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Two-year old turkey

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 November 2011

The blogosphere is abuzz with the appearance of a second tranche of the emails stolen from CRU just before thanksgiving in 2009. Our original commentary is still available of course (CRU Hack, CRU Hack: Context, etc.), and very little appears to be new in this batch. Indeed, even the out-of-context quotes aren’t that exciting, and are even less so in-context.

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.

But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.


666 Responses to “Two-year old turkey”

  1. 151
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike Lewis, AGW is not a hypothesis, but rather a prediction of a very successful model of Earth’s climate. The 40 years of warming we’ve seen constitute evidence for that model. How do you hope to understand the science when you don’t even know what the theories are?

  2. 152
    Michael Hauber says:

    timg56 at 50 says:

    Does having doubts about 40 to 50 ft rises in sea level, the spread of tropical diseases, increasing numbers and intensities of storms and host of other claims of catastrophy qualify me as a “fake” sceptic?

    I have doubts about these as well. I also agree that ‘the survival of the next generation’ is not seriously at risk. However there quality of life is.

    I have no problems holding sensible conversations with most AGW supporters, and am usually attacked as an alarmist when I try to discuss with ‘skeptics’

    I agree 100% with what Tamino posted about ‘fake skeptics’. And point out that nowhere did Tamino say anything about 40-50 ft rises in sea level or any of the other stuff.

  3. 153
    Saul says:

    In reply to comment #46
    tamino says:
    22 Nov 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Fake skeptics like Anthony Watts try to blame global warming on bad station siting. Turns out he was wrong.

    Your comment is not accurate. You create a strawman argument that the only skeptic issue is the station siting and the urban heat effect.

    The central question the skeptics discuss is the data and analysis that indicates how much warming will occur. i.e. Does the data support the assertion the future warming due to an increase in CO2 will be extreme or benign.

    The skeptics discuss and are concerned with the lack of warming for the last ten years. The cooling of the ocean. For example.

    An important skeptic issue is whether the planetary response to a change in forcing is to amplify the change (positive feedback) or to resist the change (negative feedback, say planetary clouds increase to resist an increase in forcing).

    The skeptics are also interested in the how the solar changes affect planetary temperature.

    The Wattsup blog posted papers that are both pro and con concerning the AWG. There is discuss of satellite temperature data and ocean temperature data.

    The skeptics issue is the magnitude of the warming.

  4. 154
    J Bowers says:

    “I think that Russia, Germany and the UK have had the biggest reductions over 1990 levels, but I can’t find an up-to-date reference for this, anyone? – gavin]”

    I found this the other day, from Sep 2011, which might be what you’re looking for:

    Long-Term Trend in Global CO2 Emissions, 2011 Report. JRC European Commission. (PDF)

  5. 155
    Hank Roberts says:

    > CO2 reductions

    This isn’t exactly the requested list, but may have used that data or cite it:
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-04-nation-reduction-co2-outpaced-country.html

    Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published online before print April 25, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1006388108
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1006388108

  6. 156
    timg56 says:

    114 Rob Honeycutt,

    RE your first paragraph – I agree. Which is why I happen to believe that spending billions of dollars providing those born in poor nations with access to abundant, cheap energy, clean water and education is a better policy than artifically driving up the cost of energy in the richer nations. Isn’t this what China and India are doing? Increasing their energy production to increase overall economic production.

    RE second paragraph – I will. But first I have to grind through the link Dr Schmidt provided. 90 some reports.

    RE third paragraph – Again I agree with the statement “The financial impacts of extreme weather events are not insignificant.” The question is how does climate change relate to extreme weather conditions. Irene was the first hurricane to hit the US in 6 years. A couple of USGS scientists just published a paper showing no increase in severity or occurance for floods in the US. As we are regularly told, weather is not climate and as yet there is no link to increased severe weather events from climate change. I however am not willing to agree to your second statement – “the solutions are ones that actually generate positive domestic economic activity.” Politicians like making that claim. I’m sure farmers and agrobusiness companies may agree when it comes to biofuels. I doubt the people looking for jobs on the Keystone pipeline project think that. And I think it a good idea to see what happens over the next 3 – 5 years in Australia and California.

    RE your last paragraph – now I can completely disagree. I am not the one afraid and don’t see how you reach that conclusion. In fact I am pretty positive about the future. If my fuel bills and transportation costs double, I can afford it. Probably better than a lot of people. I think I’d be more worried about the people whose income might benefit from the other ways in which I could be spending that money. I am also not angry. I am not the one here who has called people names – I’m brainless you know – or being angry and afraid and uncaring of future generations among other comments directed my way. And I am not pawning anything off on scientists. You claim I’m angry at attempts to solve what is clearly “very likely” to be a serious problem for humanity. How can I get angry at something that is neither clearly a problem nor yet shown to be very likely? At 2C warmer – I think you’ll have a hard time proving a serious threat to humanity. At 4 – 5C, ok, the odds of you being right go up. However the odds of reaching that are a lot less certain.

    PS – I appreaciate the more even tone of your and cynicus comments as compared to others.

  7. 157
    The Raven says:

    People who want a serious look at the economics of climate change might try Nordhaus’s The Challenge of Global Warming: Economic Models and Environmental Policy, link. Nordhaus is a well-respected economist and an extensive bibliography is included. Beware: it is a 253-page PDF, and I must admit not read most of it: I am going on Nordhaus’ excellent reputation. A quick look at Nordhaus’s CV and publications reveals that he has been working on environmental economics for over three decades.

    As to the provenance of these e-mails, I think it is likely that some Murdoch-connected organization broke into the CRU’s servers: they had motivation, ability, and a history of similar criminal acts. The on-going investigation into the astonishing number of break-ins those organizations have conducted may eventually turn up evidence of this.

  8. 158
    Mark A. York says:

    This is indeed great outreach. I think what jryan wants is for that also to mean that the science contained therein is tainted and anyone’s opinion is just as valid. It isn’t and RC is tantamount in showing why.

  9. 159
    David Wright says:

    With regard to comments about climate models being “wrong”, It’s my opinion that they are just not particularly useful for the purpose of fomenting public policy.

    The example given of aerodynamic models is not a valid comparison. Aerodynamic models are testable, as many aircraft flying today prove. Wing designs are not typically tested with a commercial flight full of passengers.

    Another poor argument, in my opinion, is one where trust in “the science” is likened to trusting your doctor. Medical procedures are carefully tested in a controlled environment. They are not released to the public to be tested. If they were, many deaths would occur.

    Climate models cannot be tested in a timescale which is useful for human purposes. The propose cure of reducing CO2 emissions could just as easily be harmful if it were to prevent a resistance to an impending ice age caused by nature.

    OT perhaps, but notable is the fact that our forefathers burdened us with a Social Security System which has turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme. Their intentions were surely good, and I don’t blame them for not realizing that the pool of workers would not continue to grow in support of the system. I do hope that we can do something to relieve our children of that particular burden. I expect objection from those currently collecting or soon to be collecting these benefits. Where I come from, folks abhor the thought of being a burden on their children. Today we give it no second thought it seems.

    I call into question those who would claim that we must “do something for our grandchildren”. Perhaps the most responsible thing we can do is to attempt to lessen the already high financial burden that we have accumulated for them to bear.

    We have no right to decide their future.

  10. 160
    François GM says:

    Gavin: You wrote earlier that Jones was correct in saying that ALL models are wrong (I can’t locate the post – was it erased ?). Can you please provide peer-reviewed evidence by the Team supporting your opinion ?

    [Response: Can you please provide some justification for using the phrase "The Team"? Who are these people? I've never heard of them.--eric]

  11. 161
    observer says:

    Re 160. Gavin is right. Models are always wrong. Heck, even the standard model of modern physics matches observation only to 10 parts in a billion. We all know that Newtonian physics is “wrong” but we use it all the time.

    The proper question is not, “Are the models wrong?” but rather “In what ways are they wrong?” and “How can they be improved?”

    Observer

  12. 162
    Rattus Norvegicus says:

    Francois GM,

    That is rather axiomatic isn’t it? All models are approximations of reality, and as such they are wrong. Nothing surprising there.

  13. 163
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Timg56 and Geronimo,
    First, I don’t think that anyone here is of the opinion that climate change is the only problem we face. It exacerbates a range of problems that threaten the viability of a complex global civilization.

    By around midcentury, we anticipate that global population will crest somewhere around 10 billion people. This will occur on a planet where we are already having difficulty–and indeed doing irreversible harm to the carrying capacity of the planet–trying to support just 7 billion at present. Moreover, these people will have higher expectations and will likely consume at a higher level than current populations.

    To further compound the difficulty, fossil fuels will likely be becoming scarce and expensive. Climate change–due to drought and the general downward trend of crop yields with temperature–will be decreasing productivity. Other resources are also likely to be scarce.

    How do you expect our progeny to react to increasing scarcity, insecurity and threats from other nations reacting to the same trends?

    We would have to confront all of these threats in any case. Climate change just makes things much more difficult.

  14. 164
    Mark A. York says:

    Of course given the evidence the so-called public IS stupid, although not designated from the scientific community. They need t get a grip on scientific reality first. Let’s start there.

  15. 165
  16. 166
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright

    The example given of aerodynamic models is not a valid comparison. Aerodynamic models are testable, as many aircraft flying today prove. Wing designs are not typically tested with a commercial flight full of passengers.

    No, but the 787 design was tested with a flight crew flying the exact 787 that’s being sold today, with that crew being trained on a simulator …

    STOP THE PRESSES! A SIMULATOR IS A MODEL!

    based on model results of the design, and said airplane performed as expected from both model results in engineering, and as expected from the separate model results used to build the simulator (though as someone with 40 years of software engineering experience, I’m sure they shared a lot of code).

    There is, of course, another problem with your statement:

    The world is flying regardless of whatever model we use to think about the future.

    Your willingness on rejecting science means that you believe that *YOUR* model, which isn’t of course a real mathematical one but rather a prejudicial model based on your gut or “lower male appendage”, is the right one.

    You want society to fly based on your gut, not science, because, you know, comparing science-based models isn’t fair, and fairy-based models … are, apparently?

  17. 167
    dhogaza says:

    Ray:

    First, I don’t think that anyone here is of the opinion that climate change is the only problem we face.

    Be stronger, Ray … we don’t believe in the false dichotomy because … well … it’s false.

    Society is doing little to solve the problems that false dichotomists claim we’d only solve if we weren’t worried about climate change. If we don’t tackle climate change, a certain economic class of people will just pocket the profit. There’s no reason to run away from this economic reality.

  18. 168
    dhogaza says:

    François GM

    Gavin: You wrote earlier that Jones was correct in saying that ALL models are wrong

    Name a model that’s not wrong.

    Be precise. It’s going to involve equations, that’s for sure, so hopefully you’ve had calculus, at least.

  19. 169
    DrTskoul says:

    Talking about burdens to the future generations. If it was private enterprise pushing for move away from CO2 intensive industry, you would be fine with it. But understanding that this magnitude of change requires the act of government..well that is the issue huh?

    Predictions made so far by climate models and scientific intuition are coming true and since as said the timescales involved are significant I would expect a true skeptic to require and promote significant study and research of all aspects of climate change. Instead having no scientific basis the proclamation that the risks are low are universal by the so called skeptics. Instead of wanting to improve our understanding they focus on minute discrepancies elevating them to gaping holes and conspiracies.

    And saying that aerodynamics provide for a testable hypothesis, completely ignores the fact of the hundreds of accidents caused by lack of understanding that also contributed to today’s understanding of flying machines. Sorry but we only have one planet and such “tests” are impossible.

    What is the problem with reducing the world’s CO2 intensity anyway? Do renewables sound like a bad policy?

  20. 170
    Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Jeff Short @102 said,

    When I have raised these issues I have been heavily berated by many peers who are in the Climate Change industry in an antagonistic fashion, however most of my peers in Science and Ecology tend to support my position.

    Ray already called you on this, but I’m going to as well–I doubt very much you’re an ecologist. I am trained as an ecologist and now work as a wildlife biologist/ecologist–I worked and published with Charlie Krebs (one of the giants of the field) over a 5 year period. I’m in touch with a whole network of ecologists around the world. I rub shoulders with other well known publishing ecologists regularly, as well as various science folks at three different universities.

    And not a single one of them has expressed a doubt about the validity of AGW, and it has been on the radar of ecologists since the mid to late 90s, if not earlier.

    Granted, you may actually be an ecologist, and your peers may agree with you, but I’m finding that a real stretch (argument from incredulity–I know, a logical fallacy, which is why I may be wrong in my assessment–but “most” of your peers tend to support your position?? You’d think I’d at least have heard about one considering my sample size).

    do you really think you are going to see significant genetic changes over a period of 200 years in anything more complicated than a fruit fly?

    O/T here, but FYI. Lizards came up with some unique changes in less than 40 years, including cecal valves.
    news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html

  21. 171
    Mike Jonas says:

    Gavin – To my mind, there is more to’Climategate2′ than you admit. The scientists involved are clearly partisan and not following proper scientific process. For example, their repeated reference to ‘the cause’. Sure, you can dismiss it as the scientists being ‘somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement’, as you did 2 years ago, and of course you are free to adhere to that view.

    But some of us regard it more seriously, because statements such as these do suggest improper practice. At the very very least I would expect such an attitude to lead to confirmation bias in their work. I would therefore suggest that their work should properly be regarded with a vastly greater degree of caution than has been shown by yourself and many others on RC. Compare the climate scientists’ attitude to, for example, the ‘faster than light’ team at CERN.

    [Response: 'suggest' 'expect' etc. are reflective of your own prior beliefs about what the scientists have come up with. But the contents of these emails go completely against you assumptions - you have many people (all of whom are supposedly on some team), criticising each other's work is pretty harsh terms where they think standards are not high or uncertainties too great. And I'm not sure where you get the idea where I and other on RC have not been cautious enough on uncertain parts of the science - perhaps you'd like to find some example of irresponsible over-confidence on the site? As for the 'faster than light' team at Gran Sasso (not CERN), most people in that field are pretty sure that this will go away after everything is checked (for multiple reasons - not because of mainstream 'dogma'). But the analogy is not to the mainstream in climate science, but those who propose that climate change is happening because of the conjunctions of Juptier and Saturn, or that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, or there hasn't been any warming, or that humans are not affecting the composition of the atmosphere. As stated above, the cause is for a higher level of conversation - one rooted in what the science is really saying, and where the real uncertainties are - instead of these manufactured controversies and overblown conspiracy theories. - gavin]

  22. 172
    Edward Greisch says:

    I thought that 2 year old turkey would be dry. I was wrong…. Best humor around.

    Must be your servers are more secure this year.

  23. 173
    Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Charlie Z @99 said,

    This really comes down to the belief that stupid people like me can’t possibly understand the intricacy of your scientific investigations.

    Actually even if you’re quite smart and have a solid science education, you still probably can’t understand the intricacies of scientific investigations outside your own field. Most of the articles and letters in the journal Nature go way over my head. Best I can do is read the abstract, read the first few paragraphs, then jump to the end. Some times I can’t even do that. But each bit I do understand helps for the next relevant article.

    Still the slow going is frustrating (feel inadequate at times), but unless I want to obtain several advanced degrees, or spend years studying several separate fields, I will never understand the intricacies–hell, I may never grasp the basics–of specialized fields (I’m looking at you quantum computing).

    By no means though does it mean you’re stupid. I’m sorry you have received that impression. You, and most people including scientists, simply don’t have the time to put in a decade of work or more to become acquainted with the intricacies of fields that aren’t their bread and butter.

    It isn’t being stupid, it is not having the time.

  24. 174
    Marco says:

    Saul #153:
    Really, did Tamino create a strawman?

    Try reading the report D’Aleo and Watts wrote and published by SPPI “surface temperature record: policy-driven deception?”

    Choice quote from that report:
    “Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and uni-directionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century.”

    Oh, and do read the rest of that “summary for policymakers”.

  25. 175
    Shelama says:

    “models are all wrong (but the question is whether they are useful”)

    Wording only slightly different removes a stumbling block for those so blind they will not see:

    “all models are wrong (but the question is…)”

    All models are wrong but none of the models are all (i.e., 100%) wrong.

  26. 176
    Marcus says:

    #156 timG56


    I am not the one here who has called people names – I’m brainless you know –

    1/2 second’s silence that You have been hurt so bad.
    But after your announcment to “go for the ass” of those
    who’s predictions are wrong I am
    inclined to agree

    Marcus

  27. 177
    PeteB says:

    Bart #97

    “Gavin’s RC figure mentioned in 80 is very similar to a figure made and posted by Lucia at the Blackboard (sorry, don’t know which post so can’t link; I saved it on my harddisk). She graphed individual model runs though instead of the 95% envelope of model estimates. Would be interesting to see if those who are claiming that Gavins’ figure is misleading would claim the same of Lucia’s.”

    Bart it was here http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/surface-temperatures-cooler-than-multi-model-mean/

    specifically http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MichaelHauberRequest.png

    I don’t think Gavin’s plot was misleading but when you look at the individual runs by model the spread looks as if it partly caused by “weather noise”, internal variability within the models and partly by different models having different trends and different internal variabilities

  28. 178
    Gary Hemminger says:

    Is this a site devoted to science or PR? Evidently some of the scientists that are key in the global warming “cause” as they call it believe this site is a PR site. If this site is about science, then why do you try to downplay anything that appears to refute the “cause?”

    [Response: Our 'cause' is for good science and accurate information to triumph over fear, uncertainty and doubt. We downplay nonsense, we downplay mis-information, and we try and promote clarity, context and what scientists are actually saying instead of playing up to absurd conspiracy theories, wishful thinking and hysteria. No apologies for that. - gavin]

  29. 179
    jyyh says:

    I’d like to comment that as the dates have been altered, there’s also a suspicion that other words might be too, so if you want conspiracy theories there’s one. The hosts here may bin this one if you think this is too much for this science site. I’m somewhat bored and might next go adding to their paranoia on some other site, for doing this here is too tasteless.

  30. 180
    Martin Vermeer says:

    John Fitzgerald #129

    “What I am pretty sure of is that, what ever the world should eventually look like, it’s not going to look better because people spread dis-information. And knowing the truth, isn’t going to make it worse.”

    That’s what I tell my dog, anyways.

    Your dog would like to tweet that out in the big world, your philosophy is known as ‘the cause’…

  31. 181
    J Bowers says:

    Geoff Short — “…you’re surely making a good buck out of it now so it is of course always going to be in your interests to maintain “the cause”.

    Download and have a read (PDF), Geoff.

    More info on the organisation, and the guy who got over $300,000 from them that year.

  32. 182
    Halldór Björnsson says:

    The UNEP site has data galore on emissions, trends etc. It can be a bit daunting and the search tool could be improved. See
    http://geodata.grid.unep.ch/ .
    Many others provide emissions data, broken down by type, nation, region etc. Datamarket has a nice interface, but not the most complete database (see http://data.is/vEKmd5 , and read #143 again)

  33. 183
    Lorax says:

    All the focus from Susan Solomon, Jonathan Overpeck, and others on getting Wahl and Ammann published in time. Why was it so crucial to have a critique of Steve McIntyre in the IPCC report? And also, the comments critiquing McIntyre came from one of the authors of this critiquing paper. Is this the reason for the confidentiality?

    [Response: I'm sure that Susan Solomon had far more pressures on her plate at the time than worrying solely about the publication schedule of W&A (2006). Despite what McIntyre might think, this wasn't crucial at all, and had the single line been left as it was in the second-order draft nothing very much would have been different at all. Rather, the report would have been less accurate since W&A definitely did show that the PCA convention highlighted by McIntyre did not have a big impact on the final reconstruction. But even that is not terribly important compared to the fact that other reconstructions (Moberg et al, Osborn and Briffa etc.) came up with the same big picture changes. The obsession with this single line in the report is absurd. - gavin]

  34. 184
    J Bowers says:

    François GM — “Gavin: You wrote earlier that Jones was correct in saying that ALL models are wrong”

    Science itself is probabilistic.

    “Doc, will the antibiotic get rid of the infection?”
    “Well, It’s likely.”

    IIRC, Stephen Hawking said that all scientific theories themselves are models at their basest level. If all models are wrong, as in they are never 100% right, what would that say about all scientific theories?

    Myth 5: Science and its Methods Provide Absolute Proof

  35. 185
    KiwiCM says:

    The Denial Movement

    I’ve got denial constipation
    Can’t get this train to leave the station
    Not a plausible fact in creation
    But how to spread it across the nation?
    With only insinuation and allegation?
    Only accusation and defamation?
    Ah, better call for an investigation

  36. 186
    Craig Nazor says:

    Timg56: In #112, you state, “And if you care about those people, then you will realize that perhaps the best means to improve their lives is by providing access to inexpensive energy.”

    The problem is that most Americans have no idea of the true cost of the energy they use, because the true cost is not usually reflected in the price paid for that energy. First, carbon-based energy is heavily subsidized at all levels by the government. Second, the cost of these fuels usually does not even begin to factor in the damage to the environment that extracting, refining, and burning these fuels creates (oil spills, coal ash spills, atmospheric ozone, soot, environmental damage at extraction sites, water and air pollution produced during the mining and refining processes, etc.).

    And then, of course, there is the damage that the release of CO2 is doing to our climate. Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, you appear to underestimate the full cost of that damage. If you deny that, then it becomes impossible to determine the true cost of carbon-based fuels. Your logic becomes circular, and the people you care about will be harmed.

    This summer in central Texas was the hottest summer ever measured in North America (80+ days over 100ºF, highest temperature was 112ºF). On many evenings, the temperature did not get below 90ºF until after 11PM. We are also in the worst 1-year drought ever measured in Texas, and that continues. We are currently living with stage 2 water restrictions. We had a number of wildfires close to me, one of which burned over 50 square miles, including a beautiful state park and over 1,200 homes.

    Are these the affects of anthropogenic global climate change? It is likely they are. And even if they aren’t, these are what the affects of AGCC will look like. Needless to say, I don’t share your optimistic view about the world’s future if we don’t reduce our release of greenhouse gasses very soon. From where I am sitting, the risks are just too great to not take strong action now.

    Yes, I’m for inexpensive energy, but I also care about a clean and healthy environment. So don’t try to sell me a pig in a poke, because I’m not buying it. Speaking of poke, despite their best efforts, the “skeptics” have not been able to poke holes in the science. Instead, they go after the scientists personally through the quoting out of context of stolen private emails. Nice.

  37. 187
    Chris says:

    I have read many of the posts and comments on WUWT and I have read the post and comments here with respect to the latest “release” of, what are being dubbed, “Climategate 2.0” emails.

    When I read WUWT comments I am left thinking that they seem to be making valid points – when I read RC comments on the same topic I am left floundering.

    In essence, as a layman, I am left trying to judge the quality of each sides arguments – and it is impossible for me to draw a conclusion on certain specifics.

    In short, it appears to me that the main thrust of the “WUWT” argument is that the “consensus” often only exists because contrariwise points of view were suppressed and/or ignored.

    As an example, the work, methodology and logic that went into the “Hockey Stick” graph is questioned – if not ridiculed – by the WUWT camp. They cite quotes from people within the “team” that appear to also question the validity and methodology.

    To cut through this, can you tell me if the Hockey Stick graph is still accepted (by the contributors to RealClimate) as being a fair representation of the scientific consensus?

    [Response: The original MBH graph was made in 1998 - some 13 years ago. At the time it was a ground-breaking work in that it used multiple proxies to come up with approximations not just to the mean temperature changes through time, but also the spatial patterns. Subsequent work has tried different approaches, used more data, checked methods against 'pseudo-proxy' networks derived from climate models, fixed errors etc., but all of those papers don't really come up with reconstructions that are radically different (see here for instance). So the original work is no longer state of the art, but the big picture conclusion - that current temperatures and rates of temperature rise are unusual, and likely unprecedented in the last 1000 years or so, is still supported. MBH was not perfect, but it wasn't faked. - gavin]

    With respect to extreme weather events, the WUWT position is that there is no evidence of recent increases in extreme weather events such as Hurricanes and Typhoons at all – let alone as a result of AGW. What is the scientific consensus position?

    [Response: "Extreme events" aren't just one thing. The factors controlling hurricane intensity, or cyclone number, or a heat wave, or a drought or a cold snap, or a flood are all different and may well be different again depending on where you are (see here for a discussion). For some extremes, there is good evidence that they have been changing, and support from models for a link to global warming (heat waves, rainfall intensity are both up, cold snaps are down), while for others the data is ambiguous and model support less strong (impacts on hurricanes or tornadoes say). For some effects, the expected change to date is too small to definitely come out of the noise, even if the impact would be larger and more significant in the future (for instance changes in hurricane intensity). New work in the fractional attribution of single events (like the Texas drought, European heat wave in 2003, Moscow heat wave in 2010 etc.) shows some promise, and is indicating that the odds of such extremes are shifting in predictable ways - but this is still cutting edge science. - gavin]

  38. 188
    Kevin C says:

    Erm. What’s with the models hang up.

    Let’s suppose that all the models are indeed not only wrong, but also not useful.

    Where would that leave climate science?

    Exactly where it is. Climate sensitivity can be calculate from models, but also from observations, and my impression is that the observational data is now stronger than the model data. See Knutti and Hergl (2008) (as usual), although there has been a lot more work since that. (e.g. Hansen & Sato 2011, Padilla et al 2011.)

  39. 189
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    David Wright @ 159, welcome to the conversation. May I clear up a couple things? First, climate models are tested all the time and in great detail. They are very useful for human purposes. In particular they are a great aid (along with much more, climate science is quite extensive) in understanding the physics of energy transfer in our atmosphere and oceans. You note that reducing CO2 emissions could be harmful if led to an ice age. Well yes, and it could be harmful it it caused the Martians to invade. One example of the human usefulness of climate models is that we understand climate and climate change far too well to be lost in wondering if reducing emissions would cause an ice age. It won’t. But a very large change in energy sources would avoid very harmful future climate change and has other advantages as well. Then you get into another misunderstood subject that is off topic here. But David, try to become aware of the strangeness of your final statement.

    Regarding our grandchildren (actually, all of humanity who will be living on earth in the coming decades) you say

    “We have no right to decide their future.”

    David, we are deciding and determining what sort of world people will inhabit in the not too distant future. We do this in many ways including making war and changing our planet’s climate. We also do it by sitting home and not bothering to take positive action.

  40. 190
    Occupied Territory says:

    Turbolocke and Gavin–relative to my #143 post, I stand corrected. I recall reading two or 3 years ago that the US’s CO2 reductions were 2nd only to one other country, but I cannot find that reference. Here’s what I did find: http://www.pbl.nl/en/dossiers/climatechange/faqs#vraag9

    The US’s CO2 emissions are down per capita, but in line w/ other developed countries, and better than several other developing countries’ reductions.

  41. 191
    Ray Ladbury says:

    I think that one of the problems on the denialist side is that they don’t know how to use models. Models are not there to give answers but to provide insight. If they are sufficiently detailed to do that, they are good models for their purpose. If we start asking more detailed questions, we require a better model.

    GCMs are more than sufficient to predict trends we will see over the long haul, and therefore as a guide for policy. If you wanted to assess the efficacy and safety of a geoengineering technique (e.g. sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere), I’d want a MUCH better model.

  42. 192
    adelady says:

    “We have no right to decide their future.”

    That sounds awfully like some aristocratic wastrel waving airily at the crumbling plaster, leaking roof and smelly plumbing of the family castle and saying we wouldn’t want to spend money on that stuff. The young ones might want the money for something else.

    Well, the young ones might like to inherit something that’s worth real money if they choose to sell it or want to use it for a business.

    Same goes for the planet at large – except it’s the only biosphere we’ve got. We don’t have the option of selling up (for any price) and moving elsewhere.

  43. 193
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    David @ 159 again, your first statement is worth a look. You say climate models are a sufficient basis for policy choices. This is right. Science can tell us “if you do X, Y will happen.” Deciding what we ought to do is another step after having the scientific information. Science can’t make you care. However, climate science is far more than models and provides much more basis for policy than just the models. (Most people mean the global air and ocean circulation models when they use that term.) Consider a couple items to begin to get the idea. A relatively simple problem (chemistry, not circulation model related) is that the oceans are becoming more acid and this will continue as long as we increase the concentration of CO2 in the air. This will harm ocean ecosystems (and note, some people value much more than their couches) and it will also reduce human food supply. The Arctic is warming faster than the average of the planet. This was predicted as early as 1896. However it is happening even more and faster than predicted either then or by most climate models. There is very extensive data on this. In addition to civilian studies, the Navies of the USA and Russia are very interested. The US Navy is not pleased with what is happening. This illustrates 1) there is much more to climate science than models & 2) intensive empirical study is a better guide than the models on particular regions. David, this brings us to a broad problem: people want to know what climate changes to expect in their own area, and in the near future. The global models do well on the global picture and the trends over more than one decade, but this is not the question that many people want answered. Nevertheless it is globally clear that people will be better off if we stop burning carbon and use other energy sources. The big reason to delay this change is to maintain current cash flows rather than allowing new ones. Again,

    Science can’t make you care.

  44. 194
    Ricki says:

    A quick look says to me… ho hum, nothing of interest.

  45. 195
    grypo says:

    “Can you please provide some justification for using the phrase “The Team”? Who are these people? I’ve never heard of them.–eric”

    That’s a good question. The history here is, of course, interesting. Steven McIntyre coined the term, as presently applied, here.

    Later on, he attempts to blame Real Climate for the term.

    When given due diligence, that any auditor should apply, it turns out to be a nice rhetorical trick.

    The thread he links says something quite a bit different.

    The validity of the so-called “Hockey Stick” can, of course, neither rest on the strength of MBH98, nor any one reconstruction or model simulation result alone. Rather, as demonstrated in IPCC(2001) [see this comparison here] and numerous additional studies since, it is what is perhaps more aptly termed the “Hockey Team”–that is, the multiple independent reconstructions and model simulations that now indicate essentially the same pattern of hemispheric mean temperature variation in past centuries, that support a “Hockey Stick” description of past temperature changes.

    The term “Team” was about a group of papers, not people, as McIntyre has repeated it.

    I guess another good question should be, ‘Why would re-creating the meaning of such a term be useful for an auditor?’ The answer may be plagiarized in the Wegman report.

  46. 196
    Chris S. says:

    Re: Jeff Short.

    I can assure people that Jeff is an ecologist (see here for a link to his past research: http://www.wildliferesearchmanagement.com.au/past_research.htm )

    However it seems he is broadly ignorant of the vast swathe of ecological literature on the response of species to climate change.

    Some names for Jeff & others the Google (Scholar):

    Camille Parmesan
    Marcel Visser
    Tim Sparks
    Stephen Thackeray
    David Roy
    C M Mutshinda
    Jane Memmott
    Rosa Menendez
    Rolf Ims
    Cristiaan Both

    The list goes on but for Jeff to claim that “most of [his] peers in Science and Ecology tend to support [his] position” (that there are evolutionary traits in animals and plants throughout the world which demonstrate that there has been no increase in climate variability) speaks more of Jeff’s peer group than the view of most ecologists.

  47. 197
    Number9 says:

    Models are not there to give answers but to provide insight.

    This is silly. The models are not being used only to provide insight (explain the past) but drive policy (make forecasts)

    [Response: Model forecasts are all you have. Would you prefer observations? "Unfortunately, observations of the future are not available at this time." (Knutson and Tuleya, 2005). Nonetheless, you greatly overstate the degree to which policy follows from the specifics of any model. - gavin]

  48. 198
    SteveF says:

    Phil Jones responds to some of the cherry picked quotes:

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/phrasesexplained

    One in particular represents a particularly egregious bit of quote-mining by the publishers of the stolen emails.

  49. 199
    Chris says:

    re 186 thank you – although I am not sure that I am any the wiser!

  50. 200
    willard says:

    To follow on grypo’s audit, I note that Eric already dissociated himself from any Team:

    > I’m not on “The Team”.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/11395920629

    This was vintage 2006.

    I believe the proper term should be the Kyoto Flames:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/about-the-kyoto-flames

    The Calgary Flames is an Hockey team, for the hockey-challenged people like Nick Stokes.

    Anyone who would like some help to take into consideration bender’s advice to “read the blog”, CA that is, can contact me via my tumblog.


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