Extreme measures

by Judith Curry

[I]n the past year, climate researchers in the United States and Britain have formed a loose coalition under the banner ‘ACE’ — Attribution of Climate-related Events — and have begun a series of coordinated studies designed to lay the foundations for a systematic weather-attribution programme.

Nature has just published a News Feature entitled “Climate and weather: Extreme measures.”  Subtitle:  Can violent hurricanes, floods, and droughts be pinned on climate change?  Scientists are beginning to say yes.

Some excerpts:

When the weather gets weird, as happens a lot these days, one question inevitably arises from reporters, politicians and the general public alike: is this global warming?

The question was asked after last year’s catastrophic floods in Pakistan and record-breaking heat wave in Russia. It was asked again this year about the freakish tornado clusters in the southeastern United States and the devastating drought in Africa. And it was asked yet again this August as Hurricane Irene roared up the US East Coast.

For the most part, climate researchers have shied away from answering. Their mantra has been that science cannot attribute any particular drought or hurricane to climate change; the best it can do is project how the frequency of extreme weather events might change as the globe warms, through shifts in factors such as evaporation rates over the open ocean, water vapour and cloud formation, and atmospheric circulation.

Lately, however, that reluctance has started to fade. “My thinking has evolved,” says Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. 

Also in the past year, climate researchers in the United States and Britain have formed a loose coalition under the banner ‘ACE’ — Attribution of Climate-related Events — and have begun a series of coordinated studies designed to lay the foundations for a systematic weather-attribution programme. Ultimately, the group hopes to create an international system that could assess the changing climate’s influence on weather events almost as soon as they happen or even before they hit, with results being announced on the nightly weather reports.

“The idea is to look every month or so into the changing odds” associated with that influence, says Peter Stott, a climate scientist with the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre in Exeter and a leader of the ACE group. Stott is writing a white paper laying out plans and requirements for a near-real-time attribution system, which he will present in October at the World Climate Research Programme conference in Denver, Colorado.

So the goal of the ACE group is to carry out ‘fractional attribution’ of extreme events, estimating how much each one was influenced by anthropogenic greenhouse warming and how much by natural cycles (see‘Climate shift’). 

Although the basic approach seems straightforward, says Stott, fractional attribution is only as good as the climate models that drive it. “We still need to understand which types of weather events we can confidently attribute,” he says, “and those for which the models are not yet good enough.”

Such deficiencies in the models explain why many climate scientists remain sceptical of attribution efforts. “Scientifically unsound” is the assessment of Judith Curry, a climatologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Even converts such as Schmidt are cautious. “There is a lot of scope for doing a much better job,” he says.

The ACE group plans to address these shortcomings in next month’s white paper. As a first step, the group suggests that leading centres, such as NCAR and the Met Office, carry out fractional attribution assessments of notable weather extremes over the past 50 years, using large ensembles of coupled climate models and all available weather data. The lessons learned from these retrospective studies could then allow scientists to progress into routine attribution of recent weather, as well as climate-based forecasts of extreme weather.

It is not yet clear what such a plan would cost, or who would pay for it. Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist with the NCAR, estimates that a few million dollars would be enough to coordinate an international service using facilities already in place at his institution, the Met Office and elsewhere. But going beyond this bare-bones effort — creating, for example, a free-standing attribution centre with monthly, seasonal and decadal forecasting capacities — would cost much more.

Nature also has an editorial on this, link [here].

JC comment:  My quote “Scientifically unsound” succintly summarizes my opinion on this.   My reasoning is described extensively in previous posts.

The rationale for ACE seems to be described by this statement:

But neither weather nor climate pays the slightest attention to what policy-makers are doing. And with events such as Hurricane Irene making themselves felt in politicians’ backyards, an attribution service might someday be seen as a good investment.

Never let a good disaster go to waste in terms of trying to play on people’s emotions to generate support for CO2 mitigation policies.

Fortunately, there seems to be little prospect for ACE in the short term:

Given that governments on both sides of the Atlantic are slashing their budgets wherever possible, Trenberth admits that the prospects for launching such a programme anytime soon seem remote. 

I can save everyone tons of money on this.  The NOAA group in Boulder is already doing an excellent job [website here].  They no longer refer to it as “attribution” but rather as “interpreting climate conditions.”  They focus on past observations and weather patterns, and seasonal climate forecast products.  Of course, it takes them days to weeks to do an analysis on a single extreme event, so you miss the maximum emotional impact of the analysis.  With two more FTE NOAA employees devoted to this effort, they could study more storms and/or produce the assessment more quickly.

Clarification.  People seem confused as to why I am praising the NOAA group, while I am not at all impressed by the proposed ACE effort.  The NOAA group examines the historical data record, looks for past analogues, and interprets the extreme weather event in the context of the weather and climate dynamics.  In the three examples of “Whats happening now”,  they explained the Russian heatwave, the snowy winter, and the tornado outbreak in the context of natural weather and climate variability.  By contrast, the ACE effort is focused on using climate models to assess the fraction of the event that might be attributed to global warming.  It is the use of climate models for this exercise that I object to, which I explained in a previous post.

419 responses to “Extreme measures

  1. UN is attributing the Horn of Africa crisis to climate change…

    The problem? IPCC considered it the place in Africa where rainfall would increase the most!

    How did international organizations react? They were not prepared for several years without rainfall.

    Now, people are dying in the tens of thousands. Probably hundreds of thousands in the next months.

    Welcome to HornGate

    Ecotretas

    • Thanks for the link, very interesting

    • Professor Curry,

      PhysOrg.com is waking up to the real danger of pseudo-science.

      See news stories and comments today on the AGW scare, Earth’s real heat source – the Sun, smiling politicians spreading propaganda, and crippled science:

      1. Switching from coal to natural gas

      http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-coal-natural-gas-global-climate.html

      2. Heavy element ejected in violent solar eruptions

      http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-chief-urgent-action-climate.html

      3. Smiling politicians campaigning for AGW

      http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-chief-urgent-action-climate.html

      4. Black holes

      http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-team-elusive-black-hole-radio.html

      The oldest scriptures again confirmed:
      “Truth is victorious; Never untruth!”

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

    • Relax, Ecotrertas!

      Minitrue and Recdep will have this worked out in the near future.

      -The Thought Criminal

    • IPCC map of precipitation trend around the world is very wrong for it is based on a wrong science.

    • Here are things that do not make sense in IPCC reports regarding water and I appreciate some help. In reference to the IPCC report titled “observed and projected change in climate as related to water” item 2.1.1 Precipitation and water vapor, page 16, first paragraph, the following is a quote from the report:
      “Over much of Northern-Western India, the 1901-2005 period shows increase of more than 20% per century, but the same area shows a strong decrease in annual precipitation since 1979.
      The question that I have, why IPCC did not split the period of time into two periods: 1901-1979 with precipitation increase of more than 20%, and 1979 to present showing a decrease in precipitation? Does showing a decrease in precipitation violate the IPPC science?
      Here is another quote from the same report page 29, item 2.3.4 Evapotranspiration: Evapotranspiration is projected to increase. This is because the water holding capacity of the atmosphere increases with high temperature. However, Item 2.1.4.1 page 21, Pan Evaporation, which measures the actual evapotranspiration is showing a decrease. Why would IPCC projection of evapotranspiration defies the actual observed evapotranspiration? Does acknowledging a reduction in evapotranspiration violate the IPCC science?
      Will somebody help me in answering these questions? Thank you.

    • You know that the IPCC prediction or projection is for the period between 2080 and 2099, so you kinda have to wait awhile before you call it the Horngate.

    • Bob – if the IPCC writes 2080 and everybody else reads 2011 then yes, there is a “Horngate”, even if perhaps not on the IPCC side

    • everybody else but not me and at least one other poster were sufficiently inclined to get the right message.

      Sorry you and others are lacking in reading comprehension skills.

    • Humanitarian organizations and other organizations did not get the right message. They got the wrong mis-guidance from the IPCC and their models.

      People are dying at this precise moment because of this…

    • Can you please provide some evidence of cases where agencies, NGOs etc have changed their policies or strategies as a result if the IPCC projections and this has led to them being less able to react to current events in the horn of Africa.

    • Reply to Andrew Adams (5:04 am):
      Please take a look at the Chris Funk’s article in Nature that I referenced in the post.

    • Well it’s certainly a good and interesting piece but I think you read too much into it. He mentions that agencies are basing long term planning on the IPCC projections which could have adverse implications if current trends continue and I think it’s fair to question whether they are justified doing so given recent trends and the difficulty of making accurate regional projections of this kind. But he doesn’t provide any evidence that they specifically ignored his warnings about what would happen this year because of the IPCC projections.

      Given that the IPCC report is quite clear that their projections are for 2080-99 (and even then they relate to general trends – it doesn’t mean that the effects of short term phenomena such as ENSO could not cause droughts in particular years), recent years have been unusually dry rather than wet, and that FEWS, which AFAIK is a respected and credible organisation, was specifically warning that there was a danger of drought occurring this year I don’t find it credible that agencies, NGOs etc would leave themselves less prepared to deal with the current situation based on the IPCC’s projections. If they did then it is their fault, not the IPCC’s.

    • Andrew,
      You should read what Hulme et al. (2001) and Ruosteenoja et al. (2003) have to say on this. Their work was the basis of the IPCC report, on the Eastern Africa region. They both predicted short-term rainfall, not drought.
      Regarding organizations awareness to the subject, I already have several examples. I’ll probably do a separate post on the subject.

    • You’ve got to read the full document, to get it. In the beginning of chapter 11.2, you get:
      “There is likely to be an increase in annual mean rainfall in East Africa.”
      No mention to the time-frame whatsoever. Further down:
      “The increase in rainfall in East Africa, extending into the Horn of Africa, is also robust across the ensemble of models, with 18 of 21 models projecting an increase in the core of this region, east of the Great Lakes.”

      Gotta think what “robust” really means!

    • Gotta think what deceiving African leaders with such language has done for the ordinary people who are now dying. Thank you for drawing our attention to this Ecotretas.

    • Yes, thanks for the link:

      http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2011/09/horngate.html

      Despite claims by apologists for the UN’s IPCC, reality seems to be completely independent of IPCC’s projections.

    • Robust = consensus (in this case of models).

    • I’ve updated Horngate with information regarding the studies that IPCC used for the calculation, Hulme et al. (2001) and Ruosteenoja et al. (2003).

      They confirm the fact that the IPCC projections are simply the opposite of what is happening in the region…

    • Let me repeat the concept…the IPCC wrote about the last decades of the XXI century. However, the work has been used for the first decades of the XXI century. This might as well have contributed to the lack in preparedness for drought and famine in East Africa. Whose fault is it? First of all of the agencies that were so hungry for a policy orientation, they misused the IPCC projections. Secondly, of the IPCC that in its struggle to be policy-relevant has become policy-misleading.

      When students can’t learn, it might be they’re slow, and/or the teacher is no good at teaching.

  2. The lack of warming since 1998 clearly has a profound effect on weather today. Hilarious.

  3. “Scientifically unsound” and “The NOAA group in Boulder is already doing an excellent job” are somewhat in conflict. I think you mean something like “The proposed project is likely to be carried out in a scientifically unsound manner, unlike the work done by the NOAA group in Boulder” — would you like to elaborate? Correct me if I am wrong?

    • “in conflict”?

      That’s the nature of doublethink;

      “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth”

    • John Vetterling

      I believe Fitzgerald held that to be the test of a first rate intelligence

    • This comment is irrelevant.

    • Re-posted for emphasis:

      “Scientifically unsound” and “The NOAA group in Boulder is already doing an excellent job” are somewhat in conflict. I think you mean something like “The proposed project is likely to be carried out in a scientifically unsound manner, unlike the work done by the NOAA group in Boulder” — would you like to elaborate? Correct me if I am wrong?

    • John Carpenter

      I see no conflict in the statement. Two separate topics. 1) ‘scientifically unsound’ = attribution analysis connecting specific extreme weather events to AGW is not well understood still and/or can’t be done at this time, thus ‘unsound’. 2) ‘the NOAA group in Boulder is already doing an excellent job’ = why do we need ACE when there is already a group out there trying to provide the exact information ACE would provide? Save our money for something else that is more ‘scientifically sound’.

      IMO, Judy is not saying the NOAA group is doing an excellent job of connecting extreme events to AGW, just that they are already doing what ACE wants to do.

    • John –

      It seems to me that your saying that Judith’s post indicates that the NOAA group is doing an excellent job of carrying out unsound science.

      Honestly – I don’t see any other interpretation of your post, but I based on previous exchanges with you, I doubt that would be a valid interpretation of you point.

      Where is my understanding of your post incorrect?

      Now Judith has certainly implied that she has concluded that the ACE effort is intended to exploit disasters or partisan (within the climate debate) purposes. Does that somehow fit into your explanation?

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      “It seems to me that your saying that Judith’s post indicates that the NOAA group is doing an excellent job of carrying out unsound science.”

      LOL,

      In a way you are right.

      I read the NOAA site, specifcally the ‘attribution’ and ‘why attribution’ sections. It appears to me that NOAA considers AGW as an attribute to weather events they study, so in that way I think Judy is saying what ACE proposes to do is already being done…. perhaps I should say additionally… ‘to some extent’. Her ‘scientifically unsound’ statement indicates to me she is very skeptical of assigning an AGW attribution value to any single event.

      It is bad business for me to suppose what someone else thinks… maybe it’s better left for her to respond if she chooses.

    • It seems to me that your saying that Judith’s post indicates that the NOAA group is doing an excellent job of carrying out unsound science.

      That’s how I read it – Judith seems to be saying that the very nature of what ACE are trying to do is unsound.

      Now Judith has certainly implied that she has concluded that the ACE effort is intended to exploit disasters or partisan (within the climate debate) purposes.

      I think she’s implying that ACE are exploiting disasters to get funding for their project, which she for some reason sees as a “CO2 mitigation policy. As if pointing out that their work might actually be of value is somehow inappropriate. TBH it just makes her look petty and mean minded.

    • I think she’s implying that ACE are exploiting disasters to get funding for their project, which she for some reason sees as a “CO2 mitigation policy

      As I look at it, I think that your interpretation is a more accurate reading than mine.

      It would be nice if Judith chose to clarify a bit more.

      So Judith – do you think that their intent to exploit disasters is targeted toward partisan goals, or do you think that their intent is to exploit disasters to get funding or their pet project of CO2 mitigation policy?

      What is your evidence for your conclusions? Have you met the individuals involved? Spoken to them? Read other work they’ve produced? Is your evidence purely speculative? Circumstantial?

      Or perhaps I’ve read you wrong – and you don’t think that their intent is to to exploit disasters for their own benefit or partisan goals? Could you clarify? How then, would you explain this statement?

      Never let a good disaster go to waste in terms of trying to play on people’s emotions to generate support for CO2 mitigation policies.

  4. When people know the answer before they ask the question, you know they aren’t doing science. When scientists actually have the nerve to tell you that they know the answer before they ask the question, is this not sufficient to question the entire project? There’s a simple principle at work here that transcends science: when the truth is on your side, there’s no need of anything but a simple recitation of the facts.

    • “When people know the answer before they ask the question, you know they aren’t doing science.”

      Roy Spencer: “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

    • I would suspect that Dr Spencer sees himself as defending the gates of science from hordes of subjectivist progressives and outcome based rationalization as characterized by the team.

      … from a more pragmatic perspective, how is this different from the rapid climate response team, real climate and skeptical science ?

    • Exactly, what isn’t to admire about Spencer’s view? He’s realistic even if it’s unpleasant to te false decorum that others claim as a standard.

  5. A determination of how climate works would be really helpful with it come to attribution. Perhaps everyone should focus on that instead.

  6. Seek and ye shall find.
    - Matthew 7:7

  7. Wow

    Just Wow.

    Dr. Curry.. which is more scientifically unsound, those who either say ‘all’ or ‘none’ without sufficient reasonable basis to take either stance, or those who use some sort of, how would one best visualize it? Say, an Italian Flag model, where the red and green are quantized and the white represents uncertainty.

    That seems to me a perfect model for what ACE proposes. If only I could think of where I’ve seen something like this before, applied to Climate. ;)

    Attribution is immensely valuable. Even poor ballpark attribution with large uncertainty has utility, so long as it is known to be the best attribution possible. The utility for policy, planning, insurance, land use decision making, investing, the list is long and the amounts of money and impacts on livelihoods and lives huge.

    Dismissal of this effort for what appear to be ideologically-colored reasons seems.. petty.

    If, with time and study, attribution gets any good, then that will the state of science, and who will then be proper arbiter to the world of what is and is not unsound about that?

    One of us, or each of us?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Bart R | September 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Attribution is immensely valuable. Even poor ballpark attribution with large uncertainty has utility, so long as it is known to be the best attribution possible.

      This is definitely the new math. Depending on the situation, the best attribution possible may be total garbage, and may simply mislead everyone.

      What is the “utility” of that wrong an answer, Bart, particularly a wrong answer that a lot of people really, really want to believe?

      This is not a grade school where our highest concern is that our little snowflakes might lose their self-esteem. If an attribution is wrong, it may not be “immensely valuable”, and in fact it may be immensely damaging. Bad data leads to bad decisions, and it is very foolish to pretend that bad data somehow it has “utility”.

      So no, don’t bother me with your vague claims of attribution, claims that everyone admits are hugely uncertain. They are not immensely valuable—they are generally worthless and worse, they can do lots of harm if they are wrong.

      Here’s an example. The Swedes believed your kind of bogus attribution claims, Bart, in this case the claims that mild winters could be attributed to global warming … so they leased their icebreaker to the US for their Antarctica runs. Meanwhile, ship traffic in the Baltic Sea was in trouble because of, you guessed it, too much ice, so they had to take their icebreaker back

      Perhaps you can explain to us how the erroneous attribution of a few mild winters to global warming was “immensely valuable” to the Swedes?

      w.

    • If an attribution is wrong, it may not be “immensely valuable”, and in fact it may be immensely damaging.

      As I interpret their goals – they are trying to determine whether attributions can be estimated. If they determine that the data don’t support attributions, presuming their analysis is accurate, then they won’t be making “wrong” attributions.

      The only possible explanation for your logic is that you are prejudging their intent – to manipulate data so as to exploit disasters. Have you met any of the people involved? Spoken to them? Have you read what they’ve written other than what Judith provided at the top of the post?

      The reported goals of this endeavor is to add to the process of determining whether attributions, such as the one you mentioned, are scientifically valid.

      Without prejudging their efforts, there is no reason to assume that their work wouldn’t prevent the counterproductive measures you described.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Joshua | September 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      If an attribution is wrong, it may not be “immensely valuable”, and in fact it may be immensely damaging.

      As I interpret their goals – they are trying to determine whether attributions can be estimated. If they determine that the data don’t support attributions, presuming their analysis is accurate, then they won’t be making “wrong” attributions.

      Yes, Joshua, you are 100% correct. If we assume that “their analysis is accurate”, then they won’t be making wrong attributions.

      Somehow, however, I don’t think you have followed your train of thought all the way to its logical destination … which is that if their analysis is not accurate (and statistics show that most are not these days), they will indeed be making wrong attributions, despite your glib assurances to the contrary.

      On another matter, your usual twisted speculation as to the motives of folks you don’t know, that I am “prejudging their intent”, is unpleasant, unwarranted, and incorrect. They can be wrong just like anyone else, Joshua, and we’d be fools to follow your advice and ignore that fact. That prejudges nothing, except for the assumption that they are fallible humans. You can “presume their analysis is accurate” all you want, but that doesn’t keep them from being wrong in the real world.

      w.

    • despite your glib assurances to the contrary.

      Maybe I missed it. Where did I make any assurances, let alone glib assurances, to the contrary?

      They can be wrong just like anyone else, Joshua,

      That’s deep, Willis. But in reality, I have no doubt that your statement is true (not to mention incredibly obvious). And they can also be right.

      … if their analysis is not accurate (and statistics show that most are not these days),

      Please specify. That’s a bit of an ambiguous antecedent. “Their anaysis?” Who is they? And what analyses are you referring to? Are you saying that statistics show that “most” of all analyses are not accurate?

      I assume you mean that most analyses by climate scientists have been show to be not accurate? So would that mean that you are judging the work of these individuals on the bases of the accuracy, or lack thereof, of other individuals? Is there some reason why you’d lump them together with other climate scientists? Have you met them? Talked to them? Read other analyses done by the individuals involved?

      They can be wrong just like anyone else, Joshua, and we’d be fools to follow your advice and ignore that fact.

      Where did I offer any advice? Please point it out. And where did I even suggest that we should ignore the possibility that their analyses might be wrong. Please point out that while you’re at it.

      , your usual twisted speculation as to the motives of folks you don’t know, that I am “prejudging their intent”, is unpleasant, unwarranted, and incorrect.

      But it’s nice to know that you don’t presume, as Judith seems to, bad faith on their part to exploit disasters for partisan (in the climate debate) purposes. I’m sorry if I mistakenly interpreted your post to mean that you were, in fact, making such a presumption.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Depending on the situation, the best attribution possible may be total garbage, and may simply mislead everyone.

      What is the “utility” of that wrong an answer, Bart, particularly a wrong answer that a lot of people really, really want to believe?

      What an interesting argument for the value of ignorance you make.

      Me, I’d much rather see the pursuit of greater knowledge, as maks ably argues (http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/08/extreme-measures/#comment-110392) below.

      If you refer to decisions made by Sweden, would you not then be referring to decisions made in ignorance before a concerted effort to fractional attribution began? Your example argues against your own claims, and works in my favor.

      If we know the best attribution possible is only ten percent reliable (to throw out a random figure), and that itself claims within that ten percent a ratio of 3% anthropogenic to 97% natural variability, then we might use such statistical components in Risk analyses.

      Better, if we can substantiate a claim that attribution in the best three quarters of scenarios has a consistent ratio of 15% industrial emissions, 8% land use, 1% miscellaneous human activities, and the rest natural variability, and can thus both deprecate the classical statistical approach and ascribe a credible cost of human emissions, then we can settle questions of policy based on fact rather than faith.

      Unless you think faith better?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Thanks, Bart.

      My point is simple. Wrong information is usually worse than no information. If you have no information about the stock market, you may not bet. If you have wrong information about the stock market, you’ll lose a bundle. If you don’t know if a snake shaking its rattle is poisonous, you’ll back off. If you have wrong information about snakes, you’ll get bit.

      You say that our best guess is better than no guess, viz:

      Even poor ballpark attribution with large uncertainty has utility, so long as it is known to be the best attribution possible.

      However, that rests entirely on the assumption that our best guess is not wrong, and that we can estimate the uncertainty in our guess … but we don’t know those things, Bart, that’s what we are trying to find out.

      And if our best guess, our “ballpark figure” is wrong, then we go haring down the wrong path, at perhaps a great cost in time and effort.

      The holotype of this phenomenon, of course, is the CO2 hypothesis …

      Establishing what is happening in “the best three quarters of scenarios”, unfortunately, only lets us know what the programmers believe.

      Could “fractional attribution” be valuable? All things are possible. But at our current state of knowledge of the climate, where we can’t even agree if cloud feedbacks are negative or positive, it seems like a Herculean task.

      For example, you say:

      Better, if we can substantiate a claim that attribution in the best three quarters of scenarios has a consistent ratio of 15% industrial emissions, 8% land use, 1% miscellaneous human activities, and the rest natural variability …

      Yes, if we could substantiate that claim it would be great. And I’m sure that before long, the fractional attribution crowd will be throwing out similar figures, if they haven’t already.

      But how can we “substantiate” any of that? In particular, since “natural variability” is really code for “we don’t know why it did that” and even your imaginary numbers indicate that “we don’t know why temperature went up” garners 76% of the action, what does “substantiate” mean in that context?

      Hey, I’m not saying don’t try, I’m not arguing for ignorance as you fatuously claim. But looking at what a few computer programmers think the future will look like, based on their simplistic linear models, models which perform miserably on most metrics for which they were not tuned … if you think you can get fractions of attributes out of those models, be my guest. All scientific avenues should be explored, you choose yours, I’ll choose mine.

      Just don’t be surprised when people yawn at your claims that we don’t know why 76% of the temperature rise happened, but we’re sure about how 15% and 8% and 1% of the change happened. Don’t be shocked when we say “how were you planning to substantiate that?”

      w.

    • As Thomas Sowell says in another context:

      Some might argue that, in the absence of the cameras, many people might not know what is going on in Congress or in the courts. But being uninformed is not nearly as bad as being misled. For one thing, it is much easier to know that you are uninformed than to know that you are being misled.

    • Maybe Ronnie Reagan can explain it a little better: “Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.”

      Ignorance isn’t great, but it’s a hell of a lot better than “knowing” something to be true … that is in fact false.

    • Jim T

      I only vaguely remembered the circumstances of the quote, so I looked it up.

      It’s from the 1964 Barry (anti-civil-rights) Goldwater campaign. Where the liberal friends of Ronnie and Barry gave Johnson a huge landslide victory. Whatever those liberal voters knew so much of, one of the things they knew was they didn’t like being called ignorant by Goldwater frontmen using fancy word games.

      You keep hammering as a group on this knowing-something-wrong straw man, when you have amply demonstrated that your own abilities to discern right from wrong are.. dubious.

      I mean, Reagan, seriously? Charismatic, motivational, courageous he surely was. But what American pictures Ronald Reagan in their mind’s eye when they hear the word ‘knowldgeable’?

      You sound more afraid that when people know the truth, you won’t be able to manipulate them.

    • Willis – “This is definitely the new math.”

      I am not sure it is that new. It just looks like a subset of Bistro Mathematics
      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bistromathematics&defid=1068691
      :)

    • BartR,

      Given all the potential benefits of the ACE proposal, you cite, isn’t the obvious solution, for those astute enough to realize ACE’s potential, to launch a private ACE business entirely with private money and no government subsidy or strings attached? Then the ACE venture could sell the valuable ACE product to insurance companies, national governments, developers, commodity speculators and the like for a handsome profit.

      In other words, why wait for government funding that is unlikely coming? And don’t forget that those who get in on the “ground floor” will enjoy a well-earned wealth for doing “good”. And, even better, there will be the immense satisfaction of telling Willis, “I tol’ ‘ja so!”

      On the other hand, if the ACE deal does not “pan out” then only those who risked their own money will take a loss–not the taxpayer.

    • mike

      An immensely sensible proposal for a group with the right expertise!

      Personally, I believe the crowdsourcing potential for this enterprise could surprise even you.

      Willis etc.

      So, you’re staying with the “Brute Ignorance” argument, despite Joshua’s eloquent points?

      Believe me, I understand what it looks like when the basis for a decision is very likely wrong. I’ve been reading the decisions of denizens here all year. ;)

      However, you arguing a case that doesn’t really exist.

      The climate is not a stock market one may either invest in or opt out of. The climate is not optional. Refusing to decide is a decision itself, and the power of ignorance is not greater in such cases than the power of research, reflection and resolve.

      Yes, much is left to be discovered, but I’m with Joshua’s reading of the ACE intention, that they’re seeking to discover, not begging the question.

      Also, my ‘code’ for natural variability differs somewhat from yours.

      I can (and have) built computer programs that generate natural variability — meaning I cannot predictably control the variability of part of the system — though I understand every input and every function of the system. It’s a simple enough exercise.

      Knowing or not knowing what causes a change is not always sufficient to wrest control of that change from Nature.

      Sowell, too, does not apply, Richard Drake.

      We know for certain people are being misled as there are voluble voices on all sides. Who argues to deny the people without the consent of all the means to better inform themselves does no one any favor, and is not to be trusted when so much deception is abroad.

      While the ACE efforts ought be scrupulously, skeptically examined, and maybe competing efforts launched that might have better results, cynicism at this point when ACE in large measure is doing what critics have been calling for and what decision-makers need is graceless and unproductive.

    • Sowell, too, does not apply, Richard Drake.

      Don’t take the quote as critical of ACE. I accept Dr. Curry’s view that they’re attacking a vital issue the best way they know how. But take it as very critical indeed of an IPCC whose ‘consensus science’, models and reports were so hyped up that countries in the Horn of Africa made completely the wrong plans, expecting increased rainfall, as EcoTretas tragically shows. Now 750,000 people are expected to die in the region in the next four months. Of course nobody’s saying the IPCC is to blame for all those deaths. A ruthless civil war doesn’t help – nor do biofuel subsidies disgracefully pushing up world food prices. But ‘Horngate’ as EcoTretas calls it is no small matter. Dr. Sowell’s warning bears repeating:

      Being uninformed is not nearly as bad as being misled.

    • Sorry, massive correction, Dr. Curry has been defending the work of the NOAA group, not ACE. The unfamilar acronym deceived me. Anything that tries to use climate models for regional forecasting after the Horn of Africa disaster is for me beneath contempt. Men like Trenberth who’ve been so active in the IPCC need to face up to their responsibility. And Sowell’s warning applies with knobs on.

    • Richard

      We can agree that people being misled in an irrelevant example unconnected with the topic at hand is a bad thing.

      And that ruthless multigenerational civil war, religious fanaticism that prevents aid, banditry that charges an extreme toll on trade and travel and does violence to the vulnerable and extorts ransom where it can, piracy on land and sea, exploitation of natural resources to feed the appetites of the worst offenders and incite all to greater violation, lawlessness from coast to coast, refusal to intercede by all powers competent to provide relief or remedy, oh.. why wasn’t most of this mentioned in your example?

      Were you uninformed, or did you mislead?

      Sure, using climate models for climate predictions, despite the explicit warning of the very models themselves comparing any one run with any two others, and the theory on which such modeling is based, is misleading.

      Predictions of that sort are worthless.

      But really, blaming the death of countless victims on the wrong culprit is misleading exploitation of the victims, and appears to be motivated on a hateful agenda of duplicity rather than sincere will to be of use or assistance.

      Being ignorant is just begging to be misled.

      Allowing oneself to be led in ignorance is far worse than remaining skeptical of an ignorant leader.

  8. Again, it’s about political desperation not science;

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/sep/08/rick-perry-climate-change-sceptic

    Smell the panic.

    Tactically, time to fire up the minions on the age old progressive chant; “we’re smarter then they are” and expect to hear the “anti-science” smear 20k per capita through November 2012. Playing to the base, another big lie drive in the works with academic support.

    Then it’s an exit plan as well, moving on to bad weather rather than warming predictions. Just another version change from “global warming” to “climate change”. These talking points are no surprise and have been well planned for years.

    Gavin again proves he’s a tool, nothing more.

    Dr. Curry uses a science disclaimer but avoids what is really driving what little is left of climate science into the ditch. Once again, who are these people in a political context? You aren’t going to have any respect in the end until you call the eco-left out directly, not with metaphors about “advocates”, “bias” or now “Scientifically unsound”. What a sniveling PC culture is being subsidized on this forum by the omission of the obvious political alliance of the agw leftist “consensus” of science to the greater political arm and media operatives. It’s Orwellian in scale.

    • IMO this is a byproduct of the more recent publicity of the potential harm to the American economy of proposed EPA actions and the reported willingness of some presidential candidates to mandate a change in US government policies to prevent that from happening.

      Personally I am an independent politically, but it appears that AGW has become (unfortunately) a political issue vs. one of science and economics. The linking of harmful weather events to higher levels of CO2 does not have to be supportable by science if a claim can be made that gets the public’s attention between now and the next US presidential election. The goal is to keep those who support the position in power and unsupported science is a method.

    • Rob,
      It is not science vs. economics.
      It is the AGW social mania vs. helping Americans.

    • Hunter

      I would describe it as science/economics on one side vs. emotion and global social mania on the other.

      It will probably drive me to vote republican in the next election.

    • Rob,
      Good point. A better bottom line might be responsible vs. irresponsible. the AGW manics have dominated the public space long enough to leave no doubt as to which group is indulging in irresponsible.

  9. “The question was asked after last year’s catastrophic floods in Pakistan and record-breaking heat wave in Russia.”

    Even NOAA agrees that was nothing to do with global warming. ‘Nature’ has sunk to tabloid levels regarding climate science.

    • “The question was asked after last year’s catastrophic floods in Pakistan and record-breaking heat wave in Russia.”

      Even NOAA agrees that was nothing to do with global warming. ‘Nature’ has sunk to tabloid levels regarding climate science.

      And so, at least in theory, an effort like this might help prevent misattributions from occurring in the future.

      If you assume that their specific intent is to exploit disaster for partisan purposes, then this kind of effort would not have that result.

      But it would seem that to conclude that you know their intent and/or motivations you would have to explain your evidence for you assumptions in detail – along with an explanation of how you validated your evidence. Would you not?

      The baseline implication here is that these people will be manipulating their data for a specific intent (to exploit disaster for partisan purposes) – otherwise why wouldn’t you assume that their data would just as likely show that extreme events are not attributable to long-term climate change? In fact, judging from your general position in the debate – I would imagine that you assume a valid analysis of the data would disprove attribution of single events to climate change.

    • “And so, at least in theory, an effort like this might help prevent misattributions from occurring in the future. ”

      I think it would behoove you in this discussion to read up on what “bias” is, especially as it pertains to science. Investigator bias is a serious problem in all science that is, and must be, vigorously weeded out. No science must ever be undertaken with the design or desire to “prove” a particular result. In science, we do an experiment where all and any results are viewed as equally likely within the design. This is the “null” state.

      This ACE group has claimed an agenda: “[to begin] a series of coordinated studies designed to lay the foundations for a systematic weather-attribution programme” they have from the onset started out with bias–”designed” bias at that, the worst kind in science. For, what if such a program cannot exist in reality, and weather cannot be attributed beyond regional effects just as NOAA does it? That is a valid outcome. But they leave no room for this possibility, and they can still push attribution of any event forward based on vaguities and noise no matter what the reality is.

      In short, this ACE cannot be viewed as a scientific endeavor, as they have a set result goal–a stated agenda. It can only be viewed as politics.

    • Ged-

      I think it would behoove you in this discussion to read up on what “bias” is, especially as it pertains to science.

      I’m not sure that I need to read up on scientific bias to engage in this discussion intelligently, so despite your apparent assumptions about me (without having any actual knowledge as to what I do or don’t know about bias or scientific bias – perhaps a reflection on bias on your part?), I’ll go ahead and respond to the rest of your post.

      Investigator bias is a serious problem in all science that is,

      I agree completely. If you have read my posts, you must know that in many of them I talk about the phenomena of confirmation bias, tribalism, and motivated reasoning that is ubiquitous in the climate debate.

      and must be, vigorously weeded out.

      And here I’d have to disagree – because I think that it is unrealistic. Investigator bias is a reflection of intrinsic attributes of how humans approach reasoning – in particular when the topic at hand is controversial in nature, and even more so when it overlays with social, ideological, and political identities. In my opinion, while it can’t be “weeded out,” it is important for people to acknowledge the inherently human nature of investigator bias so that at least people can share perspective on how to control for investigator bias.

      No science must ever be undertaken with the design or desire to “prove” a particular result.

      That seems unrealistic to me. Scientists generally work to try to prove a hypothesis. Sometimes, scientists work to prove or disprove a hypothesis – but it is relatively rare, IMO.

      In science, we do an experiment where all and any results are viewed as equally likely within the design. This is the “null” state.

      Indeed. This is one of the “controls” I mentioned above that can help to mitigate the inevitable presence of investigator bias.

      This ACE group has claimed an agenda: “[to begin] a series of coordinated studies designed to lay the foundations for a systematic weather-attribution programme”

      Establishing a weather-attribution program could mean that in the end, they will determine that specific events cannot be attributed to climate change, or that they could only be fractionally attributed to climate change. There is nothing inherently agenda-driven about examining the causal factors behind weather and/or climate.

      they have from the onset started out with bias–”designed” bias at that, the worst kind in science.

      I don’t know about “worst kind,” but design bias will very likely lead to biased results. And given that these scientists presumably believe that climate is being anthropogenically influenced, certainly, their results should be examined to ascertain to what extent, investigator bias might have influence. But all science should be examined with the same scrutiny.

      For, what if such a program cannot exist in reality, and weather cannot be attributed beyond regional effects just as NOAA does it?

      That is a possibility – but then again, to dismiss their efforts on the basis that the only valid approach scientifically is the one that NOAA employs would suggest a foundational bias from the other direction. What if weather can be attributed beyond regional effects. Maybe you are 100% sure about the true answer in that debate. I’m less than 100% sure either way, and as such, it seems to me that both approaches should be explored – and the results of both approaches should be subjected to scientific scutiny.

      That is a valid outcome. But they leave no room for this possibility, and they can still push attribution of any event forward based on vaguities and noise no matter what the reality is.

      Maybe you’re right; it does seem a reasonable guess that they believe that localized weather is to some fractional degree a product of anthropogenically-affected global climate, but I’m not in a position to know that they leave “no room” for alternative possibilities. I haven’t talked to them and heard them say something like that, or read where they’ve made such a categorical dismissal of alternative views as you have stated. But even if you are right – to completely dismiss their efforts on your apparent belief that then can’t be correct doesn’t seem to me like the way to go either. To follow such a course of action would be, rather starkly, a reflection of bias and an unambiguous willingness to allow bias to drive science.

      In short, this ACE cannot be viewed as a scientific endeavor, as they have a set result goal–a stated agenda. It can only be viewed as politics.

      Again, I think that you would be hard pressed to find science that is not affected to one degree or another by “investigator bias.” And I would guess that you do not apply the same sort of absolute categorization that all science affected by investigator bias should out of hand be rejected as a non-starter when the political implications are different.

      For example, Would you reject any analysis of the impact of CO2 emissions by anyone who begins their investigation based on a belief that climate is not anthropogencially-affected?

      Would you reject any analysis of evolutionary theory by anyone who doubts evolutionary theory?

      My belief is that by virtue of human nature, various biases inevitably affect scientific reasoning – and a belief that one side of the climate debate or the other are disproportionately affected by bias leads to a dangerous unwillingness to hold both sides equally accountable.

    • “There is nothing inherently agenda-driven about examining the causal factors behind weather and/or climate.”

      It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it can be spun that way.

    • “For example, Would you reject any analysis of the impact of CO2 emissions by anyone who begins their investigation based on a belief that climate is not anthropogencially-affected?

      Would you reject any analysis of evolutionary theory by anyone who doubts evolutionary theory?”

      Yes, I would. If they designed their experiments to prove their view without any room for the alternative result. Which is, sadly, an easy thing to do.

      “But even if you are right – to completely dismiss their efforts on your apparent belief that then can’t be correct doesn’t seem to me like the way to go either.”

      Ah, but I’ve made no belief ;). It could be possible that “climate change”, whatever way you want to define that, can be picked out from the localized weather noise.

      However, they are the ones who state directly what they are aiming to achieve (or at least this press release does). “Weather-attribution” is a meaningless term -unless- you are trying to attribute it to Man. Otherwise weather is weather, and would be examined in the same context it always has: hence my bringing up NOAA, and other weather services, which already do this function and have for decades.

      Why do they think we need this “program”? What is it filling in that they think we are missing? Think about that for a moment. I think you have, but you are intentionally glossing over the obvious; otherwise the discussion would change.

      “(without having any actual knowledge as to what I do or don’t know about bias or scientific bias – perhaps a reflection on bias on your part?”

      Incorrect. I do have actual, direct knowledge on this subject. Observation. No bias, simply an observed point.

      In fact, you further, a fully, support my observation by saying its unrealistic to weed out investigator bias. If you believe that, then you do not understand bias, nor what it means to make a good experimental design.

      Now, that doesn’t mean you lack the knowledge in the implicit sense, but that you may be willfully putting it aside on purpose to gloss over, again, the obvious of the matter. Hence why I pointed it out to draw your attention to it, and hopefully get you to undo those mental walls.

      “That seems unrealistic to me. Scientists generally work to try to prove a hypothesis. Sometimes, scientists work to prove or disprove a hypothesis – but it is relatively rare, IMO. ”

      Utter rubbish!

      All science works in the null state, if it is science. There is NO science on this planet that tries to prove a hypothesis. All experiments are build to try to disprove a hypothesis, or simply make observations in a null, ground, state. Whenever you try to prove something, you are now under control of bias and no longer in the realm of science. That doesn’t mean you can’t find something interesting, but you are no longer operating in the scientific method.

      It is not, in any way, shape, nor form, unrealistic to vigorously weed out bias and to design experiments in the null state. All other branches of science seem to do it without a problem (and when it does get lax, we are quickly brought back into our place). So, is climate “science” (as it cannot truly be considered such if what I’m about to say is true in your view) somehow a special case that is not held to such rigor?

      Perhaps you’ve become acclimated to the lack of rigor going on. Mostly that isn’t a failure of the science in the background, but of the politicising of the issues which drown out the science.

      Politics try to prove something. Science tries to investigate something. Two very different branches of philosophy. It is easy to get caught up in the politics however. And that is what this ACE thing is. There is no need for it -SCIENTIFICALLY-. It exists solely for a political purpose, right or wrong, to which I ascribe no judgement other than to say it isn’t acting in science.

      I have no doubt you realize this, be it deep down or consciously.

    • “There is nothing inherently agenda-driven about examining the causal factors behind weather and/or climate.”

      Absolutely true. But the whole branch of climate science, and journals are for. Nor is that in any way what the stated goal of ACE is. At least, as it is stated in this press release.

    • “But that’s what the whole branch of climate science, and journals are for.” Sorry for that editing error.

    • K Scott Denison

      Joshua says: “That seems unrealistic to me. Scientists generally work to try to prove a hypothesis. Sometimes, scientists work to prove or disprove a hypothesis – but it is relatively rare, IMO. ”

      Ged replies: Utter rubbish!

      Well said Ged.

      Of course, Ged is 100% correct. This, I observe, is the biggest difference between the sides of this issue. One side pushes science, and the other are believers. unfortunately, the believers, like Joshua, cannot or will not see that much of the work on global warming is NOT science, for the simple reason that the “scientists” start out trying to prove something.

    • No science must ever be undertaken with the design or desire to “prove” a particular result.

      That seems unrealistic to me.

      That’s an understatement. Cancer researchers aren’t going to feel the desire to prove that their new protocol saves lives? Physicists aren’t going to desire CERN results that affirm their theories? The desire for an interesting, usually positive result that leads to professional success and hot science groupies is not going to continue to rage in the breast of every deluded graduate student everywhere?

      Successful institutions, be they democratic or economic or social, deal with the reality of people as they are and create systems to mitigate the damage done by human passions. (In science, the rigorous demands for evidence and constant challenge and competition minimize the effects of the endemic problem of wishful thinking by investigators.)The demand to eradicate those feelings completely and empower only those individuals free of human weaknesses is characteristic of failed, totalitarian ideas.

    • “That seems unrealistic to me.

      That’s an understatement. Cancer researchers aren’t going to feel the desire to prove that their new protocol saves lives? Physicists aren’t going to desire CERN results that affirm their theories? The desire for an interesting, usually positive result that leads to professional success and hot science groupies is not going to continue to rage in the breast of every deluded graduate student everywhere?

      Successful institutions, be they democratic or economic or social, deal with the reality of people as they are and create systems to mitigate the damage done by human passions. (In science, the rigorous demands for evidence and constant challenge and competition minimize the effects of the endemic problem of wishful thinking by investigators.)The demand to eradicate those feelings completely and empower only those individuals free of human weaknesses is characteristic of failed, totalitarian ideas.”

      Oh my word. Have we regressed to the Medieval ages? I don’t even know where to begin with this.

      Cancer research that wishes to find a -true- cure will not ever try to “prove” their drug could save lives. The drug will prove that on its own by not failing the tests; but the hypothesis not being disproven. And the bar is high! And rightly, as what happens when people rush out drugs and results without doing proper tests and put out a product on the market? Vioxx anyone?

      Do the physists at CERN want their results to prove their theories? Maybe. But they design their experiments to disprove their theories, or to be at a null state that allows observations on perturbations away from that state. And you know what? When something unexpected happens, when our theories get thrown out the window by data we never anticipated, that is the most exciting part of science. That is where the greatest advances come. That is where the most amazing research begins. NEVER by trying to prove something.

      Successful institutions… My word man, what do you think the Scientific Method even is? Why do you think it exists? Why do you feel it’s so rigorous and stringent and well built? Why do organizations like the FDA, processes like peer-review, and quality controls like certifications get founded to enforce the method?

      And what does the scientific method demand? That experiments are made NEVER to prove anything, but to disprove. And only on failing to disprove is a hypothesis supported and advanced to a new round of testing based on what was discovered in the failed disproval. Or, that experiments are made to fish out observations from a ground state, when there is no solid hypothesis yet to test.

      That’s the very first step, the very start and core, of the scientific method. Followed by repetition, replication, and purposefully designed counter hypotheses to test alternative interpretations and challenge the hypothesis under review.

      Never, ever, EVER, to prove anything. The moment you try that, you are not acting as a scientist! You can call your work something else, and it could be stumble onto something important and lead to great results, but that doesn’t make it -science-. Because, it will be biased from the start. And even biased experiments can sometimes be right.

      But the whole reason the Method is set up as it is, is to fight bias. And why? Why because the Method was established when coming out of the Medieval ages, a time where there was no solid accountability: when philosophy and belief were regarded as proof enough, and you could kill a man based on beliefs being different; just so you could ‘prove’ you’re right through might.

      And now you would want us to go back to that? For that is the alternative to what we have now. Rigor! Let us not throw that out the window just so we can be “realistic” in your view. Take up the challenge instead, and make something rigorous. Human passions exist right along side science, and drive the -direction- of investigations, but never, ever, the experimental designs themselves in the sense of trying to “prove” or fulfill passions.

      The passion of a scientist is in discovery! And when we find something unexpected, because we designed our experiments well by avoiding all the biases we could and not attempting to drive the experiment to any sort of results (that is to “prove” anything), only then our passions are fully fulfilled.

    • Scott –

      unfortunately, the believers, like Joshua,

      You seem to know what I do and/or don’t believe, but you know it’s funny because I don’t recall us ever having met.

      Anyway, I would appreciate it if you’d tell me what I believe in. This should be quite interesting.

    • tallbloke:

      ‘Nature’ has sunk to tabloid levels regarding climate science.

      The example you give substantiates the point. But I couldn’t even get to the end of the first sentence:

      When the weather gets weird, as happens a lot these days …

      Isn’t the whole point of the painstaking studies of Pielke Jr and others like him that the weather is no weirder ‘these days’ than it ever was. Talk about begging the question.

  10. “My thinking has evolved,”

    I have no doubt that something has evolved. But it isn’t thinking, it’s faith. We can all look forward with hope for the day that the thinking begins.

    • Stan,

      The hippie do-good stage ended long ago, this isn’t 20 somethings at an Earth day rally. Gavin Schmidt is paid government troll and he sold out his science credentials years ago for his political credentials which we aren’t suppose to speak of for some 1950′s etiquette reason that is only applied for AGW advocates. Meanwhile skeptics are compared to hillbillies;

      Here’s Ezra (JournOlist) Klein today;

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/how-the-tea-party-changed-the-climate-debate/2011/09/07/gIQAVMMh9J_blog.html

      The average “Teaparty” person mocked here has far more wealth and education than the liberal base not that there isn’t a well-educated elite with agw as well (party elite vs. prols). That’s why on another day we deal with the label “the rich and privileged” attack media. How’s that for irony?

      Notice the stupid “does climate change” question structure, a pure disinformation poll to be sure but it will find board support even here.

    • cwon–since you do not actually have any data on the “tea party” people who post here, your comment is unsupportable.

    • So without a spagetti chart there is no point on commenting on anything at all because it’s “unsupported”?

      The term “Tea Party” and every derivative has been turn into a sterotype smear. We need “data” to prove that to you?

    • I’ll disagree with those who try to generalize about the people who classify themselves or others as supporters of the tea party without any data to sopport their position.

      To say that tea party supporters are richer or poorer than the average American can only be proved or refuted after a representative sample is surveyed. To write that they are either more or less intelligent than average would be very difficult to demonstrate.

      Comments overly generalizing the behavior of a group may be frequently correct, but can also be fairly described as prejudical.

    • Whose prejudice Rob?

      My link was from the Washington Post from Ezra Klein, a liberal media operative. I’m commenting on left’s sterotype and smearing not what I think of the “Tea Party”. I was also pointing out the contradiction of calling a group that is often sterotyped as “rich” on one day and being ignorant hillbillies on another. Maybe you can explain that trend to me.

    • For all those “deniers” who assert the “tea party” is “denying climate change” (sic), try some real data and thoughtful analysis instead of red herring emotional politically charged ad hominem attacks.

      e.g. See: Politics & Global Warming, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and the Tea Party
      George Mason University, Center for Climate Change Communication, Sept. 2011.

      Note that the “Tea Party” is the most informed about “global warming” and “climategate”.

      .. Tea Party members are much more likely to say that they are “very well informed” about global warming than the other groups. Likewise, they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind. . . .

      most Tea Party members say (“global warming”) is either naturally caused (50%) or isn’t happening at all (21%). . . .

      Tea Party members are far more likely to have heard about the “climategate” email controversy (45%) than Republicans (20%), Independents (27%), or Democrats (16%). . . .

      Over half (51%) of Tea Party members say they are not at all worried about global warming.

      See also: Gallup poll: Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics
      Pew Poll: The Tea Party, Religion and Social Issues
      Tea Party Anger Reflects Mainstream Concerns
      Polls on global warming
      Pew Poll: Little Change in Opinions about Global Warming
      For all those “deniers” who assert the “tea party” is “denying climate change” (sic), try some data instead of red herring political ad hominem attacks.
      Gallup poll: Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics
      Pew Poll: The Tea Party, Religion and Social Issues
      Tea Party Anger Reflects Mainstream Concerns
      Polls on global warming
      Pew Poll: Little Change in Opinions about Global Warming

      General population vs (tea party)
      59% solid evidence the earth is warming
      34% because of human activity (21%)
      18% natural patterns (14% )
      9% mixed/don’t know (6% )

      32% serious problem (5% )
      31% somewhat serious (18% )
      16% not too serious (24% )
      18% not a problem (50% )

      46% requires government action (8% )
      29% not require “ (39% )
      21% not a problem (50%)

      44% Yes: scientists agree earth is getting warmer because of human activity (19%)
      44% No: “ (71%)

      The ambiguous query on belief in “global warming” is a badly posed since it does not specify the TIME PERIOD. E.g. global temperature records show:
      No/little warming since 2000
      Warming from 1977-1998
      Cooling from 1934-1977
      Warming from Little Ice Age to 2000
      Cooling from Medieval Warm Period to Little Ice Age
      Warming since the end of the last glaciation
      Cooling for the last 5 million years.

      So an unspecified “Do you believe in ‘global warming’ is meaningless”.

      For some skeptical perspective on scientific evidence see:
      Skeptic Strategy for Talking About Global Warming Ira Glickstein, PhD (see Glickstein’s slides)

    • David,

      You say “Note that the “Tea Party” is the most informed about “global warming” and “climategate”.

      But what your poll shows is that they say they are well informed, which is not the same thing. And do you think the fact that

      they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind. . . .

      is a good thing?

    • The book ‘Blink’ might suggest it’s not a bad thing, for the ordinary person with many other things to occupy themselves with in their lives. And whether someone has heard of Climategate or not isn’t something the pollsters could be mistaken about, surely?

    • Richard

      I haven’t read Blink, although it does look interesting. I take the point though that many people don’t have the time or inclination to study the subject in depth and so are happy to form a view based on limited information – I guess this is what most people do, whether they accept AGW or not. I guess the question is whether those who consider themselves to have enough information to make up their minds would be willing to change their minds if they got new information.

      Having heard of climategate does not make someone “well informed” though.

    • Having heard of climategate does not make someone “well informed” though.

      No, but I’d call it a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. And the point here is that many more Tea Party supporters had done so. They may have a simplistic view of it but at least they know about it. And we are all probably more simplistic than we would like to imagine when it comes to climate. Spatiotemporal chaos is a great leveller. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.”

    • I don’t doubt that Tea Partiers are more likely to have heard of climategate – it is a subject which has been given particular prominence in those kind of circles. I guess that anyone “well informed” about the general debalte over climate change would be aware of climategate, my concern is for some people that’s about all they know, or at least they give it undue prominence. It’s not actually necessary in order to understand the scientific arguments around AGW.

    • andrew
      The poll shows the Tea Party more than twice as well informed on climate as non-tea party: 47% vs 21%

      Tea Party members are far more likely to have heard about the “climategate” email controversy (45%) than Republicans (20%), Independents (27%), or Democrats (16%). . . .

      That ties in “kicking the tires” – probing the foundations for CAGW crys to spend >>> total national debt to “control climate”.
      As Richard Drake notes:

      “those who look into it the most are the least concerned about it.”

      The principle behind “Blink” is that those most experienced/expert in a field can very quickly evaluate (in a “blink”) an question raised in that field with high accuracy, compared with having to spend very extensive effort on that question. See: ‘Blink’: Hunch Power. See Blink preview.

      The more I study – the more I find that the real problem is:
      Peak Oil >>>>> Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.
      Furthermore, on benefit/cost basis
      all other major humanitarian projects >>> global warming mitigation
      See Copenhagen Consensus 2008 outcome

      Back to Basics – Priorities >> alarms.

    • David –

      You seem pretty familiar with the Tea Party, and I’m thinking that maybe you know something about Rick Perry also, so I have a question for you.

      Perry thinks that humans can’t affect climate through their actions, but he thinks that praying for rain in Texas can change the weather. Doesn’t that seem a bit contradictory?

    • David,

      The poll shows the Tea Party more than twice as well informed on climate as non-tea party: 47% vs 21%

      Tea Party members are far more likely to have heard about the “climategate” email controversy (45%) than Republicans (20%), Independents (27%), or Democrats (16%). . . .

      I can only repeat what I have already said to Richard – it doesn’t surprise me that Tea Partiers are more likely to have heard about climategate,
      but this is not the same as being well informed about climate.

      The principle behind “Blink” is that those most experienced/expert in a field can very quickly evaluate (in a “blink”) an question raised in that field with high accuracy, compared with having to spend very extensive effort on that question.

      OK, I don’t have an objection to that on the face of it, but such references to expert opinion tend to get dismissed as appeals to authority here.

      It’s not surprising that when looking at major humanitarian projects global warming often comes into the equation – there is a big overlap between the expected impacts of AGW and areas where there are already humanitarian concerns. I guess there is also an overlap between peak oil (about which I have no opinion) and AGW in that they are both cited as reasons to cut our dependence on oil but I don’ think they generally get conflated in way you suggest.

    • Joshua
      Re: “Perry thinks that “humans can’t affect climate””
      That is a false allegation.
      .
      Perry said:

      “I do think global warming has been politicized. … We are seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing our climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. It has been changing ever since the Earth was formed. But I do not buy into a group of scientists who have, in some cases, been found to be manipulating data.”

      “Causing” = primary reason. Perry’s statement corresponds to the facts that there is no high confidence on the magnitude of human impact on recent “global warming” compared to the magnitude of natural causes, as detailed here in Climate Etc.

      Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) announced

      at a press conference Tuesday that he’s suing the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of Texas over its December decision to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant. Perry stated the intent of the lawsuit was to “defend Texas’ environmental successes against federal overreach.”

      The issue is “federal overreach”!

      Re: “he thinks that praying for rain in Texas can change the weather.”
      Take that up with the Boss:

      if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

      2 Chron 7:14

      Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

      James 5:17-18

      Andrew Adams
      Please study the Copenhagen Consensus 2008 report re benefit/cost of humanitarian projects vs cap & trade.

      Urgently recommend learning about peak oil – see Robert Hirsch The impending world energy mess.

    • Thanks David. The same old correlation: those who look into it the most are the least concerned about it. Those outside the AGW tent, that is. The few zealots at the centre have to defame such people as ignorant and bigoted ‘deniers’ – their futures depend on it. But the wisdom of crowds – once they become informed, at least – remains strong.

    • Crimnologist Mark Adams advocates a method to redress academic bias against the “Tea Party”. See: How to Harass a Tea Partier

    • In most polls the question “do you believe in global warming?” is ambiguous – it could mean:
      1) The global temperature has increased since the little ice age.
      2) The global temperature has increased for the last half of the 20th century.
      3) Humans are causing most of the increase in temperature for the last half of the 20th century. etc.
      Those who respond “I do not believe in global warming” can mean any of these question. Yet this response is often interpreted as reflecting anti-science or ignorance.

      The first poll that actually defined the question asked:

      Q471. Recently, you may have noticed that global warming has been getting some attention in the news. Global warming refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result. What do you think? Do you think that global warming is happening?

      Cite as: Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., & Smith, N. (2011) Climate change in the American Mind: Americans’ global warming beliefs and attitudes in May 2011. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

    • Note that the “Tea Party” is the most informed about “global warming” and “climategate”.

      You completely misread the findings — did you read the actual study? Tea Partiers were the least well informed of any group. As your own numbers show, they are radically different from the general public in their views on climate change.

    • Robert
      “Least well informed” only says that you do not agree with their informed position. That does not negate their expertise on the issue or clarify the serious ambiguity in the poll questions.

      “Is global warming happening” can mean either:
      “Have natural causes been the primary cause of increases in global temperature?”
      OR
      “Have anthropogenic causes been the primary causes of increases in global temperature?”

      Your assertion only exposes your bias.

    • Re drought in Texas vs “climate”, see: Dessler: “Paying the price for climate change” or a case of flawed statistical analysis?

      There have been 5 record excursions from the average annual summer precipitation – Exactly what there should have been in a random series of numbers. And the records have occurred with the expected frequency of a random series of numbers. The fifth record excursion should have occurred between 1945 and 2030 – It occurred in 2007.

    • Dessler was on PBS TV a few weeks ago in the Houston market making this pitch about the drought. I felt bad for him reducing himself to a charlatan.

    • But look at the solar forcing:
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/trend/plot/pmod/from:1998/normalise/scale:0.2/plot/pmod/from:1998/normalise/scale:0.2/trend

      and ENSO (PDO as a proxy here):
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/trend/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1998/normalise/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1998/normalise/trend

      Both of which suggest global temperature should have dropped about 0.2C since 1998. That global temperature has gone flat suggests the cause of warming of the past 40 years is still ongoing.

    • For much the same reason that a boiling kettle of water takes a lot longer to cool down once you’ve switched it off than it took for it to boil.
      You may argue that this isn’t a good analogy, but the point is temperature is not synonymous with energy.

    • The solar cycle and ENSO impacts are pretty much immediate. They have been that way throughout the satellite record.

    • ENSO impacts are pretty much immediate – I’ll give you that – but both the ENSO and global temp data are really temperature data, whereas the TSI data are energy data.

    • True, I am working off of solar cycle signals people have found in the temperature data
      http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL030207.shtml

      http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/how-fast-is-earth-warming/

    • True enough that temperature is not synonymous with energy, but it can be a good proxy for measuring overall change in many circumstances. For a recent paper on this issue related to atmospheric temperature and energy, I highly recommend:

      http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl1116/2011GL048442/2011GL048442.pdf

    • Louise, there is essentially no “right wing” near power in England. They remain only slight leg up on EU socialist decline.

      Cameron remains clueless on climate and essentially dressing energy rations under a phony AGW rationalization only makes it worse;

      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100102917/green-jobs-wot-green-jobs-pt-242/

      Perry may have flaws but the phony age of “compassionate conservatism” which equals pandering to socialists is over. AGW is one of the first things to go. No more protecting other sacred enclaves in academia either, they should be defunded as well.

    • “Louise, there is essentially no “right wing” near power in England.”

      Since the mainstream right — the Conservative Party — is in power in the UK, cwon is essentially telling us that he belongs to the extremist right.

      Is anyone surprised?

    • Robert, do you know anyone more left wing than you?

  11. “Can violent hurricanes, floods, and droughts be pinned on climate change? Scientists are beginning to say yes.”
    Oh so if that’s the case then they have said Why:-)
    The easy way to resolve the question is to ask are the events any different than those in the past, in frequency and strength, the answer of course is no. Every event identified by global warming alarmists as a sign of global warming has occurred in the past and pre the industrial revolution.
    It seems to me that they just want a couple of million quid from us to pay for their jollies. If they feel so passionate then why don’t they fund themselves and sell of their worthless research to the highest bidder? They won’t of course because they believe “our planet” owes us a living.

    • Stacey,
      The AGW promotion industry will spend any sum allowed by supporters, ignore any fact, and deny all history as needed to make sure that reality and historic accuracy are ignored. The important thing is to make sure we are afraid of the weather and are willing to pay the CO2 tax the AGW manics are obsessed on. Lying is just a road bump on that path.

    • Lord Beaverbrook

      ‘Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist with the NCAR, estimates that a few million dollars would be enough to coordinate an international service using facilities already in place at his institution, the Met Office and elsewhere.’
      I estimate that a few million dollars would be enough to coordinate a difference to a couple of thousand people suffering from drought in Africa instead of funding a religion.

  12. ACE goes against the IPCC AR4. For example WG1 11.2 speaks of projections in 2080-2099, not 2011. Actually, on the basis of IPCC science, it should still be too early to see any climate-change signal: so any finding will invalidate the report, and especially it’s most-solid WG1 section.

  13. Dr. Curry,

    Steve Mc writes today — “isn’t it absurd that blog posts on “skeptic” blogs provide better replication information than “peer reviewed” articles in academic literature” http://climateaudit.org/2011/09/08/more-on-dessler-2010/

    Are you aware of any argument or attempt at justification from your fellow climate scientists as to why that is?

  14. So, for just a few million dollars, Dr. Trenberth could overcome the reticence that comes with all that pesky math and science bother and just go balls out to sell a 180 proof alarmist political and ideological agenda.

    Yes! AGW caused that lightning bolt. Yes! AGW causes obesity and killed your goldfish. “Scientifically unsound”?! Be silent and behold the money. The Con$en$u$ has spoken!

  15. They could save money by simply posting a blank form online and letting AGW promoters fill it in for any weather event:

    The recent *storm/drought/flood/famine/warmth/cold/calm/wind* is a predictable response to the climate crisis. If *Bush/Big Oil/republicans/Koch brothers/greedy Americans* had not blocked the brave work of *climatologists/the IPCC/progressives/enlightened ones* this would not have happened. CO2 must be *taxed/reduced/mitigated* and more *windmills/solar power/biofuels* paid for as quickly as green investors can fill in the governemnt subsidy forms.

    The above handy form can be varied into a large enough number of versions that most journalists will forget before there is a repetition.

    • Hunter, you get it but the Dr. Curry is stuck on the wrong side of the Rubicon and has never linked progressives to the IPCC or consensus.

      Try calling her out on that and see where it gets you.

  16. Judith,

    Thanks for so clearly stating your position on this.

    It would be great if Travesty Trenberth et al would just occasionally pick up a history book.

    Global temps aren’t shifting, so they need to scare us with all this “weird weather”. And it sounds like computer programs will be used to tell us how much each weird weather event was caused by evil CO2. I wonder if they’ll bother to check how much weird weather there was before the evil CO2 was unleashed.

    • “so clearly stating your position on this”

      James, it will be clear when Dr. Curry identifies the particular political culture involved in these efforts. Not before.

      By only discussing only a tactic of the day it losses sight of who controls the strategy and what the total goal is.

  17. It seems to me they’re busily scurrying around looking for new straws to clutch at.

    At best, the probability of extreme events will have increased by something like the ratio between total energy in the biosphere now to that of then.
    And any attempt to attribute any particular event would be pure chicanery, especially as some definite causal mechanism would have to be shown.

  18. Perhaps if they could predict ten extreme events in detail then we could accept one attribution in retrospect.

    • Doctors cannot predict who will and who will not get cancer caused by smoking cigarettes yet that doesn’t stop us knowing that smoking does cause cancer.

    • There is no data that can demonstrate that if we lowered our CO2 emissions that the probability of an extreme weather event would be reduced.

      If you do not smoke cigarettes, it can be demonstrated that you will have a lower probability of getting cancer. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty clear difference???

    • Rob, I was responding to the statement by Paulma who seems to think requiring the prediction of “ten extreme events in detail” is necessary before one can accept any attribution and showing that this is a ridiculous statement. What do you think of PaulMa’s statement?

    • What Paulma wrote seems to be more emotional than a basis for a statistical analysis.

      I would generally agree however that the case to demonstrate that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 have caused a greater number of extreme weather events has NOT been made. Those who have tried to demonstrate this is the case have very flawed analysis (IMO from what I have read)

    • Louise,
      Can the AGW beleivers honestly show even one event that is linked to CO2?
      No.

    • Peter137,

      You write “the relative risk [of cigarette smoking] is massive and the causal mechanism well-established.”

      The first part is right. However if you are able to explain “the causal mechanism”, which I do have slights doubt over, you should write it all down and publish it in Nature. You’ll be famous!

    • tempterrain,
      Well, perhaps “well-established” was putting it a bit strongly – after all, there is a school of thought, which is difficult to argue against, that smokers tend to live longer and, as the risk of cancer increases hugely with old age, are more likely to contract cancer.
      However, it can be said to be well-established in comparison to any causal link between AGW and extreme events.

    • Smoking and lung cancer is one thing – the relative risk is massive and the causal mechanism well-established.
      But how can you attribute something like perhaps a handful of extra hurricanes, floods or droughts on the scale of a century or so? When natural variability might be more than an order of magnitude greater?

    • It is certainly highly risky from a statistics standpoint.

    • No, it increases the risk of getting cancer.

    • That is true, smoking causes cancer. Now with fewer people smoking and better health care, something else will cause cancer. If it wasn’t for better health care, more plentiful food, safer lifestyles, there would be no statistical significant mortality due to lung cancer. Linear no threshold modeling can do wonderful things.

      The Merchants of Doubt makes a point of the passive smoke studies with a pretty small statistical significance being abused by big tobacco to sow doubt. You can used the same statistical methods to show that silica in cleansers are just a carcinogenic (on Ralph Nadar’s 12 deadliest things in your home), That margarine is more carcinogenic than butter (I believe it was in the trans-fat study). But what happens when you use the Merchants of Doubt and the data from studies showing a small but statistically significant negative impact?

      You get parents that read about vaccines which have an equally low but statistically significant negative impact. Compare that to studies “Proving” something else is terribly bad, and not letting their kids get vaccinated.

      So when is statistically significant truly significant?

    • It all comes down to the details of the specific analysis.

    • Rob it should, but it doesn’t. It generally comes down to the reanalysis. Statistically significant is meaningless unless measured against some real world standard. There is no standard.

    • So when is statistically significant truly significant?

      Indeed – perhaps the climate debate in a nutshell?

    • Without that answer it is all just Calvin Ball.

  19. I enthusiastically applaud your position on this Dr. C., but in a more perfect world (less imperfect?) it would, at least according to my lights, be a lot better if you’d refrain from making unqualified statements to the effect that Co2 is affecting the climate nonetheless. I’m sorry to keep beating the same drum, especially when you have no apparent interest in answering my questions concerning *how* you think Co2 is affecting the climate, and based on what evidence you consider strong enough to remove all doubt. I don’t occupy the role of “pest” comfortably. But this seems important to me, even if to no one else.

    • pokerguy,

      Doublethink explains it all.

      Dr. Curry is a warmist, moderate compared to the extreme left-has-taken-it-way-too-far but a warmist none the less. If she can’t identify the party members most likely found at an Earth Day rally you think she is going talk co2 with you?

      I have a better complaint.

    • geez drop the communist conspiracy theories already

    • Being left wing doesn’t defacto make someone a communist. Why it’s so culturally accepted that it’s ok to hide your political leanings if you or groups like many of the IPCC, Team or Consensus are left-wing is a another topic which I’m targeted on. Meanwhile the other set of talking points you support lump all conservatives with Teaparty Hillbillies (another leftist invention since this doesn’t exist outside left-wing musings) and other invented negative sterotypes, babble about “anti-science” “right-wingers”.

      Are you saying the consensus isn’t overwritten with people of largely left-wing sentiment? Y or N lolwot or Dr. Curry can step in?? It’s a simple question.

      You’re being a weasel lolwot and you can’t face the music.

    • lolwot,

      I’m a Tea Partier and I will submit to you that we are not a leftist invention. Demonized and misrepresented in the press yes, invented by leftists, no.

      Andrew

    • What do you mean, lolwot? Which ‘theories’ exactly?

    • Andrew,

      The Teaparty as I might define it was formed over all thing the 2008 TARP bailout system as much as anything else. Then with the follow-up of massive spending increases, increased regulations and the auto bailout phase that included cheating investors in fake bankruptcy activities lead by the Obama administration. Then again there was power grap health care act and all that came with it. It was a loose group across many party lines in fact. Since it was a threat to the new liberal establishment, mostly white, better off, higher educated and more conservative it became essential to defame the movement. That it’s a center of skepticism on AGW wasn’t a key talking point of the group but I have little doubt they would be more rational on most topics than the current mean of the society.

      I don’t think any member of the Team would self-identify with Teaparty views. If they are so proud being “progressive” why don’t just come out and admit AGW is a progressive policy guidline??? Instead they will do everything to hide and claim they are middle of the road on politics and really only care about “science” which is a bold face lie more times than not. Dr. Curry should admit this.

  20. “as well as climate-based forecasts of extreme weather.’ So they are going to get a WeatherBell account?

  21. The tragedy of aid. Example …

    Dark side of food aid

    In many cases, farmers have been disincentivized from growing food by cheaper imports and the dumping of surplus food aid onto local markets. Such a situation arose in Ethiopia in 2005-06, for example, Gnamo said, when the government didn’t have the capacity to store surplus aid once the relief operation was over and ended up selling the food on the local markets or giving it away.

    “The peasants who invested and worked hard then had to sell [their food] at a lower price,” Gnamo said. “Then, they lost incentive, and then they reduced [production], because they felt if you cannot compete with imported food which is sold on market, then why [should] you produce more?”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/07/25/f-famine-somalia-analysis.html

  22. Climate is the statistics of many events. As such, it still makes no sense to attribute individual events to climate. If we get the 3rd hundred year flood in a location in 30 years, maybe you would attribute that to some change with a high probability. If we get the tenth year in 15 that is among the warmest ten so far, you might attribute that to climate change with a high probability. Given past statistics you can have some idea of the odds of a series of events being outside the norm, but not a single event.

    • The problem with statistical analysis in the classical sense, is it is not applicable to non linear systems ,That there are more rigorous methods that seem to be persitently ignored is a telling feature of the CS community eg Nicolis and Nicolis 2007 Ghil 2011

      NN07 suggests

      The return time of extreme events is of central importance in their prediction and in the design of appropriate protection measures against
      possible damage. We have shown that the probabilistic properties of this basic predictor generated by deterministic evolution laws —the kind of laws that govern natural systems— are completely different from those predicted
      by classical statistical theory.

      Our results call for a reassessment of the experimental data available on extreme events and of current practices prevailing in their prediction, from environmental science to insurance policies. Future investigations should aim at analyzing the statistics of return times of extremes in detailed models describing concrete chemical, biological, population dynamical, fluid, mechanical or geophysical processes along the lines set up in this work.

    • maks, can you provide ref or link to ghil 2011, thx

    • Jim – is what you state above at odds with the following excerpt?

      As a first step, the group suggests that leading centres, such as NCAR and the Met Office, carry out fractional attribution assessments of notable weather extremes over the past 50 years, using large ensembles of coupled climate models and all available weather data. The lessons learned from these retrospective studies could then allow scientists to progress into routine attribution of recent weather, as well as climate-based forecasts of extreme weather.

      My question is essentially this: does doing fractional attributions assessments = attributing single events to climate? Does estimating a fractional probability = assigning attribution in a binary fashion?

    • I am just saying I hope it doesn’t equal attributing single events to climate change, because I think that is impossible. However, with statistical distributions and a collection of events to test against it, you can obtain a probability of those events occurring in a given period within the 50-year climate (which is where perhaps the 50 years and ensembles comes in).

    • I am just saying I hope it doesn’t equal attributing single events to climate change

      Uh, don’t get your hopes up too high, Jim …From the article:

      And some weather events can’t yet be linked to climate change at all. [emphasis added -hro]

      Seems to me that, by hook or by crook, JOKER ACE is gonna give it a damn good try!

    • Jim, why don’t you look up what “hundred year flood” actually means?

    • A simpler way to put what I mean is that you can get a statistical distribution of daily rainfall at a site. If three events occur in the tail of the distribution in a period of time much shorter than you would expect statistically (maybe a 1 in 100 chance of it being random), you might call it a candidate for attribution. On its own it wouldn’t mean much because there are thousands of stations around the globe, so 1 in 100 chances would come up regularly. Someone would have to look for a connection between these or only select even less likely events., like one in 10000.

  23. Judith –

    Never let a good disaster go to waste in terms of trying to play on people’s emotions to generate support for CO2 mitigation policies.

    Judith – you seem to have concluded that the intent of the people involved in this effort is nothing other than an attempt to exploit natural disasters for partisan purposes.

    Perhaps you have a responsibility – when implying that the people involved are lying about their goals – to explain your evidence (be it circumstantial in nature or not) in some detail? A discussion about the scientific validity of their efforts seems entirely reasonable, but perhaps you could explain how you intend to build bridges when you are impugning the motives of people that you (presumably) have never even met or perhaps even talked to?

    • “Judith – you seem to have concluded that the intent of the people involved in this effort is nothing other than an attempt to exploit natural disasters for partisan purposes.”

      Yes, that’s exactly it Joshua. It’s sunk that low but of course there are other goals in the total agenda but it’s always about fear rationalizing people surrendering their freedom for false security.

  24. “My thinking has evolved,” says Gavin Schmidt

    This is great news! Maybe the carbon monomania will soon be over. :)

    • If Dr. Schmidt really said it, then he is worthy of our respect.

    • I think Gavin Schmidt’s thinking evolved in November 2010. And he is trying to avoid an extinction level event for the green dinosaur Giganticus Scientia Climatus in November 2012.

    • Got evolution?

      Wait until November 2012! A full investigation into IPCC practices, defunding and climate hustling.

    • They should retire the greenhouse gas effect theory with respect before it is too late to do so.

    • evolved thinking…
      as opposed to being intelligently designed?

      Opps. I mentioned ID.. just kidding. could not resist

    • Well at least you do not equate the two which exhibits some intelligence.
      The mechanism of your post reveals the ID.

    • Evolved thinking as in “I never realized the genius of predicting the future would have extreme events. Extreme events are always happening, thus I will always be right! Better yet, media types will want to write stories about me being right..err extreme events. Hmm. I could really start to like this dynamic…my thinking has ‘evolved’”

      James

  25. Hey, trollboy;

    Judith said:
    “My reasoning is described extensively in previous posts.”

  26. I actually don’t mind much when they makes these manifestly absurd attributions because over-all I think they hurt the AGW case with the public. When Bill McKibben makes the hysterical claim that “Irene’s middle name is global warming,” most people pause and think,” Wait a minute. There has to be something wrong with that. We’ve always had hurricanes.” There are very few arguments I can make to liberal friends and family that they’ll actually listen to, but that’s one of them.

    Both sides have their share of embarrassments. But for sheer pompous absurdity, it’s hard to beat the lunatic fringe of warmists. Is there a better friend to skeptics than the prophet himself Al Gore, in all his pious and resplendent glory?

  27. “fractional attribution is only as good as the climate models that drive it”

    Surely this comment casts FA (!) into excessive uncertainty? Does anyone truly have confidence in models currently? Climate is clearly too complex to be accurately modelled at this moment. We need to understand how something works before it can really be modelled.

  28. One of my facebook friends reminded me that today was the anniversary of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1900_Galveston_hurricane

    1900 was characterized by very cool temperatures relative to the present. I wonder with the ACE team would have to say about this storm, in the context of any current/recent hurricanes that are attributed at least in part to global warming.

    The book Isaac’s Storm about the Galveston hurricane is absolutely superb.
    http://www.randomhouse.com/features/isaacsstorm/

    • Dr. Curry,
      Excellent point on the book and thank you for reminding us of that somber memorial date.
      With a family history that includes Betsy, Camille, Katrin Rita and Ike, among many others, I often wonder about the same point regarding the Trenberthian attribution strategy and fractionalizing weather causes.
      The concept of counting angels dancing on pinheads comes to mind.

    • I wonder with the ACE team would have to say about this storm, in the context of any current/recent hurricanes that are attributed at least in part to global warming.

      I expect they would point out that just because powerful hurricanes occurred in cooler years that doesn’t mean that they won’t be more frequent or more powerful in warmer years.

    • I apologize for my earlier question. It produced a tedious distraction.

    • Judith,

      You still have this up on your home page:

      http://www.eas.gatech.edu/files/hurricanes-FL-Leg-Curry.pdf

      It gives a slightly different viewpoint to what you seem to be saying now, but you must be reasonably sure that its OK , otherwise you’d have taken it down. Or would you?

    • Dr Curry

      Most regions in the world would have strong weather events similar (if not as extreme) to Galveston but post hoc rationalisation as to what triggered them could not possibly provide information of any value for prediction.

      These weather events are truly chaotic by nature and there is not much that we can do about them except to ensure that building codes and other civic measures are designed with them in mind.

      Since climate is supposed to be some sort of averaging out of weather, seasonal factors and decadal cyclical influences on a region, I am inclined to the view that these extreme events could well impact on climate for years to come.

      What the current state of climate science does not tell us, however, is that these extreme weather conditions were caused by endemic changes in climate resulting from the influence of other known factors.

    • Chacun ses goûts.

      today was the anniversary of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history

      1918/19 Spanish flu pandemic In the U.S., about 28% of the population suffered, and 500,000 to 675,000 died.

      Stock market crash of 1929 …
      Obama failing to win a second term …

      An ACE in the holistic blame campaign.

      The coffers will be plundered if we use FA to sell short, big time

      Oh what a feeling! … :-D

    • Curry summarizes: “Scientifically unsound”
      Peter Davies observes: “weather events are truly chaotic by nature”
      – both temporally and spatially.
      Consequently, weather/climate variations are NOT random.

      Furthermore, climate is modulated by solar variations which are poorly known. e.g. Solar cycle 24 high predictions were more than 200% in error vs current trends.

      Weather/climate probability distributions are NOT well known. With short monitoring time and relatively large instrumental errors, current records and models cannot accurately predict variations in extreme weather.

      Consequently, accurately predicting variations in extreme events due to anthropogenic CO2 is not possible.
      Claiming to do so is a breach of professional & fiduciary responsibility and waste of public resources.

    • 1900 was characterized by very cool temperatures relative to the present.

      And there are people out there right now who never smoked a day in their life who are dying of lung cancer.

      C’mon. You’re better than this.

  29. Few realize we’re living through yet another climate science prediction debacle. We were told Atlantic storms would be fewer and more powerful. This year there’s plenty of storms and they’re all pretty weak – nothing compared to 2004 or 2005, for sure.

    Perhaps that’s the reason for the renewed hindcasting, unsound as it might be. One day Kev will be right about something, like the old broken clock perfectly on time twice a day.

  30. “pokerguy,
    Doublethink explains it all.Dr. Curry is a warmist, moderate compared to the extreme left-has-taken-it-way-too-far but a warmist none the less. If she can’t identify the party members most likely found at an Earth Day rally you think she is going talk co2 with you? I have a better complaint.”

    Cwon, Haven’t followed the whole thread, but I’ll take an educated guess that you’re talking about the politics :-) The honest to God truth is I don’t understand a lot of the AGW position. So maybe you have a point. Of course, some of it is easily explained. The gravy train effect is all too obvious. Give people sufficient reason …money…career advancement…prestige…to come to certain conclusions, then of course they’re going to do just that. No mystery at all there.

    I’m certain Dr. C. has good and sufficient reason to think the way she does, and perhaps she doesn’t want to get involved in some complicated and tiresome discussion of her core climate beliefs just because some scientifically illiterate wise-guy starts mouthing off. I get that. I don’t blame her. It’s her blog, her time, her choice.

    But on the other hand, it seems of a piece. As much as I respect Dr. Curry, she does seem to have a need to be seen as an establishment player to a certain extent, despite her skepticism. She and I had a bit of a back and forth concerning her congressional testimony in which she maintained that climate-gate did not weaken the warmist case….while we all know she actually thinks otherwise. I keep wondering if this is some tactical, conscious choice on her part…perhaps to keep a perceived neutrality intact. Because it can’t be a lack of guts. The woman has unarguably shown tremendous courage.

    • “perhaps she doesn’t want to get involved in some complicated and tiresome discussion of her core climate beliefs just because some scientifically illiterate wise-guy starts mouthing off”

      I’m not trying to be arrogant, I certainly know there is range of technical backgrounds and many have specific climate skill. I studied engineering although I’m in an unrelated field in business as a career. I’m not at all intimidated climate science or experts in general. It’s not like we are arguing over a math proof where at the end there is an exact proven right response. It’s a abstract field of estimations and best guessing with no ability to single out inputs in the real world.

      Yes, it’s likely tactical in her position as she contradicts with skeptical sympathy but can’t own up to the politcal attributes of her fellow AGW consensus peers. You’re giving too much credit to her courage because she is still waffling and offering protection to essential dishonest posturing of the consensus and public perception that science isn’t political when everyone who follows the topic know the opposite is true. Skeptics are under constant smearing over political leaning while the consensus hides under authority and vast social networks of the cultural left but does everything to obfuscate that culture. If you can’t tell people what political party most of the consensus players are part of it isn’t courage at work. If you want courage go see what Dr. Lindzen has endured the last 20 years. Imagine being stuck in Newton Massachusetts (Moonbat town in moonbat State, working at a moonbat university MIT) with his profile and positions.

      .

    • Skeptics are under constant smearing over political leaning while the consensus hides under authority and vast social networks

      Oh … In that case you have already won the argument.

      Scientist calls skeptic a political animal. Politics are irrelevant – FAIL

      Program execution halted:
      Core dump:
      Error Code: subjective scientist

      -10 points
      *ding*

    • cwon,

      Just so there’s no misunderstanding, I was casting myself in the role of scientific illiterate in the context of bugging our host for further explanation of her seemingly self-assured assertion that while we can’t attribute extreme weather to global warming, humans are indeed affecting the climate nonetheless.

      As to courage, the truth is I’d rather eat insects than testify before congress, so perhaps my standard is lower than yours. But i do think that Dr. C., has taken quite a lot of flack, having been accused of all the usual crap, from having been bought off by big oil to having had some sort of breakdown. I suspect it was very difficult for her, especially when she first began to publicly question the received wisdom.

      Am I bothered by her seeming equivocations? Yes. Sometimes a lot. Do I wish she’d be more forthcoming? Absolutely. But it’s important to look at the big picture. The blog alone has been a gift, and I appreciate it greatly. I can’t tell my liberal friends to read WUWT for obvious reasons. But I can suggest this one. I wonder how many warmists minds she’s already changed, or at least pried open just a bit.

  31. Some folks at insurance companies are likely to think that this is a bonanza for them. Insurers get to discount for hurricanes and such, you know. But they are wrong, at least in the US. It is a bonanza for lawyers.

    • “Some folks at insurance companies are likely to think that this is a bonanza for them.”

      “The $82 Billion Prediction”

      http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/11/82-billion-prediction.html

      There is too much in the article to post here, it needs to be read in full, but here is one extract:-

      “Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent.”

      “increase profits by 30 percent”?

  32. “The lower and middle classes cannot be expected to make responsible decisions on their own behalf. We have a responsibility to think for them.”

    The class system is dead.
    Long live paternalism!
    Paternalism by another name is expertism.

    The American Revolution was a reaction to the British paternalistic attitude. Libertarianism is about demanding to take responsibility for one’s own decisions. Hence capitalism, free enterprise, small government, right to do this .. right to decide that … right to not participate … consequences fall on the head of the decider.

    The Brits will continue to do what they have always done. The Americans will do so too. The Chinese will continue to be ‘Chin’. Nothing has changed but for this great inflationary bubble called AGW. … and other things have changed and will change also.

    Funny to see that my ability resides with ‘subjectivity’.

    There is autism (objectivity) and there is subjectivity (being stupid)

    The objective viewpoint is science (autistic). Let’s suppose that only 20% of the population are autistic type thinkers. That means that the remaining 80% of humanity are subjective type thinkers (stupid).

    I’m not blaming autistic type thinkers. They have done their job magnificently. Science would never have been without people having skill with the objective perspective.

    The crux of the fault resides with the 80% who naturally use subjective skills and have failed to understand and appreciate what ‘subjectivity’ means. I don’t believe for a moment that 80% of humanity are idiots because they are irrational, illogical, lack objectivity …. etc. (Not joking here)

    Autistic type thinkers are doing just fine with the AGW research. It’s the ‘subjective’ type participants are sucking a big limone in all this.

    (To be continued somehow somewhere and in whatever way)

  33. Judith Curry notes that ACE made the following statement: “But neither weather nor climate pays the slightest attention to what policy-makers are doing. And with events such as Hurricane Irene making themselves felt in politicians’ backyards, an attribution service might someday be seen as a good investment.”

    And when ACE studied the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of Hurricane Irene’s track, they’d discover that while the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies were elevated, they were not unusually high for the week centered on August 24,, 2011:
    http://i54.tinypic.com/2hcgwfq.jpg

    Or for the month of August:
    http://i53.tinypic.com/2vi37o3.jpg

    And when they looked at a long-term dataset, they’d discover that the linear trend of the SST anomalies for Irene’s track is negative since 1950:
    http://i53.tinypic.com/904l7k.jpg

    So they would have wasted their money with that one.

    The graphs are from the following post:
    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/sea-surface-temperature-anomalies-along-the-track-of-hurricane-irene/

  34. This ClimateEtc post chops up quotes and misconstrues reported comments, including Trenberth’s point that a ‘freestanding’ forecasting centre (as opposed to ACE’s current activity of collaboration of existing services) is unlikely do to resource allocation, above.

    Then the post adds that we can “save everyone tons of money on this” and links to NOAA ESRL, arguing they really just need a couple more employees to do the work, dismissing the (multiple) goals of ACE.

    Funny, but NOAA and notably NOAA ESRL do not appear to agree with Judith Curry.

    NOAA ESRL and other NOAA groups are participating organizations in ACE and NOAA states that collaboration within its internal groups and with external partnerships is the way of the future, in order to evolve the science more quickly, enable tools for both short and longterm forecasting, and aid communication of sound science about climate conditions and climate change to the public.

    Curry’s comments are curiously naive and out of touch with the concept and benefits of collaboration.

    • Martha,
      When looks at ACE through a critical, informed lens, ACE is nothing more than a way to sell fear based upon rewriting history to fit a predetermined narrative.
      Of course ‘critical and informed’ will disqualify you.

  35. When the weather gets weird … one question inevitably arises … is this global warming?

    1. Define weird as it applies to weather.
    2. Define global warming.

    Sloppy writing.

  36. Joshua – What is your evidence for your conclusions? Have you met the individuals involved? Spoken to them? Read other work they’ve produced? Is your evidence purely speculative? Circumstantial?

    In other words:

    I have not taken refuge behind the 5th amendment as it was my right to do. I challenge this committee — to produce any witness or evidence against. And if it do not — I hope they will have the decency to clear my name with the same publicity with which they have now besmirched it.

  37. It is interesting that apparently no one else has noticed (I pointed it out earlier – I guess she isn’t reading my posts anymore) that Judith’s link to her previous and extensive explanation of her reasoning has been broken since she first put up this post.

    Perhaps the reason why I’m perplexed by her assumptions about the motivations and intentions of the people behind ACE is because I’m the only one who’s bothering to read her post closely?

  38. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, I took a look at the product of the NOAA Boulder group you mentioned above, in particular a paper listed on that page as “Causes for Mid-Atlantic Snowstorms 2009/10″.

    It talks at length about how one of the causes of the mid-Atlantic snowstorms was the state of the NAO, the North Atlantic Oscillation. Presumably, this is what you mean when you talk about “fractional attribution”. They describe the study as follows:

    The severe 2009-2010 winter raises question about the causes for the mid‐Atlantic snowstorms, and how these extreme U.S. winter conditions are reconciled with global warming. To address these questions, the NOAA Attribution team, led by scientists at the Earth Systems Research Laboratory in partnership with Climate Prediction Center, National Climate Data Center and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, carried out an assessment of the 2009-2010 winter conditions.

    Now, our old friend Phil Jones has provided data (unchecked) for a page showing one measure of the NAO, which is “the difference between the normalised sea level pressure over Gibraltar and the normalised sea level pressure over Southwest Iceland.” Sometimes the Azores is used instead of Gibraltar. In their paper, the NOAA Boulder folks say the NAO is one of the causes of the harsh snowstorms.

    OK, so now we know that one of the causes of hard mid-Atlantic snowstorms is the difference between the barometric pressure in Iceland and the barometric pressure Gibraltar … wait, say what?

    Isn’t that just kicking the can down the road? We don’t know what caused the snowstorms to be so bad, so we say it was the state of the NAO … but then we don’t know what drove the NAO to that state. What made the pressure different in Iceland and Gib last winter, but not the winter before?

    Since we don’t know why the pressure is different in those two places, how does ascribing the snowstorms to the NAO (fractionally or otherwise) help us? All that we have done is substitute one unknown and unpredictable phenomenon ( the NAO) for another unknown and unpredictable phenomenon (the mid-winter snowstorms).

    You say above:

    They no longer refer to it as “attribution” but rather as “interpreting climate conditions.”

    I would say this is because attribution is (at least in theory) measurable, testable, falsifiable, and debatable. “Interpreting climate conditions”, on the other hand, is just jello, there’s nothing in there to test or to falsify.

    Here’s my own “interpretation of climate conditions”:

    By their very nature, large-scale weather conditions (AMO, PDO, MJO, AO, AAO) around the planet are all correlated in some degree to each other and to all other large-scale weather conditions.

    So wherever the NOAA Boulder group looks, they will find both large and insignificant correlations. And they can measure them and eventually tell us something like ‘we think 15% of the strength of the winter snowstorms is due to the AMO.’

    But this whole push to include “natural variations” like the AMO and the PDO and the like explains nothing until such time as we can explain (and hopefully eventually predict) the swings of the El Niños and the AMO and such. Until that day, saying that the AMO causes winter snowstorms is as valid and valuable as the ancients saying that Thor causes thunderbolts … it’s just substituting one unknown for another.

    Could their work be useful? Possibly, science is full of surprises. We’ll know, because if it is useful, it will assist us in our prediction of the weather. When they show me predictions by a state-of-the-art weather computer model being improved by their “understandings”, they’ll have something to talk about.

    Until then … it’s just talk, talk that just kicks the can even further down the highway.

    w.

    • Hi Willis,

      ‘Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century. The Maunder minimum (about 1650–1700) was a prolonged episode of low solar activity which coincided with more severe winters in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Motivated by recent relatively cold winters in the UK, we investigate the possible connection with solar activity. We identify regionally anomalous cold winters by detrending the Central England temperature (CET) record using reconstructions of the northern hemisphere mean temperature. We show that cold winter excursions from the hemispheric trend occur more commonly in the UK during low solar activity, consistent with the solar influence on the occurrence of persistent blocking events in the eastern Atlantic. We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect. Average solar activity has declined rapidly since 1985 and cosmogenic isotopes suggest an 8% chance of a return to Maunder minimum conditions within the next 50 years (Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29): the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades.’ http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001

      The mechanism involves solar UV interactions with ozone in the stratosphere. ‘During the descent into the recent `exceptionally’ low solar minimum, observations have revealed a larger change in solar UV emissions than seen at the same phase of previous solar cycles. This is particularly true at wavelengths responsible for stratospheric ozone production and heating. This implies that `top-down’ solar modulation could be a larger factor in long-term tropospheric change than previously believed,..’

      The warming and cooling of the stratosphere appears to have a dynamic link to sea level pressure at the poles and therefore the behaviour of the polar fronts and the jet streams.

      So the mysterious cause of shifting and interacting patterns of global climate – seen in the SAM, NAM, PDO, ENSO, PNA, IOD, etc – is a little better known and a bit more predictable. Expect extreme variation.

      http://static.pbsrc.com/flash/rss_slideshow.swf

      This is an ENSO proxy for the Holocene – many things can be seen in this graph. The drying of the Sahel 5000 years ago. The demise of the Minoan civilisation about 3,500 years ago. The peaks in ‘red shift’ in the time of the medieval warm period. The troughs around the little ice age. This is not to say that ENSO drives the changes – but that ENSO is part of a dynamic global system that is far more variable than anything we have seen in recent times.

      Cheers
      Robert I Ellison
      Chief Hyrologist

  39. China and Texas have large significant ACE programs. Enjoy

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Cites? Or is this an in-joke that went over my head?

      w.

    • Take a look at John Nelson-Gammon’s story about rain making from about a month ago, esp the last episode. As to China, they have long been active in that field. The point is that once you get into climate modification almost any large nation can have a significant effect on a global scale for better or worse.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Eli, you do know what a citation is, don’t you? That wasn’t one.

      w.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Eli, you do know being a jerk is an option, no?

      You said that china has a “large significant ACE program”. I googled various combinations of “china” and ACE, spelled out or not, and got nothing.

      So I asked for a cite. You didn’t provide a citation, just more hints and allegations. So I asked again for a cite.

      In reply, you still didn’t provide a cite. Instead, you act like it was obvious that I should have googled “chinese weather modification”, how foolish of me not to have thought of that, Eli, I stand abashed before the master … and even then you don’t indicate which of the host of citations it brought up you might have been talking about.

      So you still haven’t provided a citation to what you meant, and now for a soupçon you want to be unpleasant about it … and you wonder why your side in this debate isn’t trusted?

      No thanks,

      w.

    • Willis, Eli is sure everyone appreciates your dead sheep act, but Texas is clearly working hard on attributing climate change and has reached some conclusions at the state level. China, maybe not so much

    • Doesn’t Rick Perry realize that nothing humans do can affect the weather

      Why is he wasting government resources on efforts that can’t possibly have any impact?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Eli, Willis is sure everyone appreciates your vaudeville act of referring to yourself in the third person, but it’s soooo last century … which may be why when, after Eli being asked repeatedly times for a citation, Eli provided one joke response and one dead link.

      And to think that when third-person Eli made your first post, I actually thought you had something scientific to add, so I figured I’d find out what it was … stupid me, after asking you several times for a cite, third-person Eli, posted a joke and a dead link.

      Well, Eli, third-person Willis is sure that everyone here can see that the joke and the dead link are perfect, they are totally appropriate and accurate symbols of your participation in the climate discussion … although your adherents will be too polite to mention it to you, I’m sure.

      No thanks,

      w.

    • Well, if you consider Texas a large ACE program, since it is just bordering on “unprecedented” then maybe you have picked Manabe’s sensitivity range? The IPCC compromise of 3 C does give a Monty Hall problem, Hansen is door 1, IPCC door 2 and Manabe door 3. Door 1 has goats, you picked door 2, whatta ya do? Or did you open door 3 first?

    • http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2009/jun/tx-paleo.png

      I don’t see where there would be a correlation between co2 and drought in Texas. Perhaps you can point out a paper showing one?

    • The Rabett is back to his useless posturing.
      The ACE con-artists may attempt to turn Texas into a demonstration project, but I can assure you that the state of Texas is doing no such thing.

  40. Willis Eschenbach

    Here’s the missing link to the page showing the AMO since 1850 or so …

    w.

  41. No need to belabor the point that the pseudoscience of attributing specific weather events to putative long-term climatic trends is spelled out in capital letters. Did these people jump out of a bad Ayn Rand novel or what? But there’s an important corollary to this this as well. Suppose that a destructive typhoon hits Bangladesh, for instance. Our helpful attributers will pin the blame for the typhoon on climate change and the blame for climate change on greedy affluent countries (i.e., us). Completing the syllogism will require a heartfelt apology from us for every adverse weather event in the world, and an assurance that a check is in the mail, not as a matter of compassion but to settle a tort claim.

    • Hey, we understand. You’re against this scientific research because you’re afraid of the data.

      I’m sorry, science isn’t going to hold still for you. :(

      You’ll have to try and reconcile your faith-based approach with the data.

  42. What about this article that tells us that global warming is causing the most recent drop in sea level? (Is that covered in the ACE programs?)
    http://notrickszone.com/2011/08/31/der-spiegel-global-warming-now-causes-sea-level-drop-through-weather-shifts/

  43. I’ve added the following clarification to my main post:

    Clarification. People seem confused as to why I am praising the NOAA group, while I am not at all impressed by the proposed ACE effort. The NOAA group examines the historical data record, looks for past analogues, and interprets the extreme weather event in the context of the weather and climate dynamics. In the three examples of “Whats happening now”, they explained the Russian heatwave, the snowy winter, and the tornado outbreak in the context of natural weather and climate variability. By contrast, the ACE effort is focused on using climate models to assess the fraction of the event that might be attributed to global warming. It is the use of climate models for this exercise that I object to, which I explained in a previous post.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/01/15/attribution-of-extreme-events/

    • This always seemed clear to me this time around, having learned much in that January thread – and agreed with much.

    • NOAA is fishing for a correlation
      ACE is fishing for a reason

      What a great team! :-D

      …. Who will speak for the silent mundane events?

    • If I am understanding you correctly, one way to look at ACE is that their job is to close the AGW sale by giving policy makers a rationalization to be afraid of any particular weather event by being able to pretend that typical weather event “X” is in fact evidence of CO2, whatever “X” may be and whether or not “X” is unusual historically.
      Pravda gets in the weather business, in other words.

    • I’d be interested to know if Judith agrees that this is a fair representation of her view.

    • andrew adams and hunter

      Believe we are drifting into “why” the ACE program has been skewed to look at anthropogenic factors only as cause for extreme weather events (i.e. to give policy makers a rationalization for taxing carbon).

      Forgetting the “why”, it is a silly thing to do.

      OK. Admittedly IPCC has been guilty of exactly the same “silly” myopic fixation on anthropogenic factors alone, essentially ignoring or downgrading natural factors, so maybe it’s only natural that NOAA would do the same.

      But it’s still “silly” (as Judith has already stated in other words) and nothing sensible is likely to come out of ACE as a result..

      Max

    • Judith Curry

      It appears that ACE will be myopically concentrating all its efforts on a “piece of a piece” in order to get the “whole answer”.

      This does not sound like a sound plan, as you point out.

      Max

  44. Peter Stott, a climate scientist with the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre in Exeter and a leader of the ACE group. Stott is writing a white paper laying out plans and requirements for a near-real-time attribution system

    Making (a)mends for a messed up temperature data set.
    Crafty scientific manipulation and audit by experts.

    • Raving,
      From their pov, the data set did its job perfectly.
      Now the same con-artists are going to fabricate (no fishing involved) post modern ‘facts’ (lies) to prove that CO2 is a crisis that can only be solved by taxing.

  45. “It talks at length about how one of the causes of the mid-Atlantic snowstorms was the state of the NAO, the North Atlantic Oscillation. Presumably, this is what you mean when you talk about “fractional attribution”.

    Bastardi nailed that winter beautifully, calling for well above snow fall in the mid-atlantic states and brutal cold, relative to averages, in Florida. My wife and I cancelled a planned 3 month stay in Key West that winter on the basis of that forecast, and we were very glad we did as they broke all kinds of cold records..

    My point is that Bastardi of course, made that forecast on the basis of natural climate drivers only. So who are you going to believe as to causes? The guy who made the correct forecast, or the fools who tried to cover their tracks by explaining how being wrong (yet again) really meant that they were right.

    The post hoc attempt by establishment climate scientists to blame the cold and snow on global warming is ludicrous. I think that was the winter that so badly broke UKMET’s collective spirit with yet another botched forecast for warm weather, that they decided to stop issuing seasonal forecasts altogether, which as many of us know led to them making even bigger fools of themselves last winter…

    What continues to amaze me is that the serial attributors keep forgetting one minor details: THERE HAS BEEN NO GLOBAL WARMING In NEARLY 15 YEARS.

  46. The drivers of climate are not understood, the long term past trends of climate are not known and now they are going to try to attribute current “extreme” weather events to man? The news already does this anyway, they just want to be able to say “scientists agree”.

    This is the equivalent of saying “God is angry with us and is punishing us!”.
    Why don’t they just make “The Day After Tomorrow” part of the school curriculum?

  47. Natural Feedback

    Dear Prof. Curry,

    In your comments, you raise some important concerns about the scientific validity of attribution of weather events to anthropogenic causes. Of additional concern to me are statements from the article:
    “Reliable attribution of extreme weather events is also important for the public’s understanding of climate change, and to their willingness to support measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.”
    — and —
    “Surveys suggest that people who feel they have personally experienced the effects of climate change are more likely to believe it is a real problem and one that needs solving than those who have not.”

    ACE sounds like a useful propaganda tool to take advantage of people’s susceptibility to a post hoc fallacy. However worthy the goal may be to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, twisting science, logic, and statistics to increase a particular belief is not good for the future of science.

    So few are standing up against the basic corruption of science principles- thank you for your bravery and integrity.

    NF

  48. When I read about this, these two words suddenly appeared in my mind: confirmation bias.

  49. Oh, and as the UK Met Office is involved, I’m pretty sure the effort will rapidly descend into farce.

  50. Judith,

    Looking for that pattern is not wise or even using common sense. We are in a changing planet with many factors that are never reproduced again from day to day. Yet the consensus is to look for that pattern.

  51. Cross-post from Bishop Hill Blog:

    “I quote from that ‘Nature’ article:
    “In one, Pardeep Pall, an atmosphere researcher at the University of Oxford, UK, and his team generated several thousand simulations of the weather in England and Wales during the autumn of 2000. Some of the simulations included observed levels of human-generated greenhouse gases, whereas others did not. The researchers then fed the results of each simulation into a model of precipitation and river run-off to see what kind of flooding would result. In 10% of the cases, twentieth-century greenhouse gases did not affect the local flood risk. But in two-thirds of the cases, emissions increased the risk of a catastrophic flood — like the one that occurred in 2000 — by more than 90%.”
    If this is the way they’re going to do it – and chances are that is exactly how they will do it – then it is yet another worthless exercise, costing us God-knows-how much million quids.

    That paper by Pall et al has been precisely dissected by Willis Eschenbach, IIRC, at WUWT, at the time it was published (sorry, didn’t bookmark it).
    The main point of the critique was that Pall modelled the weather in England and Wales at that time, then used these model results and shoved them into yet another model.
    That is the celebrated ‘science’ – for which we pay in several ways.

    No surprise that Travesty Trenberth is involved …”

    • All of the state-sponsored AGW alarmists’ lies from the likes of ‘Travesty Trenbreth’ et al., do nothing but create and spread superstition, ignorance, misery, poverty and death–all to feed the Education Industrial Machine–and, helping to keep humanity in chains:

      “Not having electricity means millions of Africans don’t have refrigerators to preserve food and medicine. Outside of wealthy parts of our big cities, people don’t have lights, computers, modern hospitals and schools, air conditioning — or offices, factories, and shops to make things and create good jobs. Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles, and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities.” ~Fiona Kobusingye, Uganda

  52. If ever funded, possibly ACE could first use their climate models to explain this long list of past severe weather events:

    http://www.c3headlines.com/bad-stuff-happens.html

    • very interesting link

    • That is interesting.

      Apparently the only extreme weather events in 2011 were cold weather events. None others are listed. And up until around 2006, the only extreme weather events were hot weather events.

      Fascinating, indeed.

    • Weather before co2 fear mongering, who would off thunk it!?

    • Poor cwon. He’ll swallow anything.

    • Nandra, I have to wonder if you have understood. ACE is a collaboration of existing organizations. The misleading presentation by Judith Curry of Trenberth’s comments re. funding refers to the potential for a ‘freestanding’ version of the collaborating groups.

      Re the C3 link, what do you wish to say, exactly? Your C3 link and implied meaning of the link is in my view and the view of many others, not ‘very interesting’, at all. It promotes conclusions that are not consistent or intended by the research cited, and the ‘headlines’ amount to an arbitrary denialist perspective on the cause of the current warming trend/climate change. Other similar problems are associated with that website’s presentation and communication of science.

      Openness, and the volume of disinformation for gullible people on the topic of climate change on the web should not be mistaken for additional information.

    • You’re a dense angry troll if there ever was one. How is a very long list of pre-alarmist co2 weather headlines not another confirmation of the hype and collectivist state you support in the name of climate/energy regulations?

      Just dying for the “fairness doctrine” for the internet aren’t you Martha, then Big Brother could truly shine!

    • Poor little cwon, why so angry? It’s just facts. Reality. It only hurts for a minute.

    • Martha,
      ACE is a marketing organization designed to make weather more scary by pretending that weather today is different from the weather of the past and can only be cured by regulating CO2.
      The rest of your predictable spew is just to avoid this.

    • “ACE is a marketing organization designed to make weather more scary”

      Would you have time to say why you think that, Hunter?

      We can perhaps deal with your perception of my ‘predictable spew’, some other time. :-)

      Thanks.

    • ACE exists to sell the AGW community views by creating a deeply desired cause and effect.
      This is no different than selling a new toothpaste showing people with nice white teeth having an exciting love life and great social success.
      The toothpaste marketing is designed to link good teeth with good sex and social status.
      ACE exists to link a hurricane or a snowstorm to CO2, offering AGW believers satsifaction that their chosen beliefs are actually based on reality.
      That the storm or snow is no different from other storms or snows is irrelevant. The linkage fulfills the deeper need of the believer.
      Your railing away against looking at the histories of extreme weather in favor defending ACE is a great example of why ACE exists: to prevent people like you from actually thinking.

  53. “’The idea is to look every month or so into the changing odds’” associated with that influence, says Peter Stott, a climate scientist with the UK Met Office’s…

    ___________

    No it isn’t. The idea is to ride the backs of the productive like ticks–pretending to science– and all the while providing nothing of utility to society.

  54. The principles of what ACE is trying to do are straightforward. If you want to estimate, say, what cigarette smoking costs our economy, you would estimate (model) what the disease burden would be without any smokers, and then you compare it to what the disease burden is actually determined to be. If you want to see the effect of a seatbelt law, then you estimate the difference in cost between an accident with seatbelts and one without, and apply that difference to seatbelt use today versus an estimate (model) of seat belt use after the proposed change.

    I don’t see how one could estimate the cost of global warming honestly without a calculation of this kind. I can’t imagine Dr. Curry is opposed to doing a calculation of this kind.

    Attributing specific events to climate change in real time is apt to be difficult, and the people looking into it are not saying it isn’t difficult, but to say it’s impossible and there’s no point in researching it seems foolish. I guess it depends what you mean by “attributing.” If you mean convicting climate change in a legalistic paradigm — “beyond a reasonable doubt” — in a specific incident, probably natural variation makes that really hard, at least until the events become more extreme than the one’s were seeing today. But we can’t “convict” smoking of specific cases of cancer or of a particular heart attack or stroke either. What matters is if you can attribute risk. So the question that matters is:

    Does global warming make this event more likely, and how much more likely?

    Difficult question, but not impossible. Then, if global warming makes an event ten times more likely, we’d say a given event is 0.9 or 90% attributable to climate change. There are complications (in the case of an incident like Irene, for example, where global warming contributed to the ease with which the storm moved far north of the typical US hurricane landfall, you’d need to compare Irene not to nothing, but to the expected features of the storm without the effects of warmer conditions.)

    • Robert

      Where you position does not seem to make sense in the comparison to studying lung cancer.

      The studies of lung cancer 1st involved multiple analyses that initially demonstrated a connection between smoking and increased risk of cancer based upon good hard data that demonstrated cause and effect. There is no such data linking increased CO2 to a change in weather events- what you support is nothing more than supposition for emotional reasons—not science.

      There have been many extreme weather events throughout history. We certainly do not fully understand our planets weather process. As an example, the person you admire and support (James Hansen) made a completely inaccurate prediction less than 6 months ago that turned out WRONG.
      James “Handcuffs” Hansen ‘nails’ another one of his climate predictions that he made in March 2011.
      “Based on subsurface ocean temperatures, the way these have progressed the past several months, and comparisons with development of prior El Niños, we believe that the system is moving toward a strong El Niño starting this summer. It’s not a sure bet, but it is probable.”

    • The studies of lung cancer 1st involved multiple analyses that initially demonstrated a connection between smoking and increased risk of cancer based upon good hard data that demonstrated cause and effect.

      That would be your mistake: studies on lung cancer call only demonstrate correlations between smoking and lung cancer. Based on a model of how the body works and how smoking effects the body, a hypothesis of cause and effect is constructed. It’s a good hypothesis, but no one has ever directly observed cigarette smoking causing cancer.

      ” . . . hard data”

      If you want more hard data, support the research proposals. To give the limits of the science as a reason to not improve the science with further investigation is silly.

      There is no such data linking increased CO2 to a change in weather events . . .

      Interesting claim. Citation needed. Global warming is not linked to heat waves? Love to see your extraordinary evidence of that extraordinary claim.

      How does your resentment and envy of James Hansen fit into this? It doesn’t seem at all related to what we’re talking about.

    • Robert,

      Analogies to smoking and seat belt laws are fallacious for several reasons. We are talking about attributing events in the extreme right tail to specific causes. By definition these are rare events, so the sample size is inherently small. Unlkike smoking -> cancer or seat belts -> accident survival, there is no Law of Large Numbers to bail you out. And, no controlled experiment as well.

    • Analogies to smoking and seat belt laws are fallacious for several reasons.

      None of the reasons you give in support of this assertion are persuasive. Weather happens every day: it’s not a “rare event.” “Extreme weather events” are just events towards the tail. There are no controlled experiments in seat belt use, either. There are no prospective RCTs randomizing people to smoking. It’s mostly observational data, as with climate studies.

    • The fixationof AGW beleivers on tobacco is fascinating, but is better studied by psychologists.
      The point the believers work so hard to avoid is that the weather that allegedly shows the fingerprints of CO2 is indistinguishable from the weather that does not.
      The mental effort by the AGW community to avoid this is considerable.
      It will be interesting to learn why they work so hard to do this.

    • Indeed. Imagine where the anti-smoking lobby would be today if, after hypothesising that carcinogens in cigarette smoke will cause cancer, it was found that cancer rates were pretty much indistinguishable between smokers and non-smokers. Would the anti-smoking lobby then have had to resort to attributing how much of each cancer might have been due to smoking to achieve their aims?

    • Smokers are over-represented in lung cancer cases, and by a very large margin – that much is indisputable.
      However, the same cannot be said about CO2 and extreme weather events.
      Neither can it be said about so-called ‘passive smoking’

    • Neither can it be said about so-called ‘passive smoking’

      Here we go again, eh?

      BTW – I thought of you when I read about this study:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44444655/ns/health-childrens_health/#.TmprKtRENYA

    • Joshua,
      When I was a kid, everyone smoked (well, the vast majority of adults) and ear infections were no more common than now.
      Have you never heard of dose-response? The amount of smoke inhaled by ‘passive’ smokers is almost microscopic in comparison with smokers, yet you place attribution to disease in the same ball-park? What are you guys smoking? ;-)

    • Peter –

      The amount of smoke inhaled by ‘passive’ smokers is almost microscopic in comparison with smokers, yet you place attribution to disease in the same ball-park?

      Who put the attribution of effects from passive smoke in the “same ball park” as the attribution of effects from active smoking?

      The epidemiological studies that show deleterious effects of second hand smoke are extensive, comprehensive, and widespread. Attribution with hard to control variables are always difficult, but there is an abundance of evidence. To dismiss that evidence is to dismiss the entire process of bio-medical/epidemiological research.

      Mice studies, studies of life expectancy of people expose to second-hand smoke, studies that examine rates of asthma and other respiratory problems. If you really examine the research, the evidence is very extensive.

      And none of it puts the impact of passive smoke in the “same ball park” as the impact of active smoking.

    • And for those who may not be as taken with MSNBC as a scientific source, here is a contrary analysis of some of the major second hand smoke “studies” and their flaws.

      I don’t know if the arguments made on that site are accurate, I am no statistician, but many of them sound very similar to the type of statistical malpractice found in much that passes for climate science.

    • Gary -

      Who used MSNBC as a “scientific source?” The authors of the study are the “scientific source.”

      Have you looked at the “scientific source” you linked? I have in the past. Take a look at what that site uses as evidence obtained from empirical bio-medical/epidemiological studies and get back to me.

      K?

    • Here’s another “scientific source” for you, Gary:

      http://www.forces.org/News_Portal/news_viewer.php?id=837

      d) “Causation” of cancer and heart disease from smoking, a patently fallacious interpretation of statistical evidence, is consistently portrayed as clear and indisputable fact, as if scientifically established.

      You fellas are hilarious.

    • Peter –

      Do you have children? Would you sit them an enclosed space with an idling diesel engine all day long?

      Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has been shown to produce more particulate-matter (PM) pollution than an idling low-emission diesel engine. In an experiment conducted by the Italian National Cancer Institute, three cigarettes were left smoldering, one after the other, in a 60 m³ garage with a limited air exchange. The cigarettes produced PM pollution exceeding outdoor limits, as well as PM concentrations up to 10-fold that of the idling engine.

      How about in a 60 cubic meter garage with 10 idling diesel engines?

      Really – you fellas are too funny.

    • Joshua,

      I read through the various arguments on that site some time ago. I am impressed by the errors you have pointed out in the analyses there. Oh wait…you didn’t.

      And I made fun of your citing MSNBC because you wrote:

      “BTW – I thought of you when I read about this study:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44444655/ns/health-childrens_health/#.TmprKtRENYA

      Had you cited to the actual study, you would have deprived me of the pleasure of making fun of your comment. You would also have saved anyone who wanted to read the “study” the work of locating it.

      Moreover, the MSNBC piece states “The findings come from a combination of 61 past studies.” So the article is not citing a study, but a compilation of studies. And as anyone who has followed the climate debate knows, all you have to do to control the results of such a meta-analysis is pick the right “studies.” But that’s OK, I am sure you checked their work, reviewed each of the 61 studies, and verified they were representative of all the research on that subject right?

      Or as a “consensus follower,” do you not feel the need to know the actual facts of the studies, relying just what MSNBC, the Huffington Post or Think Progress says about them?

    • I do have children, two of them, raised them myself and they are doing fine. Thanks for asking.

      And with new engines, sitting in a garage with a car idling isn’t Nearly as dangerous as it used to be.

      But I do agree that anyone wanting to better understand the climate debate can learn a lot from the second hand smoke debate. That is what the site I linked to demonstrates quite clearly.

    • Joshua,
      Come off it. You talk about an ‘abundance of data’ as if quantity equals quality.
      You say, “Attribution with hard to control variables are always difficult”.
      That’s the very reason why high standards of statistical rigour should be observed, as it’s far too easy to make false attributions when the actual evidence is very weak and ambiguous.
      I’m sure the research evidence is very extensive – unfortunately one of the side-effects of too many researchers chasing too few research grants.
      Can you explain why the incidence of childhood asthma is very much higher now than it was decades ago when exposure to tobacco smoke was very much higher?
      Can you explain why the large confounding factor of hugely increased exposure to diesel particulates, which contain some of the most carcinogenic compounds known to man, as opposed to weak and rapidly oxidised carcinogens in tobacco smoke, wasn’t taken into account in the ETS research?
      Can you explain why tobacco smoke is so much more harmful than other forms of smoke, you know the type of smoke which has filled human houses, cave-dwellings and recreational areas for thousands of years?
      And can you explain what motivated the authorities in England to bring in the ridiculous ban on smoking on open-air railway platforms, where one can hardly breathe in the choking fumes when a diesel locomotive passes through?

    • Gary – seriously, bro – that’s hilarious. Because the link went through MSNBC, therefore you can tell something of significance about the study.

      Just dismiss it out of hand, because I linked to it through MSNBC.

      The comparative analysis of PM in cigarette smoke and diesel engines was published in 2004. The cars were presumably a couple of years old.

      So you would have no problem with sitting your kids in a 60 cubic meter room with 10 idling 2002? diesel engines – because it isn’t as dangerous as it used to be.

      That really was a particularly hilarious point, Gary.

      OK – to each his own, I guess.

    • Can you explain why the incidence of childhood asthma is very much higher now than it was decades ago when exposure to tobacco smoke was very much higher?

      Wow! Because there are other uncontrolled variables related to your question, Peter. Studies that control for variables show a relationship between second-hand smoke and respiratory problems. Extensive, comprehensive, empirical analysis done by experienced epidemiologists.

      Can you explain why the large confounding factor of hugely increased exposure to diesel particulates, which contain some of the most carcinogenic compounds known to man, as opposed to weak and rapidly oxidised carcinogens in tobacco smoke, wasn’t taken into account in the ETS research?

      That would not be true, Peter. Much of the research into the effects of second-hand smoke is empirical analysis that controls for variables.

      Can you explain why tobacco smoke is so much more harmful than other forms of smoke, you know the type of smoke which has filled human houses, cave-dwellings and recreational areas for thousands of years?

      Peter – again you seem to be confusing variables. Just because other kinds of smoke are harmful, or may be more harmful than cigarette smoke, proves absolutely nothing about the deleterious impact of second-hand tobacco smoke.

      And can you explain what motivated the authorities in England to bring in the ridiculous ban on smoking on open-air railway platforms, where one can hardly breathe in the choking fumes when a diesel locomotive passes through?

      I haven’t spoken to them, Peter – but I would imagine that it is a combination of a general acceptance of the vast amounts of empirical, epidemiological analysis that shows the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, along with a basic presumption that one person has no right to subject another person to harmful environmental exposures.

    • oops, I meant to say, “incidence of childhood asthma is very much lower

    • OK fellas, I’m out. It’s been fun.

      Judith – are you reading exhange?

    • Actually, Peter – I think that you did mean your question to be why asthma rates are higher now than they were when second-hand smoke exposure rates where higher – don’t you?

      If your question was why are rates lower now, first, I don’t see how your question would be consistent with your viewpoint, and second, it would be a completely ridiculous question: asthma prevalence rates have been increasing since the 1980′s.

    • Joshua:

      …experienced epidemiologists

      Wow, just wow!
      Do they get the inexperienced ones to make the tea then?
      You seem to regard these people with awe, as if they’re inherently of greater integrity, honesty etc than an equivalent population of 2nd-hand car salesmen or ambulance-chasing lawyers.

      Get yourself a copy of, “The rise and fall of modern medicine”, by Dr James LeFanu.

    • Joshua,

      Because there are other uncontrolled variables related to your question

      Yes, uncontrolled variables which hugely affect the outcome, but after all of that you can still tease the tobacco smoke signal out of all the noise. Isn’t epidemiology wonderful?

      …again you seem to be confusing variables. Just because other kinds of smoke are harmful…

      So the human system evolved over the millennia to cope with all sorts of bacteria, viruses, toxins etc, but now the slightest whiff of tobacco smoke is going to kill us?

      If your question was why are rates lower now, first, I don’t see how your question would be consistent with your viewpoint, and second, it would be a completely ridiculous question

      You know exactly what I mean, or are you going to hold a typo against me?

      asthma prevalence rates have been increasing since the 1980′s

      How would you explain this, in the face of rapidly falling exposure to tobacco smoke?

    • Imagine where the anti-smoking lobby would be today if, after hypothesising that carcinogens in cigarette smoke will cause cancer, it was found that cancer rates were pretty much indistinguishable between smokers and non-smokers. Would the anti-smoking lobby then have had to resort to attributing how much of each cancer might have been due to smoking to achieve their aims?

      The problem is that in reality, there is a causal relationship between lung cancer and smoking – and so it makes sense to try to measure the level of attribution. Would you be satisfied if epidemiologists had simply said “There is a causal relationship, and may be miniscule or it may be very significant – but we’re not going to bother to try to evaluate the degree of causality because it would have negative economic impact, or because it would be difficult to assign a precise attribution?”

      If you are sure that there is a possibility that global climate might be anthropogenically-affected, and you think that it is a possibility that global climate might affect localized extreme weather phenomena, then this kind of research would make sense. Even if you are only 90% sure that global climate is anthropogenically-affected, and aren’t 100% sure but see good reason to believe that global climate affects localized extreme weather phenomena, this kind of research would make sense.

      If, on the other hand, you are 100?% sure that climate is not anthropogencially-affected, or if you are 100% sure that global climate cannot affect localized weather phenomena, then this kind of research would make no sense. Maybe you have insight that doesn’t allow for any uncertainty in your perspective – but it seems unrealistic to think that everyone else would be 100% certain as you seem to be.

      Of course, there’s also the possibility – as suggested by Judith – that these researchers are only interested in exploiting natural disasters to keep their funding going or for partisan purposes. Since I don’t know the people involved, and haven’t spoken to them, I’ll stay away from such facile assumptions about their motivations and intentions.

    • Never took a course in logic did you?

      “If you are sure that there is a possibility that global climate might be anthropogenically-affected…”

      vs.

      “If, on the other hand, you are 100?% sure that climate is not anthropogencially-affected…”

      I am sure there is a possibility that global climate might be anthropogenically-affected. I am also sure there is a possibility that climate might be only negligibly anthropogenically. Neither proposition tells us anything of value in the policy context.

      However, I am absolutely certain that anyone who claims sufficient certainty of CAGW to justify the decarbonization of the global economy, given the current state of our knowledge about the climate, is 100% nuts.

    • Id suggest the opposite. With nothing known that can compete with the 5+wm-2 forcing from pushing CO2 up to silly ppm, it is a massively reckless gamble to do so considering that we live in a climate susceptible to changing when forced.

    • I am sure there is a possibility that global climate might be anthropogenically-affected.

      I agree, Gary.

      Which is why I think that trying to determine attribution linking localized extreme weather phenomena and global climate change makes sense – so we have a better basis on which to determine what kinds of mitigation policies would be viable.

    • lolwot:

      …considering that we live in a climate susceptible to changing when forced

      Evidence?

    • Joshua, As for asthma, mold has a strong link with air conditioning related mold and tight building energy saving measures containing molds. The asthma and passive smoke link was pretty weak. Not that passive smoke is good, bad or nothing, there just have been a few weird conclusions from child health studies, like “eat more dirt”, one of those was that passive smoke seemed to help reduce asthma occurrence.

    • Joshua, As for asthma, mold has a strong link with air conditioning related mold and tight building energy saving measures containing molds. The asthma and passive smoke link was pretty weak.

      You will note that I was pretty specific in saying that the evidence linking second smoke to respiratory problems is strong.

      I merely discussed asthma because Peter brought up prevalence rates as a supposed example that disproves the negative effect of ETS. The problem with his example is that he didn’t control for the impact of other variables – such as those you mention – in his example.

      Not that passive smoke is good, bad or nothing, there just have been a few weird conclusions from child health studies, like “eat more dirt”, one of those was that passive smoke seemed to help reduce asthma occurrence.

      I’m not sure why examples of weird conclusions call into question extensive epidemiological evidence that links second-hand smoke to deleterious health effects.

      So if you don’t want to weigh in on the effects of ETS – let me ask you a question: Controlling for all other toxicities in diesel exhaust, would you have any problems with putting a young child in a 60 cubic meter room with 10 idling diesel engines?

    • Joshua, Asthma is just one of many respiratory conditions effected by mold. One of the factors in more mold health issues is drywall. The use of dry wall which is made of paper and dirt is nearly perfect for breeding mold, just add a little water, started in the wide spread use in the 1950s. Air conditioning became affordable in late sixties. If I am not mistaken, the passive smoke studies did not allow for mold that was impacted by both extensive use of dry wall and air conditioning. I believe the studies where based on linear no thresh hold models. This is the problem with linear no thresh hold models, while their results may be considered statistically significant, a lot of the time they ain’t, That bring us back to what is statistically significant?

      I am not trying to play the merchant of doubt. If a linear no threshold model barely shows significance though, it probably isn’t. Lumping a volume of studies who’s results are maybe a coin toss together is no where near as convincing as picking a few, describing the methods and results. Look at some of the studies you referenced. There is a lot of junk statistics thrown around by both sides.

    • Dallas – as the result of two basement floods the last couple of weeks, unfortunately I’m quite aware of the problems with mold and drywall.

      Just a quick use of The Google returns this:

      http://cfpub2.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=2835

      For the noncancer respiratory effects in nonsmoking adults, most studies used spousal smoking as an exposure surrogate. A causal association was concluded to exist for a number of respiratory disorders where there was sufficient consistent evidence for a biologically plausible association with ETS that could not be explained by bias, confounding, or chance. The fact that the database consists of human evidence from actual environmental exposure levels gives a high degree of confidence in this conclusion. Where there was suggestive but inconclusive evidence of causality, as was the case for asthma induction in children, ETS was concluded to be a risk factor for that endpoint. Where data were inconsistent or inadequate for evaluation of an association, as for acute upper respiratory tract infections and acute middle ear infections in children, no conclusions were drawn.

      (This paper is from 1992 – which could explain why their assessment of middle ear infections/ETS exposure in children was inconclusive.

      What reason would you have to assume that living in homes with drywall mold would be a confounding factor in a study sample where spousal exposure was the variable controlled for?

      Please note – as is consistent with my comments above – the level of confidence expressed in causal linkage between ETS and (new cases of as opposed to aggravation of existing conditions of) asthma is lower than with bronchitis, reduced lung function, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, etc.

      Here’s a study of ETS and respiration in mice – I tend to doubt that drywall mold and air conditioning would have been a confounding variable:

      http://www.jimmunol.org/content/159/12/6169.abstract

    • Joshua, I haven’t had the time to really go through all the studies, a couple things jump out though. A Boston study showed significant passive smoke effect while the Tucson showed no significant impact, a possible link to mold. The US studies generally focused on female/child, while there is limited data, smoking female with non-smoking male results would tend to be helpful. Males, for of whatever reason, tend to be either less susceptible to mold issues or less likely to complain or see a doctor.

      I don’t foresee a huge difference in the passive smoke results, but I suspect they are biased slightly high.

      The only reason I am at all concern with this is I used to do indoor air quality surveys in the Southeast, mold by far was the primary culprit, with VOCs a distant second.

    • DaveJR,
      So instead of dealing with the issue, AGW, you are fixated on tobacco.
      That is truly amazing.

    • In a warmer world there is plenty of reason to expect weather patterns to be different, which may include changes in the frequency and other properties of types of weather events. It is appropriate to start looking for these changes now.

      In hindsight, say sitting there in 2100, we will be able to statistically distinguish them from historical data. The question is can we get ahead of the game and be able to attribute changes now?

    • What makes you think it will be possible to statistically distinguish them from historical data in 2100, or any other time for that matter?
      And what makes you think we have the remotest chance of being able to attribute changes now?
      Stick to looking for needles in haystacks – at least you have a fighting chance there.

    • Because I think the world will be a few degrees warmer than today in 2100 and with 130+ years of good satellite and other data I think the early period/late period will yeild a lot of statistically significant differences.

      The other possibility is that a world 3C warmer than present is identical in all aspects to the current one. I don’t buy that.

    • The decade after 2000 was warmer than any previous decade on record, or does that not count as statistically significant or a climate-relevant fact?

    • Jim D, what has that got to do with the weather?

    • lolwot,

      What will the difference in energy flux be?

    • Weather patterns in a colder world are different as well.
      Do you have a point?

    • “The fixationof AGW beleivers on tobacco is fascinating,”

      The right-wingers who go in for climate denier really hate to be reminded of tobacco lobby denial, another failed pseudoscience lapped up by ignorant zealots.

      In the end, what it comes down to is, who do you believe, 97% of the world’s climate scientist, or one right-wing zealot who can’t spell “believers.”

    • Where did you get 97%?

    • Robert,
      The lefty believers who go for AGW depend on confusing tobacco with CO2 are much more interesting.
      As to spelling- this is a blog, not that English class you flunked out of.

    • “The lefty believers who go for AGW . . .”

      Actually we have a lot of polling on this now, and independents “go for” the mainstream climate science, as do the Democrats, and even a slim majority of the Republicans. Only the real carpet-chewing right — the Tea Party and more extreme — deny the reality of AGW.

      People who believe what climate scientists are saying seem “lefty” to you because you are a right-wing extremist. In reality, though, accepting the science is normal; the polling shows a right-wing fringe at odds with a broad middle, not a right fringe against a left fringe.

      Sorry to spoil your fantasy! ;)

    • Robert,
      I hope you continue to believe what you claim to believe.

  55. So having failed in their predictions generally, schmidt and co are now trying to scare people by saying “ooh its windy, that’s global warming you know”.

    Pathetic. Desperate.

  56. “Difficult question, but not impossible. Then, if global warming makes an event ten times more likely, we’d say a given event is 0.9 or 90% attributable to climate change.”

    The Zen of AGW has spoken, what hat did you pick your numbers from or it it just the hope if a million activist think the same lie and shout loud we should fall in line? Climate hyperbole and guessing brought to the next level, now we can see the move to drop co2 off the main menu since it can’t be quantified, focus on change and consequences of weather, shake well for fear purposes and claim the science supports carbon rations and “adaptation collectivism”.

    It’s just another confirmation of how low climate science has sunk and the agw minions loss of any logic another indicator.

    • The Zen of AGW has spoken, what hat did you pick your numbers from . . .

      Is the math too hard for you? Try a statistics course.

    • Making up numbers is “statistics”?

    • cwon14

      Making up numbers is “statistics”?

      Yes.

      Next question?

    • “Making up numbers is “statistics”?”

      The postulate “a sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” has a corollary: “To the mathematically illiterate, numbers seem to appear out of nowhere.”

    • Are you saying the technology is too advanced for you and that you are mathematically illiterate? Don’t worry, when you finish high school you might be more literate.

    • Robert,
      Where you pull your numbers out of is not magic at all.
      It is only a question of mechanics and your ability to tolerate extreme discomfort.

      robert

    • Hunter,

      Why don’t you start with the multiplication tables and work upwards?

      Your fear of math is going to be a real problem in overcoming your ignorance of science.

  57. Two observations.

    1. ACE is being proposed by Kevin Trenberth, who is on the record as saying that the climate null hypothesis must be that CO2 is causing climate change. I would therefore assume that ACE would interpret weather events using this standard.

    2. The NOAA group is comparing weather events to historical patterns. From this statement it appears that the NOAA group holds that natural conditions are the null hypothesis.

    From these observations I believe that I can reasonably suspect that we will get very different interpretations from the two groups.

  58. Odd, we can spend billions on abstract climate modls but we can’t get comprehensive overviews of who and what the consensus are and believe;

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/09/08/global-warming-a-98-consensus-of-nothing/

    The Storch survey is the best I’ve seen and the questions are highly steered in the supportive PC culture I and many despise;

    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/GKSS_2010_9.CLISCI.pdf

    Question 33 is a perfect example of the arrogant, self-absorbed climate cuture. The scale runs from “Industry Opinion” to “Science Expertise”, nice wording! As if academia/research always knows more than industry is baked into every pie.

    Trenberth and the ACE should just be defunded before it gets going. It’s another Trojan Horse that will be sold as benign but is set to become another AGW cancer in no time flat. Same people, same politics, same agenda under another new brand.

  59. Odd, we can spend billions on abstract climate modls but we can’t get comprehensive overviews of who and what the consensus are and believe;

    Wikipedia has a list of noted climate deniers. The non-deniers are the “consensus.” What they are is scientists. What they believe is the evidence, rather than right-wing fantasy.

    Hope this helps. ;)

    • Clueless as always Robert. Remarkable how much effort has gone into poll spinning for such a settled science.

      Why don’t move to call the “deniers” “the NAZIS” since that is the smear effect you are seeking? Or Dr. Curry could enforce the right decorum and ban those who use the term “denier” since we all understand the leftist lexicon meaning.

    • maybe people who use the term ‘leftist’ should be banned. We all know it means you are accusing people of being communists.

    • OK, let’s stick with “watermelons”. I’m up with that.

    • isn’t that term racist?

    • There are green skinned people? Who knew?

    • Hmmm….”leftist” vs. calling some one “anti-science”, “holocaust deniers” perhaps as Al Gore implied “modern racists”.

      Do you think those are equalized comparisons lolwot?

      I wonder how Dr. Lindzen feels about this? 40 years at MIT, expert in various climate topics and has board wonks or undergrads heckle him at lectures he’s invited to? “Anti-science”!!! the mob shouts.

      Your comparison is another case of no relative values or judgement either from logic or ethics. You have a right to be a leftist or even a communist. The deceit is in lack of disclosure and well organized social policy among your peers to obfuscate these facts in the debate. To a degree Dr. Curry supports this practice by not commenting on the dominating but certainly not uniform political views of her consensus peers. Why is this honest when skeptics are routinely smeared for leftist sterotype talking points?

    • It’s hilarious how cwon bumbles into Godwin’s Law over and over.

      “holocaust”

      You lose again. Sorry!

    • Clueless as always Robert.

      You made a little punctuation error.

      Clueless as always Robert:

      Fix’d! :)

      “leftist lexicon meaning”

      Still no link to the “leftist lexicon”? Are you ready to admit that that is another one of your paranoid fantasies?

      “the NAZIS”

      Sorry, got to call you on your Godwin’s Law violation. You lose. Better luck next rant! :)

    • “Denier” is a Godwin Law violation. You are clueless or more likely just you usual snark hypocrite.

    • Sorry, cwon, it isn’t. You’re a denier. That has nothing to do with Godwin’s Law.

    • Robert,

      “The non-deniers are the “consensus.” What they are is scientists.”

      Just so everyone knows the sort of “scientists” you’re talking about Robert, I’ll quote a couple:

      “Everyone’s God and if we don’t wake up to that there’s going to be no weather because our polar caps are meling because we’re doing bad things to the atmosphere.”–Charles Manson founder of ATWA (Air Trees Water Animals or All the Way Alive)

      “…climate change is not a luxury but a reality.”–the late Osama Bin Laden.

      And, Robert, do you happen to know who instituted the first modern, nationwide ban on smoking in public places? Google: “Smoking Ban wiki” and read the History section under that entry.

      Sorry, Robert, but the guys you seem to pal around with–your non-denier “scientist” comrades–kinda give me the creeps. But as a fast believer in personal freedom, I want you to know, Robert, that I would never deny you the right to own a fork (Charlie’s a different story, though)

    • “You might know them as environmentalists, enviro-communists, eco-Marxists, neo-Communists or eco-fanatics. They all claim they want to save the world from global warming but their true agenda is to contribute to create a world government lead by the UN or in other ways increase the transfer of resources (redistribute resources) from the developed Western world to the third world. They are using our trust and faith in science to spread lies and hysteria that will allow Marxists to implement socialist ―solutions to a problem that never actually existed.”

      -Anders Brevik

    • Look here. My wife lost a relative in that madman’s attack. To associate sceptical views with the actions of a deranged psycho is deeply offensive to me and many others.

    • Peter317,
      lolwot is just flailing away.
      Take it as free, albeit poor quality, entertainment.

    • I’m so sorry that climate denier brought this tragedy into your family.

      I see no evidence that Mr. Brevik was any more or less “deranged” than the denier that waved a noose at a climate scientist, or the one who promised to “get very organized and precise against you.” Some deniers make threats; Brevik actually carried those threats out.

      Facts are facts.

    • It takes a pathologically disturbed person to empathize so much with a deranged lunatic to think the crazy person is talking in anything other than gibberish.
      Robert, do your voices tell you this author

      is speaking for you?

    • Robert,

      A suggestion:

      Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and then say to yourself, “If I were to be entirely honest with myself, my loser blog “Idiot Tracker” would be entirely auto-biographical.”

      Facts are facts.

    • “Robert,

      A suggestion:”

      Sorry, mike, but your behavior around here doesn’t give me any reason to take your advice seriously.

      And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?

      Give it some thought.

    • It takes a pathologically disturbed person to empathize so much with a deranged lunatic to think the crazy person is talking in anything other than gibberish.

      Yes, but unfortunately Brevik did think Monckton was talking something other than gibberish. That’s why he self-published a manuscript praising him and denouncing climategate hours before murdering scores of people, including children.

      I’m not contesting the point that denialism is pathological. Of course it is. But it’s a broadly shared pathology, a mass delusion affecting millions of right-wingers around the world. Whether you call them deranged or not, Brevik shows why we can’t just ignore them.

    • Robert,

      You’ve never been known for the “zinger-comeback”, as we both know, Robert, but you’ve defied expectations with your last little retort. You know, I thought your “Bob the Fearless Nose-Puncher” schtick was your career-best. But this “Brother BoB Quotes Scripture” act is better still–it’s such a natural fit–pompous…sanctimonious. Yep, that’s you Robert! And the clerical collar is a nice, snappy touch.

      And what’s all that about my “behavior”? Moi? Behavior? Can’t imagine what you’re talking about.

    • Robert,

      Your: “…a mass delusion affecting millions of right-wingers around the world…Brevik shows why we can’t just ignore them.”

      Robert, ol’ buddy, we’ve gotta talk some turkey here. I hate to say it, but, Robert, you’ve become one freaking, weirdo, paranoid nut-case, guy. I mean over the deep-end and all that. What’s the deal, Robert? I mean like you’ve been getting more and more creepy lately, Robert.

      Hey, Robert…sssh There’s one under the bed…BOO! Made you jump!

    • Robert,

      Mike,
      You’re still not interesting.

      If you want my attention, try to raise your game.

      :)

    • Hey Robert (or Brother Bob, if you prefer),

      I messed-up the placement of my reply to your last in the thread. My response is below at September 9, 10:26 p. m. It’s one of my best and I didn’t want you to miss it.

    • Or of the unabomber – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski – and thousands of eco-terrorists setting bombs and incendiaries around the world.

      And just because it is said by a madman – doesn’t mean that there are not elements of truth. The conflation of ideas – dangerous warming, taxing energy and limits to growth – is the essence of the socially dangerous AGW fantasy I liken to a spaceship cult. As a result of converting food to fuel – food costs have increased for the already direly impoverished world. A madman – as horrific as it is – does not begin to compare to the largely unintended horrors of the green/left agenda.

      A world government is a core green agenda item – someone who expouses all the cult views is the leader of the Australian greens – but the views pollute the blogosphere and elsewhere widely.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_MpLocFQus

      You are denying obvious realities of the social landscape – because the views are fringe leftist rubbish and cannot get up with popular support and only by deceit..

    • That’s very good Chief, how do you explain Dr. Curry avoiding the obvious social/political meme driving the core of the eco-left and AGW core of which she is also a member?

    • I note it is a question that you ask again and again. But I still don’t get that there is any point to it.

    • Robert,

      Your: “You’re still not interesting.”

      I don’t know Brother Bob, but that doesn’t seem the sort of comment you’d expect from a man of the cloth like yourself. Kinda cranky sounding and all that. But you seem to be having an unusually bad day, I’ve noticed. And that I don’t interest you–well, Brother Bob, did it every occur to you that I might think that a blessing and validation of my wholesomeness?

      Your: “If you want my attention, try to raise your game.”

      Things are getting really weird here, Brother Bob. I mean what improbable impulse, coursing through the demented landscape of your fungus-among-us brain, prompted you to advertise the availability of your attention for a price? Good Lord! Brother Bob! Please! Please! I really, really don’t want your attention, thank you very much, Brother Bob. Honestly, I’m just having some fun joshing with you, Brother Bob. Why? Because I like screwing with zit-twits like you. That’s all. Don’t try to read any more into it than that. We square on that, Brother Bob?

    • Robert,

      Your: “You’re still not interesting.”

      Yep, that’s right. And with three more post trying to get my attention since then, add “desperate” to “uninteresting.”

      Didn’t the other girls teach you not to beg? It doesn’t increase your attractiveness.

    • Robert,

      Your: “Didn’t the other girls teach you not to beg?”

      So let me get this straight, Robert, you think it a snappy put-down to refer to me as a “girl”–and a “girl” in the image of a desperate, begging girl seeking your privileged-white-dork, weener-head attention?

      Do you realize, Robert, that your repugnant and offensive choice of insult only betrays your super-sized sicko need to exercise abusive control over women (and we can be sure that in the case of a can’t-get-a-date zit-popper like you, your “special” need is only satisfied through your totally filthy, self-inflicted, creep-out fantasies).

      You know what that makes you, Robert? Do you, Robert? That makes you a sexist schweinhund! A sexist schweinhund, Robert! What a booger-brain you are, Robert!

      And, oh by the way, I used to feel sorry for you that no one reads your loser blog. But not anymore.

  60. “ACE exists to sell the AGW community views by creating a deeply desired cause and effect” hunter

    Overall, and rightly or wrongly, what is it that you think climate researchers e.g. ACE and the ‘AGW community’ are in unconscious cahoots about, exactly?

    • You’re willing to talk about abstracts of co2 impact with no physical models or examples with confidence but you can’t figure out a relatively simple political culture that believes in collectivization at every possible turn? You define your own social enclaves found at the U.N./IPCC, academia, old media or in the climate science consensus group??

      Does this pass the laugh test Martha? What kind of sacred cow is Dr. Curry supporting by omission on the topic?

      There is nothing “unconscious” about the peer agenda at all, that doesn’t make it a conspiracy but when so many for a tactical deception play the “NY Times is a middle of the road publication” or “The IPCC has no political agenda” card it might appear to anyone remotely objective that
      you are in part delusional and any peer support on the point is likely dishonest to the facts.

    • Why are so many IPCC members not fanatical right wing?

      Because most of the world population aren’t. Including most right wing people. This is like Al Qaeda remarking on why so many of the IPCC are infidels as if it’s a conspiracy.

    • “Why are so many IPCC members not fanatical right wing?”

      Like the NYTimes editorial board or MSNBC?

      That makes lots of sense.

    • Martha,
      I was not aware you are neurotic about conspiraices.
      I hope they find you some medicine or a therapy medicine combination that is effective.
      Best regards,

    • Hunter, you said to me “ACE exists to sell the AGW community views by creating a deeply desired cause and effect”. So I asked you, “Overall, and rightly or wrongly, what is it that you think climate researchers e.g. ACE and the ‘AGW community’ are in unconscious cahoots about, exactly?”

      Yes, you often argue that you are smarter than people who believe in conspiracy theories and that is why I didn’t ask you to explain why you believe in one. I use the phrase ‘in cahoots’ to refer to the questionable collaborations you have clearly implied, and I used the term ‘unconscious’ to emphasize that I recognize that these collaborations are not secret plots i.e. conspiracies.
      I asked you to tell me what you think they are doing, and why. It’s your statement to explain. e.g. why do you think ACE wishes to sell this, on your view? who is the AGW community, on your view? what is the desired cause and effect, on your view? what is the nature of the association between ACE and this ‘community’, on your view?

      I prefer not to be medicated for asking what other people think about society. Thanks anyway, though. My choice. ;-)

    • That many times people find themselves in political peer groups isn’t a “conspiracy theory”. It is of course a social reality that this does happen and impacts debates of all types that may not seem overtly “political”. Hollywood creative, Washington Press Core, News and Wire Sercives, Major Circulation newpapers, Academic enclaves of many types, government and teacher as well as union employees are going to poll more to the left than the general society. There are many other sub groups that can be identified. Another group topical to this board is the “Eco Green” utopians who support massive regulations to support their ideals. A branch of that is the AGW movement and many parties of many of the other groups listed can be seen envolved; academics (especially those deeply government subsidized), researchers etc.and of course there are politcal parties that line up on these issues seeking votes such as labor or democrats. There are supporting media who assist and in fact dominate in one political spectrum. It isn’t a “conspiracy” and the reasons the enclaves of political views exist can be simple or long-standing and complex. It isn’t as if there isn’t internal dissent to these trends either. Of course there is more balanced or conservative media for example.

      The IPCC is a governmental creation involving academic and researchers on a largely Eco Green theme. The bias and activism isn’t a surprise or a conspiracy. That the group is likely to support “collective action” referring to government expansion again isn’t a “conspiracy” but it is in fact a reality. Without this outcome and goal this blog would likely not exist and few people would care regarding climate changes and related policy if they accepted as for thousands of years that nature is just that, natural and largely out of our control. Only by linking “fault” to human activity can taxation and human regulations be rationalized to the scales discussed. Hense the AGW agenda is formed among largely those left of the mean but on a very large global scale in this case. In as much as political colors are obfuscated by debate participants again isn’t a “conspiracy” but a curious social phenomenom seen in Gallup polls (a left of center organization by the way) where twice as many people describe themselves as “conservative” as “liberal” yet clearly we have a liberal party in control of two of three branches of government in the U.S.. These numbers have trended this way for 30-40 years by the way on the C vs. L label. No conspiracy but human behavior.

      The AGW community is part eco-left, academics, central planning from governments and coodinated through U.N. design. It offered a great oportunity to regulate, central plan, tax and redistibute wealth at a variety of levels. My only issue with this forum and Dr. Curry is the willful obfuscation of the climate “consensus” and academic backers who Dr. Curry knows fall largely in the eco-left community as well. Silence helps an illusion that science objectivity
      has dominated the efforts of the past 30 years when of course it hasn’t. Drumming people who dissent from the group bias isn’t a “conspiracy” either. It’s how social groups of like minded people are formed.

      The ulitmate irony of course if that true “conspiracy culture” is more defined in the very culture you belong to Martha, again for complex social reasons. It’s likely that filter of “big oil” or “the rich” ruling in secret that attract you to conspiracy outlooks of the world and should not be confused to legitimate peer associations that I and many list. Can you absorb the difference Martha? Ezra Klein coordinating news stories (talking points for liberal agenda purposes) on a secret internet list to achieve political impact might be considered a conspiracy but certainly many on the list had different motivations. Peer association can look like a conspiracy but it isn’t the willfull act of coordinated deception of all parties. I have not accused Dr. Curry of conspiracy since her position on peer political culture silence no matter how challenged may only involve her own bias and views. Your use of the term conspiracy is largely a strawman tactic.

  61. The lung cancer analogy is interesting but incomplete as stated on this thread. The observations (hard data, not model outputs) show a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer. However, the causal relationship was not generally accepted until 1) all imaginable confounders were controlled for and found to be unimportant and 2) Experimental systems in which genetic makeup and environment were as near identical as possible (inbred mice) demonstrated cancer upon exposure to smoke.

    A paper that received considerable attention earlier this year (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/07/16/1002632107) indicated that modeling predicted that warming would cause massive migrations from Mexico to the U.S. Relocation is such a complex phenomenon with so many potential confounders, that this direct causal connection would not likely even be proposed in the life sciences until all the obvious confounders had been addressed (e.g., does decreased food production lead to migration to cities in the same country instead of migration to another country; will warming-which doesn’t seem to be occurring at present-actually affect food production and could the effect be positive instead of negative; have the motives of people who have migrated in the past been evaluated to determine if food production or any aspect of climate had any role). However, it seems that virtually anything that correlates with model predictions of global warming can be published and taken seriously. Perhaps there are fundamental differences in standards for attribution in climate science compared to life sciences?

    • That study was looking at observed local climate change, crop yeilds and migration changes in individual mexico states over a 10 year period. The overall relationship drawn (climate change -> crop yeild -> migration change) was then used to project a figure for future migration given projected climate change. The confounders were mentioned.

      The paper claims this hadn’t been done before, in which case it’s worth doing and potentially other work can build on this an improve it

    • However, the causal relationship was not generally accepted until 1) all imaginable confounders were controlled for and found to be unimportant and 2) Experimental systems in which genetic makeup and environment were as near identical as possible (inbred mice) demonstrated cancer upon exposure to smoke.

      I think that you’re possibly oversimplifying some relevant factors: (1) there were considerable efforts, by those who were predisposed for one reason or another to promote disinformation about the effects of cigarette smoking, to erroneously attempt to invalidate the evidence that did exist, (2) some of the people who made those efforts did not limit their focus to the impact of cigarettes, but also focused on invalidating sound evidence and promoting invalid evidence in other areas of scientific debate as well, (3) look elsewhere in this thread – even today, there are many people who dispute evidence of the impact of second-hand smoke that have been shown through scientific experimentsusing mice. Look elsewhere in this thread and you will see exactly that.

      Not to say that I think that the attribution of extreme weather events to anthopogenic influence on climate is as well-proven empirically as the causal link between cigarettes and cancer, but I think that you are perhaps making an overly broad generalization about the process by which empirical analysis becomes generally accepted.

    • The lung cancer analogy is interesting but incomplete . . .

      Complaints like these demonstrate a lack of understanding of what an “analogy” is. It is a comparison of unlike things that are alike in some way. Things that are like one another in every way are not analogous: they are identical.

      1) all imaginable confounders were controlled for and found to be unimportant

      That didn’t happen, and couldn’t, because it isn’t true. There are always multiple important variables in cancer. Medical research uses multivariate logistic regression to control for confounders.

      However, it seems that virtually anything that correlates with model predictions of global warming can be published and taken seriously.

      Again, the complaint that this is all very hard and complicated supports the idea that we need more careful research, not that we should ignore the subject. I’m sure you would agree that if there is going to be mass migration across our borders in response to climate change, it would be better to have advance warning of the fact?

  62. “Has it ever occurred to you how astonishing the culture of Western society really is? Industrialized nations provide their citizens with unprecedented safety, health, and comfort. Average life spans increased fifty percent in the last century. Yet modern people live in abject fear. They are afraid of strangers, disease, of crime, of the environment. They are afraid of the homes they live in, the food they eat, the technology that surrounds them. They are in a particular panic over things they can’t even see-germs, chemicals, additives, pollutants. They are timid, nervous, fretful, and depressed. And even more amazingly, they are convinced that the environment of the entire planet is being destroyed around them. Remarkable! Like the belief in witchcraft, it’s an extraordinary delusion-a global fantasy worthy of the Middle Ages. Everything is going to hell, and we must all live in fear. Amazing.” (Crichton)

    • I love Crichton. We don’t burn witches – but we riot in Copenhagen. We don’t sacrifice virgins any more (are there any virgins any more?) – but we ban genetically modified goods. We don’t make every scary weather event a god – but we want to stop the world economy so we don’t burn the planet to a crisp.

      The more things change…the more they stay the same.

    • It’s a little more pernicious when the religious pretend to be the voice of science. The Church, criticize them if you will, at least admitted that certain things were based on faith. People who think their faith is rooted in science are a lot more dangerous. Ever heard Ahmadinejad jabbering about the scientific proof for the twelfth imam? The IPCC is a little more polished but just as stubborn

      And if you want a good laugh, here’s what happens when you let faith dictate science:

      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/566328/centrality_of_mecca/

    • I am a collector of mad theories – this one is way out there. I laughed – but it was a scared laugh.

    • The guy’s dead serious. Yeah, it’s a little spooky to think that there are people like that.

  63. The usual team sport emerges with the usual suspects falling predictably – with great certainty – on one side or the other. That this is a profoundly unresolvable question in any objective way – inclines me sometimes to think that Judith is running a sociological experiment with the denizens as lab rats.

    The problem of attribution is in the limited length and quality of the data record – and in the competing influences. In places we have a hundred years at most of flood and rainfall records. Most parts of the world have significantly less. The 100 year flood is determined by selecting the largest flood in all years in the record. The largest flood in a 100 year record is the 100 year flood. The problem in this is that known modes of natural variability in the instrumental record – ocean and atmospheric variability – have at least the same duration as the record. In most places in the world – there is no data over a long enough period to include known modes of natural decadal variability. There is as well no possibility that the limited instrumental record is representative of the limits of natural variability. This 11,000 year ENSO proxy is very clear evidence of far greater variability in ENSO – the major source of contemporary global surface temperature and hydrological variability – in the Holocene. The links between ENSO, rainfall and erosion in South America are clear and direct. There are links also between ENSO and cyclones in many parts of the world – especially where I live. Indeed – storm wrack on north Australian beaches suggest centennial variability in ENSO – and that we are due for a switch to a La Niña dominant regime. A convergence of evidence argument.

    Rainfall at a point or over an area can be ranked in the same way as floods – usually as a 24 hour raingauge depth. That was the way data was collected prior to the use of tipping-gauge pluviographs which give intensity and event duration data as well. The usual idea is that increased temperature leads to increased specific humidity – and that this increased atmospheric moisture is dumped at times in more intense rainfall. There is little data anywhere to support any claims about rainfall intensity.

    There is little as well to suggest that attribution of recent temperature increase is robust. ‘It first needs to be emphasized that natural variability and radiatively forced warming are not competing in some no-holds barred scientific smack down as explanations for the behavior of the global mean temperature over the past century. Both certainly played a role in the evolution of the temperature trajectory over the 20th century, and significant issues remain to be resolved about their relative importance.’ realclimate: Warming interrupted – much ado about natural variability.

    As I have said a few times – all recent warming occurred between 1976 and 1998. Most of that occurred in 1976/77 and 1997/98 – for the reasons given in the 2 studies (Tsonis et el 2007, Swanson et al 2009) referred to in the realclimate post quoted above. Most of the rest seems to have resulted from cloud changes. ‘The overall slight rise (relative heating) of global total net flux at TOA between the 1980′s and 1990′s is confirmed in the tropics by the ERBS measurements and exceeds the estimated climate forcing changes (greenhouse gases and aerosols) for this period. The most obvious explanation is the associated changes in cloudiness during this period.’ NASA/GISS There was relative cooling in the IR. These radiative changes are linked in surface, “Earthshine” and satellite observations to changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific.

    The world has not warmed since 1998. Science suggests – as a result of Pacific variability especially – that the world is not warming into the near future (Mochizuki et al 2010, Swanson et al 2009, Tsonis et al 2007, Keenlyside et al 2008) – albeit with immense uncertainties surrounding the origins of decadal (and longer) variability.

    There is one side of this argument with fixed views regardless of the real state of uncertainty in climate science. It is a world view that incorporates a number of ideas. Dangerous global warming, taxes on energy and limits to global economic growth. These are fringe ideas from an AGW equivalent of a ‘spaceship cult’. Potentially socially dangerous ideas to be guarded against. There is no talking rationally to them whether they be scientist or layman – because they literally cannot process information at odds with the world view. They insist on what is patently absurd – fractional attribution for instance – as a political gambit.

    My own view is that 3%/year of growth in cheap energy and food supplies is the bottom line for humanity this century – about a 15 fold increase in food and energy resources. There is one problem with this – it seems literally impossible with current fossil fuel energy technologies.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • Just want to say thank you for all the hard work and patience, Chief. I’m trying to learn from your knowledge about ENSO/PDO etc. All my Internet days starts with reading your comments here at Judiths blog.

      All my ten thumbs up!

    • Over time, your posts have 75% convinced me that climate evolution is indeed a chaotic, non-linear process with unknown change points to various in/out parameters. I’m not yet anywhere near being convinced that we know all of the parameters

      On this issue, Judith C appears to me to act as a fish on two hooks – flip-flopping in all directions simultaneously. Perhaps her “social experiment” is actually to help try and sort it out for herself :)

      But she has provided a website where my first point can actually happen, so I have no issue

      I agree that other serious contributors here now run a well-worn, predictable and unconvincing track. Freddie M is a prime example of this

      But the political segments of your posts are a little crazy. Remember that I’m an Aus, so I’m acutely aware that the CO2 tax in Parliament next week is likely irreversible and will damage “sovereign risk” irreparably (indeed, it is meant to) – I understand the urgency in your posts. There is no way out, however, so adaptation to this is the only rational response

    • Hi Ian,

      You have to remember my background. I was looking for the source of abrupt change in hydrological regimes on decadal timescales. Chaos theory provides some clues about what systems behave in this way and what the implications of that are. They are simply systems with multiple feedbacks and a non-linear response to changes in initial conditions. ENSO is an example of such a system.

      I am sure that Judith understands both non-linearity and decadal variability. It was a comment by Judith on decadal variability elsewhere that first brought her to my notice.

      The carbon tax in Australia seems neither here not there – it will cost me in the order of $400/year and really not achieve anything at all. I think it will all go into carbon farming here and elsewhere – leaving $11 billion to find elsewhere. So it will probably end up costing me $1000/year. We do have resource and other cushions against any serious effect – and the minority government will be unelectable for a generation after the next election.

      It is the imposition of energy taxes on more fragile economies that is not happening – a good thing. We will be leading and no one following – a pointless exercise. It seems obvious to me that many times our current CO^2 emissions is increasingly problematic in a non-linear climate – but there are much better ways to go in reducing emissions.

      Cheers

    • Thanks for the reply … my comment on Judith C was meant as a wry reply to your own wryness

      Appreciate that you find the CO2 tax more inconsequentially irksome than anything else, but my comment on the damage being done, and to be done, on sovereign risk is more acute than your own view. In this instance, I am more expert than you. Aus with its’ current standard of living only survives on overseas investment (always has) and this money is becoming very chary of Aus politics constantly sea-changing basic rules. I’ve spent a lot of the last 12-18 months grinding through this with many overseas clients – and they are very, very skittish indeed

      Telling them that it won’t matter because the current Govt cannot be rel-elected does NOT help. They don’t believe it and I cannot prove it

    • “That this is a profoundly unresolvable question in any objective way – inclines me sometimes to think that Judith is running a sociological experiment with the denizens as lab rats.”

      I’ve made similar suppositions, what I don’t get Chief is why criticize my efforts for a more honest debate where all the parties honestly disclose their poltical colors rather than hide as in the case of Dr. Curry under a vail of “science objectivity” while skepitics are labeled routinely as “deniers” (Godwin Law violation), “anti-science” or “conservatives” etc.??

  64. What’s causing all the horrible weather disasters that we all know are getting increasingly frequent and severe?

    Well, ACE already knows it’s anthropogenic global warming – what else? (Hey, that’s what they call the “null hypothesis”, so it must be correct.)

    But what’s causing the global warming?

    Believe we have found the global warming culprit (Greenpeace has already staged several protests).
    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6087/6131030099_28f413cc77_b.jpg

    Although some of you may think this is a “Kroc”, the correlation of the trend lines is just too close to be coincidental.

    I’m working on defining the mechanism now: beef – cattle – methane.

    Stay tuned.

  65. cwon14 | September 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    That’s very good Chief, how do you explain Dr. Curry avoiding the obvious social/political meme driving the core of the eco-left and AGW core of which she is also a member?

    cwon, please stop! I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but your constant railing against our hostess is getting almost as tiresome as that of the trolls who infest the discussions here!

    I don’t know what you are trying to prove, but frankly I believe your derogatory labelling is extremely rude – and counter-productive. Not only that but your tone strkes me as being that of one who lacks the ability to see the forest for the trees.

    Each of us is perfectly entitled to choose our own respective battles – and to fight them in our own way. Dr. Curry has no obligation whatsoever to colour her comments and observations with your apparently preferred mode of simplistic labelling.

    Please, step back, for a moment, cwon, and consider the progress that has been made over the past year. I doubt that we would have advanced as far as we have without Dr. Curry’s efforts.

    • hear hear

    • Wormish lolwot since you don’t have a logic on point rebuttal.

    • “Please, step back, for a moment, cwon, and consider the progress that has been made over the past year. I doubt that we would have advanced as far as we have without Dr. Curry’s efforts.”

      Spineless appeasement to a consensus that is at the end of the rope. Your view is simple minded as it avoids what is essential about the topic.

    • “Not only that but your tone strkes me as being that of one who lacks the ability to see the forest for the trees.”

      The forest is the eco-left use of AGW abstracts for a political purpose, the trees are minute soon to be cataloged and endlessly debated science papers. Are we going argue about what we don’t know about the carbon sink another 25 years when that is not what is driving the agenda at all?

      Have you reached your own “consensus” where critics on this forum should silenced in regards to the middling posture of Dr. Curry??

  66. Slightly off topic (but not so much, indeed):

    1. People cherishing a belief are prone to believe anything that goes with their pet belief. See Matt Ridley’s comments at http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/maybe-were-all-conspiracy-theorists.
    2. The long story of non-transparency and alleged scientific misconduct surrounding the hockey stick graph may be usefully compared with similar cases in other fields of science. A case of flawed research in cancer therapy (http://www.economist.com/node/21528593) throws interesting light on what has been going on in climate science (including withholding data and code, Nature Medicine journal refusing to publish rebuttals or sharing background data and code, and more. At least in this case of scientific misconduct in medical science, errors were (or are being) redressed, but it is also interesting to note that it took about five years after the initial publication in 2006 to get things done, papers retracted and main wrongdoers resigning or fired.

  67. LOL lolwot, why 0.2 °C? You think the overall net “forcing” is known? All the factors influencing global temperature? What a belief!

    • There is a measured solar cycle impact on temperature of about 0.1C over the cycle (slightly more for the recent cycle). That means there should have been a cooling over the period 1998 to present, not flatness.

      Also the pattern of ENSO since 1998 suggests there should have been a cooling trend since 1998 too.

    • A perfect example of why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      And what about the CO2 (and other GHG) forcings and the numerous positive feedbacks? In the pipe?

    • If greenhouse gases are causing warming of about 0.2C/decade, but since 1998 the ENSO and solar cycle decline have caused about 0.2C cooling, what would we expect the temperature change to be since 1998?

      Flat

      In which case we can look forward to faster than 0.2C/decade warming in the coming decade. For ENSO and the solar cycle are oscillations, not longterm “permanent” changes like the ever rising greenhouse gas forcing.

    • “That means there should have been a cooling over the period 1998 to present, not flatness.”

      At least you can change your mind. Step by step.

      Regarding the coming decade, the flatness will change to cooling. Wait and see.

    • Before anyone gets too carried away with talk of cooling, or even of a lack of warming, I’d just make the point that average global temperatures, according to the Hadcrut3 record, in the 00s were 0.2 degC warmer than in the 90s.

    • So we are almost there.

      ‘This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.’ Swanson et al (2009)

      The Pacific variability has decadal modes that last for 20 to 40 years. They can quite readily be seen in the Claus Wolter multi-variate ENSO index. La Nina dominant to 1976, El Nino to 1998 and La Nina since. That this is the same periodicity as the PDO is not a coincidence – the 2 phenomenon are directly linked through the 2 Pacific gyres.

      El Nino warms the surface through energy transfer to the atmosphere with a higher SST – and through reduction in marine stratiform cloud in the Pacific. Most of the recent warming was the result of ENSO ‘dragon-kings’ – extreme events that occur at times of climate shifts – in 1976/77 and 1997/2001. The warm Pacific modes add to warming on a decadal scale. The cool modes cool the planet over decades. We are in a cool mode – although it has flickered in and out in the past decade – which should both intensify and last another decade or three.

      Solar cycle 24 is likely to peak next year at the lowest number of sunspots since 1928. The SORCE data is shown here – TSI graph. Solar activity peaked last century in a thousand year high – although SW and LW irradiance seem not sufficient to make much difference directly to surface temperature variability.

      A solar UV – which drifts much more than visible and infra-red radiation – link to ENSO is suspected.

      Judith Lean (2008) commented that ‘ongoing studies are beginning to decipher the empirical Sun-climate connections as a combination of responses to direct solar heating of the surface and lower atmosphere, and indirect heating via solar UV irradiance impacts on the ozone layer and middle atmospheric, with subsequent communication to the surface and climate. The associated physical pathways appear to involve the modulation of existing dynamical and circulation atmosphere-ocean couplings, including the ENSO and the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation. Comparisons of the empirical results with model simulations suggest that models are deficient in accounting for these pathways.’ Lean, J., (2008) How Variable Is the Sun, and What Are the Links Between This Variability and Climate?, Search and Discovery Article #110055

      As both the ENSO and the PDO are upwelling phenomenon – driven by west coast currents at the Americas – I am looking at polar sea level pressure changes as a driver for variability of the north and south Pacific gyres.

      You might also look at – Lockwood, M., Bell, C., Woollings, T., Harrison, R., Gray. L. and Haigh, J. (2010), Top-down solar modulation of climate: evidence for centennial-scale change, Environ. Res. Lett. 5 (July-September 2010) 034008 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/3/034008

      ENSO is non-stationary and non-Gaussian – which is to say it doesn’t oscillate about a mean state. It varies over decades to millennia. See this 1,00 year ENSO proxy for instance. The ‘red shift’ reflects higher rainfall in the region from El Nino. We can see for instance a change in state from La Nina dominant to El Nino dominant about 5000 years ago – that resulted in the drying of the Sahel.

      I am expecting an abrupt shift any time now to more intense and frequent La Nina on a centennial timescale – but at any rate we should not under estimate the variability of ENSO. Tropical cyclones – as we call them in Oz – are more frequent in Australia in La Nina years.

      ‘Assessing risk from tropical cyclones and predicting the impact of this hazard under a human altered climate is based exclusively upon the behaviour of these events over the past 50–100 yr and often less. Critical to these determinations is an understanding of the full extent of the natural variability of this hazard. The coarse resolution of millennial scale sedimentary records, brevity of the instrumental register, imprecision of longer historical accounts and lack of any long-term, high resolution records has led to the assumption that the total variability of tropical cyclone behaviour is encompassed within the seasonal to multi-decadal oscillations observed to date. We present a near 800 yr long, annual resolution isotope record of tropical cyclones in northeast Australia which displays marked centennial scale regimes. Our record demonstrates that the frequency variability of intense landfalling cyclones is greatest at centennial scale compared to seasonal and decadal oscillations. Switching between centennial scale regimes in this record occurred rapidly (10–20 yr) highlighting the importance of accounting for this phenomenon in coastal planning and risk assessment. Our study highlights the importance of obtaining high resolution multi-century records of tropical cyclone activity in order to more accurately assess future impacts of this hazard to human society.’
      http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/2482/

      Now this adds up to a great deal of uncertainty in my mind – although not so much in some others despite Judith’s admirable new paper.

  68. This is all an interesting discussion, but the general phrase “normal weather” is a bit of a misnomer at best. The argument can be made that if by normal, we mean “non human influenced” then we really don’t know what that might be. Virtually every raindrop that falls or snowflake contains some trace elements in which can be found the human fingerprint. But more than that, the notion that we’ve entered the Anthropocene, and have long ago left behind “normal” (i.e. non human influenced) climate and weather behind is a valid one. Indeed, from a geological perspective, this current period will be identifiable from the earlier Holocene when looked at by some future geologist.

    So in looking at the issue of attribution, or the finger of human influence on weather, it is impossible to find a recent “normal” that we can say definitely was NOT impacted by some measure of human influence, and in the more extreme views of the Anthropocene, this influence goes all the way back to the time humans first began clearing land and practicing agriculture, as even at the point changes in aerosols, dust, and atmospheric methane began. If we accept that perhaps that was the very beginning of significant human influence on the weather and even the climate, and the fact that that process has only increased very steadily with the growth of human populations right up to today. So by what recent standard can we judge was is “normal” (non human influenced) weather? Our fingerprint has been, to one degree or another, on everything for hundreds if not thousands of years.

    • R. Gates,
      Then the human influence is part of ‘normal’.
      Dodging the point- that weather patterns in the age of CO2 are not distinguishable from weather pre-CO2 should not be popular.
      Yet here it is, a very insightful and obviously thoughtful person missing the obvious.

  69. Lolwot, Joshua, Robert,

    Good points you make, partly. Multivariate methods are used in epidemiology to address confounders. In addition, different populations are used and studies are repeated. Of course, tobacco companies did their best to obfuscate the increasingly clear causal effect of smoking on cancer. The scientific response to that was to keep chugging away and generating data, not going political and demanding that tobacco be banned (at least this was the response of most scientists, who valued their objectivity). Over time it became so obvious and so many confounders were considered and ruled out, and the experimental studies recapitulated the epidemiological studies, that only a few around the edges tried to argue. My point is that we are not there yet in understanding climate, but public statements often indicate a high level of certainty on a wide range of climate issues. To be fair, most climate science papers contain caveats, but even the paper I mentioned above opined that the results were “important” because…., in spite of the fact the caveats were huge and their role completely unknown. If something like this was publishable at all in epidemiology, it would be in a low tier journal and with nothing but caveats and one or two timid conclusions. After all, you are correct, this was a model estimating future regional climate 80 years out (and models of this type are not typically very skillful) feeding into a model of weather effects on crop productivity, which was feeding data into a model for human migration. A few confounders were mentioned but not addressed mathematically. So, are papers like this something you really want to defend as providing anything useful? If so, I will add it to the evidence that standards of attribution are fundamentally different in life sciences and climate science.

    • Stephen –

      I think that you make good points, and don’t dismiss their validity – but I don’t think that you really addressed my point head on (maybe I expressed it too cryptically).

      The overlay of politics in the climate debate, as with debate about the harmful effects of cigarettes, is not unilateral. Again – look at the disinformation being promoted in this thread w.r.t. the epidemiological evidence on health outcomes of ETS. You will see a combination of two important threads in that disinformation. The first is that the very nature of epidemiological research is fundamentally flawed and thus the results of that type of research are inevitably invalid. The second is that there isn’t an preponderance of epidemiological evidence that ETS is harmful in a number of ways. There are many, many parallels between the specific “anti-consensus” arguments about “first-hand smoke,” arguments about second-hand smoke, and arguments about climate change, but I feel that one the most important parallels is the political orientation (and in many cases, direct political affiliation) on the “anti-consensus” side of the debate.

      Although I don’t think the parallels are as cohesively linked on the “pro-consensus” side as on the “anti-consensus” side, I recognize that other observers and participants in the debate feel exactly the opposite; but regardless, I think it is plainly mistaken to ignore the political aspects of the debate with respect to either side. As such, I think that it is incomplete to only speculate about the political impact on one side of the debate only.

      Again – look at the arguments being made up-thread about ETS.

    • Smoking increases the risk of cancer. Marijuana is more harmful than tobacco.

    • Dave –

      Perhaps you could explain how the health outcomes of Marijuana smoking is relevant to the discussion at hand?

    • The scientific response to that was to keep chugging away and generating data . . .

      Which is exactly what is being proposed, no? More studies, more work on the problem, more data.

      . . . not going political and demanding that tobacco be banned (at least this was the response of most scientists, who valued their objectivity).

      There are all kinds of problems with this statement. I guess we should start with where you are getting your history. Physicians did most of the research on smoking and cancer, and physicians were also the most aggressive advocates for “political” measures to discourage smoking; warning labels, cigarette taxes, PSAs, etc. Doctors also aggressively encourage smoking cessation in their own practices, and have developed and deployed evidence-based tools to quit smoking — from nicotine patches to Chantix.

      Over time it became so obvious and so many confounders were considered and ruled out, and the experimental studies recapitulated the epidemiological studies, that only a few around the edges tried to argue. My point is that we are not there yet in understanding climate, but public statements often indicate a high level of certainty on a wide range of climate issues.

      For example? As you say “most climate science papers contain caveats.”

      So, are papers like this something you really want to defend as providing anything useful?

      Feel free to get out there and do a better study.

      If so, I will add it to the evidence that standards of attribution are fundamentally different in life sciences and climate science.

      Large parts of medical practice are based solely upon expert opinion, without or even in spite of evidence to the contrary. Small sample sizes are and endemic problem. Problems of generalization are rampant. Physicians had to develop this scale to categorize the various kinds of sub-optimal evidence upon which recommendations are based:

      Level A: Consistent Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial, cohort study, all or none (see note below), clinical decision rule validated in different populations.
      Level B: Consistent Retrospective Cohort, Exploratory Cohort, Ecological Study, Outcomes Research, case-control study; or extrapolations from level A studies.
      Level C: Case-series study or extrapolations from level B studies.
      Level D: Expert opinion without explicit critical appraisal, or based on physiology, bench research or first principles.

      The human body and the climate system and the social and economic structures which influence and are influenced by the state of health of the former are all fiendishly complex things. Striving to increase rigor is admirable, but comparisons to much simpler areas of human enterprise are misleading.

  70. La de da de de, la de da de da….

  71. I think the coming La Nina will drop temperatures more than .2C.

  72. The first measure of how hot the daily temperature in any Year One is by definition the record heat.

    Year Two, given no interannual trend, we expect in a regular system half of all records to fall or be matched, given natural variability.

    Year Three, half of that half of records are expected to fall, other conditions remaining the same.

    Year Four, again half of that half.

    And so on.

    Extremes ought extinguish rapidly by half every period.

    If there is an interannual trend, then two things are true: a) if the trend is itself regular on some span of years, that span of years will be the base for the halvings of extremes; b) if the trend is so long term as to be beyond the range studied, the extremes ought be proportional to the rate of the trend in some simple relationship.

    An 11 or 22-year solar cycle? Then halving of extremes every 11 or 22 years. A 30 or 60 year MDO in the oceans? Then halving of extremes every 30 or 60 years.

    A 10,000 year ice age cycle? Then 1/5,000th increase or decrease in record events expected.

    What we see is at least indicative of a flat rate of extreme events. This is the hallmark of a chaotic system under external perturbation.

  73. My apologies if this is old news. It might upset apple carts.

    If abrupt climate change is common .. Sure one can argue for ease of tipping. Yet it also suggests that tipping happens regardless and it’s important to figure out what is happening and why..

    Seems that we are missing a lot of crucial understanding

    Ice samples show climate capable of abrupt changes

    An international team, led by Stephen Barker of Cardiff University, has produced a prediction of what climate records from Greenland might look like over the last 800,000 years, according to a Cardiff statement….

    The research demonstrates that abrupt climate change has been a systemic feature of Earth’s climate for hundreds of thousands of years and may play an active role in longer term climate variability.

    http://www.inewsone.com/2011/09/11/ice-samples-show-climate-capable-of-abrupt-changes/75300

    • Raving

      Which would be why the concern about external forcing. A dynamically complex chaotic system — for instance, the climate of our planet — will experience two important kinds of modes: ergodic (pseudo)stability, and chaos.

      Chaos is what follows tipping points and new external perturbations. Tipping points we have no control over. (In theory, sometimes they can be manipulated, but we’re nowhere near ready to try that on the climate on a grand scale.)

      External perturbations, new ones especially, generally shorten the time between tipping-point-like events.

      New external perturbations we have little control over, unless they’re the kind of perturbation we are causing.

      See, a concerned person might suggest we stop whacking the hornet nest with the sharp stick.

    • See my response to you here

      Yes, I do think that all this is much about Dynamical Systems Theory

      I have have had a little hands on, real world experience with the topic many years ago.

      Regrettably I don’t expect my ‘explicit’ understanding or aptitude in that regard to improve.

      Nevertheless, I can anticipate growth in a maturity of understanding of something that I once knew somewhat better than I know today.

    • Hi Raving,

      Abrupt change is a property of a complex and non-linear system. It is a dynamic system that has multiple positive and negative feedbacks and thus shifts between states when pushed past thresholds.

      It can be visualised by Lorenz orbits. The solution of for this system – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TwoLorenzOrbits.jpg – falls into a radically different solution (or phase) spaces when pushed past a threshold. It moves abruptly form one orbit to another – the ‘butterfly effect’.

      For a system as dynamically complex as the Earth’s climate – there are both spatial and temporal elements of chaos and the number of possible states is very large.

      Chaos theory states that the system can abruptly shift when pushed past a limit. The ergodic theory simply states that over a long enough time – the states will be revisited.

      Weather has been known to be chaotic since Edward Lorenz discovered the ‘butterfly effect’ in the 1960’s. Abrupt climate change on the other hand was thought to have happened only in the distant past and so climate was expected to evolve steadily over this century in response to ordered climate forcing.

      More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

      Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

      Many people have been calling for a better understanding of this for many years. Wally Broeker long ago likened greenhouse gas emissions to poking a stick at a wild and angry beast. I tend to agree but what do you do then. Many people fixated on carbon taxes – I don’t agree but it doesn’t matter anyway. Taxes are simply not happening in most of the world for political reasons – and the world is not warming so this becomes even less likely. Practical and pragmatic is the way to go – http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/2011/07/climate_pragmatism_innovation.shtml

      Try these sources –
      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309074347
      http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?cid=9986&pid=12455&tid=282
      http://www.biology.duke.edu/upe302/pdf%20files/jfr_nonlinear.pdf

    • See my response to Bart R immediately above and at this location

      There is Dynamics
      There is Dynamical Systems
      There is Symbolic Dynamics

      These are independent methods at successive and greatly shifted changes of scale.

      Each method is aimed at a jointly held common focus.
      Each method is worthwhile.
      Each method has reverence and limitation within the scope of it’s own paradigm.

      It is exceedingly difficult to retain cognizance that these 3 independent approaches, all pertain to a single common focus. The methods are invisibly co-dependent. Their continuity is hidden. That invisibility which is brought about by a massive change of scale and perspective provides the illusion of independence.

    • I refer here to nonlinear dynamical systems – chaos theory in other words.

      Are you playing games? Because nothing you said here made any sense at all.

    • Are you playing games?
      Yes, I really do hope so. That’s the tool that I’ve always used to fight my own way

      out of confusion.

      As for ‘nonlinear’? That sort of stuff comes quite effortlessly to me. It’s second nature. I

      don’t even think about it. …
      (raving = nonlinear)

      Given that I don’t have much interest in the nonlinear feature, it ought not surprise you

      that I don’t care much for chaotic feature either. It’s rather ho hum frankly. … It seems

      to wow those people who like to live in a deterministic reversible continuum of a universe.

      The upshot is that .. nonlinear dynamical systems – chaos theory in other words

      collapses to a de-jargonized plain-vanilla dynamical system with it’s unspecified

      constraint on behavior.

      Of course, the reason that I say “unspecified constraint on behavior” is because the

      dynamical system represents an external viewpoint looking down upon and/or into some hopeful

      expectation for limitation on behavior.

      When that innate self-limiting quality is hinted at by some real world or theoretical model

      sourced, empirical data … it is plausible to hope that some predictive descriptions can

      be found. This is only possible by perceiving that innate limiting behavior preexists. With

      the behavior significantly constrained at the outset it might be feasible to improve upon

      the prediction of future outcome yet further. When the innate limiting behavior is period or

      episodic then all is the merrier. It means that things go round and round without concern

      that they might fly off into the wide blue yonder without constraint.

      Improvements on prediction are accomplished by moving from overview to interior and

      inspecting the internal mechanics which describe how one variable differentially changes

      with respect to how other variables differentially change.
      Are you playing games?
      Yes, I really do hope so. That’s the tool that I’ve always used to fight my own way out of confusion.

      As for ‘nonlinear’? That sort of stuff comes quite effortlessly to me. It’s second nature. I don’t even think about it. …
      (raving = nonlinear)

      Given that I don’t have much interest in the nonlinear feature, it ought not surprise you that I don’t care much for chaotic feature either. It’s rather ho hum frankly. … It seems to wow those people who like to live in a deterministic reversible continuum of a universe.

      The upshot is that .. nonlinear dynamical systems – chaos theory in other words collapses to a de-jargonized plain-vanilla dynamical system with it’s unspecified constraint on behavior.

      Of course, the reason that I say “unspecified constraint on behavior” is because the dynamical system represents an external viewpoint looking down upon and/or into some hopeful expectation for limitation on behavior.

      When that innate self-limiting quality is hinted at by some real world or theoretical model sourced, empirical data … it is plausible to hope that some predictive descriptions can be found. This is only possible by perceiving that innate limiting behavior preexists. With the behavior significantly constrained at the outset it might be feasible to improve upon the prediction of future outcome yet further. When the innate limiting behavior is period or episodic then all is the merrier. It means that things go round and round without concern that they might fly off into the wide blue yonder without constraint.

      Improvements on prediction are accomplished by moving from overview to interior and inspecting the internal mechanics which describe how one variable differentially changes with respect to how other variables differentially change.

      ———————-

      Since you say …

      He is either crazier than most or being deliberately nonsensical in superficially scientific idiom.

      There is no need to waste time by proceeding further.

    • Again in some maniacal rant with no semblance of coherence. I believe in poetry – because it approaches the unspeakable by cunning paths. You approach the easily communicated against a backdrop of meaningless drivel.

      Is there any point in reading this product of you’re deranged imagination? Shouldn’t think so.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      99.X% of your coherence is exquisitely worthless
      Round it up and call it worthless

    • @Chief Hydrologist

      I believe in poetry – because it approaches the unspeakable by cunning paths. You approach the easily communicated against a backdrop of meaningless drivel.

      I am leaving the easily communicated to move across a meaningless unknown … Departure is the more difficult part.

      Be seeing ya’

    • Raving
      Thanks – An abrupt natural transition to COLDER temperatures is much more concern than to warmer temperatures as evidenced by the Little Ice Age, and the Vikings on Greenland. See also the NIPCC 2009 Ch 9 on Human Health Effects and 2011 Ch 9 on Human Health Effects especially 9.1 Temperature-Related Human Mortality.

      However, colder weather is rarely addressed by the IPCC due to its political focus on finding catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

    • I also believe that cold is the greater danger.

      Cold temperatures slow down the diffusion and bulk transport of elements. Albeit that cold freezing and thawing shatters rock.

      Frozen water surfaces and suppressed biomass production are pathways of positive feedback in the downward direction.

      In such circumstances it remains for volcanism to release a sufficient buildup of CO2 as to thaw out the stasis.

      Alternately there is probably a very long timescale relationship between volcanoes, continental plate distribution, subduction zones, wind patterns, ocean currents and the Earth’s global heat budget.

      Ultimately, the structural representation is set by the self organization of dissipative structures.

      It’s a hunt for a functionally appropriate scale perspective and viewpoint.

    • It appears we’re all agreed.

      We’re all pissing into the dark without a clue, after some point.

    • Is the handle a clue? He is either crazier than most or being deliberately nonsensical in superficially scientific idiom.

    • Chief Hydrologist: Is the handle a clue?

      Of course the handle is a clue.
      You presume Raving = ‘crazy’

      Is that what you want?
      Ok. Suit yourself …

      Boo!

      There is a another inference that can be drawn from the word ‘raving’.

      Of course the person who knows all about … “nonlinear dynamical systems – chaos theory in other words.” couldn’t see that meaning even if it were staring right back at him or her.

  74. This is a much better treatment of the multiple linear regression problem – http://www.agci.org/docs/lean.pdf

    It begs the question of cloud and TOA radiative flux – e.g. Burgmann et al 2008 and Wong et al 2006.

    • Chief

      Much better.

      Though you ought perhaps mention Wong et al not as important or reliable as the first two links.

      Oh, and a point.

    • Is it that you want me to chronicle your descent into madness – or are you just stalking me?

      Burgman. Clement, ERBS and ISCCP-FD – all support the same conclusions – multiple strands of evidence for what is obvious to blind Freddy. Not our Freddy – nothing is obvious to him or to you. It is the old AGW version of the spaceship cult.

      You are thrashing about in desperation because you need a dire prophecy of doom to justify carbon taxes. It is further away than ever – and the world refuses to warm. Loser.

      Oh – and I didn’t have a point – I was just helping out with a better reference for the variety and influence of major impacts on climate. Although one that is not complete in my estimation.

    • Chief

      Completeness is optional. It’s the internet.

      Doom is useless to me. You’re barking up the wrong tree. Indeed, you’re barking enough for a forest.

      Carbon taxes also, useless. They devalue the individual’s stake in the carbon budget and expropriate an individual right to government without consent.

      I understand why you intellectualize and resort to bashing when you feel threatened or outside your comfort zone (or bottle of whiskey, whichever).

      Guy smart as you could learn to just adapt to things, instead of panicking whenever an idea you don’t like is mentioned.

    • I see you are stalking me – and the descent into incoherence continues. Just random sniping from the sidelines – no rhyme or reason – no rational argument. Heat and no light – utterly bizarre.

  75. Extreme weather deaths have declined by 93% since the 1920′s;

    http://www.masterresource.org/2011/09/responding-appell-climate-activis/

    The population tripled. Why haven’t the alarmists been laughed off this thread?

    • Similarly:
      Indur Goklany: Global Death Toll From Extreme Weather Events Declining

      extreme weather events are responsible for about 0.05% of all global deaths (31,700 deaths vs. 58.8 million, annually). . . .
      Deaths and death rates from droughts were responsible for the majority (58%) of all deaths due to extreme weather events from 1900–2008. They also peaked in the 1920s. Since then, they have been reduced by 99.97% and 99.99%, respectively (Figure 3). . . .
      For storms (including hurricanes, cyclones, tornados, typhoons), responsible for 7% of extreme weather event deaths from 1900–2008, deaths and death rates declined by 47.0%–70.4% since the 1970s (Figure 4).

      All this while we have had major “anthropogenic global warming”.
      The climate alarms appear to have been exaggerated!

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