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Transparency in climate science

Good thing? Of course.*

I was invited to give a short presentation to a committee at the National Academies last week on issues of reproducibility and replicability in climate science for a report they have been asked to prepare by Congress. My slides give a brief overview of the points I made, but basically the issue is not that there isn’t enough data being made available, but rather there is too much!

A small selection of climate data sources is given on our (cleverly named) “Data Sources” page and these and others are enormously rich repositories of useful stuff that climate scientists and the interested public have been diving into for years. Claims that have persisted for decades that “data” aren’t available are mostly bogus (to save the commenters the trouble of angrily demanding it, here is a link for data from the original hockey stick paper. You’re welcome!).

The issues worth talking about are however a little more subtle. First off, what definitions are being used here. This committee has decided that formally:

  • Reproducibility is the ability to test a result using independent methods and alternate choices in data processing. This is akin to a different laboratory testing an experimental result or a different climate model showing the same phenomena etc.
  • Replicability is the ability to check and rerun the analysis and get the same answer.

[Note that these definitions are sometimes swapped in other discussions.] The two ideas are probably best described as checking the robustness of a result, or rerunning the analysis. Both are useful in different ways. Robustness is key if you want to make a case that any particular result is relevant to the real world (though that is necessary, not sufficient) and if a result is robust, there’s not much to be gained from rerunning the specifics of one person’s/one group’s analysis. For sure, rerunning the analysis is useful for checking the conclusions stemmed from the raw data, and is a great platform for subsequently testing its robustness (by making different choices for input data, analysis methods, etc.) as efficiently as possible.

So what issues are worth talking about? First, the big success in climate science with respect to robustness/reproducibility is the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project – all of the climate models from labs across the world running the same basic experiments with an open data platform that makes it easy to compare and contrast many aspects of the simulations. However, this data set is growing very quickly and the tools to analyse it have not scaled as well. So, while everything is testable in theory, bandwidth and computational restrictions make it difficult to do so in practice. This could be improved with appropriate server-side analytics (which are promised this time around) and the organized archiving of intermediate and derived data. Analysis code sharing in a more organized way would also be useful.

One minor issue is that while climate models are bit-reproducible at the local scale (something essential for testing and debugging), the environments for which that is true are fragile. Compilers, libraries, and operating systems change over time and preclude taking a code from say 2000 and the input files and getting exactly the same results (bit-for-bit) with simulations that are sensitive to initial conditions (like climate models). The emergent properties should be robust, and that is worth testing. There are ways to archive the run environment in digital ‘containers’, so this isn’t necessarily always going to be a problem, but this has not yet become standard practice. Most GCM codes are freely available (for instance, GISS ModelE, and the officially open source DOE E3SM).

There is more to climate science than GCMs of course. There are operational products (like GISTEMP – which is both replicable and reproducible), and paleo-climate records (such as are put together in projects like PAGES2K). Discussions on what the right standards are for those projects are being actively discussed (see this string of comments or the LiPD project for instance).

In all of the real discussions, the issue is not whether to strive for R&R, but how to do it efficiently, usably, and without unfairly burdening data producers. The costs (if any) of making an analysis replicable are borne by the original scientists, while the benefits are shared across the community. Conversely, the costs of reproducing research is borne by the community, while benefits accrue to the original authors (if the research is robust) or to the community (if it isn’t).

One aspect that is perhaps under-appreciated is that if research is done knowing from the start that there will be a code and data archive, it is much easier to build that into your workflow. Creating usable archives as an after thought is much harder. This lesson is one that is also true for specific communities – if we build an expectation for organized community archives and repositories it’s much easier for everyone to do the right thing.

[Update: My fault I expect, but for folks not completely familiar with the history here, this is an old discussion – for instance, “On Replication” from 2009, a suggestion for a online replication journal last year, multiple posts focused on replicating previously published work (e.g.) etc…]

* For the record, this does not imply support for the new EPA proposed rule on ‘transparency’**. This is an appallingly crafted ‘solution’ in search of a problem, promoted by people who really think that that the science of air pollution impacts on health can be disappeared by adding arbitrary hoops for researchers to jump through. They are wrong.

** Obviously this is my personal opinion, not an official statement.

295 Responses to “Transparency in climate science”

  1. 101
    Dan DaSilva says:

    96 patrick

    Quote, who? Should I just write “Patrick says”

    I am ignorant of the inner workings of RealClimate but I do not see “Patrick” listed as one of the permanent contributors. How are you connected so I know why you are thanking me.

    When making charges against Scott Puritt please provide some supporting evidence (I would like to investigate and find the truth.). What you are doing could be construed as playground name-calling otherwise.

    You are concerned about particulate matter and I share your concern, welcome aboard. To be free from charges of being a hypocrite I would suggest you isolate yourself from all power and products produced by carbon fuels (except maybe natural gas and the like) or you can just take the easy route and suffer being a hypocrite like I do.

    Any response would be appreciated.

  2. 102
    nigelj says:

    Dan DaSilva @95

    “Science just observes repetition with the assumption that the repeating will continue. This is the primary assumption of science.”

    Maybe its all a sort of assumption. You think its all a foolish assumption? That tomorrow gravity might go into reverse? It makes sense to think the pattern will continue, especially as we know something about whats driving it. All our science and engineering and technology is based on this, and has worked well. Inductive logic. Climate science is subject to the same things.

  3. 103
    Dan DaSilva says:

    6 Mark Schaffer

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

    Quote “What is your provable background in climate research”
    My provable background in climate research is (like Godfather Part 2 Michael Corleone saying my offer is:) nothing.

    Quote “Where have you looked for answers to your questions?”
    IPCC reports, RealClimate(primary and trusted source) and (yes the dreaded) WattsUpWithThat.

    A man in my position makes no appeal to his authority but appeals only to his written word.

  4. 104
    Dan DaSilva says:

    92 Carrie

    Please do not leave :-)

  5. 105
    Dan DaSilva says:

    50 nigelj

    Your post is an example of overconfidence (unwarranted lack of uncertainty) in your ability to read other people’s mind and motives on a very limited information. You need to expand your internal default error bars for a clearer understanding of the world.

    As always any response provides much-appreciated data.

  6. 106
    Ray Ladbury says:

    DDS, Out of curiosity, did you even read my post beyond the first line? I said that there are some phenomena that are not repeatable, but that science can still learn about them.

    What matters is measuring and controlling errors, theoretical understanding and consilience. Replication and repetition are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. This has been integral to empiricism since David Hume.

  7. 107
    Ray Ladbury says:

    When scientists emphasize uncertainty, it is because the subject matter is uncertain. It may be at the leading edge of the field (e.g. the effects of warming on the Jet Stream or Gulf Stream). Or it may be because the problem is fundamentally difficult–e.g. climate sensitivity.

    They are unequivocal on the conclusions that matter–that we are warming the world and that this is going to create challenges–likely severe challenges–for our progeny. They’ve been saying for over 30 years. That people don’t want to hear that is not the fault of the scientists. That people choose to listen to a tiny minority of contrarians and cranks is not the fault of the scientists.

    They’ve been calling attention to the problem and to likely solutions for a generation now.

  8. 108
    barn E. rubble says:

    RE: 97
    patrick says:18 May 2018 at 2:06 PM
    “This is about censoring the use of data–gathered in ways which respect the privacy of health information–on the pretext that it is not transparent.”

    Can you please provide a citation or link that clearly states that previous confidential health information on individuals will now be made public.

  9. 109
    barn E. rubble says:

    RE: 85
    Ray Ladbury says: 18 May 2018 at 5:56 AM
    “Oh, so what position does your mother play? (Hopefully, you know the joke.)”

    I don’t know where Carrie’s from but that ‘joke’ is about Northern Ontario (where I’m from) IE: Only 2 exports, hockey players and . . .

  10. 110
    jgnfld says:

    “What if an experiment stops repeating? ‘Impossible,’ says the scientist, ‘it must repeat, why did you retest it, do you not trust me?’.”

    Uh…do you actually _know_ a scientist? Can you tell us which “scientist” you are quoting?

    As for the rest, a scientist observing a coin flip heads 6 times in a row does NOT predict a 7th head, actually. If the series of heads goes on and on and on (like rising temps), a scientist might start looking for alternative explanations than chance. And darn it if alternative explanations than chance look pretty solid in climate science.

    How the above post avoided the Bore Hole is a testament to how light a hand the moderators wield here. Too light a hand in my opinion in this particular case.

  11. 111

    C 92,

    If you don’t like the site, go elsewhere. That’s what I recommend. Don’t stay here and grouse about it. That accomplishes nothing.

  12. 112

    ab, #98–

    “I suppose that a powerful lime light can get quite hot, so it has to emit IR energy too.”

    A curious comment, given that the hotter a body is, the higher the maximum frequency of emitted radiation, and therefore the lower the *proportion* of IR emitted. That’s why the Sun emits so much visible light, while the Earth does not.

    That’s nicely illustrated here–note that the red curve more or less matches Earthly temperatures, while the yellow curve is for the Solar case:

    That’s from here, if you’re curious:

    When researching my previous comment, I actually poked around a bit to see if I could find some information on the spectrum of a lime light, but had no luck. But the thing is, that was pure curiosity–it doesn’t matter for the argument. The proportion of IR in the limelight spectrum is not highly relevant, just as the proportion of IR in sunlight is largely irrelevant.

    Why? Because all the energy in that light–excepting that which is immediately reflected back into space–warms something in the Earth system (atmosphere, ocean or ground). To break that statement down just a bit, visible light mostly makes it to ground level when the sky is clear, warming the ground, miscellaneous objects and even us; while quite a bit of incoming solar IR gets absorbed in the atmosphere, warming the air. Either way, the energy is reradiated as IR. (Cf., Trenberth-Kiel diagram, linked below.)

    By the way, there is quite a lot of IR in sunlight–more than half the total energy; the portion of the spectrum which we apply the term ‘IR’ to is quite broad; see the ‘solar spectrum’ plot linked below.

    Background info:

    Here’s a plot of IR absorption in the atmosphere, showing the so-called ‘IR window’:

    That’s from this article:

    Here’s a plot comparing sunlight at TOA with atmospheric absorption:

    That’s from here:

    And finally, here’s the well-known Kiehl-Trenberth summary of energy flows:

  13. 113

    ab, #98–

    Do you agree that a powerful lime light also emit IR energy in addition to visible light, right ?

    Because I suppose that a powerful lime light can get quite hot, so it has to emit IR energy too.

    Hmm. I just submitted a fairly elaborate comment in response to that question, which promptly disappeared, without the usual ‘awaiting moderation’ acknowledgment.

    So, reiterating briefly in case it’s really gone:

    1) Curious comment you make–the higher the temperature of a radiating body, the smaller the *proportion* of IR. See:

    2) But it doesn’t matter, because all insolation that is not reflected to space ends up warming the Earth system, whether absorbed by the surface (as most visible light), or by the atmosphere (most IR). See:

    It is then all reradiated eventually in a spectrum appropriate to Earthly temperatures–ie., IR.

    3) Further information and insight on transmission or absorption of various wavelengths can be gleaned from these figures:

    These are from a couple of Wikipedia articles which have discussions you may find helpful:

  14. 114
    David Young says:

    Ray Ladbury, What you said in #69 is not really correct nor does it contradict what I said.

    If you were to look into the complex details of a turbulence model for example, you would see that in fact parameters are “dialed in” to agree with some of the test data, at least in so far as we have reliable test data. The best models use lots of data. As Mark Drela said of his turbulence model: “Like most useful statements about turbulent flows, this one is more an act of faith than anything else.” This is all fine and very well known to specialists. The problem is that outsiders often develop an unjustified faith in the results of these models.

    Most subgrid models in climate are of the simpler algebraic variety. Algebraic turbulence models are notoriously outdated and quite inaccurate. Modern models use complex nonlinear PDE’s that are solved for the eddy viscosity or the Reynolds’ stress. These models are very nonlinear, but still have notorious failings. However, they work well over quite a significant range.

    These models are not based on “the laws of physics” and are highly empirical. They are also quite wrong in many cases, leading to highly inaccurate simulations.

    The problem here is recent negative results for example Zhao showing that the ECS of a model can be engineered over a rather broad range by varying parameters of cloud and convection models. This paper also observes that there is no good observational constraint telling how to set the parameters.

    On the question of modern science culture, There are at least 20 good articles in top notch journals, some peer reviewed, some editorials discussing the crisis science faces. The Lancet, Nature half a dozen instances, PLOS Medicine, etc. They are easy to find if you are interested in looking. I gave one of them earlier in the thread. Here’s another one:

    It is really very clear to specialists that there is a positive bias generally in the CFD literature. People like to show their models agree with the data and just omit credible simulations that they ran on the way to running the “final solution” simulation that looks good.

    This dovetails with my point about climate models. You should really show all the “bad” results you got in the tuning process using parameters and sub grid models that aren’t contradicted by data. That goes for numerical method choices too.

  15. 115
    ab says:

    Steven Emmerson @58
    Your conclusion that atmospheric CO2 has a negligible greenhouse effect is unsupported by the evidence of Tyndall’s experiment for the following reasons: 1) the thermocouple pile used could have been too insensitive to detect the absorption that occurred by the CO2 in the air (it was; modern instruments are far more sensitive); 2) The amount of CO2 in the air in Tyndall’s tube was negligible compared to the amount of CO2 in the the atmosphere (consider the length of Tyndall’s tube compared to the depth of the atmosphere); and 3) replacing the air in the tube with CO2 showed significant absorption — indicating that a greenhouse effect couldn’t be ruled out based on points 1 and 2.

    1) You’re right, I didn’t read the paper entirely. There was no effect when Tyndall only used one thermopile, but when he connected two thermopiles to the galvanometer, one near the heat source and the other at the end of the tube, he was able to measure an electric current deflecting the needle from 40°-50°. It may be explained by the fact that the position of the needle with only one thermopile was less sensitive to change compared to the position of the needle at 0°C which was described as more sensitive by Tyndall in his 1861 paper.

    2) No, the amount of CO2 in the air tube was likely to be at least equal to the one of the atmosphere now, if not very superior to it, because the level of CO2 in occupied room, such as a laboratory is way superior to the level of CO2 outside.

    3) Yes, CO2 in high concentration shows a greater measurable effect than air.

    I’m afraid that if you submitted a scientific paper for peer-review with your conclusion based on that evidence — it would be rejected.

    Now, it consists to know if the measured effect is significant, and is able to warm the air into the tube. That has not been proved experimentally by Tyndall.

  16. 116
    ab says:

    BPL @90,

    I visited your website but I didn’t find the “precis on how to write RCMs” that you mentionned. I only found fantasy novels about “celibate succubus”, “greenhouse effect”, “dark gods” and other “myths of the Bible”.

    Can you share the link ?

  17. 117
    ab says:

    Hank Roberts @93,

    You are refuting yourself. Most of the links to models on the website you mention are either “dead links”, need “registration”, are not “yet available”, or “not available”.

  18. 118
    Robin Johnson says:

    Re #84: “1) because climate modelers act like programmers and not like scientists, programmers tending to think that they own their code and so they always want to obfuscate or hide it from third party,”

    That is easiest the silliest and most backward thing I have ever read about programming…

    Do you know what the words “Open Source” mean? As in, the entire source code for an application [like Linux, MySQL, Apache and Openssl] is available for download to be used and modified completely for free by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Need some code? Try the Internet. Oodles of free code, easy to read and use even by folks that are skilled and some for the unskilled. On StackOverflow – engineers help each other solve problems for nothing more than merit badges. And we’re talking professionals at rival companies helping each other build commercial software. Seriously.

    Coding is one of the most transparent and repeatable science stuff ever. Run the same code with the same inputs – you get the same results – every time – unless there is bug or five. And we do that all the time in the world of software engineering.

    Poorly designed and overly complex code can be difficult to read especially when it is unknown what the code is supposed to do. But an experienced software engineer, like myself, can read and understand damn near any code however obfuscated – even in programming languages they’ve never seen before because the principles of programming are that fundamental. I know because I routinely remediate software projects that were fubarred from incompetence rather than malice. It pays well, too.

    I’ve actually looked at GCM code a few times. I was struck at how simple it actually was. The hard part is knowing the physics and having the data sets for the various physical components. I’m sure the GCMs might benefit from more sophisticated software engineering techniques – but probably not that much – and it won’t change the results. That being we are warming the world in a way we’re not going to enjoy much.

  19. 119
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Quote from Bertrand Russell:
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    If this quote applies to you, you will never comprehend it.

  20. 120
    ab says:

    Kevin McKinney @56,

    The reason is because the light of the powerful lime light was passed through a thin layer of water so that no infrared radiation is transmitted. It was purposefully done by Tyndall in order to demonstrate that visible light is not affected by coal-gas, while coal-gas has a strong effect on infrared radiation.

    Water acts like a blocker of infrared radiation in Tyndall’s experience, and that is also what it demonstrated when he emptied the tube from air: the dew point being reached, water reached liquid form and blocked momentarily the transmission of infrared radiation.

  21. 121
    David Young says:

    Ray Ladbury in #69, I think you are saying something too vague to really evaluate and that’s the problem with most current model tuning.

    I know from experience with turbulence models that the output can be tuned over a broad range by credible parameter adjustments. Thus one must “tune” the parameters to match data, often indirect data having little to do with the parameters meaning. Often very gross integrals of the solution are used for this tuning, rather like using average temperature anomaly for climate models. Professionals in the field try to use as much data as they can and don’t arbitrarily choose to exclude data.

    Prof. Mark Drela in his thesis says of his own tuburlence model: “Like most useful statements about turbulent flow, this one is more an act of faith than anything else.” 40 years ago most practical turbulence models were algebraic. Today, the important models are nonlinear PDE’s that must be solved along with the flow equations. They are very nonlinear and are vastly better than algebraic models which were often badly wrong. Modern models however, also have well know issues that limit their usefulness.

    The CFD literature is strongly affected by the positive bias discussed in my reference earlier. Yet its an old field. Selection bias is the most common giving a very strongly positive bias to the literature. Thus people come to believe that CFD is a solved problem. There are consequences to a flawed culture as getting money to spend on a solved problem is quite a challenge.

    As I understand it most climate sub grid models are algebraic models. This rather limits the accuracy that can be achieved.

    You say the models are run “varying the forcings.” That’s now what I meant. Each sub grid model for example cloud models and convection models have parameters and recent papers show (Zhao et al) that credible values of these parameters can be used to engineer ECS over a pretty broad range. Of course, climate models use standard turbulence models too and things like precipitation models. Lots and lots of parameters. I don’t believe that models regularly show the results of their “tuning” runs where they explore parameter space. They should show that.

    As to science and its flawed culture. There are at least 20 papers and editorials in prominent science journals documenting the problem. There was a good one in the Economist too. The Lancet, Nature (half a dozen), PLOS Medicine, The Royal Society. You can easily find them. Here’s another one that is recent and quite good.

    Denial of these problems is relatively rare, but very common is to just avoid the subject and pretend that ‘science is self-correcting” or some such platitude. The issue here is that as alcoholics know, you must first acknowledge a serious problem before its possible to affect a cure.

  22. 122
    barn E. rubble says:

    97 patrick says:
    18 May 2018 at 2:06 PM

    “This is about censoring the use of data–gathered in ways which respect the privacy of health information . . .”

    Can you please provide a link or citation that clearly states previous confidential health information on individuals will now be made public.

    My understanding is that is not what ‘this is about.’

    I’m standing by to be corrected.

  23. 123
    barn E. rubble says:

    RE: 97 patrick says:
    18 May 2018 at 2:06 PM

    “This is about It can keep me from knowing information I want to know, about what impacts my health–particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns, for instance–resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels, etc.. .”

    I take it that Patrick doesn’t have a car that needs fossil fuels to run (even hybrid) and where he lives is heated/cooled by all renewables IE: wind/solar. If not, why not?

  24. 124
    Carrie says:

    Some other things to consider about ‘Uncertainty’. This very short article and audio is from climate communication experts at Yale

    What is the last word they use in their text? Have a look. Have you ever seen a TV advertisement by Colgate which ended with ” but how good this toothpaste product is for protecting teeth from harm is still unknown.” There is both a rational science based reason and a common sense logic for Colgate’s approach to not use negative trigger words such as “unknown” and “uncertain”.

    See this example from DW based on scientific research

    It says: ” but the true scale of the problem is still unknown. ”
    ” researchers are warning that a dangerous vicious circle might be taking place. ”
    ” While not a feedback loop, the example of CO2 from soils ”

    When did modern science confirm higher/increasing surface temperatures anomalies DID NOT act to drive/force CO2 out of soils into the atmosphere thus creating a feedback loop?

    On the other hand the DW article was more ‘certain’ about other things.

    “Feedback loops accelerate the warming process.”

    “This increase of emissions will further contribute to global warming, in what scientists call a positive climate feedback loop.”

    “As the planet warms up, permafrost is thawing.

    ” forest fires release massive amounts of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, helping push the global temperature and further dying (sic drying) out the land…

    Loss of peatlands — currently contributing 5 percent of global CO2 emissions and fueling forest fires.

    Choice of words matters. Speaking definitively with confidence, honesty, and conviction matters. For about 28 years the opposite has predominantly been the case and it continues. A good word to describe this pattern of behaviors is called Prevarication.

    “Her many prevarications had apparently paid off; she was free to go.” Unabridged

    “He had so ingenious a manner of prevarication that he actually believed his own tales.”
    A Pirate of Parts Richard Neville

    “The question was too precisely put to allow of any prevarication.”
    The Clique of Gold Emile Gaboriau

    What is far more important than anything else in climate science is the meaning people take away from a text, a lecture, a data summary or a graph. If this is not your focus whatever you’re doing is a waste of time, money and energy. If science doesn’t serve all humanity for the good of all then what’s the point of it?

    Denying people are not all emotional beings with feelings and core beliefs is no solution at all.

  25. 125
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Carrie: “A good word to describe this pattern of behaviors is called Prevarication.”

    No. It is not. In science, the evidence allows us to assign certain probabilities and confidence levels to a given proposition. That is the nature of the beast. Moreover, the nature of the analysis we do may affect what those probabilities and confidence levels. In daily life, we often go beyond those probabilities and confidence levels. We do not say, “The Sun will rise tomorrow with X% probability with Y% confidence.” We say, “The Sun will rise tomorrow.” That isn’t a scientific statement. It has no assigned uncertainties.

    When a scientist speaks as an expert, he has to base his statements on science. Those few times when scientists have made statements with greater certainty than the evidence warranted and been wrong, they have been pilloried for it–not least by you! Moreover, people remember the incorrect statements much more than the correct predictions–hence the great unwashed continually asserting that the weather forecaster is always wrong, when in fact she is 90-95% accurate. Naturally, this makes them reluctant to speak ex cathedra. So, scientists tend to speak as scientists. If people are too stupid to understand their meaning, they deserve their fate.

  26. 126
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Sigh! You know there’s this thing called the Internet. Try using it to look up information rather than porn.

    Have your mommy read it to you.

  27. 127
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Patrick 97 and Barn E. 123

    It’s a political dirty trick — to allow the Trump EPA to refuse to consider public health research — by insisting that the identities of all the people studied for health effects of pollutants have to be disclosed, violating confidentiality.

    Think what that would have done for the tobacco and lead paint industries.

  28. 128

    ab 116,

    Here’s the link

    Go down to the link that says “RCM Tutorial” and click that.

  29. 129
    nigelj says:

    Dan DaSilva @105, no my statement that climate denialism is characterised by vested interests and / or political motives, and psychological motives is not based on overconfidence, mind reading or assumption. It is based on evidence, and you can find an extensive review of the issue with an extensive bibliography below.

  30. 130
    nigelj says:

    Dan DaSilva @119

    “Quote from Bertrand Russell:“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    People like Donald Trump and Scott Pruit completely fit your definition of fools and fanatics excessively certain of themselves, – or at least this is the public face they portray, – and you routinely defend these people.And yet you have been critical of climate scientists claiming they are overly certain of themselves, despite the fact the IPCC acknowledges various uncertainties about the science.

    You are a confused sort of dude. Perhaps study your philosophy harder, and work on your inner inconsistencies and get your various biases under better control.

  31. 131
    nigelj says:

    barn E. rubble @122

    Your question is confused. Nobody is saying Scott Pruitt is forcing anyone to reveal health records. Instead he is trying to argue science based on confidential health records is invalid and should be ignored, which of course is absurd. Read below.

  32. 132

    barn E, #122–

    Patrick: “This is about censoring the use of data–gathered in ways which respect the privacy of health information . . .”

    barn E: Can you please provide a link or citation that clearly states previous confidential health information on individuals will now be made public.

    Nobody’s saying it *will* be made public. The concern is that researchers who do now, or may wish in the future, to make use of medical records (traditionally been considered highly confidential and highly protected) will either have to abandon their research, or abandon their protection of the confidentiality of those records.

    In practice, it may have to be the former, since abrogating past confidentiality agreements would likely be a legal impossibility and it’s not likely that future study participants would tolerate the proposed ‘transparency’ of their medical information.

    Or, as the NYT put it:

    The new regulation means that some of the most important research of the past decades — for example, studies linking air pollution to premature deaths and measuring human exposure to pesticides — would not be available to policymakers if scientists were unwilling to break the confidentiality agreements they struck with study subjects in order to collect sensitive personal information.

    So it’s not just a hypothetical; if in place in the past, the ‘transparency’ requirement would have prevented important work from being done.

    Personally, I agree with Patrick that obstructing research which might prove inconvenient to Pruitt’s corporate sponsors is the real point, and the concern for ‘transparency’ is pretext. YMMV–but don’t accuse me of naivete.

  33. 133
    Carrie says:

    85 Ray Ladbury says: “It is not their (scientist’s) job to make you smarter or more knowledgeable or more informed.”

    Whether it’s their job or not they have certainly failed in your case.

    Ray: It is not their (climate scientist’s) job to make your leaders smarter, more knowledgeable or more informed.

    I have heard many a stupid thing blurted out on the internet. That is right up there with the worst falsehoods.

    Climate scientists do science for a reason. That’s their job. The work they do is reviewed by many but most importantly being the “scientists” who review and support the work of the IPCC. What’s the climate scientist’s job and others at the IPCC we may well ask?

    About the IPCC
    The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change.

    Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

    IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they need to deal objectively with policy relevant scientific, technical and socio economic factors.

    They should be of high scientific and technical standards, and aim to reflect a range of views, expertise and wide geographical coverage.

    2. The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

    So what is your evidence Ray Ladbury that part of a climate scientists JOB and their ROLE and their reason for being is not to make the world’s national leaders (policy makers) more knowledgeable and more informed and therefore smarter than they otherwise would be about the risks of climate change and potential solutions to it Ray?

    How are they doing on the yardsticks for Success so far after 30 years? They are doing far better than you appear to be doing Ray. What a waste of an education!

  34. 134
    nigelj says:

    Carrie @124, you are right when climate scientists mention specific uncertainties it probably does cause more general doubts with the public. But if scientists don’t mention uncertainties, the denialists soon embarrass them by quoting the IPCC reports, and reduce public confidence in scientists being open and transparent, so scientists are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t”.

    The problem is not scientists. The problem is denialists, vested interests, fear of change, politics, dunning kruger – ie basically summed up as stupid people.

  35. 135

    David Young of Boeing, You keep on with your obsession over turbulence in climate dynamics.

    “I know from experience with turbulence models …”

    That’s because it’s all you know from dealing with aircraft design. Yet, there are some rather obvious standing wave patterns in the ocean and atmosphere that have a significant impact on climate and have nothing to do with turbulence.

  36. 136
    Hank Roberts says:

    Here’s part of theproblem:

    In March, as part of Scott Pruitt’s aggressive campaign to roll back federal regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed relaxing standards for storing potentially toxic waste produced by coal-burning power plants.

    EPA officials cited a study indicating that forcing utilities to get rid of unlined coal ash ponds too quickly could strain the electrical grid in several regions of the country.

    But when environmental advocates scrutinized the specifics, they discovered a problem: The evidence cited was not established scientific research. Instead, the agency was relying on a four-page document by the utility industry’s trade association, the Edison Electric Institute, which has acknowledged that its conclusions were not “part of or a summary of a larger study.”

  37. 137
    Hank Roberts says:

    “ab” — if a link doesn’t work
    — try searching the Internet Archive if a link is 404 dead, there often will be an archived copy
    — if a link goes to a paywalled page, copy the article title Google gave you and search for that (often finds an unpaywalled copy)
    — ask for help in a way that encourages others to help you:

  38. 138
  39. 139
    Dan DaSilva says:

    124 Carrie
    Looked at your video link. The Yale climate communication experts mention only positive feedbacks. They do not even mention the possibility of negative feedback. You could collude that the climate will run away to be like Venus after watching that.

    In the end, they mention unknowns, it is like a throwaway disclaimer. Good job if you are a climate propaganda expert but if you are truly trying to communicate truth there is much to be desired.

  40. 140
    Dan DaSilva says:

    102 nigelj

    Quote:”You think its all a foolish assumption?”
    No, I think it is a very good assumption. The only assumption we can live by. Did you read what I wrote?

    Quote:”Climate science is subject to the same things.”
    Of course, it is. That why it is a failure to extend absolute projections into high uncertainty.

  41. 141
    Dan DaSilva says:

    136 Hank Roberts

    You are making two mistakes:

    The first is that bias is present in only your opponents.
    The second is that truth is only available through established scientific research.

  42. 142
    ab says:

    Kevin McKinney @112,

    Can you or someone explain why, in the Earth’s energy budget mentioned , on one hand, there are only 78 W m-² of solar infrared energy absorbed by the atmosphere, while in another hand, there are 333 W m-² of ground infrared energy absorbed and backradiated by the atmosphere ?

    Considering that half of the sun spectrum is in infrared energy, that is, approximatively 170 W m-² it seems that there is an unexplained imbalance and discrepancy there…

  43. 143
    CCHolley says:

    I just don’t get the obsession with Tyndall’s work on the radiative properties of CO2 by ab.

    It is moot. I don’t know if any substances have been studied more in terms of radiative properties than atmospheric gases and in particular CO2.

    Here’s just a small sampling:

    Barker, E.F. (1922). “Carbon Dioxide Absorption in the Near Infra-Red.” Astrophysical Journal, vol. 55, p.391

    Martin, P.E., and E.F. Baker (1932). “The Infrared Absorption Spectrum of Carbon Dioxide.” Physical Review 41: 291-303.

    G.N. Plass, (1956) “Infrared Radiation in the Atmosphere.” American J. Physics 24: 303-21.

    G. Herzberg and L. Herzberg (1953). “Rotation-Vibration Spectra of Diatomic and Simple Polyatomic Molecules with Long Absorbing Paths XI. The Spectrum of Carbon Dioxide (Co2) below 1.25μ” Journal of the Optical Society of America, Vol. 43, Issue 11, pp. 1037-1044

    Darrell E. Burch, David A. Gryvnak, and Dudley Williams (1962) “Total Absorptance of Carbon Dioxide in the Infrared” Applied Optics Vol. 1, Issue 6, pp. 759-765

    B. H. Winters, S. Silverman, W. S. Benedict (1964) “Line shape in the wing beyond the band head of the 4·3 μ band of CO2” Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer” Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages 527-537

    Darrell E.Burch, David A.Gryvnak (1966) “Laboratory investigation of the absorption and emission of infrared radiation” Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 229-240

    Darrell E. Burch, David A. Gryvnak, Richard R. Patty, and Charlotte E. Bartky (1969) “Absorption of Infrared Radiant Energy by CO2 and H2O. IV. Shapes of Collision-Broadened CO2 Lines” Journal of the Optical Society of America Vol. 59, Issue 3, pp. 267-280

    Darrell E. Burch, David A. Gryvnak, John Pembroke (1970) “Investigation of the Absorption of Infrared Radiation by Atmospheric Gases” Philco-Ford Corporation Aeronutronic Division

    Lloyd D. Tubbs and Dudley Williams (1972) “Broadening of Infrared Absorption Lines at Reduced Temperatures: Carbon Dioxide” Journal of the Optical Society of America Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp. 284-289

    L. S. Rothman, R. R. Gamache, A. Goldman, L. R. Brown, R. A. Toth, H. M. Pickett, R. L. Poynter, J.-M. Flaud, C. Camy-Peyret, A. Barbe, N. Husson, C. P. Rinsland, and M. A. H. Smith (1987) “The HITRAN database: 1986 edition” Applied Optics Vol. 26, Issue 19, pp. 4058-4097

  44. 144
    Dan DaSilva says:

    135 Paul Pukite
    The “argument from authority” is overwhelmingly prevalent in the respondents here. It goes like this example:

    Quote:”That’s because it’s all you know from dealing with aircraft design.”

  45. 145
    ab says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @ 128,

    Thanks, this tutorial will be helpful.

  46. 146
    Mal Adapted says:

    David Young:

    It’s a left wing meme to always blame money for integrity or cultural problems. In this case, virtually everyone is complicit, but most especially senior scientists who refuse to insist on higher standards.

    It’s a right wing meme that an overwhelming consensus of scientific specialists, emerging from rigorous, iterative debate over 200 years of accumulating evidence verified by thousands of trained, disciplined scientists around the world, is nothing more than a weapon of culture war. It’s an AGW-denier meme to blame climate science for the denier’s own unwillingness to acknowledge simple cause and effect.

    Due to the quantifiable uncertainties around ECT and TCR estimates, there is more than sufficient certainty for policy-making that both are non-zero. We know beyond a reasonable doubt that the accelerating secular rise in GMST is the result of the economically driven large-scale transfer of fossil carbon from geologic sequestration to the climatically-active pool in the past three centuries. We know with equal confidence that weather is changing all over the world as a result, most conspicuously at the extremes, which are ever more costly in money and human tragedy.

    Now, we know from publicly-available data as well that the costs and risks of increasingly severe weather fall disproportionately on those who have the least resources to adapt. We know, from our own experience if nothing else, that human beings typically assign higher value to costs to ourselves and our loved ones than to strangers on the other side of the world. In this, Mr. Young’s assertion that we are all complicit is accurate IMHO.

    Yet we also know with high accuracy how many billions of US dollars fossil fuel producers and their investors earn annually. We know from the public record that particular corporations, families and individuals invested at least hundreds of millions of dollars between 2003 and 2010 alone, a tiny fraction their combined profit in that interval, on professionally-crafted disinformation intended to keep the public confused about its responsibility for climate change, thereby delaying the inevitable transition to a carbon-neutral global economy. As shrewd businesspeople, they’d be foolish not to use some of their profits to protect the rest! I’d hardly call it a conspiracy, as it’s all presumptively lawful in the USA, thus there’s no need to conceal it.

    It’s hard to be certain, but it appears Mr. Young has been swept up in the relentless flood of bespoke AGW denialism swamping the public sphere. But where did he get the idea that “senior scientists” can impose higher standards for pre-publication peer review simply by insisting?

  47. 147

    nigel, #134–

    The problem is not scientists. The problem is denialists, vested interests, fear of change, politics, dunning kruger…

    Plus one…

  48. 148
    David Young says:

    Paul, Yes, many flows have large scale “features.” Referring to them as standing waves is a bit unusual. But this is tangential to model tuning and validation which is what I was talking about and the importance of reporting your less convincing tuning runs.

    Your second assertion however about turbulence is quite wrong. The problem here is that turbulence has a big effect on flows in which it occurs. It’s critical to modeling convection for example, an important phenomenon in climate and weather modeling. It’s effects are also important in large scale vortical flows of which Rossby waves are an example. Turbulence can hugely increase the effective viscosity of the fluid in which it occurs. Viscous terms despite being 5-7 orders of magnitude smaller that inertial terms in most flows of interest have a huge effect even on the overall forces exerted by the flow.

  49. 149
    barn E. rubble says:

    RE: 126
    Ray Ladbury says:
    20 May 2018 at 8:43 AM
    Sigh! You know there’s this thing called the Internet. Try using it to look up information rather than porn.

    Have your mommy read it to you.

    Ray, you’re either too thick or too stupid to be posting. Did you actually read the above link you posted? Perhaps you can ask your Mommy (if you know who she is) or any adult, to not only read it to you but explain the difference between opinion and fact.

    You do understand when a writer uses the word ‘could’ it is their opinion and not fact. Nowhere in the link you posted does it CLEARLY STATE that previously confidential health information on individuals ‘WILL BE’ made public. ‘Could be’ does not mean ‘will be’. Do you need someone to explain that to you? You might consider spending more time surfing porn sites that posting stupid comments.

    From your link: “In its proposed rule, EPA says it wants to make data publicly available “in a manner that honors legal and ethical obligations to reduce the risks of unauthorized disclosure and reidentification”

    I have no doubt if ‘could be’ becomes ‘will be’ re: individual health info, it most certainly will be a gold rush for lawyers.

  50. 150
    barn E. rubble says:

    RE: 132 Kevin McKinney says:
    20 May 2018 at 5:51 PM

    Am I to understand that the data collected for ‘some of the most important research of the past decades’ was only available to the authors of those studies? IE: They could’ve just made stuff up? How could ‘the most important research of the past decades’ not be verifiable? Please explain.