on their site. What the whole issue was about was the RC article by Eric Steig, “On Overfitting,” and the following posts there by RyanO regarding his amateure (I didn’t see any credentials) reanalysis of Eric’s data that he presented on tAV. This was also a polite discussion and Eric gave RyanO a lot of help, encouragement, and advice regarding his desire to publish his version of the analysis. Eric’s inline responses were as comprehensive as many research article reviewers comments I have seen, so the actual topic under discussion was not controversial and comments were not heated. One of the posters complained in an Overfitting post about not getting through and Eric said he didn’t know why. Would this happen if there was censorship? I have had one post to RC not make it and it was just a simple comment and question. I didn’t take this as censorship and just assumed that some of the glitchy behavior of the RC site (changes, spam filter, CAPTCHA) was responsible. When making a claim that information is being suppressed, one should consider what the information is and ask the question – to what aim? We all think that our own ideas are important and I suspect that some of the Air Vent guys were just hyperventilating a little. Steve Reynolds, like RyanO, post what you think is important and see what you get. Be persistent. Steve Comment by Steve Fish — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:15 PM 303. steve reynolds #47 : Can you link us to any of these polite and reasonable comments that were rejected by RealClimate? Presumably these witnesses of yours, and you yourself, have posted some elsewhere as examples of the behaviour they complain of. There’s hardly be a copyright issue. So an example or two must surely be available. I’m sure we’d all appreciate a link or two. Otherwise we’ve only got your word about hearsay to go by. Comment by cugel — 30 Jul 2009 @ 7:20 PM 304. I thought I’d share an experience on my way to get people to conserve energy through green computing. So, my company makes green computers. Very low power consumption, really nice performance, not much more expensive than “other” computers, but definitely cheaper in the long run. Customer wants a system custom built — doesn’t like the price of a disk drive upgrade. I tell him “You’ll waste more power”. Then I tell him the dollar amount — more than what he was complaining about in the cost of the hardware. Real example — shows why we can’t seem to get anywhere on reducing consumption, because even when presented with the long term facts, it’s just easier to pay more later. Comment by FurryCatHerder — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:02 PM 305. cugel 30 July 2009 at 7:20 PM Why ruin a perfectly good tautology? Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jul 2009 @ 9:44 PM 306. I just read a paper by Siddall et al in the latest Nature Geoscience, 26 July 2009. They derive a timescale for delay between temperature increase and forcing of approx. 3KYr fitted to data upto 22KY past. ANDRILL data indicate WAIS collapse in the order of 1KYr. Can we reconcile these estimates? Although admittedly the subject paper does not cover the ANDRILL timescales. Is it possible that either there is something like the Weertman instability absent in the last 22KY ? Or along the lines of the Hansen argument, Siddall et al. have modelled the timescale of the external forcing and not the internal timescale of icesheet collapse, especially given forcings as large as we see and project today ? Comment by sidd — 30 Jul 2009 @ 11:55 PM 307. The governors of the ACS are NOT threatening to fire Baum, a few members are complaining about his calling a denialist a denialist, and others are backing him. Another example that you should RTFR. Of course you can find it at a link from this link Its the same with all the petitions, a couple of liars blow up the importance of a few outliers Comment by Eli Rabett — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:23 AM 308. #302 Steve Fish Steve, first of all I want to state outright that I have no problem with RC or how they conduct their moderation. If I try to post something and it doesn’t go through then so be it. You mentioned that some of the comments got through. If you are talking specifically of the “you can’t get there from here” thread I don’t think anyone got through (if I’m missing something point it out to me). Jon P posted a comment that I saw got through initially, but it later disappeared or was removed. I think most of us had links in our comments to the tAV thread which may have been the reason they did not get through, or in Jon’s case – removed. Comment by Layman Lurker — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:48 AM 309. #270 Jim Prall This looks like a useful list, thank you. My first port of call when checking into authors that allege AGW is not happening has, thus far, been Sourcewatch.org. Bob Carter certainly has a reasonable entry there. Comment by Alan C — 31 Jul 2009 @ 1:42 AM 310. Simon Abingdon #285: The 90% confidence in AGW has to coexist with a 10% chance of it being found to be false, otherwise the confidence in it would be greater. Once more, con amore (ma non troppo): the 90% is not a probability. The 10% is — but not the probability that AGW is false, but the probabiity that we would see warming in the specified range even if AGW were false. It’s about statistical testing. You cannot get there from here without grasping statistical testing first. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:03 AM 311. Rod B writes, of extraterrestrials: Mark, pretty good (250). Except I think they’ll eat us, not enslave us; clearly not help us. The number of possible biochemicals is so astronomically huge, the chance that they could eat us is near zero. Most likely they will simply be unable to digest our flesh, but there’s also a good chance they’ll immediately go into anaphylactic shock. We can’t eat death cup toadstools, but those toadstools and ourselves evolved on the same planet within the last 2 billion years and use the same amino acids, nucleic acids, and genetic code. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 4:55 AM 312. simon abingdon writes: Can you help my simple understanding by saying something useful about the “missing” 10% when a 90% confidence is claimed? If you have a measurement with a 90% level of confidence, say the absolute magnitude of a star at +4.84 with error bars of 0.24 magnitudes, you’re saying there’s a 90% chance the true value lies within 0.24 magnitudes of 4.84 (i.e., in the range 4.60-5.08), and a 10% chance it lies somewhere (anywhere) outside that. Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:50 AM 313. #306 Sidd: I read that article too. Please consider that they solve for tau (as a single constant, not necessarily very realistic) from a time span that covers both maximum land ice extent and the Holocene, and everything inbetween. IOW, on average a very different planet from the one on which the WAIS could collapse. Given also the relative crudeness of their model, I don’t see any cause for worry about the different time scales. But it is also true what you say (or imply), that the current forcing timescale is completely different from anything in the past. Comment by Martin Vermeer — 31 Jul 2009 @ 8:26 AM 314. wmanny, the question you asked in 296 is answered in my posting 293. As well as in many, many other places. Two-tail test, one-tail test, p .05 — apply to a particular set of data. fairly likely, good chance, pretty damn sure — apply to a whole area of study. Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Jul 2009 @ 8:41 AM 315. Layman Lurker #308. I was referring to the Jeff Id post, #20, on the RC Overfitting thread. Steve Comment by Steve Fish — 31 Jul 2009 @ 9:21 AM 316. Thank you Hank, Chris, Martin and Barton for your time and trouble. Comment by simon abingdon — 31 Jul 2009 @ 11:02 AM 317. re: #302, #308, #315 Hyperventilating? :-) For those unfamiliar with tAV & Jeff Id, see <a href="http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/data-or-politics/&quot;, which offers a clear viewpoint (* added to avoid spam filter): "No global warming again but that won’t stop the media onslought. The media won’t let the data slow them from continuing our march toward world-wide socia*list governance. You may find that statement extreme, in which case my opinion is – you aren’t paying attention." Comment by John Mashey — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:02 PM 318. Mr. Vermeer wrote: Re: Siddall paper “…solve for tau (as a single constant, not necessarily very realistic) from a time span that covers both maximum land ice extent and the Holocene, and everything inbetween.” To clarify, Table 2SI from the supplementary material, the fit tau to various subperiods of the data also. Comment by sidd — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:28 PM 319. For the “90% confidence means there is 10% chance you are wrong” question, perhaps part of the problem is because the definition of a frequentist confidence interval does not admit statements such as “there is a 90% probability that the true value lies in the interval”, instead it means that “if you were to repeat the experiment a large number of times with independent samples of data then 90% of the confidence intervals obtained using that procedure would include the true value”. That isn’t quite the same thing, hence for a frequentist interpretation you can’t say there is a 10% chance the true value lies outside the interval, just that if you repeated the experiment a large number of times with independent data then 10% of the confidence intervals obtained would not contain the true value. I think that is why most people incorrectly interpret frequentist confidence intervals as if they were Bayesian credible intervals. ;o) Comment by Gavin (no not that one) — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:32 PM 320. In the case of the 90% CL cited by IPCC, I believe that the analysis is Bayesian–that is, it is subjective, but not arbitrary. I have pointed out several ways of demonstrating 90% confidence–e.g. 1) looking at the sensitivity levels corresponding to high risk over the next century (e.g. 2 degrees or higher) and looking at the corresponding confidence level. 2) looking at the number of GCM that can produce Earthlike behavior with low sensitivity (e.g. 0 out of 23) 3) looking at the percentage of those publishing with some frequency in climate science who agree we are causing significant warming, 4)and so on. Again, I would say that an assessment of 90% confidence Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:47 PM 321. It’s Friday again! How about some more roundup? As we know, firms dependent on the status quo of fossil-fuel dependency have a responsibility to resort to outright deception if no other means are available to “preserve shareholder value”. Here’s a nice little example of where industrialized deceit leads us: “Freshman Democratic congressman Tom Perriello — whose Virginia district leans Republican — faced a tough decision last month over whether to support the climate change bill. As he was weighing the issue, he got a letter from a non-profit group in his district that focuses on issues of importance to Hispanics. The letter urged Perriello to oppose the bill because it could raise low-income members’ utility bills. “Many of our members are on tight budgets and the sizes of their monthly utility bills are important expense items,” it read in part. But, reports the Charlottesville Daily Progress, the letter was a fake: “They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter and sent it to our congressman without our authorization,” said Tim Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community. “It’s this type of activity that undermines Americans’ faith in democracy.” The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by “Marisse K. Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator,” an identity and position at Creciendo Juntos that do not exist. The letter — subsequently obtained by TPMmuckraker — had actually been sent by someone at the D.C. lobbying firm Bonner and Associates — a pioneer in “strategic grassroots/grasstops” lobbying whose clients have included Citicorp, Aetna, PhRMA, Dow Chemical, AT&T, and General Motors, among others. And Perriello staffers soon dug out five other forged letters — also obtained by TPMmuckraker — urging the congressman to oppose the bill — all purportedly from the local branch of the NAACP, whose president says he’s “appalled” at the scam. The paper adds: The fake NAACP letters were faxed to Perriello’s office from the Arlington headquarters of a company called Professional Risk Management Services Inc. A representative of the company said she had no knowledge of why the fax would have been sent from her office, adding that at least 60 employees have access to the fax machine.” I just love that glib mystification on the part of the PR firm.”No idea”. Hah! The rest of the story : http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/lobby_firm_sent_forged_climate_change_letter_to_c.php Comment by Doug Bostrom — 31 Jul 2009 @ 12:52 PM 322. 302Steve Fish: “… post what you think is important and see what you get. Be persistent.” Thanks for the encouragement and for having enough of an open mind attitude to look into this. I hope you will follow the continuing discussion that is occurring, including a response at tAV (which I see is already being attacked here for irrelevant reasons). Comment by Steve Reynolds — 31 Jul 2009 @ 1:30 PM 323. It is also “at least 90% confidence”. Strange how that’s forgotten all the time. Comment by Mark — 31 Jul 2009 @ 1:54 PM 324. wmanny, et al, actually it was Stan Freberg, not Tinothy L. who wrote and sung a comic ditty about Fug Soap (“…if your regular soap won’t clean your pots,….) Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:00 PM 325. The internet is “best effort” but there are no guarantees. Sometimes comments are simply eaten by The Internet Monster for no obvious reason. Do not assume intentional censorship. Comment by David B. Benson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:09 PM 326. Barton (311), Whew! Thanks! That’s a relief! :-) Comment by Rod B — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:09 PM 327. By the way, in connection with the apparent systematic fraud being committed by PR firms as noted in post 321, RC sure did see a big wave of concern for the poor being trotted out a few weeks ago by the usual suspects, just prior to the Waxman-Markey vote. Strictly coincidental, I’m -sure-. Doubtless this wave of benevolent feelings was entirely spontaneous, not engendered by any gullible uptake of industrially synthesized talking points. Comment by Doug Bostrom — 31 Jul 2009 @ 2:18 PM 328. 325David B. Benson: “The internet is “best effort” but there are no guarantees. Sometimes comments are simply eaten by The Internet Monster for no obvious reason.” In this case one comment was actually posted, then deleted (see 308Layman Lurker). Comment by Steve Reynolds — 31 Jul 2009 @ 3:29 PM 329. Old news, but the SciAm comments could use some help: Stumbling Over Data: Mistakes Fuel Climate-Warming Skeptics Do minor errors erode public support on climate issues? By David Appell Even as the Obama administration moves ahead with modest plans to tackle global warming, the public relations battle on the issue is as fierce as ever. Some recent scientific stumbles haven’t helped. In fact, they have given fodder to climate change skeptics, some of whom have seized on the errors to attack the credibility of scientists and sway public opinion. Many scientific organizations, such as the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, now put data (some near real-time) on their Web sites. The information ranges from raw numbers from weather stations to computed values of, for instance, monthly global temperature anomalies, which represent temperature deviations from a historical average. Typically researchers make corrections and adjustments as they check equipment and replicate experiments. In today’s politically charged environment, though, these routine corrections have become ammunition in the warming war. For example, last November Internet users found that raw data erroneously replicated from Russian weather stations contributed to a suspiciously high temperature anomaly that Goddard published. Two years ago the blog Climate Audit, run by amateur scientists and self-described “science auditor” Steve McIntyre, found that an error in a computer algorithm had ranked 1998 as the warmest U.S. year, instead of the correct 1934. (The change did not significantly affect global values: 1998 was still the earth’s warmest year as ranked by satellites, although Goddard has 2005 as slightly warmer.) But perhaps the mistake that got the most publicity for skeptics happened in February as an automated system of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) published information on the extent of Arctic sea ice. It contained a small but strange hitch indicating that enough ice to cover California was suddenly gone. Internet readers pounced, sending e-mails to the center and also to skeptical bloggers such as meteorologist Anthony Watts. His blog, Watt’s Up with That?, is read daily by about 21,000 people around the world (according to Quantcast, which compiles Web site statistics), and Watts’s post about the error mushroomed across the Web. Within hours the NSIDC withdrew the data, ultimately finding that the glitch resulted from a faulty sensor on a satellite. The NSIDC scientists admitted the mistake, corrected the problem using a different sensor and audited all past data. But the public-relations damage was done. … Comment by Jim Galasyn — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:05 PM 330. Do we have a convenient source for refuting contrarian claims that “Hansen didn’t release data/source code for X years”? I see that accusation all the time. Comment by Jim Galasyn — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:11 PM 331. re: #327 Doug re: “the poor” This is just another instance of Lomborg-style misdirection arguments. I.e., political advocates normally unknown for helping X claim that Y must not be done lest it hurt X, with the idea of confusing those who actually sometimes do care about helping X. Comment by John Mashey — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:26 PM 332. If the US medical industry is spending the reported1.5 million every day to prevent health care reform, how much are the fossil fuel interests spending every day to prevent real information about AGW from entering the consciousness of the American public? How long have they been at this? Would they or their agents do anything illegal or unethical to accomplish this goal of ignorance for America, of maintaining the energy status quo in the US?

Comment by catman306 — 31 Jul 2009 @ 5:41 PM

333. catman306 (332) — Seems that has already happened; see

Comment by David B. Benson — 31 Jul 2009 @ 7:01 PM

334. 303cugel: “Can you link us to any of these polite and reasonable comments that were rejected by RealClimate?”

I submitted a comment with links at 31 July 2009 at 1:18 PM.

[Response: A ‘polite and reasonable’ link to a impolite and unreasonable site is not ‘polite and reasonable’. This is a moderated forum for people to discuss substantive issues, not a platform for people to martyr themselves about how unfair we are. Play those kinds of games somewhere else. – gavin]

Comment by Steve Reynolds — 31 Jul 2009 @ 7:09 PM

335. This http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=12794&SnID=2075327496, a summary of a paper by Gerald Dickens, Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos, has now bounced into the denialosphere on the heels of McClean et al. It could do with some discussion here perhaps. “Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”” “Dickens said, is that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of the heating during the PETM”. It seems to me, on a preliminary read, that they are confusing CO2 and total greenhouse activity in the PETM, but that seems to obvious. Anyone?

Comment by David Horton — 31 Jul 2009 @ 9:35 PM

336. Okay folks,
most of the major companies are now admitting in commercials and in their research that AGW is a real and serious issue; not all,but many. Solar voltaic cells are getting more sophisticated (smaller) and less expensive to produce, while more wind mills are being placed, and the smart grid is coming closer to reality. Still, there is no economically feasible way to just end coal burning anytime soon or have everyone use solar panels either. How are we going to generated that much electricity? Look at this months Scientific American where Yucca is discussed to see the detriments of nuclear power plants becoming the dominate energy source in the US. Yes, France and Japan are handling it well, but the fallout from a leakage from just one nuclear power plant is enormous… The argument may be made that nuclear storage facilities can many decades storing spent fuel without any great issues, but as it satnds now 131 locations in the US are storing what was being stored at Yucca…also there is not forseeable “tipping point,” from a 2,3,4,5, degree increase in global mean temp, so we do have time to think this through and engineer ways to reduce GHG emisssions; nuclear is not the answer,even though we do need to reduce coal burning. There is cleaner burning coal, this is a scientific fact now, not conjecture or politics. Carbon sequestering looks good, S04 injections is idiotic, and that underground storage frightens me as well…same level of risk, if not greater than allowing the planet to continue warming up. Then agaion we have a nice pause in warming now, so now is the time window to create new and improved ways to reduce GHG emissions… we are not going to be underwater just yet, so hopefully we can think through better ways than what we have at hand.

Comment by Jacob Mack — 31 Jul 2009 @ 11:20 PM

337. Ray #193 “We are told that an opaque jar contains both black and white balls”, later “we have no evidence that there are ANY white balls in the jar at all” Thus are we lured into enforced cognitive dissonance so that Ray can expound his argument. Now after several expert opinions have been expressed (not all mutually consistent) Ray now says (#320) “In the case of the 90% CL cited by IPCC, I believe that the analysis is Bayesian–that is, it is subjective, but not arbitrary”.
What store should we set by Ray’s beliefs I wonder. (There are people who believe in the Ascension).

Comment by simon abingdon — 1 Aug 2009 @ 12:47 AM

338. #330 Jim Galasyn,

what about, instead of refuting, making the counter-claim “those data and code have been out on the Intertubes for X years now, and how many contrarians are actually using them for study?”

I mean, those goal posts are designed for mobility ;-)

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:05 AM

339. > In this case one comment was actually posted, then deleted

Yes, I have experience with this too: I pointed out an obviously libelous comment to the moderators, and it (and mine, left dangling) disappeared. Censorship? No, editorial oversight based on law.

This moderation is volunteer work. Don’t shoot the piano player.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:21 AM

340. Doug (#321),

A very interesting story indeed. What will be quite interesting will be to find out how many other members of congress have been contacted in that fraudulent manner. Reminds me very much of Dartmouth Review tactics. Wonder if there is a connection.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:36 AM

341. “Now after several expert opinions have been expressed (not all mutually consistent)”

Because you are not mutually consistent in what you ask to be explained.

Comment by Mark — 1 Aug 2009 @ 9:58 AM

342. For David Horton, Hrynshyn has pretty well nailed down the denial nonsense based on the Zeebe/Dickens/whoever paper, here; click the links he gives:
http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/07/gaps_in_climate_knowledge_oh_n.php

Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Aug 2009 @ 10:10 AM

343. 338Martin Vermeer: “I pointed out an obviously libelous comment to the moderators, and it (and mine, left dangling) disappeared. Censorship? No, editorial oversight based on law.”

Yes, I once pointed out a similar comment, with the same result. That kind of ‘editorial oversight’ is fine.

However, in this case a posted comment about an independent analysis of Antartic [edit – trolls gets moderated out. There are other sites that thrive on ad hom, bad faith, unfounded claims, charges of fraud, dishonesty, etc. Take it over there, but don’t complain if we’re not buying it here. This thread is over now. Come back when you have something constructive to contribute.]

Comment by Steve Reynolds — 1 Aug 2009 @ 10:22 AM

344. #252 Simon Abingdon:

Martin #246 I’ll try again. Ray #193 says “90% confidence does not equate to a 10% chance of being wrong”. Therefore 90% confidence does not equate to a 90% chance of being right.

Indeed not.

What then is the relationship (if any) between probability and confidence expressed as a percentage (not confidence interval or confidence limit, just plain “confidence”)?

OK, you asked for it :-)

It’s about the difference between forward inference and reverse inference.

Forward inference is if you have a model or hypothesis — like, a general circulation model allowing you to compute radiative forcings for anthropogenic changes in atmospheric composition. Given this model, you can compute probabilities for certain observational outcomes — like, we see the forcing from 1750 to today to be in the range 0.6-1.6 W/m2. Or outside that range. “Confidence” refers to these probabilities.

Now what you and everybody is asking about, is “what is the probability that this model is right, given these observations?” That is reverse inference. It is generally impossible to do unless you have a priori information on how likely your model is to be true, according to a famous theorem by the good Reverend Thomas Bayes in 1764.

There are many murky expositions about Bayesian statistics on the Web; I like the not-so-murky one by tamino. Seee also Yudkowski.

To repeat, am I wrong to equate confidence with probability by saying (for example) that my confidence is 50% that the next coin toss will come down heads?

Scientifically, yes, that’s wrong. It’s not a hypothesis, it’s a forward inference. The hypothesis (unspoken) could be “the coin is fair”.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 1 Aug 2009 @ 11:28 AM

345. Chris Dudley August 2009 at 2:36 AM

I suspect that an ambitious prosecutor could construct an indictment around that incident, with several counts. I’m not getting my hopes up; for some reason these sort of dirty tricks seem to be considered acceptable, rarely result in a prosecution.

Looking back on the general tone of the political discussion around Waxman-Markey I think it’s fairly reasonable to conclude that these letters were part of a pretty large, coordinated effort. It sure would be fascinating to see concerted investigation applied via subpoena to follow the money home! A different kind of science, hmm?

Another thing that immediately springs to mind: just how “spontaneous” are letters such as that sent to Nature? Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the exact manner of their inception? I’m not suggesting for a moment that most or even many of the signatories are bad people as opposed to careless. Rather, I just wonder who provided the impetus to get the ball rolling?

One huge problem with this industrialized deceit is that it’s very corrosive to trust.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 1 Aug 2009 @ 12:47 PM

346. Martin #344 Thank you for pointing me in this direction. I now understand that the application of Bayes’s theorem to calculate posterior probabilities depends on a knowledge of the prior and conditional probabilities in question. Can you set all this in the context of GCMs and AGW theory for me? For example how does the level of confidence in the prior and conditional probabilities affect the confidence level of the posterior probability? (If I’m using too much of your time just say “look it up for youself”). Many thanks for listening.

Comment by simon abingdon — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:14 PM

347. re: #345 Doug
Letters to APS & Nature.

I’ve been studying the network effects and underlying reasons for anti-science for a while, and this is just another case. I hope to have finished doing a decent writeup of this one in a few more days.

I’d estimate that the chances of the Nature & APS letters being spontaneous are ~0:

S. Fred Singer1, Hal Lewis2, Will Happer3, Larry Gould4, Roger Cohen5 & Robert H. Austin6

are all well-known to those who study anti-science in climate.

The first APS letter had 54 signers, including all of the above. They obviously got there by personal contact of one sort or another, of which many of the relationships are pretty obvious.

The July 22 list added 8 (Brown, Drallos, Gamblin, Hameed, Judd, LeLevier, Oehler, Sundelin), and dropped Lewis, which I think is accidental, so I count 62 altogether.

The list of 62 includes ~25% hardcore AGW anti-science folks, some obvious friends and colleagues,some for which plausible connections exist, but aren’t yet solid to me, a few where I don’t see the connection, and one or two who *really* surprise me by being on the list. About 30% are Retired/Emeritus.
More later, must go.

BUT: hints
Nuclear Physics
Cold-war
George C. Marshall Institute
Los Alamos National Lab (and to lesser extent) Livermore National Lab, DOE
Princeton
U of Rochester
Connecticut schools and New England APS
APS FPS

See:
Naomi Oreskes’ lectures, The American Denial of Global Warming in illustrating how some very senior scientists became dedicated anti-science advocates in starting the George C. Marshall Institute. The interested reader should anticipate her forthcoming book, which goes into much more detail.

Myanna Lahsen, Experiences of modernity in the greenhouse: A cultural analysis of a physicist “trio” supporting the backlash against global warming (2007)” may be the single most relevant reference. Many of the signers seem members of social network involving nuclear (and related) physicists, often of cold-war experience, and Lahsen offers rationales for such behavior.

Comment by John Mashey — 1 Aug 2009 @ 2:48 PM

348. abingdon, let me ask you a question:

Is Iliad’s “the fall of Troy” right or wrong?.

If you say “wrong” because it’s all about gods and sirenes and magic and stuff that isn’t possibly true, then I counter with: there IS such a place as Troy, Greece and Meneleus looks likely to have lived etc.

If you say “right” because there are elements in there of things that really happened, then I’ll point our Cierce.

The thing is that the entire work is not a single thing. There are many things contained therein.

Yet you want to put right/wrong on the IPCC report as if it were a single thing.

And this is just as wrong as asking “Is Iliad’s Fall of Troy factual or fiction?”.

Until you toss that next coin, the chance of a head or tail remains a mathematical construct.

It remains uncertain.

And not 50-50. The coin could fall skew. Could be stolen. Could fall between the floorboards. It could even balance on the edge. All of which are not head or tail.

But once you’ve tossed the coin, there is no confidence: there’s only the fact of which way the coin landed.

Comment by Mark — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:02 PM

349. Re #346 Simon A.

Just some references. James Annan’s empty blog (sidebar) has some good old discussions on this subject. I also wrote myself on it while I was learning it, see here towards the end.

Example: if you write Bayes as

p(P|Q) = (p(Q|P)/p(Q)) p(P), where

P is the stochastic variable describing the model:
P = 1: the greenhouse effect is real and about as strong as we think it is,
P = 0: it isn’t.
Q is the stochastic variable describing the observation:
Q = 1: we’re seeing around 0.7C warming since pre-industrial
Q = 0: we don’t.

Now look at the two panels of Figure 9.5 in the latest IPCC.
They give us p(Q|P=0) and p(Q|P=1), respectively; close to zero and close to one, as you see. p(P) represents our belief in the validity of the theory: I would put something like p(P=1) =0.99…, a skeptic considerably lower :-)

Don’t worry too much about p(Q), it’s just for scaling. Now we can compute p(P=1|Q), the probability that the model is valid given the observations (and of course for this prior).

Hope this helps a bit (and is correct). It took me a while…

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:12 PM

350. Simon Abingdon asks: “What store should we set by Ray’s beliefs I wonder. (There are people who believe in the Ascension).”

For the record, I do not believe in the Ascension, virgin birth, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and a host of other things. I do believe that it is possible to construct a reasonable and rigorous Bayesian analysis that reasonable people will find cogent. I have outlined a few manners by which one could attempt such wrt the level of confidence in climate science.

Simon, have you read the analysis by Annan and Hargreaves about the influence of priors on the determination of climate sensitivity? They’re pretty good examples of doing things the right way:

http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/believe_grl.pdf

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2009 @ 3:37 PM

351. Mark #348 “And not 50-50. The coin could fall skew. Could be stolen. Could fall between the floorboards. It could even balance on the edge”. Thanks anyway.

Comment by simon abingdon — 1 Aug 2009 @ 4:04 PM

352. Martin #349 Thanks for your response. I shall need time to digest.

Comment by simon abingdon — 1 Aug 2009 @ 4:06 PM

353. Ray #250 Perhaps you misunderstand me. I take issue with expressions of belief where evidence is what is required. BTW you can’t use “manners” as the plural of “manner”. Manners are quite different!

I hadn’t read your link but I have now. It’s dated 22 September 2006 so things may have moved on, but it did surprise me rather.

Here are some extracts:

However, closer examination reveals that these estimates are based on a number of implausible implicit assumptions. We explain why these estimates cannot be considered credible and therefore have no place in the decision-making process.

Beliefs which do not conform to the probability calculus are said to be incoherent, and are vulnerable to a Dutch Book argument. That is, is it possible to construct a sequence of decisions (bets), each one of which appears to be rational in the light of the stated beliefs, but which collectively ensure a loss under all possible outcomes.

Cloud feedback is widely acknowledged to be highly uncertain, but a prior of U[0C,20C] requires the belief that not only it is “very likely” (90%) positive, but furthermore likely to be large.

4. Conclusions

If we are to act rationally based on probabilistic calculations, then it is essential to ensure that these decisions are based on credible analyses of the available evidence. By both choosing a uniform prior (which by construction assigns very high probability to high climate sensitivity), and also ignoring almost all data which would moderate this belief, researchers have generated a number of results which assign high probability to extremely high climate sensitivity. We have explained here why this approach is fundamentally unsound, and cannot be considered to plausibly represent the rational beliefs of informed climate scientists.

In the light of this analysis, it is difficult to see how a belief in a significant probability of very high climate sensitivity can be rationally sustained.

Comment by simon abingdon — 1 Aug 2009 @ 4:40 PM

354. Dear canbanjo,

Thank you for your interest in our paper.

There is little point in my responding to ridicule when that ridicule is based upon wilful misunderstanding of the science in question.

Unfortunately neither of the web sites that you mention provide dispassionate scientific analysis of the AGW issue, and they are therefore not sites that I spend time reading. For their authors are primarily committed to defending against all comers the IPCC’s hypothesis of dangerous human-caused warming, rather than testing it independently.

The McLean et al. paper supports earlier understanding of the effects of ENSO and volcanic eruptions on the climate system, and shows that much of the variance in the global temperature record can be explained by changes in ENSO 7 months prior. That fact leaves no room for a major influence from human carbon dioxide emissions, and cannot simply be shrugged of.

The paper does not address trends as such (which Real Climate and similar websites often appear to be obsessed by).

I attach a leaflet which contains some recommended websites and other sources of information on AGW that are of higher quality, and exhibit better scientific balance, than the two that you are currently relying upon.

Thanks again for writing.

With kind regards.

Bob Carter

Professor R.M. Carter
Marine Geophysical Laboratory
James Cook University
Townsville, Qld. 4811
AUSTRALIA

Phone: +61-7-4781-4397
Fax: +61-7-4781-4334
Home: +61-7-4775-1268
Mobile: 0419-701-139

[Response: Wow: “..the paper does not discuss trends” and yet “..leaves no room for for a major influence from human carbon dioxide emissions”. Does he mean to imply that IPCC et al think that the problem here is related to the influences of CO2 on the interannual variability??? That is the only reading of his comments that I can make that doesn’t imply that he is simply making this up as he goes along. At minimum, I’d say he was rather logically challenged. – gavin]

Comment by canbanjo — 1 Aug 2009 @ 5:50 PM

355. #354 canbanjo

Wow is right! This is truly good news :)

If I am reading his letter correctly, Bob Carter is stating that his paper has nothing to do with ‘global warming’.

Since we all know that climate is generally a 30+ year trend, and we now know that his “paper does not address trends as such (which Real Climate and similar websites often appear to be obsessed by)” I suppose we are to conclude he is not talking about climate at all but rather natural variation of ENSO and its associated affects.

Nice to know that RealClimate is actually obsessed with climate, rather than ‘internal radiative forcing’ ;)

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Aug 2009 @ 6:47 PM

356. Simon Abingdon, I am afraid you have not grasped the basics of Bayesian probability–belief IS based on evidence. The problem YOU have is that there is NO evidence on your side. Moreover, what uncertainties there are actually favor a higher sensitivity than lower.
That’s the motivation behing A&H arguing for an informed prior–e.g. one that starts out favoring slightly the sensitivity we think is most likely, namely about 3 degrees. If you do that, then the tail on the high end of the sensitivity is beaten down.

Perhaps at least part of you problem in understanding climate science is that you don’t understand probability.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Aug 2009 @ 7:47 PM

357. #342 Thanks very much Hank, that’s useful. Where I saw the reference to the Dickens et al paper the first time it was another example of the denialosphere taking a conclusion from a paper (or even the title of a paper) that even the authors didn’t intend, and then plonking it down into a thread with a self-satisfied air of triumph that at last the St George of greenhouse gas-induced global warming had been defeated by the dragon of denialism.

Comment by David Horton — 1 Aug 2009 @ 8:41 PM

358. The weekend’s hot rumor — supercapacitors almost ready.
Talked about for a long time, as an alternative to batteries.
Google terms: EEstor, ZENN
Blogged (unofficially, unconfirmed) at http://theeestory.com/

Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:09 AM

Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 12:14 AM

360. #353 Simon,

I see that you found the seminal Annan & Hargreaves paper. It addresses the core problem of Bayesian inference: finding a realistic prior.

What A&H have a problem with, is people picking a prior mechanically (calling it an “ignorant prior”, a troubled concept), without even looking what it implies in terms of “belief” (i.e., expert judgement). Like, a uniform prior U[0C,20C] for equilibrium doubling sensitivity, which would, taken literally, mean considering it 50% probable that it exceeds 10C… “up the wall” by any standard, requiring a 5x compound feedback over CO2 + H2O. And remember me earlier in this thread questioning the uniform prior assumed by Gavin for the black&white balls experiment? uniform is simple, popular, and often wrong, i.e., counter to common sense.

Now this only becomes important if you don’t have any strong observational likelihoods (from paleo, Pinatubo, …) to update this prior — or choose not to consider them. Which is the other thing A&H are criticising. A good test for whether a prior is plausible is to change it and see what it does to your outcome. If it doesn’t change much, you have enough observational data to constrain it. Smile!

But you should also be clear about what it is that A&H are criticising: the claim by some that the possibility of a very large (over 6C) sensitivity is real enough to be allowed to affect policy. Not even Annan proposes that it could realistically be less than 2.5C. And that’s bad enough.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 2 Aug 2009 @ 1:56 AM

361. I’ve just read Bob Carter’s statement – unbelievable.

I hope you don’t mind this crosspost of my comment at Tamino’s open mind, which seems apt here.

This paper and associated press releases are nothing less than a concerted PR effort to convince the general public that the MdFC analysis has demonstrated that ENSO is the main driver of global warming (and therefore there is no need to regulate human activity).

The first press release is entitled “Nature not Man responsible for recent global warming”.

The third states:

The results in Figure 7 clearly show that the SOI related variability in MGT is the major contribution to any trends that might exist, although the McLean et al study did not look for this. The key conclusion of the paper, therefore, is that MGT is determined in most part by atmospheric processes related to the Southern Oscillation.

I don’t see how the situation could be any clearer.

You can look up several such MdFC statements, both in the paper and in the three press releases, on the attribution of global warming and temperature trends here:

http://deepclimate.org/2009/07/30/is-enso-responsible-for-recent-global-warming-no/

By the way a new post on the political links and possible funding source of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition is here:

http://deepclimate.org/2009/08/01/meet-alan-gibbs-builder-of-amphibious-humvees-and-climate-science-coalitions/

Comment by Deep Climate — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:11 AM

362. canbanjo writes:

The McLean et al. paper supports earlier understanding of the effects of ENSO and volcanic eruptions on the climate system, and shows that much of the variance in the global temperature record can be explained by changes in ENSO 7 months prior. That fact leaves no room for a major influence from human carbon dioxide emissions, and cannot simply be shrugged of.

“Shrugged off.”

The paper was worthless and never should have been printed. The authors used first time derivatives in such a manner as to wipe out the trend. Their argument amounts to, “If you take out the trend, carbon dioxide has no affect on the trend.” Duh!

Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Aug 2009 @ 3:59 AM

363. “In the light of this analysis, it is difficult to see how a belief in a significant probability of very high climate sensitivity can be rationally sustained.

Comment by simon abingdon ”

Likewise a belief in a lower (and still positive) climate sensitivity is even LESS likely to be rationally sustained.

The PETM requires CO2e values VASTLY higher CO2e than any possible outgassing of same if the temperature sensitivity to CO2e is much less than 1.5. We’re talking 2% CO2e at 1.5C per doubling and 10% at about 1.4C per doubling.

Even if it was pure methane, this wouldn’t work since the effect lasts much much longer than the residency time for methane before chemistry changes it to CO2.

You could get that effect if the Martians tried War Of The Worlds with their global Heat Ray for 5000 years, but that would be about it.

Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:51 AM

364. 351: “Thanks anyway.

Comment by simon abingdon ”

You still didn’t read the question then.

The IPCC has many projections. What if 95% of them are right 100%? One projection in 20 would be outside the projection.

Lets say there are 20 projections of what AGW will cause in the future.

One of which says that as it warms, there will be a greater number and more energetic hurricanes.

But one Hurricane expert thinks that they will just become more energetic, not more numerous, at least over the next 150 years.

There goes your 5% error you are fixated on. 95% of it (1-10%) is right.

Now does that make the IPCC as a whole wrong?

Does it make AGW not a problem?

Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:56 AM

365. Mark #364

“The IPCC has many projections. What if 95% of them are right 100%?” Er, does right 100% mean the 95% all have to agree about the future in every respect? If so, seems rather unlikely unless the models which produce the good projection are exact replicas of each other. But go on.

“One projection in 20 would be outside the projection.” You mean, outside the projection of the 95% (the other 19)? Yes, I see that.

“Lets say there are 20 projections of what AGW will cause in the future.” OK. I take it we’re still assuming 95% of them right 100%.

“One of which says that as it warms, there will be a greater number and more energetic hurricanes.” Er, does that have to be the rogue one (not one of the 19)?

“But one Hurricane expert thinks that they will just become more energetic, not more numerous, at least over the next 150 years”. Do we need to know how confident he is? Does it matter if there are other Hurricane experts who don’t agree?

“There goes your 5% error you are fixated on. 95% of it (1-10%) is right”. I didn’t know I was fixated on a 5% error but I’ll assume I am and see if “95% of it (1-10%) is right” makes any sense to me. No, I’m afraid it doesn’t. (But I accept I’m probably out of my depth).

Comment by simon abingdon — 2 Aug 2009 @ 9:20 AM

366. “I didn’t know I was fixated on a 5% error ”

Well you keep blabbing on about 90% confidence but that’s the “90-99%” limit in the IPCC banding. Expected value 94.5%.

“No, I’m afraid it doesn’t. (But I accept I’m probably out of my depth).”

Not just that but drowning.

Out of 20 future results, 19 turn out right, one doesn’t.

19/20= 0.95

0.95 x 100 % = 95%

Do you not even understand MATHS????

Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:53 AM

367. #267 simon abingdon

A lot of talk about confidence but what about common sense. Scientific confidence is math based. I’m not a mathematician though, so I have to use whatever reasoning capacity I have to figure things out. You can play with relativism all day, but if the argument remains in the existential and we don’t exercise our human reasoning, we could argue forever while the watched pot heats up. Is ‘reason’ really Pandoras box? Kind of a silly notion.

My use of confidence is that I have high confidence in the consensus views and even high confidence in non empirical projections. This is based on the reality that not all feedbacks are calculated into the models yet, and all indications point to higher positives rather than lower.

So my confidence is that things are actually quite serious and that sea level rise will not be 1.4 feet in 2100, but rather substantially higher, though I cant say with confidence how high…. though I would venture it would be higher that 2 meters, possibly as high as 5 meters.

My, that’s a lot of different kinds of confidence going on there :)

Here is how I express my confidence with regard to AGW:

We are 100% sure the climate is on a different path.

and

We are 100% sure that path is human caused.

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-warming-is-only-part-human-caused

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

What is your confidence in how much of this global warming event is human caused?

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:54 AM

368. “Er, does right 100% mean the 95% all have to agree about the future in every respect? If so, seems rather unlikely unless the models which produce the good projection are exact replicas of each other.”

Uh, the projection is “between 2.5 and 4.5C warming if we pass 550ppm”. When passing 550ppm, if the warming is 2.95C then that projection was 100% correct.

Comment by Mark — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:55 AM

369. Simon, you need some help from a patient, thoughtful, teacher of statistics to understand the numbers you’re throwing around. Here, mostly, people are just throwing numbers back at you. Perhaps trying to mirror your behavior in hopes of teaching you a lesson by showing you what it’s like to get numbers thrown at you that don’t make a lot of sense. That’s not good pedagogy and it doesn’t seem to be helping. How much math do you have? Could you work through a basic statistics class? Seriously, it really would help.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 10:57 AM

370. John P Reisman #367 Hi John, just realized you’ve addressed a question to me: “What is your confidence in how much of this global warming event is human caused?” Do you know John, so far I haven’t been able to make up my mind one way or the other. The physicists, statisticians and mathematicians certainly know their stuff, but they’re grappling with a vastly more complicated system than Kepler or Newton ever did. I often wish we could bring Newton back to life to ask his opinion. Maybe he’d be able to take in the whole thing in one sweep and either tell us how to find the answer or else give us the Latin phrase which means “I frame no hypotheses”. Either way, he’d probably be appalled that the immediate future of the human race depended on it. He’d say “In my day we were just learning about how God made the Universe work. It was very interesting and rewarding. We didn’t think for a moment that He was going to zap us all”. Anyway John, best regards from me, simon abingdon.

Comment by simon abingdon — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:25 PM

371. > no hypotheses

Simon, sounds like you’re thinking of “ignoramus” — science can’t know.
That has been rebutted, by David Hilbert.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoramus_et_ignorabimus

Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:37 PM

372. #370 simon abingdon

Hello Simon,

If I may make a suggestion to help sort it out. Since the major forcings are quite well understood, and the details are, and always will be, under investigation; and while certainly the major forcing components will also become better understood… Is it not plausible and even reasonable to state a fair degree of confidence that ‘this’ global warming event is human caused?

In other words, the major signals have been separated from the noise, and while there is much to learn in the decadal and of course the shorter term internal radiative forcings, the long term trends match the quantitative assessments on GHG concentration as well as the expected correlative forcing based on the general physics.

Since, we were at a radiative forcing of around thermal equilibrium pre-industrial and now we are around +1.6 W/m2 based on the mean of the calculations. The only plausible variance is land use changes and greenhouse gas concentrations as confirmed by ice cores and multiple GCM’s.

I’m a bit confused as to what it is you may still be grappling with?

I have attempted to outline what we do and do not know in reasonable terms. Please tell me your thoughts on my assertions and their basis.

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-dont-know

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/what-we-know

I understand that there is an assertion that this is complex and have seen that argument from certain people that are denying AGW on the basis of complexity, I think Svensmark, Carter and Singer fall into that category and probably others. But the complexity is in the noise, not the signal, they are just looking at the whole thing backwards.

As an example of backwards thinking review Lomborg

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-copenhagen-distraction

Hope this all helps. It’s not just about physics and mathematics though that is the foundation for understanding in this complex realm, it’s about the human capacity to comprehend reason when enough information is assimilated that has relevant context.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Aug 2009 @ 2:57 PM

373. #336 and #358. I’ve been recently following ideas in new ideas concerning energy and there seems to be a few. I’m also uncomfortable with any expansion of nuclear power. As I understand it we still cannot neutralise most of the waste so it’s almost trading one problem for another. They also require a fair bit of water for cooling which is already an issue in some areas. I realise some may be skeptical, however, one place I have been visiting has been PESwiki.com which has a fairly extensive list including a rated top-100. Can’t hurt to take a look.

Comment by Alan C — 2 Aug 2009 @ 3:34 PM

374. Hank #371 “Hypotheses non fingo (Latin for I frame no hypotheses) is a famous phrase used by Isaac Newton in an essay General Scholium which was appended to the second (1713) edition of the Principia”. And thanks for your you kind and thoughtful #369.

Comment by simon abingdon — 2 Aug 2009 @ 3:42 PM

375. John #372 You admit “Since the major forcings are quite well understood”, “the major forcing components will also become better understood” and “while there is much to learn”… “We are 100% sure the climate is on a different path” and “We are 100% sure that path is human caused”. So why the qualification? Why do any more work on the subject? For me your certainty is just “one giant leap”! If you’re happy with the evidence, fine. Me, I’m still on the fence, gently weighing the drip-drip-drip of the evidence from the sidelines, following the debate, but not at all interested in the outcome. Sorry, that’s where I am. Regards simon

Comment by simon abingdon — 2 Aug 2009 @ 4:15 PM

376. #375 simon abingdon

How confident are you that you know how old you are?

What evidence do you have for your age? The word of your mother and father. A birth certificate?

Pretty flimsy, when compared to the extent of climate modeling research.

Are you still sitting on the fence regarding your precise age?

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Aug 2009 @ 7:05 PM

377. #375 simon abingdon

Also, you state that you are “not at all interested in the outcome.”

Then why are you blogging in here, just to waste everyone’s time?

If you’re not interested in the outcome, then you have no motive to learn. If you’re not interested in learning, then stop playing games in here. It seems rather rude for you to put forth questions and challenges with no interest in learning. Quite odd I must admit.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Aug 2009 @ 7:51 PM

378. Simon, note we do know what Newtom meant, and how he worked.

That’s why I suggested you look at the other quote — because the Newton phrase is often extended by people who want to claim it as a general approach. That was a specific answer about dealing with one puzzle in particular.

The “ignoramus” phrase really covers what people are talking about when they quote Newton as though it were a general approach to science.

And the refutation, I think, is utterly convincing.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Aug 2009 @ 8:39 PM

379. John Mashey 1 August 2009 at 2:48 PM (#347)

That’s most interesting. It’s good to see somebody w/the initiative to put together some data on this.

Meanwhile a bit more information has emerged concerning the forged letters. It seems that when you’re working in the deception industry lying becomes a way of life and for some underlings the stuff of life itself:

“The former employee, who now works on Capitol Hill, said that the pressure from Bonner management to produce results — by getting outside groups to sign onto Bonner clients’ campaigns — is so intense that the kind of outright deceit seen in this case is all but inevitable. He said that temporary employees were regularly threatened with firing if they didn’t produce enough signatures — and demonstrate enough time on the phone — to satisfy supervisors. And on many Friday afternoons, said the former employee, a group of under-performing employees would be summoned to a manager’s office to be told that they were being let go.

“Some of these projects it’s very hard to get people to sign,” said the former employee. “Management doesn’t take that as an answer. They say you need to spend more time on the phone. The only recourse you have is either to produce something, lie about it, or get fired.”

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/07/former_employee_bonner_just_got_caught_this_time.php

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Aug 2009 @ 11:20 PM

380. John #377 “If you’re not interested in the outcome, then you have no motive to learn”. An egregious non sequitur I’m afraid. The enquiring mind has no preconceptions about possible outcomes. It is the close-minded person whose hopes and expectations of a particular outcome blind him to other possibilities.

Comment by simon abingdon — 2 Aug 2009 @ 11:29 PM

381. John #377 I withdraw my last post. Please ignore it. I see the cause of our misunderstanding. I should have said “I have no interest at all in the outcome” rather than “I am not at all interested in the outcome”. My apologies.

Comment by simon abingdon — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:04 AM

382. Markey staffers investigating fraudulent letters:

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=07&year=2009&base_name=lobbyist_lettergate_update#116093

Has anybody noticed if this has received any column space at all in “mainstream” the press?

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 2:00 AM

383. Hank, either you’re not reading your own reference carefully enough or we’re seriously at cross purposes.

#371 “Simon, sounds like you’re thinking of “ignoramus” — science can’t know. [I wasn’t]
That has been rebutted, by David Hilbert.” Oh, really?

#378 “And the refutation, I think, is utterly convincing.” So is the rebuttal you’re talking about Hilbert’s (overconfident) reliance on axiomatics? (For example in 1922 he said ‘The axiomatic method is indeed and remains the one suitable and indispensable aid to the spirit of every exact investigation no matter in what domain; it is logically unassailable and at the same time fruitful; it guarantees thereby complete freedom of investigation.’) If so, alas for poor Hilbert; as we all know, in 1931 Gödel threw a spanner in the works. To quote from your own link:

“Hilbert worked with other formalists to establish concrete foundations for mathematics in the early 20th century. However, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems showed in 1931 that no finite system of axioms, if complex enough to express our usual arithmetic, could ever fulfill the goals of Hilbert’s program, demonstrating many of Hilbert’s aims impossible, and establishing limits on mathematical knowledge.”

There were other disasters in Hilbert’s day: Russell’s famous trashing of Frege’s monumental “Fundamental Laws”, the widespread and unjustifiable use of the harmless-looking “axiom of choice” used in many algebraic proofs, the use of impredicative (self-referencing) definitions which mean that even innocent sounding assertions such as “Hank is the youngest boy in the class” are logically flawed.

Looks like it’s “ignorabimus” after all.

Comment by simon abingdon — 3 Aug 2009 @ 6:38 AM

Comment by Bob — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:09 AM

385. Simon, either you’re arguing abstract high level math, or you’re arguing that because we can’t know everything, we can’t know enough about climate to decide what to do. Which?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:51 AM

386. Bob, it’s called ‘hard argument’ and nonscientists often are either horrified about the strong words, or excited because they think — seeing the hard argument and strong words — that the author must be certain of absolutely devastating the other side.

For those of us not experts in the area, the level of challenge seems like what you’d hear from someone trying to start a bar fight.

Now that you’ve seen the unreviewed blog posting, hold off and watch for the published version. Compare them, first, see what the journal prints and what changes.

Then sit back and watch for the time series analysis experts to write more.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 9:59 AM

387. simon abingdon (#383),

While Gödel’s work may pose a problem for a formal system, it does not preclude exhaustive knowledge. It merely constrains the method of approaching it. Further, Hilbert’s statement is about physics while the work of Gödel applies to mathematics. These are not the same. Hilbert did approach physics axiomatically, but it is clear that this is a post discovery approach in many respects. Physics, being experimental, can decide mathematically undecidable questions with ease. So, the refutation of the refutation is not sound.

What one can say is that “We must know — we will know!” is an expression of wishful thinking and thus does not really refute “ignoramus et ignorabimus” in a logical way, though that idea seems to be unfounded as well. And, declaring certain questions transcendent also seems to lack rigor.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:16 AM

388. Hank #385 Neither is relevant. I just wanted to know what you meant in #378 when you said “And the refutation, I think, is utterly convincing.” Whose refutation of what do you find utterly convincing?

Comment by simon abingdon — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:24 AM

389. John P. Reisman (376), that’s just an outright silly argument. Sorry; couldn’t pass.

Comment by Rod B — 3 Aug 2009 @ 11:58 AM

390. John P. Reisman (377), I think he meant by “interest” that he has no pre-conceived vested interest in the outcome, which is completely proper. But, if not, then your assertion is appropriate…

Comment by Rod B — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:02 PM

391. Doug Bostrom, that was one of management guru Deming’s main points: If management berates and threatens discipline to meet numerical targets, their only result is a bunch of lying employees.

Comment by Rod B — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:09 PM

392. “John P. Reisman (377), I think he meant by “interest” that he has no pre-conceived vested interest in the outcome”

This doesn’t mean either that he’s telling the truth or that he’s not just willy-waving.

It *definitely* doesn’t mean he’s right or he’s willing to listen, learn or consider his point wrong.

Comment by Mark — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:22 PM

393. Simon Abingdon,

I admit being a generalist while relying as available detail in context to achieve relevance and I try to view the holistic as able.

In this sense I really don’t think that reason is something we should shy away from. To say that the system is just to complex to understand negates the capacity to understand the major forcings where the signal is quite clear.

I’m not saying the picture is perfect but reason should not be abandoned because there is a little dust on the glass.

The big picture of AGW is quite clear based on my examinations of the evidence, models.

Getting back to one of my assertions. Assuming the planet is warming, and human caused, do you agree or disagree with my reasoning in the Lomborg refutation?

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-copenhagen-distraction

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:37 PM

394. OK, Simon, then I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. Chris Dudley’s point:
> Physics, being experimental, can decide
> mathematically undecidable questions with ease.
I think also applies to questions like the greenhouse effect — we can figure things out even lacking the ability to run all the variables on a dozen identical planets.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Aug 2009 @ 12:51 PM

395. #389 Rod B

Not that I am against silliness as appropriate, but how is #376 a silly argument?

In the context of knowns and unknowns and the extent of study,

For example: To use some memes that are used in the argument sphere regarding AGW such as there is not enough information to make a decision yet…

There are petabytes of information on the subject of climate.

All I have for my own age is the word of mom and dad and a birth certificate.

Well, we’ve already seen the likes of Lord Monckton and S. Fred Singer, Carter and so many others making up graphs and using facts out of context.

So, on what basis other than reason do I accept my own age, or do you accept your age, or does simon arbingdon accept his age?

How is that a silly argument?

On the AGW side we have thousands of scientists, hundreds of institutions, petabytes of data filtered through peer review and peer response.

On the side of the ‘your or my age’ argument, we have a single document and mom and dad (typically).

Hmmm…

Can a birth certificate be faked? Could mom and dad have lied? It has certainly happened before. Parents lie because they think they are shielding the children from the truth that they may be adopted.

In this context, is my argument really silly? Yes and no, it makes the point well and it is a very simple argument. But I try to keep things simple as best I can, even when wallowing in complexity.

Would you also say this argument is silly:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/what-if-you-held-a-conference-and-no-real-scientists-came/comment-page-3/#comment-80338

“To put it another way: if Paul were lying on a table with a giant ax with a blade three feet wide above him and he could not move from under the blade, and the rope that held the blade was being eroded (at an uncertain rate? (even though he (and a large group of scientists) could see it eroding), and there were a panel of scientific advisers (from around the world giving him a consensus view) advising him on the reality of the situation by observations of fact and proxy analysis…

If he were to use his arguments regarding uncertainty, I wonder which action he would tend towards, I wonder if he would think it more prudent to use less drastic policy and keep him under the ax, or more prudent policy that might get him out from under the ax, even though it might cost him something, but at least not his life?”

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Aug 2009 @ 1:36 PM

396. Rod B 3 August 2009 at 12:09 PM

“If management berates and threatens discipline to meet numerical targets, their only result is a bunch of lying employees.”

No doubt about it!

The incident w/Bonner and Associates is darkly amusing on several levels, not the least of which is that when really pressed to the wall our private sector begins to resemble the old USSR with its Byzantine, intricate webs of self-deception.

Of course in this case the main contracted deliverable apparently was misdirection bumping up against plain untruth. Bonner’s unpacked excuse thus becomes something along the lines of “We didn’t tell him to lie -that- much!”.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:00 PM

397. Someone claiming to be “john_mcl” states that this article in the Independent shows “that carbon dioxide has negligible, if any, effect” on global warming. See The comment is dated Monday, 3 August 2009 at 07:59 am (UTC).

Comment by Robert — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:02 PM

398. Can a birth certificate be faked? Could mom and dad have lied? It has certainly happened before. Parents lie because they think they are shielding the children from the truth that they may be adopted.

Precisely, and that’s in modern, well organized societies. Parents may also want to shield their sons from being drafted into the army. Etc. I have known an elderly person who didn’t know her own age to within a year, and one whose official birthday was, by family lore, ten days after her true birthday… underlings of the Czar, all.

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:14 PM

399. John P. Reisman (395), simply, saying climate science is more exacting than knowing one’s age is, well, silly.

Comment by Rod B — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:30 PM

400. Martin and a ps to John R., I admit it’s fun, but get a serious grip. Pseudo-scientific gobbledygook and pontifical analytical hooey doesn’t add much, as interesting as it is. ;-)

Comment by Rod B — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:40 PM

401. I just read the comment by john_mcl referred to by Robert in #397. Someone with better qualifications than mine needs to jump on this with a corrective response. They are sticking to their guns, so it is clear that their goal has nothing to doing with science and everything to do with obfuscation and delay. (He also adds three explanatory notes in anticipation of “certain comments,” which need responses.)

It is important not to give them a free hand.

Comment by Ron Taylor — 3 Aug 2009 @ 3:47 PM

402. Help?
(This is part of looking at the APS “Open Letter”)

Does anyone have, or have access to library that has:
Assessing Climate Change:Temperatures, Solar Radiation and Heat Balance (Springer Praxis Books / Environmental Sciences) (2008). It would be great if someone would review it seriously @ Amazon. (It’s not in our local library, and @ \$179, I probably wouldn’t buy it for fun, given the description so far.)

Comment by John Mashey — 3 Aug 2009 @ 5:22 PM

403. #399 Rod B

What I was saying is that when comparing two different bodies of evidence, if one of those bodies of evidence is rather sparse, compared to another body of evidence that is rather robust in scientific method, then one might have more confidence in the robust evidence as opposed to the sparse evidence.

#400 Rod B

I don’t think gobbledygook and hooey are in the same category as ratiocination. I think it is much more silly to entertain the musings of icecap.us, scienceandpublicpolicyinstitute whattsupwiththat or friendsofscience along with their fake graphs, out of context data, and cratefuls of red herrings, than the well established understanding regarding climate by institutions more subject to peer review and peer response.

To quote a fun line from Princess Bride “I wonder if they are using the same wind we are using”. Oh the irony :)

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Aug 2009 @ 5:48 PM

404. Gavin, your response to Bob Carter’s response to canbanjo in #354 makes me quite uncomfortable. You seem to be treating this paper as a serious scientific effort and its authors as attempting to do serious science.

They are not that stupid and know precisely what they are doing. This paper is a sham, but they are using it to claim the high ground of scientific objectivity in climate science. You must not let them do that. This needs to be challenged aggressively and consistently. If not, with the money that will fall in line behind their claims, they may push you right off the climate science PR stage, even if the paper is eventually discredited.

And that is all they care about, since that will largely determine policy choices. Members of Congress are strongly influenced by the communications they receive from their constituents. It is possible for you to be absolutely correct, yet become almost irrelevant in the determination of climate policy at this critical stage.

Comment by Ron Taylor — 3 Aug 2009 @ 7:17 PM

405. Nice article in NY Times on IPCC’s leadup to their next report:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/science/earth/04clima.html?hpw

As opposed to the Times’ lugubrious headline, I’d suggest “IPCC Evolves In Adapting To Changing Climate”

Teaser: includes quote from some guy named “Gavin Schmidt”.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:07 PM

406. “Coal group ‘outraged’ by forgeries

A coal group sought to distance itself from a grassroots advocacy firm working on its behalf that sent forged letters to Congress in opposition to a climate-change bill, as a key House sponsor of the legislation said he would open an investigation into the matter.

Stephen Miller, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said he was “outraged” by a report that an employee at Bonner & Associates faked at least six letters from two minority groups based in Charlottesville, Va., that were sent to Congress. The Daily Progress in Charlottesville first reported on the forgeries.

The letters in question were sent to Rep. Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat from Virginia who was heavily lobbied by both sides leading up to the House vote on the climate bill. Perriello voted in support of the bill, which would cap carbon dioxide emissions and could curb coal use.

“The standards and practices that we require for grassroots advocacy outreach were not adhered to by Bonner and Associates,” Miller said in a statement released Monday.

ACCCE, which represents coal producers and utilities, opposes the climate bill passed by the House. Miller said as part of its efforts against the bill, ACCCE hired Hawthorn Group, a grassroots lobbying firm, which then hired Bonner and Associates.”

I’ll bet they’re outraged. Paying good money for quality astroturf, then having some bumblers expose them to the light of day? Shocking, really.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Aug 2009 @ 10:17 PM

407. re: #402 Donald Rapp book

If anyone is looking, thanks, but never mind. Google Books Preview worked, and I think I now have sufficient information:

Given that the PREFACE begins:

“THE GLOBAL-WARMING DEBATE

Global-warming alarmists believe that human production of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, with its concomitant water vapor feedback mechanism, has begin to add to the natural greenhouse effect, thereby raising global temperatures inordinately during the 20th century, with predictions of further increases in the 21st century that could be catastrophic…. (James Hansen, AL Gore…)

Naysayers have maintained blogs and circulated reports, but generally ahve not penetrated the scientific literature that is dominated by alarmist publications. While the alarmists provide the impression of scientific integrity through peer-reviewed publications, the naysayers often lack the credentials of alarmists. But the important thing is data, not credentials.”

Comment by John Mashey — 3 Aug 2009 @ 11:41 PM

408. re: #407 and APS Open Letter, in general

In rummaging around, I found that the list of signers included:

Mike Gruntman,
Joseph Kunc,
Donald Rapp (who wrote the book mentioned in #407), and whose website says:

“I have surveyed the wide field of global climate change energy and I am familiar with the entire literature of climatology.”

All are members of USC Climate Change Research Group, which says:

“The framework of the Institute will revolve around national and California climate change research programs (see Appendix), which are the expected sources of funding for the institute’s various endeavors.”

Comment by John Mashey — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:35 AM

409. John #393 “Assuming the planet is warming, and human caused, do you agree or disagree with my reasoning in the Lomborg refutation?” In other words “assuming I’ve got it right, do you agree with me?” Yes, OK. Certainly seems better than your birth certificate argument.

Comment by simon abingdon — 4 Aug 2009 @ 1:46 AM

410. #394 Hank, you wouldn’t answer my question (#388) and that makes it difficult for me to get my point across because you might deny that we were talking about the same thing.

However, suppose you knew someone who had declared himself “utterly convinced” of something that he didn’t realize had long ago been shown to be false and this same person was for example also convinced that it was possible to predict shall we say the course of biological evolution or what the climate of the planet might be like in 100 years time. In the light of what you knew about him, how much trust would you have in his judgment?

You quote Chris Dudley (#387) with approval and so shall I; “What one can say is that “We must know — we will know!” is an expression of wishful thinking”.

Comment by simon abingdon — 4 Aug 2009 @ 1:50 AM

411. John #407: are the spelling errors and generally poor language in the original? They should pay you to read it…

I bet you could easily get a free copy… I also suspect that book sales is not the author’s largest source of revenue from this book. Perhaps I shouldn’t be judgmental, if the alternative wss going hungry…

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:32 AM

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729074523.htm
“But now the situation has changed and adult bowhead whales, which can grow up to 18 metres long and weigh 100 tons, have returned to the bay. This is probably because global warming has opened up the Northwest Passage, making it ice free at certain times of the year for the first time in 125,000 years. This gives bowhead whales from the northern Pacific a chance to reach Disko Bay and mate with the small local population.”

Has anyone done genetic studies of how isolated the two populations have been? This seems like a potentially useful test for how unusual the current melting in the Arctic is.

Comment by Thomas Palm — 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:43 AM

413. Simon, I answered you; so have several others, refuting the Newton quote proffered with the implication that he was speaking generally (he wasn’t) and the more vague implication that seems to underly your postings about what we can understand and how we approach doing science.

We can, and must, know enough to manage what we’re doing.
It’s not wishful thinking to rely on math and science, nor to make a hypothesis to test, nor to build based on probability without certainty.

It’s the best we can do.
Semiconductors, lasers, radiation physics, climatology.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:29 AM

414. > Bowhead whales

There’s much you’ll find with Scholar. One example from a minute’s browsing:
http://folk.uio.no/bachmann/Publications/Borge%20et%20al%20-%202007.pdf
Molecular Ecology (2007) 16, 2223–2235
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03287.x

“… most of the evidence for stock identification
is circumstantial and indirect, and currently the five
bowhead whale stocks are questioned and still await a
proper characterization in population genetics terms
(Moore & Reeves 1993; Rough et al. 2003; Heide-Jørgensen
et al. 2006).
The close association of bowhead whales with the sea
ice edge has caused fluctuations in the distribution and
abundance with climate changes (Dyke et al. 1996b). Some
10 000 years ago bowhead whales moved into the Arctic
Ocean via the Bering Strait (Dyke & Savelle 2001) and
seasonally colonized the eastern Beaufort Sea. They reached
maximum abundance between 10 000 and 8500 bp. The
Davis Strait stock may originate from the Bering Sea stock,
or alternatively from a palaeo-stock in the Gulf of Saint
Lawrence, or from the Spitsbergen stock (Dyke et al. 1996a).
The Hudson Bay stock might also have arisen from the
Saint Lawrence stock (Dyke et al. 1996a). The Spitsbergen
stock presumably originates from a refugium in the east-
ern North Atlantic (Fredén 1975). According to the data of
Dyke & Savelle (2001) migration between Pacific and
Atlantic bowhead whale stocks was unrestricted during
the period 10 000–8500 bp. Later, the M’Clintock Channel
sea-ice plug prevented migration until 5000–3000 bp
(Dyke et al. 1996a).
Due to exploitation over several centuries, the once
abundant bowhead whale went nearly extinct in most of its
former range (Moore & Reeves 1993). ….

Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Aug 2009 @ 9:35 AM

415. #413 Hank, may I remind you of the background to our recent exchange:

In #370 I felt reluctantly obliged to make some response to a question (#367) from John P. Reisman (OSS foundation) which he had apparently directed at me. Mindful of the fact that he is by his own admission not a mathematician, I thought I could respond in a humorous and lighthearted way by imagining Newton in a modern context saying about climate change (the Latin for) “I frame no hypotheses” (the famous “Hypotheses non fingo” remark he made in connection with his theory of gravity and like the “shoulders of giants” and “boy playing on the seashore” a Newtonian quote that springs readily to mind).

In #371 for some reason of your own you made the assumption that it sounded like I was thinking of the “Ignoramus” (the nineteenth-century Bois-Reymond’s “we do not know and will not know”) rather than the “Fingo”, saying that Hilbert had refuted it (the “Ignoramus” that is) and that you found the refutation “utterly convincing”, and giving a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoramus_et_ignorabimus

In #383 I responded that you might not have read your own link carefully enough, in that the concluding sentence of the first section (Hilbert’s reaction) refers to his work being subsequently undermined by Godel´s discoveries. (“Gödel’s incompleteness theorems showed in 1931 that no finite system of axioms, if complex enough to express our usual arithmetic, could ever fulfill the goals of Hilbert’s program, demonstrating many of Hilbert’s aims impossible, and establishing limits on mathematical knowledge”).

Hank, it was you who introduced the strawman “ignoramus et ignorabimus” into the discussion. Any consequent misunderstanding has to be of your making.

Comment by simon abingdon — 4 Aug 2009 @ 10:38 AM

416. #411 Martin
General language is his; typos are mine; it was late.
In any case, see #408 for more context for U Southern Cal astronautics efforts.

USC does have a climate science group within Earth Sciences, and the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.

Comment by John Mashey — 4 Aug 2009 @ 12:01 PM

417. “Any consequent misunderstanding has to be of your making.

Comment by simon abingdon”

With your very willing participation/interference, simon.

PS you were the one starting with the Newton quote mine. This would still tend to indicate you as the progenitor of that “problem”.

Comment by Mark — 4 Aug 2009 @ 2:15 PM

418. John Mashey (408) — With soemthing like 10,000 papers per year mentioning “climate”, nobody can be familiar with the entire literature.

Comment by David B. Benson — 4 Aug 2009 @ 4:11 PM

419. Re the Dickens et. al. paper about modeling the PETM and the denialist blogosphere – I found a site touting it as “Peer Reviewed Study Shakes Foundation Of Climate Theory”.

About 2/3 of the way through the post there was this nugget – [Update: Co-author
Zeebe says results may possibly mean “future warming could be more intense.”
“If this additional warming which we do not really understand, was caused as
a response to the CO2 warming, then there is a chance that also a future
warming could be more intense than people anticipate right now,” Zeebe told
Reuters.]
The end of the post announced “Discussion subject changed to “Peer Reviewed Study IS OF NO VALUE WHATSOEVER SINCE BASED ON UNIVERSITIES BRAINSWASHED CRETINS ‘”

I think if anyone is going to follow this story on denialist blogs, they should look out for a sever case of whiplash

Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Aug 2009 @ 11:46 PM

420. Doug (#406),

Seems that a couple of reps from PA who voted against the bill also got letters. http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/climate-letter-forgeries-stir-outrage/

And, apparently, the “clean coal” group that was paying for this knew about the fake letters at least two days before the vote. http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/04/accce-silent-fraud/

More info is still needed. Thanks for keeping up with this.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 5 Aug 2009 @ 12:15 AM

421. Doug (#406),

Also interesting is the fact that the NAACP expressly supports Waxman-Markey http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/15/naacp-endorses-climate-ch_n_233529.html

I wonder if the forgers thought the NAACP would not care about the issue or if they were trying to directly undermine them.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:18 AM

422. #409 simon abingdon

First, please pardon my elementary approach.

Since you’re a mathematics guy, can you explain to me how, since the big numbers add up, why the small numbers are so important when it comes to merely understanding that this global warming event is human caused?

– We know Co2, CH4, N2o are GHG’s
– We know we have increased Co2 40%, CH4 148%, N2o 18%, (and of course high GWP’s) since pre-industrial
– We know how much warming to expect from that
– We can see that the planet has warmed as expected
– There are no alternative explanations for this that have made it through peer review and survived peer response

When I add all this up in the scientific understanding, reason tells me that we have solid understanding and know this global warming event is human caused.

Why would the ‘small’ numbers that are still buried in the noise, and apparently, reasonably, observationally, and evidentially, be of a ‘large’ concern (especially since those numbers could not have the capacity to explain the amount of radiative forcing that has caused the current warming), in the sense that those numbers can’t have the capacity to explain global warming any other way?

Of course it’s complex, but look at the signal to noise ration and what we see in the signal. The signal and the observations are have strong correlation. There currently are not other explanations, unless of course you have one that can explain it (which would be interesting). Just because a system is complex does not mean one can’t understand major drivers in the system. Just because you may not understand how every part of your car works or is supposed to work does not mean that if you hit the accelerator and add more gas, it won’t go faster.

If you add it all up, sitting on the fence actually does not make sense. As a mathematician, why are you having so much trouble with what looks to me to be rather elementary addition?

To summarize, since the small numbers in the noise don’t have the capacity to alter what the big numbers show, why would you, a mathematician, still be sitting on the fence?

PS I still think the birth certificate argument is valid when considering the amount of investigation and evidence involved in either case. You can extrapolate though and use the same argument in other instances to illustrate the confidence problem.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:51 AM

423. #422 John P. Reisman

While the post is general in nature regarding the understanding please note the following:

To summarize, since the small numbers in the noise don’t have the capacity to alter (significantly, or in a meaningful manner with regard to altering the view of human cause of the event) what the big numbers show, why would you, a mathematician, still be sitting on the fence?

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Aug 2009 @ 3:08 PM

424. James Annan has a good commentary on the McLean at al. paper and on the standards of the peer-review process of AGU journals. He suggests that AGU editors should attach their names to the papers they deal with which would provide some level of accountability, similar to how it’s done with EGU journals. EGU journals also have an open peer review system, which would easily have resulted in the errors discovered before it was published. Is this standard practice in other journals? Comments?

http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/

Comment by MarkB — 5 Aug 2009 @ 3:58 PM

425. > AGU editors

See the message posted here:

http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/old-news/#comment-33870
Joost de Gouw // August 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
A message on behalf of the editors of JGR Atmospheres …

Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:32 PM

426. I have reviewed for EGU “discussion” journals.
(But as I use my own name there I want to be anonymous here).

Anyone can make attributed comments. Mostly though only the reviewers comment. In my opinion way too many of the papers there are substandard. And reviewing is partly to blame.

Most “reviews” are too short to be useful (1-2 pages). There is a paragraph summarizing the paper. There is a paragraph that most reviewers seem to copy from each other that says: “This is a useful paper that makes a valuable contribution to the field and should be published” and finally there is a short list of typos. No in depth analysis.

Several European academic systems require PhD candidates to publish a given number of papers and postdocs are always under pressure to publish. Quantity over quality is seldom wise. It is my opinion that too many of the poor quality papers being published by the EGU are there because PhD students and recent postdocs are too afraid to criticize each other.

Don’t take my word for it. Go there and read some of the reviews. You don’t need to understand the paper. Just marvel at the shallowness and brevity of the review. Gasp at the fatuity of the author responses.

Comment by EGU_Reviewer — 5 Aug 2009 @ 6:36 PM

427. Regarding “atrocious papers,” I thought I’d direct some further attention (following Chris Dudley in #5) to a recently-aired junk-science “discovery” that has been hailed as having major implications for greenhouse policy, purporting to “explain” global warming without recourse to heat-trapping gases. This is announced in a paper, “Global energy accumulation and net heat emission,” which masquerades as serious science yet which couldn’t pass honest peer review by a class of incoming freshman physics students. Indeed, some of today’s denialist tracts couldn’t stand up to scrutiny by a family of polar bears, if only the fuzzy animals could read.

In the rather extended post immediately below, I show why this “discovery” is in fact a non-discovery—or a discovery of nothing whatsoever, less at “the bleeding edge” of science than over the edge entirely—capping the analysis with a challenging and certainly unconventional discussion of the actual warming we’re experiencing. The intent, however, is not so much to debunk an obviously false and/or fraudulent work of “science” as to experiment with what seems to be a robust and versatile way of using the numbers to “communicate climate” to the world at large.

Because of the failure of the media as well as most of those in the scientific community to seriously engage in such communication, the level of the public discussion about global warming in America today remains low. Polls show that despite some level of concern, Americans don’t take global warming nearly as seriously as, say, the federal budget deficit or the state of the economy (the #1 “issue”). Many see the prospect of global warming as questionable, or as representing nothing more than a change in the weather. What does a difference of a few degrees, up or down, mean to anything? Compared to the size of the current imbalance in the national budget, where the numbers are starkly clear, the numbers commonly associated with global warming are vague. Consequently, there is a tendency to dismiss it as a non-event—“an overblown tempest in an oversold teapot.”

Yet for reasons clearly implicit in what follows, balancing the earth’s energy budget must now take precedence over other priorities, including balancing the nation’s fiscal budget. The deficit we should really be worried about is the one at the top of the atmosphere, where there is a long-term deficiency in the longwave energy transmitted to space, and not the deficit in the nation’s pocketbook. Not dollars and cents, but the watt-seconds, terajoules, and equivalent giga-Hiroshimas of terrestrial waste heat being deposited in oceans and ice sheets by man-made GHGs should be our primary concern [1 giga-Hiroshima (gH) = 5×10^22 joules]. Otherwise, economics won’t much matter in the end.

Comment by David Ferrell — 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:38 PM

428. A pithy comment on McLean et al has been submitted to JGR, authored by a number of heavy-hitters (including Mann & Schmidt): more info and abstract here.

Comment by Gareth — 5 Aug 2009 @ 8:59 PM

429. Hank Roberts,

I find their comment to be quite uninformative. In summary:

1. They won’t discuss their peer review process.

2. Sometimes bad papers get published. Submit a comment if you want to make a contention.

The fact that the editors decided to make a comment at all on Tamino’s blog (assuming the comment is authentic) is perhaps subtle indication they acknowledge something went badly wrong here. I hope this leads to some changes. It bothers me that a paper like this was published, when you don’t even need much expertise to spot some of the fatal errors. Simply saying a comment should be submitted is a cop-out.

Comment by MarkB — 5 Aug 2009 @ 9:44 PM

430. Chris Dudley 5 August 2009 at 12:15 AM

“Seems that a couple of reps from PA who voted against the bill also got letters. http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/climate-letter-forgeries-stir-outrage/

Ah, it’s entered the very edge of the NYT radar screen! That’s the first inkling of this story I’ve seen appear beyond the blogosphere.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Aug 2009 @ 11:44 PM

431. Doug (#430),

Sounds like the story was broken by an newspaper so the blogs are part of it but not the whole thing. I see reports in the SF Chronicle, three in the NYT, the WP, CBS and some others.

Reading between the lines in Markey’s letter, it sounds like the people in congress have been hearing about opposition to Waxman-Markey from minority groups in talking points so that there was broad knowledge of the letters. It will be interesting to know which groups’ names were stolen in PA. Veterans?

Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 Aug 2009 @ 8:41 AM

432. MarkB, while you find their comment uninformative, I would imagine they feel the same way about comments on blogs.

No one argues peer review is the best possible system.

No one argues that blogs or debates would be an improvement.

John Mashey and others have been suggesting ways of managing faster-paced conversations in public in ways that keep focus on reliable published work.

It’ll be interesting to read the comment when it appears and see what people competent in the field have to say.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Aug 2009 @ 10:36 AM

433. #422 #423 “sitting on the fence?”

John, I did make response to your question in an way that I felt explained my position and that you might accept as understandable but it apparently failed moderation. It was simply to ask the question “does the Higgs boson exist?” my point being that what happens in reality trumps (and may confound) scientific theory. Try googling turbulence+unsolved+problem bearing in mind the relevance of turbulence to the atmosphere and the oceans. Regards simon abingdon

Comment by simon abingdon — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:26 AM

434. For those who have been kind enough to take an interest in the past, I’ve just added another new page. This is nominally a review of Broecker & Kunzig’s fixing climate, but with some rather nice pics of polar research as it is done as a bonus, and quite a few links. It’s at:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-change-resources–Fixing-Climate–A-review

Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Aug 2009 @ 11:56 AM

435. Chris Dudley 6 August 2009 at 8:41 AM

I’m behind the curve! Hopefully the outbreak of transparency will shut off this avenue of corruption for the time being.

Unfortunately I think the whole sad episode will end up further casting a general pall of unreliability on correspondence to Capitol Hill. Of course it’s already pretty badly degraded; interests groups of all sorts have been organizing letter campaigns for so long that I’m surprised correspondence still carries any weight at all. What’s spontaneous, what’s organized, what’s organized but still legitimate? Who can possibly judge?

A Bayesian grammatical analysis engine ought to be supplied to every elected representative, something along the lines of the Zdziarski’s DSPAM engine.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 6 Aug 2009 @ 12:39 PM

436. That was fast…

http://hot-topic.co.nz/big-guns-brought-to-bear/

Another question: What’s the purpose of having so many co-authors behind what is a fairly straightforward refutation? Is it simply to show that reputable names are backing the comment?

[Response: The various co-authors brought in complementary expertise and knowledge with regard to the climatic and statistical issues at hand. It’s fair to say that every co-author contributed meaningfully. – mike]

Comment by MarkB — 6 Aug 2009 @ 2:30 PM

437. #436 Mike, write “complementary” 100 times on the blackboard. Unless of course 8 of the 9 were just there to compliment the other one. Yes, I know, I know, usually I can resist, but on a cold windy Friday morning …

[Response: arggh! thanks-fixed now. – mike]

Comment by David Horton — 6 Aug 2009 @ 7:23 PM

438. Gareth #428, how did you learn about this? Did you see the text of the submitted comment?

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 7 Aug 2009 @ 12:04 AM

439. #433 simon abingdon

Thank you. I’ve been long searching for the most flamboyant straw man argument served as a well cooked red herring. Though there may be better, I think you have presented a true classic to the climate science debate:

“does the Higgs boson exist?”

Sure you can toss turbulence, into the mix, but how is what we don’t know relevant in relation to what we do know?

To say climate is complex (because of turbulence), therefore we can’t understand climate, is in and of itself a non sequitur, wouldn’t you agree? Kinda like saying flying a rocket to the moon is complex, therefore we can’t fly a rocket to the moon.

Turbulence is interesting, but are you saying that the observed and modeled reality is overturned by something not well understood (like the Higgs boson); even though the cause and effect relationship of GHG’s are solidly linked to the ability of the atmosphere to retain more heat et cetera, et cetera, et cetera… compared to the Higgs argument of: We really don’t know.

That’s a lot of straw you’re laying down, but as they say, if you make your bed out of straw, then you sleep in it. :)

I understand that the complexity argument is intriguing to some, but it really just doesn’t cut the mustard… whatever that means ;)

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 7 Aug 2009 @ 12:52 AM

440. The various co-authors brought in complementary expertise and knowledge with regard to the climatic and **statistical** issues at hand.

Ummm, I wonder which one is Tamino? [/rhetorical question]

Comment by Hugh — 7 Aug 2009 @ 2:53 AM

441. Mike #436, once you’re at at: “its” vs. “it’s”…

[Response: Now you guys are just getting picky. When will browsers come with AI-driven spell checkers? – mike]

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:22 AM

442. Simon Abingdon, your discussion with John suggests that you have a fundamental misconception about how science works. Take your question: “Does the Higgs Boson exist?” At the present time, that is not the interesting question. If the Higgs exists, we have a pretty good standard model of particle physics up to the few-TeV energy range, encompassing the weak and electromagnetic forces. That’s good. If the Higgs doesn’t exist, we’re back to the drawing board. That’s also good, because it will lead to greater understanding in the long run.
Right now, though, the question is what evidence will it take to establish the existence of the Higgs. What decay modes do we look for? What properties do we expect? How many candidates must we observe for a signal to emerge from background sufficiently to say we see the particle with high confidence.

Climate science may be very complex, but it has a history of nearly 200 years. In that time, some things have been established with very high confidence–so high that we have even applied the principles to the study of other planets with good success. There is still much we do not understand. However, some aspects of the models are so fundamental that there is virtually no way they could be wrong. Climate change due to anthropogenic greenhouse gasses is unfortunately a direct consequence of those knowns. The known unknowns, and even the unknown unknowns are extremely unlikely to invalidate that conclusion.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Aug 2009 @ 8:09 AM

443. #439 Never mind the ad homs and rhetoricals John. Where’s the clincher, where’s the knock-out punch?

Comment by simon abingdon — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:11 AM

444. #442 Ray “even the unknown unknowns are extremely unlikely to invalidate that conclusion”. Brave words.

Comment by simon abingdon — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:15 AM

445. Simon, there are 9 separate strings of evidence all pointing to a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling. How likely do you think it is that all 9 would conspire not just to point to the wrong value, but to point to THE SAME WRONG VALUE?

If you are not relying on evidence, you are not doing science. What is so hard for you to understand about that?

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:32 AM

446. Re #438: Gareth, never mind and thanks. The “comment” is now linked on Deltoid and Romm. Gareth’s site seems to be slashdotted :-(

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 7 Aug 2009 @ 10:42 AM

447. Simon Abingdon, your reference to turbulence strikes me as misguided. You seem to be saying that since we do not fully understand turbulence, we cannot address complex problems in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics in a useful way. Nonsense. Are the issues fully resolved in climate science? Of course not. But both evidence and analysis (imperfect as it is) are consistent in their support of AGW.

What point are you really trying to make?

Comment by Ron Taylor — 7 Aug 2009 @ 11:49 AM

448. I didn’t post the full paper (although I have a copy) because I wasn’t sure it would be proper to do so. I’m glad someone else has done it.. ;-)

Given that there are four NZ authors – three working in NZ – it’s perhaps not entirely surprising I might learn about this quite quickly… And NZ always gets to tomorrow first, so I have a timezone advantage.

Comment by Gareth — 7 Aug 2009 @ 6:03 PM

449. #445 Ray You cite “nine” separate strings of evidence (perhaps you’d enumerate them for me) which point to the same value. They point to consistent ranges of values Ray. Why do you use words that suggest they all refer to a particular value? I call that spin.

The phrase “unknown unknown” (#442) denies by its very nature any meaningful statement about an effect. Why do you make absurd assertions Ray?

Comment by simon abingdon — 8 Aug 2009 @ 2:53 AM

450. #447 Read the background Ron. John P. Reisman (OSS foundation) said (#367) “We are 100% sure the climate is on a different path and we are 100% sure that path is human caused”. I don’t share his confidence. (And nor does the IPCC).

Comment by simon abingdon — 8 Aug 2009 @ 3:05 AM

451. Hmm. Simon, I agree. It is probably more like 99.7% In more than twenty years of trying, no one has come up with an acceptable alternative explanation. In the meanwhile, the multiple lines of evidence for AGW continue to grow.

Any climate scientist would give almost anything to be able to show that global warming is natural, cyclical, and will soon reverse itself. Alas, the laws of physics stand in the way of such wishful thinking.

Comment by Ron Taylor — 8 Aug 2009 @ 8:40 AM

452. Doug (#435),

We still don’t know any of the groups in PA whose names were faked, but in VA two more are known now: the American Association of University Woman and the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/us/politics/08brfs-MOREGROUPSNA_BRF.html

There appears to be a coordinated effort to plant people at local meetings with senators during the recess in opposition to both Waxman-Markey and health care reform. http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/08/06/accce-town-halls/

It would be interesting to know if any members of congress have indicated that they need the political cover of plants in audiences to vote against these things. I’ve heard some say they need to hear from constituents to stand up to lobbyists. Are any saying they need fake constituents to stand with lobbyists? Is any of this solicited? A number of members have insisted on delay so they can hear from constituents and now there seem to be fake ones speaking very loudly.

The Senate Ethics Committee is very hard to contact but I wonder what position they would take if one member were sending fake constituents to another member’s constituent meeting? What tangled webs….

Comment by Chris Dudley — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:30 AM

453. Is there a link to where these nine separate pieces of evidence are discussed (for the general public)?

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 8 Aug 2009 @ 9:53 AM

454. John, the research is easy to find; how many can you find by searching for yourself? Did you look at the topics here at RC?

Without looking in the FAQ here or the topic list or the site search, I can point you easily to 8 here, plus the analysis the paper describes, which might be the ninth.

Not saying this is the answer you’re looking for, just noting how easily this kind of information is found.

It will always help all of us if you show what you can find on your own first, and how you looked — rather than just asking others. That helps us get an idea of how people coming new to this material do try to find it.
It would be a kindness if you’d make the effort and say how it works for you.

One fairly old paper is pretty well known and has a list:

http://jvarekamp.web.wesleyan.edu/public_htmlA/public_htmlA/CO2/359%20CC%2008/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

Given the one name makes a narrower search easier, try this one:

The first link in that result gives the list of papers citing this one:

… Knutti, M Allen, JD Annan, JC Hargreaves, J … – American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2007
… an abundance of observational evidence …

That list will turn up multiple lines of evidence and analysis

Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:11 AM

455. #450 simon abingdon

Simon, can you refute the NCAR assessment that we have changed the path, if not, your confidence levels should change accordingly.

http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

To be fair, when I said ‘we’, I was referring to some that I have talked to that are 100% on certain items of understanding.

But unless you have an alternative explanation for the change in climate path, your confidence should logically be leaning toward AGW and not in the middle, or on the fence.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 8 Aug 2009 @ 11:18 AM

456. Chris Dudley 8 August 2009 at 9:30 AM

“There appears to be a coordinated effort to plant people at local meetings with senators during the recess in opposition to both Waxman-Markey and health care reform. http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/08/06/accce-town-halls/

Yeah, I saw a reproduction of a “doorhanger” encouraging people to turn out for meetings on these particular two topics. Perfectly acceptable in ordinary circumstances but it appears the objective is intimidation as opposed to discussion.

Along those lines, once the two topics are intertwined it becomes difficult to discuss one in isolation and of course it brings out the trolls. A poster here appeared in recent days muttering about brawls and other violence around climate change. Coincidence? Maybe.

Playing with fire, some people are.

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 8 Aug 2009 @ 12:38 PM

457. NY Times covers Pentagon’s concern w/climate change. They’ve been prodded, a bit, but apparently have found plenty of knock-on effects.

“The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.

Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.

A changing climate presents a range of challenges for the military. Many of its critical installations are vulnerable to rising seas and storm surges. In Florida, Homestead Air Force Base was essentially destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Ivan badly damaged Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2004. Military planners are studying ways to protect the major naval stations in Norfolk, Va., and San Diego from climate-induced rising seas and severe storms.

Another vulnerable installation is Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian Ocean that serves as a logistics hub for American and British forces in the Middle East and sits a few feet above sea level.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/science/earth/09climate.html?_r=1&hp

Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:51 AM

458. Doug (#457)

Some of the prodding has been internal. CNA came out with a report two years ago http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9580815 on this subject. We took this to Steny Hoyer as part of Stepitup. He has a couple of vulnerable bases in his district and one close by in VA where constituents work.

It is interesting that the military is starting to do its own climate modeling.

Comment by Chris Dudley — 9 Aug 2009 @ 6:57 AM

459. ” “We are 100% sure the climate is on a different path and we are 100% sure that path is human caused”. I don’t share his confidence. (And nor does the IPCC).”

You’d be wrong, simon.

The IPCC 100% agrees with those statements.

Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:49 AM

460. Ray’s point in 455 can be summed up as: there’s only one right answer, but we have an infinite number of wrong ones.

simon, engineers KNEW bees couldn’t fly. Their physics and models KNEW it. But you still flew in their planes, didn’t you.

(the reason why bees CAN fly is because of turbulent vortex shedding on the wing edges which hadn’t been considered in the engineer models)

Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:52 AM

461. #460 Mark “simon, engineers KNEW bees couldn’t fly. Their physics and models KNEW it. But you still flew in their planes, didn’t you.

(the reason why bees CAN fly is because of turbulent vortex shedding on the wing edges which hadn’t been considered in the engineer models)”

Or symbolically:

simon, A KNEW B couldn’t C. Their physics and models KNEW it. But D still E, didn’t D.

(the reason why B CAN C is because of F which hadn’t been considered in the A models),

where A = engineer(s), B = bees, C = fly, D = you, E = flew in their planes, F = turbulent vortex shedding on the wing edges.

Here‘s a simple (O level) question for you Mark. Interpret this analogy in the context of climatology by ascribing appropriate values to the parameters A B C D E F so as to make a coherent and relevant statement. (Clue: A = climatologists).

(I might then have a chance of understanding what you’re on about).

Comment by simon abingdon — 9 Aug 2009 @ 12:00 PM

462. No.

How about considering reading comprehension in your future education needs?

There are two points:

1) That the science didn’t know how bees flew despite the fact of their ability, still they could design planes that flew.

2) Despite not knowing how bees flew, you didn’t care about the risks of putting your direct life in the hands of such people’s results. Completely differently to when you place your children’s future in the hands of climate scientists who don’t have clouds nailed down as well as you’d like.

#1 shows how you don’t have to have it 100% right to get it right.

#2 shows how you’re two-faced when it comes to science you don’t like.

Comment by Mark — 9 Aug 2009 @ 12:58 PM

463. Nobody’s claiming “100%” in science.

In policy, “100%” means “keep doing this, and you’ll end up where you’re pointed.”

There are three different kinds of numbers the IPCC uses in the same document people have pointed to here repeatedly.

— ranges for results (footnote 5);
— likelihood of outcomes (footnote 6);
— levels of conﬁdence … to express expert judgements on the correctness of the underlying science (footnote 7)

fn.5
In general, uncertainty ranges for results given in this Summary for Policymakers are 90% uncertainty intervals unless stated otherwise, that is, there is an estimated 5% likelihood that the value could be above the range given in square brackets and 5% likelihood that the value could be below that range. Best estimates are given where available. Assessed uncertainty intervals are not always symmetric about the corresponding best estimate. Note that a number of uncertainty ranges in the Working Group I TAR corresponded to 2 standard deviations (95%), often using expert judgement.

fn.6
In this Summary for Policymakers, the following terms have been used to
indicate the assessed likelihood, using expert judgement, of an outcome or
a result: Virtually certain > 99% probability of occurrence, Extremely likely > 95%, Very likely > 90%, Likely > 66%, More likely than not > 50%, Unlikely < 33%, Very unlikely < 10%, Extremely unlikely < 5% (see Box TS.1 for more details).

[Text box in red]:

The understanding of anthropogenic warming and
cooling inﬂuences on climate has improved since
the TAR, leading to very high conﬁdence7 that the
global average net effect of human activities since
1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative
forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m–2 (see Figure
SPM.2). {2.3., 6.5, 2.9}

fn.7:
In this Summary for Policymakers the following levels of conﬁdence have
been used to express expert judgements on the correctness of the underly-
ing science: very high conﬁdence represents at least a 9 out of 10 chance
of being correct; high conﬁdence represents about an 8 out of 10 chance of
being correct (see Box TS.1)

—–
Look, Simon, there are plenty of places where people get encouraged to argue with exaggerated statements, rather than encouraging people to actually state the sources so people can look them up in the science. Try, please.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 1:54 PM

464. Simon, Your reasoning seems to go along the following lines:

Scientists have only found enough evidence to state with 90% confidence that the mass inside your lungs is cancer. Therefore, I will take the 10:1 odds that it is not. What you are ignoring is that there is zero evidence that it is NOT cancer. None. In science you either go with the theory that best favors the evidence available or you produce evidence that contradicts the hypothesis. You are insisting there is some middle ground. There isn’t. Science or Anti-science. Pick.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Aug 2009 @ 3:20 PM

465. #463 Hank. Thanks for keeping patient. I wonder if you can help me with this?

My journey to work takes about 50 minutes: never possibly less than 40 minutes, but sometimes as much as two and a half hours. It’s not within the same % of 50 minutes + or -. It can be as much as +200% despite being never better than -25%.

Whenever I see “+ or – x%“ in a report, it always raises a doubt in my mind as to whether these are numbers off the top of the head, or have really been properly thought out.

Comment by simon abingdon — 9 Aug 2009 @ 3:22 PM

466. Simon, doubt is good.
Can you follow the explanation here?
http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/07/what-cooling-trend.html
He has a topic for questions (but work through the post first, so your questions show how much you’ve understood).

Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 4:14 PM

467. Oh, and, Simon, yes, researchers nitpick this stuff extensively because it’s not simple, not easy, and often novel methods are tried and compared to older methods.

A guy at RC in the last day or so posted an abstract from a discussion draft (submitted paper). Gavin pointed out inline that the paper has been withdrawn; the statistics didn’t survive review; follow the link to see the reviews, they’re public.

Your driving time example indicates you haven’t taken statistics, or you’d recognize the question of skew and distribution as a familiar one in Statistics 101. Not that that means it’s easy: as the IPCC doc says, “… uncertainty intervals are not always symmetric about the corresponding best estimate.” It’s a common problem with data.

Perhaps some history: here’s one history cited over 500 times, for example:
[BOOK] The history of statistics: The measurement of uncertainty before 1900

Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 4:24 PM

468. simon abingdon (465) — With so many fine statistical tools availabble it is easy to calculate the error bars around the trend line from the available data. If there is enough data all this is even statisticaly significant at an appropriate level for a scientific paper.

As for you trip to work, it has never taken more than 2.5 hours yet. Gather more data. :-)

Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 5:08 PM

469. Simon (465):

Your concern seems to be addressed at least partially in Hank’s quote:

“Assessed uncertainty intervals are not always symmetric about the corresponding best estimate.”

In general, uncertainties reflect the probability function and its shape. Many times this will be symmetrical, but, as your example points out, not always. I suspect that this issue will have been considered carefully in judgments such we are discussing.

Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Aug 2009 @ 5:15 PM

470. Chemists Discover Ozone-boosting Reaction: Newfound Chemistry Should Be Added To Atmospheric Models, Experts Say
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720190728.htm

Need to add to climate models?

Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Aug 2009 @ 6:52 PM

471. Re: #468 (David B. Benson)

Caution is in order. There are indeed many fine tools which calculate probable errors in trends, but most of them operate under the assumption that the noise superimposed on the signal is white noise. In many cases in geophysics this is not the case. In particular, temperature time series exhibit non-white noise. In that case the probable errors estimated by most programs will be too small.

Re: #465 (simon abingdon)

Even when the data themselves are not symmetric about their mean (or about the trend), it is often true that averages, slopes, and other summary statistics are symmetric about the mean. This is because of the most powerful theorem in statistics: the central limit theorem. So don’t be surprised when the error range is symmetric about the estimate; this is usually correct.

Comment by tamino — 9 Aug 2009 @ 7:22 PM

472. Simon #465. You are getting good advice, but because of what you said- “doubt in my mind as to whether these are numbers off the top of the head, or have really been properly thought out,” I think that it is important to state specifically that errors (+ or – whatever) are not just thought out. These numbers are standard components of statistical computations that are not arbitrary in any way. They represent one standard deviation or the standard error of the mean (the latter sometimes inappropriately on small sample sizes). It is not a value judgment. See the statistical references suggested by others.

Steve

Comment by Steve Fish — 9 Aug 2009 @ 7:39 PM

473. #465 Simon

Do you understand the difference between a normal (Gaussian) distribution, and for example, a lognormal?

The latter is right-skewed, often where there is some bound at the left, but no bound at the right. There is some minimum time for a trip, but maxima can be long. We once had a 5-hour trip to South Lake Take Tahoe take ~3 days.

For example, given the same {age, gender, ethnic group} height is probably normal, but weight may well be better modeled by lognormal. I.e., if the mean weight were 150 pounds, the chance of someone weighing 225 is a lot higher than weighing 75.

Comment by John Mashey — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:07 PM

474. So, Simon, do you think any differently now than you did at
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/mind-the-gap/comment-page-1/#comment-103576
18 novembre 2008?

Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:33 PM

475. Simon, any measurement is subject to error, and those errors will be distributed according to some distribution. In many cases, that distribution is symmetric; in many it is not. In the case of your trip to work, you are bounded on the low side by some constraint–e.g. the speed limit, if you are law abiding or the speed of traffic or top speed of your car if you are not. On the high side, there are many sources of delay, and they are addative. All this shows is that in any problem, you have to understand the error calculus to accurately bound the confidence intervals. This is hardly profound. What is of more interest is 1)why you seem to think it is; and 2)why you think that climate scientists don’t already know this.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Aug 2009 @ 8:34 PM

476. Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:57 AM

477. Ray the answer to #475 is: simon doesn’t want AGW to be right. Hence anything he thinks isn’t understood is not understood.

Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:12 AM

478. Another example of a skewed table is a binomial and a poisson distribution. You don’t get less than 0 in either, but a poisson distribution goes to infinity.

And it’s impossible to get half infinity, so the distribution HAS to be skewed.

I wonder if simon abingdon met a pie-man yesterday…

Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:14 AM

“simon abingdon says:
18 November 2008 at 8:05 AM
That global temperatures have not been rising this century is not I think disputed.

That this is not inconsistent with an overall global warming trend is (on statistical grounds) not I think disputed. (It is not inconsistent with an overall cooling trend either).

So why does any reasonable person think that the FACTS actually provide CONFIRMATION for a theory of AGW?

Whatever the physics says, we ignore FACTS at our peril.”

So “do [I] think any differently now”?

Although it reads as pretty arrogant coming from a layman, I’d still say “No, that still sums up how I feel”.

Comment by simon abingdon — 10 Aug 2009 @ 3:30 AM

480. #475 Ray

Not profound Ray, just interesting: witness nine postings in response.

Comment by simon abingdon — 10 Aug 2009 @ 3:42 AM

481. #466 Hank I’ve now read Grumbine’s blog as you suggested. (I hadn’t when I replied to your #474 BTW). It’s the usual stuff about how to define climate and needing 20-30 years to identify the underlying trend. Seems to me this all assumes there is an underlying trend which obediently stays the same while we look for it. What does a graph of the last 25 years of the FTSE tell us? Consistent upward trend (with just a couple of dips). Would you rely on that as a predictor of the future? Are you prepared to rely on the UK Met Office when they tell you what temperatures you can expect 70 years from now region by detailed region across a country as small as England?

Comment by simon abingdon — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:19 AM

482. “Are you prepared to rely on the UK Met Office when they tell you what temperatures you can expect 70 years from now region by detailed region across a country as small as England?

Comment by simon abingdon”

Are they predicting on that scale?

Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:44 AM

483. No, Simon, you’re not reading it carefully. I’d suggest you go through Grumbine’s several threads on detecting trends more carefully, then ask a question there if you still haven’t understood it.

You need to get past the argument from incomprehension and do the work to understand this very basic thing about statistics. It’s the stuff taught in the first six weeks — and then retaught endlessly because it’s not easy to understand.

IT takes work. Nobody else can do it for you.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:11 AM

484. Let me try again, Hank.

What ARE the “nine pieces of evidence?”

The claim was made earlier that there were exactly “nine pieces of evidence.” Or maybe “nine main pieces.” You took a long time to tell me to “do research.” I am not in that business. I can be fooled by the bogus stuff and see some strong arguments as very weak. This is the case for a lot of the “interested public.”

If you — or anybody here — wants to help me on this, I’d be grateful. If not, I’ll probably bumble my way along somehow.

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:14 AM

485. Comment by simon abingdon — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:21 AM

486. #479 simon arbingdon

btw, is that your real name? are you named after the town?

as to your question “So why does any reasonable person think that the FACTS actually provide CONFIRMATION for a theory of AGW?”

because there are multiple levels of correlation in the attribution.

– amount of GHG’s added to atmosphere equal to amount of ghg output.
– physics of sensitivity are well known to increased GHG’s

Yes, you are arrogant (unwarranted confidence). It’s not about how you feel. It’s not even about how you think. It is about the science, maths, physics. It seems to me that you are not as smart as you are attempting to appear. If you can’t even put the basic pieces of understanding together in a cogent manner, I am afraid you may actually be incapable of learning, unless this is handicap you may be able to overcome, but it’s not looking good at this point in time.

“There are none so blind as those who choose not to see.”

BTW, this is not ad hominem, merely an observation. You have been pointed to ample real science and explained many things in a ratiocinative manner. You just don’t seem to have learning capacity.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:36 AM

487. #479 simon arbingdon

I guess I should add to the list

– amount of GHG’s added to atmosphere equal to amount of ghg output.
– physics of sensitivity are well known to increased GHG’s

a couple more

– observations match models based on understood sensitivity
– global signals match models and in some cases are exceeding current empirical models such SLR and Arctic ice extent loss

Of course I could go on, but have less confidence you can not connect the dots.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:39 AM

488. simon arbingdon

Oops,

double negative in last post:

Of course I could go on, but have less confidence you can not connect the dots.

should be

Of course I could go on, but have less confidence you can connect the dots.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:41 AM

489. A brief comment from someone without the time to be fully engaged in this thread.

I picked up the paper [McLean et al. 2009 p3] and the (indeed, it seems relatively strong) relationships stated in the paper are:

dGTTA = 0.0189 * dSOI + 0.0326
for the period 1960-2008
and
dGTTA = 0.0149 * dSOI + 0.0424
for period 1980-2008

Where
GTTA: Global Tropospheric Temperature Anomaly °C
SOI: Southern Oscillation Index lagged by 6/7 months (basically, this measures prevalence of El-Nino)
d: annual change: “12-month running average subtracted from the same average for data 12 months later”

I take it from these equations that the estimated trend for 1960-2008 is 0.0326°C/year (from the 1960-2008 dataset).
and
for 1980-2008 is 0.0424°C/year (from the 1980-2008 dataset).

This compares to the IPCC [2007, WG1 SPM, p5]
“The linear warming trend over the last 50 years” (0.013°C/year [0.010°C to 0.016°C/year] ) [decadal changed to annual for clarity]

So the time trend found from the microwave data when accounting for SOI correlation is over double that quoted in the IPCC.
“Study shows warming trend is more than double what was previously expected, after accounting for El Nino effects”

Of course, there is no way of knowing whether this is significant since there was no treatment of statistical significance and error bars in the paper.
It probably is not significant but it just shows that this paper could have been ‘spun’ in a completely different way.

Presumably the press officer should be shot.

Comment by Steve — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:48 AM

490. Steve #489 LOL! Yes, Tamino noticed this too. Actually, if you want to determine the long-term trend of a time series, about the very worst way to go about it, accuracy wise, is to average its year-upon-year differences…

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:56 AM

491. Simon Abingdon says, “Not profound Ray, just interesting: witness nine postings in response.”

Not interesting, Simon. Just wrong. That’s why 9 people are correcting you.

You seem to be claiming that we cannot analyze anything unless it is simple. Not true. Do you have a retirement account? Did you sell everything when the market fell? This is no more complicated than what most people already bet their life savings on.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:49 PM

492. Let me try again, John — why don’t you ask whoever gave you the number nine? There are more than that, but if you’re looking for someone’s precise list, ask whoever told you it existed for a pointer.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 12:55 PM

493. well simon #485, it seems you don’t know about what model resolution means either.

The grid is representative of 25km of the earth at about the UK latitude.

Ergo a 25km resolution model.

Seriously weak, dude.

Comment by Mark — 10 Aug 2009 @ 2:43 PM

494. There’s a letters war in The Australian. Yesterday, they published a denial letter, which attracted a flood of pro-denial of comments.

Today I have a reply in; if anyone sees this in time to join in, please get a comment in. The denial bunch is bound to go after this in a big way judging from yesterday’s (too late to respond there: the paper doesn’t close comments but they stop posting them towards the end of the day of publication — time zone GMT +10).

Comment by Philip Machanick — 10 Aug 2009 @ 4:59 PM

495. tamino (471) — Thank you for the timely reminder.

Simon Abingdon — You need to look at enough data. Here are the decadal averages from the HadCRUTv3 global temperature product.
http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/10yave.jpg
By eye alone I believe you will note the linear trend over the centennial scale data, with some wobbles around it.

Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Aug 2009 @ 5:08 PM

Climate change mitigation: trade-offs between delay and strength of action required

Climatic Change
DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9573-7

— abstract —

… We calculate the effects of alternative emission profiles on atmospheric CO2 and global temperature change over a millennial timescale using a simple coupled carbon cycle-climate model. For example, if it takes 50 years to transform the energy sector and the maximum rate at which emissions can be reduced is −2.5% [per year], delaying action until 2020 would lead to stabilization at 540 ppm. A further 20 year delay would result in a stabilization level of 730 ppm, and a delay until 2060 would mean stabilising at over 1,000 ppm. If stabilization targets are met through delayed action, combined with strong rates of mitigation, the emissions profiles result in transient peaks of atmospheric CO2 (and potentially temperature) that exceed the stabilization targets. Stabilization at 450 ppm requires maximum mitigation rates of −3% to −5% [per year], and when delay exceeds 2020, transient peaks in excess of 550 ppm occur. Consequently tipping points for certain Earth system components may be transgressed. Avoiding dangerous climate change is more easily achievable if global mitigation action commences as soon as possible. Starting mitigation earlier is also more effective than acting more aggressively once mitigation has begun….”

Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 6:18 PM

497. Burgie, the constraints on climate sensitivity are summarized in the Nature Geo review article by Knutti and Hegerl. It’s actually 10 constraints, but I was going from memory. It’a a nice review.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Aug 2009 @ 8:33 PM

498. Burgie, I believe the article by Knutti and Hegerl that Ray is referring to is available (PDF) here: http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

Comment by Rick Brown — 10 Aug 2009 @ 10:04 PM

499. John Burgeson, Rick Brown’s pointer is excellent.
You could spend a month reading these and come out the better for it.
Gavin has spoken well of his work here not long ago.

I wish I could write so clearly (not to mention knowing anything so well).

I’m working down the list: http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/

Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Aug 2009 @ 11:54 PM

500. #482 Mark (quoting my #481) “Are you prepared to rely on the UK Met Office when they tell you what temperatures you can expect 70 years from now region by detailed region across a country as small as England?”

Are they predicting on that scale?

I replied (#485) with a link http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/content/view/718/9/

#493 Mark “The grid is representative of 25km of the earth at about the UK latitude.”

I now see that’s how they make their absurdly detailed regional predictions for 2080.

Follow the link through to (for example) http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/content/view/981/528/

What does “Seriously weak, dude” mean?

Comment by simon abingdon — 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:03 AM

501. “What does “Seriously weak, dude” mean?”

It means your argument is seriously weak. Dude.

Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:44 AM

502. “I now see that’s how they make their absurdly detailed regional predictions for 2080.”

Hmm.

So when they predict 2-6C warming, this is both absurdly detailed yet absurdly inaccurate (since that’s a 400% range of values).

Yeah.

Weak, dude.

Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 9:45 AM

503. #502 “both absurdly detailed yet absurdly inaccurate” Absurdly detailed geographically; uselessly inaccurate in timescale.

Comment by simon abingdon — 11 Aug 2009 @ 10:13 AM

504. “Absurdly detailed geographically; uselessly inaccurate in timescale.”

In what way?

Are you saying it WON’T be between 2 and 6 C warmer in the UK and that the warming in Wessex will most likely be higher than the Midlands and the Midlands likely higher than the far north of Scotland?

Do you really think that picture is hopelessly wrong?

Comment by Mark — 11 Aug 2009 @ 12:12 PM

505. #504 “Are you saying it WON’T be between 2 and 6 C warmer in the UK and that the warming in Wessex will most likely be higher than the Midlands and the Midlands likely higher than the far north of Scotland?”

Did you mean “will” or “won’t”?

Comment by simon abingdon — 11 Aug 2009 @ 1:55 PM

506. #505 simon abingdon

I am just taking a wild guess here but I believe he said “Are you saying it WON’T be between 2 and 6 C warmer in the UK…”

You can check it for yourself in post #504 though.

BTW, is Simon Abingdon your real name?

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Aug 2009 @ 12:09 PM

507. Which one is in capitals?

Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 12:11 PM

508. Thanks, Ray and Rick. What happened is that I made the mistake of asking for the “nine evidences” right after a post making that claim appeared. My post got pushed down the stack so it looked as if I was coming in from left field.

I’ll try not to make that particular mistake again (of course, I’ll no doubt make others). My interest in the “nine pieces” comes from a friend who is spending a lot of blog time showing that “US temperature records are so bad that they can show nothing — and THEREFORE AGW is falsified.” He does point out a lot of problems with them, but as I have mentioned to him several times those records are NOT what the AGW IPCC claims are primarily based upon.

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 12 Aug 2009 @ 2:20 PM

509. #508 John (Burgy) Burgeson

The errors are modeled out to decrease the noise in order to see the signal (I hope that is a proper characterization for that). So pointing out errors in the temp record is the very old and tired argument of raw data vs. modeled data. Not that denialists are shy about digging up real old arguments and trying to give them new life.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Aug 2009 @ 3:34 PM

510. #507 Which one isn´t?

Comment by simon abingdon — 12 Aug 2009 @ 4:13 PM

511. the one in capitals.

Comment by Mark — 12 Aug 2009 @ 7:40 PM

512. #510 simon abingdon

Oh the irony of a person attempting to sound so profound and scientific with il-informed considerations unfounded by the body of scientific understanding; and acting so immature as you in this thread. Your avoidance of relevant points with red herring distractions, subtle or direct is increasingly glaringly obvious.

Since you have never answered my inquiries as to whether or not simon abingdon is your real name I will assume that it is not and that you are afraid to take personal responsibility for your naivete and possible, or likely, ignorance of contextually relevant facts and understanding.

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 5:29 AM

513. John P. Reisman (512), just can’t get rid of that hair, can you? ;-)

Comment by Rod B — 13 Aug 2009 @ 9:15 AM

514. Rod, I’m a more traditional conservative and believe people should take responsibility for their words and actions. Do you disagree?

Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Aug 2009 @ 11:05 AM

515. I see Michael Mann etal have a new paper out and the BBC has a news article on it
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8197191.stm

Is a new RC post about tropical storms in the works?

Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 13 Aug 2009 @ 2:02 PM

516. Doug (#456),

It seems ACCCE responded to Markey’s letter with non-answers. No admission even about the American Association of University Woman and the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging that I can tell. There is a bit of news though. There were 50 potentially fraudulent letters. Bonner & Associates may not have responded to Markey’s letter by the deadline. http://www.rollcall.com/news/37767-1.html

Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 Aug 2009 @ 9:26 AM

517. I have witnessed global warming for years. Coming from Alaska, I have seen glaciers retreat. I came across this video that shows global warming in action here: http://www.filmbaby.com/films/4148. I showed my former global warming skeptic friends this movie and they all now believe it is happening at an alarming rate.

Comment by John Rivers — 16 Aug 2009 @ 6:22 PM

518. Pollution Reduces Rain Vital to Crops:
http://www.livescience.com/environment/090816-rain-pollution-china.html

Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Aug 2009 @ 8:02 PM

519. Response to John Reisman (#508)

My friend has pointed out what are systematic errors in the US temperature data in his blog. I don’t have the expertise to assess his arguments (http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/)

His writing is painful to read because he writes in the traditions of rage radio.

But my question is simple. How important are the ground temperature readings? Partticularly those of the US. My comment to him has been that they are not a primary evidence of AGW at all — that the primary evidences are from other sources (which is why I was looking for the “9 evidences” previously mentioned in this thread.

So — are the ground temperature records of the US a primary foundation for the IPCC claims of AGW — or not? I thought not — but I am not sure.

Thanks. Burgy

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 19 Aug 2009 @ 1:58 PM

520. Response to John Reisman (509)

In his blog at http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/ my friend has pointed out what he sees are systematic flaws in the US ground temperature records. I have not the expertise to adrress these, but I have commented to him that US ground temperature records are not a primary evidence for the IPCC claims of AGW.

Am I correct in this statement?

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 19 Aug 2009 @ 2:02 PM

521. My friend has pointed out what are systematic errors in the US temperature data in his blog

Read carefully. It would appear that the “written records mislaid during a move” refers to some of the confidentiality agreements, not the temperature data, which in this day and age I’d imagine are given to them electronically …

Which rather undermines the point of his post.

Comment by dhogaza — 19 Aug 2009 @ 4:50 PM

522. Burgy,
your buddy is chanelling Watts again. Watts study is conducted without any reference to or understanding of how the data are used. So guess what: Researchers looked at his 70 “good” stations and the trend for the entire network and zero difference. A real scientist knows not just to look for errors but to assess their significance.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Aug 2009 @ 4:56 PM

523. John B, don’t worry about your friend. He’s got his audience and fame, and you won’t change that now that he’s in #2 position, after WTF and above CA. You can ask the agency that keeps the data about inconsistencies, or read up on the work already done, at great length.

But not at any of these sites!

Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Aug 2009 @ 5:16 PM

524. Re 519/520 Burgy – your friend is suffering from the same delusion as Watts. The absolute temperature of any one temperature station is irrelevant to measurements of climate. It is the trend over time that matters. Note that in the first of the three graphs, although there is divergence between the two lines after 1967, they nevertheless both show exactly the same shape of curve thereafter.

Now, if the blue line was consistently going up while the red line was going down, your friend might have a point. But they are definitely in synch.

Statistical analysis of Watts’ figures showed that there was no significant difference between the temperature records of the 70 “best” stations compared to the full data set.

Tell your friend not to build straw men.

Comment by CTG — 19 Aug 2009 @ 5:19 PM

525. Burgy, the contiguous states of the USA make up less than 1.6 per cent of the world’s surface.
I know it seems like such a big country looking at it from the inside, but, well..

Comment by Garry S-J — 19 Aug 2009 @ 6:45 PM

526. Re: #520 (John (Burgy) Burgeson)

Look at the 1st graph in that post. During the years 81-82 the Coldwater temperature is WAY too high. Why do you suppose that is?

It’s because the author has simply averaged the available data without taking into account that there’s data *missing*. The missing data is from winter 1981/1982, so cold months are absent, making those averages incorrectly too high.

That’s a rookie mistake. But it’s what your “friend” thinks passes for analysis. And it’s not the only rookie mistake. He’s pretty clueless; it seems he really is in the same league as Anthony Watts.

Comment by tamino — 19 Aug 2009 @ 8:50 PM

527. John Burgeson,

Let me point out that the errors pointed out by your friend are in the raw data. I.e., data “as recorded”, not taking into account known station moves, instrument changes, change in observation time-of-day (a treacherous effect that must be accounted for), etc.

Just for fun, I collected data from four Kansas stations including the two he used, and plotted their properly reduced data together. Corrections made, as described here, were for time-of-observations, station moves, instrument changes, and urbanization effects — all known corrections. No “homogenization” or such. All I did was move the station curves vertically to get them to align. That’s all.

Just click on my name. You see the Coldwater curve showing an instrumental malfunction 1981-1983… otherwise the curves agree within a degree Fahrenheit or better (and those diffs could be partly due to these, well, being different stations in different places), with no noticeable trend offsets.

This is what you get if you look not only at the data, but at the metadata too. Fifteen minutes of play with octave.

End of lesson :-)

Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Aug 2009 @ 5:07 AM

528. Thanks for comments. FWIW, my friend claims to be doing his own analyses and is not following Watts.

He has quite a number of examples of his analyses of the raw data (including China) on his blog. I understand that there are no bloggers here that take those analyses seriously. But his arguments do seem to be taken seriously by some of his followers and on at least one chat website.

Sorry, BTW, for the dual posts. The software hiccuped!

Burgy

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 20 Aug 2009 @ 9:35 AM

529. “FWIW, my friend claims to be doing his own analyses and is not following Watts.”

NWVM.

He’s either horrendously unlucky and following the EXACT SAME wrongheaded trail that Watts is or he IS following Watts.

Comment by Mark — 20 Aug 2009 @ 10:43 AM

530. Burgy says, “FWIW, my friend claims to be doing his own analyses…”

And that is PAINFULLY obvious. This is a textbook case of a smart guy doing what makes sense to him even though it is absolute crap in the context of the relevant field of study. It is also an example of someone with ideological blinders on looking for any tiny error without regard to whether it has any significance.

Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Aug 2009 @ 10:46 AM

531. Remind him some people get upset about plagiarism; he ought to check his work against Watts’s and see if by some coincidence his numbers look the same–not surprising for correct answers, but for wrong answers it’s odd.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Aug 2009 @ 12:05 PM

532. ??? What does NWVM stand for? That’s a new one to me.

Burgy

Comment by John (Burgy) Burgeson — 21 Aug 2009 @ 9:38 AM

533. After your FWIW, he’s delivering the common putdown: ‘not worth very much’.

Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Aug 2009 @ 12:00 PM

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