AGU Fall Meeting

by Judith Curry

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is holding is annual Fall meeting this week (13-17 Dec) in San Francisco.  I’m posting on this to give the broader Climate Etc. a sense of the main professional society for climate scientists.

The meeting’s scientific program in entirety is rather huge, approximately 15,000 scientists attend this meeting.  Navigating the program is enabled by an itinerary planner, if you are interested in looking for specific topics/speakers.  Actually, searching through the pdf of the scientific program is actually easier, IMO.  I have talk on Wed afternoon   that is about approaching the creation of future climate scenarios.

The two named lectures in the Atmospheric Sciences Section are being presented by Tim Palmer (Bjerknes) and Ellen Mosley-Thompson (Charney).

The latest Atmospheric Sciences Section newsletter is here.

AGU’s climate question and answer service is here.

AGU has a new Executive Director, Christine McIntee, who brings much to AGU’s table and is off to a very good start in her new position.

AGU publishes a number of journals, including Geophysical Research Letters

The Fall Meeting has a facebook page.

If anyone is at the AGU meeting or in SF and wants to meet, send me an email.

In terms of blog discussion, apart from the Fall meeting itself, we can discuss the roles of professional societies and their journals, and how they are faring in this politicized climate.  Actually, IMO AGU scores relatively high in this regard.

109 responses to “AGU Fall Meeting

  1. Grumpy Old Man

    15,000 climate scientists? It’s worse than we thought! :)

    • It i not 15,000 climate scientists; it is anybody involved in, or interested in, any aspect of geophysical science. Very few are involved in actual climate science. In fact anyone who subscribes to the society magazine is a member.

  2. Couple of billion dollars?

  3. “Actually, IMO AGU scores relatively high in this regard.”

    What’s the difference between what AGU does and societies that score relatively low?

    • As I recall AGU was one of the first societies to promulgate a pro-CAWG political statement, so I rank them low in the “politicized climate,” no pun intended but it is there. (For newcomers, CAWG = catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. The hypothesis we are all supposed to change our supposedly wicked way of life for.) AGU endorsed CAWG quite a few years ago, without polling their members of course, something no society has ever done.

      • “something no society has ever done.”

        That strikes me as a rather extreme claim.

      • Do you know of one? I follow this stuff pretty closely.

      • AGU is under new management, they are now on the right track.

      • Judith, are you serious. AGU just announced the appointment of Chris Mooney to their Board. Now that is a statement!

      • AGU is now led by Christine McEntee. Ms. McEntee has no formal training in climate science, and therefore cannot be expected to understand the physics of earth’s climate. Most of her experience is in fund-raising and politics.

        Here are some of Ms. McEntee’s publications:
        “Sustainable Buildings: The Next Green Wave”, The Sustainable Enterprise Report, Kyoto Planet; “It ain’t sexy –its infrastructure”, Star.tribune.com, Minneapolis-St. Paul, August 2008; Building and Greening Key to Jump Starting the Economy, Matter Network, Reuters, October, 2009; A Much Needed Transformation for Transportation, Matter Network, 2009.

      • As per information reported to me from a person fairly high up in the AGU leadership structure, McEntee is adamant about keeping policy advocacy out of the AGU.

      • Dr. Curry,
        I think you are going to find out that your friend’s information is about 50% accurate:
        Ms. McEntee will keep out of the AGW all policy advocacy she does not personally support.
        Your organziation ahs been highjacked.
        Good luck,

      • David Wojick : “AGU endorsed CAWG quite a few years ago, without polling their members of course, something no society has ever done.

        Negatives can be so tricky. Do you mean no society has ever endorsed something without a member poll, or do you mean no society has ever polled their members?

        I assume you mean the latter. Can you substatntiate the claim?

  4. I can’t believe there are 15,000 climate scientists! Even the IPCC only finds a hundred or so to contribute to WGI.

    If we assume each climate scientist’s employment costs are $200k/year ( I haven’t a clue what the employment costs are, but that seems reasonable) , tnen that comes to $3billion/year.

    • I wonder how many of the 15,000 are afraid to voice skepticism of global warming. Maybe Dr. Curry could supply a guaranteed anonymous forum for sheepish skeptical scientists.

    • Only a small fraction of attendees are climate scientists, whatever that even means.

    • Well if you take the Anderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider paper from last year they identified 1,372 climate researchers

      “If we assume each climate scientist’s employment costs are $200k/year “

      I think the number you picked is far too high if it’s supposed to represent salary and not a useful metric if it’s supposed to represent total research spend divided by active researchers.

    • As part of the American Meteorological Society annual renewal process there is a survey form that asks members for three areas of expertise. I asked the AMS if they could tell me how many members claim the following categories as specializations: Climate Variations; and Global Change; Paleoclimatology; for the climate expertise and Atmospheric and climate dynamics; and Numerical analysis and prediction for the meteorological modeling expertise.

      A total of 7,360 members indicated one or more areas of expertise. The numbers of members who listed climate expertise related to global warming were 919 members for Climate Variations; 340 for Global Change; and 87 chose Paleoclimatology. The numbers for the modelers were 692 for Atmospheric and climate dynamics and 740 for Numerical analysis and prediction. None of the members who selected either of the modeling areas chose the global warming areas of expertise.

      While this is admittedly unscientific there are a couple of points. There aren’t thousands of climate scientists in the AMS. I also find it a little unsettling that the experts in modeling don’t claim any expertise in the global warming categories.

  5. I will briefly describe how the cost part of a research grant proposal is built in a typical U.S. research university. While salary may be an incomplete metric, it remains a useful starting point. The typical method of building the direct labor portion of an NSF, DoE, Nasa, etc. grant request will start with the investigator’s direct salary to which is applied a percentage factor that represents the costs contained in the staff benefits pool including sick and vacation pay, health care costs (if employer-paid), tuition benefit, among others. The actual part of the investigator’s salary that is included can vary widely and is modulated by factors such as the amount of time spent in the classroom, amount of sabatical time, if any, and so on. The typical staff benefit rate is in the 20-25% range. I suggest that the reader google university overhead rates to gain an understanding of the contents of a typical research university overhead cost pool. A range in overhead rates of 40% to 70% is a reasonable estimate.

    For the sake of argument, assume an annual salary rate of $100,000. Add staff benefits at 25% of direct labor then apply a 50% overhead rate and you find that the annual salary cost is nearly $190,000. This does not include graduate student salaries and fees, computer time, travel to conferences and the other typical costs that go into a proposal for sponsored research.

    You can see from this brief exposition that academic research is not a low cost endeavor.

    • Next step is that the US climate change research budget is about $2 billion/year, but about half of that is for satellites, launches, etc., so maybe one billion is for research. The US budget is typically estimated to be about half the global total, so call it $2 billion per year for research. But as RayG points out a university researcher may not bill 100% of their time to research. My order of magnitude estimate is 10,000 people doing climate related research. This is out of several million working scientists.

    • I have a question regarding the $100,000 plus benefits that accrue to the researcher. If the same individual, in terms of intellectual capacity, diligence, and years of education and experience embarked on a career course aimed at becoming a corporate executive or a research employee for a corporation, at a level of responsibilty equivalent to that of the researcher you cite, what would his/her salary plus benefits look like? I would add that I have no issues with either career choice.

      • In case anyone wonders about my above question, most of my professional career has been spent in research in an academic setting, and members of my family have pointed out to me on more than one occasion that I hadn’t made the choice most likely to acquire the most wealth my capabilities would have allowed.

      • don’t forget the old saying- those that can do, those that can’t teach. Sorry, cheap shot from the aerospace industry

      • May I hazard a guess from personal experience in the private sector?

        The said individual would get a much higher salary and benefits FOR A VERY SHORT TIME. The said individual would not last in the private sector, would either be sacked or would resign.

        The work environment at a university or a govt institution (NASA CSIRO etc) is worlds apart to that of the cut throat private sector.

        e.g. How long would the wags at the UK Met Office last in the private sector? Year after year of fails would send their company broke.

        Academic institutions and the govt sector attract a very different beast to that of the private sector.
        A further example is the media, those who work in govt owned media are very different to those who work in private media. In the private media, if your ratings are down, you’re out. In govt media, you could be attracting 2 people and a dog to watch your show but the show doesn’t get axed.

      • I must qualify my highly generelized statement above by saying that there are ofcourse many many people in the academic sector who would be very successful in the private sector.

      • academics generally trade freedom and job security (for those tenured) for financial rewards.

      • Ah, tenure! There’s a whole world of history and practice to explore there. Getting it means pleasing the incumbents. Having it means freedom from supervision or consequences of failure, other than status. Publication quantity and mutual citing, not to mention piggy-backing on the work of untenured postdocs and grad students makes the picture complete.

        Tenure was once a valuable protection against interference; it’s now an Open Sesame to the Insiders’ Club.

  6. The appointment of Chris Mooney to the AGU board is contraversal. He is not a scientist, a radical leftist,and involved in several scandals. See the comments Bad Astronomy.

    • Mooney is making a name for himself as an anti-skeptical propagandist, which the AGU apparently values. For example, he is making a presentation at ScienceOnline2011 next month. Here is his abstract:

      “Defending Science Online: Tactics and Conflicts in Science Communication – Chris Mooney, Josh Rosenau, Val Jones and Eric Michael Johnson
      Climate change “skeptics,” intelligent design creationists, anti-vaccine activists and others who oppose science-based policy decisions are poisoning the well of our national dialogue on important scientific issues. But what’s the best strategy to counter their misinformation? This is perhaps the most contentious issue among science bloggers and journalists today. Whether it’s described as “framing science” or presented as confrontation vs. accommodation, the conflict among science communicators is a debate over tactics and how to best achieve our shared goals. Some choose to work with moderates in the “anti-science” group and reframe the way they write about the issues to accommodate the different perspective. Others feel that this approach merely compromises on settled scientific questions and offers legitimacy to the more extreme position. Panelists will discuss what they see as the most effective tactics within three contentious science policy issues: climate science, evolution in public schools, and science-based medicine. Is there one tactic that is best employed in all cases? Does a multi-level approach undermine scientific values by not fully defending the evidence and countering false information? When we consider science policy is it more important to be right or influential in our efforts to strengthen scientific literacy in our democracy?” http://scio11.wikispaces.com/Program

      Mooney is a leader in the campaign to brand climate change skeptics as anti-science. If this qualifies him for the AGU Board then that is the measure of the AGU as far as climate politicization goes, which is to say it is extreme.

    • randomengineer

      Lubos Motl isn’t thrilled either —

      http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-director-of-american-geophysical.html#more

      I tend to agree: WTF are these people thinking?

    • Perhaps this is a good indication for those of us who are scientists. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The AGU realises it is losing the scientific arguments about AGW and so is desperate to get over the message using unscientific propaganda methods. The appointment of a propagandist (expertise in communication, Chris Mooney) is another sign of desperation at the impending end of the AGW scam.

  7. Willis Eschenbach

    I see that Lonnie Thompson is once again feted by being invited to preside over one of the AGU sessions. He is also presenting something called “GC34C-03 Ice Core Records of Past Climate and Evidence for Present and Future Glacier Loss across the Third Pole: L G Thompson, T Yao, M E Davis, E S Mosley-Thompson”

    You gotta admire the size of the guy’s ovejas, though. Hide your ice core records for years and years, and then give a presentation called “Ice Core Records of Past Climate” …

    Judith, are your cohorts really that clueless? Or do they simply not care? In a just world, Thompson would not be invited to chair the faculty refreshment committee, but you and your friends hold Lonnie up as the kind of guy that should preside over other scientists.

    And nobody, yourself included, says one single word about that to the AGU. You don’t want to rock the well funded climate boat, I guess … and then you wonder why we don’t trust you in the slightest, and y’all agonize and wring your hands about how to get your message across?

    Don’t worry about that communication gap in the slightest, Judith. The message of you and your cohorts is getting across, loud and clear …

    • Calm down, Willis. Chairing an AGU session is more of an obligation than an honor. You are stuck in that session, and have to listen carefully to every talk, time the speaker, yank them off when they go overtime (everyone does), field questions, cut off questions, etc…

      I’m sure you would be welcome to chair a session if you volunteered.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Pat, what it has done is given him a very visible pulpit from which to continue spreading misconceptions.

        And would you like to place a big money bet on whether I would be welcome to chair a session at the AGU? Put up or shut up time, my friend, we’ll see if I can get a session next year, say put a thousand bucks on it …

      • Hey, I can put in a recommendation for you. You can learn a lot there. Even from Lonnie Thompson…:-)

      • Willis Eschenbach

        I’m happy to learn from anyone. I have no problem with learning science from Lonnie.

    • Hmm….

      Maybe the scientific community just hasn’t bought into the conspiracy theories and character assassination attempts at Thompson? Maybe some are actually familiar with his work which amounts to between 150-200 publications (http://bprc.osu.edu/Icecore/Abstracts/Publications.html) over almost 30 years of research (sorry, I stopped counting when I was near 100 since the year 2000). Perhaps people recognize that he has won the U.S. national medal of science for his accomplishments, as well as being elected to the National/Chinese Academy of Sciences, has served on many research panels, and has been around the world on dozens of research expeditions (to Antarctica, the Himalayas, Peru and Tanzania, Alaska, Tibet, Bolivia, China, etc, etc.)

      It’s really a shame that the WUWT and McIntyre crowd can convince so many people of the bad character of people like this on their blogs. Then these people get mad and pout when we don’t gracefully ‘debate’ and bend to their will. Pure silliness and shows the moral bankruptcy of certain individuals.

      • Chris–your point is well taken. Wouldn’t you agree that being called a denialist is also inappropriate if what you do not fully agree to some of the IPCC conclusions?

      • Yeah, sort of like I object to people being called “denialists” when they insist the universe is only 6,000 years old. I mean, obviously they have the same expertise and scientific background as the bulk of mainstream geologists …

      • so in your mind, the entire IPCC analysis and conclusions are as solid scientifically as is the means by which we date the earth? If you really feel that…….you are highly misinformed

      • I did not realize you conisder AGW to be a theological issue.

      • His achievements as you list them are incontrevertable, that’s a given.
        Now, about the data Willis mentioned?

        p.s. I can’t begin to list the many many people who were lauded for decades by their peers, won awards and gained the ear of those in power, only to find themselves in jail when the truth came out. Think the financial sector.
        Awards and achievements don’t always tell the story.

      • Rob,

        Yes I would agree

        Baa,

        sorry but I don’t follow every one of Thompson’s email exchanges or every one of McIntyre’s complaints. I’m sure he gets hundreds of requests for data (a lot of which is available on his home page) and I don’t know the details of any of those cases, or if he refused a specific request, what the reasons are (or if M didn;t get it in a specific format he liked, etc). I’ve also never personally interacted with Thompson to judge his character, but I’m certainly not going to do an evaluation based on what climateaudit says he did or did not do. In any case, my point is that Thompson (either Lonnie or Ellen-Mosley) has every right (and ‘priveledge’) to speak at AGU. The key speaker last year that got attention was Richard Alley and the same logic applies to him.

      • Steve McI doesn’t think that the data has been ‘hidden’ purposely. His complaints are the usual archiving from twenty years ago and how he’s treated by the meanie scientists. At least that’s what I get from this totally awesome thread which everyone should read where Curry says a lot of things that make sense and Micheal Tobis shows up and tries to bridge the divide. :)

      • and I would not disagree with Thompson’s right to speak, even if I may disagree with the conclusions.

        In summary– the science is fun/interesting, but at the end of the discussion, when the goal is to implement policy decisions based upon the data, it becomes a completely different situation. Many people insult others for not agreeing with their POLICY conclusions at a “nation state level”, when it is almost universally agreed that the data does not support the cost/benefit analysis of those conclusions.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Yet despite agreeing that you haven’t done your homework, Chris, and that you “don’t know the details of any of those cases” involving Thompson, or “what the reasons are” you are more than happy to tell us we are wrong?

        Chris, there is a recognized archive for ice core data sets. Despite repeated requests, Thompson has only archived a part of his taxpayer funded data there.

        So all of the things you mention are meaningless. Either Thompson archives his data that he collected using your and my money, or he doesn’t. So far, he hasn’t, and that fact is easy to check. Meanwhile you are defending him at a rate of knots, despite admitting that you know almost nothing about the case.

        This could serve as an exemplar of the absurdity of climate science.

      • It seems Climate Science is not unique in it’s problems, namely, attacking of established figures by ‘bloggers’ anonymous or no

        From Nature News 8 Sept 2010

        Investigations into charges of scientific misconduct are unpleasant for all concerned. Emotions run high and careers are jeopardized. As a consequence, it is crucial that all those involved, both directly and indirectly, behave with dignity and restraint.

        But events around such an investigation in Germany have taken a troubling and damaging turn from such good practice in the past few months. An unknown agitator using the presumed pseudonym Marco Berns is engaged in an e-mail and Internet offensive against two biomedical researchers whom he accuses of scientific fraud.

      • My apologies for not supplying a link for the above.

        here ’tis

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7312/full/467133b.html

      • “Perhaps people recognize that he has won the U.S. national medal of science for his accomplishments”

        So the judgment of the person that awarded that medal is ‘unquestionable’?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Maybe the scientific community just hasn’t bought into the conspiracy theories and character assassination attempts at Thompson?

        I see no conspiracy in what Thompson has done. Near as I can tell, he’s just hiding his adverse results, which is all too common in the field.

        And when a “scientist” hides his own adverse results, there’s no need to assassinate his scientific character, it has already committed suicide.

        Maybe some are actually familiar with his work which amounts to between 150-200 publications …

        As far as I’m aware, neither I nor anyone has said a single word about the quality of Thompson’s published work. You see, Chris, you may have missed this, but we’re not discussing his published work. It is the quality of Thompson’s unpublished work that is at issue … you know, the data he collected using the taxpayers money and never published? Perhaps you might comment on that …

        Finally, you say he has been accepted by the Chinese Academy and served on research panels and etceteras … yes, he has, Chris, and now he is the Chair for sessions of the AGU. Perhaps that impresses you, but his being feted by various scientists doesn’t impress me. It just further convinces me that the mainstream AGW crowd is by and large totally unconcerned with scientific integrity.

        Yes, he’s “been around the world on dozens of research expeditions”. I know that. You see, I helped pay for those expeditions, on the express understanding that he would report his findings. He went on the expeditions, he didn’t report his findings, and you are now holding those very expeditions up as evidence in his favor??? Are you following the story at all?

        Finally, are we upset when you won’t “gracefully debate” us as you claim? Naw, after years of your refusals we’re pretty used to it, we have low expectations.Hey, we’d settle for just getting you to talk about the science, gracefully or not.

        But mostly it’s not upsetting. At this point it’s mostly just amusing when someone says “debate” to see you guys running for the exits like a bunch of bachelors whose girlfriends just said “committed relationship” …

    • You know, Willis, this kind of snark doesn’t make you very endearing. Sure, it’s nice to toss some red meat at the carnivores, and get some “Atta boy!”‘s, but do you really think you help your cause when you make snide commentary like the above – especially when it’s clear that you have no idea what a session chair at an AGU meeting actually does?

    • Lonnie Thompson has had an amazing career and contributed an enormous amount to science. You’re a nobody on a blog.

      Shrug.

    • What does Judith Curry’s silence say about the “tribalism” she accuses scientists of being guilty of?

      • On the thread linked by gryposaurus, JC responded in some depth to correct Eschenbach’s, McIntyre’s and others’ fairly disgusting treatment of Thompson. Best comment goes to MT.

      • Funny, what I read in that thread was a pathetic attempt to defend ‘cliamte science’ by the really really tired argument that while important parts of the IPCC are junk, and its authors are self-promoting, ‘on balance’ it is a great good thing and we should all just accept it.
        Bunk on that.
        Climate science is out of control. Hiring propagandist and political hack Chris Mooney by the AGU only underscores the direction of this strategy.
        The guys who are selling climate catastrophe have much to answer for.

    • Richard S Courtney

      Willis Eschenbach complains that Thompson is invited to Chair an AGU session despite Thompson’s failure to provide the source data for his publications.

      The response the Eschenbach’s complaint is that the ‘wagons are circled’ around Thompson by
      chris colose (false accusations against Eschenbach of “conspircy theories and character asassaination”),
      dhogaza (equating AGW-skeptics with creationists),
      gryposaurus (agrees the data is “hidden” but does not “think” Thompson has “hidden” it “purposely”),
      Derecho64 (says that Eschenbach’s complaint is “snark”),
      Langdon Alder (makes an ad hom. against Eschenbach),
      Lazar (suggests that Eschenbach’s complaint is “disgusting treatment of Thompson”).

      But none of them – not one – addresses the issue of Eschenbach’s complaint.
      This is sad but predictable. And it is another example which shows there are ‘climate scientists’ who have yet to recognise that they need to clean up their act.

      Richard

  8. CERN update?
    Session A32D-03 Aerosol nucleation measurements from the
    CLOUD experiment at CERN: J Curtius, J Kirkby, Title of Team:
    CLOUD Cooperation

  9. Dr. Curry watch out. The Baord has appointed Chris Mooney, propagandist and political hack to the BOARD of the AGU. I wonder how you and your members feel about an English major deciding your science policy?

    • I read that as well – seems strange for an organisation that Dr Curry seems to feel is now on the right track. I would have thought that Mr Mooney’s appointment is a clear political statement rather than a scientific one and may well increase the “it’s worse than we thought” propaganda rather than focussing attention back on the actual science.

      AGU should take a leaf out of the Royal Society’s book, acknowledge the areas of uncertainty and get back to the science. Leave the advocacy to the politicians.

      • My understanding that Mooney’s appointment was in the context of the public communication of science. The current management of the AGU has been very careful about not making political or policy statements

      • In which case they’re either morons or so disconnected from public perception as to play morons on TV. Mooney is a screecher and basically has attacked the 50% of the population who self-identifies as republican (or is otherwise sympathetic to republican issues.) If the goal of the AGU is to somehow aliemate the public, they would have been hard pressed to make a better choice.

        While I realise that academia is disconnected from politics and many academics have ZERO perception that half the public views them as socialist enablers, one would think that SOMEBODY as the AGU is clever enough to put their own prejudices to the side long enough to do what we who aren’t in academia call *paying attention.*

        Paying attention doesn’t mean turning republican. But it *does* mean not hiring jackwagons who demonize them! How hard can this be to figure out?

        Good heavens. Is *anyone* paying attention? Climate change is a political subject, and successful politics requires the ability to get agreement. You can’t get agreement when the very tone of (e.g.) the AGU is gleefully thumbing their noses at 50% of the public. If anyone thinks successful policy is ever going to happen in a republic where it’s acceptable to alienate half of the voters by definition, this essentially defines “idiotic.”

        Yeah, the AGU is very unpolitical. In a pig’s eye.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Hiring Chris Mooney to help with communication is like hiring Rev. Pat Robinson to help with communication.
        The AGU leadership is doubling down. Be careful of how you are likely to be treated.

      • I’m sure you are likely correct about this, Dr Curry. However Mr Mooney’s reputation as somewhat of a ‘firebrand’ precedes him and doesn’t fill me with confidence about the “current management of the AGU” positioning itself as a scientific body rather than an advocacy group.

        I guess my question to you would be: “would you have chosen Mr Mooney to represent the views of the AGU?”.

  10. Carrick Talmadge

    I was scheduled to go, but had to cancel. (My poster was presented today by a colleague.)

    Would have loved to meet you real life. Oh well, next time.

    Carrick

  11. Mooney’s appointment may be in the context of public communication of science, but by his books, and by his attitude and banning on his blog, his
    contribution to public communication is likely to be divisive and exclusionary. Just look at the hornet’s nest of comments generated on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog for Dec 6.

  12. Judith: “The current management of the AGU has been very careful about not making political or policy statements.”
    Appointing Chris Mooney to that position IS making a political or policy statement.

  13. Judith,
    I am confused???
    You just showed about the skeptism to the models for CO2 in the current mainstream of scientists.
    Yet these same scientists WILL NOT be looking at this. Just expanding upon bad science.

    None of these scientsits have a clue to H2O, yet they should have a massive solid knowledge base of it.
    I know that is not the case as H2O has developed quite extrodinary and facinating survival skills to stay as a unit.
    P.S. That snow flake…water vapour in 2 dimensional rotation from the wind when freezing.

  14. GM didn’t go bust over the past 40 years because of the stock holders, workers, low and mid level management. So give the equivalents at AGU the same pass. Would seem that the good Doctor has hope for the current management. Let us too be hopeful. Indeed, let us hope that Climategate has proven truly eyeopening and beneficial for most professional associations, organizations, ‘unions’ and the best is yet to come from them. What is life without ‘hope’?

    • Says who?
      The worker’s union contributed vastly to the problem.
      A culture of complacency permeated Gm from Board room to assembly line.

      I would say that the leadership levels of most ‘professional organizations’ like the AGU has worked hard to avoid even recognizing Climategate, much learning anything from it. Indeed, it seems clear that most ‘professional organizations’ are run by a small oligarchy of like minded people who act to support one part of the political spectrum.
      For example, few doctors support ‘Obamacare’, yet the AMA leadership ignored that and supported it.
      Climate hysteria is just as attractive to the science and technology organizational leadership.

      • Ref – “Says who? The worker’s union contributed vastly to the problem…”

        Soooooo true! My fault for not being more specific. I was only addressing the “individual” workers and NOT their blasted union(s) leadership and shop-enforcers. Between the currupt, stupid, self-thinking corporate senior leadership and the @#$%$# ‘worker’s union’ the cancer was rampant and ever-expanding. In the end, it’s a ‘top-down’ problem (regardless of any natural desire of any one individual to make a better and bigger paycheck) – we haven’t perfected the art of ‘Industry’. The current system is quite broken.

      • Great points and thank you for your clarification.

    • Bad analogy. Someone may think you would want the government to dump millions of dollars in propaganda advertising to stay the coarse.

      If my researching is accurate, then there is a great deal of adjusting of temperature numbers by government sponsored and protected players.

    • I am prepared to be hopeful but the signs are not good. About a month ago AGU made headlines for reportedly launching an anti-skeptic “swat team” of pro-CAWG scientists. They denied it but then fielded a team in Cancun. The Top Management works for the Board and “Merchant of Malice” Mooney is on the Board. I have heard nothing about AGU withdrawing their pro-CAWG Manifesto. Are there any skeptics on the program of this week’s Annual Meeting? Where is the progress toward openness and communication?

      • There are more skeptics at this year’s Annual Meeting than ever. The science is NOT settled and the politics of the past year (and “Cancun”) has put some of the extreme “Hard Core CAWG Types” out on the end of the tree’s thinest limbs. The climate has changed. The leaves are falling. Winter is here (For AGU and the Northern Hemisphere). The loudest voices at the comference will come from those in the greatest pain.

      • For those wanting an example of climate scientists predicting catastrophe, see this article.

        WASHINGTON – December 14 – More than 150 biologists and climate scientists today called on the Obama administration to follow the best available science in deciding the level of protection polar bears will get under the Endangered Species Act. The letters were submitted to the Department of the Interior as the agency faces a court-imposed deadline next week on whether polar bears, which are acutely imperiled by global warming, should continue to be classified merely as “threatened” or given maximum protection as “endangered.” At the same time, more than 140 public-interest groups representing millions of Americans also sent a letter to Interior today urging that polar bears be protected as an endangered species.

        “There’s broad consensus that rapid climate change in the Arctic is hurting polar bears right now and the U.S. government needs to take aggressive action to pull this majestic species back from the brink of extinction,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute and author of the petition that led to Endangered Species Act listing for the bear in 2008. “It doesn’t do polar bears, or any of the rest of us, any good to treat climate change as a problem to be solved by future generations – not when the devastating effects are already being felt right now.”

        Many polar bear populations are already declining. The bears’ less-protective “threatened” designation allowed the Bush administration to exempt the primary threat facing the bear, namely greenhouse gas pollution, from important regulatory programs under the Act. The Center and other groups have argued in federal court that the bears need the most protection possible to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

        The letter from climate scientists discusses the rapid and accelerating melting of Arctic sea ice and urges Interior to “acknowledge that anthropogenic climate change poses not just a distant, future threat to Arctic sea ice, but a current threat to this important habitat of the polar bear and other ice-dependent species.”

        “Many climate scientists, like myself, study climate change by poring over large data sets and running climate model simulations. Global warming can at times seem very distant, almost an abstract concept,” said Dr. Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State University. “When I ventured up to Hudson Bay in mid-November and saw the undernourished polar bears with their cubs, sitting around at the shore of the Hudson Bay, waiting for the then month-overdue sea ice to arrive so they could begin hunting for food, it suddenly came home for me. For the first time in my life, I actually saw climate change unfolding before my eyes. It was a sobering moment, and one I’ll never forget.”

        http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/12/14-16

  15. Greg Bear, in his excellent apocalyptic book “The Forge of God” has a scene where the AGU annual meeting in San francisco serves as backdrop for the various geophysical scienitists who have eached seen a sliver of the evidence that Earth is doomed meet and connect the dots.
    And now we have people in reality meeting to connect the dots for apocalypse as well. So is life imitating art or what?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forge_of_God

  16. Re Chris Mooney:
    I’ve read a few articles on line and it has me concerned. However, as Dr. Curry sees other positive developments, maybe she can inform us if his political leanings become an issue. Besides, who goes to MIT for an English degree?

  17. BlueIce2HotSea

    I’d bet the talk by Tim Palmer is worth a look.

    • Yes that will definitely be a highlight. I think he is talking about the predictability of blocking, which is very timely

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        In Palmer’s lecture (Dec 6, 2010) (After Climategate & Cancun; What Next for Climate Science?), he explains an ingenious method for reducing climate model uncertainty: data assimilation in the context of using the climate models to make six hour tropical weather forecasts! Scaling the convective entrainment parameter to make the models better fit the observed tropical weather reduced the range in 100 yr. forecasted global temperatures; extreme (i.e. 12C, 14C) forecasts disappeared. Previously, these extreme models could not be excluded because their asymptotic bias was similar to the other models.

        Palmer runs out of time and does not get to his stochastic closure schemes. I imagine you will hear about that tomorrow when he discusses blocking prediction.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        In Palmer’s lecture (Dec 6, 2010) (After Climategate & Cancun; What Next for Climate Science?), he explains an ingenious method for reducing climate model uncertainty: data assimilation in the context of using the climate models to make six hour tropical weather forecasts!

        So the radical step of actually comparing the models to the data and correcting the models based on the data is now become … wait for it … an “ingenious method for reducing climate model uncertainty”.

        Sometimes words just fail me. After years of ignoring the data, our climatemodelers are now actually “Scaling the convective entrainment parameter to make the models better fit the observed tropical weather” … and this seen as an “ingenious method”???

        Gaaaah …

      • Willis – this is pretty much where I, a high-school science educated schmuck, was, before Climategate. What is described is what I recognise, perhaps naively, as an “expert system”, one in which predictions are compared to observation, and the discrepancies fed back into the system in a way that improves its predictive skill. And I kind of assumed that something of the sort was going on in climate science, or as I now know it, climate “science”, for it to have been given the time of day, let alone accorded the Druidic status it has enjoyed. Aware of the unlikelihood of a human being composing a model that could skilfully predict climate, I sorta kinda figured those brilliant climate scientists had figured out how to get a computer to teach itself, using a error-feedback loop, and kinda extending the predictive period – well you get the picture. Sure, I might not be able to understand it, but nobody could seriously be spruiking CAGW without having incorporated something of this kind into their modelling, could they?

        But a year and a bit on, I realise that there are people all over the world practising climate “science”, and getting paid, usually handsomely and by taxpayers, to do so, who would have failed some of the exams I passed in my late teens. Nobody who thinks, as Bart Verheggen says he does, that the consensus “becomes the new null hypothesis”, or, as Michael Tobis says he does, that studiously neglecting it is excusable because to do otherwise “doesn’t increase your citation count” would have survived the mild rigours of my A-level courses without a flea in his ear.

        Something has gone awfully wrong with science when a way of improving model performance that a mediocre high-school scientist had casually assumed was being employed for two decades can today be unveiled as, tarraa! – “ingenious”.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Yes. In fact, when I listened to Dr. Palmer’s lecture, I repeatedly recalled your WUWT post which examined “are the model results life-like?”. Do you two follow each other?

  18. Zhzng and Imhoff presented a paper at AGU titled “Satellites Pinpoint Drivers of Urban Heat Islands in the Northeast” which reports satellite-based temperatures 7-9degrees F higher that the surrounding rural areas. This is a very different result than that described in the Jones et al paper, Nature Vol 347 13 September 1990, Assessment of Urbanization Effects in Time Series of Surface Air Temperature Over Land.

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/heat-island-sprawl.html

    I hope that you will agree that a discussion on the merits is warranted.

    • BlueIce2HotSea

      Yes. And interesting how surface heat and lack of vegetation cover are nearly identical.

      This recent paper by 6 NASA scientists, “Quantifying the negative feedback of vegetation to greenhouse warming: A modeling approach” (Geophys. Res. Lett.) is also interesting in that context.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Rather, images for surface heat and lack of vegetation cover are nearly identical.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        I also found those images quite interesting. Correlation of visible and temperature images is quite good, R^2 is 0.7. However, correlation of vegetation and temperature is not quite as good, R^2 of 0.6. That was a bit of a surprise.

        What was most surprising was that a multiple linear regression using all three variables (visible, vegetation, and urbanization) gave results scarcely better than using visible alone (R^2 = 0.72).

        Interesting.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Willis Eschenbach: Thanks for drawing attention to my comment which muddles the simple findings of Zhang, et al.

        UHI is most pronounced where a dense city is an ‘island’ of no vegetation surrounded by an ‘ocean’ of forest. Then comes an ocean of grass.

        UHI may be negligible where a dense city is a surrounded by an ‘ocean’ of desert.

        Look at these three strikling surface heat images from page 10 of Ping Zhang’s presentation: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/505254main_zhang.pdf.

  19. Oops, Zhang, not Zhzng.

  20. For those wanting the skinny on academic research, wander thru the archives of phdcomics.com . Generations of grad students attest to its accuracy.

  21. Are you going to revisit your opinion of the AGU ?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/16/craven-attention/#more-29519

    • Nearly the same exact question I was going to ask Dr. Curry and any other attendee I can find. This is the panel, apparently that is officially representing the AGU in improving communication to proles about climate.
      I stand by my assertion: The AGU has been hijacked by extremists, until proven other wise.

    • Anyone with any self-respect who aligns with those goofs is contemptible.

  22. Greg was a bit of a clown, but is hardly representative of the whole AGU. The new leadership does seem to have a strong focus on encouraging scientists to interact more with the public on their research areas, which might go down poorly with some folks.

    Oppenheimer’s speech will be up online soon. I’d suggest most people watch it, as there isn’t all that much to disagree with.

    • To be silent is to support this type of “communication” from the AGU. How can the “irrational” Republican members of the House that Dr. Curry replied to in her testimony and in her later follow-up have any confidence in her if she doesn’t speak out against this type of “communication”?

      • Actually, a number of panel members did disagree with Greg. Regardless, using a single individual (not even a scientist) invited to a panel on communication to caricature the views of 17,000 AGU attendees seems a tad premature.

    • Greg taints the whole of the AGU. Just as Mooney does. Neither are scientists.
      Deciding that Republicans are ‘irrational’ is a pretty big sign that the one making that claim is in fact irrational. Craven so well displays what he truly is by his costume of choice.
      Mooney is a scientist wannabe who thinks if he parrots the most inflammatory views he somehow can change society.
      I look forward to hearing what Dr. Curry has to say about her impression and experiences.

  23. note, i am preparing a part II to the AGU post, with some reactions and highlights, probably forthcoming tomorrow.

  24. In Chicago, if you want to know which way the wind is blowing, you look at the people on the street, not the buildings. Just a suggestion.