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Second CRU inquiry reports

Filed under: — gavin @ 14 April 2010

The Oxburgh report on the science done at the CRU has now been published and….. as in the first inquiry, they find no scientific misconduct, no impropriety and no tailoring of the results to a preconceived agenda, though they do suggest more statisticians should have been involved. They have also some choice words to describe the critics.

Carry on…

1,421 Responses to “Second CRU inquiry reports”

  1. 451
    John Peter says:

    Geoff Wexler@431

    Thank you

  2. 452
    SecularAnimist says:

    Tom Fuller (#416) is a piece of work. “Concern troll” does not do this fellow justice.

    He affects a reasonable tone here; not so much in his online “Examiner” column and in comments on other blogs where he refers to RealClimate’s moderators and regular commenters as propagandists and brainwashed robots and whines bitterly about how mean everyone here is to him.

    He proclaims himself a “liberal skeptic”, as though having a “liberal” or “conservative” point of view has anything whatsoever to do with the scientific reality of AGW.

    He claims that he accepts the reality of AGW in order to establish credibility, and then consistently attacks the science and the scientists (as in comment #416) with an onslaught of bogus talking points copied and pasted verbatim from denialist websites.

    There is a market for writers who are willing to tell the Ditto-Head demographic what they want to hear. And there are many wannabe pundits and hack pseudo-journalists chasing that market.

  3. 453
    trrll says:

    Tom Fuller writes, “Many of the criticisms leveled against the IPCC, AR4, and CRU are valid and serious. Most of us who make these criticisms do not believe that, even if all of them are 100% true, they invalidate climate science.”

    The only really serious issues before us are the danger of global warming and what actions should be taken to mitigate it. Pretty much everything else is academic. So it is hard for me to understand how criticisms that do not invalidate climate science can be regarded as “serious.” In science, as in any human endeavor, there are always mistakes, or at least things that could have been done better. The hardest errors to catch, and therefore the most common, are the ones that don’t affect the conclusions. In peer-reviewing papers, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a submitted paper without a typo, and I routinely see them in work published in major journals with professional copy editors. Critics of climate science have a long history of picking on inconsequential errors and exaggerating in such a way as to give the impression that they invalidate the serious conclusions. Remember the media frenzy over whether 1934 or 1998 was the warmest year in the US? Or the more recent media frenzy over an IPCC error in reporting exactly how long it is expected to take the glaciers to melt? Those who bring up such issues in a discussion over the reality and consequences of global warming, without making it extremely clear that they are inconsequential with respect to the genuinely serious issues, are (reasonably, I think), suspected of trying to feed ammunition to the anti-global warming cranks. My impression is that errors and scientific flaws brought up in appropriate context are generally dealt with seriously and forthrightly by climate scientists, particularly on this forum.

  4. 454
    Ray Ladbury says:

    It would seem having been soundly slapped down in their strategy of character assassination, the new word from the mother ship is to keep the accusations so vague and malleable that they cannot be refuted. Judy Curry now alleges “groupthink” or “cargo-cult science” or “tribalism”–careful not to hurl allegations against any individual scientist, who might mount a defense. No. Wouldn’t want that. Much better to use the passive voice. “Mistakes were made,” sounds so much nicer–and every bit as insidious–as allegations of outright fraud. And it can’t be rebutted–or even challenged–in a court of law or public opinion.

    So now it’s the IPCC “process” that is corrupt, not the scientists. I would find it fascinating to know just what critical conclusions about climate science would differ if we went with the consensus in the scientific literature rather than that expressed in the IPCC documents. But then details aren’t part of the instructions from the mother ship, are they?

  5. 455
    Jim Galasyn says:

    And by “Judith Miller,” of course I meant “Judith Curry.” No need to bring fantasy WMDs into this thread.

  6. 456

    OT, it seems there is more evidence of somewhat greater impact of GW (or deglaciation) on local earthquakes – see http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919/2501.abstract?ct=ct

    I’m just wondering if deglaciation in other parts of the world (aside from big glacier areas like Greenland & Antarctica) might also experience increased earthquates, perhaps due to the extreme rapidity of our current warming. It seem the rapidity might be a enhancing factor of such activity in this era.

    How about Andes or Himalayan deglaciation & increased quakes?

  7. 457
    Petro says:

    The natural sciences including climate science boils down to a scientific method:
    1) Observe
    2) Create hypothesis (explaining observations)
    3) Test hypothesis experimentally (in a controlled environment)

    Would experiments support hypotheses, you have found something new explaining reality. Would experiments something else, modify or reject hypothesis and start over.

    Basically, this method is the only one creating accumulative knowledge. in each step, previous knowledge is tested in control experiments. This is the method, how also climate science has reached current conclusions about human-induced global warming.

    The beauty of the scientific method is its transparency. Anyone mastering it can repeat all the necessary experiments, from the beginning to the latest Science paper.

    True sceptic tests previous hypotheses all the time. True sceptic also accepts, that most of the time previous explanations are valid, more valid those which have been tested longer time and more times.

  8. 458
    dhogaza says:

    Tom Fuller (#416) is a piece of work. “Concern troll” does not do this fellow justice.

    He affects a reasonable tone here; not so much in his online “Examiner” column and in comments on other blogs where he refers to RealClimate’s moderators and regular commenters as propagandists and brainwashed robots and whines bitterly about how mean everyone here is to him.

    Actually, he adopts the same reasonable tone he uses here on every site ran by pro-science types, and then, as you point out, turns nasty and vile elsewhere, including his own blog and other denialist blogs. A bit of a jekyll and hyde performance.

    Tom Fuller is not to be trusted. I don’t believe his “I really believe in the science” whine any more than I believe in the sincerity of his co-author Stephen “Piltdown Mann” Mosher.

  9. 459
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Ray, #454, there’s also the “make vague accusations why some action is wrong”. cf Gilles “not using fossil fuels would be inconvenient, therefore we should use them”.

  10. 460
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    John Peter @ 417 OT Guess I never heard before there was anything called “evolutionary biology”.

    Wow that’s an eye opener for me. You are science knowledgeable and are probably a person who is well read by choice, and yet ….
    All life evolves and has done so for a rather long time, so evolutionary biology is a vast field which cuts across and underlies the other parts of biology.

    Re the other comments – read Dennett ? Not a bad thing to do in itself but he is not a biologist. For heaven’s sake try a bit of the real thing first.

    Let me see —
    1 Your Inner Fish – read for sure.
    2 some current mostly genomic type stuff –
    The language of life by Collins
    Evolution for everyone
    3 dropping back in time – Darwin’s Lost World by Brasier
    4 the best little (larger sizes are available) intro to speciation –
    Frogs Flies and Dandelions by Schilthuizen

    Some recent books that cover multiple topics
    Only a theory by Kenneth Miller
    Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne
    The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
    The Tangled Bank – by Carl Zimmer – has his own blog
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/

    Some not so recent books
    On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
    The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

    Blogs? plenty. e.g. The Panda’s Thumb;
    the BioLogos blog is a religiously oriented evo blog
    Human evolution – John Hawks blog, see also TalkOrigins.org Hominins FAQ

    Creationists are a problem, but sometimes fun:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/04/the-silliest-th-3.html

  11. 461
    PKthinks says:

    @RL 454
    Judith Currys balanced discussion represents the finest spirit of a balanced scientific debate, whereas the treatment by ‘real climate’ demonstrates the lack of confidence to even enter into that debate.
    I think quite correctly she describes the corruption of the process and the spinning of what the science means (by the IPCC in particular) rather than the science itself.
    But this is at the heart of how the mainstream media and policy makers have exaggerated the threat to such a degree that people then lose faith in the science itself.( and there is evidence they are )
    I feel climate scientists forget how many other apocylyptic scares the public have been subjected to that are simply sexed up scientific work (commonly quite mundane).
    This distortion we might call post modern science or ‘ecopoliticalscience’ ie. more to do with absolving politicians of any responsibility for the risk in question (and making us all pay for it)

    [Response: Scientists should be correcting misconceptions in the media whether this is in a direction that minimizes the problem or if it is exaggerating the problems. Both things exist and to blame scientists for media mistakes is misplaced. -gavin ]

  12. 462
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    Tom Fuller wrote “Like I said, Curry gets this. You all apparently do not.”

    Fuller provided a list of specific concerns, 1 of which I agree with, but most seem to me specious, Curry didn’t even do that. What is “cargo cult science” supposed to mean? Why, in the middle of a request for reasonableness, bring up a merely rhetorical, portmanteau charge like that? Curry either has a tin ear for argument or she has a thinly veiled agenda.

  13. 463
    David B. Benson says:

    Raven (414) — Here you are:
    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/04/sea_level_rise_defence_and_dev.html
    Assume linear SLR to find how wet you’ll be.

  14. 464
    John Peter says:

    Pete Dunkelberg@460

    Thank you very much. I’ve already reserved Dennett from our library, but I’ll certainly look into your refs also.

    When I began to post here, I said I am very grateful for the assistance this very high quality RC site gave me with my climate science education. That help has been of much greater value than I ever would have imagined. Thanks again to one and all. You are a wonderful bunch of people.

    I said I would attempt to return your very valuable gifts by trying to share some of my accumulated life experiences although I expected this offering to be of much less value than the education I was receiving. There again, my expectations far exceeded my capability.

    Since this is a blog, I suggested that you ignore any of my comments that didn’t seem useful and I am delighted by the courtesy with which you have
    responded. I know that my statements are only my opinion, no more, no less. In all candor I now realize that my opinions were nowhere near as valuable as I had hoped. Thank you all for your patience.

    At this point I intend to stop posting. I’ve said all that I think I know how to, probably several times over. Actually Judith yesterday expressed most of any important contributions I might make anyway, as well as many more than I could imagine. She also expressed them much more clearly and concisely that I ever could.

    Many thanks again, I’ll be watching, continue along your paths with the best of luck.

    John Peter

  15. 465
    Andy S says:

    Judith Curry’s attempt to engage climate contrarians is well meant but it seems to be based on the assumption that these people are fair-minded critics whose goal is the advancement of scientific knowledge. It’s all very well for her to ask other climatologists to spend time rebutting Montford’s book, but is she also urging McIntyre to publish his “audits” that find no problems with published climate research articles (surely, there must be the odd one) or for Watts to respond honestly to refutations of his ideas on urban heat islands or the alleged undersampling of weather stations? I fear that by engaging these people as reputable participants, she is conferring on them a status that they do not deserve.

    Professor Curry claims that mainstream science needs to clean up its act. But, while she’s busy complaining about the specks in the eyes of mainstream scientists, let’s hope that she tries to do something about the beams in the eyes of those contrarians that she now wants to engage in debate.

    I’m doubtful that she’ll get any real quid pro quos from the contrarians but it will at least be an interesting experiment to watch.

  16. 466
    Frank Giger says:

    “You’re bothered by the fact that they’ve (WWF) made comments on draft reports? Everyone can.”

    This is not true. The draft reports were not made public.

    Similarly, read RC’s articles about mistakes in the IPCC reports – one or two of them were where WWF was cited and made the incorrect summary of the actual studies.

    [Response: you have this competely wrong. The way you get a ‘seat at the table’ is simply by publishing relevant stuff. WWF does some pretty good work on synthesising the published literature (I was loosely associated with a report on oceans recently) and the authors were scrupulous about getting it reviewed and getting it right. Mistakes still occur of course, but there is no priviliged position for these NGOs compared to any others. – gavin]

    It is very difficult to say that the IPCC reports are free of political bias when advocacy groups are at the table to give imput on the shaping of the documents.

    It is needless political polarization that seems to be appealing to a base for support of the report rather than neutral science.

  17. 467
    Andy S says:

    Judith Curry’s attempt to engage climate contrarians is well meant but it seems to be based on the assumption that these people are fair-minded critics whose goal is the advancement of scientific knowledge. It’s all very well for her to ask other climatologists to spend time rebutting Montford’s book, but is she also urging McIntyre to publish his “audits” that find no problems with published climate research articles (surely there must be the odd one) or for Watts to respond honestly to refutations of his ideas on urban heat islands or the alleged undersampling of weather stations? I fear that by engaging these people as reputable participants, she is giving them a status that they have not earned.

    [Response: Yes indeed, that is exactly what she is doing. And without any recognition of it either. As for McIntyre, I see no evidence of “the odd one”. He never acknowledges anything positive from climate science. This alone should tell the unbiased person something very important about him. As for Montford’s book–the fact that someone is writing books on the hockey stick 12 years later speaks volumes about where they are at on the science of climate change. It’s an absolute and utter joke.–Jim]

    Professor Curry claims that mainstream science needs to clean up its act. But, while she’s busy complaining about the specks in the eyes of mainstream scientists, let’s hope that she tries to do something about the beams in the eyes of those contrarians that she now wants to engage in debate.

    I’m doubtful that she’ll get any real quid pro quos from the contrarians but it will at least be an interesting experiment to watch.

    [Response:They will use her for whatever they can get out of her, as they do with everything. Great post–Jim]

  18. 468

    #372 simon monckton

    Simon, you could help maybe these looking at the plateau you speak of, understand that 10 years does not make a climate trend.

    Someone might correct me but my understanding is that the 2-4 degree rise is not reliant on “a large net positive feedback” and that the climate models don’t contain that which is not reasonably quantified.

    As to the effects of clouds, the geocarb and many other studies indicate that the earth was much warmer than today in the past. It is not unreasonable to see that the Lindzen Iris Effect stands on very shaky ground in this respect. My question is, if the Iris Effect is real then what are the mechanisms that allowed the temperature to be higher in the past. If Lindzen can get that quantified he may have something. But in general it looks like a pretty weak theory in contrast to the earth system capacity to warm up and cool down with a little push.

    As to feedbacks, I’m quite concerned about what we don’t know because the paleo record has warming in it with out human influence. Maybe flood basalt eruptions and asteroids were initiators but look at the Eocene? What kept the temperature rising?

    I suspect that continental plate position combined with other effects were involved but there is at least reason to believe that albedo reduction and the hydrologic impacts are certainly in play. How much? Consider the sensitivity of the entire earth system as Gavin has proposed. Based on changes in the paleo record there is reasonable evidence and cause to believe that the sensitivity of the system itself has compounding dominoes that continue to fall in the inertial direction they begin and more rapidly than the Charney estimates.

    If true, and there is no good reason to think otherwise that i can see, we are looking at significantly larger and faster changes than the GCM’s can account for at this time.

    This should worry you as it does so many others that are looking at it seriously.


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  19. 469

    #423 Raven
    #438 Bob

    You, and many others continue to miss the point. For a brief overview consider this:

    The majority of the math and physics were well understood by the 50’s, especially when the upper atmosphere research was conducted by the US military (because we needed to understand what would happen to ballistic missiles up there, while they were on their way to various destinations around the world).

    – 1950’s basics of climate math and physics well understood and that adding GHG’s could and would be expected to warm the planet

    – 1970’s Milankovitch Cycles confirmed.

    History of Climate Science
    The Hockey Stick Controversy

    So anything after that was really copious amounts of icing on the cake. We really did not need climate models to confirm glob al warming but they certainly do help.

    The observations and related proxies are sufficient to confirm that ‘this’ global warming event is largely if not entirely (with respect to forcing) human caused.

    Let me emphasize the end of that last sentence. PERIOD


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  20. 470
    Completely Fed Up says:

    JPR: there was also a huge amount of work done on IR absorption at different layers in the atmosphere in the development of the AIM class (AIIM-7 onward) of passive IR A-A weapons.

  21. 471

    #470 CFU

    Thanks for the detail. I recall the AIM-7 (Sparrow I believe it was called). I used to drive by it every day on my way to work, along side an AIM-9 at the gate at Naval Weapons, Camp Pendleton. Not positive though, been awhile since I was on that base.


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    Sign the Petition!
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  22. 472

    voteno (434):

    Is the Earth warming by more than normal climatic variation?

    BPL: Yes. The Earth should now be cooling if you go by Milankovic cycles.

    Do you believe that UHI is accutately accounted for in HadCrut and GISS?

    Yes. What makes you think it isn’t?

    Are sea levels going to rise by more than the current 3.3 mm per year for the next century?

    Probably, since the rise is accelerating, and since we don’t know when there might be catastrophic failures in major ice sheets.

    Does increased CO2 in the atmosphere have more negative than positive effects?

    Yes. Increased drought in continental interiors is a major threat to human agriculture.

    Increased temperatures (asumes yes to Q1) will increase or intensify storms?

    A minor issue. I for one don’t much care.

    Increased temperatures from increased CO2 in the atmosphere will result in more positive than negative feedbacks on temperature?

    Yes. That’s so well established at this point it takes a deep degree of ignorance of the field to even bring this up.

    If we don’t make any effort to change CO2 emmissions world temperatures will increase by more than 2C over the coming century?

    Probably. Especially if we trip some of the geophysical feedbacks that could suddenly make the problem immensely worse (e.g. permafrost and seabed clathrates).

    Reducing CO2 emmissions to 50% of current levels by 2050 will reduce this increase to under 2C?

    Maybe, but I’d like to see them reduced much more. BTW, it’s “emissions.”

    2C is the magic number?

    So they think. I’m not sure if it is or not.

    The hardest thing to understand about this issue is the motives of people. My motive for looking at this is to work out if the EUR15 per tonne of CO2 tax that I pay is justified. Also as a PhD engineer with many published papers…

    But NOT a climatologist. So you have no special expertise in the field.

  23. 473

    PKthinks (461): the mainstream media and policy makers have exaggerated the threat to such a degree that people then lose faith in the science itself.

    BPL: What part of “human civilization could be completely destroyed if business as usual continues” do you not understand?

  24. 474

    Cool link, Lynn; thanks. (#456.) It reminds me of Eckholm, who thought that crustal deformation might be part of a climate feedback cycle involving vulcanism. (Of course, he didn’t know about radioactive decay replenishing Earth’s interior heat, and thus was forced to conclude that the Earth must be contracting due to slow ongoing cooling.)

    WRT the Andes and Himalayas, my layman’s guess is that this mechanism probably is not significant, since 1) the weight of ice is so much less than the weight of the mountains themselves, and 2) both are still active uplift areas (IIRC.) But maybe somebody will weigh in who actually–unlike moi–knows something about the topic.

  25. 475
    Hank Roberts says:

    > BPL: What part of “human civilization could be completely destroyed
    > if business as usual continues” do you not understand?

    Barton, some people plan to be (or imagine they will be) among the few survivors, and won’t imagine civilization completely destroyed as long as they survive. In fact they may well imagine their sole survival would improve civilization.

    Cough *Guarani Aquifer* cough.

    You need to reach them with what climate change can disrupt, perhaps: Our industrial base, our capacity to make high technology equipment, the productive capacity of the oceans, the transportation network, the ability to build and launch spacecraft — if any of those matter to them, they might care about climate change.

  26. 476
    Phil Scadden says:

    votenotokyoto – if a scientist spots an asteroid heading for earth would you ruminate on his/her motives for telling humanity about it??

    Assuming something is wrong just because you dont like the consequences doesnt seem a like honest strategy. And looking at your list of “done to death” questions – in science there is always uncertainty. How’s your risk analysis? You can avoid your carbon tax by avoiding carbon – that would be the whole point. But suppose the AGW theory is right and nobody took action?

  27. 477
    SecularAnimist says:

    Hank Roberts wrote: “… some people plan to be (or imagine they will be) among the few survivors …”

    The phrase “the top one percent” comes to mind.

  28. 478

    On corruption of the IPCC’s processes: the biggest problem I see is the relentless pressure not to be seen as “alarmist”, which has led to the biggest error I’ve seen in FAR (2007): the limitation of sea level projections to those based on theory and models with very high confidence. The resulting projection of a maximum of 0.59m was widely taken as cause for complacency by those who didn’t read the fine print. As James Hansen has said, multi-metre sea level rise in a century is not something we can rule out, and more recent science has projected sea level rise of over 1m by the end of the century.

    To me this is a much bigger deal than whether someone lost the records of how they produced the results of a paper 20 years ago, or whether WWF or whoever should or should not have been involved in the IPCC.

    The biggest political influence on the IPCC is the pressure to dampen anything that could be labelled “alarmist”, no matter how justifiable the underlying science.

  29. 479
    David B. Benson says:

    SecularAnimist (477) — That’s still too many for hunter-gathering.

  30. 480
    dhogaza says:

    Hank Roberts:

    Barton, some people plan to be (or imagine they will be) among the few survivors, and won’t imagine civilization completely destroyed as long as they survive. In fact they may well imagine their sole survival would improve civilization.

    Indeed. It’s a common libertarian and survivalist fantasy, fed by fiction by the likes of Robert Heinlein, etc.

  31. 481
    Walter Manny says:

    A kudos to Judith Curry for posting on the subject of open minds knowing exactly how her observations would be treated here by the regulars. It takes courage to wade into this sort of predictable maelstrom, and I appreciate as well the apparently uncensored conflict of ideas even as the moderator strictly holds the line on what he believes to be the true science.

  32. 482
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    @ 447 The phrase “the top one percent” comes to mind.

    Probably the top ten percent or more. Still, how much influence can 10% have? Unless they have all the money….

    http://extremeinequality.org/?page_id=8

  33. 483
    Edward Greisch says:

    470 & 471 try Sidewinder. If memory serves, Sparrow belongs to another country.

    475 Hank Roberts & 477, 479, 480: You can tell them for sure that THEY will NOT be among the survivors, if any. The survivors do not own computers and have never heard of computers. The survivors are living in the stone age in some place so remote that they will never be found. To own a computer is to be among the for certain dead in a collapse of civilization. See: “Collapse” by Jared Diamond and “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan. The only alternative is Mars or deeper in space. Financial elite types are incompetent to survive on Mars. They just don’t have the right stuff. Figure on maybe a dozen survivors, or fewer, all astronauts with post-doctoral degrees in hard sciences if they are on Mars.

  34. 484
    Edward Greisch says:

    Why people resist believing in Global Warming: Reference: “From Eternity to Here” by Sean Carroll, 2010, page 373: “But at a deeper level, our anthropocentrism manifests itself as a conviction that human beings somehow MATTER to the universe. This feeling is at the core of much of the resistance in some quarters to accepting Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the right explanation for the evolution of life on Earth. The urge to think that we matter can take the form of a straightforward belief that we (or some subset of us) are God’s chosen people, or something as vague as an insistence that all this marvelous world around us must be more than just an ACCIDENT.”

    If we MATTER to the Universe, then it is a law of Physics that it is impossible for humans to go extinct, or even be harmed in a major way, like a major population crash. Therefore, GW cannot exist, or if it does, GW cannot harm us. Therefore:
    Job 1: Tell them that Earth is NOT the center of the solar system. They somehow missed it.
    etc.
    Absolutely ANYTHING we say is alarmism.

    We have to give them a “Sign from God”. They are expecting celestial trumpets the size of the solar system, the sky splitting open, angel music with real angels, lightning from planet to planet, etc.

  35. 485
    Hank Roberts says:

    Well put here: http://sphaerica.wordpress.com/

    —excerpt follows—-

    Climate change is similar. It’s going to keep getting warmer. The physics isn’t going to suddenly read Anthony’s blog and say “whoa, this can’t be right, what was I thinking?” At the same time, oil production is going to peak. The decline after the peak is unlikely to be as civilization crushing as “those other alarmists” are pronouncing, but it will affect prices and events, and John and Jane Public will feel it directly. Combined with irrefutable, mounting evidence that the world is warming, people are going to take a second look, and a third.

    And when people look, they’ll realize they’ve been had… by a ridiculous science “journalist” from Australia, and a weatherman turned blogger, and an amateur scientist with ties to the coal industry… and the cast of characters goes on and on getting only more bizarre. The media will run their next big story, “How Did They Fool Us?”, except that it should be titled “How Did We Get It So Wrong?”

    The deniers won’t give up, of course. They’ll try NASAgate, and the Rural Heat Island effect, and “but look, this year is colder than last year, the globe is cooling.” They’ll try it all again, but people have been there once. They’ll fall for it eventually, but not right away.

    Then someone can take down the big green banner that says “Mission Accomplished,” and humanity can get to work on figuring out how to manage energy and life without burning every ounce of fossil fuel that hundreds of millions of years could bury deep within the earth, and without following an ever accelerating downward spiral of mindless and ultimately unsatisfying consumption, in the name of continuously advancing and worshiping the modern God, The Economy.

  36. 486
    Deech56 says:

    Can someone please name the “open minds” at CA, WUWT and BH?

    I have read Dr. Curry’s posts on other sites and I think she really is trying to reach people in hard-to-reach places. Heck, I’ve tried to do the same thing, and so have others who post at various climate blogs. I also follow the responses to her posts and find that posters tend to a) amplify her criticisms of her scientific colleagues, and b) chastise her for sticking up for the science (somewhat patronizingly, IMHO).

    I would love to find out how she feels she has been successful by posting at places like CA.

  37. 487
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Judith Curry argues for climate scientists to keep an open mind. Just what are we to keep our mind open to? I’d be perfectly willing to consider any actual evidence they published in peer reviewed journals. They don’t publish. When they do write it is scurrilous screeds implicitly accusing the entire scientific community of fraud. Thanks, but I don’t think they make tin-foil hats in my size.

    Judith says science needs to clean up its act. I ask, just exactly which results have been called into question by the actions of any single scientist or group of scientists? Judith is so busy looking at the sideshow that she’s missing the show in the big tent. That is the fact that science produces reliable approximations of truth even when practiced by fallible humans. THAT is the truly remarkable thing. It’s time to look at the science instead of the audits. Hell, the audits are still working on a 12 year old paper. At this rate it will take them til the 22nd century to audit the science of the 20th!

  38. 488
    Hank Roberts says:

    I guess the Fourth CRU Inquiry will have to be “Why the heck didn’t you scientists warn us soon enough and convincingly enough in time to do anything about this??”

    Oops.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antarctica-andrill-ice-sheets

    “… emerging evidence from an Antarctic geological research drilling program known as ANDRILL suggests that the southernmost continent has had a much more dynamic history than previously suspected—one that could signal an abrupt shrinkage of its ice sheets at some unknown greenhouse gas threshold, possibly starting in this century. Especially troubling, scientists see evidence in the geological data that could mean the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which holds at least four-fifths of the continent’s ice, is less resistant to melting than previously thought.

    … the policy implications are grim. “Our models may be dramatically underestimating how much worse it’s going to get,” he says, noting that many population centers worldwide are within a few meters of sea level. Looking at signs of meltwater in the early Miocene, DeConto says, “we’re seeing ice retreat faster and more dramatically than any model predicts.”

  39. 489
    Tom S says:

    “BPL: What part of “human civilization could be completely destroyed if business as usual continues” do you not understand?”

    What part of “human civilization may *** NOT *** be completely destroyed if business as usual continues” do you not understand?”
    What part of an asteroid may obliterate the earth do you not understand? What part of a supernova gamma ray burst that kills all life on earth instantly do you not understand?
    What part of a highly fatal pandemic do you not understand?
    What part of a nuclear terrorist attack do you not understand?
    What part of a gigantic volcanic eruption that disrupts food supplies for years do you not understand?
    What part of – fill in the blank apocalypse – do you not understand?

    We should solve all these problems, nobody dispute this. We have limited resources. The certainty of AGW catastrophe has been over-stated by many. It is by no means clear where AGW falls in the list of must avoid apocalypse scenarios, and where our money is best spent.

  40. 490
    Andy says:

    Re: Hank 488 – Color me confused. I thought evidence of melt downs in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet would have been painted in bright colors in the recent (last 20 million years) sea level record.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Sea_Level.png

    Oh, yeah. Never mind.

  41. 491
    dhogaza says:

    A kudos to Judith Curry for posting on the subject of open minds knowing exactly how her observations would be treated here by the regulars

    Kudos for Walter Manny for keeping his mind so open it is at risk of falling out of his skull.

    The problem isn’t the subject of open minds, Manny. The problem is that Curry sees the potential for open minds among the masses, like yourself, that jump up and down with their fingers in their ears going “la-la-la-la”.

    Curry herself seems to have adopted some of the myths of the la-la-la crowd as truth, in her own mind. Fine. She’s entitled to do so. We’re entitled to point out that up is up and down is down, no matter what she chooses to believe.

    For those other than Manny, it’s ironic, isn’t it, that she sustains conversations at places like WUWT and CA, yet her contribution here has been a good old-fashioned drive-by post with absolutely no evidence of a desire on her part to take part in a conversation regarding the merits of her post (or to take part in conversation here regarding anything)?

  42. 492
    Frank Giger says:

    Oh please. I wouldn’t sell the human race’s ability to adapt to planetary changes so short.

    Or even our society’s.

    Even the Dark Ages wasn’t that big a leap backwards in Western Civilization, and had no effect on other cultures.

    Our species survived terrible droughts in Africa due to Ice Ages, then adapted to the cold and then rapid warming in Europe, and will adapt again. Each time technology has gotten a net gain (with some technological noise in the curve).

    Indeed, if any species can survive the next mass extinction event, I’ll bet on homo sapiens.

  43. 493
    Hank Roberts says:

    Weird, that ANDRILL report was published in Nature a month ago.
    Has anyone heard any comments on it? It’s big news for paleoclimate.

    Isn’t it??

    “DeConto’s collaborator, climate modeler David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University, says the answer to the puzzling disparity between model predictions and the core data could lie in an erroneous assumption about Antarctica itself. For example, Pollard says, some parts of the land underlying the East ice sheet might be much lower than currently believed. In that case, if warming oceans strip away the surrounding ice shelves, significant chunks of the ice sheet could slide into the ocean. Subglacial lakes, which form as glaciers slide over depressions, may have an underappreciated role, he added. DeConto says polar stratospheric clouds also need further study. There are indications, he says, that they act as infrared reflectors, which might contribute to ice sheet melting in ways not yet accounted for in models.

    Whatever the cause, the key evidence for ice sheet dynamism in the Antarctic comes from the core’s lithographic record. Sedimentologists have studied its facies, the visible characteristics that distinguish each stratum, for indications of how warm or cold the surrounding environment was. The McMurdo Sound facies repeatedly vary from “ice proximal,” where fractures, scraping and larger grain size indicate a glacier rumbling by, to “ice distal,” where laminated sediments and marine fossils speak of lapping waves in an ice-free marine environment.

    Harwood, a University of Nebraska geoscientist, says there is already evidence enough for policymakers to take action against global warming in hopes of preventing a dramatic Antarctic meltdown. “This core is going to be studied for the next 20 to 30 years,” he notes, but already, he adds, the Miocene-age evidence it contains strongly suggests that it would be a mistake to count on ice-sheet stability in the Antarctic. “We see two or three periods of ice-sheet collapse, including one that looks abrupt, with very rapid deglaciation.”

    —-
    I mean, there’s the paleo record.
    Is someone updating the models for the next IPCC report based on these ANDRILL core data?

    Please?

  44. 494
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #490: Hank, these results are indeed striking. I don’t know if anyone has a detailed Antarctic ice sheet model aside from De Conto and Pollard.

    I was surprised at the comment that significant parts of East Antarctica might be below sea level, since I had the impression that radar scans had found that to be not the case. Their other ideas for explaining the melt seem a bit hand-wavy. FYI a co-worker of Gavin’s was co-author on a recent paper finding that the Laurentide ice sheet melted from the top rather than collapsed from the bottom, although there’s the large latitude difference to take into account.

  45. 495
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #492: Also, Hank, I couldn’t find anything recent in Nature about ANDRILL. Link? (I did find this article from a year ago regarding their prior results.)

    Also, IIRC De Conto and Pollard’s prior results (using the model they now say is deficient) from last year found relatively slow melting of the WAIS (~1,000 years). One wonders if that’s now in question.

  46. 496

    Hank Roberts #492: the IPCC didn’t even include known dynamics of ice sheets in 2007, for fear that the wide error bars would frighten the pollyannas.

    For the short-term trend watchers: follow the link on my blog to the AMSU-A satellite data, and check out the latest update. So far, since 10 January, only 1 day has not been warmer than the equivalent day for every past year (this data set goes back to 2nd half 1998 but includes the previous record or near-record year, 2005).

    I’m still wondering when (assuming this continues) one of the wingnuts is going to steal Christy’s email …

  47. 497
    Martin Vermeer says:

    dhogaza #458:

    I don’t believe his “I really believe in the science” whine any more than I believe in the sincerity of his co-author Stephen “Piltdown Mann” Mosher.

    dhogaza, it’s called “plausible denialism”.

  48. 498
    Martin Vermeer says:

    > Judith Curry argues for climate scientists to keep an open mind.

    Yep. But, science asks for open eyes. Evidence. Any scientist spending more than a half second taking already a title like ‘the hockey stick illusion’ seriously, is living in a very dark place.

  49. 499
    CM says:

    [off topic] Dhogaza (#480),

    Yeah, but Heinlein also wrote The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, where the heroes mount a revolution to save their home from the ecological collapse a computer model has convinced them is imminent…

    On a Heinlein spacecraft, what would happen to the “soci-alists” who think air should be free and there should be no cap or price on fouling up the shared atmosphere? A quick citizens’ trial and a one-way trip through the airlock, that’s what. I just don’t get why Heinlein fans would want the coal industry to get a free lunch in Spaceship Earth. Tanstaafl!

  50. 500
    Comletely Fed Up says:

    “Our species survived terrible droughts in Africa due to Ice Ages, ”

    With numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

    Not billions.

    We also had ZERO cars. ZERO computers, ZERO hospitals.

    We also died en masse.