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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. 251
    Richard Simons says:

    The inability of some people to accept that all models are wrong (I think ‘incomplete’ would be a better word) reminds me of the (very) old comedy routine about the explorers who had a life-sized map of Africa. Just as all maps are incomplete but even Uncle Stan’s sketch of how to get to his house is useful provided you accept its limitations, so are all models incomplete but many are useful provided you have a reasonable understanding of their limitations.

    Chris commented on the difficulty a layman has of deciding which sites to believe. A good guide is that following the links from a reliable site will quickly lead you to scientific papers and actual data. An untrustworthy site will usually have far fewer links and the ones there are usually do not lead to data and papers but are more likely to end up at opinion pieces that give uncited claims. Also check for consistency and coherence in the claims (usually greater at reliable sites) and a willingness among the participants to air their differences where they disagree. Denialist sites frequently have mutually contradictory comments that are passed over.

  2. 252
    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]

    I should’ve been clear; that was Ray Ladbury’s comment (now in quotes) on this thread.

    I agree that they can provide insight (explain the past) but not give answers (a base for policy).

    They are as useful as the big models that said stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8%.

    [Response: The stimulus is off topic, but your logic makes no sense. Information gained from models in epidemiology, economics, weather forecasting, ENSO forecasting, fisheries, tides, celestial mechanics, population, demography, etc. are used to inform policy decisions at all sorts of levels. The idea that decision makers should arbitrarily exclude a whole class of information from policy deliberations is just perverse. - gavin]

  3. 253
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    It seems that very little has been spent trying to track down the email hacker. Note comments at the link about someone named Neil Wallis.

  4. 254
    John says:

    Who is Ray Ladbury and why is he allowed to use vulgarities in his self anointed moderating of posters? Seems the skeptics have a point in condemning the “consensus” if he is a part of it.

    [Response: I don't know who he is, and I don't always agree on his style, but he's usually dead-on with the facts. And like I said above, our lack of comment on a comment is not an endorsement of it.--eric]

  5. 255
    jyyh says:

    “It gives the loons a chance to come out and display their tinfoil hats,”
    I knew it!! there really was something wrong with this image! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Archibald_Thorburn_Plate_77.jpg
    Or do they only put their hats on during specific seasons?

  6. 256
    dhogaza says:

    John: Ray Ladbury is a PhD physicist, which you are not.

    (I don’t know you, but I know I’m right, do you see the problem with common denialist crap?)

    Someone else (who is reasonable):

    The inability of some people to accept that all models are wrong (I think ‘incomplete’ would be a better word)

    Yes, you’re right. The “all models are wrong” was meant for scientists, who would readily understand the second clause about “usefulness”. It wasn’t, obviously, said expecting it would be quote-mined/misunderstood to say that models are useless. Science is all about models. Even the basic equation giving the acceleration of a falling body on earth is “wrong”, as the gravitational field of the earth varies very, very slightly depending on locale. But it’s still useful, you can design an build airplanes while ignoring the minor variation of the gravitational field over various points on the planet …

  7. 257
    Russell says:

    244 … in a perverse way, these releases of emails could be a good thing. It gives the loons a chance to come out and display their tinfoil hats… Ray Ladbury — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:13 PM

    What tinfoil hats? The growing obsession with reading other people’s mail coincides with the disappearance of tin foil from commerce.

    Though once as ubiquitous as the term ‘ tin foil’, the real stannery product was last employed as embossed seals for Danish butter cookie tins in the 1960′s.

    Absent the protection this high Z metal foil affords, sensitive and undermedicated folk have suffered acute head explosion injuries on reading WUWT or Climate Depot with only a few turns of aluminum foil about their temples. Amateur scientists should be warned that only an asbestos top hat lined with lead bricks can attenuate the full spectrum of blogosphere radiation visible on the sidebar of Watt’s blog, from warbling cosmic rays and the emanations of the iron sun to Ann Coulter broadcasts.

  8. 258

    @ John

    Ray Ladbury has been quite open about who he is and what his credentials are in his comments here and on other climate science blogs over the years. While some of his specific words occasionally can be construed as being caustic, his analysis is typically spot-on.

    I, for one, am glad he is not reticent in venturing his opinions. I just wish I could get him to participate in our Forum at Skeptical Science. :)

    As for “the skeptics have a point in condemning the “consensus” if he is a part of it“…you must be referring to the fake-skeptics. Real skeptics don’t make evaluating the science conditional on excluding someone they don’t like.

    ReCaptcha: Ffortn below (baby it’s cold outside)

  9. 259
    jyyh says:

    furhter info of the effect of wearing brightly shining acessories: http://www.google.com/search?q=Gavia+population+decline&rls=com.microsoft:fi
    sorry, got sidetracked.

  10. 260
    vendicar decarian says:

    Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate

    James Taylor – Heartland Institute

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/11/23/climategate-2-0-new-e-mails-rock-the-global-warming-debate/

    Stand by and do nothing or log on and defend your ground.

  11. 261
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Russell — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:21 PM, this is for you.

  12. 262

    The million dollar question is raised by Chris (187):

    “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.”

    I think the best approach is to focus on the big picture rather than on certain specifics, or at least not make the logical mistake of extrapolating from a certain specific issue (are there methodical flaws in the original MBH hockey stick?) to the big picture (is all of climate science bunk?)

    That would be akin to questioning the existence of gravity because you see a bird flying in the air.

    For more guidelines on how to gauge the validity of conflicting arguments: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/who-to-believe/

  13. 263
    Marcus says:

    “All models are wrong but some are useful”

    Just read that in german version, in “Spektrum d. Wissenschaft” (german sister magazine of Scientific American) … seems to be a new popular phrase among folks doing computer simulations, i.e. people who know well about possibilities and limitations of models.

    Aimed at people who do not, this kind of phrasing is somewhat dangerous. For those hostile to science it does not matter anyway what you say

    Cheers,
    Marcus

  14. 264
    Raghar says:

    Kinda wonder why there is such ruckus. These leaks are great way how to access the real performance of these scientists. An accidental leak would work as a random sample as well.

    Lets look at this from a simple point of view. They are paid from public money and data about theirs real work leaked on internet, not a sample carefully cherrypicked by them, but a simple random sample (which can proof nothing of course, but it can be used to create better whole image).

    That spam filter is quite brutal, lets try out of context: office lady like degeneration

  15. 265
    J Bowers says:

    Leaked climate emails force carbon dioxide to resign

    CARBON dioxide has resigned from being a gas, it has been confirmed.

    The move came after a fresh batch of leaked emails between climate scientists showed that CO2 had been lying about what it is and what it does.

    According to one of the emails, sent by Julian Cook, a researcher at the University of East Anglia, carbon dioxide had got drunk and admitted it had made the whole thing up.

    Cook adds: “He says he’s not even a gas, never mind a greenhouse gas. He says his name’s Brian and he used to work for Kwik Fit in Norwich.

    “He says his application to UEA was turned down ‘because he doesn’t talk all posh’ and he’s done all of this just to embarrass us.

    “What are we going to do???????”

    But Professor Steve Jones replied: “For Christ’s sake don’t tell the press. In the meantime we have to go back to our notes and work out what in the name of xxxx has been coming out of engines and power stations in ever increasing quantities for the last 150 years.

    “Then we have to see if this thing traps heat in the atmosphere in the same way that Brian did.”

    Martin Bishop, who has a PhD in blogging from Delingpole University, said: “At least carbon dioxide has finally owned up. Hopefully David Attenborough will now have the decency to stop machine-gunning my children into a pit.”

    Meanwhile, carbon and oxygen, the gas’s constituent parts, have been suspended from the periodic table of elements pending the outcome of a high-level inquiry.

    The chief medical officer is to issue guidelines for people who want to keep breathing and have bodies.

  16. 266
    Tom Keen says:

    @ David Wright, 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:31 AM

    “I disagree. People will be better off when they have strong economies and can set aside funds to deal with any sudden tragedy that nature may bring. Physically gathering diffuse energy makes no sense when nature has already done the gathering. Gathering diffuse energy is also harmful to the environment.”

    Who said replacements for fossils fuels need to be diffuse? Most of those who are serious about solving the climate crisis, such as James Hansen, acknowledge the necessity for nuclear power and other baseload-generating power sources such as geothermal, or concentrated solar thermal.

    Your statements are full of beliefs. For example, this is a belief:

    “I expect that land use changes have a greater effect on our local climates than CO2 emissions”

    That is not science. It is a belief. It is also a belief to assume that solving the climate crisis means living in some sort of redux society, living off of “diffuse” energy.

    Your prior assumptions and beliefs are utterly distorting your ability to critically analyse the enormous societal impacts of a rapidly changing climate.

  17. 267
    J Bowers says:

    The Guardian: The leaked climate science emails – and what they mean

    Better than last time, much better than a number of news outlets.

  18. 268
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    A new Hockey Stick paper has it upside down.

  19. 269
    Mike Lewis says:

    Dr. Schmidt,

    The point I was trying to make about the “travesty of the missing heat” is that maybe there isn’t any missing heat; that perhaps the models and conclusions are not correct. It seems that rather than trying to correct these, the data gets adjusted in some fashion. I am of the opinion that there are missing (or incorrect) variables being used in the models; not due to ignorance or willful malfeasance but due to the natural course of building a model of an extremely complex system. It’s going to take multiple iterations to achieve something that comes close to reality.

    [Response: It is not a 'travesty' of missing heat, it is a travesty of insufficient monitoring capability. Models by the way have indeed had multiple iterations - with the first attempts at modelling transient climate change dating to the early 1980s. This is not the first go around. - gavin]

    Regarding my comments about mankind’s miniscule addition of GHG’s, the link below summarizes “our” contributions. Is it wrong?

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

    [Response: Yes. It is very wrong. - gavin]

    Semantics aside, it’s not so much the AMOUNT we’ve added as it is the ability to affect heat retention in the atmosphere, and to that end, it’s not much. Granted CO2 has the largest radiative forcing effect but this is a logarithmic effect.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html
    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/co2-is-logarithmic-explained-3/

    [Response: But this has been known since Arrhenius and has been factored in to every projection since. This is indeed why people talk about sensitivity to 2xCO2, rather than sensitivity per ppm. - gavin]

    There are two sides to this issue, with intelligent people making intelligent arguments on both sides. Unfortunately it has become politicized and when insults are thrown, it causes people (me) to wonder if the science truly backs up the claims made by those people.

    [Response: This is not actually true - there are not 'two sides' to the science. What you are seeing are 'science-y' discussions that use out and out falsehoods (such as the geocraft website you cite above) and red herrings (the logarithmic nature of CO2 forcing) to confuse the unwary into thinking that scientists are confused about these things. Unfortunately, you are being lied to - but I hope you can delve into this in a little more depth and get a clearer picture. At the very least try and find some more credible sources for your information. Perhaps we will never agree on any policy option, but let's discuss them with a scientific basis that doesn't involve made-up statistics that are lying around on the internet. - gavin]

  20. 270
    David Wright says:

    Tom Keen and others:

    The blog deems economics OT (at least for me) on this thread, so I cannot effectively argue a position on the usefulness of models.

    First of all, it’s a strawman to imply that I think models are completely useless. Learning, even if only for the sake of learning, is always a good thing.

    The best I can offer is that an aerodynamic model is able to show how an airfoil will react to a given control input. Climate models are all over the map when it comes to predicting a reaction from a given control input. The cost of installing a mechanism which might add very little value to the aircraft is essential to the discussion.

    Sorry, but I cannot participate fully in the discussion with these handcuffs on. I must respect the wishes of the blog owner.

  21. 271
    Occupied Territory says:

    #248 Peter Dunkelberg: Perhaps this detail about “hackers” is a microcosm of this whole global warming debate. People have their presumed answer for this (e.g. “the emails were hacked). But what is the proof they were hacked? I raised this question in a previous post and Gavin replied that someone doesn’t ordinarily get 220,000 files in their email. True enough. But, we also have forensic computer science. I have yet to hear of any forensic evidence of a hacking into these servers. My own guess is that it was an insider. I don’t have any hard evidence to back that up; it’s just what makes the most sense to me given what limited info we know.

    [Response: The hacker also hacked into RealClimate last time around. Not the actions of a not-hacker. - gavin]

  22. 272
    J Bowers says:

    Grauniad has asked for commenters to share any insights they may have on the identity of the hackers. Leo Hickman has annotated the READ_ME with a few interesting observations and an explanation for each of the email quote mines that the hacker chose.

  23. 273
    dallas says:

    “[Response: But this has been known since Arrhenius and has been factored in to every projection since. This is indeed why people talk about sensitivity to 2xCO2, rather than sensitivity per ppm. - gavin]”

    Which Arrhenius paper? I thought Callendar did a better job myself. It would seem that CO2 forcing should have a temperature dependance on the location of the source of the back radiation, the source of the OLR intercepted and the available energy at the source. A*ln(Cf/Ci) seems a bit simplistic for extreme ranges of temperatures. The Antarctic appears to agree. :)

    [Response: This is a discussion about the radaitive forcing of CO2, not the temperature response, and has nothing to do with spatial variations in temperature - whether in the Antarctic or elsewhere. - gavin]

  24. 274
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright:

    Climate models are all over the map when it comes to predicting a reaction from a given control input.

    Really? Care to document that? Coming from someone who recently claimed that GCMs might not even model convection, why would anyone believe anything you say unless you thoroughly document it using credible sources of information (i.e. not the same web site that told you that GCMs don’t model convection).

    Of course, even if your statement’s true, the correct thing is to pay attention to the models that perform best.

    And, of course, you didn’t answer my question regarding aerodynamic models, further adding to my impression that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  25. 275
    dhogaza says:

    Occupied Territory:

    People have their presumed answer for this (e.g. “the emails were hacked).

    No, not “presumed”, UEA has said they were hacked and the police have treated the episode as such, and we take them at their word. Sysadmins can usually tell, you know? Look up “computer forensics”. The “leaker” argument comes from one place – the denialsphere – with no evidence whatsoever.

  26. 276
    David Wright says:

    Tom Keen:
    “Your prior assumptions and beliefs are utterly distorting your ability to critically analyse the enormous societal impacts of a rapidly changing climate.”

    We all have beliefs, and we are all ignorant in many ways. That cannot be denied. IMHO your belief that a catastrophy is imminent is a belief on your part.

    “Who said replacements for fossils fuels need to be diffuse?”

    I agree with Hansen that Nuclear Energy is a viable source. Hopefully many cities will own a safe nuke plant one day. It’s just currently more expensive than hydrocarbons. Australia has lots of uranium to mine, so they should get behind it. Uranium can be mined using in-situ methods, with a similar footprint to oil and gas extraction, without scraping the surface. It would be really nice if we could figure out a way to economically (AKA efficiently) extract uranium from the ocean (Assuming that some faction of the ocean biosphere does not need miniscule quantities uranium to survive of course.)

    The statement about diffuse energy relates to my “belief” that energy sources should be evaluated on the basis of how much surface area is used per btu of energy produced. That’s where I believe diffuse energy sources like solar, wind and hydro fail. We cannot stop using energy ccompletely, so we need to focus more on using the most efficient forms first. Efficiency being the one that uses the least surface area per BTU.

    As for hack vs whisleblower, civil disobedience might involve hacking, so that’s on the table too.

  27. 277
    David Wright says:

    dhogoza:

    “Of course, even if your statement’s true, the correct thing is to pay attention to the models that perform best.”

    As I understand it, the use of a suite of models is preferred over reliance on one particular model. The point is that climate models do not predict the result of any particular attempt at controling climate with public policy.

    It would be very difficult to fly a plane which reacts to control inputs 200 years later.

    Sorry, must have missed your question about aerodynamic models. Maybe you could try being a bit less confrontational, it comes across as desparation. Just a friendly suggestion.

  28. 278

    @ David Wright

    “The blog deems economics OT (at least for me) on this thread, so I cannot effectively argue a position on the usefulness of models. “

    Evasion, pure and simple. You made unsupported assertions about models, revealing a near-utter lack of knowledge about them other than the usual fake-skeptic talking points. And you continue to duck dhogaza’s cornering you on the subject.

    Suggestion: admit you were wrong and then try to learn more about them. That would be the skeptical thing to do. After all, “learning, even if only for the sake of learning, is always a good thing”.

    “Sorry, but I cannot participate fully in the discussion with these handcuffs on. “

    Yet more evasion. It is not convincing, nor becoming.

  29. 279
    David Wright says:

    Mike Lewis:
    “There are two sides to this issue, with intelligent people making intelligent arguments on both sides. Unfortunately it has become politicized and when insults are thrown, it causes people (me) to wonder if the science truly backs up the claims made by those people.”

    I agree with Gavin here, There is but one truth, but there are many more than two sides to “the science” and “the politics of the issue”. Probably as many sides as there are concerned people. These emails show that even the experts disagree on the various mechanisms driving climate. If we ever do agree we will probably still be wrong.

  30. 280

    Erratum in my earlier account: “UT”, not “UX”. (FOI2009.zip uses “UT” and “Ux” (small “x”) extra fields; a “UT” extra field contains the modification and access times as UTC.)

    TrueSceptic:

    I should have been clearer: I was referring only to the files in ‘mail’. The files in the respective ‘documents’ folders were indeed treated differently.

    Actually there’s also a slight difference in the treatment of the e-mails, as I said. FOI2009.zip also contains time zone information (with the UTC times given as 1 Jan 2009 05:00). No time zones whatsoever are given in FOIA2011.zip.

    The current batch are not only not named that way, using a simple 4-digit number instead, but appear to be in no obvious sequence at all. I wonder why they did that? To obscure context?

    I’ve no idea, so I’ll just hazard a totally wild guess. Numbering the e-mails sequentially using ordinals would make sense if the sequence was produced by … a search engine. So perhaps the SwiftHackers were ranking the e-mails using certain search terms (using some search engine algorithm), and decided they would use the search engine ordering, so that the most ‘damning’ e-mails come in front.

    – frank

  31. 281
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John@254,
    Ray Ladbury is a physicist specializing in radiation effects in semiconductors who is fricking tired of idiots just making sh*t up and pretending they understand things they haven’t devoted 5 minutes to investigating.

    I have made it a point to have a reasonable understanding of how climate works based on published scientific literature, but I am by no means a climate expert. In that sense, I have virtually no influence on the scientific consensus for the currently dominant model of Earth’s climate, of which anthropogenic global warming is an inevitable consequence if we keep burning fossil fuels.

    What I do think I contribute to these discussions is a pretty thorough understanding of 1)the fact that science works, 2)how it works, 3)that climate science is not at all aberrant among the sciences. What I believe is that science should be given a chance to work, and that policy should be based on sound science.

    I have not advocated strongly for any particular measures other than increased conservation and development of a sustainable energy infrastructure (which would be essential to the future of human civilization even if our current infrastructure were not changing the climate in a dangerous and irreversible fashion).

    I see no particular advantage to suffering fools gladly. By fools, I mean those who reject the opinions of experts and the science without understanding them in aggregate, and who seek instead the counsel of other fools who tell them what they want to hear. I will tell such people that they are fools. I make the (perhaps incorrect) assumption that they are adults and can handle criticism and perhaps take steps to rectify their ignorance.

    If people choose to try and learn, they will find me one of the most eager to engage and explain. If they refuse to learn, they are not worth my time.

    Don’t like my tone. Fine. Go back to the lunatic asylum Tony “Micro” Watts runs.

  32. 282
    David Miller says:

    In #254 John asks:
    Who is Ray Ladbury and why is he allowed to use vulgarities in his self anointed moderating of posters? Seems the skeptics have a point in condemning the “consensus” if he is a part of it.

    I’ve met the man. He’s for real – PhD physicist working for NASA, his specialty as I understand it, is the effect of radiation on electronics. He’s not formally trained at climate science, but takes an intense personal interest in it.

    He can be ascerbic in his comments. I share his frustration in playing whack-a-mole. The need to constantly rebunk the same tired arguments (it’s the sun! CO2 is plant food! The climate always changes, this is nothing new!) wears one down over the years. As the climate continues to change and we collectively do nothing about it, it’s easy to get harsher with people pushing the same tired debunked themes.

    As for your second sentence, if one weighs the scientific accuracy of ‘the consensus’ by whether they like the attitude of one person commenting on them, one is not being a skeptic at all. One is simply looking for an excuse to justify what one wants to believe anyway.

    John, this isn’t like picking a favorite sports team. IE, “I like these guys because of their uniforms.” “I don’t like those guys because one of the players is a jerk” is fine for football teams. Climate science isn’t football, it’s the study of the real world around us. It’s backed by observations and modeled with physics. There is an objective, observable, right and wrong, and the ‘nice’ factor of people commenting on it doesn’t change the physics.

  33. 283
    flxible says:

    The point is that climate models do not predict the result of any particular attempt at controling climate with public policy.

    The real point is that the purpose of climatologists use of models has little-to-nothing to do with public policy, and is not aimed at “controlling climate”, but understanding it.

  34. 284
    dallas says:

    [Response: This is a discussion about the radaitive forcing of CO2, not the temperature response, and has nothing to do with spatial variations in temperature - whether in the Antarctic or elsewhere. - gavin]

    Did you really think that response out first? How can CO2 radiate without energy to absorb? Wouldn’t the spacial variation of temperature indicate variation of available energy to return?

    [Response: Of course LW radiation depends on temperature, how is that the issue? But the point was about the logarithmic nature of the forcing from CO2 - this has everything to do with pressure broadening, line widths, absorption bands, overlaps etc. and nothing specifically to do what you think the temperature in Antarctica is or should be. - gavin]

  35. 285
    Hank Roberts says:

    > this isn’t like picking a favorite sports team. IE,
    > “I like these guys because of their uniforms.”

    Or even because you like or dislike their numbers.

  36. 286

    #273–

    “. . .the location of the source of the back radiation, the source of the OLR intercepted and the available energy at the source.”

    Perhaps the original thought was coherent. This formulation, alas, isn’t.

  37. 287

    #269 Mike Lewis

    The problem is as Gavin pointed out, ‘sciency’ sounding language that is not based in science. These arguments appeal to people that don’t understand the science or do not wish to ‘believe’ the scientists, for a multitude of reasons.

    Often you will see claims made in ‘sciency’ sounding blogs, but these are rarely supported by facts and often when they are, they are supported by facts out of context.

    Try these:

    One Minute Climate Videos

    Global Warming Science Perspectives

    Global Warming Myth Perspectives

    The subject matter is well linked to reputable science sources.

    Current Climate Conditions

    When someone tells you that the effects of CO2 are insignificant or only a tiny fraction… ask them how they know?

    - Did they read really come form a science source, or did it come from a sciency sounding source.

    - And ask yourself, why am I so willing to believe what I just heard or read without understanding the underlying basis for the claim?

    People often choose to believe what they want to hear, rather than that which is based on evidence. This is a very human trait. Luckily science does not work that way. It demands substance rather than preference or whim.

    Would you prefer policy policy be derived based on evidence or whim?

  38. 288

    #270 David Wright

    This web site discusses economics all the time, just not in the manner you may be thinking as the study of economics pertains to the balance of systems and methods, which of course is a scientific endeavor; even when it is merely applied to the constituents of the atmosphere and climate system.

    Airfoil models have improved over the years just as have climate models.

    Climate is actually a bit more complex than an airfoil (not to belittle the complexities of an airfoil). The ability of models to emulate the properties of the atmosphere and oceans are actually quite extraordinary. To dismiss the results based on the whims of those that simply prefer to dance to the tune of distraction is a mistake many still make.

  39. 289
    EFS_Junior says:

    When Climate Deniers Attack!

    Climate deniers are a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment and they are usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Consequently, we model a climate denier attack, using biological assumptions based on popular climate denier movies. We introduce a basic model for climate denier infection, determine equilibria and their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. We then refine the model to introduce a latent period of climate denialism, whereby humans are infected, but not infectious, before becoming undead. We then modify the model to include the effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, we examine the impact of regular, impulsive reductions in the number of climate deniers and derive conditions under which eradication can occur. We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as climate deniers overtake us all.

    http://mysite.science.uottawa.ca/rsmith43/Zombies.pdf

  40. 290

    #277 David Wright

    Your argument is non sequitur and seems generally confused on relevance.

    By the way, it’s pretty easy to predict how plane will generally react to control in puts 200 years later…, the plane will preform pretty much as it does today given the same inputs.

    Also, confrontation is often how opposing arguments are discussed? If not for reasonable confrontation, science would not advance.

  41. 291

    #279 David Wright

    There may be sides in your context but only because those sides/perspectives are informed from different angles, not all of which are correct of course. The variant degrees of correctness derive from the level of ones knowledge of all related systems.

    The best policy can still be scientifically based when one considers all relevant sciences including physics, socio-economics and geopolitics in relation to economics.

  42. 292
    patrioticduo says:

    Gavin,

    your comment on my point isn’t even an attempt to converse at all – why?

    Any objective reading of the new emails clearly shows that a community within the climate warming scientific arena are in an issue advocacy mode and RC is a integral part of that issue advocacy. Michael Mann even calls it exactly that! It’s almost impossible for any honest appraiser to be able to say that the scientists are not now wholly bound up in a political ‘movement’. Your comment is exactly the kind of dismissive one finds in the email narratives. That is, treat outsiders as heathens unless they come over to our way of thinking and join ‘the cause’.

    [Response: Your comment was logically nonsensical. My comment merely highlighted that fact. Why you think I need to specifically make an effort to personally persuade you is unclear. Do you think that is a good use of my time? Indeed, your comments indicate that since you think I am some advocate of a 'movement' who cannot be trusted to honestly appraise science, I very much doubt that anything I can say will make the blindest bit of difference to your opinion. That you are wrong on the facts, wrong on my motivations, wrong on the state of the science, and wrong about who is politicising things doesn't seem to hold you back in any way, and me trying to demonstrate it for you is unlikely to affect your prior beliefs (since it will be so much easier for you to dismiss my statements). But I'll give you a chance to persuade me to engage with you - what 'issue advocacy' do you think RC is doing? But be clear to demonstrate that with actual statements from RC that show us advocating for that issue. - gavin]

  43. 293
    dhogaza says:

    David Miller:

    John, this isn’t like picking a favorite sports team. IE, “I like these guys because of their uniforms.” “I don’t like those guys because one of the players is a jerk” is fine for football teams. Climate science isn’t football

    True, but on the other hand I’d pick the professionals of the Green Bay Packers to beat any Pop Warner team in the country.

    Likewise, I’ll pick professional PhD scientists who specialize in climate research such as those who run Real Climate over a college drop-out like Watts if I’m asked to choose which “side” is more credible.

  44. 294

    #292 dhogaza

    Excellent analogy!

    FYI for those attending the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco (Dec. 4-9), I have two session topics scheduled as panel presentations and a poster session with 4 posters. We have the big rooms for the panels so bring a friend :)

    The focus will be communication and relevance. These should be very informative discussions and there will be lot’s of room for Q&A.

    U13C: Effectively Communicating Climate Science (How to Address Related Issues) Oral Presentation
    Room 103 (Moscone South) 1:40pm – 3:40pm

    Speakers:

    - Susan J Hassol: Telling the Climate Change Story (Framing & Messaging)
    - John Cook: Effectively Rebutting Climate Misinformation
    - Ed Maibach: Improving the effectiveness of communication about climate science
    - John P. Reisman: Context and Relevance in Climate Communications

    U52A: Climate Confluence Issues (Energy, Environment, Economics, Security)
    Room 104 (Moscone South) 10:20am – 12:20pm

    Speakers:

    - Christopher B. Field: Ecosystem and Food Security in a Changing Climate
    - U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change
    - Guy Brasseur: Projected Climate Changes and Regional Security
    - John P. Reisman: Overview of Climate Confluence Security Issues

    U11B Title: Effectively Communicating Climate Science (How to Address Related Issues) I Posters
    Posters: Halls A-C 8am 0 12:20pm

    http://www.johnreisman.com/events/5/agu-fall-meeting-2011/

  45. 295

    #292 patrioticduo

    The RC site is dedicated to the science. What it means to policymakers is a different subject. And while the two are connected in that policy which is best is that policy which is based on what is well understood vs. the whim of political preferences, RC rightfully focuses on the science itself.

    This is not unreasonable. And when I or anyone else strays the conversation to distraction, moderation is a reasonable response.

  46. 296
    Mike Lewis says:

    #286 – Mr. Reisman,

    Thank you for the links – I will review the information. Not to sound flip but is the science backing those links peer reviewed? It seems that every claim has a counterclaim and even the science itself is being revised as we speak:

    http://www.princeton.edu/~nurban/pubs/lgm-cs-uvic.pdf

    I would hope to engage in civil discussions about the science but I’m finding the environment here a bit stifling. Comments are moderated out and my character is called into question. When I state that AGW is a hypothesis and I’m told that “it’s not a hypothesis but rather a prediction of a very successful model..” and “(h)ow do you hope to understand the science when you don’t even know what the theories are?”, it tends to damper my enthusiasm.

    There are Nobel laureates (e.g. Dr. Ivan Giaever) who question whether or not the evidence is incontrovertible. It seems that there should at least be room for discussion.

  47. 297
    Edward Greisch says:

    245 eric: Andy Revkin is at it again:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/study-finds-limited-sensitivity-of-climate-to-co2/#preview
    Study Finds Limited Sensitivity of Climate to CO2

  48. 298

    re. #294

    Oops, forgot the dates:

    Posters:
    - Date: 05-Dec-2011; Session Time: 8:00 AM – 12:20 PM
    - Location: Halls A-C (Moscone South)

    Effectively Communicating Climate Science
    - Date: 05-Dec-2011; Session Time: 1:40 PM – 3:40 PM
    - Location: Room 103 (Moscone South)

    Climate Confluence Issues (Energy, Environment, Economics, Security)
    - Date: 09-Dec-2011; Session Time: 10:20 AM – 12:20 PM
    - Location: Room 104 (Moscone South)

    http://www.johnreisman.com/events/5/agu-fall-meeting-2011/

    [Response: Outstanding John. Many thanks for your efforts to organize these sessions.--Jim]

  49. 299
    David Wright says:

    John Reisman:
    “Climate is actually a bit more complex than an airfoil”
    I agree fully. Climate is many orders of magnitude more complex than an airfoil. That’s a basis of the argument that climate models are not ready for use in fomenting broad reaching public policy.

    [Response: Not logically it isn't. First the science doesn't depend only on models. Second, policy doesn't depend only on science--it depends also on potential risk to society. The complexity of a model, concept or analysis has no necessary connection to it's usefulness to making policy. I'm also curious why you use the word "foment", which has negative connotations.--Jim]

    Policymakers often stretch the truth beyond morecognition when attempting to enact policy. I think scientists should speak up when policymakers make statements that stretch science beyond what it actually says. That’s especially true when their research uses public funding. Unfortunately, the experts in this field too often stand in silence and allow folks like Al Gore to persuade the public that “the science” is consistent with their often outragious claims.

    [Response: Scientists do often speak up when policymakers stretch the truth. This has no necessary connection to where they get their funding. And Al Gore has been much more right than wrong in the sum of his statements.--Jim]

    “By the way, it’s pretty easy to predict how plane will generally react to control in puts 200 years later…, the plane will preform pretty much as it does today given the same inputs.”
    I think you misunderstood the analogy. One reason that it takes a lot more practice to fly a 747 than a cessna skyhawk is that the control response is very “laggy” in a larger plane. Pilots learn to stay two minutes “ahead of the plane” because the large ones do not turn on a dime. If one were to attempt to fly a 747 like the skyhawk, the plane would be in the ground in short order. In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control. Our nation is not as old as the lag time.

    [Response: You are arguing against yourself on that one. The inertia of the climate is a strong reason for not putting it into a harmful state.--Jim]

  50. 300
    Septic Matthew says:

    283, flxible: The real point is that the purpose of climatologists use of models has little-to-nothing to do with public policy, and is not aimed at “controlling climate”, but understanding it.

    That would make more sense if climate scientists did not cite the results of model runs in their Congressional testimony in support of public policies.

    [Response: That would be like sort of like playing shortstop without your glove.--Jim]


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