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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. 501
    Comletely Fed Up says:

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

    Nope, the AIM-9 is the sidewinder. The AIM-7 was the Sparrow and its utility (in the Korean War, IIRC) was really shitty. The tech of persuit computation just wasn’t up to the job. It DID lead to more work but most pilots used it as a dumbfire and to scare off enemy pilots.

    It was the Sparrow.

  2. 502
    Chris S says:

    Re #467 and Jim’s response.

    One is reminded in this regard (engaging with cranks) of the rise of Anthony Brink in South Africa. Full story at Bad Science ( ) with the relevant section below:

    “Brink stumbled on the “AIDS dissident” material in the mid-1990s, and after much surfing and reading, became convinced that it must be right. In 1999 he wrote an article about AZT in a Johannesburg newspaper titled “a medicine from hell”.

    This led to a public exchange with a leading virologist. Brink contacted Mbeki, sending him copies of the debate, and was welcomed as an expert.

    This is a chilling testament to the danger of elevating cranks by engaging with them. In his initial letter of motivation for employment to Matthias Rath, Brink described himself as “South Africa’s leading AIDS dissident, best known for my whistle-blowing exposé of the toxicity and inefficacy of AIDS drugs, and for my political activism in this regard, which caused President Mbeki and Health Minister Dr Tshabalala-Msimang to repudiate the drugs in 1999″.”

    And a repeat for effect:

    “This led to a public exchange with a leading virologist. Brink contacted Mbeki, sending him copies of the debate, and was welcomed as an expert.”

  3. 503

    The report, which is only 5 pages long, is at:
    Has anyone commenting here read it, I wonder?

  4. 504

    FG (491),

    I agree that the species will survive. I nonetheless don’t want civilization to fall. A disaster that doesn’t kill everybody is still a disaster. What in the world makes you think it’s okay just to wipe out 95% of humanity?

  5. 505
    Frank Giger says:

    Where do you get this number of 95% of humanity getting wiped out?

    Where is the proof for this?

  6. 506
    Bob says:

    491 (Frank Giger),

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

    Species, yes, probably, in fact almost certainly. Individuals? Hundreds of millions, even billions of individuals? Unlikely. You and your family, or me and my family? Also very unlikely. Our current political systems, values, way of life, technology and maybe even shared history? No.

    See posts 475 (Hank Roberts), and 480 (dhogaza).

  7. 507
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “What in the world makes you think it’s okay just to wipe out 95% of humanity?”

    When he thinks he’ll be in the 5% and ESPECIALLY when he has to pay his way to avoid it.

  8. 508
    dhogaza says:

    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.

    As BPL points out, Frank Giger is endorsing needless deaths and large-scale suffering in the name of …


    Just what does justify your cavalier attitude towards the future death and suffering of others, Giger?

  9. 509
    Steven Sullivan says:

    John Peter #205:

    1) The “Wegman Report” is not credible as a critique of climate science, though of course that won’t stop the ‘skeptics’ from hauling it out regularly.

    2) “biological studies’ encompass vastly more than just drug studies. I assure you with complete confidence that the input of a professional statistician are NOT a requirement for publication of most biological research.

  10. 510
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PKthinks says:
    19 April 2010 at 1:12 PM

    @RL 454
    Judith Currys balanced discussion ”

    Balance doesn’t mean take all sides equally. Please read this:

  11. 511
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PS this may help too, PK:

    Okrent’s law, stated by Daniel Okrent: The pursuit of balance can create imbalance because sometimes something is true. Referring to the phenomenon of the press providing legitimacy to fringe or minority viewpoints in an effort to appear even-handed.

  12. 512
    Jeffrey Davis says:

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

    There are 6.8 billion individuals in the species at present so the likelihood of a fertile male and female emerging at the other end of the process of global warming is pretty good, but it’s a fairly abysmal target. It sounds like you’re content to sacrifice 6,799,999,998 individuals just so we can burn some more carbon.

  13. 513
    Jim Eager says:

    Re Frank Giger @491: “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.”

    It’s estimated that around 1000 breeding human pairs “survived” the consequences of the Toba eruption ~70,000 tears ago.
    Is this what you have in mind for us?

  14. 514
    mark says:

    Hi all,

    sorry to be OT, but any chance of a thread on this…

    i was told that this subject was just ammunition for deniers (and that Bill Mcguire was suspect), when i tried raise it on RC a few years ago. I would suggest that this attitude should not drive the scientific subjects RC covers. Discuss it if you dare! :-)

    Best Regards, Mark

  15. 515
    mike roddy says:

    Judith Curry has been hanging with McIntyre for about a year now, even to the point of appearing with him on stage. Maybe she thought she could influence him, but Mc has gotten worse, if anything- try reading his “The Trick Within a Trick” on CA about the CRU exoneration. Mc’s entire MO is to be shocked about climate scientists’ data and behavior.

    So, it’s apparent that her influence on him has been either zero or negative. Yet, she continues to hang with him, and also continues to endorse the basic findings of mainstream climate science, notwithstanding her mouthing denier talking points about tribalism etc..

    I must confess to being utterly puzzled by this woman. You could float a few theories- she lives in politically conservative Georgia, she likes the dissonance of extreme outlier opinion, she respects Mc for being so stubbornly rebellious (against the facts, that is), her plan is to expose and humiliate him in a future tell all, she has money issues and needs a secret angel…

    Who the hell knows? I don’t.

  16. 516
    SecularAnimist says:

    Frank Giger wrote: “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.”

    Others have already pointed out that this is a rather cavalier attitude — indeed, a near sociopathic attitude — towards the massive and long-term suffering that unmitigated global warming will certainly bring down upon billions of human beings, and the likely collapse of present-day human civilization.

    I would also point out that there are scientifically plausible scenarios in which anthropogenic global warming triggers processes that could indeed wipe out not only the human species, but the vast majority of species on this planet.

    And for what? So that millions of Americans can sit, frustrated and impatient, in giant gas-guzzling SUVs, stuck in gridlock traffic for hours at a time, day after day after day, while ExxonMobil rakes in 100 million dollars per day in profit and proclaims that any effort to reduce the monumentally wasteful and destructive use of fossil fuels is an “attack on liberty”?

  17. 517
    Witgren says:

    “502 Frank Giger says:
    20 April 2010 at 7:17 AM
    Where do you get this number of 95% of humanity getting wiped out?

    Where is the proof for this?”

    Let’s assume 95% is exaggerated. What level of avoidable death and destruction would you find acceptable in order to avoid addressing AGW? 50%? 30%? Even 10% at present global population levels means about 700 million people dead. Contrast that with about 60-70 million killed in World War 2. That also doesn’t take displacement of populations into account. Is 10x the casualties of WW2 acceptable, provided you don’t have to pay a carbon tax?

  18. 518
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “It’s estimated that around 1000 breeding human pairs “survived” the consequences of the Toba eruption ~70,000 tears ago.”

    I seem to recall that the genetic diversity required at least 50,000 individuals to survive the sapiens crunch.

    Note: the genetic diversity between all non-African humans is smaller than the genetic diversity between nearby chimpanzee family troops and most of the human genetic diversity is within Africa.

    So unless Africa is left mostly unaffected, genetic problems are an inevitable consequence of a second population squeeze.

    This may not worry some of the more rural humans, but recessives are a big problem: why can you breed closer together dogs than you can humans? Human genetic poverty.

    I, for one, do not wish to have to learn to play the Banjo…

  19. 519
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Temporary Opportunity for research in Europe?

    I have been asked if anyone is using the temporary lack of aircraft in Europe to do some measurements on contrails cloud formation etc.

  20. 520
    SecularAnimist says:

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

    I’d bet on Blattella germanica

  21. 521
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “502 Frank Giger says:
    20 April 2010 at 7:17 AM
    Where do you get this number of 95% of humanity getting wiped out?

    Where is the proof for this?”

    Where do you get the proof that humans will survive, Frank?

  22. 522
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Re: Judith Curry. She’s a fascinating case of the quixotic. Has RealClimate ever approached her to write an article *here*? Her infrequent and thoughtful posts to the ‘skeptic’ sumps are always reviled by a large fraction of the respondents there as the work of a hopeless ‘warmist’. At least here she wouldn’t get *that*. ;> I think a dialogue between her and the folks behind RealCLimate, not to mention the respondents here, would be most interesting.

  23. 523
    J. Bob says:

    John P.

    IJIS Arctic sea ice extent still highest since 03. The Danish Arctic-roos site has Arctic sea ice extant & area on the 1979-2006 average.
    However, Cryosphere Today seems reluctant to get above the 1979-08 ave. Does that mean ice VOLUME still increasing?

  24. 524
    Triple Bay says:

    Here is a postive article that may make your day look a little brighter. The article is called Optimism for a clean energy future written by Maggie Fox, President and CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection.

    Enjoy and have a nice day.

  25. 525
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Oops, my last post was obviously written before I’d seen Curry’s post later in the thread, where she cited Montford. What a shame.

  26. 526
    flxible says:


    I agree that the species will survive. I nonetheless don’t want civilization to fall. A disaster that doesn’t kill everybody is still a disaster. What in the world makes you think it’s okay just to wipe out 95% of humanity?

    [followed by a flurry of attendent tirades towards ol Frank :)]

    What is the basis for the implicit assumption that large population reduction = loss of “civilization”? When did what you “want”, or think is “OK”, become the scientific basis for deciding the sustainable size of the human herd? This question is one most here keep dancing around, but never apply science to. I suppose because it’s really OT, but it’s definitely what brings many folks here, especially those like Gilles and Andreas … Frank not so much maybe, although I don’t read him as being a BAU denialist …. and it’s always treated as a problem of values, not science. “avoidable death”?? comparisons to WW2?? Really disappointing, especially coming from folks who usually present good science arguments and links. Some of us are quite convinced that overpopulation is pretty much the core of most human problems today. Why do responses to that question always devolve to virtually religous ones?

    It seems to me that the developed world [the “civilization” valued] has pretty much destroyed it’s environment to achieve high standards of living for relativitly few. With the bulk of easily obtainable energy used up, extreme damage already done to the oceans [sustenance for a large portion of the current poor population], about a third of global population already suffering malnutrition, and current levels of land-based food production [based on pillaging the environment] already inadequate to support those malnourished ….. how can a population of current and projected size NOT be an existing disaster for the planet?

    Assume some inconcievable revolution in human behavior that resulted in reducing human effects on climate change to near zero, which I believe would require massive reductions in FF energy consumption, cessation of land clearing for “development”, even for increased food production, and core changes to the “growth” mentality” of western socities, not to mention some pie-in-the-sky mitigation schemes …. what population would provide a sustainable future for your [I have none] progeny? More than current? 5% less? 25% less? 50% less? Who here has shown evidence that BAU inevetibly results in a 95% human “die off”, or even 75%? [BAU including application of exotic mitigation schemes – the high tech we call civilization] Wouldn’t the population “crash” naturally reach some sustainable level? Can you cite any evidence for what a sustainable human population would be and what it would look like? Would a greatly reduced population necessarily be UNcivilized? Would a large reduction necessarily mean reverting to the social order extant in the past at that number? Is humanity somehow exempt from the population dynamics observed in other species? Does the fact that most would find loss of say a billion or 2 humans a tragedy, mean we must find a way to preserve an unsustainable number? Is there a way to ramp down the population gradually? The Chinese approach? Discuss, don’t dismiss as if it’s not a relevent problem.

  27. 527
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Frank Giger blames climate inaction on the Democrats, who have a majority in the House and a Democrat in the Oval Office. Not the Republican’s fault, no sir.

    Seriously, Mr. Giger? You’re chiding the Democrats for not voting as a reliable monolithic block, like the modern Republicans? Is that really what you want?

  28. 528
    Steven Sullivan says:

    Ray Ladbury #454
    ” 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. ”

    Not really ‘now’ , Ray; Dr. Curry was already using this rhetoric back in Nov 2009 ( Like Monbiot she seems to have lost her, I mean, her moorings a bit once the ‘Climategate’ broke. I would really like to see her debate on RC, on a specific list of things she thinks is wrong and why. And I’d like to see Gavin et al. respond (even if it’s redundant to previous RC posts) in similar detail. From what she writes I am rather skeptical that Dr. Curry has really spent much time at NON-skeptical sites…it might do her some good. Having a debate with her peers in a public place would do everyone good.

  29. 529
    Hank Roberts says:

    I want to recommend a very thoughtful article, available in an online a biology journal.

    It’s about how finding facts is done, and how finding patterns relating facts is done, and the differences in how we think doing them.
    It’s about modeling, and about how information is presented.

    He refers to the ‘hairball’ (a visual display of complicated interactions or associations) as iconic.

    I think this is may be useful explaining how the IPCC works as well.
    There’s finding facts, and there’s modeling how they may relate.

    The edges of understanding

    Arthur D Lander, Center for Complex Biological Systems, Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, U.C. Irvine, California

    BMC Biology 2010, 8:40doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-40

    Brief excerpt follows:
    … Although I do not doubt that many of my colleagues in the sciences were lured into their professions by the thrill of discovering new knowledge, I would speculate that at least as many were attracted, as I was, by the challenge of understanding the world in new ways. It has always disappointed me that so much of the vast literature on how science is, or ought to be, practiced deals with the former goal and not the latter….

    The question of how we create understanding out of validated bits of knowledge seems to have attracted so much less attention because, I suppose, it is easily seen as trivial…. A graduate student will accomplish it as quickly as a senior professor; more quickly in some cases, because seasoned scientists tend to be more distrustful of the impulse to submerge messy facts beneath neat, orderly concepts.

    There are many phrases that describe the action of replacing the messy with the simple to promote understanding: ‘creating an abstraction’, ‘generalizing’ and ‘distilling a concept’ come to mind, but the phrase I find most evocative is, ‘building a model’….

    Models do not arise by logical inference from data; they are acts of human creation. Any set of data can be modeled in a large (perhaps infinite) number of ways. Our reasons for choosing one over another are not to be found in the data themselves, but rather in our ideas about how a model will help us connect the data to other knowledge. This point is well illustrated in Kyle Stanford’s book Exceeding our Grasp, [1] which investigates the origins of influential biological models that were later discarded or discredited. Stanford relates how some of the best minds in biology routinely failed to conceive of the models that would eventually supplant their own, even when the later models would have equally well fitted all the data to which they had access….

    —- end excerpt —-

    Life on earth is a big part of the climate cycle, though not yet a big part of the climatology as presented to the public because biological changes are hard to document let alone model.

    For people who don’t click through and read the article, below are some of the references (in the original some are URL links) that may tempt you to consider this relevant.

    I wonder if this sort of discussion might be useful to Dr. Curry as an approach to thinking out loud about what the IPCC is doing, to get away from the loaded words like “corrupt” and focus on the science.

    1. Stanford PK: Exceeding our Grasp: Science, History and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.

    2. Box GEP: Robustness in the strategy of scientific model building. In Robustness in Statistics. Edited by: Launer RL, Wilkinson GN. New York: Academic Press; 1979:201-236.

    6. Epstein JM: Why model? J Artificial Societies Social Simulation 2008, 11:12.

    7. Kell DB, Oliver SG: Here is the evidence, now what is the hypothesis? The complementary roles of inductive and hypothesis-driven science in the post-genomic era. Bioessays 2004, 26:99-105.

    8. Nabel GJ: Philosophy of science. The coordinates of truth. Science 2009, 326:53-54.

    10. Tomlin CJ, Axelrod JD: Understanding biology by reverse engineering the control.

    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2005, 102:4219-4220.

  30. 530
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Secular Animist says: I’d bet on Blattella germanica

    “The future is bright for dinoflagellates.” — Jeremy Jackson

  31. 531
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Frank Giger asks: “Where do you get this number of 95% of humanity getting wiped out?”

    Can’t speak directly to 90%, but…
    There are about 41.5 million arable hectares on the planet. If modern agriculture were to collapse–which cannot be ruled out–this land could support about 83 million people, or about 0.8% of the globe’s projected population in 2050 to 2060. Now this presumes that the productive capacity of the environment has not been severely degraded–which also cannot be ruled out. Fisheries are already collapsing, so we don’t get much help from the oceans. Based on this, I would say a 95% decrease is not unlikely. We are way over carrying capacity of the planet in any case. The only reason our current population is so high is that we’ve learned how to turn petroleum into corn and soy beans.

  32. 532
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “What is the basis for the implicit assumption that large population reduction = loss of “civilization”?”

    We’re teaching Eskimos Cost Accountancy. We’re not teaching Cost Accountants how to fish in an ice hole.

  33. 533
    Completely Fed Up says:

    J. Bob says:
    20 April 2010 at 10:19 AM

    John P.

    IJIS Arctic sea ice extent still highest since 03.”

    The joys of picking cherries.

  34. 534
    Edward Greisch says:

    Frank Giger: 5% survival would leave 340 million. According to
    there were 4 million people 10,000 years ago. If that many survived, it would be .05% survival. 99.95% dead.
    The % killed by previous collapses, if my memory is correct and I got it right from the anthropology/archaeology department was 99.99%. 1 in 10,000 survival. But they had a livable planet once they wandered far enough from wherever they started. This time, there is no guarantee that there will be anything left to eat anywhere.

    There is evidence of cannibalism in at least one previous collapse. ….

  35. 535
    Jim Eager says:

    J.Bob @523, it menas both are plotting ice *extent*, just as the graph labels state.

  36. 536
    Completely Fed Up says:

    I’m just waiting for GKarst to pop up and tell us ice extent is increasing now…

  37. 537
    Andy says:

    Re: 529 – my moment of ephiphany was when the sole taxonomic biologist on my committee mentioned in an off hand way that he found huge numbers of microscopic tardigrades (water bears) on the bark of trees downwind of the campus dining hall’s stove vents. Apparently they fed off the grease or bacteria that fed off the grease that otherwise would have accumulated into dripping masses of gunk.

    If not for the little stuff that runs the world, it’d have come off the rails a long time ago or we’d be up to our arm pits in our own waste.

    How much of the natural world can we kill before we don’t have enough air to breathe, or clean water to drink? How much longer can we depend on the earth to breathe in most of the emitted CO2? Man and the earth needs more than just corn, nitrogen fertilizer and oil to survive. The biosphere II experiment was interesting in its failure (CO2 cycling).

  38. 538
    Frank Giger says:

    1) I blame both Democrats and Republicans – which is something that doesn’t seem to be in vogue around here. My comment was in response to the notion that it is all Republican’s fault.

    2) Where is the proof that 95% of everyone is going to die? Show me the published, peer reviewed paper saying that if [insert favorite political action] doesn’t happen, 95% extinction is probable. For all the angst about denialists lying and making stuff up on the site this one went right by the wayside without a quibble.

    3) Gotta love this quote:

    “And for what? So that millions of Americans can sit, frustrated and impatient, in giant gas-guzzling SUVs, stuck in gridlock traffic for hours at a time, day after day after day, while ExxonMobil rakes in 100 million dollars per day in profit and proclaims that any effort to reduce the monumentally wasteful and destructive use of fossil fuels is an “attack on liberty”?”

    So if the USA suddenly stopped emitting GHG’s the world would be “saved?” Really? It’s just us doing all of this damage? Why the hell is the UN involved if the problem is stupid Americans and their SUV’s?

    4) Ray has it right – our population curve is unsustainable even without climate change. Anyone who thinks the doubling and then the doubling of the double can go on infinately hasn’t taken an clear look at things. I just don’t believe that people will voluntarily limit population growth, and at some point it is going to get very nasty.

  39. 539

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

    Judith is wasting her time…… exactly what contrarians want. She is talented, and spends time with mind numb anti-science chaps. Mean time:

    according to “accu weather” TV hugging met contrarian, the ice has been restored to “Normal” levels,
    before this recent very fast thin ice melt. He was flat out wrong of course, and thin ice is not his expertise, not weather I suppose. But when a contrarian gets it wrong, they appear more often on TV, sort of like a MSM feedback loop rewarding incorrect prognostications, every body loves a boxer taking a beating!

  40. 540
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “So if the USA suddenly stopped emitting GHG’s the world would be “saved?” Really?”


    If the USA stopped wasting their energies consuming, they’d find they had a better quality of life because they won’t need to sit in traffic jams so much.

  41. 541
    flxible says:

    “What is the basis for the implicit assumption that large population reduction = loss of “civilization”?”

    We’re teaching Eskimos Cost Accountancy. We’re not teaching Cost Accountants how to fish in an ice hole.

    Then, considering fishing of any kind [especially in ice holes] may soon be a thing of the past regardless, and cost accountants have obviously been totally inept by ignoring the true costs of energy economies, we can assume Eskimos and Cost Accountants are not “civilized” or sustainable? Or is it that loss of either = loss of civilization?

    Citing why civilization is going to hell in the handbasket doesn’t define it or a solution to preserving “civil society” at some undetermined level.

  42. 542
    CM says:

    Re: Apocalyptic warnings of civilization collapsing, human extinction, cannibalism…

    Uhm, folks, I understand your need to voice such concerns. But keep it down to a low roar, eh? There may be children and impressionable people reading, and they might get the impression this is the scientific consensus you’re talking about, since that’s what this site normally spends its time defending. Remember how the “2012” hype had people writing NASA to ask if they hadn’t better kill themselves/their children/their pets now, so they wouldn’t suffer?

    I’m not saying the specter of civilization collapsing should not be raised. I think it would be irresponsible not to recognize it as a distinct possibility under business as usual, and insist risk assessments take heed of it. But there are responsible and irresponsible ways of communicating and framing it. Wallowing in angst, by itself, is not motivational.

    And telling Frank Giger what a genocidal SUV-loving psychopath he must be (for not agreeing that some arbitrarily high percentage of humanity is going to die) is unlikely to convince Frank Giger of anything much, isn’t it?

  43. 543
    SecularAnimist says:

    Frank Giger wrote: “I just don’t believe that people will voluntarily limit population growth …”

    Considering that there is a huge unmet demand for birth control all over the world (particularly in countries with the highest rates of population growth), it would seem that many people (particularly women) would voluntarily limit population growth, but lack the means to do so.

    Simply providing contraceptives to those who want them but cannot currently get them would help address the population issue.

    Having said that, we need to drastically reduce anthropogenic GHG emissions on a time scale of a decade or so, and measures to voluntarily reduce population growth are not going to accomplish that.

    However, as a rhetorical dodge to divert attention from the need to rapidly reduce fossil fuel use (particularly the monstrously wasteful and lifestyle-degrading fossil fuel use in the USA), the idea has some merit.

  44. 544
    John Mashey says:

    Back on the actual topic of this thread:

    P.6 of the Oxburgh report now has:

    “Addendum to report, 19 April 2010
    For the avoidance of misunderstanding in the light of various press stories, it is important to be clear that the neither the panel report nor the press briefing intended to imply that any research group in the field of climate change had been deliberately misleading in any of their analyses or intentionally exaggerated their findings.
    Rather, the aim was to draw attention to the complexity of statistics in this field, and the need to use the best possible methods.”

    H/T BigCityLib.

  45. 545
    L Hamilton says:

    A new product from the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington: continuously updated Arctic Sea Ice *Volume* Anomaly. The current graph nicely shows that sea ice volume, unlike the more volatile sea ice extent, has not recovered from its 9/2007 minimum.

  46. 546
    Bob says:

    CM is quite correct… claims of human extinction will appear to the casual visitor to place RC in the loony-toons category, if only because the casual visitor, along with participants such as Frank Giger, will not have the background to understand the point.

    Loss of 95% of the human race is not necessarily likely, it is merely possible. This is based on the fact that, for example, Americans per capita consume 2.5 gallons of oil per day. Consumption is in the form of motor transport for themselves and everything they consume, most importantly food and water (pumping stations require power), as well as for fertilizer to grow bountiful food supplies, plastics, energy to create products, energy to produce light and electricity, communication and entertainment (TV broadcasts), and every other aspect of their daily life.

    If access to this resource is limited by its growing scarcity, the stress on society will be huge. If, simultaneous with its growing scarcity, we discover the need to voluntarily cut usage without alternatives due to serious detrimental effects of climate change, the pressure grows even stronger.

    If, combined with this resource issue, the planet is faced with severe water shortages and droughts in what was once fertile cropland… If entire populations (the majority of the human race, and therefore many of it’s physical structures, exist along a coast) are displaced by sea level rise… If the human race responds the way it always has to such stresses, with war, conflict and nationalist and chauvinist priorities…

    Well, things could get grim.

    No one is saying it’s likely, but it is possible, and the solution will not be some magical cold fusion device that the next Einstein quietly invents in his garage at the last possible moment. The solution is recognition of the realities of the situation now, and a tempered, reasoned, but concerted effort to replace some fossil fuel usage and abandon utterly wasteful lifestyle practices now, before the stresses that force us into action are too great to overcome.

    That said… do we really need to be expending 2.5 gallons of oil per day for every man, woman and child in the country? Most people go through a gallon of milk a week. Picture a plastic gallon container (made from oil, of course). Two and a half a day. People consume two and half such containers of oil a day. 912 a year! 60 bath tubs full of oil, per year, per person, for America alone (which is less than 5 percent of the world population).

    And that doesn’t even count coal and natural gas.

  47. 547
    Geoff Wexler says:

    “95% dead” and the alarming edge of the Overton Window

    The trouble is that it is not definitely ruled out; it is a rational possibility. But that does not mean that we should focus on it to the exclusion of other outcomes. It is most unlikely that the climate sensitvity to 2 X CO2 is very low (<1.5K). Apart from that there is a range, and in the words of John Houghton (recent lecture) “we just don’t know “. Any value within this range can occur and the actual value depends on judgment as well as evidence. That refers to the subject matter discussed in IPCC working group 1.

    The uncertainties appear to grow with the other working groups. For educational reasons we have to decide whether to emphasise the bleakest or the less bleak outcomes. The position now is that contrarianism in its various forms is making the worst outcomes more likely because of its delaying action. The middle of the road “cautious” projections are quite bad enough and even these are being attacked.

    When reviewing Mark Lynas, Gavin distinguished between what could happen and what will very probably happen. I am against too much talk of the 95%. Not because it is impossible, but because it is not helping. It is used by people like Jim Lovelock to go around asserting that it is already too late to do anything. It is used by anti-scientists to accuse the whole of climate science of being alarmist. In addition to Lovelock, I have noticed that some of those (not of course on this site!) , who have rounded unfairly on the CRU have tended to come from the alarming edge of the O window. Fred Pearce and George Monbiot (whom I still admire e.g. for the way he helped to expose Ian Plimer in debate) fall into this category. Where does Wally Broecker fit into this? He appears in Fred Pearce’s book, as a source of gossip.

  48. 548
    Bob says:

    545 (L Hamilton),

    Thanks for the link. The only thing I’ve found close to this is the “ice area” estimates from Arctic ROOS

    I’d love to show it to all of the people trumpeting about “Arctic ice recovery” *rolls eyes*, but unfortunately the fact that they use a numerical model to come up with their estimate (as if everything in human knowledge weren’t, in fact, a model, too) means that “that crowd” will dismiss it out of hand as being both invalid and probably “homogenized.”

  49. 549
    J.S. McIntyre 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.”

    Tad OT: though quite the libertarian, Heinlein tended to a view of humans and their regard for where they lived as akin to large rats who invariably raped a planet’s resources. Check out discussions of this in “Time Enough For Love” and his later books. He understood the score and tended to be pessimistic about outcomes regarding cooperative efforts amongst the human species.

    “When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.” – RAH

  50. 550
    simon abingdon says:

    Perhaps OT, but of continuing relevance to the question of AGW:

    During the 1990s I commanded Boeing aircraft engaged on long-haul flights.

    Before 9/11 we were able to offer the hospitality of flight-deck visits. To the few who were interested you would discuss the instrument readings and explain (for example) that while the Indicated Air Speed (IAS) was only 250 knots (the air is thin at altitude) the True Air Speed (TAS) might be 500 knots and the Ground Speed (GS) perhaps 600 kts, pointing as you did to the wind-vector read-out which showed (here some trig discussion) maybe 100kts of tailwind component (if you were lucky!).

    Then you might consider the difference between the TAT read-out (Total Air Temperature, the frictionally-heated aircraft skin temperature) and the SAT read-out (Static Air Temperature, the actual air temperature outside the aircraft). This would typically be 25deg and you would explain that the kinetic heating of the airframe was roughly proportional to the square of the aircraft’s speed in hundreds of miles per hour. (Then there might be a discussion of 1500mph Concorde with its corresponding carpet-stretching 225deg heating and the consequent implications for designing much faster atmospheric flight which would need revolutionary metallurgy).

    Why am I telling you all this? Because the met forecasts by then were uncannily accurate in the immediate term. You could leave the coast at FL370 and as the 5deg lines of longitude fell behind, the in-flight wind readouts would continue to correspond to those forecast with extraordinary accuracy.

    But after 9 hours the forecasts began to drift away. No captain I knew would willingly embark on a 10-hour flight without very substantial fuel reserves in excess of the legal minimum (viz Origin to Destination to good-forecast Alternate plus 15 minutes) because of the rapidly increasing uncertainty of the departure forecast.

    And there’s the rub. No computer model can reliably forecast very far into the future without having continuously updated inputs. Any meteorologist who doesn’t continually “look out of the window” will get his forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Hence this week’s unnecessary total shut-down of UK airspace. And hence the futility of any prognosis of global climate behaviour in the long term.